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Continued: ..... We fade through various people at the wheel over two days until
Make ready to come about.
Alexandria stretches across the horizon, a great city, the biggest any of them have ever seen. The arms of her harbor wall curl out to greet them and there, on an island, at the tip of the eastern wall stands the Pharos. Three hundred feet high it is the tallest functional building in the world. Its sides are exquisitely polished and sculpted marble in a three tiered stack. The base has four sides, the middle, eight and the top hundred and fifty feet is cylindrical, capped by a glass cage which, even in daylight is slightly brighter than the sky.
COMPOSITE SHOT: Gabrielle and Autolycus stare in awe up the side of the Pharos as the boat is towed into the harbor. We get a really good sense of scale as Gabrielle climbs the mast more than thirty feet above the water and still cannot see the top. Its walls slide by monolithically taking up the whole background.
She looks to the deck, Salmonius is dealing with the port officials, Xena is at the wheel, but farther out to sea there appears to be trouble on another ship. The tow boats for it are hurriedly retreating. A man stands on the prow of one of the two smaller vessels and waves two flags. He apparently gets the attention of someone at the top of the Pharos and starts his semaphore. When he is finished something truly scary happens, no blinding flash of light, no warbling death ray sound effect just a shimmering column of heat which sweeps across the water and touches the other ship. Instantly its lighter materials (sails and clothing) burst into flame and soon the heavier ones follow as the heat ray mercilessly cooks the ship, and all its contents, to ash.
Xena, Gabrielle, Autolycus, and Salmonius are stunned. There is a perfunctory silence from the port officials then
Autolycus covertly hands Gabrielle the case he stole from Dadelus.
PO#1 exits with PO#2 who has done nothing but scribble math on a clipboard and count on his fingers all this time.
With the cameras balanced for the interior the light that spills through the door is a hot, dusty white. Gabrielle enters and goes to the desk. Her eyes are still adjusting to the comparative gloom.
How may I help you?
Gabrielle, who is looking about her, hands him the slip of paper.
They pass from the smaller front hall through double doors into a huge open space. It is three stories tall with balconies at each level, books cover every surface. There is a great deal of activity here.
During this they have crossed the index, Duey has sorted his keys and opened a door into a room with regular rows of shelves which seem to run to the vanishing point. They have climbed a spiral stair case and gone to a duplication room. The room is full of scribes and is well lit by windows and sky lights.
If we look closely we might notice that these are plans for a hot air balloon. Da Vinci-esque.
Gabrielle and Duey stand in front of the Cryptic Vault as it's thick steel door swings open. They enter. Nothing but them touches the floor. The bookcases and tables hang from heavy chains that reach to the ceiling. Naturally there is a slight swing to things. A skylight provides light. We get the impression that Gabrielle isn't supposed to be here but Duey is hoping to make some points.
This is where we keep all the secret stuff. City plans, aqua-ducts, weapons, armor, ships....
Your harbor, the light house...?
Yeah. Even have plans for the library in here. It's completely secure. As you can see the floor is pressure sensitive and the skylight is covered by steel shutters after we close.
Pressure sensitive? How do they do that?
Hydraulic. Feel how it shifts under our weight. There's a layer of water underneath. Any pressure and it sounds an alarm. I don't know exactly. It's a secret, of course.
Duey pauses in front of the door to the secure copying room.
Gabrielle exits the vault and waits. Duey emerges.
SEGUE: a number of shots of Gabrielle reading various books and loving it. The final shot is Gaby under a table with her back to its leg. We pedestal-up and a stack of books on the table dissolves into...
...the steps of the library. Autolycus mills about amongst the columns at the top of the steps, Xena leans against a stone lion. The lion isn't in the traditional British style it's Hellenistic or Phoenician.
What's taking her so long?
Relax. There's a lot to copy.
(off screen) Perhaps our thief is nervous because his life is at stake.
Autolycus instantly vanishes.
Xena gets menacing and is about to take Ibn by the collars. Ibn Fadlan doesn't even flinch.
I should like to apologize for the misguided attempt on your companion. The agent responsible has been corrected.
With extreme prejudice. At the time we did not realize how well our thief had made his plans. After the fact of her being a bard came to light all made sense. There are many fine tea houses in this city and tea always makes conversation more civilized. Won't you join me.
Establishing shot of Salmonius selling olives. Pan to
You should be more like your friend, thief. She understands, she is content to wait.
It's not her life you threatened.
Death comes to all who wait but is that what motivates you still? After seeing the prize and the obstacles is it not something else? One does not become the king of anything without a taste for what gets one there. Would you not agree Warrior Princess? I am sure you would not deny that war can be an unsightly business and that often the best way to avoid war is by the mutual respect of the adversaries.
Power needs its balances. Not enough to win, or, too much to lose.
Precisely. Risk and sacrifice must be weighed against what one hopes to gain. But if one side should have undue advantage over the other foolish leaders could let such considerations fall to the dust. Bronze against stone inevitably wins, steel against bronze inevitably wins but that (points out the window to the top of the Pharos which can be seen over the buildings) is lightning against sticks and stones.
I don't know what's in that hookah, friend, but from where I sit that tower's a little big to be anything but defensive.
What if it were not? What if the technology could be made portable?
