Thursday, January 17, 2008

repost. complete script - pts 1-5. river and simon pre-firefly. dedicated to MirandaGhost


RNRZ: A Man For All Serpents


River Tam – Summer Glau

Simon Tam – Sean Maher

Gabriel Tam – William Converse-Roberts

Regan Tam – Isabella Hoffman

P.A to Gabriel Tam – Ewan Bailey

Luka DeVorres – Emma Stone

Blue Sun Member – Joel Grey

Two Leather Men – Craig Veroni, Graham McTavish


OPENING SEQUENCE : Wide angle (Fish-eye – over focused) zoom in on

EXT: Playground – A Hopscotch grid. We can see the small feet of Young River, planted at square one then gradually moving forwards.

RIVER: V/O One just one – the work not done… Two by two –

Young SIMON: V/O I’m helping you

RIVER: V/O Three and Three is Family

Hand held camera whip-pan, we see the faces of Gabriel Tam, Regan Tam, Young Simon and (briefly) the adult River. This Jumps to a still photograph of the family, held by a blue gloved hand. But we hardly register this before FEET AGAIN

RIVER: V/O Four, Four – the open door. Five by Five –

SIMON: V/O Love.

RIVER: V/O Faith.



The camera wobbles…


Light flare. An instant’s vision of a fallen body, decayed.


Light flare – an instant of Adult River, shivering naked. INT: Serenity Hold

RIVER: V/O Don’t miss a trick – I missed a bit – I think - I’m missing – I’ll start again.

JUMP CUT – back to square one

RIVER: V/O One just one –

GABRIEL TAM: V/O I have no son.

RIVER: V/O Two by two…

Pan down – River’s bare feet have stopped. Slowly a dark pool of blood forms and grows wider under her. MUSIC: Ominous cello chord.

RIVER: V/O Hands of Blue…

MUSIC: drums.

We see River’s feet begin to move – but they are not hopping, they are RUNNING. A whip pan up to the child’s swinging hand – grabbed by another. We see the girl and the boy running into black. Jump cut to the adult outlined shapes of River and Simon Tam, running from the camera – and into the dark. FREEZE FRAME. Roll Credits: RNRZ – by Wytchcroft. Based on characters and situations created by Joss Whedon and Tim Minear. A Man For All Serpents.

UNFREEZE. Quick zoom in – then jog back. The HAND-HELD camera is still close up on what we think is the outlines – but as it moves away we see they are actually two wings forming an emblem for THE DENMARK CORPORARATION. The camera carries on back through some blurry figures, spins around and is edited into the CRANE which, moving upwards reveals:

INTERIOR: The Denmark Corporation. MUSIC: Waltz strings. Opulent yet dark décor – very cool, very Alliance. Crowds of begowned and suited figures, chat in low voices. Servants offer snacks on silver trays. We catch glimpses of faces, tones of voices, glints of jewellery and then the camera is off and up. Following the main staircase, which is an elaborate symbol of the hierarchies in operation. Near the top, on a wide step we see GABRIEL and REGAN TAM, and a man whose sleeve bears the sign for BLUE SUN. All three are exchanging pleasant small talk.

BLUE SUN MAN: Of course, we’re not talking a merger – but surely closer relations between out two corporations…

When suddenly, from behind G, two figures in neat leather armour interrupt and whisper in his ear.

GABRIEL: (loudly, TOO loudly – his rage provoking him to burst out with:) AH! “Who will rid me of this turbulent boy?!”

A swift but significant look is exchanged between the Leather Men. One slips into the crowd on the stair. The other turns but Tam stops him.

GABRIEL: (hisses) Where is he?

Camera pivots and zooms down to SIMON. Drunk and disorderly he makes a forlorn figure – his eyes show just how bereft he is without his sister. Crudely, he accosts two figures – that draw back appalled.

SIMON: Well, excuse me – and you must – you just HAVE to be the Darbanvilles. You know, how could I forget – all the wonderful times we…

Simon staggers, reaches out a hand, blindly. Swaying, starts to fall again – a hand catches him, pulls him up and – Into the

INTERIOR: LUKA’s Vole class ship. Essentially a jumped-up shuttle. Fast but tiny. F/X – audio sound of engines, kicking in. Noisy Sound of rushing air.

Simon is held in the doorway – behind him is the bright light of day, the air is pulling at him as the ship rises. But LUKA DeVORRES pulls him in with a strong arm.

F/X audio – clang of hatch. Sound-Cut to ambient shuttle noise.

We see LUKA’s young bright face – a jagged length of red hair. A cheroot clenched in her mouth, clashing with the gloss lipstick somewhat.

LUKA: (Laughing) Well – I’ll be… steady now – get your breath. Your mama never tell you? Wrastlin’ the underside of a lifter will surely end in unhappiness… You can get turned into a balloon.


HAND-HELD camera peers round the cramped interior; it is littered with junk, retro objects and tat. A wall screen shows an old Bruce Lee movie playing. There are many empty bottles of bourbon strewn about.

Luka leans forward moving across what is clearly her bed – to push through a curtain, upending herself. We see her legs wriggling. She is clad in a mix n match urchin outfit.

LUKA: Don’t mind me – you can get your eyes off my ass tho’ ha ha!

A swift camera pan reveals Simon’s eyes are everywhere ELSE, other than Luka’s ass. He is looking around desperately.

