Then lunch at Jack's, where they put their heads together and beat out a new plot. They used as much of the old as possible, and had it in shape in practically no time.
"Jacob will sic script writers on it, and change so, really it doesn't matter how cobbled together this is." G. sat back, looking satisfied. "I'll get him a copy and make him read it before the meeting tomorrow."
At the pre-shoot meeting they handed out the new script, first thing. It looked like G. had done a good job selling their points to Jacob. They ran through the script together, the actors reading some of the relevant parts aloud.
The opening scene would have G. lecturing about the Meroe pyramids somewhere just north of Khartoum, some famous city in the middle of nowhere. After a nice sweaty day of admiring stuff four times as old as the presence of humans on Comet Fall, and comparing them to certain repeated decorations of the Atlanteans, they head for their hotel in town and notice a fellow frantically trying to bribe a fellow to repair his car quick. Spoiled Daughter does a double-take. "That can't be Phillip, can it?"
Sure enough, the drug smuggler has escaped his rather domineering bride, and is in a hurry to keep running. "I don't care if I've driven across a thousand miles of desert. They're after me. Believe it." They try to calm him down, and he steals one of their Land Rovers. Jack blasts off after him, and finds the rover, but no sign of what happened to Phillip.
"Phillip! Phillip?" Camera zooms out to show desolation all around.
They argue at dinner, about Phillip, about the unlikelihood that they would take notice of the family.
"All you worry about is us, what about poor Phillip? We can't leave him a captive in the hands of those . . . people. We're not in Western Sahara, with suspicious soldiers everywhere, ready to shoot us. We should report what just happened."
Jack sighs. "Right telling the police an old acquaintance and known drug smuggler stole our rover, then abandoned it within a hundred miles, is going to help. We need to hire some guards, keep a night watch at camp."
G. snorts. "And get some work done. The radar should be able to look through the sand and find any buried ruins. We'll start tomorrow."
Jacob tapped an impatient foot. "You three should be kept away from each other. Scene one will end with the zoom out. We don't need the family meeting. We'll do the radar comments at the site."
Mark Finley, the script writer was scribbling all over his copy as Jacob talked.
Eldon wrinkled his nose. "If you're tightening up, you could have those comments at the end of the first day. Then go right into the argument between Jack and Margo. Margo stalks off into the night. Jack starts to go after her, the brat intervenes and is ignored. G. is right behind him. Jack catches up to Margo and they argue more, and Margo stalks off even further. The hired guards have followed, and suggest they stay closer to camp. G. sends all but one back to camp. Margo screams. The Atlanteans have her. Jack runs toward her, trips. Guard right behind receives lightening bolt type effect.”
Eldon put on his best superior sneer. "We don't care to be followed. Leave and I'll release her. If I see you again, I'll keep her."
Margo put her hands over her mouth and made some protesting noises.
"If you harm her . . . "
"Bah. From what I've seen, I'd be doing you a favor to keep her." Eldon made engine noises, earning himself a glare from Jacob.
The Director nodded though. "G. says, they went south, Jack says Phillip said something about a thousand miles. That will be somewhere in Uganda. And the chase starts. We'll have the first fight in the desert. Good Guys get Phillip back, but the rest of them get away. Phillip says they are traveling to all their old abodes, picking up all their relatives, and that there's about five hundred of them now. But where can they all be going? Why, to a place that was once their own, and soon will be again. And Phillip hasn't a clue." He flipped several pages. "They drive further south, out of the desert and into grasslands. They ask. Hundreds of people on horses and camels went thataway a week ago. Two black cars? Oh, those? The people switched to horses. Arabs, with no sense, but to ride a horse into the game preserve. So. We finally get to the waterfall. The Atlanteans are camping on one side, and Eldon and Lisa are entertaining the daughter. Eldon is wooing her, and she's not immune." Flip, flip. "I'm sure you two will have fun with that scene. G. and Jack hire a guide to get info from the locals. The Guide's sister comes along, with her two teenage sons. The guide tells G. that she married a long time ago, a strange man who took her far away. Homesick, she returned with the twins when they were small children. She'll be a good cook, and even better, she'll throw herself at G. The Twins get all stiff and tell G. he'd better behave. Any rate, they check the ferry. No, no hundreds of migrating Berbers, no dozen recently. They cross the river anyway to go to the local hotel and talk to everyone about what they have seen. Jack meets a lady anthropologist there, taking a break from digging in the Afar region. Instant sparks. Also, she passed the migration.
