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Аэроплан II/ Airplane II

FADE IN:

EXT. JUNGLE - DAY

A machete slashes INTO FRAME. An American in battered fedora and leather jacket, accompanied by two gunbearers, hacks his way through dense bush. We see him from the back only. He hacks an opening, bats fly out AT CAMERA and the bushes part, revealing huge overgrown stone letters -- the Mayan ruin look -- that spell "AIRPLANE II."

EXT. GANTRY - NIGHT

The Jupiter shuttle stands ready to fly.

SUPER: HOUSTON, 2002

INT. MISSION CONTROL ROOM - STOCK FOOTAGE

of Houston Control with appropriate jargon V.O.

INT. TERMINAL - WIDE ANGLE STOCK SHOT

of a crowded modern terminal.

P.A. All lunar departures, please proceed to concourse lounge 'B.'

EXT. TERMINAL - STOCK FOOTAGE - NIGHT

of heavy traffic at LAX.

ANGLE ON TERMINAL DOORS

A number of men in futuristic-looking mining outfits, carrying futuristic gear, unload a truck with a corporate logo that reads: TRX DEEP SPACE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT.

P.A. Attention, all Pulsar Four mining personnel.

The miners look up.

P.A. Please report to the Resource Expeditions office, level seven.

Two miners head to terminal doors and pass FOUR NUNS, who bid farewell to FATHER O'FLANAGAN. O'Flanagan shakes the hands of the first three elderly nuns, then grabs the last young gorgeous nun and kisses her passionately.

OLDER NUN No tongues, Father.

INT. CONTROL ROOM

A group tour moves through the room behind controllers.

GUIDE All lunar shuttle landings are handled by these computers and simulated on these video units.

CONTROLLER 1 (at computer screen) You're programmed on R-two-niner and locked, Lunar eight six. Over.

INT. LUNAR SHUTTLE COCKPIT - NIGHT

Three crew members watch the lit landing strip as their shuttle approaches.

CAPTAIN (to co-pilot) It's out of our hands now, gentlemen.

They smile.

INT. MISSION CONTROL

The CONTROLLER moves away from his video unit. A kid from the tour who has lagged behind hits a switch. The screen turns into a video game with SFX. He flips knobs.

INT. LUNAR SHUTTLE

The crew are tossed from side to side and try to regain control of the ship.

EXT. NIGHT SKY

The Lunar shuttle careens towards the terminal, out of control.

INT. CONTROL ROOM

The kid is still playing like mad. A flash appears on the screen. SFX VIDEO GAME EXPLOSION and a corresponding EXPLOSION from outside. SIRENS WAIL. CONTROLLERS run around. The kid is oblivious and walks away.

EXT. TERMINAL - NIGHT

BUD KRUGER, head of the space center, and the COMMISSIONER get out of a limo under a sign that reads, "MERCURY SHUTTLE." They walk and talk.

KRUGER Commissioner, we both know the Mercury shuttle needs another month of pre-launch testing.

COMMISSIONER Forget it. The boys on the board want that shuttle to go on schedule.

CUT TO:

INT. TERMINAL

Kruger and the Commissioner go up escalator.

KRUGER And what do the boys on the board know about safety, Commissioner? Let me talk to them.

COMMISSIONER Bud, get wise to the political realities. The boys on the board are under a lot of pressure from the boys downtown.

CUT TO:

INT. TERMINAL - SECOND LEVEL

Kruger gets a pack of cigarettes from a machine. Commissioner buys a newspaper.

KRUGER And I'll be the one they'll hang if there's a screw-up.

CUT TO:

INT. TERMINAL - SHOESHINE STAND

Kruger and Commissioner get shoes shined. A MAN next to them in white shoes reads paper with headline -- "SOLAR PLANT MELTDOWN, 500 WORKERS SERIOUSLY TANNED" -- and doesn't notice his shoes are getting black polish.

COMMISSIONER Listen, Bud, the boys downtown are under heavy fire from the boys in Washington. That's why they're putting pressure on the boys on the board.

CUT TO:

INT. TERMINAL

Kruger and Commissioner head down escalator.

KRUGER Well, you tell the boys on the board to tell the boys downtown to let the boys in Washington know that the press has been nosing around my people in the front office.

CUT TO:

EXT. TERMINAL

Kruger and Commissioner head to their limo.

COMMISSIONER You handle your front office people, I'll handle the press and leave the boys in Washington to the boys downtown and the boys downtown to the boys on the board.

KRUGER Commissioner.

They stop and look at each other.

COMMISSIONER What?

KRUGER I just wish it was that simple.

MUSIC: DRAMATIC STING

They get back in their limo and drive off.

INT. MISSION CONTROL

CONTROLLER (over P.A.) This is Mercury One control. We have condition green. Mark launch 'T' minus two hours and counting. I repeat, we have condition green.

ANGLE ON LESLIE NEILSON - DOCTOR RUMACK

Dressed as a doctor and looking in a Controller's mouth. The Controller's face is bright green.

RUMACK This condition isn't as bad as it could be if it were a lot worse. Take these pills. (hands him pills and water) Here's some water.

CONTROLLER What is it, doctor?

RUMACK Two parts oxygen, one part hydrogen. It'll make the pills go down easier.

EXT. GANTRY - CLOSEUP OF SHUTTLE - NIGHT

MUSIC: BIG SPACE THEME

WIDE ANGLE LENS PANS the under-belly past the nose as if the viewer bent his head back as far as he could, until... the CAMERA crashes to the ground as if it has fallen off the tripod.

MUSIC: CRASHES TO A STOP

ANGLE ON SIDE OF SHIP

MUSIC: BIG SPACE THEME STARTS FROM TOP AGAIN

PAN workers on scaffolding who check gauges on exterior of ship. PAN to panel that reads, "SOLID FUEL CHUTE" -- a sweaty muscular worker in undershirt opens the panel, flames shoot out. LOOSEN to reveal another sweaty worker in undershirt shoveling coal into the chute. PAN to other workers checking more gauges. SUDDENLY a PANEL EXPLODES. Smoking, sparking wires pop out. A WORKER runs up with walkie-talkie in hand.

WORKER (into walkie-talkie) This is Mercury station six! Get me the Sarg and fast!

EXT. TERMINAL - NIGHT

SIMON KURTZ and ELAINE THOMPSON get out of a taxi with hand luggage. They are dressed in matching flight outfits.

A JAPANESE COUPLE get out of a taxi -- the man has about fifty cameras around his neck. His wife hangs another camera on him. He crashes to the ground under the weight.

Simon and Elaine are approached by a BUSINESSMAN with handful of roses.

BUSINESSMAN Would you like to buy a rose to help bail out Chrysler? We're an all-profit organization and need all the money we can get.

Simon hands the Businessman a dollar and takes a rose.

SIMON (to Businessman) Here.

The Businessman joins six other BUSINESSMEN carrying signs with LEE IACCOCA's picture. They all smile and chant.

BUSINESSMEN (to Hari Krishna) IACCOCA, IACCOCA, IACCOCA, IARAMA.

Simon hands Elaine the rose. She takes his arm as they walk towards the sign that reads, "MERCURY SHUTTLE."

SIMON For the best little computer officer on the Mercury mission.

ELAINE (smiling) Simon.

SIMON Who would believe that Elaine Thompson was once a stewardess on the Denver-Chicago run.

ELAINE And I can hardly believe that I'm engaged to someone like you, Simon. I'm a very lucky woman.

