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The Academy

Production #V0724

Written by: Paul Robert Coyle

Directed by: Charlie Haskell

Shooting Draft - December 2, 1998
Full Script (REPAGINATED - MARKED) - December 7, 1998
Full Script - December 10, 1998
Pages 6-7A, 11-12, 22-23, 25, 28-30, 34, 36-38A - December 21, 1998
Full Script (28 MARKED PAGES) - January 7, 1999
Pages 24-26 - January 25, 1999
Page 36 - February 2, 1999

Pacific Island Pictures, LTD, All Rights Reserved © 1999

Cast List

Hercules
Iolaus "2"
Jason
Lilith - (LIL-ith)
Lyceus - (lie-SEE-us)
+ Zylus *
Seska - (SES-kah)
Tabor - (TAY-bor)
Upperclassman #2
Upperclassman #3
+ Upperclassman #4 *
Headmaster
Peddler
Kid #1
+ Kid #2 *
Kiddies (several/walla)

Set List

Interiors:
Academy - Classroom
Academy - Dining Hall
Academy - Training Hall
Academy - Dorm
Academy - Headmaster's Office
Academy - Hallway
Cave

Exteriors:
Academy
Academy - Courtyard
Academy - Dorm
Academy - Grounds
Academy - Weapons Dump Site
Academy - + Behind a Shack
Chasm
Forest Road

Teaser

FADE IN:

EXT. CHASM - DAY

ANGLE - FROM INSIDE CHASM

FOLLOWING a frayed and dangling ROPE BRIDGE up the length of a chasm wall, we STOP at a ledge overlooking the wide crevasse. TWO SETS OF FEET step INTO FRAME:

PEDDLER (O.S.)
Bridge is out.

ANGLE - THE TWO TRAVELERS

One's a PEDDLER, his wagon in tow; the other an Amazon, late 30's ADULT LILITH; still striking in traditional Amazon garb.

LILITH
I noticed.
PEDDLER
Guess we double back, take the long road 'round the canyon.
LILITH
No time. Gotta get to my daughter, at her academy.

Lilith's eye dart; she spies a thick overhanging tree branch extending halfway across the chasm.

LILITH
Besides, I prefer to fly.

With that, Lilith somersaults... grabs the branch, swings two full rotations, then releases and whirls to the other side... where she lands lithe as a cat. Way cool.

PEDDLER
Whoa, mama!!
LILITH
Come on, jump. I'll catch you.
PEDDLER
Pass. I don't think I have your backbone. Good luck, anyway.
LILITH
Thanks, but Amazons make their own luck.

The guy watches from across the chasm as Lilith strides off.

PEDDLER
Hey, what do they call you?
LILITH
(turns back; with a cocky grin)
Trouble... but you can call me Lilith.

EXT. FOREST ROAD - DAY

HERCULES, JASON and IOLAUS "2" en route, traveling on a different road than Lilith.

JASON
It'll be great to see the old school again. Feels like it's been forever.
HERCULES
It has been forever. We're getting old, Jason.
JASON
Speak for yourself.
IOLAUS “2”
Are they expecting us?
HERCULES
I'm sure the headmaster got my letter.
JASON
He's got a tough act to follow. Cheiron was one of a kind.
IOLAUS “2”
(odd-man-out)
Technically, two of a kind. On my world, the academy was a school of black arts, and Cheiron riled it with an iron fist. He turned The Sovereign into a tyrant.
JASON
Don't worry, that wasn't our Cheiron.
IOLAUS “2”
If you say so.
HERCULES
Iolaus, repeat after me: 'Change is good.'
IOLAUS “2”
(SIGHS; shrugs)
'Change is good...'
HERCULES
'I will not run from it.'
IOLAUS “2”
'I will not run--'

Suddenly, EIGHT MASKED ATTACKERS drop from the trees, surrounding our trio.

IOLAUS “2”
--G'bye.

He turns to run, skids to a stop when he sees the gang's LEADER, wearing a lethal BLADED GLOVE.

HERCULES
Let me guess: It slices, it dices, and if you act now, you get a free butt-kicking.

The Leader points his glove straight at Hercules.

LEADER
Get him!!!

THE ASSULT

It's fast and furious. Herc gets blitzed from all sides, but it's that vicious glove he's gotta watch out for. Jason covers Herc's back, handling two Attackers. Iolaus whips a jester's rattle from his bag and shakes it in an Attacker's face:

IOLAUS “2”
Shoo! A pox on your father's house!

The Attacker LAUGHS. That's okay, 'cause when his guard's down, Iolaus BOPS him on the head with the rattle. Unfortunately, it only enrages the guy. He chases after Iolaus, who ducks behind a tree; they run around it like a dog and cat. Meanwhile:

HERCULES VS. THE MASKED ATTACKERS

As the Leader slashes, Herc grabs a heavy branch and uses it as a shield, but the glove RIPS through it like cardboard.

HERCULES
(looks at the branch)
You're barking up the wrong tree.

So saying, he uses the remaining half to WHACK his attacker. Then, Herc collars the guy chasing Iolaus, tosses him thirty feet...

JASON
These guys aren't thugs, Hercules, they're too good. They're after you.
HERCULES
You think?

THE ATTACKERS

regroup, begin their second wave. Only this time, they do almost as a single entity... bouncing off each other, jumping onto and off one another's shoulders, forming a kind of moving human pyramid.

The Leader with the glove ascends to the top, leaps off, nearly slashing Herc's head off. Herc dives, grabs a boulder, rolls it like a bowling ball and KNOCKS THE HUMAN PYRAMID DOWN.

