Welcome to OSING

part 6 of NEON RUN

(Sorry for no post yesterday. I woke up to an earthquake. So, uh… weird day. ANYHOO)

Since we all need some extra entertainment right now, this week I’m doing a serialized release of my screenplay NEON RUN. This is Part 6. 

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5


INT. OSING HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT

A huge window frames a view of the megalopolis. Zoe lies asleep in the bed of the luxurious suite.

Across the room sits Veda, working on her tablet. The entertainment screens in the room are covered in news coverage.

ZOE

You look worse than me.

Veda looks up and comes over, all business.

VEDA

How do you feel?

ZOE

Dizzy.

VEDA

You lost a lot of blood.

ZOE

Yeah, please tell me someone cleaned that up. Where is everyone?

VEDA

Agnezz said they were "taking care" of the GAPs you captured, whatever that means.

Veda wrings her hands, looking back over at the screens.

ZOE

Blazes, I swear your head is going to explode. I've never seen a person bottle up so much worry in their brains.

Veda smiles wanly.

ZOE

You know, I'm bedridden, so your secrets are safe with me. Wanna talk?

VEDA

It's just my work.

ZOE

And it's going to short circuit your brain.

Veda half-laughs, and then it all spills out.

VEDA

My guards were probably killed by those GAPs. I want to mourn them but there's so much going on. And I think I've ruined Melkia's relations with the assembly. We need those trade agreements and resources or our economy won't survive. And I... I don't know. I don't even know if I can go home.

She takes a shaky breath.

VEDA

Frankly with all of the disinformation, I wouldn't be surprised if my people no longer support me. I wish I could speak to them, let them know why I did it. If they'd even give me the chance.

Zoe nods understandingly.

ZOE

You know, if I've learned anything from spending the past 6 years watching you on the news...

Veda looks up hopefully.

ZOE

It's that the news is boring. But also, you're a great leader. And that's true even though you're here with me instead of in an assembly building. Maybe more so.

Zoe closes her eyes but opens them wide again when Veda speaks.

VEDA

Zoe, I'm incredibly sorry. I should have trusted you, but I didn't and as a consequence you got hurt.

Zoe waves Veda off.

ZOE

Blazes, please don't add me to your list of worries! I don't deserve it!

VEDA

But I—

ZOE

Seriously, I don't. And look, it hurts that you don't trust me, but I get it. You have every right to be skeptical. It's okay.

Veda nods and grasps Zoe's hand, upset still lingering on her face. Zoe closes her eyes.

Veda turns to look at the view.

INT. OSING HOTEL SUITE - DAY

Zoe walks into the room with Lyllywight. The others are sprawled over the decadent furniture.

Zoe spins around, wearing shorts and thigh-high boots that show off the newly-healed scar on the back of her thigh. Stenzrood WHISTLES.

ZOE

Behold the wonders of accelerated healing! Glad to see me, punk?

She ruffles Howie's hair but he pushes her away.

HOWIE

Yeah, yeah, wouldn't have needed that if you'd let me have your back. Can we go now? Agnezz said she'd take me to the VR floor!

ZOE

Okay. But no slot machines!

Agnezz and Howie head out the door, Stenzrood with them.

HOWIE

Geez, I lose a month's earnings one time...

Zoe walks over to Veda, who is reading on her tablet: "WILL MELKIA SECEDE FROM THE ASSEMBLY?"

VEDA

This is going to ruin our trade, it will take months to recover— HEY!

Zoe turns off the tablet.

ZOE

Hey. You need to let go of what you can't control. We're going dancing.

Messy hops out from under the bed, following balls of blue plasma rolling across the floor. Lyllywight timidly hovers over him.

ZOE

Hey, tell your kid not to play in the explosives.

LYLLYWIGHT

I don't want to punish him, I think it'll be too scary coming from me.

ZOE

Wow, that's neurotic. You coming?

LYLLYWIGHT

No, people get scared of me in crowds and there's Messy...

Lyllywight flops onto the bed. Messy jumps on him, holding the translator. CROAK.

TRANSLATOR

Daddy is tired.

Zoe laughs as she pulls Veda out of the room.

INT. VR FLOOR - NIGHT

Dozens of visor-wearing humanoids play on their separate VR stations in a colorfully lit room.

Howie straps himself into a VR rig, Stenzrood wrapped around his leg.

HOWIE

Sweet, sweet virtual reality. At last I can do what I want.

