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QUANTUM PROJECT: ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY


      1     INT.  A BIOCHEMICAL LANDSCAPE                            1

            A violent electrical storm.  Veins of light pulse outward, branching
            off into a spidery network of 

            GLOWING INTERCONNECTEDNESS

            We are inside a human brain.  A pack of neurons FIRE OFF to the left,
            and rocket their way across synapses to the optic nerve.  Passing the
            eye socket, they speed toward a silky, curvilinear membrane (the
            retina) on which we see an image projected:

            AN UPSIDE DOWN COMPUTER SCREEN

            Neurons PING into the membrane: the picture suddenly FLIPS RIGHT SIDE
            UP and we follow the light, flashing in a blur through the iris and
            cornea until, exiting the eye we reverse POV and

      2     EXT.  THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT - DAY                      2

            CLOSE ON A PAIR OF EYES

            Deep deep blue.  Radiating more intelligence than wisdom.  Inside
            each pupil is the reflection of a COMPUTER SCREEN.  A deferential
            VOICE sounds from off camera.

                                VOICE
                      Professor Pentcho?

      3     INT.  ATOMIC LABORATORIES  (PROFESSOR PAUL PENTCHO) - DAY3

            Twenty-nine, athletic, owlishly handsome.  

                                VOICE (ARLETTE)
                      Multi-tasking again?

            Pentcho raises his blue eyes from the computer screen and up at
            ARLETTE (50's), his mannish Swiss assistant.  

                                ARLETTE
                      We can start the descent now.  

      4     INT.  THE LABORATORIES (MOVING) - DAY                    4

            A SERIES OF SHOTS

            as Pentcho and Arlette stride through the facility.  They pass a
            group of green-tagged VISITORS and their Swiss-accented GUIDE.

                                GUIDE
                      Two hundred feet below us is the world's
                      largest particle accelerator...

            His VOICE continues on overlap as they reach a hallway.

                                GUIDE (OC) (CONT'D)
                      27 kilometers in circumference, the beam
                      pipe actually runs beneath the borders of
                      Switzerland and France...

                                PENTCHO
                      Did you get that data off to Braverman at
                      Cal Tech?

            They are facing the CAPSULE/ELEVATOR that leads to the tunnel.

                                ARLETTE
                      Done.

            Next to the elevator, two plants are dying in their pots, their
            growing lamps off.  Pentcho looks around, finds the plug, pushes it
            into the socket.  The lights glow.  He peers at a leaf: a tiny bug
            crawls across...

                                GUIDE (OC)
                      ...at the moment of impact the electrons
                      inside the pipe are travelling six hundred
                      sixty six million miles per --  

                                ARLETTE
                      We need to progress.

            He breaks out of it, swipes his I.D. card.  The capsule doors WHOOSH
            open.  Pentcho nods at the man inside.  This is JACQUE, his accent
            heavily Italian.

                                JACQUE
                      Hey, it is 3-P-O!  P, P, P!  Professore
                      Paulo Pentcho!

                                PENTCHO
                      That's not an official nickname, Jacque.

            Pentcho looks from Jacque to Arlette, who blushes.  Pentcho sits down
            in the heavily consoled captain's chair.

                                JACQUE
                      Beh!  Eets just tun-nel humor.   

            The giant lab disappears from sight as they DROP twenty stories below
            the earth. 

                                PENTCHO
                      Did they recalibrate the 3k turn?  

            Jacque nods.  They hit bottom.  Pentcho keys in data on the console
            computer as the capsule moves LATERALLY on a track parallel to the
            beam pipe, stopping in front of the RF CAVITY, bursting with a
            billion dollars worth of nanotechnology.

                                PENTCHO (CONT'D)
                      Give me more angle-control on the bounce.

                                JACQUE
                      Benissimo, Professore.  

            ON PENTCHO: a little bored, manning the console.

                                PENTCHO
                      Fifteen seconds Arlette...

      5     INT.  PENTCHO'S BRAIN FIELD - DAY                        5

            The camera surges forward into Pentcho's eyes:

            DOUBLE CLICK

            We see an image draw itself on the empty 'page' of the field: 

            A BLACK DOT LOOPING INTO A STRING

            accompanied by the following thought text:  
                      "...two spatially separated particles will
                      irresistibly attract..."

            MOUSE CLICK - A WOMAN'S FACE

            wide-set brown eyes brimming with emotion.  A hint of a SONG playing
            somewhere in the BG.  

            MOUSE CLICK

            to the previous 'page' where the LOOP has formed into a sheet moving
            through space, followed by the floating thought text: 
                      "...until the force of the collision fuses
                      them into..."

                                PENTCHO'S VOICE
                      Ten, nine, eight...

            MOUSE CLICK - POV: LOOKING STRAIGHT DOWN AT

            the BROWN-EYED WOMAN, her face dreamy, her body naked beneath silk
            sheets.  PULL BACK: she's floating on an enormous Renaissance mural -
            a wedding scene - that is a bedroom floor.  Off in the corner,
            PENTCHO sits hunched over a clunky laptop, his fingers dancing,
            dervish-like, across the keyboard.

                                PENTCHO'S VOICE (CONT'D)
                      Four, three, two...

                                WOMAN
                      Then goodbye...

            CRACK!  Suddenly, the woman drifts away.  Pentcho looks up: THEIR
            EYES LOCK WITH LONGING AS:

      6     INT.  THE CAPSULE CONSOLE - SAME TIME                    6

            Pentcho's FINGER depresses the START button. 

