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Fall of the Vespertina

Intro:

I wrote this script as the intro cinematic to a series of maps I was building in the SC2 editor. This draft got turned into a storyboard (displayed here). It introduces the player to a couple of characters, their current situation (that would lead to one the maps) and their personality. This, of course, is all part of my constant experimentation.

Art by Ben Choi.

Synopsis

Odie tries to find a story he hasn’t told Jane yet. Meanwhile, she decides to make their landing at Tau Bellum a little more interesting.

Storyboard

Script

BLACK-OUT

The white-noise hiss of a pressurized cabin and poorly sound-proofed jet engines fades in.

ODIE

(radio distorted)

Alright, how about this one. The MPs get called into a factory after a grisly murder–

JANE

(interrupting – radio distorted)

The adjutant killed him and tried to hide the evidence.

ODIE

Dangit…

FADE IN:

EXT. DAY. INSIDE THE VESPERTINA’S COCKPIT

The planet Tau Bellum fills the entire canopy of the Vespertina’s cockpit. JANE sits at the pilot’s chair. ODIE sits behind her, leaning in over her shoulder.

JANE

(mockingly sympathetic)

Really, you don’t have any stories left. I know the twist in all of them after you get the first sentence out.

ODIE settles back heavily into his seat. He crosses his arms with displeasure

ODIE

(muttering)

I think I still have a few. There’s the one about the crew that used an experimental drive for a short round and…

JANE

(interrupting again)

Dead. They went insane and killed each other.

ODIE glares silently for a second, grunts, and shuts the visor of his helmet. The reflection of Tau Bellum swells on its surface. The engine’s pitch changes. The cockpit begins to shake.

JANE

(laughing)

Don’t pout now, Odie. We’re almost back on solid ground with a pay-day waiting for us.

The VESPERTINA’s engine’s ramp up as JANE pushes the controls into a dive

JANE

You’ll have plenty of people to bore with your tall tales of derring-do!

ODIE tightens his straps as the shaking worsens.

ODIE

(self-righteous)

All those stories are true, I’ll have you know! Every last one!

JANE

(scoffing)

Killer robots and wondrous places? That one where there was a lady turning people into *pigs*? You really expect people to believe that?!

ODIE grips the arm-rests of his chair.

ODIE

They ARE true! All of them!…

(pause)

In their own way!

JANE laughs sincerely for a second.

JANE

They were much more interesting before I knew them all. I still want to believe some of them were real!

JANE manipulates the controls as re-entry flames wrap around the canopy. The edges of the VESPERTINA begin to glow orange to white hot.

JANE

(all-business)

Tau Bellum approach, Tau Bellum approach. This is the D.S.S. Vespertina checking in and requesting vectors. Do you copy?

ODIE fumes for a moment longer, then suddenly leans forward, trying to lean over the side of JANE’s shoulder.

ODIE

(yelling over the noise)

There’s at least ONE story I haven’t told you yet!

JANE

(irritated)

Not now, Odie!

ODIE throws himself back into his chair while JANE listens.

JANE

(talking quickly)

Copy that, Tau Bellum control. Bay seven. Vespertina will be on manual approach. See you in a few, over and out.

Outside the canopy, Tau Bellum’s geography gradually becomes distinguishable.

ODIE

Manual approach?

JANE

You don’t want a boring landing after all that time in transit, do you?

ODIE

I want to make it there alive!

JANE laughs. Her laughter turns hellish as the engines’ roar rises in both pitch and volume.

JANE

(grinning malevolently)

We’ll see…

CUT TO:

DAY. EXT. FALL OF THE VESPERTINA

The Vespertina falls through the Tau Bellum sky, indistinguishable from a meteor, engulfed in flames.

TAU BELLUM AIR TOWER

(radio distorted)

Vespertina, this is Tau Bellum control. You’re coming in too hot. Abort and redirect to holding pattern at outer marker. Do you copy?

The Vespertina continues to fall, breaking through a thick cloud. It doesn’t reply.

T.B. AIR TOWER

(radio distorted)

Vespertina, do you read?

ODIE

They’re going to be angry, Jane. *VERY* angry.

JANE

Maybe they’ll appreciate the change of pace. Besides, what’s the worst they could do?

T.B. AIR TOWER

(radio distorted)

Vespertina. Our automated defenses will react to your approach at this speed! Wave off! Do you copy?!

ODIE

They could shoot us down…

JANE

(defiant, over private coms)

They can try.

T.B. AIR TOWER

(radio distorted)

Vespertina, be advised! Automated turrets have engaged! I repeat. You will be fired upon if you do not redirect! Turn away NOW!

JANE

(savoring the thrill)

Hold on to your lunch, Odie. They’ve got a good lock on us already.

ODIE

Jane! This isn’t a game *HHHKKK*–

The Vespertina steepens its dive and pegs the throttle, diving vertically at the planet’s surface. After piercing through another cloud, it drags wisps of it from its wingtips.

CUT TO:

EXT. DAY A TURRET ON THE GROUND.

The turret wheels around, opens its missile ports and lets loose a volley of four missiles. The four missiles spiral as they rise, curving gently towards the Vespertina.

CUT TO:

INT. DAY

Tau Bellum’s sky fills the panoramic windows of the control tower. The light pouring in darkens the figures inside. Clouds roil on the horizon. The silhouette of several people can be seen, nearly indistinct from one another.

T.B. AIR CONTROLLER

(leaning over console)

Vespertina. Vespertina, do you read…

The controller waits for a beat while vague static fills in the vacuum left by his voice.

T.B. Air Controller

No response. I think we hit them.

T.B. SUPERVISOR

(sighing, exasperated)

Spin up the search and rescue crew. Damn mercs. What a f–

The Vespertina interrupts him as it roars past their window, twisting away over their tarmac, the four missiles still chasing after them, trailing smoke. The tower shakes as they pass.

T.B. SUPERVISOR

(picking himself up)

By Mengsk Blue — What are they doing?!

T.B. AIR CONTROLLER

(shocked)

They’re out-turning the missiles! (pause) Where are they going…?

The Vespertina pulls a tight 450-degree turn. The missiles try to follow but turn wider due to their speed. That turn aligns them directly with the runway labelled “7”.

T.B. AIR CONTROLLED

(shocked)

They’re coming in!

The missiles adjust course, pursuing the Vespertina.

T.B. AIR CONTROL

(radio distorted)

Vespertina! Wave off! Wave off!!

The Vespertina skims low over the ground, headed for Bay 7 at full speed. Both engines abruptly point upwards and release a blast of afterburner. The Vespertina spins on its axis to now fly backwards and upside down. The Vespertina’s engines go full burn, slowing her down.

The missiles come screaming in for the kill, now for a head-on impact.

The Vespertina snap-turns onto its side in a “Knife’s Edge” maneuver, the missiles miss, passing to either side of her and immediately running out of propellant. The Vespertina completes the spin to right itself, still slowing down using the retro-rocket approach.

The missiles fall to the ground and skid along the runway, smashing into the far wall of Bay 7. The Vespertina lands while still scorching the ground.

JANE

(radio distorted)

Ah, Tau Bellum approach? Vespertina here. Seems like I switched comm-channels accidentally. Did you say something?

ODIE

(muffled, coming behind Jane’s voice)

That’s not funny!

JANE

(radio distorted)

Tau Bellum approach, it also seems a couple of your birds came up to greet us. Don’t worry, we brought them ba-

Jane breaks down laughing at her own half-told joke.

JANE

(composing herself)

Sorry, sorry. Vespertina has arrived and is on auxiliary power. Currently disembarking. Over and out!

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