THE EDGE OF TOMORROW

 
 

arlaud.dk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by

Christopher Lind Arlaud

LEGAL: This story is based on the Thunderbirds created by Gerry Anderson. I don't own the rights for the idea and wouldn't ever make any claim on them. It has not been my attention to transgress any copyright laws by printing this story online. At the same time I want to establish my rights to the story itself, and other 'original' ideas contained herein.

The script that follows is the first 27 pages of the full manuscript.


 

1. EXT (DAY) WILD COASTLINE

Early morning. A predatory bird hangs on the cold air over an isolated stretch of stark coastline. Imperious and majestic, it wheels above the jagged cliffs, soaring effortlessly over the restless sea.

A couple of young children, dressed in rags, are playing on an emerald-green hillside. In the background is a small fishing village with smoke curling up from the chimney pots. A farmer urges his horse up the hill, pulling an old wagon laden with goods. Peaceful. Pastoral. Irish.

(TITLE) IRELAND - 1504

 

2. EXT (DAY) THUNDERBIRD 5

Hectic noise and motion. LADY PENELOPE helps her injured PARTNER along the smoke-filled corridors of Thunderbird 5. She speaks an alien language, urging him not to give up, insisting they can both make it ... the meaning of her trilling, peeping words are unmistakable.

 

3. EXT (DAY)WILD COASTLINE

The children, breathless with laughter, have reached the top of the sunny hillside. The green sea of verdant grass waves and curls around them, stroked by the wind's blithe hand.

A thunderous crack rends the air. The blue sky opens for an instant, flashing gold and silver, and an incandescent object streaks over the children's heads, crashing into a nearby forest that reaches out to the edge of the coastline's cliffs.

 

4. EXT (DAY) IRISH FOREST

Wisps of smoke drift up from the force and heat of the crash which has smashed a path of broken trees. Near the edge of the forest, at the end of the newly-carved scar, a white egg-shaped pod the size of a small car has gouged itself into the earth.

LADY PENELOPE sits on the ground beside the pod's open hatch, cradling the bleeding head of her PARTNER, rocking him gently as softly she cries.

Cut back to the bird still circling overhead.

 

(TITLE) FIVE HUNDRED YEARS LATER

 

5. EXT (DAY)THUNDERBIRD MANSION

It is early morning. An eagle, searching for its breakfast, floats on the buffeting currents of air over a rocky coastline. It dips and plunges towards the sea.

A stately mansion stands near the edge of the cliffs, surrounded by dark forest, its gardens wreathed in mist. On the gravelled forecourt stands a six-wheeled, screaming pink Rolls Royce.

LADY PENELOPE, ageless and elegant, emerges from the mansion, wrapped in a voluminous coat. PARKER, her uniformed butler opens the door for her.

The eagle cries out. LADY PENELOPE looks up. The bird has settled on the battlements of the mansion. LADY PENELOPE steps into the outrageous vehicle.

 

6. EXT (DAY)BEACH HOUSE

The raucous cries of seagulls creates a sound bridge to another beach - this time in a warmer, sunnier climate where the sun is chinning the horizon. JEFF TRACY, authoritative, mid-forties, glances up from his solitary breakfast on the veranda of a wooden beach house, and sees a helicopter appear. He eyes it phlegmatically as it thumps across the sky.

 

7. EXT (DAY) MARINA AMUSEMENT ARCADE

It is early morning in a deserted amusement arcade, which is part of a Sea World -style tourist park. ALANA, late twenties and seriously attractive, is watching MIKE, a man in his early thirties, deftly manipulating a small mechanical crane, guiding it over a jumble of toys to pick up a small prize and drop it into the chute. They are both still in evening dress.

ALANA (applauding)

Mike! How do you do that?! I spent a whole summer here when I was a kid trying to win something!

MIKE

It's easy - you just gotta relax and take your time. Want me to show you how?

ALANA

No - I want to say goodbye to the boys.

He picks up the prize - a small plastic dinosaur - and gives it to her.

MIKE

Sure ... Here.

ALANA (mock sarcasm)

Gee, thanks ...

 

8. INT (DAY) LUXURY HOTEL SUITE

Pan around a luxury hotel suite. Scattered clothes, and an upended champagne bottle in an ice-bucket lead to a GIRL asleep in the ornate bed. The nearby wall screen flashes muted images. The GIRL wakes and looks around. She sees SCOTT, athletic with short, dark hair, standing at the window, looking out across the city.

She stretches an arm out to him and he smiles and joins her on the bed as we focus in on the screen.

 

9. INT (DAY) TV NEWSROOM

A newsreader at his desk, and behind him a panoramic view of Capricornia Spaceport, with Terra 1 on the launch pad.

