EXT. CITY – THE NEXT MORNING

PAN SHOT over various streets. Utter chaos. Paintings spread over all the walls, every color in the rainbow and more. Like a crazed giant used the street as a concrete canvas, a sketchpad. No rhyme or reason or rhythm to it at all. Only a certain phrase, a certain number that occurs over and over again. Draped over walls like ticker tape, spider webs.

529. DON'T FEAR THE REAPERS. 529.

Adults are wandering about in a daze. Forgetting about their destinations and just stopping to look. Some forget themselves completely, burst out into smiles and laughter. The Reapers stare at it too, but uncomprehendingly, silently.

The building that's been hardest hit is the DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS. Reconstruction has finished, but CYRUS and his staff have not had yet moved. They won't be doing that for a while now.

Every centimetre—nearly every spot of grey on the building—has been covered in murals and paintings. And the icing on the cake—up there on the dome—is CYRUS's fancy car. Perched in plain site of all.

PROTECTOR CYRUS and LIEUTENANT EIS stand on the street, observing the spectacle. CYRUS is completely stone-faced. EIS tilts his head to look at him. He's a strange man, nearly ageless in appearance. His hair's a color that could be light-blond or white. His ice-pale eyes glint.

EIS
(amused)
If this keeps up, you'll be a laughingstock, Protector.

INT. CYRUS'S OFFICE

An official stands there pale, barely managing not to tremble. He looks more like a pencil-pusher than anything else. CYRUS sits on the other side of the desk.

OFFICIAL
We have the situation well under control, sir.

CYRUS
(softly, dangerously)
Oh, yes. I see how well you have this city under control. While your men were so—diligently—patrolling, these worms managed to vandalize the entire city. And steal the Flag from right under your eyes.

The OFFICIAL looks like he wants to interject, but quails under CYRUS'S expressionless stare.

CYRUS
Tell me, Pascal. Do you want us to look like fools?

OFFICIAL
No—no, sir.

CYRUS
Well, then. Perhaps you are trying to sabotage us?

OFFICIAL
No, sir.

CYRUS
Perhaps you are working for the worms?

OFFICIAL
No, sir.

CYRUS
Well, Pascal. Then you are an idiot. (voice hardens) And I have no further use for you.

He nods to the REAPERS standing at the door.

CYRUS
You know what to do with him.

INT. PANTRY OF EVACUATED HOUSE

A few days later. ANDREI and MAY kneel in the pantry, pawing through cans. A plane roars outside, sending tremors through the ground.

ANDREI
Do you ever feel kinda bad? For stealing?

MAY
Shut up. (glaring at ANDREI) It's your fault we got stuck with this stupid job.

JACK'S VOICE (V.O.)
ARE YOU STUPID?!

ANDREI winces.

ANDREI
Do you have to keep bringing that up?

MAY
Olives.

She holds up the can, eyes it critically.

MAY
Does that sound good to you?

ANDREI
(shuddering)
Maybe Luco would eat them.

MAY puts the can into her pack.

ANDREI
(complaining)
Why can't we take anything good?

MAY
You know. (picking up a can, mimicking JACK) Take only stuff they won't notice. So they don't' report it.

ANDREI
I think they'll notice anyway. Food is pretty short.

MAY
Well, you're an idiot.

She throws the can at him.

MAY
Get back to work, Sunshine.

ANDREI dodges the can. It bounces off the wall, near his head.

ANDREI
Don't—

MAY
call me that. If it bothers you so much, then come up with another name.

ANDREI (V.O.)
Touché.

They rummage in silence for a while.

ANDREI (V.O.)
Will. Robert. Michael. Jacob. Daniel. This is stupid.

ANDREI
(sighing)
I'm sure Jack will change his mind soon. Let us do cool stuff again.

MAY
Nah.

The house shakes as another plane rumbles nearby.

MAY
He's probably hoping we'll get killed by a bomb or something.

ANDREI glares at her.

MAY
Okay, I think we've taken enough. (standing up) Let's go.

ANDREI follows her out of the pantry cautiously, looking around. MAY walks boldly ahead of him, through the house without a glance. Like she's done this thousands of times before. ANDREI hurries after her.

They walk through the kitchen, past a messy table—a half-written speech is seen on a paper. His death shall not go unpunished..

The walk into the hall. Past a door that opens into the parlour. A grand piano is seen, surrounded by expensive furniture. A small, dark animal is seen dozing on one of the couches. ANDREI stops and looks.

ANDREI
Hey. It's really nice.

