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2.09 My Mother, the Fiend

Written by: Phil Klemmer and Dayna Lynne North
Directed by: Nick Marck

Original Air Date: 30 November, 2005
Transcribed by Inigo and Kiwikazoo.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Previously, on Veronica Mars...

Veronica looks for Meg's room and is surprised to find Duncan waiting, from 204 Green-Eyed Monster.

VERONICA: Duncan?

Veronica cuddles with Duncan.

VERONICA: Why didn't you tell me how often you'd visited Meg since the accident?

Veronica and Celeste have a showdown at Mars Investigations in 119 Hot Dogs.

CELESTE: What did you say to Duncan?

VERONICA: Let's start with what I didn't tell him. I didn't tell him that his mother drove my mother out of town.

As the other bikers leave, Weevil questions Thumper in 208 Ahoy, Mateys!

WEEVIL: The night Felix got killed. Did you see the guy who called the cops?

THUMPER: No, man.

WEEVIL: I'm getting to the bottom of this.

A masked man interrogates a bound Logan.

MASKED MAN: What happened to Felix?

LOGAN: I can't remember, okay?

Logan is thrown down a bank. A cell phone rings. The phone is in Weevil's hand and he brings it up to his ear.

WEEVIL: Is it done?

Logan is on the other end.

LOGAN: You have no idea the hell you've just brought on yourself.

End previouslies.

EXT - NEPTUNE HIGH SCHOOL (NHS) - DAY.

Students head into the school through the entrance past the flagpole.

MS HAUSER: [offscreen] Since you all had such a raucous...

INT - NHS, CLASSROOM - DAY.

Ms Hauser is standing in front of her sex education class. On her desk is a box. On a table to her left, there are baby dolls lying on top of similar boxes.

MS HAUSER: ...good time with venereal diseases...

Amongst the bored students are Veronica and Duncan.

MS HAUSER: ...I'm sure you'll be thrilled with phase two of Sex Ed. Ladies and gentlemen...

Ms Hauser opens the box and brings out another of the realistic dolls, which she holds in her arms.

MS HAUSER: ...welcome to parenthood.

Some students smile, some laugh, and some moan.

VERONICA: So that's where babies come from.

Duncan chuckles.

MS HAUSER: For the next five days, you moms and dads will team up and care for your very own Baby Think-It-Over.

Veronica is unimpressed with the opportunity. Ms Hauser takes the doll by its ankle and holds it upside down. The doll makes the sound of a crying baby.

MS HAUSER: Some parenting tips. Your babies have very sophisticated sensors. They know when they want to be held and when they want...

She brings the doll back up into her arms. She stretches back to reach into the box.

MS HAUSER: ...a bottle.

She produces a bottle and puts it in the doll's mouth. The sound changes in response.

MS HAUSER: Most importantly, your babies have very good memories. or rather memory chips, so if you're looking to pass this class, I'd give junior some serious TLC.

Ms Hauser slaps the bottle down on one of the student's desks and puts the doll on her shoulder to burp it. In her seat, Veronica sighs heavily.

MS HAUSER: Now. Find a partner, pick a baby.

One of the girl's grabs the hand of the boy next to her to race up to the front. Veronica stretches out her arms, in no hurry.

VERONICA: Ooh. Aren't we supposed to have a shot of tequila first?

Duncan chuckles. Ms Hauser thrusts a piece of paper at Veronica. Veronica takes it and reads it.

VERONICA: Pick a good 'un, honey. I gotta go see the man.

Veronica gets up as Duncan smiles and bids her farewell with his finger.

INT - NHS, CLEMMONS OFFICE - DAY.

There is a shiny plaque on the door, reading "Vice Principal Mr Van Clemmons." Underneath is a printed sheet, setting out his office hours (Monday 7AM to 11:30AM, Tuesday 7AM to 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM and so on). Veronica opens the door and strides in. To the right of Clemmons desk, atop a large bookcase, is a framed picture that declares "There is no victory without honor." Clemmons is at his desk, writing. He looks up.

VERONICA: Whatta ya got for me?

Veronica drops that slip of paper that beckoned her onto his desk.

VERONICA: SAT cheating scam? Toilet cam in the girls' locker room?

She leans forward and whispers, discretely.

VERONICA: A sticky divorce, perhaps?

CLEMMONS: I need for you to open up your purse, Veronica, and hand over your keys.

Veronica is a little surprised at this but doesn't hesitate. She reaches into her bag, gets her keys and drops them on Clemmons desk. There are only about five or six keys on the ring. Clemmons grins.

CLEMMONS: All your keys.

Veronica takes a deep breath and fishes in her bag again. She throws another key ring, with rather more keys, onto the desk. Clemmons picks up this second set, rises from his desk and walks to the open door of his office. He tries one of the keys in its lock. It fits.

VERONICA: I can explain that.

CLEMMONS: You don't have to. The district's put in a security system that keeps track of all after-hours visitors.

Veronica looks around the office.

VERONICA: I don't see any cameras here. There's no way you can prove that I broke in.

CLEMMONS: How else could you have gotten your hands on the drug testing results?

VERONICA: The faked drug test results? Let me walk you through it. Usually, when I save your butt, I start by&#8212

CLEMMONS: What else have you stolen from my school? I can't imagine that all of these keys belong to your property. For instance, what's this one for?

Clemmons holds up a key.

VERONICA: That one? Let's see. That one opens a DuraGUARD file safe manufactured prior to 1990.

CLEMMONS: And, uh, this one?

He selects another.

VERONICA: Fits any Vespa scooter.

Clemmons stares hard at her.

VERONICA: What? I like to come prepared.

CLEMMONS: In that case, prepare yourself for a suspension.

Veronica's jaw drops in horror.

CLEMMONS: You broke into my filing cabinet. That's possibly even grounds for the sheriff's involvement.

Clemmons heads back to his desk. A poster above the bookcase on the other side of his desk, displayed with sporting trophies, reads "On and off the field...character counts."

VERONICA: If you suspend me, I-I won't be eligible for&#8212

CLEMMONS: The Kane Scholarship? Yes, I'm aware of both your academic record and your financial situation.

Veronica's eyes narrow. Clemmons sinks back into his seat.

CLEMMONS: I might be inclined to let you off with detention.

VERONICA: Fine, detention. I'll take it.

Clemmons smiles and nods.

INT - NHS, JOURNALISM CLASS - DAY.

Cassidy walks into the darkened room as another student is leaving.

STUDENT: Hey, what's up, Beav?

Cassidy acknowledges him with a wave of his laden hand, and then walks forward into the room.

CASSIDY: Uh, excuse me, Mac?

Mac, sporting bright red streaks, is at one of the screens around the wall. She has what looks like a comic book graphic on the screen, comprising a dog's head, the name Lola at the top and the word wolf at the bottom, just above two dollar bill graphics ($2 bill campaign for season two shout out?).

CASSIDY: Mac?

Mac turns her head and sees him, removing her earphones.

MAC: Oh! Were you talking to me?

CASSIDY: Yeah, I was, uh, actually. Um, I was wondering if I could hire you.

MAC: To do what?

CASSIDY: Well, I need a domain registered and an on-line identity for my company, Phoenix Land Trust. I would also need you to design a logo for my letterhead. You know, I'm, um, um, I'm happy to match whatever your going rate is...I need the work to be Fortune 500 calibre.

MAC: Look, I'll-I'll help you get your company up and running but...basically you're hiring me to do your homework for you, right?

Under their conversation, the principal is making an announcement.

MOOREHEAD: [on intercom] Language exams...on Saturday morning.

CASSIDY: Um...

MOOREHEAD: [on intercom] Science exams will start at noon...

Cassidy laughs.

CASSIDY: Right.

INT - ADMINISTRATION OFFICE - CONTINUING.

Veronica is waiting, impatiently as she listens to the principal.

MOOREHEAD: Some other exciting news. Neptune Players will be holding open audition for "Hamlet" all week...

Moorehead is standing in a room off the administration office as he broadcasts. Behind him is a staff notice board, chock full of notices and flyers of various types, including one that has a picture of a baby. It's looks very like Greta Mae Thomas, Rob Thomas's daughter, but isn't.

MOOREHEAD: ...and I am especially proud to announce this year's special celebrity director, television and screen star, not to mention NHS alum, Miss Trina Echolls...

