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CAYOM YEAR 4 - PART I - MOVIE SUBMISSION

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This is the thread to submit films for Year 4 of CAYOM 3.0! The release calendar is below. It's pre-filled with the specified films from the Advance Schedule Thread, but you will still need to make posts for those movies with details about them. You can also submit your fillers here. Note that, unless the film was a tentpole that was specified in the Advance Schedule Thread (and thus is already listed here), you are not allowed to post movies in this thread until they are completed - with full cast and release info and however complete a plot summary you plan on giving them. Keep in mind that directors are limited to one major film or two small films a year and that actors should be limited to a realistic number of projects as well.

 

To submit a film, make a post in this thread including the relevant information.

Required info includes:

Title:

Director:

Genre:

Release Date:

Major Cast:

Theater Count:

MPAA Rating:

Runtime:

Production Budget:

Plot Summary: (Can be as short or detailed as you wish)

 

If you do not have all of this information finalized, you should not post the film in this thread until you do. Films posted without all this info will not be added to the release calendar in this first post.

 

You can also optionally include other relevant information like producers, composers, the name of the releasing studio (if you are using your own fictional studios), special formats for release (like IMAX or 3D), even custom taglines or posters if you wish. None of this is required to post your film and it can be added after you first post if you so choose.

 

Limited releases are allowed, and they can expand into additional theaters on a week-by-week basis. You will need to specify when the film expands and how many theaters it goes into each week, up until the final expansion that is the widest it will go.

 

I've included some typical midweek release dates around holidays and such. If you want to release a movie on a weekday in some other week, go right ahead and just specify it in the post for that movie. I'll add that day to the release calendar.

 

This post will be updated regularly with new additions. If available, you can click on the title of a film in the release calendar to go straight to its post.

 

Submissions are LOCKED!


Titles listed in green are completed!

 

Spoiler

Friday, January 3rd

Johnny Test - Sci-Fi/Action - Directed by Michael Bay - 4,001 theaters - in 3D, Dolby Cinema & IMAX 3D

 

Friday, January 10th

Dead Space - Horror/Sci-Fi - Directed by Andy Muschietti - 3,349 theaters

Haunting Hour - Horror - Directed by Adam Robitel - 2,784 theaters

 

Friday, January 17th (4-Day Martin Luther King weekend)

Extrasensory - Drama/Sci-Fi/Thriller/Horror - Directed by Reed Morano - 2,904 theaters

The Mole - Action/Comedy - Directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber - 3,684 theaters - In IMAX


Friday, January 24th
Baseball Boy: Swing for the Fences - CG Animation/Family - Directed by Simon J. Smith - 3,100 theaters

Friday, January 31st

When a Stranger Calls - Horror - Directed by Oren Peli - 3,000 theaters


Friday, February 7th

Blue and Gold - Superhero/Comedy/Adventure - Directed by Peyton Reed - 4,172 theaters - In 3D, Dolby Cinema & IMAX 3D

Reality Shift - Comedy - Directed by Peter Atencio - 3,623 theaters


Friday, February 14th (Valentine's Day + 4-Day Presidents Day weekend)

Pokémon: Rise of the Rockets - Fantasy/Adventure - Directed by Shawn Levy - 3,888 theaters

Son of Rosemary - Thriller/Horror - Directed by Alejandro Amenábar - 3,166 theaters


Friday, February 21st

Frosted - Horror - Directed by Jason Zada - 3,144 theaters

Imagine Dragons: The 3D Concert - Concert Film - Directed by Bruce Henricks - 2,450 theaters - In 3D

 

Friday, February 28th

The Female Man - Sci-Fi - Directed by Ava DuVernay - 3,393 theaters

Stories from Eden - Drama/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi - Directed by David MacKenzie - 3,281 theaters


Friday, March 6th

One Piece: The Journey Begins - Action/Adventure/Comedy - Directed by Jon Watts - 4,250 theaters - In 3D & IMAX 2D+3D

 

Friday, March 13th

Khanh Bernarda Alba (Limited Opening) - Drama/Foreign - Directed by Asghar Farhadi - 4 theaters
Pillars of Eternity: The Hollow Vale - Fantasy/Adventure - Directed by Miguel Sapochnik - 3,742 theaters - In IMAX

Spirit Curse - Horror - Directed by Kôji Shiraishi  - 2,634 theaters


Friday, March 20th

Khanh Bernarda Alba (Limited Expansion) - Drama/Foreign - Directed by Asghar Farhadi - 423 theaters

Marked Up Time - Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dramadey - Directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller - 3,946 theaters


Friday, March 27th

Can You Imagine - CG Animation/Comedy/Fantasy - Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky - 4,135 theaters - In 3D & Dolby Cinema

Carnosaur - Sci-Fi/Horror - Directed by Steven Quale - 2,860 theaters - In 3D

Khanh Bernarda Alba (Wide Expansion) - Drama/Foreign - Directed by Asghar Farhadi - 716 theaters


Friday, April 3rd

Broadway Selects: SpongeBob Squarepants - Musical/Comedy - Directed by Michael John Warren 1,783 theaters

Khanh Bernarda Alba (Wider Expansion) - Drama/Foreign - Directed by Asghar Farhadi - 1,124 theaters


Friday, April 10th (Easter weekend)
Mass Effect - Sci-Fi/Action/Adventure - Directed by Matt Shankman - 4,016 theaters - In 3D & IMAX 3D

Safari Trail - Nature Documentary - Directed by Drew Fellman - 2,450 theaters


Friday, April 17th

Earth Day - Horror/Found-Footage - Directed by M. Night Shyamalan - 2,940 theaters

 

Saturday, April 18th

Treasure Planet: Gauntlet of Midas (1-day Amazon Prime sneak preview) - Sci-Fi/Adventure/Comedy - Directed by Taika Waititi - 1,000 theaters - In 3D


Friday, April 24th

Our City: Growth - CG Animation/Family - Directed by John Lasseter - 4,092 theaters - In 3D

Friday, May 1st

Treasure Planet: Gauntlet of Midas - Sci-Fi/Adventure/Comedy - Directed by Taika Waititi - 4,227 theaters - In 3D, Dolby Cinema & IMAX 3D


Friday, May 8th (Mother's Day weekend)
Earthsong Volume I: Haven's Guard - Fantasy/Drama/Adventure - Directed by Julie Taymor - 3,977 theaters - In 3D & Dolby Cinema


Friday, May 15th

Frindle - Family Comedy - Directed by Jesse Peretz - 2,815 theaters

Murky - Horror/Comedy - Directed by Eli Roth - 2,784 theaters


Friday, May 22nd (4-Day Memorial Day weekend)

American Dragon: Darkness Rising - Family/Fantasy/Action - Directed by Jon Turteltaub - 3,622 theaters - In 3D & IMAX 2D+3D

Cabana Boys - Comedy - Directed by Dennis Dugan - 3,472 theaters

Friday, May 29th
Chuck Norris and Liam Neeson vs. the Loch Ness Monster - Action - Directed by Clark Gregg - 2,632 theaters - In 3D

A Month at Belmond Lane (Limited Opening) - Comedy/Drama - Directed by Wes Anderson - 4 theaters


Friday, June 5th

Brave - Fantasy/Dramadey/Adventure - Directed by Debra Granik - 4,256 theaters

A Month at Belmond Lane (Limited Expansion) - Comedy/Drama - Directed by Wes Anderson - 35 theaters


Friday, June 12th

A Month at Belmond Lane (Limited Expansion #2) - Comedy/Drama - Directed by Wes Anderson - 172 theaters
The Odyssey: Homecoming - Fantasy Epic - Directed by Matt Reeves - 4,278 theaters - In 3D & IMAX


Friday, June 19th (Father's Day weekend)

Darkness Dwells Deep - Horror - Directed by M.J. Bassett - 2,444 theaters - In 3D

A Month at Belmond Lane (Wide Expansion) - Comedy/Drama - Directed by Wes Anderson - 745 theaters


Friday, June 26th

High School Musical 4: Reunion - Musical/Family/Romance - Directed by Kenny Ortega - 3,708 theaters

A Month at Belmond Lane (Wider Expansion) - Comedy/Drama - Directed by Wes Anderson - 1,934 theaters
Paradise Lost - Historical Epic/Adventure - Directed by Tom Tykwer - 3,898 theaters


Friday, July 3rd (Independence Day weekend)

Hoops - Sports/Drama - Directed by Charles Stone III - 2,879 theaters

Jaws: The Return - Horror/Disaster - Directed by J.A. Bayona - 4,015 theaters - In 3D, Dolby Cinema & IMAX 2D + 3D


Friday, July 10th

The Doppelganger - Action/Crime/Comedy - Directed by Greg Mottola - 3,207 theaters

I Am Omega: Part One - Action/Sci-Fi/Horror - Directed by Ridley Scott - 4,000 theaters


Friday, July 17th

God of War: Retribution - Action/Fantasy/Drama - Directed by Zack Snyder - 4,205 theaters - In 3D, Dolby Cinema & IMAX 2D + 3D

The Princess Diaries 3: The Heir Apparent - Romance/Dramadey - Directed by Claire Scanlon - 3,612 theaters


Friday, July 24th
Amulet II: The Last Council - Animation/Fantasy - Directed by Travis Knight - 4,127 theaters - In 3D & IMAX 3D

 

Friday, July 31st

ThunderCats - Fantasy/Action - Directed by Edward Zwick - 3,250 theaters - In 3D


Friday, August 7th

A Fool's Errand - Stop-Motion Animation/Fantasy/Adventure - Directed by Chris Butler & Alex Hirsch - 3,650 theaters - In 3D

The Guardian of the West (Limited Release) - Documentary/Western - Directed by Morgan Neville - 13 theaters


Friday, August 14th

By the Balls - Comedy - Directed by Tony Yacenda - 3,158 theaters

The Guardian of the West (Limited Expansion) - Documentary/Western - Directed by Morgan Neville - 89 theaters

Resonance (Limited Release) - Psychological Thriller - Directed by Jonathan Glazer - 20 theaters


Friday, August 21st

The Guardian of the West (Limited Expansion #2) - Documentary/Western - Directed by Morgan Neville - 315 theaters

The Last Day of Summer - Family Comedy - Directed by David Bowers - 2,620 theaters

Resonance (Wide Expansion) - Psychological Thriller - Directed by Jonathan Glazer - 2,623 theaters


Friday, August 28th

The Guardian of the West (Wide Expansion) - Documentary/Western - Directed by Morgan Neville - 1,092 theaters

Tattooed Teenage 4lien Fighters from Beverly Hills: Game Over - Superhero Comedy - Directed by Tim Story - 3,444 theaters - In IMAX


Friday, September 4th (4-Day Labor Day weekend)

Citizen Welles - Biopic/Drama - Directed by Jay Roach - 2,955 theaters

Tulpa - Psychological Horror - Directed by Ari Aster - 2,998 theaters

 

Friday, September 11th
Big Enough - Western/Comedy - Directed by Dan Mazer - 3,235 theaters


Friday, September 18th

Outside Man - Action - Directed by Spike Lee - 3,508 theaters

The Swarm - Sci-Fi/Disaster - Directed by Roland Emmerich - 3,224 theaters - In 3D & IMAX 3D


Friday, September 25th

Lucid - Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller - Directed by Rian Johnson - 3,962 theaters - In IMAX (Majority of screens)
The Second Crash Bandicoot - CG Animation/Action/Comedy - Directed by Chris Buck & Rich Moore - 4,085 theaters - In 3D, Dolby Cinema & IMAX (Limited select screens)


Friday, October 2nd

Jonny Jonny... - Money Laundering Scheme - Directed by James Bobin - 3,690 theaters

Leviathan - Adventure - Directed by Guy Ritchie - 3,604 theaters


Friday, October 9th

Broadway Selects: Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh - Drama - Directed by George C. Wolfe & Lorenzo Thione - 2,014 theaters
Extreme Dinosaurs II - Action/Sci-Fi/Comedy - Directed by Dave Green - 3,650 theaters - In 3D, Dolby Cinema & IMAX 3D


Friday, October 16th

Baked Sale - Comedy - Directed by Jake Szymanski - 3,105 theaters

 

Thursday, October 22nd

The Amityville Nightmare Extended Director's Cut + The Amityville Nightmare Part II 1-Night-Only Double Feature - Horror - Directed by David F. Sandberg & Mike Flanagan - 2,650 theaters


Friday, October 23rd
The Amityville Nightmare Part II - Horror - Directed by Mike Flanagan - 3,373 theaters - In Dolby Cinema

Bats - Nature Documentary - Directed by Alistair Fothergill - 2,450 theaters

The Square Mile - Crime - Directed by Martin McDonagh - 3,118 theaters


Friday, October 30th (Halloween weekend)

3:37 AM - Found-Footage Horror - Directed by Stephen Susco - 2,729 theaters
Samurai Pizza Cats 2 - Flash Animation/Comedy/Action - Directed by Giancarlo Volpe - 3,363 theaters - In 3D

Starlit Highway - Comedy/Drama - Directed by Stephen Chbosky - 2,753 theaters


Friday, November 6th

Guys and Dolls (Limited 70mm release) - Musical/Romance/Comedy - Directed by Julie Taymor - 100 theaters

A Wish for Wings That Work - CG Animation/Christmas - Directed by Rob Letterman - 3,951 theaters


Wednesday, November 11th (Veterans' Day)
Crysis - Sci-Fi/Action - Directed by Peter Berg - 3,622 theaters - In 3D & IMAX 3D


Friday, November 13th

Guys and Dolls (Wide expansion) - Musical/Romance/Comedy - Directed by Julie Taymor - 3,414 theaters


Friday, November 20th

Food Wars - Comedy - Directed by Malcolm D. Lee - 3,483 theaters

Santa Claus: Ultimate Badass - Comedy/Action/Horror - Directed by Dave McCreary - 3,095 theaters


Wednesday, November 25th (Day before Thanksgiving)

A Black Man, a White Man  (Limited Opening) - Period Drama - Directed by Salaam Remi - 3 theaters

Silent Hill: Restless Dreams - Horror/Drama - Directed by Takashi Miike - 3,921 theaters - In 3D

Sir Thymes Time - CG Animation/Adventure/Comedy - Directed by Chris McKay - 3,829 theaters - In 3D


Friday, December 4th

A Black Man, a White Man  (Limited Expansion) - Period Drama - Directed by Salaam Remi - 30 theaters

Home Invasion - Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller - Directed by Juame Collet-Sera - 3,029 theaters


Friday, December 11th
The Dogs of Babel - Drama/Mystery - Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton - 3,353 theaters

 

Wednesday, December 16th

Spark: Beyond the Sky - Sci-Fi/Action/Dramadey/Romance - Directed by Jennifer Yuh - In 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX 3D & Cinerama - 4,367 theaters


Friday, December 18th

A Black Man, a White Man  (Wide Expansion) - Period Drama - Directed by Salaam Remi - 1,000 theaters

 

Wednesday, December 23rd

Kingdom of the Sun - Family/Dramedy/Musical - Directed by Michael Gracey - 4,130 theaters - In 3D, Dolby Cinema & IMAX


Friday, December 25th (Christmas Day)

A Black Man, a White Man  (Wider Expansion) - Period Drama - Directed by Salaam Remi - 2,500 theaters

Fortnight  - Period Drama/War - 3,314 theaters - Directed by Steven Spielberg

 

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Posted (edited)

The Swarm

Release Date: September 18th, Y4

Studio: Gold Crescent Pictures

Genre: Sci-Fi/Disaster

Director: Roland Emmerich

Theater Count: 3,224

Premium Formats: 3D & IMAX 3D

Shooting Format: Digital 8K (Red Weapon Monstro 8K VV) (Converted 3D)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 / 1.90:1 (Select scenes in IMAX)

Release Image Formats: 2K DCP, 2K 3D DCP, 4K DCP, 2K IMAX Digital 3D DCP, 4K IMAX with Laser 3D DCP

Release Audio Formats: 5.1, 7.1, Dolby Atmos, IMAX 12-Channel

Production Budget: $100 million

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for peril, disaster, frightening scenes, and language

Running Time: 129 minutes

Major Cast: Jude Law (Dr. Bradford Crane), Amy Adams (Dr. Helena Anderson), Kurt Russell (General Thaddeus Slater), Megan Fox (Rita), Vivica A. Fox (Anne Moore), Ed Oxenbould (Paul Durant), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dr. Lance Hubbard), Michael Caine (Clarence Andrews)

 

Plot Summary: Based on the 1974 novel of the same name by Arthur Herzog, previously adapted to film in 1978 by director Irwin Allen.

 

Scenes in RED TEXT are expanded to the 1.90:1 ratio in IMAX.

 

Spoiler

 

The United States military loses contact with a remote Army base in rural Texas. Sent to investigate is General Thaddeus Slater (Kurt Russell), who discovers someone or something has breached the base and killed almost everyone inside – despite no sign of gunfire or melee combat, and no toxins in the air. He finally finds a pair of survivors – a medical doctor stationed at the base, Dr. Helena Anderson (Amy Adams), and a scientist, Dr. Bradford Crane (Jude Law). They claim the base was invaded by an enormous swarm of killer bees, and the security footage seems to back up their story – though some of it, oddly, is missing. General Slater notes that there’s no official record of Dr. Crane being stationed here, but Dr. Crane produces credentials straight from the Pentagon allowing him to look into matters there.

 

The swarm of bees is large enough to be detected on radar, and a pair of Army helicopters are dispatched to check it out. However, they are overcome by the bees, the pilots are killed, and the choppers crash spectacularly. The swarm heads for a populated area and General Slater contacts Washington asking for permission to lead the operation against the swarm. However, much to his chagrin, the higher-ups instead put Dr. Crane in charge because of his scientific expertise and the fact that he witnessed the first attack. General Slater seems unreasonably upset about this, which Dr. Anderson notes suspiciously.

 

The Durant family is out camping in the countryside when the swarm descends upon them. Thousands of bees repeatedly sting and kill most of the family, with the only survivor being teenage son Paul (Ed Oxenbould), who manages to hide in the family truck and is stung considerably less than the others. Panicked and suffering the debilitating effects of the venom in his bloodstream, Paul races back home to the nearby town of Bloomfield, which is preparing for its annual Summer Flower Festival. Unable to drive properly, he crashes right into the temporary stage set up for the festival in town square.

 

Dr. Crane and his team quickly learn of the attack and Paul’s condition, and realize the swarm will inevitably head for Bloomfield because of the huge concentration of flowers gathered for the festival. Plans are put into motion to evacuate the town, while Dr. Crane calls in an old colleague of his, Dr. Lance Hubbard (Chiwetel Ejiofor), to assist. Dr. Hubbard is able to trace the swarm to a temporary nest they’ve made just outside of Bloomfield. General Slater wants to air-drop chemicals on the nest to kill the bees, but Dr. Crane points out this risks contaminating the entire area and poisoning the residents of Bloomfield.

 

While deliberations continue among the Army personnel, a local Bloomfield TV reporter, Anne Moore (Vivica A. Fox), catches wind of the nearby nest and the pending evacuation plans while looking into the story of Paul Durant and his family. She tries to get in touch with General Slater, but is rebuffed and told “no comment.” Despite this, she goes ahead and runs the story anyway, suggesting people leave Bloomfield as soon as possible. This backfires when a group of Paul’s friends, drunk and furious, find the bees’ nest and attempt to burn it down with molotov cocktails.

 

The bees emerge from the burning nest, killing the group of teens and proceeding into Bloomfield. The military issues an order to remain indoors and seal all doors and windows, and Anne echoes this statement on her program, but it’s too late. Heeding Anne’s earlier advice, many of the townspeople are already out of their homes, trying to escape town. The congested streets become a slaughtering ground as the massive cloud of stinging insects rampages through, killing hundreds – including several parents and the children they were picking up early from school because of the warnings Anne had issued on the news.

 

At first, Anne and her cameraman rather crassly film the devastation. The sight of so much carnage – and the knowledge she’s partially responsible for it – eventually gets to Anne, though. She’s forced to take shelter in a small diner as the swarm approaches her. Her cameraman, burdened by his heavy equipment, is overcome and killed. Just as she’s about to make it inside, she notices a pregnant woman, Rita (Megan Fox), struggling to make it into the diner. Anne rushes her inside in the nick of time but can’t make it in herself without allowing the bees to enter. She sacrifices her life by slamming the doors shut and barricading them with her body, preventing anyone from opening them and letting the swarm inside. She is agonizingly stung to death.

 

After the swarm has calmed down, taking to the huge collection of flowers in the town center, the military decides to go ahead and evacuate the survivors by sending a convoy to take them out of town, up northeast to Houston. There’s a tense sequence where the military and townspeople attempt to leave as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the bees. Things go well at first, and Rita and the still-badly-ill Paul wind up in a truck with doctors Crane, Hubbard, and Anderson. However, when the engine on one of the vehicles backfires, the sudden, loud noise sends the swarm into a rage. The convoy is forced to race out of Bloomfield, with many of the vehicles in the back being overcome by the bees, their drivers and passengers killed.

 

The convoy of military personnel and Bloomfield survivors arrives in Houston, where those who have been stung – including Paul, whose condition continues to worsen – and the pregnant Rita are brought to the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center for treatment. Doctors Crane and Hubbard examine Paul, taking samples of the bee venom from his blood. They determine the venom does not belong to any known species of bee. Looking over the other patients, they are able to retrieve the corpse of a swatted bee from one sting victim. They find that not only is the bee an unknown species, but it appears to be genetically-engineered – using methods Dr. Crane recognizes from his work with the US military.

 

The swarm is detected heading towards the STP nuclear power plant, 75 miles southwest of Houston. Dr. Crane and Dr. Hubbard want the plant shut down, but General Slater reveals the Pentagon has transferred control of the operation to him after the disaster in Bloomfield. Slater refuses to allow the power plant to go offline, insisting that the strain on the area’s power supply would only make things worse. Not buying the explanation, Dr. Crane asks why the bees would be heading for the plant in the first place, glaring accusingly at the general, who responds, “You already know that, don’t you, doctor?”

 

Dr. Hubbard puts two and two together. Nuclear facilities are a high-priority target in warfare, and the bees have been specially engineered by the military to seek them out and attack them. Dr. Crane says he was sent by the Pentagon to look into suspicious research at the base from the beginning of the film, and that this must have been it. However, Slater warns the pair that he is in charge now, and any attempt at subordination will be considered treason.

 

Despite this warning, Dr. Hubbard goes to the nuclear plant himself to try and convince its director, Clarence Andrews (Michael Caine, who played Dr. Crane in the 1978 version of the movie), to shut down. Once Andrews is given the full explanation of the goings-on, he agrees to disobey General Slater’s orders and take the plant offline. However, the decision comes too late. The swarm infiltrates the facility during the shutdown process, killing everyone inside – Clarence and Dr. Hubbard included. Soon after the bees leave, the unstable reactor suffers a meltdown, irradiating several nearby towns and resulting in electricity becoming unreliable throughout the area, including in Houston.

 

The rolling blackouts caused by the nuclear disaster affect the hospital housing the Bloomfield survivors, and in the chaos of the first power failure, Paul Durant passes away. Meanwhile, Rita’s water breaks. Dr. Anderson tends to her while the hospital staff and military personnel work to set up emergency generators in the hospital and other critical facilities. Radar now indicates the swarm is headed straight for Houston and will arrive in just a few hours. General Slater hastily arranges an emergency evacuation – one which everyone involved knows cannot possibly be completed in time – and, in communication with the Pentagon, is told to consider the possibility of using “the failsafe,” which he refuses. He insists the research can still be salvaged.

 

Dr. Crane breaks into General Slater’s makeshift command office and retrieves his laptop. He shows Dr. Anderson – in the middle of caring for Rita, who is about to go into labor – what he finds. Documents on the laptop prove General Slater was in charge of the project to create the killer bees, and that his poor judgment and lack of proper security protocols allowed them to escape. Crane had been sent in to investigate because his superiors were suspicious about what exactly was going on with some unknown experiments. The laptop contains the missing security footage from the base as well, showing it was not infiltrated by the swarm at all – the bees were actually already inside, being developed in a secret underground lab, and simply broke free of their confinement. Dr. Crane insists that, should he be killed, Dr. Anderson – and/or Rita, who’s also seeing and hearing all this – make sure the truth gets out.

 

As Rita goes into labor, and the futile evacuation attempts proceed, General Slater decides to proceed with the same plan he had back in Bloomfield – to drop poison on the swarm and kill it off that way, leaving behind intact bodies so that the research can proceed. He orders gas masks to be provided to members of the military, hospital staff and patients, and those who cannot be evacuated, knowing full well there are not nearly enough. Everyone in the hospital gets a mask, but there is so much chaos out on the streets that the Army and emergency workers have trouble even handing out the limited supply they have for the citizens who are still trying desperately to escape.

 

When the swarm arrives, thousands of people are killed by the rampaging insects. People stampede and trample one another running for cover. Panicked victims break into buildings, only to allow the bees in through the broken windows to kill them anyway. The hospital is put on complete lockdown, the entire first floor being barricaded, sting victims and refuge-seekers all being turned away. As vehicles including police cruisers, fire trucks, news vans and helicopters and the like are swarmed, they crash and set off fires and explosions all over the city. Amid all the mayhem, Rita finally delivers her baby, a little boy. Dr. Crane goes off to confront General Slater, leaving behind the stolen laptop for Dr. Anderson to guard. If he’s not back in ten minutes, he tells her to open a file he’s left on the laptop with a password he hands to her on a small piece of paper.

 

Meeting with the General in his office, Dr. Crane confesses to stealing the computer but demands he call off the planes carrying the poison. Slater refuses, saying everyone outside is dead or doomed thanks to the bees anyway. Crane tells him to use the failsafe, revealing he has actually known all about the experiment and the creation of the killer bees from the beginning, and in fact was more directly involved with the project than Slater.

 

He was sent by the Pentagon not to investigate some mysterious, unknown operation but simply to supervise the project, and has been trying to cover up his involvement from Dr. Anderson and the public, placing all the blame on Slater. He is the one who initially deleted the extra security footage from the Army base, both to frame Slater and because some of it – which he didn’t show to Dr. Anderson – clearly showed him participating in the research. He knows that, now that he’s been put in charge, General Slater has the ability to initiate the “failsafe” from his laptop – which will send out a special frequency that will cause the bees’ immune systems to attack themselves, reducing them to dust so that they cannot be traced or examined. Dr. Crane finally thinks it’s time to declare the project a failure and destroy the bees, but General Slater refuses.

 

Ten minutes pass and Dr. Crane isn’t getting anywhere trying to reason with Slater. He pulls out a concealed pistol and shoots the General in the head, killing him. The guards storm in and shoot Dr. Crane dead, but in the firefight the large window in the office is shattered by stray bullets and the killer bees come swarming into the building. They quickly spread through the hospital, killing patients, doctors, and military personnel alike. Unable to move Rita and her newborn, Dr. Anderson barricades the door to their hospital room and blocks the gaps around the doorframe with extra bedsheets and other hospital supplies. Since ten minutes have passed, she opens the file on General Slater’s laptop.

 

The file, a document written by Dr. Crane, details the experiments that created the killer bees – including his own involvement as well as that of General Slater and several high-ranking military officials all the way up to members of the President’s cabinet. It instructs Dr. Anderson on how to activate the failsafe. Currently, only General Slater has the codeword to use it. But in the event of Slater’s death, the Pentagon will revert control to Dr. Crane if contacted and given his own codeword – the same password Dr. Crane had given Dr. Anderson to open this document. If he cannot reason with General Slater, Crane’s document says, he will kill him and in turn doubtless be killed himself, but he has given her his passcode so she can activate the failsafe.

 

Following Dr. Crane’s instructions, Dr. Anderson pulls up the failsafe program and inputs the passcode. This triggers a check to see if General Slater is still alive, his satellite phone ringing. Obviously, no one answers, and Dr. Anderson is automatically logged in on Crane’s account. She initiates the failsafe, triggering the self-destruct signal to be broadcast from all government-owned radio, television, and wi-fi equipment. However, the process is not instant. The swarm gradually begins to thin, the bees becoming ill and disoriented, the smaller, weaker ones turning to dust. This only causes the hardier ones to panic, and it’s not long before the makeshift seal Dr. Anderson made around the door begins to fail. Dozens of bees force their way in, and Dr. Anderson uses her own body to shield Rita and the baby, saving their lives at the cost of her own.

 

Finally, the last of the swarm disintegrates. The bombers carrying the poison are called off just in time. Although the death toll is enormous, there are still thousands of survivors in Houston who hunkered down in their homes and workplaces who might have been killed if the gas had been deployed. The government moves quickly to cover up their responsibility for the tragedy, but they remain unaware that it was not actually Dr. Crane himself who activated the failsafe. Rita is savvy enough to copy the evidence from General Slater’s laptop and sneak the info out of the city when rescue arrives. The film ends as she is interviewed for the national news about the miraculous birth of her baby during the crisis, and she informs the press that as wonderful as having her baby boy alive and well is, there’s something else she needs to talk about...

 

 

Edited by Xillix
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Posted (edited)

Blue and Gold

 

Studio: Endless Entertainment

DC Entertainment 

Release Date: 2/7/Y4

Genre: Superhero/Adventure/Comedy

Director: Peyton Reed

Original Song: “You’re The Worst” lyrics by Lin Manuel Miranda

Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence and some language

Budget: $130M

Theater Count: 4,172

Format: 2D, 3D, IMAX, Dolby Cinema and IMAX 3D

Runtime: 122 minutes

 

Cast: 

Jake T Austin as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle

Asa Butterfield as Michael Carter/Booster Gold

Kevin Hart as Timekeeper

Michelle Rodriguez as Black Beetle

Jay Baruchel as Maxwell Lord

Andy Serkis as Doctor Polaris

Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Carter

Adam Devine as Keith

 

Featuring in cameos

Hugh Jackman as Caveman

David Tennant as King Arthur

Kathryn Newton as Worker 1

Hannibal Buress as Boss

 

 

Spoiler

In the year, 2455, Earth is a futuristic paradise but not for all. Michael Carter, a cocky young football player in Metropolis High. However life isn’t all glamorous for Michael as he deals with financial issues and his mother’s struggling with an terminal illness. Desperate, he decides to bet on his own games by losing on purpose in order to help his mom, and is quickly found out and expelled. Michael takes a job as a night watchman at the Metropolis Space Museum, where he studied (out of boredom) displays about superheroes and villains from the past, particularly the 21st century and the hero Blue Beetle. However as his mom’s condition worsens, Michael contemplates on what to do next. Suddenly a big ball of light appears in front of him. The ball of light explodes, leaving a mysterious man in silk white robes with a golden staff who looks an awful lot like Kevin Hart. The man introducing himself as the Timekeeper, the guardian of time. Michael makes a quip about the Timekeeper stature expecting someone taller and gets shocked. Timekeeper, sensing good in Michael, promises him a lot of money if he helps him by going back in time to stop a potential catastrophic event and protect one of the world’s greatest superhero (Michael asks Wonder Woman at first but Timekeeper says she’s aight and doesn’t need them, Michael then asks Batman but Timekeeper responds that’s no one wants to fuck with Batman, Michael then asks Superman, and Timekeeper says they don’t want another bad Superman story) The Timekeeper reveals a supervillain has found an imperfected way to time travel and needs to be stopped. Michael is very skeptical but accepts. The man gives him a flight ring, a force field belt, energy blasting gauntlets, and prepares to send him back in time. Michael is shot out into space, travels back in time and crash lands into Metropolis in the past. In a hilarious fashion, he walks out of the crater site moaning about how much his back hurts, debating if he should’ve got insurance.

 

In the 21st century, Jaime Reyes is a junior in Metropolis High as the school’s renowned photographer but friendless. On his way home from school, a meteorite lands in the forest. Attempting to take photos for the school, Jaime goes into the forest. However, the meteorite opens and a blue bug like creature latches on to him. Jaime is shocked and afraid but runs into Black Beetle, (who sports a Beetle like suit of black and crimson armor with all sort of trinkets and weapons latched on) attempting to kill him. Jaime suddenly changes, gaining a blue suit of armor with blue bug like wings, a pair of atteanae on his back come out, his face turns black with piercing red eyes. Jaime, although awkward in fighting, holds his own for a while but Black Beetle narrowly beats him but before Black Beetle can strike the killing blow, Michael suited up arrives just in time to help (he then says to Jaime, fight with him if he wants to live). The two of them work together to stop Black Beetle but Black Beetle gets away. Michael tries to shake his hand but Jaime’s hand turns into a cannon. Jaime attempts to turn it off and it fires blasts at Michael which he deflects with his force field belt. Michael, remembers from the exhibit about Blue Beetle, and makes himself not a threat dropping his blaster. The suit dissolves quickly into Jaime’s back. Michael introduces himself as Booster Gold, the self proclaimed greatest superhero of the 24th Century. Michael tells Jaime that he came from the future to save him from Black Beetle and that Jaime will become the superhero Blue Beetle. Jaime is in disbelief and naturally faints upon hearing this. Michael wonders how the hell is he going to get him back home or where will he go.

 

Black Beetle hiding in a fast food joint, in civilian garb attempts to travel back before Gold intervened but when she tries, her watch fizzes and malfunctions, creating a small wormhole that spits out a caveman. The caveman is about to wreck havoc but stops to order a burger by pointing at the menu. The scared employee gives it to him and the caveman pays him in shells and walks out with the food. Angered at this, she contemplates on what to do until see an ad for Chimtech and gains an idea.

 

Jaime wakes up in his bedroom, believing it all to be a dream. When he goes to take a shower, he see the Scarab infused into his back and panics. He tries to pry it off but nothing works, in fact it’s triggers the suit up and he accidentally wrecks his mirror. His mom asks if he’s okay, he replies his is and tries to detransform and it luckily works. Jaime misses the school bus and his parents have left as well, with no ride he try to trigger the transformation by inducing pain (causing him to accidentally wreck his room), which works and flies to school, finally getting the hang of it. Jaime then meets Michael in civilian garb at his school. Michael explains he’s undercover as a foreign student to help protect Jaime until the job is done. 

 

Throughout the day, the two quickly bond and become fast friends and Michael gives Jaime advice on school to help with Jaime’s social struggles up close but thanks to Michael surprisingly correct help on what do socially (which Jaime criticizes for being way too similar and cliched to high school movies and that no teen is that dumb to fall for it), and Jaime’s popularity soars in school. Realizing Michael has no where to stay, Jaime allows him refuge at his house. Jaime’s parents immediately ask who is Michael. The two try to improvise a lie and go with he’s a foreign exchange student from Vlatava. Although Jaime’s parents are confused and skeptical, they go with it. The two eat dinner at Jaime’s house and see a massive explosion in the distance and suit up in Jaime’s garage and humorously race to the cause of it.

 

The two of them notice a super villain with gauntlets that allow him to gain magnetic properties, Doctor Polaris, robbing a building. The two arrive to confront him (Blue Beetle jokes about his name asking what the “Doctor” in his name for, Polaris comments he was pharmacist, Gold and Blue are impressed with Gold even says “You got bank, why do you need to rob?”. Polaris replies he was a pharmacist. Gold and Blue immediately get it.) Polaris uses the metal in the building to bind the heroes (Booster Gold jokes “I knew I was attractive but this is ridiculous”) but Blue Beetle blasts off the metal from him. Booster Gold using a blaster fires a shot at the villain but misses. Polaris throws sharpened pieces of metal at them, which Booster Gold clumsy using his force field belt to protect him and Blue Beetle. Polaris attempts to attack Booster Gold but Blue Beetle using the Scarab makes his hands into spike covered balls clumsily batting the villain away. Polaris attempts to fly away creating many obstacles but the two’s teamwork is too strong. Despite their inexperience, the two are able to defeat Doctor Polaris (who is arrested promptly by the authorities).

 

We enter Chimtech, as Maxwell Lord, the CEO of Chimtech is giving off a presentation to his shareholders about his newest creation the OMAC, the newest defensive robots but they have kinks in them. His intern Keith rushes into the meeting much to Lord’s chagrin and whispers something in his ear. Lord abruptly ends the meeting and rushes to his office. Lord then proceeds to have a small tantrum using very weak telekinetic blasts destroying the room. Keith tries to reassure him that although Polaris failed to retrieve the weapons, they got enough information from their competitors. It is revealed that Lord hired Polaris to retrieve weapons in order to use them for his OMACs in exchange for money. Black Beetle bursts in the room. A startled Keith makes a hasty and quick exit and leaves the room. Lord attempts to brainwash Black Beetle to protect himself but to his surprise it has no effect. His nose starts to bleed immensely afterwards, much to his frustration. 

 

Black Beetle makes a deal with Lord, to help him retrieve the Scarab. She reveals to Lord that the Scarab is a biological weapon which has immense adaptational properties that he can use for his robots. Lord is intrigued and agrees but asks her why would she do this for him asking her price. Black Beetle reveals Jaime in the future killed her brother who was trying to interfere with the time flow and that her vengeance is enough. Lord is confused but intrigued asking her to continue her story. She explains what happened before (with Lord constantly poking fun at how the time travel is eerily faulty almost like bad writing). The two villains decide to team up to retrieve the Scarab but Lord asks Black Beetle to show him some of her time travel skills. Black Beetle shows off her time traveling skills by bringing back the Holy Grail, showing the watch can only bring items way in the past at random. Lord also tries to fix the watch for her.

 

The next day, Jaime shows Michael around the town and allows him to experience more of 21st Century lifestyle. Michael is fascinated with it and they explore the city. (especially auto tone much to Jaime’s confusion and chagrin as auto tune is trash, Michael explains autotune comes back in the 24th century in a big way). Michael then notices that both of their fighting is a little sloppy and they should practice, as the two train in a junkyard as Push It To The Limit plays in the background (as they two stumble trying out their hand to hand skills as they often fail in hilarious and spectacular ways, for Jaime, the Scarab springs in at awkward times causing him to fail and for Michael, his cockiness stops him from succeeding)

The two later decide to go to the beach for some well earned relaxing and sightseeing.

 

 

The two friends play a game of beach volleyball with a group of other teens. However, Jaime’s Scarab acts up warning him about an attack and he and Michael leave promptly. Black Beetle, storms a beach and using the time travel watch, which she excitedly monologues about Jaime’s doom but to her confusion doesn’t work. The watch then randomly summons a T-Rex, a Pteranodon and a pack of velociraptors for Blue Beetle and Booster Gold to fight. Black Beetle is shocked but surprisingly pleased and makes an escape. The two heroes run from the dinosaurs. The pack of velociraptors chase Booster Gold as Blue Beetle flies away with the Pteranodon flying after him as the T-Rex chases him on foot. Using his force field belt, Booster Gold protects himself and fires a few blasts at the raptors who evade the assault except for one. Being much better in sync with the Scarab, Blue Beetle manages to avoid the Pteranodon by luring it into a electrical wire post, electrocuting the dinosaur. Booster Gold using his force field belt bumps the raptors into one another off into the water. The two then team up to fight the T-Rex but realize their weapons have little effect on it. However, gaining an idea the two manage to lure the T-Rex into a garbage processing facility where the T-Rex gets pummeled and hurt by the equipment and becomes weak enough for the two to do damage. The two are able to defeat the dinosaurs but Black Beetle gets away. 

 

Black Beetle goes back to Lord telling him of her failure but ask for Polaris’s freedom. Lord is outraged criticizing her on what she could have done, even questioning the logic in her plan. Black Beetle quickly silences him through intimidation, yelling at him for the defective watch and Lord goes along with her plan, tries to fix the watch and pays Polaris’s bail. The next day things goes much smoother than yesterday with Jaime’s new popularity but Black Beetle attacks once more at Jaime’s school with Doctor Polaris as well. The two heroes battle the two villains but the combined efforts of the two seem to be more for the heroes to handle. Doctor Polaris uses his magnetic abilities to attempt to attract the Scarab off of Jaime and does so eventually. Black Beetle and Doctor Polaris attempt to run away with the Scarab in toll but Jaime and Booster Gold manage to barely retrieve the Scarab and recapture Doctor Polaris which Jaime does a bit roughly but quickly snaps out of it. Black Beetle, on the other hand, manages to escape once again. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold later attempt to interrogate an incapacitated Doctor Polaris through a humorous good cop (played by Blue Beetle)/bad cop (played by Booster Gold) routine. It doesn’t work until Polaris makes a threat at Jaime causing his Scarab to take over and becomes more violent, roughing Polaris up a bit until Booster Gold stops him causing Blue Beetle to revert back. Polaris reveals that Black Beetle plans on getting the Scarab for herself and Lord is fixing the watch as they speak. 

 

Later that evening, Jaime is still surprised at what he’s done, noting he doesn’t do stuff like that even when he’s protecting himself but Michael assures him everything is fine and the two have some fun playing games. Michael is later approached by the Timekeeper. The Timekeeper ask how his progress is going. Michael tells him that progress isn’t the best and that he is behind. The Timekeeper fed up by his delay says if the threat isn’t fixed within 24 hours, he’ll find someone else. Michael debates on what do, questioning if he should bring the Scarab back to the future to the Timekeeper and confused on what to do next and runs off in a panic. Jaime suits up as Blue Beetle attempts to go after his partner. Michael is then approached by Black Beetle. After a brief fight, Black Beetle attempts to bargain with Booster Gold promising him double whatever the Timekeeper promised which he refuses (obviously in his words because she is both the bad guy and unleashed Jurassic Park upon the two heroes). Black Beetle then shows him off his mother’s condition worsening. Although Michael is horrified, he still refuses not wanting to damage the duos friendship but is visibly unsure. Black Beetle also warns Michael that the longer the Scarab stays with Jaime, the more dangerous Jaime becomes, asking about Jaime’s behavior which triggers Michael to remember Jaime’s brutality earlier. Black Beetle also promises to leave Jaime alone as him and unhurt as her problem lie specifically with the Scarab. Black Beetle warns him he has about 12 hours to decide. Michael is visibly unsure but walks away glumly. Blue Beetle watching from afar feels hurt and betrayed by this.

 

Angered at Michael’s apparent deception, Jaime ends their partnership and friendship and takes off to fight Black Beetle himself. The two then proceed in an all out fight, with Jaime is noticeably more aggressive than he ever due to anger was but Black Beetle proves to be to much for him easily defeating him and manages to pry the Scarab with her suit almost breaking. Black Beetle attaches the Scarab to herself and tosses Jaime off a building but Booster Gold saves Jaime just in time as the two run back to Jaime’s house. Black Beetle successfully brings the Scarab to Lord and Lord returns to her the fixed watch. Lord attempts to betray her using his telekinetic abilities but anticipating this, Black Beetle double crosses Lord and takes Jaime’s Scarab for herself, injuring Lord and forces him to activate the OMACs for her. Keith, who walks in bringing Lord a meal. As Black Beetle is distracted, Lord damages the watch with a blaster creating an explosion which strangely sends Keith, to parts unknown. Black Beetle knocks out Lord and steals some of his DNA. Using Lord’s psychic DNA combined with the Scarab’s DNA, Black Beetle manages to take fix the robots into the perfect killing machines and takes over Metropolis. She then decides for fun to get them to kill the two heroes. Meanwhile, back at Jaime’s home, Jaime is dismayed for losing the Scarab, blaming himself questioning if he’s meant to be a hero, noting his recent aggressions. Michael convinces him what happened wasn’t his fault, and even then he can find ways to control himself, and he is a far better hero than he ever was. The two reconcile and work together once more to save the city. 

 

The two manage to stealthy navigate the city making many close calls. Jaime realizes that the OMACs focus on just logic and the Scarab focuses on aggression. Booster Gold recalls the primary weakness (as Booster Gold remembers from working in the Museum) are high enough voltage. Jaime realizes if they do something illogical and non threatening enough, they won’t hurt them but they need somewhere with a lot of energy to destroy them. Booster Gold lures the OMACs evading lasers and sharp weapons leading them to a power plant. The two then do an song and dance routine in the vein of a showtune about their differences called “You’re The Worst”. It manages to confuse the OMACs long enough for Booster Gold to fire a blast at the power grid causing a massive voltage explosion disabling the robots as he protects himself and Jaime from the blast. Jaime quickly grabs a discarded arm of a OMAC for fighting purposes. The two rush to the tallest skyscraper, to finally confront Black Beetle. (Jaime questions the logic in location but Black Beetle says she likes a cinematic fight). The two are outmatched at first, despite Jaime’s use of an OMAC arm as a sort of multi-purposed weapon, as Black Beetle gadgets and combined use of the Scarab is too much for them. 

 

However, the fighting triggers the watch to malfunction causing them to go to different time periods during the fight causing historical events. (During a prehistoric jungle avoiding stampeding triceratops, the duo chase after Black Beetle as the watch spasms sending them further in time, as they all narrowly missing the meteor impact. The three finds themselves in medieval ages during some type of brawl, as Jaime pulls Excalibur out of a stone, and throws it at Black Beetle slightly damaging her armor, who throws it back at Booster Gold, who catches it and throws it to a random person who catches it who is later to be revealed as King Arthur. In an attempt to avert the duo, Black Beetle throws Benjamin Franklin into the spot where he gets electrocuted and discovers electricity as the two barely miss being zapped. The three finally have a violent but slapstick esque fight in Mount Rushmore causing cave ins that create the faces of the four presidents, much to the pleasure and surprise of a lazy construction crew (a worker asks should they tell what they saw, and the boss replied their job is done and they should get drinks instead), as the watch spasms one more time.). They eventually stop back at the present where they original where. 

 

Booster Gold distracts Black Beetle and gets a few good hits in but Black Beetle subdues him warning him he should’ve took the deal but Jaime rips the Scarab off of her and puts it back on himself turning back into Blue Beetle. To his surprise, the Scarab absorbs the OMAC’s arm and adds it as a new tool for the suit. Due to Blue Beetle’s new weapon, the two beat Black Beetle as Booster Gold finally destroys the watch. Blue Beetle is about to finish her but decides not to as he is better than that. Using this to her advantage via a smoke bomb, Black Beetle promptly escapes, promising revenge.

 

Lord is promptly arrested, Black Beetle is missing but the city is saved. Michael goes back into the future as the two best friends bid each other a tearful farewell. A month in the future later, Michael is rewarded and becomes very rich, and his mother completely healed from her illness but Michael misses Jaime and the 21st Century. The Timekeeper approaches Michael one more time to congratulate him from stopping the time anomaly and gives him an offer to stay in the 21st Century as Black Beetle is still on the loose to help defend the timeline. The Timekeeper also allows Michael’s mother to go with him to the past as well which Michael wholeheartedly agrees. Though before he goes, Michael tells his mother everything who is proud of her son and agrees with the 21st century move. The two hug and his mother asks how they’ll get there. The Timekeeper comes into the room saying he can. The mother is shocked due to how short he is, much to the Timekeeper’s irritation.

 

Jaime is bored in class although he gets a text from Michael telling him to come outside. The two friends happily reunite. Michael reveals what happened that the Timekeeper allowed him and his mother to live in the 21st century for the time being. Michael also reveals that he and his mother decided to actually immigrate from Vlatava permanently and live in Metropolis. Jaime questions the logic in the last part claiming it would’ve been easier to just lie about it and seems like a poorly and sloppily made ending. Michael then comes back with they did a song and dance routine early to distract killer robots earlier that actually worked. Jaime agrees and just chooses to ignore the loophole. The two see an unknown attack on the city again. Michael commits at annoyance at another supervillain but Jaime says they needed something for fun anyway. The two run outside and suit up as the respective heroes and do a mid air pose.

 

 

Mid Credit Scene: 

We see Black Beetle hiding in the sewers but suddenly a green light hits her. She turns into a bunch of particles and is whisked into space inside a spaceship. She is approached by a green insectoid like human. The alien introduces itself to her and explains that if she wants the Blue Beetle dead, he’d like to help gifting her a container. The container opens and reveals a black and red Scarab. Black Beetle smiles at the camera.

 

Post Credit Scene:

Keith is alive and well but is in Ice Age times. Shivering he rushes to find a big pillow, not realizing he’s resting on a prehistoric polar bear.

 

Edited by YourMother the Edgelord
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Posted (edited)

Treasure Planet: Gauntlet of Midas

 

Studio: Endless Entertainment

Release Date: 5/1/Y4 (4/18/Y4 1 day only for Amazon Prime members)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Action/Adventure/Comedy

Director: Taika Waititi 

Rating: PG-13

Budget: $200M

Theater Count: 4,227 (1,000 for the Amazon Prime Screening on 10/24/Y4)

Format: 2D, 3D, IMAX, Dolby Cinema and IMAX 3D

Runtime: 135 minutes 

Previous Film Gross: Treasure Planet - 11/2/Y2  - $244,033,773 / $720,366,075

Cast: 

Logan Lerman as Jim Hawkins

Zazie Beetz as Kate Starstrike

Tom Hardy as Captain Ironbeard 

Josh Brolin as John Silver

Taron Egerton as Lance Engelon

Pom Klementieff as Droid-7

Chadwick Boseman as Gurag

Elizabeth Olsen as Qha’kli

Maya Rudolph as Aviara

Taika Waititi as Dr. Doppler 

Brie Larson as Captain Amelia

Will Ferrell as B.E.N. 

Sandra Bullock as Sarah

 

Spoiler

Andy Serkis as Scroop

 

 

 

Spoiler

 

We open shortly after the events of the first movie, a ceremony is being held for Jim Hawkins, who is enrolled into the Interstellar Force, (the galaxy’s protecters if you will) after his act of heroism. A huge party is held. The whole gang is there B.E.N. is living it up cracking cringey jokes, Amelia and Dr. Doppler have a tender moment, and Doppler reveals he’s pregnant, Sarah is chatting with some of the force’s officers but Silver is missing due to him being a pirate who Jim clearly misses, Sarah notices this and tries to console him. After the party, Jim runs into John Silver, a half alien, half robot creature who is still on the run for piracy. Silver congratulates his friend for his accomplishment (even if in his own words “he’s a no good narc.”). Silver says he’s given up piracy and is going back to smaller crimes, like gambling and extortion much to Jim’s dismay. Silver jokes he needs something to give him a rush. Silver gives him a medallion reminding him if Jim needs him again, it will show where he is, as he must go back to his hiding spot.

 

3 months later, we see Botany Bay, an huge intergalactic prison asteroid. We cut to the interior as a guard walks by with meals for the prisoners as we see Ironbeard, (Tom Hardy) a mostly robotic cyborg like creature with some patches of sandy brown skin. The guard warns Ironbeard, that this is his last meal but Ironbeard laughs at this, saying that the guard should eat it himself as he won’t be around much longer as continues to whistle “Drunken Sailor”. We then see a sleek slate spaceship (think part Star Trek ship part boat) cruise by it. One of the guards notice this and turns on their security system, and asks the person in the ship, what is their business here. The ship fires at the prison, enabling the defense system. The enemy’s ship manages to dodge all the blasts. We go inside the ship to see a crocodile like humanoid with muddy green and brown scales named Gurag (Chadwick Boseman) piloting it. Gurag tells a teal skinned woman with four arms named Qha’kli (Elizabeth Olsen) to fire their EMP as he honed in the prison’s weak spot. Qha’kli fires the EMP at the prison causing the defense systems inside and outside of the prison to turn off. Ironbeard then breaks free from the chain as a riot breaks out as we see Ironbeard take out guards using pure strength, rounding up prisoners in the meantime. The ship make a whole in the wall but the prison activates it’s defensive turrets. Ironbeard smirks as his robotic arms turns into blades and slices the turrets in one fell swoop.

 

The three and a big handful of surviving prisoners escape to Monsfressor, the planet from the first movie to steal the Centurion, the fastest ship in the galaxy so they can have some much needed firepower in order to receive the Gauntlet of Midas, a gauntlet that allows the user to turn whatever they touch into gold. 

 

We cut to Amelia’s office at the Interstellar Force Headquarters. It is revealed that Jim is a reckless rookie and Morph helps him as well in his pursuits.  Amelia explains that his most recent against The Booty Bandit, a pigeon man who is a wannabe pirate, Jim unintentionally caused a lot of collateral damage which pisses off Amelia. Jim defends himself as he’s had the most arrests for any rookie, but Amelia retorts that Jim had caused more collateral damage throughout his career than any rookie. Amelia assigns him a partner, another more levelheaded rookie, in Kate, who Jim is both annoyed and attracted to. The two don’t get along as partners but put aside their differences when Ironbeard invades Interstellar Force Headquarters. Jim and Kate along with the rest of the soldiers fight off the pirates as Amelia fights Ironbeard.  Gurag takes the Centurion which BEN is a stowaway on, and takes him too. An abandoned criminal by Ironbeard spills the info during a good cop/bad cop routine by Jim and Kate, on what Ironbeard is after to Jim and Kate. Amelia shrugs it off and that the superiors will take care of it. Jim, worried convinces Kate to secretly go on their own mission to stop them, which cause Jim to enact Silver’s medallion.

 

The medallion reveals Silver is on a planet called Pecalea, a planet with enough casinos to make Las Vegas look like shit. Jim has a ship but it’d take him days for them to get there. Kate knows a guy who knows a thing or two about ships, which invokes a jealous reaction out of Jim. Jim and Kate visits an old friend of Kate, a nerdy mouse humanoid mechanic named Arthur. Arthur helps them fix the ship and the three set off. The three reach Pecalea in a matters of two hours. Meanwhile, Ironbeard finds out from BEN, who gets tortured by Gurag to reveal what he knows. BEN says the map to the gauntlet was split into three parts but he doesn’t know where they are but remembers a riddle. Qha’kli has an idea and finds out it is in Pecalea. 

 

The three heroes and Morph (who tagged along the whole time despite Jim’s demands) follow the beacon to a casino. Inside the casino, the three split up to look. Arthur gets into some unintentional trouble with blob aliens and Kate accidentally wins some type of gambling game. Jim finds Silver in a tuxedo playing some type of poker/game with the ball landing on a number where it’s obvious he’s struggling but we see extended fingers secretly typing something in and suddenly a strange electrical surge happens causing Silver to win. Silver let’s out a big cheer and is startled by Jim. Silver is ecstatic to see Jim, treating him like a parent who sees the kid come home from college during the week. Morph is also happy to see his friend as well. Jim gets the rest of his crew to meet up at the casino’s bar. 

 

Silver also introduces his associate in crime, a 7 and a half foot tall perky robot girl (think XJ9/Jenny from Teenage Robot mixed with a splash of Star Wars droid flair) names Droid 7 who has a crush on Arthur. Droid 7 helps Silver win fixed games. Kate dislikes Silver a lot mainly due to his thievish ways. Kate reveals that Ironbeard has stolen the Centurion and is after the Gauntlet of Midas. As soon as the name Ironbeard is mentioned, Silver agrees to join revealing the two have a history together and a score to settle. 

  

Silver reveals that the gauntlet is in three separate pieces. However, he doesn’t know where they are but remembers a riddle as he was close to Captain Flint.  Kate quickly puts together the first piece of the map is buried on the planet. Before the crew can get any further, Ironbeard, Gurag and Qha’kli burst in the casino. Silver and Ironbeard get into an intense robot weapon arm fight (their arms change in weapons throughout the course of the fight). Gurag takes on Jim while Qha’kli takes on Droid 7. Jim tells Morph to go with the two, as Kate and Arthur are chased by pirates in a fun casino scene using some of the things in the casino like slot machines in a creative fight. While fighting the pirates, Kate demands Morph to turn into a burrowing animal to find the piece but Morph refuses causing Kate to get frustrated. Arthur takes a much more tender and friendlier approach and Morph listens turning into a cute sea green rabbit/mole hybrid and tunnels through the ground in a scene where he slips and slides down the tunnels in a fashion similar to a fun rollercoaster ride and find the first piece. Morph gives the first piece to Kate. Jim barely manages to defeat Gurag after many close calls by getting Gurag’s jaws stuck into some type of machine. Droid 7 manages to barely beat Qha’kli using a electrical pulse that stuns her. The heroes attempt to escape in Jim’s ship, but Ironbeard rallies his crew after them in the Centurion. They get into an intense and fast paced dogfight while Kate and Jim argue who’s steering the ship, Droid 7, fed up with their bickering takes control and is revealed to be a very efficient pilot. However, the Centurion corners them and pulls them into a tractor beam. Silver gets a risky idea, uses their ship’s energy and Droid 7’s electronic abilities that disable their ship and momentarily stuns the Centurion. Jim’s ship begins to free fall into a wormhole which allows them to barely get away.

 

The ship is hurling towards another planet as the crew embraces for impact. Everyone makes it out fine, except for Droid 7 who they have to reattach her arms and legs (who much to her joy, Arthur helps). The planets landscape is harsh and desert like but soon Jim notices weird rising stones, and convinces the gang to climb them. 

 

Meanwhile, Ironbeard is furious at his crew for failure. One prison member tells them they’re having troubles getting information out of BEN. Ironbeard goes down to deal with BEN himself. After a brutal interrogation, BEN still says nothing. Gurag has an idea and bring some sort of tablet and hooks it up to BEN, putting BEN in an offline state, allowing Ironbeard to get access to the full access to what BEN knows about the gauntlet. Knowing what to do know, he sends Gurag, Qha’kli and a handful of soldiers after it, Gurag pulls him aside and asks his captain, what he is doing. Ironbeard reveals he’s going scrap hunting.

