THE FIRE INSIDE
Female Cop (Angie Pappas): Everyone knows where it is, but nobody wants to go there. Can you believe my grandmother told me that one? At the academy graduation ceremony no less. Ninety-three years old and she still gets a twelve pack delivered to her house every Saturday morning. Oh, can she tell a mean joke? And did I tell you the one about the baby polar bear?
Man/Dragon: Oh, trash. It's everywhere you go. (Throws a trashcan at homeless guy) Used to be the streets were clean. No more though. (Throws another) Now the trash is everywhere. They sleep on the streets, they beg for handouts, 'Hey buddy, got any spare change?' Well, as a matter of fact, I do. (Tosses a coin on the ground near the guy) Go ahead, get you halfway to a cup of coffee, or a bottle of cheap wine. (The guy reaches down for the coin) Best thing to do with trash...is burn it.
Angie: A scream like that has its own sound, you know? You hear it, and your gut tells you right away that someone's dying. You ever hear screams like that, Detective?
Nick: You're sure you didn't see anyone?
Angie: No, just him.
Nick: Okay. Thanks Angie. (He looks over to her partner) Better check to see if Vern needs anything. (Walks over to Natalie) You okay?
Natalie: Yeah, I'm fine.
Nick: Look, Nat, if, ah, you don't want to do this....
Natalie: I'm fine, really. I've dealt with worse. How about you? Death by fire.
Nick: Yeah, it's my worst nightmare. (Schanke walks up) What have you got, Schank?
Schanke: Forensics figures the guy was torched with a flame-thrower. Just when you thought you'd seen everything. There's no ID on him yet, and um.... How soon can we get a dental cast, Nat?
Natalie: Ah, as soon as I can.
Schanke: You know we might catch a break here. A flame-thrower's a pretty conspicuous piece of hardware. It's not like, you know, somebody can toddle around town without somebody seeing it.
Schanke: Unless what?
Nick: Angie? Come on Schank.
(They and Angie walk over to a grate)
Nick: Where does this lead to?
Angie: Far as I know, sewers, ventilation shafts, service tunnels. The system stretches for miles.
Nick: Can we get a couple of maps of this right away?
Angie: I'm on it. (She leaves)
Schanke: Think our firefly went down there?
Nick: A flame-thrower's a pretty conspicuous piece of hardware, Schank. And we know for a fact there are homeless people living underground all over the city.
Schanke: Mole people?
Nick: Disposable people, easy targets.
Schanke: But, if he went down there, that means that....
Nick: Yeah, right. We're gonna have to go down after him.
Natalie: (Pulls Nick aside) Ah, Nick. If this guy catches you before you catch him....
Nick: Yeah, I know. We'll stay low. (To Schanke) Well?
Schanke: Well, I'm really glad I got this suit dry-cleaned.
Natalie: Be careful. Both of you.
Schanke: Hell of a place to hide.
Probably South Carolina (Somewhere south of Charlotte, NC): late 1850s
Nick: This will do for the day.
Janette: Oh, you should have been with us, Nicolas. It was such a glorious night.
Nick: I find my own nourishment, thank you.
LaCroix: Why travel with us if you won't hunt?
Nick: I find security in numbers.
LaCroix: Perhaps you just dislike the solitude of your own thoughts.
(Janette laughs, then they stop)
LaCroix: You assured me that this house was abandoned.
Nick: It is.
(They look down through the trap door--a black man and young boy walk into view and LaCroix laughs)
Nick: This will do for the day.
Schanke: We have, ah, uniforms coming in from the other side. We'll meet them in the middle. I'm feeling very, very vulnerable here, Nick.
Nick: Don't tell me you're afraid.
Schanke: Going into the bowels of the earth to get a homicidal maniac? Oh, yeah, no problem.
Nick: Well, it's not my idea of fun either. (He shines their flashlight on a pipe crossing their path) Oh, watch this.
Schanke: Well, if I look on the bright side, I don't have to do that PTA career thing at my daughter's school. Sorry boys and girls, Jennifer Schanke's father couldn't be with us today because he was eaten by rats.
Nick: You're really not looking forward to that, are you?
Schanke: No, I'll take the rats.
Nick: You know, you should stay in your element--give the kids a tour of, ah, the precinct.
Schanke: No, kids today have different ideas of heroes, it's kind of a bad-
Nick: Shh, shh.... Did you hear something?
Schanke: Check that out. (sees clothes hanging from a line) Strange place to hang laundry.
Nick: Unless you live here. Okay, according to this, this should open up to, ah.... (Turns a corner.) A dead end!
Schanke: Oh, great.
Nick: Nice map.
