Story is by R. Daniel Olk who developed the plot and storyline and wrote much of the dialogue and 7moondance who wrote and edited dialogue. Usual disclaimers. Don't own Big O, Sunrise, Bandai etc.

ACT 30 - MASQUERADE

EXTERIOR PARADIGM CITY

Show various shots and angles of Paradigm City in morning fog.

ROGER

This is Paradigm City. One morning, forty years ago, the entire population of this city woke to find that their memories had vanished without a trace. Still they were able to endure in a City of Amnesia. They adopted new identities for themselves and built domes at the City's heart to protect them from whatever memories may blow in from the wastelands. Still this last City on Earth doesn't face many threats (pause) except from the fickle details of our own memories.

INTERIOR SMITH MANSION SOLARIUM

Morning: Roger, fully dressed, walks out of his bedroom and passes Dorothy without acknowledging her presence. He stops by the piano adjusts his tie and looks out at the weather. Dorothy, who was playing a peaceful score on the piano, stops playing and looks up, wondering at Roger's lack of greeting. She sits very still then quickly rises as if she's just made a decision. Cut to Dorothy and Roger standing face to face.

ROGER (irritably)

What?

Dorothy moving in a deliberate manner hugs him. Cut to reaction shot of Roger. His eyes widen and he quickly breaks free of her embrace.

ROGER (shouting)

Don't forget what you are, R. Dorothy Wayneright!

DOROTHY (soft monotone)

What I am?

ROGER

You're a…a convenience and nothing more.

Dorothy's eyes widen then narrow.

DOROTHY (coolly)

Like a toaster or a vacuum cleaner

ROGER

I wouldn't put exactly in those terms, but yes.

DOROTHY

You are not the Roger Smith I remember.

After a beat, Roger laughs and walks into the dining room. Cut to Roger and Dorothy seated at the dining room table.

DOROTHY (cont'd)

You ARE different, Roger. It is possible that Angel changed you when she restored your memories.

ROGER

And why should I believe that?

He puts a forkful of eggs into his mouth.

DOROTHY

The Roger Smith I knew could be louse, but he was always a gentleman. And… (Pause) he might have… returned my affection.

ROGER (Explodes angrily with a mouth full of eggs)

Frepostfer… (he swallows) Preposterous! ME, that desperate? This old Roger Smith of yours, did he alienate all the REAL girls in Paradigm City?

Dorothy stands, glowers at Roger for a moment, then turns to leave the table. Cut to Roger's POV. Dorothy is in the doorway, her back to him. Cut to over the shoulder shot of Roger as he stands up. Dorothy stops at the sound of his voice but doesn't turn around.

ROGER (cont'd)

You know what I think about Memories? If it's my affections you're after, forget about the Roger Smith you thought you knew.

Dorothy exits the room. Roger sits and resumes his breakfast. Roger's butler, Norman enters carrying an envelope on a small silver tray. Cut to Roger reading the invitation, with Norman standing to his left.

ROGER

An invitation to a First Night party; (to Norman) Maybe I'll go as the Roger of Dorothy's imagination.

Norman frowns disapprovingly but says nothing.

ROGER

Humph. Don't people realize that it's in poor taste to celebrate our collective amnesia with a costume party?

As he speaks Roger folds the invitation lengthwise and stirs his coffee with it.

NORMAN

The lady who delivered the invitation is waiting downstairs.

ROGER (irritated)

You let her in without consulting me first?

NORMAN

She fits within your guidelines for admitting a guest unconditionally.

Roger opens his mouth angrily then stops, grins and adjusts his tie.

ROGER (slyly)

In that case, I'll see to her myself.

Cut to Norman, and Dorothy.

DOROTHY (to Norman)

Is the woman waiting in Roger's office young and attractive?

NORMAN (slightly wicked grin)

Youth is relative, Dorothy and...

Cut to the parlor. The elevator opens with Roger inside.

NORMAN (voiceover) …

I found her quite attractive.

Reveal the visitor, DEBORAH HERMANCE a slightly plump, fashionably dressed woman in her late 50's. A young man, SAMUEL HARTT (21), stands in the background. Cut to visitors POV shot of Roger entering room, pan back to include Roger, Hermance and the young man. The young man scrutinizes Roger. Roger hides his disappointment over Hermance and approaches her cordially.