A man with a suitcase on a leash walks beside them. The case pulls him along like a dog and takes a leak on a post.

SIMON Women and the space program have come a long way, sweetheart. But after the wedding, no more complicated computers for my little girl.

ELAINE But, darling, they've offered me a chance to head up the computer analysis division for the Jupiter probe.

SIMON You're heading up the division in charge of babies for Mr. and Mrs. Simon Kurtz.

He kisses Elaine and smiles.

SIMON And that's an order, Lieutenant.

The man with the case on a leash passes a woman with a case on a leash. The cases start a violent, BARKING DOG FIGHT.

EXT. REAR OF TERMINAL BUILDING - NIGHT

SARG (imagine George Kennedy), dressed in a tuxedo, tie undone, with a huge cigar, which he eats during the conversation, talks to his wife on his car phone. A worker in hard hat waits next to him. Behind the worker are fuel drums and a large sign that reads: DANGER, FUEL -- ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING, ABSOLUTELY NO SPITTING.

SARG (on car phone) Marge, you better go without me. We've got a condition red.

SPLIT SCREEN WITH WIFE AT HOME.

MARGE (in evening gown, a cigar stuck in her mouth) We've got a condition red with our marriage. I think you're in love with that shuttle, not with me. I want a divorce, Sarg.

Sarg lights his cigar.

SARG Is there someone else, Marge? Is that it?

Sarg throws the lit match towards the "ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING" sign. The worker grimaces but nothing happens.

MARGE Sarg, there's been someone else for fifteen years. You were just too involved in your work to see it.

They hang up. Sarg bites off the end of his cigar and spits it in the direction of the "NO SPITTING" sign, blowing the worker OUT OF FRAME with a MASSIVE EXPLOSION. Sarg hops into his car, takes a Lava lamp from the seat and puts it on the car roof -- like Kojak's flasher. The lamp flashes, the SIREN WAILS, as Sarg pulls away.

INT. SARG'S CAR - ON THE MOVE - NIGHT

He thinks about his wife. SPLIT SCREEN FLASHBACK OF THEIR BEDROOM. Marge, a cigar in her mouth, is in bed with five football players -- other half-clad athletes (hockey, baseball, wrestling, basketball) line up for their turn at her. Sarg has to climb over them to kiss her goodbye.

SARG Don't wait up for me, sweetheart. We're testing the retro-rockets tonight.

MARGE You just can't see it, can you, Sarg.

SARG We'll talk tomorrow, hon. I promise.

EXT. TERMINAL, PASSENGER ARRIVAL AREA - NIGHT

The WILSON FAMILY -- JOHN, ALICE and ten-year-old JIMMY -- carry luggage. Jimmy carries a puppy in a small cage.

P.A. All Mercury passengers please proceed to passenger processing, concourse level 'C.'

JOHN That's us.

Jimmy Wilson looks at Scraps.

JIMMY Will Scraps be able to sit with us, Dad?

JOHN We'll have to check, Jimmy. It's a pretty long trip to Mercury.

A PORTER approaches.

PORTER Can I help you folks?

JOHN (handing him a bag) Thanks.

PORTER (noticing Scraps) Is that your puppy, son?

JIMMY Yeah, his name is Scraps and he's going to Mercury with us.

PORTER No dogs are allowed on the shuttle, son.

JIMMY But they said...

PORTER (pulling out a handgun) Scraps will have to be shot. I can do it for you here if you like.

He SHOOTS.

JIMMY Scraps!!!

PORTER (laughing) Just joking. Blanks. See, Scraps is fine.

Alice, John, and Porter crack up while Jimmy cries.

ALICE It was just a joke, Jimmy.

Alice and John look at each other as if there is something wrong with their son.

ANGLE ON MAN WITH CAGE

A man lifts a large dog cage out of the trunk of a taxi. Inside is another man dressed in S&M leathers.

MAN WITH CAGE (to Man in Cage) If we can't fit you under the seat, you'll just have to be locked up with the luggage.

The man in the cage seems to relish the latter suggestion. Two Porters lift the cage onto a conveyor belt next to Jimmy's dog.

EXT. GANTRY - NIGHT

Sarg stands beside the burnt panel on the side of the shuttle. He is eating another cigar, holding a burnt wire, and talking into a walkie-talkie.

SARG There's no way this wiring could have passed inspection without Simon Kurtz's okay!

SPLIT SCREEN OF KRUGER IN HIS OFFICE

KRUGER (on phone) Just patch up the damage and get that ship ready to fly. That's an order, mister!

SARG You've got it, mister. But you can tell your boys on the board for me that this thing stinks to high heaven of kickback.

WIPE TO:

KRUGER'S OFFICE - FULL SCREEN

Kruger turns to room. LOOSEN to reveal a dozen five-year- old boys in three-piece suits, smoking cigars. A huge Keans-style painting of three astronauts with big eyes, painted on black velvet, hangs in b.g.

KRUGER You heard it, boys. Now, what do you say?

ALL BOYS Fuck him!

EXT. GANTRY - NIGHT

Sarg looks at the wire and shakes his head.

SARG (to worker) Ted Striker was right six months ago when he test-piloted this sucker. And what did he get for telling the truth? A one-way ticket to Palukaville.

Sarg spits a chunk of cigar on the ground, blowing the worker OUT OF FRAME with a MASSIVE EXPLOSION.

EXT. WILD BLUE YONDER - DAY

A jet fighter streaks across the sky.

INT. JET - DAY

TED STRIKER is at the controls. His oxygen mask hangs loose from his helmet. Clouds outside shoot by -- he's going at least 700 MPH. A bird lands on the nose in front of the window. Ted shoos it away by knocking on the glass. He takes a slug of beer and cockily pulls on the stick.

EXT. FIGHTER - DAY

The plane does a barrel roll.

INT. FIGHTER - DAY

Ted has beer all over his face and shirt.

EXT. SMALL LATIN-AMERICAN LANDING STRIP - DAY

SUPER: "SOUTH AMERICA, 2002 (PALUKAVILLE)"

Striker's fighter comes in for a landing.

EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF RIO MONTENEGRO - DAY

CLOSEUP of sign, "WELCOME TO RIO MONTENEGRO -- POP. 2,354,900 -- NO TORTURING 7AM-9AM MON.-FRI."

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

SUPER: "HOTEL MONTENEGRO"

COME UP on CLOSEUP of parachute. PAN past a flight jacket thrown over a chair, clothes strewn around, a framed photo of TED and ELAINE on the bedtable next to a bottle of whiskey. The room is hot and dusty. Ted lies on the bed soaked with sweat, a drink in his hand, a cigarette dangling from his lip. He takes a drink and, forgetting to remove the cigarette, swallows it without batting an eye. LOOSEN to find a CRUCIFIX above the bed with a real person on it.

TED (V.O.) (to self) Who could have figured it would come to this. It'll be twenty years this week that I lost my entire squadron over Macho Grande. Planes, too.

SUPER: DOG FIGHT FOOTAGE

VOICE You're too low, Striker! You're too low!

The Crucifix in b.g. looks around trying to figure out where the planes in the SUPER are coming from.

TED (V.O.) After the war, I couldn't go near anything with a pair of wings.

SUPER: TED IN PARK TRYING TO AVOID PIGEONS THAT FOLLOW HIM.

A pigeon lands on the Cross.

