The Stars Came Back -030- Three Rules

Fade in

INT – night – the cramped quarters of Kat, the battalion Legal Officer.

Kat sits at her desk, leaning back in her chair, reading, door open.

Allonia steps up to the door.

Allonia: Knock-knock.

Kat: ‘Evening.

Allonia walks in and sits down, dressed in a red sort-of ship’s uniform. It’s sharp-looking, professional-ish, covers and protects well, but also shows off her curves well.

Kat: (nodding and smiling in approval) Looks good on you.

Allonia: Thanks. I thought everyone else was in uniform, well, except Helton, so I should make something for myself.

Kat: You made that?

Allonia: (a dismissive shrug of “yes, of course”) I couldn’t find anything locally I liked.

Kat: Very nice. But I’d avoid red uniforms. Color looks nice on you, but it’s considered bad luck on starships.

Allonia: Oh.

Kat: … Something on your mind?

Allonia: How do you do it?

Kat looks at her, expression asking for further clarification.

Allonia: Put up with them all the time? I mean, they are all nice enough, but it seems like they are ALWAYS watching me, every move I make.

Kat: Men are like that.

Allonia: So, how do you do it? I mean, I know you’re an officer, so I’m sure that helps, but-

Kat: Didn’t used to, all that much… The trick is to remember that men are simple creatures, so you need to keep the rules simple.

Allonia: Even wearing my normal cloths doesn’t help, and wearing this today attracted a LOT of attention.

Kat: I can imagine. But it really IS pretty simple. Three rules. One-don’t play games. Two-don’t put up with ANY bullshit. Three, you are already doing.

Allonia: But I don’t play games!

Kat: No, not overtly. I like that. So do they. But I’d bet that just about every guy on board thinks he’s got a chance to make it with you- you are not obviously off-limits or taken with any particular person. Sooo…

Allonia: But that’s ridiculous!

Kat: That’s young men. You are young, healthy, smart, honest, hardworking, reliable, a great cook, available, and genuinely nice. Anyone that doesn’t notice you needs a psych eval. They pay attention, you don’t make it clear you are NOT interested, so they think that maybe you are, then.

Allonia: … Oh… What’s three?

Kat: Be worth it. We all have our hang-ups and personal quirks. Bring enough to any relationship, private AND professional, that you are worth whatever they have to put up with. I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that – you are short on issues and long on talent. Which ensures even MORE attention.

Allonia: Thanks. I guess.

Kat: If they get too forward, make it clear their advances are not welcome. Don’t be mean – just be absolutely clear that unwanted attention or bad behavior will not be tolerated. And, right or wrong, until you ARE clearly attached, expect them to be polite, DEMAND that they be respectful, but don’t expect them to change. A billion years of biology doesn’t do an about face just because a damsel finds it annoying. Likely a good thing for the species, but… I know what you mean.

Allonia: So… you…?

Kat: Married 22 years. Once that happens, seniors like Lag and Harbin make sure harassment is a non-issue, at least with uniform personnel.

Allonia: But I don’t WANT to get married! At least, not right now!

Kat: Understandable. Until then, three rules. Makes things better, not perfect.

Allonia: OK. Thanks.

Allonia gets up and steps toward the door.

Kat: Allonia? Same cut, different color, and you have a winner. Make one for Quinn when you’re done, if you have time. Little guy would LOVE it. G’night.

Allonia: G’night.

Dissolve to

Later that night in Kat’s cabin

Kat leans back at her desk, and sits thoughtfully for a moment or two. She hits a screen in front of her, it lights up. She pushes the MESSAGE icon, sits back.

Kat: Message encrypted level four. Send to Senator Sharmer on Adoni. Message: Lag is recruiting and training for ship-board duty, and appears to be making local contacts. Nothing further at this time. Out. Send.

A confirmation message confirming message being sent appears on the screen, then it blanks. She leans back, and closes her eyes.

The camera view pulls outside her door, where Quinn stands silently, surprise and curiosity on his face.

