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To Boldly Flee: Part 5
September 4th, 2012
We open with the Last Angry Geek flying in a combination Star Wars X-Wing / Babylon 5 Starfury, complete with an R2 unit robot. He listens to a transmission.
Executor: (v/o) Greetings, Terl. I- Woah. What have you done with the place?
Terl: (v/o) Do you like it?
Executor: (v/o) Yes. Especially that plant in the corner. Really ties the room together.
Terl: (v/o) Anyways, we lost the Spoony One, but we may have gotten someone better.
Executor: (v/o) Very well. Ship it via ground overnight delivery.
LAG: Q3, set a new course.
Q3: (makes R2-D2's beeping noises)
LAG: We're following the prisoner.
LAG: Oh, you're just bitter because I wouldn't buy you that iPad you were flirting with.
LAG: Because she was a whore!
LAG: You leave my ex-wife out of this!
LAG: No, I will not buy you that coffeemaker that sent you the nude photos.
LAG: Seriously, Match.com. You might be surprised!
They fly off before we cut to a mourning Luke, sitting at NC's dining room table. Film Brain then enters and puts his hand on Luke's shoulder.
Luke: I just can't believe he's gone.
FB: You mustn't blame yourself. (he sits down next to Luke and "comforts" him) Sure, if you had only jumped in one second earlier, you could have pushed him out of the way. And I'm not going to lie: we would have preferred if you were taken instead of him. But hey, at least you're here safe and sound whilst he's probably being tortured to death. You can take comfort in that, right?
Luke: GOD! You're horrible at this!
FB: Who knows? Maybe... maybe he's all right somewhere.
Luke: You don't know that. Lord knows what kind of tortures they're subjecting him to right now.
Cut to an unconscious Cinema Snob lying on a bed as sultry saxophone music plays. A sexy woman (played by Jillian Zurawski) holds a cookie tray, sits down next to him and stuffs a cookie in his mouth.
Snob: (waking up) The hell? I think I'm in the wrong movie.
We then see a white-haired man in a suit played by Rob Walker, known as Christopher Clod, on the other side of the room
Clod: California is rather nice, isn't it? (to the woman) Intern. (claps his hands) Leave us. (Clod motions her to the dorr as she leaves, but not before feeding him a cookie. He then mouths...) Call me. (...and does that hand pose where it looks like a phone receiver... you know the one)
Snob: (still wondering what's happening) Who are you?
Clod: (stuffed mouth) My name is- (coughs) Uh, excuse me. (he finishes his cookie) Delicious. My name is Christopher Clod. I am head of the Motion Picture Association of American Artists.
Snob: I remember you. You're that senator who quit his job and said he'd never become a lobbyist... and then you became a lobbyist.
Clod: Hmm-hmm. Oh, please! I prefer the term "film enthusiast," Bradakin.
Snob: (curiously) How do you know my real name?
Clod: Oh, I know many things about you, young Bradakin. I've been following your career with great interest.
Clod: Oh, yes. Your talents are wasted, I'm afraid. The critics don't understand your full potential. They're afraid of it.
Snob: What do you mean?
Cut to them walking through the hallway.
Clod: You see, Bradakin, we are providing the world with hours and hours of entertainment, the likes of which only the M-P-Triple A can provide.
Snob: And so that gives you the right to shut down anyone who doesn't agree with you?
Clod: Oh, Bradakin. I love diversity more than anybody, but we have our own interests to think of.
Snob: Like with SUCKA.
Clod: Ah, yes. The Stop the Unstoppable Copyright Killers Act. That is but one method, yes.
Snob: But isn't Hollywood still making record amounts of money?
Clod: Yes, but we can make more. You have no idea how tough it is out there, young Bradakin. Why, I've had to sell off one of my six summer homes. We can barely even afford to pay our own writers.
Snob: Hollywood barely pays their writers to begin with. That's why they went on strike.
Clod: Yes, but now we can afford to pay them even less. (he opens a closet door as Snob looks on) Look at her, young Bradakin.
We see a woman (Dayna Munday) sitting on the floor wearing an office suit, glasses, and chains around her neck while holding a laptop.
Clod: Can you deny this poor woman her dues?
Woman: (English accent a la Oliver) Please, sir, may I have a paycheck?
Clod: Oh, I'm so dreadfully sorry. (in a somewhat sarcastic tone) Pirates.
Clod shuts the door, leacing her in the dark. We cut to Clod and Snob in a well-lit room, standing in front of a window.
Snob: Well, that sucks and all, but... what do you want from me?
Clod: Your talents are wasted, I'm afraid, young Bradakin. You spend your time reviewing Z-Grade porno flicks; but, in reality, you can fulfill your dreams of becoming a real filmmaker.
Snob: What do you know about my dreams?
