INT. LORNE’S APARTMENT (LIVING ROOM) -  LATER

LORNE is sipping tea, sitting on the couch. He takes the disc and slides it into the computer.

CU: Shot of the laptop computer screen. The Parachute logo pops up and the following words appear on the screen: 

PARACHUTE REALITY PRESENTS: 

MYCELOPHIDAE GRUNDA:

THE ULTIMATE CONNECTION

CUT TO: Shot of LORNE, sipping tea, watching.

CUT TO: Laptop screen. We see footage of the Amazon Rainforest - The narrator’s voice is now heard and it becomes clear that we are watching a nature documentary about a very unusual insect.

CUT TO - INSERT: The documentary film:

NARRATOR

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be another person? 

Since 2015, scientists and technicians at Parachute Reality have boldly taken VR to the next level…

CUT TO: Footage of teenagers using the Parachute brand VR helmets. Some are dancing, some singing, some swinging imaginary swords, running.

NARRATOR (Cont’d)

 And today, they are working to take us even further…

INT. OFFICE

A “talking head” interview piece - A middle-aged brunette woman wearing glasses and a white lab coat is talking to the camera:

SCIENTIST

Yes, certainly the discovery of the Grunda was a game-changer for us and I’m not just talking about interfacing. In terms of touching, feeling, smelling, breathing… 

CUT TO: Footage of a tiny black beetle-like insect with two long lobes protruding out from the top of its shell. This is the Mycelophidae Grunda. ECU on their heads and we see they have five eyes.

SCIENTIST(Cont’d)

The Grunda project has been nothing short of a miracle and its completely changed the way I look at the universe.

EXT. RAINFOREST FOOTAGE - DAY

Leaves, trees, insects under rocks.

NARRATOR (Cont’d)

Discovered just five years ago by doctor William Barber, deep in the Amazon rainforest, lives an enigmatic beetle-like insect called the Mycelophidae Grunda, or “Grunda” for short. 

INT. OFFICE

Another “talking head” - Dr. Barber - an over-excited, eccentric Entomologist.

BARBER

And you have to understand, no one had ever seen anything like this before. I mean, to discover a new species of insect is exciting news in itself but to discover an insect that will forever change the way we look at consciousness and sex and…everything!

SCIENTIST

For the first phase, we studied them in their natural habitat. After the first few months of studies, there were three highlights - three remarkable things about these insects that required further testing…

NARRATOR

The first remarkable thing was that the Grunda were abnormally intelligent. Later studies would prove their strong capacity to learn, memorize, and even feel.  The second remarkable thing is that male Grundas, much like the great bustard Otis Tarda, would willingly eat poisonous materials in order to appear more attractive to the opposite sex.

BARBER

They eat these toxic plants that will immobilize them for days, sending them into an almost comatose state. And as they come out of this state, they omit a certain odour that is very attractive to females. And yes, our studies have shown that the males will do this purposefully, over and over again.

NARRATOR

But the most remarkable thing is what happens after the male Grunda and the female Grunda have sex. 

SCIENTIST

This is oversimplifying it a little, but basically, they switch consciousness.

BARBER

The male takes over the female’s body, and the female takes over the male’s body. This lasts for about three weeks. 

NARRATOR

A switcheroo effect, later given the more scientific term, Mutual Cognizance Inversion. 

INT. SCIENCE LABORATORY

Footage of scientists working with the insects. 

Footage of scientists dropping the insects into a transparent cage with two white rats.

NARRATOR (Cont’d)

This astounding discovery changed everything for the VR world. And here at Parachute Reality, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface…

 

INT. LORNE’S APARTMENT - THAT MOMENT

Lorne is sitting on the couch in the same position, watching this documentary film on his computer. He lowers his eyebrows, confused and disturbed.

 

INT. PARACHUTE REALITY OFFICES - LORNE’S CUBICLE - THE NEXT MORNING

LORNE is at his desk, phone receiver on one ear, typing away at his computer.

LORNE

 Okay then, you’re all set! You are very welcome. Have a nice day

(He hangs up.)

A tall man named MR. LAKE walks into view. We do not see his face as he approaches LORNE’s desk.

