Story – The Orange Marble (Part 1/6: The Pilot)

Note: this series is written in an experimental format that combines traditional writing with a script (e.g. dialogue is more prominent and written in the format of "[Name]: [dialogue]", but everything else is normal). It's just as readable as regular writing, but I thought I'd mention it so you don't find it jarring.

Synopsis: after receiving a time travelling watch from a mysterious old man, 18 year old Michael Drake is whisked 50 years into the future. There, he embarks on a trek to stop the reason for society's downfall.

It's a sunny day in the UK (the first sign this is a fictional story), and 18 year old Michael Drake is skateboarding home from a long day at college. He dips in and out of the shadows created by the swaying summer trees, riding through a series of suburbs before stopping at the sight of a newly opened shop. He picks his skateboard up and enters the building, looking around with a grin on his face. He walks up to the front desk.
Michael: Sanjid?
A 63 year old Indian man pokes his head around from the back.
Sanjid: Michael!
He exits the back and walks up to the desk.
Sanjid: Hahaha.
Michael: so you finally got the shop set up!?
Sanjid: yep, this is the opening day. I've already had over 50 customers, it's going great!
Michael: Whew nice, that's great to hear, man.
Sanjid nods with a smile.
Michael: anyway I'll let you get on with it, I just wanted to pop in, see how things were shaping up.
Sanjid: alright, take care of yourself, my man.
After a handshake and exchange of smiles, Michael turns to exit the store.
Sanjid: and tell your mother and grandmother “Sanjid said hi”!
Michael: I will!
Michael gets back on his skateboard, continuing to ride through the streets. He ultimately makes it back to his house, where he lives with his 46 year old mother Marie and 83 year old grandmother Wendy. He enters the house, walking into the living room where Marie and Wendy are watching TV.
Wendy: why have you got this crap zombie film on? Change the channel.
Marie: I've already told you mum, that's politician Theresa May, not a zombie.
Wendy: what's the difference?
Michael: hey guys.
Marie: hey Mikey.
Wendy: Mikey! How was college?
Michael: it was good.
Michael puts his skateboard away and sits down.
Michael: Sanjid has his shop set up now by the way. Already had a lot of customers.
Marie: aww, that's great. Sanjid deserves it.
Michael: yeah.
Wendy: ay, it's the EU referendum results tomorrow, we'll be finding out whether the UK leaves the EU or not.
Michael: Eh, I can't see it happening.
Wendy: well I wouldn't put it past people these days. I mean right now, the two Presidential candidates the Americans have chosen are a racist, sexist inbred and a criminal.

The following morning, Michael awakens. He rubs his eyes before grabbing his phone from the desk beside his bed, opening Twitter to scroll through while he fully wakes up. After liking and retweeting a few dank memes, he opens the “trending” tab. It's there that he learns of the news; the UK has voted to leave the EU. He scrolls through the reactions, somewhat shocked.
@TomAnderson27 today marks the triumph of the older generation and their backwards ways; they won't be alive to see the repercussions of their votes, but they've made the future for those who will be alive significantly harder.
@ThatInternetGuy19 a dark day for British politics. Let's hope that the US at least make the right decision.
@XxBabeGirl49xX zonks, I really should have, like, voted or something, haha. Oh well #politicsareforoldpeeple #retweetthisforclitpics
Michael heads into the living room, where Marie and Wendy are looking at the TV announcing the results.
Wendy: unbelievable.
Marie: we should migrate to Spain in my opinion.
Michael looks at the TV for a few seconds.
Michael: you know, I think it'll actually work out long term. I mean people are acting like it's the end of the world, it can't be that bad… can it?
Wendy: Ah who knows anymore. I'm going back to bed.
Marie: I gotta go get ready for work. Michael, could you go get the bin bags from the back and move them to the front please?
Michael: sure.
Michael heads into the back garden. He crouches down to tie the bags properly, subsequently standing back up and turning to head back inside to take the bags to the front. As he does, he sees a flash in the corner of his eye. He stops and turns, looking around. Everything seems normal, he must be seeing things. He shrugs his shoulders and continues fiddling with the bags. However, as he goes to head back in, he hears something behind him. He dismisses it again.
Michael: grandma was right; rap music does damage your ears.
Suddenly, as he goes to head back in a third time, an old man climbs over their back wall. He staggers to his feet, looking at Michael. The old man's clothes are dirty and ragged, his skin has blotches of mud on it and his face is covered by a grey, unkempt beard.
Michael: the homeless are evolving!
Old Man: wait, stop!
Michael is frozen in place, perplexed as to what to do.
Old Man: we need you. We need your help.
Michael: look I'm sorry, I don't have any change or…
The old man staggers towards Michael, ultimately grabbing his t-shirt. Michael drops the bags, trying to get away from him.
Michael: man seriously I don't have anything, get off me, please!
Old Man: I don't want change. I need help. It's about the future!
The old man lets out a loud cough and grabs his chest. He stumbles backwards, dropping to his knees. Michael panics, fumbling in his pocket for his phone.
Old Man: no don't, just…
The old man takes the watch on his left wrist off, sliding it to Michael’s feet.
Old Man: use it. Please. Save us. Fix the, cough, future...
The old man's eyes flicker; then, his head and arms drop. The body lies motionless.
Michael: oh fuck. Oh fuck!
Michael manages to get his phone out, quickly dialling “999” and ordering an ambulance. Michael tries reviving him as the ambulance comes, quickly realising it's too late. As Michael pants on his knees, he looks down; beside him is the watch the old man told him to take. Michael picks it up and inspects it, then glancing at the old man before looking back at the watch. As he does this the paramedics run into the back garden, Marie with them (in her dressing gown and half her makeup done) confused as to what's going on. A few minutes later the old man is put into a bodybag, the bodybag then being escorted into the ambulance. After asking Michael some questions, the crew get in the ambulance, thank Michael for the call and drive away. Michael and Marie, dumbfounded, stand on the porch.
Marie: so that was a thing.
They watch the ambulance drive around a bend and disappear from their sights. Marie shrugs.
Marie: oh well. I gotta get ready for work, see you later Mikey.
She kisses him on the cheek and heads inside. Michael stands there for a moment, dwelling on everything that just transpired.
Michael: this has been a weird year.