Stenzrood HISSES. Howie snaps down a visor and faces Agnezz.

HOWIE

Let's do this. Catch up.

Agnezz snaps down her vizor.

INT. VR WORLD - CONTINUOUS

Agnezz appears through a cloud of static into the VR world.

Surrounding her are neon and black plants, which sway as if they're underwater. Occasionally they pixelate and glitch.

HOWIE

(over headset) Don't touch the plants, they have monsters!

Agnezz sees Howie ahead, struggling against an octopus-like beast before blasting it and running off into the darkness.

Agnezz runs after him, weaving through the plants.

A figure appears in front of her. She slows, approaching it carefully.

The figure turns around—

It's the man— the Chris— from Archipelago. Agnezz freezes.

AGNEZZ

Very funny, Howie.

The Chris looks confused.

HOWIE

(over comm) What are you talking about? I'm stuck in—

Agnezz turns off her comm.

THE CHRIS

It's you! When you ran off, I thought I said something wrong.

AGNEZZ

I had to hurry.

THE CHRIS

Do you have to hurry now?

AGNEZZ

No.

THE CHRIS

I'm Chris.

AGNEZZ

Agnezz.

He reaches out to shake her hand. Agnezz aggressively grabs it, using it to pull him close.

AGNEZZ

What do you want from me? Did you follow me here?

The Chris laughs, unperturbed by Agnezz's intensity.

THE CHRIS

No, of course not! Honestly, I feel like it's a miracle that I'm seeing you again.

He takes off his VR headset—

Agnezz follows suit—

INT. VR FLOOR - CONTINUOUS

Agnezz looks up. Chris waves from across the room, and unhooks himself. He joins Agnezz, Howie still flailing around nearby.

THE CHRIS

I hope this isn't creepy, but— you're user Z-Z-11-38, right?

AGNEZZ

Yes.

THE CHRIS

We've played together before! I'm Chris-20-46!

Agnezz softens, almost smiling.

AGNEZZ

We were the last survivors on the Quiver Trail campaign.

THE CHRIS

You were so amazing on that mountain. The dorks had no chance.

This time Agnezz really smiles.

INT. OSING HOTEL SUITE - LATER

Lyllywight tries to close the front door but he accidentally leaves it open a crack and spins around as Messy hops.

LYLLYWIGHT

Please stay still!

Messy finally stops on the edge of the bed. Lyllywight flops down next to him.

LYLLYWIGHT

I want to go to sleep.

Messy hops over softly and tries to snuggle up to Lyllywight.

Lyllywight picks him up and walks him over to a chair.

LYLLYWIGHT

I need to sleep. But I could crush you. Stay here.

Lyllywight tentatively lies back down, stealing a glance Messy's upset face before closing his eyes.

Messy pouts for a moment and then hops down from the chair. He pushes a plasma ball, which rolls across the floor...

And out the door.

Messy follows it out of the room, leaving the sleeping Lyllywight behind.

INT. DANCE HALL - LATER

Zoe dances in the middle of the floor, sweaty and laughing. She dances over to the edge, where Veda stands hesitantly.

Zoe pulls Veda onto the floor.

Veda dances next to her, a bit more timid but with much more natural talent. Gradually she gets into it.

Disco lights flash across her face.

INT. POOL - NIGHT

Veda submerges herself in the water, bubbles floating past her face.

She comes up elegantly moments later. Behind her, Zoe sits at the edge of the pool kicking her feet. They're in pool at the top of the hotel, like a bubble floating over the city.

ZOE

I really can't dance as much as I used to.

VEDA

You used to have a much more generous definition of dancing.

Zoe LAUGHS and slips into the pool.

Veda elegantly swims to the other side of the pool, at the edge of the balcony. Zoe awkwardly follows, walking through the water.

Veda folds her arms at the edge of the pool and rests her chin on them.

VEDA

This view is beautiful.

ZOE

You're beautiful.

VEDA

Did you really just say that?

ZOE

Can't help myself. Also I think I still have some drugs in my system.

Veda resumes looking at the view. Zoe keeps looking at her.

VEDA

Why is this kind of travel called a neon run?

ZOE

Nebula tourists. People started to bypass the sights with wormholes. So if you wanted to see the neon lights of the galaxy, you took a neon run. Travelled slowly. Flew through nebulas. Watched the light.

VEDA

I've liked seeing the neon.

ZOE

And it only took a little bit of treason to get you a vacation.

