TZOLKIN A screenplay by Joe Halstead

Joe Halstead 304.880.0396

EXT. JOHN’S FARM - MORNING The sun is a low yolk in the American desert. Salt pans. Spiniflex. A farm. A farmhouse. decrepit GRAIN SILO casts a long shadow. A barn. A

A lonely old figure works a patch of corn with a hoe. When he looks up, he grunts and cracks his back. His features are wrinkled and darkly browned. This is JOHN DAWKINS. SANDRA (V.O.) Two forces. Matter and antimatter. John reaches down and runs his fingers through the soil, turning it inside out. The corn is dead. He snarls. SANDRA (V.O.) (CONT’D) They are identical except for their opposite charges. But that’s enough of a difference. John puts a dip of chewing tobacco in his jaw. environment a moment. SANDRA (V.O.) (CONT’D) Because when they meet, they annihilate each other. A look of sadness crosses John’s face. He takes his wallet from his pocket and opens it to a photograph of himself and his family. There is a wife and a daughter and a younger John. Its hue is faded from decades in the desert sun. John looks at it a while, contemplating some inner grief. SANDRA (V.O.) (CONT’D) Whatever heartbreak they have, whatever pain, all their moments have made them the way they are. John pockets the wallet. He shoulders the gardening tools and hobbles toward the old farmhouse. SANDRA (V.O.) (CONT’D) This is how they’re built into each other. The question is, can one change to create a reaction? John disappears into the farmhouse. He savors his


INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (OBSERVATION CELL) - MORNING Big, white, plastic-looking room. There are many rows of monitors and electronic control panels with gauges and dials. Three PHYSICISTS tend to diagnostic feeds and confer with one another. One of them, VISARD, struggles a moment then says: VISARD Still, Earth’s gravity is an approximate force of 9.81m/s/s. Every second your speed increases by 9.81m/s. It took Sugi Yamato 221 days to reach Mars. Takes 354 days just to reach light speed. A ten-year-old girl with blonde pigtails, coke-bottle glasses, and a 210 IQ earnestly studies a small COPPER CANISTER in her hands. She pockets it and swivels around. This is SANDRA GORDON. SANDRA Your calculation is fine for a nonrelativistic universe. VISARD But the mass of your vessel will increase the closer you get to c, and it will get more and more difficult to accelerate -SANDRA Rest mass. Not mass. It does not increase with speed. Why are you discouraging this? VISARD Why are you encouraging it? If space is folded in an atmosphere then a rogue black hole will gobble up the entire planet. Sandra shakes her head slightly. Admit it. VISARD (CONT’D) You could be wrong.

SANDRA I could be, but I’m not. Sandra scrawls a complicated-looking equation on a nearby pane of glass: t = (c/a).sqrt([1 + ad/c2]2 - 1) Visard rubs the bridge of his nose, frustration mounting.


SANDRA (CONT’D) I understand how you can be resentful, but it means a lot to me, being able to do my work well, and I was hired to create a working orbital mass driver so that’s what I’m going to do. Good day. With that, Sandra offers a slight nod and exits the cell. The other two physicists exchange a look. PHYSICIST Who was that blonde bundle of dynamite? VISARD Gentlemen, meet Sandra Gordon. Genius extraordinaire, and our new boss. EXT./INT. JOHN’S TRUCK - DAY John drives through his hollowed mid-western town. sign tells us the village has a population of 421. A highway They’re impressed.

John glances at his dash where a display boasts basic vitals: temperature, time. A BATTERY ticks down and turns red. John frowns. EXT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - DAY A gas station with gas pumps that have long been antiques. John plugs his truck into an outlet on the ground. his head slightly. He shakes

A harsh wind blows through the empty lot, rattling a nearby ancient and rusted BILLBOARD. John looks at it: “FIND MINING OPPORTUNITIES AT THE YAMATO MARS COLONY!” John frowns. He isn’t in the mood to see it.

INT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - DAY An athletic Native American man reads TIME MAGAZINE behind the counter. In his eyes we see receptivity and enchantment. This is RAY SWIFT EAGLE. A bell above the door pings. Ray sees John approaching.


RAY SWIFT EAGLE Thermometer says 120.2 today. can I do for you, John?


JOHN Don’t you think you should tear that billboard down? They been outta business fifty years. RAY SWIFT EAGLE Don’t you think you should put on something respectable? You look terrible. JOHN (defensively) Give me a bag of fertilizer. Ray allows himself a slight smile as he gets a bag of fertilizer from the top shelf. John looks down at the Time Magazine on the counter. headline reads: “THE GORDON ITERATION: The


JOHN (CONT’D) Bad enough they got a kid running the show, but now they got you reading it in the Time Magazine. RAY SWIFT EAGLE They do say it’s revolutionary. JOHN It’s hippie math that “makes a better tomorrow.” You don’t really believe that shit, do you, Ray? RAY SWIFT EAGLE (lying) No, but you seem pretty convinced. JOHN Me convinced? You’re a damn looney toon. It’s impossible. RAY SWIFT EAGLE Nothing is impossible, John. Modern man is just impossibly egotistical. That’ll be -Before Ray can total the cost purchase, John does some nearly imperceptible mental calculations and comes up with --


JOHN Fourteen twenty-seven. girl is wrong. Ray looks impressed. Prove it.

The little

John empties his wallet, turns to go. RAY SWIFT EAGLE

JOHN Maybe I will. And he’s out the door. Ray shrugs. He pops out his left eye. Glass. He retrieves a rag from beneath the counter and polishes the orb. EXT. POOL - DAY A blue gecko skitters along a concrete deck and under a lawn chair where an over-the-hill farm girl tans. This is APRIL. Nearby, John is wearing a bright orange safety vest and sifting silt at the bottom of the pool with a net. Under the water, a five-year-old boy wearing a coon-skin cap holds his breath and regards John with limbic eyes. Meet ADAM. APRIL I keep thinking I should jump in and save him. He might drown. I don’t really know much about kids. JOHN Maybe you need a new kid. APRIL Just got this one last week. He can’t swim, but he’s trying to get better. It’s the American Dream. Wait, no, that’s dead. Canadian Dream? John’s face holds a note of profound sadness as he watches Adam flounder to the surface. JOHN All the dreams are dead. April wonders what he meant by this as he heads for the pool shed. She hesitates a beat as she says:


APRIL Wanna stop by for dinner later? JOHN ... I want to be left alone. John disappears into the pool shed. April smiles sadly. She looks to Adam. He swims one stroke.

EXT. JOHN’S FARM - EVENING Blurred columns of heat rise from the barren desert. John dumps the bag of fertilizer on the corn. and makes a mess. He curses. The bag rips

Anger flashes across his face. He drops what he’s doing and takes something out of his pocket. A TIME MAGAZINE. The Gordon issue.

INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - EVENING The basement is littered with textbooks and folders. John’s finger skims across the pages of the Time Magazine, catching snippets of equations and words: vf=vi+a ... d=1/2(vf-vi)*t ... “each repetition produces a more perfect answer” ... “Sandra Gordon.” John grabs a piece of chalk. He goes to write something on the nearby CHALKBOARD. Hesitates. He bites his lip. Gropes for some long-lost ability he can’t decipher. The chalk seems repelled by the board. John suddenly lashes out and FLINGS the magazine across the room and punches the chalkboard. EXT. JOHN’S PORCH - NIGHT Jackals howl on the wind. John looks out at the desert as he sips a mug of coffee. His eyes are drawn to a TREEHOUSE at the top of a 400-year-old chestnut tree in the distance.


INT. TREEHOUSE - NIGHT John climbs the ladder into the dark room. He lights a smoke. He takes a dark red folder from a nearby table. It reads “DAWKINS DOSSIER” and has the Quantum Mechanica logo. John briefly considers opening it. Puts it back.

There is a sheet stapled to the wall and an old-style projector nearby. A DOLL has fallen to the floor. John picks it up, sets it on the table. John starts the projector and slumps into a rocking chair. He lights a smoke. The projector whirs to life. John squints at the sheet.

ON THE SHEET: We see the figure of YOUNG JOHN and a LITTLE GIRL walking down a dock at the sea. Waves crash around. John stretches his arms out toward the water curiously. Little Girl laughs. The

The camera’s POV turns toward its operator -- a beautiful woman, late 30s. John’s WIFE. She laughs. John rewinds the film a few seconds. He tears up. rewinds it again. Watches it. Does it again. Smoke curls up into the projector’s light. EXT. QUANTUM MECHANICA - DAY The monolithic grey vault of a laboratory reaches toward the chemical-streaked sky. A SIGN orients us: Quantum Mechanica | Center for Atomic Research INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (TRANSIT) - DAY The indoor train cuts through the darkness, smooth as an eel. Sandra rides, a little detached. LOUDSPEAKER (V.O.) Good morning, and welcome to the Quantum Mechanica transit system. Work safe. Work smart. The future depends on it. Sandra looks down at the COPPER CANISTER in her hands. He


INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (PREOPERATIONS CHAMBER) - DAY Sandra strides into the airlock, her ID pinned to her coat. A security officer verifies Sandra’s identity with a retina scanner. She hands him her personal belongings. INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (READY ROOM) - DAY Sandra slips into a skin-tight bio-hazard suit. INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (OBSERVATION CELL) - DAY A door to the cell opens and Sandra enters. She is greeted by forty PHYSICISTS, some in the room, some behind glass. PHYSICIST Ms. Gordon, we boosted the antimatter diffuser 75% -SANDRA What’s Visard doing in the barrel? The Physicist glances behind him and sees Visard working at a control panel in a small glass boot. Sandra stews. She moves to Visard, who whirls around.

SANDRA (CONT’D) Get away from there. This is mine, I’m doing this today. VISARD I got it covered. Munition level monitoring is activated and -SANDRA Explicit orders. This is a rare opportunity for us. It’s the purest sample we've seen -VISARD And the most unstable. We need a highly-trained professional -SANDRA Headquarters is very concerned that we get a conclusive answer in today’s work. That’s why they have confidence in me. Not you. Visard is speechless. He stands and ponders Sandra a beat.

VISARD You’re too smart for your own good.


He leaves for a monitor in the corner.

Sandra leers at him.

Sandra takes the seat in the boot. She slips her hands into “gloves” and manipulates two MECHANICAL CLAWS on the other side of the glass. She inserts the COPPER CANISTER into the test chamber. She adjusts a microphone on her helmet and speaks into it: Testing. SANDRA Start the rotors please.

The Physicist makes adjustments on the control panel. PHYSICIST Power to stage 1 rotors. 3, 2, 1.

The HUM of machinery is heard. Behind the glass, two TUNNELS arc away from the test chamber that holds the copper canister. They glow in red hot spots. SANDRA Dr. Visard. Stage 2 please. Visard hesitates then puts a card in a slot. Again there is a low hum and the room dims. VISARD ... Stage 2 rotors active. A rush of PARTICLE ENERGY barrels through each tunnel. They CRASH at the copper canister. It opens. A BLACK COMPONENT (antimatter sample) hovers in a containment field. Thank you. SANDRA I’ll take it from here. She

Sandra picks up the component with the mechanical hands. strains as the hands move toward the AUTOJET PISTON. Electricity begins arcing away from the machine.

Buttons click, lights flash, and gauges near warning marks. VISARD It’s about to go critical. Shutting down -SANDRA Sustaining. Sandra struggles to manipulate the mechanical claws. Perspiration forms on her forehead.


VISARD Sandra, the machinery wasn’t meant to do this in the first place! SANDRA Sustaining! PHYSICIST Showing a small discrepancy in -A circuit board EXPLODES near him, burning his face. Sandra looks into the black component in the claws. She does not drop her gaze. It rattles. It becomes a black triangle. MUSIC: An ominous choir of voices fades in. VISARD Kill it before it gets any larger! A high whining can be heard, then a huge explosion rocks the containment field. LOUDSPEAKER (V.O.) Warning, containment field failure. The physicists pull large levers in an attempt to control the situation. Flames and smoke fill the room. Lights turn red. VISARD (into intercom) High-energy detonation in Sector 19, command, we have forty men down here. (to physicists) Go! Get out of here! (to Sandra) We have to get to the surface! SANDRA Let me fix this! All the scientists evacuate leaving Sandra frozen in the boot. She strains to break the power of the black hole. The floor and earth beneath the test zone suddenly RUPTURE and are sucked into the black hole. As the ground is devoured, it creates a bottomless pit, and the entire containment field falls to the center of the Earth. The copper canister seals around the antimatter sample and it falls into the pit as well. The boot breaks from the floor and is sucked toward the pit.


Sandra is taken by surprise, and fumbles for the EJECT button. It fails. There is a moment when she looks afraid. Suddenly, Visard jumps for the boot. He manually ejects Sandra, which rockets her toward the door. The boot collapses in on Visard. He bangs loudly on the glass as he is pulled into the pit. A terrifying beat. Sandra is horrified as she watches the disaster scene. Tears come to her eyes. She quickly bangs out the emergency door. Magma glows from the orifice in the ground. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (LIVING ROOM) - DAY John smokes. He contemplates the Time Magazine.

