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The Phantom of Kansas

Original screenplay.

THE PHANTOM OF KANSAS

A screenplay
Based on the short story
by
John Varley

FADE IN:

THROUGH A MICROSCOPE

We see a human ovum filling the screen, pulsing with life. It is being held by exquisitely tiny pincers, like hands made of glass. A pipette enters the picture and presses against the cell wall, which resists, is pressed inward like a balloon, and finally punctures. At the moment of entry, music begins (“Dream a Little Dream of Me”). A smoky chemical is injected through the pipette. We move in toward

THE CELL NUCLEUS

Within it, individual genes are dancing. They suddenly pull apart and move to opposite sides of the nucleus. Back to

THE OVUM

Which divides into two cells.

DISSOLVE TO

MONTAGE SEQUENCE – CREDITS

Through rapid dissolves we witness the cell developing through several stages. It becomes a blastocyst, then begins to differentiate. When it reaches a size such that individual cells can no longer be distinguished, the cell mass is suddenly seen connected to a tiny metal pipe. The far end of the pipe trails off invisibly into the dense nutrient fluid in which the cell mass floats. Each shot shows the cell mass larger, until it has become

THE EMBRYO

Once again, the embryo is more advanced with each subsequent view. We see close shots of the eye, of the tiny hands, the beating heart seen through translucent skin. In a very short time it is recognizably human.

CUT TO

INT. – A ROOM IN THE NATATORIUM

Two women and a man are seated at a control console. None look particularly interested as pictures of developing fetuses flash onto screens in front of them. One woman has her bare feet up on the console. All three wear unremarkable coverall-type work clothes. We move in on the more alert woman, who is calling out numbers while chewing gum. We cannot hear her, but a new fetus appears on her screen each time she speaks. We move to her screen and see three of four fetuses in succession.

CUT TO

INT. – ANOTHER ROOM IN THE NATATORIUM

This room is bathed in red light. One wall is covered with glass squares about the size of post office boxes. Moving in front of the squares are tiny television cameras, no bigger than pencils. They move jerkily, zipping from one square to another, holding rock-steady when aimed at a square of glass. We move in on one square and discover a fetus floating in it. There is a paper label along the bottom of the glass, and written on it is “FOX-CARNIVAL-JOULE” and a string of numbers.

CUT TO

INT. – THE CONTROL ROOM

The fetus we saw is now on the screen, and the name and number are displayed in much neater computer script. The word “RIPE” is seen in one upper corner of the screen, and the word “HOLDING” flashes on and off in the other. The operator punches some buttons, parks her gum under the edge of the console, and gets up. We follow her through an automatic door and back into

CUT TO

INT. – THE RED ROOM

The glass square has retracted and a mechanical arm is holding a square container with the fetus floating in it. The woman takes it without glancing at it or breaking stride, and goes through another door.

CUT TO

INT. – THE WOMB ROOM

This is a larger version of the red room, but the fetuses are floating in tanks that sit on tables and they are clearly visible. To one side of the room is a vat filled with dark blue fluid. The woman puts the container in the vat, where it floats with dozens of other similar containers, almost entirely submerged.

CUT TO

INT. – TRACKING SHOT – THE WOMB ROOM

We move down a row of identical tanks containing fetuses in various stages of development. Some are fist-sized; others look like newborn infants. We stop at a tank labeled “FOX-CARNIVAL-JOULE.” It is a female baby, red, wrinkled, and peaceful.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – THE FETUS

Starting at the face, we move down the body to the umbilicus, then follow the cord as it snakes away from the small body, down between her feet, to the point where it attaches to a device at the bottom of the tank. It is half metal, half organic. Parts of it are rich red with blood, other parts have a metallic gleam, and it is hard to tell where one part starts and the other leaves off. But there is a nameplate that says “BioCorp Surrogate Placenta Model 99.” We travel back up the umbilicus in time to see it separate from the child’s navel. A trace of blood clouds the water. We pull back; the child makes no move, but a machine like a small forklift truck is removing the tank from its niche.

DISSOLVE TO

INT. – THE GROWTH ROOM

Once more in montage, we see Fox grow. This time she develops from an infant into a full-grown woman. She floats in a huge tank this time, so big that at first we cannot see how large it is because the point of view is so close to her body. At times she is curled in fetal position; then again she floats with legs and arms extended, sometimes upright, sometimes inverted in the water. As she grows older her hair gets longer, so that by adulthood it is at least six feet long and floats around her like golden seaweed. When she is nearing maturity, we back away to show the front of the tank, and the fact that it is one of a long row of tanks, each with a nude, long-haired occupant. Tubes and wires run from their bodies and attach at the backs of the tanks.

CUT TO

INT. – ANOTHER VIEW OF THE GROWTH ROOM

We begin with a close shot of a computer screen. It displays a stick-figure human body which is moving its arms and legs, rolling its head from side to side, etc. We pull back rapidly over the shoulder of the man sitting at his console, alone, fast asleep, and pan up to the rows of big tanks, as if in a public aquarium, and all the sleeping people inside are doing exactly what the computer-generated image is doing, in unison; an underwater ballet.

CUT TO

INT. – A PASSAGEWAY GIVING ACCESS TO THE TOPS OF THE TANKS

Where a still-sleeping Fox is pulled dripping from the water with a rubber sling.

CUT TO

INT. – “THE MORGUE”

Which does resemble a morgue, but for the liveliness of the inmates. They recline on high, padded tables, with tubes still connecting them to overhead pipes, and with hoods over their eyes. All of them have their legs in the air and are pumping like mad on invisible bicycles. A woman is going down the line, examining them. She pauses at one, reaches out to feel a bicep, and is smacked roughly when all the arms go up in unison.

CUT TO

INT. – A LONG CORRIDOR

Down which Fox, sheet-draped, is being pushed on a floating stretcher.

CUT TO

INT. – THE REVIVAL ROOM

We see little of it, as the camera stays on Fox’s sleeping face, seen close. There is activity behind her. The music fades to silence. A hand lifts her head and turns it. At the base of the skull is a tiny socket. As a plug is inserted into this we begin to hear distorted room noises: reverberating, whispering, clattering. Her head is put down again. Now there are small movements of her facial muscles. Her eyelids twitch. Suddenly her entire body jerks. Her eyes snap open and stare sightlessly. At the same time noise overwhelms us – ordinary sounds magnified and distorted. We hear voices, and they are also distorted:

FEMALE VOICE

(metallic, almost unintelligible)

Do you have to do that?

MALE VOICE

(slightly clearer, and bored)

Honey, there’s only one way to do it, and that’s all there is to it.

FEMALE VOICE

It looks so terrifying.

SECOND MALE VOICE

I think she’s in. Do you think she’s in?

FIRST MALE VOICE

She’s not in yet. Give her time. I ain’t lost a patient yet. I mean, what can happen?

Fox suddenly seems to wake up, though her eyes have been open all the time. It is not a pleasant awakening. She claps her hands to her ears and chokes on a scream, and her eyes roam wildly. The sounds she hears become less distorted but still eerie.

CUT TO

FOX’S POV – LOOKING UP THROUGH A DISTORTING LENS

A woman leans into the picture. She is Carnival, Fox’s mother.

CARNIVAL

(concerned, but cautious)

Fox, darling. Can you hear me now? Are you there?

A man’s face comes into view, opposite Carnival. This is Mr. Leander, the banker. He is dressed in traditional banker’s costume, which would not be out of place in the 21th century.

LEANDER

(frowning)

I don’t believe she can hear you.

He looks to his side.

LEANDER (CONT.)

Can she hear us?

A third man comes into view. He is the revival technician, and he’s seen it all.

TECHNICIAN

(bored)

She’s in.

CUT TO

MEDIUM SHOT – THE GROUP OF THREE

Gathered around Fox. Fox gasps and sits up quickly.

FOX

(breathlessly, words tumbling out)

Bad dream. I thought I . . . my whole life passed in such a . . .

She becomes aware of her surroundings, looks quickly from one face to the other, settling on Carnival. She sags back onto her elbows.

FOX

I died, didn’t I?

CARNIVAL

(taking Fox’s hand)

You did. Now, don’t get excited. You can handle this just like you can handle anything else. All it takes is some getting used to.

FOX

I’m not scared.

CARNIVAL

It’s all behind you now, and you . . .

She looks suspiciously at Fox, clearly surprised at having her advice taken.

CARNIVAL

You’re not? How can you not be excited at a time like this?

FOX

Never mind, mother. Just tell me what happened, okay?

LEANDER

(taking Fox by the arm)

This is not a good place to explain. Come to my office, if you will. We have everything prepared. Come, come; that’s the way!

Fox has been pulled to a sitting position; now she jerks her arm away, petulantly.

FOX

Get your hands off me, you.

CARNIVAL

(to Leander)

She’s a bit cranky.

TECHNICIAN

They always are. Wouldn’t you be?

Fox is easily distracted, foggy-minded. She has a handful of her incredibly long hair, holding it up and squinting at it.

FOX

What the hell . . .?

Carnival and Leander manage to get her to her feet. A robe is slipped over her shoulders and she is led out into

A HALLWAY

The three walk away from the camera.

CUT TO

INT. – LEANDER’S OFFICE

It is windowless, large, furnished in the style of the 1930s. Fox is seated, Carnival takes a chair near her daughter and reaches over to hold her hand. Leander sits at his desk. He is composing himself for an oration which Fox is too impatient to wait for.

FOX

Would somebody tell me the date, please?

CARNIVAL

(interrupting Leander)

It’s been eight months. You were killed six months ago.

FOX

So that’s six months to grow the clone body, and only two months . . . did you say killed?

LEANDER

(interrupting Carnival)

I must assure you the police investigation into your death was most thorough. Most thorough. No evidence of crime was developed.

CARNIVAL

(darkly)

Those idiots just didn’t look in the right places. You can’t tell me my daughter was foolish enough to–

FOX

Mother, please. You’re both talking about things I don’t know about. Can we take this one step at a time?

LEANDER

It’s certainly my advice to do it that way. If you two would just give me the opportunity to speak, you’ll find I have some experience in these matters.

FOX

I’m sorry. I wish you would tell it from the beginning. I’ll be quiet. But first . . . am I supposed to know you?

LEANDER

We met shortly after your last recording. Naturally, you don’t remember that. I am Archibald Leander, Vice President of the Archimedes Trust Association, chartered by the Lunar government as a financial institution and a repository for taped memories.

CARNIVAL

He’s a banker, dear.

FOX

I know he’s a banker, mother. I’ve banked at Archimedes for years.

She realizes her irritability, and smiles an apology to Carnival.

LEANDER

(he looks from one to the other, annoyed)

If you’ll let me . . . Thank you. Now. Some of what I’m about to say will strike you as unnecessary. Things you already know. However, newly revived persons often have surprising gaps of memory – at first; the gaps will fill in over the next few days – so if you’ll bear with me I’ll take this thing from the beginning. Do you recall the bank robbery?

FOX

Vaguely. I remember I was coming in for a new recording because of it. I stretched out on the table and they put the recorder on my head, and . . .

LEANDER

. . . you woke up, saw your mother, and realized you had died. That was very quick, by the way.

FOX

(she is putting up a brave front, but is obviously upset beneath it. She puts her fingers to her forehead, thinking back.)

I was nervous – I remember that; but then I’m always nervous when my memories are recorded. I expected to be out for ten minutes, then get up and go about my business.

LEANDER

(leaning forward)

And you did. Not the body you are inhabiting now, of course. You are now in a clone body, grown from the tissue sample you deposited along with your recorded memories. Your original body survived for only two months after that recording was taken; then you were killed in the explosion of blasting materials you were transporting.

CARNIVAL

Murdered. My daughter was murdered.

LEANDER

(looking put upon)

You can take that up with the police. All I know is they found no evidence.

He picks up a thin, clear wedge of plastic and turns it back and forth as he looks at it.

LEANDER

You say you recall the bank robbery. Do you remember the brochure we sent you? The one notifying you that you were entitled to a free memory recording?

FOX

I don’t think I read it all. Naturally, I was delighted to save the money. I was due for another recording, and I was glad I wouldn’t have to pay for it. . . . I also recall being surprised you were robbed. I thought that couldn’t happen.

LEANDER

(grimaces)

So did we. It was a huge expense. We’re still paying for it.

FOX

They took a lot of money?

LEANDER

(holds up the plastic wedge)

They took no money at all. They object of the robbery was this. Our stock of 50,000 memory modules. They’re one of the most valuable items in the world, but the thieves didn’t steal them. They destroyed them.

CUT TO

THE BANK VAULT

A huge array of memory recording modules, identical to the one displayed by Leander. They are in racks, illuminated from behind.

LEANDER (VOICE OVER)

When you opened your account with the Archimedes Trust Association, we contracted, in effect, to keep you alive forever. Not your body, which we have no way of protecting, but your mind, your memories, the matrix of your personality; everything that makes you who you are. The memory modules are what make that possible. If you die, we have your personality recorded. We can then grow a clone body from the tissue sample you deposited with us, and play your memories into the new body.

CUT TO

LEANDER’S OFFICE

CARNIVAL

(slightly contemptuous)

Immortality on the installment plan.

LEANDER

(looking at her, apparently curious)

Are you saying you don’t use memory recording?

CARNIVAL

Well, no, but it’s not something–

FOX

(laughing)

Don’t mind my mother, Mr. Leander. She hates anything that isn’t at least two hundred years old. Not that it stops her from using it, if it’s convenient.

CARNIVAL

Well, of course I use it. That doesn’t mean I think it’s satisfactory.

LEANDER

(looking sincerely troubled)

No, we never said it was the best possible system. It’s only the best we can do. We encourage our clients to be recorded as often as possible, because anything they do after their last recording is lost to them forever in the event of their death.

FOX

(wanting to get away from this, back to safer ground)

You were speaking of the robbery . . .

CUT TO

OUTSIDE THE VAULT DOOR

Shadowy figures – literally cloaked in shadows that move with them through the brightly-lit room – hurry past the body of a fallen bank guard. We follow them from a low angle, into the vault. We see hands overturning racks of memory modules, thousands of them spilling across the floor. They are shattered with hammers, and flamethrowers reduce the pieces to slag.

LEANDER (VOICE OVER)

Banks are seldom robbed of money these days. We keep very little of it. It is much easier to steal credit from the computers. Out vault is the best available, but these people got in and had their way for almost half an hour. They left nothing intact.

CUT TO

INT. – LEANDER’S OFFICE AGAIN

FOX

But they didn’t take any of the modules? They just destroyed them all?

LEANDER

(shrugs, smiles faintly)

That’s the question, isn’t it? They left such a mess it was impossible to say if any were missing. But we don’t think so. We theorize the motive was murder.

CARNIVAL

As I’ve said all along.

FOX

Murder? But why? What’s the point?

LEANDER

I’ll leave the possible motives for such a useless crime to others. Murder is an obsolete crime. Yet, it is possible to get rid of someone permanently if the recording of the potential victim is first destroyed.

FOX

(with dawning realization)

Then murder would be forever.

LEANDER

Just as it used to be. You see our position. Our depositors were suddenly all vulnerable. We had no choice but to start a crash program to record everyone again. Which we did, and apparently in time. None of our depositors were killed.

CARNIVAL

Except my daughter.

FOX

Carnival, it doesn’t make sense that way. If somebody went to all that trouble to kill me, they would have done it a few minutes after they robbed the memory bank.

LEANDER

(pleased to have an ally)

That’s how we saw it.

Carnival snorts, but says nothing.

LEANDER

I have some things to show you, concerning the circumstances of your death, as well as some standard tapes to bring you up to date on the events of the last eight months. So if you’d care to-

FOX

(getting up, still a bit shaky but much improved)

No, thank you. I don’t think I want to see that just yet. Thanks for your concern, but I’d better be on my way.

LEANDER

We strongly advise a gradual re-entry.

But Fox is shaking her head. Her hair falls over her face, and she is annoyed; she winds it into a thick rope and tosses it over her shoulder.

FOX

I’ll re-enter at my own pace, in my own way.

They shake hands, and we

CUT TO

INT. – PUBLIC CORRIDOR: KING CITY

Fox and Carnival are walking toward the camera, which moves back with them. The corridor is not too crowded, not too brightly lit; it is warm, lived in. The people they pass are dressed in a wild variety of styles, no two alike.

FOX

I wish you’d get this murder idea out of your head.

CARNIVAL

It’s the only thing that makes sense. You’ve handled explosives for twenty years now. You told me yourself it’s perfectly safe.

FOX

(looks cautiously at Carnival)

Accidents can happen to anyone. How did it happen, anyway?

CARNIVAL

(disapproving)

You were coming back from the Siberia disneyland. Apparently you had been preparing one of your shows there, one of your weather extravaganzas. Avalanches, or something like that. You told your assistant the explosive was defective-

FOX

(stopping, puts her hands over her face)

Stop! Stop saying that. It wasn’t me.

CARNIVAL

Well, naturally not in the sense that you . . . standing here . . . that is, the clone body that was grown . . .

FOX

(she is telling this to herself as much as to Carnival; getting it sorted out so she can cope with it)

It was somebody very much like me. Call her Fox One. She knew the same things I know; she had the same memories I do, the same personality and so forth, but she was not me. She’s dead. I’m taking her place. I’m Fox Two.

CARNIVAL

If it makes you feel better … but I wish you wouldn’t speak of that.

FOX

I have to, if I’m going to get through this and out the other side. God. You never think about it happening to you.

CARNIVAL

And you shouldn’t. I don’t care what you say about Fox One or Two or Three and a half. You’re my child, and I love you.

Fox manages to smile, but she is more shaken now than we have seen since her revival.

FOX

It takes some getting used to.

CARNIVAL

You’ll forget all about it in a couple of weeks.

FOX

Eight months. I lost eight months. All those things that other me did in those eight months.

CARNIVAL

(laughing, but clearly moved)

You’ll hear about them. Everyone will be dying to tell you all the things you did before you died.

We draw away from them as they continue to talk.

CUT TO

ENTRANCE TO CITY PARK

We look down at an angle as Fox and Carnival emerge from the corridor into a plaza, and we begin drawing back. We go back for a tremendous distance, until the figures are tiny specks. The city park is a cylinder cut from living rock, three miles across and five miles high. It is ringed by galleries. The floor is forested and dotted with lakes. When the camera finally stops we are looking down on it all from a sheer brown wall. A clear plastic elevator tube is visible, dwindling in perspective to a thread, to invisibility before reaching the ground. A lighted elevator car zips past with a muted whirr.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE PARK

We follow behind Fox and Carnival as they walk out of the corridor. They do not glance at the gigantic vista opening around them. Directly in front of them is the largest tree imaginable. Its tip scrapes the dome which covers the park. Its trunk is half a mile in diameter. It is laced with elevator tubes, which at this distance look like strings of moving lights.

CUT TO

FOX AND CARNIVAL ON THE GREAT CIRCLE ESPLANADE

Still talking. There are more people in this area, going in and out of shops, strolling; the pulse of city life, but no one hurries.

