>>/ Armageddon

/ Armageddon ( 2)

: / Armageddon.

/ Armageddon

INT. RUSSIAN MIR SPACE STATION - DOCKING PORT

Lev is working feverishly, running highly insulated liquid oxygen and hydrogen PROPELLANT TRANSFER HOSES from the MIR's several LABORATORY and LIVING MODULES to the MIR's twin docking ports.

A BLUE INDICATOR LIGHT FLASHES. Lev looks out of the MIR's portside window. His eyes light up. He smiles.

EXT. SPACE - LOW EARTH ORBIT - MIR DOCKING PORTS

Freedom and Independence approach the MIR station. The MIR is T-shaped, with TWIN DOCKING PORTS at each end of the T's crossbar. Freedom begins docking at one end., Independence at the other.

INT. SHUTTLES FREEDOM/INDEPENDENCE - AIRLOCK PORT TO MIR

Truman : Fuel teams prepare to unload.

A RED LIGHT (unsafe) turns GREEN (safe). The docking port's HATCHWHEEL spins, and the door slides open. Harry, Sharp, Watts, Chick, A.J., Bennie, and Truman enter the MIR.

INT. MIR SPACE STATION - DOCKING MODULE

The TEAM comes through the docking module and out pops Lev, hanging upside down in frame.

Lev : HELLO YANKEES! Welcome to the home of me, Cosmonaut Lev Andropov. (MORE)

On a wall, A COMPUTER BOARD that monitors the fuel transfer is filled with GREEN LIGHTS.

INT. CENTRAL ROOM - CENTER HUB OF MIR

Harry, Bennie, and Lev are talking in the combination kitchen/ rec room of the MIR -- a little bigger than a walk-in closet. Lev grabs a VIDEO CAMERA and starts video-taping Harry and Bennie.

Lev : I hear rumour on radio. My country broke. No steaks in freezer. They plan to sell me and the MIR (moving in closer, conspiratorial) Can you confirm this?

Bennie : We wouldn't know. What's the camera? Lev : Oh, I also di-rec-tor. Russian cinema. MIR movies. Each has title.

Lev grabs remote control. On a large TELEVISION screen VARIOUS IMAGES OF LEV appear.

Lev : "Lev loves cargo." "Lev sleeps." "Lev prepares for Americans." "Lev gets bored so he gets drunk." Funny but...too long. Bennie : Looks like you have a lot of free time on your hands. Lev : Yeah. I alone by myself.

Watts comes into the room. The first woman Lev has seen in a very, very long time. Lev moves the camera all over her.

Lev : Hello, fellow space colleague.

Watts nods.

Watts : I'll be in the docking port. Lev : Please allow me to escort you. (as they walk out) You California girl?

INT. MIR SPACE STATION - REAR MODULES

Harry and Bennie enter the MIR's rearmost module. Two propellant hoses run into TWIN PROPELLANT OUTPUT VALVES on a rear panel. Bennie's eyes move to a LAUNDRY LINE. BOXERS hang from the line.

Bennie : This Lev guy is a little off.

On the computer board, a small RED LIGHT replaces the GREEN LIGHT. Then another. No one notices.

INT. MIR STATION - DOCKING PORTS

CAMERA FOLLOWS MICROSCOPIC AEROSOL BUBBLES OF LIQUID OXYGEN (MACRO SHOT) DRIPPING from a valve onto a COMPUTER CIRCUIT BOARD.

INT. MIR - FUEL STORAGE

THE GAUGE STARTS TO rise. A.J. WATCHES. One hundred eighty-five...190...195...

A.J. : (into intercom) Lev, the pressure's climbing.

INT. MIR CORRIDOR

(EXTREME MACRO) The Liquid Oxygen oozes into the circuit board. Surgeon-like microscopic camera tracks it under the keys, reaching a COMPUTER SWITCH. It SPARKS.

INT. DOCKING PORT

Lev, Sharp, and Chick are walking toward the shuttles. The ELECTRICITY in the MIR FLUTTERS. Lev stops. Sharp stops. Lev looks over his shoulder toward the central hub. A chill runs down his spine. DOLLY INTO LEV'S EYES -

Lev : (whispering) Leak. Run.

Lev and Sharp run toward the central hub. Lev punches a KLAXON.

Lev : (cont'd) LEAK! RUN!

Chick takes off running past Lev and Sharp.

Sharp : (to Chick) E-vac. E-vac. Unhook the shuttles. Move!

INT. MIR - FUEL STORAGE

A.J. reacts to the KLAXON, starts to climb up the shaft ladder. A.J. struggles under the heavy weight of his cold suit, finally reaching ---

INT MIR - CORRIDOR ABOVE FUEL STORAGE

Circuits pop VIOLENTLY all around A.J., as the mixture of chemical in the air starts to CHEW the MIR's walls.

INT. MIR - CENTRAL HUB

Lev, Sharp, and Chick RUN into the hub as the leak continues, growing rapidly worse, EATING the walls. Sharp sees the LEAK. Runs back toward the docking port.

Lev : (to Sharp) Seal door.

As Sharp SEALS the hatch, Lev returns to look for A.J.

INT. MIR STATION - REAR MODULE

Harry and Chick react to the KLAXOX BLARES.

Harry : Unhook the shuttles.

Harry and Chick RUN out of the rear module and race through the maze of twisting corridors.

INT. MIR CORRIDOR

A.J. runs through another corridor, heading for the docking port as the walls around him POP! Lev files around the corner almost smashing into A.J.

INT. MIR STATION - REAR MODULE

The smoking circuitry SPARKS, and the REAR MODULE explodes in a VIOLENT CONCUSSION, LAUNCHING A LONG TONGUE OF FLAME into -- INT. MIR STATION - UPPER MODULES

Harry and Chick race for the DOCKING MODULE as -- BEHIND THEM, A SECOND MODULE fills with FIRE and EXPLODES, rocking the MIR. Then a third. Fire starts to RIP THROUGH corridors in the MIR.

EXT. MIR STATION - SPACE

The MIR shudders and begins to TILT TO ONE SIDE.

INT. MIR STATION - UPPER MODULES

Everything is SIDEWAYS. Lev is KNOCKED to the ground. A HEAVY COMPUTER BOARD falls, separating A.J. and Lev.

