Ace Wonder: Message from a Dead Man (2014) Script

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(THUNDER ROLLING)

James Morton will not be forgotten. He will forever be remembered... as a friend, a father and a faithful follower of his Lord.

May he rest in peace.

How are you, Jim?

Me? Fine.

And the rest of the family?

Well, they're good. Derek's the only one taking it hard.

He spent his summer with Dad a few years ago... and he wanted to come back, it just didn't work out.

It's probably for the best.

Your father was a troubled man, Jim.

I was one of his closest friends, and more and more he pulled away.

Just wasn't his old self. Yeah.


(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

( PHONE RINGING)


There's a lot of rooms in this house.

Wandered around today looking at them.

I kind of like living out in the country.

It's nice. Way better than all those honking cars.

(THUNDER CRASHING)

You didn't answer my calls.

Service is terrible out there.

Where were you?

The tree house.

You know, you've probably ruined your clothes.

Why were you at the tree house?

I was looking for something.

Looking? For what?

I'm not sure.

I found this at the funeral. In Grandpa's casket.

(THUNDER ROLLING)

It's nothing. Probably a prank.

What?

I said, it's probably a prank, forget about it.

What if Grandpa's trying to tell me something?

He's not.

May I be excused?

Yes.

Look, I know this week's been hard on all of us... but in a few days, we can put this completely behind us.

I'm gonna be meeting with Marcus tomorrow about the house and I'd like you to come along.

(OMINOUS MUSIC PLAYING)

(THUNDER CRASHING)

GATOR MOORE (V.O.): Still raining, still a thousand unanswered questions... and now a cloaked figure haunted the night.

A perfect recipe for mystery and danger.

But it was still missing one key ingredient: a world class investigator.

(THEME MUSIC PLAYING)


(SIGHS)

Log... this latest format isn't working out, either.

This makes my fourth attempt with no satisfactory results.

Road trips are a blast, I'll admit... but it's not conducive to detective work.

No gun fire, no car chases, not even your run-of-the-mill homicide.

Dad, I need some help.

Okay, what's up?

It's my graphic novel.

Graphic novel?

A glorified comic book.

Ace Wonder isn't really a crime fighter.

He solves mysteries, sort of like Sherlock Holmes.

Okay, so where are you stuck?

At the beginning... I can't seem to come up with a truly brilliant mystery.

Everything is either boring or over-the-top.

Well, you keep on thinking, you'll come up with something.

That's what you said 800 miles ago.

Yeah, and it's still good advice.

Um, hey, guys, none of this looks familiar to me.

Um, where are we?

JEFF (O.S.): GPS says we're on course... but we need to stop and get some fuel soon.

Jim, are you sure you want to sell the place?

Marcus, Denver's 1,000 miles away from here; my business eats up every minute of my time.

I suppose.

Look, I'll have a realtor take a look at it for you.

It's a gorgeous piece of property. I'm sure it'll sell.

In this economy? I don't know who'd buy it.

Bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere?

Jim, how about selling the place to me?

You serious?

We'd keep the place exactly the way it is.

You could come back whenever you're ready and go through your father's things.

I don't know.

What do you mean, you don't know?

You could stay there any time you want.

It'd be ideal.

And for me, it'd be an investment.

Oh, hey, you want us to order something for you?

Yeah, yeah, why don't you get me a cheeseburger.

Cheeseburger, okay. Uh-huh.

And uh, get me an order of those curly fries, if they have them.

Okay. Thank you.

I'll think it over. Thanks.

I think your dad would have liked it this way.

Howdy, folks. Get y'all something to drink before you order?

Mr. DeWitt, how well did you know Grandpa?

I guess I knew him about as well as anybody could.

Why?

Maybe you can help me.

On the day of the funeral, I found this.

Grandpa used to set up treasure hunts all the time.

Well, this is the kind of thing he would do.

He always thought of himself as mysterious.

Derek, your granddad was a good man.

He was, but he wasn't always stable.

I don't believe that.

I don't know what was meant by that note... but I think it's just as well it was written in code.

Keep in touch, Jim.

And let me know what you decide.

Look, if that note wasn't important, Grandpa wouldn't have wanted me to have it.

Derek, drop it.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

Wait a second, what do you want to eat?

Oh, um, ooh, do they have those little curly fries?

No, they don't.

Oh, uh, whatever Jack's having will be fine.

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)


( ENGINE TURNING OVER)

(MUSIC CONTINUES)

Sir? Sir, I was wondering, my friend may have come--

Buzz off.

Certainly, I was just wondering, I'm looking for my friend, and if he came this way--

Hey! I said leave me alone.

Okay.

Log: Note that sleeping strangers don't prove to be very helpful.

Hey, kid, that's a nice toy you got there.

How about you give it to me and I'll tell you where your friend ran off to?

That's okay, I think I'll find him.

I don't think you understand.

You see, this is my home.

You walk here, you pay rent. Come here.