NEWSREADER

And at Capricornia today, final preparations are under way for the launch of Terra 1, the world's first 'speed of light' spacecraft, developed by the Thunderbird Foundation ...

 

10. INT (DAY) SUBURBAN HOME

Draw back from the screen to show it is being watched by a young girl in a large, comfortable suburban home. VIRGIL enters behind her. He is in his late 50's and weather-beaten, but with a spring in his step and a fond glint in his eye as he regards his GRANDDAUGHTER.

GRANDDAUGHTER

See, Grandpa ...

Focus back on the wall screen.

 

11. INT (DAY) BRAINS' LAB

The news program has cut to BRAINS' lab. It is filled with hi-tech equipment, computer consoles, fractal maths art posters, and, incongruously, an old jukebox. The INTERVIEWER, an irritatingly smooth and bland man, addresses the camera.

INTERVIEWER

To find out more about Terra 1's revolutionary 'star-drive', we talked with Professor Eugene Sachs, better known as BRAINS.

Cut now to show BRAINS. A quadriplegic, BRAINS relies on a thin, black exoskeleton for support and mobility. The spindly metal framework encases his body and limbs like scaffolding built out of a child's construction set. He is young and thin, and has intense features.

INTERVIEWER

Professor, how exactly does this revolutionary form of space propulsion work?

BRAINS

How much do you know about superspace quantification, sub-particle mechanics and the flip/flop theory of time?

INTERVIEWER

Ha, ha ... not a lot, I admit.

BRAINS

Then I'll save your grey cells the stress. All you need to know is that when the Star Drive is activated, Terra 1 will be somewhere else in no time flat. Tell me if I'm going too fast for you ...

 

12. EXT (DAY) BEACH HOUSE

A helicopter touches down beside the beach house. TRACY is ready and walks across to it, carrying a small bag. The wind from the rotors tears at his hair as he takes a last look round at the peaceful scene. Then he climbs aboard.

CREW MEMBER

Welcome aboard, Commander ...

 

13. EXT (DAY) MARINE RESEARCH CENTRE

ALANA and MIKE walk along the edge of the vast salt water tank in a marine research centre. MIKE slaps the water and several dolphins come to be petted.

ALANA's eyes shine with delight. Then she turns to MIKE, suddenly serious.

ALANA

MIKE ...

He reaches out and gently touches her lips.

 

14. EXT (DAY) PARK

VIRGIL walks with his daughter and granddaughter through the seemingly quiet solitude of a suburban park.

Then they break through onto an open clearing, where a helicopter is waiting.

A silent goodbye.

 

15. EXT (DAY) CAPRICORNIA SPACEPORT

Crowds are gathering around the perimeter fence of the spaceport as a JOURNALIST sets the scene for his TV audience.

JOURNALIST

In a few short hours, Terra 1 will blast off on its historic journey ...

 

16. INT (DAY) MISSION CONTROL

Technical staff study their monitors as new data flashes up on the giant screen dominating the busy Mission Control Centre.

STAFF MEMBER (O.O.V)

Updating primary induction valves ...

 

17. EXT (DAY) MARINE RESEARCH CENTRE

ALANA and MIKE are still standing near the edge of the dolphin pool. They kiss.

The helicopter hovers into sight.

ALANA

If anything happens to me ...

He shakes his head.

MIKE

Nothing's going to happen. I'll be here waiting for you when you get back.

 

18. INT (DAY) TV NEWSROOM

Cut back to the NEWSREADER in the newsroom. In the background the screen shows Terra 1, surrounded by small, scurrying vehicles.

JOURNALIST

Can Terra 1 exceed the speed of light? Well, that answer won't be known for another 18 months. That's how long it'll take Terra 1 and her crew of 5 to build up the speed necessary to activate the Star Drive.

He turns to BOB ISAAC, a NASA space propulsion expert (according to the title which appears under his name on the screen) sitting in a lab somewhere else.

JOURNALIST

BOB - how does going to the planet Saturn help in all this?

BOB

By the time Terra 1 reaches Saturn at the end of next year, it'll be moving at about 20 000 kilometres a minute. That's fast, but not fast enough. When they enter Saturn's field of gravity, they'll be grabbed and pulled in tight, almost doubling their velocity. This will give them the momentum they need to activate the Star Drive ...

 

19. EXT (DAY) HOTEL ROOFTOP

The helicopter is waiting for SCOTT as he appears on the hotel rooftop with the GIRL. They kiss.

GIRL

So - when am I going to see you again?

SCOTT flashes her a brilliant smile and touches her hand, before walking over to the chopper.

 

20. INT (DAY) TV NEWSROOM

Cut back to the JOURNALIST in the newsroom.

JOURNALIST

Leading the mission is Commander Jeff Tracy who we managed to speak with briefly during the crew's final preparations last week.