She finally relents and joins him at the door.

MAY
(looking)
Yeah. Somebody real rich must live here.

They stand side by side, looking into the room. ANDREI'S eyes gradually drift toward her, rather than luxurious room.

ANDREI
Do you play?

MAY
What?

ANDREI
Piano?

MAY'S eyes snap.

MAY
What kinda dumbass question is that?

She shoves him and walks off.

MAY
Come on, let's go.

EXT. OUTSIDE STREET – DAY

The walls and buildings are still mostly adorned with graffiti. It's obvious the Reapers have no idea what it is, how to deal with it. ANDREI turns his head to admire the pictures.

MAY
(pointing)
Look. This one's my favorite.

A painting above an abandoned lot, a once-upon-a-time playground. It depicts the Reaper Dragon being impaled by spears of colors. Extremely bloody.

MAY
Like the level of detail.

They stand in admiration.

ANDREI
Should probably get moving.

MAY
(dreamily)
Yeah.

They walk down the street for a while. The HEADQUARTERS DOME is visible in the distance. No car atop it now, of course.

ANDREI glances up at the sky. But it's silent. Blue.

ANDREI
You aren't afraid?

MAY
Of?

ANDREI
Getting hit. By a bomb.

MAY
(shrugs)
If we get hit, we get hit. No use worrying about it.

ANDREI
Guess you're right.

ANDREI (V.O.)
We go when we're meant to.

MAY suddenly comes to a stop. She stares.

ANDREI
What—

He follows her face and freezes.

There. Hanging on the street light.

A soldier in grey.

MAY
Is that—is that a—

RAS
Hey, kids.

Only then do they notice RAS. He's seated on the curb, polishing his knife.

RAS
What brings you out here, during this fine air raid?

ZOYA is leaning on the wall behind him. Neither wear a mask.

MAY
(regaining herself)
Ras! (she stomps up to him) Did you do this?

RAS
Me an' my loyal companions.

He smiles at her. MAY'S expression doesn't change.

RAS
What are you so angry about? One less Reaper you have to deal with.

MAY
(fuming)
No. You're drawing too much attention, Ras. Remember what Jack—

ZOYA
We don't listen to your puny leader, bitch.

MAY is speechless for a moment.

MAY
(barely restraining herself)
You—where's Dale? (coldly) He should know about this.

RAS laughs.

RAS
Poor Dale. Poor, poor Dale. He's dead. (polishing knife) Dead. Six feet under. So I'm the leader of our little troop now.

He points at the lynched Reaper with his knife.

RAS
And wouldn't you say this is just retribution?

MAY
You—you can't just do this.

She turns to ANDREI.

MAY
Come on, help me out here.

But ANDREI is frozen. He's standing there, staring at the body in utter horror. He can't see its face.

RAS rises. He walks over to ANDREI.

RAS
Take a good long look, Sunshine.

He puts his arm around ANDREI. ANDREI doesn't even react.

RAS
This is the world we live in.

ZOYA
(to MAY)
Caught a patrol by surprise. A nice sight for Cyrus when he emerges.

RAS leans close to ANDREI, whispers.

RAS
It's funny, Sunshine. One of them was like—an officer.

He taps ANDREI with the knife.

RAS
He looked—kind of—like you.

RAS laughs and walks away. ANDREI stands there, frozen.

MAY
Shit.

She glares at RAS and ZOYA one last time.

MAY
Let's go, Sunshine.

She walks away. ANDREI doesn't move.

MAY
Come on, Sunshine!

ANDREI follows her like a sleepwalker.

EXT. BARRACKS – NIGHT

ALEX is leaning against a building wall, dozing off.

ALEX (V.O.)
They say when your head rings, that means someone's thinking of you.

Somebody shouts—it quickly fades. Like there's a one-sided fight going on nearby.

ALEX (V.O.)
If he cooperates—he'll probably get sent to a camp. It'll be rough for him at first… but it's for his own good. He should be fine… as long as he doesn't do anything stupid.

Somebody laughs loudly.

ALEX (V.O.)
But with Andrei, you never know what he'll do.

He dozes. Sounds continue in the background.

The noise of a returning patrol causes ALEX to start awake.

The other REAPERS pass by without noticing, or without caring to notice him. Even though ALEX is a CAPTAIN. The other Captain, LANDON, coldly nods at ALEX as he passes, but doesn't speak to him. Only NIKITA lingers behind for a moment.

NIKITA
Sorry about your brother, man.

He claps ALEX on the shoulder and walks off. ALEX just stares after him.