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Virtual Firefly episode 1x20 (teaser)
Saturday, February 4, 2006

“War Crimes” (teaser): This is the fifth episode of the Virtual Firefly project. Check out our web site at stillflying.net!


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 2045    RATING: 10    SERIES: FIREFLY

Episode 1x20: “WAR CRIMES”

Written by J. C. Ravage

Edited by Matt Engstrom, Shawn Morris, and George W. Krubski

Producer: David Elmer Head Writer: George W. Krubski Art Director: Sean Young

Disclaimer: The crew of the Serenity, the ‘Verse in which they live, and their fellow inhabitants are the property of Joss Whedon, Universal Studios, and/or Fox Television. They are used in this work of fan fiction with love and respect, but without permission.

EXT. ELYSIAN HILLS – FIELD – NIGHT – ESTABLISHING

A broken field, littered with bodies, debris, and other remnants of warfare, is the valley between hills. In the distance, EXPLOSIONS and SOUNDS OF BATTLE can be heard.

TITLE: Elysian Hills, Boros – Seven Years Ago

EXT. ELYSIAN HILLS – NIGHT

ZOE and MAL rush down a hill and onto the field, Zoe looking ahead, Mal covering the rear. At the base of the hill, they pause, catching their breath.

ZOE Think we lost them?

Mal nods, then a single GUNSHOT cracks from the next hill. It is followed by a second shot, then a third. This is not the sound of battle, but rather single, paced shots.

Zoe grimaces as Mal rushes across the field toward the sound.

EXT. ELYSIAN HILLS – HILLTOP – NIGHT

Mal and Zoe cautiously crawl up to the top of a hill as another gunshot sounds.

They look across to

THE NEXT HILL

A dozen ALLIANCE SOLDIERS surround a pair of kneeling Browncoat PRISONERS. Four other prisoners are already dead.

An OFFICER stands behind the first living prisoner, a pistol pointed at the prisoner’s head.

OFFICER (grim, smug) You give me trouble, you die.

He shoots the prisoner dead.

OFFICER (cont’d) {Feces-colored vagrant.}

The Officer moves to the other prisoner.

OFFICER (cont’d) How about you? You want to live? I’ll ask you once. Where’s the comm array?

The prisoner doesn’t look up, but is clearly terrified. The Officer blows him away and moves to the final prisoner.

ON THE FIRST HILL

Mal looks on, horrified. He and Zoe are far enough away, and well-concealed enough that they are not in danger of being easily spotted, but there is little they can do.

MAL Jesus in Heaven, {have mercy on him, for I sure won't}!

Mal cocks his gun.

ZOE There's too many of them. And we’ve got to warn HQ that they know about the comm array.

Another gunshot from the next hill.

ZOE (cont’d) It’s too late.

Mal knows she right, but doesn’t want to accept it.

ZOE (cont’d) Not now, Mal. Another time.

He nods and closes his eyes. Zoe looks across the hill, studying the Officer as he stands over the dead prisoners.

INT. SERENITY – CARGO HOLD – DAY

From Zoe on the hill, we go to Zoe prepping the HOVER-MULE, as JAYNE straps down the cargo: a dozen BARRELS. Over a hundred other barrels are stacked and secured in the bay.

The ship shudders, and they both look up from their work.

MAL (OS) (somewhere above them) What was that?

INT. SERENITY – INARA’S SHUTTLE – SAME TIME

Mal and INARA stand at the entrance to Inara’s shuttle. They appear to be in mid-argument, interrupted by the shaking of the ship.

He looks around, but gets no immediate response, and the shaking stops.

MAL (cont’d) (to Inara) Where were we?

INARA We were talking about how you’re not taking me to Bena.

MAL I’ll get you to your training house soon enough, I promise—

INARA You’ve been promising that for two weeks. Two weeks spent so far in {the ass-end of nowhere}, that even you couldn’t find work!

MAL I have work now, and so do you.

INARA (ignoring him, in full-rant mode) And now, by some miracle, I've found a client on one of your {piss-pot} moons, and what do you tell me? That you're in too much of a hurry to let me stay the night and fulfill my obligations as Companion?

Mal looks around, perhaps expecting the ship to begin shaking again.

MAL Don't know what you need all night for. Any whore worth her salt can get the job done in ten minutes.

INARA That's what separates a Companion from a whore. Not that I expect you'll ever have cause to know the difference.

MAL I thought it was that fancy registration Nandi's girls didn't have.

