Thanatophobia Script

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AEON FLUX
EPISODE 3

THANATOPHOBIA

WRITTEN BY PETER CHUNG AND MARK MARS

ACT ONE

EXT DAY: A RESIDENTIAL STREET IN BREGNA
CU on a twelve-year-old boy's face in profile against a soft focus background of gray buildings. A fist zips into frame and swings past the face an inch away from connecting. The boy's head snaps back with the impact of the punch, accompanied by the sharp "crack!" of stinging flesh.

CUT WIDER to show two boys from the waist up facing each other. They grin and sneer with mock aggression as they play a game of fake fighting. They each throw punches which harmlessly stop short of their targets. The boys toss their heads back, pretending to be hit by each blow like two stuntmen performing a movie fight scene. A loud slap at the moment of each "impact" completes the illusion of a real fight.

TRUCK BACK WIDER to show the boys' full figures standing toe-to-toe, skillfully mimicking the gestures and styles of pro boxers. As we pull back, we notice a third boy, sitting on the curb beyond them. He watches attentively the movements of the two boys and slaps his hands together in sync to the play punches, providing the live sound effects which had deceived us at first. He smiles with pleasure at the convincing spectacle.

FADE OUT/FADE IN

INT: A SECTION OF TUNNEL IN MONICAN TERRITORY
Aeon comes running into another branch of the network of underground passageways, clutching a small, SHOULDER-MOUNT ROCKETLAUNCHER GUN in one hand. She steps into a motorized railway car which begins moving down a linear track sunk into the tunnel floor. A long, rigid tube extends diagonally from the top of the car into a linear groove in the tunnel ceiling parallel to the track in the floor. Inside the moving car, we see that the tube houses a stairway which connects to the surface world above. She mounts the foot of the stairs.

By the time she gets to the top, the car has reached a steady speed of sixty miles per hour. She reaches up and opens a HATCH and climbs through.

EXT NIGHT: A HIGHWAY ON THE SURFACE OF BREGNA
A REVERSE ANGLE on the hatch reveals that it leads into the interior of an automobile cruising down a ten-lane highway at sixty miles an hour. Aeon settles herself in the driver's seat.

A LOW ANGLE outside the car shows that the center of the highway lane is constructed of flexible metal slats which bend open as the stairway tube cuts through them, then reclose behind it as it passes on. The stairway tube disengages from the bottom of the moving car and descends underground. The flexible slats reclose to form a seamless cover in the road. Drivers of other cars running alongside Aeon's don't notice the entire surreptitious operation.

INT. CAR: Aeon flicks a switch on the dashboard; two sliding panels snap shut, wiping screen to black.

FADE IN - WS AERIAL EXT NIGHT - BREEN INDUSTRIAL SECTOR: Aeon runs
from the highway to a huge industrial WAREHOUSE in the near distance.

MS EXT face of warehouse - rapid ZOOM IN to a LADDER RUNG, the last in a row descending from the top of the warehouse to its midsection.

Aeon pulls out a BUNGIE HOIST CLAWHOOK POINT, loads, fires -the
clawhook grabs the ladder rung; she uses the gun as a grip as the hoist retracts, pulling her up to the rung. Aeon then grabs the rung above it, grabs the clawhook point, manually disengaging it with a click, and begins her ascent of the rest of the ladder to the roof -

WS EXT AERIAL warehouse roof. Aeon mounts the lip of the roof, heads toward an ACCESS DUCT (labeled, DANGER: ACCESS). She jumps in.

INT WAREHOUSE - an AIRDUCT blasts open. Aeon emerges, gun in hand, aims at one of many DRUM BARRELS all full of PARTICULAR COMPONENTS.

MCU a COMPONENT DRUM BARREL. It bears a warning: "ATTENTION:
VOLATILE," with illegible small-type and a symbol of a stick-figure being cut apart by shrapnel.

Aeon fires at several barrels; the projectiles attach to their
targets' surfaces, one after the other. The projectiles then crawl (mechanically) to the same position on each barrel. In sequence, they detonate. Aeon is busy firing at as many of the barrels as she can before the punctuation of explosions reaches a critical mass. One after another, they explode, repeating the order of punctuation heard when she'd fired. As the minimal rhythm ensues, Aeon tumbles out of the way, casually whispering some lyrics to a new popular song:

AEON
Ready for the Action, now, Danger Boy?
Ready if I'm ready for you, Danger Boy?
Ready if I want it now, Danger Boy?

A succession of QUICK CUTS shows the spider-projectiles still going off, one after the other. LINGER ON one in particular that DOESN'T (it's a "dud"), then continue showing a few more...

Aeon pulls out the BUNGIE HOIST CLAWHOOK POINT as the beat of explosions continues, LOADS, FIRES - the clawhook grabs the far wall of the building as she unleashes more of the spider-projectiles. The WALL has FOUR HUGE NUMBERS painted on it:
"7 9 8 1."

AEON
How dare you dare you, Danger Boy!

She uses the gun as a grip as the hoist retracts, pulling her up to the wall. Above, there is a RAILING. As she grabs it, she pulls the trigger of the gun once again. The clawhook then disengages and retracts, snapping back into place at the head of her barrel, ready for another firing.

AEON
How dare you, Danger Boy...

AEON runs along the catwalk (implied by the railing), into a HUGE,
GAPING HOLE in the wall of the railing we'd not seen yet. (The wound in the wall is obviously "fresh," still smoldering at the edges.)

EXT AERIAL WAREHOUSE. A BLAST at the roof of the building. AEON steps out of the hole in the roof she's created.

AEON
I dare you dare you, Danger Boy....

SHE REFIRES her clawhook at a nearby POWER LINE. The clawhook ATTACHES.

- SNAP -

Aeon is pulled airborne by the retracting cord. She catapults across the frame, past the point of the clawhook's new grip, back to the Breen carway. There she crouches, watching each car go by.

FADE OUT/FADE IN

INT DAY Trevor's office. Trevor is seated at his desk, talking with a Five-Star Damage Control "Advisor," who has a surly and condescending demeanor. (We also notice he has no fingernails left, in some cases no fingers left either.)

ADVISOR
Now If I'm going to spend all that money, and for the
support of a system that is not effective to begin with? I might as well do something else, here...

TREVOR
Something that won't hurt them...so much.

As the two continue their conversation, we INTERCUT with: a BREEN BOY, standing at the window of his apartment, staring into the NARROW BUT LONG PARTITION between his building and that of the one adjacent. BOY throws a bottlecap out the window into the partition.

ADVISOR
I have to stop them. Border Containment is a
joke with this present situation! So this is
what I'm doing.

TREVOR
What is it you have in mind, your honor.

CUT TO BOTTLECAP, descending the partition in slow motion -THEN HIT (suddenly real-time) by a BULLET - the first in a RAIN OF BULLETS spraying from one of the many TOWERING AUTOMATED GUN TURRETS that comprise the Breen Border defense and "containment" system. (This one is located upon the roof of the BOY's apartment.) As he looks on, he breaks into a gleeful chortling.

[BOTTLE CAP HIT BY BULLETS: Don't dwell on this scene; don't dwell on gun turrets; the gun barrels per se of the gun turrets aren't seen except during activation (they retract), so that they are not present visually throughout the story. Note that it was never intended that bullets enter apartment(s) -- the sequence with bottle cap (and like sequences, such as when Aeon throws a coffee cup at Trevor across the partition later-on) plays outside, in the no-man's land that is the Monica/Bregna Border. Scene is important, but should be composed of very brief shots.]

