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EARTHBOUND, ACT SIX

FADE IN

INT : THREED : RUNAWAY FIVE TOUR BUS : NIGHT :


The pitch darkness of the scene is coupled with a few subtle yet distinguishable sounds: keys rattling, hushed voices, and the movement of feet. Slowly, the moonlight outside becomes visible, combating the overwhelming black. It outlines the shape of two youthful faces--NESS and PAULA--whose eyes are closed in sleep.

Both children are resting against one another. They shift their positions slightly when the bus rumbles and begins to move, but they do not awaken. Streams of both natural and manmade light wash over their faces as they are driven through town.

PAULA opens her eyes for a moment. There is a blank look about her, suggesting that she is not fully coherent. She stares out the window, and then looks to the front of the bus as the camera follows her point-of-view.

There are several large male figures seated near the front. Their backs are turned to the children. When the camera returns its focus to PAULA, she begins to prod NESS.

PAULA
(whispering)
Wake up. Ness, wake up.

NESS stirs and says something incomprehensible.

PAULA (CONT.)
We're moving, but something isn't right.
Can't you feel it?

NESS
(groggy)
What's not, huh? Did I leave the toilet seat up?

PAULA
(prodding NESS more forcefully)
Wake up! There are strange people on the bus.
I can't see real well, but I'm pretty sure it's not
Mr. Gorgeous and his friends.

NESS straightens up out of his slouched position, holding the Sound Stone gently and looking out the window. There are no streetlights or other artificial structures. Only trees line the road, but when the bus turns, a quick view of a wrought-iron fence is seen.

NESS
(bewildered, panicked)
What the-?
(staring, then rising quickly)
What's happening!

PAULA
Ness, wait-!

The bus turns again, but this time much more sharply. Tires squeal off the paved road and dig thick trenches through the grass. The bus lurches suddenly to the left just before it collides with a row of trees. NESS and PAULA are thrown across the aisle and into the next seat as the vehicle collapses, metal bending and glass shattering. Both children are soon pulled apart.

Focus is put on NESS, who struggles to find himself among the wreckage. There is grass and dirt beneath him where the window has been blown out, and shards of glass lay like a blanket over his skin. The Sound Stone is still held tightly, but his bat and backpack have been lost among the wreckage.

NESS
(shouting)
Paula! Paula!

There is no answer.

NESS (CONT.)
Paula!!
(hesitation)
Oh God, I've gotta find her.

NESS cringes in pain as he places the Sound Stone in his pocket. The moonlight shining in through the window above him casts an eerie glow on the blood running down his face. It is the only light available and, like a beacon, it keeps all attention focused on NESS as he climbs up the adjacent seat.

CUT TO:

EXT : THREED : CITY LIMITS : RUNAWAY FIVE TOUR BUS : NIGHT :


An external view of the overturned bus is seen for a moment before NESS enters the scene. He works his way through the open window and, halfway out, a shadow of a human form descends on him. NESS is grabbed around the midriff and a struggle ensues.

Briefly, NESS's entire body glows. His eyes are shut tightly, but with the rising action, it is impossible for him to achieve any level of concentration. The glow disappears and a greater physical effort follows.

The figure behind NESS takes hold of him by the neck, brandishing a steel blade. It catches the silver shine of the moon on its way to his throat. NESS screams just before the scene cuts to black.

FADE TO:

EXT : THREED : UNDERGROUND : NIGHT :


Several seconds of silence are broken by a soft girlish voice calling from a distance. The voice grows louder and closer until its words can be distinguished. It is PAULA speaking, but she cannot be seen.

PAULA
Ness? Ness, come on. I know you can hear me.

The darkness fades somewhat. Much of it is replaced with a view of PAULA, her face close to the camera; then, the angle changes. Both she and NESS are within an underground chamber. The walls and floor are solid earth. There are two flame-powered lanterns posted on either side of a steel door several meters away, providing the only source of light in the room.

NESS stirs when PAULA prods him. He flails when she does it again and sits up. His clothes are stained with blood, still wet. On his neck, running from one side to the other, is a fat, red and purple wound. It looks as though it has healed partially. NESS touches it, still incoherent.

NESS
(disconcerted)
Paula? I'm sorry, I got tired-
(looking around, fear rising)
What happened? Where are we?

PAULA
I don't know. Some people put us down here.

NESS
(frightened)
Down here? Who? Why? What's going on!

PAULA
I don't know who or why, Ness. Or even how they
did it. But we're underground now.

NESS continues to touch his throat until he realizes what he is doing. The recent memories hit him suddenly and the look on his face is one of pure shock and fear.

PAULA (CONT.)
Those people weren't normal. I didn't really
see any of them. It was too dark--I was too
scared. But they almost-

NESS
(interjecting)
They almost killed me!
(hesitation)
The bus, I remember, you woke me up on the bus.
And then it crashed. I couldn't find you, so I
climbed out. Then someone grabbed me. That's when
it ends--that's all I remember, except this feeling.
(pause)
I thought I was gonna die. No, I knew it! I knew
what was coming. I just had that thought in my
head, but when I tried-... nothing happened. It's
like all the strength in me disappeared.

PAULA
An overload. You were way too tired. That can
happen sometimes. Even with people like us. It's
not like we can use our mind's power whenever we
want. There's a limit to everything. I tried to
get away, but they had already gotten you, so I
let them take me.

NESS
(bothered)
Why? Why didn't you run! I could've found you
later, or something.

PAULA
No, you couldn't. They didn't come just to kidnap
you, Ness. They really tried to kill you. Whoever
it was, they must've had a reason. It's too
strange and random an occurrence.

NESS
But what about you? You're not hurt, are you?

PAULA
They only brought me here, along with-
(hesitation)
With your body. I don't really think you were dead.
If you were, it probably wouldn't have worked.

NESS
(interjecting, still touching his throat)
What? Did you do this--I mean fix this thing
on my neck?

PAULA
Yes. A Psi form of healing. I learned to do it
when I was younger, but just for small things like
cuts or bruises. I never tried it on anything this
big before. That's kind of why it's not perfect,
but you're not bleeding, at least.

NESS
At least. But that still doesn't change what
happened. I never expected this.

PAULA
This isn't really something you can plan for.

NESS
No, but I mean-
(hesitation)
I came out here to get answers, and to find you,
apparently. I figured it would be hard, but I
never thought that these random people would be
trying to murder me! You don't think it was-

PAULA
(interjecting, appalled)
Ness, no! Not Mr. Gorgeous and the others? No!
I'm sure it wasn't!

NESS
Well all right. It was only a thought. I didn't
think they would either, but what else could it
have been? Who else could've gotten onto the bus?

PAULA
Someone stole it. That's obvious. But I don't know
who, how, or why. I guess it's not important now.
But Uncle Ian knows people, and he never would have
told us to speak to anybody who might be dangerous.

NESS
(scratching his head)
I don't know. You seemed to come out all right.
They didn't hurt you. And your uncle was giving me
the evil-eye when we left. It makes an awful lot
of sense, if you think about it.

PAULA
(sighing, rolling her eyes)
Oh don't be ridiculous, Ness.

PAULA stands and approaches the steel door. She fusses with it while NESS continues to finger the knife wound on his neck. Then, he appears panicked, searching around himself. When he discovers the Sound Stone in his pocket, he becomes calm again.

NESS
I thought I'd lost it.
(pause, looking at PAULA)
What're you doing? We can't get through that.

PAULA gives up and returns to NESS, kneeling beside him. She fixes the ribbons that have begun to fall out of her hair.

PAULA
I know, but I thought I'd try anyhow. It's solid.
And I don't think any bit of Psi Power would help.
It takes too much energy to use consciously, and
after healing you, that's energy I definitely
don't have.

