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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1614 RATING: SERIES: FIREFLY
INT. SLEEPER COMPARTMENT - LATER
Archer is looking at Maguinan, silent.
He turns. She has woken, is woozy and quiet. Her arms are wrapped around the laptop
"Hey... Hey little Kaythryn, what's the news?"
"I'm shiny, Captain. A-okay. And I can't feel much below my belly, though. It's gettin' cold."
Archer moves to get her another blanket, lays it on her -- all the while hiding his feelings at hearing that.
"Well, you just gotta rest. Something's gonna break down on this truck real soon. Who else I got to fix it?"
"Well, don't you worry none. Geek fixed it up pretty. He's nice."
"Don't go working too hard on that crush, xiao...nee...nee. Geek won't be with us for long."
"You're nice, too."
"No, I'm not. I'm a mean old man. I kick geeks. I park in handicapped spaces."
"He wasn't gonna let it die. He was just trying to... It's nobody's fault. Okay? Just promise me you'll remember that?"
(takes her hand)
"I'll keep it in mind."
"You are a nice man, Captain. You're always looking after us. You just gotta have faith in people."
He says nothing, just holds her hand.
Her eyes drift to Maguinan, still sleeping.
"She is a real beauty, isn't she?"
She smiles... and her eyes gently close.
Her hand slips from Archer's.
INT. DEFENDER'S SUV - LATER
HFK is there, as Defender hands him a couple of books.
"This is just a standard Defender legal reference. I'm not sure it'll help in this --"
"It won't hurt. Supplies down there are pretty rudimentary. Maybe we can use them for pillows."
"Is there anything else I can do?"
"I don't think so. But I appreciate it."
"Kaythryn's very dear. To all of us."
"I... I'm sorry. For my part in what happened. See... I've never... I mean, I don't know how to --"
"You're lost in the woods. We all are. Even the captain. The only difference is, he likes it that way."
(climbs into the back seat)
"No. No, the difference is, the woods are the only place I can see a clear path."
"What's your business here?"
"It's my business. The usual. I gave the boy a free consultation, since he's not long for this world. What are you doing in my car?"
"It's my car. You rent it."
"Then when I'm behind on the rent, you can enter unasked. Do you really want me to dig out the legal precedents on this?"
HFK elbows his way out. Archer makes a complex warding gesture at the mention of legal precedents, then he and Defender look at each other a moment.
"Thought you were leaving, anyhow."
"Well I guess that depends on you."
Archer turns and climbs.
INT. TRAILER - CONTINUOUS
HFK is walking away, but Archer stops him:
"You'll ruin her, too, you know."
"This is the thing I see you're uncomprehending on. Everyone on this truck, even a 'legitimate businesswoman' like her, their lives can be snatched away because of that Fed. You got a solution for that? You got a way round?"
"Comes time, someone's gonna have to deal with him. That should be you, but I don't think you got the guts."
"And I know you don't have the time."
"What do you mean?"
"The computer fried."
He is steely, contained. HFK is shocked, quietly devastated.
Archer turns and walks toward the end of the trailer. A moment, and HFK starts in a daze for the cab, running, unable to accept it as he enters:
INT. SLEEPER - CONTINUING
To find Kaythryn sitting up a bit, playing on the laptop and chatting with Wulfhawk. HFK turns and looks out where Archer left, true shock in his eyes.
"That man's psychotic."
INT. CAB - MOMENTS LATER
Archer, Lerx, Maniac and Sarah are all laughing.
"You are psychotic."
"No, but you should have seen his face... Oh... I'm a bad man. Kinder to kick him in the shin again..."
"And the computer's really okay?"
"Yeah. Tell the truth, I didn't expect it to ever work again. Geek knows his trade, I'll give him that."
There is a noise from a cell phone. Lerx checks it out.
"We're being called. Video feed, even."
"That'd be Channain. We're close enough for vid. Put her up".
We briefly see an image on a screen, the incomparable Channain.
"I have to say I didn't look to be hearing from you anytime soon."
"Well, we may not have parted on the best of terms. I realize certain words were exchanged. Also, certain... bullets. But that's air through the engine. It's past. We're business people. Besides, your days of fightin' over spare parts in the scrap yard are long behind you, what I hear. What are you, mayor now?"
"Just about. You telling the truth about that cargo? 'Cause your asking price is a bit too reasonable for that much treasure."
