VOICEOVER (spoken over the hum of an air conditioner): I don’t know. I really don’t know anymore. I woke up today and everything seemed different. The sun was shining a little less brightly. It was a bit colder. The Egg McMuffin I had for breakfast was a bit staler. This past week, everything changed. The NFL changed. My world changed. Or maybe it didn’t. Maybe things have always been this way and I’m the one who has changed. Maybe I’m only starting to see these things now. The insurmountable challenges that face me not just as a quarterback in the National Football League, but as a protector of the people of San Francisco. And I’m starting to think that despite all of the talk, all of my assertions that I am capable, that I can truly defend these people… I am The Flow. And I don’t know if I can do this anymore.
INT. LEVI’S STADIUM
BLAINE GABBERT is taking snaps at practice, eyes glazed over. The ball is snapped and hits him in the helmet. He does not move. CARLOS HYDE runs over to him and punches him on the shoulder. GABBERT immediately snaps back to reality, picking up the football and promptly fumbling it. GABBERT sighs and heads over to the sideline with the rest of the practicing offense as JIM HARBAUGH yells obscenities at him. GABBERT hears nothing, feels nothing but the soft trickle of spittle running down his face. Practice over, GABBERT heads to his New 2015 Toyota Camry and shuts the door. He rests his forehead against the steering wheel, breathing deeply.
Suddenly, GABBERT feels a vibration in his Trion:Z Dual Loop Ionic Magnetic Therapy Bracelet.
THE CHIEF: Flow! There’s no time to lose! We need your he-
GABBERT: No you don’t, Chief. You don’t need me. I’m no hero.
GABBERT presses a button on his Trion:Z Dual Loop Ionic Magnetic Therapy Bracelet and THE CHIEF’s chiseled, auburn-haired visage disappears from view with a blink. GABBERT’s eyes turn steely and determined. GABBERT rolls down the window of the car and throws the Trion:Z Dual Loop Ionic Magnetic Therapy Bracelet out of the car with as much force as he can muster. As it tumbles to the asphalt 5 yards away, GABBERT backs out of the parking lot, his face expressionless.
Days pass. GABBERT has become singlemindedly devoted to football, and will not talk to anybody. He can’t remember the last time he smiled.
INT. BLAINE GABBERT’S LOMBARD STREET CONDO
BLAINE GABBERT is seated on his couch watching an episode of Chopped that he has already seen at least 5 times. A bag of cold ARBY’S ROAST BEEF SANDWICHES from yesterday lingers on his kitchen island, untouched. It is 6:42 PM.
GABBERT, sighing: Might as well go to sleep.
GABBERT leaves the TV and lights on as he heads down the hall to his bedroom. Once he enters, he steals a quick glance at a locked box in the closet next to his old jerseys from Jacksonville. A portion of a torn maroon spandex suit and the toe of a tube sock peek out of the stuffed lockbox. The colors are fading and the box is gathering dust. BLAINE GABBERT turns away and goes to bed.
4:45 AM, INT. SECRET ROOM UNDER THE HALL OF ELITENESS
The lights flicker on, revealing countless rows of clear vats filled with viscous bluish fluid. In each one, a humanoid figure is resting, its skin tanned and stretched taut over its lean muscles. Each is identical to the last. The doors fly open, and PEYTON MANNING, TOM BRADY, AARON RODGERS, and DREW BREES are shoved into the room and onto their knees, while STRIKE TEAM MEMBERS train their rifles at them. PEYTON MANNING is bruised all over, and the skin covering his cyborg neck has been slashed open, revealing the bloody tubes and wires underneath. AARON RODGERS’s eyes are blackened and swollen shut. DREW BREES is shirtless and shows obvious signs that most of his ribcage has shattered. He vomits as a STRIKE TEAM MEMBER laughs and brings the butt of his rifle down across TOM BRADY’s face, slashing his cheekbone.
A VOICE reverberates through the room, a twisted, maniacal, guttural laugh full of hate and malice. A large shadow becomes visible at the end of the room.
???: Welcome, friends, to the future.
THE SHADOWY FIGURE reaches into his pocket and reveals BLAINE GABBERT’s Trion:Z Dual Loop Ionic Magnetic Therapy Bracelet. He crushes it between his gigantic forefinger and thumb. He approaches PEYTON MANNING.
???: This is how it starts.
THE SHADOWY FIGURE clasps PEYTON MANNING’s neck with his hand and crushes it easily, as MANNING gasps out a cybernetic scream. MANNING crumples to the floor, electrical impulses passing through his lifeless limbs, causing them to twitch and flail grotesquely.
???: And this is how it ends.
THE SHADOWY FIGURE exits the room. The doors close behind him, and the dull sound of bones crushing under combat boots accompany the door slam. The screams of AARON RODGERS, TOM BRADY, and DREW BREES fade into the ether as a wry smile crosses THE SHADOWY FIGURE’s face.
???: Nothing can stop me now.
BLAINE GABBERT is startled awake by a deafening clack. Harsh, piercing light pours in through his closed windows. The pounding sound of helicopter blades slicing through the air reverberates off of the walls. GABBERT checks the time. 5:12 AM. The hollow sound of heavy boots on hardwood floors shakes GABBERT to his core.
STRIKE TEAM MEMBER: He’s in here. Let’s kick down this door.
The door to GABBERT’S bedroom comes crashing down off of its hinges, splintering as it hits the ground. The SWAT TEAM MEMBERS look around, illuminating the room with the flashlight attachments on their automatic assault rifles. The curtains flutter in the wind. GABBERT is gone. So is the lockbox.
STRIKE TEAM CAPTAIN (into headset): He’s gone, sir.
???: Let him go. He’s powerless to stop us now. He’s no hero.
Meanwhile, in the alleys of some quiet San Francisco neighborhood, the sound of a man tripping over a spandex suit echoes through the crisp early morning air.
TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT TIME ON: The Continuing Adventures Of The Flow!