HERCULES
Strike!

The gang retreats into the forest. Iolaus emerges from behind the tree.

IOLAUS “2”
They're gone? Back to the circus they escaped from, no doubt.
JASON
(to Herc)
Recognize the attack pattern?
HERCULES
Same one Cheiron taught us when we were kids... they came from the academy.

Off Hercules' grim announcement...

FADE OUT.

Act One

FADE IN:

EXT. ACADEMY - DAY

Establishing: Hercules, Jason and Iolaus pass through the academy gates.

EXT. ACADEMY - COURTYARD - CONTINUOUS

CADETS train; dueling with the spinning mannequin warrior, working the Spartacus fun time jump and duck machine, parrying on balance beams with staffs. [NOTE: a small portion of the student body includes young women.] The instructor, an upperclassman named ZYLUS, instructs Cadets as our trio enters:

ZYLUS
Left, left, right - good! Put your whole body into it.
IOLAUS “2”
So this is where you learned to be heroes, huh? I guess they start you early.

Herc notices:

HIS POV - A GROUP OF CHILDREN

KINDERGARTNERS, doing jumping jacks under Zylus' command.

HERCULES
Looks like they're lowered the age of admission.
IOLAUS “2”
Any younger and they'd still be breast-feeding.

Suddenly a handsome Cadet flops on his back in front of Herc; his "sparring partner," a tomboyish girl named SESKA, raises her staff to deliver a blow. Herc grabs it out of her hand:

HERCULES
Oh-kay, playtime's over.
(examining staff)
These used to be padded.
SESKA
Instructor says they're not gonna be soft in the real world, so why here?
HERCULES
Maybe so you live to see the real world.

Herc extends a hand, offering to help the downed Cadet. But the boy, TABOR, refuses.

TABOR
I didn't ask for your help. None of us did.

A tinge of bitterness in the kid's voice. Herc's eyes narrow in recognition; he breaks into a smile:

HERCULES
Tabor?
JASON
By the gods... you're Cheiron's boy.
HERCULES
Last time I saw you, you were about knee-high.
JASON
And dribbling.
SESKA
Nothing changes.

Tabor elbows Seska in the arm; a friendly rivalry between these two. Still, Tabor isn't happy to see Hercules, and he sure isn't happy that Herc's seen him screw up.

IOLAUS “2”
I thought your father was a Centaur. Guess you didn't inherit his-

Noticing Tabor's embarrassment as he slaps dirt off his backside, Iolaus shifts gears.

IOLAUS “2”
-ah, his tail.
TABOR
Nope, looks like it's your friends who ended up with the horse's ass.

Seska SNORTS, stifling a laugh. Even Jason bites his lip.

IOLAUS “2”
(a beat; getting it)
Did he just call me a--
HERCULES
--Iolaus, play nice with the other children.
IOLAUS “2”
But--
TABOR
(to Hercules; a sneer)
You, I remember.
(to Jason)
Who're you?
JASON
It's me, Jason.

Seska registers subtle surprise at Jason's name:

SESKA
Jason? As in, Argonaut Jason? King of Corinth Jason?
JASON
Well, ex-king, but the crown still fits.

Hearing their names, Zylus the instructor strides over:

ZYLUS
Shape up, cadets. We're in the presence of greatness.
TABOR
Yeah, right.

Tabor storms off.

ZYLUS
I apologize for Tabor. Being Cheiron's son, he sometimes thinks he owns the place.
(extends hand)
I'm Zylus.
HERCULES
(shakes)
Nice to meet you. I'm here to see the headmaster.
ZYLUS
His office is upstairs. If you'll follow me, sir.
HERCULES
Thanks, but I... know where it is.
JASON
Yeah, if memory serves, you were asked to find your way there on more than one occasion.
HERCULES
Look who's talking.

With a smile, Herc strides off.

INT. ACADEMY - HEADMASTER'S OFFICE - DAY

The harried-looking HEADMASTER finishes stuffing a bag.

HEADMASTER
I'm glad you made it.
HERCULES
Are you... leaving?
HEADMASTER
They don't need both of us here.

Herc studies the man closely, intuits:

HERCULES
Whoa... I'm just visiting.
HEADMASTER
Suit yourself, but I'm not staying.
HERCULES
Why don't you tell me what's wrong?

The headmaster pauses packing, looks out the window, SIGHS.

HEADMASTER
You know the worst thing about growing up, Hercules? You forget what it was like to be young.
(resumes packing)
I'm sorry, but I just don't understand these children anymore.
HERCULES
You will, with patience.
HEADMASTER
That's easy for you to say.
HERCULES
What kind of example are you setting for them by walking out the door when they need you the most?
HEADMASTER
They don't need me, they need a drill sergeant. Half of them just want to become mercenaries, for money. Money. Well I'm sorry, but that's not why I became a teacher.

As the Headmaster moves off, Herc reaches out -

HERCULES
Wait...

- and the Headmaster winces at Herc's touch, recoils, clutches his arm. Herc sees: an ugly BRUISE there.

HERCULES
How did that happen?
HEADMASTER
Accident. I ran into a wall.
HERCULES
(a beat)
Who got to you?
(the Headmaster looks away)
Look, I was attacked on my way here. Someone obviously wants us out of the way. Someone inside. Let me help.

The Headmaster wrenches free of Herc's grasp, splits with:

HEADMASTER
Goodbye.

Off Hercules...

EXT. ACADEMY - COURTYARD - DAY

Hercules returns, as Jason and Iolaus react to the fleeing Headmaster.

