This is an excerpt (first 20 pages) of a completed screenplay.

       "Partings" - screenplay by Derek Paterson.

       FADE IN:

       EXT. INTERSTELLAR VISTA - NIGHT

       Unfamiliar stars litter the cosmos, scattered like silver
       dust.


       EXT. EARTH-LIKE PLANET - NIGHT

       With unfamiliar continents and seas, and THREE MOONS in high
       orbit, each larger than the other, all with cratered surfaces
       and zero atmosphere.


       EXT. INTERSTELLAR VISTA - NIGHT

       Stars wink as something moves across the heavens, comes
       closer, takes form...

       A SPACESHIP.  An old-fashioned rocket design with fins.  The
       control room is visible through triangular viewports in the
       nose.  Two people are inside, wearing helmets, looking out.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Questor is starting her run.  Over.

                             MAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
                 Roger that Questor, we're standing
                 by to receive.  Over.

       Deep Space Supply Vessel QUESTOR fires maneuvering jets and
       angles in toward the Earth-like planet's atmosphere.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Lying side by side on couches are Pilot-Commander JOSHUA
       NAYLOR, 35, and Engineering Tech. GABRIELLE ACKERMANN, 25.
       Both wear spacesuits and helmets, and look up at control
       boards and viewscreens.  Naylor's couch is fitted with a
       joystick and throttle controls.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Pilot to Loadmaster, commencing
                 approach, make ready to drop.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

       Loadmaster VANDA CAMBRIDGE, 30, wearing suit and helmet,
       lies on her couch staring up at a viewscreen showing the
       planet's continents, with a grid marking two target zones.
       Across the bottom of her viewscreen are graphics of 8
       miniature rockets.

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Roger.  Got my finger on the trigger.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 Try not to miss.

       Gabrielle grins at Naylor.  He smiles at her.  She reaches
       across the distance between them, touches his gloved hand
       with hers.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Never been known to happen.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Pilot to Engineer.  You awake down
                 there, Chief?


       INT. ENGINE CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Engineer "MAC" MACLAINE, 40, and Specialist ANNA RICHTER,
       30, lie side by side on couches, wearing suits and helmets.

                             MACLAINE (V.O.)
                 Dammit, must you always interrupt us
                 without knocking?  Just give us a
                 second to get our clothes on.

       Anna stares at her viewscreen, ignoring Maclaine.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Here we go.


       EXT. UPPER ATMOSPHERE - NIGHT

       DSSV Questor grazes the atmosphere, leaving a contrail.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Naylor's viewscreen shows a "corridor" ahead, and a graphic
       of Questor right in the middle.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 We have ionospheric insertion.  Your
                 play, Cambridge.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

       On Cambridge's viewscreen the first target zone glows red.

       She covers a button on her control board with her thumb.

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Commencing first cargo drop...

       On her viewscreen the first target zone glows green.

       She thumbs the button.

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 First cargo drop away.


       EXT. UPPER ATMOSPHERE - NIGHT

       A deltawing cargo sled drops from Questor's belly and falls
       down into the atmosphere, powered by its own rocket motor.

       And another, and another, and another.  Disappearing almost
       immediately as they fall out of sight.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

       Four of the rocket graphics on Cambridge's screen turn green.

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 First cargo drop complete.  Green
                 lights on four orbit-to-surface birds.
                 Making ready for second cargo drop.


       EXT. UPPER ATMOSPHERE - NIGHT

       DSSV Questor alters course, her contrail becoming a smooth
       curve.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Course locked in for southern
                 continent, E.T.A. nineteen seconds,
                 Loadmaster please copy.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Loadmaster copies.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             MAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
                 Colony Base Three to Questor.  We
                 have visual on four inbound
                 parachutes.  Bang on target, recovery
                 crew is mobile.  Over.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Thank you Base Three.  Talk to you
                 again in six months.  Over.

                             MAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
                 God bless.  Over and out.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Colony Base One, receiving?  Over.

                             WOMAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
                 This is Colony Base One receiving
                 you clear.  Over.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 We're heading your way.  Stand by.
                 Over.

                             WOMAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
                 Standing by.  Over.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Pilot to Loadmaster--


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

       Cambridge puts her thumb over the button.

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Commencing second cargo drop...


