Runner

Sunset Rising PILOT

 

By SunsetRisingMedia

 

INT - APARTMENT - NIGHT - 5 YEARS IN PAST

 

BLARING ALARM wakes Novae out of a deep, alcohol induced sleep.  Novae fumbles for her phone, trying to silence the alarm. Rubbing her eyes and yawning, she sits up and stares at the message on the phone: EMERGENCY PACKAGE DELIVERY. pick up at 6823 W Bismark 3rd floor RM 308. ASAP

 

Novae starts to decline the delivery but decides to get dressed and rush after glimpsing the delivery fee. Scooting out of the door with her bike, she stops, remembering to activate the alarm system. Pedaling as fast as her legs would take her, she races the three miles to BISMARK and starts looking for addresses.

 

Finding the building and going through the doors, she raced to the elevator with her bike and took it to the third floor.

 

Novae knocked and waited.

 

PERSON(O.S)

Yeah, who the fuck is it?

 

Novae coughed and announced herself.

 

NOVAE

Delivery pickup.

 

PERSON (O.S)

Hold on.

 

The door opened a crack and GANG MEMBER 1 THRUSTS a pistol towards her face.

 

GANG MEMBER 1

You try anything and this will be the last sound you hear, comprende?

 

Novae nodded and stared at the face behind the gun. She wasn’t afraid. She didn’t break eye contact as she entered and held them even as she was searched for weapons. Walking fully into the flat, she wrinkled her nose as she noticed a smell of modified weed. And something else. GANG MEMBER 2 is standing near the table, back turned to Novae as she enters. He’s talking to some other GANG MEMBERS in a casual tone. When Novae stops close to the table, GANG MEMBER 2 turns around and looks at her.

 

GANG MEMBER 2

(blowing smoke into the air)

Take this bag. Do not look inside. Get it delivered to the address on this paper in three hours. Get it there sooner and there’s a bonus.

 

NOVAE

(takes bag)

Right. If I happen to get stopped by the cops?

 

GANG MEMBER 2

(points finger at NOVAE)

You deliver the bag. AT. ALL. COSTS.

 

NOVAE

(holding out hand)

Can I get half the money now? This shit is suspect.

 

GANG MEMBER 2

(eyeing NOVAE carefully)

...Fair.

 

After she grabbed the bag and placed her credits in her back pocket, Novae walked out of the apartment and grabbed her bike by the elevator. Once she was on the bottom floor, she placed the lumpy bag into her clear carrying case and pulled out the paper with the address. 

 

NOVAE

Alright, where am I going that is supposed to take three hours?

Oh you have got to be...fucking my life.

 

EXT - THE DEN - NIGHT

 

Novae rides her bike through THE DEN, keeping her head on a swivel. Scenes of anarchy everywhere: open street fights with crowds, food stalls, drug deals, and kids, a lot of kids, roaming about. The few eyes that look her way are weary and expectant, almost hungry for her to stop.

 

Novae got on her comm and called Jacker.

 

NOVAE

(looking around)

Hey Jacker, I need you? How awake are you?

 

JACKER

(yawning)

Not very. Wassup Nove?

 

NOVAE

Look, I’m in THE DEN.

 

JACKER

And I’m awake. What can I do?

 

NOVAE

Got a delivery. Something suspect. I’m still moving but I need someone to cover me. You got anything?


 

JACKER

Me personally? No. But I can track you. Want me to ask Switch?

 

NOVAE

Yeah. Do that. Both things. I’m about an hour or so out from the delivery.

 

JACKER

Tracking now. I’ll ping you the deets once I get through to Switch. Stay safe.

 

NOVAE

Thanks. I owe you.

 

Novae ended the call and kept pedaling. A few moments later, her ONBOARD DISPLAY (OBD) popped up with the information Jacker had promised. Switch had come through with someone who was overwatching and Jacker had real time feed on her location.

 

Riding through THE DEN, Novae finally came to her destination.

 

NOVAE

Okay, where is this damn building?