"It's stamped -- Federal -- hence the discount."
"Oh, government goods, huh?"
"That doesn't work for ya, no harm. Just thought you could use --"
"Feds don't scare me. Just collating data, as they say. I like that you're up front about it. We can deal. I'll upload coordinates for a rendezvous point outside of town."
"See you in the woods."
He hits a button, ending the talk. He stares down at the console for a long beat.
"I believe that woman's planning to shoot me again."
"She meant to pay you, she'd'a haggled you down some."
"Just a little effort to hide it would've been nice. Say some nice words, maybe compliment your new hairstyle... no, that would be a dead giveaway..."
Archer shuts everybody up by knocking something off the counter. It hits the ground with a loud clang.
Oh, he's mighty pissed.
"Sir, we don't have to deal with her."
"Yes, we do."
"Here's a little concept I been workin' on. Why don't we shoot her first?"
"It is her turn."
"That doesn't get us what we need, either."
"There's towns this truck we ain't seen. We could try our luck --"
"You notice anything particular about our luck these past few days? Any kind of pattern?"
"You depend on luck, you end up on the drift -- no fuel, no prospects.... beggin' for Fed make-work. And towed out to the scrapyard. That ain't us. Not ever. Channain has got the money to pay, and she will, one way or another. There's obstacles in our path, and we're gonna deal with them. One by one."
We see Sergeant X sawing away at his bonds with a tiny, jagged piece of metal.
"We'll get through this. We will."
INT. CAB - CONTINUING
"Here's one thing I'm curious about. I can't believe she shot you over a spare compressor in a scrap yard. Or the other three times she shot you about... well, what's that about, anyway?"
"Captain keeps hitting on her."
"She's just playin' hard to get."
"Sir, how many times do I have to tell you that women shooting you is NOT a sign of affection?"
"You shot at Lerx that one time."
"Yeah, I have been meaning to ask about that, darling..."
Sarah looks around, eyes darting frantically. Finally, she points out the front.
"Look! It's Elvis!"
Archer jumps past her, peering anxiously.
"Where? I thought he was dead? Where?"
(fumbling around the overhead storage bin before coming back down to look)
"Gotta have some paper around here... we're getting an autograph this time!"
"Maniac! Get the camera!"
"I don't see him..."
Archer and Lerx peer anxiously out the window. Finally they turn back toward the passenger seat where Sarah was sitting. She has mysteriously disappeared. Maniac looks at them both with a contemptuous sneer.
"You suckers fall for that one every time."
END OF ACT FOUR
EXT. DEL RIO AREA
We're on the ground -- rocks and sagebrush jutting out of low hills. Serenity parks, the side door beginning to open.
EXT. SERENITY - CONTINUOUS
Sarah and Archer down the ramp. Maniac zooms past them on the mountain bike.
EXT. DESERT - DAY - LATER
We see a small valley, dotted with brush.. Pan slowly to discover Archer and Sarah walking down into it.
"Nice place for an ambush."
"That it is."
Pan across the valley, then REVERSE camera to REVEAL Archer and Sarah staring at the valley.
Behind them, Maniac arrives at a decent clip. He hands one bottle from the crate to Archer.
"I buried 'em good. The equipment's back on the truck."
(into the transmitter on his collar)
"Testing. Testing, Captain, can you hear me?"
"I'm standing right here."
"You're coming through good and loud."
"'Cause I'm standing right here."
"Yeah, well... but the transmitter's..."
Archer steps forward as Maniac trails off, looking about him, the wheels in his head turning. Contrary to popular rumor, smoke does not emerge from Archer's ears in such situations.
"All right. Channain is gonna figure we buried the cargo. Which means means putting us to our ease 'fore there's any action. She'll come at us from the east, talk the location out of us. She'll have the coin to show us first. We get it, give the location, snipers hit us from...."
"There. And there."
"You figure they're in place yet?"
"Should be. Feel like taking a walk around the park now that I've oh-so-subtly pointed right at their locations and possibly alerted them to the fact that we've anticipated their presence?"
"Sure you don't just wanna piss yourself and back down like you did with Succatash?"
Archer stares at him 'til he stops smiling.
"Walk soft. I want Channain thinking they're still in place. Don't kill anyone if you don't have to. We're here to make a deal."
Maniac takes off. Sarah and Archer look over the meeting place some more.