ROGER

I'm Roger Smith, how may I help you?

Roger takes her hand gently and the woman responds by shaking his hand firmly. Roger, surprised, takes a moment to reciprocate.

HERMANCE

Will you and your charming android be attending my masquerade party?

Cut to reaction shot, Roger looks surprised.

ROGER (Surprised but impressed)

How did you know about Dorothy? (Pause) And how did you know she was an android?

HERMANCE

Paradigm City has a very active gossip mill, Mr. Smith; and when the gossip involves a handsome young man, the mill works overtime.

Roger looks uncomfortable but smiles politely.

HERMANCE (cont.)

As for your companion being an android, I've been a dancer and choreographer since before you were born so I understand the subtle motions of the human body quite well. (Pause) The motions of YOUR body tell me you don't plan to accept my invitation.

ROGER (shrugs with his hands out in front of him)

Madame Hermance...

HERMANCE (drawing herself up, affronted)

Mr. Smith, I'm considered Paradigm City's premier hostess. People keep track of my invitations the way investors track company stocks.

ROGER (smoothly) (relaxes his shoulders)

I'm honored, but regretfully, I must decline.

HERMANCE (approvingly)

You have a cool head, Mr. Smith. That's why I'd like to hire you.

Cut to Roger and Hermance seated on sofas across from each other with the young man looking on from a few feet away.

HERMANCE

I want you to negotiate with whoever sent me this. (Brandishes a garishly decorated envelope) Whoever wrote it invited me—ME, the HOSTESS—to my own party, and then had the NERVE to tell me who to invite. (Pause) The next lines frighten me. (Close-up on the invitation) It says that my party will be, 'a dance the mind won't remember but the body will never forget.'

ROGER

Did you contact the Military Police?

HERMANCE (disdainfully)

I'd never let their sooty cars within a mile of my guests. I HIRED a private investigator, but he disappeared.

ROGER

We should find him. Do you have the sender's guest list with you?

HERMANCE

This whole incident has me so upset that I'm afraid I left it at home. Shall we continue there?

ROGER

Of course.

Hermance rises to leave. Roger stands too.

ROGER (cont'd) (holds up a finger)

I have one more question. Is my name on list?

HERMANCE (raises eyebrow)

Why, yes. That's the one good thing to come from this nasty business: (She steps forward and runs her fingers under Roger's lapel.) I now have Paradigm City's top Negotiator as my guest.

Roger looks amused. Pullback to side shot, of Roger and Hermance, as Dorothy enters the room.

HERMANCE (turning to Dorothy)

And his lovely companion as well.

Cut to face shot of Dorothy. Her expression is unreadable. Cut to the entrance of Smith mansion. Roger offers Hermance his arm for support.

ROGER

Shall we?

HERMANCE (mock indignation)

Mr. Smith! How old do you think I am? (Begins down steps, then turns back to face Roger and Dorothy.) Why don't you two follow us?

As Hermance leaves, Samuel Hartt follows. He continues to stare at Roger.

ROGER (slightly disdainful)

Is something the matter?

Samuel opens the car door for Mme. Hermance still staring at Roger

EXT. PARADIGM CITY STREETS

The fog has lifted for the afternoon. The Griffon leaves the garage and gets behind Hermance's car. Cut to the Griffon cruising behind Hermance's car.

INT. GRIFFON

Dorothy is sitting in the passenger seat.

DOROTHY

Will the guests wear costumes to Mme. Hermances's party?

ROGER

Yes. Most of them will probably wear costumes or token masks, pretending to take on a new identity. People born after the event can only imagine what Hermance's generation actually experienced so they treat First Night like any other holiday.

DOROTHY [In a naïve voice]

So now it's just another occasion to dress up and get drunk.

Cut to reaction shot of Roger. He looks shocked then angry.

ROGER [Indignant]

R. Dorothy Wayneright, that's not what I meant!

Dorothy turns without replying, looks out of the window, then leans forward as she sees Hermance's car pull over and stop in front of a clothing store.

DOROTHY

Madame Hermance's car is stopping.

Roger frowns and pulls up behind Hermance's sedan. Samuel stands in the doorway of the costume shop, looking intently at Dorothy. Roger's frown deepens.

