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Pilot

By
Jordan Jackson

jordanjackson@utexas.edu
1 EXT. STREET - DAY 1
A cloud of thick, brown smog stretches over the street.
A figure staggers through the fog. A WOMAN WITH SORES
emerges into view.
She HACKS--awful sounds that suggest her chest could cave in
at any moment.
One particularly wretched cough sends her to her knees.

She collects herself, looks into the distance.
A dimmed, but once obnoxious sign reading SOUTHWEST MALL
looms in the distance.

She rises and drags her feet through the empty parking lot,
disappearing back into the fog.
END OF TEASER
2 INT. SOUTHWEST MALL - DAY 2

LINETTE MENDOZA (18) dodges her way through a crowded,
out-of-commission shopping mall. Unkempt, clearly less
affluent people are squatting and crowding across the floor
of the place.

Many have surgical MASKS over their faces.
There’s a small BOOK tucked under her arm titled "Physics."
The cover is boring, shapes and bland color palettes.

Linette weaves her way onto a still escalator. She sits on
one of the steps. MALL-DWELLER(50s) sits beside her. He’s
carving a wooden figure of a DUCK.
Linette opens her books to read.

MALL-DWELLER
Whatchu readin?
LINETTE
A book.

MALL-DWELLER
What’s it about?
LINETTE
I will know once I’ve read it.

He considers this.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 2.

MALL-DWELLER
Do you think ducks can read?

Linette shoots back up, off to try and find somewhere else
to read.
3 INT. SOUTHWEST MALL SHOP - DAY 3
Linette slides into a tiny shop stuffed with more grungey
folks. She finds a free corner and squeezes in between two
large imposing men. One of them has BOILS popping out of his
face. She tries to read again.
BOILS GUY
Yo, this our space, girl!

IMPOSING MAN
Watch where you step if you know
what’s good for you!
Linette does not look up from her book.

BOILS GUY
I won’t repeat myself!
IMPOSING MAN #1 pulls out a teeny tiny KNIFE and holds it up
to Linette’s throat. She doesn’t flinch.

LINETTE
I’ve seen canaries scarier than
you.

BOILS GUY
What’s a canary?
Linette exits.
4 EXT. OUTSIDE THE MALL - DAY 4

Linette lingers inside the entryway of the mall. She looks
outside, and sees the expanse of brown gas obscuring the
rest of the city.
The Southwest sits inside a clear, clean bubble of air. A
hard edge rests between the clean air and the smog.
Linette takes a careful step outside, just barely at the
edge of the clean bubble.
She leans against the glass door. She opens her book.

Perhaps she’s found a peaceful space, but then...
A HACKING, AWFUL COUGH echoes around her.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 3.

She drags her gaze away from her book. A figure limps
through the fog of brown air. A WOMAN WITH SORES staggers
towards her, hacking and coughing, trying to hold a piece of
CLOTH over her face.

She stumbles, falls, doesn’t get up.
Linette scowls at the figure. She sets the book down and
yanks a black SURGICAL MASK out of her pocket. She secures
it over her face and ventures into the toxic air.

She drags the Woman with Sores to her feet and urges her
toward the door. Linette hacks and coughs from behind her
mask.
She struggles, as the Woman with Sores keeps falling. She
persists.

She reaches the edge of the air bubble, about to break into
breathable air.
TITO (60s) steps outside the door.

TITO
Linette!
LINETTE
Move, please!

Tito steps aside to open the door for the pair.
DAVID (30s) steps into their path. Patches of his skin are
missing.

DAVID
No more, Tito. We’ve talked about
this.
LINETTE
Move, David!

DAVID
This isn’t an open debate.
TITO
She’ll die out here.

DAVID
We’ll all die if there isn’t enough
food to around.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 4.

TITO
You’re being dramatic.

DAVID
I’m really not! How do you propose
we feed five thousand people with
only--
LINETTE
Two loaves and five fish? That
would be a miracle, am I right?
David regards her with confusion.
LINETTE
It was a thing that happened in a
book.
DAVID
Hilarious.

WOMAN WITH SORES
Please...just let me inside...
TITO
Please, David. Just for a moment.

DAVID
We all came in here just for a
moment. She’s never going to want
to leave the only birdcage that any
of us can afford.

LINETTE
Can someone just tell me where to
drop her?
TITO
Bring her inside!
DAVID
We can’t save everyone.
David is finished. Linette begins to set the coughing woman
down.
Tito is close to tears, watching her.
Linette looks at him, notices his distress.

LINETTE
Okay, look. Why don’t we go on an
extra supply run?

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 5.

DAVID
We’ve cleaned out every shop in the
area.
LINETTE
In this area, sure. But we haven’t
been up near the Palace in awhile.
DAVID
Our group was abducted last time we
tried to go near the Palace.

LINETTE
And what? They never got to return
to life of shared bathing quarters
and respiratory problems?

DAVID
Supply runs are dangerous. No one’s
going to--
TITO
I’ll go.

LINETTE
Yeah, I’ll go, too.
TITO
Bring the girl in. We can leave in
fifteen and bring back enough to
feed her.
David resists for a moment.

DAVID
Fine. Sure. Supply run in fifteen.
Tito rushes to help Linette pull the Woman with Sores into
the mall.

Her body bumps against other residents as they drags her in.
WOMAN WITH SORES
Thank you...
LINETTE
Yeah, yeah.
TITO
We almost left this woman to die.
This kingdom is truly suffering.
6.

5 EXT. PALACE COURTYARD - DAY 5
A beautiful garden with building structure. A clean air
bubble domes over it.
THE EMPRESS (50s) presides over a small crowd of SUBJECTS.
The princess, HUARU QI (23) stands beside her. GUNYOUNG KWON
(25) stands a ways off with a SWORD strapped to his back,
watching the crowd.
THE EMPRESS
This kingdom is truly thriving.
Huaru smiles agreeably.
THE EMPRESS
The technology popularly known as
Birdcages have kept our cities
breathing and healthy for decades
now. Our researchers are constantly
at work to make sure we’re safe for
generations to come.

SUBJECT
Empress, what will you do to combat
the growing homeless populations
that have spring up within
residential and business birdcages?

THE EMPRESS
The undesirables who take up space
they have not worked for are dealt
with swiftly. We have worked hard
to live in the Palace district, and
we shall not tolerate those who
simply want to take where we have
earned.
Chatter among the subjects. SUBJECTS #1 rises from among
then.

SUBJECT #1
Empress, is there progress towards
a cure for the effects of the toxic
air outside the birdcages?

THE EMPRESS
The scientists and researches in
the Maghalla are the greatest in
the world, but even they are
limited by what is possible. The
effects of the air that has
undergone generations of pollution
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 7.

THE EMPRESS (cont’d)
has varied effects on our
population, and it is difficult to
conceive there can be one cure for
every side effect the air has.
However, the birdcages which
protect us from the toxic air can
at least ensure that our children,
and our childrens’ children, can
live longer, healthier lives than
their predecessors.
The Empress shoots a warm, loving smile at her Huaru. It’s
just a bit too wide.

Chatter amongst the CROWD.
SUBJECT #2
Excuse me, I have a question for
Princess Huaru.

Huaru flinches at her name.
HUARU
Yes?
SUBJECT #2
At any moment, you could take the
throne, and our populations are
growing with the continued use of
birdcages. However, our crops and
wildlife still dwindle in the toxic
air outside the birdcages. How will
you combat the dwindling resources
and preserve your people when you
become Empress.
Huaru balks.

