SLIP/THROUGH – chapterONE
Decades after the hotels of the Moon, in the age of space tourism, visitors flock to the Vegas of the stars. However, this is not utopia. Crime is still ever-present. Two detectives – one human, one cybernetic – track an elusive and relentless serial killer.
SLIP/THROUGH is hard-boiled action set in an original science-fiction universe filtered through 1930s FILM NOIR. This is R-rated stuff – for graphic violence, sexual subject matter, and coarse language.
This feature film screenplay is presented here with Chapters in the experimental PICTUREplay format. Actors will portray characters in images, like our two leads RYAN GOSLING and IDRIS ELBA. Listen and look while you scroll…
Pages 1 – 12
(listen to haunting score and strange ethereal score from UNDER THE SKIN as you read)
S L I P / T H R O U G H
copyright, all rights reserved, 2014
thelastfountain ( at ) gmail
EXT. CITY STREET – NIGHT
Boots step into thick muddy puddles.
Steaming food vendors fill the muddy strip. Workers strapped with backpacks trod along, smoking handmade cigarettes.
A man scoops shaved meat with his fingers.
The sky twinkles with bright stars and two bright moons.
The horizon is lined with tall slender hotels. Holographic neon logos flare into the night.
The man walks the strip, eating. He notices a vendor arguing with a customer. He stops, hoping it will escalate.
Something hits the roof of the vendor’s stall. It rolls down into the mud. A bloody stump of a severed arm.
The man gasps at the sight. The vendor joins his customers.
A body falls on stall and crumples it. The body has a severed arm. A gash in the chest. Pulpy guts strewn across.
A dark slender FIGURE – with glowing violet eyes – stands in the frame of a broken window, several stories up.
MAN There! It’s HIM!
The crowd follows the man’s pointed reach.
The dark shape turns away – glowing eyes leave violet tracers in the air.
INT. APARTMENT – NIGHT
A blood spattered couch. A smashed glass table. Broken vases. Blood sprayed painting. Blood streaked walls.
A tall man in a grey trench-coat and a 1930s-era Fedora, smokes at the shattered window. Wind blows in the curtains.
He picks tobacco off his tongue. He has chiselled Erroll Flynn-type features, and looks like he just stepped out of “LE SAMORAI”. This is DASH.
His dress shoes squeak on glass shards. He tosses the cigarette down. Embers spark on the stall below.
Dash slinks his coat over a chair. He has a 30s-era handgun holstered across his ribs.
He takes off his hat and slicks back his blonde bangs.
DASH CRYPTEX. Run program: Applied Forensics.
A Heads-Up-Display (HUD) overlays his vision. A targeting reticule searches the room, focusing on blood spattered on the wall. Dash walks towards it.
DASH Run task: Compositional Analysis.
The HUD panel types text (overlayed): “HUMAN BLOOD TYPE A.”
Dash runs his finger along some blood. He mushes the viscous fluid between his two fingers. The blood RECEDES into his skin – ABSORBED by nano-machines.
The HUD panel blinks: “DNA COLLECTION COMPLETE.”
DASH Run task: DNA Trace.
The HUD blinks: “DNA TRACE COMPLETE.”
An image overlays, as Dash looks around, identifying the deceased with name as: S. RIDLEY, 37, market analyst.
Dash adjusts the crooked bloody painting, making it level.
He looks to the couch and smashed coffee table.
DASH Let’s see… CRYPTEX, run task: Spatter Analysis.
The HUD overlays red line in the air: the trajectory of blood. They converge at the end of the table.
DASH Yes… Hrrmmm.
Dash bends and picks up a shard from the coffee table. It contains a graphical image within the surface – numbers.
DASH CRYPTEX: Run trace on numbers. Start with the Stock Exchange. Interplanetary.
HUD: “CODE SEGMENT ANALYZED. SEVERAL MATCHES.”
Dash CLICKS the shard in place on the broken table.
DASH Display matches.
The table re-forms. The HUD overlay matches forming a code.
Images pop up: 3 Corporations of Space TOURISM.
Dash looks to the doorway – frame and locks undamaged.
