BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

GWEK

Virtual Firefly episode 1x16 (act one)
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"The Big Stick" (act one): This is the first episode of the Virtual Firefly project. Look for our web site in early 2006.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 3989    RATING: 8    SERIES: FIREFLY

EXT. HAVEN – ESTABLISHING SHOT – DAY

Haven is a mining community of no more than two hundred citizens. It’s dusty and small, but comfortable.

Haven’s MAIN STREET comes by its name largely by virtue of being Haven’s only street. It is essentially a broad concourse lined by a meandering conglomeration of dirty, LOW-ROOFED BUILDINGS.

Large pieces of MINING EQUIPMENT define the town’s borders, and multiple TUNNEL ENTRANCES hint that there’ may be a fair amount going on beneath the surface.

Serenity sits in a clearing outside the town limits.

EXT. SERENITY – DAY

The AIRLOCK RAMP is down. Bernabe and a half dozen FOLKS are there to greet Wash and Zoe as they exit.

BERNABE: Zoe! Wash!

His handshake with Wash turns into a heartfelt embrace, and then he gives Zoe a big hug. The others also offer greetings in a way that indicates that they, too, are familiar with the crew of Serenity.

ZOE: It’s good to see you, Bernabe. Been far too long.

BERNABE (kissing her hand): You’re more radiant than memory allows, Zoe.

WASH (fake-offended): Husband… Standing right here!

Bernabe laughs and gives Wash a friendly punch in the shoulder.

ZOE: What about your missus? Mildred around?

BERNABE (shaking his head): Been gone near a week. Took a supply run and blew out her engine on Beaumonde. Otherwise we wouldn’t have called on you folks. She’s got the kids with her, and is probably just this side of crazy right now.

ZOE: Kids?

WASH: As in multiple?

Bernabe smiles proudly.

BERNABE: Got us a little girl, now. Tess. I’ve got captures.

Bernabe pulls out some holographic “CAPTURES” to show to Wash and Zoe and our attention returns to:

THE RAMP

Where Jayne is strolling down, bag slung over one shoulder, VERA (his big gun) on the other. He scowls at the crowd.

Mal and Simon follow a few paces behind. As Jayne wanders away from the ship, Simon stops and turns to Mal.

SIMON: Captain, I understand River and me, but—

Jayne spits in the sand.

SIMON (cont’d): Why does he have to stay?

MAL: Like I told you, Doctor, Fort Liberty’s an Alliance military outpost. After Jayne’s uncharacteristic heroics on your behalf on Ariel, could be he’s every bit as wanted.

Mal starts to walk down the ramp, and Simon follows.

MAL (cont’d): Folks here are afraid. Might make ‘em happier to have an extra gun around. And folks come to Haven for lots of different reasons. Bernabe—

Mal points to Bernabe, who is talking animatedly with Zoe and Wash.

MAL (cont’d): He’s a good man, fought on the right side in the war. But some here ain’t hidin’ on account of they’re all sugar and nicety inside. Could be you’ll be more’n happy to have Jayne along.

RIVER (OS): And we can trust him now.

Mal and Simon both jump as River comes up behind them. Kaylee tags along as well.

River looks straight at Simon.

RIVER (cont’d): He cried wolf and the wolf came. Doesn’t want to get bit again.

Mal ignores her and turns to Kaylee.

MAL: You get us fueled up quick, okay? We got us a schedule to keep.

RIVER (still to Simon): He doesn’t want to buy more apples.

Kaylee nods to Mal, and Mal walks off. River smiles and skips down the ramp after him, leaving Kaylee and Simon alone.

There’s an awkward beat.

SIMON: So…

KAYLEE: So…

SIMON: Have fun with the crime on Fort Liberty.

She laughs.

KAYLEE: Oh, I don’t know if it counts as crime this time. Sounds like a simple pick-up job.

SIMON: Still… Be careful.

KAYLEE (smiles): You, too.

He takes a step closer to kiss her, but she leans in and gives him a near-sisterly peck on the cheek. Before he can embrace her she’s pulled away.

Simon wipes his hands on his vest, not knowing what else to do with them.

KAYLEE: You take care of your sister, Simon.

She backs away.

