On the Fence – Episode Three – The Dogs of War


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Below we present the complete text of ‘The Dogs of War’; episode 3 of On the Fence.

Fantasy Noir - FN004 - On the Fence

Fantasy Noir – FN004 – On the Fence

ACT 2

SCENE 6: INT. — THE UNIVERSITY — EARLY EVENING (TULLY, CLAIRE, PROFESSOR WARD)

  1. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
  2. NARRATOR: Private Detective, Tony Wells, has been taken prisoner by the Fae Courts for agreeing to investigate a series of thefts on behalf of Mab, the Queen of the Fae Realm of Darkness. The thefts have the potential to significantly shift the balance of power among the Fae and pose a direct threat to the mortal realm as a consequence. Claire Templeton, Ace Reporter, and the only other mortal who is aware of Tony’s role as a Protector of the Covenant between humanity and the Fae, now faces the daunting task of trying to get to the bottom of the mystery on her own.
  3. SOUND: [25] DOOR HURRIEDLY OPENING AND CLOSING — LET IT FINISH.
  4. CLAIRE: Tully? Tully? Where are you?
  5. PROFESSOR WARD: Excuse me, miss, this is a place of research. You can’t just come in here and…
  6. TULLY: I’m sorry, Professor Ward. I know her. It’ll be okay.
  7. PROFESSOR: Bing, isn’t it? If you say so, but believe me when I tell you we’ll be discussing this interruption further when you appear before the grants board next week.
  8. SOUND: [31] PROFESSOR WALKING AWAY — LET IT FINISH.
  9. CLAIRE: What a grouch!
  10. TULLY: What are you doing here? This is where I work. You could get me into all kinds of trouble yelling like that!
  11. CLAIRE: What, with him? I’ve seen bigger blowhards, I guess.
  12. TULLY: Yeah, well he has the power to deny or approve my research grant so I’m not in the mood to pick a fight with him.
  13. CLAIRE: He’s the chair of the grants committee?
  14. TULLY: Yeah.
  15. CLAIRE: And he’s the one who’s had you jumping through all those hoops over the last four weeks, doing overtime, etc., in the hopes you can earn yourself a grant?
  16. TULLY: Yeah, why?
  17. CLAIRE: I didn’t realize it was the same guy. He gave an interview to the science editor of the Tribune last week.
  18. TULLY: So?
  19. CLAIRE: So he’s on the record saying that, due to new stringency measures being imposed on the university, his department won’t be approving any funding grants for the foreseeable future.
  20. TULLY: Son of a … why I oughta…
  21. CLAIRE: That’s not why I’m here. Tully, I need to know where Lefty Louie is right now.
  22. TULLY: Right now? I know you’re always desperate for a story, Claire, but…
  23. CLAIRE: It’s important, Tully. Much more than you know. The survival of the entire city could be at stake.
  24. TULLY: What? Claire, you’re not making any sense.
  25. CLAIRE: Remember how we were talking about the weird stuff that’s been happening lately? Well, this is related.
  26. TULLY: You mean faery folk and mortal peril? Again?
  27. CLAIRE: That’s exactly what I mean. Will you help me?
  28. TULLY: I guess there’s nothing to keep me here.
  29. CLAIRE: Are you going to tell the others about the interview?
  30. TULLY: Nah, the only other one here besides me at the moment is Jefferson and he’s a jackass. He and Ward deserve each other.
  31. CLAIRE: Okay then. Grab your map. We’re going to need it.
  32. MUSIC: [3] (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 7: EXT. — LEFTY LOUIE’S NIGHTCLUB — MIDDAY (CLAIRE, TULLY, LACKEY)

