FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY
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 star- ships: 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 unbe- lievable 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 (cont'd - over - filter) Talby, do you read me? There is a CRACKLE, and Doolittle's voice suddenly booms through, loud and clear: DOOLITTLE (cont'd) 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 (cont'd) 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 (cont'd) 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 (cont'd) 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 (cont'd) 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 (cont'd) 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, Doo- little, 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 or 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 communi- cations 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 depressur- ization, 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 #2 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. A 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 #2 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 (cont'd) Well...here goes... He takes a long tool from the tool kit. Slowly, with agon- izing 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 adjust- ment. 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 mal- functioned. 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 sensory data is merely a stream of electrical impulses which stimulate your computing center. BOMB #20 In other words, all that I really know about the outside universe is relayed to me through my electrical connections. DOOLITTLE Exactly. BOMB #20 Why, that would mean that...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 (cont'd) 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 (cont'd) 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 (cont'd) I'm beginning to glow. The field of spectral shapes, with Talby in their midst, begin to drift away into the distance. TALBY (cont'd) 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.