This is an excerpt (first 20 pages) of a completed screenplay.
"Adjustments" - screenplay by Derek Paterson. FADE IN: EXT. GAS STATION - DAY Establish. A beautiful Texas morning. Clear blue skies, bright sunshine. The GAS STATION is little more than a cabin with an adjoining toilet, and a couple of pumps out front. If anyone's here then they're inside, keeping out of the sun as the heat builds up. A CAR zooms along the highway, kicking up dust. It SLOWS as it nears the gas station, pulls in and stops beside one of the pumps. The DRIVER climbs out. He's wearing a black T-shirt that shows off a fit physique, slacks and trainers. He's also wearing sunglasses so we can't see his eyes. He helps himself to the pump, sticking the hose into his gas tank. While it's filling up, he looks up and down the road expectantly. He also looks up, searching the skies. The cabin door opens and the PUMP ATTENDANT comes out. The Driver moves so fast we don't see it. His arm is fully extended. He's aiming a PISTOL at the Pump Attendant, who freezes on the step, his hands held palm outward. PUMP ATTENDANT Jesus! Don't shoot! The Driver lowers the pistol. He sticks it back into his waistband. PUMP ATTENDANT There's maybe twenty bucks in the cash register. You want me to get it? DRIVER Negative. This isn't a stick up. They stay as they are until the tank is full. The Driver removes the hose. He walks over to the frightened Pump Attendant, takes money from his pocket and offers it. The Pump Attendant reluctantly takes the notes. PUMP ATTENDANT L-lemme get your change. DRIVER Keep it. Seen anyone else today? PUMP ATTENDANT Nossir. You're my first and only customer this morning. DRIVER How about unusual traffic? PUMP ATTENDANT I don't know what you mean by "unusual." DRIVER Military vehicles. Aircraft. PUMP ATTENDANT Aircraft? The Driver looks up at the sky. DRIVER Helicopters. PUMP ATTENDANT Nossir. I don't believe I have. The Driver returns to his car. He starts the engine and heads out. We stay with the Pump Attendant. He looks down at the money. His hands are trembling. PUMP ATTENDANT (CONT'D) Fuck you, you son of a bitch. I hope they get you. EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY A clear stretch of highway bisects the desert. The same CAR zooms along. INT./EXT. CAR (MOVING) - DAY Engine noise. The DRIVER looks around, as if sensing something. EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY As before, the CAR zooms along. INT./EXT. CAR (MOVING) - DAY The windscreen and side windows SHATTER. The Driver is hit by several BULLETS. He gasps in agony. Wrenches the wheel over. EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY The CAR comes bouncing off the highway and skids over rough ground. It STOPS. The driver's door is thrown open. The Driver stumbles out. He's BLEEDING from half a dozen wounds. He should be falling down dead, but he's still standing. He points his PISTOL, trying to find something to shoot at. More BULLETS strike him. No sounds of shots -- the unseen snipers are using noise suppressors -- just the dull thud of metal penetrating flesh. The Driver falls to his knees, then pitches forward onto his face. It's over. Maybe. COMMAND NET (FILTERED) Target is down. Hunter units, maintain cover. Do not approach the target. Stand by, stand by. WIDER: The site of the ambush from a short distance away. There's an eye-searing, ear-rattling EXPLOSION. Billowing smoke obscures our view. COMMAND NET (CONT'D) Target is dusted. Hunter units stand by, helo transport is on its way. Near the site of the explosionů There's a SIGN beside the highway. It reads, LANGSTON AIR FORCE BASE, 10 MILES DISSOLVE TO BLACK: A beat. Bleed in sounds of aircraft engines. FADE IN: EXT. AIRPORT - DAY A moderately busy AIRPORT. PLANES land and take off. PEOPLE enter and leave the terminal building, going about their business, doing airport stuff. At the airport's HELIPAD, a helicopter sits in the sun before a hangar. A small, neat sign by the door says, JAKE'S FLYING SCHOOL A portly figure steps into view from inside the hangar. This must be JAKE. He's reading from a clipboard, flipping over pages. A KEYRING hangs from his belt. A young STRANGER wearing a sweatshirt, blue jeans and sunglasses walks toward the hangar. Jake sees him