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

       "Risks" - screenplay by Derek Paterson.

       FADE IN:


       ESTABLISH.  A starfield, dazzling and beautiful.

       PAN AROUND and HOLD on a space station in high orbit above
       Earth.  A slowly spinning wheel design, with docking bays
       located on either side of the zero gee central Hub.


       WIDER.  A deltawing transport approaches the space station,
       firing its braking jets.  Careful, slow motion maneuvering.

                           CONTROLLER (V.O.)
                 Delta Five, continue on your present
                 vector.  Reduce to 5 meters per second.
                 Stand by for further corrections.


       Two seats, one empty, the other occupied by the PILOT, male.
       He's wearing a starsuit and helmet (the visor is open).

                      (into radio)
                 Control, copy.  Green vector, 5 m.p.s.

       The HATCH behind him opens.  The CO-PILOT enters the control
       cabin.  He's also wearing a starsuit and helmet (with the
       polarized visor down so we can't see his face).

       (Later in the story, we'll discover the Co-Pilot is actually
       a woman.  But the audience won't know this yet, so
       throughout this scene we'll treat her as a "him.")

                           PILOT (CONT'D)
                 Where the hell have you been?  Sit down
                 and strap in.

       The Co-Pilot doesn't answer.  Instead, he extends his hand.

       C.U. a weird kind of WEAPON appears in the Co-Pilot's hand,
       seemingly growing out of thin air.  It's a futuristic energy
       wireframe, composed of a series of GLOWING circles connected
       by straight lines.  The wireframe weapon emits a high-
       pitched WHINING noise as it charges.

       The Co-Pilot points the weapon the Pilot.  The Pilot stares
       at the weapon, astounded.  The weapon CRACKLES with energy.
       BZZT!  The Pilot JERKS like he's been SHOCKED by high
       voltage and slumps in his seat, dead.

       C.U. the energy weapon disappears, the Co-Pilot's hand is
       empty again.

       The Co-Pilot ducks through the hatch, moving back into the
       passenger cabin.


       The transport moves steadily closer to the station's Hub.

       A beat.

                           CONTROLLER (V.O.)
                 Delta Five, check your vector.  You're
                 moving off the green.

       A beat.  No response.

                           CONTROLLER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                 Delta Five, I say again, check your
                 vector.  You're off the green and coming
                 in too fast.  I will order abort in ten
                 unless you comply.

       No response.


       The Co-Pilot enters the passenger cabin, a sterile
       environment with rows of seats, like a small aircraft.

       There is only one passenger aboard.  Scientist ALEX PETROV
       looks up from his laptop, curious.

       The Co-Pilot lifts his hand.

       C.U. once again the energy wireframe takes form out of thin
       air, becoming a glowing weapon that WHINES as it charges to
       full power.

       Petrov is ASTONISHED at the sight of the weapon.

       SHOT:  from behind the Co-Pilot.

       The Co-Pilot opens his helmet visor.  We don't see his face,
       but Petrov sees it and REACTS.  He KNOWS who this is!

       C.U. the energy weapon CRACKLES with energy.

       BZZT!  Petrov JERKS like he's been shocked by high voltage
       and slumps in his seat, dead.

       C.U. the energy weapon disappears, the Co-Pilot's hand is
       empty again.


       The transport continues to move closer to the space station.
       Seconds pass -- counting to ten.

                           CONTROLLER (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                 Delta Five, you are ordered to abort
                 your approach.  Take vector zero nine
                 zero.  You must comply immediately.

       No response.


       The Co-Pilot moves to the back of the cabin, to the
       transport's airlock hatch.  He punches a code into the
       control panel.  The panel BEEPS and lights turn RED.

       The panel display reads:  "DEPRESSURIZING CABIN"

       A count of 10.  We HEAR a HISSING noise, which slowly fades.

       The panel display reads:  "DEPRESSURIZED"

       The hatch silently OPENS.  The Co-Pilot braces himself
       against the door frame, then LAUNCHES himself out into space
       like some crazy skydiver!


       Near the station's Hub.

       We pick up on the Co-Pilot as he drifts toward the Hub in
       freefall.  Ahead of him, an airlock hatch slides OPEN.