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       An ALARM beeps, fast and shrill.

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 Static charge building on the hull.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Mac, you hearing this?


       INT. ENGINE CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             MACLAINE (V.O.)
                 Capacitors should be taking the
                 charge!

                             ANNA (V.O.)
                 Criticial build-up.  Recommend drogue
                 launch.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

       Cambridge thumbs the button.

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Commencing second cargo drop.


       EXT. UPPER ATMOSPHERE - NIGHT

       A deltawing cargo sled drops from Questor's belly and falls
       down into the atmosphere.  It shimmers and crackles with
       blue electricity.  Its rocket motor doesn't fire.  It topples
       end over end before it disappears far below.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Wait one, wait one!


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Control room are you calling abort?


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 Static dissipated.  We're on the
                 edge of the drop zone.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Continue -- Cambridge, dammit,
                 continue supply drop.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

       Cambridge thumbs the button--


       EXT. UPPER ATMOSPHERE - NIGHT

       Another sled drops down.  Its rocket motor fires.  And
       another, and another.  Their rocket motors fire OK.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Cambridge, you lost one.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

       The fifth rocket graphic on Cambridge's screen turns red.
       The other three turn green.

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 I didn't lose anything.  Talk to
                 your Engineer.


       INT. ENGINE CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             MACLAINE (V.O.)
                 We could have made another pass.
                 Why didn't we orbit the damn planet
                 and make another pass?


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Second cargo drop away, three green
                 birds, one dead bird.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 Dead bird is breaking up.  It's gone.


       INT. ENGINE CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Maclaine slams his gloved fist against his control board.

                             ANNA (V.O.)
                 That doesn't really help...

                             MACLAINE (V.O.)
                 We shouldn't have made the drop.
                 One dead bird means a lot of hungry
                 colonists.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Hey, I didn't hear anyone call abort.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 You didn't give me a chance, dammit.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 You've got an override control.
                 That's what it's for.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Naylor seethes with anger.

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 Okay people, we made a mistake.
                 Let's not make it worse.

                             WOMAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
                 Questor this is Colony Base One,
                 receiving?  Over.

       Naylor sucks in deep breaths.

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 You want me to tell them?

       Naylor shakes his head.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Base One this is Questor.  Over.

                             WOMAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
                 We have visual on parachutes.  They're
                 on target.  Recovery teams are on
                 their way.  I need you to confirm
                 load?  Over.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Base One... we had a bad launch with
                 one of our orbit-to-ground birds.
                 It was gone before we could recover.

       Static on the radio...

                             WOMAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
                 Understood, Questor.  Will you be
                 making another run?  Over.

       Naylor stabs a button.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Pilot to Loadmaster, Base One is on
                 the line, what have you got?  Can we
                 make another drop?

       Gabrielle frowns and looks away.  She knows.


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 This is Loadmaster.  We have two
                 spare sleds in the racks but they
                 are empty.  Everything we had aboard
                 has been deployed.  We're at the end
                 of our supply run.  We have exhausted
                 our cargo.  Over.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Thank you... Loadmaster.  Base One...

                             WOMAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
                 Got the picture, Questor.  Thanks
                 for dropping by, sorry you couldn't
                 stay.  Safe journey home.  Colony
                 Base One, over and out.

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 See you again in six months!

       No reply, just static...


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Loadmaster to Pilot.  Thanks for
                 trying to put the blame on me, Naylor!


       INT. ENGINE CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             MACLAINE (V.O.)
                 You ever spent time on a colony
                 planet, Cambridge?  You know what
                 it's like when food runs low, and
                 you're looking up at the sky every
                 day, praying the supply ship gets
                 there on time?


       INT. CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

                             CAMBRIDGE (V.O.)
                 Spare me the drama, Maclaine.  You
                 got a problem, talk to the Pilot.
                 Hey, Naylor?  You got a problem,
                 talk to your Engineer.  When we get
                 back you Earth, maybe you two should
                 take refresher courses.  Learn how
                 to do your jobs.  Bump up your
                 reaction times.  You know?


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Naylor's fit to explode.  Gabrielle puts her hand over his.
       He snatches his hand away.

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 Let it go.  It's done.  We can't
                 undo it.


       INT. ENGINE CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Maclaine glances at Anna.  She stares at him, expressionless.

