by Artie Knapp

Short Film
Email: [email protected]

Two soldiers' lives cross paths because of a time machine, and neither of them will ever be the same.

Originally published in Nuvein Magazine, May 2006
By Artie Knapp
(Dr. Frederick Gibbons, a renowned scientist, is working in his lab. Dr. Gibbons is as controversial as he is respected among his peers.  He is convinced time travel is possible based on different dimensions.  Now in the final stages of testing his theories, Dr. Gibbons has decided to keep his tests confidential, only sharing them with his trusted assistant Tolliver.
Dr. Gibbons – "Tolliver, do you realize we are now up to the last stage of the process?"
Tolliver – "This is so exciting Dr. Gibbons.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this historic moment."
Dr. Gibbons – "Well, I certainly appreciate all of your help.  Now it's time to finalize a date and time.  I've always been fascinated with the US Civil War, so that is the time period I will be using.  (Shaking his head) The only thing is it will be really hard to know exactly whom I will be bringing back to the present. (Patting the machine he will be using) I'm confident with my machine, but I'm not overly confident about its precision. I guess it's impossible to get things down to the exact second."
Tolliver – "Do you think this is going to cause major problems?"
Dr. Gibbons – "Well, not major problems, but, uh, well, I just have no way of knowing whose molecules I will be bringing through the machine at that precise moment.  Once they're here however, it won't be hard to send them back to the moment I found them."
Tolliver – "So, you’re saying it could be a child or even someone of importance; just whoever is closest to the machine at that moment?"
Dr. Gibbons – "Yes! The way this machine works is by going back to a specific location and time, and essentially the closest human being to the signal will be transported through.  Only one person's molecules can be decompressed through the chamber at a time, so a group of people cannot enter.  The ultimate reason I've decided to use the Civil War time period is to get a perspective from a living human being during that time.  I want to hear their opinion on how Lincoln is handling the war as Commander in Chief.  The date will be October 7th 1863. "
Tolliver – "Any specific reason why you chose that date Dr. Gibbons?"
Dr. Gibbons – (Shrugs his shoulders) "1863 was the middle of the war, and October 7th is my birthday." (Dr Gibbons and Tolliver both smile)
Tolliver – "I see! Won't this person seeing the future affect the past?"
Dr. Gibbons – "No! Once the individual is transported back it will be as if nothing ever happened to them.  In the meantime we gain invaluable knowledge about the past from a person living at that particular time."
Tolliver – "Well, let’s do it.”
Dr. Gibbons – (Nodding his head in agreement) "Yeah, lets do it" (Dr. Gibbons and Tolliver smile at one another and begin preparing the time chamber)
Tolliver – (Touching dials on the machine) "All of the levels look fine Dr. Gibbons."
Dr. Gibbons – (Checking other aspects of the machine) "Thanks Tolliver! Everything looks good on this end as well. (A close up of Dr. Gibbons hand typing in the date October 7th 1863 can be seen) Well, let’s make this happen". (After touching a few more instruments the machine begins to flash and rattle)
(Cut to)
(Inside a tent, a Confederate Soldier is being decorated for bravery during a recent conflict)
General – "Lt. Fulton for your bravery and devotion to the Confederacy, you’re hereby promoted to the rank of Captain. (The General and newly promoted Captain Fulton exchange a salute. There are a couple of other officers in the tent as bystanders) Congratulations Son."
Captain Fulton – "Thank you General.  I'm honored to have this promotion."
General – "Well, it's much deserved.  I've had my eye on you.  The men respect you and you have what it takes to be a great leader."
Captain Fulton – "Thank you sir. I appreciate that."
General – "Go ahead and get some rest; tomorrow mornings raid will be here before you know it."
Captain Fulton – "Yes sir! Thank you again sir." (The General nods and lights a cigar as Captain Fulton exits the tent)
(It's late at night and very dark outside.  Upon exiting the tent, Captain Fulton looks at his hat and then readjusts it to fit his head better.  He begins to walk away, when he sees a beam of light.  Surprised by its presence, Captain Fulton walks over to see where the source of light is coming from)
Captain Fulton – (With a puzzled look on his face Captain Fulton murmurs to himself) "What in the name of; what the hell is that?"
(He touches the light source and with it disappears completely from view)
(Cut to the present – back in Dr. Gibbons Lab)
Dr. Gibbons – (In an excited tone) "It’s working Tolliver! It's working! (The machine is illuminating light and making noises.  Tolliver looks on with amazement.  The machine stops flashing and an individual can be seen sitting in the machine.) My God! Somebody is in there."
Tolliver – (Looking intensely inside the machine) "It's, it's a soldier Dr. Gibbons."
Dr. Gibbons – (He approaches the machine and opens the door.  Dr. Gibbons and Tolliver are dead silent as they stare at Captain Fulton who is visibly shaken about what has transpired) "Hello!  It's okay.  It's okay.  My name is Dr. Frederick Gibbons and this is my assistant Mr. Tolliver."
Captain Fulton – (Still shaken) "What, what happened? Where am I? Who are you a Doctor for? The Confederacy I hope."
Dr. Gibbons – "We'll explain everything to you.  I assure you we mean you no harm. Lets get you out of there, and we'll explain where you are and how you got here." (Dr. Gibbons unlashes a strap on the chair in the chamber then he and Tolliver assist Captain Fulton out of the machine.)
(Cut to an establishing exterior shot of a Catholic Church)
(Cut to an interior shot of the church where a young man Private Jeffries, is about to offer confession to a priest)
Priest – "Go ahead my son!"
Private Jeffries – "Father, I'm not hear to offer confession.  I have a serious problem though, and I don't know what to do."
Priest – "What's the problem my son?"
