Space Cowboys - Daily Script

Space Cowboys - Daily Script
SPACE COWBOYS
Written by
KEN KAUFMAN and HOWARD KLAUSNER
May 1999 Draft
FOR EDUCATIONAL
PURPOSES ONLY
MANUAL MILITARY TYPEWRITER
hammers out a screen narration:
SUPERIMPOSE:
OCTOBER, 1958.
The successful launch of Sputnik I has
started rumors that manned space flight
is a year away for the Soviet Union. The
United States has assumed the titanic
challenge of "Taking the high ground of
space."
EXT. USAF PROVING GROUND (CALIFORNIA HIGH DESERT) - DAY
A SONIC BOOM in the crystal blue desert sky. A modified
Bell Labs X-2 Ultrasonic JET -- basically a rocket with
stubby wings that look more like vestigial fins -SCREAMS upwards, an 80 degree climb into space. On its
side is stylishly painted "Daedalus."
INT. X- JET - CLOSE ON ALTIMETER - THAT MOMENT
108,999 FEET... THE "999's" roll over.
The pilot's voice strains with the G-forces and thin oxygen.
PILOT (V.O.)
109,000. Come on, Frank, let's
poke our nose into space.
The pilot is Major WILLIAM "HAWK" HAWKINS, 26.
the seat behind him is MAJOR FRANK CORVIN, 29.
bulky pressure suits and space helmets.
In
Both wear
FRANK
No. That's enough, Hawk. We're
approaching heat barrier. Let's
level off.
(into his radio)
Recover One, this is Falcon.
Beginning descent now.
INT. AIR FORCE B- - THAT MOMENT
Twelve miles below the X-2. Barrel-chested, buzz-cutted
Captain "TANK" SULLIVAN is at the controls.
TANK
Roger, Daedalus. Got you on the
scope, Frank.
Tank sharpens the radar blip. As he does, we see a
plastic hula girl on the instrument panel "dancing"
2.
frenetically.
INT. X- - THAT MOMENT
The altimeter hits 110,000.
harder.
Frank and Hawk are breathing
HAWK
Bingo. 110,000th floor, ladies'
lingerie.
The DRONE of the rocket MOTOR HESITATES -- a nanosecond
at most -- then RESUMES as normal.
FRANK
You catch that, Hawk?
Hawk is in the zone, listening and feeling the airplane.
Hawk!
FRANK
EXT. DESERT GROUND BELOW -- THAT MOMENT
Captain JERRY O'NEILL sits outside a USAF truck in front
of a radar screen reading a Playboy magazine. He reads
the copy aloud to himself.
JERRY
Miss September, herself a
promising student pilot, has a
particular weakness for structural
engineers with Ph.D.'s in astrophysics.
He slowly moves the Playboy away and sees a scorpion
climbing his bare ankle. He rolls up the magazine
tightly, holds it above the scorpion, ready to swat it.
He looks at the scorpion... he looks at Miss September's
smiling face and airbrushed-breast...
He can't do it, he can't sully this redheaded vision: He
calmly grabs the scorpion by its stinger tail and flings
it. Hawk's voice crackles over the RADIO.
HAWK (V.O.)
She's alright, she's talking to me.
You trust me, don't you, Frank?
JERRY
Uh oh... here we go again.
INT. X- - THAT MOMENT
THROUGH the canopy -- the horizon -- the blue turns to
3.
black.
Hawk and Frank are touching outer space.
Frank, look.
HAWK
The full moon is rising over the curvature of the Earth.
HAWK
(calm, faraway voice)
That's where we're going. I don't
know how, I don't know when...
Frank looks up from the gauges at the horizon. He is
mesmerized, speechless. Hawk starts to sing. Awesome
pilot, lousy singer.
HAWK
Fly me to the moon and let me play
among the stars -Frank looks out the window at the moon. The ROCKET MOTOR
HESITATES AGAIN, SPUTTERS and GOES SILENT. All the gauges
drop to zero. Engine failure. Frank is jolted back to
reality.
Holy God.
FRANK
All we hear is the WIND buffeting the plane and the eerie
sound of the plane's airframe and body skin CREAKING.
Hawk works frantically to restart the engine, trying to
joke through it.
HAWK
Hey, Frank, wanna get out and
gimme a push?
Sonofabitch!
FRANK
They're nosing over, beginning what every pilot dreads
most -- a flat spin. The cockpit ALARM SOUNDS.
HAWK
We have to eject.
FRANK
At 112,000 feet?! Are you outta
your mind?!
HAWK
We're not gonna ride this thing out.
Call Mayday -- we're popping!
FRANK
(gasping for air)
We are not... losing... another...
ship!
4.
EXT. X- - THAT MOMENT
Spinning wildly, plummeting towards ground. The right
wing shudders and rips away -- the plane inverts in its
spin.
INT. X- - THAT MOMENT
HAWK
Don't think about it, Frank. Just
do it. I'm gonna count down to
one. Ready? One!
Hawk yanks the T-handle. The explosive BOLTS BLOW the
canopy off. Two screams, one of terror, one of joy,
as they eject, the supersonic wind hitting them like a
truck.
Frank and Hawk are in free fall -- 22 miles over the
desert. Approaching the speed of sound, they scream
towards Earth. Frank is paralyzed in a still fall.
Hawk tumbles and soars like his namesake, living every
man's ultimate fantasy -- pure flight. Side by side, he
seems to taunt Frank as he flies about. Frank pulls his
rip cord at 22,000, arresting his fall. Hawk keeps right
on going.
EXT. GROUND - THAT MOMENT
Jerry, binoculars trained skyward, sees Frank's parachute
deploy at exactly the moment he hears the thundering BOOM
of the plane crashing into the desert floor,
JERRY
That's gotta be Frank... but
where's Hawk?
EXT. SKY - THAT MOMENT
Hawk is soaring, spinning, laughing and screaming,
ignoring the ground coming up quick.
INT. B- - THAT MOMENT
Tank searches through the windscreen for Hawk, when
Hawk!-- a flailing flash, really -- free-falls right past
the cockpit windshield, startling Tank.
Whooa shit!!
TANK
5.
He banks the huge plane hard left to avoid hitting him.
Tank grimly takes the dancing hula girl off the
instrument panel, replaces her with a plastic dashboard
Jesus.
EXT. SKY - HAWK
One thousand feet -- Mach one plus. Sluggish, lethargic,
almost out. He wills his eyes open to see the ground
coming up mighty fast and pulls the cord; the chute
releases. A gut-wrenching force nearly yanks him out of
the harness as he is pulled skyward -- 700 mph to zero in
three seconds. He opens his face plate, gulping air,
laughing like a schoolboy.
EXT. GROUND - THAT MOMENT
Jerry laughs, relieved, when he sees the second chute.
He climbs into the truck, tosses the Playboy aside and
STARTS the ENGINE.
JERRY
Crazy son of a bitch almost made
like a bug on a windshield.
Hawk touches down easily.
elated.
He falls back on his chute,
CUT TO:
EXT. EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE - THAT MOMENT
Establishing.
INT. OFFICE - DAY
The office of Major BOB GERSON, Air Force Special
Projects Administrator. Only 27, Gerson already has the
look of a polished bureaucrat. He looks out the
panoramic window behind his desk at a thick, black column
of smoke rising above the desert -- obviously the
experimental X-2. SIRENS audible.
His look is neither alarm nor concern. He studies the
scene coldly and objectively like a scientist. And his
eyes seem to smile, as though this is no real catastrophe
to him.
CUT TO:
EXT. DESERT - THAT MOMENT
As Frank descends, he lifts his faceplate and looks out
6.
at -A column of black smoke on the horizon -- where the X-2
crashed.
Frank touches down -- not quite as graceful or elated as
Hawk. Matter of fact, he tumbles over, caught in the
chute and rigging. A look of single-minded revenge on
his face, Frank unharnesses himself and charges toward
Hawk awkwardly in his stiff, cumbersome pressure suit.
Hawk sits up, howls with joy.
HAWK
112,000 and I feel fine!
it again, Frank!
Let's do
Frank punches Hawk through the open faceplate of his
helmet, knocking him off his feet.
FRANK
You always have to push things to
their limit, don't you?
HAWK
That's what I do best, Frank.
Frank dives on him, they lock up in a fight. Jerry jumps
out of the just-arriving truck, and dives into the melee,
trying to pull them apart.
CUT TO:
INT. BOB GERSON'S OUTER OFFICE - LATER THAT DAY
Frank enters, literally hat in hand. Hawk follows him
in, hat still on his head. Frank swipes it off, shoves
it into his hands. The duty sergeant opens Gerson's
door.
INT. GERSON'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS ACTION
They enter, Gerson faces out his panoramic window -- we
can still see the smoke from the brush fire caused by the
crash of the X-2.
GERSON
Is that smoke I smell? Looks like
a fire out by Ridgecrest.
FRANK
We crashed the X-2.
GERSON
My four-million dollar X-2? Is
that the X-2 you're referring to?
7.
HAWK
We did break both altitude and
speed records, sir. And beat
the free fall mark by 30,000 feet.
Frank glares at Hawk.
GERSON
Three planes in ten months. That's
bound to be a record, too, Hawkins.
FRANK
The engine failed. The aircraft
went into a flat spin and we
couldn't recover.
Gerson nods "compassionately."
despise one another.
No doubt that these two
GERSON
(patronizing)
But you made it. That's the
important thing.
(glances at his watch)
And you made it just in time,
Frank.
CUT TO:
INT. PRESS ROOM -
MOMENTS LATER
Crammed with PRESS people and photographers. They snap
away, shouting questions to Gerson at the podium, flanked
by Team Daedalus: Frank, Hawk, Jerry and Tank, who smile
for the cameras. Gerson holds up his hand for quiet, and
produces an envelope with the Presidential seal.
GERSON
Gentlemen, I hold in my hand an
announcement from the office of
the President.
(reading the
announcement)
'The United States' continued
involvement in manned space
exploration is hereby assigned
to a new civilian agency, The
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration. Project Daedalus
is now complete, and designated
Mission Accomplished.
He folds up the announcement.
Frank is utterly confused.
ANOTHER REPORTER (PRESS)
What about the pilots? Who's
gonna be the first American in
8.
space?
Gerson turns to Frank, smiling.
shoulder.
He slaps him on the
GERSON
The selection has been made.
After an exhaustive search we have
identified who could best carry
out this mission.
(to the Team)
This job calls for toughness -physical and mental toughness -and an ability to follow orders to
the letter.
Frank and Hawk exchange glances, wondering which it will
be. Neither of them notices a sergeant walking in,
holding the hand of...
SAM
a three-foot chimpanzee wearing a NASA flight suit.
GERSON
Gentlemen, meet Sam. The first
American to cross into outer
space.
The chimp grins huge. Frank and the Team are openmouthed, in shock. Gerson picks him up, smiling for the
photo-op. The flashbulbs and questions erupt like a
thunderstorm. Sam reaches his hand out to Frank.
GERSON
Oh, look, Frank. He wants to
shake your hand.
You bastard.
FRANK
GERSON
Shake his hand for the cameras,
Frank. That's an order.
Frank slowly takes the chimp's hand, looking as though he
might be sick. The cameras flash more, blinding an
already stunned man.
EXT. JOHNSON SPACE CENTER (HOUSTON) - DAY
Establishing.
SUPERIMPOSE:
THE PRESENT
INT. SPACE TRACKING ROOM - DEEP IN COMPLEX - MORNING
9.
If it's larger than a basketball and it's orbiting the
Earth, it is tracked here. Pure NASA. Hi-Tech, all
business.
Five engineers sit at computers banging away at their
keyboards in frustration. Astronaut/Engineer ETHAN
GLANCE, 34, pushes back from the console. Ethan usually
has the clean-cut swagger of an arrogant, handsome young
man with too many letters after his name. Today,
however, he's got the dishevelled look of a guy who's
been up all night working.
ETHAN
It just isn't responding.
The engineer next to Ethan turns to another engineer -and translates in Russian to her.
INT. ADMINISTRATIVE WING - CORRIDOR - THAT MOMENT
Engineers and administrators move about, focused, with a
purpose.
INT. OFFICE - CONTINUOUS ACTION
The sign on the door identifies this as the office of
SARA HOLLAND, Space Shuttle Mission Director. Thirtyseven, ex-astronaut, focused like a laser beam on
anything she pays attention to.
Right now, she scans a thick computer printout, shaking
her head at whatever it's telling her. The PHONE RINGS,
she grabs it absent- mindedly.
Sara Holland.
there.
SARA
Okay, be right
INT. NASA CONFERENCE ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
At the conference table sit Flight Director EUGENE DAVIS
(60s), an avuncular, rotund man.
Beside him are NASA administrators, a couple of STATE
DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS, orbital engineers, Russian
engineers from Star City, and the Russian General VOSTOV
(50s).
Sara enters, arms full of files and printouts.
BOB GERSON, now 67, quickly rises to meet her. Age has
been kind to the retired General-turned-NASA Project
Director: He at least has the appearance of
venerability.
10.
GERSON
Gentlemen, this is Mission
Director Sara Holland. She's been
closely monitoring the situation
and she assures me the problem is
well in hand.
She looks at Gerson skeptically. Not the politician
Gerson is, she begins her briefing, speaking a nobullshit scientist's lingo colored with a hint of her
Virginia heritage.
SARA
Good morning, gentlemen. As you
know, 11 days ago Atmospheric
Tracking determined that Russian
communications satellite Ikon has
initiated orbital degradation.
Computer trajectory models predict
a steady acceleration in sequence
with the gravitational constant.
STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL
Would you mind translating that
for all the non-Ph.D.'s, Dr.
Holland?
SARA
The satellite's orbit is decaying,
and the Earth's gravity is taking
over.
Vostov looks particularly agitated.
SARA
There's a total systems failure in
the on-line navigation and
guidance avionics. All redundant
systems are non-responsive.
Without active course correction
in the next 30 to 40 days, the
satellite will reenter the
atmosphere.
Gerson looks nervously at Vostov.
And crash?
VOSTOV
SARA
General, Ikon gave you fourteen
years of service. That is within
the performance range of a
communications satellite. It will
probably crash in the ocean or
burn up in the atmosphere. I
think it's best to let it.
11.
Vostov stands, addresses the room conciliatorily.
VOSTOV
My country is grateful for the
efforts of NASA and the State
Department. However, losing Ikon
is not an option. Ikon is not
just a communications satellite to
the Russian Federation. Ikon is
the communications satellite. You
are undoubtedly aware of our
restructuring problems. Losing
all telecommunications until we
are able to replace Ikon could
plunge us into chaos and perhaps
even civil war.
DAVIS
Certainly you have other
satellites aloft. Can't you
transfer the workload?
GERSON
Gene, Sara; we have been given a
Presidential mandate to assist the
Russians...
(smiling at Vostov)
... our partners in the
International Space Station.
(reassuringly to Vostov)
We will fix this problem. It's
just a glitch.
CUT TO:
INT. HALLWAY - MOMENTS LATER
A clearly pissed off Sara walks briskly behind Gerson
down the hallway.
SARA
You're feeding these guys boldfaced lies. This is a waste of
money and a waste of my staff's
time -GERSON
You're a damn fine engineer, Sara,
but you don't know shit about
politics. Helping Russia save
face is an act of good faith. You
can't put a price on that.
Gerson stops in front of a door and slides his ID key
card through the electronic lock.
12.
INT. SPACE TRACKING - CONTROL ROOM - CONTINUOUS ACTION
Sara and Gerson enter. Ethan stares at his computer
monitor, exhausted and defeated. The Russian engineers
are slumped asleep on couches and at their consoles.
ETHAN
This thing's dumb as a post.
dead in the air.
It's
GERSON
Forget trying to talk to the
satellite. You have the code,
override the guidance system.
Ethan points to four technical drawings pinned to the
wall.
ETHAN
You figure that mess out. The
guidance system on this thing is a
dinosaur.
Sara crosses to the wall, analyzes the technical
drawings.
ETHAN
(nodding to sleeping
Russians)
Even these guys don't understand
it, it's pre-microprocessor, it's
pre-everything. Whoever designed
this byzantine piece of shit is
probably chopping rocks in
Siberia.
SARA
(still staring at
drawings)
Is there anyone around who
remembers Skylab?
GERSON
What does that have to do with
anything?
SARA
You're a damn fine politician,
Bob, but you don't know shit about
engineering.
(turns to face Bob)
This is the guidance system from
Skylab.
GERSON
That's impossible. Maybe there
are similarities, but they can't
be the same.
13.
Sara goes to one of the computers, logs on.
SARA
I'm looking up the designer.
Don't bother.
Corvin.
Is he dead?
GERSON
It was Francis D.
SARA
Gerson closes his eyes in dread.
GERSON
Only if I'm lucky.
CUT TO:
EXT. RANCH HOUSE (YOUNTVILLE, CALIFORNIA) - DAY
Frank Corvin's ranch house.
driveway.
An old Porsche 356 in the
INT. GARAGE - DOOR OPEN
FRANK CORVIN, age 69, has aged well -- strong, fit, and
tan if a bit weathered. He stands on a step ladder
installing an electric garage opener with a cordless
drill. He's losing his patience, cussing under and over
his breath as his wife BARBARA, an attractive, long-grayhaired woman of 65 refers to -INSTRUCTIONS
which show the bearded assistant from "Home Improvement"
grinning as he easily installs the device.
BARBARA
Would you like me to read you the
instructions again -- ?
Frank cuts her off with the LOUD CORDLESS DRILL at
maximum revs. The final screw screwed in, he presses a
button on the unit. The garage door goes down, smooth,
perfect, the timed light goes on.
FRANK
Let me explain something, darlin'.
Job done, he steps down from the ladder, victory on his
face.
14.
FRANK
Those instructions are written by
a Japanese fella in Japan where
they make the damn thing. Then
they have some expatriated
American, living in Japan because
he can't get a job in the U.S.,
translate them. Then, since it's
Japan and they're wary of
foreigners, they get a Japanese
fella to edit the American guy who
translated the Japanese guy.
He grins smugly, takes the instructions from her, tears
them in half. The timed light clicks off; it's pitch
black inside the garage. We hear him fumble for the
remote, and press the button. Nothing. He presses it
again. Nothing.
BARBARA
You know the door to the house is
locked, right?
FRANK
It's just the security code.
He pops the back off the remote -FRANK
Or the battery...
BARBARA
You forgot the battery?
FRANK
(romantic)
Well, looks like it's just you and
me, in a dark place, the smell of
gasoline and fertilizer in the
air...
He fumbles about, advancing on her.
She laughs, and "screams" for help.
The ladder falls.
BARBARA
Help! I'm locked in a smelly
garage with a dirty old man!
He stubs his toe, cusses. And laughs. She gives in,
they start to make out. The GARAGE DOOR suddenly HUMS to
life and opens, casting the daylight on them mid-embrace,
revealing -SARA AND ETHAN
standing in front of Frank's Porsche, a beige government
sedan behind it. Ethan holds an identical remote.
15.