Attempting to reach A.J., Lev turns back and runs from where he just came.

INT. MIR STATION - UPPER MODULES - SEALED CORRIDOR

A.J. looks left, then right. He doesn't know how to get to the docking port. He starts running.

INT. MIR STATION - DOCKING PORTS

Sharp re-joins Bennie and Truman. They unhook the FUEL LINES to the shuttles. Sharp and Chick run aboard Shuttle Freedom. Truman boards Independence.

INT. MIR CORRIDOR

A.J. is at the corridor fork. Right or left? The Russian writing above both paths doesn't help. Just as he's about to go left -- Lev suddenly appears, grabs A.J., and PUSHES HIM into the RIGHT CORRIDOR.

Lev : Run Yankee!

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Sharp : (to Watts as he sits and buckles up) Shut the doors and fire her up! Watts : We still have people out there. Sharp : It's them or ALL OF US. CLOSE THE DOORS NOW!

As the doors are closing, Harry and Chick rush into Shuttle Freedom. Harry's fingers grab the doors just in time. The doors retract back.

Harry : Did A.J. make it? Chick : I didn't see him.

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE

Truman buckles himself in, fires up the Independence.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Freedom is fired up. The MIR shudders again. TILTS further.

Sharp : We have to GO!

INT. MIR CORRIDOR

A.J. and Lev are running hard as DEBRIS falls behind them and the walls start to TEAR APART. They turn a corner, headed toward the docking port --

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Harry is at the door, eyes frantically searching for A.J. --

Sharp : WE GO NOW!

Sharp stabs a button on his pilot console. The AUTOMATED DOORS BEGIN to slide shut.

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE

Truman stabs a button on his pilot console. The AUTOMATED DOORS BEGIN to slide shut.

INT. MIR DOCKING PORT

A.J. and Lev race into the docking port from a rear corridor. Harry sees them. Lev dives into Independence just as the doors close. A.J. dives head-long through the shutting Independence doors.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM Sharp : (to Watts) Full thrusters!

EXT. MIR STATION - SHUTTLES FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE

The two shuttles RELEASE AWAY from the MIR Station on FULL THRUSTER POWER, just escaping as --

THE MIR STATION EXPLODES in an eternal flash fire, blowing out sections of wall panels and sending a SOLAR PANEL shooting toward Freedom that just misses her! The collapsed MIR STATION drifts off into the oblivion of space.

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE

A.J. sits panting on the floor of the shuttle next to the docking port door. Lev stares down at him.

Lev : I am Cosmonaut Lev Andropov, what your name? A.J. : My name is A.J. Lev : You just blew up my home.

SUPER : TWENTY THREE HOURS TO THE MOON

Golden and Sharp sitting around going over data. New images of the closer, meaner asteroid approaching.

INT. FREEDOM

Interior small sleeping area. Max hanging upside-down in zero gravity. Wakes up yawning. He looks to Bear.

Max : Oh, man, did I have a dream. Bear : So did Martin Luthor King. Max : No, this was a bad dream. We were drilling and the ground ate the bit. Then it ate the pipe, then the derrick. Then it ate us. Bear : That's a dumb-ass dream. Max : I'm not coming home.

They look at each other.

INT. FREEDOM COCKPIT

Harry, Bear, Chick, and Sharp stand looking out the cockpit rear window toward the brilliant blue Earth.

Bear : What are you thinking about, Chick? Chick : My kid. You. Bear : My Mom, she'd be proud to see me as an astronaut. Chick : Harry, what are you thinking? Harry : (looking at Earth) How beautiful it is. Thinkin' about all that oil I sucked out and spit into the air.Funny how a man can live 46 years and realize he ain't been doing the right thing.

INT. N.A.S.A. - PRESS CONFERENCE ROOM

BEHIND A CURTAIN - Golden confers with Collinswood.

Collinswood : The President is counting on you to put out the fire, Dan. Say whatever you have to. Just do it.

Golden walks from behind the curtain. Walks up to the podium, ten VIDEO CAMERAS swivel into position.

For a long moment Golden just stands there, saying nothing.

Golden : I work for the President of the United States. (long pause; looks over at Collinswood) But I think it's my duty as a scientist to tell the world what is happening. Three, days ago a manned space mission was sent to intercept an asteroid which has entered the Earth's orbit. (REPORTERS all chatter) This is a difficult mission. In all frankness, it is the most difficult mission anyone has ever flown. (beat) A little over fifty years ago we sent our Armed Forces half-way around the world to save the world from an evil empire that threatened mass extinction. The men and women of this nation united, answered the calland preserved our freedom. (beat) Once again we face a threat to our way of life. And once again we look to our military to preserve our future. The men and women selected to lead this mission are America's finest and most decorated career officers in the military. Our hopes and prayers are with them. Thank you.

Golden walks off. The REPORTERS CLAMOR:

Reporters : (UNISON) Director Golden! DIRECTOR GOLDEN!

BACKSTAGE - Golden approaches Collinswood.

Collinswood : Golden, your drillers better not let us down. Golden : We'll do your best.

EXT. SPACE - APPROACHING THE MOON

The two Shuttles approach THE MOON, Freedom in the lead, Independence following.

Beyond the Moon, too distant to see clearly, THE ASTEROID is on its trajectory toward Earth. It is a HUGE, GRAGGY MASS surrounded on all sides by a DEBRIS CLUSTER of rock and ice, the ice glinting on and off in reflected sunlight, like millions of fireflies.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Watts : (unbelieving) My goodness, look at that thing.... Sharp : We have visual of target, Houston. Velocity thirty-three hundred miles an hour.

INT. HOUSTON - MISSION CONTROL

Clark sits with Techs Flip and Skip. Golden and Temple pace behind the console.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - REAR CABIN

Harry, Chick, Bear, and Max finish buckling into their seat restraints and harnesses.

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE - REAR CABIN

A.J., Lev, Bennie, Jimbo and Tito buckle on harnesses. Bennie looks at A.J. nervously.

EXT. SPACE - APPROACHING THE MOON

The Shuttles rapidly close on the moon. The dead, luminous sphere looms larger in frame.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

THE LUNAR SURFACE completely fills the cockpit windshield. We've lost sight of the oncoming asteroid.

