At this point we needed a central idea or crisis that unified all our protagonists. This version again opens with our intrepid TR but we find him halfway across North America investigating an open pit mine. What he discovers there not only establishes his motivation but ties his goals into that of the Professor and The Commodore. And we add an interesting steampunk twist…
Steampunk Short Draft 1.2
Wooden, with a TABLE holding a GLASS OF WATER, a simple BED.
On the bed is GIRL, five to ten years old, dressed in a gown, and who looks
gravely ill. MOTHER, a lady between 25-35 dressed plainly, also looks ill.
In walks TR, A spectacled man in his late thirties dressed in
western militaryesque garb, armed with a PISTOL and carrying a CANTEEN. Mother
looks at him thankfully. He pats her arm and walks over to Girl with a broad
smile and offers Girl a TEDDY BEAR. She takes it gratefully, then reaches for
the water, but it is too far for her to take. TR grabs the water and starts to
give it to her, looks hard at it, then puts it back down and gives her some
from his canteen.
A stream. The grass and accompanying flora and fauna are
dead, and the area is littered with dead animals.
TR surveys the area with disgust. He takes out a small, worn
black book and a pencil. He jots some notes inside, then runs upstream.
MONTAGE: TR runs,
-Through heavy thickets, -Up and down boulders,
There is a small wooden SHACK on one of the ridges. He takes
more notes, then ascends to the shack.
TABLE with PAPERS, a DOOR.
Footsteps are heard.
TR spins to see THUG 1, a bull of a man in his thirties
dressed in Victorian garb, running with a WOODEN WALKING STICK raised to strike
him! THUG 2, a middle sized, amiable fellow in his twenties, approaches from
the side while behind him THUG 3, a creepy fellow in his thirties, is putting
on a STEAM RIFFLE with backpack.
TR flips Thug 1, acquiring the stick, swings and hits Thug 2,
then drops the stick and draws his pistol, shooting Thug 3 before he could get
off a shot.
The maid was off so whoever is in charge sends in human
garbage to clean up a mess. How novel!
TR, with weapon pointed at the fallen Thugs, moves over to
the table and picks up one of the papers. Before he can focus, a DARK BLUR
kicks TR, knocking him straight out of the opening and into the void!
The blur is revealed to be THAI, an athletic Asian in his
thities, dressed head to toe in black. He looks over the side and sees no sign
of TR. He tips his hat, turns, and motions to the recovering Thugs to leave.
EXT. SIDE OF
TR hangs precariously off of the structure of the cabin. The
piece of paper he was reading earlier floats in front of him and he snatches
and looks at it.
EXT. MAP DAY
A WORLD MAP depicting the STEAMPUNK EARTH in the 1890’s. We
spiral down across the Mississippi to a railroad line. We follow the line past
the Iron Belt and come to rest over the great metropolis of Vulcandale
Sandwiched between Bessemer and Birmingham.
TRAIN STATION: DAY
Two guards, festooned in English looking steam garb step off
the first class traveling coach and scan the crowd for potential threats. LADY
VICTORIA NOBLE, a beautiful woman in her twenties steps off the coach with the
assistance of the guards. She is dressed in an elegant gown, hat and parasol.
The exit the platform and passing the station ladies
facilities, Lady Victoria pauses.
LADY VICTORIA (looking at the restrooms) Excuse me for a
Lady Victoria steps into restroom doorway. Without
hesitation, the guards follow in step.
LADY VICTORIA (cont’d) Gentlemen, I realize my father, His
Grace, is concerned for my safety
and well being but I think even he would prefer you not
accompany me into the loo.
The guards break their singleminded trance, look up at the
VICTORIA’S GUARD 1 (embarrassed) Yes my lady.
Lady Victoria proceeds into the restroom.
VICTORIA’S GUARD 2 Bloody div..
Guard 1 gives guard 2 the two finger salute.
WOMAN’S RESTROOM: DAY
Lady Victoria quickly disposes of her dress and veil and with
a few adjustments becomes a lady about town with riding goggles, groves and
appropriate attire. Her discarded gown dumped unceremoniously into the dust
bin. At that moment, two other women are heading back out the doorway. Lady
Victory falls in step.