MR. LAKE

The Cain’s would like to see you Lorne

LORNE

(surprised)

Oh? uh…am I up for review already?

MR.LAKE

They want to see you up in their office as soon as possible. I was told to tell you

LORNE

(nervously)

Okay, thank you

 

INT. PARACHUTE OFFICES (10th FLOOR HALLWAY) - 5 MINUTES LATER

LORNE is sitting in a chair outside two giant wooden doors. These are the offices of PAM and LILY CAIN - twin sisters and joint managers of the Parachute Reality Company. LORNE is anxious. One of the wooden doors opens slowly and PAM emerges, holding a manilla envelope.

 

PAM

Hello Lorne, how are you today? 

LORNE

Great, How are you miss Cain?

PAM

Please call me Pam. I’m great too! Come on in

 

LORNE stands up and follows her inside. She holds the door open for him. The door closes behind them.

INT. CAIN OFFICE - THAT MOMENT

The CAIN’s office is huge and full of natural light. Wall-to wall windows. Lots of white and red colours. We see the gloomy, rainy city outside. We see an extra-long glass desk in the main room. There are two smaller offices to the left and right of this main room - one for PAM and one for LILY. Behind them, we see a transparent cage with lots of tubes and pathways - full of Grunda bugs.

 

LILY

Hi there Lorne! Thanks for coming up

PAM joins LILY at their desk. 

(They are identical twins and they are played by the same actress.)

LORNE pulls out a chair and sits down on the other side of this sleek desk. There are neat stacks of folders in front of LILY, along with a thin, almost holographic computer monitor. She turns the computer off and smiles at LORNE, now sitting.

 

PAM

So I’m sure you’re wondering why we called you up here today

LILY

Let’s get into it. You received our film about the Grunda yesterday. Did you watch it?

LORNE

Oh, yes. Yes, I was actually wondering why…

PAM

This is all so very exciting, Lorne!

LILY

So then you know that we’ve successfully tested Mutual Cognizance Inversion on small mammals and you’re aware of the mind-blowing results?

LORNE

Yes, I…I watched the film

PAM

Thank you

LILY

Thank you for watching the film Lorne. Can I fix you a drink? Perhaps a coffee?

PAM

Tea?

LORNE

No, Thanks I…

LILY

You only drink coffee after lunch, isn’t that right?

LORNE

Umm yes…how did you…?

PAM

So what did you think of the Grunda?

 

LILY, from behind the desk, takes out a very small transparent rectangular cage, holding two Grunda bugs, and slams it down on the desk in front of LORNE.

 

LILY

Beautiful creatures, no?

PAM

You see Lorne, we’ve begun to incorporate their abilities into our software and so far the results have been overwhelmingly positive

LILY

And exciting. We’ve recently found that Mutual Cognizance Inversion, with the help of our little friends here, is entirely possible in human beings…

PAM

…But we’re at the early stages of our studies. Lot’s more work to do, and …bugs to work out, so to speak!

(They both laugh obnoxiously)

 

LORNE

Wow…

LILY

You’re goddamn right, wow! Pardon my francais

PAM

These Grunda experiments are paving the way for the next phase of Parachute and we’ve chosen you help us

LILY

You’re the ideal candidate Lorne. I’ve been looking over your file here and you’ve been very good…but also very bad

PAM

Good in that your numbers are up since last month, and you’re great with customers. You really know our software. You know your stuff

LORNE

Thanks, I’ve always been good with VR gear…

LILY

We know! We also know that you’ve been taking things from the stockroom. Demos, accessories…

LORNE

Oh, I borrow things sometimes, sure. Everybody does

PAM

Yeah but it’s really not okay to just take things without asking. Especially demos of games that aren’t out yet

LILY

Like Beach House 2. We have security footage of you taking it

PAM

We know that you spend approximately three minutes every work day reading articles on how to attract women

PAM

Or searching questions about how to talk to women

 

CUT TO: Quick shot of LORNE (embarrassed)

 

LILY

How to kiss women, Et cetera. It’s really quite upsetting

PAM

But we want to help you

LILY

But it’s really quite upsetting, Lorne because you know the company’s policy, right?

