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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
“Property Rights” (act one): This is the third episode of the Virtual Firefly project. Check out our web site at stillflying.net!
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1044 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
EXT. FRYE YARD – DAY – ESTABLISHING
The yard is the local SPACESHIP PARKING LOT, cut out of a corner of a cornfield. There isn't much traffic—mainly small ships going between the moon and its planet. SERENITY is the largest ship docked. The parking lot becomes a JUNKYARD with no distinct transition. Ship parts are stacked in piles, invading a beleaguered GARDEN.
EXT. FRYE YARD – SERENITY – DAY
SHEPHERD BOOK, looking up into the sky. His face is a mess of healing bruises, stitches and swelling.
What an ugly mess!
We follow his gaze up high. KAYLEE stands on a ladder which is anchored by Book and WASH. She is inspecting the ship's nose, pulling out bits of flesh and feathers from a cracked buffer panel.
KAYLEE: (smiling down at Book) Ain’t so bad!
Kaylee pauses before getting back to work, looking around.
KAYLEE (cont’d): It's good to be home.
WASH: Ah, yes, Guonian. Home to the endangered kamikaze, buffer panel-cracking swan.
KAYLEE: Just want to get this all cleaned up ‘fore Mom and Dad get back from Aunt Ruth's. Dad would have a fit, he sees the ship this way.
Kaylee pulls out a gobbet of flesh and tosses it aside. Wash dodges it.
You’ll make him proud, I’m sure. Is there anything else I can do?
KAYLEE: (shakes her head) We got in a half-day early, should have more’n enough time enough to clean up and surprise ‘em.
Wash’s hip starts BEEPING. He pulls out his COMLINK.
WASH: (deep voice) Lieutenant Washburn here.
(listening) Hi, honey. Okay… okay… Oh no…
Kaylee and Book look at Wash.
Everything alright, son?
WASH: There was trouble in town. A woman got shot.
KAYLEE: Oh, no. Do they need Simon?
WASH: No. They need a preacher.
INT. SERENITY – SIMON’S ROOM – DAY
RIVER is folding ORIGAMI SWANS on the bed and humming and tune. SIMON is in front of a mirror putting on his best outfit.
RIVER: Putting on your feathers?
SIMON: I'd like to make a good first impression.
She sizes him up, nods approvingly. Simon steps over to where River sits and looks over her shoulder.
SIMON: What are you making?
Swans. To replace the one we killed.
SIMON: (picking up one) They're beautiful.
(holding up a malformed one) This one didn't turn out well at all. The runt of the litter. Broken and deformed.
(crumples it up) Shouldn't be here.
Simon takes the crumpled swan and straightens it out.
It's beautiful too. Things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.
River grabs the swan and crumples it again. Simon shakes his head and turns back to glance at his reflection.
RIVER: He's got blood in his heart.
Simon looks at her, wants to ask, but knows better by now.
SIMON: Most people do, River.
RIVER: But it's not beating. It's on his hands. And in his eyes. It'll clot up and kill him – pop! – just like that.
(throws the swans in the air) He'll explode. Can't keep it in like that, you have to let it flow free, 'cause if it dries up you'll just shrivel away.
EXT. GUONIAN – STREETS – DAY
A CROWD has gathered around Mal, who crouches by the dead woman with Zoe watching his back. Zoe has her gun in one hand and the Lassiter’s gun case in the other. Jonah kneels near his mother, holding her hand.
MAL: I’m sorry, son.
Jonah doesn’t answer, but cringes away in fear.
MAL (cont’d): I’m sorry. I—
MAN IN CROWD
Bein’ sorry ain’t enough, mister!
Zoe stands firm, gun trained on the crowd, arm protectively around the gun case.
ZOE: Easy now.
RANDY: Was an accident! Y’all saw it! Y’all know what must be done…
Thrusters ROAR as SHUTTLE II lands in the street, kicking up wind and dust. The crowd is momentarily distracted. The door opens and out step Book and Wash.
Book walks through the crowd, who part for him, to Mal. Wash runs to Zoe to see if she’s okay.
(to Mal) What happened?
MAL: We got in a shootout. Someone stole that gorram broken gun. She got caught in the crossfire. I didn’t know.
Book reaches forward and touches Mrs. Luhan’s forehead, closes his eyes.
JONAH: Why’d she have to die, preacher?
(opens his eyes) I don’t know, son.
Jonah begins to cry.
Mal stands, allowing Book to watch after Jonah. He looks to the crowd, which includes several armed folk, looking murderous. He sidles up to Zoe.
