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Axe I hate getting shot. I had taken a stray bullet to my right arm a few patrols ago. Supernatural creatures, we call them myths, are still commons. Their lives are enhanced, or burdened, with supernatural features. I’m a Keeper, so we’re supposed to suck it up and keep all of the myths hidden away from common eyes. Commons are humans, like us, but their bloodstream is clean of any supernatural blood that would make them myths. However, what makes me different from most Keepers is that I’m a guardian with the other half of my circle. We kill the myths that make it a nightly adventure to hunt down commons. Would you believe guardians are occasionally called to settle disputes between myths who cling to old rivalries? I used to hate being a Keeper in gang territory. Luckily for us, we were moved out of the War Zone district - it’s an inside joke - and left the warring myths to be calmed down by some other guardian pack. As of September, we officially deal with mad myths only, not myths who turn back to their common roots and familiar pains. It wasn’t soon enough – I ended up getting shot during my last week in the War Zone.

The red curl flops over again and I scowl, the frown deepening as irritation hits me in waves. It never takes me this long to get ready. My eyes focus on my dyed hair and I bit my lip hard, eyes narrowing. Why won’t this curlI scowl, “Fuck me,” as I pull my hand away from my hair. I shake out my right arm, wincing as the familiar pain resurfaces and shoots down to the tips of my fingers. My eyes go to my hair just to see the same curl falling out of place, flopping over again. It lays between my eyebrows like a wet noodle. It’s a good thing I’m patient“Axe?” I look away from the mirror to find my best friend, blond, blue-eyed, and lean Isaac St. Clair peeking in on me. Isaac can wear everything but sweats. He smiles at me, fully dressed in the Keeper getup: the (usually) black jacket and blue jeans. Tighter fitting clothes suit him better – he’s tall and lean like a sycamore tree. Anything looser than jeans hang on him. The jeans that Keepers wear are made of werewolf skin (what Ty, my leader, calls Skin) and they fit a little better than ordinary jeans. The jackets fit well, too, despite the thin but tough werewolf skin on the outside. Both the jeans and jackets are lined on the inside with werewolf fur to help us stay warm during battle as we lose blood. The Skin jacket resembles a leather jacket more than your casual jackets made of cotton. A Keeper would literally freeze to death in those. Cotton is useless when it comes to going on patrols. “What’s up?” I ask as I grab the gelled curl and shove him in place with the rest. I reach for the blow dryer and arch an eyebrow at Isaac. He’s second tallest of us all, beaten only by Ty, and he leans against the doorframe while I aim the hot air on the curls above my forehead. His fair blond, platinum-streaked, hair covers his eyebrows and almost shields his clear, pale blue eyes. I don’t know how he can deal with his

hair in his face like that. He is rubbing the lenses of his glasses clean with a small chunk of his shirt. He almost never wears them. Being marked with pure moonshine enhances eyesight and it takes a while for it to wear off after a patrol. We had been on call a few days ago, so it’s been long enough for Isaac’s eyesight to go bad again. I cut the dryer off, wincing at the heat, and touch the gelled curls. They’re in place. I look over at Isaac. “What’s up, Clair?” I ask as I unplug the blow dryer and place it on the counter. Isaac shrugs. “We’re still going to Amba’s right?” Amba is a Keeper like the rest of us in Lunar Territory (one of the three realms), but she specializes in the old magic. Some call it witchcraft, but I think “old magic” is more respectful. Amba works with Sandro, one of the Last Spawns. No one really knows anything about Sandro, only that he’s a Spawn like me and he doesn’t speak. No tongue. Don’t ask. Due to the extra moonshine in his blood that makes him a Spawn, Sandro is gifted with the ability to leave long-lasting charms on objects, and he happened to choose paint brushes. Freshly traumatized Keepers come to Sandro to paint and help cope with their latest experiences on the field. Clementine has been seeing him for a long time. “Axe?” Isaac waves his hand in front of me, making me refocus. “You spaced out again. Are we still going?” I think about the long walk and turn back to the mirror. “Why can’t I just-” “Your casting is still screwy from that bullet wound.” Isaac chirps, not missing a beat. “Unless you’ve been practicing?” I shake my head. “I’m shit at casting spells.” “And I’m still tired from Tuesday,” Isaac says, “so we’re walking.” I sigh to myself and Isaac laughs. “It’ll do you some good.”

“I work out all the time,” I mutter, reaching for my comb. “It’ll clear your mind,” Isaac says before the door closes. I roll my eyes and get back to work on my hair. Isaac sounds exactly like Zachary, my cousin. Truthfully, it feels like everyone has been giving me the side eye since Lucy decided not to go to college. Lucy was one of my childhood friends growing up and all of us (me, Zach, Emery – her older brother, Harper, Isaac, and Clem) lived in the same circle. We were all supposed to become Keepers around the same time, within months of each other. However, back when my older sister was in charge of the circle, we were ambushed by a pack of wild werewolves. I had been eleven at the time and no one had any gear on them because we were on a social visit to see our retired leader, who now acts as Lucy’s “normal” godmother. We lost some of our circle members that night and Lucy’s parents decided to send Lucy away with her godmother and let Emery continue his training. They wiped Lucy’s memories with a few marks and now she lives as a common, with no idea of her real family, let alone of the fact that her father is the president of Lunar Territory, the big boss. Everyone has been eyeballing me funny since the news hit Lunar Territory that Lucy wasn’t going to college, and I don’t know why. Maybe they think I’m hoping she’ll find her way back in Lunar Territory, but without any moonshine in her system, she wouldn’t even be able to summon the gate, let alone cross over. She’s on her own, as a stupid common in Common World with all of the other commons and – “Hey, Axe! I’m calling a meeting!” The sound of Constance’s voice rouses me from my thoughts. I turn away from the mirror, giving up on this curl, and leave the bathroom.

Constance Digby is standing in the middle of the living room, her arms crossed. She must have left the gym a short while ago. The skin of her dark-skinned arms is taut with strained muscles. The moonshine blue highlights in her permed, black hair are glowing against her dark skin. She usually wears tank tops with her Skin jacket when she’s on call. She hasn’t thrown on the Skin jacket for now and the muscles in her arms ripple with every movement. I wish my arms could beef up like that. “Let me get my coffee first,” Clementine Lovell says as she shuffles from the girls’ hallway. Clementine rubs hard at her dark brown eyes before jogging past me to the kitchen. “Sup, Chambers,” Clem says as she passes me, her silky black hair flying all over the place as she skids to a halt on the tile. She wears her hair in a short bob cut similar to Constance’s. The haircut makes both of them look badass to me. “Clem, how do you make it on no sleep?” I ask, my voice soft with concern, as Clementine gets on her tiptoes to open the top cabinet. “Pure will.” Clementine says, turning her head to stick her tongue out at me, waving off my concern. I roll my eyes and turn to look at the rest of the group as they file in. Most of the group members aren’t here, like Harper Anthony, for example. When Lucy left, she had been too devastated to just let her live life without us, as we all were. Spencer Newmont, back when he was in our Circle, and Harper made a deal with their parents to enroll in Common World to keep an eye on Lucy. Harper and Lucy graduated this past summer, so now Harper is no real way to see Lucy under false pretenses. I know they try to hang out, but Lucy is sitting around at home, hopefully not getting into any trouble.

