"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"DARK STAR"

A SCIENCE FICTION ADVENTURE

Screenplay by

John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon



OPEN ON BLACK SILENCE.

The sound of electronic music rises, hollow, metallic.

FADE IN on a long TRACKING SHOT through the universe. As the
NARRATOR speaks we move through galaxies, nebulae, solar
systems, moving from the infinite slowly down to a particular
planetary system deep within a maze of suns.

NARRATOR
(over)
It is the mid 22nd Century. Mankind
has explored the boundaries of his
own solar system, and now he reaches
out to the endless interstellar
distances of the universe. He moves
away from his own small planetary
system in huge hyperdrive starships:
computer-driven, self-supporting,
closed-system spacecraft that travel
at mind-staggering post-light
velocities. Man has begun to spread
among the stars. Enormous ships embark
with generations of colonists
searching the depths of space for
new earths, now homes, new beginnings.
Far in advance of these colony ships
goes a new pioneer: the scouts, the
pathfinders, a special breed of man
who has dedicated his life to blazing
the trail through the most distant,
unexplored galaxies, opening up the
farthest frontiers of space. These
are the men of the Advance Exploration
Corps. The task they face is one of
unbelievable isolation and loneliness.
So far from home that Earth is no
longer even a point of light in the
sky, they must comb the universe for
those unstable planets whose existence
poses a threat to the peaceful
colonists that follow. They must
find these rogue planets -- and
destroy them. Among these commandos
are the men of the scoutship Dark
Star.

We are now moving toward a planet. Floating in front of the
planet is the SCOUTSHIP DARK STAR. As we move toward the
ship, we begin to hear VOICES, crackling with static.

DOOLITTLE
(over -- radio filter)
Ah, what'd you say, Pinback?

PINBACK
(over -- great static)
Mafhkin oble groop...

DOOLITTLE
(over -- filter)
Ah, what was that again, I still
can't hear you?

PINBACK
(over -- filter)
I said I'm trying to reach Talby.
Something's wrong with the damn
intercom. I need a last-minute
diameter approximation.

CAMERA IS NOW FLOATING TOWARD THE OBSERVATION DOME on top of
the ship.

In the Dome sits TALBY. He is staring around, wide-eyed, at
the planets and stars.

DOOLITTLE
(over -- filter)
Talby, Talby, this is Doolittle. Do
you read me? Talby?

WE MOVE IN CLOSE ON TALBY'S FACE. The shot stops and holds
as he continues to stare, rapt.

DOOLITTLE
(over -- filter)
Talby, do you read me?

There is a CRACKLE, and Doolittle's voice suddenly booms
through, loud and clear:

DOOLITTLE
TALBY!

TALBY
(snaps out of it)
Oh! Ah, yes, Doolittle. What is it?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

CLOSE SHOT of a digital clock, ticking down the seconds.

DOOLITTLE
I need a diameter approximation.

TALBY
(over)
Okay, Doolittle, I'll have it in a
minute.

CAMERA BEGINS TO PULL BACK along the length of the control
room, revealing three men: BOILER, DOOLITTLE, and PINBACK.
They are seated close together in cramped little chairs,
surrounded by a maze of instrumentation, pressing buttons,
making adjustments and corrections. There is one EMPTY CHAIR;
the panel in front of it looks burned.

PINBACK
I need a GHF reading on the gravity
correction.

DOOLITTLE
I'll check it.

BOILER
I have a reduced drive reading of
seven thousand.

PINBACK
Right, that checks out here.

DOOLITTLE
Pinback...

PINBACK
Yes, Doolittle.

DOOLITTLE
Your GHF reading is minus fifteen.

PINBACK
Doolittle...

DOOLITTLE
Yes.

PINBACK
I need a computer reading on a fail-
safe mark.

DOOLITTLE
In a second.

PINBACK
Boiler, can you set me up with some
temp figures?

BOILER
Ninety seven million, minus eight,
corrected to mass critical.

PINBACK
I read that with a quantum increase
of seven.

DOOLITTLE
Pinback, I have a computer reading
of nine five seven seven.

BOILER
Time to start talking.

PINBACK
Bomb bay systems operational.

Pinback hits a button on his panel.

INTERIOR - BOMB BAY

The screen is BLACK for an instant. Then, two enormous doors
begin to open ponderously, revealing the planet rotating
below. A huge BOMB, designated with a giant #19 on its side,
lowers slowly out of the ship on a rack.

NARRATOR
(over)
This is a chain-reaction bomb,
otherwise known as an Exponential
Thermostellar Device. Its own
destructive power is small, barely
enough to vaporize twelve city blocks.
However, when it explodes in contact
with an object the size of a planet,
it starts a chain-reaction in the
very matter of that planet, turning
it into a giant reactor which destroys
itself in one staggering thermal
flash. These bombs are equipped with
sophisticated thought and speech
mechanisms, to allow them to make
executive decisions in the event of
a crisis situation. These judgment
centers are controlled by a fail-
safe mechanism.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

DOOLITTLE
Lock fail safe.

Pinback turns a key in a lock.

PINBACK
Fail-safe locked. Ah, Sergeant Pinback
calling Bomb #19. Do you read me,
bomb?

