All My Shades of Blue

++ Revision 5 updated 17 November 2020.
Creator's Notes: There are musical suggestions as this was intended to be an operatic, richly-visual tour de force like "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Without romantic music, the story can be presented as a dark psychological drama.

ALL MY SHADES OF BLUE written by Lawrence DeGala
Synopsis - 2000+ words

The deep space vessel Mars Transit leaves moon orbit, beginning its maiden voyage to Mars. With all three command modules secured on the gravity ring, Capt. Davis fires up the main rockets of Mars Transit to begin the long journey to Mars.

The vessel encounters a micrometeor cloud. MISSION CONTROL orders to abandon ship. Theo and Alice are unable to get Command Module C to release from Mars Transit. A meteor damaged the locking clamps. The couple make several attempts to break the clamps. Theo and Alice float by the portal of the cargo hold and find their pets peering out. ANGELICA the parrot, KANSAS the pitbull, and SHROEDINGER the cat had stowed away on board Command Module C. The couple is stupefied.

NARRATOR begins a dark drama that takes place back in the mid 1900s. SAM and LINDA drive through the woods, to visit JIM and JILL. ACE the African Grey parrot and TABBY the fat scruffy cat are happy to see the young couple. Sam brings into the house a new addition, NIKKI the labrador. Thus begins the novella that Alice reads on the journey to Mars and cannot help but compare this to their scenario.

Flash back on Earth one month earlier. Theo and Alice are in the comforts of home, waiting for the official selection of astronauts to crew Mars Transit. When the call comes in, the parrot recognizes the letter “C” on the smart phone.

The launch facility makes final preparations. Alice and Theo have their lawyer RICHARD draw papers for the care of the animals. Alice and Theo join the other astronauts for mission prep. Richard releases the animals to the care of Animal Control. A traffic accident results in the animals escaping near the launch facility. Angie leads Kansas and Schroe on board Command Module C.

Forward to Present Time: Theo and Alice are reunited with their beloved pets. Angie reboots the sensors systems. There is decompression damage to Sections A and B, but Section C is intact. As for structure damage, visual inspections indicate a false alarm. Mission Control verifies that the Mars mission can continue, and Theo and Alice agree to travel to Mars instead of turning back. The astronauts begin rotation of the gravity ring by moving the Personal Protection Pods from the Command Module and ejecting the Command Module. The Personal Protection Pods are units made from classified material and designed to provide maximum protection from intense solar radiation encountered on the eight month trip to Mars. Man and beast are happy in the artificial gravity.

The dark novella continues with Sam and his baby son engaged in a life-and-death struggle with a wild mountain lion. Elderly Jim races up the hill to save his son-in-law and grandson. Ace the parrot leads Tabby the scruffy cat to the sounds of the baby crying. Sam is gravely wounded in the encounter. Jim fires on the mountain lion but is much too fast. It stealthily moves on Jim to attack from behind. Tabby charges on the mountain lion and claws at its eyes. Both lion and cat fall down the hill, off the cliff and into the river below. The lion smashes into the rocks and dies. The raging currents sweep the brave Tabby away.

A solar flare bursts forth from the surface of the sun. Mission Control warns Mars Transit of the approaching massive radiation burst. Alice and Theo shut down Mars Transit to protect from damaging electrical pulse and deploy dense particle shielding in the direction of the sun. With all preparations complete, Alice and Theo take the animals into the Personal Protection Pods. The solar wave hits Mars Transit with a spectacular splashes of auroras. The danger passes harmlessly.

Alice continues the novella. Grandpa Jim lives with his daughter Linda, his grandson Chris and Ace the parrot. Jill, Sam, Tabby the cat, and Nikki the dog have all passed on. On the television news, a violent fugitive is on the loose. There is a strange knock at the door. The murderer kills Linda and injures Jim. The child Chris is a vulnerable victim. Ace the parrot takes flight to witness the murderer kicking the door open. He wears an astronaut suit and helmet.

Alice wakes from the dreadful nightmare. She looks for Angie the bird. She sees her helmet on the table. Luminous eyes stare at her. She reaches for it, and she jumps as Shroe paws at her hand. She yells at Shroe for scaring her.

The crew has a live feed meeting with Mission Control on the aerobraking procedure. Mission Control emphasizes the proper use of the quantum computer during re-entry. Mars atmosphere is only 1% that of Earth atmosphere. Deimos Control, an unmanned base on the moon Deimos, launches a series of dust packets into Mars atmosphere. The dust particles act as a thicker atmosphere for Mars Re-Entry to slow its fall into the thin atmosphere. The meeting convenes without further questions.