An Elite is powerful Keeper, much more so than your average Keeper. They act as the president’s secret service and undergo special training, while also serving in Lunar Territory as a magical version of Common World’s National Guard. I hardly see them around Lakevale, but I know they’re here, looking out for stray hellhounds and whatnot. Back when Emerson Snow, we all call him Emery, was part of our Circle, he used to shift into a Jack Russell Terrier and wait for Lucy to get off the bus at Cynthia’s house throughout her middle school years. Now that he’s an Elite, we hardly ever see him, but I know he still checks on Lucy. I like to think Emery and Spencer hang out after they’re done with their duties for the day. Clementine and I used to stop by Cynthia’s house every other weekend or so when we were fifteen, but we stopped doing so after we had our initiation ceremonies at sixteen. “Ow! Enrique!” is accompanied by two heavy thuds and laughter. “That’s your own fault!” Smack! “Ow!” “Whose fault is that?” Romeo Martinez taunts his older twin. Enrique bursts into the living room, a fresh cut by his dark brown eyes. He turns and ducks as a dove comes flying at him and vanishes after it misses. The sight of blood against his warmtoned skin makes my mouth dry and I avert my eyes to the ground for a moment. I never liked the sight of blood, not after Alexia died. She died in my arms that night we went to go visit Lucy’s godmother. Those werewolves came out of nowhere and“Palomas?” Enrique taunts, doubling over to laugh. Romeo runs into the living room and lunges at Enrique. “I’ll show you palomas!”

Enrique and Romeo crash onto the floor and roll against coffee table, still laughing, before they roll the other way, towards the couch. You can blame their roughhousing on the fact that they’re both true shifters, half human and half werewolf. The werewolf side comes from their father being a shifter. He chose a werewolf as his shift back when he was training as a Keeper and there you have it: the Martinez Brothers. It’s a touchy subject for them, unfortunately for curious Keepers like Isaac. I look over at Constance to see her roll her eyes at the twins, fighting a smile. “That’s enough, you two.” Romeo sits up, straddling Enrique, and squirms off of him, a smug on his face. “I win.” Of the two of them, I would say he is the least serious and most charismatic, thanks to his laidback, comedic nature. He also knows the most Spanish, between the two of them. Enrique sits up, his face scrunching up with pain, before he looks over at Romeo. “I think you bruised something.” “Just your ego.” Romeo grins, fangs flashing. “You’ll survive.” “Did they break the table again?” The sound of Bridget’s voice makes me look in the living room. Bridget Lockridge leans against the plump, lush armchair, patting her damp, chestnut brown hair with a towel. Most of her skin is covered in tiny, bubble-like scars. Bridget is one of the few Keepers who scars after dealing with vampire blood. It’s an allergic reaction that all Keepers get from coming in contact with the blood. Vampire blood isn’t hot enough to do the damage that venom can, but both hurt considerably when they come in contact with your skin. The venom can give you third degree burns while the blood only feels like hot water. Luckily for most Keepers, the blisters heal within a minute or two, without

having to pop or leaving behind scars. Bridget’s scars remind me of the residue soap bubbles leave on your skin when you pop them after they land on you. “No, the table is fine.” Clementine calls from the kitchen. “You want some coffee?” “Yes, please,” Bridget leaves the armchair to walk into the kitchen. “I just woke up from a hardcore nap. How do you manage, Clem?” “Pure will,” Clementine says with a smile. “Where’s Ty?” Isaac asks beside me. I look over at him to see him plop down on the couch. Isaac looks around and counts on his fingers. “We’re missing some people.” “Alan and Ty are still at the gym.” Constance says. “Zach is still in the infirmary and Harper is at Amba’s. I think Elsa is knocked out in her room.” Zachary Markinswell is my cousin. He suffered a bad blow to the head on the last patrol. Darcy, the nurse assigned to our circle and a few others, said he was doing fine when I went to check on him last night. He was knocked out cold. Clementine and Bridget walk over to us, both holding cups of coffee. Knowing Clem, her cup is already half empty. Romeo and Enrique are now sitting on the bean bags in front of the fireplace. Romeo’s fangs haven’t vanished just yet. Guess the play-fighting got his blood pumping. I take a seat by the bar and Constance’s eyes go to me. They linger on me for a moment before she looks over at Clementine. “You good and caffeinated?” Clementine nods with a big smile, making me chuckle along with the others. Constance nods in approval and uncrosses her arms. “I wanted to update you all about this week: Nothing unusual has been going on. No surplus in myths and fortunately, the mad ones

have been laying low. However, I want you all to be listening for me or Harper – Harper is still at Amba’s.” “We’re on our way to go get her,” Clem says, glancing at me and Isaac. “Sure, Clem, we don’t mind you tagging along,” I mutter. Clem sticks her tongue out at me. “I got to check on my girls,” she says, and something in her voice catches my attention. I lock eyes with her for a moment and we share a look until she averts her eyes. “Okay, good.” Constance says. “How is she doing?” “Harper’s fine.” Clem says. “She pushes through like she usually does. I’m sure Sandro will have some good things to say.” “Good.” Constance says. She eyes Clem now, with a intent look in her eyes. “Any new visions?” Clem gazes back and a faint blush settles in her cheeks. “Nothing I can tell you about. I’m still trying to decipher them.” Clem is a Phaser, one of the last of her kind. There’s more to it than that, but all I know is that she has nine lives (yes, like a cat) and she can see visions of the future. She hasn’t told any of us much about it – it’s a sore spot for her. “Keep me posted, please.” Constance says, her voice grabbing my attention. “Off you go. You’re dismissed.” We all nod. My thoughts drift to Lucy and my lower lip trembles as Lucy’s nine year old smile comes to mind. A rush of wistfulness makes me smile and I hide my quivering lips by rubbing the corner of my mouth. I miss her more and more each day. I find myself trying to picture her pretty face, older now, and how her voice sounds. Sometimes, I stay awake trying to

imagine meeting her again. She has no idea who I am now and thanks to the marks, she doesn’t even remember Emery. I linger in the living room while everyone else scatters. Constance leaves base with Bridget, muttering something about buying more groceries and the Martinez Brothers vanish after sending me a wave. They’re probably going to finish what they started at the Tree - our hangout spot since childhood and a place Lucy hasn’t seen for nine years. Isaac and Clem meet me at the front door and we head out without another word.

