FADE IN:

INT. MEDICAL OFFICE

This is a medical facility in the 2040's. A patient stands near a futuristic operating table with two doctors.

The patient, BOB CRAFTY, 50, a balding, over-weight, marketing research executive, is talking over the procedures with a DOCTOR and an ANESTHESIOLOGIST.

DOCTOR

You want body sculpting, hair transplants, tooth implants, our usual two-hour rejuvenation package.

BOB CRAFTY

Yes, in my business, appearance counts. I don't know what it is, but clients like dealing with people who still appear to be contributing to the human gene pool.

(they laugh)

BOB CRAFTY

You say this only takes a couple of hours?

DOCTOR

Yes, with selected-area-speed growth, we can boost the growth of a small area of cells while the rest of the body is in near-stasis. When you are brought back to speed, you will be thinner, with a full head of hair, new teeth, and no surgical scars.

BOB CRAFTY

But this is new. There have been no accidents?

ANESTHESIOLOGIST

I have placed at least 5 patients a day in and out of near-stasis for the past month. It is much safer than using anesthesia.

DOCTOR

And much cheaper.

ANESTHESIOLOGIST

Teams of specialists don't have to be scheduled to stand around the operating theater.

DOCTOR

A specialist does his work, heals that area, and passes you on to the next specialist.

ANESTHESIOGIST

This is the twenty-first century. Patients leave the hospital in better condition than when they arrived.

BOB CRAFTY

Well, you convinced me. Fire-up your machine, I'm ready.

INT. OPERATING THEATER

The ANESTHESIOLOGIST is in surgical attire. He encloses BOB CRAFTY in the stasis field generator. The DOCTOR, in surgical attire, arrives.

DOCTOR

Looks like I'm first.

ANESTHESIOLOGIST

What do you have?

The doctor opens a box near BOB CRAFTY's head containing various teeth. He pushes a dental lamp closer to BOB CRAFTY to see into his mouth better.

DOCTOR

Tooth plugs. Carl should be next for the body sculpting.

There are some surgical noises while teeth are being extracted and replaced.

DOCTOR

I'm done.

The DOCTOR places clamps over parts of BOB CRAFTY's gums. The ANESTHESIOLOGIST set dials.

The SOUND of a selected-area-speed growth machine is heard for a few seconds.

The DOCTOR looks at the ANESTHESIOLOGIST.

DOCTOR

That did it.

The ANESTHESIOLOGIST turns back to his group of machines. He knocks the dental lamp against BOB CRAFTY. Behind the ANESTHESIOLOGIST there is an electrical flash.

BOB CRAFTY's skin changes to an unnatural color.

ANESTHESIOLOGIST

(surprised)

I have never seen that before.

DOCTOR

His gums are healed. Bring him back up.

The ANESTHESIOLOGIST becomes busy and panicked

ANESTHESIOLOGIST

Nothing's working.

DOCTOR

(with growing horror)

He looks like a marble statue.

ANESTHESIOLOGIST

Oh, my.

INT. RUSTIC POTTERY SHOP - DISTANT FUTURE

The potter KIRK is showing a buyer, DR. MATSUNI-GRUMBY and his secretary, TRAN different sets.

DR. MATSUNI-GRUMBY

They're'll right purty. Mighty est'estic.

TRAN looking closely at one piece.

TRAN

How do you get the glazes to come out like this?

KIRK

There is a ancient grave site a short walk from here that provides me with some exotic metal oxides.

TRAN

Ancient?

KIRK

Well, post-atomic era, but fairly old.

TRAN

(holding vessel)

How much?

KIRK

For these it is $18 for a set of a dozen; I have 15 sets.

DR. MATSUNI-GRUMBY

We'll take them all.

TRAN

(as if explaining to a child)

DOCTOR, that's 270 with a cost to us of 292. We are only budgeted for 550 and we still need to purchase dinnerware.

DR. MATSUNI-GRUMBY

Dinnerware?

TRAN

You remember Jameson mentioned it to you yesterday.

DR. MATSUNI-GRUMBY

That big-headed blowfish.

TRAN

He was rather upset that we have not had dinnerware in stock for the past 2 months.

DR. MATSUNI-GRUMBY spots a comic book. He lights a cigar and begins reading with some concentration.

TRAN and KIRK look at DR. MATSUNI-GRUMBY, then significantly at each other.

TRAN

We could use 2 dozen.

TRAN hands over a flexiable card that looks a like 3X5 card with a number printed on the front.

 

EXT. HILLSIDE - DAY

KIRK carrying a pail and shovel walks to an embankment.

The embankment has long smears of soil with metal oxide discoloration, bits of small brick work and other non-describable artifacts are sticking out into the open air.

Digging in one area he uncovers a metal cylinder with placard.

