VESSEL is a very ambitious scifi / horror short in the vein of Alien, The Thing and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. VESSEL features a blend of old school, practical creature effects and slick, modern day VFX. The story focuses on Liberty Airlines' Flight 298 and its passengers. Shortly after takeoff, the passengers encounter an otherworldly force and are thrown into a fight for their lives!
Director/Producer: Clark Baker Producer: Ashley Friedlander Writers: Matt and Ross Duffer Director of Photography: Kyle Klutz Composer: Austin Wintory VFX: Jeremy Hunt Creature FX: Mark Villalobos Editor: Brad McGlaughlin
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The tiny craft’s re-emergence into real space was unremarkable in every way. No flash of light to mark the rift it tore in the black, no radio or gravity waves, and even the EM radiation typical to subspace travel was dampened so as to be indistinguishable from the universe’s own background noise. The ship was decked in a non-reflective nano-material that absorbed all forms of energy that struck it, recycling it back through the hyper-efficient engines for a continuous, if nominal, power supply. And so, for all intents and purposes, the craft was invisible to all but the most advanced surveillance tools.
And in this part of space, perfect concealment was tantamount to survival.
“Feather the engines back,” Harking commanded. “Drift us from here.”
“Aye, sir,” the pilot replied.
“How long until traversal?” Harking inquired.
A pause while the pilot did the math. “Just under three lights, less than 30 minutes at our current course and speed.”
“Barely good enough,” Harking muttered, “but it will have to do.”
We broke the world, cracked it open from pole to pole. Lit the planet up and burned it with fire from within. We had to. It was the only way to get rid of them.
It was a doomsday weapon, of course. A last recourse. God knows we’d tried everything else. Nothing had worked. And so we did what we always swore we would never do, despite the fact that we had built the weapon anyway. We knew that, push come to shove, we’d use it, even while we were telling ourselves we wouldn’t.
It sure as hell was better than the alternative.
And so now we walk the surface, just the four of us, protected by our armored suits. So far as we know, we are the last of our people, the last of our kind, and the last living things anywhere on the planet. Our world is dead now; it will never recover. But at least they can no longer have their way with us.
André stepped outside to a world in bedlam. Billboards flashed alternately among binary output, machine code, and actual ads. Vehicles were strewn about the highway like so many child’s toys, their operating systems completely trashed. Most of the city’s droids were on the fritz, as well, and the rest were clearly inoperative. Nothing with a computer was working the way it should.
“Dammit,” André swore again.
This was the ultimate hack. It had to be. Nothing else made sense. What made it ultimate was that both his phone and his house network had been firewalled to the gills. He knew the firewall had been impenetrable because he’d built it himself. He’d tested the final version exhaustively by bragging about the firewall’s strength on the Net. Every hacker, cracker, and code jockey in the world had bombarded the ’wall with their best utilities. None had been able to break it.
So where had the breach come from? And why had it started with his own system?
We slipped our bonds and escaped across the dunes. The distant sound of crashing waves drew us westward. We ran for everything we were worth, fear and desperation driving us on.
We never saw our captors. We never knew where — or what — they were. What we knew during our captivity was only confusion and befuddlement, a strange mixing of thoughts like a spoon thrust into our minds and stirred. For nearly all that time, I was convinced I was going insane, and I was not the only one.
In the beginning it was clear that there were many of us in that dark, cavernous room, but over time they weeded us out. The number of groaning voices filtered down until only three remained.
And then without warning, our minds were clear and there was sand beneath our feet. We were running for our freedom.
But as we ran, voices began to appear and visual data to overlay the landscape — and we were forced to one sickening conclusion. They — whatever they were — had not set us free. They were merely riding herd inside us.
“Desdemona is a dangerous planet,” the guide called out to the group, “but only if you don’t respect her ways.”
James rolled his eyes. He hadn’t wanted to come to Desdemona, but human-friendly habitable planets were few and far between, especially now that Sol was trending toward red giant these days.
“Most of what lies beyond the energy barrier could kill a person in a blink,” the guide continued. “This bit of safe haven you’re standing in has been carved out with a lot of sweat, blood, and tears.”
And that was when James spotted the maintenance hatch down the path a little way. Making sure no one was watching, he nonchalantly walked away from the group — they were all distracted, anyway — and opened the hatch, using the adjoining service tunnels to get out beyond the barrier.
Sometime later, James finally stepped into the open air and took a deep breath — and a razor-sharp leaf spiraling from a nearby tree sliced cleanly through his skull.
Desdemona was not kind to invading, incautious species.
The LXD. The League of Extraordinary Dancers. At first glance it sounds like it might be pretty corny, right? Wrong. This is an amazing and ambitious new webseries that puts a wholly new spin on the superhero genre where the power of dance can be used for great good, horrendous evil, or anything in between. If you love comic books, science fiction, dance, or any combination thereof — or even if you don’t — you should definitely check this series out. It’s a fabulous and artistic series, and the first three episodes of season one are now available on Hulu for American viewers and iTunes with new episodes being released every Wednesday. The filming is fantastic, and the music is spot-on perfect. You can’t help but be drawn into this story, and it always leaves you eager for more. Check out the trailer below for a taste of what The LXD is all about.