Mr. Corvin?
Doctor Corvin.
ETHAN
FRANK
ETHAN
Excuse me -- Doctor Corvin.
interrupting something?
Am I
The question is too stupid to even answer.
him a look.
Sara shoots
SARA
Doctor Corvin. I'm Sara Holland,
and this is Astronaut Ethan Glance.
We're with NASA.
Frank eyes them suspiciously, looking at the remote
control in Ethan's hand.
ETHAN
It was in your car. I heard
someone scream.
FRANK
Thanks for saving the day.
what do you want?
Now
ETHAN
Could we have a minute of your
time?
FRANK
You should have called first.
a very busy man.
Barbara stifles a giggle.
I'm
Frank sends her a dirty look.
SARA
Dr. Corvin, in thirty-five days a
satellite with your guidance
system on board is going to reenter the atmosphere. The system
is non-responsive. Want to take a
crack at it?
CUT TO:
INT. FRANK'S DINING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
Ethan has spread the technical drawings on the dining
table. They all drink glasses of iced tea. Frank slowly
crunches his ice as he studies the drawings. This
clearly sends shivers down Ethan's spine, and Frank knows
it.
16.
ETHAN
There seems to be an interruption
in the path here, but the
circuitry is still operational.
It's sending us data -FRANK
You've lost your uplink.
ETHAN
It has to be a problem in the
manual routing drive here.
FRANK
I don't think so.
ETHAN
That's the consensus among the
engineers.
FRANK
The same engineers that sent you
here?
He crunches his ice for emphasis.
Ethan winces.
FRANK
Does that bother you?
ETHAN
Yes, it does, actually.
Crunch.
SARA
Your design pre-dates all existing
guidance systems. It was ahead of
its time in '69, but this
technology is obsolete now. None
of the current engineers speak
this language, and the older guys
are...
She trails off, the conclusion clear -- they're all dead.
FRANK
It wasn't designed for this
duration of duty. It was designed
for SkyLab. My advice to you is
capture the satellite and bring it
home.
It's too big.
ETHAN
FRANK
For the space shuttle?
What kind
17.
of bird is it?
SARA
It's a Russian communications
satellite.
FRANK
What the hell's my guidance system
doing onboard a Russian satellite?
ETHAN
That's really not our primary
concern at this time.
FRANK
(Frank really hates
him now)
Where's it orbiting, or is that
not a primary concern either?
SARA
One thousand miles.
Rate of decay?
FRANK
SARA
8000 meters per day.
accelerating.
And
FRANK
You're right about one thing; that
bird's coming home. Five weeks at
the most.
SARA
NASA's calculations agree. But
here we are. Doctor, you designed
this system. If anyone can solve
this, it's you.
Frank chomps his ice, sizing up both of them.
FRANK
For a moment there, I was thinking
you two might be a couple of Bob
Gerson's lackeys.
FRANK (CONT'D)
But judging by your command of the
facts of history, I see that's
impossible. He's been taking
credit for that since I worked it
out in '58, the year he replaced
my ass with a monkey.
His blood pressure's rising. He keeps his gaze on Sara,
sees she looks uncomfortable.
18.
FRANK
You don't work for Bob, do you?
SARA
He's a Project Manager at NASA.
He's one of many people assigned
to this problem.
Frank nods, unmoved.
FRANK
I'll have to ask you both to
leave.
ETHAN
Dr. Corvin, your country needs
you.
FRANK
Stick a sock in it, son. I've
heard it all before. You can't
solve this problem from here, and
you'll never get a crew up to
speed on it in time. Your bird's
dead, let her die. My only hope
is that what doesn't disintegrate
during re-entry lands on Bob
Gerson's house.
Frank's rage boils right under the surface.
watches from the kitchen.
Barbara
FRANK
But before you go, let me offer
you both some career advice. Get
as far from that son of a bitch as
humanly possible.
Ethan rolls up the drawing.
ETHAN
Apparently the buzz on you is
correct.
FRANK
And what buzz is that?
ETHAN
You're not a team player. That's
why you washed out at NASA.
FRANK
Get the hell out of my house!
Ethan exits hurriedly. Sara takes her time. There's
disappointment, but respect on her face. She exits.
Frank's face is flushed red, his eyes angry slits, teeth
19.
clenched.
BARBARA
We have to brush up on your
hospitality skills.
INT. CORVINS' KITCHEN - THAT NIGHT
Silence at the dinner table.
Frank is still seething.
BARBARA
You know what the problem with
that satellite is, don't you.
Frank snorts, butters a roll.
He obviously does.
BARBARA
You could fix it. Probably in a
day. Right?
FRANK
I won't crawl back for another
beating. Gerson made his bed, let
him lie in it. Barbara. It's an
old satellite, a Russian one at
that. It'll burn up on re-entry
and they'll build another one.
Frank...
BARBARA
Barbara watches him leave, hates to see him like this.
INT. FRANK'S GARAGE - LATE NIGHT
Frank takes the original drawing of the guidance system
out of a tube and spreads it across his drafting table.
He blows the dust off it. He studies it, casually eating
ice cream.
The look on his face tells us the problem is
obvious. His eyes travel up to -GROUP PHOTO ON WALL
Team Daedalus in the '50s: Frank, Hawk, Jerry, Tank and
a few other guys posing in front of the X-2 jet precrash. Full of youthful vigor, their dreams still alive,
eyes on the prize of space.
BACK TO FRANK
staring at the picture. His eyes are misty; it's as if
old dreams frozen inside him have begun to thaw. Like a
20.
child, he licks the vanilla ice cream moustache off his
upper lip.
EXT. JOHNSON SPACE CENTER (HOUSTON) - DAY
ESTABLISHING.
INT. SARA HOLLAND'S OFFICE - DAY
Sara looks up from a classified Air Force file entitled
"Project Daedalus."
Frank Corvin stands at her door, wearing his cracked
leather Air Force jacket and jeans, chewing gum.
FRANK
I have a solution to your problem.
CUT TO:
INT. BOB GERSON'S OFFICE - UPSTAIRS
The door opens. Gerson looks up, sees Sara bring Frank
in, covers his disdain with an insincere smile.
Frank Corvin.
GERSON
How long's it been?
FRANK
Not long enough, Bob.
GERSON
(laughs)
Haven't lost that Corvin charm,
have we? Coffee?
Frank nods.
Gerson goes to the credenza and pours a cup.
GERSON
Sara tells me you're up to speed
on our little problem. We've got
one sick bird.
(pointedly)
Apparently there's a flaw in the
guidance system.
He hands Frank his coffee.
Frank smiles at his jab.
FRANK
That's a helluva way to get the
designer of that system to help
you out.
GERSON
Well, I heard about your initial
21.
response. Don't worry, I'm sure
we'll come up with something.
SARA
Dr. Corvin is here with a
solution.
GERSON
Well praise the Lord, we are
delivered! Let's hear this
solution, Frank.
Frank's delivery is as nonchalant as possible.
FRANK
Send my team up. We'll fix your
broken satellite.
Both Gerson and Sara look incredulous. An eternity
passes. Frank fills the silence with a loud slurp of
coffee.
FRANK
You make a damn good cup of
coffee, Bob.
GERSON
You want to run that by me again?
FRANK
Team Daedalus. Hawk, Tank, Jerry
and me. Send us up.
GERSON
This is a joke, right?
Frank grins impishly, shakes his head no.
smiling.
Sara resists
FRANK
We trained five years for a space
mission.
GERSON
How old are you, Frank?
FRANK
Old enough to know your ass is in
a sling.
GERSON
Sara, would you excuse us? This
is fast becoming a personal
matter.
Enjoying this, Sara reluctantly exits.
22.
FRANK
You're out of options. I know
that because I'm the last person
you'd come to for help.
GERSON
You got that right.
FRANK
Your satellite comes down in
thirty-four days. It's too big to
retrieve. It's too important to
let crash. I designed that
guidance system. I'm the only one
who can fix it.
GERSON
I don't know how to break this to
you, Frank. But you're an old man.
FRANK
Well, this old man's all you got.
You know it, I know it. Besides,
you let Glenn go up at 77. There's
the offer. I'll be hearing from
you.
Frank stands, turns to leave.
Gerson shouts after him.
GERSON
You became a senior citizen five
years ago!
Frank stops, turns around with a care-to-differ look.
Four.
FRANK
GERSON
For once in your life, be a team
player. Train the crew if you
like, but let the professionals at
NASA fix the design flaw.
FRANK
(getting angry)
There aren't any design flaws.
How it ended up in a Russian bird
in the middle of the cold war -that's the only flaw I see. How
did that happen, Bob?
Gerson squirms.
FRANK
This is a hands-on job, and
there's no way I can train anyone
in this time-frame. My offer's on
23.
the table. Me and the team.
it or leave it.
Take
He turns to leave again, walks to the door.
GERSON
You -- as a technical advisor,
maybe. But I can't fill a space
shuttle with geriatrics. You're
professional enough to know that!
Half those guys are probably dead
anyway!
Frank opens the door, and without looking back, walks
out.
FRANK (O.S.)
The clock's ticking, Bob. And I'm
only getting older.
INT. JOHNSON SPACE CENTER - ENTRY HALL - MOMENTS LATER
Frank strides confidently to the front door. He's chased
by a SECURITY GUARD, who grabs him. Frank pushes the man
off him and keeps on walking.
SECURITY
Mr. Gerson would like you to wait
here.
Frank stops, turns around. Gerson exits an elevator and
walks briskly towards him. Frank grins confidently,
hands in the pockets of his leather flight jacket.
Alright.
GERSON
It's a deal.
He sticks out his hand.
it.
Frank looks at it, doesn't take
FRANK
I want it in writing.
GERSON
Okay. But here are the terms:
you and every member of your team
has to pass the same physical
requirements as any other
astronaut here. If one of you
fails, none of you go up.
(as Frank thinks,
nods)
And just to insure this isn't a
total exercise in futility, you
will train to fix that guidance
system side-by-side with my people
in case your men don't pass, which
24.
is a distinct possibility.
That's fair.
FRANK
GERSON
I can't tell you how much I'm
going to enjoy watching you make a
complete ass out of yourself.
Frank sticks out his hand, and they shake.
Frank grins.
FRANK
(sarcastic)
It's great to be working with you
again, Bob.
Frank walks off.
Gerson shakes his head.
CUT TO:
INT. AMERICA BAPTIST CHURCH (OKLAHOMA CITY) - SUNDAY
MORNING
The Reverend Sullivan (Tank) pauses in his sermon -puzzling over his notes. A youngish 67, his flowing
robes can't hide his barrel-chest and Air Force tattoo on
his wrist of a winged skull with a bloody dagger between
its teeth. Tank is thoroughly lost, desperately trying
to find his place, pages falling off the lectern.
TANK
Romans, uh... Chronicles... ah
yes!
The sparse congregation waits in catatonic silence. An
old man, drool on his chin, jolts awake from his wife's
elbow in his ribs. Sitting in the back of the church is
Frank, barely containing his laughter at Tank's
awkwardness in the pulpit.
TANK
'And in the fortieth year, Amariah
begat Zadok, who begat Libni, the
brother of Uzziah.' No... that's
not it, either.
Sighs from the congregation. Tank's losing them.
looks down at the face of the lectern at --
He
The hula girl we saw in his B-50 in '58. Keeps it there
for good luck, and for moments like these.
TANK
Once upon a time, four of the best
pilots in the Air Force trained to
fly into space. They flew at the
25.
speed of sound to the very top of
the sky, cheating death as they
freefall from twenty miles high.
The church is waking up now -- they apparently love these
old war stories from Reverend Tank.
INT. BACK OF CHURCH - MOMENTS LATER
The recessional music thunders as the congregation
dismisses. Frank waits, smiling, at the end of the
receiving line. Tank sees him, and grabs him up in a
bear hug.
Boss.
TANK
(looks up to the
heavens)
Sorry. My former boss.
FRANK
I bring glad tidings, Reverend
Tank. They go by the name of
Daedalus. There appears to be a
resurrection after all.
INT. TANK'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER
Pilot pictures among the seminary books. Frank reaches
up and takes down a photo of Team Daedalus. Tank removes
his robe, shaking his head in disbelief.
TANK
I don't know, Frank. That's a
complicated proposition. I have a
flock. I have grandchildren.
FRANK
They'll be here when you get back.
Besides, you're bound to be able
to milk this for three or four
sermons.
TANK
I need to pray about this.
FRANK
Can you pray quick?
TANK
Wait... wait a moment, my stiffnecked brother...
(closes his eyes,
swoons)
I am receiving a word from on
High.
26.
FRANK
And what is this word?
Tank opens his eyes, grinning.
TANK
The word is, 'Why the hell not?'
CUT TO:
EXT. AMUSEMENT PARK (CALIFORNIA) - DAY
The park is under construction, empty except for cranes
and crews assembling roller coasters. One of the roller
coasters is completely built, and a single car rides
around the track.
INT. ROLLER COASTER CAR
Riding alone in the car is Jerry O'Neill. Slight of
build, a few wrinkles, a bad jet-black toupee under his
baseball cap; at 68 he has become a swinging bachelor out
of touch with the times. He grins ear to ear as he talks
into a micro-cassette recorder.
JERRY
Let's kick this apogee up about 15
percent -- whoaa! Second bank's
too fast, some little Johnny's
gonna pass out on us... drop it a
G going into third loop.
(going upside down)
Little more of a sine wave feel
here... not so flat.
Standing at the bottom of the roller coaster are several
technicians and a PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN about thirty,
watching Jerry, smiling. Frank walks up to her as he
watches Jerry go around. He seems to know her.
FRANK
Thirty-five years designing
supersonic aircraft for the
military. Now he's building
roller coasters. Perfect.
(laughs at the
irony)
Your father's a gifted man.
The Young Woman looks at Frank, doesn't recognize him.
PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN
Oh, he's gifted, alright.
The roller coaster come in.
Jerry gets out and hugs the
27.
Young Woman, gives her a prolonged kiss that is anything
but paternal. He sees Frank laughing to himself.
Frank Corvin!
here?
JERRY
What are you doing
FRANK
Just wondering if you're busy for
the next month and a half.
Jerry tosses his tape recorder to one of the technicians.
FRANK
NASA wants to send us into space.
Jerry examines Frank, leaning in and tilting his head
like Frank is crazy. He looks concerned.
JERRY
I wondered who'd be the first.
Forty-year-old memories are sharp
as the day they happened but you
can't for the life of you remember
what you had for breakfast.
(pauses, loudly)
What did you have for breakfast,
Frank?
FRANK
Vegetarian huevos rancheros and
some kind of flavored decaf
cappuccino that tasted like it was
filtered through a jock strap.
Jerry smiles -- his old friend is okay.
Frank!
JERRY
Frank proudly shows a copy of the NASA contract to Jerry.
Jerry takes out a pair of very thick-lensed glasses ('80s
Porsche frames) and puts them on. Frank's look of pride
turns to one of worry as he sees Jerry's thick glasses.
FRANK
You need those?
JERRY
(without irony)
Naah. They're just for reading...
driving... seeing movies...
walking.
(at the contract)
Frank, how on earth -- ?!
Are you in?
FRANK
28.
JERRY
Hell yes I'm in.
Jerry hugs Frank, slaps his back.
JERRY
Team Daedalus rides again. Hawk
must've gone into orbit when you
told him.
FRANK
I haven't talked to him yet. I
haven't talked to him in a while,
Jerry.
JERRY
When are you guys gonna grow up
and stop acting like little boys?
CUT TO:
EXT. UTAH AIRFIELD - DAY
Various aircraft ring a Quonset Hut next to this dirt
field. The place houses a couple of flying schools, a
crop-dusting outfit, and an Air Tours service. The YOUNG
PILOTS inside the hut are all 30-ish, fresh out of the
military, almost too serious about their work.
An antsy kid named JASON enters excitedly with his
girlfriend.
JASON
It's my birthday. I want the shit
scared outta me. You know, barrel
rolls, loopdeloops... all that
stuff.
YOUNG PILOT
We don't do that kind of flying.
It's dangerous and irresponsible.
PILOT #2
Too many lawsuits.
Jason's face falls.
Well who does?
JASON
The Young Pilot thinks, then points to the side of the
Quonset Hut, which is open.
He does.
YOUNG PILOT
29.
Hawk, now in his mid-sixties, sits unassumingly in a
corroded aluminum fold-up chair, feet up on a cooler,
reading a fishing magazine.
YOUNG PILOT
Hey, Hawk, this guy wants a scary
ride.
Hawk looks up, calmly eyes Jason who bounces on the balls
of his feet in anticipation.
JASON
It's my birthday.
HAWK
Well, happy birthday.
SLAM CUT TO:
EXT. AIRFIELD - MOMENTS LATER
A P-51 Mustang does a 450 mph barrel roll 100 feet off
the deck.
INT. P- MUSTANG - THAT MOMENT
In the back seat, Jason hangs on for dear life.
HAWK
All right, let's go upstairs.
The P-51's nose pulls straight up, and they're in a 6-G
climb.
Oh God...!!
JASON
HAWK
Here comes the fun part -- we're
going weightless.
JASON
I don't think that's such a good
idea!
HAWK
Aw, you'll love it.
10,000 feet up. The P-51 reaches its apogee, and gently
noses over, her MOTOR WHINING down. As they go over the
top, they go weightless.
Oh God!!
JASON
30.
HAWK
This is what flying's all about.
Jason doesn't seem to agree.
He's fully green, and gags.
JASON
I've had enough, sir.
HAWK
You sure? You got ten minutes
left.
(as Jason nods
and groans)
Whatever. It's your money.
He throws the stick over, and Jason screams for his life
as the plane plunges earthward.
EXT. NEARBY ROAD - DRIVING - THAT MOMENT
THROUGH the windshield of his rental car, Frank watches
the plane as it does a twisting, rolling free fall -straight down. He recognizes Hawk's signature flying
style, laughs.
INT. P- MUSTANG - THAT MOMENT
Hawk pulls out of the dive 100 feet off the deck again,
pulling a snap-turn as he lines it up for the runway.
Jason loses his lunch.
EXT. TAXIWAY - THAT MOMENT
The P-51 gracefully hits the tarmac and rolls to a stop.
Hawk CUTS the ENGINE, popping the canopy.
Jason pours himself out, wobbly-kneed. Hawk, annoyed,
helps the humiliated, still-green Jason out. Vomit is
splattered all over the back seat.
HAWK
Who gave you the bright idea to
eat a big lunch before going up?
JASON
Oh my God, I'm so sorry, I'll
clean it up, sir.
Hawk reaches into the cockpit and pulls out a towel. Out
of the corner of his eye, Hawk sees Jason's girlfriend
bounding towards them from across the tarmac. Jason
doesn't.
HAWK
Don't worry about it, I'll do it.
31.
(loudly, so girlfriend
hears)
You earned your wings today, Hot
Shot. I give.
Hawk musters up a wink and a smile that fades the second
Jason steps down to hug his girl. Hawk turns and wearily
begins cleaning out the cockpit.
