• FADE IN:
  • EXT. CROFTER HOME - NIGHT
  • A modern 2194 home set in an open field populated with geodesic domes. The moon is huge and bright in the sky, satellites winking alongside not-so-distant stars.
  • TITLE: One pleasant evening in the month of June...
  • The melody from the Irish folk song A Jug of Punch drifts in and out, changing to suit the mood of each scene, always low in the background. The only time the lyrics are clearly audible is to serve key points in the story.
  • INT. UPSTAIRS, LESLEY’S BEDROOM - NIGHT
  • LESLEY CROFTER, nine years old, lies awake in his room. He has his mother's coppery skin and his father's pale gray eyes, his bright red hair cut into a messy mohawk. His eyebrow is bandaged; he’s been tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep, and there are angry shadows moving in the patch of light above his bed.
  • The voices of his parents, KIERAN and EMMA CROFTER, can be heard from the hallway. Lesley has been in his first fight. Emma is furious that he’s turning into just another Crofter brute, the latest in a long line. Kieran does not share her opinion or her ire.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • Here now, Em--
  • Glass breaks.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • Emma, love, you’ve made my poor pretty face bleed.
  • Kieran’s shadow, above Lesley’s bed, is placating: arms outstretched, shoulders hunched.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • Don’t you fucking touch me, Kieran Crofter! I didn’t raise a goddamn bully! Mouthing off like a fucking punk, beating on people like a syndicate thug--he’s turning into you! Emma’s small shadow is arched and furious. Lesley is lying on his side, staring miserably at the wall.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • Love o’ christ, Em, kids ’re gonna get in fights--
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • Fights? He nearly killed that boy!
  • BEEP (O.S.)
  • Lesley.
  • A soft, vaguely mechanical voice calls to Lesley from over the edge of his bed. Lesley sits up sullenly, scrubbing at his eyes, and looks over at the small, gold-eyed android clambering up the comforter. Bipedal at fourteen inches, crafted of dark, segmented metal, and horse-shaped with blade-like wings, this is BEEP, Lesley’s artificially intelligent ionic parenting aid and friend.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • Might I mention who’s been teachin’ ‘im to box?
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • To help with his anger problem! And you know damn well that wasn’t boxing--
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • So a son can’t defend his ma’s honor.
  • BEEP
  • It is recommended that we relocate.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • I’ve seen you garrote a man with a fucking belt, Kieran! Don’t pretend he figured out that little trick on his own!
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • That boy called you a whore.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • Don’t. You. Dare.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • Not that boyo weren’t onto someth--
  • Another sound of something breaking, this time porcelain. Lesley flinches.
  • BEEP
  • My instruments indicate that your present location is not secure.
  • Lesley does not appear afraid or alarmed, just unhappy. There is resignation on his face and in his voice.
  • LESLEY
  • They’re not gonna fight forever, Beep.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • That were my mother’s, you crazy bitch! You wantin’ t’ kill me with my ma’s own statue o’ the Blessed Virgin?
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • I’d’ve shoved it up your ass if you were closer! All the same, you fucking--useless, punch-drunk Crofters--
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • I’ll not be taunted away from the issue at hand, aye?
  • Emma mockingly affects a deeply stereotypical Irish accent.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • Ti ty, ti ty! Lookah me!
  • Twenty-six plus six equals one!
  • I needed first contact
  • to get me countray back
  • From tha Saxon Huns!
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • I don’t sound like that.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • Ay tousand years o’ silver medals at war! Tiggity ty tee!
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • Sweetheart, darlin’, light o’ my life--
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • I’m so in love wit’ Germany a ’cause I need him t’ save me from my BDSM love affair wit’ John Bull--
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • --you’ve crossed the fuckin’ line.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • You can take the tinker out of the cart, but you can’t take the gypsy out of the--
  • Kieran’s shadow draws up to its full height.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • Touch me and I’ll cut your fucking dick off!
  • Kieran laughs humorlessly.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • We both know that sweet little arse o’ yours’d die o’ grief.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • You’ve got brothers, Crofter.
  • Lesley twists his hands in his bedsheets, looking disgusted.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • That’s it.
  • There’s the sound of heavy footsteps, followed by lighter ones moving away from them. Lesley and Beep glance at each other knowingly, dreading what comes next.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • That’s all I’m taking from you.
  • The sounds of Kieran chasing down Emma cut through the new silence, punctuated by the slam of a door.
  • For a moment, there’s nothing. Lesley perks up, listening to see if it might already be over. But then he hears his parents proceed to have loud, angry sex.
  • Lesley covers his head with his pillow.
  • LESLEY
  • Christ.
  • KIERAN (O.S.)
  • Christ!
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • Ugh, fuck!
  • Lesley throws off his covers grumpily and gets out of bed.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • I’m not--argh--I’m not made out of glass, asshole!
  • Lesley pulls on a pair of striped pajama pants, faced screwed up at the distant sound of flesh slapping together. Behind him, Beep watches the slightly-open door. The processor in his chassis hums busily.
  • LESLEY
  • (to himself)
  • Thursday, why’s it always on Thursday.
  • (to Beep)
  • You can stop running situational diagnostics, Beep.
  • He opens the door.
  • LESLEY
  • At least they made it to their room this time.
  • EMMA (O.S.)
  • If you’re gonna choke me--urghk!--do it like a man!
  • BEEP
  • Does this merit a call to the authorities?
  • LESLEY
  • It merits a call to my goddamn therapist.
  • BEEP
  • Placing--
  • LESLEY
  • Not really, Beep.
  • BEEP
  • Acknowledged.
  • Beep flies alongside Lesley as the two exit his room, following Lesley’s actions as he presses his back to the hallway wall in a desperate attempt at stealth.
  • The door to his parents’ bedroom is ajar, having been slammed too hard to latch properly. Emma’s naked back is visible, trapping Kieran’s massive body beneath hers in a mess of blankets. Kieran’s huge, pale hands are stark against her skin, holding her in place.
  • EMMA
  • K-Kieran.
  • KIERAN
  • I got you, girl. You’re good. You’re perfect.
  • Lesley screws his eyes shut, creeping quickly past the door, while Beep flies soundlessly above him.
  • CUT TO:
  • INT. THE CROFTER HOME, DOWENSTAIRS
  • Lesley walks carefully down the stairs and crosses the landing into the gleaming touch-tech kitchen. He pauses at the pile of broken porcelain on the floor, a jarring contrast against the smooth angles and curving architecture of the room. Beep begins to tidy up the pieces for repair, but Lesley picks up the unscathed head of the Virgin Mary and brings it to eye-level.
  • LESLEY
  • Ma’am.
  • There's no answer, of course. He places it with the rest of the pieces Beep has moved to the counter.
  • Lesley tries the door leading into the backyard. It’s locked. He taps at a control console on the wall, booting it from sleep mode with a series of happy chimes. He glances nervously toward the ceiling where his parents’ room is, and quickly lowers the volume dial on the user interface.
  • LESLEY
  • House, override protocol nineteen-sixteen.
  • Beep watches Lesley wordlessly. Though the head of his chassis is incapable of expressing emotion, his posture clearly radiates disapproval.