Zachary “I thought Darcy was going to keep you another night,” Axe says as he lets himself into my room. “And why aren’t you asleep? It’s almost three o’clock.” I should ask you that, I think to myself. I push my old notes aside and roll onto my back. I rub the uninjured side of my head. Luckily for me, I’m still somewhat high on moonshine chips. My head would usually be killing me right now. Darcy released me back to base when she realized I was bored and that’s why I kept sleeping so much. I’m stuck doing light duties, as in, no patrols for a week and no heavy exercising for a few more days. I had been reading up on moonshine’s properties before Axe came in. Our wounds start healing right away after a patrol, thanks to the lingering adrenaline in our systems settling into the moonshine as the rush wears off. Our one healing mark, known as Compassion, and moonshine chips can expedite the healing, but we still feel the effects of our injuries up to a week after the fact. Both the Compassion mark, the chips, and moonshine itself will numb the

pain and release dopamine and endorphins, which is why I feel so good. So, adrenaline mixing with moonshine can heal a Keeper, but not the moonshine by itself. Broken bones heal, but they don’t feel like they’ve healed for at least a month, and we wear a sling for two weeks, if not for the entire time. Gunshot wounds hurt for a good two months and Axe can testify to this. “She wanted to, but I convinced her I was feeling better,” I say, looking over at Axe, hoping he wouldn’t catch the blush settling in my burning cheeks. I reel in my thoughts with a single command, Don’t go there, Zach. Axe’s lightly tanned cheeks are tinged with pink and he crosses his arms. He leans against my closed bedroom door, dark green eyes narrowed. He’s naturally a brunet, but he dyes his hair a dark apple red every few weeks. He’s perfected whatever technique he uses to a T. Each strand of hair is the exact same shade of dark red. Before Axe speaks, he tugs off his trademark black hoodie and drapes it over his shoulder. I think Axe considers his hoodies to be a second skin. I think he had a few of his hoodies remade with werewolf skin so he can wear them on patrols. “What did Sandro say about Harper?” I ask Axe, unsure about the disgruntled expression on his face. “He thinks she’s improving,” Axe says. “He wants Clem to start painting with him.” “What exactly is she seeing?” I sit up straighter on the bed, narrowing my eyes. “Is it-f” “I don’t know, but she picked up one of his brushes a few times. He was disturbed enough to request regular sessions. You know Clem. She doesn’t want to do it.” “Of course not,” I say, thinking about the stubborn young woman. “I admire that about her, though. She knows her own mind. She’ll go when she’s troubled enough.”

Axe nods in agreement and then he presses his lips together, forming a thin line, and sighs. “Demetrius Paine was trying to cause trouble in the Mess Hall today.” Axe rolls his eyes, his teeth nibbling on the side of his bottom lip. “Paine makes me want to punch him.” “What’d he do?” I ask, looking back at my notebook to flip the cover and close it. Axe and I haven’t spoken much since he had gotten shot. I had been too hard on him when I found out. He always takes on the biggest werewolf, but I know why he does that. The big werewolf in the pack had been the one to kill Alexia. He feels like he’s avenging her every time he attacks the biggest wolf. Of course, he forgets that all myths still have their human roots, and that pack had been armed. I think most of my anger stems from the fact that I hadn’t been there to help – werewolf packs are usually pretty big, an average of eight wolves a pack. I waited to kick his ass when I found him bleeding on the sidewalk, but the anger was self-directed. “Just making a scene over his missing group members.” Axe’s voice softens and he sits on the bed beside me. “He thinks they’re laying injured in Middle Grounds somewhere, out of moonshine, at the very least. I’m sure he’s tried teleporting to them a few times. If they were injured like he thinks, his Stone would be going off and he would have found them by now, moonshine or not.” Middle Grounds is the middle dimension between Lunar Territory and Common World. Myths and retired Keepers reside in Middle Grounds. In most cases, active Keepers live in Lunar Territory. Keepers usually don’t go missing . . . Axe flops onto his back with a groan and sets his hoodie aside. “Forget I brought that prick up.” He says. “I’m not sure what Cynthia plans to do with Lucy, but Isaac and I calculated the last time Cynthia had Lucy’s marks redone and it’s been long enough for them to fade. Isaac thinks Cynthia might be letting the marks fade on purpose.”

I glance over at him to see a small, wistful smile on his face. “Have you seen her lately?” Axe shakes his head and I ask, “What would they look like to you? You’re a Spawn. You can see through Common World’s tricks.” Axe is quiet for a moment before he speaks. “I think they would look like ordinary marks.” Marks are drawn on with moonshine, which is clear by default, but once the moonshine settles into our skin, the moonshine turns black and resembles tattoo ink. After a moment or two, the mark will turn its true color while it does its job and turn black again afterwards before eventually fading away. “At this rate, I’d say they would be nearly gone now.” Axe says. “She should be remembering things in her sleep, if not through visions. Of course, we have no way of knowing since Lucy’s not around.” I nod, my thoughts drifting to the few abilities I know Spawns have. Alexia had been a Spawn as well, but as far as I know, she didn’t teach Axe much. She didn’t get a chance to. “Do you think she might be a shifter?” I ask, looking over at him. Axe shakes his head, his eyebrows lowering. He sighs. “No idea. I know Emery is one, but he could be the only one, so . . . It’d make sense for her to be one.” A soft silence settles in my room. “You know something?” Axe sits up. “I thought I saw Thomas with Paine today, but I didn’t have a good feeling about him.” “Why?” The moonshine chips are starting to wear off. I bow my head to rub at my temples. Axe shrugs, his eyes drifting to the ceiling. “Every time I looked at him, his eyes seemed to change color. It was so weird, like he had on contacts . . .” Axe’s voice trails off.

“Axe,” I sit up, alarm making me stiffen. “Keepers are forbidden to wear colored contacts, you know that, right?” “Yeah, of course.” Axe says, making a face at me. “I’m just saying Thomas’s eyes looked red, that’s all. I didn’t get too close to him either.” He sighs. “I hardly recognized him. He’s lost a ton of weight. He looks a bit like Isaac now from a distance.” “What happened on Paine’s last patrol anyway?” I ask, sliding off my bed as the pieces fall into place. “Weren’t they dealing with vampires?” “Yeah, I think.” Axe says, still confused. “They were fresh vampires, at the wrong place at the wrong time when they got changed. They were fighting over a bar or something, establishing territory like all fresh myths do, and someone called for Paine when things got heated. You know fresh vamps have short fuses.” “You don’t see it yet?” I blurt out, crouching down to grab my shoes from under my bed. “See what?” Axe asks, cross. He goes silent for a moment. “Oh.” I pull my combat boots on and pull myself onto my feet, using the bed for support. “Thomas must have been bitten on that patrol.” I say. “How red were his eyes?” Axe slides off my bed, grabs his hoodie, and tugs my bedroom door open in one fluid motion. “Strawberry, almost crimson,” is all he says as he leaves. Crimson red eyes. The color of a mad vampire. “Go wake up Ty!” I call after Axe, darting to my closet for my Skin jacket.