In the b.g., Frank's rental car pulls up. Frank gets
out, but Hawk doesn't immediately see him.
Hey.
FRANK
Hawk looks up, no visible reaction.
Hey.
Frank walks closer.
HAWK
A long beat passes.
FRANK
You know what the worst day in my
life was?
No.
HAWK
FRANK
The day Armstrong set foot on the
moon. I think I must've been the
only person in the world who
wanted to kill myself that day.
HAWK
Thanks for that, Frank. We
haven't talked in 12 years, and
that was pretty much the big
question on my mind. What are you
doing here?
Frank grins mischievously.
this.
He's been looking forward to
FRANK
Keeping a promise. A promise I
made 40 years ago.
HAWK
The one where you were going to
kill me on sight or just have my
legs broken?
FRANK
(smiles, remembering)
The other one. I've engaged in a
little blackmail with NASA.
32.
They've got a satellite that's
gonna crash unless they find a way
to fix the guidance system.
HAWK
I'm guessing you designed the
guidance system.
FRANK
(nods, grins)
They're desperate. Bob Gerson
came begging to me for help. I
told him I'd fix it... but only if
he sends up the original Daedalus
team to do the job.
Frank shows him the contract.
Hawk studies it.
FRANK
It's no joke, Hawk. Jerry and
Tank are in; they're waiting for
us at that roadhouse off the
highway.
HAWK
You know, age just brings out more
of the Frank in you, Frank. I am
genuinely impressed.
Hawk laughs, Frank laughs, the two men laugh together -this seems to be going well.
Hawk carefully folds up the contract and hands it back to
Frank.
HAWK
Don't put foolish dreams in a
fool's head. Especially not an
old fool. Have a nice flight,
Frank.
Hawk goes back to the P-51's engine.
FRANK
You weren't a fool then.
you're being one now.
But
HAWK
Say hello to Barbara for me.
Frank stares at him angrily, his temper rising.
Sure.
FRANK
Say hello to Jackie for me.
HAWK
Wish I could, Frank.
could.
Wish I
33.
Frank freezes, unaware that Hawk's wife had died.
I'm sorry.
FRANK
I didn't know.
Hawk ignores him, continues checking the plugs.
INT. RENTAL CAR (HIGHWAY) - MOMENTS LATER
He curses to himself as he drives along the highway. An
old pick-up truck passes him on the left lane, nearly
going headfirst into an oncoming eighteen-wheeler. At
the last minute, the pick-up quickly cuts in front of
Frank, kicking up a cloud of dust and exhaust in his face
and tearing off. Frank angrily HONKS the HORN.
CUT TO:
EXT. ROADHOUSE (EDGE OF HIGHWAY) - DAY
Frank's car pulls up and parks. He gets out and walks to
the front door. He notices the pickup truck that just
cut him off parked in the lot, and glares at it. Jerry
and Tank open the screen door, stand in the doorway.
They see the pissed-off look on Frank's face.
JERRY
He said no, huh?
FRANK
Let's get the hell out of here.
TANK
Maybe we should talk to him.
FRANK
Forget it. He's still the same
stubborn, thick-skulled jackass he
always was.
Hawk, who has been sitting at the bar, turns around on
his stool and finishes a beer. He smiles at Frank.
HAWK
And you still drive slower than a
little old lady going to church.
A smile slowly ripples along Frank's face.
and PATRIOTIC MUSIC...
A DRUM ROLL
CUT TO:
EXT. JOHNSON SPACE CENTER - DAY
34.
The four men of Team Daedalus, all wearing their cracked
leather flight jackets, stride towards the mammoth NASA
Headquarters, awed and dwarfed by its sheer size. The
steps falter just a bit, the men wondering what they've
gotten themselves into. They reach the giant front doors
of the -EXT. ADMINISTRATIVE HEADQUARTERS
The twin glass doors open automatically. Frank enters,
Hawk enters, Jerry enters, Tank hesitates. The biggest
and toughest-looking of the bunch turns tail and starts
to trot off when Frank grabs him and pulls him inside.
INT. COMPLEX - VARIOUS SHOTS
Our four heroes strut down corridor after windowless
corridor of the interconnected buildings. Glances are
exchanged between them and the younger men and women who
make up NASA. The atmosphere is clinical, antiseptic,
anti-heroic, and the people who work here are of the MITphysicist-in-space mold. The two groups are a vivid
contrast.
More corridors. And more corridors. This place goes on
forever. Jerry and Tank are getting a little winded.
Tank, exhausted, sits down. Frank grabs his arm and
yanks him back up.
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. EQUIPMENT TEST ROOM - DAY
A tireless, hyperactive seven-year-old boy named ANDREW
runs in tight circles, doing "airplanes" while making
sound effects.
This room is set up for tours and class trips; space
suits and tools are on display. Sara talks to a group of
kids, age six to ten, and their TEACHER. Sara obviously
loves being around kids.
Sara steps into a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) supported
by a stand, wired up to a treadmill. The MMU looks like
a giant chair-back with tiny jet nozzles and canisters of
nitrogen gas.
SARA
This is an M.M.U. That stands for
Manned Maneuvering Unit. The
M.M.U. allows our astronauts to
move around in space so they can
do work outside the space shuttle.
Frank, Hawk, Jerry and Tank enter the room.
Sara smiles
35.
at Frank. The boy doing airplanes flies right into
Tank's abdomen. Tank buckles over in pain. The kid
ricochets off him, into Hawk.
Ooof!
Andrew!
TANK
TEACHER
Hawk catches the kid and lifts him up.
SARA
Come here, Andrew. Let's have
some fun.
She lowers the MMU down to him, and straps him in. She
starts the treadmill. Andrew excitedly swivels the
joysticks on the MMU's armrest controls. Gas sprays out
from different nozzles on the MMU.
SARA
Just one little burst from these
jets is enough to move the
astronaut miles in space.
ANDREW
How come I'm not going anywhere?
SARA
Because we're on Earth, and that's
a very heavy unit. In space you
don't weigh anything. There's no
gravity, and there's no air
resistance.
The kids look fascinated but confused.
hand out, moves it up and down.
Hawk holds his
HAWK
Like when you stick your hand
outside the car window and the air
moves it up and down. That's air
resistance.
SARA
(smiles at him)
Right. In space that wouldn't
happen.
LITTLE GIRL
So if I jumped on a trampoline in
space...?
SARA
You'd go up... and up... and you'd
never come down.
36.
The kids giggle, loving this. Frank, Hawk, Tank and
Jerry look as awestruck and thrilled as the kids.
ANDREW
Could you hit a baseball to the
moon?
SARA
Actually, you could. All you'd
have to do is knock it halfway
there, about a hundred thousand
miles, and the moon's gravity
would do the rest.
Hawk contemplates this. The teacher of the class herds
the kids out of the room, leaving just Sara, Frank, Hawk,
Tank and Jerry.
SARA
I've never met a kid who didn't
dream of being an astronaut when
he grew up.
Hawk throws his arm over Frank's shoulder.
HAWK
Ever met a kid who wouldn't let
the dream go?
FRANK
Sara Holland, this is Colonel
William "Hawk" Hawkins. Retired
Air Force in 1990. Still the best
pilot they ever had -- not
counting me, that is.
HAWK
Ma'am.
He shakes her hand.
Their eyes connect with a spark.
SARA
The Hawk. I've heard of you.
Commander Cliff Jenkins once told
me a story about you and him in
Viet Nam.
HAWK
It if came out of Cliff's mouth, I
guarantee it's 100 percent
bullshit.
(laughs)
How is the old bullshitter?
SARA
He's dead, actually.
Hawk's smile freezes.
Frank turns to Tank.
37.
FRANK
While Hawk chews on his boot,
we'll move right along. Captain
'Tank' Sullivan. The best
navigator the Air Force ever had,
could find anything anywhere.
That is, before God got him.
TANK
Now more than ever. Pleased to
meet you, Miss Holland.
FRANK
And last but not least, Captain
Jerry O'Neill. Structural
Engineer and designer. The
Stealth Fighter is his drawing
come to life.
SARA
You don't have a nickname?
JERRY
(kisses her hand)
You can call me... 'anytime.'
Big laugh.
Frank rolls his eyes.
SARA
O-kay. Well, if you men are
ready, we have some work to do.
INT. GERSON'S OFFICE - DAY
Gerson is alone with Vostov, who is pacing nervously.
VOSTOV
I don't need to remind you of the
consequences of failure here -personal consequences.
GERSON
That's the problem with you
Russians, the glass is always half
empty.
VOSTOV
These men you are sending up, they
are not astronauts. The last time
they trained for a space mission,
people were driving cars with fins
on them!
Gerson laughs.
38.
GERSON
Colonel Corvin isn't going
anywhere. His team won't pass the
physical trials.
VOSTOV
This is supposed to reassure me?
What will you do then?
GERSON
My best young astronaut is
training alongside Colonel Corvin,
gaining proficiency in this
antiquated guidance system of his.
Until he does, Corvin is to
believe he's going up.
VOSTOV
(panicky)
I don't know, perhaps we should
consult -GERSON
There will be no consulting. No
one is to be in the loop on our
problem. Are we clear on that,
General?
CUT TO:
INT. OPERATIONS BRIEFING ROOM - DAY
Crowded room, filled with technicians, operations people,
engineers, back-up astronauts, Gerson and Vostov.
On the side wall stands Ethan and his team of astronauts:
three men, two women... and they don't look too happy.
Most pissed among them is astronaut ROGER HINES, 35, an
athletic black man with a lot of attitude. The room goes
quiet when Gerson and Sara bring in Frank, Hawk, Jerry
and Tank.
SARA
Good morning, all. Welcome to
the STS-200 OPS overview briefing.
All have NASA 3-ring binders, STS-200.
open.
That's the cue to
SARA
This is a rather unusual mission,
I think we'd all agree. We'll get
started on the particulars here in
a moment, but first I'd like us to
make welcome the astronauts
selected for this mission, the
39.
founding members of Project
Daedalus.
Polite applause.
Roger Hines' glare is withering.
SARA
As all of you know these men are
the pioneers of this business.
They were around when rockets
were born.
SARA (CONT'D)
(smile)
Welcome, gentlemen. This is your
team now.
The door opens, and Flight Director Eugene Davis enters.
SARA
STS-200 was originally slated to
deliver a structural payload to
the international space station.
Circumstances have forced us to
push back that mission and
undertake an emergency rescue
operation. Our average staging
time for a mission is 12 months.
We're doing this one in 32 days.
(to Team Daedalus)
The flight crew you are replacing
is one of NASA's best.
ANGLE ON ETHAN, ROGER AND YOUNG TEAM
SARA
You will train right alongside
them in the interest of speed.
Colonel Hawkins, you will be
piloting the newest shuttle in our
fleet. This is her maiden flight.
Hawk looks at Frank with a devilish grin, whispers to
him.
HAWK
You know how much I love flying a
virgin.
SARA
You were the finest America had to
offer once; I've no doubts you
still are.
Sara signals someone in the back and the lights dim. A
3-D map of Earth appears on a video screen. Jerry puts
his glasses on. Frank reaches over and takes them off.
40.
SARA
In 1986 the former Soviet Union
launched communications satellite
Ikon into orbit. Ikon is an
irreplaceable link in Russia's
telecommunication's chain.
The graphic changes to a satellite with large solar
panels.
SARA
Her orbit is decaying rapidly.
She will enter our atmosphere in
30 days. Your mission is to
intercept and capture Ikon, using
the shuttle's grappling arm. You
will then have a 42-hour window in
which to repair the guidance
system. From there, Ikon will be
reconfigured from Mission Control.
Once accomplished, you will return
her to geo-sync orbit, using the
Payload Assist Module rockets.
The lights come up.
Eugene Davis raises his hand.
DAVIS
Question.
(glances uneasily at
Frank)
With all due respect to Frank -why don't we just capture the bird
and bring her home with a team
trained in satellite retrieval.
It's clear that this is this question everyone here is
wondering.
GERSON
It's too big, Gene.
DAVIS
For the space shuttle?
(to Vostov)
How did you guys get it up there?
VOSTOV
There were modifications postdeployment.
GERSON
The system has to be fixed onsite. Given the short time line,
Frank, the only engineer
proficient in such obsolete
technology, is the only engineer
who can do the job.
41.
\
Davis is not convinced.
Neither is Roger.
INT. CORRIDOR - OUTSIDE BRIEFING ROOM - MOMENT LATER
Davis waits impatiently for astronauts, techs and Vostov
to clear the hall before he dive-bombs Gerson, Sara and
Frank.
DAVIS
So Frank Corvin's taking his band
of Leisure World Aviators for a
ride into space. NASA agreed to
this? The Russians agreed to it?
GERSON
Frank has left us little choice in
the matter.
Frank grins.
Davis smiles cynically.
DAVIS
I figured it might be something
along those lines. You two hate
each other too much to cook this
up together.
No reply; it's obviously true.
The smile fades.
DAVIS
I don't want any part of it. Get
yourself another flight director.
He turns to walk away, stops and turns around.
DAVIS
By the way, how did the guidance
system from SkyLab end up on a
Russian Bird?
FRANK
Damned if I know. But I seem to
be the only one able to fix it.
DAVIS
Grow up, Frank. Be a team player.
Help my astronauts out -- as an
engineer!
FRANK
If I weren't completely confident
that I could deliver every bit as
well as your astronauts, I
wouldn't go near it.
Davis waits, then lets out a soft rolling laugh from his
chest.
42.
DAVIS
You haven't changed a bit.
FRANK
That seems to be the consensus.
DAVIS
(to Gerson)
I'm still the flight director, and
I can pull the plug on this one.
Frank smirks.
DAVIS
You guys made a deal, fine. But
here's my deal. I'm not turning
over a brand new shuttle to four
rookies with a month's training.
You're taking two of my guys with
you.
(off Frank's wince)
Ethan's a brown-nosing brat,
Roger's a cocky little shit, but
they're the best astronauts in our
pipeline. They're on board, or
this flight stays on the pad.
Okay, Gene.
FRANK
DAVIS
And if I sense for one second that
you guys aren't cutting it
physically or mentally, you're off
and the original team flies. So
let's see if you've still got it.
CUT TO:
INT. NASA MEDICAL BUILDING - DAY
Four naked male butts -- not exactly buns of steel.
Wearing only their socks, Team Daedalus is lined up for
hernia check. They cough, wheeze, and curl toes at the
end of the doctor's cold, rubber gloves. They each step
forward, moving on to -FOUR SCALES
where they are weighed and have their height measured.
Tank looks at his height, lets out a big laugh, turns to
the straight-faced medical technician.
TANK
All this high-tech equipment and
your calibration is off! This
43.
says I've shrunk an inch!
He laughs, expecting the others to laugh with him. They
don't; they just stare at him with pity. He gets the
hint, stops laughing, stands as straight as he can.
INT. CARDIO CENTER - LATER
Hawk, Frank, Jerry and Tank stand on treadmills,
stationary. An annoying CARDIO TECH applies EKG tabs on
to our bare-chested men, connecting them to EKG monitors.
The tech talks to them like they are deaf, old men,
enunciating very loudly.
CARDIO TECH
I'm going to start you off very,
very slow.
He points to a large, red button on each treadmill.
CARDIO TECH
If at any time you feel dizzy or
weak, just hit the red button near
your right hand. That will stop
the treadmill
He starts the treadmills, slower even than a walking
speed.
CARDIO TECH
How's everybody feeling?
Annoyed, apparently.
HAWK
(sarcastic)
Maybe you could talk a little
louder.
CARDIO TECH
Is that speed okay?
No.
It's not.
HAWK
Hawk presses a button on the treadmill that increases the
speed of his treadmill so he's moving at a jogging pace.
The others follow suit. The men get down to some serious
exercise. Cardio Tech can tell he's not wanted, leaves
the room.
MEDICAL CLINIC - LATER
Ears, throats, heartbeats are checked. DR. ANNE
CARUTHERS, the flight surgeon, a pretty woman in her late
40s, examines Jerry's ear, and moves his toupee at least
44.
an inch.
MEDICAL CLINIC - EYE CHART - LATER
Hawk stands on a red line, Frank waiting next to him.
Dr. Caruthers instructs Hawk.
DR. CARUTHERS
Place your hand over your right
eye and read the chart if you
would.
HAWK
(to Frank)
Time me.
Huh?
FRANK
Frank, confused, looks up at the big clock.
down the chart, reading incredibly fast.
Hawk goes
HAWK
F,L,E,P,T,P,L,E,P,F,L,F,L,E,P,T,P,L,F,E,T...
M,A,D,E,I,N,U,S,A...
(laughs, fake
modesty)
Oh, made in U.S.A. What do you
know. Score one for the economy.
DR. CARUTHERS
You have twenty-ten vision,
Colonel.
HAWK
Uh, is that good?
Frank yanks the joker away by his arm.
on a sofa a few feet behind.
Hawk takes a seat
FRANK
Fourteen seconds. Time me.
(a little slower)
F,L,E,P,T,P,L,E,P,F,L,F,L,E,P,T,P,F... I mean L... F...
E... P.
T.
HAWK
Frank shoots him a look.
Twenty-twenty.
DR. CARUTHERS
HAWK
And five seconds slow.
45.
Dr. Caruthers smiles, amused by the competition between
the two men. Jerry hands his thick glasses to Caruthers
and steps up to the same eye chart Hawk read.
JERRY'S POV - EYE CHART
It's a complete blur.
ON JERRY
Not even squinting.
JERRY
F, L, E, P, T, P, L, E, P, F, L,
F, L, E, P, T, P, L, F, E, T.
DR. CARUTHERS
(shocked)
You have twenty-ten vision,
Captain.
Hawk and Frank exchange baffled looks. Caruthers hands
the smiling Jerry back his glasses. He saunters off.
Frank walks up to him -- he doesn't even have to ask.
JERRY
I may be blind, Frank, but I have
a perfect memory. Always did.
INT. MEDICAL CLINIC - BLOOD TEST - LATER
A needle comes out of Frank's arm. Dr. Caruthers quickly
applies a cotton ball, closing his elbow. She hands the
test tubes of his blood to an assistant.
Next.
DR. CARUTHERS
Colonel Hawkins?
Hawk sheepishly steps forward, dreading this.
down, he turns away, not wanting to see.
DR. CARUTHERS
Are you feeling all right?
HAWK
Not crazy about needles.
DR. CARUTHERS
That's very common. When was your
last physical?
A while ago.
HAWK
I couldn't say.
She jabs Hawk, starts drawing blood.
Sitting
46.
DR. CARUTHERS
You don't remember me, do you? My
father was flight surgeon at Beal
Air Force Base for 21 years.
Dr. Martin?
HAWK
The Goat?
DR. CARUTHERS
'The Goat.' That was my Dad. I
met you when I was 12 years old,
but that's been a while. I doubt
you'd remember.
HAWK
(studies her a
moment)
Freckles, pigtails, knobby knees.
Was that you?
(as she grins,
and nods)
So how is the Old Goat?
Passed away.
