ACT THREE

ACT FOUR
INT. PATHMARK SUPERMARKET, FORT DIX (DAY) - SANTIAGO'S SIMULATION
In SLOW-MOTION, Sophie is pushing a shopping cart obliviously as Hobbes looks around, only barely hiding his growing paranoia.

HOBBES (V.O.)
All too often, we take for granted for the world
which we inhabit. So blindly we accept what we
are given, never assuming for a moment that what
we call Real is nothing but an electronic blip.
The things we see, the sounds we hear...

Sophie turns around, glancing back at Hobbes. Smiles. She turns back around.

Hobbes casts his eyes down, closing them, pained.

HOBBES (V.O.)
The people we think we know. The life we try to
exert so much carefully calculated control over,
but which we eventually come to learn has always
been controlling us.

As Sophie and Hobbes continue down the aisle, they pass another woman pushing a cart.

Hobbes glances not at the woman, but at the girl sitting in the cart.

A young girl of seven, with blonde hair and blue eyes. For an instant, Hobbes recognizes her, but as quickly as he senses it, it's gone again.

The woman and her daughter pass as Sophie stops to look at the merchandise on display. Hobbes, though, is disconcerted, and looks back.

The girl in the cart looks at him. Into his eyes. She recognizes him as well.

A childish smiles takes her face, and she waves.

Back to Hobbes, who looks at her, remembering.

DIGITAL WIPE TO:
EXT. MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA (EVENING) - HARSH REALM
A street cluttered with gutted cars and battle debris.

Parked along the curb, we find Cabot's pick-up in front of a building bearing a sign that once read "CAPITOL MOTEL." Most of the letters have been burned away.

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL HALLWAY
Cabot walks down the hallway carefully, caring a brown paper bag. He stops quickly for a moment, looking behind himself before continuing to the first room on the right.

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL ROOM
Cabot enters the room to find Dorothy routing through her duffel bag. Dorothy reacts instantly, grabbing the handgun off the bed and pointing the barrel at Cabot before realizing who he is. She quickly drops the weapon, sighing out as much tension as she can without becoming comfortable.

Cabot crosses the room to her, putting the bag down on the bed and reaching into it. He withdraws his hands with chunks of bread in his grasp. Dorothy looks up at him in shock.

CABOT
I found this in the kitchen. Most of it was mold-
ridden, but I cut away the garbage to find some
edible remains.

Dorothy hungrily digs into the bag, producing a fair-sized chunk and biting into it greedily.

CABOT
You'll be okay on your own?

Dorothy shakes her head affirmatively.

CABOT
There was a bolted door in the kitchen. I'm gonna
find out what's behind it.

Cabot heads out of the room as Dorothy dives into the bread in her hand.

EXT. ROUTE 37, OUTSIDE MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA
The road lays abandoned for a moment before the peaceful scene is shattered by Norris tearing down the roadway on his motorcycle, passing by the sign reading "MARTINSBURG, NEXT RIGHT."

We pan back down the road, in the opposite direction that Norris was traveling, to see the GTO a way off in the distance, only now visible as it turns the corner from behind a section of forest.

INT. SANTIAGO'S PLAYERS BAY, GOVERNMENT HOUSE
Byers still sits at the terminal, this time with a telephone to his ear.

BYERS
No...no, I can't. I can't get you back in.
(beat)
But I can get him out.
(beat)
Yes. I still have to upload the program code, but
in a matter of minutes, he should be out.
(beat)
Yes, I'll bring him down myself.
(beat)
Alright.

Byers turns back to the screen, his eyes flitting from the monitor to the door and back again. He purses his lips, squeezing his eyes shut for a second as if not seeing what he's about to do will exonerate him from its consequences, and before giving himself a chance to reconsider, strikes the ENTER key.

On the screen, a small dialogue box pops opens with the title "UPLOAD IN PROGRESS." Byers watches as the percentage bar slowly creeps toward 100 until finally the entire bar is red and the computer beeps softly.

A barely audible sigh escapes Byers as the words "UPLOAD COMPLETE" flash across the screen.

DIGITAL WIPE TO:
EXT. PATHMARK SUPERMARKET, FORT DIX (DAY) - SANTIAGO'S SIMULATION
From outside the building, we see the glass doors slide open in SLOW-MOTION as Sophie and Hobbes emerge from the supermarket. Hobbes squints in the sunlight, looking around the parking lot.

EXT. PATHMARK PARKING LOT
Back at NORMAL SPEED, as Sophie and Hobbes reach their red pick-up and Hobbes lifts the first bag out of the cart. Sophie takes the second bag and they climb into the cab, settling the bags in the small area behind the seats.

