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The Drifter is the pilot episode of the spin-off series, Ryder.

Ryder
Season 1, Episode 1
Air date 12/25/17
Written by Bat
Brandon
Directed by Bat
Brandon
Episode Guide
Previous
N/A
Next
Shape of You

Plot

The episode opens up with the sky; sometime around dusk. It is bright with a red and orange color with grey, thin clouds passing by slowly. The view begins to lower as it enters the city below. The skyline then starts to appear, showing several buildings around, standing tall- some more than others. One of those buildings takes most of the focus- a towering building with a sleek and modern design surrounded with signs of construction and renovation. There is no other way to identify the building other than the two letters left on the front of the building, "MD". The view then continues to lower until it reaches the streets of the city. A park is then shown as the view passes over it, followed by a crosswalk with several people passing by, going about their own business

 
New York City
December 3, 17:45 EDT

Ryder, narrating: Some people know me as Ryder, but other people see me as a drifter. Someone who hides in the shadows. I used to be a private investigator, but lately I've been feeling like it isn't my fight anymore. There's this power inside of me. When I tap into it, I lose control. And something else, takes over entirely. The other guy has made lots of enemies in the past, and I feel like everyone I get close to ends up finding something off about me. So that’s why I’m here.

A restaurant is then shown with a sign reading, "The Big City Barbecue". The building looks a bit old, like it has been there for some time. Lines of people, are shown outside of the restaurant. Around the corner of the restaurant, Ryder is seen taking out the trash. He puts it in the garbage can, and looks around before walking back into the restaurant. Inside the restaurant, specifically the kitchen, there are several stoves, ovens, grills- cooking equipment as well as the cooks and other employees working there. Ryder tries to walk in unnoticed but is almost instantly approached by a larger man, wearing an apron and a set of rubber gloves. The man has beige-brown hair, a rugged beard, a hard-looking glare and upset expression. He has a big belly underneath the apron and his arms, which are visible since his sleeves are all rolled up, are extremely hairy.

Man: Where do you think you’re going?

Ryder: Taking the crates out back, boss.

Man: After taking out the trash? C’mon, use some sense, man. I’ve got officials coming in here like once every three months then they change up the whole schedule every year. I can’t have them barging in here or, worse, some reviewer, seeing one of my employees touching the merchandise with some unwashed hands.

Another employee, a skinny, young kid- probably a teenager- approaches the man. He’s wearing glasses, has a bad haircut and a serious case of acne.

Employee: Sir, we’re having some issues with the grill.

Man: Do I have to do everything myself around here?

He walks across the kitchen and faces a grill. He takes the raw meat in his hands and places them on a different grill, with already cooked meat on it. Ryder winces slightly at the sight of it. The man turns to the employee.

Man: Make sure you keep that cooked for a good while- if the others get burned, just peel it off or somethin’.

Employee, unsure: Y-yeah, I mean- yes, sir.

The man then grunts with a nod as he starts to return to his original position, across the kitchen. Ryder turns his head slightly.

Ryder, quietly: Hypocrite.

Man, approaching him: What was that?

Ryder: Ah- nothing. Just uh- which crate again? That’s what I was saying…

Man: (sighs) The green and the blue ones. Don’t expect me to repeat myself next time. Remember, you work for me and until you pay up your debts, you’re gonna be spending the rest of your time tossing trash bags. You got that?

Ryder’s fist clenches up slowly. He looks grimly into the man’s eyes. After a short moment, his fist unclenches.

Ryder, sounding defeated: Yeah…

Man: Hmph. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Get back to work, bitch.

Ryder then grunts quietly to himself and turns around, walking out of view. A moment later, the back of the restaurant is seen again, with Ryder exiting from the back door, carrying a couple of crates, one blue and one green. He steps down the back steps and places them next to some other crates piled up by the side. He turns his head and sees a female employee leaning against the wall across from him. She’s got green hair, dyed or something, and teal eyes. She’s wearing a regular dirty employee's uniform and has a cigarette in her hand, letting off a stream of smoke. She looks him down with her eyes and takes a puff of the cigarette. She then tosses it on the ground and stomps it out.

Female Employee: You’re new around here, around you?

Ryder: What makes you say that?

Female Employee: I haven’t seen your face before. I like to get acquainted with all the guys around here.

Ryder: I bet you do.

He says this as he looks her over, from down to top. She notices with an upset expression but he turns around, returning to his work like nothing happened. The woman kicks off from the wall and approaches Ryder as he checks the crate numbers.

Female Employee: What’s your deal? You show up, trying to blend in or something and keep to yourself. You might have everyone else fooled around here but I know you’re hiding something.

Ryder looks up from the crates then turns back to face her.

Ryder: Let’s get something straight here. You don’t know me and I don’t know you. And that’s exactly why you’re so interested in me.

Female Employee: (scoffs) As if.

Ryder: Face it, you work at a beat-up restaurant with a boss that doesn’t even know what type of meat he’s selling and the only other company you have around here are the ones you know and the ones you don’t want to know. But me- I’m the mysterious new guy that you don’t know anything about. And after talking to me, you know that you’ll never find out anything about me. And the mystery of not knowing anything, drives you crazy.

She looks at him and smirks. She then walks over and passes by him as she climbs the steps.

Female Employee: Name’s Janet. (stops before the door) My shift ends at 10.

She then enters the restaurant again, leaving Ryder alone in the alleyway.

Ryder, desolated: Works every time…

Title Sequence

The scene cuts to Ryder walking along the sidewalk, with a few apartments at his side. He is now wearing his usual dark, leather jacket and his hands are in his pocket. Ryder arrives at an apartment complex and approaches the step to the main door. A stray cat can be seen on the ground. The cat meows loudly at Ryder and he looks at it.

Ryder: Shoo, scat.

The cat walks up to him, and sits down

Ryder: Sigh, I literally hate cats.

Ryder takes out a bag of cut up pieces of chicken. He puts it down next to the cat. The cat looks at him, nervously walking over to the chicken and starts eating it.

Ryder enters the apartment and closes the door from behind. The lights are off so it is hard to see the room too well.

Ryder sets his stuff down, and goes to walk to his couch. He sighs in relief when the sound of someone clearing their throat is heard. Ryder jumps, holding his chest. He then holds his head, to gain his composure. He reaches for something at a barely seen end table but can’t seem to find it. A light then shines on him from the couch. He turns and sees a bald man in his thirties to forties with a mustache, holding a yellow flashlight. Whatever hair he has is black and his eyes are brown. He has a strong build and is wearing a ragged, grey shirt and some blue jeans with holes.

Ryder: Shit, Raggy. You nearly gave me a heart attack. How'd you get in here? Fire escape then crack open the window? Tell me you didn't mess with the door handle.

Raggy: You gave me a key, man.

Ryder: Oh yeah… I forgot about that.

Raggy: You wanna explain to me why it’s so dark in here? None of the lights were working when I came in.

Ryder: Uh, I kinda missed my payments. I mean, you would be tired if you worked at a Barbecue place and your boss wouldn’t give two fucks about you.

Raggy: I’m worried about you.

Ryder walks over to the door and (sheet or blinds) covering the window of the door, letting in the light from the hallway into the room, only illuminating the couch area and partially his desk in the back of the room.

Ryder: Better?

Raggy: You know what I meant.

Ryder: You’re supposed to be my informant, not my therapist.

Raggy: I’m also your friend. I just don’t get you, man. One day you’re running the country looking for one dude and the next you’re back here, working at one of the most depressing jobs in this city.

Ryder: I already told you. That fight isn’t worth fighting anymore. Besides, they have “the guy” in lock up already. Apparently he caused this whole alien thing that happened. I dunno. Point is- I’m not going to…

He stops himself before choosing his next words more carefully.

Ryder: He’s not going to break into some prison and slaughter some cops just to get to him.

Raggy: Can’t or won’t?

Ryder gives him a look.

Raggy: Look, I don’t you or the other guy doing that. In fact, I should be glad you’re not doing that vigilante crap anymore. But I’m not because you’re not giving yourself the life you need.

Ryder: This is the only life I have, Raggy. All I did was get used to it.

Raggy: At least consider getting back into the business. But for real this time. I have connections that could use someone like you and I’m not talking about the other guy.

Raggy shows Ryder a yellow envelope. He looks down at it for a moment. He then looks back at Raggy.

Ryder: Not interested.

Raggy: Come on, Ryder.

Ryder: I said, no. That part of me is over and nothing is getting me back into the business. (sigh) Look, just- I’m tired and it’s getting late.

Raggy: Fine. I’ll leave but just- consider it.

He places the envelope on the corner of the desk, bathed in the light from the hallway. Raggy passes by Ryder on his way out.

Raggy: The city has gotten even stranger since the last time you’ve been here.

Raggy then leaves the apartment.

Ryder: I think I’ll-

The door closes.

Ryder, continuing: ...manage.

He looks at the envelope once again, it taking most of the focus. He then looks away and slumps on the couch. Later in the day, a woman can be seen walking down the sidewalk. She’s wearing a brown, leather jacket over an orange shirt. She also has grey pants and blue shoes. Her hair is a light-ish brown, stylized as a pony tail, and her eyes are brown as well. As she continues down the sidewalk, a shady-looking figure, dressed in a thick black jacket, walks behind her in a rushing motion. He appears panicked and twitchy. He approaches closer and closer to the woman, until he reaches out and pushes it into the alley way to the right of them.

Woman: Hey!

The woman turns to face the man but stops when he draws a pocket knife from his, well, pocket. He holds it before him as he approaches the woman slowly.

Theft: Alright, empty your pockets. Come on, hurry up. I don’t have much time.

The woman stands there, unresponsive to his threats, appearing quite dazed.

Theft: Did you hear me? I said, empty your pockets!

Woman: Okay, okay. I’ll empty my pocket. Just calm down.

The woman reaches into her green purse that was on her person. The man looks at her for a short moment before turning his head, looking behind him.

