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EXT. NEO CHICAGO SKYLINE - NIGHT 1000 feet up: A billboard cycles the same animation. A fat, sullen guy, alone. He erupts to reveal: a lean, handsome man- with a beaming family. Reads: SPLICEMAX-- UNLEASH THE BETTER YOU! Hazy fineprint: SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE: SUDDEN NAUSEA, DIZZINESS, IRRITATION, HYPERTENSION, AND SPLICING SICKNESS. CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY GENETIC ENHANCEMENT REGIMEN. Around it- skyscrapers shoot up to the clouds. Rock-hard steel, glass panels. Their lights illuminate through the thin smog. The Willis Tower cowers beneath their stature. Vibrant signs, billboards, LED screens everywhere. Private security, fast food joints, alcohol, electronics, Splicemax. Hovercrafts whir by. In particular- a dull blue one. Darts through traffic. Cuts off a couple others. INT./EXT. DULL BLUE HOVERCRAFT - NIGHT TWO HANDS on the steering wheel. Right one gloved, left one bare. They jerk the hovercraft through traffic. LEVI I got him. They belong to LEVI. Mid 20s. Blue eyes. Bushy, dark hair. Sharp cheekbones lead into a strong jawline. Fitted grey vest over a long, lean frame; top button undone. Damn he’s cool. An intercom-- gruff, manly voice: FERRIC (V.O.) Well hold on then. We’re half a click away. Levi pulls over. Straps a thick cylinder over each forearm. Takes a sip from a can. It reads: MAXI-SPICE. FERRIC (V.O.) Got it, Levi? CLICK- top of the hovercraft flips open. Levi stands up. Intercom-- youthful female voice: (CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: GLITCH (V.O.) Levi? Are you there? Hello?
Levi leans over the edge. Two, three thousand feet in the air. Hovercrafts meander below. Left iris turns crimson. Same-colored marker appears on a window- nearly all the way down. Building is a 20th century dwarf- only 25 stories. Made of brick. A grin. Casual, face-first dive out the hovercraft. FERRIC AND HACKER (V.O.) Levi?! EXT. NEO CHICAGO SKYLINE - NIGHT Levi cuts through the air. No sense of worry. Narrowly misses a hovercraft. Then a second timely dodge. Tightens his arms with his torso. Increases speed. The marked window. Right arm, thin black cord fires out the cylinder. Its adhesive end catches a brick by the window. His descent slows. A hundred feet below the marker, he fires the left arm. Catches on the other side of the window. Descent stops- he floats for a second. Crotch inches from an electricity-laden, malfunctioning power line. LEVI Ouch, that was close. WHOOSH- the coils jerk him towards the window. CRASH! INT. 20TH CENTURY HALLWAY - NIGHT Wide hallway. Peeling wallpaper exposes the foundation. Doors deadbolted shut. Levi misses his landing- body tumbles. Reorients himself and sticks the second landing. Forehead has been wounded. RATFACE- stubby with buckteeth like a rat. Hairy chest, but balding head. Levi lunges at him. RATFACE You again? A tussle. Levi has the upper hand. Lands a couple swings. Against the tide, Ratface kicks his shin. (CONTINUED)
Levi grabs him, winds up again- he’s tossed aside. Two of Ratface’s GOONs- larger rats. Ratface makes down the stairs. The goons each rock a shotgun. Levi finds cover behind an old bureau. Pulls out the red handgun- it reads: STELLA. LEVI Your turn, girl. GOON #1 Come on, we don’t got rabies. Levi chuckles. LEVI Wouldn’t be a surprise with the splicing you got. BANG! A couple shotgun blasts. Levi’s okay, checks the wound on his head- minor. GOON #1 You shut up! We’re not some joke. The goons approach- one on either side. Levi doesn’t notice. They round the bureau. Nothing. CREAK- it topples onto them. Levi’s on the other side- eye crimson. Right cylinder coil shoots out. Gone out the window he came in. EXT. LITTERED BACKALLEY - NIGHT It rains. One flickering light. Trash everywhere. Levi’s landing: perfect. Stella in his left hand. RATFACE Right here. You let me go, I let her go. Ratface holds a gun to a YOUNG MOTHER’s head. YOUNG MOTHER Please! I have a son. LEVI What’s one kid worth anyways? He raises Stella. Trembling, Ratface aims back at him. PEW! Levi connects. Limp, Ratface hits asphalt. (CONTINUED)