There is a large rumble and the entire room vibrates. John stands up, dropping the magazine on the floor. He is confused and worried. There is a pause as he waits. He hears something deep inside the Earth followed by a more powerful rumble that nearly knocks him down. John grabs a pair of binoculars and bangs out the door. EXT. JOHN’S HOUSE - DAY John raises the binocs, squints at the horizon: In the distance, two thin plumes of smoke rise into the air. John pales, a slow increasing awareness of what’s happening. INT. JOHN’S TRUCK - DAY John drives. He watches the dual plumes of smoke in his rearview mirror. They have grown and become darker. John’s foot presses on the gas. EXT. MAIN STREET - DAY Downtown. Clusters of stores. A town square. People pour onto the scene, confused and afraid. The earth trembles. John’s truck pulls into a free parking space. He gets out of the driver’s side and hurries over to the crowd. They look toward the horizon at the smoke in the distance. John approaches a tall, thin man wearing a cowboy hat and a badge.


This is SHERIFF EDWARDS. SHERIFF EDWARDS My ears feel funny. We’re just waiting to die, aren’t we, Doc? JOHN Don’t call me Doc. What? SHERIFF EDWARDS

JOHN (yelling) Don’t call me Doc. Do I have to repeat it again for your sake? The earth shakes violently. People scream.

APRIL (O.S.) It’s the end! John whirls around to see April rushing toward him, dragging Adam behind her. She hides her head in John’s chest and cries. APRIL (CONT’D) Oh, John Dawkins, hold me, hold me. I’m not afraid, but hold me. JOHN Quit your sour-pussin and let go. He slips out of her grip and she falls to the ground. John stops. He hears something. APRIL What’s wrong? A loud rush of air turns everyone’s heads to the sky... ... where a futuristic red cargo PLANE emerges from behind town hall, hovers above them, then gracefully lands nearby. SPACEMEN in HAZMAT/riot gear stamped with “Quantum Mechanica” descend from the large metal hatchway of the plane. SPACEMAN #1 (computerized voice) Stay calm. Correct procedure is essential. The Spacemen split into teams and run toward the onlookers, who disperse, panicked. Sheriff Edwards is nearly steamrolled by one of them. But


SHERIFF EDWARDS Just what in Sam hill is going on? JOHN (ominously) ... Damage control team. The two men stand as the Spacemen thread through the crowd, carrying radar scopes, computers, and small blue drills. One Spaceman secures a blue drill to the ground. Another attaches a mini-keypad to the bottom of the module and quickly punches in commands. The drill digs into the concrete, then deeper into the earth. A Spaceman drops a RADAR NODE into the hole. RADAR SCOPE The screen is flashing red. A black DOT is at the center. Everyone He looks at his

Steam suddenly GOUTS from the earth not far away. looks helpless and frightened. SPACEMAN #1 Displacement modulation at one-ohfive percent.

Another Spaceman moves the radar scope in that direction. No. SPACEMAN #2 Nothing.

The Spaceman points. Some adjustments are made to the keypad in an apparently futile attempt. The Spaceman looks up. Notices John among the crowd. SPACEMAN #1 Doctor Dawkins, kindly assist in tuning fluctuation dampeners. Sheriff Edwards, April, and the rest look back at John. John is taken aback. He shifts uncomfortably.

JOHN Now why the hell would I help you? The Spaceman nods. He makes a twirling gesture and the others pack up the gear and board the plane. It starts with a deafening roar and lifts off, wind blowing wildly. John’s eyes are full of regret as it disappears into the sky.


INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (OFFICE COMPLEX) - DAY A TECHNICIAN and a research ASSISTANT read reports on screens. An ENGINEER slams switches on a panel to cool the reactor. There is a very loud screeching sound. He picks up a walkie and speaks into it: ENGINEER Section 14 please report status immediately. A beat. There’s no response. bridge of his nose. Only static. He massages the

ENGINEER (CONT’D) Complete critical mass meltdown. Who permitted this priority? The Technician and Assistant look at Sandra, who is running a complicated algorithm in the back. ENGINEER (CONT’D) Why didn’t you listen? We tried to warn you. SANDRA I never thought I’d see a singularity, let alone create one. ENGINEER Are you not hearing me? There should have been a priority shift -it was your responsibility to protect everyone -Tremor. A segment of the wall CRACKS. TECHNICIAN So, what should we do? SANDRA We made a mistake. But we can learn from it and be better. That’s the Gordon Iteration. First, we have to predict how long the system can operate at this level. The Engineer, Technician, and Assistant exchange looks. ASSISTANT Uh, “system?” SANDRA (hard for her) Earth. A beat of silence.


They are all frightened, and stop talking. Sandra, meanwhile, begins running a program. detailed on a COMPUTER SCREEN The readout activates: “analyzing composition: binary algorithm” ... “Self-replicating Singularity” (see detailed index 12-130) A cursor appears and types: The cursor flashes. “Core null/void::99999999 days.” “Core null/void::07 days.” Readouts are

Types out:

Sandra looks up. She notices her co-workers are frightened and unable to work. SANDRA (CONT’D) Please, work as quickly as possible. They stand for a moment, watching the flashing cursor. The Engineer breaks off and starts collecting personal items in a cardboard box. SANDRA (CONT’D) What are you doing? ENGINEER Cutting our losses and pulling out. Go be with your families. The Technician and Assistant follow his example. SANDRA Don’t leave me. Stay here with me. Please. I can do something. The Engineer stops at the door. Has one more thing to say:

ENGINEER Haven’t you done enough? Sandra looks hurt by this. EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - LATE EVENING Ray sits on a large red rock, staring intently at the horizon. He appears to be in some kind of trance. A dark cloud passes over him. His eyes widen in fear.


A wind blows dead yellow grass. INT. SANDRA’S ROOM - LATE EVENING The door bursts open with Sandra attached. She angrily throws some trophies to the ground. They land with a SMASH. She slams herself onto the bed and weeps loudly. up after a long while. Her eyes widen. She looks

Out the window, in the distance, is John’s GRAIN SILO. Sandra wipes her chin. And smiles.

EXT. SANDRA’S HOUSE - LATE EVENING Sandra sits on the roof of her house, eyes half-closed. She scrawls some mathematical hieroglyphics on a STARCHART. She raises a futuristic TELESCOPE to one eye and peers in. THROUGH THE TELESCOPE We see a red planet in spectacular clarity. Sandra smiles slightly. She stares up at MARS glowing impossibly far away. Beyond the reach of mortal men. Certainly beyond the reach of a ten-year-old girl. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BATHROOM) - NIGHT John shaves. He regards himself bitterly in the mirror.

He hears the SOUND of hammering coming from somewhere and is drawn into the other room. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (KITCHEN) - NIGHT John walks through the dark room. He peers out the window.

In the distance, someone is hammering on his silo. John’s lips twist into a snarl. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT Sandra hammers the silo, working hard, building something. John approaches her furiously, waving her down.


JOHN You’re messin around my property. It’s time for an ass-whoopin. John looks down and sees Sandra. He frowns, confused.

SANDRA Don’t ask me to explain. I can’t think straight right now. JOHN Looks like we got ourselves a little miss sass-mouth -John’s eyes suddenly widen in recognition. JOHN (CONT’D) Wait a minute. I know you. Sandra Gordon. The genius. You’re in the magazines and on the TV. SANDRA You obviously have too much time on your hands -John grabs her wrist in mid-swing, stopping the hammer. JOHN (with some heat) Whatever you’re doing -- I want you off my property. Now. The earth shakes violently. SANDRA (quietly) Seven days. John just stares at her with question. SANDRA (CONT’D) Seven days. That’s how long we have left before a cataclysm chases us all into extinction. John tries to hide how much this scares him. JOHN You’re lying. SANDRA You think these earthquakes are just a bad dream? JOHN How do you know that? He fails. Sandra heaves a sigh.


SANDRA Because it’s my fault. John lets this sink in. He’s not surprised.

SANDRA (CONT’D) But we’ll have plenty of time to talk about that when we’re going to Mars. She points skyward. John is speechless.

SANDRA (CONT’D) I’m going to build a rocket out of your silo, and in six days fly it to Mars with enough people to salvage the human race. John can’t believe what he’s hearing. makes Sandra cringe. He laughs curtly. It

JOHN I tell you something, I heard a lot of crazy things, but this takes it. SANDRA The rocket needs a superstructure. Your silo is the only one left around here. I need your help. JOHN I want you off my property. John walks toward his house. Sandra catches up. You have no

SANDRA This is our only hope. choice.

JOHN Oh, I have a choice. I’m choosing to believe it will never work. SANDRA Why can’t you just believe? John stops at his door and whirls around. The earth bellows.

JOHN Live a little. You’ll understand. He shuts the door in Sandra’s face. Sandra looks down and sees her hands clench into fists. moves off with determination. She


EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - MORNING The sun begins to rise over the horizon. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BEDROOM) - MORNING John sleeps. After a moment his eyes open. He sits on the edge of the bed and yawns. He goes to the window and looks at his silo. No one is there. A cruel smile touches John’s lips. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door. John frowns.

INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (LIVING ROOM) - MORNING John opens the door. Sheriff Edwards stands there, his cruiser in the background. JOHN Jesus Christ. INT. POLICE CRUISER - MORNING Edwards drives. John sits in back, sullen and annoyed.

INT. TOWN HALL - MORNING Rows of chairs are lined up on either side of the aisle. Every seat is filled. All 421 people in town are here. Among them are RAY, APRIL, and ADAM. A man in an Italian-cut suit stands behind a podium at the front of the room. Meet MAYOR FAIRBANK. Sandra sits in a chair next to him. The doors in back swing open and a bright shaft of light hits the room. Everyone turns in their seats. Sheriff Edwards escorts John into the meeting. SHERIFF EDWARDS Sorry, John. Yeah. JOHN Say hi to your wife for me.

Mayor Fairbank taps the microphone.


MAYOR FAIRBANK You are called to this meeting, John Dawkins, for curses of doom and denial. What say you? JOHN I say screw you, you pompous dickweed. The assembly is aghast. Fairbank pounds a gavel.

MAYOR FAIRBANK Order. The floor now recognizes Sandra Gordon and her proposal to save the world. Fairbank steps out of the way as Sandra takes the podium. Applause ruffles through the assembly. John rolls his eyes.

There is a long pause as Sandra gathers her thoughts. SANDRA What does it mean to you that you could stand before me, bound and hopeless, while I offer a liberation from your past? John anxiously clocks this question. SANDRA (CONT’D) We can build this rocket, and if you help me, in the end you will stand before me, free from your past, and you will be carried away into tranquility, leaving behind all qualms and turmoils, to a place where nothing will ever hurt again. John tries to hide emotion. complete abandon: He speaks to the assembly with

JOHN You would follow this girl somewhere that might not exist? SANDRA Yamato was abandoned, but it’s still there. With your silo, we can get there. What are you talking about? John shakes his head and laughs. She doesn’t get it.

SANDRA (CONT’D) How can you hate yourself that much? (MORE)

21. SANDRA (CONT’D) How -- you would take all this away from these people? What happened to you?

John deflates, genuinely hurt. Fairbank knows she’s treading on dangerous ground. over the microphone. MAYOR FAIRBANK Whereas the members of this meeting have no other proposals, the floor will now close to proposals. Thereby, I resolve that Sandra Gordon’s proposal be put to an immediate vote. Do I have a second? APRIL (raises hand) I second it. MAYOR FAIRBANK All those in favor of Sandra Gordon’s proposal please signify your approval by raising your right hand. It starts slowly, guiltily. Every hand in the room goes up. He takes

John looks around at the hope, the optimism. Something in his face changes. The earth shakes. He makes a decision. JOHN Fine. Build the damn thing. (to Sandra) But know this: I will make it my purpose in life to prove you wrong. SANDRA Then I guess we’re adversaries. John realizes the assembly is staring. They’re taking out their pain and anger on him. He starts for the door. EXT. DESERT - DAY The sun travels across the sky and reaches its zenith. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY Sandra steps up onto a stool, the silo looming behind her. Rows and rows of townspeople carry tools and building materials and are dressed to work.


Sandra raises a bullhorn to her lips. SANDRA You carry the last genetic strains of our people. Your task is to get us to safe refuge so that we may one day return, stronger, better. The townspeople stare mutely at her. A strong and vital worker holding a large hammer listens intently. This is BRUCE. SANDRA (CONT’D) But life’s challenges are cruel. The Earth will be gone in six days. The Yamato Mars Colony is thirty million miles away. You are a force of unlimited potential. Today, tomorrow is in your hands. The townspeople look scared to death, but they stand fast. SANDRA (CONT’D) Now, we have work to do. Bruce squints and you know he isn’t scared of anything. A crack of thunder and a flash of lightning and MONTAGE BEGINS EXT. JOHN’S FARM - LATER A rare torrential downpour in the desert. The townspeople carve a swathe of industry through the farm: Bruce beats red hot metal with his hammer, forever laboring. A construction worker with a crane pours a barrel of molten metal into a cast. A woman with a high-speed rotary tool works the wall of the silo. Old steel bolts fall out onto sand. The aluminum wall falls. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - DAY Large. Filled with computer parts, cables, and schematics.


Sandra and several ATOMIC TECHIES gather around a laptop. They make some notations on a blueprint. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY The rain has stopped. The sun beats down on the workers.

