Story Pitch: Chasing Scarlet (Part 2 of an Original Work)

Concept artwork for Lee Carter; Created by Laura David
This post is a continuation of Story Pitch: Chasing Scarlet (Part 1 of an Original Work). Click here for the first part. Also, welcome back to Dateline Movies, and this is the second part of our story pitch.

Act 2: Lee Carter

As the second part transitions, the present Lee Carter circles around the city, taking pictures with her beloved camera in preparation for the upcoming inter-school prom night, hoping to find pictures that remind everyone that Crossmore City is a "dream city". After overhearing James present a monologue outside of The Ticktock Corner, Lee recalls how the virus spread, starting from an explosion underground that caused the growth of a giant tree at the center of Quentinstown. The roots then begin to grow towards other plants, creating new forms of fruits and vegetables. While initially edible, the fruits and vegetables actually carry dormant bacteria that activates once coming in contact with saliva, slowly maturing and becoming lethal to people.

Lee Carter is based on my dear artist friend and former classmate,
Jaisen Cortez

Created by Dane Reyes
Back in the past, James and Lee's respective teams practice with their prepared defenses for the nationals round. In this exercise, each of the team members must be able to come-up with a decent enough proposition when a random event pertaining to The Henrietta came about. Each of them are preparing their presentations at the storage warehouse area of Quentinstown, where everyone's experiments and presentations are hidden for safekeeping.

When James volunteered to purchase some food for his team from The Ticktock Corner, Lee and Ria surprise him once again, and once more, he is knocked-out with the experimental blueberry tea, later revealed to be a product of Cassie's father's experimentation.

While under the influence of the blueberry tea, and while a band from C.C.U.S.S., and another from E.A.S.T. begin to play outside of the warehouse, Lee and the rest of E.A.S.T. begin to interrogate James about what C.C.U.S.S. is planning to do, as Lee claims that Cassie has overheard a conversation between him and James' more-or-less idol and role-model Martin. James reveals that Martin privately asked him to help him in his sabotage plot, involving the hiring of the S.A.G.E.L. students who were upset at not fulfilling their contract. Through them, they will frame E.A.S.T. by spreading to social media about their "misdeeds". According to James, in order to prevent this from happening, the only way to stop the broadcast is to destroy the sabotaged computers in the warehouse, which the four then decide to set out do after some planning.

As the four, including James prepare to destroy the sabotaged laboratory equipment, James and Lee take their sweet time to debate among themselves on who among the two of them are truly "the root of all evil". At first, their discussions mostly tackle The Henrietta, with James once more pointing-out that E.A.S.T.'s research will prevent change from actually coming, with Lee saying that the people in the society needs to change first before The Henrietta is actually reprogrammed, to which James says that "social change follows when practical change does its job". 

Things become increasingly personal when Lee berates James for him jumping to conclusions that Lee is "just like any other spoiled rich girl, to which James explains his side of the story. Lee points-out that James' hatred for her stems from the fact that Mindie, one of James' oldest friends, came-out as a lesbian and chose Lee over him, to which James snarks "You think this is a young adult novel?" Lee goes further into her backstory about how her parents pulled her out of the public school that she studied in, where she first met Cassie and Ria,  who was impressed with her intellect, and forced her to embrace science over arts, making her into the scientific mind that she came to be.

Francine Gallagher is partly based on two of my friends,
Dane Reyes and Athena Macatangay.
This character is renamed Mindie MacKreidie.
Created by Dane Reyes
James actually reveals to Lee that the reason why he is angry at Lee is that Ria has chosen her to be her best friend, rather than her own stepbrother. While James did not mention it directly, James said that she chose "some other family over her actual family", showing that James, who was informed by Ria when they were younger, that Lee is Ria's biological sister. Their argument begins to settle when James admits to Lee that all she wants is to prove that he to can be as great as Lee, for Ria to see her differently, for their parents to have an "above average" son, for him to do something with his life. All of these claims are what Martin, his mentor, lead him to believe. Lee then stops for awhile and tells James that he "is not Martin, nor me, nor anybody, but just James", and that "you seem like a nice guy, on the inside, so maybe you can be that nice guy now and help your sister". James looks down in shame.

Meanwhile, Holden and Cassie, and Ria and  Mindie discuss respectively about James and Lee's rivalry from their perspectives, all the while comparing the experience to the urbanization of Crossmore City.

Holden recalls how his parents struggled in getting money at the onset of the outbreak, eventually leading to them to get enough money through "the grace of God" when Holden's fully developed talent for music lead them to gain enough fortune to recuperate for their losses. Holden's newly found faith also convinced his family to become a part of a Christian community.

Cassie, on the other remembers how her biological father abandoned her and her mother for someone else, only to come back in later years, drunkenly stalking them after his mistress dumped him. Cassie's stepfather, a police officer, eventually filed a restraining order on her father.

Through this conversation, both Holden and Cassie reaffirm their belief that they need to keep watch over their friends, and for Cassie, to "not see another family get torn apart".

Ria reveals to Mindie that she remembers the night that she was abandoned in front of the Wheelan household when the epidemic first came about. When her parents said that the Wheelans can be the perfect family for her, Ria is also aware that they may not come back due to the financial pressure that the epidemic has brought upon. Mindie, who believes that Ria's desires for Lee's sibling affection borders on materialism and narcissism, also reveals that, despite being in love with Lee for her endless support, from her humble beginnings, up to her current state, she does not like the fact that Lee gives her the same kind of affection that almost feels like idolization, the very thing that she wants to distance from.

Concept Artwork for Mindie MacKreidie; Created by Laura David
After finally rounding-up all of the computers, and restraining the S.A.G.E.L. students who are aiming to fulfill their latest contract, E.A.S.T. are caught-off guard when they learn that there was no sabotage plan. They destroyed harmless equipment after believing the lies that Martin had personally told James to tell them. They are all then ambushed by other S.A.G.E.L. students, who, acting as the "referees" of the competition, have come to disqualify them personally for breaking the rules.

This part ends with, despite their best attempts to flee, and despite James' suddenly growing conscience, Ria, Lee, who became caught-up in the thought of seeing The Henrietta destroyed, Mindie, and Cap are caught and are officially disqualified from the international round of the competition. In the aftermath, James, Holden, and Cassie are left distraught at what has happened, while Martin claims that he is proud to have someone like James.

Transitioning to the next part, James, after finishing his latest monologue, reads an adult comicbook titled "The Upgrade", which strangely enough, he used to read as a youngster. It tells the story of a a robot wanting to return to humanity, after being exiled to the moon for being obsolete. In an attempt to return to Earth, the robot attempted to replicate all of the other upgrades that all of the other robots have that he does not, in order to rescue a lost human astronaut there. Alas, he is too late to save him, as he has now returned to Earth, leaving the robot alone and lacking in identity.

And that concludes the second part of our story pitch. Wait for our third and last part, and be sure to enjoy this song from Kendrick Lamar, in one of his more positive songs from "To Pimp A Butterfly". Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!

"Chasing Scarlet" and all other related elements such as characters are properties of Reuben Pio G. Martinez, while the artworks made by Laura David and Dane Reyes.

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