DASH SYN? What’s he trying to say here?
He looks at the crime-scene from a distance.
DASH CRYPTEX. Run ReCreate program. My theory. Play scenario.
A HOLOGRAPHIC representation of a Ridley appears, sitting on the couch, looking at stocks on the viewing.
KNOCK KNOCK. He looks to the door. The hologram SHIFTS to…
…the knocking persists.
RIDLEY (aggravated) Who is it? I’m busy.
A video display activates along the length of the door – a futuristic peephole, showing the empty hallway.
COMPUTER Access accepted.
The door slides open to an empty hall. He walks to the door.
RIDLEY (shocked) What? I paid top coin for this.
He puts his hands on the frame, and peeks into the hall.
RIDLEY (CONT.) Fuckin tech–
FZZCH! His arm is sliced off. He turns and knocks a plant over. Blood sprays the wall as he falls to the ground.
That dark figure, BLACK SYN, stands in the hallway, eyes glowing violet. His long razor-thin sword, drips blood.
RIDLEY What do you want? I can pay you. Anything. I have coin. I have coin!
SYN (ALWAYS synthesized, distorted) Useless.
Syn flies with a kick to Ridley’s chest, sending him smashing through the coffee table.
SYN Get up!
Ridley struggles to rise. Syn sheathes the sword on his back. He picks Ridley up. Blood sprays the couch.
SYN Your coin is the problem.
RIDLEY What?! Listen, man, whatever you want, I’ll give you. Just. I don’t wanna die!
SYN Who does?
Syn throws Ridley. Blood sprays the painting.
RIDLEY I’ll pay. I’ll pay. Just let me live.
Ridley scrambles away. Syn advances.
SYN There is more than one way to pay.
Syn draws his sword. He strikes the window with the modified HILT. Amazingly, it shatters easily. Wind blasts in.
Ridley grabs his severed hand, as he trembles on the ground.
RIDLEY I j-just run numbers. I sort the accounts. I analyze the market.
Syn kicks the stump from the Ridley’s grasp.
SYN You will pay for your sins. Rise.
RIDLEY What? I can’t–
Ridley quivers. Syn LIFTS him. He screams for help.
SYN Shhhh… It’s already done.
RIDLEY I didn’t b-bring em here. I’m just an analyst. W-Why?
SYN Each step is important.
Syn steps, advancing. And forces Ridley to the window. He grabs the window frame with his good arm.
SYN Don’t look down. Look at me.
Syn kicks the stump out the window. Ridley watches it fall all the way down to the vendors below.
Syn appears behind the man. He whispers. Close.
SYN (whispers) Look at me.
Ridley turns. Shaking. Face-to-face with Syn. He WHIMPERS.
SYN And with a whimper.
Syn slices the air. A red gash appears in Ridley. Deep.
SYN (CONT.) It all ends.
The RE-CREATION resumes, as Ridley flies out of the window.
Dash, smoking, looks down at the crashed stall. He exhales.
DASH CRYPTEX, end Vision Capture.
His pupils FLASH golden. He puts his hat and coat back on.
DASH Ready report. Identification: 3 Dash 1 Dash Oh Dash 7 Dash 9 Dash En. Send Capture and Theorem to Home.
He examines the room, taking a long haul off his smoke.
DASH This goes beyond madness. There is logic underneath.
He tosses his cigarette out the window, secures his coat a bit tighter, and walks to the door.
DASH (disgusted mutter) Humans.
(listen to BILLIE HOLIDAY as you go)
INT. SMALL APARTMENT – NIGHT
A dark and empty smoke filled room.
A cigarette burns in an ashtray.
The wall acts as a screen. GRACE NOVAK, young and punky,relays the News in a flashy MTV-style.
GRACE Black Syn kills again. That makes for nearly a dozen in just a few weeks. This time it was some Broker for the space tourism industry.
A coffee-maker sputters. WILDER (30s), stubble and short black hair, stands in shafts of light from the blinds.
GRACE (O.S., CONT.) So why does Syn want to shut down travel like he did with Enoch West and Yutani Enterprises?