DR. CARUTHERS
Nine years ago.
Hawk's smile freezes, again. She finishes, smiling
sadly. And walks off with the blood. Frank and Hawk get
up and go into -HALL
both mulling over the same grim thought.
HAWK
Are you noticing how everybody
seems to be dead lately?
They walk down the hall holding cotton balls to their
arms.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. ASTRONAUT QUARTERS - NEXT MORNING
Dawn. Frank, Hawk, Jerry and Tank assemble out front in
their NASA sweats, a humorous contrast to -Roger, Ethan and the young team. They stretch. Roger
not only touches the ground, he can palm it. Tank
watches them, tries to stretch. He can barely touch his
knees, goes as far as his ankles, hangs there, a
distressed look on his face.
47.
TANK
(whisper)
Hey, uh... Frank?
Frank and Hawk are in good shape, stretch like pros.
Hawk looks at Frank, tips his head towards Tank. Frank
walks over and straightens Tank out. This hurt.
ETHAN
We'll start off easy today.
do ten.
Just
TANK
(horrified)
Minutes?
Miles.
JERRY
EXT. JOHNSON SPACE CENTER GROUNDS - LATER
Mile two. Astronaut Roger Hines leads the pack, doing
about a five-minute mile, not breaking a sweat. Ethan
and the rest of the young team right behind -- looking
fit and invincible. About a quarter-mile behind them
are!-HAWK AND FRANK
A little less invincible, but keeping a good pace.
steps behind them are -TANK AND JERRY
Red-faced, huffing and puffing.
JERRY
I'm an engineer. I haven't run
since Nixon was President. How
far have we gone?
Not quite two.
FRANK
TANK
This is gonna give me a heart
attack.
HAWK
That's the idea, Tank.
TANK
What -- to give us heart attacks?
A few
48.
HAWK
Exactly. Imagine if we didn't
make it through lift-off. The
U.S. would be the first nation to
launch four corpses into orbit.
FRANK
If we're gonna have heart attacks,
NASA's gonna make damn sure we
have them right here on Earth. So
let's get this over with.
Frank picks up speed, leads the pack. The others catch
up. A grim pall settles over their morning run.
CUT TO:
INT. WEIGHT ROOM - LATER THAT DAY
Roger pushes 225 pounds easily off his chest, repeats it
eight times with perfect form, Ethan spotting him. Roger
finishes, slams the barbells against the rack, turning to
Hawk.
ROGER
Can you handle 225 pounds,
Colonel?
Sure.
HAWK
Hawk nervously turns to Tank.
HAWK
Spot me.
(winks, whispers)
Spot the hell out of me.
Hawk slides onto the bench under the barbells. Tank
rests his hands under the bar, spotting Hawk. Hawk
grunts as he pushes the barbell up. Roger and Ethan
don't realize -TANK
isn't just spotting, he's helping Hawk by lifting. The
exertion shows in his clenched jaw, and the bulging vein
in his neck -- he is straining not to grunt, must find a
way to camouflage his exertion. He yells at Hawk, like a
drill sergeant.
PUSH IT!
PUSH!
TANK
COME ON, HAWK, PUSH!
Hawk (and Tank) successfully lift the barbell five times.
49.
Roger and Ethan are none the wiser, look impressed. Tank
is suffering. Tank finally lets the weight drop back
onto the rack. Hawk slides out. Easy.
Not bad.
ETHAN
Roger looks at Tank, sees his face is red from exertion.
ROGER
Man, you really get into it, don't
you?
Tank, suppressing a groan, gives Roger a weak thumbs-up.
Hawk slaps Tank on the shoulder.
TANK
(whispers)
I'm gonna go to my room and cry
now.
INT. NASA DINING HALL - NIGHT
Full house. All crews breaking for dinner. Frank
the team bring their trays to a table reserved for
They move slow and deliberately, obviously sore as
Creaks and groans as they fall into their chairs.
stare at the food, which includes corn on the cob,
exhausted silence.
and
them.
hell.
They
in
TANK
I'm too tired to chew.
ANGLE ON ETHAN AND ROGER
sitting down with the young team.
guys and laughing.
Looking over at our
FRANK
sees the young team laughing.
men.
Cranky, he looks over his
FRANK
Try and look a little perkier,
guys.
They manage some phony "perk," big smiles hiding big
discomfort. Jerry has a few bites of corn.
TANK
I'm thinking now of my Uncle
Wendell. The last ten years of
his life, no one ever had a
conversation with him that did not
50.
center on his gout, his arthritis,
or his bowel movements.
(beat)
I am beginning to see the world
through Uncle Wendell's eyes.
JERRY
You still sure about this, Frank?
FRANK
We're almost done with the tough
stuff and you want to quit?
(looking his men
over)
Tomorrow we start training for our
mission. I want everyone to get a
good night's sleep.
TANK
Boy, there's a challenge.
Something catches Hawk's eye.
He laughs.
HAWK
Jerry, what are you doing?
Jerry fiddles with his mouth.
JERRY
It's these damn teeth.
(he adjusts them)
They won't stay in.
Frank is mortified.
FRANK
For God's sake, Jerry.
Hawk laughs. The waiter walks over holding a tray with
four cans of Ensure, the power drink for seniors.
WAITER (O.S.)
Gentlemen. A round of drinks from
your friends at the table over
there.
Ethan, Roger, and the young team laugh as they raise
their coffee cups to them in a toast. The room goes
quiet, awaiting their response.
Frank, Hawk, Jerry and Tank raise the cans to their
hosts, and clink them together.
FRANK
(loudly, to the room)
To old farts in outer space.
The room fills with laughter as they drink up happily,
51.
deflating the intended insult.
CUT TO:
INT. ASTRONAUT QUARTERS - FRANK AND HAWK'S ROOM - NIGHT
Three A.M., pitch black outside. Frank dozes on his
bunk, glasses down his nose, STS-200 binder on his chest.
A RUSTLING sound wakes him. He looks over, sees -HAWK
quietly dressing in jogging sweats.
FRANK
Too much for you, huh? Decide to
quit while you're ahead?
Hawk laughs as he puts a T-shirt on.
HAWK
Thought I'd start the day with a
little jog.
FRANK
Are you crazy? We jog at five and
it's only three. Go back to bed.
HAWK
You want to sleep, Frank, sleep.
You look like you need the rest
anyhow.
The gauntlet down, Hawk opens the door to leave.
You bastard.
FRANK
EXT. JOHNSON SPACE CENTER GROUNDS - PRE-DAWN
It's pitch-black out.
Hawk jogs around the track --
FRANK
right next to him, wondering how he got conned into this.
DISSOLVE TO:
SAME SCENE - DAWN
Hawk and Frank, still jogging around the track.
but looking strong.
Sweaty,
52.
HAWK
I'll race you the last lap.
FRANK
Hawk... okay.
HAWK
Countdown to one. Ready...?
(beat)
One.
Hawk bursts forward, Frank right after him, two old men
racing like schoolboys.
LONG SHOT - HAWK AND FRANK
running, neck and neck, the sun coming up behind them.
The grounds' sprinklers burst on.
IN PARKING LOT - THAT MOMENT
Sara gets out of her car, walks briskly to the
administrative offices, all business, until she sees -FRANK AND HAWK
finish the race in a tie, then fall on the grass,
exhausted. They sprawl on their backs underneath the
sprinklers to cool off.
SARA
smiles to herself as she watches.
coming over NASA.
A new feeling is
INT. GYM - OUTSIDE MEN'S LOCKER/DRESSING ROOM - MORNING
Sara, holding a manila envelope, tentatively walks up to
the men's locker room door. She listens to FRANK AND
HAWK TALKING from inside. The door suddenly opens,
surprising Sara. Frank steps out, fully dressed, looks
at the embarrassed Sara with a smile. She gathers her
wits.
Hi, Frank.
SARA
I'm looking for Hawk.
He's inside.
FRANK
You can go on in.
Is it... okay?
SARA
53.
FRANK
(with a twinkle in
his eye)
Oh yeah.
He walks off.
Sara enters the locker room.
INT. MEN'S LOCKER ROOM - CONTINUOUS ACTION
Sara enters, looking around, hears Hawk humming.
She passes a row of lockers, looks behind it (we don't
see what she sees) -- and instantly turns on her feet and
walks back to the door, her face beet red.
I am so sorry.
SARA
Hawk comes out from behind the lockers, towel wrapped
around his waist.
HAWK
It's okay, it's okay.
(as she stops)
So. What brings you to the...
men's locker room, Sara?
SARA
(difficulty
concentrating)
Gene moved up -- he moved up the
simulator run.
She trails off, nodding.
her to finish.
To... when?
Hawk looks at her, waiting for
HAWK
SARA
Right. That would be... eleven
o'clock. There are some new
procedures I wanted you to be
aware of.
She hands him the manila envelope. Hawk opens it and
takes out several pages, which he carefully reviews,
totally nonplussed by the situation. After a long,
awkward beat, Hawk stares at her and smiles. She
returns the smile weakly.
SARA
This is extremely uncomfortable.
I'm going to leave now.
Hawk gestures grandly to the door.
as she hurries off.
He smiles, watching
54.
Hey, Sara.
a beer.
HAWK
I'm taking you out for
SARA
(to herself)
I'm going to need one.
CUT TO:
INT. SHUTTLE SIMULATOR - MORNING
It is a full-scale mock-up of the space shuttle. Tank
sits in the payload area holding the grappling arm
control joy stick in his hand. He faces a monitor
showing a simulated satellite in space. Six stoic
engineers in white coats watch him as he tries to capture
the satellite with the grappling arm. He looks disturbed
that he is being observed so closely.
TANK
You're making me nervous.
A FEMALE ENGINEER leans forward and whispers in Tank's
ear.
FEMALE ENGINEER
You should probably get used to
it. There's going to be a lot
more people watching you on
television.
He gulps, misses the satellite.
INT. CLINIC - ON FOUR TEST TUBES - MORNING
of blood in a stand.
Dr. Caruthers takes a drop of blood from one of the tubes
and sandwiches it between two slides. She examines it
under the microscope, focuses. She looks concerned. She
takes one of the test tubes out of the rack and puts it
in -BLOOD CENTRIFUGE
She turns the centrifuge on and the test tube goes
whipping around and around...
MATCH CUT TO:
INT. CENTRIFUGE ROOM - DAY
55.
The massive arm swinging around the circular room slows
to a stop. Two TECHS pop open the clear canopy and
unfasten Jerry and Tank from the two seats. They're a
little shaky as they exit the cockpit.
TECH
That was three G's. That's as
bad as it gets during ascent and
entry.
TANK
I'm so pleased.
Hawk and Frank are up now. They eagerly jump inside the
cockpit, and get strapped down, hooking up their
headsets. The canopy closes over their heads.
HAWK
First one to pass out buys the
beers tonight.
You're on.
FRANK
Frank grabs the joystick and off they go, whipping around,
1 G, 2 G's... They reach 5 G's in no time.
HAWK
(over communicator)
Hey, Frank, did we start yet?
FRANK
(into communicator)
I don't know, feels like we're
standing still.
INT. CONTROL ROOM - THAT MOMENT
The Engineers look aghast as the boys crank it up some
more. Other crew people enter the room, including Roger
and members of the young team.
HAWK (V.O.)
(shaky voice, over
monitor)
What's the matter, is the damn
thing broken?
This is a spectator event now.
room shakes.
They're up to 8 G's.
The
TIGHT ON HAWK AND FRANK'S FACES
shaking and warping out like the science book pictures.
56.
FRANK
(really shaky)
Hey, Hawk, I'm pretty sure the
machine just kicked in.
Hawk cranks it up some more.
getting serious.
And some more.
This is
HAWK AND FRANK
are beginning to "gray out," but neither will say "uncle"
first.
HAWK
Yyyyou're... e-e-easy...
Fffrankkkk...
10 G's.
The MACHINE is SCREAMING.
The room is silent.
ROGER
They're gonna kill themselves.
DAVIS (O.S.)
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN
HERE?!!
Everyone turns around. Davis, at the back of the room,
steps forward and slams the "all stop" switch. The arm
slowly winds down. Everybody is totally busted -- young
and old alike -- just by being here.
The arm stops, but we don't see anything through the
canopy from inside the booth. Davis is seething -- grabs
the intercom microphone.
DAVIS
I'm sure this was a great show.
But this thing is not a toy!
(into the intercom)
One of you idiots care to explain
this?!
ANGLE ON CENTRIFUGE COCKPIT
As the Tech lifts the canopy we see that Frank and Hawk
have both passed out. With their flush red faces, drool
at the corner of their mouths, and their sweaty hair,
they look like sleeping babies strapped into car seats.
The Tech takes their pulse. They groggily start to
regain consciousness.
TECH
They're just unconscious, sir.
Davis fights it, but his scowl gives way to a smirk...
then a smile. The entire room looks relieved.
57.
DAVIS
I'm getting too old for this shit.
INT. HONKY-TONK - NIGHT
The place is crowded with young professionals at happy
hour. Hawk and Frank shoot pool. On the dance floor, a
small group of pretty young women, led by Jerry, are line
dancing.
Tank stands alone drinking a beer looking around the
room. He sees something that draws him like a bug to a
light -An arcade game -- the kind where a joy stick operated
claw-on-a-crane drops down and picks up a stuffed animal
inside a glass booth.
Tank beelines towards the game and drops in two quarters.
He swigs the last of his drink, then takes the joy stick.
Purple tiger.
TANK
The crane comes to life as Tank maneuvers the joy stick
left and right. It drops over a little stuffed purple
tiger. Tank gingerly clamps on and guides it over the
chute, dropping it. Tank joyfully retrieves his little
stuffed animal and starts laughing goofily. He looks
around the room to see if anyone saw his victory. No one
did. He stops laughing and stuffs it in his pocket.
OVER AT HAWK AND FRANK'S POOL TABLE
The pretty young COCKTAIL WAITRESS brings over two
bottles of beer. She puts them on a narrow counter near
the pool table.
COCKTAIL WAITRESS
That'll be seven dollars.
Frank and Hawk just look at each other, a stand-off -neither goes for their wallet.
COCKTAIL WAITRESS
Hello?
He's buying.
Oh no.
time.
HAWK
FRANK
We passed out at the same
58.
HAWK
Bullshit. I watched you pass out.
(beat)
Right before I passed out.
They crack up.
Hawk reaches for his wallet.
HAWK
I got this round. Only because
I'm so confident in my superiority
to you in every aspect of human
life.
Frank stops Hawk from paying.
FRANK
Maybe there's a way to settle
this.
(turns to the
Waitress)
Given the choice, which one of us
would you take home with you
tonight?
She plays along, looking them over.
COCKTAIL WAITRESS
You mean like, to 'the home'?
Like the retirement home?
Onlookers laugh.
All except a big, tough man named TINY.
HAWK
No, seriously. Would you choose
this man, with his asymmetrical
sagging ass cheeks, love handles
the size of Nebraska, and yellow
ingrown toenails.
FRANK
Or this man, with the chickengizzard neck and the face that
looks like a Death Valley fire
road?
The woman's charmed.
intercedes.
She's about to answer when Tiny
TINY
Stop harassing the waitress.
FRANK
I'm not harassing anyone. I was
asking her a harmless question,
one that's got nothing to do with
you. So go back to nursing your
virgin peach daiquiri and mind
your own damn business.
59.
TINY
It is my business. This woman's
my friend, and she puts up with
assholes like you all day because
she has to -Tiny --
COCKTAIL WAITRESS
Hawk mouths to Frank, in disbelief, "Tiny?"
TINY
-- but I don't. So if you want to
harass someone, start harassing
me.
HAWK
I do believe he is, son.
Onlookers laugh.
The man isn't pleased.
TINY
I could put you in a hospital, old
man.
FRANK
I've got Medicare. Take your best
shot.
More laughter.
TINY
I don't want to make your old lady
a widow.
This overheats Frank's core. Frank drops the charm, his
temper flares. He grabs Tiny and shoves him against the
counter.
FRANK
What did you say?
Tiny pushes Frank off him, gets in fighting stance.
Frank rips his leather jacket off, pulls up his sleeves.
Hawk has obviously seen this happen before, rolls his
eyes as he steps between the two men and addresses
Frank's opponent.
HAWK
Excuse me a minute.
(to Frank)
Listen, Frank. You can't do this.
We're going up into space in 25
days.
Hawk speaks loudly enough that the crowd around them
hears their conversation about "going into space." They
60.
seem like loons.
The crowd includes one man drinking at the bar with a
camera bag and notebook.
HAWK
If you hurt yourself, if you break
a bone or sprain an ankle, your
seat on the shuttle is going to
that M.I.T. weenie with the blowdried hair. And we all watch it
on TV at your house.
FRANK
Who said I'm gonna hurt myself?
TINY
What the hell are you two talking
about -- 'the space shuttle'?
Hawk holds up his finger to Tiny for more time.
HAWK
You're going to blow it for us
again, aren't you? You and that
mean-assed temper of yours.
FRANK
You still think I blew our shot in
'58?
HAWK
Face it already, Frank.
You did.
Tiny loses interest in fighting Frank. This suits Frank
fine -- Hawk is now the subject of his wrath. Tank and
Jerry watch from the sidelines, smiling.
JERRY
Here we go again.
Frank shoves Hawk.
Hawk retreats, not wanting to fight.
FRANK
And the pilot who wrecked every
rocket and experimental jet the
Air Force gave us?
Frank shoves Hawk again. Hawk let the first one slide,
but not this one. He pushes Frank back, grabs Frank's
jacket off the pool table and throws it in his face.
Frank catches it.
HAWK
Let's take it outside. I'm gonna
kick your asymmetrical sagging
ass.
61.
Hawk and Frank storm out of the bar. Bar patrons watch
the two men like they are crazy. All except the man at
the bar with the camera bag, who scribbles something in
his notebook.
OUTSIDE HONKY-TONK
Hawk and Frank step out the swinging doors into the
parking lot. Frank seething. Hawk laughing.
HAWK
How'd you like that? Can I still
get you out of a jam or what? You
see that guy's face when I said,
'space shuttle' -- ?
Crack! Frank punches him hard in the jaw. Hawk hits the
pavement, rubbing his jaw, realizing Frank wasn't in on
the plan.
FRANK
Whose fault was it that Daedalus
got canned, Colonel Hawkins?
HAWK
Shit. This is gonna be a long
night.
Hawk gets up, punches Frank in the face. The two go at
it like this, duking it out in the parking lot, bobbing
and weaving, neither one relenting...
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. CORRIDOR - OUTSIDE ENGINEERING LAB - MORNING
Eugene Davis walks down the hall.
He passes --
HAWK
walking toward him, head down because he's reading a file
as he walks.
DAVIS
Good morning, Hawk.
Hawk looks up long enough to show us his black eye.
Morning, Gene.
HAWK
DAVIS
What the hell happened to your
eye?
62.
Hawk keeps on walking.
HAWK
I fell in the shower. Maybe you
could have maintenance install
some rubber no-slip adhesives on
the floor, it can get pretty
slippery in there.