HUARU
I...uh...
She looks to Gunyoung.

Gunyoung does not return her gaze.
HUARU
I think I’ll...uh...
THE EMPRESS
Please excuse Huaru’s lack of
decorum. She’s still recovering
from a bit of a cold. Please direct
all question to me, if you will.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 8.

The crowd obliges, shouting more questions at The Empress.
Huaru slouches in shame.
The Empress shoots her a withering glare.

6 INT. HUARU’S ROOM - DAY 6
Huaru’s room is colorful and extravagant.
The Empress throws open the double doors and thrusts her
daughter inside. She shouts over her Huaru, crumpled up on
the floor.
THE EMPRESS
You made us looks like fools!

HUARU
I’m sorry! I didn’t think they
would--
THE EMPRESS
That they would expect you to have
half a brain? Unbelievable! It’s
like you’d never before considered
that an Empress has to do things!
We looked like imbeciles because
you are an imbecile.

THE EMPRESS
They just caught me off-guard!
THE EMPRESS
Okay. Here. Take all the time you
need. What will be your first act
as Empress?
Huaru chokes again.
HUARU
I...I...

THE EMPRESS
"I...I...I’m not a complete waste
of air?"
HUARU
No! I’ll do something!
THE EMPRESS
Eloquent.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 9.

HUARU
I will! I’ll start today.
THE EMPRESS
Wonderful, dear. What’s the first
step to enacting legislation?

Huaru chokes again.
THE EMPRESS
Darling, there is truly no end to
the pride and joy you provide me.
The Empress exits.
7 INT. LAB - DAY 7

A sterile, white laboratory with BOXES and CAGES containing
ANIMALS.
IDRIS SAAD (25) trots around the lab.
He picks up a slab of CONCRETE. Beside him is a CLEAR BOX
with brown, toxic smog inside, just like outside the mall. A
BIRD darts around inside the box.
Idris eases the slab into a slot in the box.
IDRIS
Heeere you go.
The bird shrinks from the slab at first.
IDRIS
Come on. It’s not gonna hurt you.

The bird pecks at the concrete.
The concrete SPLITS IN TWO.
Idris beams. He pats the bird daintily on the head.

He picks up a section of STEEL.
IDRIS
Polly want a section of two-ton
reinforced steel?

He eases it into the box.
The bird picks at it.

MASSIVE DENTS appear in the metal.
10.

Idris rushes out of the lab with glee.
8 INT. PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY 8
Huaru shuffles down the hallway, dabbing away some stray
tears.

Idris rushes out, CRASHING into Huaru.
HUARU
Ow!

IDRIS
Sorry! I’m sorry! You’re majesty.
No! You’re just a princess! Vice
majesty? I was just in the lab and
I--Oh! Bowing. I forgot bowing.

Idris dips his head down.
HUARU
Don’t you have business you should
be attending to?

IDRIS
I was just on my way to alert the
Empress! My experiments on the mice
and the birds are going swimmingly.

HUARU
Oh...kay?
IDRIS
Lots of wildlife populations are
dying out there, you know. But
someone are mutating! I wonder
what’s happening to the people that
have to live our there.
Idris gives a hearty, awkward laugh.

Huaru doesn’t laugh with him.
She leaves him without a word.
IDRIS
Oh, uh, bye? Princess?
11.

9 INT. EMPRESS QUARTERS - DAY 9
An extravagant office.
The Empress shuffles some PAPERS on her desk.

Huaru bursts inside.
HUARU
I have an idea.

THE EMPRESS
What. You’re going to send a
messenger to get the latest
eyeshadow palette?
HUARU
For legislation. I want to put
forth a new decree.
10 EXT. STREET - DAY 10
A smoggy, street lined with a strip mall. The palace is
barely silhouetted in the distance behind the pollution.
David leads a small GROUP from the Southwest Mall. They all
have black SURGICAL MASKS over their face. Some are hacking
and coughing anyway.

Linette and Tito are behind David, with seven or eight
others. They sport large, thus far empty BACKPACKS.
The regard the palace with disdain as they walk past.
TITO
Where do you think they get their
food from?
LINETTE
I read that they have gardens
within their birdcage. They grow
vegetables and things.
TITO
Oh, that sounds nice. I haven’t had
nice cabbage stew since you were
born.
LINETTE
When was that exactly?

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 12.

TITO
I wouldn’t know. You were already
about two I met you.
DAVID
Here.
David leads the group into an abandoned COLLEGE BOOKSTORE.
11 INT. COLLEGE BOOKSTORE - DAY 11

The shelves are mostly empty and the toppled over.
There are a few SNACK FOODS in racks against the walls and
counters.
TITO
That’s something.
The group gets the work, stuffing their bags with snacks.
Tito and Linette gather up food beside each other.
Linette holds up a CHOCOLATE BAR.

LINETTE
Not quite a cabbage stew.
TITO
It’ll do.

Linette chuckles. She scoops the snacks into her bag and
pockets the chocolate bar.
As they are working, the sounds of POUNDING FOOTSTEPS
resound outside the store.

DAVID
Someone’s coming.
MALL-DWELLER #1
Probably other scavengers.
VOICE (O.S.)
Citizens are not permitted outside
their place of residence after
curfew in order to ensure the
respiratory health of all peoples.
Linette continues gathering food.
VOICE (O.S.)
We are forced to apprehend all who
do not abide by the laws in order
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 13.

VOICE (O.S.) (cont’d)
to control the spread of dissent
and disease.
DAVID
Time to go.
David urges the group out of the store.
Linette is following behind until...

As she reaches the exit, she catches sight of TEXTBOOKS
stacked in the corner of the store.
She crosses to them.
The footsteps grow louder, closing in on the store.

Linette stuffs BOOKS into her backback, throwing out bits of
her food to make room.
Tito sees her delay, rushes over.

TITO
Linette, it’s time to go.
LINETTE
I’m coming!

Linette stuffs a few more books into the bag.
She finally zips it up.
Tito drags her along.

They run towards the exit.
PALACE SOLDIERS block their path.
They try to backtrack, but there are no other exits.

A GUARD grabs Linette by the arms.
She struggles to get out of his grasp.
Another GUARD #2 grabs Tito. It’s much easier to get hold of
him.
Linette breaks free of her captor and tries to run toward
the man wrestling with Tito.
Another guard grabs her before she can get there.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 14.

LINETTE
Get off!
Linette tries to kick free of the Guard. Other GUARDS crowd
around her contain her,

A small BLUISH MASS forms around her, and BURSTS, knocking
the guards off.
She falls to the ground.

She tries to scramble away, but a new troop of GUARDS catch
her as she flees.
One of them takes the blunt end of a sword and SLAMS it into
the side of her head.

Linette slumps over, unconscious.
SMASH CUT
END OF ACT 1

12 INT. HUARU’S ROOM - DAY 12
Huaru sits at her desk, writing something.
The Empress enters.

THE EMPRESS
What are you writing?
HUARU
I am penning the official decree of
the resource conservation
initiative. The messengers should
have spread the word by this
afternoon.
The Empress reads over her shoulder. She’s pleased.

THE EMPRESS
It’s ruthless, dear. These people
are either used for research or put
to death for conservation purposes.

Huaru pauses writing.
HUARU
Do you think it’s harsh?

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 15.