An unexpected approach of a meteor hits Olympus Mons. Upon impact, it changes direction and splits into two. The debris skips the surface of Mars and exits the atmosphere, heading on a collision course with Mars Transit. Mission Control loses contact with Mars Transit.

The ship is dead in space. It drifts further away from Mars orbit. ALEX EHRENFEST studies the playback screens at Mission Control. An army of Mission Specialists frantically organize and analyze data from a remote drone in an attempt to re-establish communications with the crippled ship. Miraculously, directional jets re-adjust Mars Transit’s heading towards the red planet. Alex takes over supervision of all aspects of the Mars Mission.

Theo has moved the Personal Protection Pods from Mars Transit to Mars Re-Entry. Alice preps the flight navigation with Angie the parrot by her side. Theo returns to Mars Transit to get Kansas and Schroe. Stress damage to the structure causes a breakage near the docking hub of Mars Re-Entry. Theo does his best to return in the weightlessness, but the bag that carries Shroe gets snagged, breaking the clasp. He pushes Kansas to the hatchway and returns for the cat in the bag. The dog stops at the threshold and struggles to enter Mars Re-Entry. Angie flies to Kansas and grabs his retractable leash. She hands the leash to Alice, who pulls Kansas into her Pod. Theo appears with Shroe but is also struggling in zero gravity. Angie flies to Theo’s aid, grasping his suit collar. Theo grasps for the safety rung. The docking structure collapses and the air explodes with feathers. The vacuum sucks the atmosphere out of the re-entry module. The emergency hatch shuts automatically, and the air pressure stabilizes. Angie is missing. Alice and Theo soon realize she was sucked out into space. Mission Control listen helplessly as the couple grieve.

The couple make planetfall just in time before the Martian wind storms blanket the planet’s surface. Worker bots move the Personal Protection Pods to Mars Homebase. In the presence of gravity half that of Earth, Mars Homebase also has a large rotating gravity ring to emulate full Earth gravity. Investigation in the death of the parrot reveals she carried a A.I. brain chip of military grade.

Alice and Theo have been planetside over 200 days. The cat and dog now have 3D printed bio-suits, allowing them free access to the Martian terrain. Alex finds himself refereeing Alice and Theo; the couple are having marital problems. Alice is also pregnant. Alex keeps them separated as Alice runs experiments at Homebase while Theo erects sensor stations across the Martian terrain.

Theo is at a remote work site with Kansas. Alice is at Homebase with Schroe. Theo forgets Alice’s birthday and their wedding anniversary. The argument comes to a head. In a final fit of rage, he finds himself pitching the ratchet tool. He needed that tool desperately.

A large mass coronal emission is detected on the surface of the sun. The dangerous solar flare races to Mars. Mission Control warns the Mars crew of the impending radiation burst. Alice tells Theo to get back to base. Mars Rover One malfunctions. He does not have the tool to access the electric motor. He grabs Kansas and escapes on the ATV. The ATV runs out of battery charge. He tells Kansas to run home. The dog is all too happy to run. Theo proceeds on foot.

Alice secures Schroe in her pod. She shuts down the facility in anticipation of the damaging electrical surge that the solar flare brings. The dog enters the facility, and Alice secures him in Theo’s pod. She gets in her pod and seals it. Alex finds running in half Earth gravity requires less effort. He lands on loose gravel and injure his ankle. He slows down to a limping stroll.

Alex sends a flying drone to carry Theo the rest of the way. The leading edge of the solar flare hits Mars. The drone overshoots the opening. The radiation interferes with the drone control. Releasing the harness, he drops on the wrong side of the tunnel. The ramp is on the other side, and he stands over the roof overlooking the ramp. He risks the drop down, considering the half Earth gravity. The fall is painfully miscalculated. He cannot move. A worker bot reaches him and carries him to Homebase.

Alice radios Theo to get into the facility. Everything has powered down, but she insists he blow the bulkhead bolts to gain entry and make for the safety of his pod. Theo asks if she has her helmet and suit. In all the excitement, she forgot her helmet outside her pod. With the heavy radio interference, they lose all radio contact. Theo decides against blowing the bulkhead bolts, decompressing the inner space and exposing it to dangerous radioactive contamination. Without Alice’s helmet, he risks poisoning mother and baby to high doses of radiation. He takes refuge under the base with the spare oxygen tank. They communicate with Morse code by tapping through the solid hull. Their conversation is cryptic yet apologetic. She grudgingly agrees with his decision for the welfare of the coming newborn.