Fade to black



15 thoughts on “The Stars Came Back -030- Three Rules

  1. Pingback: The Stars came Back -029- Parts and Progress | The View From North Central Idaho

  2. Questions: How do K and A know each other? Is K’s cabin on Helton’s ship? How did A “make” an outfit? Is the outfit made out of fabric? Where would one buy things locally in your world? Does this world have shops? Or do people buy things on the computer?

    • nit-pickers 🙂
      I thought the first question was obvious (but, then, that’s why I asked for feedback, was it might not be obvious to others, or too big a stretch without explanation). Kat knows about what is going on with Helton’s ship and the people on it, because the unit is currently “living” there and working on it, at least in part, and Allonia is also living on the ship (B-deck, starboard bow). So, yes, Kat has a cabin in the ship.
      Allonia is a crafty-hands-on sort, who like to do things like that. The details of “sewn in cotton-poly cloth with nylon thread” vs “electro-bonded nano-tube super-wicking unobtanium-plated ultra-fabric” is immaterial to the story in many ways, but I expect that sewing of fabric, whatever it’s made of, will be around for a long time, so I just kind of operate under that assumption unless otherwise is needed and stated for the story. There will ALWAYS be people who are “makers.” In this future, you can order stuff (as in a later episode that includes a “mail-call”), but there are also local shops that either carry things you either need to examine first-hand, or can make-to-order as needed out of specialized materials. I assume she could get a simple body-scan, and make a pattern from that, if she provides the styling information to the program. We are pretty close to that now. Also, one of the common Plataean cultural things is that people understand things better if they make them – many soldiers don’t just buy or get issued “standard” stuff, but custom make some of their own arms and armor, both so they appreciate what goes into making the real world work, but also for best fit. Sgt Kaushik’s Komenagen was doing some metal-working (details vague). Kaminski’s was making a wooden boat by hand (that is, start with trees and hand tools) and sailing it across a small sea on a terraformed world (at least, that’s what it was before I cut that bit out). Allonia’s penchant for actively doing things and making stuff, not just talking a good line, plays an important role in the story.

    • Oh, yeah. Again, I find it interesting what you comment on. Not on the three rules discussed, their application, validity, possible implications, or anything like that, or what looks like an insider in Lag’s company being a spy, but a much more trivial side-thing that could easily be changed without needing to alter so much as a single word elsewhere in the story, and it would not change the story in any noticeable way. (not that is TOTALLY irrelevant, just a fairly minor character-building point in the much bigger picture).
      So… I have to ask, why DID you ask that? Just curious, or what?

      • I think your script needs a lot of work — but I’m trying to point out small things to help you. 1) You need to show Kat in the background on Helton’s ship somewhere before this scene. 2) You need to show a sewing machine or something like that in A’s room back when you show A’s room so we know she’s crafty. 3) Earlier in the script, you need to “paint” a more energized view of this world — show them driving through an area with shops, etc., so the viewer can understand that it’s similar to what we have now or it’s completely different.

        Are Plataeans something you created or did you get them from another sci-fi thing?

        • Adding to the description that we are in Kat’s cabin on Tajemnica would help that point. Easy.
          The sewing machine or similar detail WOULD be easy to add in back when they see her room earlier, good point.
          I thought about something like a market-place, but at least at this point, the micro-scale things like retail sales and stores, other than a particular one that should stand out like flashing neon sign in a week or two, are not really shown, and would be mostly boring to read about, but easily added to a “real” movie; I’ll think about it.
          Historically, Plataea was a Greek city-state. It was the only one to send soldiers (about a thousand) to stand with Athens at Marathon against Darius and the Persians. They also sent a few to Thermopylae, and it was at the Battle of Plataea that the army of Xerxes was finally crushed. The name was chosen for historical significance. Not as well known as the Spartans, but important. Note, too, that when they first restored power to the ship, Quinn and Allonia made reference to Marathon and Athens, and it is NOT mere random “stuff.”

          • Re: Showing the commercial district. You could also easily show a commercial district when your characters are going into a restaurant or bar or when they are driving down the street somewhere. Or show someone shopping on the internet.