"Don't think it's a good spot, sir. She still has the advantage over us."
"Everyone always does."
(turns back to her, smiling)
"That's what makes us special."
"I could do with less specialness, sir."
Wulfhawk is there, wrestling with his conscience. He looks toward the cab, looks toward Sergeant X's spot on the bunk. After a moment, he heads toward the latter, stops at the edge of the interior curtain.
"Lawman, it's Professor Wulfhawk."
He opens the curtain --
"I believe you're in more danger than --"
Sergeant X slams the professor in the face with something, sending him flying back to the floor.
Sergeant X is on him in a second with a makeshift truncheon, hits him in the head viciously twice more. Now this? This is a bad man.
Wulfhawk slumps, unconscious. Sergeant X looks out to make sure no one heard. Starts dragging Wulfhawk into his bunk.
EXT. DESERT - DAY
We are high and wide above Archer and Sarah, watching them walk across the valley. Them small, landscape big.
Closer in, we track with them, moving slow. They keep their eyes peeled all ways, hands near their holsters.
A ways more, and they are nearing a rise -- Over which appear:
ANGLE: Channain and her crew of six -- as they crest the hill on horseback -- all but one, who drives a four-wheeler. They're maybe twenty yards from our two.
Channain is in a weatherbeaten duster, dark hair neatly coiffed. Her men are a hodgepodge of old and modern clothes -- not quite Road Warrior, but eclectic and raggedy. One wears a shiny black top hat.
"Archer! How you doin', boy?"
"Walkin' and talkin'."
"Is that Sarah? You still ridin' with this old bum?"
"Awful lot of men to haul three crates."
"Yeah, well, I couldn't be sure my Archer here wouldn't be lookin' for some kinda payback. You understand."
"We're just on the job, Channain. Not interested in surprises."
EXT. RIDGE OVERLOOKING THE MEETING PLACE - CONTINUING
A sniper is set to take a bead on Archer. Maniac gets the drop on him, knocks him unconscious. Grabs his rifle and takes his position. He finds a mark, smiles.
ANGLE: IN HIS SIGHTS:
Maniac smiles, wicked-like.
INT. SERENITY TRAILER - CONTINUING
As Sergeant X busts in, moves to his suitcase. He opens it, digs in and grabs his cell phone, turns it on. The screen has icons on it, including CONNECT TO CENTRAL CORTEX. He hits it, waits. It comes up: INTERFERENCE: UNABLE TO CONNECT. Furious, he hurls the phone against the wall, smashing it. Reaches into the bottom of his suitcase.
He pulls out another gun. And another.
EXT. DESERT - CONTINUING
The exchange continues.
"I don't see my cargo anywhere..."
"And you're not gonna, 'til I'm holding three grand in small, unmarked bills."
"Oh, come on, Archer. I'm supposed to take it on faith you've got the goods?"
Archer pulls out the bottle from his coat pocket. He tosses it to Channain. She twists the top off and sniffs the contents.
"It's pure, Channain. Kentucky single-malt, three cases of that will keep a fiesta going for two days. Longer, if you water it down some."
She takes a tiny taste.
"Oooooooooooh yeeeeeeeeeeeah, that's the stuff."
She pulls a small bag from her pocket, tosses it to Archer.
"So where's the rest?"
INT. SLEEPER- CONTINUING
Maguinan wakes, sits up abruptly. True fear is on her face.
"What's wrong, sweetie?"
Maguinan doesn't answer -- she moves to the door -- where Sergeant X GRABS her, sticks a gun to her head.
"Look at you, all woke up."
Kaythryn starts to move -- he pulls out the other gun, points it at her.
Sergeant X (cont'd)
"Oh, I'm sorry about what happened before. But make so much as a sound, the next one goes through your throat."
She looks at him with genuine horror. He pulls Maguinan back toward the cab.
"Then east half a mile, bottom of the first hill. You'll see where it's been dug."
"I reckon I will."
"I'd appreciate it y'all turn around and ride out first."
"Well, you see, there's a kind of hitch."
"Both made out on this deal. Don't complicate things."
"I got a rule. I never let go of money I don't have to. Which is maybe why I'm running this little town and you're still on that dinky old truck, sniffing for scraps."
ANGLE: MANIAC'S POV, through the sights of the gun. Still on Archer, they now swing over to Channain and her gang as Archer tosses the money to her.
