R. Daniel Olk's and my version of Season 3. We'd love it if you'd read and review.

Neither of us own Big O, Sunrise, or Bandai and are keeping our day jobs because we aren't making any money from this.

If you want to read an alternative version of Act 29 go the profile for 7moondance and click on my home page.

ACT 29 – R. SMITH TAKE THREE

INTERIOR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER LOBBY

It is dark and quiet, and blue-toned. A heavy door sits locked like a tomb. Something pounds on the door steadily, and knocks it open. Snow blasts the camera. A wind-battered explorer trudges in, holding an ax. He shivers as he walks forward, and drops the ax to the floor.

EXPLORER 1

It's so cold it burns! Get inside, Smith.

Roger leans against the wall, catching his breath, also supported by an ax of his own. Explorers and their trucks dot the background. Roger straightens up and is about to walk in, but he hears a bang. Looking back, one of the trucks has broken down.

EXPLORER 1 (cont'd off-screen)

Come on!

Roger turns to Explorer 1 who stands inside the building. Fires surround him, sparks fall and a pipe leaks gas.

ROGER

Get back—!

Roger takes a step forward, but an explosion tints the scene orange. He turns away to the door, to shield himself. The outside world is an inferno. Cut to a room in a skyscraper, dozens of stories above ground. Paradigm City burns below while Big Duos glide through the air. One Big Duo begins strafing Roger's skyscraper; Roger hurries to close the door in a panic but sears his hands on the hot metal.

SCHWARZWALD (off-screen)

Hiding won't save you—you must wake up!

The ceiling rumbles and a Megadeus foot crashes down through the ceiling, nearly crushing Roger. Cut back to the icy room. Dorothy's hand is on Roger's shoulder.

DOROTHY

Roger?

Roger, scowling, shrugs Dorothy's hand from his shoulder.

ROGER (voiceover)

The madman's voice is always with me, always insisting that I wake up. Forty years ago

the residents of this city woke up to find that their memories had vanished. But finding lost memories

isn't as simple as waking up. If it were there would be those who might chose to sleep forever.

Roger trudges back into the snow, towards the broken truck where several explorers are trying to repair it. The scene dissolves into an overlay of a sedan stopping in front of Smith Mansion. MR. and MRS. LOVELL a middle-aged couple step out of the car and knock on the door.

INT. SMITH MANSION

The Lovells sit impatiently on one of the parlor's sofas. A guard stands behind the sofa. Norman attends them anxiously.

MRS. LOVELL

Mr. Smith DOES know we're here…

NORMAN

I'll see what's keeping him.

Cut to the solarium, near Roger's bedroom door. Roger and Dorothy are facing each other, Dorothy looks up at Roger, maintaining her usual inscrutable calm but it's clear that Roger is losing his.

ROGER

Look, I don't like games. Tell me why you're here.

DOROTHY

You must wait.

ROGER (shouting)

Out with it!

He pauses for a moment as if collecting himself, then smiles charmingly at Dorothy.

ROGER (Cont.)

I'd hate for all the young ladies of Paradigm to be jealous of a certain lovely redhead because...

DOROTHY

Your charm is wasted on me, Roger Smith. I will stay with you until you remember.

Norman walks over to the pair.

NORMAN

Excuse me, Master Roger, your appointment with the Lovells…

ROGER (glares at Dorothy)

Damn!

Facing Norman while pointing at Dorothy

ROGER (angrily)

The android has 15 minutes to explain its need to be here. If it refuses to do so you have my permission to get rid of it.

Roger storms off. The sound of the elevator door slamming shut is heard as Norman looks worriedly at Dorothy.

Cut to the parlor. Roger is seated across from the Lovells. Mr. Lovell takes a rolled up poster from his lap. He leans forward, lays it out on the table with a slight thwack, and pushes it closer to Roger. Across the top is written "Expedition into the Unknown."

MR. LOVELL

Our son dropped out of school to go on some wild ghost-chase.

ROGER

Where?

MR. LOVELL

The Eastern wastelands.

Roger frowns.

MRS. LOVELL

Nothing we say can change his mind.

ROGER

And you want me to—

MRS. LOVELL

Talk him into going back to college.

MR. LOVELL (disgusted)

And into chasing girls instead of ghosts.

ROGER (slight smile)

Hmm. Who's leading the expedition?