He paces, rubbing his temples, and grimacing in pain.
GRACE (CONT.) Another Dark Day? Another Uprising? Whadda ya think, freaks. You ready for that or what? So I ask again. Is Syn a hero?
Wilder plops on the couch, with his steaming mug of coffee.
GRACE (CONT.) Black Syn wears no face, bears no affiliations, remains silent. His actions are his only words.
Wilder reaches back and pulls out a heavy black pistol – sleek futuristic design. It CLANGS on the table. That smoking butt falls from the impact.
He sips his coffee. Squints his eyes, and watches the News.
GRACE (CONT.) Tell us your theories on U-Speak, streaming live, next. This is Grace Novak telling you freaks out there to keep it locked on MWN: the trusted source of the human voice.
CHIME. A call window pops up on the wall-screen: “WORK”.
WILDER (agitated) Hello.
The screen shifts to SAMANTHA, 30s, a cybernetic OPERATOR with mechanized brandings. A thin band runs from her temples across her eyes. It shimmers upon movement.
SAMANTHA Wilder. Where’d you go? I had to send–
WILDER Sammy? Good to see you too… I feel like shit. Send someone else.
SAMANTHA What’s wrong? I waited til your show–
WILDER Sorry, doll. My head. What is it then?
SAMANTHA Investigative Division has been tasked.
WILDER (sighs, frustrated) The workers take care of their own.
SAMANTHA The Big 3 worry. I’ve been tasked to send you to The Strip.
WILDER He won’t kill again. Not tonight.
SAMANTHA Well Cybernetic Services already sent–
WILDER (on the same page) The Three1 again?
WILDER Shit. It’s always him.
SAMANTHA Jurisdiction allows for cybernetics in cases of tourism related homicide.
WILDER I know, I know. Just tell me where.
SAMANTHA Wilder? See the Apothecary first.
WILDER No way. I don’t need more machines in me. Mind Fog is killin me already. Forget the address. I’ll just follow my nose.
SAMANTHA Be careful. The Three-Dash-One is authorized to use deadly force.
WILDER I know, Sammy. Gimme a break. I won’t cross him if he don’t cross me.
SAMANTHA Wilder, you sh–
The screen DEACTIVATES, leaving behind a stained wall.
Wilder gulps his coffee, rises, and tucks his pistol away.
(listen to PORTISHEAD as you scroll down)
INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
A 1930s era living room. A radio plays jazz. A desk with a typewriter and chair. A painting of a reclined nude woman.
NEWS (OS) The victim was found in the worker district. Robotic Protection Services will not divert their attention from the hotels. Rest assured, all tourists are safe.
Dash walks down a hallway carrying a silver dinner tray.
NEWS (OS, CONT.) Syn uses terrorism to stop Tourism.
Dash walks past the wall-screen with the News. This is the formal news – no punk aesthetics. More like Anderson Cooper.
NEWS (CONT.) He is the most dangerous serial killer in the known universe, responsible for the decimation of several off-world destinations already.
Dash sits. He cuts his steak as the News plays.
NEWS (CONT.)Now he has set his sights on us, Minerva-3H. He’s staring right at us. Face to face… What do you see?
DASH Radio. Up.
The Jazz music gets louder, drowning out the News Reporter.
EXT. THE STRIP – LATE NIGHT
Boots sink into mud. It’s Wilder, exiting a transportation tram. He adjusts his leather jacket and walks The Strip.
He notices the crashed stall and looks up to the window. He scribbles some notes in his small notepad.
Wilder approaches a vendor – a name on his shirt: BOJANGLES.
WILDER Bojangles. Hit me with one of those bad boys.
BOJANGLES (broken English) Spicy? Or no spicy?
Bojangles prepares the meal. Wilder lights up a handmade cigarette. He motions his head to the crashed stall.
WILDER So… What the fuck?
BOJANGLES I know. It fell. I know. Blood everywhere… All where.
WILDER Who was it?
BOJANGLES Coin man. Never talks. Never see. Til now. Now see all.
Wilder takes notes in his pad as Bojangles talks.
WILDER They said it was Syn.
