'Within Five Days'/Teaser
--Robert Dubh Nianque

(c) The Waterbearing Fish


What follows is a fan fiction draft screenplay for the pilot/first episode of a "Pupsical Storm" series, either tv or movie, based on Melissa Good's Dar and Kerry stories. This work was prepared from the posted version of 'Tropical Storm'--I've *NOT* read either the published version or the movie screenplay.

'Tropical Storm'--characters, story, settings--belong to Melissa Good and Ladyhawke Productions. Xena and Gabrielle, Dar and Kerry's spiritual (and actual?) ancestors, belong to Reniassance Pictures.

The songs 'Broadsword' and 'The Clasp,' whose lyrics play a part in this scene, were written by--and belong to--Ian Anderson. They're on Jethro Tull's *Broadsword and the Beast* album/cassette/compact disc.

Violence--sword striking staff.

Cursing--none. Still, 'Within Five Days' remains a PG-rated project.

Subtext--too early.

Comments are appreciated; insults are not. With many thanks to Eleanor and CC for their thoughts and impressions...

Robert Dubh Nianque

Based on the book 'Tropical Storm' by Melissa Good

(Monday morning/6-7 am)

Overhead camera shots of a coastal setting where a river meets the sea. The terrain is flat where land meets sea but becomes a series of gentle sloping hills further away from the shore. Grey-sanded beaches gradually become fertile farm and grazing land.

Amid the hills lies a small village, time period between 700-1000 (ad/ce), whose roads are trampled dirt paths. On the highest hill stands a circular fort; on the hill nearest the water is a small hut. Here stays, on a rotating basis, a group of WATCHERS whose job is to alert the people of possible attacks from sea raiders. (Overhead camera shots; we see the WATCHER but don't get a detailed look)

It's late fall. The grey-black sky hints of winter's approach. THE VILLAGERS are preparing for evening: final purchases made in the market square, candlelight appearing in windows, etc. All is peaceful. (The VILLAGERS' wool outfits and THEIR attempts to stay warm tell of the seasonal chill, some VILLAGERS helping EACH OTHER show peacefulness)

The introduction to Jethro Tull's "Broadsword" plays as the camera returns to THE WATCHERS. FOUR are standing around a FIFTH who is looking out to sea as the song begins...

I see a dark sail on the horizon
Set under a black cloud that hides the sun.

We see, as HE does, the sail in the distance. HE turns to one of the other WATCHERS and gestures...

Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.

SHE, a small woman with green eyes and an expressive face, goes inside the hut. Gathers sword and cross. Then presents them to HIM. HE gestures to the other WATCHERS who quickly depart...

Get up to the roundhouse on the cliff-top standing
Take women and children and bed them down.

We see THEM gather village WOMEN and CHILDREN and herd THEM--some calm, some distressed--to the fort. We see WOMEN hide CHILDREN inside. As this is done, village MEN gather THEIR weapons/armor and head towards the WATCHER and HIS COMPANION. HE offers HER the cross. SHE accepts it.

Now the camera shifts focus from the village to the ship. First, we see the sail; as we draw closer, we see the ship; an overhead shot gives us a sight of the CREW. MOST are rowing; THOSE who aren't surround the CAPTAIN.

HE looks towards the coast with practiced skill. This is an experienced CREW; all veterans of raids and battles. HE gestures to ONE standing at HIS right.

Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding.
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.

SHE is a tall woman whose closed helmet reveals only pale blue eyes. HER armor, like the CAPTAIN and the rest of the CREW, combines leather and mail. SHE grabs HIS sword from its spot against the mast, pulls a golden cross from a chest full of coins and jewels (which also lies next to the mast), gives them to HIM. HE first looks around HIM...

Bless with a hard heart those who surround me

Then looks at the sea behind THEM.

Bless the women and children who firm our hands.

Then looks at the ROWERS and the ONES around him...

Put our backs to the north wind
Hold fast by the river

Then gives the cross to the WOMAN. SHE doesn't refuse it. HE looks up the mast and sees THEIR flag. A gold merwolf on a green background.

Sweet memories to drive us on for the motherland.

The camera returns to an overview shot of the area. The village is deserted; the fort's gates shut.

Closer shots follow. The VILLAGERS, men with a sprinkling of women, are arrayed on the beach where a river meets the sea. THEIR armor is leather; their weapons staffs, swords, and axes. THE WATCHER commands; the WOMAN, carrying a staff, besides HIM (we don't see HER cross). All look to the sea...where the ship approaches.

I see a dark sail on the horizon
Set under a black cloud that hides the sun.

So bring me my broadsword and clear understanding
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.

The camera returns to the ship. The CREW, aside from the ROWERS, are "armed and armored." The CAPTAIN and the WOMAN, HER right hand on HER sword hilt, look to the shore (we also don't see HER cross).

So bring me my broadsword
And a cross of gold as a talisman.

The lyrics repeat as the song fades out and the SEA RAIDERS land. The scene closes with both VILLAGERS and RAIDERS charging each other. The two WOMEN--one with sword; one with staff--charge. As they run, their crosses--on chains round their necks--come out from their armor. They face each other.

When sword strikes staff, the song uses a similar sound as it fades, the dream ends and we're in a bedroom. We see shadowy images: SOMEONE sleeping on a bed with a small table next to it. (Camera first shows the bed and table...then goes to the table.) On it are two books and a folded newspaper.