LUKA: Just – gotta adjust the automatics – didn’t know we’d be pulling a little extra weight.

SIMON: (calling out now) River!?

Luka’s face appears again.

LUKA: An’ if you mean that bundle of hair and bones and girl flesh, I figure you dumped here last night – while I was out datin’ Mr Daniels. Well, she’s sleeping under there.

Luka gestures at a bundle of coats. We can just see River’s fingers, a few strands of dark hair poking out.

LUKA: She seemed warmer with ‘em on.

SIMON: (still dazed) Thank you. Is this – yours? You look a little…

LUKA: Young? Hell I was a runner in the war at 12! No/one faster in the trenches or the valley. “Take a note De Vorres” Sir! “Take it far – and make it fast!” Sir! So, no – I aint so young.

SIMON: Thank you.

LUKA: Well – that’s just me. I used to run. Run to and fro BETWEEN places. You seem to be running FROM someplace. You feel like spillin’ Mister? Who’re we running from?

CUT to:

INT: GABRIEL TAM’s CHAMBERS. Quiet. A glass clock makes the only real noise. The light is dim except for a desk lamp that shines on the backs of GABRIEL TAM and his Personal Assistant.

P.A: It was – THIS? In your private mail?

GABRIEL: Yes. From… Si… - from the Boy…

PA: (in close up inspecting the object under his blue tinted glasses.) From him? What is it? A Tooth? It’s like - a fang.

GABRIEL: It’s a snakes Tooth.

PA: (Dropping tooth in alarm. Close up on tooth coming to rest in petri dish.) Is it poisonous? Venom…

GABRIEL: Oh – undoubtedly… but you’re forgetting how very… educated, Simon is.

He picks up to the tooth.

GABRIEL: (Quoting) How sharper than a serpents tooth it is… to have an ungrateful son.

PA: It’s from your SON?!

GABRIEL: I… have no son.

He turns his back, clenching his fist around the tooth. Camera zoom in on the stiff clenched arm, held behind his back. Then down to the shadow he casts on the floor. It is like a pool of shadow. The camera jogs backwards and we see River’s feet standing in the pool. Gradually they begin to move – begin to run. We see the adult outlines, once again of Simon and River. FREEZE FRAME.

Roll End Credits.

............................................ RNRZ: Games of Death pt 1


River Tam – Summer Glau

Simon Tam – Sean Maher

Gabriel Tam – William Converse-Roberts

Regan Tam – Isabella Hoffman

P.A to Gabriel Tam – Ewan Bailey

Luka DeVorres – Emma Stone

Blue Sun Member – Joel Grey

Two Leather Men – Craig Veroni, Graham McTavish

Checkout Guy -


OPEN ON INTERIOR: The D.LUX Shopping station. Bright Lit – the wandering figures of LUKA DeVORRES, SIMON and RIVER TAM are shadowy against the fluorescence. Luka is breezily grabbing at things, including Simon. River, in a long coat of Luka’s, is spinning and watching as though lost in a dream. Simon is tense. Natch.

FX – music, piped muzak for the interior. Camera steadies in on SIMON and LUKA in two-shot. She is walking briskly, Simon is forced, uncomfortably, to touch her on the shoulder – quickly putting his hands behind his back – and she urns to face him.

SIMON: (in profile) So – let me get this right… After explaining to you – about – well, ok not explaining but – after I’ve told you that River and I are fugitives – that we’re in danger. You decide to bring us SHOPPING?

LUKA: (in profile) Hell yes – Girl’s gotta eat y’know Mister – ok this may not be the kinda platter served at home with the servants an’ all, but it’ll keep us fuelled. Mmm Chockets! And sure – I know you’d rather be back in the Vole cozyin’ up with Lady I-be-Trippin’…

JUMP CUT to RIVER pulling at tins distractedly. The camera looms in over her shoulder. She looks up, sideways.

RIVER: The number of beans in a tin is worked out mathematically – it’s in perfect ratio to… only I don’t want beans- you call it food… D’you remember Simon, when we were little? I used to eat food… now the food eats me!

She begins to throw the tins around wildly. The Camera spins to face the angry CHECKOUT MAN


Cut To – LUKA: I know, I know – late night shoppers huh? Whaddya gonna do?

The Camera jumps to behind the CHECKOUT GUY. We see him shrug – in the same instant that two figures step out from behind LUKA. They are the LEATHER MEN.

LEATHER ONE: Well, he aint gonna do nuthin’ l’il lady – but I might jus’ shoot your face off.

JUMP CUT – close up: The gun, in his hand swinging up. Pan around to the LEATHER MAN’s P.O.V. LUKA shrugs.

LUKA: Are you kiddin’ me? – Y’know how long this face takes to APPLY?


LEATHER ONE: Y’know how long it takes to remove?

C/U – The Gun – F/X Audio – electrical charging sound – make it a nasty one.

Just as the charging peaks – Luka rocks back and comes up with a swift straight karate kick – knocking the gun from the man’s hand. Cut to – reaction c/u LEATHER TWO – growling and drawing weapon. Cut to – LUKA and LEATHER ONE – trading blows. Cut to SIMON – shocked. Cut to RIVER – standing but the shelves – tins in hand and surrounded by the others she has dropped and thrown. ZOOM in – her face, tense under lank hair - suddenly relaxes. FX – audio: Whispering – sound of mathematical numbers being chanted – barely audible. JUMP BACK – RIVER whirls and throws the tins with deadly accuracy. One takes LEATHER TWO behind the ear – the other hits LEATHER ONE just above the bridge of his nose. Both are felled instantly. JUMP Cut – shocked reactions from LUKA and SIMON. PAN back and down – the CHECKOUT GUY presses a panic button. Fx – audio – blare of alarms. Camera whips up to

SIMON: We’ve got to go!