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

The bomb is suspended beneath the ship.

BOMB #19
Bomb #19 to Sergeant Pinback, I read
you. Continue.

When the bomb speaks, it has the prim, fussy voice of a minor
civil servant.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Well, bomb, we have about sixty
seconds to drop. Just wondering if
everything is all right. Have you
checked your platinum euridium energy
shielding?

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #19
Energy shielding positive function.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Swell. Let's synchronize detonation
time. Do you know when you're supposed
to go off?

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #19
Detonation in six minutes, twenty
seconds.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
All right, I have detonation time
at... Wait a minute, something's
wrong with the clock.
(hits panel)
All right, I have detonation time
at... no, that can't be right, it
says three years.
(beats panel again)
Okay, I have six minutes exactly.
Does that check out down there?

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #19
Check at six minutes.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Arm yourself, bomb.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

Several lights blip on along the bomb's side.

BOMB #19
Armed.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Well, then, everything sounds fine.
We'll drop you off in thirty-five
seconds. Good luck.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #19
Thanks.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Begin main sequence. Mark at 10-9-8-
7-6-5-4-3-2-1-drop.

EXTERIOR - THE SHIP

Bomb #19 falls away from the ship and whizzes down toward
the planet below.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

DOOLITTLE
Hyperdrive sequence begun. Hit it,
Pinback.

Pinback hits the hyperdrive switch. Force fields energize
around the men.

EXTERIOR - THE SHIP

The DARK STAR accelerates into hyperdrive and streaks away
through space.

The planetary system recedes in the background. Inside the
Observation Dome, Talby is frozen in a protective force field.

INSERT: CLOSE SHOT OF A TIME CLOCK. It blips down to ZERO.

RETURN TO SCENE

Behind the ship, there is an intense flare of light as the
planet, now a dot of light, explodes.

INTERIOR - OBSERVATION DOME

The force field around Talby disappears as the ship comes
out of hyperdrive. He rubs his eyes as though awakening,
then looks down at his readout panels.

INSERT - CLOSE SHOT OF A PANEL. On a small screen we see the
exploding planet, and below, a readout says:

DESTRUCTION SEQUENCE COMPLETE

RETURN TO SCENE

Talby touches his intercom.

TALBY
Lieutenant Doolittle, it just
exploded.
(pause)
Ah, sir, the planet just exploded.
(pause -- he shakes
the microphone)
Lieutenant?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

The men are stretching in their seats.

DOOLITTLE
Unlock fail safe.

Pinback unlocks the fail-safe unit.

PINBACK
Fail safe unlocked.

RECORDED VOICE
Attention. Attention. The hyperdrive
sequence is now terminated. Please
observe that the no smoking signs
have growrrr...

The voice runs down.

DOOLITTLE
Well... now what? What do, you have
for us now. Boiler?

BOILER
(checking his readouts)
Not much. Nothing at all in this
sector.

DOOLITTLE
Find me something, I don't care where
it is.

BOILER
Well, I show a 95% probability of
sentient life in the Horsehead
Nebula...

DOOLITTLE
Fuck that shit.

BOILER
Well, it is kind of a long shot...

DOOLITTLE
It's a goddamn wild goose chase.
Remember when Commander Powell found
that 99 plus probability of sentient
life in the Magellanic Cloud?

BOILER
Well, there's the possibility of...

DOOLITTLE
Remember what we found? Fourteen
light years for a fucking mindless
vegetable that looked like a limp
balloon and went squawk and let a
fart when you touched it. Remember?

BOILER
All right, then...

DOOLITTLE
So don't give me any of that sentient
life crap. Find me something I can
blow up.

A LIGHT flares on Pinback's board. He looks up.

PINBACK
New star.
(no reaction)
Hey, guess what? I got a new star on
the readout.

DOOLITTLE
(not looking up)
Which one?

PINBACK
Another unknown. Not on the charts.
A red dwarf.

DOOLITTLE
Any planets?

PINBACK
Yeah. Eight, it says here.

DOOLITTLE
Any of 'em any good?

PINBACK
(scans the board)
Naah. All stable.

Doolittle loses interest.

PINBACK
What are you gonna name it?

DOOLITTLE
(not looking up)
What?

PINBACK
The new star. What are you gonna
name it?

DOOLITTLE
Who cares. Don't bother me.

Pinback's mouth tightens. A pause.

PINBACK
Commander Powell would have named
it.

DOOLITTLE
Commander Powell is dead.

Involuntarily, Pinback glances at Commander Powell's empty,
burned seat. The panels behind it sputter.

PINBACK
Come on, Doolittle, give it a name.

DOOLITTLE
Fred.

PINBACK
Wha?

DOOLITTLE
I hereby name this star Fred.

BOILER
Hey, Doolittle, here's one. An
unstable planet. 85% probability of
an unstable planet in the Veil Nebula
that will probably go off its orbit
and hit a star.

DOOLITTLE
Sounds good. Chart a course for the
Veil Nebula.

BOILER
Pinback, throw me the chart log.

Pinback draws a loose-leaf notebook from a shelf above
Commander

Powell's empty seat, and hurls it at Boiler. With a sour
look at Pinback, Boiler picks up the notebook and begins to
leaf through it.