NESS
I don't get it. I've never been able to force
myself to use this-
(hesitation)
Power, whatever you wanna call it. It's always just
come out at random, when I needed to defend myself.
Can you really control it?

PAULA
Yes, of course. It's part of you--it's your soul.
But it takes a lot of work, and so much
concentration. That's why I was only ever able to
heal small wounds, or produce small sparks and
flames off my fingers.

NESS
(bothered)
So, the more you try to use this power, the more
energy it takes. That explains everything. I totally
feel like hell right now.

PAULA
It's all right.

NESS
And my backpack's gone, and so is my bat. I lost
everything, except this stupid rock--the one thing
I'd like to get rid of. The one thing that started
all this. I was feeling great until I got it!

The conversation gives way to a moment of silence, which is then broken by PAULA. She turns from NESS and folds her hands together.

PAULA
Don't say anything for a while.

NESS
Why? What're you doing?

PAULA
(shushing NESS)
Just don't. I have an idea and I need to
concentrate.

NESS watches PAULA with a confused and awkward expression. Her back is toward him and her eyes are closed. She is silent for several seconds. When she speaks again, her mouth does not move, suggesting that the voice is coming from within.

PAULA
(praying)
Please, listen. I know you're very far from us.
I know we've never met before, but now more than
ever, we need a friend. Please hear my prayer.
We need you...
(pause, concentrating)
Jeff!

CUT TO:

INT : WINTERS : WINTERS ACADEMY : STUDENT DORMITORIES : NIGHT :


Streaming through the darkness, a patch of moonlight casts itself onto a bed. JEFF sits up abruptly, face drenched with sweat. The blankets are in a tangle around him and his hair is plastered to his face, making it impossible to see his eyes until he brushes it away. Panicked, he grabs his glasses and gets up.

TONY awakens in the adjacent bed and struggles to follow.

TONY
(worried)
Jeff! Jeff, wait! You're dreaming again!

JEFF does not answer. He begins to rummage through the drawers of a bureau on the opposite side of the room while TONY watches. JEFF pulls out several items of clean and neatly-folded clothes.

TONY (CONT.)
Jeff, what are you doing? You're not talking.
Please, say something.

JEFF
(sudden and stern)
Was that you calling me while I was asleep?

TONY is stunned into silence.

JEFF (CONT.)
Were you talking to me when I was sleeping?

TONY
No, I swear. I was asleep, too, until I heard you
get up. You must've been dreaming.

JEFF
It's not a dream. Something is wrong. I swear to
you I heard someone call my name. And I know for
a fact it wasn't you. It sounded like a girl's
voice, but I don't know who.

TONY
A girl? But the girls' dorms are on the other side
of the building. And no one's allowed out at this
time of night anyway. Why don't you just go back
to sleep, Jeff?

JEFF
(frustrated)
Because I can't sleep, Tony! Between this and all
of my coursework, I can't take it anymore. I'm
losing my mind.

TONY
Do you want me to walk you down to the infirmary?
You can tell them what's wrong. They'll help you.

JEFF
They'll try, but I know they can't. I have to
leave. There is something I need to find, or
something I need to do.

TONY
You don't know?

JEFF
(standing, clothes in hand)
I suppose I'll find out eventually.

JEFF crosses the room to his desk and picks up the canvas shoulder-bag draped over his chair. He puts his clothes into it and carries it by the strap back over to the bureau. There, he rifles through some of the other drawers, grabbing more items to pack. JEFF takes out a clean pair of clothes and begins to undress.

TONY turns away, red-faced, and the camera focuses in on him so that JEFF is off-screen.

TONY
(uncomfortable)
You can't just leave. What about school?

JEFF
It will have to wait a while.

TONY
(shocked)
But Jeff! You never miss school! You've got perfect
attendance and perfect grades. You're like the best
student in the academy!

JEFF
Tony, don't say those things. I am careful about
my work. I take pride in it and it's definitely
the most important thing in my life.
(pause)
Or it was.

Distressed, TONY turns to face JEFF, who is pulling on the slate-green jacket of his school uniform. JEFF is now fully-dressed.

TONY
(flabbergasted)
What're you saying!

JEFF
I just need to get out of here for a while,
which means that I won't be going to my
classes, obviously.

JEFF brushes aside his hair, which is still wet with perspiration, drapes the strap of his bag over one shoulder, and returns to the nightstand for his wristwatch. The digital display illuminates for a brief moment.

JEFF (CONT.)
It's after twelve. Father will have closed up
the lab and gone home by now. At least I won't
have to worry about that.

TONY
The lab? Is that where you're going?
(pause)
Jeff, I don't wanna tell on you. I don't want you
to be in trouble. Can't you just stay here, please?
And we'll talk about it as long as you want. You
can tell me anything. We're best friends.

JEFF
(crossing the room to his desk)
You won't tell on me, Tony. I know you won't.
That isn't the sort of person you are.

TONY
(angry, sorrowful)
I certainly will tell on you if you don't stop
right now, Jeff! You can't just run away like this
and not say anything. You need help.

JEFF, while searching through his desk, stops briefly and stares ahead with a blank expression, as if he has stumbled upon an answer to all of his questions.

JEFF
No, I don't. But someone else does. And this is
why I have to leave.

TONY
What? Who? This doesn't make any sense.

JEFF
(pulling a set of keys from the drawer)
Come on. There's something in the lab I need, and
you'll have to help me.

JEFF exits the room with the keys and his bag. TONY is left looking forlorn. He fidgets uncomfortably for a moment, approaches his desk to grab the coat draped over the chair, and exits also.

CUT TO:

INT : WINTERS :  WINTERS ACADEMY LAB : NIGHT :


A light appears in the darkness as a door opens, revealing the silhouette of two human figures. More lights come up, illuminating the hangar in the WINTERS ACADEMY LAB where the Sky Runner is kept. JEFF and TONY enter and BUBBLE follows shortly after.

The camera pans over to the Sky Runner as all three approach it. There are various machine parts, tools, and boxes stacked around the vehicle. JEFF begins to move them as TONY watches and draws his coat in more tightly.

JEFF
Are you going to help me or not?

TONY
I shouldn't. You're breaking the rules. Plus you're
leaving. I don't want you to leave, Jeff.

JEFF
(guilty, yet determined)
Don't do this to me, Tony. I've made up my mind.
If I could explain myself, I would. Maybe I'll be
able to at some point.

TONY, showing obvious reluctance, helps JEFF move the boxes away from the Sky Runner. The compressor taken from the storage room sits beside the vehicle on a dolly cart. This item is left alone for the moment. BUBBLE hops onto the cart and sits beside it, chewing a fresh piece of gum.

JEFF sets his bag down and opens a panel on the rear port side of the Sky Runner. Inside are the mechanical components and the engine. Much of the wiring is burned, frayed, soldered haphazardly, and in need of replacement. JEFF looks upon it with slight disdain before taking up some of the tools left on the floor.

JEFF
I'm going to remove the old compressor. Then you'll
have to help me lift the new one so I can install
it. It's a bit heavy.

TONY
(uncomfortable)
Wait, you can't fly this thing. It's old and
broken down. You and your dad aren't done fixing
it yet. And we can't fix it by ourselves.

JEFF
(reaching inside the Sky Runner)
All it needs is a new compressor. The rest should
be fine, I would expect.
(pause)
Well, to be precise, several of the fuel-injector
nozzles in the combustor could use replacing also.
But I really don't have the time to go looking for
any and I know it can fly well enough in its
present condition. The fuel supply looks good.

TONY
But that's dangerous! That thing could explode, or
something. Who knows? I really think we should just
go back to the dorms, Jeff.