THE EMPRESS
Well, of course. But it emulates
our lives. Your either useful,
getting a job and contributing to
society, or you’re disposable.

HUARU
What about babies? Babies aren’t
useful.
THE EMPRESS
They can be, with time.
Huaru still hasn’t resumed writing.
THE EMPRESS
Don’t ponder this too much, dear.
It is the privilege of lesser men
to entertain notions of sympathy.
It’s our duty to maintain what
works and let go of what does not.
Huaru considers this.

She resumes writing her announcement.
13 INT. DUNGEON - DAY 13
Linette wakes up, blinks away the fatigue.

She’s in a concrete room with metal bars, stuffed in with
Tito, David, OTHERS FROM HER THE MALL. The air is brown and
murky. Gunyoung stands outside the dungeon, wearing a GAS
MASK.

Linette looks to the ceiling. A open GRATE lets in the toxic
air from outside.
Linette gets to her feet.

Tito rushes over to help her.
TITO
Linette! Are you alright?
DAVID
Bright idea you two had, bring us
all to the Palace.
LINETTE
We got more food, didn’t we?

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 16.

DAVID
Yes, I’m sure we’ll be feasting
tonight.

David gestures to a pile of BACKPACKS outside the dungeon:
the group’s apprehended belongings. Food and textbooks spill
out of them.
TITO
At least we’re alive.
Linette indicates Gunyoung, the armed guard.
LINETTE
That brings me startlingly little
comfort. Do we have back-up plan?
DAVID
Do you think I’ve just been
withholding my genius escape plan
from you?

LINETTE
Okay. Well. Let’s make one of
those.
Linette pushes her way to the cage bars. She gets as close
as she can to to Gunyoung.
LINETTE
Hey! Hey! Gas mask!
Gunyoung doesn’t acknowledge her.

LINETTE
I don’t suppose there’s a shred of
human decency under that unsettling
face thing?

No response.
LINETTE
You know I’m like, a kid, right?
You’re killing a kid. I’ve got my
whole life ahead of me.
MALL-DWELLER #1
Aren’t you eighteen?
LINETTE
Thanks. That’ll definitely help.
Mall-dweller #1 shrugs meekly.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 17.

LINETTE
Okay, then. Plan C.
Linette returns to David and eases off his BELT. His pants
fall down, and the people in the cell poiint and laugh at
him.

DAVID
Uhh...
LINETTE
Wow, this is really embarrassing
for you personally.
Linette returns to Gunyoung, hiding the belt behind her
back.

LINETTE
You have no idea what it feels like
to live out there.
No response.

LINETTE
When you woke up this morning, you
knew where your next meal was
coming from. When I woke up this
morning I--

She stops suddenly and THROWS THE BELT AROUND HIS NECK. He
wheezes, flailing in surprise.
Tito takes the cue. He rushes forward, and feels around
Gunyoung’s pockets.

Gunyoung pulls his weight forward and knocks Linette against
the bars.
LINETTE
Ow!

Gunyoung brings her forward again and again. Linette tries
to readjust her grip, and Gunyoung’s mask comes sliding off
in the process.
He unsheathes his SWORD and brings it up cut himself free of
the belt.
He turns and points his sword directly at Linette. She holds
two pieces of the belt in her hands. She backs off.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 18.

TITO
He doesn’t have the key on him.

David shimmies forward, struggling to hold up his pants.
DAVID
Of course not. They probably lock
up this place with voice command or
sorcery or--

He stops when he looks up at Gunyoung.
DAVID
You’ve got to be kidding me.

Gunyoung sheathes his sword. He retrieves his gas mask and
secures it back over his face.
LINETTE
What? What is it?

Tito has stopped in his tracks, too.
TITO
You were just a kid last time I saw
you...

Realization washes over the older people in the cell.
LINETTE
Hey, uh, I’m really uncomfortable
when I don’t know things.

TITO
That’s Gunyoung Kwon. He’s a guy we
lost in a supply raid last time we
tried to come down here.

DAVID
He lived in the mall. He was one of
us.
Gunyoung stands back at his ready position. He doesn’t
acknowledge the conversation about him.

14 INT. LAB - DAY 14
The Empress and Huaru visit Idris in his lab. The same bird
in the clear case twitters in his box.

IDRIS
I don’t really see the need. The
birds and mice have been producing
fascinating results.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 19.

THE EMPRESS
What causes cancer in a rat may not
cause cancer in a human.
IDRIS
I’m not--WHAT--I’m not trying to
give people cancer!!
THE EMPRESS
Relax, dear. It’s just a
comparison.

IDRIS
What is it you’re asking me to do?
THE EMPRESS
Take care that you’re tone doesn’t
suggest that you’re disrespecting
me.
HUARU
You said you’ve been looking up
strange effects of the toxic air,
right? These people live in it.
Maybe they’ve developed abilities
that we can use.
IDRIS
Use for what?

The Empress glares at him.
IDRIS
...your majesty.

THE EMPRESS
If you were marching to battle and
you saw a strange weapon lying on
the path, would you leave it for
someone else to figure out, or take
it so you can use it when the time
comes?
IDRIS
We’re not marching off to battle.
We live in an air bubble. Sneezing
is an act of warfare.
THE EMPRESS
So imagine someone who can punch
through metal can do.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 20.

HUARU
Idris, just research them. We’re
not asking you to kill anyone.
IDRIS
Isn’t that what your decree said
you would do?
HUARU
Only if they don’t cooperate. Who
wouldn’t cooperate under threat of
death?
IDRIS
People who don’t want to be used as
weapons against their friends!

THE EMPRESS
Mister Saad! I suggest you remember
who your friends are.
The Empress beckons Huaru to follow her. They exit.

Idris pouts at his bird friend.
15 INT. DUNGEON - DAY 15
Linette paces through the confines of the dungeon. The other
PRISONERS have lost some steam, sitting and leaning
throughout the cell.
LINETTE
So this guard lived in the mall
with us? He was abducted by palace
guards and never returned?
TITO
That’s the long and short of it.
DAVID
That’s good, right? He’s not dead,
they just put him to work. Maybe we
have a chance.
LINETTE
You want to work for these people?

DAVID
If the alternative is death, yes!
LINETTE
You think this guy just stands
outside cages all day? They
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 21.

LINETTE (cont’d)
probably make him slaughter widows
and take candy from babies.
TITO
Maybe he’s tortured. Being forced
to work here.
DAVID
Where would he go otherwise? I’m
sure he missed our company
desperately.
LINETTE
Hey. I’m charming.
The group faintly hears a DOOR CREAK OPEN, followed by
NEARING FOOTSTEPS.
TITO
It doesn’t matter now. He clearly
isn’t helping us.

DAVID
Okay then. Plan B.
LINETTE
I already did Plan B. We’re on D
now.

DAVID
Everyone wants you to shut up.
David approaches the bars of the cell. He grips the metal of
a bars, and shuts his eyes tight.
LINETTE
Are you employing the power of
positive thinking?

DAVID
Shut up!
Tito gently pulls her away. She pipes down.
David focuses.

The bars in David’s hands begins SMOKING, and GLOWING
ORANGE.
Linette reacts. She makes sure Gunyoung isn’t watching.

David winces.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 22.

The bars begins to melt, but patches of David’s skin begin
to burn. This is why patches of his skin are missing.

TITO
David...
David ignores him, trying to work with the bars. His skin
continued to burn.