What if! Who in Hades are you?
A dealer in secrets. Who owes who. Who owns who. That tower is making certain... eastern interests very nervous.
And if we steal the plans they'd have the power too. A balance. Quid pro quo?
Precisely. With the return of mutual threat, the return of mutual respect. I read a fascinating book from the library here. It's by a man named Sun Tze, in it he says "All battles are won and lost before ever they begin."
You would prefer that they don't begin.
I like your friends, thief. You could learn much from them. (he leaves)
That could be the scariest man I have ever met.
Good, I thought it was just me he gave the willys to.
Gabrielle enters in an unusually good mood.
The following speech becomes a VO segue to the next scene.
A grappling hook comes over the edge followed by Autolycus, Gabrielle, and Xena. Gabrielle lines herself up with the front of the building and marks off the paces as above. Her own VO narrates. The roof is dotted with skylights. When they get to the appropriate one it is covered with steel shutters.
Why didn't you just say, 'look for the only one with steel shutters'?
(covering not having thought of something so obvious) Well, there could have been others.
Yeah and if you put wheels on my grandmother she'd be a-
Shut up and pick the lock.
Autolycus looks at the lock. It's solid and shiny almost like a modern Dudley.
he puts a chisel on the hinge and pops the pin.
working quickly he unputties the glass and removes the beading. The pane lifts easily out and a look of concern crosses Autolycus face. The pane is narrower than his shoulders but he's not saying anything. He gets Xena to help him rig a rope which he lowers into the room. He tries to enter but can't fit, removes all his equipment but still can't.
both look at Gabrielle. CUT TO
A shaft of blue moonlight off center in a black frame. A black line, the rope, hangs motionless in the light. Gabrielle spirals down it and stops. Her toe hooks a pre-tied loop and she removes something from her belt. Arching over backwards until horizontal she extends her arms. CLOSE-UP of the hand crossbow as it fires. CLOSE-UP of the dart sticking into a bookshelf with line attached. CLOSE-UP She ties the thin line to her belt then FULL SHOT pulls herself to the bookshelf which sways on its chains. She searches for the volume she wants, removes it and slides out to neutral.
She swings to a suspended desk and seats herself with the rope still attached to her foot. The plans are laid open on the desk. She produces a sheaf of papers and a roller. The handle of the roller she, uncaps, fills with an obviously strong smelling liquid, and closes again. Then she starts the process of duplication: a blank page is laid on a written page, the roller covers the sheet, wait a few seconds, peel away a mirrored copy of the document, repeat for next page.
All goes well until the last page, the one with the lens description on it, when she runs out of fluid half way through without realizing it. She returns the book to its place and climbs the rope. Part way up she feels a tug at her belt. The crossbow dart is still in the shelf.
she fiddles with the line
she does and all eyes widen as the string breaks. The dart flings free of the shelf and starts a SLOW MOTION arc in the direction of the tug. As it flips end over end it is painfully obvious that it won't get as high as Gabrielle. REAL TIME CLOSE UP of Gabrielle's face dropping from frame. SLOW MOTION CLOSE UP of the dart falling. EXTREME CLOSE UP, EXTREME SLOW MOTION of the floor, the dart enters the shot, CLOSER STILL as its tip rotates to the floor, less than a centimeter to go and it stops. The tip of the dart just hangs there motionless. FULL SHOT OF THE ROOM, Gabrielle hangs upside-down, arms fully extended, with her feet crossed tight on the rope, the noc of the dart between thumb and forefinger.
Gabrielle emerges from the skylight, dumps the rope and tosses the dart to Autolycus. Obviously enjoying herself.
No problem.(she picks up her stuff and heads to the edge of the roof.)
What did you do to her?
Nothing. Afraid your little sidekick enjoyed herself?
She's good, Autolycus.
(over ridden by Xena) not bad
She's the only person I've ever met that was innately good. I don't want that to change. (not so threatening) I need that not to change, Autolycus.
(smiles at the fact that she was actually straight with him) I know. Don't worry, I've seen it before. Some people are just good at certain things. Think about it, this is a library, if anything was going to tempt her, this was it.
A little better.
She didn't even steal anything. These are copies, the books are still there.
Are you guys coming?
And it was in a good cause, keeping the peace... oh and saving your life of course.
Now you're getting the hang of it. It's called rationalization, a lot of us less driven types use it.
Xena and Autolycus have the plans spread out before them and each is using a mirror to read them.
Three languages, this is ridiculous. (reads on) Latin again. (hands it to Xena)
It's a mineral, phosphorous in Greek. When it's pure it has to be sealed in wax ingots because it spontaneously combusts on contact with air.
Lovely. I guess that's what they use to get the light so bright.
I'd hate to be on the receiving end of that thing.
Balance of power should work. I mean, nobody would be crazy enough to start a war when both sides have a thing like that.
Here we go, "Gearing, Focus and Aiming". They lower a series of special lenses into place that focus the beam. "...see page eighteen."
It's over here somewhere. (searches) Got it. (brings his mirror up, then stops) Wait a minute! Half of it's missing! Gabrielle!!
(crashed in the background looks up blearily) ...uh?...yes. What?
(intervening) Half of the last page is missing.
(still foggy) What?
Autolycus shows her the page.