coming, wonders who he is. STRANGER Morning. You Jake Willings? JAKE Willings by name, willing by nature. What can I do for you? STRANGER I'm looking for a flying lesson, Mr. Willings. JAKE That's funny, I give flying lessons. Have you flown before? STRANGER Only in simulators. This will be my first time. JAKE Simulators? (he chuckles) Well, I've got clients booked this morning and this afternoon. Tomorrow's pretty solid, too. Young bucks from the sports club, want to tell their girls they're chopper pilots. STRANGER I was kinda hoping to fly right now, Mr. Willings. JAKE You rob a bank or something? I admire enthusiasm, but that's taking things a little too far. Come inside and I'll take your details. We'll figure something out. STRANGER There's military airspace somewhere around here, isn't there? Jake points into the distance. JAKE You mean the missile range. You can bet your socks we don't fly anywhere near there. We stay with Jake as he turns to go into the hangar. He STOPS when he realizes the Stranger isn't following him. JAKE (CONT'D) Son of a bitch! We see why Jake's mad. His KEYRING is missing from his belt. And the Stranger is already sitting inside the helicopter. Jake RUNS to the helicopter. INT. HELICOPTER - DAY The Stranger powers up the electrics and starts the engine. He performs the routine quickly and competently. Jake runs up and starts banging on the door. His lips move but we can't hear what he's saying -- though we can guess. The Stranger ignores him. EXT. HELIPAD - DAY The helicopter's rotors spin faster. The engine noise becomes deafening. Jake has no choice but to retreat, buffeted by the wind. He watches helplessly as his helicopter takes off and climbs away. INT. HANGAR - DAY Jake stumbles inside. He finds a telephone and dials a number. He's panting heavily. JAKE (into phone) Hey Mike, this is Jake Willings over at the helipad. Mike, you are not going to believe this -- some son of a bitch just stole my chopper! EXT. DESERT - DAY An empty stretch of desert. Hardly even a cactus. Jake's HELICOPTER flies low overhead, rising and falling with the contours of the terrain. It heads into the distance. OPERATOR (FILTERED) Target is nine kilometers out and closing. We have a firing solution. Request shoot confirmation. Over. COMMAND NET (FILTERED) My authority is Majestic. Bring him down. Say again, bring him down. The helicopter suddenly BURSTS INTO FLAMES. It falls to the ground, a flaming wreck, and EXPLODES. Hold on the wreck. Then slowly PAN AROUND to a length of chain link fence some distance away. There's a sign hanging from the fence. We zoom in until we can read: U.S. ARMY RESTRICTED AREA COLLINS MISSILE RANGE DISSOLVE TO BLACK: A beat. Bleed in wailful Country & Western music. FADE IN: EXT. BAR - DAY A dusty Texas street in a dusty Texas town. Late afternoon. Among the sparse buildings is a BAR which opens onto the street. Some CARS are parked out front. Through the bar's windows, we see the outlines of CUSTOMERS inside. A MAN pushes the door open and steps out onto the street. This dude looks like he needs a shave and a haircut, not to mention a hot bath. He's wearing an orange baseball cap (so he's easy to remember when he appears again later). He looks left and right as if trying to make his mind up which way to go, then sets off along the street, walking fast and angry. INT. BAR - DAY Dark, smoky interior. The Country & Western music comes from a juke box in the corner. It competes with a small TV on a shelf behind the bar. The TV screen shows a NEWS ANNOUNCER reading from sheets. ANNOUNCER (TV) ...State Governor MacQueen insists there is no cause for alarm. Police and National Guard units continue to hunt the deserters, most of whom have already been executed. Customers sit at the bar and at tables near the windows. They're trying not to be too obvious about it, but they're all looking at someone. The someone attracting all the attention sits at the bar with his back to the room. From behind, he's nondescript, wearing ordinary clothes that appear a couple sizes too large. As if he "borrowed" them from a clothes line. Behind the bar, the BAR OWNER and a BARMAID watch the customer like he's the only entertainment they're likely to get in this town. Only they're not smiling. ANNOUNCER (CONT'D) Vigilantes who claimed to have caught and killed one of the deserters in Ridgeport have been arrested for allegedly shooting a man dead. The victim, a traveling salesman, had driven into Ridgeport and stopped to ask for directions... The barmaid hits a switch on the remote, turning the TV off. She nudges the bar owner. The bar owner is reluctant to move, but she hisses something under her breath, and all but pushes him forward. The bar owner comes to stand in front of the young man sitting at the bar. He carefully places his hands on the bar so the young man can see them. BAR OWNER I don't want no trouble. You can't stay here. Finish your beer and get out. We see the customer's FACE for the first time. His hair is cropped short, military style. He's wearing SUNGLASSES indoors. The name's JOE BLESKOE. He hasn't even touched the glass of beer that's sitting on the bar in front of him, getting warmer by the minute. Bleskoe pushes the beer toward the bar owner. He gets up, turns and heads for the door without argument. The barmaid comes to stand alongside the bar owner. They exchange relieved looks. The other customers follow Bleskoe's movements. Bleskoe reaches the door, pushes it open, steps outside into bright daylight. EXT. BAR - DAY Bleskoe steps out of the bar. He pauses on the step. A SHERIFF'S CAR stops in the middle of the street. The doors open and the town SHERIFF and his DEPUTY emerge. They're not sure if Bleskoe is who they're looking for. They're cautious, but they don't draw their pistols yet. SHERIFF Stop right there, son. We need to see some identification. Bleskoe doesn't move or say anything. DEPUTY Something wrong with your hearing, boy? Sheriff said we need to see I.D. Don't just stand there, answer him. Bleskoe still doesn't react. The Sheriff and Deputy look at each other. SHERIFF Take off your sunglasses. Bleskoe takes off his sunglasses. HIS EYES are an uncanny SILVER, gleaming in the sunlight. The Sheriff and Deputy place their hands on the butts of their pistols, but still don't draw their weapons. DEPUTY Goddamn! He's one of them! He's a freakin' deserter! The Deputy SLAPS the sunglasses out of Bleskoe's hand and STAMPS on them. DEPUTY (CONT'D) Your hiding days are over, you damn coward! SHERIFF (to Bleskoe) Raise your hands above your head, boy. I mean now! Bleskoe obligingly reaches for the sky. The Sheriff pulls plastic cuffs from his belt. SHERIFF (CONT'D) Now turn around and put your hands against the wall. BLESKOE Negative. The Sheriff and Deputy look at each other again. SHERIFF I said, turn around! BLESKOE Can't do that. The Sheriff and Deputy draw their pistols. A split-second later they're both DEAD, lying in the dust. Bleskoe stands with his hands by his side. We didn't even see what he did, it happened so fast. Bleskoe looks down at them impassively for a moment. Tough to tell what he feels, if anything. A PICKUP TRUCK roars down the street. Two men sit in the cab and two others are standing in back. The men in back are armed with rifles. The passenger leans out -- it's the dude with the orange baseball cap who left the bar earlier after spotting Bleskoe. He's armed with a PISTOL. Before the pickup even stops, Bleskoe picks up the Sheriff's pistol and shoots THREE times, BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! The two guys in back with rifles tumble out onto the street -- DEAD. The dude with the orange baseball cap SLUMPS, his head and arm hanging out the window. He's dead, too. The driver hits the brakes, the pickup skids to a halt. He looks around and realizes he's the only one still alive. He opens the door, jumps out and runs for his life, heading back up the street like an Olympic sprinter. Bleskoe SNAP-SHOOTS without even aiming. The driver collapses, crying out in pain. He rolls around, clutching his KNEE and wailing. He's still alive! Bleskoe moves to the pickup and pulls the dead dude with the orange baseball cap out of the passenger seat. He walks around to the driver's side and climbs in. Customers inside the bar crowd the windows, watching him. The bar owner and barmaid are among them. They are stunned and horrified by what they've just witnessed. POLICE SIRENS wail in the distance. Bleskoe turns the pickup around and puts the pedal to the metal, getting out of town fast. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. NEXT TOWN, MAIN STREET - NIGHT Another town, much later. It's dark, but a lot of lights are still on. Bleskoe's pickup rolls into town with its lights out. No one is around to notice. Bleskoe backs into an alleyway that gives him a good view of the street. He sits there for a while, looking across at a late night diner, watching the CUSTOMERS through the diner's windows. He gets out and crosses the street. After a moment's hesitation, he enters the diner. INT. DINER - NIGHT A pleasant family environment, with subdued lighting and checkered cloth on the tables. Bleskoe moves to a corner table away from other customers and sits down. He keeps his head down and hides his face behind the menu while watching everything that's happening around him. With the subdued lighting, the customers don't even notice him. The waitress approaches. Mature, attractive. Her nameplate says BONNIE. BONNIE Hi, what can I get you? BLESKOE Biggest steak you've got. No fries or trimmings, just steak. Don't overcook it. She writes it down on her pad. Doesn't even look up. BONNIE Sure. Drink? Bleskoe looks outside. Watches as a SQUAD CAR pulls up across the street. A uniformed COP gets out and looks at the pickup. BLESKOE Water. BONNIE Sure. That all? BLESKOE Affirmative. Bonnie takes his order to the kitchen. The cop crosses the street, heading for the diner. It's a she. Her name's KATE TYLER. Mid-twenties, 18 months on the job, competent, divorced, likes her work. Bleskoe watches her come inside. She glances around the diner, smiles and waves when she sees a familiar face at the other end of the room. A customer waves back. Kate heads for the LADIES ROOM. While Bleskoe was distracted, two cars pulled up outside. Around half a dozen guys get out. They're in a laughing and joking mood, clowning around. Maybe they've been drinking. They make their way toward the diner. The group of men look at the menu displayed on the window, trying to figure what they want. One of them notices Bleskoe. The discovery provokes a reaction. The guy who noticed him stays put and keeps tabs on Bleskoe while the rest run back to their cars. They open the trunks and break out HUNTING RIFLES. The lone observer keeps glancing over his shoulder, wanting his friends to get back here as quickly as they can. Bonnie comes out of the kitchen carrying a tray. She puts the plate containing the mother of all steaks down on the table, then sets down a glass of water and a full pitcher. BONNIE There ya go. Enjoy. Kate appears. Bonnie looks round, just when she might have noticed Bleskoe's silver eyes. BONNIE (CONT'D) Hey, Kate. You in for some pie? KATE (shakes head) Trying to watch the calories. BONNIE (pretends to whisper) You want me to keep you a slice? KATE (laughs) Damn. You know me so well. Kate is about to head for the door when she suddenly realizes who and what Bleskoe is. She gives him a long, hard stare. BLESKOE All I want is chow. Then I'm gone. Kate doesn't say anything. Bleskoe cuts up his steak and starts eating at top speed, jamming the steak down his throat. As he eats, he keeps an eye on the men outside. Kate doesn't know what to do. Arrest him? Run to her car and radio for backup? Her fingers twitch, but she doesn't touch her pistol. The half-dozen men are getting ready to come inside. Their LEADER starts giving orders. Two of the men stay outside. The others head for the entrance. A couple of the guys give each other high-fives. They're charged up and ready to go. Bleskoe keeps eating. The Leader and his three buddies enter the diner. The other two guys stay out in the street, watching Bleskoe through the window. Kate holds up her hand, stopping them. KATE Hold it! Where do you think you're going? Take those weapons outside! The Leader of the vigilante committee SCOWLS at her. The other customers stop eating and watch in shocked silence. The vigilantes spread out. They mean business, but they don't point their weapons at Bleskoe. Not yet. VIGILANTE LEADER Emergency Law says we can kill this turkey wherever we like. KATE The hell you say. There are people in here. VIGILANTE LEADER Screw you, we'll take him round back and deal with him there. (to Bleskoe) You, soldier boy! Get up and