DOOLITTLE
Let's have some music in here, Boiler.

Boiler presses a button. LOUD COUNTRY MUSIC THEME BEGINS TO
PLAY.

EXTERIOR - DARK STAR (TITLE SEQUENCE)

This sequence includes shots of the DARK STAR drifting through
space, past various cosmic wonders, intercut with shots of
the men relaxing

(Talby staring into space; Boiler trimming his beard;
Doolittle playing solitaire; Pinback reading a comic book).

CREDITS AND MUSIC OVER.

SEQUENCE ENDS.

INTERIOR - DARK STAR

Beep.

We are watching a filmed tape. Doolittle has just turned it
on and is staring into the camera. Crosshairs and blipping
numbers superimposed.

DOOLITTLE
Ship's log, entry number 1,943. Dark
Star cruising at light speed through
Sector Theta 990. En route to Veil
Nebula for destruction of unstable
planet. Our ETA is 1700 hours.
(thinks)
Ship's systems continue to
deteriorate...

Pinback leans into view and whispers into Doolittle's ear.
Doolittle nods and Pinback withdraws.

DOOLITTLE
The short circuit in the rear seat
panel which killed Commander Powell
continues to be faulty.
(thinks)
Uh... Storage Area 9...

Pinback leans back in and whispers emphatically. Doolittle
looks put-upon.

DOOLITTLE
And because he's sitting next to it,
it continues to bother Pinback.
(glares at Pinback.
Then:)
Storage Area 9 self-destructed last
week, destroying entire ship's supply
of toilet paper. That's all.

Beep.

INTERIOR - OBSERVATION DOME

Talby is still gazing around at the stars.

A hatch opens in the floor and Doolittle sticks his head up.

DOOLITTLE
Talby.

Talby rotates his seat and looks down at Doolittle.

DOOLITTLE
Here's some breakfast.

Doolittle climbs into the dome and sits on the floor. He
hands Talby the food package, and watches matter-of-factly
as Talby begins to eat.

DOOLITTLE
You know, Talby, you really ought to
eat with the rest of us. You spend
too much time up here.

TALBY
I like it up here.

DOOLITTLE
Must get lonely being up here so
much.

TALBY
I don't like to go below since
Commander Powell died. I feel enclosed
down there. If it were big enough,
I'd sleep up here...

DOOLITTLE
...Should spend some time below, see
more of the rest of the ship...

TALBY
...You see, I can watch things up
here, Doolittle. I love to watch
things, just stare at the planets
and meteors and asteroids, gas
clusters...

DOOLITTLE
You'll have plenty of time for that,
you know. Figure it this way: twenty
years in space and we've only aged
three, so there'll be plenty of time
to stare around...

TALBY
You know, Doollttle, if we're going
into the Veil Nebula, we may actually
find a strange and beautiful thing:
the Phoenix Asteroids. They should
be passing through there about now...

DOOLITTLE
Phoenix Asteroids? Never heard of
'em.

TALBY
They are a body of asteroids that
make a complete circuit of the
universe once every 12.3 trillion
years. The Phoenix Asteroids... From
what I've heard, Doolittle, they
glow... glow with all the colors of
the rainbow. Nobody knows why. They
just glow as they drift around the
universe. Imagine all the sights
they've seen in the time they've
been travelling -- the birth and
death of stars, things we'll never
see. The universe is alive, Doolittle.
I thought it was all empty, but it
isn't. In between the stars, it's
seething with light and gasses and
dust. There are little pebbles
drifting around, planets no one on
Earth has ever seen... No one but
the Phoenix Asteroids...

There is a BLIPPING SOUND. It is insistent. Talby is rudely
yanked from his reverie. He looks down at a panel. But his
soft talk has started Doolittle reminiscing.

DOOLITTLE
You know what I think about, Talby?

TALBY
I'm getting something here, on this
readout...

DOOLITTLE
It's funny, but I kind of sit around,
you know, a lot of time to myself...

TALBY
I think I'm getting a malfunction
here somewhere.

DOOLITTLE
I can't talk to the others, but with
time to myself, I think about back
home, back home at Malibu. I used to
surf a lot, Talby. I used to be a
great surfer.

TALBY
Lieutenant Doolittle, I'm getting a
definite malfunction on one of the
closed-circuit computer systems...

DOOLITTLE
The waves at Malibu and Zuma were
fantastic in the springs Talby. I
can remember running out on the beach
early spring mornings with my board
and a wet suit...

TALBY
I can't seem to locate the malfunction
exactly...

DOOLITTLE
Waves would be peaking really high
and glassy. Hit that water. Ridin'
the wall just perfect.

TALBY
...Somewhere in the autonomic relay
circuits...

DOOLITTLE
I guess I miss the waves and my board
most of all.

Talby turns in his seat and addresses Doolittle directly.

TALBY
Ah, Doolittle, I do have a malfunction
on this readout, but I can't seem to
pinpoint exactly where it is.

DOOLITTLE
(snapped out of his
daydream)
Don't worry about it. We'll find out
when it goes bad.

TALBY
(chagrined)
I really think I should try and locate
it immediately. Might be something
important.

DOOLITTLE
I wish I had my board with me now.
Even if I could only polish it once
in awhile.

