Continued from Page 3

ACT FOUR

INT. SEWERS - DAY

Tight on our little band pressed against the wall of a sewer inlet as the guardsmen race past in the main tunnel. Jules is halfway up the tunnel wall, scraping away the algae from a metal manhole cover - and revealing the symbol embossed in it.

JULES

Isn't this the fleur du lis?

D'ARTAGNAN

Of course: we're right underneath the palace.

They look at each other.

REBECCA

I wonder if  it IS too late?

D'ARTAGNAN

Let's find out, shall we? Help me up.

INT. LOUIS XIII'S STUDY - DAY

Tight on Louis XIII, writing steadily.

 

D'ARTAGNAN  ( OC )

But Your Majesty - look at it. If you go ahead with the celebration, the Cardinal will triumph.

Finally Louis looks up, past the woodcut, to D'Artagnan and our heroes, still bedraggled from their flight through the sewers.

LOUIS

And if I do not - he will also triumph. This is my speech, my plan for France. I will not be scared out of delivering it by - a scrap of paper and a fairy-tale.

JULES

Your Majesty - this is scientific fact.

PASSEPARTOUT

Believe me, Your Majesty, when I went back with the Cardinal, everything was different. His picture was everywhere: you were forgotten.

REBECCA

But it needn't happen if you cancel this ceremony - give us time to think of another solution.

LOUIS

Cancel it? Are you mad? Come - look.

He takes them to the window and points out into the elaborately decorated courtyard, in the middle of which is a gleaming new fountain.

LOUIS (CONT'D)

In twenty minutes all the greatest nobles in France and the ambassadors of every nation in Europe will fill that courtyard. At the climax of my speech -one hundred doves will be released from special cages and the fountain will be switched on for the first time. And you ask me to cancel it?

D'ARTAGNAN

Your Majesty - I've seen the weapons the Cardinal has stolen from the future. You cannot risk it.

REBECCA

Sire: you have everything to lose if you go out there this afternoon. Please don't.

Louis looks at her, undecided.

D'ARTAGNAN

Your Musketeers would die to defend you, Sire - but we cannot protect you from this.

A voice calls out at the far end of the room.

SERVANT

Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Buckingham!

They turn to see the beautiful young ANNE OF AUSTRIA and the handsome, haughty, resplendently-dressed DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM walk in. The two are secret lovers, and everyone except the King knows it. He merely suspects it - and it makes him extremely nervous.

LOUIS

Ah! My dear wife! What a pleasure to see you! And Buckingham, Buckingham of England, so glad, so glad. To. To ...

ANNE

The Duke wanted to be the first to give you birthday greetings, my lord. Well, not the first. Mine, of course, you can take as read.

BUCKINGHAM

       (With an elaborate bow)
Your Majesty, on behalf of King Charles of England, I wish you every birthday joy.

LOUIS

You're coming to hear my speech?

BUCKINGHAM

I wouldn't miss it for the world, Your Majesty. Has the Cardinal approved the text?

LOUIS

I don't need the Cardinal's approval for what I say to my people.

BUCKINGHAM

Really? How fascinating. People are so ill-informed, aren't they? I had heard whispers you were about to speak out in favour of peace.

LOUIS

Buckingham - Europe is being torn apart by war and religious hatred. Ordinary people everywhere are suffering. Someone has to try and stop it.

Anne is quite impressed by this, but Buckingham simply smiles cynically.

BUCKINGHAM

What a charming notion! But the Cardinal loves war.

LOUIS

It doesn't matter what the Cardinal wants. I'm the King.

BUCKINGHAM

Of  course,   of  course.

LOUIS

I will not be dictated to by that man! I will assert myself!

ANNE

Of course you will, my dear. Au revoir!

And kissing her fingertips airily, and with Buckingham bowing deeply, they leave the room. Louis watches them go, hot with embarrassment.

LOUIS

The ceremony goes ahead. I will make my speech, and nothing will stop me. Nothing!

He throws himself back down in his chair and starts scribbling again.

LOUIS (CONT'D)

Now get out, all of you.

INT. PALACE CORRIDOR - DAY

Our heroes are walking away from Louis' study through crowds of gorgeously dressed noblemen and women heading towards the courtyard.

