Jermiah Blake - 28, black (dark), cornrows, prominent cheekbones, mustache & goatee, lean muscle
Annabelle Blake - 24, alabaster white, wide jaw, full cheeks, waist-length red hair, bright green eyes, long neck
1.1 Midday: Jeremiah is carrying his wife Annabelle down the steps of a run-down middle-America farmhouse. Annabelle is wrapped from head to toe in long, trailing white bed sheets, lightly spotted with blood; the sheets form a hood covering her face. Jeremiah is in an expensive suit, sans jacket, sleeves rolled up. In the fields are homemade wooden crosses on a handful of freshly dug graves. An Aston Martin Vanquish is in the driveway.
Annabelle Debbie –
Jeremiah -is with her granmama. Hush - I’ve got you.
1.2 The Vanquish flies on the country back-roads kicking dirt up in its wake. A small white community church sits on a gentle slope, surrounded by an untended cornfield. The church doors themselves have been spray-painted with a red biohazard symbol and the words “MORGUE: AUTHORIZED ENTRY ONLY.” A black bordered sign sits on the front lawn.
Church Sign “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.” Zephaniah 1:7
1.3 The Vanquish passes a High School Football field: the goal posts are still up, but the field is a giant pit filled with body bags, bulldozer still just behind the end-zone. The National Guard is on hand, protecting a team clad in hazmat suits dumping more bags. All the National Guardsmen on duty are black and dark-skinned; they only wear surgical masks.
Annabelle (off-panel) Shameful.
1.4 The Vanquish gets onto a deserted looking highway. Overgrowth from the shoulder and median has begun to creep up onto the road itself.
Annabelle (off-panel) Slow! ’s next exit!
Jeremiah (off-panel) Roake Memorial isn’t going to cut it. We’re going back home.
2.1 Dusk: The car has arrived in the city. A light rain is falling from a partly cloudy sky. The Vanquish is stymied by police barricades behind which there is a sprawling encampment. The inhabitants huddle wrapped in cloaks, towels, sheets, parkas. Just seen beyond them are tanks, tents, searchlights, and guard towers with armed, masked guards. The contrast from the city is intense.
Annabelle (off-panel) Well - you could use - shower.
Jeremiah (off-panel) Ha! Pot kettle, sugar.
2.2 Jeremiah, carrying Annabelle, stands outside a tent as infected white people mill about. A police barricade prevents him from entering and two riot cops are working the door. The first cop is black and in standard riot gear, the second white and hermetically sealed in military gear, only his face showing through a military gas mask. A placard above the door of the tent reads Admittance. The lights of the hospital loom in the background.
Riot Cop2 Registration’s back there.
Riot Cop1 Nurses’ll be around with pain meds.
2.3 An exasperated Jeremiah has scooped Annabelle up onto one arm while taking with the cops, his other hand in his back pocket. The shadow of all the patients behind him waiting to get in feels like a crushing weight on his shoulders.
Jeremiah Do you have any idea who I am?
Riot Cop2 Sir, first come, first served. No ‘VIP treatment’.
2.4 [Reflected in the officer’s helmet] Jeremiah is holding a large wad of cash. He has changed his focus to the black cop. Annabelle is tightly gripping onto Jeremiah’s shirt through the blanket.
Jeremiah Whatever you need, want, it’s yours. Brother, please, I’m beg-
2.5 Jeremiah and the cop turn to face a white man: it is the first time we see the extent of the disease. It has acted like flesh-eating bacteria. Most of the skin on the man’s left cheek and jaw is gone, leaving only muscle and bone showing; his face is a rainbow of bacterial infection, eyes are bloodshot, the remaining skin ulcerated, red.
Assailant What kinda bullshit going on here?!
3.1 Overhead: The cop gestures with his nightstick at both men. A grotesque crowd mobs around them, closing in.
Riot Cop1 Sirs, both of you are going to have to return to your vehicles and tents.
3.2 The man pushes Mr. and Mrs. Blake down into the mud before the cop can react.
Assailant Think all that money makes you better than us?
3.3 The crowd begins to beat on Jeremiah. Hideously deformed white people start kicking, punching, and spitting on the defenseless young man.
3.4 Annabelle’s hood has fallen from her face and her condition is as advanced as the rest: the skin on her swan-like neck is cracked, covered in bloody rings; she’s weakly propping herself up on her arms, both of which have skin sloughing off in ribbons. She is struggling to breathe.
Annabelle Jere... Jay… Jay.
3.5 The Two Riot officers try their best to pull the mass of people off of Jeremiah. The first is swinging his nightstick, knocking down a crowd member with his riot shield; the second is aiming his firearm at someone off-panel.
