Voyagers! Pilot, Part Three

(The two of them land in what seems to be the middle of a wheatfield, all in a jumble. From the position he was originally, Pete pulls a swift roll to avoid landing directly on his head, springing nimbly to his feet. Phineas, on the other hand, lands in a supremely undignified heap, rump skyward, feet folded back over his head, all of his finery in rumples.  He slumps over with a groan.)

PHINEAS: Oh, it’s never anything soft, is it? It’s never a bed, or a haystack, or a nice, warm bath… it’s always the hard, unforgiving ground or, failing that, something even more unforgiving… just once, would something firm be too much of a…

(he stands up and looks directly down the barrel of Pete’s gun, hearing the hammer thumb back and looking into cold, unforgiving eyes of a 19-year old urbanite)

PETE: (voice trembling with the gun) Give me one… good… reason why I shouldn’t shoot you right now…

(Phineas doesn’t seem in too much worry after the original panic. He begins to briskly dust himself off and speaks shortly, without fear.)

PHINEAS: The reason is you won’t.

PETE: What did you say, you son of a-

(He looks up from his coat to stare the young man down with a piercing gaze)

PHINEAS: You won’t because your eyes betray you. Your eyes have seen enough pointless death and meaningless violence to last more than your short lifetime, and you’re not about to perpetrate more of it, now. You’re scared, and I understand that, but I’ll wager you anything that the thing you’re the most scared of is the thing you’re holding in your hands… and not the person you’re pointing it at.

(There’s a tense minute, with the camera shifting between the two, no sound but the whisper of an errant breeze and the rustle of golden wheat. Finally, Pete lowers the gun. Phineas swiftly relieves him off it.)

PHINEAS: Now, that’s better.

PETE: (sniffling a little) How’d you know?

PHINEAS: My dear boy, I’ve ventured through almost all of recorded history and far into a future you couldn’t possibly imagine. The universal translator doesn’t always work, and I’ve learned that to read people can save you a great deal of trouble… and a trip to the guillotine, on one occasion.

PETE: So, you’re really a… time-traveler or whatever?

PHINEAS: No ‘whatever’ about it, young man. And, for a short while, it looks like you’re stuck with me, at least until I can remedy the Red…

(a short, gentle beep resonates from the pocket, and PHINEAS quickly checks the Omni, noting with a gentle sigh)

PHINEAS: Light. Hm. Well, it seems, my boy…

(he claps Pete heartily on the shoulder and seems to sprain his wrist doing so)

PHINEAS: It seems that you are more important than I originally had surmised! It seems our very act of reconciliation was the entire purpose of this trip.

PETE: What do you mean?

PHINEAS: (showing off the Omni, which now shows a Green light directly to the right of where the red was displayed)
This green light means that the Time Stream has been put back in order. Furthermore, it means that the entire events of tonight were correctly implemented into the Stream.

PETE: I don’t think I get it.

PHINEAS: Everything we just did, including you pointing that gun at my face, was supposed to happen. The timeline would have been out of rights without it happening, and when that happens, well… imagine if one tiny little thing had been different in your past.

(We get a short flashback about young Petey’s joy at walking to school. If he had asked to be driven…)

PETE: So, we gotta get green lights?

PHINEAS: I have to, Mr. Rodney. There is no “we” here. You are not a member of the TES and therefore should not even be privy to this information or to this little adventure… yet the Omni made it so, and I was put in your bedroom…

PETE: Yeah, I’ve been meanin’ to ask… what was up with that, anyway?

PHINEAS: Well, it may be hard to explain…

PETE: (sarcastic) I’ll try to handle it.

PHINEAS: The principle of the Omni is psychokinetic energy: harnessing and augmenting the untapped power of the human mind to subvert the natural laws of the universe and open the way into the Time Stream. Unfortunately, a particularly nasty blast of mental energy can blow the entire thing off course… you just caught me on the way back from the opening performance of Pygmalion: I was there to make sure Mrs. Campbell had her car accident and the play premiered at the Hofsburg instead. You must have been having a rather awful dream to jolt me into your bedroom, Mr. Rodney.