 

Looking around, Novae spotted the HALF DILAPIDATED BUILDING and rushed over and through the doors. Someone tried to stop her but when she mentioned a delivery, they made way and let her pass without incident. Knocking on the door, she was once again greeted by a gun and after verifying she was who she said she was, was let in.

 

Inside, she dropped the bag on the floor and stuck her hand out, keeping her eyes straight ahead and on the people gathered in the room. The GANG LEADER is seated in a HARD PLASTIC chair, obviously the leader. He watches Novae for a tick, taking a drag from his PIPE and then putting it down.

 

NOVAE

I need the rest of my payment, plus danger fee.

 

GANG LEADER

(standing)

Danger fee? That wasn’t part of the agreement.

 

NOVAE

(unfazed by the potential violence)

Neither was riding through THE DEN in the middle of the fucking night carrying some janky shit. So, it’s an extra charge.

 

GANG LEADER

(tossing back head and laughing)

You’ve got balls girlie, I’ll give you that.

 

NOVAE

You need big ones to do my job.

 

GANG LEADER

Ain’t that the fucking truth. Aight, someone give her the money and get her the fuck out of here, we got business to take care of.

 

Getting her money and counting it as she walked out of the door, Novae waited until the door was shut and she had left the building before beeping her escort and getting on her bike. Riding a solid hour as fast as she could, she stopped and caught her breath, having just gotten outside of the limits of the Den. Her contact beeped her that he had followed her out of the city and would be meeting her shortly. She waited, pinging Jacker in the meantime.

 

JACKER

How’d it go? I was starting to get worried.



 

NOVAE

Sorry. It went stellar all things considered. I even got a danger fee thrown in.

 

Novae stopped pedaling for a moment and contacted her overwatch, informing him she was finished.

 

JACKER

Shit, finessed the fuck outta them eh?

 

NOVAE

Not really. Just said they owed me for having me out here in the middle of the night. Left it at that and they paid. But I’ll say this; with what they paid, we just leveled up.

 

JACKER

Aight, I’ll hit Switch and let her know. Take care of business and get your ass back here safely. Let me know when you do and if anything comes up.

 

NOVAE

Aw, you care. Sweet.

 

JACKER

Fuck off. Later Nove.

 

The contact arrived a few minutes later, casually walking towards Novae with a patch that designated him as one of Switch’s people. Novae hands him a wad of money and he leaves, offering a salute as he retreats. Novae watches him for a bit longer and then checks her surroundings before getting on her bike and leaving, smiling to herself. THE DEN DISAPPEARING INTO THE BACKGROUND.

 

FLASHBACK - 5 YEARS - SCRAP STACKS - DAY

 

Quick scenes of Novae and a group of people fighting the METROPOLITAN POLICE (MPP). A breakout of corrupted neural inserts cause residents to behave wildly, FORCING EVERYONE TO CONFRONT AND FIGHT. Novae is seen attacking an MPP. Next scene is her fending off a rabid CHIPPER. FLASHBACK ends with Novae standing in dust, blood soaked fists. Eyes squinted with fury.

 

INT. BAR - BOOTH - DAY - PRESENT

 

Novae (mid 20s-early 30s, dressed in beaten leather jacket and ripped blue jeans) sits in a booth, swishing around an amber liquid in a stained glass mug. She shakes her head to clear her thoughts and she takes a drink. The door opens and a brief ray of sunlight brightens the room, ILLUMINATING her face. She doesn’t look up.

 

NOVAE

(still looking down)

Hey man. What’s up?

 

JACKER

I can’t call it. Why are you here so early drinking? Got stood up or something?

 

NOVAE

You know me. Booze is perfect any time of the day. You wanna join?

 

JACKER (30s, dressed in a long black techwear jacket, black pants, and off color shirt) sits down and reaches into their coat. Novae’s eyes flicker up. The person across from her swipes his hands across the dusty table, cleaning it before placing his object on top of it.

 

JACKER

Nah, I’m good. You know, I could feel you watching me like some kind of common thug when I walked in. And just to let you know, it hurts. It hurts deep Nove.