EXT. SUBURBAN ROAD, FORT DIX
The red pick-up rolls down the street until it reaches a red light and slows to a stop.

INT. THE TRUCK
Sophie is holding Hobbes' right hand while he drives with his left. But she notices that her fiancé is upset about something.

SOPHIE
Tom, what is it?

Hobbes is silent for a long moment, deciding whether or not he can even answer that question.

HOBBES
(extended beat)
There's no way for you to understand.

SOPHIE
Try me.

HOBBES
I can't...

Hobbes' gaze wanders slightly and he catches a glance at the windshield-mounted rear-view mirror. In it, he sees the face of Mike Pinocchio.

Surprised, he snaps his head around to look behind him. In the flatbed of the truck, he finds nothing. No Pinocchio.

SOPHIE
(upset)
Tom, what's wrong??

Hobbes looks back in the mirror, and just as before, Pinocchio is clearly visible. As Hobbes continues to look, though, the image of Pinocchio flickers ever so slightly. Hobbes suddenly realizing that it is not his friend, but only a projection of him.

PINOCCHIO
She can't see me or hear me, Hobbes.

HOBBES
(to Sophie)
Nothing, hun...I just...thought I saw a kid run into
the street.

Sophie looks back out the back of the truck, seeing nothing.

Hobbes looks in the mirror again, still seeing Pinocchio.

DIGITAL WIPE TO:
EXT. MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA (EVENING) - HARSH REALM
The abandoned street again, where only Cabot's pick-up claims residence. After a few moments, we see a moving object in the distance, which we recognize as Norris on his motorcycle, slowly rolling down the street.

Norris sees Cabot's pick-up truck parked in front of the Capitol Motel and pulls to the curb, climbing off the bike.

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL BASEMENT
Amidst dozens of crates, some of which are open, Cabot pries open the box in front of him. Inside, he finds assorted handguns. He picks up one, a Beretta 92FS, and drops the clip. It's full. A wide smile spreads across his face.

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL BASEMENT STEPS
Cabot quickly ascends the staircase back to the first floor.

CABOT
Dorothy! Dorothy, you'll never believe this...

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL KITCHEN
Cabot sprints through the door that he formerly referred to as locked and dashes through the kitchen back to the room that Dorothy is in.

CABOT
You'll never believe what I found...

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL LOBBY
As Cabot exits the kitchen, he spots a figure in the doorway. Instinctively, he skids to a stop, arching his back to lean his head back.

Gunfire thunders. A single round.

In BULLETTIME SLOW-MOTION, the bullet rips through the air toward Cabot.

Tearing through space toward its destination, the bullet sailing perpendicular to Cabot's face, only inches from his eyes. Had Cabot not leaned back precisely when he did, his head would have been right in the path of the bullet.

The single round of ammunition rockets past his eyes.

Back at NORMAL SPEED, Cabot falls back behind the counter, pulling his own gun as he props himself back against the counter.

CABOT
DOROTHY!

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL ROOM
Hearing Cabot, Dorothy is up, a handgun in each fist, darting toward the door.

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL LOBBY
Norris steps into the lobby toward Cabot.

NORRIS
I told you I wanted the price on your head. You
should know, you're far to valuable to let you get
away...

Before he can take another step, though, he is under attack. He is forced to dive for cover as bullets chip the floor around his feet.

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL HALLWAY
Dorothy leans out the door of her room into the hallway, squeezing off a stream of rounds. She stops for a moment, looking across the hallway. In a flash, she is up and running again, this time across the hallway to the opposite side where she shoulder slams a door, jarring it open. She ducks into the room, finding a better vantage point from which to cover Cabot.

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL LOBBY
Cabot kneels out from behind his cover to fire a few rounds.

CABOT
You killed my family!!

NORRIS
Casualties of war, Cabot. Every battle has them.

CABOT
My daughter was only five!!

Cabot leans out and takes another shot.

The wooden panel only inches from Norris' face shatters off into a hundred splintered shards.

Norris turns his head to look at the bullethole. He looks at it for a moment before moving quickly, heading from his cover across the lobby.

In SLOW-MOTION, Norris makes a dash across the lobby, stepping right into Dorothy's line of sight. Dorothy opens fire, chipping the floor and wall behind Norris, shattering furniture and windows, but not making contact.

Norris dives forward into a shoulder roll, spinning around on his back to come up with it to the far wall.