JEFF
I'm not going back. Now come here and help me
move the old compressor.

JEFF sets down the tools and begins to work the compressor out of the opening while TONY stands awkwardly by. The compressor is black and appears to have been scorched in an engine fire. JEFF and TONY set it on the dolly cart beside the newer part, which they grab next and, shaking, shuffle back over to the Sky Runner.

TONY
(straining)
This one's a lot heavier!

JEFF
(straining)
Lift it up a bit! I can slide it into place on
my own. Then I'll see how well she starts.

TONY releases the compressor once it has reached the opening in the Sky Runner and then backs off. JEFF fits the part into its proper place as BUBBLE grabs a tool from the floor and climbs up to JEFF's shoulder with it in his paws.

JEFF
Thank you, Bubble.

TONY
(somber)
So, where are you gonna go, exactly?
(pause)
You don't know, do you? You're getting all upset
over something you don't know anything about. And
you've got no good reason, either. You're just
gonna quit school and leave us.

JEFF
(frustrated)
First, let me make this perfectly clear. I am not
quitting the academy, nor would I ever. All of my
studies can be taken up again when I return. And
I'm not leaving without reason. There certainly
is a reason. I just need to figure out what it is.

TONY
(angry)
But you can't! This is the first time you've
done something that doesn't make any sense, Jeff,
and I don't like it.

JEFF
I want to thank you for helping me with this, Tony.
You didn't have to, and I know how upset you feel,
but I appreciate it.
(closing up the panel on the Sky Runner)
And I want you to know that I will be coming back.
It isn't like I would just run off forever.

TONY
But when, Jeff? If you miss too much school, you'll
have to retake all your classes this semester.

JEFF does not respond. He pushes the dolly cart away from the Sky Runner and, with BUBBLE riding his shoulder, takes his bag over to a storage unit along the far wall. BUBBLE hops onto the shelf and helps JEFF stuff several thick, multi-colored skyrockets into the bag. It quickly becomes too heavy to carry anything else.

TONY
Bottle rockets? You can't take those. They belong
to your dad.

JEFF
So does the Sky Runner.

TONY is silent. He watches JEFF return to the vehicle and struggle to open its port-side door. The metal squeals a bit before giving way, and an internal view of the Sky Runner reveals obvious neglect. Despite the sleek silver shine of its body, it is scorched and dirty from front to back on the inside. The four small passenger seats, arranged in two rows, are in need of new covers, and the operation panel is covered in a fine black dust.

The camera follows JEFF into the Sky Runner where he deposits his shoulder-bag and begins to run furiously over the controls. Within seconds, the engine is alive and humming. The sound echoes like thunder in the hangar.

JEFF reemerges and races to the other end of the room--to a panel on the wall that opens the hangar door. The world outside is dark, snow-laden, and filled with a wild wind that whips some of the fresh white powder across the floor.

TONY stops JEFF before he can climb back in the vehicle, drawing him into a quick-but-heartfelt embrace. JEFF appears bewildered and embarrassed.

TONY
(shouting over the engine roar)
I'm sorry, Jeff! I only wanted to say goodbye.
We're still friends, right?

JEFF
(shouting over the engine roar)
Yes! Yes, of course. Always.

BUBBLE races over, climbs up to JEFF's shoulder, and wraps his paws around JEFF's neck. He is wearing a forlorn expression. JEFF removes him gently and hands him over to TONY.

JEFF
(shouting over the engine roar)
Put Bubble in his pen before you leave.
(pause)
I'll see you around sometime.

JEFF waits for TONY and BUBBLE to move away before climbing into the Sky Runner and closing the door. The deafening thrum of the engine becomes a steady thunder as, slowly, the Sky Runner rolls out several feet from a sitting position. A stream of fire blasts from the nozzles on its back end, thrusting it out the hangar mere seconds before it noses upward and tears off through the night sky.

TONY stands amid the drifts of snow that have been blown back at him. BUBBLE is hiding in his coat, clutching his chest, but TONY does not notice. He approaches the end of the hangar, tears filling his eyes. The camera catches the soft glow of moonlight on his face just before the scene ends.

FADE TO:

EXT : THREED : UNDERGROND : EARLY MORNING :


A soft, dim orange glow illuminates the sparse underground chamber and two children sleeping inside it. NESS and PAULA lie just a few feet apart. NESS is clutching the Sound Stone. The blood on his clothes has dried, leaving a dark red stain.

NESS rolls onto his back and opens his eyes slowly. He awakens, scans the room, and then moves into a more comfortable position-- this time facing PAULA. He watches her in silence as flickers of light from the lanterns dance across his face.

From off-screen, the thunderous sound of impact is heard. It is powerful enough to shake loose some of the dirt and stones in the earthen ceiling. NESS glances up as the debris settles around him. He begins prodding PAULA.

NESS
Hey, wake up. Something's happening.

PAULA
(groggy)
Hm, what? Are you all right, Ness?

NESS takes PAULA by the shoulders and begins to slide toward the door with her. He keeps his eyes on the ceiling.

PAULA
Ness! What're you doing?

NESS
I don't know, but something's not right.

PAULA looks upward also, though she appears more curious than distressed. The walls around them tremble, causing the candles to flicker furiously in their holds. NESS drops the Sound Stone and drapes his arms around PAULA suddenly, shielding her as the ceiling gives way. Rock and thick mounds of earth tumble into the chamber, along with a winged vehicle. Its silver body lies crushed beneath the rubble.

Focus returns to NESS and PAULA as the dust settles. They stare in awe at the conglomeration of dirt, stone, and steel. When they realize they are still clinging to one another, they break apart.

NESS is the first to approach the pile. Above him is an opening in the earth with a clear view of the night sky. The fading moonlight reaches into the hole, casting a glow onto the wreckage.

NESS
(intrigued)
Look at that. It's like a spaceship or something
that just fell out of the sky.

PAULA approaches the pile of rubble and cautiously touches a bit of metal jutting out on one side. Her expression is listless. She watches NESS climb up and begin to dig until he hits another piece of the downed vehicle.

NESS
Whatever this is, it's huge! It's as big
as a truck, I'd say.

PAULA
What do you think it could be?

Using both his arms and legs, NESS clears away more dirt from the underlying structure until he has revealed the crumpled nose of what appears to be a small jet. Its windshield is cracked and mangled.

NESS
(excited)
Oh, wow! It's a spaceship!

PAULA
It's a plane, or some other kind
of personal aircraft.

NESS
Yeah, I know. But it sounds more interesting if you
call it a spaceship. And look! The driver's still
inside! He's definitely not moving, though.

PAULA, distressed, joins NESS on the mound of dirt, sifting through the earth. A window on the port side of the vehicle has been blown out, revealing the small cockpit beyond.

Lying across the control panel is the body of JEFF ANDONUTS. His glasses are bent and small streams of blood are running down his forehead over his eyes. There is a bag lying beside him on the floor, its contents strewn about.

NESS
It's some kid--and he's hurt!

NESS crawls through the smashed window, wiggling when it appears he has become stuck. He slides down to the floor near the operator's chair, which has been warped from the crash. JEFF remains unresponsive while NESS looks through the shoulder-bag and objects on the floor.

NESS
Whoa, he's got fireworks in here! Bottle rockets,
it looks like, and a bunch of other junk.

PAULA
Don't worry about that, Ness! Help him! He's
still alive, isn't he?

NESS gathers up the clothes and bottle rockets that are still in-tact, stuffs them into the shoulder-bag, and tosses it out the window where it lands a few feet from PAULA.

NESS
I guess he's all right, but he's not moving.
I'm gonna try and get him out. You grab him, okay?

PAULA
Sure, all right. Just be careful.

