EXT. DESERT – DAY
A wind-swept desert plain. Dervishes of dust dance over the cracked earth and lead to an army-issue tent, which is tiny on the horizon.
Close on the tent — a hand-painted sign reads “Lumaville Daily Echo: K—istan Bureau.” Below it, seated at a makeshift desk is a weatherbeaten young man. He has crested his 30s, though the sun-damage, stubble and cigarillo in his chapped lips affect a sort of timelessness. On his desk is a reporter’s notebook, its pages flap in the wind. They are all blank.
A rumbling noise splits the air. The man turns to see a chopper descending into his expansive airspace. His suspicion raised, we follow his hand across the table as it slowly reaches over a holstered gun…
…but finally rests atop his pen.
The chopper lands. The man freezes. A young pilot, donned in goggles and a scarf, hops out and instinctively lowers his head from the whirling blades. Clutching his hat, he approaches, shouting above the din.
Pilot: Daedalus Howell? Of the Lumaville Daily Echo?
The man looks as if he had forgotten his own name. He regards the homemade sign a moment, then nods. The pilot salutes.
Pilot: Lieutenant Jay Sanford, sir.
Howell: Are you here to relieve me?
Pilot: War is over, sir. For three months. There was some paperwork trouble between your newspaper and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs Bureau Sector Six.
The pilot glances at his boots.
Pilot: They, uh, forgot about you, sir. I?m here to take you home.
Howell can only stare back dumbly. After a moment, he snaps to and eagerly grabs his empty notebook and pen. He follows the pilot to the chopper, but hesitates at the door.
Pilot: Yes, sir?
Howell: Who won?
The pilot considers the query, then smiles.
Pilot: Wasn’t that kind of war, sir.
Howell puts out his cigarillo. He hops into the chopper and buckles up. From his POV, the tent is instantly dwarfed as the chopper ascends. His absent eyes turn to the blue skies eveloping them.
Angle on the desert floor — out of the tent darts an attractive woman wrapped in a bedsheet. She squints up in to the sky and at the chopper speeding out of frame.