BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

GWEK

Virtual Firefly episode 1x17 (act four)
Thursday, January 5, 2006

"Hero Complex" (act four): This is the second episode of the Virtual Firefly project. Look for “Property Rights” next week, and our web site in early 2006. This episode contains graphic scenes that may be disturbing to some readers.


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2256    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

INT. THE GURICK – TORTURE ROOM – DAY

Niska stands in front of the mirror, smiling to Mal, although he can’t see him. Behind him, Inara is strapped in. She’s crying and red-faced, with bruises up and down her arms.

Brian stands over her, holding a tray of acupuncture needles in one hand. A FLAMING TORCH flickers at his side. After passing a NEEDLE through the fire, red hot, he sticks it in Inara’s neck next to two others. She whimpers.

Niska looks back, excited, little eyes gleaming in the firelight.

NISKA (to Mal): Brian is… quite the man. Not of your caliber, Captain Reynolds, but quite effective. I told him not to scar her beautiful face. Her beautiful body. But beneath the surface, all is, how you say, fair game, yes?

INT. THE GURICK – ANTECHAMBER – SAME TIME

Mal’s jaw is so tight his teeth should crack any minute. He can see Niska, with Inara behind him.

NISKA (tinny, through speaker): You do not need to worry, Captain. She will live. She will appear… undamaged. And after Brian has finished his work, she will feel no pain ever again. Of course, she will feel no pleasure as well. Unfortunate for her line of work, but this is the tradeoff, yes? (he smiles) She will feel nothing when I let my troopers have her—those poor little boys have never known the love of a companion—which should be a comfort to you.

Mal rages against the straps that bind him in. His wrists are raw and bloody.

INT. THE GURICK – SECURITY STATION – SAME TIME

This post is located on the far side of Niska’s security door. Three GUARDS lounge there, inactive and bored. One of them looks at a CONSOLE with Ana’s face on it. She looks nervous.

ANA: I’m here to speak with my father. Open the gate.

The Guard looks to the others, who shrug back. He hits a few buttons on his computer, and the SECURITY DOOR hisses open in a burst of steam.

Ana steps through, and, behind her, a much larger SILHOUETTE…

Now the guards realize something is wrong. They rise, reaching for their weapons, as Jayne steps through the steam firing.

White cowboy hat on his head, Alliance-style energy blaster in one hand, knife in the other, he’s all John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. He tags the first guard, then the second, but—

JAYNE: Gorram piece of—

The guards lose their balance but don’t drop.

Storming into the room, he plugs the first guard repeatedly—three, four, five shots—until he drops.

He turns and smashes the second guard, who is still stunned, with the gun, knocking him to the ground.

Meantime, the third guard, the one who buzzed ANA in, has hit a few more buttons on his computer.

Jayne grabs him from behind and smashes his head into the computer. HARD. There’s a cracking noise.

Ana is almost to the door and back out. Jayne cuts her off in two strides.

JAYNE: Where’s Mal?

INT. THE GURICK – TORTURE ROOM – SAME TIME

Brian looks down at a small BEEPER on his belt. There’s a flashing red light.

BRIAN (to Niska): Sir, there seems to be a situation. I’d like to check it out.

Niska barely hears him. He’s staring at Inara, who now has more than a dozen long needles sticking out of her neck. She looks blind with pain.

NISKA (absently): Yes, yes.

Brian puts the rest of the needles down, and leaves the room.

Niska leans in toward Inara and TWISTS one of the needles.

INT. THE GURICK – ANTECHAMBER – SAME TIME

Inara’s scream comes through the speaker. Mal’s breathing as if he himself is the one being tortured.

NISKA (OS, tinny, through speaker): Did you know what Brian did during the war, Captain? He was in intelligence. He asked people questions, yes, and they gave him answers.

Inara screams again.

NISKA (cont’d, OS, tinny, through speaker): This beautiful creature, she must only answer one question for me.

In the torture room, Niska looks up, away from Inara, and directly at Mal.

NISKA (cont’d, OS, tinny, through speaker): Has she seen the real Malcolm Reynolds?

INT. THE GURICK – UPPER DECK HALLWAY – SAME TIME

Jayne races down the hallway. He doesn’t pause as he reaches a four-way intersection; doesn’t even see Brian waiting for him.