      7     INT.  PARTICLE ACCELERATOR - DAY                         7

            as we follow the PULSE SIGNAL from the keyboard to the CPU, across
            the LOCAL AREA NETWORK to the MAINFRAME in the RF cavity, sending its
            own signal into the BEAM PIPE, where two soon-to-be accelerated
            ELECTRONS are released,  like horses bolting from the same starting
            gate, but in opposite directions.  THE ROLLER-COASTER RIDE BEGINS. 

            POV - ONE LIGHT INFUSED ELECTRON 

            BLASTING through the beam pipe like a COMET, fused inside of a
            looping, twenty seven kilometer single lane race track. WHOOOSH!

            As the electron accelerates, so too does the sound, rushing to GUT
            SPLITTING, EAR WRENCHING DB'S.  Heading around the turn, it barrels
            STRAIGHT INTO THE PATH OF THE SECOND ELECTRON on its own speed-of
            light power surge.

            HERE COMES THE IMPACT POINT... but SCREEEEECH!  

            What disc brakes might sound like, slammed to the floor of a vehicle
            travelling six hundred sixty six million miles per hour.

            SUDDENLY THE ELECTRON HAS STOPPED, SUSPENDED,

            its phosphorescent glow trained like a spotlight on:

            PENTCHO - EXTREME CLOSE UP

            the dual computer screens reflecting out of his pupils, again.  A
            VOICE speaks from nowhere, sonorous and packed with reverb:

                                FEMALE VOICE
                      WHAT DO YOU WANT?

            The camera SURGES into Pentcho's eyes as the brain field opens to the
            sounds of a nine alarm fire.  DING DING DING DING DING! The thought
            text marches by in giant, attention-getting letters: "ELECTRONS DON'T
            TALK!"

                                FEMALE VOICE (CONT) (CONT'D)
                      WHAT DO YOU WANT, PAUL?

            More thought text scrolls by on the field, now in RED LETTERS:
                      "I'm having a psychotic episode."

            The field collapses back into PENTCHO, ashen-faced, watching his
            computer screen, and seeing: the cursor (electron) blinking.

                                JACQUE'S VOICE
                      Impact!

            Suddenly, we are back inside the pipe, HURTLING toward

            KABLOOM!  THE SUB-ATOMIC EXPLOSION

            A particle meteor shower of magnificent proportions.  They glow and
            charge off and disappear, as the laws of E=mc2 take visual flight
            inside this billion dollar kaleidoscope.  

      8     INT. AIRPLANE IN 1ST CLASS (ON PENTCHO) - DAY            8

            staring out the window, not really seeing the clouds as we SURGE into
            his eyes and CLICK

      9     INT.  THE BRAIN FIELD (POPPING OPEN) - DAY               9

            stacking up windowlike flashbacks with startling ferocity.  

            The glowing electron - CLICK -  Arlette: "multi-tasking again?" CLICK
            - the capsule doors closing - CLICK - "you're having a psychotic
            episode" - CLICK - the echo of the electron's voice: "WHAT DO YOU
            WANT, PAUL?" 

     10     INT.  THE AIRPLANE (PENTCHO) - DAY                      10

            puts down a drink glass on the tray table of the seat next to him. 
            Places headphones onto his ears.  Fiddles with the music channels:
            country, stand-up, classical... Stays put on a Mozart concerto.  He
            gazes back out at the clouds, fails to notice that

            HIS DRINK GLASS IS MOVING

            sliding slowly across the tray table.  It stops near the edge and
            waits, as Pentcho looks up from the window.  As his head drifts back
            toward the clouds outside

            THE GLASS MOVES ACROSS THE TRAY TABLE IN THE OTHER DIRECTION 

     11     EXT.  SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - DAY         11

            Pentcho's plane touches down.

     12     INT.  A RED VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE - DRIVING                 12

            On the freeway, heading for Berkeley, in eternal rush hour.  Stop,
            go, sixty miles per hour, then five, then thirty. 
            Pentcho drives, distracted, stares at his own eyes reflected in the
            rear view mirror.  The camera SURGES in: CLICK

     13     INT.  FLASHBACK - AIRPLANE - DAY                        13

            It's Pentcho himself, on the airplane, listening to Mozart.  In the
            foreground, the tray table and glass.  In the BG, his eyes fixed
            aimlessly on the clouds outside.  Suddenly, Pentcho's face 

            SPLITS INTO TWO DIMENSIONS

            One stays focused forward, while the SECOND ONE turns to the side and
            watches in amazement as

            THE GLASS SLIDES ACROSS THE OPEN TRAY TABLE

            Suddenly a horn BLARES, and CRASH!

     14     INT/EXT.  THE BEETLE (PENTCHO) - DAY                    14

            SLAMS into the car in front of him, triggering   

            SLOW MOTION EFFECT

            A three car COLLISION with Pentcho in the middle, an object lesson in
            physics seen from ten different camera angles:

            SCREECH CRUNCH CRUNCH 

            Bumpers crumple, metal tears, human molecules SNAP forward.  POP POP
            POP!  Like gunfire, bullet AIRBAGS clamp the drivers' heads back
            against their headrests.  

     15     INT. PENTCHO'S BRAIN - DAY                              15

            The field ROCKS SIDEWAYS, in total OVERLOAD, so flooded with messages
            that each one is undecipherable.  