D'ARTAGNAN

I'll round up all the musketeers who got out of the dungeons alive. We'll mingle with the crowd, be ready to spirit the King away at the first sign of trouble.

PHILEAS

That may be just what the Cardinal wants. He doesn't need to kill Louis to make his point: just humiliate him, terrify the nobles and overawe the ambassadors.

JULES

We HAVE to stop  it.

PASSEPARTOUT

But how? Look at the woodcut - we KNOW it happened.

They all stare at the sinister engraving of the scene in the courtyard.

JULES

You know, there's one thing they've left out of that picture.

REBECCA

What?

JULES

The new fountain. The one the King's so proud of.

DUMAS

Artist's licence. My illustrators were always very careless too.

Jules, Rebecca and Phileas look at each other.

PHILEAS

But it could be that the reason you can't see the fountain is that the time machine is going to be ...

REBECCA

Directly over it.

EXT. COURTYARD - DAY

The courtyard is steadily filling up with nobles and their | entourages as musicians play hautboys, serpents and sackbutts. Buckingham escorts the Queen to her place, and as he sits down the Spanish Ambassador whispers loudly to him.

SPANISH AMBASSADOR

Milord Buckingham: is it true what they say - that the King is about to defy his master the Cardinal?

There are several titters from those who hear this remark. Anne, who is not supposed to hear it, does not join in.

BUCKINGHAM

He intends to make a call for a general peace! Have you ever heard anything so absurd? But it doesn't mean anything: he's weak: scarcely a man at all. Ask the Queen.

Several glances turn to Anne - but she doesn't return them. A trumpet sounds.

ITALIAN AMBASSADOR

Ah! Now the fun will begin!

And Louis, elaborately dressed and looking very young and nervous, processes out of the palace and takes his place on the dais at the end of the courtyard.

CHAMBERLAIN

All rise for His Majesty the King!

And as the crowd rises, the trumpets sound again.

INT. SEWERS - DAY

Our heroes descend once again into the sewers, this time carrying a large sack.

PHILEAS

One  is beginning to feel quite at home here.

JULES

      (To D'Artagnan)
But are you sure we can get from here to -

D'ARTAGNAN

      (Impatiently)
I saw them building it!

EXT. COURTYARD - DAY

The King's birthday celebration is now in full swing.

SPANISH AMBASSADOR

And I would like to convey the warmest greetings of his Majesty King Phillip of Spain - and our hopes for your long and happy reign!

Cheers from the assembled nobles. We note, secreting themselves among them, the musketeers.

PORTHOS

So far so good.

ATHOS

No sign of the Cardinal at all.

ARAMIS

That's what's worrying me.

CHAMBERLAIN

And now - his Majesty will make his official reply to his well-wishers.

Amid applause, Louis rises to his feet, clutching his speech and looking extremely nervous.

LOUIS

Ladies and gentlemen! Thank you for coming to my
      (His voice cracks slightly with nervousness)
birthday!

INT. A TUNNEL - DAY

Passepartout, pulling the sack behind him, is crawling along a narrow circular tunnel, followed by Jules and the others. It's stifling, sweat is pouring off them all, and they look just as nervous as Louis.

INT.  COURTYARD - DAY

Tight on Louis.

LOUIS

And now I would like to ask you a question about the state of our continent today. We are in the middle of a war which has gone on for nearly one hundred years!  A war in which Protestant Christians and Catholic Christians slaughter each other over the best way to worship the Prince of Peace! Ask yourselves: does this make sense?

During the speech the camera ranges among the crowd - on Buckingham, amused and contemptuous, the Spanish Ambassador, shocked, the Italian Ambassador, alarmed; the musketeers -astonished - and the Queen - quietly impressed.

BUCKINGHAM

      (Under his breath)
Have you ever heard such confounded nonsense in your life?

LOUIS

Why not sit down and discuss our differences, and agree that people can worship the Lord in their own way, without having to impose their will on others? Then we can concentrate on making Europe a safe, prosperous place, where the poor have a chance of reaching old age and children will be educated and healthy.

He stops and look around the courtyard: there is dead silence.

LOUIS (CONT'D)

Here now, in this courtyard, are the most powerful nobles in France and the ambassadors and ministers of the most powerful nations in Europe. Why should we not here, today, begin the process that will bring peace to millions? I ask each and everyone one of you - why not?