 

The henchman are sent to some kind of escape ship, that sends them to the planet they need to go. Ironbeard takes the Centurion and goes to meet with an associate with his on Xataj, an industrial dwarf planet. The associate reveals himself as Scroop from the last movie.

 

It is revealed Scroop has survived his fall from oblivion, and landed in Xataj, and begun working on something. The two have a friendly chat and explains what has happened so far. He shows the weapon to Ironbeard, revealing it to be a weird type of cannon specifically for the Centurion. Scroop also has worked on small battleships as well. It is also revealed in exchange for the cannon, Scroop wanted details on how to make ships go faster and a sum of the profits. Ironbeard takes the cannon and gives Scroop some of the details and goes on his way, and Scroop says the rest of the battleships will be completed in a day. Scroop asks Ironbeard before he leaves, when he kills Jim, tell him the sound he makes.

  

 

The crew ride the flying stones to see a city in the sky. (It’s basically the city of Salt Lake City floating on clouds with a pinch of a tribalistic flair with winged valkyries as its inhabitants). Kate immediately recognizes this as Planet Alta. We even see some flying cloud whale like buses. They then soon meet Aviara, who is the queen of Alta. Aviara reveals Alta has been hidden for centuries as a planet and asks why they are here. Silver explains they crash landed here, Aviara guesses they crashed on the badlands. Aviara says the ship is probably hidden somewhere in the badlands and they’d be glad to fix it but allows them to stay for a while to rest and relax. Arthur is enthralled by some of the technology they have. Silver slinks off to find a kitchen and actually helps cook (mimicking a PG-13 version Gordon Ramsey, telling the other chefs about their work). Morph plays some harmless pranks. Droid 7 decides to take a much needed nap. Jim tries to convince Kate to take up the sights which she does so reluctantly.

 

The two end up bonding during a fun day in the city. The two then catch a show of Alta’s past, where a puppeteer with an insane visual show shows the audience that Alta used to be in the badlands which was plentiful and plentiful until pirates invaded. The scene hits Kate hard and she runs off and Jim goes after her. Kate reveals to Jim on her own planet, a planet like earth was invaded by ruthless pirates, which caused the lost of her whole family and she was unable to do anything but escape. That event inspired to Kate to join the Interstellar Force so she’d never be weak again and why she’s hostile to Silver. Jim consoles her revealing he is also dealing with some of the fallout against The Booty Bandit, revealing for the first time in a while, he felt weak. The two share a tender hug as the two grow closer. Silver meets up with the two and tells them their ship is done. The gang resembles at the palace and say their goodbyes as they head off back into space but strangely as they go they notice that another ship is barreling towards the planet Alta. Curious and suspicious, Kate convinced the crew to follow it.

 

The crew see the ship purposely going into the badlands. Gurag, Qha’kli and the pirates are in the badlands and find a strange cavernous entrance. The gang follows them but keeps their distance, as Silver suggests they follow them. Qha’kli finds a strange series of closing and opening rock doors. Using her skills, she manages to navigate it well finding a switch that disables it. However, the gang accidentally gets spotted due to Kate’s suspicion of Silver. The criminals manage to notice it. Qha’kli and Gurag tells the criminals to get them and attempts to restart the doors, Jim and Kate barely make it inside. We then see a huge maze leading to two doors. After avoiding a series of comical but dangerous booby traps (sharp spikes, a pit of reptile like spiders, and a turkey sandwich with poisonous mayo, evidenced by the dead skeleton with a moldy one in its hand), Jim chases Qha’kli down one door and Kate chases Gurag down the other. Meanwhile, the pirates are fighting Silver, Morph, Arthur and Droid 7. The fight is very intense but fast paced. Morph turns into a sword for Arthur to use which is humorously a small dagger, which Arthur efficiently use to defend himself. Silver uses his robotic hand to make a small blaster swatting off pirates and Droid 7 fires bolts of lightning to stun the pirates. Kate finds the second piece but has to fight Gurag, the two get into a intense sword fight. Jim finds a dead end and face Qha’kli who wield four swords against his one. Qha’kli manages to easily outmatch causing Jim to find a strategy to beat her. Gurag and Kate sword fight continues but both of their swords break and the fight turns into a fist fight. Being more limber than Gurag, Kate has the advantage and grabs the piece stumbling upon a secret exit, which leads her close to the others but is pursued by Gurag but manages to defeat him. Jim slips out and lures Qha’kli back into the doors causing her to be forced to hold it open. Jim slides out but Qha’kli attempts to catch him but the doors alive one of her four arms off. Jim meets up with Kate and the others. However, Gurag escaped riding  the new smaller battleship distracting the heroes and swooping up his gang. Flying the Centurion, Ironbeard snatches the second piece as the fly away. The gang attempts to catch them but struggles as they quickly manages to fly away. 

 

Back on the Centurion, Ironbeard celebrates their victory with the crew. Qha’kli points out they’re still missing two pieces. Ironbeard says none of the matters as long as they get to third piece. Ironbeard asks to speak to Gurag in private. Ironbeard reveals to Gurag his true nature, showing him the Centurion’s new cannons before showing him the biggest one, explaining that with the Gauntlet and his arm he plans on hooking up the Gauntlet with the cannon which will fire golden lasers encasing whatever passes it into gold. Gurag asks him why is it necessary as they can just turn whatever they want into gold. Ironbeard reminds his first mate of his childhood and his desire for revenge on those who wronged him.

 

The gang is disappointed at losing the second piece. Jim however gets the gang to turn around in morale and set off to find the third piece. Droid 7 notices a strange pattern that each of the place the map was hidden was in a certain place, near the vast lands of Pecalea or hidden below the skies of Alta. Droid 7 theorizes that the third peice is hidden somewhere with in her words “a lot of water”. Arthur then points out that Marbis is an aqueous planet and suggests they head there. Silver pulls Jim aside to talk to him asking him once they find the gauntlet what will they do with it. Jim says obviously destroy it but asks Silver why he asks. Silver explains he plans on keeping it safe with him. Jim is appalled by this claiming he only helped them to betray them. Kate overheard some of the conversation in secret. Jim asks if Droid 7 knows about this. Silver says no, claiming this was all of his design. Silver then offers him a cut and to join him in the pirate life. Kate hurt runs off and stops listening. Jim refuses and is ashamed of his pseudo father. Jim then runs into Kate who’s mad at him for seemingly betraying them, and hurt after the two bonded. Jim tries to explain himself but Kate runs out ending their friendship and promises after the adventure is over, she will make sure he and Silver are behind bars. Silver sees this and feels awful and tries to console a heartbroken Jim by telling him a story.

 

Silver reveals he and Ironbeard used to be a part of Captain Flint’s crew. We see a younger Ironbeard and Silver (aged down via CGI, Ironbeard also has less robotic parts and more alien bear like). Both of them were brothers, but were poor and often treated like shit due to them living on a planet where they were racist towards aliens of their kind to the more civilized and cleaner elitists, and Ironbeard was disabled and had mechanical parts due to attacks by the upper class. Ironbeard and Silver met Flint in one of his raid and both join. However, eventually during some time in their life of piracy and Captain Flint’s disappearance, Ironbeard became captain of the crew and Silver was his first mate. The two set out to find the Gauntlet. Silver fell in love with a woman, who was a lot like Kate personality wise and slowly begun to change his ways. Silver also learned Ironbeard plans not to use the Gauntlet for riches but revenge against his tormentors. Silver attempts to talk Ironbeard out of it but he refuses and accuses him of going soft. One night, Ironbeard kills Silver’s wife and the two brothers fight and are left gravely injured, with Silver losing an arm and Ironbeard gaining his nearly full robotic body. On that day, young Silver vowed to never let anyone close to him ever and descending further into crime but explains to Jim he was wrong. Silver advises Jim to work things out with Kate and apologizes for his troubles. Jim finally reach Kate and he and Silver explain everything and Kate forgives him but still doesn’t trust Silver.

 

 

The crew finally reaches Marbis. The planet is made almost entirely out of water except for a few pieces of land. The crew find themselves navigating a treacherous storm. Lightning and wind is flown left and right, appearing out of nowhere. Droid 7’s expert piloting skills manage to get them out safe but not without the ship taking damage. After a while everything seems good but a gigantic shark with squid tentacles appears out of nowhere. Our heroes struggle against the monster but using Droid 7’s piloting and Arthur idea of using the ship weapons to aim for the weak part of the tentacles, the heroes barely defeat the sea monster and make a safe landing.

 

The crew find themselves navigating a treacherous storm. Lightning and wind is flown left and right, appearing out of nowhere. Droid 7’s expert piloting skills manage to get them out safe but not without the ship taking damage. After a while everything seems good but a gigantic shark with squid tentacles appears out of nowhere. Our heroes struggle against the monster but using Droid 7’s piloting and Arthur idea of using the ship weapons to aim for the weak part of the tentacles, the heroes barely defeat the sea monster and make a safe landing.

 

Using sub aquatic suits Arthur made, Silver, Jim and Kate head below the water. Arthur warns them they have an hour of oxygen. The sea is beautiful. We see all lush kinds of space sea creatures. Silver eventually finds a tomb which opens an entrance. The three which opens an entrance to strange ruins. The three continue the trek when they see the third piece. But before they can grab it they notice, a huge chasm below. The three carefully scale down the chasm with many close calls, one of which were Silver saves Kate. The three finally make it to the piece only to see Gurag without a suit (as he is part crocodile) appears holding it. It was revealed that Ironbeard set up an ambush, and reached their first. Gurag shoots upwards, and swims away, causing a cave in, as the three desperately tries to escape the undersea avalanche, barely making it out of the chasm and try to get back to their ship as fast as they can.

 

We then see Arthur and Droid 7 trying their best to hold off the pirates, but struggle ultimately against Qha’kli and Ironbeard. Jim and Silver takes on Ironbeard, Kate fights both Gurag and Qha’kli as Morph, Arthur and Droid 7 deal with the rest of the pirates. The fight scenes are glorious. Arthur and Droid 7 have a pretty fun banter about their relationship while fighting pirates and destroy battleships with their skills complementing each other. Kate takes on both Qha’kli and Gurag. Although it seems like she’s outmatched, she uses both her wit, weapons and fighting skills lets her hold her own. Jim and Silver take on Ironbeard and at first they have the upper hand but Ironbeard sensing the same compassion Silver had for his old flair in Jim, focusing on just him and defending himself from Silver. Ironbeard gets the upper hand and chokes out Jim earning Silver not to come closer.

 

Ironbeard threatens to kill Jim if Silver doesn’t give him the piece. After an intense moment (Jim pleads Silver not to do it), Silver reluctantly gives up the last piece. Ironbeard then makes a retreat and soars off into the skies. The heroes then try to outrun them but are failing. Before the Centurion can pick up enough speed, Jim has a crazy idea and gives Arthur a communicator. Jim then grabs three safety suits, and using their ship’s cannon, combined with Droid 7’s electrical capabilities, shoots Jim, Kate and Silver to the Centurion allowing them to quickly stowaway onto the Centurion without getting noticed and before it’s able to speed away.

 

Ironbeard gives a rousing speech to his crew as Gurag pilots the ship. Jim, Kate and Silver sneak carefully avoiding detection and wait until they reach the location to stop Ironbeard but Jim notices someone in the distance and heads to a prisoner cell and finds a offline BEN and shows Kate and Silver. Jim reactivates him and is happily greeted by BEN, BEN tries to warn them about Ironbeard but Jim says they already know and they are trying to stop them. BEN then asks how long was he out, Jim says he doesn’t know but assures him not only are they going to get him out of here but stop Ironbeard. Qha’kli completes the gauntlet as Ironbeard celebrates gloating, and puts it on his left hand and prepares to go back to the ship. As the ship flies off just as Ironbeard removes his left hand, Jimsnatched it and the four attempts to escape while fighting off the pirates making it to the escape pod room. Unfortunately, they are outnumbered and can’t keep it up and Ironbeard takes back his left arm

 

Left with no other options, Jim sacrifices himself so Kate, BEN and Silver can escape via an escape pod, as the crew quickly are sent flying into parts unknown and Jim is captured. Gurag asks what should they do with BEN, Ironbeard says he wants him alive to witness his master plan unfold and holds him in the prison cell. The three wind up back on Monfressor back at Sarah Hawkins Bed and Breakfast. The three explain their story to Sarah. BEN suggests they give up but Silver and Kate refuses saying they know Ironbeard is going and even if they can’t beat him there they are going to stop him for both Jim and the galaxy. Sarah wants to help as well as Jim is her son. Silver then says he has an idea but he doesn’t like it.

 

Back in space, as Arthur and Droid 7 are at a bar getting drinks, glum about how they haven’t gotten a response back. Arthur then goes on about that he’s a failure and was foolish to think they could stop them. Droid 7 reassures that they will and that he isn’t a loser, claiming she doesn’t like losers. Arthur has a brief smile before getting a message from their communicator from Kate telling them to meet them in (planet without a name where Ironbeard was let’s call it Urse for now) and to stock up on weapons. 

 

Silver goes the Interstellar Force headquarters much to the surprise of everyone. A partly healed Amelia has returned to work, and tells the guards to arrest Silver. Silver reveals to her he needs their help and explains the whole course of the story. Amelia is reluctantly until he says Jim has been captured and that Ironbeard with the Gauntlet means bad news. Promising if they can help him save the galaxy, he deal with his past consequences. Amelia agrees with these terms and tells every member of the Interstellar Force to set distance for Urse. 

 

Meanwhile Kate and BEN gear up for war, (BEN sports battle armor similar to gladiator, and ask Kate does it make him look fat). The two then rendezvous with Arthur and Droid 7 at the bar and go over the plan via a tablet like device so we see Amelia, Silver and even Dr. Doppler on the other side and go over their plan. Arthur says the fighters led by Droid 7 and Amelia are going to be primarily in charge of disabling the Centurion and the battleships and helping refugees, Droid 7 then says their plan is to keep Ironbeard distracted enough from reaching Urse. Kate says in phase two, she, Dr Doppler and Silver will go onboard to free Jim and take on Ironbeard while Doppler disables the cannon. Amelia then asks if she’s sure they can trust Silver. Kate then says it’s all they got right now and reluctantly says yes as well. The crew then speeds to Urse as fast as they can. 

 

Meanwhile on Ironbeard’s ship he goes over the plan to turn the entire planet of Urse into gold. Also sending escape ships, he gives Gurag, his biggest battleship to take down escape ships. Gurag is against this for two reasons: 1 because Urse is the richest planet in the galaxy and would rather plunder instead of mass killings and 2 because if they turn Urse into gold the monitory value goes down. Ironbeard angered, remarks he doesn’t care. Gurag attempts to stage a coup. However, Ironbeard using the Gauntlet turns Gurag into gold, killing him. Ironbeard puts an unsure Qha’kli in charge who agrees but with dismay. Ironbeard then talks to Jim about his plan saying it was a shame for such spunk to be wasted on a narc instead of a pirate. Jim momentarily sulks disappointed in himself but doesn’t let that get him down, vowing to stop him.

 

Just as Ironbeard is about to reach Urse, hundreds of Interstellar Force fighters show up. Amelia commands the left half, Droid 7 commands the right half as Arthur and a small fleet of big cargo like spaceships go to the surface to evacuate the citizens. Ironbeard sends some of his pirates in their battleships. BEN drops off Kate, Silver and Doppler on the Centurion during the commotion. It’s an epic ship vs ship battle out there. In order to get the fighters off the Centurion, Ironbeard orders Qha’kli to attack the evacuation ship much to her reluctance and instead rams into the Centurion slowing the ship. Enraged, Ironbeard starts firing golden lasers at everyone causing the ships to turn into gold, and strikes Qha’kli’s ship and some of his own in the crossfire causing the ships to become dense and crash. Amelia manages to save Qha’kli just in time but Qha’kli tells her to get her back on the ship which she oddly complies. Droid 7 and Amelia use a series of evasive maneuvers to avoid the lasers as Arthur transports citizens in and out. Fed up, Ironbeard decides to do a kamikaze attack so that a small amount of the planet would turn into gold and tells half of his battleships to call off the attack and head to straight to Urse in order to stop the evacuation ships.

 

Meanwhile on the ship, Kate goes to free Jim as Silver and Doppler find Ironbeard. Jim and Kate happily reunite and go to help the others. Silver and Doppler walk into the control room to see Ironbeard manning the cannon. Silver tells Doppler to find a way to deactivate the cannons as he takes on Ironbeard. Ironbeard grabs a piece of the gauntlet out of his doomsday machine, fashions a dagger, and fights Silver. The two clash back and forth as Doppler tries to deactivate the ship’s course. Silver and Ironbeard duel back to back and although they’re evenly matched, Ironbeard gains the upper hand and is about to stab Silver with his golden dagger but Jim and Kate knock it out of his hand. We then cut to Arthur and Sarah holding their own against the battleships, but barely. The three continue their fight but Ironbeard overpowers all of them. Gaining an idea, Kate tricks Ironbeard into stabbing himself with his own golden dagger, encasing him into gold. Doppler manages to override the system and get the ship off of it’s colission course but causes the ship to self destruct. The four make a hasty retreat and manage to escape just in time but the ship falling apart traps them in rubble but Qha’kli comes to their rescue and helps Silver move the wreckage and transports them to an escape pod but there’s only one left with room for four. Qha’kli suggests she should go but Silver sacrifices himself so they can escape and braces for the explosion and tells Jim, that he loves him as a son. Jim and the gang refuse to let this happen but Silver enacts the escape hatch and sets the cooardinates. We see Silver then creating a small shield and as the heroes leave a golden explosion happens. Meanwhile back on the ship, the whole crew takes a moment as silence for Silver as Kate consoles Jim.

 

We then cut to a month later at a ceremony where Amelia gives a speech on what happened and announces the promotion of Jim and Kate to captains of the force to help the galaxy, Arthur and Droid 7’s enrollment in the academy and Qha’kli getting a pardon. We then see it’s Jim turn to give a speech and talks about Silver’s sacrifice and the measures of a hero. The crowd cheers for the heroes as Kate consoles Jim, as he is still mourning, saying Silver would be proud. The two share a kiss and gaze at the stars together and we cut to outside to see a statue made for Silver out of gold in Monfressor.

 

Mid Credit Scene: We cut to an alien hospital, as we see Amelia, Jim, Kate, Arthur and Droid 7 running alongside the doctors who are carrying a mysterious figure. Amelia hopes they make it in time. In a humorous matter, they burst into a hospital room and it is revealed to be a pregnant Dr Doppler going into labor. Dr Doppler gives birth to a litter of kitten/puppy baby hybrids.

 

Post Credit Scene: Scroop finds some blueprints for a city sized weapon, specifically showing some of the most bizarre and potentially Atlantean technology, gaining an idea.

 

 

Edited by YourMother the Edgelord
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8 minutes ago, Xillix said:

Friday, December 25th (Christmas Day)

Fortnight  - Period Drama/War - Directed by Steven Spielberg

ReBoot 2.0 - CG Animation/Sci-Fi/Family - Directed by Dean DeBlois - In 3D & IMAX 3D

True Love - Animation-Live Action Hybrid/Rom-Com - Directed by Jennifer Lee - In 3D

Did I accidentally put True Love for Christmas, I meant 11/25 my bad.

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Posted (edited)

Kingdom of The Sun 

 

Studio: Endless Entertainment 

In association with Cookie Pictures

Release Date: 12/23/Y4

Genre: Musical/Dramedy/Family

Director: Michael Gracey 

Producers: Damien Chazelle, Roger Allers,  Sebastian Peters, Mark Dindal (executive), Jon Favreau (executive), Phil Lord (executive), Chris Miller (executive)

Story and Screenplay by: Jared Bush

Score: John Debney

Songs by: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Sting

Rating: PG for thematic elements, brief action violence and scary images

Budget: $175M

Theaters: 4,130

Format: 2D, 3D, Dolby Cinema and IMAX 

Runtime: 120 minutes 

 

Cast:

Jake T Austin as Kuzco/Pacha 

Michelle Pfeiffer as Yzma (Mckenna Grace as young Yzma)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Kronk

Teissa Farmiga as Mata

Alisha Boe as Malina 

Christian Narravo as Hucha 

Maria Canals-Barrera as Mama

Benjamin Bratt as Sol

Renee Victor as Luna

Tatanka Means as Eclip

Sofia Vergara as Chicha

Anthony Gonzalez as Tipo

Idris Elba (motion capture) as Supai 

Tom Jones as Theme Song Guy

 

If neither of these work for some reason:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/14FQgehrGwSaYiUxFonrYeAoj_QVYXiSy4a6lYqaGY7s

 

Spoiler

We open in a dark and rainy night in the jungles of Peru. We see a lone llama walking in the rain, taking solitude under a big canopy leaf. He shakes his fur in sadness, flinging water droplets everywhere. The llama then starts crying. A narrator is calling the llama pathetic but feels sympathy for the llama, revealing that he is the llama. The narrator introduces himself as Kuzco. Kuzco selfishly claims that he was the victim in this story, saying he did nothing wrong, and everything had been stripped from him. Kuzco then tells the audience that if they don’t believe him, they can see for themselves.

Kingdom of The Sun

We then cut to a lavish golden castle in the shape of a Mayan-esque head as the camera cuts to Kuzco’s room. Kuzco reluctantly gets up to do some stretches and rings a little bell. A guard with blue and red face paint arrives by his side. Kuzco demands he brings the Theme Song Guy to him. Two more guards show up dragging the Theme Song Guy, who is an old man with a grey afro who seems sleep deprived. An excited Kuzco asks him if he finished the lyrics he asked for. The Theme Song Guy hands him the lyrics saying he worked on it all night. Yawning, he asks if he can get some rest. Kuzco allows this but he has to sing the song first. The Theme Song Guy refuses until he is looked down upon menacingly by the guards and reluctantly he agrees. The Theme Song Guy with a sudden energetic vibe bursts into a funk like song about Kuzco’s greatness (Perfect World)



The camera focuses on Kuzco as he gets ready for another day of emperor duties. We see a group of servants carrying him while he’s sitting on his throne outside, and as soon as he gets there he starts performing some royal duties, cutting ribbons, kissing babies via a stamp and throwing a bottle like a football hitting a ship that's about to go. Kuzco is then rushed back to his castle for "Kuzco time", ignoring pushing back bigger issues at hand until a servant, unintentionally, throws off Kuzco's groove, causing the song to abruptly pause. Kuzco orders the guards to kick him out (literally). As soon as the song ends Kuzco decides to relax outside. His advisor, Yzma, an old woman with spiky purple hair, comments that it is way too bright outside (makeup is done for Pfeiffer to look extremely old and a bit more lanky, giving her wrinkles and a mole on her chin. The purple hair for Yzma is made whiter with a strong hint of purple). Yzma reminds Kuzco of his royal duties, which Kuzco ends up doing reluctantly. Yzma tells Kronk, a buff but dimwitted bodyguard to fetch potential wives for Kuzco. A number of young woman are brought out for Kuzco as he judges each one as if they were a piece of meat. Kuzco then settles for Malina as he feels she is the prettiest, but Malina doesn’t want to marry Kuzco as she thinks he’s a shallow and arrogant jerk.

Meanwhile, in a nearby farming village, we see a chicken about to chirp but Pacha, a young man who looks exactly like Kuzco, wake up excitedly. His neighbor and friend Mata is annoyed by this claiming he woke her up early. He goes around having fun around the village, doing some good deeds helping others along the way. Pacha’s mother, Mama, reminds Pacha that he is late for work. Pacha then does a cutthroat and fast paced dash through the village, finally arriving at the llama farm. Pacha and Mata both heard llamas, something Mata has grown tired of. In a 50’s rock style song, Mata and Pacha debate on their lives' values as llama herders (Llama Drama - alliteration and a lot of rhymes are used for this song even a little bit of jazz near the end).

Meanwhile, back at the castle, Kuzco has an important meeting with his kingdom “acquired” friend, the deadpan Hucha. Kuzco moans and complains about his problems, but often ignores the problems Hucha has and does stuff only he wants to do. Yzma and Kronk meanwhile are at a meeting with the Royal Court who have been in charge of Peru for centuries. The building has a pentagon-like shape and a black room with only a few torches lighting up the building. The three members walk to their column shaped podiums. Their leader, Sol, asks Yzma on why she wants them to meet. One member, Eclip, jokes that it’s the only reason she even comes out during sunlight. Yzma, for the tenth time this year, has been complaining about Kuzco being incapable of ruling Peru. The second in command, Luna, suggests they ask Kuzco themselves much to Yzma’s disapproval. Luna tells Kronk to bring Kuzco to them. In Kuzco’s room, Kuzco asks a guard to bring Malina in, where Kuzco gives her a comically long list of requirements for his bride to be. Malina is pissed about this and humiliates him by “accidentally” breaking a statue of himself using the list to trip it. Kuzco orders the guards to bring Malina to the dungeon but not before Kronk comes in to escort Kuzco to the Royal Court. Kuzco tells the guards to let Malina go for he’ll deal with her tomorrow instead.

Kuzco finally gets to the royal court, greeting the senior members as a way of kissing up. Eclip asks Kuzco what has he done for the kingdom this year. Kuzco, knowing well he has not done much, stalls until he comes up with an idea, explaining that he plans on expanding the kingdom by adding more room to train guards, a better access to goods and a convenient summer home for him. The court surprisingly approves of this but asks where that would be. Kuzco, continuing the lie, says he's picked a location, randomly pointing to a cliff at first but quickly backtracks to Pacha’s village. Sol is pleased saying he allows it, and sends a crew immediately but still doesn’t think Kuzco is the most fit to be in charge, warning that if he doesn’t get his act together in the week, he loses his title as Emperor and they’ll find a replacement for him. Kuzco is visibly upset but acts like it is nothing and leaves with Kronk and Yzma secretly bumps her fist that no one seems to notice.

The village soon learns of the construction work done due to the swarm of Kuzco’s builders and servants coming in. Villagers are in a state of panic as Mata tries to calm them down. Pacha offers to volunteer to meet with emperor, promising to return when he changes his mind. The village cheers in happiness as Pacha treks off towards the city. Stressed out, Kuzco sneaks out at night and leaves to take a well deserved (or what he believes to be one) break but he accidentally sounds an alarm causing the guards to follow him, forcing Kuzco to run and hide in an alleyway. Kuzco bumps into Pacha, who has camped outside in hopes of speaking to the emperor about his village and the farms being torn down. Both of them are shocked to see how much they look alike and sort of sound alike. Kuzco begs Pacha to help him get away from the guards which Pacha agrees if he lets him talk about his situation. The two eventually lose the guards and hide at a nearby pub wearing disguises (borrowing some discarded clothes hung up to dry).

Pacha tries to explain why he wanted to speak with Kuzco but Kuzco cuts him off, talking only about himself and thanking Pacha in a narcissistic way. When Pacha finally gets the chance to talk, he explains his predicament. Kuzco explains why his village was being torn down and needed something to please the council as he has done nothing as emperor, and that he just wants some time to relax and think. Pacha relates, saying that although he loves his job of llama herding, a change of pace would be nice every now and then. Suddenly, Kuzco gets an idea and suggests the two of them switch places for the day. Pacha is reluctant but Kuzco promises his village will get to stay and convinces him they’ll both get the vacation they want. Pacha finally agrees and the two switch clothes, Kuzco explains to him the basics of being emperor before they both go their own ways promising to meet back here the following night. The guards catch up with Pacha and bring him back to the palace. A strange coin with arms and legs, rolls from the bar, revealing itself to be alive, and rushes to the sewers into a laboratory which happens to be Yzma's own lair. In a puff of smoke, the coin turns into Hucha. Hucha does a few stretches commenting on how uncomfortable it was in that form.


Yzma asks the Hucha, what he found out. Hucha reveals Kuzco and a peasant have switched places. A delightful Yzma says that now that the two have switched places, it’ll be easier to execute her plan. Kronk and Hucha are confused by what she means. It's revealed that Yzma wants to take Kuzco’s place as emperor, and having spent years being disgusted at Kuzco’s selfishness and grateful for Yzma for giving him life and a human form, Hucha agrees to help her. Kronk is slightly unsure but goes along with it as well. Yzma tells Kronk to bring her Kuzco so she can dispose of him, as she searches for the llama herder pretending to be emperor. When the two of them leave, Yzma explains through a jazzy mamba song that her true plot is to summon Supai, the god of darkness, to exterminate the sun and the light so she can become younger, but she will need the throne in order to do so. (Snuff Out The Light.)

(As we get closer to the end, the song gets trippier as the colors become more vivid and macabre stop motion mummies along with traditionally animated shadows leap out.)

The next day we see Pacha awake as the Emperor. After some stretches, Pacha walks out to the kitchen, surprising the guards, the servants and the chefs as he whips himself up some breakfast. After an awkward breakfast, Pacha is then greeted by a group of servants who constantly pamper him, one telling him his itinerary for the day as a group of guards show up with Malina. Pacha is overtaken by her beauty. The guards ask him what to do with her and if she still should be punished. With his voice cracking slightly, Pacha immediately says no and apologizes to Malina for whatever “he” did. This again humorously shocks everyone but Malina accepts his sincere apology. Pacha then does his emperor duties but with much more grace and civility, actually kissing babies on their forehead, carefully cut ribbons and throw the bottle with care. Pacha also meets up with Hucha in his human form later (who knows that Pacha is Kuzco but decides to play along not knowing who he is to avoid throwing him off) and is much kinder and understanding to him than Kuzco, causing Hucha to open up. The two quickly bond and have some fun racing horse driven chariots throughout the hills where they reach a construction worker heading to his village, Pacha asks them in a Kuzco-ish way to stop construction and they do it.

Meanwhile, back at the village, we see Kuzco asleep as Pacha, not awakening from the chicken’s chirps, until he eventually gets up. He does his stretches and greets Mama who asks him how his meeting with the Emperor went. Kuzco says it went well and that the emperor understood his plight even as he kept bragging about his greatness. Mama warns him he’s late for work and Kuzco runs out of the house, not wanting to blow his cover.

Kuzco while running across the village wonders to himself what "work" is until he bumps into Mata. Mata asks Kuzco why he was so late, and Kuzco immediately flirts with her saying beauty takes time. Kuzco humorously ends up having trouble herding the llamas due to inexperience with physical work and his arrogant attitude not sitting well with llamas. Mata asks Kuzco if he is okay today, wondering if it has anything to do with his meeting with the emperor. Kuzco repeats what he said about the emperor being kind and understanding much to Mata’s surprise, as she claims the emperor was always an arrogant jerk, wondering if he hit his head hard or something on the way here. Kuzco takes immediate offense at this almost blowing his cover, talking narcissistically about himself and insulting Mata and the villagers, but quickly covers it up by saying he was doing an impression of the emperor.

Kuzco then says that was enough "fun" work for the day and suggests the two of them relax for a bit. Mata refuses as they still have much to do but Kuzco says life’s too short for that and says he’s leaving with or without her. Mata is confused and irritated that he didn’t finish his job and stays despite Kuzco leaving.

Kronk travels quickly to the outskirts of the town where Kuzco as Pacha hangs out with the locals playing some kind of soccer like game, making up a bunch of excuses for why he seems to suck at it. Kronk manages to get Kuzco alone, who admits he did switch places but said it was worth it to get a break. Kuzco then says he wants to leave immediately commenting that the village smells, but before Kuzco can finish his sentence Kronk knocks him out cold and puts him inside a burlap sack.

Kronk takes an unconscious Kuzco to Yzma’s laboratory. Yzma is pleased to see Kronk with the unconscious Kuzco. Yzma instructs Kronk how to make the potion to kill Kuzco, saying she will have a "talk" with Pacha after getting some info from Hucha and instructs Hucha to snoop around a bit more for her. Kronk makes the potion and uses the serum with a skull label but the label flips up revealing it to be a llama extract. Kronk feeds the unconscious Kuzco the potion which seemingly works at first, but to his surprise Kuzco transforms into a llama. Kuzco attempts to wake up but Kronk knocks him out again and places him back into the sack. Kronk leaves the castle and heads to a nearby chasm where attempts to get rid of the body, but he hesitates going through with the attempted murder and instead finds a way to get rid of Kuzco without killing him. After all, he’s just a llama now. Kronk finds a llama salesman and sneaks the unconscious Kuzco in with the salesman’s pack.

Pacha and Hucha return back to the castle to find a strangely happy Yzma standing in front of them, with Hucha commenting that he never thought smiling was possible for her. Yzma asks to speak to the emperor alone and Hucha leaves. Yzma reveals to Pacha she knows he’s not Kuzco, saying that the real Kuzco is dead but promises not to tell if he does as she says. Pacha refuses, unwilling to trust Yzma. Yzma reveals that he can continue to be emperor as long as he plays along and begins to sing a slow ballad in the vein of “Mother Knows Best” from Tangled (Just Play Along). In the song Yzma appears both kind and threatening to Pacha, offering him to be a good king that could fix Peru, spare his village and whatever else he wants. All he has to do is to obey her, but if he doesn't she threatens him and his loved ones. With no other options, Pacha reluctantly agrees.

The next day, Mata goes back to work only to see something strange. A talking llama among her herd asks her where he is. Mata is curious and ask who or what he is. The llama sarcastically replies that he’s just a filthy llama, but then reveals that he’s obviously Kuzco the emperor, yet unaware that he has in fact been turned into a llama. Mata asks Kuzco to look at his hand. A confused Kuzco assumes that is some kind of dumb peasant game until he realizes he has indeed been turned into a llama. Kuzco panics forcing Mata to calm him down, although that proves to be difficult. Kuzco then tries to walk on his hind legs but falls flat on his face. Mata asks if he can remember anything about what happened to him. Kuzco tells her the last thing he really remembers is him switching places with a peasant who looks like him, tricking him into doing it by promising to stop the construction around the village. Kuzco then assumes Pacha was the one who turned him into a llama and swears that his vengeance will be swift and brutal, accidentally spitting a loogie much to his horror. Mata points out the flaws in his thinking, and Kuzco agrees as in his mind it would be giving Pacha too much credit for no peasant could outsmart him. Mata jokes that in his current state he’s a few biological changes from being an ass. Kuzco then says that Yzma has some sort of laboratory and maybe she knows of a cure. He thus demands that Mata brings him to the palace. Mata refuses to help him unless he promises to help save the village and get her friend back. Kuzco counter-refuses saying he doesn’t have to take orders from anyone and goes off into the jungle despite Mata warning him about it, forcing her to pursue him.

At the castle, Pacha is very much on edge this morning, worried over what Yzma has planned. He is greeted by Yzma, who tells him that she has nothing planned for him today but says she’ll be watching him, claiming she has eyes everywhere. Pacha then decides to take a stroll around the city, showing kindness Kuzco never did by actually helping the citizens. He puts rules in place to help the city while at the same time draining some of the nation’s finances at the expense of the rich, which slightly angers the Royal Court a bit. Hucha has been revealed to be following him in coin form, intrigued by Pacha’s kind character. Pacha then attempts to talk to Malina. Despite his nervousness, the two have a surprisingly good yet awkward conversation although to the point where both are rambling.

Later, Pacha decides to meet up with Hucha and goes to his office, finding the door to his office closed and so he politely knocks. Hucha, still spying on Pacha in coin form, sees this and quickly finds a way inside his office without anyone noticing and transforms back into his human form. Humorously tired from all that work he did, Hucha opens the door, greeting Pacha while wheezing a bit. He asks Pacha what he wants from him. Pacha asks him for a bit of advice with Malina. Hucha, feeling a bit of sympathy, suggests he goes on a date with her. Pacha is nervous and unsure, but Hucha promises to go along as his wingman, joking that for an emperor he sure isn't that confident. Pacha nervously chuckles at his joke at first, but is then startled to learn that Hucha knows he’s not the emperor.

Pacha attempts to talk to Malina, inviting her out for the day. Pacha and Malina are about to leave but the servants ask if he wants them to escort him but Pacha refuses. The two have a small little romp around the city and the two slowly begin to fall for each other (Hucha gives Pacha advice from the shadows and leaves once Pacha's got the hang of it). However, Pacha notices a guard with a bayonet ordering a prisoner to get down on his knees. Pacha asks what the guard is doing and the guard tells him that they've caught a thief and the punishment for stealing is death. Pacha tells the guard to ask the prisoner before he's executed what he stole and why. The thief reveals he stole food for his family because he couldn’t afford it. Pacha tells the guard to let the thief go, much to the guard’s outrage as not only does it go against tradition but it allows the criminal to walk free and that would make them look soft. Pacha gives the thief some money for his family saying that'll help him from not having to resort to stealing again. The thief thanks Pacha for his kindness and promises not to do it again. This action both impresses and touches Malina.

Kuzco attempts to navigate the jungle by himself but gets scared by the danger lurking about. He sits down on something to collect himself until he realizes it is a sleeping panther. Kuzco tries to leave as quietly as possible but has to naturally spit like most llamas and that awakes a whole pack of panthers. Kuzco attempts to escape the panthers but runs right towards a cliff, but Mata shows up swinging on a vine and manages to save Kuzco. However, the vine entangles them to a tree trunk falling into a river, leading them down a waterfall which lands them in the middle of a chasm. Although freed from the tree trunks, the two are stuck together via vines. Mata says the two of them are going to have to walk together up the chasm leading to a debate on who's foot should go first. Mata eventually gets to a branch but Kuzco gets a scorpion on his neck and freaks out, hitting a small cave causing a swarm of bats that propels them to the top. The two sigh in relief until the side of the platform Mata is on starts to crumble. Kuzco, on the other ledge manages to save her from falling of the ledge before it falls. Mata thanks Kuzco for helping her which Kuzco said it was the right thing to do. Kuzco says that now that she owes him, it's time she take him back to his kingdom, saying he’s glad she wised up. Mata agrees to help him (secretly planning on convincing Kuzco to change his mind during the journey)


Back in the city as the sun sets and everyone heads home, Hucha greets Pacha and asks him how everything went. Pacha excitedly tells him how his date went and his feelings for Malina. However, he's afraid that Malina could never love him back since she was forced into being his bride from the start. Hucha advises he should just follow his heart and maybe do something to alleviate that. Later that night in the palace, Pacha struggles with his affections for Malina and vice versa through song, expressing their emotions while both sneak their way out of the castle at the same time. (One Day She’ll Love Me)

The two eventually bump into each other and awkwardly try to cover up what they were doing late at night. Getting an idea, Pacha asks Malina to come with him as the two go to a nearby farm and spend a romantic evening. Malina reveals that she was taken from her village to be selected as his wife and was unwilling to marry him. Pacha, shocked and distraught by this revelation, tells Malina that as emperor he is giving her the choice if she wants to marry him or not, letting her free and breaking off the arranged marriage. Malina is overflowing with joy at the offer but tells Pacha that she is falling in love with the man he has become and so chooses to stay with him. The two share a passionate kiss and head back to the palace, agreeing to take things slow. Hucha, having watching this from the sidelines, is curious at Pacha’s genuine kindness.

Hucha shifts back into coin form and quickly treks back to Yzma’s laboratory. Yzma asks if Hucha has found anything she could use against the emperor, and Hucha denies knowledge of anything that would benefit her scheme. Angry, Yzma grabs Hucha warning him she made him and can unmake him, and she inadvertently reveals the true nature of her plan. Hucha, intimidated, reluctantly reveals that Pacha broke the arranged marriage. Yzma squeals with glee as this will greatly anger the Court and so she quickly sends the word to them.

We cut back to Kuzco and Mata setting up camp in the jungle. Kuzco grows hungry and asks Mata to make him something. Mata tells Kuzco if he wants dinner he’ll help make it. Kuzco refuses until his stomach starts to growl and so he reluctantly agrees. Mata puts Kuzco on slicing berries, noting it’s so simple even a dog could do it. Kuzco however struggles with slicing the berries, and Mata eventually comes to his aid sarcastically thanking Kuzco for the help. Kuzco admits he's never learned how to do anything by himself. Mata says "you have to learn no matter how powerful you are" in response. Kuzco somewhat understands and tries slicing a mushroom by himself which he miraculously succeeds at and he celebrates. The two then bond finding on both have some common ground (Kuzco says once this whole situation gets resolved they got to hang out) the two then eat and later go to sleep.

In the morning at the castle, Pacha awakes happily and even greets Hucha with happiness. Pacha thanks Hucha for the advice he gave him and despite the situation he’s currently in he’s grateful Hucha has been so kind to him. Touched by Pacha’s friendship, Hucha tells Pacha he wants to show him something.

 

Mata and Kuzco meanwhile wake up and grab some leftovers, and set out on their trip to Kuzco’s village in a bonding montage as they progress through the village, (we see them walking on a vine tightrope, climbing a mountain, etc) where Kuzco slowly progresses into a better person, becoming relatively kinder to others (offering to help carry some of the traveling equipment, only to redact his statement half an hour later) and Mata slowly growing to see Kuzco as a friend. The two are about to prepare lunch but a hungry squirrel manages to eat all of their rations.

 

Starving, the two quickly find a diner that unfortunately a sign that says no llamas. Mata dresses up Kuzco in a human disguise as the two pose as lovers. Kuzco spots Kronk at the diner and attempts to get his attention but Mata stops him just in time. Mata tries to explain what’s going on, but Kuzco assumes Mata is doing this to force Kuzco to stay with her so she could use him for her own means. Mata admit she was and he lashes out, hurt at who he thought was his first genuine friend seemingly using him, and tells her to leave. A saddened Mata does so but not before calling Kuzco out for his selfishness.

Kuzco goes to hide behind some bushes waiting for Kronk to come out, and eventually Kronk emerges. Before he can go talk to him Kuzco sees Kronk starting a fire which appears to be a means of communicating with Yzma. Yzma asks if he's made any progress in capturing Kuzco. Kronk tells her he hasn’t made any progress yet. Yzma berates Kronk and says he should’ve killed Kuzco when he had the chance or at the very least found someone more competent at hunting Kuzco down. She tells him to find the llama by tomorrow or else and Kronk leaves the diner quickly. Kuzco realizes the truth and goes to look for Mata, calling out her name but can't seem to find her anywhere. Kuzco realizes he's made a terrible mistake and walks away in sadness.

We see a dismayed Kuzco struggling through the jungle, eventually ending up where we found him during the opening. Narrator Kuzco still insists he did nothing wrong and ends up breaking the fourth wall to enter a debate with llama Kuzco, leading into a song where llama Kuzco vows to become a better person even if he is still a llama (A Llama’s Lament).

Kuzco eventually finds himself among a llama herd and feeling defeated he decides to sleep. The next day under very cloudy skies Kuzco tries and fails spectacularly to fit in with the with the other llamas until he suddenly hears Mata’s voice commenting about their situation. Mata that Kuzco was kinda right that she was using him a bit, mainly betting that if she helped him out it would change his mind on demolishing her village. When he first wandered off into the jungle, she figured she couldn’t leave him for dead for that would obviously throw a wrench into everything and that's why she went after him, saying that Kuzco wouldn’t have survived an hour by himself. However, in spite of all of this, she plans on helping him because it is the right thing to do and he’s her friend. Kuzco tries to apologize to Mata for what he's done, but before he can finish Mata very straightforwardly asks him if he’s tired of being a llama. Kuzco bursts into tears and says yes. Mata hugs him, saying she forgives him.

Meanwhile, Yzma meets with the Royal Court again to talk about the situation with Kuzco and his irresponsibility with adhering to established traditions. Sol, Luna and Eclip are hesitant at first but debate about it through song (What’s Next - the song is similar to The Mob Song in BATB, Yzma playing the role of devil's advocate by stoking up the court’s fears to get them to go along with it).

Mata suggests they should stop at her house for supplies before a man stops her saying a buff family member of hers showed up at the village looking for her. Kuzco immediately guesses it’s Kronk as they run to the house hoping to get there anything bad happens. Kronk is having a good time with Mata's family, helping her mother Chicha and playing with her little siblings, almost forgetting why he was there in the first place until he suddenly gets a message from Yzma via a glass of water. Yzma, furious at his incompetence, uses a small portion of her magic and formulas to create shadow creatures (the creatures are about five and a half feet tall with predominantly imp like features) and tells them to get to the house and find Mata and Kuzco. The shadows slip out from the lab leaping from one shadowy area to another. Mata and Kuzco sneak into Mata's house through a back door and try to tell Chicha what’s happening, although not before a startled Chicha, not exactly being used to seeing a talking llama, hits Kuzco in the head with a pan.

Having grown somewhat close to Pacha, Hucha reveals Yzma’s plot and his true origin to him, shifting from coin to human form in front of him much to later’s shock. Pacha vows to stop Yzma, and asks for Hucha’s help which Hucha agrees to as he switches back into his human form. But before Pacha can formulate a plan, he goes to tell Malina the truth about his origin and that he’s an imposter forced to work for Yzma. Malina is angered at first, but forgives Pacha and agree to help him stop Yzma due to her having fallen for Pacha.

Meanwhile, back at Mata’s house, Chicha, Mata’s younger brother Tipo and the rest of the family stall for them by telling Kronk a long unrelated story that keeps him distracted, until the story ground to a halt and Tipo lies about Mata's whereabouts sending Kronk in the opposite way. Kronk thanks the family and leaves. Kuzco and Mata get the supplies they need and run back to the jungle only for Mata to be stopped by a hand grabbing her back, revealing three of Yzma’s shadow creatures behind them. Frightened, they mount an escape while the shadow creatures pursue them. Getting an idea, Kuzco tells Mata to get on his back which allows them to get away faster... until Kuzco gets tired after a good five minutes, saying he thought llamas would’ve been faster and more enduring. The two then head off on separate feet (or hooves in Kuzco’s case) avoiding tree branches, ravines and everything dangerous the jungle has to offer while on the run from the creatures.

The rain starts to pour and thunder starts to strike as Kuzco and Mata find themselves near a cliff with nowhere else to run. The shadow creatures catch up to them and approaches them menacingly, but a bolt of lightning hits the ground creating a small fire causing the shadows to retreat. Getting another idea, Kuzco grabs a stick with his hooves, engulfs the tip of the stick in the fire and strikes one of the monsters causing it to disintegrate. Mata grabs a few flaming sticks of her own to kill the other creatures with. The two then quickly attempt to get back to the castle ASAP, realizing that whatever those things are they’re obviously not good and they're not safe on the road any longer.

Pacha, Hucha and Malina finally confront Yzma. Pacha tells her off and refuses to aid her scheme ant further after learning of her true intentions, but before he can tell the court a group of guards seize him saying that the court already wants to see him and Malina. The guards then leave Hucha alone with Yzma where she forcefully turns Hucha back into a coin, snatching him and stuffing him in her pocket.

Just as Mata and Kuzco are about to enter the castle, Kronk stops them dead in their tracks and captures them.

Pacha, along with Malina, are brought to the Royal Court who remove Pacha as emperor and puts Yzma in charge, taking his place. Yzma, then reveals to the court that Pacha is an imposter, and lies saying Pacha killed Kuzco and threatened her into silence. Sol orders for Pacha to be executed but Malina stands up for Pacha, warning the court that Yzma is planning something. Sol assumes she's lying too, and orders for her to be executed along with Pacha.

Kronk suddenly bursts in with Kuzco and Mata in chains, revealing to Yzma and the court that he’s got the people who killed Kuzco as well. Luna orders for them to be executed along with Pacha and Malina, but Kuzco breaks free of his muzzle and speaks, stunning the audience. He reveals he’s the emperor and that Pacha is innocent, admitting that the two of them switched places to escape their lives for a day, and Yzma is a traitor that turned him into a llama. The court is not sure what to make of this until more shadowy creatures suddenly emerge to capture Sol, Luna and Eclip, the three realizing they had made a terrible mistake before they are knocked out cold.

Yzma orders the creatures to bring the heroes and council members into the dungeon as she tells Kronk to get her ingredients ready. Kronk brings the potion ingredients and mixes it, Yzma pulls out a piece of hair and mixes it in the elixir and then tells Kronk they need a sacrifice in order to make this work. For said sacrifice, she gets a shadow creature to bring Sol in. Kronk refuses to kill Sol which infuriates Yzma, launching into a tirade against Kronk for his cowardice. Yzma then reaches into her to pocket to grab Hucha and throws him into the brew for his treachery against her, further disgusting Kronk as Hucha was his friend. Kronk attempts to stop Yzma but he is too late.

The ground starts to violently shake as the sky turns pitch black. Suddenly, a figure made out of shadows and sporting gleaming yellow eyes appear. The shadows digress and a man with skin as black as the night sky, elongated claws and two big thick ebony horns appears revealing himself as Supai. Thanking Yzma for freeing him, he turns her younger but it works a bit too well, turning her into a 12 year old girl, which she reveals she's okay with as she says she can hold on to this body for a few years, she’ll grow back into her youthful self (her voice is humorously still intact but there’s a bit more of a squeakiness to it similar to a voice crack as if she was going through puberty.). Supai then gives her magical powers to aid his rule making her his herald. Yzma, giving Kronk a second chance, then orders Kronk to kill the prisoners or he’ll be killed and a dismayed Kronk rushes down to the cells.

However, with a change of heart, Kronk opens the cell holding our heroes captive and kills the guarding shadow creatures with a torch. Kuzco, Mata, Pacha, Kronk, and Malina quickly formulate a plan to stop Yzma’s plot once and for all. Kronk says the only way to stop the eternal night is the emperor. This confuses the others and Kronk agrees that it sounds confusing. Malina suggests perhaps Yzma’s lab holds more answers. Kuzco and Pacha head to the lab while the others head outside to distract Yzma and Supai. Kuzco and Pacha accidentally hit a lever causing them to go on a ancient rollercoaster ride that sends them to her lab. Once there, the two scour the lab looking for anything that can help them. Pacha discovers that in order to stop Supai an emperor must do a grand truly selfless act of putting others first instead of themselves. Kuzco is confused as Yzma is the emperor now and what's going to make her do any of that. Supai bursts in and tries to kill them, forcing them to run.

Meanwhile, in the castle, Kronk, Mata and Malina face down Yzma and her guards. Malina tells the guards the truth about what happened and they turn on Yzma, but she uses dark magic turning them into loyal humanoid animals. (The last guard turns into a regular cow that just straight up walks away, Yzma admitting she may have overshot that one.) The transformed guards charge at the heroes as the heroes run through the castle.

Meanwhile, Supai chases Pacha and Kuzco who manage to outsmart him using torches, which were Kuzco’s suggestion remembering his own fights with the shadow creatures. Pacha has an idea and suggests they burn the lab to create an explosion that’ll make enough light to destroy Supai. Kuzco agrees and goes to break the stuff in the lab as Pacha distracts Supai. Back at the castle, Kronk helps Mata and Malina take out a few guards but soon find themselves outnumbered, stranded in the kitchen until Mata accidentally pulls a lever that causes the guards to fall through a hole in the ground. Mata comments on how conveniently placed that lever was. The three rush to find Kuzco and Pacha but Yzma corners them. Kronk charges at Yzma but she fires a bolt of magic causing Kronk to be sent flying out of the castle. A gloating Yzma is left unaware of Malina sneaking up behind her and knocking her out using a frying pan. Mata goes on to praise Malina for her courage.

Kuzco manages to escape with Pacha via a giant bungee cord that sends them to the top of the castle while the laboratory explodes. Once on the roof the two celebrate only for Supai to emerge barely damaged, missing a hand. Supai hurls Kuzco near the edge of the roof and fights Pacha who doesn’t hold up well at all. Supai turns his stub into a dagger to kill Pacha with but just as Supai is about to finish Pacha off, Kuzco pushes Pacha out of the way taking the fatal stab for him. Pacha’s devastated as Supai gloats. Supai readies to kill Pacha but suddenly a small ray of light bursts through the darkness hitting Supai, burning him a bit, much to his displeasure. Due to the fact that Kuzco was an emperor, his noble sacrifice helped break the spell. Small rays of light slowly burst through the clouds eventually causing the sunshine to burst throughout the kingdom, dispersing the darkness and returning the light once again, reverting the guards back to normal. Supai quickly burns to ashes and to the joy of his friends Kuzco is revived and back in human form. To the surprise of everyone, Hucha is also brought back to life and now permanently in human form. The light also hits Yzma but instead of reverting her back to normal, creates an ominous cloud of smoke which flashing red eyes emerge out of, as Yzma warns them of their doom. Her words however slowly turns into gibberish and the smoke clears up revealing that Yzma has been turned into a harmless baby girl. Pacha suggests they should get rid of her but Kronk, having survived the fall, takes Yzma with him, offering to parent her in an effort to raise her right.

Kuzco gives Pacha his blessing to be with Malina, allows the village to stay, promotes Hucha to being his new advisor, and gives some money for the farmers to expand their business. Kuzco also decides to pursue Mata while turning over a new leaf, becoming both a better emperor and a better person. The kingdom throws a huge celebration in the castle as The Theme Song Guy writes a new song (Let The Sunshine Reign).

We end the movie with a Disney style traditionally animated end credits showcasing the characters.

 

 

Spoiler

Songs here because for some reason it won’t work.



 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

Special thanks to @cookie

 

 

Edited by YourMother the Edgelord
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Posted (edited)

Pushed to Y5

 

Codename: Kids Next Door

Studio: Endless Entertainment (through the Endless Animation division)/Animated by Endless Animation

Curious Pictures 

Release Date: 3/6/Y4

Genre: CG Animation/Comedy/Action

Director: David Soren

Producer: Mo Williams

Writers: Mo Williams and David Soren

Score: Alexandre Desplat

Rating: PG for animated action sequences, mild brief language and rude humor

Budget: $90M

Theater Count: 3,854

Format: 2D, 3D and Dolby Cinema 

Tagline: “Kids will be kids”

Cast:

Noah Schnapp as Numbuh 1/Nigel Uno

Jeremy Ray Taylor as Numbuh 2/Hoagie Gilligan 

Haley Tju as Numbuh 3/Kuki Sanban

Julian Dennison as Numbuh 4/Wallabee Beatles

Storm Reid as Numbuh 5/Abigail Lincoln

Mark Hamill as Father

China Anne McClain as Cree Lincoln

Storm Reid and Jeremy Ray Taylor (distorted) as The Delightful Children From Down The Lane 

Cameron Boyce as Numbuh 274/Chad Dickson

Millie Bobby Brown as Numbuh 86

Francesca Capaldi as Numbuh 362

Kelsey Grammer as Monty Uno

Nick Offerman as Stickybeard

Daniel Henney as The Ice Cream Man

Hugh Jackman as Mr. Boss

David Tennant as Toiletnator 

Joan Cusack as Cat Lady

 

Spoiler

We open in a huge mansion, and see a small wooden 2x4 jet fly over it. We then see it land on the ground ever so lightly. A group of six kids walk out of the jet armed to the teeth with 2x4 weapons and handmade gadgets. Their leader, Chad takes a football helmet off of his head. He warns his team to be careful as they are about to face off against the most evil man on Earth. One of their members puts a Game Boy like device on the door which blows open the door. Inside the mansion, it’s dark and quiet until suddenly a throwing star almost hits Chad who catches it in mid air, telling who ever is there to show themselves. A group of armored teenage ninjas with pink bras on top of their armor emerge from the shadows. The leader traps them in a force field projected by a cell phone. The leader of the teen ninjas, Cree greets them claiming Father will be pleased on what they found. Chad is appalled by Cree’s betrayal revealing she used to be a Kids Next Door operative. Chad screams “Kids Next Door! Battlestations!” and a massive fight breaks out. One of the KND operatives using a SPLANKER, (a crossbow like weapon that fires a wooden board) which hits a teen ninja in it’s face. Another KND operative uses a gun like tool that fires a boxing glove that hits a small group of teen ninjas. A group of teen ninjas corner one operative but using her braces fires lasers to defeat her attackers. Chad and Cree have an aerial battle. Cree uses a laser whip that resembles a USB charging cable and Chad pulls out a laser sword and the two clash with many close calls. The KND operatives eventually beat the teen ninjas. Chad tells the operatives to take off Father while he fights Cree. 

 

The operative eventually find Father (a man in an all black body suit, and the only thing you can see are his yellow eyes and a pipe in his mouth area) in the mansion who is lounging on a recliner, greeting the kids, gloating he knew they were coming he would’ve gotten more dressed up. One of the operative tells him to surrender himself now or face the consequences. Father chuckles claiming he’s the adult, and he’s the one that gives the consequences. His body suit erupts in flames and rushes towards the operatives. It’s a 5 vs one fight, despite the team’s best efforts, Father seems as if he anticipated this and takes them down easily. We then cut to Cree fighting Chad. Cree slings her whip at Chad who dodges every hit and using a pair of mittens grabs the whip and ties Cree up. Cree laughs saying everything is going according to plan. Chad realizing this was a trap and rushes to find his door only to see Father’s door gone. Remembering the big glass window on top Father’s room, Chad rushes outside to climb the mansion. Luckily the operatives beat Father causing he to cower behind his desk begging mercy and presses a button that traps them, Father excitedly showing them his new invention, which they are in, his Delightfulcation machine, a machine that brainwashes children to obey anything an adult wants. Chad sees this tries to break this glass but it’s too late as Father activates the weapon, brainwashing the children. However the machine blows a fuse and Father is surprised in awe as the machine works faster. Chad finally break the glass and falls in the room demanding Father fixes this. Father refuses and introduces him to his children. The operatives step out of the machine in private school like uniforms, neat clothes and hair, and soulless light blue eyes. The children speak in an ominous, monotone voice in unison asking Father what to do now. Father tells them to kill Chad and the children do so delightfully. Chad makes a hasty escape promising to be back for his team. Father promises that he’ll come for the KND next, and dubs the children “The Delightful Children From Down The Lane”. Father questions if it’s too long of a name. The children disagree almost as if they’re lying. Father lets out a cackle and we see the title in the sky.