Then we go to the bed; seeing an outline of the FIGURE'S shape. The sleeping WOMAN wakes; HER face is that of the staff-wielding WOMAN. SHE turns on a small table light. (Camera uses the light to focus on each item--one book tells of the Trojan War, one book tells of Viking raids, and the newspaper has a circled article: "Merwolf Systems Eyes Associated Synergenics" is the headline--making sure we know what they are.) SHE says nothing but we hear HER thoughts.



(rubs sleepiness from HER face)

Never had this type of dream before. Putting today into yesterday...

(opens table drawer, pulls out a notebook and a pen, writes...)

My mind sees Merwolf Systems as Greeks disguised as Vikings and Associated as Trojans disguised as Celts. Robert is Priam as the chief watcher, I'm Hector as his assistant, the Viking captain must be Les Rosenthal as Agammenon...


The captain's assistant must be Achilles. But who is she?

WOMAN puts up pen and notebook while the room gradually dissolves into sunrise--the sky a mix of 'peaches and cream;' the horizon coral pink--while we hear the introduction to Jethro Tull's "The Clasp."

An aerial view of Fisher Island from above the island. It's about a mile across and roughly round in shape. Located off the coast of Miami, it can be reached only by car ferry. (We see the island but buildings, roads, etc. are blurry images.)

There's a path which circles the isle; a favorite way for runners, joggers, and walkers. At this time, a WOMAN runs on the path. SHE wears a snug sports top, running shorts, and shoes. Light weights discretely cover HER wrists and ankles. HER black hair is pulled back; a band holds it in place. (Camera zooms in; views HER from the air, side, and back; we don't see her face.) We hear the first verse...

We travellers on the endless wastes in single orbits gliding
Cold-eyed march towards the dawn behind hard-weather hoods a-hiding.

(Camera switches from the WOMAN to an aerial shot of Miami morning traffic and then back to HER.)

Meeting as the tall ships do--passing in the channel

SHE races the cruise ship "SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS." We see HER shadow running on the ship's profile. Around the ship, the sea current is slightly choppy; the surface water breaks into ripples. The water is deep green near the island, dark grey around the cruise ship, and ink black on the horizon.

Afraid to chance a gentle touch--afraid to make the clasp.

Dark-haired WORKERS, planting beds of winter flowers, wave as SHE passes; SHE nods and keeps running.

In high-rise city canyons dwells the discontent of ages
On ring roads, nose to bumper crawl, communters in their cages.

Cryptic signals flash across from pilots in the fast lane
Double-locked and belted in--too late to make the clasp.

While the second verse is heard, the camera trails HER--yet sees what SHE sees--as SHE travels the course. First, in front of clusters of split-level condos whose Mediterranean architecture features barrel tile roofs and adobe style walls. The landscaping, rich with salt-tolerant bushes, is neatly kept.

Past the condos is the beach club with its rustic style buildings and small white sand beach. SHE goes up the coral deck, past an old mansion now turned into the club's main restaurant and bar, and by the coral-surfaced salt water pool. Peacocks wander over the pool deck; their plume feathers ruffled by HER passing.

More condos appear before SHE reaches the marina. Boats, sailboats (sails furled under cover), and motor yachts with polished mahogany decks bob gently on the waves. They crowd the marina's slips.

SHE turns onto the island's back side. It faces the Port of Miami; barges and cargo ships lie next to assigned piers. Towering rows of unloading machinery clank gently in the breeze.

Now SHE'S at the side across from Government Cut where car ferries go between the island and Miami and where the cruise ships enter and leave. SHE rounds the corner and heads for home.

Let's break the journey now on some lonely road
Sit down as strangers will--let the stress unload.

Talk in confidential terms
Share a dark unspoken fear.

Refill the cup and drink it up
Say goodnight and wish good luck.

While the third verse is heard, SHE halts in front of a cluster of condos; paces slowly around to cool off. CARLOS, a pre-med student working for the club, drives up in a golf card (the words "BEACH CLUB" emblazoned on its front). HE hops out, neatly straightens HIS white linen short-sleeved shirt, lifts a gently steaming cup of cafe con leche from a tray on the front seat. (Camera sees HIS face; framed by curly blond hair. We still see only HER back.)

HE presents HER the cup; SHE thanks HIM. HE bows, returns to the cart, and departs. SHE goes into one of the condos.

As HER door closes, camera dissolves--as the interlude plays--and we go to a large conference room. Two MEN sit at a table; EACH has a document in front of HIM. BOTH wear tailored suits and perfectly knotted ties.

One is a short pugnacious Cuban immigrant with brown eyes and immaculate hands--ROBERT MAYABERA. One is a cherubic round-faced man in his mid-fifties with fatherly features and a thick neck--LES ROSENTHAL.

They smile as the fourth verse begins...

Synthetic chiefs with frozen smiles holding unsteady courses

Then each signs HIS document (both in a deliberate fashion, neither wanting to lose face, no smiling).

Grip the reins of history--high on their battle horses.

Camera retreats so we see cameras and reporters before the table. ROBERT and LES stand, smiling again, face each other...

And meeting as good statesmen do before the T.V. eyes of millions

THEY shake hands.

Hand to hand exchange the lie--pretend to make the clasp.

A VOICE-OVER explains as the song ends and the image of THEIR shaking hands freezes.


The rumors became official Saturday night. Associated Synergenics, a local computer hardware and software supplier, merged with Merwolf Systems, Limited. Terms of the merger were not disclosed pending state and federal trade and security commission approval.

Associated serves area hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets. The company employs 250. Their fate is unknown.

Camera dissolves.


Written during 1999 and 2000. An earlier version was posted and later deleted.


'Tropical Storm'/Part 1
'Within Five Days'/Act 1


'The Clasp'


'Pupsical Storm'
Greypup Productions