66 of 66 Wheeler

MAGNUM, P.I. / LEGACIES - PART 1

Brian S. Wheeler

November, 23rd, 2013

Universal/NBC owns all characters. No copyright infringement intended.

TEASER

INT. UNIVERSITY LECTURE HALL

The opening camera is centered upon a large bulletin featuring a photo of a middle-eastern woman wearing a hajib. Above the woman's face, large, white letters read: "The Higgins Foundation Lecture Series. Delaram Sahar. Afghani Eduction Reformer and Women's Right Advocate. Author of Battle for a Girl's Mind and the War of a Nation, the Higgins Symposium's 1st Annual Book of the Year." At the bottom of the bulletin is the Higgins Foundation seal: a white hibiscus on a green circle, surrounded by the Latin words PACEM (Peace), ILLUSTRATIO (Enlightenment), INTELLECTUS (Understanding).

A crowded lecture hall of students applauds as a DELARAM SAHAR, a woman in her 20's wearing a hajib, walks to a podium. In the background, we see her brother ATASH SAHAR smiling and joining in the applause. Delaram smiles brightly and waves at the students. She shakes hands with a female college instructor and the hall quiets for her remarks.

Delaram

It has been a tremendous privilege to travel your United States these recent months, a privilege I could not afford without the generous support of the Higgins Foundation. It has been an honor to work with such an organization dedicated to the spread of peace to all corners of the globe, an organization whose influence has helped stem the epidemic of malaria, brought drinkable water to so much of the developing world, and has combatted the spread of AIDS to name only a few of such a foundation's achievements. It has been a great honor to be named this year's winner of the first book award established in the memory of Jonathan Quayle Higgins, and I am pleased to announce that I will be in attendance to accept such a meaningful award.

The camera zooms out from Delaram as the crowd gives another, short round of applause. Delaram's face blurs momentarily as the lens shifts its focus upon the profile of a man seated in the rear of the audience. A jagged scar cuts through the man's beard which is facing the camera. A scowl twists the man's lips. The camera focuses once more upon Delaram standing at the podium.

Delaram

I would never have dreamed to achieve so much as a girl born to my home's rural valley. Though I have witnessed the scarring of my friends and the burning of my schools, I still stand at this podium to encourage us to bring light to the last vestiges of shadow. I have survived a bullet close to my heart, but my love of learning has not been harmed. Many say I am only a girl, but my dream speaks for both woman and man.

The camera's depth of field now focusses on both Dalaram and the man with the scarred beard. The man stands and quietly excuses himself down the aisle as Delaram continues speaking.

Dalaram

Those who would wield guns to silence our pens will not prevail. My people, our people, will choose the liberty of ideas over the tyranny of darkness. This is my dream.

The camera follows the scarred man through one of the lecture hall's exits. The man withdraws a smartphone from an inner jacket pocket. He swipes his smartphone's screen and then pushes a button.

There is a loud bang from the podium in front of Delaram. The top of the podium flies into the air as a mist of red paint blossoms from the source of the small explosion. The audience shouts and screams and runs for the exits, red paint covering many of their faces, as crimson smoke billows out of the podium and fills the lecture hall. Atash runs onto the stage and leads Delaram out of the smoke as security personnel surround them. The camera zooms in closer upon Delaram to show that red paint covers her face, her hajib and her dress.

Outside in the hall, the man with the jagged scar smiles as he blends into the crowd that rushes out of the lecture hall while police officers file into the door.

EXT. - Robin's Nest, 2014 - HAWAIIAN Sunset

The camera pans across the Robin's Nest's wading pool and beach, across estate grounds, and centers upon a curtained window. Music volume fades, replaced by the clacking sound of a typewriter.

INT. - ROBIN'S NEST, STUDY - SUNSET

Thomas Magnum sits behind Jonathan Higgins' old desk, his fingers methodically, carefully, pecking away at the keyboard of the Underwood typewriter upon which Higgins composed his memoirs, the very typewriter upon which Higgins - using the pseudo-name Robin Masters - wrote so many best-selling novels. The study has not changed in the twenty years since Higgins lived and worked at the estate. Higgins' matchstick bridge sits on a shelf behind Thomas' head. The encyclopedias still crowd the bookcases. The furniture has not changed. The single, striking difference is that a portrait of a proud Higgins posed with Zeus and Apollo at his sides now occupies the spot on the wall where Queen Elizabeth's picture had been.

Voice of Thomas Magnum narrates to the sound of the clacking typewriter.

A cruel thing about Paradise. The beauty of all those sunrises tricks you into believing it's timeless. Only, it's not. You sit in the sun and the shade, and without realizing it, watch the days pass into years, until suddenly, you hardly recognize the beaches and the trees. Faces you love vanish from the crowd. Cherished voices grow quiet, and as you watch one sunset fade into dark, you realize you can't stay in the garden forever. You feel betrayed, and you can't help but think all the splendor is wicked.

There is a soft knock upon the study's open door. The typewriter turns quiet. Thomas glances up sharply, instantly smiling at LILY MAGNUM standing in the doorway.

