Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Act I Scene V

Scene IV: The reception room of the Empress Hoshi

Phlox is leaning back against a wall, holding his forehead. He's not drunk but very badly hungover. Cutler is fussing about him, trying to straighten his clothes

CUTLER: Phlox! Pull yourself together! You have to smarten yourself up for the Empress or you'll be lucky if the agonizer booth is all she sends you away for!

PHLOX: Don't pester me woman! I am what I am and if the “empress” doesn't like it then there'll be one less problem for me to face!

Gives him a shake, angry.

CUTLER: I'm telling you! This is your only chance and if you blow it then I'll look bad as well!

Picks up a small box and opens it up to show him a magnificently made ceremonial dagger similar to that shown on the Mirror Universe emblem.

CUTLER: At the right time, give her this as a gift. I know she's going through a nostalgia stage at the moment – she'll love it!

Phlox shrugs her off and tosses the dagger and box onto a side table.

PHLOX: If she wanted another pimped up pill-pusher or another fawning hanger-on, she could have any one of dozens who are waiting in line.

Starts to move unsteadily away from her.

PHLOX: There's some other reason why she wants me in circle and I don't think its just to do you a favour.

CUTLER: [Exasperated] Pah! You're impossible!

PHLOX: Why do all my wives say that? Here she comes!

Enter the empress, Captain Mayweather and two MACOs

HOSHI: Well well, well. If it isn't the alien doctor who grew a spine!

PHLOX: Hoshi. How are you?

HOSHI: I'm doing well, doctor. In fact I'm doing so well, they call me empress

PHLOX: Titles. They mean nothing in the end. They call me a doctor but the best I can do is to scrape a living doing the things that respectable doctors won't touch


Phlox smiles and bows

PHLOX: You, empress Hoshi, are still the same talented, ambitious, beautiful and very, very dangerous woman who I have no intention of getting on the wrong side of.

Hoshi laughs

HOSHI: You are finally learning some sense, doctor

PHLOX: No, I'm finally learning that it is better to be a coward who survives than a brave fool

HOSHI: And what do you think, Captain Mayweather?

MAYWEATHER: I think you can trust neither. A coward will do anything to survive and a fool, brave or not, is a liability

HOSHI: Mayweather doesn't like you [Beat] but he doesn't like anyone!

Console beeps next to Cutler, she taps screen

CUTLER: Empress Sato! Security shows an emissary from Captain Archer

HOSHI: How tedious! I would have thought that he would have got the message by now! Phlox! Make yourself useful. Bioscan them and report.

PHLOX: [Starting to look queesy]As you wish.

Phlox goes to console and performs scans - SFX Scanner - Frowns slightly

[Murmurs] That's strange

HOSHI: [Impatient] Well?

PHLOX: Its three Starfleet officers whose biometrics match two of Captain Archer's men.[Beat] The third is an old acquaintance: Major Malcom Reed. [Covers mouth and lets out long, uncomfortable burp]

MAYWEATHER: They're not unexpected, Ma'am, but I can get rid of him if you want.

HOSHI: No! I remember Reed, He was Archer's pet butcher! I'm curious as to what Archer thinks he can say that the others can't

Mayweather looks worried. Phlox looks sick.

MAYWEATHER: Ma'am, I'd prefer not to take that risk! I worked under Reed for three years – he's a sneaky, treacherous bastard.

HOSHI: [Imperious] Captain! I'll be the one to say who I see! We'll use standard security – he's been floating like a pickled herring in brine for the past two years, so I can't see him being much of threat to us. Especially with your newest toy, hmmm?

[The pickled herring reference is too much for Phlox – Muffled behind hand]Excuse me!

Phlox runs from room. Hoshi looks at Cutler and frowns. Cutler gives nervous laugh.

Cut to closeup of door as it slides quickly open to show Michelle Reed. She has a confident air that commands respect. Her expression is almost challenging

MUSIC: Bed – Mirror Universe Reed's 'Cool' Theme – something that makes a confident, centre-of-attention statement for her. Starts softly, use as counterpoint and stings


MICHELLE REED: [FEIGNS SLIP] Sergeant, oh, sorry, captain Mayweather.

MAYWEATHER: Your phase pistol please?

MICHELLE REED: I'm not carrying one. [SOFTLY, TAUNTING] Why Captain, anyone would think you didn't trust me?

MAYWEATHER: Reed, I'll trust you when you're dead

HOSHI: Major Reed! Long time, no see!

MICHELLE REED: Hoshi [BEAT] or is that empress Sato now?

HOSHI: Hoshi will do, as long as you don't overstep your station!

Reed starts to prowl around the room touching things, not looking directly at Hoshi

MICHELLE REED: I feel suitably honoured that the supreme commander of the Terran empire has deigned to give me an audience.

HOSHI: This isn't feudal Japan, Reed, I don't require my followers to bow and scrape before me.

Reed picks up a small bunch of grapes from a bowl and peels one off

MICHELLE REED: No disrespect is intended, empress, but Mayweather is right, personal audiences are a dangerous thing

Pops a grape in her mouth and looks surprised

MICHELLE REED: Mmmm these are really very nice

Peels another

MICHELLE REED: Of course if there were some way that you could see without being seen... have you tried any of these?

She flips a grape to Hoshi who instinctively goes to catch it. Close up of her hand as the grape passses straight through

MUSIC: Sting in 'Cool' Theme followed by silence punctured by fast-draw of phase pistols and rifles.

Every gun in the room is aimed at Reed who freezes. Mayweather has his muzzle right against the side of her head. She very slowly raises the bunch of grapes and lifts an eyebrow.