ROGER (to Dorothy while watching Samuel)

Why don't you go in and pick out a costume for the party. And while you're at it see what you can find out about Mme. Hermance's "companion".

Dorothy nods.

INT. CLOTHING STORE

Racks of clothing and costumes choke the store. Dorothy systematically flicks through the racks. Samuel approaches from behind and proffers an old-fashioned dress.

SAMUEL

What about this one?

Dorothy takes one glance at the dress and returns to her search.

DOROTHY

Why have you been following me around the store?

SAMUEL

(Steps closer and speaks lower) We used up a lot of our resources delivering the 'old' Roger Smith to you.

Dorothy looks at Samuel then goes back to flicking through the costumes.

SAMUEL (cont'd)

You have no idea who I am, do you?

Dorothy takes a dress from the rack, enters a dressing booth and pulls the curtain without looking at Samuel. Samuel grows frustrated, and shouts towards the clerk without looking.

SAMUEL

There should be a costume on reserve for me.

CLERK (irritated)

Name.

SAMUEL

Samuel Hartt—H-A-R-T-T. (To the dressing booth) Did you hear that?

DOROTHY

No.

SAMUEL (bitterly, to himself)

Of course you did.

INT. HERMANCE ESTATE

The room is decorated in soft pastels, with touches of bright red. Roger sits in a Chippendale-style chair while Hermance looks over his shoulder. He is reading a list. There is an empty love-seat across from Roger's chair.

ROGER

Do you recognize any of these names?

HERMANCE (puts her finger on the paper)

Just this one, but he wouldn't start this kind of trouble.

Roger looks at her quizzically.

HERMANCE (cont'd)

No flair.

Roger looks back to the list. Cut to a close-up of the list.

ROGER

There are an equal number of guests on both lists. (End close-up.)

HERMANCE

Mr. Smith, do YOU recognize any of these names?

ROGER

Hmm, no. Your other guests might, though.

HERMANCE

True. Let's pay them a visit in your delightful car. (Pause) But I'm afraid you'll have to drive. My reflexes just aren't what they used to be.

ROGER (amused)

Sorry to hear that.

INT. TAILOR SHOP

Roger and Hermance enter. Two tailors take the measurements of GUEST 1. GUEST 1 spots Hermance.

GUEST 1 (happily)

Nobody said the party was coming to me.

HERMANCE (smiles)

I wonder if you know anyone on this list. It's very important.

GUEST 1 takes the list from Hermance and after a glancing over it, his demeanor changes from breezy to distress. He hands the list back to Roger in a hurry.

GUEST 1 (flustered)

Uh, no. No. Hmm.

INT. MANSION

Roger and Hermance stand in front of a middle-aged husband and wife while the husband looks over the list. As he reads, his faces changes and he looks very troubled. The wife takes the list from his hand, scans it for a moment, and then quickly gives it back to Hermance.

WIFE

I don't recognize any of these names.

HUSBAND (too quickly)

I don't either.

ROGER (gently)

This IS very important.

HUSBAND and WIFE look at each other for a moment, then at Roger and Hermance.

WIFE (points to a name)

This one.

Cut to over the shoulder shot of Roger looking at finger pointing to name on list.

ROGER

What was this person's relationship to you?

HUSBAND (brusquely)

Ancient history.

Show a short montage of three more guests in and out of costume, reacting with varying degrees of discomfort as they see the list, Roger and Hermance occupy the same space in each frame.

INT. GRIFFON

Afternoon, The Griffon cruises down a street within the Domes.

ROGER

They all recognize one person on the other list, almost always of the opposite sex, and their relationships ended badly.

HERMANCE

Now that I know this, I'm worried about my investigator's silence.

ROGER

Let's pay a visit to his office. They won't keep you out of the loop once they see me.

INT. PI OFFICE

Seen from inside the office, the firm's name appears backwards. Hermance enters and the secretary smiles; Roger enters and she frowns. Cut to Roger and Hermance facing a man at his desk. The nameplate reads, "MANAGER." He hands Roger a portfolio.

MANAGER

The last known location of your detective: according to his last report, he didn't find anything suspicious. Personally, I think going there would be a waste of time.

ROGER

We'll decide that for ourselves.

MANAGER watches Roger and Hermance exit. The moment the door shuts, his telephone rings. Looking worried, he hesitates to answer.

