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THE THIRD LAW

Written by Sami Jawhar


CUT TO: EXT. MARKETPLACE - DAY Vendors have put out an assortment of fruits and vegetables, and shoppers are eager to see what yesterday’s harvest has brought them. CUT TO: EXT. ALLEY - CONTINUOUS A RUNNER sprints down an alleyway. CLOSE UP OF FEET RUNNING. DRUMBEATS. BACK TO: EXT. MARKETPLACE - CONTINUOUS Some shoppers are perusing the wares, some are weighing their selections on a hanging scale, and some are ringing up their orders. BACK TO: EXT. ALLEY - CONTINUOUS The runner runs down another back alley, pursued by an ominous force. RUNNER QUICKLY CUTS IN FRONT OF CAMERA. ON BACK WALL, SHADOW OF DUST CLOUD SOLIDIFYING INTO CROUCHING MAN. BACK TO: EXT. MARKETPLACE - CONTINUOUS The runner bursts out of a nearby alleyway. He’s wearing a hooded sweatshirt, hood drawn. His face is hidden. SLOW-MO SHOT OF RUNNER LOOKING LEFT AND RIGHT. CUT TO REALTIME WHEN KNIFE FLIES PAST RUNNER ON LEFT SIDE. The runner jumps back.

(CONTINUED)


2. CONTINUED:

CUT TO KNIFE STICKING OUT OF NEARBY POST. The knife dissolves into a cloud of dust. The runner looks back over his shoulder. At the entrance to the alley, a dust cloud solidifies into the PURSUER, holding out his hand. A small dust cloud solidifies into a knife in his outstretch hand. The pursuer smiles and throws the knife. The runner dodges the knife and runs towards the crowd in the market. The runner dodges people and carts when he can, but a tall woman with a wheelbarrow full of apples forces him to slide across a nearby vegetable stand, knocking over the baskets of greens. RUNNER SLIDES ON KNEES ON MARKET STAND, BENDING BACKWARDS TO AVOID LOW-HANGING BAR FROM AWNING. CLOSE-UP SLOW-MO SHOT FROM THE SIDE OF RUNNER BARELY DUCKING THE BAR. RUNNER SPRINGS FORWARD OFF STAND, RESUMES RUNNING. The pursuer is following closely, constantly disappearing and re-materializing, throwing a knife with every opportunity. The runner dodges a knife, only to see it now heading towards a baby carriage. The runner immediately jumps forward, clutching the knife and soaring over the baby carriage. MOTHER My baby! BABY (laughs) The runner lands, rolls, and continues running, tossing aside the knife, which dissolves in mid-air. RUNNER SPRINGS FORWARD, CATCHING KNIFE. SLOW-MO: SIDE SHOT OF RUNNER ABOVE CARRIAGE. SHOT FROM PERSPECTIVE OF BABY, RUNNER SOARING OVER CARRIAGE. CLOSE-UP OF BABY, LAUGHING. SHOT FROM OTHER SIDE OF BABY CARRIAGE, RUNNER LANDS, ROLLS, RESUMES RUNNING. SHOT FROM BEHIND, RUNNER TOSSES KNIFE TO THE SIDE, KNIFE DISINTEGRATES. The runner starts to turn right when a knife flies past him on his right side. Dodging. The runner takes a quick left down an alley. CUT TO:


3.

EXT. BACK ALLEY - CONTINUOUS The alley ends in a low wall. The runner takes two steps up the wall, ready to jump up and grab hold of the top ledge, when his eyes widen. Acting purely on instinct, the runner pushes off the wall, flipping backwards over the would-be killer knife. The knife grazes the runners face, drawing blood. The blood glints in the sunlight. RUNNER TAKES TWO STEPS UP WALL. CLOSE UP OF EYES WIDENING. RUNNER KICKS OFF WALL. SLOW-MO SHOT FROM THE SIDE OF RUNNER DOING BACK FLIP OVER INCOMING KNIFE. CLOSE-UP OF KNIFE CUTTING RUNNER’S FACE, RUNNER’S FACE REFLECTING OFF KNIFE. BLOOD GLINTS IN THE LIGHT. LENS FLARE. FADE TO: WHITE The sound of an ALARM CLOCK GOING OFF can be heard in the background. HIGH REVERB, ROLL OFF HIGHER FREQUENCIES, FADE TO NORMAL. FADE TO: INT. BEDROOM - MORNING A man is lying in bed in an average suburban bedroom, squinting from the light streaming through his open window. There is an alarm clock on the night stand next to the bed. The man shields his eyes with one arm and turns over to hit the snooze button on his alarm clock. Slumping back on the bed, the man sighs and rubs his eyes. Suddenly, he sits up in a start, eyes wide open, and throws off the blanket. He stands up, takes off his shirt, and heads into the bathroom. CUT TO: INT. KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER A woman is in the kitchen, cooking steak and eggs. CUT TO:


4.