       WIDER.  The incoming transport is getting uncomfortably
       close to the space station!

                           CONTROLLER (V.O.)
                      (deadly serious)
                 Hub Control is declaring an emergency
                 situation!  Delta Five is hard inbound
                 and refusing to alter course.  Defense
                 stations are clear to open fire!

       Two missiles STREAK from the space station, homing in on the
       transport.  They hit the transport and EXPLODE, destroying
       the target.  Pieces spin off in all directions.

       The free-falling Co-Pilot passes through the airlock hatch.
       It closes behind him.

       A shower of tiny, spinning fragments strikes the space
       station's hull, but that's nothing to what would have
       happened if the transport had hit.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


       A starfield, dazzling and beautiful... and alien.

       PAN AROUND until we see two binary suns of different size
       and color... huge angry orange and tiny yellow... and then
       we graze the edge of an ASTEROID BELT composed of rocks that
       range in size from automobiles to small mountains.

       A spaceship flies through the asteroid belt.  It's a RED
       SPHERE bristling with SPIKES, like an old World War II sea
       mine, or a virus seen under a microscope.  One glimpse is
       enough to convince us that it's an ALIEN spaceship.

       We FOLLOW the spike-ship as it skims big rocks and evades
       smaller rocks, using an unknown propulsion system.  Finally
       closing in on...

       A WRECKED BATTLESHIP.  This ship has taken some serious
       damage, its hull is riddled with gaping holes.  No lights
       are showing, there's no evidence of life aboard.

       As we examine the wreck closely we see the ship's name
       painted on the scarred hull:  LYSANDER

       And on the hole-riddled solar fin, a YELLOW SUN EMBLEM
       surmounted by the legend:  "STARGUARD".

       The red spike-ship orbits the wrecked battleship.  It emits
       beams of light that play over Lysander's hull, probing the
       dead battleship from end to end.

       The light beams snap off.  The red spike-ship is satisfied.
       It breaks away and leaves Lysander behind, returning to
       wherever it came from.

       AN ASTEROID some distance away.  A small spaceship of
       obviously human design moves away from the rock, fires its
       maneuvering jets and closes on the dead battleship.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


       Establish.  The pink-red Martian surface.  A scarred DOME
       stands firm in the middle of a vicious DUST STORM.


                           CONTROLLER (V.O.)
                 Ambassador Svenson.  Paging Ambassador


       A darkened cabin.  The same message is repeated via the
       cabin's intercom system:

                           CONTROLLER (V.O.)
                 Ambassador Svenson.  Paging Ambassador

       There's MOVEMENT in the dark.  Something gets knocked over.
       We hear a muttered CURSE.  Then a LIGHT gets switched on.

       KURT SVENSON, 50s, lies on his bed, propped up on one elbow.
       Distinguished, elegant, self-assured -- but not right at
       this moment.  He peers owlishly at the bedside digital clock

       C.U. the clock reads:  03:12 (MARS LOCAL)


       He gets a grip on himself.  Sits up in bed, rubs his eyes.

                           SVENSON (CONT'D)
                      (lights come on)

       A wall VIEWSCREEN activates, showing the face of the
       CONTROLLER, male, wearing a uniform.

                           CONTROLLER (SCREEN)
                 I'm very sorry to disturb you, Mister
                 Ambassador.  We're receiving a priority
                 signal from United Earth Government
                 Headquarters.  Originator is Chief
                 Ambassador Andersen.  Coming in via
                 tachyon beam, zero time delay.

                 Pipe it through.

       He runs his fingers through his unruly hair.  Takes a couple
       of deep breaths.  Glances at the clock again, wishing he was
       still asleep.

       Chief Ambassador FRIDA ANDERSEN appears on the viewscreen.
       She's an attractive woman, but she didn't get to be Chief of
       Diplomatic Corps by fluttering her eyelashes.  She's tough
       as boot leather and takes no prisoners.

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 Hello, Kurt.  I hope I haven't disturbed
                 your beauty sleep?

                 You'll forgive me if I don't split my
                 sides laughing.

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 We received a message from the lobsters.
                 I thought you'd want to know.

                      (still irritated)
                 You must mean the Arj ambassador.  What
                 does the message say?

