1.21 Gigawatts (cont'd)
[SCENE: French Camp]
BIFF (in French): Sergeant, prepare the men to move out.
(JEAN approaches FLUX)
JEAN: Here, take this. (hands over sealed envelope) If you get into any trouble in Poitiers, show this to the intendant. It a pledge of my honour and estates as surety for your release and safe conduct from France. It carries no real value as I have no estates to pledge but it may buy you some time until I arrive and who knows what the fortunes of war may grant me. Goodbye, Victoria. I hope we will meet again soon.
(FLUX goes to kiss JEAN who recoils in surprise. When he realises what she was doing, he moves to kiss her but FLUX has already turned to leave)
XAINTRAILLES (in French): Lord de La Boeuf, you would surely not be so unchivalrous as to ride whilst the lady has to walk.
BIFF: I see no lady, milord.
XAINTRAILLES (angrily): And I see no Lord. Sergeant, relieve Lord…
(BIFF dismounts and gestures to FLUX to take his mount. The column moves out with FLUX on horseback looking over her shoulder at JEAN)
(As soon as the column passes through the camp gates, BIFF lifts FLUX out of the saddle and mounts the horse.)
[Montage of the column marching. SCENE Late afternoon on the road.]
FLUX (walking beside BIFF's horse, addresses BIFF in English): Um excuse me. We need to stop. I need to go to the bathroom.
(BIFF looks confused, as he does not understand what she is saying)
FLUX (slowly and loudly): The BATHROOM
(in Spanish) The bathroom.
(in German and a growing tinge of desperation to her voice) The bathroom!
(FLUX mimes putting down the seat, dropping her pants and sitting down. Further confused look by BIFF)
(in English in utter frustration and desperation) Goddammit, I need to take a piss!!!
BIFF: Ah, la pissotiere. (to the troops) Arretez!
(BIFF gestures to FLUX towards a nearby grove)
(FLUX heads off to the woods. She pretends to be readying herself as she moves behind some trees. After some time, she begins to move slowly away when a large hand seizes her from behind.)
BIFF: And where were you off to, Mlle Spy.
FLUX: You speak English? You speak English! Why the hell did I have to do charades back there if you speak English.
BIFF: I am not as gullible as you think eh, Mlle? Certainly not gullible enough to think you are a merchant’s daughter or that there will be any ransom.
FLUX: But Jean has pledged to pay for the ransom. See, there is gold.
BIFF: That mercenary has no gold. In fact he will have even less once I take the paychest as recompense for this humiliating diversion.
FLUX: They’re hardly going to fight for nothing.
BIFF: I don’t expect them to fight. On the contrary, I plan to make sure that they don’t. I will take great pleasure in disposing of De Lorean and his sell swords. But these things won’t bother you. I think this particular charade has gone on long enough.
(BIFF goes to pull out his dagger)
FLUX: Wait, there’s no need to kill me.
BIFF: Oh , I wasn’t going to kill you. Yet. I had something more pleasurable in mind first. Well, at least, I will find it pleasurable.
(BIFF moves in and starts manhandling FLUX who fights back )
JEAN’s voice off screen: Hey you! Take your damn hands off her.
(JEAN puts a hand on BIFF’s shoulder)
BIFF: De Lorean! Turn around and walk away or I will hang your sorry hide as a traitor to the Crown.
(Confused look on JEAN’s face)
FLUX: Jean, please help me.
(JEAN turns and slowly steps away)
FLUX: Jean. Help!
(Close up of BIFF laughing evilly as he turns back to FLUX)
JEAN (off screen): No, you leave her alone.
(BIFF turns back just as JEAN lands a punch on his chin and knocks BIFF out)
FLUX: Thanks, sugar.
(They look deeply into each other’s eyes before coyly looking away)
JEAN: Victoria, have you ever been in a situation where you know you are supposed to act in a certain way but when you get to it, you don’t know if you can go through with it?
FLUX (biting her lip): Uh huh. You mean the situation where a lady expresses her gratitude for a hero saving her from an attack on her, um, virtue.
JEAN: Yes, precisely. What do you do in those situations?
FLUX: Well, normally I’d have drunk half a bottle of Wild Turkey first, but in the circumstances (her voice hesitates a little) I guess well have to settle for this…
(FLUX kisses JEAN passionately. JEAN is initially shocked but does not withdraw this time. Suddenly FLUX stops and they look at each other in a confused manner)
JEAN: I do not know what it is but something does not feel right. That felt like I was kissing my sister. I do not understand it but it just felt wrong. I suppose that does not make any sense.
FLUX: No, it makes perfect sense. But I had to at least find out. So where to now.
JEAN: We will go to my men. We should have a head start by the time he wakes up. I can take you at least part of the way to your English friends.
FLUX: And the rest of the way?
JEAN: Will have to be by yourself. It is no longer safe for me to remain in France and I must get my men back to safety within the Empire before Lord de La Boeuf can catch and silence us to conceal his treachery. Of course, I will have to find another war to fight in but fortunately there is no shortage of those.