Schanke: Yeah, this map's old, these tunnels are always changing. They get bricked up, rerouted, they build 'em over. The second you think you know where you're going, you're absolutely lost.
Nick: Do you know these tunnels?
Schanke: Well, not these exact tunnels, but ah...yeah. My ah, my dad was a sew....
Nick: A what?
Schanke: My dad was a sewer worker.
Nick: Well, so...what's wrong with that?
Schanke: Yeah, tell that to a nine year old, huh? When he goes to school every day he's taunted with the name 'rat boy'. Yeah, this smell really brings back a lot of memories. Haven't I come far, huh? Work in the sewers just like my old man, doing Jenny proud.
Nick: Will you stop it? Come on, we've got a lot of ground to cover.
Dragon: Hi. Laundry day?
Schanke: (Into radio) All units, we got a situation here. We're about a half a block east of Bloor and Yonge. You copy? (Hears just static) Damn this thing, dammit! (Tries again) We just had another attack, same MO as before. Copy? (He got a response) Just tell dispatch to send more people. Pronto. (Gets a positive answer, gets off radio)
Nick: Shaft's too narrow. We're gonna have to find another way down.
Schanke: Good news is backup could be here any minute. The bad news is they might have zigged when they should have zagged and they're in Albuquerque.
Nick: We can't afford to wait, Schank.
Schanke: Maybe we should've left some, uh, bread crumbs, huh?
Nick: Shh. Someone's following us. You take that one.
Schanke: Where? To the center of the earth?
Nick: Wherever it takes you.
Danny: Let go of me! Get off me!
Nick: Take it easy.
Danny: Okay, okay, I'm cool. You got me, I ain't going anywhere.
(Danny runs away and into Schanke, who he kicks before Nick catches up)
Nick: Hold it. Take it easy. We're police officers. Why were you following us?
Danny: I'm starved for entertainment.
Schanke: Well there is plenty in juvenile court. You just assaulted a cop.
Danny: I'm crushed.
Nick: You live down here?
Danny: No, I come here for the waters.
Schanke: Listen, my little friend--
Danny: Look. You gonna bust me? Let's get on with it.
Nick: That's not why we're down here, all right? We are homicide detectives. There's been a murder, maybe two.
Danny: Oh, like I care.
Schanke: Maybe you know something about it?
Nick: Show us the way down to the level below this one.
Danny: Why should I?
Schanke: Because you're smarter than you pretend and you know we're telling the truth.
Danny: And if you're not? You grab us all, arrest all my friends.
Nick: Maybe you could help us save their lives.
Danny: What makes you think anyone down here cares about living?
Jonah: Stay back. We ain't here for no fight. I just want to go about our lives, you go on with yours. (Picks up shovel and points it at the three.)
LaCroix: (Laughs) You're slaves, aren't you?
Jonah: Man who owns us, he's been wanting to sell Fountaine here down the river. I can't have that. He's my boy. I can't have it.
Janette: *Why did you come here? Why did you come here?*
Jonah: Railroad man. He supposed to be meetin' us here at sunset. Take us across.
Nick: The underground railroad. They're making their bid for freedom.
LaCroix: My heart bleeds.
Janette: Others will come, they're being followed. They're a danger to us.
Nick: They are outcasts. Hunted as animals, like us.
LaCroix: They're expendable. They are lunch.
Nick: You've had your fill. Leave them be.
LaCroix: Of course.
Janette: This will not stand, Nicolas. They endanger us. It will not stand.
Nick: Help us.
Danny: Come on, this way.
Schanke: Geez, kid, isn't the word shower in your vocabulary?
Danny: I'm surprised 'vocabulary' is in yours.
Schanke: Ha, he's a comedian. Stay downwind, smartmouth.
Cohen: Get emergency task force officers down there right now. All the men they can spare. If we can't track Knight and Schanke by radio, we'll have to cover that maze the hard way.
Officer: You got it, Captain.
Cohen: (seeing Natalie walk by) Dr. Lambert, you got a minute?
Natalie: Ah, I-I was just catching up on some file work.
Cohen: Did you start the post mortem on the torching victim yet?
Natalie: No, actually captain, I thought I'd let Dr. Zang do it. He, ah, he needs the experience.
Cohen: I need an ID as soon as possible, Natalie. Dr. Zang is an intern, has he ever handled one like this?
Natalie: I'm not sure.
Cohen: Have you ever handled one like this?
Natalie: No, Captain. I don't think that I can.
Schanke: (Finding Margaret Phillips) Oh man is this sick. This is really sick. (Into radio) Anybody there? Any units receiving? Anybody?
Danny: You weren't lying.