Theft: Yeah, that’s right. Ain’t no one going to save you now, girlie.

The theft then turns his head back and is tased but the woman, now armed with a taser that she had produced from her purse.

Woman: I can take care of myself.

The thief then falls to the ground, and is knocked out on the hard pavement.

Woman: (scoffs) Idiot.

She pulls him up from the ground, and moves his hands into a cuff position. She then places the handcuffs onto his wrist. The thief slurs under his breath as he sort of eases in and out of consciousness.

Woman: You’re under arrest for an attempted assault on an officer, possession of an illegal weapon and attempted theft. A poor attempt too- if I might add.

The woman leads the thief out of the alleyway. After walking with the theft in custody, the sound of sirens are then heard, becoming more and more clear as they’re getting closer. She then turns her head as five patrol cars arrive on the scene. An officer steps out of one of the cruisers. He has blonde, short hair and blue eyes. The officer then approaches the woman and the thief in a hurry while a couple of other officers step out of the rest of the cruisers.

Officer: Kelly- what the hell?

Kelly looks over at the officer, unimpressed.

Kelly: Where were you, Alec? You were supposed to take me home.

Alec, surprised: I was chasing this guy around!

He lifts his hand in an effortless manner as a gesture for pointing to the theft.

Alec: Do you have any idea how much trouble this guy caused and you just- what? Decided to arrest him out of nowhere?

Kelly: He mugged me in this alleyway. (smugly) Besides, someone had too.

Alec scoffs as Kelly walks past him, leaving the theft where he is, barely able to stand up straight. Alec turns, watching her approach one of the cruisers. He then looks over at a couple of approaching officers and signals them over.

Alec: Take care of that piece of crap, alright? I got to take our hero to her mighty headquarters.

Alec walks ahead, with a chuckle out of one of the officers. The scene then cuts away to one of the cruisers driving along the street, with Kelly in the passenger seat and Alec driving the vehicle, with one hand on the wheel.

Alec: So, you seem…uh-

Kelly: What?

Alec: I dunno, quiet today. Something up?

Kelly: It’s just- this job, you know. It makes you think sometimes. I mean, it never ceases to change. Always something happening, always a criminal out there, always something to deal with.

Alec: You thinking about bailing already?

Kelly: Heck no. I love this job. It’s just- you never know what to expect.

Alec: Sounds like you’re in it for the adventure.

Kelly: Come on. Be serious with me for once. We’ve been partnered up for how long?

Alec: (sigh) Like a year already. Going on for two.

Kelly: Exactly. So you should know by now that adventure is the least possible thing that I’m after. Sure less crime would be great but this job is like my way of making this city a better place.

Alec: Come on, Jess. Nothing else? There’s gotta be something else to it.

Kelly: I mean- what else is there to it?

Alec: Yeah… I suppose you’re right about that.

Kelly: I ever tell you about that time?

Alec: Yes. Yes, you have. It’s a neat little story but it doesn’t really explain anything.

Kelly: That’s because you see it for what it is.

Alec: Shouldn’t I always?

Kelly: Nah, sometimes you have to read into it. Understand what it really is about.

Alec: Alright fine. Tell me the infamous tale from the great Jessica Kelly.

Kelly: Well it was like another night, just doing my job when I get a call. Bunch of robbers just hit a bank so I find them, give chase and they crash my cruiser. Some cheap shot involving a street lamp or something like that. So I call for backup and I know I just have to deal with this head on, all by myself. That was probably the first time for me. But by the time I got there, it was already taken care of. The robbers were taken down, like they were just left there to get arrested. Everyone at the station has a different side of the story of how it all went down but I was there and I looked up and I saw him. The Vigilante.

Alec: Here we go.

Kelly: I’m telling you, he was there. I saw him.

Alec: It was dark, he wears dark clothing. You probably just thought you say him. Or was it armor? These mutated lunatics are hard to keep track of.

Kelly: Well, he was there and I saw him. And for a brief moment, he looked right at me. And that’s when I knew. The Vigilante helps this city get better by taking down criminals so if he helped me, it must been that this job is what can help me do so.

Alec: I don’t know, Jess. Sounds like a bit of a stretch to me. I mean, we’re not really endorsing these vigilantes, they’re dangerous and reckless.

Kelly: That’s what we’re here for, Alec. I’m not supporting the harm they could cause but the good they do can’t be ignored. Without vigilantes, we’d probably be speaking some alien language right now. As police officers, we have rules and regulations and protocols and good people that can do the things they do but in a good way, a better way.

Alec: You don’t have to convince me.

Kelly: Just making sure you get where I’m coming from. So what about you?

Alec: What about me?

Kelly: You’ve been a little quieter than usual too. Anything you wanna share with your favorite partner?

Alec:  I don’t know what you’re talking about. Everything is peachy keen.

Kelly: That isn’t what I asked.

Alec turns the steering wheel slightly as the car pulls up in front of an apartment complex. Alec cuts the engine off and turns his head, looking at Jessica.

Alec: The only thing I want to share with you... is the rest of the night.

She looks at him, slightly taken aback but then scoffs with a smirk.

Kelly: Flattery will get you nowhere.

She opens the door and steps out of the car before closing the door behind her. Alec leans over as close as he can, rolling down the passenger side door windows with his other arm.

Alec: I’ll tell you later, but not right now. Maybe over dinner?

Kelly turns and leans on the cruiser’s door, her arms folded where the window reels as she looks inside at him. After a short moment of collecting her thoughts, she sighs.

Kelly: Maybe.

She then backs away from the cruiser, heading towards the complex.

Alec: Nice. I’m taking that as a yes, by the way!

Kelly, looking back: I said maybe.

Alec: Sounds like a yes from here.

Kelly, looking ahead, climbing the steps: I’m going home now, Alec.

Alec: Definitely a yes...

The door to the apartment then closes and Alec turns his head, looking ahead of him. He then starts the engine before the scene cuts over to the inside of one of the apartments. It’s dark and only dull silhouettes of furniture can be seen. A door is then seen opening, bringing light into the darkness of it all. Kelly then steps into the room, and flicks on a light switch next to the door; turning the dark room into one filled with light and making the silhouettes of furniture visible. There’s a small sitting area close to the door with a TV in front of it, a couple of shelves with picture frames and small items, a cozy-looking kitchen in an alcove behind the sitting area, and some doors leading to a couple of other, probably even smaller, rooms.

Kelly: What a day.

She tosses her keys in a key basket and walks further into the room after closing the door and locking it behind her. There are a couple of locks on the door. The scene then cuts to her bedroom with a couple of posters of some handsome movie stars hanging on the walls. Kelly lays down on her bed and starts to drift asleep. After a moment, a faint hissing noise can be heard, causing her to awaken. Kelly jumps up out of her bed and peeks around the corner.

Kelly, looking through the dark: What the hell was that?

After a moment of silence, Kelly sighs; looking less tense than before.

Kelly: I must be going crazy. I’ll just go back to bed.

She then gets back onto her bed and falls asleep once again. A creaking against the floorboards of the apartment can be heard, causing her eyes to open up slightly to the noise. Through her groggy vision, she sees a dark, tall monstrous looking creature in the form of a man or some type of animal lurching over her. Its mouth opens up showing a fiery internal lining that matches its flaming eyes. Terrified, Kelly tries to let out a scream but can’t seem to say anything. The beast then stands over her now and slashes at her with its long, claw-like fingers. Kelly weakly raises her hand in front of her in an attempt to defend herself but her motions do little against the creature as it continues to scratch and bash her with its fists and claws. Her body can be seen shaking slightly in the bed as it takes the constant assaults as the view zooms into her face, showing an expression of fear and pain as she tries to mouth her feelings into words. Then she see finally can, she lets out a loud and powerful scream then sits up quickly on the bed. Kelly looks hesitantly around her, shaking slightly, only to see nothing that hasn’t been there before. She then breathes in heavily, her chest puffing in and out as sweat pours from her forehead. As she continues breathing, the sweat continues to roll down her face, then drips from the bottom of her chin onto her shoulder where it splashes against a wound of some kind. She winces in pain then turns to her shoulder, noticing a gash that’s starting to bleed. She then turns to look around the room again, panicked and traumatized. 

Kelly: ...Where did that come from?

Kelly looks on, clearly shaken up by the dream she just had. The scene cuts to the police precinct the next day.

 
NYPD Police Prescient
December 4, 8:33 EDT

Inside, Kelly, now dressed in her police uniform, can be seen walking up to an office, still shaken up about the vision from last night. She stops before the door and takes a breath. She turns her head and sees her fellow officers passing by then turns back to the door. She grabs the door knob and opens the door. Before her, is a desk where the police commissioner is seated at.

Kelly: Sir… uh- can I talk to you for a minute?

Commissioner: Sure, come have a seat. Is everything alright.

Kelly: Not exactly.

Commissioner: It’s Kelly, right? I remember when you were just a cadet here. It felt like you had a smile on everyday. Why such the long face all of a sudden? I know you had some… concerns about a fellow officer.

Kelly: It’s not that, sir. It’s um- hard to explain exactly.

Commissioner: Alright, then tell it to me straight.

Kelly: Last night, I was uh- attacked by a creature.

Kelly sighs  

Commissioner: What do you mean? Like a Mutant? Kelly, are you sure it wasn’t a dream?

Kelly: I was attacked… I know it, it felt- so real. One minute it was there and the next-

After a moment, the commissioner smirks and cracks a chuckle. Kelly looks up from the floor at him, confusion written across her face.

Kelly: Sir?

Commissioner: So you’re just saying a Mutant appeared in your home and attacked you then disappeared? Ha!

Kelly: Sir, I’m- I’m serious.

The commissioner gives her a blank look


Kelly: I know what it sounds like, but it felt real to me. It was there, I’m telling you.

The commissioner laughs again

Commissioner: Just like how you saw the Vigilante that night? Kelly, you’re an incredible cop but stick to what you know. The rules, the protocols.