(Concerned look from FLUX)
Do not worry, ma cherie. We will meet again. And you still have my pledge if you ever need my help.
(Fade to black)
[SCENE: Behind abatis and sharpened wooden stakes, NICK, HUGH and some of the English soldiers stand in group near TALBOT who is looking out over a beach towards the sea behind them. Other men are clearing debris and the wounded away and repositioning stakes in preparation. The sound of seagulls can be heard in the background.]
HUGH: We took few losses in that last assault. We should be able to hold them off for at east another week.
SECOND SOLDIER (John Benjamin Goode): If our sword arms don’t fall off first. That was the fifth day in a row that they have charged our lines. The men grow wearier with each attack.
THIRD SOLDIER (Marvin Berry): We can’t keep sitting here waiting for them to charge every morning until we are finally overrun.
HUGH: We stand as long as he tells us to.
JOHN B GOODE: The loss of his son has struck his Lordship hard. He is so quiet and loath to do anything except sit here. He is not his old self. He almost seems to under an enchantment since then.
MARVIN BERRY: Aye, an enchantment by something on the sea it seems given the amount of time he spends staring out at it.
JOHN B GOODE: Or under the sea, which is where we will be soon enough unless something is done before our next dance with the French.
(NICK goes over to TALBOT)
NICK: I think now might be a good time for a rousing speech.
(TALBOT continues looking out to sea quietly) You know, we bands of brothers, we happy few.
(TALBOT is still quiet) You already heard that one I guess. How about greasing our tank treads with their guts?
(Strange look from TALBOT) A bit ahead of the times, huh?!?
I know… (NICK starts singing, unfotunately not as in tune as he is strident)
Men of Talbot stop your dreaming
Can't you see their spear points gleaming
See their warrior's pendants streaming
To this battle field.
Men of Talbot stand ye steady
It cannot be ever said ye
For the battle were not ready
Stand and never yield.
Through the hills surrounding
Let this war cry sounding
Summon all to Talbot’s call
The mighty force surrounding.
Men of Talbot onto glory
This shall ever be your story
Keep this fighting words before ye
Talbot will not yield.
NICK (off bemused looks from TALBOT and the soldiers): I went out with a Welsh girl once. You don’t know her. She had the tightest Pontypool…
HUGH (in alarm): My Lord, the French herald and their commander approach.
TALBOT: Form up the men.
(SCENE: No man’s land between the battle lines. TALBOT, HUGH and NICK stand waiting for the approaching French party. BIFF, the HERALD and two French soldiers dismount and approach)
HUGH (noticing the coat of arms of the approaching French, quietly says to TALBOT): My Lord, the Red Bull. (TALBOT stiffens)
(BIFF nods to TALBOT and looks suspiciously at NICK)
TALBOT: My Lord Commander, to what do we owe this unexpected visit?
BIFF: I have come to give notice that in a few minutes, I will be launching my final attack on your lines.
TALBOT: Final, you say. I suggest you save your men the sweat and blood for the result will be no different to the last five attacks we turned back. My men have proved more than a match for your tired troops.
BIFF: Oh, those weren’t my soldiers. I was just using up the Bretons so we wouldn’t have as many to fight when we invade them after we wipe you out. Terribly obliging of you to kill them off for me. It should make the conquest of that renegade duke a cakewalk. No, my men are the fresh troops standing over there. Against your exhausted archers. (looking at NICK) We will cut them down to the last man. All except you, my Lord Talbot.
TALBOT: Is this where you invite me to surrender to save my men’s lives?
BIFF: No. Not at all. Their lives are worthless to me. I have however, been offered good money to ensure your death, my Lord. Good English money. Which leads me to believe that you have friends who may wish the opportunity to pay me more English money to prevent that unhappy outcome, or at least encourage your enemies at home to pay more to guarantee the result. Whoever pays the most, gets your head. Whether it is still attached to your trunk will depend on who pays first.
TALBOT (scornfully): Why are you wasting my time with this boastfulness? You offer no terms for my men and little better for me. You waste my time. I will hazard the result in battle.
BIFF: Oh I am fully aware of that. Which is why I took the time to engage you here whilst my crossbowmen worked their way around that forest on the left. They should be in position to flank your men by now.
TALBOT: But you are under a flag of truce. All soldiers are to stay in their lines until the parley is concluded. This is an outrageous breach of honour. Master Herald, will you not call this brigand to honour the truce.
BIFF: Master Herald has been informed by me that should he open his mouth, his body will be found upon the field of battle. Stripped naked except for an English arrow which will be lodged in his chest.
TALBOT: We would never fire on a Herald.
BIFF: But I would. Which is my point.
(NICK steps forth with a drawn blade)
NICK: Fiend! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!
(Everyone stares blankly at NICK in disbelief)
Sorry, I always wanted to say that.
(THWACK!!! Suddenly one of the French guards goes down in a heap. Everyone turns towards the noise, only to see FLUX hit the second guard over the head with a thick branch.)