Davis knows he's being bullshitted, lets it go.
enters the --
He
ENGINEERING LAB
Where Frank works on a mock-up of the guidance system
with Jerry. His BACK is TO Davis and us. Ethan watches
as Frank touches two separate electrical buses with
probes. Jerry alternately watches a monitor while
screwing something in.
FRANK
What's that doing?
JERRY
Still ten megahertz.
Little more.
DAVIS
How's it coming along, Frank?
Frank turns around; he, too, has a black eye.
FRANK
Pretty good, Gene.
DAVIS
What happened to your eye, Frank?
You slip in the shower?
FRANK
How the hell did you know?
Frank slowly gives his most charming grin.
his back on it and walks away.
Davis turns
CUT TO:
INT. CARDIO CENTER - MORNING
Ethan, alone in the room, pedals on stationary bike while
reading the manual to Frank's guidance system,
frustrated. His arm band heart MONITOR BEEPS. Gerson
walks in.
GERSON
I haven't seen you in my office in
a couple of days. I'm starting to
63.
worry.
ETHAN
You should worry. This guy won't
let me within ten feet of him.
I'm not even sure he knows how to
fix the guidance system; he just
wants a free ride.
Gerson shuts off the bike, Ethan stops pedaling and the
BEEPING STOPS.
GERSON
Ethan, maybe it's time you and I
took a look at the big picture.
There are six slots on the first
Space Station crew. There are
fourteen partner countries and
all of them will want to send
up one of their own. Some of
those are bound to be women.
You're a pale, stale American
male. Consider the odds.
ETHAN
I'm confident in my abilities.
GERSON
Well let's see if you can't
apply those abilities to Frank's
guidance system. Your efforts
won't go unnoticed.
Gerson starts the bike again and we hear Ethan's
HEARTBEAT RACING. Gerson smiles, satisfied, pats Ethan
on the shoulder and leaves.
CUT TO:
LIGHTED RUNWAY
The shuttle is on final approach to Cape Kennedy, coming
in for a night landing. We're actually -INT. SHUTTLE SIMULATOR - MORNING
Roger and Ethan at the controls, Frank and Hawk observing
in the seats immediately behind. Pace is fast and
furious -- all business. Gauges flashing everywhere.
ETHAN
Gear is down and locked. Airspeed
300. Cross-wind on our right, 14
knots.
64.
ROGER
We're a little hot. Dropping
flaps.
ETHAN
200... 100... touchdown.
The virtual shuttle rolls to a stop.
Hawk.
You're up.
Roger turns to
ROGER
INT. MISSION CONTROL - SIMULTANEOUS ACTION
The room is humming. These flight engineers train right
along with the astronauts in the simulator. Sara watches
the big screen with Eugene Davis.
DAVIS
Nice landing, guys. Let's put our
rookies up front. SimSupe, you on
with me?
INT. SIMULATOR CONTROL ROOM - THAT MOMENT
The Simulator Supervisor (SIMSUPE) answers.
SimSupe.
SIMSUPE
Go, Gene.
DAVIS
Standard package -- throw a little
curve at 'em, though.
Roger that.
SIMSUPE
He punches up a program on the computer.
INT. SIMULATOR - MOMENTS LATER
Hawk and Frank at the controls. Same scene on the
simulator screen. An ALARM sounds as they approach the
runway.
FRANK
Hydraulic failure. Right aileron.
HAWK
Switching to manual control.
ROGER
You can't do that, Colonel. The
bird's on a computerized track.
65.
Another ALARM.
FRANK
Airspeed's too high. Come on,
Hawk, stick to the protocol. Go
around.
HAWK
We'll never make it.
manual.
Switching to
Ethan shakes his head no. The runway approaches rapidly.
Hawk pulls back on the wheel -- no response.
ROGER
You can't do that!!
Roger grabs onto the seat arms as though they are really
about to crash.
Damn it!
FRANK
Prepare to abort!!
Like hell.
HAWK
He fights to hold the wheel -- it's a rough, nearly
sideways touchdown -- the shuttle bounces once, twice...
Awww... shit.
HAWK
And its gear collapses as it crashes down, tumbling over.
The screen goes blank.
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
Silence in the room. Davis looks up at the blank screen,
calm, but obviously very concerned.
SARA
Come on, Gene. You can't throw
all that at him on his first run!
DAVIS
We've got three weeks, Sara. And
this is Flight School 101 stuff.
(shakes his head)
He's been out of the game too
long.
BACK TO SIMULATOR - THAT MOMENT
Ethan and Roger show professionalism, but their eyes show
satisfaction. Hawk and Frank stare straight ahead --
66.
both angry and embarrassed.
FRANK
(whispers)
This isn't your P-51, Hawk.
gotta do it their way.
You
HAWK
I don't need a damn computer to
land an airplane, Frank.
ROGER
Sir, it's not an airplane. It's a
flying brick on approach and
you've got to work with the onboard computer.
HAWK
And if the on-board computer
fails?
ETHAN
It's never failed.
Hawk glances over at Frank -- sees how disappointed he
is.
HAWK
(into communicator)
Houston, S.T.S-200.
Go, 200.
CAPCOM (V.O.)
HAWK
Request second landing.
(thinks)
Request also computer failure on
approach.
CAPCOM (V.O.)
Say again, 200?
You heard me.
HAWK
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
The whole room waits. The CAPCOM (the voice of Mission
Control) turns to Davis. As does Sara. She pleads with
her eyes. He relents with a sigh.
DAVIS
All right, run it again.
CAPCOM
S.T.S-200, stand by for second
67.
approach.
DAVIS
Throw the works at him.
CUT TO:
SIMULATOR SCREEN (HAWK'S SECOND APPROACH) - MOMENTS
LATER
Emergency night landing into North Africa.
very rough.
Wind, rain,
FRANK
Altitude 3000. You're coming in
too steep, Hawk.
ROGER
You better pull up, sir.
gonna lose it again!
Hawk ignores them.
You're
Another ALARM sounds.
FRANK
Auxiliary engine fire -- number
two! Shut it down.
Hawk calmly hits a sequence of switches, never taking his
eyes off the approach.
HAWK
Don't need it anyway. We're just
a flying brick from here on in.
(smiles to himself)
The flying brick...
He hums to himself, totally in his element. The shuttle
buffets wildly -- the radar ALARM sounds now.
FRANK
Wind shear on the nose.
All the computer screens go blank.
ETHAN
Computers are down, sir.
all yours.
Ethan gloats.
She's
Hawk doesn't even notice.
BACK TO MISSION CONTROL
Sara is worried.
BACK TO HAWK
Looks like a repeat.
68.
focused on the runway coming up, still humming calmly.
Altitude 500.
FRANK
Lined up.
ETHAN
Your airspeed's way too high.
FRANK
Airspeed four-nine-zero.
too hot, Hawk!
That's
ROGER
You'll never get this thing
stopped!
Aw, it's easy.
the brakes.
HAWK
You just gotta tap
He gently nudges the nose up.
ROGER
You can't do that! You're gonna
put her into a stall!
The stall ALARM sounds. The wings can't support the
weight at this speed and attitude.
100 feet.
doing?
FRANK
Hawk, what are you
HAWK
Tapping the brakes.
Drop the nose!
it!
50 feet!
Airspeed?
ROGER
You're gonna lose
FRANK
Drop the nose!
HAWK
FRANK
(shocked)
Two hundred.
HAWK
What do you say we drop the nose?
He nudges the wheel over gently.
feather.
Touchdown.
Light as a
69.
BACK TO MISSION CONTROL
They watch in shock as the shuttle rolls to a perfect
stop. Davis is open-mouthed. Sara yells out loud.
Alright, Hawk!
SARA
She can't believe she did that, looks around,
embarrassed.
BACK TO SIMULATOR
Roger is flabbergasted.
ROGER
That's impossible.
HAWK
For a computer, maybe.
He gives Frank a signature Hawk grin.
HAWK
The Flying Brick. I like the
sound of that.
INT. DINING HALL - THAT NIGHT
Dinner. Ethan, Roger, and the young team look up as the
Waiter arrives.
WAITER
Ladies and gentlemen, from your
teammates at the table over there.
He busily hands out a tray full of Gerber baby food jars,
barely keeping a straight face.
WAITER
And some training material for you
to look over...
He hands out a stack of Curious George Goes Into Space
books. As the room erupts in applause and laughter,
Ethan and Roger turn slowly to...
Team Daedalus -clink them.
They raise their cans of Ensure and
MATCH CUT TO:
EXT. BLUFF - CLOSE ON TWO BEER BOTTLES - NIGHT
clink together.
70.
Hawk and Sara sit side by side on the hood of her '65
Mustang convertible, the Houston city lights below them,
the moon shining bright above them. He takes a sip of
his beer.
Forty percent.
SARA
HAWK
Forty percent?! That's the best
you'll give me?
SARA
(grinning seductively)
You might nail it. You might
crash and burn. The odds are
against you, Colonel.
With a twinkly smile, he puts the beer bottle on the
hood and turns to her, looking like he's about to make a
move on her. Instead, he bends down and picks up a rock
off the ground and lets it fly, hitting a telephone pole
a hundred feet away.
HAWK
(mockingly)
Forty percent.
SARA
The wind was with you.
The wind!?
HAWK
She laughs and hands him his beer.
SARA
Forty percent for you, you nail it.
Forty for me, I would've missed by
a mile.
(sips her beer)
That's why I moved out of the
astronaut program. The odds of me
getting on a shuttle were nowhere
near forty percent. But I was an
astronaut. Yes, I was.
HAWK
Damn right, you were.
They clink bottles, then toast the moon.
SARA
You don't think like that, do you.
You jumped out of planes twenty
miles up, drove rocket sleds the
speed of sound -- you're not afraid
71.
of anything.
HAWK
No, that's not true.
afraid.
Bullshit.
I've been
SARA
When.
HAWK
(thinking hard)
Well. When I was seventeen.
God, I was crazy in love with
this college girl. She was
gorgeous, a real ball of fire and
crazy in love with --
You.
SARA
(wearily)
HAWK
No. A&M's All-American defensive
end. Scott LeBeau -- man he was
six-six if he was a foot, and Gary
Cooper handsome. One night some
friends and I had a few too many
of these...
(shakes his beer
bottle)
... and we crash this big ol'
sorority cotillion, everyone all
dressed up in chiffon gowns and
Daddy's tuxedo. And there's us
looking like three hobos that just
fell off a boxcar -- and this is
at the governor's ranch, you see.
SARA
I'm getting the picture.
HAWK
So my friends see Scott LeBeau
entering the outhouse, right?
(takes a deep
breath)
Well, I did a better tackle on
that outhouse than he'd ever done
on the football field, rolled that
sucker right down an embankment
into the creek. There's screaming
and crying the whole way down -only it doesn't sound like an
All-American defensive end. It is
decidedly more feminine than that.
SARA
Oh my God, you didn't.
72.
HAWK
The love of my life, slip-sliding
away. My friends were pretty
funny guys.
SARA
What did you do?
HAWK
Ran like hell, joined the Air
Force the next morning.
She playfully shoves him.
SARA
You were afraid Scott LeBeau was
gonna kick your ass.
HAWK
Hell no, I was afraid of her.
Laughing, they stare into each other's eyes. After an
awkward pause, she makes the move, kissing him.
ON HAWK'S FACE
He's enjoying the kiss, but something is wrong. He
kindly withdraws from the kiss, then hugs her. Sara
looks quizzical. He stares over her shoulder, smiling,
his thoughts far away.
HAWK
I married her four years later.
EXT. GROUNDS - DAWN
Frank, Hawk, Tank and Jerry run as a tight-knit group,
keeping a good, strong pace.
SOMEWHERE IN TREES (OVERLOOKING GROUNDS)
The man from the bar hides in the bushes, aiming his
telephoto lens at the men, clicking off pictures.
INT. ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES - MORNING
Sara arrives to work a little late, so she adds a little
jaunt to her step.
Co-workers stare at her from their cubicles with prying,
pitying eyes as she passes. She gets a little selfconscious.
73.
What!
late.
SARA
I'm only fifteen minutes
Someone tosses her a copy of USA Today. The headline
says: "THE RIPE STUFF." Underneath is a big, grainy spy
picture of Frank, Hawk, Jerry and Tank running on the
track in their NASA sweats. They look good. Inset is an
old photo of Team Daedalus, the same one we saw in
Frank's garage.
Oh, shit.
SARA
Holding the paper, she makes a bee-line for her office.
She opens the door and goes -INSIDE HER OFFICE
where Bob Gerson is sitting in her chair.
happy.
Extra.
Extra.
He is not
GERSON
Read all about it.
SARA
Bob, I don't know how this leaked
out -GERSON
NASA is getting calls from every
tabloid and TV show in the country
asking me to verify this story.
Sara weighs this.
SARA
Why can't we verify the story?
GERSON
S.T.S.-200 is a delicate and top
secret satellite recovery. This
looks like a three-ring circus.
How do you suppose the Vice
President felt this morning when
he sat down for breakfast, opened
his paper and saw this?
He opens the USA Today; there is a full-page grainy spy
photo of Frank and Hawk, post-jog, shirts off and
sweating, looking good for 70-year-old guys... but
they're still old guys.
Sara emits a quick burst of laughter, chokes it back.
GERSON
I have to face him, Sara.
You
74.
don't.
He furiously throws his newspaper in the garbage and
leaves.
INT. HANGAR
- DAY
Inside is the shuttle simulator. It sits propped on a
frame, with stairs leading to the cockpit hatch. Eugene
Davis escorts Frank, Hawk, Jerry, Tank, Ethan and Roger,
all wearing their flight uniforms, up the stairs. A
technician opens the hatch.
DAVIS
This is a full-scale simulator of
your cabin. Except for gravity,
we're going to simulate living
conditions on board in order to
familiarize you with your new
living environment. Bon voyage.
The men enter the hatch to the shuttle.
hatch.
He shuts the
INT. SHUTTLE SIMULATOR - BATHROOM - DAY
Roger demonstrates proper urination/defecation tools and
technique for Frank, Hawk, Tank and Jerry. Roger holds
up a clear funnel, speaks in a humorless deadpan.
ROGER
This is your funnel. Attaches to
the hose here. Before starting up
the hose, you want to make sure
you have a tight seal against your
skin.
Jerry raises his hand, an impish smile on his face.
Roger looks at him, knowing the question he's about to
ask.
ROGER
Yes, one size fits all.
Jerry lowers his hand.
The others chuckle.
ROGER
Just in case, you also have a
diaper under your pressure suits.
More chuckles from our heroes.
faced.
Roger remains pokerCUT TO:
75.
SAME - LATER
The men go about the simulated mission in the shuttle:
A)
FRANK AND JERRY
runs systems check with the on-board computer.
B)
TANK
practices capturing a mock-satellite with the robotic
grappling arm.
C)
LUNCH
The men eat "space food" while they work.
CUT TO:
SAME SCENE - LATER
A call comes in.
SARA (V.O.)
(dripping with irony)
Dr. Corvin, this is Mission
Director Sara Holland.
INTERCUT WITH:
INT. CONTROL BOOTH - THAT MOMENT
A distressed Sara holds a copy of People magazine with a
posed photo of Frank, Hawk, Jerry and Tank on the cover,
all wearing their leather flight jackets with NASA caps.
SARA
I'm having what my ex would call a
Salmon Day.
FRANK
A 'Salmon Day'?
SARA
You know, when you feel like
you've been swimming uphill all
day just to get screwed in the
end? I am looking at a copy of
People magazine with a picture of
you and the boys on the cover.
You wouldn't happen to know how
this happened, would you?
Frank and Hawk laugh.
76.
FRANK
Let's see. They called me up on
Tuesday. I met with them on
Wednesday, I answered a few
questions, they took a few
photographs -SARA
(cutting him off)
Frank, you have to clear this kind
of stuff with me first. Are you
aware of the impact this is going
to have?
FRANK
I'd have to think that when you
put four old S.O.B.'s on the cover
of a magazine, it's gonna drop
magazine sales pretty bad.
The techs around Sara laugh.
She just shakes her head.
INT. SET OF "THE TONIGHT SHOW" - DAY
JAY LENO does his monologue.
JAY
Did you read this? NASA is
training four guys in their late
sixties to go on the next shuttle
mission. I'm not kidding. So
far, NASA's biggest fear is that
these guys are gonna spend the
entire launch doing 50 in the left
hand lane.
(MORE)
JAY (CONT'D)
(off light laughter)
Brand new shuttle too. They had
to make a few modifications,
though. Like putting phone books
on the seats so the astronauts can
see above the wheel...
Behind Jay, Frank, Hawk, Jerry and Tank appear from
behind the curtain, wearing their leather flight jackets.
The crowd applauds wildly. Jay thinks it's for him.
JAY
Everybody at NASA loves these
guys, they're very popular. Okay,
there have been a few complaints
from the ground crew. Apparently
these guys keep putting those 'My
grandchild is an honor student'
bumper stickers on the back of the
77.
shuttle, and the ground crew has
to keep scraping them off...
Frank eggs on the crowd with a thumbs down. The crowd
starts to heckle Jay. Frank and Tank lift up Jay,
"surprising" him, and they start to escort him off the
stage.
JAY
Stick around. We've got Sandra
Bullock, Buck Owens, and these
guys!
"TONIGHT SHOW" SET - LATER
Frank, Hawk, Tank and Jerry sit on the couch next to Jay.
JAY
Forget all this Right Stuff crap
-- let's cut to the chase. I
understand one of you is just a
machine with the chicks...
(looks at Hawk)
Gotta be you, sir.
Hawk shakes his head, points to Jerry.
JERRY
Jay, it's like I tell these
clowns, you can't just know what a
woman needs, you have to know what
a woman wants.
INT. SARA'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Watching it on TV, laughing hysterically.
JAY (V.O.)
And you, sir. Is it true that you
are a Baptist Minister?
TANK (V.O.)
That's right, my son.
JAY (V.O.)
And your name is Tank? A preacher
named Tank?
Tank rolls up his sleeve, shows his new tattoo -- a cross
with rocket exhaust coming out, headed for the stars.
The audience loves it. Sara's PHONE RINGS. She ignores
it, letting the MACHINE ANSWER. GERSON leaves an ANGRY
MESSAGE. She turns the TV VOLUME UP to drown him out.
CUT TO:
78.
EXT. OVER WATERS OVER CAPE CANAVERAL - DAY
Two NASA T-38 TRAINER JETS SCREAM by. Hawk and Roger
practicing more approaches, each in his own jet, talking
by radio.
ROGER (V.O.)
Follow me, Colonel. We're going
to come in at forty degrees.
This simulates the attitude of
the ship on glide slope.
HAWK (V.O.)
The Flying Brick...
ROGER (V.O.)
That's correct.
HAWK (V.O.)
After you, Rog.
ROGER (V.O.)
Please don't call me 'Rog.'
Roger, 'Rog.'
HAWK (V.O.)