                             MACLAINE (V.O.)
                 So what's on your mind?  Spit it
                 out.

                             ANNA (V.O.)
                 I happen to think she's right.

                             MACLAINE (V.O.)
                 Then screw you too.

                             ANNA (V.O.)
                 Not if you were the last man alive.

                             MACLAINE (V.O.)
                 Damn, I forgot.  Robots don't screw.


       EXT. UPPER ATMOSPHERE - NIGHT

       DSSV Questor's underjets fire, pushing her away from the
       planet, up into space.


       EXT. EARTH-LIKE PLANET - NIGHT

       Questor leaves the shrinking planet behind.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             NAYLOR (V.O.)
                 Pilot to crew.  We're cruising at
                 half a gee.  Heading for the jump
                 point.  Relax, people.

       Naylor and Gabrielle take off their helmets and tie them
       onto their suit belts.


       EXT. INTERSTELLAR VISTA - NIGHT

       Questor drifts among the stars.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             GABRIELLE
                 It wasn't your fault.  It happened
                 so fast.

                             NAYLOR
                 Right.

       He unfastens his couch safety belt and stands.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Don't go away mad.  No one blames
                 you.

       Naylor jerks a thumb back over his shoulder.

                             NAYLOR
                 Eighty-five colonists blame me.

                             GABRIELLE
                 They won't starve.  We'd have to
                 lose half the cargo before that
                 happened.  They just won't eat pudding
                 for the next six months, that's all.

       Naylor tries to fight it, but loses.  He chuckles.

                             GABRIELLE
                 That's better.  And later?  I'll
                 make you feel better still, I promise.

                             NAYLOR
                 Company regulations clearly state
                 that pilot officers must not
                 fraternize with warrant officers.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Is that in case you crash the ship
                 when we're giving you a Galactic Rim
                 job?

                             NAYLOR
                 I appreciate your kind offer, but I
                 must refuse.

       Gabrielle indicates an instrument panel.

                             GABRIELLE
                 What's the autopilot for, if not to
                 allow you some time off?

       She grabs the front of his suit, pulls him down, kisses him.

                             GABRIELLE
                 If we sleep together we'll save space.
                 And be more energy efficient.

                             NAYLOR
                 I'll bear that in mind.

       He hits a button.  The floor hatch opens.  He climbs down
       the ladder.


       INT. UPPER ACCESS SHAFT - NIGHT

       With two ladders on opposite sides.  Naylor climbs down one
       ladder while Anna climbs up the other.  They pass each other
       without speaking.

       Naylor pauses and looks up.  Anna climbs up through the
       control room hatch.  She looks down at him.  The hatch closes
       on her frosty expression.


       INT. WAIST SECTION - NIGHT

       A hexagonal arrangement, six cabins arranged around the
       central access shaft.  The floor hatch is closed.  The ceiling
       hatch opens and Naylor climbs down the ladder.  The ceiling
       hatch closes again.

       Cambridge pauses at one of the cabin hatches and they exchange
       cold looks.  She enters the cabin, closes the door.  Naylor
       shakes his head.  He hits a button.  The floor hatch opens.


       INT. ENGINE CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Maclaine's taken off his suit, he's wearing vest and fatigue
       pants.  He studies system displays, makes notes and ticks on
       his clipboard.  He doesn't look round when Naylor climbs
       down the ladder.  The ceiling hatch stays open.

                             NAYLOR
                 So what happened?

                             MACLAINE
                 I didn't hear the alarm till you
                 did.  If I'd had a couple more seconds
                 I could have launched the drogue and
                 discharged the static.

                             NAYLOR
                 You should have had your thumb over
                 the button.

                             MACLAINE
                 And that bitch should have taken her
                 thumb off the button.

       Naylor opens a fridge and takes out frosted glass and a
       cocktail shaker.  He opens the shaker and pours a drink.

                             NAYLOR
                 No argument from me.  Everything
                 else is on the green?

                             MACLAINE
                 Damn right.  Capacitors are charging.

       He looks at his wristwatch.

                             MACLAINE
                 We jump in seven days, nine hours
                 and forty-two minutes.

       Naylor sips his drink and relaxes on a couch.

                             NAYLOR
                 It's been a long tour.