INT. BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS The man steps out of the bathroom, now dressed in business attire, hair wet from the shower. He opens the closet and takes out his BRIEFCASE, opening it and peering inside before closing it again. BACK TO: INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS The woman sets the table for two. The sound of HURRIED FOOTSTEPS on the stairway can be heard above the SIZZLING OF THE FRYING PAN. The woman turns her head: WOMAN Honey? I made breakfast; steak and eggs. You hungry? MAN Gotta run, big presentation today. WOMAN (frustrated/urgent) Again? That’s twice this week. You sure it can’t wait? CUT TO: INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS MAN (heading towards the door) Sorry, it’s important. All my work for the past month has been leading up to this. WOMAN (rushing to catch up with the man) Well, it’s waited a month. Can’t it wait for breakfast? The man turns around and puts his hands on his wife’s shoulders. MAN Honey, if this goes through it can help a lot of people... I can help a lot of people. Okay? (MORE)

(CONTINUED)


5. CONTINUED: MAN (CONT'D) (he kisses his wife on the forehead) Now, I’ll be home in time for dinner. I love you.

WOMAN (sadly) I love you too. (beat) How about I make lasagna for dinner tonight? MAN Sounds great. (turns around to leave) WOMAN Be safe! The man steps out the front door. CUT TO: EXT. FRONT LAWN - CONTINUOUS The man quickly heads towards his car, opens the door, and gets in. MOVE TO: INT. CAR - CONTINUOUS The man sets his briefcase on the seat next to him and hesitates for a moment before unlocking it. The suitcase falls open, revealing its contents: a BLACK HOODED SWEATSHIRT and PANTS. The man (the runner) looks back at the house and sighs. After a moment, he puts the car in gear. CUT TO: EXT. FRONT LAWN - CONTINUOUS The car drives away. CUT TO:


6.

EXT. GAS STATION PARKING LOT - MOMENTS LATER The runner pulls up to the gas station, parks the car, and gets out, carrying his briefcase. He heads into the gas station. CUT TO: INT. GAS STATION - CONTINUOUS The runner enters the gas station and heads towards the bathroom. ATTENDANT Customers only! RUNNER (turning around) Excuse me? ATTENDANT The bathroom. Customers only. RUNNER (frustrated/rushed) Listen, I need to pee. Just let me use your bathroom and I’ll be out of your hair. The runner walks towards the bathroom door and turns the doorknob: it’s locked. He pushes on the door, trying to get in. ATTENDANT (holding up the key) Looking for this? Buy something and it’s yours. The runner lowers his head and sighs. After a moment, the runner looks up, heads towards the attendant, picks up a CANDY BAR from a shelf and sets it on the counter. The attendant rings it up. ATTENDANT (CONT’D) Three seventy-five. RUNNER Are you kidding me? ATTENDANT Three seventy-five.

(CONTINUED)


7. CONTINUED:

RUNNER It’s just a fucking candy bar! How can a piece of chocolate cost four bucks? ATTENDANT It has nougat. Chewy, I think. Very tasty. RUNNER (frustrated) Fine, whatever. (rummages through his wallet) CLOSE-UP OF WALLET, NEARLY EMPTY. The runner takes out three dollar bills and some coins, sets them on the counter. The attendant picks them up and counts the coins. ATTENDANT You’re two cents short. RUNNER (glares at attendant, looks around, sees the penny dish, takes two) There. Now can I have the key? ATTENDANT (handing over the key) Here you go. The runner takes the key and heads towards the bathroom, unlocking the door. CUT TO: INT. BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS The runner steps inside and opens his briefcase, taking out the sweatshirt. He unbuttons his jacket. CUT TO: INT. GAS STATION - MOMENTS LATER The runner steps out of the bathroom, now dressed in the hooded sweatshirt and pants as seen in the first sequence.

(CONTINUED)


8. CONTINUED:

He heads towards the door, tossing the key to the attendant and grabbing the candy bar from the counter. He stuffs it the candy bar into his front pocket, opens the door, walks toward the car. ATTENDANT (yelling) Have a nice day! The attendant spots the candy bar on the floor. He runs over to it and waves to the runner. ATTENDANT (CONT’D) (yelling) Hey, you forgot your candy bar. The runner doesn’t notice the attendant and gets into the car. The attendant looks back and forth between the runner and the candy bar before shrugging, opening the candy bar, and taking a bite. ATTENDANT (CONT’D) Nougat. CUT TO: INT. CAR - CONTINUOUS The runner sets the briefcase on the seat next to him. It slides off the seat, bumping the glove compartment, which falls open. The runner leans over to close it, looks inside, and panics. He rummages through the glove compartment, but apparently doesn’t find what he’s looking for. RUNNER Shit! (quickly puts the car in gear) CUT TO: EXT. GAS STATION PARKING LOT - CONTINUOUS The car screeches backwards. CUT TO: INT. LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER The runner unlocks the front door and enters his house.

(CONTINUED)


9. CONTINUED:

RUNNER (heading upstairs) I’m back! Forgot my papers! (he realizes he’s wearing his hoodie and quickly takes it off, throwing it over his shoulder) (silence) Honey? (silence) CUT TO: INT. BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS The runner re-enters his bedroom and heads towards the closet before changing his mind and walking to the dresser. Opening the bottom left drawer, he pulls out a SMALL METAL CUBE and, with nowhere else to put it, puts his sweatshirt back on, sticking the cube in the front pocket. He breathes a sigh of relief. RUNNER Eve? You here? The runner heads back downstairs, searching for his wife. BACK TO: INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS The runner arrives downstairs and heads towards the kitchen. CUT TO: INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS The runner enters the kitchen. RUNNER Eve? The runner stumbles and falls to the floor. CUT TO:


10.

EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD STREET - CONTINUOUS The pursuer is walking down a street, cleaning a bloodcovered knife. When it is clean, it vanishes. RUNNER (in the distance) NO! The pursuer looks back, summons a knife, and disintegrates. BACK TO: INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS The runner is kneeling over his wife’s body, a knife in her chest and her blood on the floor. The runner kneels closer to the wife and begins to cry. RUNNER (whispers) No. PURSUER (O.S.) (shouts angrily) Hey! The runner turns around and knife flies over his shoulder and sticks in the wall behind him. He sees the purser standing in the hallway, knife in hand. Overcome by rage, the runner pulls the knife out of the wall and throws it at the pursuer. The pursuer’s eyes widen with surprise, but he reacts quickly enough the brings his own knife up to deflect the thrown knife. Then, with a quick flick of the wrist, he curls the thrown knife around his own and lobs it into his free hand, smoothly catching it and crossing both knives in front of himself in a defensive stance. KNIFE-CATCHING SEQUENCE DONE IN SLOW-MO. SLOW-MO ENDS WHEN PURSUER CATCHES KNIFE. Seeing this impressive display of ability, the runner looks around, scouting his exits, then heads for the back door. Not keen on letting him escape, the pursuer throws a knife at the runner which pierces his arm and lodges itself in the wall. The runner cries out in pain but, seeing the pursuer walking towards him, pulls the knife out of his arm and, not wanting to again rearm the pursuer, simply tosses it to the ground. As he runs out the door, the runner’s arm brushes against a coat hanging against the wall, wiping some of the blood off of his arm and revealing his now healed arm.

(CONTINUED)


11. CONTINUED:

The pursuer starts to chase after him but stops near the wife’s body and looks down, a look of sadness in his eyes. He looks back up then disappears. SHOT OF WIFE ON FLOOR. CLOSE-UP OF KNIFE IN WIFE, IDENTICAL TO PURSUER’S KNIVES. ANGLE ON KNIFE THE SAME AS BEFORE FLASHBACK. FADE TO: EXT. BACK ALLEY - DAY The knife hits the wall and disintegrates. The runner lands and turns around. The pursuer appears at the entrance to the alley, smiling. The runner takes off his hood, revealing his cut face. The runner closes his eyes for a moment before wiping away the blood on his face, revealing that the cut has healed. The pursuer stops smiling. PURSUER Well, that complicates things. (beat) You know I can’t let you leave. The runner looks for a way out. Finding none, he instead hides behind a nearby dumpster. The pursuer sighs, his knife vanishes, and he leans against the wall. PURSUER (CONT’D) Have you ever heard of Isaac Newton? (beat) The man was a visionary. His foresight was... astonishing, if a bit limited by his time. (beat) In an age where everyone expected God to sort things out for them, Newton saw things the way they are. Most people think his greatest contribution was to science, but they’re wrong. Newton’s Laws aren’t about physics or motion; they’re about human nature. (beat) The first law: an object stays at rest or moving straight forward unless acted upon by an external force. (growing more and more excited) (MORE) (CONTINUED)


12. CONTINUED: PURSUER (CONT’D) Do you really think that was about balls or bicycles? The Church had society by the throat and was slowly squeezing the life out of the poor and the hungry. The first law was as close to a call to arms as Newton could get without putting himself in danger. For God’s sake, Principia Mathematica is directly responsible for the Age of Enlightenment! (takes a breath) (beat) The second law: The force applied on an object is proportional to-

RUNNER Shut up! You kill my wife, you try to kill me, and now you want to give me a science lesson? There’s a long silence, towards the end of which the Pursuer’s laughter can clearly be heard. PURSUER Kill you? (continues laughing) I’m not trying to kill you. RUNNER You’ve spent the past five minutes throwing knives at me! Either you were trying to kill me or you have a very strange way of saying hello. PURSUER (still amused) I’ve been trying to stop you, not kill you. Besides, we both know you’re too fast to be killed by a knife. That’s why they hired you. (suddenly somber) And I didn’t kill your... wife. RUNNER (enraged) Bullshit! I saw the knife in her chest; your knife. The pursuer sighs and rubs his temples with his right hand. He looks up.

(CONTINUED)


13. CONTINUED:

PURSUER (holding out his hand) Look. A knife materializes in front of the runner, floating in the air for a few seconds before disappearing again. PURSUER (CONT’D) If I had killed your wife, would I have left my knife behind? There’s a long silence. RUNNER If you didn’t kill her, then why did you chase after me? PURSUER Because of Newton’s third law: Actioni contrariam et æqualem esse reactionem. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You’ve set off a series of events, an explosive set of chain reactions, and I have to put a stop to it. (beat) You haven’t delivered it yet, have you? (beat) (breathes a sigh of relief, laughs) (beat) They didn’t tell you what you stole, did they? (beat) (mutters) Of course not, they always keep you in the dark. RUNNER (pulls the cube out his pocket and looks at it) What are you talking about? PURSUER Don’t pretend like you don’t know. The cube! It’s dangerous, and if they get their hands on it... (beat) It has to be destroyed.

(CONTINUED)


14. CONTINUED:

RUNNER (stepping out from behind the dumpster, enraged) Why? (sadly) Why is a piece of metal so important? PURSUER Because of what it can offer. RUNNER (enraged) Which is what? PURSUER Anarchy. Complete and absolute chaos. In the wrong hands, it can tear the world to pieces. RUNNER (looking at the cube) What is this thing? What did I steal? PURSUER It’s gone by many names: the Greeks knew it as Pandora’s Box; the ancient Hebrews called it the Ark of the Covenant; the Norse thought it would lead to Ragnarok, and the Mayans predicted it would destroy the world in 2012. (growing increasingly angry) For two-hundred-and-thirty years it was kept safe, hidden, away from those who would misuse it, and in one day you undo everything! And now, on top of all of that, you plan to give it to him?! RUNNER (angry) Who? Who is he? Who are they? A van screeches to a halt behind the pursuer. The runner ducks behind the dumpster. The pursuer turns around. PURSUER Shit! The pursuer vanishes, leaving the runner alone in the alley.

