Everything Has Answers

EXT. SCENE 1: A FOGGY NIGHT IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC
There’s a full moon that is hardly reflected on the dark water, and a tiny ship floating in the low-lying mist. The ship looks old, algae-stained, and almost cobbled together by ropes and netting. Two sailors, Jake and Victor, are standing at the ship’s prow, bundled up into huge winter coats. They are leaning over the railing, passing a joint between them. Underneath the deck where they are standing is the ship’s name: The Timberwolf.

JAKE
It’s a cold one tonight.

VICTOR
It’s a cold one every night.

JAKE
We’re smart guys aren’t we? How’d we end up in a job like this?

VICTOR
Who ever told you we were smart?

JAKE
Maybe we’re not smart.

VICTOR
But you know, aside from the cold, this isn’t such a bad job.

JAKE
How do you figure?

VICTOR
Well, it seems to me that I’ve hardly done a bit of work since we stopped here. That’s almost a week.

JAKE
This is dangerous water here. Lots of ice floes, underwater rocks. Ships of all kind used to go down around here as a matter of course.

VICTOR
Ships still go down around here, but it seems to me that’s all we have to worry about. The only work supposed to be done while we’re here supposed to be done by our passenger.

JAKE
Our passenger. The college guy. Now that guy’s paid to be smart. And I’ve hardly seen the man venture out of his quarters since we left.

VICTOR
Yeah mean either. He’s been in his room almost this whole time.

JAKE
Well isn’t he the one who wants to be out here in the first place? Isn’t he the one whose supposed to be working?

VICTOR
Yeah he is.

JAKE
Then where’s he been?

VICTOR
I don’t know. But as long as he’s out here we’re getting paid by the hour, so I don’t much care.

JAKE
Ditch it, Vick. The skipper’s coming.

Victor flicks the joint overboard. The Captain walks onto the deck and approaches them.

JAKE (CONT’D)
Ahoy, Skip. What brings you to these parts at this late hour?

CAPTAIN
Couldn’t sleep I guess.

JAKE
Yeah, sitting around all day will do that to you.

The Captain nods, looks out over the water.

JAKE (CONT’D)
So Captain. Can I ask you a sharp question?

CAPTAIN
What is it, Jake?

JAKE
Could you explain again what the hell we’re doing out in the middle of nowhere?

CAPTAIN
We’re keeping our charge company.

JAKE
And what the hell is he doing?

VICTOR
Jerking off in his quarters.

Jake snorts laughter. Captain doesn’t smile.

JAKE
Seriously. What are we doing?

CAPTAIN
Our scientist is studying ice floe density and its relation to the mating patterns of Arctic seals.

JAKE
I know I ain’t seen a seal yet.

VICTOR
And you’re not the one whose supposed to be looking.

JAKE
Yeah. And sorry if I’m forward Skip, but it’s pretty hard for anybody to do any studying if they’re locked in their quarters the whole time.

CAPTAIN
I know. I hear you. There’s other things at work here.

JAKE
Like what?

CAPTAIN
The man lost his son not three months ago.

JAKE
What?

CAPTAIN
His son disappeared about two months before we left.

JAKE
What do you mean disappeared?

CAPTAIN
Just what I say. Disappeared. A missing person. One day his little boy just didn’t come home from school, and no one knows what happened to him. I’d imagine our scientist is a little eaten up about it.

VICTOR
So he’s not crazy or incapable, he’s depressed.

CAPTAIN
That’s my best guess.

JAKE
Well Captain, with all respect of course, what is he doing out here? Shouldn’t he be with his wife? Seems like he’s not exactly up for doing his work.

CAPTAIN
I can’t answer that. This trip is sponsored by the university he works for, so that’s their problem. All I know is as long as we keep the man healthy, and at sea, we’ll keep being paid as if it were any job. Maybe he’ll snap out of it, maybe he won’t. As far as I’m concerned it’ll be the same for us either way.