keep your hands where we can see them. The Leader aims his RIFLE at Bleskoe. He's DEAD ON HIS FEET an instant later. Bleskoe stands frozen in a moment of time, like a still frame, his rigid fingers sunk into the Leader's THROAT. He leapt up from his seat and attacked the Leader so fast we didn't even see the movement. REAL TIME starts up again. The Leader topples sideways like a felled tree, his throat crushed. The other vigilantes REACT. Bleskoe goes through them like a whirlwind, sticking his steak knife into one guy's eyeball, smashing his elbow into another guy's head. They're dead before they can pull their triggers. The fourth vigilante panics and SHOOTS, but MISSES Bleskoe. BONNIE the waitress is hit instead. CLOSE ON Kate in marksman's stance, aiming at the fourth vigilante -- not at Bleskoe. Bleskoe drives his hand into the shooter's chest, snapping ribs and straight-arming him through the diner window. The window SHATTERS as the vigilante flies into the street like a ballistic missile. Before Kate can do or say anything, Bleskoe leaps through the broken window after the flying vigilante. EXT. MAIN STREET - NIGHT Outside the diner. Bleskoe confronts the two astonished vigilantes who stayed in the street. They stare at the dead man Bleskoe just launched through the window. Realization hits them. They bring their rifles up, ready to shoot. Bleskoe slaps their rifles aside and SNAPS THEIR NECKS like twigs. The vigilantes fall dead. WIDE SHOT, LOOKING DOWN. Bleskoe stands among THREE DEAD BODIES. There's PANDEMONIUM inside the diner as customers flee out the doors in panic. Kate moves to the broken window and stares at Bleskoe. She still doesn't know what to do. The violence she's witnessed has stunned her. Bleskoe JUMPS through the window, back into the diner. INT. DINER - NIGHT Bleskoe pushes past Kate and goes down on one knee beside Bonnie. She's still alive, but there's blood everywhere. One look is enough to tell us she's had it. Kate stands over Bleskoe, still holding her pistol, but not aiming at him. She looks at the bodies. At Bleskoe. At the bodies. She holsters her pistol and gets down beside him. Bonnie whimpers in pain and gasps for breath. Bleskoe presses his FINGERS into her stomach and neck. Bonnie stops whimpering and her breathing slows. He's made the pain go away. She looks up at him, very calm, almost content. His odd appearance doesn't bother her. Kate looks from Bonnie to Bleskoe, asking him without words, can't he DO something? Bonnie's eyes close, she stops breathing. She's DEAD. KATE Oh God, no. Bleskoe gets up and exits the diner. Kate stays beside with Bonnie, ignoring him. Through the window, Bleskoe moves across the street, to the nearest vigilante CAR. EXT. MAIN STREET - NIGHT Bleskoe reaches the car. Gets in. No ignition key. He cracks open the wheel housing with the heel of his hand and expertly hot-wires the engine. The engine rumbles into life. He puts the car into gear. Bleskoe REACTS as Kate opens the passenger door and climbs in beside him. He relaxes. Kate doesn't realize she has just avoided death by a nanosecond. Bleskoe stares at her, not sure what she's doing. KATE Drive, for God's sake! Bleskoe does as he's told. They head out of town, into the night. INT. CAR - NIGHT Bleskoe and Kate leave the town behind. Bleskoe hasn't bothered to switch the car headlights on, never mind that it's dark outside. KATE Do you always drive at night without lights? CLOSE ON Bleskoe's silver eyes... BLESKOE'S POV: It's like looking through NIGHT VISION GOGGLES. The landscape is a ghostly green, with every detail crystal clear. Bleskoe doesn't need the headlights. BLESKOE I'm doing okay. Kate swallows hard. She's just beginning to realize what she's done, where she is. KATE You -- you must be wondering -- why I'm here. My brother is in the Corps. BLESKOE What unit? KATE I don't know. I didn't think you'd know him personally. But you were Out There, weren't you? You're one of them. BLESKOE Yes Ma'am, I'm one of them. She takes a deep breath. KATE Identify. BLESKOE Bleskoe, Joseph Thomas, Corporal, KR-678- 436, 77th Assault Regiment, United Earth Defense Corps. KATE That was automatic, wasn't it? BLESKOE Affirmative. Programmed response to low- level query. KATE And that's how you kill? A