Nick: Stay close. He might be nearby.
Schanke: I'm getting nothing on this, Nick.
Nick: We might be too far down. (As the boy kneels down) Don't. Don't touch anything. Do you know who this belongs to? Do you know who this is?
Danny: Margaret Phillips. Maggie.
Nick: Is there someone who we should notify?
Danny: Ah, her husband, her kid.
Nick: Where do they live?
Danny: Ah, the level up, just, just up there.
Schanke: Wait, there's a family here?
Danny: Yeah, that way.
Nick: Go with him, Schank. I'll scout ahead. Just keep trying the radio.
Schanke: Whoa, whoa, wait. We should turn around, Nick. We should get the entire force. Hell, we should bring in the cavalry.
Nick: We'll meet at the intersection with three passageways. Half an hour, no more. Show him the way? Hey, show him the way?
Danny: Uh huh.
Schanke: Come on, kid, let's find her family.
Schanke: Oh man, I just stepped in something.
Danny: You don't want to know what. They're just over here.
Schanke: So, my little friend, you got a name?
Danny: Yeah, 'smartmouth', remember?
Schanke: Ah, sarcasm. I know it well. (Into radio) All units this is 81 kilo, we got another torching in the tunnel here, somewhere underneath, ah, Charles, near Yonge. Coordinates on the map are C360, B5. Copy?
Man on radio/Dragon: 81 copy that. Um, kind of. We think we're closing in on you 81. Hard to get your bearings down here.
Schanke: Send in the cavalry. This one's getting out of hand, and fast.
Dragon: Roger, on the way. Stay loose. Out.
Schanke: Stay loose? Do you feel loose? Cuz I certainly don't.
Danny: My name is Danny Weathers.
Schanke: Thanks, Danny.
Danny: (motions behind a hanging blanket) In here.
Schanke: Ah, home sweet home. Somebody get Norman Rockwell in here.
Danny: Probably heard us coming and took off. (Picks up a piece of metal and bangs it on a pipe)
Schanke: What're you doing?
Danny: Phone call.
(A man comes in with a baby)
Schanke: Oh my god.
Dragon: You're not from down here.
Nick: No. And you?
Dragon: I'm here on business.
Nick: Important business, I gather.
Dragon: It's a problem that has to be taken care of.
(Nick moves closer to doorway and they guy shoots a short burst of fire in warning, and Nick ducks back)
Dragon: Let's just keep our distance until we get to know each other a little better.
Nick: That's all right by me. Look, I'm a police officer, Detective Knight. And you?
Dragon: Call me...Dragon.
Nick: Dragon. Is that a first name or a last name?
Dragon: Job description.
Nick: And what kind of job is it that you're doing?
Dragon: You know. Business.
Man (Jake?): Open up in there! (prepares to shoot at the door, but Nick opens it)
Nick: That won't be necessary.
Man: This your place?
Nick: I'm here, am I not?
Man: Can we look around?
Nick: Well, you're the one with the gun. I suppose that means you do what you want.
Man: (to the others) Wait here.
(Man goes inside, where Nick sits down on a chair above the trap door)
Man: Awful rundown, ain't she?
Nick: I'm handy.
Man: Aim to fix her up, do ya? You ain't seen two boys about?
Man: Blackamoors. My boss' slaves. A young one and his daddy. Two of 'em made a break for it.
Nick: I've seen no one.
Man: I don't know who you are, mister, but don't go gettin' into my business. Don't let me find out you've been hidin' them boys, or worse still, takin' them for yourself to work around here.
Nick: *They're not here. You've looked for them already.*
Man: Ain't here. Looked everywhere.
Nick: *You heard they went up to Charlotte, didn't you?*
Man: They ain't here then. I know them two boys, they probably head up to Charlotte way.
Nick: That's two days hard ride from here.
Man: I must be on my way, then. You see anybody, you let them know up at the plantation. They'll get the word to me. (exits and calls to the others) They headed up Charlotte way.
Nick: Tell me then, about your business.
Dragon: I'm cleaning up. I'm an exterminator. I'm the bug man.
Nick: It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it, huh?
Dragon: And it looks like I'm the only one that can. It seems that no one else has the stomach or the know-how. You wanna know what the secret is? You gotta get the nest.
Nick: The nest?
Dragon: Get up under the house and burn it. Maybe the house will go up, too. It happens, you know that. But you can never get just the cancer. Sometimes you got to take a lung as well. You got to find the nest and make it burn. Nice talking to ya. (Leaves)
Nick: Wait, don't go!
Cohen: Are you saying you can't do it, or you don't want to?
Natalie: I guess I'm saying that I'm frightened.