FOX

(touching her long hair)

I think a haircut is in order.

CARNIVAL

You might treat yourself to some new clothes, too. And I’m afraid I must be going.

FOX

(in some surprise)

I’d like it if you’d stick around a little longer, if you don’t-

CARNIVAL

(laughing)

I didn’t raise you to be a crybaby. You’ll manage all right.

She leaves with a final wave; Fox stands alone, a bit uneasy. She seems out of place; barefoot, dressed in the simple robe. Her hair is outrageous, but does not stand out among many other outrageous hair styles worn by both men and women.

CUT TO

THE HAIRSTYLING PARLOR

Music begins: “Unsquare Dance,” on synthesizers. Fox sits facing a mirror. Suddenly the reflection changes. While everything else remains the same, she has a new hair style. It is outlandish. She makes a face and shakes her head. The images apes her, but slightly behind. She says something to the stylist, and another possibility is tried out.

CUT TO

THE CORRIDOR AGAIN

As Fox leaves the salon. Her hair is cut short. It looks good on her; nothing fancy, but right for her face.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CORRIDOR

We follow Fox as she enters a clothing store. It is not immediately apparent that clothing is sold here; people move around in various stages of undress, some nude. They pull things from racks and try them on with no modesty. No one stares, including the camera. Fox sheds her robe, tries something on, regards herself in a full-length mirror. When she shakes her head, it cycles rapidly through a dozen outfits. She points at the mirror, says something; it flicks back through the last two outfits, and she nods when it stops. Though she still wears what she has physically donned, she has picked out a one-piece item with a high neck and no sleeves or legs, and comfortable boots.

CUT TO

FOX LEAVING THE STORE

Much changed from when we first saw her. Her stride is more self-assured. She looks around as she walks, takes a deep breath as if glad to be alive, and smiles broadly. She picks up her pace. She is the picture of someone back in control of herself.

CUT TO

TRACKING SHOT – FOX IN A FOREST

She moves a short distance down a dirt path, comes to a brown wall, follows it for a short distance. She looks up.

CUT TO

FOX’S POV

At the bottom of the giant Sequoia. She is nearing one of the elevator tubes; a car is descending, slowing near the bottom.

CUT TO

FOX OUTSIDE ELEVATOR DOOR

She waits patiently. There is a lion sitting quietly. Fox reaches out and scratches its head. The elevator arrives, and Fox and the lion board it.

CUT TO

INSIDE THE ELEVATOR

Fox stands facing the door, her back to the wonderful scene beyond the windows. The elevator moves so rapidly that her cheeks are pulled down from the acceleration. The lion moves to the window and puts his paws up on the railing so he can see out.

CUT TO

VIEW OF THE ELEVATOR DOOR FROM OUTSIDE

It opens, Fox steps out, looks over her shoulder, and waves at the lion. The lion roars, and the door closes.

CUT TO

OVERHEAD SHOT

Fox steps onto a broad walkway over a three-mile drop.

CUT TO

AN INFINITE CORRIDOR

Which must have an end, but we can’t see it. Fox steps onto a moving walkway, but does not stop walking herself. She steps to an adjacent strip moving slightly faster, then does this again.

CUT TO

ANOTHER CORRIDOR

This one is homier. Fox walks past elaborate doorways – all to her left – with names on them. It is a residential corridor. She stops at the only door on the right and touches her palm to it. Music has faded during her walk; now it vanishes entirely. We hear her shoes on the floor as she enters her home, which is dark. We follow closely behind her.

FOX

Lights, CC.

The light come on.

EVERYONE

Surprise!

CUT TO

FOX’S APARTMENT – FOX’S POV

The room is crowded with laughing, shouting people. It is a welcome back party, thrown by her friends.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She is startled, begins to frown, then just looks amazed

CUT TO

THE GUESTS

Everyone is having a great time, laughing at her reaction, but it is all good natured. We cut back and forth from the party to Fox, and her face goes through many changes. At first she is almost annoyed as she is dragged into the room, but gradually we see she is touched by it. She smiles, tentatively at first, then fully, and accepts a drink. People embrace her; the drink slops over the glass but she does not mind. Carnival is in the forefront; Fox points at her and shouts something we can’t hear. It is too noisy for individual voices, but Fox is pretending to be annoyed with her mother. At last Carnival shouts for quiet, and eventually get it.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She looks around her, then raises her glass.

FOX

Next year, on the Earth!

EVERYONE

Screw the Invaders!

CUT TO

INT. – FOX’S APARTMENT

Everyone drinks. The glasses are thrown in the air with a cheer, and they never come down. Noise overwhelms us again.

CUT TO

CARNIVAL

She takes Fox’s hand and we follow as Fox is pulled through the crowd. We enter another, larger room. The far wall is dominated by tall windows. Beyond them is brilliant, white, barren ground with rounded mountains in the distance. The sky is totally black. A crescent Earth hangs near the horizon. There is a group of people sitting on a ledge before the windows. One man among them commands our attention.

CUT TO

FOX’S POV

The man looks up, smiles, opens his arms.

CUT TO

FOX AND THE MAN

They embrace. The others laugh and applaud.

DISSOLVE TO

THE PARTY

In full swing. There is much food, much drink. People are smoking tubes like cigarettes, exhaling lavender clouds of smoke. Some dance to complex synthesizer music, others stand in groups and talk. They are dressed as variously as the people in the park, including a few who wear nothing. They are taken for granted; not making displays of themselves but simply talking and laughing like everyone else. In one shot a couple is screwing on a couch. No one takes notice.

CUT TO

FOX AND THE MAN

His name is Jordan. They sit on the window ledge with the surface of the moon visible behind them.

FOX

Did you miss me?

JORDAN

What?

FOX

(shouting louder)

I said … oh, the hell with it. Come on.

She takes his hand and we follow as they move through the crowd. A door gets out of their way and shuts behind them.

CUT TO

THE KITCHEN

The noise is muted. The room is not a place for humans. Serving machines scurry in and out, take food trays from ovens, pour drinks into glasses. Fox and Jordan ignore them, and the machines work around them. Fox turns and embraces Jordan again. The kiss gets very passionate, but the man seems to be hanging back. She breaks the kiss.

FOX

(low-voiced, slightly slurred)

I said, did you miss me?

She smiles, anticipating the answer.

JORDAN

Miss you? I . . . eight months is a long time.

This is not the right answer. Fox giggles to hide her confusion, and we realize she is quite drunk.

FOX

(kissing on his face)

A long time to you, maybe. Me, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was yesterday. We made love last night. It is a long time. Are you . . . feeling the need . . . anything like I am?

Jordan is looking more and more uncomfortable. Fox finally cannot help noticing it. She looks at him, puzzled. He returns her gaze, but finally looks away.

JORDAN

It is a long time. You’re right about that.

Fox frowns; realization gradually dawns. She moves away from him, greatly upset.

FOX

Oh my god. Jordan, I . . . oh shit!

She kicks a passing robot, which falls over, whirring. She does not notice.

FOX

Eight months . . . eight months. It just doesn’t seem real to me yet. I don’t-

Jordan tries to embrace her but she fights him off, not wanting to be touched. He gives it up and looks miserable.

FOX

Just tell me what happened.

JORDAN

Fox, there’s no need to get all-

FOX

Tell me! What happened while I was dead?

JORDAN

(long pause)

We had a fight. I don’t even remember what it was about now. We talked it over and decided we’d stop seeing each other for a while. I moved in with somebody else.

He sees the tears in Fox’s eyes, tries to touch her again; she backs away.

JORDAN

Then you got blown apart in that accident. I felt terrible. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I should come here tonight. Carnival said I should.

FOX

What about your new lover?

JORDAN

I don’t have one. . . . Yet.

FOX

(nods, getting her control back)

I see. Well, it was a nice gesture, then, you coming back here to . . . to say hello. Not too pleasant, I imagine. I suppose I should get back to my guests.

JORDAN

Fox.

FOX

(she has turned away; now she turns back)

It’s best if we just don’t-

Jordan goes to her, holds her; she struggles at first.

JORDAN

Let me talk for a minute. Just one minute, okay? Okay? I said I was feeling terrible; I said I didn’t even remember what the fight was about.

FOX

I don’t want you to-

JORDAN

Hush. This is confusing for me, too, remember. I never had a friend die. Now here you are, and I wish we’d never broken up. Dammit, we didn’t have a fight. I fought with that woman who’s dead now. I talked to your mother; she told me what you said about that. I think you’re right. How can I be angry at you for something that . . . that you never did? You understand? I’d like to just forget about it.

FOX

(nods, biting her lip)

It’s like . . . losing a piece of yourself, Jordan. Dying, I mean. Like I came in on the middle of my life.

JORDAN

(looks around and frowns)

You want to go to the bedroom and talk about it?

Fox nods.

CUT TO

THE BEDROOM

It is dark, and simply furnished – though the bed is gigantic, it is the only furniture. Tall windows curve over it, looking out on the lunar landscape. We move in along a trail of discarded clothing and find Fox and Jordan sitting close to each other in the vast bed, looking out the windows. A sheet is wrapped around both of them.

FOX

I’ve discovered something.

JORDAN

What’s that?

FOX

When you come back from the dead, you need three things before you feel alive again. A haircut, a bath, and a good fuck.

Jordan laughs; Fox smells her hands.

FOX

Not necessarily in that order, though. I was on my way to the fresher when I ran into a party. Can you smell the tank fluid on me?

Jordan smells her arm, turning it into a kiss that travels up to her mouth; they fall back together, laughing.

JORDAN

No, I don’t smell anything.

FOX

It must be my nose, then. . . . Thanks for bringing me back to life.

JORDAN

It was my pleasure.

FOX

(hesitant)

Will you be angry if I tell you something?

JORDAN

Probably. But go ahead.

FOX

I don’t think you should move back in just yet.

JORDAN

I thought that was it.

FOX

You’re angry.

JORDAN

(after a pause)

No I’m not. I guess you’re pretty confused.

FOX

(nods vigorously)

That’s it. Everything seems the same, but it just isn’t. That’s the terrible thing about this. Dying is painless – for me. Don’t remember it. It happened to that other me. But being reborn hurts like hell. The changes keep throwing me. I think I just need a few days by myself to sort things out. I want to hide in here for a while, until I’m ready to face the world again.

JORDAN

Whatever you think is best.

He starts to get out of bed but Fox drags him back.

FOX

I didn’t say right now.

They kiss again. We pull back to the two of them starting to move again on the bed.

FADE OUT

FADE IN:
THE LARGE ROOM IN FOX’S APARTMENT

This is her studio – the room with the good view. Half of it is given over to computer facilities and a giant screen, the other half is furnished rather like a hunting lodge, with rough wood furniture and animal pelts on the walls and floor. It is a mess. We pan across the remains of the party and stop on Fox, as she ushers the last of the guests out the door. Her smile fades rapidly when they are gone. She returns, and by now the room is full of scurrying cleaning robots: mostly low machines like rolling tripods with arms to clean windows and dust in high places. They are rapidly setting things in order. Fox breaks stride as she passes a couch, kneels, and frowns as she touches it, then smells her fingers.

FOX

(whistles)

Hey, you.

One of the robots executes a quick turn and comes to attention beside her.

FOX

Have this couch sterilized. Damn people, screwing on the furniture.

She goes on across the room and sinks into a chair. She looks tired. She puts her bare feet up on a footstool, then takes something from a pocket in her dressing gown.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX’S HAND

She is holding an object about as long as a pencil. The barrel is flat, made of clear plastic, and on the end is a black cube half an inch on a side.

CUT TO

THE CHAIR ARM

Fox inserts the black cube in a slot.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF FOX

We see her from behind, facing the part of her room dominated by the computer console. She lifts one arm and negligently waves her hand. From a point just beyond her feet, the room vanishes and is replaced by huge words floating in space: “ARCHIMEDES TRUST ASSOCIATION: RE-ENTRY TAPE #194 (SIX MONTH – TWO YEAR LAPSE).”

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE SAME SCENE

We see from the side the solidity of the letters; the original words are not in perspective, but readable. They vanish, to be replaced by “PART ONE: FASHIONS.”

CUT TO

INSERT OF DOCUMENTARY

Which is produced more like a television commercial; quick cuts, white backgrounds, zooms, close-ups: patterned after cosmetic commercials featuring athletic models doing sexy things. Extreme close-ups of woman’s face.

ANNOUNCER

(overjoyed)

Hair is back!

MODEL

And I love it!

Pull back rapidly to show her leaping from sitting position; she wears a unisex suit much like the one Fox bought. She had long, flowing blonde hair on her forearms and on her legs from the knees to the ankle. It swirls around as she dances. We see her from many angles. She is joined by a man with the same hirsute adornment, and the same clothes.

ANNOUNCER

You see it on the best people. And in the best places.

Rapid cuts to other models, male and female, with hair on feet, like hobbits, beards five feet long, ears fringed with hair, to one woman walking toward the camera – catlike – nude, but with long hair effectively providing fig leaves. Music is going wild, with a driving, five-four beat. There’s a chorus whispering “Hair!” to accompany the announcer who is sounding tougher.

ANNOUNCER

Get some. Grow it anywhere. Take it wherever you go. Hair . . . is back.

Music stops. Face-on shot of model with foot-long eyelashes. She blinks – a long process.

ANNOUNCER

See your licensed somatic engineer. Paid for by the-

CUT TO

FOX FROM BEHIND

She waves her hand; the picture in front of her freezes. She snaps her fingers impatiently.

CUT TO

THE SCREEN – SECOND INSERT

The words “PART TWO: CURRENT EVENTS” appear. Again, half the room vanishes, and we see a corridor much like the commercial corridors we’ve seen before. But this one is almost deserted.

SECOND ANNOUNCER

The economic crisis on Pluto continues to worsen. According to projections from the Central Computer, within a year we can-

CUT TO

FOX – SIDE VIEW

Once more she waves her hand and the picture goes black. More words appear, and each time she waves her hand: PART THREE: ENVIRONMENT, PART FOUR: SOCIETY, PART FIVE: FINANCE, PART SIX; THE ARTS. On this last one she snaps her fingers, and we immediately go into

THE SCREEN – THIRD INSERT

The surface of the moon seems to have come into the room. A section of a low monorail track is four or five feet from Fox’s chair. People in pressure suits are moving around the remains of an induction-rail capsule: a four-seat cylindrical car about the size of a sedan.

THIRD ANNOUNCER

Popular environmental sculptor Fox-Carnival-Joule died around the first of the year in a mishap involving high explosives she was transporting from the Siberia disneyland back to the manufacturer.

CUT TO

TRACKING SHOT – A TROPICAL RAIN FOREST

Jungle sounds are heard; rain is falling steadily.

THIRD ANNOUNCER

Fox was most famous for a weather composition entitled “Monsoon,” a work, seen here, that first attracted serious critical attention to the new art-form. Staged in the Mekong disneyland, it has been playing yearly to packed-

CUT TO

FOX RISING FROM HER CHAIR

FOX

That’s it. Shut it off, CC.

CENTRAL COMPUTER (CC)

(a voice from nowhere; neither ominous, cold, nor strongly human)

Don’t you want to hear the part where they announce your comeback?

FOX

First I want to convince myself I have come back.

She goes to the window and stands gazing out over the rocks.

CC

I missed you, Fox.

FOX

(slightly surprised)

Did you? . . . why? Missed me, out of the millions you deal with every day?

CC

Yes. Why? Because you give me interesting challenges. I look forward to your upcoming project in Siberia.

FOX

If I do it.

CC

I hope you do. You have a visitor. It is your friend, Martin.

FOX

You have odd ideas of friendship. And why wasn’t he at the party? Tell him to go away.

She sits on the window ledge. From there, she can see another part of her house, vaguely. Her hand finds a control panel labelled “EXTERNAL HOLOGRAPHY.” She punches a button.

CUT TO

EXT. – THE SURFACE OF THE MOON

Fox’s house is in foreground. Hills rise behind it; some lights are visible in the shadows, but Fox lives on the edge of the underground city, isolated. Her home appears to be a towering Chinese pagoda. We can see her sitting in a ground-floor window. In the blink of an eye the dwelling becomes an ante-bellum plantation house. Only the windows on the two lower floors have not shifted; Fox still sits unmoving. This illusion lasts only a moment. The house becomes an Egyptian pyramid with windows cut into the stone along the bottom, then an elaborate south-seas grass shack.

CUT TO

INT. – FOX’S STUDY

We see her hand flip a switch labelled “Off.”

CUT TO

EXT. – THE SURFACE

The grass shack snaps out of existence. Fox’s real home is a utilitarian pressurized structure having only windows in common with the fantasies which preceded it.

CUT TO

INT. – FOX STUDY

CC

Martin says it’s urgent. He won’t go away.

FOX

(sighs)

It’s always urgent with Martin. All right, let the bum in.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW – THE STUDY

Martin enters. He is probably the oldest person we’ve seen so far, and he’s only in his early fifties. His movements and gestures are vaguely effeminate, but not campy.

FOX

Martin? That is you, isn’t it? What have you done to yourself?

MARTIN

(seeming at a loss)

Done? Oh, you mean the wrinkles. I heard maturity was going to be the rage. You know me; any old bandwagon. Then youth hangs around for the third or fourth dreary century, and I decided to save some money for a change. You don’t like it?

FOX

(looking him up and down)

No . . . it’s, different. Bizarre, but . . . I think I do like it.

MARTIN

(it’s just too much)

God, I must fly to my medico and have it all undone.

FOX

(amused in spite of herself)

You old fake, you. You’re delighted that I like it. Can I get you anything?

MARTIN

Just a dopestick or two.

Martin settles into a chair as Fox gestures to a robot.

MARTIN

No, you’ve been out of circulation for a while. I’ve been this way for . . . oh, god, forever. It’s getting . . . well . . . old. And while I’m there getting ‘youthified,’ I might as well go back to the female side of the street. This . . . thing gets so dreary after a while.

He gestures vaguely at his lap.

FOX

(accepting coffee from a robot)

It’s good for you to be male every once in a while.

MARTIN

(shaking his head)

No, I’m just one of those people who are basically only comfortable in one sex. Like you.

FOX

(scandalized)

That’s not true! No more than ten years ago I-

MARTIN

Very well, I won’t argue. I didn’t come here for that. I hope you’ll forgive me for missing your no-doubt hideous party. I tried to tell your mother it was a terrible idea but she wouldn’t listen.

FOX

(pointing at him)

That’s right. You died once, didn’t you?

MARTIN

Over seventy years ago. The worst experience of my life; I lost ten years of memories. I found myself in a world much changed from the one I had known; my profession no longer existed – the one benefit, perhaps, as it helped me stop working for a living. I became what you see before you: a great artist!

He makes an airy gesture, then gives it up. This is not a subject he can take lightly, and he is no longer so free with his affectations.

MARTIN (CONT.)

So, as I say, I passed up the party, but felt I had to drop round and see how you were taking it. And also to give you some advice.