Camera spins to show LUKA throwing tins into a basket – comes to rest on River’s hand reaching for Simon. He grabs it and they start to run, the camera static on their retreating shapes.

FREEZE FRAME: Roll credits: RNRZ: By Wytchcroft. Based on characters and situations created by Joss Whedon and Tim Minear. Games of Death – pt 1


REVEAL: Int – The Vole. FX audio – ambient sound. SIMON is bending low over RIVER who makes for a corner to huddle. LUKA is whooping with delight.

LUKA: And – let’s go again with the part where baby sis’ takes out two bad dudes with a tin of beans!

SIMON: I told you – the danger – YOU put us in –

He is cut off by an abrupt movement from River – back under the pile of coats. Her hand reaching straight up shows two fingers.

RIVER: Two tins. Not beans. Corny. I hit ‘em with corny. (giggles)

LUKA: ME! – I’m doing you a BIG favour buddy – helping your sorry selves – but y’know? Y’think we’re in danger – I think you might be right… (She looks significantly past SIMON)

SIMON leans in again over RIVER

SIMON: She’s not – River’s not dangerous – she’s just – she’s been badly treated… I told you, we’re running from –

LUKA: Those men? They found us already I reckon.

She is busy stowing tins in a duffle bag. Camera moves up to close up on

SIMON: If you can’t help us – if this is too much then –

Cut to LUKA looking up at SIMON.

LUKA: Hey! Did I say that? We just – we need a plan is all.

SIMON: They won’t stop – they will keep coming for us – they won’t stop until we’re…

The camera pivots to RIVER (under the coats).

RIVER: Dead.


REVEAL: Int. BLUE SUN CORPORATION - A quiet chamber office. We see a man sat in a chair, by a desk, low lighting. He is leaning over an object in his hands. The camera moves in slowly until we see the object is a photograph held between his blue gloved hands. It is a TAM family portrait.

FX – audio, soft door chime.

The camera zooms for a moment to the door - then pans around to reveal the face of the BLUE SUN SPOKESPERSON, neat and reptilian.


The camera doors back as a door opens outward (deliberate Blue Sun policy). Under a beam spotlight we see the P.A. for GABRIEL TAM. BLUE SUN MAN: Ah. News is it?

Jump cut to close up - his gloved hands neatly placing the photograph in a drawer. The drawer closes silently and automatically. The camera comes up to BLUE SUN MAN’s P.O.V. looking at the P.A.

P.A. Yes – It’s about the meeting. I’m afraid that Mr Tam is, uh, indisposed. He is unable to attend as a result. It’s his son you see…

Cut to med shot of

BLUE SUN MAN: Yes, yes, family troubles – I understand – always very… upsetting. He has my sympathies of course. The last couple of years have been – difficult for the man. I understand. And they’ve hurt the value of his stock no end…

Cut to close up of P.A. as he nods there is the barest whiff of complicity.

Cut back to

BLUE SUN MAN: Tut tut. Strange indeed - the whims of the ‘verse… family and business. Who would’ve seen such a – such a decline in one as vital as Tam – and the Denmark Corporation.

Cut to close up on

P.A.: His Son is dead.

(A beat.)

BLUE SUN MAN: Ah. So it has come to that already. A shame.

P.A.: Yes. He will grieve.

Cut to c/u

BLUE SUN MAN: No I meant – a shame, a pity. As a grieving Father nobly enduring his lot – well, the shareholders will flock to him…. And all our efforts wasted.

JUMP CUT – Int TAM estate. Night.

GABRIEL and REGAN TAM are knelt before the fireplace of the living room. All lights are off. As they camera moves in we can see by the glow of the fire that they are clutching each other in the throws of grief. Close up on GABRIEL TAM crying.

FREEZE FRAME: To be continued…


RNRZ: Games of Death pt 2


River Tam – Summer Glau

Simon Tam – Sean Maher

Gabriel Tam – William Converse Roberts

Regan Tam – Isabella Hoffman

Mr Universe – David Krumholtz

Luka DeVorres – Emma Stone

Blue Sun Member – Joel Grey

Two Leather Men – Craig Veroni, Graham McTavish



SIMON V/O: Go to sleep

RIVER V/O: I don’t want to…

SIMON V/O: Shh! Go to sleep

RIVER V/O: I won’t – not going to, just cuz you say… You have to tell me a story if you want me to sleep. (giggles)

SIMON V/O: A story…

FX Audio Light Switch, CLICK! REVEAL Int. TAM Estate. Simon and River’s room. We see YOUNG SIMON and YOUNG RIVER in the glow of a bed side lamp. C/u two shot – the two of them, nose-to-nose across the space between their beds. River moves back, with theatrical languor and the camera moves in with her as Simon stays close and begins his story.