And as he says these words - the time machine materialises in the middle of the courtyard. Louis' mouth falls open: it is as if everyone had been turned to stone.

With leisurely slowness the door of the cabin opens and Cardinal Richelieu steps out. He looks around the courtyard and then and walks past the machine guns which have been installed along the rail to a massive object in the prow, shrouded by a tarpaulin. Ignoring it for the time being, he address the king, who is directly in front of him on the dais

RICHELIEU

Your Majesty - permit me to wish you a very happy birthday.

LOUIS

Cardinal Richelieu - what - what IS this?

RICHELIEU

      (Gesturing at the time machine)
This, Your Majesty, is the future.

Six guardsmen follow Richelieu out of the cabin and take up their positions beside the machine guns.

RICHELIEU (CONT'D)

       (To the assembled crowd)
Take good note of it, lords, ladies, gentlemen. It symbolises the power of France. Let our enemies beware: we will destroy them.

LOUIS

Cardinal: you have missed my speech. I have just been proposing a general peace.

RICHELIEU

I may decide peace is appropriate - I may decide war must continue -I'll consider the matter.

There are some angry murmurings among the ambassadors.

SPANISH  AMBASSADOR

Have a care, Monsieur le Cardinal: Neither France nor you decide the destiny of Europe.

RICHELIEU

On the contrary, my dear Ambassador: from now on I will decide the destiny of the world.

And he pulls the tarpaulin off the object in the prow to reveal a massive gun.

RICHELIEU (CONT'D)

Permit me to demonstrate.

He turns the gun around, aims it, and blasts a statue at the far side of the courtyard out of existence. Screams and general terror. The Queen clutches Louis' hand.

RICHELIEU (CONT'D)

And THAT will be the fate of anyone who defies us.

LOUIS

No, Cardinal, it will not. Remember - I am the King of France and you are merely my Minister. Not only will this device not be used as you suggest: it will be destroyed as my first contribution to the peace process.

RICHELIEU

Are you mad?

LOUIS

No: I am your king, and I say the world is not ready for such a mechanism, Monsieur le Cardinal.

INT. FOUNTAIN - DAY

Passepartout and the others are crammed inside the fountain statuary, trying to attach something from the sack to the pipework.

JULES

Passepartout,  we have to hurry!

PASSEPARTOUT

It won't fit, it won't fit!

DUMAS

Never mind that - what about the statue?

PHILEAS

      (Leaning his back against it and trying to turn it with all his strength)
Stop talking, DUMAS - and push!

EXT. COURTYARD - DAY

Richelieu's eyes are locked on Louis'.

RICHELIEU

May I suggest you take those words back, Sire? Immediately?

LOUIS

On the contrary - I repeat them.

The musketeers begin to sidle out of the crowd towards the dais.

ANNE

      (To Louis) 
We must go, my Lord: he will destroy you.

CHAMBERLAIN

Sire - back into the palace, please. We cannot protect you from this!

INT.  FOUNTAIN - DAY

Rebecca is winding something round and round the object which has been connected to the pipework - as Phileas, Jules and Dumas suddenly find the statue unscrewing in response to their efforts.

Suddenly the statue is off - and there above them is the hatch that gives access to the time machine.

EXT. COURTYARD - DAY

Richelieu and the King as still eyeball to eyeball.

LOUIS

I repeat, Cardinal: step down from that chariot. I give you once last chance.

RICHELIEU

Your Majesty: as far as last chances go -you have just had yours.
      (He addresses the crowd)
France needs fresh leadership. Now, today, you will see it get that leadership.
      (He notices the musketeers)
And if any of the soldiery feel inclined to intervene - let me discourage you.

At a nod from Richelieu the guards manning the machine guns

fire a burst of bullets over the heads of the crowd: terrified people dive for cover: notably Buckingham, who hides beneath the seats and hisses to Anne.

BUCKINGHAM

Make him see sense! Make him see sense! He'll get us all killed!

Louis, terrified but determined to stand his ground, is If watching Richelieu like a rabbit hypnotised by a snake.

ANNE

      (Pulling at him)
Louis - come inside. You've proved your courage - now save your life!