 

21. INT (DAY) TERRA 1

Cut to a pre-recorded interview with TRACY, who is sitting beside the five matt black hyberunits arranged in a star pattern on board Terra 1.

JOURNALIST

During the 18 month journey to Saturn, the crew of Terra 1 will be put into cryogenic suspension. How do you feel about that?

TRACY (dryly)

Well, our prep schedule's been pretty hectic, so I won't mind sleeping for a year and a half ...

INTERVIEWER

You're not worried about having to rely on a computer to wake you up?

TRACY

No.

INTERVIEWER

On your last mission for NASA, wasn't it a computer failure that left you locked outside the Solaris Space Shuttle for two days?

TRACY (flatly)

That's right.

INTERVIEWER

COMMANDER - why did NASA decide not to renew your contract after the Solaris incident? Was it for medical reasons?

TRACY stares stonily at the INTERVIEWER.

TRACY

Yeah - I was sick of working for bureaucratic (beep)

TRACY's words are censored, but it's easy enough to read his lips.

 

22. INT (DAY) ROLLS ROYCE

Draw back to see the interview is being watched on a small screen in LADY PENELOPE's Rolls Royce. Her eyes are veiled, but we can see her mouth.

She smiles at TRACY's response.

Cut to an exterior shot of the pink six-wheeled limousine as it pulls up at the main security gate of Capricornia. The guard checks PARKER'S credentials, and then waves the amazing vehicle through.

 

23. INT (DAY) CAPRICORNIA SPACE PORT

Two OFFICIALS walk down a busy corridor in agitated discussion.

OFFICIAL 1

It's very irregular!

OFFICIAL 2

I know, but what can we do? We can't say 'no' - she practically owns the damn place ...

OFFICIAL 1

Don't these people understand anything about schedules ...?

 

24. INT (DAY) CREW PREP ROOM

The door to the crew prep room opens and SCOTT walks in. BRAINS, VIRGIL and ALANA are already there, being checked over by medical staff and fitted into their spacesuits.

SCOTT

Oh, there must be some mistake - I ordered first class.

ALANA comes over to him and wipes some lipstick off his cheek.

ALANA

What are all those girls going to do without you?

VIRGIL

You can hear their fathers sighing with relief already.

ALANA sniffs as she catches the scent of perfume.

ALANA

Chanel No. 5? What happened, SCOTT - get lost in the ladies' section?

There are smiles around the room. SCOTT is about to reply when TRACY enters the room. They all stop and give him their full attention.

TRACY (laconicly)

Glad you could make it, SCOTT. The weather's holding - we've got the green light. And it seems we have a visitor.

 

25. INT (DAY) CAPRICORNIA SPACE PORT

A group of journalists is held at bay by a cordon of security staff. Focus in on a couple of them reporting the scene.

JOURNALIST 1

LADY PENELOPE, the reclusive owner of the Thunderbird Foundation ...

Cut to another journalist.

JOURNALIST 2

... known as the Lady of the Veil, LADY PENELOPE hasn't been seen in public for several years, and no photographs of her are known to exist ...

 

26. INT (DAY) CREW PREP ROOM

The prep room is now empty apart from TRACY, SCOTT, VIRGIL, ALANA and BRAINS.

OFFICIAL 1 enters and behind him appears LADY PENELOPE, her face still covered by a veil.

OFFICIAL 1

Ah, LADY PENELOPE, may I present ...

But she steps forward and addresses the group.

LADY PENELOPE

Good morning. I know you don't have much time and your minds are elsewhere, but I wanted to wish you all good luck. I have the greatest faith in your abilities to make this journey a success.

SCOTT

So do we.

LADY PENELOPE

I'm glad - you have no idea how important this mission is to me. I have a small going-away present.

TRACY steps forward and accepts the small box she has produced from her handbag. In doing so, we see a ring with a very distinctive design on her finger.

Opening the box TRACY lifts out a small talisman on a chain. It has the same motif as her ring. Around the edge is an inscription in ancient runes.

LADY PENELOPE

Family legend says it's a good luck charm of considerable power - I hope you never need it.

TRACY

That makes 6 of us.

ALANA steps forward and looks at the small charm.

ALANA

It's beautiful - what does the inscription say?

LADY PENELOPE

"Thunderbirds rise - no time to borrow: darkness descends on the edge of tomorrow." It's doggerel, but it has a certain 'magic'.

She smiles enigmatically and there is a long pause.

LADY PENELOPE

Well, I mustn't keep you - time waits for no woman. Godspeed.

She turns and leaves. Reaction shots from the others.

 

27. EXT (DAY) CAPRICORNIA SPACE PORT

A montage of shots from the launch.