MAL: This look like a lynch mob to you?
ZOE: Town ain't got a sheriff, if you remember.
(turns to crowd) This was an accident! Just as much the other guy’s fault.
(points at Randy) And this one here too! No need for more killin’!
Randy shrinks a bit.
VOICE #1 FROM CROWD
Well, somethin’ needs to be done about it!
VOICE #2 FROM CROWD
Your bullets, your responsibility, s’far’s I’m concerned.
VOICE #3 FROM CROWD
That boy ain’t got no one else, ‘cept his grandma! How’re they gonna live?
VOICE #4 FROM CROWD
You’re responsible for him now. Him an’ his inheritance. Tell him, preacher!
Book raises his head. Looks to the crowd.
VOICE #4 (cont’d): Joshua Twenty!
Book rises and walks towards Mal.
MAL: What they talkin’ about?
They must consider this town – maybe even this moon – what’s called a city of refuge. You’re safe here from retribution, but it sounds like you inherit the responsibilities of the family.
MAL: That all in your book of fairy tales?
No. They must read a different translation… Maybe combined a few verses…
Randy steps up to Mal.
MAL: Should shoot you, Durham, only it wouldn’t be no accident.
RANDY: I’m sorry, Mr. Reynolds. I had no choice.
(Mal looks away, angry) Barrett runs this town.
MAL: That the man used that poor lady for cover?
RANDY: (helpless rage) The very one. Ruttin' piece of gos se. A rich rancher, been buying up leases and forcing folk off their land since the war.
MAL: (scanning the crowd) Looks like you can hold your own.
RANDY: These folk? They ain't a danger to anyone 'cept themselves. My brother was a real man. So was Jonah’s father.
(motions towards the little boy) But they’re both gone. Barrett saw to that. Shot Mr. Luhan in cold blood a year back. Shot my brother too, when he tried to arrest him.
(moving on quickly) So what do I gotta do to keep this crowd from gettin’ ugly?
RANDY: See after the orphaned boy and his crippled grandma.
MAL: Well, when you put it that way, how can I refuse?
RANDY: I’ll help as much’s I can. Like you said, this’s my fault s’much as yours. Best we get started. Keep your preacher ‘round.
ZOE: Figured he’d help calm things down.
RANDY: He did. But now he’s got a job to do.
MAL: Speaking of jobs, I’m sure you'll understand if we hold the auction somewhere a bit more… trustworthy.
Mal turns to Wash.
MAL (cont’d): I gotta see things through here. This is Kaylee’s home, after all. Best we stay on good terms. Take the gun back to Inara, see to it it gets sold. And warn the others.
ZOE: You sure about this, sir? It was an accident.
MAL: Local custom’s strange, but it’s the right thing to do. See that boy and his granny on their feet.
(looks right at Zoe) Too many orphans already in this ‘verse, you know that.
Mal turns back toward Book.
MAL (cont’d): We got a wake to attend to.
INT. FRYE HOME – LIVING ROOM – DAY
The living room is small, homey, and cluttered. Kaylee and Simon sit at opposite ends of a large, overstuffed, patched couch, looking uncomfortable. She’s fiddling with some TOOLS, adjusting a small CLOCK with a cracked casing. He’s pretending to read an old MAGAZINE.
River’s on the floor in front of the couch, starting at the blank screen of a TELEVISION that happens to be off, although one couldn’t tell by how intently she’s looking at it.
RIVER: They’re here.
FOOTSTEPS AND LAUGHTER sound from outside. Kaylee’s eyes brighten and she rises from the couch. Simon stands, smoothing his outfit nervously.
RIVER (cont’d): (quietly, unnoticed by Simon and Kaylee) They’re always here. Even here.
Jayne holds the door open for MISTER and MRS. FRYE. The Fryes are handsome, solid folk, in their forties, he in a greasy, well-worn mechanic’s vest, she in a homemade dress. They have clearly been sharing a laugh with Jayne as they enter.
KAYLEE: Mamma! Poppa!
Kaylee rushes into their arms. River continues to stare at the blank screen, reaching out to touch her reflection in it.
Mrs. Frye releases Kaylee, gives her a kiss.
MISTER FRYE: Lee-lee! What a beautiful ship! And can this be my beautiful little girl?
MISTER FRYE: Let me just look at ya…
Mister Frye holds Kaylee’s face in his hands. He keeps his smile, but there’s some concern to it.
MISTER FRYE (cont’d): You look… different.