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Principal Moorehead, you old star-stroker. If Logan's sister is back in Neptune, that must mean she was the first one booted off "The Surreal Life" this season.

As Moorehead continues, Clemmons approaches Veronica.

CLEMMONS: Veronica? You are aware that school isn't over yet.

Veronica rises and stands in front of him.

VERONICA: But detention was just so close. I convinced my seventh period teacher to let me out early.

CLEMMONS: Follow me, then. Got a little project for you.

Clemmons walks out of the administration office. Veronica rolls her eyes and then follows.

INT - NHS, FILE ROOM - DAY.

Veronica and Clemmons stand in a sea of filing boxes.

CLEMMONS: The janitor had a dolly accident last week, moving the permanent records. Your sentence is up when each of these files finds its way, alphabetically, into that cabinet.

Clemmons dumps a stack of files into her arms as Veronica sighs heavily.

VERONICA: And I can't use magic, right?

Cut to a montage of Veronica sorting files and filling the filing cabinet. Finally, nearing the end of her task, she picks up the cumulative record folder (Neptune Unified School District) of Lianne Susan Reynolds, ID#78901-1980.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: My mom's permanent record? Six months ago she vanished in the middle of the night.

Veronica opens the file. The top document on the right hand side is an attendance sheet. Under that is a signed Chicken Pox vaccination form. It is followed by some grade records.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: But I guess we all leave a little something behind. Mom didn't talk about her Neptune days very often. Back before she started drinking, she told me that high school's something you had to get through. I knew what she meant. I always liked imaging that I would have gotten along with Lianne as a teenager, even long after Lianne the adult failed to meet or exceed expectations.

Veronica finds a Suspension Report dated September 26, 1979. Portions of it are blacked out. After her name and ID number, this is what can be read: "Lianne Reynolds, suspended three days for spreading false and malicious rumors concerning another student...With much research and discretion, we have ruled that the student, Lianne Reynolds...has a...Lianne Reynolds appeared at a disciplinary hearing along with fellow student, Deborah Philipina Drummond, and was ruled that Miss Reynolds...Miss Reynolds admitted to spreading this rumor...The punishment for this is suspension for three days, with no option to make up any schoolwork or tests that may occur within this time period. Suspension will commence on 11/05/79 - 11/10/79." Veronica reads portions of the letter out loud.

VERONICA: Lianne Reynolds, suspended three days for spreading false and malicious rumours concerning another student. Lianne Reynolds appeared at a disciplinary hearing along with fellow student, Deborah Philipina Drummond.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Huh. I wonder if she's any relation to Deborah Philipina Hauser.

CLEMMONS: This is going to take you a very long time...

Veronica is startled by the reappearance of the vice principal and drops the hand holding up the file.

CLEMMONS: ...if you plan to read each individually.

VERONICA: I was just&#8212

CLEMMONS: Snooping through school property. Isn't that what landed you here in detention?

Veronica has the grace to look abashed.

CLEMMONS: Back to work, Veronica.

Veronica nods and after a hard stare at her, Clemmons exits. As soon as the door is shut, Veronica goes back to reading her mother's file.

INT - BREAKER'S YARD - NIGHT.

Music (allegedly): Gasolina by Daddy Yankee. (Note that this was stated to be the music on AOL's VM site, featuring the alternative ending. However, it appears to match neither the music nor the lyrics of that song.) Weevil is grinding when all the power and lights suddenly go out. End music: Gasolina by Daddy Yankee (or whatever). Weevil walks forward into the dark workshop.

WEEVIL: Hey! You tripped the damn breaker again, Berto! You hearin' me, man?

In frustration at the lack of response, Weevil slaps down the tool in his hand and marches to the junction box. He pushes the lever forward to restore power. As it comes on, Logan lets his fist fly into Weevil's face, sending him to the ground. Weevil is set upon by a number of boys. Logan bobs up and down on his toes as he looks down at him.

LOGAN: Heard your lights were out.

Logan joins the attack with angry relish.

EXT - NHS, CAR PARK - DAY.

Veronica is leaning into the back seat of the open-topped LeBaron. The "baby" is in it's car seat and she is undoing the restraints.

VERONICA: Ever hear of genetics, kid? Thanks to your grandma, I've got a 50-50 shot of becoming an alkie. Guess that makes your odds one in four, which isn't so bad.

Veronica lifts the doll into her arms and heads into school.

VERONICA: Oh, and there's also this latent mean girl gene. You're lucky you're made out of plastic.

In the background, a couple can be seen with their own "baby" as the girl hands the doll over to a boy before running off. Veronica spots someone she wants to see.

VERONICA: Hey, Mrs Hauser! Do you have a sec?

Veronica hurries to catch up with the teacher who putting her keys in her bag.

MS HAUSER: I haven't had my coffee. Intrude on my personal time at your own risk.

VERONICA: You used to be friends with my mom?

Ms Hauser gives her a questioning look.

VERONICA: Lianne Reynolds? You were in the same class?

MS HAUSER: [unenthusiastically] I knew your mother.

VERONICA: Well enough to get suspended together senior year.

Ms Hauser stops and looks at Veronica, exasperated.

MS HAUSER: Why would you dig up an ugly story like that?

VERONICA: Discovering that your mom and your teacher were suspended for spreading a false and malicious rumour? Who wouldn't want to know more about that?

MS HAUSER: It's not a juicy story, Veronica. It's an embarrassment. I'm ashamed I even listened to Lianne's gossip, let alone repeat it. I didn't understand the consequences. A lot of people got hurt because your mother just couldn't keep her mouth shut.

Ms Hauser hurries away, leaving Veronica standing, before turning back briefly and pointedly.

MS HAUSER: Maybe you can learn from her mistake.

Ms Hauser raises her eyebrows before walking away. Veronica ponders for a moment before being pulled back to reality by the cry of the doll. As a male couple pass with their baby on the shoulder of one boy, Veronica looks down impatiently at the doll in her arms and starts to bounce it up and down, somewhat inexpertly, like someone checking the weight of a frozen turkey. She hurries on towards the entrance to the school. Students are gathered around the flagpole. Weevil is shirtless, and presumably naked, and duct-taped to it. There are bruises and cuts to his face as a clear sign of his beating. Weevil is humiliated and not happy. Veronica comes upon the scene. She makes a bare smile and looks down at the doll.

VERONICA: Well there you go, kid.

She turns the doll's head towards Weevil.

VERONICA: Here's life lesson number one: what goes around, comes around.

Opening credits.

INT - NHS, CLEMMONS OFFICE - EVENING.

Veronica can be seen through the open door of the office, marching towards it with a stack of files in her arms. The doll is balanced on top of the files. Clemmons, working at his desk, looks up when she kicks his door further open. Veronica deposits the pile on his desk. The doll gives a cry. Veronica ignores it as she sinks into the chair opposite the vice principal.

VERONICA: You've been working here for, what, like, ever? Any idea what my mom did her senior year to get herself suspended?

CLEMMONS: Let me get this straight. You want follow-up on what I explicitly forbade you from doing yesterday?

Veronica looks heavenward.

VERONICA: Ummm...yes.

CLEMMONS: More alphabetising, less cold-casing.

Veronica sighs and pulls herself to her feet. Clemmons glances at her surreptitiously before returning his eyes to his work and speaking casually, without looking at her.

CLEMMONS: Back then, I was a young science teacher.

Veronica pauses to listen with interest. Clemmons, staring into the distance, finally looks at her.

CLEMMONS: I would have no idea. Didn't you read the report?

VERONICA: Yeah, but they blacked all the good stuff out.

CLEMMONS: Hmmm.

VERONICA: Who else was here in 1980?

Clemmons stares at her dolefully.

VERONICA: What? I'm just trying to figure out what kind of person my mom was.

CLEMMONS: Mrs Hauser was a student. Mr Moorehead was the vice principal. Mary Mooney was a student. I think that's it. The entire list.

VERONICA: Mary Mooney, who's that?

EXT - NHS, LUNCH AREA - DAY.

Veronica climbs the small steps up to the raised area. A kid skateboards behind her.

VERONICA: Excuse me, Mary?

A woman is clearing one of the tables. A trolley with cleaning materials and a pan for waste stands near her. Behind that is a large banner for Varsity basketball. The woman doesn't react to Veronica.