TED (V.O.) That is, until fate dropped me on the seat of my pants at the stick of a 167 into Chicago with no crew.

SUPER: TED LANDING PLANE IN "AIRPLANE!"

TED (V.O.) It's funny how fate can make heroes out of cowards.

The Crucifix gives a look of exasperated boredom.

SUPER: NEW YORK TIMES HEADLINE, "STRIKER SAVES l20!" OVER A PHOTO OF TED AND ELAINE WAVING.

TED (V.O.) Then came the job offers.

SUPER: HOUSTON TRIBUNE HEADLINE, "FLYING HEROES ACCEPT NASA POSTS" OVER A PHOTO OF TED AND ELAINE WAVING.

TED (V.O.) The publicity.

SUPER: NATIONAL ENQUIRER HEADLINE, "TED IMPOTENT? ELAINE FRIGID?" A MINOR HEADLINE READS, "JFK ALIVE, SAYS UROLOGIST!"

TED (V.O.) Even the key to the City of New York.

SUPER: MAYOR HANDING TED A KILO OF GRASS.

TED (V.O.) Now look at me.

Ted wipes the sweat off his face and switches on the table fan. A tornado force wind destroys the room as he fights to switch off the fan.

EXT. TOWN SQUARE - DAY

SUPER: "RIO MONTENEGRO - TOWN SQUARE"

A peasant boy takes a newspaper from a newsstand. The headline reads, "MERCURY SHUTTLE FLIES TOMORROW."

BOY Senor Ted!

The boy hightails it through the town-square and passes:

-- A large alabaster statue of the Generalissimo snorting cocaine.

-- Soldiers dragging nuns off screaming.

-- Nuns dragging soldiers off screaming.

He passes a line of peasants held at gunpoint by soldiers. We HOLD on them. In b.g. are stores like HITLER'S SHOES, TRIEU GUYS FROM SAIGON LIQUORS, KEY'S KEYS -- GENERAL KEY stands in doorway.

SOLDIER (to first peasant) Traficante de drugas o communista?

SUPER: SUBTITLES -- "Drug dealer or communist?"

PEASANT (pleading) Traficante de drugas, traficante de drugas!

SUPER: SUBTITLES -- "Drug dealer, drug dealer!"

The soldier lets the peasant go.

SOLDIER (to second peasant) Traficante de drugas o communista?

SUPER: SUBTITLES -- "Drug dealer or communist?"

The peasant panics and bolts from the line. The soldiers FIRE.

SOLDIER Communista!

He runs up to THE HOTEL MONTENEGRO. A sign reads, "TV, POOL, WATERBEDS, DONKEY, KLEENEX" -- All but "KLEENEX" are crossed out. He runs inside.

INT. HOTEL LOBBY

A clean-cut AMERICAN COUPLE argue with Desk Clerk.

YOUNG MAN (to Desk Clerk) We've lost all our travelers' checks!

YOUNG WOMAN What are we going to do?!

CLERK Calm down. What kind were they?

YOUNG MAN American Excess!

The Clerk throws up his hands and strikes the same pose as the Karl Marden look-alike in the "AMERICAN EXCESS" poster, b.g.

CLERK I'd say you're fucked.

The boy passes them and bounds up the stairs.

INT. HOTEL ROOM

CLOSEUP of Ted pacing.

TED (to self) Next thing I know, I'm the chief test pilot for the XR-2300, NASA's first Mercury shuttle. That is, until I report she's got more flaws than the Titanic.

LOOSEN slowly to find the Cross empty and the man who was on it hanging, his feet dangling next to Ted.

TED Now I'm testing old F-l8s for some crazy Generalissimo who thinks there's a commie behind every tree in the Amazon.

SUDDENLY the boy bursts in.

BOY Senor Ted! Look!

Ted spins and the paper stays still. He stops.

TED My God! They're launching the ZR-2300. Do you know what that is, Jose?

BOY The muffler bracket for a '78 Pinto.

TED No, that's an XR-2200. The XR-2300 is the Mercury shuttle. They can't do it!

EXT. HOTEL MONTENEGRO

Ted races out.

TED Taxi!

SFX: A DOZEN CARS SCREECH AND CRASH INTO EACH OTHER. HORNS STICK.

ANGLE ON PILE OF CARS

Ted jumps into the taxi on bottom of pile. The driver POUNDS on his HORN -- it CONTINUES TO BLARE as they pull away, dragging other taxis.

TED Houston, Texas.

DRIVER Houston, Texas, senor??

TED Right at the corner, left at the light. Here's a map and step on it!

Ted throws a map onto the floor of the front seat. The driver steps on the map.

EXT. TERMINAL, PASSENGER ARRIVALS - NIGHT

An old truck loaded high with furniture pulls up. A YOUNG MAN and his PARENTS, looking like the family from THE GRAPES OF WRATH, get out.

SON We finally made it, Ma. Mercury. We're gonna start all over agin. A whole new life.

MUSIC: OPTIMISTIC.

SON Where the soil is rich.

He bends down and takes a handful of earth from the terminal sidewalk and lets it run through his fingers.

SON And the union strong. Where men are free to realize their true potential.

A black PORTER approaches and grabs a bag at the bottom of their pile of junk.

PORTER Can I help you?

SON Where black men and white men, working together, can move mountains.

The Porter pulls the bag and the entire mountain of junk cascades to the ground.

ANGLE ON TED'S TAXI ARRIVING

It is covered in mud, flames shoot out from under the hood, the HORN BLARES. The driver flips off the meter which reads, "874,567,004,500,000,000." The numbers run off the meter along a special attachment.

DRIVER That'll be eight hundred and seventy-four zillion quastavitas.

TED Here's three bucks. Keep the change.

DRIVER Thank you!!

INT. TERMINAL

STELLA BARRINGTON pushes her wheelchair-ridden father, DR. CYRUS BARRINGTON, through the terminal crowd. A PORTER approaches.

PORTER You folks need any help?

STELLA Thanks, but we have a terrific woman in on Thursdays.

PORTER Say, isn't that Dr. Barrington, the world- renowned agronomist?

STELLA Yes.

PORTER It's a privilege to meet you, sir, I'm familiar with all your work.

STELLA Let's go, Daddy. We have to check in. (to Porter) He was never appreciated at the Institute.

PORTER Ah, yes, the Institute, I'm familiar with it.

STELLA Now he's D-Y-I-N-Ging and wants to be buried on Mercury.

Stella pushes her father away as another PORTER approaches our first Porter.

PORTER 2 Say, wasn't that Dr. Barrington, the world-renowned agronomist?

PORTER 1 That's right. Are you familiar with his work?

PORTER 2 No, but the missus sure is.

ANGLE ON TED AT ARRIVALS/DEPARTURES MONITORS

The departures side reads. "MERCURY SHUTTLE - DEPARTS 6:15 AM"

TED (to self) I have to stop that flight.

Ted pushes his way through the crowd past two businessmen. HOLD on them as BUSINESSMAN 1 straightens BUSINESSMAN 2's tie and hair.

BUSINESSMAN 1 Don't worry about the Viatex account. It's a buy-sell option. We can't get hurt in either case.

BUSINESSMAN 2 Just keep on top of their legal people, Bob.

BUSINESSMAN 1 Don't sweat it.

They kiss and part.

ANGLE ON "1ST CLASS" TICKET LINE

AGENT (to traveller) We can take your in-flight dinner orders here, if you like. Today there's lobster or rack of lamb.