Lilly Magnum is in her early thirties. She is tall like her father, with her mother's dark hair falling upon her shoulders. She smiles, softly, back at her father sitting behind the desk. Though her expression shows she is proud of her father, its manner also conveys a sadness she feels towards him.

Lily

Pounding away at the old memoirs again?

Thomas

Trying.

Lily

Have you found your way back to the start?

Thomas

Not really. Feels like I can't get past the end.

Lily

It might help if you left the analog age and entered the digital one. Don't see how you bang on a typewriter.

Thomas

It helps me think.

Thomas tries to peck a few characters more. The typewriter rings, and Thomas pushes the carriage back to the start. He stands from the desk, dressed in tan slacks topped with a tweed sports coat with leather patches on the elbows. He drifts to the small table holding a crystal decanter, and pours himself and Lily a small drink of sherry.

Lily

To the symposium.

Thomas hesitates to raise his glass.

Thomas

The first drink is always to the regiment.

Thomas downs his drink. Lily sets hers back upon the table.

Lily

The ghosts have you again tonight.

Thomas

You should hear the spooks that creak around here at night.

Thomas returns to the picture of Higgins and the lads. He sighs, and then makes a show of leveling the portrait in front of his daughter.

Lily

He would be very proud of you, father. You've helped make this writer's retreat he dreamed about a reality, and your work keeps it healthy and alive.

Thomas

Oh, I just wipe away all the terrible dust. It's been seven years since he's passed. Seven years. I thought losing those you loved would be easier after I survived the war. I thought it would feel, somehow, natural maybe to watch a loved one pass away after a full lifetime. Thought it wouldn't feel anything like losing somebody to a sniper's bullet, or to a mine. But there wasn't anything easy, or natural about watching the cancer take Higgins. It's been seven years, and that hole in my heart remains as wide as any of the others.

Lily hugs her father, and Thomas wipes at his eye before gently pushing Lily away from him and smiling.

Thomas

And Higgins would beam to see you standing here. You made him so happy, Lily. He would be proud of you, not me. I think he knew fate would put you at the head of his foundation. This symposium honors him. I wish he was here to see it.

Lily

I'll never forget the look on Higgins' face when we got him that pup after Apollo finally left him. You know how he didn't smile all afternoon chasing that poor pup around the estate like the old majordomo he was. The look on his face when that dog relieved himself on one of his carpets. But I peeked at them that first night when Higgins thought I left the study. That dog was in his lap, and I didn't think a man could smile so wide. That dog was with him in the end. Poor dog was never the same after Higgins passed. A good thing, a dog. You know, a dog around here might do this place some good.

Lily's suggestion breaks the gloom, and Thomas chuckles.

Thomas

It certainly would not.

Lily

Seriously, a dog could help with security.

Thomas

Now you're the one possessed by ghosts, Lily. You sound just like Higgins used to.

Lily

There's some big names attending the symposium. Some of them are not well-liked. And Dalaram Sahar is going to be the symposium's first award recipient.

Thomas

You've every right to be nervous. But have some faith in your father. I haven't always been the official curator of the Jonathan Higgins' archives and writers' retreat. I think I still know a little when it comes to security. By the weekend, I'll have this place buttoned up nice and tight. We do not need a dog.

Lily

I'm not just worried about security. I worry about you, holed up in this timeless estate. The world still spins outside the gate. You're not some dusty piece of parchment just yet. A dog might provide you company. Give you a reason to venture out into the sun.

Thomas

You make me sound like a hermit vampire, Lily. I leave the gate. I have friends. I have Rick and T.C.'s weekly Poker game.

Lily

The three of you holing up in T.C.'s basement is not getting out in the world, dad. You just think about a dog. But for tonight, I'm not going to argue any further. I want to get back to the big island in time for dinner and a movie.

Thomas

Do you have a date?

Lily

I wouldn't tell you if I did. The symposium's this weekend, and that doesn't leave enough time for me to hold any man's hand while you run intelligence on his background. But I'll be back first thing in the morning. Set your alarm clock early.

Thomas

Stay here at the estate tonight. No need driving back if you're going to be here so early.

Lily

And sleep on the guest house's couch? No way. You should open up Higgins' old room and use it. Keep the guest house open, for, you know, guests.

Thomas

Too many spooks. Let me at least walk you out.

Thomas escorts Lily from the study through the estate's foyer and out the main, double doors. Here, the camera affords us the luxury of nostalgia as it sweeps over the old grounds. The lawns and all the flowers remain well-kept. None of the short, stone walls have been allowed to crumble. The beach and the waters still sparkle in the last bit of sunlight.

Lily's vehicle is the only one in the circle drive, a simple and affordable, two-door coupe. Thomas reminds her to buckle the seat belt and lingers as Lily drives from the estate.

Lily does not notice the motorcycle hidden in the thick trees across from the estate. The camera moves away from Lily's car rolling down the road and magnifies through the canopy to center upon a pair of binoculars peering over the estate's walls and into the grounds. The binoculars lower to reveal a man's face beneath a vintage, navy blue St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap. The man writes something in a notebook before the camera descends to center upon a backpack at the base of the tree, from which spill timers, wires and cylindrical tubing, pieces that might appear to even the untrained eye to be bomb-making components.