programmed response? BLESKOE Yes Ma'am, that's how I kill. A beat. We need time to take this in. KATE What if I told you to kill someone? BLESKOE Insufficient authority. KATE What if an enemy soldier shouted identify in the middle of a fight? BLESKOE Battlefield conditions deactivate low- level responses. I'd shoot the enemy soldier. A beat. KATE You were aboard Vesuvius, weren't you? BLESKOE Yes, Ma'am. KATE Tell me what happened. BLESKOE Not much to tell, Ma'am. KATE Stop calling me that! I'm not your officer. My name's Kate, Kate Tyler. My brother's name is Randy. Your ship made it back to Earth. How? BLESKOE You already know. KATE No, I don't. I only know what they told us. They said you'd stolen the ship. That you were deserters. BLESKOE That's a lie. KATE I know. I know because Randy told me everyone he met in the Corps was prepared to die to defend Earth. That was why they volunteered. They knew that if they failed, we were all fucked. (beat) The whole idea of "deserters" is just crazy. The moment I heard it, I knew it wasn't true. That's why I want to hear your side of the story. I want to know what really happened. CLOSE ON Bleskoe as he REMEMBERS... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. ALIEN HOMEWORLD FROM ORBIT - BLESKOE'S FLASHBACK We're thrust screaming into the middle of a SPACE BATTLE. Modified SPACE SHUTTLES fitted with missile racks and with industrial-sized LASER CANNONS crowding their cargo bays attack orbital FORTRESSES that EXPLODE violently, sometimes taking the attacking Space Shuttles with them. The fortresses are of bizarre alien design, as are the smaller ships that move out from the planet to engage the Space Shuttles. These ships appear as squidlike as the aliens who are flying them. We know instinctively that they're the BAD GUYS. The Space Shuttle forces take heavy casualities but they DON'T STOP. Space is cluttered with drifting hulks hopelessly ablaze. A Space Shuttle spins slowly past the camera -- it's recognizable as a NASA Shuttle, with the logo half-burned away; its entire nose section is missing. CLOSE ON one of the Space Shuttles. It's a patchwork quilt, bolted and welded together in a great hurry. Almost as if it rolled off the assembly line and was taken to the launch pad immediately. Which is indeed the case. Slowly ZOOM inside the COCKPIT. Three crewmen wearing starsuits and helmets are strapped in, operating their instruments. Nearby EXPLOSIONS light up the cockpit. The Space Shuttle PILOT'S eyes are SILVER like Bleskoe's. He is an ADJUSTED TROOPER, Earth's last hope in an interstellar war gone badly wrong. PILOT (FILTERED) (into radio) Negative, I say again, negative. All squadrons, continue with the attack. This is the only chance we're going to get! Let's make it count! A huge SHADOW falls over the Space Shuttle. The PILOT looks up. A huge mother of a squid vessel hovers overhead. It's shooting all kinds of shit at other Space Shuttles, transforming them into fireballs. CREWMAN (FILTERED) We're dry! Missile racks are empty! Laser cannon has taken a hit! The Pilot alters course and aims for the huge squid vessel, which grows uncomfortably larger with each passing second. PILOT (FILTERED) (into radio) Attack squadrons, protect the transports at all costs. Get them down there. Do whatever you have to do, but get them down there. PRIORITY ALPHA, THE RACE MUST SURVIVE! The Pilot deliberately steers his Space Shuttle into the huge squid vessel, which is BLOWN TO HELL by the kamikaze attack. A dazzling NUCLEAR PULSE floods surrounding space like ripples in a pond. The shock wave strikes the nearest squid ships and ignites them, an unforeseen chain reaction. A couple of Space Shuttles are also caught and destroyed. Several Space Shuttles with their cargo bay doors closed -- the troop transports -- fall toward the squid homeworld in tight formation, escorted by armed Space Shuttles that run a gauntlet of hellfire. Many escorting Shuttles are destroyed, but the troop transports get through. BACK TO SCENE: Bleskoe blinks out of the flashback. Kate looks at him, expecting an answer. BLESKOE We blasted our way through the enemy's orbital defenses. Landed on their home planet. Fought our way into their command nest. Knocked out their battle computers, or what passed for battle computers. Ended the war. As Bleskoe explains, superimposed BACKGROUND IMAGES compliment the scenes he describes. BLESKOE We waited for evac. Didn't happen. Trapped on squid homeworld. Casualties started dying. Captain Adams commandeered supply shuttle, got us up into orbit. Boarded supply ship Vesuvius. Set course for Earth just before they locked down the jumpgate array. BACKGROUND: 1. Surface of alien planet. Wounded TROOPERS are tended by MEDICS. Other troopers stand alert in guard position, surrounding the wounded. 