PAULA cautiously approaches the buried aircraft, arms out for balance. From inside the Sky Runner, NESS pushes JEFF head-first out the smashed window. PAULA takes hold of his arms.

NESS
Got him? He's not that heavy, just kind of tall.

PAULA
(struggling to maintain balance)
Yeah, I got him. Keep going.

NESS lifts JEFF by the legs and feeds his body through the opening while PAULA clings tightly to his front half. It is obvious that she is having trouble holding him up. The dirt is beginning to slide under her.

With a soft groan, JEFF stirs in PAULA's arms. He opens his eyes and stares at her a moment before the realization hits him. Both scream and pull away from each other. PAULA tumbles backward down the dirt pile, while JEFF remains fearfully plastered to the side of the Sky Runner.

JEFF
(frightened, shouting)
What happened! Where am I?

NESS
(wiggling through the window)
You're with us. Hi.

JEFF
Who's us?

NESS
Me and Paula, but I think you gave her
a heart attack.

PAULA
(stunned)
I'm all right, just surprised.
(speaking to JEFF)
What about you? You're bleeding.

JEFF
(shocked)
Am I? Oh God, where?

NESS stands once he is out of the Sky Runner, and slides down the dirt pile. He and PAULA watch JEFF fumble and fuss with his glasses, clothes, and hair.

NESS
What're you doing? And where did you get that
cool spaceship thing?

JEFF
Spaceship? The Sky Runner!
(turning, devastated)
Oh, no! I've ruined it! Not that it was in the
best of shape before, mind you, but now look at
the state it's in! I'm sure I'll never hear the
end of it. If I ever go back, that is.

NESS
Go back where? Where'd you come from, anyway?

PAULA
And the crash--we thought you might have been dead.

JEFF is silent for a moment while he stares at the decrepit aircraft, running his hand along the exposed portions of its body.

JEFF
I'm not sure how it happened. The engine must
have given out. I saw on the display that there
was a malfunction, and I thought perhaps I should
land and make a few repairs. But you see, I am
incredibly sensitive to any sudden change in
G-forces. Even as a child I would pass out on
carnival rides. That must have been what happened
in this instance.

NESS
So, if you knew that you had problems, why would
you try and fly something like that?

JEFF
I am questioning that decision myself.
(pause, stepping down off the dirt pile)
It seemed the best way to go, initially. I'm afraid
I can't explain. Some sort of emergency has come
up and I was on my way to deal with it, though
it's strange. You see, I knew I had a place to go,
but for the life of me I couldn't tell you where.

PAULA
(interjecting, joyful)
I'm sorry, but are you Jeff?

JEFF is stunned into silence.

PAULA (CONT.)
That is you, isn't it? Oh, I'm so glad! I was
afraid you'd never come!

NESS
Apparently I've missed something.

PAULA races over to JEFF and throws her arms around his neck in a heartfelt embrace. Both JEFF and NESS turn red in the face.

PAULA
I've been calling you for a while now. I knew
you were out there--I could sense it. But I guess
it took a real emergency for me to get through.

JEFF grabs PAULA by the shoulders and NESS steps up immediately.

JEFF
(shocked, frustrated)
That was you!?

PAULA
Yes, of course. Although I had been trying a while,
I didn't think any of it was reaching you.

JEFF
Are you kidding me? I have lost days
worth of sleep thanks to you!

NESS
(defensive)
Hey, back off her!

JEFF
(annoyed)
Excuse me, I-don't-know-your-name, but we're
having a private discussion.
(speaking to PAULA)
Do you realize what this has done to me! I left
the academy, my classes, my entire life because
I thought I was losing my mind!

PAULA
I'm sorry. I didn't even know who I was calling
until just a few hours ago, when I made contact.
We were trapped down here and you were the only-

JEFF
(interjecting)
Hold on. You said you made contact. And-...
(pause, bewildered)
I really must sound like a fool.

NESS
(bitter)
Well you look the part.

JEFF
(ignoring NESS)
I assume there is an explanation for this, and
I also assume I don't want to hear it.

PAULA
Ness and I were born with what's known as Psi
Power. I reached out to you with my mind--my
soul, to be more specific. That was how I found
out your name and, I guess, why you were having
trouble sleeping. I'm sorry, but it is so much
easier to reach someone while they have less
control over their conscious mind.

JEFF paces in front of the rubble pile. He rubs his face and discovers the blood that has been drying there, but he is much too preoccupied to care.

JEFF
And I was right. I didn't want to hear that.

PAULA
But it is true. Please don't be upset, Jeff.
We need you. You're one of us now.

JEFF
I don't really see how that's possible. How
can you be in need of someone you have never
met before in your life?

NESS and PAULA are silent.

JEFF (CONT.)
So, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and
assume all of this is real. You called for me
with-
(hesitation, waving his hands)
With your mystical mind powers. And he called
for you before that, right?

PAULA
No. I contacted him, too.

JEFF
(looking at NESS, exasperated)
I'm starting to see a pattern with her.

NESS
(bitter)
Yeah, well don't get any ideas.

JEFF puts up his hands and backs off submissively.

PAULA
What're you talking about?

NESS and JEFF
(in unison)
Nothing.

PAULA
I'd like to explain more to you, Jeff. But maybe
we should find a way out of here first.

JEFF
And I'm the one who was supposed to bring a
key, right?

JEFF looks about the rubble pile and discovers his shoulder-bag lying near. He looks through it with a bit of disdain.

NESS
You didn't really bring a key, did you?

JEFF
No, but I have quite a few other odds-and-ends
that might work just as well. I seem to be
missing a lot of them, though.

NESS
Your stuff was all over the inside of that plane
thing. I grabbed what I could, but most of your
fireworks were broken.

JEFF
Well, I still have a few left. You never know
when they'll come in handy.
(rummaging through the bag)
Ah, here! This should work.

JEFF, carrying a small device fashioned out of paperclips and the innards of a ballpoint pen, approaches the door and begins to dig around inside the keyhole. PAULA watches gladly.

NESS
Why don't we just try and climb out the hole
up there? At least we know that way's open.

JEFF
Because it would mean a completely vertical climb
up a wall composed almost entirely of rock. And
none of you brought climbing equipment, correct?

NESS does not respond. He keeps a stern focus on JEFF, but his facial expression changes the instant a sharp click is heard and the door opens.

JEFF
There we are! Perfect. I was hoping to try that
out sometime, but I never expected I'd have any
real need for it.

PAULA throws her arms around JEFF joyously. NESS, red in the face, approaches them and picks up the Sound Stone that had been left on the floor. When PAULA notices him preparing to hurl it at JEFF, she takes hold of his arm.

PAULA
Well, let's go! It shouldn't take us long to
get back to the surface now.

JEFF retrieves his shoulder-bag and digs through it.

NESS
What, did you bring a flashlight, too?

JEFF
Yes, yes I did. There are plenty of situations
that call for them. Our present one, for instance.

JEFF pulls out the flashlight and switches it on, shooting a bright beam out into the corridor beyond the prisonlike chamber. There is a small landing and two sets of stairs carved into the earth--one leading up, the other down. They take the ascending stairs to another door, but it has no keyhole or handle.

NESS
Dead end. Now what? Do you think we could just
push it open from this side?

JEFF
Negative. Look at the hinges. This door swings
inward--that is, toward us. Pushing it would
get us nowhere.

NESS
All right, then blow it up or something. You
brought those huge bottle rockets.

JEFF
Bottle rockets launch when ignited. They aren't
explosives. Even so, it would be unwise to set
off an explosion in what is essentially a cave
while we are standing inside it.

PAULA
There's another set of stairs down there.

NESS
They go down, though. Who knows where they lead?