VERONICA: Mary Mooney?

The woman continues to ignore Veronica as she turns with a tray to her trolley.

SKATEPUNK: [offscreen] You can ask as loud...

Veronica twists around. The skateboarder stands behind her, grinning inanely.

SKATEPUNK: ...as you want, lunch lady does not talk. She's, like, retarded or deaf or something.

He chuckles and picks up his board to go downstairs as Veronica turns back to observe Mary.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Mom learned to sign because she had an aunt who was deaf. She taught me the alphabet, but that was a long time ago.

Veronica approaches Mary and gains her attention.

VERONICA: Excuse me, did you know L-I-A-N-N-E R-E-Y-N-O-L-D-S?

Veronica signs "you know" and then spells out her mother's name in letters with her hand. Mary watches carefully. Mary shakes her head and returns to her work. Veronica starts to walk away, disappointed.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Alas, it seems that sign language isn't at all like riding a bicycle.

Behind her, Mary is hit with understanding and follows Veronica, tapping her on the back. Veronica turns to face her. Mary gestures fluently and fluidly. Veronica struggles to follow.

VERONICA: I'm sorry, can you go slower?

Mary slows down and spells out letters.

VERONICA: Lianne was a...fiend?

Mary smiles slightly and nods, continuing to make letters.

VERONICA: My mom the fiend. Tell me something I don't know.

Veronica turns away and Mary gazes after her.

INT - NHS, HALLWAY - DAY.

Veronica waits just outside the administration office and watches the principal. One of the workers behind the counter hands to file to Moorehead as he passes.

OFFICE WORKER: Here we are.

Moorehead looks at the front of the file, which appears to be marked "Fee Structure" as he exits the administration office into the hallway. Veronica pounces on him.

VERONICA: Principal Moorehead?

Moorehead comes to a halt.

MOOREHEAD: Veronica. I see that Mr Clemmons is failing in his prime directive.

VERONICA: What's that?

MOOREHEAD: Keeping you out of my face. Mind if we walk and talk?

He sets out with Veronica at his side. As they walk up the hall, more students with "babies" in tow can be seen in the background.

VERONICA: You were vice principal here in 1980.

MOOREHEAD: Indeed I was.

VERONICA: And you suspended my mom for spreading a false and malicious rumour about another student.

MOOREHEAD: Well that sounds like me. What was your mom's name?

VERONICA: Lianne Reynolds.

Moorehead whistles.

MOOREHEAD: Well, uh, I saw a great deal of your mother, as a matter of fact.

Moorehead, having slowed and paused, turns to Veronica.

VERONICA: Do you remember why she was suspended? What did she say that was so awful?

MOOREHEAD: Well of course I don't, Veronica. But even if I did, why would I want to repeat it? I'm sure your mom turned into a terrific person...

Veronica winces a little.

MOOREHEAD: ...but during the time she was here, Lianne was rather...vicious.

Moorehead moves away, leaving Veronica looking sad. She follows him.

INT - NHS, CLASSROOM - CONTINUING.

On the back of the door is a large poster for the production of "Hamlet." Trina's names is prominently displayed. A small poster next to the door refers to a production of "Beauty and the Beast." Moorehead opens the door from the hallway into the classroom and stands back to allow Veronica to enter the room. In the middle of the classroom, a small, circular stage has been set up. A number of students are standing around the edge of the stage, some holding pikes. Trina is centre stage. She gasps dramatically on seeing Veronica and Moorehead, as Moorehead follows Veronica into the room.

TRINA: Veronica!

Veronica's head jerks up in some surprise at the effusiveness of the welcome. She smiles hesitantly. Trina steps off the stage to join them.

TRINA: And you, Alan. How's my favourite principal? [to the students] Take five.

Trina grasps Moorehead by his upper arms and kisses him noisily on both cheeks. Moorehead chuckles. Trina grins at Veronica.

TRINA: Ah. Isn't he a big old teddy bear?

MOOREHEAD: Well, Trina, it's good to have you back here.

Trina purrs. Still chuckling, Moorehead wanders off to talk to another student.

STUDENT: Mr Moorehead?

MOOREHEAD: Yes.

Trina turns her fulsomeness on Veronica.

TRINA: And you look fantastic!

Trina grabs a rather taken-aback Veronica and subjects her to the same double kiss. She holds Veronica out to get a good look at her.

TRINA: That look is so great. J'adore.

Veronica laughs uncomfortably.

TRINA: So how've you been? I mean, aside from that whole mess with Dad and all.

VERONICA: What, that? It's water under the bridge.

TRINA: Great! I've really been meaning to call you. There has been some super-exciting news with the project. Three words: Evan. Rachel. Wood.

VERONICA: Okay.

TRINA: She's gonna play you in "The Aaron Echolls Story"! Name change, since you and your dad won't sign the release forms. It's such a great part! I-it was all over the trades, you didn't see it?

VERONICA: I...don't know how I missed it.

Trina suddenly gets very excited on having an idea.

TRINA: You! Should audition for the play!

Trina pulls Veronica closer to the stage.

TRINA: Oh, you can audition using anything. Frankly, we need some pretty girls.

VERONICA: Yeah. Thanks anyway, I can't act.

TRINA: Oh, acting's overrated. You've presence, sweetie. Listen, we'll catch up later. Right now, my company needs me. [overdramatically] Ach, the play is my master and I am its whore!

Trina claps for her cast and heads back to the stage. Veronica exits, a little bemused.

INT - NEPTUNE GRAND HOTEL, PRESIDENTIAL SUITE - NIGHT.

Duncan opens the door of the suite. Kendall, in a low cut, tight, sleeveless red dress, stands on the other side, looking enticing.

KENDALL: Someone request turn-on service?

She smiles seductively.

DUNCAN: I'm pretty sure it's called turn-down service.

KENDALL: [playfully petulant] Oh. Well, who would want that?

DUNCAN: Logan's not here.

KENDALL: Loosen up, Richie Rich, okay?

Kendall walks in, putting her hand on Duncan's chest.

KENDALL: I've been in both your beds. I've earned the occasional drop-by.

Kendall smiles and sashays into the room. The smile fades when she hears a baby's cry, as Duncan closes the door behind her.

KENDALL: [horrified] Oh my God! Tell me that is not a baby!

The doll is in it's car seat which is resting on top of the ottoman. Kendall looks down at it with disgust.

DUNCAN: Don't be silly.

Duncan picks up the "baby" gently.

DUNCAN: It's an animatronic parental lifestyle simulator.

He rocks the doll and it starts to coo.

DUNCAN: It's a class project.

KENDALL: Well isn't that just the creepiest little thing I've ever seen.

Duncan has taken a seat on the couch, still holding the "baby." Kendall settles herself closely next to him.

KENDALL: So, you want a break from daddy duty? Let me take you for a ride.

Duncan chortles as he puts the doll back in the car seat.

DUNCAN: A ride.

KENDALL: Big D's Maserati's downstairs. You gotta check it out. You would look so hot in it.

DUNCAN: Can't I just be loved for me?

Kendall slides onto his lap.

KENDALL: The Maserati retails for a hundred and fifty grand, but I'll let you have her for half that. You do know how to drive stick, don't you?

DUNCAN: Actually...

KENDALL: Don't worry, I'll teach you. The fun way. We don't even have to leave the couch.

Duncan glances down at the cleavage that is now almost in his face and frowns slightly. He eases forwards, grips Kendall and deposits her back on the couch. Kendall is not impressed.

KENDALL: Do they, like, chemically castrate you boys over at that school?

Duncan shakes his head.

KENDALL: You don't need Sex Ed. I am Sex Ed.

The door to the suite opens and Logan enters, followed by Trina.

DUNCAN: Hey, Trina.

TRINA: Duncan! You're looking good.

DUNCAN: It's all the clean living.

Trina watches Kendall as she runs over to Logan who is leaning against the bureau.

KENDALL: Hi baby!

She grabs hold of his shirt, getting in close.

KENDALL: What took you so long?

LOGAN: Mm.

Kendall kisses him, but it is fairly one-sided. Trina watches in amazement. The "baby" starts to cry.

LOGAN: Well, if I had known you were throwing yourself at my roommate...

Logan wipes his mouth with his fingers as Duncan picks up the doll.

LOGAN: ...I'd have raced home.