KIRK

(holding placard, removes dirt "one wife without children" with his finger)

BOB CRAFTY, 1992 to 2041, was lost to us for the advancement of science. During surgery that used a new technique of near-stasis biological surgery, he was electrocuted and shifted to an unexplored plane of suspended animation. Efforts to revive him were beyond the science of his day. He was interred this day on 2088 in the hopes that a future generation would be able to revive him. He left one wife without children.

KIRK

Suspended animation, beyond the science of his day, one wife without children

KIRK begins digging out more of the coffin.

KIRK

Well, Mr. Crafty, one wife, no kids. Today is your lucky day.

INT. RUSTIC POTTERY SHOP

On a worktable among pottery site is the sarcophagus still dirty from its excavation. Kirk walks over to the same counter/computer that he performed his business transactions earlier.

KIRK

Computer, I have a medical question.

COMPUTER

How may I help you?

KIRK

What are the steps to reviving someone from electrically induced suspended animation?

COMPUTER

The patient's major nerves must be impregnated with ambient temperature super-conducting material from the Boron-Copper group.

KIRK

Stop. How many steps are in this procedure and do I have the materials on hand?

COMPUTER

There are 217 steps in the de-suspension procedure and all materials are available and can be manufactured by you medicine cabinet.

KIRK

(Sighs while handling some pottery.)

COMPUTER

Do you wish to call for medical assistance?

KIRK

Is there any competent physicians available whose schedule can be changed to perform this procedure?

COMPUTER

On the North American continent, all schedules are backlogged for the next six months. However, to perform the de-suspension procedure, any competent technician may perform it. The nearest such technician is (pause) you.

KIRK

Yes. Very well, show me an animated sequence of the procedure and order the medicine cabinet to begin the necessary production.

FADE IN

INT. RUSTIC POTTERY SHOP

The sarcophagus is in pieces. Next to it is BOB CRAFT is wrapped in an assembly of plastic and wiring. Kirk is looking after a new pottery firing and is distracted by the recovering BOB CRAFT.

KIRK

Can you hear me?

BOB CRAFT

Was the operation a success?

KIRK

Was it!

BOB CRAFT

Is this the recovery room?

(Feeling his head.)

Hey, where is my hair?

(Looking over his body.)

Hey, what work did you all do?

BOB CRAFT reaches into his mouth and pulls out a tooth that he crumbles in his fingers.

What's this

KIRK

The non-organic parts are disintegrating with age. Also, you are not in the hospital. Look here.

KIRK hands BOB CRAFT the placard from his tomb. BOB CRAFT reads it.

BOB CRAFT

Poor Melanie. You don't know whether she was stuck with the court costs?

KIRK

All I know was on that plaque. The outside of the container you were in has oxidized. It usually takes centuries to reach that point.

BOB CRAFT

Centuries? What year is it? 3000?

KIRK

It's 1453 PF, 1453 years after the official end of the ice age. I don't know what calendar you are using.

(Referring to the plaque.)

It appears that you were placed in cellular field suspension by accident. You need liquid superconductors and a device for delivering them inside the body. We don't use it anymore because prolonging a person's life span is not a great concern.

BOB CRAFT

You mean you have immortality?

KIRK

We have a lot of replacement people.

BOB CRAFT

How many are there?

KIRK

There are about 50 billion. We try to keep the numbers from...

BOB CRAFT

Billion? A five with ten zeroes following it?

(Kirk nods)

Wow, I remember when there were only 9 billion and it seemed crowded. It must be packed out there.

KIRK

Most people live in cities; are contained in cities. Agriculture does not require land anymore and it is too inefficient to spread people out into single huts the way it was done in your day. Yet it is not an enclosed system. We still have to use resources from outside the system.

BOB CRAFT

This looks like a single hut to me.

KIRK

This is just the living quarters for the field manager. Eventually, the woods around here will be harvested and the excavation site will be completely dug up for its rare metals.

BOB CRAFT

You mean where I was buried? Say, I must be quite an archaeological find.

(Rubbing his hands)

You still have talk shows? Maybe get someone to write my story. It would be a best seller. I ought to get plenty out of this.

I guess the next step is meeting your leaders. What do you have, a world council?

KIRK

Um, not too many people read anymore. As for the government, we really don't have a world council. We call them president or the senate. They won't be of much use to you. I know some friends that will be more helpful.

BOB CRAFT

But People still make money? It's not some cash-less from-each-their-abilities to-each-their-needs utopia?

KIRK

We still have money. Here, I'll get some for you.

KIRK walks to his electronic cashier and place a blank card into it.

KIRK

Fifty dollars O. D.

KIRK hands a 3X5 card with 50.00 printed on it to BOB CRAFT.

BOB CRAFT

This is just a piece of plastic with 50 bucks printed on it.

BOB CRAFT looks at it suspiciously.

BOB CRAFT

Is fifty a lot? Can I write you an IOU?

KIRK

Yes, no, I have more than I need. You probably want to sample our current era hygiene facilities while I contact some friends.

(Pointing outside the room)

KIRK sits before a communication view screen with another person from Polar Central looking back.