  • HOUSE
  • Kitchen Door: Disengage Lock.
  • Lesley gets one foot outside before the bitter cold hits him. He jerks back into the house.
  • HOUSE
  • Regional climate adjustment procedures active until six AM. Suggested attire: winter.
  • Lesley moves off-screen, grumbling. There’s the sound of a closet door opening quietly, the shuffle of fabric, and the same door softly closing. Lesley returns with a high-visibility worker’s coat, fluorescent green with gray trim, emblazoned with the orange Marsian Miner’s Union logo on the back. The zipper is broken. It is clearly too big for him.
  • BEEP
  • Lesley, this garment is not calibrated for your anatomy.
  • LESLEY
  • Well, I’m not going back upstairs, buddy.
  • CUT TO:
  • EXT. BACKYARD, NIGHT
  • Lesley walks across the fenced-in backyard toward his father’s workshop, Beep flitting and flying around him anxiously.
  • BEEP
  • Lesley, we are in violation of Protocol: Bedtime. Again.
  • LESLEY
  • I don’t care. I need--whatever is happening in there--to, to just. Not be happening around me.
  • (he scowls)
  • Ever.
  • BEEP
  • If you are unfamiliar with this particular social practice--
  • (the flat, unnuanced voice of his command protocol interjects)
  • --compiling--
  • (his regular voice resumes)
  • Do you have access to FILE: THE_TALK?
  • LESLEY
  • Jesus, no! Fucking--no.
  • They reach Kieran’s workshop.
  • LESLEY
  • Unlock the shop.
  • BEEP
  • Access to the shop is restri--
  • LESLEY
  • (sighing)
  • Run program: Audio-underscore-Dad-underscore-Pass.
  • BEEP
  • (in Kieran’s voice)
  • Pog mo thoin.
  • The door clicks open, the hiss of an internal pressure release accompanied by its quiet processor. The shop lights up in all its glory.
  • Beep hesitates, but Lesley grabs him by his pointed whipcord of a tail and drags him through the doorway.
  • LESLEY
  • C’mon, ‘s cold as balls out here.
  • INT. KIERAN’S WORKSHOP
  • LESLEY
  • If you maybe wanna douse these floodlights so we’re not visible from orbit.
  • Beep’s golden eyes glow briefly as he accesses the networked lights He powers them down, leaving the shop in complete darkness.
  • The sound of Lesley bumping into stuff can be heard. Something scrapes across the floor.
  • LESLEY
  • Display lights?
  • BEEP
  • Display light controls are manual.
  • LESLEY
  • Goddamn it.
  • More fumbling in the dark as they pick their way through the various stored objects, tools, and topography of the shop.
  • LESLEY
  • (with difficulty)
  • Help me with this.
  • BEEP
  • The force exertion limit of my current chassis is twelve PSI.
  • LESLEY
  • Baby.
  • BEEP
  • "Artificially Intelligent Ionic Anthropomorphic Parenting Aid, Baphomet Educational Edition Pookah."
  • LESLEY
  • Whatever makes you feel good, Beep.
  • After some huffing and puffing from Lesley and several error chimes from Beep’s chassis, there’s more scraping and the sound of a hand against the wall.
  • LESLEY
  • On, damn it. On!
  • The display lights come on. They’ve managed to push a tool chest beneath the motion-sensing light panel, giving Lesley enough height to reach it.
  • Kieran’s workshop is a high-ceilinged garage full of tools and machines. Lesley wanders around to every strange and fascinating thing his father never lets him get close to during working hours.
  • THE UNIVERSAL CONSTRUCTOR 3D-printing rig looks like a caged virus: a huge, spinning crystalline mass of raw materials for printing parts, secure within a floor-mounted frame. Lesley reaches to--
  • BEEP
  • You are not permitted to handle raw materials or operate the assembler.
  • A CLASSIC AEROSPACE RACERCRAFT that Kieran has been building for a client is nearly complete, partially painted rocket red. Lesley climbs into it, rocking the brace it's mounted on, and flips some switches.
  • BEEP
  • An incident report for a tier one safety violation will be filed if you fail to vacate that cockpit within thirteen seconds.
  • Lesley carefully climbs down.
  • A GRISLY TROPHY floats motionlessly in a floor-to-ceiling, fluid-filled vat that's wider around than Lesley can fit both arms. The head of a suit of living armor--specifically, a Raavu Windknight mount--that Kieran brought back from the war, it currently rests in stasis solution. Cords and piping hang down from its neck like sinews and viscera from a corpse, and the eyes in its angular face, still locked in the combat setting, glare hauntingly at nothing.
  • Lesley presses his hands against the glass wall. The stasis fluid seems to glow faintly, though it wasn’t visible when the lights were off.
  • LESLEY
  • (teasing)
  • Shh, did you hear that? I think it just said your name, Beep.
  • BEEP
  • Incorrect. This unit is inert.
  • (in the command protocol voice)
  • --scanning--
  • Lesley laughs.
  • The two of them move through the workshop, Lesley with the reverent air of one who isn’t usually allowed to be here. There's a workbench at the back scattered with the occasional symptoms of the working man--beer cans, contracts, unfiled receipts, miscellaneous works-in-progress. There’s also a well-maintained shell press in a cleared-off area of the bench, a neat clutch of shotgun shells just beside it.
  • And above, in a place of honor if not love, immaculately maintained, is one of the Crofter family heirlooms. Lesley’s eyes fall hypnotically onto the generations-old relic. This is SADIE, a sawed-off shotgun circa 1924, possessed of gorgeous, hand-tooled ivory furniture and strange black steel assembly with an uncanny red sheen.
  • LESLEY
  • That's--
  • BEEP
  • You are absolutely not permitted to handle firearms!
  • Lyric: upon his knee, a ready wench
  • Lesley reaches for the shotgun and carefully takes her down from the wall.
  • LESLEY
  • When’d Dad put this up?
  • The door creaks open. As before, Kieran is heralded by his shadow. Framed and cast by the backyard lights which have come up, darkness falls over the now-empty placard to cover Lesley and Beep.
  • Lesley turns abruptly, his eyes wide, Sadie clutched tightly in his arms. At a glance, she’s far too big and heavy for him now.
  • Lyric: aye, and on the table, a jug of punch
  • Kieran steps into the shop, humming a lesser bar from The Jug of Punch. About six-four with Irish-pale skin and bright red hair in a crew cut, he has the same pale gray eyes as his son.
  • He towers over Lesley, but his body language is not menacing. He’s shirtless, his visible skin a patchwork of old scars from stab and gunshot wounds, as well as injuries from various unrecognizable weaponry. Most noticeable are the low-tech field dressings he never bothered to replace: a metal prosthesis patch for his middle left finger, the teal strip of quick-fix auto-tissue over his heart from a puncture wound, and a plain, pale scar across the bridge of his nose.
  • More recently, there are a couple of dark red bruises forming high on his neck and four parallel nail-gouges on his left shoulder.
  • Kieran lights a cigarette with a ZIPPO; the cherry burns blue.
  • KIERAN
  • So that’s where my damned jacket got to.
  • Lesley fumbles Sadie, but manages to catch her before she hits the ground.