 

NOVAE

Your feelings will heal. I promise.

 

JACKER

So, this is it. I put in some additional SEC-CON stuff. When you’re ready, you do your thing and it’s yours.

 

NOVAE

(looking at the device across the table)

How much trouble was it?

 

JACKER

(stretching)

Not much. In that part of the city, I’m a different person.

 

Novae reached across the table and picked up the cube. It was solid black with thin lines etched into it. Seemed like a solid piece of stone in her hands. Cool to the touch. Flipping it around, she finds a small button and examines it.

 

JACKER

Don’t press that until you get back to your place. That activates it and you don’t want anything to interfere with you setting up the handshake. It’s on this slip of paper.

 

NOVAE

Got it. Here’s your creds.

 

Novae slides a piece of paper with a QR code on it and the guy scans it with his palm. A ring with a reader on it most likely. He gets an audible ding and stands up.

 

JACKER

Don’t be a stranger Nove. Hit me up later for some drinks. You know where I’ll be.

 

Novae

(looking up)

Later Jacker. Thanks for this.

 

INT - NOVAE’S APARTMENT - MID-AFTERNOON

 

Novae places the cube on the coffee table and walks into the kitchen. The apartment is small but feels large to her, since she lives modestly and doesn’t like clutter. Looking into the refrigerator, she grabs a can and walks back to where the cube is still sitting quietly. Sitting down, she opens the can and takes a drink. She holds the CUBE in her hands and turns it over, looking for ways inside. Not finding any, she sits it back down.

 

NOVAE

Okay, let’s see what this is all about. He said a button...here it is.

 

CU of etched lines glowing slightly and animation of the cube unfolding. A light shines towards the ceiling.

 

CUBE

Hello. I am your new AI assistant. Please say your name and confirm handshake protocol.

 

NOVAE

No-vae Sai-to-i-shi

Novae thinks and then decides to spell it out as well. 

 

CUBE

Name Confirmed. Please confirm handshake protocol.

 

NOVAE

Shit, what did Jacker say it was again?

 

Novae reaches into her pants pocket and grabs a slip of paper and recites the alphanumeric sequence written on it. As she recites it, we see the glow of the cube blink.

 

CUBE

Handshake confirmed. Would you like a projection or voice only?

 

NOVAE

What do you mean? Like a hologram?

 

CUBE

Correct. This model can use ambient light to construct a hologram no matter where it is and it can be personalized to suit your tastes.

 

As the cube explains this, it DEMONSTRATES its capabilities, transforming in front of Novae. 



 

NOVAE

(eyes wide)

Shit, this is  stellar. Stop. Go back. Yes,that one. Can you alter your appearance for that? No...No...No...Eh...No...Okay. Just pick something.

 

The cube settles on a HAIRLESS EGYPTIAN CAT. Novae takes another drink from the can.

 

NOVAE

(thoughtful)

Disturbing, but I like it. The obvious choice in name would be something Egyptian but that’s borderline racist. So...NEKO? Generic but unique enough. What do you think?

 

CUBE (NEKO)

Neko is my name. Thank you. Anything I can do for you currently, Novae?

 

NOVAE

Let’s see....Can you locate Jacker?

 

NEKO

Jacker is currently...I do not know. His chip is not responding to pings.

 

NOVAE

Neko, are you repairable? Is there a way to get inside if there is an issue?

 

NEKO

Affirmative. But that should only be done with a skilled hand and my initial analysis does not show you have the necessary skill set.

 

NOVAE

Smart-ass AI. You see that bike? Hand built. Custom everything. Programmed the OBD as well. I think I can handle you.

 

NOVAE

(standing up)

Anyway, I have some stuff to take care of Neko. Do something useful but stay out of my personal information. AND NOTHING ILLEGAL UNLESS I SAY! I have to go see about some work.

 

Novae takes one last look at the holographic cat sitting in the middle of her table and walks out of the door.