INT. - THE ROBIN'S NEST - THE GUEST HOUSE - DAWN

The snores of a sleeping Thomas thunder from the couch. The camera hovers overhead to show that the guest house's decor, like the estate proper, has changed little over thirty years. Cardboard boxes, however, spill from the closet and the bedroom. The boxes cover the guest house floor and kitchen, brimming with knick-knacks and mementoes from Thomas' time as a private investigator and intelligence officer.

The camera focuses a close-up on an old, digital alarm clock, and Thomas' face blurs in the background. Suddenly, a loud bang pops in the background. Thomas stirs. His hand slaps the silent alarm clock. There is a second bang, followed quickly by a third. Thomas leaps from the couch at the sound of a fourth and darts to the closet, tripping over cardboard boxes stacked in his path. He frantically searches through his closet as bangs repeatedly pop outside. Finally, he finds his Colt handgun and hustles outside after loading his weapon (an homage to episode 2 of season one where Magnum is first seen loading a clip into the weapon).

The camera trails Thomas as he jogs toward the estate, the camera taking time to focus upon the large patches of blue paint splattered upon the guest house's walls. There is another bang, and Thomas watches as a blue mist explodes into the air and stains the estate's front wall. Thomas is panting when he reaches the estate's front doors, and before he can work the lock with a stubborn house key, a bang sounds from above, and Thomas' face is sprayed by another mist of blue paint.

His eyes stinging from the paint, Thomas stumbles through the foyer, failing to notice that Lily and two men, one wearing a vintage St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap (DALTON BOOKER) and the other a white Navy uniform (OFFICER TUCKER HANSON), stand just inside the door. Reaching the estate's study, Thomas pounds at the phone's buttons.

Thomas

Get me the police. A terrorist attack's occurring at the Masters' Estate. What? The Robin's Nest. I can't remember the address. There are explosions.

Lily walks slowly into the study.

Lily

Dad. It's alright. Dad. Listen.

Thomas

Get down, Lily! Stay away from the windows!

Lily

Put down the phone. Dad. It's fine. Take a breath.

Thomas

There are bombs, Lily. Hello, police?

Lily

I know, Dad. I asked for them. Relax. Put the gun down. I didn't think you still kept that thing in your closet. It's fine, Dad. The bombs have stopped now.

Thomas doesn't say anything as he listens for another bang. He is panting for breath as Lily casually takes the phone from him. His daughter at his side, Thomas lowers his gun.

Lily.

Yes? Officer? I'm afraid that we have a false alarm. Yes. I know it's no joke calling 911 like this, but let me get Officer Hanson on the phone. He'll explain.

The man in the naval uniform nods at Thomas before accepting the phone and murmuring into the line as Lily pulls Thomas onto the couch and pours him a small sherry.

Thomas

Officer Hanson? What's Officer Hanson doing here?

Lily

Dad. I want you to catch your breath and listen to me.

The man in the vintage baseball cap peeks into the study. Lily waves him to come forward, and the camera pans back to show that the man strides upon a pair of prosthetic legs, his natural limbs lost from the knees down. The man waves shyly at Thomas before drifting into one of the study's corners.

Thomas

Who's that?

Lily

I'm afraid I have to say he's the man who's planted the paint bombs about the estate.

Thomas

Paint bombs? Lily, what's going on? You. I should punch you something special.

Lily

He was only doing his job. Calm down. It's your adrenaline.

Thomas

You'll have to excuse me, but bombs in the morning will do that to a person.

Lily

They've left you just blue in the face.

Thomas takes a breath and frowns. But Lily winks, and Thomas' breathing calms.

Thomas

You better start at the beginning, Lily. What job?

Officer Hanson sets the phone down and takes a seat next to Thomas on the couch.

Officer Hanson

I'd hoped we would get back in touch over a round of golf, Magnum. Certainly not over this. But you better let me fill you in on what's going on. Lily's only following my advice.

Thomas

I'm all ears, Tucker. Please do.

Officer Tucker Hanson

Two weeks ago, a paint bomb not unlike those planted about the estate this morning detonated in the lecture hall at Northwestern University at the outset of a speech given by peace activist and education reformer Delaram Sahar. Delaram and several students were covered in red paint, but no one sustained any injuries. Nonetheless, the attack rattled many of Delaram's close advisors, including her brother Atash Sahar, and at her brother's advice, Delaram considered canceling her tour throughout the states.

Thomas

I know. That kind of news about a guest scheduled to give your event's keynote speech will get your attention. But that doesn't explain why that guy in that ugly Cardinals ball cap planted paint bombs across the estate.

The man in the cap takes a towel from a satchel slung upon his shoulder and offers it to Magnum.

Thomas

Thanks. Now who are you? And how do you fit in with this chaos?

Dalton

Dalton Booker. Retired U.S. Marine Corporal. Canine handler and demolitions expert with Marine Special Operations.

Thomas

So you're not the pizza boy. Again, why are you planting paint bombs all over this estate?