They head back inside. After having a shower and getting dressed, Michael sits down in his room and examines the watch. Instantly noticeable about the watch is its condition. The watch is covered in soot, dust and dirt. Its natural colour is unrecognisable and the screen is partially damaged. Michael fiddles with the device, ultimately finding a button on the side that turns the screen on. The current date, 23/06/16, appears.
Michael: I wonder if I can figure out who that guy was…
The screen is a touchscreen. The device has a few functions beyond just telling the time. Michael plays around with it, being unable to find any data on who the old man might have been. He continues doing so, ultimately stumbling on an area in the settings. Although it shows the current date, the settings also have a “previously visited” list, the list having only one other date; 17/11/2066. Michael stares at the date, confused.
Michael: weird.
He ultimately shrugs.
Michael: the guy probably just entered the wrong date…
Michael rubs his neck.
Michael: I mean it is pretty easy to accidentally input the wrong year, by 50 years, heh…
Michael cleans the watch and puts it on. He heads downstairs into the living room where Wendy is watching the news.
News Reporter: … highlighting exactly why I had a threesome with my husband and brother. In other news, the Presidential candidates have responded to Brexit, the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
It cuts to one of them standing at a podium in front of numerous news reporters.
Reporter: what are your thoughts on the UK’s decision to leave the EU?
Presidential Candidate: fantastic question. My opponent is a bigoted racist. A sexist, bigoted man who will do nothing but harm this great nation.
Reporter: ok but the EU…
It cuts to the other candidate. They're asked the same question.
Presidential Candidate 2: God bless our troops.
Michael: well I'm off to college, see you later.
Wendy: bye Mikey, have a good day.

Michael skateboards to college, briefly getting a snack from Sanjid’s store before arriving. At lunch, Michael sits at a table (alone) and eats his food, toying with the watch while he eats. After finishing his food he exits the canteen through the side alley, walking to get to class early. As he's about to exit the alley, a group of three students block his path.
Michael: argh, Gary, not again.
The three students are Gary, a six foot three student who always bullies Michael, and his two friends Anderson and Parker.
Gary: Ah, Drake, good to see you today bud.
Michael: look I only have £2.50, I swear.
Michael gives Gary his £2.50; he holds it in his spread palm, subsequently looking back up at Michael. He knees Michael in the gut, pushing him against the wall.
Gary: £2.50!? How do you expect us to get a good lunch with that, Drake!?
Michael: look it's all I have, alright?
Gary pauses for a moment, looking at Anderson and Parker before looking back at Michael.
Gary: no, it's not alright.
Gary pulls his arm back, swinging his fist towards Michael's face. Michael ducks, causing Gary’s fist to crack against the brick wall. He yelps and cradles his fist.
Michael: oh fuck, I swear I didn't…
Gary lunges at him. Michael stumbles back, turning and running. Gary, Anderson and Parker give chase, Michael turning a corner and continuing to run. He zig zags through the series of alleys behind the main college buildings, panting anxiously as his feet pit, patter and thud. As he turns another corner he looks back to see if they're catching up to him - not yet. He looks ahead and has a harrowing realisation. He's running into a dead end. He tries to do a 180 and run out before it's too late, however he trips over himself and falls to the floor. As he falls, the old man's watch slips off his wrist. The screen turns on as it connects with the concrete. Michael picks it up as he fumbles to his feet, not realising he accidentally pressed the 17/11/2066 date displayed under the “previously visited” tab he was looking at earlier. He puts the watch on and turns around, preparing for Gary and the others to catch up and trap him.
Michael: sigh. Well, how bad can it be?
Suddenly, the watch starts flashing.
Michael: what the…
It begins making a whirring noise. He glares at the screen. Both 23/06/2016 and 17/11/2066 are being shown. Blue flashes on the device, including through sparks radiating around the watch. As the bullies’ footsteps get louder, the sparks and static flash all over Michael's body. Ultimately, a huge flash occurs. Michael disappears. The bullies dash around the corner moments later. They notice Michael is nowhere to be seen, this sight causing them to skid and stop in their tracks. Gary throws the £2.50 to the ground.
Gary: damn it!

