Max Headroom - Cat 9 : Pilot Episode - Plague 2005




-INT. RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT on LEVEL 13. EDISON and two SECURITY GUARDS enter with BRYCE's body in the CRYO UNIT on a dolly.

EDISON: Let's put it here in the corner. It should be close enough to link up to the mainframe.

GUARD 1: Shame about the kid.

EDISON: He would've been seventeen tomorrow.

GUARD 2: Cheviot's not going to like this.

EDISON: Neither do I.

The GUARDS leave. Edison takes a printout from his pocket and begins hooking the wires from the CRYO UNIT to the main RESEARCH COMPUTER.

CHEVIOT's face appears on the VU-PHONE MONITOR

CHEVIOT: Bryce are... (he stops as he sees EDISON. The CRYO UNIT is out of his line of vision) Carter. I didn't mean to interrupt. Can I have a word with Bryce?

EDISON: I'm afraid not, sir. At least not until I finish hooking up these wires.

CHEVIOT: This is very important, Mr. Carter. I need him to...

EDISON finishes connecting the wires. A moment later, CAT 9 appears on the screen.

-CUT TO the BOARD ROOM. CAT 9's image is on the WALL SCREEN.-

CHEVIOT: What the hell?

LAUREN: Bryce?

CAT 9: If you wish. As you can see, Mr. Peller made a bit of an error regarding the plague.

CHEVIOT: So you're...

CAT 9: Dead. Well... my body is. It's in permanent stasis in a cryogenic unit in my studio. My brain is connected to the Network 23 mainframe. The program is called Cat 9. But I'll answer to Bryce as well.

CHEVIOT: I see. Is there anyone you'd trust around your body to do any manual research?

CAT 9 (appears THOUGHTFUL for a moment, then NODS): Jenny. You'll find her at Network 66. Though I'm certain Theora can talk her into transferring to this network.




JENNY is in front of her COMPUTER typing. On various SCREENS oscillating waveforms can be seen along with visual algorithms. One screen, though silent, is tuned to Network 66 and showing the current episode of one of their popular series PORKY's LANDING.

THEORA's FACE appears on her VU-PHONE

JENNY (Notices she is being phoned and completes the connection): Hello?

THEORA (face on screen): Jenny. This is Theora Jones. Network 23.

JENNY (cheerfully): Oh! Good evening. How is Bryce doing?

THEORA(face on screen): I'm afraid Bryce is no longer with us.

JENNY (no longer cheerful): What?


THEORA: Bryce is dead. Mostly. Peller told everyone here that the plague only affected the Blanks.

NEARBY several CONTROLLERS bow their heads. Many of the women wipe their eyes. One silently blows her nose.

JENNY (On screen): Damn Peller. You said Bryce was mostly dead? What does that mean?

THEORA: His body is dead. In cryo. He linked his brain to our mainframe.

JENNY (on screen. grabs tissue and dabs her eyes): Clever Bryce. So why call me?

THEORA: We need someone here to do the physical work that Bryce can no longer manage. Of all the people in this city, he told us that he trusts you the most.


JENNY: That's a high compliment coming from him. I can't believe he's gone. I just saw him at the class reunion. Grossberg isn't going to like having to find a new department head.

THEORA (on screen): Then you'll do it. Thank you.

JENNY: Anything for Bryce.

JENNY disconnects the call. A moment later her fingers are flying over her keyboard. The faces of several

TEENAGERS appear on a number of screens. They are the research department heads of several competing TV networks including SARAH from NETWORK 33, JACK from NETWORK 88, PAULINE from NETWORK 42, and ROBERT from WORLD 1.

SARAH (On screen. Cheerfully flippant): Miss us already, Jen?

ROBERT(On screen): We just saw each other. What's up?

JENNY: It's bad news, I'm afraid. I just got word from Network 23. Bryce has passed.

PAULINE(On screen): Lynch?

JACK(Slightly off screen. There are noises that sound like he's trying to find something): I don't believe it! He looked great at the reunion. A little thin, but not fatally so.

SARAH: I don't believe it. He can't be.

ROBERT(on screen): Is he at Gladhand or Nightingales?

JENNY: Neither. He's in CRYO at Network 23. He apparently arranged to have himself linked to the mainframe.

JACK (appears on screen): So he's an AI?


JENNY: I think we should hold a silent vigil at ACS tomorrow night just after sunset in his memory.

ROBERT(nods on screen): I'll be there

JACK (reaching for disconnect as the door behind him swings open): Count me in (vanishes from screen)

PAULINE (A voice can be heard from just offscreen It sounds like a second call). I: I'll be there as well (disconnects)

Once all the MONITORS have resumed their usual appearance JENNY makes another call

-CUT TO a SPARSELY FURNISHED ROOM in the Fringes. A man with thinning red hair is watching BIG TIME TV on his small desktop monitor. JENNY's face appears on his vu-phone.

BLANK BRUNO: Jenny. How did the class reunion go? I'm sorry I couldn't attend. Could risk the metrocops finding me after the incident with Peller.

JENNY(on screen. bitterly): You should've killed him.

BLANK BRUNO: That's rather vitriolic for you. What's happened?

JENNY: Bryce is dead because of him. Apparently he caught the plague on his way home from the reunion. I've organized a vigil at ACS for tomorrow night.

BLANK BRUNO: It's risky. But I'll be there.

JENNY: Thank you. (she disconnects the call)



-INT BIG TIME TV BUS. A TOILET FLUSHES. BLANK REG steps out of the john and sits down at a crowded desk. BLANK DOMINIQUE is in the driver's seat smoking a cigarette from a long holder.

REG (into microphone): That refreshing break was brought to you by BIG TIME TV. (starts playing on an old vinyl record.) Now. More of what you love.

There is a knock on the door. REG looks out the window. Seeing EDISON he goes to the door.

REG: Hello, old son.

DOMINIQUE: What can we do for you? (hands him a tissue)

EDISON (dries his eyes): Thank you.

DOMINIQUE: What's wrong?

EDISON: Bryce died tonight.

DOMINIQUE: That's terrible?

REG: The plague?

EDISON: Yeah. How'd you know?

REG: I've been listening all over to that idiot Peller telling everyone that the plague only infects the poor and the homeless. As if.

DOMINIQUE: You should dump him like a sack of wet rats before he gets your network sued.

EDISON: I think Cheviot's planning on it. Bryce let him know about Peller's error in no uncertain terms.

DOMINIQUE: From beyond the grave?

EDISON: Artificial Intelligence.

REG: Clever.

DOMINIQUE: Will there be a funeral?

EDISON: Yes. But no body. That's in cryo in our Research Department, connected to the mainframe. But we are going to have a memorial stone erected tomorrow morning next to Paddy Ashton's. I think he'd like it if you attended.

DOMINIQUE: We'll be there.

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