Brian clotheslines Jayne, knocking the breath out of the big merc and knocking him to the floor. Jayne’s white hat goes flying, as does Pinky, leaving him unarmed.

Brain smiles down at Jayne, studying him. This man might be a challenge. He takes a step back, dropping into a defensive martial arts stance, and allows Jayne to get up.

Jayne starts to rise—

Brian licks his lips expectantly—

And is so focused on Jayne that he doesn’t see Ana step into the hall, armed with one of the energy guns, and shoot him a half dozen times in the chest.

Brian dances back and topples over, possibly dead.

INT. THE GURICK – ANTECHAMBER – MOMENTS LATER

The door opens and Jayne rushes in. He never takes his eyes off Mal.

MAL: Jayne?

Jayne tries to cut one of the straps with his recovered hunting knife, but the straps are too tough. He goes to work trying to free Mal, but the locks are far too complicated for him. Jayne grunts in frustration but keeps at it.

JAYNE: I didn’t know.

MAL: What are you—

JAYNE: In earnest, Mal, I didn’t know when I took the job!

Mal’s eyes go steely when he hears that, but Jayne doesn’t see, because he’s still trying to free the captain.

Then, through the speaker, another scream from Inara.

Mal and Jayne both look up and see Niska over Inara in the other room.

Jayne’s jaw drops. He didn’t see this one coming.

JAYNE (cont’d): NISKA?!?

He turns back to Mal, tries desperately to free him.

A whimper from Inara.

MAL (to Jayne): Go.

INT. THE GURICK – TORTURE ROOM – SAME TIME

A needle is passed through the torch.

NISKA: I am not expert in the nervous system, like Brian, but I believe…

Niska’s hand shakes as he places another needle in Inara’s neck. The door jiggles a little, but doesn’t open.

NISKA (cont’d): Brian? (to Inara) So difficult to work with such distractions, yes?

Shaking his head, Niska moves to the door. He starts to open it, but Jayne SLAMS it inward, right into him. There’s a loud CRACK and Niska goes flying one way, his glasses another.

Jayne is relentless, a force of nature, as Niska tries to run away from him, a tired, cowardly old man.

NISKA (cont’d): Brian! Brian, where are you!

INT. THE GURICK – ANTECHAMER – SAME TIME

Mal, still strapped tight, watches helplessly.

Niska SLAMS against the mirror, his face smashing into it and leaving a bloody smudge. He is pinned against the mirror lifted off his feet from behind. From his angle, Mal can’t see by what.

Niska is pathetic: tired, old and confused, his eyes sunken and dark. This is the real Niska, and he stares through the one-way mirror straight at Mal for a beat, mouth open and gasping. He coughs a splotch of blood against the glass.

His eyes close and he drops, out of Mal’s sight. Jayne stands above and behind him, his hands covered in blood, holding Pinky. The knife is streaked with gore, but gleams in the firelight.

Jayne smiles a little and gives Mal a small nod, as if to say “I took care of it.”

CLOSE-UP of Mal’s unreadable face. He does not nod back.

INT. SERENITY – DINING ROOM – DAY

CLOSE-UP of Mal, glaring, fierce and angry.

MAL: Shepherd’s gonna be laid up for near a weak, others’ll have scars for life. You don’t learn a damned thing, do you?

Mal and Jayne are alone in the dining room, sitting across from one another. Jayne nods, accepting the sentence. He knows he made a mistake, and he looks like a whipped cur.

MAL (cont’d): You lied to me, Jayne. Took a job behind my back, endangered my crew. You got anything to say for yourself?

A beat. Jayne doesn’t. Mal has said it all.

MAL (cont’d): What did you think? You’d kill Niska, bring us the coin we need. Save the day. Be a big hero?

JAYNE: Mal, it wasn’t like that—

Mal silences him with a hard look.

MAL: You know Shepherd Book spoke up for you? Kaylee, too. Even the doctor. Said you’re too stupid to try to play hero. Me? I don’t know.

Mal stands, looks down at Jayne.

MAL (cont’d): Give me one good reason not to leave you on that yacht. Or maybe just outside it.

A beat, then Jayne looks up at Mal defiantly.

JAYNE: You killed Niska last time, none of this woulda happened.

Mal’s eyes go hard and his jaw tightens.