ADVISOR
Oh, I don't knoooww - like, scissors, huge
SCISSORS! To clamp shut, right in the way!
Just CUT IT OFF -if they're in the middle of
it, cut 'em off - know what I meeean?
Something...DRASTIC.

ON TREVOR, wincing (eschewing annoyance):

TREVOR
Cut what off! People want to stay. It's the
power of ideas!

ADVISOR
You're getting soft, Goodchild. The men at
the club have noticed. Your game is flagging.
You should get out more. See what you're missing.

The advisor registers and takes note of Trevor's eyes as they have
descended to one or two of the advisor's scars or missing extremities.

ADVISOR
It's...not just a job, you know.

Trevor bids the gentleman a good-afternoon, suppressing a wave of anger with a shudder.

FADE OUT/FADE IN

EXT TWILIGHT (before dawn) - a low angle on a receding row of HIGH
(automated) GUN TURRETS on tall, thin towers. TWO VOICES are audible but low and far-off, a man and a woman speaking together.

TILT DOWN:
we see that the poles with the turrets atop them rise from the roof of one of the TWO RESIDENTIAL APARTMENT BUILDINGS, the same two from the previous "bottlecap" scene. The gun turret towers are mounted atop the building at left. We see head-on the NARROW PARTITION that divides them, receding into the distance. Along the concrete surface of the partition are many, many bullet holes. The buildings are windowed; the building at left has a LARGE WINDOW facing us with a pair of hanging STOCKINGS. The building on the right (with a picture window) is presently being entered by AEON, who is carrying the rocketlauncher-gun now familiar to us. TRUCK IN to the window with the hanging stockings. The conversation we hear becomes intelligible.

WS - INT NIGHT, in a narrow room of a split-level apartment. Two
people, ONAN and SYBIL, are sitting at a coffee table, carrying on
with the conversation...

ONAN
Every time you turn around, he's started some new project. But he's no visionary. He's just another Breen.

SYBIL
Yes, Trevor Goodchild - they're all a bunch of power junkies! Toying with our lives.

ONAN
In Monica, there are no rulers-

SYBIL
(rejoinder)
-Only tape measures!

Onan looks at Sybil askance. He stands up (increasingly agitated), looks away from Sybil and toward one of the windows that face the adjacent apartment building. (These windows give views of the interiors of the adjacent apartment buildings at certain odd angles, across the PARTITION between them.)

ONAN
(continuing)
That's why Goodchild hates them - there's
no head of state to negotiate with.

The muffled sound of a next-door neighbor coming home is heard; CU ONAN'S FACE as his eyes dart (in anticipation of a glimpse of his next-door neighbor).

SYBIL
(trepid)
So D-section is our best bet, you think?

Onan turns back toward Sybil, snapping at her:

ONAN
Sybil, we've been through this! You hesitate!
You've failed already!! I hate that.

SYBIL
Send your kid in there if you want to get rid
of him.

ONAN
-Send your lover in there if you want to get
rid of her!

SYBIL
(defensive, reactionary)
...WHAT!? I'm going to make it, Onan! I'll show you how weak I am!

Just then, Aeon drops her rocketlauncher to the floor of her own
apartment, along with the rest of the gear (the spider-ammo, the
bungie-hoist accessory, etc). It all lands with a crash; at that
moment Sybil and Onan both register a pronounced distraction toward one of the PARTITION windows that face the adjacent apartment building. Aeon's gear is visible to the Sybil and Onan.

POV SYBIL: the SPIDER-AMMO is foregrounded.

Taking her coffee cup, Sybil rises and turns to approach another WINDOW, as Onan continues to stare into Aeon's apartment. He watches as Aeon removes her boots (Aeon is unaware of his gaze). He sucks at his lip. Out the window Sybil has approached, we see the same pair of stockings that were shown hanging in front of it from outside. Beyond them, a view of a twilight skyline.

POV SYBIL: The cityscape is curiously divided along a densely convoluted but persistent division in architectural and civic aspect. This division recedes along with the cityscape into the far distance - and in every direction. The border that marks the division meanders so recklessly that it's almost as if there were no clear division! This Border is made up of automated turret towers such as we've seen outside. TILT UP to the TOWERING GUN-TURRETS.

Going back to the conversation, Sybil pulls an uncertain frown.

SYBIL
Well, actually...I - I don't know if I'm...
ready for this yet.

ONAN
(nonplused)
Well, I know it's easy for me to say it's
easy, but if you don't take a chance, you
don't have a chance. Let's go.

Sybil reaches to take her stockings from out the window.

SYBIL
(maudlin)
Remember when you gave me these --

But Onan has already grabbed her wrist, pulling her away with him
toward the door.

ONAN
Come, woman! WE ARE FREE! WE NEED NOTHING!

EXT DAWN - WS Breen border, D-Section. Aeon's and Sybil's adjacent apartments are prominent features of the immediate landscape. Sybil and Onan emerge from behind a wall, stepping up to the GAP in the Border they plan to traverse. The duo seem furtive and conspicuous. They then take a series of slow, measured steps backward from the spot...

ZOOM-IN to MS of one of two abandoned-looking VEHICLES nearby - an old, rust-eaten delivery VAN.

CU of one of the van's empty-looking windows.

INT VAN - AGENT X, one of six on-hand tonight, sitting at the wheel, waiting. Also, a PARAMEDIC in the background, attending an on-line communications and A/V monitoring station, seated at the rear of the van (AGENT T - who is recognizable to be TREVOR).

TREVOR
(to his headset)
Do you have that file ready yet!?

CUT TO a MS of an old JEEP, tipped onto its side. Inside it we see another AGENT, F, responding on his headset (in between bites of his beetle sandwich).

AGENT F
Right. (CHOMP - ) Hold on -

INT. VAN - OTS Trevor: Trevor's monitor now displays Sybil's
face along with text copy.

TREVOR
(to himself - concerned, but baleful)
Sybil...what do you think you're doing.

Trevor turns a DIAL on his console. Monitor now cuts to an exterior view of Sybil's apartment. It is clearly a taped playback (in shuttle-reverse mode) of Sybil and Onan exiting her apartment because they are approaching the open doorway backwards.

CUT CLOSER to view of the open door as the image FREEZES: the unmistakable silhouette of Aeon Flux (her hairdo) is a conspicuous BG feature, partially-occluded by what is more clearly an architectural PARTITION between Sybil's apartment and one across the way apparently Aeon's). That is, there are TWO windows Aeon is seen looking through as she is spying the departure of the duo, implying a physical, architectural gap.

CU TREVOR'S EYES, narrowing -

CLOSER ON PREVIOUS of Aeon's silhouetted head, now apparently
digitally-enhanced.

AGENT F
(to his headset)
All personnel - here it is.

At this announcement, Trevor snaps out of his momentary reverie.

EXT. BORDER - D-Section: Onan and Sybil appear at the Border zone, head straight into the gap.

ONAN
Remember - we can't pay attention to each other
-think only on execution of the maneuver.

SYBIL
Check.

Sybil and Onan tumble into a series of acrobatic maneuvers, dodging sweeps of automated gunfire from the turrets. The Border patrols LITERALLY drop their jaws as the duo defy the heavy torrents of gunfire.

But suddenly, in the middle of her execution, Sybil is hit in the lower spine by a bullet.

INT. VAN - ON TREVOR, a hand to his head.

TREVOR
(exasperated but quietly)
What a waste.

EXT. D-Section: THE BORDER PATROLS (Agents A and B), having retrieved their jaws:

AGENT A
Holy sheep! The man is hi-fi!

