June 22, 1998

SHARK ISLAND PRISON

"Xena: Warrior Princess"

Story Outline

By

Robert Tapert
&
Josh Becker


TEASER:

1.

EXT. FOREST

 


Gabrielle's hand slides down Xena's naked back, touching her softly.  We see that Xena is lying on the ground and Gaby is performing touch therapy on her.  Xena explains the various pressure points as Gaby pushes on them, each one causing Xena's eyes to widen.  Finally, Gaby pushes the exact spot Xena needed and her pain stops.  Xena smiles, complimenting Gaby on her ever-increasing ability.  They continue on their way.

2. EXT. FOREST -- LATER
 


Xena and Gabrielle are traveling along when they are ambushed by six armed men.  Xena and Gabrielle proceed to fight and beat up the men.  Xena points at the bloodied lead bad guy on the ground, DRAXEL, and asks what his problem is?  Just then VILLAGERS appear all around them.  They say that Xena murdered their High Priestess six years before and now they will finally bring Xena to justice.  Xena asks who on Earth this High Priestess was?  Thalassa of Lyteria, say the Villagers.  Xena looks at all of them for a long moment, then turns to Gabrielle and says, I killed her.  Gabrielle adds, In battle, right?  Xena shakes her head sadly, saying, No, she was unarmed.  Draxel nods in agreement, as do all his men.  Xena hands Gaby her chakram, then turns to Draxel, hands over sword and holds out her hands to be chained, admitting her guilt.

Gabrielle watches, completely confused, as Xena's hands are chained together and she is dragged away.  Gaby looks down at the chakram in her hand.


END OF TEASER

ACT ONE:

1. INT. COURTROOM
 


Xena is brought before a robed JUDGE in a courtroom.  Gabrielle watches with the other spectators.  The charges are read against Xena -- murder of an unarmed woman with malice and in the first degree.  Xena lowers her head and pleads guilty.  The spectators around Gaby boo loudly.  The Judge bangs his gavel and proclaims sentence -- life in prison with no hope of parole.  Gabrielle can't believe her ears.  She runs forward and pleads Xena's case for her.  Xena is changed now, she helps people and only works on the side of right and good.  Although Gaby puts forth an eloquent defense, nobody really gives a damn and they boo even louder.  The Judge bangs his gavel for quiet, then instructs the guards to take Xena away to spend the rest of her days locked in the penitentiary on Shark Island!  Xena looks back to Gaby, then is dragged out of the courtroom.  Gabrielle looks completely horrified and helpless.

2. EXT. HARBOR
 
Xena and the other prisoners are marched down to the harbor and the waiting prison ship.  Marching beside Xena is a pretty blonde woman with her nose in the air whose name is CLYSEMENE.  The GUARD marching beside Clysemene doesn't like her looks and keeps pushing her.  Finally, Xena trades places with Clysemene so that now she's beside the pushy Guard.  She and the Guard exchange a look and the Guard backs off.  Clysemene looks baffled.  The townspeople come out to watch and insult the female prisoners as they clank past in their chains.  Some understanding folk throw garbage at prisoners.  Gabrielle steps out of the crowd looking bereft with sadness.  Gaby sees Xena hauling her chains and tears stream down her face.  Suddenly, Gaby can't stop herself and she runs to Xena hugging and kissing her, saying she doesn't understand what's going on?  Xena tells Gaby what happened . . .

3. EXT. TOWN WITH TIDE POOL (Flashback):
 
Younger Xena and her evil cohorts have besieged the coastal town of Lyteria.  Xena has the TOWN ELDERS lined up before her and demands that they hand over all their hidden stores of food.  The Town Elders refuse to cooperate.  Xena has her men go into the temple and drag out their HIGH PRIESTESS, a beautiful redheaded woman wearing religious robes.  Xena puts a knife to the Priestess's throat, but no one is talking.  Xena then has the High Priestess dragged to the shore and lashed down in the tide pool.  If she doesn't get some information soon, their High Priestess will be in big trouble.  Still nobody's talking.  Xena suddenly slashes the Priestess across the face and the water turns red.  Crabs scuttle into the water.  Finally, the villagers give in and hand over all the food.  When Xena and the villagers all go down to the tide pool to free their Priestess, they find only a multitude of crabs scuttling though the bloody water -- the body is gone.  Xena looks shocked by what she has done.  The villagers all look at her with hatred, Draxel among them.