(CONTINUED)


15. CONTINUED:

RUNNER (mutters, sadly) Who killed Eve? The runner peeks out from behind the dumpster. Spotting him, the DRIVER of the van calls out to the runner: DRIVER Hey, a bit jumpy, are ya? (beat) You coming? We’re late! The runner takes a deep breath before getting up. He walks towards the van. The side door opens and a THUG steps forward. THUG You got it? The runner nods, then notices a blood stain on the thug’s shirt. RUNNER You okay? THUG (looks at his shirt, then back at the runner) Get in. The runner pauses for a moment before climbing in the van. The side door shuts. CUT TO: BLACK CUT TO: INT. OFFICE - LATER The thug pulls the HOOD off the runner’s head. The runner is tied to a chair, his hands behind his back, his SWEATSHIRT on the ground BESIDE him. The thug is standing next to the runner. The BOSS is standing in front of a large window across from the runner. BOSS Hook him up. JUMP CUT TO:

(CONTINUED)


16. CONTINUED:

The thug places a DEVICE on the runner’s forehead and tapes it into place. The device is three braided wires that consecutively unbraid and end in diamond shaped rubber pads. The pads are placed left to right on the runner’s forehead, and the other end of the device is plugged into an OLD LAPTOP to the left of the runner. The boss turns around. The thug taps a few keys on the laptop and it turns on. After a few seconds, a READY screen appears on the laptop. The thug leaves the room. The boss sighs and turns around. He is carrying an open FOLDER with papers in it. He flips through some of the pages, skimming them, and then flips back to the front page. BOSS (CONT’D) (reading the paper) John Lee Anderson, age 22, born March 14th, 1988 to Brian Lee and Megan Anne Anderson. Attended Mulberry High School, average scholastic ability, afraid of clowns, one girlfriend, later wife. (closes the folder and tosses it on the desk, then looks at the runner) The runner looks confused and surprised. BOSS (CONT’D) (smiles) Oh, yes, we know a lot about you. In fact, we know everything that you do. After all, we’re the ones that gave you your memories. Too bad they’re all lies. (pauses, looks at runner) Would you like to know the truth? The boss steps over to the laptop, presses a few keys, picks up a remote, and walks back towards the window. The laptop screen flashes for a few seconds. LAPTOP (V.O.) Password accepted. An ACTIVE screen appears on the laptop screen. The runner rocks backwards in his chair, in pain. A progress bar appears on the laptop screen, starting at 0%.

(CONTINUED)


17. CONTINUED:

DURING THE FOLLOWING SCENE, SHOTS FROM THE RUNNER’S PAST WILL FLASH ON SCREEN, AS IF THE DEVICE IS FORCING HIM TO REMEMBER. BOSS You came to us. You had been in a car accident, your family was dead, your legs were broken. You asked us to heal you. In return, you came to work for us. (making his way towards the runner) We wiped your memory and gave you a new one. We made you fast, fast enough to heal instantaneously. We gave you a new house and a loving wife. We made your life easy, uncomplicated. All you had to do was deliver the cube. Now, where is it? (beat, yelling) Where is it? THE FLASHES END. The runner sags forward, breathing heavily. The laptop screen shows 15%. The boss takes a deep breath and calms himself. There are a few seconds of silence. RUNNER What do you mean you gave me a wife? Do you mean Eve? How did you give her to me? BOSS She worked for us, a handler. She kept you fed and happy. It was all a ruse, designed to keep you from thinking too much, from questioning your orders. RUNNER But, I met her when I was a kid. She lived across the street. BOSS Did she? Are you sure? Think back. How did you meet? The boy the the

computer screen shows a suburban neighborhood. A small is trying to climb a fence. The computer screen follows story as the runner tells it, but the runner does not see screen.

(CONTINUED)


18. CONTINUED:

RUNNER I had lost my ball in my neighbors backyard. I knocked on the door, but nobody answered. I tried to climb the fence, but I was too short. Then she came along. She broke window with a rock and climbed in. A few minutes later, she walked out the front door, holding my ball. I told her that we needed to get out of there, that we’d get in trouble. She saidBOSS It’s OK. It’s my house. The runner looks at the boss, surprised. BOSS (CONT’D) I came up with that one. One of my more creative moments. It’s false, of course. Just another fake memory. I told you, we know everything you do. Well, almost, but the device on your head will soon solve that for us. It will scan your brain, searching your memories until it finds what it’s looking for. It will be quite painful. But we can avoid all that. All you have to do is tell me where you hid the cube. The runner stays silent. BOSS (CONT’D) Fine. (presses a button on the remote) The runner rocks back in his chair again, screaming in pain. MORE FLASHES FROM THE RUNNER’S PAST APPEAR ON SCREEN. THEY ARE DISORGANIZED AND UNRELATED. AFTER A FEW SECONDS, THE FLASHES END. The runner sags forward in his chair again, breathing heavily. The computer screen shows 47%.

