THE EDGE OF TOMORROW
LEGAL: This story is based on the Thunderbirds created by Gerry Anderson. I don't own the rights for the idea and wouldn't ever make any claim on them. It has not been my attention to transgress any copyright laws by printing this story online. At the same time I want to establish my rights to the story itself, and other 'original' ideas contained herein.
The script that follows is the first 27 pages of the full manuscript.
1. EXT (DAY) WILD COASTLINE
Early morning. A predatory bird hangs on the cold air over an isolated stretch of stark coastline. Imperious and majestic, it wheels above the jagged cliffs, soaring effortlessly over the restless sea.
A couple of young children, dressed in rags, are playing on an emerald-green hillside. In the background is a small fishing village with smoke curling up from the chimney pots. A farmer urges his horse up the hill, pulling an old wagon laden with goods. Peaceful. Pastoral. Irish.
(TITLE) IRELAND - 1504
2. EXT (DAY) THUNDERBIRD 5
Hectic noise and motion. LADY PENELOPE helps her injured PARTNER along the smoke-filled corridors of Thunderbird 5. She speaks an alien language, urging him not to give up, insisting they can both make it ... the meaning of her trilling, peeping words are unmistakable.
3. EXT (DAY)WILD COASTLINE
The children, breathless with laughter, have reached the top of the sunny hillside. The green sea of verdant grass waves and curls around them, stroked by the wind's blithe hand.
A thunderous crack rends the air. The blue sky opens for an instant, flashing gold and silver, and an incandescent object streaks over the children's heads, crashing into a nearby forest that reaches out to the edge of the coastline's cliffs.
4. EXT (DAY) IRISH FOREST
Wisps of smoke drift up from the force and heat of the crash which has smashed a path of broken trees. Near the edge of the forest, at the end of the newly-carved scar, a white egg-shaped pod the size of a small car has gouged itself into the earth.
LADY PENELOPE sits on the ground beside the pod's open hatch, cradling the bleeding head of her PARTNER, rocking him gently as softly she cries.
Cut back to the bird still circling overhead.
(TITLE) FIVE HUNDRED YEARS LATER
5. EXT (DAY)THUNDERBIRD MANSION
It is early morning. An eagle, searching for its breakfast, floats on the buffeting currents of air over a rocky coastline. It dips and plunges towards the sea.
A stately mansion stands near the edge of the cliffs, surrounded by dark forest, its gardens wreathed in mist. On the gravelled forecourt stands a six-wheeled, screaming pink Rolls Royce.
LADY PENELOPE, ageless and elegant, emerges from the mansion, wrapped in a voluminous coat. PARKER, her uniformed butler opens the door for her.
The eagle cries out. LADY PENELOPE looks up. The bird has settled on the battlements of the mansion. LADY PENELOPE steps into the outrageous vehicle.
6. EXT (DAY)BEACH HOUSE
The raucous cries of seagulls creates a sound bridge to another beach - this time in a warmer, sunnier climate where the sun is chinning the horizon. JEFF TRACY, authoritative, mid-forties, glances up from his solitary breakfast on the veranda of a wooden beach house, and sees a helicopter appear. He eyes it phlegmatically as it thumps across the sky.
7. EXT (DAY) MARINA AMUSEMENT ARCADE
It is early morning in a deserted amusement arcade, which is part of a Sea World -style tourist park. ALANA, late twenties and seriously attractive, is watching MIKE, a man in his early thirties, deftly manipulating a small mechanical crane, guiding it over a jumble of toys to pick up a small prize and drop it into the chute. They are both still in evening dress.
He picks up the prize - a small plastic dinosaur - and gives it to her.
8. INT (DAY) LUXURY HOTEL SUITE
Pan around a luxury hotel suite. Scattered clothes, and an upended champagne bottle in an ice-bucket lead to a GIRL asleep in the ornate bed. The nearby wall screen flashes muted images. The GIRL wakes and looks around. She sees SCOTT, athletic with short, dark hair, standing at the window, looking out across the city.
She stretches an arm out to him and he smiles and joins her on the bed as we focus in on the screen.
9. INT (DAY) TV NEWSROOM
A newsreader at his desk, and behind him a panoramic view of Capricornia Spaceport, with Terra 1 on the launch pad.