Back at NORMAL SPEED, Norris takes a shot at Dorothy, forcing her back into the room as the bullet tears the trim off the door. He then takes a shot at Cabot, forcing him to the floor to avoid being killed.

CABOT
Who the hell are you??

NORRIS
James T. Norris. 396-01733-42.

DOROTHY
Who do you work for?

NORRIS
Central Intelligence wetworks. Black bag oper-
ations.

CABOT
You're an assassin...

DOROTHY
Who's your target...

NORRIS
(smirk)
James T. Norris. 396-0173...

Norris is cut off midword, though, as a bullet slams his right shoulder in SLOW-MOTION.

At NORMAL SPEED, Norris turns toward the door where he finds Florence, M16 in hand, finger squeezing the trigger. In a flash, Norris whips his gun toward the front door, unleashing a clip at his new attacker.

EXT. FRONT OF THE CAPITOL MOTEL
From outside the building in SLOW-MOTION, Florence is suddenly under attack. The flurry of bullets blast everything around her until suddenly she is slammed back onto the pavement by a shot that strikes her in the chest. Blood seeps from the wound, but she musters the energy to drag herself away.

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL LOBBY
Norris is hurt and in pain, but it's a wound he'll survive. It will hamper his fighting at the moment, though, and escape is the best option.

He passes the gun off to his left hand, his weaker shot, and aims toward the hallway. He squeezes the trigger again and again, spraying bullets in the general direction of the hall and the counter to keep Cabot and Dorothy at bay while he attempts his escape.

On his feet and covering his escape, Norris makes a mad dash for the door.

EXT. FRONT OF THE CAPITOL MOTEL
Norris exits the building through the shattered doors, still covering himself with a shower of bullets. He quickly scans the street for Florence. She's no where to be found.

Frustrated, he holsters his weapon and jumps on his motorcycle, forcing the kickstart and peeling away down the street.

INT. CAPITOL MOTEL LOBBY
No longer under attack, Cabot leans cautiously out of his cover position to survey the damage. He looks back down the hallway to see Dorothy poke her head out of the room as well. Cabot slowly stands, gun still drawn, heading out of the building.

EXT. FRONT OF THE CAPITOL MOTEL
Cabot exits the building carefully, eyes flitting quickly around the street in search of his enemy. He slowly makes his way to his pick-up truck, where he is surprised to find Florence, laying in the flat-bed, bleeding from a gaping chest wound.

CABOT
Dorothy!!

Dorothy quickly emerges from the motel, running to the truck. As soon as she reaches the vehicle, she sees why Cabot called her.

CABOT
Can you save her??

Dorothy doesn't answer before climbing quickly into the flat-bed with Florence.

Florence looks up at Dorothy. Eyes lock. No words are exchanged because they are unnecessary.

Dorothy places her hands over Florence's wound. She shuts her eyes, concentrating hard.

A light blue glow emanates from the wound as the torn flesh digitizes, slowly healing over itself to repair the wound.

The glow dies away and Dorothy slumps over. Cabot quickly catches her, his eyes catching Florence. Her wound is gone, leaving only her bullet-torn vest. Florence sits up in the flat-bed, placing her hand on Dorothy's face. After a moment, she breathes a slight sigh of relief, shaking her head "yes" to say that Dorothy will be okay.

DIGITAL WIPE TO:
EXT. SUBURBAN ROAD, FORT DIX (DAY) - SANTIAGO'S SIMULATION
Hobbes' red pick-up truck still sits at the red-light, which now turns green. The truck rolls forward.

INT. THE TRUCK
Hobbes looks over at Sophie, who is completely oblivious to the image of Pinocchio in the rear-view mirror.

PINOCCHIO
Hobbes, we can get you out. But you have to do
exactly what I say. I'm a programmed help guide,
to give you instructions. I can't answer questions.
(beat)
Four blocks up, make a right. Two blocks from
there is an accident. That's your jump port. You
have to drive head-on into it.

Hobbes' eyes flick to the rear-view mirror.

PINOCCHIO
Trust me, Hobbes. It's your only way out.

The image in the mirror suddenly flickers once, then PIXELLATES.

Hobbes looks at the mirror once more, now seeing only the road stretching out behind him.

As he continues down the road, he realizes that his hand is still in Sophie's. He squeezes her hand softly, looking at her with an apologetic smile.

SOPHIE
Tom, are you going to tell me what's bothering you?

HOBBES
(eyes growing misty)
No...you don't need that now...the only thing that I
am going to tell you is that I love you so dearly...

Hobbes tries to force out more words, but they won't come out.

The truck approaches a light, turning right.

Up ahead, Sophie spots the accident; a six car pile-up caused by an overturned oil tanker.