(CONTINUED)


19. CONTINUED:

RUNNER I don’t know! I had it with me when I got in the van. I don’t know what happened to it. BOSS (angry) Don’t lie to me! My men searched you and found nothing. Our contacts confirm that it has been stolen, now where is it? RUNNER I swear, I don’t know. I didn’t hide it. I don’t know what happened. Maybe one of your men took it. BOSS It would be fairly evident if that were the case. You’re the only one who could have it, and you’re the only one that can make this stop. (beat) Last chance. Where is the cube? The runner stays silent. The boss presses a button on the remote. MORE FLASHES. The runner is exhausted. The computer screen shows 74%. RUNNER Stop! I’ll tell you. It was the man with the knives. BOSS Who? RUNNER The man with the knives! (describes the pursuer) [dependant on actor] He could teleport and dissolve his knives. BOSS Ah, Operative Clavis. I feared he had become involved when Dolus returned injured from his-

(CONTINUED)


20. CONTINUED:

RUNNER Wait. Operative? (beat) He works for you? BOSS He used to, but he defected during his assignment. (pause) What did he tell you? The runner opens his mouth to talk but decides to stay silent. BOSS (CONT’D) (yelling) What did he tell you? The runner stays silent. The boss holds up the remote. RUNNER (panicking) OK! OK! Just wait. (beat) He told me not to give you the cube. He said that if I did, you would destroy the world. But, I swear I didn’t listen to him! BOSS And you did well not to. After all, he’s a killer; is it really such a stretch to imagine he’s a liar as well? I assume he lied about killing your wife? RUNNER Yeah, he(beat) How did you know about that? BOSS (laughs) Did you really think we’d let someone tasked with as critical an assignment as yours go unsupervised? We’ve been watching you ever since you left our facility five years ago. We’ve kept track of every move you’ve made since then. Well, until this morning. (beat) (MORE) (CONTINUED)


21. CONTINUED: BOSS (CONT'D) Clavis somehow manages to stay out of our sight for over seven years, yet simply turns up at the exact moment our surveillance system fails. (muttering) It’s just too... perfect to be a coincidence. (beat) We would have apprehended him, but he has a certain knack for disappearing.

RUNNER Yeah, he was pulling his little magic trick chasing me across town. BOSS I apologize for that. Clavis was... a mistake. He was far too rebellious to be controlled; we should never have tried. You’re lucky to have escaped with your life. (beat) Would you like to know what it is that you’ve stolen? The runner pauses for a second, and then nods. The boss walks back towards the window and looks out. BOSS (CONT’D) 597 BC; the governess of the Greek city of Kirrha finds a small, metal cube while bathing in the sea. Convinced it is a gift from Zeus, she rushes to show the cube to her husband, the governor Epimetheus. Epimetheus immediately recognizes the cube as the sacred relic of Delphi. In order to avoid a war, Epimetheus begins constructing a vault to hide the cube in. However, his wife Pandora plans to ransom the cube back to the Delphians. RUNNER Wait. Pandora? (beat, realizes where he’s heard the name Pandora) Pandora’s Box? Really? (angry) (MORE)

(CONTINUED)


22. CONTINUED: RUNNER (CONT'D) Are you telling me I went through all this shit for a... a myth?

BOSS (condescendingly) Temper, Mr. Anderson. (beat, continues) When the Oracle of Delphi hears of this, she instructs the Amphictyonic League of Delphi to destroy Kirrha and recover the cube. The battle that ensues is now known as the First Sacred War. (beat) When the dust settled, Kirrha had been razed to the ground, Pandora and her husband were missing, and the cube had vanished. Ever since then, the Amphictyonic League and Pandora’s Keepers have been warring over the cube and, thanks to you, that war is finally coming to a close. RUNNER (after a long pause) Let’s say I believe you. Let’s say I buy into this “Sacred War.” (mutter) It sure would explain a lot. (to boss) If all this is true, then which side did I help? The boss turns his head to face the runner and smiles. To the right of the boss, on the window, is a company name and logo: Pandoran Paper, and the symbol of a pair of hands holding a square stack of paper. RUNNER (CONT’D) Oh, shit. (looks down, thinking.) The boss walks towards the runner and sits on the desk. BOSS Now, are you going to tell us where the cube is? There’s a long silence.

(CONTINUED)


23. CONTINUED:

RUNNER (still looking down) You’re telling me too much. (beat, looks up) I’m not leaving here alive, am I? BOSS (smiling) Your assignment is almost complete. All we need now is the location of the cube, information we will acquire. How we acquire it, though, comes down to you. (picks up remote and looks at runner) The runner looks down at the ground. After a long pause he looks back up at the boss. RUNNER You’re going to kill me either way. If this cube really is Pandora’s Box, then it’s dangerous, and you don’t seem like the kind of person who should be handling it. And if it’s not, if all of this is just baloney... well, let’s just say I’m not keen on helping the man who killed me. The boss is furious, but he quickly contains his rage. BOSS In that case, your services are no longer required. The boss pushes a combinations of buttons on the remote. The progress bar makes it way towards completion. MORE FLASHES APPEAR ON SCREEN. AFTER A FEW SECONDS, THE FLASHES END. The progress bar reaches 100%. The computer screen shows MEMORY SEARCH: COMPLETED. LAPTOP (V.O.) Memory search completed. (beat) Deactivate Operative Prometheus.