Private Jeffries – (He lets out a deep sigh) "Well, I'm currently a member of the United States Army.  I've been on leave from Iraq and was scheduled to go back there two weeks ago.  My unit and the law are both looking for me.  I just (pause) I just can't go back to that war zone.  (Very emotional) The senseless killing and death! I just can't go back there.  How anyone could is beyond me.  I don't consider myself a coward.  I just don't want to kill anyone and I can't get beyond that much pain and suffering."
Priest – "This is tough, because legally you're obligated to be there.  What does your family think about this?"
Private Jeffries – "I never knew my Dad.  He died when I was young.  I'm an only child and my Mom and I are really close.  She agrees with my stance, but I am fearful she will get in trouble if she gets caught helping me hide."
Priest – "Well, your being here will not be revealed to anyone, but giving the circumstances, it will be hard to find any kind of solution without reporting into them."
Private Jeffries – (His voice cracking) "Father I can't do that. I just can't.  Not anymore!"
Priest – "I will pray for you, and I suggest you pray about it as well.  Feel free to come back tomorrow and we'll talk it through.  Do you have any place to stay right now?"
Private Jeffries – "I've stayed away from my Mom's for the obvious reason, but I plan on going there tonight." Hopefully the Military Police won't be waiting for me. Thanks Father. I appreciate your time."
Priest – "You're welcome my Son. I will pray for you. Please follow up with me if I can be of further assistance.”
(Cut to Dr. Gibbons Lab)
Captain Fulton – "Wow! Well, I'm either going to wake up from this nightmare, or everything you're saying is true. (Looking out the window) It's obviously not 1863 anymore. (Becoming agitated) You know, I honestly don't know what you expected.  How well do you know the major political figures of today? Do you know your President on a personal level?"
Dr. Gibbons – "Please don't be upset."
Captain Fulton – "That’s easy for you to say.  It wasn't your life that was interrupted.  Today, the war may be something of the past, but in my time that is far from the case.  I have men that need me.  What about them? What if my not being there has negative consequences?"
Dr. Gibbons – (In a reassuring tone) "Captain Fulton, I assure you that you will be sent back at the exact time you were brought into the future.  There won’t even be a lapse in time. It will be as if you never left."
Tolliver – "You won't remember any of this."
Captain Fulton –"Well, it appears I have no choice but to trust you. You give me your word about all of this?"
Dr. Gibbons – "I give you my word."
Captain Fulton – “Alright, well let me ask you this, do you have good food and drink in your time period? (Smiling) I mean, I might as well taste a little of the future before I go back."
Dr. Gibbons – (Smiling) "Yes we do, and it would be our pleasure to treat you to a nice meal before you go back.  I have so many questions to ask you over dinner. Tolliver, Captain Fulton will undeniably stand out in his attire. Get him a change of clothes to go out in."
Tolliver – "You got it Dr. Gibbons."
 (Captain Fulton nods and smiles at Dr. Gibbons to thank him)
(Cut to a hallway of an apartment building)
(Private Jeffries is approaching his Mom's apartment, when he stops dead in his tracks.  He sees two military policemen standing outside his Mom's apartment, so he immediately turns around to go in the opposite direction.  While running away, one of the policemen spots him and yells out for him to stop.)
Policemen #1 – "Private Jeffries stop right there!"
Private Jeffries – "I'm not going back. (He runs out of the building as fast as he can with the two military policemen in hot pursuit.)
(Exterior shot of the apartment building will show Private Jeffries exiting the building with the two military policemen following him.  A chase will ensue for a couple of blocks leading them to a large brick building.  Private Jeffries tries to enter from the front, but the door is locked.  He runs around back where he breaks a back door window to enter the building. He enters the building and the two military policemen follow him in.)
(Cut to interior shot of the building)
(Private Jeffries is frantically looking for an escape route.  He runs up a stairwell and runs down a hallway.  He breaks the lock on the door to the last room on the right.  The military policemen are close behind and can be heard in the background yelling for him to quit running.)
(Cut to Private Jeffries who is now in Dr. Gibbon's Lab)
(Private Jeffries goes to the window in the room to see if it can be forced open, and soon realizes that it will not be the escape route he had hoped for. One of the military policemen can be heard yelling for Jeffries to give it up and stop running.  Desperate and out of alternatives, Jeffries looks the room over for a possible hiding place.  Noticing the time machine, he quickly runs over to it and steps inside.  At that time, the two military policemen burst into the room.)
Military Policemen #2 "All right Jeffries, we know you're in here.  The game is over. Come out!"
(The military policemen are startled when the time machine begins illuminating light and making noises. Once the lights and noises subside, they walk up to the machine and notice a dial that reads October 7th 1863.)
(Cut to October 7th 1863)
(A flash of light can be seen and Private Jeffries appears at the exact site Captain Fulton disappeared from.  A couple of soldiers notice the light and approach it to investigate.)
Private Jeffries – (Shaken and confused Private Jeffries says to himself) "What happened?" (He looks up and is startled to see two soldiers standing above him.  They’re aiming their guns directly at him.)
Confederate soldier #1 – "Who the hell are you? What kind of uniform is that?"
Confederate soldier #2 – "He's a damn spy that's what he is."
Private Jeffries – (Pleading with them) "Please, please, I'm a soldier with the United States Army."
Confederate soldier #2 – "That's exactly what I thought." (The confederate soldier aims his gun at Private Jeffries and shoots him. Private Jeffries is shown gasping for air in his last dying moments.)
(Fade out)


Download Script

Script Submission Form

Sponsored Links