Goodbye Nightflower: Beginnings

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SCENE: Beginnings

1 B-Roll: A normal day in the Nightflower community. Shots of the buildings, boxy but covered in plantlife that makes them feel alive. The guards, uniformed but friendly, the chainlink fence that separates the community from the rest of the world which is just out of focus. Shots of the meadow at night, in bloom with hundreds of flowers of indescribable colors. V.O.: Nightflower. It is safe, guarded, protected, beautiful. It is our home. And it is a lie.
2 B-Roll: The Wasteland, a vast desert, captured from inside the fence of Nightflower. V.O.: While we remain unexposed to the world, the world remains unexposed to us in turn. I don't think this is the strongest narration choice. Maybe experiment with a few different lines? -Gabi
3 The camera approaches the fence, then goes up and over it, revealing all the life hiding in the desert.Damn you really got a shot of that? You're good. V.O.: What lies beyond the fence? What lies beyond the small patch of land we all call home? These two filmmakers would like to know more, about Nightflower, about the circumstances that created it, and about the world far beyond it.
4 Montage: Mio carefully making her way down a cliff, a vast expanse of desert with a tree-covered mountain in the distance, a house beckoning you to explore the abandoned town that lies beyond it, [footage to be inserted from future shots here]. Music: Dramatic score
5 Montage: Shots of Nitro and Sebastian trekking through the city as Mio follows behind apprehensively, [footage to be inserted from future shots here]. V.O.: What kind of people will we meet?
6 Montage: A timelapse of the Wasteland, a rooftop shot of the abandoned city at sunset, the orange sky framing the buildings in silhouette, [footage to be inserted from future shots here]. V.O.: What kind of places will we go?
7 Montage: A video of Nitro as he draws a rune on the floor of the technology shop, cut to his hands glowing ever so slightly as he opens them to reveal two earpieces (our translators), [footage to be inserted from other cool future shots here]. V.O.: What kind of things will we see?
8 Montage: The fight between Nitro, Sebastian, and the skeleton lich, followed by a shot of Sebastian running quickly toward the camera, [footage to be inserted from future shots here]. V.O.: What kind of challenges will we face?
9 Montage: Footage from the talking heads we'll obtain, followed by an assortment of shots representing a good portion of our journey. V.O.: What kind of stories will we hear? In order to find out, we'll have to leave the only home we've ever known.
10 Title Card: Goodbye Nightflower [or general title card if we change the name]. Music ends

Campfire Footage Transcription

The shot is handheld. Three figures sit around a campfire: MIO (a young woman of 22) sits to the left of the camera, arms crossed, NIHTRO NITRO (an odd looking man with many untreated wounds) sits to the right of the camera, looking exasperated, and "SEBASTIAN" (a crab-humanoid creature standing at least 9' tall) sits across from the camera, slightly closer to Nitro, looking relaxed. The three are also talking with the cameraperson (GABRIELLA (me)). Nitro and Sebastian take part in roasting some unidentified meat on the fire, while Mio eats a small snack obtained from her backpack.

Nihtro: So you know about the calamity, at least, right?

Gabriella (Offscreen): You're talking about the event that wiped out everybody on the planet, right?

Nitro: Correction, it wiped out everything fully human. Animals, plant life, landmarks, everything else was untouched. It's almost like it was targeted to destroy humans. So how do you survive something designed to kill humans?

Mio: Don't be human.

Nitro: Precisely.

Sebastian: Some maintain that a few humans managed to survive the calamity. Then they had kids, who had kids, and so on. This supposed line of human perseverance are called civilians, or civs.

Nitro: And you two are the closest things to civs I've seen in years.

Mio: How would you know?

[There's a pause.]

Nitro: It's hard to describe but the survivors of this world–

Mio: The Wasteland?

Nitro: And beyond it, there are always… certain tells. I'm sure you've noticed I'm not exactly one hundred percent.

Mio: Yeah, you look like a zombie.

[Nitro looks more annoyed than usual.]

Nitro: Zombie. Wow. That's a word I haven't heard in a long time. I'm almost too impressed to be offended.