Nursing the unconscious Theo in the infirmary, Alice reads the final pages of the novella. DETECTIVE FRIEDMAN finds Chris’s envelope containing the microcassette. He listens to the conversation where Chris confronts the murderer of his mother and grandfather. Chris is now a young adult. Mitch has been crippled since that fateful evening. He is sickly and dying. Chris has brought his grandfather’s revolver with intent to murder him. Mitch confesses, haunted by ghosts all this time. Chris does not go through with the revenge murder. Mitch dies. The detective hears the tape end and finds closure.

Alex is gravely concerned for Alice. She gave birth to Christian and buried her husband. The emotional and psychological scar is still fresh. Alex has Alice recounting the events, where Theo remained in a coma from severe radiation exposure. He only gained consciousness when their son Christian was born and then quickly passed away. She is afflicted with color blindness. Alex dreads that the lone mother has suffered a nervous breakdown.

Kansas the loyal dog often visits Alex’s grave. The animals have the worker bots assist with wearing the bio-suits. Schroe cannot convince the dog to come back home. Alice returns to the grave site with Schroe and Christian in Mars Rover Two. Kansas’s air supply was depleted, and the air scrubber unit had failed for some time. Alice gives Kansas emergency air. The dog remains unconscious but alive. She lifts Kansas to carry him back to Mars Rover Two. The ratchet tool falls from the dog’s body. He brought the lost tool back to his beloved master. Schroe looks at Alice, conveying mental images of how the tool was first lost. Alice talks to the cat but actually addresses herself, feeling she is losing her sanity. With all on board Mars Rover Two, she takes the sick dog back to Mars Homebase.

Alex tells his daughter that he would love to see his grandson. Alice does not see how it would be possible. Alex states his cancer had returned and scientists around the world made preparations to 3D print a rocket on Mars, to return mother and son back to Earth. Christian wants the rocket painted red like Mars.

The final supply run crashes on Mars. The new flight computer is damaged. Alex says it would be another eight months. Christian reminds his mother of Mars Re-Entry. Alice decides to salvage the Quantum engine from Mars Re-Entry.

The day has come to leave the planet. Alice has the worker bots move her husband’s coffin to Red Rocket. With everyone on board, she pilots Red Rocket to the dead Mars Transit and collects Angie’s remains from the orbiting wreckage.

Alex warns Alice that an intense G5 solar storm approaches Mars, recommending she return to the planet and shelter in Homebase for a day or two. Knowing the specs of Red Rocket and its ability to weather major solar storms while in transit, Alice takes alternative action by establishing geostationary orbit in the umbra of Mars.

Red Rocket blasts through the receding solar storm, taking Alice and her family safely back home to Earth. Seeing the planet Earth for the first time, Christian says, “It was the most beautiful shades of blue.”

  • Lawrence DeGala
    Writer
    Elvenheim Trilogy, Vampire Games, Killers at Play
  • Project Type:
    Screenplay
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Romance, Musical, Psychological Drama
  • Number of Pages:
    120
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • First-time Screenwriter:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • 2021 Oregon Scream Week Horror Film Festival
    Portland, Oregon
    July 17, 2021
    Winner, Award for Best Dark Drama Feature Screenplay
  • Kalakari Film Festival
    Dewas, India
    December 7, 2020
    2021 Official Selection
  • All Genre Screenplay Contest
    Hollywood, California
    July 31, 2021
    Official Selection
Writer Biography - Lawrence DeGala

Lawrence DeGala is the Filipino-American writer who wrote the award-winning screenplay "Elvenheim" in February 2019. He spent much of his youth in Brooklyn, New York. As writer, producer, and director, DeGala received the 2015 Van Gogh Award for Best Thriller at the Amsterdam International Film Festival for his feature psychological drama "Killers at Play." He also penned the award-winning Mars Sci-Fi "All My Shades of Blue" (2017) and horror thriller "Vampire Games" (2018). He currently works for Lucky Koi Productions Ltd. in the UK as a series director while writing the series bible for "The Blood Moon Queen", the episodic serial in the Elvenheim universe.

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Writer Statement

Humans are delicate and vulnerable. They travel millions of miles to a distant place. It is harsh and desolate but has beautiful blue sunsets. The drama is dark. Let there light. Let there be life. Let there be love.

#MusicalSciFi #DarkDrama #GravityMeetsTheTitanic #ElevatedGenre #WorldBuilding