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 If we translated correctly, they've
                 agreed to our proposal to extend the
                 And they want a meeting, just like you
                 said they would.  They've chosen a
                 location in Red Sector 12.

                      (with realization)
                 Is this what I think it is?

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 I've got all my fingers crossed, and my
                 toes, too.
                 You might have noticed the arrival of a
                 Starguard gunship.  It's been placed at
                 your disposal.

       Svenson touches a switch on his bedside CONTROL PANEL.  The
       viewport HATCH on the wall of his cabin slides open,
       admitting light.  Svenson gets out of bed, wrapping the
       sheet around his waist.  He peers through the open viewport.

       SVENSON'S POV:  a warship, the WYATT EARP, sits on the flat
       spacefield behind the dome.  She's big, functional-ugly and
       bristling with guns, like a porcupine with attitude.

       Svenson returns to his bed and sits down.

                 Suddenly we don't have any ships of our
                 own available?

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 Come on, Kurt, you didn't really expect
                 to keep Starguard out of this, did you?
                 Red Sector was a battleground until you
                 negotiated the cease-fire.  They still
                 have a heavy presence out there.

                 I know that.
                 I also know who was responsible for Red
                 Sector becoming a battleground.  So do
                 you.  Any news on that front?

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 Last I heard, Starguard Command was
                 reviewing your report.  No decision has
                 been announced yet.  As far as I know,
                 Colonel Falklan is still in command of
                 military forces in Red Sector.

       Svenson activates his bedside control panel display and taps

       SVENSON'S POV:  a 3D graphic of Red Sector, showing major
       star systems and the dispositions of Earth's forces in that
       volume of space.  Several markers bear the subtext, "FLEET
       DESTROYED" while others read, "FLEET AT REDUCED STRENGTH" or
       "FLEET UNDERGOING REPAIR" -- the aftermath of several
       vicious space battles.

       On the wall viewscreen, Andersen looks off to one side, as
       if she's able to see the same information.

                 What military forces?  Falklan barely
                 has enough ships left to hold his
                 current position.  Not that that will
                 stop him from throwing his weight

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 You foresee a problem?

                 I'd like some assurance from Starguard
                 Command that Falklan will not be
                 permitted to interfere.  This is a
                 Diplomatic Corps mission, not a military

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 Okay, I'll submit a request to Starguard
                 Command.  But Red Sector 12 does fall
                 under Falklan's jurisdiction.  We can't
                 conceal what's happening from him.

                 Just put the request through as quickly
                 as you can.
                 What about my team?

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 Already taken care of.  Richard Bono is
                 en route to Mars aboard a Lunacorp
                 transport, E.T.A. three hours.  You'll
                 be seeing Micha Lombardi a lot sooner
                 than that.  When you're ready, contact
                 the gunship for pickup.  They'll arrange
                 to rendezvous with Bono's transport.

                 Why Bono?  Why not Petrov?

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 Alex Petrov was killed in a tragic
                 accident, Kurt.  Something went wrong
                 just as his transport approached the
                 Nagasaki Orbital.  It was destroyed by
                 the station's defense system.  The
                 incident is still under investigation.

                 Good God.

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                 Bono worked with Petrov.  He knows as
                 much about Pandora as Alex did.

                 I damn well hope so.
                 You've thought of everything.

                           ANDERSEN (SCREEN)
                      (dry humor)
                 What are ex-wives for?  Good luck with
                 the mission, Kurt.

                 Thanks, Frida.  Love to the kids.

       Andersen nods.  The wall viewscreen BLACKS OUT.

       Svenson yawns and heads for the john, waddling like a man
       who's just been wrenched from sleep and has a full bladder.

       His cabin DOORBELL stops him.  He changes direction and
       waves his hand over the viewscreen (TV) beside the door.

       SVENSON'S POV:  The viewscreen shows MICHA LOMBARDI -- young
       (she's half Svenson's age), beautiful, full of life.  She
       GRINS at the camera.

       Svenson opens the door.  Micha walks into his arms.  They
       kiss, then draw apart.

                      (licking lips)
                 Interesting mouthwash flavor.

                 I'm sorry, Frida just woke me up to tell
                 me the news.
                 When did she contact you?