INT. SERENITY – CARGO HOLD – SAME TIME

Newstead, hands held over his head, stands over a small, heavy-looking CASE a little larger than a shoebox.

Wash and Zoe are there, both with guns trained on him, looking tired.

NEWSTEAD: Miss Ana sends her apologies—

ZOE: Probably for the best Miss Ana sent them ‘stead of coming herself. Captain said not to shoot you if you showed.

WASH (trying to lighten the mood) I think he has a soft spot for you. Might be the uniform.

NEWSTEAD: Miss Ana—

ZOE (pointedly): Captain said not to shoot YOU.

Newstead pushes on. He has a job to do.

NEWSTEAD: Miss Ana hopes that, when wounds have healed, you might understand that there’s no need for our crews to be enemies.

Zoe looks at Wash. Wash shrugs. Might as well let the guy talk, since he’s not going to shut up until he says his peace.

NEWSTEAD (cont’d): She wishes it didn’t have to be this way, as do I, but Adelai Niska needed to be eliminated. Had she not led you into his trap, someone else would have, and it’s quite likely your crew would not have walked away—

WASH: Yeah, yeah. Great. Just take your coin and go!

Newstead nods. And bends to pick up the case.

ZOE (waves the gun at him): You go. Leave the money.

WASH: But, honey, it’s blood money. (beat) Right?

ZOE: Our blood, our money.

INT. SERENITY – DINING ROOM – SAME TIME

MAL: You’re off my boat.

Mal walks off tiredly.

MAL (cont’d): You screw up one more time and you’re off my boat. This is your last chance. Ain’t no more.

Jayne looks up, but all he sees is Mal’s back walking out of the room.

Jayne unsheathes Pinky.

Looks at his reflection in the blade.

Spits on his reflection.

Cleans the blade.

EXT. SPACE

Serenity separates from the Gurick and the vessels fly in opposite directions.

BLACKOUT

COMMENTS

Thursday, January 5, 2006 6:36 PM

MISSMADRASSA


I'm not sure about your decision to not do an Inara resolution. Perhaps that makes it darker- I certainly would feel like leaving Serenity more than ever now if I was her...
But at the same time I don't like seeing her as a victim, she's just too strong for that. This virtual eppy reminds me of Tim Kinnear's rumoured unwritten episode where he wanted to show Inara raped by the Reavers. Which, according to him, would have shown that Inara was strong enough to fight her own battles and Mal's respect for her dignity and strength.

I realise that the focus here is on Jane and Mal's relationship, and Jayne's development to redemption. In that sense, well done!

I agree, it does read like an eppy...

Thursday, January 5, 2006 7:22 PM

DIGIFICWRITER


Addressing the issue of Inara's torture, I have to take complete claim for it, as it was my idea (as well as the theme of the rest of the crew, including Kaylee and River, being tortured as well). The reasoning behind the decision is that putting the entire crew is the perfect way for Niska to mess with him (since, like Niska says, he already killed Mal once, so there's not much else he can do to him physically). Mal's un-confessed feelings for Inara make her a perfect candidate for Niska to use as an instrument of emotional torture. Also, it's funny that you should mention the Inara rape thing, because it was something we talked about as a group of writers and decided against.

I am glad you liked the eppy, violent and disturbing content nothwithstanding, and hope you'll keep reading the scripts.

Thursday, January 5, 2006 8:12 PM

GWEK


Hey, folks. Are all comments showing up? I've been getting e-mails indicating that there are more comments than what I'm seeing here...

Friday, January 6, 2006 3:11 AM

AMDOBELL


I like the fact that Jayne was the one to end Niska as it was him who messed up with going behind the Captain's back but it felt incomplete not to have a scene between Mal and Inara afterwards and some crew interaction would have been really good. Also the scene between Mal and Jayne at the end was too short, apart from that I really thought you guys did a great job. Ali D :~)
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, January 6, 2006 8:41 AM

GWEK


I'll shoulder responsibility for the pacing of the end scenes as head writer. Serge wanted more resolution with the rest of the crew, but I was concerned that it would draw focus away from the Mal-Jayne dynamic.

And, honestly, given the nature of the episode, I kind of liked that there was sort of an unfinished, uncomfortable feel to it (there are no easy resolutions in this one).

Glad you enjoyed it overall, though!

