The Substance of Fire
These are scenes from the September 24, 1996 production draft of the script for the episode The Fire Within written by Josef Anderson. These scenes did not make it into the final episode due to time and story considerations.
The first missing scene is one of the best and I really hate that this one was cut. This set of scenes takes place directly after the Sliders get onto the "job truck" in order to get employment...
EXT. STREET - DAY
The bus pulls away. We see the flame left behind start to burn up the driveway, towards one of the houses.
INT. PACIFIC OIL REFINERY - EMPLOYMENT OFFICE - DAY
CLOSE - REMBRANDT
in a frosted glass cubicle with an INTERVIEWER.
No, I don't mind being in a
dormitory. I was in the Navy. I
can sleep anywhere.
Can you drive a truck?
CLOSE - ARTURO
in the same seat, talking to the Interviewer.
I can do anything. But should you
have a position that requires more
brain than brawn, I think that job
would merit my assignment so you
could fully utilize my potential as
You afraid of hard work?
Let me see your hands.
Arturo holds up his hands.
Better get some gloves.
CLOSE - WADE
is holding up ten fingers.
Eighty-five words a minute.
Do you know anything about Eds?
Edisons. You push keyboard or know
anything about techware?
Uh, yeah, I know some things. And
I'm a quick study.
You get a bed in the dorm, two
meals a day, and some wages paid
in company scrip. If that's all
right, consider yourself hired.
Sounds fine to me.
Well, then all we need to do is
fill out a few forms. Do you have
CLOSE - QUINN
seated in the same cubicle.
My friends and I got robbed last
week. It was our fault. We left
everything in the hotel. We just
need some work for a few days, then
we'll be moving on.
Do you mind being fingerprinted?
The Interviewer picks up the phone, places a call.
INT. PACIFIC OIL OFFICE - DAY
J.C. ASHTON, 30's, head of Fire and Security, listens for a moment on the telephone. He's sitting on the edge of a desk, cigar in hand. He lights an ornate lighter, torches the cigar end.
Might as well go ahead and hire
them all. I'm gonna have some
holes to fill when we lock out
the strikers tomorrow.
He hangs up the phone as DIANA SYLVIUS enters.
Mr. Ashton, you need to get back to
You know a Pete Sosa in
Older guy, bald?
His house got torched.
They think it's arson?
They don't know. They're still
J.C. hurries out of the room.
Then the scene cuts to Arturo and Remmy back in the dorm talking about how horrible dinner was...just as we saw in the final version.
Another missing bit was a referral to a past earth we never heard about...this takes place during the conversation when Quinn is telling Arturo he felt like the fire was coming for him on Furnace world...
Was it volcanic?
Perhaps some kind of natural gas
deposit, burning for years like the
coal fires in Virginia.
It's weird, but there was a moment
when I thought the fire was coming
Eager to separate your long carbon
The heat, the burn. I felt this
way once before.
Was it that unfortunate incident in
the tanning salon?
It was when the tiger was stalking
Quinn steps onto the bus. The driver stomps out the smoke, climbs on board, closes the doors. We PULL BACK to see a FLAME run from the gutter under the bus.
The bus pulls away. A duplicate flame burns on the edge of a storm drain, hidden from view, keeping watch.
And then we cut to Remmy attempting to drive his truck through the angry mob of strikers...
Originally, it was supposed to be Quinn who overheard J.C. and Diana's conversation at the company store about the arson fires, and he was in the middle of a purchase...
INT. COMPANY STORE - DAY
Quinn is trying on sunglasses. Wade walks up, a few things in her basket. Quinn dons an unusual pair.
What do you think?
Definitely extends your
You done? I'm ready to go
back to the hotel.
I just need one more thing.
I'll get in line.
Wade exits. We FOLLOW Quinn as he moves to a nearby cash register, holding the glasses, trying to decide.
ANGLE - CHECK OUT LINE
J.C. lingers in line with Diana while the clerk bags her purchases in a company store shopping bag. Quinn is close enough to overhear.