The mission control room ... the crew walking to the electric bus to take them over to Terra 1 ... waving to the media ... the expectant crowd watching from the perimeter ... on board Terra 1 as they run through the pre-launch checks ... the countdown begins ... gantries being pulled away from the craft as high pressure steam explodes from outlet pipes ... the countdown reaches zero ... the screaming energy of the engine's roar ... the pause before lift-off .... massive thunder as it leaves the launch pad ... the crowd gathered outside the space port's perimeter raising their eyes to follow Terra 1's ascent the cheers and backslapping in the mission control room ... the lengthening trail of the rocket across the sky ... the returning silence ... the dissipating crowd.

Stillness. The moon rides high and lonely in the afternoon sky.

Cut to LADY PENELOPE in the Rolls Royce, her face hidden in shadow.

LADY PENELOPE

All right, PARKER.

PARKER

Yes, m'lady.

An exterior shot of the Rolls as it drives out of the nearly deserted space port.

 

(TITLE) EIGHTEEN MONTHS LATER

 

28. EXT (NIGHT) TIMES SQUARE

It is New Year's Eve, 2003, in Times Square, and a vast crowd has gathered to celebrate the event, now just a few minutes away. The city's skyline is even more congested than today, and jammed with neon advertisements, and the new age fashions are as strange as a comic strip. KATHLEEN, TAYLOR a young female journalist, describes the scene.

KATHLEEN

The snow's started to fall here in Times Square where a massive crowd is gathered to greet the New Year. As you can see - courtesy of our good friends at Sony - midnight and 2004 are just a few minutes away. We'll be back to show you New Year's eve, New York style in a moment - but before we say goodbye to 2003, here's a round-up of the year's main events.

 

29. EXT (DAY) MIDDLE EAST DESERT

Cut to an arid landscape that has suffered nuclear devastation. Aerial footage and ground shots of bewildered survivors picking their way through the ruins as KATHLEEN supplies the narrative.

KATHLEEN (V.O)

On February 12, a limited yield nuclear device was detonated in the Gaza Strip. The area was placed under international control, but too late to save the estimated 5.3 million casualties.

 

30. EXT (DAY) AFRICAN TOWNS

Cut to scenes of famine, sickness and deprivation in Africa.

KATHLEEN (V.O)

Famine and plague in Africa and Asia accounted for many more lives this year. Over a hundred million are believed to have died in the last 12 months. Searing temperatures, AIDS, and widespread erosion caused by deforestation are well known as the principal causes.

 

31. INT (DAY) EASTERN EUROPEAN TOWN

Cut to shots of homeless people lining up for food in a large, grey, public hall somewhere in Eastern Europe.

KATHLEEN (V.O)

Another severe winter in Eastern Europe compounded the misery of failing crops and faltering economies from Poland to Vladivostock.

 

32. EXT (DAY) AMERICAN GARBAGE DUMP

In the foreground is a massive garbage dump with trucks rolling up to deliver even more refuse, while on the horizon is the silhouette of New York's skyscrapers.

KATHLEEN (V.O)

Here on the other side of the Atlantic, many are blaming a series of mini-epidemics on the exponential growth of rubbish.

 

33. EXT (DAY) ARCTIC WATERS

Cut to an enormous iceberg dwarfing a ship in Arctic waters.

KATHLEEN (V.O)

The Greenhouse Effect continues to play a significant role in other global weather patterns. Huge sections of the polar icepacks broke free, posing serious hazards to commercial shipping, while sea levels have risen around the world, flooding many coastal areas.

 

34. INT (NIGHT)FASHION SHOW

Cut to a totally different place and atmosphere: a fashion show, with a series of styles and models.

KATHLEEN (V.O)

Rising sea, temperature and radiation levels also affected the fashion world. Insulated bodysuits were the hit of the spring displays with everything from the see-through to self-illuminating, to creations resembling popular comic strip characters.

 

35. EXT (DAY) CHINESE POLITICAL RALLY

Cut to scenes of Chinese politicians addressing large rallies, and peasants voting.

KATHLEEN (V.O)

But fashion was definitely not the issue when a quarter of the world's population went to the ballot box. For the first time in four thousand years, the Chinese were allowed to choose their own leaders. And for those who didn't hear the result - the communists lost.

 

36. EXT (SPACE) OLYMPUS

Cut to a shot of Olympus, a massive cylindrical space station orbiting the Earth. A space shuttle manoeuvring into its shadow indicates its size.

KATHLEEN (V.O)

And now for a quick look at what the future holds. One of the world's largest multinationals, Arkright Industries, has announced plans to build the first, totally self-sufficient, permanent space station. Called Olympus, it is designed to hold 120 full-time residents, and is expected to be in service by the end of the decade. Olympus' primary purpose will be scientific research. The price tag? A cool 9.2 trillion dollars.