Roger, annoyed, takes his jet in. Fighting it, he sets
the plane down for a bumpy landing... then lights the
AFTERBURNERS into another take-off roll, climbing hard
into the sky.
HAWK
Lines his jet up, humming to himself. And just to make
it interesting, does a Snap Roll with the jet at 500 feet
before taking her in for a perfect Touch & Go. He lights
the AFTERBURNERS and the JET SCREAMS skyward in a vertical
climb.
HAWK (V.O.)
Something like that?
Yeah.
ROGER (V.O.)
(impressed)
Something like that.
HAWK (V.O.)
Can I call you 'Rog' now?
Yeah.
ROGER (V.O.)
You can call me 'Rog' now.
CUT TO:
79.
INT. WEIGHTLESS ENVIRONMENT TRAINING FACILITY - DAY
The Neutral Buoyancy Lab. A giant pool where the astronauts train for weightless work.
UNDERWATER
Frank, Jerry, and Tank in cumbersome space suits, do
repairs on a mock satellite. Divers stand by alongside.
Ethan is at poolside, on headset, observing the procedure
on the video screen looking frustrated.
FRANK
The lead is connected here, across
the relay.
JERRY
You're a genius, Frank.
Frank gives the divers a thumbs up. Frank, Jerry and
Tank are lifted out of the water by cranes. Once out,
techs help them removes their helmets. Ethan walks over.
ETHAN
So the relay patch is the key?
FRANK
Plain as the nose on your face.
ETHAN
How did you by-pass the heat
exchanger?
FRANK
I didn't by-pass anything.
ETHAN
You're not being very forthcoming
on the workings of the guidance
system -FRANK
I've tried everything short of
calculus lessons to get you to
understand this thing. What do
you want me to do -- draw you a
picture, connect the dots for you?
ETHAN
Excuse me. I hold two Masters
Degrees from M.I.T., Dr. Corvin.
FRANK
I'd get my money back.
80.
JERRY
Ethan, you've been trained on a
different set of technologies.
That's all.
ETHAN
(ignoring Jerry, to
Frank)
You're compromising this mission.
I'm your backup. I am on a needto-know basis.
FRANK
You don't need-to-know shit.
I don't need a backup.
Yes, you do.
And
ETHAN
More than you know.
FRANK
(stops, turns)
What is that supposed to mean?
Ethan realizes too late that he's said too much.
looks suspicious, paranoid, furious.
Frank
FRANK
What don't I know?
(as Ethan holds his
tongue)
What don't I know?!
INT. GERSON'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER
Gerson is in a tele-conference (via video feed) with a
Suited Man appearing on a laptop computer which sits on
his desk.
SUITED MAN (V.O.)
Let me spell it out for you, Bob.
P-R spells bud-get.
Frank bursts into the room, pointing a finger at Gerson.
FRANK
You're setting me up again!
GERSON
Here's one of our astronauts now.
Frank, what a semi-pleasant
surprise.
FRANK
You sonofabitch! You had no
intention of sending me up.
81.
GERSON
Frank, I'm in the middle of
something just now.
Frank angrily slams Gerson's laptop shut, terminating the
call. Gerson smiles smugly.
GERSON
You just hung up on the head of
our program, the Vice President.
So what can I do for you, Frank?
Frank quakes with anger.
Red-faced, snorting loudly.
FRANK
You had no intention of sending me
up, did you?! You screwed me over
in '58 and you're screwing me over
now -- !
GERSON
Screwed you over -- ?
FRANK
You lied to me again. How could I
be so stupid as to make a deal
with a chronic liar?!
GERSON
Deal, Frank? You blackmailed
I didn't make any 'deal' with
But whatever you want to call
-- you lost. I don't have to
you up.
me.
you.
it
send
Frank looks confused. Gerson hands Frank a printout of a
lab report. Frank looks it over; it makes no sense to
him.
FRANK
I don't know what this shit means.
GERSON
It means someone didn't pass his
physical. One of you has cancer.
Frank goes white, tentatively turns the page over of the
lab report, sees in cruel, military typeface: "HAWKINS,
WILLIAM B." Frank's mouth goes dry.
GERSON
It's his pancreas. And it's
inoperable.
Does he know?
FRANK
82.
GERSON
Dr. Caruthers told him this
morning.
Frank shakes his head, getting angry again.
FRANK
No. I don't trust you!
bullshit!
This is
He tears up the lab report, throws the scraps on Gerson's
desk.
FRANK
I want independent tests done by
independent doctors -- not ones
you bankroll to lie for you and
print up bullshit lab results!
(catches his breath)
This is low, even by your
standards. Just to keep me from
going into space.
Gerson smiles smugly.
GERSON
Oh, that's what this drama is all
about? And this whole time I
thought it was Hawk, your friend.
But it's really your seat on the
space shuttle, isn't it? You can
rest easy, Frank. NASA is still
sending you, Jerry and Tank up on
the shuttle -- regardless of the
'deal' you and I made.
FRANK
I don't understand.
GERSON
You're front page news, Frank. A
real American hero. You've made
NASA popular all over again.
Thanks to you, they're gonna get
that juicy budget infusion they've
been drooling over. Oh, you're
going, Frank. The Vice President
insists.
Gerson opens up the laptop, prepares to reconnect.
GERSON
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to
call the head of our space program
back and apologize for the
interruption.
Like a zombie, Frank wanders out of the office.
83.
OUTSIDE GERSON'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS ACTION
Frank wanders down the corridor, lost in painful thought.
People greet him as they pass, but he doesn't hear them.
EXT. AIRCRAFT HANGAR - DUSK
Across from the space center complex. One of NASA's and
the Air Force's storage garages. High-performance
aircraft are lined up silently and eerily still, as
though waiting.
NEXT TO SRis Hawk, dressed in civilian clothes. He walks the plane
silently, deep in thought. As he ducks under the
fuselage, he sees -SARA
watching him walk the plane.
be said.
The obvious doesn't need to
HAWK
This was my Blackbird. I retired
this very airplane in '90. And
here she is.
SARA
I've never actually seen one
before.
Hawk smiles like a proud parent showing off his kid.
HAWK
SR-71. This is what a plane's
supposed to be. She's ugly on the
ground, leaks like a sieve. But
up around mach one, her seals all
expand, she dries up and leans
into the wind and goes like hell.
I took her right to the edge.
128,000 feet.
He runs his hand along the plane's skin, softly,
reverently.
HAWK
She's only happy up there, goin'
fast. She's not meant to be
sitting on the ground. That's a
lousy way to die. Sitting around,
waiting...
84.
(pauses)
Eight months. That's the best I
can do, huh?
SARA
They don't know that for sure.
There's chemo. Radiation.
HAWK
(shakes his head)
I watched my wife go out that way.
I ain't taking that road.
She nods, making sense of the other evening.
SARA
(softly)
The love of your life.
HAWK
(changing the subject)
Where the hell is the pancreas,
anyway? I don't even know what
the damn thing does beside give
you cancer.
They share a weak laugh.
HAWK
What odds would you have given us?
SARA
Better than forty.
She smiles coyly.
He kisses her and they hug.
FRANK
approaches tentatively from the other end of the hangar.
He sees Hawk and Sara break out of the hug and say a
few words. Frank stops and waits respectfully. Sara
walks away from Hawk, passing Frank.
Hi, Frank.
Sara.
SARA
FRANK
Frank approaches Hawk, can't find the words.
HAWK
I'm sorry, Frank. I know how much
this flight meant to you. Looks
like I crashed another one. I'm
sorry.
85.
Frank dreads what he has to say next.
FRANK
They still want to send us up.
Me, Jerry and Tank.
Hawk thinks on this, smiles slowly.
HAWK
Well, that's great, Frank. You
played these guys perfectly.
(off Frank's worried
look)
You said yes, right?
FRANK
I didn't say anything.
HAWK
Don't be an ass, Frank. Don't
blow it a second time -- this is
your last shot!
FRANK
This isn't easy, Hawk...
Easy?
easy.
HAWK
Don't whine to me about
FRANK
Put yourself in my shoes -HAWK
Oh no you don't. You've blamed me
for Daedalus for 40 damn years!
You're not laying this one on me!
You choke this one, it's you. All
you!
FRANK
What would you do?
HAWK
I'd leave you behind in a
heartbeat!
Frank's temper starts to cook -- which is just what Hawk
wanted.
FRANK
You would, wouldn't you?
HAWK
To go into space? Bet your ass,
boy. In a heartbeat.
Hawk turns on his heels and walks off.
He stops and
86.
spins around.
HAWK
You know what the worst day in my
life was, Frank? The day I met
you and you put the idea in my
head that I could pilot a ship
into space.
He turns and walks off.
Frank watches him go.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. VEHICLE ASSEMBLY BUILDING - NIGHT
The mammoth hangar is the height of a thirty-story
skyscraper, but we can't tell from this angle. Frank
shows his clearance badge to the SECURITY GUARDS at the
door.
GUARD
How can I help you, Colonel?
FRANK
I just wanted to go inside and
have a look.
GUARD
Everyone's left for the night,
tomorrow's roll-out, you know.
FRANK
That's okay, I want to be alone.
GUARD
Yes, sir.
(opens door)
By the way, I thought you might
find it funny: My daughter has a
photo of you on her wall next to
Leonardo DiCaprio.
FRANK
And why would I find that funny?
Frank winks, pats the guy on the shoulder.
And goes --
INT. VEHICLE ASSEMBLY PLANT - CONTINUOUS ACTION
We STAY TIGHT ON Frank as he walks across the expansive
floor, looking up at something. (NOTE: This is the
biggest enclosed space in the world, but we don't get the
sense of that yet.)
Frank sits down on the floor, props himself up against
the wall. He sticks a piece of bubble gum in his mouth,
chews, blows a bubble as he looks up at it...
87.
DISSOLVE TO:
FRANK - LATER
in the same position, only sound asleep. An enormous
MOTOR WHIRS as daylight streams across Frank's face. His
eyes squint open, and he looks over at the light, coming
from -MIGHTY CONCRETE DOORS
rolling apart, letting in a slit of light a foot wide and
thirty stories high. The light hits -SPACE SHUTTLE
sitting on its enormous roll-out platform. Rays of
sunlight play on the brand new titanium skin and
protective tiles.
She's positively gleaming in the morning sun, her fuel
tanks and solid rocket boosters dwarfing everything
around it, including -FRANK
who stares up in awe at it.
The ground crew stands by proudly, preparing for rollout. A CONSTRUCTION TECH sees Frank.
CONSTRUCTION TECH
Sir, are you here for roll-out?
No.
FRANK
He gets up and strides out of the hangar, passing through
the slowly-expanding slit of the concrete doors and onto
the crawler-way as the one MPH roll-out begins behind
him. The ground crew looks at him strangely.
INT. GERSON'S OFFICE - MORNING
Sara talks with Gerson.
I'm not going.
Frank enters the room.
FRANK
Not without Hawk.
GERSON
You're blackmailing me again,
aren't you?
88.
FRANK
No. I'll teach Ethan everything
he needs to know. But I don't go
up without Hawk.
Frank turns around and exits.
Sara.
Gerson turns slowly to
GERSON
Next idea, Miss Holland?
SARA
You know, even with the cancer,
Colonel Hawkins passed all his
physicals. There's really no
reason he can't fly the mission.
Especially with a back-up.
GERSON
Frank Corvin is going to put me in
the nut-house.
Sara holds back her smile, runs out of the room.
INT. JOHNSON SPACE CENTER - ENTRY HALL - MOMENTS LATER
Frank walks to the front door. He knows he's done the
right thing, but it hasn't brought him any joy. A
SECURITY GUARD grabs his arm. He pushes the man off,
keeps on walking.
SECURITY
Colonel Corvin, Miss Holland would
like you to wait here.
Frank stops, turns around.
breaking into a wide grin.
Sara exits an elevator,
SARA
Team Daedalus -- all of Team
Daedalus -- has a launch in 92
hours. Let's get rested and
prepped.
CUT TO:
INT. MISSION CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY
THREE TECHS, Sara, and Davis in a huddle.
looks of dreading and foreboding.
SARA
This is a problem. Somebody has
to deal with it.
Very serious,
89.
TECH #1
Don't look at me. I'm not doing
it.
TECH #2
I'm not doing it either.
Sara looks pleadingly to Davis.
DAVIS
No way. I'm not trained for this.
I'm just the flight director.
Sara winces.
INT. SUIT-UP ROOM - ANGLE ON FRANK, HAWK, TANK, AND
JERRY - AT THAT MOMENT
Across the room, in their spacesuits, holding their
helmets. A last minute helmet fitting. Sara enters,
walks over.
SARA
Jerry, can I talk to you in
private?
JERRY
Sure thing, pretty lady.
They walk over to a corner where they can have some
privacy.
JERRY
Now how can I be of service?
Sara hesitates with dread, can't look him in the eye.
SARA
It's your toupee, Jerry. You're
going to have to remove it.
What toupee?
JERRY
Sara stares at him blankly, doesn't know what to say
next. He gives her a coy wink.
JERRY
But I'll get a haircut if you
like.
STEVE MILLER's "Space Cowboy" thunders in as we...
CUT TO:
INT. TRAINING ENTRYWAY - NEXT DAY
90.
Female engineers swoon, whistling, giving high-fives
to!--!
Jerry swaggers down the hall in his blue NASA astronaut
jumpsuit, zipper down to his chest, gold chain dangling,
a Stetson on his head. He does a disco twirl and removes
his hat to reveal his shiny pate -- he has totally shaved
his head and pierced both ears.
JERRY
Come on girls, give it up for the
space cowboy!
CUT TO:
INT. READY ROOM (CAPE CANAVERAL) - NIGHT
Pre-dawn launch. Team Daedalus, Roger and Ethan go
through the final suit-up and preparations. Quiet,
thoughtful, nerves in evidence -- a pre-game, locker-room
feel.
CUT TO:
INT. MISSION CONTROL (HOUSTON)
The place is humming with activity. Engineers at their
stations, Sara flips through computer spreadsheets.
Eugene Davis barks through the checklist procedure
through his headset -- every answer coming over the
COMMUNICATOR is "GO."
DAVIS
P.P.C, Guidance, Cape Flight,
L.P.S., L.R.D...
EXT. ASTRONAUT BLOCKHOUSE - NIGHT
The doors open, Team Daedalus comes out -- to the
applause and cheers of -SMALL CROWD OF PEOPLE
standing on the other side of a cordon. The crowd is a
select one -- Frank's wife Barbara, members of Tank's
congregation, Jerry's girl friend, Roger's wife and kid,
Ethan's mother. The astronauts walk to a cordon, about
15 feet from their loved ones and shout their goodbyes.
(NOTE: The unintimate goodbye is necessary to keep the
astronauts from getting contaminated before boarding.)
91.
FRANK
(to Barbara)
Why are you so nervous?
BARBARA
(what a stupid
question)
Why am I nervous.
Husband and wife stare at each other. Barbara looks to
Frank's right, signals for Frank to look at -HAWK
He stands there, silently watching everybody else bidding
farewell to their loved ones.
The loner, he is the only one with no one to say goodbye
to, but doesn't seemed bothered.
BARBARA
You bring that man back alive,
Hawk.
HAWK
It's against my better judgement,
Barb, but if that's your wish,
I'll honor it.
They all laugh, say final goodbyes and board the NASA van.
EXT. LAUNCH PAD -B - MOMENTS LATER
The space shuttle, poised on the pad, glowing in the
beacon lights, clouds of VAPOR SNORT out as she is fueled
-- this ship is alive, waiting for them. The van stops.
The men exit and pause -- letting their eyes travel to
the top.
HAWK
Hot-damn, Sam... that's a bird.
Tank points to the side of the shuttle.
Well I'll be.
TANK
Printed on the side, the name of the new shuttle:
"DAEDALUS." The men smile in disbelief.
Nice touch.
FRANK
INT. TOP OF TOWER - WHITE ROOM - CONTINUOUS ACTION
92.
QUALLS, the launch safety officer, awaits -- giving their
pressure suits a final check. He's as nervous and
excited as they are, just not as skilled in hiding it.
QUALLS
General Corvin, General Hawkins,
welcome to Daedalus.
FRANK
We're only colonels, Mr. Qualls.
QUALLS
I'm just sayin' it like it oughtta be.
INT. SHUTTLE - CONTINUOUS ACTION
The men are brought aboard the now-vertical ship, one by
one. All business now, the techs and flight engineers
strap them in, seal their helmets, and get their oxygen
and communicators up and going.
His job done, Qualls pauses at the round hatch, his eyes
glistening, face beaming with pride.
QUALLS
You're good to go, men. See ya
back on the ground, Team Daedalus.
He slams the hatch shut. The men stare straight ahead,
listening as the BOLTS SLAM into place and the airlock
seals up. Then a deafening silence. Not on-line yet,
they sit in a moment's contemplation. Looking at one
another, realizing this is it.
FRANK
I don't know, maybe a prayer is in
order. Reverend?
TANK
I was just reciting the Shepherd's
prayer.
(beat)
Alan Shepherd's prayer.
All smile -- even Roger -- and together recite Alan
Shepherd's famous pre-launch prayer on his 1961 Mercury
flight.
TEAM DAEDALUS
Oh Lord, please don't let me fuck up.
OVERLAPS TO:
INT. MISSION CONTROL - SIMULTANEOUS ACTION
They hear.
And laugh and applaud, a great tension
93.
breaker.
DAVIS
Very appropriate, Reverend.
DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. LAUNCH PAD -B - PRE-DAWN (T-MINUS ONE MINUTE)
Not a human being in sight.
Just space shuttle Daedalus -- fuel tanks filled with 4.5
million gallons of liquid hydrogen and oxygen, breathing
steam, barely held to the gantry. Ready to go. As the
VOICE of the LAUNCH CONTROL OFFICER (LC) commences the
FINAL COUNTDOWN...
SERIES OF SHOTS
A)
INSIDE OF COCKPIT
is aglow with the instruments and screens.
B)
HAWK
performs the final preparations and checks.
C)
CAPCOM
continues his monotonous checklist of NASA threeletter acronyms.
D)
INSIDE HOUSTON MISSION CONTROL
Davis's check is complete. He settles into the
flight director's chair, watching the big screen with
Daedalus on it. Sara puts her print-out aside.
LC
T-Minus 15 seconds.
The room goes still. This remains the most tense moment
of any mission -- no one has forgotten
Challenger
around here.
10...
LC
EXT. ROOF OF CAPE HEADQUARTERS - THAT MOMENT
The gallery of family, friends and officials joins in the
countdown... Silent, awestruck.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
94.
FLASH TO each of the men of Daedalus. Faces serious,
anticipating. Hawk's is more like a kid's -- awaiting
his ride on Space Mountain. Frank's shows just a hint of
anxiety...
LC (V.O.)
9, 8, 7... ignition sequence
begin. We have main engine start.
ANGLE FROM ROOF OF CAPE HEADQUARTERS - THAT MOMENT
The night sky is lit up for miles as the ENGINES ROAR to
life. The SHUTTLE SHUDDERS from the force, "twanging in"
40 inches towards its liquid hydrogen fuel tank.