10. INT (DAY) SUBURBAN HOME
Draw back from the screen to show it is being watched by a young girl in a large, comfortable suburban home. VIRGIL enters behind her. He is in his late 50's and weather-beaten, but with a spring in his step and a fond glint in his eye as he regards his GRANDDAUGHTER.
Focus back on the wall screen.
11. INT (DAY) BRAINS' LAB
The news program has cut to BRAINS' lab. It is filled with hi-tech equipment, computer consoles, fractal maths art posters, and, incongruously, an old jukebox. The INTERVIEWER, an irritatingly smooth and bland man, addresses the camera.
Cut now to show BRAINS. A quadriplegic, BRAINS relies on a thin, black exoskeleton for support and mobility. The spindly metal framework encases his body and limbs like scaffolding built out of a child's construction set. He is young and thin, and has intense features.
12. EXT (DAY) BEACH HOUSE
A helicopter touches down beside the beach house. TRACY is ready and walks across to it, carrying a small bag. The wind from the rotors tears at his hair as he takes a last look round at the peaceful scene. Then he climbs aboard.
13. EXT (DAY) MARINE RESEARCH CENTRE
ALANA and MIKE walk along the edge of the vast salt water tank in a marine research centre. MIKE slaps the water and several dolphins come to be petted.
ALANA's eyes shine with delight. Then she turns to MIKE, suddenly serious.
He reaches out and gently touches her lips.
14. EXT (DAY) PARK
VIRGIL walks with his daughter and granddaughter through the seemingly quiet solitude of a suburban park.
Then they break through onto an open clearing, where a helicopter is waiting.
A silent goodbye.
15. EXT (DAY) CAPRICORNIA SPACEPORT
Crowds are gathering around the perimeter fence of the spaceport as a JOURNALIST sets the scene for his TV audience.
16. INT (DAY) MISSION CONTROL
Technical staff study their monitors as new data flashes up on the giant screen dominating the busy Mission Control Centre.
17. EXT (DAY) MARINE RESEARCH CENTRE
ALANA and MIKE are still standing near the edge of the dolphin pool. They kiss.
The helicopter hovers into sight.
He shakes his head.
18. INT (DAY) TV NEWSROOM
Cut back to the NEWSREADER in the newsroom. In the background the screen shows Terra 1, surrounded by small, scurrying vehicles.
He turns to BOB ISAAC, a NASA space propulsion expert (according to the title which appears under his name on the screen) sitting in a lab somewhere else.
19. EXT (DAY) HOTEL ROOFTOP
The helicopter is waiting for SCOTT as he appears on the hotel rooftop with the GIRL. They kiss.
SCOTT flashes her a brilliant smile and touches her hand, before walking over to the chopper.
20. INT (DAY) TV NEWSROOM
Cut back to the JOURNALIST in the newsroom.
21. INT (DAY) TERRA 1
Cut to a pre-recorded interview with TRACY, who is sitting beside the five matt black hyberunits arranged in a star pattern on board Terra 1.
TRACY stares stonily at the INTERVIEWER.
TRACY's words are censored, but it's easy enough to read his lips.
22. INT (DAY) ROLLS ROYCE
Draw back to see the interview is being watched on a small screen in LADY PENELOPE's Rolls Royce. Her eyes are veiled, but we can see her mouth.
She smiles at TRACY's response.
Cut to an exterior shot of the pink six-wheeled limousine as it pulls up at the main security gate of Capricornia. The guard checks PARKER'S credentials, and then waves the amazing vehicle through.
23. INT (DAY) CAPRICORNIA SPACE PORT
Two OFFICIALS walk down a busy corridor in agitated discussion.
24. INT (DAY) CREW PREP ROOM
The door to the crew prep room opens and SCOTT walks in. BRAINS, VIRGIL and ALANA are already there, being checked over by medical staff and fitted into their spacesuits.
ALANA comes over to him and wipes some lipstick off his cheek.
ALANA sniffs as she catches the scent of perfume.
There are smiles around the room. SCOTT is about to reply when TRACY enters the room. They all stop and give him their full attention.
25. INT (DAY) CAPRICORNIA SPACE PORT
A group of journalists is held at bay by a cordon of security staff. Focus in on a couple of them reporting the scene.
Cut to another journalist.
26. INT (DAY) CREW PREP ROOM
The prep room is now empty apart from TRACY, SCOTT, VIRGIL, ALANA and BRAINS.