EXT. PARADIGM CITY STREETS

The Griffon rolls into view. The entrance to a Dome looms nearby, dwarfing the Griffon.

Cut to view of Griffon parked in front of a row house with a gutted and collapsed third floor. Aside from its third floor, the house looks pristine and out of place in the neighborhood. Roger and Hermance stand on the porch. Roger rings the doorbell then knocks. Nothing happens. Roger turns to Hermance and shrugs. They start walking down the steps. A door unlatches and creaks from off-screen. Roger and Hermance turn around to look. A man stands in the doorway.

HERMANCE (whispers excitedly)

That's him! My PI! (To PI) Where have you been?

PI

Who are you?

HERMANCE

Don't play dumb. I paid you good money!

The PI looks lost, then animated. He whirls around and runs into the house without closing the door.

INT. ROW HOUSE

Cut to Roger about to enter the doorway with Hermance behind him. Roger looks over his shoulder to address Hermance.

ROGER

You'd better wait here.

HERMANCE (spiritedly)

Not on your life, Mr. Negotiator.

Roger heaves a sigh and begins to climb the stairs. Roger motions for Hermance to check the first-floor door in the background while he ascends to investigate the second floor.

HERMANCE

It's locked.

Cut to Roger and Hermance on the second floor. The door nearest them is ajar.

ROGER

This one's open. Keep a lookout behind me.

HERMANCE

Okay.

Roger walks into the apartment, down a small hallway, past a kitchen, and spots a living room. Part of the ceiling has collapsed to reveal the sky, and a stairwell ascending to the third floor leads to nowhere. Roger skirts around the living room into another hallway.

ROGER

This must lead to a bedroom.

Roger reaches a closet. He throws open the sliding door, finding a costume with a frightening mask and strings attached to the limbs. Roger glances left and right while pointing Hermance towards the costume.

ROGER

Look at this.

Hermance looks at it, grimaces and then returns to her vigil.

HERMANCE

I wish Samuel were here, too.

ROGER

Why isn't he?

HERMANCE

He's having a copy of one of my old dresses made; he said he wants to convince someone to wear it.

ROGER (smirks)

Probably a buddy of his.

Reaction shot of Hermance who laughs then pretends to be shocked.

HERMANCE (mock appall)

Mr. Smith!

Roger reaches a door at the end of the hallway. Cut to the inside. It is a bedroom with one window. The PI looks out the window with his back to Roger and the camera. The shades are drawn. The room is dark, with a blue tone. Part of the wall and ceiling is covered by blue tarp; the wind faintly whistles through it. Hermance enters the room, closing the door a little behind her.

HERMANCE (gently)

Are you all right?

The PI turns slowly. His hands are at his sides. One hand holds a portfolio. He holds the portfolio out to Hermance.

PI

This is all I know. When she came, I forgot everything. But you recognized me—you remember everything, don't you?

HERMANCE (soothingly)

Of course, I do.

Hermance nudges Roger to take the portfolio. Roger has his hand on it when he hears a gun click. Roger freezes, and then slowly turns to see a woman, MARY, dressed in the costume Roger found in the closet. She holds a pistol to Hermance's temple.

MARY

Does the place bring back Memories, Roger dear? Since you protected me from that Megadeus years ago, I've done my best to keep it tidy… even knowing you might never come back.

Reaction shot of Roger; he is taken aback.

ROGER

Who are you?

MARY

Costume or not, I'm still who I was!

The PI lets go of the portfolio, pulls out his own pistol, and cocks it. Roger takes the portfolio to his side.

ROGER (smoothly persuasive)

I'm sorry, Miss, but your name escapes me. Why don't you put that gun down so we can talk…?

MARY

Ha! Still the charmer, aren't you? Call me "Mary."

The PI clears his throat.

PI

Maybe we can let the old lady go, yes?

Mary stands perfectly still for a moment.

PI (cont'd)

Please?

MARY (sighs)

If that's what you want, I'll…

Mary's voice tapers off and she wavers slightly. Ethereal pink sheets, suspended in the air, flicker. The room takes on a reddish tint when they flicker.

MARY (cont.)

… not allow it.

The PI aims his pistol at Mary.

PI

How about now?

MARY (shivers)

Go.