TRAIN STATION: DAY
The two women and the now disguised Lady Victoria exit the
restroom and walk away. The guards take no notice. Guard 2 pulls out a fob
watch and checks the time.
The complex buzzes with activity. Every port has an AIRSHIP
tethered to it, with the conspicuous exception of the absence of a ship at the
SUPER: Hamilton Shipworks 1891
The room contains CALIBRATION DEVICES and INDUSTRIAL
MACHINES. There is a TABLE stacked with SCHEMATICS and NOTEBOOKS. Professor
Deter Metz (PROFESSOR), a disheveled Germanic man in his late fifties/early
sixties dressed in laboratory garb, frantically grabs and hordes the schematics
and notebooks, along with an odd, applesized METAL BALL. He turns to leave and
TWO ARMED SOLDIERS
THUG 1 (OC) Goin’ somewhere, Professor?
PROFESSOR (German accent, smiles nervously) Gentlemen, I was
Professor looks at the THUGS looking at his hand full of
booty, and resigns to his fate. THUG 1 lifts a PHONE off of the wall, and
speaks into it.
THUG 2 We have ’em Commodore. Looks like we arrived just in
time to interrupt some overoptimistic travel plans.
TR saunters down the busy street. All manner of trade and
negotiation transpire around him.
WE SEE The Peanut Trading Company. PORTLY & DAPPER
GENTLEMAN (PDG) stands in front.
TR (slaps PDG on arm) Peanuts! Bully! I suspect I will
need the energy this day!
As TR walks off, PDG is taken aback.
Fashionably decorated with a nice DESK full of BRICA BRAC,
a plush RUG, and some SHELVES with BOOKS. There is a row of PHONES. COMMODORE
TERRENCE HAMILTON (COMMODORE), a dapper southern gentleman in his late
thirties, is scrutinizing a large set of drafting papers.
There is a knock.
COMMODORE Gentlemen. How uncharacteristically timely. Do
THE DOOR OPENS.
Commodore stands with his back to the door. He hears it open.
He draws his sword.
COMMODORE Bring me that thieving rat so that I may personally
cut off his…
LADY VICTORIA(OC) Vermin trouble dear?
Commodore whirls around to see Lady Victoria now in her
COMMODORE My, who is this strange and sensual flower bathing
my eyes in beauty.
Perhaps a wily thief come to relieve you of your fortune?
COMMODORE In that case I would refer you to my able body
guard. Should I have him search you?
LADY VICTORIA I prefer you did that yourself.
Thai takes this exchange as his cue to leave. He tips his hat
to the Commodore and exits through the door.
COMMODORE Well then I had better get started before my lady
Lady Victoria removes her hat and goggles. Commodore bows,
sheathes his sword.
COMMODORE (cont’d) Oh. Imagine my surprise as it turns out
indeed to be my lady friend!
LADY VICTORIA Oh, I don’t think you are too terribly
surprised… (they kiss) …yet.
COMMODORE I had not expected you until next week.
LADY VICTORIA (cont’d) You aren’t happy to see me?
COMMODORE Of course, I just have some pressing matters
that…need my personal attention.
LADY VICTORIA What could be more pressing than me?
The office door flies open and Thugs with Professor in tow
THUG 2 Commodore, we… (noticing Lady Victoria) …Oh, hello
Thugs all tip their hat, Thug 1 looks menacingly at Professor
who gets the hint and does the same. Lady Victoria curtsies in response.
COMMODORE Ah Professor. Good of you to join us. Feel free to
place all of my property on my desk there.
PROFESSOR I do not feel free.
COMMODORE Then feel compelled.
Devices of all sorts flow from the Professor’s coat and are
placed on the desk. After a time, the flow ebbs.
COMMODORE (CONT’D) All of it, Professor!
More devices, papers and weapons appear…
LADY VICTORIA Darling, are these long arms necessary? This
gentleman does not appear dangerous.
Objects continue to trickle from the pockets, hem and long
coat of the professor.
COMMODORE Looks may be deceivin’, dahlin’! For example…
Commodore approaches Professor, reaches into his coat and
after some searching pulls out a STEAM PISTOL, that has a DIAL on the side.