The three lapse into silence. The fog begins to thin in front of the ship’s prow. There’s a dark shape out on the water.

CAPTAIN (CONT’D)
Hey. You guys see that? (pointing)

END SCENE

SCENE 2 INT: THE SCIENTISTS’ QUARTERS

His desk is cluttered and there are crumpled wrappers, openned cans, and bottles of water littering the floor. Zoom in on a photo of he, his wife and his son smiling in front of a tiger exhibit at a zoo. The smiling man in the picture is a far cry from the scientist today. He’s sitting on his bed. He has a scraggly beard and deep bags under his eyes. He’s holding a gun, turning it over in his hands. He points it at his head. Cocks the safety. After a moment he puts it down.

Scientist picks up the photograph on his desk. He stares at it and they stare back at him. Suddenly the three people in the picture are no longer smiling faces, but grinning skulls. He blinks and keeps looking at it. The vision disappears and the picture is back to what it was.

Scientist leaves his quarters. He sees a few crewmembers heading towards the bridge and he follows them. The crew, including the Captain, Victor, Jake and about five more men, are looking out the window, and huddled over the radar. Scientist stands by Jake.

SCIENTIST
What is it?

Jake, and a couple other crewmembers turn and look at him scornfully.

JAKE
Take a look. (Nods towards window)

Out the window a ship is looming into view. It is a gleaming, elegant cruise ship. There are portholes in the sides, and a large cabin on its deck, but the ship is completely dark and there are no signs of life. The cruiser dwarfs The Timberwolf as it pulls alongside it. It’s name, cleanly stenciled in gleaming calligraphy, is Maria Full of Grace.

SCIENTIST (TO CAPTAIN)
What’s happened?

CAPTAIN
We picked up a distress signal. This looks like the ship.

SCIENTIST
It looks abandoned.

CAPTAIN
Yeah, it seems to have lost power. Who knows how long its been floating around.

JAKE
If it’s been longer than a few hours whoever’s on board must be getting mighty cold about now.

CAPTAIN
It looks like they’ve taken shelter below decks.

Scientist stares more fixedly than the rest of the crew. They begin to regard him strangely.

CAPTAIN (CONT’D)
Okay, so who wants to go on board. I need three volunteers.

SCIENTIST
You’re going onto it?

CAPTAIN
Of course.

SCIENTIST
I think it’s a bad idea.

CAPTAIN
Right now whoever’s alive could be freezing and starving.

JAKE
And rich as all hell.

Crew laughs.

SCIENTIST
There’s something wrong with it.

CAPTAIN
No kidding. It has no power.

SCIENTIST
No. Something more. You won’t find anyone alive on there. Just look at it.

Crew looks at each other.

JAKE
Look, I’ll go.

CREWMEMBER#1

Me too.

CREWMEMBER#2
Me too.

CAPTAIN
Okay you three. Take the radios and stay in touch. Get some hot packs, first aid kits and blankets out of the storage area. Dress warm. We’ll expect you back on our ship in under an hour.

SCIENTIST
Captain, I really think we should leave this ship alone.

The Captain and the crew ignore him and begin going about their business. Scientist stares at the ship. The vision of the skulls in the photo flashes quickly.

SCIENTIST (CONT’D)
They won’t find any living person there.

END SCENE

SCENE 3: EXT DECK OF TIMBERWOLF
The crew is setting a ladder against the Maria. Jake, and crewmembers #1 and #2, wearing bulging jackets and backpacks begin climbing onboard. Captain, Victor and the crew retreat back to the bridge. They communicate with Jake via walkie-talkie throughout the scene. Cut back and forth between Timberwolf and Maria.
Jake and Crewmembers #1 and #2 walk across the deck. It is shining and looks recently waxed. The railings are gold, and the door to the main cabin is likewise shining hardwood. The doorknob turns easily in Crewmember #1’s hand. Inside there is a large room of old-fashioned furniture covered in dust and cobwebs.