BUM (O.S.): All right, come here.

Let me see.

Looks nice.

I need that for my work.

Very fancy.

I order you in the name of justice. Give it back!

All right, that's enough.

Give it back.

Give what back?

I said, give it back!

Make me.

(DRAMATIC MUSIC FADES UP)

There you go.

Well, thanks.

Look out!

(MUSIC CONTINUES)

Dad, come here, quick!

(MUSIC CHANGES)

(SNICKERS)

Missed.

Are you all right?

What happened?

I-- I saw the whole thing and man, it was something.

Eddie-- Eddie's been needing someone to do that... to him for a long time.

What?

Well, Eddie got to picking on your boy, and could have messed him up.

Then this guy shows up and bam, bam, bam!

Just like that, it was all over.

Look, y'all eat up, meals are on me today.

That's very generous, thank you.

No, it's nothing, really.

If there's anything I can do for you guys, just let me know.

Well, you wouldn't happen to know a good mechanic, would you?

Hm.

Bobby John Dolan, the best and only mechanic in town.

You work on big rigs?

I do today.

Yeah, that could be bad.

I've seen this before but, only in a book... and it was a short book. Hmm...

This big red thing in here I believe is the engine...

Thank you... for helping me out.

No problem.

When you were in the restaurant, I overheard you talking about your grandfather... and the clues he'd left you.

I'd like to interview you and get some of the details of the story.

We don't have a lot of time, so, if you'd open it up right away, that'd be really helpful.

We'll be leaving in just a little bit... so I wouldn't worry about it too much, if I were you.

Why not?

Because you'd only have half the story.

How frustrating would that be?

Mm, it's very considerate of you.

Okay.

It's gonna take me all day to find a starter for this.

All night to put her in and probably a good part of tomorrow, too.

You folks are gonna need a place to stay.

You wouldn't happen to own the local motel, too, would you?

No, that's this guy over here.

He owns the local bed and breakfast down the road.

Perfect.

(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

JEFF (O.S.): Thanks again, Jim, for taking us in on such short notice.

JIM (O.S.): Yeah.. It's no problem.

What is a problem is the water heater is down.

I'll just have to get that fixed by tonight.

JEFF (O.S.): Could we give you a hand? We'd love to help.

JIM (O.S.): Yeah, sure, why not?

(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

Okay, guys, upstairs to the left, every room is available.

Follow me.

Just take your bags here for now.

We have three rooms available.

This one, and the other two down the hall... so go ahead and take your pick.

You still seem hesitant about my offer.

I really do think I could help.

You might consider my size to be a handicap... but I like to think of it as a good thing.

Sort of fly under the radar, so to speak.

I assure you, I'm as adept as any accredited professional.

Hey, they're coach broke down. They're gonna be spending the night here.

Bobby said he'd have it done first thing in the morning.

A little warning might have been nice.

Isn't that what this is?

We don't even have hot water.

So we'll give them a discount.

I've done a staggering amount of research on the topics of forensic investigation.

And I rarely use Wikipedia, unless I've taken the time to write the article myself.

Fine, knock yourself out.

Hey, guys, did Derek tell you about the tree house?

Tree house?

Yeah, it's pretty cool.

Mom, what are you doing?

Derek, the house is already clean, I just want to keep it that way.

Fine.

You owe me one.

This is awesome.

So, who built it?

It's one of Grandpa's projects.

Oh, the one who died?

So, when was it built?

We built most of it when I came to visit.

He added the roof, but otherwise, it's just like we left it.

Does he build a lot of stuff like this?

You name it, he built it.

Cabinetry, furniture, decorative art.

Half the house.

Never stopped.

Always onto something new.

Wait, he sounds like a really cool guy.

A man who, after his death, is still shrouded in mysteries.

He was not shrouded in mystery, okay?

He was just a normal guy, who lived a normal life... and made an awesome tree house.

I'm sick of everyone trying to turn him into some kind of--

Kook? Loony? Wacko, weirdo, madman, crazy guy, crackpot-

What is your problem?

I should clarify, I don't think he was crazy... and you obviously don't think he was crazy... but apparently some people do.

If anyone can set the record straight, it's you.

If you'll help me write this book, together we can tell the true story of James Morton.

Plus, we can do a 50-50 split of the profits when the book hits the market.


It's definitely a code.

There are repeating patterns throughout, but they don't make any English words.

And what does it mean by you can use my Remington?

Maybe wants you to shoot somebody?

What's the other note say?

It's all in my plans.

What's in his plans?

Have you tried finding the Remington?

Yeah, but I don't know what it looks like or where he would have kept it.

Maybe it's in here.

I already looked there, guys.

Cool.

Theoretical Physics? Bio-electrical Impulse and Photon Transfer?

Photon Mass and Charged Particle Manipulation?

I thought your Grandpa was a woodworker.

He was...

Why would a woodworker want books like these?