HERCULES
Zylus... I have something to say to everyone.
ZYLUS
(announcing)
Attention, cadets! This is Hercules... you all know who he is... he has an announcement to make.

The Cadets form rows, snap to, impressed by Herc's presence.

HERCULES
Your headmaster left on an emergency. Until we find a replacement, I'll be taking over.

Surprise at Herc's announcement; most of all, from Jason. Among the Cadets, Tabor's look tells us, he's not elated. Hercules paces slowly, eyes each face:

HERCULES
As you may know, I graduated from this academy. From what I can tell, a lot's changed since then... and not all of it for the better. Now I know some of you are here to learn, but I also know some of you are not. To those that are here to uphold the traditions of this academy, I promise I will not let you do it alone. As for the rest of you, whatever you may have done before today, that's your business. But from this day forward, whatever happens here, is my business.
(beat)
Dismissed.

Zylus gestures; the Cadets disperse. Jason and Iolaus approach:

JASON
You couldn't have said it better.
IOLAUS “2”
Actually, you could have. I noticed an ambiguous pronoun, two misplaced modifiers, and if you want to know the truth - your sentence structure's generally unwieldy.
HERCULES
Thanks for the tip, Professor.
IOLAUS “2”
Welcome.
HERCULES
You just earned yourself a tenure on my faculty. Congratulations.
IOLAUS “2”
What? Me? A teacher?
(beat; warming to the idea)
Now that's a switch. Count me in.
JASON
Anything I can do?
HERCULES
I was hoping you'd ask.

Zylus and several other Upperclassmen approach.

ZYLUS
Sir, we'd like to pledge our full allegiance.
HERCULES
Thank you. For starters, call me Hercules.
ZYLUS
Yes, sir.
HERCULES
(a light CHUCKLE)
Then, you can put the protective padding back on the training staffs.

A hesitant beat before the Upperclassmen nod, move off.

JASON
What now?
HERCULES
Now we've got a school to run.
IOLAUS “2”
What about the cadets who attacked us?
HERCULES
We can't go around interrogating everybody our first day here, it'll be bad for morale. Besides, whoever attacked us is bound to try again.

INT. ACADEMY - DORM - LATER

Zylus us giving Herc the grand tour.

ZYLUS
Space is pretty tight around here. We're talking about adding on, maybe even building a whole new wing.
HERCULES
Nothing like a school project to get everyone working together.
(stops before a CLOSED DOOR; remembering)
This used to be the music room.

He pushes the door open to reveal a huge STOCKPILE OF WEAPONS; Spartan javelins, a catapult. Military hardware that goes far beyond self-defense training.

HERCULES
Either I'm out of touch, or tubas are getting more deadly.
ZYLUS
It's an arsenal. We're proud of our academy, we want to be able to defend it.
HERCULES
I've seen entire armies with less.
(beat)
Get the cadets together. We're going to bury all this.
ZYLUS
Sir? It's easy to train kids to pick up a weapon. What we have to do is teach them to use the ones they already have.

Herc taps his temple with his index finger.

ZYLUS
(a nod)
We'll get rid of the weapons.

INT. ACADEMY - TRAINING HALL - DAY

Jason and Iolaus walk through. They're suddenly distracted by a VOICE O.S.:

UPPERCLASSMAN #2
Come on, you're not getting any younger. Fifty more.

ANOTHER ANGLE - ACROSS THE TRAINING HALL

reveals the Kindergartners trying to do sit-ups before an Upperclassman.

JASON
--Hey...
(Upperclassman #2 turns; Jason and Iolaus approach)
Lighten up, they're kids.
UPPERCLASSMAN #2
That's why I'm trying to make sure they can take care of themselves.


IOLAUS “2”
Shouldn't they be learning how to read, or multiply?
UPPERCLASSMAN #2
Those classes were discontinued.
JASON
Well, then we'll just have to start 'em up again.

The Upperclassman nods respectfully, and withdrawals.

JASON
Some example these guys are setting.
IOLAUS “2”
Look at the bright side: sometimes you can learn more by watching an idiot, than by listening to a genius.
JASON
I couldn't agree more.
(chucks him on the shoulder; moving off)
Best of luck.
IOLAUS “2”
Hey! Where are you going?
JASON
You wanted to teach them how to read, now's your chance.
IOLAUS “2”
Me? I can't teach toddlers!

Free of their oppressors, the Kiddies revert to being kiddies. They charge; overrun Iolaus, peppering him with questions:

KIDDIES
Hooray! / Is it recess yet? / Can I have a pony? / I have to go potty!

Off Iolaus' look of dread...

EXT. ACADEMY - GROUNDS - DAY

Herc supervises as a team of Cadets under Zylus' command carry the weapons out the gates and DUMP them in a DITCH. Tabor approaches, with a heavy load of spears. Drops them in.

HERCULES
Thanks, Tabor. I'm going to need all the help I can get here. From you, most of all.
TABOR
Why, 'cause I'm my father's son?
HERCULES
(gestures; to the other Cadets)
Yes, and the rest of the cadets are looking to you to set an example.
TABOR
Don't expect too much from me. I'm not a half-god.

Hercules pauses, considering Tabor.

HERCULES
You know one of the most important lessons your father taught me? The more you keep something inside, the more it eats away at you.
(beat)
Why don't you tell me what's on your mind?
TABOR
Look, all I ever heard growing up, is what a great cadet you were. Now if you'll excuse me, I've been standing in your shadow long enough.

So saying, Tabor walks off. Jason approaches, having heard the tail-end of the conversation.

JASON
Kid seems to have a pretty big chip on his shoulder.
HERCULES
I can't blame him.

