Scientists probe the past to find the source of radiation affecting the present only to discover the surprising cause.
From “Terminator” to “Time Bandits,” “Back To The Future” and “Planet Of The Apes,” the cinema has always been fascinated with the “what ifs” of time travel. Just as mankind is intrigued by what is to come, we’re equally enthralled by what could have been. It’s human nature to want to undo what’s been done. To rewrite what’s been written.
What screenwriter Ian J. Courter has written is an inventive twist on the genre. His short, “Retrocausality,” starts with overzealous scientists* who have cornered the market not only on time travel, but time sensing (the ability to peek back in time) as well. Their current project: a look back to ancient Mongolia. They’ve captured data on an unexplained nuclear reaction, and plan to open a real-time probe portal to investigate its origin.
In order to get the real-time data feed, scientist Jacobs (a “thin and geeky” brainiac) tells his pudgy counterpart Mabry they’ll need to boost the power of their generator to 112%. The request sets off big-time alarms in Mabry’s mind.
What?! You trying to fry us all?
We’re good… as long as the coolant
flows. If it starts to over-clock
You mean “melt down.”
Jacobs spins his chair towards his colleague.
Semantics, indeed. But it’s too late to call off orders, and so the investigation proceeds. The portal to 1227 is opened and the probe slides through in daylight… at ground level, no less. Yet another high risk play.
The doorway is at ground level.
Stuff can get through.
These are the coordinates they gave me.
Besides, as if birds couldn’t get through before.
Mabry opens his mouth to retort… And his worst fears are quickly proven right.
Within seconds, hundreds of Mongolian warriors spot the probe and race toward it, a hostile force. The scientists scramble to get the probe back through the portal – the primitive horde in hot pursuit. With the already steaming generator close to melt-down, the situation becomes a heart pounding race both for survival and time. Will the team close the portal before it’s breached? And even if they do… will there be a present day world left to save?
Are you a SF director in search of an intelligent time-travel tale…? One that’s unique, not cliché? Then give Retrocausality a scientific look. Yes, you’ll need a solid FX budget to do this one right. But it’s a story that audiences won’t soon forget!
* Arrogant scientists pushing the boundaries of nature…. what time travel story would be complete without some of them?!
About the writer: Ian J. Courter has an academic and technical-writing background, and is published in both fields, so a shift to another form of writing seemed natural. He strives to combine his writing skills with nearly two decades of military experience to develop screenplays with vivid locations and in-depth, realistic characters. What started as a hobby quickly became a passion. In only a few short years, he has written three feature-length screenplays and nine short scripts. He currently has several feature-length scripts in various stages of development and continually seeks inspiration for more. His email address is ian.j.courter (a) gmail.com.
About the reviewer: Zack Zupke is a writer in Los Angeles. He can be contacted via email at zzupke (a) yahoo
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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.