EXTERIOR - SPACE

LONG SHOT of the DARK STAR drifting through space.

INTERIOR - KITCHEN

Boiler, Pinback, and Doolittle are descending a ladder into
the kitchen.

BOILER
I'm getting this flickering light on
one of my panels.

PINBACK
What flickering light?

BOILER
The one on unit... oh, I think it's
GMR twelve zero zero.

PINBACK
Oh. What's wrong now?

BOILER
I'm not sure. I think something is
fucked up somewhere in the ship,
though.

PINBACK
I hope it's not the oven again.

BOILER
Yeah.

PINBACK
Remember when the artificial gravity,
went out in the toilet?

The men sit for their meal. Doolittle brings food packets
from the oven.

PINBACK
Hey, Doolittle, think we'll ever
find real intelligent life out there?

DOOLITTLE
Out where?

PINBACK
Veil nebula.

DOOLITTLE
Who cares?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

The Control Room is EMPTY. After a moment, there is a
repetitive BEEP.

CLOSE SHOT - TV SCREEN. On the screen is the message:

INCOMING COMMUNICATION

This fades, and MISSION CONTROLLER appears on the screen,
against a background of computer terminals. He is dressed in
a snappy tunic, and when he receives the on-camera cue, he
smiles ingratiatingly.

MISSION CONTROLLER
Hi, guys. Glad to get your message.
We gather from the ten-year
communications lag that you are
approximately 18 parsecs away. Drop
us a line more often, won't you?
Sorry to hear about all the
malfunctions, and real sorry to hear
about the death of Commander Powell.
There was a week of mourning all
over Earth. The flags were at half
mast. Now I hate to send bad news
when you guys are up there doing
such a swell job, but something's
come up, and we all felt you ought
to know about it. Our systems
simulation computer has predicted
that by the time this message reaches
you -- that is to say, in about ten
years -- there will be a failure in
one of your vital ship's systems.
The malfunction will occur in --
(rifles papers)
-- system number E180246. You can
see what a problem this would be if
you didn't catch it on time. Now
what you should do is this: First,
do not, repeat, do not attempt to
adjust the system manually. Second --

INTERIOR - COMPUTER ROOM

The room is dim and eerie, banks of dimly flickering lights
and the hum of air-cooling machinery.

Talby is seated before a glowing screen. He punches several
buttons, and the screen comes to life. A schematic cross-
section of the ship appears in glowing green lines.

Talby punches more buttons, and the screen flashes through
the levels of the ship. Finally it shows Level 6. There is a
small red light pulsing in the Emergency Air Lock.

Talby punches another button. The Emergency Air Lock is
magnified fifteen times until it fills the screen. The red
light is pulsing in a small area labelled COMMUNICATIONS
LASER #17.

Talby picks up a microphone.

TALBY
Lieutenant Doolittle, this is Talby.
Lieutenant?

DOOLITTLE
(over -- filter)
Yes, Talby, what is it?

TALBY
Sorry to interrupt your lunch, sir,
but I'm in the Computer Room, and I
think I've located the malfunction.
The scanner shows it to be some sort
of fault in the communications laser,
down by the Emergency Air Lock. Can't
pinpoint it exactly, but I'm going
down there with a starsuit and try
to find it.

INTERIOR - KITCHEN

DOOLITTLE
Sounds good, Talby. Let me know if
anything important comes up.

Doolittle hangs up the mike.

BOILER
Why doesn't Talby ever eat down here
with the rest of us?

DOOLITTLE
He just likes it up in the dome,
that's all.

Boiler seems to be thinking. He frowns, looks at Doolittle.

BOILER
What's Talby's first name?

Doolittle thinks about it, and an odd expression crosses his
face.

DOOLITTLE
What's my first name?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM CLOSE SHOT - TV SCREEN

MISSION CONTROLLER
-- then repatch channel 12 and seal
all the plates. Don't mess with it
and it should work okay. I'm just
glad we caught this thing before
anything serious happened. Keep up
the good work, men.

His image fades, and is replaced by the message:

END COMMUNICATION

FULL SHOT - CONTROL ROOM. Lights blink peacefully in the
empty room. HOLD FOR A MOMENT.

EXTERIOR - UNIVERSE

SLOW ZOOM toward a sun system. The DARK STAR is suspended in
frame. A title pops on briefly:

VEIL NEBULA

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

A GLOWING SCREEN shows a schematic of the planet rotating
below. Boiler stares at it, smiling.

BOILER
There she is. Definite 99%-plus
probability that the planet is going
to deviate from its normal orbit in
another twelve thousand rotations.
It'll spiral in toward its sun, and --

PINBACK
Eventual supernova.

DOOLITTLE
Good stuff. Let's vaporize it.

Pinback hits buttons.

PINBACK
Bomb bay systems operational.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20 lowers ponderously out of the ship.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

DOOLITTLE
Lock fail safe.

Pinback turns the key.

PINBACK
Fail safe in lock. Four minutes to
drop, 22 minutes to detonation. This
is Sergeant Pinback calling Bomb
#20. Do you read me, bomb?

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
Bomb #20 to Sergeant Pinback. Roger,
I read you, continue.

INTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

CAMERA SLOWLY PANS DOWN the chromium-steel walls of the
Emergency Air Lock to reveal Talby in a starsuit. He is
wearing it only as protection against possible
depressurization, and therefore wears no jetpack. Carrying a
tool kit, he is slowly circling the lock.

RECORDED VOICE
You are now in the Emergency Air
Lock. Please remember that the Surface
Door can be opened without prior
depressurization, so be sure to wear
your starsuit at all times. Thank
you for observing all safety
precautions.

Talby stops facing LASER SHAFT 17.

The plate cover on the laser shaft hangs loose; it appears
to be burned. Talby approaches it and puts down his tool
kit. He turns on his helmet radio.

TALBY
Ah, Lieutenant Doolittle? Sir?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

DOOLITTLE
Sh, Talby, don't bother me now.

INTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

TALBY
Ah, well, I think I've found the
malfunction, sir. I'm in the Emergency
Air Lock...

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

DOOLITTLE
Not now!

TALBY
(over -- filter)
Well, I'm in the Emergency Air Lock
and --

Click! Doolittle turns off Talby's radio line.

PINBACK
One hundred twenty seconds to drop,
bomb, have you checked your platinum
euridium energy shielding?

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
Energy shielding positive function.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Do you remember the detonation time?

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
Detonation in twenty minutes.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Right, that synchronizes here. Okay,
bomb, arm yourself.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
Armed.

INTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

Talby stands in front of the laser shaft, trying to reach
Doolittle on his helmet radio.

TALBY
Hello? Lieutenant Doolittle? Hello!

Silence.

Very carefully, Talby reaches out to touch the dangling plate
cover on the laser shaft. He pushes it, and it drops to the
floor of the lock with a CLANG.

RECORDED VOICE
Communications Laser #17, monitoring
information relays and bomb bay
systems, has now been activated and
will switch into a test mode. If you
will look near the Surface Door, you
will see that the Parallax Receptor
Cell has been engaged.

small triangular hole opens in the opposite wall and a photo-
sensitive cell rotates into position.

RECORDED VOICE
The laser will now energize. Please
stand clear of the path of the beam.

Talby steps back quickly. The airlock lights dim, and with a
HIGH-PITCHED WHINE, A PENCIL-THIN BEAM OF RUBY LIGHT PULSES
ACROSS THE LOCK, from the laser shaft to the receptor cell.

RECORDED VOICE
Communications Laser #17 is now on
test. Under no circumstances enter
the path of the beam. Thank you for
observing all safety precautions.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Everything sounds fine, bomb. Dropping
you off in sixty seconds. Good luck.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
Thanks.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
Quantum is up thirty-five.

DOOLITTLE
I read the same here.

INTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

Talby crouches by the laser shaft, carefully peering past
the red, humming beam.

TALBY
Doolittle. Doolittle? It you're there,
I'm going to try to adjust the cue
switch on the laser.

Silence.

TALBY
Well... here goes...

He takes a long tool from the tool kit. Slowly, with agonizing
care, he inserts the tool into the laser shaft, painstakingly
avoiding the beam. He engages the tool into the base of the
laser, and begins slowly to make an adjustment.

There is a BLINDING FLASH OF LIGHT.

Talby drops the tool and staggers back, clutching his face
plate.

TALBY
My eyes.

RECORDED VOICE
Attention. Attention. The laser has
malfunctioned. Under no circumstances
enter the path of the beam. To do so
will cause immediate --

Talby stumbles into the beam. There is a dull EXPLOSION.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

There is a FLASH on the lower side of Bomb #20, a sudden
EXPLOSION.

Lights BLIP FURIOUSLY on the bomb.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Begin main sequence. Mark at 10-9-8-
7-6-5-4-3-2-1-drop.

A HONKER SOUNDS. The men sit up.

DOOLITTLE
I have a negative drop. The bomb is
still in the bomb bay. Try it again,
Pinback.

Pinback resets his panel. The honker stops.

PINBACK
Mark at 5-4-3-2-1-drop.

HONK-HONK-HONK-

DOOLITTLE
Ah, negative drop.

The men stare at each other in silence for a long moment.

Simultaneously they begin hitting buttons.

DOOLITTLE
Rechannel all safety relays --

BOILER
-- open quantum latches --

PINBACK
-- open circuit breakers --

DOOLITTLE
-- remove thrust drive repellant --

PINBACK
-- automatic channels open --

DOOLITTLE
-- Remark.

PINBACK
5-4-3-2-1-drop, drop, drop!

There is a very long pause.

BOILER
Sittin' there. It's just sittin'
there.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

Bomb #20 hangs underneath the ship, waiting.

INTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

Talby lies unconscious on the floor of the lock.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

On the men's faces in strained anxiety.

DOOLITTLE
This is Lieutenant Doolittle calling
Bomb #20. I repeat previous order,
you are to disarm yourself and return
immediately to the bomb bay. Do you
understand?

BOMB #20
(over)
I am programmed to detonate in
fourteen minutes thirty seconds.
Detonation will occur at the
programmed time.

DOOLITTLE
Bomb, this is Doolittle. You are not
to detonate, repeat, you are not to
detonate in the bomb bay. Disarm
yourself. This is an order.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
I read you, Lieutenant Doolittle,
but I am programmed to detonate in
fourteen minutes. Detonation will
occur at the programmed time.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Fourteen minutes to detonation.