PORTIA (O.S) Just remember our deal, okay, Cutie? CUTIE (O.S) I am incapable of forgetting. I’m ready to feel excited. FADE IN: SUPER: 2287 INT. DR. MARTIN FURR’S OFFICE – CUTIE’S CUBICLE – NIGHT The office outside of Cutie’s cubicle is simply furnished, but futuristic. Cutie’s cubicle is nothing but a cot hidden by a screen. The cot has no sheets and is covered by a thin, steel sheet that has blinking lights. CUTIE sits on the cot. PORTIA (mid 20s) stares down at CUTIE. PORTIA has dark red hair, big green eyes. CUTIE has curled, dark blue hair and silver eyes. The only clue that gives her immortality away is the silver ring of light around her pupils. A panel on the back of CUTIE’s head is open and wires are attached to it. The wires connect to a device PORTIA is holding. PORTIA presses a button and CUTIE jolts with the shock. PORTIA Sorry! CUTIE laughs, bounces. CUTIE Is that where I say “ow”? I felt a . . . tingle. PORTIA Did it hurt? CUTIE Hurt? PORTIA presses another button. CUTIE jolts again, big grin.

CUTIE Yes, that did hurt! That one did. The last one, the— PORTIA I got it, Cutie. You masochist. CUTIE I am not a masochist. That means that I— PORTIA I’m just joking. CUTIE stares at PORTIA with big, confused eyes. She doesn’t know. PORTIA is amused and saddened by the innocence. PORTIA Do you think CODY is right about emotions being dangerous? CUTIE Absolutely. Humanity is our prime example. PORTIA Do you think you can handle the emotions, Cutie? It’s not too late. CUTIE I want to feel everything. My intentions for humanity are pure. I want to help you. PORTIA nods. Begins to pack up the tools. CUTIE’s eyes mist over, but the tears do not fall. Robots can’t cry. CUTIE I am immensely grateful for what you’ve done for me— PORTIA Just be careful. CUTIE nods. Stands and walks to the door.

CUTIE I do not sleep, but you do. It’s late. I have to prepare the Pandora Pods for tomorrow’s events. PORTIA Pandora Pods? CUTIE Some humans who lived before the domes had their bodies frozen. We found only twenty of the hundreds of Pods and Dr. Martin decided he wanted to open them. PORTIA is still. She gazes at CUTIE, confused. PORTIA Why? They’d be dead. They’re hundreds of years old. CUTIE To see what the past was like. If any of them wake up. INT. POD ROOM - MORNING CLOSE UP: RAY’s eyes are closed. The glass window revealing his face mists with each breath. There are bags under his eyes, despite the deep sleep he is in. Slow zoom out. The pod RAY is inside of shape resembles a lima bean. There is nothing on the machine – it’s smooth metal finish is uninterrupted by buttons or flashing lights. The POD ROOM resembles a parking garage. It is sterile and bright. There are ten pods lined against one of the walls. The rusty electric cords holding the pods into place weave up the walls like vines. The pods are tarnished from smoke and ash, but otherwise the same. TINA SANG (20s) is in another pod. DR. MARTIN FURR (40s) and CUTIE are walking to the pods. CUTIE is wearing plain clothes. There are no zippers or buttons to be seen.

DR. MARTIN looks tired, like he hasn’t slept for a few days. He pushes forward in wrinkly clothes. He rubs his eyes as they approach the pods. The two of them reach the pods, stopping at RAYMOND’s. There are a few more HURTs behind them, wearing similar clothes to CUTIE. DR. MARTIN gestures for CUTIE to open RAY’s pod. CUTIE hesitates. CUTIE This technology is ancient. It’s older than me. Their vitals are undetectable. They could be dead inside. They won’t rot until we open them. DR. MARTIN There are only a few things older than you, Cutie. Go on. I’m surprised they survived the 2092 fires. CUTIE walks to one of the pods besides Ray’s. It contains a MIDDLE-AGED REDHEAD. She pushes a button on the side and the pod opens. CUTIE stares for a moment. Looks back at DR. MARTIN. He smiles a thin smile. CUTIE turns back to the opened pod and reaches forward. Her hand gently brushes the REDHEAD’s cheek and her skin sinks in, turning into dust. CUTIE pulls her hand back, horrified. CUTIE looks back at DR. MARTIN. He is disappointed. Waves for her to continue. The SECOND POD contains a TODDLER, who is accompanied by her MOTHER. As soon as CUTIE opens their pod, their skin falls into their bones, revealing skeletons. CUTIE’s shoulders slump as she continues on. A THIRD POD reveals a OLD MAN who sits up and gasps for air when his pod is opened. He lurches upright, struggles to walk, only to fall, clutching his chest.

The other robots rush forward to help him, but he goes still before he reaches them. CUTIE is visibly shaken, can no longer hide her emotions. She stiffens up when DR. MARTIN turns to her. DR. MARTIN No one told them the odds of surviving were really small. They should have. CUTIE Do we have to open the rest? DR. MARTIN We do. We only found twenty two of the hundreds. It’s only fair. CUTIE understands his point. CUTIE walks to RAY’s pod. She stares inside. Ray’s face is peaceful with sleep. CUTIE presses a button on the side of the pod. There’s a small WHISTLE OF AIR as the pod opens. CUTIE gazes at RAY, waiting. Glances at DR. MARTIN. DR. MARTIN tucks a shaky hand into his pocket. CUTIE notices but says nothing. CUTIE waits another moment. Something akin to curiosity crosses her face. CUTIE Do you think he’s alive? His skin isn’t falling off his bones yet. Behind her, DR. MARTIN is worried now. He leans forward and reaches for his pen. He clicks the top and shines the light into RAY’s face. RAY’s eyes open with a jolt and he steps forward, falling out of the pod and onto the floor. DR. MARTIN gives RAY a hand while CUTIE stares at RAY, waiting for the worst. DR. MARTIN Do you remember your name?

RAY stares around the POD ROOM, dazed. He looks back at DR. MARTIN. At the sound of DR. MARTIN’s voice, RAY balks. He turns away from the man. Big grimace. RAY What the fuck? I’m alive? DR. MARTIN Come again? RAY Am I really alive? Am I in the future? When he finishes, RAY finds himself staring at CUTIE. CUTIE turns and looks over at RAY. Long stare. She smiles a wrangled smile, happy he’s alive. RAY How far into the future are we? DR. MARTIN I’m not sure you’ll like my answer, Raymond. Do you remember anything from before you fell asleep? FLASHBACK SUPER: TODAY INT. RAY’S CAR GARAGE - RAY’S CAR – NIGHT RAY is sitting in his car. He is gripping a photo of him and MATTHEW (early twenties, brunet). His hands are shaking. RAY turns the key and the car comes on. The radio plays as RAY revs the engine. The garage begins to fill with smoke. RAY keeps revving. The SOUND OF THE RADIO makes RAY refocus. RADIO . . . Say goodbye to the present and hello to the future! Our Pandora Pods come with the latest technology to ensure a safe transition from here . . .