KAYLEE (cont’d): Gotta go. Fuel the ship up.

And with that, she’s down the ramp, too, leaving Simon with a “What the heck just happened” look.

EXT. HAVEN – CONTINUOUS

By now, Mal has made his way over to Bernabe. The two men shake hands, and Bernabe waves in the general direction of Kaylee, who is at the bottom of the ramp and talking to the locals.

BERNABE: That the new mechanic? She’s a damned sight prettier’n that “mechanical genius” you had last time you set down on Haven. That boy mucked up our filtration system so bad we had to shut down operations for two days.

MAL: Yeah. She’s somethin’ special, that girl. Keeps me sane.

BERNABE: So who’s the one drives you t’other way?

There’s a companionable silence between the two men as they watch the crew of Serenity and the citizens of Haven mingle.

By now, Inara and Shepherd Book have come off Serenity to join the festivities and are introducing themselves to folks. A few additional citizens have shown up, as well.

MAL: So it’s just a simple pick-up you need, right?

Uncomfortable beat.

MAL (cont’d, sighs): It’s never simple.

BERNABE: Not that complicated.

MAL: Fill me in.

The two men continue to stand next to one another, watching their people.

BERNABE: There’s a man on Fort Liberty, Bennett Hicks, a thief by trade, wants to start over fresh. He’s contacted us a few times before, but I’ve been reluctant to let him come in…

MAL: …Because he might bring Alliance attention.

BERNABE: Exactly. But it turns out he can give us what we need in exchange for a fresh start. Says he has an inside man with the Alliance.

MAL: You trust him?

BERNABE: Remember the part where he’s a thief?

MAL: So what do you want from me?

Bernabe turns away from crowd to look at Mal for the first time.

BERNABE: Your instincts, more’n anything. I didn’t serve with you and Zoe, but I heard the stories.

He puts a hand on Mal’s shoulder.

BERNABE (cont’d): I trust you, Mal. What we need here at Haven’s somethin’ to keep us safe. If it ain’t the slavers this week, it’ll be Reavers the next. We need to be able to swat them bastards right down.

MAL (smiling): You’ll get your big stick, Bernabe. Now where’s those three squares you promised me?

EXT. SERENITY – SPACE – ESTABLISHING

Serenity flies through the black.

INT. INARA’S SHUTTLE

Kaylee sits down, making herself at home, while Inara prepares tea for the two of them.

INARA: Everything alright?

KAYLEE: I have a problem, ‘Nara.

She’s distinctly uncomfortable.

KAYLEE (cont’d): A Simon problem.

Inara looks up from the tea, gives Kaylee an “Oh, please do go on” look.

KAYLEE (cont’d): You might’ve noticed that Simon and me, we’ve been getting closer, recently.

INARA (smiles): I did. I’ve also noticed that planets seem to spin and gravity tends to hold things down.

Despite herself, Kaylee laughs.

KAYLEE: I don’t want to speak for Simon—I never know what’s going on in that boy’s head—

INARA: —That’s because he’s a boy—

KAYLEE: —But I’m thinking that he wants to move things in a more intimate direction.

Inara hands Kaylee her tea and sits down across from her.

INARA: Kaylee, I’m fairly certain you don’t need my advice. But if you ask nicely, I might be swayed into parting with a companion trade secret or two that would make the good doctor’s toes curl.

KAYLEE: That’s not it, Inara.

Beat.

KAYLEE (cont’d): I don’t want to.

Inara blinks. How did she not see this coming?

INARA: But I thought—?

KAYLEE: Yeah, I did, too. But I just… After that bounty hunter, I don’t feel right inside.

INARA: He didn’t…

KAYLEE: No, it’s not like that. He didn’t lay a hand on me, ‘Nara. But he could’ve. He could’ve so easy. And I just haven’t felt right since.

Inara takes a sip of her tea, ponders all of this.

INARA: Jubal Early might not have touched you physically, but he touched you mentally, emotionally. It’s still assault. He made you feel unsafe in your home, here on Serenity.

KAYLEE: Right. I just don’t feel safe. And I don’t know how open I can be with Simon. I feel stupid.

INARA: Honey, there’s nothing to feel stupid about.

She leans forward and puts a comforting hand on Kaylee’s arm.