 

CUE TITLE CARD AND CREDITS

 

EXT - SUNSET CITY - MID-AFTERNOON

 

Novae is walking down the street, greeting neighbors as she goes. In the distance, the gleaming towers of Sunset. Surrounding Novae are mid-rise buildings, some falling apart. A police siren in the background.

 

INT - WAREHOUSE - MID-AFTERNOON

 

Dust in the air gives it a hazy look. Few people are milling about, talking and laughing. The broken windows and rust make the place look older than it is.

 

NOVAE

(gives a head nod to the few people around)

Hey Switch. What’s the scrum on the streets?

 

SWITCH

Nove. Here for the usual gossip or you got something bigger rolling around in that head of yours?

 

NOVAE

Just the usual. Looking for work. Got any good jobs coming in?

 

SWITCH (eyeing Novae sideways)

Yeah right girl. Anyway, sure. I got some stuff that just came in. Some pick up and drop off stuff. Nothing glam dear.

 

NOVAE

That’s fine. As long as it pays. Got a new AI and I need to get some other parts for my ‘cycle. Gonna hit the Stacks later today if I don’t make enough on these runs.

 

SWITCH

Busy girl aren’t you? What kind of AI? There was a rumor of a theft a week or so ago uptown Sunset. Doubt you had anything to do with that though.

 

NOVAE

Nah. It was a gift. Doesn’t seem to be anything MP made. But who knows. I’m rusty on that stuff these days. You know how it is.

 

SWITCH

Sure sure. These days we’re all a little busy fighting for the right to notice a 4x4x4 metallic cube AI system. By the way, how’s that friend Jacker? He still gaming the poor slumps down by the plants?

 

NOVAE

(caught off guard by the description of the AI device Jacker had given her but recovers instantly)

You called it. Jacker does what Jacker wants. He’s only useful when I need something or he’s in trouble and needs me to bail him out.

 

Novae stands there, waiting for an answer from Switch. A car door slams behind her somewhere and Switch is back to looking at her screens, obviously waiting for Novae to continue.

 

NOVAE

(looks around)

By the way I was wondering…

 

SWITCH

Spit it out. There’s a lot on my plate and I’m hungry.

 

NOVAE

(shifts from left foot to right)

How old are you? You look like you could be my sister or something.

 

SWITCH

Old enough to say thank you for the compliment. Here are the deets. Later, onee-chan.

 

Switch flicks her wrist. The data is sent to Novae and she goes back to work, yelling at someone off screen. 

 

Novae looks at the data sent to her and realizes she has thirty minutes to accept the first one and another thirty to complete it. Easy. She walks out of the warehouse.

 

EXT - DOWNTOWN SUNRISE - DAY

 

Novae is on her bike, dodging traffic as she makes it to her last stop of the day. She pulls over to the curb and checks her wrist computer. She grimaces at the name SUNRISE ENERGY CORP.

 

NOVAE

Ugh, if I didn’t need the Yendo, I would not be doing this.

 

Pushing a few buttons, the computer displayed a mini map projection of her routes and she took off. Car ZOOMS past Novae causing her to run back into the curb.

 

NOVAE

FUCKER! Next time don’t miss!

 

Novae checks the damage. Gets back on the bike, looks around her and takes off to her delivery point.

 

VIEWS OF THE CITY AS NOVAE RIDES IN WIDE PANORAMIC SHOTS. Downtown Sunrise glistened from the steel and glass towers. Holographic adverts a hundred feet tall and digital data streams visible no matter where you looked. Clean was an understatement. NO TRASH TO BE SEEN.

 

Making her way to the delivery, she gets a ping on her comm and talks with Jacker while she rides, him telling her about the hack he just did and her telling him of her near death experience.

 

JACKER

(O.S.)

You gotta be careful Nove. People these days just don’t care. I mean, they didn’t really care before either, but these days... You could have been standing there with lights and a horn, and I bet you that fuckhead would have still come close to hitting you.

 

NOVAE

Yeah, tell me about it. Whoever it was was lucky I didn’t get their numbers. I would love to roll their ass for that.