Friday, January 6, 2006 8:42 AM

JINGTSAI


I kind of have to take a different tack than some of the previous commenters and say that I thought the ending scenes were excellent just as they were. Zoe's "Our blood, our money" comment was so decidedly in character. And both Mal's words to Jayne and Jayne's responses felt right, especially Jayne's little bit of by-play with "Pinky." Sometimes, the less said, the more said--if you get my meanin'. As a reader/virtual watcher, I appreciate room for thought and my own imagination to move around in. There were parts of the set-up in the early scenes that did not quite come off for me, seeming a bit contrived. The Jayne characterization was spot on throughout, though. This is good stuff. Thank you.

Friday, January 6, 2006 10:16 AM

ANANTI


Okay, a lot of good things, as you remember I was the original person who started the idea on a thread and was looking forward to be part of the process, but unfortunately real life intrusions on my time has prevented me to contributing, and I'm so glad you and the other guys were able to take the idea and run with it.

But I do have one issue this episode, mainly the characterization of Mal and how he deals with his enemies.

As you remember, in The Train Job, he kicked the villian into the engine, so he never struck me as the kind of standard hero who would never kill his enemies to begin with. Also, with regards to Niska, I never thought Mal had any other intention other than killing Niska at the end of War Stories. Niska simply escaped.

Friday, January 6, 2006 11:18 AM

GWEK


Hey, Ananti, how's it going? Thanks for kicking this whole thing off, by the way!

While I agree that may is certainly not a standard hero, and, yes, he's certainly merciless toward his enemies in the first few episodes, as the series progresses, he increasingly fails to deal decisively with his enemies (Saffron--twice, Atherton Wing, Jubal Early, heck, even Jayne in "Ariel"... there are probably others I'm forgetting right now).

I think that through the course of Season One, there IS a softening in Mal. Whether this is the influence of having Book on board (part of my feeling), or because of the Fox executives, I think it's there.

As for the reason Niska survived "War Stories," I think that's open to interpretation, and Mal's comment at the end of the episode indicates to me that it was choice rather than circumstance that kept the old man alive.

Still, regardless of the reason, I think that Mal has allowed an increasingly large rogue's gallery to begin to collect.

We're all going to have our own interpretations of these characters and events, and I think I speak on behalf of the entire crew at stillflying.net when I say that I'm gratified to see that folks are, overall, enjoying what we're doing even if there are some disagreements.

Saturday, January 7, 2006 5:48 PM

ZOID


GWEK, et al:

Just remember: If y'all intend to bring YoSaffBridge back, you're gonna hafta explain how she got away from the law enforcement types that Inara said were coming to get her after "Trash". Unless, of course, she had an acetylene torch hidden somewhere in those tight pants she was wearing during the heist...

One presumes her doting husband -- the one who calls her 'Yolanda' -- might not press formal charges, but have her committed to a secure mental rehab facility, instead. She might then 'befriend' an orderly (or even her attending psychiatrist!) and make good her escape.

I enjoyed this 'VE' and look forward to further installments. I don't know how good I feel about Niska's permanent demise, mostly because I like the *actor* so much...

-zed

Saturday, January 7, 2006 5:49 PM

ZOID


GWEK, et al:

Just remember: If y'all intend to bring YoSaffBridge back, you're gonna hafta explain how she got away from the law enforcement types that Inara said were coming to get her after "Trash". Unless, of course, she had an acetylene torch hidden somewhere in those tight pants she was wearing during the heist...

One presumes her doting husband -- the one who calls her 'Yolanda' -- might not press formal charges, but have her committed to a secure mental rehab facility, instead. She might then 'befriend' an orderly (or even her attending psychiatrist!) and make good her escape.

I enjoyed this 'VE' and look forward to further installments. I don't know how good I feel about Niska's permanent demise, mostly because I like the *actor* so much...

-zed

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 9:45 AM

KRIMSON


Another excellent episode written!
You're doing a fine job in capturing the original essence of the series.
It's interesting how you are handling Simon dealing with River's maturity into a young woman. And Simon is handling it pretty badly too :-)
I also liked the way you have Simon in his element, dealing with other high class people more akin to what his life used to be like. Kaylee being slightly jealous was also great.
One complaint though, I don't think he should be introducing himself using his full name, Simon Tam. That seems to be way too inviting for someone to recognize him as a wanted fugitive.


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