Agents A and B do a high-five. They then pick the fallen Sybil up onto a stretcher and sweep her into the VAN.

EXT Monican side of the Border: ONAN, apparently having watched the entire time after having finished his spectacular run, looking on at what has happened to Sybil:

ONAN
(to himself)
Uh-ohhh.

Onan winces strangely.

TRUCK BACK WIDER - OTS Aeon (from apartment window), watching Onan
watching Sybil.

INT VAN - Trevor bends over to get a look at the patient. Agent X, at the wheel, turns to ask for instructions.

AGENT X
Just take her into general...?

TREVOR
No. I've hands-on, on this one.

Agent X floors it. The van peels out, blaring sirens and strobes.

FADE OUT/FADE IN

INT DAY: BREEN HOSPITAL ROOM. Sybil is seated in a wheelchair, a
blanket covering her up past her waist.

FROM-THE-CEILING view, wide and with an angularity to include
the DOOR. An OFFICER enters.

OFFICER
(dryly)
How are you feeling.

SYBIL
Monica...is this Monica...?

OFFICER
(wryly)
No...
SYBIL
(shock-of-recognition)
Ohhh...oh, no. No. NO!!

OFFICER
(patronizing)
Damage, Sybil. You don't have enough to cover
it all, of course. Your negative fallout index -
your NFI - is accruing exponential interest as
we speak! You'll have to work it off.
As well as your repair bill...

SYBIL
Repair?

OFFICER
They didn't tell you. I'm sorry - Physical
Therapy will explain. You have a gap, Sybil.
A credibility gap. Your citizenship is in question. But you have been conscripted anyway.

SYBIL
Where!

OFFICER
7981-plant. The medical parts facility.

SYBIL
The one that's always being bombed?!

OFFICER
How interesting. And I see you live right
at the Border! Tell me, Sybil, have you always
lived on the Border-?

SYBIL
Wait - that isn't fair! Who doesn't live
on the Border!

DISSOLVE TO:

INT PHYSICAL THERAPY LAB. Sybil is attended by a TECHNICIAN, the two standing before a mirror.

TECH
Now, Sybil, I know it's a shock. It's
experimental work - but it was successful.

OTS SYBIL, looking at mirror. ZOOM IN to mirror reflection of Sybil's midsection. She now sports a narrow WASP-WAIST!

Sybil twists to see in the mirror where it is that she was shot. Now we see that there is an odd APERTURE at the small of Sybil's back! Within it, a vial-shaped AMPULE adjoining the top and bottom ends of the aperture. Sybil is speechless.

TECH
One of your vertebrae was shattered, and
had to be replaced with a disposable, sterile component. You're to remove them during your
physical therapy exercises.

Sybil is aghast.

SYBIL
You mean I have to live with these things
from now on??!

TECH
Well, hopefully only for your recovery period.
You see the ampule-? I'll show you -

TECH reaches into the opening of Sybil's back and removes the AMPULE as he grabs her from behind. Sybil freaks: she starts writhing. Then she rotates the upper half of her body 180 degrees, grabs at the Tech behind her, falls to the floor. She goes into a fetal position from the sudden pain of hitting the floor. Tech kneels by her head; Sybil withdraws from him, hiding her face.

Tech exits. Sybil in FG, from-the floor angle, still cowering in a fetal position. Door closes, slowly, behind exiting Tech in BG.

FADE OUT/FADE IN

INT DUSK SYBIL'S APARTMENT. Sybil is standing in her bedroom,
supporting herself with one hand resting against a table, reaching
behind her back with the other, feeling around in the small slot
in her lower back. She gasps and holds a breath as she removes
the artificial vertebral AMPULE from the opening. She starts
bending this way and that, testing the limits of her newly acquired flexibility.

As she does so, we hear her TV (OS) as a news report is going on about the issues of the day. The ADVISOR, earlier seen in Trevor's office, is being interviewed:

INTERVIEWER
...What kind of means do you believe are being
employed to wreak such destruction?

ADVISOR
Pretty heavy-duty. Portable antiaircraft materiel,
or something of the kind.

INTERVIEWER
Have you determined for certain that this
is not an inside job, or...?

ADVISOR
No way. It's Monican, all right...

The news report continues droning on (unintelligibly)...

INT AEON'S apartment. Aeon is roused from her futon by OS sound of a LOUD THUD. She moves to a WINDOW and looks across the PARTITION into Sybil's bedroom.

INT. SYBIL'S BEDROOM. Sybil is picking herself up off the floor. As she does, she comes into Aeon's view. (Sybil is trying to
execute the gymnastic maneuver for evasion of Border controls at
D-Section, the same maneuver she performed unsuccessfully there, when she was shot). Then, she stumbles again, making the same thudding noise that had aroused Aeon's notice.

CU AEON, wincing at the sight of Sybil's failure. (Aeon cannot see much of Sybil's bedroom; not the TV screen, nor the DAIS at one wall, upon which rest FIVE AMPULES.)

POV AEON: As Sybil at last moves away, she moves out of Aeon's view.

INT. SYBIL'S BEDROOM. Sybil picks up the spent vertebral ampule
from the floor (bending over backwards to do so, just because it's easier), and takes it over to a trash receptacle. (The receptacle is labeled REFUSE, in large red type.) She disposes of the ampule.

Sybil then picks up one of the other AMPULES from the DAIS to insert into her back. She then struggles to insert the new ampule. At last (with a queasy gasp), she clicks it in.

ALTERNATE ANGLE (TV screen now in view). Sybil picks up a remote
from the table to click the TV off. As she aims it at the screen to do so, she suddenly freezes.

CU SYBIL: a shock of recognition -

POV SYBIL: the TV screen. ZOOM IN on what the INTERVIEWEE is holding in his hand - a SPIDER-PROJECTILE!

OTS SYBIL, staring in 3/4 profile.

SYBIL
(to herself)
(Oh my god, it's her!)

FADE OUT/FADE IN

INT WS (from above) of warehouse-style FACTORY. Below, rows and
rows of assembly lines run in sequence, with factory workers attending at regular intervals along the lines. (Reminiscent of the Rosie the Riveter era). Speaker horns blare unintelligible, monotonal gibberish.

In the further distance, we should recognize a section of the plant that clearly has suffered a recent terror attack. A gaping hole in the ceiling of the plant, rubble and mangled machinery surround a huge gash in the floor, where a sizable explosion has taken place. A crew of workers are standing at the lip of the crater, scratching their heads.

One figure, below, stands out due to her distinguishing characteristic (a wasp-waist): SYBIL, working at her station along the line.

MS SYBIL at the CONVEYOR BELT she is stationed at. Sybil sighs
resignedly, continuing her operating routine. As she does, the work she is doing is shown to be a repetitive manual operation of testing an endless stream of mechanical COMPONENTS (clearly recognizable as those Aeon destroys barrelfulls of at the beginning), coming along the conveyor belt.

OTS SYBIL as she's pushing and pulling levers and buttons at her
terminal; one of the components is taking too long to calibrate.
She finally has to reject it.

SYBIL
(to herself)
These faulty ones, driving my NFI back up.
Costing me an arm or a leg!!

She tosses the faulty component to the REJECT bin. Then, a HORN blares.

CUT TO the HORN blaring. There is a neon sign under it, flashing the words, "END SHIFT."