TRAVELLER The lobster sounds nice.

The Agent throws a huge lobster into a steaming cauldron.

SFX: LOBSTER SCREAM.

TED (rushing up) Where can I find mission control?

AGENT (without pointing or indicating in any way) Information's over there.

TED Thanks.

He seems a bit puzzled but moves on.

ANGLE ON "2ND CLASS" LINE

Ted passes travellers in rags.

AGENT (to traveller in rags) Today there's the swill or the slop.

TRAVELLER The slop sounds nice.

Ted passes the "NO CLASS" line. Travellers in line all wear gaudy double-knit suits, white belts and shoes, carry lava lamps and bongo drums, wear alpine hats, etc. The agent hands a NO CLASS traveller his ticket with large foam dice dangling. Ted spots the INFORMATION counter and heads for it.

ANGLE ON INFORMATION COUNTER

MAN (to Info Agent) What's the fastest animal on earth?

INFO AGENT The cheetah. Next.

WOMAN Should I fake my orgasms?

INFO AGENT Yes. Next.

Next in line are three armed, bearded "TERRORISTS."

"TERRORIST" 1 Please, where is flight to Miami?

INFO AGENT (without indicating anything) Over there. Next.

The TERRORISTS leave looking confused.

TED Mission control?

INFO AGENT (without indicating anything) It's over therrrrrrr!

The agent is shot with an arrow and slumps over the counter.

ZOOM TO:

CLOSEUP OF TED

He looks in the CAMERA.

MUSIC: DRAMATIC STING.

TED That's strange. I just came from over there.

INT. TERMINAL - ANOTHER AREA

Elaine, Simon, and FRANK MORGAN, the shuttle pilot, talk.

FRANK I'll meet you on board. I've got some business to attend to.

Frank leaves.

SIMON (to Elaine) Frank's the best pilot in the program.

ELAINE I'm so excited, Simon.

SIMON I guess this is a first for you.

ELAINE No, I've been excited before.

TED (O.S.) Elaine.

ELAINE (turning around) Te...!

TED That's not important now, Elaine. We have to talk.

Simon pulls Elaine away. They all walk and talk.

ELAINE Ted, we've been worried sick ever since you escaped from the Ronald Reagan Institute For The Mentally Feeble.

They walk faster. The b.g. starts whipping by as if they're running. Wind blows in their hair.

TED Are you on the Mercury mission?

SIMON That's right, Striker. And we're getting married when we return.

The b.g. moves faster. The wind gets stronger. They pass a marathon refreshment stand and are handed wet sponges and cups of Gatoraid.

TED It's got to be stopped!

ELAINE But, Ted, the invitations have already gone out.

TED I mean the Mercury flight. It's not safe and, Kurtz, you know why.

SIMON You're still crazy, Striker. Come on, sweetheart.

Simon pulls Elaine away as she looks back with empathy.

ELAINE What did Ted mean?

They leave Ted standing.

SIMON Elaine, he's still sick.

ANGLE ON TED

The wind is still blowing in his hair even though he stands still. Ted has a FLASHBACK.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. ROCKET HANGAR

Ted, in flight coveralls, follows after Simon who is overseeing the operation.

SIMON You're seeing bugs where they don't exist, Striker.

TED (holding wire) Look at this wiring. It's shorting out under high temperatures.

SIMON You're tired, Striker, overworked. That wiring meets all the safety specifications.

TED I know you've been subtly spreading the word that I'm having a breakdown.

A NEWSPAPER BOY passes.

NEWSIE Shuttle test pilot goes mad!

A TECHNICIAN -- JACOBS -- enters with drawings of flight outfits.

JACOBS Sir, these are the designs for the flight uniforms. I think the captain's is to die.

SIMON (with drawings) Good, good, no, no, good. What's this?! I said no studded dog collars, Jacobs.

Jacobs grabs the drawings and leaves in a huff.

TED You won't get away with this, Simon!

Ted turns to leave and bumps right into Elaine. She holds him.

ELAINE Ted, what's wrong?

TED (pulling away from her) Ask Simon.

In b.g. a car is parked by a huge rocket engine. A worker opens the hood and strings jumper cables to the rocket. A sign above rocket reads, "ROCKET ENGINE TEST AREA."

ELAINE Ted, you're overworked. You've been flying yourself into the ground.

TED There's nothing wrong with me!

ELAINE Let's relax tonight, just the two of us. I'll make a quiet Italian dinner just the way you like it, with spaghetti.

TED You're as bad as the rest of them, Elaine! (ranting) It's all here in the design specifications! (grabs plans from a passing technician) Look! It's all here!

Simon signals the guards. They grab Ted. He struggles and rants. A DOCTOR in white approaches and injects something into Ted's arm.

ELAINE No! Wait! You're hurting him!

Ted falls unconscious. Simon holds Elaine.

SIMON Elaine! Ted's a danger to himself, he's a threat to this mission and his behavior does absolutely nothing to promote peace in the Middle East.

ELAINE (crying on Simon's shoulder) Simon, why has he become so... so...

SIMON So mentally ill?

Elaine collapses on Simon's shoulder, sobbing. Simon smiles evilly. The technician with the jumper cables, b.g., signals the driver to start the car. The car revs and the rocket fires.

DISSOLVE BACK TO:

SCENE

Ted still standing alone and muttering.

TED (to self) I'm perfectly sane.

Ted notices Stella Barrington looking at him.

STELLA Excuse me, are you alright? I noticed you talking to yourself. I'm a nurse. Can I be of some help?

TED Uh... oh, thank you. It's nothing.

STELLA You don't have to thank me, I'm a nurse. This is my father, Dr. Barrington.

TED Not Dr. Barrington, the world renowned agronomist?

STELLA Yes. He's dying a-n-d wants to be buried on Mercury.

TED I'm familiar with your work, Doctor. You'll have to excuse me, I have to go.

STELLA You don't have to excuse yourself. I'm a nurse. I understand.

Ted leaves.

INT. TERMINAL - OUTSIDE DRUGSTORE

SIMON Meet me onboard, sweetheart. I have to pick up a few things at the drugstore.

ELAINE (checking her watch) Don't be too long.

Simon walks into the drugstore past a DRUGGIST who whispers to him:

DRUGGIST Uppers, downers, coke, speed, hash, Tampax.

ANGLE ON ELAINE

Ted approaches. We see light flashes from a 25ў photo booth.

TED Elaine.

ELAINE Ted, please. You're just making things difficult for yourself.

A WOMAN IN BLACK GARTER BELT emerges from photo booth followed by a donkey.

TED Elaine, what happened to us?

ELAINE Ted, I loved you and I'll always love you. But I need Simon. He's stable. He's a good provider. I want that at this stage of the game, Ted. He might have his faults, but Simon doesn't know the meaning of the word fear and I need that in a man.

INT. DRUGSTORE

The Druggist hands Simon a huge bottle of pills. The label reads, "ANTI-FEAR PILLS."

SIMON (looking at the label, "ANTI- FEAR PILLS") What does this word mean?

DRUGGIST (looking at label) 'Fear,' to be afraid or over-anxious.

Simon swallows a handful of pills, braces himself and walks out right through the plate glass window without feeling a thing.

INT. TERMINAL

Ted is still following Elaine.

TED Elaine, someone has to listen to me. I'm going right to mission control.

A kid bops by with a huge (5'x3'x2') oak cabinet, TV/stero console perched on his shoulder.

MUSIC: DISCO.