                             MACLAINE
                 Six months, eleven star systems,
                 thirteen planets and four inhabited
                 moons.

                             NAYLOR
                 I bet you could name them all.

                             MACLAINE
                 I bet I could.

                             NAYLOR
                 This is what, your tenth tour?

       Maclaine tosses his clipboard onto the second couch and lies
       down, hands behind his head.

                             NAYLOR
                 You want one of these?

                             MACLAINE
                 They're pushing me to take a ground
                 job.

                             NAYLOR
                 Why the hell didn't you say?

                             MACLAINE
                 I haven't made my mind up yet.

                             NAYLOR
                 How hard are they pushing?

                             MACLAINE
                 Hard enough.

                             NAYLOR
                 They can't make you take it.  You're
                 still young.  Relatively speaking.

       Naylor sips his drink, nods in appreciation.

                             NAYLOR
                 Never lose this recipe.  Engrave it
                 on titanium plate and put the plate
                 into stasis.  No matter what happens
                 to us, it must survive.

                             MACLAINE
                 Mars wouldn't be so bad.  You know
                 what they're doing there?

                             NAYLOR
                 Cracking hydrogen and oxygen out of
                 the soil, aren't they?

                             MACLAINE
                 They're sinking thermonuclear rods.
                 They're melting the core.

                             NAYLOR
                 What the hell for?

                             MACLAINE
                 To re-establish a magnetic field
                 around Mars.  They're creating Van
                 Allen Belts to protect the
                 terraforming project.  Isn't that
                 something?  Sure beats being cooped
                 up in an engine room for six months
                 at a time.  Yes I will, thank you.

       Naylor returns to the fridge, pours another cocktail, passes
       this to Maclaine.

                             MACLAINE
                 You want the bad news?

                             NAYLOR
                 What bad news?

       Maclaine holds up his glass.

                             MACLAINE
                 There's no more.

                             NAYLOR
                 You have got to be kidding me.

                             MACLAINE
                 Not a single drop.

                             NAYLOR
                 Shoot me now.

                             MACLAINE
                 Relax.  In just over a week you'll
                 be back on Earth with a million bars
                 to choose from.

                             NAYLOR
                 Not one of them will ever make a
                 cocktail like you, Chief.  So.  Mars,
                 maybe?

                             MACLAINE
                 I'll flip a coin once we get back.
                 You?

       Naylor stares thoughtfully into his glass.

                             NAYLOR
                 I'm contracted for another three
                 years.

                             MACLAINE
                 Do yourself a favor, get yourself
                 another crew.  Get rid of Cambridge.
                 She's chasing promotion.  Bitch
                 doesn't care whose record she craps
                 over.

                             NAYLOR
                 I thought your problem was with
                 Richter?

                             MACLAINE
                 The human computer?  Forget it.

                             NAYLOR
                 I sense bitterness.

                             MACLAINE
                 Not from me.

                             NAYLOR
                 You never did tell me what happened.

                             MACLAINE
                 What's to tell?  She likes machines
                 more than people.

                             NAYLOR
                 People?  Or just you?

                             MACLAINE
                 There's no emotion behind those eyes.
                 Just equations.

                             NAYLOR
                 Warning, bitterness levels exceed
                 maximum safety parameters.

       Maclaine drains his glass.

                             MACLAINE
                 You sound just like her.

                             NAYLOR
                 I assume you tried to climb the
                 glacier, and slipped?

                             MACLAINE
                 Didn't get higher than base camp.
                 By the time I figured coolant fluid
                 flows in her veins, you'd already
                 installed Ackermann in your cabin.
                 Isn't there some Company thing about
                 that, by the way?  Pilots must not
                 dock with Warrant Officers?

                             NAYLOR
                 Yes.  There's always Cambridge.

                             MACLAINE
                 That bitch.  I'd rather catch my
                 genitals in moving machinery.

       They laugh.


       INT. WAIST SECTION - NIGHT

       Naylor and Maclaine's laughter drifts up from below.

       Cambridge stands at the rail, looking down.  She's heard
       everything.  She scowls.


       EXT. INTERSTELLAR VISTA - NIGHT

       Questor drifts among the stars.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Gabrielle and Anna occupy the couches.