 

37. EXT (NIGHT) TIMES SQUARE

Cut back to KATHLEEN in Times Square where the mood is even rowdier than before.

KATHLEEN

Well, the New Year is just seconds away, and the crowd is going wild.

A massive illuminated digital clock has reached 10 seconds to midnight, and the crowd chants in raucous unison as the seconds vanish.

CROWD

10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... 6 ...

 

38. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1

The camera draws back to show the scene is being played on a large screen in the darkened interior of Terra 1. Now five coffin-shaped hyberunits arranged in a rosette come into view, and we see there is a similar countdown in process on the instrument panel of the resuscitation computer.

In the background the chant continues, as we cut to each of the five faces in turn.

CROWD (V.O)

5 ...4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

The crowd goes wild, blowing horns, sirens and whistles, while large screens attached to buildings flash multi-lingual New Year greetings, and fireworks explode across the screen, the bright colours reflected on the shiny instrument surfaces.

KATHLEEN (V.O)

This is KATHLEEN TAYLOR from New York, wishing a Happy New Year to all mankind.

The lights brighten in Terra 1, and the hyberunits commence their work of bringing the crew back to consciousness.

 

39. EXT. (DAY) ARKRIGHT'S MANSION

A beautiful summer's day on the perfect lawn of an immaculate mansion. ARKRIGHT, an elderly man, fastidiously tends a rosebush. A small cloud passes overhead. Annoyed by its shadow, he looks up and sees a servant coming across the lawn to him. He takes the note from the silver tray and reads it. He gets to his feet and walks up to the house.

 

40. INT. (DAY) RESEARCH LAB

A hi-tech research lab, equipped for testing contagious viruses. Inside the test chamber is a lab assistant in heavy, protective clothing. She secures the inert body of a dog onto the operating table, and attaches electrodes to its body and head.

Overlooking the test chamber is a small control room where PROFESSOR MAXWELL is supervising the test. The assistant signals she is ready.

MAXWELL

Inject the sample.

She picks up the gleaming syringe filled with black liquid, and carefully slides the needle into the sedated animal.

MAXWELL

Date is January second, 9.45 am. Test serum is compound T, formula 36. Sample size is 80 microlitres. Test subject is a canine weighing 35 kilos. Anticipated reaction is accelerated cell metab ...

A scream breaks from the intercom. MAXWELL, who has turned to check some readouts, whirls round to see the cause.

The dog has begun an incredible transformation. Its fangs extend, its claws break out of the paws to become long talons, the fur turns stiff and shaggy, while the overall body size expands, snapping the creature's restraints. It sees the assistant and launches itself at the defenceless woman, who stands frozen with horror. Then, clumsy and slow in her suit, she struggles vainly to fend it off. The razor-sharp claws rip effortlessly through the outer layers of her suit. And into the soft interior.

Blood spurts against the windows of the test chamber.

 

41. INT. (DAY) PRICE'S OFFICE

Draw back from the scene as the screen goes blank. We have just seen a recording of an event that has already happened.

Present in the room are MAXWELL and PRICE, the director of the research institution. The camera draws back further to show another screen featuring ARKRIGHT sitting in his leather and mahogany study.

ARKRIGHT

Well, PROFESSOR - what went wrong?

MAXWELL (suprised)

Wrong? Apart from losing a competent assistant, I'd call the experiment a great success!

PRICE

PROFESSOR MAXWELL's quite correct, MR ARKRIGHT. Of course it's a pity about the assistant - our safety record has otherwise been very good - but the effect of the serum on the animal indicates an amazing potential.

ARKRIGHT

Explain.

MAXWELL

Refined correctly, Compound T is the ultimate synthetic DNA. It could be used to determine the exact genetic makeup of any cell, just by punching the right codes into the computer. Stop the ageing process, grow a new race of superhumans ... create an invincible strain of bacteria ...

PRICE (cutting in)

The military is very keen to find something like this for its space defence program. Of course, we're only in the preliminary stages. It'll take several years before it's properly developed.

MAXWELL

Things would be made a lot easier if we could work in zero gravity conditions.

ARKRIGHT

Who else knows about this?

PRICE

No one.

ARKRIGHT

What about the assistant - any next of kin?

PRICE

A son at boarding school ...

 

42. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1

TRACY and the others are now revived and holding a meeting on the brightly-lit Flight Deck.

TRACY

ALANA - I've only had time to skim your med report, but it doesn't look as though any of us are about to drop dead. Anything new?

ALANA

I've still got a few more tests to run, but for the time being it looks like we're as fit and sane as we're ever going to be. But, please - don't forget your post-resuscitation tablets.

TRACY

VIRGIL - what's the latest on our position?