ELAINE Ted, you should go right back to the hospital.

Elaine leaves and Ted has another FLASHBACK.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. MENTAL HOSPITAL

PAN by dorm window. We see a sign on grounds outside -- "THE RONALD REAGAN INSTITUTE OF SUPPLY-SIDE ECONOMICS AND HOSPITAL FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE." PAN patient in bed, accountant at desk, patient in bed, accountant at desk, Ted in bed. Ted has electrodes attached to his head. A NURSE with "I (heart) NORMAL" on the back of her uniform, hands Ted some pills. He is about to pop them when she stops him.

NURSE That's $38.

Ted hands her bills.

LOOSEN to find Elaine on other side of bed. She turns off the radio and opens a box of spaghetti-to-go.

ELAINE Eat this spaghetti, Ted. It'll make you feel a lot better.

SFX: GROANING O.S.

ELAINE Who's that, Ted?

TED Sammy Davis Junior. Terrible car accident. He hasn't been the same since.

ANGLE ON SAMMY DAVIS

A white patient in lots of gold chains. A Nurse stands over him and pulls a long oil dip-stick from his mouth, checks it, wipes it off and replaces it.

RETURN TO SCENE

TED Elaine, when are you going to realize Simon Kurtz put me in here to get me out of the way.

ELAINE And when are you going to realize, Ted, that your mental hygiene is the most important thing right now.

VOICE (O.S.) (ranting) It works... No, it doesn't... Yes, it does.

ELAINE What's his problem?

ANGLE

On BEARDED MAN in rags chained to wall.

MAN It does work... No, it doesn't.

ANGLE

On Ted and Elaine.

TED His name's David Stockman. He's been here twenty years, that's all he says.

ELAINE Ted, you must remember what the doctor said, the first step on the road to sanity is admitting that you're sick. Now take your electro-shock and you'll be back at the space center in no time. And by the way, Ted, I'm leaving you for Simon.

Ted gags on his spaghetti.

ELAINE I just can't go on living with a man who refuses to deal with reality, Ted. I have to go now. Believe me, it's best for all concerned.

Elaine leans over to kiss Ted. He turns away.

TED No goodbyes, Elaine. Just go.

ELAINE If that's the way you want it.

TED That's the way I want it. Just turn the radio on and go.

ELAINE Goodbye, Ted. I don't want to hurt you.

Elaine flips a switch by the bed thinking it's the radio. It's the "ELECTRO-SHOCK." Ted goes into convulsions as she leaves.

DISSOLVE BACK TO:

TED AT TERMINAL

He rubs his temples.

INT. TERMINAL - OUTSIDE BOOKSTORE

Frank Morgan kisses JANE DENNIS, his mistress. In b.g. is a bookstore window with a display of yellow covered books with plain black titles and a sign advertising, "NO-NAME BOOKS."

Visible titles include: "DEEP BOOK," "FASCINATING BOOK," "THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JOHN DOE." A man next to the window reads a newspaper with headline, "SENSELESS MURDER UP 99% AND RISING!"

FRANK Carol's not going to give me a divorce that easily, Jane.

JANE I'm worried about her, Frank. She could do something senseless, something violent.

FRANK You're the one who's not making sense, Jane. Carol's not the violent...

Frank sees CAROL.

FRANK Carol!

Carol whips out a gun.

FRANK No! This is senseless!

CAROL

FIRES. Jane faints. Other women nearby faint. Two S.W.A.T. cops faint. Carol bolts. The newspaper, b.g., clicks over from 99% to 120%.

INT. TERMINAL - ANOTHER AREA

Ted pushes through crowd and passes a spherical booth with sign that reads, "ORGASMIC EXPERIENCES, 25ў." MRS. GOOCH, an elderly woman, stops Ted next to the booth door.

MRS. GOOCH Young man, would you have change for a twenty?

TED (going for his wallet) I might have two tens.

MRS. GOOCH Thank you anyway, but I wanted it in quarters.

Ted keeps moving past a police line which has gone up around Frank Morgan's body. We HOLD on the murder scene. A DETECTIVE kneels beside the body which now has a chalk mark around it.

SERGEANT (lookind down at Detective) When is this senseless killing going to stop?

DETECTIVE HALLICK Senseless or not, Sergeant, there's a pattern here. This is the 12th victim this week with a chalk mark around the body. I want this whole area cordoned off! I want everyone in this terminal booked and beaten until they talk. I want an M.O. on everyone who has seen THE SOUND OF MUSIC and I want the entire population of Hawaii off that rock and into the water within one hour.

Hallick stands up and finds the area surrounded by 30 accordian players playing "Lady of Spain."

DETECTIVE HALLICK Sergeant. I said cordon off, not accordian off! Now dust this area for prints.

One cop pulls out a duster and dusts the wall. Other cops follow after him hanging prints by Picasso, Lautrec, etc.

DETECTIVE HALLICK And run a check on their plates.

A cop looks at people's upper false teeth plates.

DETECTIVE HALLICK (TO CAMERA) When will this senseless killing end?

A POLICE PHOTOGRAPHER straddles the body and shoots it "BLOW-UP" style.

PHOTOGRAPHER Super! Great! Super! Terrific! Super!

INT. MISSION CONTROL - EXECUTIVE OFFICE

KRUGER That's right, Commissioner. Senselessly murdered just minutes ago.

COMMISSIONER That just doesn't make any sense.

KRUGER I wonder how your boys in Washington are going to take this one.

COMMISSIONER I told you, leave the boys in Washington to the boys downtown and the boys down...

KRUGER You've made your point, Commissioner. There's only one other pilot who can handle that shuttle and that's Clarence Oveur. He's got a lunar flight today. I want him pulled. (to Jacobs) Jacobs, pull Oveur!

JACOBS Not in your size, but I have a cardigan.

He runs out.

COMMISSIONER I'll trust you on this, Bud, but I'm a little nervous about Oveur's record.

The Commissioner throws an album on Kruger's desk. On the cover is a photo of Oveur with an accordian. The title reads, "CLARENCE OVEUR'S 400 POLKA FAVORITES."

MUSIC: DRAMATIC ACCORDIAN STING.

INT. TERMINAL

CAPTAIN OVEUR buys flight insurance from a machine. Simon approaches.

SIMON Captain Oveur?

OVEUR Mr. Kurtz, I presume.

SIMON We don't have much time. Let's move. I'll explain everything.

They walk away past the Transcendental Air counter. Two HARI KRISHNA AGENTS smile at customers.

HAIR KRISHNA Chanting or non-chanting?

INT. MISSION CONTROL ROOM

PAN along Controllers at their monitors. Monitors show the shuttle on gantry.

CONTROLLER 1 This is Mercury launch control at "T" minus fifty-eight minutes and counting. All systems are go. Clear launch area.

ANGLE ON NASA WORKERS AT LUNCH TABLE

They rise and start clearing their dishes.

CONTROLLER 1 (V.O.) (on P.A.) I said 'launch' not 'lunch'!

The workers sit down.

INT. TERMINAL

Oveur and Simon hurry along.

SIMON That's how dry cleaning works. Now I'd like to quickly go over the digestive system of amphibians.

OVEUR Do you think it's necessary to explain everything?

Simon spots Ted getting directions from a security guard.

SIMON I'll meet you on board. There's something I have to take care of first.

INT. MISSION CONTROL HEAD OFFICE - RECEPTION

Ted rushes in and up to the RECEPTIONIST.