A blue flash occurs somewhere else. Michael falls from a few feet in the air, landing on his back on a dumpster before splashing, face first, into a puddle beside the alleyway located bin. He lifts his face out of the puddle.
Michael: argh, my back!
There's a brief silence.
Michael: argh, my face!
Michael staggers to his feet, rubbing his back (and face) as he gets his bearings. He notices the alleyway is nothing like the college ones. Also, the sky is now, instead of a dark blue hubris, an empty, sprawling void filled only with red and what appears to be faint, black smoke.
Michael: fuck, they must have beat me up so bad I had a memory lapsing stroke. Or I just had a stroke.
Michael exits the alleyway, walking out onto the top of a large hill overlooking the town. However, it isn't the town Michael's familiar with. Every building is completely run down; what isn't already rubble is a collection of fractured bricks standing on their last legs, their empty, hollow insides housing nothing but space for their inevitable collapse. The streets are completely empty, being occupied only by moving figures Michael's unable to make out from a distance. The town no longer looks like a town, it looks like a war torn desert. The red sky and smog only exemplify the feeling of isolation.
Michael: I-I don't understand.
He remains in place, breathing rapidly.
Michael: what the hell has happened!?
He raises the watch. Displayed at the center of the screen is no longer 23/06/2016, but another date Michael has seen before; 17/11/2066. Michael glares at the date for a moment, trying to comprehend what's happening.
Michael: it… I just… it can't be… it can't…
A lightbulb ignites in Michael's head. He thinks back to earlier that day, remembering the old man's ramblings. His ramblings about the future. His ramblings about how he needs Michael to save it. Michael looks back down at the watch, re-reading the date, 17/11/2066, before looking back up at the desolate remains below.
Michael: Barack Obama on a tanning bed… I'm in the future!

Michael maneuvers his way down the hill while gawking at the decimated world around him.
Michael: I, I just don't understand how this could've happened. This is only 50 years into the future!
He continues walking, ultimately reaching a street. The lamps along it are either dim or broken, and every house has non existent windows boarded up by rusted planks of wood. Michael looks over the area, the silence echoing. As he stares, a figure, a silhouette from where Michael is, comes into view at the end of the street.
Michael: a person! Maybe they can explain what happened.
Michael approaches the figure, waving his arms to get their attention.
Michael: hey! Uh, excuse me. I was just wondering…
The figure turns its head, revealing a pair of glowing, red eyes. Michael slows his walk. The figure raises its arm, a light beginning to emanate from it.
Michael: ah, is that a… oh, it's probably just a torch. He he, for a second I thought it was like a laser gun or something, I need to lay off the science fiction.
The figure moves forward, underneath a working street lamp. The light washes out the silhouette, revealing the figure's appearance; it's a hooded robot, aiming a laser gun at Michael. Before Michael can react, the robot shoots at him, the laser just missing Michael's torso.
Michael: ahh!
Michael dashes into an alley beside him in an attempt to escape. He sprints through it, squinting through the darkness for a way out. He glances back to see if the robot is near, consequently tripping over himself. He stumbles backwards, falling through a door that's on its last hinges. 