"Got the money back. There's no need for killin'."
"We're just gonna walk away, sir? No cap-busting on anybody's punk ass?"
"Guess that's up to Channain here."
"Could be messy."
"Archer, you just ain't very bright, are you?"
Archer steps forward, nodding at one of her men.
"That's quite a rifle. Boy must be your best shot to carry that."
"He's called Sergeant X. Always makes it quick and clean."
Archer and Sarah look at each other, mouthing the name. Coincidence?
Sergeant X (Channain's thug) smiles. He is scruffy and mean, and wears the shiny top hat.
"Sergeant X. Nice hat."
"I said... NICE HAT."
(suddenly... nothing happens)
"You're being too subtle, sir."
She steps over to Archer's side, grabbing his collar and speaking into his transmitter.
"What the captain is saying is that it would HORRIBLE if some unseen sniper were to splatter the miniscule brains of Sergeant X all over his nice hat, dong ma?"
Sergeant X (Channain's Thug) is BLOWN off his horse by a shot from the unseen Maniac.
And then a lot of things happen at once, people shootin' and yellin'.
Archer draws and blazes away, Sarah whips out her shotgun and sidesteps, bellowing.
She blows away two of the thugs as she continues sidestepping, before being hit by return fire.
She goes flying back -- as Archer hits shotgun man, moving, diving behind some brush cover as Channain and the remaining two fire at him, their horses rearing in panic, one of them drops off his, comes up firing, Archer and he can't really find each other through the dust at this point --
"I got one!"
"Good on you, sir!"
EXTERIOR- SERENITY - CONTINUING
Lerx and HFK are sitting outside the truck, talking.
"You should think about asking the captain to drop you somewhere else. Del Rio ain't exactly civilization in the strictest sense."
"You don't have to worry about me. I drove through Jersey once."
"Sarah's out on a deal, I always worry. So... it's not out of my way --"
Kaythryn sticks her head out the window.
"He took her... He took Maguinan..."
HFK bolts out of the scene. Lerx is about to as well, but there is a beeping -- a proximity warning.
He stops, looks at his PDA.
"Oh, don't. Don't you dare."
Archer's up and firing. Maniac's picking people off from the hill. Channain's men know by now they've got a sniper on 'em but they can't see where he's at.
INT. TRAILER - CONTINUING
HFK runs out, climbs on top of a stack of boxes, sees Sergeant X with Maguinan below, his grip on her loose right now as he looks around him, heading for the closed airlock. He hits the release button and the cargo bay doors start opening --
HFK JUMPS right down on top of him -- two men go tumbling, two guns go flying -- and both men lie there in extreme ouchiness, unable to get up and get the guns.
Maguinan backs into a corner, wild with terror, groping around for her guitar.
Still picking off Channain's men. He takes a shot and misses, looking up for a second to say,
The last man on his horse starts to ride away in panic --
Still flat on her back. Raises her gun and shoots him in the back. He falls off the still moving horse.
Now it's just Channain and the one other. He fires and clips Archer in the arm -- knocking his aim about enough that he actually hits the man, blasting his hip. The other guy goes down, screaming in pain.
Channain has her shotgun propped on the saddle, using her horse for cover.
Archer stands, no longer moving or hiding.
(grunting in pain)
"Sarah? I got another one. You okay?"
(grunting, also in pain)
"Two in one day sir. Armor's dented."
She pulls at her shirt -- there is a beat up kind of thin Kevlar underneath.
"Well, you were right about this being a bad idea."
"Thanks for sayin', sir."
"Archer, don't you take another step --"
Archer takes careful aim, fires. Her horse rears, falls half on top of her. Archer stalks up, holstering his gun.
"Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job."
He takes the money back.
"And then I get paid."
He steps back a pace.
"Doing anything on Friday?"
Channain frees an arm, aiming a pistol at him.
"Which lung did I shoot you through last time? I purely hate repeating myself."
Archer backpedals quickly, waving his hands placatingly.
"Nice seeing you too, Channain. Always a pleasure."
Maniac runs up to him and Sarah, panicky and out of breath.
"Archer! It's Lerx! We got a convoy coming in. They followed us. The gorram bullhaulers followed us!"
Everyone still alive looks scared.
EXT. HIGHWAY - CONTINUING
As the bullhauler convoy whips past camera, heading towards Del Rio.
Saturday, July 26, 2003 12:24 AM
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