Officer Hanson

Corporal Booker lost both legs to an IED while searching for a terrorist we know only by the name of Mongoose, who we believe to be the premier bomb-maker behind a string of explosions from the Hindu Kush to Kashmir. We don't have a face, a name or even a description. We're chasing a ghost. Booker was on his trail when that IED detonated in the Ghanzi providence of Afghanistan and effectively put him out of commission, which in turn effectively put us off the Mongoose's trail. Would you say that's about right, Booker?

Dalton

I also lost my dog.

Officer Tucker Hanson

A detail I apologize for leaving out. Mongoose's trail remained cold until two weeks ago, when that paint bomb exploded in a lecture hall in the Northwestern University.

Dalton

Doesn't take a master bomb-builder to pack a big boom, but it takes real sophistication to pack a bomb that sounds so loud and sprays the paint so fine. I believe there's plenty reason to think the Mongoose has Delaram Sahar in his sights. I might be able to prove it if I could get my hands on an undetonated device. Might learn who Mongoose really is.

Thomas

And you guys are looking to set a trap. The two of you are thinking this estate, and the coming symposium, is just the place and event. I don't think I like the idea of putting my guests in that kind of danger.

Lily

It's not just that.

Officer Tucker Hanson

You're daughter's right, Magnum. The President himself spoke with Delaram and encouraged her to continue with her tour. He holds her message in the utmost regard. The President doesn't want to give men like the Mongoose the victory of turning Delaram quiet.

Thomas

And so you all decide to test the estate's security? But why keep me out of the loop? I thought I'd earned more respect from you, Tucker, than that from my second stint in intelligence.

Dalton

That was my idea. I needed to catch you unaware to get a real sense of where the security really was. I had to get a true baseline. Figured I'd used paint bombs as those were the Mongoose's most recent device. Forgive me for it. But if it's any consolation, the security was pretty dang terrific for a private writer's retreat.

Thomas

Well thanks, Dalton. You see, it's not my first time around the block so to say.

Lily

Dad, you can park the sarcasm. This stuff is serious.

Thomas

And you think you're more aware of that fact than I am? Forgive me for being cross, gentlemen, but I thought I left all this cloak and dagger stuff behind years ago. Thought I'd had every right to. Thought I'd given, and lost, plenty to have earned some peace. And I hate bombs.

Lily sits next to Thomas and hugs his neck. Thomas sighs. His shoulders fall. He nods, and Lily knows he has come through another storm cloud.

Officer Hanson

Magnum, at my behest, Lily's agreed to put Booker on the estate leading up and through the weekend's symposium. Boys at the office think it best if Booker gives a hand with security out here, be here to spring the trap should Mongoose show up. Booker's gotten closer to the man than anyone else ever has.

Thomas

Twenty, hell even ten, years ago, I would've argued with you, Tucker. But not now. I'm too old for this stuff. The corporal's welcome to stay. I'm no longer too proud for the help. What do I call you, son?

Dalton

Friends call me Booker.

Thomas

So I'll call you Dalton for at least the rest of the morning. For at least however long it takes me to get this paint out of my eyes.

Lily

I told Booker he could stay in the guest house.

Thomas

Now you go too far, Lily.

Lily

You're fine with this?

Thomas

I know better than to think there's anything I can do about it. But he's going to have to get rid of that ball cap. I can't stand the Cardinals. And he's going to have to trade those carpenter pants and wrinkled t- shirt in for a suit for the event this weekend. It's a literary symposium coming this weekend, and there are standards to follow.

Lily

You do know who you sound like? Now it's you who's channeling ghosts.

Thomas

Strange days. Dalton, you can have the couch.

Lily

You're not serious.

Thomas

I don't think he'll mind. I've a feeling Dalton there's slept in places a lot harder. Grab your gear and follow me. Maybe you can fix me some breakfast while I try to rub some of this paint out of my hair before attending a very important appointment I have to keep.

Thomas rubs his face with the towel and winces as he spreads further blue paint into his eyes. Then, he strides out of the study without making any offer to help Dalton with his gear. Dalton doesn't miss a step and quickly catches up to Thomas. As he holds the guest house's door open for Dalton, Thomas appears to look up, gaze directly into the camera, and wink.

EXT. - HAWAII HIGHWAY / TOWARDS SOUTH SHORE - MORNING

Camera provides the classic shot of Thomas Magnum driving down the Hawaiian highway. Only, he is not driving his trademark Ferrari at this time (its return is the focus of episode three of season nine). Thomas drives the estate's newest black Audi. The camera shifts from a wide, overhead view to a street-side shot as Magnum turns off the highway and pulls into the circle drive of Rick's resort and hotel. The following narration begins during the overhead highway shot and finishes as Magnum steps out of the Audi and presents the keys to a valet.

Thomas Narration

Maybe I'd retreated too long behind the estate's walls following my second retirement from the Navy a little more than ten years ago. Maybe I was starting to get a little soft upstairs in my age. But for whatever reason, waking up to a string of banging explosions and a face full of paint left me feeling exhilarated. I suspected I should have felt some dread, more than a little fear, that one of the world's most wanted terrorists was planning to crash our weekend party. But I didn't. I felt happy, and maybe the person I was about to meet at Rick's resort had more than a little to do with it. The sun looked brighter than it had for a long time, and the air through the window felt fresher. For the first time in years, I had to remind myself to keep my foot from getting too heavy on the accelerator.