With remote in hand, Clod turns on an ad on the TV. Snob is surprised to see this:
Woman (Jori Laws): Hi, Bradakin. I want to be your head of lighting. (she gives a "thumbs up")
Man (Jason Laws): Hi, Bradakin. I want to be your pyrotech. (lights a cigarette lighter and weirdly stares at it as an explosion occurs behind him)
Clod: (he suddenly pops up behind Snob and puts his hand on his shoulder) Think of it, Bradakin. Real lights. Real equipment. Key grips and best boys.
We see more people in the ad, including: "Jamez" as the "cinematographer," Holly Christine Brown as "script supervisor," and Justin & Haley Barnes and Terrence Bellinger as "production assistants" - the last three motion Snob to come into their world.
Clod: The noose is tightening around the critics, Bradakin. If not from us, then from someone else. Here, you'll have (cut to stock shots of...) a fully furnished apartment, a home to finish writing your magnum opus. (back to the room as Clod hands Snob a check) Here, I'll even give you a little starting money.
Snob: (incredulous) Is that as many zeroes as I think it is?
Clod: Oh, I'm sorry. Not enough? Here, let me add a couple. (writes some more on the check) Just remember: (he pinches Snob's cheek) Don't spend it all in one place. (in that sarcastic voice again) Pirates. (he leaves as we cut to a different "angle" of the room; Snob follows)
Snob: And what if I refuse?
Clod: Oh, you're free to leave whenever you wish. All that I ask is that you think about it. Just remember: When you leave... (pushes a remote turning the apartment hologram off, revealing a holodeck) ... so does the dream.
Clod leaves leaving Snob to ponder. The screen goes black as we see the Plot Hole continuing to grow. We then cut to the Critic standing at his window, intently watching the stars roll by.
Film Brain: (offscreen) Critic? (at the doorway, he enters the room and stands next to NC)
NC: How's Luke?
FB: Upset like the rest of us. I mean, what's gonna happen? To Spoony? Cinema Snob? To everyone?
NC: I don't know. I mean, I thought I did but... ever since that plot hole showed up, everything's been... changing.
NC: What if everything's been building up to this? All the reviews, all the madness, all the chaos in life. What if everything's been building up to just one single choice? (we see a close-up of NC, as if we're looking on the other side of the window) And what if that one single choice falls down to just one person? And what if that one person... is me?
FB: Well, I can't think of a better person for it to fall upon than you. (he smiles)
NC continues to ponder as FB eventually places his hand on his shoulder.
NC: Don't go Brokeback on me.
FB quickly takes his hand off. Cut to Lupa sitting on the floor of Engineering in the dark looking concerned. Todd shows up and kneels across from her.
Todd: (sighs) All right, Lupa. What was so important you needed to talk to me about? (sarcastic) Because if you want to give me another chance...
Lupa: It's not that.
Todd: (quickly) Oh, please. I want you to give me another chance. I want you to want me to give you another chance.
Lupa: Look. Somebody shut down these torpedoes. And according to the computer banks, the last people with access to the backing controls were the Nostalgia Chick and Linkara.
Todd: (confused) But why would either of them do that?
Lupa: I don't know. Maybe without you, she thinks she's got nothing left to live for or something.
Todd: See, why can't you be like that?
Lupa: Look. I need you to keep an eye on them. You need to watch what they do.
Todd: Why are you even asking me?
Lupa: Because... because you're the only one I know who would believe me.
Todd: (after thinking it over...) OK, but I'm only doing this for you.
Lupa: Thank you. (Todd leaves) And be discreet.
Todd: (off-screen) Oh, please. I am a ninja! (cut to him loudly banging on their door) HEY! LINKARA! NOSTALGIA CHICK! ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING SUSPICIOUS OR EVIL IN THERE? (He shrugs and enters to find the two on their intercom, talking to...)
Terl: (vo) Soon, our evil and suspicious plans will be complete!
Todd: Uh... (They spot him) What was that?
NChick/Seven of Eleven: We were simply discussing our plans to exterminate the carbon units aboard the USS Exit Strategy.
Todd: So... does this mean you don't want a relationship anymore?
Seven of Eleven: Affirmative.
Todd: (looking relieved) Oh, thank God!
Seven of Eleven: We simply wish to turn you into a mindless automaton bent on serving our will.
Todd: Are you sure that's not a relationship?
She holds a drill as Todd looks concerned (deja vu, much). Cut to the bridge. The crew is trying to see what's happening in another room, especially Mickey, who tries hopping up and down to get a better view. NC is about to enter the room, but his intercom goes off.
Lupa: Critic. Can I talk to you?
NC: What is it? (cut to Lupa in Engineering) We're about to see what CR and JO put together.
Lupa: I can't talk over an open channel. Meet me in Engineering.
NC: (sighs) Really? You want me to come all the way down to Engineering?