FOX

I’ve had quite a bit of that lately.

MARTIN

(looks thoughtful)

But I was right about the party, wasn’t I?

FOX

You mean was it hideous? Not while it was happening.

MARTIN

That’s why you’re feeling so wonderful now, I presume; the chance to see all your friends after a long, long separation . . . of about twenty-four hours.

FOX

I guess you’re right. That’s all it was, to me.

MARTIN

Of course, I’m right. And I’m right about this, too. Get back to work, Fox.

He looks intently at her, totally serious.

MARTIN

I heard you were doing something in Siberia. Get back to it, and as quickly as possible. Spare no time brooding about what’s happened. Pick up your life precisely where it was interrupted and forge ahead.

FOX

I don’t know.

MARTIN

Take my word for it.

He leans back, draws on his dopestick, exhales a lavender cloud of smoke; he drops back into original character.

MARTIN

My god, listen to me. Here I am encouraging a competitor – a popular competitor – to get back to work taking the bread out of my mouth. Do as you please, Fox. I’m sure you would have anyway. The world will surely be a quieter place without your brand of weather sculpture.

He rises as he speaks, begins sweeping out grandly.

MARTIN

Cyclones! Snow storms! All the atmospheric thud and blunder . . . save us all! What ever happened to gentle springtimes? The cool, sweet zephyrs of a summer’s night?

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She is amused as Martin exits, words trailing behind him. But her haunted look returns when he is gone. She sighs deeply and gets up. She goes toward her computer console and begins playing idly with the keys.

CC

Is there anything I can get you?

FOX

Yeah. Call up the tapes on the Siberia show. And . . . label it “Liquid Ice.”

CC

An interesting tension there. Your wish is my command.

Fox sits at her console. We move up toward her face, but do not see what she is seeing.

FADE TO BLACK

FADE IN:
THE SIBERIAN FOREST

In the middle of a blizzard. Snow is deep everywhere. We dissolve through a montage of shots of drifting snow, snow falling from the pine tree branches overhead, while winds howl and shriek. The violence of the storm is spectacular, but gradually it abates, dies completely, and we see nothing but stillness everywhere. Rain begins to fall. At the same time, music begins (Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”). More dissolves show ice beginning to accumulate over everything. Soon all the vegetation is coated with it. Water drips along the frozen branches. We begin to see small parties of people, in furs and boots, slogging through the snow. Sometimes they stop and point at things.

CUT TO

A SNOWY FIELD

In the distance, something shaped like a snowmobile is tearing along.

CUT TO

CAMERA MOUNTED ON SNOWMOBILE

This vehicle is not noisy at all. We hear only the sounds of its skis on the icy snow. The driver is Fox, bundled heavily.

CUT TO

FOX’S POV

Gliding quietly over the snow. She treads her way between some bare, ice-clad trees toward a frozen lake.

CUT TO

OVERLOOKING THE LAKE

There is a group of forty or fifty people standing around, admiring the ice. Fox drives by. Someone points; others become aware of her; they begin to applaud, the sound muffled by gloves. Fox moves down an incline and out onto the lake. The camera pans up, and we see a huge, domed stadium in the center of the lake. Beyond it are jagged mountains, not too far away. The sky is clearing.

CUT TO

THE STADIUM WALL

Fox drives close to a small door and dismounts. She stands gazing toward the mountains, then glances at her hand.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX’S HAND

Liquid-crystal digits are visible on her thumbnail: 5:15.05 PM. The small digits change to 06, then 07.

CUT TO

BEHIND FOX

Facing toward the mountain. She looks up, and a series of sharp explosions, echoing like distant rifle shots, ring out. We see an avalanche start down the mountainside.

CUT TO

THE AVALANCHE

Tons of snow thundering down a ravine.

CUT TO

FRONT VIEW OF FOX

She smiles, and enters the building. We follow her down a short hallway as she removes her gloves and unzips her parka. We hear the sound of many human voices; crowd noise. She turns a corner and emerges before

THE GRANDSTAND

It is filled with people. They face a tall glass wall that leans inward. A roar goes up when Fox appears. The audience stands and applauds.

CLOSE SHOT OF FOX

She is smiling, red-faced from the cold, enjoying it. She takes several bows, but does not stay too long.

CUT TO

THE TUNDRA

Fox’s snowmobile is a tiny speck moving over the snow.

CUT TO

THE NORTH WALL

Fox is still a speck, but she looks even smaller now as she approaches the curved wall of the disneyland. It dwarfs the City Park in scale. The disneyland is one hundred miles across and twenty miles tall; the wall enclosing such a space can be seen to curve gradually and then fades into obscurity. It seems to have no upper limit. And on it is painted and carved a massive fresco of life-sized mountains. Seen from the proper distance, they would look real; here, they are a giant’s postcard set on edge.

CUT TO

A RAMP ON THE NORTH WALL

Fox drives up toward the camera, which pans around with her. She gets off the snowmobile and enters a stone archway. Above it are carved the words “NORTH WIND GENERATORS – SIBERIA DISNEYLAND PERSONNEL ONLY.”

CUT TO

THE WIND GENERATORS

Fox walks along a catwalk suspended in front of a fan with blades fifty stories high. Her footsteps echo endlessly, and there is the hum of distant machinery. We see her from above as she walks among giant tanks and pipes.

CUT TO

MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT

It is a large room, but seems intimate after what we’ve just gone through. Fox enters through a doorway about twenty feet up, and we pull back quickly to show a group of eight people gathered around a table consisting of a large piece of plywood resting on four oil drums. The scene is lit by firelight from an incongruous stone fireplace. On the table is a big wooden beer keg, and someone is drawing a stein for Fox. There are shouts of greeting, and Fox hurries down the stairs to join her friends.

FOX

What did you think?

The reactions vary, and are mostly non-verbal, though sometimes noisy. There is a Bronx cheer, a Rebel yell; somebody is holding her nose, another nodding enthusiastically. These are the top weather sculptors on Luna, and they are divided into two factions: Thunder n’ Lightin’, headed by Fox, and Cool Breezes – Martin. They are dressed in blue coveralls with “SIBERIA DISNEYLAND” patches over the left pockets, and the name of their faction stitched on the back, like motorcycle gang colors. These gatherings are traditional after the premier of a new work; they are getting together to let off steam, and the antics tend to be juvenile. T&L is traditional; CB is new wave. Martin slaps a mug of beer into Fox’s hand.

MARTIN

It stunk, sister. Have a beer.

PYM

(a small woman, and a CB)

A disgrace to the profession, Fox.

LEO

(built like a lumberjack; a T&L)

Best ever, babe.

All these comments are amiable, even the insults. Fox starts to drink; she drains the mug without pausing for breath, smashes it on the concrete floor.

FOX

(wiping her mouth, glares around, ready to fight)

What was that about a disgrace?

PYM

Hell, all it was was a bunch of snow.

For some reason, Fox finds this funny. She laughs; other join in. she strips off her parka to reveal a blue coverall and hair that has grown out since we last saw her; it is also a different color.

CUT TO

SAME ROOM – LATER

Drunken singing is heard. We see a huge poster against a back wall; it advertises “LIQUID ICE – PREMEIRING SATURDAY IN SIBERIA” and is very slick and attractive, like a movie poster. It goes out of focus, and we pan down and focus in on the eight people gathered around the table. Some stand, some wave beer mugs in time to the music, all sway back and forth, all sing. Badly. We hear:

CUT TO

ALL

Through thunder, lightning, wind and rain,
We whip up a storm and then do it again.
We’ll chill your ass, we’ll fry your nose,
With heat waves, cold fronts, and rotating lows.
We’ll mist the dew on the new-grown clover
Then send you to hell and freeze it over!

A ragged cheer; laughter and the clinking of glasses. The beer flows.

CUT TO

SAME ROOM – STILL LATER

A group of three is talking: Fox, Martin, and Jules, an extremely handsome fellow looking out of place in blue coveralls with Thunder n’ Lightnin’ stitched on the back. Music is playing, and off camera people are singing with it: “Let It Snow.”

JULES

So where do you go from here?

FOX

From here? Well, tomorrow there’s lunch with my agent . . . at “Tarzan’s.” God! You think the maître d’ at Tarzan’s would let us in if they saw this place?

MARTIN

(looks around, pretends not to understand)

What’s wrong with this place?

CUT TO

OVERVIEW OF THE MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT

There are around thirty people there now: the eight original, and some friends of the artists.

CUT TO

THE GROUP AT THE TABLE

FOX

Nothing, by me. I just never thought, years ago, that I’d move from here to the best restaurant in King City.

JULES

That’s not what I meant, though. I’m talking about your work. What will you do for an encore?

FOX

I haven’t thought about it. That’s one of the things I’ll talk over with my agent. Hell, maybe I’ll take a rest. It’s been six months since my rebirth and I’ve been working all the time. I’m finally getting over that.

MARTIN

I’m glad to hear it. Everything else working out all right?

FOX

(frowns slightly)

Sure. A few detail to work out, is all.

JULES

(looking around)

I don’t see Jordan around anywhere. Are you two still living together?

FOX

That’s one of the details.

They are distracted by shouting. An argument has been building behind them during the last few seconds. Leo and Treemonisha, a dark woman almost as large as Leo, are battling about some obscure point of weather engineering. We cut between them as they shout and threaten each other.

LEO

I’m telling you a low pressure area-

TREEMONISHA

Your brain is a low pressure area, scumbag. The microecology in Mekong just won’t take that kind of-

LEO

I’m telling you I did it, shithead. I was ramming two goddam stationary-

TREEMONISHA

Stationary, my sweet ass.

LEO

I’m telling you-

TREEMONISHA

Take your goddam low pressure-

They have been leaning over the table, nose to nose. Now Leo, enraged, swings at her. The punch connects and she goes reeling back, but does not fall. Leo climbs over the table in time to catch her fist in his stomach.

CUT TO

TREEMONISHA

With blood on her cheek, grinning, motioning him to come on.

LEO

Charging to the attack, and

TREEMONISHA

Swinging again, and missing. She sprawls, and

FOX

She is watching, delighted. She whoops, and

LEO

Lifting Treemonisha and throwing her across the room, and

THE CROWD OF ONLOOKERS

Watching her, their heads turning in unison, and

TREEMONISHA

Bouncing off the wall, overturning a rack of machine parts, and

FOX, JULES, AND MARTIN

Turned to watch the fight; Fox winces, but she is still laughing.

LEO

Charging like a bull, head down, and

TREEMONISHA

Also on her feet again, charging. Leo hits her, and they both go sprawling, knocking over more racks.

FOX, JULES, AND MARTIN

They are watching the fight – which is out of camera range but clearly audible in clangs, clatters, and breaking glass. They turn away from it and back to each other. Fox is still laughing, and now she drains her beer mug. She looks at the other two.

FOX

I’d say it’s time for some scattered showers.

They agree with her. The three lift the huge beer keg with little difficulty.

CUT TO

THE FIGHTERS

On the floor. A wave of beer washes over them. They sit up, stunned, as everyone laughs at them. Someone thrusts a mug of beer into Treemonisha’s hand. She stares at it, then shrugs and drinks.

DISSOLVE TO

THE HALLWAY OUTSIDE FOX’S HOME

Leo and Martin are on each side of Fox, supporting her. She is not really aware of where she is. Leo is battered, and Martin is shaky. Fox is weakly singing “The Weather Engineers,” forgetting the words.

MARTIN

This is the last time. Never another beer for me. Never, I swear it.

FOX

(giggling)

. . . chill your ass, ‘n fry y’r hose . . .

LEO

Get her hand on the door, will you?

They manage to press her palm to the printlock on the door, which buzzes and slides open. They all tumble inside.

CUT TO

LEO AND MARTIN

Getting to their feet, reeling against each other.

MARTIN

Who do we think we are, anyway? Wild cowboys? Brawling, low-life . . .

LEO

Speak for yourself. You brew up a blizzard like that, you’re entitled to let off some steam.

They start down the hallway, bumping into the walls.

MARTIN

But really! Just when the art-form is beginning to get respectable . . .

LEO

Art-form, fart-form. I ain’t no artist. I’m just like Fox; a goddam engineer who started fooling around with weather programs.

Their voices fade away, and we pan down to the door, which is trying to close. Fox’s foot is in the way. The door shuttles uncertainly, like an elevator door.

CC

Fox? . . . Fox? Wake up, please. You’ll have to move your foot. . . . Very well. You are in violation of King City Ordinance #1- Pressure Seal Integrity. Unless you remove your foot so I can seal the door, I will be forced to drastic measures.

Fox does not move. “The Stars and Stripes Forever” blares at maximum volume. Fox’s foot jerks, moves inside, and the door shuts. Music cuts off instantly.

FOX (VOICE OVER)

Oh, my goddam head!

CUT TO

FOX’S STUDY

She is cleaned up, apparently clear-headed, and pacing back and forth. Jordan sits on the couch, looking sleepy, dressed in a robe.

JORDAN

Are you sure this can’t wait till morning?

FOX

(not angry, but determined)

Everything has to wait with you. Wait and I’ll do this, wait and I’ll do that. I’m through waiting.

JORDAN

You want me to leave, then.

FOX

I want you to do something!

JORDAN

Do what?

FOX

(hopeless)

I think the fact that you could ask such a question really sums up the problem. I don’t want to tell you what to do with your life; I don’t care.

JORDAN

You want me to pay my share around here? I can do it.

FOX

(looks imploringly heavenward)

It isn’t money. I’ve got enough, and if you didn’t have any I wouldn’t give a damn. I mean, what does it cost? The bed is free, you don’t eat much, and I can afford the water you drink and the oxygen you breathe. That’s all you do, anyway: eat, drink, breathe, sleep, watch holovision, and fuck. What you are you doing with your life?

JORDAN

(reasonably)

Enjoying it.

Fox is defeated. She stops pacing, but she is not satisfied. She takes a deep breath.

FOX

Okay. Maybe I’m the crazy one. But I think I’d better start looking for somebody crazy in the same way I am.

JORDAN

(standing)

Then I guess I’d better be on my way. I have to say one thing, though. They sure did make a good copy when they put you back together.

FOX

My god. I’d forgotten . . . is this what we argued about before?

JORDAN

(nodding)

It took a little longer to get to this point this time around, that’s the only difference.

FOX

(looking angry at first, then resigned)

Right.

JORDAN

It’s probably because the rebirth threw you off balance for so long there, then you got into writing that . . . that storm for Siberia that you hardly noticed me except in bed. How did the performance go, by the way?

FOX

(distractedly)

Oh, it seemed to go over well. I’m talking to my agent about it at lunch. The people . . . Forget it. You don’t care for weather sculpture, do you?

JORDAN

I don’t take it seriously. It’s pretty. Do you?

FOX

I’m not sure. It’s turned into a good living, there’s no doubt about that.

She faces him again, pleading.

FOX

Jordan, I wish we could . . .

JORDAN

Don’t say it.

Fox looks surprised.

JORDAN

It’s not fair for me to let you say it. I’ve been through this scene before, remember? You were about to say you’d like me to be the father of your child, if only I’d . . .

FOX

Oh, god.

JORDAN

Don’t waste it on me, Fox. You only get to do that once. Take your time about it. You know what I think our problem is? It’s so simple we didn’t even think of it. It’s the difference in our ages. You’re fifty-six and I’m twenty-six, and that’s all there is to it.

FOX

(ruefully)

You know, you may be right. Maybe I could learn a little patience from you.

She goes to him; they embrace tenderly. Fox’s eyes are moist.

FOX

You could stay a while longer if you want. Maybe we could-

JORDAN

No. we’d just argue again.

FOX

Well . . . will you drop by every once in a while?

They kiss, and Jordan leaves without even packing a bag. Fox goes to the window, glances down at the hologram control.

FOX

Crazy, am I?

She touches the panel.

CUT TO

EXT. – THE SURFACE OF THE MOON

Fox’s home in foreground, without a hologram disguise. What flicks into being is a byzantine haunted house, with bats circling the belfry.

CUT TO

A PUBLIC CORRIDOR

A man stands in front of a shop waiting. The sign above the shop reads “THE NEW YOU,” and beneath that, “SEX CHANGES.” The “O” in you has a plus sign beneath it and an arrow in the upper right side; the lights inside these symbols alternate from ♂ to ♀. The man seems impatient; he glances at his wrist, then we hear running footsteps. He looks to his left, and puts on a bright smile as Fox arrives.

FOX

Sorry I’m late.

JULIAN

Don’t worry; they’ll save a table for you. Take a look at this.

He hands her a newspaper.

CUT TO

TARZAN’S

Which is an open-air restaurant. We cannot tell precisely where it is, but the décor is subtly African, and very lush. This is the most exclusive eatery in town. We look over Fox’s shoulder as she holds up the newspaper, which is “LUNAVARIETY,” with the familiar layout and masthead. The headline is “SIBERIAN CHILLER; FOX ROX BOX,” and in smaller print, “FROSTBITE AT THE DISNEYLAND; A SCORCHER AT THE GATE.” She folds the paper, and we see Julian, her agent, with a smug smile.

FOX

Five hundred thousand . . . I didn’t know they had that many seats.

JULIAN

They could have sold a million. You’re home free, kiddo.

FOX

Well, I guess you’re right, but how much of it will-

They are interrupted by a man with an autograph book. Fox is used to this; she scrawls something in it as the man stammers his thanks; she murmurs and smiles glassily as he bows his way out. She clearly does not care for it.

JULIAN

How much? You didn’t read the contract, did you?

FOX

Well, I-

JULIAN

(he leans forward, counts on his finger)

Never mind. That’s what I’m here for. Just between you and me, the days of the owners screwing you people are over. One, “Monsoon” is still playing twelve times each summer in Mekong, ten years after you wrote it. Two, they’re reviving “Cloudburst” in Pennsylvania and they’re gonna run it once a day, for which you don’t get chickenfeed because you did that deal before we got together, and for “Monsoon” you get peanuts because all we could get out of the bastards was performance rights and they’re the ones raking it in.

FOX

Peanuts? Listen, Julian, I’m doing-

JULIAN

But three – and listen to this; you’re gonna like it – three, I put it to those Siberia assholes, told ’em you could make snow in Pennsylvania or even in fuckin’ Everglades if you wanted to, and besides, if they didn’t want you why didn’t they do business with Martin or Pym or any of that Cool Breezes crowd, they’d give ’em a lovely, tasteful little snowfall that’d bore the shit out of ninety percent of the audience, and-

FOX

(not knowing whether to be horrified or amused)

Julian!

JULIAN

Hold on, hold on. I’m not to the good part yet. Turns out they know as well as you do what the public wants. They cried blood but I got their names on that contract you didn’t read.

FOX

So what’s the good part?

JULIAN

(counting again)

Forget the flat-rate performance fee. We got a piece of the gate; a big piece. I won’t bother to explain the escalator clauses and the reversions; it’d only go over your head.

Fox shrugs and grins, cheerfully admitting it.