  • LESLEY
  • I was just lookin’, Dad!
  • KIERAN
  • (laughing)
  • At ease, son. What d’you got there?
  • Lesley pauses thoughtfully, running a hand over the gold inlay on the stock.
  • LESLEY
  • The sawed-off you had on the wall. Old Italian lupara, looks like--twenty-two inches muzzle to grip, easily point-eight-ish kilos heavier than it should be, payload’s two rounds, twelve-gauge shells--
  • KIERAN
  • (smiling indulgently)
  • She’s not blueprints, boy. That’s Sadie.
  • INSERT - RORY
  • Close-up of Sadie, partially wrapped in a violet cloth with several inches of her gleaming, black barrel exposed. A pale, rough-knuckled hand is resting possessively over her, a golden signet ring clearly visible. It displays the Crofter family crest: a skull in profile, crowned in laurels and pierced by two gladii. It’s one of the rings Kieran wears, but this is not Kieran’s hand.
  • KIERAN
  • She’s older’n your granda. Meaner, too, if you can believe it.
  • Lesley awkwardly passes Sadie to Kieran.
  • LESLEY
  • I think--I think I saw one like it in a history video in school.
  • INSERT - RORY
  • Another close-up on Sadie, this time being carefully adorned with slender engraving tools. The hands are the same as before, but younger and less rough. Upon completion, the worker is revealed to be a young man, though his face is not visible as he gently blows dust off the newly-carved description. What can be seen of his clothing are 1930s-era Ireland.
  • KIERAN
  • There are no guns like Sadie, boy.
  • LESLEY
  • (blowing his mohawk out of his eyes, exasperated)
  • A gun’s a gun, right? And this one’s really old.
  • KIERAN
  • (smiling faintly)
  • And what’s a gun, then?
  • Lesley raises his eyebrows, the corner of his mouth tucking in like he thinks this might be a trick question. Or that his dad’s an idiot.
  • LESLEY
  • A weapon?
  • INSERT - RORY
  • The figure raises Sadie into the air, admiring her. He’s mostly in silhouette, but his fierce, bright grin is clearly visible--and begins to widen into something terrifying.
  • Kieran presses Sadie back into Lesley’s hands. Lesley flinches.
  • KIERAN
  • Boy, they tell ye in school you’re supposed t’ be free. Ye got rights. Your government cares about ye.
  • KIERAN (PRE-LAP)
  • That’s shite.
  • EXT. AN OLD GUNSMITH SHOP - DAY
  • TITLE: Piana Dei Greci, May 1924
  • FAUSTO, a mid-forties Italian gunsmith, marvels at the lupara he has just finished fitting and trimming. He is joined shortly by his well-dressed cousin, SALVATORE. The two men are of an age, though Salvatore has always appeared more youthful.
  • The lupara is a gift for DON CICCIO, the mayor of Piana dei Greci and the closest it gets to being the boss of the entire Sicilian mafia, Cosa Nostra.
  • SALVATORE
  • Cousin, I have the oranges. Fiona sends her regards, she hates you still and with great passion.
  • FAUSTO
  • Shut up and come over here. This is the one, cousin.
  • SALVATORE
  • (laughing)
  • So little?
  • Fausto slaps him on the back of the head.
  • FAUSTO
  • It is the sign of the poorly bred to put stock in size alone!
  • Salvatore shoots Fausto a wounded look, fixing his immaculate hair.
  • SALVATORE
  • You’ve gotten rough in your old age, cousin. I concede that your gun is a true work of art. I am sure Don Ciccio will love it.
  • FAUSTO
  • All who lay eyes on her should love her, Salvatore.
  • They stare at the gun for a long moment.
  • SALVATORE
  • I do not imagine the ones on the wrong end will be loving her so much.
  • Fausto moves to slap Salvatore again, but Salvatore has grown wise and moves out of range. He snags one of Fausto’s oranges and begins to peel it. Fausto once more regards the lupara.
  • FAUSTO
  • I suppose that it matters little. It is not for the Don’s love that I build this.
  • SALVATORE
  • No?
  • He gestures toward the gun, taking it to hand at Fausto’s shrug. He breaches it, examining the work with a tradesman’s eye.
  • SALVATORE
  • Is this not your tribute? You are a man of the business, Fausto!
  • FAUSTO
  • I am a man of Italia, cousin.
  • Salvatore snaps the shotgun home. He is serious for a moment, but then he smiles like the ass he is.
  • SALVATORE
  • Who is this? Fausto of the Arditi has returned--
  • SALVATORE
  • (singing)
  • O la vittoria, o tutti accoppati!
  • He points to a framed medal on the wall: a gold Medaglia al Valore Militare.
  • FAUSTO
  • You mock me as though you were not there with me.
  • Salvatore continues to examine the lupara, his fingers playing over the dark steel.
  • SALVATORE
  • I wasn’t, not if anyone asks. I, like Italia, am a good fascista and nothing more.
  • He brings the receiver closer to his eyes.
  • SALVATORE
  • What is this metal? German? And this--light, this polish. How have you done this?
  • FAUSTO
  • I cannot say from where it comes. Only from who, and even then I would not say the earth it was drawn from was a godly place.
  • Salvatore carefully places the lupara back on Fausto’s workbench.
  • SALVATORE
  • Lo straniero?
  • FAUSTO
  • Lo straniero.
  • SALVATORE
  • He is why you make this?
  • FAUSTO
  • He is why many people do many things, cousin.
  • FADE TO:
  • EXT. FAUSTO’S SHOP - NIGHT
  • TITLE: Piana dei Greci, November 1925
  • The exterior of Fausto’s shop is undecorated and in disrepair, a stark contrast from before. There are no lights on in the windows. A group of Cesare Mori’s men thunders by, brandishing weapons and the Royal Italian Flag, casting jagged shadows over the cobblestones in the glow of their torches.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • There’s always goin’ t’ be men who’re above men like us.
  • Salvatore has ducked into a doorway, out of sight and out of breath, clutching his coat close to his body. There’s blood seeping from a tear in his sleeve, high on his right arm.
  • A few more militants follow the larger group, but Salvatore remains unnoticed until the danger has passed. He rushes the rest of the way to Fausto’s shop door, stumbling over the uneven steps, and raps sharply on the wood. The paint has started to peel.
  • SALVATORE
  • Cousin, wake up!
  • The door swings open, unlocked. Salvatore enters, his fine clothing torn, his hair wildly out of place. He slams and bars the door behind him. The only light in the shop is a kerosene lamp in the center of Fausto’s work table.
  • SALVATORE
  • The carabinieri are everywhere, they have turned Blackshirt, the whole damned place has turned Blackshirt! I am only just ahead of them--
  • Salvatore turns down the lamp and moves toward the window anxiously. Mounted on the wall, the lupara twinkles in the moonlight.
  • SALVATORE
  • Cousin--?
  • He opens the door to the back room. Inside, he finds Fausto between TWO CARABINIERI, bound to a chair. He’s been interrogated--the hard way. The older and ranking CARABINIERE II holds a straight razor; he’s just cut Fausto’s throat. The younger CARABINIERE I moves to rush Salvatore.