INARA (cont’d): What you’re feeling is perfectly natural. Simon is a good man. He’ll wait. And when the time is right, it will be, well, right.

Kaylee shrugs and drinks some of her tea.

KAYLEE: Thanks, ‘Nara. I’m just glad I have you here to talk to. I don’t know what I’d do without you.

Inara tenses, but says nothing. She takes a long drink of her tea instead. Finally…

KAYLEE: So what’s going on with you and the captain these days? I’ve been sort of noticing a… vibe.

INARA: There’s no vibe.

KAYLEE: Wash says he thinks there’s more looks between the two of you.

INARA: There are no looks! There’s no vibe!

Abruptly, Inara stands up, practically leaping from the chair, and pours herself some more tea. With her composure a little more under control, she turns back to Kaylee.

INARA (cont’d): More tea?

EXT. FORT LIBERTY – EVENING – ESTABLISHING

FORT LIBERTY is a small, tight looking walled city built up against the side of a low MOUNTAIN. Filled with sharp-edged, institutional-looking buildings, the place is certainly no Persephone, but it’s still much more “civilized” that most places where Serenity sets down.

All in all, it has the feel of an industrial complex that sprang up to service a military outpost, which is exactly what it is.

Giant mounted CANNONS, with barrels ten meters long, dot the WALL that protects the city. Each cannon is manned by a uniformed soldier.

As Serenity flies in, one of the cannons tracks the ship.

INT. SERENITY – COCKPIT – NIGHT

Wash is settling the ship in, while Zoe and Mal stand behind him.

WASH: Ah, yes. Scenic downtown Fort Liberty. Where you can get arrested for breathing.

ZOE: Then maybe you should keep your mouth shut, honey.

WASH: Look, I’m just saying, Alliance military outpost, us… Is this really the best plan ever?

MAL: I’ll get our man Hicks, he’ll tell us where the package is, we’ll get it, and be out of the world again and back to Haven in time for dinner. Simple.

WASH: I do like dinner at Haven. Mildred makes a great shepherd’s pie—

ZOE (to Mal, largely ignoring Wash): I’m sure that’s exactly how it’ll work out, sir.

WASH: —even though I don’t think she uses real shepherd in it. Still, we better keep an eye on Book.

MAL (to Zoe, fully ignoring Wash): In and out, Zoe. No problems.

He heads for the door.

ZOE: Want to pick up your lottery winnings while you’re in town, too, sir?

EXT. FORT LIBERTY – STREET – NIGHT

The street is fairly crowded, and the CROWD is made up largely of laborers and off-duty military personnel.

Mal, careful not to make eye contact with anyone, squires Inara through the crowd. Not surprisingly, they’re in mid-argument.

MAL: —am I gonna get you to New Melbourne? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the day after you finally ‘fess up to the crew that you’re leaving.

INARA: I’ll tell them when I’m ready. When they’re ready.

MAL: Seems to me you’ll tell them about three weeks after I drop you off, rate you’re going!

INARA: Which will be long after River is older and grayer than Shepherd Book at the rate YOU’RE going!

Folks are starting to look at the two of them.

MAL: At least I’m not living a lie!

INARA: No, you just don’t tell people what they don’t need to know!

MAL: Right! Just like you!

INARA: Right!

MAL: Right!

Beat. They realize they’re gathering an audience.

Mal gives her a tight smile.

MAL: Maybe we should save this discussion until we’re back on the ship.

She nods cordially to the passers-by who are looking at them, her demeanor full of “move along, nothing to see here.”

INARA: You’ve certainly had worse ideas.

But Mal’s looking past her—

MAL: Hey. We’re here.

—to a blocky gray building with a sign that says, straightforwardly enough, “BAR.”

INT. BAR – NIGHT

Mal and Inara are in the doorway of the bar. It’s smoky, and crowded, and no one looks at them. This is the sort of place where you’re probably better off not knowing what the guy at the next table is doing, or even looks like.

Unlike the street outside, no one here seems to be wearing military uniforms.

Inara looks across the room.

INARA: That your man over there?

MAL (long-suffering sigh): Seems about right.

Without another word, Mal starts to wind through the crowd.