TED I have to see Bud Kruger.

RECEPTIONIST Do you have an appointment, sir?

TED No, dammit. It's a matter of life or death.

RECEPTIONIST You'll have to be more specific than that, sir.

TED All right, it's a matter of death.

RECEPTIONIST (checking her book) Death, death. How about the first Thursday in March, ten o'clock.

Ted bolts by her and grabs a door knob on the wall.

RECEPTIONIST You can't go in there!

TED Don't try to stop me!

RECEPTIONIST But that's not a door. The door's over there.

She doesn't indiciate direction.

ZOOM to CLOSEUP of Ted.

TED That's strange. I just came from...

Suddenly, Ted falls unconscious into the arms of two guards. LOOSEN to find the Doctor holding a needle in his arm and Simon next to the Doctor.

ANGLE

On Ted's feet. His heels make lines in dirt as he is dragged from the office.

INT. MISSION CONTROL ROOM

PAN Controllers at their monitors.

CONTROLLER 1 (V.O.) (on P.A.) This is Mercury control at "T" minus fifty minutes and counting. Commence loading of passengers requiring special boarding assistance.

EXT. TERMINAL - LOADING AREA

Ground crew lift passengers who are stacked on a luggage tram and heave them onto a conveyor belt leading up to the ship.

INT. TERMINAL

JOE SALUCCI (imagine Van Heflin) bids his WIFE (imagine Cher) goodbye. Joe is very nervous, sweating a lot. His Wife hands him a few crumpled bills.

WIFE Take this, Joey. It's my last few bucks. You'll need a hot meal when you get there.

JOE We've spent everything on these operations. Is it really worth it? We've pawned your mother's wedding ring. The kids have no winter clothes...

WIFE (holding a finger to his lips) Joey, what's more important, the kids' clothes or your sexual potency.

JOE (anxiously looking around) I don't want to hear that word!

WIFE Okay, Joey. The Doc says you gotta relax. This hospital in Des Moines is the best sex clinic in the country.

JOE All right. (hands her an envelope) Here.

WIFE What...?

JOEY Insurance. Everyone buys it.

MUSIC: DRAMATIC STING.

WIFE All right. Goodbye, Babe.

She kisses him. He recoils, wipes off his mouth, and leaves. She looks at the envelope, then yells at him through the crowd.

WIFE Joey! Remember, sexual impotence is nothing to be ashamed of!

The entire terminal looks at him.

INT. TERMINAL STORAGE ROOM

Ted is tied to a chair surrounded by packing crates -- one is stamped "JIMMY HOFFA, THIS END UP" with the arrow pointing to the ground. Ted struggles to free his hands.

INT. TERMINAL GIFT SHOP

Joe Salucci stands at the counter.

JOE (to Cashier) Time, Newsweek, the Lifesavers, and the second time bomb from the right.

He points at the shelf behind the Cashier where a number of bombs are on display.

ANGLE ON CANDY MACHINE IN GIFT SHOP

The actual DR. BENJAMIN SPOCK stands in front of the machine. Next to the machine at the magazine rack is a red- bearded MAN in tweed jacket and a tartan kilt reading a magazine titled "GAY SCOTS." Spock puts a coin in the machine and it explodes in sparks and smoke like the bridge panel on "STAR TREK."

SCOTT (Scottish accent) My God, Dr. Spock! You've got a meltdown in the Reggie Bars!

INT. TERMINAL CORRIDOR

Joe Salucci snaps his attache case closed. Wipes the sweat from his brow. Takes out a "Des Moines" ticket and throws it away. Looks at another ticket -- "Mercury." Takes a last drag from his cigarette, throws it on the ground and hurries off. The cigarette rolls under the "STORAGE ROOM" door.

INT. STORAGE ROOM

Ted, tied in chair, watches the cigarette roll up to some oil rags. They burst into flame. The flames lap up against a yellow oil drum labeled "EXPLOSIVE." PAN to three more drums labeled, "DYNAMIC!", "BRILLIANT!", "A MUST SEE!".

INT. TERMINAL OUTSIDE STORAGE ROOM

EDITH and DAVE WALTERS, a middle-aged couple, carry their hand luggage. Edith appears very nervous.

DAVE I'm telling you, Edith, space travel is safer than driving a car.

The storage room door EXPLODES open in front of them. Ted flies out with the debris. Edith faints. Ted gets up, brushes himself off and heads to the ticket counter just as the ticket agent flips a sign over that reads, "MERCURY -- SOLD OUT." Ted spots a SCALPER and reaches for his wallet.

SCALPER Mercury seats. I got a pair. I got aisle seats, window seats. Check 'em out.

INT. SHUTTLE COCKPIT - MORNING

Computerized panels line all walls. Windows are similar to an airplane -- outside carwash brushes soap down the nose. The "HOT WAX" sign flashes. Two attendants wipe windows with soap gloves and move to the DISTANT STRAINS of "CAR WASH." Elaine sits at computer, two other CREW are in their seats. Simon enters with Oveur.

SIMON Gentlemen, this is Captain Oveur. He's taking over for Frank Morgan.

MR. UNGER What's the problem?

SIMON Morgan was senselessly murdered about an hour ago.

Elaine gasps.

MR. DUNN (black, sports afro) Murdered? I hope it's not serious.

SIMON We won't know until after the autopsy.

MR. DUNN Of course. Welcome aboard, sir.

OVEUR Good to be aboard, gentlemen.

SIMON Captain Oveur, your navigator, Mr. Unger, and your first officer, Mr. Dunn.

They shake hands.

OVEUR Unger.

UNGER Oveur.

DUNN Oveur.

OVEUR Dunn.

SIMON And I think everyone knows Elaine.

They all smile.

INT. TERMINAL SECURITY CHECK AREA - "MERCURY GATE"

The Terrorists still seem confused as to where they're going. They pass through the security metal detector, guns raised above their heads. A GUARD runs a hand-held metal detector up and down their bodies. At the same time, Mrs. Gooch is being held spread-eagle against the wall. One Guard holds a gun to her head, another frisks her. Ted moves through behind the Terrorists.

TERRORIST (to Guard) Is flight to Miami, yes?

GUARD No.

TERRORIST Thank you. Thank you.

A young boy passes through the X-ray tunnel. His dental chart appears on the screen. A DENTIST at the other end stops him and looks in his mouth.

DENTIST Open.

THE BERGMAN FAMILY -- SVEN, KRISTA, and their two CHILDREN -- all dressed like the emigrants, look up at the "MERCURY GATE" sign. They should be shot like characters from a Bergman "film."

SVEN Mercury, Krista. A whole new world to be depressed about.

KRISTA Ya, Sven.

CHILD 1 Will we die, Pappa?

SVEN We all die, Ingrid.

CHILD 2 Will we die soon, Pappa?

SVEN Soon? What is the real meaning of 'soon'?

INT. COCKPIT

The car wash continues with attendants wiping the ship down.

OVEUR (flips a switch) Atmosphere control.

UNGER (flips a switch) Atmosphere control, check.

A car wash attendant opens a side door to the cockpit and enters in headphones, moving to "CAR WASH," with a vacuum. He cleans the floor and an ashtray and finds a baseball behind the Captain's seat which he pockets.

OVEUR (flips a switch) Anti-gravity.

The car wash attendant floats to the ceiling.

DUNN (flips a switch) Anti-gravity, check.

The attendant crashes to the floor.