At the mention of the name, they both freeze. Beat.

MAL (cont’d) Anyways, you mistake my meaning. Didn't say you couldn't stay the night.

INARA Of course, you wouldn't come out and say that. It's just, "I'm not sure we really lost that Alliance cruiser, everyone be ready to boost out at a moment's notice.” How am I going to manage that if I'm with my client?

MAL You're smart, went to whore academy. Use some of them fancy tricks they taught you.

Inara glares daggers at him.

MAL (cont’d) I ain't lettin’ that cruiser catch us on the ground, noways. And I'd find it very unpleasant to leave my shuttle behind—

INARA Oh, it's your shuttle, now?

MAL You’re leavin’ ain’t ya? Already gave you back your security deposit and all. I'd say that makes it my shuttle again.

The ship shakes, as if experiencing engine trouble.

MAL (cont’d) What is that?

Mal pushes past Inara and walks away from here so that he can look down into the cargo hold. Inara watches him go, shakes her head, then heads toward her shuttle.

Mal reaches the edge of the catwalk and looks

BELOW

Where Zoe and Jayne look up from their work.

MAL (cont’d) What is that?

Zoe shakes her head. Jayne shrugs.

Kaylee, covered in soot and grease and carrying a BENT PART, walks in from the stairs near the infirmary.

MAL (cont’d) (to Kaylee) Thought you and your dad fixed us up.

KAYLEE Fixed up what we could with those parts you got on Beaumonde on the cheap, Captain, but some of what’s left is older’n me!

She holds up the bent part, looking like she’s very close to breaking.

KAYLEE (cont’d) Dorsal boot’s worn… Couple of couplings… Inertial dampener’s locking… That’s what the shake is—

MAL What's that one do again?

KAYLEE Can’t boost without it. Well, you could, but we’d all be streaks on the walls… Forty gees of pressure.

MAL Well, you don't let that happen, all right? I like being all three-dimensional. (to everyone) Why's everything have to break now?

Zoe doesn’t even look up at him.

ZOE I’d say karma, sir, but that don’t explain why it’s happenin’ to me, too.

KAYLEE Maybe we can get replacement parts with some of the take?

MAL Long’s you don’t spend more’n we make. (to Zoe) Mule prepped?

ZOE Near done, Captain. Be ready before my mister sets us down at Talltree.

Mal turns to head toward the stairs, and as he does so, is startled by RIVER, who is standing very nearby, staring at him. River looks at him, then turns to stare at the closed door to Inara’s shuttle. Beat, as Mal realizes Inara’s no longer there.

RIVER She's gone.

MAL Not yet, little one. Just off servicing.

RIVER No, she's gone inside. Not her in there.

MAL Who's in there then?

RIVER The Companion. Inara's ghost. You think it's her but there's nothing there, just what's left of a person all hollowed out.

She turns to stare at Mal, all creepy-eyed.

RIVER (cont’d) You're all hollow too.

He smiles, trying to make light, but it’s a halfhearted smile.

MAL Okay, that's just a bit weird. (pinches himself) I feel substantial. Pudgy, even. (yells down to Zoe) Zoe, am I a ghost?

ZOE Sometimes I'm amazed you're not one yet, sir.

MAL What’s that supposed to mean?

The ship shakes again, but this time, it’s a different type of shake, accompanied by a SOUND that might be a muffled explosion.

MAL Kaylee?

KAYLEE (nervous) Weren’t the inertial dampener that time.

INT. SERENITY – COCKPIT – SAME TIME

WASH sits at the controls, banking the ship hard to the left. As he does so, he slaps the comm on with one hand.

WASH (into the comm) Captain, you better get up here!

EXT. ABOVE TALLTREE – SAME TIME – ESTABLISHING

Talltree is built around a hill, with a small, walled compound atop it. Most of the community is a ramshackle collection of homes, warehouses, and other buildings (enough to accommodate a thousand or so citizens) that spills into the large fields of grain and corn that surround the city. Some of the fields are on fire, and smoke boils up from various parts of the city.

As SERENITY sails overhead, a MISSILE launches from the city. The ship, under Wash’s control, jukes to the side and the missile explodes where it once was.

INT. SERENITY – COCKPIT – SAME TIME

Wash is not happy.

WASH (cont’d) Now!

COMMENTS

Saturday, February 4, 2006 10:04 AM

BURNANDBOIL


Excellent opening, gripping and very funny! Nice insights by River there!


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