PI (to Mary)

I don't feel so keen on your revenge anymore.

PI (to Hermance)

YOU know who I am—take the folder to the people I made it for. (Turns to Roger) You, hand it to the old lady.

Roger looks back at PI, sees him watching Mary. Everyone is standing still.

PI (cont.)

Now!

Roger grips the portfolio, moves to hand it to Hermance, but hurls the papers in Mary's face before leaping to sack the PI. Mary kicks out and pushes Hermance away, and fires blindly; Hermance is crouched at the foot of a closet.

HERMANCE

Stop!

PI (to Roger)

What? —get down!

Roger gets down. Mary shoots again and misses the PI. The PI fires back. Mary dodges his aim and disappears down the hallway. The PI runs to the door, then to the window, and fires another two shots. Then he calmly puts his pistol away and begins gathering up the papers of his portfolio. Roger looks down the hallway and the stairs. The pink sheets flicker, shine brightly for a second, then fade.

ROGER (looks as if he's had a revelation)

I see who's pulling the strings around here.

PI

Both of you can get up now. The trouble's over.

Roger goes over to Hermance, and helps her up. Hermance hugs Roger and then slaps him lightly.

HERMANCE

Troublemaker!

Roger and Hermance see that the PI is walking out of the room. He is unharmed.

ROGER

Wait!

They catch up to the PI at the front door. He is standing in the doorway, looking out. He turns around when Roger and Hermance draw near. He hands Hermance the portfolio.

PI

Everything I know… is in there. (Puts on his hat) Good afternoon.

The PI walks out, down the steps. Cut to over the shoulder shot of Roger and Hermance as they watch him walk down the street.

ROGER (to Hermance, slightly dazed tone)

Can you tell me anything?

HERMANCE (preoccupied)

Hmm?

Roger smirks and speaks in a more decisive tone.

ROGER

I'll have the Military Police pick him up. (Pause a beat then smilesslightly) Where is this party, anyway?

HERMANCE (jerked to her senses with excitement)

Oh, I picked a place with the PERFECT atmosphere.

INT. CLOTHING STORE

Samuel and Dorothy have continued their discussion near the front of the store, far from the clerk's ears. Samuel wears a Mercury space suit; Dorothy is dressed in her usual black dress.

DOROTHY (emotion showing through her monotone)

The Waynewright estate? You have no right to be there; it doesn't belong to you.

SAMUEL

Not yet. You can pay your debt to us "middlemen" by giving us a magnificent lawn ornament (leans forward and whispers hoarsely) A tamed Megadeus! (Pulls back) And you'll be the tamer. (Holds up the old dress) Wearing this.

DOROTHY

Only a true dominus can pilot a megadeus. (Looks at dress) I dislike your choice.

SAMUEL

It's the price you pay for overlooking the fine print.

DOROTHY

It was a spoken contract.

SAMUEL

Don't argue with me; I can manipulate Memories. Neither you, nor your dearRoger Smith can defeat someone like me. Only Angels can touch me.

DOROTHY

What are you?

SAMUEL

I'm a human… (Pause a beat) with immunity.

Arrogantly, Samuel holds the dress out to Dorothy again. She looks at him then takes the dress.

INT. GRIFFON

Roger is driving while Hermance is reading the contents of the portfolio aloud.

HERMANCE

He keeps mentioning a dress. "The dress is the last Memory that links the ancient Megadeus to its aging pilot." What dress? And "Megadeus?" Here it says, "A dance of life and death, with the impertinent Megadeus as the killer and its pilot as the weapon. (Looking up from folder) Isn't that backwards? (Continues reading) "Only the Dominus, or whoever BECOMES her, will survive the dance." What does this mean?

ROGER

The Megadeus wants to find its Dominus before it forgets her, along with everything else. If you manipulate enough people like Mary back there, and sit them in the pilot's seat, sooner or later they'll activate something and the Megadeus can broaden its search.

HERMANCE (eyes wide)

I DON'T want a Megadeus crashing my party. Let's call the Military Police.

ROGER (tongue in cheek)

So they can ruin everything with their sooty machines? (Serious) No, the military police wouldn't be able to handle this. Better leave it to the black Megadeus.

HERMANCE (suspicious)

You sure seem awfully sure of all this.

ROGER (grinning)

Yep!