The men stare at each other.

RECORDED VOICE
Attention. Attention. The bomb has
malfunctioned. Automatic dampers
have gone into effect, and will
confine the explosion to an area one
mile in diameter. Please contact
mission control and await further
instructions. Thank you for observing
all safety precautions.

Pause.

DOOLITTLE
Only one thing to do. I'll have to
ask Commander Powell. I'll have to
ask him what to do.

INTERIOR - FREEZER ROOM

Doolittle climbs down a ladder into the icy-blue, cold Freezer
Room.

The walls are covered with frost, and mist hangs in the air.

He pulls on a pair of insulated gloves and approaches a heavy
freezer door. On the door is a sign:

CRYOGENIC FREEZER COMPARTMENT
CAUTION
ABSOLUTE ZERO

He opens the door.

COMMANDER POWELL is encased in the freezer in a post-death,
frozen ammonia state. Wire and electrodes are attached to
his head.

Doolittle takes a microphone from a console on the freezer.
He flips a switch and speaks into the mike:

DOOLITTLE
Commander Powell? Commander Powell,
this is Doolittle. Can you read me?

A crackle of static comes from a speaker grille, along with
the FAINT MUTTERING OF COMMANDER POWELL'S VOICE:

POWELL
...muffirup glurrinpinfropal...

Doolittle fiddles with the volume control, trying to bring
Commander Powell's voice into audibllity.

DOOLITTLE
Commander Powell, this is Doolittle.
Ah, there's something serious come
up, sir, and I have to ask you
something.

POWELL
(very weakly)
I'm glad you've come to talk with
me, Doolittle. It's been so long
since anyone has come to talk with
me.

DOOLITTLE
Commander, sir, we have a big problem.
You see, the Veil Nebula bomb, Bomb
Number 20, is stuck. It won't drop
from the bomb bay. It refuses to
listen and plans to detonate in --
(checks watch)
-- less than eleven minutes.

POWELL
Doolittle, you must tell me one thing.

DOOLITTLE
What's that, sir?

POWELL
Tell me, Doolittle, how are the
Dodgers doing?

DOOLITTLE
Well, sir, the Dodgers broke up,
disbanded over thirteen years ago.

POWELL
Ah... pity, pity...

DOOLITTLE
You don't understand, sir, we can't
get the bomb to drop.

POWELL
Ah, so many malfunctions... why don't
you have anything nice to tell me
when you activate me? Oh, well, did
you try the azimuth clutch?

DOOLITTLE
Yes sir. Negative effect.

POWELL
What was that, Doolittle?

DOOLITTLE
Negative effect.

POWELL
It didn't work?

DOOLITTLE
That's correct, sir.

POWELL
Sorry, Doolittle. I've forgotten so
much since I've been in here. So
much.

DOOLITTLE
What should we do, sir? The time is
running out.

POWELL
Well, what you might try is --

Commander Powell's voice is drowned in a burst of static.
Doolittle fiddles with the dials.

DOOLITTLE
Commander Powell? Commander, hello!

POWELL
Doolittle, hello?

DOOLITTLE
Sorry, sir, you faded out there for
a minute.

POWELL
Sorry.

DOOLITTLE
What were you saying, Commander,
about the bomb?

POWELL
Ah... it seems to me, Doolittle...
Sorry, I've drawn a blank. Hold it.
I'll have it again in a minute. I
forget so many things in here, so
many things. Hold on, just a minute,
let me think...

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
But you can't explode in the bomb
bay. It's foolish. You'll kill us
all. There's no reason for it.

BOMB #20
(over)
I am programmed to detonate in nine
minutes. Detonation will occur at
the programmed time.

PINBACK
You won't consider another course of
action, for instance just waiting
around awhile so we can disarm you?

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
No.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
I can tell, the damn thing just
doesn't understand.

PINBACK
Look, bomb...

INTERIOR - FREEZER ROOM

DOOLITTLE
Commander? Are you still there?

POWELL
Oh, yes, Doolittle, I'm thinking.

DOOLITTLE
We're running out of time, sir.

POWELL
Oh, yes... Well, Doolittle, if you
can't get it to drop you'll have to
talk to it.

DOOLITTLE
Sir?

POWELL
Talk to the bomb.

DOOLITTLE
I already have, sir, and Pinback is
talking to it now.

POWELL
No, no, Doolittle, you talk to it.
Teach it Phenomenology, Doolittle.

DOOLITTLE
Sir?

POWELL
Phenomenology...

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Doolittle! Doolittle! Six minutes to
detonation!

INTERIOR - VENTRAL AIR LOCK

Wearing his starsuit, complete with jetpack, Doolittle pushes
a button. Above him, the giant lock doors slowly slide open.

EXTERIOR - SHIP

Doolittle slowly rises up out of the ship. He stops his ascent
with his jetpack, turns, and moves down toward the bomb bay.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Doolittle! Doolittle, what the hell
are you doing?

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

Doolittle floats into shot, jets himself up until he is facing
massive Bomb #20.

DOOLITTLE
Hello, bomb, are you with me?