ACROSS THE ROOM – CONTIUOUS

BENNETT HICKS is near the bar. He’s in his late teens, gawky, awkward, with curly hair and a startled look on his face. The look most likely comes from the fact that he’s being pushed up against the wall by a BRUTE, a large slab of muscle standing a solid 6’4” or more.

BRUTE: Told you, boy, our business is done when I say it’s done!

HICKS: Listen, I—

MAL (OS): Excuse me?

Hicks and the Brute turn to see Mal standing there.

MAL (to Hicks): Bennett Hicks?

Hicks, still pushed up against the wall, nods.

Mal isn’t happy to hear that, but he’s also not at all surprised. With a shrug he sucker punches the Brute in the face. There’s a cracking noise as the Brute’s nose breaks.

The Brute tumbles back, scowling and cursing, as Hicks falls to his feet.

The Brute takes a step toward Mal, but Mal shakes his head and sweeps back his coat, revealing the GUN he’s got holstered there.

MAL: Don’t.

The Brute, apparently, isn’t as stupid as he looks. Sullenly, one beefy paw to his bleeding nose, he skulks away, melting into the crowd.

Inara comes up beside Mal.

INARA: Never a dull moment, Captain Reynolds.

Mal ignores her and turns to Bennett Hicks, straightening the boy’s shirt.

HICKS: I know you?

MAL: Bernabe sent me. You have his package ready?

HICKS: Not yet, I—

Mal’s not at all happy to hear that.

MAL: Well, get it ready, boy. I want to be packed up and off this planet ‘fore anyone even realizes I’m here.

HICKS: There might be a problem, sir.

MAL: What kinda problem might that be? Bernabe told me you had a inside man could get you everything you need.

HICKS: I did. Gleason.

MAL: Did?

Mal winces. He sees it coming before Hicks hits him with it.

HICKS: I think you just broke his nose.

Hicks looks past Mal. Mal and Inara turn.

The Brute (GLEASON) returns… with three of his ALLIANCE BUDDIES. They are all sorts of angry.

HICKS (cont’d): And I think he’s come back to repay the favor…

MAL: Of all the blasted space-sucking luck!

COMMENTS

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 1:17 PM

AGENTROUKA


Most exciting!

I love the entirety of the crew interactions, very true to the show. The plot is fascinating, too.

So, are you going to leave the poor reader dangling at the end of act 1 until January? Tsk tsk.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 1:50 PM

AMDOBELL


Yep, that's about their luck. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 3:26 PM

CHRONICTHEHEDGEHOG


CC:

"MAL: Like I told you, Doctor, Fort Liberty’s an Alliance military outpost. After Jayne’s uncharacteristic heroics on your behalf on Ariel, could be he’s every bit as wanted."

This felt really awkward. Just shortening it to "...After Ariel, could be he's every bit as wanted." Would be a vast improvement.

"BERNABE: Remember the part where he’s a thief?

Reminds me way too much of "Remember the part where it's a trap?" Also might be nice to have Mal commenting on the fact not all thieves are bad, himself included.

The whole Inara/Kaylee conversation reads wrong from the start. The idea of Kaylee being worried about sex is an interesting one (though not one I completely buy into), but to go from near enough no relationship to Kaylee worried about sex seems incredibly rushed, and rather bizarre after their being so comfortable dancing together earlier.
Also, have you considered the implications of Inara calling Simon a boy and not a man?
For the first time this episode the dialog feels very clunky.

Despite how it may seem I really enjoyed the story here too. Fantastic potential for the rest of the episode and series too. I've not been this excited since Buffy's fanfic season 8. (which I did an episode for so was biased (though ultimatly I didn't enjoy reading!))

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 4:11 AM

CBY


The Simon/Kaylee thing is great. The idea that Jubal Early practically frightened the love out Kaylee is intriguing. I always wondered about the after effects of this incident - until now. In my opinion this Inara/Kaylee scene works perfectly.

As does the rest. I am looking forwrod to more of this.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 9:13 AM

GWEK


Hey, folks. Thanks for the feedback! Sorry for the delay, but the remaining acts are now up on the site.

If anyone would prefer to have the pdfs, shoot me a message at gwek@optonline.net (I promise, the pdfs look prettier!)


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