YOUNG SIMON: Once upon a time there was a magician…

CUT TO: Ext Tam estate, a lush green lawn. Wide angle lense ‘fish eye’ effect. We see YOUNG SIMON dressed as a stage magician, wand in hand. Hat a little crooked. His left hand tugs at his bow tie. From behind him YOUNG RIVER scampers into view. Dressed in a leotard with faery wings attached. She is laughing silently and smiling. It’s like a dream of a home movie.

SIMON V/O: And the magician was famed through out the core and all it’s people for two things… the beauty of his remarkable assistant…

RIVER V/O: Naturally

SIMON V/O: Who was something of a brat! (quickly) Yes – and secondly for the wonder of his special trick. He performed it often and still people begged to know…

The camera turns from YOUNG SIMON and we see the laughing faces of GABRIEL and REGAN TAM. But the voice we hear is sombre.

V/O GABRIEL TAM: How can you DO such a thing, Simon?

The camera drops, almost ashamed, stares for a second at the grass – then back up to YOUNG SIMON.

SIMON V/O: But he would never tell.

The camera spins again – looking at YOUNG RIVER. She is distressed.

SIMON: V/O When the attentions of the crowd became too much for her, The Magician would take his assistant by the hand…

We see YOUNG SIMON do just that. SIMON V/O: And he would lead her to safety. She would be Safe.

The camera moves to show the children’s POV – a large cabinet, or box, sits on the grass. Slowly the lid begins to open. We see YOUNG SIMON lead YOUNG RIVER to the box. She turns at the last and says:

RIVER: V/O: I don’t want to go in a box Simon…

But the child turns and clambers into the box. The lid closes.

SIMON: V/O And the magician would wave his wand through times – and the girl would be… gone.

YOUNG SIMON taps the box three times, his back to the camera. The lid of the box opens. It is empty. Closes again. YOUNG SIMON turns and smiles at the camera.

SIMON: V/O And though the people would search and search, in their angry way – His beautiful sister would escape.

The camera closes up to the door. We hear pounding and banging - barely audible – but frantic. Suddenly the door burst open. A naked River bursts out, and falls gasping into the interior of Serenity.


Roll Credits: RNRZ, by Wytchcroft. Based on characters and situations created by Joss Whedon and Tim Minear. Games of Death Pt 2.


REVEAL: Camera panning up to show: Ext. Mr UNIVERSE’s studio complex. FX vista of complex – flash of electrical force discharge.

Cut to Int. MR UNIVERSE’s suite. Littered with monitors and screens. The camera peers round and settles on the back of Mr Universe. He is laughing as the camera comes to him.

Cut to Int. The Vole. Messy as always. SIMON and LUKA are kneeling to stare at her monitor. Where we previously saw Bruce Lee, we now see:

MR UNIVERSE (peering into screen): Do I know you? – No, don’t think I do. Yeah… I’m guessing I will though, right? You got that thing going on with your face…

Cut to MR U’s P.O.V. Simon now peering up at him.

SIMON: My face? What – thing?

He turns quickly to LUKA, who shrugs, turns back to the screen. Cut to Mr UNIVERSE, in close up, frowning.

MR UNIVERSE: Thing that tells me you’re gonna feature heavily on rotation – guest starring – new male lead, up on my screens. No guest appearance, cameo role for you. You been on air too long now – you’re getting an audience.

CUT to Simon looking irritated.

SIMON: Are you actually – helping?

Cut to monitor screen and

Mr UNIVERSE: Of course, I’m helping, y’shmuck. Only coz a Luka tho’. I know how she coverts the warm strength of my fiery universal loins. LUKA: (in close up, scowling) Get a ‘bot!

Cut back to INT Universal studios.

MR UNIVERSE: One of these days honey, one of these days – try not to weep on me now. Anyway - it’s done – I sent the loop out… (checking) HOURS ago - getting confirmation, official channels now. I’ll send you a follow up – if there is one. Which there will be. There always is.

The camera holds for a beat – then we begin the MONTAGE SEQUENCE: 1) Ext Mr Universe’s complex 2) CUT TO: a mean looking ship gliding through space – this is the LEATHER MEN’s craft. 3) CUT TO: News Wave – a busy stock exchange – we see A REPORTER - her voice will carry us through the rest of the MONTAGE. REPORTER: Yes – that’s right Che Man, it’s another volatile day on the floor – and in the core! News of the death of Simon Tam – 4) CUT TO: Loop – we see the Ext of The Vole beginning to leave a spaceport. Simon visible on the landing gear, clutching desperately. We see him slip out of shot. We see the apparently Simon-less craft rise into the sky. REPORTER: … has again brought confusion to the share price of the Denmark Corporation – previously considered a ROCK among the trading families… 5) CUT TO: Ext – Leather Men Ship. Then Int. Zero-gravity flight deck. The LEATHER MEN talking animatedly. The BLUE SUN MAN is on a monitor. REPORTER: Sympathies for Gabriel Tam have lifted the price by an astronomical 7% - as preparations for the memorial service of his son take place. There has been no official word from The Tam’s as yet – but it is understood that he will be speaking at the funeral service. 6) CUT TO: Int. The Vole. RIVER, lying in the corner, under a pile of coats. Tight close up.

RIVER: (giggling) Who died?

SIMON: No/one – remember? We’re playing a game.

RIVER: (close up – she is spooked suddenly) They put you in a box.


REVEAL: Ext Tam Estate. Day. Camera zoom in on entrance – we quick cut inside. To the back of a man, neatly suited. We realise who it is when we see his arms drawn back formally behind him. They are blue-gloved. The camera is close – we see the blue-gloved hand clench.