     16     EXT.  THE FREEWAY ACCIDENT SITE - DAY                   16

            The three cars form a tangled metal sculpture.  Incredibly, as
            Pentcho himself sees, they are all RED VW BEETLES.  He sits in a
            daze.  A man's voice interrupts, scaling up into a SHOUT.

                                VOICE
                      What the hell were you thinking?  What?  I
                      want to know!  WHAT?!!

            This is WILL (30's), a scratch over one eye, peering in at Pentcho,
            still behind the air bag/steering wheel, craning his stiffening neck
            forward and back at the crumpled row of red automobiles.  He blinks,
            then answers in an eerie voice.

                                PENTCHO
                      Probability of this happening, same make,
                      model, color and year is less likely than
                      the proof for the existence of God.  

                                WILL
                          (seething)
                      Sorry I asked. (beat) You got insurance?  

     17     EXT.  THE FREEWAY SITE (LIGHT RAIN IS FALLING) - DAY    17

            A tow truck backs up to Pentcho's car.  He stands, dazed, off on the
            shoulder, luggage next to him.  His eyes drift toward Will, giving
            instructions into his cell phone.

                                WILL
                      Up the ramp.  Yeah... I'll -- (he turns) 
                      There you are!  See me?  See?  They won't
                      let you in?  Just walk... Here I am.

            He waves at a red Dodge Durango on the street below.  

            PENTCHO stares idly at the Durango as we 

     18     INT. PENTCHO'S BRAIN - (MUSIC ON OVERLAP)               18

            The picture is blurry but the song clear.  

                                SINGER'S VOICE
                      I know this world is kil...ling you...

            CLICK - THE PICTURE SHARPENS

            on a man and a woman, MAKING LOVE on a big brocade couch.  Their
            bodies rock in unison, faces unseen. 

                                SINGER'S VOICE (CONT'D)
                      My aim is true-ooooh.  

            The field collapses closed upon:

     19     EXT.  THE FREEWAY ACCIDENT SITE - DAY                   19

            A woman from the Durango is approaching, as Will, back on the phone,
            argues with his boss.

                                WILL
                      I'll be there, Trent.  Yes.  20 minutes --

            Click.  Will reddens, sees the sunglassed face of the woman, looking
            past him and over to PENTCHO, signing the tow truck papers.  The
            battered front end of his Beetle CRANKS upward.  

                                WILL (CONT'D)
                      Son-of-a-bitch.  As if it was my fault I got
                      rear-ended by...

            The woman stares, curiously, at Pentcho.  

                                WILL (CONT'D)
                      ...some schmuck dreaming about God.  Mia? 

            She doesn't hear him.  Takes off her sunglasses, slowly.  Wide-set
            brown eyes.

                                WOMAN
                      Paul...?

            Finished now with the tow truck driver.  His head turns.  She moves
            closer.  Will's voice protests from the BG.

                                WILL'S VOICE
                      Mia...

            ON PENTCHO - SEEING HER, REALLY, FOR THE FIRST TIME

     20     INT.  PENTCHO'S BRAIN -  (PRESENT DAY MIA)              20

            overlapped by another photograph that slowly comes into focus - top
            third, middle third, bottom - like a downloading Internet image from
            his personal files.

            IT'S MIA, YOUNGER, THE SAME WIDE-SET DARK EYES

            Pentcho's heartbeat pounds LOUDER, drowning out the whisper:

                                MIA
                      Then goodbye...

     21     EXT.  THE FREEWAY ACCIDENT SITE (BACK TO REALITY) - DAY 21

            They lock into a stare, the molecules around them swirling with
            emotion.  Barely audible:

                                PENTCHO
                      Less likely than the existence of God.

            Mia brushes back a strand of hair.  Bites her lip.

                                PENTCHO (CONT'D)
                      I've been dreaming about you.

                                MIA
                      Day or night?

            Pentcho loses himself in her brown eyes.

                                PENTCHO
                      Both.  

            Atoms are vibrating, interchanging by the billions.  Another voice
            gets in the way.

                                WILL'S VOICE
                      Mi.

                                PENTCHO
                      Is that your...

                                MIA
                      No. (beat) Not yet.

            She shifts her weight from one slim leg to the other.

                                PENTCHO
                      Could we go somewhere?

                                MIA
                      I'm heading out of town.

                                PENTCHO
                          (deep breath)
                      Okay.

            Mia does a tiny double-take.  It's very sexy.

                                MIA
                      What?

                                PENTCHO
                      I could go out of town.  

            Mia laughs.  This is so preposterous.

                                MIA
                      Could you?

                                PENTCHO
                          (nodding)
                      Where to?

                                MIA
                      A place you've never been.  

                                PENTCHO
                      That's the physicist's playground.

     22     EXT.  ADVENTURE WILDERNESS STORE - DAY                  22

            Will SLAMS the Durango door shut and stalks into the store.

     23     EXT.  HEADING TO XANADU (A SERIES OF INTERCUTS) - DAY   23

            as the Durango motors into the alpine landscape.  Mia turns, looks at
            her former lover.  He stares back, smiles. 

                                MIA
                      Why am I doing this?

                                PENTCHO
                      It's an experiment.

            Mia turns onto a private road.  A MANSION appears in the distance,
            cresting the hill.  

    23a     EXT/INT.  XANADU - NIGHT                               23a

            A massive wooden door.  Mia holds a flashlight, slips an oversized
            key into the lock and turns.  

            POV: THROUGH THE DOORWAY

            An enormous hall.  Scaffolding rises from the stone floor.  Forty
            foot high walls are draped in thick sheets of plastic. 