KENDALL: I brought a surprise for you.

Trina continues to observe, not able to believe what she is seeing.

KENDALL: I figured you and Duncan could try it. Maybe if you boys play nice, you could share. Or take turns or something.

Kendall smiles, glancing at Duncan, who raises his eyebrow.

LOGAN: Duncan's not into that sort of thing, pumpkin.

KENDALL: And I'm talking about Dick's Maserati.

TRINA: Wait a minute. Are you, like, sleeping with my little brother? What is he, thirteen?

KENDALL: Thirteen? He wishes. So, is this your much older sister I've heard nothing about?

LOGAN: Oh yes, where are my manners? Kendall Casablancas, Trina Echolls. Rode hard, meet put away wet.

TRINA: Hm. I'm guessing she's the wet one. Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got places to be.

KENDALL: Where? Is there a club where you, Dedee Pfeiffer, Joey Travolta, and Melissa Rivers all meet for drinks?

Logan is enjoying the duel of wits immensely and smirks as he watches them both.

TRINA: There is. I don't think you'd like it, it's twenty-one and over.

Kendall makes an "Oh, damn" face. Logan grins.

TRINA: We're hitting an after party at Chuck E. Cheese, though, if you're free. Mm.

They smile bitchily at each other.

TRINA: 'Kay, well, I need him in bed by ten pm sharp. He's got school tomorrow.

Trina grins at her brother and grabs him by the cheeks. She waggles his head faux-affectionately.

TRINA: Mm.

As Logan clears his throat, she lets go, but not before tapping him on the nose with her finger.

TRINA: 'Night, all.

Duncan, the doll now on his shoulder, waves as Trina walks out of the suite.

LOGAN: Well, the joke's on her. She came over to borrow my video camera. The girl does love a good exit line.

INT - JAVA THE HUT - NIGHT.

The staff are working busily as Veronica enters and starts to look around.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: After scouring Mom's senior yearbook, I found one mysterious inscription amidst all the stay-cools and let's-party-this-summers. One Patty Wilson wrote, "Lianne, thanks for all the dishy-dish. You made physics bearable." Lucky for me, not only does Patty still live in Neptune, but she jumped at the chance to meet me for coffee. At least someone remembers Mom fondly.

Veronica sees a woman of the right approximate age sitting alone, reading a magazine.

VERONICA: Patty?

The woman puts the magazine down and stands.

PATTY: You must be Veronica! Just look at you!

She shakes Veronica's hand.

PATTY: Pretty, just like your mom.

Veronica smiles, a bit shyly. Cut to a little later as Patty takes a cup of coffee from the waitress. Veronica sits in the armchair opposite.

PATTY: I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that your mom was very popular.

VERONICA: That's great.

Patty puts down her coffee, eager to reminisce.

PATTY: We were lab partners, and we'd just sit in the back of the room and gossip and snipe, girl stuff. But the juiciest bits were always about your mom's love life.

VERONICA: Really? What about?

PATTY: Your mom and Jake Kane &#8212 the Jake Kane &#8212 were on-again, off-again the summer before senior year. But by Homecoming, they were together for good. Or so Lianne thought.

VERONICA: What happened?

PATTY: That spiteful little shrew that he dated over the summer told him that she was pregnant.

VERONICA: Jake Kane got somebody pregnant twenty-five years ago?

PATTY: Well, your mom didn't think so. She was sure that Celeste was lying.

VERONICA: Celeste Kane?

PATTY: Celeste Conothan, back then. Her family was moving out of the school district, so she had to find a way to break Jake and Lianne up for good. Celeste finished the year at Pan...'course, she managed to find her way back to Neptune for Prom.

VERONICA: And I'm guessing she wasn't pregnant at the dance.

PATTY: That's right. Jake's love child had magically disappeared.

Patty grins. A waitress arrives with a large plates of pastries which distracts Patty and allows Veronica to ponder.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Uh huh. Either Mom got dumped because said she was pregnant, or Mom said Celeste was pregnant because she was dumped.

Patty returns her attention to Veronica and smiles. Veronica smiles back, blankly.

EXT - MARS RESIDENCE - NIGHT.

The Sunset Cliffs Apartments sign and the pool lights shine in the darkness.

INT - MARS RESIDENCE - NIGHT.

Veronica enters, clutching the doll to her chest.

VERONICA: Sorry I'm late.

KEITH: [offscreen] Almost started without you.

Keith is stirring a pot.

KEITH: You'd've missed out on my chilli surprise.

Veronica drops her bag on the sofa.

VERONICA: You made chilli?

KEITH: Surprise.

Veronica heads for the stool at the kitchen counter.

VERONICA: Had to stop by Duncan's and pick up my progeny.

Veronica drops the doll, almost face down and none to gently, onto the counter. It starts to cry. Keith glances over at Veronica who has tuned out the noise, and is deep in ponder.

VERONICA: Can I ask you a question about Mom?

KEITH: Shoot.

Keith sits down on the opposite stool.

VERONICA: When you met her, she was still a cool person, right?

Keith glances down at the crying doll.

KEITH: Course she was cool. She married me, didn't she?

Keith turns the doll the right way up. It stops crying.

KEITH: Why do you ask?

VERONICA: I just found out that Mom was suspended her senior year; I'm pretty sure it was for spreading a rumour that Celeste Kane was pregnant.

KEITH: That doesn't sound very cool.

VERONICA: My point exactly. Do me a favour?

KEITH: What kind of favour?

VERONICA: Access the county birth records, find out if Mom was telling the truth.

KEITH: And that's going to tell you what?

Veronica casts her eyes downward and is silent.

KEITH: You know who your mom was. Forget the past couple of years. You loved her, she loved you.

Keith gets up to return to his chilli. Veronica watches him sadly.

INT - NHS, CLASSROOM - DAY.

Veronica is back in the room with the play rehearsals. She adjusts her camera setting.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Which is more torturous: organizing disciplinary files, or spending lunch watching the Bard get flogged by the second lead of "Wilder Things"?

Veronica focuses the camera on Trina. She is standing on the stage, about to play a scene with Trent, the student playing Hamlet, who is sitting in a chair. A skull is on the floor at the centre of the stage, between them.

TRENT: Ha ha! Are you honest?

TRINA: My Lord?

TRENT: Are you fair?

TRINA: What means your Lordship?

Veronica's "baby" starts to cry. The students groan at the interruption. Trina, face like thunder, turns to see who is responsible. Veronica grins.

VERONICA: Oops. Sorry, it's mine. He's just a little colicky.

Veronica sits on the bench on which she laid the doll to attend to it. The rehearsal continues. Trent shakes off the interruption and gets dramatic as he shoots to his feet.

TRENT: That if you be honest, and fair...

The doll is still crying. Veronica jams the bottle in it's mouth and it stops. Veronica picks up the camera again.

TRENT:...your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.

TRINA: Could beauty, my Lord, have better commerce than with&#8212

As Trina takes a step towards her Hamlet, she steps on the skull. The heel of her boot catches in the eye socket, the skull breaks and Trina goes flying backwards. She lands flat on her back, on the stage. The students gasp. Veronica races up to her.

TRENT: God, is she okay?

VERONICA: Go get the nurse!

Trent races off the stage as Veronica holds Trina's head in her hands.

STUDENT: Back up a little bit.

Veronica checks the apparently unconscious Trina over.

INT - JAVA THE HUT - DAY.

Cassidy walks to a table, a large coffee in one hand, and a small file, which he is reading, in the other. On the table is a wooden box. He sits. Kendall arrives and looks around. He holds up his hand, then gestures her over. Kendall smiles as she joins him at his table.

KENDALL: You are too cute. You wanna have a meeting.

As Kendall sits, she leans forward to ruffle his hair. Cassidy is unhappy about this and runs his fingers through his hair.

KENDALL: Love it! So...what's this all about?

Cassidy opens the box wordlessly, tilting it up so she can see. It is a posh box, lined with what looks like velvet.

KENDALL: What's that?

CASSIDY: This is the box for my father's fifteen thousand dollar Penerai Destro that you sold to the Webbers for five grand.

He closes the box.

CASSIDY: This family has been humiliated enough already. You need to stop.

KENDALL: Yeah, he bilks investors for millions, but I'm humiliating the family? I don't have a little trust fund to take care of me. So, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

CASSIDY: I have a better solution.