A woman in a hard-hat jackhammers the concrete beneath the silo. A man with thick mustache converts an above-ground swimming pool into a large neutral buoyancy tank. A feminine man is crafting homemade spacesuits out of quilts and ancient SCUBA helmets. INT. JOHN’S SILO - DAY Sandra and several ENGINEERS build a crude framework. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY Bruce drives a cement mixer, pours down a thick layer of cement. A black man peels off his t-shirt and installs some pressureregulating tubes on the silo. INT. JOHN’S SILO - DAY Sandra opens a removable panel and inserts old-fashioned computer cards into slots. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY A team of townspeople builds a makeshift launchpad. Another team connects a heavy cable from the silo’s hoist to a Pelican hook on the ground. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - DAY Cold War warriors in thick-rimmed glasses put together a simple multi-staged liquid-fueled booster. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY The Stage One booster is hoisted with a crane.


INT. JOHN’S SILO - DAY A wall with many electrodes. Sandra pushes the occasional button, twists the occasional knob. She walks through a maze of electronic circuit panels and climbs down a ladder hole. INT. CRANE - DAY Bruce strains to pull a giant lever. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY The crane swings the Stage One booster over the launch pad. A team guides it into place and assembles it under the silo. Sandra works on a jerry-rigged ORBITAL MASS DRIVER (something like a mini-supercollider with a containment field at the heart). She looks up and sees the townspeople cheering. She smiles warmly, resumes working. EXT. DESERT, SOMEWHERE NEAR QUANTUM MECHANICA - DAY John sits in his truck. He stares out across the desert at the Quantum Mechanica lab in the distance: The atmosphere is red, toxic. Lightning arcs. Volcanoes erupt. A segment of the lab crumbles to the ground. John watches the destruction, his face lined with fear and sadness. He tries to hide something very deep. INT. JOHN’S TRUCK - DAY John pulls into the long driveway that leads to his farm. His jaw hits the floor when he sees the townspeople in his yard with the construction equipment. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY The driver’s side door flings open before the truck stops and John gets out, on the warpath. He roars in anger. APRIL (O.S.) Want a sugar cookie, sugar? John whirls around. April stands behind a table with cookies, smiling crookedly. It budges.


APRIL (CONT’D) Only a dollar. I thought we could raise some money for the rocket. JOHN It ain’t a rocket. Oh, John. It’s a silo.

APRIL Look up and see. He can’t see a rocket.

John looks up at the mutilated silo.

JOHN This is crazy. I have to end this-APRIL Stop it. For some people, this is all that’s left. JOHN Stop? How can I stop? It’s insane. It’s impossible. APRIL Can’t you even admit it’s a possibility? Hell no. JOHN

APRIL How can you say that? JOHN Not the answer you expected? APRIL (frustration mounting) I know you’ve been through a lot in your life, especially what happened twenty years ago, but can’t you at least pretend to be the way you were? John winces. A low blow. April looks at him imploringly.

JOHN Let me tell you something, April. There are two kinds of people in this world. The person who looks at that silo and knows it won’t ever be anything more, and the fool who looks at it and sees some imaginary future that will never come true. I know which one I am. John turns his back, starts for his truck. April calls out:


APRIL You’re afraid of it. you’re quitting. John stops at the door. Beat.

That’s why He goes inside.

April watches him with sad eyes. EXT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - DAY Ray sits in a rocking chair on the porch and smokes a pipe thoughtfully. He looks out at the western landscape. Something is out there in the heat waves, phantasmal, slinking along, Jurassic muscles rippling beneath black fur. Ray goes inside and triple-locks the door. INT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS (BACK ROOM) - LATER Ray sits in the dark, something weighing heavily upon him. The bell above the door in the other room rings. Ray looks concerned. JOHN (O.S.) Christ. Christ Christ Christ. Building a goddamn rocket. Christ. INT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - DAY John paces, desperately seeking assurance. Ray slowly steps out of the back room. JOHN Do you know what you’ve done? RAY SWIFT EAGLE We can start by talking about it. JOHN I saw you in that town hall meeting. You raised your hand. Ray nods. Ah. That.

RAY SWIFT EAGLE What are you going to do?


JOHN What do you think I’m gonna do? I’m gonna destroy it. Gonna smear it into the face of the Earth -RAY SWIFT EAGLE You wish the rocket didn’t have to be built out of your silo. No shit. JOHN

RAY SWIFT EAGLE You cannot attain your freedom by tearing down -- only by building. All we can do is try to change and... build something. JOHN That’s a real nice thing to say. And I tried to change. RAY SWIFT EAGLE I don’t think you know what change is. JOHN I do so know what change is. Let them build the damn thing didn’t I? RAY SWIFT EAGLE Listen to me, John. Ego, dualistic fixation, and discursive thinking are very strong and the last thing they want us to do is abandon them. JOHN I can’t understand a damn word you’re saying. Ray lowers his head sagely. RAY SWIFT EAGLE You must go on a journey from no to yes. But you must also find a reason to believe. JOHN So what you’re saying is you won’t help me stop that little girl? Ray just stares at John. John shakes his head, mildly amused.


JOHN (CONT’D) You know how my own girl used to bulldog stuff, Ray? Well I’m gonna bulldog this one for her. So you can take your voodoo, your black dog blood, and your damn psychic eye and go screw yourself. Ray looks offended. He suddenly taps his glass eye.

RAY SWIFT EAGLE You have something unexpected in your future. John looks at Ray, confused. Afraid to ask.

EXT. JOHN’S FARM - EARLY EVENING John gets out of his truck and walks toward his house. April looks up from a magazine, smiling crookedly. APRIL How about a cookie -Not now. JOHN Not ever.

John marches into his house, fuming. April smiles at Adam, who is toying with a small white BOX. APRIL Don’t worry. He’ll come around. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - EARLY EVENING John has copied the Gordon Iteration onto the chalkboard. erases several x’s. He thinks a beat. He scribbles in some of his own variables. Pause. He

Apparently futile, John grabs his face in frustration. EXT. JOHN’S HOUSE - EARLY EVENING John sits on his porch. He glances at Adam, seated not far away. He is staring straight up, enthralled. John follows his gaze... to the pre-rocket silo. ADAM I love rockets.




ADAM They can save us. JOHN That’s just a silo. you from anything. Adam looks at John. It can’t save

John looks down at Adam.

ADAM You’re stupid. Adam toys with the white box. JOHN What’s in that thing anyway? ADAM (thinks) Hope. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - EARLY EVENING John tries to till the soil of the corn. It’s lifeless. He sighs and gives up. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - LATE EVENING Sandra and Bruce are covered in grease as they build the rocket. They see John stomp off toward the treehouse. Sandra drops her wrench. She studies John as he climbs in. He looks at it.

SANDRA Is it one of those “old man’s gotta have a mystery” sort of things? Bruce says nothing, merely continues working. SANDRA (CONT’D) I've seen him sitting out there at night, in this rocking chair. BRUCE You were wise not to go in. He does not like to let anyone in. INT. TREEHOUSE - LATE EVENING John stares blankly as some dark plan plays out in his mind.


SANDRA (V.O.) Sometimes he'll be out there rocking practically all night. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - LATE EVENING Sandra thinks. She wants to ask something. this and says it for her: BRUCE If you want to know, that would be the place to find out. Sandra looks at John. A warm wind blows in. She shivers. Bruce senses

EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT The mutilated silo is eerily backlit by the moon. Some townspeople continue to work. INT. APRIL’S HOUSE - NIGHT April helps Adam into his one-piece pajamas. The floor beneath them shakes violently. APRIL It’s all right-we’re all right. Let me show you a trick. April closes her eyes and covers them with her hands. Adam looks up, his expression one of curious appraisal. APRIL (CONT’D) If you close your eyes, it doesn’t make it real. See? Adam closes his eyes. He smiles, briefly consoled. Adam is terrified. Some sleep in tents.

Suddenly, the ground shakes so violently they can barely stand. April instinctively grabs Adam. The quake intensifies. is shaking to pieces! A crack splits the floor! The house

Leading Adam by the hand, April sprints for the door. EXT. APRIL’S HOUSE - NIGHT April and Adam stagger out of the house. They look back.


Walls crumble.

Smoke and steam billow from the declivity.

The foundations explode apart. April watches as the orifice devours the house in a huge cloud of smoke. APRIL (shaken) It’s okay. It’s life. She glances at Adam. She grabs his hand.

It’s --

His face is paralyzed in fear. They begin walking somewhere.

INT. SANDRA’S TENT - NIGHT Sandra lies in bed, eyes wide. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT Sandra creeps out from behind the corner of John’s house. She peers in the window and sees the TV still on but no John. She moves off toward the treehouse. INT. TREEHOUSE - NIGHT Sandra climbs up the ladder and stands in the room completely still. John’s domain. She takes a tentative step. Looks around. The sheet stapled to the wall. The rocking chair. The projector. She notices the dark red DAWKINS DOSSIER on the table. She frowns. She stands over the folder, briefly afraid of what it contains. She opens it. Sandra frowns. She picks up a Quantum Mechanica ID card with John’s face on it. She tosses it aside. Sandra eyes widen. The next page is some sort of debrief. She skims over the entries on it: SUBJECT: Dawkins, John Male, Age 40 EDUCATION: Ph.D, MIT, Theoretical Physics Sandra is confused and haunted. She continues reading. She fidgets. She gets up.


DISASTER CASUALTIES: Two (2). Classified. Sandra’s haunted expression turns to one of curiosity. grabs the ID card and tucks the folder under her arm. INT. SANDRA’S TENT - LATER Underneath a blanket, Sandra reads the dossier with a flashlight. She looks up, a moment of thought. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - LATER Bruce stands before the treehouse, Sandra at his side. SANDRA This is in my way. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - NIGHT John, wearing latex gloves, welds a motherboard. He attaches a metal cover over it with a switch on the front. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door. cover up the project. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (LIVING ROOM) - NIGHT John answers the door. April and Adam stand there. He scrambles to She

JOHN What the hell is this? APRIL I -- We’re trying homelessness. John looks at her with question. APRIL (CONT’D) Our house is gone. Can we stay with you? Temporarily, obviously. I don’t want to be a bad mother again. I just adopted this one. She looks at John imploringly. Beat. John’s eyes fill with water. But he hides emotion.

JOHN Maybe you can ask the rocket to build you a new house.


And he shuts the door. April is stunned. door. Beat.

Just like that.

She glances down at Adam then back at the

APRIL Don’t worry. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BATHROOM) - LATER John slips a black sweatshirt over his head. black trucker hat. He puts on a

He shoulders a black backpack bulging with something. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT The farm is quiet. People are asleep in their tents.

Like a cat burglar, John creeps out of his house and across the yard toward the rocket. When he reaches the rocket, he unslings the bag. He opens it and takes out three ACTUATOR DISCHARGERS (an advanced BOMB). He begins attaching them to the thrusters of the silo. Suddenly, engines COUGH to life and bright HEADLIGHTS blind John. He freezes, caught. SANDRA (O.S.) Hiding in the dark. John squints into the light. He sees a bulldozer, a backhoe, and a front shovel idling menacingly. Sandra flanks them like infantry next to a tank. John tries to say something, is interrupted: SANDRA (CONT’D) No, you were right to come out here so everyone can see you for what you truly are. People have come out of tents. Among them, April, Adam, and the Sheriff. They gawk at John with hostility and sadness. John realizes he has bottomed out. the DEVICE with the switch. He smirks and pulls out

JOHN Yeah? See this right here? I could blow the whole thing to smithereens right now if I wanted.


SANDRA (eyes widen) Now, Mister Dawkins -JOHN Now nothing. Did you build your damn rocket? Did you? Cause the only thing I see is my silo. Townspeople try to calm him: “Put it down. Just put it down.” ... “You don’t want to do this.” Etc. John is furious, his eyes flick around wildly. Sandra shakes her head and laughs, amused. SANDRA Must be easy for you to stand there cowering behind bombs. After all, it must scare you that we will succeed where you failed. Sandra holds up the Dawkins Dossier folder. John can’t hide the look of surprise on his face. JOHN Where the hell’d you get that? SANDRA Dawkins, John. Ph.D from MIT. Assignment: Orbital Mass Driver. (beat; looks up) You already tried to do this. JOHN I’m warning you -SANDRA It must scare you that everything you’ve done has been for nothing. JOHN Admit it! Admit you could be wrong and no one’ll get hurt. John puts his finger on the switch. Sheriff Edwards draws his weapon. SHERIFF EDWARDS Drop your weapon, John Dawkins! JOHN Shut up! Shut the goddamn hell up! (to Sandra) (MORE)

35. JOHN (CONT'D) Give me one good reason why I should believe in this thing or I’ll blow us all to Kingdom come so help me God.

SANDRA Because those two people you killed would be so disappointed in you. John looks pale and drawn. Something inside of him changes.

SANDRA (CONT’D) You want another one? I’ll prove to you that this silo will fly. (beat) Tear it down. Sandra gives Bruce a signal, who operates the bulldozer. Bruce and the other hard-hats move in for the treehouse. John is too stunned to care. The construction vehicles accelerate toward the tree and orient themselves and rip the tree from the ground. The treehouse crashes to the ground. John’s shoulders sag. He drops the explosive switch, covers his face with his hands, and staggers a few steps. Sheriff Edwards slaps cuffs on him. John is pale.

As Edwards force-marches him toward the police cruiser, John looks back with tears in his eyes. JOHN (barely a whisper) I’m sorry. John is shoved into the back of the cruiser. Sandra frowns, a look of guilty surprise. The cruiser tears off down the dirt road. EXT. DESERT - NIGHT The moon glows behind toxic-looking clouds. INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT Sheriff Edwards shoves John into a cell and slams the bars.