  • Salvatore quickly slams the door again, shoving his uninjured shoulder up against it. He immediately braces as they attempt to force the door back open.
  • SALVATORE
  • (grunting)
  • Pote de Cristo! CAVOLO!
  • CARABINIERE I
  • You are a dead man, traditore! Open the door!
  • SALVATORE
  • You are making a convincing argument, Signore!
  • Two rounds tear through the wooden door near Salvatore’s face. He only just jerks out of the way, eyes wide.
  • SALVATORE
  • Fuck!
  • Salvatore launches from the door and slams into the nearby workbench. It causes the lupara to fall from its hook, landing before his eyes.
  • SALVATORE
  • The... Don’s lupara...?
  • He grabs the gun and wheels around to see the two police emerge from the bedroom. He manages to get behind them as they enter the shop. He levels the lupara at them.
  • SALVATORE
  • Drop the guns! Now!
  • They comply. The three men face off.
  • CARABINIERE I
  • Surrender, traditore, and the people will be lenient.
  • SALVATORE
  • Leave, Signore, and I will not be chasing you. No one is having to die. We are all countrymen here. I am not your enemy.
  • The carabinieri begin to look less certain. Salvatore starts to play it up a bit. He gestures dramatically.
  • SALVATORE
  • Like you, I am a simple man. Like you, I have a boss and I take orders. Like you, I carry them out to bring home bread to my poor wife and six hungry sons--
  • CARABINIERE II
  • (mocking)
  • Your balls have not been down long enough to have sired such a family! There are lightbulbs in my home that are older than you!
  • SALVATORE
  • I assure you, I only look this way.
  • CARABINIERE I
  • Give yourself up. It will be easier for you if you do.
  • CARABINIERE II
  • (smiling sharply)
  • You are having only two shots, cafone.
  • Salvatore grins back fiercely, having come out the other side of terror and grief into black rage.
  • SALVATORE
  • I am counting only two pigs needing the slaughter. Signore.
  • Carabiniere II, older and bolder, moves to grab Salvatore. Salvatore pulls the trigger.
  • There is an empty click.
  • Carabiniere II balks for a moment, shocked. Then he smiles.
  • CARABINIERE II
  • It is over, paisan. Give me your little toy, I am sure Il Duce will like it. He is a forgiving man--perhaps he will melt it down and make a handsome cross for your cousin’s grave, yes?
  • Salvatore flips the lupara in his hand, bringing the stock down hard to bash Carabiniere II between the eyes. He drops like a stone, blood spraying across Salvatore’s chest and face. Salvatore’s eyes are wide and afraid, shocked at the violence of what he has done.
  • Blood dances with moonlight on the lupara’s virgin steel, the red sheen highlighting the gore. Salvatore’s eyes harden; he grits his teeth; he firms his stance. He launches at Carabiniere I, who has been fumbling for his gun on the floor.
  • Salvatore overtakes him and kicks the gun away. He throws him against the workbench, where Carabiniere I cowers in fear.
  • CARABINIERE I
  • Please, mercy, my friend! It was an accident, it was--
  • SALVATORE
  • (furious)
  • You take my home!
  • (he strikes Carabiniere I)
  • You take my life!
  • (he strikes him again)
  • You kill my cousin!
  • (and again...)
  • You mean to kill me. No more!
  • Salvatore bashes Carabiniere I to death with the lupara. He stands over the two fallen officers, tears spilling from his eyes. Blood runs down the lupara’s grip.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • You know what "crofter" means, son?
  • LESLEY (V.O.)
  • No, sir.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • It means "farmer". But it also sort o’ means "slave".
  • Salvatore picks up the lamp and smashes it on the floor. The shop is slowly consumed by flame.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • But even slaves have got limits.
  • LESLEY (V.O.)
  • I didn’t mean to hurt him so bad, Dad.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • But he meant what he did to you, son. I’m not saying you didn’t earn the trouble you’re in, but I can’t say you’ve done wrong.
  • A poster of Mussolini, a framed needlepoint of the Medici family crest, all of it burns. Even as the flames gather around him, Salvatore stops to collect Fausto’s medal from its broken display case that has fallen to the floor.
  • SALVATORE
  • (whispering)
  • O la vittoria, o tutti accoppati...
  • He walks out into the night.
  • FADE TO:
  • INT. KIERAN’S WORKSHOP - NIGHT
  • LESLEY
  • But I thought...?
  • KIERAN
  • (exhaling smoke rings)
  • Son, you can only fuck with so many people before one of those people breaks your neck. Ye both learned that.
  • (he pauses)
  • Ah, don’t tell your ma I said as much, though.
  • LESLEY
  • Yes, sir!
  • KIERAN
  • You see, that boy--sure, he’s bigger ‘n stronger than you. But it’s just nature, it’s the nature of the bigger and stronger folk to figure they can step on them that’s smaller. But that sort o’ nature’s got no place in a world that’s just.
  • LESLEY
  • But that is the world. What can smaller folk do about it?
  • Kieran makes a sound between a laugh and sigh, joyless. He studies his prosthetic finger, curling it in sync with the rest of it hand. It mostly functions.
  • KIERAN
  • Not can, boyo--must. We must change the world, steer it as it strays.
  • FADE TO:
  • EXT. FAUSTO’S SHOP - DAY
  • A richly dressed man has arrived at the burnt-down wreckage of Fausto’s shop, his long oxblood coat shifting in the smoky wind, his dark trilby cutting a fine silhouette from behind. This is WHITILL, a strange, tall man with alarming features that somehow rearrange themselves into obscurity. Darkly tinted welding glasses shield his eyes, and a silken scarf seems to cover the lower half of his face without arousing curiosity. What is visible of his skin is alarmingly pale, and his gloved hands are tactile and dextrous in a way that is not at all usual. He is surrounded by NONDESCRIPT MEN in black suits who are picking through the wreckage, none of which appear to take any notice of his physiology.
  • Whitill picks up the burnt image of Il Duce, a thumb moving over the ragged edge where it’s become ash.
  • SUITED MAN
  • It isn’t here, Executor.
  • Whitill lets the picture fall, brushing the dust off his hands, showcasing what currently passes for his face.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • Even if you got to break the cunt’s neck.
  • CUT TO:
  • EXT. SOUTHERN IRISH PORT TOWEN - DAY
  • TITLE: Ballynacorra, Cork County, Ireland, December 1925
  • A lone tugboat puts into port. Salvatore, bereft of his previous finery, disembarks. He is met by OWEN CROFTER, a large, blue-eyed Irishman with the signature red Crofter hair, and his scrawny young nephew, RORY. Rory is a bit more angular of face than his uncle, but otherwise there is only one real difference between them other than age: Rory’s eyes are gray.
  • Owen embraces Salvatore.
  • OWEN
  • The Bastard of Medici!
  • SALVATORE
  • The Baby-Eater of County Cork!
  • Both men laugh, releasing and regarding one another. It has clearly been some years since their last meeting.
  • OWEN
  • So it’s true, then--here you are, come with only th’ clothes on your back, beggin’ th’ protection o’ the Crofters.
  • You look like you’ve aged a dozen years.