"Spectacularly beautiful horses. They were north of Lake Victoria, headed east. I was wondering what was going on, and how they were going to cross the border into Kenya. They were obviously one of the western Berber tribes." An all new actress, well, new to Eldon. She looked about thirty five, strong healthy, outdoors type. Muscles and tan.
Eldon tried to not drool.
Jack elbowed him. "I'll tell Lily you were drooling."
"Take notes; you'll be doing the drooling on scene."
Sue Vandervoot gave them both chilly glances.
"Don't worry." Eldon grinned cheerfully. "He's married and I'm spoken for. But wouldn't it be worse if neither of us thought you drool worthy?"
She wrinkled her nose and eyed him uncertainly. "Is that your usual pickup line?
"Heck no. Wait till you see the scene where I'm trying to seduce the Spoiled Daughter, played by his wife. Then you hear all my pickup lines."
"And I'll probably have to kill you, after." Jack muttered.
"Umm, depends on how many retakes we have to do, because Margo starts laughing helplessly."
"Margo is going to have a hard time." Margo said.
"Hey, Jacob? How safe is that part of the world? Do we need real guides and guards while we're on site?" Eldon looked innocently over at the Director.
"We'll take some muscle along with us, hire what we need, over there." He swept a look around the room, noting uncertainty.
"I know some Martial Arts types, might be handy to have around. They can shoot too, but just bare handed they're good. Might make the women feel a bit safer. Want me to bring them around?"
There were a lot of nodding heads.
Jacob harrumphed. "I thought you were a tough fellah."
"I am. I'll also be busy acting."
"Well . . . bring them around for the first rehearsals. We'll see." He flipped more pages. "So, we have love scenes on either side of the Water Fall. With G. trying to dodge the big girl. The Good Guys cross back over the river on the ferry. As they start to head for the park Exit, the Guide stops them, and looks at some hoof prints."
"Horses, not zebras, and only about a day and a half old." Johnathan jumped in. "Let's see where they camped."
"Then we have the next big fight scene. The lightening stick doesn't work very well in the misty environment right around the falls."
"Ha! The mist shorting out your fancy fire stick, Bubba?"
Jacob gave Jack a repressive glare. "I think we can improve on that. So we go hand to hand, and Jack gets knocked into the falls while G. rescues his daughter. The confrontation between G. and the King is sidetracked when the King's biggest guard recognizes the Guide's sister as his wife, and the boys get introduced to their father . . . and G. and Margo have run like hell. Down to the bottom of the falls where the anthropologist is giving Jack mouth-to-mouth, while the kid keeps crocs at bay." Jacob nods. "Stupid, but it'll film well. So, everyone's happy. And the cute Anthro chick is heading in that direction, so G. and Jack decide they'd better go with her, at least as far as the Kenya border? Daughter gets her nose out of joint again. So they drive along and while they're admiring some wildlife, the Atlanteans swoop out of nowhere and grab the wrong lady. Ride off. Big chase, with women being grabbed, grabbed back, and all that. They come up on Kate making magic. The Atlanteans grab both women and disappear. Literally."
Phillip grins. "They do that all the time. It feels awful, but it certainly saves wear and tear on the horses."
Jack tried to loom from his chair across the room. "Do what?"
"Oh, they call it taking a short cut. That old witch claims to be able to fold space. They walk in one side and walk out the other, hundreds of miles away. They can only do it every fourth or fifth day, wears them out, you see?"
"So the Good Guys cross into Kenya and keep going, until they find someone who saw the migration. This time they sneak into camp, and grab the women. Another fight, at night, some nice lightening effects, but the king doesn't want to kill the women, so he lets them go, and the Bad Guys mount up and ride off into Somalia."
"I don't know if I should feel sorry for the Somalians or the Atlanteans." G. drawled.
Jack shook his head. "They've picked the one place on Earth they could actually improve.
"We'll think a bit about that as the end, or if we need to add anything more." Jacob closed his script with a snap. "Good. Now, there will be mostly exteriors, but some, especially that running, woman snatching fight we'll film here, and CGI the right sort of trees and wildlife in the background. Interiors, damn few. A few nighttime scenes, Eldon and Margo's waterfall scene . . . Once we're back here, with all the locations in the can we can check them. If it didn't work there, we'll make the scenery and reshoot it here."
"Right. Let's meet tomorrow, and do a run through of the first scene. Eldon bring your muscular friends, so I can look them over. Everyone get your passports to my secretary, she will arrange any visas we need. Mike, you're on the horses? Good."