Five Page Future Shock script by Si Spurrier
- Large. ‘Splash’-shot, action, etc. The far-future. A huge whaling-hovership hangs in a planetary atmosphere. It has an inescapably nautical feel to it and is called the Melville. Nearby, struggling violently against an embedded harpoon-rope, is a BLUBBA – a ‘space-whale’. It is about the same size as the ship (fairly massive) and resembles a sweaty organic zeppelin. Another harpoon – steered by a rocket-powered engine with a single human pilot (a ‘Harpedo’) is whizzing erratically around the beast, trailing a long length of rope. Distant crewmen can be seen on the upper decks of the Melville. One of them is shouting.
BOSUN: HOLDDIT-FAST! NO SLACKING-OFF NOW, SCURVEY-GIKES!
LINK: FIX IT UP! GET A LINE HEADEND!
- Close shot – inset. The remaining Harpedo stabs itself viciously into the whale’s flesh near its wide head.
- Aboard the Melville. On its uppermost deck – a wide, debris-strewn area – several crewmembers are gathered. They lean against the deck-railing, watching the stricken – but now secured - whale with interest. One of them is the BOSUN, who is directing this particular hunt. He is glancing-back over his shoulder to talk to someone out of shot.
BOSUN: THERE NOW..
LINK: WHAT D’YE THINK, CAPTAIN AHAB? HOW’D I DO?
- Intro – Captain AHAB. A tall, slender man, darkly dressed. Big bags under his eyes. Not exactly scruffy, but far from being tidy. His once-ornate clothing is faded and frayed. He has only one leg; the other is an arcane peg-leg made from whalebone and metal. He seems one-step away from insanity: your basic insomniac lunatic. He stands near to the BOSUN and scowls whimsically.
AHAB: STOW IT, BOSUN. YOU DONE CAUGHT ME ANOTHER MINNOW.
LINK: PATHETIC. BACKADAYS, THEY USED TO BE SIX, MAYBE SEVEN KWI-METTS EACH..
LINK: EVER HEARDA OLD RED, BOY?
DTP TITLE & CREDITS: AHAB
5) AHAB is glassy-eyed, remembering his past. An almost supernatural look to him. With one hand he is vaguely gesturing towards the BOSUN, who scampers away on an errand.
AHAB: NINE KWI-METTS HE WAS - AN’ STILL YOUNG. I KILLED HIS MATE AN’ HE HAD ME DE-LIMBED. UNSETTLED SCORES, LAD.....
LINK: FETCH-UP THE PSYLOOKER.. GOT A JOB FOR HIM.
- Intro – the PSYLOOKER. A psychic - as freaky as possible. He’s blind and is essentially a slave; carted-around in an odd machine with various wires and cables festooning his warped skull. He’s also quite, quite mad. He stands frothing and quivering in AHAB’s shadow, touching his temples with long spindly fingers.
PSYLOOKER: Y-YOU WANTED ME, C-CAP? THERE’S LOTSA BLUBBAS ROUND HERE.. YEAH… DIPPIN-DOWN FOR OXY BEFORE HEADING OUT TA SPACE..
LINK: I KIN HEAR EM. SIGNALS IN MAH HEAD… SOUNDS LIKE SINGING...
- AHAB leans-in close to the PSYLOOKER. He regards the psychic as one might an unpleasant insect. The BOSUN is hanging-around idly in the b/g.
AHAB: WANT YE TO RECORD FOR ME, LAD.. HOW DOES THAT SOUND?
PSYLOOKER: N-NOT SURE, CAP. WHAT’S TO BE R-RECORDED?
- AHAB, still against the railing, leans dangerously over and points outwards towards the doomed Whale, still floundering on the harpoon ropes in the b/g. The PSYLOOKER is trying to argue, sparks flickering from his vacant eyes dramatically.
AHAB: THAT… LISTEN TO ITS PSYCH-SONG.. REMEMBER IT.
PSYLOOKER: B-BUT CAP, THAT’S A M--
- Wider shot: AHAB growls at the PSYLOOKER, annoyed at the lack of obedience.. The freak cringes-back, terrified. He is too in-awe of AHAB to argue any further.
AHAB: DON’T ARGUE, PSYCHIE! GET TO THE PROW AND PLAYBACK..
LINK: NICE AND LOUD, Y’HEAR? CALL US DOWN SOME GIANTS..
6) Wide shot. Large. The Melville hanging amongst the clouds. A variety of bizarre mini-vessels have launched from its hull and are now weaving circuitous paths around the writhing whale. They are ‘strippers’; designed to rip-off all the blubber and useful parts of the creature in mid-air. The whale – still alive - is in the process of being bloodily deconstructed before our eyes.
AHAB: BOSUN.. GET RID OF THAT TIDDLER.
LINK: SET THE STRIPPERS TO ‘PURGE’.