Herc and Jason stop before a STATUE OF CHEIRON THE CENTAUR.

HERCULES
Remember when we built this? Our 'goodbye' gift when we graduated.
JASON
Yeah, The Wild Bunch... you, me, Iolaus and Lilith.
HERCULES
(smiles at the memory)
Lilith... it's been a long time since I heard that name.
JASON
Remember how angry she was when she first came here?
HERCULES
Growing up torn between us and her life with the Amazons?
(then, remembering)
Is it just my imagination, or right before we graduated, were you guys...
JASON
I believe it was called 'going steady' at the time. She was my first love. I tried talking her out of going back to her tribe... bad timing, I guess.
LILITH (O.S.)
My timing's improved a lot since then.

They turn: Lilith.

JASON
(stunned)
No kidding...

Lots of hugs; Herc and Lilith slap a high-five, like old times.

HERCULES
What are you doing here?
LILITH
I came to visit my -
IOLAUS “2” (O.S.)
- Everyone, keep in line... one, two, three, march!

Lilith is distracted by the familiar voice, turns to see Iolaus and the Kindergartners. He's trying (and failing) to herd them into the training hall. Her face brightens:

LILITH
Well, look at that. The gang's all here.

Herc and Jason share a glance; grow somber at the misunderstanding:

HERCULES
Lilith, there's something you should know...

Herc notices a nearby Cadet struggling by with an armload of weapons; starts dropping them. Jason gestures to Lilith:

JASON
I'll tell her.

Herc nods his thanks, moves off to help the Cadet. To Lilith:

JASON
Why don't we take a walk?

INT. ACADEMY - TRAINING HALL - MINUTES LATER

Lilith is misty-eyed as she watches Iolaus "2" being buried under a mountain of Kindergartners.

LILITH
But... he looks so much like him.
JASON
I know. And calling him 'Iolaus', that really takes some getting used to. But even though he's not the person we grew up with... in a way, they share the same heart.
LILITH
(smiles; digesting this)
Then I know I'll like him.

Beat. Jason considers her, smiles with open affection. Is their chapter finished, or isn't it?

JASON
I tried finding you often, but the Telaquir Amazons aren't easy to track.
LILITH
You had a kingdom to run. I knew that.
JASON
I was never too busy for you.
LILITH
Our lives took separate paths, Jason, but... there's a bond we've always shared.
JASON
(jumping to the wrong conclusion)
I know.
LILITH
No, you don't.

Before Jason has a chance to ask what she's talking about:

SESKA (O.S.)
Mother?

ANOTHER ANGLE

as Seska runs up to Lilith; they hug. Then:

LILITH
Seska, I want you to meet Jason... your father.

Off Jason's shock, we...

FADE OUT.

Act Two

FADE IN:

EXT. ACADEMY - GROUNDS - DAY

Lilith, Seska, and a stunned Jason exit the training hall.

SESKA
I have so much to tell you about how the semester's going.
LILITH
Can't wait to hear about it. We'll catch up when you’re done.
JASON
(to Seska)
We're the ones who've got the catching up to do.
SESKA
We'll see 'bout that.

And she's off to join her fellow Cadets load the ditch.

JASON
We... have a daughter?
(then; HUGE smile)

We have a daughter!

(a beat; souring)
Why didn't you tell me?
LILITH
What would you have done? Raised her as the Princess of Corinth?
JASON
Why not?
LILITH
Because she's an Amazon.
JASON
You bounced between worlds growing up, what made you think Seska couldn't handle it?
LILITH
Hey, it was bad enough I had to grow up with an identity crisis, I wasn't about to had one down to my daughter.
JASON
But where do you think your strength came from, Lilith? Ask yourself 'Who am I?' enough times, sooner or later you're bound to find an answer. And you did.
(beat)
Seska had a right to find hers.
LILITH
I never denied her that right. She's known about you since she was little.

This, like a backhand to Jason's skull. Silence.

LILITH
We Amazons don't raise our daughters to hate men, Jason, only to rely on their own inner strength. If Seska's ever asked to see you, I wouldn't have hesitated.
JASON
So why now, after all this time?
LILITH
Because now she's ready... but she doesn't have the words to ask for your affection.
JASON
(moving off; in a brood)
She doesn't have to ask for it.
LILITH
Jason...
(he stops; turns back)
...I'm really glad to see you again.

INT. ACADEMY - CLASSROOM - DAY

Iolaus tries to arrange the Kindergartners on the floor.

IOLAUS “2”
Children, please... form a circle.
KIDDIES
You mean like when a hawk circles on its prey? / I like the part where the hawk pecks the rabbit's eyes out.
IOLAUS “2”
(flustered)
Well, forget about it! You won't be hearing any stories about hawks pecking... whatever. Now, sit, shush... be still...

But some of the Kiddies are playing tag. Another sneaky KID runs up from behind a doorway, raises a hand.

KID #1
Mister Iolaus? There's a boogeyman behind that door.
IOLAUS “2”
No there isn't.
KID #1
Yes there is. I'm scared.

Others CHANT: "There's a boogeyman, there's a boogeyman."

IOLAUS “2”
Sit down and be quiet, and I'll prove to you it's perfectly safe.

The Kids silence; a TITTERING of anticipation; Iolaus opens the door - and a bucket of paint falls on his head. The Kids erupt in SCREAMING LAUGHTER; PANDEMONIUM.

EXT. ACADEMY - WEAPONS DUMP SITE - DAY

As Zylus, Tabor, Seska, and various ND Cadets throw the last of the weapons cache into the ditch, Hercules strikes a torch:

ZYLUS
You're sure about this?