                 About twelve hours ago, give or take.
                 One moment I was aboard the Brittania
                 Orbital talking to Mom and Dad, the
                 next, I'm being dragged aboard the
                 biggest damned spaceship I've ever seen.

                 The Starguard gunship?  I saw it.
                 Frida told me I'd be seeing you soon.

                 You think she timed it so she woke you
                 up just before I got here?  Wow, she's
                 good.  Why'd you divorce her?

                 Every day was a clockwork schedule.  I'm
                 glad you're here.  How's the family?

                 My parents aren't happy with me for
                 breaking off my engagement.  Nick's
                 taking it a lot better than they did.

                 You didn't have to.

       She rises on her tip-toes and kisses him on the cheek.

                      (softly, in love)
                 Yes, I did.

                 Make yourself comfortable, I'm going to
                 freshen up.  Won't be long.

                 Brush your teeth.  You never know when
                 we might kiss next.

       Svenson takes the hint and heads for the john.  We follow
       Micha to the open viewport.  She looks out.

       MICHA'S POV:  C.U. of the Wyatt Earp -- the gunship's hull
       is scarred, her solar fin has been holed, sections of
       plating have been hastily repaired; at least a couple of her
       gun turrets are gaping, melted pits.

       Micha frowns at this graphic reminder that a war has been
       raging somewhere Out There, and Svenson's team is heading in
       that direction.

       Svenson continues talking from the bathroom.

                           SVENSON (O.S.)
                 Richard Bono is on his way.  As soon as
                 he gets here, we'll be leaving.

                 Did you say Richard Bono?

                           SVENSON (O.S.)
                 That's right.

                 Where's Alex Petrov?

                           SVENSON (O.S.)
                 Alex won't be coming.

       Micha's serious expression is unreadable, but we know she's
       thinking something we're not privy to.

       We HEAR splashing water O.S. as Svenson runs his shower.

                           SVENSON (O.S.)
                 Water's hot!  Room for two.

       Micha reluctantly tears herself away from the viewport, and
       heads for the bathroom.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


       Mars, the Red Planet, viewed from orbit.

       WIDER so we see a deltawing transport in orbit above Mars.

       WIDER STILL -- the gunship Wyatt Earp approaches the
       deltawing transport from behind -- a shark bearing down upon
       a tiny goldfish.

                           WYATT EARP CC (FILTERED)
                 Transport G-29, prepare for docking.
                 Tell your passenger to get ready for

                           TRANSPORT (FILTERED)
                 Acknowledged, Wyatt Earp.  Passenger is
                 ready in the aft airlock.


       A brightly lit airlock compartment with hatches at either
       end.  LIGHTS above the far airlock hatch glow RED.

       The airlock SHAKES as the two ships come together.  We HEAR
       a dull, metallic CLUNK that echoes throughout the ship.

       A beat.

       The LIGHTS at the far end turn to GREEN.

       A beat.

       The far hatch opens and the passenger from the transport
       steps through.  He's wearing a starsuit and helmet with the
       visor closed; we can't see his face.  He's weighed down by a
       bulky EQUIPMENT PACK.  The hatch closes behind him.  He
       heads for the inner hatch, dragging the pack.


       The inner airlock hatch OPENS and the incoming passenger
       finds himself confronted by a pair of armed Star Marines.
       He puts down his pack, then takes off his helmet.

       RICHARD BONO, early 20s, just on the wrong side of handsome,
       a computer geek who made good.

                 Don't shoot, I'm on your side!

       The unsmiling Star Marines fall into escort position on
       either side of him.  One of them snatches up Richard's pack
       like it weighs nothing.  They march down the corridor.
       Richard almost has to run to keep up with them.


       A central compartment, giving access to several adjoining
       cabins.  A kind of common social area, with couches and

       The entry hatch slides open.  Richard steps through,
       dragging his equipment pack after him.  The entry hatch
       shuts behind him.


       Svenson sticks his head out one of the cabin doors, sees
       Richard, comes out to meet him.  They shake hands.

                 Richard, good to see you.  No problem
                 with getting here, then?