IDRIS BURST INTO THE DUNGEON, a gas mask secured of his
face. TWO GUARDS stand at either side of him.
David backs away from the bars, but he leaves behind
misshapen metal.

Idris’s unmoving gas mask eyes find the altered bars, then
look up to David, finds the missing skin across his arms.
IDRIS
(to Gunyoung)
Get me that one. Uh, please.

Gunyoung opens the cell. He holds his SWORD aloft to
discourage the crowd from rushing out. He grabs David by the
arms and wrenches him out.
Idris’s two guard help carry David away.

Linette and Tito look on, helpless.
16 INT. LAB - DAY 16
The guards escort David into the lab.

IDRIS
Uh, you can...take a seat, I guess.
David lowers himself onto the edge of a DESK with several
PAPERS and VIALS scattered across it.
IDRIS
No, not there!
David shoots up. He chooses a STOOL instead.

IDRIS
So...tell me about your, uh...
He gestures in David’s general direction.

DAVID
Is this why you took Gunyoung? Does
he have powers?

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 23.

IDRIS
Huh? Who’s--
DAVID
Ohhh, that’s why he’s a guard.

IDRIS
I don’t think we understand each
other.
DAVID
Look, I’ll be your muscle, too.
IDRIS
I suppose that’s nice of you.
DAVID
Just let my people go free. Or give
them jobs, too. Someone of them
also have weird, uh, ticks.
IDRIS
I don’t want anything from you. I’m
just doing research.
DAVID
Just for fun?
IDRIS
No. I don’t know anymore. I just
noticed how certain birds flew
around oddly, and I thought, oh,
they’re sick because of the air.
But some of them...

Idris looks to the bird in the clear box. A scrap of DENTED
METAL still lies in the box.
IDRIS
The Empress wanted to know about
people...
DAVID
If she wants to gather up a work
force, that’s great. Give us jobs,
and stuff.

IDRIS
Yeah. Yeah, that doesn’t sound too
bad.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 24.

THE EMPRESS (O.C.)
If I didn’t know better, Mr. Saad,
I’d say it sounded like you were
doubting me.

The two men look over. The Empress has entered the lab.
THE EMPRESS
Did you even get his name? What was
your name, dear?

DAVID
David. Your majesty.
THE EMPRESS
David. I admire your eagerness to
serve Maghalla. Let’s just see how
we can put that to good use.
17 INT. DUNGEON - DAY 17
Linette examines the dented bars that David left.

She tugs on them, but they’re rigid and solid again.
LINETTE
So David’s a superhero. That’s
cool, I guess.

MALL-DWELLER #1
It’s what got him killed.
TITO
We don’t know that he’s dead.

MALL-DWELLER #2
Yeah, I’m sure they’re rewarding
him for trying to break out of his
cell.

LINETTE
This is already a dungeon. They
could execute him in here. Where
else would they be taking him?
Linette looks over to Gunyoung again.

LINETTE
You wouldn’t happen to want to
share your insights now, would you?
Silence.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 25.

LINETTE
You must be fun at parties.

MALL-DWELLER #1
This is your fault, Linette.
LINETTE
Sure, yeah, I gave David
superpowers.

MALL-DWELLER #1
You brought the supply run up here.
We didn’t need to search by the
palace.

TITO
We were starving.
MALL-DWELLER #2
We were surviving. You two got
greedy.

TITO
Trying to save more lives is not my
definition of greed.
MALL-DWELLER #1
Look, if your so inclined to stick
your neck out, when they come back
for us, you should volunteer to be
picked off next.

LINETTE
Okay, calm down.
MALL-DWELLER #2
Or you, just as well. This was your
risk.

MALL-DWELLER #1
Maybe if we just give them up right
now, we’ll get out on good
behavior.

MALL-DWELLER #3
While we were escaping, all the
guards around Linette just fell
over. I think she’s got weird
powers, too!

MALL-DWELLER #1
It’s settled then, we give them up,
and see if we can bargain for our
freedom.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 26.

The rest of the cell advances on Linette and Tito. They
crowd them into a corner.
TITO
Please. What’s the point of turning
on each other when we’re already
imprisoned?
The crowd draws closer, clamoring to get their hands on the
pair.

Linette steps in front of Tito.
LINETTE
Get ahold of yourselves.
They don’t let up.

LINETTE
I said, STOP!
As Linette barks at them, a bluish mass ERUPTS from her
hands and knocks the closest few PRISONERS away from her.
A moment of stunned silence hangs in the air.
And the crowd ERUPTS into chaos, clawing at Linette.

18 INT. LAB - DAY 18
Idris holds a piece of METAL out to David.
The Empress and Huaru watch the spectacle.

David places a finger on the edge of the metal.
The end of the piece sinks in as it’s heated and melted.
Idris hisses in pain and drops the metal.

THE EMPRESS
Marvelous, dear.
DAVID
Thanks.

IDRIS
When did this start?
DAVID
I dunno. A couple years ago? I go
on supply runs a lot. For my group.
So I breathe in a lot of the air.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 27.

HUARU
Supply runs?
DAVID
Yeah. For food.

HUARU
You steal food?
DAVID
No, we...obtain food.

HUARU
Why don’t you just cook it or grow
it?
IDRIS
They can’t. The smog blocks the sun
and chokes crops.
HUARU
Do you find enough food?

DAVID
Not usually.
Huaru ponders this. David notices.
DAVID
Yeah, it’s a shame. The mall is
full of good people.
19 INT. DUNGEON - DAY 19
The people from the mall try to maim Linette.

Linette tries to fend them off, but she’s no match for a
mob.
Her abilities do not resurface.

Gunyoung springs into action.
He knocks his sword against the bars of the cell.
GUNYOUNG
Hey. Hey! Quiet down!
He’s ignored.
He slips into the cell, sliding the door shut behind him.

He slides off his GAS MASK and leaves it outside the cell.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 28.

Gunyoung holds his sword aloft, and then enters the fray.
He fights expertly through the riot, careful not to kill
anyone, but injuring any who try to threaten him.
He fends rioters off until the commotion has quieted.

Linette and Tito lie on the ground, beaten and shaken.
GUNYOUNG
If you cannot learn to act like
human beings, none of you will make
it out of here alive.
Gunyoung helps Tito to his feet.
Gunyoung gives him a barely perceptible nod. At the very
least, he remembers him.
Gunyoung exits the cell, sliding it shut behind him.
Tito helps Linette to her feet.

Gunyoung slides his gas mask back on and resumes his
position.
20 INT. LAB - DAY 20
Idris, The Empress, and Huaru continue their examination of
David.
THE EMPRESS
Enough dawdling in the past. Let’s
see what you can do now.

The Empress slides a thick BRACELET off of Huaru’s wrist and
hands it to David.
THE EMPRESS
This is bronze, not steel. Can you
melt this?

HUARU
That’s my favorite bracelet!
DAVID
In theory. But the thing is, when I
use my powers...
He gestures at the patches of missing skin on his arm.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 29.

HUARU
It hurts you?
DAVID
Yeah. I try to avoid doing it at
all.

THE EMPRESS
But you’ll do it now, of course?For
your Empress?

He tenses.
DAVID
Right. Of course, your majesty.
David clutches the bracelet in his hands.

He concentrates.
The shape of the bracelet starts to fall in.
Idris scribbles down NOTES..

The ends of David’s fingers start to TURN BLACK.
He holds out for a few more seconds, then drops the
bracelet.