"Property of Virgil Logan, Willow Wood Library."

I say we ask the librarian.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(MUSIC CHANGES)

Hello?

Sir?

Mr. Logan?

Mr. Logan!

Ssh.

I'm right here.

This is a library for heaven sake.

Hmm.

Oh, I'd be sleeping, too.

Yes, you'd be sleeping, too. Don't think you wouldn't.

Now then, what would you lot be here for?

Or should I say, why?

Um... yeah, Grandpa borrowed some books from you a while ago. Do you remember a James Morton?

Well yes, yes. Of course, I remember James Morton.

I still do have an excellent memory, you know.

Yeah, I'm sure you do.

Don't these seem like unusual topics for him to be studying?

Well, that all depends on what you mean by an 'unusual' topic, doesn't it? Hmmm?

Why would a woodworker be so interested in science?

B-- but-- but was James Morton primarily a woodworker?

Or was he perhaps, one of the foremost scientific minds of the 21st century, hmm?

You ever think of that?

His comprehension of the mysteries of energy and physics... went far beyond anything I've ever known.

His genius was unparalleled!

What do you mean?

There was no parallel to his genius.

A genius apparently which was not passed on to his progeny.

(SNICKERS)

Do you have a list of the books that he borrowed?

You know, I personally paid for every book on these shelves.

And the shelves themselves! Custom made to my specifications.

Your grandfather made them, of course, he cut me a deal.

All these books were purchased according to your grandfather's requests.

You see this book?

I stocked this book on a Tuesday and by Thursday... he had read it cover to cover and was intimately familiar with it's contents.

Well, he certainly didn't show that side of himself to me.

Don't be ridiculous.

Why would a grown man talk to a young boy about biochemical conduction?

Apparently, you've just scratched the surface... of something you won't likely comprehend.

Let me know if you need anything.

Drop by anytime, take anything you need.

Tape.

Thanks.

Now this needed some attention quite some time ago.

Yeah, Dad was like that; he was rarely in the house.

Always tinkering with somethin' out there in the shop.

He passed away?

Yeah he died last week.

I'm sorry, I had no idea.

We weren't that close.

( PHONE RINGS)

Jim Morton.

Hey, Dad, this is Derek.

I'm at the library, looking at the books Grandpa borrowed?

Yeah, what's up?

Well, they're pretty intense.

It looks like he was studying solar radiation or some kind of advanced optics.

Does any of that sound familiar?

Doesn't ring a bell.

So, you have no idea what he was up to?

No, I don't.

JIM (O.S.): Why are you at the library?

I'm just returning some books Grandpa borrowed.

Oh. Well, great, thanks.

Man, it sure seems like there's a lot to keep track of these days.

I know the feeling.

Yeah. Take this place for instance; a huge, gorgeous home.

Yup, thanks, Dad.

But in reality, taxes and the upkeep make this place more trouble than it's worth.

I'm sure that's not what he intended.

I just don't remember him being much of a scientist.

He was an artist.

Here, check this out.

What? He made that?

That's really, really complicated.

Yeah, he made tons of stuff like this.

And back at his workshop, he's got these binders filled with designs.

Wait, designs?

Yeah, blueprints.

As in his plans.

Well, yeah,

It's all in my plans.

It's a blue, three-ring binder, it's gotta be in here somewhere.


DEREK (O.S.): Got it!

So, what are we looking for?

The answer is in Willow Wood. Beware of the pen.

He is a treacherous friend.

Look at this.

According to this, there were five objects in the Willow series.

Where are they?

Three were given as gifts, the other two are unlisted.

Okay. Who did he give 'em to?

Kevin & Michelle Billings, Marcus DeWhitt, and Virgil Logan.

It doesn't say what the items are, though.

There are no designs for them.

Okay, this is getting interesting.

JACK (O.S.): So, what's next?

We split up, collect the pieces, and get some answers.

Hello?

Mrs. Billings... Yes. um, I believe you knew my grandfather?

Yes, I did. I'm very sorry for your loss.

I think Grandpa wanted me to talk to you.

Hello. Hi, there.

I'm Jack Moore. This is my brother, David.

We're friends of Derek Morton.

He sent us over here to look at a a willow wood piece his grandfather made.

Something small. A clock, a bowl, maybe?

Well, come on in.

GATOR (O.S.): It's a code.

Look, a code!

Don't worry, it's just a simple code.

It's a code.

Stupid code.

Log: I still haven't gained Derek's trust.

He took the coded message with him, leaving me here with absolutely nothing to do.

I can't work with a client that doesn't trust me!

( DEVICE BEEPS)

(STEPS APPROACHING)

(WHISTLING)

Ah-ha!

Hey, Peter.

I'm sorry, I thought it was the guys coming back.

Coming back? Where are they?

On a mission. What you got in the basket?

Some snacks, Mom suggested that we have a picnic.

Oh, this is what you've been working on?

Yep! What do you think?