JEFF
The best way to find out is to experiment.

JEFF turns and walks down the stairs with PAULA following. They exit the scene together.

NESS
(scoffing, rolling his eyes)
Yeah, only a nerd would say something like that.

NESS exits.

CUT TO:

EXT : GRAPEFRUIT FALLS : UNDERGROUND : EARLY MORNING :


The beam from the flashlight cuts through the darkness like a bright white beacon. JEFF is at the head of the group, leading the others down a corridor much too narrow for them to walk side-by-side. NESS brings up the rear, wearing an irritable expression.

JEFF
Explain it again to me, if you would.

PAULA
There isn't much to say, really. It's just
something Ness and I were born with. I don't
really know any of the science behind it.

JEFF
I can't say I do either. I specialize in the
hard sciences--physics, chemistry, biology.
What you're describing sounds like Descartes'
theory of Substance Dualism, a discussion in
the field of metaphysics. Though I know of it,
I admit I've never had much interest.

PAULA
It's all right. You don't have to believe me,
if you don't want to. I'm only telling you
what I know.

JEFF
I suppose it wouldn't hurt to keep an open mind.

NESS
And a closed mouth.

PAULA
(shushing NESS)
That's rude!

NESS
(speaking to JEFF)
How much further do we have to go?

JEFF
There's another set of stairs about twenty
meters ahead. I'm sure I can see a bit of light
coming from the top.

NESS
(relieved)
Oh, thank God!

CUT TO:

EXT : GRAPEFRUIT FALLS : MORNING :


The area of GRAPEFRUIT FALLS is a narrow, winding valley at the base of a cliff that borders it on two sides. It is the landing point for all the water flowing from a great river further up in the mountains. As the camera pans over the area, turning its focus to an opening at the southern edge of the cliffs, the soft roar of the falls can be heard off-screen.

NESS is the first to emerge. He races out into the valley and drops rather emphatically to his knees. The Sound Stone falls out of his hand and lands beside him.

NESS
(joyful)
Daylight! It's good to see you again!

PAULA
(giggling)
We weren't down there for that long, Ness.
Calm down. Look, you've dropped your stone.
Be more careful with it.

PAULA retrieves the Sound Stone while JEFF puts away his flashlight. NESS stands and stretches his arms.

NESS
Ah, but it's good to let go of it for a while.
You can carry it, if you want.

PAULA
It's hot. Almost feels like it's burning.

JEFF steps away from the others and approaches a cluster of trees whose branches are laden with fat, round fruits.

JEFF
(adjusting his glasses)
Citrus x paradisi. How odd. This certainly isn't
the proper environment for them to grow.

JEFF pulls a grapefruit from the tree as the camera pans back over to the others. PAULA is holding the Sound Stone carefully, like an egg. When NESS touches it, the stone emits a harsh blue light that extends out from one side. Like a guiding beam, it reaches across the valley toward the bordering cliffs.

Turning back around, a peeled grapefruit in hand, JEFF stares in awe at the other two children. There is a look of excitement and curiosity on his face.

JEFF
How are you doing that?

NESS
I don't know! It's never done this before.
I've seen the stone glow, but only at certain
times. It's almost like-

JEFF
(interjecting, dropping the grapefruit)
A compass! Quickly, turn it in another direction.

NESS takes the Sound Stone from PAULA and the beam disappears, though the stone continues to glow a dim blue.

NESS
It stopped.

PAULA
Wait, put it back in my hand.

NESS returns the Sound Stone to PAULA, but keeps hold of it. The beam appears again, extending out toward the same place. JEFF gestures for them to turn, and when they do, the beam does not change direction.

JEFF
Exactly as I thought! It is a compass, of sorts.
Whatever this thing is. And no matter which
direction you turn, the compass always points
to the magnetic north. Although, this doesn't
appear to be pointing that way at all.

NESS
It's the Sanctuary! We have to keep going this
way. Come on, walk with me, Paula.

NESS and PAULA move ahead of JEFF, who appears lost.

The camera follows them along the base of the cliff. All three children are focused on the guiding beam of the Sound Stone, which points toward another opening in the rock further down the valley. They approach it, and JEFF pauses to observe a trail of tiny footprints in the sand.

PAULA stops and halts NESS as well.

PAULA
What's wrong, Jeff? Why're you stopping?

JEFF
These prints, look at them.

PAULA
They're so small. It looks like they were made
by children--someone even younger than us.

JEFF
I'd say you were right, except these aren't
human. The shape is similar, but notice, there
are only three toes on each foot.

NESS
So? A bunch of three-toed kids are running around
without shoes on. Let's keep walking.

NESS and PAULA move on, leaving JEFF to observe the footprints for a few seconds longer. He rejoins the group as the camera cuts to a different angle of the valley--one just outside the opening in the eastern cliffs. The beam from the Sound Stone is penetrating the rock left of the entrance.

NESS
Look, it goes right through. Whatever it's
pointing at has to be on the other side.

PAULA
Are you sure this is the right way to go? We
must be really far from Threed now. I don't
recognize this place at all.

JEFF
(interjecting)
Grapefruit Falls. I've read up on it, but I never
actually believed it lived up to its name.

NESS
(speaking to PAULA)
We'll worry about getting back to Threed later.
Let's just see where this thing will take us.

PAULA gives up the Sound Stone and the beam disappears.

NESS places the stone in his pocket and enters the tunnel. Two steps inside, he is forced to crouch; and, further on, to slide forward on his knees, as the ceiling of the tunnel descends. PAULA and JEFF follow on all-fours, JEFF keeping one arm over his shoulder-bag.

CUT TO:

EXT : SATURN VALLEY : MORNING :


The opening at the other end is a tight squeeze for all three children. JEFF is forced to send his bag out first before following. He stands, brushes himself off, and then joins the others in awestruck wonder as they take in the sights of SATURN VALLEY.

Cliffs enclose the green valley on all sides, reaching skyward. Scattered throughout the area are round huts made of a mud plaster and covered with expertly-woven grass roofs. While most are set on ground level, there are some huts built upon grassy outcroppings in the cliffs. Handcrafted ladders of various heights extend from the valley floor up to each one.

NESS
(stunned)
What is this place? It's amazing.

PAULA
It's almost like something out of a storybook.

JEFF
I'd say that's about right. And I'd also say that
I think we found the makers of those footprints.

All three children look down and the camera pans away from them to focus on the tiny, curious creatures emerging from their huts.

These are members of the SATURN TRIBE:  a unique race of beings. Each one looks like an identical copy of the other, though they all have their own personality. Their bodies are small, round and fleshy--no taller than a foot in height--with short legs, fat toes and feet, and a bulbous nose that accounts for most of their face. On both sides of their head, which is, in fact, their entire body, thick whiskers extend outward, helping them balance. There are a few short hairs atop their heads, which is just enough for them to wear brightly-colored bows.

The SATURNS waddle up to NESS, JEFF, and PAULA, surrounding them in a joyous, mob-like fashion. JEFF backs off, distressed, while PAULA kneels to get closer.

NESS
Oh, wow! Look at them all!

PAULA
(holding a SATURN in her lap, joyful)
They're so cute!

JEFF
(nervous)
What are they?

SATURN #1
We are Saturns all.

SATURN #2
Live here in valley of Saturns. You come visit?

The SATURNS gather around PAULA and NESS, rubbing their fat noses against them in greeting. JEFF keeps his distance.

JEFF
They can speak. It's both fascinating and
frightening at the same time.

NESS
They're kind of cool. Don't you think?
You're not scared of them are you, Jeff?

JEFF
(wary)
No. There is positively no reason to be.

One SATURN climbs over PAULA and rests comfortably in her lap. There is a pleasant expression on its face.