Kelly: I am, sir. That’s why I’m asking if you can help me, if the police can help me. I feel like there should be a response to an attack like this. And I’m not- making this up, sir. I have wounds and bruises that sure as hell make this real for me.

The commissioner looks at her, more seriously this time.

Commissioner: Look, even if there was a Mutant attack, and I’m not saying there was or wasn’t, there isn’t anything that I nor the NYPD can do about it. That stuff is up to higher ups.

Kelly: What? The MCA? But- they’re in the middle of setting up a new leadership. Besides, they’re not exactly known for taking requests, sir.

Commissioner: And neither are we. Look, I can give you a week, maybe even two weeks off, in addition to sick leave but I’m not in the mood to be doing anyone any favors and I especially don’t have such a high patience for people with non-existent Mutant problems when it comes down to a service that helps the people and the city. I thought that’s something you stand for, Kelly.

Kelly: It is, sir. I just-

Commissioner: Then start showing it.

The commissioner then returns to his work, leaving Kelly standing there before him. She looks at him then looks around in thought. The commissioner raises his head, noticing her and looks right up at her.

Commissioner: Well? (points to what’s behind her) There’s the door!

He lowers his head, returning to his work, as Kelly turns to the door and leaves the office, with a sigh.

Alec, voice over: I can’t believe it.

Kelly, voice over: I know right.

The scene cuts to the front of the precinct or should it be somewhere else like a doughnut shop parking lot

The two of them are seen leaning on the back of a police cruiser.

Kelly: I can’t believe he said they can’t do anything. What happened to protect your own or whatever it’s called?

Alec: I can’t believe you actually demanded something from the commissioner. Not many people do that without something happening to them.

Kelly: What about Rusty?

Alec: Rusty?

Kelly: Yeah.

Alec: I think he got crushed by some debris back when the aliens invaded so… yeah.

Kelly sighs.

Alec: How come you didn’t call me or something? Commissioners might not look out for their officers but partners have each other’s backs.

Kelly: I guess I just wanted to rely on my faith in the system. Besides, it’s nothing I couldn’t take care of. Although, I will need to buy more bandages for my first aid kit.

Alec: You sure you’re ok?

Kelly: Yeah, I’m fine.

Alec: Good, cause I’m starving and I don’t plan on talking for my whole break.

Kelly smiles

Kelly: It’s a date.

Alec: Really?! You want to go? Wow, I thought you wouldn’t say yes.

Dispatch: We’ve got a situation over by an apartment complex in Hell’s Kitchen.

Kelly: Looks like you’ll have to keep waiting, wise guy.

Alec shakes his head and smiles.

Alec: I like it when girls play hard to get.

Kelly reaches into the cruiser, grabs the radio and pulls it up to her face.

Kelly, answering the call: This is cruiser TAB42, we’ll be on the scene shortly.

The scene then cuts to the cruiser driving quickly down the street, siren blaring and flashing colors of blue and red. The cruiser then pulls up in front of an apartment complex where a fight seems to be escalating outside between two muscular men, one of them appears to be a one young adult with black hair in a purple shirt while the other is an older man with ginger hair and a black coat. 

Alec exits his car, and runs quickly to the fight. He shoves one of the guys who were fighting.

Alec: Knock it off!

Older Man: What did you say to me, pretty boy?!

Alec: Put your hands behind your back, right now!

The older man begins to run, Alec chases after him.

The older man almost makes it across the street but suddenly, Alec jumps on him and forcefully puts handcuffs on the man’s hands

Alec: Stand up!

Kelly rushes over to aid but stops short as she sees Alec handle the rest of the situation. She then turns her head and notices something. Approaching the complex, Ryder makes his way there as if he’s wandering there rather than knowing where he’s going.

Kelly, stepping forwards: Ryder?

Ryder turns around and looks at her.

Ryder: Jess? Is that you?

Kelly: Yeah, wow- it’s been like forever since we’ve seen each other. How are you?

Ryder: Life's alright, I guess. I got a steady job, place to sleep, people to bug me.

Kelly: That’s not what I asked.

Ryder: ...Better, now that you’re here.

Kelly: So, place to sleep. I’m guessing it’s this one, right?

Ryder: Yeah.

Kelly: That’s cool! Nice place you’ve got here.

Ryder: Yeah, it’s usually not holding some fight club. Usually…

Kelly laughs

Ryder: So, what about you?

Kelly: Well, I’m a cop now so I’m the law. Ha ha

Ryder laughs

Ryder: It’s so crazy how long it’s been. I guess I just got used to the idea of not running into people from my past anymore.

Kelly: Yeah, it might seem unlikely that two people like us might meet again but I dunno. This city has a tendency of bringing people together.

Ryder: Yeah…

Kelly: Well, I’m kinda on duty right now but we should talk some other time.

Ryder: I don’t really answer phones anymore but you know where to find me.

Kelly: Sure.

Ryder: Well, it was nice seeing you again.

Kelly: Same here…

Ryder then wanders into the apartment while Kelly looks at him enter, crossing her arms. Alec enters the scene, pushing forward the older man who is now in cuffs.

Alec, sarcastic: Thanks for assist, partner.

Kelly, not entirely paying attention: Sure thing.

Alec looks at her then at the apartment door.

Alec: Who was that guy anyways?

Kelly: Some guy I knew when I was younger. (realizing something) Shoot- I forgot to ask which floor he’s on.

Alec: Just check the buzzer, should have his name there or something. I’m gonna get this guy in the cruiser and I’m putting him on your side.

Alec walks ahead with the older man as Kelly continues looking at the entrance to the complex. The scene then cuts over to the inside at the buzzer where Kelly is seen entering the building. She looks ahead of her and sees Ryder slowly climbing up the stairs. She then turns her head and sees the buzzer besides her. She carefully scans the buzzer for names, her tongue slightly sticking out as she concentrates until she stops, looking slightly surprised. The buzzer has several name cards in the slots above the buttons but one of them is a black name card with the words, “Ryder Investigations” typed in white. The font is classic, like it’s been done on a typewriter. Kelly then turns her head back to the stairs where Ryder is about to turn the corner.

Kelly: You’re a Private Investigator?

Ryder stops where he is. He turns to look at Kelly who is still watching him.

Ryder: Not anymore.

Kelly: Oh…

Ryder turns back in front of him then thinks for a moment. He turns back to Kelly.

Ryder: Why do you want to know?

Kelly: I have a problem…

Ryder: ...What type of problem?

Kelly: I was… attacked, last night. By some kind of creature, it was dark and tall and monstrous. I’ve never been that scared before in my whole life. And I have bruises and slashes all over my body but it’s like it wasn’t even there. The police won’t… can’t do anything for me. If I can’t stop it then I at least need to know what happened, why it happened, just- anything to help me sleep at night again.

Ryder: I don’t know, Jess...

Kelly: I understand- if you don’t believe me.

Ryder: I believe you. I just- there’s a reason why I don’t do this anymore.

He stands on the stairs for a moment, looking away from her. He lets out a sigh a moment later.

Ryder: I’ll… I’ll think about it, alright?

Kelly: Thank you, Ryder.

Ryder: Yeah… no problem. Take care of yourself, hm?

Kelly chuckles softly to herself then nods slightly.

Kelly: You haven’t changed a bit, you know.

She then gives a small smile before turning to the door and leaving the apartment complex. Ryder then watches the door from the stairs then looks away in thought. The scene then transitions to the inside of a warehouse; it's very dark, it kinda looks abandoned. The walls looks like rusted metal, giving the place an old vibe to it. There are some old drapes hanging around the place. There's a refrigerator in the corner with its door hung open; it stores beer, and food in cabinets. There are also a bunch of illegal weapons such as guns, knives, body-armor, and military style grenades lying around. Inside the dark warehouse, an unknown man emerges from the shadows and enters the  moonlight. In the center of the room, another man is standing in the middle of the floor, looking out of the window. The initial man is wearing a dark colored trench coat over a dark grey holster and a white shirt. He’s bald with dark, heavy eyebrows and sharp, blue eyes.

Man, looking out of the window: You’re late.

Other Man: Had to take care of some unfinished business. Cleaning these babies ain’t quick.

He waves his hand over his holster, which is stacked with various guns. The man at the window continues looking out of it for a moment before turning to face the other man. He’s a tall, muscular and well-built guy wearing a light-colored suit with a dark waistcoat underneath. His hair is black and slicked back while his eyes are a dark brown.

Man: Don’t get cocky with me, Max. Now, we have some unfinished business to deal with ourselves. Don’t forget what we came here for.

Max: You said you’d handle it.

Man: I did. And I will. But the plan won’t work if we don’t work together. You’ve always been a rogue one, Max. You think highly of yourself. Maybe too highly...

Max: It takes one to know one.

Man: I think highly of myself because I am in a high-position. What we have here- the thing that binds us together- I am the one who takes the lead.

Max: Of course you have to be the leader, it’s always been you.

Man: And what do you suggest, eh? You? If you have any issues with my command, you know who to take them up with. Now is that something you really want to put your life on?

There is no response.

Man: That’s what I thought. If you’re done wasting our time, you can start doing your part in our plan.

The man then starts to turn back to the window.

Max: Oh yeah? And then what?

The man stops and turns his head back to Max.

Man: Then, when everything goes to plan, the final phase will fall into place and the city… will belong to us. No one will ever see it coming. Not the police, not those vigilantes on the news. No one will be able to stop us!

The scene then cuts to the outside of an apartment complex in an alleyway where a figure passes by the view. The figure turns his head, showing that he’s actually Ryder. He turns his head back and looks around the area.

Ryder, to himself: (sigh) What am I even doing here? I should be somewhere else… anywhere but here. Alone…

He stands there for a moment before clutching his fists and yelling out for a brief moment. He then catches his breath and holds his head.

Voice, from a short distance: Hey!

Ryder looks around then looks above him, towards a fire escape. On the top platform of the fire escape, Kelly is seen leaning against the railing.