  • He passes Salvatore’s bag to Rory.
  • OWEN
  • Here then, lad. Put that young back to work.
  • Rory rolls the bag onto his shoulder.
  • SALVATORE
  • My friend, I have nothing. I am run out from my own land, by my own brothers. I would not ask the favor of anything I could afford to pay.
  • Salvatore’s face buckles and darkens as though he will start to cry.
  • OWEN
  • Christ. You see, Rory, this is what happened t’ Rome--weepin’ dandies in perfumed silk, beggin’ for Irish gold.
  • RORY
  • What?
  • OWEN
  • Rory, this is your uncle Salvatore. He and I are very old friends.
  • RORY
  • (to Salvatore)
  • Good t’ meet you, sir.
  • SALVATORE
  • How polite is the spawn of your beastly sister! Well met, my young friend.
  • He smiles at Rory.
  • OWEN
  • Salvatore, you’re a son of a whore and I love you. How you conned your way through France a second time to get here is beyond me, but there’s none who’ll be chasin’ you this far. Get your arse along and let’s get good and tight.
  • They travel on foot, the land gradually growing more hilly and wild further inland. They arrive at the CROFTER HOME, a welcoming stone-and-thatch cottage, as the sky begins to turn orange and pink.
  • OWEN
  • A shame about Fausto. He’ll be sorely missed by all who knew him. The whores of Sicily will surely weep, going hungry for lack of his money.
  • Rory laughs, then claps his hand over his mouth, scandalized. Salvatore smiles weakly, but his face begins to fold in on itself again.
  • OWEN
  • He was a good man--ah. Boy! Fix up some punch for poor Sal!
  • Rory rushes inside to do so.
  • FADE TO:
  • INT. CROFTER HOME, KITCHEN - NIGHT
  • Salvatore and Owen sit at a table with a jug of whiskey between them. On the table, atop an oilcloth, is Sadie.
  • SALVATORE
  • I am insisting. You must have it. Your family has saved me yet again. I will not take no for an answer.
  • OWEN
  • I don’t really need it. ‘Sides, only a madman brings two shots to a gunfight these days.
  • Rory comes into the room to start on dishes, dropping the first plate he touches as soon as he lays eyes on the lupara.
  • OWEN
  • Attend, lad!
  • Rory looks guilty, but he can’t take his eyes off the gun.
  • RORY
  • (murmuring)
  • Thought I heard--
  • (to Owen)
  • Sorry, Uncle.
  • SALVATORE
  • (smiling tiredly)
  • You are liking it, figlio?
  • RORY
  • (shyly)
  • Yes, sir.
  • SALVATORE
  • Then she is yours.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • You see, lad, guns aren’t just weapons, they’re a--a force. An intervention in the way o’ the world. Kings used t’ work crofters t’ death, just so’s they could have fuckin’ cake for shite like Christmas. But guns, well--
  • KIERAN (PRE-LAP)
  • --guns changed that.
  • FADE TO:
  • INT. RORY’S SHED - DAY
  • TITLE: County Cork, Kinsale, Ireland, 1937
  • Rory Crofter, now a young man, stands alone in a toolshed, working at an old, scarred table. He’s looming over something the viewer can’t see yet, engraving tools in his hands. He is singing The Jug of Punch quietly as he works.
  • RORY
  • (singing)
  • Let the doctors come
  • with all their art,
  • they’ll make no impression
  • upon my heart
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • A gun’s not just a weapon, son. A gun is freedom.
  • Rory is working on the lupara, carefully engraving the dark metal. When he’s finished, the barrel reads, "Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas síoraí dó". The strange sheen on the metal makes the letters glow red.
  • RORY
  • (singing)
  • Even the cripple
  • forgets his hunch
  • when he’s snug outside of
  • a jug of punch
  • Rory regards his work, pleased.
  • RORY
  • And that’s fine, I’ll say.
  • He blows on the words.
  • RORY
  • Now, you’ll be needin’ a name. What’s your name, girl?
  • He holds the gun barrel to his ear, pantomiming a man about to pull the trigger on his life.
  • RORY
  • (delighted and scandalized)
  • Christ almighty, th’ mouth on you! You’ll have to remember that one for your audience with King George.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • The time came when kings didn’t kill crofters anymore, long as we had guns.
  • RORY
  • (singing and humming)
  • and if I get drunk,
  • well, the money’s me own
  • He carves an "S" into pale ivory of her stock.
  • RORY
  • (singing)
  • and them’s don’t like me,
  • they can leave me alone
  • RORY (PRE-LAP)
  • (singing)
  • I’ll tune me fiddle
  • and I’ll rosin me bow...
  • EXT. RORY’S SHED - DAY
  • Owen is sitting on a stool outside the shed, a jug of moonshine tucked between his feet. He is playing a flute, the melody echoing Rory’s singing.
  • The door of the shed slams open, cutting the music short, and Rory emerges wearing a custom leather vest. It has five thin sheaths ribbed down either side, each bearing an adapter tube of a different size for Sadie.
  • OWEN
  • Th’ fuck are you doin’?
  • Rory turns to face his uncle, looking proud enough to burst.
  • RORY
  • It’s Sadie’s pitch pipe! Tubes ’re sized an’ rifled so’s she can fire any--
  • OWEN
  • "Sadie", eh? Y’look like a butcher.
  • Owen takes a pull from the jug.
  • OWEN
  • And a right idiot. Namin’ your gun "Sadie", ha! Issat why you can’t stick t’ one woman an’ get fuckin’ married? Can’t forsake your darlin’ musket there? Gonna have a-a son... sonofagun, ha. Ha!
  • Rory storms away, Owen’s laughter following him.
  • OWEN
  • Christ, boyo, it were just craic!
  • Owen resumes playing his flute.
  • Rory takes one of the adapters from his vest and slides it into the barrel. He puts a round in Sadie and aims.
  • The jug of moonshine explodes near Owen’s feet--a shot no typical sawed-off shotgun could have made.
  • OWEN
  • (furious)
  • Oi! Geddown here! I’ll fix that ugly nose o’ yours, son! Think you’re a man ‘cause the town tart let you moisten ‘er belly once? Eh?!
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • After a time, kings had more use for our kind. Not crofters in the way o' t' world, but our family in particular. This old girl Sadie, she’s served a few kings. But one above all th’ others.
  • Owen angrily begins to mop up, careful not to cut his fingers on the broken jug.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • As your granda used t' say, she’s righted a lot o' wrongs on the side o' the Devil.
  • LESLEY (V.O.)
  • What devil?
  • Owen curses colorfully, straightening his aching back.
  • LESLEY (V.O.)
  • Dad, did we--did our family do--we were the bad guys?
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • "Bad"? That depends, son. What end o' the gun you’re at. Whose money's in your pocket.
  • KIERAN (PRE-LAP)
  • How much you love your family.
  • EXT. A ROADSIDE NEAR THE CROFTER HOME
  • Rory, bedecked in purple-accented silks and perfumed like his old uncle Salvatore in the days of his youth, departs a tinker’s caravan wagon. He’s wearing a more lavish version of his original adapter vest, and his hair has grown long past his shoulders. He waves, rings and necklaces glittering in the late-afternoon sun, to a pair of brightly-dressed gypsy girls. LEAH, slender and blonde, and GEMMA, curvy and dark, toss loving kisses to him.