Sharp : Visual contact with target lost, Houston.

IN THE REAR CABIN - Harry, Chick, Bear, and Max stare in awe at the ever-approaching Moon.

EXT. SPACE - APPRAOCHING THE MOON

Shuttles Freedom and Independence shoot toward the Moon, pulled by the lunar gravitational field.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD - THE LUNAR SURFACE is only 150 miles down, looking close enough to reach down and touch.

EXT. SPACE - APPROACHING THE MOON

The two Shuttles whip into lunar orbit, moving around the Moon, continuing to accelerate, nearing its Dark side.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Clark : (into headset) How we doin', Freedom, over?

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Watts : Nearing the Dark Side, Houston, a minute thirty and counting.

EXT. SPACE - THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOON

On the Moon's opposite side, THE ASTEROID roars into frame, its trailing fragments motionless in relation to each other, travelling as a swarm, a cluster of debris. As it nears the Moon's gravitational field --

TRAILING FRAGMENTS peel away, drawn into the Moon by its lunar gravity. A relatively DEBRIS-LESS CORRIDOR begins to form on one side of the asteroid.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Skip : Twenty seconds till we lose radio contact, Director. Clark : You're on your own, Willie. You've got to raise your velocity 17 thousand miles an hour or you won't catch the target, over.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Sharp : See you on the other side, Houston. Skip : (V.O) Entering Dark Side, Freedom, and counting: ten, nine, eight, seven...

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Skip : Radio contact terminated.

The radio crackles with STATIC. ON THE TECHNICIAN'S CONSOLES, all of Freedom's and Independence's COMPUTERIZED SYSTEM MONITORS (pressurization, oxygen, electrical power, fuel capacity, etc.) GO DEAD.

Golden : They'll be pullin' nine and half G's for eleven minutes, General. Temple : Anyone done that before? Flip : Yeah. That Russian monkey in 1957. Clark : We'll pick 'em up again in sixteen minutes, Danny. Golden : If they're still alive.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - AROUND DARK SIDE OF MOON

The radio is STATIC.

Watts : Rockets ready for burn, Willie. Sharp : (over shoulder to Harry and others) Time to suck it up, people. Just pretend you're on the big roller coaster at Disneyland...(mumbles under breath) ...times a hundred....

Sharp reaches for the BOOSTER ROCKET SWITCH. He gives Watts one last look, then throws the switch.

EXT. DARK SIDE OF THE MOON - FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE

Freedom and Independence fire their BOOSTERS. The two SHUTTLES explode forward, hurtling around the Moon's DARK SIDE with a degree of increasing velocity never before experienced by man.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - REAR CABIN

Harry, Chick, Bear, and Max get hit with the first G-Forces. Their torsos press back against their seats. They flex their arms, breathing deeply, expanding their chest cavities as they were taught in training.

Harry : I hate to fly, I hate to fly, I hate to fly....

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE - REAR CABIN

A.J., Lev, Bennie, Jumbo, and Tito get slammed back by the first wave of G-Forces.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Watts reads her VELOCITY INDICATOR under G-Forces so bad she speaks through clenched teeth:

Watts : Fourteen thousand....sixteen thousand...twenty thousand miles an hour, Willie...!

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Silence. Tension. Technicians stare at their consoles.

Clark : They're hittin' the big G's right about...now. Golden : Come on, Willie, you can do this....

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - REAR CABIN

Excruciating, gut-wrenching, turn-your-intestines-inside-out G-Forces. HARRY and CHICK'S FACIAL MUSCLES distort hideously; their rubbery cheeks and lips flatten out. They continue anti-G exercises, tensing every muscle, trying to keep blood flow evenly distributed.

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE

A.J. and Bennie's distorted faces, likewise, go through the anti G-Force exercises, tensing every muscle.

EXT. LUNAR ORBIT - MASTER SHOT

IN ONE AWE-INSPIRING SHOT, we see --

Shuttles Freedom and Independence rocketing around the Moon in darkness, further and further, until finally WE SEE, increasingly, a staggering, mind blowing visual --

THE ASTEROID'S TRAILING DEBRIS appears, a HUGE CLOUD of tiny ICE CHUNKS AND PEBBLES, and much larger BOULDERS, and ICEBERGS the size of houses, the ice glinting with reflected sunlight, throwing off a dazzling SPECTRAL SHOWER OF LIGHT in all directions, and finally --

THE ASTEROID'S HUGE CORE - it has just cleared the Moon and now flies straight for it's destination - the cool, blue PLANET EARTH dead ahead across an expanse of space.

Shuttles Freedom and Independence slingshot out of the Lunar orbit and fall in behind the asteroid, settling into the DEBRIS-LESS CORRIDOR.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Continued STATIC on the radio. Everyone sits nervously waiting. Suddenly the shuttles' computerised SYSTEM MONITORS begin to click back on.

Clark : Freedom, come in, over. Independence, come in, over.

Nothing. Golden grabs the mike.

Golden : Willie? Come in, over. Willie, can you hear me...?

Total silence. A pin could drop. The N.A.S.A. Technicians stare nervously at the Central Board.

Then, suddenly through static:

Sharp : (V.0) Houston, you gotta see this to believe it....

Elation. Held breaths are exhaled. Golden and N.A.S.A. TECHNICIANS smile. No one is more relieved than Grace.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Sharp and Watts stare through the windshield at --

THE ASTEROID, below them and dead ahead. We get our first (and only temporary) clear glimpse of the designated landing field, a relatively smooth, unobstructed plane on the asteroid's surface.

Harry is green, looks like he's gonna blow chunks.

Sharp : We're awake, we're not pukin'....(looks over shoulder at Harry) ....well, Harry is. And we got a clear path to the target. Houston, over.

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE

Truman smiles.

Truman : Copy that, Freedom.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Clark gives Golden a thumbs up.

Clark : We'll take you in, guys.

EXT. SHUTTLES FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE

Freedom, in the lead, and Independence, following to the rear and side, descend through the debris-less corridor to the waiting asteroid.

Suddenly a CLOUD OF ICE AND PEBBLES wafts in front of the Shuttles.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM COCKPIT

In one terrifying second, visibility is cut to twenty feet. Then BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

PEBBLES and SMALL ICE CHUNKS strike the windshield, chipping and denting it. The impacts are violent; the interior is buffeted around. It's the space equivalent of bad hailstorm.