SHERIFF EDWARDS You just sit in there and think about what you done. John resigns himself to the small prison-issue cot in the corner. He curls up and cries quietly. INT. SANDRA’S TENT - NIGHT Sandra draws up schematics for a new project. Her eyes are drawn to the Dawkins Dossier. She looks at it gravely. As she stares at it, transfixed, she clenches her jaw. She tosses a pillow over it. INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT Hours later. Edwards watches John as he picks up the phone receiver. He hesitates. He stands there, destroyed. SHERIFF EDWARDS You only get one. Asshole. John thinks. He dials a number. Sorry.

INT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS (BACK ROOM) - NIGHT Ray lies in bed, eyes wide with fear. Something outside his window growls deeply. The phone rings. He snatches it up: Hello? RAY SWIFT EAGLE

INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT John looks in the mirror, disgusted by his reflection. The door across the room opens and Ray enters. John doesn’t turn around. He chokes up.

JOHN Sorry I yelled at you earlier. Ray looks surprised. JOHN (CONT’D) Jesus Christ. It don’t -- I didn’t mean to hurt them -- not on purpose. Now it won’t ever fly. God, Dorothy, I’m sorry. (MORE)

37. JOHN (CONT’D) (pause) Please. Get me outta here.

RAY SWIFT EAGLE You’ve forfeited that privilege. John sits on the edge of the bed and stares straight ahead. JOHN You just want me to suffer. RAY SWIFT EAGLE I’m not here to hurt you. I’m here to help you. JOHN I wish this had never happened. Please, get me outta here. I’ll leave. I’ll just leave and they can build the rocket. RAY SWIFT EAGLE You can’t leave. It’s your silo. If you don’t help them no one will. JOHN I don’t know what I can do. RAY SWIFT EAGLE You turn a silo into a rocket. JOHN But I don’t know how. You do. RAY SWIFT EAGLE You’re just afraid to. He realizes what his message is.

John looks up at Ray.

EXT. JOHN’S FARM - MORNING Bruce lifts an old HOT-WATER HEATER and puts it on the stump where the treehouse used to be. Sandra begins tinkering with it with a grommet wrench. EXT. QUANTUM MECHANICA - MORNING John and Ray gaze at the lab. Fire belches. Jagged rocks crop up. A deafening crack echoes across the land. John looks back at the aging photograph in his hand. Beat.


JOHN Whatever happens, Dorothy, please forgive me. Ray gently places a hand on his shoulder. John takes a deep, shuddering breath and steels himself. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - MORNING The rocket construction continues. A sudden wind rushes through the farm. April angles her beach umbrella so it doesn’t blow away. She notices John going through the cookies on the table. APRIL You’ll need an appetizer first. John does not respond, embarrassed. APRIL (CONT’D) Did you come here to gloat? JOHN Let me ask you something. Flying my silo to Mars, do you believe it? APRIL Think I’d be out here with these cookies every day if I didn’t? John just stares at her. His eyes look desperate.

APRIL (CONT’D) Actually you’re kind of lucky because I can’t tell you it’s possible. John winces. A sympathetic look crosses April’s face.

APRIL (CONT’D) But it’s probably OK for us to be a part of it anyway. (pause) Would you like a cookie? John looks at her uncertainly. He makes the decision. He digs into his wallet and, painfully, hands her a dollar. April gives him a rocket sugar cookie. John looks at it strangely. He takes a bite. He cracks a smile, surprised. It’s good. JOHN


APRIL (nods; smiling) Eat it all, sweetie. John eats the cookie, pondering what just happened. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - MORNING John studies the Gordon Iteration in the magazine. EXT. JOHN’S HOUSE - MORNING John watches the rocket construction. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - MORNING At the hot-water heater, Sandra fiddles with the connections on a large NASA console. Power cords trail out behind it. She turns over the engine. It roars. She cracks a smile. He sighs a little.

Suddenly the heater lurches and spits a puff of black smoke from a single makeshift engine, and dies. Daunted as she is, Sandra goes back to work. JOHN (O.S.) It’s not going to work. Sandra sees John approaching. She looks suddenly deflated.

SANDRA John, please, this is not the time-JOHN It’s not gonna work cause you got your jumpers crossed. Sandra is blind-sided. What?

JOHN (CONT’D) I saw you doin it. You had em crossed. Pop that hood, I’ll look. Sandra hesitates then opens the “hood” of the NASA console. John peers inside. Sandra looks at him uncertainly. SANDRA Why are you being nice all of a sudden?


JOHN Ain’t being nice. Just never gonna be any better than I am now. SANDRA (laughs) You think this is the zenith of your self-development? John considers this. He fiddles with some connections.

JOHN (re: hot-water heater) What is this thing? SANDRA A test-vessel. After what you did yesterday, I wanted to prove you wrong for good. JOHN Well I done a lot of things, little girl. What do I know? SANDRA I want you to see me flying it. JOHN You’re flying yourself into space because of something I said? SANDRA Isn’t that what you wanted? JOHN Listen, I’m just an old farmer. You can’t take what I say to heart. SANDRA There are some things you always take to heart. John strains as he makes some difficult adjustments under the hood. The hot-water heater jerks and stutters to life. JOHN There we go. And another thing. You’re gonna need self-reading dosimeters for the radiation. Got some in my basement. Take them. SANDRA You’re telling me you’re going to help us build it?


JOHN (nervous) Yeah. I’m gonna help you build it. Sandra’s eyes almost well up with tears. to smile a little. And even John has

ACROSS THE YARD Bruce watches this alliance with disdain. MONTAGE BEGINS INT. MAINTENENCE CRIB - MORNING A lean-to holding unlimited tools. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - MORNING John wears a welding mask as he and Sandra weld an old dryer door onto the hot-water heater. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - MORNING John picks up a piece of chalk. INT. MAINTENENCE CRIB - MORNING John grabs a flange defuser. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY John attaches relay communications spikes to the heater. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - DAY John looks afraid as he puts the chalk to the board. He takes a deep breath and... the chalk moves across it. INT. HOT-WATER HEATER - DAY Sparks fly as Sandra uses a tool to burn a circuit board. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY John helps a hillbilly astronaut in a weighted, radioequipped suit run through tests in the neutral buoyancy tank. John grabs a welder.


LATER: Big stabilization columns are installed around the silo, making it look like Kennedy Space Center. John watches this intently from his porch. impressed by the town’s dedication. He looks deeply

LATER: April watches some painters paint the silo white and red. Adam draws crayon posters of rockets. John passes by and subtly admires the boy’s drawing. JOHN Might wanna add some flames. make it fly faster. It’ll

April overhears this and allows herself a slight smile. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - DAY John does complex mathematics. Arcane symbols are furiously scrawled on the chalkboard. He looks somewhat whole again. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - DAY Sandra is fitted for a space suit. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY John, Bruce, and others are pouring concrete for a second launchpad at the hot-water heater/test vessel. Bruce deliberately bumps John, and he flops into the cement mixture. He looks down at him with disdain. BRUCE You should leave. As Bruce walks off, John looks confused. INT. HOT-WATER HEATER - LATER Sandra turns a knob, pulls a lever, and presses a button. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - LATER John admires the majestic silo. It looks more like a rocket.

A low humming turns his head. Not far away, the Sputnikparodied TEST CAPSULE comes to life. John can’t hide his pride.


JOHN Well I’ll be damned. END MONTAGE INT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - EVENING John sits on a stool in the darkened station. Ray holds up two bottles behind the counter. RAY SWIFT EAGLE Will this do? John nods. Ray leans on the counter, handing him a bottle. John takes a hearty swig. Ray waits a moment before he says: RAY SWIFT EAGLE (CONT’D) You did something today, John. JOHN Yeah, I built a damn space capsule. Where were you? RAY SWIFT EAGLE You have quite the talent of letting people open up to you. John nurses the bottle. JOHN I thought I could never live with myself if I helped those people. RAY SWIFT EAGLE But you are living. And Dorothy would be so proud of you. John thinks it over. He smiles slightly.

JOHN How do you do it? World’s ending and you’re taking it all in stride. RAY SWIFT EAGLE To tell you the truth, I’m not taking it in stride. JOHN Someone like you? Really?

RAY SWIFT EAGLE When I was young I was convinced I would not live past my nineteenth birthday. (MORE)

44. RAY SWIFT EAGLE (CONT'D) I was haunted by a sense of futility, a sadness when seeing the petals of daisies fall down, or the chill of a cold day. (looks out at the coming stars) Now my eye has gone dark. I can’t see what’s coming anymore. (pause) I do not want to die. I do not want to be forgotten.

John looks at Ray.

He notices the tears on his cheeks.

JOHN No one wants to die, Ray. There’s just one problem with that. (off his look) Tomorrow we find out if we’re not already dead. RAY SWIFT EAGLE You don’t believe it will fly? John says nothing, takes a swig. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT The townspeople sit around a crackling bonfire and look at the stars. Sandra sits with Bruce. She notices John sitting in the back of his truck not far away. A giant shooting star suddenly arcs across the sky. Sandra says something under her breath. She looks at John. They stare at each other.

SANDRA Do you think he wished? I think he did. He had to. He had to. Bruce, next to her, isn’t paying attention. gives his sharp features an ominous tone. The firelight

ACROSS THE YARD John snuffs his cigarette. He looks up and sees April and Adam shivering under one blanket. A sadness descends on him. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - SHORTLY April and Adam cuddle for warmth. Suddenly, a SLEEPING BAG lands on the ground next to them. They look at it. They look at each other. They look in the direction it came from.


John’s front door closes. April smiles at Adam. APRIL I guess the crocodile has a heart after all. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BEDROOM) - NIGHT John lies in bed with wide eyes. He glances outside at his silo, which is taking shape as a Tomorrowland rocket. He fidgets nervously. He puts his slippers on.

EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT John, a toolbelt hanging from his waist, looks at the rocket. He bends over to pick up a hammer. The PHOTOGRAPH of his family falls out of his overalls pocket. John looks at it with sad eyes. EXT. TREEHOUSE - NIGHT The treehouse is a pile of rubble on the ground. John dislodges a piece of debris from the doorway. He goes in. INT. TREEHOUSE - NIGHT The room is irreparably damaged. John turns on the projector. Light flickers on his face. ON THE SCREEN the home video skips. A Möbius loop of John’s daughter laughing and his wife smiling. John faces the wall. John? John turns around. His eyes well with tears. SANDRA (O.S.) Sandra pokes her head in the treehouse.

SANDRA (CONT’D) Do you mind me coming in? I know you don’t like to let people in. JOHN (long hesitation) Well, you’re not people. Make yourself at home I guess.


Sandra enters. She looks around. Notices all the little details of the room. It took some heart to build this place. It’s nice. SANDRA Did you build it?

JOHN Long time ago, yeah. Sandra picks up the DOLL that has fallen to the floor again. JOHN (CONT’D) Hell of a thing. Girl that played with that was about your age. Sandra’s eyes widen. the projector sheet. She puts the doll back. Sees John’s daughter. She glances at Sandra

John wants to say something then catches himself. senses this and says it for him: SANDRA The casualties... John takes a long drag on his cigarette. to tread on this ground.

Makes sure he wants

JOHN Two years I worked on the damn thing. A year for the mass driver, a year for the autojet. I felt pretty good about it... right before, y’know... INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (PREOPERATIONS CHAMBER) - FLASHBACK All in silence. YOUNG JOHN (40) pins a family PHOTO to a CORKBOARD then leads his wife and daughter past the security guard. They smile and wave. JOHN (V.O.) You know how it was back then. Take a ride on the magic bus. And we did, me, Dorothy, and Sally. Seeing the stars with them is all I ever wanted. INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (OBSERVATION CELL) - FLASHBACK Young John sits in the glass boot. look excited. His wife and daughter


Ray, wearing a lab coat, makes adjustments on a control panel. The ghastly machinery whirs to life. Young John strains to maintain the antimatter component in the autojet piston. JOHN (V.O.) We started the mass driver. I didn’t like to listen to Ray back then, so we kept pushing it. The glass CRACKS. Alarms sound. Ray yells a warning.

John ignores it. He struggles with the machinery. Electricity arcs out of it. Smoke fills the room. John’s wife and daughter look horrified. JOHN (V.O.) (CONT’D) Containment field was broken. I’ll never forget -- I could smell cold metal and smoke. It was loud. John covers his ears and squeezes his eyes shut. wind whips through the room. JOHN (V.O.) (CONT’D) I covered my ears, but I heard screaming. The room turns BLUE and a bright light forces John’s eyes open. He looks off-screen and screams a silent “NO!” ANGLE ON: The family photo on the CORKBOARD. A harsh

INT. TREEHOUSE - NIGHT Today. Silent tears stream down John’s face. JOHN Then -- that was it. up, they were gone. John’s face is bright red. Sandra looks stunned. When I looked

He’s trembling.

There are tears in her eyes.

SANDRA Mr. Dawkins, I am so sorry I -JOHN I just wish I knew, wherever they are, how they were doing. Beat. John slurps back his dignity and laughs quietly, a paradox of self-awareness.


JOHN (CONT’D) Middle of the night, decent folks are sleeping, and here I am blubbering. I never should’ve told you that story. SANDRA Winston Churchill was right about these middle of the night talks. JOHN What’d he say about them? SANDRA No idea. But he probably brought them up at some point. John smiles rigidly. Sandra touches his hand gently.