(CONTINUED)


24. CONTINUED:

PROCEDURE: DEACTIVATE OPERATIVE PROMETHEUS appears on screen. The runner (Prometheus) screams in agony as the device seems to remove his soul from his body. When it is done, the runner sags forward, near death. The computer screen shows OPERATIVE PROMETHEUS: DEACTIVATED. LAPTOP (V.O.) Operative Prometheus deactivated. The message fades, and SCANNING MEMORIES appears, blinking. LAPTOP (V.O) Scanning memories. (beat) Memories scanned. MEMORIES SCANNED appears on screen. That message fades, and CUBE: blinks on screen. After a few seconds, the message is completed. NOT FOUND. The message blinks red. LAPTOP (V.O.) Cube not found. BOSS (enraged) What? Sounds of SHOUTING and GUNFIRE can be heard outside. The boss looks panicked. BOSS (CONT’D) (takes out a gun and points it at Prometheus, yelling) Where is the cube? Prometheus looks up at the boss and smiles. Dolus (the thug) enters the office. Dolus is an older man, in his mid-fifties, with graying hair. DOLUS He’s here. The boss cracks, letting out an aggravated yell. He fires the gun, but just as the bullet is about to pierce Prometheus’ skull, Prometheus and the chair he is tied to disappear in a cloud of dust. BOSS (at Dolus, enraged) Where did he go? (beat) Find him!

(CONTINUED)


25. CONTINUED:

Dolus exits the room immediately. BOSS (CONT’D) (looking around the room, tosses the gun aside, yelling) Show yourself! Prometheus reappears, still tied to the chair. BOSS (CONT’D) (still angry) How can you teleport? Clavis (the pursuer) appears behind of Prometheus. Behind Prometheus’ back, Clavis cuts half-way through the ropes tying Prometheus’ arms. CLAVIS (casually) Hey, boss. How’s it going? Clavis summons a knife and plays with it. CLAVIS (CONT’D) I never thought I would come back here on purpose. BOSS (angry) I’m glad you did. Now I’ll finally have the chance to undo my mistake. CLAVIS I’d like to see you try, old man. The boss charges Clavis. Clavis throws the knife at the boss, who pulls out a sword and deflects the knife. Just as the boss is about to strike Clavis, Clavis summons a longer, fighting knife and disappears. The boss, seemingly expecting this, immediately throws his weight around and stabs at Clavis, who had appeared behind the boss but now quickly disappears again. While Clavis and the boss continue to fight, the ropes binding Prometheus’ hand snap. Prometheus sags forward and his hands fall to his side, one hand falling on his sweatshirt. Just then, the boss’ sword swipes at Prometheus’ hand, nearly cutting it off, but Prometheus instinctively pull his hand back, taking the sweatshirt with it. Clavis appears behind the desk, near the window.

(CONTINUED)


26. CONTINUED:

CLAVIS (CONT’D) You’re getting slow, Merc. Mercury (the boss), breathing heavily, does not notice his close call with Prometheus. Instead, he remains focused on Clavis. Mercury charges Clavis again, and the battle continues. Behind Mercury, Prometheus is holding his sweatshirt in his hand when he notices his fingers poking through a hole in the front pocket. His face contorts in confusion before a wave of recognition washes over his face. Clavis appears behind Mercury, near the window. Mercury turns and stabs at Clavis, but Clavis disappears and Mercury’s sword cuts through the window and gets lodged there. Clavis appears next to Mercury and raises his knife. Mercury’s eyes widen. MERCURY No! Clavis stabs Mercury in the chest and kicks him back against the wall. Mercury falls to the ground. Clavis pulls the sword out of the wall and slowly walks towards Mercury CLAVIS (to Mercury) Don’t worry. The last one missed any major organs. (stops in front of Mercury and glances down at the sword then back at Mercury) This one won’t. (walks towards Mercury) MERCURY (pleading) No, please, don’t! Clavis raises his arm. CLAVIS This is for Susan. The sword plunges downward. Mercury shuts his eyes. The sword stops just short of slashing Mercury’s neck. Prometheus is holding Clavis’ arm back. CLAVIS (CONT’D) (yelling) What are you doing? He deserves this.

(CONTINUED)


27. CONTINUED:

PROMETHEUS (calmly) You’re right, he does; but right now you need to find and destroy the cube, and he’s the only one of us who knows how. Clavis pauses for a second, looking back and forth between Mercury and Prometheus, contemplating pushing Prometheus away and killing Mercury anyway. After a long pause, Clavis lets out an aggravated yell, pulls his arm out of Prometheus’ grip, and swipes at Mercury. Prometheus falls to the ground, put off balance. PROMETHEUS (CONT’D) No! The sword stops at Mercury’s neck, drawing just a drop of blood. CLAVIS (seething) You heard him; how do we destroy the cube? Mercury stays silent. CLAVIS (CONT’D) (yelling) Answer me! CUT TO: EXT. OFFICE COMPLEX - CONTINUOUS Clavis’ outburst is heard by a PASSERBY who turns his head to find the location of the sound. The sound came from a nearby mundane office building. Near the building, evidence of the previous gunfight can be seen, as the walls are riddled with bullet holes. Frightened, the passerby turns to run away when Dolus appears in front of him. CUT TO: INT. OFFICE - CONTINUOUS FACING OUT WINDOW. A flock of birds flies away.