            They enter like thieves.

    23b     INT.  XANADU - A SHORT TIME LATER                      23b

            Mia stands on top of an eight foot riser.  Pentcho passes up
            harnesses and rope to her outstretched hands.  

                                MIA
                      We flopped the first time out.

                                PENTCHO
                      At the sub-atomic level, particles obey
                      their own logic.  They connect in
                      unimaginable ways.   

            Mia slings the gear over her shoulder.  Looks very much in her
            element.

                                MIA
                      And you think this is relevant to our
                      relationship?  

            Pentcho starts his own climb up the scaffolding.  Reaches the first
            plank.

                                PENTCHO
                      Could be.  

                                MIA
                          (wryly)
                      What universe are you in, Paul?

                                PENTCHO
                      A quantum one.  

    23c     INT.  A HIGHER SCAFFOLDING - A SHORT TIME LATER        23c

            Pentcho clips a safety line to his belt.  The two of them wear 
            yellow hardhats and climbing harnesses.  They suddenly KICK OFF the
            scaffold and DANGLE twenty five feet above the stone floor.  Hand
            over fist, they start to ascend, hoisting themselves up the tug
            ropes.

                                PENTCHO
                      The shorthand is, when you send electrons
                      through space, it's impossible to say
                      precisely what they are: particles or waves.  

            They spin around slowly like tops as they hoist themselves up.

                                PENTCHO (CONT'D)
                      They come into being as one or the other at
                      the moment we observe them.   

            His words echo off the giant walls.  

                                PENTCHO (CONT'D)
                      Nothing is real until it's perceived.

                                MIA
                      The Buddhists have been saying that for a
                      millennium.

                                PENTCHO
                      How?

            Mia reaches an electric box, hanging a yard below the ceiling.

                                MIA
                      Baby, reality is what you choose to make it.

            She flips the switch.  A set of lights FLARE ON.  Pentcho swallows a
            breath.  In awe.

                                PENTCHO
                      God.

            WE SEE WHAT HE SEES: 

            A GIANT RENAISSANCE-STYLE FRESCO COVERS THE ENTIRE CEILING. 

            Flocks of ANGELS fly above a GODDESS.  Cherubs.  Heralds.  

            Pentcho's face flushes.  He's exhilarated.  She takes note:

                                MIA
                      But only if you live your life that way.  If
                      you experience every moment as discovery.  

            Pentcho's already there.  He kicks his legs out.  Joyrides on the tug
            rope, arcing back and forth like a mad pendulum.

                                PENTCHO
                      Mia!  You're restoring heaven with dabs of
                      paint.  You're bringing new order to the
                      universe.

            She beams from his excitement.

                                MIA
                      I always said we were in the same
                      business... 

            His wayward motion swings him STRAIGHT INTO HER.  They lock arms. 
            The ropes shudder. 

                                PENTCHO
                      If you're right, we have a chance. (beat) To
                      be together.

            Pentcho reaches out to kiss her.  Doesn't see that their collision
            has jogged the clutch on his harness rope.  Now it opens all the way.

            WHOOSH!

            In an instant, he's gripping air, FALLING at the speed of Newton's
            discovery.

            He hurtles downward in slow motion.  There's a SOUND rushing in
            behind him, the RUMBLE OF A MEGA-EARTHQUAKE.  

            Pentcho catches a glimpse up over his shoulder: the angels, the
            goddess, Mia, all of it has been

            SUCKED OUT OF EXISTENCE...

            as Pentcho's eyes stare for a millisecond at 

            THE VOID.  NOTHINGNESS.  NADA.

            And then he's FALLING again, accelerating toward his own last
            particle collision, when a VOICE murmurs from somewhere.

                                VOICE (OC)
                      I'm not done.

            THWACK!  The safety line holds, dangling Pentcho a meter above the
            stone floor.

    23d     INT.  XANADU - SOME TIME LATER                         23d

            They camp on old couch cushions, side by side, staring up at the
            illuminated fresco.  Pentcho is bruised, battered, vulnerable.  

                                PENTCHO
                      When I was a kid I used to snap my head back
                      like a gunfighter on the draw, hoping to
                      catch a glimpse behind me.  

            Mia props her head up on one elbow.

                                MIA
                      Of what?

            ON THE FRESCO: A CHORUS OF ANGELS 

                                PENTCHO
                      God.  I dunno.  The eternal nothingness. 
                      Mia. 

            It's a plea.  She turns, stares directly into his eyes.

                                PENTCHO (CONT'D)
                      The universe is snapping my head back.  I'm
                      losing my focus.  

            Mia's face fills with light.  Her best smile.

                                MIA
                      Welcome, Paul.  Welcome.  

            She traces a line from his forehead to the bridge of his nose,
            quoting Yeats (from "The Second Coming") as a celebration:

                                MIA (CONT'D)
                      "Things fall apart; the center will not
                      hold.  Mere anarchy is loosed upon the
                      world."

            He pulls her close to him.  They lie, spooned together, breathing in
            unison, gazing up at the painted heaven.  

            A firefly enters from outside, flutters in the air above them,
            blushing a trace line of yellow light.

                                PENTCHO
                      An electron spoke to me yesterday.  (beat) I
                      swear.  

            Mia tries to suppress a giggle.  Can't.  

                                MIA
                      What did it want?

                                PENTCHO
                      That's what it asked me.  "What do you
                      want?"  I didn't answer.  I was in the
                      middle of an experiment.