BLUE SUN MAN: I’m very sorry for your… loss. The camera cuts then to close on REGAN TAM.

REGAN TAM: (sniffs) Thank you – we’re just – we’re just psyching ourselves up to tell… River. Y’know? How do we… a thing like this… We - we got a card just yesterday. She’s… happy. (looking up at GABRIEL) He always had her best interests at heart…

GABRIEL: (looking from BS Man to WIFE and back) Yes – it was the one good thing Simon did – urging us to send her.

The camera cuts jerkily – we see in med shot, off-angle, the BLUE SUN MAN.

BLUE SUN MAN: Yes, I remember when he came to me for the details…

Cut to group shot – we see all three, homely details of the room etc.

GABRIEL: Ironic isn’t it – River didn’t want to go - studying was… beneath her, frankly. But we thought…it would be healthy – for them, the two of them… Healthy. Dear God. We had no idea Simon was – and he clearly didn’t realise… He became – unhinged. Well, you know of course.

REGAN: (Abruptly – and entering the frame) I ‘m not going to tell River. I – I – (stifles a sob) Will you… excuse me please.

Exits slowly. The camera watches neutrally for a beat – then pivots back to -

BLUE SUN MAN: Actually I’m glad she’s gone. I have some information for you Gabriel. I’m not sure the little woman is in any shape to handle it. She’s not as… strong as you.

Pull back to medium shot of the men.

GABRIEL: (Vaguely) What? Yes – I used to think she… and River’s strong. But Simon… well… And she (meaning WIFE) and Simon are… the same. It’s disappointing. - What information?

BLUE SUN MAN: Your son is… not dead. The security tape of the accident was… tampered with.

Quick cut - tight close up. GABRIEL. Haggard now.

GABRIEL: WAIT. Not dead? He – it – the death was… a HOAX?!!?

Slow pan back to

BLUE SUN MAN: I’m afraid so. It would appear to have been a childish attempt to – well, I’m not sure what really – wound you? In any case – falsifying death is a major felony – I can’t prevent the Alliance Federal Officers from pursuing him now. Your son…

GABRIEL: (in Close up. His eyes are empty.) Is… DEAD.



RNRZ: Pt 4: Sanctuary


River Tam – Summer Glau

Simon Tam – Sean Maher

Luka DeVorres – Emma Stone

Jethro Xiang – Christian Kane

Alliance Commander, Alliance Navigator



Int. Vole. Tight CLOSE UP on SIMON TAM. Sleeping fitfully. The camera begins to mist up as we zoom in – it is clear SIMON is DREAMING. FADE TO BACK

REVEAL Spaceport exterior – night. SIMON running, dragging and pushing RIVER TAM along. It is windy and empty. MUSIC – low drumming – mechanistic rhythms.

Simon peers around under the lights at the edge of the port – which is more an out door car park looking kinda place, carved into a hill side… than a mos eisley. His eyes settles on something.

CUT to: Ext The VOLE. Shot from close and behind – we see the weary TAMs approaching.

CUT to SIMON’S p.o.v. approaching the VOLE – we see vague outlines of other craft behind it. His fatigue is obvious in every step. With his last strength he pushes RIVER up and into the Vole, through the open hatch – climbing up the craft’s landing gear to do so. With a groan he falls back.

Spent he wraps himself around one of the leg like struts and begins a weary vigil. His eyes closing almost immediately… to be JOLTED AWAKE!

CLOSE UP on Simon’s face – eyes wide. CUT TO: CLOSE UP on RIVER’s face – asleep – feverish – murmuring anxiously.

FX – audio explosion from outside the ship. FX audio – “ALERT! ALERT!”

SIMON moves towards the camera – which tilts crazily. Cut to SIMONS’S P.O.V – bending over RIVER CUT to c/u SIMON’s face – concerned… but torn as

FX explosion from outside the ship. The camera tilts again. The Camera swing back to where the dividing curtain is – we see SIMON stagger forward, still half asleep.

CUT to Ext. SPACE. FX – star field. FX – CGI The Vole. Rapidly pursued by an Alliance craft.

CUT to: Vole Int flight deck – LUKA DeVORRES – piloting with controlled panic.

V/O: ALLIANCE: …and stand down. We will board –

LUKA cuts the voice off.

LUKA: (grimly) I’M ruttin’ bored.

FX – explosion outside. Warning shots. The Vole bucks – camera tilts.

SIMON’s head peers through the curtain into the cockpit.

The camera draws back – showing his profile.

SIMON: What’s –

LUKA: I know, ok! Folks are to s’posed to be presuming you dead - for a dead guy – people seem GORRAM keen to find you!

FX – explosion (these are warning shots)

LUKA: “You”, meaning US.

EXT. SPACE. The two Ships. Tiny pieces of debris are also visible.

CUT to: Int. Vole. FX audio – CLANG!

SIMON: What – is – going – on?! I told you, River’s sick she needs -

LUKA: Feds, Doctor-man. Feds and –


LUKA: Wreckage… not ours I hope.

CUT to EXT SPACE. The Vole enters a line of wrecked craft – drifting in orbit around a tiny moon – the wreckage and debris forming an artificial ring.

FX – Alliance Cruiser. Pulling up. FX audio – Proximity Warning It cannot go through the ring.

