THE MENACE OF PHANTOMS : Act One
By Will Shakespear, as discovered in a barn in
Stratford by Simon Bucher-Jones.
Now, turmoil the republic has engulfed. Who taxes what, to what degree and where, is in dispute with many petty lords, and underlings aspiring to the purse of honest men. Thus in one place making a show of force, to cower the purse strings loose of other lands, these roguish fellows have estrained all trade, besieging the small island of Naboo. When many minds debate and many speak, in vain to find an answer sweet to all, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two knights - guardians of peace - to reconcile and settle the affray.
ACT ONE SCENE ONE
QUI-GON. Now Captain, tell them that we board at once
CAPTAIN. It shall be conveyed fast as flags can wave, to bear in semaphore
your message stern.
QUI-GON (aside) I hope in faith, the brow my message bears, so that it comes before the stern athwart, or else miscarries.
CAPTAIN. I see the flags on board their flag-ships masts, they protest the legality of their fleet, but promise to lower ropes for us at once.
QUI-GON. Thus every pirate, thus turned lawyer protests too much his privateer’s mark, til such distinction is turned quite upset, and none are pirates but they claim the law.
ACT ONE SCENE TWO
A CABIN ABOARD SHIP
A SLAVE. I trust you will be comfortable here, within this cabin ‘til my master will, lay clear be fore you all the terms by which we rightly claim the island’s
for our fief, (exit)
OBI-WAN. A thief indeed. A feeling in my thumbs tells me something is base.
QUI-GON. Baseless to me, this is.
OBI-WAN. Oh not the baseness of our knavish hosts, which is a thing established as the earth, atop poor Atlas’ back, but something elsewhere hidesome as a ghost.
QUI-GON. On this day let your concentration lie, and centre not on your anxiety. This day is at the axis of our state, what was, tis gone, what has not yet been born, is naught but thistledown and airy fear.
OBI-WAN. Should we not look to futures as to towering skies, seeking the distant eagle er he strikes, as Master Yoda oft decrees?
QUI-GON. Not if the eagle be but a faint cloud, while at our feet the wolf lays bare the flock to satisfy his native appetite. It is the living force we must observe, young Padawan.
OBI-WAN. Yes, Master, think you that the viceroy will concede to us, or try to do us ill? Will they obey the Lord Chancellor’s writ?
QUI-GON. Their cowardice is clear, they will acquit themselves according to their meanest thought, and thus negotiations will be short.
ACT ONE SCENE THREE
THE BRIDGE OF THE SHIP
A SLAVE. These men are belted knights and armed beforce, with swords the like of heroes armed before, as were the sons of Galahad or Hercules, with armoured ‘shoots from seed of old excaliber itself.
DOFINE. They come to force us from our lawful prize, bearing these weapons to enforce their will.
NUTE. And yet they come as spies in single craft, not as ambassadors in ships of state. I smell the scent of secrecy grown stale, and wager that their embassy is made as coyly as a man with a woo’d maid, imputes his own suite to her dainty view. We too have games that we can play at there, I’ll set a pigeon through the air, to bear a message to Lord Sidious.
DOFINE. While I distract two armed and wary knights, this task I like not, to the slave it goes.
A SLAVE. Thus to the low, come grievances and woes.
ACT ONE SCENE FOUR
OBI-WAN. Do they insult us with this tardiness?
A SLAVE. (Enters with food upon a tray)
QUI-GON. They do not hurry to lay forth their case, which oddly bodes given their crime is small. (he drinks).
ACT ONE SCENE FIVE
DOFINE. What message did you pen to our Dread Lord?
NUTE. Only that if he can not bring to bear some influence upon the Chancellor, we dare not strike or act against his men.
RUNE. Hark, here comes the flutter of dark wings, as messages are born back from his hand. Nute give words to this, my eyes grow faint.
NUTE. You, callow, runts of men who faint at toads croaking although imprisoned hard in stones, and quite restrained from spiting forth their bile.
DOFINE.(aside)‘Tis writ in Sidious’s style.
NUTE. You must to battle gird now your pallid loins, lay shoreward engines of most horrid war.
RUNE. And can we pray assert our right in this?
NUTE. Lord Sidious, has writ that by his writ, the right will be asserted in our names at Court. He’ll make the right stand shadow to our might.
DOFINE. And the two knights?
NUTE. Should never have been sent in secret’s cloak for well kept secrets have no public face, and hence can not show in the market place their features and claim aid. If they should die, alone, and friendless who will protest that they were ever here?
RUNE. The boatman who delivered them?
NUTE. Boats have been known to sink in waters such as these, so Sidious concludes.
ACT ONE SCENE SIX
QUI-GON. Unsheath your sword, the time has passed for peace.
OBI-WAN. I sense it too, that dove-departing breeze that leaves the air to only hawk its breath.
A SLAVE. (Enters) More drinks? Or not, I guess you’ve had enough. No hospitality can outdraw blood.
QUI-GON. (Lifts glass and sniffs) Nor poison quench the thirsts of honest guests. (He casts aside the glass). Lay on!
ACT ONE SCENE SEVEN
NUTE. They must be dead by now. Made fast their bones, wrap to them anchors and let them drink deep within the waters of Naboo’s dark bay.
DOFINE. You have not dealt with any of these Knights? Or seen them train, or heard the cries of those who tried in vain injustice to uphold while in their path?
NUTE. None can defeat my men. Even if poison in their veins is turned to ruddy blood by some strange alchemy, they still have cutlasses and marlin spikes between them and ourselves.
DOFINE. It matters not. They cut through men and timbers each alike with swords that stayeth not, nor fear to strike.
OBI-WAN and QUI-GAN (run through the bridge, and swing over the side)
NUTE. No, no this is impossible. Where are my brawny seamen, thugs, and knaves?
DOFINE. In pieces, I would guess, or else in graves.
(C) Simon Bucher-Jones, Star Wars elements(C) George Lucas.
To be continued.....