It’s mostly-liquid shape hits the ground with a FLUMPH.
THE EMPRESS
Thank you. You did well.
DAVID
Will you let my friends go now,
your majesty?
THE EMPRESS
One thing at a time. Try on
something else. Maybe a living
thing.
DAVID
I don’t think you grasp how much it
hurts to burn.

THE EMPRESS
I don’t think you grasp how this is
your sole chance for a better life.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 30.

HUARU
Mother...
DAVID
I just want to know about my
people.

THE EMPRESS
Have some concern for yourself, my
dear. Surely you’ve noted the
consequences for disobeying the
crown.
David goes silent at the implication.
HUARU
Mother!

The Empress turns on her daughter, enraged.
THE EMPRESS
I heard you!

She grabs her by the arm and pulls her out of the room.
21 INT. PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY 21
The Empress tugs Huaru through the lushly decorated hall and
throws her down. Huaru stumbles, but does not fall.

THE EMPRESS
Don’t ever express doubt for me in
front of our subjects. Am I clear?
HUARU
I just don’t see why we need to
threaten to kill him.
THE EMPRESS
That’s the point of your decree,
Huaru! You’re the one that wrote
it!
HUARU
Yes, but...only if they refuse to
cooperate or...

THE EMPRESS
That’s exactly what he’s doing.
HUARU
But his reasons are sound.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 31.

THE EMPRESS
Huaru, what if Idris refused to do
his job because it was hard and it
hurt his brain.

HUARU
That’s not--
THE EMPRESS
It would make him useless. When
there’s barely enough air to go
around, there’s not room for--
DAVID (O.C.)
I’ll do it.
Huaru and The Empress look to the newly emerged David. Idris
runs after him, lingering behind.
IDRIS
I’m sorry, majesty! I tried to stop
him!

DAVID
Tell me what you need. I’ll make
myself useful.
The Empress glides over to him.

THE EMPRESS
Thank you, dear.
22 INT. LAB - DAY 22

The groups returns. The Empress leads him over to the box
with the BIRD.
THE EMPRESS
Can you do living things?

DAVID
I can try.
David delicately inserts his hand into the box.
He pauses, examines the observers. Huaru, Empress, Idris. No
guards.
His power IGNITES, but he doesn’t touch the bird yet. He
lets the power heat up inside him. He hand throbs, and the
tips of his fingers turn black again.

He inches his hand closer.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 32.

At the last moment, and WHEELS AROUND and GRABS THE EMPRESS
BY THE THROAT.
A gross SIZZLE as her flesh burns away.
END OF ACT II

23 INT. LAB - DAY 23
David has the Empress by the throat, burning away her flesh.

Huaru SQUEALS, she tries to swat David away, but he keeps
his grip. He barely flinches at the efforts of the small
woman.
The Empress’s flesh continue to burn away, but it’s a slow
process.

Gunyoung BURST INSIDES.
He levels his SWORD at David. He doesn’t let up.
Gunyoung comes closer, angling the sword at David’s throat.

DAVID
Hey, kid.
GUNYOUNG
Back off.

DAVID
You wouldn’t do that to your old
friend, would y--HEY!
Gunyoung slices a thin line of blood across David’s throat.
Not deep enough to kill him, but enough to unpleasantly
surprise him.
David jumps back.
The Empress falls to her knees. An vicious red mark
stretches across the skin of her neck.
Gunyoung pins David’s arms behind his back and poises the
sword over the wound on his throat.

HUARU
Mother!
Huaru bends down beside her and examines her mother’s
wounds.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 33.

GUNYOUNG
Huaru, are you okay?
HUARU
Yes, I’m fine. But my mother...

The Empress pays her no mind.
Instead, she fixes her gaze on Idris.
Idris’s hands shake as he avoids her look.

HUARU
Mother! Mother, do you need
anything? Should I get the medic?
THE EMPRESS
He didn’t help me.
HUARU
Huh?
Idris shuffles backwards, away from the Empress. He runs
into a LAB TABLE.
The Empress rises to her feet.
THE EMPRESS
You want me to die, Mr. Saad?

IDRIS
No. No, of course not.
THE EMPRESS
We feed and clothe you, and you
don’t lift a finger to thwart an
assassination attempt?
IDRIS
What could I do! I’m just a
researcher.

THE EMPRESS
What could Huaru do? She’s five
feet tall and has never worked a
day in her life. But she tried.

Idris swallows.
Huaru’s brow furrows at the mention of her.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 34.

THE EMPRESS
But if you are so insistent that
you are of no use to me, I
completely trust your judgment.
(to Gunyoung)
Gunyoung, throw him in with the
others.
Gunyoung moves towards Idris, dragging David with him.
THE EMPRESS
Not the other one. He’s with me.
David glares at her.
HUARU
Who will run the experiments if
Idris is locked up?
THE EMPRESS
The experiments are over. These
savages are a waste of air.

24 INT. DUNGEON - DAY 24
Gunyoung drags Idris into the dungeon.
The prisoners recognize the white lab coat.

Gunyoung throws Idris into the cell.
LINETTE
Where’s David?
THE EMPRESS (O.S.)
Your friend will not be returning.
The Empress glides into the dungeon. She’s in a new dress
with a high collar, concealing her burnt neck.

The prisoners regard his with shock. Some of them bow.
THE EMPRESS
He was your leader, was he not? If
he is the best of you, I know all I
need about the rest of you.

LINETTE
You know, Majesty. I think
generalizations like that are
limiting and largely harmful.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 35.

TITO
Ignore her. She has a brain tumor.
It affects the part of her brain
that reads the room.

THE EMPRESS
Well. Aren’t you two a charming
pair.
Linette feigns great pride.

THE EMPRESS
Take the grandpa.
Linette pales.
Gunyoung wrenches Tito out of cell and drags him toward the
exit. Linette is the only one not displaying significant
relief.
TITO
Linette! Don’t worry! I’ll be okay!

LINETTE
That’s obviously not a true thing!
Gunyoung, Linette, and Tito exit.
The door SLAMS behind them, followed by a heavy silence.

Linette shakes out her hands. She aims them at the bars, but
her powers don’t resurface.
She turns towards Idris, the new arrival. He’s curled into a
ball, shaking.
LINETTE
Hey, you! Hey!
Linette kneels beside him, tries to snap him out of his
fear.
LINETTE
Hey! You do research, right?
IDRIS
Stay away!
LINETTE
Whoa, calm down.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 36.

IDRIS
Violent crime is 68 percent higher
in low income areas! Aggressive
behavior increases by 86 percent in
stressful situations. If we
conflate these two percentages, it
means--
LINETTE
You cannot imagine how much I don’t
care. Look, you know the weird
powers that poor people have,
right? How do you use those?
IDRIS
Are you going to burn me to crisp?

LINETTE
Why would I be asking for your help
if I’m about to kill you? Do you
not think I would have more
finesse?

IDRIS
Your tone and body stance suggest
that finesse is not a property that
you cultivate.
LINETTE
Uh, thanks? Look, I can get us both
out of here. Just tell me how these
abilities work.
IDRIS
What can you do?
25 INT. DARK ROOM - DAY 25
An empty, dark room.

Tito is tied and bound to chair in the middle of it. He
tries to shimmy out of his chains, but it’s futile.
The Empress emerges into the light, with David at her side.
Gunyoung watches off to the side.

TITO
David! You’re alive.
DAVID
I’m as surprised as you.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 37.