Sharp : Damn it....! Clark : (V.O) What is it, Willie? Sharp : Problem, Houston. We've got debris all over us!

REAR OF COCKPIT - Harry and the others, alarmed, are buffeted around violently.

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE - COCKPIT

No visibility here either. Ice chunks and pebbles BANG against the windshield.

Truman : I've got no visibility. I've lost orientation to the target!

Suddenly, as sudden as it came, the debris clears.

But a HUGE ICE BOULDER the size of a three-story building twirls into Independence's path. It hits a BOULDER which collides with another.

Truman : Big guy! Dead ahead!

Truman stabs his directional thruster button. Shuttle Independence veers to the right....

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Sharp hits his directional thruster, and Freedom veers to the left....

EXT. THROUGH THE ASTEROID'S TAIL

Freedom goes left, Independence right, splitting the ice boulder.

Freedom clears the ice boulder by a foot. Independence, not so lucky, clips the ice boulder, ripping her left thruster clean off. With one thruster, Independence careens out of control, twirling and spinning.

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE

Truman : (panicked) I lost left thruster! No control! I have no control!

In the Independence's cargo bay, one of the Armadillos RIPS free from its moorings and plunges through the CARGO BAY DOORS.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Sharp steers Freedom past the ice boulder.

Watts : Where's the other ship....?!

Suddenly the Independence, with a RIPPED OPEN CARGO BAY DOOR, careens directly across Freedom's path, filling Freedom's cockpit window, nearly colliding with her.

Sharp hits his thrusters, veering away from the damaged Independence.

Sharp and Watts watch Independence twirling toward the asteroid. Suddenly BANG!!!

The INDEPENDENCE'S ERRANT ARMADILLO strikes the Freedom's nose, spider-webbing the WINDSHIELD. Sharp and Watts recoil in terror. Watts SCREAMS.

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE

The fuselage is spinning. A.J., Bennie and the others are in terror. In the cockpit, Truman SCREAMS over the radio:

Truman : Houston, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, we're going down!

The Shuttle's roof collides with a rock. We hear SCRAPING METAL. The CEILING dents in, dislodging INTERIOR CEILING PANELS filled with wires and electrical components; they rain down on A.J. and the others.

Choas. The SPARKING CABIN fills with smoke.

Truman : Crew, go to life support!

Everyone grabs for their HELMET, frantically trying to get them on. A.J. gets his on, but he can't lock his neck seal. He fidgets with the little SEAKL LOCKS.

A.J. rips off the helmet. It slips from his fingers and floats off through the zero-g cabin!

A.J. : Goddamn it!

A.J. throws off his seat harnesses and goes after his helmet. In zero-gravity, the sides of the twirling cockpit revolve around A.J. as he moves.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

We hear a CACOPHONY OF VOICES and BANGING ROCKS against Independence's fuselage.

Truman : MAYDAY, HOUSTON, MAYDAY....!!

Golden and the N.A.S.A. personnel can only sit and listen, horrified, impotent to do anything.....

INT. SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE - REAR CABIN

AT THE BACK OF THE CABIN - A.J. reaches his helmet and frantically gets it back on. The fuselage is still twirling around him.

Bennie, strapped in and freaking out, throws off his seat harness and bolts for the SAFETY EMERGENCY HATCH equipped with EXPLOSIVE RELEASE CHARGES.

Truman sees Bennie at the Emergency Hatch. BIG ROCKS smash off the windshield in front of Truman; the windshield's safety glass is weakened, splintered, to the point of bursting.

Truman : Get away from that door!!!!

Bennie is wild-eyed, crazed.

Bennie : Go to hell, man, I ain't dyin' on this thing!!!!

A SERIES OF QUICK CUTS:

A ROCK SMASHES through the windshield, gouging into Truman. Depressurisation. Truman and Co-pilot Weston are sucked out through the windshield.

Bennie BLOWS the Emergency Hatch's explosive charges. The hatch door pulls Bennie out into space...to his death.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

FLASH CUTS: Independence's System Monitors flash off: PRESSURIZATION goes to zero; CABIN OXYGEN goes to zero; INDIVIDUAL LIFE SUPPORT MONITORS go to zero.

Independence's radio transmissions are STATIC and PANICKED VOICES. Golden runs down the aisle to Independence's monitors.

Skip : No cabin pressure! Systems-wide failure!

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - REAR CABIN

Harry and the Roughnecks are SMASHED around in their seats.

IN THE COCKPIT - THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD

A BOULDER the size of a house looms downslope. Shuttle Freedom is skidding straight for it.

Sharp and Watts watch helplessly as the Shuttle skids toward the boulder.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE

Freedom hits a SMALLER ROCK, which changes its skid angle. It clears the boulder by a foot and skids to a stop at the base of the slope.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - REAR CABIN

Harry and the others JOLT to a stop. No one moves. No one breathes. It's scary as hell.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL Golden and the other Technicians wait breathlessly for some response. Golden GRABS the mike.

Golden : Freedom. come in. (no response) Independence, come in . no response) Come in, Freedom.

Nothing. Skip buries his face in his hands. Flip chews his pencil. Golden, having lost one crew already, twists his wedding ring.

Sharp : (V.O) Houston, it's Freedom. We just landed on this son-of-a-bitch, over.

Golden and the Technicians breath a sigh of relief.

Watts : (V.O) What's the status of Independence?

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - REAR CABIN

CAMERA PUSHES IN ON HARRY, as he waits for Houston's response to this last question.

Sharp : (V.O) We lost her.

CAMERA TIGHT ON HARRY. He's lost men before, many men on oil rigs. But not A.J.....

Chick : (O.S.) Harry, Harry, Jesus Christ, this can't happen....

Harry snaps out of it, turns to Chick.

Harry : It did happen. They're gone. Deal with it. We got a lot of work to do.

Harry unharnesses himself and rises.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Golden looks at Grace. She looks back. A tear slides off her cheek to the console. Harry's daughter doesn't say a word, or break down. She just quietly rises and walks to the back of the room. Grace rubs her bare ring finger. A BEAT.