LORNE

(swallows hard)

I am…so sorry. There’s not…I don’t know what to say. This is really embarrassing and I’m sorry. I really like this job. I need this job. I’m good at it…

PAM

You’re great at it

LILY

But we are considering terminating your employment with Parachute

PAM

(smiling)

If we didn’t need your help, you’d already be gone by now

 

LORNE fidgets in his chair.

LORNE

How can I help?

LILY

(smiling)

So glad you asked. We want to use you as a subject for our Grunda research. It would mean a break from the office

 

PAM

Three weeks off. Paid

LILY

You will stay with our doctors and technicians at the laboratory. You will have a microscopic VR chip implanted on your temple

PAM

And a Grunda will live on the back of your neck, connecting you to the body of another human being

LILY

Have you ever wanted to be someone else, Lorne?

LORNE

I…uh…yes?

PAM

You will. And you can

LILY

Take this. It’s a detailed account to the process and it’ll walk you through everything we’ve done so far. 

PAM

You’ll see that we’ve already tested this on several humans and they’ve all had an amazing experience

LILY

Three weeks work

PAM

I wouldn’t even call it work. It’s the ultimate virtual reality experience. We’re almost ready to share this with the world. We’ve worked out the kinks

LILY

The project will meet it’s full potential through you. I know it

LORNE

So, just to be clear…you want me to switch bodies with another man?

PAM

Or woman. It’s your choice

LILY

But your body will remain in the laboratory, in a secure room. We’ll put a VR helmet on you

PAM

So your body will stay put. No harm done. You’re in control

LILY

Who do you love, Lorne?

LORNE

I don’t…umm

PAM

That girl you buy coffee from. What’s her name? Caroline?

LORNE

(surprised)

How do you know that?

PAM

We see all. We hear all 

(fake laughter)

LILY

You love Caroline

LORNE

Oh no, I wouldn’t say that. But she’s…I think she’s great

LILY

You should be her boyfriend

PAM

You could, if you wanted to

LORNE

(Laughs)

No, I don’t think Caroline likes me that way. I can’t even talk to her, it’s…

LILY

No, I mean you can be her boyfriend

PAM

Like, you can literally take over her boyfriends body. His name is Joshua Simmonds and he’s on our list of volunteers!

PAM types quickly on her computer and we see JOSHUA’S face appear on the monitor beside her. A man in his early thirties, blonde, light features. Under his profile picture, we see a resume of sorts. 

LORNE looks for a few seconds.

The monitor switches OFF

LILY

What do you think?

LORNE

I think…

(he looks at the documents handed to him)

 I think I need to read this over and I will get back to you. It sounds…it sounds scary to me, you know, so…

LILY

It will be. At first. 

PAM

Sleep on it, Lorne. Let us know by tomorrow evening

LORNE

Can I…perhaps have a few more days to think about this?

LILY

You have until tomorrow evening. If you don’t want to do it then I’m afraid we’ll have to sever your employment with Parachute

LORNE

Look, I’m really sorry. I won’t take anything else from work, I swear

PAM

Just sleep on it, darling. Let us know sometime tomorrow

LILY

Thank you for your time Lorne. And one more thing - you can’t tell anyone about this project

PAM

Not one soul

LILY

If you do, we will know, and we will be unable to proceed

(smiles)

Do you have any questions for us?

 

CUT TO: Shot of LORNE sitting in the chair, perplexed.

 

 

INT. PARACHUTE OFFICES (LORNE’S CUBICLE) - ONE HOUR LATER

LORNE is on the phone with a customer but he’s so dumbfounded that he stopped listening to the caller. He’s staring blankly ahead of him, not moving. Not blinking. 

DOLLY IN

The documents given to him by the CAINS are spread out all over his work area. He shakes his head slightly.

LORNE

Oh, I’m sorry sir. What was the problem again?

…Yes I sorry, I…my phone was cutting out can you repeat that?

 

INT. PARACHUTE REALITY - BATHROOM STALL - LATER

LORNE sits on a toilet. He’s holding the documents given to him. His hands are shaking

 

(end of excerpt)

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