Cohen: With all you've seen on this job? I would think you'd be desensitized by now.
Natalie: I should be. Once on a family vacation when I was a kid, there was a car accident on the highway up ahead of us. One of the cars was on fire. Engulfed in flames, really. I could see the people trapped inside. And I could hear them screaming. I still do sometimes.
Cohen: I know how you feel.
Natalie: You do?
Tom Phillips: Where is she then? Take me to her.
Schanke: I don't think that's a really good idea, Mr. um.....
Tom: Phillips. Tom Phillips.
Schanke: Listen, Mr. Phillips, I'm sorry about your wife. But, you should take yourself and your baby out of here as quickly as possible, I mean, right now.
Tom: We'd been working. Got a day or two on the part(?). She'd been collecting stuff to.... We were going out to Alberta. She's got family out there. It's pretty, you know. Wide open.
Schanke: Go directly out to the street, find a police officer, tell him that Detective Don Schanke from Metro Homicide sent you. They'll find you shelter, okay?
Tom: Yeah, sure.
(Schanke and Danny leave)
Schanke: Good. Good. This is no way to live, kid. No way to live.
Danny: Tell me about it.
Schanke: Oh man, I knew we shouldn't have split up. Dammit, Nick, I knew we shouldn't have split up! Dammit!
Danny: You should take it easy, you know? Go easy on the caffeine. You're getting all type A.
Nick: I've been telling him that for years.
Schanke: Nick, you said 30 minutes.
Nick: Yeah, well I got tied up in conversation--calls himself the Dragon.
Schanke: Get out. What happened to your sleeve?
Nick: Nah, it's okay, it'll be okay. I think I know where he's going. Is there any place down here that can be called a nest?
Danny: A nest?
Nick: A nest of people.
Schanke: Oh, man.
Danny: I don't know.
Schanke: Come on, Danny.
Danny: If there was a nest, they'd be able to take care of themselves, right?
Schanke: Danny, this guy is dangerous.
Danny: Yeah? How do I know that? I take you to one, now you want me to bring you to all of them. I don't know you.
Schanke: You saw what he did to that woman. That's what he's going to do to everyone down here if he gets a chance. Everyone, Danny. All your friends.
Danny: There is a place on the lowest level. It's called the Camp. Got about 20 people, a couple of, ah...a couple of families.
Jonah: Don't be afraid, son, it won't be long now. We'll be out of here soon.
Man: (outside) Hey in there, we brung you somebody here. The railroad man. Seems your friend here had a need to ah....unburden himself.
LaCroix: This is your doing, Nicholas.
Man: Jonah? I know you're in there, boy. Now I'd like to forgive you, take you home, but you'd just be giving the others ideas. So we gotta make us a lesson. (shoots railroad man) All right, boys. (The set the house on fire)
LaCroix: They're setting it on fire. We have to get out.
Nick: (to Danny) Take us there, please.
Nick: How much further?
Danny: We got a bit yet.
Schanke: Hey, remember before, you were signaling on the pipes? What was that, ah, Morse code or something?
Danny: I was calling. We call it the phone.
Schanke: Well, can you, ah, call ahead and warn everybody?
Danny: I don't know. I can try.
Schanke: Well here. Try. Use these.
Schanke: Oh, geez. (picks up a doll) I just can't get used to the idea that there are kids down here. (puts the doll down on a pipe)
Danny: You got kids?
Schanke: What, is this a setup for a one liner?
Nick: Yeah, he's got a little girl. Name's Jenny. Tomorrow he's going to make her real proud on parent's day.
Schanke: Yeah, if I ever get done with this honeymoon cruise.
Danny: Parents Day! Yeah, I remember that. Teachers lie to your parents, parents lie to your teachers--if they aren't too drunk or high to show up at all. Nah, who needs them.
Schanke: Hey kid! You're too young to be so cynical.
Danny: Yeah? Yeah, well everything sucks, so what?
Nick: Hey Danny, come on.
Danny: This really matters to you, doesn't it? And to him. I mean, I can tell it's not just your job.
Nick: No. No it isn't.
Danny: How come?
Nick: Well you see, Danny, some people think that others are disposable. You live long enough, you find out nobody is.
LaCroix: Forget them! We must leave now!
Janette: Nicolas, they cannot be our concern.
Nick: We cannot leave them here.
LaCroix: The flames have reached the roof. We have only seconds.
Janette: Nicolas, please!
LaCroix: For them, Nicholas! Our lives, and yours, for them!
(LaCroix and Janette leave, flying through the roof)
Jonah: If you're gonna kill us, kill us now. Before the fire breaks through.