CAMERA SPIES the ZERO BARRIER CLOCK. Seven hours, 52 minutes, 000 feet drilled.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Chick, Bear, and Max prepare to disembark, donning helmet and glove assemblies, clicking neck and wrist seals into locking position.

Harry comes into the cockpit. Watts is flipping switches and reading gauges. Sharp's on the radio. A haze fills the cockpit.

Watts : Engine ignition system isn't responding.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

INTERCUT - FREEDOM/ MISSION CONTROL

Golden : What's the problem? Flip : Engine ignition. Starting diagnostics. Sharp : Houston, I don't know where we are. Tell me how far we overshot Harry's sweep spot. Advise on currant location, over.

Skip motions to Golden and Clark. They hurry over to his console. On Skip's computer screen is a MAP OF THE ASTEROID containing its geological fault lines.

Skip : They overshot their landing 26 miles. There's a different fault line, but it's deeper. Golden : How much deeper? Skip : Two hundred feet.

Golden exchanges a look with Temple.

Golden : Harry, your fault line's fifty yards off the starboard side.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Harry stalks to the rear.

Harry : Rockhound. Rockhound : Yes, sir. Harry : I'm gonna get you some surface samples and you're gonna tell me what I'm up against. Rockhound : Rocks are my life. Watts : Willie, we might be stuck.

Sharp exchanges grim looks with Pitts and Fisk over this bad information.

Harry : The good news just keeps comin'. Load up, guys.

Sharp watches Harry and the guys exit to the rear.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Freedom's cargo door opens; its RAMP unfolds to the asteroid's surface. HARRY looks out.

Freedom is in a small, cold, dark valley. The asteroid's face is tilted away from the Earth and Sun. THE MOON is huge on our rear horizon. The place is eerily calm and tranquil. Harry walks down the ramp onto the asteroid surface.

INT. FREEDOM CARGO BAY - INSIDE ARMADILLO

Chick, at the Armadillo's controls, engages gears.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

The Armadillo rumbles out of the cargo bay, carrying Bear, Max, Rockhound and Pitts over the wheel wells.

The Armadillo drives 50 yards from Freedom and parks. The guys hop down, turning on their PRO-GRAVITY THRUSTERS. Bear begins off-loading 20-foot long DRILLING PIPES.

Harry takes readings from a SEISMIC INSTRUMENT. Pulls out a SOIL SAMPLER, a small shovel on a telescoping shaft. He digs it in with his boot. Clang. It doesn't dig in at all. He walks around, stabbing it into the ground. CLANG. CLANG.

Chick exchanges nervous looks with Bear and Max.

Harry : Bedrock. Whole goddamn place is Bedrock.

Harry examines the ground. Not satisfied. He finds a spot he likes; digs an "X" in the soil with his boot.

Harry : (cont'd) Here. Fire up the Bad Boy bit.

Chick, Max and Bear go into action. Max screws the Bad Boy bit onto the first drilling pipe. Bear hoists the pipe up to the DRILLING MECHANISM, muscles it onto the DRILL DRIVE, then clamps it on.

Harry plugs a TEE and GOLF BALL into the craggy surface. He waggles his club, a 5-IRON HEAD, screwed onto the soil sampler's shaft.

Pitts : What's he doing? Chick : Wildcatters are superstitious, Colonel. Harry does this every time we break ground.

He swings....WHACK! The ball rockets off the tee and keeps going...and going...

Harry : HOLE NUMBER 77. Let 'er rip!

Chick throws a lever, lowering the BAD BOY BIT into the rocky, icy surface. Down the drill pipe goes, unimpeded, 10 feet just like that. It suddenly stops. It's turning, but not drilling. Bear and Max approach the drill hole.

Bear : What in hell's down there? Harry : Chick, bring 'er up!

Chick throws it in reverse. The DRILLING ARM reverses out of the hole. The Bad Boy bot comes up CHEWED TO SHREDS. Harry and the guys examine the drill bit. Everyone exchanges a worried look.

Max : The dream. It's my dream. Harry : Shut up, Max. (looks at Bear) What's with the look? Get that off your face. You've seen bits get eaten before. Bear : Not after ten feet. Chick : The first ten better be the worst ten. Harry : Go to the Terminator.

Chick grabs Harry's mysterious METAL CASE. Harry pops open the metal case, revealing THE TERMINATOR, a super high-tech bit.

Harry : I designed you. I built you. You are the enemy of all subterranean shit. You are the king. It's showtime.

Harry passes it to Bear, who screws it onto the drilling pipe, Rockhound scoops up a COLLECTION OF DOWNHOLE ROCK CHIPS.

Harry : (cont'd) Hit it, Chick.

The DRILL PIPE turns. Sediment comes WHOOSHING out of the hole and -- THE DRILL PIPE descends like a bitch.

INT. FREEDOM

Sharp, Watts, Pitts and Fisk have a PANEL removed, exposing the guts of Freedom's wiring and components. Watts and Sharp are inside the panel, scrunched against the fuselage wall, unbolting a large COMPONENT. Watts hands Pitts and Fisk a SMALLER COMPONENT.

Watts : Unbolt the housing. There and there.

INT. ARMADILLO

The rock CHIPS spew into the COLLECTOR in front of ROCKHOUND. Harry looks on.

Harry : What do you make of that?

Rockhound picks up several chips. Draws them close to his eyes.

Rockhound : Oh my. Oh my, my, my. This isn't rock. It's uhh, it's uhh, it's......iron. Harry : Iron deposit? Rockhound : (shakes head) No. It's been melted. Forged rather. I've only seen this once - at a volcano in Hawaii. (looks up at Harry) You're drilling into a big slab of cast-iron, Mr. Stamper.

INT. FREEDOM

Harry picks up the radio.

Harry : Give me Dan Golden.

INTERCUT - MISSION CONTROL / FREEDOM

Golden's handed the phone.

Golden : Yeah, Harry. What's your situation?

INTERCUT - GOLDEN AND TEMPLE IN MISSION CONTROL / HARRY ON FREEDOM

Harry : Situation? You put me down on the worst possible place on this asteroid. I'm drillin' into something I shouldn't. The hole just ate one of my diamond-tipped bits in thirty minutes. That has never happened to me in twenty years. Golden : You're forty minutes in. You should be down 150 feet. How far are you? Harry : Not far. (beat) Twenty-three feet.