4. EXT. HARBOR
 
A guard pulls Xena and Gaby apart, pushing Gaby to the ground.  Gabrielle, her face streaked with dirt and tears, watches as Xena, Clysemene and the other prisoners are led up the gangway onto the prison ship.  Gaby doesn't have a clue what to do or where to go.  Just as the ship is casting off a man in colorful robes, a HEALER, comes running up yelling to wait for him.  The Healer gets on board and the ship sails away.  Gaby has an idea.

5. INT. SHIP'S HOLD
 
Aboard the prison ship out at sea, the prisoners are huddled together in the filthy hold of the ship.  Xena listens as several TOUGH prisoners whisper about and point at Clysemene who sits off by herself.  The Tough women say that Clysemene killed her wealthy husband and must have a lot of money stashed on her.  One of the Toughs reveals a shiv (a home-made knife) up her sleeve, then indicates how she will take the money by cutting Clysemene open.

6. INT. SHIP'S HOLD -- CONTINUOUS
 
Xena casually makes her way over to Clysemene and tells her of the plot she overheard to take her money.  Clysemene suspiciously asks Xena what it is that she wants?  Money to protect her?  Xena says that she'd just like to see that Clysemene doesn't get herself sliced open. Clysemene becomes angry, telling Xena she can take care of herself, and that she certainly needs no help from the likes of her.  Xena would like to know what that means?  Clysemene turns away with her nose in the air.

7. EXT. MARKETPLACE/ HARBOR
 
Gaby goes through the marketplace buying herbs, crystals, minerals, unguents and ointments.  She also purchases a colorful robe and a turban.  Hauling all of her new purchases, Gaby goes to the harbor.  She asks a nearby FISHERMAN when is the next boat out to Shark island?  One week from yesterday, he replies.  Gaby drops her stuff on the ground, sits down upon it and sighs.

8. INT. SHIP'S HOLD -- LATER
 


During the night the two Tough prisoners sneak out their hammocks and crawl stealthily toward the hammock of Clysemene.  One Tough grabs Clysemene's throat pinning her down while covering her mouth.  The other Tough pulls out her shiv and prepares to cut Clysemene's guts open.  Clysemene's eyes bulge as the knife blade moves down to her stomach.  Suddenly, a quiet cough is heard behind the two toughs.  They turn to find Xena standing there.  Xena slams both of their heads together, knocking them out cold.  Clysemene thanks Xena profusely, apologizing for her earlier, unfriendly behavior.  Xena accepts her apology, then returns to her hammock.  Clysemene glances down at the unconscious Toughs, then tenderly rubs her throat.

9. EXT. SHIP'S DECK
 
The female prisoners come out on deck to see the approaching land mass -- Shark
Island -- upon which reposes a foreboding penitentiary.  This is their new home.

10. EXT. PRISON YARD
 
The new prisoners are lined up and read the rules by the CAPTAIN of the guards.  Xena stands beside Clysemene.  The Captain informs the prisoners that there is no way off the island, escape is futile.  Any infraction of the rules and the offender will be thrown in "the oven," which is basically a kiln for baking humans.  If that doesn't cure them of breaking rules, this is the next step.  A woman caught stealing food twice is brought screaming before them.  The Captain glances up to an upper story window, where a hand opens the shutter and a hooded shadow appears on the wall -- this is the COMMANDANT.  The screaming prisoner is hoisted up on a scaffold, a noose is put around her neck, a prison guard pulls a lever, the trapdoor opens beneath the prisoner's feet, she drops a few feet and comes to an abrupt halt.  The prisoners all wince, getting the point very clearly.  The shutter of the window closes as the Commandant's shadow retreats.

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO:

1. INT. PRISON YARD
 
The prisoners are lined up in the prison yard and issued shovels and hoes.  When the guard Captain arrives at Xena, she glances up to the Commandant's window, where the hooded shadow lurks.  The Captain tells Xena she has a special job for her -- Xena gets to clean the latrines.  The Prison Guards viciously whip the prisoners to get them to march quickly out to the farm fields.  Xena, meanwhile, hauls barrels of waste from the latrine to the steaming sewage pit where she must dump them.

2. INT. PRISON YARD - THE NEXT DAY
 
The prisoners are once again lined up and issued tools.  Once again the Captain picks out Xena for a special detail.  Xena glances up at the Commandant's window and there's the hooded shadow.  The Captain takes Xena to the sewage pit, points into the muck and says that there's a clog in the drain, go clear it.  Xena looks like she might object, but she doesn't.  She abjectly lowers her head, then climbs into the sewage.  She takes a deep breath and submerges beneath the pool of waste.  As the other prisoners are being whipped as they march to the fields, they watch Xena in the muck and wince.

3. EXT. HARBOR
 
Gaby sits in a tent on the beach at the harbor.  She glances up and there's the prison ship sailing into port.  Gaby collects her stuff together and pulls down her tent.