COMMODORE (CONT’D) …this…clever device is as
potentially powerful as all three of those rifles. (to
Professor) And it is my property.
LADY VICTORIA What is this all about, Terrence?
COMMODORE A minor contract dispute, my dove. Britain and
France want their weapons From the Germanic Confederation. And the Germanic
Confederation wants me to fill a little production shortfall. All just good
business…except that my technical liaison wants to scamper off with some of
my trade secrets…
The Commodore mocks shame…
Forgive me dear. I would ask that
you say, “hello” to my backstabbin’ technological liaison!
PROFESSOR That is not true! I have taken nothing! All this…
(indicates the pile on the desk) …work…is mine!
COMMODORE I beg to differ professor. I have a stack of
invoices that state emphatically otherwise.
PROFESSOR You have no right to my designs! They belong to
THUG 3 hits Professor in the stomach, causing the Professor
to double over. The Commodore reaches over and removes yet ANOTHER scroll from
the Professor’s coat.
…Me I’m afraid. Including this airship which you insist is
unfinished despite all evidence to the contrary. (indicating scroll) Now,
should you agree to simply…
LADY VICTORIA I am sure this is not necessary! (to Commodore)
Darling, are you condoning this brutality?
COMMODORE Of course not, dahlin’! (points at Thug 3)
Gentlemen! You were trained better than that. You know I expect fair treatment
and civility from all in my charge.
Professor looks up in disbelief.
PROFESSOR Are you entirely well, Commodore?
The smile of the Commodore’s lips quavers.
COMMODORE Capital, Professor. I offer you this. As
forgiveness is a fundamental part of my character, you may show me how to start
my ship and I’ll let you linger and enjoy its inaugural flight before…letting
you go. (to Professor and Thugs) Gentlemen!
Commodore motions them to the exit. Thugs lead Professor out.
COMMODORE (CONT’D) (to Lady Victoria) Now, dahlin’, you
probably prefer to remain here whilst I…
Nonsense! I wish to see this little drama to its conclusion,
and I would very much like to see this new ship!
COMMODORE But, dahlin’…
LADY VICTORIA Let’s go, then!
Lady Victoria exits. The Commodore, quickly defeated, follows
with guards and the Professor.
Professor leads the group followed closely by Thugs and Lady
Victoria and Commodore bringing up the rear. Professor trips and falls. THUG 1
kicks Professor then starts to force him up when Lady Victoria forces her way
between the Thugs and the Professor.
This ends now, Terrence!
TR (OC) Afternoon, gentleman!
They all whirl about to see the source of the voice. Sensing
that this man is a threat, the thugs turn their steam rifles on him. There is
some confusion about which Thug threatens which interloper with which rifle.
After some switching back and fourth, Thug 1 keeps his rifle on Professor,
while Commodore (with pistol) and Thug 2 & 3 aim at TR.
TR looks at Commodore.
I gather that you run this facility?
I most certainly do! You happen to be talking to Commodore
Hamilton the Third! I assume you have a good reason for
impeding private business on my property, sir?
Absolutely! Whatever toxic rubbish you were mining out west
got in the water and has made many good folks very sick and decimated the
surrounding environment. Oh, and these familiar puzzlewits with the riffles in
your employ attacked me without provocation. By the way, you will be hearing
from officials from the western territory!
They got no jurisdiction here!
I’ll consider that an admission!
It is nothing of the kind! And I just hired this man.
Thug 1 looks confused.
Wait, you are not with the western territory, so who do you
I am a sole proprietor.
A trouble shooter.
Well then, I regret to inform you that you will vacate the
premises forthwith or these gentlemen will pull those itchy trigger fingers.
I’m afraid I cannot do that. For I am also here to negotiate
the release the of this lovely young lady and that fine gentleman.
LADY VICTORIA Excuse me?
PROFESSOR Vas is das?
Ah, Sie sind Deutsche! Fühlen Sie sich wohl?
SUBTITLES: Ah, you are German! Are you feeling well?
Ganz sicher nicht.
SUBTITLES: Most certainly not.
Thug 3 hits Professor to silence him.
Enough of that, sir or you will surely regret it!