CLOSE ON Golden as he looks at Temple.

Temple : This is an exercise in futility. Golden : (to Harry) "Don't tell me what you can't do, tell me what you can." Remember that, Stamper? Go faster. Harry : We will. Golden : How?

INT. FREEDOM CARGO BAY

Sharp and Pitts enter. Fisk hands Sharp the phone.

Sharp : Sharp, over.

PUSH IN on Sharp in EXTREME CLOSE-UP. His jaw tightens. His eyes dart.

Sharp : (cont'd) Sir, the bird can't fly. Temple : (V.O.) Well, you need to get it fixed unless you want to die along with that asteroid.

A LONG PAUSE, as Sharp listens.

Sharp :(cont'd) Yes, sir. Temple : (V.O.) And, I don't want those drillers knowing about this. They have enough to worry about just drilling the damn ole. Collinswood : (V.O.) Colonel Sharp, this is Chief of Staff Collinswood. Have Pitts and Fisk prepare to detonate that nuke on the surface. Too many lives are at stake here. Have them standing by. Sharp : On your order sir.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - A TINY VALLEY - ESTABLISHING

The gnarled WRECK OF SHUTTLE INDEPENDENCE lies below. Twisted metal and cabin materials strewn everywhere.

INT. INDEPENDENCE CRASH SITE

CAMERA moves through the wreckage of Independence. Nightmarish. EMERGENCY LIGHTS still on battery flicker. The shattered windshield; the blown emergency hatch; A CORPSE lies face down, helmet half on, half off; Independence's huge tubular NUCLEAR DEVICE.

Something moves on the ceiling. REVEAL A.J. hanging upside down, caught in the twisted fuselage skin. A.J. cuts himself down. He twirls to the ground. Sees LEGS MOVING UNDER RUBBLE.

A.J. throws off the rubble, revealing Lev, dazed but alive. A.J. helps him to his feet.

Lev : What happened to the others....

A.J. and Lev move toward the cockpit.

A.J. : (grabs the radio) Freedom, come in, over. Freedom, come in, over.... Freedom...? (shaking head) It's you and me.

A.J. smashes the radio in frustration.

EXT. FREEDOM - DRILLING SITE

Chick and Bear screw on a new length of drill pipe. Chick engages the gears. The drill pipe descends. THE TERMINATOR is working. Harry approaches from the shuttle.

Harry : How far? Chick : Almost 60 feet and startin' to kick ass!

Suddenly GRRRR. CLANG. BANG. The drill pipe stops. Harry walks over to the hole.

Chick : (cont'd) That did not sound good. Harry : Increase r.p.m.

Chick throws the lever. The drill pipe turns faster, but still doesn,t descend. Harry and the guys crowd around the drilling hole.

Max : Freaky, man. Bear : I got one of those big-time crappy feelings about this. Harry : We gotta get more power down to this bit. (thinks; looks up at Chick) Full throttle. Chick : You sure? Harry : Yeah, I'm sure. Chick : I don't think she can take it. Harry : She's gonna have to. Chick : The last time we ran her at full throttle we ripped her up! Harry : I don't have time to argue, Chick, now goddamn it, throttle up, or I'll come up there and do it for you.

Chick reluctantly throws the lever to FULL THROTTLE. The TURBINE ENGINE ROARS. The DRILL PIPE turns faster in the hole. The TURBINE ENGINE is shaking the Armadillo. The drill pipe is descending again. Suddenly BANG!! The CLUTCH rupture, spewing the CLUTCH PLATES and GEARS into space.

Harry : Stop!

Chick throws it into reverse. Up comes THE TERMINATOR, CHEWED TO SHREDS. Bear and Max look at it, then each other. Very worried now.

Bear : The Terminator's terminated. Chick : The clutch is dead. Harry : We're goin' to the second rig.

Harry stalks off toward the Shuttle.

Harry : (cont'd) We need the second Armadillo. Sharp : We'll bring it out to you.

Harry moves to get his pipe tongs. Fisk and Pitts are next to the uncovered nuclear bomb. Harry looks at the bomb.

EXT. FREEDOM - DRILL SITE

Chick, Bear and Max listen to Harry over the inter-crew link.

INTERCUT WITH ABOVE.

INT. FREEDOM

Harry : Why don't we cut to the chase, fellahs? What the fuck is going on with that other nuke?

Harry stares at the nuclear weapon.

Sharp : Stamper, if you can't drill the hole, we're detonating this thing on the surface....

Chick and the guys eye each other. Harry walks off, pissed off....

INT. MISSION CONTROL

Golden and Clark are hunched over monitors. Two MILITARY AIDES carrying a NUCLEAR COMMAND LINK (FOOTBALL) SUITCASE.

Golden, alarmed, tries to figure out what they have.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Chick, Bear and Max enter through the airlock. Everyone turns and stares at Sharp.

Sharp : There's no way in hell you're gonna get that hole dug, and you know it. Harry : Well, it wasn't my scientists that told me about the fucking fire cracker inside the hand story. Are we detonating on the surface or are we gonna drill? Bear : I didn't come up here to die. Chick : I say we drill. They say we have until Zero Barrier. Sharp : (freaked out) That hole better be dug in two hours, or we're detonating. Whether you're on this godforsaken rock or not! Harry : We're drilling.

Harry and his crew file out.

INT. MISSION CONTROL - NIGHT

Golden : (to Temple) What is going on up there? Temple : Your drillers aren't doing the job, Dan. Golden : After 15 minutes? What do you expect? Temple : Golden, we are preparing for surface detonation. Golden : A surface detonation isn't going to do it, General. My scientists have already told you that. It must be detonated inside the asteroid. The alternative is that the Earth will be bombarded by smaller matter which will be just as catastrophic.

Temple stares off pensively into the sky.

Temple : We have a lot better chance of surviving the "smaller matter." The drillers have two hours (to the Aides) I want you ready on my command.

The Adjutants prepare the nuclear command link.

Military Adjutant : Sir, we have interface with the weapon. Remote detonator standing by.

INT. INDEPENDENCE - CRASH SITE

Lev is sitting on the ground, head in his hands, completely demoralised.