KENDALL: Hm.

CASSIDY: I'm using my trust fund to start a real estate business. I've already found some office space downtown, and I've drawn up a prospectus, if you'd like to take a look at it.

KENDALL: What's this got to do with me?

CASSIDY: I'm sixteen. I can't meet with investors, I can't sign legal documents. Now, this is where you would come in. You? Would be the face of the Phoenix Land Trust.

KENDALL: Gee Cassidy, I didn't think you liked me.

CASSIDY: I don't. But I find value in your desperation.

He hands her the prospectus. She opens it, but discards it quickly.

KENDALL: Look, kid. I have worked very hard to over the years to avoid working. Now you want to give me a job? I know nothing about sales.

CASSIDY: Sure you do. That's all you know. Now look, you'll be salaried a grand a week, plus commission that you'll see outlined there.

KENDALL: Big D is gonna get through this eventually. It's sweet what you're trying to do.

She reaches forward to touch his arm. Cassidy pulls back and wipes it with his hand.

KENDALL: Your dad be so proud.

CASSIDY: If you want this little arrangement to work, try not to patronise me.

Kendall salutes.

KENDALL: Sir, yes sir!

She grins.

KENDALL: So, when do I get my first check?

Cassidy smiles at the inevitability of her question.

INT - MARS INVESTIGATIONS (MI) - DAY.

Veronica is on the small couch, doing homework. Keith arrives, carrying a large brown paper bag. He takes it into the kitchen, talking as he goes.

KEITH: There's no baby born in 1980 under either last name Kane or Conothan.

VERONICA: So Celeste was lying.

KEITH: That, or she might have had an abortion.

VERONICA: Is that the type of thing you can check up on?

Keith joins her on the couch.

KEITH: Honey, it looks to me like you and Duncan have a nice little thing going. So why do you have to go out of your way to pick off a twenty-five-year-old scab?

VERONICA: I just want a little proof that my mom was a good person. That she wasn't one of the girls I hate so much, one of the girls that makes high school miserable for everyone else.

KEITH: Okay.

VERONICA: What?

KEITH: Well, kind of a bonus, isn't it? That you can prove Celeste is the witch you think she is at the same time? If she didn't split Jake and your mom up, well...you wouldn't have me. And that means you wouldn't be you, Veronica.

Veronica is faux-puzzled.

VERONICA: And that would be bad, right?

KEITH: Right. So try to keep that in mind when I tell you this.

Keith takes out from his pocket and unfolds a piece of paper.

KEITH: A Jane Doe baby was delivered to the Balboa County Hospital on May 8th, 1980.

VERONICA: That's weird.

He passes the paper to her and she examines it. It is some sort of report on the finding of the baby on that date. The report was filed the following day and records that the baby was taken to Memorial Hospital by a Sgt. Saro, and further that the matter is being investigated by Metro Division (query: no sheriff's department then?).

KEITH: Gets weirder. They found the baby in the girl's bathroom during the Neptune High School Prom.

VERONICA: Celeste.

KEITH: You don't actually listen when I talk, do you?

Veronica looks at her father with a smile and shrugs.

INT - NEPTUNE GRAND HOTEL, PRESIDENTIAL SUITE - NIGHT.

There is a sharp knock on the door and Duncan, in a smart shirt, answers. It's Veronica, holding up the doll up in the air.

VERONICA: You're it!

DUNCAN: Oh, no, no, no. Junior's all yours tonight.

She holds up a brown bag in the other hand, weighing them against each other.

VERONICA: Baby and cheeseburgers. It's a package deal. I have to get some sleep tonight, Civics test.

Duncan grimaces.

DUNCAN: I would if I could, but I've got plans.

VERONICA: Plans? I don't remember you running anything by me.

The doll starts to cry. Veronica groans and lifts the doll to feeding position before remembering.

VERONICA: I left the bottle in my car.

DUNCAN: Oh.

Duncan leans forwards to take the doll. They both walk into the suite.

DUNCAN: At least you brought the baby up this time. Look, I'll handle this, but then you've gotta get outta here.

VERONICA: Do you have a chick coming over?

DUNCAN: I'm going out to dinner.

Duncan collects his bottle and starts to feed the "baby."

DUNCAN: You know, I'm surprised that Mom never got one of these things for Lilly. She was always so terrified that Lilly'd get pregnant.

VERONICA: That's ironic.

DUNCAN: What's ironic?

VERONICA: Your mom, afraid that Lilly would get pregnant.

DUNCAN: Hey, now, you're not about to badmouth Celeste, are you?

VERONICA: [sarcastically] Heavens, no. I mean, what could I say about that...saint? She is a warm-hearted, good-humoured, lovely woman of high breeding and impeccable social grace.

Celeste quietly appears behind Veronica.

CELESTE: Why thank you, Veronica.

Veronica spins around, appalled.

DUNCAN: Mom! Hey, you're early.

Duncan speedily puts down the bottle and places the doll in its car seat.

CELESTE: I wanted to give you your clean clothes before dinner.

A blond girl carrying a large laundry basket appears behind Celeste.

CELESTE: What is she doing here?

VERONICA: "She" meaning me? I guess I'm here as Duncan's secret girlfriend. Oh! And we have a love child.

Celeste watches coldly as Veronica picks up the doll, which starts to coo.

VERONICA: Wanna hold her? She's snuggly.

CELESTE: I'll pass. [imperiously to the girl] Astrid, if you're done gaping, the clothes.

Astrid carries the basket into Duncan's room. Veronica puts the doll back in the car seat. Duncan speaks quietly to her.

DUNCAN: I'm sorry, I should have told them.

VERONICA: [quietly angry] Or mentioned to me that you hadn't.

CELESTE: I told your father something like this would happen. This is exactly why we should have taken you up to Napa.

Veronica gasps loudly.

VERONICA: Not in front of the baby!

CELESTE: This isn't amusing, Veronica.

VERONICA: It's not. Me, breeding with a Kane?

Duncan blinks and looks a little uncomfortable.

VERONICA: No laughing matter. But look: no one has to know, right? Worst case scenario, things don't work out, I'll just dump her off at the big dance. It worked at your prom, didn't it?

CELESTE: Does she ever make sense, Duncan?

VERONICA: Does she ever thaw out, Duncan?

Duncan opens his mouth but nothing comes out.

CELESTE: When I look at your face, all I see is your drunk slut of a mother.

DUNCAN: MOM!

Duncan races over to his mother.

CELESTE: Look, Duncan, she can't just talk&#8212

DUNCAN: Veronica, I need a moment alone with my mom.

VERONICA: Sure.

Veronica grabs the car seat and heads for the bedroom.

VERONICA: We'll be in the bedroom. You don't mind your dirty laundry mixing with your clean laundry, do you?

Veronica slams the door shut. Duncan and Celeste carry on their argument in the background as dumps the "baby" on Duncan's bed where Astrid is sitting, folding clothes.

VERONICA: Nice boss you got out there.

ASTRID: Oh yeah.

VERONICA: How can you put up with her?

ASTRID: I wouldn't, but she promised to pay my way through grad school next year.

A thought occurs to Veronica.

VERONICA: Kind of a weird question, but is that your real hair colour, Astrid?

ASTRID: You're right, that is a weird question. I'm more of what you'd call a bottle blonde.

VERONICA: And I'm guessing you're about twenty-five?

ASTRID: You should really work at a carnival. I am indeed twenty-five. Please, don't ask me my weight.

The bedroom door opens and Celeste stands at the opening.

CELESTE: We're leaving! Now!

Celeste turns on her heel. Astrid sighs, picks up the basket and follows her. Veronica watches her go.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: So is that how Celeste lives with herself? She hires her abandoned daughter to fold laundry in exchange for paying her tuition? If Astrid is the prom baby, she's got a whole hell of a lot more coming her way.

INT - NHS, JOURNALISM CLASS - DAY.

Logan is sitting at the central table. He spots Mrs Murphy as she passes behind him.

LOGAN: Oh, excuse me, Mrs Murphy?

MRS MURPHY: Yes, Logan?

LOGAN: Hey, you mind if I take a bathroom break?

MRS MURPHY: You always ask to go to the bathroom during this period.

LOGAN: I know. It's that twelve-pack I slam at lunch, it goes right through me.

Logan grins up at the sceptical teacher.