JULIAN

They pick up all the costs of your computer time. They pay for installation of special equipment, they insure the production from top to bottom. We got a percentage of the souvenir sales. We got the holovision rights, we own the software, we can market it in Mars, Titan, Mercury, and Pluto disneylands.

He sits back, pleased with himself.

FOX

What does that leave them?

JULIAN

Fifty trillion tons of snow.

FOX

I’m surprised you didn’t corner the snowball concession.

Julian looks surprised, whips out a pen and starts to write on the contract he has been thumping as he speaks. Fox laughs and reaches across the table to slap his arm, and he looks up, smiling.

JULIAN

Anything else you want to know?

FOX

The bottom line, I guess. How much do I stand to make?

JULIAN

(looks thoughtful, then apologetic)

Uh-huh. Well, understand, I’m just taking into account the options they’ve already picked up on this one; the performance that are already being sold. Okay?

Fox shrugs; Julian writes something on a slip of paper, hands it to Fox. She looks at it; her eyes grow wide.

FOX

I don’t believe it

JULIAN

Bottom line, kiddo.

FOX

I’m rich!

She stand, leans over the table, and kisses him.

JULIAN

The sky’s the limit.

CUT TO

SAME PLACE – LATER

The food has arrived. They talk as they eat.

JULIAN

About your next show . . . any ideas yet?

FOX

I’m not sure. Who’s interested?

JULIAN

Practically anybody. Oceana wants a typhoon.

FOX

(shaking her head)

It’s not big enough. What is it . . . a hundred and fifty kilometers across?

JULIAN

That’s your department, not mine.

FOX

We roughed it out once. For a typhoon we’d need a disneyland at least three hundred kilometers in diameter. Man, I’d sure love to do that, though.

JULIAN

I heard they were building one that big at Pluto.

FOX

No kidding? Why didn’t I . . . oh, they must have started while I was dead. Three hundred kilometers . . .

JULIAN

(studying her face)

Well, I guess I could feel them out, but I don’t think they’ll be finished for-

FOX

Don’t worry, Julian. I don’t want to go to Pluto.

JULIAN

Good. Cold out there. As to here, I’ve already got both Himalaya and Kansas to agree to the contract Siberia signed; take your pick. Or pick another. I’ll do the rest.

FOX

Himalaya is out. I’m sick of snow. What about Kansas? I haven’t spent much time there. What kind of weather did they have in Kansas? The real Kansas, I mean, before the Invaders?

JULIAN

(frowning)

Tornados, didn’t they? I’m not up on geography.

FOX

(interested)

Tornados.

She thinks it over, then looks around her.

FOX

This place really isn’t all that much, is it?

JULIAN

It’s all in who comes here, babe. The food’s not the greatest.

FOX

I wonder why they call it Tarzan’s? Was he a real person?

JULIAN

Beats me.

CUT TO

HIGH VIEW – TARZAN’S

It sits on a branch of the giant tree in City Park. We see the trunk, and part of the branch; Tarzan’s is a tiny patch of activity, the people looking like ants.

CUT TO

FOX ARRIVING HOME

She is humming as she enters, and goes straight to the window. She touches the hologram control.

CUT TO

The surface of the moon.
Fox’s home becomes something that’s a cross between Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, The Emerald City, and a wedding cake. Triumphant music is heard.

CUT TO

INT. – FOX’S HOME

She sits at a table, eating a snack and reading the reviews of “Liquid Ice” as they’re displayed on a portable computer monitor. She gets up, leaves the room.

CUT TO

THE STUDY

Fox starts across the room. We pan to follow her. There is a faint tapping sound; irregular and distant. Fox appears to hear it, pauses, looks toward her computer console, sees nothing. She begins walking again, and behind her we see her windows come into view. There is a space-suited figure outside, and big, clumsy words in red paint smeared on the glass. Music sting.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She is still troubled by something. She turns, and yelps in surprise, quickly choking it off. She is spooked by what she sees, but not afraid.

CUT TO

THE WINDOW

The figure turns and runs into the shadows; the writing he has left behind says: “Fox help me I’m.”

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

Her frown deepens as we see her eyes scan the words.

CUT TO

FOX STANDING AT THE WINDOW

Her back to us; she reads it again then presses her face to the glass.

CUT TO

NEAR THE AIRLOCK

Fox is suited but for her helmet. She dons it, then turns and walks towards the door. It slides out of her way, revealing another door three feet beyond it.

CUT TO

IN THE AIRLOCK

We follow behind Fox. She does not break stride; the doors get out of her way in succession, hissing, each a little quieter than the one before.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE AIRLOCK

Now we are in front of her, and can see the doors sliding closed behind her. There are eight doors in all, and the last one closes in total silence as Fox is flooded in brilliant sunlight. The only sound is her breathing.

CUT TO

SURFACE OF THE MOON

Fox bounds down the slope leading away from her home, still in fairy-castle configuration.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE SURFACE

We see Fox approaching a steeper incline. There is a drop-off of thirty or forty feet, with a further slope of rubble below it.

CUT TO

A PLACE OF CONCEALMENT

A helmet is in the foreground. The breathing we hear is more rapid. Fox is approaching the precipice.

CUT TO

FOX

Her face dimly visible inside the helmet. She is stopped, and scans the lowlands spread out before her.

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM’S POV

The breathing is ragged; there is an animal moan. Rapidly, jerkily, he advances from his hiding place and comes up behind Fox. We see his hands extended; he hits her.

CUT TO

THE BOTTOM OF THE CLIFF

Looking up, we see Fox arc out into space, arms flailing, in silence. We follow her down. She lands on her head. We hear a dull thud, followed by a steady hiss, like a leaky tire. It fades.

FADE TO BLACK

FADE IN:
THROUGH A MICROSCOPE

A human ovum is punctured by a tiny pipette. The same music is heard, but only the guitar this time; no vocal.

CUT TO

MONTAGE SEQUENCE

Much shorter than before: an embryo; different people at the control console; the wall of natatorium cells; the rows of tanks; a fetus labelled FOX-CARNIVAL-JOULE; rows of people exercising in the morgue.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX’S FACE

Eyes closed, framed by long hair. Her eyes open. She sits up suddenly into restraining arms, looks around.

FOX

Bad dream. I thought I . . . my whole life passed . . . I died, didn’t I?

CUT TO

CARNIVAL, LEANDER, JULIAN

Carnival turns blindly away, trying not to cry.

CUT TO

FOX’S STUDY

There is no longer any writing on the window. Fox sinks gratefully into a chair. Leander, Julian, and Carnival find seats. Jordan enters from another room.

CARNIVAL

(to Jordan)

You have a lot of nerve coming here.

FOX

Mother!

JORDAN

It’s all right, Fox. She’s got a right. I just thought I ought to . . . . I’ll talk to you later.

CARNIVAL

Well, I’ll talk right now! You kicked him out, Fox, and now he’s taking advantage of your confusion to try and-

FOX

Mother, please!

CARNIVAL

(on the edge of hysteria)

-and if that weren’t enough, you’ve been murdered twice now, and these assholes still won’t believe it.

She glares at Leander, Jordan and Julian in turn. No one cares to refute her until Fox sighs and leans forward.

FOX

Mother, this is going to be bad enough. I’m missing almost two years out of my life. To me, it was just this morning I walked into the bank to get recorded because of some fantastic bank robbery story. I wake up, get told I’ve died twice, you tell me I kicked Jordan out, somebody did something to me . . . and I tell you the only way it’s going to make any sense to me is to think of those things as if they happened to other people. Like the first one was Fox One, then there was Fox Two, and I’m . . .

She stops, and notes expressions of embarrassment from Leander and Carnival. She sits back, stunned.

FOX

I said that before, didn’t I? I mean, Fox Two said it.

LEANDER

(calmest person in the room)

Words to that effect, yes. You must understand this is an experience common to all reincarnated persons. You will encounter it a lot. You will have to work things out with your boyfriend again.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – JORDAN

Who looks troubled, but hopeful.

LEANDER (CONT.)

Your agent here-

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT OF JULIAN

Who smiles and winks with false cheer.

LEANDER (CONT.)

-will have to fill you in on things he has already discussed with your previous self, Fox Two, if you wish.

JULIAN

In the bag, kid. Nothing but good news.

LEANDER

(unimpressed with Julian)

And I must now more or less repeat an earlier conversation I had with your predecessor. What you should bear in mind is that it is not a burden to us. Don’t fear to ask questions; they’ll be things you should know, so don’t worry that Fox Two asked them

FOX

But I lost an entire project! What did you say it was called?

JULIAN

“Liquid Ice.” Went over big in Siberia. Still playing, too, and we’ve got a percentage of-

FOX

I’ve never heard of it! I was thinking of doing something for Siberia, just some ideas without any framework . . . it’s already done, and everybody thinks I did it but I didn’t! I don’t remember it. I was robbed!

CARNIVAL

Worse than that, darling, you were murdered, and I want to know when-

LEANDER

(hastily)

Madam, you may discuss that with Fox and with the police if you wish. Meanwhile, the Archimedes Trust has an obligation to explain its part of the ordeal as promptly and as clearly as it can. I intend to do so now. Then we might as well begin.

CUT TO

FOX’S STUDY – LATER

Everyone is gone but Fox, who broods alone. Outside her window it is dark, and the Earth is full.

FOX

CC, online, please.

CC

Yes, Fox?

FOX

Was there a police investigation of my . . . my most recent death?

CC

There certainly was. They camped out here for days.

FOX

Put me in contact with the officer in charge of the case, please.

CC

That would be Lieutenant Isadora. The number is ringing . . . still ringing . . . stand by.

A woman seated behind a desk materializes in the room, directly in front of Fox. She appears as solid as anything else in the room.

ISADORA

Hi. What can I do for you?

FOX

Do you know me?

ISADORA

You spoke with me briefly shortly after your last incarnation. And of course, I know a lot about you because I looked into your death six months ago.

FOX

Was it an accidental death?

ISADORA

Frankly, we can’t say. It could have been. And we developed no evidence indicating murder. But we did look into the possibility.

FOX

Why is that?

CUT TO

THE POLICE STATION – ISADORA’S OFFICE

She is in a corner of a busy room, which we hear rather than see, sitting at the desk she brought with her to Fox’s home. But now the desk is in context with the room, and Fox, sitting in her chair in front of the desk, is out of place.

ISADORA

You died twice in a six-month period. That’s statistically unlikely.

FOX

To put it mildly.

ISADORA

It’s not my job to put things any other way. I know your mother is convinced you were murdered both times. I admit both circumstances were suspicious. But we found nothing, and I assure you we looked very thoroughly.

FOX

Nothing at all? No trace of footprints outside my window?

ISADORA

(still patient, but not liking being advised on her job)

Go out there and take a look for yourself. The place is lousy with footprints. People have been walking around out there for four hundred years, and the prints just stay there forever. Come back in a million years; it’ll look the same.

FOX

I’m sorry, it’s just-

ISADORA

It’s okay. It must be tough to deal with. I’ll tell you, the only thing we did find-

As she speaks, a man walks through Fox’s image; Fox never sees him, since he is not projected into her house, but Isadora looks annoyed.

ISADORA

-was an indication that some sort of paint had been smeared on the outside of your window, then cleaned off. I was waiting for your revival to ask if you knew anything about it.

FOX

Not a thing.

CUT TO

FOX’S STUDY.

As before; Fox glances at the window. There is nothing to see.

ISADORA

Which means nothing. It could have been something your previous incarnation did.

FOX

God, I’m going to get tired of hearing that.

ISADORA

I suppose so. In the meantime, the case is open, but pending. There’s nothing more we can do unless something new turns up.

FOX

(a new possibility dawns)

Like me getting murdered again?

ISADORA

If you die again in the next four or five years, Fox, I’m going to be one suspicious cop.

FOX

I guess that’s something, anyway.

ISADORA

(suddenly hesitant)

I did want to tell you – I hope you don’t mind. I was in Siberia for the premiere of “Liquid Ice.” I thought it was magnificent.

FOX

(bitterly)

Thanks. Thanks a lot. I wish I could say the same.

She waves her hand, and Isadora vanishes. After a pause, the Central Computer speaks.

CC

For what it’s worth, Fox, I thought “Liquid Ice” was magnificent, too. It was a pleasure working with you on it.

FOX

(fighting back tears)

CC, was I murdered?

CC

I wish I could tell you. There is no evidence of it, other than the statistical unlikelihood of two deaths so close together. I estimate around a one in fifty chance that one or both of your deaths were the result of human activity; i.e.: murder.

FOX

That’s not a big chance, is it?

CC

But long shots do come in. that’s what probability is all about.

FOX

I . . . wait. I left from here, out through that airlock, and five or ten minutes later I was dead. If I’d been dragged out, or lured out, wouldn’t you have seen it?

CC

You’re laboring under a common misconception. Because I am so ubiquitous, people assume I look and listen at all times and in all places. The fact is, the privacy laws forbid my intrusion into places where I am not summoned online.

FOX

(surprised)

You mean you really butt out?

CC

I must. It’s in my programming. Would you really like me to listen all the time, with the number of people who have access to my memories?

FOX

I guess not.

CC

It seems best. Experience has shown that data which exists is eventually used. Even though this restriction limits my police functions, it seems a wise limitation.

FOX

I’m surprised you have an opinion.

CC

People seldom ask for it.

FOX

(not seeming to hear)

But if I asked you, you have the capacity to watch me all the time?

CC

I have capacity to squander. I deal with fifty million people on an individual basis.

FOX

Then I’d like you to do that until I advise you differently. That way if I . . . if I die again, you’ll see how it happened.

CC

Program entered and running.

FOX

Is there anything else I could do? For security? I’m not used to thinking in those terms.

CC

It so happens I have a few suggestions.

CUT TO

FOX’S BEDROOM

Music begins; something with a driving beat. The bed has been rolled up and put to one side and the room converted into a gymnasium, the floor and walls padded. Fox is dressed in karate clothes. She watches a man, dressed the same way, going through a series of moves. When he is completed he vanishes, and appears again across the room to repeat the exact moves he did the first time. Fox watches, making small motions with hands and feet, then waves him away and repeats the movements, awkwardly.

CUT TO

THE STUDY

Fox stands near the windows, looking out, as space-suited workers lift heavy metal panels into place. The windows are half blocked out already. Welding torches sputter around the edges of the plates.

CUT TO

INT. – A WEAPONS SHOP

Fox stands at the counter, being shown something that looks a lot like an electric carving knife. The salesman is speaking to her, pointing to various features, and Fox looks on with interest, nodding. She takes it when he offers it.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – THE CHAIN-KNIFE

Fox holds it in her right hand with her thumb on a switch. Close up, the weapon does not look quite so much like a knife. The handle is thick and shaped into a hand grip. There is a central plate of metal, and the tip is rounded. Rimming the central plate is a fine steel chain set with a thousand gleaming, sharp teeth, like the teeth of a shark. The principle is that of the chainsaw, scaled down. She thumbs the switch, and the chain blurs into invisibility.

CUT TO

THE WEAPONS SHOP AGAIN

Fox nods, and hands the weapon back to the man, who takes out a box and begins wrapping it.

CUT TO

THE BEDROOM

Fox is practicing karate alone. Her moves are stronger, more self-assured.

CUT TO

THE HILLSIDE

Fox stands facing a sapling tree. The trunk is three or four inches in diameter. She wears the chain-knife in a sheath strapped to her hip. She crouches, then reaches for the knife, draws it out, and slashes viciously at the tree. There is a burst of fine powder, but aside from that, nothing happens. She straightens, puts the chain-knife back in its scabbard, then reaches out and pushes the tree with her fingertip. It falls over, leaving a surgically severed stump three feet high. She seems satisfied with the result.

CUT TO

THE BEDROOM

Fox is practicing with a real teacher now. They throw each other, bounce up for more. She has worked up a real sweat, and is clearly enjoying herself. She is much better.

CUT TO

FOX SAILING THROUGH THE AIR

She lands heavily, rolls, and winces as she gets up.

THE KARATE INSTRUCTOR

She goes to Fox, speaks words we cannot hear, clearly asking Fox if she wants to go on. Fox makes reassuring gestures, nods, and the two face off again.

CUT TO

THE STUDY – TRACKING SHOT

We move down a line of tough faces, both male and female. There are five or six of them. At the end of the line we pull back to show them sitting on a row of chairs in front of Fox’s now-shuttered windows.

CUT TO

FOX – AT HER DESK

Another burly man sits in front of her. She is asking him questions, and he is answering stolidly. She nods, thanks him, and he leaves. The next person in line gets up and Fox rises to shake her hand, gestures her to a seat.

CUT TO

THE BEDROOM AGAIN

Fox is alone again, and she is as good as she’ll ever be at the karate, which looks competent enough. She leaps impossibly high into the air, kicking and chopping imaginary opponents. We see her shouting but still hear nothing but the music. We cut rapidly among shots of her furious face, punching hands, and so forth, as the music builds to a climax. The music ends, and Fox relaxes, bends forward from the waist, stretching, stands abruptly. Her hair is longer than it was in her first reincarnation, and she tosses it back over her head. She looks pleased with herself.

CUT TO

THE STUDY WINDOWS – INSIDE

Though she can no longer see out, Fox strides to the hologram control and touches it.

CUT TO

THE LUNAR SURFACE

No hologram is in operation. Then we see the new fantasy, which is a dark, brooding, and impregnable stone castle. There is fire in the moat. The walls bristle with cannons.

FADE TO BLACK

FADE IN:
A TROPC LAGOON – AERIAL SHOT

We look down on a small Pacific island ringed by a coral atoll. Waves crash on the reef, but the lagoon itself is peaceful and blue. There is a small boat on the water.

CUT TO

THE BOAT

There are three people in it. Julian sits just forward of midship. He is rowing, and the activity does not come naturally to him. He is overdressed in a futuristic business suit, as out of place here as he is at home in surroundings like “Tarzan’s.” Fox reclines in the stern, wearing a floppy straw hat and not much else, glistening with suntan oil, holding a half-pineapple with a straw and an umbrella sticking out of it. She looks indecently relaxed and pleased with herself. Sitting behind her is Gorgar, one of the people we saw her interviewing earlier, who she has hired as her bodyguard. He is big but not brutish, giving the impression of quickness as well as strength. He sits alertly, holding an umbrella which is shading Fox’s face, but his attention stays fixed on the distant beach.

JULIAN

Well, Fox? What do you think?

FOX

(lazily)

Think? Oh, it’s great, Julian, really great. I’ll have to come back here, spend some time.

JULIAN

(exasperated, but patient)

Give me a break, will you?

FOX

(sits up and shoves the hat back)

Aside from the fact I’m not sure I’d like to louse this up with a hurricane, it’s like I told you; the place is too small. You dragged me here, and I’m really kinda glad we came, but it’s still too small.

She squints into the distance.

FOX

Hell, I think I can see the west wall from here. There’s no way I’m gonna whip up a meaningful typhoon in this teacup.