PETE: (a beat, looking sour) I was. And it’s Pete.

PHINEAS: Peter?

PETE: No.

PHINEAS: Petey?

PETE: (bristling) Only if I get to call you ‘Phinny’

PHINEAS: …Pete it is, then. Now, Mr. Rodney!

(he makes no effort to apologize for not calling him by his first name, as Pete suggested. Pete is understandably baffled and annoyed.)

Let’s see what we can do about getting you back home.

(he begins to fiddle with the Omni)

Let’s see… New York, New York… the city so nice they named it twice, ha! Eighth of June, two-thousand-and…

(the Omni beeps suddenly. Phineas is a little taken aback, but then begins to study the screen.)

Oh! No time for that now, then! Red Light: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, ninteen hundred and three!

(he begins fiddling with the device while Pete looks on, curiously)

PETE: Wait a minute… 1903? Isn’t that… hey!

(as Phineas’ finger reaches for the ‘engage’ button, Pete has to throw himself at the well-dressed man to make physical contact in time for them to pop out of frame again and re-emerge on a sandy dune on a gray morning. Phineas lands directly on his rump, but Pete, still in mid flight, careens a few feet farther into a sand dune, landing face first.)

PHINEAS: Well, that’s a little better…

(He stands up and brushes away a few grains)

softer than before, to be certain… (frustrated) but now there’s sand in my trousers.

PETE: (getting up and spitting) Try having it in your face! What’s your problem, man? You were just gonna leave me in the middle of nowhere?

PHINEAS: That wasn’t going to be the middle of nowhere in a few days, Mr. Rodney. That was the valley of the Little Bighorn.

PETE: What, where Custer bit it? Oh, thanks!

PHINEAS: You made the trip no worse for wear, didn’t you? Now, hold still while I scan you.

(he holds out the Omni which begins to emit a blue light, looking Pete up and down)

PETE: What the heck’s this, now?

PHINEAS: I need to create a holographic suit for you: something that will fit the period and not leave you looking like such a blasted anachronism, now hold still!

(Pete does as he’s told and, in a trice, he’s bedecked in loose-cut, high-waisted pants, a loose white shirt, braces, and a newsboy cap. Very much the working uniform of a young man in 1903.

PETE: Oh, you have got to be kidding me.

PHINEAS: Ah, don’t you look smashing!

PETE: So is this what you’re wearing, too? Some kind of holographic gizmo?

PHINEAS: (offended) Of course not. This is how I always dress.

PETE: Why?

PHINEAS: Because I look good. And you’ve been trying to lie to me, haven’t you Mr. Rodney?

PETE: (looking worried) What do you mean?

PHINEAS: You know where we are, and why we’re here. You know what happens at Kitty Hawk in 1903.

PETE: Yeah, so? Everyone does.

PHINEAS: Not everyone knows what the Little Bighorn was.

PETE: You’re full of it. That’s basic stuff!

PHINEAS: (droll) You’d be surprised what’s considered basic knowledge in some places, Mr. Rodney. You’re smarter than you let on, aren’t you?

PETE: I just know what I know.

PHINEAS: Indeed. Well, I’ve still got a red light, so the object of this mission wasn’t to get you a new set of trousers! There’s really only one reason why we should be here… and what could be wrong. So, let’s see what’s keeping our two innovators from innovating, shall we?

(the two crest one of the dunes, immediately hearing a hot argument.)

FIRST VOICE: I’m telling you, Wilbur, it won’t work!

SECOND VOICE: What other choice do we have, then? We’ve got to try!

FIRST VOICE: There’s no point in trying if we know it’ll fail!

SECOND VOICE: It won’t fail! We can do this, Orville!

(at the top of the dune, Phineas and Pete look down on the proceedings. Phineas, with a tight-lipped smile, straightens his waistcoat.)

PHINEAS: Hm. Looks like we’ve found our problem.

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