Levi wipes raindrops off Stella. Easy smile on his mug. The young mother stares at him- hyperventilating. LEVI What? INT. UNKEMPT APARTMENT - NIGHT Messy: takeout containers, dirty clothes, half-assembled gadgets. But also- sleek furniture and a massive LED screen. GLITCH- 12, wears smooth, pale skin. A pair of large glasses cover her face. Their temples disappear into her long hair. Levi strolls in, puffing a cigarette. Glitch orbits him as he walks by. GLITCH Hey! You got him! What was it like?! Did he have whiskers? Why’d you kill him?! Huh? What about the bounty? Huh? Levi? LEVI Quit hassling me kid. Here, they need a tune up. Levi hands over the cylinders to a pouting Glitch. She takes them to a workbench- furiously fiddles, eyes glowing green. FERRIC Put it out, gung ho. FERRIC- 40s, a brick wall of a man. Short hair reveals a metal plate in his head. Sits on a couch. Pizza in hand. LEVI You want me to get nausea? Is that it, Ferric? Ferric stares him down. Levi relents. Right, gloved hand- he crushes the cigarette. Dumps it in a takeout box. He drops into a chair- reclines it. FERRIC You just had to kill him? A violent bite of pizza.
LEVI He had a hostage. FERRIC And that’s mattered to you, when? LEVI Not me, Stella. FERRIC Your gun- your gun made the choice. To lose us 250,000 dollars! LEVI Cool it, old man. Ferric drops the pizza- looks down, contemplative. Corner of his eye- Levi peeks over. Before he opens his mouth: BLOOOP! A hologrammed DAPPER MAN from the LED. Hair slicked back, perfectly trimmed suit. He belongs in GQ magazine. But he emanates an icy cold demeanor. DAPPER MAN Calling all bounty hunters, especially you halfmetals. Splicemax has a new five star target in Neo Chicago. She may not look meek, but don’t let her catch you off-guard. Bring her in: alive. He’s replaced by a DOE-LIKE GIRL. 20s. Big brown eyes. Brown hair to match, but with numerous thin and silver streaks. Soft, feminine features make up her bashful countenance. Below her, it reads: $100,000,000. Both Levi and Ferric lauch forward- eyes wide open. FERRIC What?! DAPPER MAN (V.O.) Good hunting. GLITCH I know her! She works at the hospital my parents stayed at. FERRIC Well I’ll be. Levi eyes the girl- stoic. She stares right past him.
INT. PRESENTATION ROOM - NIGHT A dozen STUDENTS and a PROFESSOR- in white physician coats. Among them, the doe-like girl. Hair in an unflattering bun, held by an equally unflattering, bulbous clip. A male student speaks to the class. MALE STUDENT And that is why the underlying principle of allopathic medicine is compassion. Without it, the field becomes as much an assembly line as one of Henry Ford’s factories. Applause as he takes his seat. PROFESSOR Fantastic, fantastic. Sen? The doe-like girl- Sen- trips on her way to the front of the class. No eye contact, arms tense. Half attentive audience. SEN For my pres- Oh, hi everyone. A reserved smile. She grows redder by the second. SEN (CONT’D) For my- um, talk I am going to discuss the ethics of patient- er, I mean physician assisted suicide. The professor jots on his tablet. SEN (CONT’D) Often, a sick person is a burden. No wait, they think they are a burden! Actually they are not. Butum, it begs: is it moral to sacrifice a life for the betterment of others? INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT Sterile. The walls, cabinets, bed glow white. ELDERLY PATIENTS (One male, one female) each lie in a bed. The door slides open. SEN Shh! Don’t let the nurses know.