JAKE
(disappointed)
Shit. Captain it’s all dusty in here.

They walk in, shining their flashlights around. There’s an old grandfather clock that isn’t ticking.

JAKE (CONT’D)
Whatever happened here happened a long time ago. Motherfucker. No rescue for us tonight.

CAPTAIN
Keep looking. You never know what happened.

JAKE
Man, there are cobwebs and shit. This place is abandoned.

CAPTAIN
Cobwebs? (not to walkie-talkie) It looks brand new from here.

SCIENTIST
Captain I really think you should get them out of there.

CAPTAIN
(looks at him. Angrily)
How the hell would you know?

The three go down the hallway at the opposite end of the room. There are doors on both sides. In front of one of them is a tray of half-eaten food and a cup of coffee. One of the crewmembers picks it up and shows it to Jake.

JAKE
Captain, this is some spooky shit. There’s a tray of food here. There’s still coffee in this cup.

They try the door the tray was in front of but it’s locked. They try other doors in the hallway but they’re all locked.

CAPTAIN
Keep your eyes open Jake.

JAKE
I’m sure there ain’t nobody here. Reminds me of those pictures of Hiroshima. Like time just stopped.

They get to a pair of double doors with porthole-style windows. Jake stops and puts his ear to it.

JAKE (CONT’D)
You know what? I hear music.

CREWMEMBER#1
Yeah, me to. It’s coming from behind the door.

CAPTAIN
Music?

JAKE
Yeah, like orchestra music.

While camera is with Jake’s crew there is orchestral music that becomes more and more audible. The people on The Timberwolf don’t hear it.

They open the door and start down a flight of stairs.

JAKE (CONT’D)
Can you hear it, Captain?

CAPTAIN
I don’t hear anything Jake.

JAKE
Sounds like a damn party down there.

They continue down the stairs. It leads them to another set of double doors, no windows, but there’s light coming from underneath. The music is much louder and there are muffled sounds of laughter and revelry.

CAPTAIN
What is it, Jake?

JAKE
It’s a set of doors. There’s music playing. Can’t you hear it? And there’s light behind the door.

CAPTAIN
Jake I don’t hear shit.

Jake and crewmembers are visibly shaken. They look at the door but none of them seems willing to open it.

SCIENTIST
Don’t open the door. Tell them to get out of there. I’m telling you. There’s nothing behind those doors.

Captain looks at him but says nothing.

JAKE
(calls out)
Is anybody there?
(nobody answers)
I’m opening the doors.

Slowly reaches out and turns the handle of one of the doors. As soon as he does the music on the other side stops. There are faint sounds of bustle and whispers.

JAKE (CONT’D)
(shakily)
Opening the doors.

He opens the doors. There is a bright light and a loud sound almost like shrieking. Flash to the Timberwolf. The walkie-talkie has cut out and there is only static.

CAPTAIN
Jake? Jake? Talk to me. Jake?

Flips through the channels. Crew crowds around the radio and the Captain keeps scanning the frequencies. The Scientist sits in a chair and rubs his face with his hands.

SCIENTIST
(disbelievingly)
I knew it. I knew it.

Captain breaks out of crowd and grabs Scientist by the collar of his shirt and lifts him out of the chair.

CAPTAIN
You knew it? You knew it? How the fuck did you know that?

SCIENTIST
I don’t know.

CAPTAIN
You knew it but you don’t know how? Fucking liar. You’re the reason we’re here in the first place. Did you set us up you sick fuck?

The Captain punches Scientist, who staggers back against the wall, holding his jaw. The Captain turns away from him. The crew is looking at him, unsure of the next thing to do.

CAPTAIN (CONT’D)
Okay. We’re gonna wait here for Jake, Harry and Kyle. I’m sure they’ll be out soon enough. Probably just dropped the walkie-talkie.

VICTOR
What, we’re not going in after them?

CAPTAIN
No.

VICTOR
Why the hell not? They could be in trouble.