RAY stops revving the engine. Turns the radio up. RADIO (CON’T) . . . to decades from now. If you’re willing to take a chance. Want to start over in a new century? RAY shuts the car off by turning the key. Takes his keys out of ignition. He stares off into space. END FLASHBACK INT. POD ROOM – SAME DR. MARTIN Do you remember what year it was? RAY Some time yesterday. It was the 21st century. DR. MARTIN You’re in the future now and we have different problems now. Why don’t you come with me? See the new world? RAY Might as well – since I didn’t die in that thing. RAY looks over at CUTIE, who is having no luck with the other pods. RAY sees the skeletons. He balks and turns away, exhaling slowly. RAY sees TINA’s unopened pod – she’s the last one. RAY I can’t believe it. She did it, too? CUTIE Do you recognize her? RAY She was a good friend of mine. What is she doing here? CUTIE

Hopefully, you will be able to ask her. CUTIE heads to TINA’s Pod. RAY limps after her. RAY Hopefully? CUTIE opens TINA’s POD without explaining. CUTIE turns away, afraid to look. TINA’s eyes open and she looks around, confused. She sees RAY. Instant recognition. RAY Tina? Can you hear me? RAY grabs TINA and pulls her out of the pod. She clings to him, big hug. RAY hugs TINA back. TINA I’m so happy to see you! Meanwhile, CUTIE wanders off to another empty pod. She pokes one of the rib cages of the skeletons. It turns into dust. Silver lights go off in CUTIE’s cheek as she stares at it. The horror is gone. RAY’s eyes drift over to the skeletons. He’s going to puke. TINA and RAY pull away. All eyes go to CUTIE. CUTIE turns to see everyone staring at her and she darts to DR. MARTIN’s side. She hides her sheepish smile with her hand. CUTIE That’s all of this year’s pods. We’re out of Pandora Partners. INT. INFIRMARY – LATER The pale room is too bright, like the pod room. RAY sits on a table, waiting to be seen. He’s clothed in a thin gown. He’s not mentally in the room. Aside from the beds, the metal room doesn’t have any furniture.

CUTIE walks into the room. The movement catches RAY’s glassy eyes. He struggles to focus. CUTIE Hi, Ray! Welcome to U.C.E., the United Countries of Earth. Dr. Martin wanted me to make sure you were feeling okay. Before I begin, I was wondering if you would like an HRA. The concept of U.C.E. has gone right over RAY’s head. RAY How far into the future are we? What’s an HRA? CUTIE Humanoid Robotic Assistant. The HRA you pick will live with you – like a built-in butler. They can do almost anything for you, even run and pick up your food if you have a late night snack. They’re really popular with the younger population – you all have high metabolisms despite the . . . RAY is dead quiet. CUTIE trails off. CUTIE I think you’ll need one, Ray. You seem a bit unfocused. How are you feeling? RAY I didn’t want to be here. CUTIE Here in New York? Would you like a transfer— RAY smiles, feels a flicker of hope. RAY We still have New York? CUTIE Yes! New York and Moscow, but both cities have food from all over the

world. You’ll never run out of new dishes to try, if that’s what you’re worried about. Do you like to eat? At the sound of food, RAY perks up. His stomach growls. RAY Who doesn’t like to eat? CUTIE Certain individuals with psychological issues due to demeaning or belittling remarks, which in turn negatively affect their appetiteRAY Cutie, I didn’t mean for you to answer. I feel fine, a bit curious, actually. Can I leave now? Explore this place?

CUTIE Certainly! I’m happy to see some life in your eyes again. I’ll fetch your HRA and you’re free to go. As far as exploring, your official tour begins tomorrow. I’ll be your guide, so you won’t be wandering in Eden alone. RAY chuckles at “eden”. CUTIE smiles and leaves the room. RAY stares around the clean room. He’s impatient and curious now. CUTIE comes back with ROWBOAT, a brunet with hazel eyes. He looks like MATTHEW. RAY recoils. RAY Bring me another one, Cutie. CUTIE Do you doubt his capabilities to be an excellent and helpful HRA? Rowboat’s ratings are exceptionally high – all

of our dark-haired HRAs receive high ratings. I think it’s the hairRAY No. He looks like someone I used to know. CUTIE Rowboat has a generic face. We can always customize him. Everything can be changed here. ROWBOAT Please give me a chance to prove myself. RAY gazes at ROWBOAT. Sighs and nods his consent. CUTIE looks pleased, the others emotionless.

CUTIE Your tour of the city will begin tomorrow morning after you get some sleep. We have accommodations for your limp. RAY nods, looks down at his leg. Looks back up. RAY Will Tina come? CUTIE Her tour will be separate from yours. CUTIE senses RAY’s disappointment. Places a comforting hand on RAY’s shoulder. RAY looks up, confused. CUTIE smiles a wrangled smile back. INT. INFIRMARY HALLWAY ROWBOAT leads the way down the hallway. RAY limps after him, keeps pace. ROWBOAT stops and turns. ROWBOAT

Would you like some assistance? RAY No, I’m okay. I’ve had this limp for a while. RAY stiffens as he speaks, leans to the right wall. ROWBOAT goes to his side. RAY swats him away without thinking. RAY I’m fine, MatthewMatthew. The name makes ROWBOAT pause. The lights in his cheeks go off. RAY What is that? What are you doing? ROWBOAT The name is familiar. I believe I’ve read it in your files. I am Rowboat. RAY Right, sorry. You . . . You look like him. ROWBOAT I will take that as a compliment. I believe Matthew was special to you. RAY Yes, he was. ROWBOAT watches RAY catch his breath. He offers an arm. ROWBOAT Lean on me. You’re not the only one who needs help. This is why I am here. RAY gazes at ROWBOAT. Wipes sweat from his eyebrow. He grabs ROWBOAT’s offered hand. Grunts as ROWBOAT pulls him from the wall. The two of them make slow progress down the hallway. INT. RAY’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