Mio: What can I say? We had a lot of old films back home. Though personally I never liked the Zombies.

Sebastian: Nitro prefers the term "promethean." What he meant was you're the most human looking people I've seen in years, hence why I identified you as civs.

Gabriella (O.S.): Well actually, neither of us is a civ. Nigh– I mean, our old community is made primarily of half-humans.

Sebastian: Half-human?

Nitro: What's the other half?

Mio: They wouldn't tell us. "Too young to know."

Gabriella (O.S.): We know that they use magic to keep themselves young for long stretches of time, and to improve their quality of life, but even that was hard to pry from them.

[Nitro turns to Sebastian.]

Nitro: Sounds like liches, surprisingly human ones. Could be shifters though, or half-creatures, though most halves' descendants look… You know. I give it 80/20 odds they're Survs(sp?) to Reeves(sp?).

Mio: I'm sorry, what?

[Nitro sighs, looks exasperated]

Nitro: Terms for the existing intelligent lifeforms. Survivors, Revivers, and New Lifeforms. Survs, Reeves, and News.

Mio: This is a lot of new information.

Nitro: And there's only so much explanation I can stand before it starts to get tedious. You get one more question tonight.

[Mio looks at the camera, nodding to Gabriella]

Gabriella (O.S.): I'm curious, does anybody on the outside know what caused the big disaster all those years ago?

Nitro: The calamity? Nobody I've met knows a thing about it.

Sebastian: Even those who apparently lived through it don't talk about it.

Mio: So they're hiding the truth?

Sebastian: Or they simply don't remember. A lot of time has passed.

Nitro: Even if they were hiding something, why do you care? You're not entitled to that information, and you're certainly not entitled to force them to relive the biggest tragedy they've ever known just to uncover it.

[There is an uncomfortable silence as Mio shifts her gaze away from Nitro and Sebastian.]

Gabriella (O.S.): Hey, Sebastian, could we do the interview tomorrow? We never knew what we were going to run into out here, and you are certainly unexpected. I think you'd be a striking and warm personality in our documentary, and we'd like to get started as soon as possible..

Sebastian: I'd be delighted to!

Gabriella (O.S.): Great! Mio and I will review the footage we got today and start coming up with some questions to ask you for tomorrow.

Mio: I'm gonna take a quick walk. I need some air or something.

Nitro: We've been outside this whole time.

Mio: A fact that we're all perfectly aware of, so clearly I was using an expression, something your translator would've been able to pick up on even if we weren't speaking the same language, which means you either said that to point out the most pointless technicality or because you thought I was being literal. So which is it, are you being a smartass or a dumbass?

[A few moments of icy silence pass before Mio stands up and leaves the campfire.]

Gabriella (O.S.): I'm sorry. I know we weren't part of your plan.

Nitro: [sighs] Not like I had much of one to begin with.

Gabriella (O.S.): She just gets defensive. And when antagonized she pushes back. The two of us have had a long day and just left the only home we've ever known. So can you try to be a bit… gentler with her?

Nitro: Just with her? Why not with both of you?

Gabriella (O.S.): Because this is probably as stressful for you as it is for us. And I can handle it.

Nitro: [pause] I'm not making any promises.

[Nitro looks away, defensive.]

Sebastian: Why don't you explain how your equipment works to me! I want to know exactly how the interview will go.

Gabriella (O.S.): Oh! Of course!

[Footage ends]

Sebastian Interview Transcription

The shot is a stable shot of "SEBASTIAN", a humanoid creature with a distinctly crustacean appearance. Even sitting down, ey clearly tower over the camera, which has to be tilted up slightly to accommodate the tall creature. In the background, a mountain peaks out from behind Sebastian's large form, looking every so slightly orange as the sun rises. This didn't occur to me until just now, but we may have to subtitle or dub eir interview in the final cut. Or perhaps we can use some of that technomancy stuff to translate this recording. Lucky for us, the universal translators work on recordings, too, so we can at least transcribe what ne said.