THUG 3 I’m supposed to take this from a fellow wielding a big
TR I have found that with this… (holds up stick)
one need only speak softly to go far.
COMMODORE Enough! Gentlemen, prepare to open fire.
TR Everyone remain calm, I am dropping my stick… (MORE)
TR (cont’d) (drops stick) …and thus, as you can see, I am
COMMODORE And, as you can see, we are quite heavily armed!
TR (smiles) So you are!
Commodore smiles and looks intrigued.
COMMODORE I believe our impetuous stranger has the advantage
of us, gentlemen!
TR You may call me “TR!”
THUG 3 Who is this clown?
THUG 1 He ain’t no clown.
I concur. I have heard of him.
LADY VICTORIA …Indeed.
You flatter me sir. And you honor me with your presence,
TR reaches for the hand of Lady Victoria but again, after
some switching between the Professor and TR, the thugs cut the action short by
menacing TR with the barrels of their rifles.
Lady Victoria smiles, but then stops when she notices
Commodore glaring at her.
TR Well Ma’am, help is at hand!
LADY VICTORIA Sir, you should know–
…So, why not avoid an unnecessary mess by handing the Lady
and older gentleman over into my custody?
COMMODORE …because I have have three marksmen with powerful
The Commodore turns his pistol on TR. As does the Thug
pointing his rifle at the Professor. The Commodore gives that Thug an angry
glare. Another exchange of rifle barrels ends with a different Thug aimed at
the Professor and all other guns leveled at TR.
TR (to Thug 1)
It is good that you wore that heavy coat!
FIRST FIGHT SEQUENCE
Suddenly, with a few, swift moves, TR takes out the Commodore
(acquiring the steam pistol in the process) and all three Thugs.
The Commodore, recovering from the ground, takes out a
WHISTLE and blows it. The shrill noise echoes through the cramped complex.
TR (wiggling a finger in his ear) Oww?
From far down the piped passageway, Thai and THUG 4 appear
from around a bend. Immediately, they start firing at TR.
LADY VICTORIA (to Commodore) The very…how dare you?
TR Madam, Sir…no time to dottle!
LADY VICTORIA But…
A hail of steamy bullets strikes the beam very near the Lady
Victoria. In fact, one knocks her hat off. TR grabs Lady Victoria and Professor
and leads them into the cover of the steam stacks. Thai and Thug 4 join and
help to their feet their fallen comrades.
COMMODORE Shoot them!
The Thugs look at each other then back to the Commodore with
THUG 1 Even Lady Victoria, sir?
COMMODORE (cont’d) Well, shoot…carefully.
Thai, and thugs 3 and 4 give chase. Thug 1 and 2 run a
TR leads Lady Victoria by hand and Professor inside.
LARGE ENGINE with accompanying PANEL of dials and
instruments. The three enter the room.
Lady Victoria snatches away her hand and slaps TR hard.
Am I missing something?
Yes! I am the Lady Victoria Noble,
daughter of His Grace the Duke of
We must go! I have means for escape!
You are not dressed like any royalty I know, Madam!
The Commodore happens to be a very close friend of mine and I
was certainly not in his custody, but his care.
You mean to tell me you were not being held captive?
We have very bad men hunting us! We should go!
But you were being held captive, right?
Uh, yes, of course! TR, we should–
I do not understand why you would harbor this thief!
Is that true?
No…yes…not exactly! The
Commodore’s money financed the
construction of my experimental weapon designs. But I
discovered that we were constructing them offbook. He has no intention of
shipping them to the Confederation! Or Great Britain for that
matter. That is why I am taking them.
Lady Victoria is given pause. A steam rifle shot slams into
the wall next to them. TR takes out the pistol and returns fire.
They found us.
I do not know if I trust either of you, but I know that the
Commodore is rotten to the core…and dangerous.
(extends hand to Lady Victoria)
I’ll get you to safety and we can sort it out.
Lady Victoria pauses, then turns her back. The shots are
pouring in at this point.
I suggest you leave.
Do you have a way to get out of here?
PROFESSOR Absolutely! Everything is already set! Through that
door into the
The door is blocked by a metal gate. Armed guards take cover
and continue at our heroes. TR, returns fire knocking each of them back the way
TR How do we get through that door?