 

Codename: Kids Next Door

 

(We hear the KND theme mixed with a slightly jazzy, Bond-sequel flair with some of Desplat’s technique)

 

We cut to an ice cream truck speeding down the suburb streets. Kids run outside with handfuls of cash but the truck, almost purposely avoiding children but we see another ice cream truck race after it. We then see the adrenaline junky Numbuh 4 (a young Australian boy with a blond bowl haircut and yellow hoodie) driving the truck. Also inside the truck, we see Numbuh 3 (a young Asian girl with a green hoodie) trying to get the ice cream machine to work, trying to reason with it as one would with a child. We then see the Ice Cream Man (Daniel Henney) holding onto the ice cream cone model on top of the truck. Using magnetic shoes (literally two u shaped magnets stuck together over their shoes), he is approached by Numbuh 5 (a young African American girl with a blue hoodie and red baseball cap) and Numbuh 1 (a young boy who dons a luxurious set of hair sporting a red jacket) who try to interrogate the Ice Cream Man on why they refuse to give kids ice cream. The Ice Cream Man refuses to talk swearing he doesn’t know anything. Two more ice cream trucks tail behind the heroes. Numbuh 1 tells Numbuh 4 to step on it and take evasive maneuvers as a truck rams in the side of them as their truck swerves. The opposing truck spills a hot fudge oil slick causing their truck to swerve once again as the ice cream machine Numbuh 3 was trying to get work flies out of the truck hitting one of the two enemy trucks behind them creating an ice cream explosion. The remaining ice cream at the back wails in anguish for his comrade, and fires an giant model ice cream cone that acts a drill causing our heroes. Numbuh 4 quickly drives into a tunnel going upside down to get in front of the enemy truck previously in front of them as the drill hits the opposing truck creating an explosion that totals the other truck as well.

 

Edited by YourMother the Edgelord
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Dragon Ball: The Red Ribbon Army

 

Studio: Endless Entertainment 

Village Roadshow Pictures

Legendary Pictures

Release Date: 5/1/Y4

Genre: Sci-Fi/Adventure/Action/Comedy

Director: F Gary Gray

Producer: Shawn Levy

Score by: Alex Silversti 

Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action violence, peril, and language

Budget: $160M

Theater Count: 4,382

Format: 2D, 3D, IMAX, IMAX 3D and Dolby Cinema

Runtime: 138 minutes

Cast:

Introducing, Chris Fuu (made up actor) as Goku

Karen Otomo as Bulma

Ryan Potter as Yamcha 

James Hong as Oolong (mo cap)

Derek Mio as Krillin

Randall Duk Kim as Master Roshi

Winston Duke as General/Commander Black

TBD as The Ox King (mo cap)

Mei Chang (made up actor) as Chi Chi

Jackie Chan as Son Gohan

TBD as General Blue

Tom Hardy as Commander Red

Chris Pratt as Captain Silver

 

Plot is Under Construction

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Pillars of Eternity: The Hollow Vale

 

Genre: Fantasy/Adventure

Starring: Ana de Armas (Sarana), Dan Stevens (Eder), Iwan Rheon (Aloth), J.K. Simmons (Durance), Boyd Holbrook (Urgeat), Winston Duke (Kana Rua), with James Cromwell (Maerwald), and Colin Farrell (Lord Raedric)

Co-Starring (In Alphabetical Order): Lucy Boynton (Aufra), Jamie Dornan (Kolsc), Carmen Ejogo (Osyra), Ariane Labed (Lady Raedric), Ian McElhinney (Nedmar), Miranda Raison (Calisca)

Directed By: Miguel Sapochnik

Written By: Beau Willimon

Original Music By: Patrick Doyle

Release Date: March 13, Year 4

Theater Count: 3742

Running Time: 157 Minutes

Budget: $150 Million

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence, brief strong language, and disturbing images

 

Setting/Background Info: Our story takes place in the Dyrwood, part of the Eastern Reach, a section of the world of Eora. The inhabitants of the world believe in a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses that seem to interact on occasion with society, and in a cycle of reincarnation where souls after death return to the wheel for years at a time before being spun back out to a new life. The study of souls and their properties is known as animancy, and countless try to learn from the secrets of the Engwithans, an ancient nation that crumbled many centuries ago that was a master of animancy. The deities of the pantheon are:

 

Abydon – god of crafting and the forge

Berath – god/goddess of cycles, doors and death.

Eothas – god of light and redemption.

Galawain – god of the hunt in all its forms.

Hylea – goddess of birds, the sky, song, and childbirth.

Magran – goddess of fire and war.

Ondra – goddess of oceans, mourning, and the moon.

Rymrgand – god of death, famine, plague, or simple bad luck.

Skaen – god of secret hatred, resentment, and violent rebellion.

Wael – god/goddess of dreams, secrets, mysteries, and revelations.

Woedica – goddess of law, memory, rightful rulership and vengeance.

 

The world features several races: Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Aumaua, and Orlan. The world also features the Godlike, beings of various races with major mutations that reflect being “touched” by a particular deity. Our story takes place in the year 2823, approximately 150 years following the independence of the Dyrwood from the Aedyr Empire, and 15 years following the end of the Saint’s War.

 

Plot Summary:

 

Spoiler

 

The film begins with narration, with shots/clips accompanying it. The narration is done via a rotation of several voices, male, female, androgynous, adult, child, etc.

 

The narration starts “It began, like so many times before, with a prophet.” The narration states that a young farmer by the name of Waidwen claimed to be a prophet for the god Eothas, and rallied a revolution that freed the colony of Readceras from the Aedyr Empire, with Waidwen as ruler. “And then” the narrator says “he changed.” The narrator says that Waidwen became a man of shining light, and his followers claimed he was now Eothas incarnated. After purging Readceras, Waidwen turned his eye to the Dyrwood and invaded. For a year his armies pillaged the hinterlands, and when they threatened the inner territories, the Dyrwood sprang its trap, “for a God who takes mortal form” the narrator says “is a God who can be killed.” The narrator says that after prayers to Magran and Abydon, the priests and smiths of the Dyrwood fashioned the deadliest weapon Eora had ever seen, the Godhammer. And when Waidwen came to the last citadel guarding the core of the Dyrwood, the Godhammer was waiting, with a dozen brave men and women to hold Waidwen’s attention until it was ready, and after it exploded, no trace of Waidwen, or the castle and bridge, remained. In exchange for the loss of a castle, the Dyrwood claimed a god. Waidwen’s armies fled, and the Dyrwood was safe. “But the land’s troubles had just begun” The narrator says that nine months after the Godhammer slew Waidwen, the Hollowborn arrived. Children born without a soul. Children who live, but are devoid of life. First scattered here and there, but slowly growing in presence, until the majority of births in the Dyrwood were Hollowborn. “No one knew the source, no one knew a cure, and no one could agree what to do with the children.” Some called it divine vengeance, some called it a curse created by animancers, and some believed that only with the return of Eothas would the scourge be lifted. “But those who prayed to Eothas, or cursed his name, received only silence in return. Whatever remained of the God has been gone from the world for fifteen years, and the people of the Dyrwood are left to find their answers on their own…”

 

PILLARS OF ETERNITY: THE HOLLOW VALE

 

We now enter the film proper, with a caravan camped for the night at the foot of a hill upon which old ruins loom. Several campfires burn with settlers clustered around each. At one, the caravan leader is worried about the main hunter for the group taking too long to get back, and asks a couple people to check it out. One of them is Calisca (Raison), a human female bodyguard, and the other is Sarana (de Armas), a female elf. The two set out, talking, and we learn that Calisca is worried about her sister Aufra, who lives not far away in the village of Gilded Vale. Sarana we learn is from the Deadfire Archipelago, a cluster of hundreds of islands infested with countless factions vying for control of the seas. The two after some searching locate the hunter, shot by several arrows. Calisca says it must be the Glanfathans, tribesmen who live on the eastern fringes of the Dyrwood and fiercely protect the Engwithan ruins that dot this part of the world. The two rush back to the camp to warn the others, and find it overrun by tribesmen who have killed several settlers and taken the rest hostage. A brief standoff ensues as the tribesmen claim the caravanners have trespassed in the ruins. Then, the wind stirs and a strange noise is heard with it. The Glanfathans scatter and Calisca shouts that it’s a “biawic.” She yells at the remaining settlers to get to shelter and grabs Sarana to follow her. The two rush up the hill towards the ruins, several settlers following. A few Glanfathans do also and try to kill the settlers rather than let them go inside. Sarana and Calisca quickly fend them off and continue on, but the biawic has arrived. Tendrils of wind, shimmering with color, swirl around the campsite, settlers and Glanfathans briefly convulsing when touched before dropping limp. Sarana, Calisca, and a few others get into the ruins, the opening of which collapses behind them. Sarana asks what the hell that was. Calisca explains it was a biawic, a strange wind that appears on the frontiers of the Dyrwood that can rip souls from the body. Sarana, catching her breath, points out that the Glanfathans thought the caravan had trespassed. Since the caravan didn’t… “then someone else did” Calisca says.

 

After resting briefly, the group sets out through the ruins, looking with some awe at the carvings and murals. Calisca talks briefly about her sister Aufra, who sent her a letter a month ago asking her to come see her. “My sister’s never asked me for help before, so I know something is wrong.” Calisca says she sent a letter to a friend she had in the army some years back who lives in Gilded Vale, asking him to keep an eye on Aufra until she arrived.

 

The group reaches a back exit to the ruins, and comes onto an outcropping. A bit in the distance is a strange tower built of copper and adra, and the audience hears a slight humming sound as Sarana feels drawn to it. She takes a few steps but Calisca grabs her and tells her to get down. Everyone drops low and Sarana sees several people in robes gathered around the front of the tower. One of them, wearing a winged helmet with an iron mask over the face stands before the others.

 

The man with the winged helmet tells the others assembled that they have dedicated their lives to the service of the “Queen That Was” and that the “Oathbinder” bears witness to their dedication. The others chant in unison “By our lives by the Key be our confession, by our deaths by the Key be our absolution. May we walk the world ever free of the crushing weight of the Book.” The man with the helmet nods and says their service shall be remembered. He turns to the tower behind him and gestures with a hand. Suddenly the tiers of the towers start rotating at varying speeds, the wind in the area begins to howl, colored streams swirling about, and suddenly energy bolts burst from the assembled people and feed into the tower. Sarana and the others take shelter against the energy storm, though Sarana feels compelled to look, until suddenly the tower seems to explode in light. A blast of wind and energy ripples outward and Sarana is knocked flat and everything goes dark.

 

Suddenly, Sarana finds herself standing inside a vast, elaborate chamber underground. Everything is hazy and colorless, like a strange dream. She is drawn forward, past shadowy figures, through massive double doors with runes, into a second chamber, where the man with the winged helmet awaits in front of a tower similar to the ruins she was just in. She walks close, and then drops to her knees. The man, who was facing away, turns to look at her, but the vision becomes pure light before we see him up close.

 

Sarana wakes up back on the outcropping, some hours later. She struggles to her feet and looks around, and sees that Calisca and all the other settlers are dead, contorted in pain or shock. She sighs and looks at the tower, which has gone still, though a slight aura of energy remains. Of the man with the helmet, there is no trace, though the others with him appear to be standing still. Stumbling closer, she sees that they are all dead, turned to ash, their forms crumbling at the lightest touch. Confused, shaking, she moves as if feeling sick. We hear odd, faint noises in the background, and shadows at the edge of her vision, meant to be a little disorienting and not sure if they’re there or her hallucinating. Shrugging it off, she continues south.

 

We get a couple short scenes of her traveling in the wilds, looking a little weak. After starting to stumble, she sags down by a tree to rest, and has vivid hallucinations of swirling shadows of figures walking by, and figures strung up dead on posts, with faint screams of pain in the background, until she snaps out of it. Shivering, she curls up by a tree to rest.

 

Much later in the day, nearing evening, she arrives at the outskirts of Gilded Vale, which in many respects looks like a standard large Renaissance-era town, except for three things: 1) There is a much lower amount of traffic around the town than one would expect, 2) The people who do travel about town avoid making even the slightest of glances with Sarana, as if deliberately trying to avoid drawing attention, and 3) The town square has a massive tree spouting in the center, and dangling from the limbs of the tree are the remains of a couple dozen bodies, all of them hung by the neck. A handful of official-looking people are clustered on one side of the square and when they see Sarana they approach, recognizing her as someone new to town. Leading them is a well-built man (Holbrook).

 

He introduces himself as Urgeat, the majordomo to Lord Raedric, the ruler of this part of the Dyrwood, and inquires as to her business here. Sarana says that she was part of a caravan traveling to Gilded Vale and starts to tell the whole story before thinking better, and simply says “It was attacked by Glanfathans. No one else survived.” Urgeat nods and says it’s a shame, but the savages do strike now and then. He says there are some preliminaries to take care of before she can be approved officially as a settler, but says one thing must be asked now: “Have you ever sired a Hollowborn child?” Sarana is confused by the question, so Urgeat, acting annoyed, says “You know, a child without a soul? Do the people signing up these settlers tell them nothing about where they are headed?” Sarana matter-of-factly replies that she hasn’t, since she has never had any children. Urgeat sighs and says that of all the laws in Gilded Vale and its sister towns, one is paramount: No Hollowborn children are left alive, and any woman who gives birth to one is expelled from the area on pain of death. Sarana says that is harsh and Urgeat replies  “This land is afflicted with a god’s curse. Only a purge of cancerous elements will help it heal. Whether by exile….or other means.” He gestures with a nod towards the hanging tree. Sarana goes quiet, knowing it is better to say as little as possible. Urgeat, satisfied with the conversation, directs her to the Black Hound, a tavern, as a place she can stay. Urgeat then dismissively waves her off and walks away. Sarana gives the hanging tree a long look, and then sets out for the Black Hound.

 

Sarana enters the Black Hound, which is mostly subdued. She approaches the tavern owner and obtains a room to stay in for the near term, and then sits at the bar for a drink. She orders an ale and a voice from down the bar warns her against it, saying that with the year’s grain crop being poor, it’s very watered down. Sarana looks at the source of the voice: A weary-looking man in his mid-30s, dressed like a farmer but carrying himself like a soldier. Sarana asks what he would suggest and he says the wines are still good, since they’re imported. Sarana orders herself a glass of wine “and one for him.” The man accepts the drink and introduces himself as Eder (Stevens) and Sarana introduces herself. She asks if he warns all arrivals of the drinking perils. He laughs and says no, that would require “getting involved,” something he is against. “I’m sure you saw the tree, that’s what happens to people who get involved. I’d rather not be Twenty-Seven myself.” Sarana understands the sentiment and asks how bad it is around here. Eder replies “If there’s someplace else you can be, be.” They talk a little more about the town and then Eder asks where the rest of her caravan is. Sarana says they all died in a Glanfathan ambush. Eder, looking troubled, asks if a woman named Calisca was in the caravan. Sarana says she was and Eder goes solemn and silent. Sarana says she’s sorry and Eder says Calisca was an old friend from the war, when he “killed things instead of trying and failing to plant them.” He gets up a bit quickly. “Thanks for the drink” he mumbles before leaving the tavern.

 

Sarana attempts to go back to her drink but hears a commotion from the back of the tavern. It looks like a few drunken locals are having words with an elf. Sarana moves closer to overhear the argument. Apparently, the locals think the elf has insulted them. The elf (Rheon) tries to talk his way out of the dispute, but then in a slight change of tone blurts out an archaic but obvious insult to one of the locals, which blows up that chance. The locals say they’re gonna rip out the elf’s tongue, so Sarana sighs and saunters over, asking what the matter is. The locals say the foreigner is insulting them and should leave. “I’m a foreigner too” Sarana points out. “Should I leave?” She’s told to mind her own business and as the one local turns back to face the elf Sarana moves quickly and smashes the guy’s head into the table and draws a knife to the man’s throat. The other locals are too stupefied to react. “Now that I have your full attention” Sarana says, “Why don’t you apologize and take your friends home to sleep it off.” The local complies and then leaves with his friends. The elf looks at Sarana and thanks her, but fears they may come back. “I’ve dealt with worse” Sarana says as she sits down, feet up on the table, making herself at home and signaling the bartender for another drink. The two exchange introductions. The elf is Aloth, a wizard of minor repute from the Aedyr Empire. Sarana asks if he is a settler and Aloth shakes his head. “You’re familiar with the Hollowborn problem?” He asks. Sarana says she was recently acquainted with it. Aloth says he was sent to the Dyrwood to investigate to see if it is something that could spread to other places. Sarana, having her new drink, asks if he’s learned anything. “Not much” he replies. Sarana, looking a bit pensive, says “So, wizard, huh? Know anything about strange magical contraptions?” Aloth looks intrigued and says he knows a bit. Sarana says there’s some old ruins, about a day north of here. She doesn’t let out the whole story just yet. Aloth thinks for a moment and says “Well, since the peasants here think the local ruins are either haunted or filled with Glanfathan killers, no one’s ever talked about those. I’ll take a look. Show me the way?” Sarana nods. “First thing in the morning.”

 

Sarana goes to the room she hired and tries to rest. She can’t.

 

We now shift to follow Eder, who walks to a house a fair distance from the tavern and knocks on the door. A fairly young woman (Boynton) answers and lets him in. She asks what he’s doing here so late and he stammers a bit before saying that he met someone just earlier who was part of a caravan with Calisca, and “Aufra…your sister…she didn’t make it.” Aufra is in disbelief at first and then bursts into tears, and we see from the particular shot that she is slightly pregnant (a couple months). Eder hugs her as she cries into his shoulder.

 

A little bit later, Eder returns to his own home, a small farm, at the edge of town. He enters to see a couple candles lit and a man waiting for him at his kitchen table. “I told you not to come back here Kolsc” Eder grimly says. Kolsc (Dornan) says he made sure no one saw him arrive. Eder asks what he wants. Kolsc says that “there’s been another one Eder. Dakken’s wife. They killed him when he tried to stop them from taking the child away.” Eder sighs. “When are they sending the rest of them off?” “Day after tomorrow” Kolsc replies, “gave them enough time to get their things together. Though these days, with Dakken dead, they’ll be lucky to last a week on the roads.” Eder tells Kolsc to get to the point. “Dakken was a bit of a prick, but he saved all of us one time or another in the Saint’s War. End of the day, he was a good man, and I want to know how many good men and women will die before you pick a side.” Eder sternly says that the reason he’s still here is because he didn’t pick a side, and tells Kolsc to leave. Kolsc goes to the door. At the door he turns back and says “Problem with that plan Eder, is that when they finally come, there’ll be no one to stand up for you. Then where will Aufra be?” He departs, leaving a stewing Eder to sit down and stare off into space.

 

The next morning, Sarana and Aloth set off north for the ruins. As they leave they notice the mood in Gilded Vale seems to be sourer, and figure it’s good they’re leaving for now. As they travel north, the two exchange some personal talk, learning a little more about one another. Aloth was an only child with distant parents. “Got me beat” Sarana says, “I never knew mine.”

 

They eventually arrive at the ruins in the evening and Aloth is very interested by them. He asks if anything happened when Sarana was here and she says that there was a strange ceremony, and then a big energy pulse that seemed to turn participants to ash. Aloth pulls out a couple funny looking tools and says he will look around for any residue of magical energy. As he does, Sarana waits, slowly hearing whispers in the back of her head, seeming to come from the tower. She walks towards it, the voices getting louder as she gets closer. As she nears it, Aloth notices her and calls out if she feels alright. Sarana doesn’t respond and puts her hand to the tower, which triggers a brief pulse of energy that throws her backwards hard, knocking her out.

 

Sarana finds herself in a vision of sorts, the colors all muted and swirling, walking through the empty streets of Gilded Vale. Walking with her is the corpse of Calisca. Sarana asks Calisca what is going on, “what is wrong with me?” The corpse of Calisca simply tells her “Find your answers from someone who understands your questions” and points in a direction. Sarana follows with her eyes and sees that Calisca is pointing at the massive hanging tree, specifically at the corpse of a dwarf woman. Before Sarana can say or do anything the vision collapses.

 

Sarana wakes up coughing on the ground and hears Aloth recommending she stay down for a moment, she hit her head hard. Sarana feels her head and sees a little blood on her fingers. Aloth puts a hand on her shoulder and tells her that there’s something very powerful about these ruins, some dormant leftovers of the energy pulse. “Well, dormant until you poked the tower and it poked back” he says. He helps Sarana to her feet and asks her if there’s anything else she wants to share. Sarana, slowly, says that the people she was with all died when the tower pulsed, except her, and “now I’m seeing shadows and hearing voices that aren’t there.” Aloth puts a hand to his chin, in thought, and surmises that perhaps the tower draws on magical energy, but he isn’t sure why it wouldn’t affect Sarana. In any event, he doesn’t have the tools or knowledge to get to the bottom of this, but perhaps if they might be able to find someone who can. The two set out for Gilded Vale.

 

We jump to their return to Gilded Vale the following day and see that what looks like the whole of the town has assembled. Near the central square, on a raised platform, Urgeat is speaking to the assembled people, saying that the time has come to drive more carriers of woe from the town. Next to the platform, a woman with two children in their early teens along with an old man and woman are being forced to a wagon by guards, with as much belongings as they can carry. Urgeat says that all who bring Hollowborn into the world shall be cast out, and “those who seek to give them shelter shall pay the price.” He makes a sweeping gesture to the hanging tree and Sarana sees the fresh corpse of a middle-aged man hanging from a branch. Urgeat tells the assemblage that soon, the temple dedication shall bring Berath’s favor, and with it the birth of an heir to Lord Raedric. “And with that our faith will be rewarded.” Urgeat gives a signal and the guards get the wagon started and the new exiles set out on the road. The assembly done, Urgeat leaves with his guards and the townspeople go their separate ways. “On second thought, maybe we don’t go to these authorities” Aloth deadpans. Sarana nods and her attention, after briefly looking at the hanging tree intently, is drawn across the way to Eder, who is with Aufra. The two approach.

 

“I guess you weren’t Twenty-Seven after all” Sarana comments to Eder. Eder says the unlucky fellow who is doesn’t deserve to be there. “Town’s sick, and it’s not the Hollowborn.” Aufra then interjects and asks Sarana if she was there with Calisca. Sarana looks at Eder, who says “her younger sister.” Sarana says maybe they can have this talk indoors.

 

We cut to Eder’s home, Sarana, Aufra, and Aloth sitting at a table while Eder brews tea. Sarana tells Aufra an abbreviated version of what happened to the caravan. She tells Aufra that she wouldn’t be here without Calisca, and she will always be grateful. Aufra sips her tea, quietly thanks Sarana, and then leaves. Eder then sits down and says “she’ll be fine, she’s stronger than she looks.” “Is it yours?” Aloth asks. Sarana and Eder both look at Aloth quizzically. “The baby I mean” he says “she’s pregnant, a couple months.” Eder says it isn’t. “Some guy who came through one night and left the next day.” He had hoped that when Calisca got here she would take her sister out of this place. “But that’s not gonna happen, so I keep an eye out for her, Calisca would want that.” The conversation turns to what happened in the central square earlier, and Eder gives them some background: Lord Raedric is obsessed with rooting out the Hollowborn problem and thinks that between exiling the mothers who give birth to Hollowborn, silencing dissenters, and murdering anyone who believes in Eothas or seems to be a problem, he’ll get the favor of the god Berath. “Of course, the stakes are high for him now, since his wife is pregnant. If that turns out ok, maybe things get a little better here. If it doesn’t….you two shouldn’t be here. Because it will get bad, fast.” Sarana asks why he hasn’t left then. Eder sighs and says that he grew up here. He fought to protect it during the Saint’s War. His brother died protecting it during the Saint’s War. “My parents and sisters left when things first started going downhill some years back, but I’m stubborn, so I stayed behind.” He again recommends the two of them leave town, since as foreigners, they will be easy scapegoats if anything gets worse. Sarana and Aloth look at one another, then Sarana says they’ll consider the advice. She thanks Eder for the tea and the two return to the tavern.

 

Sarana and Aloth talk a bit at the tavern and figure they’ll each decide what to do in the morning. Aloth goes upstairs for the evening and Sarana has a drink, deep in thought. She finishes it and exits the tavern in the evening light and heads for the hanging tree. As she nears it she hears the whispering again, and makes for the corpse of the dwarf she saw in her vision. As she gets near it, she sees what looks like swirling tendrils of color around the body and she reaches out for it instinctively. Her world flashes, and she finds herself in a grey version of the world. She looks around for a second until a charming, pleasant voice from above asks “Were you looking for me?” Sarana looks up to see the corpse of the dwarf woman, given life again.

 

The corpse introduces herself as Caldara de Berranzi, an animancer from the Vailian Royal Academy of Animantic Sciences. Sarana says she was directed to her in a vision, and briefly explains what happened. Caldara nods sagely and says “Well it’s obvious isn’t it? You’re a Watcher.” Caldara explains that once in a while, a person is born with the ability to see into the souls of people around them, or the souls of persons long dead wandering the world, and communicate with those souls. Sometimes it takes many years to manifest. And in Sarana’s case, it appears she has also undergone an Awakening, which is when a past life of a soul emerges during the present day. Sarana asks how this could happen, and Caldara says that usually a trigger that reminds the person of something from a past life causes the soul to awaken. Caldara tells Sarana she should go to the castle of Caed Nua and visit Maerwald, a Watcher of renown. “He would be the best person to help you cope with this.” Caldara also tells Sarana to avoid telling most that she is a Watcher, as people here are superstitious at best, suspicious at worst. She explains that Lord Raedric had hired her to look into the Hollowborn problem and examine his wife, but she detected no problems with the souls of anyone. “They were healthy, normal people. The Hollowborn plague is not an affliction caused or spread by people, but something being forced onto this place. Of course, that was not the answer the Lord wanted, he wanted an enemy he could purge. So, he purged me instead, and now he is seeking more…. drastic remedies.” Sarana thanks her for the warning and asks if there is anything she can do. Caldara laughs and says it is time for her to move on. “My soul would have left already, but funny thing, the corpse next to me turned to face me and asked me to wait as a visitor was coming. Strange, no?” Sarana agrees and bids farewell. Caldara wishes her well and Sarana’s vision flashes. She finds herself back in the normal world, night having fallen. She heads back to the tavern.

 

Back in the tavern, she goes to Aloth’s room and finds him reading. He asks if something is wrong and Sarana closes his door, sits down in a free chair, and gives him the whole nine yards. Aloth says he’s heard of Watchers and Awakenings, but hasn’t come across either before. There’s a slight tinge in his voice when he says the last part. Sarana says she’s leaving for Caed Nua in the morning and asks Aloth if he’d like to join her. Aloth says that since he’s run into dead ends and has been warned to leave town, it sounds like a good idea. He says it’ll be good to have a travelling companion for a change.

 

We cut to, a fair distance away, an imposing castle behind a moat. It is the castle of Lord Raedric. Raedric (Farrell) sits on his throne in the great hall, listening to a report from Urgeat about the latest exiles. Also present in the hall are Nedmar (McElhinney), a priest of Berath, and Osyra (Ejogo), an animancer from the south of the Dyrwood. Urgeat’s news seems to have little effect on Raedric, who appears brooding and paranoid. Raedric says they must take stronger steps to preserve this land. He tells Nedmar it is time to consecrate the temple on the edge of Gilded Vale. Nedmar, hesitant, says that while Berath would be pleased at a new temple, the temple is still dedicated to Eothas and a contingent of worshippers still live there. “Then we root them out, and those who don’t leave share the fate of their brothers and sisters from years before.” Nedmar points out that purges of Eothasians has been outlawed for some time. Raedric stands up from his throne and bellows “I rule here! Those…elites in Defiance Bay know nothing of the struggle here! They make their laws and their judgments safe behind their walls, ignorant of our trouble!” Nedmar, cowed, bows his head, says he will make preparations, and quickly departs. Raedric then turns to Osyra and asks how her preparations are going. Osyra says she is making progress, but as it is a roundabout effort, the immediate benefits are not that useful to the Hollowborn problem…yet. “Then I suggest you work harder, or you join your predecessor on the tree” Raedric says coldly. Osyra is less intimidated than Nedmar, says she shall do as he wishes, and departs. Urgeat asks Raedric if there is anything further, and Raedric dismisses him for the day, saying he is tired.

 

We follow Raedric to his private chambers, where his wife, Lady Raedric (Labed) waits. We see she is heavily pregnant, maybe 7-plus months. She notices his weariness and has him sit. She tries to comfort him and suggests perhaps a more conciliatory route would ease him, but he insists that a tough hand is needed. He says that when his work is done, Berath will protect this land “and more importantly, protect our child.”

 

We cut to Urgeat, walking through the castle. He travels to the castle bowels, in the dungeons, to Osyra’s lab. He talks to her in an antechamber, the sound of moans and wails in the background. She says that she should have some test subjects to demonstrate to Raedric in the near future. “I do not think it solves the Hollowborn problem, but I think our Lord would find some uses for them.” We get a slight glint of a mad scientist vibe from her, especially when she says she is taking steps to acquire more “vessels”. Urgeat says he looks forward to seeing Osyra’s experiments bear fruition. She goes back to her work and Urgeat leaves with a smile.

 

The following morning, Sarana and Aloth gather their things, purchase a pair of horses, and set out for Caed Nua. They come across Eder near the outskirts and bid him farewell. Eder says he’s glad they took his advice and asks where they’re going. Sarana says Caed Nua, they have some business there. Eder says word in the village is that Caed Nua is haunted, inhabited by ghosts, that the last owner went insane, you know, the usual rural ramblings about places no one goes to anymore. “All the same, be careful.” “Same to you” Sarana says.

 

We follow Sarana and Aloth on the road, traveling south and east. After some establishing shots showing the journey over the landscape, they arrive at a crossroads that intersects beneath a statue of the goddess Magran. Sitting by the statue is a heavily robed, dirty looking man. At first, he pays them no mind as they travel by, until just as they pass he calls out “Saw you in the flames, Watcher.” Sarana comes to a halt, and she and Aloth turn their horses around. The man (Simmons) laughs and says he figured that would get their attention. Sarana gets down and asks what the man wants. The man, who says the two can call him Durance, says that he saw her in a dream coming this way. “I knew then that I was meant to join you.” He says that he is a priest of Magran and when Aloth a bit snidely asks “So your goddess told you to join us” Durance grips his staff tightly and replies “It’s been fifteen years since she spoke to me.” Sarana begrudgingly says “Follow us if you want, but don’t interfere.” Durance says he is merely here to help. “For while Watchers help those who are lost, few are able to help when they get lost themselves.”

 

After some additional traveling, the three are stopped by a handful of bandits, who demand they turn over their belongings. The three refuse. A fight breaks out, and between Aloth’s spells, Durance’s divine magic, and Sarana’s abilities, they quickly dispose of the bandits. Searching the bodies, Sarana comes across a short letter that instructs the bandit leader to gather a handful of new persons, being alive not required, and to bring them to the usual place. The letter is signed “O.” Sarana frowns and shows the letter to the other two, who aren’t sure what it means.

 

That night they make camp. Aloth falls asleep first, leaving Sarana and Durance to converse by the campfire. Durance says he does not like Watchers in general, since their abilities can lead to abuse, and it also makes them vulnerable to failings of their own souls. “But” he adds, “I do not judge you without first knowing you. You have been put on your trial, and it is my task to make sure you pass through the flames, rather than be burned by them.” Sarana says she’s just looking to get a few answers and then be on her way. She’s not interested in the whole Watcher business. Durance laughs and says “with luck the Gods may agree.”

 

The following day, back in Gilded Vale, Eder is going about daily errands when he sees a few townsfolk being harassed by guards. After a moment of hesitation, he intervenes. The guards get ready for a brawl, but back down when Urgeat comes by. Urgeat tells the guards to return to their posts and comments that it’s unlike Eder to get involved. “I hope for your sake that this does not become a regular occurrence, because if it does, well your safety, or perhaps more importantly, “her” safety cannot be guaranteed.” Urgeat smirks and then walks away. Eder shakes his head, mutters “what are you doing” to himself, and goes to Aufra’s house, revealing that some of the errands were for her. Aufra thanks him and says he doesn’t have to keep doing this. Eder says he knows, but Calisca was a close friend and he promised he’d look after her until Calisca arrived. “And now…I don’t know what else I should do.” Aufra smiles, puts a hand on his shoulder, and says he’s a good man, he’ll figure it out.

 

Later, Sarana, Aloth, and Durance arrive in sight of Caed Nua, which would be an impressive castle, if it wasn’t heavily rundown. As they get closer, they see a solitary figure inspecting the walls, It is an Aumaua, about 6 ½ feet tall and heavily built, with yellowish skin patched with color, being dressed as a scholar of sorts. The Aumaua cheerfully greets the three as they approach, introducing himself as Kana Rua (Duke). Kana says he came to research the place and speak to the old Watcher Maerwald, but the place “appears a bit haunted,” so he was uncertain whether to enter. Sarana says she also has business with Maerwald and says if Kana doesn’t mind getting in line, he can come with them. Kana smiles and says that’s fine, and the four enter the grounds of the castle.

 

The grounds are eerily quiet and deserted as they pass through to the central keep. One interesting thing about the castle grounds is that five pillars of adra poke through the ground in a semicircle, almost like fingers. Aloth says something feels wrong about this place. As they get closer to the keep, Sarana starts hearing faint whispering again. The keep appears deserted as well as first, until they see a couple servants nervously scuttering around. Kana asks one where Maerwald is and an elderly woman says “upstairs, we only go there to bring him food…you should leave.” She then hurries off and the group, confused, presses on. They ascend to a higher level of the keep and the whispering grows louder in Sarana’s mind. Eventually they see two people having what looks like an argument, but when they get closer they see that the people are translucent, spirits. The spirits appear to be reliving some quarrel from a few hundred years ago during some war, but then notice Sarana’s group. They turn aggressive and swarm towards them, but Durance banishes them with magic. “I fear your Watcher has fallen” he says to Sarana. She replies they must press on regardless. They finally find a large chamber that looks to be some living quarters. Huddled by a fireplace is an old man, swathed in blankets, Maerwald (Cromwell). Maerwald is muttering to himself, changing tones, volume, etc. as he goes. Their initial attempts to get his attention fail and it seems that he is conversing with himself. Aloth looks disturbed and Kana sighs and says it is unfortunate. Durance smugly says that this Watcher failed his trials. Sarana ignores them and tries to get Maerwald’s attention again. This time, she does, and Maerwald in a weak, tired voice asks them to leave, or someone will make them. When Sarana asks who, Maerwald’s expression suddenly changes into one of rage and shouts “I will!” and fires a burst of magic energy that knocks everyone back. A short magic duel begins as Maerwald tries to fire bolts of energy and fire at them, but Aloth and Durance are able to conjure shields that hold them off. Sarana tells them not to harm Maerwald, so Kana is able to use the distraction to sneak around and grab Maerwald from behind in a bear hug. Maerwald struggles at first, but eventually grows limp and starts crying. Kana sets Maerwald down on a chair and Sarana goes to talk to him again.

 

Maerwald asks them to please leave him be, he can’t control “them” anymore. Sarana inquires as to “them” and learns that Maerwald has had an Awakening, in fact, every past life of his for nearly a thousand years has Awakened inside him, and can even manifest themselves at times outside of his body. He tells Sarana that while an ordinary person can only have one past life Awaken at a time, a Watcher, by having a stronger connection to souls, is susceptible to Awakenings on a far grander scale. “Eventually, you lose the ability to control yourself.” Aloth has a look of deep concern. Sarana tells Maerwald that she thinks she is a Watcher, and she came to him for advice. Maerwald smiles sadly and says that there is no answer to resolve an Awakening. He says that he thinks his “companions” now recognize that Sarana means him no harm, so they will probably be safe. “Probably” Durance sarcastically snorts. Sarana tells Maerwald that maybe after he gets some rest they’ll talk some more. She gets up to leave the room but Maerwald suddenly grabs her arm, one of his other lives taking control, and he warns her that “they” will never suffer a Watcher to live, before passing out.

 

After Kana sets Maerwald down on his bed to rest, the four reconvene outside to discuss things. Aloth seems shaken by the encounter but says he is fine, he just didn’t expect things to turn out this way. Durance is dismissive of Maerwald. He tells Sarana that this is why he is following her, so that if she ends up like Maerwald he can do something about it. Maerwald’s few, terrified servants set them up with accommodations, and Sarana seeks out Kana to talk to him. She learns that he is from the nation of Rauatai and is on an academia journey to research Watchers, which his mentors dismissed as “esoteric studies.” Sarana asks if Kana knows anything helpful, and he says that sadly he hasn’t come across much she doesn’t already know. That’s why he came to talk to Maerwald. Sarana then asks Kana if Maerwald’s final comment meant anything to him. Kana isn’t sure, but says his research journey was no secret and while he was at a library northeast in the Ixamitl Plains, a couple strange hooded people in robes approached him and warned him to cease his research. When he didn’t, they came back a few days later and tried to murder him. Kana says he thinks there is some old secret society out there that is opposed to Watchers. Sarana sighs. “Great, one more thing to worry about.” Kana says that maybe Maerwald will be more receptive the next time they talk to him. “Yeah, maybe” Sarana says. She thanks Kana for the talk and leaves for her room, where she has a restless sleep.

 

Elsewhere in the region, we see a supply convoy guarded by Raedric’s men that is suddenly ambushed by archers. Several guards fall quickly and the rest are soon cut down by a group charging in on horseback. We cut to the attackers pillaging the convoy, the civilians having been left unharmed but tied up. We see Kolsc is leading the attackers. He instructs his men to let one of the civilians go. After the man runs off one of Kolsc’s people says that the runner is going to let Raedric know who is behind this. Kolsc replies that he wants “my cousin” to know. “It is time people recognized that apathy is no longer an option.”

 

We cut to the runner now in Raedric’s castle and reporting the news to Raedric and Urgeat. The man is trembling, expecting punishment, but Raedric directs him to lead a contingent of men to the attack site. After the runner leaves, Raedric unclenches a shaking fist and looks to Urgeat. “Your advice to not kill him when he first starting speaking out seems to be mistaken.” Urgeat replies that killing his cousin would have labeled him a kinslayer, and “you know how these peasant traditions are.” Raedric nods and says “Well then, issue the proclamation. It is time for my people to learn that their actions have consequences.”

 

We then have a brief scene of Raedric going to a chapel in his castle dedicated to Berath. Nedmar asks if he can assist in any prayers but Raedric dismisses him. Raedric gets on his knees and looks at statues of the two main personifications of Berath: The Usher and The Pallid Knight, and says he is willing to give anything to cure this land. “Even myself, to your service.”

 

We return to Gilded Vale, the following day. A soldier rides to the town square and nails a large parchment to a central pole as townsfolk gather, including Eder. The guard reads loudly from a copy: It is an order for all pregnant women in Gilded Vale to be delivered into Lord Raedric’s custody, in order to safeguard them from the violence being perpetrated by Kolsc. The townsfolk murmur and get agitated. One man speaks out loudly that this is a shameful. A nearby guard walks over and knocks him out with a punch and summons two more to start dragging him to the hanging tree. Eder does not stay to see what happens.

 

Instead, he goes to Aufra’s house and tells her to pack whatever she can carry and explains the proclamation. Aufra understands. “It’s a punishment for us, and a warning to Kolsc. We’re to be hostages.” Eder says she won’t be and tells her to meet him outside his homestead after nightfall.

 

Back in Caed Nua, the group uneasily settles in. Sarana decides to visit Maerwald, who has a female servant she hasn’t seen before in the room with him. The servant tells Sarana that Maerwald is having a good day today, but adds “You may need to speak to a different one.” Sarana nods and the servant leaves. Sarana sits down by Maerwald and says she needs answers. Maerwald tells her that if she proceeds, she is opening a door that can never be closed and “one day, it may be blown off its hinges.” Sarana says someone opened the door for her already, so she has no choice. Instinctually, she closes her eyes and puts a hand on Maerwald’s shoulder. Maerwald trembles and suddenly gets a panic attack, but Sarana focuses and her eyes open with a flash of energy, and she is back in the desaturated reality she has been in previously.

 

In Maerwald’s room with her is Maerwald as well as at least a dozen other people, of various ages, genders, and species. Sarana asks which one of the others can speak for Maerwald, and a tall, middle-aged elf with military bearing says that he can. A couple others object but an old woman tells them to hush “we should help this girl, or she’ll end up like the old man” pointing at Maerwald sitting knees-to-chest. Sarana asks the military elf questions about her experiences at the Engwithan ruins and the people and ceremony there. The elf says that Maerwald has come across them before, they are a society known as the Leaden Key, though what they stand for and what they do he has no idea other than they are hostile to Watchers and protective of Engwithan secrets. Sarana suddenly gets a pained expression and the world starts to bend and dissolve around her, until we’re back in the real world and she is breathing heavily, exhausted.

 

She looks up to Maerwald, who regards her pensively. “It was like that the first time for me as well” he says, “looking into the patched-together souls of broken people, and sorting them out. It gets easier.” Maerwald looks as exhausted as Sarana, and says he would like her to leave for now. “I know what you want, child, but I don’t think you understand what you’re asking for.” Sarana gets up and before she leaves tells him “I understand that I’ve been dropped into the middle of something I can’t wrap my head around, and I need to know which way is up.”

 

That night, in Gilded Vale, Aufra arrives at Eder’s homestead and finds him waiting out back with a lantern and two horses. He says he borrowed them, and it’s a totally unconvincing lie. The two set out down the road at a slow pace, to avoid attracting attention, but come across three guards on night watch. Eder has Aufra raise a hood to avoid being recognized and goes to talk to the three guards. There’s some chatting as Eder tries to bullshit his way past the patrol, and it is close to working until one guard seems to recognize Aufra. The guards turn hostile and say Aufra is to “go to the castle like all the others.” Eder tries to reason with them, and then in a flash pulls out his sabre and in a brief melee kills all three guards. No alarm was raised, but Eder and Aufra immediately switch to a gallop to get out of town. Aufra, shaken, asks where they will go. Eder says that he knows of a place they can find refuge, and he’s told a friend where they’ll be, in case any messages need to be sent.

 

We see Raedric in the dungeons of his castle, walking with Nedmar and Osyra in an adjunct of her laboratory. Osyra, holding a torch, says that her latest experiments are bearing fruit and holds a torch into the room so they can see her handiwork. The audience has a camera shot looking out of the room towards the trio, so all we can see is shadowy shapes moving in front of the camera. Raedric, looking grim, nods with approval. Nedmar protests, saying that this work is an abomination to the gods. Raedric turns around and venomously growls “I pray to the gods and hope they will aid us, and so far there has been nothing, so I taking EVERY option available to me!” He stomps with Osyra in tow, leaving Nedmar behind shaking his head.

 

Raedric goes to Urgeat in Urgeat’s little study and tells him that with Osyra’s work proceeding, it is time to schedule the cleansing of the Temple of Eothas. Aside from purging of the final sect of Eothasians from the town, and gaining Berath’s favor, it may serve to drive Kolsc and his followers into the open. A messenger arrives with a note for Urgeat, who reads it. Raedric asks if it is important and Urgeat says that it is merely a minor matter. “All but one of the pregnant women in Gilded Vale are on their way.”

Back in Caed Nua, the following day, Sarana sits with Aloth, Durance, and Kana to discuss Maerwald. She says that she is able to get through to him in short intervals, and she intends to stay here longer until she can get everything she can. Durance scoffs and says he doubts she can get much from a broken man. Kana says he’ll stay, in case anything Sarana learns can help him as well. Aloth is quiet.

 

After a short passage of time one of Maerwald’s servants calls from outside that people are arriving. Sarana and others exit to see that it is Eder and Aufra. After letting them in the gate, Sarana says she didn’t expect to see them again so soon. Eder explains what has happened and says he wasn’t sure where else to go at the moment. Sarana says they’re free to stay as long as they wish.

 

We cut to Sarana and Eder talking on the battlements, Sarana saying that she didn’t find what she expected here. Eder is sorry for that, and says at the very least she’s out of Gilded Vale. Sarana nods and says she didn’t think Eder would leave the town, but Eder says it was for Aufra’s sake.

 

We get a couple short bits of Eder being introduced to Kana and Durance. He gets along well with Kana, if a little slow to follow some of Kana’s intellectual discourses. Durance however he does not like, since Magran worshippers were some of the most violent in the aftermath of the Saint’s War hunting down alleged turncoats and sympathizers. Durance is unapologetic. Eder decides to stop talking to Durance.

 

We return to Raedric’s Hold. Urgeat and Nedmar present the preliminary plan to Lord Raedric for the temple cleansing in Gilded Vale. Raedric tells Urgeat to handle this, and alert him once the temple is cleared so that he can come in person for the final ceremony. Nedmar will go with Urgeat to make sure the preparations suit Berath. Raedric also tells Urgeat to bring some of Osyra’s creations with them. Nedmar objects, saying they are foul, unholy creatures, and Raedric says that is why they will come, to fight foulness with foulness.

 

Lord Raedric goes to his chambers and talks with Lady Raedric. He is weary and briefly vacillates as to whether this is the right path. Lady Raedric is concerned for the people holed up in the temple and feels that violence will not solve things. Raedric’s resolve firms up and says that if the Eothasians inside don’t resist, they won’t be harmed, but otherwise they are enemies. Lord Raedric tells her that when the pregnant women from Gilded Vale arrive she’ll look after them and make sure they are comfortable. Raedric then says he will retire to the chapel to pray and his wife notes he is spending more time there and she fears it is weighing on him. Raedric says if it will give him the strength he needs, he must do it. He leaves.

 

After he leaves  Lady Raedric goes to a chest of hers and opens a hidden compartment. Inside is a holy symbol of a sun rising from a field of stars. She grasps it and prays.

 

Lord Raedric prays more in the chapel, beseeching Berath to give him strength in exchange for his service. We can see that he looks a bit paler than before.

 

A small but tough military convoy departs Caed Nua, with a few enclosed wagons shaking with noises from within. Urgeat sends a rider to Gilded Vale to inform the town of what is to come.

 

Back in Caed Nua Sarana sits down with Maerwald, who is reciting some sort of nursery rhyme. Sarana can’t make heads or tails of it, but the servant of Maerwald’s that she got advice from before says that it’s an old saying Maerwald likes to repeat. This gets Sarana’s mind ticking and she remembers the rest of the rhyme and completes it for him. This seems to jog Maerwald into reality and for a few minutes the two have a coherent conversation, with Maerwald answering Sarana’s questions about what Watchers do. He tells Sarana she should leave, since if word gets out that he has long-term visitors, it could attract the wrong attention. Sarana says something in the back of mind is telling her to stay, to wait for something. Maerwald says it seems she’s picking up things quicker than expected. “Those feelings, those impulses, listen to them.”

 

We then see a harried, exhausted rider approaching Caed Nua frantically. Someone by the gate asks the rider to state his business and the rider says he has a message for Eder. Eder is brought out and asks what is wrong. The friend explains what is going to happen to the temple and says “There’s dozens in there, and they’re not going to leave. Raedric’s going to have them killed if they don’t. You have to help get them out.” Eder says the people inside made the choice to stay instead of leaving the countless times they had the chance to. His friend, getting angry, shouts that Eder owes them, that he has a debt to pay. Eder for a second looks like he’s gonna punch the guy, but then holds back. Aloth nudges Sarana to calm things down and she steps forward and says they should continue this conversation inside.

 

In the dining hall of the keep everyone is sitting down at a large table. Eder’s friend gives some further details on what is going on and says another rider has gone to alert Kolsc, but it will take time. “You’ll get back quicker, before Raedric’s men arrive. The abbottess will listen to you Eder, she always liked you more than most of us when we were kids.” Kana asks why she would, and Eder’s friend says that before the Saint’s War, he and Eder were young acolytes at the Temple of Eothas, and when the war started Eder left to join the Dyrwood army to fight against the incarnation of Eothas. Everyone else except Aufra gives Eder a look and he shrugs. “Man was invading, putting towns to flame. Wasn’t my god, not the one I learned about.” Eder doesn’t want anything more to do with the troubles. Aufra however says that if he can help her, he can help the people at the temple as well. This changes things and Eder tries to say something, but realizes he’s lost. He sighs and tells his friend he’ll come. Sarana, who has been quiet, says she’ll come too. Sarana says she made Eder and Aufra a promise they could stay safe here. “It’d be bad if I let him get killed.” Eder chuckles and Aufra quietly says thank you to Sarana. One by one the others agree to help, Durance last, and only with a lot of grumbling.

 

We get a couple short bits of the group except  Aufra preparing to leave. Eder’s friend briefly chats with Aloth and Kana about the place and asks if the rumors about a crazy old magic man living here are true. Kana, jollily replies that it isn’t a magic man, but a Watcher, and there’s actually two of them, stopping after Aloth shoots him a “seriously?” look. Meanwhile Eder bids farewell to Aufra. She tells him that he’s doing the right thing. “If no one stands up, then we’ve already lost.” She kisses him on the cheek. Eder then goes to saddle his horse and gets on it, holding something in his hand. Sarana rides up alongside and asks what he has. He shows her a small holy symbol and says it is an Eothas pendant. Keen viewers will recognize it as the same symbol Lady Raedric had. Eder says he wasn’t the most religious person in his youth, but he gave it a shot. A lot of the people holed up in that temple he knew growing up. He asks Sarana why she’s helping and she says that honestly isn’t sure, but it just feels like the thing she should be doing. Eder says “yeah, I know that kind of feeling. Though half the time it ended up with me drunk and passed out in a water trough.” The two laugh and the group set out.

 

We cut to Urgeat’s convoy on the way to Gilded Vale. Nedmar rides alongside him and expresses misgivings about Osyra’s work, saying that it is crossing boundaries. Urgeat acknowledges the concern but says it is Lord Raedric’s decision and cautions Nedmar. “He’s hung animancers for their failures, hasn’t hung priests yet but I suspect he’s getting near the point where he won’t be bothered by it.”

 

We briefly cut to Raedric’s castle where the pregnant women from Gilded Vale are arriving, about a half-dozen of them. Lady Raedric greets them and tells them not to be afraid, they will be treated well. As she shows them to their quarters we see this business troubles her.

 

We jump to Sarana’s group arriving at the outskirts of Gilded Vale under cover of darkness. Eder’s friend rides ahead and brings back several other villagers who have agreed to help. According to them Lord Raedric’s men should still be a few hours away. Eder says there’s no time to lose. “Knowing the abbottess, she’s probably got her people secured in a hidden sanctum. It may be tricky finding them.” Everyone enters the temple.

 

Inside, after some initial exploring hey come across a large side room where hundreds of candles twinkle in the darkness. Kana, curious, asks what they’re for and Eder says it’s part of the coming of age ceremony. They take the kids down to a lower level of the temple and have them look in a reflecting pool, to think about the mistakes they have made, and then blindfold them and lead them up to this room where everyone in their family is waiting for them, and they light a candle and place it with the rest. “Supposed to signify your childhood being cast away and being able to start all over again as an adult. Growing up I never took much stock but when I did this…it really did feel like the shit I did as a kid went away.” He sadly looks at the candles. “Nice to know that they’re still burning.” Aloth then asks Eder if this room is entered the way they just came in. Eder says it’s from below and then realizes that there is no door leading below. Clearly the entrance is hidden. As people look for it, Sarana walks by the candles and hears the whispers in her head. She closes her eyes and holds a hand over the flame of one candle, and after a minute she picks up on the residue left behind of the person who lit the candle and for a minute sees through their eyes in the past, being led up a narrow stone staircase through a door to the candle room, sees where the door is, and then sees briefly an elderly man, a prior abbot, pressing a hidden mechanism to seal the door once the ceremony is over. Sarana smiles and asks Kana to give her a hand. He helps and they find the mechanism and activate it, and a stone slab of wall slides open. Kana is a little giddy about it and says he certainly is learning far more on his own journey than he thought. The group then descends through the staircase.

 

Outside, one the villagers who stayed behind to keep watch hears heavy thumps of movement and peers around a corner to see Urgeat’s convoy entering town. Because of their position, they’d have a clear sight to the temple, so instead he runs off towards woods. Eder’s friend was also keeping watch and tries to chance slipping into the temple, but is caught and hauled before Urgeat. “Now what could you possibly want to go in there for?” Urgeat asks with a grin. He motions for the friend to be taken away and then turns to a soldier. “Send in the freaks, they can make the first sweep.” The soldier nods and has some compatriots unlock the sealed wagons. After some noise and brief scuffling sounds, we see in the darkness several shadowy shapes scamper into the temple.

 

Back inside, Sarana’s group is in the lower levels and searching for where the Eothasians have holed up. The group splits up into several smaller elements to search. One group is Kana and Aloth and they come across the reflecting pool mentioned earlier. Kana takes notes and says it’s all very interesting. Aloth meanwhile just stares into the pool for a moment before saying “yes, it is.” Eder is stuck with Durance and wants to know what Durance’s problem is. Durance says he doesn’t have anything against Eder personally, but says that Magran and Eothas lie on opposite sides of the spectrum. “He thinks that people can be redeemed, that they can be guided to a better path. Bah, Magran has the right of it. She will test you with the fire and sword, and either you pass, or you are burned away. To be redeemed is to admit weakness. Your god tried his hand Magran’s way in the Saint’s War, and we blew him up for it. Should have stuck to the little he was good at.” Eder keeps his composure and says “You may not have anything against me personally, but you seem to be taking this personal yourself.” Durance brushes it off, saying he takes everything personal. Meanwhile Sarana is on her own when a villager calls out to her to take a look at something. It is a tomb of a priest from centuries earlier. “First abbot of the temple, might be important?” the villager comments. Sarana looks at the villager and asks “Did you come down with us? I don’t recall seeing you.” The villager says he arrived late and followed them in. Sarana shrugs and looks at the tomb and with eyes closed stretches out her feelings, and hears in the back of her mind traces of recent passage through this area. Sarana smiles and says thanks to the villager, but when she opens her eyes the person isn’t there. Sarana mumbles about “ghost shit” before calling out to the others.

 

Everyone gathers and with some cooperation they get the sanctuary entrance opened, which is a concealed stair under the tomb. They enter and find themselves faced with several people holding spears or pitchforks. Eder is recognized by them. They lead the group through the catacombs to an underground hall where the abbottess is leading prayers. She smiles when she sees Eder and asks if he has come to join them. Eder says he’s here to get them out. A back-and-forth between Eder and the abbottess ensues with the abbottess reluctant to abandon the temple. “For fifteen years we stayed in this place, kept it safe. We can’t abandon it now.” Eder says that “this place doesn’t matter. It’s just a building. But you and the people inside it, you do matter, and you matter more alive then buried in a ditch or hung from a tree.” He convinces her that it is time to let the place go. She gathers the others and says it will safer to go through a side exit.

 

The inhabitants are gathered and are shepherded towards an exit. However, a low moaning noise is heard from up ahead. A villager with a torch walks ahead to take a look and is suddenly yanked into the darkness screaming and sounds of tearing, ripping, and gurgling is heard, before silence. Sarana tells Eder to get them out, they’ll handle this. Eder leads the abbottess and the others down a side hall while Sarana sees a handful of creatures emerge into the dim torchlight. They look like humans and elves, only their skin has lost all color to a pallid grey, their eyes yellowed, and all seem to be in an early state of decomposition. Sarana, Aloth, Durance, and Kana ready their weapons and fight against the creatures, who seem to have gained strength and speed from being alive, but attack in a frenzy with no thought. There is a brief but hectic fight illuminated with shadows in the torchlight, and a couple fall, but another tackles Aloth and is close to biting his face off when Durance unleashes a wave of holy energy that leaves his companions untouched but turns the remaining creatures to ash. Sarana, shaken, asks what the hell those things were. Kana says he’s heard stories about this, of animancers trying to pin souls of the recently deceased to their bodies to try and maintain life. It never ends well. Durance says it is an abomination, interfering with gods work. Aloth, still on the ground, says Kana is right, it was a common animancy tactic in Aedyr before animancy was outlawed there, because the people whose souls are pinned inevitably lose their minds and sense of self while their body starts to crumble around them. “The people who do this work are dangerous. And if Lord Raedric is having an animancer do this to people, then he’s even more unstable than we thought.” Sarana helps Aloth to his feet and says they can worry about that once they’re outside. The group goes to catch up with Eder and the others, only to find that Eder and the others have been cornered by heavily armed soldiers. Sarana and the others hide while the soldiers tell Eder and his people to drop their weapons. The soldiers march the group off to the town square, Sarana, Aloth, Kana, and Durance stealthily following.