4. INT. PRISON YARD
 
Like every other morning, the prisoners are lined up and issued tools.  As always, Xena is singled out for the worst work detail.  As always, Xena accepts her crappy job without complaint.  But Clysemene and several other prisoners have had enough.  They demand to know why it's always Xena that gets the crappy jobs?  As the Guards begin whipping them, the prisoners throw down their tool in defiance.  Xena is touched by this show of loyalty, but is having great difficulty watching the Guards whip the prisoners.  Finally, Xena grabs a guard's hand to stop them from hitting Clysemene.  Several other Guards immediately move in and surround Xena.  Suddenly, Xena is fighting ten Guards and kicking butt.  The way the other prisoners are getting excited, this could turn into a prison riot at any second.  Guards show up from everywhere and subdue everyone except Xena, who is finally surrounded by so many Guards that it's ridiculous, but Xena continues to fight on.

5. INT. PRISON YARD -- CONTINUOUS
 


Then, everyone goes silent and the crowd parts.  In steps the hooded Commandant.  She steps up to Xena and asks, didn't she already admit her own guilt?  Xena nods.  Then, says the Commandant, stop fighting and accept your punishment!  The fight goes out of Xena and she does as she's told.  Guards quickly chain Xena tightly to a pole.

The Commandant steps right up to Xena and informs her that she is Thalassa, former High Priestess of Lyteria, the one that Xena is in prison for killing, she then pulls back her hood revealing bright red hair and a huge horrible gash across her face.  She tells Xena that as she lay in the tide pool all night bleeding and being fed on by the crabs, she willed herself to live so that someday she could get her revenge on Xena . . .

6. EXT. TIDE POOL (Flashback):
 
A hundred crabs scuttle about in the bloody water of the tide pool.  Leading out of the tide pool are bloody tracks in the sand.  The Commandant, covered with blood from head to toe, drags herself off into the forest.

7. EXT. FOREST (Flashback):
 
The Commandant coats her shredded, bloody body with mud and hides in a cave.  Her burning eyes peer out of a pitted, bloody, deformed face.

8. INT. PRISON YARD (Back to the present):
 
The deformed Commandant stands before Xena shaking with rage.  She says that it's taken six years, but now the time has come!  She will have her revenge!  The Commandant tells Xena that she has saved this particular torture specifically for her.  The Commandant tells the Guards to throw Xena into the Fissure of Death!

9. EXT. FISSURE OF DEATH
 
Xena is chained to a pole, then dragged over to the edge of the steaming fissure.  Xena looks down into the seemingly bottomless void.

END OF ACT TWO

ACT THREE:

1. INT. FISSURE OF DEATH
 
Chained to a pole, Xena is lowered down into the steaming, disgusting fissure -- it's deep in the bowels of the Earth, 30 feet down and no possible way out with out a rope.  This is also where they dispose of their garbage and is the home to many ferocious, beady-eyed rats and trillion roaches.  Xena lands in the mushy refuse with a squish.  The rats and bugs move in on her and there's very little she can do about it.

2. INT. COMMANDANT'S OFFICE
 
Gabrielle arrives at the prison in her colorful robe and turban posing as a touch healer.  She is taken to the dark, creepy rooms of the Commandant.  Gaby immediately comes over and begins to touch the Commandant, who is surprised.  Isn't she afraid that she'll catch whatever the Commandant has?  Gaby is not afraid.  She approaches the Commandant, reaches out and touches her.  Gaby then works on the deformed, crab-eaten Commandant using pressure points to relieve the pain and the proper ointments to relieve the itching and redness.  The Commandant is very impressed, this is the most relief she's ever had.  Gaby says that the best thing to do is for her to repeat the treatment for several weeks, so she'll have to stay, that is, if Commandant feels it worth it.  The Commandant feels very good and readily agrees.  Gaby suggests that perhaps she could treat some of the Guards if they're interested.  The Commandant says that's fine with her tells Gaby she can go anywhere and do anything she'd like.

3. INT. PRISON YARD
 
Gaby looks all over for Xena, but can't find her.  Finally, she asks Clysemene, who tells Gabrielle all the details, about the fact that the woman Xena is in prison for killing is not only alive, but is the prison Commandant.  Gaby smiles, having known all along that the charge against Xena simply couldn't be true.  Clysemene then tells Gaby where the Commandant has put Xena, into the Fissure of Death.

