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

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


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1106    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

EXT. SERENITY – CONTINUOUS

Cariss picks himself up, glaring at Mal. The guards have turned their attention from the prisoners to Mal. Zoe steps up next to Mal.

CARISS Are you insane? I should have you killed.

MAL We ain’t your workers.

ZOE And you wouldn’t get far.

Zoe gestures to the ramp. Jayne and Wash are there, both armed. Jayne waves Marie casually and grins. Wash looks like he’s rather be inside.

CARISS It’s none of your business what I do with my people.

Cariss retrieves his gun.

MAL They ain’t just your people. Don’t all of the Patricians share in the rights and responsibilities of government?

Mal looks pointedly at Geoffrey. Zoe takes a step away from Mal, looking directly at Cariss, who has just aimed his gun at Mal.

ZOE You don’t want to do this. Word gets out our ship went missing, won’t nobody want to make deliveries here.

MAL (to Geoffrey) Say something, gorramit!

GEOFFREY What should I say?

ZOE (to Cariss) I’m sure we can work something out. How much is your revenge worth?

CARISS A great deal. Things will never quiet down if the likes of these rabble aren’t punished.

MAL (to Geoffrey) “They don’t work, no one eats.” How about that?

ZOE (to Cariss) We’ll return the extra twenty-five percent if we resolve this without guns.

GEOFFREY They are worth more to us alive.

Cariss glares at Geoffrey.

GEOFFREY (cont’d) They can’t work if they’re dead.

CARISS (to Zoe) The twenty-five back. And half of the original coin. For not holding up your end of the bargain.

He indicates the spilled barrel.

MAL Half!? That’s one barrel out of more’n a hundred, and we’re barely making a profit as is!

Mal reigns himself in as he looks at the guns pointed his way.

MAL (cont’d) We ain’t dealing with you. Nothing to stop you from turning and shooting them the moment we break atmo.

GEOFFREY I assure you, they won’t be harmed further.

MAL That ain’t much of a guarantee. (beat) No offense.

Geoffrey nods. He understands.

CHU My men will keep them alive if ordered to.

Zoe ignores them all and looks at Cariss.

ZOE Do we have a deal?

As Carriss considers, Zoe steps protectively in front of Mal, who leans forward, whispering.

MAL What’re you doin’? Those prisoners’re dead soon’s we leave.

ZOE No, they ain’t.

MAL We gotta try—

ZOE Not now, Mal—

INT. SERENITY – CARGO HOLD – SAME TIME

River has calmed again. Simon, Book, Kaylee and Inara are near her, but she’s no longer being held.

RIVER “—Another time.”

EXT. TALLTREE TOWN— COURTYARD – NIGHT – ESTABLISHING

The courtyard has been cleaned up a bit, although the big crater is still there. One of the skiffs and Serenity’s HOVER-MULE are parked outside one of the warehouses.

The massive irrigation unit pumps and churns noisily.

INT. WAREHOUSE – NIGHT

The warehouse is pretty empty, even with all the barrels of grain from Serenity stacked inside.

Zoe (unarmed), Jayne, Cariss, Geoffrey, and Chu are near the grain, as are four WORKERS, who now walking away under the watchful eye of two of Chu’s GUARDS.

GEOFFREY That’s the last of it.

JAYNE (wiping sweat from his brow) That’s a lot of grain.

CARISS Should last us ‘til the blight ends.

ZOE If you ration it right.

Cariss stands with Zoe. After the negotiation, he apparently thinks they’re friends.

CARISS Your Captain’s an angry fellow.

ZOE War ain’t over for some folk. Me, I just like to get by.

CARISS If only more people had that attitude.

Zoe just looks at him, unreadable.

ZOE You have our parts?

Geoffrey indicates a CRATE not far away, just small enough that one person might be able to handle it. Jayne moves forward for the crate.

ZOE I’ll get it. Why don’t you warm up the mule?

JAYNE But, Cap’n said—

ZOE I want to check the parts before we go.

Jayne’s not to excited about leaving Zoe alone, but she indicates he should go. Cariss waves off Chu and Geoffrey as well.