LC (V.O.)
3, 2, 1... and lift off. Lift off
of space shuttle Daedalus, and
S.T.S.-200.
And the mighty ship slowly, majestically rises, shaking
off her tethers. Shuttle Daedalus is on her way.
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
Thunderous applause -- but all eyes remain riveted to the
screen as she clears the tower.
SARA
Go get 'em, guys.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Shoved hard into their seats as they go from 0 to Mach 1.
Hawk war whoops with delight as the shuttle rolls over in
her inverted flight attitude.
FRANK
Houston, this is Daedalus.
program.
Roll
CAPCOM (V.O.)
Roger roll, Daedalus.
Omigod...!!!
JERRY
TANK
(laughing under
the G's)
Thank you, God.
CAPCOM (V.O.)
Daedalus, you are go at throttle up.
95.
FRANK
Roger, go at throttle up.
He fights the G's to turn to look at Hawk -- who is just
waiting for the command.
FRANK
Pull the trigger, Hawk.
Hawk grins, and throws the throttle up.
CAPCOM (V.O.)
Stand by for separation of
S.R.B.'s...
FRANK
Roger, Houston. Standing by... 3,
2, 1...
A THUNDEROUS EXPLOSION...
EXT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
The SOLID ROCKET BOOSTERS IGNITE, FIRING DAEDALUS out of
the stratosphere and into HYPER-SONIC speed.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
FRANK
S.R.B.s are gone.
CAPCOM (V.O.)
Roger, Daedalus. You are negative
return.
FRANK
Roger, Houston. Negative return.
(to Hawk)
We're a dot.
EXT. PAD -B - THAT MOMENT
Darkness returns. Space shuttle Daedalus is now just a
tiny pinpoint of light, high in the pre-dawn sky -heading east towards the rising sun.
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. SPACE SHUTTLE DAEDALUS - T-PLUS
17,100 MPH, in Earth orbit.
HAWK
MINUTES
96.
Houston, this is Daedalus. Do
we have a go for orbit OPS?
CAPCOM (V.O.)
Roger, Daedalus. You are go for
orbit OPS. Good work, guys.
They remove their helmets and watch them float away.
Frank unbuckles and pushes off from his seat, followed by
the others. They float about the cabin, weightless,
tumbling, goofing like kids. Except Ethan: he's all
professionalism and seriousness.
FRANK
stares THROUGH the window on one side at the vivid blue
and white earth beneath him, small, tangible. Smiling,
elated, he looks over his shoulder at -HAWK
staring THROUGH window on other side. Hawk looks at the
moon -- and it is huge and bright. Hawk looks back at
Frank.
HAWK
It was worth the wait.
Yeah.
It was.
Hawk holds out his hand.
Thanks, Frank.
FRANK
After a beat, Frank grabs it.
HAWK
I owe you one.
They reel each other in, the handshake becoming a
meaningful hug between two old friends. Roger floats up
to Hawk.
ROGER
Not a bad take-off, for a rookie.
You're over now.
(off Hawk's puzzled
look)
Over the edge. You're in space.
Welcome to the club.
Big grin, big slap on the back.
MID-DECK - LATER
Jerry tries to prepare himself a snack, fumbling with
the galley equipment. Frustrated as his afternoon snack
takes flight in the weightless compartment. He attempts
97.
to retrieve it.
ETHAN
Let's get ready, everyone, we have
a live global broadcast in two
minutes.
CUT TO:
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
Frank and the rest of the team can be seen on a giant TV
monitor. Eugene Davis, Sara, Barbara Corvin and WALTER
CRONKITE stand by.
TECH
5... 4... 3... 2...
He waves his finger down, a signal to Cronkite.
CRONKITE
Good morning, Colonel.
When Frank speaks, his lips are curled around his gums
and he sounds odd, like he has no teeth.
FRANK (V.O.)
Good morning, Walter.
CRONKITE
Well I guess the question on
everyone's mind is: how has age
affected your ability to command
this shuttle so far?
FRANK (V.O.)
As you and I know, Walter, age is
a very overrated factor in
determining one's capabilities...
As Frank talks, a pair of dentures floats by, between
Frank and the video camera. He reaches out and grabs
them.
FRANK (V.O.)
I've been looking everywhere for
these.
A tense moment at Mission Control, until Frank uncurls
his lips from his teeth and grins. Whooping laughter
from the entire room, including Sara, Eugene, and
Cronkite. Barbara, Frank's wife, covers her face in
embarrassment.
No.
BARBARA
I didn't just see that.
98.
INT. SHUTTLE - MOMENTS LATER
Frank and the crew stare into the video camera.
FRANK & CREW
So long, everyone.
The camera's light goes from green to red.
himself in Frank's face, mighty pissed.
Ethan puts
ETHAN
What the hell was that?
FRANK
'That' was a joke.
ETHAN
Not funny. Half the world was
watching us, we represent the best
America has to offer. Why can't
you act your age?
FRANK
Lighten up, peachfuzz. Take a
moment and enjoy yourself, you're
in space.
INT. MISSION CONTROL (HOUSTON)
In the far corner, Gerson and General Vostov huddle in
conference.
Vostov is sweating nervously.
GERSON
Four hours to intercept.
right on schedule.
We're
VOSTOV
That's not what I'm worried about.
Relax.
them.
GERSON
Our man is up there with
ANGLE - FLIGHT DIRECTOR'S CONSOLE
Eugene Davis monitors the situation. Sara, on headset,
talks to the payload engineer on the floor.
SARA
Okay, Daedalus's got Ikon on the
scopes. We should have a visual
momentarily.
99.
DAVIS
Stand by for terminal initiation
burn.
CUT TO:
INT. SPACE SHUTTLE COCKPIT
Hawk and Roger gingerly guide the shuttle towards an
object on the radar screen. Work mode now, the crew is
getting set to grab Ikon.
HAWK
Range 5,000 meters.
TANK AND JERRY
In the crew cabin, operating the capture control.
stare at a tiny dot on the video guidance screen.
sweats it.
Roger, Hawk.
here.
They
Tank
JERRY
We've got a visual
HAWK
Standing by for a 15 second burn.
FRANK
Let's go ahead and deploy the arm.
Tank operates a joystick, focusing intently on the
screen. No smiling and joking now.
EXT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
The shuttle's grappling arm unfolds from the open cargo
bay.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
TANK
Deploying the arm. 2200 feet,
dead center. Good driving up
there, Hawk.
FRANK
Let's light 'em up.
Hawk cranes his neck to see the satellite growing nearer.
HAWK
Stand by. T.I. burn in four,
three, two, one...
100.
He hits a glowing switch. The shuttle's orbital
maneuvering ENGINES FIRE, slowing them down on the line
to satellite Ikon.
HAWK
Hello, Ikon. And how are we
feeling today?
ROGER
Activating secondary radar and
floods.
Roger flips two switches.
EXT. SATELLITE IKON - THAT MOMENT
The shuttle hits Ikon with a flood light. Suddenly, like
an origami flower unfolding into a dragon, the satellite
slowly transforms into something very menacing looking.
It morphs and grows, modules coming out of modules. The
solar panels fold back like the ears of an attacking
dogs. It slowly rotates to face the shuttle.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Frank stares through the bay window.
open.
Dear God...
His mouth drops
FRANK
Roger hears SOMETHING on the RADAR.
ROGER
Holy shit, this thing's trying to
get tone on us!
ETHAN
What are you talking about?
HAWK
It's painting a target on us. It
thinks we're a bogie. Kill the
radar.
Roger flips OFF the RADAR.
They wait nervously.
EXT. SATELLITE IKON - THAT MOMENT
It completes its rotation, facing the shuttle. We can
see painted on the side of Ikon the faded letters
"C.C.C.P."
101.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
A tense beat passes.
window.
We're okay.
They all stare through the cockpit
ROGER
JERRY
No wonder the damn thing's orbit
is decaying. It's gotta weigh 50
tons.
FRANK
Fire the retros, Hawk.
(into headset)
Houston, Daedalus. Do you see
what we see?
CAPCOM (V.O.)
Roger, Daedalus. We're studying
it from here. Stand by for a
decision.
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
Davis, in deep thought, watches Ikon on the screen along
with everyone else in Mission Control.
DAVIS
Does that look like a
communications satellite to you,
Sara?
SARA
(turns to Vostov)
General, what kind of
modifications have your people
made here?
DAVIS
There's just so much stress that
grappling arm can take.
Vostov stumbles.
GERSON
It's within operational limits.
Tell Frank he can latch on.
CUT TO:
INT. SPACE SHUTTLE - PAYLOAD CAPTURE BAY
Frank stares out at the cockpit windows, mesmerized by
Ikon.
102.
FRANK
That is the damnedest thing I ever
saw.
JERRY
It must be fitted with some kind
of self-defense mechanism. The
radar must have activated it.
FRANK
Can you grab it, Tank?
TANK
Yeah. I can reconfigure. I'm
just worried about the mass.
FRANK
I'm worried the damn thing's gonna
get pissed off again.
JERRY
Tank, you're gonna have to latch
on without any radar assist.
TANK
Tank's gonna have to do what?
FRANK
I don't know about this.
ETHAN
The objective of this mission is
the restoration of this satellite.
Let's get on with it.
FRANK
I'm not getting my crew killed -and that includes you.
(into communicator)
Houston, Daedalus. We're still
standing by.
CAPCOM (V.O.)
Daedalus, this is Houston. You
have a go for capture.
FRANK
Roger, Houston. We copy. Okay,
guys, let's grab it and have a
look.
EXT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Hawk has maneuvered the shuttle to within 10 feet -- the
grappling arm extended.
103.
INT. SHUTTLE COCKPIT - THAT MOMENT
Roger turns to Hawk.
ROGER
Is he as good as you say he is?
Tank?
HAWK
He's da man.
Tank is in The Zone.
precision.
He moves the arm with robotic
ETHAN
Drifting left, Tank!
far!
That's too
TANK
Hail Mary, full of grace, holy
shit! I got it!
EXT. SATELLITE - THAT MOMENT
The grappling arm contacts the satellite, and locks on.
HAWK
You da man, Tank.
I da man.
High fives all around.
TANK
Even Ethan is impressed.
INT. AIRLOCK - LATER
Frank, Ethan and Jerry do a final hook-up in their space
suits and MMUs (Manned Maneuvering Units). Roger looks
them all over, nods his approval.
ROGER
Man, you boys look sharp.
He exits the airlock. The SEAL on the door HISSES as it
opens and they float into -EXT. SPACE - CONTINUOUS ACTION
DAVIS (V.O.)
(over radio)
Welcome to space, Frank. You've
waited a while for this.
FRANK
Only forty years.
104.
They rip around like George Jetson.
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
Everyone watches Frank jet around the satellite in his
MMU, laughing.
FRANK
This feels kinda like that '43
Buick you used to drive, Gene.
little slow around the curves,
brakes don't work for shit.
A
JERRY
All right, cowboys, let's herd 'em
up. We do have a job here, you
know.
And they approach Satellite Ikon. Jerry latches his MMU
to the side of the satellite next to the panel. Ethan
hovers nearby.
EXT. IKON - LATER
Frank and Ethan float inside a long, narrow cylindrical
compartment inside the satellite; they are deep into the
repair. Several control panel plates float freely, the
circuit patch boards exposed. Frank throws a switch
inside a control panel. Pinpoint lights fade on inside
the compartment.
FRANK
Okay, we've got power now.
have a look at the brains.
Let's
Frank goes to open a new access panel with his cordless
drill.
Frank.
panel.
ETHAN
I don't think that's the
Ethan is below Frank, couldn't get to Frank's access
panel in the cramped quarters if he wanted to.
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
Gerson and Vostov watch the goings-on anxiously.
EXT. IKON - THAT MOMENT
With the cordless drill Frank unscrews the last sheet
metal screw, removing an access panel. In the shadows of
the compartment, Frank sees a long cylindrical object.
105.
He aims a penlight at it. Its tip is bullet-shaped, the
tail disappears into darkness.
FRANK
Abort activity.
JERRY
What is it, Frank?
ETHAN
Frank, listen to me -FRANK
I said, abort activity!
CUT TO:
INT. SHUTTLE AIR-LOCK - MOMENTS LATER
In decompression. They remove their helmets.
confused, and furious.
Frank is
FRANK
Ethan, what the hell is going on
here? What is this damn thing?
ETHAN
A Russian Communications
satellite, Colonel.
FRANK
Bullshit! You think I don't know
a nuclear launch platform when I
see it?! Why the hell are we
helping the Russians put a missile
silo back into orbit?
ETHAN
You're some kind of genius, you
figure it out.
Frank shoves Ethan in the chest hard.
into the bulkhead.
He flies backwards
ETHAN
You're only here as a publicity
stunt. You got what you wanted,
you're in space. Now finish the
mission!
Frank looks duped and unhappy about it.
CUT TO:
INT. MISSION CONTROL - LATER
106.
Davis, Sara, Gerson and Vostov look up at Frank on the
video screen.
Okay, Frank.
line.
DAVIS
This is a secure
FRANK (V.O.)
You have good reason not to want
this bird to fall, Gene. It has
six armed nuclear warheads
onboard.
Davis turns to Gerson, incredulous.
DAVIS
What's he talking about?
Gerson looks as incredulous as everyone else.
GERSON
I have no idea.
(to Vostov)
General, is there something you'd
like to tell us?
At first Vostov looks betrayed, then faces Sara and
Davis.
VOSTOV
Ikon is a relic from the cold war.
It has floated dead in space ever
since the Soviet Union fell.
There are six missiles onboard
targeted at strategic American
installations. All, most
regretably, in large metropolitan
areas. If Ikon goes off-line it
will assume that there has been a
catastrophe and will initiate
launch on its own.
The silence is deafening.
SARA
You picked a helluva time for a
confession, General.
GERSON
(indignant)
Those are our men up there. This
is a treaty violation. A big one.
VOSTOV
(under his breath)
You bastard.
107.
FRANK (V.O.)
You know, it's really touching,
Bob -- your concern for our safety
and all. While you're at it,
maybe you could ask the General
how my guidance system for SkyLab
ended up on this six-gun.
Gerson squirms.
VOSTOV
It was stolen by the KGB from Mr.
Gerson's personal files.
Sara and Davis look at Gerson, shocked.
aghast.
Gerson acts
GERSON
This is all new to me.
FRANK (V.O.)
You'd hook us on to this bastard,
put it back into orbit fully
armed, and keep it a secret just
to save your own ass?
DAVIS
People, we have a real problem to
deal with. We don't have time for
this now.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Frank looks morose.
Hawk kills the transmit switch.
HAWK
Huddle. We got a big-ass problem.
We're locked into a 20-megaton
hydrogen bomb going 17,000 miles
an hour.
FRANK
Jerry, how high can we send this
shitheap? Can we get it into deep
space?
JERRY
With three Payload Assist rockets?
Just. Maybe. I don't know.
The "AIRLOCK OPEN" light blinks, accompanied by a BUZZER.
FRANK
What the hell's that?
Hawk floats to the side window, sees Ethan, in the MMU,
floating towards the satellite, towing the Payload Assist
108.
Modules (three four-foot-long rockets strapped to an
aluminum pallet) with a tether. Frank furiously shouts
into the communicator.
FRANK
Ethan, what are you doing?!
ETHAN (V.O.)
Your job, Frank. I'm putting Ikon
back into geo-sync orbit.
FRANK
You don't know what you're doing,
Ethan! Get back here!
(on no response)
Ethan -- !?
EXT. IKON - THAT MOMENT
Ethan, propelling himself towards Ikon, flicks OFF his
RADIO, cutting off Frank. He reaches Ikon, latching his
MMU to the side of the satellite.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Frank goes to the airlock door.
JERRY
Frank, he jammed the airlock door.
FRANK
Open the panel and override it!
EXT. IKON - THAT MOMENT
Ethan unbuckles the rockets and removes one. The other
two float freely next to him in space. He starts locking
the rocket in place on a circuited bracket on the belly
of the satellite.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Frank talks into the communicator.
FRANK
Ethan! Do not lock-on the P.A.M.
rockets, do you read me!?
(urgent, to Jerry)
How long?
JERRY
I almost have it, Frank.
109.
EXT. IKON - THAT MOMENT
Ethan locks the first P.A.M. rocket in place. As he
clamps it down, it suddenly FIRES a SHORT POWERFUL BURST
-- The satellite lurches on the shuttle's arm, twisting
it, heading right towards the shuttle.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
The SATELLITE CRASHES into the BULKHEAD with an ENORMOUS
BOOM! The bracing and shelving collapses under the
weight and on top of Roger. He is slammed to the floor,
head bleeding badly.
Pandemonium. Pressure leak starts, oxygen escapes, a
fire in the aft crew compartment. Team Daedalus reacts,
all their actions drilled, they attack the situation
swiftly.
TANK
Roger's hurt mid-deck!
bad!
Bleeding
FRANK
He's yours, Tank!
JERRY
We got a fire in here!
Coming in!
HAWK
As he floats by the window hatch, fighting the smoke, he
glances outside -- and freezes in horror:
HAWK
Oh shit!!!
(shouting)
We lost Ikon and Ethan!
SATELLITE IKON
has bounced off the shuttle and is falling towards Earth.
It is taking the shuttle's broken retractor arm and
Ethan, in MMU, with it. It moves at what looks to be
about 2 mph. It jetisons six panels in unison, leaving
debris in its wake.
ETHAN (V.O.)
(over radio)
Help me!!
Hawk flies over to Frank, sucking on an oxygen regulator.
110.
FRANK
(as Hawk nods)
Tank! Contain the situation!
Hawk and I are going out.
Frank and Hawk reach the airlock door. Jerry works
frantically on the door's control panel.
Hurry up!
FRANK
We're losing them!
The airlock door opens.
Hawk and Frank hurry in.
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
Pandemonium here, too. Engineers return to their
stations. Sara watches in horror as the satellite drifts
away from Daedalus.
ENGINEER
Range 200 meters. It's
accelerating, Miss Holland.
SARA
They're gonna lose it.
INT. AIRLOCK - THAT MOMENT
Hawk and Frank finish their suit-up.
the MMUs and strap them on.
They fall back into
Hawk hyperventilates the pure oxygen, trying to replace
the nitrogen in his blood with pure O2.
FRANK
How long till Ikon goes off-line?
JERRY
Those missiles are heating up
right now. You got five minutes,
but by that time it'll be out of
your range.
HAWK
Anything else you want to know?
Blow the seal!
The AIRLOCK SEAL BLOWS.
FRANK
Hawk and Frank jet out --
INTO SPACE
FIRING their MMUs' nitrogen JETS towards the fleeing
satellite, side-by-side. Ikon is about two hundred feet
111.
away.
FRANK
Latch-on Starboard. On my signal,
fire all jets.
They split up.
the satellite.
Frank latches his MMU on to one side of
Hawk latches on to the other.
Fire!