VIRGIL

The telemetry in from Mission Control confirms our own readings. Position and course are within the error range of the pre-mission estimates. SCOTT's been working on how to haul in the difference.

SCOTT

If we commence the burn 25 seconds earlier than projected, we'll hit Saturn's gravitational field at just over 20 thou' a minute. With a 16 minute burn at 90 percent thrust, I figure our exit speed will be smack on 65 thou' plus. What do you reckon, BRAINS?

With rapid, servo-assisted power, BRAINS is entering data into a micro-thin screen resting on his lap. Interrupting his train of thought to answer, he looks up.

BRAINS

SCOTT - 30 hours from now, we'll be moving so fast, you'll have to shit before you eat.

 

43. INT (DAY)BOARDING SCHOOL

A YOUTH approaches along a corridor of an exclusive boarding school dorm. He reaches a door, knocks, and puts his head through.

YOUTH

CROSBY - DEAN wants to see you.

JOHN CROSBY, a studious, dark-haired teenager with glasses, sits in front of a complex computer system that fills half of his small living space. He looks up, a little bewildered.

 

44. INT (DAY) DEAN'S STUDY

The DEAN stands near the window overlooking the quadrangle. Outside it is raining, and he watches as the small figure of CROSBY runs across the open ground, trying not to get wet, by pulling his jacket up over his head.

DEAN

How did it happen?

Cut to show PRICE sitting in a chair near the desk.

PRICE

Plane crash. She was travelling in one of our corporate jets to a science conference. Terrible business - no survivors. I understand he's a bright lad.

DEAN

Very talented in computer science. Years ahead of the other students. Bit of a loner though.

PRICE

Arkright Industries will naturally look after the boy until he comes of age. One of the company benefits. We might even be able to find a place for him when he graduates.

There is a knock at the door.

DEAN

Yes, well ... let's get it over with.

Cut to later, and the view again from the study window. JOHN CROSBY walks back across the quadrangle. The downpour has intensified, but he is oblivious. He walks slowly.

 

45. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1

From the flight deck of Terra 1, we see on the screen that they are now passing over the multi-coloured rings of Saturn, on a course that will take them slicing inside the innermost rings for the flyby. Occasionally the screen is overlaid with flight data.

SCOTT

Pre-ignition motors approaching maximum thrust, and main plasma engines are on-line.

TRACY

30 seconds to burn. VIRGIL?

VIRGIL

Bearings 683, 405, 368. Vector 94 point 3.

TRACY

BRAINS - what's the status on the Star Drive?

BRAINS

All systems are go.

TRACY

SCOTT - prepare to engage main engines.

SCOTT

Standing by.

TRACY

3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Commence burn.

 

46. EXT (SPACE)TERRA 1

Cut to an exterior shot of Terra 1 as the engine assembly at the rear glows white, and silently the spacecraft surges forward, curving down towards the surface of the massive ringed planet.

 

47. EXT (NIGHT)THUNDERBIRD MANSION

LADY PENELOPE, back-lit by a crackling fire, stands in the elegantly understated study of Thunderbird Mansion, studying an antique model of the solar system.

A flash of lightning floods the room with diamond light.

 

48. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1

Cut back to the flight deck on Terra 1.

TRACY

VIRGIL - status, please.

VIRGIL

There was a fadeout on the support memory banks as the burn commenced. Backups came in fine. Diagnostics confirm a power drain in the forward compression module. I've keyed in an over-lap program for the support units.

TRACY

Good. ALANA?

ALANA

Life support systems are all functioning as expected.

TRACY

Okay, BRAINS - start the Star Drive activation sequence.

BRAINS

You got it.

 

49. EXT. (NIGHT) THUNDERBIRD MANSION

Pulling on a cloak, LADY PENELOPE steps out onto the battlements of Thunderbird Mansion. A storm is building on the horizon - lightning rips across the sky and wind gusts tease and ruffle her long, black hair. She pulls the cowl of her cloak over her head.

 

50. INT. (SPACE) TERRA 1

Back on the flight deck of Terra 1 there is controlled tension.

TRACY

What's our speed?

SCOTT

We just hit 30 thou' a minute.

TRACY

BRAINS?

BRAINS

Space negator field on standby. Downloading phase 1 energizers, pre-activation sequence running. Calculated time to Star Drive ignition is ... 15 seconds.

VIRGIL

Fasten your seatbelts, folks.

TRACY

Prepare to transfer system control to BRAINS, please SCOTT.

BRAINS

7 seconds.

SCOTT

System control transfer ready.

TRACY

Download.

BRAINS

Flight control ... online. 5 ... 4 ...

 

51. EXT (NIGHT) THUNDERBIRD MANSION

Powerful waves crash against the cliffs, but LADY PENELOPE remains standing on the battlements of the ancient building, staring out into the distance.