MR. LOVELL

All we know is what's on this poster. Do you think we should hire a private investigator?

ROGER (smugly)

That won't be necessary.

EXTERIOR PARADIGM CITY STREET

Cut to Roger in the Griffon, cruising down streets within a dome. He comes across a warehouse filled with trucks and people organizing supplies. Roger parks the Griffon and walks into the thick of the operation, dodging crates and pipes and swinging planks.

ROGER (shouting at group members)

Where can I find Skyler Moore?

The explorers ignore him and continue working.

ROGER (cont'd)

I need to speak with Jay Lovell. His family's worried about him.

Roger holds up a picture of Jay. The workers glance back at him for an instant. One hops down from atop a truck. Roger watches him approach. Somebody near Roger snatches the photo; Roger whirls around. It is an old janitor, who was taking a break nearby. He scrutinizes the photo for a moment, and then gives it back to Roger.

JANITOR

Mr. Moore, eh? He's at… 3501, 43rd Street.

ROGER (slightly surprised)

Thanks.

JANITOR (gestures towards photograph.)

I've got kids that age meself.

ROGER

I see—

Someone lays a hand on Roger's shoulder from behind, and snatches the photo from Roger with the other hand. The first hand pushes Roger away as he turns and grabs the assailant's sleeve. The assailant is a burly man who surrenders his over-shirt like a snake shedding skin.

EXPLORER 1

If you want to find Jay, dress for chilly weather. We'll need all the help we can get for this chase.

ROGER (waves shirt)

If you want this back, return that photo.

EXPLORER 1 (hearty laugh)

Paradigm City's top Negotiator, just like they say. G'wan home, Negotiator, this club's for adventurers only.

Roger grimaces and turns away toward the Gryphon carrying the shirt. He tosses it on the passenger seat as he gets in the car.

EXT. PARADIGM CITY

The Griffon cruises across an elevated highway, Domes in the distance.

ROGER (voiceover)

It's not every day that the people leave the safety of the domes to explore the do those "adventurers" expect to find?

The Griffon enters a tunnel. Reveal Angel in the passenger seat wearing Explorer 1's shirt.

ANGEL

I thought you already knew that, Roger.

The Griffon swerves, almost hitting the walls of the tunnel. Cut to the inside; Roger has one hand on the stick-shift, between him and the apparition.

ROGER

Who are you?

In the window behind Angel, the tunnel ends. Paradigm City looks like a retro-futuristic Manhattan. It shines bright, pristine and colorful.

ANGEL

The explorers are looking for the past. They believe that if they uncover the past they'll be able to restore Paradigm city to its former glory

.

ROGER

That's preposterous.

ANGEL

No it's not. (Seductively) You could make it happen, Roger Smith.

Angel's hand is resting on Roger's. Roger looks down, surprised, but when he looks back up, Angel and the altered Paradigm City have disappeared. The tunnel ends, revealing Paradigm City as usual.

ROGER (voice over)

Am I going insane? (Laughs without humor) Maybe those explorers are headed over the edge too.

EXT. QUAINT STREET

Roger pulls to a stop in front of a row-house. Pieces of 1950's style futuristic technology decorate the front of the house.

ROGER (wryly)

Is this a house or a museum?

Cut to Roger's hand on the doorbell, then to open door.

SKYLER (grinning)

You're not a cop and you're not a salesman, therefore you must be the negotiator.

ROGER

How could you tell?

SKYLER

That peculiar suit.

ROGER (offended)

Peculiar?

SKYLER

If my people trusted you with my address, you must have made an excellent argument.

ROGER (shrugs modestly)

I found out by accident.

SKYLER (amused)

I know. My assistant called me as soon as you left. You're an honest man, Mr. Smith. Jay is upstairs; I'll take you to him.

The man steps aside, arm swung behind him.

ROGER

You're Skyler Moore?

SKYLER (cheerfully)

That's me.

Cut to the second floor. An elevator closes in the background. Skyler stands beside Roger, who shakes hands with Jay.

ROGER

My name is Roger Smith and—

JAY

My parents hired you to bring me home.

Roger looks seriously at Jay, releasing his hand.

ROGER

They did.

JAY (to Skyler)

May I talk to Mr. Smith alone?

Cut to Jay and Roger standing near a window.

JAY (cont'd)

I guess I'm running from my fears.