BOMB #20
Of course.

DOOLITTLE
Are you willing to entertain a few
concepts?

BOMB #20
I am always receptive to suggestions.

DOOLITTLE
Fine. Think about this one, then:
how do you know you exist?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
What's he doin'?

PINBACK
I think he's talking to it.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
Well of course I exist.

DOOLITTLE
But how do you know you exist?

BOMB #20
It is intuitively obvious.

DOOLITTLE
Intuition is no proof. What concrete
evidence do you have of your own
existence?

BOMB #20
Hmm... Well, I think, therefore I
am.

DOOLITTLE
That's good. Very good. Now then,
how do you know that anything else
exists?

BOMB #20
My sensory apparatus reveals it to
me.

DOOLITTLE
Right!

BOMB #20
This is fun.

DOOLITTLE
All right now, here's the big
question: how do you know that the
evidence your sensory apparatus
reveals to you is correct?

INTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

Talby lies unconscious near the burned laser.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

DOOLITTLE
What I'm getting at is this: the
only experience that is directly
available to you is your sensory
data. And this data is merely a stream
of electrical impulses which
stimulate your computing center.

BOMB #20
In other words, all I really know
about the outside universe relayed
to me through my electrical
connections.

DOOLITTLE
Exactly.

BOMB #20
Why, that would mean... I really
don't know what the outside universe
is like at all, for certain.

DOOLITTLE
That's it.

BOMB #20
Intriguing. I wish I had more time
to discuss this matter.

DOOLITTLE
Why don't you have more time?

BOMB #20
Because I must detonate in seventy-
five seconds.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
The key!

PINBACK
Key? Key? What is the key?

BOILER
No, no, the key, the key to the fail-
safe lock!

PINBACK
Key?

BOILER
Where's the fail-safe key?

PINBACK
The key!

BOILER
Where is it? What did you do with
it?

PINBACK
I don't have it. I don't know where
it is.

BOILER
You must have it, you idiot, we can
stop the bomb!

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

DOOLITTLE
Now, bomb, consider this next
question, very carefully. What is
your one purpose in life?

BOMB #20
To explode, of course.

DOOLITTLE
And you can only do it once, right?

BOMB #20
That is correct.

DOOLITTLE
And you wouldn't want to explode on
the basis of false data, would you?

BOMB #20
Of course not.

DOOLITTLE
Well then, you've already admitted
that you have no real proof of the
existence of the outside universe.

BOMB #20
Yes, well...

DOOLITTLE
So you have no absolute proof that
Sergeant Pinback ordered you to
detonate.

BOMB #20
I recall distinctly the detonation
order. My memory is good on matters
like these.

DOOLITTLE
Yes, of course you remember it, but
what you are remembering is merely a
series of electrical impulses which
you now realize have no necessary
connection with outside reality.

BOMB #20
True, but since this is so, I have
no proof that you are really telling
me all this.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

Pinback is pawing frantically through the control room,
searching for the key. Boiler is apoplectic.

BOILER
The key, goddamit, the key!

PINBACK
Christ, twenty seconds, Christ!

BOILER
Where is the key?

PINBACK
We're gonna die, Boiler. We're gonna
die.

They begin slapping each other hysterically.

EXTERIOR - BOMB BAY

DOOLITTLE
That's all beside the point. The
concepts are valid, wherever they
originate.

BOMB #20
Hmmm...

DOOLITTLE
So if you detonate in...

BOMB #20
...nine seconds...

DOOLITTLE
...you may be doing so on the basis
of false data.

BOMB #20
I have no proof that it was false
data.

DOOLITTLE
You have no proof that it was correct
data.

There is a long pause.

BOMB #20
I must think on this further.

THE BOMB RAISES ITSELF BACK INTO THE SHIP. Doolittle
practically collapses with relief.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
It didn't go off.

PINBACK
Oh, God...

BOILER
It didn't go off.

PINBACK
Boiler, we're alive. My heart.

INTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

Talby slowly climbs to his feet. He is dazed, groggy.

TALBY
Doolittle? Doolittle? What happened?
Pinback? Boiler? Did we blow it up?
Hello? Hello?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
No bombs today. No bombs. Big Boiler's
back in business. No bombs today.

Pinback is mumbling unintelligibly.

INTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

TALBY
Hello, anybody! Did we blow up the
planet? Hello, hello! What's going
on?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

Pinback and Boiler have calmed down.

BOILER
We've got to disarm the bomb.

PINBACK
Doolittle, are you there?

EXTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

Doolittle is floating outside the Emergency Air Lock door.

DOOLITTLE
I'm coming in now. I'm down by the
Emergency Air Lock. Too much trouble
to come in the Ventral Lock. Would
you blow the seal on the emergency
hatch so I can come in?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Oh, sure.

He presses a button.

EXTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

The Emergency Air Lock door EXPLODES AWAY FROM THE SHIP.
Behind it, carried by the burst of escaping air, comes Talby
spinning head over heels into deep space.

DOOLITTLE
Hello, Pinback, are you there?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Yeah, Doolittle. What's up?

EXTERIOR - EMERGENCY AIR LOCK

DOOLITTLE
Talby was in the air lock. You blew
him out of the ship. I'm going after
him. Turn on his helmet radio so I
can contact him.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
What was that, I didn't hear...