That's really neat! What is it?

Umm that's sorta what I'm trying to figure out.

I'm sorry, boys, I was unable to find anything that fits your description.

Do you mind if I take a look around?

Briefly.

So, you were close to Mr. Morton?

I was his attorney.

I wrote documents necessary for him to start companies for technology development.

What kind of technologies?

Hm, I'm sorry, I'm afraid I'm not in a position... to disclose that information.

(CLOCK CHIMES)

Derek discovered something, didn't he?

Maybe, I'm afraid I'm not in a position to disclose that information to you.

(CHUCKLES)

Well... Mr. Morton may, in fact... have tried to leave a message before he died.

And even if he did, the best option for Jim and his family is to go on home.

And keep their memory of James a pleasant one... without all the gruesome details.

Well, I couldn't find anything, either.

I'll keep my eyes open.

Have fun boys, but be careful.

The Morton legacy is a fragile one.

We knew him pretty well.

He'd come over and talk up his ideas and projects with Kevin.

I remember when he started building the bridge out to the house.

We all thought it was ridiculous... but your Grandma loved it!

He built it for her, so she wouldn't have to walk up and down the hill all the time.

Do you know if Grandpa was working on any special projects lately?

Anything out of the ordinary?

Not that I know of.

He would have told you if he was, though, right? I mean, you knew him pretty well?

Very well. He was like a father to us.

We had some pretty hard times and he was always there for us.

Of course, he had hard times, too.

Like when you're Daddy left.

What happened between them?

I think you should ask your Dad... but from what we could tell, nothing happened.

James was focused on his work... and your Dad just didn't see how he fit into those plans.

Next time I saw them together was at the funeral.

Did Grandpa give your husband a gift in the past few months?

Yeah, it looks like the original bond was weak.

Strange it took all these years to finally fall apart.

Well, you'd only catch it if you're really paying attention.

I noticed that the basement is a little bit older than the rest of the house.

Yeah, that's a funny story.

My great grand-dad was a German.

He moved here at the turn of the century.

He bought a piece of land, and started his family right here.

He built this little shack and then moved everybody in, right here.

Then his son tore it down and built something a little bit larger, and a little more solid.

Then when Dad inherited it, he-- he expanded, the whole thing.

Still got the same foundation, though.

So why'd they turn it into a bed 'n breakfast?

Well, after I moved out, he and Mom had all this extra space...

I guess, I really don't know why.

So are you gonna continue the tradition?

Nah, that's not for me.

The artistic stuff... that was Dad's thing.

Is that it? Not quite.

I still need that threaded coupler, and I gotta solder this one last fitting.

Okay, I'll head to the hardware store and grab that before they close.

Is this what you need?

It's a music box, but it doesn't work.

Kevin could probably tell you why.

Where is he now?

He's at the station training his new deputy.

He's a cop?

That's how I got to know your father.

Can I borrow this for a while?

Sure.

Thank you. I really appreciate this.

Anytime. I see a lot of your grandpa in you.

Thanks again.

Well, I actually brought Reagan up here to show her the old typewriter.

Oh... oh, oh, okay.

That's awesome.

Yeah, I don't think it works, though.

What?

What's wrong with it?

It's like the keys are all mixed up.

That's too bad.

Whoa, wait a minute.

It's not broken.

It's a code.

Log: Remington-Rand Typewriter. Model 2. I found it.

Did you find anything?

He said he didn't have anything that matched our description.

All right, hop in.

Next stop, Logan's library.


Looks like they closed already.

Well, we can come back tomorrow, right?

Guys, I think I can see it.

This building is fairly old.

Hey! What are you guys doing?

We need something and Mr. Logan has it.

And why do you need it?

I'm not sure.

Come back tomorrow.

I can see it, it's sitting right there.

Come on, Derek, it's not that big a deal.

In case you haven't noticed, to me, yeah, it is kind of a big deal.

Derek, what's the problem here?

No problem.

I'll see you tonight.

( ENGINE STARTS)

(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

Hey, guys, come look at this.

What's this?

It's gibberish, de-gibberified.

What?

I know you've doubted my abilities in the past... but I think from now on... you'll see things a little bit differently.

Watch this.

Gibberish. Now watch.

The Remington.

I'd like to try this out on your grandfather's first note... with your permission, of course.

(MUSIC CHANGES)

Secretary, a fresh sheet of paper, please?

Thank you.

This is gonna be good.

The patriarch?

It means father, grandfather, great grandfather and so on.

Now, if you don't mind...


The end.

That's it?

That's it.

He had enemies, so he was in some sort of--

Danger, distress, dilemma, predicament, turmoil, trouble?

Log--

Log: The client does not appreciate multiple choice.

My point is, he had a problem.

All right, we need to find the missing wood pieces.

Oh, Derek, wait... take this.

Could come in handy.

If you find anything, let me know.

GATOR (ON RADIO): Hello! Can you hear me?