                                MIA
                      Like now?  

            He hesitates, then surrenders to the fact.

                                PENTCHO
                      Yes.  

            The firefly dances above them.  Pentcho sits up (and away from her). 
            Mock serious:

                                PENTCHO (CONT'D)
                      Did you know electrons have lovers?  

            Mia notes his distance.  Faces him, cross-legged.

                                MIA
                      No.  I didn't.  (dryly) I'm listening.

                                PENTCHO
                      Inside every semi-conductor... you have two
                      particles, with opposite charges, separated
                      by an impassable barrier...

            She looks, sees him disappear into his head.  

                                PENTCHO (CONT'D)
                      A strip of silicon, which for you and me
                      would be like...

            The vulnerability is gone.  And Mia, with it.

                                MIA
                      She's in L.A., he's in the Bay area --

                                PENTCHO
                          (plowing ahead)
                      A five hundred foot thick steel wall.  But
                      the connection between these two electrons
                      is so --

                                MIA
                      Dysfunctional --

                                PENTCHO
                      That they tunnel, magically, through any
                      obstacle, defying the practical laws of
                      physics, in order to end up together --

                                MIA
                      And glow happily ever after.  

            Silence.  The story hangs between them like a fog.

                                MIA (CONT'D)
                      Don't science me Paul.  (beat) What do you
                      want?

            ON PENTCHO'S FACE: It's blank.   

            MIA looks up at the angels, closes her eyes, TURNS AWAY.

            (OMIT SCENES 24, 25, 26, 27, 28)

     29     EXT.  CITY STREET - EARLY MORNING                       29

            The Durango pulls up, stops.  Pentcho gets deposited on the curb. 
            Barely closes the door before the car SPEEDS away.  He looks up. 
            Sees the sign on the bus stop bench:
                      "LOVE NEVER FAILS"  Corinthians 13:8

     30     EXT.  THE BAY AREA - DAY                                30

            Storm clouds gather over the ocean.

     31     EXT.  THE BERKELEY HILLS - POURING RAIN                 31

            A taxi stops in front of a two story cottage, looking abandoned in
            the wet weather.  Pentcho walks out, passing his dented VW BEETLE in
            the driveway.  Ascends a flight of brick steps to the:

     32     INT.  PENTCHO'S COTTAGE - ENTERING                      32

            An alternately stark and cluttered space, less lived in than occupied
            by a man on the run between his office and his mind.

            Rivulets of water run from an open window, across a large desk, and
            down onto the wood floor.  Pentcho scans around, unfazed.  Locates a
            towel.  Mops up.  Dries off the computer and keyboard.  Bag still on
            his shoulder, he fires up the machine and logs 

            ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN

            E-mail.  Lots of it.  Hundreds and hundreds of messages scrolling by
            on the screen.  He turns away, sees his own rain soaked clothes
            forming a puddle on the floor.  LIGHTNING cascades across the sky,
            visible through the large bay window behind the desk.  Pentcho's eyes
            stray back to the screen

            STILL SCROLLING E-MAIL MESSAGES

            as the thunder follows almost immediately.  CRACK!  He looks up: 
            Veins of light pulse outward, branching into a spidery network

            OF GLOWING INTERCONNECTEDNESS

            A voice SOUNDS from somewhere non-local:

                                VOICE (OC)
                      Paul?  Pauly?

            Pentcho leans toward the glass, looking out as we reverse POV:

            A SINGLE LIGHTNING BOLT descends from the heavens on its own speed-of
            light path straight at...

            WHOMP!  It strikes the BEETLE dead on -- (SLOW MOTION) -- scorching
            the roof.  Reverse POV:

            ON PENTCHO - pupils dilated as we surge inward to 

     33     INT.  PENTCHO'S BRAIN - (OPENING ON) NIGHT              33

            AN OLDER MAN

            wild, white Einstein hair.  He CLUTCHES suddenly at his chest, like a
            heart attack victim.  His lips call out, but no voice follows.  He
            fades, ominously, to black at the sound of

     34     EXT.  THE SKY - (ROARING THUNDER) DAY                   34

            Pentcho blinks once, his face illuminated by a dozen flashes of
            lightning.  He touches his fingers to the glass:

            A SECOND LIGHTNING BOLT DESCENDS

            on the exact same path toward...  KABOOM!  THE RED BEETLE.

            A plume of smoke rises out of the punctured roof.  

     35     (OMIT)                                                  35

     36     (OMIT)                                                  36

     37     INT.  THE AIRPLANE - NIGHT                              37

            Pentcho sits in his window seat, staring at the open tray table next
            to him.  There's a glass.  It doesn't move.  

    37a     EXT.  STOCK SHOT - LANDING IN LAX                      37a

            The plane touches down.  We see the landmark spider-restaurant.

     38     EXT.  CAR RENTAL FACILITY - NIGHT                       38

            Pentcho crosses the lot with the rent-a-car EMPLOYEE.

                                EMPLOYEE
                      Rented every last ve-hicle.  'Cept one.  

                                PENTCHO
                      I'll take it.

            It's a red 2000 BEETLE.

     39     EXT.  THE 110 FREEWAY - NIGHT                           39

            The sign says: "Hollywood - North.  Long Beach, San Pedro - South."

     40     EXT.  SAN PEDRO/HOUSE - NIGHT                           40

            The rain has stopped.  The red bug parks in front of a

            GRAND HOUSE GONE TO SEED.  