Kelly: You alright?

Ryder: Wha- (looks around then looks back up at her) What are you doing here?

Kelly: I uh- live here…

Ryder, looks down and thinks: Right.

Kelly: I guess you checking out where I live means you took up the case.

Ryder: I’m just- looking around… for you. Not investigating or anything like that.

Kelly: Well, I appreciate it. Seriously.

Ryder looks at her, sighs then nods.

Kelly: You wanna come up?

Ryder: I probably shouldn’t.

Kelly: I mean- I could just come down there and we can talk in the cold all evening long.

Ryder delivers a heavy sigh and strokes the back of head, as if he’s thinking for a moment. He then looks up at Kelly, with a look of regret.

Ryder: Alright. I’ll- be right up.

Kelly: Ok, great! I’ll make some coffee.

Kelly ducks back inside through the open window. Ryder then looks down the ground and tucks at his hair with both hands with a disgruntled grunt. When he calms down, he slowly raises his head at the ladder hanging above his head. The view then shows the ladder, hanging there ominously. The scene then cuts back to the platform on the fire escape some time later where Ryder finally makes it to the top and rests. Kelly then pops back out with two bright-colored mugs filled with coffee. Its steamy aroma follows behind as Kelly sits across from Ryder on the platform. She reaches over and passes him a mug of coffee. He looks at it for a few seconds then leans over and accepts it from her.

Ryder: Thanks…

Kelly: You’re welcome.

They sit there in silence for a moment. Ryder starts to drink his coffee in big gulps while Kelly watches him and drinks hers with small sips.  

Ryder looks at his coffee, and back at her and smiles.

Ryder: It’s pretty good.

Kelly: You really think so? Mine is usually bitter with no cream or sugar.

Ryder: I feel like that takes away from the flavor sometimes.

Kelly laughs

Ryder: So…

Kelly: Yeah?

Ryder: Why do you spend time up here? You don’t look like someone who spends a lot of time alone.

Kelly looks off into the distance in silence. Her eyes then shift from below to above her.

Kelly: (sighs) Well, I like to come up here and clear my head sometimes. Life is stressful, you know?

Ryder: Tell me about it.

Kelly:  I just wish that life was simple...

Ryder: Now where would be the fun in that?

Kelly: Heh. I guess you’re right. I mean, I like fun as much as the next person but I feel dedicated to my work. I guess that’s what I really think about when I spend my time up here.

Ryder: What? Is the job that bad?  

Kelly: No, it’s great! It’s my way of making the city better, by helping people. There wouldn’t be a day where I would wish to be anywhere else except now I have this sick leave so, that’s why I’m out here. Thinking about where I should be instead of just sitting around all day. I can’t really get into it but- this job, it’s like- like a mission for me, you know? And without it… I don’t know what I would do with myself.

Ryder: ...Yeah, I know how you feel.

Kelly: Hey, you remember back when we were teenagers?

Ryder: I guess so.

Kelly: I’m pretty sure you were the most popular kid in school.

Ryder: I mean, that’s what happens when you’re a quarterback.

Kelly: (chuckles) Yeah, you really did win people over… Everyone at Arbiter High always got all riled up about sports.

Ryder: Even you?

Kelly: I was the quiet one, remember? Books riled me up.

Ryder: Weren’t you always at my games?

Kelly: Yes.

Ryder: So through the power of deduction, I’d say you liked sports.

Kelly: Nice try, Sherlock. I never really had a thing for sports. I went to the games because I liked you.

Ryder is slightly surprised. Kelly, catching herself, blushes slightly and quickly spits out a recovery.

Kelly: As a friend, I mean! Gosh, this is why I didn’t talk to anyone back then. (awkward laugh)

Ryder: Haha, you don’t have to explain to me. We were Ryder and Jess, best friends forever.

Kelly: Yeah… we were...

The view then pans to the left as Kelly turns her head to the inside of her apartment. The scene then starts to transition into a flashback. The sitting room in her apartment transitions into an open field.

 
Arbiter High
Nine Years Ago

The scene continues at a high school’s football field. A game is going on at the moment with a bunch of people seated at the booths, cheering. On the field, the players duck down into their positions after exiting from a huddle. One of the players in particular lean down in front of the view, showing himself to be a younger-looking Ryder, during his teenage years.

Player: Down… Set hut!

The player throws the ball from underneath him and tosses it over to the player behind him who grabs the football with confidence. He then turns and throws the ball across the field right before getting tackled by a player on the opposing team. The ball flings through the air. Ryder dashes across the field, narrowly avoiding his opponents on the field. He then turns his head, seeing the football coming down for a landing. He turns his head back ahead of him, now seeing a much larger player in front of him, ready to tackle him hard. Ryder’s eyes widen then squint down in concentration as he continues dashing ahead, possibly even gaining some speed along the way. The larger player launches at him but Ryder turns, spinning across the the side of the larger player and, uneasily, stops facing his back. The football then shoots down above the larger player’s head towards Ryder’s direction. Ryder then leaps up and grabs the football in his hands before gravity does its work and Ryder drops onto the grass of the field with the football still in his hands. The crowd cheers once more, loudly and with glee. Ryder attempts to get up from the ground on his own but only manages to sit up. An arm then enters the view before him. Ryder looks up at who the arm is connected to only to see the larger opponent he had just avoided. Ryder then smirks and takes his hand. The opponent helps him up then gives him a slight nod before returning to his team. As he leaves, the rest of Ryder’s team approaches him and gathers around him in a victorious cheer. Ryder smiles and laughs along with his team then turns his head to the bleachers, noticing an empty spot. Ryder’s smile then diminishes as the sound of the cheers and shouts start to nullify. The scene then transitions to some time later with the field cleared out and the sun starting to set. A janitor can be seen raking some leaves on the field with some students from the high school passing by the view. The scene then shows the locker room exit close to the bleachers as Ryder leaves, wearing a red letter man-jacket rather than his football outfit. He has a raggedy, beige backpack hung over his right shoulder. He starts walking past the bleachers, approaching the field’s exit.

Voice: Hey!

Ryder stops and smiles. He turns his head and sees a younger-looking Kelly, also in her teenager years, seated on the empty and slightly dirty bleachers. She’s wearing blue overalls over a yellow shirt with white shoes and high socks. She has long hair and glasses.

Kelly: You weren’t planning on leaving without me, were you?

Ryder: Not a chance.

The scene cuts to a sidewalk in a suburban neighborhood where Ryder and Kelly can be seen passing through.

Kelly: That was a good game.

Ryder: You were there?

Kelly: Of course, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Ryder: You’re a great friend.

Kelly: Aww, thank you.

Ryder: Don’t mention it.

Kelly: Something on your mind?

Ryder: (Sigh) It’s nothing really. Just my folks- they didn’t bother showing up to the game.

Kelly: Again? Sorry to hear that, Ryder.

Ryder: I mean, they could have at least came up with some dumb excuse like the other times. I just don’t get what’s so important.

Kelly: Sometimes, people have to some stuff over other things in order to take care of people they care about.

Ryder: Who’s side are you on, Kelly?

Kelly: Yours, duh. I’m just trying to make you feel better.

Ryder: Well, it’s sorta working, I guess. Thanks.

Kelly: Don’t mention it.

The scene changes to Ryder walking Jessica home, and she turns to face Ryder.

Ryder: Well, I’m glad you came.

Kelly: I’ll always be there.

She leans in close to Ryder, but he turns away quickly when his phone is heard. Ryder hurries to answer the phone, stepping aside.

Ryder: Yo, Wade. What’s up?

Jessica stops and steps back, clearly embarrassed and starts to blush while Ryder is talking to one of his friends.

Ryder: Cool man, I’ll be there whenever you’re ready to work on the project together. Alright, talk to you later.

Ryder hangs up and puts the phone in his pocket. He turns to Kelly.

Ryder: Sorry, emergency.

Kelly: Guess you’re not staying over to study, huh?

Ryder is about to say something when the door to the house opens before them. Jessica’s parents open the front door and smile at Ryder.

Jessica’s Mom: Thanks for taking her home! Are you sure you don’t need a ride?

Ryder: No, I’m good. Thanks, Mrs. Kelly.

Jessica’s Mom: Make sure you tell your parents that I said, “Hi”.

Ryder: Uh yeah sure… I’ll do that.

Ryder turns to Kelly.

Ryder: I’ll talk to you later, Jess.

Kelly: Yeah, sure.

Ryder nods and waves to her parents and turns to leave as the flashback starts to come to an end. The scene returns to the platform on the fire escape showing both Ryder and Kelly looking at each other. Their gaze is then interrupted by a hard knocking coming from inside the apartment. Kelly is clearly more shaken up than Ryder by the knocking and gathers herself before looking inside. She turns her head to look at Ryder.

Kelly, bashfully: I should probably get that.

Ryder: Yeah… I mean, sure, yeah.

Kelly smiles slightly before ducking back into the apartment through the window. Ryder then turns his head and looks into the distance. The dark and tall buildings just about block the view of the rest of the city, in fact there isn’t much to look at but Ryder finds himself at peace and sips his coffee, alone on the platform. Inside the hallway, the door to the apartment is seen which then opens with Kelly behind it, opening the door. She looks ahead, slightly surprised.

Kelly: What are you doing here?

Alec, standing before her: Just thought I’d check up on you. See how you were doing.

Kelly: Oh- well, I’m feeling better but yeah, it’s taking some time.

Alec: Hey, I get it. You went through something that I can’t wrap my head around understanding. What you need is good ol’ fashioned Alec Jordan healing techniques.

Kelly: (scoffs) You’re such an idiot, you know that right? I’m not sick. (chuckles)

Alec: Yeah, well- it never hurts to be sure. Mind if I come in?

Kelly looks at him uncomfortably then behind her before turning back to face him again.

Kelly: You know I would let you in. It’s just- now isn’t exactly a good… time.