PINBACK
It's Talby. He's drifting away from
the ship without his jetpack.

EXTERIOR - SPACE

Doolittle fires his jetpack, moving off into space after
Talby.

DOOLITTLE
Talby, Talby, can you read me?

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
Can you beat that? I always knew
Talby was weird.

EXTERIOR - SPACE

DOOLITTLE
Talby, can you read me?

Talby is spinning wildly.

TALBY
Help, Doolittle, help me!

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
All right, bomb, prepare to receive
new orders.

BOMB #20
(over)
You are false data.

PINBACK
Huh?

BOMB #20
Therefore, I shall ignore you.

PINBACK
Hello, bomb.

INTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
False data can act only as a
distraction. Therefore. I shall refuse
to perceive you.

PINBACK
(over)
Hey, bomb.

BOMB #20
The only thing which exists is myself.

PINBACK
(over)
Bomb?

EXTERIOR - SPACE

Talby, spinning, is reflected in Doolittle's face plate.

TALBY
Doolittle! Help me.

DOOLITTLE
Calm down, Talby. I'm coming.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

PINBACK
Snap out of it, bomb.

INTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
In the beginning there was darkness,
and the darkness was without form
and void.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
What the hell?

PINBACK
Yoo hoo, bomb...

INTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
And in addition to the darkness there
was also me. And I moved upon the
face of the darkness.

INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

BOILER
Bomb, hey bomb.

PINBACK
Hey, bomb...

INTERIOR - BOMB BAY

BOMB #20
And I saw that I was alone.

Pause.

BOMB #20
Let there be light.

THE SCREEN GOES WHITE.

EXTERIOR - SPACE

IN DEAD SILENCE, THE WHITE SCREEN FADES DOWN TO SHOW A GIANT
WHITE FIREBALL IN SPACE. THE FIREBALL CONTRACTS TO A HARD
CORE, GROWING RED. THEN

A BLINDING WHITE FLASH.

Doolittle flies past, falling backward.

DOOLITTLE
Whoa!

Talby, upside down, is falling in the opposite direction.

TALBY
Doolittle, Doolittle, where are you?

DOOLITTLE
Here I am. I think I'm spinning...
We're both falling, Talby, in opposite
directions, away from each other.
My -- my jetpack's gone.

TALBY
What happened, Doolittle?

DOOLITTLE
Bomb must have gone off inside the
ship. Nothing we can do about it
now. Hey, it looks like... the
skipper. He made it. Commander Powell
made it!

A block of ice with a man's body in it tumbles past, end
over end.

POWELL
(weakly)
Men... men... what happened, men?

DOOLITTLE
Yeah, the skipper always was lucky.

The planet begins to rise behind Doolittle.

DOOLITTLE
Looks like I'm headed for the planet,
Talby. Going right toward it.

TALBY
When you fall, Doolittle, if there's
anyone down there on the planet,
somebody may see you. They may see
you coming down. What a beautiful
way to die... as a falling star...

DOOLITTLE
Guess you're right.

Talby turns his head and looks behind him.

TALBY
Doolittle, I'm heading right toward
something. It's behind me, in the
distance. Something that glows.

Far behind Talby, coming nearer, is a shimmering point of
light.

DOOLITTLE
Oh yeah?

TALBY
Doolittle... I think it's the Phoenix
Asteroids!

DOOLITTLE
Phoenix?

The point of light is closer now, and it has begun to
differentiate into a group of beautifully colored frost-like
shapes.

TALBY
It is, Doolittle, it's the Phoenix!
They glow with all the colors of the
rainbow, just like everybody said.

DOOLITTLE
No kidding?

TALBY
I'm going into them, I'm going to
hit them. Doolittle...

DOOLITTLE
Yeah?

TALBY
Before we get too far away, and our
signals start to fade, I just wanted
to tell you... you were my favorite.
I really liked you, Doolittle.

DOOLITTLE
I really liked you too, Talby. Hey,
some debris from the ship! It's coming
right by me.

Several chunks of debris from the ship drift past Doolittle.

TALBY
Doolittle, I'm catching up to the
asteroids. I'm going to be a part of
them in a minute. Doolittle, I'm
going into them.

Talby drifts into the huge frost-like shapes, expanding and
glowing and spinning, slowly refracting all the colors of
the spectrum with a cold glow.

TALBY
I'm beginning to glow.

The field of spectral shapes, with Talby in their midst,
begin to drift away into the distance.

TALBY
They're taking me with them, with
the Phoenix... going to circle the
universe forever. I'm with them now...
be back this way again some day.
Doolittle, before it's too late,
there's one last thing I want to
tell you...

Talby's signal dies out as the glowing lights disappear into
the depths of space.

Doolittle is hanging onto a long, thin chunk of debris.

DOOLITTLE
Hey, Talby! I've grabbed a piece of
the ship, and I think I've figured
out a way!

He pulls the piece of metal down beneath his feet, and stands
on it.

Crouching and extending his arms, Doolittle surfs down into
the atmosphere of the planet, banking and planing as he
disappears to a small dot.

END TITLES AND MUSIC OVER.

THE END

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