She scuttles over to the male patient. Covertly hands him a slice of cake. SEN (CONT’D) It’s supposed to be for staff. Flour shortage, you know. Sen takes a sip from a maxi-spice can. MALE ELDERLY PATIENT You’re too good to me, doctor. SEN I know splicing sickness is tough. We’re even building a whole new ward for it. MALE ELDERLY PATIENT With you as the chief, right? SEN I have to graduate first! FEMALE ELDERLY PATIENT Excuse me, some of us are trying to sleep here. Sen jumps back. MALE ELDERLY PATIENT Don’t mind my wife. She’s tired from sitting on her ass all day! FEMALE ELDERLY PATIENT At least I’m not hitting on someone a fifth of my age. SEN I should go. She backs out the door- over a tapestry of marital insults. INT. HOSPITAL WARD - NIGHT A sigh of relief. The male student ambles by. Sen takes a deep breath. SEN Hey. He doesn’t notice. She pursues him- doubles her effort.
SEN Hey, great presentation today. MALE STUDENT Um, thanks. You’re Dr. Deckard’s daughter, right? SEN Yeah, Sen. MALE STUDENT Zen? Like the old Japanese religion? SEN No, it’s Sen. He drops off a chart- keeps walking. Doesn’t hear her. MALE STUDENT You know, he’s one of my heroes. I wanna be just like he was. SEN But he was in the splicing- or wait, enhancement sector. MALE STUDENT So? Good hours, lots of money. What’s wrong with that? Stop at an elevator- chrome doors. He presses the button. SEN It’s just your... when you talked so much about patient care, I thought that you- it resonated. MALE STUDENT Let me tell you something Zen. Doctors are nothing special. You me, your dad: we all gotta eat. It’s how our Lord Darwin saw the world. Elevator opens- he heads in, giving the passengers a fake smile. Door closes. SEN Our Lord...
9. EXT. DIRTY CITY STREET - NIGHT A thin smog swirls in the wind. Peddlers, homeless, ordinary folk. Sen treks the sidewalk- upset. She passes a retro multiplex, a convenience store- it’s almost like it’s the 20th century on the ground. Across the street- Levi reads a newspaper. Sees her, peels off in pursuit. On his headset: FERRIC (V.O.) We do it my way, this time. Got it, kid? LEVI I’m down for the ride. Several meters behind Sen- Ferric follows her. FERRIC Glitch, you got it set up? GLITCH (V.O.) Roger, roger big boss! We’re A-OK. A DODGY PEDDLER approaches Ferric. DODGY PEDDLER Hey old man. Yeah, you. 25 grand, all it’ll take. You’ll never have trouble getting it up again. FERRIC I’m perfectly fine in that department. Blushing, Ferric shoves him aside. Keeps following Sen. GLITCH (V.O.) What department is that? Sen struggles through a crowd. SEN Excuse me. Sorry. I’m sorry. Ferric catches up. Sticks a small device to her backpack. He speeds away- in front of her. Levi crosses the street- keeps a few yards behind Sen.
CONTINUED: FERRIC Alright, it’s done. SEN No, no, I’m sorry, I can’t- well, here. Hands over some money to a HOMELESS MAN. GLITCH (V.O.) No, no, no! He’s in my shot. What do I do? Ferric? Levi? Help! LEVI Relax. The homeless man happily shakes Sen’s hand- exuberant expression on his face. Speaks unintelligibly. SEN (CONT’D) Yes, okay. I can’t- I don’t speak what you’re- Oh, thank you.
Before she can accept a cheap beaded bracelet from him, Levi nudges him away. BZZZT! The device goes off. Sen pulsates- unable to control her body. Levi grabs her wrists- handcuffs them. Same with the ankles. Ferric throws her over his shoulder. SEN (slurred) What’re you doing?! Help! FERRIC Nothing to see here people. Just another illegal Canadian. The homeless man yells- tries to help her. No luck, Levi shoves him away. Mostly, the crowd ignores it. INT. UNKEMPT APARTMENT - NIGHT Sen sit on the couch- still bound and mouth gagged. Glitch is in her face. GLITCH What did you do? Rob a bank? Join the anti-splicers? Steal some super private docs, too? Bet your parents don’t want you home, either. (CONTINUED)
Levi on his recliner- with a wink. LEVI Don’t let her fool you. I hear she’s a killer. GLITCH Whoa, really? As good as you? She pokes Sen with a metal rod. LEVI Yeah. Only goes after hackers, though. Crazy vendetta. You’d better buzz off while you can. Glitch scurries away to her workbench. GLITCH Please don’t hurt me, I’m sorry! Ferric walks in. FERRIC Oh boy, you were right Glitch. Half the city’s after her. He notices the gag- rips it off. FERRIC Some kind of gentleman you are. I’m gone for ten minutes andSEN Please, I’m not in the movement or a murderer. I’m just a student. FERRIC I don’t know, I think I believe her. SEN Thank you! I’m studying medicine. I couldn’t hurt anyone. Ferric feeds her a sip of maxi-spice. LEVI You’d trust Godzilla if he had big brown eyes and called you ’daddy.’