 

In the town square Urgeat is on the speaking platform and he has a big douchey grin when he sees that Eder is part of the group being brought in. He steps down, goes to Eder, and says “You know, I have been looking forward to this.” Eder spits in Urgeat’s face and Urgeat wipes it off his face and onto Eder’s clothes. Eder and the other prisoners are assembled into a group while town bells are rung to summon the inhabitants to the square as dawn begins to break. Dozens do, and Urgeat announces that the next stage of saving Gilded Vale has come. The temple of Eothas will be cleansed and converted into a temple of Berath, and the inhabitants of the temple, who defied orders to leave, will be made examples of. During the whole proceeding Nedmar is standing off to the side, quiet. The people present are restless. Kana asks Sarana from their hiding spot if they should intervene and Sarana says not yet. Urgeat continues his pronouncements until Eder has enough and shouts at him that slaughtering innocents won’t save this land. “It’ll be as hollow as the children your lord slaughters.” The two get into a debate and Urgeat, on the defensive, says “Well Eder, it doesn’t matter what you think, because this town acknowledges Lord Raedric’s authority! Tell me, Gilded Vale, will you stand with this traitor?!”

 

At that point Sarana steps out from her hiding spot, walks into the open, and calls out that she does. Everyone turns to look at her and Urgeat has a look of recognition. “You, I remember you. An outsider, a foreigner. Your support means nothing.” Sarana says she isn’t alone, and Aloth, Kana, and Durance step out to join her. The town crowd starts to get more restless and Urgeat says that nothing has changed. “I disagree” Sarana says. “What changed was that your Lord is creating monsters from the dead and setting them loose on this town. Just take a look inside the temple.” The crowd gets even more unruly, with murmurs rippling through. Urgeat laughs and says “Again, you are foreigners, no one from this town will challenge Lord Raedric’s right to save it.” At that point another voice calls out “Well I do!” It is Kolsc, appearing from an alleyway and he has a small band of warriors with him. Kolsc announces that the people of Gilded Vale have a choice. They can let Lord Raedric kill them one by one until no one is left, or they can fight. Several people in the crowd shout “fight!” and attack the soldiers and a riot breaks out. Sarana and her companions immediately charge in and Eder grabs a soldier, steals his weapon, and immediately begins to fight the other guards. Kolsc’s men charge in as well and there is a somewhat confusing melee as soldiers and townsfolk struggle and fall. Nedmar immediately retreats. Eder seeks out Urgeat, who is backing away from the riot with a few guards. Eder shouts out to Urgeat that this isn’t over. “I agree” Urgeat says. He snaps his fingers and suddenly the ground erupts in front of Eder, spilling dust into the air. When it clears, Urgeat and the soldiers with him are gone. At that point Sarana catches up to Eder and asks if he’s okay. “I will be” Eder replies, and the two return to help finish up the fight.

 

Soon enough Raedric’s men in Gilded Vale are defeated and the crowd celebrates in the victory. Durance comments in an aside to Kana that this is no victory. “This is just the first blow.” Kana agrees. As the mood settles, Kolsc gets up on the speaking platform and says that there is no turning back now. Either they defeat Lord Raedric, or they will all face the price. The crowd murmurs assent and Kolsc says that news of this defiance will spread and will bring more towns and villages and people to their side, but Lord Raedric will strike back as well. The crowd disperses and Kolsc then approaches Eder and claps him on the shoulder, thanking him. He then turns to Sarana and the others and thanks them as well, saying that “you helped turn the crowd. It would have been more difficult without you. But I’m afraid your part in this isn’t over.”

 

We cut to all of them sitting in the Black Hound. Kolsc explains to Sarana who he is, a cousin of Lord Raedric who was exiled some years back. He asks all of them for their help, since Lord Raedric will obviously attack Gilded Vale and it may come before they’re able to rally the countryside. Eder says he will help, he can’t sit on the sidelines anymore. Sarana and the others are more reluctant. They will fine with rescuing people from the temple, but this would be getting into a war. Kolsc tries to convince them, but Eder says they’ve done more than enough. He asks Sarana if she’s willing to protect Aufra. No one knows that they’ve come from Caed Nua after all. Sarana nods and she and the others get up and leave. After they go Kolsc says they’re making a mistake. Eder says you can’t make people do more than they’re ready to.

 

Sarana, Aloth, Durance, and Kana are back on the road to Caed Nua, a few of Kolsc’s men with them to help secure the castle. As they ride Sarana talks to Aloth and says he seems a bit distant. Aloth says he’s just thinking about those creatures in the temple. He says that when he arrived in the Dyrwood he heard stories about tactics animancers tried to do to cure the Hollowborn. One of them was to transplant the souls of animals, such as dogs, into the bodies of Hollowborn children, and for a short period of time it worked. The children were messy and simple-minded, but they seemed alive. And then, eventually, the animal in them took over and they became feral beasts in children’s clothing. “The one thing I’ve learned in my time here is that there are no lengths people won’t go to in the name of science to try and fix a problem, and all it does is usually make things worse.” Sarana says the intent of the person makes a difference. Aloth says maybe, but if a terrible thing happens, does it really matter why it happened?

 

Urgeat returns to Lord Raedric’s castle with Nedmar and the survivors of the convoy. They go to the throne room and Urgeat informs Lord Raedric that Gilded Vale has risen up and declared for Kolsc. Lord Raedric is strangely calm and tells Nedmar he is not needed. Nedmar scampers off and Raedric asks Urgeat, in a cold voice, what Urgeat can do to save his own life. Urgeat says that they took a couple prisoners and can interrogate them. Raedric suggests Urgeat get on it then. “And call the banners, Gilded Vale will burn.”

 

Lord Raedric returns to his chambers where, seething, he unleashes his anger by trashing furnishings. Lady Raedric appears and tries to calm him down. Raedric, who was barely holding it together in the throne room, says that everyone is either failing him or betraying him. Lady Raedric takes his hands and says it isn’t too late, he can stop the violence. She suggests meeting with Kolsc, maybe working out a peace, but Raedric refuses. Their conversation turns into an argument and finally Raedric in a snap pushes his wife away and she falls to the ground hard. She first yells in pain, and then screams in shock as she sees that her water has suddenly broke. Raedric freezes and then shouts for help.

 

In the dungeons, Urgeat has two soldiers take the hood off of a prisoner and we see it is Eder’s friend. Urgeat unveils an array of torture items and says the man knows how things will go if he doesn’t talk, so maybe he can save them all time. The friend breaks immediately and says he doesn’t know anything about Kolsc’s forces, but the outsiders, they came from Caed Nua. This peaks Urgeat’s interest. “I thought it was abandoned.” The friend shakes his head and says the Old Watcher there still lives, and he has an apprentice now or something. Urgeat gets to his feet, thanks the man for his information, and in a flash cuts his throat. He stands there in the dungeon, his eyes closed and looking pensive.

 

Sarana and the others arrive at Caed Nua. As they settle in Durance says that this vacillation is a mistake. Either they should fully commit to the fight, or they should leave this region altogether. Aloth says there isn’t much more to learn here. Sarana says she will think about it. Durance warns her “if your house is on fire you either put out the flames or leave the house. You don’t wait for it to burn around you.”

 

Back at Raedric’s castle, Lord Raedric sits on his throne, frozen, while Nedmar kneels nearby in prayer. They hear some muffled cries of pain as Lady Raedric is in labor, and slowly, the cries subside. Everything is quiet as Osyra approaches. Lord Raedric looks at her and asks “well?” Osyra shakes her head. “Dead?” Raedric asks. “Not dead” Osyra replies. Raedric gets up and starts walking without a word. “My lord” Osyra starts, “if you’ll permit a chance, there may be something I can do.” Raedric gives her a wordless glare, and then continues and goes to his wife’s bedchamber, where she lies in bed, holding a small lump wrapped in cloth in her arms. She sees him enter and has tears in her eyes. “Please don’t” she whispers. “Give it to me” he says. “He is our son” she replies. “IT is no son of mine” he answers back. He takes the lump from his wife and walks to the side and unwraps the cloth and we see for the first time a Hollowborn. At first it looks like a perfectly healthy newborn baby, but then the audience notices that it doesn’t make a sound, it is utterly limp, with empty eyes. It is essentially a hollow shell, a body that lives, but has no life to it. “Gods forgive me” Raedric says as he looks down at the infant, his wife sobbing in the background.

 

We cut to Gilded Vale, where Eder, Kolsc, and others are discussing preparations for the fight to come. Riders have been sent to several towns, and some have pledged support, and word has also reached of Raedric calling for his forces to assemble as well. A messenger tells them that a Raedric soldier is approaching the tower on a hill by town under a flag of truce. “The bell tower” Eder says with recognition. A minute later three mournful, ominous chimes of a bell are heard, and everyone in town stops in their tracks. “Three tolls, which means either Lady Raedric or the child she was carrying is lost” Eder says. He looks at Kolsc and says that Raedric will hold nothing back now.

 

Back in Raedric’s castle, Raedric is standing on his battlements when Urgeat approaches and gives sympathies for his loss. “Nothing can heal your sorrow at this time, but I have news that can help. Previously unknown allies of the rebels have been revealed, connected to the Old Watcher of Caed Nua. Allow me a detachment of men, and I can fix that problem.” Raedric nods and tells Urgeat that he will be taking the remainder to Gilded Vale to raze it. Urgeat advises to wait until all of their forces arrive. Raedric says the same is true for the enemy, and crushing Gilded Vale now will give the rest of his land second thoughts. “We burn it down, no quarter. We start anew.” Urgeat nods and leaves. Raedric goes back to staring out into space. We also see that Nedmar has overheard this conversation and he walks away troubled.

 

Back in Caed Nua Sarana has another conversation with Maerwald, seeing if he knows anything about Lord Raedric. Maerwald says that he only met the current Lord Raedric when he first came to this part of the Dyrwood, about 30 years ago, when the Lord was a teenager. “You have larger problems than him though” he says, and Sarana deduces he means this Leaden Key organization he mentioned earlier. She asks if he knows anything about them that he hasn’t mentioned and he says that they are followers of Woedica, who according to legend was the former queen of all the gods before they banded together to cast her down. “No one knows where they come from, though one phrase I recall: Never Far From the Queen.” Sarana thanks him for the talk and tells him to get rest, as it’s close to night.

 

Sarana has a brief talk with Kana, who says he has been reading some old journals about Caed Nua. It seems the place was built on top of old Engwithan ruins. He finds it all very interesting. Sarana says maybe they can explore them when things are settled.

 

In Gilded Vale we see that militia from nearby villages have arrived, boosting defenses. We also see a rider approaching and is stopped by guards. The rider says he has important information and we see that it is Nedmar. He is brought before Eder and Kolsc. Nedmar says that Raedric is preparing an attack. Kolsc laughs and says they know he will attack Gilded Vale. Nedmar shakes his head and says he means another attack: one on Caed Nua, to eliminate their allies there. This alarms Eder and he tells Nedmar to get back to Raedric’s castle before he is missed, and then leaves the room in a flash. Kolsc tries to stop him but Eder says he promised Aufra she’d be safe. Kolsc says they can’t divide their forces right now and Eder replies “then don’t. I’m still going.” He mounts his horse and races off into the night.

 

Lord Raedric visits Osyra in her labs and says her time is growing short. The things she has created may be useful weapons, but they do not solve the problem he hired her to fix, “and now my own blood has fallen to this curse.” Osyra says that as far as she can tell, something, somehow, is pulling souls from bodies as they are born. “It’s too weak to do it to us, but for the unborn, their souls are weakly tethered before birth.” She says her research is important because if she can stick souls to bodies after death, then it may be the key to sticking them to the unborn. Raedric, sated, tells her to continue her work, and in the meantime, to have as many subjects ready as possible for the battle to come.

 

Raedric returns to the chapel of Berath and takes a more confrontational tone in his prayers, saying he is doing what he can, but still Berath does nothing. “And now my son is gone. What more do you want from me?” He looks down, distraught, and we see that he has grown even more pale, and small veins are starting to stick out, looking dark in color.

 

Back at Caed Nua, the night air is still. Durance is meditating in his quarters, clutching a staff that has symbols burned into it that seem to glow. Kana is lying in bed, reading some big dusty book. Aloth is on the battlements, looking restless and seeming to be talking to himself. Sarana climbs to join him and hears his voice change a couple times briefly before he notices her and quiets. “Forgive me, I sometimes debate myself out loud when trying to figure something out” he says. Sarana asks what he was trying to figure out. Aloth gestures at the surroundings and says “this. Everything we’ve gotten into the past some days. It’s gotten far more complicated than I thought it could be.” Sarana nods and asks if he’s heard of some group called the Leaden Key and he shakes his head. Sarana says what Maerwald told her and she thinks they were the ones at the ruins. “Sounds like exactly the sort of people not to cross” Aloth comments. Sarana starts to say something when they hear a faint whistling sound, and then a thump. Turning their heads, they see that one of Kolsc’s men sent with them has fallen off the castle walls…with an arrow in his chest. A couple seconds later a shout of alarm is heard, and then another thud. “Wake the others, protect Aufra and Maerwald” Sarana tells Aloth, who nods. He runs inside while Sarana pulls out her weapons, a sabre and a long knife, and rushes over towards the fallen.

 

She gets to the nearest one just as an alarm bell begins to sound, and sees several lightly armored soldiers climbing over the castle walls. A couple of the remaining guards exit the keep with crossbows and trade fire with the attackers, while a couple more attackers leap down and attack Sarana, who fends them off. More attackers climb over the walls and rush forward to engage the guards in the courtyard. Swordfights fill the area and Sarana constantly finds herself engaged. She is able to handle her opponents, but is tiring and her and the few remaining guards are outnumbered, when Durance appears and calls down with his staff fireballs from the sky that decimate the attackers. A few guards held in reserve in the keep rush out as well and the tide begins to turn. However, calls from inside the keep shout that some attackers have managed to get in, and Durance tells Sarana to go inside, he can handle the rest here.

 

Inside the keep Sarana finds that the servants have barricaded themselves in their rooms, while the attackers inside are trying to bash in doors. She takes care of a couple and then finds Kana in a hallway, in his nightshirt, fending off several attackers at once with a giant candelabra. Sarana helps him defeat the opponents and asks him where Aloth, Aufra, and Maerwald are. Kana says he saw Aloth briefly, rushing to Maerwald. He doesn’t know where Aufra is. Sarana tells him to find her, and rushes to Maerwald’s chambers. She finds the door ajar. Pushing it open, she sees Aloth sprawled on the floor, a wound to his head, and Maerwald slumped in a chair, his throat cut. And casually leaning against the chair, as if expecting her, is Urgeat.

 

“Good of you to join us” he says with a gesture to the bodies. “Oh don’t worry about your wizard friend, he’s just knocked out. No reason to kill him.” Sarana asks what Urgeat wants. “For now, your attention. You see, it’s recently been made known to me that the old man here was still alive and well, and perhaps not entirely mindless. And, that he seems to have taken a shine to a woman with a similar… skillset as him. Well, that creates a problem, but luckily, I’m in a position to correct that problem.” Sarana gets a look of recognition. “You’re with the Leaden Key.” “So, you do know of us” Urgeat says with a smirk. “Well, that does complicate things a little, but not necessarily. You see, the old man here knows a lot, I’m sure you’d have to take a lot of effort to dig into his mind, but you’d eventually get the answers out. So, he had to go. You however, have only been here what, a handful of days at most? Chances are you only know a little, and well, that’s not too much to concern myself over. So, you got options. You can leave, now, clear out the Dyrwood, and you get to live. Well, maybe a head start, depending how things go when I report. But, you get time at the least. Otherwise, there’s two Watchers on the floor who won’t get up.” Sarana scrutinizes him for a moment. “The ruins, north of Gilded Vale. People there performed a ceremony, it killed everyone I was with, made me what I am. That you?” Urgeat’s face frowns. “Well, shit, I guess you don’t have options after all.” He pulls out a sword and attacks.

 

Sarana and Urgeat engage in a swordfight that roams through Maerwald’s chambers, with both using furniture and furnishings cleverly to try and unbalance the other. Sarana fights vigorously, but she is tired, and Urgeat is just as skilled with the sword, if not more. She gives him a few shallow cuts on his shoulder and midsection, but he is able to disarm her with a slash on her forearm and knock her to the ground with a heavy kick to the stomach. She struggles to get up as Urgeat approaches. “Look on the bright side” he says, “the old man is going to be a more lucid talker when you see him.” He goes in for a killing blow but Sarana rolls out of the way and pulls out a small dagger and jabs it into a leg. He groans and kicks her back and then yanks the dagger out. Before he can come in for another try he is suddenly shot in the shoulder with a crossbow bolt. Sarana looks up to see Aufra in the doorway, her clothes a little bloody, holding a crossbow. Sarana gets to her feet and picks up her sabre. “Let’s try this again” he says to Urgeat, who shakes his head. “Another time, dear.” He looks at Aufra. “Same for you and your beau.” He flicks a wrist and the window behind him shatters, and he jumps out it and we see he floats softly to the ground. Sarana, breathing heavily, thanks Aufra, and asks her to get the others here quickly. Aufra nods and leaves, and Sarana sinks to the ground by Aloth and tries to wake him up. She soon does and keeps him on the floor. “Maerwald?” he asks. “Dead” Sarana replies. “I’m sorry” Aloth says. “he got the jump on me from behind.” Sarana tells him it’s okay, though we see she has some tears in her eyes. Aufra soon returns with Kana and Durance, who say the attackers are either dead or fled. “They got what they came for” she says, gesturing to Maerwald’s body. “But now” she says with her voice getting angry, “they’re gonna get a lot more than that.”

 

We cut to Sarana, Aloth, Durance, and Kana in a room clustered around a bed with Maerwald’s body on it. Durance comments that it was probably for the best, perhaps his soul will retain the lesson in its next life. Kana says that he is at peace. Aloth looks at Sarana, who seems troubled, and says they should give her some privacy. The three shuffle out, with Aloth putting a reassuring hand on Sarana’s shoulder before leaving. After they leave Sarana lets out a deep exhale and we see some tears. She places a hand on Maerwald’s body and we can see almost a faint energy outlining it. “Not yet” she whispers, and closes her eyes, and we’re pulled once again into the shadowy in-between.

 

Sarana finds once again herself in Maerwald’s study, with all of Maerwald’s past lives, and Maerwald himself, waiting for her. Whereas there was conflict, tension, and unsettledness before, now there is an air of acceptance. Maerwald says he expected her to come one last time, but it must be brief. “We can hear the chimes, Berath’s call. Soon we return to the Beyond, to the Wheel, and one day live again.” Sarana nods and says she will get justice for his death. Maerwald smiles and says that justice takes many forms. “The man who killed me, who tried to kill you. He is just a thread. Don’t cut it, follow it, see where it leads. Remember his reaction, the Leaden Key has a connection to all of this. Don’t kill him. Understand him, understand where he comes from. And maybe you can get justice for more than just me.” Sarana says she understands, and, hearing a faint chime of a bell and seeing the shadows of Maerwald’s past lives slowly fade, asks if there is one last thing he can pass on. Maerwald gives a kindly look and says “Remember what I said. Never Far From the Queen. Hunt them by the symbols they serve.” Maerwald smiles one last time he fades away, and Sarana is returned back to the living world.

 

She looks down at Maerwald’s corpse and pulls a sheet over it.

 

A few hours later, Eder briskly rides into Caed Nua’s courtyard and sees the survivors cleaning up. He looks around a bit franticly and then breathes a sigh of relief when he sees Kana gesturing to him. He rushes over and starts to ask when Kana interjects “She’s fine. We’re all fine…well, not the old man. Come in, I think there’s going to be a talk.”

 

In the great hall Eder finds Sarana, Aloth, Durance, and Aufra waiting. There is a brief, warm reunion between Eder and Aufra and then Eder turns to Sarana and says “We got a report that Raedric was sending people to attack here so I came as fast as I could.” Sarana nods and says that it seems the attack has forced her hand. “Also, it seems that one of his people has it out for me personally, because I am a Watcher, so there’s that as well.” Eder says that militia forces are starting to rally at Gilded Vale, but they expect an attack from Lord Raedric soon. “If we fend them off, we have a shot to end this.” Sarana looks around at the others and says with determination “count us in.”

 

We cut to a sizable military column marching down a road, and see that it is led by Lord Raedric. There are several hundred soldiers, a handful of siege weapons, and several covered carts with locks on the doors. A horn sounds and we see maybe a dozen men on horseback ride up to meet them. It is Urgeat and his remaining men. “Well?” Raedric asks pointedly. “The Old Watcher is dead, as well as some of his supporters” Urgeat says, “but it seems he has taken on a student. I suspect she will be heading to Gilded Vale to protect it. We can finish that annoyance there.” Raedric shakes his head and orders Urgeat back to his castle. Urgeat starts to protest but Raedric cuts him off with a glare. “You said you would handle this matter, but you left it unfinished. I will complete it for you.” Urgeat stares blankly, as if considering options, and then finally says “very well my lord.” He turns his horse the opposite direction as the column and rides off with his men, as Raedric and his forces continue on. We can see that the dark veins are slowly spreading on Raedric’s temples.

 

Sarana and everyone else arrive back in Gilded Vale, which is bustling with activity as volunteers and rebels arrive, sometimes only makeshift weapons. The group goes to the Black Hound, which has been converted into a command center, Sarana noting along the way that all of the bodies at the Hanging Tree have been removed. At the Black Hound they find Kolsc and several lieutenants making plans. Kolsc says he is glad that they survived the attack on Caed Nua, though Kana says not all of them did. Sarana looks a bit coldly at Kolsc and says they have a lot to plan and not much time, so they should get to it. Kolsc nods and gestures for them to gather around a map of Gilded Vale and the surrounding terrain. Kolsc says that Raedric is coming now, which means he isn’t waiting for his full strength, but it also means the same for them. “We actually have a slight advantage in numbers I wager, but many are peasants with farming tools and spears, and he has trained soldiers in plate or mail. We can’t face him on equal terms, we’ll be crushed.” Eder nods and says they then need to draw his forces into Gilded Vale, where the narrow streets and tight corners will make Raedric’s forces far more vulnerable. Eder though points out that Raedric may bring siege weapons, which he could just level Gilded Vale with first. Durance chuckles and says he’ll take the wizard, gesturing to Aloth, and they’ll handle the siege weapons. Aloth starts to protest at having to work with Durance but realizes it makes sense and quiets down. Kana says that his mother is a leading developer of cannons and explosives in Rauatai, and while he is no student in that field, he did learn a couple things from her as a hobby. “You learned how to blow things up as a hobby?” Eder says with a raised eyebrow. “I had a lot of time on my hands as a child” Kana replies sheepishly. Kana tells the group that if they can give him whatever gunpowder or other certain raw materials they have, which he lists, he can generate some improvised explosives. Pointing at spots at the central square, “You can draw the soldiers to these points, and then blow them up.” Sarana points out the one thing they haven’t figured out: How to draw Raedric into storming Gilded Vale rather than laying siege. “You need to give him a reason to commit.” Kolsc looks at her and says “He’ll want to kill me personally. So with motivation, and some assistance in disabling his siege weapons, he’ll lost patience.” With the plan taking shape, Kolsc says they should all get to work.

 

Urgeat returns to Raedric’s castle and gets updates from the guard commander that it will be a week or more before the next wave of levies arrives, but Raedric would not wait. Urgeat says flatly “Well, they may not be necessary.” Meanwhile a recovering Lady Raedric visits the women from Gilded Vale who are being sequestered. They have heard of her child’s fate and express their condolences. Lady Raedric thanks them and says that she fears for both the living and unborn of Gilded Vale. She sees one woman staying away from the others, nervously holding something. Lady Raedric comes closer and asks if she can see what it is. The woman, cautiously, opens her hands and reveals a pendant of Eothas. Lady Raedric kindly touches the woman’s shoulder and tells her that “we’ll pray together.”

 

We return to the preparations in Gilded Vale. Kana is hard at work preparing his bombs. Durance comes by and offers his assistance. Kana remarks he didn’t realize Durance knew about explosives. Durance laughs and says many priests of Magran know their way around firearms and explosives. He also adds “I may have helped build a bomb or two in my time” but clams up when Kana asks about his experiences. The two get to work.

 

We then see Sarana, Eder, and Aloth on a watchtower, looking at the lay of the land. Eder points at a hill to the northeast and says that is likely where Raedric will put his siege weapons. There’s some forest cover that should hide Aloth and Durance’s approach. Aloth says as long as they can get close enough, they can put the weapons out of commission. “But you’ll need to keep their attention on the city until we’re ready to engage.” Eder looks down at Kolsc giving orders to and comments that he doesn’t think that will be a problem. Sarana asks where Aufra will be and Eder says she’ll be in the rear of the town helping to look after the elderly and children. Sarana says Aufra saved her life back at Caed Nua and Eder poorly attempts to hide a smile. Eder says he’s going to check on a few things and descends the watchtower, leaving Sarana and Aloth. Sarana asks Aloth if he’s up for this, since he and Durance will be exposed out there. Aloth says they’ll manage, and asks Sarana if she’s ready. Sarana says she’ll have to be. Aloth nods and says that the people responsible for Maerwald’s death have much to answer for. The two look out into the distance, each in thought.

 

That night, we see barricades and various obstacles have been erected in the town streets, and people are finishing covering up holes in the main square at Kana’s direction. A rider comes up from the east and informs Kolsc and the main characters that Lord Raedric’s army is a handful of hours away, and will probably be in position in the morning. Kolsc turns to the others and tells them to get some rest, he will have scouts warn of any approach.

 

Sarana, Aloth, Kana, and Durance are using a large common room to rest. Kana is blissfully asleep, snoring, and Aloth is sleeping but restless. Sarana is having some trouble falling asleep when she sees Durance huddle in a corner, quietly whispering while he clutches his staff. Sarana pays closer attention and sees the symbols on Durance’s staff glowing faintly and pulsing brighter before going dark again, in particular a circle of a dozen stars of which all but one fade. Durance senses Sarana’s gaze on him and says “A few words to Magran before the battle to come.” Sarana nods and replies “She ever give words back?” Durance scoffs, but then quietly says “Not for fifteen years.” Sarana notes that time is around the end of the Saint’s War. “Strange coincidence.” Durance, with a light glare, says “If we survive, Watcher, perhaps you may learn more.” He then curls up facing a wall, and Sarana uneasily tries to go to sleep.

 

We see Eder visit Aufra in her home, which is also playing host to about a dozen elderly people and children. The two talk briefly, with Eder saying that when he heard Caed Nua was in danger, nothing was in his mind except making sure she was safe. He pulls her close and she says he can’t always be there for her, but he can at least be here tonight. The two embrace and kiss.

 

The following morning, all is quiet as the defenders of Gilded Vale slowly assemble to their designated positions. Sarana and the others rouse and get equipped and go to meet with Kolsc, who says a scout reported that Raedric’s army is marching. As if on cue, there is a slight rumble of thumping in the distance and everyone looks to the east where cresting over a hill we see the banners and glint of armor of Raedric’s force. Kolsc, looking through a spyglass, remarks “just as expected” and hands it to Sarana, who looks through to see about a half-dozen catapults being wheeled into position on the hill to the northeast. Sarana nods to Aloth and Durance, who quickly mount horses and exit the far side of town for a long loop around to get into position.

 

After some tense waiting as Raedric’s army fully gets into position, we cut to that army to see Raedric on his horse with his lieutenants. One asks if they should begin to shell the town but Raedric says they’ll give them one last chance and motions for a signal rider to go forth with a flag of truce. Seeing it, Sarana says that it’s a trap. Kolsc says that Raedric may have become a monster, but there are some Dyrwoodan customs even he won’t break. An official truce flag is one of them, because “if he violates it, he puts a target on his back for every noble who wants a piece of these lands.” He asks Sarana and Eder if they’ll join him. Both agree. Sarana tells Kana to get into position and wait for her signal. Kana nods and scampers off. Sarana, Eder, and Kolsc ride out the eastern gate. Seeing them exit, Raedric smiles and rides forth as well.

 

They meet about halfway between Gilded Vale and Raedric’s army. Raedric and Kolsc exchange formal pleasantries. Raedric says Gilded Vale can be spared, if the leaders of the rebellion turn themselves over for judgment. Kolsc replies that if Raedric abdicates his lordship, he will be allowed a generous pension from his treasury to make a new life elsewhere. The two bicker until Sarana, a little irritated, asks Lord Raedric “haven’t enough people died by your rule? All this blood and death, and you’ve solved nothing.” Raedric smirks. “Your attempts to sway me won’t aid you. They are a shadow of the might of the gods, whose favor I have cultivated.” To this Eder remarks “If you had cultivated the favor of the gods, I doubt your child would have become Hollowborn. Must sting, to think you’re so powerful, and to have the same fate as those you torment. Have you forced your wife to leave yet? Or are you as big a hypocrite as you are a tyrant?” The smirk fades from Raedric’s face and is replaced by cold rage, and for a split second he removes his sword an inch from its sheath before regaining composure. “Death it is then” he says, riding off. Sarana and Kolsc look at Eder who shrugs. “We wanted to get his attention, now we have it.”

 

Raedric upon returning to his forces tells one of his lieutenants “Begin the barrage. Light the town aflame.” The lieutenant nods and has a signalman wave some flags. In response the small siege company loads the catapults with large jugs of tar that are lit on fire. The catapults begin to bombard the town, the projectiles exploding on impact and spreading fire. A number of houses and buildings go up in flames and the explosions and flames take out several defenders in the open as well. Sarana and Eder take cover and Eder hopes Aloth and Durance hold up their part of the plan. “Just give them a little time” Sarana says.

 

We cut to Aloth and Durance dismounting in the woods by the siege hill. They cautiously advance forward, going the last distance on hands and knees until they slightly overlook the position with the siege weapons. Durance clutches his staff and begins a soft prayer to Magran when Aloth cuts him off and says not yet. “We need to take them all out in one go if possible.” Durance snorts and says patience is not a strong suit of his. Aloth sighs and takes a few seconds to scan the area before noticing a large wagon filled with canisters of the tar. He points it out and says an explosion there should take out the position. Durance says he can manage that, but it’ll take a short bit to channel the proper attack so Aloth will need to distract the guards. “I was afraid you’d say that” Aloth replies.

 

Cut to Aloth a short distance away, behind a small boulder, complaining to himself before popping out and casting a magic spell that creates dozens of flashing dazzling lights a short distance away, temporarily blinding many of the soldiers. Aloth then starts firing magic blasts at the nearest ones to take them out. As many soldiers wander around dazed and others start rushing towards Aloth, Durance stands and points his staff at the wagon. He says a prayer incantation and his staff looks like it is burning red hot. A couple soldiers turn to look at Durance but it is too late. A pillar of white fire slams down from the sky onto the wagon, creating a large explosion that wipes out the catapults and flings burning tar everywhere, taking out many of the soldiers too. The shockwave knocks both Aloth and Durance flat on their backs.

 

In Gilded Vale many of the defenders and townsfolk cheer. Raedric meanwhile is furious. “Attack Gilded Vale, now” he orders. A lieutenant tries to protest, saying that they should wait for reinforcements and starve them out, so Raedric grabs him by the throat and we see the dark veins bulge from his face. “NOW!” Raedric demands. Signal flags give the order to charge, and Raedric’s force swarms towards Gilded Vale, several large wagons a distance behind.

 

Back on the hill, Aloth and Durance get to their feet. “I can’t believe that bloody worked!” Aloth exclaims and then the two see over a dozen soldiers getting to their feet and staring directly at them. “You know” Aloth says, “I don’t think we planned what we would do if there were survivors.” Durance nods. “Don’t worry, priests of Magran are trained to wage battle against numerically superior foes.” Aloth sighs in relief and turns to ask Durance what the plan is, only to find Durance booking it towards their horses. “Typical” he comments before joining him in flight.

 

At Gilded Vale the wooden walls are manned by a small force of archers. Sarana and Eder are there with bows as well. The archers get off a few volleys and take out a number of soldiers, but then the soldiers are at the wooden walls with ladders and a small portable battering ram. The initial group of soldiers up the ladders are beaten back, but there are plenty more behind and they start to carve up the defenders, so Eder signals for a retreat and the remaining defenders fall back into the town, Raedric’s men over the walls opening the gate from inside. The soldiers stream into town in pursuit. With the gate now open the several covered wagons enter the town. The soldiers attending them are all nervous, but their commander orders them to open the wagons up. The soldiers do so and from each wagon emerge a handful of the creatures that Osyra’s experiments had generated. Loosely responsive to directions, they are told “go into town, kill anyone without this armor,” and the creatures scamper off.

 

Back with his reserves, Raedric comments that the rebellion is already falling apart.  He tells his reserve commander to send in the bulk of them. The commander says they should wait until they’re needed but Raedric says he wants this battle over quickly. The commander nods and the majority of the reserve, about a hundred men, march towards town.

 

In Gilded Vale the main defensive plan begins, as Raedric’s main force is forced to split up into many columns to navigate the various streets. This makes them susceptible to ambushes as archers and spearmen fire projectiles from rooftops and windows, and small groups of militia with quickly dart in from the side, attack a few, and then flee back down an alleyway. This wears down the columns and takes out a good number of soldiers, but with their training, superior arms, and superior armor, they slowly push through the streets. We see Sarana, Eder, and Kolsc lead one such counterattack that takes out several soldiers, and temporarily drives that particular advance back, but then cries of dismay are heard as the undead creatures enter the fray, immune to concerns of pain or caution. Worse, many of them are recognized by the defenders as former colleagues, friends, or worse, family members, which makes them hesitant to cut them down or even more fearful. The creatures are therefore able to plow into groups of defenders and claw down a number, driving off the others. A small group of them try to attack Sarana’s group but Sarana and Eder are able to encourage the others to fight back, and they destroy the creatures.

 

Kolsc intends to organize additional counterattacks, but shouts of alarm are heard as Raedric’s reserve enters the town and takes a flanking route down side streets. This nearly cuts the three off and they and several other militia are forced into a running fight through the streets as they try to avoid being surrounded. They manage to escape when most of the militia with them volunteer to hold the soldiers off. This allows Sarana, Eder, and Kolsc to get clear while the militia are surrounded and cut down one by one. Taking a quick breather, Kolsc says that they’ll be forced back to the main square soon, and after that there isn’t much more to retreat to. He says he hopes Sarana’s friend knows his stuff. Sarana says he’s probably forgotten more already than the three of them will learn in their lifetimes combined.

 

We briefly cut to Kana with several helpers making final preparations putting subtle markers were each explosive is buried. The plan is to shoot fire arrows at the spots for a simultaneous explosion. Kana sends an archer to vantage points for a clean shot at each spot.

 

Aloth and Durance ride back to the far gate of Gilded Vale, having left their pursuers behind. The gate is quickly opened for them and they’re told that Raedric’s forces have entered the town. Aloth says he is going to look for Sarana. Durance says he’ll find the “librarian” and help him start the “biggest fire this backwater has ever seen.”

 

Back overlooking Gilded Vale, Raedric receives a report that resistance is falling apart. Raedric is pleased and wants to enter the town, but is advised to wait until it is secure. Raedric nods and holds fast, but his eyes focus with hate at the smoking town.

 

In Gilded Vale, the defenders are falling back. Kolsc is considered calling in those stationed on the far side, but Eder convinces him not to, saying that falling back was always the plan. Their group encounters a small company of Raedric’s men and a melee breaks out, the tide shifting back and forth until a barrage of energy bolts impacts the solders, felling several. The others fall back and Sarana turns to see Aloth there, a small scepter extended outward. Relieved he’s alive, she goes over and gives him a brief hug, which, being a bit formal, he receives a little stiffly, but is happy none the same. Aloth says Durance went to assist Kana. A runner comes up to Kolsc and says that Raedric’s forces have reached the central square. Kolsc nods and tells Sarana “it seems that it’s time for your friends to hold up their end.”

 

In the central square, Raedric’s forces enter from multiple paths, streaming in. With a lull in fighting, their commanders reorganize the soldiers, to fully oppose the collection of defenders at the far end. Kana is observing from a perch with a small spyglass and is muttering to himself “a little more, a little more.” Raedric commanders give the order to march and the collected forces, with the remaining undead creatures pushed to the forefront, slowly advance across the square. As they reach the halfway point, by the former hanging tree, Kana calls out to a young boy nearby to send out the signal. However, before the boy can do so, which is lighting a smoking torch and flinging it high in the air, a few of Kana’s stationed archers get impatient and start shooting regular arrows at the soldiers, which causes a number of crossbowmen in Raedric’s forces to halt and fire back. This also means that a couple notice the boy lighting a torch, so they open fire. Kana notices this in time to warn the boy, so he is able to duck behind cover, but the boy accidentally drops the torch, which skitters into the open. Kana motions for the boy to stay still, and then rushes out to the torch, but the crossbowmen reload and fire again, and one bolt hits Kana in the leg and he falls just short. As he strains and crawls closer, the crossbowmen reload and take aim, and open fire. But before the bolts can reach him, a shimmering wall of energy shoots up and the bolts dissipate to ash. Kana looks up to see Durance has arrived with a fiery grin. “Don’t worry, I’ll take it from here.” Durance pounds his staff into the street and a handful of small swirling fire trails fly up into the air. It’s not the signal, but it’s enough to get Kana’s archers’ attention and remind them to do their job. They duck behind cover to light up fire arrows as planned, and re-emerge to shoot at the designated spots. They hit, and for a second there’s nothing, and then the flames reach the caches and ignite, resulting in several large explosions, throwing fire and rubble and smoke everywhere.

 

Overlooking Gilded Vale, Raedric is stunned and demands to know what caused this. The smoke and dust obscures his ability to see what is going on. In the town, Sarana looks at Kolsc and says “looks like they did.” The group rushes to the central square.

 

In the central square, Durance helps Kana to his feet as the smoke slowly clears to show that the explosions have taken out a large number of Raedric’s men, and knocked most of the others prone, as well as setting the former hanging tree on fire. As the remaining soldiers get to their feet, dazed, soot-stained, bruised, bloody, or burned, they see silhouettes of forms gathering in the smoke and dust. The entire strength of the Gilded Vale defenders, including many of those not yet in the fight, burst through the smoke and dust and charge into the weary attackers. Tired, dazed, surprised, and shocked at the explosions, the soldiers are plowed into like a wave on loose rocks and are overwhelmed.

 

From his ridge, Raedric is stunned when he sees fragments of his force staggering and retreating out of Gilded Vale, some of them hotly pursued and cut down by angry, determined peasants. “Cowards, incompetents, by Berath I will do this myself!” he shouts before being held back by a lieutenant. “My lord, our forces are beaten, we must regroup.” Raedric, in a fury, refuses to take heed, so his men have to literally drag him away until he finally relents. He and his remaining reserves retreat.

 

The smoke, dust, and flame settles, and the Gilded Vale defenders take stock of the town, with the bodies of the fallen carted away for burial, and the bodies of the creatures dumped into a pile and burned. There is joy and relief among the townsfolk. Eder goes to find Aufra and the two embrace, Aufra wiping away some of the soot on Eder’s face before kissing him. Sarana finds Kana getting his leg attended to and thanks him for his plan. Kana nods and says he may have put it together, but “without his help it wouldn’t have worked,” gesturing to Durance who is sitting to the side in meditation. Sarana gives Durance a look, and sees as before on his staff the circle of twelve stars brighten, and again all but one fade.

 

A short council of war meets, and Kolsc dampens the enthusiasm. They defeated Raedric’s attack, but this was always just the first battle. “He has plenty of other levies that are being raised, and the same with us. We have time before his reinforcements come, but between our losses today and our lack of siege tools, there is no way we can breach his castle conventionally at this time.” Aufra chimes in at that point to add “Not to mention the hostages he has taken from Gilded Vale. He will threaten their lives if we march on his castle, and I have no doubt he will take some of them to show he means it.” Sarana says that the main thing to do then is to remove his leverage. Get the hostages out of the castle, and there is no bar to an attack. Or, even better, combine it with a small strike force to take out Raedric then and there. “We end this quickly, or many more on both sides will die.” Eder points out that they actually have to get inside the castle and Sarana looks to Kolsc, asking if he knows of any secret ways. Kolsc nods and says when he and Raedric were children they explored a secret path from the dungeons to the outside moat. “But Raedric flooded it when I began my resistance, so there’s no way we can move a large number of people through it.” “Then a small one will do” Sarana says, and looks to Eder, Aloth, Durance, and Kana. They all nod. Aufra says she is coming too. Eder starts to say something but Aufra gives him a “don’t you fucking dare” kind of look and he wisely clams up. Aufra says that the hostages all know her and will trust her, so she can help them while an exit “that doesn’t involve swimming in the dark underwater” is arranged. Sarana nods and says they should leave immediately.

 

At Raedric’s castle, Lady Raedric is on the battlements in thought when she sees a small column of soldiers approaching hurriedly, with Raedric at the front looking in a frenzy. Worried, she rushes down towards the courtyard. Raedric enters and dismounts. A random courtier approaches to inquire about the battle and Raedric, seemingly with inhuman strength, grabs the man and slams him headfirst into a stone wall. The man slumps down leaving a bloody streak behind. Raedric shouts to those assembled that Berath is testing their resolve, and that only sacrifices will prove their devotion. He strides in one direction and is met by Lady Raedric, who tells him he will go no further. Lord Raedric says those who defy him must be taught a lesson and Lady Raedric says that “your lessons have only made things worse. You have one last chance to stop this.” Raedric walks right up to his wife and looms over her before at last backing down. “My reinforcements are on their way. I will await them.” He walks off towards the main keep, and Lady Raedric at last lets out a long breath of relief. From a battlement above it all, Urgeat has been watching, and he smiles, as if there is a joke only he is in on.

 

We cut to the road to Raedric’s castle, with our main characters (plus Aufra) in transit, along with Kolsc and a company of soldiers. The plan is for Kolsc and his men draw attention, making it easier for Sarana and her group to use the flooded passage. As they ride Sarana pulls up alongside Eder and comments, “so…you and Aufra, huh?” Eder smiles and says it kinda just happened. Sarana says she isn’t poking fun, she’s happy about it. She asks what Eder intends to do once Raedric is stopped. Eder isn’t sure, but probably help Gilded Vale rebuild and make sure it’s a safe place for Aufra. There’s a slight edge in his voice and Sarana notices. “You’re concerned about her child.” Eder nods. “Even if we fix everything wrong with Gilded Vale, it doesn’t fix the Hollowborn.” Sarana nods and they ride on in silence.

 

At Raedric’s castle, Lady Raedric approaches Nedmar, who tells her that her husband has been praying in the chapel to Berath. Lady Raedric says she believes her husband is on the brink of doing one last atrocity, and asks Nedmar where he stands. Nedmar, after some thought, says “with you, my lady.”

 

In the chapel, Raedric prays and prays, beseeching Berath one last time to give him the strength needed to purge the land and make it fit once again. “Aid me, and I shall commend souls to the wheel in your name. Even my own, if need be.” The transformation he has been subtly undergoing during the film becomes more pronounced, and Raedric pulls off a glove to see his hand is mottled gray with dark veins. “I understand now” he says. “I know what I must be, what you have granted to me.”

 

It is night when our heroes arrive in the vicinity of Raedric’s castle, and they decide to bunker down in the woods to avoid early detection. Sarana goes to rest and dreams of something that is so real it must be a memory.

 

She is walking down a road, a road lined with corpses tied to stakes. The road leads towards a city, at the heart of which is a tall stone tower around which a pair of giant elm trees intertwine. The scattered residents of the city who notice her either avert their eyes, or bow their heads in acknowledgment. She reaches the base of the tower and enters, finding herself in a large chamber of runes on the ground, painted stars above, and encircled by statues of the gods. She goes to where a pair of guards block a door, the guards wearing the same winged helmets and masks the one man Sarana saw early on wore. Upon recognizing her they stand aside and she goes through. She descends through countless stairs and halls until she finds herself opposite two large double doors covered in runes, the same doors from her initial vision. She passes through, into the same second giant chamber as before, with a massive tower of copper and adra in the middle. The masked man from before is there once again, facing the tower and machinery. This time however, instead of dropping to her knees, she is upright, and she feels herself about to ask a question, a question she is terrified to ask but must ask regardless. As she opens her mouth, she hears Eder’s voice say “wake up, it’s time.”

 

Sarana wakes up to find everyone else getting ready. Eder, sitting over her, says it’s good she finally woke up, cause otherwise he’d have used a bucket of water on her. To the side Durance snorts and says it’s not water anymore. “All the same, glad you’re up” Eder says. Sarana gets to her feet and starts getting ready. Once everyone is set, Kolsc gives them directions to the flooded passage. He gives them a handful of men to help with any obstacles, and wishes them luck. Kolsc sets out. “Let’s get your people out” Sarana says to Eder and Aufra, “and let’s kick this bastard off his throne.”

 

Guards at Raedric’s castle walls see Kolsc’s company emerge from the woods and assemble, and raise an alarm. In the throne room Raedric has been brooding, and Urgeat and Osyra are there. The alarm frightens Osyra and rouses Raedric from his torpor. Urgeat is unfazed. Raedric tells Osyra to ready her remaining specimens. “Pray they succeed, animancer, or you will face the same fate as I.” Osyra nods and scampers off towards her lab. Raedric turns to Urgeat and orders him to assemble the men. “Of course, my lord” Urgeat says with a flourish. Urgeat departs and Raedric summons a courtier to fetch his arms and armor.

 

As the sounds of alarm emanate from the castle, Sarana’s group moves through the woods to a stream that feeds into the moat around the castle. She spots the grate that marks the entrance to the flooded passage and the group is able to get the grate removed. The water is dark and murky, and the group plunges in one by one.

 

At her lab, Osyra, instead of readying her remaining specimens, is furiously collecting notes and papers by the armful and dumping them into a fire, and also collecting belongings into a bag. A drawling voice from behind her inquires as to what she is up to. It is Urgeat. Osyra says that Raedric is going to lose, and when he does the peasants will just string her up and hang her if she is lucky, because they have no understanding of the work she has done. Better for her to escape, and destroy her research, otherwise word of what went on here will spread. Urgeat smiles and walks up to her, and puts a hand on her shoulder. “That’s the idea,” and suddenly Osyra freezes as if paralyzed. Urgeat calmly takes the notes and papers she has yet to burn and tucks them back onto shelves and into drawers. “I know, I know, you’re surprised because I recommended you to Lord Raedric in the first place” Urgeat monologues, “but a point like this, was always going to come. Though I didn’t think Raedric would bungle things so quickly. Still, his success or failure was irrelevant. It was the hate of the people, and the scapegoat, that was the goal. Among other things, but that’s not important for you.” Urgeat walks over to a wall where a pair of switches are mounted. “I suspect you intended to use the waterways under the castle to exit, as there are a few entrance points outside. I’ll be taking care of that.” He pulls the first switch, and there is a sound in the distance of water flowing out. “But not you I am afraid. You, as you said, will not be lucky. But it will be a fitting way to go.” And with that he pulls the second switch, and the sound of several doors clanging open is heard. Urgeat gives the frozen Osyra a mock bow and then departs around the corner, as a low collection of moans is heard, until suddenly a couple of her specimens appear around a different corner. They start to approach.

 

Sarana’s group is swimming underwater when Kana, slowed by his injured leg, starts to lose his breath. He starts struggling and Eder grabs him to help him along, but it is tough, when suddenly the water level descends. They emerge into a once submerged hallway. All of them are a bit confused but go on alert for an ambush. There is none, and they enter a small round room with 2-3 other passageways splitting off in various directions, and one going straight ahead. Going straight, they emerge near Osyra’s lab and hear the undead creatures. They go forward and engage the creatures, Aufra hanging back with Kana. After a short fight they eliminate the creatures and take stock of their location. They also see, partially blocked by overturned tables and chairs, a woman’s body on the stone floor with blood pooling. Sarana tells Kana and Aufra to take the guys Kolsc gave them and to find the hostages and bring them this way. “With the water level down you should be able to completely exit the castle.” Sarana and the others will confront Raedric. Eder and Aufra have a brief tender moment and then the group splits up.

 

Upstairs, Raedric is fully armed and armored and is striding towards where the hostages are kept with a handful of guards. Lady Raedric steps in his way and tells him he is not going to do this. Raedric says that it is the only way to force Kolsc to back down. Lady Raedric says that it will only inflame them further. Raedric says it is what must be done. “The heretics, the dissidents, the Eothasians, all of them must fall.” “Even your wife?” Lady Raedric replies as she pulls out her holy symbol of Eothas that we’ve seen before.

 

“You have lost everything you are, husband. Look at you, you have traded away your life and soul for your misguided deeds. And must we all fall with you?”

 

Raedric is stunned, and for a few seconds is at a loss for words, until his face contorts into a snarl. “You, it was your doing all along. You caused our child to become a monster! You brought the curse into our home! IT WAS ALL YOU!” He advances towards his wife, who realizing she has miscalculated backs up fearfully. Suddenly Nedmar appears with several of his fellow priests, and they interpose themselves between Lord and Lady Raedric. “My lady, go” Nedmar says, and Lady Raedric takes off at a run. Lord Raedric turns to Nedmar and says “It is good to know that I am killing a traitor.” Nedmar replies that it is Raedric who is the traitor. Raedric grabs Nedmar by the throat with a gauntleted fist and crushes it with superhuman strength. His bodyguards swarm towards the other acolytes and cut them down. “Follow my wife, bring her and the hostages to me” Raedric says. The bodyguards rush forward and Raedric, melancholy, returns towards his throne room.

 

Lady Raedric reaches where the hostage women are being kept and persuades an ignorant guard to open the chambers up for her. He does and as he enters he is hit over the head from behind by Lady Raedric, startling the women inside. “Come with me, now” she tells them. The women all nod and quickly file out one by one, Lady Raedric nervously leading the way.

 

Sarana, Aloth, Eder, and Durance reach the main level of the castle and see the halls are mostly deserted, with the staff in hiding and most of the soldiers on the battlements. They press forward.

 

Kana and Aufra carefully move down a different passage, Kana a bit gingerly because of his one leg. They use the soldiers with them to scout ahead and quietly take out a couple isolated guards.

 

Lady Raedric and the former hostages are still on the move when they hear shouts from behind. It is Raedric’s bodyguards catching up. The women are frightened and Lady Raedric tells them all to run.

 

Lord Raedric is sitting on his throne, lost in thought, when the doors to the throne room open. He looks up to see Sarana, Eder, Aloth, and Durance enter. Recognizing Sarana and Eder, Raedric muses that Kolsc must have told them about their childhood entrance. Sarana scans the throne room and sees a few guards and what looks like the court wizard, but no Urgeat. Eder steps forward and says that Raedric’s reign of terror is over. Raedric gets up from his throne and laughs. “Over, I have only just started. When I am done this land will be at peace.” Eder says that will only happen if Raedric leaves no one in the Vale alive. “If that is what it takes” Raedric says, “then so be it. The Wheel shall have its fill.” He takes his large two-handed sword and plunges it into the floor and a ripple of dark energy blasts out, knocking the group off their feet. Raedric, looking sickly pale and with sunken eyes, says that he has given himself to Berath, “and if the Usher requires a fresh start, then I shall give it to him!” Sarana and the others get to their feet as Raedric’s guards rush in to start the fight.

 

Lady Raedric and the former hostages are still on the run, but the chasing guards have almost caught up to them when suddenly a few soldiers and a large Aumaua man jump out from a side hallway and plow into them. In the clash of fighting Aufra goes to a startled Lady Raedric and says Kolsc sent them to get everyone out. “Follow me, you’ll be safe.” Aufra leads them towards the catacombs while Kana and the soldiers fend off the guards.

 

Back in the throne room, Sarana and Eder are fighting off the soldiers while Aloth and Durance duel with the court wizard, who is matching them spell for spell. Eder is locked in a grapple with one soldier, and Sarana flings a knife in that direction and gets the soldier in the neck. He goes down and Eder has a clear path to Raedric, who looks almost disinterested. Eder rushes forward to engage him in a swordfight, Raedric with his two-hander, Eder with his sabre and shield.

 

Kana and the soldiers with him finish off the pursuers, but hear the sound of more men mobilizing. Kana tells the soldiers to help Aufra get the women out, and he goes to catch up with Sarana’s group.

 

Durance and Aloth continue their magic duel with the court wizard, trading bolts of fire, ice, and other energy as well as using magic shields and other tricks. A few soldiers burst through the throne room doors. Durance tells Aloth to “take out the gods-damned mage already!” and rushes to intercept them. He engages the soldiers Gandalf the White style with twirling staff moves. Sarana continues to whittle down the soldiers facing her.

 

Eder and Lord Raedric exchange blows, with Eder’s military history allowing him to stay on relatively even footing with the seemingly tireless and inhumanly strong Raedric. Raedric’s sword seems to be pulsing with a dark energy and he very nearly cuts Eder down a couple times, until he overextends on one wide swing and Eder plunges his sabre into Raedric’s torso. Raedric doesn’t even flinch and with a powerful shove flings Eder back, Eder landing prone. Eder watches as Raedric pulls out the sabre without reaction and we see that instead of red blood it is darkish brown and blue and almost congealed. “Gods” Eder says, “what have you done to yourself?” Raedric sneers. “I asked for the strength to bring death to those who oppose me. I pledged myself to Berath, to that purpose, and now, I, Am, Death.” He stalks towards Eder and swings again and again, but Eder, crawling backwards, is able to barely block with his shield. Sarana sees this and, after slashing her current opponent, throws her sword to Eder, who scrambles to his feet and continues the swordfight.

 

Durance is still fending off the newly arrived soldiers when one of them trips him up. Durance falls down and the soldier tries to plunge a sword towards him, but is suddenly barreled into by Kana. Kana knocks the soldier out by slamming his head into the floor, and then he helps Durance to his feet. “We’re even now” Kana says with a toothy grin. Durance cackles. “My boy we’re just getting started!” The two go back to the fight.

 

Aloth is still in the magic duel with the court wizard and is starting to feel his strength eb, so he decides to think outside the box, given the fight being focused on magic. The court wizard fires his latest magic salvo, which Aloth dodges. As Aloth dodges, he scoops up a fallen helmet and first fires a magic attack from his scepter, and then throws the helmet. The court wizard expects the magic attack and raises a magic shield with a grin, but magic shields don’t stop physical objects, and the helmet flies through and smacks the wizard in the face. The wizard drops unconscious.

 

Eder continues to duel with Raedric, who is shrugging off anything Eder can throw at him. Sarana finishes off her last opponent and starts towards Eder to help but he warns her off. “He’s unstoppable, get the others and leave!” She hesitates, and then rushes in anyway and leaps onto Raedric and grabs both sides of his head with her hands. Suddenly everything goes white.

 

Sarana is in the throne room, which is immaculate, empty, and untouched by the fight. She turns around in a circle and sees a normal looking Raedric sitting on his throne, bent forward, hands on his head. She walks towards him. “How did it go so wrong, how?” she hears him mutter until he looks up at her. “So, you’re the Watcher’s apprentice” Raedric says, and Sarana nods. He says Urgeat feared her for some reason. Sarana says she noticed Urgeat wasn’t present. Raedric says if Urgeat isn’t here, then he must have fled. Sarana asks Raedric what he knows about Urgeat, and Raedric replies “very little. Only the man who recommended him to me, Gedmar Doemenel, from Defiance Bay.” Sarana nods and says that she has a score to settle. Raedric softly laughs and says to Sarana that all he knows of Watchers is what he has been told. “I heard so many stories about them as a child, that they could look into your soul and see all the deeds you committed in your lives, and help those who are lost find themselves.” Sarana says she has little understanding of what any of this means, but what she does understand is that all of this madness in the Vale needs to end. “Too many have died, but no one else needs to. It can stop, today.” Raedric says it won’t stop, it can’t, not while the Hollowborn plague the Dyrwood. “You don’t understand what it is like, to see the future die in front of your eyes, they don’t understand it. There is no hope, no future, just nothing, that is what awaits us.” Sarana shakes her head. “What you’re doing, all it does is make the land a little emptier a little faster.” Raedric looks up at her and we see he has tears in his eyes. “I gave everything I had to save this land. My body, my soul, everything. And it has taken everything from me. My people, my wife, my….my son. What happened here in Gilded Vale will repeat all over the Dyrwood in time.” Sarana walks up to Raedric and, carefully, puts a hand on his shoulder. She looks down, knowing what she has to do, and says “I give you my word, I will find what is causing this, and I will stop it. I will make sure the Dyrwood, has a future. I swear it.” Raedric looks up at her, a softness in his eyes that we really haven’t seen before. “Thank you” he whispers. Everything goes white.

 

In the instant following her leaping onto him, Sarana is thrown to the floor, and Lord Raedric falls to his knees. Eder stands a few feet away, wary. Raedric looks to the side as Sarana gets to her feet and gives her a nod. He then looks at Eder, some color returning to his face, and says “do it.” Eder without hesitation steps forward and cuts Raedric’s head off. Raedric’s body crumples to the floor, and all is quiet.

