“Prescience” as a sequel to Titanium: what happens to the abductees after UFO’s land (and they must live on another planet)

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In July 2003, shortly before moving back to northern Virginia, I vetted a treatment for a proposed screenplay to be called “Prescience” to the Minneapolis Screenwriting Group.

The idea had come to me in a dream, where a boulder lands to Earth near Fort Worth, TX; it turns out to be a spaceship, and there are gradual and then rapid consequences that the media (and only then the government) have to face.  But it’s a lot more subtle than the 1996 film “Independence Day”,  Maybe your most recent look at Earth won’t be your last.

After I wrote the screenplay “Titanium” (June 12), I decided that “Prescience” could be construed as a sequel to Titanium, as part of a film franchise.  I wrote about 60 pages of script, which does not quite match the original treatment, below.

In the screnplay, Eric accompanies Bill on the spaceship, and seems to have the telepathic ability to connect to the inhabitants of Earth,  instantly, faster than speed of light, because consciousness can pervade space-time.  And most of Earth has been zapped by EMP attacks, and people are trying to migrate to the few areas where the standard of living is still reasonable (like Singapore).  That would make a third movie.

Bill has a two-room apartment inside a “synecdoche” on the outskirts of the central city in the new planet, Arinelle, which is tidally locked around its parent star.  That means that all civilization is in a strip through the twilight zone, and a train (not exactly a “snowpiercer”) runs around it, among several different kingdoms that represent the same general geography with different stages of time.  “Cleveland” has 50s-era technology, “Clyde” is like 1900, and “Williams” is earlier than 1800.   Bill is forced to travel through these places and prove that he can function in these societies, that have karma-systems (kike intentional communities) and don’t have money.

There are other hidden transits among the kingdoms, such as through the cold night zone, and another through the steamy ocean on the hot side.  Bill wants to get his music back.  It has been brought on the spacehsip, and is brought to him through the transit passages.  But the romanticism of the music provides an emotional shock to the residents of the pre-1800 world.   it also turns out to be a “crime” when a more modern piano is brought to that world.

Various other people Bill befriends are tested.

In Bill’s apartment (which he uses only when he arrives and again toward the end), there are two computers, one which can view Earth with a telepathic connection (set up by Eric) digitized; it even has the remnants of Facebook and of Bill’s old blogs;  the other computer is tied to Arinelle’s networks and only a few privileged communities have access to social media.  Bill has that access only temporarily.

At the end of the movie, Arinelle will be threatened by an approaching brown dwarf, and the inhabitants will all move to Earth, for good.

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2003 Treatment for “Prescience”:
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Logline:

A teenage computer hacker learns of an upcoming alien attack and prepares himself and his friends only to survive it. The aliens save them for a final, utopian experiment.

Treatment:

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ERIC STONE, a precious high school senior who impresses adults whom he meets at a local Unitarian church, is playing with his web server at home when he deciphers messages that predict an incoming alien attack.

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In the mean time, there is a media report that all of the electronics in a particular well-to-do neighborhood is out, as if by an e-bomb.

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He has a part-time job fixing computers at homes and visits BILL LDZETT, an elderly gay man, at his high rise apartment building. He has met Bill at the Unitarian church and whimsically promised Bill a swimming lesson.