OFFICIAL 1 enters and behind him appears LADY PENELOPE, her face still covered by a veil.
But she steps forward and addresses the group.
TRACY steps forward and accepts the small box she has produced from her handbag. In doing so, we see a ring with a very distinctive design on her finger.
Opening the box TRACY lifts out a small talisman on a chain. It has the same motif as her ring. Around the edge is an inscription in ancient runes.
ALANA steps forward and looks at the small charm.
She smiles enigmatically and there is a long pause.
She turns and leaves. Reaction shots from the others.
27. EXT (DAY) CAPRICORNIA SPACE PORT
A montage of shots from the launch.
The mission control room ... the crew walking to the electric bus to take them over to Terra 1 ... waving to the media ... the expectant crowd watching from the perimeter ... on board Terra 1 as they run through the pre-launch checks ... the countdown begins ... gantries being pulled away from the craft as high pressure steam explodes from outlet pipes ... the countdown reaches zero ... the screaming energy of the engine's roar ... the pause before lift-off .... massive thunder as it leaves the launch pad ... the crowd gathered outside the space port's perimeter raising their eyes to follow Terra 1's ascent the cheers and backslapping in the mission control room ... the lengthening trail of the rocket across the sky ... the returning silence ... the dissipating crowd.
Stillness. The moon rides high and lonely in the afternoon sky.
Cut to LADY PENELOPE in the Rolls Royce, her face hidden in shadow.
An exterior shot of the Rolls as it drives out of the nearly deserted space port.
(TITLE) EIGHTEEN MONTHS LATER
28. EXT (NIGHT) TIMES SQUARE
It is New Year's Eve, 2003, in Times Square, and a vast crowd has gathered to celebrate the event, now just a few minutes away. The city's skyline is even more congested than today, and jammed with neon advertisements, and the new age fashions are as strange as a comic strip. KATHLEEN, TAYLOR a young female journalist, describes the scene.
29. EXT (DAY) MIDDLE EAST DESERT
Cut to an arid landscape that has suffered nuclear devastation. Aerial footage and ground shots of bewildered survivors picking their way through the ruins as KATHLEEN supplies the narrative.
30. EXT (DAY) AFRICAN TOWNS
Cut to scenes of famine, sickness and deprivation in Africa.
31. INT (DAY) EASTERN EUROPEAN TOWN
Cut to shots of homeless people lining up for food in a large, grey, public hall somewhere in Eastern Europe.
32. EXT (DAY) AMERICAN GARBAGE DUMP
In the foreground is a massive garbage dump with trucks rolling up to deliver even more refuse, while on the horizon is the silhouette of New York's skyscrapers.
33. EXT (DAY) ARCTIC WATERS
Cut to an enormous iceberg dwarfing a ship in Arctic waters.
34. INT (NIGHT)FASHION SHOW
Cut to a totally different place and atmosphere: a fashion show, with a series of styles and models.
35. EXT (DAY) CHINESE POLITICAL RALLY
Cut to scenes of Chinese politicians addressing large rallies, and peasants voting.
36. EXT (SPACE) OLYMPUS
Cut to a shot of Olympus, a massive cylindrical space station orbiting the Earth. A space shuttle manoeuvring into its shadow indicates its size.
37. EXT (NIGHT) TIMES SQUARE
Cut back to KATHLEEN in Times Square where the mood is even rowdier than before.
A massive illuminated digital clock has reached 10 seconds to midnight, and the crowd chants in raucous unison as the seconds vanish.
38. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1
The camera draws back to show the scene is being played on a large screen in the darkened interior of Terra 1. Now five coffin-shaped hyberunits arranged in a rosette come into view, and we see there is a similar countdown in process on the instrument panel of the resuscitation computer.
In the background the chant continues, as we cut to each of the five faces in turn.
The crowd goes wild, blowing horns, sirens and whistles, while large screens attached to buildings flash multi-lingual New Year greetings, and fireworks explode across the screen, the bright colours reflected on the shiny instrument surfaces.
The lights brighten in Terra 1, and the hyberunits commence their work of bringing the crew back to consciousness.
39. EXT. (DAY) ARKRIGHT'S MANSION
A beautiful summer's day on the perfect lawn of an immaculate mansion. ARKRIGHT, an elderly man, fastidiously tends a rosebush. A small cloud passes overhead. Annoyed by its shadow, he looks up and sees a servant coming across the lawn to him. He takes the note from the silver tray and reads it. He gets to his feet and walks up to the house.