DISSOLVE TO

EXT DAY LS busy traffic corridor, bordering the Border. Along the
Border is first a continuous WALL. Paralleling the wall is an
industrial railroad, with a continuous procession of long and very
narrow RAILCARS (like solar panels), with gaps between them.
A WALKWAY in turn parallels the railway. We see Sybil walking toward us in the distance, among other PEDESTRIANS. As the railcars move slowly along, Sybil stops.

OTS SYBIL, her head turned away from us toward a GAP between two cars. She sees a gaping hole in the wall beyond, probably left from a stray attack shell.

REVERSE ANGLE MS from Monican side of Border, back through the hole. In FG, Monican pedestrians and cyclists cross past the view intermittently. We see Sybil standing, staring toward us from the Breen side of the Border. Suddenly, one of the passing foreground pedestrians stops. It is ONAN, wearing a DARK BLUE TRENCHCOAT.

CU SYBIL: her face reacts in a panic of love -

SYBIL
ONAN!!

OTS ONAN, staring down the way back to Sybil, his face in 3/4 profile.

ONAN
(surprised)
Sybil...? Are you okay...? I saw you get hit!
You were shot!

Sybil tries to reach Onan across the gap. She can't quite reach him. Then suddenly, her vertebral AMPULE pops out - as it does, she suddenly reaches him! (We see that she is impossibly contorted.) The ampule falls to the ground and shatters, leaking a fluid onto the ground. Onan is shocked.

MCU SYBIL AND ONAN. Sybil grabs his shoulders, administers a voluptuous kiss to him.

SYBIL
Onan, how is it here! I'll be with you soon,
I promise! But, listen! My next-door neighbor?
I've discovered she's a Monican terror agent!!

Onan makes a poker face, hesitates -

ONAN
(awkward)
Uh...really?

SYBIL
Yes! And she crosses the Border all the time!!
Find out how she does it. Meet me here again
tomorrow.

ONAN
Yes! I'll go to her!

SYBIL
Yes!

ONAN
And I'll do this - for you!

SYBIL
Yes! I just want to see you again - but I
don't know if I can ever make it, Onan - !

ONAN
Yes, Sybil, You must! Give yourself a chance!
I know you'll make it, in the end!

Sybil retracts her upper half back to her side of the Border. The cars have already begun to close the gap off completely. Sybil barely makes it back. OTS SYBIL as train cars finally occlude her view of Onan. She produces another vertebral ampule, inserts it into her back. She leaves.

FADE OUT

END ACT ONE

ACT TWO

FADE IN

EXT DUSK - Aeon and Sybil's adjacent apartments. We see again Sybil's stockings on the clothesline at her window.

TRUCK BACK: OTS ONAN.
TRUCK BACK wider: OTS AEON - OTS Onan.

CU ONAN. A VOICE (OS) startles him.

AEON
I saw your Border run. Nice going.

ON ONAN AND AEON

ONAN
(regaining composure)
Oh - ! Thank you.

AEON
What are you doing here?

WIPE TO:

INT. NIGHT AEON'S APARTMENT: Aeon and Onan are sitting at a coffee table.

AEON
She's on our side, anyway, isn't she?

ONAN
She'd like to be.

AEON
Do you think she'd stand a chance of making
it if she were to...?

ONAN
-Try it again?! Forget it! She'll never make it.

AEON
You could have told her that before -- !

ONAN
(dismissive)
She would never have listened!

AEON
(poker-faced)
You're shutting it down with her, I take it!
ONAN
Well, you know, I feel abandoned! I mean -
Sybil was divided. I feel that she failed
not only her own objectives -

AEON
(taking Onan's cue)
She's failed your faith in her?

ONAN
(shaking his head, melodramatically)
Yes. You and I - we are Monicans-!

AEON
(mockingly)
Oh, yes. With certitude. And commitment.

ONAN
Perhaps I am prone to weak women because I've
no concept of weakness, or of like qualities.

AEON
(chagrined for the idiot)
Hm. Well, okay, Onan, sure. (coughs.)

Suddenly, Onan rips his trenchcoat away from his glistening, heroic body to reveal his Monican dress.

ONAN
How do you like it!

AEON sees how he wears it, and objects:

AEON
Here - this is all wrong. Let me help you...

She pulls Onan's NIPPLESTRAP tight.

AEON
Onan, come on!

Aeon spanks at Onan's breast-muscles. His nipples remain flaccid.

[1ST ONAN & SYBIL SCENE: tone down S&M overtones; this scene should have the feel of a drill sergeant talking to a recruit. Careful with Onan's costume. Don't spank nipples. Careful with pulling on crotch strap. Scene should have snappy pace.]

AEON
Perk up, Onan...!

Nothing.

AEON
Here...

Aeon loosens another strap on Onan's person a notch. Nothing.

AEON
Hm.

Aeon pulls another strap on Onan's person, the consequent effect of which is OS understood to be G-string territory --

ONAN yelps. Aeon puts her arm around his neck from behind, slams the back of Onan's head into her shoulder.

AEON
Forget it, Onan.

Aeon releases her hold. Onan drops to the floor, overwhelmed.

Just then, Sybil is heard returning home.

AEON
(to herself)
(We Monicans,? WE Monicans -- ! Pfft!)

Suddenly, Sybil's DOOR BUZZER RINGS (OS).

INT. SYBIL'S APT: it's Trevor at the door. He enters Sybil's
apartment. He is wearing a surgical mask. We recognize him as having been one of the paramedics who first attended her spine injury (as "Agent T"). She bids him in.

INT. SYBIL'S APT:

SYBIL
How do you do.

TREVOR
Fine, thank you.

INT. AEON'S APT: Aeon's interest is piqued at the sound of Trevor's voice.

SYBIL (OS)
Please come in.

INT. SYBIL'S APT: only Trevor can see Aeon; Aeon turns her attention to Trevor and to Sybil. At the moment, Sybil's back is turned as she attends to the door; she doesn't know what's going on. Lifting his surgical mask, Trevor smiles (lasciviously) at Aeon. Aeon watches the two, with a puzzled expression.

TREVOR
Now, let's see...about your injury...

SYBIL
Yes, doctor.

OTS Trevor as he examines the medical repair on Sybil's spine.
He fingers her opening gently, carefully testing the hardware.
As he does, the vertebral ampule in Sybil's lower back automatically disengages with a "pop," as Sybil gasps. The ampule drops to the floor.

ON AEON: her eyebrows jump once in surprise.

MS (head-&-shoulders) SYBIL. We see the top of Trevor's head over her left shoulder, but we see that she can't see whatever it is he's doing (neither does she nor has she noticed Aeon, watching in BG).

SYBIL
(suddenly, reflexively -)
O-hH -- ooohhhhh...

ON AEON: An expression of wide-eyed, dropped-jawed shock!

ON TREVOR: CU Trevor's face, inserting medical instruments and fingers into Sybil's strange spinal aperture. Trevor tries all of his experiments with her. He caresses her spinal cord. At first, she is shocked at the resultant sensations she feels, but then finds herself overcome with them. She moans and ululates, gasps and whimpers by turns. Her facial expressions are an according panoply of stimulus response.

At the same time, he and Aeon are engaged in a war of stares: as they see each other seeing each other, the tension mounts exponentially. As Sybil is overcome with some unknowable form of nirvana, he is overcome with complete awe and delight. Aeon, however, is overcome with something else.

INT. AEON'S APT. We see what Sybil and Trevor do not: Onan emerging to join Aeon in the view into Sybil's apartment.

INT Sybil's apartment. Now, sprawled over a futon and after both are exhausted, and the oblivion has set in, Trevor sits up, pulls out a cigarette. Perched on the edge of the bed, he turns to Sybil.