MRS MURPHY: Hurry back, Logan.

INT - NHS, BOYS BATHROOM - DAY.

Logan is drying his hands. The door slams open and Weevil marches in. He crams a door stopper into the gap at the bottom of the door and starts checking out the stalls.

LOGAN: [evenly] Well, I hope that tape didn't burn too much when they ripped it off. I hear that can leave some chaffing.

Logan finishes drying his hands and disposes of the paper towel. Weevil is livid.

WEEVIL: You made the wrong play, dawg. I shouldn't let you live for what you pulled!

Logan spins round to face him.

LOGAN: What I pulled? Hang on, compadre, let's recap. You blasted a shotgun through my car with me inside.

WEEVIL: Listen...that wasn't me.

LOGAN: You torched my house, then your masked banditos played Russian roulette with my hand. 'Kay, my math says you still owe me.

WEEVIL: I thought you killed Felix!

LOGAN: I didn't.

WEEVIL: Yeah. I pretty much know that now.

LOGAN: Oh, are you waiting for the music to swell before you start the apology?

WEEVIL: We have something in common now: we both need to find out who killed Felix.

LOGAN: So what, we team up? Get matching capes, I ride shotgun in a sidecar?

WEEVIL: Somethin' like that, but not yet. You see, I can't let you leave here lookin' the way you did when you walked in. Not if I don't want to end up some bald guy with tattoos who rides the school bus.

LOGAN: Well, I hope you don't just expect me to stand here and take it.

WEEVIL: Wouldn't be much fun if you did.

Logan smirks.

LOGAN: All right, so who's gonna throw the first&#8212

The school bell rings and as Logan glances up in response to it, Weevil punches him in the face. Music: Walk Idiot Walk by the Hives.

LYRICS: Well is it true what they say about it
They say it's new but I have to doubt it
And then they tell you everything about it
Had enough
I got some people saying this way
I got some people saying that way
I got some people saying there's no way
Ain't it tough
See the idiot walk
See the idiot talk
See the idiot chalk up his name on the blackboard
See the robot walk
See the robot talk
See the robot write up his name on the ballot
They say this is all I need to get by
The truth is baby it's a lie

Weevil's punch bloodies Logan and sends him backwards. Weevil punches him a couple more times until Logan is backed against the wall. Logan grabs the top of the bin and hits the back of Weevil's head with it.

INT - NHS, HALLWAY - CONTINUING.

Outside of the bathroom, the sounds of the fight have attracted a crowd of students.

INT - NHS, BOYS BATHROOM - CONTINUING.

Weevil rams Logan against another wall, forcing the air out of Logan. Weevil gets in another couple of punches.

INT - NHS, HALLWAY - CONTINUING.

More students gather. A couple of boys put their ears to the door.

INT - NHS, BOYS BATHROOM - CONTINUING.

Inside, Weevil gets in some punches to Logan's ribs until Logan gets hold of Weevil and runs him into the opposite wall.

INT - NHS, HALLWAY - CONTINUING.

The crowd are almost in party mood as its numbers increase further.

INT - NHS, BOYS BATHROOM - CONTINUING.

Logan gets in a couple of good punches.

INT - NHS, HALLWAY - CONTINUING.

And the crowd just gets bigger. Some have their babies with them.

INT - NHS, BOYS BATHROOM - CONTINUING.

Logan pulls tosses Weevil onto the floor and kicks him hard in the ribs a couple of times. Weevil grabs his legs and as Logan pounds on his back, brings him down. They roll on the floor, Logan still throwing body punches.

INT - NHS, HALLWAY - CONTINUING.

Clemmons arrives with a couple of security guards. They make their way through the crowd.

CLEMMONS: All right, all right, let's move it. Come on, get to class. Let's go.

His words do little to disperse the crowd but he makes it to the door and tries to open it. One of the security guards pulls a student away and then tests the door with his shoulder.

INT - NHS, BOYS BATHROOM - CONTINUING.

Logan and Weevil are still on the floor. Weevil has Logan in a bear hug and Logan is still making bodyshots.

INT - NHS, HALLWAY - CONTINUING.

Clemmons and the security guard force the door together as the second guard keeps back the crowd. They break in.

INT - NHS, BOYS BATHROOM - CONTINUING.

They fall upon the two brawlers, each grabbing one and pulling them apart.

SECURITY GUARD: All right, all right, hey, let's go, break it up.

Clemmons has Logan and the security guard has Weevil. They pull them up to their feet. Clemmons takes Logan out first.

CLEMMONS: Let's go.

The security guard pulls Weevil behind by the neck of his t-shirt.

SECURITY GUARD: Let's go.

INT - NHS, HALLWAY - CONTINUING.

Logan and Weevil are pushed through the crowd. Logan is fairly bloody whereas Weevil looks pretty much as he did when he first walked in.

CLEMMONS: Okay, folks, let's go, let's go. Not a lot to see here. Come on, let's go.

Logan mouths the F-word as he is led away. From the crowd, Thumper and Hector emerge.

THUMPER: They were lucky they got that door down. Sounded like Weevil was just beating the freckles off his ass. Did you see him walk by? Wasn't much left off that pretty 09er face.

HECTOR: [sourly] But he walked. Didn't he? If that was me? After what surfer boy did? I woulda put him in the ground.

Hector stares at Thumper for a moment, all macho and threatening before walking off. Thumper gazes after him. End music: Walk Idiot Walk by the Hives.

INT - JAVA THE HUT.

Music: Stumble by Calla. Mac and Cassidy sit side by side on one of the sofas, looking at Mac's laptop screen.

MAC: I gave you a few options.

On screen the words Phoenix Land Trust are set on a black background. To the left is a phoenix and to the left of that an outline of the phoenix in cut-out stencil. Underneath can be seen writing and the page moves to the right, off the screen, to reveal what is underneath. The colours are raspberry and pale bluish grey.

MAC: Here's if you wanna go the whole Flash animation route.

The new page is an "About Phoenix" page, with the phoenixes flanking the border within which the content sits. Three pictures of large buildings top the page, together with the full name. A candle logo further decorates the page within the border. Mac smiles proudly. Cassidy is impressed.

CASSIDY: Sweet!

Mac grins happily at Cassidy.

MAC: But if you're worried about inducing epileptic fits with your clients, we can go with a more sleek graphic version.

The second version is more restrained. The logo takes centre page and is a red stylised wing on a white background. Underneath, also in red, is the word "Phoenix" and the words "Land Trust" are underneath that, in smaller size and in a pale colour. The P and the X in "Phoenix" are larger than the other letters in the word and drop below the line. The page gives way to a less showy "Welcome to Phoenix Land Trust" page. Two pictures of buildings are in each of two of the corners. The wing logo and name rest in the top left corner. The options for other pages are: Home, Commercial, Residential, Industrial and Contact.

CASSIDY: I think I like sleek.

MAC: Me too.

They smile a bit shyly at each other. Mac picks up some papers and shows them to Cassidy.

MAC: Phoenix Land Trust, Inc. Cassidy Casablancas, CEO.

It's a sheet of headed paper. The wing logo is at the top on the left in the margin. Under the wing and the name of the company is "Cassidy Casablancas CEO." Under that is an address: 1920 Fernglen Rd, Neptune, CA 90909, and telephone and fax numbers under that. Mac has drafted a letter to show how it would look to John Q Doe of 1099 Grace Lane, Neptune (also 90909), dated November 28, 2005. Following the salutation, the language goes to something other than English (and possibly gibberish).

CASSIDY: Nice. I would totally trust this company with my money.

MAC: And it'll work wonders with the ladies.

Cassidy looks at Mac, a little puzzled.

MAC: Chicks dig scarves and acronyms.

CASSIDY: Good to know.

MAC: I'm a giver of info.

CASSIDY: Yeah, well, as much as I'd like to impress the ladies with my title, I actually need the, uh, CEO to be listed as Kendall Casablancas.

MAC: Pay me in cash, I ask no questions.

Mac pulls up an editing page and replaces Cassidy's name with Kendall's.

MAC: Just...tip me off when you're going public.

CASSIDY: You know, I think that might be illegal.

MAC: Still. You're admiring my moxie, aren't ya?

He laughs.

CASSIDY: Somethin' like that.

Cassidy holds out an envelope which Mac takes. End music: Stumble by Calla.