 

Novae arrives at her destination. Big opulent building. SHOWCASES every material used in construction by the wealthy; glass, wood, live trees, metal, concrete. Novae takes a deep breath, hops off her bike, and walks towards the doors. She parks the bike nearby and nods at a security guard standing outside.

 

INT - SUNRISE ENERGY CORP - CONT

 

Novae rang the ID scanner and presented her badge. Having been verified, she walked through the parting doors and to the front counter, keeping her expression as neutral as possible. Security cameras and guards were everywhere.

 

NOVAE

Yeah, package for...Mr. Ephrum.

 

RECEPTIONIST

(a middle aged woman with extensive cybernetic and cosmetic modifications to her face and hands)

Took you long enough. Should have been delivered over an hour and a half ago!

 

Novae closes her eyes. A cool expression crosses her face.

 

NOVAE

Yeah, well, traffic. It’s here now. Sign please?

 

NOVAE

(looking the RECEPTIONIST over)

I didn’t know that level of enhancements were allowed yet. Considering what happened a few years back.

 

RECEPTIONIST

Not for people like you, no. But we are a cut above you all, aren’t we?

 

NOVAE

Whoa. Elite. Must be a rager at parties.

 

RECEPTIONIST

I’ll be sending a report to your employer about your attitude. Matter of fact...done.

 

NOVAE

Ah gee, well, I’m the employer. So, your report has been noticed and filed. Expect a response in 3-5 business days. Have a fucking wonderful day, cunt.

 

Novae walks out of the building without looking back. The sunlight is bright and she squints, looking around the area before retrieving her bike. The look on her face is one of want and disgust. Putting her foot on the pedal, she starts to take off.

 

JACKER (O.S)

Damn, you walk into a place and just give it to them, huh? Shit Nove, still the rabid dog?

 

NOVAE

You heard the way she talked down to me. I’m not letting that slide for no one, don’t give two shits who it is. You of all people know this, so she can kiss all of my ass. You too.

 

JACKER (O.S)

Hahaha, yeah, I do. And no thanks on that. I got something better planned for myself later tonight.


 

NOVAE

Ever hear of too much information? This is that.

 

JACKER (O.S)

(laughing)

Later Nove. Hit me up when you finish your deliveries.


 

NOVAE

(smiling slightly)

Later man.

 

CUT - NOVAE’S APARTMENT - NIGHT

 

Novae sat on the couch and opened a beer, taking a long drink. Burping, she leaned her head back and closed her eyes, taking sips in between her thoughts.

 

Getting up and grabbing another beer, Novae looked around and realized she needed a hobby besides running. They paid the bills and kept her fed, but she was anxious to make moves.

 

NOVAE

Yeah. This is not going to cut it.

 

FADE TO BLACK


 

INT - UNDERGROUND - LIT - NIGHT

 

Switch stands near a wall covered in monitors. She’s watching data streams from various points across Sunset, some with video, some just text.

 

SWITCH

How does it look?

 

PERSON 1

It looks optimal. No reports of abnormalities just yet.

 

SWITCH

Are we still tracking on time?

 

PERSON 2

Yes Ma’am. We expect to converge with our people in place.

 

SWITCH

Good. Keep me updated. Has anyone heard or seen anything from SHIRO?

 

PERSON 1

GHOST is still silent. Monitoring.

 

SWITCH

(silently)

Shiro. Where are you?

 

Switch turns from the bank of monitors and heads back towards her desk. She sits down and thumbs through her contacts on the monitor embedded on her desktop.

 

SWITCH

(talking out loud to herself)

Novae is free. And Jacker would be a decent replacement for Shiro if he doesn’t show. But those two aren’t ready for this yet. I wonder…

 

Switch stood up and walked out of the room, leaving the people to work and wonder what was going on. Switch pulled out her comm and stuck it in her ear, thumbing it on.

 

SWITCH

Call Novae and Jacker. Conference.

 

SWITCH

(pacing back and forth)

Novae. Jacker. Got a job for you. Might be dangerous. You in?

 

JACKER

(yawning)

What do you need from us?

 

SWITCH

(slightly annoyed)

I need a fucking answer. Are you in?