PROFESSOR Turn the dial on the side of the pistol for more
TR cranks the dial on the side to the highest number, and
points the gun at the gate.
PROFESSOR (cont’d) Not so close!
TR fires, the gate blows open. TR flies back landing on his
TR (recovering) Bully!
PROFESSOR This way!
(to Lady Victoria)
She does not turn.
Professor runs as TR follows. They go down some stairs.
Commodore and his Thugs enter.
Keep after them!
The Thugs give chase.
Dahlin’, thank heavens that scallywag did not harm my perfect
Lady Victoria hammers his jaw with a short, rightcross.
COMMODORE (cont’d) …Oww?
LADY VICTORIA Why in good grace were your goons firing at
COMMODORE (recovering) I told them to be careful?
LADY VICTORIA And what care were they exercising when they
pierced my hat with one of their projectiles?
COMMODORE The utmost, dahlin’. I assure you…
I must say, Terrence, there have been some disturbing
allegations today and unfortunately, there is evidence to support them. The
Professor claims that you are building powerful weapons off book.
Dahlin’, it’s all just good
business. I merely rearranged the
original terms to terms more favorable…for me.
LADY VICTORIA Well if any of these terms were with Great
Britain, my father will be informed!
COMMODORE I’m afraid I cannot allow that, dahlin’. Besides,
it’s easier to permission. In the end, I believe they will be asking for
forgiveness from me…
LADY VICTORIA (suddenly grim) My father would never beg from
anyone. Not even you.
COMMODORE Give him time.
It is dark and damp with entrances at either end. Thug 1,3
and 2 (who brings up the rear) follow through the way TR and Professor entered
the tunnel, Thai and Thug 4 drop down the entrance at the end of tunnel where
TR, and Professor were. However, TR and Professor are nowhere to be found.
TR emerges from hiding and grabs Thug 2 and covers his mouth
with his hand and places the pistol to his head.
Listen closely. You are going to turn around and run the way
you came, or I will ventilate your head!
Thug 2 nods his head, then, TR releases him and he does what
he is told, and as he does,
TR (cont’d) (yells)
This way, Professor!
Thai and all the Thugs follow the sound of the footsteps and
TR’s message. As soon as they clear the tunnel, TR and Professor emerge from a
hiding place and run the opposite direction.
Thai and the Thugs enter, and see a dejected Thug 2 along
with an angry Commodore.
I want the head of those two on a mantle on my wall.
Everyone starts to move, when,
(to Lady Victoria)
Victoria, you will be discreet regarding what you have seen
until such time I deem appropriate to reveal it?
Absolutely not! I must inform father, immediately!
Commodore looks hard at her, then,
I believe you.
Gentlemen, it is time to dispose of
But..you said you loved me!
COMMODORE I said a lot of things, dear. There’s always
another train coming in.
LADY VICTORIA You would shoot an unarmed lady?
Me? Of course not, madam, I am a gentleman! It truly takes
the lowest of all reprobates to take arms against a defenseless woman!
(to Thug 1 & 3)
So, go on, you do it.
Do I stutter?
Thug 1 & 3 raise their weapons to Lady Victoria’s head,
but Commodore stops them.
Not here, I don’t want to soil my boiler room. Take her
across the main field to the stacks and do it there. The rest of you, fan out
and find those two scoundrels who has given me this colossal headache!
Thai and the thugs do as they are told, with Lady Victoria
protesting as loud as possible.
TR and Professor are at the bottom of a long stairway that
leads up to the dock. They observe That and most of the Thugs commence their
Our safe passage lies at the dock!
Before they start up, TR notices Lady Victoria, screaming and
struggling in protest under the control of Thugs 1 & 3, being moved to
I bet she has changed her mind now!
We should go.
The two head toward Lady Victoria.
TR and Professor arrive in time to see Lady Victoria lined up
against the wall with Thug 1, and Thug 3 guns pointed.
It takes two of you to kill me? I suppose that is so neither
of you will know for sure who killed an unarmed woman?
They take aim.
Why don’t you pick on someone your own size and level of
Commodore, Thai, and the remaining Thugs all jump into sight,
their weapons pointed at TR and Professor.