CAPTAIN
We have no idea what could’ve happened. Whatever danger they’re in we’ve got nothing that could give us an advantage.

VICTOR
So we’re just gonna leave them?

CAPTAIN
We’ll wait for them to come out, but until then I don’t want any of you risking your necks until we know what the risk is.

Looks distrustfully at the Scientist, then back at the crew.

CAPTAIN (CONT’D)
Look. You guys go cool off. Try to get some sleep. I’ll hold watch. That’s an order.

Slowly they start to disburse, mostly subdued.

CAPTAIN (TO SCIENTIST) (CONT’D)
Except you. Our resident expert, you stay up here with me.

Scientist, standing against the wall, nods, then looks at the ship again.

END SCENE

SCENE 4: INT. BRIDGE OF TIMBERWOLF
The Maria completely fills the view through the windows. The Scientist is sitting in the chair before the control panel. The captain is leaning against a table on the other side of the room drinking a cup of coffee.

CAPTAIN
(hostilely)
So. Beautiful night, ain’t it?

SCIENTIST
I’ve seen better.

The Captain drinks his coffee. He looks angrily at the Scientist, then gets up and sits against the control panel near him.

CAPTAIN
How did you know something was gonna happen on that ship?

SCIENTIST
I don’t know.

CAPTAIN
Yeah. Sure you don’t. (sips coffee) Nothing makes sense about this business.

SCIENTIST
No.

CAPTAIN
I’ve been thinking about this cruise ship here. This Maria Full of Grace. I haven’t seen a model like it. It looks old, out of date, but it also looks like someone’s been keeping it up. It just doesn’t make sense that we would find it floating out here. Who would’ve spent the time and energy restoring an old boat of that size? And why would they take it to these waters? It’s out of place. The Caribbean is the place to find boats like that.

SCIENTIST
Agreed.

Pause. Captain sizes up the scientist.

CAPTAIN
You don’t have any answers?

SCIENTIST
Not at all.

CAPTAIN
Why don’t you take a shot?

Scientist doesn’t answer.

CAPTAIN (CONT’D)
Come on. Take a shot. It can’t hurt. This is a crazy situation. If you have crazy answers that’s fine. Everybody on this boat knows you’re crazy anyway.

Scientist doesn’t answer.

CAPTAIN (CONT’D)
If you’re not gonna try these questions just answer my first one. How did you know something was going to happen on that cruise ship?

SCIENTIST
I didn’t. I just had a hunch.

CAPTAIN
Can you give me any more?

SCIENTIST
Do you believe in life after death?

CAPTAIN
I couldn’t say for sure.

SCIENTIST
Recently it’s been on my mind. Most of your life you can just forget about it. But since Sean disappeared… Well, it made me start thinking about where he could’ve gone.

CAPTAIN
You think he’s dead?

SCIENTIST
I don’t know, but the uncertainty is killing me. The police have no answers. Nobody knows. He used to walk home from school. He’d be home by 4:00 every day. One day he just didn’t show up. He was in his last class, he said goodbye to his friends, and then nothing. The time just kept going, and Sean just didn’t show. It threw everything off. It’s been about two months, and ever since it happened I’ve been afraid to leave my own home for fear it wouldn’t be there when I came back. If Sean can disappear like that then death and uncertainty are everywhere. Including here with us tonight.

CAPTAIN
That’s how you knew about that ship? You just got a feeling?

SCIENTIST
That’s not a normal ship. I think everybody here knows that now, but I knew it first. When I saw that ship I saw that same indiscriminating uncertainty that had taken Sean.

CAPTAIN
I don’t know man. I feel for your loss. If anything were to happen to my kids, I don’t know what I’d do. But I think you’re getting carried away. Whatever happened to your son, it has nothing to do with what’s happening to us tonight.

SCIENTIST
Maybe they’re not related directly. But the uncertainty about that boat is just the same as the uncertainty about my son.

CAPTAIN
No, there’s just no connection, man.

SCIENTIST
There’s a better connection than any the cops could find.