Mio (O.S.): Okay, everything's set up now. I know Gabriella walked you through this, but just look at me and answer the questions as best you can. If any one question makes you too uncomfortable, we can skip it. If you'd like to end the interview early, let us know so that we can properly disconnect your mic.

Sebastian: I understand.

Mio (O.S.): Let's start simple with an introduction. Your name, pronouns, any labels you ascribe to yourself, and any other relevant information.

Sebastian: Well, my name is [untranscribable sound], but I've recently taken a liking to the nickname I was given, "Sebastian." My pronouns are ne/nem/nir and ey/em/eir, most use both sets interchangeably. I'm a scavenger, one who wanders what you call the Wasteland in search of resources to survive and doesn't call one particular settlement home.

Mio (O.S.): How long have you been a scavenger?

Sebastian: Almost as long as I can remember.

Mio (O.S.): And how long have you been traveling with Nitro?

Sebastian: As long as I've been a scavenger.

Mio (O.S.): Well then, why don't you tell me that story? How you met Nitro and became a scavenger.

Sebastian: Well, to explain that, we have to go back to the beginning. Is that alright? [Pause] Okay. I was born and raised in a place they called The Deep. My life was a happy one, as far as I can recall. The first thing I remember of my adult life is a blinding light. And then I woke up on the shore. I knew my name, my past, how to survive, but not where I was, nor how I got there. In my current predicament, I only understood three things for certain: I wasn’t in The Deep anymore, I could likely never go back, and I was alone. I was alone for… I don't even know how long. Just catching fish on my little patch of the beach, watching the tide come in and out, waiting for anything to make sense. Then a shifter came along. A rather unpleasant woman, fancied herself, I believe Nitro called it a "selkie." Apparently, she wanted to make the beach her home.

Mio (O.S.): She wanted your turf.

Sebastian: Correct. Specifically, she didn't want me on it. But how could I leave? It was the only place on this planet I'd ever known. I didn't want to fight, I didn't even know how, but she just kept getting aggressive. I didn't know how to fight back, and feared that if I did I would hurt her. She attacked me, and that's when Nitro came along. He pulled her off of me, and they got into a fight. I just cowered. Eventually he scared her off. When he approached me, I thought he was going to attack me.

[Ne laughs.]

Sebastian: I didn't have any translation device back then, so it took him a while to establish two-way communication with me. He figured out some sort of magical neural link eventually. I just kept saying "please don't hurt me." I wonder sometimes how many times he heard me say it before he spoke. The first words he said to me… they were so gentle. He could tell I was scared. And he asked "are you okay?" And I just looked up at him and I apologized. And then he scoffed and squinted and said "what the fuck are you apologizing for?" And that's Nitro. That's our relationship, in short.

Mio (O.S.): I'm surprised he let you tag along so quick after meeting you.

Sebastian: I didn't have to at first. He stayed there with me, for days, maybe a few weeks. We talked. Or he would talk and I would listen, or I would talk and he would listen. Or we would sit in silence and watch the waves. But he had to leave eventually. He was gone for maybe two minutes before I started panicking. I felt just like I did when the shifter attacked me, alone and scared. And suddenly the only place I knew felt so small compared to the only person I knew. So I got up and followed him.

Mio (O.S.): And he let you?

Sebastian: Yes, he did. I don't think he expected me to stick around for long. But I knew nothing of this world, save for the shoreline where I awoke and him. A few days later he said if I wanted to travel with him, I would need to learn to fight, that he couldn't fight all my battles for me. So he taught me, and we've been traveling together ever since. I know he can come off harsh at first. But it's how he learned to survive.

Mio (O.S.): …Why did Nitro have to leave the beach?

Nitro (O.S.): [in the distance] We're wasting daylight, let's move out.

Mio (O.S.): Sebastian, do you mind if we ask you more questions later? I don't think we touched on everything in this interview.

Sebastian: Of course! I'd be happy to help in any way I can.

Gabriella (O.S.): Thank you for your cooperation and insight, Sebastian.

[Ey smile.]

Sebastian: Thank you for the name.

[Footage ends].

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