You are nothing, if not predictable, TR. And, now, allow me
to help you on your journey to oblivion!
We’re not done yet!
Sure you are.
Gentleman, to arms!
TR pistol and pulls the trigger, but nothing happens.
Thugs raise their weapons toward the captives.
(whispers to TR) So now you wave your hands about so the bad
guys will fly around and we will run, ja?
TR I already played that hand. We need another distraction.
Lady Victoria hears TR.
LADY VICTORIA Not a problem.
Lady Victoria fiddles with an attachment on her back and her
corset flies off. We see the present company look into her corset with some
Under her clothing is an expertly crafted breastplate of
brass and copper.
LADY VICTORIA (cont’d) Oh, silly me…
The Lady Victoria turns a clasp. FROM BEHIND we see the
breast plate hinge out and up over he shoulders. THIS garners the sudden and
undivided attention of all present, including TR, who has moved beside the two
The Lady Victoria finally catches TR’s gaze. She nods her
head at the Thugs.
TR Uh, yes, of course.
TR and Professor fly into action, stunning Commodore and the
Thugs and then leads Lady Victoria (who covers herself up) and Professor to
TR, Lady Victoria and the Professor move toward the mooring
towers. Halfway to their goal, a group of workers in dirty technician’s
coveralls stop the fleeing heroes.
TECH #1 That’s far enough trespassers.
LADY VICTORIA I beg your pardon.
TECH #2 Oh, not you ma’am.
TECH #1 That’s far enough…Uh…
trespassers and ma’am.
LADY VICTORIA Thank you.
TR Gentlemen. Please do not be offended. But we are bereft of
time. So I ask you to understand (MORE)
when I inquire who is going to
The group points.
An extremely large and lethal looking steam mech clanks up to
the group. The driver can be seen protruding from its mechanical neck.
STEAM MECH DRIVER That would be me, sir.
TR looks to the Professor and the Lady Victoria.
PROFESSOR This is being your area of expertise I think.
The Professor and Lady Victoria back away.
TR (sighs) Fine. Let’s have it.
The Mech moves to TR with surprising speed and grace. TR is
grasped and thrown. Landing on the Bricks, TR recovers and raises a fist.
TR (cont’d) Now see h…
Again the Mech tosses TR. TR lands and regains his bearing.
TR spies a nearby wrench and quickly grabs then hurls it at the driver but
finds the Mech all too capable of defecting the projectile. TR then rushes the
mech only to be thrown to the ground. The Mech steps back to look at TR who
recovers the discarded wrench a second time. TR thrusts the wrench up into the
body of the mech jamming two interlocked cogs. The mech freezes.
TR stands again then casts a murderous glance back at the
dirty technicians. They lower their wrenches and make apologetic gestures.
TR (cont’d) Very well.
TR and the gang make for the stairs across the shipyard.
The three are at the base of the stairs leading up to the
main sport, where there is no ship docked.
PROFESSOR Up here. Hurry!
TR There? (looks) What is the matter with you? There is
nothing up there but a dead end and us!
PROFESSOR No, trust me!
Professor climbs the stairs, TR and Lady Victoria reluctantly
GANTRY ABOVE SHIPYARDS
The professor, breathing hard, reaches the top of the gantry.
The runs directly to an isolated podium standing up from the otherwise
featureless deck. He begins to fumble with a large ring of keys. TR looks back
down the ladder.
At the base of the ladder, an exhausted Commodore and his
thugs mount the rungs.
TR They are still coming!
PROFESSOR I have just the thing! You need one(á of my
Professor reaches deeply into his pants.
LADY VICTORIA Surely not!
Professor retrieves a metal ball a little larger than an
orange. It has tiny valves and rivits across its metal surface.
Der only place they would not search, Ja?
Professor tosses TR the metal ball wo receives it dubiously.
At that moment, Thai and the soldiers approach the top of the ladder.
PROFESSOR (cont’d) Turn the dial and throw it in front of
TR does so, as the metal ball clanks to the deck at the top
of the ladder, it issues a powerful jet of steam. As the steam escapes, a MOUND
OF ICE begins to grow and engulf the ladder encasing the first soldiers just
now arriving, with the exception of Thai who evades the deadly trap and now
lunges at TR!