ROGER

You're not drawn by a Memory?

JAY

No, not me. I don't know about the others.

ROGER

Then what has you worried?

Jay walks over to the fireplace and contemplates the fire for a moment then swirls to face Roger.

JAY (fervently)

Can't you feel it? The ground is shaking like everything's about to blow. The people who are supposed

to be in charge, like the Paradigm Corporation and the Military Police spend more time fighting each other than doing their jobs. Then there's that black megadeus that keeps running amok, tearing down whatever's left standing.

SCHWARZWALD (off-screen)

Give the boy credit, Roger Smith. He sees what the rest of the city ignores!

Cut to Schwarzwald, standing near the lit fireplace. He dangles a snow-globe of the Central Dome near the fire.

ROGER (commanding)

Are you really there?

JAY (laughs)

Of course! I know what I have to do to protect myself. My parents can't do that. They're—

ROGER (to Jay)

No, not you. (To Schwarzwald) YOU, in those ridiculous bandages!

Schwarzwald vanishes. Roger points at the spot in the air where Schwarzwald stood.

JAY

There's no one there. (Suddenly awestruck) Did something in this place stir a Memory?

Roger glances at some discarded androids and machinery displayed around the room. He looks down and relaxes slightly, breathing deeply.

ROGER

I must be hallucinating…

SCHWARZWALD

On the contrary—you finally see clearly!

ANGEL (off-screen)

Schwarzwald, explain your presence here! You're supposed to be dead!

Roger looks twice as shocked, and turns to see Angel standing beside Jay.

SCHWARZWALD (evil glee)

I came from within, to show him… this!

The fireplace erupts with a fireball. The screen turns red-orange. Pull back to show the skin of a massive tomato held in the arms of a Big O. Reveal a ring of Big O's standing around Paradigm Headquarters. The Central Dome lays shattered and the rest of Paradigm City is a smoldering ruin. Big Faus stand against Paradigm Tower like witches to be burned. The Big O's throw their tomatoes at every Big Fau. Big Duo's drop tomatoes from the sky. The tomato-splatter corrodes then begins to melt the Big Fau's. While this scene unfolds, Schwarzwald monologues.

SCHWARZWALD (off-screen)

A deception that you, Roger Smith, perpetuate in your refusal to expose the truth! YOU, wallowing in a falsely-immutable inner universe, refuse to acknowledge the fears that pervade you with every breath! You cravenly pretend to have no weakness, blinding yourself to everything but lies!

Roger whips his head left and right, trying to find the source of the voice. Suddenly he sees Big O standing among the ring of Big Fau's, about to suffer the same attack.

SCHWARZWALD (off-screen)

Do you even know how to stop it?

A Big Duo crashes its head into the ground nearby, facing Roger.

Roger screams

INT. SOLARIUM

Roger is lying on a sofa he stirs and tries to sit up, nearly knocking his head against Dorothy's. Their lips almost touch. Dorothy pulls back, seated on a chair beside the sofa. Roger sits up, rubbing his temples crossly.

DOROTHY

Skyler Moore and Jay Lovell brought you home after you fainted. Jay said to tell you that the Griffon was a real joy to drive.

Roger eyes pop fully open and he leaps to his feet.

ROGER (appalled)

That …that… KID drove MY car!

Roger stomps off toward the terrace. Dorothy follows.

DOROTHY

He also said that if you're you have anything more to say, you'll have to say it on the tundra because….

Roger leans against the balcony, and looks out at the foggy city. Dorothy hops up on the banister.

DOROTHY (cont'd)

The expedition leaves tomorrow.

ROGER (staring at city)

I have no choice but to go. If you can make yourself useful, you can come with me.

Dorothy hops down and walks back towards the Solarium.

ROGER (cont'd) (sly aside)

With that pale complexion, it would be easy to lose her in the snow.

DOROTHY

You really are a louse, Roger Smith.

Roger turns around, astonished.

ROGER

You heard that?

Roger spots Norman standing at the entrance to the solarium.

ROGER (cont'd)

Norman, I'm going to the Eastern wastelands for a few days.

NORMAN

Miss Dorothy informed me, Master Roger. I've packed your things and laid out your parka and long underwear.

ROGER (Looks at Dorothy, chagrined)

'Uh, thanks, Norman.