Elaine sits at the R.O.K.-4000 computer. She seems to be having a problem with a switch.

ELAINE (to self) That's odd.

INT. BOWELS OF R.O.K. COMPUTER

A circuit board just below the R.O.K.-4000 logo shorts. Sparks fly. A fire starts.

INT. COCKPIT

OVEUR (looking out the window) I hope that weather doesn't give us a problem. (he opens the window and holds his hand out) What's your temperature reading, Mr. Unger.

UNGER (pulls a thermometer from his mouth) Ninety-eight point six.

INT. MISSION CONTROL ROOM

CONTROLLER 2 There seems to be some fog rolling in from the west.

CONTROLLER 1 Mike, give me a density reading. I just hope it's not too heavy.

CONTROLLER 3 (reading from a book like Richard Burton) The fog, the fog, the torment clouded my mind. Derision, contempt...

CONTROLLER 1 That's heavy.

INT. SHIP DOOR

Flight attendant, MARY MORRIS, welcomes passengers aboard.

MARY (to Stella and father) Welcome aboard. Isn't that Dr. Barrington, the world renowned agronomist?

STELLA Yes -- he's dying and wants to be buried in the new l-a-n-d.

MARY (to Joe Salucci) Welcome aboard. Can I take your case?

JOE (clutching case) No!

Mary gives him a look as he passes inside. The OKIES move by. HENRY stops at door, bends down, picks up an ear of corn and pulls it apart.

HENRY There's a whole new world in front of us, Ma. Where the dictatorship of the proletariat will lead workers and peasants into socialism without the revisionist diversions of bourgeois liberals, Trotskiests, or disillusioned Maoist terrorism.

The Okies pass inside.

MARY (looking at them; to self) Doesn't he realize that a weak proletariat needs a strong liberal bourgeoisie in a joint struggle against monopoly capitalism?

Ted stops at the door surrounded by boarding passengers.

SUPER: PSYCHIATRIST.

PSYCHIATRIST We can't begin to help you until you admit that you are sick, Ted. (echo) Sick Ted, sick Ted, sick Ted...

The boarding passengers look around for the echoing voice.

EXT. TARMAC - DAY

Sarg looks up through the glass-walled corridor that leads to the ship door and spots Ted.

SARG (to CO-WORKER) Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle; Ted Striker. (holding burnt wire) Jack, I got a bad feeling in my gut about this mission.

In b.g. a sign reads, "DANGER -- FUEL, ABSOLUTELY NO VOMITTING."

WORKER What'd you have for dinner?

SARG The fish, why?

MUSIC: DRAMATIC STING.

Sarg bends down OUT OF FRAME.

SFX: THROWING UP.

A huge EXPLOSION FILLS THE FRAME.

INT. COCKPIT

Fog rolls past cockpit window.

OVEUR We should be ready to launch as soon as this fog lifts.

EXT. RUNWAY

An ENGLISH BOBBY passes a woman in 19th-Century costume in the fog. He tips his hat and moves on. A caped man steps out of the fog and strangles her.

INT. CABIN

Passengers are taking their seats. Ted spots Elaine and moves towards her. The Terrorists look confused. Joe Salucci clutches his case and wipes his brow. Mary takes a man's suit bag.

MARY Can I hang that for you, sir?

MAN Thanks.

Mary hangs the bag from a rope noose in the closet, pulls a lever, the bag drops like a man being executed.

SFX: SCREAM AND THUD.

INT. COCKPIT

Unger looks out the window.

UNGER It looks like that weather is clearing.

EXT. SKY - DAY (STOCK)

Dramatic stock footage of clouds parting and sun exploding through.

MUSIC: A CLARION TRUMPET CRESCENDO.

INT. CABIN - OUTSIDE COCKPIT DOOR

Ted moves up to Elaine, who is about to enter the cockpit.

TED Elaine.

She turns and gasps.

ELAINE Ted! What are you...?

TED I have to get in there. I have to stop this flight.

SFX: BELL.

INSERT - FLASHING SIGN - "PLEASE TAKE YOUR SEATS"

BACK TO SCENE

ELAINE Ted, we're taking off!

TED Let me by, Elaine.

Mary passes.

MARY Please take your seats.

As Ted turns to Mary, Elaine slips into the cockpit and locks the door --

SFX: DOOR LOCKING.

Ted tries the door.

TED Elaine!

INSERT - SIGN - "WE SAID, TAKE YOUR SEAT OR CAN'T YOU READ, ASSHOLE!"

INT. COCKPIT

Elaine leans back against the door. She is highly agitated. Simon, the administrative officer, and other crew are in their seats.

SIMON Whenever your're ready, Captain.

OVEUR Yes, sir, commander. (into radio) This is Mercury One. Everything seems A- okay up here and ready for count-down.

ZOOM to CLOSEUP of Elaine's face.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. HOSPITAL GROUNDS - DAY

Dr. Rumack and Elaine walk across the well-groomed lawn. Elaine carries a box of spaghetti-to-go. As they walk, they pass patients in wheelchairs pushed by nurses. The further they walk, the more wheelchairs appear until the lawn is jammed with two hundred wheelchairs bumping into each other, patients falling out, total wheelchair chaos.

ELAINE Ted seemed to get worse after I told him about Simon, Doctor.

RUMACK The human brain is a highly complex organ, Elaine, perhaps the most complex next to the bladder. (he stops at a patient in a wheelchair with his back TO CAMERA) Let me show you. (Rumack removes the top of the patient's skull and takes out his brain as they continue on) Ted's problem is in this area. (points with a pencil) This area, this area, here, here, here, under here, here...

They walk OUT OF FRAME as wheelchair demolition derby FILLS SCREEN.

EXT. HOSPITAL GROUNDS - GARDEN AREA - DAY

Rumack and Elaine walk INTO FRAME still talking.

RUMACK So you see, our task isn't made any easier by Ted's refusal to admit that he's sick.

ELAINE What can I do, Doctor Rumack?

He stops next to a sign, "HOSPITAL GARDEN."

RUMACK You can eat balanced meals, exercise, and take Geritol.

ELAINE I mean for Ted.

RUMACK You can be gentle with him, Elaine. He's been working out a lot of his aggressions here in the garden.

ELAINE Is that a good sign, Doctor?

Rumack holds the "HOSPITAL GARDEN" sign.

RUMACK It does the job.

ANGLE ON TED

He is ripping up small trees, shrubs, etc., and throwing them onto a huge pile of mud that resembles the mountain that Dreyfuss built in "Close Encounters."

ELAINE Hello, Ted.

Ted ignores her as he works frantically.

ELAINE (holding out box) I brought you some spaghetti.

Ted still ignores her as he works feverishly.

ELAINE What are you doing, Ted?

TED I've got it, Elaine! I've figured out what's wrong with the shuttle!

Ted scurries around.

ELAINE Ted.

TED Not now, Elaine!

ELAINE Ted!

He ignores her. Rumack walks up and puts an arm around her shoulder. Elaine starts to sob.

RUMACK The brain is an amazingly complex organ, Elaine.

ELAINE Is he making any progress, Doctor?

RUMACK Yes -- last week that pile of mud was only this high.

DISSOLVE BACK TO:

INT. COCKPIT

Elaine takes her seat.

CONTROLLER 1 (V.O.) Mark 'T' minus twenty and counting.

OVEUR Gentlemen, let's get this bucket into space. (flips switches) Ignition set.