SATURN #3
New friends, please to help us?

PAULA
Help you? With what?

All SATURNS become restless, bouncing and squeaking in distress. They cluster more tightly around NESS and PAULA. Some of them approach JEFF.

SATURN #1
No longer can go to well!

SATURN #3
Frightened we are! Zoom!

SATURN #4
Monster in cave! Terrible for Saturns!

SATURN #5
Once were many, but now few.

JEFF
(nervous)
Did they say monster?

NESS
Yeah, but they talk funny. It's kind of hard to
understand them. They seem so upset.

PAULA
They did say something about a well.

SATURN #1
Come, follow! Boing!

The SATURNS disperse, and SATURN #1 leads the children into the village. There are more tribe members walking about, some working quite diligently. They seem oblivious to the newcomers.

Along the eastern edge of SATURN VALLEY, a small gathering of SATURNS sit and weave long blades of field grass together with their toes. Others nearby are constructing ladders out of thin strips of wood and sections of vine that have been gathered from the cliffs.

JEFF
(fascinated)
Amazing! They are both sentient and highly
intelligent--I would say on the level of
humankind. They've built an entire community,
and all without hands and arms.

NESS
Looks like their feet are their hands.

PAULA
(speaking to SATURN #1)
What is it you want to show us?

SATURN #1
Cave of monster. All afraid, we are.
Danger ahead! Boing!

JEFF
(nervous)
A monster in a cave? Exactly why do
we need to know all of this?

NESS
Don't worry, Jeff. A smart science-type person
like you should know that monsters aren't real.

JEFF
I think it would be best if we left now.

PAULA
But we can't. Look at all these little guys.
They asked for our help. We have to stay.

NESS removes the Sound Stone from his pocket. It glows in his hand.

NESS
And what about the Sanctuary? It's around here,
I'm sure of it. The stone only glows when I'm
close to one. And that light, the compass thing...

NESS extends the hand with the Sound Stone out to PAULA, who, in turn, puts her own hand over it. The bright guiding beam appears again, shooting up toward the mouth of a cave on one of the uppermost outcroppings. Many curious SATURNS gather around NESS and PAULA to admire the blinding blue light.

SATURN #6
Bright and shiny thing!

SATURN #7
Make happy, beautiful sound. Ding!

SATURN #1
(walking ahead)
Come, follow! Tall persons, friends of Saturns.

JEFF
(uncomfortable)
He's going to that cave up there, isn't he?
The one the compass is pointing to. That's
where this monster is, right?

PAULA
(speaking to SATURN #1)
Is there really a monster up in that cave?
Where did it come from?

SATURN #1
Tall person, very big! Black soul. Bring monster
to harm Saturns. No longer can go to well.

JEFF
So, someone, who for whatever reason is both
spiteful and malicious toward these beings,
brought a monster here and now it has their
well blocked off?
(pause)
Oh, no. I'm beginning to understand them.

SATURN #1
Ding-ding! Zoom!

PAULA laughs and releases the Sound Stone, which NESS puts into his pocket as all four approach a tall ladder at the northern end of the valley. It leads to an outcropping more than thirty meters above the ground, where the mouth of the cave is located. SATURN #1 stops beside the ladder and points with one foot.

SATURN #1
Please to free Saturns, destroy monster.
Friends always. Cross heart.

NESS
That's all then, huh? Just destroy a monster.

JEFF
(groaning)
I knew I should have stayed in Winters.

NESS
(nudging JEFF toward the ladder)
There's no such thing as monsters, though.
Or psychic powers, telepathy, and people with
special abilities. Remember?

JEFF
My hands and face are perspiring profusely.

NESS
Thanks for that. Be sure to keep us up-to-date
on your other bodily functions too, okay?

PAULA
(speaking to SATURN #1)
Are you going to come with us?

SATURN #1
(fearful)
No can go! Stay here, keep watch. Zoom!

NESS gives JEFF another nudge, nearly pushing him off balance. JEFF adjusts his glasses and loops the strap of his shoulder-bag around his neck. His hands, which are shaking terribly, grip the ladder like a vice as he ascends. NESS and PAULA follow.

Several seconds into their climb, and a few meters off the ground, they begin conversation again.

NESS
So, what do you think this monster is anyway?

PAULA
Probably a wild animal, like a mountain lion
or maybe a wolf. It's living in the cave, is
my guess. The poor little guys down there must
be so scared.

NESS
I guess so. It's funny, they weren't afraid of us.
Although Jeff was pretty scared of them.

JEFF
I suppose this isn't the appropriate time to
mention my fear of heights.

NESS
You know I feel like I've known you for years
already. Keep moving!

CUT TO:

EXT : SATURN VALLEY : TUNNEL : LATE MORNING :


A view atop the outcropping reveals that it is one of the tallest points in SATURN VALLEY. The village below, the other cliffs, and all of the mountainous land beyond can be seen.

JEFF climbs onto the ledge and, shaking, crawls to the mouth of the cave where he waits for the others. NESS and PAULA join him seconds later and they stand together at the entrance. Before them is a path bathed in darkness.

JEFF removes his flashlight from his bag and switches it on. His hands are still shaking, which causes the beam to waver unsteadily. PAULA puts a reassuring hand on him as NESS walks ahead of the group.

The solid rock walls of the tunnel are interrupted in places by steel-plating and portions of an old piping system. Piles of liquid refuse litter the floor, all varying in color, though there is a distinct black substance mixed in among them.

Panning away from the group, the camera takes in a larger mound of waste several meters distant. It shifts slightly as the children approach. When the flashlight beam shines on it, a stone stairwell can be seen on the other side.

Focus returns to NESS and his friends, who have stopped walking.

NESS
(covering his nose and mouth)
Ugh, that smell! It's like vomit inside a dead
body, covered in old cheese.

JEFF dry-heaves and drops his flashlight. The massive pile in front of them moves again, rising until it has grown several feet. It rounds out at the top and facial features slowly begin to emerge.

This is MASTER BELCH:  a being of pure evil. His amorphous body is made entirely of liquid waste--a sickening array of colors, vomit, and partially-digested chunks of food. His only recognizable features are his eyes, his nose, and a wide, jawless mouth beneath them. It is filled with long teeth and a pair of tusks that curve up over his top lip.

BELCH groans and shies away from the light.

BELCH
(groggy)
Saturns? Have more of you come to test me?
(pause)
No. I smell human flesh, and the blood of children.

JEFF, now shaking much more violently, kneels and reaches for his flashlight. PAULA moves closer to him while NESS takes a cautious step forward. All three cannot take their eyes off BELCH.

NESS
(stunned)
You're the monster...

BELCH
So that's what they call me, now that I have
consumed nearly half of their kind.
(laughing)
Little creatures of the Earth. All will be
destroyed in due time.

BELCH slides toward the children. JEFF and PAULA back off quickly while the camera focuses in on NESS. His expression is fearful, yet he does not move. BELCH flattens to observe him at eye level, and then speaks after an uncomfortable pause.

BELCH
Yes, this is the one. Like flies drawn to honey
they have all followed the Leader of the Four.
(coughing up bile)
What fools.

NESS
(angry, stunned)
What're you talking about?

PAULA
That's us, Ness. Us four, but we're still
missing another.

NESS
(speaking to BELCH)
How do you know who we are?

BELCH
(ignoring NESS)
There must be some mistake. What reason has
Master Giygas--the embodiment of all that
is evil--to fear a child? The very thought
sickens me.

BELCH coughs again and a thick, yellowish-black bile pours from the corners of his mouth. It is absorbed into his body.

BELCH (CONT.)
Hell has come to Earth already. The plan
has been put in motion.
(laughing)
You seem surprised.