Yes, I can hear you!

You have to answer me over the radio.

Yes, I can hear you.

Please limit the radio usage to emergencies.

( ENGINE STARTS)

It's getting dark. I think we're gonna head back, too.

Don't stay out here too late.

Yeah, thanks.


(OMINOUS MUSIC PLAYING)

Isn't that DeWhitt's car?

What's he doing here?

Oh, there you are! You need to get packed. We're leaving first thing in the morning.

What?! Where?

We're going home!

Who's going to take care of the bed 'n breakfast?

Marcus made an offer on the property... and he said we can leave everything as it is until we get back.

Anyway, we're leaving at 8:00.

What about the Moores? Are we just gonna leave them here?

Bobby John's already got the rig fixed. We can get an early start in the morning.

Now if you see anything in there that you'd like to have changed... we can have it revised right away.

No, no, this looks fine. Wait! Don't sign that!

What? I said don't sign that.

Don't— don't sign anything.

You mind giving us some kind of explanation?

Look, I'm too close to figuring this out. We can not leave yet.

Well, you better get to figuring it out, because you don't have much time--

Dad! You're not listening to me.

Hey!

( RUSTLING)

( RUSTLING CONTINUES)

Hello?

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)


Agh!

What is your problem?

Dad, we deciphered the gibberish clue... and one of Grandpa's friends called The Pen, betrayed him.

The Pen? It's a code name.

The Pen was part of Grandpa's secret project.

Derek, can you hear yourself right now?

You are completely obsessed with this thing, and that's a problem!

And you're not... and that's a problem!

Look! Look, I care more than you think... but I got responsibilities... and they're not here.

Dad, you can't sign these--

It's not your call, Derek!

Now go get packed and get some sleep. You need it.

Jim, if you'd like to take some more time to think this over--

No, I'm doing this now.

Thank you, Jim, It's been a pleasure.

I've got a message for you, boy.

Now you listen to me, and you listen well... you-- you little detective person, you!

Just call me Ace.

Ace? Well then, Ace...

I've come to warn you.

You stay away from James Morton's treasure!

Yeah, you've been poking your little nose too deep... into places where your little nose is most unwelcome!

You see, this treasure has a purpose far beyond your ability to understand.

I mean, do you understand?

I think so.

Excellent. Excellent.

So do you want me to deliver this message to Derek as well?

No! No, no, no! No one must know that we-- we have spoken!

This--this is supposed to be our little secret!

You see, if... if... if my identity were revealed, it would, well, it could... it might... ruin everything, and--

Why am I having this conversation, with--

I mean, how old are you? Nine?

Ten, actually.

Mm, yeah.

Now you be careful now you don't blunder around, yes?

And make things any more difficult for me than they already are? Hey? Yes..

GATOR (ON RADIO): Derek, you awake? Derek?

Yeah, I'm here.

Ah ha! I knew these would come in handy. Look! I know the secret identity of The Pen!

Yeah, I know. I tried to stop it, but I was too late.

Yeah. wait, what?

DeWhitt, he bought the house.

We're leaving in the morning. This whole thing is over.

Oh, this is great!

Look, Logan stopped me in the woods to warn me to keep away from the treasure. what if he's the Pen?!

Logan?

So, DeWhitt's The Pocket.

No, it could be either of them. we can't afford to rule anyone out.

If I could get online, I could dig up some information on the both of them.

Can't sleep?

Something like that.

You okay?

Yeah, it's just this thing with Derek.

It seems like he's on a self-destruct mission.

He's heading down a bad road.

Have you talked to him about it?

He won't listen.

It's worth a try.

Derek?

Hey, um, I just want to talk with you. I know it's been a little tough on you this week... and, well, I just want to talk.

Derek?

(OMINOUS MUSIC FADES UP)

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)


(GLASS BULB SMASHES)


(DRAMATIC MUSIC FADES UP)

( POLICE SIRENS APPROACHING)

Hey, hey, hey! I said stop!

I have permission from the owner.

Right, that's why you broke through the window and ran when I said stop.

Come on, let's go. You don't understand.

(CELL DOOR SLAMS)

(STEPS APPROACHING)

Your dad'll be here in a few minutes to pick you up.

Said he'll cover the damages.

Michelle tells me you stopped by the house earlier today.

Said you seem like a good kid.

I used to know your dad pretty well.

Haven't talked to him in... years.

You remind me of him.

(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

Log: The question still remains, what is James Morton's secret?

What is the treasure? What is he afraid of The Pen finding?

You gonna stay awake all night?

This is my first real case.

I don't really want to launch my career as a failure.

You Jim Morton?

Yeah.

Deputy Billings.

Uh, it's Sheriff now. Good to see you, Jim.

I'm sorry about this.

Uh, it looks like he's a chip off the old block.

Get in the car.

Good night, Sheriff.

Jim... just don't forget about those nights that you spent here.

It's all I can think about. Good night.