SOPHIE
My God...

Hobbes looks at Sophie once more, tears ready to pour, before looking out the windshield and punching the gas, bearing down on the accident.

SOPHIE
Tom, what are you doing??

HOBBES
Know always; this was for us.

Hobbes snaps the steering into cruise control mode and buries his knee into the wheel to keep the vehicle on course.

HOBBES
I'm sorry...

Hobbes takes Sophie's face in his hands quickly and kisses her hard, keeping his lips locked to hers as they tear down the street into the intersection.

Suddenly, fire rips through the cab and the screen PIXELLATES.

FLASH TO WHITE.

FADE TO BLACK

FADE IN ON...
INT. SANTIAGO'S PLAYERS BAY, GOVERNMENT HOUSE - HARSH REALM
Byers' eyes are locked on the computer terminal, as the window labeled "T. HOBB" suddenly goes green and the bar begins to drop from 100 to zero. When it does, the computer beeps and Byers is up in a flash.

He rushes to Hobbes, removing the fiber-optic from his left temple and sliding the visor off his face. Hobbes' head flops over and Byers quickly brings it back up. Byers produces a small syringe filled with a blue liquid. He flicks it once and plunges it into the side of Hobbes' neck, injecting the serum.

Having administered the serum, Byers pats Hobbes' face, trying to revive him. Hobbes does not respond.

Byers tries again, but with the same results. Panic suddenly flashes across Byers' face as he considers that his jump port might not have worked.

Suddenly, Hobbes coughs, hard. Byers' face is taken with relief as he takes Hobbes by the shoulders, helping him sit up straight. Hobbes' eyes slide open heavily. He blinks blearily, but he is alive and conscious, and that combination is enough to satisfy Byers.

BYERS
...alright...you're okay...we have to move...

Byers helps Hobbes stand and starts out of the room with him.

INT. SUBWAY SERVICE TUNNEL, BELOW GOVERNMENT HOUSE
Pinocchio stands at the junction of the service tunnel and a passage-tunnel that leads to the subway. After a moment, the elevator doors slide open and Byers and Hobbes emerge.

Byers hands Pinocchio a pair of ID chips, one of which he passes off to Hobbes. They both put the chips in the right chest pocket of their coats.

BYERS
Down this tunnel, you'll come out on the subway
platform. Take it all the way to the end of the line.
You'll be near the city perimeter.

Pinocchio starts down the tunnel, but Hobbes stops, shaking Byers hand.

HOBBES
Thank you.

Byers nods, then gestures for Hobbes to follow Pinocchio.

EXT. SANTIAGO CITY, PERIMETER FENCE (NIGHT)
Trudging across the field is the tired pair of Hobbes and Pinocchio, no longer wearing the Republican Guard coats. Up ahead, Pinocchio sees the fence approaching.

Through the fence, Hobbes sees the grungy GTO roll up and skid to a stop. Following behind it is the pick-up, piloted by Cabot and carrying Dorothy.

CLOSE UP on Florence through the windshield of the GTO as she watches Pinocchio and Hobbes.

Inside the fence, Pinocchio comes within feet and stops walking, leaning down to pick up a stone. He looks to Hobbes, then back to the fence.

Pinocchio tosses the stone into the fence. The sailing rock reaches the fence, but instead of bursting into a dozen flaming fragments, it pulls space with it until it snaps through the glitch and emerges on the other side.

Pinocchio looks back to Hobbes.

PINOCCHIO
Freedom.

Pinocchio starts forward again, stepping through the fence and emerging on the other side. He looks back to Hobbes, who hesistates just a split second before following suit. His words are heard as we watch him and Pinocchio pile into the GTO, Pinocchio taking the wheel.

HOBBES (vo)
In all the worlds, through all the wars, by all the
wandering souls lost in this perverse imitation of
reality, only one thing remains the same. A love
beyond all definition that will never perish, never
flicker out and die. My trials prove me right; for
if not for you in my heart, I would have been lost
long ago.
(beat)
A man could quickly lose his mind in a place like
this, where everything is a mirrored reflection of
something else, and nothing is what it tries to ap-
pear to be.
(beat)
You've been taken from me so many times now,
my dearest darling, and every time, my conviction
to return to you grows ever stronger. You are my
touchstone, my beacon in a world of shadows, my
truth behind a patchwork of lies. I will come back
to you, dearest Sophie. I will defeat Santiago. I
WILL conquer Harsh Realm.

The GTO pulls away from the fence, followed by the pick-up.

FADE TO BLACK.

THE END