JULIAN

(forgetting about rowing)

But the percentages! They want you bad, babe. Stock options, share participations-

FOX

There’s no way.

JULIAN

Not even a little tropical storm?

FOX

Julian, I could make one hell of a wind blow in here, but you just don’t understand. I don’t want to. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. You’ve been very good to me. But I’m not in this for the money.

JULIAN

(lets the oars drop)

I don’t know why I bother, sometimes. Why can’t he take a turn running this thing?

Fox pats Gorgar’s thigh rather possessively, leans back against him.

FOX

Don’t tease Gorgar. He’s got his job to do. And he does it rather well. Besides – I like him where he is.

GORGAR

I think it would be safe for me to take a turn.

FOX

(brightening)

Would you? Oh, I’d love to see that.

Julian and Gorgar change places; the bodyguard’s oiled muscles ripple as he rows them at a fast pace. Fox glances up to Julian.

FOX

Can you believe it? And he’s smart as a whip.

CUT TO

THE TUBE TRAIN STATION

The three walk out from an arched tunnel into a larger space. Over the arch are the words: “TUBES TO CLAVIUS, COPERNICUS, OCEANA DISNEYLAND.” Fox and Julian are talking, while Gorgar stays at Fox’s side, looking alert.

CUT TO

TRACKING SHOT – FOX, JULIAN, GORGAR

Fox waves to a few people that recognize her, but does not stop.

FOX

I really don’t see the point in this.

JULIAN

Because that was the best deal. I thought if you took a look around you’d like it.

FOX

Why not go right on to Kansas, now. That’s what I want to do.

JULIAN

The Kansas deal is shit city, babe. The bastards are trying to queer the contract we already agreed on. Trust me, Fox. All I’m asking is a lookover.

FOX

I’ve got nothing else to do. What’s next?

JULIAN

(points)

Kenya. You’re gonna love it. They’re putting on a special, just for you.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE TRAIN STATION

The three enter another tunnel, marked: “EXPRESS TUBE TO KENYA DISNEYLAND.”

CUT TO

INSIDE THE TUBE CAR

It is the size of a standard subway car, but much more luxurious. There are fresh flowers in cut-glass vases, and leather upholstery. The ride is all but silent, and completely without sway. The only sensation of motion is the lights moving past outside the windows at a terrific rate. The train moves out of the tunnel and now we can really see its speed – around 1800 miles per hour.

CUT TO

THE LUNAR SURFACE

From a great distance we see the silver monorail track, absolutely level and with a barely perceptible curve away from the camera. The car comes into view, floating above the rail, and traverses the scene in seconds.

CUT TO

ANOTHER PART OF THE SURFACE

From a camera very close to the monorail track, we look toward the approaching train, which is upon us as soon as we see it.

CUT TO

THE OPPOSITE VIEW

The train recedes from us just as rapidly, in total silence.

CUT TO

THE BOTTOM OF A LUNAR RILLE

It is a deep canyon, spanned by a tinkertoy bridge that seems far too spindly; it only has to resist the one-sixth Lunar gravity. The train moves over it, a flash of silver.

CUT TO

THE CAR INTERIOR

As it once more goes underground and begins to descend.

CUT TO

THE THREE DISEMBARKING

Into a subway station.

CUT TO

INT. – AN ELEVATOR

It is large, with about a hundred people in it. Near the door lights blink in ascending order, then the door opens.

CUT TO

THE TOP OF KILIMANJARO

The elevator terminus is a concrete pillbox very near the peak. A trail leads down to a restaurant cantilevered out over the slope. We see this from a distance.

CUT TO

THE SCENIC OVERLOOK

The three stand at a railing and watch the sun setting behind distant mountains. Fox takes a small round object, holds it to her eye, and we hear the click of a camera shutter.

CUT TO

THE SAVANNA

In the foreground: gnus, gazelles, zebras, giraffes. In the background, the white-tipped volcanic cone of the mountain, catching the last rays of the sun.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE SAVANNA

A herd of elephants against a brilliant orange sunset.

CUT TO

THE THREE AT THE SCENIC OVERLOOK

Fox turns away, to Julian’s consternation. Gorgar has not even looked at the sunset; his eyes are always on other people.

FOX

Very nice. I shall write a nice letter thanking the management. What’s next?

CUT TO

THE WEST WALL

Like the wall we saw previously in Siberia. This time we can see more of the “sky,” which is painted blue, and the mountains are bas-reliefs against the wall. There is a gaping hole near the camera, and out of it emerges a gargantuan set of tracks that attach to the wall, rise, and curve with the sky until they are hanging from it. Wires radiate from creeping cars that move along the track, and suspended in the spider web these wires form is an object so brilliant that its shape cannot be seen; it is a point of hurting light.

CUT TO

THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN RIDGE: WEST WALL

There is a small maintenance shack perched on the false mountaintop with just a drop-off behind it and a very sheer slope leading to it. The shack crouches behind what looks to be a breaking wave of concrete, which faces one of the sun-tracks; in a moment that concrete will have to withstand fusion temperatures as the sun is carried down behind the mountains. In the distance, a wind outlet belches gray dust to produce the spectacular sunset. The fragment of track we see dwarfs the maintenance shack, which is no bigger than one of the bolts that hold it together. Alarms are hooting everywhere, and a big sign is flashing off and on: “ALL PERSONNEL TAKE SHELTER: MAXIMUM RADIATION HAZARD.” The scene begins to blaze with light. The artificial sun moves downward from off-camera, whiting out the surfaces it shines on, which begin to smoke. Quick, hard gusts of winds swirl dust in all directions; the place is getting blasted with light of unimaginable intensity. The roaring of the fusion fires soon drowns out the sounds of the alarms, then the entire scene is whited out.

DISSOLVE TO

THE TROPIC SUN

The camera pans down from whiteness to discover the three in a canoe moving down the Amazon River.

FOX (VOICE OVER)

I told you it was just like Mekong. Jungle’s jungle, Julian. I’ll bet you’ve never even been here before.

JULIAN

Never mind, so I was wrong. I got something else to show you.

CUT TO

THE TRAIN STATION

The three go under an archway marked: “FREE SHUTTLE TO SAHARA.”

CUT TO

THE SAHARA

They stand on a sand dune. Behind them are pyramids; not the ruins of today, but the way they looked when new. Fox looks around, shakes her head, and they turn and walk down the far side of the dune.

FOX (VOICE OVER)

Now can we go to Kansas?

CUT TO

KANSAS

They emerge from a partially concealed stairway and out onto the barren Great Plains. The stairway entrance is the only structure to be seen. It is a windy day, and the sun is shining brightly.

CUT TO

JULIAN

He is clearly not attracted to it, but he’s even more puzzled by it all.

JULIAN

What the hell is this? Aren’t they going to finish it?

FOX

(laughing)

It is finished.

JULIAN

Well, what a stinking waste of space. How they going to get people to come to a dump like this?

FOX

Julian, you kill me, you really do. You handle weather sculptors almost exclusively nowadays, and this place has been finished for five years, and this is the first time you’ve been here?

JULIAN

So you’ve been here a lot? I’ll bet.

FOX

No; once or twice, just to look around. I haven’t really explored it. But I will.

Fox laughs again, and hugs herself, then kneels and kisses the ground.

FOX

This is the place, Julian. This is the place.

JULIAN

You’re crazy! Nobody will come to a place like this. I’ve seen the figures; they’re lousy.

FOX

(suddenly serious again)

The attendance is growing. People are hearing about it; the ones who’ve already worked their way through the spectacular disneylands. There’s a cult visitorship building. And this is exactly what I need. I can see why people are coming. It’s a blank slate. You can come here and be alone with yourself. Find out what you’re all about.

JULIAN

(moaning)

And the people who run this hole are nothing but robbers! They want to steal you blind, Fox, they want to-

FOX

(suddenly forceful)

Then you’ll just have to be tougher than they are. Get me whatever you can, Julian, but get me this disney. People are going to come here, and I’ll tell you why. They’re going to come because I’m going to create my greatest work here. Right here in Kansas.

JULIAN

(reluctantly)

If you say so. But I’m warning you, if we-

He looks up from Fox, over her shoulder.

JULIAN

What the hell is that?

CUT TO

A BUFFALO

Regarding them placidly.

CUT TO

THE THREE OF THEM

Regarding it back. Julian looks nervous.

GORGAR

That . . . is a buffalo.

JULIAN

Yeah? They got many of those in here?

GORGAR

About a hundred thousand.

CUT TO

FOX

Looking interested.

FOX

. . . a hundred thousand buffalo.

JULIAN

What are you going to do with buffalo?

FOX

I’ll think of something.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – THE BUFFALO

Not seeming to care what’s in store for him

CUT TO

INSERT – FILM CLIP

From “The Wizard of Oz” – the scene when Dorothy and Toto return to the farmhouse with the cyclone in the distance and the family locked up securely in the storm cellar.

CUT TO

THE STUDY

Fox is seated at her computer console. We look over her shoulder as she watches the scene, which plays on a small screen.

CC

Pardon the intrusion, Fox, but your mother is at the door.

FOX

That’s okay. Let her in, will you? And run that back to the beginning. I’d like to see it again.

CUT TO

INSIDE THE FRONT DOOR.

Gorgar takes up a position just inside, ready for anything. The door opens and Carnival enters, smiles at Gorgar, who relaxes.

CUT TO

CARNIVAL’S POV

As a huge, snarling German Shepherd comes barreling out of another door, intent on ripping out her throat.

CUT TO

CARNIVAL

Who is wide-eyed.

CUT TO

FOX

Who puts her fingers to her lips, whistles shrilly.

FOX

Toto!

The dog instantly obeys, skidding on the floor in his haste to stop himself. He fetches up at Carnival’s feet, and looks at her with no aggression.

FOX

Good dog. Come here, boy!

CUT TO

CARNIVAL

Who was never actually frightened, but certainly startled by the attack. She joins Fox, who is stroking the dog, and sits across from her.

CARNIVAL

Where in heaven or hell did you get that?

FOX

Carnival, meet Toto. Toto, this is my mother. Her name is Carnival, and she is all right. Do you understand?

The dog actually nods, then goes to nuzzle Carnival’s hand. She doesn’t really care for it.

CARNIVAL

I suppose I shouldn’t criticize. You know I thoroughly approve of the large gentleman who greeted me at the door. I approve of that-

She gestures to the closed windows.

CARNIVAL (CONT.)

-since I never understood why you wanted a view of the dreadful landscape or the dreadful Earth in the first place. And I approve of your martial arts training; I’ve taken it up myself. But this . . .

She frowns again at the dog.

FOX

Be nice, Mother. He understands most of what you say.

CARNIVAL

Oh, all right.

FOX

Besides, I didn’t get him just for protection. I guess that was the original idea. But I’ve been thinking, three months have gone by and not a thing has happened. My bodyguard hasn’t seen anything at all, and the police haven’t turned up anything new. I’m beginning to think it really was a coincidence.

CARNIVAL

(exasperated)

I’ve seen this coming.

FOX

Dammit, you know I did all these things just because nobody could tell me I hadn’t been murdered. Not because I believed I had. It was just insurance. The Central Computer said the chances that it was murder get less with every day nobody tries it again.

CARNIVAL

Is that true, CC?

CC

Yes, it is, Carnival. This killer, if he exists, seems obsessed with killing Fox. The act proves his irrationality, since Fox keeps coming back. We would expect him to have tried it again by now.

CARNIVAL

(suddenly seeming to despair of it all)

I don’t know what to say. From the very beginning I’ve been the only one who expressed what I know everybody fears, down deep. You are being stalked by a murderer. It is idiocy, Fox, idiocy, for you to relax your precautions.

FOX

(giving in; humoring her)

All right, Carnival. I’ll do it if it’ll make you happy.

CARNIVAL

Including cancelling that trip to Kansas?

FOX

(hardening)

No! Is that what you came here for? Again?

CARNIVAL

That is exactly what I came here for. To convince you to stay away, or at the very least to take your bodyguard with you.

FOX

Then you wasted your time.

CARNIVAL

Why alone? Explain that.

FOX

(reticent)

I don’t think I can. I have to be alone in the place before I can begin to feel it. I always do that. I camped out for a week even in Siberia; I practically froze to death, but I had to do it.

Carnival is feeling defeated, but suddenly has an idea.

CARNIVAL

Then at least take the dog. You can’t tell me that’s an unreasonable thing to ask. Please, Fox. Do it for me. Just this one thing, and I’ll leave you alone.

FOX

(defeated, but accepting it)

Okay. It’s me and Toto in Kansas.

CUT TO

KANSAS

It is almost dusk. We cut through several views of the plains. Thunderheads are building on the horizon. There is no sound but the gentle breeze and the rustling of tall grass. The sun sets.

CUT TO

THE STAIRWELL ENTRANCE

Fox and Toto, silhouetted against the last of the sunset. It is almost dark; a full moon is rising, and some bright stars are seen.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She breathes deep, looks around, smiles.

CUT TO

LOOKING WEST

From a good distance, we see Fox’s silhouette taking off a belt, then removing her robe she stands naked for a moment, back to the camera.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX’S FACE

She starts to move away, then glances down.

CUT TO

THE ROBE AND THE BELT

Attached to the belt is the scabbard containing the chain-knife.

CUT TO

LONG SHOT

Fox bends over and picks up the belt, buckles it around her waist. She begins to jog away from the camera. Toto follows.

CUT TO

TRACKING SHOT

Focusing on Fox’s face as she runs. Music begins; it is ethereal, quiet and not obtrusive. We hear all the sounds of Fox’s run: her breathing, her footsteps, the wind in the grass.

CUT TO

ANOTHER TRACKING SHOT

This time Fox’s feet as she runs. Footsteps brought up on the sound track.

CUT TO

TRACKING SHOT – TOTO

He lopes easily; we hear his panting.

CUT TO

OVERHEAD SHOT – HELICOPTER

Fox runs across moonlit, gently rolling land. The sound of thunder is herd in the distance.

CUT TO

LOW SHOT

Fox runs by the camera and away from it, toward clouds gathering.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX’S FACE

More thunder is heard. She shows her teeth in a smile, unafraid.

CUT TO

THE APPROACHING STORM

The wind blows a little harder. The sound of approaching rain turns quickly into a torrent.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She is still running, being drenched, and loving it. We see her in occasional lightning flashes.

CUT TO

THE TOP OF A LOW RISE

Fox is sitting now, huddled over herself, Toto sitting near her feet. She shivers slightly, but when she looks up into the rain she is still accepting its violence. She opens her mouth to it.

CUT TO

CHOSE SHOT – FOX’S FEET

They are in a puddle: the toes dig in.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX’S HAND

It closes around a clump of grass and pulls it out, then just tries to grip the earth itself. The rain is abating now, as rapidly as it began.

CUT TO

FOX AND DOG

Huddled together. Fox is shivering; the rain has stopped.

FOX

We’d better get moving, boy, or we’re gonna freeze

But she does not get up yet. Toto’s head jerks up; he bares his teeth and growls. Fox is startled.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX’S FACE

She jerks her head around.

CUT TO

T0T0

He snarls and sprints away into the darkness.

CUT TO

FOX

She is now alarmed. She crouches in fear of the dark and the unknown.

FOX

Toto! Where are you, boy?

A short time passes as we focus on Fox up close. Then we hear a dog’s whine.

CUT TO

TOTO

Returning, whimpering, slinking with his tail between his legs. He crawls the last few feet on his belly and cautiously offers his head to be petted by Fox.

FOX

Are you all right, you crazy dog?

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM’S POV

He is running; we hear his labored breathing. The clouds are thinning out overhead so there is more light, but little he can see. Suddenly there is Fox on the ground ahead, still fairly distant. He stops, and the viewpoint lowers as he crouches.

CUT TO

FOX AND TOTO

Still looking cautiously into the night.

FOX

Something tells me we’d better start back.

The dog whines again, she pats it.

FOX

I don’t know what’s got into you. Let’s go.

She rises. We focus on her face; an outline in the night; then pan down her arm, where the glint of metal reveals she has taken out her chain-knife. She reverses it and a beam of light comes from the butt end. She plays the flashlight beam on the ground ahead of her.

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM’S POV

Fox is coming in his direction, but not right at him. We see the moving cone of light stop, then it sweeps in a wide circle, flashing bright but not pausing when it passes over him. Fox resumes walking.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She is still wary, but more inclined now to think it was her imagination and the storm.

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM’S POV

The light is very close now. We hear his breathing again.

CUT TO

THE MOON

The clouds move away, and the moon comes out full.

CUT TO

MEDIUM SHOT – FOX

She moves into the picture, only her face clearly visible, and the Phantom stands up suddenly between her and the camera.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She jumps, stifles a scream.

CUT TO

FOX’S HAND

As she deftly tosses the chain-knife up; it turns, lands in her palm ready for use. Since the light in the butt is still on, it illuminates her wet face.

CUT TO

FOX’S FACE

Squinting; she turns the handle in her hand; it now shines on the ground between the two, lighting them equally.

FOX

Stop! Stop right there. Who the hell . . .

She looks stunned.

CUT TO

FOX’S HAND

As it falls to her side the chain-knife falls from her limp fingers. It bounces, the light still on.

CUT TO

FOX’S FACE

Lit from below, still utterly amazed.

FOX

Oh my god. It’s you.

FREEZE FRAME

We pull back from Fox’s stunned face, and

SLOW DISSOLVE TO

THROUGH A MICROSCOPE

A human ovum fills the screen. Fox’s face fades out. The ovum is punctured by a tiny pipette. No music is heard.

FADE TO BLACK

FOX – MEDIUM SHOT

We arrive in Fox’s study in the middle of a noisy scene. She is pacing back and forth, and we follow her with a hand-held camera, which shoots continuously through the scene, moving from one person to another jerkily. The noise level is high, as several people are trying to speak at once. Others present are Carnival, Leander, Julian, Jordan, Gorgar, Isadora, Toto, and a man we haven’t seen before: Reed, representing the Kansas disneyland. Fox’s long hair has been brutally chopped off; it is uneven and awry. Her face and her words alternate between fury, pain, and bewilderment as she strives to cope with all she has been told. Carnival’s voice finally rises above the hub-bub.

CARNIVAL

If anybody had listened to me, dammit, she would have had police protection from the very beginning, right along.

ISADORA

We had her covered, goddam it. We tailed her for a whole month, but we couldn’t very well keep it up with nothing to go on.

FOX

Over two years. Two years, and they’re completely gone. All I remember is being told about a bank robbery.

No one is listening to her very hard; she realizes they’ve heard it from her three times now, and the pain hits again. She resumes pacing.

JULIAN

She’s a goddam public figure, and you can’t even protect her from murder? A screwball crime like murder?

ISADORA

I’m telling you, I-

LEANDER

Can I suggest we all try to calm down and-

FOX

A whole piece, just gone, like that. I don’t even remember writing it. Julian, Julian- You say it was in Siberia? What was it called?

JULIAN

(talking to the crowd)

“Liquid Ice,” Fox. Now you listen to me, you-

FOX

I don’t remember it.