(CONTINUED)


28. CONTINUED:

PULL FOCUS THROUGH WINDOW TO CLAVIS. Clavis is looking out the window. CLAVIS (under his breath) Dolus. Clavis looks around for a while, then his angry scowl turns into a evil smile. CLAVIS (CONT’D) (to Prometheus) Hold him down. Prometheus looks at Clavis, confused, but immediately realizes his plan. He pins Mercury down while Clavis walks over to the memory device lying on the ground near the laptop. He drops the sword, picks up the device, and wheels the laptop next to Mercury. Mercury squirms, trying with all his might to escape Prometheus grip, but when Prometheus puts a hand on his chest to restrain him, Mercury grimaces and backs down. Clavis kneels next to Mercury and tapes the device to his head. CLAVIS (CONT’D) Now, tell me how to destroy the cube. Mercury laughs. MERCURY You don’t even know the password. Clavis grins, stands up, presses a few keys on the computer, then looks back at Mercury. LAPTOP (V.O.) Password accepted. CLAVIS You know, there’s a certain sense of ironic justice in this. (beat) So, are you going to tell me how to destroy the cube? Mercury stays silent. CLAVIS (CONT’D) Fine. Clavis presses a few keys on the laptop.

(CONTINUED)


29. CONTINUED:

LAPTOP (V.O.) Deactivate Supervisor Mercury. Mercury writhes in agony. He opens his mouth to scream, but the pain lodges the words in his throat. LAPTOP (V.O.) Supervisor Mercury Deactivated Mercury slumps to the ground and Prometheus releases his grip on him. Just then, Mercury jumps forward, grabbing Prometheus. Clavis grabs Mercury, jerks him away from Prometheus, and punches him in the face before throwing him against the wall. CLAVIS (very close to Mercury’s face, angry) How do we destroy the cube? Mercury starts to laugh. MERCURY Why would I tell you now? I have nothing to lose. Mercury continues to laugh but starts to cough instead. Clavis stands up and backs away, furious. CLAVIS (seething) Fine. Clavis summons a knife. Prometheus’ narrow in concentration. PROMETHEUS (absent-mindedly) Wait... Clavis lunges at Mercury. PROMETHEUS (CONT’D) (shouting) I know how to destroy the cube! Clavis stops and looks at Prometheus. PROMETHEUS (CONT’D) I think...

(CONTINUED)


30. CONTINUED:

Clavis looks at Prometheus expectantly. Prometheus gestures to Clavis’ knife. Clavis looks at his knife, confused, but soon catches on. CLAVIS (smiles, under his breath) I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that. (to Prometheus) Well, where’s the cube? Prometheus tosses his sweatshirt to Clavis. Clavis’ fingers slip through the hole. Clavis looks up and smiles, then he disappears. The sweatshirt drops to the ground. Prometheus kneels to pick it up then stops suddenly when he hears Mercury laughing. Prometheus turns to face him. MERCURY Did you really think that it would be that simple? Mercury starts to laugh again but starts coughing up blood. MERCURY (CONT’D) This war has been waging for over two thousand years. If the cube could be destroyed so easily, we probably wouldn’t even be talking right now, though I have to applaud your creativity: turning the cube’s own gifts against it. Prometheus rushes over to Mercury and kneels down next to him, getting very close. PROMETHEUS. What’s going to happen to him? CUT TO: EXT. BACK ALLEY SLOW MO. Clavis appears at the entrance to the alley and walks towards the dumpster. MERCURY (V.O.) The cube is far too strong for such... primitive... methods. (MORE)

(CONTINUED)


31. CONTINUED: MERCURY (V.O.) (CONT'D) It has survived for thousands of years, and it will continue to protect itself.

Behind the dumpster sits the cube, undisturbed. Clavis bends down to pick it up, but, as his hand gets close to the cube, his hand fades away like dust into the wind. Clavis pulls his arm back and looks at it. The hand reappears, but it looks less substantial, less stable. CUT TO: INT. OFFICE - CONTINUOUS MERCURY (V.O.) It will destroy him. Prometheus pauses for a second before letting out an aggravated yell. He punches Mercury in the face, bashing his head against the wall. Mercury slumps forward, dead. Prometheus gets up and heads towards the door when Dolus appears in front of him. Dolus spots Mercury and looks back at Prometheus, a small smile on his face. DOLUS Well done. Prometheus immediately turns around and runs towards the window. CUT TO: EXT. OFFICE COMPLEX - CONTINUOUS A window on the second floor shatters as a knife flies through it, followed by Prometheus. Prometheus hits the ground and rolls. He stands up, his face and arms covered with small cuts, reads the nearest street sign, then runs off. Above, Dolus walks to the opening, smiles, then disappears in the same fashion as Clavis. CUT TO: EXT. BACK ALLEY - CONTINUOUS Clavis looks at his hand and then the cube. Turning towards the cube, he points his arms towards it and closes his eyes. The cube begins to glow. CUT TO:


32.

EXT. STREET CORNER - CONTINUOUS Prometheus stops at a street corner, breathing heavily. Blood is dripping from his many cuts. Dolus appears behind him in the middle of the street. DOLUS (laughing) Feeling tired? Prometheus turns around. DOLUS (CONT’D) You shouldn’t have betrayed us. Dolus summons a knife and is about to throw it at Prometheus when a car, driving down the street, honks its horn. Dolus turns and disappears before being run over. PROMETHEUS (waving at the driver) Thanks. CUT TO: EXT. BACK ALLEY - CONTINUOUS The cube lifts off the ground, glowing red hot. Clavis begins to flicker, fading in and out of existence. CUT TO: EXT. MARKETPLACE - CONTINUOUS Prometheus bursts into the marketplace, now significantly less busy. He stops, looks around, finds where he needs to go, then starts running again. CUT TO: EXT. BACK ALLEY - CONTINUOUS Clavis is sweating from the effort and is still flickering. The top of the cube begins to fade away into dust. Clavis’ hand disappears again and he flinches. The cube hits the ground and sends out a shockwave of energy, sending the dumpster flying towards the entrance to the alley. The shockwave hits Clavis, who screams before being blown away in a cloud of dust. Just then, Prometheus enters the alley and falls on the ground in order to dodge the dumpster.