Thomas walks into Rick's resort, and the camera takes a little time to show that Rick runs a first-class, popular establishment. Thomas nods at a few waiters who are preparing tables for the coming lunch crowd before walking through the kitchen - where he waves at the cooks - before entering a long, wide bar overlooking a beach filled with tourists and sunbathers. Rick Wright sits at the end of the bar, murmuring into a phone and typing on a notebook computer.

As he sees Magnum, Rick smiles and nods before flipping his cell phone into his pocket. This scene is not a reunion. The friends do not give the sense they have been separated through the years. The camaraderie remains.

Rick

Thomas, wait until you see her. We've gotten fat, and ugly. But, Thomas, wait until you see her. I've gotten her to promise to come back for dinner on the house tonight, so you better not chase her off before I can serve her the best the house has to offer.

Thomas

I'm not going to chase anyone away. She has to stay for the symposium.

Rick

I mean it, Thomas. She's flown all this way from Boston. Don't let her just hole up in her hotel room with her work and her computer. Get her out of there. Remind her of the sun we have around these parts.

Thomas

I promise to try. But you know how stubborn she is.

Rick

This isn't one of our weekend Poker games. No excuses. Tell me that's not blue paint in your hair.

The camera centers upon a table set upon the beach behind Rick's resort. Carol Baldwin's hair has turned silver, a change from the years that has left her more beautiful than ever. She is sipping from a giant drink Rick has crowded with paper umbrellas. She beams a smile upon seeing Magnum, and standing, meets him halfway in an embrace before returning to the table.

Carol

Is that blue paint in your hair? No. I don't think I want to know.

Thomas

It's been too long, Carol.

Carol

Four years since Steven's funeral.

Thomas

I'm sorry.

Carol

Enough of that, Thomas. I didn't fly out here to wade in the melancholy of memory. I'm here for the symposium. Higgins continues to amaze me. Makes a fortune writing pulp novels with a pseudonym. Changes the world with the memoirs of his real name. What sounds more incredible?

Thomas

I've wondered that many times myself since I've been running the estate.

Carol

You finding any clues in any old boxes?

Thomas

Not really.

Thomas raises a finger at a passing waiter, who immediately sets a bottle of Coops upon the table.

Thomas

How are your boys?

Carol

Jackson graduates next spring from law school. And Alex, well, Alex's a free spirit. Right now, he's still wading through year five of an English major.

Thomas

His is a golden heart. Don't hurry that one away from the incredible, Carol. You just watch.

Carol

Don't fault a mother, Thomas.

Thomas

Considering those boys you've raised, I wouldn't dare.

Carol

Thomas, turns out the symposium isn't the only business that's pulled me back here. There's something I think its time to give you. Something that Higgins made me promise, as executor of his estate, to wait before I showed you. Understand, Thomas. It was one of the last things he requested.

Carol takes a leather journal, the size of a paperback book, out of her purse and sets it on the table. Thomas doesn't say anything. He doesn't reach for it. He just stares at it.

Carol

Higgins told me that it was the most important thing he'd ever written, and he demanded that you would be the first to read it. Higgins said he didn't know what should be done with it, but that you would. However, he said he wanted some time to pass before you looked at it. Said you would need the perspective. Higgins promised that I would know, that I would feel, when that time had come. Maybe it's because of all the preparations for the symposium, Thomas, but I can hardly sleep for thinking about that leather journal and that promise I made to Higgins. So maybe that tells me now's the time to give it to you as Higgins wished.

Thomas' hands are shaking as he reaches for the leather journal. He carefully opens the first several pages, scanning their contents. His face is pensive.

Thomas

It's hand-written, Carol. Higgins always typed his manuscripts. I had no idea he kept a journal.

Carol

Apparently, he kept that. What do you think it's about, Thomas? Could there be new stories?

Thomas

I can hope. How I miss his stories. What I wouldn't give to have Higgins sitting next to us, rambling on about North Africa or Malaysia. I never realized how much I depended on those stories.

Carol

Have you ever thought you may have been a sounding board for him? Maybe even an editor in a way? Sure, those memoirs may not have sold as many copies as all his Masters novels, but they've helped the world. Higgins established his foundation after publishing those memoirs. He never wrote another Masters novel again. For all we knew, he never wrote anything again. All his work as Robin Masters must've felt silly to him after he finished with his memoirs.

Thomas

Carol, why do you think he never told me he was Robin Masters? Why do you think he tried so long to keep it from me?

Carol

Because he was never Robin Masters, Thomas. It's been all this time, and you still don't seem to understand. When you first met him, Higgins owed all his fame and wealth to a fictional name. Think how lonely it must've been for him shambling in that estate he earned, even though he couldn't tell anyone that he was the true writer of all those pulp novels (the reason for Higgins' secrecy would be another great plot idea of an episode in Season 9). Thomas, you were his best friend. Always. He never wanted you to know him as Robin Masters. He only ever wanted you to know him for who he truly was, Jonathan Quayle Higgins. He loved you, Thomas. I don't think he could bear with the thought that you might think him as someone else.