TREVOR
Was it as good for you as it was for me?

SYBIL
I - I don't know what to say - I haven't ever -
had it like this, do you know? Did you find
anything wrong, doctor? Am I okay?

TREVOR
(as he clicks a fresh ampule into Sybil's spine)
Oh my god, are you kidding? You were sensational-!!
I mean, uhm, ah -

SYBIL
-Sybil.

TREVOR
Sybil - sorry, Sybil - I, I tell you what,
my dear. I'm a person of...considerable...

SYBIL
...considerable...means?

TREVOR
Yes.. Yes, exactly...that's rather good -
hey, do you need a job or anything? I could
use a new attaché...

Sybil visibly balks -

SYBIL
Uhh..I - I'm--

TREVOR
Tell me your heart's desire and it's yours.
Just no heads on plates of anyone, that's my
only condition. I'm going to get a drink,
would you like one?

SYBIL
(Considering - )
...No. No, thank you.

TREVOR
(getting up)
Right.

Trevor turns, smiles:

TREVOR
(continuing)
That would've been it, you know.

As Trevor goes, Sybil notices sounds of Onan grunting OS.

SYBIL
(surprise)
Onan...?

INT AEON'S APT (OTS AEON). Aeon stares bullet-holes after Trevor as he goes, and snaps her vision back to Sybil.
CUT WIDER: ONAN, struggling with his straps.

ONAN
Uughn...! OOhh! Ungh!!! (...)

INT. SYBIL'S APT: Just then, Trevor returns, with wine, cheese and crackers.

TREVOR
So what'll it be? Puppetstrings? Pursestrings?

SYBIL
(trepidly)
Trevor -- Trevor, I want out. I want to
transfer to Monican citizenship. That is
what I want.

TREVOR
(offended)
Do you know how lucky you are - ! You're
the best I've had yet! Anything could have
gone wrong! Just get out - I mean, I think
that I will leave now...

TREVOR AND SYBIL
(in unintended unison)

Sorry...

SYBIL
(continuing, after a pause)
...You're so right! I've everything I'd ever
want here. We Breens, we're spoiled rotten,
aren't we. Just take me out into the street
and shoot me! No wonder we haven't a choice in the matter!

TREVOR
(defensive)
The system is a defensive measure, Sybil.
What do you think - that it's the way I prefer matters?!

SYBIL
By no means! Look at me, you. I am what you
have done to yourself, you monster!

OTS AEON as Sybil slams Trevor against the wall.

CLOSER ON
SYBIL
You've heard it all before! BUT NEVER LISTEN,
and we're DYING.
TREVOR
(pleading)
Stop! Enough!

SYBIL
You think I'm really ungrateful, but I'm angry,
I DON'T WANT IT!!

ON AEON
AEON
Onan, come here!

POV AEON: Just then, Sybil slams Trevor out her door.

INT. AEON'S APT:
ONAN
(rising)
What?

AEON
That was pretty good.

ONAN
(indifferent)
Oh, Sybil, you mean? Used to it. She never shuts up.

Aeon glances askance at Onan.

INT SYBIL'S apartment. Sybil retires up to her BEDROOM. She goes over to the DAIS. She picks up one of the AMPULES from the dais.

SYBIL
(to the ampule)
I'll be in touch, Onan.

Moving away from the dais, Sybil kisses the ampule lightly. As she
does so, Aeon comes into view, sitting there across the partition,
staring rivets back to her. And Onan is there with Aeon. Her eyes
trained on Sybil, Aeon addresses Onan:

AEON
(to Onan, as if she's "just teasing" him - )
I know what, Onan...I'll just take you away
from her. I'll eliminate the element that would
be the cause of her folly. Maybe I should just
kill you. No, that would make her even crazier. Besides, I'm sure you're good in bed and that
would be a shame. Now, that would be a
2-for-1 tragedy.
(Pause...)
Hey, Onan...

ONAN
--Right in front of her!? I mean, I want
to, but - but--

AEON
(deliberately "misunderstanding" his words)
You want my what--?? Okay, Onan - come here.

Aeon suddenly steps out of her Balans chair, kicks it out of her macho way. She stands there, poised for The Action - and Onan hesitates.

AEON
I'm not asking you. I'm commandeering your
libido under Monican aegis. This is an
authorized Police Action, lover: you are mine.

Aeon grabs Onan up from his chair, drags him by the hair onto the
floor, right in the way of Sybil's view! Onan is on bottom, so he
cannot see if Sybil is watching or not. Aeon starts in on him, still locking eyes with Sybil across the partition.

Sybil, meanwhile, is watching in astonishment and pain as Onan is
subjected to this degradation!

ON SYBIL
SYBIL
Oh, Onan...!

Aeon proceeds. As she does, Sybil is staring on, unconsciously hugging a POST she's leaning up against. There is a NAIL protruding from the post. Sybil begins to rub her lip against the nail, slowly, lightly as she continues to watch the two.

OTS SYBIL: Finally, Aeon and Onan finish. Sybil moves away from the post. Sybil sucks her lower lip in a distracted fashion.

SYBIL
(to herself, but thinking Onan)
(What is she doing to you!)

FADE OUT/FADE IN

INT 7981-PLANT. Sybil is busy, working on the line...

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT DAY N-SECTION. Sybil and Onan, approaching the gap to meet.

SYBIL
I heard someone grunting over there where
you were, last night, when I came home...?

ONAN
Over there-?? Sybil, I can't talk now.

SYBIL
Well? How's it going? Have you found out, yet...?

ONAN
Sybil, I really can't right now, I'm-

SYBIL
Sure, I understand - who's better for you?

ONAN
Stop it, Syb.

SYBIL
You're going.

ONAN
Sybil! Yes, I am! You think I want to be
there any longer than I have to! I'm trying
to find out! I still want you to make it!
You've got to try again. I would! I'll see
you tomorrow. I love you.

The gap closes.

ONAN
(indifferently, to himself)
Take care...

CUT TO: EXT DAY Sybil's street, SAME PEDESTRIANS from last
N-SECTION SCENE, ACT ONE, walking the curb. Some, now SANS A BODY PART OR TWO!

WIPE TO: INT DAY: SYBIL'S apartment. The front door opens and slams. It is Trevor. He puts away some sort of a "Z-KEY (unlimited access)."

INT. AEON'S APT - Aeon hears the sound of someone entering Sybil's apt. (OS). Sybil's front door is heard closing.

OTS AEON: Her view of Sybil's apt. Trevor is out of Aeon's view.

AEON
(to whom she assumes to be Sybil, across the PARTITION)
Sybil - don't try it again, you can't make it.

INT. SYBIL'S APT: Trevor approaches a TABLE in Sybil's living room, upon which rests a stray AMPULE. He doesn't respond.

AEON
Sybil, listen to me. I'm only trying to help -!

Trevor steps into view. Aeon reacts with sudden alarm. Trevor produces a BOX from his trenchcoat pocket. It has a note attached. CUT CLOSER onto BOX.

OTS AEON: Trevor picks the ampule from the table with one hand as he opens the box with the other, staring back at Aeon as he does so. As he is about to drop the ampule into the box, he taunts Aeon with an odd glance at her and tips the box slightly so that she might notice its contents, which are seen to be an entire supply of the ampules. Smiling, he drops it into the box and clicks it shut, placing it upon the table for Sybil to discover upon her return.

