AMZ Main

News, Reviews, & More

Visuals

Plot

Biographies

Interviews

Science of Avatar

3D Tech

Avatar Game




AVATAR: PAGE 8






She sees a SNAKETREE and brings him as close as she can. It is a hydra-like, ambulatory plant twice Josh's height. It moves into place, then freezes so that it resembles a gnarled, dead tree. When prey moves within range, it comes suddenly alive and strikes with one of six fanged heads. The animal is digested in a pitcher-like bole, and the half-stripped bones ejected to lure more prey. Josh sees the bones lying around the base of the tree. Some of them are from animals at least as large as a man... or an avatar. Grace, the xenobotanist, is very excited to share the snake tree with him.

They move on. Josh has never been in a forest before, since they are mostly gone on Earth. He is scared, but dealing. It's kind of interesting. She continues to give Josh pointers... touch this, don't touch that. They startle a small creature which crashes away into the underbrush. Further up the trail, N'deh signals them to stop. Grace motions, and they crouch down, watching through the leaves as something moves through the woods parallel to them. It is a small six-legged herbivore called a HEXAPEDE, about the size of a tapir. N'deh points at something else, and Grace whispers to Josh.

GRACE: Look. A slinger. It's stalking the hexapede.

Josh doesn't see anything at first... then he spots it. A camouflaged shape moving through the sun-dappled shadows. The predator moving into the glade, is splashed by hard slashes of sunlight, which combine with its cammo pattern making it hard to see. The SLINGER is smaller than a slinth, but just as deadly. It moves silently, like liquid, through the ferns. It pauses, rearing up, and like the slinth its muscular neck cocks back into a striking position...

GRACE: Watch this.

The slinger's neck snaps forward, and its long, pointed head detaches, flying through the woods as a self-guiding venomous glider... a smart-dart. The hexapede senses the dart and bolts, bounding in evasive zigzags. The dart tracks it unerringly through the trees and buries itself in its flank. The hexapede staggers. It stands, its muscles spasming, then falls over. The dart starts emitting a series of high-pitched squeals, which allow the body to home in on it blindly. The neck bends down, and is rejoined to the dart. Josh catches a glimpse of hair- like tendrils lacing together... some kind of neural interface. Then the slinger starts to rip the hexapede apart.

Grace explains that the slinth, with its striking head, is the evolutionary precursor of the slinger. The slinger's primary brain is in the dart, so if the body and the dart are ever permanently separated, they both die. The dart cannot feed itself.

The body and dart are actually mother and child... the dart is an immature form. When it grows too big to fly, it will mate, then drop off and metamorphose into a small complete slinger, with its offspring already in place, forming the new dart. Each new generation is the brain for the previous one. Sounds backward, but it works. Josh watches the feeding slinger in awe. He has never seen anything like this... so raw and primal.

GRACE: Welcome to the food chain.

N'deh leads them past the feeding slinger, which is preoccupied with its kill. Josh's heart is pounding. He's still scared shitless, but this stuff is amazing. He feels more alive than he has ever felt. They enter a clearing with a partially built structure in the middle. It is made of heavy timbers, cut from the local wood. This is the school and meeting center that Grace and Dr. Giese were trying to build. They had gotten the Na'vi to build this much, working alongside them, before they had retreated from human contact. Now the vines and moss are reclaiming it. Stingbats roost under the eaves.

N'deh makes a high-pitched clicking sound between tongue and teeth, and several of the stingbats flutter down toward him. He holds out some small fruits he has picked on the trail, and the stingbats perch on his arm and shoulders, munching noisily.





Josh knows that the stinging tail spines are lethal. He gives the stingbats a wide berth as he helps Grace with her sampling equipment. Grace goes to work on some equipment that has been left here for remote sensing. She changes power cells, collects data disks, and does other housekeeping chores. Grace chops through a thick liana with her machete and drinks from the dangling vine. Josh tastes it. Water... clear and slightly sweet. Like drinking from the teat of the rainforest.

Back at the Samson Lyle is idly tracking a bansheeray circling far above him with the scope of his rifle. The bored pilot is betting him ten bucks he can't hit it. He is about to fire when he catches sight of some movement out of the corner of his eye. He motions to the pilot to keep still, and they watch as three DIREHORSES emerge from the trees to munch grass in the meadow.

DIREHORSE are herbivores, vaguely horse-like in design, with very long necks and tiny heads. They have long, moth-like antennae with feathery tips, which are constantly moving, touching the tips of other direhorses' antennae as they move near each other. They stand about three meters at the shoulders, or about half as big again as the largest Clydesdale. They have bold striped patterns on their bodies, and glinting, chitinous armor over shoulders and along the back of the neck and head.

Lyle moves forward in a predatory crouch and rests his rifle across the fuselage of the Samson. The direhorse munch unconcerned. Fifty bucks says I nail all three, Lyle says. You're on, says the pilot.

POOM!

The lead horse, the male, drops like it was pole- axed. The other two spook, rearing... POOM! One of the females drops, kicking its legs in the air as it writhes on the ground. The third one bolts. Lyle tracks with it... POOM! It crashes forward, it neck bending back double as it goes end over end. The second direhorse struggles to regain its footing. It pathetically tries to drag itself toward the sheltering forest with a severed spine, its back legs useless. POOM! A blast of dirt, next to it. It hobbles further, honking like a Canadian goose, its signal for distress. Lyle fires again, rushing the shot. Misses.

LYLE: Shit!

PILOT: (laughing) Doesn't count if it makes it to the treeline.

LYLE: Start reachin' for your wallet.

He flips the weapon to full auto.

P-P-P-P-POOM!!

The crippled direhorse disappears in a cloud of dust as gouts of earth explode all around it. Treetrunks are blasted, foliage and underbrush ripped into confetti. When the dust clears, the direhorse is an inert carcass. ON LYLE, turning toward camera, grinning... the three dead animals BG. A blue hand slams into frame, grabbing his rifle. Grace rips the gun out of his hand and flings it cartwheeling over the Samson, then twists his arm behind his back. She viciously torques it almost to the breaking point, doubling him over. She forces him to his knees, jamming his facemask into the mud.

GRACE: Little boys shouldn't play with guns.

Lyle is cursing a blue streak. Grace kneels on his back and grabs his breathing mask.

GRACE: I oughta rip this thing right off. Give you some fresh air.



< < < Previous | Next > > >



SCRIPTMENT MENU: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | PAGE 8





AMZ Main

News, Reviews, & More

Visuals

Plot

Biographies

Interviews

Science of Avatar

3D Tech

Avatar Game


Site Info | Site design by SFMZone. Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. | TOP^