            Ditto the neighborhood.  A 7-Eleven sign blinks on the corner.
            Pentcho walks up the cracked sidewalk to a sagging wooden porch.  
            Looks for signs of life.  A light.  Something.  

            He pushes on the front door.  Locked.  Rummages through his key ring
            in the dark.  Slides one into the top lock.  Won't turn.
            Tries another key.  Gets stuck.  He pulls it out.  Presses his face
            close against the window.

            TIRES SCREECH.  POLICE SIRENS BLARE.  

            Pentcho turns, his EYES lit by the flashing bubble lights.  

     41     INT.  THE BRAIN FIELD - POPPING OPEN ON                 41

            THE EINSTEIN MAN

            Crumpled on the floor, hands still clutching his chest.  The screen
            COLLAPSES at the sound of 

     42     EXT. HOUSE (VOICES SHOUTING FROM THE CORNER) - NIGHT    42

            Foreign voices, jabbering at high speed.  Policemen BARK BACK on
            loudspeakers.  Walkie-talkies.  

            Pentcho RAPS ON THE GLASS.  He's frantic.  Harder now.  A THUNK
            sounds from inside.  Or was it?  He picks one last key out in the
            glare of the blue lights.  Jams it in the lock.  Twists and

     43     INT.  THE HOUSE - PENTCHO                               43

            bursts into the darkened foyer.  His foot catches on a thick doormat. 
            He SPRAWLS forward as

            A GUNSHOT ERUPTS ABOVE HIS HEAD

            He drops, convulsed with fear.  Snaps his head back to see:

            THE EINSTEIN MAN (ALEXANDER)

            in bathrobe and slippers, hands shaking around a shotgun.

                                ALEXANDER
                      Paul... Pauly... 

            Pentcho struggles to breathe.  Staccato:

                                PENTCHO
                      I... I thought you were dead.

            Alexander drops the gun.  In shock, a whisper:

                                ALEXANDER
                      I must be.  

     44     INT.  BAR AREA (A TEA KETTLE WHISTLES) - NIGHT          44

            Alexander, recomposed, marches to the burners.  There's anger in his
            every movement.  Restlessness.  This is no feeble old man.  He pours
            tea like he was filling shot glasses.  Doubles.

                                ALEXANDER
                      Look at me.  

            Pentcho stirs in a lump of sugar first.  Raises his eyes.  

                                ALEXANDER (CONT'D)
                          (contemptuous)
                      "Alexander the Great."  

            He lifts a kitchen chair, spins it around, straddles the back.  

                                ALEXANDER (CONT'D)
                      22 I built the first machine to transfer
                      digital bits over a land line.  I wrote the
                      TCP/IP protocol before thirty.  This mind
                      (tapping his temples), the one and only, was
                      OBGYN at the birth of the Internet.  And
                      where has it taken me?  

            He shoots upright.  Peers out the row of double sash windows, covered
            by impenetrable iron grates.  

                                ALEXANDER (CONT'D)
                      To isolation.  To an armed camp.  To a
                      biblical spoof of a crazed father firing a
                      gun at his only son. 

                                PENTCHO
                      You taking any medication?

            Alexander's eyes FLARE in anger.  

                                ALEXANDER
                      Don't waste it Pauly.  This is not an
                      everyday talk.  Just input the information
                      and ask relevant questions.  One: how did a
                      celebrated life of the mind bring me
                      (pulling the gun out) to this particular
                      switching station?

                                PENTCHO
                      Dad...

            He shoves the shotgun into an open trash can.

                                ALEXANDER
                      Two: what if I didn't miss?  

                                PENTCHO
                      You did.

                                ALEXANDER
                      Spare me your classical answer. 
                      Measurements in.  Results taken.  What if I
                      didn't miss?  

                                PENTCHO
                      You did miss --

                                ALEXANDER
                      -- What if your seven and a half precious
                      liters were downloading over the parquet
                      floor?  What then?  (softer) What did your
                      life mean? (beat) Who did you nurture,
                      Pauly?  Who did you love?

            Pentcho shifts, uncomfortably, in his seat.  Ditto Alexander's mood. 
            He does a startling one-eighty into nonchalance.   

                                ALEXANDER (CONT'D)
                      What was her name?

                                PENTCHO
                      Excuse me???

                                ALEXANDER
                      What was her name?  The one I met.

            Alexander reaches out a finger, touches the dab of paint on Pentcho's
            forehead.

                                PENTCHO
                      Mia...?

                                ALEXANDER
                      Yes.... 

            He rubs the paint between his fingers. 

                                ALEXANDER (CONT'D)
                      The restorer...

            Now he wanders off, disappears into the dark.

            ON PENTCHO: wired, incredulous, heart thump thump thumping.  

            He calls out after his father.  

                                PENTCHO
                      I need some air. (beat) Don't shoot me.  

                                ALEXANDER'S VOICE (OC)
                      Good night.  

            INT.  ALEXANDER'S HOUSE - A SHORT TIME LATER

            Pentcho paces in front of the open window, stops.  He turns to walk
            out, is surprised by

            ALEXANDER

            Standing in the dark.

                                ALEXANDER
                      We've been kidding ourselves, Pauly.  Until
                      you look for it, it doesn't even exist.  

     45     EXT.  SAN PEDRO WHARF - NIGHT                           45

            Pentcho slogs down the wharf.  Running from it.  Looking for it. 
            Past homeless people slipping in and out of the shadows.  He snaps
            his head back over his shoulder, sees an OLD WOMAN playing  the
            accordian.  She stops.  Her eyes bore in on his own. 