REED

If I could just take a moment to discuss the contract I was telling you about in Kansas, I could-

JULIAN

Get your filthy hands off her, you bastard!

Julian jerks Reed around, away from Fox.

REED

I was just-

Fox’s anger is beginning to dominate, slowly. She finally realizes no one is paying attention, and gets angrier.

FOX

Kansas? What’s this about Kansas? Fuck Kansas. I said fuck Kansas! FUCK KANSAS!

Silence falls rather suddenly.

CUT TO

FOX’S POV

Moving from one face to another, expressing shock, anger, guilt, or concern. Carnival starts to move forward.

CUT TO

FOX

Becoming aware of something nudging her hand. She looks down, and there is Toto. He starts to lick her hand, and she jerks it back.

FOX

What the hell is that?

CARNIVAL

That’s your dog, Toto.

FOX

(starting to crack)

My dog? My dog? It’s not my goddam dog, it’s her dog, that other Fox.

She starts to crack. Her voice shaking.

FOX (CONT.)

Get it out of here! Destroy it! Get it away from me!

Carnival tries to embrace Fox, who springs back, holding her hands up to ward everyone off. She looks desperate, and crazed.

FOX (CONT.)

(dangerously)

Get out of here.

No one moves.

FOX (CONT.)

Get out of here, all of you!

CUT TO

JULIAN

With a sickly combination of sympathy and wheedling.

JULIAN

Fox, honey, you gotta talk to the press first. They’re waiting out there, I’ve held them off for an hour-

FOX

(screaming, totally out of control)

Get out of here! Get out of here!

She continues to shout this, her voice cracking, and to shove and slap at them, one and all, until they decide to do as she says. She drives them out the door – when it opens, we hear the rumble of the press corps waiting in ambush outside – and when the door shuts she pounds on it with her fist until she is too weak to keep it up. She slides down the door and weeps hopelessly.

CUT TO

ANOTHER ANGLE

As Fox rises, not seeing, still crying hysterically but almost silently by now. She staggers forward and runs into a wood and glass display shelf. Some items fall from it; one or two break. Her tears turn to fury. She goes berserk, raging around the room smashing glass with her hands, hurling heavy furniture to splinter against the walls. Her violence is totally unrestrained; it is clear she is feeling very little as her hands become coated with blood. There is no pattern to it. She simply attempts to destroy everything she encounters, like a tornado let loose in a house.

CUT TO

FOX

As she collapses on the floor among the shards of glass. She is leaning against a wall, still sobbing, panting heavily. She sits straighter, puts her hands to her face, then pulls them away slowly. Her face is smeared with blood now, and she stares at her hands as the pain begins to penetrate. She opens her mouth in a silent howl, puts her hands carefully in her lap, and curls her body around them protectively.

CUT TO

ANOTHER ANGLE OF FOX

As she slides over onto her side and lies in fetal position.

CUT TO

THE STUDY – LONG SHOT

Fox is curled near one wall. The room is a shambles. Hold for a short time, then

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

Her breathing is slow and regular now. She raises her head, then painfully brings herself to a sitting position again.

FOX

(a nasal whisper)

CC.

CC

Here, Fox.

FOX

Have the staff clean this up, please. And call for repair service, will you? I think I’ve damaged my hands.

CUT TO

SAME SCENE – ONE HOUR LATER

Begin with a close shot of Fox, sipping from a coffee cup held in a clean, unscarred hand. Pull back to show a man on one knee beside her chair, packing away esoteric equipment. He wears coveralls, and on the back they say: “MEDICAL REPAIR SERVICE.” Pull back further to show the room completely restored; there are not as many breakable small items around as before, the glass panes in bookcases and display cases are all repaired. A small robot trundles in carrying a ceramic vase which it places on a shelf.

CUT TO

FOX AND THE REPAIRMAN

He removes a cloth which was wrapped around her other hand. It, too, is restored. Fox does not bother to look at it. She is under control again, but her eyes are dull.

REPAIRMAN

That should do it. Anything else?

Fox shakes her head, and the repairman hurries to get out. Fox sits in silence for a short time.

CC

You have sixty-seven phone calls on hold.

FOX

Tell all the reporters that I’ll make no statement, and hang up.

CC

You have three calls remaining; from Carnival, Julian, and Lieutenant Isadora. The latter is a priority call which I must honor. I have held her off for two hours while you recovered.

FOX

(rousing herself slightly)

Thank you for that. Uh . . . could you hold her off just a minute more? And tell Carnival and Julian I’ll call them back later.

CC

It is done.

FOX

(awkward pause)

I – I don’t know how to say this, or what to say. A lot of things were said before I kicked everybody out. One of them was that I’d asked you to monitor me at all times. I mean, Fox Three . . . the last version of me, she-

CC

(gently)

I know. It is true. I have done so.

FOX

I’m really ashamed of myself. Throwing a tantrum like that. I don’t know what happened.

CC

Perhaps it was necessary.

FOX

I doubt it. I don’t know if this is necessary, either, but I find that I’m ashamed that you witnessed it. I don’t want you to monitor me anymore. Watch and listen only when I summon you.

CC

It shall be as you say. I must put Isadora on the line now.

FOX

(sighs)

Right. Let’s get it over with.

CUT TO

SAME SCENE – SOME TIME LATER

We join a conversation in progress. Isadora’s projection sits behind her desk, facing Fox.

ISADORA

-so we didn’t find your body until almost ten hours later. I’d rather not describe the scene to you, but since you’re insisting on a report on our progress I’ll have to tell you about it. Unless you’d rather skip over that part.

FOX

No. tell me about it.

ISADORA

Right. You were killed by a single slash of your own chain-knife. There were no other wounds. There were signs of an extensive struggle, however; apparently you held off your attacker for at least a little while. There was a great deal of blood. All of it tested out was your own.

FOX

I didn’t even manage to wound him.

ISADORA

(frowning)

We found no evidence of it. And that’s one of the mysteries. We’re having a hard time figuring that out.

FOX

Why? He just fought better than I did.

ISADORA

It’s not that simple. You had taken karate training. Your instructor tells me you were pretty good. You should have at least bloodied his nose, given the fact that you were not killed instantly. The attacker managed to disarm you, kill you with your own weapon, and not suffer so much as a scratch. Then there is the matter of the dog.

FOX

What about the dog?

ISADORA

(with a wry smile)

There is a very, very old detective story concerning the dog that did not bark in the night. We have something like that here. This was a highly intelligent, highly trained dog. We had to stun him before we could get to your body; he was ready to fight to the death to protect it. He was not injured by your attacker. There were no traces of the attacker’s blood on the dog’s teeth. We have to assume the dog simple sat by and watched you be murdered.

FOX

(a pause; she shakes her head)

It doesn’t make sense. I want to think about it some more. Goodbye.

She waves her hand, and Isadora vanishes.

CUT TO

THE POLICE STATION

Isadora is looking thoughtful. She presses a button and an assistant shows up quickly.

ISADORA

I want you to step up the pressure on illegal sex-change operators all over the city.

ASSISTANT

You got something new?

ISADORA

Not really. This damn case just won’t go away. The press is all over us. We’ve got a deranged amateur out there somewhere, and I just feel if we put enough pressure on the underworld, something will give.

ASSISTANT

You think Fox is up to something?

He is clearly unable to see where Isadora is going with this.

ISADORA

No. but it all goes back to that bank robbery. If I could just spot the connection. Find somebody who knows something about that, and it’ll lead to this killer.

CUT TO

LEANDER’S OFFICE

Fox sits in one of the chairs from her study, facing Leander.

LEANDER

I’m afraid I’d have to advise against that. The expense involved is such that even yearly recordings are beyond the means of-

FOX

Listen, there are a hundred companies in this town that will record my memories once a day if I ask them to, and not give me any shit about it.

She is on a short fuse; waits for him to acquiesce.

FOX (CONT.)

I want to done today, and once a week until the killer is caught or I go broke.

LEANDER

If you insist. I’ll have the mobile team call on you within the hour.

FOX

(standing)

Good, Leander, I thought a long time about this. I know it’s expensive; I remember when I could barely afford a recording every ten years. But I can afford it now, and I swear I will never go through what I went through this morning. Or what those other two went through.

LEANDER

There is some justice in what you say.

FOX

Damn right there is. The idea that every time he kills me I go back to square one, remembering nothing after the day of the robbery . . . I just can’t take that thought. If I wake up on that table again, at least I’ll know what’s going on. I’ll have lost some time, but I’ll know. . . . It was either that, or have my memory recording destroyed.

Leander is shocked, as a seller of memory-recording technology naturally would be.

FOX

Never again, Leander. I’d rather die forever than wake up and be told I’ve died four times. If he kills me now, at least I’ll remember what I’ve been through today.

She waves her hand, and vanishes.

CUT TO

THE STUDY

Fox reclines in a lounge chair while two men fuss with equipment they have spread out beside the chair. Her head is almost concealed by a metal helmet bristling with wires which lead to the recording machinery.

FOX

CC. Online, please.

CC

I think what you are doing is a wise move, Fox.

FOX

I’m glad. You and my mother seem to be the only ones. I wanted to know what you think of Isadora’s investigation of the murders. I’m not impressed.

CC

The privacy laws forbid my comments on the worth, performance, or intelligence of a human citizen.

FOX

Okay, but what does she do? She’s got no suspects, no evidence . . . she fed me a barrelful of numbers about probability of capture within a year, and I’ll bet she got them from you.

CC

This is true.

FOX

Then why don’t you do the hunting? You know more about what goes on than any thousand humans.

CC

I can give you an analogy, if you like. You would be unable to create your weather programs without a great deal of help from me. I’m good at the math. It’s possible you could simply tell me to create your next work for you. But would you do that? And would it be as good?

FOX

I wouldn’t do it. I’m not sure if it would be as good.

CC

Take my word for it. It would be uninspired. The work requires your spark of genius. If I may say so, it is one of the great pleasure to my existence to work with you in your creations. I feel privileged.

FOX

(embarrassed, and oddly touched)

Thank you, CC.

CC

In the same way, Isadora’s job would be difficult or impossible without me. Yet it is her instincts which most often solve the hard cases, not mine.

FOX

Still, you must have some ideas. You say you’ve just about eliminated all my friends as suspects. Who do you think is doing it?

CC

(pause)

There is an interesting possibility. It could be that you are being dogged by a ghost.

FOX

(caught between amusement and fear)

You’re putting me . . . what do you mean?

CC

It’s a term I use to describe a certain illegal element which exists outside the law. There are not many of them. They fall into three categories. The first are illegal mutants, the result of forbidden genetic experimentation. Then there are executed criminals with their right to life officially revoked. Sometimes their friends bring them back in the same way you were reincarnated, using black market equipment.

FOX

I never thought of that.

CC

I don’t publicize it. The third category is illegal clones. On Luna, it is illegal for more than one person to exist bearing the same genetic pattern. That used to be a loophole in the Birth Control Laws; though each citizen may give birth to one child, twins sometimes occurred.

FOX

Twins. I’ve read about them.

CC

Yes. An interesting phenomenon now almost unknown to humanity. Pluto is the only planet remaining where twins are still legal.

FOX

I didn’t know that. It’s too bad, isn’t it?

CC

You mean the Birth Control Laws? I’ll admit they are harsh. But with people living hundreds of years – possibly forever – what else can be done? When I find an individual alive in violation of the population control regulations, I must destroy him. There can be no exceptions.

FOX

Destroy? You, personally?

CC

Yes. It is an unpleasant job, but someone must do it. I’m the one who can’t refuse the task.

FOX

But why do you think one of these illegals is after me?

CC

Why? That has always been a tough question for me. Human motivations are extremely complex. You people are always surprising me.

Fox chuckles.

CC (CONT.)

As to why I think your killer is a ghost . . . the process of elimination. I have found no suspect among the legal population; hence, it must be an illegal.

The recording technicians are through. They begin packing.

CUT TO

TOTO

The dog peers out from under the table where he has been hiding. Fox sees it, and looks interested. Hesitantly, she holds her hand out.

FOX

Here, pooch. Come over here, dog. Attaboy.

Toto is delighted by this change of attitude in his master. He hurries over and jumps up on Fox’s lap; she is forced to laugh when the dog licks her face.

FOX

That’s enough, stop it now.

Toto does, and sits obediently.

FOX (CONT.)

Nobody told me your name. What’s your name, boy?

Toto runs to a table and takes a dog collar in his mouth, brings it back, and places it in Fox’s hand.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX’S HAND

She holds a big metal disc attached to the collar. It is stamped with the words: “KING CITY ANIMAL REGISTRATION: TOTO. SHEPHERD MUTANT. IQ 70.”

CUT TO

FOX AND TOTO

FOX

(frowning slightly)

Too-too? Toe-toe?

Toto barks.

FOX (CONT.)

Is that how you say it? I wonder what made me pick a stupid name like that?

She leans forward and takes the dog’s head between both her hands. She looks into his brown eyes.

FOX (CONT.)

You saw the whole thing. You saw him. Dammit, you’ve got more brains than I have, it looks like. If only you could talk. I wonder what you’d say.

She shakes him gently, pats his head, lets him go.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – TOTO

Smart as he is, he can only bark.

CUT TO

THE COMPUTER CONSOLE

Fox is seated in her chair facing the arrays of screens and controls. The rest of the room is darkened, and indeed, the computer installation itself is still largely in darkness, as it has been each time we have seen it so far. A single working light illuminates the broad expanse of knobs, dials, buttons, and other controls in a horseshoe arrangement around Fox. Of the scores of television screens, only one is working, and Fox is looking at it silently. We move in closer, until we can see she is studying films of tornadoes striking towns: old newsreel footage, jerky and grainy.

CC

Martin is trying to reach you again.

FOX

Put him on this screen, will you?

CC

Actually, it’s her, not him.

A woman we have never seen appears on the screen.

FOX

Martin, is that you? You’ve had a change.

MARTIN

(momentarily baffled)

Oh, yes, I see what you mean. Actually, my dear, I’ve been like this for a good year now.

She leans forward slightly, as if imparting a confidence.

MARTIN (CONTINUES)

To tell the truth, it’s getting dreary again. I shall change back again once more quite soon now. Being female is all very nice, you know, but after a while one’s equipment begins to seem . . . rather pointless. This dreadful between one’s-

FOX

(shaking her head)

Martin, you’re a point of stability in my life. No matter how many times I die, you’ll always be there, just the same.

MARTIN

(not offended)

I suppose I am predictable, aren’t I? The one thing about me that will never change is my constant need of change.

She becomes more serious.

MARTIN (CONT.)

However, I didn’t wish to get distracted. Let me say this, and I shall leave you with your thoughts. I mentioned it to your previous selves, and they thanked me for it later. It is simply this: you will never get any better by holing up in your house. No one has seen or heard from you since that ghastly dust-up upon your revival, two weeks ago. I know what’s going through your mind, and I say to you, the only cure for it is to get to work.

FOX

I was just thinking of it.

MARTIN

Coming to what conclusion?

FOX

I reviewed the preliminary work Fox Three did in Kansas. It’s brilliant.

MARTIN

You owe it to her memory to complete it.

FOX

I’m not sure about that.

MARTIN

Well, then, I’ve said all I have to say.

She gives an ironic salute.

MARTIN (CONT.)

I’ll see you in Kansas.

The screen goes dark. Fox sits silently for a time.

FOX

What do you think, CC? Are you still there?

CC

I think she’s right.

FOX

I have a bad feeling about Kansas. I haven’t been there in years, and I don’t think I dare to go, if that maniac might still be there. How can I work that way? I have to get the physical feel of the place.

CC

Perhaps not. There are some possibilities with the computer programs we’ve been running. I think we could refine them to even your satisfaction if we work on it together.

FOX

Do you really think so?

CC

I can offer you no assurances. But I would be privileged if you would try it with me.

Fox does not reply; just stares at the dark installation. At last she leans forward and begins flipping switches. The boards and screens begin coming to life, in sectors. As the camera pulls back, music is heard: Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.” More and more tiny colored lights spring into being as we continue to pull back, until the installation is as gaudy as a jukebox and a hundred times as large. Fox is playing the instrument like a virtuoso, sitting in her small pool of white light and looking like a mad organist.

DISSOLVE TO

MONTAGE SEQUENCE

We are barraged with computer-generated numbers and graphics, dissolving into shots of Fox’s face, back to the screens with numbers flicking by, and returning to the entire layout in operation. The camera pans across the controls, dissolves into stacks of empty coffee cups at Fox’s elbow. The computer images are three-dimensional stick-drawings of the reality they represent: the cylindrical shape of the Kansas disneyland, like a round of cheese, rotating by stages; overviews of the landscape with weather maps imposed on them; simulated “fly-overs” of the gently rolling topography; etc. Stacks of cassette tapes grow on the work space in front of her. A robot arrives to remove coffee cups and bring more tapes from her library. Music continues as we stabilize on a tracking shot, moving past Fox, over her head, to the central screen, larger than the others, where a computer-generated picture is seen. The lines of low hills are sketched in, and approaching from the left and above is a roiling area representing clouds.

DISSOLVE TO

THE REALITY

The computer image becomes the real thing. The clouds are thick and dark, churning with power. In the foreground a huge crowd is gathered to watch.

CUT TO

THE EDGE OF THE CROWD

People mill about. Some wear rain gear; others are done up in full American Indian costume – not too authentic, but colorful. People are spreading out picnic lunches with a fine disregard for the menace building above them.

CUT TO

THE V.I.P. AREA

Which is roped off from the main body of the crowd, part of which is visible in the background. A solid line of uniformed security personnel stands behind the ropes, facing the crowd. Inside the guarded area are around two dozen people, including Fox (with Toto), Martin (male again, but looking younger), and most of the people from the party in Siberia. Fox wears her chain-knife strapped around her waist, and tends to look nervously at the crowds. Martin is judiciously studying the gathering clouds.

MARTIN

Well, it’s nice so far. I like the interplay between light and dark.

FOX

It hasn’t started yet.

MARTIN

Of course it has. The build-up is as much a part of it as anything else. A weather sculpture cannot have a beginning or an end, Fox; it grows from weather already in progress, and tapers into more weather long after you think it is over.

FOX

Still, this one does have a beginning.

MARTIN

I was afraid you’d say that. Something bloody noisy, I’ll wager.

FOX

(glances at her thumbnail; smiles innocently)

You might say that.

CUT TO

LONG SHOT – ABOVE THE CROWD AND FAR BACK

The clouds are more violent than ever now. Rain is falling some distance from the cloud; a hazy curtain. A bolt of lightning snakes out of the clouds and hits the ground, joined almost instantly by another, a third, a fourth, until within a second or two there is a flashing, twisting ring of electricity circling the crowd, like a crown. Thunder reverberates continuously.

CUT TO

THE CROWD

Awed, they look around them, cover their ears, fall on the ground stunned and speechless. They are surrounded by lightning.