                 I think I'm six inches shorter.  The
                 transport punched three gees constant
                 acceleration the entire journey.
                      (indicates entry hatch)
                 What's with the guards?  Am I under
                 arrest or what?

                 Like it or not, Starguard is involved in
                 this.  I think we'll be seeing a lot
                 more uniforms before it's all over.
                 I'm sorry you've been pulled into this
                 on such short notice, Richard.

       Svenson invites Richard to sit on one of the couches.  They
       sit down.  (There's a control panel and display on the wall
       behind their couch, used later.)

                 I heard about Alex Petrov.  I couldn't
                 believe it.  Do they know what happened?

                 Chief Ambassador Andersen said the
                 accident is being investigated.
                      (re: equipment pack)
                 Just how up to speed are you on the code

                 I helped Petrov build the prototype.
                 Sat with him through the testing phase.
                 I'm confident I can operate the machine
                 successfully, Mister Ambassador.

                 Is it as good as Petrov claimed?

                 Well, at the moment, Diplomatic Corps
                 has an Einstein Class A.I. handling
                 translations.  Each translation can take
                 hours to process, depending on its

                 If you're going to tell me that thing
                 you brought with you can do it any
                 faster, you've got a hard sell.  I was
                 one of the original Einstein system

                 I'm aware of that, sir.
                      (takes a deep breath)
                 The fact is, we first encountered the
                 Arj twenty years ago, when one of our
                 robot scoutships entered a star system
                 containing an Arj outpost.  It took a
                 further ten years to develop the radio
                 code, and it's taken until now to build
                 up any kind of useful library.  That
                 library is what the Einstein uses.

                 You're not telling me anything I don't
                 already know.

                 What you might not know is that we
                 combed the records kept by the deep
                 space monitoring stations positioned
                 along the edge of what is now Red
                 Sector.  These stations were essentially
                 remote radio astronomy observatories,
                 but they did a pretty good job of
                 collecting other data.  For instance,
                 every transmission that ever came from
                 that volume of space.  Those records go
                 back fifty years or more.

                 And you used this, how?

                 We built up a second-stage lexicon that
                 hangs off the library compiled by the
                 Einstein.  There's a whole new suite of
                 compression/expansion utilities sitting
                 alongside logical comparison tables.
                 The Einstein A.I. is fast, but Pandora
                 is smarter and more intuitive.

       MICHA exits Svenson's cabin, into the common area.


                 Richard, this is Doctor Micha Lombardi.
                 I don't think you two have met.  Micha,
                 Richard Bono.

       Richard and Micha formally shake hands.

                 Pandora is the name Doctor Petrov gave
                 to the project.

       Micha sits beside Svenson.

                 Does it have any significance?

                 I'd love to tell you it stands for
                 PANDimensional ORAtorical device or
                 something like that, but the plain fact
                 is, Doctor Petrov may have called it
                 Pandora simply because it fits into a

       Micha smiles; no reaction from Svenson.

                 Smarter, how?

                 Pandora was built for a specific task.
                 By comparison, the Einstein is a general
                 artificial intelligence that's being
                 asked to perform a job it wasn't really
                 designed for.  It wrote itself a set of
                 algorithms that are simply no match for
                 Pandora's purpose-designed core.

       A beat, while Svenson ponders this.

                           RICHARD (CONT'D)
                 Mister Ambassador, perhaps you can tell
                 me why Starguard is involved in what's
                 supposed to be a diplomatic mission?

                 Aside from the fact they're providing
                 transport, we'll be meeting with the Arj
                 ambassador in a Red Zone.  Expect to see
                 some posturing from the military.

                 The cease-fire is still holding up,
                 isn't it?

                 Absolutely.  The Arj have asked for an
                 extension, which is a good sign.  If we
                 can stop certain parties from rattling
                 their sabers, we're in with a chance.
                 That's assuming you can perform on cue.

                 I can guarantee full interactive
                 communication with the Arj.  Pandora
                 cranks out radio code as quickly as you
                 can type.


                 You want voice-activated, you'll have to
                 give me another couple of weeks.  We
                 were on schedule -- then this happened.

                 You'll be doing the typing, right?  I
                 can't remember the last time I touched a

                 Sure.  Where is the meeting, exactly?

                 Red Sector 12.