                                OLD WOMAN
                      You would have a son with me...

            Pentcho blinks.  The woman is suddenly FIFTY YEARS YOUNGER:

                                YOUNG OLD WOMAN
                      ...and his name would be Hope.

     46     INT.  PENTCHO'S BRAIN - (A MATHEMATICAL FORMULA)        46

            Numbers fly up on the field, are inscribed, erased, considered and
            measured.  Pentcho's own VOICE is heard on overlap:

                                PENTCHO'S VOICE
                      "If you could look back fast enough, at near
                      to the speed of light, then there would be
                      no reality behind you, because it hadn't yet
                      been created --

     47     EXT.  THE WHARF - (A FOGHORN) NIGHT                     47

            BELLOWS in the dark.  Pentcho twists his head forward, spots:

            A PINK NEON HEART

            blinking above a tatto parlor.  His eyes lock on, see the heart 

            GLOWING BIGGER AND BIGGER, 

            its electric pulse mimicing the beating of a real organ.  

            CLOSER STILL - ON PENTCHO

            Running from it.  Looking for it.  He stops dead in his tracks, tries
            one last time to play gunfighter with the quantum reality:

            HE SNAPS HIS HEAD BACK OVER HIS SHOULDER

            and we see him, making the same move, from four different camera
            angles: from his LEFT, his RIGHT, from the TOP OF HIS HEAD, and
            looking up FROM GROUND ZERO as 

            HE FINALLY WINS THE DRAW.

            The RUMBLE OF A MEGA-EARTHQUAKE is unleashed.   Here it comes,
            rolling in with a giant WHOOSHING SOUND...

            POV PENTCHO: WATCHING REALITY SUCKED OUT OF EXISTENCE

            The ships, the dock, the harbor OBLITERATED by an onrushing,
            transparent cloud of NOTHINGNESS, EMPTINESS, a tabula rasa
            superimposed upon the disappeared wharf.  

            ON PENTCHO, FALLING TO HIS KNEES

            hammered by his own victory, numb from shock and ecstasy, staring
            into the void as we surge forward 

     48     INT.  THE BRAIN FIELD                                   48

            It's completely blank, just like the void.  The VITALS are flatlined. 
            A single piece of thought text floats across the emptiness, almost
            like a screen saver:
                      Say Uncle.... Say Uncle...

     49     EXT.  THE WHARF - (A VOICE) - NIGHT                     49

                                VOICE
                      Uncle, hey... 

            A face, peering down at Pentcho.  The face belongs to the MAGIC MAN,
            in a mad hatter hat, and a potpourri of found item clothing.  Like a
            Baptist preacher on his sidewalk pulpit:

                                MAGIC MAN
                      Can you feel it, uncle?  Can you feel it
                      right down to your bones?!  

            ON PENTCHO: EXTREME CLOSE UP

            Inside each pupil is the reflection of the NEON HEART.  We pull back
            on Pentcho's face.  Calm.  Serene.

                                PENTCHO
                      Yes.  (beat) Yes I can.

     50     EXT.  ALEXANDER'S HOUSE - NIGHT                         50

            Pentcho turns the key, effortlessly opens the front door.

            INT.  UPSTAIRS HOUSE - AN ORNATE TILE SHOWER - NIGHT

            He stands beneath the stream of hot water, cleansing himself of a day
            that began a very long time ago.

            INT.  THE GUEST BEDROOM - NIGHT

            Pentcho dresses, taking in the smell and texture of fresh clothes
            against his body.  He sits down on the bed.  Sees a clock.  5:00 a.m. 
            TUGS UP one of the double sash windows that faces the 7-Eleven. 
            VOICES rise from the parking lot.  

            Pentcho stretches out on the musty bedspread, eyes on the carved
            plaster ceiling.  Suddenly, floating up through the open window:  

                                WOMAN'S VOICE
                      What do you want?!  

            Pentcho cranes his head.

                                WOMAN'S VOICE (CONT'D)
                      Tell me!  Now!  Now!  

            The old sash falls shut.  BOOM.  It's like a dam bursting inside him,
            only the flood is LAUGHTER that starts deep in his belly, as a
            giggle, then a chuckle that cascades upward and out into enormous
            GUFFAWS.  The sound rocks the house.  Pentcho's smile is a mile wide. 
            His eyes sparkle, then tear up as the

            FRONT DOORBELL RINGS

            He jumps off the bed, and bounds down the stairs.  

     53     INT. THE FRONT HALL - NIGHT                             53

            Alexander's already there, ushering MIA inside to:

     54     INT.  THE LIVING ROOM - AT THE MOMENT THAT              54

            Pentcho arrives.  He stops, incredulous, at the sight of her.  

                                ALEXANDER
                      Guess who's coming to dinner.

            Mia jumps right in.  To Pentcho:

                                MIA
                      I didn't want to leave things the way we
                      did.  Not this time.

                                PENTCHO
                      Wait.  I want to tell you something.

            He takes her arm, steering her away from Alexander, into the living
            room.  She stops cold at the sight of the MURAL.

                                MIA
                      I've been dreaming about this.

                                PENTCHO
                          (excited)
                      Then you get it.  You'll understand.

                                MIA
                      What?

            His face has the look of the little boy who has just stumbled upon
            the pirate's treasure.  

                                PENTCHO
                      I know what I want.  I let go, and a second
                      later you materialized at the door.  You
                      see?  