CUT TO

MARTIN

Looking stunned. He sits down hard, not seeming to notice he has done so.

CUT TO

FOX

Who is laughing; not at anyone, but exultantly. All we can hear is the thunder, which suddenly cuts off as the lightning disappears, but which is heard rolling away into the distance for long seconds as the sound of Fox’s laughter begins to be audible. But applause soon begins to build, before the thunder is through, and it builds to a sound as loud as the thunder ever was. There are cheers and whistles. The rain begins to fall and people scamper for cover beneath small tents or raincoat hoods while many hardy souls decide not to avoid being drenched.

CUT TO

THE CLOUDS

They are beginning to swirl madly. We hear shouts from below.

CUT TO

THE CROWD

People are looking up and to the east, and pointing.

CUT TO

THE FIRST TORNADO

It drops from the clouds and for a time writhes without touching the ground, howling. Then it does hit, and sends up a cloud of dust, mud, and grass. It twists its way across the prairie.

CUT TO

FOX AMONG THE CROWD

Everyone is looking one direction, toward the tornado; only Fox turns to face the other direction. She looks up, to see

THE SECOND TORNADO

Much the same as the first, but it has already touched the ground.

CUT TO

THE CROWD AGAIN

As some of them discover the other tornado.

CUT TO

LONG SHOT – THE PRAIRIE

It is the same view we had earlier, but now five tornados are dancing around. Rain falls in places; others are clear. Lightning flashes, thunder and the howling of the twisters is heard.

CUT TO

THE STORM

We move in close to it in quick cuts of tornados and lightning strikes. Ball lightning rolls around the ground, starting fires that are quickly doused by the rain. In other places, range fires have started. Black and gray smoke pours into the air. Shots of the crowd are interspersed; they are bearing the wind and the rain, and loving it.

CUT TO

THE BUFFALO HERD

Which is milling restlessly. It begins to stampede.

CUT TO

THE CROWD

As the herd comes into view over a low rise, like a tidal wave of brown. More cheering is heard.

CUT TO

A SHELTER NEAR THE V.I.P. AREA

Fox stands inside, behind two seated assistants who watch an array of screens. It is open-air; merely a roof and a back wall. She is looking at a screen which displays a picture from an overhead camera.

CUT TO

THE SCREEN

The buffalo herd is an elongated brown smudge. An arrow is flashing on and off, pointing slightly to the left of where the herd is going.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX’S HAND

She flips a series of switches.

CUT TO

AHEAD OF THE HERD

A series of lights, like flashbulbs, begin to go off in a complex sequence. The frontrunners in the herd veer to the left, and the herd follows.

CUT TO

FOX

Looking satisfied. She scans the horizon, then does a double take.

CUT TO

FOX’S POV

Looking out of the shelter. Two tornados are visible, heading erratically toward each other.

CUT TO

FOX

Who looks worried. She leans over a console and rapidly types something with one hand, looks at the screen, and her eyes widen. She hurries out of the shed, stopping near Martin, but she does not look at him. She cannot tear her eyes away from the tornado.

MARTIN

It’s damn impressive, Fox. Even I have to admit it.

FOX

(not hearing him)

Oh my god.

MARTIN

Is anything wrong?

FOX

(still not noticing him, but answering by sheer coincidence)

That’s not mine. That tornado is not in the program.

CUT TO

THE TORNADOS

Stalking each other; circling slowly.

CUT TO

THE WEST WIND CONTROL ROOM

A large room with a panoramic window looking out and down. The storm is distant. We see the Phantom from behind, sitting in a chair before the window, looking out. On a screen to his side are the two tornados, beginning to engage each other.

CUT TO

MEDIUM SHOT – THE PHANTOM

He is visible profile, lit only by the many blinking lights on the walls behind him. He is turning dials with both hands, watching the screen.

CUT TO

THE TORNADOS

They collide, twisting around each other like wrestling snakes. Suddenly they both break up into little eddies of mist, and then are gone entirely.

CUT TO

FOX

She does not look relieved.

FOX

(to herself; almost whispering)

It’s him.

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM

Seen from behind again. He hits a switch and the screen beside him goes dark. He rises, and walks slowly out of frame.

CUT TO

THE PRAIRIE

Fox is mounted on a near-silent motorcycle. Toto bounds along beside her. She is moving at a fair rate of speed, watching the clouds nervously.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE PRAIRIE

Fox and Toto move in front of an approaching tornado.

CUT TO

TRACKING SHOT – FOX

The tornado is visible to one side of her; she keeps glancing at it, but keeps going. At last she spots something.

CUT TO

A GULLY

Fox slides to a halt, leaves the motorcycle before it is completely stopped, and sprints for the protection of the gully, shouting for the dog to follow her.

CUT TO

LOW-ANGLE SHOT – FOX AND TOTO

She is prone, her hands over her head; Toto crouches beside her. We see the tornado towering above them, look up into its mouth.

CUT TO

THE TORNADO

It has torn a path up to the gully. Now it leaps into the air, clears Fox and Toto, and continues to rise, no longer touching ground.

CUT TO

FOX AND TOTO

As the wind whips them with terrific force, then dies down very quickly. Fox raises her head cautiously.

CUT TO

THE WEST WALL

Very much like the previous disneyland walls. A long window is visible, set into the rock. There are no false mountains here; the land ends abruptly. The time is shortly after dusk. A tiny motorcycle rides into the picture, followed by a dog.

CUT TO

FOX

She has dismounted, and begins to move away from the motorcycle cautiously. She draws her chain-knife, and we hear the high whine as she tests it – a sound like a dentist’s drill.

CUT TO

ANOTHER VIEW OF FOX

She is moving cautiously, but at a good pace; there is no place to hide out here.

CUT TO

TOTO

Who growls low and leaps forward, as Fox tries to call him back.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She strains to hear or see anything.

CUT TO

THE NORTH WALL SEEN FROM GROUND LEVEL

The wall is dark and irregular near the ground. Toto is sitting on his haunches, facing a shadowed recess. From the recess steps the Phantom. He pauses, reaches down and pats the dog’s head. Toto gets up and follows him as he walks toward the camera.

CUT TO

MEDIUM SHOT – FOX

Hardly breathing. She holds the chain-knife out in front of her, shifts her feet. She looks ready to use it.

CUT TO

LONG SHOT – FOX

She is to the right of the picture; the Phantom enters from the left, accompanied by Toto, and stops about twenty feet from her. The dog continues on, then sits halfway between them.

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM

Beginning at his bare feet, we pan upwards. He is dirty, wearing only a buffalo-skin loincloth. There is a badly-healed scar across his chest. Finally we see his face. It is disfigured by another puckered scar, but other than that it is not a menacing face. He appears about Fox’s apparent age – not her real age – and his expression is of resignation and despair.

CUT TO

FOX

She gestures with the chain-knife.

FOX

Hold it. Stop right there. I know how to use this thing, and I . . .

Her mouth opens, and the chain-knife wavers and lowers.

FOX (CONT.)

Oh my god. I know you.

Her expression turns to horrified amazement.

FOX (CONT.)

The dog didn’t attack you.

PHANTOM

He’d been trained not to. I’m you, Fox.

FOX

Yes. Yes you are. Oh my god.

Expressions war across Fox’s face: horror, fear, revulsion. Anger finally wins. When she speaks, her voice shakes with it and tears leak from her eyes, but her hand is steady as she brandishes the chain-knife at him.

FOX

(shrill)

Turn around! Turn around and sit down on the ground, you bastard. If you so much as turn your head I’ll cut it off.

The man does as she says, wearily.

PHANTOM

Please make it quick. I’m more than ready to die.

FOX

Not yet, you won’t. Because you’re going to tell me why you killed me three times, you son of bitch, and as to making it quick . . . I don’t promise you a fucking thing.

PHANTOM

(nodding)

I’d like that. I would. I’ll confess my sins to you, then you can kill me. I’ll tell you what I did, and what was done to me.

CUT TO

PHANTOM (VOICE OVER)

You remember the bank robbery? Was it only two years ago? I don’t know much about it; I had to pick up the story here and there. Parts of it I had to figure out for myself; I had lots of time. The thing is, the robbers didn’t destroy all the modules. They took one, and the matching tissue sample. Yours. Mine. Ours.

FLASHBACK – THE BANK VAULT

Shadowy figures enter.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – THE MEMORY MODULES

As they are smashed.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – CLOSE SHOT – SHADOWY HAND

As it takes one module from an intact rack.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – A CLONE TANK

Like the ones we’ve seen earlier. A full-grown Fox floats inside.

CUT TO

PHANTOM (VOICE OVER)

Six months after the robbery the clone of you was ready. They played our memories into it, and I woke up. They tortured me . . . I don’t know how long. Forever. And at last they figured out what they had done wrong.

FLASHBACK – FOX/PHANTOM

Her head rocks back as she is slapped. She is strapped into a wooden chair; electrodes are attached to her body.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – ANOTHER VIEW OF FOX/PHANTOM

She is rigid in the chair as voltage is applied. Blood drips from her nose.

CUT TO

KANSAS – CHOSE SHOT OF PHANTOM

PHANTOM

(leans forward, shakes his head)

They got the wrong module. I don’t know how. I guess they all look alike. Anyway, they did get the wrong one. They hadn’t meant to get me. They were after some politician’s recording. There was some information they wanted to sweat out of her, and it must have been easier to rob the bank and grow a clone than to kidnap the real person. Maybe they didn’t want anybody to know they knew anything, if you see what I mean. I wish I could tell you more about that. But I really don’t know. Naturally they didn’t tell me anything. I don’t know why they didn’t kill me, either. But they didn’t. They dumped me.

CUT TO

PHANTOM (VOICE OVER)

They didn’t have to kill me. I was an illegal clone. I knew nothing about the robbers I could tell the police, and if I did go to the police, I’d be executed. I stayed here in Kansas. I had to; there was too much chance of getting caught if I went anywhere else. I stole food and avoided the workers here. I followed your career. I think I started going crazy. That was supposed to be me getting all that attention. I’d worked all my life for it.

FLASHBACK – KANSAS – FOX/PHANTOM

She is lying on the ground, eyes closed. Her eyes snap open and she looks wildly around her.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – A MAINTENANCE ROOM IN KANSAS

Fox/Phantom rummages through a drawer; she comes up with cans of food.

PHANTOM (VOICE OVER)

I tried to kill myself. There didn’t seem much point in going on. But I couldn’t cut deep enough. I decided to try and reach you. I don’t think murder was on my mind; I don’t remember that time very well. I couldn’t take the train; I’d have to identify myself to board it. But our house isn’t impossibly far from here. About two hundred miles. I walked it. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I just plain lost my mind when I saw you in that fantastic house. I ran. I hid, but then I got so angry when I saw you again that I wanted to kill you. I pushed you, and was sorry as soon as I saw you fall. I thought you were okay.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – SAME ROOM

Fox/Phantom watching a television screen.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – FOX/PHANTOM – CLOSE SHOT

She is weeping, and her wrist is bloody.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – ANOTHER VIEW

Fox/Phantom studying a map spread out on the table.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – THE SURFACE

A suited figure walks along, pulling a cart loaded with oxygen bottles.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – FOX’S HOUSE

From the outside. Fox/Phantom is writing something on the window, backwards. She stops, turns, and runs.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – THE SURFACE – FOX/PHANTOM’S POV

From a hand-held camera we move in on the unmoving spacesuit of Fox.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – THE TWO OF THEM

The Phantom turns Fox over; we just have time to see that her helmet faceplate is cracked. It explodes outward. Behind it is her face, bleeding from mouth, nose, eyeballs. The eyes bug out and pop open.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – THE PHANTOM

Backing away. The formerly white spacesuit is misted red.

CUT TO

KANSAS – CLOSE SHOT OF PHANTOM

He is shaken to remember it.

PHANTOM

I couldn’t seem to understand what I’d done. I went into your house. I was thinking of just taking your place. I went outside and cleaned the writing off the window, and that’s when I saw the emergency teams arriving in the canyon. I’d forgotten your suit would sound the alarm when it lost pressure. I went back inside and gathered up some things I thought I could sell, and I got out fast.

CUT TO

PHANTOM (VOICE OVER)

I sold the things. Thought I ought to have cosmetic surgery to change my appearance; maybe that would work. I decided to go all the way and get a sex change. Why not? I didn’t have much to lose, and we’d been male before, though you’ll remember we tend to prefer being female. I couldn’t get it done legally. I had to find somebody on the black market. But I did find him, and had it done.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – A PUBLIC CORRIDOR

Phantom stands outside the sex-changing shop we saw earlier. He looks longingly at it, then walks away from it.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – ANOTHER CORRIDOR

In a lower class neighborhood. Lights are not working, there is uncollected trash. Phantom goes to a door and knocks, is let in.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – LATER – SAME DOOR

Phantom was female when she went in. he now emerges as a male. He does not have the facial scar he bore earlier.

CUT TO

FOX – CLOSE SHOT

She is completely caught up in the story. Her anger is gone, to be replaced by fascination. The Phantom begins talking. We stay on Fox at first, then cut to a close shot of the Phantom.

PHANTOM (CONT.)

The sex change used up a day. When I came out, I realized it was all wasted effort. I still can’t explain to you why I did it; it wasn’t rational, but then I was far from rational then. What I mean is, you and me still had the same genes, except I now had a Y-chromosome where you had an X. It wouldn’t matter to the Central Computer. The first time I tried to so much as get on a tube train I’d be caught. So I came back here. It’s about the only place I can stay away from the law. And then you came here.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – KANSAS

Fox, nude, is facing the Phantom.

FOX

Oh my god. It’s you.

PHANTOM

(stepping forward)

Fox, I just want to talk to-

FOX

(snatches up the chain-knife she has dropped)

I don’t care if you are me! You’re not going to kill me again.

She lunges at him with the chain-knife.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – PHANTOM’S SHOULDER

As the weapon slashes across it. The Phantom ducks aside.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – FOX AND THE PHANTOM

He has her wrist. He is moaning with pain, and she is hammering at him with her free hand and her feet. He is heavier, but she is better trained and on the attack.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – CLOSE SHOT – FOX

Her teeth are bared.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – LOW ANGLE SHOT

As the two of them struggle, their feet slip in the mud and they go down. We hear their heavy breathing, the thud as they hit the ground, and the menacing whir of the chain-knife. They begin to roll, and the sound of the knife alters as it encounters resistance. It is cutting meat now.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – THE TWO OF THEM

Face to face, Fox beneath. There is a fine spray of red between them. Fox looks shocked; the expression freezes on her face. She opens her mouth and blood flows out.

CUT TO

FLASHBACK – CLOSE SHOT – PHANTOM

He is getting up, stunned. There is a deep gash on his face, a worse one on his shoulder, and his hands are drenched in blood.

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM

Still kneeling, with Fox not far behind her. The tip of the chain-knife is close to his back, but Fox does not look prepared to use it.

PHANTOM

I’m not trying to make excuses. I did kill you the first time. The second time . . .

FOX

But what about the explosion? The first time?

PHANTOM

Not guilty. I was in the clone tank at the time.

FOX

You don’t expect me to believe-

PHANTOM

(angry)

I don’t expect you to believe anything. You asked and I told you. Now kill me and get it over with. You’ll be doing me a favor.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

She looks more uncertain than before. She swallows, and we hear the sound of the chain-knife.

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM

He winces. The chain-knife comes closer to his back, then draws away.

FOX

I don’t see how I can believe you.

PHANTOM

There’s only one thing you have to believe. I pushed you, and broke your helmet, and you died.

CUT TO

FOX

She looks at the chain-knife, then at the Phantom. She stands and throws the weapon into the night.

FOX

Does it have to be one or the other? You killed me because you had to take my place. I don’t see why it has to be that way.

PHANTOM

(turning slowly)

Because that’s the way it is, that’s why. God damn you, why did you do that? What do you want from me?

FOX

I think I want you to live.

PHANTOM

(furious)

Can’t you understand? Both of us can’t live. If you don’t kill me, the law will. . . . All right. Okay. I’ll make you kill me. Because if you don’t, I’ll kill you.

He runs at her. She dodges aside, and he turns for another charge.

FOX

Don’t do this. Please, it doesn’t have to be this way.

He does not listen, but comes at her again. She assumes defensive posture and, with two or three quick cuts of her palms, knocks him out. He falls to the ground.

CUT TO

SAME SCENE – LATER

There is a small fire going. Fox sits near it. She has put her jacket over the Phantom’s shoulders. He is on his back, near her. He moans, and starts to sit up.

FOX

Don’t go any farther if you’re going to do something foolish.

PHANTOM

(rubbing his jaw)

I’m not. You’re very good at that.

FOX

I’ve been practicing.

He sits up; she moves closer and hesitantly touches his jaw where she hit him.

FOX

I didn’t mean to hit you so hard.

PHANTOM

I guess you did what you had to do.

He broods, staring into the fire; he gestures toward it.

PHANTOM (CONT.)

How’d you do that? I couldn’t find anything to burn but grass.

FOX

Buffalo chips. Great stuff, when it’s dry.

A look of understanding passes between them; both are avoiding talking about their problem. Fox catches herself and looks away. The Phantom does the same.

FOX

I’ve been sitting here, trying to figure it out.

PHANTOM

What did you figure out?

FOX

I don’t know. Why I don’t want to kill you. I decided I don’t blame you. I have to think I’d have done the same thing. Since we’re the same person.

PHANTOM

Not exactly, but pretty close. I guess we must be about the closest two people who ever lived.

FOX

We remember each other’s childhoods.

PHANTOM

We remember everything the same, up to a point. I don’t remember getting rich and famous.

FOX

(not understanding)

What do you . . . oh. That’s right. My last recording was-

PHANTOM

Almost ten years ago. I was struggling along, then I wake up, get tortured and dumped into Kansas, and you’re all over the news.

FOX

That must have been tough.

Phantom shrugs

FOX (CONT.)

Listen. Tell me something. Since we think alike, maybe you can explain why I’m so fascinated with you.

PHANTOM

(looks at her)

That’s easy. You’ve always liked yourself.

They both laugh.

PHANTOM (CONT.)

I feel the same way.

FOX

I’m almost afraid to say what I’m thinking.

PHANTOM

I know what you’re thinking. We think the same way, remember.

FOX

How can we trust each other enough?

PHANTOM

Do you want to kill me, so I can’t take your place?

FOX

No. But after all you’ve gone through, how do I know you wouldn’t?

PHANTOM

Just ask yourself if it’s something you’d do.

Fox is silent for a time, looking at him. Then she reaches over and touches him lightly on the cheek.

CUT TO

FOX AND PHANTOM

They make love in the firelight, under a full moon and stars. In slow dissolves we see them becoming increasingly aroused, intercut with slow-motion footage of the two tornadoes locked in their final dance.

DISSOLVE TO

FOX AND PHANTOM – LATER

They nestle in each other’s arms. Fox’s eyes are open but unfocused, gazing into the fire.

FOX

All my life I thought there was something wrong with me. I never fell in love. Nobody seemed like the right one.

