(Scene begins out in the middle of a large canyon. We are rejoined with Innes as he approaches this unknown base.)
Innes: This place is huge. I bet it’s got an arcade or some-
(sniper shot rings off by Innes’ foot)
Innes: Son of a bitch!
(unknown voices coming from the base begin shouting out at Innes)
Voice #1: Stay right where you are!
Voice #2: Is it my turn to crack a skull?
Voice #3: If we crack his skull, we’d let the kindness out!
Voice #1: Will you both shut up!?
Innes: Uh, I don’t mean any harm! In fact, I’m just a lowly traveler on the road to redemption. On a highway out of yesterday-
Voice #2: That’s a Rush song, I’m not buying it!
Innes: Is it? Wow, not my cup of tea then…
(another sniper round pings off the ground by Innes’ foot)
Innes: Jesus! Would you stop? I come in peace.
Voice #3: Well if you come in peace, then why don’t you put down your weapon, HUH?
Innes: I-uh…can you do that? I don’t know how to do that.
(sniper round flies past Innes’ head)
Innes: Alright! Alright, I’ll surrender.
Voice #1: That’s more like it. Now wait there and my associates will come and pick you up.
Innes: (to self) Innes, what have you gotten yourself into this time?
(a brown and yellow soldier approach Innes from the base. Both draw their rifles and hold them up to Innes’ head)
Duncan: What’s your name?
Innes: Innes, man. Ephraim Innes Frelia.
Digit: Kind of a stupid name, salty. I like Jack, can I call you Jack?
Innes: No, I like Innes, thank you very much-
(Digit whacks Innes with gun)
Innes: Hey! What the hell-
(Duncan turns to Digit)
Duncan: Digit man! Cool the fuck off, we’re not playing good cop, bad cop here.
Digit: Sorry Duncan, got a little carried away. (turns to Innes) You know how it is, right?
Innes: No, not really? Have you ever been whipped in the head with a rifle?
Digit: Uhhhhh….no I can’t say that I have. Although, there was this one time at summer camp that my best friend hit me in the head with an oar while we were kayaking. I still don’t remember how the oar got that close to my head….hell; I don’t even remember why we were kayaking…
Innes: Could it have been because you were at summer camp?
Digit: Oh yeah, that makes sense!
Duncan: I apologize right now for anything Digit says. We strike more fear into people when we’re perched up in the crow’s nest.
Innes: I guess they’re letting anyone join the war these days.
Digit: Yeah, the multiple choice test was easy.
Duncan: There was no multiple choice test…
Digit: Oh, I wonder why I had to black out all those circles then…
Innes: Can you just capture me already? And put me somewhere dark, and gloomy, and perhaps away from this kid?
Duncan: I’m sure we can find something.
(Cut to the city of Trisantos: Population 7,351. The streets are bustling with soldiers, jeeps and hovercars riding past as the holographic projections of a streetlight that signals when to go, stop and slow down. McCloud flies into the airspace, landing his Falcon aircraft on an empty helipad, before exiting the vehicle)
(McCloud unequips his weapons, holstering them magnetically to the back of his armor. He passes a large yellow sign which informs him he is entering the city of Trisantos, and that all weaponry must be holstered when on the main streets)
(He begins walking up the street a few feet, and ends up in front of Ripley’s Café, a popular establishment, with twelve locations located in the Dwever Capital as a whole, and three of those locations exist in Trisantos.)
(McCloud walks through the door, as he sees a large line-up, and people sitting bundled up at various tables. This is an oxygen zone, as many restaurants and cafes have been able to create by putting an oxygen veil over the building. That is why with the café, a thin blue veil can be seen in the doorways and windows.)
(McCloud removes his helmet upon entrance, revealing himself to be Caucasian, with thin brown hair and thick black framed glasses. He looks around the café, and sees the person he is meeting, Miriam “Ruby” Mendez, sitting in the corner of the café at a two-seater table. She is half-Hispanic, half Caucasian, with blue eyes and shoulder length black hair. She has a single eyebrow piercing above her left eye. McCloud approaches her.)