FERRIC All I’m saying is, it’s fishy. Some sort of record bountySen slips and falls off the couch. FERRIC (CONT’D) For her? From Splicemax? It’s not adding up. He helps her up. LEVI A hundred million dollars adds up. We could retire to one of the colonies. Hell, we could buy one of the colonies. Something this special doesn’t pop up every day. SEN I’m not your something special. I’m just ordinary Sen Deckard. FERRIC Deckard? As in Dr. Deckard? From Splicemax? She nods. LEVI He had a daughter? SEN Don’t act so surprised. FERRIC See, I told you. Glitch meanders back over. LEVI For all we know, she’s lying. If we are gonna run this by someone, it’s gotta be someone we can trust. FERRIC AND GLITCH The accountant. SEN Then you’re... halfmetals?
EXT. COUNTRYSIDE HOME - NIGHT Clear skies. Picturesque, flowing green meadows. This place hasn’t aged. INT. COUNTRYSIDE HOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT Juxtaposition of past and future. Hardwood floors and antique stove. But lights, gadgets, and television of the future. MAI- late 30s, Asian. Calm, formal demeanor. Yet weary, seen-some-things eyes. Wears a long dress- reveals her arms, hides her legs. She places a tantalizing dinner on the table. HER NEPHEW- 7digs in. Stops after she cuts him an angry glance. She puts a shrine- to Charles Darwin- on the table. Mai and her nephew hold hands. Pray. MAI Thank you for your bounty, our dear Lord Darwin. May you guide us to selection. May you watch over my nephew. May you give him strength, your preference. BOTH Amen. They eat. MAI’S NEPHEW Aunt Mai, we learned about integration today! MAI Already? He’s moving you quickly. KNOCK KNOCK. Both look towards the door. MAI Eat your dinner. It’s probably just another missionary. MAI’S NEPHEW And tomorrow, we’re going to switch back to Biology.
CONTINUED: MAI Oh my. You’ll be a Renaissance man before long. KNOCK KNOCK. Mai gets up- sits her nephew back down. FRONT DOOR
Mai with a katana- in a beautifully decorated sheath. Peeks out the peephole. Reluctantly opens the door. It’s the dapper man. LIVING ROOM Mai sits on a Victorian style couch. She’s tense. Across the room, the dapper man. DAPPER MAN We don’t know who’s caught her, but it’s been an entire day. They haven’t turned her over yet. MAI Why does this matter to me? DAPPER MAN I’ve done it. I found the answer to Deckard’s research. Mai gets up- grabs his arm MAI Listen Jensen, I don’t what his research was. And I don’t care anymore. The dapper man- Jensen- pulls away. JENSEN I took off some valuable time to come here. You might as well listen. Your splicing sickness, everyone’s splicing sickness. Deckard’s daughter- she’s the answer. MAI What? She plops down beside him.
JENSEN All the viruses and rogue mutations, no more. Sure, you won’t get those backHe points to her legs. From a glimpse of ankles- her legs are cybernetic. JENSEN (CONT’D) But it’ll halt the disease. Mai thinks for a moment. Shakes her head, no. MAI No, this is my fault. It’s what we’ve earned for tampering with Lord Darwin’s preferences. JENSEN Don’t you see? This is what he would want. We- the smartestfinding a way to better ourselves. The nephew crawls in- legs crippled. He can’t walk. MAI’S NEPHEW Mr. Jensen! Jensen picks him up. JENSEN Hey, little man. (to Mai) You know, we may never be able to grow limbs from scratch. But without the risks in our way, repairing them will be but routine. Mai stares at her nephew’s legs.
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