Riot Cop1 Get back! Get Back!
Riot Cop2 Put down the weapon!
3.6 Through the cracks in the retreating crowd, the bloody Jeremiah and his wife stare at each other as the rain washes her blood into the muddy water.
Pale Fire Over Singapore
Prime Minister Han - Han Chinese, reminiscent of Justice Scalia: portly, elderly, jowls, nearly bald, white hair
Minister of Home Affairs, Deborah Wong - Han Chinese, middle age, cropped black hair, zaftig, pearls
Jaharu - Rohingya, wears hajib, short, dark-hair, middle aged, bony
4.1 Night in Singapore: view outside of a large hospital in the middle of a very developed part of the city, full moon rising into the sky.
4.2 Identical panel, but the city has been hit by a power outage.
Han (off-panel) Though I’ve tremendously enjoyed having this conversation with myself,
4.3 The Prime Minister and his six remaining Ministers [Health, Defense, Law, Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Manpower] sit around a conference table; everyone wears a translucent plastic hazmat suit. Large windows show the moonlit city outside. The room is lit by a battery powered lamp in the middle of the table.
Han I’d appreciate a single idea. Not be too much of a bother.
4.4 The Ministers turn to Minister Wong as she begins speaking; they look at her with polite interest.
Wong The private market cannot encourage migration
4.5 Weeks’ worth of garbage sits piled up on the street in front of a storefront. The window advertises prices for foodstuffs; instead of using zeroes, the signs have to use exponents. [e.g., Apples $5x1013/kg]
Wong (off-panel) when it would be a godsend to have only Weimar level inflation.
4.6 The Ministers are now sitting at attention as Minister Wong continues.
Wong However, we do have… recently vacated real estate.
5.1 The PM tents his fingers and leans forward as he responds.
Han Our population is extremely susceptible to opportunistic infection. A mass influx of people with low vaccination rates and hygiene standards is unacceptable.
5.2 The Woodlands Train Checkpoint: large groups of dark skinned migrants [Nigerians, Rohingyas, Bengalis, Indians] are directed into processing lanes by a handful of armed soldiers sealed inside hazmat suits.
Wong (off-panel) We are more than capable of undertaking basic screening procedures:
5.3 Juhara comes to the front of the line. A female soldier, outfitted with single-piece WWI-style gas mask and hazmat suit [and a pump shotgun,] opens a white curtain and gestures that she come forward.
Wong (off-panel) vaccinating uninfected newcomers against diseases they may pick up on return visits to their home country;
5.4 Juhara stands naked, eyes closed, hunched forward and covering her breasts, as a nurse sprays her down with a delousing liquid. The nurse is outfitted with a similar get-up to the soldier, but her suit is white and bears a Red Cross emblem.
Wong (off-panel) providing all entrants with an education in basic hygiene.
6.1 Juhara rides the MRT train at night: there are handful other migrant workers and locals sealed inside their own anti-contamination suits.
Wong (off-panel) Structurally, nothing less than our very survival -
6.2 Juhara and another migrant worker [a large Nigerian woman in a niqab] stuff garbage onto a truck. They have gloves and boots, but no formal uniforms. They carry flashlights.
Wong (off-panel) – depends on routine maintenance.
6.3 Juhara turns to look at a beer bottle exploding as it hits the concrete wall behind her. She flinched down somewhat. She and her coworker still have each have a hand on the garbage bags in the truck.
Han (off-panel) How do you propose to mitigate resentment of migrants?
6.4 Juhara and her coworker shine their flashlights at an infected Singaporean man who is covered in ulcerations. Rotund, the fissures are deepest around his jowls and chins; the light highlights the gouges in his face. He’s been self-medicating with alcohol, so he’s staggering.
Wong (off-panel) It is inevitable -
Staggering Drunk GO HOME!
6.5 The garbage truck speeds away as the man yells after it. He has fallen to his knees in the street.
Wong (off-panel) – but it will have a trivial impact.
Staggering Drunk GRAVE ROBBERS!
7.1 Juhara stumbles into a furnished apartment [living room] that, based on furnishings, obviously used to house the elite; her husband [tall, angular, and dark] brushes past on his way to work.
Minister Wong (off-panel) Xenophobia is everywhere: discrimination persists even in their homelands.
7.2 Juhara walks a large bay window overlooking the ocean. The Moon shines bright in the sky. She is walking towards a door.
Minister Wong (off-panel) We are one another’s last best hope,
7.3 From inside the darkened room, we see Juhara peeking in, a beam of light coming in around her.
Minister Wong (off-panel) to ensure the future is not a phantom -
7.4 Her three sons and her daughter are asleep in massive bed.
Minister Wong (off-panel) but a beacon for our children.