NESS
(backing up toward PAULA and JEFF)
Sorry, but I've never met a talking pile of
vomit before.

BELCH
(sliding closer)
My body was borne from human sin. The world
so loves to indulge in its evils.
(coughing)
And very soon, sickness will flow through your
cities like a river gone wild. Madness becomes
the body, becomes the mind, becomes the hell-bound
soul. Darkness shall consume the Earth. All will
die in a sea of fire. So has Master Giygas told.
Pure evil shall be your undoing.

NESS
Who is he--or what is he? Who is Giygas!

BELCH laughs and moves closer, trapping NESS and the others against the wall. He closes his eyes each time the shaking beam of the flashlight falls on him.

BELCH
You ask questions, but you will never know.

PAULA touches NESS on the shoulder. Her other hand is holding tightly to JEFF.

PAULA
(fearful)
Ness, what're we going to do?

NESS
I don't know. Just run. I'll do something--
I'll try and stop it.

JEFF
(shocked)
By yourself!? Are you insane!

BELCH
All will be in time.

BELCH spreads himself out until his liquid body has formed a blockade around the group.

BELCH (CONT.)
I have waited for the arrival of these too-
ambitious heroes, once lost and soon dead.
Be grateful I do not leave you to the fate
that is swiftly descending upon this world.
(laughing, gurgling, and sliding closer)
I shall drown your bodies in puke and
consume your flesh!

Rising into a column, BELCH dives at the group, mouth gaping. NESS and the others leap to either side of him as he collides with the wall. BELCH rolls up and splits, sending liquid pieces of his body splashing up to the ceiling. His eyes pop up on the other side of him and he darts across the tunnel toward NESS.

NESS
(jumping back, frightened)
Any ideas, guys? I'd love to hear 'em!

JEFF
(clutching his shoulder-bag)
No, no! This isn't real. This isn't real!

NESS
How about we worry less about what's real and
more about not dying!

BELCH swells up in front of NESS and extends a misshapen appendage from the center of his body. With a venomous laugh, he coils the limb around his victim and shoves the end straight into NESS's throat. A second limb appears and grabs NESS by the legs, lifting him into the air.

BELCH
Taste the sin of all humanity! Choke on its
flavor--let it be your only memory in Hell!

A sharp crack is heard off-screen. Bolts of electricity strike BELCH from behind, eliciting a pain-filled roar from him. He drops NESS and turns to PAULA, who is on her knees, exhausted.

PAULA
(speaking to NESS)
I'm sorry. It's all I had in me.

BELCH
(violently angry)
Then let this child be the first to drown. I shall
tear away each limb until she screams no more!

NESS
(gagging and coughing)
No! Paula, run! Get out of here!

BELCH dives at PAULA with his mouth open as the camera pans over to JEFF. He is watching, eyes wide with fear. Color has left his face and he is drenched with sweat. The flashlight has again fallen to the floor, though JEFF keeps his hands on his shoulder strap for reassurance. His expression changes suddenly as he looks down at a bulge in the bag he carries.

JEFF pulls back the flap of the bag and, sitting atop his clothes, are the bottle rockets. He kneels, removes them, and begins to dig furiously through his belongings.

Focus returns to NESS, who has taken a flying leap into BELCH and become trapped in the liquid waste. BELCH laughs, sprouting a new limb that captures NESS around the midriff and squeezes until his face turns red. PAULA is held in another arm on the opposite side.

BELCH
Now watch, chosen Leader, as the flesh
of those you love rots within me!

A sharp, inhuman scream interrupts the action as, from off-screen, a red-and-white bottle rocket is launched straight at BELCH. He turns toward the source of the sound, and the rocket sails through his left eye. Trails of vomit and a thick black liquid erupt from the wound as BELCH roars in pain.

NESS and PAULA are abandoned. BELCH flees from them and writhes as he continues to spew bile throughout the tunnel. Although he is shouting, his words cannot be understood. His body thins out as he makes his way toward the stone stairs; and there he collapses, facial features and limbs melting into him.

The camera returns to JEFF, who appears stunned.

JEFF
It worked.
(pause, growing excitement)
By Newton's First, Second, and Third
Laws of Motion, it worked!

NESS
(coughing)
Oh God. What happened? Is it over?

PAULA rolls onto one side but does not respond. NESS crawls over to her. Their entire bodies are covered in vomit.

NESS
(touching PAULA on the arm)
Hey, are you all right?

PAULA
(exhausted, disoriented)
Ness? I think so.

NESS wraps his arms around her and she returns the sticky embrace. JEFF enters the scene with his bag slung over his shoulder once more and his flashlight in hand. He extends his opposite hand to NESS with a shy smile. NESS accepts the offer and helps PAULA to her feet.

NESS
Thanks, Jeff. You're all right.

JEFF
It's no problem.
(looking at his now dirty hand)
You wouldn't happen to have any antibacterial
solution that I could borrow, would you?

PAULA
(speaking to NESS)
Is it really gone?

NESS
I think so, but I guess we should
check just to be sure.

All three children stare down the hallway where BELCH has collapsed. They approach what was once his body and find only a pile of waste. A black, syrupy fluid is bubbling up from the center.

PAULA
(speaking to NESS)
It's that stuff again. That nasty burning
liquid we found on your clothes.

NESS
And on Carpainter and that dog. It's everywhere.

JEFF
Fascinating. What exactly is it?

NESS
I don't know, but it burns when you touch it.
Something like that can't be normal.

There is a pause in conversation as they observe the liquid remains of BELCH. The uneasy silence is broken by PAULA.

PAULA
Come on. That place the stone was pointing to
must be just up those stairs.

NESS removes the Sound Stone from his pocket. It glows brilliantly in his hand. He and the others take one look at the stairs, and then begin their ascent.

CUT TO:

EXT : SATURN VALLEY : MILKY WELL : AFTERNOON :


Outside the sun is shining upon a grassy clearing at the top of the cliff. There is an opening in the southern rock wall from which NESS, PAULA, and JEFF emerge. JEFF turns off his flashlight while the others walk ahead of him. The Sound Stone is glowing even more vibrantly.

Within the clearing is a small pool filled with a delicate white cream and a fountain that fans the liquid out, bathing each droplet in sunlight.

NESS is the first to approach the well and he abruptly places the Sound Stone to his forehead.

There is a sudden flash as the scene cuts away from NESS. The next segment is colored in sepia tone, suggesting a memory or flashback...

A woman with soft blonde hair stands on the front step of her
home. It is NESS'S MOTHER and there are tears in her eyes,
but a smile on her face.

NESS'S MOTHER
(distant, voice echoing)
My son, always be thoughtful, courageous,
and strong.

She places both hands over her heart. Music is playing, but
it lasts for only a few short notes.


Another flash and the dream sequence ends.

NESS looks down at the stone in his hand with a somber, guilt-ridden expression. Its glow has faded.

PAULA and JEFF approach NESS, and JEFF kneels at the edge of the pool. With a bit of caution, he dips one hand into it.

JEFF
(stunned)
Milk? From a well in the ground?

PAULA
(smiling, taking NESS by the hand)
No. Milk only comes from mothers.

NESS
(putting the Sound Stone in his pocket)
Come on, guys. Let's tell everyone the
monster's gone.

All three exit the scene as the camera slowly pans over to the fountain.

FADE TO:

EXT : SATURN VALLEY : AFTERNOON :


From the mouth of the cave, NESS, PAULA, and JEFF emerge. Although they are weary and covered in a wide array of bodily fluids, all three are smiling with confidence.

NESS waves to the gathering crowd of SATURNS below.

NESS
(shouting)
Hello, everyone! It's all right. The monster
that was keeping you from the well is gone!