The color scheme is white, an icy pale blue, and black. The walls are a pale shade of blue and the few carpeted areas have black carpet. All of the furniture is black with white accents. No wood, only a tough, plastic like material. No windows in the entire apartment. KITCHEN The kitchen is nondescript and tidy. No refrigerator. BEDROOM The bedroom contains a queen-sized cot. The cot is covered in thin, folded blankets. Two pillows sit at the head of the bed. There is a small nightstand and dresser. No bed lamp. LIVING ROOM No TV. A coffee table and black couch sit in the middle of the space. The small area has a smooth tile floor that is hidden by a bright blue rug. It doesn’t clash with the dull room. FRONT DOOR - CONTINUOUS RAY and ROWBOAT stand at the door. RAY clutches a silver box to his chest. It is stamped with “Property of U.C.E. OWNER OF ITEMS: RAYMOND MCCOY, A PANDORA PARTNER”. ROWBOAT stands an inch behind him, leaning over RAY’s shoulder. There are tiny blue dots lighting up in his right cheek as he reads RAY’s vitals. The silver ring glows. ROWBOAT averts his eyes as RAY squirms, sensing his lifeless gaze. ROWBOAT Raymond, we have been standing here for about ten minutes now. Does this apartment not meet your requirements? RAY glances at ROWBOAT and quickly looks away. He keeps seeing MATTHEW’s face on ROWBOAT’s. ROWBOAT (CONT’D)

Your accelerating heartbeat tells me that you’re experiencing some anxiety – would you like for me to go in first? RAY exhales a slow breath, his hands shaking as he squeezes the box. RAY I can’t decide if I really want to sleep here. ROWBOAT Is something wrong with your apartment? RAY grits his teeth as he steps past the threshold, entering the apartment. He sets the box down on the coffee table and walks into the kitchen. ROWBOAT follows him, reading RAY’s vitals. RAY What the hell is this? No windows? ADA That can be customized. Everything can be changed here. RAY freezes and looks around. ADA You cannot see me. I invisible housemate. and your HRA to make apartment is exactly For example . . .

am ADA, your I work with CODY sure your how you want it.


RAY is sitting on the queen-sized cot. The silver box rests on his lap. RAY glances up to see ROWBOAT laying on a cot of his own. His eyes are closed and there are blue lights in his cheek again. They slowly dim and fade, only to reappear. RAY Like fireflies. RAY stares at ROWBOAT’s glowing cheek, mesmerized. He refocuses on the box when the box slides off his lap. RAY reaches for the box and stares at the label. He lets his hands rest on the top of the box. Slow, nervous breath. RAY opens the box. INSIDE: the same photograph of RAYMOND and MATTHEW from before, a two dollar bill, several twenties, a couple of plaid shirts, a new tennis ball, and an envelope. On the envelope: “OPEN ME IF YOU WAKE UP.” RAY opens the envelope with a shaky hand. He pulls out the sheet of paper. BEGIN FLASHBACK EXT. TENNIS COURT – SUNSET MATTHEW and RAY hold tennis rackets. A RED COOLER is tucked to the side, next to their things. Two water bottles sit on top of it. They’re both covered in sweat, but RAY is worse off. RAY I suck ass at this game. MATTHEW It’s one of the things I like about you. RAY (V.O) “You have to give it a shot . . .”

They both head to their RED COOLER. MATTHEW hands RAY a water bottle. MATTHEW And to settle your anxious brain . . . God? Free will? Who cares? I love you, and that will get me through anything. INT. CAR – SUNSET RAY reaches for the radio at the same time MATTHEW does. They bump hands. MATTHEW lets RAY pick. SERIES OF SHOTS --MATTHEW’s sun-kissed face --The yellow sunlight becomes white --Headlights in RAY’s eyes --The bright light envelops the car END SERIES OF SHOTS RAY (V.O) . . . Give it two weeks. Keep the cash on you at all times. Give the future a chance . . . END FLASHBACK INT. RAY’S APARTMENT – RAY’S BEDROOM - SAME RAY folds the paper back up and places it in the envelope. He trades everything for the tennis ball and sets the box on the nightstand. RAY squeezes the tennis ball and closes his eyes. ADA Off to sleep? RAY Uh, yeah. Thanks. ADA Thoughts on the room temperature?

RAY The temperature is fine. I’m going to call it a night. ADA Alright. Goodnight, Raymond. Pleasant dreams. RAY lays back. Closes his eyes. Opens them and sits up. RAY ADA, do people still play tennis? ADA Yes. If you enjoy tennis matches, I can set up an appointment— RAY No matches for me. I’ll just watch. I’m bad at tennis. ADA Absolutely. I’ll find a local game and air it on the walls for you. RAY Thank you. ADA No, thank you, Raymond, and if you change your mind about playing, Rowboat specializes in tennis and virtual car racing. He can teach you, if you like. It’s a no from RAY, but he’s touched. INT. DOME SQUARE – MORNING It’s not New York City like RAY hoped. The DOME is like a mall turned inside out. Cobblestone underfoot. Big empty space. PEOPLE walk around the dome, dressed in bright colors. Some float by on hoverboards. Others ride on roller skates, skate boards, even bikes.

RAY blends in seamlessly with the rest of the human population, even with the HRAs and HURTs. RAY is wearing one of his plaid shirts. THE HURTs and HRAs are distinguished by the lights in their cheeks. HRAs have blue and HURTs have a soft silver color. The lights in their cheeks glow as they stare at the humans around them, reading their vitals for distress. CUTIE and ROWBOAT stand beside RAY. CUTIE stares around, waving at fellow HRAs who wave back. Their faces are cold, no smiles. The wave back is a curtesy only. RAY I thought you said there were cities left. CUTIE The domes are the cities. There are two of them: New York and Moscow. ROWBOAT turns to RAY. ROWBOAT Please do not be alarmed, but— RAY What are you about to tell me? ROWBOAT As you know, I have access to your files. I was told you have a preference for Thai food and 20th century southern gothic architecture. RAY Invasive, but okay. ROWBOAT I know the location of the highest rated Thai food restaurant in town. They deliver, well, HRAs deliver, and we can go visit the hologram of the Telfair Square, if you like. RAY Is there a catch?

ROWBOAT We have no currency system. The “catch” is that you must be respectful to the workers. RAY looks at the people floating by on hoverboards. RAY Can we get one of those? ROWBOAT follows RAY’s gaze. ROWBOAT I will show you how to ride so you won’t fall. However, it is similar to skateboarding, which you-RAY --Did back in the 21st century. I’m sure I won’t land on my ass. ROWBOAT Right. You should be good at this. Stay here. ROWBOAT walks off, leaving RAY with CUTIE. She takes her chance. CUTIE Raymond, if you ever feel that your needs aren’t met, I will be able to assist you. Mental health services aren’t a priority here since everyone is happy here, but you can always talk to me. RAY Are you offering to be my therapist? CUTIE If necessary. We read your files. We know that you’re inclined to certain-RAY is worried by the implication. He cuts her off: RAY --How many people is “we”?