(Kaylee’s smile falters) You okay?
KAYLEE: I’m always shiny, Poppa!
Mister Frye isn’t convinced, but now is not the time.
MRS. FRYE: Kaylee, it’s so good to have you home—
MISTER FRYE: I can’t wait to get to work on that ship of yours!
MRS. FRYE: —And so nice to meet your friends.
She smiles at Jayne, who shuffles his feet. She turns to Simon.
MRS. FRYE (cont’d): Who is this well-dressed young man?
SIMON: Simon. I’m a friend of—
KAYLEE: He’s the ship’s doctor.
MISTER FRYE: Ship’s doctor? What’s a transport ship need a doctor for?
JAYNE: (under his breath) Oh, you’d be surprised…
SIMON: (looking at Kaylee) Oh… well… Infections. Injuries. Illnesses...
(back to Mister Frye) The occasional gunshot wound.
Jayne rolls his eyes.
SIMON (cont’d): Sometimes a crate shifts… Falls…
MRS. FRYE: Gunshot wounds?
JAYNE: You know how the ‘Verse is, ma’am. Lotsa bad element out there.
MISTER FRYE: (to Jayne) Well, I’m glad my little girl has someone to protect her.
(to Simon, with somewhat less enthusiasm) And patch up her scratches and sniffles.
Simon looks down, taking it too seriously.
Awkward beat. River finally pulls herself away from the blank television screen and joins the group.
RIVER: (points to the television) Got lost in your mirror. Didn’t like what I saw.
SIMON: Mister Frye, meet my little sister, River.
MISTER FRYE: And what does she do?
There is a knock at the door. Kaylee goes to answer it. It's Wash, looking like hell.
KAYLEE: Wash, what happened?
You know a Mrs. Luhan?
Kaylee reacts, motions Wash inside.
EXT. LUHAN FARM – ROAD – DAY
Randy Durham drives a HORSE-DRAWN COVERED WAGON. In the back, Mal and Zoe sit on one side of a PINE BOX CASKET, Book and Jonah on the other side. Mal leans forward, listening to Randy, while Book speaks quietly to Jonah, who is staring at the casket.
RANDY: …and his men cut down fences, drive their cattle onto our fields, ruining the crops. And that ain't all he's done. Extorting folk, rustling cattle, setting fires...
Randy takes a breath, waves his hand to indicate the property their driving through.
RANDY (cont’d): Been after the Luhan land for years. Used to be in his family, you know, back before the war. Claims to have a deed to it, was going to go to the Alliance 'bout it or somesuch…
Mal nods as Randy drones on.
JONAH: She go to Heaven? With my daddy?
I expect so, Jonah. She’s where there’s no pain. Where there’s no reason to be scared. Where they smile and laugh all day, because they are with God, and there are no more tears. She and your daddy are there. They see you, and one day, you’ll see them again.
JONAH: But I miss them.
I know son. And I’m sure they miss you.
EXT. LUHAN FARMHOUSE – DAY
The wagon pulls up to the house and stops. Jonah scrambles out of the back, crying, running around the wagon towards the house.
JONAH: Gramma! Gramma!
Mal, Zoe and Book climb out and walk towards the house. Jonah clambers up the stairs onto the porch, opens the door, and runs inside calling for his grandmother.
MAL: Glad you’re here, Shepherd.
MAL (cont’d): Your words… They’re a help to folks.
Including you, Captain?
Mal only looks at him as he reaches the stairs.
Jonah backs out of the house, silent.
BOOK (cont’d): What’s wrong, Jonah?
Barrett steps into the doorway from inside the house.
BARRETT: Nothing’s wrong, preacher.
Mal and Zoe draw their pistols lightning quick, pointing them at Barrett. Jonah hides behind Book’s leg, terrified.
BARRETT (cont’d): (smiling) Just accepting my responsibilities, is all.
Mal cocks his weapon.
MAL: Townsfolk seem to think I’m responsible. Tell me, say my finger accidentally slips on this trigger, what I get from you?
BARRETT: Please, stranger…
Barrett steps to the side, revealing GRANDMA LUHAN, aging and frail, sitting in a rocking chair with a shotgun pointed at her by Peete. Samuels and a half-dozen more of BARRETT’S BOYS come storming around the sides of the house, guns drawn on Mal, Zoe, and Book.
BARRETT (cont’d): Don’t you think we’ve spilled enough innocent blood today?
Friday, January 13, 2006 2:12 AM
Friday, January 13, 2006 6:01 AM
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