                             GABRIELLE
                 The autopilot agrees with your first
                 set of calculations.

                             ANNA
                 There's always a note of surprise in
                 your voice when you say things like
                 that.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Can you blame me?  You're out-thinking
                 a machine that thinks a billion times
                 faster than most human beings.

                             ANNA
                 Processing power doesn't matter.
                 It's a question of philosophy.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Here we go again.

                             ANNA
                 Don't be so cynical.  They have an
                 A.I. aboard the Nagasaki Orbital
                 built specifically to calculate fourth
                 dimensional hyperphysics.  Part of
                 the A.I. actually exists in
                 hyperspace.  And you know what?

                             GABRIELLE
                 First set of calculations locked in.

                             ANNA
                 It doesn't work.  It loops for days
                 then shuts itself down as a safety
                 precaution.  Isolate the autopilot
                 please.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Autopilot is isolated.

                             ANNA
                 And that's because Professor
                 Hartmann's original fourth-dimensional
                 elasticity theorem owes only part of
                 its existence to mathematics.  Very
                 few understand its core is rooted in
                 philosophical concepts that are an
                 adjunct of abstract mathematics.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Thank you for talking down to me.

                             ANNA
                 But I'm not.  I'm simply stating
                 facts.  You know the difference
                 between the pure and the abstract?

                             GABRIELLE
                 I'm sure you're about to tell me.

                             ANNA
                 Spread butter on a slice of toasted
                 bread.  Drop it on the floor.  It
                 will either land on the buttered
                 side or on the dry side, yes?  With
                 abstract mathematics modeled around
                 the Hartmann theorem--

                             GABRIELLE
                 It lands on its edge?

                             ANNA
                 It doesn't even reach the floor.

                             GABRIELLE
                 It just stops in mid-air?

                             ANNA
                 Oh no, it falls.  The question is,
                 why doesn't it reach the floor?

                             GABRIELLE
                 All right, why doesn't it reach the
                 floor?

                             ANNA
                 Because there is no floor.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Have you ever wondered why you don't
                 have many friends?

                             ANNA
                 I have plenty of friends.

                             GABRIELLE
                 A.I.s and robots don't count.

                             ANNA
                 I have human friends too.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Come on.  I'm the communications
                 tech.  I get to see incoming mail
                 transmissions.  One was from the
                 Alpha Centauri Colony A.I.  The other
                 was from--

                             ANNA
                 If everyone aboard this ship paid as
                 much attention to their duties as
                 they do to other people's
                 correspondence, I'm sure efficiency
                 levels would rise exponentially.
                 Would you kindly look at the
                 magnometer and confirm we're in the
                 clear?  If it's not too much trouble.

       Gabrielle smiles as she operates controls.

       Her viewscreen shows a moving 3-D grid.  It's a computerized
       map of space ahead.  It's as if we're falling into the grid
       as it advances toward us.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Zero variance.  We're in the clear.


       INT. CAMBRIDGE'S CABIN - NIGHT

       A narrow cupboard of a room, wedge-shaped, with a folding
       bed and a wash-hand basin.

       Cambridge strips off her suit, she's wearing vest and panties
       beneath.  She hangs the suit on a wire frame in the "ready"
       position, arms and legs outstretched, the helmet suspended
       above the open neck and an air tank lying at the feet.  It
       almost looks like an astronaut standing there.

       She strips off her vest, then steps out of her panties.

       She sits naked and cross-legged on the bed.  She opens a
       metal case and takes out a set of disks connected with wires.
       She puts the disks over her breasts and her crotch.  She
       connects their wires to the metal case.

       She slips on a pair of gloves also connected to the case
       with wires.

       Lastly she puts on a metal helmet that completely covers her
       eyes and ears but leaves the lower half of her face exposed.

       She wiggles her gloved fingers in the air and "types" on a
       virtual keyboard.


       INT. CAMBRIDGE'S VIRTUAL REALITY WORLD - DAY

       A soft focus fairytale forest.  Along a winding path comes a
       MEDIEVAL KNIGHT on horseback.  He stops, and raises his helmet
       visor.  He's a handsome fellow whose smile would melt the
       heart of any maiden.

                             KNIGHT (V.O.)
                 Hail, fair lady.  May I escort you
                 to Camelot?