  1. SOUND: [8] (WALLA) STREET SOUNDS, OCCASIONAL CAR PASSING —ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. CLAIRE: This is it? It’s not exactly subtle, is it?
  3. TULLY: Neon lights and a giant statue of Louie himself? As black-market bases go, no, not so much. Why are we doing this, again?
  4. CLAIRE: I want some intelligence on the newcomer. If we go in knowing nothing, we’re likely to end up dead. At least Louie is a known quantity and likely to have some good information on the guys muscling in on his area of business.
  5. TULLY: I don’t know, Claire. What do you know about this guy, really?
  6. CLAIRE: Only what I hear on the streets. Louie is, or at least he was, the most reliable fence in town. He never welshed on a deal and, as far as I know, he’s never had to kill anyone — though he’s happy enough to work with killers and worse.
  7. TULLY: Not very comforting, Claire.
  8. CLAIRE: Well, in for a penny. Shall I knock?
  9. TULLY: (MOROSELY) Be my guest.
  10. SOUND: [22] KNOCKING ON DOOR — LET IT FINISH.
  11. SOUND: [29] DOOR PANEL BEING SLID OPEN — LET IT FINISH.
  12. LACKEY: Whattaya want? We’re closed.
  13. CLAIRE: Fergus the Fence sent us.
  14. LACKEY: Yeah? Well, you better come in, then.
  15. SOUND: [27] DOOR UNLOCKS AND SWINGS OPEN — LET IT FINISH.
  16. LACKEY: Follow me.
  17. MUSIC: [3] (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 8: INT. — LEFTY LOUIE’S PRIVATE OFFICE — MOMENTS LATER (LACKEY, LOUIE, CLAIRE, TULLY)