Dorothy is entering the solarium when Norman leans towards her confidentially.

NORMAN

I do hope you know what you're getting into, my dear.

INTERIOR GARAGE

The Griffon has supplies bound to its roof. Roger and Dorothy are seated; Roger is about to shut the driver-side door.

ROGER

I hope you know what you're getting into, R. Dorothy.

Roger slams the door and guns the engine.

DOROTHY (looking up and away from Roger)

We have a bargain, Angel. Reawaken him in the snow.

EXTERIOR PARADIGM CITY STREETS

Roger drives the Griffon up to a column of weathered pickup trucks, all laden with supplies. Dorothy holds an activated walkie-talkie. The device provides grainy audio quality.

SKYLER (radio)

Looks like the local authorities find us a bit suspicious.

Ahead, a roadblock of Military Police squad cars and one APC waits. Dorothy turns off the walkie-talkie and activates the Griffon's radio transceiver. The Griffon provides clear quality.

SKYLER (radio)

Ram 'em through! We've got more trucks than they do—Plows up front, now!

ROGER

I should let this pointless expedition end here, but all the same…

Roger accelerates past the column. The Griffon launches a smokescreen in front of the Military Police and Roger leads the column down a detour.

SKYLER (radio)

Everybody follow the car!

EXT. SNOWFIELDS

The Griffon idles with Dorothy waiting inside, watching through the window. Paradigm City looms in the distance. Roger and Skyler stand in front of an abandoned gas pump with a number of explorers milling about, some establishing temporary shelters.

SKYLER

Roger Smith is not an ordinary negotiator.

ROGER

No. (Smirks) I wasn't an ordinary military police officer, either. Not having to worry about pleasing my superiors is just another perk of self-employment.

SKYLER

Oh yes, I understand that fully.

Some explorers knock a gas pump off its base and slide a tube down the pipe. A pump activates.

SKYLER (cont'd)

You know, Mr. Smith, I wasn't entirely frank with you earlier. I'm not completely self-employed. Recently, I've been under the employ of… something, though I'm not exactly sure what it is…

ROGER

Hallucinations?

SKYLER

Yes—like you! That's why I didn't send you to a hospital after your attack. They can't treat this kind of affliction.

ROGER

What do yours tell you?

SKYLER

I think… she and I share the same wish.

Roger raises an eyebrow.

ROGER

What happens when your supplies run out or the weather turns bad? You can't stay out here forever.

SKYLER (firmly)

We're not turning back. (Gesturing toward decaying buildings) This city has been stagnating for

forty years. Even though everyone pretends that were making a future for ourselves these ruins prove that we're still living in the past.

Skyler stops at a barrel of gas, dips a rag in it, and tosses it on the snow. He lights a match and tosses it on the rag, and it burns.

SKYLER (cont'd)

Consider this fuel. Given the slightest spark, it still brings an engine to life. Our world is like this. All we have to do… is spark our minds and the machinery will do the rest.

ROGER

And what did it lead to?

The melting snow extinguishes the fire.

SKYLER (shrugs)

People make mistakes.

INT. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER LOBBY

Cut to the room where the episode began. Dorothy drops her hand to her side slowly, as if touching Roger's shoulder was an important moment. The truck in the background starts moving; the explorers cheer. Roger stands with his back to Dorothy.

ROGER (crossly, to Dorothy)

Go help the others. I'm going to find my client.

Roger walks toward the door and into the snowy wind.

INT. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER, UPPER LEVEL

Roger and Jay lean against radar consoles, while Skyler, Explorer 1 and others carry on a discussion over several maps and charts in the background.

JAY (to Roger)

You Oldies tend to see things that aren't there, especially in this place. Even ghosts are more alive than people in that city.

Roger squints. He sees Angel and Schwarzwald flanking Jay. Cut to shot of Roger's clenching into a fist which he taps on the console in frustration. At that moment lights go on and a steady beat vibrates throughout the building, startling him. Cut to Dorothy. She stands at the stairwell with two explorers behind her.

DOROTHY (to Skyler)

We reactivated the generator.

EXPLORER 2

We couldn't have done it without Dorothy. She's a genius.

ROGER

Apparently the generator only listens to its fellow machines.

Dorothy narrows her eyes glaring at Roger who passes her coolly and descends the stairs to ground level.