THE EMPRESS
You get to decide how long that
continues.
DAVID
I thought you were going to kill me
and my people.
THE EMPRESS
I was, David. And I absolutely
will.

David and Tito exchange looks.
THE EMPRESS
But I cannot deny that you have
impressive abilities. And you have
the remarkable will to do what
needs to be done.
David glances down at her collar. A red mark just barely
peaks out from the edge of it.

THE EMPRESS
But I cannot have you untamed. I
cannot take you unless you are
loyal to me.
DAVID
You’ll have me work for you? After
what I did?
THE EMPRESS
I’m not a vindictive child, dear.
I’m an Empress.

David begins to look hopeful. Tito remains stony.
THE EMPRESS
But prove you will do as I say. I
took the most unassuming, harmless
oaf out of the dungeon.
The Empress approaches Gunyoung. She reaches into his coat
and pulls out his SWORD.

The Empress takes it back David.
THE EMPRESS
No need to hurt yourself.
David takes the sword.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 38.

DAVID
I don’t understand...
THE EMPRESS
Kill the oaf. The most likable of
your people. And then I will know
that you are loyal to me.
26 INT. DUNGEON - DAY 26
Linette stands behind the bars, with Idris beside her. A
disinterested GUARD with a gas mask stands by the cell,
replacing Gunyoung.
LINETTE
So, how do I focus my chi?

IDRIS
It’s not chi. It’s in the air. It’s
in your lungs and your blood.
LINETTE
Well, I can’t control my lungs or
my blood.
IDRIS
Yes, you can. You can breathe
deeply. You could get your heart
racing and pump more blood through
you.
LINETTE
Okay...
Linette slows her breathing. She extends her hands forward.

IDRIS
No, you’re trying to do a
focusing-chi thing.

LINETTE
That’s what they do in books. They
unlock their inner peace, or
something.
IDRIS
You want the air and blood in you
to move around.
LINETTE
I can’t just...do that.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 39.

IDRIS
What makes your blood pump? Get
scared or excited or nervous or
aroused--

LINETTE
Yeah, okay, I’ll look at options
one-through-three.
Linette extends her hands towards the bars again.

Nothing happens.
IDRIS
What are you thinking of?
LINETTE
Uh, dying?
IDRIS
Well, you don’t seem very nervous
about it. She told me she’s going
to kill everyone in this cell! She
said that!
LINETTE
Yeah, yeah, I disapprove. But
nothing’s happening.

IDRIS
She’s probably doing it one by one.
That’s probably why the took the
old guy. Do you know where he
probably is now. THE AFTERLIFE!!

And the blue mass ERUPTS in front of her, nudging the bars
forward.
LINETTE
It worked!

IDRIS
Fascinating!
Linette comes closer to the bars.

She understands something she didn’t a moment before.
She focuses her powers. A ball of energy grows between her
hands.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 40.

GUARD
Hey!
It’s too late. The mass nudges two of the bars apart.
There’s enough room for her to slide through.

Linette rolls out of the cell, free.
The rest of the PRISONERS notice, and they CHARGE THE GAP,
barreling past Idris.

The GUARD stands in front of the gap, keeping them at bay
with his SWORD.
There’s only one of him. He can’t pursue Linette and keep
the prisoners from escaping.

Linette dashes away, and barges through the exit.
She’s now loose in the palace.
END OF ACT III

27 INT. PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY 27
Linette finds herself in a beautiful palace, with healthy
plants and dignified portraits.

And clear, crisp air.
She takes a deep lungful. She’s never breathed air this
clean before.
She recuperates quickly, then runs through the halls of the
palace.
28 INT. DARK ROOM - DAY 28
The Empress stands beside David, waiting for him to decide
to kill Tito. Tito remains bound to a chair.

DAVID
What if I don’t?
THE EMPRESS
If you don’t kill him, you have
both outlived your usefulness.
TITO
Regrettably, in either scenario, my
usefulness culminates in dying.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 41.

THE EMPRESS
Well, look at you, dear. You’re
expiring soon anyway.
TITO
Same to you, Your Highness.
The Empress’s glares at him.
TITO
Sorry about that. I don’t want my
last words to be so demeaning. It’s
sets a poor example.
THE EMPRESS
On with it.

The Empress pushes David forward. He stumbles closer to
Tito, the sword held clumsily in both hands.
Tito meets his gaze levelly, dignified, almost regal, in the
face of death.

29 INT. DARK ROOM? - DAY 29
Linette BURSTS through a door.
LINETTE
Let him go!

And Huaru looks up from her desk to face her.
30 INT. HUARU’S ROOM - DAY 30
Linnete has found Huaru’s bedroom.

Huaru sits at her desk. She’s reviewing her DECREE.
HUARU
Who are you?

LINETTE
The Empress took an old guy out of
the cell. I think she’s going to
kill him. He’s not a threat to
anyone!

Huaru rises and approaches Linette with wonder.
HUARU
You’re from the mall? You live
outside?

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 42.

LINETTE
Yes. Hello. Please let Tito go now!
HUARU
I don’t know what you’re talking
about.

LINETTE
Right.
Linette holds her hands up toward her.

Huaru jumps back at the gesture, unsure what Linette is
capable of.
HUARU
I don’t! She just suggested she’d
killed all of you. I don’t know why
she’d take someone out.
LINETTE
I am vastly uninterested in "why."
I just want you give him back.

The mass unfurls from in front of her palms.
A steady thump-thump, her heartbeat in her ears.
Huaru shows no visible fear, but still possesses wide-eyed
wonder of the girl in front of her.
HUARU
I’m sorry. I have no control over
my mother.

LINETTE
If you won’t help me as a human
being, then you will help me as a
hostage.
A BLAST of energy knocks Huaru back.

Linette rushes forward grabs her, locking her into a
chokehold.
Huaru struggles against Linette’s strength, but Linette
keeps her hold.
LINETTE
Where are they?

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 43.

HUARU
I don’t know!

LINETTE
Guess!
31 INT. DARK ROOM - DAY 31
David walks up to David, his SWORD held more firmly and
confidently than before.
DAVID
I’m sorry, Tito. But if you’re
going to die anyway...

TITO
Yeah, yeah, no worries. You always
found a decent way to justify
people dying.
David scowls.

TITO
Sassy and demeaning again. I really
ought to work on that. You know, in
the eight seconds I have left to
live.

DAVID
It’s been fun, old man.
TITO
It’s certainly been something.
DAVID
It’s just...if I can come out
alive, and living in the palace--

TITO
David. I mean it. You don’t need to
apologize.
Tito nods.

He raises the sword above his head.
Tito tenses, bracing for impact.
LINETTE (O.S.)
Stop!

David’s sword swings off-course.
Instead of killing Tito, he slices a DEEP GASH into his arm.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 44.

TITO
Aghhh!
The Empress looks to the intrusion.
Linette barges in, clutching Huaru in front of her.

Gunyoung moves to unsheathe his sword, but David has it now.
LINETTE
If you touch him, she dies.

THE EMPRESS
You’re unarmed.
Linette holds her hand in a gun-shape beside Huaru’s head.

LINETTE
As far as you know.
The Empress understands.
THE EMPRESS
What will killing my daughter
prove?
LINETTE
What will killing Tito prove? We
both have something the other
wants, it seems.
THE EMPRESS
You’d never escape the castle, even
if I handed them back to you know.

LINETTE
Well, is your dead heir worth
proving that point?
The Empress examines Linette with a cold stare.