Lev : I feel like Skywalker Luke when he learn Darth Vader his father. What I should do? A.J. : Get up, we got work to do. Lev : A.J., let me cash in my chips. A.J. : Lev, we're getting off this rock, if I have to drag your ass the whole way. (off Lev's look) Now get up!

A.J. walks into the Independence cargo bay, detached from the nose section. Then climbs into Independence's Armadillo.

A.J. : C'MON LEV, PUT YOUR WEIGHT INTO IT!

EXT. INDEPENDENCE - WRECKAGE OF CARGO BAY

Lev is prying open the cargo bay ramp door (the hydraulics are shot).

LEV : YOU COME PUSH, YANKEE....

INT. - MISSION CONTROL

Golden turns to Temple.

Golden : The asteroid's surface is heating up. Temple : What does that mean? Golden : It means they may not be able to work on the surface for much longer. The temperatures will be unbearable.

EXT. INDEPENDENCE - WRECKAGE OF CARGO BAY

The Armadillo, engine rumbling, is poised to roll Independence's long tubular NUCLEAR WEAPON which has been ejected with other debris from the broken fuselage.

Lev : Wait A.J.! We drive over nuclear weapon and we finished before we started. A.J. : So move it.

Lev jams a pipe between the ARMING DEVIC and the nuke. As he rolls the nuke over, the arming device detaches, rips off, and clatters to the ground.

INT. MISSION CONTROL

Temple : Golden, tell your drillers the clock is ticking. I have 6 billion people down here relying on them!

In the b.d. hangs a crayon drawing of sunny day by Temple's daughter.

Temple : (cont'd) A lot of people are die....

INT. INDEPENDENCE - CRASH SITE

The ARMADILLO blasts through the cargo bay door. A.J. and Lev roll off away from the Independence.

A.J. cranes his neck looking out through the Armadillo. A RIDGE with THRE TALL SPIRES is in the distance, ringed with LIGHT from Freedom's FLOOD LIGHTS.

A half-smile from A.J: hope.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Sharp comes back from the cockpit, carrying the detonator. Harry's on the phone to Golden.

Harry : ...You told me that the only way to deal with this hunk 'o crud is to get a nuke 1000 feet down. You sticking with that? Golden : (V.O.) Firmly. Harry : Great. Glad we have that understanding. Golden : (V.O.) IF you're gonna pull this off, we have to have a little talk about time...and temperature. Zero Barrier's in two hours. Harry : Wait...wait..what about temperature? When did temperatures come into the picture? Golden : (V.O.) Harry, your suits are good upto 150 degrees Celsius.... Harry : And...? How hot is it going to get? Golden : (V.O.) We didn't anticipate you being on the asteroid so long. The clock is ticking... Harry : How hot is it going to get?! Golden : (V.O.) Three hundred and fifty degrees.

Harry's face drops.

Harry : Thanks for telling us now, Golden....I don't think my bits can handle those kind of temperatures....

INT. FREEDOM - CARGO BAY

Harry clicks off the radio.

Watts : We've still gotta fix this shuttle, Stamper. Harry : Give me some more good news. You've got two new assistants who can fix your shuttle. Bear, Max, hop to it. There's not a machine they can't fix. We can handle the hole from here.

EXT. SHUTTLE FRREDOM

The airlock opens. Sharp and Pitts are led out by Harry.

Harry : Colonel Sharp, if we're going to blow this hole, you gotta help ME. I need some more manpower....

EXT. FREEDOM DRILL SITE - MINUTES LATER

The SECOND ARMADILLO rumbles out of Freedom's cargo bay. Chick and the Roughnecks work like a NASCAR pit crew. Sharp and Pitts lay on their backs holding down a 1000 pound axle, fighting zero-g.

Suddenly, the ground begins to tremble.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - FRONT OF "THREE SPIRES RIDGE"

A.J.'s ARMADILLO rumbles over a little hill revealing the RIDGE WTH THREE SPIRES directly in front of them. THE SUN is moving over the asteroid's FAR HORIZON, causing a "sunrise." It is breathtaking, spiritual...and frighteningly bright.

INT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO

A.J. : Over the hill.

Suddenly, the ground under the vehicle shakes sharply. A.J. stops the Armadillo.

The ground around the vehicle heaves up and down. The GROUND SPLITS. One TECTONIC PLATE rises 15 feet in the air. The ground breaks like a wave, up and down.

INT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Here, too, the ground shakes. Bear, terrified, drops a DRILL PIPE. Max is shaken to the ground.

Chick is nearly thrown off the Armadillo.

Chick : Clear the rig!!!

Chick jumps down, bouncing. Everybody gets the hell away from the drilling hole.

INT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO

The asteroid shakes violently, throwing A.J. and Lev around the cab. ROCKS BANK down on the Armadillo's top and hood. The ASTEROID SURFACE continues splitting apart across the slope's fall line.

A.J. : EARTHQUAKE!

The asteroid RUMBLES a few more seconds, then the quake slowly stops. All is stll.

A.J. : (cont'd) Let's take a look.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE

Lev gets out; he nervously paces back and forth across the lip of the fissure.

Lev : This bad. (repeating, mantra) Darth Vader. Darth Vader. A.J. : Listen, Mr. Negative. Everyone thinks we're dead. We're not. So, suck it up. Because if we don't drill that hole, six billion people are going to die. And I'm not lettin' Harry Stamper get all the freaking credit for saving the world. (firm) We're gona do this, then we're going home. Lev : I l-o-v-e this American confidence! Like John Wayne. (sotto) This why I suspect you won Cold War. A.J. : Hep me get these rocks over there.

A.J. and Lev start dragging rocks to use as a "kicker ramp" for the jump. Lev is oblivious. They pull embedded rock out, revealing DIAMONDS. A.J. holds up a large chunk.

A.J. : (cont'd) This outta cut into a sweet wedding ring. Lev : (holding chunk) With this I can rebuild my MIR.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Chick, Bear, and Max cautiously approach the drill hole. Everything seems okay. Chick climbs back up to the drill-drive platform.

Chick : Back to work!

Bear grabs the drill pipe and hoists it: back to work.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - "THREE SPIRES RIDGE"

A.J. is walking along the GAPING, JAGGED FISSURE, 50 feet wide, 50 feet deep, stretching across the entire slope.