Three burns in two days. All of
mysterious origin. Something's
I heard it was quite a fight.
I never saw a fire go after a guy
like it did. Burned his mask off.
We'd put it out here, it'd pop up
over there. They were mopping up
hot spots all night.
Diana takes her package, follows J.C. out the door. Quinn steps up to the register, puts on the sunglasses.
What do you think?
The clerk looks at him, shakes her head. Thumbs down.
Then we cut over to Wade as she watches Amanda shoplift some items...
After "flame boy" saves Quinn from being hit by the truck, there was a bit of the conversation with Remmy not seen in the episode...
INT. HOTEL BAR - NIGHT
CLOSE - TELEVISION
in the bar. Tuned to a news station. A story about a forest fire.
Five acres of timber were
burned today before fire
fighters were able to
bring the blaze under
control. A spokesman for
the department said, "the
only reason we beat it
was because the fire ran
out of trees."
The Sliders are gathered at a corner table.
I'm telling you, I saw fire
surround Quinn before he fell down.
I couldn't breathe. There wasn't
Look, both of you had a few beers.
Maybe you tripped, and maybe the
truck lights reflected on the
street, and you thought you...
Smell my hair.
It's burned. And just the very
I hope nobody sees me doing this.
(sniffs Quinn's head)
Just smells like you've been in a
That truck would have run me over.
I think it saved my life.
Now I know you had too much to
Then Arturo enters the scene and things continue as we saw them...
Our next little bit is a missing history reference...
You think it's been starting fires?
From what I heard today, I'm pretty
sure of it. And why not?
Everywhere it looks, nothing but
food. And nobody's telling it not
to take a bite.
Maybe we should.
I agree, Miss Welles. We need to
talk to it.
You know how to speak fire?
Maybe with a spectrometer?
Excellent idea, Mr. Mallory. There
might be one in the lab at the
Go back? No thanks. I'm not in
any hurry to get beat up again.
And I'm not happy about crossing
a picket line, Mr. Brown, but this is
an extraordinary opportunity. I'm
sure Samuel Gompers will forgive us
We'll find some common ground,
build a vocabulary, get a
translation path set up.
We'll have to catch it first.
Once you do, you better talk fast.
We've only got a couple of days
before we slide.
A waiter ignites a blazing drink to the table beside them. The drinker lifts it in a toast to the table.
And you better do it before flame
boy realizes he's sitting on a
hundred million barrels of oil.
They watch as the man downs the drink, flame and all.
Then we cut to the next day with Wade and Diana talking over the computer terminals like they did in the version we saw...
There's is also an very interesting portion meant to appear on the end of the scene where Quinn and Arturo capture the flame (also, the two halves separated in this version)...
I don't know, but you better hope
it can't read lips.
It's moving inside.
ANGLE - GLASS BEAKER
The fire climbs up the wick string into the container and ignites the fluid.
Quinn pulls the string, the lid drops and the fire is captured.
ANGLE - BEAKER
The fire struggles violently to escape, but quickly burns up the oxygen. Quinn and Arturo enter SHOT.
What's the other flame doing?
So far, nothing.
Perhaps it doesn't feel threatened
and has no need to defend its copy.
Quinn pushes the lid slightly open to let in some air. The flame is revived. It bumps against the glass, seeming to investigate the two men's faces so close to it now. Arturo reaches out and closes the lid again, shutting off the oxygen.
What are you doing?
Letting it know we're in control.
Arturo waits a beat, then props open the lid slightly, letting in more oxygen. Quinn retrieves a small cardboard box lined with tin foil. Quinn strips off his overshirt, uses it like a hot pad to pick up the beaker, set it safely in the box. They exit. We HOLD on the copy flame watching them.
Then the scene cuts back to the Sliders dorm room where they are attempting to contact the flame...just as we saw.