On the ladder and just below the ice wall, the Commodore and
his men reach the platform but are blocked by the ice.
COMMODORE Rifles! Empty breaches!
Commodore and the other Thugs can be seen blasting through
the ice with the steam guns. Meanwhile TR meets Thai head on.
TR Lady Victoria, run!
PROFESSOR No, stay! It’s here, somewhere… there!
The last key fits. The Professor pulls a lever. One by one,
GIANT MIRRORED PANELS each clank ninety degrees revealing a CUTTING EDGE
AIRSHIP. Professor takes Lady Victoria and runs toward the airship and begins
to open a BAY DOOR. TR manages to defeat Thai and runs to the bay door, where
Professor and Lady Victoria await with outstretched arms.
An ornate interior with STEERING WHEEL and a CONSOLE with
other GUIDANCE EQUIPMENT, and a SCIENCE STATION. PILOT, a strapping African
American man in his thirties dressed in pilot’s garb, turns
to look at the three.
PROFESSOR You can fly us out of here, ja?
CAPTAIN LAPIERE I gather that you are responsible for my ship
being fired upon?
PROFESSOR My ship!
CAPTAIN LAPIERE I’m the captain of this ship!
PROFESSOR I built it!
TR (labored breath) Shut up, the both of you! We are taking
fire so get us out of here!
The hull rings as its hit with steam rifles from outside.
Commodore is heard through a PHONE connected from the outside.
COMMODORE My dear Captain LaPiere, unless you want to be
fired and have at least two nations chasing you, you will open the door and
relinquish my property!
LADY VICTORIA I am not your property!
TR I believe he means the ship.
CAPTAIN LAPIERE If there is a good reason why I shouldn’t
open that hatch and let the Commodore aboard, I need to hear it right now.
Because that man is a murderous bastard!
LADY VICTORIA (pulling a paper from her vest) I have a blank
note from the Bank of England with my father’s signature on it.
CAPTAIN LAPIERE (smiles) So, where are we headed?
LADY VICTORIA (to TR) A woman’s wiles can only get a Lady so
Now which of you has the key?
TR and Lady Victoria both look at the Professor.
PROFESSOR Right here.
Professor runs up to a console and presses his hand on a
blank panel. When he does so, gears and levers surround his hand, then when all
of them lock into place, the ships engine starts up.
CAPTAIN LAPIERE Grab something solid!
LaPiere engages the engine.
PROFESSOR The…the moorings!
The mooring cable grow taut then rip the mooring rings right
off the surface of the deck.
PROFESSOR (cont’d) …were obviously inadequate.
The ship takes off as Commodore watches the Thugs fire their
steam weapons. The ship recedes unfettered.
COMMODORE Gentlemen, please tell me what you hope to achieve
by shooting little balls at an aluminum airship?
The Thugs look at one another. Commodore’s expression
lightens from furious, to almost pleased.
As the Commodore watches the airship recede, two other ships
rise from the shipyards and glide toward the escaping vessel over the watching
SHIPYARD OPEN SKY.
The airship continues to gain altitude. From behind its
gasbags, two other sleek and military airships rise above the towers of the
CAPTAIN LAPIERE (checks a periscope) We have company.
At that moment, Thai explodes from the doorway and tackles TR
starting their brawl.
LADY VICTORIA Indeed but I believe that our rough riding
friend will take care of him!
CAPTAIN LAPIERE I was referring to the company aft.
The Professor indicates the rear of the ship. Lady Victoria
runs to the nearest porthole or window. Pilot looks grim.
SHIPYARD OPEN SKY.
The other airships open fire.
PROFESSOR We’re cooked!
CAPTAIN LAPIERE Cooked? No. A little braised maybe.
The pilot pulls levers and throws the wheel hard to port. The
tilting of the deck forces the battling TR and Thai to roll across the
TR (to Thai) How did you even get up here?
Lady Victoria sidesteps the combat. The Airship climbs and
reaches a thick bank of clouds. Firing, the military airships follow into the
cotton white quagmire.
CAPTAIN LAPIERE Professor, if you have not already done so,
now may be a good time to test the new equipment you installed.