CUT to: EXT. The Vole – keeping the ring between them and the feds. Begins a rapid descent, toward the Moon.

CUT to INT: Vole. Luka whooping. Close up from profile.

LUKA: Baby – I was BORN to run!

CUT TO: EXT. The Vole – seen from behind, breaking atmo’ with a burst of flame.


ROLL CREDITS: RNRZ by Wytchcroft. Based on characters and situations by Joss Whedon and Tim Minear. Episode four: Sanctuary.


Ext. The MOONs surface:

FX: visual – CGI Vole exterior – and Sanctuary, matte effects for the moon and visual elements. (Swift nod to the old Matt Jeffries)

The camera pans parallel to the Vole as it breaks atmo’ descending (with an occasional burst of black fumes) towards a sparse looking valley. As it draws near we see clearly now The Sanctuary – a converted FireFly ship. At first looking almost like a wreck – it becomes clear that open to the elements as she is, it is deliberate. The craft itself is a little bulkier than Serenity. The Shuttle bays are empty and large beige tarpaulins stretch out like shop awnings from the bay entrances. We see distant figures enter and leave the craft. It is sunrise – and the light is changing from a delicate pink to a brighter white.

MUSIC – relieved sounding – strings – a dawn trumpet.

The tiny Vole craft has two long landing skis - which cannot be retracted. It settles down on these like a rodent on its back feet.

As the dust settles we cut to the Interior – cramped flight compartment. LUKA DeVORRES let’s go of the steering sticks and twist two large round controls.

LUKA: Locked – and… down. Gotta say – you ay not be the easiest of people – but I’m sure glad you don’t make nervous passengers back there! (pats the controls)

FX – audio – mechanical burping sound – a thick gob of black smoke is visible through the cockpit window.

LUKA: Really gotta get that fixed.

She twists in her seat – as the camera shifts back – taking in both her and the dividing curtain.

LUKA: Ok – we’re shiny in here. How’s my Doctor man?

The head of SIMON TAM bursts through the curtain.

SIMON: Her fever’s worse – it’s almost like a drug withdrawal.

LUKA: (looking out at the cockpit window) An’ a fine mornin’ to you too senor.

SIMON: You really think this place can help us?

LUKA: Hey! Was I wrong on callin’ Mr Universe? No. So, am I wrong on this now, huh? No. Only more so, what with me actually liking these peeps n all.

SIMON leans in, over LUKA, to peer out the flight window. LUKA doesn’t seem to mind. SIMON absentmindedly swats her playful fingers away.

SIMON: It’s a – well it’s a… dump, actually.

LUKA: Hey – we’re as close to the raggedy edge as this l’il Vole goes – what, you expecting glamour now? You wanna resort? No, you wanna help ‘Lady “I see dead people”’. Fine. That’s what we’re here for – aint nuthin’ but the help.

SIMON: (Turning to Luka – who smiles slightly.) Does… ANYTHING – you say, actually contain… words?

LUKA: Grrr Arrgh!

SWIFT CUT to: Int. SANCTUARY. The main loading bay has been converted in a mobile field hospital. Although currently there are few patients, an old man, a family of three. Drifters most like. The camera zooms in from above and settles close to the strong figure of JETHRO XIANG. A large tattoo graces the side of his face, covering an old wound.

MUSIC – stirring theme.

He is walking steadily towards the camera now.

JETHRO: Well, well, if it don’t be the shiny moppet herself! (grins) What leads you to our ministrations – you tired a running? You… sick? You aint sick now – coz I darn well told your papa –

CUT TO: LUKA moving towards him – we can see SIMON a ways off, and wary.

LUKA: I aint sick. And that man you talkin’ about – you know he aint my old man – my old man’s dead. You shot him as I recall.

JETHRO: Not as much as you – the old (curses in crude Chinese). And this would be – a Doctor is it? Aint that civil of you darlin’ – bringin’ a Doc’ to our Hospital…

The camera moves to JETHRO’s p.o.v. – We see SIMON closer now. Worried still.

SIMON: Well, I’m going to be a patient soon – if we don’t get out of here – Luka…

CUT TO: EXT Space. The Alliance cruiser. Menacing as a tax office.

CUT to. Int Alliance. FX – ambient sounds.

Under the low light, on the plush carpet –the camera tracks in on the Nav-Computer we see the COMMANDER (standing) and NAVIGATOR (seated).

NAVIGATOR – looking up under his hat: We have a possible tracking and intercept plotted Sir – we can clear the ring and re-enter… here. Shuttles could go down easy.

COMMANDER Let’s do this – and get it done. Hunt them down.

FREEZE FRAME. FADE TO BLACK. ROLL CREDITS. ……………………………………………………………..– RNRZ: End of the Line


River Tam – Summer Glau

Simon Tam – Sean Maher

Luka DeVorres – Emma Stone

Jethro Xiang – Christian Kane

Blue Glove Man – Hugo Weaving


MUSIC – drumming – tense rhythm before the music kicks in with FX – EXPLOSION! A green fired whammy of ordnance and tracer fire – trails drifting down from the sky

MUSIC – stirring Celtic influenced – the music of the independents

The camera zooms down from the night dark sky to land with a FX – audio: THUD! MUSIC – becomes ominous

CLOSE UP – a heavy boot stamps into frame, splashing the camera with mud. On-Screen Tele-type: MERRION TRENCHES. WAR. FX – Audio: boom of explosions – whistle of bullets – screams of both machinery and man.