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At Bill’s place, they calculate the arrival of the first spaceship and then go to the apartment solarium (and natatorium) and spot a shooting star in the evening sky that may be the craft.
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(Note: to fit TR, he might have made a visit to Bill a few years ago and be older now at the time of the attack. He might have heard about Bill’s jailing for involvement with a minor.)
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Next day, right after the stock market closes, the craft lands in a major suburb, slowly, looking first like an asteroid with the fiery tale on the wrong side.
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Within a few hours people who watched the event are streaming into hospital emergency rooms blind. Authorities go into the nearby neighborhoods and find many of the residents dead, many of them already transforming into “grays.” Some of them had started transforming a few days before with massive hair loss.
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CNN covers this for a while, and then in many sections of the country there are complete power blackouts.
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Eric deciphers a message on his computer warning him that he will go blind soon unless he meets one of the aliens at a bar. He is to bring along a friends whom he has told about the message. He is surprised that bars will even be open after this catastrophe and uses a fake id to get in.
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He meets the alien, KAL, who is a super tall but good looking man (according to Bill’s ideas), who takes him and Bill into the space ship in a special private chopper. KAL also has the fake id.
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Inside they are met by rather human looking people, who tell him that they can keep their sight if they move to another planet. They will go on a reconnaissance and Bill and Eric will get to pick whom they bring. Eric will not be able to bring his younger sister, who also went blind. But on the new planet they will have to fit in to the social order there.
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They go clubbing and shopping—the stores are open again but the markets aren’t nobody knows when there will be another attack. Then there is a second attack in another city, so many people, going blind, line up to be on the ship.
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Once on board, they are given medical examinations and put to sleep for the journey.
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Once they reach the new planet about 80 LY away, they are put on a streetcar train. Though they were sleeping, they seem to have aged about 8 years. They view scenery that rather resembles a mix of AmErica in the 50s with Soviet-Style housing complexes very much crowded into the cities. They have a decent reception with rather simple Asian-like food (though some rather bizarre creatures) and Eric gives the swimming lesson. He is already “maturing.”
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They are told they are going to a place called “Baltimore” but when they arrive they find no city, just a run-down factory place. The people are segregated into groups. Kal takes Eric to go with him but sends Bill and a young woman together on an older train to a rickety farm, with a girl friend MALI. Bill is told he will have to earn his place and “pay his dues” first.
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There is a political system based on meritocracy, but no fiat money (at least on top). The most talented young adults live in the cities, in segregated housing. Gays are accepted and somewhat treasured. They go to the areas around Baltimore to do their menial work (“pay your dues”), but otherwise work on technology. Only the people who live in “Urbana” and visit either “Baltimore” or “Grand Rapids” get to use technology (and “Grand Rapids” is a kind of military “special training company”). Baltimore is on a seacoast, inundated with canals, and said to be susceptible of once in an epoch storms; Urbana is a more high-rise city on safer and higher if unspectacular ground. Once a year members vote on 80% who stay. (You can’t vote for yourself.) The others must go to the countryside (next paragraph) and must be married and be ready to have kids, lest they become “grays.” The music at “Metropolis” (Urbana) follows that of pop stars and lacks the recesses of western classical music. The “best” people come in once a month and take away the “losers” to the camps.
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The society has experimented with family values. It used to be that only residents of Urbana had children, and they still do, hoping for the “best children.” But the birth rate was too low, so the second line class at Baltimore is encouraged now to be fecund. Since a lot of the residents are rather unattractive and viewed as rejects, they still have a hard time maintaining a population. There are rumors that family life is better, after all, on the
frontier, “on the outside,” where people live in small, primitive communities (and must function in families or else become grays.)
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The train takes them to a quaint residential community where there are no modern conveniences, no electricity, except at one community center, where they can communicate with the central “Urbana” (Baltimore is just a shell) and the galactic community. Residents are assigned tasks. Bill develops a good social reputation with his piano playing and starts composing a legacy of western-style classical music. Gradually they turn into people who look like Grays unless they succeed in familial relationships, and Bill and Mali become intimate enough for her to get pregnant. Not only does Bill keep his sight but he starts looking younger and becoming more competent at manly things. Eric gets to go back to Urbana to be part of the ruling class (though he will live in or commute from the housing complexes in “Grand Rapids” as a kind of Apprentice). The best parties, though, and break dances are in Urbana (the 50s complex) and people seem to be graded on how they come off in the break dances, that are a bit like the Mayan ball games. So Eric will be part of the middle class.
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Bill finds Tobey and finds out he is an angel. Non-angels have to have training to qualify.
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Bill finds out that some of the “heterosexuals with families” live around vacant Baltimore, in suburbs, without too much technology while they raise kids. If they had the kids young enough, they can go back to Urbana as desirable adults. Bill finds he will get a chance to make it as a family man in Baltimore burbs.
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Bill gets to make trips to Baltimore Center to visit Eric with “glances”, kind of like visiting a friend who got to go to a better school. Eric attracted to Bill’s love of music, which he misses at Urbana. But he also learns of the Dark Side, a wasteland outside of the farm communities where the truly incompetent are discarded like Spartan rejects.
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Eric is prospering, and finds out more about what happens to the “losers” – they are turned out to keep to their own kind so they do not burden the “freedom” of the “angels.” But angelic status is hard to keep, and the people in the countryside outside Baltimore have recently been allowed to change fiat money. When people get kicked out they sometimes are treated to a “break dance” ritual for ultimate pleasure, but Bill watches this rather than experiences, and finds it unsatisfactory to watch fallen men get defrocked.