Lupa: Just do it.
NC: (annoyed) Fine. (he walks across the bridge to a door that leads right to Engineering on the same floor; he enters) What is it?
Lupa: We have a saboteur on board.
NC: A tiger?
Lupa: Not a sabre TOOTH, you idiot! A traitor!
NC: Oh, Lupa. Come on.
Lupa: I'm serious! Someone is assimilating the crew one by one.
NC: Nobody is assimilating the crew.
Lupa: How do you know?
NC: ... OK, fine. I'll call at three random crew members right now. (on intercom) Linkara. Nostalgia Chick. Todd. Get inr here. (robot noises are heard) We'll see who's crazy. (turns around; he looks nonchalant while Lupa is stunned) You three. Have you noticed any suspicious behavior around here?
Mechakara: No. (camera pans to...)
Seven of Eleven: No. (camera pans to...)
Todd: (now dressed as RoboCop with a robot voice) None whatsoever.
NC: There now, you see? I told you you were paranoid. Back to your duties. (The three leave with RoboTodd making slow movements and loud mechanical noises) (to Lupa) You know, sometimes you just have to open your eyes. (He leaves, leaving Lupa baffled)
We see CR and JO's finished invention and a sleeping Spoony on a couch wearing a wired helmet. NC joins everyone in the room, pushing them out of the way.
NC: OK, so what is it?
CR: Well, as best as we can describe, it's a dream amplifier.
NC: OK, and what does it do?
CR: ...It amplifies dreams.
NC: Thank you, Captain Obvious!
JO: (gleefully to CR) Yay! You've been promoted!
CR: Basically, we can use it to watch the dreams of anyone aboard the ship; and we, of course, plan to use it on Spoony.
NC: Uh-huh, and where did it come from?
JO: From the voices in our heads!
NC: (shocked) I believe that.
JO: I also invented these: (she holds up a pair of...) power enhancing rocket boots! They're like gloves, only for feetsies. I shall demonstrate on... (looks around to find...) Paw Paw!
Paw: Oh, God! No!
She thrusts the boots with her hands, sending him through the ceiling. She gives them to NC.
NC: (promptly handing the boots to Lupa) The thought occurs to me that this might not be entirely safe. (to SadPanda) Doc, what do you think?
SadPanda: Juno is overrated.
NC: (after a pause) I mean, about Spoony.
SadPanda: Spoony would agree with me.
NC: No. I mean, about his treatment.
SadPanda: Stop watching Juno!
NC: WOULD YOU FORGET ABOUT JUNO?
SadPanda: I'm trying, but... "Best Screenwriter?" Really?
NC: ...Is this thing safe?!?
SadPanda: If there's anything House M.D. ever taught ,it's that there's nothing safer than risking a patient's life with experimental treatment that will surely kill him if I am wrong. (holds up a pack of pills and pops one) Painkillers?
NC: Oh, don't mind if I do. Now, (takes a painkiller and says, with full mouth:) who wants to volunteer?
Film Brain: (being hooked up; this also includes attaching a small gas mask over his mouth) Why do I have to do this?
CR: Well, what we need is a blank slate. An innocence of sort. Someone whose brain lengths are so low...
SadPanda: (interrupting) You're an idiot! And if you die, most of us won't miss you. Now, are you allergic to shellfish?
SadPanda: 12,000 volts of electricity rushing through your motor cortex?
FB: (scared) Very!
SadPanda: That's nice.
He turns the machine on, shocking Film Brain. He is now in a void of white light and is dressed as Neo from The Matrix, complete with sunglasses and leather jacket. Several orange doorways are placed on his sides going on into infinity. He looks around and takes off his glasses.
FB: Woah! Where am I?
CR: You're in Spoony's perception. (v/o as FB walks in his new surroundings) Everything and everyone that Spoony has ever known is represented in that realm.
CR: Ah, grazie! (he and NC take one as Mechakara pushes Panda aside)
Film Brain enters the door called "Perception." A brick wall appears as the Critic appears in a spotlight. We also hear Camille Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre playing.
Perceived NC: Hello! I'm a compilation of high-pitched screaming and in-jokes that go on too long! (the real Critic is appalled) Look! I'm making my living by screaming mindless obscenities! Dick! Shit! Fuck! I can say words that a fifth-grader learned! Ha ha ha ha! (wildly laughing)
NC: I don't sound like that, do I, Phelous?
Phelous: That's Grand Admiral Phelous, and the answer to your question is... (is crushed by a safe; everyone reacts... by not reacting)
Perceived Joe: (he moves into the spotlight toting machine guns, bullets, and a bandana) Hi! I'm obsessed with violence and anarchy, probably because my mother didn't hug me enough! Ha ha ha ha ha! (shoots his guns)
Joe: (upset) Hey, I love my mama!