SANDRA (CONT’D) It was an accident. Everything you did -- it’s going to help us save everyone. And tomorrow I’m going to prove it. Are you ready to see me fly? JOHN (hard for him) ... Believe I am. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY A sparkler sprays pyrotechnic aluminum. Adam swings it around, drawing patterns in the air. He takes off, runs through a crowd of people. HIGH AND WIDE: We see the farm has a grand carnival atmosphere. There are games, food, and costumes. People wear t-shirts and hats with a rocket logo. Spirits are high. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - DAY On the big screen in Mission Control, a flashing red light comes on. An indicator lights up. Data begins scrolling: Minus 30 minutes. John helps Sandra into her spacesuit in silence, hiding his thoughts. He zips up the back. Sandra breathes in deeply. INT. HOT-WATER HEATER - DAY Sandra contemplates the Dawkins Dossier. folds of her spacesuit. She puts it in the T-


EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY John, Ray, and April stand in the crowd of townies watching the big board countdown. April jumps excitedly. Wow! John fidgets. APRIL This is incredible! He has butterflies. He

He marvels at the whole scene. The test capsule is so intricate. He suddenly realizes the reality of it all. hurries over to the test capsule. Ray frowns. RAY SWIFT EAGLE John, where are you going? INT. HOT-WATER HEATER - DAY

Sparks fly as Sandra makes some adjustments with a pen-sized welder. She notices John quickly approaching the capsule. SANDRA Careful, you may want to stay back. JOHN Sandra, I have to tell you something. Sandra nods. She takes something out of her pocket and gives it to John. It’s a pad with a BIG RED BUTTON on the front. JOHN (CONT’D) What is this? SANDRA It’s the launch button. John looks surprised and touched by this gesture. SANDRA (CONT’D) Just remember: He who pushes the button in jest Will let down all of the rest. John nods. He looks afraid. He pockets the button.

Sandra closes the capsule door. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY :30. :29. :28.


John watches intently as the big board counts down. He begins shaking. He feels the weight of the launch button. It suddenly feels heavier to him. JOHN (sadly; giving him the button) You do it. I’m not there yet. RAY SWIFT EAGLE But you’re getting there. John looks unconvinced if not appreciative. JOHN Ray -- I can’t do it. Ray looks at John. His eyes look wild and desperate as he tries to give him the button. Ray looks at the clock. :15. :14. :13. :12. Ray hesitates. Then he takes the button reluctantly. returns to the big board regretfully. :05. :04. The crowd cheers. :03. :02. :01 Ray pushes the launch button. John looks afraid. John shields himself from their spirit. John

The entire crowd surges upward with a deep gasp, and for a brief moment, nothing happens. :00. Flames erupt from the hot-water heater’s thrusters. The vessel lumbers skyward, spewing exhaust and blowing dust. John face breaks into a smile. April jumps and hugs him. Bruce’s face tells us he is hopeful. The heater lifts from the dusty earth to the blue sky. John’s heart pounds. He laughs. He believes. Suddenly:

An EXPLOSION ruptures the capsule’s thrusters. No! JOHN (CONT’D)


John is suddenly overwhelmed. He watches the capsule spin out of control. INT./EXT. HOT-WATER HEATER - CONTINUOUS The console sparks and explodes. Sandra yanks on a cord and the lid of the capsule blows off, velocity jerking her out. Sandra in her silver spacesuit jettisons from the pod and crashes in the dirt, ending in a smoldering form. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - CONTINUOUS The heater CRASHES into the earth, the collision blossoming into a huge fireball. John pales and his knees turn to jelly. JOHN This isn’t happening. The townspeople rush over to Sandra. She isn’t moving. Sounds blur. The

John covers his ears, closes his eyes. world spins. He staggers off toward his house. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (LIVING ROOM) - DAY

John bursts through the door. He agitatedly paces around the room, tormented. He’s crying hard now. He lets it all out. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY Sandra is carried out on a stretcher to an ambulance. paramedic covers her face with the BVM. April covers her mouth with her hands, weeping. Bruce looks horrified as the ambulance drives off. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (KITCHEN) - LATER John cries inconsolably at the kitchen table. stop crying but he cries harder. He tries to A


INT. MAINTENENCE CRIB - DAY A room full of men throw their hammers into storage crates. Bruce watches this sad scene from the door. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY The rocket’s shadow grows long. Red lightning forks across the sky. of thunder. A warning. In the distance, a sound

INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (LIVING ROOM) - EVENING The room is dark, just the flicker of the television. John cries quietly. There are photo albums on his lap. Ray stands there.

The front door eases open. John?

RAY SWIFT EAGLE Are you okay?

JOHN Come in, Ray. Ray comes in and takes a seat across from John. JOHN (CONT’D) It ain’t fair. RAY SWIFT EAGLE They took Sandra to the hospital. She is -- you should go see her. JOHN It ain’t fair. This ain’t what I imagined for everything. RAY SWIFT EAGLE Nothing ever is. John thinks it over. his face. The flickering TV casts odd shadows on A moment.

JOHN (angrily) I spent my whole life just trying to screw up less tomorrow than I did yesterday. And look! RAY SWIFT EAGLE You made a wager.


JOHN And I lost everything. nothing. John puts his head in his hands.

Now I have

RAY SWIFT EAGLE The coin toss is a risky game. Is it better to believe in God so you won’t have anything to lose? Should you wait around, hoping for the best? Should you keep your fingers crossed, hoping against hope? John shakes his head. He looks up after a moment.

JOHN How is everyone? RAY SWIFT EAGLE They’re scared. We’re all scared. JOHN The rocket? Ray looks at John a long while. He is destroyed, but something in his face has changed. Ray has no words. John stands. rimmed eyes. His breath hitches slightly as he rubs his redHe grabs his keys and heads for the door.

RAY SWIFT EAGLE Where are you going? JOHN Somewhere to figure stuff out. And John’s out the door. EXT. HIGHWAY - EVENING A razor thin horizon cuts between the desert and the red sky. John’s truck drives toward it. INT. TAVERN - EVENING A dark, empty bar. Stools on the tabletops. He walks in the room, lost. He Ray sits a while.

John kicks in the door.

He walks behind the bar and starts going through bottles. finds something he likes and pops it open.


SHERIFF EDWARDS (O.S.) Black hole. Hell of a thing. John whirls around, startled. Dimly perceivable in the shadows is Sheriff Edwards. SHERIFF EDWARDS (CONT’D) Know what I mean? God, I used to watch these videos of test sites, houses blown apart by atomic winds. (pause; offers John a cigarette) And here we are. Black hole. Hell of a thing. John takes the cigarette. Lights it shakily.

SHERIFF EDWARDS (CONT’D) Makes you realize how insignificant we are, don’t it? Edwards takes a dramatic sip of beer. Guess so. Laughs.

JOHN What are you doing here?

SHERIFF EDWARDS I don’t know what I’m doing. John nods vaguely. He can identify with that.

SHERIFF EDWARDS (CONT’D) Why couldn’t you have just believed in that little girl? John winces, surprised. SHERIFF EDWARDS (CONT’D) We were so close. Somebody once told me to cherish those lofty goals. This is all your fault. Please. JOHN I didn’t ask for this.

Edwards stares at John through the dark with fiery eyes. SHERIFF EDWARDS There’s no one left to build it. You drove them all away. JOHN ... I wanted it to work.


SHERIFF EDWARDS (eyes widen) You should finish the rocket. Course, you’d have to bring them all back. Yeah. Finish the rocket, Doc. Only you can. JOHN Everybody hates me. if I can. I don’t know

SHERIFF EDWARDS Anybody can make one mistake. Maybe it’s what you learn from it that makes it work the second time. John’s ponders this. His hand steadies.

INT. JOHN’S TRUCK - EVENING John drives, slumped over the wheel, thinking EXT. HOSPITAL PARKING LOT - EVENING John sits in his truck outside the hospital. He looks up to a window with the light on. Doctors pace around there. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - EVENING Sandra lies in the bed, battered. She is near tears. are many pumps, monitors, and tubes. She presses RECORD on a tape recorder. SANDRA People of the future, this is Sandra Gordon, girl of the past. She looks up. Sees John standing in the doorway. There

JOHN Thought I oughta say told ya so. Sandra wants to cry. John realizes it wasn’t funny.

JOHN (CONT’D) (re: tape recorder) What are you doing there? SANDRA I thought the people who lived on Mars would need something in dark times. But, it hurts me to say this, it’s just a big joke.


She drops the tape recorder to the floor. John kneels down and picks it up. Regards it with sad eyes.

SANDRA (CONT’D) I should’ve listened to you. It’ll never work; how many times did you tell me that? JOHN I said a lot of things. You want to hear me say I’m sorry? SANDRA Why would you have to be sorry? You were right. JOHN Like hell I was. You tried. That’s a hell of a lot more than any one of us ever did. Sandra takes this in. A tear rolls down her cheek.

SANDRA I don’t think I can make this dream come true. All those promises... She can’t finish her thought without being disgusted. SANDRA (CONT’D) What about you? It takes him a moment to answer. JOHN I want to believe. Sandra nods. She opens a drawer in a bedside bureau. takes out the Dawkins Dossier. John looks haunted. SANDRA Wanna know a secret? The rocket was never going to be able to fly. (off John’s expression) When the accident happened, I lost the antimatter canister. It fell in the pit. But the containment field was still intact. With any luck, it’s still down there. (beat) John, you have to go back to Quantum Mechanica. When you do, you’ll have everything you need to make the rocket fly. She The words sound foreign:


Sandra opens the Dawkins Dossier and takes out John’s old ID CARD. She holds it out for him to take. John makes no move to take it. He looks scared to death. You

JOHN I can’t go back to that place. can’t ask me to.

SANDRA I’m asking. You’re in charge now. Sandra holds her hand out with the ID Card. John hesitates.

After a long while, with a shaky hand John takes the card. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - EVENING Bruce kneels in the shadow of the rocket. He places his hammer on the ground in front of it then moves off. An offering. Red fire explodes from the ground in the distance. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - EVENING John studies the Time Magazine. He looks up at the chalkboard at the Gordon Iteration. He sees something. He erases a few (x)’s, some numbers, and symbols. equation is nothing but a scribble on the board. John pales. Now the

It’s a quiet look filled with great sadness.

JOHN ... She was wrong. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - EVENING John kneels in front of the burned-up test capsule. inconsolably. He cries

The capsule smolders slightly, clinging to a broken promise. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (KITCHEN) - EVENING John pours a glass full of bourbon. The ID Card sets on the table. He looks at it a moment. Puts it back in his pocket. He looks out the window at the rocket, emotionally demolished. He downs the bourbon.


He takes out the picture of his family. He looks at it and makes some decision. What it is we do not know. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - EVENING Sandra is unconscious. Her eyes flutter open.

Bruce is sitting on the edge of the bed next to her. BRUCE Brought you some pj’s. Sandra is touched. She forces a weak smile.

BRUCE (CONT’D) Does it hurt? Yeah. SANDRA But it won’t for long.

BRUCE Don’t say that, Sandra. SANDRA Do you know what happens when you die? You die, you decompose, and the wind carries what’s left of you into space as a fine dust. (beat) When it destroys us, it only frees us from all of this misery. BRUCE But you’ll be gone. SANDRA You’ll have the residue I leave behind. The memories. BRUCE But I’ll miss you. Sandra is affected by this. Bruce tries on a smile.

BRUCE (CONT’D) What about the rocket? Can it still fly? SANDRA No. Life doesn’t work that way. sent John Dawkins on some fool’s errand but -BRUCE John Dawkins? I


SANDRA He thinks he can make it fly. Bruce looks deeply troubled by this. Sandra begins crying hard. SANDRA (CONT’D) I just want to think small. When I think big, I cause pain. I cause hurt. BRUCE Shh-it’s okay-it’s okay. Bruce strokes her hair. He looks out the window, some plan being formulated in his brain. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - LATE EVENING Bruce tentatively steps in the room. He approaches a very modern cabinet with a small sign on the face of it: SUPPRESSION CHAMBER 5G. HIGH-IMPACT ANOMALOUS MATERIALS.

He opens the cabinet and pushes a series of buttons. It lights up. A panel slides away revealing several large containers of COLORFUL ORBS. Bruce grabs three of these at random and moves off. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BATHROOM) - LATE EVENING John takes a bubble bath and smokes an expensive cigar. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BEDROOM) - LATE EVENING John has changed into his Sunday best. He packs everything else into a suitcase. He puts his family photo in a frame and packs it away. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - LATE EVENING April gazes out at the cataclysmic countryside. Adam holds onto the small white box.


April suddenly withers to the ground and begins crying. Adam kneels down and whispers in her ear. ADAM If you squinch your eyes real tight so’s you can’t see it, it don’t make it real. See? He demonstrates. April looks touched. her eyes, smiles and gives him a hug. A moment. She dries

APRIL Thank you, sugar. Thank you for saying that. Let me try it. She squeezes her eyes shut. They laugh. again, she sees John looming over her. JOHN We’re gonna have a nice family dinner. Come on. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (KITCHEN) - NIGHT Dirty pots and pans and utensils are in the sink. Nearby, the table is set and a nice meal is served. John, April, and Adam eat. The white box is on the table. Good eggs. APRIL Beat. For When she opens them

They continue to eat.

ADAM Look what I did, Mr. Dawkins. the trip to Mars.