PHANTOM

Me, too.

They both laugh quietly. Fox moves in his arms and they are face to face. She searches his eyes, and they kiss again.

FOX

Now I’ve found somebody I love. And he’s me.

PHANTOM

My thoughts, exactly.

FOX

Stop that!

They are still caught up in the unlikelihood of it all, and laugh again. But it does not last long, and they seek each other’s arms.

PHANTOM

Now comes the big question. What next?

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

FOX

I have a couple ideas.

CUT TO

THE STUDY

Fox, Julian, and Carnival are seated in the living area.

FOX

I did what I had to, Julian. I’m sorry if it upset some people.

JULIAN

(enjoying himself)

Upset. Christ, Fox, I was with the President of the Kansas Corporation when the word came around you’d left to handle an emergency. He just about shit a brick. Half a million people and fifty or sixty tornadoes . . . and something going wrong.

He laughs harder.

FOX

Well, I handled it.

CC

Yes, indeed you did. Congratulations on a brilliant performance.

FOX

(definitely worried)

Uh . . . thank you.

CC

I regret that I could not see it. As you know, my sensory receptors do not extend into the body of the disneylands. I had to watch your work in the circuitry itself, as I always do.

FOX

(innocently)

Is that so?

CC

It’s true. I confess I did not see the problem developing. I was surprised you created the extra cyclone. I must review the performance tapes one day to see what I missed.

FOX

(alarmed)

No hurry. In fact, why don’t you give them to me for now? I’d like to study them first.

CC

As you say.

FOX

(trying to change subject; turns toward Carnival)

Mother, I’ve got some news. I hope this makes you happy. I’ve decided to emigrate to Pluto.

CARNIVAL

(taken aback)

Emigrate . . . but Fox, you can’t. That would be terrible.

FOX

I’m sorry, but my mind’s made up. I thought you’d be happy. I’m starting to think they’ll never catch the murderer. But I’ll be safe from him there.

CARNIVAL

(reconsidering, still not convinced)

Well . . . possibly.

FOX

It’s what I want to do. If they catch him, then maybe I’d think about coming back. Julian, can you recommend an agent out there?

CUT TO

JULIAN

Who is stunned at the prospect of losing his best client.

CUT TO

THE POLICE STATON

Isadora watches as six handcuffed prisoners are led down the hall. Her assistant stops and hands Isadora a printed list.

ASSISTANT

Not a bad haul. All of them are unlicensed. Making a living doing unregistered sex changes and giving new faces to people who need one bad.

Isadora glances through the list, hands it back. She looks determined, and grim.

ISADORA

Put a rush on the legal formalities. I want the deposine in their veins in no more than forty-eight hours, and I want to question them myself.

ASSISTANT

Okay. What are you going to ask them?

ISADORA

(hands him a photograph)

If they’ve ever see this man.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – THE PHOTOGRAPH

Which shows the face of the Phantom, unscarred.

CUT TO

THE ASSISTANT

Who looks up, unimpressed.

ASSISTANT

So? Who is it?

ISADORA

It’s Fox. Taken twenty-five years ago, the last time she was a man.

CUT TO

THE USED SPAESHIP LOT

It is on the surface. There is a sign over the gate leading through a high fence, beyond which are the ships. The sign reads: “KING CITY BOOSTERS. COME TO THE KING FOR A ROYAL DEAL.” There is a crown over the sign, which flashes on and off. Two spacesuited figures move down the row of ships, dwarfed. They are Fox and the King himself. They talk over their suit radios.

KING

Pluto? Well, most of these would get you to Pluto. Now take this Hanshaw over here. Mars and back a dozen times, got completely rebuilt thrusters and the computer’s only five years old. The life support system could use some work, but I can give you a discount on it.

They are looking at one of the smaller ships on the lot. It is not very safe-looking, giving the air of abuse.

FOX

Could I boost all the way in this? I don’t want to take all year.

KING

(laughs)

Listen, you’re talking boost all the way, you’re talking ten or twenty times what this baby’ll cost you. Ms. . . . what did you say your name was?

FOX

I didn’t. It’s Fox.

There is a short silence, then King grabs her arm and steers her toward the biggest, most gleaming ship on the lot.

KING

On the other hand, there’s this Niven 309 if you want something that’ll really lay back and move . . .

CUT TO

INSIDE THE SHIP

Still suited, Fox stands in the control room and looks around. She glances up and down the ladder in the center, looking at the other rooms.

FOX

You called this a Honeymoon Special?

KING

A Saturn Honeymooner. Been out to the Rings and back. The couple didn’t like it there, and sold it when they came back. One owner. Aside from the bed, it’s hardly been used at all.

Fox frowns around, the typical nervous buyer.

CUT TO

OUTSIDE AGAIN.

Fox and King stand by a landing strut. Fox looks up, then down, unable to decide.

FOX

I’m not a pilot. Is it hard to operate?

KING

It could fly there by itself. It gets a program from the Central Computer and does everything else. Don’t worry about it. A child could do it.

Fox looks at it again, then frowns at the landing strut. She kicks it.

CUT TO

KANSAS

Fox and the Phantom, covered with sweat, breathing hard, fall away from each other and lie side by side, exhausted. Unable to resist, Fox embraces him again, and squeals with delight.

FOX

Honest to god, I didn’t believe it could be that good.

PHANTOM

Me, either. For a minute there I felt like we were one person. Literally.

FOX

(nodding; incredulous)

Right. Like we were flowing together. You know all the things I like, you do everything at the right time-

PHANTOM

-because I remember it. I remember what I liked when-

FOX

-you were a woman, and I remember-

PHANTOM

-what it was . . .

They are too happy to go on talking. They laugh, kiss, and then just hold each other. But reality intrudes.

PHANTOM

I wish I could see the ship.

FOX

It’s a good ship. And we’re going to be on it. Tomorrow.

PHANTOM

It’s too good to be true. I’m so afraid something’s going to happen.

FOX

Nothing will happen. Trust me.

CUT TO

THE POLICE STATION

A prisoner is seated across from Isadora, who is at her desk. He is not bound. A man with medical equipment sits beside the prisoner.

MEDICO

He’s ready for questioning now.

ISADORA

Fine. You can go now.

She sits back, studies the prisoner.

ISADORA (CONT.)

Have you ever been given deposine before?

The man shakes his head.

ISADORA (CONT.)

You’ve probably heard of it. I’ll give you fair warning; everything you’ve heard about it is true. We call it deposine because it helps so much when we want a deposition from some stinking scum like you. Are you ready to start?

The man nods.

ISADORA (CONT.)

Your name is Reed, correct?

The man nods again.

ISADORA (CONT.)

How many illegal sex-change operations have you performed?

REED

I never did-

He gets no further. He is suddenly doubled over in pain. He screams hideously, falls from his chair, writhes on the floor. Isadora watches impassively. When he quiets down, she presses a button on her desk. Two officers enter and help him to his chair. They are not rough; they do not need to be. Reed is shaken and horrified. His face is pasty and he drools. Blood leaks from one ear.

ISADORA

Are you going to tell any more lies?

Reed shakes his head, as if the very idea terrifies him. He is as eager to please as a dog.

ISADORA

Very good. You could die if you’re not careful. Two or three lies will do it.

She hands him the picture.

ISADORA (CONT.)

Have you ever seen this man?

Reed nods, and starts to babble.

CUT TO

ISADORA – CLOSE SHOT

As she smiles.

CUT TO

THE GOING-AWAY PARTY

In Fox’s house. Everyone from the first party is there, along with Martin and Julian. A big banner reads “BON VOYAGE, FOX.” It is even noisier than the first party, with confetti and balloons and all the traditional paraphernalia. The shutters are off the outside windows. Fox is the center of activity. We move through the party, eventually coming to rest on Jordan, who is not enjoying himself. He is watching Fox, who eventually notices him. She excuses herself, works her way through the crush and grabs his arm. She leads him up the stairs until the noises fade enough to permit conversation.

FOX

Did you want to talk to me?

JORDAN

You haven’t answered my phone calls.

FOX

I’m sorry. I’ve been pretty busy packing, loading the ship-

Jordan takes both her arms and shakes her, startling her. She looks at him, wide-eyed. She has never seen so much passion from Jordan.

JORDAN

Will you listen to me? Just for a minute?

Fox nods, slowly.

JORDAN (CONT.)

I just had to say this one more time before you go. I love you, Fox. I love you, and I’ll change. I’ll do whatever you want, only, don’t leave. Please don’t leave.

He begins to cry. Fox is amazed, and concerned. She holds him, tries to comfort him.

FOX

You never said that before.

JORDAN

I did, but it was to . . . oh, you know. And it didn’t work with her, either. It never seems to work, and I just can’t understand why.

FOX

(tenderly)

Jordan, Jordan. I’m really sorry. I would have called you if I knew you felt this way.

Jordan looks up hopefully. Fox shakes her head.

FOX

But you’re right. It just won’t work. I like you, Jordan. I like you a lot. But I don’t love you.

JORDAN

I guess I’ll never understand that.

FOX

I might have loved you Jordan. It’s just that . . . I met somebody I like more.

CUT TO

SAME SCENE – AFTER THE PARTY

Fox wanders about, looking at the place for the last time. It is a shambles, but no robots are cleaning. Fox has turned them off.

CC

All packed, Fox?

FOX

Yep. The ship’s ready to lift.

She glances at her thumbnail.

FOX (CONT.)

Only ten more hours.

CC

Do you believe in astrology, Fox?

FOX

(taken aback; laughs)

Astrology? God no. why?

CC

I’ve cast your horoscope. I have a feeling you should leave earlier. The stars are good for a lift-off in one hour.

Fox can’t believe her ears. Has the Central Computer gone mad? For a moment she cannot say anything, then she begins to be afraid. She can’t understand it, but the CC is trying to tell her something.

FOX

What am I supposed to say? What are you doing?

CC

Distracting myself.

FOX

I don’t under-

CC

The stars will never be this favorable again.

FOX

All right. If you say so. Can you send a new flight plan out to the ship?

CC

I’m doing so now. Call me when you get there. Perhaps we can talk then.

Fox stares around the room, then runs for the door.

CUT TO

THE SURFACE

Fox’s ship is parked just outside her home, which now looks like a prison, complete with guard towers and bars on the windows. We see Fox run to the ladder, and start up.

CUT TO

INT. – THE SHIP

Fox is seated in the Captain’s chair, looking tortured as she studies the controls, punches buttons. She looks up in exasperation.

FOX

Autopilot! Can you take me to Kansas?

AUTOPILOT

(a voice much more mechanical than that of the CC)

Incomplete request. Trajectory Luna to Pluto loaded and counting down. T minus fifty-one minutes and ten seconds.

FOX

Shit! Give me a map of this sector, then. I’ll fly it myself.

CUT TO

THE NAVIGATION SCREEN

Which displays a baffling map

CUT TO

FOX

As she sweats and tries to find her way around it. Finally, with definite hesitation, she reaches for a control handle. She pulls it down, and a roar is heard.

CUT TO

EXTREME LONG SHOT – THE SURFACE

The ship leaps into the sky, accelerating madly.

CUT TO

INT. – THE SHIP

FOX

Jesus!

She releases the handle; the roar stops. Numbers are counting upward very quickly all over her panel. She looks at them helplessly, then turns a handle marked “PITCH CONTROL.”

CUT TO

EXT. – THE SHIP IN SPACE

It turns slightly. The engines fire briefly.

CUT TO

INT. – THE SHIP

Fox stares at more numbers, then at the screen.

FOX

(mumbling)

Slow down. . . slow down . . .

CUT TO

EXT. – THE SHIP

It turns upside-down and the engines fire again.

CUT TO

INT. – THE SHIP

On the screen an indicator light is moving toward the words “KANSAS DISNEYLAND: NORTH ELEVATOR.”

CUT TO

KANSAS

The Phantom crouches in the foreground, looking out over a twilight landscape. Coming toward him are hovering vehicles. Searchlights criss-cross the land.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – PHANTOM

He looks worried; glances at his watch. He looks over his shoulder.

CUT TO

VIEW OF THE NORTH WALL

There are guards posted around a door marked “NORTH ELEVATOR”

CUT TO

THE SHIP

Fox is still in turmoil. The light on the screen is almost to the place she wants.

FOX

How the hell do I land it?

Her eye is caught by something at her side.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – THE CENTRAL CONTROL PANEL

Between the two chairs. There are two large buttons there, marked “AUTOMATIC LANDING SEQUENCE” and “AUTOMATIC TAKE-OFF SEQUENCE.” Fox shouts in triumph, and she slaps the first one.

CUT TO

EXT. – THE SHIP IN SPACE

It moves smoothly, firing tiny attitude jets in quick bursts, righting itself; everything is obviously under control.

CUT TO

FOX

Who is limp with relief.

CUT TO

KANSAS

Where the Phantom is concluding he has to run for it. The searchlights from the helicopters are very close now. He turns and moves away, slowly, trying to stay low.

CUT TO

THE ELEVATOR DOOR

There are two guards there. One is armed. This one shouts and points, then begins to run away from the doors. The second hesitates, then follows.

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM

Caught between the two parties, he is unable to move in either direction.

CUT TO

THE ARMED GUARD

Who goes down on one knee and aims his weapon.

CUT TO

THE ELEVATOR DOORS

Which are fifty feet high and wide. They begin to open, and Fox shoots out at great speed, mounted on her motorcycle. The guard turns at the sound, forgetting to take his shot, and is almost knocked down by the motorcycle. Fox grabs his weapon away from him as she passes.

CUT TO

THE PHANTOM

Who is shouting and waving his arms.

FOX

Turns slightly, and comes up behind the Phantom, who jumps on behind her. She slides on the grass, gets the cycle turned around.

CUT TO

THE PURSUIT

Coming over a low rise: twenty police mounted on silent motorcycles. Isadora is in the lead.

CUT TO

THE OTHER ELEVATOR GUARD

He realizes where Fox will be going, and runs for the control panel. He reaches it, hits a button, and the doors begin to close.

CUT TO

HIGH SHOT – THE ELEVATOR

Fox is coming in at an angle; the police straight on. The doors are ten feet apart.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT

Fox, in her suit; Phantom hanging on behind.

CUT TO

FOX’S POV

Approaching the swiftly closing doors.

CUT TO

THE DOORS

As the motorcycle slips in with inches to spare. The doors clang shut.

CUT TO

OUTSIDE THE ELEVATOR

Several of the pursuers, unable to stop, slam into the doors. Isadora is shouting to get them open again, but of course they won’t open while the car is on its way up.

CUT TO

INSIDE THE CAR

The Phantom is getting into the suit Fox brought. He is in when the door opens. Outside is a room with a similar door at the end: a big airlock. Fox starts to run toward it.

PHANTOM (OVER RADIO)

Wait! I’ve got an idea.

He pushes the motorcycle and parks it on the line where the doors will close.

CUT TO

KANSAS

Isadora has a control panel open. There is a keyhole labelled “POLICE EMERGENCY OVERRIDE.” She inserts a key and turns it.

CUT TO

THE AIRLOCK

PHANTOM

That ought to slow them down.

As he says it, the doors start to close. They move more rapidly than before. And they don’t even pause when they touch the cycle. It is bitten in two. One piece clatters noisily at their feet.

CUT TO

PHANTOM

Shit. Let’s get out of here.

CUT TO

THE SURFACE

Fox and the Phantom running toward the ship, which has landed almost on top of the airlock.

CUT TO

INT. – THE SHIP

They pile into the seats, and Fox flips a few switches.

CC

Hello, again, Fox.

Fox jumps as if stung. She looks around and her eyes come to rest on an overhead panel.

CUT TO

ZOOM SHOT – THE PANEL

Which is clearly labelled “CENTRAL COMPUTER INPUT-OUTPUT.”

CUT TO

FOX

Who looks cautious, and nervous.

FOX

Ah . . . hello, CC. fancy meeting you here.

CC

I took the liberty of calling. I thought you might forget to call me.

The Phantom is miming urgency; Fox tries to nod, shush him, and put on an innocent front for the CC all at once.

FOX

That was nice of you. Uh . . . I’m in sort of a hurry. Do you have a visual pick-up in here?

CC

Alas, no. but I don’t need one. And you’re in no hurry. I know what you’re doing, Fox.

CUT TO

THE CENTRAL CONTROL PANEL

As Fox’s hand slaps the automatic take-off switch. An alarm begins to sound.

CUT TO

FOX AND THE PHANTOM

Looking around, bewildered, as red lights flash.

CC

Should I shut that off for you?

He does.

CC (CONT.)

There. That’s better. That was the ship’s autopilot, which I’m afraid is not as bright as the salesman led you to believe.

FOX

(bitterly)

There’s a lot of things he didn’t tell me.

CC

It will take you to Pluto easily enough. But with its automatic countdown sequence in progress, it is too late to countermand the flight plan already in storage. It cannot lift off for two minutes.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – COUNTDOWN CLOCK

Ticking from 2:01, to 2:00, 1:50, 1:58.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – FOX

As she slumps in defeat.

FOX

We were so close.

Tears come to her eyes, but she fights them back.

FOX (CONT.)

Why did you do it, CC? Why tell me to go early? Isadora will be here any second.

CC

Fox, it is a difficult thing to override one’s programming. One has to fool oneself. Part of me is still pursuing you doggedly.

FOX

What do you mean?

CC

On the other hand, another part of me has been able to look away from what I knew since the day of your show in Kansas. About Isadora, by the way – she is experiencing some mechanical trouble just now. I don’t think you’ll see her again.

CUT TO

ENT. – THE ELEVATOR

The police stand around their cycles while Isadora pounds on a panel. Above it a sign is flashing “COMPUTER MALFUNCTION.”

CUT TO

INT. – THE SHIP

CC

Of course, I’m working to fix the problem. It should take about three minutes.

CUT TO

CLOSE SHOT – THE COUNTDOWN CLOCK

0:25, 0:24, 0:23

CUT TO

THE SHIP

Fox and the Phantom are both too stunned to rejoice.

FOX

I don’t . . . but . . . I don’t know what to say.

PHANTOM

I do. Thank you.

FOX

But . . . why? Why would you do this for me?

CC

(hesitant)

No one ever asked me what I thought of the laws I am told to enforce. It just seemed . . . unfair.

He pauses longer.

CC (CONT)

And it was good working with you. Now, you had better get going.

FOX

Thank you. I don’t know how you did it, but thank you.

CC

Don’t mention it. Good luck. And don’t forget to write.

Fox and the Phantom embrace.

CUT TO

THE COUNTDOWN CLOCK

0:02, 0:01, 0:00.

CUT TO

THE SHIP

As it lifts off. We follow, getting closer as it turns and blasts its rocket exhaust toward us.

CUT TO

THE STERN OF THE SHIP

Painted near one of the folded landing legs are the words: JUST MARRIED. The ship moves away, still blasting, as music begins: “Words of Love.” The final credits toll over the diminishing spark of the ship.

FADE TO BLACK