Hoshi waves them off then makes a cutting gesture. She appears to flicker and disappear then reappears on Michelle's right

HOSHI: [Annoyed] Very clever. What gave it away?

MICHELLE REED: Holograms have come a long way in two years but they still need to work on the edges [BEAT] Your feet were sunk in the floor

HOSHI: [Without looking away she raises her voice] Mayweather? The operator!

Exit Mayweather, furious

Hoshi moves to one of the MACOs and takes his phase rifle off him. Flicks her head towards the door

HOSHI: Go! [They look undecided. She shouts] All of you! Now!

Exit MACOs - Hoshi moves past Michelle – grabs one of the grapes as she goes past – drapes herself over a chaise longue, rifle on hip aimed in Michelle's general direction – pauses, then pops grape in mouth

HOSHI: Get to the point! What does Archer have to say that I want to hear?

MICHELLE REED: [Businesslike]He's infatuated by you and it could be the death of him! Do you know why I'm on Risa? [Beat] There's a faction in Starfleet who want to see Archer depose you. I was taken out of the tissue regeneration tanks to come here and use my influence on the captain to make a play for the empire.

HOSHI: Continue!

MICHELLE REED: They're [Beat] disturbed though by his lack of action, his extended stay here, trying to get back into your [sneers] 'good graces'. The Archer I knew never mooned over any woman, he took what he needed then moved on.

HOSHI: There's nothing new about plotting officers, I expect it from all my captains. What's stopping him?

MICHELLE REED: [Shrugs]I don't think he knows himself. One moment he will talk about you with a faraway look in his eyes and in the next he will curse you for taking the Defiant from him.

HOSHI: Tell him to put in with the admirals, he's got more chance of success

MICHELLE REED: As you wish, but he's like a man possessed, he'll not listen to me. [changes tack] I can understand what he sees in you though [Beat] assuming its all natural

HOSHI: [Laughs]Oh, its natural! Do you think its easy hiding anything with this uniform? [gestures at bare midriff].

MICHELLE REED: Oh I don't know, there are things hidden under my uniform that only a doctor should see.

HOSHI: Scarring?

MICHELLE REED: [Plays for sympathy] I'm just not the same man I used to be.

HOSHI: I find that hard to believe. [Suspicious] You know, now that you mention it, I don't remember you being this talkative on the Enterprise, you only seemed interested in explosions, guns and torture.

MICHELLE REED: Well there's got to be more to life than just fun I suppose. I have two years to catch up on. You've changed too, not quite so... spontaneous. [Questioning] Was it worth it? The intrigue, betrayal and backstabbing?

HOSHI: [Laughs] Oh yes! That was the fun part!

Leans back and crosses arms


HOSHI: But what?

MICHELLE REED: But what about now? Is holding on to power as much fun as acquiring it?

HOSHI: I do what needs to be done.

MICHELLE REED: Ah! But it doesn't have the same bubbles in it does it? [BEAT] You've fought all your life to get here and now you find that [Beat]there's nowhere to go from the top except down!

HOSHI: Rubbish! I like being on top!

Hoshi eyes Reed carnivorously and starts to smile slyly

HOSHI: Tell me mister Reed, what would you do if you were Archer?

MICHELLE REED: Michelle Reed stands and moves across to where Hoshi is lounging. She tenses and brings the rifle to bear on him.

MICHELLE REED: You would have to watch me like a hawk!

Reed pushes the muzzle of the rifle away with her index finger and leans forward to whisper conspiratorially

MICHELLE REED: I would spend every waking moment looking for ways to trip you up, to bring you down and make you mine!

She moves around her to speak softly into her other ear.

MICHELLE REED: And when I was triumphant, I would know that the only thing I would have to fear would be you.

Hoshi turns her head slightly so that their cheeks are close.

HOSHI: Who in their right mind would want a lover who they knew was just waiting for the chance to turn the tables on them!

MICHELLE REED: You would! Because you live for havoc! Because you would know that I would allow no other man to threaten you!

Long pause then Hoshi breaks the spell

HOSHI: What nonsense!

MICHELLE REED: [Stands and laughs]Aren't you glad I'm here for Archer then and not myself?

HOSHI: [Angry]I tire of hearing about the great and perfect Archer! Not one more word!

MICHELLE REED: Then I'll not intrude on your time any longer!

Reed turns and moves towards door. Enter Mayweather. Hoshi jumps from seat

HOSHI: [Testy]I have reasons for not paying attention to him [Beat] but I have pressing matters to attend to now. Come to me again, tomorrow and I'll tell you why.

MICHELLE REED: If it is the captain's wish...

HOSHI: [Angry] It is *my* wish! [Tries to sound off-hand] You know... Life could be good working for me

MICHELLE REED: [Mock formal]Empress Hoshi, you are cruel to tempt me with a position I don't deserve. I'm quite happy serving Captain Archer

HOSHI: [Furious]Then get out of here!

Reed salutes then exits

HOSHI: [Aside, scornful]Empress of all you survey! You sound like a desperate schoolgirl! What's changed about Reed? He doesn't act like the old Reed or someone who's been asleep for two years... it as if he knows what's under my skin.

Spots the gift box that Phlox has thrown away and picks it up

HOSHI: Mayweather!


Throws box at his feet, he stoops to pick it up.

HOSHI: Catch up with Reed and... give him his gift back! Tell him I will see him tomorrow and failure to appear will not be tolerated!

MAYWEATHER: [Looks uncertain]Yes, Maam!

Exit Mayweather and MACOs, confused

HOSHI: [Aside, intensely]The fate of a thousand planets depends on me and yet... I'm out of control! All I want to do is pursue! Engage! Capture and... [languidly]enslave!


1 comment:

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