Roger stops the Griffon. Waynewright Mansion pulls into view in the window.

ROGER (cont'd)

Do you still want to go through with this?

HERMANCE

SOMEBODY'S got to deal with them. (Returns Roger's grin) And since Paradigm City's top negotiator will be there…

ROGER

Then I'll see you this evening.

Hermance walks into the estate. At the gate, she turns and waves to Roger, who waves back and watches. Cut to and angle from Roger's perspective. In the background, several decorators and workmen run up to greet Hermance. Roger drives away.

INT. SMITH MANSION

Evening, the fog has returned to smother the solarium windows. The darkness gives the mansion a sepulchral look. Roger looks into the fog and recalls a conversation with Hermance, imaging her in the fog.

Flashback:

HERMANCE (spiritedly)

I haven't had an adventure like this in years. (Smiles as if remembering a pleasant memory) You know, seeing my guests in costume really sent me back, to when I was young. I was a dancer, you know. I remembered my favorite role, with its lovely costume. (Wistfully) I always felt beautiful when I wore that dress.

ROGER

Will we have the pleasure tonight?

HERMANCE

Oh no. That dress is too old and fragile, (smiles as she gazes into the distance.) It was the first thing I recognized after the Amnesia.

Roger looks intrigued.

HERMANCE (cont'd)

It just hasn't held together for me. It hasn't kept up. Soon, I'm afraid, it will be gone.

End flashback.

ROGER (Voiceover)

Deborah Hermance… your role in all this… (His tone of voice increases in intensity) Is it possible? Do you even realize it?

NORMAN (off-screen)

Master Roger, Miss Dorothy said to inform you…

Cut to show Norman walking up, with clothes folded over his arm.

NORMAN

…that she will meet you at the party.

ROGER (grumpily)

She needs to go over these things with me more often.

NORMAN (proffers some folded clothing)

Your costume, Master Roger.

Roger takes the top piece of clothing off Norman's arm and lets it hang in front of him. He looks at it disdainfully.

ROGER

I think I'll wear my negotiator costume instead.

INT. WAYNEWRIGHT ESTATE

Bright yellows and pastels, with touches of red, festoon the interior, just like the interior of Hermance's mansion. It is the opposite of Smith Mansion. Dorothy enters, glowering, with Samuel grinning beside her. Dorothy looks up then stops in her tracks. Cut to face shot of Dorothy. She is stunned, eyes wide and mouth slightly open. Cut to several shots of room from Dorothy's POV the last shot is of Dorothy's old piano, painted white and turned into a bar. The noise of the party grows louder as Dorothy stands staring. Cut to shot of two guests.

GUEST 1

How did Hermance pull this one off?

GUEST 2

Easy. Wayneright's dead and there's no REAL next of kin, just his android. The place was up for grabs.

GUEST 2 (looking around)

It's certainly an improvement.

Dorothy silently watches the guests walk away. Pull back to shot of Samuel pulling on Dorothy's upper arm, dragging her toward the bar. Dorothy spots Roger in the crowd and turns to follows him, pulling Samuel with her.

DOROTHY

Roger!

Cut to Roger navigating the crowd. Dorothy pursuing Roger, with Samuel in tow, but the party mutes her voice. Roger spots Mary talking to a group of about 6 people. He cuts into the group and takes Mary by the arm.

ROGER

I need to talk to you.

One of the male guests puffs up at Roger.

GUEST 3

Are you looking for trouble, Mister?

ROGER

I'm trying to keep this lady out of trouble. Excuse us.

Cut to Roger and Mary in a semi-secluded alcove.

MARY (flirtatiously)

I'll forgive your rudeness if you dance with me.

ROGER

Not now.

MARY

There isn't much time left before the final number.

ROGER

There's enough time for you to listen.

MARY (cheerily)

Oops, time's up!

The ground begins to shake. Mary breaks free from Roger's grasp and runs to the door. The party enters a panic. Mary jumps up onto the sill of a low large window that opens onto the lawn.

MARY (cont'd) (Shouting)

EVERYONE GET OUTSIDE!

EXT. WAYNEWRIGHT ESTATE

The crowd rushes out to the yard behind the mansion. Willow trees line a nearby stream bordered by a manicured lawn. Mary is already waiting on its bank. A Megadeus, OMPHALOS, towers behind her. The crowd recoils, unsure of where to hide.