LADY PENELOPE

Godspeed.

 

52. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1

The focus of attention on the flight deck is BRAINS.

BRAINS

All systems are go.

Cut to the craft's exterior. It shimmers with energy and the color drains from it leaving just a thin, white outline that flimmers for a split second and then ... disappears.

Cut back aboard the flight deck. The normal view of space has now been replaced by an enormous grid pattern of swirls and eddies, mountains and valleys, extending into infinity.

BRAINS

Welcome to hyperspace.

TRACY

Status, please.

VIRGIL

Plasma engines are still completing the burn shutdown program.

ALANA

Life support systems are fully functional. Radar and long range communications are on the automatic search pattern program

SCOTT

There's something ...

Suddenly the grid fades and the screen flashes with myriad colours.

BRAINS

Key in the sequence breakers ... !!

The screen returns to normal.

TRACY

BRAINS - what happened?

BRAINS is working feverishly on his computer terminal.

SCOTT

It felt like something was dragging at the ship, trying to ...

BRAINS studies the screen of the computer in front of him.

BRAINS

It doesn't make any sense.

TRACY

What?

BRAINS

Why would she do that?

TRACY (urgently)

BRAINS - you wanna let us in on this?

BRAINS

LADY PENELOPE ... She's ...

The screens blaze white and they recoil, shielding their eyes. Then, from out of the blinding light, black shapes appear, tumbling out from the edge of the screen towards the center. Brilliant rays of vermilion, magenta, ochre, gold and azure streak towards them.

Suddenly there is an explosion and the flight deck is jarred from end to end. White cords of magnetic electricity dance across the surface of their equipment, and the crew scream in pain.

 

53. EXT (DAY)MARINE RESEARCH CENTER

MIKE is out with the dolphins which are nuzzling his hand. Abruptly they disappear, fleeing away into the darkness at the bottom of the tank.

MIKE looks about him, and then up into the sky, mystified and apprehensive.

 

54. EXT (DAY) SUBURBAN PARK

VIRGIL'S granddaughter walks with her mother in the park on an overcast afternoon. For no apparent reason she bursts into tears.

 

(TITLE) SIX YEARS LATER

 

55. EXT. (NIGHT) HEATHROW VIP LOUNGE

The TV journalist, KATHLEEN TAYLOR and PIERCE, her cameraman, are sitting in the VIP lounge at Heathrow. On her lap is a small video communication set. In the background, JANE, her personal assistant, discusses a problem with an airport official. KATHLEEN's EDITOR appears on the laptop's screen.

EDITOR

KATHLEEN ... ! PIERCE! What the hell are you still doing on that side of the Atlantic?

PIERCE (leaning across)

Hi, boss

EDITOR

The shuttle up to Olympus leaves in 6 hours!

KATHLEEN

Tell me about it. There's some technical hitch with our flight. JANE is treatening legal action now.

EDITOR

Listen, KATHLEEN - the opening ceremony of Olympus is one story I forbid you to miss ... If you knew the butts I had to kiss to get you this assignment !

KATHLEEN

Just a second ...

PARKER, dressed in a business suit, is speaking to JANE, while the airport official hovers a short distance away. JANE comes over to KATHLEEN and PIERCE.

JANE

Looks like you lucked out. Know who that is ...?

KATHLEEN

I have a feeling we're going to find out.

JANE

He's with the Thunderbird Foundation. LADY PENELOPE'S 'personal' secretary - and a big fan of yours. Apparently he's flying to Chicago in one of their private jets. He heard about our problem and is offering you a lift. What do I tell him?

KATHLEEN

Ask him if PIERCE can carry his bags ...

She turns to her EDITOR on the screen.

EDITOR

I heard ... Get moving!

 

56. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1

In the darkened interior of Terra 1's flight deck TRACY and the others lie sprawled around their consoles. Pan across one of the consoles as a few readouts start to appear and the hum of machinery is heard.

TRACY stirs. He sits up in pain and looks around. He puts his hand on a metal surface, but snatches it away again when he feels the heat. He climbs to his feet.

Pan across to ALANA as her eyes open and past her to SCOTT as he groans.

 

57. INT (SPACE)TERRA 1 - SICKBAY

In the sickbay, ALANA is standing beside BRAINS who is sitting on the edge of an operating table, putting the finishing touches to a bandage around his head.

TRACY walks in.

TRACY

So - how's the patient?

ALANA

Stubborn.

BRAINS

I'm okay.

TRACY

Glad to hear it. BRAINS - just before the explosion, you said something about LADY PENELOPE ... ?

BRAINS

Did I? Oh, yeah.

TRACY

What did you mean?

BRAINS

I don't know - it's probably crazy, but (he shakes his head). No - let me check it out first, huh?