  1. CLAIRE: We were ushered into a sumptuous office. All mahogany woodwork and red leather. Incongruously, the wall held what appeared to be a forged DaVinci painting in a golden frame. Behind his enormous desk, the elderly proprietor looked an extraordinary mix of dandy, gentleman, and hobo — fine clothes, outrageously expensive yet gaudy jewelry, and a battered old felt hat upon his head.
  2. LACKEY: [CUE] Mr Louie, I’ve got some folks here to see you. They say Fergus sent ’em.
  3. LEFTY LOUIE: Thanks, Charles. Welcome. I understand you come bearing tidings?
  4. CLAIRE: Uh… Mr Louie… you know I always thought that was a nickname.
  5. LOUIE: Names have power, miss. I find it useful to keep people guessing. Now, I’m a busy man. What news do you bring?
  6. CLAIRE: Actually I was hoping you might be able to give us some news.
  7. LOUIE: Really? Then you don’t work for Fergus?
  8. CLAIRE: No, I’m sorry we don’t.
  9. LOUIE: And to what then, should I put down this impertinence? Insanity? A wish to put an end to the harshness of living? Perhaps you are simply stupid?
  10. TULLY: It remains to be seen. (RECEIVING AN ELBOW FROM CLAIRE) Ooof!
  11. CLAIRE: What my friend means is that we have business that may interest you and hoped we could use Fergus’ name to get a hearing.
  12. LOUIE: I see. Well that all depends on the business. If I decide you are wasting my time, you will be required to make recompense. If on the other hand there is a profit to be made from your “business” then you will find me very… friendly. Do we have an understanding?
  13. CLAIRE: Okay.
  14. LOUIE: Good, now tell me what brings you to my club. And do be truthful. You’d be surprised how easy I find it to tell when someone is lying to me.
  15. CLAIRE: Ahem. Right. We’re aware that you have a new competitor in town and that he has been causing you some difficulties.
  16. LOUIE: And what interest would this hold for… a pretty young crime reporter and… and a cartographer, hmmm?
  17. TULLY: How’d he?
  18. CLAIRE: Shh! Mr Louie, according to some information I received this morning, I believe that unless extraordinary measures are taken, something terrible will befall this city — and this new crime boss/competitor of yours is behind it.
  19. LOUIE: But I’m just a humble nightclub owner — how might I be of assistance?
  20. CLAIRE: As I said, this new figure is a competitor of yours. We need information, and fast. Anything at all about his business would be a help. And your business would benefit in proportion to how much assistance you provide us in taking him down.
  21. LOUIE: No, I don’t think so.
  22. CLAIRE: No?
  23. LOUIE: No. If I were to help you, and the news got out, it would be extremely bad for business. As it is, I make my way as best I can. And you seem a little too ignorant of what is really going on here to provide me with any advantage.
  24. CLAIRE: But…
  25. LOUIE: I’ve been more than patient with you youngsters. But I’m afraid this interview is coming to an end.
  26. CLAIRE: Tully, look at your map.
  27. TULLY: What?
  28. CLAIRE: Just do it. I’m willing to bet there isn’t a single piece of cold iron in this building.
  29. LOUIE: What are you…
  30. TULLY: You’re right. There’s iron in most of the buildings surrounding us, but not here.
  31. CLAIRE: You’re not quite what you seem, are you, Mr Louie? You’re from somewhere in the fae realms. An exile, perhaps?
  32. LOUIE: I see. You know I can’t allow you to leave here with that knowledge, don’t you?
  33. CLAIRE: Maybe, but at the least it demonstrates I’m not as ignorant as you first thought. Perhaps a deal might be made after all?
  34. LOUIE: And my secret?
  35. CLAIRE: I’m a crime reporter. I keep my sources secret as a matter of professional ethics.
  36. LOUIE: No. I think it would be easier to simply kill you both. You have violated my hospitality by coming here under false pretences. There is no reason I can think of that I should take a risk on your “professional ethics.”
    Yes, my first instinct is to kill you and, as much as it gives me genuine regret, I think that will remain my choice.
  37. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME — LET IT FINISH.
  38. CLAIRE AND TULLY: (MUFFLED AND IMMOBILIZED) Mmmf! Mmmmf!
  39. LOUIE: I’m a hands-on kind of guy. Now you are under my power, I need only reach over and snap your…
  40. SOUND: [32] SUDDEN ELECTRICAL DISCHARGE — LET IT FINISH.
  41. LOUIE: (IN PAIN) Aaargh! What have you? No, where did you get that pendant?
  42. CLAIRE: Mmmf! Mmmf!
  43. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME — LET IT FINISH.
  44. LOUIE: Speak! Where did the pendant come from?
  45. CLAIRE: (GASPING) It was given to me by the Queen of the Realm of Darkness. I’m acting as her agent.
  46. LOUIE: (IMPRESSED) No wonder I couldn’t touch you. This… now this does change things.
  47. CLAIRE: Does that mean you’ll help us?
  48. LOUIE: No. It means I’ll help you. This other one, Mr Bing, however, will stay with me until your debt to me for the flouting of the rules of hospitality is paid.