Hercules tosses the torch into the pit, with:

HERCULES
Pretty sure.

CHEERING from the cadets, as the weapons go up in flames. The assembly breaks up. Zylus and his Cronies linger a beat with bitter looks, then move off. Herc approaches Tabor, who's dousing water on his face and chest.

HERCULES
Thank you for your help.
TABOR
I didn't do it for you. This is my academy, too.
HERCULES
I thank you anyway.
TABOR
Why are you really here? Out of obligation to my dad?
HERCULES
My own father was never there for me, but Cheiron was.
(beat)
I didn't think I was staying, but I'm not about to let anyone destroy what he built.

Beat. Tabor, moved by this, looks off:

TABOR
Never... really got to say goodbye to him. I was away at Scyros when he died...
HERCULES
He knew how much you loved him.
TABOR
(a beat; shaking it off)
Look, I don't need your pity, or your favors.
HERCULES
Then do me a favor. My friends and I were attacked on the way here. By cadets. I need your help to weed them out.
TABOR
What makes you think I wasn't one of them?
HERCULES
Because I'm not the only one who wants to keep your father's memory alive.

Off Tabor, considering this.

EXT. ACADEMY - GROUNDS - ELSEWHERE - DAY

JASON
So, uh... why's six afraid of seven?
SESKA
(rolls her eyes)
Because seven, eight, nine.
(a beat)
Are you trying to bond with me?
JASON
Trying being the operative word.
SESKA
Look, it's not that I have anything against you, but I've never needed a father, and I'm not about to start.
JASON
And I don't need to be needed. If nothing else, I'd like us to be friends.
SESKA
Then you'd better start coming up with some better jokes.

ANOTHER ANGLE

As Seska splits, Jason sees ZYLUS AND HIS CRONIES; follow Tabor around the corner.

EXT. ACADEMY - GROUNDS - BEHIND A SHACK - CONTINUOUS

Zylus and his Gang surround Tabor, menacingly.

ZYLUS
I saw you talking to Hercules.
TABOR
Yeah, so?
ZYLUS
So what were you talking about?
TABOR
Nothing.

He tries to split; Zylus pushes him back.

ZYLUS
'Cause if you were talking about us, we might have a little problem.

Jason appears around the corner.

JASON
Everything all right, fellas?

Zylus & Co. shoot a sharp look towards Tabor.

TABOR
Yeah. Fine.

Tabor storms off. Jason and Zylus exchange a look before moving off in opposite directions.

EXT. ACADEMY - GROUNDS - MOMENTS LATER

Zylus and his Cronies regroup. Sotto, to Zylus:

UPPERCLASSMAN #2
C'mon, what are we waiting for? Let's get these guys outta here.
UPPERCLASSMAN #3
Once they're out of the way, we'll be back in charge!
ZYLUS
Patience. Remember, the first strike of any engagement should be psychological.
(grins)
School's in session, boys.

INT ACADEMY - DINING HALL - NIGHT

Chow time. Lilith on the serving line; Jason approaches.

JASON
Have you seen Hercules?
LILITH
So we're still speaking?
JASON
We never stopped.
(a beat)
Something I've been wanting to ask you: What we had... did it mean as much to you as it did to me?
LILITH
(smiles)
Think I cried for a whole season after I left here 'cause I missed geometry? Jason, you were my first love. That makes us... kind of linked for life.

Jason notices Seska entering the dining hall with friends, LAUGHING. A grin:

JASON
In more ways than one.

Lilith and Jason share a smile, then she turns to fill her plate. Zylus appears behind Jason:

ZYLUS
Sir, I wanted to reiterate on behalf of myself and the other cadets, our full support.

As Zylus talks, Jason doesn't see Upperclassman #3 drop some colorful liquid from a vial into his food.

JASON
(suspicious)
I'm sure we can count on you.

Jason takes his plate; joins Lilith at a table with Iolaus, starts eating.

Seska and her friends find a table across the dining hall; Zylus joins them. The Kids aren't happy about it, some of them even look afraid.

ZYLUS
That Jason's something, isn't he, cadets? Ex-king, legendary Argonaut, upholds the finest traditions of the academy...
(then; a SIGH)
Of course, I heard he had a drinking problem, but that's probably all in the past.

Hercules approaches from behind, hovering over Zylus.

HERCULES
Zylus, we have to talk.
ZYLUS
Join us for dinner, Hercules?
HERCULES
In private. Now.

ANGLE ON - JASON

he reacts to a sudden, pounding headache; blinks back wooziness.

LILITH
You all right?
JASON
Yeah, just need... some air.

He rises, heads towards the exit, wobbling.

JASON'S POV

Everything starts to spin, grows distorted...

BACK TO SCENE

Hercules looks up, reacts to Jason's seemingly "drunk" state. Cadets are starting to notice. Zylus shakes his head:

ZYLUS
Looks like I spoke too soon about the new teacher...

Some of the cadets LAUGH, as Jason bumps into a nearby post. Upperclassman #2 CALLS OUT:

UPPERCLASSMAN #2
Pathetic lush!

Hercules rushes over, takes Jason's arm:

HERCULES
Let's get you outside.
SESKA
What's wrong with you?

Jason, embarrassed, wrenches free of Hercules, grabs Seska by the arm:

JASON
(slurred)
No, sweetheart. I'm not -
SESKA
Stop, you're hurting me!

She struggles to pull herself away; Jason stumbles back, knocks into a POT OF BOILING WATER. It tips and falls - straight at Seska. In a flash, Hercules yanks her out of harm's way. Jason collapses flat on his face. Off Zylus' smugly superior sneer.