After recouping for a moment, he fumbles to his feet and backs away from the entrance.
Michael: gasp… pant… too… much… sci-fi…
The house is in complete darkness and void of anything beyond the cracks in the walls and the holes in the floorboard. A figure veers around a corner behind him. Michael has no idea. The figure pounces. Michael is forced back-first into a wall. He glares at the figure. Fortunately, rather than another robot like he was expecting, he sees a human girl staring back at him. Unfortunately, her arm is against his neck and a laser gun is under his chin. The girl is 19 years old, a year older than him, and redheaded. Her clothes are ragged and her face is covered in dirt.
Girl: what the hell do you think you're doing!?
Michael: I… I…
Girl: give me one good reason why I shouldn't blow your fucking brains out!?
She digs her gun more firmly under his chin, her finger and his life resting on the trigger.
Michael: l-look I'm sorry, I…
Outside the house, a shadow looms around the alley. It's the robot that was chasing Michael.
Girl: shit.
The girl grabs Michael by the collar and drags him into the room behind them. She presses him up against the wall, remaining quiet until she's sure the robot has passed by. She turns her attention back to Michael, pushing her gun under his jaw.
Girl: what the fuck are you doing in my house!? In a split second I can end your life, I'm not some dumb fuck you can take advantage of.
Michael: no no I… I…
Michael fumbles over his words. After a few moments, she goes to fire the weapon. Panicking, Michael stomps on her foot. As she reels back, Michael sprints around the corner and runs out of the house, the girl subsequently giving chase. As he runs he looks down at his watch, fiddling with the settings.
Michael: fuck, I need to get out of here.
He turns a bend and runs into some bins, falling over them. He throws the rubbish off him and stands up. He frantically fiddles with the watch until 23/06/2016 appears. He presses the date, looking up to check the girl hasn't caught up to him. As he does, sparks begin dancing around him. He disappears in a big, blue flash, the girl reaching his destination just after he vanishes. She looks around as she points her gun, realising she's lost him. She grabs a bin and throws it against the wall.
Girl: damn it!

A flash happens somewhere else. Michael falls from a few feet in the air, landing on his back on a dumpster before splashing, face first, into a puddle beside the alleyway located bin. He lifts his face out of the puddle.
Michael: mffh ahh, again!?
He yanks himself up and runs out of the alley, looking around the street. The skies are clear blue again, people are walking down the street and cars are drifting past. He looks down at the watch. 23/06/2016. He lets out a sigh of relief.
Michael: thank God, I'm back.
Michael returns to his house. After washing the dirt off his face, He sits on his bed and gazes at the watch.
Michael: I… I don't believe it. A watch that can travel 50 years into the future!
He looks up.
Michael: so wait, that means that old man was from the future himself. But who was he?
Michael looks back down at the watch.
Michael: or bigger yet… what the hell happens between now and then that leads to… whatever that world is?
Michael gets up and walks to the window, looking out at the street and all the people passing by. He looks at every face, every identity, before turning around and looking at the TV in his room; The History Channel is on. He thinks for a moment, his face dropping after he has a revelation.
Michael:... I guess there's only one way to find out.
He looks down at the watch again.
Michael: there's only one way I can find out.
Michael uses the watch, fiddling with it until 17/11/2066 pops up on screen again. He takes a deep breath in and out, then tapping the displayed time. The blue sparks surround him again, then teleporting him back to the future.

He appears in an alley seconds later; Michael falls from a few feet in the air, landing on his back on a dumpster before splashing, face first, into a puddle beside the alleyway located bin. He lifts his face out of the puddle.
Michael: FUCK.
He exits the alley and analyses the area. Everything is in ruins, a glance at the watch confirming he's back in 2066.
Michael: sigh, alright. I just need to look around. If I can find someone sane, I'll be able to ask them what's happened, why 2066 is like this. And then, I can get out of here forever.
Michael wipes the sweat off his forehead.
Michael: time travel is way less fun than the movies make it look.
Michael approaches the alley again - better to navigate his way through that than through the robot guarded streets. As he walks, a person exits an adjacent area.
Girl: hey!
It's the girl who attacked him just moments ago.
Michael: oh, crap!
She fires her gun, the laser just grazing Michael's arm. A thin layer of his skin peels off and sizzles. He winces as it burns. He pushes through it and runs into the alley.
Girl: stop, I'm not done with you!
She gives chase. Michael weaves through the compact walls, dodging bins, sprinting past rundown buildings and narrowly avoiding the girl’s lasers. He ultimately makes it to a clearing, dashing across and reaching a closeted cluster on the city outskirts. He puts his back to the wall, catching his breath as he listens for the girl’s footsteps. His breathing slows as he recoups. He peers around the corner, carefully looking over the surrounding area. After peering for a few moments, he releases a heavy exhale. As his panic deescalates, a shadow splashes onto his back. Michael turns around. His face is consumed by the shadow. A fist smashes into his nose. He flails to the ground. As his body lies motionless, the girl stands over him. She thinks for a few seconds. Finally, she puts her gun away and grabs his body.

End of episode one.

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