Next we have what I believe to be a crucial lost scene. This lost scene takes place during the Wade/Arturo conversation at the beginning of Act Three... This scenes adds a little clarity to why Wade would later outburst about babies in the fire...
EXT. HOTEL - DAY
Arturo waits in line for the bus with the other workers. He looks up to see Wade approaching.
What are you doing here?
There's some files that I want to
borrow for a friend.
Ah, workers unite!
I figure it will balance the karma
for being a scab.
Is that what's bothering you?
I don't know if I can talk about
Is it something serious?
Wade gives him a look. Why not.
It's about babies.
Arturo takes her by the arm and escorts her a few feet away to a more private area.
Are you pregnant?
I'm not even dating.
But someday I'd like to have a
family, and I've been thinking
about that. How am I ever gonna
meet Mr. Right if I'm sliding?
This is worse than being single
Do you want to settle down today?
Next month, next year?
Uh, no. Maybe in a few years.
So what's bothering you?
I don't know if I really want
Must you decide that now?
If I really don't want to have
children, then I shouldn't be
looking for Mr. Right? Right?
That would be wrong?
Right. You know, sliding creates
some major commitment problems.
Well, if it's any comfort, from
what I know of you now, if and when
you choose to become one, I think
you'd make an extraordinary mother.
Arturo gives her a hug. Remmy walks up.
Quinn's gonna stay here and keep
I could use your help getting some
more things from the lab.
Probably better we all go to work
like everything's normal.
All right. I'll go.
Just remember, we slide in eight
They each hold up their watches. Remmy looks at Wade.
I'll get a new one at the store.
They begin to walk to the line to board the bus.
CLOSE - HOTEL ROOM DOOR
and on it a hand lettered sign with a skull and crossbones that says, "Fumigating room -- Do not enter."
TV REPORTER (V.O.)
A fire broke out early this morning
at an oil storage tank in south
INT. HOTEL LIVING ROOM - DAY
Quinn is working at the table, listening to the news broadcast.
While firefighters have contained
the fire, officials said it was not
under control at this time. They
called for additional back up units.
Quinn turns down the volume on the TV. He sits down in front of the flame. The computer screen faces the flame.
Here's how it's gonna work. I'll
say something and then you repeat
The rest plays out as we saw it...
Then there's a short Remmy line that was cut when they were searching for the bomb in the warehouse...
My mom was having me when she was
my age. Maybe it's hereditary.
And maybe we better keep looking.
And for a moment they do. Then we hear a TAPPING SOUND.
I hope that's your biological clock
There's a FLASH of FIRE about twenty feet away.
And the scene plays on...
And in an interesting twist, the original script had J.C. dying in the warehouse fire...
Please, we must go now.
What would you do?
I can't influence your decision.
Make up your mind, flame boy, we
gotta get out of here.
The flame spreads to a nearby wall, burns the words "GO HOME."
They start walking for the door.
In front of them, at the next door, J.C. appears. He tips over a fifty gallon drum of liquid. He takes out his cigar lighter, ignites the fuel, blocking their escape.
QUINN'S POV - INFRARED
The fire runs towards J.C. and knocks him down, then turns to face Quinn.
BACK TO SCENE
The fire dissolves and pushes back the other flames and smoke like Moses parting the red sea. Even Arturo can see the way now. They hurry and lead Remmy and Wade out of the room. Quinn stops to pick up J.C.'s lighter. Once they are gone, the flame fills the room.
ANGLE - J.C.
unconscious on the floor, as the flames come towards him.
And that's the last we see of J.C. for the rest of the episode, the other scenes play out as we saw them...minus any appearances or mentions of J.C.
The last missing bit comes at the end. In case you were wondering where this was in the episode after reading Brad Linaweaver's episode guide...it wasn't in the episode. It was in the original script...
Sorry we couldn't spend more time
The flame burns some words on the match cover.
INSERT - MATCH COVER
as it reads, "Thank you."
BACK TO SCENE
Quinn cups the matches in his hand and dives into the vortex as we...