CARISS We’ll finish up here.

As the others leave, Zoe opens up the crate and looks inside. After a moment, she nods and stands.

CARISS (cont’d) So, our business is done?

She takes a few steps toward him, her footsteps echoing in the near-empty warehouse.

ZOE Not quite.

Before he can respond, she rushes him. He’s surprised and barely able to react.

CARISS Wha—?

In a fluid motion, she pulls his pistol off his belt, simultaneously kicking his knees out from under him, driving him to a kneeling position in front of her.

CARISS (cont’d) What are you—

He cuts himself short as she levels the gun at his head.

CARISS (cont’d) I don’t understand, I thought you were reasonable—

She slowly walks around behind him.

ZOE Very reasonable. Captain had the truth of it. Those prisoners wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes once we left.

CARISS You wouldn’t dare.

ZOE War ain’t over for some folk, is it? (calm and cool) Not for some of us {feces-colored vagrants}.

She’s now standing behind him, his gun pointed firmly at the back of his head. His eyes go wide at her words.

EXT. TALLTREE TOWN— COURTYARD – NIGHT – ESTABLISHING

Jayne sits at the wheel of the hover-mule. Chu and Geoffrey stand nearby, with a pair of guards.

The sound of the irrigation unit blankets the courtyard, but they very clearly hear a SINGLE GUNSHOT from within the warehouse.

Before Chu and the guards can react, Jayne’s hand is on his gun.

He doesn’t draw, but looks at Chu, as do the guards. Chu looks at Geoffrey. Geoffrey looks ill.

Beat.

Zoe walks out of the warehouse, carrying the crate.

INT. SERENITY – CARGO HOLD – NIGHT

Mal and Wash are in the cargo hold waiting as Jayne drives the hover-mule right in. Zoe, in the passenger seat, looks tired.

JAYNE (to Zoe) I’m just sayin’ we coulda got our coin back is all.

She ignores him and gets off the mule as soon as it stops.

MAL We get everything we need?

ZOE Deal’s done, Captain.

Wash approaches her, sensing something’s off. She just shakes her head.

ZOE (cont’d) Take us out of the gorram world.

MAL But—

ZOE Not now, Mal.

She walks away, toward the stairs, not looking at him.

BLACKOUT

COMMENTS

Saturday, February 4, 2006 11:45 AM

BURNANDBOIL


Wow, real role reversal between Zoe and Mal...kinda scary! Good eppy!

Saturday, February 4, 2006 1:43 PM

ARCADIA


The ending took my breath away. Oh, Zoe... wow. It was powerful in text. It breaks my heart to think how amazing it would have been on screen...

On a different note, I was glad that Inara finally had a client who wasn't young and necessarily attractive.

Sunday, February 5, 2006 10:36 PM

ANONYMOUS


THis is OldSoul1987 i think this was real good, i always saw Zoe as a wrathful one, even more so then mal. just male and her have different roles and all so she has wash. Mal is the captain, he has no one that personal. hell he aint even part of the crew cause the fact is the captain cant be crew and captain, they are not equal, so it is tougher that way. any way i think you captured zoe real well. best i've rad in forever. its good to show mal wasent the only one that was scared.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006 9:28 PM

MISSMADRASSA


You aren't getting the comments I think you deserve.
Mal's character is becoming more interesting with your treatment. There is a clear progression towards the darker, morally ambiguous, isolated Mal of the film. Because of this, both Zoe and Inaras character arcs are complemented also. What is it they say, "behind every great man"? But these two are just about ready to bail.
I liked that mal/inara's relationship has graduated to thwarted lovers- they are too alike to kid themselves. I'm sick of reading coy fan fiction regarding these two- they are both seriously damaged adults. The use of River and Jayne as the voice of compassion- brilliant. But where was Book?- this was an ideal platform for him. I can see various set ups for the next few episodes, all I can say is don't peak too early- we still wan't to like everyone at the end of the series. The "war ain't over" thread is what Firefly is all about- but it can get stretched too thin if you are not careful. Overall: Iam SO sorry not to see this on screen.


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