 

We cut to later in time, with Kolsc’s men having taken control. In the great hall Sarana’s group, with Aufra, are meeting with Kolsc and Lady Raedric. Kolsc thanks Lady Raedric for protecting the women held hostage and Lady Raedric says she wishes she had acted sooner. She asks Sarana what she did to make her husband stop, and Sarana says she promised him that she would end the Hollowborn plague. A bunch of people raise their eyebrows, and Sarana says she intends to keep that promise. Kolsc says it will take some time for Gilded Vale and the surrounding countryside to get back on its feet, but he proposes a partnership with Lady Raedric to do so. She agrees. Kolsc also says that word of the animancy experiments Lord Raedric authorized is spreading through the region and “it will be a bad day to be an animancer when word reaches wherever one of them is.” Sarana says she will take her leave then, but first she will return to Caed Nua. She leaves with Aloth, Durance, and Kana, after shaking Eder’s hand. Eder, Kolsc, and Lady Raedric leave as well, but Aufra lingers a moment looking the way Sarana went.

 

On the road to Caed Nua, Aloth rides alongside Sarana and asks her if she knows what she is undertaking. “It’s been fifteen years and no one has the slightest idea.” Sarana knows, but says that it’s all too convenient that a lot of these events have happened around the same time as the ceremony that triggered her becoming a Watcher. “I think it is connected, somehow, and I have a man to hunt down for it.” Aloth nods, but says she doesn’t have to get involved. They’re both foreigners, they can walk away. Sarana shakes her head. “I can’t walk away, not anymore.”

 

Eder and Aufra return to Gilded Vale and go to Aufra’s home. Eder notes that Aufra has been quiet the whole way. Aufra asks Eder if she thinks Sarana has a chance to find out the cause of the Hollowborn. Eder shrugs and says no one has had a clue since it started, but “none of them are her.” Aufra nods and says that if he feels that way, “you should go help her.” Eder is a bit taken aback and says he’s needed here. Aufra takes his hands and says “You are, but I need you out there. We need you out there,” placing his hands on her belly. The scene holds on a shot of Eder looking down at Aufra.

 

Sarana, Aloth, Durance, and Kana arrive at Caed Nua, and briefly settle in. Sarana goes up to the parapet of one of the towers and is in thought, and says softly to herself the advice Maerwald had given her: “Never Far From the Queen” a few times. She then hears a voice repeat the phrase. It’s the woman who had given her advice about Maerwald before. “Know what it means?” Sarana asks, bemused. The woman says “Well, Dyrwood ain’t never had a queen, ‘cept you talking about the queen of the gods. Spiteful that one.” Sarana, eyeing her curiously, seems to put a puzzle piece into place. “Who are you” she asks the woman. The woman asks what she means.

 

Sarana replies “I’ve gotten bits of advice from a bunch of people these past days, some of whom disappear as soon as they lend a hand. Now, I’m not a scientist, but it seems the opposite of coincidence that I’m getting tidbits from unconnected sources at opportune moments. So, I ask again. Who are you?” The woman smiles a broad, mischievous smile, and when she talks it is not with her voice, but with a medley of various voices of genders and ages: “I was wondering when you would notice.” Sarana says she’s been a little preoccupied. She turns away for a second, and when she turns back the woman is now a child elf, and then an elderly orlan, and then several different things in succession. “Neat trick” Sarana says. The figure, now in the form of Caldara (the dwarf animancer corpse from early on), extends her hand and asks Sarana to come with her for a moment. After a brief hesitation, Sarana does. Everything flashes.

 

Sarana finds herself in a dark void, except for the twinkle of starlight all around. “Welcome to the Beyond” a cacophony of voices surrounding her says. “We thought it best to show,” and Sarana sees around her lidless eyes appear out of nothingness and swirl around her before coalescing into a single mass of dozens of eyes, blinking and watching. Sarana smirks. “Always was curious to meet a god. Wael, I presume.” Wael laughs, echoing around Sarana. “We have always found visual stimulation the best way to get mortals’ attention.” Sarana asks what Wael wants. “To help, indirectly, of course. Technically we are bending the rules even talking to you openly like this. But we feel matters deserve more attention than the Others are giving.”

 

Wael says that Sarana’s instincts are going down the right path, and she should explore it, since it will lead her to more answers than just the one she seeks. “Of course, it will also raise many more questions, as all journeys should” Wael says with a chuckle. Sarana raises an eyebrow and asks “You already know the answers, don’t you?” Wael replies “of course we do. We could tell you everything right now, solve all of your problems. And then you will have learned nothing. WE are Mystery, Secret, Revelation, Inspiration. Everything unknown must eventually become known, but it must become known on mortals’ terms. To know something is nothing. To understand something is everything.” Sarana sighs and asks why contact her if she has to do everything herself. “Because what you chase is a threat, one that the Others do not appreciate, and they are bound by their laws to not stop.” “Aren’t you bound as well?” Sarana replies. Wael says “we are, but we also know how to bend them. We will visit, time to time, to give a little nudge down the right path. But the walking of that path, that is up to you.” Sarana asks if there is anything else. Wael laughs and says “the nudge we gave you before we brought you here. The Dyrwood never had a mortal queen. But a queen it did have once upon a time, and all queens have their monuments. We shall talk again Sarana, we suspect that you will have some answers by then, but more importantly, more questions.” The collection of eyes blink, and suddenly Sarana is back on the tower, alone.

 

Sarana, Aloth, Durance, and Kana meet in the dining hall of Caed Nua. Sarana says she means to go forward with her journey. She understands if they prefer to take their leave. Durance snorts and says he is here to watch a Watcher, so he will go with her. Kana says that his research brought him here, to her, and he will continue with her. Sarana looks at Aloth, who is nervously squeezing his hands, and she says it’s okay if he doesn’t want to. Aloth shakes his head and says a little haltingly that he will go with her. Sarana smiles, and a voice calls out from the back “got room for a fifth?” It is Eder. Kana goes over and gives him a bear hug, which almost smothers Eder. Sarana goes over and thanks him for coming. Eder gives an “aw shucks” look and says Aufra sends her regards. Sarana says to the group their lead is the phrase “Never Far from the Queen,” and while the Dyrwood never had a mortal queen, “there is the former Queen of the Gods, Woedica. That’s our lead, a connection between her and the Dyrwood.” For a few seconds all is quiet, until Kana chimes in “Well the capital of the Dyrwood, Defiance Bay, used to have a giant temple to Woedica in the city center until it burned down in its independence war against the Aedyr Empire.” Sarana says it is as good a start as any. The camera holds a shot of the five standing together in the middle of the hall.

 

We cut to a shot of five horses with riders leaving the gates of Caed Nua, taking a road south, on the way to Defiance Bay. The camera pulls up and zooms out, and slowly fades to black.

 

The camera fades in. Urgeat walks through damp, musty stone passageways. He walks to a stone door flanked by guards. The guards, noticing him, bow their heads and open the door, and Urgeat walks inside. It is lit by candlelight, with an altar with an icon of an old woman with a broken crown. Standing before the icon, facing away from Urgeat is a man, wearing the winged helmet Sarana has seen. Urgeat drops to one knee as he gets near. “Report” the man says, still facing away. “Lord Raedric has fallen” Urgeat says.

 

“Unfortunate” the man replies, “your position there allowed us easy access to the Engwithan ruins. How did he fall.” “Rebellion” Urgeat says. “He pushed too hard and his people pushed back.” Urgeat smiles, “and when they pushed back, they saw the depths Raedric went to, commissioning experiments from animancers to turn their loved ones into monsters. Word of it is spreading through every town and village I passed through. it may have already reached here.” The masked man chuckles. “Then in the end it went as hoped, if not as planned. Very well, take some rest, and return in a time. The hearings begin shortly, and your experience in Gilded Vale will help.” Urgeat says nothing, but lingers on one knee. The masked man senses this and asks what else is there. “Grandmaster,” Urgeat starts, “there is a complication. One that links to you.” The Grandmaster slowly removes his helmet and mask. “Go on” he says. Urgeat says that the people opposing Lord Raedric had the assistance of a neophyte Watcher, one who was present at Cliant Lis. The Grandmaster finally says “Interesting. I sensed something, but could not place it. Now I know.” He turns, unmasked, to face Urgeat.

 

“Tell me everything you know about her” the Grandmaster (Paul Bettany) says.

 

 

Edited by 4815162342

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Mass Effect


Genre: Sci-Fi/Action/Adventure
Starring: Mackenzie Davis (Lt. Commander Shepard), Blair Underwood (Captain Anderson), Sean Teale (Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko), Rob McElhenney (Lieutenant Jeff “Joker” Moreau), Rosamund Pike (Dr. Kahlee Sanders), Pablo Schreiber (Nihlus – mo-cap), Clive Standen (Balak), with Mandy Patinkin (Admiral Hackett), and Jake Gyllenhall (Commander Armistan Banes)
Guest Starring: Connie Britton (Captain Hannah Shepard), Giancarlo Esposito (Saren – mo-cap), Essie Davis (Dr. Karen Chakwas), Ralph Ineson (Charles Saracino), Adam Beach (Elanos Haliat), Logan Marshall-Green (Captain Markor)
Directed By: Matt Shakman
Written By: Bryan Fuller
Original Music By: Clint Mansell
Release Date: April 10, Year 4
Theater Count: 4016 Theaters
Running Time: 137 Minutes
Budget: $170 Million
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, language, disturbing images, and some suggestive material

 

Plot Summary:

 

Spoiler


Background Music begins during the opening logos.

 

(0:44 in) Mars. 2108 C.E.

 

A multi-national scientific exploration team arrives at a crevasse system near the Deseado Crater to investigate strange but cyclical electromagnetic disturbances that emanate from the area in barely detectable amounts. (1:11 in). The team enters the crevasse and carefully navigates the geological hazards, the electromagnetic interference picking up steadily as they go deeper. (2:08 in). Eventually they reach a large underground chamber and the members who have gone below all slow to a halt, looks of awe and astonishment as they walk around. The leader eventually activates a helmet communicator and radios “Have someone up there contact Base and have then send more technicians.” The response asks how many. The leader replies “All of them.” We then see a camera shot, slowly zooming out, of the team standing before a massive obelisk rippling with electromagnetic energy, connected into a mechanical apparatus that seems to be part of an ancient, abandoned facility of some kind.

 

(3:53 in for start of main credits montage)

 

NUMERATOR PICTURES PRESENTS

 

There is no audio for this credits montage save for the background music. We see the caverns underneath Mars excavated to reveal a massive enclave centered around the aforementioned obelisk. We see scientists and technicians combing over it, hooking up computer equipment.

 

IN ASSOCIATION WITH ELECTRONIC ARTS

We see the development of new technologies from the information gleaned from the facility. We see scientists in a big debate in front of a hologram of Pluto and its moon Charon.

 

AND BIOWARE

 

We see research ships approaching Charon, and a scientist pushes a button that emits a strange frequency towards the moon. We see massive cracks and fissures erupt on the moon and Charon breaks up into countless pieces, revealing that it is hollow, and inside of it is a strange, massive device.

 

A MATT SHAKMAN FILM

 

We see more scientific debates in front of pictures of the device, with strenuous arguments. We see the result of the debates, a lone ship approaching it, activating a signal learned from the Mars site.

 

MACKENZIE DAVIS

 

We see the device awaken, massive energy ripples coursing over it as a central core spins. We see the ship approach the core, everyone onboard tense and unsure, a few making prayer gestures.

 

BLAIR UNDERWOOD

 

The ship reaches the core, and is encased by energy tendrils and then suddenly is slingshotted forward at immeasurable speed, and suddenly appears at a halt near a similar device in front of an entirely different star. Humanity has uncovered faster than light travel.

 

SEAN TEALE

 

We see the results of this discovery being jubilation. We see politicians and leaders making deals, unifying Earth under the banner of the Systems Alliance.

 

ROB MCELHENNEY

 

We see the beginning of the wave of exploration, with vessels going far and wide to uncover and unlock more of these “relay” devices. We see the discovery of countless worlds, and the colonization of them.

 

ROSAMUND PIKE

 

Things are looking great, and then we see the First Encounter. A human ship has discovered a new relay and is studying it, when an alien ship appears. The humans try to contact it, but the alien ship instead destroys it.

 

PABLO SCHREIBER     CLIVE STANDEN

 

We see more human ships investigating the disappearance, only to find the wreckage and several alien ships examining it. The alien ships open fire, and many human ships are destroyed though a few escape.

 

CONNIE BRITTON        GIANCARLO ESPOSITO

 

We see massive debates on Earth about the encounter, while we see an alien armada arrive above a colony world, having tracked the surviving human ships. We see alien craft landing on the planet, revealing the aliens to us: Turians.

 

ESSIE DAVIS                  RALPH INESON

 

They attack human military positions, and as it is a small colony, resistance ends quickly to avoid loss of life. We see the Turians militarily occupy the colony, thinking it is the source of humanity. We see the humans plan a counterattack, and a large human spacefleet appears over the colony and engages the Turian force and drives it back.

 

ADAM BEACH              LOGAN MARSHALL-GREEN

 

The human victory is short-lived, as the Turians send a second fleet, and all-out-war appears certain, until a second alien fleet arrives and places itself between the opponents.

 

WITH MANDY PATINKIN

 

We see humans and Turians summoned to the other fleet and see two new alien races: Asari and Salarians. We see the Asari broker a truce between the humans and Turians.

 

AND JAKE GYLLENHAAL

 

We see massive reactions on Earth and other colonies to the news of multiple powerful alien races out there.

 

ORIGINAL MUSIC BY CLINT MANSELL

 

We see human representatives being taken by the Asari, Salarians, and others into a large nebula, where in the center lies a vast space station: The Citadel. The human representatives are taken onboard and marvel at the massive communal areas and the various alien species living out their lives.

 

WRITTEN BY BRYAN FULLER

 

And finally, we see a ceremony where after deliberation, humanity is accepted into the galactic community, its representatives shaking hands with leaders of the various constituent species, with some reluctance with the Turians.

 

DIRECTED BY MATT SHAKMAN

 

A wide shot of the ceremony slowly pans out as the screen fades to black. Background Music Ends at 8:40 in with a fade-out.

 

MASS EFFECT

 

2182 C.E.

 

Twenty-Five Years Since the First Contact War

 

A ship floats in the void of space. The camera slowly zooms inside and we see it is crewed by Batarians, tall, stocky humanoid aliens with bulbous heads and four eyes. Their leader, addressed as Balak (Standen) by his crew, withdraws to his quarters and opens his personal communicator channel. A hologram of a distorted figure with a scrambled voice thanks him for agreeing to the call.

 

BALAK: “You had my curiosity, but it will take more to keep my interest.”

 

The figure replies that there is an opportunity, one to right wrongs suffered by the Batarians. “I know how many you lost at Elysium, on Torfan” the figure says, all lost to the humans. The figure says it knows Balak wants revenge. Balak agrees, but says that the fight is over.

 

BALAK: “The Hegemon refused to give his support, and my comrades died for it. And now he seeks to play nice, to find accommodations so there is ‘room for everyone.’ His weakness is hidden, and no one in the Hegemony will support us standing for our preservation.”

 

The distorted figure nods and says perhaps Balak should find a way to motivate them. Balak questions what the figure means and the figure replies “The humans will draw first blood. When they do, contact me. I have a proposal you will be amenable to.” The hologram fades out and Balak stands in his quarters in silence.

 

We cut to an interior airlock, a woman in an exosuit without a helmet. The camera pans around and we see her face, breathing a little nervously. The airlock dings a warning and she puts the helmet on.

 

“How you looking Shepard?” a voice in the helmet audio asks.

“Ready” Shepard (Mackenzie Davis) replies.

“That’s what I like to hear” the voice says. “You know the drill. Beat the time, and you get the wings. Just like we’ve trained for.”

 

The airlock dings again and the door opens, and Shepard bursts out into a lunar landscape. Not just a lunar landscape, the Moon, as evidenced by the big blue marble of Earth on the horizon. Shepard jogs across the landscape towards the first marker, which is guarded by several automatous droids. Shepard engages them with her pulse rifle, taking them out easily. After the last one is down she activates the first marker.

 

“You’re making good time” the voice says. “Next markers will be more difficult.”

“I like a good challenge” Shepard says. “Otherwise I won’t break a sweat.”

The voice laughs. “Anyone ever tell you that pride comes before the fall.”

“Some old guy, right about now” Shepard replies.

 

Shepard presses on through the low gravity towards the second marker. This one is more heavily defended, with a couple more droids, but also a few autoturrets. Shepard scans the area and sees some heavier munitions lying around. She flanks the position, gains a tactical vantage point, and then opens fire on the nearest droid. This attracts the attention of the other droids and the turrets, and she takes cover. She activates a small explosive device and places it down, and then ducks around a boulder. The nearest droids arrive to find nothing but the device, which Shepard triggers with a remote. The explosion takes out a few droids and the flash temporarily blinds the others and the turrets. Shepard uses this distraction to sprint to a different vantage point, where she opens fire and takes out the remaining droids and a turret. The other turrets refocus on her, but in the brief delay she is able to get to the munitions: a small rocket launcher, and turn it on the remaining turrets. With those disposed of, she activates the second marker and sets out.

 

“Take a nap Shepard? Your time on that one wasn’t great.”

“I’m within the margins” Shepard replies.

“Sure, but I made a bet that you’d finish quick. You’re gonna let me lose money on this?”

“What do I get when I win this bet for you?” Shepard asks.

“My undying appreciation for you not being incompetent.”

“Does undying appreciation get me a cut?”

“….Maybe I trained you too well.”

“You sure did. 50%.”

“10.”

“I’m doing all the hard work here. 40%.”

“And you wouldn’t be here without me training you. 20%.”

“One-third.”

“Can I get you down to a quarter if I promise to introduce you to my sister?”

“I’ve already met your sister. Also, she’s married.”

“Yeah but he’s a shithead. We both know she can do better.”

*Silence*

“Okay fine Shep, you win, one-third.”

“Pleasure doing business Armie.”

 

Shepard arrives at the third marker, which is even more heavily defended, with open approaches. A head-on attack would be suicide, and carefully taking the turrets out one by one would take too long. Shepard mutters to herself to think this through and she scans the area. Nothing really pops up at first until she notices a slight energy reading. She repositions herself and sees that it is a power conduit. “Gotcha” she says as she tracks it away from the third marker area, over a ridge to reveal a power substation that is guarded by a few droids. She quickly takes them out and plants explosives on the substation and detonates them. With the substation gone, all the turrets around the third marker power down, leaving just the droid defenders. They’re not much trouble. Shepard then confidently strides to the third marker and activates it.

 

“That’s my girl” the voice says.

“Well?” Shepard asks.

“You beat the clock, wings are yours.”

“Obviously. I’m talking about the bet.”

The voice laughs. “We’re green.”

“See you inside” Shepard says as she turns to see a shuttlecraft approaching to pick her up.

 

We cut to the main Systems Alliance facility on the Moon. Shepard, now just in a casual jumpsuit, exits an airlock to find a small crowd waiting for her clapping. One of them is a man about a decade older in an Alliance dress uniform. He and Shepard shake hands and when she pulls her hand away there’s a few credit chips in it.

 

“This it?” she asks.

The man shrugs. “I never said I bet a lot” he replies with a smile.

“You’re such an ass” Shepard says as she lightly punches him in the shoulder.

“Yep. Must be where you got it from.”

The two smile and the man tells her to get cleaned up. “Ceremony will be in thirty. After that, drinks? On you of course since you’re the big winner.”

Shepard shakes her head. “Got a date with my mom. She flew in this morning expecting me to pass.”

The man nods. “Then I’ll see you at the ceremony.” He turns to leave.

Shepard calls to him to wait a second. “Hey Armie, thanks for everything. Wouldn’t have gotten this far without you.”

Armistan Banes (Gyllenhaal): “Honor was mine Shep.”

 

We cut to a military ceremony in a large atrium, where Shepard is formally assigned the military designation of “N7,” which is a prestigious designation in elite military operations, and is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Alliance military. Banes is present at the ceremony, as well as a woman wearing the uniform of a Captain in the Navy. It’s the woman Shepard makes eye contact with the most.

 

As the ceremony ends the woman, Captain Hannah Shepard (Britton), her mother, comes over and wraps Shepard in a big hug. Hannah tells her daughter that she knew from the minute Shepard started N7 training that she’d get it. “Had a good teacher” Shepard says, motioning towards Banes holding court with various officials. Hannah says that Banes does have the reputation, her tone mixed. Shepard notices and says that Banes is unconventional, but he’s the best spec ops commander in the Alliance. “Half our ground success in the Skyllian Blitz was because of his tactical planning.” Shep’s mom says that a lot of people played a part in that conflict, “including you.” At that point Banes joins the two, telling Hannah that she must be proud. Hannah is, and asks if Shepard will be sticking with Banes’ unit. Banes shakes his head and says he’s got a solo op in independent space for now, and suspects that Shepard will get her assignment soon. Hannah nods. “That’s one thing about being N7, you never have to wait long before there’s a fire to be put out.” They chat for a minute until an admiral motions for Banes to come talk. Banes sighs and says “never get promoted Shep” before leaving.

 

Shepard and her mom talk a little more. Hannah says she wishes Shepard’s father could have been here. Shepard nods and says it’ll just be one more thing to tell him about down the line. The two leave the atrium together, Shepard and Banes giving each other an informal salute.

 

We are on a dusty planet, where an alien outpost is situated. We see that all of the aliens are Batarians. In the hills above it, we see a company of beings in armored exosuits and heavily armed. Their leader gives hand signals, and the company attacks, laying waste to the colony. In the aftermath, we see the burning wreckage of the buildings and bodies strewn across the ground. The company returns to their transport ship and their leader goes to the communications room and removes his helmet. The captain (Marshall-Green) activates the communicator and reports to his client in a voice-only channel that “it is done.”

 

We return to Shepard and her Mom, who have traveled planetside to Vancouver, home to the Systems Alliance Earth HQ and where Hannah has her home. On the news there is a passing reference to a loss in contact with a small Batarian colony. Shepard and Hannah talk about family stuff for a little, when a chime sounds from Shepard’s communicator. She has received a secure message from Alliance Command, and upon examining it, tells Hannah that she has been assigned to the frigate Normandy as its XO (Executive Officer, aka second in command). Hannah knows the Normandy’s commander, he’s a good guy. Shepard says the Normandy is making a brief refitting stop at Earth in a couple days, which is when she’ll join up. There’s a slight air of nervousness, since an XO is a big responsibility. Hannah reassures her she’ll do fine.

 

We cut to the same planet with the Batarian colony, to find a team of Batarians in spacesuits combing through it. One of them removes his helmet. It is Balak. “It is as my contact informed me” Balak says to a subordinate “Contact Haliat, tell him to commence a reprisal.”

 

Balak, returns to his ship and personal communicator and punches in a code. The distorted hologram appears after a moment, and the figure asks what the occasion is. Balak says that the humans have struck, as warned. The figure says he told Balak this would happen. Balak says he has initiated a reprisal, which the figure dismisses as tit-for-tat. The figure tells Balak the only message humans understand is one too big to ignore. Balak, curious, asks the figure what he has in mind.

 

On a different world, more fertile, a small human colony is blissfully in the progress of setting down roots. People go about their lives until they hear a distant noise in the sky. Suddenly several shuttlecraft emerge from the clouds and fire rockets at the colony, devastating it. A few land and armored aliens of various species exit and open fire on surviving colonists, and others look to loot. One of them goes into a home to look for anything valuable, and a couple others, ignorant of this, decide to torch the place. The result is that the building collapses in a burning heap around the looter. The raiders depart and do a headcount, and when the one looter is found to be missing, their leader, a Batarian by the name of Elanos Haliat (Beach) dismisses it and says if he missed the shuttles it’s his own damn fault. They have a rendezvous to make. The shuttlecraft dock with a small warship, which sets off into space.

 

Compared to the tiny mention of the lost Batarian colony, the attack on the human colony in the Skyllian Verge gets a lot more attention. We briefly cut to a news conference where a middle-aged, dour looking man by the name of Charles Saracino (Ineson), who is the “president” of the political party Terra Firma, declares to the press that humanity continues to be attacked on the worlds it has rightfully claimed, and says that the Alliance and the Council must defend their people. “Otherwise,” he says, “We may have to defend ourselves.”

 

After the conference ends Saracino goes behind the stage to talk to an aide. “It is as we were warned sir” the aide says. Saracino nods. “A little caution first. If the politicians on the Citadel fail to do something, we will reach out to our benefactor.”

 

The film cuts to Arcturus Station, a massive space station where the Alliance has their deep space command center. Several Alliance admirals and administrative leaders are debating how to respond to the colony attack. One of the admirals, a senior leader by the name of Hackett (Patinkin), says that doing nothing is not an option, given the political climate. “If the Council wants to step in, they certainly can, but until then, we need to get the ball rolling.” Hackett says he has in mind the perfect ship for the job.

 

We return to Earth, where Shepard and her mother are both getting into their dress uniforms. The Normandy has arrived at Earth so it is time for Shepard to join the crew. In the background a news broadcaster mentions that the X57 asteroid is set to make a stunningly close approach to the colony Terra Nova in the Asgard system and that Alliance researchers have set up temporary facilities on the surface to study the asteroid. It is projected to make quite the viewing spectacle. After the two get dressed, Hannah asks Shepard if she’s nervous. “Does it show?” Shepard replies. Hannah smiles and tells her daughter that there’s nothing to worry about. “Anderson’s one of the best.”

 

We cut to Shepard and her mom in a shuttlecraft leaving Earth and heading towards an orbital spacedock. We get a nice tracking shot of the shuttlecraft zooming around the side and bringing the Normandy into view, a sleek and shiny frigate-class vessel. The shuttlecraft docks with the Normandy, and after the hatch opens and Shepard and her mom step through.

 

Waiting for them in double lines are several marines in formal salute, and at the end of the rows is a middle-aged man in a captain’s uniform, Captain Anderson (Underwood). Shepard salutes and advances, her mother behind. Anderson welcomes Shepard aboard the Normandy and then shakes Hannah’s hand, saying that it’s been too long. Shepard learns that her mother and Anderson served together when they were young lieutenants under the now retired Admiral Zhu. Anderson leads Shepard to the main operations center on the ship, with a fancy galaxy map, talking a bit about the ship along the way. It is a prototype stealth design, worked on in conjunction with Turian scientists. Anderson says the Normandy isn’t detailed on assignment at the moment, so they’ll likely do some casual patrols and system tests to ease Shepard into her role and get her familiar with the crew. Shepard has little time to take in the surroundings before Anderson is intercommed saying that there is a priority message coming in from Admiral Hackett. Anderson tells Shepard that it’s time to get to work, and has her and Shepard’s mom follow him to a conference room.

 

A hologram of Hackett pops up and notes Shepard and her Mom’s presence. “New XO” Anderson notes. Hannah offers to excuse herself but Hackett says her clearance level is high enough.

 

HACKETT: You’ve heard of the attack in the Skyllian Verge on Diomedes?

ANDERSON: Hard not to.

HACKETT: What isn’t public knowledge is that a few days prior, a Batarian colony about thirty light-years away was hit as well. High Command thinks the Diomedes strike was retaliation.

SHEPARD: And what do you think, sir?

HACKETT: I think the Batarians aren’t stupid enough to officially sanction this kind of play. Maybe they contracted it out, or maybe it’s someone acting on their own initiative. Either way, we need to get to the bottom of this. Especially since the Skyllian Verge is outside Council jurisdiction.

HANNAH: You said retaliation, that means someone struck the Batarians first.

HACKETT: All we know is that a Batarian colony suffered casualties. Obviously, the Hegemony is not going to allow us to take a look, so it could be anything, even a false-flag. We’re going to stick with the places we can access for our investigation.

ANDERSON: Normandy is ready sir. We can be underway to Diomedes within the hour.

HACKETT: That’s what I like to hear. You’ll be reporting to me directly on this. Good hunting.

 

The hologram fades out. wryly looks at Shepard. “Onboard for a handful of minutes and already an assignment from High Command, this is going to be interesting.”

 

Hannah interjects that since it appears Anderson and his crew have to get to it, she will take her leave. She shakes Anderson’s hand and gives Shepard a quick hug before being shown the way to the airlock. After she leaves Anderson comments to Shepard “Time to meet the crew.” He activates the intercom to contact the flight deck. “Joker, make the ship ready for departure. We leave for the Charon relay within the hour.” “Joker?” Shepard asks.

 

“Flight Lieutenant Moreau” Anderson explains. “He likes to think he has a sense of humor.” Anderson also sends a note for the senior staff to meet in the operations center, and he and Shepard exit the conference room.

 

Anderson and Shepard reach the operations center and find a handful of people have gathered. Anderson introduces Shepard to them, and then identifies several of the people: Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko (Teale), the chief security officer onboard the ship; Dr. Karen Chakwas (Davis), the ship’s medical officer; and then a couple others, and then finally a voice says “leaving the best for last Cap?” Shepard looks to see a middle-aged man with leg braces slowly shuffling into the operations center. “No, just the slowest, Joker” Anderson says with a slight grin. Anderson introduces Shepard to Flight Lieutenant Jeff Moreau (McElhenney), but says everyone calls him Joker. Shepard familiarizes with everyone, and then Anderson gets to business and lays out their assignment from Hackett: Travel to the Diomedes colony and investigate its attack. “First responders are already there attending to casualties, so it’s our job to go through the wreckage, find any indicia of who struck the colony, and then run down the leads. He asks Shepard to coordinate the investigative protocols with Kaidan, and tells Chakwas to have EMTs and supplies ready to render any additional medical care if need be.

 

The Normandy sets out for the Charon relay. Enroute, Shepard sits down with Kaidan and they go over protocol for security measures and planetary missions, since as the XO Shepard will the point person for the ship on the ground. They learn a little about each other, Kaidan noting a few rumors he heard about Shepard’s unit during the Skyllian Blitz. Shepard says they’re half-true. We learn that Kaidan is a biotic, which is a person that has been exposed to Element Zero and has gained telekinetic and energy-based abilities as a result. Biotics is also used in technology of various nature, and it is what powers the mass relays as well as starship reactors.

 

We also see Shepard drop by Chakwas and Joker’s station to personally introduce herself. Chakwas has a sunny, pleasant disposition. Joker is sarcastic and snarky, but also honest. Shepard asks about the leg braces and we learn that Joker suffers from Vrolik’s Syndrome, a form of brittle bone disease that makes him extremely susceptible to fractures. He says that because he has to spend much of his time relatively immobile, joining the Navy and being able to sit and fly the Normandy pretty much saved his life.

 

We cut to a small, barren planet. A vibrant, military-esque outpost lies within a large crater. It is Balak’s base. He meets with Haliat to discuss their next move. Haliat is to take some of his organization and strike the mass core assembly facility run by the Alliance on the colony world Philoctetes. Haliat smiles and says all that element zero deposits will make for quite the big bang. Balak agrees, and says that the scale of the explosion will wipe out any trace of Haliat’s real reason to hit the facility. Balak hands a datapad to Haliat and tells him “Everything on that list.” Haliat is curious about this being smash-and-grab instead of just smash. Balak says that he has something bigger in mind.

 

The Normandy arrives at Diomedes. Anderson contacts the first responders on the ground from orbit and learns about the current status of the colony. He tells Shepard to take Kaidan, Dr. Chakwas, and a small landing party of Marines and EMTs down to the surface.

 

On the way down in a shuttle, Shepard sees that both Kaidan and Chakwas look a little on edge. “Never seen the aftermath of an attack before?” she asks. Kaidan shakes his head. “I fought in some skirmishes during the Blitz when we were counter-attacking, but never saw something like this up close.” Chakwas says that she was part of one of the first medical teams who arrived at Mindoir after the massive slaver raid at the start of the Blitz. “It…you never get used to something like that” she says softly. Shepard nods and tells them that they’re here to help people and find out what happened, so they just need to keep focused on those tasks.

 

The shuttle lands near the ruins of the colony, and we see that first responders have set up medical tents and are organizing clean-up crews. Chakwas takes her EMTs to assist with the medical services, while Shepard and Kaidan take their Marines to the responder command post, and inform the officer-in-charge of their purpose here. The officer details a few soldiers and survivors to help guide Shepard’s people through the colony ruins.

 

Shepard’s team sweeps through the colony, one of the survivors providing details about the attack. As they move about Kaidan is utilizing a bio-scanner to detect any signs of life or organic material out of the ordinary. Shepard’s people are told that maybe half of the colony has been swept by retrieval crews so far. From the details narrated about the attack, plus examination and observation, Shepard deduces that this wasn’t a military strike, but rather some organized, if unrefined force that has military hardware. “We’re looking for a mercenary or pirate group I think.”

 

Kaidan then picks up something on the bio-scanner, coming from about a hundred meters ahead. As they get closer we see it is the building that collapsed on top of the one looter who got greedy. Kaidan says the signal indicates someone unconscious. They get to the building and gingerly dig through the rubble, Kaidan using biotics to carefully move some concrete blocks and metal beams. They eventually uncover the source, an armored alien who is bruised, bloody, burned, and battered. It is a Vorcha. “Think our attackers left someone behind” Kaidan comments. As they continue to uncover the vorcha, Shepard leans over it for closer scrutiny, when suddenly it wakes up with a shriek and tries to reach for its nearby sidearm, but Shepard quickly punches it out. “Back to naptime” she says. She then pulls out her communicator and alerts Chakwas that they found a survivor.

 

We cut to the medical station onboard the Normandy, where the vorcha lies on a table, sedated, with Chakwas attending to various injuries. Anderson, Shepard, and Kaidan watch from outside. Anderson says it’s uncharacteristically sloppy for an attacker to leave someone behind like this. Shepard says that leans towards it being a pirate group, big on destruction and military toys, but not as much on being careful. Chakwas finishes her work and comes out to tell the others that the vorcha is going to live, but given vorcha are known to be simplistic and not intelligent, they shouldn’t expect to get much information out of it. She does say that there are some tattoos and other markings that might be of interest, and shows them on a tablet pictures of them. Shepard and Kaidan can’t make sense of them, but Anderson recognizes one of them as an insignia for the “Forsaken Sons,” a pirate group of exiles from various races. He says he knows a few people who can possibly run down where this group is at.

 

We cut to the Philoctetes colony, which is a mostly undeveloped planet, but has a small semi-urban area built up in one part. Near the edge of the community is a large industrial facility that we see does large production for mass effect cores, which utilize Element Zero for propulsion and gravitational manipulation. We also see that there is a research center connected to the facility, and the research is being directed by a human woman, Dr. Kahlee Sanders (Pike). We briefly see her interact with her research staff, and then communicate with a corporate superior about the status of her work. She tells the superior that “Project Tug” is close to finalizing a prototype for testing. Her superior says this military contract is going to make a fortune.

 

We see a couple dingy cargo ships landing at a spaceport not that far from the facility. We see that it is Haliat with a couple dozen of his men. Haliat tells his people to take up position around the facility and scope it out. They engage in one solar day. He asks one of his ship pilots if the fake IFF signatures for the ships are holding up. The pilot, a Salarian missing an eye, says that they are. “Used my old standbys, those IDs always get us through these backwater world security checks!” Haliat asks about their contingency and is told they are hiding behind the planet’s moon. Haliat nods, pleased, and goes off to take a closer look.

 

Back on the Normandy, we see Shepard and Kaidan and Joker on the flight deck, Joker and Kaidan telling Shepard a story about one of their early times on the Normandy that ends up with a humorous punchline about Kaidan accidentally insulting a foreign dignitary. They laugh and Kaidan says that in his defense the Alliance naval academy did not go sufficiently in-depth with their xenobiology courses. He also notes that Joker gets to stay with the ship, otherwise they’d have about five times as many diplomatic incidents. Joker acts mock insulted. Shepard then tells a story about her time training in the N7 program. She seems to be getting along well.

 

Meanwhile, Anderson gets a message from one of his contacts, who informs him that two ships with ship ID tags commonly associated with the Forsaken Sons have landed at the Philoctetes colony. No idea on their interest, but at least twenty people between the ships. Anderson summons Shepard and Kaidan. He indicates Philoctetes on the galaxy map and says it is a bit out of the way from the nearest relay they can connect to from Diomedes, but they should get there in a little under a day. He tells them to have the marines onboard ready with weapons hot. The crew gets to work and the Normandy makes a beeline for the nearest mass relay.

 

We return to the Philoctetes colony, where it is now time for Haliat’s men to begin. The majority of them assault the security perimeter of the facility and easily force their way through, while the others create roadblocks and barriers to the local police responding to the attack. Haliat tells his men to fan out and secure the facility, and to get everything on the list. We see Sanders composed enough to get several other scientists and workers to a locked room where they hide.

 

The Normandy enters orbit over Philoctetes and picks up emergency transmissions from the colony security forces about the attack. Joker contacts colony security and gets information about the attack, which he relays to Anderson. Anderson immediately has Shepard and Kaidan lead a ground team of the Normandy’s marine contingent in a couple shuttles. Anderson tells Joker to keep the ship in orbit, in case the Forsaken Sons try to escape.

 

By this point much of the facility has been secured by Haliat’s men, with a number of bodies of security guards, workers, and scientists strewn about. Haliat is in the production center, barking orders to his pirates to be careful as they load up strange looking equipment and energy cores into grav-crates. Elsewhere in the facility, a couple Batarian pirates have found the locked room that Sanders and the others are hiding in, and have begun to try to force their way in.

 

The Normandy shuttles arrive and Shepard has them aim for a clearing just north of the facility. The shuttles land and Shepard, Kaidan, and the marines exit and charge towards the facility. A couple pirates on sentry duty try to raise an alarm but are quickly gunned down. The marines enter the facility and start sweeping through. As they do they start to engage small groups of pirates that are finishing up their patrols. One of them manages to alert Haliat before being shot. Haliat gets the message and tells his people in the production center to hurry things up. He also contacts his parked ships and tells them to warm up for an emergency extraction.

 

Shepard and Kaidan’s teams fan out, and Shepard and Kaidan come across the Batarians trying to force their way into the locked room and take them out. Shepard cautiously at the door says that they’re Alliance and here to help. After a few seconds the door unseals, showing Sanders. She and the others are grateful for the rescue and she says there isn’t much time, since the materials produced by the facility can be tremendously unstable. She offers to lead Shepard and Kaidan to the production center.

 

After a couple minor skirmishes, Shepard, Kaidan, Sanders, and a handful of marines reach the production center, to see Haliat’s men finishing up their looting. An armed standoff ensues and Haliat says that he didn’t expect Alliance forces to be here so quickly. He’ll have to have some words with his employer about that.

 

SHEPARD: Sure, you can tell him all about in when you’re in the same cell.

HALIAT *laughs*: Spoken like a human. Arrogant and presumptive. But I think I’ll have that conversation elsewhere.

 

Haliat points a gun sideways and opens fire, rupturing a piece of equipment that contains liquid element zero at high temperatures, causing a minor explosion. This kicks off a firefight as Haliat and his people fight towards a rear exit and try to hold off Shepard and Kaidan and their marines. The fight is complicated by the growing instability of the element zero, which causes minor explosions across the production center in violent purple-blue flames. Haliat and a few others get out the back with the remaining grav-crates while the others remain to hold off Shepard. We see that Haliat’s two ships have taken off and are now landing for Haliat to load up the stolen materials. In orbit, Joker picks up the signatures and alerts Anderson.

 

Shepard and Kaidan take out the last of the rear guard and get to the exit to see Haliat’s two ships fully loaded and now taking off. Shepard in a bit of annoyance fires at one of the ships, but the shots maybe scratch a little paint. The production center is now completely in flames, and it is spreading to the rest of the facility. Sanders tells them they need to get everyone out, if the fire reaches the element zero storage tanks it’ll take out everything. Shepard nods and tells Kaidan to alert the shuttles for pickup as well as local security to evacuate everyone from the surrounding area. Kaidan does so, running towards the shuttles while yelling in his communicator, while Shepard, Sanders, and some of the marines go back inside to get any remaining people out. After some close calls with fire and falling debris, they get everyone out and to the shuttles. The shuttles take off and get a good distance away as Shepard reports to Anderson via the shuttle comm. Anderson says the Normandy will handle the intercept.

 

On his ship, Haliat is alerted to the Normandy in orbit. Haliat says that is why they had the contingency, and tells the pilot to alert the “swarmers” to distract the warship. We see behind the colony’s moon about a half-dozen starfighters activate engines and zoom around, heading for the Normandy. The fighters are picked up and Anderson tells Joker to ignore them and focus on Haliat’s ships. The Normandy’s main guns open fire on Haliat’s ships to try and get through the particle shields and disable the engines, while point-defense guns try to fend off the fighters. The Normandy gets one of the ship’s particle shields very low, but a lucky hit from one of the remaining fighters causes system damage that imperils the Normandy’s own shields. Anderson swears and tells Joker to break off and take care of the fighters. Joker complies and begins evasive maneuvers with impressive rolls, swoops, and reversals that cause the remaining fighters to be picked off one by one. Unfortunately, the two pirate ships get away.

 

Back on the planet, the evacuation of the surrounding areas is mostly finished and Shepard, Kaidan, and Sanders watch as the facility erupts in a massive biotic explosion that decimates the facility into dust and vapor, and rains fire and debris onto a several block radius surrounding it. Kaidan remarks that at least they got the people out. Shepard turns to Sanders, who is sitting down hands on her head. “I think you are going to have some explaining to do” Shepard says.

 

We cut to the Normandy, with Anderson and Shepard calling Hackett on the vid-com. They report what happened to Hackett, who is dismayed by the news and says this second attack is going to fire things up. Defensive, Anderson says that if the Normandy wasn’t at the colony, a lot more people would have died. Hackett says he understands that but others won’t. Sighing, he tells Anderson to bring the Normandy to Arcturus Station, since their orders will likely be changed by the time they get there. The communication ends. Shepard says that the call was bullshit, the Normandy and its crew did everything it could, as fast as it could. Anderson agrees, but says it is never good enough or fast enough for some people. Hackett will have their back. Shepard asks what they do for now, and Anderson says they have a chat with Dr. Sanders.

 

Sanders is sitting in a small conference room with some coffee when Anderson and Shepard enter. Anderson gets to the point and tells Sanders to talk about what was going on in that facility, since “unlike Diomedes, this attack was focused on a particular spot.” Sanders is evasive at first, talking about corporate nondisclosure agreements, etc., until Shepard says that this goes beyond corporate politics. “You saw what could have happened to that colony if we weren’t there. If you know something that can help us stop another attack, you should tell us, now.” After a few seconds, Sanders takes a deep breath and says ok. She tells Anderson and Shepard about her research, which was a private contract awarded by the Alliance Navy to create equipment that could manipulate Element Zero on a much larger scale than previously done before for the purposes of propulsion and gravitational manipulation. “To make things faster?” Anderson asks. Sanders shakes her head. “To move things that are bigger.” Like being able to push an asteroid or comet into a certain orbit to allow for easy mining of its resources. “We called it Project Tug.” Shepard says that there’s no way to know how much Haliat’s men made off with because the explosion eliminated all trace evidence, but they now know that whoever Haliat is working for wants to play around with Element Zero manipulation. Anderson says that it is a start. Anderson tells Sanders that they’re going to Arcturus Station, where she’ll tell Admiral Hackett what she told them, and that he expects she’ll be “assigned” to the Normandy for the short-term. Sanders says that she’ll be fine with that, “I was getting too cooped up in my lab anyway.”

 

We cut to another Saracino press conference, as word of the Philoctetes colony attack is filtering through the galaxy. Saracino says that the Alliance and Council are failing their obligations. “We gave them a chance, to keep us safe” he says. “And it is clear now that our government is abandoning our people to please aliens lording over us. This cannot continue.” After the press conference, Saracino is escorted to a secure office area where a heavily encrypted holo-communicator is rigged. Saracino activates it and we see a scrambled holo, with a modified voice.

 

SARACINO: We’re in. Enough is enough.

BENEFACTOR: Good, I am sorry that more human lives had to be lost. But now we can move forward.

SARACINO: How so?

BENEFACTOR: We both know who is responsible for these attacks. So, we retaliate, and send them a message that we will strike back each time they hurt us.

SARACINO *nods*: That is acceptable. After all, it’s just filthy alien blood. But how does Terra Firma figure into this?

BENEFACTOR: I can supply the man, but you supply the resources. Money, contacts, whatever he needs.

SARACINO: What man?

BENEFACTOR: I took the liberty of inviting him here.

 

A side door opens and a man in space armor enters. It is the captain (Marshall-Green) whose men attacked the Batarian colony early on. “This is Captain Markor” the Benefactor tells Saracino. “His men are effective.”

 

“Always a pleasure to work with a man who knows the real enemy” Markor says in a drawl, extending his hand to Saracino. Saracino nods and shakes it.

 

We cut to Balak’s base and see Haliat arriving. Haliat goes to meet Balak, who is displeased with Haliat’s encounter. “You got sloppy” Balak grumbles, and Haliat says more likely an Alliance ship was in the area and was able to hear a distress call. Haliat says he thought Balak’s “friend” had told him no Alliance were in the area. Balak replies that his “friend” is not omniscient. Haliat also complains that Balak wants the humans to know who is responsible. Balak, getting angry, says only at the last moment. Balak tells Haliat that there is no turning back and no time to stop. He tells Haliat to go to Illium to handle the “exchange.” Once they have those materials, they can put their true plan into motion.

 

The Normandy arrives at Arcturus Station and docks. Anderson and Shepard are escorted to a conference room where Anderson and several other senior Alliance staff are waiting. Some of the staff are a bit hostile and critical to Anderson and his crew, but Anderson and Shepard defend their actions. Hackett ends the back-and-forth and tells Anderson that the attack on Philoctetes has gotten the Council’s attention. The Council is stepping in to “supervise” the investigation, because they think this is no longer a human-only concern. Hackett says that the matter is decided. “I had to fight to make sure we weren’t shut out” he says. He pushes an intercom and tells someone to “send them in.”

 

Two Turians enter. One is entering middle-age, the other is on the upper end of it. They are introduced as Nihlus (Schreiber) and Saren (Esposito). They are Spectres, elite special forces that report directly to the Council. Hackett says this is technically a Spectre investigation now. Saren will supervise the investigation from Arcturus, while Nihlus will be the point investigator. The Normandy and its crew is “assigned” to him. Saren and Nihlus introduce themselves and there is a little tension between Saren and Anderson. After an initial review of prior events, Nihlus says that the first thing to do is to interrogate this vorcha prisoner on the Normandy, as he is currently the only active lead. Shepard says she can help set that up. The meeting then winds down and Hackett dismisses Anderson and Shepard, and they return towards the Normandy. Hackett asks the Turians if they need anything and Saren says a little snidely “We’ll take it from here Admiral. If there is something we can use the Alliance for, you’ll be the first to know.” Hackett ignores the tone, nods, and leaves. The two Turians are alone.

 

NIHLUS *shakes his head and mutters*

SAREN: Have something to say?

NIHLUS: It’s been twenty-five years Saren. A long time to hold a grudge.

SAREN: They’re children, Nihlus, children with advanced weaponry and a species-wide sense of entitlement and superiority. Until they prove otherwise, that’s how I will treat them.

NIHLUS: *sighs*: Maybe it’s because I was too young, but I just don’t see them the same way. Caution and concern, yes, but you have to admit their drive is something the Council has lacked in years.

SAREN: And the reverse side of drive is ambition. The Council is slow, yes, but it also has existed in its current form for over a millennia. The humans want their seat at the table, even though they’ve done nothing to earn it, and they’ll push and push any way possible to get it. Keep that in mind when you travel with them.

NIHLUS: I will. As always, I keep both eyes open. But they’ve been attacked, and it’s our job to prevent further ones from happening. That’s what I intend to do.

SAREN *chuckles*: Been around for as long as you have and still have a sense of optimism. Still amazed I wasn’t able to train that out of you.

NIHLUS: You managed to get everything else.

 

The two shake hands and then Nihlus turns to exit the conference room and head towards the Normandy. Saren watches him as he goes.

 

We cut to the Normandy, where Nihlus meets with the senior officers. He asks what the leads are and Anderson presents their findings so far. Nihlus has some familiarity with the Forsaken Sons and notes that they’re likely muscle. Shepard agrees and says they have a Vorcha prisoner recovered from the first attack. Nihlus asks if the Vorcha was interrogated and Anderson says no, it was recovering from injuries and given Vorcha being of low intelligence, they didn’t expect it to know much. Nihlus says “A common mistake.” He asks to be taken to the prisoner and the staff take him down the medical bay where Chakwas is observing the prisoner. Nihlus asks her if the Vorcha can be woken and she says “Oh he can, and when he’s awake he won’t shut up.”

 

The Vorcha wakes up and is in a very irritable, grouchy mood.

 

VORCHA: HEY! Was taking good nap! What you want!

NIHLUS: Hello there. I was hoping to talk to you about the Forsaken Sons. My colleagues and I want to find them.

VORCHA: TELL YOU NOTHING! Crixax very good at not telling people things! Crixax sometimes not tell people because Crixax forget, but still, no telling you!

NIHLUS: Ah, I see. I guess what your friends said about you is true.

CRIXAX: WHAT FRIENDS SAY?!

NIHLUS: Oh, just that they don’t bother to tell you anything because you forget all the time and can’t do anything right.

CRIXAX: Not true! Crixax remember lots of things! Crixax remember where Forsaken Sons go to buy fancy gear and things for boss man’s client!

NIHLUS: I doubt that, your friends were very insistent. I guess we’ll have to go find someone who actually knows something.

CRIXAX: THEY NOT FRIENDS OF CRIXAX! Ask Crixax whatever you want and Crixax will show you they wrong!

NIHLUS: Alright, I believe you. Let’s start with something simple. You said that the Forsaken Sons go buy fancy gear and things. Where do they go?

CRIXAX: They go to shiny planet, Illium! Crixax never met Weapon Man, but boss man say he rich and go to all the big parties! Crixax never gets invited to parties.

NIHLUS: Thank you for your help Crixax. I’ll be sure to tell your friends that they were wrong about you.

 

Nihlus nods to Chakwas, and she administers a sedative that knocks the vorcha back out. Kaidan goes “Huh, never figured we’d get anything out of him.” Nihlus says that because vorcha are stupid, people assume they don’t know anything. “Really they know as much as the rest of us, they just don’t know what they know, so you have to coax or trick it out of them.” Anderson says that they know to go to Illium, to find an arms dealer of some kind, but not much else. Shepard points out that from what the vorcha said, the arms dealer is a high roller of some kind, so that should narrow it down. Nihlus agrees and says that he has a contact or two on Illium, they should be able assist.

 

At that point they are contacted by Joker over the intercom to come up to the briefing room. There’s news.

 

Everyone goes up to the briefing room where Joker is waiting. Anderson asks what it is and Joker says there’s been another attack. “On us?” Anderson asks.

 

Joker shakes his head. “On them.”

 

He turns on the console to show a hologram of a news report that a small Batarian colony has been terror-bombed, with casualties in the hundreds. There is no information as to who is responsible. “Well we know it was us” Anderson says, “one of those fringe xenophobic groups. This is what Hackett was afraid of.” Nihlus adds the Council feared this. “This is why they are stepping in. If this escalates, your species will drag itself into a Second Contact War.”

 

The meeting breaks up as the Normandy sets out for Illum and there is some downtime with the crew. Nihlus seeks out Shepard, who is boxing a punching bag in the gym. He asks Shepard questions about her military background, etc., and Shepard, a little snarky, says she figured Nihlus would have gotten briefed on the Normandy ahead of time. Nihlus says he did, but you learn more from talking to people. There’s some additional confrontation and Nihlus finally takes a hint to leave, saying “You know we’re on the same side. I want to stop these attacks as much as you do.” Shepard sighs and says that the Council has had plenty of opportunities to step in and protect humanity, but they only do when it’s convenient for them. “If the Council had declared our colonies in the Traverse to be in Citadel borders, the Skyllian Blitz would never had happened, and thousands would be alive today.” Nihlus says that he’s a soldier, not a politician. “I wasn’t there then, but I’m here now.” Nihlus leaves and Shepard after watching him go returns to the punching bag.

 

We cut to a dingy ship in space. In it, Captain Markor is having a discussion with the Benefactor via distorted hologram. He says the latest attack went well. The Benefactor nods and says that Markor’s next step is to find out more about their opponent. He says that analysis of some of the weapons used in the attacks on the human worlds showed some of them are quite specialized military grade gear. “And there’s only one dealer rich enough to deal in that gear and arrogant enough to think he can get away with it. Find him, and find out what else he’s been selling. I suspect the xenos have a bigger endgame in mind than pillaging minor worlds.”

 

The Normandy arrives at Illium, which is heavily settled planet outside of Council controlled space that is known for its political independence and massive success as a trading world. Shepard, Nihlus, and Kaiden disembark and head to meet Nihlus’ contact. The contact is a somewhat surly Volus, a short and stocky alien species that wears pressure suits. After some strong-arming from Nihlus, the contact finally plays ball and says that the premier arms dealer on Illium, who gets to socialize with the trading elites, is a Salarian named Haver Modos. Certain military grade weapons and tech can only be found on the black market through him. Shepard says they’d like an invitation to meet him. The contact laughs and says he can’t arrange for that, but he can arrange for them to be in the same building. An Asari by the name of Nassana Dantius is holding a fundraiser/auction in her personal skytower, and Modos always goes to those. Rumor has it that he is going to be making another arms deal while there. The contact can arrange for a group invitation under assumed names, he just needs to know how many will attend. Nihlus thanks the contact, says he will give him the details later, and the three leave. “We have our lead” he says to Shepard and Kaidan. Shepard nods and says by the looks of it, they might catch two birds with one stone tonight.

 

They return to the Normandy and report to Anderson, who says that because Illium is an independent world, they have no jurisdiction here to take any offensive action at the gathering. “We watch, we observe, we learn. If Haliat shows up, we do not engage. If he wants to start a fight, we can defend ourselves, but we don’t make the first move.” Kaidan asks about the arms dealer and Anderson says that once the gathering is over they can tail him back to his den and confront him there. Shepard says that Nihlus’ contact just has to know how many will attend. Shepard, Nihlus, and Kaidan are all givens, and Anderson says he will attend as well. He also says that based on the items stolen from Philoctetes, it wouldn’t hurt to have a scientist on-hand. The others agree and Anderson asks Dr. Sanders if she’s interested in attending a party tonight. Sanders playfully says she thought Anderson would never ask.

 

We cut to a little while later, with the Normandy team of Shepard, Kaidan, Anderson, Sanders, and Nihlus in civilian clothes, dressed for the part of an upper-scale event. There’s a little banter about the attire and they set off, Joker patched in to them with micro ear-communication devices. Anderson tells Joker to have the ship warmed up and to monitor comm channels. Joker complains about not getting an invite, to which Shepard asks if he actually wants to come. After some silence Joker says “Well…no, I mean if I tried to dance or anything my legs might literally break in half, but it’s the thought that counts.”

 

They travel to the gala, which is in a massive penthouse occupying the upper few floors of a skyscraper. As they ascend the elevator, Shepard says it might have been a good idea to come armed, just in case. Nihlus says he’s heard of Dantius, she’s incredibly paranoid, something about her sisters all trying to kill each other, so anything they brought would probably be found. “Unless you’ve discovered a hiding place in that dress” he says. Shepard gives him a wry grin and replies “Would you believe me if I hid something with less?” Nihlus chuckles, Sanders smiles slightly, Kaidan does his very best to pretend there’s something interesting out the window, and Anderson sighs.

 

They reach the penthouse levels and as predicted, they are searched by security guards for weapons, who after finding none, wave them through. Anderson says they should split up, cover more ground. Nihlus says he’ll attract less attention solo, and heads off to the side. Shepard tells Kaidan to come with her, leaving Anderson with Sanders.

 

The group does their recon of the penthouse area, the camera cutting between the groups as they take everything in and navigate drunk and rich humans and aliens. After their initial look doesn’t turn anything up, Nihlus suggests over comms that they find different places to post up with good vantage points. Shepard agrees and says she and Kaidan will take the second floor, which encircles the main hall with a clear view. Anderson and Sanders take the rear, near the open bar area. Nihlus will take the main floor, off to the side.

 

At their spot, Anderson and Sanders order drinks and chat while keeping an eye on things. Sanders asks how Anderson got into military life and he says as the youngest of his siblings he didn’t really have much opportunity lined up on Earth, so joining the Alliance was a way to get a future and see the stars in the meantime. “Wasn’t meant to be permanent, but the First Contact War hit a few months after I graduated from the Academy, and after serving in that, I knew I found my place.” He asks Sanders how she got into biotic engineering. She says that it was the opposite of Anderson. Her dad was a military man but she couldn’t stand how it hurt her family, so it drove her into the sciences. She says they haven’t talked much the past several years.