FADE OUT.

Act Three

FADE IN:

INT. ACADEMY - DORM - NIGHT

Jason lies on a cot, better, but still woozy. Hercules and Lilith hover.

JASON
I'm starting to see straight... there's only seven fingers on each hand now.
HERCULES
You'll be fine after a night's rest.
JASON
Hercules, I swear, I wasn't drinking.
HERCULES
I know. The cadets must have put Henbane in your food.
JASON
I embarrassed Seska in front of her friends...
LILITH
Once she understands, it'll be fine. There's no love lost between her and Zylus.
HERCULES
This was more than just a prank, Jason. They're just warming up.
(beat)
Time to give them a wake-up call.

PRELAP: REVEILLE...

EXT. ACADEMY - COURTYARD - MORNING

The Cadets run out and assemble. Present are Zylus, his Cronies, Tabor and Seska. Her strides out.

ZYLUS
Attention!

Lilith emerges from the dorm carrying a burlap sack in b.g., while Hercules paces before the Cadets:

HERCULES
Fear. It brings out the worst in people: anger... prejudice... ego. Only one thing can conquer it, and that's courage.
(beat)
Courage brings out the best in us: hope... daring... compassion. These things are the foundation of integrity...

Lilith hands Herc the sack; he locks eyes on Zylus:

HERCULES
...something the upperclassmen seem to know nothing about. Well, it's time to stop being afraid of them.

Hercules dumps the contents of the burlap sack: six or seven MASKS. Same ones we saw the attackers wear in the Teaser.

LILITH
They were in their rooms, like you said they'd be.
HERCULES
Find the glove?
LILITH
No. They must've stashed it someplace else.
ZYLUS
(sputters)
Sir -
HERCULES
You've corrupted everything Cheiron stood for, Zylus, and that's an offense I take very personally.
(beat; to Zylus and his Gang)
You're expelled. All of you. Goodbye.
ZYLUS
(cold; even)
I don't think you want to do this.
HERCULES
You're right, but you've left me no choice.

Zylus is crimson:

ZYLUS
Fine.

He turns to go. Like a shot. Zylus spins, swings at Herc, who flips him without missing a beat.

HERCULES
I said, goodbye. If you'd paid closer attention in class, maybe you'd understand Greek.

Humiliated, Zylus limps off, followed by his cronies. The Cadets burst into APPLAUSE:

HERCULES
All right, everybody... time to get this place back on track.

MUSIC UP, as, we:

DISSOLVE TO:

MONTAGE:

1.) In the training hall, Hercules and Lilith guide Cadets in phys-ed exercises, minus the bone-crunching violence.

2.) Jason coaches a group of Cadets with padded staffs, Seska and Tabor among them. She fumbles, trips, falls on her butt.

JASON
Don't worry, only way to learn's by making a mistake.

He offers his hand to help her up; she snubs him, splits.

SESKA
I've got it, thanks.

Jason swallows the rebuke, moves off to help other Cadets. Seska slings her leg up on a wooden stretching bar (same kind ballerinas use for warm-up), as Tabor approaches.

TABOR
Maybe you should give him a chance. It was Zylus who spiked his food, y'know.
SESKA
I heard.
(beat; then, shrugging it off)
Why set myself up for disappointment? And what's it to you, anyway?
TABOR
I'd give anything for one more day with my father, Seska. You've got a lifetime ahead, with yours. Trust me: if you don't accept this gift, you will be disappointed... in yourself.

He moves off, leaving her thoughtful.

3.) Outside the academy, Cadets are building the new addition. Just a simple wood frame at this point. Herc, Lilith, and Jason haul lumber. Seska appears nearby, struggling to lift a wheelbarrow of wet mortar. Jason drops his lumber, approaches to help. When she sees him, Seska flashes an appreciative smile. Herc notices, gestures to Lilith, who turns her head: seeing Jason and Seska working together, Lilith's overcome.

END MONTAGE

INT. ACADEMY - CLASSROOM - DAY

Iolaus is at a blackboard, trying to teach the Kindergartners:

IOLAUS “2”
Now we're going to learn how to add...

As soon as he turns his back, it's a zoo. A parchment in the shape of a bird sails past his head. Iolaus whirls back:

IOLAUS “2”
Hey! You could put an eye out with that!

The Kids explode in raucous LAUGHTER.

IOLAUS “2”
I'm serious, NO LAUGHING!!!
KIDDIES
This is boring! / You're no fun! / I still want a pony! / I wet my pants!

At his wit's end, Iolaus SCREAMS. Silence. The Kids look on wide-eyed, in abject horror. Iolaus runs out the door.

EXT. ACADEMY - DAY

Herc, Lilith and the Cadets put finishing touches on the new addition. Iolaus approaches, in a huff. Herc notices:

HERCULES
Oh, boy.
IOLAUS “2”
I've had it! I've tried everything, I've tried putting my foot down, making rules, but they won't listen, they're walking all over me!
HERCULES
Iolaus, they're children.
IOLAUS “2”
They're not children, they're demon spawn! Minions of darkness! Evil incarnate! How can I teach them when all they want to do is laugh?
HERCULES
I think you just answered your own question.
IOLAUS “2”
Huh?
HERCULES
Be yourself. Make learning fun.
(confidentially)
And if that doesn't work, remember - you're bigger than they are.

Herc winks, splits. Iolaus collects himself, heads back inside, with:

IOLAUS “2”
I'm bigger... I'm bigger...