John looks up. Adam opens a small door on the box. The inside glows red. There is a tiny patch of corn inside. John smiles sadly, knowing the trip has been canceled. JOHN That’s real good, Adam. John looks down at his plate. April senses something is weighing on him. Oh hey. JOHN (CONT’D) Leaving town. Wanna come? Real good.

April looks at him in stunned silence.




JOHN Thought we’d find a little place together. Live till the sun burns out. APRIL (angrily) John--the rocket, the town--you’re the only one who can do something. JOHN I’m just a stupid old man. already done enough. APRIL Fine. We don’t need you. of us could do it. I

The two

John’s eyes drop away from April, ashamed. April didn’t mean that to hurt as much as it did. John suddenly wipes his mouth with a napkin and stands. JOHN If you won’t come with me, then here, take this. John takes a KEY from his pocket. April looks at the key, confused. JOHN (CONT’D) Key to the front door. Should’ve let you stay when your house got blown up. If the world’s still here in a week we can talk rent. John heads for the door, where his suitcase waits. ADAM Are you scared? Me? JOHN Scared? Sets it on the table.

ADAM Just wondered. Anybody can be scared. John thinks a beat. He picks up his suitcase.


JOHN No. Not scared. Just made you folks suffer enough. My heart can’t take it anymore. He walks out. April watches him go.

EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT Weird electromagnetic bursts surge in the atmosphere. John gets in his truck and backs out of the driveway. He glances out the window and sees Bruce tinkering with the orbital mass driver next to the rocket. John frowns. He gets out of the truck and approaches Bruce.

JOHN How we doing here? BRUCE Sorry, John, but we don’t have a lot of time. The world is ending and it’s not giving us a choice. John looks at a nearby toolbox. He sees the containers of COLORFUL ORBS, one red, one blue, one gold. His eyes widen. JOHN Why don’t you leave that to me? can take care of it first thing tomorrow morning -You? BRUCE You stay out of this. I

JOHN You got any idea of what you’re doing with that stuff? BRUCE I’ll keep making collisions with them until one makes the rocket fly. JOHN (frustration mounting) Antimatter is the only viable fuel source. Those are very dangerous anomalous materials you got there. One wrong move and it’ll all be over a lot sooner than we expected--


BRUCE John, with all due respect, this rocket will never fly with someone like you behind it. This stops John dead. Bruce tries to fire the orbital mass driver. JOHN Now what’s that supposed to mean? BRUCE Do you have to ask? JOHN Well, I... I guess I might’ve been against it in the beginning, but now I think maybe I could make it fly. BRUCE So you just think it can fly when it’s convenient for you? What about us, the people who built it? Slaved over it? Bled for it? JOHN Well, uh... like I said, I feel differently about it now an -And John is blindsided by Bruce’s big fist to his nose. Blood flows. He lifts John by the lapels and shoves him against the rocket. John can’t fight back. Bruce gets him in a headlock, pounds on his face. April rushes out of John’s house. John? APRIL John! It sparks.

BRUCE How dare you say you could make this rocket fly, John Dawkins, you no good son of a bitch! He throws John to the ground. Bruce punishes her for it. April tries to intervene --

John is on all fours, trying in earnest to get up. Bruce kicks him hard. John futilely throws a punch. Bruce blocks it and slams him hard. John goes down. BRUCE (CONT’D) (menacingly) This is for all the villains.


John lies on the ground.

The sky bursts into lightning.

BRUCE (CONT’D) You better leave here. You better not come back. If you do, everything you have done in your life will lead you to me, and you will not meet a worse fate. I promise you that. Now do as I say. Bruce turns his back to John and resumes tinkering with the orbital mass driver. He tries to fire it. The machinery whirs to life! MUSIC: Ominous orchestral FADES IN.

John looks on in horror as the mass driver casts an evil light on everything in the surrounding area. A look of anger crosses his face. He grits his teeth.

He struggles to his feet. He goes to April and helps her. Bruce ignores them, fearing nothing, like a statue. JOHN Get Adam, then go to the hospital and get Sandra. Get as far away as you can. APRIL Where are you going? John looks to the horizon, to a dark, ominous sky full of smoke and fire in the direction of Quantum Mechanica. April reaches out to stop him, but he staggers off in that direction anyway. INT. ORIFICE IN QUANTUM MECHANICA - NIGHT CLOSE ON: Amidst all the flame and fire, the AUTOJET PISTON is whining and misfiring. The black hole at its core is sucking up everything, the rock, the magma, the air. INT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - NIGHT Ray stands at his window. The wildcat is sitting in the distance flipping its tail. is jet black, looks odd. It


Ray stares at the wildcat. The wildcat stares back. There is fear in Ray’s eyes, but he doesn’t drop his steely gaze. Suddenly the door bursts open. Ray turns around.

April stands there, panting, afraid. RAY SWIFT EAGLE What has happened? EXT. DESERT - NIGHT John staggers in the direction of the volcanic sky. He clutches his side. He is very tired. He shivers.

INT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - NIGHT Ray takes a rifle down from the wall and feverishly loads it up with ammo. April watches. RAY SWIFT EAGLE Have you ever been to Quantum Mechanica? April shakes her head ‘no.’ RAY SWIFT It is a Hell. Only sharing your misery sharing it with the EXT. DESERT - NIGHT John slips as the Earth cracks beneath his feet. He steadies himself on a nearby boulder. RAY SWIFT EAGLE (V.O.) It is a place of endless repetition. It is like walking through a tunnel that never ends toward a destination unknown. John steels himself and walks on. EXT. MOUNTAINS OUTSIDE QUANTUM MECHANICA - NIGHT John climbs up a jagged rock face. Wind whips wildly. EAGLE (CONT’D) instead of alone, you risk entire world.

He latches onto a sturdy rock and strains to pull himself over the ledge.


He stands, panting at the top. He looks down below at the hellish and mutilated -RAY SWIFT EAGLE (V.O.) There is no mercy in the abyss. It is the moment between waking and sleep, the moment before dreaming that you try to catch as a child, but it is elusive. EXT. QUANTUM MECHANICA - NIGHT -- Quantum Mechanica. A far cry from the complex we saw in the beginning. Now the destruction of the Earth has transformed it into a fiery, hellish nightmare. John throws himself over a nasty-looking fence. RAY SWIFT EAGLE (V.O.) You try to hold onto hope... John gasps through the toxic air as he rushes to the gate leading into the complex. He arrives at a door with a RED LIGHT. John tries to pry it open. He fails. Requires an ID CARD.

RAY SWIFT EAGLE (V.O.) (CONT’D) ... but there is nothing to hold onto except your own past. John takes the ID CARD out of his pocket. then swipes the card. The red light turns GREEN! He hesitates...

The door opens!

John flinches against the heat that emanates from inside. He lurches in, into the heart of Quantum Mechanica. INT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - NIGHT Ray hesitates to load another shell into the rifle. glances outside. The wildcat is gone. A look of realization touches Ray’s face. He replaces the rifle on the wall. RAY SWIFT EAGLE I only hope John’s soul can survive this particular juncture. He


APRIL (re: rifle) Aren’t you gonna need that? RAY SWIFT EAGLE (smiling) He


Ray pops out his left eye and sets it on the counter. walks out the door. April sits there, wondering what just happened. INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA - NIGHT John hesitates at the alcove. He clenches his jaw and pierces forward through the thick, smoke-filled air.

We can hear the WHINING sound of the autojet piston misfiring in the distance. It is haunting and strange. The earth beneath John’s feet cracks and fire erupts from it. John looks scared to death. Covering his mouth, he squints through the smoke and fire to see the transit system. He hurries over to the control panel and flips a few switches. Nothing happens. John looks down the long dark train tunnel. EXT. MOUNTAINS OUTSIDE QUANTUM MECHANICA - NIGHT Ray’s truck can’t go any further. He stops and gets out. the anomalistic wildcat

He glances off-screen at something: prowls in the cliffs. I see you. RAY SWIFT EAGLE

Ray starts through the mountains. INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (TRANSIT TUNNEL) - NIGHT John gags from the toxic air as he feels his way through. The floor ripples and the tunnel suddenly splits apart. John loses his footing and slips into the narrow fissure. He precariously dangles on the ledge, thirty feet above another level.


John loses his grip and falls thirty feet below! INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (OFFICE COMPLEX) - NIGHT John crashes through the roof and hits the searing concrete floor hard. His leg snaps inward. He cries out in agony. John is slumped on the ground, unable to move. above his head, and sees a framed portrait. He looks up,

John grabs it. He sees himself, Young John, in the photo with a team of other scientists, smiling. The photo burns up and is nothing but ash in John’s hands. EXT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (LOADING DOCK) - NIGHT Ray pries a large piece of debris from the loading dock of the complex. It falls away, providing an entrance. He hears something, looks over his shoulder. The wildcat is sitting in the smoke. Ray coolly walks in the lab. INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (PREOPERATIONS CHAMBER) - NIGHT John walks doubled-over, dragging his broken leg. He sees the CORKBOARD from the flashback. And there, where it was pinned two decades ago, is the Kodak photograph of YOUNG JOHN and his WIFE and DAUGHTER, as if it still really were twenty years ago and all the time since merely imaginary. CLOSE ON: John’s face. His poor parched lips. face. Happy tears well in his eyes. Beat. The lips turn up into a smile. John looks up, wipes the tears away, his purpose renewed. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT Sandra gasps back from the dark recesses of a nightmare. looks pale, gaunt, and afraid. April holds a cold cloth to her forehead. She His scorched


APRIL You were having a dream. April? night? April nods. SANDRA Have you been here all April touches her hand.

Sandra coughs.

SANDRA (CONT’D) The Law of Quantum Mechanics states that events are changed when they are observed. INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (OFFICE COMPLEX) - NIGHT SANDRA (V.O.) I thought if you believed in something enough, it would be enough to change it. Ray enters the office area. As he moves through the room, he sees many charred SKELETONS of former scientists. Ray wanders quietly through the bodies, occasionally looking into the vacant eye sockets. His fear seems to be vanquished. He kneels down to one of the skeletons. He ponders it.

RAY SWIFT EAGLE (happily) Someday you’ll be a baby again. INT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (OBSERVATION CELL) - NIGHT The whining of the autojet piston is painfully loud. John swipes his card at the door. The light turns green, but the door is jammed. John kicks it. Kicks it. John falls to the floor. Kicks it, and it budges -- but

SANDRA (V.O.) But now the best I can hope for is that I dream that everyone makes it to the colony. He slowly lifts his head and looks up and, straight ahead, sees the ORIFICE where the antimatter canister fell. DOLLY WITH JOHN as he crawls on his hands and knees toward it.


SANDRA (V.O.) (CONT’D) That they get on a gleaming 100foot tall rocket and go to some faraway place where nothing can ever hurt them again. He peers down inside. There is an evil orange glow and it belches lava. John holds, tense, afraid. The autojet piston WHINES violently. SANDRA (V.O.) (CONT’D) I’m dreaming right now, spinning in the throne of fire. It’s all just some less-painful life. Only it’s not a dream. It’s a nightmare. John slowly eases himself into the cavern. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT Sandra stares straight ahead, nearly catatonic. SANDRA I am so sorry. I was wrong. I let you down. I’ve let everyone down. APRIL Now I don’t know about those other people, but I for one am so proud of you. Sandra starts to tear up. APRIL (CONT’D) Everyday people think life isn’t worth living because they have nothing to believe in. You inspired those people. You gave them something. SANDRA ... John Dawkins? APRIL (smiling) I believe in John Dawkins. Sandra is hesitant, afraid. They sit there.

SANDRA Will you stay with me?


April nods.

She squeezes her hand.

INT. ORIFICE IN QUANTUM MECHANICA - NIGHT The heat is unbearable. John perilously climbs down the wall into the hole. The Earth rumbles. The autojet piston whines. The rock face RUPTURES and shoots steam, startling John. He falls head first down to the bottom of the chasm. He crashes on the jagged floor, reeling. peels himself off the ground. A moment, then he

Ears ringing, he looks to his left and sees VISARD Nothing but a black skeleton in the glass boot now. JOHN scurries backward in horror. His eyes flick around. Nothing but fire, lava, smoke, and terror. The situation sinks in. John’s breath comes in short quick panicked gasps. He looks to the sky strangely. JOHN It’s wrong, so wrong, what I done. I didn’t want this. I didn’t -how did it happen? Why am I here? John’s head lulls. piston WHINES. As he loses consciousness, the autojet

THE BLACK TRIANGLE (BLACK HOLE) doubles in size. Softball-sized stones are sucked in without a thought. The air bends toward the anomaly. JOHN squeezes his eyes shut and turns his head as he is slowly sucked in. He weeps quietly as he clutches the dirt. Suddenly, the room seems to phase into another time and statistical reality.


The sound of grinding, tortured metal makes John open his eyes. There in front of him, he sees the ghostly apparitions of his WIFE and DAUGHTER, smiling and waving, like before. It’s a freak thing, a memory, a hologram. But it’s them. John’s mouth hangs open. It’s a miracle.

And then they’re gone in a flash. But where they stood, John’s eye catches a glint of light: It’s the COPPER CANISTER containing the ANTIMATTER! JOHN grits his teeth. hole behind him. He struggles against the pull of the black

He crawls on hands and knees toward the copper canister. It’s impossibly far away. THE BLACK HOLE pulls intensely, devouring everything without a thought. JOHN reaches out, his fingers grazing the canister! Time seems to stand still... but he grabs it tightly! John laughs in relief. He can’t believe it. John strains to reach it.