INT. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL LOBBY

The explorers have established themselves indoors. The main door remains open, but the wind has died down. Some explorers play guitar around a fire. The guitarist matches his tempo to the beat of the generator.

Roger stops in the doorway to listen. A second, slower pulse starts shaking the ground between the beats of the generator.

EXPLORER 4

Okay everyone, change tempo.

(Explorer 4 looks up as pulse begins)

EXPLORER 4 (cont.)

What's that?

EXPLORER 3

I don't know. Let's check it out.

The youths start walking downstairs and Roger walks outside.

EXT. SNOWFIELDS

It is evening. Roger climbs a snowdrift.

ROGER

Why am I wasting my time…?

Roger squints at something. A pin-light glimmers in the distance.

ROGER

It can't be…!

INT. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER

Skyler and company stoop over their maps, while Dorothy looks on. They look up startled as Roger bursts into the room, strides up to an explorer and abruptly grabs at the binoculars around his neck.

ROGER

Give me those!

Taken aback, the explorer relinquishes the binoculars. The planners pause staring at Roger.

ROGER (cont'd)

There's something out there!

SKYLER

Another hallucination?

Roger adjusts the binoculars and holds them out to Skyler.

ROGER

See for yourself.

Skyler looks, then pulls back, elated.

SKYLER

I knew it! I knew there were others out here. (Tosses binoculars on table) I'm going to meet them.

ROGER

You're going to need a negotiator. We don't know these people.

Two of the explorers' trucks drive out and stop near a group of about five travelers, dressed in what appear to be rags and fishnets. Some have headdresses that look like tailfins covered with cloth.

ROGER (puzzled)

Fish-people? Why out here?

Skyler's group walks toward the travelers with their palms in the air. The travelers reveal harpoon guns and lay them in the snow before closing in. Soon the two groups' leaders stand face to face. Skyler wears a big smile and holds his hand out to shake.

RICHELIEU (while shaking hands)

I am Dr. Sikes Richelieu. I represent a vanished people

SKYLER

A vanished peop…(looks at Richelieu shocked) You speak English!

RICHELIEU (slight theatrical bow)

Of course. (Rises) Shall we continue speaking it? Some place warmer, inside perhaps?

Just outside the building, as Richelieu's travelers exchange stories with Skyler's explorers. Explorer 2 and Dorothy approach.

EXPLORER 2

Skyler, there's something downstairs.

DOROTHY (pointing at Richelieu)

It's them. They're causing it.

RICHELIEU (to Dorothy)

You must be… yes, Roger Smith's.

DOROTHY

Who are you?

RICHELIEU

Someone summoned here by an Angel, to gather a lost people.

ROGER

What's downstairs?

RICHELIEU

Those whom I've been sent to find.

Everyone looks confused. Roger looks suspicious and heads for the building.

ROGER (to Dorothy and Explorer 2)

Show us this thing.

INT. BASEMENT

A number of explorers are gathered along the stairwell to the basement. Several murmur. Roger, Dorothy, Skyler, Richelieu and Explorer 2 stand between the generator and a control panel. The generator makes a loud, grinding noise. In front of the party, a vault door swings open. The doorway reveals a catwalk, flanked by capsules each one containing a cryogenically frozen human. Everyone with the exception of Richelieu looks astonished.

RICHELIEU

The home they knew is nothing but a memory now. A Megadeus destroyed it. A mechanical devil

(looks down) Not much is left. (Looks up suddenly) But you see, we've come to thaw our Memories.

Richelieu walks to the control panel and throws a lever. The vault door slowly swings shut.

RICHELIEU (cont.)

It is too early for these people to experience it for themselves. It is unfortunate that they had to endure our inspection in their helpless state.

SKYLER

You said you were summoned by an angel. You've spoken with the Angel too? You know her plans?

RICHELIEU

Oh, yes. I also know that in the process of thawing, many undesirables will also leave their hibernation.

The generator deactivates and the lights blink off all at once. Several people panic. The lights flicker on again without the generator. Reveal Dorothy standing beside Richelieu, her finger on a button. Though the generator remains silent, the slow secondary beat continues very strong.

DOROTHY (nodding to her side)

This is not from the main generator. (Pause) But neither is that pounding.

The pounding is becoming louder.

ROGER (to Richelieu)

Do your ―undesirables include Megadeuses?