McCloud: Hello Ruby.
Ruby: Well, well, if it isn’t Agent Ralph McCloud in the flesh.
(She stands up and hugs him)
McCloud: I go by McCloud now, never really liked my full name.
Ruby: And I go by Ruby, so I guess we have one thing in common. Please, sit.
(McCloud takes a seat across from Ruby, who is enjoying a tall low-fat macchiato with a hint of cinnamon.)
Ruby: I wasn’t sure what you drink, so I got you a small coffee, and then there are a few packets of milk, sweetener, the works.
McCloud: That’s fine, thank you.
Ruby: I bet you’re wondering why I called you all the way out here.
McCloud: The thought crossed my mind when I heard your voice, but I figured you just missed my pretty face.
Ruby: Don’t kid yourself, McCloud. How’s your new squad?
McCloud: Eh well, I’m leading a team of idiots. But I’ve got a couple of capable soldiers, and some let’s just say; not so capable.
Ruby: Same. Squadron 1268 is a bit of a mixed bag.
McCloud: Things have changed a lot since the two of us were in the field.
Ruby: I miss it sometimes. The armies were much smaller, tighter. I don’t understand the need for eight soldiers to a squad. That’s a lot of legwork for us. I feel like a university professor who isn’t giving enough attention to the ones who fall behind.
McCloud: Oh I just shelf them. If they don’t want to stand up and fight for their planet, what’s the point?
Ruby: Sounds like you took a page from Commander Hill’s book of soldier etiquette.
McCloud: I think we’re getting a little far off topic, Mendez. What’s the real reason you called me here? I don’t think it was just to catch up on our old base days…
Ruby: You’re right. You remember Gordon Grady?
McCloud: How could I not? We smoked the bastard on our last flight to New Alexandria.
Ruby: Are you sure?
McCloud: Absolutely. Our team confirmed his death.
Ruby: And we sent in our team to extract his body following your mission, but instead we found three dead soldiers, but no Grady.
McCloud: I-I don’t understand.
Ruby: Either somebody came and snatched Grady up before we landed in town, or your team didn’t do their jobs properly.
McCloud; I don’t think you have the authority to grade my team’s work ethic, Ruby.
Ruby: I didn’t mean to come across as condescending, but you have to realize that when it comes to Gordon Grady, you have to be incredibly thorough.
(McCloud sits back, ponders in thought)
McCloud: Where was Grady stationed after our squad was shuffled?
Ruby: I don’t know. Why does that matter?
McCloud: Grady was clever, one of the best and brightest of our squad back in the day. He was also a tinkerer, always modifying vehicles, weapons, armor enhancements…
Ruby: What was the armor enhancement he was assigned with?
McCloud: The hologram, I think. Wait…oh crap.
(Scene flashes back to six months ago)
(In a flashback to the first scene of Episode 1 of Squadron 1337, Grady is seen running back down the staircase to the underpart of New Alexandria)
(He is stopped by Higgins’ hologram, which runs at him. Grady shoots the hologram, which disappears. The camera pans left to show Higgins actually standing behind Grady.)
Higgins: Boy this is not your day.
(Higgins smacks Grady, as Grady falls onto his back, seemingly dead.)
(Higgins makes the call to his squad on the radio)
Higgins: Grady’s down, my friends. It’s time to head home.
Johnson: (on radio) HOOOO-RAH!
Rose: Great job, Higgins.
Higgins: Now I hope we get those tea and cookies!
(Higgins runs back up the stairs to meet with his team. The camera pans across to show Grady’s body begin to flicker from static, and eventually disappear.)
(The camera tilts up, as the real Gordon Grady reveals himself from behind the wall.)
(A nameless foot soldier approaches Grady from behind.)
Soldier: The pelican’s packed and ready to go.
Grady: Good job.
(Soldier runs off)
Grady: You think you’ve won this fight, McCloud, well you haven’t seen the last of me.
End of Episode 8