 

JACKER

Well, I don’t know what we’re doing. So I can’t answer. Nove?

 

NOVAE

Yeah. With Jacker on this. What’s the job Switch?

 

SWITCH

(places a finger to her temple and sighs)

We got a massive drop from an MP and CONGO. Need some boots on the ground and a tech to hack. We have some people already, but I figured I’d extend it to you two. Get your feet wet, so to say.

 

JACKER

I’m the tech on this and Novae the what? Extra muscle? You already have a small army going in.

 

SWITCH

That’s right. Are you in?

 

NOVAE

(making noise)

Yeah sure. Send me the deets. Jacker, I’ll meet you at our usual spot.

 

JACKER

You heard the boss. I’m in.

 

Switch didn’t wait and ended the call. She let out a breath and composed herself. Walking back into the room, brightly lit with the blue glow of screens, she took stock.

 

SWITCH

(to herself)

Okay. We can do this.

 

Switch walks back to her desk and sits down. She folds her hands and thinks, her eyes closed.

 

INT - NOVAE’S APARTMENT - NIGHT

 

Novae is sitting on the floor, a beer in hand. Her cycle remains in pieces but looking better than before. The walls are covered in frayed posters of fictional bands and exotic places. Music is playing in the background:

 

NOVAE

(singing with the song offkey)

AND WHEN THE WORLD BURNS

IT’S OUR TURN!

LIGHT THE FIRE

LIGHT THE FIRE!

 

Neko, the AI, was sitting across from Novae, watching her. The eyes were blinking rapidly, storing information and learning. A breeze blows the curtains and Novae looks up, stopping mid song. She just stares at the flutter of her curtains, taking a moment to just be in the moment.

 

NOVAE

(wipes hands on a towel nearby)

I think this will do for tonight. Neko, any messages for me?

 

NEKO

None.

 

NOVAE

Dammit Jacker.

 

Novae had just finished the conversation with Switch and Jacker and was waiting for Jacker to get back to her with a plan to go about it.

 

NOVAE

Neko, pull up the details of the OP Switch sent. Display in holo.

 

Novae watched as Neko swirled a hologram of the building they were to hit and where Switch’s people were in place. They’d be going in without weapons.

 

Novae was instructing Neko where to zoom and rotate, getting a feel for the area and how she would go into it.

 

NEKO

(mimicking a cat licking it’s paw)

I just received a ping from Jacker. He wishes to join via holo. Shall I?

 

NOVAE

You can holo with Jacker and do this at the same time?

 

NEKO

I am the current best market ready application you can find. I can do much more than this.

 

NOVAE

Getting smack from an A.I. What world are we living in? Yeah, go ahead and connect with him.

 

Novae watched as Neko, the cat themed AI licked her paw and brought a holo of Jacker into the room. A floating disconnected head.

 

JACKER

Yo Novae. How’s the AI?

 

NOVAE

It’s quite amazing, save for the attitude.

 

JACKER (laughing)

Yeah, it’s top of the line. No one down here has anything close to it. Most are just clever scripts but this here, this is the real deal AI.

 

NOVAE

Alright, I get it. Did you want to go over the plan for the OP or did you have something else in mind?

 

JACKER

Yeah we can go over that. I did want to talk to you about something else but it just slipped my mind.

 

NOVAE

Well, let’s get started then. Switch wants us there tomorrow, right? If I’m going in on the ground and you’ll be close by, what’s the angle?

 

JACKER

I’m guessing you’ll be going in and providing backup. But I’ll also need you to get me a hardline connection. Switch’s people will be fighting and distracting everyone so you should have an easy enough time of it. I think they were wanting to use SHIRO instead of me, which is what I would have done. It’ll take me a bit longer but I can do it. The issue is making sure I’m not backtraced. As soon as I start, I’ll be open.

 

NOVAE

Anything I can do inside to slow them down?

 

JACKER

You know your way around system mains and counterhacks? Can you inject some junk into their system to give them the illusion they’re being hit from all over?