 

Meanwhile, Shepard and Kaidan are at their position, leaning on the overlooking railing. Shepard tries to learn a little more about Kaidan. Kaidan says he’s not that interesting, he was discovered as a biotic when a kid and sent to one of the fledgling academies for biotic students. He says that it wasn’t easy, but he pulled through it. Shepard gets the sense that there’s more to the story but doesn’t push it. She asks how long he’s been with the Normandy and he says three years, it was his first ship assignment and “I guess Cap didn’t mind having me around since I’ve been with it since.” The two chat a little more and then Shepard sees something over Kaidan’s shoulder. “Eyes up everyone, we got us an arms dealer.”

 

A scrawny but confident looking Salarian enters the main hall with a few bodyguards, with sidearms. Kaidan notes them being armed and Nihlus says “perks of being a high roller.” They watch the Salarian go pay greetings to a regal-looking Asari, who they presume to be Nassana Dantius, and then find a place to wait. He doesn’t wait long as Haliat enters with a few seemingly unarmed heavies in tow. “And there’s our pirate” Anderson says. Kaidan says they should take flanking positions and see if they can listen in. Nihlus replies “Not so fast. We’re not the only ones with eyes on them.” Anderson asks what Nihlus means and the Turian says “Single human, second floor, 9 o’clock from Shepard and Alenko. Had eyes locked on Modos the minute he entered.” Anderson and Sanders don’t have a visual, but Shepard does, and her eyes widen slightly. “I have this one” she says, and tells Kaidan to go join Nihlus. Kaidan starts to object but she pats him on the shoulder and says she’ll be fine. Shepard casually walks along the side of the upper tier until she reaches the human Nihlus pointed out and approaches him from the back. The human without even looking motions for her to come alongside. She does and leans sideways against the railing, giving the human a slightly annoyed look.

 

“Took you long enough to notice me” Banes says, turning to face Shepard with a smug grin.

 

SHEPARD: Wasn’t expecting you.

BANES: Of course, I’m guessing it was the Turian who saw me first. He looks like he’s trained for it. Didn’t expect you to team up with one of them.

SHEPARD: Council insisted he tag along for the ride. He’s not so bad.

BANES: *snorts* I bet. So, what brings you to Illium?

SHEPARD: Tracking down an arms dealer, I expect you’re doing the same? Your “special assignment” you hinted at back at the ceremony?

BANES: *nods*: High Command kept getting reports of Modos dealing in large quantities of military tech, which is uncommon for him but not unheard of, but also in civilian tech that’s way outside his wheelhouse. So, they asked me to take a look and see what he was selling and who to. What’s he to you?

SHEPARD: *gestures to Haliat* He’s led recent attacks on human colony worlds. Modos has been selling him the gear. We think there’s a bigger play out there, so we want to know what Modos is selling, and see if we can trace it back to whoever is pulling Haliat’s strings.

BANES: Then it looks like our paths converge. Mind if I join the gang?

SHEPARD: Might as well. Head over to the bar and introduce yourself to the captain.

BANES: Will do sir *gives her a playful salute* By the way Shepard, you clean up really nice. Still think you and my sister would make a cute couple.

SHEPARD: *gives him the finger before walking away*

 

As she walks away towards a vantage point to overlook Haliat and Modos, she says over the comms that they have an ally, Commander Armistan Banes, Alliance Navy, who apparently has an assignment that crosses ways with theirs. “My former CO, he’s on his way to introduce himself Captain.” Anderson acknowledges. Shepard asks Sanders to come join her since she’s gonna take point in listening in on Haliat and Modos and could use Sanders’ ear.

 

People shift positions and Banes arrives to meet Anderson, and the two exchange curt introductions. Since Anderson has the higher rank, Banes defers to him and says he’ll go where needed. Anderson says they’ll cover the rear, just in case anyone else of note tries to arrive or leave.

 

As the gala auction starts to go underway, Shepard and Sanders find the best vantage point and Sanders hands Shepard from her handbag a small listening device that Shepard plants on the underside of the nearby railing. They instantly get coverage, but focused on the conversation between Haliat and Modos. Haliat says their projections have been conservative and they’ll need 50% more. Modos scoffs and says Haliat’s rag-tag group can’t possibly need that many. Haliat says Modos doesn’t really care about why, so long as he gets paid. Modos says that is true and says the price has doubled. Haliat, annoyed, says that they only want 50% more, not double. Modos, sneering, says that 50% of the increase is for the extras, and the other 50% is to grease the wheels since “buying that many cells attracts a lot of attention. You’re paying so there isn’t attention.” After a short staredown Haliat says Modos will get that price. “The usual method?” he asks. Modos nods. Haliat gestures to one of his guards, who punches some buttons on a small tablet. A small handheld device at Modos’ side dings a second later and he looks at it with a smile. “Half now, half on delivery” Haliat says. Modos nods and asks if Haliat will stick around for the entertainment. Haliat says no but Modos says they’re business partners celebrating a big deal, so they can unwind a little. Haliat sighs and says “one drink little man, then I go.”

 

The Normandy team processes the conversation. Nihlus asks Sanders if anything in there hinted at what Modos is selling. Sanders says it could be anything “Fuel cells, power cells, energy cells, there’s a lot of different kinds.” Shepard says only way to find out is to get their hands on Modos and/or Haliat. Anderson agrees and says they’ll split once Haliat and Modos separate, track them both. At this point Banes chimes in and says that might be difficult. Shepard asks why.

 

Cut to Banes looking towards the penthouse elevator, where about a half-dozen armored humans have exited, locked and loaded. One of them is Captain Markor, and he is smirking at a security guard telling him to leave. “Because we’re about to get hit.” Just as he says that, Markor pulls out a pistol and shoots the security guard in front of him, and havoc breaks loose. “Get me the Salarian, alive.” He says the last part with slight hesitation, as if he’d rather leave no survivors.

 

The Normandy team immediately gets behind cover as Markor’s men enter the main area, firing indiscriminately but especially at the security guards. Modos looks to Haliat and says “you want your shipment, you gotta get me outta here.” Haliat says “you’re on your own, the deal’s already been made.” Modos whimpers and shouts for his bodyguards to protect him as he runs towards the rear of the penthouse.

 

Shepard says Modos is on the run. She tells Sanders to stay down and to not move. She asks Banes to join her as she goes after Modos. Meanwhile as Haliat and his men try to move towards the main exit, they pull out concealed weapons, which attracts the attention of both the security guards and Markor’s men, and this turns into a three-way gunfight.

 

Behind cover, Kaidan looks at Nihlus and asks “Did everyone bring guns except us?” Nihlus with deadpan delivery says “Yes” as a tiny pistol the size of his palm pops out of a hiding place in a sleeve. Seeing Kaidan’s look Nihlus says “Don’t worry, I’ll get you one.” Nihlus scampers over to a side column where one of the security guards is and he quickly knocks the guard out. He slides the guard’s weapon over to Kaidan, and the two try to hang the edge of the area to avoid notice.

 

Modos and his bodyguards get to a rear area of the penthouse, which has a lot of art, sculptures, etc. decorating the area and they cover Modos as a security panel slides open. Modos mutters to himself as he tries to enter the correct code. Shepard catches up to them and when the bodyguards aim at her says she is here to help. She tells Modos she is Alliance and they can protect him, but he’s gotta come clean. Modos at this point enters the correct code and a door slides open to reveal a private elevator. “I’ll take my chances. Kill her!” he shouts and two guards open fire on her while two join Modos in the elevator. Shepard takes cover.

 

As the main firefight rages on, Markor sees this and says over comms to his people “Okay target is on the move and we got other interested parties. Meet me below.” He heads back to the main elevator with a couple men as the others give covering fire. Meanwhile one of Haliat’s men is ambushed by Anderson and knocked out, and he takes the pirate’s weapon and heads upstairs. He arrives just in time to shoot one of Markor’s men who is about to stumble upon Sanders’ hiding spot. Anderson tells a shaking Sanders that he’ll watch out for her.

 

The two guards shooting at Shepard pause to reload, which gives her an opening. She throws a vase at one, who in his attempt to block it obscures his own vision enough for Shepard to come close and tackle him. She grabs his gun but at that point the other guard has finished reloading and points his gun at her. “Drop it” he says. Before Shepard can do so, Banes shows up and hits the other guard in the back of the head with a small but heavy looking sculpture, knocking him out. “Took you long enough” Shepard says as Banes picks up the other guard’s weapon. Banes shrugs and says it looks like multiple parties are on the move. Shepard goes to the security panel and sees that Modos did not clear the code, so she simply presses Enter and the elevator door slides open. “We gotta move” Shepard says.

 

As Haliat and his remaining guards finally make their way to the main entrance, they end up running into Nihlus and Kaidan. Haliat recognizes Kaidan from Philoctetes. Kaidan says that Haliat’s time is up, and once they get their hands on Modos, they’ll know what the deal is. Haliat sighs and says “I knew I should have just shot that lizard once the deal went through. Well, thanks for reminding me.” His men open fire on Nihlus and Kaidan as Haliat dives into the main elevator and activates it, leaving without his men. As he travels downwards he says into his own communicator “Bring the speeders over, now.”

 

Back upstairs, Nihlus and Kaidan dispatch Haliat’s men as the remaining security guards take out the couple of Markor’s men still causing havoc. “We’re clear up here” Kaidan says over the team channel. “You have Modos Shepard?”

 

Shepard and Banes exit their elevator to see a private garage, with Modos and his two guards getting into a speeder. “He’s on the move, we’re in pursuit” she says and she and Banes rush to find a speeder to hotwire.

 

Nihlus chimes in “My guess is you’ll have competition. The humans left once Modos did and Haliat’s realized that maybe he shouldn’t have an arms dealer on the. Alenko and I will find transport and try to catch up, but you’re on your own for now.”

 

“Acknowledged” Shepard says as she and Banes get into swanky-looking airspeeder built more for show than anything else and they take off after Modos.

 

Cut to Markor and his men exiting the tower where four speeders and a few more guys are waiting for him. As Markor gets to the speeders Haliat comes out as well and Markor’s men open fire. “Kill the alien” Markor says and he takes off with two other speeders, leaving the fourth behind with a couple men. They pin down Haliat, who says “Anytime now!” into his communicator. After some additional shots he finally gets his assistance with three speeders flying in, a Krogan in one firing a rocket that blows up the fourth Markor speeder and the men with it. The Forsaken Sun speeders land and Haliat gets in, shouting for them to get moving.

 

Cut to Shepard and Banes in their speeder, on the move and in pursuit of Modos in the air streets of the city. As they get closer they see three speeders coming from the side on an intercept course. Markor’s men. The occupants of one try to fire at Shepard’s speeder while the others chase after Modos. Shepard has Banes drive while she returns fire. After some dodging and ducking it becomes a party when Haliat’s three airspeeders join in, firing at all involved. Haliat’s own airspeeder dives in towards the main group, forcing one of Markor’s airspeeders to wave off, and end up turning straight into a construction crane for an explosion.

 

Meanwhile, one of Haliat’s speeders is firing at Shepard’s, and a few shots cause some minor damage, but Banes is able to maneuver alongside and he slams into the side, causing the opposing airspeeder to flip out of control and crash into an abandoned building. That leaves Shepard, Modos, 2 Markor speeders, and 2 Haliat speeders. Haliat has one of his men fire a rocket at one of Markor’s speeders and it blows up. Markor in his last airspeeder fires an assault rifle back at Haliat, and Haliat’s own speeder suffers some damage. Meanwhile Haliat’s other airspeeder engages Shepard and Banes. Shepard has Banes divert onto a side track in a closed maintenance tunnel and through the twists and turns is able to make a very tight 135 degree turn down a secondary access point, whereas their attacker doesn’t react in time and slams straight into a wall. Shepard and Banes exit the maintenance tunnel and rejoin the main chase in time to see Markor damage Haliat’s speeder enough to the point that Haliat’s pilot breaks off the chase. That leaves Shepard, Markor, and Modos, with the latter 2 a ways ahead.

 

Markor’s men trade fire with Modos’ guards and shoot one, while Markor fires an assault rifle and damages the engine, forcing Modos to make a crash landing on a platform. Shepard and Banes pursue and land just as Markor and his men exit their speeder and open fire on Modos and his other bodyguard, quickly killing the bodyguard. Shepard and Banes intervene and Markor takes cover. Markor shouts from behind cover at the two, saying they’re on the same side. Shepard disagrees, saying they don’t murder the innocent. Markor replies that it sends a message to those who’d kill innocents of their own. “The only firm earth is the earth we defend” he says. Banes says he should surrender now, keep this from escalating. Markor sees a new speeder approaching, not one of his, and says he’ll have to decline. He and his men exit in their airspeeder just as the incoming one arrives, containing Kaidan and Nihlus. As they land, Shepard goes to where Modos is cowering behind cover and secures him for transport.

 

Back on the Normandy everyone regroups with Modos secured. Anderson sets up a vidcom call with Hackett and Saren. Saren starts off by berating them for causing a massive scene on Illium, but Nihlus points out they started nothing and had to act to catch the asset. Saren begrudgingly admits results. Hackett tells the team that the Batarian leadership is planning to send a formal peace delegation to meet with the Alliance, and then with the Council. “But if there are more attacks, by either side, it’s going to fall apart.” Conversation turns to Markor, who Hackett through Alliance records has ID’d as a former Alliance soldier who was discharged with most of his assault unit after the Skyllian Blitz. His file shows he was outspoken about taking the fight to the Batarians and was not content with the cease-fire. The group speculates that he has a backer, and based on the one statement about firm earth Shepard posits he is connected to Terra Firma. Hackett tells them to get results ASAP.

 

We cut to Arcturus Station after the call ends. Hackett and Saren talk, with Saren not confident that the Normandy can resolve this. Hackett says he believes in their capabilities and says Saren underestimates them. Saren retorts that perhaps Hackett overestimates them, “a common Human error.” Hackett shakes his head and leaves rather than get into an argument.

 

On the Normandy Modos is kept stewing in his cell. During that downtime, Shepard introduces Banes more socially to Kaidan and Joker and the four relax and swap some stories, including one about Shepard as a trainee when she first joined Banes’ unit that gets some laughs, though not as much as Joker’s story about an experience in Fight Academy, the telling of which starts to get ribald and risqué just as Nihlus shows up. Nihlus sits down and introduces himself to Banes and there is clear tension between the two from the start. Banes gets a little prickly in the conversation and abruptly excuses him. Nihlus, Kaidan, and Joker are all a bit confused, so Shepard fills them in.

 

“His parents were crewmembers on the ship that first encountered the Turians, the ship the Turians destroyed without warning. The colony world the Turians occupied in the First Contact War, Shaanxi, that’s where he and his family is from. So, he’s not a fan of Turians. And he lost more family in the Skyllian Blitz, so I think these recent events are hitting home.”

 

Haliat returns to Balak’s base, and Balak is again angry with Haliat. Haliat says there was no way humans should have known about their involvement with Modos. Haliat wonders if Balak’s “ally” is actually playing both sides against one another and Balak dismisses that. “We have one step to go before our plan is ready, and that is the shipment from Modos’ people. It must be made.” Haliat says he will ensure it goes through, or die trying.

 

“I’ll hold you to that” Balak replies.

 

We cut to a human world where Saracino is pacing and anxious. He is met by Markor, who says that the Batarians are getting ready to pull something big, so they should beat them to the punch. Saracino asks why there hasn’t been any further contract from their Benefactor and Markor says that perhaps he isn’t in a position to make a secure call, but his main purpose was to bring Markor and Saracino together. “With your resources and my people, we can show humans that they can defend themselves, and show those aliens that we are not to be screwed with.” Saracino nods and looks to a news report talking about the planned Batarian peace delegation. “Then we should prepare our next message” Saracino says.

 

Back on the Normandy, Modos is being interrogated with Shepard, Banes, and Nihlus in the room with him. Anderson is observing from outside. They try to get Modos to talk but Modos, with hyper-fast speech, says his life is danger, he wants immunity, he isn’t safe, the usual spiel. Banes laughs and says humans won’t give him immunity for selling weapons to mass murderers of humans. He and Modos get into a bit of a back-and-forth and when Modos makes a crack about how can he expect humans to protect him if they can’t protect their own, like all those people killed or enslaved in the Skyllian Blitz, Banes gets pissed off and slams Modos into a wall and gets in his face. Shepard and Nihlus pull Banes off and Anderson enters and tells Banes to cool off. Banes straightens his clothes and exits, Shepard following, saying she’ll talk to him. Modos starts to giggle, so they end the interrogation for now.

 

Shepard tracks down Banes to a quiet corner of the Normandy where Banes looks like he is seething. Shepard sits down next to him and the two talk.

 

SHEPARD: Hey, you okay in there?

BANES: Yeah, yeah, I’m alright. Still feels fresh though, even if it’s been a few years.

SHEPARD: There was nothing you could have done for them. It was an outlying colony, no defenses, no one could have got there in time to protect them.

BANES: I know, but it’s still my fault. After my parents died, and the Turians occupied Shaanxi, it was my job to protect my brother and sister, who were not much older than you were at the time. And when we grew up, it was still my job to look out for them. So when Danny said he was taking his own family out to a brand new colony in the Verge, I should have talked sense into him. But I didn’t, and they were the first colony hit by the Batarians. Now they’re gone.

SHEPARD *puts a hand on his shoulder*: We’re not going to let it happen again. We’re going to find Haliat, and whoever he’s working for, and we’re going to stop them.

BANES: Sure, we are, and then this will happen all over again a year or two or three down the line, because the Council refuses to protect human colonies and the Alliance dances on tiptoes because they don’t want to cause trouble. If they’d just announced the Verge as Council space, the Skyllian Blitz would never have happened. So sooner or later, there is going to be another one, or worse, because they’d rather play nice.

SHEPARD: It won’t come to that. We’ll make sure of that. We just gotta stay focused and run this thing down to the end.

BANES *Laughs*: You know, usually I am the one who gives the pep talk.

SHEPARD *smiles as she lightly punches him in the arm*: That’s what family does. Look out for one another.

 

Banes smiles and claps Shepard on the back and the two sit for a while longer in silence.

 

Meanwhile we see Anderson and Sanders talking some more and we get the sense that they’re bonding. We also see Joker lounging in the cockpit, playing music and bopping along when Kaidan sits in the co-pilot seat and the two talk about how the Normandy has turned upside down the past couple weeks.

 

Eventually Anderson and the gang are summoned by Chakwas, who has noticed something reviewing tapes of the Modos interrogation. She explains that since a primary medical officer on a small warship wears a number of hats, she was trained in psychiatry, and one thing you learn is about tells people do when they are lying. She says she spotted Modos giving a tell. She points out a recurring pattern Modos does with tapping and flexing his fingers and after some research she learned it’s basically a Salarian version of Morse Code. She translated it into basic Salarian, and on a hunch entered the results into the log-in for his handheld tablet and…it was the passkey. She hands the unlocked tablet over to Anderson, who links it to a large display screen. Upon examining the tablet, they see that the deal with Haliat is for the delivery of prototype Asari biotic power cells that amplify element zero. Sanders says that this looks like the kind of technology that Project Tug was going to use for their field tests. She says that these cells combined with what Haliat stole from Philoctetes would allow his people to power and move a fleet of warships, or one very, very large thing.

 

Anderson and the gang have a meeting. As it stands there are two leads. The first and most immediate is the shipment being delivered to Haliat. The other matter is that of Markor, and the potential for him doing another attack that would escalate things. Nihlus says that he has kept some feelers out for Markor and one reported him arriving on the colony world Elysium, around the same time Charles Saracino arrived to hold a series of rallies for Terra Firma. Too much of a coincidence to ignore, so they’ll go straight to Saracino and shake him down. Anderson will send Shepard and Banes to handle Saracino. The rest will deal with Haliat.

 

We get a couple short scenes showing preparations being made, and then Shepard and Banes take a small shuttle and depart for Elysium. Shepard is optimistic they’ll get to the bottom of the matter. Banes is less certain and looks a little distant.

 

We jump to the delivery of the shipment to Haliat, which is being conducted on a mostly barren moon in an isolated star system. Anderson has Joker do a stealth approach with the Normandy and drop Nihlus and Kaidan on the ground with a small team. Joker then takes the Normandy on a high orbit to watch for any fleeing ships.

 

On the ground, Nihlus and Kaidan observe the exchange between Haliat’s men and Modos’ delivery people, and see many crates of the power cells and element zero. Sanders warns them over comms not to shoot anything in the crates. Anderson gives Nihlus and Kaidan the go order, and their team assaults the exchange. Haliat is furious and fires wildly and orders his men to defend the cargo ships. Due to the ferocity of their defense, most of the cargo ships are able to take off. The Normandy moves to intercept and shoots down a couple, but several pirate fighters intervene and the Normandy is forced to deal with those, so the remaining cargo ships escape with their cargo.

 

On the ground there are a decent number of crates still present, so Haliat grabs a grenade and steps into the open by them and says he will detonate it and the chain explosion will kill them all, unless they allow him to get away. Nihlus and Kaidan step into the open, guns drawn. Haliat insists he will do it. “You have it?” Nihlus asks. “Got it” Kaidan replies. There’s a short silence until Nihlus looks at Kaidan. “Then take it” he says slightly exasperated. “Oh, right.” Kaidan activates his biotics and plucks the grenade from Haliat’s hand. Haliat goes “Wha-” and is then shot in the head by Nihlus.

 

They all reconvene on the Normandy and Sanders briefs them, saying that based on the technology recovered, plus which got away, whomever Haliat was muscle for was planning to implement Project Tug, and there’s enough materials to try it out. The problem remains that they lack a lead as to get to Haliat’s boss. Anderson says that the kind of stuff Project Tug is used for would be hard to miss. For the moment they wait to hear from Shepard’s end.

 

We cut to Elysium, where we see Saracino at a Terra Firma rally preaching human independence and xenophobic dog-whistling. After the rally he goes back to his green room to find Shepard and Banes waiting for him. He is annoyed by their presence and calls for his security to escort them out. No one comes and Shepard says that while Saracino has no respect for Alliance authority, his goons respect the threat of an obstruction charge. Shepard and Banes interrogate him about Markor and the attacks and Saracino acts offended. Shepard amps up the interrogation with shame tactics, showing pictures of human devastation and saying that their deaths are because of him sponsoring murder. Saracino gets defensive and claims he only wants the best for humanity, but Shepard eventually wears him down and Saracino finally admits he hired Markor. “We were introduced by a third party, someone anonymous.” Shepard wants to know where Markor is going next and Saracino says he’s going to take out the Batarian peace delegation, to since there cannot be any peace until the Batarians rein in their marauders. Shepard then asks more about this third party but Banes says “Call the first bit in Shep, the rest can wait until he’s in a cell.”

 

Shepard nods and walks away to activate her comm device. She reaches Joker and tells him that Saracino fessed up and Markor is hitting the Batarian envoys. Joker acknowledges and says they got Haliat on their end. “We’ll meet you wherever that delegation is going” Joker says, and signs off. Shepard then hears a clicking noise, and turns around to see Saracino holding a pistol, pointing it at her and Banes.

 

“I am not a monster. I am not a murderer. I am a patriot. And there are thousands more like me” Saracino says defiantly. He then turns the pistol on himself and fires before either Shepard or Banes can move. Shepard checks on Saracino, but he is gone. Shepard shakes her head and apologizes to Banes, saying she never searched him when he got in, so it must have been on him the whole time. Banes says they all make mistakes, but no time for second-guessing. They have a delegation to save.

 

Back on the Normandy, Anderson relays the Saracino intel to Hackett, who says that the Batarian delegation is arriving on Andromache. Protecting them is vital, because a successful attack could very likely be a point of no return between the Alliance and the Hegemony. “This attack MUST be stopped” he tells Anderson. Anderson acknowledges and has Joker set course for the Andromache system, where they’ll rendezvous with Shepard and Banes.

 

We cut to Balak’s staging area, where the cargo ships have arrived and a number of men are getting ships and devices ready for an operation. Balak looks pleased and contacts his ally via the secure hologram and says that everything is ready. The ally is pleased as well but recommends Balak wait slightly. “The humans are about to give you all the excuse you need to make your move” the ally says. “Even if they fail, the attempt alone shows their intentions. Either way, you’ll be able to be the hero fighting back.”

 

The Normandy arrives at Andromache and a team of Marines with Anderson, Nihlus, and Kaidan go to the surface, where they rendezvous with Shepard and Banes. Anderson has been given the itinerary of the Batarian delegation and coordinates a plan with local law enforcement to ID the most likely attack spots. While they’re prepping Nihlus asks Shepard about what went down with Saracino. Shepard says Saracino mentioned a third-party backer but took himself out with a pistol she hadn’t found on him. Nihlus nods, but seems a little perturbed.

 

The Normandy team takes up stakeout positions to wait as the delegation in an armored convoy is set to travel from the spaceport to a government center. There are a decent amount of protestors along the route, which is noted would provide cover for potential attackers. As they observe, they slowly begin to notice suspicious people and groups one by one. Anderson says they wait to ID as many as possible, and then do a simultaneous takedown. Even if they don’t get them all, the others should scatter and that would end the threat to the delegation for now. However, a complication arises as the delegation travels faster than expected, putting them in the danger zone imminently. Frustrated, Anderson gives the go order, and we see quick cuts of Shepard, Nihlus, Banes, Kaidan, and other marines and local law enforcement beelining for the ID’d perps and arresting them. Due to the fact that the convoy is almost there, the others not ID’d, or who weren’t reached in time, instead of scattering, decide to arm up and attack the convoy.

 

A shootout breaks out in the streets and the protestors and public flee in panic and the chaos makes it harder for the good guys to get clear shots, especially with some of Markor’s men deciding to try and take human shields. Kaidan and Anderson are able to handle them. Because of the initial arrest wave, a lot of Markor’s men were taken off the table, and the attack on the convoy fizzles, though not before a couple security vehicles are blown up and several police officers are shot. Shepard in the confusion finally spots Markor, who locks eyes, and then goes to flee down an alley. She pursues, alerting her team over comms. She catches up to Markor and the two get into a short but brutal hand-to-hand fight. After some trading of punches Markor gets Shepard in a headlock to try and choke her out, but she pulls out a combat knife and stabs him in the side, forcing him to release her. He goes for a weapon but she draws first and points it at him and tells him to stand down.

 

SHEPARD: It’s over Markor.

MARKOR: It’s never over. Kill me and ten more like me will appear. As long as we’re treated like second-class citizens and disposable, we will fight for our future.

*He slowly moves a hand towards his holster*

SHEPARD: Don’t try it! Who hooked you and Saracino up? Who’s stirring up this trouble with the Batarians?

MARKOR: Even if I knew the name, and knew how to contact the person, I wouldn’t tell you.

SHEPARD: You’ll talk. Saracino was in custody for minutes and he gave you up.

MARKOR *laughs*: Saracino’s a politician. I’m a soldier. And soldiers never give up their own.

*His hand continues to inch down*

SHEPARD: Last chance! Back off!

*The two lock eyes, Markor smiles*

*A gunshot rings out, Markor looks up glassy-eyed, blood trickles from his mouth, and he falls dead. About twenty feet behind him is Banes, gun drawn*

SHEPARD *holstering*: I had it under control.

BANES *holstering*: Couldn’t take the chance.

 

Shepard radios in that Markor is down. Shepard sighs and looks at Banes. “Well that’s one problem solved.”

 

We cut to Balak’s base, which is prepped. He sees news reports on the attack and smiles. He says to himself “they really are fools.” Balak announces to his men that it is time, they shall finally put into motion their plan to restore honor to the Hegemony.

 

Sometime later, back on the Normandy, the crew is happy about stopping the attack on Andromache, but Anderson and the gang are concerned since it seems an unknown player backed Saracino and Markor, and Haliat’s boss is still at large and who knows what his plan is. Still, Joker proposes a moment of celebration and has all the senior staff join him in the officer’s lounge for drinks and cards. Sanders taps out quickly, saying she’s a lightweight. Anderson leaves not long afterwards and says it’s not a good look to be cleaned out by his subordinates, saying “I need all of you to be able to respect me and I can’t have that if you wipe me out in a card game.” Dr. Chakwas is surprisingly game for the fun and seems to be a crack poker player and after some drinks and stories and jokes she is the one to win after having a mock staredown with Nihlus, who is surprisingly social given his serious demeanor. The group then breaks up.

 

As they go to their quarters, Shepard pulls Banes aside. She is a bit troubled about what went down with Saracino and Markor, in that both chose to end it with a bullet rather than surrender. “I thought we moved past that martyr crap a century ago” she says. Banes shrugs and says that they believed in something, and they were willing to die to protect that belief. “Old humanity habits die hard” he says. Shepard nods and says it’d almost be admirable if they weren’t crazy murderers. “Yeah” Banes says softly. They bid each other good night.

 

Shepard is woken up a handful of hours later mid-sleep by a message from Joker over the intercom saying that there’s something the officers need to see. Everyone converges in the briefing room and Anderson turns on holoprojector to a news channel Joker points out.

 

On the channel Balak, saying who he is, is giving a propaganda monologue about how human aggression is dooming the galaxy. He says he has taken control of the human research center on the X57 asteroid that is on close approach to Terra Nova (If You Recall, This Asteroid and Its Approach Was Mentioned Way Earlier In the Film). Balak says that the Alliance has been developing secret weapons technology to use asteroids and comets against peaceful planets, and he will instead turn their technology against them, unless his demands are met: The Alliance shall irrevocably commit to evacuate all colonies from the Skyllian Verge, and shall never settle there again. The Alliance has 24 hours to produce a binding document that compels them to begin evacuating their colonies. If they don’t, then he will direct the X57 asteroid to crash into Terra Nova, creating a planetary-wide disaster that would render it uninhabitable for years.

 

The holo gets turned off and the crew is stunned. “God, millions live on Terra Nova” Kaidan says. “It’s worse than that” Nihlus says. “If this Balak follows through and crashes this asteroid, well, there is no way your government doesn’t assume that he was backed by the Batarian government. You will go to war, and many, many more will die.” Balak has to be stopped.

 

Cut to a video conference with Hackett and Saren. Hackett tells Anderson and the others that Alliance High Command has already decided that they cannot agree to Balak’s terms because it would be a sign of weakness. “So we need to stop this insane plan of his.” The Normandy is the only stealth frigate the Alliance has that can reach X57 within the deadline. Anderson’s orders are to secure the means by which Balak is controlling the direction of the asteroid, use it to push the asteroid out of danger of impact, and “take down the son of a bitch.”

 

There isn’t much time for heart to hearts on the Normandy as everyone gears up and solemnly waits to arrive. Joker attempts to break the mood with Kaidan in the cockpit but gets shot a look so he holds off. Shepard goes to talk with Anderson and asks if he’s ever felt under the gun like this before. Anderson says he has, once, when he was a young recruit thrust into the First Contact War. “I was on the relief fleet being sent to Shaanxi. We had no idea what we were flying into, other than something out of a science fiction nightmare.” Shepard says that he managed to pull through. Anderson nods. “We did. Because we had no other choice. We have no choice here either, we’re gonna stop this catastrophe from happening.”

 

We cut to the X57 asteroid, to the captured science facility, which has a number of human corpses littered about. Balak oversees his men making defensive preparations and then goes to contact his ally. The ally says the speech was nice, hit the right tone of defiance. Balak doesn’t believe the Alliance will comply with his demands and the ally agrees. “But it is important to give them the opportunity to, so you get to say you gave them a chance to avoid bloodshed.” Both of them expect the Alliance to send people and Balak says he has taken precautions. Balak says he wants them to come, so he can watch their faces as they realize they have failed. Balak intends for this to be the wake-up call for his people. “I doubt we shall speak again, no matter the outcome” he says to the Ally. “Thank you for all of your assistance, providing the information about the human propulsion project, linking me with the arms dealer. This would not be possible without you.” The Ally returns the regards, saying that it is not possible for him to act against humanity, so he is glad he was able to find someone who could fight for both of them.

 

The Normandy arrives in the Asgard system and the crew goes over a map of the system as well as a layout of the X57 asteroid and the science facility set up on it. Sanders briefs them all on the technology and says that Balak used Project Tug and the Modos tech to construct advanced drive cores powering large engines that have moved the massive asteroid into a collision course with Terra Nova. The time limit Balak gave for the Alliance gives a 30 minute cushion before the asteroid would hit the planet no matter what, as it would take several minutes at least for the drive cores to warm up and start pushing the asteroid. The gameplan is to secure the drive cores and whatever controls them, and redirect the asteroid out of harm’s way. They don’t need to set up any particular path for now, scientists can set up a long-term stable orbit later.

 

As the Normandy gets near the asteroid, scans confirm that the science facility and the drive cores are on opposite sides of X57, so they will need to split into two groups. Kaidan and Sanders will go to the propulsion system and secure it. Sanders says she should be able to control the technology since it is based on Project Tug. Meanwhile, Shepard, Banes, and Nihlus will go to the main facility and confront Balak. Anderson expects a fail-safe mechanism of some sort, so Sanders and Kaidan are instructed not to do anything with the propulsion until Balak is handled.

 

Joker guides the Normandy in on a stealth approach and drops off two shuttles, one with Kaidan, Sanders, and a squad of Marines, the other with Shepard, Nihlus, and Banes as well as about a dozen soldiers. As the asteroid is devoid of atmosphere and is barren, everyone’s battle armor is fully enclosed, including a helmet.

 

We see Kaidan’s squad setting up on the other side of a rocky ridge from the propulsion system. Kaidan and Sanders crawl up to the top and look over it with advanced binoculars. The drive cores themselves are several dozen feet tall and look like chrome cylinders jammed into the surface at a diagonal angle. There is a prefabricated building set up a small distance away with large tubes running to the drive cores. Sanders says that must be the control center for the system. Kaidan notes that there’s maybe a dozen Batarians guarding the cores, which he thinks is too small. Sanders asks if he thinks it is a trap, but he thinks it must be something else. He says they should rejoin the squad and gear up for the assault.

 

Cut to Shepard’s team disembarking their shuttle. Shepard, Banes, and Nihlus do recon and in comparison to the drive cores, this facility is heavily guarded. There’s at least two dozen Batarians scattered around the exterior, and there’s several automated defense turrets that could tear through infantry armor. Nihlus comments that a frontal assault would take too long. “Not to mention we probably lost most of, if not all of the unit” Banes chimes in. Shepard is quiet, continuing to study the area. She tells Banes and Nihlus to hold here with the others, she is going to take a closer look. Nihlus starts to protest but Banes says she knows what she’s doing.

 

Shepard finds a new vantage point and carefully scans the area. After some muttering under her breath, she finds something: A coolant containment tank that is the source of coolant for the primary power generators. It’s tucked into a far corner of the facility complex and since it’s out of the way, it is unguarded. Shepard rejoins the others and says what she found. They blow the coolant tank, the power generators will overheat and have to shut down for safety. No power, no turrets, the enemy has to spread out more to cover more ground, and they can be handled easier. Banes pats Shepard on the shoulder and says she remembered the final lesson of her test after all.

 

Cut to Shepard’s crew planting charges on the coolant tank, then scattering to take different attack positions. Shepard activates a trigger and the coolant tank explodes in a colorful blast. In the facility itself, the monitoring stations for the power generators blare alarms and the generators switch off as an automatic safeguard, and within seconds all the turrets power down. We cut to Balak in what looks like a glass-domed observation room and he smiles. He triggers his comm and says “They’re here.” He then turns and looks up and we see the planet of Terra Nova looming large over the dome like a beautiful marble.

 

We return to Kaidan and his unit, which using the distant explosion of the coolant tank as a cue to execute an assault on the propulsion system. Due to the element of surprise, the planning of Kaidan, and the Marines, the squad takes out half of the Batarians in the initial seconds, and the remainder take cover and a firefight breaks out that whittles down the Batarians until Kaidan uses a close-quarters biotic blast powerful enough to launch the final two Batarians off the ground and into space. With the area secure, Kaidan signals for Sanders to come in and look over the control center. After an initial review she says she can work with this.

 

Kaidan and Sanders are then interrupted by one of the marines, who says some of the squad found something over with the drive cores. Kaidan and Sanders put their helmets back on and go over to the drive cores to take a look with some flashlights. After a few seconds of inspecting they look up and we see through the faceplates that both look very, very concerned. “You’re gonna have to wait on getting that trajectory set Doc” Kaidan says.

 

We cut back to the main facility, where Shepard’s group starts their attack, with the unit divided into thirds, each led by one of Shepard, Nihlus, and Banes, coming from three different angles. This catches the Batarians guarding the exterior in a cross-fire, and several are dropped quickly. The others regroup and pull back into more compact defensive positions, making the next stage of the advance harder. A couple marines are hit at this stage but everyone else continues to push on. As the three teams converge, several more Batarians fall. The final Batarian defense position is well covered, and a couple more Marines fall from defensive fire, and it looks difficult to break. Nihlus says they’d need heavy weapons to clear them out quickly and Shepard, looking at a turret, asks if they brought any portable energy cells with them. Nihlus says there’s a few and asks why. Banes says “Cause she’s got an idea crazy enough to work.”

 

Cut to Shepard and a couple marines prying the top mounted gun part of the turret off its emplacement, and jury-rigging a new power chamber to feed into the energy cells, and a very, very unorthodox MacGuyvered trigger. “You do know there’s at least a 50% chance this thing literally blows up in your face” Nihlus says. Shepard smirks through her faceplate. “There’s a human proverb about odds you should look up.”

 

As the gunfire dies down, the remaining Batarians think it may be over. That belief ends quickly when powerful laser bolts blast through their cover in rapid-fire, taking out a handful quickly. Cut to Shepard, with the help of a couple marines, using the turret like a massive minigun and advancing slowly with it. The other Batarians try to fall back but are either cut down by the turret or by the crossfire. At that point the turret starts to overheat and go unstable, so Shepard and the marines drop it and dive to the sides as it lightly erupts in a small explosion. Shepard picks herself up and says “I didn’t think that would actually work.”

 

“You’re not supposed to say that” Banes replies over comms. “Now the moment’s ruined.” The whole group reunites and enters the main facility building.

 

Inside it is quiet. Shepard thinks it is odd that there are no defenders on the inside. Nihlus posits that perhaps Balak thought that his exterior defenses would handle things. “Or he thinks he has something that makes interior defenses unnecessary” Banes adds. As the other marines split up to clear the facility, Shepard is contacted over comms by Kaidan and Sanders, who inform her that the drive system is secured, but it can’t be activated as it is wired to blow with dozens of charges, linked to a transmitter. It is possible to disarm the charges manually, “but given the timeframe we have, that’s not an option” Sanders says. “The transmitter is likely linked to a device that can be used to remotely disarm the charges, or to detonate them. We’ve traced the signal back to the main facility, to the observation dome.” Shepard says that’s where Balak most likely is. She, Banes, and Nihlus will head over there.

 

We cut to the three getting close to the observation chamber area, and they pull up schematics of the facility. The observation chamber is built over a series of natural crevasses that plunge down hundreds and hundreds of feet. Due to that, there are maintenance and outflow ducts into the crevasses. Someone can use that to enter the dome from the rear and get the drop on Balak. Banes volunteers. “Good luck Shepard” he says slightly wistfully. “Same to you old man” Shepard replies, and Banes sets off. After he goes, Nihlus wonders why Balak won’t just detonate now.

 

“Because he wants to savor the moment, and have us know that we lost, and there’s nothing we can do about it” Shepard says.

 

Shepard and Nihlus enter the observation chamber, which as stated previously has a metal-glass lattice dome allowing for views of space, with the large orb of Terra Nova looming overhead. It is built over a series of crevasses, so there are walkways over the gaps and platform areas. Balak is by a middle platform, and has several Batarian guards scattered around. The guards all aim at Shepard and Nihlus but Balak waves them off and says he has nothing to fear, pulling out a handheld transmitter as Shepard and Nihlus walk closer.

 

Balak gloats at Shepard and Nihlus, waving the transmitter. He says that if they’re tempted to shoot him they shouldn’t since if his heartbeat stops, it signals the explosives to detonate. Balak gives his spiel about protecting the honor of the Batarian people and inspiring them to resist the plague-like expansion of the humans as Banes exits a duct in the rear, behind Balak and his guards. Shepard notices and stalls for time, trying to coax more talking, which the fanatic happily obliges. Banes picks up a loose pipe that has fallen by one of the ducts and sneaks up behind an unaware Balak and clubs him in the head, knocking him out and the transmitter falls.

 

For a second there is utter silence, and then Balak’s guards open fire at Shepard and Nihlus and Banes. A fast and frantic shootout happens as the three are outnumbered and dealing with enemies from multiple directions, some of them rushing to grab the transmitter. Shepard takes a minor wound to her left arm and swears, gunning down the one who winged her. One of the Batarians gets close to the transmitter and Banes tackles him and the two struggle for a bit until Banes is able to shoot the Batarian. After a little more gunfighting the other Batarians are dropped. Nihlus heads over to Shepard to take a quick look at her arm and says with a slightly uncharacteristic smile “You’ll live.” Banes meanwhile picks up the transmitter and stands up, looking deep in thought. Shepard sees this and says he should be able to use the transmitter to disarm the explosives. There’s a pause as nothing happens, and both Shepard and Nihlus look at Banes staring at the transmitter, his sidearm held in his other hand, until at last Banes speaks.

 

“What if we don’t.”

 

SHEPARD: Bad time for a joke, Banes. And not a good one either.

*Banes turns to look at Shepard. He is not joking*

BANES: Let’s think this through for a minute.

SHEPARD: There’s nothing to think through. This asteroid is going to hit Terra Nova. Hundreds of thousands, millions of people will die.

BANES: And that’s my point. Look at them *gesturing to Balak and the Batarians*. Look at what they were planning to do to us. Massacring colonies during the Skyllian Blitz wasn’t enough, they want to use a weapon of mass destruction to annihilate a planet. They’re not going to stop Shep, not unless someone does something about it.

NIHLUS: Banes, humans aren’t innocent. They attacked Batarians, they helped escalate this.

BANES: They defended us! No one was doing anything to protect our people! The Council? Too busy sitting on the Citadel fretting about their luxuries while looking down at humans who have to fight to survive without their help. The Alliance? Looking up at the Council like a dog with a tail between its legs, too scared of what Mommy and Daddy would say if they lifted a finger to protect their people without permission first. If they won’t protect humanity, then humans will have to defend themselves, in a language that THOSE ANIMALS understand!

SHEPARD *look of understanding*: Oh God, it was you. You were the one behind Saracino, behind Markor.

BANES *a sad, resigned expression*: I did what was necessary for all of us.

 

*We cut to Banes in front of a top-of-the-line encrypted hologram machine in a personal bolt-hole, using it to contact Markor and Saracino at different intervals*

 

*Cut to Banes and Shepard confronting Saracino. As Shepard goes to call in what Saracino had told them, Banes walks up to Saracino and hands him a small pistol. “You know what you have to do” Banes whispers in Saracino’s ear. Saracino looks at Banes with recognition and nods*

 

*Cut to the alleys of Andromache, Banes catches up to the Shepard/Markor standoff. With a grim look, he pulls his gun without hesitation and aims at Markor from behind to shoot to kill*

 

SHEPARD *Shocked*: How, how could you? Why would you…

BANES: You know the special assignment I told you about, back when you got your N7 wings? As a senior commander in Alliance Special Forces, I had access to intelligence that rarely went outside High Command. The Alliance KNEW that Balak was up to something. They KNEW he was getting material support from somewhere, they KNEW he was allied with Haliat to provide muscle. They KNEW he was arranging deals with Modos for weapons and other materials. They KNEW that lives were in danger. And they DID NOTHING! All because it was outside Council Space, so getting involved would be “against the rules.” So, I decided, under the guise of investigating an arms dealer, to take matters into my own hands. To flush Balak and his minions out and force their hand, and wouldn’t you know it, it succeeded beyond my wildest imagination.

SHEPARD *eyes briefly look sideways and sees Nihlus edging to the left, hand resting by his sidearm holster*: Armie, if you want to save human lives. If you want to protect humanity. Then you need to activate that transmitter.

BANES: You know Shep, I considered it. I really did. And a prior me would have, and even in the maintenance duct on the way in, I was thinking I would. But when I entered here, and I saw him gloating, LAUGHING, about what he was going to do, I remembered what I lost. What so many other people have lost, because of all the chances the Alliance and the Council had to protect us, and all the times they failed. So, I’ve realized what has to happen. The Alliance and the Council need a wake-up call, and what better wake-up call than a Batarian soldier and his gang of terrorists murdering countless humans with a weapon of mass destruction, spouting Batarian propaganda all the while. They’ll have no choice but to step in and do what should have been done after the Blitz: Demolish the Batarian Hegemony, demilitarize them, humiliate them, grind them into submission, so that they can never threaten humanity again.

NIHLUS: You’re talking about a full-scale war Banes. Countless deaths on both sides, added onto how many you’ll let happen here.

BANES *a bit of wild laughter*: And now the TURIAN has concern for humanity!

*Before either Nihlus or Shepard can blink Banes points his gun at Nihlus and fires, catching Nihlus in the chest. Nihlus goes down*

SHEPARD: Goddamnit Banes!

*She starts to move towards Nihlus but Banes briefly points his gun at her and she stops, staring him down in a mix of sadness and anger*

BANES: Don’t worry about him. His kind are barely better than Batarians. Or has humanity already forgotten that the first time we met, in a matter of seconds, they opened fire on them, on my parents, without warning or mercy. That when we investigated, they opened fire again. That they tracked the survivors down and invaded our colonies without hesitation. The only reason they didn’t continue onto each and every world of ours is because we put up a bigger fight than they bargained for and the Council decided a war would be inconvenient. The Council doesn’t care about humanity, it never has. It only cares about what humanity can do for them, otherwise, it’s a liability.

SHEPARD: What happened to you? This isn’t the man who trained me, who was a mentor to me, who was family.

BANES: That man has been dead for years, since his parents were murdered by Turians mercilessly enforcing their laws, since his brother was murdered by Batarians indulging in mass slaughter. It’s a mask, it always has been, and no matter how much I wanted it to stick, the mask has to come off.

*Shepard stares him down, her hand oh some subtly moving*

BANES: Shep, this can all stay between us. Once the Turian bleeds out, only you and I will know the truth, and it is such an easy story. We were too late, Balak activated his transmitter, the drive cores went up, and there was nothing we could do. A tragic ending, but a necessary one.

SHEPARD: You can’t seriously think I would back you on this?

BANES: Shep, I trained you, goddamn well. I built you into the remarkable woman you are today. I know you better than you know yourself. I know-

SHEPARD: Armie, please don’t make-

BANES: -that you’ll do the right thing.

SHEPARD *pause, tears flowing down her face*: You’re right. *She locks eyes with him, and he understands*

*Shepard quick-draws her sidearm and fires two shots, the first hitting Banes in the left arm, causing him to drop the transmitter, and the second in his upper right chest*

 

Banes for a second looks stunned, and then with a look of sad acceptance at Shepard he smiles, and then he stumbles backwards off the platform and down into the crevasse.

 

Shepard stands for several seconds in silence, breathing heavily. She then drops her gun and immediately checks on Nihlus, who is alive, but badly hurt. She quickly applies some medigel to temporarily stabilize him, and then rushes over to the transmitter and triggers the disarming signal. Still breathing heavily, she sits down and activates her comms.

 

“This is Shepard. Transmitter is secure. Disarm signal is sent. Need medivac and prisoner transports ASAP.” She hears Joker over the comms telling her it’s on the way. The camera then slowly pulls back and fades to black as Shepard pulls her knees up to her chest and cries.

 

We cut to back on the Normandy, in the medical bay, where Dr. Chakwas is tending to Shepard and Nihlus. Nihlus is sedated, but stable. Shepard is fine, with her left arm bandaged, but Chakwas jokes that in the med bay she’s queen and if Shepard tries to leave before she’s cleared Chakwas will inject her with enough tranquilizer to put down a Krogan. Shepard chuckles, appreciating the humor.

 

Anderson and Kaidan enter the medical bay and inform Shepard that all of the Batarians are accounted for and Dr. Sanders is guiding the X57 asteroid into a temporary orbit of Terra Nova pending a more permanent location. Alliance techs will then dismantle the drive technology. Shepard asks about Banes and Anderson says that a forensics team will look for his body, but given the deep crevasses, it could take a while, if ever, to find it. Shepard silently nods. Anderson senses she is shook up and says that she went far beyond the call of duty. He puts an arm on her shoulder and says he’s proud of her. He then says he’ll give her some time to herself and leaves.

 

Kaidan stays behind and sits on the corner of Shepard’s bed to talk. Shepard says compared to what she had to handle Kaidan got the easy assignment. Kaidan laughs but then says soberly he can’t imagine what Shepard is feeling right now. Shepard says in the end it was simple. Banes was family, but it was like a rabid dog. There was no other choice. The two sit in silence.

 

After a couple of short scenes showing Nihlus back on his feet, and Joker lightening the mood when visiting the two of them, we cut to the Normandy docked at Arcturus Station. Anderson, Shepard, Kaidan, and Nihlus meet with Hackett and Saren. Hackett congratulates them and says Balak has been transferred to Alliance custody. Kaidan suggests they throw away the key. Hackett adds that High Command is going to do a ceremony honoring the Normandy crew, and this includes Nihlus, who is genuinely surprised and honored at being the first Turian to get an Alliance commendation. Shepard asks how the Alliance is handling Banes and Hackett says that because of political issues, the official story is that Banes died a hero. The truth getting out…would be problematic. No one is happy about it, but everyone understands. Hackett leaves, but Saren lingers.

 

SAREN: It seems that I have misjudged the lot of you.

NIHLUS: There is a human idiom for this, I believe it is “I told you so.”

SAREN *half-glares at Nihlus, half-laughs*: Needless to say, the lot of you are a credit to your species. I will keep an eye on the Normandy and its crew with some interest going forward.

 

Saren then nods and leaves. As he does, Kaidan comments “I think he almost complimented us there.”

 

We cut to Shepard walking in the detention area. She has gone to visit Balak in his cell. Balak is disappointed, yet oddly optimistic. Shepard notes he seems cheerful for someone who’ll rot in a cell for the rest of his life. Balak laughs and says that he won’t be in this cell for too long. “Now that you have me here, what happens to me is no longer in your hands, but in theirs” he says, gesturing to the air. “And when your Alliance needs something desperately from my people, they, who shall be inspired by my struggle, shall make my release a necessary condition. This is only the beginning. Others will be picking up my mantle. There already are.” Shepard shakes her head and leaves in disgust.

 

We cut to the Honoring Ceremony at Arcturus Station. The entire crew of the Normandy is present, along with hundreds of other invitees. The Normandy and its crew get a ship commendation of honor, and Anderson/Shepard/Kaidan/Nihlus each get individual merit commendations. Sanders gets a civilian honor for her role. There are plenty of ovations.

 

We then jump to the reception afterwards. Shepard is mingling when she is surprised by the appearance of her mom Hannah, who is proud of her daughter and gives her an enormous hug that only parents give. Shepard jokes “Mom you’re embarrassing me” but returns the hug equally. Hannah then with hands on her daughter’s shoulders expresses sadness over the death of Banes, saying that she knows that him and Shepard were close. Shepard sticks to the cover story but truthfully says she’ll miss him and she wishes things played out different. The reunion is then interrupted by Nihlus, who Shepard introduces to Hannah as a Spectre and a “friend.” Hannah says she’s met a Spectre before and the three talk for a little. Shepard asks where Saren is and Nihlus says Saren has already taken his ship to go back to the Citadel, he never was one for parties. Shepard asks if Nihlus is heading out as well. Nihlus says he is, since Spectres don’t get much downtime between assignments. Shepard says it was an honor working with him, and Nihlus says it’s mutual. “I’m sure we’ll work together again one day. Who knows, perhaps you’ll make the cut as a Spectre as well.” They exchange goodbyes and then Nihlus walks off.

 

We briefly see Kaidan and Joker and Chakwas yukking it up and making bets about various party guests. Chakwas cleans up on the bets and again points out that she’s actually trained in psychiatry. “Plus, the two of you are drunk out of your minds.” They’re having a great time.

 

Meanwhile Anderson and Sanders talk and Anderson asks what Sanders will be doing now. Sanders says that Project Tug is now shut down, given its connection to the X57 incident, but she is already getting job offers from various biotic research projects. Anderson says those are all good gigs, but the Normandy does have an opening for a science officer, and while the pay won’t be nearly as good, it’ll be far more interesting. Sanders with a smile says she’ll think about it.

 

After some more mingling Shepard and Hannah meet with Anderson, who offers a toast to a promising XO. After they have the toast, Shepard brings up what Balak said and Anderson says it’s out of their hands. They stopped him, they caught him, they put him away, but it’s people with a higher pay grade whose job it is to keep him there. Shepard is also uncomfortable about not knowing some things, such as how Balak cronies knew about Project Tug, which was classified military research, or how they could get the time of day from Modos. She thinks that someone else was helping him out. Hannah tells her daughter that they can only act on the things they know, and what matters is they stopped Balak. If someone was helping Balak and tries to do something as well, “Well then you’ll stop them too. If there’s anything I know about my daughter, it’s that you can take on anything.” Anderson says he’ll drink to that, and the three have another toast, and then take a look out a large window at the stars.

 

We cut to the Normandy as it prepares to leave Arcturus Station. Anderson and Shepard are in the control center, with the crew reporting in from their stations, and we see that Sanders is now the Science Officer as she says “Science Lab is a go.” In the cockpit Joker says “Flight systems are a go.” He then looks over to Kaidan is sitting at a sensor chair in the cockpit and says that it looks like they have a new assignment from Command: to investigate a geological disturbance on Akuze. “I bet it’s just thresher maws” Kaidan says. “Just thresher maws?!” Joker says. “Just a hundred-foot armored worm monster that can burrow through mountains and chew through metal-plated vehicles and swallow them whole?! This is why I stay on the ship.” At that point Shepard pokes her head in and asks Joker if he intends to fly the ship then. “Yeah, yeah I’m taking off, go buckle in” Joker replies with a half—hearted dismissive wave. Shepard sits in a chair opposite from Kaidan and the two share a fist bump. From the control center Anderson says over the intercom “Take us away Joker.” “With pleasure sir” Joker says as the Normandy disengages from its spacedock and accelerates away from Arcturus Station. It approaches the nearby mass relay and is propelled forwards in a flash of energy and light.

 

End Credits Roll.

 

MID-CREDITS SCENE:

 

Spoiler

A dingy bar on a backwater world. A man drinks in a booth. It is Banes, bandages visible on his chest from underneath clothing. A woman approaches him and without looking at her he says he’s not interested. She sits down and makes clear she knows who he is. Banes says she has five seconds. The woman says she isn’t here to catch him, but to hire him. She says her boss is on the lookout for people willing to make the necessary sacrifices to protect humanity, and that while Banes’ plan was “over the top”, they can work with that. Banes asks who her boss is. The woman says if he wants to know more, he can make a call. “A few minutes of your time and I guarantee he’ll convince you we’re a group worth working with.” She slides a small card across the table to Banes. Banes picks the card up and looks at it: There is a comm channel number on the front, and when he flips it over there is a picture of a large dog with three heads.

 

POST-CREDITS SCENE:

 

Spoiler

Saren is in a dimly lit room with holo displays. An unseen voice that is booming and guttural says that Saren’s plan has failed. Saren says that while starting a war between Batarians and Humans would have been useful, it is not necessary, and it required few resources on their end. The voice says that Saren should ceases his distractions and focus on their objective. Saren says that he has his contacts looking for any and all traces, but adds that in the meantime they might look to procure an ally in the event that “force is required to take the next step” The voice says it suspects Saren already has one in mind, and Saren says he does. “One I think you will find intriguing. Saren turns on a holo and the camera pans back to reveal it is a hologram of a geth.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Fortnight

 

Starring: Jason Clarke (George Washington), Damian Lewis (Sir Charles Cornwallis), Alden Ehrenreich (Henry Knox), Domhnall Gleeson (Nathanael Greene), Armie Hammer (Joseph Reed), James Marsden (John Sullivan), with Tom Holland (Alexander Hamilton) and Ben Mendelsohn (Sir William Howe)

Co-Starring (in Alphabetical Order): Sean Harris (James Grant), Sebastian Koch (Johann Rall), Thomas Kretschmann (Carl von Donop), Andrew Lincoln (John Haslet), Kevin McKidd (Hugh Mercer), Tobias Menzies (Charles Mawhood), Jimmi Simpson (Robert Morris), Shea Whigham (John Glover)

Genre: Period Drama/War

Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Written by: Tony Kushner

Original Music by John Williams

Release Date: December 25, Year 4

Theater Count: 3314 Theaters

Budget: $100 Million

Running Time: 165 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for scenes of war violence, language, and some disturbing images

 

Plot Summary:

 

 

Spoiler

 

The film starts with a solitary man in a dimly lit room, writing a draft of a pamphlet. He goes through several drafts, crumpling up each successive one, until at least he is satisfied with what he has produced. He takes the drafted pamphlet and exits his boarding house into the deserted streets of Philadelphia at night. As he walks we see that it seems like half the town has fled and the other half barricaded in their homes. It is a city in fear of imminent doom. He eventually reaches his destination, a printing press. He hands the pamphlet to the proprietor and says “It’s finished.” The proprietor nods and gets the printing press set up to match the words of the handwritten page. Gears turn in motion, creaking noises sound, and the press goes into action to make the first copy, which the printer hands to the writer upon completion. The writer looks at the copy and is satisfied by the result. The printer asks how many copies should he make. The writer looks again at the copy, which we see is titled “The American Crisis” and says “Until you run out of paper to print with.” The printer nods and goes to work. The camera pulls back at the printing press in action, churning out copies, and slowly fades to black.