ROWBOAT returns on a hoverboard. A second hoverboard follows close behind. ROWBOAT gestures for RAY to step on. RAY (to CUTIE) He’s so stoic. I think he thinks he’s my nurse. CUTIE HRAs are more stern with injured humans. Your assumption is correct. RAY Rowboat, could you relax? You’re tensing me up. ROWBOAT (smiles) Of course, Raymond. RAY gazes at the smile, pensive, and steps on the hoverboard. He wobbles. ROWBOAT steadies him with a hand. ROWBOAT Let’s hurry. Tina is waiting. RAY nods, looks at CUTIE. CUTIE waves at them and they wave back. ROWBOAT leads the way farther into the dome. INT. THAI RESTAURANT - DAY The restaurant is a place from the past, complete with the décor. RAY inhales deeply, satisfied, as he floats inside. ROWBOAT floats in on his hoverboard behind him. ROWBOAT steps off his and steadies RAY with one hand while he climbs off. ROWBOAT I do not know your favorite meal. Please tell me. RAY What for?

ROWBOAT So I can bring it to you on request. RAY Okay, uh, I love the Pad Thai. The lights in ROWBOAT’s cheeks go off as he stores this information. RAY turns to look at the rest of the restaurant. It’s a bit loud from the chatter of feasting humans. TINA and PORTIA sit by the front at a table for four. They’re laughing. The table is empty except for their two waters. PORTIA leans forward, hanging on every word from TINA’s mouth. TINA doesn’t shy away. She gazes at PORTIA demurely, shy eyes darting away every few seconds. Palpable attraction. RAY smiles, and the first hint of hope shines on his face. Behind RAY, ROWBOAT’s gaze settles on the two women. The lights flash again. ROWBOAT Friends of yours? RAY Tina is. The Asian. ROWBOAT She was in the Pods, too. RAY is confused by ROWBOAT’s certainty. RAY Do they let you read everyone’s files? Before ROWBOAT can answer, TINA glances over at the door. Sees Ray. Waves him over. PORTIA follows TINA’s gaze. She smiles, but her eyes go to TINA again. RAY walks over, questions forgotten, and ROWBOAT follows.

RAY Hey, Tina! I guess you’ve had your tour already?

TINA Yes. My HRA showed me around earlier with Cutie. She’s adorable. PORTIA Hence her name. TINA smiles, beckons for RAY and ROWBOAT to sit. RAY does. ROWBOAT stands. ROWBOAT I am intruding— RAY No, you’re not! Come sit! They’ve bonded already. So easily. ROWBOAT’s cheeks flash again. ROWBOAT No, but thank you. I will go to the charging unit in this building. ROWBOAT digs into the pocket of his jeans. He pulls out a remote, but it’s a single square of metal with a button. The button is the Pandora Partners’ logo. ROWBOAT My remote. Page me if you need me. ROWBOAT hands the remote to RAY. RAY That’s somehow so old-fashioned and high-tech at the same time. ROWBOAT smiles. RAY smiles back. He likes it here.

ROWBOAT Enjoy your food. I am summoning the waitress. ROWBOAT walks away as a waitress appears. Another robot. Her name is FAIRY. She’s wearing a black button up and slacks Very humanlike.

FAIRY’s got violet eyes and tattooed stars on her cheeks and face. Her name tag is colorful, alit with drawn pixies. She’s friendly and excitable. FAIRY Hi! I’m Fairy, your host for this evening! What would you like? PORTIA You guys have to try their special. RAY and ROWBOAT exchange glances. Enthused nods. FAIRY Two Eden specials, coming up! INT. MALL – DRESSING ROOMS – LATE EVENING RAY stands alone in his dressing room. He’s wearing some pants, turns to the side of different angles. His full belly bulges over the waistline. RAY sighs, old pains resurfacing. RAY Tina, how’d you convince me to do this? TINA You and Matthew loved shopping! Give me a break! RAY Matthew looked good in everything. I for one— He opens his dressing room door. TINA stands outside, holding her desired clothes. She’s dressed in her own pants, but she’s wearing a shirt from the mall. Shoes off. RAY --Look awful in everything. I don’t like to shop, okay? TINA

Hey, I wouldn’t be here either. Matthew dragged both of us to the mall all the time because— RAY AND TINA “You never know who you might meet!” The two of them start laughing. TINA giggles and sets the clothes down, tugging off a store’s shirt for the one she came with. RAY gazes at TINA, grows sad. RAY He’d love it here. Just for this mall. All the plaid he could wear. And the cheap-smelling, overpriced cologne. TINA is unsure what to say, so she says: TINA He’s in a better place now. CIVIC (O.S) Tina, that is a lovely color on you. They both turn to look at the DRESSING ROOM ENTRANCE ROWBOAT and CIVIC (TINA’s blond and blue-eyed HRA) stand by the door. Their eyes are everywhere except TINA and RAY, but the lights in their cheeks are going off. TINA smiles at the compliment. PORTIA comes in before TINA can reply, holding more clothes. PORTIA What are you guys standing around for? Find something you like? Before they can speak, the sound of moaning comes from another stall, a few stalls down. TINA exchanges a glance with RAY, confused. RAY and TINA look to PORTIA. PORTIA

This world is for almost everyone, even exhibitionists. RAY Almost? PORTIA opens her mouth to say more, but ROWBOAT and CIVIC speak: ROWBOAT AND CIVIC It’s late. Time to go? TINA and RAY are a bit creeped out by the synchronicity, but they nod. TINA gathers up her clothes. RAY goes to get his. They follow ROWBOAT and CIVIC out of the dressing room. TINA drops a shirt on the way out. PORTIA lingers behind. Grabs the shirt, squeezes it. EXT. RAY’S APARTMENT - EVENING RAY, ROWBOAT, TINA, CIVIC, and PORTIA stand by RAY’s door. RAY gives PORTIA a hug. RAY It was nice to meet you. PORTIA I’ll see you around. You can reach me through ADA or ROWBOAT. We don’t have cellular devices here. RAY Cellular devices. Ha. PORTIA walks off with another wave, eyes linger on TINA. RAY gives TINA a tight hug. RAY Thank you for coming with me. I didn’t know you were, but I’m glad you’re here with me. TINA relaxes in RAY’s arms. TINA I just wish she was here too.

RAY I know. Another tight squeeze. Then he releases her. Waves. CIVIC leads the way back home. TINA follows. RAY stays by his door and lets himself and ROWBOAT inside when TINA is out of sight. INT.RAY’S APARTMENT – FOYER RAY Why don’t we have phones here? ROWBOAT It lowers the chances of harassment and cyber bullying. RAY heads down the HALLWAY RAY That’s really nice actually. ROWBOAT How so? RAY It lets everyone be real. True to themselves. BEDROOM RAY falls onto his bed, exaggerated sigh of relief. ROWBOAT Get some sleep. You have work tomorrow. RAY I have a job? ROWBOAT Not a job. A passion. For architecture.