                 Why there?  Why not some other volume?

                 I can answer that question.  Red Sector
                 12 is closest to Earth in astronomical
                 terms.  That's probably why Starguard
                 has been so determined not to lose it.

       Svenson turns around and touches a switch on the control
       panel, activating the intercom.  PING!

                 This is Ambassador Svenson.

                           WYATT EARP CC (FILTERED)
                 Go ahead, Mister Ambassador.

                 Are we under way yet?

                           WYATT EARP CC (FILTERED)
                 We've been under way since your team
                 member came aboard, Mister Ambassador.
                 Constant acceleration will take us to
                 point zero two lightspeed in just over
                 five hours.

                 What happens then?

                           WYATT EARP CC (FILTERED)
                 We phase into negative space, Mister
                 Ambassador.  E.T.A. for Red Sector 12,
                 seventeen days.

                 Thank you.  What is our actual

                           WYATT EARP CC (FILTERED)
                 Full details have been dumped to your
                 terminal, sir.

                 All right.  I'll check it out.  Thank

       Svenson turns off the intercom.  He activates the control
       panel's viewscreen.  When it lights up, he presses his hand
       against a sensor pad.

       C.U. the viewscreen displays the message:  "RECOGNIZED"

       The message is replaced by a 3D graphic image of Sector Red
       12, similar to the one we saw in Svenson's cabin on Mars.
       Cross hairs mark a specific location.

       Svenson touches a finger to the cross hairs.  The image
       changes to:  A star system, showing binary suns and the
       orbital paths of several planets.  Two of the planets have
       adopted a figure-8 orbit around both suns.  There's also a
       visible asteroid belt.  Cross hairs mark a location in the
       asteroid belt.

       Svenson touches a finger to the cross hairs.  The image
       changes to:  A view of the dead battleship Lysander drifting
       through the asteroid belt (make sure it's not at the same
       angle as before, so it looks different).

                 What is it?

                 It looks familiar, but I'm not sure...

                 It's the Lysander.  She was the
                 flagship... the pride of STARGUARD.

                 Good God, the Lysander.  She engaged the
                 Arj fleet just before we signed the
                 cease-fire.  Over a thousand men and
                 women were aboard...  A senseless loss
                 of life.

                 I don't understand.  Where is the
                 meeting with the Arj ambassador going to
                 take place?

                 You're looking at it.

                 You mean, aboard that ship?  But it's a

                 It's an ideal neutral location.  The
                 control and weapon systems are dead.
                 Engines have been shot to pieces.
                 They've probably scanned it to make
                 sure.  I should imagine that restoring
                 life support to a single compartment
                 will prove simple enough.

                 It would be just as easy to land on one
                 of those planets, or a moon, or even a
                 big asteroid.  Setting up an environment
                 dome is child's play.

                 Possibly you're right.  But you could
                 conceal an entire fleet behind such a
                 physical mass.  Hold the negotiations
                 aboard a dead ship like the Lysander, on
                 the other hand, and you can be sure the
                 other side isn't planning on springing a
                 surprise.  No one can even approach
                 without showing up clearly on radar.

       A beat.

                 Do you think they chose the Lysander as
                 a symbolic meeting place?  To rub our
                 noses in it?

                 If we were dealing with humans, I might
                 think that.  But applying our thoughts
                 and concepts to the Arj is a dangerous
                 game.  I think that's how the war got
                 started in the first place -- we
                 imagined they'd think like us, react
                 like us.  They don't.
                 We have seventeen days in which to
                 prepare for the meeting.  Richard, I
                 want you to show Doctor Lombardi how to
                 operate Pandora.  I think you'll find
                 her linguistical analysis abilities are
                 second to none.

                 All right.  Although I'm not sure--

                 In case you're in any doubt, Micha and I
                 are together.  We shall be together when
                 this mission is completed and we return
                 to Earth.  Do we understand each other?

       Richard glances at Micha.  She stares back at him, not in
       the least embarrassed.

                      (to Svenson)
                 We do, sir.

                 Excellent.  I wish to make my position
                 clear in order to avoid any tedious
                 misunderstandings that may arise.  Now,
                 to work.  Let's have a look at Pandora.
                 Then we'll see what culinary delights
                 the galley has to offer, shall we?