 

FORTNIGHT

 

*title cards*

These are the times that try men’s souls…

- Thomas Paine, December 19, 1776

 

The American Revolution is on its final breaths.

 

A handful of months after the signing of the Declaration Independence, British armies have captured New York City, and have driven the Continental forces through New Jersey and across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.

 

The Continental Congress has fled its capital of Philadelphia, which residents believe the British armies will capture come springtime.

 

The British forces, along with thousands of Hessian mercenaries, makes camp along the river and through New Jersey, content to let the cold winter freeze out the Continentals before their next advance.

 

The Continental army, undermanned, underfed, and undersupplied, is due to have most of its enlistments expire at the close of the year. Few are expected to stay on.

 

Only a miracle can prevent the dream of liberty from being snuffed out…

*end title cards*

 

December 20, 1776

 

In the pre-dawn hours, a man stirs in a house. It is George Washington (Clarke), commander of the Continental Army. He gets dressed by candlelight in the early hour in his always well-maintained uniform, and exits the house, and we see it is part of a large military encampment. He walks through the camp and we see many of the soldiers are weary, exhausted, and ragged, with tattered clothing or other shortcomings. However, they all salute and stand to attention with energy when he passes by. Still, as Washington walks he has a grim expression as he sees that many of the soldiers are lethargic, barely hanging on. The camp has an air of fatalism about it Washington eventually arrives at his destination, a very large tent that is an ad hoc command center, and he enters.

 

Waiting for him inside are a handful of senior officers: Generals Henry Knox (Ehrenreich), the young and slightly portly commander of the artillery, Nathanael Greene (Gleeson), a feisty and energetic division commander, John Haslet (Lincoln), commander of the small but ferocious Delaware regiment, and Hugh Mercer (McKidd), a Scottish exile forced to flee to the Americas after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 and brigade commander. They discuss the state of the army, which is heavily scattered across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. At their own encampment they have fewer than three thousand men who are fit for combat. Washington remarks that they would be in a stronger position if his “subordinates” who were supposed to have moved their troops to unite the army had followed their orders. Greene comments “Well, now that Charles Lee has gotten himself caught by the British ‘cause he couldn’t keep his pecker in his pants, there’s one less ass not following your orders, sir.” The other generals chuckle and we get the sense that Lee was not well liked. Washington cuts them off by saying that Lee was obstinate and self-obsessed, but he was one of them. Mercer says this is true, but now at least his men are on the move. We learn that a brigade under General Sullivan is expected to arrive today, with more men in the next few days. A pitiful force compared to the combined British armies in the field, but much larger than what is currently available to defend the Delaware crossings. Washington asks Knox how the artillery reorganization is coming along and Knox with a smile says that he thinks they can help offset their numerical disadvantage by integrating artillery companies with infantry brigades, increasing concentrated firepower, especially in rough winter weather where muskets are more difficult to handle. Washington tells him to continue with the plan. To the others, he tells them to return to their posts and keep the men alert, with time against them, they may need to take action to avoid the army disintegrating. The meeting disperses.

 

Knox goes on a tour of the various artillery companies under his command. He takes a moment to pause and watch one company being energetically drilled by a young skinny wisp of an officer. Knox calls the officer over. It is Captain Alexander Hamilton (Holland). Knox at first seems to be grilling Hamilton but then a smile takes over and it is clear the two are friends and Knox was just having some fun. The two talk about the training of Hamilton’s company and it is clear Hamilton is eager to show off their abilities. Knox hints that they might get the chance.

 

We cut to Philadelphia, where all that remains of the Continental Congress are three supply commissioners, the rest of Congress relocated to Baltimore. The trio are led by Robert Morris (Simpson), one of the richest men in North America. He implores the other to join him in writing to Congress to allocate more supplies to the army, but the other two are reluctant, having little hope that there will even be an army by spring.

 

We go to Trenton, the forward center of power for the British in New Jersey. Sir William Howe (Mendelsohn), commander-in-chief of all British forces in North America, meets with his subordinates who are in charge of garrisoning New Jersey. Also present are Charles Cornwallis (Lewis), one of Howe’s premier battle commanders, Major General James Grant (Harris), the overall commander of British forces in Central and Southern New Jersey, and various garrison commanders, including Hessian Colonels Carl von Donop (Kretschmann) and Johann Rall (Koch). Both Rall and von Donop have limited English and speak mostly in German. The meeting is to discuss the strategy for the winter months. The various garrisons along the Delaware River, mostly Hessian and Scottish regiments, are to secure their towns and the surrounding countryside. They are not to take any offensive action until Spring. Rall’s troops are stationed at Trenton, New Jersey, von Donop several miles southeast at Bordentown at the bend in the Delaware River, and more troops stationed southwest along the river at Burlington. Reserves are stationed at Princeton, north of Trenton, and then over 30 miles away at New Brunswick, where Grant has his headquarters.

 

Grant is not fond of the plan, thinking that that one last good push should end it all, but when Cornwallis presses him for a counter-proposal, Grant demurs, and we get the sense he is more fond of saying things than actually taking action. Von Donop is also eager for fighting due to provocations from the New Jersey militia, but Howe says the attacks are minor nuisances at best and he does not want the garrisons overextending themselves. Rall is fine with Howe’s plan and we get the sense that Rall and von Donop do not like one another at all.

 

The conversation then turns to other matters, mainly Howe’s orders regarding the British army’s foraging off the land. Howe maintains his plan of paying civilians for the goods taken, and to behave properly, believing too much wanton plundering will stir up resentment and civilian aid to rebels. Donop is an eager user of the foraging policy and we sense he is here to plunder. Cornwallis notes that most citizens are not being paid in coin as promised but in promissory notes or sometimes nothing at all. Rall criticizes Donop’s use of foraging on an industrial scale and insinuates he is lining pockets, the two nearly come to blows before other junior officers separate them. After the disturbance settles, Howe confirms his orders and says he expects them to be followed. The meeting then breaks up.

 

Outside Cornwallis says he will join Howe momentarily, but goes to speak with Rall about the defenses for Trenton. He observes that perhaps constructing some fortification will make the town more secure. Rall says that the growing raids by the local militia is lowering morale among his men, and that building fortifications will lower it further by insinuating they are in danger. He says if the enemy comes, his men will be ready for a fight. Von Donop comes by and notes that the river is too full of ice for a crossing to be made anyways. Rall nods and adds that the garrisons are only a couple hours march apart, so if an attack is made on one, it would not take too long to concentrate their forces for a response. Cornwallis nods and says that may be so, but they should still maintain advance outposts in the event of an assault. He then returns to rejoin Howe in Howe’s carriage, which sets off for the long ride back to New York City. We then get a short scene where Rall and Von Donop converse in German. They dislike one another, with von Donop saying Rall is paranoid and jumping at shadows, and Rall saying von Donop is little better than a highway bandit. They do agree on one thing: They both think that the British senior officers are all elitist bastards.

 

As the ride in their carriage gets going, Howe asks Cornwallis what he thinks about the military situation. Cornwallis says that the Americans are beaten, broken, and desperate, but adds that is usually when a man is at his most dangerous. Howe agrees, which is why he does not want to risk his men in a winter offensive. “We let the weather and fear finish what we started, and come spring we walk into Philadelphia and beyond unopposed.” Conversation turns to Cornwallis himself, as we learn he is planning to take a leave of absence to return to England. Howe is a little reluctant to let Cornwallis go, since he wants him to see the campaign through. Cornwallis replies that if Howe is right about the Americans disintegrating, the army will not have need of him, and his most recent letters from home have him concerned about his wife, as she is of frail constitution and has been getting periods of sickness recently.

 

Back in Philadelphia, Morris is alerted to the arrival of the USS Independence, an American sloop carrying hundreds and hundreds of muskets and blankets. Morris decides to buck protocol and personally ensure that they are loaded onto wagons and driven north from the city towards Washington’s army. When the sloop captain is reluctant, claiming that distribution of supplies has to go through formal channels, Morris replies “Then let me buy them from you now” and asks the captain how large a check he should write to Congress. The captain relents and soon the supplies are loaded onto many wagons and sent northwards. Morris himself rides with them.

 

Near the end of the day, the brigade under John Sullivan (Marsden) arrives at the main Continental encampment. Washington greets him warmly and asks how many more troops from the Northern commands will be following. Sullivan says a few thousand should be on the way. Not a large amount, but enough to put up a fight if need be. Washington nods, and looking like he is considering something, tells Sullivan to get his men rested. If there is a fight to come, he wants them ready for it. We see Washington then go back to his quarters and write a letter to his wife Martha, his voice narrating the words as the letter expresses his apprehension about the coming days and the state of the army, and that he fears that in less than a fortnight’s time, the cause will be hopeless.

 

December 21, 1776

 

In the morning, Washington meets with his adjutant, Joseph Reed (Hammer). Reed is a gregarious and energetic man and while there is some tension between the two because Reed offers his opinions and criticism a bit too freely, Washington still trusts Reed’s advice and says that the Continental army is still heavily outnumbered by the British. Reed says that is true, but the British and Hessian forces are scattered all over New Jersey and into New York City. “They are spread out, but we are concentrated. We pick a target and crush it, and we give the men some hope and the enemy something to fear.” Washington considers this and, looking at a map of New Jersey, it seems that a lightbulb has gone off in his mind. He tells Reed to assemble the generals for a council of war that night. In the meantime, the local militia are to be ordered to continue to poke and prod the enemy garrisons, to try and feel out their defenses.

 

We cut to that evening, where all of the senior American officers are present, as well as a plucky and crusty New Englander, Colonel John Glover (Whigham). At the meeting, Washington proposes that the army, in few days after it is fully concentrated, cross the Delaware River and assault the Hessian garrison at Trenton. The council is divided over the proposal. Not about the attack itself, they all believe they shouldn’t sit still, since the inactivity will help drain the men away, but many believe that an assault over the river at this point in time will be very dangerous due to the amount of ice. Washington turns to Glover, whose regiment is made of fishermen from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and who has transported the army on river crossings before, and asks him if his men can get them across the river. Glover with a laugh says that his men could ferry the hosts of Hell all the way to the gates of Heaven if need be. “A bit of ice on a river won’t be any trouble.” The other officers are less concerned after that proclamation, and Washington tells them “So, let us begin our planning,” and they get to work.

 

We briefly cut to New York City, where Cornwallis is back in his own quarters. We see him writing a letter to his wife, his voice narrating it as he writes. The letter says that he shall be taking a ship soon across the ocean to be with her once again, and that his thoughts and spirit are already with her. He expresses some ambivalence about the British mission in the colonies, and says that though he expects this war to end fully by the close of the following year at the latest, he worries that there would only just be another rising some years later. “We are an ocean away from them, and every year their country grows faster and faster.”

 

We have a short scene where Washington interacts with Sullivan, and Washington asks him whether General Horatio Gates, the commander of the northern armies, will be coming. Sullivan is reluctant to give a straight answer until Washington assures him that if there is someone to be angry with, it would not be Sullivan for delivering news. Sullivan, reassured says that Gates will not be joining the army, though some of his men will. Gates is traveling to Baltimore to likely try to persuade Congress to remove Washington as commander, and presumably have himself made the replacement. Washington sighs and says he is a little surprised Charles Lee or Gates did not try something sooner after the loss of New York City. He asks what Sullivan thinks and Sullivan replies “You’ve made mistakes General, some of them they might not have made. But neither of them could have held that city, and neither of them could have held this army together afterwards. I’m your man.” Washington smiles and says “Then let us both prove General Gates wrong.”

 

That night, a small band, maybe a few dozen, of American militia cross the Delaware and raid an outpost a couple miles from Trenton. No Hessians die, only a few are wounded, but when Rall receives word he is frustrated and resolves to send word to General Grant and all other nearby commanders to ask for reinforcements. He also gives orders for a shifting rotation be set where at least one of his three regiments is on full alert the whole time. Some of his subordinates think this will cause mass fatigue, but Rall says that if next time the raid is larger, he wants his soldiers to be ready for it.

 

December 22, 1776

 

As part of the forming of his plan, Washington goes over a map of New Jersey with some subordinates and points out the spacing of the enemy garrisons. If Trenton is to be attacked, then the nearby garrison at Bordentown needs to be drawn away so it cannot intervene. Washington tells Reed to go on horseback and boat south-southwest to Moorestown, New Jersey and tell the local militia commander, Colonel Griffin, to advance to Mount Holly and threaten the Burlington garrison, in the hopes of drawing the Hessians at Bordentown south. Washington tells Reed to make it clear he does not want a full battle. He just wants the Hessians drawn south. Reed nods and immediately sets off at horseback.

 

We briefly go to Princeton, where the current British commander receives the letter from Rall. With concern he decides to send a regiment to Trenton for reinforcement, and sends a letter to Grant advising him of his action.

 

We cut to Grant lounging at his quarters in New Brunswick, indulging in luxuries and barely paying attention to actual military matters. When he gets the reports from Trenton and Princeton he is irritated and sends messengers with orders to cancel the troop movements. He grumbles that Rall is exaggerating the danger and says that he could guard the Delaware with a handful of men.

 

Reed arrives in Moorestown after a frigid boat ride across the Delaware and meets with Colonel Griffin and gives him Washington’s orders. Griffin asks if Washington is planning something special for Christmas. Reed says he can’t get into those sort of details, but adds, a little playfully, “if the General was, he would appreciate it if those soldiers in Bordentown and Burlington were busy elsewhere.” Griffin smiles and says he thinks the boys can manage that. Reed then departs and Griffin has his militia roused from camp and says they have orders to put a bit of a scare into the enemy.

 

Back in Trenton, the reinforcement regiment arrives, a few hundred trained and disciplined British soldiers. They are getting ready to make camp when Grant’s messenger arrives on horseback, with a message to both Rall and the regiment commander. The regiment commander is annoyed and orders his troops to prepare to march back north. As they set off, Rall, frustrated, says to his officers that the British do not understand the precarious situation they are in. We see that his soldiers are keeping busy with drills and watches, with some of them warily keeping an eye on the surrounding countryside, fearful of an attack any minute.

 

At the main American encampment, the supply convoy organized by Morris arrives, and supplies start to be distributed to the most needy of the soldiers. Morris himself goes to meet with Washington, who is with Greene and Knox. Morris says that they cannot expect anything from Congress in the short term, though he is trying to persuade them to spend what funds are available. Washington says that anything is better than nothing, and invites Morris to share a drink with him and the officers. There is some friendly talk between the four, and Morris finally goes “Oh, by the way, that writer Paine has issued a new pamphlet. It is certainly something.” He pulls out from his jacket a copy of The American Crisis and passes it to Washington, who reads it in quiet with interest. After finishing it, he tells Greene “Have the army assembled in the morning, this is something they should hear.”

 

Meanwhile, in Bordentown, von Donop receives a report from the garrison at Burlington that several hundred militia are congregating near Mount Holly. The report advises that the Burlington garrison can defend itself. Von Donop however is eager for a fight and decides to move his entire brigade from Bordentown to Mount Holly to “smash the rebels.” He does not bother sending word to Rall or Grant of his movements, saying that there is no danger to either of them. Von Donop’s entire force sets out that afternoon, intending to get to Mount Holly at night for an attack the next day.

 

That evening, Glover and his regiment arrive at the Delaware river, by the planning crossing site. Glover tells his men to stay in the trees for camp to avoid being spotted. They are also to not make any campfires unless well out of the line of sight of the far side. His orders are to start constructing heavy rafts and floats for the heavy equipment, supplies, and cannons, and for the infantry to “round up every boat within 30 miles. We will need all of them.”

 

December 23, 1776

 

That morning, Von Donop and his force arrive near Mount Holly to give battle to the American militia. Outnumbered by superior forces, Colonel Griffin follows Washington’s orders and only skirmishes with the Hessian troops. Von Donop aggressively pushes his men forward across the field, inflicting a couple dozen casualties, taking a handful of prisoners, and losing maybe a dozen men of his own. Griffin however keeps his men in good order and withdraws them south a couple miles from Mount Holly. Von Donop meanwhile gloats at the Americans fleeing but is annoyed his men did not get to devastate the enemy further. He contents himself with ordering his men to “forage” the entire town of Mount Holly.

 

At the American encampment, the army is assembled and Washington has The American Crisis read aloud to them. We can see that the stirring language of the pamphlet helps reinvigorate many of the men, as it re-inspires them as to what they are fighting for. Afterwards, Washington meets with Morris, who is heading back to Philadelphia. Morris says it looks like the reading had an effect. He asks Washington if there is any message to be delivered to Congress. Washington simply says to tell Congress that the army won’t let Congress down, if Congress holds their end of the bargain. He and Morris shake hands and Morris rides off.

 

Later in the camp, we see Hamilton reading a print copy of the pamphlet, and we see that more print copies have been arriving. He pours through it the writing like someone devouring a fine meal, his eyes furiously scanning the words. Knox comes by and comments about the pamphlet, saying that it is quite the fine piece of work. Hamilton says it is, and points out a few of the phrases he finds particularly stirring, but also strategic and clever in their placement. Knox says he’s heard that Hamilton is a bit of a writer himself. The two talk some more before Knox has to leave to attend to other duties. Before he leaves, Hamilton says “it’s just words, sir. They’re all well and good, but action needs to back them up. That’s what this army needs….just speaking my mind, sir.” Knox smiles and tells Hamilton that the commander is aware of that, and something is coming down the road soon.

 

At his camp along the Delaware, Glover watches his men hard at work assembling the heavy rafts. He also sees large boats being brought in by wagon, either within the wagon itself or being towed on a sled. He motivates his men with salty language as he smokes a pipe. We learn that bulky river ferries are being transported on their way from upriver, but the movement is slow because of their size. Glover tells the subordinate “I don’t care if you have to buy, barter, or steal every horse from here to Philadelphia, those ferries better be here in two day’s time.”

 

We briefly return to Mount Holly, where von Donop’s men are busy ransacking and looting, as most of the town has been deserted. Von Donop himself decides to make his quarters at the homestead of a young, attractive widow, who while nervous is polite but firm. Von Donop flirts with her in an aristocratic, gentlemanly fashion, and seems a little smitten with her. He decides that he and his men shall stay the night in Mount Holly. Privately he boasts to a subordinate that he can woo the widow by Christmas.

 

December 24, 1776

 

Washington continues with the machinations of his plan. The Hessians under von Donop are at Mount Holly, along with the Burlington forces, and he notes to his officers that they need to be kept there as long as possible, since Mount Holly is more than a day’s march from Trenton. After some discussions, Greene suggests that perhaps they send a messenger to Mount Holly under a flag of truce with a proposal to exchange prisoners held by the Americans for people captured by von Donop at Mount Holly. At the least it should distract the Hessians there a little. Washington approves it and tells Reed to be the one to carry out the ruse.

 

At Glover’s encampment along the river, the first of the large hulking river ferries arrives. We also see that his men are making good progress at building or securing other boats and rafts.

 

In the main American encampment, we see the bustle of activity is slowly growing as the senior officers start passing news to more junior officers, and so on, that the army is to go on the move the following day. A couple soldiers, deciding they’ve had enough of the cold and the fighting, and the losing, decide to desert and head out, stealing a small boat and crossing the river just south of Trenton.

 

After a long day of traveling, Reed arrives south of Mount Holly where he encounters Griffin again. Griffin says he has kept his men near Mount Holly so that the Hessians feel obligated to take up defensive positions and not risk leaving the town and being ambushed. Reed tells Griffin to maintain that for another day or so, and says he has his own part to play. Reed rides into Mount Holly with a single escort carrying a flag of truce. The Hessians let him in and Reed sees the state of the plundering of the town. Reed has a short meeting with von Donop, who is curt and rude, but willing to consider the terms of the prisoner exchange. Von Donop tells Reed he best head back out now, “and I’ll let your general know if I am interested.” Reed nods, careful not to provoke anyone, and then departs from Mount Holly. Von Donop is curious about the proposal and says he shall think on it. One of his officers thinks it is just some elaborate scheme of some sort, but has no idea what it could be when von Donop asks him. Von Donop says that in any case, it is late, so he shall retire for the evening and let the men have their Christmas Eve fun. He goes back to the young widow’s house and plays the charming gentleman with her, and while she plays along to keep him happy and amused, we see when she is alone she has utter contempt for him.

 

In Trenton, the two deserters are brought before Rall, having been picked up by outlying patrols just south of Trenton. Rall interrogates them, and eventually the two say that the American army is planning an attack, but they are not sure where and whom against. Rall thanks them for their honesty, and gives them each a gold coin and tells his men to turn the two loose. He then talks with his subordinates, who say that with all the incessant raids, the men are getting fatigued. Rall says they must keep alert regardless, and has a messenger sent to Grant, though he says he doubts Grant will take any precautions. Rall then goes to his quarters sadly drinks in silence as he contemplates things.

 

Reed returns to the American camp in the middle of the night and informs Washington of what occurred. He asks Washington if he thinks von Donop will take the bait. Washington is quiet for a moment and then says that it will be in God’s hands.

 

December 25, 1776

 

The Continental Army encampment stirs in the morning. Fresh supplies of ammunition are passed around and orders are passed for men to have multiple days of rations prepared. Buzz starts to grow as the army begins to realize that the rumors of an attack may be true after. Washington holds one last war council where he reminds his generals of the plan of attack. The crossing is to made at dusk, with the attack to happen in the pre-dawn hours of the following day. The crossing will happen about 10 miles upstream from Trenton, to avoid detection by Hessian patrols.

 

We return to Mount Holly, where amazingly, von Donop and his men are still there. The soldiers do not mind, as there are plenty of stores of food and alcohol to go through and they are having a grand time drinking, singing, and carousing. Von Donop’s officers are growing a little annoyed with being so far out of position and tell their commander they should return to their garrison. Von Donop considers it, but the young widow, recognizing von Donop’s infatuation and the fact that the other officers are growing angry that the Hessians are not where they are supposed to be, starts to minorly reciprocate his flirtations and asks if he would like to stay for Christmas dinner. Von Donop eagerly accepts and tells his officers they will return to Bordentown tomorrow. He finally decides to send word to Grant about the skirmish at Mount Holly. However, he does not bother to inform Rall that his men are over a dozen miles from where they are supposed to be.

 

At the American camp, Washington meets with Glover to discuss the arrangements for ferrying the army across the Delaware. Glover says that his regiment has gotten all the necessary boats ready, but draws Washington’s attention to the change in direction in the wind and the fast, thin clouds racing across the sky. “Something’s brewing General, and it won’t be something pretty.” Washington understands the meaning and asks if it will be a problem. Glover responds “It’ll be slower, and it’ll be a slog, but my men can get yer army across without losing a boat. I wager my life on that.” Washington comments that the whole army is being wagered on that.

 

At New Brunswick, Grant is getting dressed to travel to New York City for the rest of the day, when an aide brings in the messages from Rall and von Donop. He reads them both with mild disinterest and then says “nothing to be concerned about”, crumples them up, and tosses them into the fireplace. His aide asks if any orders should be sent back out. Grant nonchalantly replies “have a happy Christmas,” and then walks out to a waiting carriage.

 

In Trenton, Rall’s men have a quiet and tense Christmas Day, as Rall has ordered the garrison to be on full alert. Multiple straight days of raids, alarms, and alerts have left the men weary. Even Rall himself is tired, and the celebrations are few and far between.

 

In late afternoon the American army is assembled into parade formation, and begins to march. We see Washington in his quarters, writing two letters to the Continental Congress, his voice narrating their contents. One of the letters is to celebrate their successful operation at Trenton. The other advises Congress of their failure and defeat. After finishing both he carefully seals them and hands both to an aide and says “By this time tomorrow you shall know which one to send.” The aide leaves and for a minute Washington sits and looks around his cluttered office, at his scattered papers in maps in thought, before the film cuts to him in full uniform exiting the house, soldiers and officers saluting as he passes, and then mounting his horse to set off. He rides with Greene and Knox, and comments that the timing on this is very important, since a delay in crossing and marching could cause them to not be in position to attack until after sunrise, which would eliminate the element of surprise.

 

We get a few short scenes of the army marching, as the sun slowly begins to set and the wind starts to pick up a little and the sky becomes overcast. At the river Glover notices this and has his men hurry their final preparations, saying in his thick New England accent that “this one is gunna be a furious bitch.”

 

As night begins to fall over New Jersey, so does a trickle of snow, then a flurry, and then a torrent of wind, snow, and ice. A large winter storm has hit. In Trenton, we see Rall and his garrison react. Rall comments. “Now the men can have their first good rest. No one shall be crazy enough to attack in that.” Though a notable number of soldiers are ordered to remain on full alert, the others start to relax for the first time in days, sing some songs, and drift off to sleep, secure in the belief that they are safe for a day.

 

On the road to the ferry site, Sullivan reports to Washington that the weather has slowed down the march. Instead of crossing the river shortly after nightfall, they might not be able to start crossing until much closer to midnight. Washington is frustrated by the news and almost swears, but keeps his composure. Greene asks Washington if he is considering calling the operation off. Washington shakes his head and says “This operation has helped give the men a bit of hope. Calling it off now will get rid of that, and they may not ever march on another one again. We go forward.” Washington tells Knox to ride ahead and oversee the crossing with Glover and to make sure that everything necessary for the coming battle is shipped across. Knox nods and rides off with vigor.

 

We cut to New York City, where Sir William Howe is hosting a Christmas party for the senior British commanders. Cornwallis is there, along with Grant. Cornwallis asks Grant about the security of the river garrisons and Grant says that as always there are rumors of attacks and dangers but it is all just paranoid soldiers and lies from deserters to get things confused. Cornwallis says that is usually the case, and says that it probably is nothing. We see him have some interactions with Howe, and learn that Cornwallis is due to ship out in two days time. Howe sees Cornwallis is a little on edge and after Cornwallis relates what Grant has said Howe replies that while Grant may be a fool, he is not so incompetent as to ignore the state of his own forces. He encourages Cornwallis to just enjoy himself this evening. Cornwallis nods and goes back to socializing, enjoying himself with high society conversation and drinks, but we can see in the back of his mind he can’t shake the feeling that something is off. We later cut to him back home in his quarters, preparing for bed. He looks at a small portrait of his wife in a locket and says to it “Two more days until I begin my return to you my love.” He puts the locket down on a bedside table and blows the nearby candle out.

 

At the Delaware, Washington’s army is starting to be ferried across. Because of the fierce stormy conditions, men have to stand up because of sloshing ice water leaking into the boats, and have to huddle together. Glover gives orders in coarse language to remind his soldiers about how to get the boats across in the stormy conditions without capsizing everything. The crossing itself appears perilous, with large cakes of ice floating downstream, the boats having to dodge them or gently push them aside with poles. At point a block of ice crashes into a boat carrying Haslet, and he tumbles into the river. Luckily, he is quickly able to be pulled back into a boat, though he is immediately shivering and brooding over the exposure.

 

Knox is present and is overseeing the crossing as a whole, giving orders in a shout. His biggest concern is to get the artillery across, which can only be moved via the heaviest rafts or shanghaied ferries. We see a scene with him interacting with Hamilton, whose company is being set to cross the river. Knox, being the superior officer rather than the friend here, furiously runs through a checklist of items to be done and Hamilton is on top of all of them, and adds that he has taken the liberty of helping a few other artillery companies organize matters as well. Knox smiles and says that Hamilton is making himself quite useful and jokes “Keep up this kind of work and sooner or later you’ll find yourself pulled from the field and placed onto a general’s staff.” Hamilton laughs and says nothing could pull him away from combat. Hamilton then goes to help his men push one of their cannon onto a barge, his small body straining at the effort.

 

We get a short montage of scenes showing the crossing of the army. Washington himself crosses at about the midway point and once across sits on a tree stump watching the rest of his force come ashore. We see Haslet trying to warm himself by a fire, cursing as he massages his icy legs Washington’s senior officers cluster around him as he gives them instructions and orders. We learn that the operation is about three hours behind schedule, and it is just about midnight. Eventually the entire army is across and being assembled at their staging areas. Washington calls Reed forward and tells him to alert all the commanders to follow their designated marching routes, and to stop for nothing. The attack goes forward as planned. Reed nods and asks what the watchword for the sentries and scouts will be.

 

Washington replies “Victory or Death.”

 

December 26, 1776

 

The American army sets off on the march to Trenton. Washington confirms the next step of the plan: One half of the army, led by Sullivan, will hug the main road along the Delaware river. The other half, led by Greene, is to move inland and circle around to approach Trenton from the north. Knox has managed to get the entire complement of artillery across the river and ensures that both halves are well stocked with the powerful cannons. We see Greene conferring with his subordinates, which include Mercer. Mercer is articulate and tactical in his words, but in a thick brogue says he has been waiting for this payback for over thirty years. Since they have more ground to cover, Greene makes sure Mercer knows that speed is paramount.

 

Washington watches both halves set out, and checks his pocket watch. They are now four hours behind schedule. Knox says that the icy conditions and need to bring across the artillery slowed them down, but there were no notable accidents and they have the full deployment ready. Washington looks up and says their best hope is that the storm continues into the morning.

 

We get a few scenes of the march to Trenton, with the icy roads and some steep ravines making the traversing hairy for the heavy wagons and horses towing the cannons and ammunition carts. The wintry conditions are also taking their toll on the men, with more than a few collapsing from exhaustion to fall by the roadside and freeze. All the while Washington checks his pocket watch, and we learn that he had ordered every officer in the army to synchronize their watches to his, so that everyone is operating on the exact same timetable.

 

At sunrise, the army is still a couple miles from Trenton. Washington is riding with Greene’s half of the army and to his relief, the winter storm is continuing on. Advance scouts report in about the outer ring of the Hessian defenses, which are a semicircle of guardhouses that provide an early warning. Washington has Greene’s division deploy, with Mercer’s brigade on the right, in a screen of woods about a half-mile from the first guardhouse. As this goes on, Washington sends a messenger to ride to Sullivan and to tell him to commence his attack at 8 AM. He then looks at Greene’s division deploying and for the first time we see some anxiety on Washington’s face.

 

Washington’s watch reaches 8 and he gives the order to commence the attack. We see a few thousand American soldiers briskly advance from the cover of the treeline in a swirling snowstorm, nervous but eager. Neither Washington nor any other of the officers see any Hessian troops formed up. “I think we may actually have done it, sir” Greene remarks. “We shall see” Washington replies grimly.

 

We jump to the Hessian guardhouse, which is a converted cooper shop occupied by a couple dozen soldiers. The men inside are grumbling about the cold, the snow, the wind, basically everything. They are also tired from being on constant alert during the night. Their commander steps outside to get some air and sees shapes materializing through the snow. After initial confusion he realizes it is the Americans and sounds the alarm. His small company exits and puts up a brief firefight against the initial wave of American soldiers, but heavily outnumbered, they withdraw to avoid being surrounded, a runner being sent ahead to sound the alarm. Washington tells Greene to execute the next step of the plan. Greene tells Mercer to advance south towards Trenton while the rest of his men will swing further east to cut off the escape route towards Princeton. Mercer obliges and dismounts his horse to encourage his men to charge forward with him in the snow. Hundreds of men follow him, past the first bodies of Hessians that have begun to stain the white ground red.

 

To the southwest, on the cue of the watch, Sullivan has his division exit the cover of woods and charge in towards Trenton, scattering the initial defensive pickets, the swirling snow masking their numbers.

 

On the opposite side of the Delaware River from Trenton, on the cue of the watch, the artillery reserves left behind by Knox roll out from the treeline and the guncrews immediately set the guns in position and open fire directly on the town.

 

The cacophony of gunfire, shouts of warning, and explosions of artillery shells rouses the Hessian main force, many of which had been placed on alert for the night, and hundreds of them grab their muskets and ammunition and race out of their quarters into the streets. Rall is woken by his aide and quickly dresses, grabs his sword, and exits into the street where the runner from before is waiting. The runner says that the Americans are here in force and are surrounding the town to the west and east. This last part (east) is a mistake, but Rall has no reason to doubt it. He quickly convenes a meeting of his senior officers and says that the town is already close to surrounded, so they shall not waste time securing an exit but instead meet the enemy head-on to drive them off. “They are ruffians and scoundrels, and we are the finest soldiers of Europe. They shall fall before us.”

 

North of Trenton, the main body of the American army deploys on the high ground, with Knox organizing the placement of artillery to shell the town. Washington has a great position to observe the entire battle, even with the snow obscuring things, and directs the next stage of advance. Seeing the Hessians assemble for a frontal attack, he tells Greene to keep his division on the defensive to tempt the Hessians forward, while extending the line to the east to slowly encircle the town from that direction. He then sends a rider to alert Sullivan to this and order him to press southeast as fast as possible. There is a single bridge over the Assunpink Creek to the south. If they secure the bridge, there is almost no escape route for the Hessians.

 

As Hessian artillery begins to deploy, Knox orders his batteries to focus on them, to deny the Hessians firepower. One of the batteries given this task is led by Hamilton, and he energetically runs up and down by his cannons, urging his men to act quickly and precisely. They do so, and the focused American fire destroys several enemy cannons and forces the remainder to flee. This allows the American artillery to focus entirely on Rall’s regiments.

 

Rall leads his forces forward in a daring assault to attach the front and east flank of the Americans, but they have to charge uphill, in the face of heavy musket and artillery fire. A substantial number go down after a few volleys and Rall is forced to call off the attack. For the first time in the fight he is now concerned and tells an aide to see if the southern bridge is open. As the aide rides off, Rall rallies his men for a second attack.

 

In Trenton itself, Rall’s reserve finds itself surprised by the arrival of half of the American army, Sullivan’s division, sweeping in from the northwest. There is a series of intense and bitter fighting in the streets and house-to-house, with Sullivan himself having a couple close calls with bullets ripping through the sides of his coat. With the town center finally secure, he has Glover take his regiment south to secure the Assunpink bridge, while the rest advance east and north to try and trap the main Hessian force in a vise.

 

Word of this reaches Rall when his aide returns to say that the Americans are about to cut off their escape to the south, so Rall decides to split his forces, with one half to hold off the Americans to the north, and the other half to retake the town center. Rall decides to lead the latter half, and leads a bitter and ferocious charge into Trenton to try and turn the tide, leading to more intense house-to-house fighting, with the close-quarters resulting in many muskets turning into clubs, and many falling from stab wounds from swords, knives, and bayonets. The melee is in flux, until Rall, on horseback urging his men, is suddenly shot twice in the side and he falls off his horse. This disheartens his men and they retreat to the east.

 

Seeing the Hessians retreat to the east, Washington on the hilltop remarks to Greene that they need just one more push, and then he rides off swiftly south alongside the columns of advancing American soldiers, urging them onward. Greene and Mercer look a little bewildered at Washington riding to the forefront like that, but they decide to follow his example, and have their brigades slowly surround a sizable apple orchard that most of the Hessians are retreating to. We see that Haslet, slowly stumbling on his freezing legs, is also charging forward as energetically as possible, his men keeping pace. Meanwhile Knox orders his cannons to be wheeled forward, in case there is a final stand.

 

To the far south, we see Glover’s men seize control of the bridge from a few dozen defenders after a brief firefight, and deploy to cut off any further retreat. We do see that one Hessian regiment is marching south towards the Assunpink Creek to try and wade across it, and after exchanging a few volleys with Glover’s men they are forced back, though several dozen do race further east to escape across the creek that way.

 

Back at the apple orchard, the bulk of the Hessian forces prepare for a final stand. Sensing that the battle is already won and that all further fighting would accomplish would be more death, Washington sends Greene to parley with the senior Hessian officers. After some back-and-forth arguing over terms and the seriousness of their predicament, the Hessian officers agree to surrender, and a makeshift white flag is raised as Hessians place their weapons on the ground. Washington gives orders for the Hessians to be treated humanely and with dignity and then asks Reed to locate the Hessian commander so they could speak.

 

We get a couple short scenes of American and Hessian soldiers intermingling, with a language barrier blocking most communication. There are a few instances of Americans behaving rudely, but by and large there are cautious, almost friendly interactions between the soldiers.

 

Reed meanwhile locates Rall, who has been taken to a farmhouse just outside town. Rall is badly wounded and it is clear he won’t survive the night. Washington arrives and the two have a short conversation, with the help of interpreters. Rall begs Washington to treat his men well and to let them keep their personal belongings, and Washington replies that Rall’s men fought well and with honor, and they will be treated with honor. Rall laughs sadly and says he had thought the American army was full of half-trained persons who were fools to fight the greatest armies in the world. “But, it appears it was we who were the fools.” Washington silently nods and takes his leave, to allow Rall to spend his final hours in peace.

 

As the energy winds down and the American forces take over the Hessian camp and stores of supplies, Washington holds a council of war. The first order of business is for Glover to ferry the Hessian prisoners, about 800, across the Delaware, so that they can be taken away for holding. The next step is whether the army should press the attack and seize further outposts, or hold their ground and catch their breath. There is a fierce debate, with the more aggressive commanders like Haslet advocating for a push to Princeton or Bordentown, while others like Knox disagree. Knox in particular says that with the weather conditions as they are, the condition of the men after a night march and a battle, it would be very difficult to organize another attack so soon. And given that some of the enemy has escaped and is no doubt sending messages to all British forces in the region, doing another attack so soon risks the army being exhausted and surrounded. After some further deliberation, Washington decides they should hold position for now, to allow the men time to rest. Once Glover finishes transporting the prisoners he will return with his boats to Trenton, in the event that they need to retreat back across the river.

 

December 27, 1776

 

We return to Mount Holly, where, as it turns out, von Donop has lingered yet another day, to the consternation of his officers. A rider arrives first thing in the morning, with news of the attack on Trenton and the utter defeat of Rall’s men. Donop is shaken by this news and quickly in almost a panic has his forces march not to their original positions at Bordentown, but northeast to Allentown, so they are further away from the river and a potential attack. One of his junior officers criticizes him, saying that if they hadn’t dallied here they might have been able to help Rall in Trenton. Von Donop responds by viciously backhanding the officer and, with a hand on his pistol, asks if the officer wishes to do anything about it. The officer, cowed, stays silent.

 

In Trenton, Washington discusses the state of affairs with Reed, Greene, and Knox. Though they have secured a great victory, they are still heavily outnumbered by the total amount of British forces in New Jersey. If those forces combine, they would be very difficult to stand against. Further complicating matters is that more than half of the enlistments for the army expire at the end of the year. If those men do not re-enlist, they won’t have the force to withstand any assault. Reed brings up that a message has come in from the south. Von Donop’s men have retreated northeast rather than return to Bordentown, and so Griffin’s men are coming north, and many more militia from New Jersey and Pennsylvania are crossing the river in that vicinity. Greene notes that they face a conundrum, in that if they stay in New Jersey to fight, they risk over half of the veteran soldiers leaving in a few days and leaving them vulnerable to a counterattack. If they retreat to Pennsylvania, they risk abandoning countless militia to British counterattacks. Washington says he will have to think very carefully, as “one misstep with this army and the war can be lost in a day.” The other concern is supplies, with the supply system for the army being haphazard and ramshackle on its best days. Washington says that he will send a message to Robert Morris to see if he can organize any further deliveries within the next few days.

 

We jump to New York City, where Cornwallis is in his quarters, most of his belongings packed up. As he looks around the house he had boarded in, he takes a sigh of relief and goes to the docks in a carriage, a wagon carrying his baggage just behind. At the docks he watches as his baggage is loaded onto a warship, looking content. At that point a rider gallops up to him, dismounts, hands him a sealed message, and then rides back off. Cornwallis unrolls the paper, his face growing more discontented as he reads, and he finally finishes, crumples it up to a ball, and throws it into the harbor in anger.

 

Cut to Cornwallis barging into Howe’s headquarters, interrupting a meeting Howe has and demanding to know why his leave has been cancelled. Howe, looking utterly unfazed, dismisses the other officers and bids Cornwallis sit, and offers refreshment. Cornwallis refuses and again demands an explanation, saying that Howe knows his concerns about his wife’s health. Howe says “I do, but I have bigger concerns” and passes Cornwallis a dispatch he received earlier in the day. Cornwallis reads it. “So, the rebels have struck back at Trenton, in force.” Howe nods and says that Rall’s command is all but wiped out, and the other garrisons at Bordentown, Princeton, and elsewhere are no doubt thinking they will next. “I need someone to take charge of this situation, to organize the garrisons, concentrate them, and strike back at the enemy. I need you.” Cornwallis, unconvinced, says that Howe does not need him. “You have other generals, Clinton perhaps, or God forbid even Grant.” Howe shakes his head and says that Clinton is more of a bureaucrat than a soldier. “He can run an army from a desk, but I am less confident he can do so on the battlefield. As for Grant…well it was his job to prevent this Trenton fiasco from even happening, so that settles it for him. No, you’re my best battle commander, and that is where I need you right now.”

 

Cornwallis is silent for a moment and stares at Howe, who nonchalantly stares back. Finally, Cornwallis bends and says “very well. You shall have me for this. But if something shall befall my wife and I am not there for it, no angel nor devil can keep me from you.” Howe replies “Perhaps instead of invoking religious fury on me, you focus your anger on the actual enemy. It is they who are keeping you here, not I.” Cornwallis seethes and says he will need a free hand. “Every garrison in New Jersey, every reserve command, they fall under my authority to organize and deploy. No second-guessing or interventions from New York.” Howe nods. “Done” he says. Cornwallis, after brief hesitation, gives Howe a salute, which Howe returns, and then Cornwallis stomps out.

 

Cornwallis rides back to the docks, where his staff is still preparing to get all of their things onboard the transport ship. Cornwallis immediately has them reverse course and instead prepare to get the headquarters staff and papers on the move. One aide asks them where they are heading and Cornwallis, a dark expression, replies “New Jersey. It seems that there is a mess that only we can clean up. I want riders sent to every garrison commander from New Brunswick to Burlington to concentrate their forces at Princeton.”

 

December 28, 1776

 

In Philadelphia, Morris, along with his fellow supply commissioners, meets with the Commissary General, who is lazy and incompetent, and who makes excuses about shortages in crucial supplies. The CG says there are no further supplies to send, but Morris produces receipts and documents that show that quite a lot of supplies, such as clothing, blankets, and ammunition, has passed through the docks in recent days. Morris accuses the CG of basically stealing the supplies to sell on the black market. The Commissary General frantically stammers and obfuscates and Morris’ colleagues try to smooth things over, but Morris cuts them off. “Now, by law, I could have you shot today, but all that leaves us is a vacant commissary general position and no one to release supplies, so for now, we will do it your way.” He takes the carrying pouch he was carrying and dumps it on the table in front of the CG and we see some coins rustle out. Morris leans in close and says “Everything you have held back, I want it. Now. And I suggest that come the new year, you graciously resign your post. Or the next time I return, it will be bullets instead of gold.” The Commissary General, white as a ghost, nods.

 

We cut to New Brunswick, where Cornwallis has first gone to meet with Grant, who is indignant at his authority in New Jersey being usurped. “Then perhaps you should have done your duty” Cornwallis retorts. Cornwallis gives Grant a thorough dressing-down of his failings and says that Grant now answers to him. Grant sputters and stammers, but eventually bows to Cornwallis’ authority. Grant asks what is required of him. Cornwallis replies “only your men. They march for Princeton tomorrow. You remain here, where you’ll be of the most use: doing nothing.”

 

Back in Trenton, we see Knox organizing the arrival of the artillery units from across the river, as well as supervising the repair of the captured Hessian artillery. One of the officers he appoints to the latter task is Hamilton, who enthusiastically takes up the job, making lists of necessary supplies, haggling quartermasters for items, setting up schedules and procedures, all as he goes up and down the town. Knox is amused by this display of energy and warns Hamilton that he is making himself far too useful to be just a soldier. He says he could use someone in his staff to help with organizing and supervising the army’s artillery. Hamilton declines, saying he prefers to fight rather than write. Knox accepts the answer, but as Hamilton walks away he has a “this isn’t over yet” look on his face.

 

We get a short scene with Greene, Sullivan, and Mercer having some social fun drinking and sharing stories. Mercer tells a story about the Battle of Culloden, where the Jacobite Rebellion was broken and how he spent months on the run hiding in the Scottish Highlands before he was able to steal aboard a ship bound the Virginia. Both Sullivan and Greene can see that Mercer still holds a grudge about the failed rebellion. Mercer says that “We wanted a king of our own, and the English smashed us for it. Now they try to impose on my new home, and I mean to fight them with all of my might.”

 

December 29, 1776

 

In Trenton, Washington confers with Glover and Haslet. Both of them command regiments whose enlistment terms expire on New Year’s Eve. Washington asks them if they think their regiments will stay. Glover says it will be difficult, since many of his men, who are boaters by trade, wish to return to New England to take up privateering, which brings in coin for their families. Haslet is also doubtful that his regiment will stay to fight, but he says he will try to convince as many to remain as he can.

 

We return to New Brunswick where we see the forces under Grant’s immediate control assembling to march west towards Princeton. Cornwallis watches them assemble and march off from horseback, and gives a sarcastic nod to a sullen-looking Grant, before Cornwallis sets off at a study trot down the road following the troops. As he rides, an aide rides alongside and says that von Donop’s Hessian troops have been contacted and are swinging around to head to Princeton as well. Between those, Grant’s men, and the forces under Leslie and Mawhood already at Princeton, there should be about eight thousand men gathered. Cornwallis nods and says he will need to have a talk with von Donop when they arrive at Princeton, since “I find it rather peculiar he was so far from Trenton for so long a time.”

 

The supplies Morris managed to pry out of the Commissary General start to arrive at Trenton after being ferried across the river, and while they help raise men’s spirits, we still get the sense that many of them plan to leave in two days time when their enlistments expire.

 

December 30, 1776

 

That morning in Trenton, Haslet awakens to find his regiment preparing to depart, since their time is effectively expired. Still hobbling a bit on half-frozen legs from his fall into the river, Haslet tries to beseech his men to stay, but of the hundred or so men in the regiment, only six remain. Haslet curses up a storm, but he cannot do anything about it since the enlistment term is up.

 

News of this reaches Washington, who hurriedly meets with his other commanders who have men with enlistment terms expiring. Glover says his regiment will keep to the full term and stay until tomorrow, but he doesn’t think any of them will stay any longer than that. “They don’t like leaving a fight unfinished, but they’d rather fight for a sure pay.” None of the other senior commanders are much more confident. After some ruminations, Mercer comes up with an idea “One I doubt all of you will like, but perhaps the best option we have.” Mercer says that a friend of his in the Pennsylvania militia outside Philadelphia offered a cash bounty of ten dollars to every man who agreed to stay for an additional six weeks, and in the end almost all of the men in his command agreed to stay. Many of the other senior officers are loathe to offer that much money to the army for such a short period of time, and some argument goes back and forth, until Washington weighs in. While he thinks it may be an exorbitant price, “we stand to lose most of our veterans tomorrow. We need steady hands to lead the militia who are pouring in across the state. I do not like it, but there are few things to like about war.” He tells Reed to ride to Philadelphia to meet with Morris, as “He will need to scrape up every coin not nailed down in that city.”

 

Later that day in Trenton, Washington has Greene and Sullivan assemble their divisions in the town square and he rides in front of them, telling them that the country is in a crisis and needs every soldier it can get for as long as it can get them. He says that if they consent to remain an additional six weeks, each man will get a ten dollar bounty. He asks every one who accepts to step forward. At first, no one steps forward. Undeterred, Washington rides closer to the men, up and down the line, speaking as he does.

 

WASHINGTON: “My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do, and more than could be reasonably expected; but your country is at stake, your wives, your houses, and all that you hold dear. You have worn yourselves out with the fatigues and hardships, but we know not how to spare you. If you will consent to stay one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty and to your country, which you probably can never do under any other circumstances.”

 

A drum roll sounds and slowly, as men talk amongst themselves, soldiers slowly step forward, one at time, then a few at a time, slowly escalating into large groups of them until finally the large majority of the divisions have volunteered to stay and fight. They cheer for Washington and for liberty, and for the first time in the film, we see Washington is near tears.

 

Reed arrives in Philadelphia and meets with Morris, who jokingly asks what miracle he can pull out of his hat today. Reed says that Washington is offering a cash bounty to stave off expiring enlistments, and that they need the money to pay it by the end of tomorrow, otherwise they can expect the soldiers to leave. Morris says it should not be too much trouble. Reed raises an eyebrow and says from what he understands Morris has already paid far too much out of his own pocket. Morris laughs and says it is not out of his pocket. “You see Joseph, when people think that the end times are coming, they hoard like squirrels, and there is one particular hoard I am familiar with.” Morris takes Reed on a walk across the city to the house of a rich Quaker gentleman. The Quaker thinks it is a social call at first and generously receives the two, and after a little bit of small talk Morris says that he is here “for the chest.” The Quaker at first plays dumb, but Morris says he’s heard all the rumors, and confirmed them with the Quaker’s own servants. The Quaker says it is the bulk of his savings and Morris says that he understands, but the immediate cause is greater. He will make sure the Quaker is reimbursed for every cent. The Quaker sighs and leads Morris and Reed out back to his garden, and says it is buried by the tree. Morris asks Reed to go get a couple shovels. The film cuts to them digging up the garden, a couple bottles of liquor by their feet, and then pulling out of the hole a large chest that Morris opens to show being full of money. They sit down by the chest and share swigs of the liquor as they relax for a moment.  Morris says he thinks this should be enough for Washington. Reed is a bit amazed and says Morris has saved this army several times over. Morris says he is just doing his part, and says Reed’s part is to now make sure this chest gets to Trenton by tomorrow.

 

That night, Washington meets with his senior commanders. He has received intelligence that a force of up to ten thousand British and Hessian troops are gathering in central New Jersey, with the rumor being that Cornwallis is in command. Washington says that even with the majority of the veterans staying and the militia reinforcements, they are still outnumbered for the time being. The plan is to remain and defend against the coming attack by, rather than remaining in Trenton itself, to withdrawn south across the Assunpink Creek and fortify the heights to the south, which could be well-defended against an attack from the north. Some of the officers point out that while the position is strong against an attack from the north, if the British outflank them and come from the east or even south, the whole army can be trapped against the Delaware River. Washington accepts this risk and says that in many battles in this war, the British and their allies have made the mistakes of pride, anger, and arrogance. “Nothing has shown they have learned their lesson so far.” Stirling, who is sick and has to stay seated in a chair, says that even so, if they are focused on the defensive, the plan only works if they have the information to make sure the British don’t surprise them. Washington says that he is well aware of that and says he is making plans to ensure they are not unaware of matters.

 

December 31, 1776

 

Reed arrives in Trenton with the case of money, and it is arranged for each man who volunteered to be paid their bounty. As this happens, Reed meets with Washington, who says he knows Reed has only just returned, but he has another job for him. Reed, exhausted but determined, says he will do what is needed. Washington leads him to where a couple dozen cavalrymen are gathered and says that they believe the British army is concentrating at Princeton, which is about ten miles away from Trenton. He asks Reed to lead the cavalry squadron to recon the Princeton area, as Reed was born in the area and attended college in Princeton. Reed nods and wearily mounts a fresh horse, and then gallops out of town with the cavalry as escort.

 

Cornwallis, along with the soldiers from New Brunswick, arrives in Princeton with a steely, confident air. Being told that there are still several regiments enroute that will arrive on New Year’s Day, he holds on holding a general war council until then, but after taking up residence in a confiscated mansion, summons von Donop to meet him. Von Donop is apprehensive about the encounter and walks into Cornwallis’ appropriated office with a cautious air. Cornwallis tells von Donop to sit and says that a lot of things went wrong in the past week or so. “Including your decision to remain in Mount Holly, well out of position, for a number of days. Now I know what you are thinking about saying, that Rall never got a signal about the attack out, so that even if your troops were in position, you could not have helped. Don’t even think of that excuse. It does not justify you shirking your duties and abandoning your countrymen for the sake of personal profit.” Von Donop tries to get a reply out but Cornwallis cuts him off. “I saw the wagons by the dozen when I came into town, loaded to the brim with plunder. You Germans may think this war is solely a money-making enterprise, but rest assured, I hold it in a far more serious matter. So, though I lack the ability to discipline you directly, there is one thing I can do. If you fail to obey my commands to the letter, to the absolute letter, all of those wagons with all of your riches shall become the property of the King, and you can explain to your officers and their men why they lost everything.” Von Donop, silent, nods solemnly. Cornwallis then tells him to get out until summoned again.

 

We cut back to Reed on his mission, leading the cavalry squadron on back roads towards Princeton. They ride in the vicinity of Princeton and Reed, with aid of a spyglass, takes notes of the British and Hessian troops that have assembled and the position of soldiers and fortifications around the town. On their last ride west of town, they see that a small squad of British dragoons have taken up camp in a barn. Taking the initiative, Reed has his cavalry squadron surround the barn and then launch a surprise attack on it, saying “no gunshots” to ensure that there is no unnecessary noise to alert others in the area. The cavalrymen burst into the barn and in a brief melee take down a few of the British soldiers before the rest surrender. Reed tells his men to tie up the prisoners and put them on horses, so they can take them to Trenton for questioning.

 

Back in Trenton, Mercer is going over general orders for his brigade when Haslet arrives at his tent. The two engage in polite conversation for a minute until Haslet says that since almost all of his men departed, he is a man without a unit. He asks Mercer if he can be of assistance to his brigade. Mercer smiles and pats Haslet on the shoulder and says they will be honored to have him.

 

Reed arrives back in Trenton with the cavalry squadron and the prisoners and immediately goes back to Washington to report on what he has observed. Washington nods and is convinced that the British mean to take the battle to them in the next day or two. Reed also notes that the back roads to Princeton are almost entirely unguarded, which is strange. Washington muses that the British must be so focused on launching an attack that they are not bothering taking defensive precautions. He says that if they survive the coming battle, perhaps they can make use of it.

 

January 1, 1777

 

With battle now imminent, Washington summons a final council of war in the evening to discuss what their options are, with the larger British force now set to likely march to attack them tomorrow. After some deliberating as to whether to withdrawn further south to link up with additional militia, or maybe surprise the enemy by marching east to attack the supply depot at New Brunswick, the officers form a consensus of staying here to fight, at least for tomorrow.

 

The British hold a council of war of their own as well. Cornwallis, rather than discussing options or alternatives, has a plan already in mind and dictates it to his officers: The army will march southwest down the main post road to Trenton and engage the American army. Some of the officers suggest splitting the army in two and marching one half to the east well around the Americans flank to try and trap them. Cornwallis disagrees and says that they need to bring battle to the Americans tomorrow, and the flanking march will take too long and will likely be discovered well before it gets into position. Von Donop clears his throat to offer a suggestion but then holds his tongue after a withering glare from Cornwallis. Cornwallis turns to Colonel Charles Mawhood (Menzies) and tells him to remain in Princeton with one brigade as a reserve. Cornwallis tells von Donop that “since you are fond of taking the fight to the enemy, your brigade shall take the lead.” Von Donop thanks Cornwallis for the “honor.” After the meeting concludes von Donop storms off. Mawhood remains and asks Cornwallis if it is wise to antagonize von Donop so. Cornwallis says that either von Donop will redeem himself and lead them to victory, or he and his men will be cut to ribbons in the first assault. “Either way, a valuable lesson will be taught.”

 

Von Donop, irritable and angry, returns to his own quarters and knocks stuff off his desk in an exaggerated flourish. One of his junior officers asks if he has any further directions for the men. Von Donop spits in disgust and says that since he cannot take his anger out on the British “gentlemen” who think war is an exercise, they shall take it out on the Americans. “No prisoners. Anyone who takes a Rebel prisoner shall be lashed, and then they must kill the man they took captive. That shall be our message, both to the Americans for dishonoring us at Trenton, and to the redcoats who think this is a game of pieces on a map.”

 

Later that night, Washington walks along the American camp, taking in the elevated spirits of his men, who while still looking ragged and tired, are in high spirits. He encounters Mercer, who has been taking a walk of his own to clear his head. Washington asks Mercer how he fares, and Mercer says that he misses home, both his original one in Scotland, and the one he built with his wife and children down in Virginia. They talk a little about their homes in Virginia and how glad they shall be to return there when the war is over. Washington notes that if the battle goes ill tomorrow, there may not be anywhere for the army to retreat to. Mercer gives a hard look and says that he and his men are here to the end. “I fought for Prince Charlie in the ‘Forty-Five,’ and was forced to run across an ocean after we lost to the English. I’m not going to run again.” Washington says neither will he and the two take a moment to look up the stars of the clear winter night.

 

January 2, 1777

 

That morning at sunrise, the British army in Princeton and encamped along the road towards Trenton assembles and sets out for battle. It is a large army (by Revolutionary War standards) and it moves at a slow pace due to its size and the amount of baggage, supplies, and cannons on the move.