INT - MI - DAY.

Veronica, dressed in a dark trouser suit and wearing glasses, looks older than her years as she opens the office door to a middle-aged woman.

VERONICA: [crisply] You must be Mrs Mahnovski.

Veronica offers her hand and they shake.

VERONICA: Thanks for coming down. If you wouldn't mind following me into my office?

Veronica leads the woman into Keith's office.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Adoption agencies tend to keep their information under lock and key. Temporary foster parents, however, tend to be the weak link in the security chain.

Veronica sits down at Keith's desk and Mrs Mahnoviski sits opposite. On Keith's desk is a name plate: Veronica Mars PI. She opens a personnel file.

VERONICA: I see you and your husband have taken in a number of children over the years.

The woman nods.

VERONICA: You don't happen to remember a little girl who was in your care for a few weeks back in 1980? She was the one who was found&#8212

MRS MAHNOVSKI:: &#8212found in the high school. How could I forget the prom baby?

VERONICA: The prom baby, right. Well, my clients seem to think she might be their very own long-lost child.

MRS MAHNOVSKI:: Well, I'll be.

VERONICA: My clients don't want a lot of publicity. They're quite wealthy, and they're really only interested in taking care of the child...financially. So if you could just point me in the right direction...

MRS MAHNOVSKI:: Well, I'm just not sure their money would mean all that much to her.

VERONICA: Really. Why's that?

MRS MAHNOVSKI:: I happen to know she ended up in a wealthy local home.

VERONICA: She did?

MRS MAHNOVSKI:: Though, this past year, I'm afraid, her adopted mother committed suicide and her adopted father went to jail.

Veronica is stunned and it takes her a moment to remember the part she is playing. She smiles at Mrs Mahnovski.

INT - HOSPITAL - DAY.

Veronica is at the desk, receiving a visitor's badge and directions.

PA: Nurse Finn, please pick up...

VERONICA VOICEOVER: By all rights, I should just let this drop.

Veronica sets off in search of her objective.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: I can't pretend I'm righting a wrong. I'm not rescuing a housekeeper. Be honest with yourself, Veronica you just can't stand Celeste Kane and you want to see her humiliated.

Veronica enters Trina's room. Trina is sitting up in a bed, reading a magazine.

VERONICA: I heard you were still in here.

TRINA: Yeah, they're keeping me another day for observation. Doc wants to make sure the swelling goes down before I leave.

Veronica looks down at the piece of paper she is holding in her hand.

VERONICA: I should let you rest. I don't even know why I'm bothering you with this.

Veronica turns, as if to go.

TRINA: What's that you've got?

Veronica turns back and hesitates, as if reluctant.

VERONICA: Nothing. I was just thinking of trying out for the play...

Trina's face lights up.

VERONICA: ...and I wanted to tape myself, maybe get some direction?

Trina, with a smirk, grabs the paper from Veronica's hands. Cut to a little later. Veronica has set the camera on herself but manoeuvred it so that it is centred on Trina in the mirror behind her. She zooms the camera to get a close up. Veronica clears her throat and starts to read/act, badly.

VERONICA: Don't do this to yourself. You're dying. Can't you see you're dying?

TRINA: And please, let me die in peace.

VERONICA: I can't do that. Because there's hope. There's always hope.

TRINA: I don't need hope. I need bone marrow. My doctor said only a blood relation can save me.

VERONICA: What about your parents?

TRINA: I'm adopted. [dramatically] Unless the mother who abandoned me comes forward, unless I find out who I really am...it's over for me.

Trina ends with a gasp and her head dropped into her hand. She cries, then lifts her head and smiles happily.

TRINA: End scene. You know, I really am adopted.

VERONICA: Really. I, I didn't know that.

Cut to a little later as Veronica exits the room. So goes only paces, checking the camera, before pausing.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: So who's the mean girl now? To do what needs to be done, I wouldn't just be shaming Celeste, I'd be making a public spectacle out of Trina.

Veronica turns and re-enters Trina's room.

VERONICA: Okay. Trina, I was lying. That whole bit about wanting to try out for the play, a lie. The truth is...as a baby, you were left in a Neptune High girl's bathroom on prom night twenty-five years ago.

TRINA: [dismissive] No way. Ashton Kutcher is hiding somewhere, right? Ashton, come out! You can't get me that easy.

VERONICA: Trina, I'm dead serious.

Trina looks a little worried.

TRINA: Okay. If you're joking, you really can act, you're a natural.

VERONICA: You were found in a girl's bathroom on prom night.

TRINA: What, so you mean my mother was, like, one of those trashy sluts that dumped me in a garbage can?

VERONICA: I'm pretty sure Celeste Kane is your mom.

Trina goes very quickly through denial and shock to realisation and glee.

TRINA: Well, there's worse news you could've given me. They've got billions!

VERONICA: I suppose they do. Um...I was gonna use this audition tape to smoke her out. Shame her. I was gonna send the video to all the tabloids.

TRINA: You're a rascal, Veronica Mars.

VERONICA: Am I? I was thinking I was something else less flattering.

TRINA: You know, if we hurry, that tape can make tonight's "Entertainment News."

Trina eagerly searches in her address book.

TRINA: Oh, it's the least Big Pat can do for me after leaving all those pervy messages on my voicemail.

Veronica is a little confounded by the response.

INT - NHS, CLASSROOM - DAY.

Veronica enters, carrying some magazines. There is a rehearsal in progress. "Hamlet" is on bended knee, in front of a tombstone to Leisa Byley, addressing Trina.

TRENT: Poor Yorrick. I knew him, Horatio. I&#8212

Trina spots Veronica.

TRINA: Okay, people, take five.

She thrusts her clipboard at "Hamlet" and races off the stage to look at the magazines that Veronica is holding out. The Instigator has gone with a headline in the centre, and a picture of Trina from the hospital.

TRINA: Ohhh! "Starlet's Silent Struggle with Death."

Trina looks excitedly at the next publication, Spun.

TRINA: "The Echolls Family Curse."

Veronica points at Spun.

VERONICA: Webster rumoured to be discovered in Neverland basement.

Mary Mooney rushes into the room, tapping Veronica on the shoulder. Veronica turns. Mary starts to gesture hurriedly, glancing at Trina thoughtout.

VERONICA: I'm sorry, you have to go slower.

TRINA: Look, it's lunch lady Doris. Doris was so nice to me when I went here. Used to always give me extra cake.

VERONICA: Actually, her name is Mary.

Mary continues to sign, becoming increasingly emotional.

TRINA: Really. I guess I just decided to call her Doris.

Veronica gets an inkling of what Mary is saying.

VERONICA: You want to help?

Mary nods.

TRINA: Oh, that's so sweet, tell her thanks, but this is a student production.

Trina turns to walk away. Mary grows more agitated.

VERONICA: Trina?

Mary signs an expanded belly, points at Trina and then pats her own chest. Even Trina begins to understand.

TRINA: What's she saying?

Mary looks at Trina, points to herself and signs for a growing child.

TRINA: Veronica, could you please tell me what's going on?

Mary signs at Trina again, very emotional.

VERONICA: She's saying she wants to give you her bone marrow.

Mary, face contorted with emotion, approaches Trina, still signing. She then makes an anguished noise and reaches out for her. She pulls Trina into a hug. Trina is initially shocked and non-responsive. The hug ends and Mary looks at Trina and smiles. Trina tears up before hugging her mother, genuinely touched.

EXT - NHS, LUNCH AREA - DAY.

Veronica types on her laptop, dictating as she does.

VERONICA: Trina is really your daughter?

The camera pulls back to show Veronica and Mary sitting at one of the tables. Mary smiles and pats her chest. She nods.

VERONICA: Trina was the prom baby?

Mary nods again.

VERONICA: What did my mother do to hurt you?

Mary frowns and starts to type.

VERONICA: "Hurt? Your mother was my friend."

Veronica does a double take.

VERONICA: Friend?

Veronica types and dictates.

VERONICA: Lianne was your friend?

Mary nods, smiling broadly.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: What a difference a letter makes.

Mary starts to type quickly.

VERONICA: "Lianne could sign. She'd eat lunch with me most of the time. She was the sweetest, coolest girl in school.

Mary puts her hand on Veronica's, smiling.

EXT - NHS, CAR PARK - DAY.