Aeon picks up a COFFEE CUP and throws it (through her open window) across the partition at Trevor, The CUP is spontaneously annihilated by sweeps of bullets from OS gun turrets. Trevor, however, deliberately fails to take notice of her outburst. Then, after a moment, he responds:

TREVOR
Is something bothering you...?

AEON
Fine, to play with my feelings...but, you're
involving INNOCENT PEOPLE!! What are you doing
to that poor girl!

TREVOR
Jealous? She intrigues me -

Trevor leaves. Aeon turns away from the view.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. DUSK - SYBIL'S APT. Front door slam OS. Sybil enters her living room. She sees the BOX with the note upon the table. She goes to it, picks it up off the table, opens it. Sybil reacts with a smile of surprise as she recloses the box. Sybil reads the note. She smiles in satisfaction.

OTS AEON as Sybil goes upstairs with the box.

AEON
Hm.

FADE OUT/FADE IN:

INT. 7981-plant: Sybil, working on the production line...

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT DAY N-SECTION, where Sybil has been having her rendezvous with Onan. Now today, Sybil contorts her LOWER HALF across the gap between the railcars. Onan grabs her hips.

SYBIL
(with apparent displeasure)
Mmmmmmm....Tsk.

QUICK CUT: a torrent of human sperm, racing towards a faint, glowing light.

[SYBIL AND ONAN'S EMBRACE BETWEEN RAILCARS: Be careful how it's boarded.]

Sybil retracts to her side of the Border.

Sybil is staring at the spent ampule on the concrete ground before her.

SYBIL
(to herself)
This isn't working.

ONAN
Sybil, that was wonderful!

SYBIL
Yeah.

As the railcars finally close the gap between them, Sybil puts a new ampule in her back for the walk home, and proceeds.

SYBIL
(to herself)
It's not the same anymore...! What's happened?

WIPE TO:

INT NIGHT WS Sybil's apartment. Sybil's door rings. Sybil goes to her door.

MS Sybil, looking through the peephole in her door.

POV Sybil - It's Aeon at the door. Her image is distorted in the
fisheye peephole, making her look ridiculous and tiny, distanced.

AEON
(through the door)
Sybil. It's me. Your next-door neighbor.

Sybil says nothing.

CUT TO Sybil at the door, just standing there, a foot away from the door.

POV peephole, Aeon, continuing...

AEON
I want to help you, Sybil. Please.

CUT TO Sybil, still silent.

Sybil opens the door. Aeon enters. Sybil slams the door.

AEON
I'm serious.

SYBIL
...Why?

AEON
I saw you the other day, falling all over
the floor. You want to cross the Border,
but Goodchild has you, uh, all bent out
of shape, here.

Sybil responds with an uncertain look.

AEON
(continuing)
And Onan doesn't love you. You're headed for
disaster. Don't kill yourself! Sybil-?

Sybil's "uncertainty" is suddenly directed away from herself and onto Aeon.

SYBIL
I'll decide. I already have! What do you
take me for!

AEON
(taken aback)
...Look, I didn't mean - !! All right.

SYBIL
(contemptuous)
What.

AEON
I'll be your escort to Monica. I'm actually
your best chance.

SYBIL
Well, how very nice of you to offer!

AEON
Oh, it's nothing - I do it every day!

Sybil regards Aeon with guarded curiosity.

AEON
All right, then. This is what we'll do!
We make an appointment for C-section -

SYBIL
(balking)
C-Section??

AEON
(oblivious)
- I'll do your anesthesia on the spot;
you'll be with Onan again before you know what happened! ...That is, if you still want him.

SYBIL
Anesthesia??!

AEON
I cannot allow you any conscious registration
of the event. It's a rule.

SYBIL
WHAT rule!?

AEON
A rule of mine.

SYBIL
(balking)
You monster! You've a hook in that bait,
and here you still want me to swallow it?!
Thanks. Get out.

Aeon balks.

SYBIL
GET OUT!!

Aeon leaves, visibly hurt and humiliated. Sybil slams the door after her.

FADE OUT

END ACT TWO

ACT THREE

FADE IN

INT NIGHT SYBIL'S BEDROOM. Sybil is standing at the dais where she keeps her BOX, staring at it, obsessing on her ampules...

INT NIGHT Trevor's office. He's talking on the phone again.

TREVOR
(on the phone)
What do you mean, "delivery of ampules has
been waylaid??" I NEED THEM! NOW! Yes, I'll
wait...wait - I've an incoming, can you hold!

Trevor clicks his phone -

TREVOR
(pleased)
Sybil...!

DISSOLVE TO

INT NIGHT SYBIL'S BEDROOM. Sybil is there. Suddenly, her door buzzer rings - Sybil jumps. She goes to the door. It's Trevor. She bids him in.

SYBIL
Something is very wrong. Examine me.

At Sybil's bidding, Trevor enters, peeking into Aeon's space across the partition as he does so. Aeon is there, dressing after a shower. Aeon disguises her recognition of his visual intrusion. Trevor is instantly aware of this; he knows that Aeon doesn't miss a trick.

ON AEON
AEON
(to herself)
Buttertoes.

CLOSE ON TREVOR AND SYBIL: Trevor returns his gaze to Sybil.

TREVOR
(to Sybil)
I - really wouldn't mean...to be intrusive.

SYBIL
(ridiculous)
? - Oh, come on! We knooow what we're
talking about, what we're thinking and what
we are doing! And we have a right to THIS.

CUT WIDER: Sybil grabs Trevor with a vengeance and slams him against the wall.

TREVOR
(feigning any resistance)
Well, 'moderation in all things,' you know.

SYBIL
Moderation is not abstinence. Moderation
necessarily connotes use.

TREVOR
Use...

SYBIL
So use me, Trevor. You must.

TREVOR
I've no choice -

SYBIL
Lest you abandon your argument -

TREVOR
Abandon - all argument?

SYBIL
Yes.

OTS AEON, seeing into SYBIL'S across the partition. Trevor is now repeating the "treatment" he administered to Sybil when last he visited her.

AEON
That's it.

Aeon suddenly turns on Onan, throws him onto the futon, Aeon and Trevor watch each other, as they administer degrees of pleasure to their respective partners in what is soon clear to be a war-of-escalation of induced stimulus of all kinds, including (but not limited to) sexual pleasure. Sybil and Onan moan and contort, producing a strange duet.

The tension builds. At last, Aeon, frustrated, grabs a pair of long, heavy-duty "AUTOMOBILE JUMPER CABLES" from OS.
[NOTE: The jumper cables should look like something far more bizarre than real jumper cables. Scene should start tame, building to a brief climax.]

CU Onan

ONAN
Whaaaaa-????

CU Onan rapidly TRUCKS BACK to become an OTS Aeon, her back to us, snapping the jumper cables like a whip, then ripping Onan's torso strap off, revealing his TITS. He has ring-piercings in his nipples.

AEON
Ready for the action now, Danger Boy?

ONAN
What are you going to do now!!

Aeon attaches the red cable clamp to his left nipple ring; the black cable clamp to his right nipple ring, throws a switch on an oscillator, picks up a hand-held REMOTE CONTROL unit, tunes some knobs.

ONAN
(epileptic)
OI!!OI!!OI!!OI!!OI!!OI!! --

The reactions Aeon and Trevor produce in their respective partners now alternate into a rising cacophonic duet toward a huge crescendo. At last, Onan gives out in a pathetic howl. Sybil is still going.

(Aeon beats it over to Sybil's, leaving Onan for the moment.)