Alec, surprised: Oh, uh- okay. No, yeah- I totally get it. Look, hitting on you aside-

Kelly, blushing: What?

Alec: -I hope you get better. You’re my partner after all. I need ya to have my back again.

Kelly: I might be out of the uniform but it’ll take a lot more than this to get me off your back.

Alec: I was hoping you’d say that. Well, I should probably go. I don’t want to take away any time from your-

Ryder then enters the view, holding his mug of coffee in one hand. He wanders around the apartment, looking around as if he’s studying the place. Alec, noticing him, watches in a state of both confusion and surprise.

Alec: rest…

Kelly, reading his face, turns around and her eyes widen upon seeing Ryder behind her.

Ryder: Hey, it’s a nice place you have-

He turns his head to Kelly and stops mid-sentence when seeing them both at the door.

Ryder: Oh.

Alec: Who the hell are you?

Kelly: Alec- please, calm down. This is Ryder, he’s an old friend of mine.

Alec: I never heard of him.

Ryder: Good. (sips coffee)

Kelly: He’s a really old friend. Like before the- well, y’know.

Alec: Oh, I see now.

Kelly: He was also at the disturbance report earlier today. That’s where we met up again and where I invited him over.

Alec: Wow. Must be some coincidence, y’know? The two of you- just meeting like that.

Ryder: I don’t believe in coincidences. Just consequences finally forming into circumstances.

Alec: Huh... Neat. Well, my work is done. I’ll see you tomorrow, alright Kelly?

Kelly: Sure. I might a visit from Chloe but yeah, sure.

Alec: Thanks for the heads-up, I don’t think she likes him that much. Oh and one of your neighbors told me to tell you something about the sugar?

Kelly: Oh yeah, the Russos. I let them borrow some of my sugar, it’s fine.

Alec: How come I feel like I’m the only one around here that isn’t getting any sug-

Ryder: Wait, shut up. What did you say? Something about neighbors?

Alec: Yeah… I did. (to Kelly) I have the right to punch this guy, right?

Ryder: Neighbors… witnesses. Someone had to see something.

He hurries past Kelly, pushing the mug of coffee into her hands. She nearly drops it due to how sudden the move was.

Kelly: R- Ryder?!

Ryder, from the hallway: I’ll be back!

Kelly looks over at Alec who catches her look. He then closes his eyes, throws his head back and groans.

Alec: Seriously? Kelly: Please?

Alec: Okay, okay but now you can’t back out of that date. It’s for real this time.

Kelly: Alright, alright. I’m looking forwards to it. Thanks.

Kelly pushes him back into the hallway and closes the door behind him. Alec then turns and walks down the hallway towards the sound of repetitive knocking in the distance. Alec follows and finds Ryder knocking on a door. He turns his head, acknowledging Alec’s presence.

Alec: Hey man, sorry for earlier.

Ryder: Whatever, it’s cool. I guess you’ve known her for a while, huh?

Alec: Yeah

Ryder: Look, you can help if you want. I could use some of help looking into this thing.

Alec: I mean, I’m watching you to make sure you don’t cause another disturbance but sure, man.

The door opens to an elderly woman wearing a pale dress dress with green flowers on it.

Elderly Woman: Oh hello there, Alec.

Alec: Ma’am.

Elderly Woman: What brings you here?

Ryder: I have to ask you some questions.

Alec: You’re not obligated to, of course, but we are curious about something that happened here.

Ryder: Did you see or hear anything suspicious last night?

Elderly Woman: Well… let’s see. There was this noise I heard from above. I think the neighbors might have been causing a ruckus. Youngsters these days.

Alec: Ma’am, this is the top floor.

Elderly Woman: I know that, Alec! That’s the scary part.

Ryder sighs in disappointment.

Ryder: Did you happen to hear anything else?

Elderly Woman: Well, now that you mention it, I heard some footsteps outside but it was just my baby returning home to me.

Ryder: Baby?

Elderly Woman: Yes, Mr. Tiddles.

Ryder looks at her confused then looks down after hearing a groaning meow. He sees a black cat by the woman’s feet, rubbing itself against her legs.

Alec: Ma’am, you do realize harboring a stray and/or wild animal is against the law, right?

Elderly Woman: Is it now?

Alec: Yes. I told you this so many times already.

Elderly Woman: Well, I think it’s a silly law that should not be followed. Mr. Tiddles didn’t harm nobody, he just wants to be loved like everyone else.

Alec: Well, sorry but the law is the law. Now we can either take care of this nice and easy or I could take you to the station and you can explain to the commissioner why there’s a sweet lady there with a cat in her house.

Elderly Woman: Alright, alright- we’ll settle this now…

Alec: Thank you. (to Ryder) This shouldn’t take long.

Alec steps inside and talks with the woman, leaving Ryder by the doorway. He then looks down again, the cat looking up at the woman. It then turns its head and locks its green eyes on him. The cat then meows at him. Ryder’s face tightens as he continues looking at the cat. His hand is then seen slowly forming into a shaking grasp of fingers. The cat, as if sensing something, then starts to hiss at him. Ryder then growls at the cat, causing it to back away, frightened. He then leans back and looks away, thinking to himself. The scene then cuts to later at the outside of the apartment complex, it’s now later in the day. Ryder and Alec exit from the building.

Alec: Hey, sorry you couldn’t find anything helpful from the neighbors. They’re good people, I don’t think they would have anything to do with it.

Ryder: Yeah, well, I guess we’ll see.

Alec: You’re really going to look into this?

Ryder: ...I’m still figuring that out.

Alec: Well, I’ll keep an eye out, do my part, y’know? You may have known her longer than me but Kelly and I got this bond, this partnership. I’ll take care of her no matter what happens.

Ryder: If you hurt her, I’ll break your neck.

Alec laughs, he then realizes what Ryder just said.

Alec: Wait, what?

Ryder starts laughing

Ryder: I’m just joking with you.

Alec: Figured.

Ryder: I just don’t want her to get hurt.

Alec: Don’t worry, she won’t. Maybe you should just forget this whole case thing. Worry about yourself. I get you’re trying to help but don’t you think you might just end up hurting her in the process?

Ryder looks at him with an unsure expression. Alec sighs then turns to his cruiser, parked in front of the complex.

Alec: I’ll be at the precinct for a while but then I’ll be back her to back sure she’s well taken care of. Things are different now and I don’t want you standing in the way of that.

Ryder: Yeah, I get it…

Alec: Alright. Anyways, it was nice meeting ya. Maybe we’ll meet again under better circumstances.

Alec then steps into his cruiser and drives off after starting the engine, leaving Ryder there alone in front of the complex. Ryder then turns his head and notices something. He steps into the alleyway and sees a green substance splattered against the corner of the stonework. He squats down and wipes some of it up with two of his fingers. He holds the fingers in front of him to get a better look at the substance. Ryder: ...What are you?

After a moment of examining the substance, Ryder whips out his mobile and calls up at a number with his left hand.

Raggy, over the phone: Ryder? Is that yo-

Ryder: Yeah, it’s me. Look, man, I found something and I need you to get me some info on it.

Raggy, over the phone: You took up a case, didn’t you?

Ryder: No. I don’t do that anymore.

Raggy, over the phone: So why do you need this info all of sudden, man?

Ryder: I’m running a favor. You gonna help me out or what?

Raggy, over the phone: Alright, fine- what is it?

Ryder: I don’t know. Has a slime-like state, green color, no odor…  

Raggy, over the phone: What does it taste like?

Ryder: What?

Raggy, over the phone: Well, when you want to find out what the substance is, you taste it sometimes.

Ryder: Dang it Raggy, this ain’t some crime TV show. Dead of the inside is just a mood I’m feeling, not something I actually plan on happening today.

Raggy, over the phone: I’ll see what I can find and let you know. Anything else?

Ryder: Yeah, actually. I need to know where someone lives.

Raggy: A suspect? Someone you don’t trust?

Ryder, over the phone: No. A victim. Probably the only other person I do trust.

The scene then cuts to a shot of the city and its many buildings, among one of them is another apartment building.

Inside the building, someone can be seen walking up the stairs, reaching into their red bag hung over their shoulder. The person appears to be a female with brown hair, her face obscured due to the angle. She’s wearing a dark colored leather jacket over a red shirt. When she arrives on the floor that the stairs were leading to, she continues walking forwards, searching through her bag as she approaches a door. She then stops before the door, finally removing a set of a keys.

Girl: Finally.

Ryder, unseen: You took the words right out of my mouth.

The girl looks up, her face now being shown. She has blues eyes and a surprised look on her face. In front of her, Ryder is now seen leaning against the door, looking right at her.

Ryder: How’s it going, Kate?

Kate: Ryder… What are you doing here? Why are you here? How are you here?

Ryder: That’s a lot of questions. I guess you still work in the news business, huh.

Kate: Something like that. You shouldn’t be here, Ryder. What do you want?

Ryder: Honestly?

Kate: That’s the only answer I’ll take.

Ryder: I need help. As in actual life help and you’re the only other normal person I know. Well, as normal as they come anyways.

Kate: So this isn’t about-

Ryder: No. Unless there’s something you want to tell me.

Kate: Definitely not.

Ryder: Good. I don’t think I can stand a visit from our mutual acquaintance anyways.

Kate: Okay, let me get this straight. You came to me, someone who works in the news, for life advice? There are people out there that do that stuff, they’re called therapists, Ryder.

Ryder: I don’t need a therapist. I need someone to talk to. I mean, isn’t that what you wanted last time? To talk, to get to know me?

Kate: (sighs in frustration) Things have changed, people have changed. I… changed.

Ryder: So is that a yes or a no?

Kate: Alright, alright. You want to talk? ...Let’s talk.

Ryder: Thank you.

Kate: So, what’s up?

Ryder: Well, I’ve found this sample at this apartment, it’s where my er- old friend is staying at.

Kate: You have friends?

Ryder: Something like that.

Kate: Go on.