VEDA

You never let up.

ZOE

I had to replace alcoholism with something.

VEDA

I would think you had enough excitement in your life to make up for the old partying days.

ZOE

Yes, my glamorous criminal life: paying bills, yelling at people to clean their rooms, inventing non-lethal explosives.

Zoe pulls her hand out of the water and lets it drip onto Veda's back. She watches as the drops trickle down.

VEDA

You're such a strange, weirdly nonviolent criminal person.

ZOE

You're such a strange, weirdly judgmental fugitive person.

Veda lays her head down on her hands, gazing at the view as Zoe traces the drops down her back.

They're still; quiet. Utterly comfortable with each other, sinking into a loving familiarity that would be undeniable to any onlooker.

For perhaps the first time, they're both relaxed. Full.

Zoe sighs, breaking the spell, and pulls herself to sit on the side of the pool.

VEDA

Where are you going?

ZOE

Down to the data mines. I want to make sure there's no one else following us.

Veda grabs Zoe's hand and pulls her back down suddenly.

VEDA

The hackers in the data mines pull all sorts of information, right?

ZOE

Uh yeah, pretty much everything.

VEDA

Could they broadcast as well?

ZOE

I think so—

Veda kisses Zoe. They lean into it. It's been a long time.

ZOE

Never mind, let's stay here.

But Veda's already out of the pool.

EXT. DATA MINE STREET - NIGHT

Zoe and Veda walk down a dark alleyway. The walls are covered with cords and wires.

Along the side of the street sit DATA MINERS. Swaths of wires connect to their heads and hands. They type away on laptops, staring catatonically at the screens.

Zoe approaches a miner and hands them a wad of cash.

ZOE

We're looking for deals between the Karat Arms Corporation and Galactic Assembly representatives. Is that right?

Veda nods. The Data Miner takes the cash and hands Zoe a cord. Zoe connects the cord to Veda's tablet.

Within a few seconds, the tablet screen populates with pictures of contracts, correspondence, and even video.

VEDA

This is it. Just what I thought.

ZOE

(to the miner) Can we reverse this data stream and broadcast? Could anyone trace it?

The miner shakes their head and holds out their hand. Zoe gives them more cash and then turns to Veda.

ZOE

I'll be right here, I'm just going to make sure no one else has picked up on where we are. You've got this. It's a good plan.

Veda nods. Zoe pushes a button and hands the tablet to Veda. Veda's face appears on screens across the mines.

VEDA

Greetings. I am Veda Centennia, Queen of Melkia and Melkian Representative for the Galactic Assembly.

Zoe watches Veda, enraptured at her commanding presence.

VEDA

After I spoke out against the Galactic Surveillance Directive, I was accused of treason. However, I have evidence of the very corruption I spoke against.

Across the screens, the images depicting the corruption appear next to Veda's image.

VEDA

I share this information to still rumors surrounding me, but more importantly to give the public the information they deserve.

Zoe keeps an eye on Veda as she connects her own tablet to another cord, and nods to the miner.

ZOE

Info on Veda Centennia. Anything not on mainstream channels.

The miner nods.

VEDA

I do not make a case for myself, but ask you, the people, to consider the evidence.

Images start to pop up on the Zoe's screen. News stories— "Queen of Melkia Disappears!" Videos of Veda speaking to the Galactic Assembly. Breakdowns of Veda's outfits. And then—

Old paparazzi photos. Photos of Veda and Zoe holding hands. Veda sitting across Zoe's lap. Eating. Laughing. Kissing. And then—

"QUEEN VEDA EMBARRASSED BY BEAU"

VEDA

I stand by my rejection of the Surveillance Directive, and hold out hope that honesty and decency will prevail in our democracy...

Veda's voice fades away. Zoe watches in horror as more of the same pop up, damning evidence flashing before her eyes, flashing, flashing—

It stops on a picture of them from a tabloid. Veda hugs Zoe from behind, both of them smiling. The headline: "DRUNK LOVER LEAKS INFO, COMPROMISES QUEEN."

Zoe just looks on in horror, the world around her growing darker, darker...

That hug. That headline.

VEDA

ZOE!

Everything zooms back into focus.

VEDA

We have to go!

All of the screen across the Data Mines flash red.

It's an emergency news alert— showing a blurry image of MESSY at the hotel and flashing "SMALL FROG FOUND WITH EXPLOSIVES TIED TO FUGITIVE QUEEN."

To be continued…