29 | 03 | 2017

INT. DAY: HOME OFFICE

A MAN sits at his desk, surrounded by clutter. As he types and uses the mouse spreadsheets and charts whizz by on the screen. His face is lit by the dull glow of the screen. Clearly tired he leans back and stretches. When he leans back forward again he notices a blank piece of paper and an old crayon on the desk. Were they there before? Hesitantly he picks up the crayon and draws a square on the paper.

With a flicker the interior of the square disappears to reveal something golden. Warm light from the square illuminates the bottom of the MAN’s face, contrasting with the blue of the screen. Confused he picks up the paper and turns it over; the other side is just normal, blank paper. He turns it back over again and tentatively reaches his fingers towards the hole. His hand passes through with no resistance and he draws it back quickly. The MAN slaps the paper back on the desk, blank side up and blunders out of the room, slamming the door behind him. A soft golden glow is coming from beneath the paper which flutters gently as if in a breeze.

INT. NIGHT: HOME OFFICE

The computer has long since gone into standby mode. All is dark apart from the very soft light from the paper. The door opens slowly, spilling more light into the room then closes as the MAN enters and turns on the lights. He sits on the chair and tentatively lifts up the paper again. Bright light floods out. He turns it over, placing it on the desk with the hole facing upwards and looks down at it. He picks it up again and reaches through with his fingers; once again they pass through with no resistance but this time he reaches his whole arm through, right up to the shoulder, groping around on the other side. When he pulls his hand back out he has a handful of fine, golden sand. He lets this run through his fingers then leaves the room again, closing the door and switching off the lights behind himself. The paper, this time left hole side up, continues to glow. The sand on the floor glows for a moment then fades to dimness.

EXT. DAY: DESERTED BEACH

A weird portal opens over the sand. It’s dark on the other side. Time passes then a hand reaches through the hole, picks up some sand and disappears.

INT. DAY: HOME OFFICE

It’s clearly the next day; bright sunshine floods into the office. The MAN from earlier enters again, dressed differently this time. He dips his fingers in the pile of sand on the floor then cautiously slips his hand though the piece of paper again. He moves the paper around, a thoughtful expression on his face before he withdraws his arm.

EXT. DAY: DESERTED BEACH

Waves lap at the shore. We can hear birds in the distance. A line appears in the air, drawing a door sized box. The inside of the box shimmers, then takes the form of an old wooden door – the same as the one in the office, in fact. It looks out of place; not just because it is a door on an empty beach, but the light is all wrong. Slowly the door opens. The MAN peers through, holding onto the door frame then very tentatively steps through onto the sand. He takes off his shoes and socks and wiggles his toes in the sand, then walks off into the distance leaving a single lonely set of footprints in the sand.

INT DAY: HOME OFFICE

The office door slowly swings closed, obscuring our view of the MAN in the distance and his shoes on the beach, just in front of the door.

28 | 03 | 2017

More screenplay. Update tomorrow. Also did a nice Cyclotag on the way home from work, and got scratched by brambles.

27 | 03 | 2017

Started writing a screenplay for a short film that I may or may not make. I’ll post it up when complete.

01 | 03 | 2017

Chapter One

Inside the ship everything was smooth and clinically clean. There was nothing to light the interior bar one, gently flashing amber light on the end of what looked like a row of shiny white coffins. Each one seemed to be made from the same material as the rest of the ship and lay around waist height above floor level, tilted upwards slightly. Apart from a constant, virtually undetectable hum there was little to suggest that the ship was flying through the vastness of space at incredible speeds. Without warning a tremor shook the ship, and the amber light turned to an angry red.

On one of the coffins, the one closest to the end, a green light began to pulsate. After a moment, with a gentle whooshing noise, the base of the coffin morphed upwards, leaving it standing in an almost upright position.  In the red light its shadow stretched across the room. With another gentle sigh an edge formed around the top of the coffin and the lid seemed to dissolve, releasing a jet of steam into the room. A figure stumbled forwards and fell awkwardly to the floor. The strobing red light threw twisted shadows across the room, painting the walls in a tapestry of distorted limbs.