BOJANGLES Yes. The Dark man. I saw. Up.
WILDER You talk to anyone else?
BOJANGLES No man cares. No one. Robots stay away from here. Never see. We alone.
WILDER What about the Three-One? You see him? He looks fancy. You know, like a prick.
BOJANGLES (cackles) Ahhh. Dress shoes. He no have boots. Fool man he is.
BOJANGLES No fuck. Fuck down street.
WILDER Right, right.
Bojangles hands over the steaming meat. Wilder tosses him a large coin. It glistens blue.
WILDER Thanks. Next time, STOP those dress shoes. He doesn’t care about you. He’s worse than the robots… He’s both.
BOJANGLES That man robot? Oh. He Second Skin.
WILDER Right. You see him again, you tell me. I’ll toss you more coin. Lemme give you my contact.
Bojangles wipes his hand. They shake. Both men wear metallic BRACELETS. A small green light blinks, as they shake.
WILDER There you go. Don’t forget.
BOJANGLES Wilder. You Wilder. Me not forget. Me keep name. Need coin. Never nuff.
WILDER Thanks, Bojangles. Next time.
Wilder folds the flatbread over and eats it like a wrap.
INT. APARTMENT BUILDING – LATE NIGHT
Wilder surveys the crime scene, scribbling observations in his notepad. He folds the leather flap back over the pad.
He mouths his pen. Thinking. He walks the perimeter of the crime scene, careful not to disturb any evidence.
He looks at the bloody wall. The shattered table. Then he notices the broken window and the billowing curtains.
WILDER The window? Why?
Wilder approaches the window. His boots CRUNCH on glass. He scribbles to the bottom of the page:
“Public display of victim – important”
“Pleasure driven – death not quick”
He taps the page with the back of his “pen”. The page goes blank. He holds the pad out the window, pointing it down.
FLASH. The notepad takes a picture. He points it skyward.
Wilder brings the ‘pad back in. He scribbles:
“Gained access through roof? Basement? Lobby?”
He scratches it out. The page blanks, erasing the notes. His stomach grumbles. He grimaces.
WILDER Fuckin spicy.
He TAPS his bracelet. It glows green. He speaks into it.
WILDER INDO. Release probiotics.
The bracelet blinks blue. He sighs, feeling the effects.
Wilder approaches the doorframe. He notices blood-drops on the ground. He scribbles the observation.
He bends, looking at a bloody footprint. He aims his pad.
The pad flashes. Wilder notices another footprint. Another photo. And, in sync with this flash – TSCCCH!
A bottle breaks in the hallway. Wilder darts his attention.
A short thin man, SHORTIE, rounds the corner holding several bottles of alcohol. He’s with a DREADLOCKED PUNK.
SHORTIE Hurry, hurry.
Wilder, still crouched, pivots into the apartment.
Another thin man, much taller, STILTS, wearing a sleeveless T-shirt, comes shuffling along, holding one bottle.
STILTS (angry) Awww. Only one now.
SHORTIE Be smiles you got one, Stilts.
The Punk gets closer and closer to the doorway.
Wilder tucks his notepad away. He sneaks back. CRUNCH! His boot grinds against a shard of broken vase.
Shortie spots Wilder. He drops the alcohol and runs.
The Punk joins Shortie, while Stilts runs the opposite way.
WILDER (sarcastic) Great.
Wilder rises and chases Stilts down the hallway.
INT. HALLWAY – CONTINUOUS
He follows him down another long hallway. Stilts stride is much longer than Wilder’s. Stilts runs into a stairwell.
WILDER (huffing) Shoulda… chased… the short one.
to be continued…
What did you think?
Do you like the blend of noir and cyberpunk?
What do you think of GOSLING as a cybernetic detective? Would you like to see him face-off against Idris Elba in a movie?
What do you think of ELBA as Wilder, our hero who is just beginning to uncover a larger mystery somehow involving Dash and Black Syn?
Would you like to see how this continues? The feature length screenplay is complete. And the universe is primed for future stories. The SLIP/THROUGH CYPHER. This film is also the namesake for my movie site for movie nerds.