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There are communities set in different times – Truman, Clyde and Williams. People get sent back to earlier times to avoid being made into grays; but Bill decides he can bring some of his music into earlier times. There are also sports rivalries among the time-provinces.
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Bill eventually gets sent to Grand Rapids anyway, for some special training, where he sees failures being turned out to survive alone in the neo-mountains until they die. There is a bit of a real city here, with some technology. Here Bill learns how it works in Urbana, and is worried about what is happening to Eric. For example, residents rate each other once a month, and the “best” men do the raids to ship the losers to Baltimore or sometimes Grand Rapids. Eric got to be on the aggressive side of one of the raids. But Bill wonders what will happen to Eric at tribulations. Kal, it seems, has failed his own tribulation and been sent to Grand Rapids to live (he doesn’t get pass privileges to Urbana like Eric).. Bill sees him, as rather barren now.
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Bill helps Kal escape back to his own “Baltimore” suburban commune, where Kal takes a liking to Mali before disintegrating and dying. Also, Bill now learns how the colonies around “Balimore” turn the “failures” into grays rather than letting them perish in the wildnerness, because the nearby climate is milder. But before becoming grays, some of the “failures,” after finding out about the rural civilization outside the cities, decide they want to secede and build another city without technology but completely based on money. This has been going on for some time, and Bill finds out that the civilization “on the outside” is a bit more advanced than he had heard. (There is a parallel to being inside an asylum!) This is kind of the exurban culture that is willing to go back to a “natural” way of living that doesn’t depend on cities. There are questions about why money isn’t extended to the cities, and the argument is that money alone would corrupt the deeper meaning of merit. But the immediate suburbs around Baltimore are for successful or “functionable” “families” who can return to Urbana. The colonies extend quite far into the countryside in a grid with a number of other towns, like on a board game.
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(dream add-on): Bill learns that he can get back to Urbana by passing trials. Eric is being expected to pass them. It is a circular Fermi-like track, some of it underground and underwater, with various physical tests like swimming and getting out of a kayak. Bill has trouble, stops at a writing camp, then opts out (“quits”) and views his performance on a theater screen, and then prepares to see what has happened back home (limited perhaps by General relativity).
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Bill shows that the social order on this Mini-Earth are a projection of his own thoughts from back home. So in a way, even his intentions, without direct aggression, became “harmful” just as a thought experiment.
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He also learns now, from Kal, that the new earth is going to be approached by a brown dwarf, that gets more visible every night.
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A year later they (he and Mali) have a child, PAUL, thoroughly normal and human, and Bill wants to him back to earth. This is so even after the view earth and see if it set back 200 years by e-bombs set off by the grays. (They have a faster-than-light i.t.) Eric has now grown into manhood himself, when he visits, reigniting old gay feelings. Eric shows him what has happened to many of the immigrants. They have become grays. Finally, he is shown how to dial in to find out what has happened on earth. What he sees does not make him want to return. The good people escaped, and what is left are grays. They seemed to have gotten that way by a virus that dulled them. Then it is apparent that this “Earth 2” is a cut-down replica society where only the “best” can lead a creative life.
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The brown dwarf passes, Baltimore is flooded, but the Atlantis-like Urbana is destroyed.
Bill will move back to “Baltimore” and help “rebuild” it and fit into a Utopian society, but with one catch. His taste for music is left behind, to entertain the grays. He no longer has his musical gifts. The society of perfect men that he serves is one of simple rituals and aestheticism, and that is all that is left for him to live for. But now, without a functioning Urbana, their society starts to fall apart. Only a few characters, like Eric and Kal, can hold together. The rule was: People who “fail” there get sent to the countryside to prove they can make it in family life or become grays. Now Eric’s time as a “chosen one” will end soon and he would have to go to the country and prove himself. Now, he is valued by other Chosen Ones since he had survived the cataclysm without ill effects. But Eric has been working on his escape to go back to Earth, although there is no way he could make it without aging. He undergoes a “tribunal” and partially survives it (even he could become a Gray otherwise), but escapes anyway.
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Bill and Mali reconcile themselves to building a new home life for Paul, and maybe they can start over in this simpler planet.
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ADD ON:
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Eric might have been a younger friend of Matthiias, saw him go up. Maybe a son of Erin.
Eric might stop on Titan before journey to other planet.
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Beats
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Pre – Eric helps Bill (virus infection danger to others – stake) on computer
Situation – Eric predicts, sees spacecraft land, will go blind himself (grays, blind) (stake – grow to body concern) unless he meets Kal. Kal recounts some history of Bill (music)
Opportunity – Mormon-like space travel with Kal, separated from Bill and Tove to planet. Kal promises Bill that Eric will be cured of diabetes if left alone
Sent to training in Grand Rapids (to be the elite man – stake), Bill sent to farm Eric must qualify for the upper class and be cured of diabetes, Bill has to prove family solidarity
Recognition – Tove has baby, stillborn because Bill didn’t love her enough. Bill in “dark session” (ability to adapt – stake) where his male buddy rejects him, but Bill takes new girl friend and travels to Grand Rapids to be with Eric, who has grown in glory. Eric learns that Kal has been “threatened”
They travel to Urbana and see Kal get kicked out (bald in legs)
Bill and Mali have a kid and have gotten socialized in the “capitalist” section with Bill’s music (stake)
Crisis – Eric must go to country to prove self—because he doesn’t want the ritual.
It’s better to go back to earth – but he has to have tribunal anyway. He can raise Bill’s kid on Earth as Bill dies.
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Note:
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Mathematics is the one subject that cannot change from one planet to the next (except for spherical geometry, a little).

©Copyright 2003/2005 by Bill Boushka

(Published Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11 PM EDT)

 

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