Thomas

Thank you. I've always thought I was so clever. Naval intelligence. Private investigation. And I couldn't see that.

Carol

It's alright, Thomas.

Thomas

I know you don't want to wallow in memory's melancholy, but what do you say we take a drive? Visit some of the old places? See your old house? Maybe the old office? Lunch is too brief.

Carol

I can't Thomas. I promised Lily and that I would great Delaram Sahar this afternoon at the airport, that I would help Delaram get settled into the hotel. She's had a rough last couple of weeks.

Thomas

Yeah, Naval Intelligence and a demolition expert showed up at the estate this morning to fill me in on it.

Carol

What? No, don't tell me. Not here. Not now. You're right, Thomas. Lunch is too brief. I'm free later tonight. Maybe dinner? What do you say?

Thomas

I know just the place. Nice, five-star resort set just on the beach. Owner might be on the sly side, but I hear good things.

Carol

And I'm warning you Thomas, I expect to be treated like a lady. No cheap pitchers of Coops. I expect to be treated to some luxury following yesterday's flight.

Thomas

I promise to spare no expense.

Carol

Then meet me in the lobby at seven.

Carol gives Thomas an affectionate kiss on the forehead before turning and walking back into the hotel. Alone, Thomas' attention returns to the leather journal. Thomas opens the first page, takes a sip of his Coops, and begins to read.

INT. AIRPORT BAGGAGE CLAIM - MIDDLE OF THE DAY

Carol Baldwin stands at the edge of a crowd waiting for arriving passengers, holding a poster that displays the Higgins Foundation logo. Passenger luggage rotates around the carousel in the background. Delaram Sahar, escorted by her brother Atash and a trio of bodyguards in dark glasses and dark suits, walks into the baggage claim and smiles as she notices Carol's welcoming sign.

Carol

Hello, Delaram. My name's Carol Baldwin, and it's a great honor to welcome you on behalf of the Higgins Foundation. Our symposium is blessed to have such a recipient for our first award, and we're so thankful you decided to attend our ceremony in person despite recent events.

Delaram

We both share in the honor, Ms. Baldwin. Funds raised by the Higgins Foundation constructed the first school I attended in my country. Mr. Higgins even wrote to our class to encourage us. He made sure our library did not remain devoid of books. I had the impression, even then, that Mr. Higgins made sure to encourage us girls. I don't believe I would have achieved what I have without him.

Carol

He was a special and unique man.

Delaram

Did you know him?

Carol

I am lucky to say that I did. He was a good friend.

Delaram

I must find the time between now and my departure for you to share stories of him with me. I would so like to learn more of who he was.

Carol

Delaram, it is my belief that you make his spirit happy by just asking me that.

The camera blurs Carol and Delaram's profiles. Refocussing and shifting slightly into the background, the lens again refocusses upon the face of a man with a jagged scar running through his beard. The man puts down a cheap, paperback (if the camera is focussed enough we might see that it is a copy of an early Robin Masters book) and stands from a bench. He does not turn to look behind him as he walks away from Carol and Delaram.

Carol

You must be exhausted. Can I help with any of your bags?

Delaram

Oh, I don't think so. I have learned that my security is quick to handle such things, regardless how I might wish it was otherwise.

Carol

The last couple weeks must've been rough.

Delaram

I have dealt with such resistance ever since I walked into that school so long ago. A different man. A different method. But the motive still feels the same.

Carol

I admire your courage.

Delaram

But I don't find it so courageous. I don't feel like a hero. I feel I only do what I must. Like I do when I breath. When I sleep. When I laugh, or cry. Resisting that hate seems as natural. Perhaps you think my thoughts strange?

Carol

I don't think them strange at all.

Delaram

Higgins repeated the sentiment in his memoirs, but it is so much easier to destroy than to create. I hope the world might see me as a creator when I ascend from this world. And then there's my pride. I don't want those who destroy to have the satisfaction of watching me cower in fear, of hearing my voice go quiet. More than my death, Ms. Baldwin, that is what they truly desire.

One of Delaram's security guards reaches for a piece of luggage as the bag explodes open with bang that echoes throughout baggage claim. People scream as red paint splatters across their clothing, faces and the walls. Bystanders sprint towards the exits, jump face-down onto the floor and shout for help as the bag continues to emanate red smoke, quickly filling the baggage claim.

As alarms wail, the camera shifts to a shot of a pair of glass exit doors. The doors open as Carol and Delaram helped by the security guards cough and stumble into the open air. Both women are shaken, but neither woman is screaming or showing signs of panic. As they trade glances, their resolute expressions are those of defiance.

EXT. - ROBIN'S NEST - BEACH / WADING POOL - AFTERNOON

Lily Magnum strolls down the beach, approaching Dalton Booker, who lays in the sun in long swimming trunks and a sleeveless t-shirt stained with blue splotches from his work earlier in the day removing paint from the walls of the guest and main house. Dalton's prosthetic limbs rest, unattached, at his side. A bucket of ice and Coop beer bottles rest near his hand. The camera focusses on Dalton's face, showing that he is asleep, and that his eyes twitch in dream.