Ryder: Well, that’s just it. She’s having some trouble and she asked me to help her with it so I found this sample at her place, y’know. I was just wondering if you know anything about it. Anything that can help.

Kate looks at him for a moment before pinching the bridge of her nose with her hand.

Ryder: W-What? What is it?

Kate lowers her hand with a heavy sigh and looks back at Ryder.

Kate: I thought you said you were going to be honest with me.

Ryder: (scoffs) I am.

Kate: No, you’re not. This is just a problem you have, it’s a problem you have to solve. I work in the news, Ryder. I’m not a scientist or one of your contacts. I don’t know anything about substances.

Ryder: So, what do you want me to say?

Kate: ...Tell me how you really feel. Otherwise, I’ll head inside and we will not talk again.

Ryder sighs and looks downwards for what feels like a long and aching moment but is actually brief. Ryder: I- (break) ...I want to help her, this woman. She’s been my friend since we were teenagers until- well- things got out of control. But I’m not like her or you or anyone else, I have this side to me. It wants what I want but I can’t have that anymore. But you already know that. (sigh) I guess, I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I’m in a place where nothing I do matters and the only people left to hurt are the ones close to me. So I tried, Kate, I tried to get away from it all but there’s something here- in this city- just telling me to stay, to do something. I just- I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what I should do anymore, Kate.

Kate: Sometimes the isolation works but someone like you needs someone to keep you in check. And I’m not just saying that because of your dark side. I’m saying this because I’ve seen the side of you that cares about something other than a mission. Instead of turning your back on her, maybe you should let her be that someone. Someone to care for you, to care about you. Maybe then you’ll know what you want to do, but not the part of you determined to end some unfinished business but the part of you that cared. Not everyone gets someone like that. Sometimes it’s the ones you trust the most that are the one that don’t always have your back. Especially when you need them the most...

Ryder, enlightened: The ones you trust… That’s it. That’s it! Kate, thank you!

Ryder pushes off against the door and rushes back Kate, towards the stairs.

Kate, surprised: Uh- yeah, sure.

Ryder: I have to go, but I appreciate the help. It was really- something. You’re the best Kate!

Ryder runs down the stairs and out of view, as Kate watches.

Kate: (sigh) Now where have I heard that before? This is like the alleyway all over again.

As Kate turns to enter her apartment, the scene transitions to the police precinct as Ryder is seen hiding behind a parked car. He looks up from behind the car and observes the entrance to the precinct. Alec is then seen leaving the precinct, exchanging some barely heard dialogue to a couple of cops who enter in after him. Alec then looks behind him as the officers enter the building. He turns his head back as he walks over to his cruiser. Ryder continues watching from the car as an ominous black car pulls up besides the cruiser. Alec takes another look around before approaching the car. Ryder then observes that a man, who looks to be in his late-40's to 50's, steps out of the car and shakes hands with Alec. The man is wearing a black outfit with sunglasses.

Alec: Let's get out of here. It’s not a safe place to be in the open.

Man: Agreed.

Alec and the man get into the car, with Ryder walking closer discreetly, taking a photo of the car with his camera, before it drives off.

Ryder: This guy… you can hide all you want. But, I’m out for the truth.

Ryder runs to a street in a hurry and motions for a taxi. The taxi driver notices him, and drives up to where Ryder is. He simultaneously enters the taxi, and pulls out five dollars. The driver takes the money, and puts it in his pocket before turning around to look at Ryder again.

Taxi Driver: So where ‘ya headed?

Ryder: I’ll let you know when we get there, just start driving.

Taxi Driver: Uh… sure.

The taxi driver starts driving, while Ryder pulls out his camera and checks a picture of the license plate that he had taken on its screen.

Ryder: Make a left here.

The taxi turns left at a street, following behind the black car.

Taxi Driver: We’re following this car?

Ryder: Right, but don’t let them know that I’m on to them.

Taxi Driver: I don’t get paid enough for this.

The taxi is then seen arriving close to an abandoned-looking warehouse with a faded logo on the side of it. The two men are then seen exiting the black car and standing in front of the warehouse before entering in through a large sliding door.

Taxi Driver: Yo man, should we even be here?

Ryder slips the driver more dollar bills.

Ryder: That answer your question?

Taxi Driver: Whatever, it’s your funeral.

Ryder: You know what this place is?

Taxi Driver: Just some old warehouse I guess. I think they used this ship stuff outta here some time back but that was before my days as a taxi driver, y’know?

Ryder: Yeah, I hear ya. Go on, get out of here. I don’t want you getting mixed up in this crap, you hear?

Taxi Driver: Why? What are you gonna do?

Ryder: Probably something stupid.

Ryder closes the door and the taxi drives off quickly, leaving him behind. He looks out at the warehouse in the distance for a while until he forms shaking grasp with his hand and starts to take steps towards it. Inside the warehouse, there are a couple of armed men in tank tops and loose shirts standing by while both Alec and the man pass through. Ryder is then seen sneaking in the back, taking cover behind some old machinery. He peeks around the corner to see the two of them standing close to the center of the room.

Alec: Alright, I didn’t come here to stand here. You said you had something for me this time, Leeds. I can’t keep sneaking out like this.

Leeds: I got it, don’t worry.

Alec: And where’s your boss? I don’t like being stood up.

Leeds: He’ll be here. Just wait and we’ll get it for you. (to one of the armed men) Go get the stuff.

Armed Man: You got it.

He heads over to the side and retrieves a crate, although he’s having trouble carrying it over. The another armed man goes over and helps bring the crate to Alec and Leeds. Ryder watches closely from his hiding spot. The armed men drop the crate before them, a small cloud of dust emanating from the ground upon the crate’s impact. Leeds reaches into the crate and removes a packet of a green substance mixed with something else.

Alec: This what I think it is?

Leeds: You know it. Top of the shelf transfusion drugs. This stuff was developed by people whose brains are bigger than both you and I combined. It’s better than heroin, man.

Alec: I had a sample before. It didn’t work.

Leeds: That was the test product, this- this is the real deal stuff. You take this, you hit the Mutant lottery, my friend. This stuff grants you abilities that you can only dream about having or you can take the low-dosage stuff and feels the effects without any the powers.

Alec: Now why would I want that?

Voice: What’s the matter, Officer Jordan? Afraid of getting your hands really dirty?

Alec: I ain’t afraid of nothing. Besides, I didn’t think you’d show up, Kane.

Max, stepping from the darkness: Please, call me Max.

Ryder’s eyes widen as he grips the edge of the machinery tighter.

Ryder, anger in his voice: Kane.

Max: What’s this I hear about you wanting some of my merchandise?

Alec: World’s a tough place, Max. Sometimes you need a little edge to leave your mark behind.

Max: I like the way you think. You know why I love guns? Because they’re reliable if you treat them right. No matter what they all have the same role: take the bullet, fire the bullet, that’s all there is to it. The simplicity yet complexity of a gun is a thing of beauty, my friend. These men here, they’re like my guns. They have a purpose and they follow it. I’ve got no room for jam ups.

Alec: Hey, I pulled off your deliveries. No one expects a cop to be making runs.

Max: Sure, but we got other cops under our thumb. I’ll cut you some slack, you’ve been doing good work but I feel like you’re forgetting who’s in charge here.

Alec: Well, you’re right. I’ve been hearing rumors from some buddies of my in the station. Talk about someone else running this place.

Max: (scoff) You trying to pull my leg here? I know you ain’t got nothing on us. That’s how good we are.

Alec: Everything has a weakest link. All I gotta do is find it.

Max: Don’t question me. I run this part of the operations and it’s been running for a while now, no problems. Now you’re telling me a shipment went bad and you want what?

Alec: Compensation. Not only do I want additional pay but some of the merchandise for my own use.

Max: This stuff ain’t cheap.

Alec: Neither is having an officer on your side.

Max laughs.

Max: Alright, I’ll give you what you want but you better get me what I deserve, you hear me?

Alec: Loud and clear.

Ryder silently walks around the corner, as some men with guns survey the area.

Ryder: I need to be quiet, maybe I’ll manage to take them down without them knowing.

Ryder sneaks behind one of the hired men, and wraps his arms around his neck which knocks him out. Another guard notices that one of his comrades was subdued, and knocked out. He tries to signal Max and the other guards about what happened. All of a sudden, Ryder manages to take him down by choking him out as the guard falls to the floor. He then drags the body behind a piece of machinery and makes his way over to another crate. He then peaks inside of the crate, getting a better look at the drugs stashed inside.

Ryder, quietly to himself: This is intense…

A gunman patrolling the area then enters the view and spots Ryder, peeking into the crate.

Gunman: Intruder!

He lines up his gun and fires at the crate, just barely missing Ryder as he leaps out of the way and into the open. Max turns his head and sees Ryder, getting up onto his feet.

Leeds: Careful with the merchandise!

Max: Forget the merchandise for a sec. It seems we have some company. A tail, perhaps?

Alec: Nobody tails me! (looks at Ryder) ...Hang on, I know him.

Ryder: You don’t know me at all.

Alec: Well, well, well. Look what we’ve got here. Kelly’s boyfriend. I told you to drop this thing while you still had the chance.

Ryder: I should have seen this coming a mile away. Your long hours at the precinct? They were just an alibi for your late-night drug runs. And the substance I found at the apartment… that was from the drugs you were carrying with you. Something must have gone wrong and you decided to dump it somewhere no one would consider looking- your partner’s apartment. That explains the monster she’s been describing, it wasn’t a Mutant at all but a hallucination caused by the drug’s possible side-effects.

Alec: You think you’re so smart. Alright, so that’s how it went down but there’s no evidence pointing this to me. I made sure of that.

Ryder: You used her! She’s wasn’t your partner at all, was she? Just someone to test your drugs on.

Alec: If she’s such a big deal to you than heck- you can have her, I don’t give a crap about her anyways.

Ryder: She cares about you!

Alec: I know. That’s what made it so easy.