(CONTINUED)


33. CONTINUED:

The dumpster hurtles over Prometheus and rolls out onto the street. Prometheus picks himself up. He spots the cube and heads towards it. Half of the cube is gone, disintegrated by Clavis, leaving the top face of the cube sharp and rugged. Prometheus hesitantly picks up the cube and turns it over in his hands. The cube cuts his hand and Prometheus drops it. Dolus appears at the entrance to the alleyway, smiling. There is a trail of blood leading from outside the alley to Prometheus. Prometheus backs away from him, turns around, and tries to run up the low wall. However, without his speed, he is unable to reach the top and instead falls back down, injuring his leg. Dolus laughs. Prometheus tries to stand, but his leg won’t support him and he slumps against the wall and slides down to the ground. Obviously in pain, he looks up at Dolus, making no move to run or attack. DOLUS Well? (beat) That’s it? After all that, you’re just going to give up? (beat, angry) Well? (shouting) Get up! Prometheus looks confused. Dolus starts laughing again, but the laugh slowly fades into a sad sob. Dolus slumps down to the ground, sitting against the wall, head down. DOLUS (CONT’D) (almost whispering) I really thought you could do it. I though you could finally end it. Dolus looks over at Prometheus, who is looking back with a surprised, confused look on his face. DOLUS (CONT’D) (laughs quietly, pause) I’m tired, Prometheus. I’m just... tired. (beat, resigned) I’ve been fighting this war for far too long and now I’m just... tired. A gust of wind blows down the alleyway, kicking up dust at the entrance. The dust flows towards the cube. The cube starts to glow. Neither men notice.

(CONTINUED)


34. CONTINUED:

Dolus is looking down again, and Prometheus is looking around near him for something that might help him escape. DOLUS (CONT’D) They killed my wife too, you know. Prometheus looks up at Dolus. DOLUS (CONT’D) And then they killed me. The sand swirls around the cube, filling in the jagged top face of the cube and solidifying, slowly restoring the cube. DOLUS (CONT’D) (growing angrier) Instead of letting me die, they... brought me back. Every time I died, every time I thought it was over, I’d wake up in a lab and Mercury would be there, smiling. And as long as that cube still exists, it won’t end. Prometheus looks down, deciding whether or not to speak, and finally looks up. PROMETHEUS Why? DOLUS (shrugs) I don’t know. They found a way to draw power from the cube, used it to give their operatives powers. I guess they can use it to bring me back. PROMETHEUS No, I mean why would they do that? Dolus looks at Prometheus, genuinely surprised that Prometheus cares, or was even listening. A patch of red-colored sand, stained with Prometheus’ blood, floats towards the cube, filling it in and completing it. The cube stops glowing. DOLUS (O.C.) Because I was the one who lost the cube.

(CONTINUED)


35. CONTINUED:

Prometheus continues looking at Dolus when an idea strikes him. FLASH TO: BACK ALLEY - DAY Prometheus has a flashback to his confrontation with Clavis. PURSUER (growing increasingly angry) For two-hundred-and-thirty years it was kept safe, hidden, away from those who would misuse it, and in one day you undo everything! FLASH TO: BACK ALLEY - AFTERNOON The flashback ends. Prometheus looks confused, then he understands. He looks up at Dolus. PROMETHEUS (astonished) That was more than two-hundred years ago! Dolus smiles at Prometheus and nods. DOLUS I led the siege of Fort Ticonderoga myself, hand-delivered the cube to Washington. (beat, mockingly) Do you love your freedom? Prometheus, understanding the joke, smiles. DOLUS (CONT’D) The cube turned the tide of the war, and, when it was over, I was assigned to smuggle it back to England to quash a rebellion. We were attacked at sea and the cube was stolen. (beat) That was the first time I died.

(CONTINUED)


36. CONTINUED:

A drop of Prometheus’ blood splashes against the ground. The cube starts to glow. Prometheus flinches. DOLUS (CONT’D) (sighs) Well, I guess none of that matters now. (starts to get up, facing entry to alleyway) You can’t help me. You can’t destroy the cube. (sighs, reluctantly) And I can’t let you leave. The cube fades away into glowing dust that washes over Prometheus. Dolus summons a knife, starts to turn around, then pauses. DOLUS (CONT’D) I’m sorry I killed your wife. Dolus turns around, but Prometheus isn’t there anymore. Dolus’ eyes go wide with alarm. He looks left, right, then turns around again. Prometheus is standing right in front on Dolus, his eyes glowing, all of his injuries healed. Dolus swipes at Prometheus with his knife, but Prometheus blocks his arm. Dolus throws a punch with his other arm, but Prometheus blocks this one as well. Prometheus pins both Dolus’ arms to his side then headbutts him. Dolus falls to the ground and Prometheus kneels down next to him, placing a hand on his head. Dolus’ eyes widen with surprise then close, a smile washing over his face. After a second, Dolus opens his eyes again. DOLUS (CONT’D) Thank you. Dolus sighs, then collapses in a pile of dust. Prometheus puts two fingers to his lips, then touches the pile of dust. A breeze kicks up, blowing the dust away, scattering it on the winds. Prometheus’ eyes stop glowing, and he turns around, slumping down where Dolus was just sitting. After a moment, he smiles. FADE TO: BLACK


The Third Law - Progress 23.VII.2010