       INT. CAMBRIDGE'S CABIN - NIGHT

       Cambridge grins.  She allows herself to fall back so her
       head lies on the pillow.

                             CAMBRIDGE
                 No, but you may fuck me, Sir Knight.


       INT. CAMBRIDGE'S VIRTUAL REALITY WORLD - DAY

       The smiling Knight takes off his helmet and throws it away.
       He climbs down off his horse.

                             KNIGHT (V.O.)
                 I shall do my best to please my lady.


       INT. CAMBRIDGE'S CABIN - NIGHT

       Cambridge's arms circle air as if she's cuddling an unseen
       lover.  She slowly opens her legs.

                             CAMBRIDGE
                 Oh baby.


       INT. NAYLOR'S CABIN - NIGHT

       Still wearing his suit, Naylor sits at a wall-mounted
       viewscreen that shows the same 3-D grid Gabrielle saw.

                             NAYLOR
                 Diary.

       The viewscreen clears and shows the message, "Personal diary:
       Cmdr. Naylor, Joshua, CS-7483-2"

                             NAYLOR
                 Okay, we just completed our last
                 supply run, Epsilon Eridani 67 Three.
                 One bird didn't make it down due to
                 a technical problem.  It was bound
                 for the Southern continent, Colony
                 Base One.  Can't be helped.  The
                 others got down okay.

       He rubs his eyes, and sighs.

                             NAYLOR
                 We're heading back home soon.
                 Richter's calculating the jump math,
                 Maclaine says everything's on the
                 green.  Another week and it's over.
                 Earth, here we come.  Oh, we'll be
                 using the time until the jump to run
                 some system tests.  If she has to go
                 out again with another crew she'll
                 be ready.  Okay, I'm done.

       He turns away from the viewscreen which shows the 3-D grid
       again.


       EXT. INTERSTELLAR VISTA - NIGHT

       Questor drifts among the stars.


       INT. ENGINE ROOM - NIGHT

       Maclaine pops a mini-basketball into a mini-hoop stuck onto
       a bulkhead.


       INT. GABRIELLE'S CABIN - NIGHT

       Gabrielle paints a model of a Spanish galleon, applying tiny
       licks of paint with a tiny brush.


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

       Anna's by herself.  The hatch opens, Naylor climbs up and
       occupies the other couch.

                             NAYLOR
                 Everything okay?

                             ANNA
                 Everything's fine.

                             NAYLOR
                 What's with the half-degree course
                 correction?

                             ANNA
                 It's nowhere near half a degree.
                 The correction was zero point zero
                 nine seven by zero point zero two.

                             NAYLOR
                 We were on course for the major jump
                 point.  What happened?

                             ANNA
                 I detected a slight variance.  Nothing
                 to be concerned about.

                             NAYLOR
                 Major jump points aren't supposed to
                 move.

                             ANNA
                 It's constantly moving.

                             NAYLOR
                 We had it pinpointed.  You're telling
                 me it shifted that much over just a
                 couple of days?

                             ANNA
                 It is unusual, but hardly excessive.
                 Now we're on course again.

                             NAYLOR
                 Have you looked at the sun?

                             ANNA
                 Of course.

                             NAYLOR
                 There's minimal sunspot activity and
                 zero coronal mass ejection.  The gas
                 giants are in the wrong position.
                 None of the inner planets has enough
                 mass to influence the jump point.

                             ANNA
                 I'm pleased you have some working
                 knowledge of astrophysics.

                             NAYLOR
                 Is that sarcasm?  Because sarcasm is
                 one step away from insubordination,
                 which is one step away from mutiny.

                             ANNA
                 You know, Naylor, I wish I'd met you
                 as you are now when I was eleven,
                 maybe twelve.

                             NAYLOR
                 Why?

                             ANNA
                 I think we would have gotten on pretty
                 well together.  Of course I would
                 have outgrown you quickly, but our
                 brief time together would have amuased
                 me, I'm sure.

                             NAYLOR
                 Did you actually have a sense of
                 humor back then?

                             ANNA
                 I have a sense of humor now.  It's
                 just there's so little that makes me
                 laugh, unless I count the antics of
                 this excuse for a crew as slapstick
                 comedy.

                             NAYLOR
                 That's what I love about you, Richter.
                 Your wit and your honesty.