INT. ACADEMY - CLASSROOM - LATER

Iolaus jumps INTO FRAME wearing full jester regalia. Dances and SINGS before a rapt audience of Kindergartners much like Iolaus did for The Sovereign in the first "Stranger" episode. To the same TUNE:

IOLAUS “2”
'It Pays To Stay In School,

'Cause Learning Is A Tool,
So Don't Be Shy,
Raise Your Hands Up High,

(gestures; to himself)
Or End Up Like A Fool.'

The Children LAUGH, loving it. Iolaus dances around in time with the MUSIC, picks up two apples, tosses them high in the air, SINGING:

IOLAUS “2”
'One Plus One Is...
KIDDIES
(all together)
Two!'

The apples descend; BONKING Iolaus on the head. During this:

IOLAUS “2”
'Two Plus Two Is...
KIDDIES
Four!'
IOLAUS “2”
(with crossed-eyes)
'Lesson Learned,

Now School's Adjourned,

So Line Up By The Door.'

The Kids jump up, form a perfect line by the exit. Iolaus bounces to the head of the line. SPOKEN now, over MUSIC:

IOLAUS “2”
All right, everyone, we cha-cha onto the schoolyard. Ready... go!

As Iolaus and the Kids cha-cha out the door...

EXT. ACADEMY - GROUNDS - DAY

Herc blows a WHISTLE, ending a "soccer match."

HERCULES
Good game, everyone. Get cleaned up before dinner.

As the Cadets head toward their dorms, Seska shoots Jason a smile and a wave.

HERCULES
Ah, they grow up so fast, don't they? Seems like just yesterday, you didn't even know she existed.
JASON
Funny.
(beat)
I have to admit, Hercules... coming back here, and meeting Seska... I feel alive again. It's like I've found a new purpose in life.
HERCULES
(slings his arm around Jason's shoulder; as they move off)
You have.

INT. CAVE - DAY

Zylus and the expelled Cadets in exile. Zylus slides the Bladed Glove on his hand:

ZYLUS
Make no mistake about it, brothers. This is our academy and we're not going to let Hercules turn it into a day-care center.

Upperclassman #3 enters, dragging Tabor by the collar.

UPPERCLASSMAN #3
Look who I found spying on us!
TABOR
Get your hands off me.

Zylus shuts him up with a smack; the glove draws blood, leaving a red line across Tabor's cheek.

ZYLUS
Well, well, well... if it isn't another wannabe 'hero.'
TABOR
Know what's funny, Zylus? I used to look up to you. Guess that makes me the dummy in a room full of idiots.
ZYLUS
Don't feel too bad, it seems to run in your family.

Tabor SPITS in Zylus' face. Zylus nods; an Upperclassman pinions Tabor's arms as the others close in.

INT. ACADEMY - DORM - NIGHT

Lilith and Seska tidy up after a busy day. Herc enters:

HERCULES
Either of you seen Tabor? He's not in his room.

Suddenly, the door bursts open and TABOR STUMBLES IN. He's been beaten to a bloody pulp. Herc grabs him as he falls.

TABOR
(GASPS)
They're coming...

EXT. ACADEMY - DORM - CONTINUOUS

Zylus & his Cronies, all heavily armed, have surrounded the dorm. Some of them carry torches.

ZYLUS
You want the place, Hercules? You can have it - in ashes!!

He tosses the torch O.S.-

INT. ACADEMY - DORM - CONTINUOUS

-and it CRASHES THROUGH THE WINDOW, igniting a stockpile of grain.

HERCULES
Someone's definitely getting detention.

FADE OUT.

Act Four

FADE IN:

INT. ACADEMY - DORM - CONTINUOUS

From before; Herc throws a bucket of water, dousing the burning grain before flames can spread. Gestures to the injured Tabor:

HERCULES
Get him out of here!

Seska and Lilith help Tabor up, as Jason runs in.

JASON
Zylus and his gang are back for a class reunion.
HERCULES
And look how much they've matured since they left.

EXT. ACADEMY - DORM - NIGHT

Zylus & Co.

ZYLUS
You know what to do, fellas - go!

INT. ACADEMY - CLASSROOM - NIGHT

Iolaus is telling a bedtime story to the Kindergartners. They're falling asleep, one in his lap...

IOLAUS “2”
...and the rebels stormed the castle, while The Sovereign and Hercules duked it out, and in the end everybody lived happily ever -

Suddenly an Upperclassman enters the classroom, crossbow in hand.

UPPERCLASSMAN #4
Time for a field trip.
KID #1
But I have to go to the bathroom.
KID #2
And my mommy told me never to talk to strangers.
UPPERCLASSMAN #4
Shut up! Now everybody move!
HERCULES (O.S.)
Your turn to go to the board.

The Upperclassman turns to see Herc, who picks him up and tosses him across the room, smashing him into the blackboard. Kids CHEER.

HERCULES
(to Iolaus)
Get them outta here.

EXT. ACADEMY - DORM - NIGHT

Some of the Cronies split off from the others, run toward the dorm rooms, preparing to torch them. Suddenly LILITH APPEARS, standing atop the statue of Cheiron.

LILITH
Heads up, boys.

She flips down, and starts kicking butt.

INT. ACADEMY - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Jason and the Cadets come streaming through.

JASON
You've been through the drill, cadets, now's the real thing! Stay focused and keep an eye on each other!

Jason runs into Tabor.

JASON
Where's Seska?
TABOR
She went back to help.