THE EMPRESS
Go ahead, then.
HUARU
Mother!

THE EMPRESS
It’s just an heir. There’s more
where she came from.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 45.

LINETTE
She’s your only daughter.
THE EMPRESS
The the kingdom is behind an heir,
that is who will be king. Do you
think Huaru has proven herself
capable? Do you think anyone will
mourn her death as the death of
great ruler?

Linette falters.
LINETTE
Fine. You’ve made your choice.
Linette adjusts her grips on Linette. She lays her hand
against her head.
LINETTE
I can make a ball of...something
appear in her brain. Move
everything around in there.

THE EMPRESS
I did not ask for the science of
it, dear. Go ahead.
Linette scowls.

She must follow through with her fret.
Linette focuses. Breathes sharply in and out.
She sees Tito’s bleeding body, still bound to a chair.

The thump-thump of her heartbeat in her ears.
She’s found it. She can do this. She can kill the the
Empress’s daughter.

THE EMPRESS
Stop!
Linette loses her focus.

THE EMPRESS
Stop. Don’t kill her.
HUARU
Mother?

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 46.

THE EMPRESS
I was bluffing. You caught me. Give
her back.
LINETTE
And you’ll give back Tito?
THE EMPRESS
Yes. Fine. Just go.
Linette darts to Tito and unties him from the chair.

Huaru sighs with relief, free of Linette’s threat.
David watches, unsure what to do.
DAVID
Let them all go.
THE EMPRESS
It is not the time to push your
luck.

LINETTE
I agree!
David still has the sword in his hand.
HUARU
Let them go, mother.
The room turns to look at her.
THE EMPRESS
Did you miss the part where they
used you as a hostage?
HUARU
You have a good reason for not
doing it! You have an eloquent,
well-constructed reason why we
shouldn’t let everyone go! And as
soon as you say it, I’ll see you’re
point! But right now, I just want
to let everybody go and I don’t
care how it reflects on me, or you,
or the crown. I was just used as a
hostage, you just ordered a
harmless old man to die like he was
a chess piece, and I am done making
sense of things that just don’t
feel right!

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 47.

No one responds to her. She squares her jaw and approaches
Gunyoung.

HUARU
Go down the dungeon. And let
everyone go.
Gunyoung glances at The Empress.

HUARU
You’re my bodyguard. Not hers. And
you answer to me.
Everyone waits for the Empress’s cue.

THE EMPRESS
You heard her, Gunyoung.
She exits, and does not look back at her daughter.
32 INT. DUNGEON - NIGHT 32

Gunyoung unlocks the cell, and the prisoners flood out of
the cage. Huaru watches the crowd.
HUARU
Do you think she’s mad at me?

GUNYOUNG
I think she’s just...mad.
HUARU
Am I doing the right thing?
Gunyoung ponders.
HUARU
Not the smart thing or the
authoritative thing. But the right
thing.
One prisoner gets shoved into the back of another prisoner.
He turns and shoves him back, hard.

GUNYOUNG
I think you’re the only one here
who cares about the answer.
Linette, David, and Tito watch from the other side of the
room and the prisoners exit the cage. Tito clutches the
wound on his arm. He’s sickly and pale.
Idris shuffles around the room, unsure where freedom leaves
him.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 48.

LINETTE
So we just go home?

TITO
The Empress doesn’t strike me as
someone who will let sleeping dogs
lie.
DAVID
She knows were we live. She’ll come
after us.
LINETTE
So we just let her cackle as we
skip away, "Ha ha, we’ll get ’em
next time"?
DAVID
No.
David still hides Gunyoung’s sword behind his back.

He presses his hand to the blade.
The metal GLOWS ORANGE.
He weaves through the crowd, the sword behind his back.

He motions Linette to follow him.
She hesitates, but trots up to him.
DAVID
Follow my lead.
LINETTE
That’s a lot of responsibility with
very little instruction.

David motions for her to be quiet.
She sees the glowing sword behind his back.
David inches up to Huaru and Gunyoung.

Gunyoung notices.
GUNYOUNG
David...

DAVID
Oh, now you remember us.
He draws the sword out from behind him.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 49.

DAVID
Now!
David brandishes the the SWORD at Huaru.
Linette pushes her hands forward and pins Gunyoung to the
will with a sizable mass of energy, the biggest she’s made
thus far.
David gets Huaru into a chokehold, and holds the sword to
her throat. The heated metal sizzles next to her skin.

LINETTE
Can you fill me in on which act of
treason we’re committing?
DAVID
We’re taking the princess.
LINETTE
She’s the one who set us free!
DAVID
This might be the only life in the
world that the Empress values. We
can’t just waste this opportunity.
LINETTE
For what?

DAVID
Ransom! A bargaining chip! We could
force her pass legislation to get
us homes outside of a mall!

HUARU
My mother would rather die than
look like she will bend to the will
of her inferiors.

DAVID
Well, we’re testing that. Hey,
scientist!
Idris startles.

IDRIS
Me? I’m not an official scientist.
I’m just a researcher who--
DAVID
Shut up. Show us a way out of the
palace without guard patrols.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 50.

Linette struggles to hold on to Gunyoung.
LINETTE
This guy will follow us!
DAVID
Can’t you keep him up there?
LINETTE
If I’m not focusing on it, it will
go away.

DAVID
Then stay behind until we’re clear,
and then follow us.
LINETTE
And just hope I’m faster than a
trained guard?
DAVID
You found a way to me and Tito
without getting caught. This is our
only plan.
LINETTE
We may have some other plan options
if you didn’t just jump to sword
brandishing.

DAVID
You can crack wise with Gunyoung
when we’re gone. Everyone, follow
the scientist out!

IDRIS
I am more of a researcher. I do
more statistics than science,
really.

One of the prisoners grabs Tito and helps him walk out of
the dungeon.
The door CLANGS shut. Linette looks back up at Gunyoung,
pinned to the wall.

He glares back.
END OF ACT IV
51.

33 INT. PALACE CORRIDOR - NIGHT 33
The group shuffles out of the dungeon.
IDRIS
Uhh, at this time of day, the
guards are concentrated on the rear
wall.
DAVID
Lead us, then.

HUARU
HEL--
David presses the glowing sword against Huaru’s skin. It
sizzles against her neck.

She whimpers. Her yelling ceases.
Tito lopes forward, arm slung around a prisoner.
TITO
David. We don’t need to take the
princess.
DAVID
This could save all of us.

TITO
Are you going to demand a fine
palace for each of us? The only way
this ends is with armies at our
door.

DAVID
We have to try.
TITO
Your life was spared today, David.
Is this how you want your second
chance to be spent?
DAVID
I’m using my second chance to help
my people.

David abandons the conversation, pushing Huaru forward.
52.

34 INT. DUNGEON - NIGHT 34
Linette struggles to keep Gunyoung pinned to the wall with
her mass of energy.
The sound of her heartbeat in her ears. But it’s faint,
fading slowly. With the situation less tense, it’s difficult
to keep her heart rate up.
Gunyoung watches her.

GUNYOUNG
I remember you.
She strains.
LINETTE
Neat!
GUNYOUNG
You were about twelve when I was
taken.

She pushes her hands forward, but the mass in front of
Gunyoung is fading.
GUNYOUNG
You were...already annoying.

LINETTE
Cool!
GUNYOUNG
But you were also already a leader.
You make people listen to you.