C/U – The camera pivots to behind the boot filling our screen – it begins to move quickly along the line of the trench, a slung carbine banging against the camera as it swings from a grey-gloved hand.

C/U we keep this low tracking angle – bumping against half buried shells, equipment and many, many, corpses as we do so. The camera is knocked about roughly as we follow the boots. The camera gains on the boots – comes alongside and faces the as they run in profile to the screen. On-screen Tele-type: RUNNERS. BY WYTCHCROFT. BASED ON CHARACTERS AND SITUATIONS BY JOSS WHEDON AND TIM MINEAR. FX – shattering EXPLOSION!


Cut to – reverse angle – a helmet head, one gauntleted arm flung over protectively. As the light dies down the camera pans around – the edges of the trenches are on fire – coming into a shot from of below of the CHILD that is LUKA DeVORRES. Grim White face streaked with mud and soot – five hundred yard stare in place. She spits once and begins running again.

AUDIO TRACK – the heavy breathing of the child.

The Camera moves behind YOUNG LUKA as she comes to a guarded tent – tiny artificial lights pointing down from the top – making the form of the guard more nightmarish. He is taller than YOUNG LUKA we can see only up to his chest now filling the screen.

YOUNG LUKA (off-screen) Sir! Message Sir!

The guard gives way to the camera – as it dives through the flaps of the tent – into the warmth and bright light within. We cut for an instant to – CLOSE UP: ADULT LUKA: Blinking.

INT. SANCTUARY. Loading Bay. Converted in a crude Hospital. The Camera swoops up tracking the walking figures of LUKA, SIMON TAM, RIVER TAM and JETHRO X, RIVER is being supported by her brother.

ZOOM to Med shot: SIMON: So – this really is a hospital?

JETHRO: … a sorts. Being made mostly outta spit, rust and good will – We’re mainly used for storage –

The Camera pans as JETHRO points to a line of Freezer-like boxes, one has a crude hand drawn saying: ‘Organ storage – thaw before use. - Are you kidneying me?’

JETHRO: But we’re fully licensed – Alliance leaves us alone – I was a trooper in the war Doc, not a medical man – but I help keep this place in hand. These days, mostly drifters – a few accidents – we’re on way to Persephone – so we get a little traffic. Keeps my unit in coin – and it’s… useful work. Not -

Cut back to SIMON.

SIMON: (Interrupting) We need equipment – My sister – I have to run tests.

JETHRO: Well, like I said – what we got here is pretty humble – but I’ll show yer someplace to rest first – and we’ll see.

SIMON: There’s no time – the Alliance is coming! Don’t you understand – and my sister is sick.

The camera swirls around to RIVER

RIVER: (Quietly) I’m not sick. (she smiles to herself) One by one – the work not done…

SIMON: You see? She’s been like this… (exhaustion overwhelms him, he staggers).

JETHRO: Well dead on your feet aint gonna help none, I’ll get Zeek to show you a cabin – Luka here, well she can tell me just what the blazes is going on…

We zoom in on RIVER looking tenderly at SIMON. Cut to a Two-shot of them both, close together.

RIVER: Two by Two

SIMON: (smiling a little) I reach for you?

RIVER (firmly) Hands of Blue.

A beat.

SIMON (looking at JETHRO) D’you see? She’s…

RIVER: Fine Simon – you think she’s hurt – but she’s ok. SIMON: No, but we – we don’t know – there’s something in your system – I think, like a poison…

CLOSE UP – RIVER (The Mona Lisa bit)

RIVER: I AM the poison.

CUT TO: SIMON alarmed, about to rise. Cut to reactions from JETHRO and LUKA – confused by all they’ve heard.

The camera turns to -

RIVER: ‘S alright, Simon. Ok. (Stroking his face) They’re here now.

C/U – SIMON TAM shocked reaction.

MUSIC - dramatic

CUT TO – Ext. Watch post outside of SANCTUARY. The camera barely registers it before swerving to avoid the falling body of a lookout. FX – dusty THUD!

Music CUTS abruptly

CUT TO: Close up A Blue-Gloved hand. In the hand is the Haemorrhage weapon – activated but silent.

BLUE SUN MAN: (Off screen) Ok, teams, spread out.

CUT TO: View from above. We see the M*A*S*H like set of SANCTUARY, we see the calmly walking figures of the BLUE SUN MEN, they are met by brown-coated watchmen and figures from inside the craft. These figures fall to the ground and stay there. The MUSIC is SOMBRE.

CUT TO: INT. SANCTUARY – Alarms blaring. The camera zooms wildly across to JETHRO holding a wall communicator.

JETHRO (grim). Wha- all of ‘em? (Swears in violent Chinese)

The camera tracks across to SIMON, LUKA, RIVER, huddled.

LUKA: I don’t hear no gunfire.

FX – audio (faint screams off screen)

RIVER: Everyone will die.

JETHRO: (coming abruptly into frame) Not if I can help it girl. We aint got much now – in the way a guns – but there’s something special in my cabin. Doc’ you take your sister into where the engine room used to be – might be you can find a place to hide. Luka, no arguing now – you get out by the exhaust vents – you RUN, now, understand? You get a chance to grab your ship – take it – if not just keep running… (He has, despite his brave front, clearly been affected by what he heard on the com)

Wasting no time he dashes out of camera – we hear his booted feet running.