CHAMBERLAIN

Your Majesty - please!

Suddenly there's another figure speaking to  the King.  It's D'Artagnan,  just below the dais.

D'ARTAGNAN

Your Majesty - turn on the fountain!

LOUIS

What?

D'ARTAGNAN

Turn on the fountain, sire - it's your only hope.

RICHELIEU

I give you a simple choice, sire, before the assembled multitude: either accept me now as the supreme ruler of France - or prepare to enter eternity.

And he cocks the gun.

DUMAS  (OC)

There is a third choice, Cardinal.

Richelieu spins round to see Dumas emerging from the cabin.

DUMAS (CONT'D)

Admit you've made a terrible mistake, apologise to everyone for spoiling the King's birthday - and go home.

RICHELIEU

Are you mad?

LOUIS

No! He knows about the fountain!

And understanding at last, he turns on the fountain - as Passepartout pops out of the cabin with the object from the sack. A hose.

As the stream of water sends the Cardinal reeling down the deck, Rebecca, Jules and Phileas throw themselves on the guardsmen as Athos, Porthos, Aramis leap out of the crowd.

ANNE

      (Looking at the soaked Cardinal)
Louis! You stood up to him! You stood up to the Cardinal!

LOUIS

I did, didn't I?

And watched by an appalled Buckingham from his hiding place beneath the seats, she throws her arms around her husband and kisses him.

But Richelieu isn't out of the game yet: he scrambles to his feet and swings the gun round so it's pointing back at the battle on the deck. Rebecca, in the middle of a duel with a guardsman, sees him.

REBECCA

No!

And she dives down the deck towards him, distracting his aim -so when the gun goes off it hits not the duellists - but the cabin.

There's a tremendous explosion of unnatural colours - and the machine begins to shimmer, racked by bolts of energy which seem to drain it of all substance.

PHILEAS

What the devil  -

JULES

It's leaving here I can feel it leaving

DUMAS

It's not moving an inch!

JULES

Hold on!

Tight on Richelieu, as he realises what's happening - and leaps to the dais beside the king.

RICHELIEU

Thank goodness, Your Majesty - you're safe!

LOUIS

What are you talking about?

RICHELIEU

It was all a ruse, Sire, by your enemies: I played along with them - but they're finished now.

LOUIS

Played along with them?

RICHELIEU

Look! Look - they're finished!

And indeed our heroes do appear to be in a desperate situation, clinging to the deck of what seems to be a disintegrating craft.

REBECCA

Porthos, Aramis: get  off  -  now!

PORTHOS

But mademoiselle,   we can't  leave you -

REBECCA

You've done your job: your duty is to the king now. Go, go, go!

But before the musketeers obey her - they seize her hand and kiss it gallantly.

ARAMIS

My heart is yours, Rebecca.

PORTHOS AND ATHOS

Our hearts.

And as Rebecca looks up she sees D'Artagnan blowing her a kiss from the royal dais.

DUMAS

And not a word for me! Me, who made them famous!

And with one final explosion of light, the time machine vanishes.

BUCKINGHAM

Your Majesty: are you alright?

Anne takes Louis' hand and turns away from him.

ANNE

Yes, I'm perfectly well, thank you Lord Buckingham. My husband and his friends dealt with the situation. Come, Louis, shall we go in?

And hand in hand the royal pair walk back into the palace, watched by a sodden Richelieu.

RICHELIEU

Another day, there'll always be another day.

INT.    CABIN    -    DAY

Jules, Dumas, Passepartout, Phileas and Rebecca are clinging to anything they can in the wrecked cabin as a light-storm pulses around them.

DUMAS

What on earth is happening?

JULES

I wish I could be sure we ARE on earth!

DUMAS

I thought this thing took us through time, not space!

REBECCA

It did, my friend: until the Cardinal wrecked it. Now - who knows what it'll do?

DUMAS

But I have to get back - urgently!

PHILEAS

And face your creditors?

DUMAS

And PAY my creditors!

And he holds up the Cardinal's gold chain.

DUMAS (CONT'D)

I felt it was the least he could do after all the trouble he put me to. Don't you agree?

THE END

 

Gavin Scott       Rough draft  August 25th 1997

First draft September 5th 1997

 

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