SCENE: We start in medias res inside Lord Dark’s Air Fortress. The animation style looks to be the height of mid-1980’s syndicated cartoons.
Assuming it was done by Filmation.
Towards the end of the season.
When the budget was getting a bit tight.
SIR ANIMOSITY: Halt! There’s no escape for you now!
The Robo-Crusaders begin firing their LASER LANCES. Nez slaps her palms together and an ENERGY SHIELD manifests from her left bracelet.
NEZ: [Silver Shield, protect!]
Note: Dialog in [brackets] indicates it’s in unsubtitled Arabic.
NEZ: [Great! Now what do we do?]
CHEEKO: Don’t worry! I’ve got a plan!
Cheeko draws her LASER CUTLASS and spins it around, cutting a large circle in the floor around them. The floor falls away and we watch them plunge into the clouds.
NEZ: [This was a bad plaaaaaaaan!]
They continue to fall. Nez slaps her palms together again then draws them apart, a bar of light appearing between them, expanding to a flying carpet woven into a glowing circuit board pattern.
NEZ: [Carpet of Flight, manifest!]
She hops on the carpet and it levels out as it zooms between buildings the Great City, which looks like a cross between 10th century Baghdad and 21st century Dubai, various WAZAGAN CITIZENS looking up in amazement as she flies overhead.
NEZ (looking around in worry): [Cheeko, where are you?]
CHEEKO: Back here!
Nez looks back to see a panicked looking Cheeko hanging for dear life on the carpet’s rear tassels.
NEZ: [Quit fooling around!]
Nez lets out a yelp as Cheeko grabs her tail and hauls herself onto the carpet.
CHEEKO: Well that didn’t work. What do we do now?
NEZ: [Easy! All we have to do is fly to Lord Dark’s Black Tower, break into the dungeon, fight through a horde of Robo Crusaders, rescue Prince Brightscale before they use him to open the Star Portal, return to the Sultan, and collect our reward!]
CHEEKO (aside glance): Oh, easy she says!
From overhead a blast of energy barely misses the carpet. Nez and Cheeko both cry out as the carpet is blasted out of the sky and they crash into the inevitable fruit stand.
NEZ: [What was that?!]
A giant tear in the sky opens up, revealing an ominous nebula, framing the cloaked figure of LORD DARK.
LORD DARK: Fools! The portal is open, and my armies are ready to pour forth into your pathetic world! No one can stop me now!
NEZ and CHEEKO (in unison): That can’t be good!
Smash cut to a title card in Arabic.
ANNOUNCER: [Will Cheeko and Nez be able to stop Lord Dark? Stream the next exciting episode of The Golden Jihad to find out!]
SCENE: We pull back to TERINU’S ROOM in MADAME CHER’S CABARET, returning to our normal animation style as we discover the previous cartoon was being viewed by LITTLE TERINU on a tablet, as he sits up in his bed. MELIKA is sitting on the bed beside beside him, dressed in a revealing stage costume, obviously ready for a performance.
MELIKA (touches the tablet to shut it off): Bedtime, Terinu.
TERINU: Aww! Just one more episode!
MELIKA (smiling): Tomorrow, dear.
From the hallway there’s a knock on the door.
NINETTA (off-screen,): Melika! You’re on in ten!
MELIKA: Coming! (to Terinu) Now it’s time for all good cublings to go to bed.
TERINU: Can I at least watch your show? I love to hear you sing.
MELIKA: It’s late, darling. Maybe you can watch me at rehearsal tomorrow, alright?
TERINU (disappointed): Alright... (he lays down and yawns widely.) I love you, Mama.
MELIKA (smiles grow wider): I love you too, Terinu.
She kisses him on the cheek, he hugs her back, and she gets up to leave.
SCENE: The MAIN HALL at Madame Cher’s. MEN, human and alien, sit at crowded tables, being served by the various women on the Cabaret. Loud whoops start up from the crowd as bright lights hit the stage and a thumping musical beat begins. NINETTA comes out in costume onto the stage, giving everyone a bow.
NINETTA: And now our star performer. Let’s give a big hand to the one, the only, Melika!
MELIKA stride smiling out onto the stage to the delight of the crowd, a microphone in her paw as she begins to sing.
MELIKA: It’s been so long since I’ve laid eyes upon you.
So long since you wrapped your arms around me.
Time goes on, we’ve been too long apart.
So I know must go out and find you!
Through Cold and Dark the way will lit,
By the memory of the love that we share.
No matter how long I must search,
No matter what the cost may be,
I will find you!
As the song continues, the shot switches to a close up of a GRINNING MAN’s mouth. The next reveals him to be BRUTAL BROOKS, MAVRA CHAN’s second in command. He leaning up against the wall, watching the show and smiling unpleasantly.
The songs ends and the crowd starts yelling and applauding.
MELIKA: Thank you! Thank you!
She spots Brooks across the room. Her face falls as he gives her an ironic salute and heads out the door.
MELIKA (shocked): Excuse me.
She hands off the mic to a surprised Ninetta and rushes off the stage.
SCENE: Melika hurries up the hallway, bursting into Terinu’s room.
MELIKA (worried): Terinu?
The dresser drawers and open and empty, toys are scattered across the floor, and Terinu’s tablet lies smashed on his bed.
MELIKA (softly, in shock): Terinu? (panicking) Terinu!
She rushes back out into the hallway, blasting past Ninetta who was waiting outside the room. Melika rushes out into the crowded streets of the asteroid colony outside the cabaret, running and shoving through the crowd.
MELIKA: Get out of the way!
SCENE: She runs out to the docking area, large cargo locks leading to various transport ships, electronic signs overhead naming what ship is in each berth. Turning, she runs towards one lock marked with CELESTIAL MARAUDER on its sign. Melika reaches the lock just as the lock’s warning lights switch from green to red, indicating it’s depressurising.
MELIKA (weeping in despair): Terinu, no!
POV of Melika looking through the airlock window at a smirking MAVRA CHAN, Little Terinu hanging on in fear and confusion to her neck. Chan gives Melika an ironic salute, and then disappears as the Marauder begins to accelerate away.
Melika turns away from the airlock, to find Ninetta and an unsmiling MADAME CHER waiting in front of her.
MELIKA: Get out of my way! I have to find a ship, I have to follow them!
MADAME CHER: It’s too late, Melika. This day was inevitable.
MELIKA (furious): You knew! You knew she was coming for him, and you didn’t tell me!
MADAME CHER (flatly): Yes.
MADAME CHER: Because you would have tried to stop her.
MELIKA: Of course I would have tried to stop her!
MADAME CHER: Then you would have guaranteed that the last memory that child would have of you, would be seeing the only mother he had ever known being gunned down right in front of him. Is that what you would have wanted, Melika?
MELIKA: No, but…. I should have done something.
She falls to her knees and begins to sob in anguish.
(cont.) I should have done something...