MARY (cont'd)

Don't be afraid! Now is the time to get even! Everyone with a bone to pick—join me!

Ephemeral pink ribbons start flickering out from Omphalos' fingers, infiltrating the crowd. Many of the guests rush forward towards Omphalos. Cut to Roger at crowd level. Several voices are distinct.

GUEST 4

Finally!

GUEST 5

About time!

GUEST 6

Now he'll get what's coming to 'im.

Cut to Roger standing on a small rise between the bulk of the crowd and the guests who are jogging towards the Megadeus. His arms are out as if trying to stop them from going any further. The pink ribbons pulse steadily.

ROGER (loudly)

Stop! (Pause) Think about what you're doing! Risking your lives just for revenge? What then? (Crowd calms slightly, noise level decreases) Remember what this night means. Free yourselves from the pain and resentment of the past!

MARY

WE understand what First Night means! Lives will definitely change tonight!

The ribbons undulate and flicker with greater intensity. The guests resume their mad dash to Omphalos. Dorothy and Samuel emerge from the fleeing remainder of the crowd. Samuel still dragging Dorothy by the arm runs in front of Roger and the crowd.

SAMUEL

Megadeus! Your search ends here—look!

Omphalos' eyes turn from red to blue. Its hands lower and the angry guests stop their dash toward Omphalos. Mary clenches her fists. Cut briefly to Hermance.

HERMANCE (shocked)

Samuel wasn't having my dress copied. He stole it!

Cut to Roger and Dorothy.

ROGER (to Dorothy)

What are you doing?

DOROTHY

Fulfilling a contract; you can stop it if you wish.

ROGER

I see.

SAMUEL

Megadeus—

ROGER (to Samuel)

—you're a fool! (Looking up at Omphalos) Look!

Roger rips the dress off of Dorothy, revealing a black leotard. Cut to Hermance.

HERMANCE

No! What are you doing?!

Cut to overhead shot from Omphalos POV. It takes a step back, and its eyes turn from blue to red.

ROGER (cont'd)

Do you recognize her now? She is NOT your Dominus! Stop your wishful thinking—the link between you and your former Dominus is no more! Go back to sleep!

MARY

Wrong! Omphalos remembers! He won't disappoint me the way you did, Roger Smith!

Mary mounts the pilot's seat. The ribbons pulse once again, and the guests climb onto Omphalos' hands.

SAMUEL (shouting with rage)

You're on the Chorus's blacklist now, Roger Smith!

Samuel and Dorothy flee with the rest of the crowd. Omphalos begins initializing its combat systems. Meanwhile, Roger brings his watch to his mouth.

ROGER

Big O, action!

Big O rises from the lawn, cupping Roger and some earth in its hands. Roger leaps into Big O.

MARY (loudspeaker)

Let's have some music!

Ephemeral pink ribbons whip towards the fleeing jazz band; they stop, gather up their instruments and start playing "Manteca." Big O and Omphalos begin grappling.

ROGER

Mary, listen to me! My memories were restored against my will. I'm not even sure which ones are real! I admit that I don't remember you but if we're meant to be together, we will be.

Cut to the interior of Omphalos' cockpit. One of the angry guests, a burly man, sits at the controls. Mary is leaning against the seat and speaks casually.

MARY

You chose to forget me. If your "new angle on life," really makes a difference, then that's the difference between us standing together in our old life and dying apart in this one.

Cut to the interior of Big O's cockpit.

ROGER (intently)

Stop this now, before it's too late to try again.

Cut to the interior of Omphalos' cockpit.

MARY (to pilot)

(Assumes pilot seat, looks up) Omphalos, make me your Dominus! (Looks forward) Maybe you should stop first, Roger dear.

ROGER (Shouting)

I won't be manipulated. Big O, action!

Big O and Omphalos battle. The strings attached to Mary's costume reveal themselves to be interface cables. The pink ribbons and the angry guests attach the cables to various sockets. Mary activates Omphalos' ultimate, energy-based attack. Big O uses its plasma shield at close range to destabilize the attack. The pulse explodes prematurely, obliterating Omphalos' outer plating and its cockpit plating. As Big O recovers, Omphalos pushes Big O away, retreats to a safe distance, expels Mary from the pilot seat, and sweeps several of the angry guests out of its cockpit, letting them fall to their deaths. A number of ethereal pink ribbons begin permeating the cockpit and surround Mary.