EXT. - Ghanzi Province, Afghanistan - Roadside

The camera shows us the view out of a soldier's eyes, who is walking on patrol along a dusty roadside. Soldiers walk in front and next to them, their backs stooped for the gear they carry. Lines are blurred and hazy. Sound is muffled, but the barking of a dog draws the soldier's attention to his side.

A black German shepherd lowers its nose to the ground and strides ahead of the soldier on a long leash. The soldier tries pulling the dog back as the animal drifts ahead and to the side of the road. But his efforts can not draw the slack from the leash. The soldier scans to his left and right. His comrades pay him no notice.

The dog is further ahead now, still sniffing at the ground. The soldier cups his hands to his mouth and draws a breath before he screams towards the dog.

Dalton

"Gyp! Gyp! Gyp!"

EXT. - ROBIN'S NEST - BEACH / WADING POOL - AFTERNOON

Dalton

"Gyp! Gyp! Gyp!"

Lily

Booker! Wake up! It's Lily! You're on the beach!

Dalton jerks awake. He gasps as he sees Lily standing over him. He scans his surroundings before taking a deep breath. He reaches for his prosthetic limbs and fidgets to buckle them back upon his legs.

Lily

Bad dream?

Dalton

You just surprised me is all.

Lily

I hope that's not your reaction every time a woman walks by on the beach.

Dalton

I'm sorry if I alarmed you.

Lily

It's fine, Dalton. But you should wear a sunhat, at least some sunblock. Haven't you learned that overexposure to the sun will give you skin cancer?

Dalton

You sound like my mother. And that sunhat is ridiculous.

Lily

The days of bikinis are at an end, my friend. How did you do with the paint?

Dalton

I think I got all of it. Let your father do inspection tomorrow. Confident I'll scrub away any lingering splotches in time for the symposium. I was surprised how well your father took everything this morning.

Lily

I was too before I thought about it some more. You see, he was once hired to test the estate's security, and the man who ran the estate then didn't welcome him with open arms. I think you reminded him of that. I don't think dad wanted you to feel ostracized because you had a job to do.

Dalton

I met him once.

Lily

My father? You're joking.

Dalton

No. The other man. Jonathan Higgins. The man in the picture with those dobermans in the study. I met him once.

Lily

You're serious?

Dalton

La Porte, Indiana. Not terribly far from where I grew up. It was at a dog show. Dog sport. A Schutzhund trial. The estate here would be a great place for a Schutzhund trial.

Lily

Good luck with that.

Dalton

I had just read his memoirs. I think I was fourteen, and I couldn't stop dreaming of all those places described in that book, of all those adventures. Would you believe I've never read a Robin Masters' novel?

Lily

They're wonderful. In the same way junkfood is wonderful.

Dalton

My parents raised and trained dogs on the side, and so here we are at this dog trial in Northern Indiana, and who do I see staring at all the dogs but Jonathan Higgins.

Lily

He loved dogs. We had the hardest time convincing him to get a new dog when Apollo passed shortly after Zeus.

Dalton

He didn't make any secret of how he loved those dogs at the trial. I go running up to him, blathering about his memoirs, asking him to tell me more about the Burma campaign. But all he wanted to talk about was my dog. It was the first shepherd I ever really worked and competed with. Name was Toro. Higgins wouldn't tell me anything about those memoirs, but he sure gave me a lot of advice about dogs.

Lily

Was it good advice?

Dalton

Never got any better. Two weeks later and there's a picture of me working Toro in the trial. Higgins took it. He signed it and wished me luck. Told me how special it was to have a dog like the one I had. I used it as my bookmark whenever I read those memoirs over and over. I think meeting Higgins at that trial branded me.

Lily

What do yo mean?

Dalton

I've come to think it's the main reason why I signed up for the Corps. To have adventures with my dog. To have stories like the ones Jonathan Higgins knew. Only, I didn't get many stories. Instead, I lost my legs. I lost my dog.

Lily

Booker, do you believe in ghosts?

Dalton

No. And I don't believe in magic.

Lily

That's sad. I believe in both. And maybe there's a reason why you find yourself at Higgins' home after all these years. You might find there's something here you need. Dalton? What's wrong. Your face just twisted as if a ghost is just what you've seen.

Dalton

It's the Mongoose. He's struck again.

The camera moves behind Dalton. Carol Baldwin steps into view, centered in the fence gate leading to the beach. Her suit pants and jacket are splattered with red paint. Behind Carol, Thomas greets Delaram and Atash. Lily turns and runs to Carol, and over her shoulder we see Delaram leaning upward towards Thomas, as if trying to whisper something to him. Thomas sighs and hugs Lily as she reaches them, and then Lily embraces Carol. Thomas, Lily, Carol, Delaram and Atash walk out of the frame towards the main house.

Dalton finds a rock on the beach and sends it skimming across the wading pool with a frustrated throw. He finishes buckling his prosthetic legs to his knees. He stands, and stares at the deepening sunset, as if unsure what his next direction should be.