FRANK
The JETS on the two MMU's FIRE in unison, nitrogen vapor
spraying out. This is a tough battle, but they're
winning, gradually slowing the satellite's fall. Hawk
glances at a readout on the MMU: "NITROGEN FUEL AT TEN
PERCENT."
HAWK
I'm at ten percent, Frank.
FRANK
Don't let it get past five or
we're not getting back to the
ship.
They both release their fingers from the jet triggers.
They look up towards the shuttle for a reference. They
have stopped the satellite.
She's static.
HAWK
FRANK
Houston, we've arrested the fall.
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
A collective exhale, a collective cheer.
DAVIS
Attaboy, Frank.
EXT. IKON - THAT MOMENT
Frank hovers over Ethan, still in his MMU, pinned in by
the damaged grappling arm. Frank releases the arm,
pushes it away and peers inside Ethan's face-plate, sees
movement.
He's out.
FRANK
HAWK
Throw me the other payload assist
modules. I'll hook them up while
112.
you bring Johnny Quest back to the
ship.
Frank looks at the empty pallet... then into space, sees
the two PAM rockets floating away, irretrievable.
FRANK
We got a problem. We only have
one rocket.
JERRY (V.O.)
One P.A.M.'s not gonna get this
thing into orbit, Frank! Without
active course correction the damn
thing'll go in a circle like a
boat with one oar in the water!
Hawk looks at the satellite, sees that two of the solar
panels are crumpled like tin foil.
HAWK
(to Frank)
You got another problem.
Frank looks over, sees the broken panels.
FRANK
Shit. Even if we do get her up,
she can't power herself with two
broken panels.
Frank looks down at Earth, sighs, flustered, defeated.
HAWK
Bring the kid back.
care of this.
Let me take
FRANK
And how exactly are you gonna take
care of this, professor? You're a
pilot.
Hawk propels over to a panel on the satellite, pops it
open.
Stand back!
HAWK
Blowing solar panels!
FRANK
Hawk, what are you -- ?!
He's interrupted by a MUFFLED EXPLOSION as the giant
solar panels blow off. Frank stares at Hawk,
dumbfounded, but he knows what Hawk's got planned.
HAWK
Throw me your auxiliary O2 module.
113.
Frank won't.
Can't.
No.
FRANK
HAWK
I love you, Frank, but why do you
always have to be such a killjoy?
(beat)
You only got one rocket. This
damn thing ain't gonna steer
itself. You need a pilot.
(as he tilts his head
at the moon)
Besides, you ever seen a prettier
moon?
Frank looks at the moon.
JERRY (V.O.)
What's he talking about, Frank?
They ignore Jerry.
FRANK
We're a quarter-million miles
away. You'll never make it.
HAWK
Sure I will. It'll be just like
hitting a baseball to the moon.
All I gotta do is get myself
halfway there, the moon's
gravity's gonna do the rest. I'll
fire these things into deep space
and let 'em self-destruct.
Frank thinks long and hard. Finally, he detaches his
auxiliary O2 tank, tosses it to Hawk. He rips off
Ethan's, too, tosses it over. Hawk clips them onto his
MMU.
HAWK
Somebody's gotta be first in every
race. Guess it had to be me this
time.
FRANK
Like always, dammit.
Frank pulls Ethan out of his MMU.
INT. MISSION CONTROL - MOMENTS LATER
All rapt by the sight on screen -- Hawk setting the
payload assist module, talking to Tank.
114.
TANK
Pitch should be set at 060
degrees.
HAWK (V.O.)
Roger, 060.
INT. CREW CABIN - THAT MOMENT
The airlock door opens. Frank floats into the cabin from
the airlock, holding Ethan. Jerry is in Frank's face
immediately.
JERRY
You can't let him do this.
There's gotta be another way!
FRANK
There isn't. I'll explain later.
(beat)
What's our status here?
JERRY
(shocked at Frank)
The orbital maneuvering engines
were destroyed in the fire.
Computer guidance is gone, and we
lost a few heat tiles.
How's Roger?
FRANK
JERRY
Concussion.
(hesitates)
He's out of action, Frank. You're
gonna have to pilot this bird in.
Frank swallows hard.
He looks over at Tank.
TANK
Don't look at me. I haven't flown
anything bigger than a Cessna in
thirty years.
They hear Hawk's rich LAUGHTER over the RADIO.
EXT. SHUTTLE - HAWK
climbs into Ethan's vacant MMU, straps in, still
laughing. The moon hangs overhead, feels so close you
could reach out and grab it.
HAWK
(laughing)
Hey, Frank, it's starting to look
115.
like I got the better end of this
deal.
FRANK (V.O.)
Quit laughing, you dummy. You're
using up oxygen.
HAWK
Alright. Let's shoot this baby to
the moon!
INT. SHUTTLE - ON FRANK
He flicks up a safety guard on a control panel and hovers
his finger over a trigger. A poignant, sardonic grin
overcomes him.
FRANK
I'm gonna countdown to one.
One!
FRANK AND HAWK (V.O.)
Frank hits the button.
A bright light -- the P.A.M. IGNITES.
begins to quake, then streaks away.
The satellite
EXT. SPACE
Hawk's head arcs back as he and the satellite accelerate
to the moon, which is looming large ahead. Hawk's war
whoop can barely be heard over the ROAR of the ENGINE.
He makes course corrections with pulses from the nitrogen
jets.
ON SPACE SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Pin-drop silence. Frank watches through the window.
Hawk getting smaller, heading right for the moon. The
PAM burns out (normal). Quiet.... then -HAWK (V.O.)
(singing, over radio)
Fly me to the moon and let me play
among the stars...
STATIC CRACKLES as his voice transmission gets weaker.
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. MISSION CONTROL -
AM
Sara watches the trajectory screen at the front of the
room. Drained -- exhausted mentally and physically. The
116.
situation is serious. Davis comes out of a huddle with
flight controllers, and motions Sara to join him at an
unoccupied station.
DAVIS
Ikon has left our gravitational
field. Hawk was able to launch
the missiles into deep space.
She nods slowly, a tear swelling up in her eye.
SARA
How's Daedalus?
DAVIS
She's a damaged ship. They're
gonna have to reenter the
atmosphere, find the correct glide
slope, and put her down with no
power and no computer.
SARA
That's impossible.
DAVIS
Well, it's never been done. The
only two pilots alive that could
even think about it are Roger and
Hawk. Roger's wounded and
Hawk's...
Sara shuts down emotions and is all business now.
SARA
Let's get them in as close as we
can and abort the landing.
They'll have to bail out. What's
the survival probability?
DAVIS
Twenty percent. At best. But
it's zero if they try to set her
down. The ship's dead. She might
not even glide with the structural
damage.
SARA
Twenty's better than zero.
She places her headset back on, goes back to work.
CUT TO:
INT. SPACE SHUTTLE DAEDALUS - LATER
The men go about preparations for reentry in silence.
Full pressure suits, attached to their parachutes. Frank
117.
eases the injured Roger into his, Tank helps Ethan.
are helpless, look like children being dressed by a
parent.
Both
Tank and Jerry retract the drag chute arm that will
deploy under the shuttle's wing to release them when they
jump.
INT. SHUTTLE - COCKPIT
Frank sits at the controls, warning lights blinking
everywhere, reading a thick operations manual. Tank
makes his way up.
You all right?
Frank nods.
TANK
Tank looks compassionate.
TANK
You gonna be able to do this?
FRANK
I don't know. I never imagined
having to without Hawk.
He exhales a big sigh.
pulls out...
Tank reaches into his pocket,
HULA GIRL
from the dash of his B-50 in 1958.
He sticks it on the instrument display panel, and she
starts to dance. Frank looks at Tank like he's crazy.
FRANK
You saved that thing?
Daedalus.
Davis.
CAPCOM (V.O.)
Stand by for Eugene
DAVIS (V.O.)
Frank, the judgement here is to go
for California. We're gonna get
you as close as we can to Edwards.
Now you're still inverted. And
you're flying tail first.
Ordinarily, we'd do a de-orbit
burn to right her -FRANK
-- but we don't have an engine to
do that with.
118.
DAVIS (V.O.)
You're gonna have to jostle her a
little -- bringing her around with
your speed and a little gravity.
Go easy, though. You're still at
17,000 miles per hour.
Frank eases the stick over and around. She's not very
responsive. He gives it a pull, and the ship snap-rolls,
and begins shaking violently.
Whoaaaa, shit!
Easy, Frank.
jet.
FRANK
DAVIS (V.O.)
She's not a fighter
Frank taps on the rudder pedals and pulls hard on the
stick until the horizon changes. Earth is below him now,
instead of over his head. He lets out the breath he's
been holding.
FRANK
Okay, we're righted.
INT. MISSION CONTROL
Not a small amount of shock on the faces.
the breath he was holding.
Davis lets out
DAVIS
That's a good start.
INTERCUT WITH Frank.
Frank looks at the altimeter -- 400,000 feet.
FRANK
Houston, we are at entry
interface.
DAVIS
Roger, Frank. You're gonna punch
in here in 15 seconds. I'm gonna
lose you till you hit the
stratosphere. Frank, you've shed
some tiles. She's gonna heat up
on you.
FRANK
Roger, Houston.
DAVIS
10 seconds. Frank, you've got the
procedure. It's not optimum, but
I want all you guys home.
119.
Understood?
We copy.
FRANK
Daedalus out.
DAVIS
Good luck, Frank.
(to engineers)
Okay, folks. Here we go.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Frank grabs the stick, glancing over at Tank.
FRANK
You wanna pray now, Rev?
TANK
What the hell you think I've been
doing?
Tank sees the worry and concentration in Frank's face and
smiles.
TANK
What would Hawk do?
Frank shakes his head. He's not Hawk. The shuttle
begins to bounce, entering our atmosphere. And heat up.
With no orbital maneuvering engines, they're coming in
more than 50 percent faster than they should. And the
ride is about 100 percent more bumpy. Frank talks into
his communicator. His voice shaking from the
turbulence... at the very least.
FRANK
It's gonna be a very steep dive so
we don't overshoot. I'm gonna
have to pull a couple very tight
turns to slow her down -- last one
at 13,000. At ten, we'll be over
California. I want everybody up
and clipped then. I'm blowing the
hatch at 5,000 and out we go.
Ethan and Roger first, make sure
they clear the wing. Everybody
got that?
They all affirm. And Frank pushes the nose over into a
steep dive. DAEDALUS GROANS in response. Her airframe
was not designed for this.
EXT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Tiles flake away, she's heating up to 2,000 degrees.
120.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
Agony in the faces. The ship bounces wildly, anything
not locked down in steel flies about the cabin. The hula
girl dances madly.
Come on, baby.
FRANK
Hold it together.
Frank's knuckles are white, holding the stick, jamming
the unresponsive rudders. First turn, over Japan, 50
miles up. She's heating up to 2500 now. And they're
feeling it inside, the men sweating like crazy. The
AIRFRAME is SCREECHING in protest.
ROGER
That's too steep, Frank!!
gonna fall apart on you!!
She's
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
They track the ship, unable to communicate.
TRAJECTORY ENGINEER
Altitude 30 miles, over Guam.
EXT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
The skin's over 3000 now, the left wing shaking its
rivets.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
It's an oven. Frank has to wipe the sweat away from his
eyes to see. He tries to level off, but she won't
respond. He fights, and curses it. Nothing. He stops,
thinking, what would Hawk do?
... Then throws the stick over -- a major, and unnatural
bank. Then banks it right back across, zig-zagging to
slow it down. Ethan screams in protest, at the same
pitch as the BENDING METAL.
But Roger nods. This will work. Frank pulls one last
time, and they bank into their turn, heading south, over
Hawaii.
FRANK
That's it, baby. One more turn.
Come on, line me up. Line me
up...
Frank battles with the stick like the Old Man and the Sea
fighting the Great Fish. His face shows a warrior's
121.
calm.
The SHIP levels off at 10 miles, shaking and RATTLING
like a '55 Chevy on a dirt road, and turns for home. And
Frank's agonized grimace eases.
INT. MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
BURSTS of STATIC.
CAPCOM
He's trying to call, sir.
DAVIS
He's fried his antenna.
Trajectory, where is he?
TRAJECTORY
He's on final. But he is way too
hot. He's gonna overshoot to
Colorado at this rate.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
The moment of calm is gone.
35,000.
TANK
We're going way too fast.
Looking ahead, cloud and marine layer at the California
coast.
TANK
We can't bail out at Mach 2,
Frank.
FRANK
I'm gliding at 22 degrees. We can
slow down some, but the most we
can hope for is Mach 1. That, or
we go in 1,000 miles past.
Your call.
TANK
The decision. The shuttle feels like it could break up
at any moment. The cloud cover looms ahead as they drop
rapidly.
Come up on 10.
Everybody up!
TANK
FRANK
Hook on!
He begins to weave the shuttle in long back and forth
122.
turns -- trying to slow her down.
MISSION CONTROL - THAT MOMENT
Horror on the faces.
DAVIS
No, Frank, no...
SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
7,000 feet.
In the clouds.
Stand by.
Mach 1.
FRANK
Okay, Tank.
Clip on.
TANK
What about you?
FRANK
I just need a visual so I can line
her up on Death Valley, and I'm
out. Blowing the hatch!
He throws a switch, the EXPLOSIVE BOLTS BLOW, and the 600
MPH WIND HOWLS through Daedalus.
IN CREW CABIN
Jerry muscles the drag chute arm into place, and clips
Roger in.
You ready?
Yeah.
JERRY
ROGER
Jerry lifts him up, and shoves him out on the arm,
keeping him clear of the wobbling wing.
One gone!
JERRY
Jerry shoves Ethan forward, smiles as he lets him fly.
Two gone!
JERRY
And the clouds dissolve beneath them. Looking back, they
can see two chutes opened, floating gently down.
Get out now!
FRANK
123.
Looking ahead, Frank can see they're too high for
Edwards, too low to overshoot a desert oasis community of
tract homes in the distance. The shuttle is on the line
to crash right into it.
Frank's decision is instantaneous. He's staying with it.
He turns around to see Jerry and Tank, pausing at the
hatchway.
FRANK
What the hell are you waiting for?
They unclip simultaneously.
JERRY
We're a team, Frank.
Go, dammit!
FRANK
That's an order!
We're staying.
TANK
Frank throws the stick over, plunging them down.
Whatever momentum he lost, he's got it all back now. A
normal 22 degree descent is now 50. They're heading in
like a missile.
Airspeed?
500!
FRANK
TANK
Pull it up!
Frank holds the dive, seeing -TWO FIGHTER ESCORTS
on either side.
FIGHTER (V.O.)
Daedalus, this is Recover Five.
You're way too hot. Recommend
abort -- Abort now!
Frank levels it off.
FRANK
Negative, Recover. I'm taking her
in.
410.
TANK
Here comes the runway.
No problem...
FRANK
124.
Just like Hawk in the simulator, he hums to himself,
totally in his element, a look of peace overcomes him.
FRANK
... you just gotta tap the brakes.
INT. AIR FORCE F- - THAT MOMENT
The PILOT watches in disbelief as the shuttle's nose
pitches up.
PILOT
Shit, he's lost it! Mayday,
Mayday!!
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
The STALL ALARM is WAILING.
go.
The left wing is about to
FRANK
Call my airspeed.
TANK
350, 310, 280 -- she's stalling,
Frank! You're gonna go over!
Drop the nose!
Speed!?
215!
FRANK
TANK
Drop the nose!
FRANK
Whattaya say we drop the nose?
10, 5, 2, 1... touchdown. She's wobbly, bouncing,
leaning hard right with the damaged left wing. Frank
stamps on the brakes as the drag chute opens -- and she
levels off, a landing almost identical to Hawk's in the
simulator.
INT. MISSION CONTROL (HOUSTON)
Watching the shuttle roll gently to a stop at the far end
of the runway. Barbara watches nervously.
Wheels stop.
FRANK (V.O.)
Daedalus is home.
They rise as one, cheering wildly. Barbara bursts out
crying. Sara grabs the woman and holds her tight. Davis
sighs.
125.
DAVIS
I'm getting too old for this shit.
ON GERSON
He hesitates for a moment, then forces a smile and claps
his hands disingenuously.
BACK TO SCENE
The media rushes back into the room.
Davis makes his way through the room shaking hands. He
sees Sara staring at the screen, crying. He heads for
her. Sara puts an arm on his shoulder.
Gene?
Yeah?
SARA
DAVIS
SARA
Never mind...
(as Davis looks back
at the screen)
You think it's too late for me to
re-join the program... as an
astronaut?
DAVIS
(nodding at the
big screen)
That oughtta answer your question.
She smiles. Something catches Davis's eye, he turns to
see Gerson talking to a news crew.
GERSON
I never doubted Frank for a
minute. I brought Frank on to
Project Daedalus forty years ago,
and I brought him in for this
mission, and I can tell you
this...
EXT. DESERT -
MILES BEHIND
A Navy CH-54 rescue helicopter eases down. Two rescue
personnel bound out to assist Ethan and Roger -- shaken,
but standing.
INT. SHUTTLE - THAT MOMENT
126.
Frank turns to look at Jerry and Tank.
JERRY
Just a walk in the park, Frank.
FRANK
slumps back, closing his eyes. Opening his eyes slowly,
he sees the only thing moving in the shuttle -FRANK'S POV - HULA GIRL
Her crazy jig slowly comes to an end.
DISSOLVE TO:
ANGLE ON FULL MOON - NIGHT
The sound of CRICKETS in the night.
EXT. FRANK'S HOUSE (YOUNTVILLE, CA) - NIGHT
Frank stares at the moon, deep in thought.
notice Barbara joining him at his side.
He doesn't
BARBARA
You think he made it?
Frank slowly breaks into a pensive grin as "FLY ME TO THE
MOON" FADES SLOWLY UP.
Yeah.
FRANK
I think he made it.
His eyes travel back to the moon.
EXT. MOON - SEA OF TRANQUILITY - THAT MOMENT
We are MOVING IN TOWARDS the moon, slowly, the shadowed
contours of the sand dunes and craters getting sharper.
SINATRA'S VOICE KICKS IN. Something PASSES us -SATELLITE IKON
And as it passes, we see Hawk still attached to it in his
MMU. The satellite gently hits the edge of a sand dune,
the soft surface cushioning the impact. The satellite
bounces once, throwing -HAWK
Out of the MMU.
127.
SATELLITE
spins, topples over and lands back on the moon.
HAWK
arcs and tumbles through the air until the moon's gravity
gently pulls him back down, on to the deep, pillow-soft
moon dust, where he bounces once, then lays motionless.
TIGHT ON HAWK'S FACEPLATE
The Earth is reflected, and we can't see his face, can't
tell whether he's alive or dead. Then, in VOICE OVER we
hear HAWK'S joyous LAUGHTER.
WIDER - HAWK
Lying there, flat on his back. There is a deep
impression around him in the lunar dust where he fell,
especially around his arms and legs. Maybe it was the
fall. Or maybe, like a kid at Winter's first snow fall,
he was making angels in the virgin snow.
FADE OUT.
THE END
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