- Later. Wide shot: The upper deck of the Melville. In the f/g: the PSYLOOKER is alone, broadcasting his psychic recording to the sea of clouds all around. Fingertips on his temples, odd visual signals emanating from his skull. This shot needn’t represent ‘reality’ – rather a surreal interpretation of the PSYLOOKER’s broadcast. He’s straining with the effort, maybe sweating or grunting to himself.
- Mid-shot: A different part of the upper-deck. We look up from head-height to a plinth upon which is mounted a sort of makeshift throne. AHAB sits brooding darkly. Below the plinth, looking out-of-shot with a horrified expression, is the BOSUN. A shadow has fallen across half of his face.
BOSUN(sotto): uh… c-captain Ahab, suh…?
AHAB: WHAT SAY, BOSUN?
- ‘Money shot’ - LARGE. A huge red whale descends from above, some distance from the ship. Like a scene from Independence Day, it splits the clouds, dragging them with it. It is old and scarred; an ugly brute. Various old harpoon blades poke from it here and there, odd bits of wreckage adorn its hide. The creature is at least twice the size of the Melville.
BOSUN: th-.. THERE SHE BLOWS!
- AHAB goes nutso. Wide-eyed, shouting. He points dramatically at the approaching behemoth, jumping up and down on the deck. In the f/g and b/g the crew drop everything and dash about busily.
AHAB: i-it’s him.. o-OLD RED HIMSELF!...
LINK: h-HEAVE-TO! LAUNCH THE HARPEDOES! GET HIM, MY LOVELIES!
- Perspective shot. We look down from above the deck of the Melville. Racing towards and past us are a group of Harpedoes. On the deck, AHAB is looking upwards, shaking his fists madly.
AHAB: A FORTUNE TO THE MAN THAT BRINGS HIM-IN!
LINK: THAT’S THE GRAZATAK THAT TOOK MY LEG!
- Mid shot: The Harpedoes start striking-home on the Whale’s flesh. Two are in frame – one is already in place and its pilot is attempting to operate the winch to drag the whale back to the ship, the other is only just stabbing into the creature’s red hide.
SFX: SHNKK! WHIRRRRR!
PILOT: I-IT’S TOO STRONG!
- The ropes being trailed by the Harpedoes begin to snap as the whale moves away from the ship. The pilots of the craft are left clinging to the monster’s skin, screaming.
SFX: THWP! THWP! AAAAHHH!
- AHAB, on deck. We look down at him from above. He is holding a silly little handgun and popping-off shots at the approaching whale. It is clear he has now completely lost the plot – he is raving incoherently.
AHAB: ....ate my damn leg big floating snekt’l gonna kill you dead...
- Old-Red rushes through the air. Trailing broken harpedoes but unharmed by the assault, this beastie is completely unstoppable. It also seems to bear an expression of cheerful determination.
CAPTION: HE’S OLD AND TIRED. THE FOREVER-SLEEP CAN’T BE FAR AWAY NOW..
CAPTION: AND IT’S TRUE, HIS EYESIGHT ISN’T WHAT IT ONCE WAS..
- Small/Inset: Old-Red’s P.O.V. He looks at the Melville. It appears as an indistinct blob. The implication must be that he’s mistaken the ship for just another whale.
CAPTION: BUT HE’S NOT TOO OLD TO IGNORE THE MINDSONG, CALLING HIM DOWN FROM DEEPVOID.
- View across the upper-deck of the Melville. AHAB stands dishevelled like a scarecrow. BOSUN is beside him, twitchy, with various other crewmen. They are all looking away from us to where the distant shape of Old-Red is powering towards them like a malignant scarlet boulder.
CAPTION: NOT SINCE HIS LIFEMATE – LONG SINCE DEAD – HAS THE CALL BEEN SO STRONG..
BOSUN: C-CAP? I-IT’S COMING RIGHT AT US!
- Close shot. AHAB, in an insane rage, grabs at the PSYLOOKER and screams in his face, one finger pointing towards the onrushing monster.
AHAB: YOU! WHAT’S THAT THING DOING?
- Close shot – the PSYLOOKER – blabbering with terror.
PSYLOOKER: tuh-TRIED TO SAY BEFORE, CAP..
LINK: TRIED TO SAY BUT y-YOU WOULDN’T LET ME...
- Shot: Face-off between AHAB and the PSYLOOKER. Beyond them and between their faces, the approaching whale seems to fill the skies. AHAB has never looked more insane. Dribble, foam, etc.
AHAB: TALK SENSE, BILGE-SCUM!
PSYLOOKER: th-thuh RECORDING, C-CAP….
- Money shot (haw haw): Old Red is almost on-top of the Melville. I leave this to the artist’s taste and discretion (rather him than me..). Basically, the whale comes bearing-down upon the ship with every intention of colliding.. Whether we see contact being made (debris exploding from the ship, perhaps), or just the randy beastie zooming-in with a discreetly-concealed erection and a prize-winning expression, or something else – the implication must be clear: The crew and captain of the Melville are about to get humped to death by an amorous floating whale.
PSYLOOKER: …IT’S A MATING CALL!