Thesis Proposal: Treatment

A treatment is a movie script version of a story, one step beyond a synopsis. It could contain a lot of detail, or very little detail. It all simply depends on how firm of a vision one has in their mind about the story. This particular scene is what I am focusing on from the novel, but I most likely won't have any animation to my project. That is just too large of an undertaking.

The City and the Stars: Alvin’s Departure



A narrow hallway leads to the blinding light of the outside world. Two figures, one of them clothed in a dark robe stride forward down the passageway. The light grows on their faces as they stride forward, illuminating ALVIN and JESERAC. A strange metallic ROBOT hovers silently behind them, its multiple arms and tentacles twitching occasionally in a mechanical fashion.

As they approach the end of the tunnel, the view of the expansive desert can be seen, along with the landing to an exterior balcony. JESERAC stops in his tracks just short of the exit, an almost panicked look on his face.

ALVIN pauses and gently turns to him.


I am only asking you to look, not to leave the city. Surely you can manage to do that!

JESERAC closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He inches forward, one small step at a time. ALVIN places a hand on his shoulder to guide him onward.


ALVIN leads JESERAC out of the corridor and takes a few cautious steps onto the wide balcony. The outer railing is now gone, removed by the actions of the CENTRAL COMPUTER, leaving a sheer drop to the city below. JESERAC blinks as his eyes adjust to the brightness of the setting sun across the desert floor. ALVIN takes a few steps back from JESERAC closer to the edge of the balcony. The ROBOT hovers silently to the opening of the corridor.


I asked you to come here because I realize that you have earned more right than anyone to see where my travels have led me. I wanted you to see the desert, and I also wanted you to be a witness so that the Council will know what I have done.

ALVIN gestures to the ROBOT.


As I told the Council, I brought this robot home from Lys in the hope that the Central Computer would be able to break the block that has been imposed on its memories by the man known as the Master. By I trick that I still don’t understand, the Computer did that. Now I have access to all the memories in this machine, as well as to the special skills that have been designed into it. I’m going to use one of those skills now. Watch!

ALVIN turns his head to the ROBOT and nods a silent command. The ROBOT quickly soars out of the corridor entrance and toward the expanding desert. It picks up speed as it departs, its limbs and tentacles springing to life.


A tracking shot of the ROBOT as it weaves across the desert, searching for something beneath the sand.


ALVIN watches with a look of excited anticipation on his face. JESERAC’s brow is ruffled in confusion as he watches the tiny glint of metal race across the desert.


The ROBOT suddenly comes to a stop, examining the surface of one of the sand dunes. Its arms and tentacles retract as it rapidly floats up a thousand feet in the air. A slow rumbling grows across the landscape and the sand of the desert floor begins to vibrate in a rapid crescendo. A cloud of dust slowly begins to seep from the ground and suddenly erupts into a hundred foot tall geyser of earth and sand!


JESERAC and ALVIN both take a step back at hearing the the explosion of dirt and rock from the desert floor. JESERAC gives a concerned look to ALVIN, but ALVIN’s eyes are fixed on the events unfolding in the desert.


A strong mechanical vibration fills the air as the debris from the explosion begins to settle. As the dust could dissipates, the source of the vibration is discovered. The silhouette of a long spacecraft, pointed at both ends, stands out against the setting sun. Tiny trails of dirt and the occasional clod continually fall off the surface of the hull as the ship slowly rises to meet the same altitude as the ROBOT. Once they are both at the same height, the ROBOT turns to face the Tower of Loranne and begins to rapidly hover back to the balcony. The spacecraft follows.


JESERAC stands dumbfounded, unable to believe what he is witnessing, but has a sense of wonder in his eyes. ALVIN finally breaks his gaze of the spacecraft and turns to face JESERAC.


This robot was design to be the Master’s companion and servant– and, above all, the pilot of his ship. Before he came to Lys, he landed at the Port of Diaspar, which now lies out there beneath those sands.

ALVIN gestures to the gaping crater that once housed the rapidly approaching spacecraft.


Even in his day, it must have been largely deserted. I think that the Master’s ship was one of the last ever to reach Earth. He lived for a while in Diaspar before he went to Shalmirane. The way must have been open in those days. But he never needed the ship again, and all these ages it has been waiting out there beneath the sands. Like Diaspar itself, like this robot– like everything that the buildings of the past considered really important– it was preserved by its own eternity circuits. As long as it had a source of power, it could never wear out or be destroyed. The image carried in its memory cells would never fade, and that image controlled its physical structure.

The ROBOT finally reaches the balcony and hovers almost like an obedient pet next to ALVIN. The spacecraft gently begins to yaw as it approaches, like a boat preparing to dock. Suddenly a spurt of dirt is ejected as a small section of the hull opens outward, exposing a small, illuminated air lock. JESERAC, startled by this action, takes a cautious step backward. The ship, gently rocking as it hovers, glides to within a foot of the edge of the balcony.


Goodbye, Jeserac. I can’t go back into Diaspar to say farewell to my friends. Please do that for me. Tell Eriston and Etania that I hope to return soon. If I do not, I am grateful for all they did. And I am grateful to you, even though you may not approve of the way I have applied your lessons.

ALVIN turns and strides confidently toward the spacecraft. The ROBOT enters the airlock and turns around, waiting for ALVIN. ALVIN pauses at the edge of the balcony, taking a quick glance down to see the city of Diaspar sprawled beneath him, contemplating his next step. Raising his gaze to meet the ROBOT, he steps into the airlock of the spacecraft. Once inside, he turns again to look at his old mentor, raising a hand in farewell. JESERAC returns the gesture, a pensive look on his face.


And what about Council? What shall I tell it?


Tell it that a road that has once been opened cannot be closed again merely by passing a resolution.

ALVIN smirks confidently as the words leave his lips. JESERAC, responding in kind, gives a nod to ALVIN. ALVIN takes a step backward as the outer doors of the airlock close in front of him. The spaceship banks to the right, slowly edging its way away from the tower. The nose of the ship turns and banks upward, pointed toward the stars. The low hum of the spaceship begins to raise in pitch as it rapidly ascends toward the sky. Suddenly, in a blinding glint of the setting sun, the spacecraft hurtles itself toward the darkness of the night, a sonic boom echoing in its place.

JESERAC stumbles backward a bit in surprise at the awesome sound of the spacecraft exiting the atmosphere of the Earth. He glances at the sky, searching for the spacecraft, but cannot find it. His eyes fall to the stone floor of the balcony around him as he contemplates the consequences of ALVIN’s actions and how it has changed their society forever. As the last light of the setting sun drops below the horizon, he looks up again at the darkened sky. A slow look of awe and wonder begins to form on his face as, for the first time in his life, he sees the stars.

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