Alarmed, Jason turns, runs back to the dorm. Iolaus and the Kindergartners enter hallway; he counts heads:

IOLAUS “2”
Wait, who's missing?
KID #1
It's Nickelodeus. He's always sneaking off to the kitchen.
IOLAUS “2”
(a wave of panic; then)
All right, everyone stick together. Just like the cha-cha line... form a chain behind me and hold hands...

And he leads the Kiddies toward the dining hall.

INT. ACADEMY - TRAINING HALL - NIGHT

Zylus and his Cronies stealthily enter the training hall, begin dousing it with oil.

HERCULES (O.S.)
You're definitely not graduating with honors.

HERC DROPS FROM ABOVE, swinging on a rope. He knocks down half the Cronies in a single swoop.

Some of the torches ignite carpets and other combustibles. As small fires begin to burn, the action rages...

JASON, LILITH AND SESKA

arrive from a different direction, join in the fray...

THE SHOWDOWN ERUPTS

utilizing all available training props; staffs, dummies, free weights, ropes, etc. We see the mother-and-daughter Amazons in action, swinging from ropes the way Amazons usually swing from treetops. Some of the Cronies set the ropes on fire. Seska scrambles up as she's chased by flames. A Cronie chucks a spear; Seska jumps from one burning rope to the next; seconds before the Cronie throws another spear, JASON CLOCKS THE GUY. Seska flips down, wraps her arms around him:

SESKA
Thanks.
JASON
What are fathers for?

They rejoin the fracas. Between them and Lilith, the Upperclassmen pricks are getting the smiles wiped off their faces. INTERCUTTING with all this is the MAIN EVENT, namely:

HERC VS. ZYLUS & CO.

With weapons drawn, they surround Hercules.

HERCULES
I take it you didn't bury all the weapons.
ZYLUS
Oops.
HERCULES
You call this defending your school?
ZYLUS
Sometimes, to win the war, you have to be willing to go down with the ship.

And the bad Cadets launch into the same attack pattern they used in the Teaser. Hercules quickly downs most of the attackers. Finally, Herc is left squaring off against Zylus.

ZYLUS
Looks like it's just you and I.
HERCULES
You and me. You should have stayed in school.

Zylus is a fierce opponent, a highly-trained fighting machine with a lethal weapon; that bladed glove. Hercules throws up a board to block a blow; Zylus' cutlery SLICES it apart like a loaf of bread.

HERCULES
You could cut the tension with a knife.

Wham! Herc knocks Zylus back. Meanwhile:

UPPERCLASSMAN #2 & UPPERCLASSMAN #3

are getting pummeled by Jason and the Amazons; the guys beat a hasty retreat toward the dining hall:

UPPERCLASSMAN #2
Let's get out of here!

Jason, Lilith and Seska whirl, concentrate on putting out the small fires.

INT. ACADEMY - DINING HALL - CONTINUOUS

Iolaus "2" and the Kiddies; he lifts NICKELODEUS off a countertop. The kid's face s covered with jam.

IOLAUS “2”
Not a good time for a jam session, kid. Okay, now let's -
UPPERCLASSMAN #2 (O.S.)
The kitchen, there's a back door out of here!

Fearing for the Kids, Iolaus gestures behind the counter:

IOLAUS “2”
Okay, everyone, hide and go seek. Ready?

Iolaus and Co. duck behind the counter, as the TWO CRONIES from the previous scene come running in. As they race through the room, Iolaus and his Kindergartners pop up:

IOLAUS “2”
FOOD FIGHT!!!

The Kids start pelting the Upperclassmen with vegetables, banana peels, etc.; the Baddies slip, slide, crash into a wall.

INT. ACADEMY - TRAINING HALL - NIGHT

RESUME HERC VS. ZYLUS. Slashing, ducking, rolling. Ultimately Herc gets the upper hand, and connects with Zylus' jaw. He's down for the count; never having laid a glove on Herc. Herc RIPS THE GLOVE OFF Zylus' ARM...

HERCULES
No glove, no love.

...and he tosses it aside. Zylus and his Cronies lie beaten.

EXT. ACADEMY - COURTYARD - NEXT DAY

Hercules addressed the assembled Cadets. Included are Seska and a bandaged-up Tabor; Jason, Lilith and Iolaus nearby.

HERCULES
I challenged you to work together as a team... you met the challenge, and saved our academy. You all have my deepest respect. And while it's been an honor to serve as your headmaster, it's time for me to move on. I'm happy to say, I'm leaving you in the best of hands...
(Gestures)
...Meet your new headmaster, my oldest friend, Jason.

Jason steps forward to enthusiastic APPLAUSE. Hercules extends an arm; Jason clasps it; they look up at the statue of Cheiron.

HERCULES
He'd be proud.
JASON
I'll do my best to uphold the legacy.

Lilith sidles up to Jason.

LILITH
Looks like we'll be seeing a lot of each other again, I plan on visiting often.
JASON
I'll try to work you into my schedule.

She grins, elbows him in the shoulder.

ANGLE ON SESKA AND TABOR

She beams from the ranks of freshmen, alongside Tabor.

TABOR
As far as teachers go, I'd say they all deserve passing grades.
SESKA
Yeah, you just gotta be patient with 'em.

BACK TO SCENE

Iolaus joins Herc; the Kindergartners linger, unwilling to part with their new teacher.

HERCULES
Looks like you made quite an impression. I think they're going to miss you.

Splat! A tomato hits Iolaus' face. A beat.

IOLAUS “2”
No... they never miss.

Hercules, Jason, Lilith and Iolaus put their arms around each other to admire the Cadets. We RISE UP to the statue of Cheiron, who seems to be looking down on his school with a smile.

FADE OUT.

THE END