This is my assignment for week 3 of Aaron sorkin's screenplay Masterclass. A short story adapted to a feature length film. Or at least, a medium length one. These are the first pages.
This is an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's classic short story: "Found!" It has been made for academic purposes only and is not intended to be used for production or commercial release of any sort.
...and in text form.
FX. ORBITING EARTH
Planet Earth shines, blue, white and beautiful, against the blackness of space. Our view of it is suddenly obstructed by the dull, slightly worn metal body of the MAINTENANCE SHIP, similar to a Space Shuttle in size and shape, but adorned only by a simple Globe and Rocket icon, the letters PAC, footnoted by "Planetary Aeronautics Comission", and it's slogan "Precision and perfection, always".
All this, dwarfed by the red, bolder, much more sincere title "MAINTENANCE".
FX. ORBITING EARTH - BEHIND THE SHIP
As the ship seemengly glides over the atmosphere, we discover the figure of the OSTRAC 2, an artificial satellite that is a bit fatter than most of it's kind. The maintenance ship is headed right to it.
FX. ORBITING EARTH - BESIDE THE OSTRAC 2
Against the star-filled backdrop, floats a TINY METALLIC CILINDER which we will call a WORM, about the dimensions of a cigarrette, shiny rings running along it's length, matte, rugged at it's ends, and with it's tips featuring a sandy, wet-looking, shiny metallic texture.
It floats peacefully beyond our sight of the OSTRAC 2, which is intricate and affixed with a battery of large solar panels, several robotic arms and moving parts. The only words adorning the structure are the large "OSTRAC 2", which occupy most of one side.
We soon rest our gaze on a large sircular hatch, labeled with a graphic ICON of a wrench and pliers.
FX. ORBITING EARTH- BESIDE THE OSTRAC 2 - FURTHER AWAY
The maintenance shuttle is now already close and in sync with the satellite, while slowly proyecting a large translucid bridge- tunnel towards the hatch.
INT. NIGHT - DEPRESSURIZATION CABIN OF MAINTENANCE SHIP
JOE SIMMONS is about 40, buff, with brown hair, heavy goatee, and wearing a tight-fitting, reasonably flexible spacesuit, complete with compact helmet. He waits.
The hatch in front of him softly whirrs and beeps, slowly at first, then quicker, then beeps three times and stops, as three blue lights at the top flicker.
The hatch opens slowly, revealing the tunnel that connects their ship with the OSTRAC 2. At the other end, the hatch with the maintenance icon awaits.
Joe starts stepping into the tunnel, but hesitates, and stops.
Behind him, ISAAC RAMACHANDRAN, about 30, slim, of mixed Indian descent, stumbles on him. His accent is barely noticable, as we hear his voice being transmitted to his peer's helmet.
Is something off?
No. It's just like the rehearsals. Just like every single simulation.
Isaac smiles, understandingly.
Never thought you would actually be here, huh?
That's why I signed up for the job.
Isaac chuckles, and waits a second. Joe doesn't budge.
Isaac pats Joe on the back.
Want me to go first?
Joe almost looks back, but stops himself. He breathes in heavily, braces himself, kneels and steps into the narrow tunnel.
Isaac follows promptly, and reaches back to the lever which will close the hatch behind him.
INT. NIGHT - INSIDE THE OSTRAC 2
The inside of the satellite is pitch dark, with the exception of a panel of tiny LED lights, and a small invading ray of Earth-light, illuminating a clean circle on one of the cable-covered walls.
The panel is topped by two horizontally placed green indicators, shining dimly, and below those, THREE COLUMNS of six bulbs each. There are three blinking red lights among the green ones in the first column, two in the second, and four in the third.
As the s entrance hatch starts WHIRRING and BEEPING, the two remaining green lights on the third column TURN OFF and red blinking lights TURNS ON beside them. The third column is now all red lights.
Abruptly, the SHADOW OF A WORM, calmly crosses the path of the small circle of light proyected on the wall, and exits just as the familiar THREE BEEPS are heard.
The OSTRAC 2 interior LIGHTS UP, as the entrance hatch opens slowly. As a row of larger LED panels flood everything, a few bits of plastic and metal debree are swept quickly away by the air coming from the tunnel.
Joe enters the cabin, barely big enough for the two men, carefully. He scans his surrounding with his gaze. As he leaves space for his companion, he reaches slowly for a piece of floating plastic and stares at it, as Isaac enters behind him, also surveying everything.