( ENGINE STARTS)


Long night?

Yeah, you could say that.

What time is your flight in the morning?

Check in is 9:00, but we need to roll out of here about 8:00.

Okay, we can be out of your hair by 6:30.

Na, there's no rush. You guys take all the time you need.

Marcus is pretty relaxed, he won't mind.

You know, I don't even feel like I sold the place, with Marcus taking care of it.

I just don't see why Derek is so opposed to it.

Dad was like that.

Latch on to an idea like a pit bull and never let go.

Maybe Derek's afraid he's losing his connection to the past.

You know, first his grandfather, and then this home.

There's a lot of history in these walls.

You know, I'm a good dad... I am.

It's just... you know, when I look in Derek's eyes, I-- I--

I--I don't see hate there, I just don't see love.

What does he see when he looks in your eyes?

He never looks.

Well, goodnight, Jim. I'll see you in the morning.

(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

Jim, thanks for your hospitality.

You guys have a safe flight.

We will.

Um, sorry you never got to finish your story.

That's okay, nowadays, I wouldn't have a realistic chance of getting it published anyways.

Come on, Gator, let's go, honey.

I haven't given up. If I find anything, I'll let you know.

( ENGINE STARTS)

Mary, you and Audrey finish up breakfast.

Derek and I will grab the bags, and be right back.


(SOFT MUSIC FADES UP)


You ready?

Not really.

Yeah.

Derek, we need to talk.

I know the last couple days have been pretty hard on you.

Honestly, I don't know what to make of it.

Dad, I'm sorry.

I know how disappointed you must be.

I just should have talked to you.

It's my fault. I really didn't give you much of a chance.

I want to make this right.

I'll pay Logan back for the library.

This whole thing was just stupid.

Must have seemed crazy.

A little.

I think being back here has brought back a lot of memories... feelings... history I really don't want repeated.

It's a history I want to know about.

Sheriff Billings was talking about you last night... and it was like hearing about a complete stranger.

I really don't know anything about you.

There's not much worth knowing.

But it is worth knowing.

I'm starting to think that's why Grandpa set up this whole thing.

So I could learn about my--

Heritage?

Yeah.

And I want you to know that...

I'm proud to be your son.

I just don't want to go through life and move out someday... never to see you again, until it's too late, and then--

Not even care when you die.

Derek, I care more than you know.

Come here.

Let's make sure that never happens.

Whatever I need to do, I just want to make this right.

Sorry, we should just probably get out of here.

You know, we got a little time.

I think if Dad were here, he'd want me to help you with this.

And I guess I want to make this right, too.

(DRAMATIC MUSIC FADES UP)

All right, we need to start by collecting the five wooden clues.

I've only got one so far.

Dad's projector... where'd you find that?

Ah, up at the tree house, in Grandpa's battle chest.

And this is the first clue. It's called The Poem.

But it doesn't work.

Tune spool's missing. It's a little piece about the size of your thumb.

The clue says, "the patriarch must restore the poem's voice...

"and the patriarch must learn the poem's song".

Patriarch means 'father', right?

Yeah, or grandfather, great-grandfather and so on.

I know what we're looking for.

(DRAMATIC MUSIC FADES UP)

Log: Searching for James Morton's inventions has led me to discover 'Solara'... a major research corporation, and one of Morton's major competitors.

Log: On January 5th, 2005, James Morton recorded the completion... of his fiber optics technology code named 'Tango'.

Two days later, Solara Corp announced the same technology.

Log! On April 27th, 2009, James Morton completed project 'Synergy'... an electroluminescent chlorophyll modification.

On April 28th, Solara Corp announced their discovery of the same exact process!

Dad! Listen, this just got big!

(MUSIC BOXPLAYING)

(MUSIC BOX CONTINUES PLAYING)

Wait, what was the song?

It's a hymn. We used to sing it in church. I remember it being one of Dad's favorites.

What's it about?

I don't remember.

So where are we going?

To church, we can look up the lyrics in one of the hymnals.

Gator, what are you trying to say?

I'm saying we have a case of industrial espini-age.

What?

Es-- espini-age.

I think he means espionage...

John, would you check that out and tell me what you think?

For the last six years, Morton has worked as an inventor.

Virgil Logan and Marcus DeWhitt were both founding members of the corporation.

Are you absolutely sure about that?

He's right, Dad!

Somebody's been stealing Morton's breakthrough designs... and selling them to a Russian corporation called 'Solara'.

It has to be Logan or DeWhitt.

They're the only two that would have access.

( BRAKES SQUEALING, AIR BRAKES HISSING)

What are we doing?

We're going back.

If we hurry, we can get there before they get to the airport.

(OMINOUS MUSIC FADES UP)

Hello?

( PHONE RINGING)

(MUSIC CHANGES)


(GROWLS)

Did you find it?

Yeah, the chorus is...

"The cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light."

I don't see anything.