EXT. SHIP

Steam spews out from engines.

INT. CONTROL ROOM

CONTROLLER 1 Mark 'T' minus thirty seconds.

PAN backs of a number of Controllers at screens, talking NASA jargon. We PASS one in prison stripes talking through mesh to his wife.

INT. COCKPIT

OVEUR (flipping more switches) Ignition.

CONTROLLER 1 (V.O.) 'T' minus nine, eight, seven...

EXT. SHIP

Rockets fire.

CONTROLLER 1 (V.O.) Six, five, four...

INT. CONTROL ROOM

CONTROLLER 1 Three...

Jacobs runs in with a camera, yelling:

JACOBS Stop! One shot.

All Controllers turn and smile. The count-down stops. Jacobs flashes his camera.

JACOBS Wonderful!

The Controllers continue.

CONTROLLER 1 Two, one.

INT. COCKPIT

The ship vibrates.

CONTROLLER 1 (V.O.) You have lift-off, Mercury One.

The G-force causes the crew's hair to go straight back. Dunn's afro straightens and stays back throughout flight.

INT. CABIN

The G-force causes passengers' hair to go straight back. A buxom woman looks down at her bust -- it's completely flat.

INT. COCKPIT

The G-force returns to normal as the shuttle breaks earth's gravitational hold.

OVEUR Jettison booster stages one and two.

UNGER (flipping switches) Booster jettisoned.

EXT. SHIP - BOOSTER STAGES (STOCK)

Stock footage of booster falling away.

EXT. OCEAN (SET) - DAY

A cheap model of the Greenpeace 11 sails blithely along. The booster stage careens through the atmosphere, crashes into the Greenpeace, and sinks it.

INT. COCKPIT

OVEUR Shut down accelerators.

DUNN Accelerators down.

The crew all look at the floor.

OVEUR Elaine, ask ROK for a field interference scan. Those sun spots might give us a problem with our communications.

ELAINE (flipping computer switches) Yes, sir.

The computer is labeled R.O.K. She seems to have a problem getting it to respond.

ELAINE (to self) That's really strange.

INT. BOWELS OF COMPUTER (LABELED "ROK")

The electrical fire continues.

INT. COCKPIT

Elaine flips a switch on computer. A "VOICE INTERFACE" sign lights up.

ELAINE Intermitant failure in scan mode "R". Analyze.

ROK Negative.

ELAINE (to self) That doesn't make sense. (to ROK) Repeat analysis.

ROK Negative.

ELAINE (to self) That's not possible.

ROK Cut the Doubting Thomas shit, Elaine. I know where I'm coming from on this.

Elaine is taken aback.

INT. BOWELS OF COMPUTER

Sparks fly, fire spreads.

INT. CABIN

Mary moves down the aisle checking passengers. She passes Father O'Flanagan who reads ALTERBOY magazine -- an alterboy in bikini bathing suit on cover. She passes Mrs. Gooch who reads HIGH TIMES. She stops at a ten-year-old GIRL.

MARY I guess this is pretty exciting for you.

GIRL Yes, it is. How long will the trip take?

MARY Our actual flight time is over fourteen months, but due to the time-space variant at sub-light speeds, our onboard flight time will be just over eighteen hours.

Mary leaves and the Girl turns to the WOMAN beside her.

GIRL Gee, Mom, how does that work?

WOMAN (very tense) How many times do I have to tell you, I'm not your mother! I've never seen you before!

The Woman vibrates in multiple image and grabs her temple.

GIRL (V.O.) Why did she yell at me like that?

A MAN who looks like Robert Young sits down beside the Girl.

MAN Hallucinating again, Rhonda?

GIRL (taking a paper bag away from her face) I don't know what it is.

MAN Maybe it's the brand of glue you've been sniffing. Why don't you try this, NO-HI. It gives you all the pleasure of glue without the brain damage.

ANGLE ON TESTA (ANOTHER FLIGHT ATTENDANT)

She is completely bald.

TESTA Something to read, sir?

JOE (clutching his case) Do you have PSYCHO MONTH?

TESTA I think so. Here you are.

She hands him a copy of PSYCHO MONTH with Alexander Haig's photo on cover.

ANOTHER PART OF CABIN

Ted sits at a window seat and looks out. A TEXAN sits on aisle. Mary approaches.

MARY (to Texan) Would you like something to read?

TEXAN I don't read a whole lot, but what have you got, hon?

MARY TIME, NEWSWEEK, BUSINESS WEEK, and the TALMUD...

She points to a car next to her with twenty-four large volumes.

MARY The twenty-four volume dissertation on the Hebrew law.

TEXAN Let me try that Talmud.

MARY (to Ted) And you, sir?

TED (distracted) Oh... Popular Electronics.

Mary hands him the POP ELEC. He opens it. The magazine sparks and smokes. ZOOM to CLOSEUP of Ted.

SUPER: PSYCHIATRIST

PSYCHIATRIST You must admit that you're sick, Ted. (echo) Sick Ted, sick Ted...

The Psychiatrist looks around for the source of the echo.

LOSE SUPER.

TEXAN (to Ted) Wanta switch when we're finished?

Ted gets up and moves past the TEXAN, handing him the POP ELEC.

TED Here. I need some oxygen.

INT. COCKPIT

Simon stands over Elaine's shoulder looking at ROK.

SIMON Have you got it straightened out now?

ELAINE I think so.

SIMON That's my girl.

He sits down. Elaine flips a switch on the computer.

ANGLE ON ROK'S PULSATING EYE

ROK Elaine, I'm sorry about that little outburst a moment ago.

ELAINE That's okay, ROK.

ROK Can I say something of a personal nature to you?

ELAINE Go ahead.

ROK You have great tits.

Elaine gasps.

ELAINE (getting up) Simon, I'm going to check ROK's secondary readout unit.

SIMON Roger.

SFX: INTERCOM BELL.

OVEUR (on intercom) Yes, Mary?

INT. CABIN - FOOD PREPARATION AREA

Mary is on intercom.

MARY Would you like a little breakfast, Captain Oveur? Over.

INT. COCKPIT

OVEUR A couple eggs and juice would be nice, Mary. Over.

MARY (V.O.) (on intercom) How would you like your eggs, Captain? Over.

OVEUR No. Poached. Over.

MARY (V.O.) (on intercom) Poached and over, Captain Oveur? Over.

OVEUR Just poached on toast. Over.

INT. CABIN - PREPARATION AREA

MARY (on intercom) I don't think we do poached eggs on toast over, Captain Oveur. Over.

INT. COCKPIT

OVEUR That's how I want them. Poached. Over.

MARY All right, Captain Oveur. Over.

OVEUR Poached! Not over! Over!

INT. WASHROOM

Ted breathes deeply on an oxygen unit. He stops, but we still hear deep breathing. LOOSEN to find Father O'Flanagan smoking a joint. He smiles and leaves.

INT. CABIN

Joe Salucci clutches his attache case and wipes his brow. Mary leans over him.

MARY You should really put that case in the compartment above your head, sir.

JOE (nervously) That's okay.

MARY (touching his shoulder) I can help you if you can't get it up.

JOE I said, no!

Mary leaves, giving him a worried look.

ANGLE ON THE WILSONS

Jimmy holds his dog.

JIMMY I sure an glad they let Scraps ride up here with us.

JOHN I bet Scraps is going to love Mercury.

JIMMY Do you think things will be a lot different on Mercury, Dad?

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