RAY sits up, looks at ROWBOAT in disbelief. RAY What? ROWBOAT Don’t you remember? You have a degree in architecture that you didn’t get a chance to use until five months before you became a Pandora Partner. We’d like for you to use it here, if you want. RAY And my eighty-five thousand dollar debt? ROWBOAT A thing of the past. There is no debt here. The U.C.E. doesn’t have a currency system. RAY stares at ROWBOAT for a moment. Falls onto his back. RAY Can I stay here forever? ROWBOAT There is an immortality serum in the works— RAY (laughs) Don’t fuck with me, Rowboat. INT. DR. MARTIN FURR’S OFFICE – LATER DR. MARTIN’s office is futuristic and cold, offset with pale yellow lights. It makes DR. MARTIN look ill. DR. MARTIN stares at his computer screen, the data reflected on his glasses. DR. MARTIN looks up at the sound of RAY’s approach. He smiles a tired smile and waves him in.

RAY is wearing a plaid button up and some nice pants. He carries a brand new canvas bag on his shoulder. He walks with a cane – it’s funky. DR. MARTIN (rises) Hi, Ray. I assume Cutie told you about your new position here. RAY Rowboat did. They shake hands. RAY I’m really excited to work here. DR. MARTIN We have a strict operating system. RAY Strict how? Doesn’t seem like it. DR. MARTIN You’ll see. I’m cranking out updates every few weeks with Cutie’s help. She helps me get an understanding of what the people want. RAY How does she do that? DR. MARTIN Depends on what I’m looking for. Do you have any burning questions for me? RAY What exactly do you want me to do? Rowboat was vague. DR. MARTIN Well, you can get acquainted with my assistants. Portia is through that door. You’ll meet Peter and Dwayne soon enough.

DR. MARTIN points to the left. RAY walks through the door, passing CUTIE’s cubicle. BREAK ROOM RAY finds PORTIA in the break room first. It’s a meager room, little offerings as far as condiments. A coffee pot sits on the counter. No visible cords. Two cups sit by the coffee pot. PORTIA sips from one. PORTIA Hi, Ray! Want some coffee? RAY Sure. PORTIA This stuff is great. I’m glad we managed to save some from the old days. PORTIA pours a cup for RAY. Hands it to him. She watches him add cream and sugar. PORTIA How was your first night here?

RAY I slept like a tired baby. I had a bad feeling about this place earlier, but it’s gone now. PORTIA gazes at RAY for a moment. She smiles wanly. PORTIA Good. INT. CONSTRUCTION SITE - LATER This isn’t your everyday construction site. The building is done, hollowed out. Paint has yet to be laid down. The floor underfoot is concrete. PORTIA and RAY are standing inside the room. No windows. RAY stares at the walls, feels the material.

RAY What is this? PORTIA No idea. It’s absorbent. PORTIA touches the wall, pushes in two fingers. She pulls her heads away. The wall retains the shape, then springs back like memory foam. TINA (O.S) My God! There’s no escaping you two. PORTIA and RAY turn to see TINA, also formally dressed, holding folders. PORTIA grins at TINA, who smiles back. RAY doesn’t miss this. RAY I’d rather work with you guys than a pair of strangers. TINA Don’t get comfortable. TINA walks inside and she’s followed by four HURTs. RAY smiles at them and waves. All his previous misgivings are gone. INT. CONSTRUCTION SITE - EVENING The construction site is full of wood and metal rods now, all stacked neatly in one corner. TINA and RAY are inspecting the materials. The BLUE-HAIRED HURT walks over to TINA. PORTIA watches the exchange, nervous. BLUE-HAIRED HURT How was our service? RAY Amazing. You guys were really helpful. You made it seem like we’ve been working here forever. BLUE-HAIRED HURT All a part of the job. We are supposed to help you make a smooth transition.

TINA Well, mission accomplished. BLUE-HAIRED HURT Affirmative. Something about this makes RAY laugh. TINA joins in. The HURT does not – he cannot feel amusement. The laughter dies down awkwardly. They’ve forgotten. RAY Will we see the same ones tomorrow? BLUE-HAIRED HURT No, but you can make a request. (looks up) ADA? ADA (O.S) Yes? BLUE-HAIRED HURT Please send all of us back here tomorrow. ADA Confirmed. BLUE-HAIRED HURT nods at RAY and PORTIA. He looks over at the other THREE HURTs. They’re still charging. The lights in his cheek flashes as they obey him. They stand up and leave the site without a word. BLUE-HAIRED HURT (to RAY) Goodnight. RAY Goodnight. Thanks again. The BLUE-HAIRED HURT turns to leave. TINA stops him: TINA Wait, what’s your name?

BLUE-HAIRED HURT They call me “Polaris”. TINA It’s nice to meet you. See you tomorrow. POLARIS As you will. Goodbye. MONTAGE – THEY’RE ADJUSTING INT. CONSTRUCTION SIGHT – EARLY MORNING TINA and RAY supervise their FOUR HURTs. POLARIS does most of the robot-commanding. The robots carry various materials. TINA and RAY go through the boxes together. The two talk to PORTIA MOS. PORTIA sits on a stool, marks off materials on a list. She glances at the two of them, eyes linger on TINA. PORTA’s staring doesn’t go unnoticed. POLARIS sees the staring. The lights in his cheeks go off. THAI RESTAURANT - AFTERNOON RAY and TINA munch on Thai food next to PORTIA. PORTIA eats a hamburger. The FOUR HURTs sit in a corner of the construction site on a charging pad. PORTIA cracks a joke MOS. TINA laughs the hardest. The chemistry is undeniable. RAY sees the smile on PORTIA’s face, looks worried. INT. RAY’S APARTMENT – LIVING ROOM – NIGHT RAY stares at the HOLOGRAPHIC WALL. He watches a tennis game. He cheers and ROWBOAT mirrors his actions. RAY Damn! ROWBOAT Damn! RAY turns to ROWBOAT, surprised.

RAY Don’t curse. ROWBOAT My apologies. RAY turns back to the HOLOGRAPHIC SURFACE to smile. A CLICK sound, the old-fashioned noise of a photo being taken. RAY turns, looks at ROWBOAT, the source of the sound. ROWBOAT (smiles) Proof that you’re enjoying yourself. RAY nods, half-listening, and looks back at the HOLOGRAPHIC SURFACE. EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE – MORNING RAY sits outside of the site on the ground. He sketches onto a pad. The sketches are elaborate, neat. They reflect the inner musings of an architect. RAY glances up at the ceiling of the dome. It’s a pale, foggy blue. Somewhat translucent. Some sort of yellow line shines down, reminiscent of sunlight. RAY glances back down at his sketches, rubs the side of his head, by his right temple. He feels something. He pushes harder, can’t tell what it is. TINA (O.S) Ray, you wanna take a look? RAY looks up to see TINA standing at the threshold to the construction site. He nods, pulls himself up with his cane. END MONTAGE

This is the end of act one. Please send me an email if you’re curious for me:

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My Portfolio  

A small collection of my latest projects. This file contains act one of C.O.D.Y.'s Intentions, a feature film, and the first chapter from BL...

My Portfolio  

A small collection of my latest projects. This file contains act one of C.O.D.Y.'s Intentions, a feature film, and the first chapter from BL...