  • LEAH
  • You sure you’ve no desire to come ‘round with us?
  • GEMMA
  • We ‘ad fun, didn’ we?
  • Rory smiles warmly at them, pressing his hand over his heart.
  • RORY
  • Ye both been unspeakably lovely, but I got it in my head t’ marry the machinist’s daughter.
  • Gemma smiles sweetly, resting her face in her palm.
  • LEAH
  • Well, if your mind’s made up.
  • She playfully stuffs his hat on his head.
  • LEAH
  • Don’t go leavin’ this with Gemma, she doesn’t need you havin’ a reason to chase after ‘er once all that marital bliss goes cold!
  • Rory winks, doffing his hat and bowing low.
  • RORY
  • Oh, aye. I’ll remember ye fondly, Leah, Gemma.
  • (he grins, quick and filthy)
  • An’ often.
  • They pull off down the road. Rory watches them for a time, sad but resigned, then shoulders his travel bag and heads home.
  • He passes a line of trees around his family’s cottage, only to be greeted by the fearful sight of a Royal Army jeep. There are two British soldiers leaning on it, casually smoking cigarettes.
  • Rory’s eyes go wide.
  • LESLEY (V.O.)
  • What devil?
  • RORY
  • (whispering)
  • They’ve skipped the Black and Tans and sent the bloody army!
  • He narrows his eyes, dropping his pack between the roots of a tree. Distantly, beside the house, the soldiers are bullshitting, gesturing subduedly to one another.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • Ah, listen, son, I've worked very hard t' ensure you never need know th’ answer t' that question. Just understand that the pay our family used t' earn--well, it were more taken than given.
  • UP BY THE TREE, the sack has slumped over. Rory is gone.
  • DOWN BY THE HOUSE, the soldiers are now dead where they stood. Around the corner of the cottage, a pair of legs in uniform and standard-issue boots is struggling in the dirt. Abruptly, they go still.
  • Rory drags the body, streaking blood along behind it, around the back of the house. He ducks under the broad window.
  • INSIDE THE COTTAGE, Owen is seated at the kitchen table beside Rory’s mother ENIT CROFTER, a wiry blue-eyed woman with careless physiology and ever-grinning lips. They are meeting with a SERGEANT MAJOR representing MI5 and the crown, and the curiously pale Whitill. As before, he’s dressed in his oxblood jacket, though everyone else at the table has removed any outerwear once indoors. His welding glasses are gold with delicate filigree. TWO ROYAL ARMY GUARDS are stationed at the door.
  • There is a teapot on the table, blue and white Ming porcelain, the wealth of which is a sinister truth in otherwise humble surroundings. Enit is dressed impeccably, smoking expensive cigarettes. Owen is downcast, brooding into his very-not-whiskey tea, always tending to the browbeaten side whenever his sister is home. It doesn’t help that Enit has invited guests that Owen would rather be killing than sharing tea with.
  • OWEN
  • And the Moscow situation?
  • WHITILL
  • Stable enough, though it still requires management. The matter at hand is more pressing, however, and demands a firm resolution. There is a bothersome client in Italy who is repeatedly in breach of contract.
  • OWEN
  • (rolling his eyes)
  • Oh, we’ve no stomach for those.
  • ENIT
  • (slanting a gaze at Whitill)
  • I’ve only just come home, so you’ll not be shipping me out now. And Italy, of all places.
  • (she snorts)
  • Besides, the war wilts away. Why‘re you so eager t’ get back t’ work? This is where your banks come in an’ redraw all the maps, aye?
  • Whitill regards her without expression. She smiles like a naughty child.
  • ENIT
  • Seems you’ve enough work ahead of you, things as they are.
  • WHITILL
  • A leader’s office is only a part of his influence. I can’t afford to suffer any future setbacks should the currently deposed grow--ambitious--and resume operations while in hiding. Moreover, you and I both know that war doesn’t set a situation in stone.
  • ENIT
  • (slyly)
  • No, it doesn’t. My kind sets things in stone. The diligent small folk, the simple masons of your grand architecture.
  • WHITILL
  • (very calmly)
  • Enit. We need this done.
  • ENIT
  • Rory is your stonemason this time, I’m afraid.
  • WHITILL
  • (with some surprise)
  • Your boy? The gunsmith?
  • OWEN
  • Aren’t we all your "gunsmiths"?
  • ENIT
  • (warningly)
  • Owen.
  • (to Whitill)
  • It’d be good for him. All he does now is run off with the tinkers and start fights, cause trouble with the law by his appalling abuse of his training.
  • WHITILL
  • He is undisciplined.
  • ENIT
  • He’s restless. And he might could come to a bad end before he could come to your aid.
  • Whitill inclines his head, a small smile just visible through his scarf.
  • WHITILL
  • That would be most unfortunate.
  • They share a knowing look. Enit looks away first, busying her hands with the teapot, which has finished steeping by now. She prepares four cups of tea.
  • ENIT
  • Hopefully he’ll do us proud.
  • Whitill takes his cup, politely passing a second one on to the Sergeant Major, who has been watching the exchange with mounting discomfort.
  • WHITILL
  • If a man does right by those who have cared for him, he can do naught but make them proud.
  • Enit delights in noticing that Whitill does not drink his tea.
  • ENIT
  • And we can only hope that he doesn’t fall in with the bigger fish of the bad element in--heh--your London.
  • WHITILL
  • Heh.
  • OWEN
  • I worry more he’ll get involved with those fools up North, still clingin’ t’ their grand idea of freedom.
  • The Sergeant Major looks at Owen as though he has found a kindred spirit.
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • (heartily)
  • England is an idea as well, sir. It is as uncut stone, this world, and the idea of Britannia will carve it into--
  • ENIT
  • (sharply)
  • Owen, drink that tea or so help me jaysus, I’ll crush your tallywhacker t’ jelly!
  • Owen drinks his tea.
  • ENIT
  • England is none of our business. It’s gold, however...
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • (insulted)
  • The payment is with my men, of course, as per the usual protocol. That said, I shall take this moment to say that I entirely disapprove of this arrangement. I was instructed by Mister Whitill to find you, and now you’ve decided that your son will take to the field in your stead?
  • He looks around the table briefly, raising his tea to his lips, but he doesn’t pause long enough to drink any. Some of the tea spills with his brief, contained gestures.
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • I have been told this is your regular fee, and assured that this is all quite reasonable. And yet, with all due respect, madam, I find the fee to be excessive. I am told your--family--has an exceptional service record, but no such record exists! And I have certainly searched for it.
  • WHITILL
  • And you will continue to search.
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • (to Whitill)
  • Assassins can’t possibly be worth all this.
  • ENIT
  • Assassins are only worth their invisibility, Englishman. The Crofters are in the business of conducting their affairs unseen.
  • WHITILL
  • My Crofters can go anywhere, Sergeant Major. Crofters do not wear uniforms, they do not fly banners, they do not march. Crofters can disappear, because they never have to disappear. The world is full of what appears to be their kind; they are invisible because no one can escape the common man. When and where our country could not send her army, then and there I have sent a single Crofter.