Max: Looks like someone knows too much. I don’t know who I should shoot first. (looks at Ryder) The one with all the answers (turns to Alec) or the one who’s been giving them away.

Alec: I never sold you out.

Max: Then how’d he know about this? Some random piece of crap on the street couldn’t figure this operation out on his own.

Alec: I heard he used to be some type of investigator or something. I tried leading him away from this.

Max: Investigator?

Max turns to Ryder who looks at him with such contempt.

Max: I know you. You’re-

Ryder: That’s right.

Alec: What? Who is he?

Max: He’s a dead man walking, that’s for sure. I’ve been meaning to get another chance at killing you, Ryder. And I won’t even need help this time. I can take you on all by myself.

Ryder: You’d like that, wouldn’t you?

Max: You know what I can do. I’m the best marksman this city’s ever seen. Master of the gun. A bullet can travel up to 2,500 feet per second and considering the fact that we’re facing each other, I doubt you’ll be able to dodge what I’m about be firing.

Ryder: I’ve done it before, Kane. I can do it again.

Max: Not this time, Ryder.

Max reaches for his gun. Ryder reaches into his own jacket as Kane does so. Max then pulls out two of his guns from his holster and fires a couple of rounds at Ryder who flings one of the drug packets before him. The bullets impact with the drug, penetrating through its plastic sack and spread of green gas-like cloud into the air while the remaining bullets pass through the cloud. Ryder flips over some old piece of machinery as the bullets whizz around him, hitting the machinery he soon takes cover behind. Max then lowers his arms and steps away as the gas cloud starts to expand. Some gunmen standing in the same area as the gas cloud start to get seizures and drop to the floor, paralyzed. Alec steps back as well, drawing his weapon and keeping to back of the warehouse. Kane surveys the area but the gas makes it hard to see any of his surroundings.

Max: Come on out! You can’t hide from me, Ryder. I’m gonna enjoy putting a bullet through that thick skull of yours.

Ryder: Oh yeah? I’d like to see you try.

Max walks around the middle of the warehouse, loading up his gun for another shot. He begins to smile, and then he immediately starts firing a bunch of rounds at various boxes.

Max: Come on out!

Ryder ducks behind another box, he then runs across the room when Max shoots more bullets at Ryder. He simultaneously hides between the next set of boxes , as he peeks around the corner.

Ryder: You’re crazy, man! You’ve seen what I can do, yet you still try to provoke me. It’s your funeral.

Max: Shut up, you mutt.

Ryder: That’s very funny.

Max: I’ve been waiting to try out this specialized gun. It’s made from the remains of the ships that dropped out of the sky, at least that’s what the dealers told me. I knew I just had to have it. That much power deserves to be in my hands.

While Max rants on, Ryder looks down by his feet and notices the gun of a fallen gunman that he had knocked out earlier. He then reaches for it and takes it in his hands. Max looks around, the gas still making the surroundings hard to see. A clanking noise is then heard from the side, causing Max to turn his head. He then turns his head quickly back, raising his specialized gun before him and sees Ryder pointing the gun at him. The two stand there, facing each other, with guns pointed at each other.

Max:  Well, looks like we’ve got a standoff.

Ryder is silent, getting a better grip on his gun as he locks eyes with Max.

Max: Do you even know how to use a gun?

Ryder cocks the gun in one smooth motion.

Max, impressed: Alright then. But you seem to forget that I’m the better marksman.

Alec, stepping forwards, gun raised: And that he isn’t alone.

Ryder’s eyes shift to Alec then back to Max.

Max: Why are you even fighting? You have nothing left. Nothing to fight for, nothing to live for. Just give him the gun and I’ll make sure you get what you deserve. You won’t even feel it.

Ryder continues looking at him, then looks at Alec, who still has his own gun trained on him. Ryder looks down at the ground for a moment.

Ryder: No.

Max: What was that?

Ryder: I said no.

He looks back at Kane.

Ryder: I want to feel it. I want to feel everything.

Max, getting eager: Yes… Yes! You feel. I can shoot a bullet into any conceivable part of your body and you’ll still be alive long enough to watch yourself bleed out. All you gotta do is give him the gun. Give him the gun and I’ll make these last moments of your life, the most painful ones.

Ryder continues looking at him before lifting up the gun and surrendering it over to Alec. He reaches out and takes the gun from Ryder who stands there, defenseless.

Ryder, looks over at Max: You can try.

Max: On your knees.

Ryder just stands there, looking at him.

Max: I said, on your knees!

Max shoots him in the leg with a regular pistol, causing Ryder to drop down to the floor with a yell. He then readies the specialized gun and points it at the back of Ryder’s head as he looks down at his leg in pain.

Max: I’m going to enjoy ending you, Ryder. Now the rest of them are going to know who they should really be looking up to. Me! The man that killed you. ME!

Ryder: Just do it.

Max: Oh, I will. You want me to? You want me to put a bullet in your head, is that it?!

Ryder: Just do it already!

Max: I’m going to end you once and for all!

Ryder: DO IT!

Max: AHH!

Max prepares to fire the gun but before he can, a bullet pierces his head, splattering blood from the other side of his head. He then drops to the ground, a puddle of blood forming on the floor besides his now dead body. Ryder then looks up slowly and sees the smoking end of the gun that Ryder had given Alec. The view then pans back, showing Alec holding the very same gun. A firm look on his face.

Alec: Guess he won’t be telling me what to do from now on.

Ryder: ...You saved me?

Alec: I didn’t. I just didn’t want him to have the pleasure of ending you.

Ryder: Wow… you have no soul. I was rooting on you to make a wise choice, but now I’m not holding back.

Alec scoffs with a smirk on his face as he watches Ryder. He then tosses the gunman’s gun away and walks over to Max’s body. He looks at it for a moment before kicking it.

Alec: Killed by the things he loves so much. What’s that poetic irony or something like that?

Ryder doesn’t respond to him. Alec then looks down at the body again and reaches down, picking up an untampered drug sack close by. He gets up, looking at the drug.

Alec: You know he hates mutants, right? Max Kane, best gunman but just couldn’t help but be sickened by the sight of those things. Who can blame him? One moment you have monstrous creatures roaming the street, the next they’re invading the city or something like that. Now they’re in this little sack here. (shakes drug in front of Ryder) With this piece of shit out of the picture, I can finally act on my own ideas. I was thinking of doing something like this, an operation, maybe some sorta club; you get high, you get powers, and I get paid. But having someone like Max in the way, would’ve been bad for business. Suppose I just took this needle and jammed it in my arm? And I woke up with some freaky Mutant powers or something? He would have turned on me more sooner than later.

Ryder: Go to hell.

Alec: You know, I was just like you once. I had this conflict in me between what I wanted and I had needed to do. I wanted to help people as a cop but I needed more wealth, fame, power. Being a cop just didn’t… satisfy my appetite, y’know? So I did what I needed to do, so many times over.

Ryder: So you used people… to get what you want?

Alec: Using people was just the tip of the iceberg, buddy. I needed to do unspeakable things in order to get wealth, fame and power and taking over this drug selling business is going to give me those things. And the only thing standing in my way, is one very annoying witness. (cocks gun) Now I could just shoot you, wipe the gun and the whole place of any prints. I mean, I’ve done it before. But what about Kelly?

Ryder: Keep her out of this.

Alec: Just hear me out. Kelly likes you, right? You’ve known her longer than me, after all. You’ve been talking and seeing each other and maybe she’ll even go to your place and spend the night. Well, she’ll probably just ask about you and when they find your body here all shot up by honorable Officer Jordan due to self defense, she’s going to realize something’s up.

Ryder: Why do you care? You only used her.

Alec: True, but she does have her other uses.

Ryder tries grabbing Alec but he moves out of the way, cracking a laugh as he readies the drug.

Alec: Now, if- let’s say- a Mutant killed you, no one would care. Half of the city wants them gone and you’re just another dead-beat has been whose been killed by some Mutant that no one will ever find anyways. Kelly won’t have any leads and eventually she’ll just lose interest in you. And then in a, let’s see… few weeks, maybe, I’ll lose interest in her. After all, think of all the action I’ll get with all this power.

Ryder: Alec, don’t! You don’t know what could happen to you.

Alec: Leeds, did say this was like some Mutant lottery. Heh, good thing I already know I’ve got luck on my side.

Alec then stabs the needle and pumps the drug into his system. He then drops to his knees and yells out as his body starts to change.

His muscles become bigger, with his bones cracking and shifting into different positions as it starts shredding parts of his police outfit away.

Ryder: Alec!

His yells then turn into distorted roars as his transformation starts to settle. He then gets up from the floor as a muscular, mutated version of himself.

Ryder: Alec?

Alec turns his head to Ryder, who tries getting up from the floor as well, although his leg does not make it easy for him. Alec looks at his arms as if he’s checking himself out. He then notices Ryder trying to get up and forms a fist before striking him hard. Ryder’s body then goes flying across the warehouse, as he crashes into some machinery. He grunts out in pain as he drops to the floor. A roar then heard from the distance along with the sounds of heavy footsteps stomping against the floor. Ryder turns his head as he tries getting up once again, pushing himself up from the floor but, before he can, Alec’s big, beefy hand grabs Ryder by the back of his head and lifts him up, tossing him into the ceiling. Ryder then falls back down with Alec grabbing him before he hits the ground and slamming him into the ground with a hard swing. Ryder coughs out some blood as he tries to crawl away but Alec grabs his leg and flings him ahead of him and through a window. From the outside, in the dark of the night, the black car from earlier can be seen parked in front of the warehouse. The moment is silent for a few seconds before glass shards and a body drop down onto the car, one falling harder than the other. A car alarm then rings out from the now dented black car. Ryder lays against the car for a moment, his body appears practically lifeless until a soft groan can be heard leaving him. He raises his head with some difficulty and pain, glass shifting as it falls off from his body as he continues to pull himself off from the car. Ryder then manages to push off from the car but winds up on the ground, laying there. His face is bruised and bleeding while his clothes are wrinkled and slightly torn in some areas. Ryder struggles to even move as a high pitched noise is heard ringing through his ears. He reaches his arm out to try and crawl away but his arm starts to drop to the ground and his eyes start to close, while the noise seems to nullify all sounds. Silence and darkness is all that be can seen and heard for a moment. Then, a vision of Kelly flashes through the dark. Then again, and then once more, with her voice echoing through the dark.