KIRK

Central?

Eggtom

KIRK, are you still on Vacation?

KIRK

Yeah, listen, I logged in earlier about recovering a suspended animation victim. He has recovered. It might have some useful information about The Problem.

Eggtom

What information?

KIRK

He claims to have come from a time when there were only 9 billion human beings. Maybe we can find out how they kept population that low.

(Looking over his shoulder)

Anyway, get someone up here to collect him. He blathers endlessly.

Eggtom

Someone who has experience in psychology has been dispatched.

KIRK

Good. I don't need any details as long as he gets here soon. I have time for maybe one more firing before having to return to the pole.

Eggtom

Sure. See you then.

INT. RUSTIC CABIN

The same location that Kirk talked to Tran. In the front door Kirk is letting in Tinitim.

TINITIM

Hello, I have been assigned to ProProblem data collection. What do you have?

KIRK

You are here, finally!

(turning around)

This is Tinitim. He is going to take care of you and help you make a lot of money.

BOB CRAFT

Really?

All three walk out the door.

EXT. DAYLIGHT

TINITIM's car is large and boat-shaped.

BOB CRAFT

Is that your car? What kind is it? How fast does it go?

TINITIM

You like it? Its top speed is about 250. The city is only 2 hours away.

INT AUTO

The car starts up without a key. The noise sounds like a powerful engine.

BOB CRAFT

Why is the engine so noisy?

TINITIM

Powerful, huh?

INT. AUTO FACING OUT DAYTIME

The car pulls out onto a road and begins accelerating. At 15 mph, wind sounds from the outside like it is traveling at 60 mph; at 25 mph (its top speed) it sounds like a blizzard.

TINITIM

(yelling above the roar)

Whoa, fast enough for me!

BOB CRAFT

BOB CRAFT looks at the window then at the speedometer.

Is that the air-condidtioning making all that noise?

TINITIM does not answer. He turns on a radio instead.

TINITIM

It has two controls: volume and stations.

BOB CRAFT plays with controls finding different stations until he picks up a clear-sounding one that is reminiscent of a 1950's game show.

(sound of an organ: vibrato and reed)

RADIO ANNOUNCER

And now it's time for "Take It and Stick It!™" The show of shows; the quiz of quizzes, only on this station, it is Take It and Stick It!™

(organ and Applause)

EXT. DAYLIGHT

The car is still traveling at about 25 mph. It is followed down a length of road to show its sedate pace. While traveling the radio continues to play the program.

RADIO ANNOUNCER

Here we got contestants all ready to go. You know how we works it. I hand the contestant different-shaped cutouts: triangle-shaped, square-shaped and such, and we have these boards with the same shapes cut into them. The first contestant that sticks them all into his board wins!

Now here's the first contestant. Come right over here, honey. What's your name?

RADIO CONTESTANT

Name? Uh...

RADIO ANNOUNCER

How'dja like that folks? She don't remember here own name. Would you buy that for a quarter?

(audience laughter)

INT. CAR FACING BOB CRAFT

BOB CRAFT looks incredulously at Tinitim. Changing the channels he finds a news broadcast.

(SFX city)

In the distance is a long shimmering wall of buildings stretching from horizon to horizon.

TINITIM

There it is, Chicago. It's only one hour away from.

BOB CRAFT

It's 200 miles away? It's huge. Though it does look closer. Wait, that sign says 25 miles, at 200, we should be there in seven and a half minutes. That is unless you measure time differently.

TINITIM plays with the radio as an answer.

EXT. DAYTIME CROWDED STREETS

BOB CRAFT

Well, your buildings and cars are a lot bigger, but I was expecting more spacey stuff like teleporters, space needles, Martians.

INT. CAR

TINITIM

Space noodles? We do not have any of that.

BOB CRAFT

But they were building all of these thousands of years ago. If there are 50 billion human beings, then there must be 20 or so Einstein-class geniuses running about inventing new stuff.

TINITIM

I don't know what an einstein is, but the reason we don't build space noodles is that any alteration in the flow of materials means immediate starvation and collapse of the infrastructure.

It has happened often enough when everything was running smoothly. If you can imagine 150 million hungry Chicagoans roving the countryside searching for food: the devastation would never be fixed in one's lifetime.

BOB CRAFT

But where are all the new inventions? How could any government stop human inquisitiveness and development? Hey, where are you taking me?

TINITIM

I have an office by the lake.

EXT. DAYTIME AUTO TRAFFIC

The car comes to a halt before a regular traffic signal.

INT. AUTO

BOB CRAFT

Where what will happen? You are the secret police aren't you? You want to stop me from telling your slaves about freedom and progress and stuff. Well, you are not going to brain scrub me.

EXT. AUTO

BOB CRAFT opens the car door and runs out into the crowds.

INT. AUTO

TINITIM

(to himself)

Oh, I should just let him escape and find his own level.

I'll never find a parking space around here.