2. CAPTAIN ADAMS, commander of Bleskoe's unit, speaks on the radio. He's ANGRY. He's not getting the answers he needs. Medics frantically work on a wounded soldier. It's no good, the soldier DIES. Adams is deeply affected. 3. A SUPPLY SHUTTLE lands nearby. Adams gives orders to the medics. They stretcher the rest of the wounded to the shuttle. The shuttle PILOT tries to argue with Adams. No good. Adams sees his men are taken aboard. The shuttle hatches close, the shuttle blasts off. 4. An orbiting SHIP. The supply shuttle approaches and enters through an airlock. The ship's name is VESUVIUS. 5. The ship's BRIDGE. Adams and Bleskoe enter and examine the controls. 6. The ship heads toward an ENERGY VORTEX -- a JUMP GATE. It plunges THROUGH the vortex. The vortex folds in upon itself and VANISHES. KATE And -- when you got here? BLESKOE Refused permission to land. Ordered us to stay in orbit until "decontamination procedure" was worked out. Captain Adams said we'd have to wait. We waited. No medical facilities. No coldsleep. Had to eject our dead into space. Captain kept asking for update. Communications blackout, no reply. BACKGROUND: 7. Ship's cargo bay. Wounded troopers are still being tended by medics. They're in a bad way. Another soldier dies. His buddies carry his body away. Adams is enraged. 8. The ship's Bridge. Adams talks on the ship's radio. No response. He tries again. No response. He slams his fist against the control panel, frustrated. Denting the metal. KATE And then--? BLESKOE Detected tugs coming in from Luna. Said they were going to tow us out of parking orbit. Didn't say to where. Didn't say why. Captain Adams kept asking. No answer. Sixteen of us dead by then. Combat effectiveness of unit threatened. Priority Alpha, the unit must survive. Captain initiated emergency re-entry sequence. BACKGROUND: 9. The ship in orbit above Earth. 10. Adams and Bleskoe on the bridge. They're looking at a DISPLAY. Two SHIPS are visible, approaching their vessel. Adams tries the ship's radio again. Doesn't like the answer he receives. Adams gets into the pilot's seat. The controls don't respond. He TEARS THE PANELS OPEN to reveal circuits and cabling. Bleskoe helps him to rig an override. 11. THE SHIP: the main booster FIRES. The ship DROPS toward Earth. RE-ENTRY HEAT makes the hull GLOW RED. BLESKOE Came down in Gulf of Mexico. Ship sank fast. Most of us got out. National Guard gunships tried to shoot us in the water. Wounded men acted as live decoys. Brought down two gunships before the others got them. Nineteen of us swam ashore and ran. SMASH CUT TO: EXT. GULF OF MEXICO - NIGHT - BLESKOE'S FLASHBACK A nightmarish scene. Dozens of desperate SOLDIERS are in the water, swimming for their lives, being hunted by HELICOPTERS. The whup-whup of rotor blades is DEAFENING. Dazzling SEARCHLIGHTS stab down from above, sweeping back and forth, picking out swimming figures. MACHINE GUNS rattle loudly, executing the swimmers in cold blood. A searchlight beam picks out a new target. The target is CAPTAIN ADAMS. Adams is backpeddling instead of swimming because he's aiming a ROCKET LAUNCHER. He FIRES. The helicopter is BLOWN TO HELL. The explosion lights up the night. BURNING FRAGMENTS rain down. Around Adams, other soldiers backpeddle in the water and open fire at the other helicopters with small arms. They aren't giving up without a fight. More die as machine gun bullets stitch the waters. Adams is hit. He throws his arms wide and disappears beneath the surface. His men try to reach him, but it's too late. BACK TO SCENE: Kate stares at Bleskoe, stunned. KATE And you've been running ever since. BLESKOE Affirmative. The unit must survive. End of excerpt.
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