  • Enit claps her hands together, smiling sweetly.
  • ENIT
  • Oh, you are ever the bard, dear Mister Whitill.
  • WHITILL
  • Yes, well, back to the subject of our boy--
  • ENIT
  • Yes, yes, come to collect my first born, like old Crom Cruach. Perhaps you’ll leave a changeling? A bit of good milk?
  • Owen laughs into his hand.
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • (growing more frustrated)
  • Madam, Mister Whitill is an Executor of The King’s Intelligence. This man is an agent of the crown, and I take the greatest possible exception to your disrespect!
  • ENIT
  • (mocking, her eyes wide)
  • Oh, dear.
  • She lights a cigarette and rests her chin on her palm, gazing at Whitill. He shades a hand over his welding glasses, his elbow on the table. It’s a small expression of exasperation, and the most human gesture he’s made so far.
  • ENIT
  • Tell me, Sergeant Major, have you noticed how terribly pale Mister Whitill is?
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • (suddenly disoriented)
  • I--ah--I had not. Now, why--
  • Whitill looks at the Sergeant Major, whose face passes between rising fear, dreamlike confusion, and a sudden, steadying surety.
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • The Executor has a--a condition, but that in no way makes him u-unusual, or unfit for duty--
  • ENIT
  • (impish)
  • Have you noticed that the Executor never removes his glasses?
  • The Sergeant Major and the two men at the door are growing restless, oscillating between feeling alarmed and feeling dazed. Whitill rubs his temple. Enit grins broadly and Owen stares bitterly at his tea, as though willing it to contain even a drop of whiskey.
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • I don’t--ah. The Executor is ph-photoalleric, a-and.
  • Whitill pushes his glasses up the bridge of whatever passes for his nose.
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • (rubbing his eyes)
  • H-His eyes are sensitive, there is--no cause to doubt his suitability for--service--I--I have to, to sit down.
  • ENIT
  • You are sitting down.
  • WHITILL
  • (flatly)
  • Enit.
  • OWEN
  • All right, well, that’s gone arseways. G’night, all.
  • He grabs a bottle from the counter, uncorking it with his teeth. He presses past the soldiers gaping from the doorway.
  • OWEN
  • (amiably)
  • Out o’ my way, ye fascist gobshites.
  • Owen exits.
  • ENIT
  • And the tea--
  • WHITILL
  • Must we always stage this little drama?
  • ENIT
  • (giggling)
  • He never drinks the tea, does he? Or eats? Tell me, Sergeant, have you ever seen the Executor sleep?
  • The Sergeant Major’s eyes flicker between them, as though he doesn’t recognize either for a moment.
  • SERGEANT MAJOR
  • I am quite sure--I clearly remember--but, no, that never happened--
  • Whitill shakes his head and gives in, raising a gloved hand to form a symbol that requires a subtly different anatomy than he had a moment ago. The soldiers slump to the floor, the Major gracelessly onto the table.
  • Whitill’s true form, now that he is not making an attempt to obfuscate, is inhumanly lean and alien, otherworldly. His hands are different than human hands, but his gloves and suit are expertly tailed to his body.
  • ENIT
  • Never, I will never get tired of that!
  • WHITILL
  • I live in passionate desire for the day that you do. What precisely can you not sit still for? The seriousness, that you must constantly play it against a bit of silliness?
  • Enit stirs her tea with a little spoon, sucking at it childishly after.
  • ENIT
  • You’ve never complained before. You didn’t complain in Serbia.
  • WHITILL
  • I had not yet tired of it in Serbia. Now, Enit. Your son.
  • ENIT
  • (casually)
  • Are they dead?
  • WHITILL
  • You know they aren’t, I’ve simply put them to sleep.
  • Whitill considers his cup. Then he pulls the scarf down to reveal his terrifying mouth.
  • WHITILL
  • You know what, I think I will try a bit of your tea.
  • ENIT
  • They aren’t laughin’ anymore. Did you at least try to leave them alive?
  • Whitill sips his tea, his expression rapturous.
  • WHITILL
  • Oh, dear me, that--that is actually worth the potential exposure to plague. God, it’s lovely.
  • Then he looks up sharply at Enit.
  • WHITILL
  • Wait, who are you--
  • Rory emerges from the unlit shadow of the hall just behind Enit, Sadie leveled at Mister Whitill. He slowly lowers her to his side.
  • WHITILL
  • (sizing him up)
  • Ah. Hello, Rory. May I just say that I love dealing with your family. The availability of surprise that comes with your particular immunity to my--other characteristics--is such a treat.
  • RORY
  • (shocked, but not panicked)
  • Cad é seo? What are you?
  • ENIT
  • (snapping her fingers)
  • Rory. I asked you a question.
  • Are. They. Dead?
  • She slings an arm over the back of the chair, angling to face him.
  • ENIT
  • If you’ve made poor, dear Mister Whitill, my very good friend, come all this way just to watch you embarrass me--
  • RORY
  • No, ma. I tried to--
  • ENIT
  • Sloppy.
  • RORY
  • (ashamed)
  • Christ, ma, I--!
  • ENIT
  • (glancing briefly at Whitill)
  • And blasphemy as well?
  • RORY
  • I’m sorry! How was I supposed t’ know?! I thought they were here t’ kill you and Uncle Owen!
  • ENIT
  • --he’s ready. Rude as a whore’s diary, but he is ready. Rory, run along outside and start the car. And you will gather up those poor boys’ bodies right quick.
  • Rory turns sullenly, but Enit stops him.
  • ENIT
  • And you will apologize.
  • Rory pauses at the doorway, embarrassed, but he keeps his back to Whitill.
  • RORY
  • I ‘umbly apologize, Mister Whitill.
  • WHITILL
  • I wouldn’t trouble yourself over it. The virtuous man does not often find himself in my employ. Only the risk-wary villain.
  • ENIT
  • Now be off.
  • Rory leaves to clean up his mess. Enit leans in over the table.
  • ENIT
  • Now, I believe you mentioned that the Berlin situation needs a guidin’ hand?
  • WHITILL
  • It’s more of an, ah, arctic situation at this point.
  • ENIT
  • When do we leave?
  • FADE OUT:
  • FADE IN:
  • EXT. A COUNTRY ROAD - DAY
  • TITLE: Outskirts of Aosta, Italy, 1944
  • A muddy Austen Seven Saloon rolls down an old Roman road. Rory sits in the passenger seat beside an ITALIAN DRIVER, his hand--with the signet ring--resting on a violet cloth.
  • RORY
  • (lovingly)
  • How’s it feel t’ be home, love?
  • DRIVER
  • Cosa hai detto? I am from Rome.
  • RORY
  • (irritated)
  • Oh? Well that’s lovely t’ know, isn’t it. Only I wasn’t talkin’ t’ you, now was I?
  • He carefully unwraps Sadie, gazing at her, his palm spreading reverently over her stock.
  • DRIVER
  • Lupara? Enough lupare here.