(like a dramatic TV host)
Gentleman and gentleman, this is it, Outer Space Traffic Controller number two (imitates audience cheering)
Dammit! There's debree floating around.
Isaac drops his playful mood immediately.
Oh, for... How long is this gonna take?
Isaac finds another tiny piece of floating plastic.
Oh man, well, I'm sorry to say, but, definitely more than (Ironic) 24 hours max.
JOE hunts for more debree and inspects the cabin, while Isaac looks around.
Hey, man, listen, seriously, how many decades has this thing been up here, along with OSTRAC one, three and four...
And this is the first time any one of them has been hit by anything.
Joe immediately lunges toward Isaac, but his clumsy movements send him rotating against the wall. Isaac inspects the wall, a bit less enthusiastic, and outright confused when Joe arrives at his side.
The small, cigarrette-width hole in front of them is a perfect circle, penetrating the thin metal wall, a couple of stars and the glare of Earth's atmosphere visible through it.
That's... no, that's no meteorite. No melting, no buckling.
A stray screw, or something?
At what speed? There would be some tearing, at least. And that shape. It had to penetrate exactly...
He describes the 90° angle with his hand.
Well, whatever, that explains the loss of pressure, and...
Isaac turns uncomfortably into the cabin, looking towards the other end.
...and... on the other end... we have...
Joe looks back at Isaac, and looks beyond for the same thing.
Nothing. No... escape hole! Ok, so...
It ricoched inside several times, maybe? Made a big mess, somehow managed to damage...
Joe approaches the panel with the status lights.
All three stacks, completely bring down Stack C. (looks around) But no visible damage. Where are all the dents and holes? These panels are made of teflon and polyamides, not magic.
Isaac is looking at a plastic panel close to the first hole. It bears the label "Stack C". He seems entranced by it.
Joe bangs his head again while trying to approach Isaac a bit too fast.
See if I don't end up destroying what's left... what's that?
Isaac's finger is pointing toward a hole. A perfect circle, identical to the one in the wall, penetrates the slim metal casing that unites plastic panels.
Ok, that's not... in the same angle, so...
Isaac reaches to his abdomen, and presses a button, which opens a small flap. From the bulgy front of his suit a small pouch comes forward. He reaches in and takes out a compact electronic screwdriver.
That's not by chance part of the panel, right?
You know it's not.
While Isaac locates the screws on the stack panel and starts working, Joe scrutinizes the other stacks, which run parallel to stack C.
Isaac finishes removing the first screw.
Seriously? Another hole?
Joe is reaching towards another bare, metallic sector of the wall. Stuck to it, by the tip, is a small metallic WORM, just like the one we saw earlier.
Joe lightly pats it by the side, and it gives slightly. Joe looks confused. He taps it again, pushing, and it dislodges from the wall. It leaves a circular gap, just like the other hole, but which hasn't reached the outside.
What is it?
Joe carefully hands it to Isaac.
It's not... not part of the OSTRAC. I'm sure. It seems to be eating through the wall. I think this is it!
Isaac tries to bring it closer to his helmet, but grasps it too hard and the worm snaps in half.
Both become silent when they notice the interior, a pair of conducts of silicon-oily substance, with metal dust in complex webbing patterns.
Is that... is that like oil, or silicon?
Looks like it.
Joe takes back one half of the worm.
Joe places it tip first, onto a metal tube. He leaves it there a couple of seconds.
He removes it, and it has left a shiny circle.
Wow... this is, what?...terrorist tech?
Nah! Those are constantly hacking the OSTRACS, but destroy one? That's suicide for anybody, specially anybody smart enough to make this...
Something snaps in Isaac's mind. He leaves his half-worm floating, ignores the last part of Joe's statement and lunges toward stack C. He stumbles awkwardly, and has to stop himself from spinning. He immediately resumes the unscrewing of the panel.
Joe opens another front pouch, takes out a small ziplock plastic bag, and carefully stores his side of the worm, and tries to collect the other.
Isaac finishes with the screws and hastily stores them in his utility belt. He gently but urgently pulls the panel off. Joe approaches, and together they look...
The inside of the panel is a mix of plastic cotated wires, surrounded by hole-ridden metal plaques and casings, floating tiny metal electronic parts, that look bitten by perfectly circular mouths, several metal pieces floating like discarded gruyere cheese, and a dozen floating WORMS, plus half a dozen more WORMS, attached to metal parts, still eating away.