(EERIE MUSIC PLAYING)

When do you think this was built?

I don't know, why?

We're at the wrong church.

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)

Still no answer.

Have you tried Jim's cell?

The only number I have is the bed 'n breakfast.

Well, keep trying it.

( RINGING)

( PHONE RINGING)

Hello, Marcus Dewhitt.

Um, hi, is Derek available?

I'm afraid not, the Mortons aren't here right now.

Is there something I can do for you?

Um, do you know when Derek will be available next?

I'm afraid not, can I take a message?

(WHISPERING)

It's DeWhitt! He's there and the Morton's aren't in the house.

Ask him where the Morton's are.

What's he doing there?

ANDREA (ON PHONE): I don't know. Ask him if they've already flown out.

What if he's the Pen???

Hello?

Um, yeah, Mr. DeWhitt, you can take a message.

And the message is... justice will be served.

Mr. DeWhitt, yes, this is Andrea, Gator's mother.

Uh-huh, thank you, yes.

Um, do you happen to have Jim Morton's cell number?

Yes. Okay, thank you. You, too.

What?

(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

This is the place.

There!

Pictures.

All right, Dad, what did you want us to see?

We're gonna need a key to open this.

Or a hammer. Let's go.

( PHONE RINGING)

Jim Morton.

( DIALING, RINGING)


(TIRES SQUEALING)

Come on, get in, quick.

Was that the Moores?

Yes, now get in, I'll explain later.

Oh, no, no, you don't know what you are doing and you have no right to do this.

I know my rights!

What's your badge number? I'm going to report you!

I know my rights! You didn't even read me my Miranda.

Miranda, where are you when I need you?

What's goin' on, Sheriff?

Sheriff! You need to place that man under arrest!

He's been stealing Morton's work and selling it overseas.

I'm afraid you're making a mistake.

Oh, no, you don't, we know all about Solara Corporation!

Well, you're right about the theft of James' plans... but it's all been taken care of, because of you.

How so?

Well, James knew that it was either Logan or me behind all this... but he couldn't pin it on either one of us.

So he began working on his last project in secret.

It was code named SunDial, after his death.

I began doing some investigating... and I found some curious discrepancies in the Sundial accounts.

Meanwhile, all of this treasure hunt business had convinced Logan... that there was a final invention.

And he made one last effort to find it.

Luckily, I happened to be here.

So you were The Pocket all along?

But why were you so eager to buy the property?

Well, I didn't want James to sell it to just anybody.

I needed more information on Logan... and I figured it would be here if it was anywhere.

I'm really sorry for doubting your character.

Though, I'm sure you understand.

That's okay, young man.

What do you got there?

You know, I don't really know.

It's something Dad wanted me to have.

Hey, Marcus, you suppose that's what that key's for?

Key.

James gave me this.

( METAL CLANKS)

(WHISTLES)

The projector!

Well, I'm afraid the Sheriff needs me down at the station... to help with some reports on all this.

Well, thanks again, Marcus.

Anything for your dad, Jim.

Well, what now?

Let's watch a movie.

I wonder what's on there.

Home movies.

No, don't be ridiculous.

It's probably a microfilm series of the blueprints for his inventions.

(SOFT MUSIC PLAYING)

Here we go.

What is it?

It's a letter... from Dad.

Dear son, it's been a while.

I have so much I want to say; so much to tell you.

I wish we could talk face to face, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Your mother is already gone ahead of me, and soon I'll be following her.

It seems only yesterday that Carol and I were the young couple... filled with joy at your birth.

Our hearts were tied to you from the moment you arrived.

Sadly, we didn't tie your heart to ours.

I blinked my eyes and you were gone.

It happened in stages and I didn't see it clearly until it was too late.

At first, we were your whole world... our home and your toys were enough for you.

When you went off to school, you discovered a whole new world and new friends.

We blamed their influence on you... but the truth is, that although you had our hearts, we did not have yours.

We were losing you, and I didn't know what to do.

So I just ignored the problem. We surrendered your heart without a fight.

May God forgive me...

Now at the end of my life, I recognize how much I was like my father and his before him.

And now the purpose of my letter is to beg you... to break that cycle, and to learn from my mistakes.

I leave you my journal, filled with my thoughts, my hopes, and my vision for the future.

I hope that it will serve you, and help guide you through life.

I pray that you will be that man for your son, that I was unable to be for you.

With love, Dad.

Hey, Derek, look. Logan must have left his pen here.

You should keep it.

p.s. I hope you found the Three Kings and will continue my work with them.

Three Kings?

It's part of the clue.

The pictures will shine in the darkness and you will see the Three Kings.

( EMPTY PROJECTOR RATTLES)

(DRAMATIC MUSIC FADES UP )

Now that's more like it.

Pictures will shine in the darkness.

The Three Kings...

Derek, these three trees!

I know where this is.

(AIR HISSING)

Huh.

I can't find an "on" switch.