      • Oh — and I didn’t comment on the three rules or any of that because I don’t see a real plot here. You’ve already said this screenplay is about Helton trying to get it together and find himself — so ??? What do the three rules have to do with that? What does Lag have to do with anything beyond getting the ship running? How do Lag and the rules serve your central plot?

        • The three rules play directly into a turn of events in a week or two. But it also helps establish the sort of person Kat and Allonia are, and the Plataean outlook in general. Lag is not “just” helping get the ship operational – he sees it as potentially quite useful if it gets running, and if you have a starship that can’t compete with “normal” cargo or passenger ships, then you have to find a high-value niche, and because “normal” ships tend to want to avoid militarized zones…. Lag becomes a major “customer”. Lag is a Norwegian word meaning “layer.” He has a lot of irons in a lot of fires, and is constantly looking to make connections and get people into potentially useful positions, like the injured drive-tech that barely passed his Komenagen early on. He wants to help people out, and make a living at the same time.

          • Rolf, you need to go back and rewrite your first 10 pages so that Helton has some sort of a goal beyond finding himself. Maybe his goal is to retire and move to Florida for the winter? Maybe he wants to save people on another planet? Maybe he wants to find the Magicfloopergroven that aliens have taken to another planet? Maybe he wants to find love? He needs a goal to make this a real story. Stories these days usually have multiple plotlines but you need to have something beyond a story that just meanders around. You need something to pull it all together.

            Do you ever watch “Person of Interest” on tv? The writing on that show is so good! Everything they show you has a payoff. If someone picks up a rubber band, that’ll be in the plot again later. (If you don’t watch the show now, you need to get copies of the first season and watch the entire thing to know what is going on.) Incredible writing. I think we should all strive to write as well as they do on that show.

          • Replying to Ubu – just about everything DOES have a payoff – we just haven’t gotten to it yet, because the story isn’t over. Not familiar with that show – I watch maybe an hour of TV a month, if that. Think about it this way – what is Mal’s goal in Firefly? Keep flying, find a job, be free, pretty much. The goal is a moving target as the jobs and conditions change. This is sort of like a mini-series. Big goal is find a “career” by some definition of the term, and he’s having a lot of ups and downs getting there. He doesn’t want to save the world, and that is just as important. You don’t know the goal and arc of the story in the first hundred pages of a Stephen King novel. This thing will have several phases – getting into dire straights (security & pirates), getting the ship flying and getting a crew (current phase), finding a job or three (that NEVER go as smoothly as planned, of course) that build towards a larger ending situation they have to deal with. There are a series of wars and civil disturbances going on, fear of terrorism, and problems and paranoia constantly alluded too (remember the military footage in the near-opening cafe scene?) It’s coming their way.

          • Never seen Firefly? That explains a few things. It also means you won’t get a few jokes. It’s a series. (A very short-lived series, sadly.) What is “the goal” in any series? It keeps changing every episode.
            Yes, I know this is long. At least mini-series length if it were filmed. Likely novel-length if ordinary book form. Part of the reason I’m posting it like this is to force me to work and finish parts of it, but I can’t see any really obvious way at the moment to cut it down to a standard 120 minutes w/o losing a LOT of the character development, mysteries, sub-plots, and educational bits that drive me nuts when I watch any of the normal formula movies. I’m writing it in a screen-playish format, because that’s sort of the way I think about the scenes – visually, how would it show up on a screen. Maybe it’s not ideal – but it’s my story, so… in any case, thanks for reading.

  3. Anyone else want to put on their literary criticism hat and say what THEY see as significant, ironic, important, details for character development, or symbolic in someway this episode? There are several that seem obvious to ME (if fact, they almost seem so obvious that I hesitated to put them into words, not wanting to insult my audience… but then I already know where it’s going and what I’m trying to say), but I’d like to see if anyone following along to this point and generally liking it can see in it?

    (FWIW, it seems to be getting north of 40 regular-ish visitors per installment, with occasionally more than 60 hits on an episode in a day)

  4. Pingback: The Stars Came Back -031- Earplugs and Ancient History | The View From North Central Idaho

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