Schanke: Come on, boys, pick up the clip. You're holding up the parade.
Nick: Come on, Danny, keep signaling.
Dragon: The eensy weensy spider banged on the water spout. Down came the fire, burned the spider out.
Cohen: We all have our worst fears. Fears that incapacitate us. Fears that haunt us. When I started in law enforcement, I was a federal agent. We broke up a drug ring. There was a firefight. Terrible. Just like combat. Three agents were killed that day, including my partner at the time.
Natalie: I'm sorry.
Cohen: They never found the bullet that killed him. The evidence suggested that.... Well, they thought maybe it was friendly fire. My fire. When I returned to duty.... God, I was so afraid. You know the old saying, 'Friends close, enemies closer'? Fear is an enemy you can't ignore, because...it's a part of you. Accept it, it makes you stronger. Run from it and....
Dr. Zang: Dr. Lambert. Captain Cohen.
Natalie: Have you managed to get a dental impression yet, Doctor?
Dr. Zang: Um, I can't seem to get a clear imprint.
Natalie: (Looks to Cohen, who nods) Here. Let me give it a try.
Danny: Just around the corner and we're almost there.
Nick: Danny? Find somewhere safe, you're done.
Schanke: See ya around, kid.
Jonah: They're still out there.
Nick: We have no choice. Stay behind me. Ready? The only way out is to face your fears. Come.
Man: This one's mine. (shoots at Nick, Nick changes and the others flee as Nick bites him)
Nick: Get to the river, fast.
Fountaine: Come with us, sir!
Nick: I'd like to, but I can't. Go on.
Jonah: Thank you. Whoever you are. Whatever you are.
Schanke: Looks deserted. Kid's message must have gotten through.
Nick: Let's hope so.
Dragon: Ladybug, ladybug.... Fly away home.
Nick: Let's flank him.
Schanke: All right.
Nick: Pick your shot. Don't fire unless you have to. We hit one of those tanks, this whole place goes up.
Schanke: I hear you.
Dragon: Come out come out wherever you are.... Come on out! I'm gonna have a party! And you're all invited. We'll have some cake and ice cream, play games. Have a fun time. Where is everybody?! Okay, so you don't want to play. Then the party's over.... Come on out, bugs, you can't hide forever. Dragon's gonna find ya! Make you pay. That's right. Make *you* pay for a change. Nothin's free in this world. Not for me, and not for you. Hey! I got some spare change for you. Getcha a cup of coffee, bottle of cheap wine.... Come on! Well, who do we have here? (sees a woman in a tent, tosses a coin on the ground) Look! Nice shiny coin for ya. (woman reaches her hand out) Come on....thatta girl.
(Dragon fires at him, Schanke moves out of the way and Dragon fires a bunch of times. Then, Schanke hits something giving away his location, then stands up)
Dragon: Oops. Looks like I gotcha.
Nick: Over here! (guy fires, Nick waits, then points his gun at the guy)
Dragon: Drop it. I wouldn't do that. (points flamethrower at woman) Because you're probably the type that cares about trash like this. Am I right? (Nick puts his gun down) Now it's your turn.
Nick: The only way out is to face your fears.
Nick: You okay?
Schanke: I tell you, Nick, after facing this, Jenny's class doesn't look so bad, huh?
Schanke: It's not the cleanest job in the world and it doesn't pay all that well for the work you do. It's...it's dirty and thankless. My daughter Jenny, your classmate, would back me up on that fact if she wasn't home with the mumps, on her dad's big day off. But that's another story. Anyway-
Boy: Show us the jail! (The others agree and they start chanting 'jail', 'jail' etc.)
Schanke: Okay, do you kids just want to keep it down and control.... Kids.
Cohen: (Walking up) You're losing them, Detective.
Schanke: I know. Hey, come on!
Cohen: Okay! Knock it off. (The kids quiet down) Pay attention here. Detective Schanke is a hero. Last night he helped a lot of people stay alive.
Girl: Is that right?
Schanke: Well, yeah, I, ah, I guess that's right. Ah, who wants to see the jail? (The kids cheer) Over there. Come on, get over here. Thanks a lot, Captain. (To the kids:) I'll be right there. (To Cohen:) By the way, if you see Danny, could you steer him to me? I'm gonna take him to a ball game today, if you don't mind. You realize he has not been to one?
Cohen: No problem.
Boy: Hey mister, you comin' or not?
Schanke: Yeah. Coming.
Natalie: I'm still afraid. But I don't think I'll ever get over that. You know, I'm proud of myself. Just for having dealt with it.
Nick: Well, it's like they say. If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger.
Natalie: Sort of like the fire.