LINETTE
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m
the sucker trapped in a dungeon
with a man who wants to kill me.

GUNYOUNG
David wasn’t leader when I left. He
was probably only picked because
you’re young. If you had any idea
where your morals lie, ever made a
decision for someone other than
yourself, that whole place would be
under your rule.
Linette tries not to look like she’s listening.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 53.

GUNYOUNG
Also, I don’t want to kill you.
It’s just my job.
LINETTE
If you think this pep talk is going
to make me lead you to my friends--
GUNYOUNG
I know where they’re going. I used
to live there.

LINETTE
So what’s the point of this whole
one-on-one intimidation thing?
GUNYOUNG
If they get out of the palace
alive, they’ll believe they have a
chance.
LINETTE
They don’t?

GUNYOUNG
They don’t. Why else would I work
here?
Gunyoung stretches his muscles.

Linette startles. Gunyoung’s freed. Her mass of energy has
long since faded.
But he hasn’t attacked.

LINETTE
Are you going to let me believe
that I have a chance?
GUNYOUNG
It’s different for you, Linette.
You actually do.
Linette struggles with how to react to him.
She gives up, and darts out of the dungeon.

Gunyoung doesn’t pursue her.
54.

35 EXT. PALACE - NIGHT 35
The group of prisoners pours out of the palace, into the
toxic, brown smog. They stop to collect themselves, coughing
and wheezing.
Linette darts out after them.
LINETTE
Hurry up!
The group follows, trotting away from the palace.
36 INT. SOUTHWEST MALL - NIGHT 36

Back at the crowded Southwest Mall.
The prisoners envelope back in with the mall-dwellers.
Idris shuffles around among them, sticking out in his clean,
white labcoat.

Shock and awe as David leads Huaru through the crowd.
Huaru still stares with wonder at the multitudes of people
she passes.

LINETTE
What are you gonna do, just lock
her in the pet store?
DAVID
Find me something to tie her up
with.
LINETTE
Wow. You’re bossy.

DAVID
You can be bossy when you’re the
leader.
Linette frowns.

LINETTE
Hey, David.
She pulls him to stop.
LINETTE
You know that keeping her here will
just bring palace soldiers here.
Soldiers that none of us are
equipped to fight.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 55.

David starts walking again, pulling Huaru in tow.
DAVID
We have powers, Linette. They have
pointy sticks.

LINETTE
Swords. Those are swords you’re
talking about. And they’re not
primitives. The scientist guy has
probably been developing weaponry
beyond our comprehension.
DAVID
We outnumber them.
LINETTE
More people that will die if we
keep the princess here.
DAVID
Linette, Stop!

He jerks Huaru to a halt, and finally turns to face Linette.
DAVID
Stop questioning my authority! Stop
trying to make me feel like there’s
no hope for us! This is what we’re
doing, and it’s decided.
Linette doesn’t flinch from him.
LINETTE
You sound like her.

Linette grabs Huaru’s wrist.
LINETTE
Come on. By official decree, I must
restrain you.

37 INT. MALL STORE - NIGHT 37
Linette ties Huaru’s hands together around a a stair
railing. She sits on the bottom step as Linette tightens the
restraints.
LINETTE
Your throne, your highness.
Huaru stares at her.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 56.

LINETTE
I don’t know why I thought that
would be funny.

Huaru tries to adjust herself for comfort.
LINETTE
Hey, look, I know it doesn’t mean
much now but...thanks for uhh...I
know it didn’t work out for you,
so--
HUARU
I don’t know if anyone will come
for me.

LINETTE
Your mother will send her people
after you. She let us all go rather
than let you die.

HUARU
But no one will ever know that was
her. It was my decree that was
broken.
LINETTE
You don’t think you’re more
important to her than her image?
Huaru doesn’t answer.
LINETTE
And there’s that guard guy.
HUARU
Gunyoung.

LINETTE
Sure. It’s his job to make you not
die, right? It seems like there’s
nothing he takes more seriously
than his job.

HUARU
Would you have killed me if him and
my mother hadn’t stopped you?
LINETTE
Wouldn’t you kill me right now if
you could?
Huaru’s eyebrows shoot up.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 57.

HUARU
Just...just like that? I hadn’t
even considered...
LINETTE
Hey, don’t sweat it. Your people
are coming for you. They can do all
the killing-me.
Linette leaves her.

38 INT. SOUTHWEST MALL - NIGHT 38
Tito rest on a BLANKET, his arm bandaged.
Linette approaches him.

TITO
Don’t worry about me.
LINETTE
Oh, I’m not. You’re fine. You’re
just being dramatic.

Tito smiles.
TITO
I think everyone forgot we ventured
out there for a reason.

Linette reaches into her jacket pocket. She pulls out a
lumpy, melting CANDY BAR.
LINETTE
I didn’t.

Tito beams at her.
TITO
Have I ever told you how pleased I
am that you’re my...
Linette waits. Tito doesn’t think up a word.
TITO
Well, nothing in particular, I
suppose.
LINETTE
I’m glad you’re my
nothing-in-particular as well,
Tito.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 58.

TITO
Go give that to the woman with the
sores. I suspect she’s hungry.
Linette nods and leaves.

39 INT. SOUTHWEST MALL - NIGHT 39
Linette looks upon the crowd of down-trodden people.
She scans the bustling crowd. No sign of the woman.

She weaves the crowd.
She spots a woman with similar hair. She looks at her face
and realizes it’s not her.

She stops in front of Mall-Dweller.
LINETTE
Have you seen the woman with the
sores from earlier?

MALL-DWELLER
I think David was talking to her
near the back entrance earlier. I
haven’t seen her since.
Linette scowls.

She takes off towards the back of the store.
40 INT. MALL BACK ENTRANCE - NIGHT 40
Linette approaches the glass doors of the back entrance.

She tries to open the door. She finds a heavy PADLOCK on the
bars. She knits her brow.
She creates BLUE BALL OF ENERGY, and breaks it off.

41 EXT. MALL BACK ENTRANCE - CONTINUOUS 41
Linette steps outside.
There’s a couple feet of clear air, and then brown smog for
miles.
She pulls a BLACK SURGICAL MASK over her face.
She something on the ground, a few feet in front of her.

She edges closer, into the smog. The figure grows clearer.
59.

It’s the Woman with Sores, her lifeless eyes glassy and
open, dried blood trickling out of her mouth.
42 INT. SOUTHWEST MALL - NIGHT 42
David speaks about future plans with Mall-Dwellers.

Linette saunters up to him.
LINETTE
You left the woman to die!

David sighs. He dismisses those he speaks with with.
DAVID
I didn’t leave her to die. I just
told her she can’t live here.

LINETTE
You padlocked the door? Did you
watch her suffocate or spare
yourself the sight?

DAVID
She would’ve needed more medical
treatment than most. We tried to go
out of our way for her, and we came
back empty-handed. The conditions
of the supply run were that we
would get more supplies in order to
feed her, and we didn’t.
LINETTE
You’re a psychopath!

Linette turns to leave.
David grabs her by the arm.
DAVID
Don’t tell me I don’t care about
these people. Or you. I am doing
what is best for you.
LINETTE
That dead woman on our property is
not my vision of what’s best for
us.
DAVID
I am not in service to your vision.
If you think you could do a better
job as the leader, be my guest.

(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 60.

Linette freezes. She searches David’s expression.
Linette wrenches her arm free.
She stalks off, disappearing into the crowd.

END OF PILOT