Veronica and Trina walk together, past the school buses.

TRINA: You know, when I was a kid, I used to imagine that someday I'd find out my parents were, like, movie stars.

VERONICA: Trina, your parents actually were movie stars.

TRINA: I mean my real parents. So why are you so interested in all this?

VERONICA: Twenty-five years ago, Mary told my mother she was having an affair with a faculty member. And mom made the mistake of asking her friend Deborah Hauser for advice. So, when the future health teacher spread the story all over school, they got called into the principal's office.

TRINA: So did they nail my mystery dad?

VERONICA: Nope. Mom recanted, said she made the whole thing up.

TRINA: Why?

VERONICA: 'Cause Mary begged her not to tell. She didn't want the story being confirmed.

TRINA: So she wanted to protect the teacher?

Trina comes to a standstill near the cars.

VERONICA: Mary was scared and pregnant.

TRINA: So she decided it would be easier to just dump me at the prom.

VERONICA: No, she left you on your father's doorstep. He was the one who panicked, knowing he couldn't take you to the hospital without drawing suspicion. The dance was perfect. Everyone would assume the baby belonged to a student.

TRINA: So what happened to my real dad? You said he was a teacher, right?

VERONICA: Even better.

INT - NHS, STAFF LOUNGE - DAY.

Principal Moorehead is going through points on a flipchart with a group of teachers, including Ms Hauser. The flipchart reads: Raise Academic Achievement Scores. Underneath are various ideas: tutors, after shool, online tutorials, teacher/student hour, and weekend seminar instructional.

MOOREHEAD: Raise academic achievement scores.

Trina throws open the door and strides into the room.

TRINA: Hey, pops. Hope I'm interrupting.

Ms Hauser watches her, puzzled.

MOOREHEAD: Trina! Glad to see you're feeling better, I'd heard that you were&#8212

TRINA: At death's door? And when exactly were you planning to hook me up with a little bone marrow?

MOOREHEAD: Perhaps we should take this outside.

Moorehead tries to steer Trina out of the room but she barges past him.

TRINA: Oh, come on, Dad. It's the least you can do for your daughter, after dumping me in the john on prom night.

The teachers gasp. Ms Hauser looks up at Moorehead, shaking her head in denial that she was the one to let anything slip.

INT - MI - NIGHT.

Keith enters. Veronica is working at her desk.

KEITH: Hey. You grab dinner yet?

VERONICA: Funny you should ask.

As Keith takes off his coat, Veronica gets up from the desk and heads for the kitchenette.

VERONICA: I'm not actually that hungry. I was scrounging through the old fridge for a little study snack and...

She opens the door to the freezer compartment.

VERONICA: ...I'm not normally a corn dog type of girl, but this?

She pulls out the rat, in a plastic bag.

VERONICA: Is gonna put me off them forever. Are you keeping a dead rat in our freezer, or do we have a slam-dunk lawsuit against the processed food industry?

KEITH: I found it on the bus.

Veronica's mood changes abruptly.

VERONICA: You checked out the bus and didn't tell me?

KEITH: It was duct-taped under one of the back seats.

VERONICA: It was a message. For me, I'm the rat.

KEITH: I don't know. Maybe. Maybe it was someone else on the bus.

Keith sighs heavily.

KEITH: You were right, Veronica. I should've won that election. I should've taken over this case.

Veronica lets out a deep breath.

INT - NHS, CLEMMONS OFFICE - DAY.

Veronica enters unannounced. Clemmons looks up from his work, unsurprised.

VERONICA: You sly old dog.

CLEMMONS: Your sentence is up, Veronica. Unless you're here to atone for something I don't yet know about.

VERONICA: Deducing I had a key to your office, now that was clever. Obviously you had to find a way to stick me in detention. That way, you could be sure I'd find my way into my mom's permanent file.

CLEMMONS: What are you going on about?

Veronica gives him a knowing smirk.

VERONICA: You read Machiavelli this summer, didn't you?

Clemmons cocks his head at her, innocently.

VERONICA: [impressed] Oooh. Nice. Not taking credit for it, even more badass.

CLEMMONS: That's a very imaginative theory, Veronica. But if you'll excuse me, I've got a lot of paperwork.

Veronica narrows her eyes as she stares at him. Clemmons returns his attention to his desk. Veronica backs away to the door, giving him a last lingering look before leaving his office.

INT - NHS, ADMINISTRATION OFFICE - CONTINUING.

As Veronica makes her way through, her cell rings. She takes it out of her bag, stopping just outside the office.

VERONICA: Hello?

WOMAN: Hello, Miss Mars, this is the Neptune Memorial Hospital again, regarding Abel Koontz's belongings?

INT - NHS, CLEMMONS OFFICE - CONTINUING.

Clemmons slides the existing "Vice Principal, Mr Van Clemmons" plate out of his desk holder. He reaches into a drawer, pulls out a replacement and slides it in. He puts it back on the front of his desk. It now reads "Principal, Mr Van Clemmons." He smiles in satisfaction.

INT - NEPTUNE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL - DAY.

Veronica, the doll snuggled against her chest in a holder, walks down one of the corridors, carrying a moderately sized box.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: How sobering is it that the sum of a person's life fits into a cardboard box? Since I've made it past security already, there's one thing I want to check.

She pauses at an open door off the corridor.

*VERONICA VOICEOVER: Meg's room. Unguarded.

Veronica looks around before entering the room. Meg is lying on a bed, surrounded by equipment. A table is stretched over her, with a large bowl on top. Monitors sound in the room. Veronica walks around the end of the bed and steps up for a closer look. There are two monitors, one registering a pulse of 180 and the other one of 60. Veronica is puzzled. She moves closer and pulls back the table over the lower part of Meg's body. Meg's belly is exposed to which is attached one of the monitors. She is heavily pregnant. Veronica is stunned and backs away, exiting the room. The monitor's tempo increases. Meg opens her eyes. End. Executive producer: Rob Thomas (who is a god).

*Alternative Ending

An alternative ending was made available for a week after broadcast on AOL, with viewers inviting to vote for their favourite. The original ending won but this is that alternative ending.

VERONICA VOICEOVER: Meg's room. Unguarded.

Veronica looks around before entering the room. Music: Bright Morning Stars by artist unknown.

LYRICS: Bright morning stars are rising,
Bright morning stars are rising,
Bright morning stars are rising,
Day is a-breaking in my soul.
Oh, where are our dear mothers,
Oh, where are our dear mothers,
Oh, where are our dear mothers,
Day is a-breaking in my soul.
Some have gone to the valley praying,
Some have gone to the valley praying,
Some have gone to the valley praying,
Day is a-breaking in my soul.
Oh, where are our dear mothers.

Meg is lying on a bed, surrounded by equipment. A table is stretched over her, with a large bowl on top. Monitors sound in the room. Veronica walks around the end of the bed and steps up for a closer look. There are two monitors, one registering a pulse of 180 and the other one of 60. Veronica is puzzled. She moves closer and pulls back the table over the lower part of Meg's body. Meg's belly is exposed to which is attached one of the monitors. She is heavily pregnant. Veronica is stunned.

NURSE: [offscreen] I'll just be down the hall if you need anything.

ROSE: [offscreen] Okay, thank you. No, I'm just gonna peek in on Meg.

Veronica scurries to hide, running into the bathroom, leaving the door slightly ajar. She listens. Rose Manning enters the room and closes the door.

ROSE: Mommy's here.

Rose walks towards the bed. From her position, Veronica can't see what is happening and simply waits out Rose, swallowing hard in fear of being discovered.

ROSE: [offscreen] How are you today, hmm? Oh, they turned your songs down again, didn't they?

The volume of the music increases.

ROSE: [offscreen] Don't worry. Everything is gonna be all right, I promise. You just rest, okay? I'll see you soon, baby.

Veronica hears the door open. At the same time, the monitor issues a loud, unpulsed sound. Veronica steps out of the room and looks over at Meg. There is a large pillow over her face. The monitor at the side of her bed reads zero. Veronica races to her, pulling the pillow away. She looks at Meg, pale and still.

NURSE: What did you do?

Veronica, still holding the pillow, looks up in shock. The nurse backs out of the room.

NURSE: [offscreen] Security!

Veronica can only wordlessly protest as she stands over the dead girl in horror. End.

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