CAPTAIN
Buddy, we don’t know what that is. It could be anything. There’s no use asking yourself all these crazy questions about death if you know you can’t answer them.

SCIENTIST
You’re wrong. Usually these questions would be unanswerable. But tonight, right now… The answers are floating right in front of us.

CAPTAIN
Look man, that’s just craziness. You’ve gotta try to see that. There’s nothing over there that we have any business with. None. And if Jake and the rest haven’t come back by daybreak we’re gonna get outta here. For your health’s sake, try to stop thinking about it. We’re out here alone. Your son isn’t anywhere near.

Captain leaves the bridge. Scientist turns to watch him go, then turns back to the ship.

END SCENE

SCENE 5: EXT. DAYBREAK
Captain is on the deck of the Timberwolf, watching the sun rise. He looks at his watch, then at the Maria.

CAPTAIN
That’s it then.

Captain goes to bridge of Timberwolf. The chair Scientist was sitting in is empty. Captain leans over the controls and turns on the intercom.

CAPTAIN (ON SPEAKERS, SCAN AROUND SHIP AS CREW HEARS HIM) (CONT’D)
It’s 0800 hours. Everybody wake up. Man positions for sail. We start for closest civilization in an hour. Everybody wake up. Get to work, on the double.
Crew gets to work. Nobody says anything and they try hard not to look at the cruise ship. The Captain stands on the bridge. He watches a few crewmembers take down the ladder connecting the two ships. Victor enters the bridge. There’s another crewmember fiddling with the control panel. The Captain gets behind the helm and the Timberwolf pulls away from the Maria, immediately begins to disappear into the fog.

VICTOR
You stayed up all night, Captain?

CAPTAIN
Yeah.

VICTOR
You talk to our college boy?

CAPTAIN
Yeah.

VICTOR
Get anywhere?

CAPTAIN
The guy’s a nut.

Victor walks to the other crewmember, looks over his shoulder, then back to the Captain.

VICTOR
Where is he now?

Captain nods towards the Maria.

CAPTAIN
Better say goodbye while you can. I’ve got a feeling that’s the last we’ve seen of him.

Victor watches as the Maria disappears into the fog.

SCENE 6: INT. MARIA FULL OF GRACE. JUST BEFORE SUNRISE
Scientist enters the cabin and is framed against the pre-dawn sky behind him. He’s carrying a flashlight. The room appears the same as earlier, except it is completely clean. The grandfather clock is ticking in the corner. Scientist checks his watch and finds that they match. He starts down the hallway on the opposite end of the room. He hears the same music that the first crew did as he nears the double doors. He opens the doors and starts down the stairs. He shines his flashlight around. He gets to the bottom of the stairs, and the music is loud and clearly audible, as are voices and sounds like clinking glasses, footsteps and laughter. They are louder than for the first crew. Scientist steels himself, and opens the doors. There’s a flash and the Scientist finds himself in the middle of a busy, drunk, and joyous party. Champagne bottles are popping, confetti is flying and the crowd is happy. The orchestra is playing on a raised stage at one end of the hall. There are tables of concessions and rows of drinks and waiters standing behind the tables pouring them. The party-goers wear suits and gowns. The Scientist moves through the crowd, slowly, looking in all directions. He runs into Jake.

JAKE
So you came, huh?

SCIENTIST
I did.

JAKE
Well, enjoy yourself. It’s a party.

SCIENTIST
Is my son here?

Jake looks at him, smiling.

JAKE
Nobody’s here but the partiers.

SCIENTIST
He’s not here, is he?

JAKE
Nope.

SCIENTIST
Can you tell me where he is?

JAKE
There’s just no way to tell.

Scientist sees The Timberwolf through a porthole. It is pulling away from The Maria, the fog closing around it.

SCIENTIST
But he’s got to be here. Somebody’s got to know where he is.

JAKE
This party is for adults only. And the only thing people know about here is the party.

THE END.

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