RICHELIEU

Naturally.

SKYLER

You had Megadeuses where you came from?

ROGER (to Skyler)

This Richelieu might not be as exotic as you think. The people in the vault may be safe, but we're not. Tell everyone to find as whatever shelter they can. (turns to leave) Dorothy, come with me.

EXT. TUNDRA

It is night. A dingy pickup truck speeds over the snow towards the glow of Paradigm City.

ROGER (speaking into watch)

Norman, I'll be about half a mile north of my current position. (turns to Dorothy) I brought you along so you won't blab about Big O.

DOROTHY

I don't blab.

Roger watches the odometer, and then stops the truck.

ROGER

I'm going to make it look like I had an accident on the way to warning the City. Don't get out yet.

DOROTHY

I want to be with you when you reawaken.

ROGER

I'm not an ice cube like those people in the vault. I don't need that. (Speaking into watch) Norman when is Big—

Big O's hand bursts up from the tundra, cradling the truck. Roger and Dorothy jump into the cockpit, and Big O dumps the truck onto the tundra.

INT. BIG O COCKPIT

Roger is seated, Dorothy standing beside him.

ROGER (cont'd)

Big O, ACTION!

Big O activates.

ROGER (cont'd)

Whatever's going on in that vault down there, it's attracting more than just weirdoes. Can you see anything, Dorothy? Big O's scanners are reading massive energy, but it might be a mirage like everything else.

Suddenly the enemy Megadeus, EL CID, de-cloaks right in front of Big O.

ROGER (cont'd)

What'd I just say?

El Cid absorbs energy attacks, but it moves slowly and it cannot bypass Big O's shields. Big O moves in and compromises El Cid.

ROGER (cont'd)

Lights out!

Big O rears back to unleash a Sudden Impact. Before Roger can press the button, Dorothy drops in beside Roger and flips some switches.

ROGER (cont'd)

What are you doing!

Roger swings his arm around to push Dorothy aside, but she catches his wrist and leans in to press another button, which dissipates Big O's Sudden Impact. Meanwhile, El Cid has lined up his lance and jabs straight into Big O's cockpit window. The window cracks—Big O dispatches interface cables to restrain Dorothy. The second blow of the lance shatters the cockpit window—an emergency bubble deploys around the pilot seat to deflect the debris. The lance continues its drive through the cockpit window and punctures the bubble. With all the shaking, Roger finally succeeds in pushing Dorothy away. As he attempts to regain Big O's footing, El Cid's interface cables extend from its lance, overrun Big O's countermeasures, and embed themselves in Roger. Roger sees a bright flash as El Cid releases all its energy and collapses in a neat pile on a snowdrift.

Cut to a montage of clips corresponding to the events that Roger describes.

ROGER (voiceover)

I remembered then—what brought me to this snowfield. Not long ago, the President of Paradigm Corporation nearly destroyed Paradigm City. Despite our Memories, Big O and I failed to stop the would-be god.

ROGER (voiceover cont'd)

Only she… Angel… could restore peace. She erased him, even from the people's Memory. I negotiated with Angel. I told her, on behalf of the City, for her own happiness, return Paradigm City to how it was before, when we had choices. Angel flipped the hourglass on everyone.

ROGER (voiceover cont'd)

I don't need Memories to tell me why I chose to forget. I am Roger Smith; I neither pine for tomorrow, nor hide behind yesterday.

ROGER (voiceover cont'd)

Yet I feel the Memories of the previous Roger Smith seeping back into me. Why? Old Roger, New Roger: each life is an isolated frame. Any connection between them is a trick of the mind. I have nothing to learn, nothing to gain from these memories. Angel knew this. So why were they restored?

ROGER (voiceover cont'd)

My memories tell me that I loved Angel for the strength of her convictions. SHE would never go against my wishes. This must be R. Dorothy's doing—she must think I want my memories… yes; it's no surprise that an android would misinterpret a human's way of thinking… Or is there something more?

ROGER (voiceover cont'd)

These feelings... This Angel… was she the one I loved?

EXT. TUNDRA

Roger snaps awake, seated against his ruined truck. Dorothy sits beside him, a broken interface cable still wrapped around her arm. When Roger sees Dorothy sitting next to him, he grabs her shoulders and shakes her.

ROGER (shouting)

What in the hell have you done to me?