(SOMBER MUSIC FADES UP)

( DEVICE BEEPING)

( ELECTRONIC CRACKLING)

( ELECTRONIC HUMMING)

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)

(MUSIC CONTINUES)

Rad, Derek! He really was a scientist!

Oh, the pen!

( ELECTRICITY CRACKLING)

( ELECTRICITY WHIRRING DOWN )

AUTOMATED VOICE: Diagnostics pass complete.

Whoa.

Hello.

MARCUS (O.S.): Sheriff... yes, I have an intruder in my home.

He's tearing the place up, looking for something.

So, Grandpa invented the world's coolest night light?

No. No, these are measuring electrical inputs.

He's harvesting solar energy.

He felt that other options were ugly and inefficient.

He used to talk about it all the time when I was a kid.

How one day he'd use creation to transform the power of the sun.

I can't believe he actually did it.


Log: DeWhitt is The Pen. Everything he said about Logan is a lie.

Trust me.

I'm telling you, the prints are in that house somewhere.

As soon as I get the family out of there, I'll find them.

The blueprints!

Hello?

(EERIE MUSIC PLAYING)

Forgot my briefcase.

( ENGINE STARTS)

Hey, guys, follow me, we gotta get to the blueprints.

Where's he going?

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)

( PHONE BEEPS, DIALING)

I've got the blueprints. It's a done deal.

So, call off your dogs and have the money ready.

(CAR APPROACHING)

Look out!

Here you go, take this! I'm gonna hit you!

(GUN FIRES)

(SOMBER MUSIC PLAYING)

(DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYING)


(STEPS THUMPING)


Give me that case.

Now!

That's a good boy.

(TRIUMPHANT MUSIC PLAYING)

That's from Dad... with love.

Whoa, that was-- I mean--

Spectacular, amazing, fantastic, phenomenal?

You're trespassing on my property and none of this is gonna stick in court.

You were shooting at my son!

In self-defense, he was trying to kill me!

We know all about your dealings with Solara.

Try to prove it in court.

You've stolen several of Morton's inventions in the past...

But the theft is a little too clean.

Never leave a paper trail, right?

He needed proof, so, he gave you a gift.

A Trojan horse.

That's right. This thing, it's been recording for months.

Everything you've spoken, just think about every crime you committed, it's all right here.

That's not admissible in court.

You recorded it without my permission.

Actually, I think you'll find that the laws vary state by state.

In the great state of Tennessee, this serves as a legal record for your crimes.

Oh, by the way, it's still recording.

How old are you? Nine?

Ten... actually.

Unbelievable, kid.

Hey, thanks again for coming back, Jeff.

Come see us sometime in Texas, will you?

You know I will, I got business in Texas, so you might see us sooner than you think.

Okay.

Here.

Thought you might want to have this.

It should sell.

Murder mysteries always do.

Murder mystery?

Gator, Grandpa died of a heart attack.

(SNICKERS)

Right.

Wait, seriously?

He wasn't murdered?

How did we not discuss the fact that he wasn't murdered?

Well, I didn't think that--

Great, now how am I supposed to get this thing published?

(CLEARING THROAT)

I just happen to have a number of well-connected friends in the industry... and with a little persuasion I could possibly procure a rather substantial contract on your behalf.

What--what, really? Well, thanks, Mr. Logan.

It's business, not charity.

I think Ace Wonder has a wonderful future ahead of him.

JEFF (O.S.): Come on, Gator!

I don't know what to say.

Say goodbye and get along with you.

Thanks, Mr. Logan.

I'm really sorry that I thought you were a lying thief.

Apology accepted.

Of course.

Bye!

Very strange little boy.

He does have a point, though.

We should have never doubted you.

Oh, don't worry about it, there were times I doubted you.

How so?

Your father had me deliver the messages to Derek.

He was so secretive, even I didn't know what they contained.

And the next thing I know, you two are showing the clues to every jackanapes in Willow Wood.

It was a huge gamble.

Neither of you could find the treasure on your own.

If you didn't work together, all would have been lost.

Fortunately, it paid off.

Your father had significantly more faith in you than he should have had in my opinion.

You know, for a genius, he did the dumbest things sometimes.

Oh, I'm out of here. Bye-bye.

Arrivederci.

Hey, Dad, um, Sheriff Billings, when we were talking... he said something about you spending time in jail when you were a kid... but he wouldn't tell me what you did.

I mean, you know, in a small town like this, way back when, um... what was it?

Well, I, uh, assaulted the mayor's son.

He and I were up to no good and got caught.

I took all the blame, and he got off the hook, because he was the mayor's son.

Ironically, we became good friends, but I left Willow and he stayed behind... and became the sheriff.

Wait, Sheriff Billings?

I want to hear stories like that.

Well, then, I guess we got a lot to talk about.

(SOFT MUSIC CONTINUES)


( PHONE RINGING)

(MUSIC CHANGES)