PROFESSOR What? Oh! Quite!
Professor moves to the science station and reaches for a
lever, however, Thai sees this and strikes TR who falls into Pilot causing
Pilot to turn the wheel hard causing everyone to stumble, preventing Professor
from pulling the desired lever.
Professor struggles and finally regains his balance and makes
his way for the lever. Thai lunges for him again, but TR grabs Thai’s coat
keeping him from advancing, until Thai wriggles out of his coat, and strikes
Professor, knocking him out.
TR strikes Thai knocking him back across the wheelhouse. Thai
counters with a devastating blow to TR which knocks him out of the cabin. Thai
The Airship rises through dark clouds.
Thai lunges after TR. There is a brief struggle resulting in
TR being thrown over the low railing. He catches a lower wrung and is hanging
by one hand over a cloudy oblivion.
The military airships are gaining on the airship, firing.
Suddenly, lightning arcs from the clouds to the Professor’s airship. It bounces
between the gas bags of the Professor’s airship gaining potential. Finally, it
leaps back toward the lead military airship which EXPLODES and wounded, gyrates
back the way it came. The second military airship, unable to avoid the sinking
first, STRIKES the wounded ship and itself decomposes in a boiling ball of
The airship finally rises out of the clouds. A clear blue sky
stretches before us.
Lady Victoria stands with a death grip on the lever she just
pulled, the one Professor was striving for.
Thai smiles and directs a heel smash at TR’s fingers. In that
instant, TR snaps his grasp from the rail to Thai’s leg. He pulls himself up
and with one move pulls Thai off the walkway and secures a grasp on the railing.
We see Thai plummeting toward the clouds below.
A frazzled TR enters the cabin. Before anyone can speak, he
raises his finger as if to give everyone pause, takes out his INHALER, takes a
deep breath, and relaxes.
A new, unfiltered sunlight fills the cabin. LaPiere flies
along, the others squint in the virgin sunlight.
LaPiere is struck by TR’s turn of phrase. He turns to face
TR. TR makes eye contact and moves toward LaPiere to shake his hand.
TR The name is TR sir!
CAPTAIN LAPIERE I know who you are, monsieur.
TR (in French) Pardon? Vous me prenez un
SUBTITLES: Pardon? You have me at a disadvantage,sir!
CAPTAIN LAPIERE (in French)
Je sais que vous êtes téméraire
SUBTITLES: I know you are catastrophically reckless.
TR freezes, uncertain how to respond. The PROFESSOR seizes
this moment to intercede.
PROFESSOR Danke, Danke Herr TR. You really pulled our fettes
from der fuer, Ja?
TR You are welcome…quite welcome…
Tell me Herr Doctor, who lit this fire before removing saving
Lady Victoria realizes sheepishly walks up to TR.
LADY VICTORIA While I fear the good captain has a point, I
acknowledge that you did open my eyes to the true nature of…Mister Hamilton.
And extracted us from the clutches of his uncouth minions. I owe you my well
being I suppose…
Lady Victoria holds out her hand to TR to be kissed. TR sees
TR Madame, if you are offering thanks, I accept. Most
TR takes Lady Victoria’s hand as if to kiss.
CAPTAIN LAPIERE Fine. Thanks all around. Do we have a heading?
Lady Victoria spins to face LaPiere, snaching her hand from
TR who kisses his own hand.
What just happened?
LADY VICTORIA (impulsively) England! Or the nearest dominion
there of. I must warn my father of Mister Hamilton’s plans. (under her breath)
And to cancel any wedding plans he may have been fostering.
Nien! Germany! I must let the Confederation know that the
device works…and that it may now be a bigger threat than the one it was
designed to combat!
All turn to face TR.
TR (cont’d) Just set course for the nearest free port until
we can sort this all out. We can wire both the German Confederation and your
father from there.
You always have to have the last word, don’t you?
When I get a word in edgewise!
GREAT BLUE SKY
The airship flies away into adventure.
We see Thai still falling to the ground. Streets and airships
can be seen below him. Thai sets his teeth to a determined grin. He pulls his
goggles over his eyes.
Thai plummets to the ground below…