40. INT. (DAY) RESEARCH LAB
A hi-tech research lab, equipped for testing contagious viruses. Inside the test chamber is a lab assistant in heavy, protective clothing. She secures the inert body of a dog onto the operating table, and attaches electrodes to its body and head.
Overlooking the test chamber is a small control room where PROFESSOR MAXWELL is supervising the test. The assistant signals she is ready.
She picks up the gleaming syringe filled with black liquid, and carefully slides the needle into the sedated animal.
A scream breaks from the intercom. MAXWELL, who has turned to check some readouts, whirls round to see the cause.
The dog has begun an incredible transformation. Its fangs extend, its claws break out of the paws to become long talons, the fur turns stiff and shaggy, while the overall body size expands, snapping the creature's restraints. It sees the assistant and launches itself at the defenceless woman, who stands frozen with horror. Then, clumsy and slow in her suit, she struggles vainly to fend it off. The razor-sharp claws rip effortlessly through the outer layers of her suit. And into the soft interior.
Blood spurts against the windows of the test chamber.
41. INT. (DAY) PRICE'S OFFICE
Draw back from the scene as the screen goes blank. We have just seen a recording of an event that has already happened.
Present in the room are MAXWELL and PRICE, the director of the research institution. The camera draws back further to show another screen featuring ARKRIGHT sitting in his leather and mahogany study.
42. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1
TRACY and the others are now revived and holding a meeting on the brightly-lit Flight Deck.
With rapid, servo-assisted power, BRAINS is entering data into a micro-thin screen resting on his lap. Interrupting his train of thought to answer, he looks up.
43. INT (DAY)BOARDING SCHOOL
A YOUTH approaches along a corridor of an exclusive boarding school dorm. He reaches a door, knocks, and puts his head through.
CROSBY - DEAN wants to see you.
JOHN CROSBY, a studious, dark-haired teenager with glasses, sits in front of a complex computer system that fills half of his small living space. He looks up, a little bewildered.
44. INT (DAY) DEAN'S STUDY
The DEAN stands near the window overlooking the quadrangle. Outside it is raining, and he watches as the small figure of CROSBY runs across the open ground, trying not to get wet, by pulling his jacket up over his head.
Cut to show PRICE sitting in a chair near the desk.
There is a knock at the door.
Cut to later, and the view again from the study window. JOHN CROSBY walks back across the quadrangle. The downpour has intensified, but he is oblivious. He walks slowly.
45. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1
From the flight deck of Terra 1, we see on the screen that they are now passing over the multi-coloured rings of Saturn, on a course that will take them slicing inside the innermost rings for the flyby. Occasionally the screen is overlaid with flight data.
46. EXT (SPACE)TERRA 1
Cut to an exterior shot of Terra 1 as the engine assembly at the rear glows white, and silently the spacecraft surges forward, curving down towards the surface of the massive ringed planet.
47. EXT (NIGHT)THUNDERBIRD MANSION
LADY PENELOPE, back-lit by a crackling fire, stands in the elegantly understated study of Thunderbird Mansion, studying an antique model of the solar system.
A flash of lightning floods the room with diamond light.
48. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1
Cut back to the flight deck on Terra 1.
49. EXT. (NIGHT) THUNDERBIRD MANSION
Pulling on a cloak, LADY PENELOPE steps out onto the battlements of Thunderbird Mansion. A storm is building on the horizon - lightning rips across the sky and wind gusts tease and ruffle her long, black hair. She pulls the cowl of her cloak over her head.
50. INT. (SPACE) TERRA 1
Back on the flight deck of Terra 1 there is controlled tension.
51. EXT (NIGHT) THUNDERBIRD MANSION
Powerful waves crash against the cliffs, but LADY PENELOPE remains standing on the battlements of the ancient building, staring out into the distance.
52. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1
The focus of attention on the flight deck is BRAINS.
Cut to the craft's exterior. It shimmers with energy and the color drains from it leaving just a thin, white outline that flimmers for a split second and then ... disappears.
Cut back aboard the flight deck. The normal view of space has now been replaced by an enormous grid pattern of swirls and eddies, mountains and valleys, extending into infinity.
Suddenly the grid fades and the screen flashes with myriad colours.
The screen returns to normal.
