The Arc (chapter IV)

EXT. SPACE NEAR THE SPACECRAFT – NIGHT

James’ momentum carries him back to the entrance.

He reaches with his hands as he approaches.

Misses!

His body spins on his axis.

Starts to move away into space.

Making a last effort, he grabs the handle with his foot.

No friction causes his body to lean back against the entrance.

Hits his head hard.

HARD CUT TO:

(FLASHBACK)

EXT. MILITARY AIRPORT – DAY

The door of the jet opens.

James, with his right arm broken and in a cast (from the previous hard landing on Earth), climbs down the stairs.

A group of reporters take pictures of him.

James ignores them and gets to the ground.

Sophia is waiting for him, carrying her son JAMES JR. (2) in her arms.

James reaches Sophia.

JAMES
I told you I’d be back.

Sophia, with tears in her eyes, smiles at James.

They hug.

(BACK TO PRESENT)

EXT. ENTRANCE TO THE SPACECRAFT – NIGHT

James hangs nearly unconscious, with his foot on the handle.

A.I.
James, James!

James comes to his senses.

He chokes from lack of air.

Struggles to grasp the handle with his hands.

Succeeds.

He releases his foot and turns the handle.

The entrance opens—

INT. SPACECRAFT INTERIOR COMPARTMENT – NIGHT

—-James darts inside.

The hatch closes and the lights in the compartment turn on.

A.I.
Oxygen and gravity activated.

James removes his helmet and takes in the air coming out of the ship’s vents.

A.I.
Welcome to the Arc, James.

Breaths in relief.

(FLASHBACK)

INT. SUBTERRANEAN MILITARY FACILITY – DAY

Metallic elevator doors open.

James, General Mackenson and a SCIENTIST (42) get off the elevator.

JAMES
The Arc?

GENERAL MACKENSON
We can’t save the planet, nor ourselves. But we can still preserve life.

James sees a pile of crates with supplies and machinery being loaded on rails into a giant spaceship.

SCIENTIST
Inside the spacecraft is the genetic material of all living species known to us, as well as the DNA of most of the human beings alive.

James, General Mackenson and the scientist walk closer to the ship.

SCIENTIST
Our estimations indicate that it will take at least 100 cycles to reach the nearest habitable planet.

JAMES
Cycles?

GENERAL MACKENSON
Human lives, James.

James stops.

JAMES
I don’t understand, who is going to pilot the ship?

General Mackenson stares at James.

(BACK TO PRESENT)

INT. THE ARC – NIGHT

James walks in pain to a side panel that has the lid open.

A.I.
James, your vitals…

JAMES
(focused)
Give me a second.

James reaches inside the panel and pulls the lever.

Lights on the main panel of the ship activate.

A.I.
Automatic mode reactivated. Mission accomplished.

JAMES
Good. Test the solar panels, please.

James sits on the floor and struggles out of his spacesuit.

A.I.
Solar panels running at optimal positions.

A long bleeding wound is visible on his exposed abdomen.

JAMES
(standing)
I’m glad to hear it.

James walks over to a scanner-like machine.

A.I.
James, do you think it’s time to…

JAMES
Yes… activate resuscitation protocol, please.

A.I.
All right. Resuscitation protocol activated for James number 37.

Lights turn on in the rear space, illuminating a long row filled with cryostasis stations on both sides.

Inside each of the stations is a hibernating JAMES CLONE.

James get inside the scanner-like machine.

His skin pale.

A.I.
Is there anything else I can do for you, James?

JAMES
Yes, activate the farewell sequence.

A.I.
Agreed. Goodbye, James.

James nods and closes his eyes.

CUT TO:

(FAREWELL SEQUENCE)

EXT. OUTSIDE JAMES’ PARENTS’ HOUSE – NIGHT

The car stops.

James gets out and goes to the passenger side, opens the door and receives James Jr. from Sophia’s arms.

The three of them pause outside the house.

INT. LIVING ROOM OF JAMES’ PARENTS’ HOUSE – NIGHT

James, holding James Jr. in his arms, and Sophia arrive at the room.

Paula stands by the fireplace, holding a piece of paper in her hands.

James kisses Paula on the cheek.

JAMES
Hi, mom.

PAULA
James, Sophia… and who’s this little sweetheart.

Paula kisses James Jr.

Sophia notices the paper Paula holds.

SOPHIA
Is that what I think it is?

Paula nods.

SOPHIA
(at James)
Can you read it for us?

James stares at Sophia, doesn’t answer.

Paula comes to James and takes James Jr. from his arms, gives him the paper.

PAULA
I think is time, James. It’s okay.

Paula caresses James’s arm.

Then, she and Sophia sit down in the sofa near the fireplace.

James stands in front of them, holding the paper.

Suddenly!

The sound of a heavy impact is heard in the distance.

The shock wave shakes the walls.

PAULA
Go on, James.

James looks at Sophia, who nods.

He starts reading.

JAMES
I was a child when God spoke to me…

EXT. MIDDLE OF SPACE – NIGHT

The arc traverses the inmensity of space.

JAMES (V.O.)
He told me that I was going to die, I remember it was in the morning, I hoped it was a lie…

EXT. NASA LAUNCHING SITE – DAY

The slowed explosion of the rockets, the fire driving a column of smoke to the ground.

JAMES (V.O.)
But he said, don’t you worry, because the end is a miracle, like the taste of honey, if you share it, it tastes nice…

The spacecraft rises into the sky.

INT. JAME’S PARENTS HOUSE – DAY

A new tremor interrupts James, but he keeps going.

JAMES
I was young when God spoke to me, it was the middle of the day…

James eyes meet Sophia’s.

INT. THE ARC – NIGHT

The cryo pod front crystal door opens, a new James emerges from the cold vapor.

Naked.

And in front of him, the clones pod hallway.

JAMES (V.O.)
He told me He was a lie, then fire came from the sky.

INTERCUT JAMES’ PARENTS’ HOUSE AND THE ARC.

A low, muffled blow echoes through the walls of the house.

JAMES
Should I even try? Fear took my life, I remembered, I’m going to die…

The windows of the living room crack.

The new James’s reflection passes through the crystals of the cloning pods.

JAMES (V.O.)
Not before giving my heart to survive. And a hundred angels walked with me, and the clamour of the trumpets gave us strength.

Through dozens of identical individuals.

Beyond, the control room of the ship—

JAMES (V.O.)
To push forward against the end, once again.

—and space through the mirrors.

James stops. He comes near Paula and Sophia, hugs them boths and starts crying.

JAMES (V.O.)
I was a man when God spoke to me, it was the middle of the night. And the taste of honey, was the sweetest goodbye.

James, Paula and Sophia hold each other and the baby as the tremors get stronger and stronger.

Sunlight coming from the windows fade.

Darkness.

FADE TO BLACK.

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