He shoves the canister in his shirt. He forces himself to his feet and starts climbing the rock. THE AUTOJET PISTON whines. JOHN struggles, the very wall he’s climbing is being sucked into the abyss. Rocks break off, he loses his footing. He grabs onto a perilous rock ledge -- it snaps off! The black hole doubles in strength.


He grabs on with his other hand, hanging with one good hand. THE ROCK WALL crumbles, deteriorating, sucked into the black hole. JOHN’S EYES widen in fear. The ledge CRUMBLES and John plummets --- but he doesn’t fall. RAY struggling to lift him out of the hellish pit. EXT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (OBSERVATION CELL) - CONTINUOUS Ray hoists John out of the hole with all of his might. he’s lifted out, his hat falls off. Ray staggers backward and falls with John. They lie there a moment, panting. Ray looks at John’s burned face. RAY SWIFT EAGLE That’s going to add some character. John laughs. Ray laughs. John begins to cry. As John opens his eyes. He sees

RAY SWIFT EAGLE (CONT’D) Are you all right? JOHN I been to the valley of the shadow of death. (hesitation) I -- I want to tell Sandra that I believe in her one last time. RAY SWIFT EAGLE (at the point of tears) You have a good soul, John. JOHN Do you think you could carry me back, Ray? I have a lot of work to do and I don’t think I can make it.


Ray nods, smiling sadly. EXT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (TRANSIT) - NIGHT Ray carries John out on his shoulders. JOHN I saw something, Ray. Ray looks at John with question. words. A moment.

Back there. John tries to put it into

JOHN (CONT’D) I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but I saw Dorothy. And Sally. RAY SWIFT EAGLE When space and time are folded, there is always a lost recording. Sometimes that recording overlaps reality. It was a memory. JOHN Can it be used to -John is embarrassed by the question on his lips. RAY SWIFT EAGLE There is no science that can do that. John lowers his head, almost ashamed. Yeah. JOHN A pause.

EXT. QUANTUM MECHANICA (LOADING DOCK) - NIGHT Ray and John arrive at the exit. doorway. John frowns. He suddenly halts at the

The anomalistic wildcat sits outside. The Mayan symbol for Death (Cimi) is tattooed on its forehead. JOHN What is that thing? RAY SWIFT EAGLE You see it, too? John nods. It’s right there. Ray seems troubled.

RAY SWIFT EAGLE (CONT’D) The Mayans had a word for it. Tzolkin. The count of days. (MORE)

75. RAY SWIFT EAGLE (CONT’D) In the end, John, all we can do is stand on the border of the future and hope that something better is on its way. Here.

He takes something from his pocket. John takes it.

The launch button.

He looks at Ray imploringly, stalling.

RAY SWIFT EAGLE (CONT’D) You can do it. You don’t need me anymore. John pockets the button as he strains to get to his feet. stops short of the exit, staring at the wildcat. Go on. RAY SWIFT EAGLE (CONT’D) He has no quarrel with you. He

JOHN (beat; sadly) I’ll see you soon, buddy. John walks past the wildcat, who watches Ray, transfixed. The wildcat backs off a few feet. Ray nods and walks out of the cave. He stands there, composed in the face of death. The wildcat closes in on his perimeter. There is a suggestion of respect in its expression. Then -- it’s fast, it’s harsh, it’s sudden -- the wildcat attacks Ray, eating, devouring. Birth from death. Ray closes his eyes. There is no terror. No pain. John looks horrified. He stumbles. He’s on the verge of tears, but he fixes his gaze on the horizon. A moment. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - PRE-DAWN Bruce wears goggles and slides the vial of red anomalous materials into the orbital mass driver. He strains to manually rotate the wheel of the mass driver. The axle budges. It begins turning.

As the machine warms up, electricity arcs for miles around. EXT. HOSPITAL PARKING LOT - MORNING The bedraggled April sits on a bench and smokes a cigarette, gazing out at the desert. Tidal forces are tearing the planet apart before her eyes.


Suddenly her eyes widen. falls out.

Her mouth opens.

Her cigarette

In the distance, she sees John weakly limping toward her. About five hundred feet away, he collapses. APRIL Oh, my God. INT. ANOTHER HOSPITAL ROOM - MORNING Some doctors finish putting John’s leg in a cast then exit with their charts. John lies there with his shirt off, weak, old, broken. APRIL (O.S.) So I thought you might need these. John looks over. April stands in the doorway with fresh clothes. She unfurls a t-shirt. It has a rocket logo on it. Thank you. JOHN I do.

APRIL Lift up your arms, sweetie. John tries to. He winces. She places a rocket

April slips the t-shirt over his head. hat on his head as well. There. APRIL (CONT’D) You’re a new man.

John looks in the mirror.

He smiles slightly.

JOHN Why are you so good to me? APRIL (thinks) I suppose it’s because we’re here to help each other get through this thing. That’s really all we have, isn’t it? John takes this in. He closes his eyes and breathes deeply.

JOHN I was so scared. I didn’t know what would happen with it in the beginning. I was wrong to feel that way. (beat) (MORE)

77. JOHN (CONT'D) I can’t do this alone. I don’t want to.

APRIL I -- I’ll help you build it. all will.


There is a long pause as John considers this. APRIL (CONT’D) (growing excitement) I know you can do it, John. can, I know you can.


John nods. He strains to get out of the bed. He grabs the copper canister from a nearby bedside table. He limps out of the room. JOHN I’m gonna find out what I’m supposed to do now. APRIL This is wonderful! John Dawkins! INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - MORNING Sandra clicks the tape recorder off and lies in bed. looks out the window. John enters. condition. Sandra notices his battered and burned SANDRA What happened? She God bless you,


JOHN I went all the way down to the ninth circle. John holds up the copper canister. Sandra stares at it in stunned silence. JOHN (CONT’D) We can make it fly now. Together. SANDRA I think you have the wrong idea about this. JOHN We can’t just stay here. We can take these people to a place where there is no more sadness, no more --


SANDRA That’s the wrong idea I was just talking about. JOHN (angrily) Do you know what I done for this rocket? For you -- ? SANDRA My intelligence quotient is 210 on the Stanford-Binet scale. There are times when unyielding grief holds me down, all the misery in the world, and there’s nothing I can do but wait for it to be over. Now it is over, and I still haven’t done enough. JOHN “Each repetition produces a more perfect answer.” That’s your own theory. No. SANDRA Nothing ever changes. At A pause.

JOHN That’s a lie. Things change. least they should. I did.

John is a little embarrassed to have admitted it. JOHN (CONT’D) You need to swallow what you bit into. Your friend Bruce is out there with the orbital mass driver and he’s trying to fuel the rocket with ununoctium -SANDRA What? He’ll over-accelerate the Earth’s gravity and we’ll only have one day instead of two. JOHN Sandra, these people need that day. They need that chance. This is the only hope.

Sandra stares uncomfortably at John. His leg in a cast. His face blackened from fire. He looks strange and desperate. SANDRA There’s a starchart in my bag. When the rocket flies, it’ll lead them home.


John nods. Understood. He goes through the pink bag on the floor and picks up a BLUE MAP -- the STARCHART. He studies it. He looks up at Sandra, touched. JOHN Thank you. You won’t be sorry; that rocket is gonna fly. INT. ROCKET - DAY Bruce installs the crude orbital mass driver in the rocket’s engine compartment. He begins turning the wheel sloppily. Two beams fire from the ends of the mini-tunnels. Bruce aims the beams at the center, at the red anomalous material. He begins to show signs of exhaustion. A buzzer on the mass driver goes off. Bruce looks calm and unconcerned as he sees the timer counting down to something: 3:00 and counting. EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY John’s truck speeds down the road, leaving a boiling of dust clouds behind it. A strange magnetic field arcs away from the rocket in the distance, like a giant static discharge. John’s head hangs out the window. JOHN Jesus Christ. His foot hammers on the gas pedal. INT. ROCKET - DAY THE TIMER on the mass driver counts down: EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY Bruce steps out of the rocket. BAM! him. JOHN stands there, panting, a CROWBAR in his hands. Something metallic crashes against his jaw, scrambling Bruce looks up. 2:00. 1:59. 1:58. He looks at this.


Bruce looks surprised. John takes another swing, yelling, but Bruce blocks it and shoves John backward. BRUCE There will be no more words between us. John ignores him and slams the crowbar into his torso. Bruce recovers and catches John around the waist. John stumbles to the ground. Bruce kicks his broken leg. John howls in pain. Bruce smirks. John sweeps the crowbar and catches him in the Achilles tendon. Bruce tries to regain his balance. John rolls away. Bruce staggers sideways then lunges.

John drops down and juts his shoulder into his ribs ineffectually. Bruce’s fist slams into John’s face, sending him sprawling. When John looks up he sees Bruce grabbing his hammer. scrambles to his feet and flees into the rocket. INT. ROCKET - DAY CLOSE ON: The timer. :20. :19. He

Bruce enters.

He can hear footsteps but can’t see John.

BRUCE I know where you are. He looks up and sees John running up a catwalk to the top. Bruce bears down on him. JOHN barely ducks in time as Bruce swings his hammer. off of metal. They tangle in the cramped space. Sparks fly

John raises his crowbar to block another vicious slam, and it clatters uselessly away. Bruce is younger and faster. John nearly resigns himself to his fate.


THE TIMER ticks down. :01. :00

A magnetic force erupts from the orbital mass driver below. John notices Bruce’s hammer being pulled into the energy. Bruce’s eyes widen. He is YANKED off the catwalk.

At the last second, he catches two fingers on the edge, the hammer still being pulled toward the magnetic anomaly. BRUCE (CONT’D) (desperately) You can’t make this rocket fly. John’s eyes widen. His face contorts in anger.

JOHN Oh, yes but I can. John slams on Bruce’s fingers. He falls down the narrow shaft and is engulfed by the magnetism, turned to iron. John looks on, horrified. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY The magnetism arcs out for hundreds of miles. INT. ROCKET - DAY John stands at the orbital mass driver. He strains to turn the wheel counter-clockwise, to fight the swift current of the beams. It seems too late when -It budges! The magnetism swirls back into the mass driver like water down a drain. John grunts as he breaks off from the device, falling to the floor. He pants, perspiration beading his brow. He looks over and sees Bruce, transformed into some iron Art Deco statue, face forever etched in disbelief. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY John rushes out of the rocket. He takes a moment to stare in awe at the tidal forces that are ripping the planet apart.


He looks at the rocket and steels himself. INT. MAINTENENCE CRIB - DAY John hurriedly gathers old farm equipment: old spray-washers, tractor parts, welders, anything he can find. He puts it into a wheelbarrow and strains as he wheels it out. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY John works tirelessly on the rocket. Building. Repairing. Bravely doing what he can. But it’s not enough. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - DAY John works on the chalkboard. He studies many open flight manuals around the room and on the floor. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY John furiously scribbles on a piece of paper, talking to himself, making notations on the starchart. He holds his thumb up to the sky and squints. He erases some mistake and keeps going. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY April and Adam walk toward the rocket, looking for John. She sees him tinkering with the NASA console mechanism. He agitatedly pounds his fists against it. falls to the ground. April approaches him. APRIL Are we ready to fly yet? John just shakes his head for a long time. JOHN There was supposed to be something more. This damn thing. Sandra hates me. I disappointed her. I’m a terrible person. Can you ever forgive me for the way I am? He slumps and


APRIL (long pause) No. No. I’ll do no such thing. John lowers his head. A meteor streaks across the sky.

APRIL (CONT’D) John, if the world is ending tomorrow, let’s not give up now. Let’s have a moment we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. John looks at her sideways. JOHN Are you any good at running a welder? APRIL I’m very, very good at it. John smiles. INT. ROCKET - LATER April, with welding mask covering her face, welds something in the engine compartment. She smiles as sparks fly. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY John tightens something with a wrench as best he can. SHERIFF EDWARDS (O.S.) Can we be friends? John turns around. Edwards stands there, shifting nervously.

JOHN But you ripped my guts out. SHERIFF EDWARDS I just needed to regroup. Sorry. You made us reach for the unattainable. Thanks for that. John beams. JOHN We can only build it together. Convince everyone to help. SHERIFF EDWARDS You got it, John. He turns to go. John has one more thing to say:


JOHN Hey, Sheriff. Edwards turns around, frowning with question. JOHN (CONT’D) (smiling) It’s Doc. Edwards grins and tips his hat. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - DAY John slips a white lab coat over his rocket t-shirt. He puts on a pair of coke-bottle glasses. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BASEMENT) - DAY John does high-level equations on a second chalkboard. Arcane mathematical symbols fly across it. He smiles at the nearby framed photo of his family. Suddenly, something catches his eye on the Gordon Iteration. He begins scrawling letters and numbers on the other board. JOHN (under his breath) ... g(m/s²)... c=19.6... divide by the number of seconds... (realization) It was the time increment. She was off by one variable. (in disbelief) I fixed it. EXT. JOHN’S PORCH - DAY John bursts out of his front door in mid-sentence. JOHN -- I fixed it. It’s all true -He stops dead in his tracks. REVERSE ANGLE: The entire town stands before him, smiling. He can’t believe it.

John grins from ear to ear.

He stands up straight, triumphantly.


JOHN (CONT’D) Well what are we waiting for? Let’s get this rocket in the air! The crowd cheers and cheers. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY The Earth is spinning out of control. It’s being ripped apart at the seams, imploding into itself. The sky is red. Lightning. Meteors. Earthquakes. They build.