BRAINS is working feverishly on his computer terminal.
BRAINS studies the screen of the computer in front of him.
The screens blaze white and they recoil, shielding their eyes. Then, from out of the blinding light, black shapes appear, tumbling out from the edge of the screen towards the center. Brilliant rays of vermilion, magenta, ochre, gold and azure streak towards them.
Suddenly there is an explosion and the flight deck is jarred from end to end. White cords of magnetic electricity dance across the surface of their equipment, and the crew scream in pain.
53. EXT (DAY)MARINE RESEARCH CENTER
MIKE is out with the dolphins which are nuzzling his hand. Abruptly they disappear, fleeing away into the darkness at the bottom of the tank.
MIKE looks about him, and then up into the sky, mystified and apprehensive.
54. EXT (DAY) SUBURBAN PARK
VIRGIL'S granddaughter walks with her mother in the park on an overcast afternoon. For no apparent reason she bursts into tears.
(TITLE) SIX YEARS LATER
55. EXT. (NIGHT) HEATHROW VIP LOUNGE
The TV journalist, KATHLEEN TAYLOR and PIERCE, her cameraman, are sitting in the VIP lounge at Heathrow. On her lap is a small video communication set. In the background, JANE, her personal assistant, discusses a problem with an airport official. KATHLEEN's EDITOR appears on the laptop's screen.
PARKER, dressed in a business suit, is speaking to JANE, while the airport official hovers a short distance away. JANE comes over to KATHLEEN and PIERCE.
She turns to her EDITOR on the screen.
56. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1
In the darkened interior of Terra 1's flight deck TRACY and the others lie sprawled around their consoles. Pan across one of the consoles as a few readouts start to appear and the hum of machinery is heard.
TRACY stirs. He sits up in pain and looks around. He puts his hand on a metal surface, but snatches it away again when he feels the heat. He climbs to his feet.
Pan across to ALANA as her eyes open and past her to SCOTT as he groans.
57. INT (SPACE)TERRA 1 - SICKBAY
In the sickbay, ALANA is standing beside BRAINS who is sitting on the edge of an operating table, putting the finishing touches to a bandage around his head.
TRACY walks in.
60. INT. (SPACE) TERRA 1 FLIGHT DECK
Now the lights are back on the flight deck. SCOTT and VIRGIL are repairing some of the instruments as TRACY walks in.
SCOTT touches a few controls on the console before him and suddenly the screens light up and a majestic scene is revealed - a massive glowing sphere dominates their view, radiating an incandescent veil of heat and bathing them in light.
61. EXT (SPACE) OLYMPUS
Establishing shot of the space station Olympus with Earth in the background - a huge revolving cylinder of shiny metal circling a massive cloud-flecked blue sphere. A small space shuttle is slowly approaching one end of Olympus' central axis where a portal is opening like an iris.
62. INT.(SPACE) MAIN CONTROL ROOM
In the main control room of Olympus, we see a small handful of technicians monitoring the cautious approach of the shuttle as it noses into reach. The two craft touch and padded pincer arms pull the shuttle into the airlock.
JOHN CROSBY, who we last saw as a schoolboy, is now a young man with long, black hair and intense features, behind his black-rimmed glasses. He nods and begins confidently tapping commands into his console.
63. INT (SPACE) OLYMPUS
A group of about 15 media reps - including KATHLEEN and PIERCE - appear through the airlock leading into the main body of Olympus. They find themselves standing on the floor of the vast cylinder which curves up and away from them on both sides, reaching round to meet again in a ceiling fifty metres above their heads - where they can see other people moving about like flies on the ceiling.
Their GUIDE stops and addresses them.
... and for maximum safety and security, all areas of Olympus are under 24 hour video surveillance.
Focus in on KATHLEEN's hand. She is now wearing the same ring we last saw on LADY PENELOPE'S finger.
64. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1
Cut to the talisman on Terra 1 which is dangling over the table where TRACY and the others are holding their meeting on the flight deck which is bathed in radiance from the nearby sun.
As attention focuses on him, he shakes his head.
TRACY looks at him for a few long seconds but seeing he isn't going to add anything, he continues himself.
Suddenly an alarm begins to sound. SCOTT and VIRGIL get up and go across to check the instruments.
Cut back to LADY PENELOPE's talisman. It has now stopped spinning.
To read the rest of "The Edge of Tomorrow", please contact me.