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"Attractant"

Aboard his first space cruise, Adam Davids learns the hard way that there's no such thing as a free lunch...

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FADE IN: EXT. LOADING DOCK - DAY The hustle and bustle of people about to depart on a cruise carrying luggage, saying good-byes to loved ones, etc. THE CRUISE SHIP A multi-tiered hulk of a ship, encapsulated with a thick Plexiglas. From above, the people look like ants scurrying around deck. INT. CRUISE SHIP - CONTINUOUS A young couple, ADAM and AMBER, walk on deck. He carries his two year old daughter, JUNE, who looks over his shoulder at the instructional video playing on the glass ceiling. THE VIDEO Pre-flight instructions showing smiling passengers buckling up in flight chairs in their cabins and a shot of the ship blasting off into space. Amber heaves a suitcase onto an automated porter hovering beside her. It floats away with its load. She takes Adams hand as they both take it all in. AMBER Can you believe this? He gives a weak smile and nods. AMBER (CONTD) Were on board, were about to take off, everythings fine. ADAM Im just still trying to figure out what the catch is. AMBER There is no catch. We won a free cruise. People win free cruises. ADAM Yeah, and then they try to sell us a timeshare or something.

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AMBER Lets just enjoy it, okay. ADAM Fine, but if anybody tries to give me a stress test or offers a cup of Kool-Aid, Im outta here. AMBER Youre an idiot. She smiles, he smiles back and plants a kiss on her as he lowers his daughter to the ground. ADAM Come on, June Bug, were about to take off. They head to their cabin, the video above them displays a countdown message. INT. CRUISE SHIP RESTAURANT -- AFTERNOON People sit at their tables, chowing down. A GIANT PRAWN in hologram form rotates under the lights of a buffet style cafeteria counter. Adam pushes his plate under, it changes into an actual prawn and drops onto the plate beside a small scoop of macaroni and cheese. He moves on. Just one!? MALE VOICE (O.S.)

A portly fellow smiles warmly at Adam. MAN This a cruise my man. He puts his plate under. The mans wife, his mirror image, slides her tray stacked with plates of savories beside him. WIFE All you can eat. Adam smiles.

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MAN Gotta take advantage. Prawns rain down on his plate. ADAM I guess Im still getting my airlegs, not too hungry right now. MAN Ah, first cruise? Adam nods. You? ADAM

MAN First one with this company, but naw, me and the missus have been on quite a few... He pats his big belly good-naturedly. Adam smiles and offers his hand. ADAM Adam Davids. MAN Tom Powers. And Sarah. Tom shakes their hands. LATER Amber lifts June by the arms as she jumps up and down in the water. Sarah leans on the pool wall and talks with Amber. Adam and Tom sit on lounge chairs enjoying their frozen concoctions. TOM And then after we retired we decided to do more travelling. Weve been to 4 of the colonies so far. ADAM That sounds great. TOM Yeah, its been fun. So what about you. What do you do?

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Adams a little reluctant. ADAM Im an exterminator. TOM Like ants and cockroaches? ADAM Yeah, and rodents, that sort of thing. He shrugs. TOM Hey, dont be embarrassed, its an important job. ADAM Yeah. I just hate that I make a living killing. TOM Mm. But you guys are pretty humane about it, right. ADAM I think so. TOM Alright, then great, you provide a valuable service, I know I wouldnt want my home overrun with pests. Tom nods and takes a sip of his drink as he surveys the deck, packed with people engaged in various cruise activities. EXT. CRUISE SHIP - SPACE The ship glides across the dark outer space. INT. CRUISE SHIP - CABIN -- CONTINUOUS Adam pushes a button on a touch screen. AUTOMATED VOICE Night mode activated. The sun in the cabin window starts to set. He looks at June, snuggled peacefully in her bed.

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ADAM Night, June Bug. He hears a RETCHING sound coming from the bathroom. BATHROOM ADAM (CONTD) I thought I was the only one who got air-sick in this fam He stops short when he gets a look at Amber. She is pale and clammy. AMBER My stomach feels awful. ADAM Did we bring anything you can take? AMBER I cant find it in the bags. Adam goes into the cabin, he searches through the bags, which Amber has already torn apart. ADAM Alright, they must have a drugstore or something like that, Ill go get you something. AMBER Okay, thanks. ADAM Youll be alright while Im gone? Amber nods, puts her forehead back down to her arm wrapped around the bowl. EXT. CRUISE SHIP -- DECK -- MOMENTS LATER Adam clips along, looking around. The darkened deck is a contrast to earlier, completely empty and still. He hears a cough. Tom is leaning against the rail. ADAM Tom. You alright?

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TOM I thought Id come out for some air. Some simulated air I should say. (He laughs to himself) When I was a kid you could still do that on a ship. Get fresh air that is. ADAM Whats going on? TOM Im not feeling so good, Adam. Think it might be something I ate. ADAM Yeah, Ambers feeling sick too. Is there a doctor or something on the ship? TOM Try the main deck. ADAM Okay, sit tight, Ill see if I cant pick something up for you too. TOM Thanks. Hell of a free vacation, huh? ADAM What do you mean? TOM Oh, just that Sarah and I won the tickets for the cruise. Adam processes his comment. Tom starts coughing more violently. ADAM Alright hold on. Adam jogs off. HALLWAY He trots through an empty corridor. ADAM (CONTD) Wheres the crew?

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He comes to a door marked HOSPITAL. He tries the handle. Its locked. He knocks. No one answers. He bangs harder. Nothing. He drives his shoulder into it and falls through the threshold. Its completely empty and bare of furniture or equipment. ADAM (CONTD) Whats going on? He backs out of the room. HALLWAY Adam stops at the door to the control room. INSIDE Again its completely empty. He runs out. HALLWAY Adam runs past the restaurant. He does a double take, then slowly walks into the room. Passengers are strewn about, lying across tables, on the floor, some face down at the buffet. Most are motionless but a few are able to crawl or let out painful moans. He runs back out. INT. CRUISE SHIP - CABIN Adam stops at his cabin. The door is open. He runs in, sees June sleeping in bed, but gasps at the empty bathroom. JUNE is scooped up from bed. THE DECK Its a different scene now, passengers litter the deck, moaning or twitching in agony. Adam sees Amber, she has managed to crawl beside Tom.

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AT THE RAIL Adam cradles Amber and June in his arms. He sits shoulder to shoulder with Tom. Each staring ahead at nothing in particular. TOM I guess theyre getting tired of us building our colonies. Adam nods knowingly, the pieces starting to come together. ADAM We always thought using food was the most humane way. TOM Guess we taught them a thing or two. He chuckles. TOM (CONTD) Pretty ingenious, though. Our own roach motel. ADAM Complete with shuffle board and discotheque. Tom laughs harder, coughing up blood. ADAM (CONTD) But were not pests. He stokes his wifes hair. She doesnt react. He feels for his daughter, she too is gone. His eyes well up as he starts to retch. ADAM (CONTD) Were not pests! He starts to convulse. PULL BACK The dead and dying people once again resemble ants as we pull back until the ship is just a spec floating through space. FADE OUT: THE END