TRACY (after a pause)

Sure.

 

60. INT. (SPACE) TERRA 1 FLIGHT DECK

Now the lights are back on the flight deck. SCOTT and VIRGIL are repairing some of the instruments as TRACY walks in.

TRACY

Screens up yet?

VIRGIL

Won't be long. Problem's the heat - the circuits keep fading. SCOTT - try it now.

SCOTT touches a few controls on the console before him and suddenly the screens light up and a majestic scene is revealed - a massive glowing sphere dominates their view, radiating an incandescent veil of heat and bathing them in light.

SCOTT

Damn, that's close.

VIRGIL

No wonder it was so hot.

TRACY

Too hot for comfort. We'll take a status meeting at 1800 hours.

 

61. EXT (SPACE) OLYMPUS

Establishing shot of the space station Olympus with Earth in the background - a huge revolving cylinder of shiny metal circling a massive cloud-flecked blue sphere. A small space shuttle is slowly approaching one end of Olympus' central axis where a portal is opening like an iris.

 

62. INT.(SPACE) MAIN CONTROL ROOM

In the main control room of Olympus, we see a small handful of technicians monitoring the cautious approach of the shuttle as it noses into reach. The two craft touch and padded pincer arms pull the shuttle into the airlock.

HEAD TECHNICIAN

Docked and locked! Okay, CROSBY - take over.

JOHN CROSBY, who we last saw as a schoolboy, is now a young man with long, black hair and intense features, behind his black-rimmed glasses. He nods and begins confidently tapping commands into his console.

 

63. INT (SPACE) OLYMPUS

A group of about 15 media reps - including KATHLEEN and PIERCE - appear through the airlock leading into the main body of Olympus. They find themselves standing on the floor of the vast cylinder which curves up and away from them on both sides, reaching round to meet again in a ceiling fifty metres above their heads - where they can see other people moving about like flies on the ceiling.

Their GUIDE stops and addresses them.

GUIDE

... and for maximum safety and security, all areas of Olympus are under 24 hour video surveillance.

REPORTER

All areas? In our cabins, too?

GUIDE

Except for your cabins - however they are equipped with smoke detectors and your sponsors have signed a 50 million dollar guarantee that you will not smoke while on board Olympus. So, please - observe the no-smoking rules. Any questions?

Focus in on KATHLEEN's hand. She is now wearing the same ring we last saw on LADY PENELOPE'S finger.

 

64. INT (SPACE) TERRA 1

Cut to the talisman on Terra 1 which is dangling over the table where TRACY and the others are holding their meeting on the flight deck which is bathed in radiance from the nearby sun.

ALANA

... air filtration is down 50%, but stable. Medical and waste disposal units are fine. Kitchen's had a few short circuits, but the hydroponics and food banks are okay, so we won't starve. Not for a couple of years, at least.

TRACY

Well, that's something. VIRGIL - propulsion?

VIRGIL

Plasma drive's functional. Our main problem is fuel - one of the rear tanks is ruptured. I estimate reserves of 8 %. Decelerators and trajectors are okay.

TRACY

SCOTT - what about the flight systems?

SCOTT

We've lost voice activation, abstractions ... virtually all the tertiary functions. But it should be possible to replace the critical areas in a few days.

TRACY (wearily)

Okay, BRAINS - what have you got for us?

As attention focuses on him, he shakes his head.

BRAINS

Sorry ... the Star Drive's burnt out.

TRACY

Can you repair it?

BRAINS

Maybe. Probably not. The flight recorders are blank from the time of the explosion till when we came to, so it's going to be difficult to figure out what went wrong.

TRACY

So you've got no idea what caused the problem?

BRAINS

The explosion? No.

TRACY looks at him for a few long seconds but seeing he isn't going to add anything, he continues himself.

TRACY

Okay, my turn. It looks like our most immediate problem is the star ahead of us. It's 45 million kays away. Pretty young according to the Doppler shift. We're heading towards it as a Delta vee of 15 thousand a second. Closest point of aproach will be 13 million in 47 hours. Ambient temperature at that point will be 3 thousand degrees.

ALANA

That's over our heat shield capacity, isn't it?

TRACY

Way over. We'll have to move into a new orbit within the next 36 hours.

Suddenly an alarm begins to sound. SCOTT and VIRGIL get up and go across to check the instruments.

SCOTT

Sensors have just picked up something. Range - 480 thousand kays. Signal's too regular for it to be a meteor.

VIRGIL

Composite radar analysis is coming through now. It's a pentagonal prism ... Jesus - it's artificial!!!

TRACY

What?!

Cut back to LADY PENELOPE's talisman. It has now stopped spinning.

 

To read the rest of "The Edge of Tomorrow", please contact me.