  49. CLAIRE: No! You can’t keep Tully as a hostage.
  50. LOUIE: Yes, as a matter of fact I can. I believe he will prove quite entertaining. You do not think I’m going to pass up an opportunity like this, do you? It is the leverage I need to be assured that you will in fact be working against, and not for, the Puck.
  51. CLAIRE: The Puck?
  52. LOUIE: That’s right. He is your adversary. An exile from the Realm of Light. He is a wild fae of the most unpredictable sort. Puck is powerful and very dangerous. He has no love for mortals and a great thirst for chaos and power.
  53. CLAIRE: But what’s he doing here?
  54. LOUIE: I’m not sure I understand his aim. I’ve lost a number of agents trying to find out. What I do know is that he is collecting magical artifacts. Somehow he has managed to recruit a team of fae thieves and, with their aid, most of the better known magical items in the city (with the exception of the few I have in my own possession) have been gathered under his roof.
  55. CLAIRE: And not just in the mortal realm. He has also orchestrated the theft of the crown of the King of the Realm of Light.
  56. LOUIE: What madness is this? Does he want to start a war?
  57. CLAIRE: Given the events of recent months I’m beginning to wonder if any of you don’t?
  58. LOUIE: Explain!
  59. CLAIRE: Alright. In the last few months, three different entities from the fae realms have attempted to destroy the covenant and bring about a new conflict: Jack Frost, the Pan, and the Winter Queen.
  60. LOUIE: And you would know this because?
  61. CLAIRE: I’m friends with the current mortal Protector of the Covenant.
  62. LOUIE: Interesting. I’m still not sure how this all fits together. But if one of us was actively in the business of starting a war, the Puck would certainly fit the bill.
  63. CLAIRE: Who’s powerful enough to stop him?
  64. LOUIE: Not many — I’ve avoided open conflict with him for that reason: the Protectors of the Covenant, of course, and the royal families, Oberon, Titania, Mab, Finyarra. No one else, really. But Puck’s never taken an interest in politics before.
  65. CLAIRE: If that’s the case then he’s off to an exceptional start for a beginner. He’s already taken one protector off the board and got the other two fighting between themselves. The royal houses have been thrown into disarray by successfully casting suspicion upon the Queen of Darkness regarding the crown’s theft.
  66. LOUIE: This is dire news. The balance must be restored.
  67. CLAIRE: That much I understand. The real question is how?
  68. LOUIE: You will need to gather evidence and bring it before either the covenant members or one of the royal family heads.
  69. CLAIRE: That explains the instructions that were left with Tony. The Queen of Darkness is a clever old bird, isn’t she?
  70. LOUIE: Don’t take offense at this… but you have no idea.
  71. CLAIRE: It sounds like I’m going to need to get inside Puck’s headquarters in order to get the goods on him.
  72. LOUIE: And you won’t be able to do that without my help. Puck has wards surrounding the building he has adopted as his home. He knows immediately when anyone approaches.
  73. CLAIRE: Damn. How do I keep getting into these situations?
  74. LOUIE: The Queen obviously thinks you can do it or you wouldn’t have the pendant. As for getting in, I think I may be able to help you. I’ve got a glamor around here somewhere that should keep you hidden from the wards.
  75. CLAIRE: (EXCITED) Like invisibility?
  76. LOUIE: No. You won’t be invisible. But the wards won’t detect you. He won’t know you are coming.
  77. CLAIRE: (SUSPICIOUS) Did your other agents get this far?
  78. LOUIE: I didn’t try sneaking them in, if that’s what you’re asking. I sent them in as honest brokers to see if we could reach a deal. (BEAT) As it turns out, we couldn’t.
  79. CLAIRE: Okay, hit me.
  80. SOUND: [33] SMACK OF A HAND ACROSS THE FACE — LET IT FINISH.
  81. CLAIRE: (OUTRAGED) Ow. You knew what I meant… and hey, the pendant didn’t protect me this time.
  82. LOUIE: Yes, that’s right. The invitation came from your own lips and I don’t pass up opportunities like that when they arise. It is in my nature. Besides I don’t like you. You are putting my entire livelihood at risk. Consider that a warning. (BEAT) Ah, here is the glamor.
  83. CLAIRE: (VERY UNIMPRESSED) Hmmm. You fae do like your jewelry, don’t you? Is that a bracelet?
  84. LOUIE: Yes. Bring it back to me when this is over. Your friend will be waiting for you.
  85. CLAIRE: And if I don’t make it?
  86. LOUIE: I will consider him a fair exchange for the loss of the bracelet.
  87. TULLY: (INCREASINGLY AGITATED) Mmmf. MMMMF! MMMMMMMMF!
  88. CLAIRE: It’s alright, Tully. I’ll be back soon. I promise. (TO LOUIE) Give me the bracelet. I’d better get going.
  89. LOUIE: (LAUGHING) I like your spirit even if I do find you personally repulsive. Good luck.
  90. MUSIC: [4] (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 9: EXT. TO INT. — PUCK’S HEADQUARTERS — LATER (CLAIRE, PUCK)