                             ANNA
                 I'll be watching the jump point
                 closely as we make our run.  At that
                 stage any required course changes
                 will be almost microscopic, so there's
                 nothing for little boys to worry
                 about, okay?

                             NAYLOR
                 I feel safe in your hands.

                             ANNA
                 What happens to Ackermann when we
                 get back home?

                             NAYLOR
                 What about Ackermann?

                             ANNA
                 She's in love with you, you know.
                 It's a little old-fashioned, I
                 suppose, but I find it charming.

                             NAYLOR
                 Why bring that up?

                             ANNA
                 We don't get many opportunities to
                 talk.  A ship this small, there's
                 always someone around, listening in.

                             NAYLOR
                 I'm not in charge of personnel re-
                 assignment.

                             ANNA
                 That's true.  Sometimes you're barely
                 in charge of this ship.  But will
                 you request that Ackermann be assigned
                 to your next crew?

                             NAYLOR
                 That's the problem.  If I put in a
                 request they might be suspicious.

                             ANNA
                 The Company rotates its crews as a
                 matter of policy.  If you don't put
                 in the request it's unlikely she'll
                 be assigned to you again.

                             NAYLOR
                 Rock, hard place.

                             ANNA
                 You don't love her as much as she
                 loves you, do you?

                             NAYLOR
                 I thought she was just using me for
                 sex.

                             ANNA
                 You'll notice I'm not laughing.

                             NAYLOR
                 That's standard operating procedure.
                 I'll think about putting in a request.
                 Let me know if the jump point shifts
                 again, won't you?

                             ANNA
                 Mmm.

       Naylor heads for the hatch, opens it--

       The control room shakes.  A small but noticable fluctuation.
       Naylor closes the hatch, returns to the couch.

                             NAYLOR
                 Hell was that?

                             ANNA
                 Magnometer reading?

                             NAYLOR
                 Showing clear.

                             ANNA
                 We just passed between two magnetic
                 fields.  It can't be clear.

       She studies her viewscreen and shakes her head.

                             NAYLOR
                 Talk to me.

                             ANNA
                 The major jump point shifted again.
                 I want to launch a torpedo.

                             NAYLOR
                 Then launch a torpedo.  No objection
                 from me.

       Anna taps controls, stabs a button.

                             ANNA
                 Torpedo away.  Gabrielle?

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 Go ahead.

                             ANNA
                 Did you feel that?


       INT. GABRIELLE'S CABIN - NIGHT

       Gabrielle sits at her wall viewscreen checking readings.

                             GABRIELLE
                 Magnetic fields this far out from
                 the jump point?


       INT. CONTROL ROOM - NIGHT

                             ANNA
                 Hold on.  Data coming in from the
                 torpedo.  It was an electromagnetic
                 pulse from the major jump point.

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 Can I come up?

                             ANNA
                 Too crowded.

                             NAYLOR
                 Come ahead, I'm coming down.

                             GABRIELLE (V.O.)
                 Roger that.

       Naylor opens the hatch and climbs down the ladder.


       INT. UPPER ACCESS SHAFT - NIGHT

       Naylor climbs down one ladder, Gabrielle climbs up the other
       ladder.

                             GABRIELLE
                 We have to stop meeting like this.

       Naylor grins.  Gabrielle climbs up into the control room.
       She grins at Naylor before the hatch closes.


       INT. WAIST SECTION - NIGHT

       Naylor climbs down the ladder and steps off.  He turns round
       and bumps into Cambridge, wearing her helmet, suit and air
       tank.  She yells at him but all he can hear are muffled
       noises.  Naylor points at his ear.  Cambridge unseals her
       helmet and lifts it off.

                             CAMBRIDGE
                 What the hell's going on?

                             NAYLOR
                 E.M.P. from the jump point.  Richter's
                 checking it out.

                             CAMBRIDGE
                 Christ, I thought we'd hit something.

                             NAYLOR
                 We didn't.  Everything's okay.

                             CAMBRIDGE
                 "Okay"?  The entire ship shakes and
                 we're "okay"?  News flash, we're
                 light hours from the nearest planetary
                 mass.  There are no magnetic fields
                 this far out.  It's not okay.
                 Nothing's okay.


end excerpt

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