 

NOVAE

You know I can. But humor me.

 

JACKER

Well then-

 

NEKO

I can do it. I’ll begin work on a program that, as soon as it is linked with their main server, will make it seem that 10 people are attempting to infiltrate their system.

 

NOVAE

This A.I. I’m telling you Jacker. I won’t get a chance to shine if we let this continue.

 

NEKO

Similarly, I’ll send out bytes of code that will all but make Novae invisible to any scans or cameras. Will that help you?

 

JACKER

Shit. You just want to run this whole thing by yourself?

 

NEKO

I can-

 

JACKER

That was rhetorical. Please don’t answer. Alright, since we have super Neko over here, I’ll upload the prog once you connect and we can do what we need to. Switch will grab the goods on the ground.

 

NOVAE

So, this is a 2 part OP. Switch only wants the physical shit, and we’re going for something else at the same time. Which means she won’t even need me really.

 

JACKER

Exactly. We’re still going to prioritize Switch and her grab. But if we’re going to make that move you mentioned, we need to hit them now while we can. So you just go with them, hang around the back but don’t be seen by anyone at SPARK BIO. Afterwards, you circle back and our OP starts. But you’ll have to be quick.

 

NOVAE

Perfect.

JACKER

(after a few beats)

You sure about this Nove?

 

NOVAE

The Spark Bio plan?


 

Jacker

Yeah.

 

NOVAE

Damn right. You remember that...that free-for-all years back. You saw what these people did.

 

JACKER

I know. I might not have been born in the neighborhood, but I know.

 

NOVAE

(rummaging around her ‘cycle, looking at parts)

These CORPOS and CONGOS think they have the right to treat our lives as shit and use us for field testing. I’m sick of it. How much longer do we let them run our lives? The world?

 

JACKER

(pauses and let’s the words hang in the air)

Alright. Don’t fry your processing unit. This plan’ll work. Promise.

 

NOVAE

This is only the beginning. We’ll make them pay. All of them.

 

-FLASHBACK OF NOVAE STANDING IN THE DUST-

 

Jacker talked to Novae a little longer and then ended the call. Novae told Neko to inform her when the program was done and instead of cleaning up, showered and went to bed.

 

EXT - SPARK BIO FACILITY - MID-AFTERNOON

 

Novae is standing outside the facility of SPARK BIO, world leader in cybernetics. THE BUILDING WAS GLEAMING BLUE, YELLOW, AND WHITE. LARGE WINDOWS ON THE UPPER FLOORS. MECHANICAL SHADING COVERING THEM. She was casually casing the site, looking for a way in. Being this close gave her a momentary rush of adrenaline and she breathed deep to relax. She walks across the street from the building, looking at it and thinking of ways to get in. Security is tight and checkpoints all over. Novae doesn’t see an easy way in immediately.

 

NOVAE

(to herself)

Well there goes that idea. So much for walking in. Now to find another-

 

Novae notices a side entrance and watched. Two guards walked out and swiped their badges. The gates opened and when they walked through, slammed shut behind them. Novae made a mental note and turned away.

 

NOVAE

(hand pressed to her ear)

Hey Jacker.

 

JACKER (O.S)

Nove. Wassup?

 

NOVAE

How long would it take you to get me into SPARK BIO’s employee system?

 

JACKER (O.S)

Not sure. I’d have to spoof your bio and shit. If NEKO helps, maybe a few hours?

 

NOVAE

Damn. How about getting me security access?

 

JACKER (O.S)

Found a way in?

 

NOVAE

Found a way.

 

JACKER

Boss. Aight then. I’ll connect with Neko and we’ll get started. Get some rest. I’ll let you know when we’re golden. Tonight is gonna be wild.

 

NOVAE

Yeah, it is. Later Jacker.

 

EXT - A FEW BLOCKS AWAY FROM SPARK BIO - NIGHT

 

Novae and Jacker sat on the curb, listening to Switch yell instructions from her warehouse. Jacker had come through and handed Novae a security badge and a folder. Her cover was to be a freelance designer for new cyber-enhanced prosthesis. She looks through the folder and then back at Jacker. She STARES until he looks back at her.