5. INT. FISSURE OF DEATH
 
At the bottom of the deep fissure, Xena sits in the muck, still chained.  She is totally slimed-out and rat-bitten.  She has taken to eating bugs to stay alive, all the while fighting off the aggressive rats.  Something obscures the beam of light from above and Xena looks up, wincing.  A person is being lowered on a rope.  It's the hooded Commandant who looks Xena over, chuckles at her sad state, and then unlocks her chains.  The Commandant gives a tug on the rope and is hoisted back up out of the fissure.  Xena rubs her aching wrist, then grins and turns back to the rats, her fists clenched.

6. EXT. FISSURE OF DEATH - ANOTHER TIME
 
Gaby finds Clysemene and tells her she's very concerned for Xena, what can she do?  Clysemene says that she too is worried for Xena, and that's why she's gathered up as much food as she could get her hands on.  With Clysemene creating a diversion, Gaby is able to sneak up to the mouth of the steaming fissure.  She quickly tosses in several coconuts, apples and bananas, then dashes away before the guards return.

7. INT. FISSURE OF DEATH
 
Xena holds her aching head, looking up, a coconut in her hand.  She quickly gathers up the rest of her booty before the rats get at it, then begins eating ravenously.

8. INT. PRISON YARD - LATER
 
Gaby walks among the filthy, malnourished prisoners as they eat their small bowls of disgusting-looking gruel.  Gaby gets into the food line and gets a bowl of gruel.  She sits down to eat it.  As she pokes around with her spoon several bugs crawl out.  Gaby is so revolted that she dumps it on the ground.  Suddenly, all of the prisoners follow suit, dumping the awful food on the ground, too.  The gripes get louder and louder and the unrest boils up into a prison riot.  Soon, all of the prisoners have gone insane and are tearing the prison down, setting it on fire.  Guards appear from everywhere, but the prisoners will not be subdued.  The guards are clubbed and kicked into unconsciousness.  The prisoners begin to scream for the Commandant's blood.  Kill her!  The crazed prisoners march on the Commandant's office.  Gaby tells Clysemene to go help Xena while she goes to help the Commandant.

9. INT. COMMANDANT'S OFFICE
 
Prisoners bang on the Commandant's door, screaming for blood.  The Commandant hides within, sword in hand, ready to fight.

END OF ACT THREE

ACT FOUR:

1. INT. FISSURE OF DEATH
 
Xena hears the riot going on above, but since she has become a feral creature in order to stay alive, she really doesn't care.  As Xena takes a swing at an approaching rat, she looks like a wild animal.  Clysemene appears at the top of the pit and lowers a rope down to Xena.  Xena just looks at it.  Clysemene climbs down and gets Xena, bringing her up out of the fissure, which is a very difficult thing to do.

2. INT. PRISON YARD/ OUTSIDE THE COMMANDANT'S OFFICE
 
Gaby stands in front of the Commandant's door trying to get the prisoners to back off.  They finally push Gaby out of the way and set the Commandant's door on fire.  The door swings open and the hooded Commandant staggers out of her smoke-filled room, coughing, swinging wildly with her sword.  She is grabbed by the crazed prisoners and carried off.  They tie the Commandant to a post and quickly begin stacking wood and kindling around her feet.  One of the Tough prisoners comes forward with a lighted torch.

3. INT. PRISON YARD -- CONTINUOUS
 
Xena comes running up and tells the Tough to drop the torch.  She won't do that and five other Tough prisoner step forward to back her up.  Xena kicks ass.  Gaby joins her.  When the Toughs have all been beaten up, the other prisoners get the message and back off, too.

4. INT. PRISON YARD -- CONTINUOUS
 
Xena and Gaby free the Commandant, who is very thankful.  Xena says that she is very sorry for what she did to the Commandant, it's the worst thing that she ever knowingly did to anyone in her whole life.  The Commandant looks at Xena for a very long time, then finally shakes Xena's hand.  The Commandant sighs and says that she accepts Xena's apology, telling her she's now free to go.

5. INT. PRISON YARD -- LATER
 
Order is restored at the prison.  The Commandant speaks to the guard Captain, who asks if all the prisoners are to be punished?  The Commandant considers this, then announces that there will be double rations for everyone from now on and the pit is to be filled in and never used again.  The prisoners all cheer.  The Commandant removes her hooded cloak and tosses it aside.

6. EXT. PRISON GATE/ HARBOR
 
Xena and Gaby say goodbye to Clysemene, then head down to the ship in the harbor.  Gaby tells Xena that she always believed in her innocence, even when Xena didn't.  They hug and Xena winces as Gaby touches her back.  Xena says her neck has hurt since being chained up in the fissure.  Gaby says she's gotten a lot better at touch healing and begins to massage Xena's neck.  Xena sighs in relief.

END OF ACT FOUR

 

 

 

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