DOROTHY

Your memories from the past year have been restored. You will need them to survive.

ROGER

There are worse things than death, R. Dorothy Wayneright! Being forced to put your fate in someone else's hands is one of them.

DOROTHY

I can't think of anything worse than your death, Roger.

Roger is taken aback and drops his hands from her shoulders. Cut to shot of Dorothy, her face is smudged, hair in disarray and her dress and stockings are torn. Roger's expression softens and he reaches toward Dorothy, intending to wipe the soot from her cheek when headlights find them. He quickly pulls his hand away, reaches into his pocket and draws out a handkerchief which he hands to Dorothy.

ROGER (gruffly)

Here, you're a mess.

Riding up in trucks and running on foot, the explorers and travelers run to Roger's aid. Skyler and Explorer 1 are the first to arrive. followed by Richelieu, his entourage, and Jay.

SKYLER

You two alright?

ROGER

We're fine, but your truck is history.

SKYLER

Don't worry about it. Trucks can be replaced.

Skyler pulls Roger up, and Explorer 1 pulls Dorothy up.

RICHELIEU

I was glad to get a glimpse of the executioner in action: inspiring.

JAY

It looks like you'll earn your paycheck after all, Mr. Smith. I'm heading home.

ROGER (surprised but pleased)

Good! What convinced you?

SKYLER

Mr. Richelieu has an incredible understanding of pre-Event technology. We're going to apply his knowledge to Paradigm City, instead of starting from scratch out here.

JAY

So I get to finish college and still be part of Paradigm City's revival, all at the same time.

Roger looks overwhelmed.

SKYLER

We've left the negotiator speechless. What a coup.

The people nearby chuckle.

SKYLER (cont'd)

Thank you both for your help.

Skyler and Jay exit alongside the herd of explorers. Only Richelieu remains.

RICHELIEU (glances cheerfully towards off-screen)

In a moment! (to Roger) You are now a living ghost, Roger Smith. You're a Memory given a body. If you ever feel out of place amongst the empty vessels, visit us.

ROGER

Who are you? What's your purpose here?

RICHELIEU

A beautiful angel summoned me to Paradigm City.

ROGER

Angel! You mean a woman NAMED Angel.

RICHELIEU (looks at Paradigm's glow)

She wants me to direct the greatest comeback story ever written. (Lowers his gaze to the column of explorers) This, I've realized, is going to be my initial stage-crew.

DOROTHY (aside)

Why must everyone with a secret in Paradigm City speak in riddles?

RICHELIEU

In antiquity, a chorus provided the history of certain characters. We will fulfill that function for the entire City. Therefore, we will call ourselves the Angel's Chorus.

ROGER (peremptorily)

Where's Angel?

RICHELIEU

Busy, I'm afraid… directing her script.

ROGER

No, I want to see her. Every ghost has its resting place.

RICHELIEU

Roger Smith, you must compose yourself first… (smiles) like me.

Richelieu nods and walks off-screen. Roger storms away to the Griffon. Specks of snow engulf the screen in white.

ROGER (voiceover)

Some of the explorers continued on through the snowfields, hoping to find traces of Richelieu's homeland. All they found was sand, snow, and a crumbling light house slowly sinking into the ocean.

The camera pulls back, revealing it to be a white stripe of paint spiraling up a lighthouse. The lighthouse is tilted 45 degrees, half-buried in frozen sand. Cut to black.

ROGER (voiceover cont'd)

These new, old memories have shattered my complacency. I under more about my past but less about my future just as I understand this city better but know even less about my role here than I did before. (pause) Something is indeed amiss, and it goes far below the surface.

Cut to Big Venus charged with fuchsia energy, looking down on Paradigm City. Angel's hand flips the image like a flat illustration and reveals a page of text beneath. Angel sits in her director's chair holding a clipboard with a packet. The camera focuses on a paragraph on the page that reads ―ACCESS TO ROGER SMITH DENIED; ARTIFICIAL JAMMING. PROBABLE SOURCE: R. DOROTHY WAYNEWRIGHT.

ROGER (voiceover cont'd)

I'm going to pay close attention to you, Angel, and see if your script is worth all this to-do.

EXT. SMITH MANSION Roger leans against the balcony banister, facing the camera. Dorothy looks up to the sky, grim and determined.

WE HAVE COME TO TERMS