The figure on the floor was a girl aged around 15 and dressed in a simple white coverall. She twisted round so she was sat with her back resting on the open coffin and shivered, drawing deep draughts of air into her lungs. As she sat the other coffins opened one by one, disgorging their occupants onto the floor. All but one were men, and all were older than the girl. As she leant against her coffin, regaining her composure and balance, they bustled around the room talking in husky whispers. The flashing red alarm was replaced by a soft warm light that seemed to emanate from every surface in the room and the temperature rose steadily to a more comfortable level.

One by one the crew left the room until only the girl and a young man, tall and wiry were left. He rose from his position hunched over a console by the door and walked over to her, hand extended. She took it and rose slowly to her feet, her legs still unsteady beneath her. She leant back against the coffin. The young man looked concerned.

‘Are you ok Mabel?’

Mabel felt sick, and her legs were roughly the consistency of jelly but there didn’t seem to be anything unusual wrong.

‘Yeah, I think so,’ she replied. ‘Feeling a bit more wobbly than usual, but I’ll be ok. What’s going on? What’s up with the jump exit?’

22 | 02 | 2017

Prologue

The ship cut silently through the darkness of space. Its body was like a squashed cylinder, tapering to a point at the prow. Bulbous protrusions at the rear hinted at the powerful engines hidden inside. The way it seemed to absorb the weak light of distant stars meant that it was visible only as a dark stain in the sky; only the lack of stars signified its presence. Accelerating to roughly one half the speed of light its planet of origin, a bleak, sulphurous ball of red rock called Locke, was soon nothing more than another speck in the blackness and its destination began to take shape ahead.

The warp gate was the size of a small planet or large moon but took the shape of a cylinder rather than a sphere. In contrast to the sleek lines of the ship it was an ugly, brutal thing; inside the cylinder was a smooth tunnel but outside was a misshapen expanse of towers and cables, pockmarked by the impacts of decades worth of space debris. It was located in the centre of a triangle of stars and tendrils snaked out from the gate towards each one. As the ship neared, lights around the perimeter of the gate flickered into life and the inner surface began to glow with a blue light. The tendrils shuddered and shook as they leeched the power needed to stage a warp jump from the nearby suns.

The ship steered with perfect precision into the very centre of the cylinder. As it entered there was a brief flash of light and the ship disappeared. The blue glow faded and the lights on the perimeter winked one by one into darkness.

***

Light years away, in a distant arm of the galaxy, there was a planet orbiting an old, dying star. Its surface was covered in arid deserts, with what little water there was stored in pockets deep underground and hanging suspended in the thinning atmosphere. The ageing sun cast a deep red light over the sand dunes making them look like old skin, once supple but now baggy and creased. Little life survived in such a harsh environment beyond the tough, coarse moss that covered the many rocks strewn across the desert and any number of tiny microbial creatures, eking out enough moisture for survival from the air. Small lizards flitted from shadow to shade, scratting at the moss and thin, skeletal birds with leathery wings wheeled in the sky seeking near invisible prey.

Across this hostile planet crawled a massive mobile city, carried by many sets of huge, creaking tracks. Almost two miles in length, its body arched and bent like a caterpillar to match the contours of the undulating dunes. Weathered over countless years its surface was a patina of sand and rust with recently repairs distinct in their brighter, cleaner shades. On its roof miles of solar panels drew power from the beating sun and thousands of arms jutted out at all angles, tirelessly filtering what little water they could from the air.

Inside the metal leviathan, built and grown over generations huge engines worked tirelessly to keep it moving and to provide the inhabitants with light and oxygen.

***

Somewhere in the depths of space, far beyond the reaches of human colonisation, something stirred. A crackle of static rippled across the sky and suddenly all of the stars in a large section of sky disappeared in a swathe of inky blackness.

12 | 02 | 2017

I may not be enjoying cycling to work as much as usual at the moment.

18 | 01 | 2017

Inspired by a conversation at work. Perhaps Will’s Law will return…

11 | 01 | 2017

I don’t really see a castle on the way to work. But there is a weird optical illusion on sunny days that I can’t quite figure out.