The SATURNS bounce with excitement, their voices erupting into a boisterous display of joy. As NESS and the others descend the ladder, focus is placed on the jubilant SATURN TRIBE below.

Every member of the village has gathered to show their appreciation, and they swell into a grateful mob around the children once they reach the ground.

SATURNS
(in unison)
You thank! You thank! You thank!

SATURN #1
Friends always! Tall persons, white souls.

SATURNS
(in unison)
Friends always! Friends always!

SATURN #1
Please to come sleep now. Say yes to me?

PAULA
Yes, please! We would love to have a rest.

NESS
God, I could sleep for days.

JEFF
(speaking to SATURN #1)
You wouldn't happen to have a place where I
could wash up, do you?

SATURN #1
Come, follow! Zoom!

SATURN #1 leads the children to another opening in the cliff. This one is at ground level and is a direct entrance to a wide, steam-filled chamber. At its center is a hot springs.

Other SATURNS follow them inside, dragging mats of woven grass that they place along the far wall.

SATURN #7
Rest here. Stay long.

SATURN #1
Much love, good friends, tall persons with
white souls. You thank!

NESS
You're welcome, but could we have a bit of
privacy now, please?

SATURN #1
Kay-o. We are all happy, happy!

The SATURNS exit.

PAULA and JEFF sit beside the hot spring, but NESS slides right in. He sinks until he is completely submerged, and then sits up again with a heavy sigh. Already, the vomit has begun to wash out of his hair and clothes.

NESS
(relaxed)
This feels amazing! What're you two
waiting for? Just jump in.

With a smile, PAULA slides in as well and her pink dress billows up around her. She blushes and pushes it down under the water.

NESS (CONT.)
(speaking to JEFF)
What about you? You did say you wanted to
wash up, right? Don't tell me you're nervous.

JEFF
(setting his bag aside)
I just had something more private in mind.

NESS
Come on, you're one of us now. Just get in.
Who cares if you get your clothes wet?
They'll dry off.

JEFF hesitates and NESS reaches for his arm. Flailing, JEFF falls forward into the water, which only adds to his panic. NESS and PAULA laugh.

PAULA
I guess things are going to be different.
There's three of us now.

NESS
(stern)
Yeah, but I have a feeling that won't make
it any easier.

Gasping, JEFF clings to the edge of the hot spring, his glasses askew. This elicits another round of laughter from NESS and PAULA, and a soft blush and shy smile from JEFF.

JEFF
(bashful)
I feel like somebody's soup.

All three children laugh as the camera cuts away from the scene to a view just outside the bathing chamber. Several SATURNS are watching with great curiosity, but they remain silent. A few moments pass. Then, they return to their work.

When the camera moves back inside, NESS has climbed out of the water and is lying on one of the grass mats. He removes the Sound Stone from his pocket and places it over his heart.

NESS
If I'm not up in two days, check me,
'cause I might be dead.

PAULA and JEFF sits on their own mats. PAULA is busy smoothing out the folds in her dress.

PAULA
Don't make jokes like that, Ness.

NESS
I'm serious. I'm so tired right now. I just
want to pass out for a while.

JEFF
We all need the sleep.
(pause)
Really, I should be in my own bed back at the
academy dormitories, yet here I am.

NESS
(smiling, turning onto one side)
Ha, yeah. Here you are.

The camera focuses in on NESS, who yawns, clutches the Sound Stone tightly, and closes his eyes. He is asleep within seconds, and PAULA and JEFF are not far behind.

FADE OUT
END ACT SIX.
:earth: IF YOU CANNOT SEE THE TEXT, CLICK THE DOWNLOAD FILE BUTTON ON THE SIDE :earth:


**ACT ONE: [link] **
**ACT TWO: [link] **
**ACT THREE: [link] **
**ACT FOUR: [link] **
**ACT FIVE: [link] **
**ACT SEVEN: [link] **



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Wow! This took days to write. It's so long, but I had a lot of fun with the dialogue, especially during the Belch scene. Also, there's a bit more to the Saturns than we originally thought ;)

ACT SIX is dedicated to my good friend Tiffany

This script is an adaptation of the Mother/Earthbound video game series created by Shigesato Itoi.

*************
PLEASE NOTE: An adaptation means just that. It is adapted from an original plot and not meant to be an exact copy. Movie scripts are never the same as the novels they emulate. One must take into consideration the pros and cons of both mediums and adapt the story to fit. I have added, deleted, and changed dialogue and character action in order to provide a richer story for [possible] moviegoers.
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:iconvince340515:
vince340515 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013
This is awesome! Good job with the dialog!
Reply
:icongalenalarkin:
GalenaLarkin Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Professional Writer
Thanks very much :) This whole thing needs to be reworked SO BADLY but I appreciate any feedback in the meantime
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:iconrexbati:
RexBAti Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm sure you've heard it a trillion times, but poor, poor Tony. XD I love that kid so much.

Nice bit with Belch there, by the way. I was waiting for some exposition for a while, and him spilling a little about Giygas was enough to keep me satisfied. I'm just on the lookout for these kinds of things because of your "outsider" readers, which we discussed before. XD

Also, his death-by-puke speech was so tragic it was hilarious. XDDD Who'da thought you could speak so poetically about vomit?

Saturns! <333 I hOPe wE gEt cOffEE sOOn, D@KoTA!
Reply
:icongalenalarkin:
GalenaLarkin Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2009  Professional Writer
Thanks for the favorite :D Yes there is plenty of mention of Giygas, especially near the end. He's a very obscure thing even in the game. I was never really sure what to say about him LOL
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:iconmastershambler:
Mastershambler Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2009
The Mr. Saturns are perfect as well as their speech! I imagined Saturn valley straight from the game and the grass mats in real life! I imagined a real life version of the fight with Belch! It was disgusting! I loved it! Belch was incredibly evil and his attacks make him live up to his name! I loved how Ness and Jeff grew on each other. At first I was worried that they may not like each other for a while but im glad that quickly changed! I love the scene where Jeff leaves in the Sky Runner. I felt Tony's sadness and Bubble monkey being cute and jumpy. I love how he clung to Tony. Very Heartfelt! I was curious how they left Snowwood though. Did they just walk out the front gate whereas in the game Tony has to help Jeff over it. Again another awesome entry! I highly look forward to more in the future!
YOUR BIGGEST FAN-Sham
Reply
:icongalenalarkin:
GalenaLarkin Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2009  Professional Writer
They never left Snow Wood. The lab is on the same grounds as the Winters Academy in my script, so really they just left the dorms and snuck across campus. I can try and make that clearer if you want D: Didn't realize it was confusing lol. Then again, I wrote a lot of this on like little to no sleep.
I'm so happy the Saturns turned out well for you! I did my research there and tried to adapt the in-game dialogue to what I wanted them to say. I'm glad you approve <3

Haha, you really are my number one fan, aren't you? Thank you so much for being a great support!
Reply
:iconstarvingartist152:
starvingartist152 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2009
Simple and sweet reply; Jeff is amazing. XD And to captaindahlia, those little gifs are awesome. You make them?
Reply
:icongalenalarkin:
GalenaLarkin Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2009  Professional Writer
LOL I am glad so many people love Jeff-- well, my portrayal of him. I am sure they all love him in the game, but it is nice to know I am doing him justice in my script and really bringing him to life.

Thanks for the fav!
Reply
:iconcaptaindahlia:
captaindahlia Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2009
I didn't make the Porky spanking one, but I did make my icon (sort of, lmao) I ripped it from a japanese Mother flash.
Reply
:iconstarvingartist152:
starvingartist152 Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2009
You mind if I save myself a copy of both? Jeff was always the coolest and I feel for Pokey. :o
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