MARY (hoarse, wavering)

Everyone who hasn't gone yet, sit in the seat. Quickly!

Omphalos runs through two ineffective weapon-systems. The third damages Big O.

MARY

Do that again, do it again!

GUEST 5

I—I don't know how!

Omphalos roars and sweeps everyone from the cockpit, with the exception of Mary and a few guests huddled in the corners. Mary coughs and rises to the seat. Something leaks down from her mask and soaks the linen around her neck.

HERMANCE (off-screen) (at the top of her lungs)

This isn't what I want!

Cut to Hermance standing on the lawn near Waynewright Mansion, holding up the tattered old dress to Omphalos. Cut to POV view of Omphalos.

HERMANCE (looking up at Omphalos, the dress clenched in her fist)

Here,—take it! I don't want it! Not anymore!

SAMUEL (astonished)

Impossible, she can't be remembering now…

Omphalos' eyes turn from red to blue. Its stance relaxes.

MARY (sarcastically)

Nice job forgetting me again!

Mary bears down on the cockpit controls and the remaining guests jam her cables into their sockets, and hold them there. Omphalos deactivates mid-stride, but Mary, growling like a beast, succeeds in lighting up the core of Omphalos. Ephemeral ribbons flicker to strangle her, but her influence dispels them just in time for her to look up and see Big O land a Sudden Impact on Omphalos' head. The impact throws the guests off the cable sockets, which promptly eject the cables. Omphalos' torso slumps to face the ground. No longer secured, Mary slips out of the cockpit. The ephemeral ribbons form a web between her and the ground, but she falls through and they evaporate. Cut to Samuel and Dorothy watching the battle from back near the base of Waynewright Mansion. Samuel looks fascinated; Dorothy looks unmoved. Big O, having withdrawn to a safe distance, hits Omphalos with a Chromebuster shot. Omphalos melts and collapses, trailing cinders and sparks. Cut to Hermance. She stares at Omphalos, looking heartbroken, clutching her old dress. Dorothy watches her as Samuel watches Omphalos burn.

DOROTHY (to Samuel)

You did a poor job of keeping them apart.

SAMUEL (bites out)

Remind your "beloved" that he's on our blacklist.

Samuel storms away before Dorothy can answer. Cut to the front gate of the Waynewright Estate. Hermance kneels on the ground shoulders slumped, with Roger's jacket draped over her. Some of the guests and staff kneel around to console her.

HERMANCE (dazed)

Why all this…?

Roger and Dorothy watch off to the side, near the Griffon.

DOROTHY

Will she be alright?

ROGER

I'm sure she will. Not so with you, however.

Dorothy looks questioningly at Roger. Cut to Roger and Dorothy in the Gryphon.

ROGER

Mme Hermance's companion…

DOROTHY

Samuel Hartt. 's just a middleman.

ROGER

You didn't try to stop him.

DOROTHY

No. I do not like to fight that way. (Long pause) Samuel Hartt claims that he can manipulate memories. Did he manipulate Mary's?

ROGER

I don't know. Perhaps.

Cut to side shot of Roger through driver's side window as the Griffon cruises down an elevated highway at night. He is staring grimly ahead.

INT. SMITH MANSION

In the solarium, enter during the middle of an exchange between Roger and Dorothy. Roger is sitting on a sofa in his shirtsleeves, his tie loosened. Dorothy is standing looking out of a window, her back to Roger.

ROGER (to Dorothy)

Just because you don't like conflict doesn't mean you can avoid it.

Dorothy turns and looks levelly at Roger. He squirms for a moment then sits back, arms under his head in affectation of unconcern.

ROGER (coolly)

Except for the fact that you actually succeeded in bringing back my memories of you, what makes you any different from Mary?

Dorothy sits on a chair opposite Roger, and then slowly and deliberately looks him in the eye.

DOROTHY (calm, soft monotone)

I will not argue with you, Roger Smith. Even if your Memories make you believe that you can't trust me, eventually you'll know the truth. I'm willing to wait.

Dorothy spots an hourglass within reach and flips it. Roger watches her, his face unreadable.

NO SIDE