       They get up off the couch and gather around Richard's
       equipment pack.  Richard starts opening the pack up...

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:


       The asteroid belt in the binary star system.


       PAN AROUND and HOLD on...

       The battleship Lysander, dark and lifeless, drifting through
       the asteroid belt.

       The Wyatt Earp (lit up) moves into shot, much SMALLER than
       the Lysander (dark), giving us an idea of how big the
       battleship truly is.


       An open viewport shows the battleship Lysander, brightly lit
       by the blazing radiance from the binary suns.

       Svenson, Micha and Richard stare at the battleship.  It's
       close enough that they can read LYSANDER on the hull, and
       see the terrible damage the battleship took.

                 They could have jumped into negative
                 space and got away, but they didn't.

                 Assuming their phase drive was still

                 It was.

                 How do you know?

                 Their final hyperwave transmission
                 contained system status reports.  They
                 could have jumped...

                 Why didn't they?

                 Because Starguard never retreats.  They
                 stayed to satisfy some absurd concept
                 called "honor."

                 It wasn't absurd to them.

                 Do you really imagine the crew of that
                 ship wanted to die?  That given the
                 choice, they wouldn't have turned and
                 run?  Their officers denied them that
                 option.  Believe me, they weren't
                 thinking about "honor" when they died.
                 They were thinking how senseless this
                 war is.  And they were right.

       Svenson exits, angry.

       A beat.  Richard doesn't saying anything but he's no less
       angry than Svenson.

                 Ambassador Svenson understands the Arj
                 better than anyone.  If anyone can
                 negotiate a lasting peace, it's him.

                 I'm glad to hear it.

       Richard exits.

       Micha continues to watch Lysander as they approach the
       wrecked battleship.  Her intense expression betrays her
       trepidation for what lies ahead.  She finally turns away and
       follows Svenson and Richard out.


       The gunship lines up to dock with the huge battleship.


       Svenson, Richard and Micha gather in the airlock.  They're
       wearing starsuits, helmets and backpacks.  Richard carries
       his equipment pack containing the Pandora translator unit.

       They wait for the OUTER HATCH to open so they can enter the
       umbilical tube.  The INNER HATCH opens behind them instead,
       causing them to turn around...

       Two STAR MARINES wearing camouflage pattern starsuits and
       helmets enter the airlock.  SERGEANT LEE is built like an
       armored assault vehicle.  MARINE DENNY looks attractive
       behind her visor, but she's no soft pushover.  They're armed
       with formidable AR-1900 assault rifles fitted with grenade
       launchers, laser sights and flashlights.

       Because everyone's wearing helmets and breathing suit air,
       all conversation in this scene is FILTERED.

                 What's going on here?

                 We're your escort, Mister Ambassador.
                 It's safety protocol.  We go in first.

                 You've scanned the Lysander, haven't

                 From nose to tail, sir.  I'm pretty sure
                 there's nothing unexpected waiting for
                 us.  But we will go in first, and you
                 will wait here for our signal before you

       Lee and Denny push past them to stand at the outer airlock

                      (to Richard)
                 It doesn't look like we have much choice
                 in the matter.

                      (without turning)
                 That is the case, sir.

       The LIGHTS above the airlock hatch flash RED.

                           LEE (CONT'D)
                 Airlock is depressurizing.

       Lee and Denny ready their AR-1900s, aiming at the hatch.
       The lights stop flashing and glow solid RED.  The outer
       airlock hatch slides OPEN, revealing the empty umbilical
       tube.  Lee and Denny step through...


       The battleship Lysander's auxiliary control room lies in

       An airlock hatch opens, admitting a flood of light.  Lee and
       Denny enter.  They play their flashlights about the control
       room -- left, right, ahead.  Lee's flashlight shows the
       outline of some vaguely human shapes in the middle of the
       room, but we don't get to see what these are yet.

       Denny plugs a powered device into a slot in the wall.  The
       control room's LIGHTS flicker, then hold steady, revealing--

       A central control console in the middle of the room, manned
       by four CORPSES wearing starsuits and helmets.  They're
       still in their chairs, slumped forward over their boards.


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