INT. - ROBIN'S NEST, STUDY

Thomas, Lily, Carol, Officer Hanson, Dlaton, Delaram and Atash are gathered in the study. Thomas sets behind Higgins' desk, listening to Delaram and Atash argue.

Atash

Show some sense, sister. You can't possibly still want to speak at this symposium.

Delaram

I want to speak more than ever.

Atash

Think of your family. Remember what your cause did to our father.

Delaram

He did not understand, and this is no place to summon his ghost.

Atash

And what if the next bomb's not made of paint? How many would you hurt in your war?

Delaram

One I did not start. Nor one I will surrender.

Delaram opens a suitcase she has rolled into the study and pulls a cardboard box from it. She sets this on the desk in front of Thomas. Carol and Officer Hanson inch to peek at the contents as Delaram opens it. A stack of clean, white paper rests inside. A single, title line runs across the top page.

Delaram

This is why I have come. I do not brave the Mongoose only to accept a trophy. I brave the Mongoose to present my new book to the world. I can think of no better stage than at the Higgins Foundation symposium.

Carol

What is it?

Delaram

A book many in my country would burn. A book manny would kill me for writing. But is an honest book. One that shows our God has no mercy for tyrants. It is a book that can kill the Mongoose no matter where he may hide.

Officer Hanson

Surely, you have copies of this.

Delaram

And let others know of it? No. There is only this. And I show it so that you, Mr. Magnum, might keep it safe.

Thomas

You're brother's right, Delaram. You're in extreme danger. Are you sure you still want to attend the symposium?

Delaram

I have been in danger my whole life. The word is my only weapon against that jeopardy.

Thomas beams a wide smile.

Thomas

I was counting on you saying that. I know just the place for this.

Thomas walks to the portrait of Higgins and the lads. He pushes a candle holder, and the portrait slides open to reveal the estate's thick, old safe. Thomas deftly opens the safe in a wink, and he sets Delaram's manuscript box inside before latching the safe again shut.

Thomas

I doubt there's a safer place on the island.

Carol

Higgins couldn't keep you from whatever he put in that safe.

Thomas

No. He could not. I suggest everyone get a good night's rest. Officer Hanson has men posted at the gate and patrolling the grounds for tonight. Though I doubt the Mongoose will strike as he's already made his day's statement. Dalton, you and I are going to take the offensive to the Mongoose starting tomorrow.

Delaram

Thank you, Mr. Magnum.

Atash

My sister is blessed to have such a guardian.

Delaram and Atash exit as Lily shows them to their rooms. Dalton retreats into the foyer to wait for Thomas. Carol lingers behind.

Thomas

Afraid it wasn't much of a dinner.

Carol

But you still know how to show a girl an exciting night.

Carol again plants a kiss on Thomas' forehead before walking up the foyer staircase to her room. Thomas puts a hand on Dalton's shoulder and leads his young visitor to the guesthouse.

INT. - ROBIN'S NEST, GUEST HOUSE, THOMAS' BEDROOM

Thomas lays back in bed, a lamp glowing on the nightstand next to him. Higgins' leather journal rests on the nightstand as Thomas reads from an encyclopedia he has brought in with him from the study.

Thomas Narration

I had a lot to digest after the day - paint bombs, terrorists, secret journals, unexpected guests - and so I figured I couldn't really fault myself for having such a difficult time falling asleep. I knew that Mongoose was dangerous, that the next bomb might spray shrapnel far more lethal than paint. I knew I had no right to wish this day on anybody.

Thing was, a part of me felt thankful for it, not in the old sense, not in that excitement that used to come to me at the outset of a mission or a case. The house just felt right with people in it. I was thankful for the company.

And for the first time in years, it felt like Higgins was back in this estate with me, like I could knock on the main house's door, and Higgins would show me into the study and offer me a sherry, and a story, to help me put things in perspective like he did after I returned to Intelligence.

Higgins was with me tonight. My old gut told me that Higgins knew everything would be fine. That he had gathered all these people here for a reason.

But Higgins still made me search. His ghost would not whisper in my ear while I slept so that all secrets were revealed. I still needed to work for it.

So I burned the midnight oil scanning through Higgins' old encyclopedias. Something about the Mongoose reminded me of a story Higgins once told me. If I could remember the story, maybe I could decide where to start looking for the Mongoose.

A terrible din erupts from the guest house's main room. Thomas tosses the encyclopedia aside and rushes out of bed as Dalton screams. In the main room, Dalton is crawling across the floor. His breath is panting. His face is covered in sweat. His prosthetics remain unbuckled from his knees. Dalton screams again and throws cardboard aside, his hands sweeping the floor beneath, desperately searching for something, or someone.

Dalton

Gyp! Gyp! My legs! Gyp!

Thomas

It's alright, son. I'm here. It's a terrible dream.

Dalton

Gyp! Here! Sit! Down! Gyp! The Mongoose! Gyp!

Suddenly, Dalton finds something beneath the boxes. Dalton twirls and levels a black gun squarely at Thomas' forehead, his hands shake as panic makes his entire body tremble. The frame freezes, centered down the gun's black barrel.