Dawning of Port Harcourt
Fidelis Bichi - 34, bearded, dark skin, muscle of youth slowly congealing into fat, shaved head, fitted three piece suit
Ugo Nduka - 19, beanpole: lean and tall, dark, hipster [large black frames, gauged ears], buzz cut, hand-me-down suit
Ann Blake - 28, dark, professional dress: skirt, stockings, heels, bright green eyes, emerald pendant, large gold hoop earrings, long neck, large afro
8.1 Ext. Port Harcourt, Nigeria- Dawn. In a dry field, a Nigerian construction crew works on the steel framework of a soon-to-be office complex. The Nigerian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Fidelis Bichi, stands rubbing his right temple while overlooking the progress in a suit and hardhat while his assistant, Ugo, scribbles away on his tablet computer. A dark colored car is heading towards them in the distance.
Bichi Is this the American or the Brazilian?
Ugo American: Ms. Blake from the Sony-Soft corporation.
8.2 Ann is closing the car door with one hand, and is waving at the minister with the other.
Ann Minister Bichi, Ann Blake: Chief Global Strategist for Sony-Soft New York. Thank you for meeting me so early.
8.3 Ugo hands Annie a hardhat; Mr. Bichi and Ugo turn to walk towards the construction site.
Ann And who is going in here?
Bichi I cannot recall off hand. It’s either a British financial firm or a management consulting firm from Ireland.
Ugo It’s Assange Media Corporation’s new headquarters. A Danish firm, sir.
8.4 Ugo faces Ann. He has his tablet out and lying in the palm of his left hand. The screen projects a holographic blueprint of an architecturally avant-garde headquarters, emblazoned with the Sony-Soft logo. Mr. Bichi taps the image with his right hand.
Fidelis Port Harcourt is the premiere spot for Sony-Soft’s new corporate headquarters. Ten Fortune 500 companies have already started building regional or new home offices in the city limits.
Ann (off-panel) So we’ll have some competition…How many retail stores could we be guaranteed?
8.5 The image on the tablet has changed to a set of Sony-Soft store fronts.
Bichi We have three earmarked for you in a twenty mile radius around the city center.
Ann We would want at least one on NLNG Road?
Bichi The waterfront district? That’s premium real estate…
9.1 Ann looks at Bichi with a critical eye.
Ann We can scout locations later. What can you tell me of Port Harcourt.
9.2 Bichi stands tall, looking proud of his community. Even his assistant has looked up to regard Ann.
Bichi We call it ‘The Virtuous Cycle:’ low taxes draw IT entrepreneurs, who in turn recruit the world’s best and brightest, ultimately creating a tech boom to rival Mumbai.
9.3 Bichi opens a car door for Ann as they prepare to leave.
Bichi If we could go back to my office, my assistant could walk you through the contracts we’ve prepared.
Ann Thank you, Minister.
9.4 The trio is riding in the car with Ann sitting on one side and Bichi and Ugo sitting opposite her.
Bichi You’d be interested to know The George Washington University has agreed to move here.
Ann Nothing more prestigious?
Bichi Sadly, no. Cambridge decided to go to Lagos instead.
10.1 As the ride continues, Ann looks out the window at all the construction.
Ann The growth in this area is simply astounding.
Bichi We do offer the lowest corporate tax rates in Africa, a more stable market than Liberia, and speak English. Nigeria is becoming a global superpower.
Ugo In truth, sir, we already are.
10.2 Bichi wipes his brow with a handkerchief as the heat seems to be getting to him. Ugo sits upright
Ugo As you Americans say, the arc of the universe bends to justice; the colonized now dance of the graves of the colonizers.
10.3 Ann has turned to face Mr. Bichi with an angry, incredulous expression.
Ann Did he forget I was an American immediately after starting that sentence?
10.4 Ann eyes are blazing with anger; behind her, there are nearly completed construction projects outside the window.
Ann Did it slip your mind that my country buried more babies than were born here this year? Can you understand that as anything other than a statistic?
10.5 Ugo is staring into his lap, as the Minister tries desperately to put on as apologetic a face as possible. Ann leans towards them, one hand on her hip, gesturing with the other.
Ann When my grandma’s skin peeled like house paint, my grandpa got himself lynched trying to get her the help she needed.
10.6 The black car speeds into the sun, passing brand new towering skyscrapers and freshly paved sidewalks on smooth blacktop.
Ann (off-panel) These roads are paved with bone. You should be more grateful to the dead.