QUICK CUT TO: INT AEON'S CAR. Aeon, driving in her car as the hatch closes beneath her-

CUT TO: INT AEON'S APARTMENT. Onan, passed out on the floor.

CUT TO INT SYBIL'S BEDROOM. AEON enters from OS. She grabs Sybil's BOX from Sybil's dais. She hurls the BOX into the curtained window directly above the lower-level living-room where Trevor and Sybil are presently, still going at it!

Sybil at last screams in her own peak- ecstasy (much more compelling than Onan's was). As she does, INTERCUT CU SYBIL with BOX, impacting the curtained window (Sybil apparently oblivious to the sound of the shatter.) BOX hits window with the precise velocity and angularity of trajectory to at once shatter the glass behind the curtain and itself come ajar. It is caught in the fabric of the curtain on its way out the window, so that it just hangs out of the shattered window, suspended in a pouch of curtain.

We notice that the curtain's middle partition allows the contents of the suspended and ajar BOX to slip through and drop, piece by piece, to the ground below. The contents are recognizable as we see one, then two slip through the gap and descend.

ON SYBIL: Sybil's scream descends into a sob. Her sobbing becomes sad. She looks up to the partition; neither Aeon nor Onan are there, for whose benefit she's made her presentation. Tears in her eyes, she simply drops her head.

SYBIL
I hate it...I hate it...

Just then, Sybil notices something of ABSOLUTE CONSEQUENCE to her - out her large window (now sans her stockings), she sees falling objects, one after the other, in a steady punctuation, one at a time. She/we recognize what they are - her supply of ampules!

Sybil rises, spontaneously jamming two fingers of one hand into the opening of her back (to support herself) as she races out the door of her apartment to a STAIRS DOOR down her hallway to try to retrieve the precious ampules, the upper half of her body swaying unsteadily. She bursts through the STAIRS DOOR. As she does, we CUT TO:

INT SYBIL'S apartment. Aeon takes advantage of the opportunity she has created to confront Trevor. She "batswings" into Sybil's apartment, securing the BOX and using the curtain as a ropeswing into Sybil's window below, making a SMASHING entrance.

CUT TO Aeon and Trevor, facing off. Enraged, Aeon lunges fiercely toward Trevor, ready to tear him to shreds. But Trevor, anticipating her, BLASTS OUT of the hole in the window Aeon has just created (using the rocket jets in the soles of his shoes). Humiliated, she leaves.

EXT NIGHT - Sybil's street. Sybil bursts out the fire door, looks down to a view of the street before her, her fingers still jammed into her back. She sees her street, sure enough, covered in shattered glass - and with the remains of SHATTERED AMPULES!

(A QUICK SUCCESSION OF CU'S of several of the shattered ampules--LINGER ON LAST: one of the ampules are still INTACT.)

Sybil dashes toward the intact ampule and stumbles in her haste (forgetting her injury). She rises back off of the asphalt, limping and at last retrieving them. As she rises again, Sybil looks up, hearing ROCKET JETS. Past her shattered windows, she sees TREVOR, jetting high above the roof of her apartment, finally perching atop the GUN TURRET that overlooks the PARTITION between her and Aeon's apartments.

SYBIL
MY BOX!! MY BOX! YOU TOOK IT AWAY!

TREVOR
Sybil...no. It's your neighbor. She's amok!

Trevor jumps from the turret, his jets refiring for a landing. As he touches down, Sybil examines the now dirty, though intact, ampule for a distracted moment, at last putting it in her pocket.

SYBIL
She's the 7981-plant saboteur! She says
she uses C-section to get across!! There --
I've said it. Can't you do something about this!

TREVOR
--About her?? You're talking about the
plant where you work. Sybil...!

SYBIL
(jamming her fingers back into her back)
How did you know where I work? Where to
find the cheese and crackers!

TREVOR
Sybil - I already knew about Aeon and C-Section...
I was just waiting...to hear it from your lips.

Trevor reaches up to Sybil's mouth, fingering her lips like rose petals.

TREVOR
See...? You're one of us, after all -- Oh.

Trevor notices the tiny scar upon Sybil's lower lip (from when she was watching Aeon and Onan make love for the first time). Sybil frowns, turning her gaze to the nearby D-Section of the Border. Trevor follows her gaze.

TREVOR
(cont'd.)
Listen to me. I'm only trying to
get you to stay. I know you are quite
determined - but if you try to make it
again, you will fail.

Sybil remains despondent.

TREVOR
Sybil! There's nothing I can do! You must
understand!! I let her do her bombing --
they won't let me shut down production.
They never will!

SYBIL
Who? Who won't?

TREVOR
...Circumstances.

Trevor leaves.

Sybil's gaze remains fixed on D-Section. It is dark, interminable. POV SYBIL, trucking in deeper. The darkness seems to swirl with abysmal mystery.

FADE OUT/FADE IN

EXT DAY - WS (very high angle) N-Section. Sybil is walking along the curb towards the section where she and Onan meet.

MS eye-level, same scene; Sybil approaching, other Breen passersby walk past her here and there.

OTS 3/4-profile Sybil: In the distance, she notices a CRABPERSON approaching. His RIGHT ARM and LEFT LEG are missing, apparently amputated! Having only one arm and one leg, he stalks along with an astonishing, crablike gait.

WS EYE LEVEL. Sybil turns her head at different passersby. As she does each time, we INTERCUT with CU's of those whom she's noticing, and at what things in particular about each of them: a missing index finger, a missing hand, a missing leg. All are neat amputations.

Sybil finally reaches the gap. Onan is there.

OTS SYBIL:
SYBIL
Onan? Onan - something terrible has happened!
Someone has smashed my ampules!! I can't reach
you anymore!!

MS OTS Sybil. Onan is staring back, silent.

CU Onan. Still unspeaking, a look of uncertainty on his face.

CU Sybil, continuing...

SYBIL
I've only ONE LEFT, to take with me for
after my run! Onan, can you hear me?

CU Onan, staring, remote, an unaccountable expression of futility and nakedness on his face.

SYBIL
Tell me, Onan, tell me - now, we're apart,
but still we're together! Onan, speak to me!
What's wrong?

Onan almost shrugs, remains impenetrable.

WS Sybil, from reverse angle.

SYBIL
Onan, we've got fifteen seconds! I can see
you but I can't hear you! ONAN!!

The gap closes.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT NIGHT Aeon's apartment. Aeon and Onan are watching Sybil chew on her nails, looking at her last ampule, upright before her upon her coffee table where she's seated (in her living room).

AEON
Onan, I'm returning you to Sybil.

ONAN
(indignant)
WHAT!!? So, that's how it is! You can't
do this to me!!

Aeon tosses her head toward Sybil.

AEON
Look at her, now! You encouraged her.
And you knew, Onan. You knew exactly what
would happen. I'm sorry about you.

ONAN
I made it, didn't I!!

AEON
In record time.

ONAN
I'm a Monican, now! WHY are you doing this!!

AEON
You traitor! I need no "why!"

ONAN
Is it because of my ambivalence?

AEON
(sternly)
Yes.

They continue watching Sybil for a moment.

AEON
Well?

ONAN
Well?

AEON
(mockingly alluring)
Well, you know you can't...resist me..

Aeon grabs Onan, and Onan instinctively resists. Aeon administers punishment as she kicks Onan out the door with her.

WIPE TO: INT. MONICAN TUNNELWAY (from beginning of Act One);
Aeon kicking Onan all the way up the stairs of the moving diagonal tube that leads up to the Breen highway. As they reach the top of the stairway within the tube, she ejects Onan out through the opening at the top of the tube and through the flexible slats atop the Breen highway at C-Section.