Perceived Joe: Ha ha ha ha ha! (is quickly replaced by...)
Perceived Linkara: Nyeh! Nyeh! Don't take me outside or else my skin might sparkle.
Mechakara: His voice is much more annoying than that. (everyone looks at him; he sighs) I mean, "I don't sound like that. Nyeh. Nyeh."
Everyone is satisfied, save for Lupa, who motions to JewWario to follow her out of the room; they leave.
NC: All right, enough of this. Film Brain. See if you can locate Spoony's subconscious.
FB: This one says "Super Ego."
Joe: (v/o) That's probably how Spoony views himself.
JO: (v/o) Spooky!
Joe: (v/o) Hey, quit hogging all the painkillers!
JO: (v/o) Num num num num num num num!
Film Brain enters the door into a dark room with a metal-looking device. His eyes soon bug out. Why? Suddenly, a very skinny and nearly naked Spoony with a mullet and speedo (a la Dune) appears.
FB: (shocked) Ew, God! Fucking Hell! (this as Spoony continues his dramatic posing) God! Ew. Ew. I don't want to do it again, but I'm vomiting in my mouth.
NC: Yeah. I'll bet Nostalgia Chick really sympathizes with that. (looks around to find her) Hey, where'd she go? (the others look around too)
Cut to Lupa and JewWario in Engineering.
JewWario: So, uh, what's up?
Lupa: (handing him the boots) I need help, (J-Dub is promptly almost on the ground, struggling to get back up since the boots are so heavy) and you're the only one dumb enough to believe me.
JewWario: Oh, thank you. (eventually, he sets the boots off to the side)
Lupa: (at the computer) Is there any way to get a complete transcript of all the internet activity aboard the ship? I tried the usual route, but it looks like it's encrypted now.
JewWario: Oh, um, yeah, yeah. There's a, here- (takes over for Lupa) There's a back door. (typing) Right... there. There you go.
Lupa: Woah. Look at all the furry porn.
JewWario: (typing fast) That must be Joe's.
Cut to a dark room. Cinema Snob enters to see Clod watching something on TV. Snob sits down next to Clod.
Snob: What are you watching?
Clod: Manos, the Hands of Fate.
(movie) The Master: ...darkness upon thy faithful, to live eternally in her keeping.
Snob: You know, it's amazing. When you get down to it, it's really a film about a family losing its soul.
(movie) The Master: Thou hast taught us, O Manos, and we hath listened. Give ear to our words, O Manos...
Snob: Too bad it's an awful film.
Snob: What do you mean?
Clod: This film was funded by a Texas fertilizer salesman. He put his very life's savings into it. His life. His all. By all accounts, it's a complete and total abject failure. And yet, by making something so awful, so wretched... he created something good. Something that lives on. Something that will... endure.
Snob: (scoffs) You want me to write something good for you? All I know is crap.
Snob: Yeah? I have a screenplay called "Cannibal Confederates vs. Amazon Girls a Go Go." That's the best I can come up with.
Clod: (by the end of this part, the camera zooms in on him) Have you ever heard of a director called Uwe Boll? He figured that all you truly needed was the will to create. Through tax-dodge schemes and direct-to-video releases, he figured he could turn any video game franchise into his own personal playground. How ironic that the very things you critics rail against have made him a cult sensation. No matter what your friends say, people love him precisely because they hate him.
Snob: I don't understand.
Clod: Fame is fleeting, but infamy lasts forever. It's a technique only a true master can perfect.
Snob: ...And I can learn this technique?
Clod: (turns to Snob) Not from a critic.
Meanwhile, Linkara FINALLY manages to escape his closet and crawls out. Film Brain continues to explore Spoony's mind.
NC: (vo) Hey, Dazed and Confused. You gonna make it to Spoony's subconscious anytime soon?
FB: I think I found it.
He enters the "Subconscious" door into a dark realm. He sees an image of Spoony's head with the Plot Hole inside his neck. Everyone looks with intrigue. The Plot Hole eventually takes over the camera angle and suddenly speaks.
FB: Who are you?
Voice: I am the beginning, the end, the intermission. I am the one who is in all places at once.
NC looks concerned.
Ma-Ti (voiced by Rob Walker from here onwards. Sorry, Bargo fans): Yes. That is what they used to call me.
NC: Film Brain, ask him what he wants.
FB: Ma-Ti. What is it that you want?
Ma-Ti: ...The Critic. All of your questions will be answered if you just bring him to me.
FB: Bring him where?
Ma-Ti: To the Plot Hole. It is where he belongs. It is where he has always belonged. (NC ponders, perhaps more so than before) It is... his destiny.
Mechakara motions to Seven of Eleven and RoboTodd to turn off something. RoboTodd does as we hear whirring noises power down... the oxygen in the ship, maybe?
To Be Continued.