SIMON opens and closes his mouth. Looks at LUKA who is about to run.

LUKA: Come with me.


Relieved, LUKA wastes no time – pelting away.

SIMON: (Turning to RIVER) Ok - River, we’ve got to go!

Stars off but RIVER has grabbed him – her strength surprising him. He cannot move.

RIVER: No. She don’t deserve it.

SIMON: (Swift with panic) Ok – agh! – Ok! So we HIDE!

RIVER: Can’t hide – they see all the ways.

CUT TO – swift montage – BLUE SUN MEN in two stalking the corridors – killing all they meet.

INT. SANCTUARY corridor. CUT TO: JETHRO at a sprint enters his cabin.

CUT to INT. CABIN. We see JETHRO pull a large carbine from the wall, his war souvenir.

CUT BACK TO: Close up on SIMON AND RIVER, they are actually moving TOWARDS the entrance. SIMON is following RIVER and is now distraught.

SIMON: River – please!…

RIVER: No more running.

BLUE SUN MAN: (voice off screen) I’m very glad to hear that.

CUT TO: INT. SANCTURY Engine room access. LUKA stopping suddenly, realising that no/one is coming behind her. The camera turns with her – we hear a loud male scream.

LUKA groans – throws herself into the engine room.

CUT TO: INT. SANCTUARY loading bay. Close up – BLUE SUN MAN staggering backwards screaming. As he moves past the camera we see his hand is pinned to his chest by his own weapon.

Swift whip—pan around. We see another menacing BLUE SUN MAN. He is reaching into his pocket. Without warning RIVER attacks. MUSIC: Dramatic ala Serenity Movie. Kicking out from behind the camera – which spins around to follow her movements – she fells him first with a long straight leg – then by hitting him with his fist still clenched around the B.S. weapon. Two more enter the frame and are swiftly dispatched. Two more still – and these seem to have a chance… they are grabbing at River – her path obstructed by the falling bodies.

CUT TO: INT SANCTUARY cabin. We see in med shot – JETHRO lock and load his weapon – see the tense grin of satisfaction. He reaches a strong arm for the cabin door. Open it. We cut to behind the door – a BLUE SUN MAN fills the frame. We cut to the strange weapon in his hand.

CUT BACK TO: INT. SANCTUARY – Loading Bay. Shot from above. We see River circled by the bodies of the Blue Sun Men… but she herself is lying crumpled in the middle of them. We see SIMON, stumbling brokenly into the frame.

CUT TO: EXT SANCTUARY CAMP. (FX – faint screams off screen)

In med shot we see the desperately running figure of LUKA. The camera moves behind her as she begins to scrabble up a scree slope, her boots fill the screen. FREEZE FRAME – ROLL CREDITS: Runners – end of pt 5.


I hope anyone reading this found it interesting – and that it helps shed light on my portrayal of Simon and River elsewhere.


Thursday, January 17, 2008 10:05 AM


Not many had the courage to write about Simon and River pre-firefly and I must say this was a damn shiny piece!

Keep flyin'


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Independently Blue parts complete 3 parts
just a coda to wrap things up is all.

Bell, Book and Candle - pt 5. Conclusion.
CONCLUSION: While the Serenity crew are at gun-point, Inara has persuaded the leader of the men to stand down. However, as a hysterical River flees the ship, the shooting starts.
Meantime – Mal and the LoveBot™ Sebastian are en-route to find Jossiah Bell and the missing Shepherd Book.

Bell, Book and Candle pt 4
Book has been vanished. Serenity taken hostage. Mal is getting annoyed. Kaylee's getting curious. Inara is getting ambassadorial.

Bell, Book and Candle Pt 3
new chapter: Pt 3 of 5. The crew held hostage, Mal off to settle a score, Book in a very strange shop...

Bell, Book and Candle pt 2
Serenity has found a cargo of wine is actually oil.
There are complications. Book and Kaylee are taking in the town of Candle.

Bell, Book and Candle - pt 1
New Fic. Pt 1. The Serenity crew at work and... not so much,
serious and - not so much.
Easing myself back into the game with this curio.

The Wages of Sihnon - CONCLUSION
Inara and Saffron are on Sihnon, attending a ceremony between Companions and Shepherds. Radha Brook and Phil Yip are also there investigating some missing girls.

The Wages of Sihnon - pt 5 (of 6)
Having been summoned to Sihnon, Inara is attending a Temple shindig between the Guild and The Shepherds. For reasons not yet fully explained, Saffron is with her. Phil Yip and Radha Brook are investigating the disappearance of some young Companions in Training.

The wages of Sihnon pt 4 (of 6)
Inara has been summoned to Sihnon to liaise in meetings between the Shepherds and the Guild. Meantime some trainee companions are missing and GIA Agent Radha and Private 'Tec Phil Yip are investigating. Saffron appears to be in cahoots with Inara and is disguised as a novice companion.
This chapter - a nosy journalist and the High Priestess.

The Wages of Sihnon - pt 3
Inara has been summoned to Sihnon where the Shepherds are visiting. She has brought with her a young woman to act as aide to the Abbott. Meantime some Trainee Companions are missing from a shuttle and the Guild have apparently sent Radha Brook to investigate. Phil Yip, an irritable detective for a private security firm is also on the case.