 

As the troops move, they are watched by American scouts, who quickly ride south.

 

Meanwhile, Mawhood remains in Princeton and rides around to observe his own men making their preparations. He has a bit of eccentricity about him, and everywhere he rides his two spaniel dogs run alongside.

 

In the American camp, the army is assembled for the coming battle. Washington reviews preparations when a scout arrives with news of the British march. Washington asks Knox how the defensive preparations are going and Knox says he could use a few more hours. Washington nods and rides over to Greene and asks him if he thinks he can slow the British march down a bit. Greene smiles and says he can manage that.

 

We cut to Greene marshalling a few regiments of men to advance up the post road and take up positions in depth in the woods and along creeks. His orders to the men are to stay behind cover and give a few volleys before falling back to the next position. They are not to offer battle, just to slow the enemy down a bit.

 

As the British army marches there are occasional gunshots as small groups of American scouts open fire and disappear, mainly just to harass the enemy than to do any damage. Eventually they reach Greene’s troops about two-thirds of the way to Trenton and are surprised by volleys of musket fire that cut down a couple dozen men. Von Donop, knowing that Cornwallis is demanding compliance to the letter, has his men press forward aggressively to drive the Americans back, viciously spurring on his men and recklessly risking gunfire to lead them on. Each time his advance, the Americans retreat to the next defensive position after trading more shots, taking only minor losses as they fall back. Though slowed down, von Donop’s men do press forward, and he sends a messenger to Cornwallis to advise him of this.

 

Cornwallis is riding around the midpoint of his army and receives von Donop’s message, and he grows frustrated. He looks up at the sky and sees that the sun is starting to drift low. “There is not much daylight left” he remarks to an officer and then gives an order for the whole army to deploy. “If they mean to fight us before we get to Trenton, then we shall crush as many of them there as we can find.”

 

Greene’s advance regiments have fallen back to about a half-mile from Trenton and form for one final defense before having to retreat across the Assunpink Creek. Washington rides across the creek’s bridge with Knox to confer with Greene. Knox says that all of the other men are across, but the guns need a little more time to deploy. Washington asks Greene if his men can hold. “I think we can handle one more push, General” Greene replies. Washington nods and gives Greene his thanks before setting back over the bridge with Knox.

 

Knox rides up to the hill to the south and bellows orders to his artillery companies to get finished or there’ll be hell to pay. His men, who were already working raw, work even faster. We see Hamilton and his battery hard at work, finishing up the defensive barriers around their guns and then training the barrels onto Trenton itself to wait for the order to fire.

 

Back to the north, Cornwallis’ full army deploys across from Greene’s advance regiments, outnumbering them several times to one. Cornwallis rides up to von Donop and with a slight bit of sarcasm congratulates the Hessian commander on his performance. “The rest of the army shall take it from here.” Cornwallis orders an artillery barrage, followed by a general advance.

 

The British army advances forward and Greene tries his best to keep his men calm and steady until the enemy is in firing range. After several volleys are exchanged and a number of Americans are fallen, Greene gives the order to retreat. The retreat is initially in good order, but British and Hessian soldiers eager for a final push in the fading daylight charge after them, and the American soldiers start to run for the bridge over the creek while some are chased into Trenton itself. Knox orders his cannons to fire on Trenton to try and slow down the pursuing Hessians, and it is of marginal effect.

 

In Trenton, a squad of Hessians corner an American soldier who was fleeing for the bridge. The Hessians toy with the soldier, first asking for his weapon, then his money, then his watch, and then his boots. One asks for the rest of his clothing but their leader says enough playing and plunges his sword into the American, and the others then take turns bayoneting him as he falls to the ground. Von Donop watches from afar on horseback with a smug look of satisfaction.

 

Washington, seeing that Greene’s retreat is turning into a rout, rides forth back to the bridge and parks himself on horseback by the southern side. As men cross it at first nearly panicked, they slow down and regain composure as they see Washington on horseback, calmly looking on. Greene is the last one to cross the bridge and pulls up alongside Washington, and they see in the distance the approaching enemy soldiers. “Got you as much time as I could General” Greene says. Washington nods, “it will have to be enough.” The two turn their horses and ride up towards the fortified defenses.

 

Cornwallis rides through Trenton and sees scattered bodies, some of them American corpses looted of almost everything. He exits the town and has his forces form up in long lines along the length of the creek. To the Americans, outnumbered, it is an imposing sight and some men involuntarily murmur in fear. It is near twilight now. An officer asks Cornwallis if they should prepare a general attack. Cornwallis looks at the setting sun and says there is not enough time for that, but tells the officer to arrange for probes to test the American defenses.

We see a few short scenes of British and Hessian soldiers trying to cross the bridge, or nearby fords, and making some headway, but being driven back by a hail of musket and artillery fire. It being clear that these limited measures are not achieving success, and with darkness falling, Cornwallis calls them off in disgust, and his army pulls back out of artillery range to encamp.

 

At the American fortifications, the men cheer when they see the British pulling back. Washington watches as well with a cautious smile that soon fades. Knox walks up to him and says that “if there was another thirty to forty-five minutes of light, this revolution might have been decided today.” Washington nods, but then adds “there will be plenty of daylight tomorrow.”

 

That night, Cornwallis goes over with his officers the battle plan for the following day. The main American position is strong, and a frontal assault he has decided will be too costly. So, his plan shall be to, at first light, cross a ford a couple miles northeast and swing around to hit the Americans on the right flank. Some of the officers think they should have pressed their attack into the night but Cornwallis says a night attack against a fortified position would have been foolhardy. “Perhaps” he says, pointedly looking at von Donop “if we had been able to get to Trenton faster, we would have had time before dusk to launch an assault. But that is in the past.” Cornwallis says that the Americans will hunker down for an assault at dawn, only it shall come from a different angle than expected. “We have the old fox safe for now, we’ll go over and bag him in the morning.” Cornwallis also sends a rider to tell Mawhood to bring two of his three regiments to Trenton to reinforce the main army. The meeting breaks up and Cornwallis goes to his tent where, sipping on wine, he looks with frustration and sadness at a picture of his wife.

 

Meanwhile, Washington holds a meeting of his own, with all senior officers present. Rather than prescribe a course of action, Washington lays out the situation calmly, like a math problem that needs to solved with an equation. Knox speaks and says that the main threat is an attack on the right flank. If that happens and the flank falls, the entire army could be trapped against the icy Delaware like chickens in a coop. The other officers agree, but Sullivan notes that reinforcing the right will weaken the left, and that Cornwallis is savvy enough to notice and take advantage of it. Some officers suggest a withdrawal may be necessary, to preserve the army, but Reed has a different idea. He reminds Washington that on his scouting expedition that the back roads leading to Princeton were completely unguarded. Rather than retreat south, or sit and wait for a fight that could destroy the entire army, they should loop around north and destroy the enemy reserve at Princeton. Mercer immediately seizes on the idea and says that doing so would put them in the enemy’s rear and allow them to threaten their supply lines, maybe even go after the supply depot at New Brunswick itself. Slowly, the other officers fall into agreement. With the consensus formed, Washington nods and says they shall move during the dark, to avoid detection. He tells Knox to prepare a suitable demonstration for the British while the rest of the army marches.

 

We cut to the American army assembling to march. Mercer’s brigade is in the lead with Haslet as his second-in-command. The two look up and see that the sky is black, with clouds obscuring almost all starlight. “Darker the better” Mercer observes. Meanwhile, Knox directs a few companies of men to remain behind to build up a lot of campfires and to make sure they burn brightly, as well as act very noisy with picks and shovels to make it seem like they are hard at work preparing defenses.

 

British advance scouts notice this and one of their commanders thinks it is all a ruse. He goes to Cornwallis and informs him of his suspicions. Cornwallis agrees the Americans are up to something, but instead of thinking they are moving away, thinks they are considering a night assault, similar to the attack on Trenton. He thanks the scout commander for his observations and orders for reinforcements at the crossings, but does not consider any other possible action.

 

January 3, 1777

 

The American army sets out on the northern march, aided by the fact that the cold temperatures have frozen the ground, making the roads easy to travel. While it makes travel easier, it also does wreak some havoc on the artillery horses, some of whom skid a little. In one instance Hamilton is nearly knocked off his feet by a sliding horse, but is able to stay upright and steadies the horse. “I think I’ll hold onto you for now” he comments to the horse. We also see Reed acting as a scout and a travel guide, reminding officers about which roads to take.

As the army gets to within a few miles of Princeton, the first hint of dawn appears, and Washington divides his army into a smaller half lead by Greene, and the rest by Sullivan. Greene rides over to Mercer and Haslet and tells them that they shall take the lead of the advance. Haslet is eager for a fight and Mercer, a bit more contemplative, says that he shall not disappoint.

 

In Princeton itself, Mawhood’s forces rouse and Mawhood, receiving Cornwallis’ message, has two regiments assemble for combat and to march. After the necessary preparations, they set off southwest down the post road.

 

Back in Trenton, Cornwallis is woken by an aide who says that the Americans have gone. Cornwallis gets to action immediately and sees that the American defenses across the creek are now entirely empty. He swears in frustration and orders scouts in every direction to find where the enemy went.

 

As Greene’s smaller division moves to cover the post road connecting Trenton and Princeton, Sullivan’s division is ordered east to come at Princeton from that direction. Washington rides with Sullivan’s division, along with Reed and Knox. As the troops near Princeton, their advance scouts bump into scouts of Mawhood’s men, and after a brief exchange of gunfire both groups fall back.

 

Mawhood is with the two regiments on the way to Trenton when the scouts report in. One of his officers asks if they should withdraw back to Princeton or continue on towards Trenton. Mawhood after a moment says “If we continue onward we abandon Princeton to the enemy. If we fall back to Princeton, we risk being enveloped by a larger enemy. So, we choose a third option. We attack, and stop their advance here so that noncombatants in town can get to safety. Send word to General Cornwallis that we have engaged the rebel army.” The British forces immediately snap to attention and deploy for battle, converging for an advance towards a farm and orchard.

 

Washington receives word from his scouts and sends a rider to have Greene deal with Mawhood while the rest of the army continues on towards Princeton. Greene tells Mercer and Haslet to advance immediately and secure the high ground by the orchard while the rest of his division forms up. Mercer and Haslet nod and immediately set out with Mercer’s brigade.

 

Mercer’s men and Mawhood’s men arrive at the orchard simultaneously and a violent, brutal engagement ensures with volleys of musket fire ripping through branches and tree trunks as countless soldiers fall and others take cover behind whatever they can find. Several volleys are exchanged and the superior British training and marksmanship starts to take its toll. Mawhood says that the rebels have been softened up enough and tells his men to fix bayonets and charge. They do so, several hundred British soldiers in bright red coats charging out of the smoke with bayonets. Mercer, seeing his men have no bayonets of their own, still orders a counter-charge while telling a runner to get Greene to bring up the rest of his men immediately.

 

The British and American soldiers collide in a vicious melee with soldiers being shot, clubbed, and stabbed all around one another. Dozens fall on each side and the American soldiers start to lose morale and fall back. Haslet charges in with some reserves to try and rally them, but almost instantly he is shot in the head and falls down dead. Mercer sees this and tries to rally his men as well, but his horse is shot by a volley and throws him off it as it collapses.

 

Mercer gets to his feet, sword and pistol drawn, seeing his men retreating around him as British soldiers pursue them. Unlike his men, he does not fall back. Several British soldiers surround him in a half-circle and demand “Call for quarter you rebel!” Mercer, fire in his eyes, replies “I am no rebel” and calmly raises his pistol and shoots the lead soldier dead. The others charge in and Mercer, swinging his sword in one hand and his pistol in the other, fends them off, downing most with slashes and clubs as they stab at him with bayonets in the side, or cutting across his arms and legs, each one weakening him further, until finally he lunges forward one last time and is impaled in the gut by the last soldier’s bayonet as he runs that same soldier through with his sword. The two both gasp, and both fall to the ground, bleeding out on the snow side by side.

 

Washington, seeing the general engagement from a distance, tells Sullivan and Knox to continue onward to Princeton, and in a flurry Washington gallops back south towards Greene’s command with a couple regiments for reinforcement.

 

In the rear, Greene sees elements of Mercer’s brigade in retreat and urges the rest of his men forward to engage the British. Mawhood senses he has the momentum and pushes his own men forward and additional clashes of gunfire happen and Greene’s men start falling back as well. It is at that point that Washington arrives on horseback. He rides in front of the retreating soldiers and shouts at them to come forward with him one more time. This halts the retreat and Greene’s men, now being reinforced by the additional forces, push again against Mawhood.

 

There is additional fighting as Mawhood puts up a determined fight, but the Americans now have the momentum and have substantially higher numbers, and so the British fall back. Mawhood realizes Princeton itself is in danger with the remainder of his command, so he orders his main body to retreat west to safety, while he returns to Princeton. Doing so, he rides defiantly across the width of Greene’s forces, his dogs running alongside. A few Americans debate shooting at him, but are told by an officer to let him pass. “He has earned it today.”

 

Washington rides with Greene across the battlefield and the orchard, and they come across Mercer’s body. Washington drops down on one knee next to it and carefully closes Mercer’s eyes. “Rest General, you have kept your promise” he says.

 

Mawhood’s courier arrives in Trenton and is immediately taken to Cornwallis. Upon learning of Washington outmaneuvering him, Cornwallis smashes a glass in anger and immediately orders the army to assemble and march back to Princeton. From a distance, von Donop sees Cornwallis’ frustration and has a small look of schadenfreude.

 

Meanwhile, Sullivan’s division takes positions southeast of Princeton, and Knox organizes his artillery. Mawhood’s forces that had remained in Princeton sally forth to give battle and buy time for noncombatants and supply wagons to retreat out of the northern road, and they turn Sullivan’s initial advance to a standstill. The British are arrayed on the far side of a stream bank, and Hamilton rushes up to Knox and says he has noticed a dam upstream. Knox asks Hamilton “well what are you waiting for? Flood the lobsters!” Hamilton obliges and has his battery of cannons turn and fire at the dam, blasting holes in it that cause it to break apart entirely. A small torrent of water rushes downstream, overrunning the British position and carrying off a decent number of the soldiers. The rest have to fall back.

 

Mawhood arrives back in Princeton and sees he needs to buy a little more time. He arranges for about half of his men to defend a position around Princeton college while the rest escort the final noncombatants and supply wagons out of town. The British soldiers take up positions inside the college buildings and fire on Sullivan’s advancing Americans. Seeing this, Hamilton this time does not wait to hear from Knox and has his battery of cannons fire directly on the main college building, ripping large holes in it and killing a number of British soldiers. After this occurrence, white sheets and handkerchiefs start being waved out of the windows. Hamilton and his men cheer and hug one another in celebration as the rest of the army advances towards the town as the sound of gunfire dies down. Princeton has been secured.

 

Mawhood and his remaining men are safely on the road to New Brunswick. He is proud of the effort his men put in and says that they gave the rebels a bloody nose, and it is up to Cornwallis to finish the job.

 

Washington rides into Princeton and immediately orders for the nearby bridge on the main post road to be destroyed, to protect against the likely advance of Cornwallis. He then confers with Greene, Sullivan, and Knox as to what to do next: Should they gamble and push on to New Brunswick, or move north to safer winter quarters where more forces from New York and New England can link up with them. Though everyone is tempted for a big blow at New Brunswick, Washington ultimately decides to not risk his army a third time. “One more march gentlemen, and we shall be clear” he says. The American army, after catching its breath, sets out to the north.

 

Some hours later, the British army under Cornwallis arrives outside Princeton to find the Americans long gone. Cornwallis is angry and barely holds it in. Finally, after a moment, he tells an aide to “send a message to General Howe that the rebels have evaded my forces and have withdrawn north of Princeton. I shall return our army to New Brunswick to await further instruction.” The aide nods and rides off and Cornwallis looks to the north. “We shall meet again on the field” he says to the air “And you shall not get away that time.”

 

That night the American army is encamped well away from any threat of British attack. Washington sits at a campfire with his senior officers, discussing general plans for what comes next. Washington says it has been a week of marching and fighting, and the army needs to rest for a time. “It is a new year, and there will be plenty of more battles to come.” After some general decisions about supplies, defenses, etc., the meeting breaks up. Knox lingers and says that they certainly were dealt quite a lucky hand of cards. Washington agrees, but says “Having good cards is meaningless unless you know how to play them, and that we certainly did this time. Of course knowing how to play them is meaningless unless you have good people to take action.” He looks at Knox and says that Knox’s work has been invaluable. Knox nods reverently and says the men all knew the stakes and they all knew they had to pitch in. “It’s been a devil of a past five months, but we are with you, every one of us, until the bitter end.” Washington sagely nods and says it is getting late. Knox agrees and starts to walk off before turning. “One thing General, as you said about having people capable of taking action, there’s a young artillery captain in my command you might want to take a closer look at. Wouldn’t accept an offer from me to join my staff, but he might respond differently to an offer from you.”

 

“Who is this young man who’s caught your attention?” Washington asks. “Alexander Hamilton” Knox replies. Washington nods and says he’ll consider inviting Hamilton in a few days time to gauge his interest. Knox says he won’t regret it, and then bids Washington goodnight. “To you as well General” Washington says.

 

Knox walks off and Washington stays by the campfire, watching and listening to the camp around him. He hears voices singing, musical instruments playing, and a general air of liveliness and energy. Compared to the mood and quality of a fortnight prior, it is as if the army has risen from the dead.

 

Taking all of this in, illuminated by the light of the campfire, Washington smiles.

 

The film cuts to black.

 

*Title Card*

 

Cornwallis got his chance to meet Washington again on the battlefield. Four-and-a-half years later, at a small town in Virginia known as Yorktown…

 

End credits roll.

 

 

Edited by 4815162342

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SORRY YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL SPARK 3

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"A bloody good love story."

 

ZERMATT

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Writers:  Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou

Composer: Alexandre Desplat

Cast: Barry Keoghan (Will Hyman), Saoirse Ronan (Leonie), Udo Kier (Lt. Scholz), Daniel Kaluuya (Vincent DeVries), Kate McKinnon (Madame Mia)

 

Genre: Romance/Horror/Comedy/Drama/Thriller

Date: November 25th

Theaters: 4 (11/25), 56 (12/4), 539 (12/11), 1,725 (12/18), 2,385 (12/25)

Budget: $35 million

Runtime: TBD

Rating: R (reasons TBD)

 

Synopsis: As WWII comes to a close, a British soldiers thought to be AWOL finds himself in the Swiss village of Zermatt. Taken in by a young shopkeeper, the two form an intoxicating relationship as he waits for British support to arrive and bring him home. Things slowly begin to turn towards bizarre, intoxicating secrets as the idyllic setting of Zematt becomes a nightmarish battlefield of a new kind.

 

PLOT COMING SOON

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Posted (edited)

flat,1000x1000,075,f.jpg

Based on the Manga by ONE

Directors: John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein

Composer: Junkie XL

Genre: Superhero Action/Comedy

Studio: Lager Pictures

Release Date: July 24th

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Theater Count: 3,958

Format: 3D, IMAX 3D, and HFR 3D

Runtime: 145 minutes

Budget: $190 million

 

Cast: Taron Egerton as Jay Saitama (C), Charlie Heaton as Genos (S), Ludi Lin as Speed 'o Sound Sonic, Anna Kendrick as Tamara Helios/Tornado of Terror (S), Ansel Elgort as Street Rider (C), Harry Styles as Amai Mask (A), Jared Leto as Dr. Genus, John Malkovich as Dr. Stench, Jamie Foxx as Carnage Kabuto, Stanley Tucci as The Deep Sea King, Jensen Ackles as Sneck (A), Billy Magnussen as Tank Top Tiger (C), Tim Robbins as Mr. Sitch, with Richard Armitage as Lord Boros, and Chow Yun-Fat as Bang (S)

 

Secondary Hero Characters:

Spoiler

Tadanobu Asano - Atomic Samurai (S)

Ike Barinholtz - Puri-Puri-Prisoner (S)

Millie Bobby Brown - Child Empress (S)

Jemaine Clement - Pig God (S)

Terry Crews - Superalloy Darkshine (S)

Neil Patrick Harris - Flashy Flash (S)

Jason Isaacs - Metal Knight (S)

Toby Kebbell - Drive Knight (S)

Rami Malek - Zombieman (S)

Ryan Reynolds - Tanktop Master (S)

Alexander Skarsgard - King (S)

Miles Teller - Watchdog Man (S)

Iko Uwasis - Metal Bat (S)

Eminem - Golden Ball (A)

Casey Cott - Stinger (A)

Jamie Dornan - Tank Top Black Hole (A)

Bradley James - Iairon (A)

Damian Lewis - Spring Mustachio (A)

Dacre Montgomery - Lightning Max (A)

Maika Monroe - Felicia Helios/Miss Blizzard (B)

 

Cult of Boros:

Spoiler

Bill Skarsgard - Melzargard

Matt Bomer - Groribas

Helen Mirren - Geryuganshoop

 

Alien Minions

Naomi Scott

Sasha Lane 

Taissa Farmiga 

James Rolleston 

Jake T. Austin

Yoo Seung-Ho 

 

Various Villain Characters:

Spoiler

Mark Strong - Vaccine Man

Colin Farrell - Crablante

Bob Odenkirk and Colton Haynes - Dr. Ronald Maguen and John Maguen

Charlie Day - Super Custom YO649Z Mk. II

Will Arnett - Subterranean

Keith Ferguson - Subterranean King

Margot Robbie - Mosquito Girl

Steve Carell - Kamakyuri

Hugh Jackman - Beast King

David Tennant - Ground Dragon

Eddie Redmayne - Slugerous

Andy Serkis - Frog Man

Ice Cube - Armored Gorilla

Joan Cusack - Giant Squid

Daniel Henney - Giant Crab

Chiwetel Ejiofor - Giant Octopus

Idris Elba - Ancient King

Al Pacino - Sky King

Tom Hardy - Pluton

 

Premise: Saitama, a superpowered man who can defeat enemies in a single punch, has grown bored with his overpowered abilities and the absence of a worthy challenger. Saitama gains an ally in the form Genos, a teenage cyborg who devotes himself to Saitama as his disciple, forming an unlikely duo. The two superpowered men join the Hero Association to gain the status of official heroes and face several challenging obstacles. Meanwhile, across the universe, a dangerous threat in the form of an all-powerful alien ruler sets his sights on Earth, in search of worthy opponent.

 

Plot:

Under Construction

Edited by Rorschach
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Posted (edited)

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSukhVuE5n_7JFcq3ASt3y

Based on the Novel by Dathan Auerbach
Directed by Trey Edward Shults
Music by Mica Levi
Additional Music by a l e x and Sufjan Stevens
Genre: Thriller/Drama
Studio: Lager Pictures Classics
Release Date: November 20th (limited), November 25th (limited expansion), December 4th (wide release)
Theater Count: 4 (Nov. 20th), 256 (Nov. 25th), 3,048 (Dec. 4th)
MPAA Rating: R for violence, disturbing images, and some language
Runtime: 134 minutes
Budget: $10 million

 

Cast: Jackson Robert Scott/Noah Jupe/David Mazouz/Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Dathan (7/11/12/16/26 years old), Cade Woodward/Noah Schnapp (Josh, 7/11/12 years old), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Dathan's mom), Joel Edgerton (Josh’s dad), Michelle Monaghan (Josh’s mom), Kacey Fifield/Kara Hayward (Veronica, ages 10/19), and Krisha Fairchild (Mrs. Maggie)
 

Plot: 

Coming Soon

Edited by Rorschach

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6 hours ago, YourMother the Edgelord said:

@cayommagazine

 

Endless Entertainment and Amazon Prime teamup to show Treasure Planet: Gauntlet of Midas to Amazon Prime members early on Saturday, October 24th at 5:00 pm. Endless is doing this in hopes of boosting WOM and will be shown in 1,000 theaters across the country.

 

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Posted (edited)

Well time to pre-load:

           ONE PIECE: THE JOURNEY BEGINS!

 BASED ON THE MANGA BY: Eiichiro Oda

DIRECTED BY: Jon Watts

Written By:  Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers & Jon Watts

Composer:  John Willams

Genre: Action/Adventure/Comedy/Pirate

Studio: Aesir Pictures

Release Date: March 6th

Theatre Count: 4,250 (this number includes 392 IMAX screens

Runtime 115 minutes

Available in: 2D 3D IMAX 2D IMAX 3D

Production Budget: $ 140 Million

 

Major Cast: Finn Wolfhard (Monkey D. Luffy) Keith Stanfield (Zolo) Olivia Cooke (Nami) Will Poulter (Usopp) Jaeden Lieberher ( Colby) Jim Carrey (Buggy The Clown) with Guy Pearce (Shanks) Glenn Howerton(Cpt. H. Morgan III) and Benicio del Toro ("Jolly" Roger Gold) 

 

Cameos: Jon Favreau, Micheal Cera, Denzel Washington

Score: It is a mix between POTC & Indiana Jones franchies 

PLOT SUMMARY: Finished

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P4jB_CfjWH2oB8_sjbvL-lUSMz-bUJ9zZFJANQ-w8EM/edit?usp=sharing 

Edited by Reddroast
Updating Cast
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Posted (edited)

The Second Crash Bandicoot

Studio: Endless Entertainment (through the Endless Animation division)/Animated by Sony Pictures Imageworks 

Release Date: 9/25/Y4

Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy

Director: Chris Buck and Rich Moore

Rating: PG for animated action sequences and crude humor

Budget: $90M

Theater Count: 4,085

Format: 2D, 3D, Dolby Cinema and IMAX 

Runtime: 100 minutes (including a 5 minute short)

Original Songs: 

“Crash Bandicoot Theme Song” by Weird Al Yankovic and Lil Yachty

”Please Just Sleep” by Karen Gillan, Chris Hemsworth, Keith David and Anne Hathaway

Previous Film Gross: Crash Bandicoot - 9/14/Y2 - $117,525,881 / $303,835,793

 

Cast: 

Chris Hemsworth as Crash Bandicoot 

Jack Black as Doctor Cortex

Keith David as Aku Aku

Patrick Stewart as Uka Uka

Karen Gillan as Tanwa

Channing Tatum as Crunch

Anne Hathaway as Bright

Halsey as Star

 

 

featuring

Trey Parker as Doctor Brio

Jim Carrey as Pinstripe 

Keegan Michael Key as Bull Bill

Dee Bradley Baker as Koala Kong

Drake Bell as Tiny Tiger

Josh Peck as Dingodile

Neil DeGrasse Tyson as Ripper Roo

Matt Stone as Fishsticks

Michael Pena as Fuego

Will Arnett as Arlo

 

Spoiler

Short: The Secret Life Of Fluffles: A Pigeon Short

Rated: G

5 minutes (silent short)

 

We open at Bill L. Bucks manor, as we see Fluffles taking a cat nap, when Bill L. Bucks returns home and awake, and happily greets his pet who is somewhat happy to see him. Bill L. Bucks says he has a surprise for Fluffles’. Fluffles immediately think it’s lobster but Bill L Bucks opens the box revealing it’s a Pomeranian, named Silky much to Fluffles’ displeasure. Bucks promises to be back home at 7:00 pm and tells the two to get along. Fluffles goes on with his daily activities such as watching TV soap operas but Silky buried the remote. Fluffles looks for it in one of the many holes she dug and fall into one of them, comically injuring himself. Fluffles then goes into the bathroom to create a sauna by turning on the hot water into the tub making steam while he reads a newspaper but Silky bursts into all muddy and shakes her fur everywhere getting it on Fluffles who immediately tries to clean himself in the tub only to remember the scalding water, burning his fur off. Fluffles then tries to make a milk martini with a leftover lobster tail in his cat bar but Silky accidentally spills the milk which is the last straw for Fluffles causing him to have a fit throwing things all over the place including a ball which Silky immediately chases after and returns to Fluffles. Realizing Silky likes fetch, Fluffles plays fetch with her in order to keep her quiet and has fun with it making fun obstacle courses for her. Bucks returns to see his two pets sleeping next to each other and smiles and goes to his study room. Fluffles know that Bucks is gone continues to watch his soap operas while playing fetch with Silky.

 

 

 

Movie:

The movie opens with a parody of the Star Wars crawl saying Crash, Aku Aku and Tanwa are on their way to battle Cortex in his newly made space station as the Cortex Vortex has been rebuilt. Tanwa pilots a small ship, warning both Crash and Aku Aku to be careful. Crash is naturally confident and cocky but Aku Aku, (still with the small wooden body at the end of Crash 1) saying she’s right. Tons of Cortex’s ships appear and they get into a dogfight. Tanwa’s ship dodges lasers will dishing back, more destroying enemy ships. Crash, in a sort of blue and silver space battle suit, holds Aku Aku telling Tanwa to send the in the ship. The two enter a small cannon on top of their ship and are shot into Cortex ship, making a dent on the outside and slowly slide to the entrance door. The two are lost but Aku Aku quickly finds a guide (similar to a mall guide and find the control room) and the two enter an elevator. The elevator moves slowly up playing elevator music, which annoys Crash to the point he destroys the speaker. 

 

The two heroes finally stop and get to another room much to their confusion. It’s quickly revealed to be an ambush. We see henchmen from the previous movie (Pinstripe, Bull Bill, Koala Kong and three new ones; Dingodile (a bipedal crocodile/dingo hybrid), Tiny Tiger (think Tiger Claw from TMNT but no eyepatch)), and Fishsticks (a reverse merman, a fish head with a human body). Pinstripe gloats about the two heroes walking right into a trap. Crash quickly asks who’s the new guy. Pinstripe introduces Tiny Tiger, Dingodile and Fishsticks to Crash and Aku Aku which is both hilarious and awkward. Aku Aku asks what happened to Ripper Roo. Bull Bill reveals after the encounter with Crash, he went back to college and became a renowned professor. Crash is shocked, believing it was because of the but before he can finish his sentence, Aku Aku elbows him before he finish the sentence saying now is not the time for that. Pinstripe comments that Aku Aku sounds kind of different. Aku Aku comments it’s basically the same voice so it’s fine.

 

The two then proceed to fight the henchmen. Tiny Tiger and Dingodile using blasters shoot at the two who dodge each shot and Crash holding Aku Aku creates an energy shield that protects the both of them causing the blasters shot to bounce back to the villains. Fishsticks belches bubbles with trap the heroic duo but they use the bubble to ram Fishsticks into the wall, popping the bubble. Pinstripe then pulls out a sword attempting to stab Crash who dodges each swing, he and Aku Aku create a spell that sends him flying back. Bull Bill and Koala Kong try to hit Crash but Crash and Aku Aku are too swift for both of them, defeating the duo with a magic enhanced punch.

 

The two then rush to the master control room to see Dr. Cortex in a mech suit about to fire his Cortex Vortex on the planet. Cortex gloats his machine is immune to magic and the only way to stop is a code they’ll never find out. Cortex then fight the duo. The mech suit despite Crash and Aku Aku’s combined power seems to much for them. Aku Aku gaining a idea creates a huge puddle of water and tells Crash to create an opening in the suit and lure him into the puddle. Crash complies and lures Cortex near the puddle, electrocuting Cortex, and destroying the machine. Cortex manages to escape in a pimped out jewel encrusted escape pod. We then see the two scramble to find the code until Tanwa via Crash’s wrist communicator finds the password through expertise hacking. The Vortex is shut down but the space station will explode. The two of them escape as the space station explodes. However, we see Cortex’s escape pod crashes towards Earth opun some burial site. A mask that looks like Aku Aku but rounder and more evil looking with bones around it’s body, rises chuckling. The mask introduces itself as Uka Uka. Cortex, immediately recognizes Uka Uka and praises him. Cortex asks for Uka Uka’s help to defeat Crash and Aku Aku so he can take over the world. Uka Uka, furious at Cortex’s failure insists he has a plan that’ll put both Crash and Aku Aku in their place... six feet underground.

 

Crash, Tanwa, and Aku Aku return to the Bandicoot village, and have a huge party for our heroes, and everyone is having a good time although Crash is unusually dismayed at not capturing Cortex. Tanwa tries to insist it’s not his fault and reassures Crash they’ll get him eventually. It is revealed that Crash and the crew have been trying to capture Cortex for over a year, and although Cortex has been repeatedly defeated, he escape which has taken a small but unnoticed toll on Crash’s confidence. Tanwa then convinces Crash to dance with her and the two share a sweet moment together in a slow dance. The two are about to lean in for a kiss but Aku Aku interrupts the two of them warning of  something big is happening.

 

We then cut to a secret underground base that Cortex has. All of his henchmen are goofing off having fun but Cortex bursts through the door with Uka Uka by his side. Brio attempts to apologize to Cortex but Cortex quickly quiets him and Cortex introduces Uka Uka to them and they applause. Uka Uka berates them all calling them soft and only slightly less weak than Cortex. Uka Uka then tells them of his plan saying the best way to beat a bandicoot is a bandicoot, asking Cortex to get the bandicoot hair (Cortex says he specifically choose Crash’s DNA for ironic purposes) and some machinery parts. Using his dark magic, in conjunction with Cortex’s technology, creates a bandicoot cyborg with a robotic arm. The cyborg wakes up and is initially hostile, Cortex prepares to bring the Cortex Vortex but Uka Uka says that’s not necessary, saying that brainwashing almost never works. Uka Uka speaks to the cyborg and calms him down. Uka Uka lies saying he is the greatest hero in the world and that Crash, an evil Bandicoot has taken over and enslaved his kind with the help of his “evil” brother, Aku Aku, Uka Uka then says he and Dr Cortex revived him and will help him on his quest. Brio comments on how ridiculous but the cyborg believes it but asks what’s his name. Brio snarks probably something stupid like Crunch. The cyborg loves the name and calls himself Crunch. Uka Uka then informs of his plan, with Crunch’s help, Cortex will “free” the bandicoots and with that type of power, Crash won’t stand a chance against him. Uka Uka then tells he will go “save” the bandicoots and all Crunch has to do is lure out Crash and get Aku Aku. Crunch  then leaves the underground faculty as Cortex packs his gear. Uka Uka then reveals his true plot, to not only brainwash and create a bandicoot army but to drain Aku Aku’s magic so he can control the planet. Pinstripe asks Uka Uka what will they do. Uka Uka says nothing and all of them are fired. Brio immediately stands up for Pinstripe and calls Uka Uka out, warning Cortex, it’s so obvious Uka Uka will betray him. Cortex doesn’t listen though and said if they were stronger or at the very least more useful. Brio lashes out his former friend, and says he quits, both their partnership and his job. Allof the henchmen sadly leaving with Cortex, a bit saddened, also leaves to the village.

 

Meanwhile, back at the village, in Crash’s hut, Aku Aku reveals to Crash and Tanwa that his evil brother has resurfaced. Tanwa asks how as she thought his brother was killed. Aku Aku reveals that both he and his brother weren’t the best magic users, whereas Aku Aku was interested in fame and prosperity, Uka Uka wanted power and conquest. Uka Uka learned he can increase his power by stealing others magic and went around the world stealing others magic. Uka Uka after obtaining enough magic went to visit Aku Aku to convince his brother join him, but Aku Aku refused. Uka Uka then went after Aku Aku’s magic but although Aku Aku wasn’t evenly matched, he managed to contact the gods of magic and he along with the gods turned Uka Uka into a mask like he was and they imprisoned him underground, but something or someone must have reawakened him. Aku Aku warns if his brother steals his magic, it’ll bring forth the destruction of their planet and the only way to stop him is to retrieve an old spell that Aku Aku buried at Apuwm Island that’ll put Uka Uka in a dormant sleep. Crash assumes Cortex must have revived him. The three then notice a loud explosion outside and rush to the chaos.

 

The gang see Cortex in some sort of octopus like tank with a giant comical container. The Octobot’s tentacles sucks up the resident Bandicoots into the container. Cortex gloats to Crash on how his end is near, Crash quickly puts on Aku Aku and Tanwa grabs a taser staff but before they can charge at the Octobot, Crunch appears right in front of them and delivers a strong sucker punch that sends Crash flying into the trees. Crash shakes the blow off and tells Tanwa to stop the Octobot from reaching the shores and escaping while he and Aku Aku fight Crunch. Crash and Crunch gets into a pretty intense fist fight, where Crunch is able to overpower Crash. Crash asks if Cortex has brainwashed another Bandicoot, Crunch says he wasn’t brainwashed, and that Cortex will free his people from Crash’s oppression much to Crash’s confusion as Aku Aku even comments Crash is the good guy. Crunch says Uka Uka told him about Aku Aku being the evil brother and is here to capture him. Fed up with Crunch, Crash and Aku Aku attempt to use a spell to stop Crunch but to their shock it has no effect on him. Meanwhile, Tanwa chases the Octobot through the jungle, as Cortex levels trees to attempt to slow her down which she dodges. The Octobot eventually gets to the beach but Tanwa won’t give up. Tanwa shoots a blast of electricity at the Octobot temporarily stunning it. Using the staff’s sharp edge, Tanwa attempts to break the container but the Octobot’s tentacles manages to throw her off sending her flying. Crunch gives Crash and Aku Aku a steady beating and attempts to rip Aku Aku off Crash but Tanwa appears just in time and manages to smack Crunch in the face, temporarily sending him in a cartoony like daze complete with little birds flying around his head. Tanwa then helps Crash and Aku Aku up and says the two of them needs to get out of there and escape in Tanwa’s spaceship and fly away but Crunch having recovered from his daze throws boulders at the ship, almost breaking it. Tanwa has a risky idea and tells Crash and Aku Aku to brace themselves (the two quickly put on seatbelts, as Aku Aku quickly puts multiple around himself, commenting he’s very fragile) as the three attempts to dive into the water when suddenly the ship transforms into a submarine which allows them to barely get away from Crunch.

 

Crash is extremely dismayed at what happened after not only losing his people but wasn’t able to protect them. For the first time in a while, Crash felt useless. Aku Aku assures him they’ll stop Uka Uka and save the bandicoots. Tanwa suggests they should go after the bandicoots, but Aku Aku reminds it could easily be a set up, and reveals the map to the spell. Aku Aku says if they get the spell, they can stop Uka Uka. Tanwa and Crash agree to Aku Aku’s plan. Aku Aku says first they must navigate the underwater canals. Tanwa carefully pilots the sub in the direction of the canals, which is a giant underwater pipe system. Aku Aku tells her the left pipe is the one they want as it’d take them directly there, as the right pipe would have made a more dangerous and arguably more cliched adventure. However, a powerful current sends them into the right pipe, pushing them in a slapstick way throughout the pipes and they wind up into a dark cave, with their ship totaled. 

 

Back on the bandicoot village, Crunch looks through Crash’s hut to see if he can find any information on where the three went. Eventually he finds one of Aku Aku’s book, which tells him of where he hide the spell to Uka Uka, but strangely to him, the book said Uka Uka was the bad brother. Crunch’s robotic hand plops out a smartphone like screen which is recieving a call which reads “Uka Uka 😇💪 would like to use FaceTime.”. Crunch answers the call as Uka Uka clumsily try to figure out how to use it as if he were an older person learning new technology as Cortex tries to help him with it. Uka Uka eventually gets it and asks Crunch if he got Aku Aku. Crunch reveals he’s failed to reach Aku Aku but knows where the heroes and going and reveals the spell to Uka Uka. Uka Uka is intentionally afraid and angry at this and warns Crunch he must stop Aku Aku from getting that spell or everything he worked for will fail in some sort of hidden mysterious island. Uka Uka barks at Cortex to help Crunch on his mission, as Cortex clumsily runs out of the room. Crunch asks Uka Uka before he hangs up revealing that when he read the book, it called Uka Uka, the bad guy and it also seems like all three heroes are kind people. Uka Uka denies this and lies to Crunch more. Uka Uka says Aku Aku, Crash, and Tanwa are very evil and also that Aku Aku has a huge ego and tends to not know good and evil. Crunch buys this obvious lie. Cortex arrives in a frog like all terrain vehicle, which he dubs the Pondskipper (he then asks Crunch, “Pretty sweet, right?”) and picks up Crunch and head off after our heroes. 

 

Meanwhile, Crash, Aku Aku and Tanwa attempt to navigate the cave. Using some of his magic, Aku Aku creates a small ball of light for them to illuminate their path. The three then reach a part of the cave full of gems, with the exit only a few yards away. However, Crash notices a cry for help and rushes to it, but to his surprise, no one is there but Crash sees a giant ruby. Aku Aku and Tanwa catch up to Crash and all three are captivated by the ruby, and Crash goes up to it. However, Aku Aku snaps out of his trace, and see skeletons on the ground, and realizes it’s a trap, and warns Crash. Crash listens to his warning and backs away but suddenly the ground shakes, and the ruby rises along with an mysterious body. A giant jeweled encrusted tarantula with the ruby in it’s thorax stares the heroes down. The three of them quickly run away from the tarantula. The tarantula spews out a liquid gold spider silk which it spits at the three, who narrowly dodges the webbing, but as soon as our heroes are almost at the exit, the tarantula closes off the exit using it’s golden webs. Tanwa suddenly gets an idea and tells Crash and Aku Aku to try to create a cave in while she tries to break the web. Crash lures the spider away and causes the tarantula to collide with the solid rock walls of the cave, due to it chasing Crash while he dodges the sinister spider. While wearing Aku Aku, Crash spews a set of energy balls at the walls causing them to get weaker. Tanwa pushes a button her bo staff with pops out a sharp blade to slice their the solid web. Suddenly, the cave starts to shake and Crash quickly grabs Tanwa and Aku Aku as they leap out of the cave, which collapses on the tarantula. 

 

The three celebrate until Crash is caught off guard by the sights around him. The new uncharted land they are in is extremely beautiful, as we see a group of golden swans fly into the pink sunrise. The flora in the land is tinted a bright baby blue, and the mountains are almost crystal like, reflecting the light but the only ominous thing is the giant volcano in the distant, shrouded by dark clouds of ash. Aku Aku reveals they must get to the volcano by sundown. The three walk around and wind up lost in the woods. Tanwa accidentally steps on a bug who was terrorizing a fairy, but notices a clan of sprites praises her for saving them and quickly introduces them to their queen, a bubbly sprite named Bright. Bright and the other sprites marvel at their new savior and quickly pledge loyalty. Tanwa assures then she isn’t a goddess, but the fairies refuse to listen. Aku Aku then asks them for direction to the volcano. Bright says she can and will show them the way. Crash quickly points out who will lead her people, and that she’s kind of leaving them defenseless. Bright assures Crash that she is putting Rallo, her genius younger brother in charge, who is humorously a fairy baby. Bright promises to return after repaying her life debt. 

 

Bright shows them a shortcut which is a roaring river. Tanwa and Crash begin constructing a boat. The four carefully heads down the river as Bright warns them not to make much noise. After a good hour down the river, Crash, wanting to get to the volcano faster, picks up his pace and rows faster. The rapid rowing manages to wake up a pack of piranha headed men who start to take huge bites into their boats. Crash and Aku Aku decide to use magic to make the boat go faster but that attracts more piranha men. The crew then attempts to fight off the piranha men but they’re outnumbered. Remembering Bright’s warning, Crash suggests they sing a lullaby to calm down the men, Aku Aku thinks it’s too crazy but then again it’s the best they’ve got. Aku Aku and Bright quickly write the lyrics and hand them to Tanwa and Crash. The four then sing a slow rock esque lullaby about them desperately trying to get the piranha men to sleep, using a lot of humor and David’s verses uses a lot of alliteration and rhyming, as they slowly drift closer to the volcano. The lullaby luckily works and our heroes finally get the volcano.

 

Meanwhile, Crunch and Cortex make it back to where our heroes previously were before outside the cave. Crunch wonders how did they get here already, Cortex explains the plot needed to go faster. Cortex and Crunch stumble upon the same fairies our heroes meet earlier. Crunch asks them if they’ve seen Crash, Tanwa and Aku Aku. The fairies immediately recognize Tanwa as their goddess who saved them. Crunch is confused as he thought they’re evil. Cortex is on the phone with Uka Uka about where they are. Uka Uka immediately realizes the place and tells Cortex to get as much magical creatures as possible to help strengthen him. Cortex pushes Crunch aside and step on a fairy by accident. Rallo wails and the fairies then quickly attack the giant but their assault does little damage at all. Cortex quickly grabs a jar and scoops all of the fairies in the jar. Cortex the demands the fairies where have Tanwa gone. The fairies refuse at first but Cortex violently shakes the jar, and Crunch tells Cortex to stop which he does reluctantly. A fairy then reveals they’re heading to the volcano. Cortex then whistles and the Pondskipper, comes right to him and Crunch. Cortex quickly put in the Pondskipper in flight mode which grows wings.  Crunch asks Cortex why did he torture the fairies, and that a hero doesn’t do that. Cortex screams at him, calling Crunch an imbecile, and that is what Uka Uka wanted and he- (he quickly corrects his sentence) -reos have to show their dominance and do whatever they want. Crunch quickly disagrees and says he won’t. 

 

The heroes finally reach the volcano and go climb to the peak of the volcano. Tanwa had designed high tech suits to withstand heat using the items around them (Tanwa has a little mini suit attached to her own suit for Bright which please the fairy). Aku Aku is immediately impressed, but Crash says he isn’t surprised as Tanwa is a genius, causing her to blush. Aku Aku tells the four, they must wait for the lava to create an opening, and they must wait at the right time. Aku Aku counts off to 5 and at the last second Crash jumps inside the volcano, thinking he thought he meant jump at 1. Aku Aku, Bright and Tanwa jump in after Crash as the lava quickly creates a round hole for the four to enter inside. Crash lands flat on his face, while the others parachute down. Crash is confused not knowing they had parachutes. The inside of the volcano is gray and rocky but they continue their trek, suddenly while walking, Crash sees a geyser of steam erupt in front of him. Tanwa quickly realizes they’re in a steam geyser minefield, the four attempt to slowly walk around them but the geysers keep on erupting making many close calls. Crash has an idea and straps on Aku Aku, thanks to Tanwa making their suits connectable, although humorously, the body of Aku Aku, dangles below Crash’s face. Crash tells Tanwa and Bright to huddle up and creates a makeshift force field for them. Crash then says they need to run at the same time to the exit. Tanwa nods and she and Crash run together, narrowly avoiding blasts but they do hit steam every now and then slightly breaking the forcefield, barely making the exit. The four finally reach a pool of lava and another exit, when suddenly a giant flame comes out of the lava creating a humanoid giant, with a  cartoony like flair. The giant introduces himself as Fuego, the lord of the volcano, and happily greets his guest saying it’s been a while since he’s had friends for dinner. Bright asks doesn’t he mean friends over for dinner. Fuego says no, and asks each of them how would you like to be cooked. Crash and Aku Aku attempt to fight Fuego but he swats them like flies. Fuego admits he likes their spunk, and offers them a challenge. Fuego calls in his friend, the monotone fire demon Arlo. Fuego explains Arlo never laughs or shows any emotion for that matter and if they can make him laugh in 5 minutes, he will spare them and they may proceed. A giant stage appears in the middle of the pool. Tanwa decides to go first, making jokes about science that no one gets, and is flung into a pot by a cane made of fire. Bright tries her hand with airplane food joke which immediately gets him, in the pan. Aku Aku does a roast session about Cortex, which Arlo doesn’t get. Crash attempts to do prop comedy but he slip on a banana peel and flies into the lava and leaps on in pain, smacking into the stage and falling head first onto a watermelon, and as soon as he gets up, a sandbag squishes him. Arlo laughs for the first time which allows them to leave. The final room is nothing but a hole, and the crew goes spelunking down the hole. They then see a beautiful little forest mixed with various shades of black and white, leaving them as the only things with colors. Tanwa notices a house in the distant and the four walk there (as they walk by the colors get more vivid and less black and white) eventually reaching a house. Inside the house, is a giant woman watching Battletoads (yes, the movie). The giant woman with jet black hair with stars inside it, wearing sweatpants and a orange shirt with Fluffles in it, nonchalantly greets Aku Aku, and introduces herself as Star, the only god of magic there. Aku Aku asks where have the others gone, and Star reveals they’re in an 100 year nap and see is on universe watch, as she shows them a clip of Battletoads, where The Dark Queen faces of Angelica. Crash tells them of their predicament and asks her if she has the spell they need. Star says she does but quickly makes herself a cup of coffee. Star then goes to her bookshelf and grabs the spell and warns them it’s the last copy left. The gang thanks Star and Star teleports them out. 

 

The four wake up surprisingly on the top of the volcano, with their suits gone but with the spell in Crash’s hand. The four celebrate only to see a giant frog in the sky. Crunch jumps out of the frog and corners the heroes. Crunch then asks for the spell, or else. Crash refuses and puts on Aku Aku, and Tanwa gets her staff, and places Bright into a toy robot mech to help her fight. The four square off against Crunch as unknowning to them, lava slowly begins rise. Crunch and Crash get into an intense fist fight, with Crash getting a few good hits in but Crunch uppercuts him. Tanwa then leaps over Crash to smack Crunch with her staff as the two spar. Bright joins in the fight and shoots small missles at Crunch temporarily hurting him. Tanwa then smacks Crunch in the jaw with her staff, as Crash and Aku Aku deal the final blow. Crunch shakes it off but Cortex using the Pondskipper’s mechanical tongue grabs Tanwa and Bright. The tongue then flicks Aku Aku off of Crash’s face. Cortex threatens to dump them in the volcano unless Crash gives Crunch the spell. Tanwa, Bright and Aku Aku try to convince Crash not to but with no hesitations, he gives the spell to Crunch. Crunch is astonished by Crash’s care for his friends which touches him. Cortex then demands Crunch to give him the spell but Crunch refuses at first but suddenly the volcano erupt and Cortex is forced grab the spell knocking Crunch into the volcano as he leaves. Crash immediately goes to save Crunch grabbing him before he hits the lava. Crunch asks why and Crash says heroes tend to help. However the rock, Crash is standing on breaks and he and Crunch fall in the lava.

 

The two awake in Star’s house as she finishes watching Battletoads. She nonchalantly greets Crash and Crunch. Crunch asks who she is, and Crash explains it to him, causing him to a humorous “Oh.”. Star asks who Crunch until she remembers and tells Crunch his true origin and motives of Cortex and Uka Uka. Crash then tells her, he lost the spell and his friends. Star sadly says there’s nothing she can do about the spell or his friends as it’s out of her control. Crash sits down defeated and silently cries, calling himself a failure, not only letting the world down, and his people but his friends as well. Crunch comforts Crash, telling him he learned more about what a hero is from him than Cortex and Uka Uka, and he was the true failure, as he bought an obvious lie and doomed the world. Crash says it’s not his fault as he didn’t know any better, but still feels glum until Star pops in a tape showing Crash’s heroics from the last movie and in this movie which inspires Crash and to a lesser extent Crunch to save the day. The two then wonder how to get to Cortex. Star says she can’t directly help, but doesn’t mean she can’t help and teleports the two.

 

We cut to a little pub in the swamp. We then cut to the interior. We see Brio as a bartender and the other henchmen along with a guy whose face is hidden behind a newspaper, as they tell Brio, their struggles to find a job since firing as they drink. Crash and Crunch appear smack dab on the floor. The henchmen and Brio angrily glare at the heroes telling them they both have a lot of nerve showing up here. Crash asks why aren’t they with Cortex, and Brio reveals Uka Uka fired them for incompetence and because of Cortex’s loyalty, he let that happen. Crash does the same “Oh!” Crunch did in earlier. Tiny Tiger asks if Crunch came here to gloat. Crash says no and tells them they need their help to stop Cortex, as it would teach him a lesson. Brio refuses to listen and suggest they beat the heroes but the man with the newspaper puts down the paper and tells them to stop, revealing to be Ripper Roo, in professor garb with a much more articulate voice. Ripper Roo, reveals that since he left Cortex, he has found passion in life as a tutor and convinces the henchmen and Brio, that there’s a better life for them and he sides with the heroes. After a brief silence, they agree to help. Brio asks Crash if he has a plan, Crash says they’re going to stop Cortex from draining Aku Aku’s power and stopping the brainwashing the bandicoots by breaking in. Brio asks how is that a plan and it’s just a goal, Crash is about to say something but remembers they lost the spell. Ripper Roo then plucks a hair off of Crunch and creates a powerful blaster out of thin air, and explains (with a chalkboard and pointing stick), that since Crunch has dormant magic in him, thanks to Uka Uka, gives the blaster a power source and can reverse the rays to drain magical power. Fishsticks wonders how they’ll get their but Ripper Roo shows them the tunneling storage trucks he made (Tiny Tiger is amazed by his smartness, but Dingodile reminds them they’re in a cartoon). Crunch says he and Crash will stop Uka Uka, Brio and Ripper Roo will free the Bandicoots, while the rest of them fight the security robots.

 

Meanwhile, back at Cortex’s underground  Uka Uka and Cortex gloats to Aku Aku who is in chains next to the jar of Bright and her fairy clan, about his failure, and that Cortex Vortex is already operational. Suddenly, the alarms blared and Cortex notices Crash, Crunch, Brio and his former henchmen inside shocking him. Uka Uka lets out a loud what, Cortex says agrees as he thought Ripper Roo would be much worse off, Uka Uka barks at Cortex to take care of them while he works on the spell. Crash, Crunch, Brio and Roo head to an elevator. Cortex armed to the teeth and his robotic duck henchmen (in green, red and blue caps) stare down his old crew, and the two get into an all out brawl. The four head down to the basement as the Cortex Vortex is charging up, Roo and Brio manage to disarm the system and free the captive bandicoots. Tanwa and Crash happily reunite and Crunch joins in on the hug. Tanwa is immediately on guard with Crunch until Crash revealed what happened as she lets out the same “Oh” Crash and Crunch did earlier in the film. Roo hands Crash the gun and Tanwa grabs her staff, as Roo and Brio escort the bandicoots out. Crash, Crunch and Tanwa rush upstairs and prepare for a big battle. We then cut to the henchmen fighting, Fishsticks is belching bubbles that causes the bots to short circuit, Pinstripe uses twin swords to take on Cortex while dodging Cortex’s blasts, Tiny Tiger and Dingodile shoot their way through as Bull Bill and Koala Kong decimate the bots with the physical strength.

 

 

Crash, Tanwa and Crunch finally reach upstairs and Uka Uka is in the middle of spell as we see clear streams of magic ooze out Aku Aku and the fairies. Crunch shoots a melon at Uka Uka distracting him, and stopping the spell. Crash and Tanwa free Aku Aku and the fairies but they’ve all been drained dried. Uka Uka gloats happily and promises for such worthy adversaries, their end will be long and full of suffering. Uka Uka, fully charged with magic, attracts the metal and machinery parts in the room to create a bulking, monstrous, steampunk esque body for himself. Crash, Crunch, Tanwa, Aku Aku and Bright refuses to give up and charge at Uka Uka. Crash and Crunch both slug with a strong punch at Uka Uka, which barely does anything, and hurls them into the wall. Tanwa attempts to hit Uka Uka with her staff but Uka Uka using magic, cause the force Tanwa dealt to be dealt back to her. Aku Aku and Bright copilot the small robot mech but Uka Uka easily beats them too. They all charge at the same time and manage to get one good hit in but it’s all for naught, and Uka Uka sends them flying. Crash then gets an idea, realizing the more unfocused Uka Uka is, he can get a clear shot. Crash starts throwing things at Uka Uka, infuriating him as he attempts to punch Crash who dodges it. Immediately getting what Crash is doing, Crunch uses his blaster to blast fruit at Uka Uka. Tanwa then uses big scientific terms that confuse Uka Uka. Aku Aku and Tanwa turns the mech into a car and circle around Uka Uka, honking their loud horn. Uka Uka is pissed and stop using his magic to hit them, Crash manages to slip away and aims for Uka Uka’s face, getting a good shot at Uka Uka. At first, this does nothing but clear streams of magic erupt from Uka Uka, draining him of his stolen magic, back into the rightful owners. With his magic back, Aku Aku then goes onto Crash’s face and the two deliver a magic infused punch that sends Uka Uka flying into parts unknown, and our heroes celebrate. We then cut to the henchmen who send Cortex on an escape pod on course to Antarctica.

 

We then cut to the Bandicoot village where a huge party is held for Crash and the crew, even the henchmen too and everyone is having a great time. But Crash notices Crunch leaving, and asks why is he leaving. Crunch explains he needs to right his wrongs but Crash reminds him by working together they can do so much more. Crunch gives his new friend a bone crushing hug, as the two go back to the party. Aku Aku and Bright are dancing, the fairies are living it up, Bull Bill is deejaying, as Ripper Roo, Fishsticks, Brio, Dingodile, Koala Kong and Tiny Tiger have a dance contest, Crunch hits it off with his fellow bandicoots, and Crash and Tanwa share one more slow dance and kiss. Star watches this on her TV, and happily sighs, saying that was good, and then puts the tape away next to a tape called Skylanders.

 

During the credits plays “Crash Bandicoot Theme Song”, a upbeat song about Crash and his friends heroics with a bit of rap by Lil Yachty. 

 

Edited by YourMother the Edgelord
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