The townspeople are undaunted. INT. ROCKET - DAY

They work.

John makes adjustments to the orbital mass driver. Sheriff Edwards briskly approaches him and holds up a drill and smiles. John places a hand on his shoulder as he drills a panel onto the mechanism. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY Countless propane tanks are loaded into the cargo hold. They are labeled with pieces of tape that read “SEEDS.” INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - DAY An antique printer prints a readout. An engineer takes it and passes it on to a man in an astronaut suit. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY Several more astronauts are being suited up. John stands nearby giving a crash course. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - DAY John makes a few adjustments to the starchart.


INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - DAY Several astronauts install rolls of old-fashioned tape in jerry-rigged computers. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY April and Adam admire the rocket. Adam tugs on the hem of her skirt. He gestures for her to bend down. ADAM I want to go on the rocket so’s I can see the future. APRIL But -- But... I want to give you all my adorations. ADAM You can, Miss April. life. In the next A beat.

April looks down as tears stand in her eyes. APRIL But I want to know you better in this one. ADAM I’m a pioneer. I have to go. But maybe we’ll meet again one day... in Constantinople. They smile sadly at one another.

April’s breath hitches.

APRIL Be good okay, big daddy? ADAM You were better than my last mom. April beams as some missing part of her is found again. LATER: The astronauts, male and female, in makeshift spacesuits are loaded into the rocket via a cherry-picker. Along with them is Adam and a handful of other children. April, watching nearby, looks so proud. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - DAY John inserts a futuristic earpiece.


JOHN Testing one-two. the kennel? INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - DAY

Are the dogs in

A big astronaut reaches for a volume knob and twists it up a click. ASTRONAUT Roger that, mission control. all here. We’re

JOHN (FILTERED) Now I want you all to land my ol’ silo on Mars safely, you hear? ASTRONAUT (smiling) Used to be in military flighttesting, sir. Built a rocket plane in the California desert. This ain’t no thing but a chicken wing. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - DAY Huh. JOHN I never knew that. Several techies give

He beams. He consults the big board. him a thumbs up.

JOHN (CONT’D) Uh, situation nominal? Everything-everything under control? John pauses as they’re ready to throw the switch. to the techies imploringly. JOHN (CONT’D) Are we a go? TECHIE #1 They’re taking you at your word that we are. JOHN (long hesitation) Initiate countdown. The techie throws the switch. Screens fill with numbers and-He looks


EXT. JOHN’S FARM - DAY Digits appear on the big countdown board. T-Minus 01:00:00.

The townspeople cheer. April watches. She breathes deeply. She crosses her fingers behind her back. John comes out of the mission control tent. glance at the big board. He shoots a

An assistant with a yellow phone approaches him. ASSISTANT Phone for you, Doctor Dawkins. John snatches it up. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - EVENING Sandra stares into space. She looks frail and gaunt.

JOHN (O.S.) Stop feeling sorry for yourself. She lifts her head quietly from the sheets and looks over. John stands there, trying a smile. SANDRA (re: lab coat, glasses) You look good. John smiles a little. JOHN How are you feeling? SANDRA I feel old and tired. to be here anymore. I don’t want

JOHN You and me both, sweetheart. (pause) A Burmese tiger ate Ray. SANDRA A Burmese tiger? Really? JOHN Something like that. He knew what it was all about, though. (thinks) I miss him.



SANDRA Where is he? A long beat.

John’s eyes drop away from Sandra.

Sandra nods slightly, her heart in her throat. JOHN The launch is in forty-five minutes. I’m pushing the button. SANDRA There really is some hope in that big, well-oiled heart of yours after all then. JOHN All I know is it better be worth it. One of them boys better discover magic or find the cure for death after they land up there. SANDRA They’ll do great things. Doors will open for them that won’t open for anyone else. John looks at her. A smile falls upon his face.

JOHN So you’re finally ready to swallow what you bit into, huh? SANDRA I wanted to give you one more thing. There are dark times ahead. People are going to need something. She hands him the tape recorder. John takes it, nodding.

SANDRA (CONT’D) I started it, but you can finish it. Give it to the people on the rocket. May the wind ride at your back. John studies the tape recorder. He looks out the window.

JOHN I never told anyone this but I always wanted to fly so fast thatHe looks over at Sandra. Her eyes are closed.

John kisses her on the forehead. He pockets the tape recorder.


JOHN (CONT’D) May all of your dreams come true. INT. JOHN’S TRUCK - EVENING John drives. He checks his watch. He is obviously

He looks up and sees Ray’s filling station. thinking about something. INT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - EVENING

John stands in the deserted filling station, reminiscing. He sees something on the counter. He picks it up and smiles: Ray’s glass eye. EXT. HAPPY EAGLE OIL & GAS - EVENING John walks out. He notices the black wildcat sitting not far away, regarding him with cursory eyes. JOHN We’ll miss ya, buddy. The wildcat seems to nod as it watches him drive away. INT. JOHN’S TRUCK - EVENING John drives. He hits PLAY on the tape recorder.

John thinks about what to say. He hits RECORD and opens his mouth to speak. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT The sky bleeds itself out. The townspeople watch as the big board counts down, their shadows growing longer. John rides the cherry picker up to the rocket cockpit. He removes a panel and passes the tape recorder to the astronaut. He also gives him Ray’s glass eye and the STARCHART.


INT. ROCKET - NIGHT John bangs into the engine room. He studies the mass driver. It’s hot. Sweat beads form on his forehead. He snaps a latch on the mechanism. hiss. A door swings open with a

John carefully inserts the copper canister. He closes the door. It dismantles the canister, leaving the teaspoon of antimatter that it contained. John wipes the perspiration from his brow. He throws his weight into rotating the wheel. Machinery hums. Suddenly, the orbital mass driver defecates black smoke and oil. John looks sick. He tries to keep from exploding.

INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - NIGHT John enters the tent. He sees several techies arguing over numbers on multiple monitors. JOHN How are we looking? TECHIE #1 Not without a viable propulsion system it can’t. TECHIE #2 ... it doesn’t matter. could still fly. It

JOHN What are you talking about?

TECHIE #1 The orbital mass driver. functioning correctly. JOHN What does that mean? saying? TECHIE #1 I don’t know.

It’s not

What are you

JOHN (frustrated) What kind of answer is that? John paces around, desperate and erratic. TECHIE #2 Uh, maybe just try it again? John stops. He looks at the techie. Eureka.


INT. ROCKET - SHORTLY John stares at the mass driver. JOHN I know you can do it. I know.

John closes his eyes and grabs onto the mass driver’s wheel with both hands. He strains and rotates it clockwise. Machinery hums. The beams FIRE into the antimatter. He howls with delight.

John opens his eyes.

INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - NIGHT A techie pushes a button on the control panel. TECHIE #1 Mark thirty seconds. online. INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - NIGHT The astronaut waits nervously. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - NIGHT Techies scramble with launch preparations. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT The big board counts down: MUSIC: :30. :29. :28. Engine

The beautiful SCORE fades in.

Columns of exhaust rise from the rocket’s thrusters, obscuring a bizarre-looking moon in the sky. INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - NIGHT Hands push buttons. Indicators flash on screens.

EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT John stands in the shadow of the gleaming 100-foot-tall rocket, eyes looking for anything that gives a hint of what lies beyond. April approaches him. She’s getting emotional.


JOHN (re: rocket) Well she ain’t pretty, but there she is. APRIL It’s beautiful. John glances at the countdown clock. :19. :18. :17. John clenches his fists. His hand trembles as he lifts up the launch button. He breathes shakily. April puts a hand on his shoulder. APRIL (CONT’D) Everything’s going to be all right. She manages a half-smile. John can’t smile yet.

INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - NIGHT The astronaut adjusts some dials. He looks at the tape recorder. Picks up it. Pushes PLAY.

SANDRA (V.O.) People of the future, this is Sandra Gordon, girl of the past. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT :10. :09. :08 The rocket rumbles. The earth trembles. hovers above the launch button. John closes his eyes. words. Sounds blur. John’s finger

Lips move in silent

:05. :04. :03. :02. :01. John is afraid of what lies ahead. He catches himself before he can turn back. He pushes the button. :00.


INT. ROCKET - NIGHT ANGLE ON: Orbital Mass Driver. Boom! There is a reaction!

EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT The thrusters IGNITE, the flash echoes across the sky. The rocket kicks up dust around its base. SANDRA (V.O.) I want to tell you about a place which once existed. John holds his breath as it lumbers into the air. The darkness recedes. There is only the light of the rocket. But it

Pieces of shrapnel rain down on the townspeople. keeps going! INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - NIGHT

Suddenly, John’s voice sounds off on the tape recorder: JOHN (V.O.) It was a place with beautiful people. The astronaut looks at it oddly. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT The townspeople shield their eyes as they watch, enraptured. THE ROCKET roars into the night sky. JOHN (V.O.) A place where anything was possible. A place that believed in hope. JOHN is overwhelmed with emotion. He grabs his head. He smiles so wide his lips tremble. Tears glint off his cheeks. The light of the rocket’s thrusters is blinding. He starts laughing.


The sky darkens, their light shrinks -- a galaxy of light, a star, a room, a point, a speck. The rocket flies far into the night sky, toward a hopeful future. EXT. SKY - NIGHT The rocket lumbers into the stratosphere. Many meteors and chunks of the Earth streak across its path. INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - NIGHT Metal groans as the pilot astronaut strains against the controls. INT. ROCKET PASSENGER BAY - NIGHT Adam holds tight to the seat he’s buckled in, eyes wide, scared. EXT. ROCKET - NIGHT The rocket struggles against gravity. vessel. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - NIGHT John’s hands fly across control panels, twisting knobs, pushing buttons, his heart pounding. ASTRONAUT (FILTERED) Fuselage showing red flags. JOHN Roger that. Hang in there-hang in there-you’re almost there. INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - NIGHT The astronaut grapples with rumbling controls. EXT. SKY - NIGHT The rocket wobbles as it climbs further and further skyward. Rivets shoot off the


INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - NIGHT John watches the rocket on several screens. JOHN Keep moving forward. back. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT There is an anxious silence as the townspeople watch the rocket make its escape. EXT. SKY - NIGHT A rogue chunk of Earth debris streaks across the sky, is on a collision course for the rocket. INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - NIGHT The boards and control panels are ablaze with warning klaxons and other activity. The pilot astronaut strains against the altitude stick. yells and groans as he hangs LEFT. EXT. OUTER SPACE The rocket bears left; the mountain of debris roars past. The rocket is safe. It breaks from the atmosphere. He Do not look

It is free of the Earth, free of all the misery INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - NIGHT John sees this on the monitors. He cheers as only he can.

He jerks his earpiece out and runs outside. INT. ROCKET COCKPIT - NIGHT The astronaut stabilizes the controls. He looks out the bay window and sees his home receding quickly behind him. He smiles sadly. JOHN (V.O.) A place called Earth.


He looks ahead and sees the promise of a far-away land. INT. MISSION CONTROL TENT - NIGHT The techies continue launch operations on the master board. TECHIE #1 Cam. thirty-two. Cam. thirty-six. His request is projected onto the screen. Two camera angles track the rocket breaking out of the atmosphere. The images flicker and disappear, leaving static. TECHIE #2 No visual contact. Techie #1 takes out his earpiece and sets it on the master board. He smiles. A moment. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT Sandra lies on her side and looks out the window, watching the single point of light lumbering into the abyssal sky. TECHIE #1 (V.O.) It’s all right. They’ll make it. She closes her eyes. They flutter open briefly then close again. She has a smile on her face. EXT. JOHN’S FARM - NIGHT John shields his eyes as the rocket’s light shimmers in the night sky. The townspeople surround him, cheering. April kisses him on the cheek. John kisses her on the lips.

The light grows dimmer as the rocket approaches its destination. John closes his eyes and smiles. Happy. Hopeful. Free.

FADE TO BLACK. INT. JOHN’S HOUSE (BATHROOM) - LATER A deafening rumble can be heard outside in the pitch black. John shaves and washes his face.


He quietly looks at himself in the mirror. The rocket hat. He looks happier, wiser. A mysterious smile crosses his face.

The rocket shirt.

He nods vaguely.

EXT. MOUNTAINS OUTSIDE QUANTUM MECHANICA - NIGHT John’s pick-up is parked at the end of the road. The lights are still on. The door is left open, the engine idling. INT. ORIFICE IN QUANTUM MECHANICA - NIGHT John eases himself into the chasm. The foundations of the complex crumble and block the exit. John looks preoccupied. He struggles against the pull of the black hole as he walks over to the autojet piston. He stares at it. A sense of peace calms him. John takes a firm grip on the giant lever on the machine. Cautiously, he pulls it. A sound of grinding metal is heard and it budges. Suddenly, the “recording” of John’s wife and daughter fades in before him. John stands quietly, looking at them. the lever, making it stuck. He wedges a rock in

John smiles as he watches Dorothy and Sally wave and smile. He sits down. He is content in this eternity they will spend together. FADE TO BLACK. EXT. MARTIAN LANDSCAPE - START OF A NEW DAY A dark and red and ugly world. As it turns, a wind blows across its surface. We move along the surface and find: A tiny ear of corn growing out of the earth. Children can be heard laughing and playing. FADE TO BLACK. THE END

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