            CLOSE ON PENTCHO

            feeling the feelings.

                                PENTCHO (CONT'D)
                      Mia.  I can create reality.  (beat) I can
                      choose to love you with all my heart.  

            Tears pool along the rims of her eyes.  She stares straight at him,
            hiding nothing.

                                MIA
                      You know those people who won't be
                      photographed because they're afraid you're
                      stealing their souls...?  
                          (long beat)
                      I came to take back my picture.  The one I
                      keep leaving with you.

            His heart deflates.  His voice follows.  Barely audible:

                                PENTCHO
                      Why?

                                MIA
                      So I can move on.  You too.

            A horn blares from outside.

                                MIA (CONT'D)
                      Be who you are, Paul.  I love who you are. 
                      I do.

            She turns and runs out the front door.

     55     EXT.  ALEXANDER'S HOUSE - SECONDS LATER - NIGHT         55

            Mia runs down to the curb where where boyfriend WILL holds open the
            passenger door of the red Durango.

                                MIA'S VOICE
                      I'll drive.

            She circles the car, disappears behind the wheel.  Will gets in his
            side.  

            ON THE FRONT PORCH

            Pentcho, agitated, pushes open the door.  Alexander's already
            outside, watching Mia motor off.  He turns, stares at his son.

                                ALEXANDER
                      Do you want to think about it some more?  

            PENTCHO SPRINTS DOWN TO THE CURB.  Jumps into the Beetle.  The
            headlights FLASH ON in the pre-dawn night.

     56     INT.  THE DURANGO (DRIVING) - NIGHT                     56

            Mia grips the wheel with two hands.  Will feigns nonchalance. 

                                WILL
                      You okay?

            She nods.  Barely.  They merge onto the highway. 

     57     INT.  THE BEETLE (DRIVING) - NIGHT                      57

            Pentcho grips the wheel.  Eyes focused.  We surge into 

     58     INT.  PENTCHO'S BRAIN FIELD - OPENING ON                58

            PEARLS, PLAYING OUT, LOOPING INTO A STRING 

            whose shape recalls the original brain field.  Thought text scrolls
            below, accompanied now by Pentcho's own inner voice.

                                VOICE AND TEXT
                      Each part of physical reality is constructed
                      of all the other parts...

            EXTREME CLOSE-UP, ON A SINGLE PEARL

            inside of which, the entire strand is reflected.

                                VOICE AND TEXT (CONT'D)
                      A web of connections created by the
                      interdependence of all things...

            The field collapses back into:

     59     INT.  MIA IN THE DURANGO (DRIVING) - NIGHT              59

            eyes on the rear view mirror, as a horn BLARES from the entrance to
            the Long Beach bridge.

            She re-checks the mirror, filled with bobbing headlight beams.  One
            beam LOCKS ON, straight into the center of the glass, blinding her
            for a split second.  She blinks.  Gasps to herself as the beam seems
            to 

            LIFT OUT OF HER MIRROR 

            and train its phosphorescent glow on:

            MIA - EXTREME CLOSE UP

            the point of light reflecting out of her pupils.  PENTCHO'S VOICE
            speaks from nowhere, sonorous and packed with reverb:

                                PENTCHO'S VOICE
                      What do you want?

            Mia blinks again.  The beam is gone.  She looks over at WILL,
            oblivious, checking his watch. 

            BACK ON MIA

            the understanding flooding her eyes as 

            SHE SNAPS HER HEAD BACK (JUST LIKE PENTCHO THE GUNFIGHTER)

            And we see her making her move from FOUR DIFFERENT CAMERA ANGLES,
            from her left, right, up above, and from the back seat of the car as
            the RUMBLE OF A MEGA-EARTHQUAKE WHOOSHES BY...

            POV MIA: THE BRIDGE, THE CARS, THE BAY

            all sucked out of existence until nothing remains but         

            THE VOID.  NOTHINGNESS.  NADA.   CRASH!

     60     INT.  THE DURANGO (SLAMMING INTO THE CAR AHEAD) - NIGHT 60

            triggering a chain reaction of vehicles fish-tailing across the
            bridge.  In quick succession come a STREAM OF IMAGES:

            The pearls colliding...

            Mia and Will exchanging a LOOK...

            Traffic HALTING on the bridge...

            Will getting SCORCHED by the MAN they plowed into...

            Mia, exiting her side, looking BACK BEHIND HER...

            PENTCHO, ditching his Beetle, ten car lengths south...

            HE RUNS FORWARD, straight down the path of a tunnel-like headlight
            beam.  

            MIA PICKS UP SPEED, churning from the other direction.  

            PULL BACK: FROM THE BRIDGE

            as the two of them move toward the same point.  Suddenly, tiny sparks
            of light GLOW and JUMP from portions of the bridge cable.

            SLOW MOTION: PENTCHO AND MIA

            gliding still closer.  A VOICE sounds:

                                VOICE
                      Impact!

            Their bodies CONNECT, arms intertwine, lips touch lips...

            PULL BACK - HIGHER

            It's like a plug in the socket of the physical landscape

            LIGHTING THE ENTIRE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM

            Every cell line, radio wave, satellite feed, fiber-optic cable, all
            stretching in every possible direction 

            FROM BRIDGE TO SEA TO SKY

            pulsing outward into a spidery network of

            GLOWING INTERCONNECTEDNESS. 

                                     THE END


Quantum Project



Writers :   David Aaron Cohen
Genres :   Drama  Short


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