Vision of Kelly, faintly: Ryder…

With a jolt, Ryder gasps for air, his eyes widened as he sits upright. He then looks around, slightly confused before looking down at his hands, noticing the wounds on them starting to heal slowly. He then breaths in with acknowledgement then looks ahead of him when the sounds of metal moving can be heard. He then steadily gets up from the ground as the door to the warehouse slides open forcefully by Alec, still in his mutated form. He then stomps ahead, slowly approaching the still wounded Ryder.

Alec, forcefully forming words: You want some more, do ya?

Ryder: (spits blood) You call that a beating?

Alec: Who do you think you are, anyways? It’s like he said- you’re nothing, you’ve got nothing left to live for. So why not just die already?!

Ryder: I am Ryder. Although, you probably never heard of me since I’m a- what was it you said- a dead-beat has been? Kane knew who I was and you know why he didn’t just shoot me right off the bat? It’s because he was afraid, he knew who- what I really was, and you should be afraid too.

Alec takes a step back. Ryder grunts then starts to approach him.

Ryder: You know, I met a guy once. A real noble guy, bit of a stiff though. Anyways, he tells me- practically begs me- to promise him to ease up on taking lives, to do things his way and to be the better person. So I took up that promise and I tried… so hard to stay by it. And it was hard. It really was. After all, it’s all I ever really knew. So here I am, without a purpose, without anything left to live for, without anything left to fight for- until she shows up. The one pure thing in my life… and you planned on ruining hers. You did wrong by her, Alec, and now punishment must be inflicted. (sigh) I guess what I’m trying to say is… I’m really bad at keeping promises.

Ryder’s head then jerks to the side as he starts to undergo a transformation, himself. His muscles start to build up and increase in mass while his veins become more exposed and thicker. His hair grows longer than before and his face elongates into a canine-like shape. His torn clothing begins to wrap around him and morph into a black and white uniform. Before Alec stands a wolf-like Mutant creature- with dark grey skin, small spikes protruding from its face and a long, thick black mane resting on its back- where Ryder used to be standing. The mutated Alec stands back in surprise.

Alec: What- What are you?

The mutant’s piercing white eyes squint as it growls in a low tone before pushing off from its hind legs and launching itself towards Alec. Alec reaches out and grabs the mutant as it pushes forwards with a boundless fury. The Mutant then slashes at Alec’s face with its razor-sharp claws, leaving behind a thick and deep wound. Alec roars out in pain and slams the mutant against the side of the warehouse. It drops to the ground and struggles to get up. Alec puts his hand on the back of the mutant’s head to grab it but the Mutant’s ears twitch slightly and it swings its head back quickly, biting him deeply in the arm. The Mutant unhinges from the bite and pounces onto Alec, slashing at him several times over on his torso. Alec then lays there weakly and reaches to crawl away. The Mutant stands over his body for a moment, watching him struggle to escape. Alec then lifts his head up as he reaches for the door to the warehouse but the mutant wolf places its hand on his head, lifting his head up slightly higher and uses its other one to slice his throat open with his extended claw. Blood pours out from the mutated man’s throat as the mutant pushes his head back down onto the ground. Alec’s mutated body then remains there in a pool of blood, lifeless with several slashes on it. The mutant stands there, watching the body then proceeds to raise its own head up and howl as the view moves upwards until it shows a full moon. The moon then transitions into a sun, indicating a new day. The view then lowers from the sun to the street level where several apartments are seen. Kelly is then seen approaching one of the complexes in particular.

 
Ryder's Apartment
December 7, 15:00 EDT

She stops before the complex and looks off to the side. With some final thoughts and a sigh, she turns back and approaches. The scene cuts to a hallway where Ryder is seen sitting on the floor, leaning his back against a door. He looks half asleep yet half awake but becomes more alert and attentive when he hears footsteps approach. He turns his head and sees Kelly walking up. She stops upon seeing Ryder.

Kelly: ...Hey.

Ryder: Hey...

Kelly: I just came to check up on you. You just ran out that day and never came up like you said you would.

Ryder: I know, I’m- sorry about that. I discovered something uh- important.

Kelly: I’m guessing it’s about the case.

Ryder: It is. I think I solved it.

Kelly: Well, there’s some good news.

Ryder: How are you holding up?

Kelly: Not as great as I thought I would be. My partner, Alec, was found dead at an abandoned warehouse. It looked like there was some operation there and he went to bust it up alone. I guess that’s what all those long hours were for. (sigh) It was horrible, it was like a massacre there. They say a Mutant killed him. I know he must have said something about handling your case for me but I can’t help but feel like he’s dead because of me, you know? Like he went out of his way to help solve my problems and that’s what got him killed.

Ryder, getting up: Jess, it’s not your fault. You can’t blame yourself for the things that happened there.

Kelly: I just- I cared about him, Ryder. And now, he’s gone.

Ryder, comforting her: I know, I know. (sigh) I know… There are people in our lives that we care about, and sometimes things just happen and they’re gone. But we can’t just sit here, blaming ourselves. I know I can’t. Not anymore.

Kelly gets out of the embrace and looks at Ryder after wiping her tears away.

Kelly: (sniffle) So, what do we do?

Ryder: Well, I’ve been thinking about getting back into things. I liked helping you out and I know there are probably other people out there who need help just like you.

Kelly: I thought you said you had a job already.

Ryder: Oh I quit that this morning. Turns out I had the money I needed to cover my debt all along. Guess I finally felt like turning it in after all this time.

Kelly: Well, at least you know what you’re doing.

Ryder: Yeah. Just, the thing is… I just- I don’t know if I can do this alone, Jess.

Kelly: You’re not alone. You were there for me, it only makes sense for me to be there for you.

Ryder: What about your job and your life?

Kelly: I’ll still have that stuff, Ryder. It’s not like we’re getting married or something. I’ll still be able to be a police officer and your friend, especially since I’m still kinda on sick leave.

Ryder: Thanks, Jess. I appreciate it.

Kelly: So, when do we start?

Ryder smirks as he pushes the door he had been leaning on open with one hand. Kelly then turns his head and looks inside, slightly amazed.

Ryder: How about now?

Inside the apartment, there’s a big, wooden desk centered in the back, a board with several notes and newspaper clippings set up with red string connecting them, a couch based on the left side of the room with several filing cabinets behind it, two chairs in front of the desk, an exotic-looking carpet on the floor and a couple of windows behind the desk with flimsy blinds barely covering it. The lights are now functional and there are several papers and books scattered there but, in an organized mess-sort of way. The entire room gives off a sense of warmth, history and mystery.

Ryder: Jessica Kelly, welcome to Ryder Investigations.

Credits

After the credits, the scene continues in a dark room. The tall, muscular man in the white suit emerges from the shadows, stepping into the only lit area.

Man: As many of you already know, Kane is dead. I know some of you would express sorrow for your fellow member while the rest would find glee knowing he is no longer breathing. Nevertheless, we all have one single focus to be concerned about: the operation that Kane had been in charge of has been compromised and while some of our officers on the payroll are attempting to change the narrative, there is someone else that stands before us. While I have my suspicions, we can’t let this one person stop us from doing what we were formed to do. We shouldn’t retreat in fear of this person, they and the rest of this city should fear us! After all, we are The Cabal.

The view then shows a league of six other people standing together under the lit area, facing the man with eager and concentrated looks. The man watches each of them then smiles.

Noteworthy Events

Major Events

  • Ryder becomes an investigator again after a long-while depression
  • Kelly joins Ryder to help him solve cases and get back into the investigation business
  • The Cabal become aware of outside interference and decide to step up their game

Minor Events

  • Raggy leaves a case ready on Ryder's desk
  • Kelly suffered traumatic hallucinations as a side effect from the transfusion drug
  • Ryder quit his job at Big City BBQ
  • Kelly was upset about Alec's death and felt responsible

Characters

  • Ryder (First Appearance)
  • Jessica Kelly (First Appearance)
  • Raggy (First Appearance)
  • Kate Wilson (First Appearance)
  • NYPD Police Commissioner (First Appearance)
  • The Big City BBQ Boss (First Appearance)
  • The Big City BBQ Employee (First Appearance)
  • Janet (First Appearance)
  • Elderly Woman (First Appearance)
  • Rowdy Neighbors (First Appearance)
  • Citizens

Villains

  • The Cabal (First Appearance)
    • Max Kane (First Appearance) (Deceased)
  • Officer Alec Jordan (First Appearance) (Deceased)
  • Leeds (First Appearance) (Unknown)
  • Kane's Gunmen (First Appearance) (Deceased)

Allusions

  • There were quite a few references and callbacks to previous episodes of Mutant Drake including Reborn, Beware the Ryder, The Invasion Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Kelly and Jordan's cruiser number is TAB42. This is a reference to the writer, Bat24.
  • Kelly's question towards the end of the episode, "Well, when do we start?" is an allusion towards Drake's question to Kate towards the end of A Rainy Day.

Trivia

  • This is the first episode of the series.
  • Due to some technical difficulties, layout and formatting issues, the episode was delayed from its initial release on December 16th with an incomplete version being posted on Christmas Day. The full episode was then later released on January 14th of the next year.
  • There were several different possibilities for how this episode could have been played out. One of them was to either have Alec kill Kane and take the drug himself, like what originally happened, or have Kane (or another member of the Cabal) kill Alec and take the drug. While it didn't seem to affect the story at the time, the difference between the two could actually become important later on.
  • Ryder, Kelly, Kate and the Police Commissioner make their debuts on the show after appearing in Mutant Drake.
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