FLUX: Hey there, honey. Sorry I’m late catchin’ up.
(Everyone now stares blankly at FLUX)
(BOOM!!! Everyone now turns around and stares out to sea where English ships are forming up in the Bay. There is a sudden crash in the forest where cannonballs land amongst the trees. French crossbowmen quickly come fleeing out of the woods.)
FLUX (to BIFF): Now, we both know who has the bigger balls, don’t we, sugar?!
TALBOT: I think we are done here, Master Herald. You may leave.
FLUX: Not quite yet. (punches BIFF on the jaw, dropping him to his knees with a groggy expression) That’s for the stupid mime show! (gives BIFF a swift kick to the groin. BIFF writhes on the ground in agony.) And that’s for grabbing me in the bush! (All the men wince in sympathy) Bastard!!! (FLUX happily) Okay, good to go now.
(TALBOT, HUGH and the FRENCH HERALD stare at FLUX in fear whilst covering their codpieces with their hands)
(NICK prepares for another rendition of “Men of Talbot” as the FRENCH HERALD and LORD TALBOT steel themselves in expectation)
[SCENE: TALBOT, NICK and FLUX climb up the side of a ship from a longboat. They meet the English Admiral as the English troops on the beach in the background are loading onto other longboats.]
TALBOT: Dr Brown, and Miss McFly, let me introduce you to our saviour, the Lord of the Cinque Ports and Most High Admiral of the Royal Barques of England and France, my brother. Richard Talbot.
RICHARD TALBOT: Well met, John. But where is young…
TALBOT: Killed in Gascony, two weeks ago.
RICHARD TALBOT: I am sorry, brother. I came as quickly as I could. The Lord Protector forbade the fleet from sailing to your aid. Fortunately, Lord York created a pretext for me by requesting a supply convoy be sent to Dublin. Then a judicious turn to the left instead of the right and…
TALBOT: York is in Ireland now?
RICHARD TALBOT: Much has changed since you left England, brother. The people and the lords have had enough of Somerset’s incompetence. York was sent to Ireland to remove him from the picture. But even now, half of my fleet is loading the Army of Ireland on transports bound for Dover. The wait is over.
TALBOT: It is good that you have rescued as much of the army here that you did for I see we will have a greater need for them at home. But tell me, how did you reach the forest with your guns for I have never seen cannon fire so far before?
RICHARD TALBOT: I have been doing some 5 star research down at the Ports to improve the fleet. In fact, we hope to reach a new level of naval technology by 14 August 1467.
TALBOT: Amazing. And how did you know to fire on the French hidden in the woods? You were surely too far away to see them.
RICHARD TALBOT: Oh, we weren’t aiming at the woods. We were trying to hit the small party of cavalry in the middle of the field.
(off look from TALBOT, NICK and FLUX) We still have some work to do on the accuracy. As I said, we won’t be at the new level until August 1467.
[SCENE: A medieval hall, post prandial, deserted except for NICK and FLUX sitting at the main bench, food scraps, plates and goblets scattered around them. Ministrels in another room play in the background]
FLUX (putting down quill): So no Mark Twain, okay?
NICK: Flux, I think I can safely say that there is little chance of us catching a Mississippi riverboat in 15th Century England.
FLUX: No, dumbass. As in no Connecticut Yankees in the Court of King Arthur. No anachronisms, no bending the timeline. We need to be as inconspicuous as possible until we can get hold of that disc again and work out how to get back to our time. Otherwise, there may not be an “our time” to get back to.
NICK: Well, given what has happened so far, we clearly aren’t going to fade away if we change a few things here and there.
FLUX: I’d rather not take the risk, sugar. (suddenly having a thought) Oh, and don’t grow a moustache.
FLUX (squirming guiltily in her chair): Or a goatee. (off quizzical look from NICK) In fact, just say no to any facial hair, alright?!
NICK (worried): And changing the subject as quickly as possible, what do you think of the music. Pretty catchy, huh?
FLUX: It’s not exactly Freedom ‘90 but its good. A bit like if Sigur Ros can from Castile. (they listen to the music for a while) God, we need to get that disc. But where in the hell of all France could it be by now?
[Fade out to black with music playing in the background:
De la guerda riera
Quando yo me uengo
De guardar ganado
Todos me lo dizen
Pedro el desposado.
A la he, si soy,
Con la hija de nostramo,
Ella me la diera.
De la guerda riera]
[Picture returns to the screen, with an image of a mailed hand placing FLUX’s disc, now hanging from a chain, underneath an opened surcoat. As the surcoat is closed to conceal the disc, we see the image of a red bull on the front. The music picks up again as the screen fades to black for the final time.]
[Alla rriba, rriba
En ual de roncales,
Tengo yo mi esca
Y mis pedernales
Y mi curroncito
De cieruos cieruales,
Hago yo mi lumbre
De la guerda riera]
A Clear Lotus Production
“Come see me again some time, darlin”