 

NOVAE

Look, I’m good. I’m not enhancing prosthetics faking good.

 

JACKER

It’s all good. Just throw some big words at the security guards and they’ll believe it.

 

NOVAE

And if one of them happens to be pretty smart?

 

JACKER

Improvise? I dunno.

 

NOVAE

(rolls her eyes with a smile)

Thanks for the help.

 

JACKER

Any time boss lady.

 

Jacker looks over at the cat sitting next to Novae. If he hadn’t known it was Neko, he would have thought it real.

 

JACKER

Technology these days.

 

NOVAE

Trust me. I know.

 

Novae is about to say something when one of Switch’s men approaches them.

 

PERSON 1

Okay. Everyone is getting into position. Novae, you’re with the second team. Jacker, you stay and provide support. Mobile HQ is around the corner back there. We’re going live in 5.

 

JACKER

(getting up and dusting himself off)

Stellar. I’ll catch you later Nove.

 

Novae stands up and walks in the opposite direction.

 

INT - SPARK BIO DESIGN WING - CONT

 

Novae is plugging in a thumbdrive. Jacker had told her that it would automatically start an upload so she just had to wait. She hears the door open.

 

NOVAE

(closing the window of the upload)

Yo, you here late tonight too?

 

PERSON

Yeah. Just got back in after that wild attack just now. Fucking psychos. 

 

NOVAE

Impossibly stupid. This is SPARK BIO.



 

PERSON

Right? Don’t know what they were after, though. Looked like most of the action happened near the deliveries area.

 

NOVAE

Probably wanted to redeem a warranty.

 

PERSON

(laughing)

Good one. You new around here?

 

NOVAE

Yeah. Freelancer.

 

PERSON

(taking a seat two spots from Novae)

Same. But I might move to a permanent position. What project?

 

NOVAE

(pretending to think)

The, uh...hand project. Can’t remember the name.

 

PERSON

Ah. The “hand project”. I’m working on the “leg project”.

 

NOVAE

Sense of humor. Nice.

 

PERSON

(laying card face down on pad to be scanned)

I do what I can. Anyway, I thought I heard someone typing so I came to check it out. You wanna grab something to drink?

 

NOVAE

Now?

 

PERSON

Next year.

 

NOVAE

Perfect. See you next year.

 

PERSON

(mock hurt)

Oof. Now, of course. There’s a vending machine down the-

 

Novae hears a soft PING indicating the upload is finished. She closes her eyes for a second, hoping her new friend didn’t hear.

 

NOVAE

(interrupting)

I’m just about to head out actually.

 

PERSON

(looking at their screen, clicking and typing away)

Ah. Gotcha. Well next time?

 

NOVAE

Sure. I’ll think about it.

 

Novae grabs her USB, types in a set of commands and walks out of the room, waving.

The new PERSON watches Novae leave and then slides over to her computer.

 

PERSON

“Hand” project huh? Let’s see.

 

PERSON types a few commands and brings up the most recent windows that were closed. SCREEN shows the upload and minimized in the corner. PERSON clicks around and sees that Novae was accessing secure files.

 

PERSON

(eyes squinting and then widening)

What the fuck? This is bad.

 

PERSON runs out and searches for Novae. He’s racing towards the side exit when he spots Novae walking through the door.

 

PERSON

Stop her! She’s stolen company files!

 

Novae doesn’t glance back as she takes off at a dead sprint. As she nears the exit, two guards step out to stop her. She rushes SECURITY GUARD ONE and throws a shoulder into him before he can draw his baton. SECURITY GUARD TWO takes a swipe and misses, giving Novae an opening. She kicks out with her leg and connects with his knee. Novae is back up and running, leaving the building behind.

Novae is standing next to Jacker catching her breath. She hands him the drive and they high-five. They walk away with a smile on their faces as the infiltration team is gearing up to head out. Hopping on the back, they ride off, content knowing their plan is finally in motion.

 

TO BE CONTINUED.