  • RORY
  • (scoffing)
  • You and I ‘re bearin’ witness t’ our own steel Joan of Arc, come t’ win your war. You just don’t know it yet.
  • DRIVER
  • (helplessly)
  • Irishman, very sorry, my English is poor.
  • RORY
  • Th’ scripture, Mister Roman, says there’ll be more sons o’ Abraham than grains o’ sand. Lots of us here, see? An’ only takes one wigglin’ free t’ cause a landslide. Only takes one man t’ move a mob. Only takes one shot t’ kill a king.
  • (he winks)
  • An’ here I’ll be havin’ two.
  • DRIVER
  • Is not sounding right, Signore.
  • RORY
  • (deflated)
  • Thought you lot invented romance. Fuck’s own sake, lad, just drive.
  • CUT TO:
  • EXT. THE ENTRANCE TO VILLA BELMONTE - DAY
  • TITLE: Giuliao di Mezzegra, Italy, 1945
  • Rory and AUDISIO, the Communist Partisan Commander, have PRIME MINISTER MUSSOLINI on his knees against a short, stone wall.
  • Mussolini tears open his greatcoat and shirt, his hands shaking but sure.
  • MUSSOLINI
  • Mirate al cuore
  • AUDISIO
  • Prime Minister, I am out of ammunition from killing your men. You will have to await the firing squad.
  • Rory steps forward with an apple in his mouth and levels Sadie at Mussolini’s face.
  • AUDISIO
  • (appalled)
  • Crofter! You are not denying a man his dying request?! He asked to be shot in the chest.
  • RORY
  • (rolling his eyes and speaking around the apple)
  • Huckin’ Ihtaliansh.
  • He bites down on the apple, taking it from his mouth with his free hand, and trains Sadie’s barrel over Mussolini’s heart.
  • AUDISIO
  • (sternly)
  • A gun like that at this range--
  • RORY
  • (still chewing)
  • There are no guns like this. And I’ll shoot ‘im in ‘is bloody chest so’s ye can still kiss ‘im at t’ wake. But since you’re askin’, then no, I’ve no interest in gentlemanly conduct. This isn’t personal. I’m here--
  • Without looking away from Audisio, Rory fires once.
  • RORY
  • --t’ make money.
  • Mussolini keels forward, still on his knees, wheezing wetly.
  • Rory, shocked and then furious that he isn’t dead, kicks him back up for a cleaner shot.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • A gun says, ye can get close as I can shoot, and ye better be real polite about it.
  • LESLEY (V.O.)
  • Doesn’t sound like kings were polite.
  • INSERT - SCAEVA
  • SCAEVA, the first Crofter, stands in a Roman fighting pit with his two bloody gladii.
  • KIERAN (V.O.)
  • (laughing heartily)
  • You’re right, son. And do you know what Crofters do t’ kings?
  • INSERT - IOLLAN
  • IOLLAN CROFTER, dressed as a holy man, hangs lithely from the ceiling to strangle HENRY VIII with a rope.
  • HENRY VIII
  • Monks! Monks! Monks!
  • LESLEY (V.O.)
  • We--stop ‘em? With guns?
  • INSERT - CLIONA
  • Lyric: I’ll tune me fiddle and I’ll rosin me bow...
  • CLIONA CROFTER, legs hooked over the main boom of a ship, fires a flintlock rifle as an English flag burns behind her.
  • INSERT - KIERAN
  • Kieran, impaled on the sword of BARON LUMAR NUDESNI’s living suit of armor, still manages to level his gun at the Baron’s face.
  • CUT TO:
  • INT. KIERAN’S WORKSHOP - NIGHT
  • Kieran takes Sadie back from Lesley with reverent hands.
  • KIERAN
  • Crofters kill kings, son. We kill ‘em dead.
  • CUT TO:
  • EXT. THE ENTRANCE TO VILLA BELMONTE - DAY
  • Rory fires Sadie into Mussolini.
  • Lyric: ...and I’ll be welcome wherever I go.
  • FADE OUT:
  • FADE IN:
  • INT. SPACE STATION
  • TITLE: Space Station Shamura, Beta Tauri System, 2214
  • Lesley Crofter, now twenty-nine, has his father’s build if not his temperament. The green Marsian Miner’s Union jacket fits properly now, and Sadie is holstered at his side. His hair is closely cropped, and wraparound sunglasses hug his tan face, even though there isn’t an excess of starlight filtering into the station.
  • Alongside his associates, he watches the target speaking to a woman identified by their intelligence report as KAHLEO. She is Autreelan, an ancient race of scaled, feathery peoples with slim pupils and large, lamplike eyes. Though difficult to tell from this distance, her thin, scarlet robe does not modestly contain her figure.
  • The target, LISHKA NUDESNI, is a tall Raavu with a lean build, his long, black-tipped ears angled upward in apparent interest, wearing a worn officer’s coat. His skin varies in color from rust around his eyes to cream on his chin and down his neck, and his long, plush tail is twitching idly in the vicinity of his knee-high boots.
  • He appears to be discussing something deeply private, leaning eagerly into Kahleo’s personal space. Presently, she beckons him into her tent. Just to Lesley’s left, his buddy RAM snorts. A familiar face from Lesley’s childhood, Ram has dark skin and mixed Arabic features, his hair pulled back from his angular face in tidy teal dreadlocks. It’s been awhile since he’s treated it, and the roots are starting to come in orange. Just beside him is ALEX, Lesley’s only other friend from back in the day--a lean, classically handsome Greek man with a full head of curly brown hair.
  • RAM
  • That’s him, all right. Let’s hope he isn’t trying to be inconspicuous. If he is, keeping him alive could prove--difficult.
  • ROCKY, to Lesley’s right, stretches lazily. She’s just a kid, fifteen and stocky with short, black hair, and her eyes rest on the place where Lishka had been.
  • ROCKY
  • Well, he’s easy on the eyes, that’s for sure.
  • LESLEY
  • Yes, well, he’s also probably the key to the End of Days or some bullshit, so let’s try to think above the belt, Rocky.
  • Rocky runs a finger down Lesley’s chest.
  • RORY
  • Don’t be jealous, sugar, you know I’m your forever girl.
  • Lesley slaps her hand away.
  • LESLEY
  • Fuck off, Rocky.
  • Behind them, Lesley’s handler NAÉXA looks on humorlessly. He is Cheyenne, his hair long and straight, a twin-soul trained by his people in the way of the Dog Soldier.
  • ALEX
  • You seem pretty sure that the boss is concerned about this guy for--reasons of mass destruction. Did I miss something? I was in the same meeting as you.
  • LESLEY
  • Whitill doesn’t hire you to rob a bank. He doesn’t hire you to whack a guy. He hires you to shape the world. At least if you’re a Crofter. That’s, like, what our name means.
  • ALEX
  • (smiling)
  • Yeah, too bad your name literally just means "farmer".
  • Lesley slides Sadie out of her holster, opening her up to check that she’s loaded. He carefully replaces her.
  • LESLEY
  • (distantly)
  • Yeah, well, it also sorta means "slave".
  • He moves forward, motioning for the others to follow.
  • LESLEY
  • Come on, let’s get this over with.
  • FADE TO BLACK.