  1. SOUND: [8] (WALLA) STREET NOISES, OCCASIONAL CARS, ETC. — ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. CLAIRE: (NARRATING) The apartment building was small and ugly. The glamor seemed to be working because nothing had leaped out at me yet. I had to keep reminding myself why I was putting myself through all this. Yeah, preventing the destruction of the city was motivating, but that was hearsay from Fergus — and he was dead. Tony, on the other hand, was very much alive, and he let himself get tortured to get me out of a jam not so long ago. The least I could do is return the favor. I’d been in tight jams before, but it didn’t get much worse than dealing with these supernatural types. Get inside and get undercover fast. That was the plan. What could possibly go wrong?…
  3. SOUND: DOOR OPENS FOLLOWED BY A BEAT OR THREE THEN SHUTS BLOCKING OUT THE STREET NOISES — LET IT FINISH.
  4. SOUND: [9] (WALLA) PUCK CHANTING THE TAIL END OF A SPELL — FADE IN AND REMAIN UNDER.
  5. CLAIRE: (NARRATING) I was almost too shocked by the interior of the building to hide. Aside from the door standing behind me, the walls and ceiling had disappeared. Instead of the gutted building I was expecting I stood in a rough and cratered wasteland. It looked like the epicenter of a major bomb blast. In the distance around the edges stood the remains of city buildings; ruins partially reclaimed by nature. At its very center was a stone chair around which a group of about fifteen faeries cavorted and danced in a disturbing cavalcade of misformed limbs and weird animalistic heads. Standing on the chair itself was, I assumed, the Puck. He looked like a small and savage warrior king from a time barely removed from the Stone Age. I took the opportunity to hide myself behind a small pile of rubble while the inhabitants appeared distracted and began listening in.
  6. PUCK: (FADE UP CHANTING) And so it is done. The spell is ready. All the artifacts except the crown have been fused to the machine. We will be able to make the illusion around us reality once that final piece is in place. Jack Frost may have failed to obtain the sword, and Pan’s attempt at merging human and fae technology may have failed also, but the combination of magic and technology they were working toward has, nonetheless, borne fruit beyond my imagining. A human bomb powered by the energy of the magical items we have collected will be powerful enough to destroy the bridge between the realms, cutting us off from the fae for all time. The pulse of energy created by the explosion will not only render the world free of the fae, it will also destroy all of humanity’s most sophisticated technology. Then this plane will be ours for the taking. Trevelyana Masreskega!
  7. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME — LET IT FINISH.
  8. CLAIRE: (STAGE WHISPER) Damn. The building is fading back in. I think I’m too late.
  9. PUCK: Ah, Miss Templeton. How nice of you to visit. You can come out now. I’ve been expecting you.
  10. CLAIRE: And I suppose I was supposed to see all that.
  11. PUCK: Actually no. I must admit to being a little embarrassed by your timing. But never mind, you can still serve a purpose. I’ve been watching you, Miss Templeton, and you and that dratted detective have been getting in my hair quite regularly.
  12. CLAIRE: Is that so. Have you forgotten whose world it is you’ve been messing with?
  13. PUCK: Nice try. But you were unaware of my part in recent history until, well, almost this very moment.
  14. CLAIRE: Doesn’t change my point. If you didn’t want mortals sticking their noses in your business you should have kept it out of their realm.
  15. PUCK: Feisty. I can see I did well not to underestimate you.
  16. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME — LET IT FINISH.
  17. SOUND: [28] MANY LOCKS CLICKING SHUT — LET IT FINISH.
  18. PUCK: (ALMOST APOLOGETICALLY) A precaution, I’m afraid. I can’t have you running off now, can I? At least not before I kill you.
  19. CLAIRE: [CUE] Hang on, let’s not be too hasty about this. Maybe I have a deal for you.
  20. PUCK: And what could you possibly have that I might want, hmmm? I think you’re just trying to put off the inevitable.
  21. CLAIRE: Well, you know what they say? Where there’s life there’s hope. (WEAK LAUGH)
  22. PUCK: Pathetic! Minions, seize her!
  23. CLAIRE: (DESPERATE) I know where the sword is.
  24. PUCK: Stop! (BEAT) Which sword?
  25. CLAIRE: You know which sword. The mortal Covenant Protector has been arrested. His sword is unprotected and I know where it is.
  26. PUCK: And you’d get it for me? Willingly? Why?
  27. CLAIRE: Well, you were about to kill me. It seemed like the best bargaining chip I had.
  28. PUCK: True enough — you know I can smell lies, don’t you? I sometimes forget just how precious you mortals find life. A function of it being so short, I imagine. But you must know I could drag that knowledge from you myself.
  29. CLAIRE: True, but it would take time. And I’m betting you’re in a hurry. You’ve missed the sword once. Do you really want to miss it again? And I’m willing to go get it… if you let me go.
  30. PUCK: You don’t actually know what I want it for, do you?
  31. CLAIRE: No.
  32. PUCK: And you don’t really care so long as I let you go?
  33. CLAIRE: Oh I care. I just figure I’m better off not knowing.
  34. PUCK: Clever girl. And honest answers all. Alright, but I’m sending a pair of my dogs with you… just to be sure.
  35. SOUND: [30] MAGICAL CHIME — LET IT FINISH.
  36. SOUND: [20] LOW GROWLS AS TWO DOGS BECOME AUDIBLE — LET IT FINISH.
  37. CLAIRE: (NARRATING) I watched as two of Puck’s dancing minions transformed into huge black wolf-like dogs.
  38. PUCK: Easy, boys! Accompany her wherever she goes. Make sure she brings the sword back here. And don’t harm her so long as she does what we want.
  39. SOUND: [21] TWO DEEP BARKS OF ASSENT — LET IT FINISH.
  40. MUSIC: [4] (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH.

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On the Fence