EXT. NIGHT: BREEN HIGHWAY (C-SECTION): She departs, leaving Onan to fend for himself amid oncoming Breen highway traffic.

DISSOLVE TO: INT. AEON'S APT. Aeon comes home. She sees that Sybil is still there. Just then, Onan comes to call on Sybil. (He's quite scraped up.) Aeon spies to see the outcome of her final attempt to resolve Sybil's despair. Aeon is chagrined and saddened, however, to witness their subsequent exchange.

CUT CLOSER: INT. SYBIL'S APT. (POV AEON) - Onan enters.

ONAN
(Bowing and scraping)
Sybil - oh my god! Sybil, it's not even --

SYBIL
(chilly)
...What...?

ONAN
It's not even worth it. Will you listen to me?

SYBIL
What are you talking about??

ONAN
Sybil, give me a chance!!

Sybil is slightly flushed, anger and tears ready in her eyes.

SYBIL
Another chance?

Onan holds out his hands, indicating his scraped-up state, in an appeal for sympathy to Sybil. She takes Onan by the hand to:

INT SYBIL'S BEDROOM. Onan nods with satisfaction to Sybil - Sybil bumrushes Onan into her bedroom as she then slams the door and locks it.

ONAN
(muffled)
Hey...HEYYY!

SYBIL
It's MY chance for another chance, now!

Sybil looks up at Aeon across the partition, taking Aeon off-guard. Aeon freezes, stone-faced. Sybil's just standing there, staring at her, in anger, hurt and defiance.

AEON
Sybil, please-

Then Sybil bolts downstairs and to the door of her apartment, to leave for her final attempt to cross the Border at D-Section! She slams the door behind her. Onan is screaming, tearing his fingernails bloody against the secure hold of Sybil's bedroom door-

ONAN
SYBIIIIIIIL! SYBIL, WAAAAAIT!

EXT NIGHT: D-SECTION. Sybil is warming up.

SYBIL
(quietly)
Goodbye, Onan.

Sybil at last performs the maneuver. Her execution is flawless.
[INTERCUT POV SYBIL W/ LOW ANGLE PAN OR WS] The maneuver consists of a long running start, springing once, twice, a magnificent flip and a midair longitudinal (feet-first) somersault in the evasion of anticipated trajectories of streams of bullets (the same one she demonstrated to Trevor).

TIME SLOWS DOWN as the guns remain silent; Sybil's face wondering, WHY -

Sybil's astounding acrobatic is suddenly arrested in midair as the incisors (a dense network of steel wires that spiral shut around her legs) and associated materiel proceed with the execution of their functions.

CU Sybil's face - a shock of recognition -

OTS Sybil: the strange arrays of Experimental Autoparamedic-Assist COMPONENTS are the same machine parts She'd been handling (and that Aeon had been destroying) at work, at the 7981-plant!

SYBIL
(screaming)
NOOOOO!!!!

Suddenly, an OPERATOR pipes up over a megaphone:

OPERATOR
YOU HAVE DYSENTRIED DISRECOGNIZED SPACE.
EMERGENCEES DISPATCHED TO COORDINATES:
02-SLASH-19-SLASH-21..vis-a-vis
Address Code 47870-SLASH-4036278845.

As this citation is announced, the fabulous machinations of the
machinery continue to proceed - administration of local and
delayed-action general anesthetics; cauterizing and suturing of the stumps; sterilization and bandaging, all automated.

WS EXT Sybil at D-Section. She lies, legless and defeated.

OTS Sybil (ground-level shot). MONICA, the city fading out, her
SEVERED LEGS, a few meters away, with it. Her eyes slowly begin
to glaze, her features to relax. Her eyes turn up toward a view of Aeon's apartment: Sybil sees Aeon standing there, watching, then turning away - and a huge cache of the VERTEBRAL AMPULES!

TRUCK BACK to reveal TREVOR'S HAND with a cigarette hanging to one side by his hip in FG; he's wearing a brown trenchcoat.

REVERSE ANGLE: ON TREVOR

TREVOR
(to himself)
That which does not kill us -

WS INT Aeon's apartment, Onan still screaming back at Sybil's.
Aeon in a corner, staring out her window at an expansive view
of the cityscape below - specifically D-Section, turning away
from the view it affords of Sybil's sprawled, unconscious
body.

TREVOR (OS/VO)
- makes us stranger.

FADE OUT/FADE IN

EXT DAY: A RESIDENTIAL STREET IN BREGNA
CU on a twelve-year-old boy's face in profile against a soft-focus background of gray buildings. A fist zips into frame and connects. The boy's head snaps back with the impact of the punch, accompanied by the sharp "crack!" of stinging flesh.

CUT WIDER to show two boys from the waist up facing each other. They grimace and snarl with hard aggression as they fight. Tears streak their bruised faces.

TRUCK BACK WIDER to show the boys' full figures standing toe-to-toe, executing each violent altercation. As we pull back, we notice a third boy, sitting on the curb beyond them, his face expressionless, his arms hanging at his sides, no longer clapping. His hands are gone; in their place are a pair of freshly-cut and bandaged stumps.

FADE OUT

THE END

Peter Chung, Monday, 19 September 2016 12:22 (one year ago) Permalink

A strangely appropriate reply. Non sequitur and criminal too. OK.

Peter Chung, Monday, 19 September 2016 23:09 (one year ago) Permalink

Ha! Thanks for posting this, Peter. It's interesting to see all the little lines and details that were cut out (although I can see why -- on a quick read-through, what made it to the screen seems a bit smoother).

When I was younger, the slicker animation and sheer weirdness of some of the other episodes (especially "Isthmus Crypticus" and "The Purge") appealed to me more, but now I think "Thanatophobia" is probably my favorite episode. It feels so well-composed to me, each scene clicking together like clockwork, including the visuals and the dialogue. I seem to remember you saying once that this could have been a much longer episode; I'd love to have seen a feature-length version. Although I wonder whether the expanded runtime and an opportunity to let things play out more slowly would really have helped it, or if the quick pace keeps it effective? Hmm...

Matt Rebholz, Tuesday, 20 September 2016 01:31 (one year ago) Permalink

Each episode of the series could easily have been expanded to feature length. A few of them really suffered from being shortened, but I do think Thanatophobia works well at its current length, though it seems to require multiple viewings for all the pieces to fit. I'd originally wanted to build up more of a sense of Sybil's daily routine of going to work, daily meetings with Onan across the hole in the wall, coming home, practicing her maneuver, using up her spinal ampules. It's the episode I use in my class to show how an animated episode goes from initial concept to script, to design and storyboard, to final film. It demonstrates many of the methods of engagement I teach which are the tools every director should learn. Sadly, students I've had in just the past 4 years have shown me that they're less and less interested in reading scripts or recognizing the importance of the writing phase of filmmaking. Even when I require them to read the script I've posted here, I get fewer each year who make the effort.

Peter Chung, Thursday, 22 September 2016 00:26 (one year ago) Permalink

I have to ask your theories on why that is.

Anacostia Aerodrome (El Tomboto), Thursday, 22 September 2016 01:24 (one year ago) Permalink

At USC, there's a huge population of Chinese students. My class last year was over 60 percent Chinese, some who barely speak English.
They are very talented and hard working, but the effect on class discussion is unfortunate. Still, I'd rather have quiet students who produce high quality work than ones who talk big but have little to show.

Peter Chung, Sunday, 25 September 2016 01:44 (one year ago) Permalink


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