Lev : This bad, this very bad, very, very bad... A.J. : Stick a cork in it, Lev. I'm tryin' to think.

A.J. stares at the fissure, his eyes roaming from the fissure...to the Armadillo...back to the fissure.

A.J. : (cont'd) Hop on the back. Get our weight distributed better. Lev : (uncertain) And why to do this? A.J. : Because I'm askin'. And turn your suit's thrusters off. Trust me, okay?

A.J. gets in the Armadillo. Lev goes around back, climbs on the REAR BUMPER. He clicks off his pressure suit's pro-gravity thrusters.

Lev : Okey-doke.

The Armadillo begins backing down the slope.

INT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO

A.J. throws it in neutral. The Armadillo stops.

A.J. : Hey, Lev, we're gonna see what this Porche engine can do....

He throws it in drive. The Armadillo lurches ahead.

EXT. A.J..'S ARMADILLO - BACK BUMPER

The Armadillo's REAR TIRES CHURN FORWARD, slinging rocks and gravel which, in zero- g, shoot off in a stream into space, never falling. Lev holds on for dear life.

A.J.'S Armadillo churns up the slope like a Bronco 4X4, slinging gravel, heading for THE JAGGED FISSURE. It FLIES over the fissure's edge as --

INT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO

-- A.J. punches the Armadillo's PRO-GRAVITY THRUSTER "OFF" SWITCH.

EXT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO - ROOF

-- the Armadillo's roof-mounted PRO-GRAVITY THRUSTERS shut down.

EXT. ASTEROID - "THREE SPIRES RIDGE" - JAGGED FISSURE

The Armadillo, no longer thrusting downwardly, flies across the jagged fissure in zero-g. The heavy steel vehicle doesn't fall. It ascends, and amazingly, shoots across the entire 50 foot expanse of jagged fissure.

EXT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO - BACK BUMPER

Lev looks down. The FISSURE passes beneath him, then SOLID GROUND again. They've cleared the fissure....but they're not coming down.

Lev : A.J., up is bad! Down!

INT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO

A.J. punches the PRO-GRAVITY THRUSTER "START" SWITCH. Nothing....

EXT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO - BACK BUMPER

The thruster nozzles SPUTTER, but no thrust. The Armadillo is 50 feet off the ground and still ascending...into outer space. Lev, his next stop being Planet Mars, panics. He climbs the roof and peers inside the front windshield, POUNDING ON THE WINDSHIELD.

Lev : Down! Not up! Up is bad! Down!

INT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO

The Armadillo continues lifting into space, from which there is no return. A.J. toggles the "start" switch. The swtich's INDICATOR LIGHT FLICKERS.

A.J. : HOLD ON, LEV, I GOT HER WORKIN'!!

EXT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO

Not quite. Only the right-front and right-rear THRUSTER NOZZLES fire, pushing the right side downward, rolling the Armadillo over on its side. Lev, on the bumper, clings to the rear-mounted TOW WINCH AND CABLE ASSEMBLY.

Suspended in zero-g, on its side and in mid-air, the Armadillo is pushed by thrusters, tires-first, against the SHEER, 90 DEGREE CLIFF FACE next to the slope. All four Armadillo tires slam against the cliff. The Armadillo bounces off.

Lev, grabbing the Armadillo's TOWING CABLE, flies off the rear. The cable spools out and LEV, hanging on for all he's worth, SLAMS against the cliff face and descends....

INT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO

A.J., lying sideways, keeps toggling the thruster START SWITCH. The indicator light finally FLASHES "IN" and A.J. rams it into drive --

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - CLIFF FACE / ARMADILLO

-- the Armadillo, all four thrusters now working, drives sideways across the cliff face dragging Lev, who bounces against the cliff face and gradually falls, until he's bouncing on the asteroid surface.

The Armadillo finally falls down the cliff face and skids to a stop.

INT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO

A.J., shaken, takes a deep breath and gets out.

EXT. A.J.'S ARMADILLO - REAR

A.J. walks to the rear. Lev splayed out 50 feet from the back of the Armadillo, covered in asteroid surface dirt and grime, looks up at him.

Lev : Very bad idea, A.J.

EXT. FREEDOM - DRILLING SITE

Harry orders his crew to start the drill up. The men drill a shitload of feet in record time. They finally burst through the rock and hit easy sediment.

The asteroid is spinning toward sunlight. Here, too, there is a sunrise. Bear's face sweats inside the helmet. Chick's vision begins to blur. Tito takes a seat on a nearby rock, exhausted.

Chick : Mutha...it's getting warm. Bear : (worried) We got that sunrise, Harry. These bits are gonna fry up......

Suddenly the TRANSMISSION LINKAGE in the Armadillo BLOWS.

Harry : Goddamn it! (thinks) We'' take the tranny from the other rig! And if you wanna complain about the heat, go to some other fucking asteroid....Toughen up. Sharp : (to Roughnecks) Let's move it.....let's go, guys.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Chick and Bear yank the detached good TRANSMISSION HOUSING from inside Armadillo 2 and carry it across to Armadillo 1.

INT. ARMADILLO 1 - CABIN

Max finishes unbolting the BROKEN TRANSMISSION HOUSING. He passes it to Chick who dumps it on the surface. Sharp and Truman work with Bear and Chick who feed in the good transmission housing.

Max presses the airlock. The doors close and the cabin pressurises. Max clicks off his helmet. He begins installing the transmission housing and the linkage.

EXT. ARMADILLO 1

Chick and Bear, atop the drilling platform, begin installing the clutch plates and transmission linkage.

Harry : Move guys, move it.....

Bolting, bolting, bolting, connecting, connecting.....

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL - DAY

Skip is analysing the asteroid's THERMAL READINGS. A MULTI-COLORED THERMAL IMAGE MAP shows most of the asteroid is GREEN (no heat), but around the chosen landing site are numerous RED SPOTS (heat).

Skip : Look at these thermals. This is BEFORE sunlight hits the drill site. She's really heating up....

INT. ARMADILLO

Max is bolting. The DOWNHOLE PRESSURE GAUGE NEEDLE jolts. Max doesn't see it. He keeps working.

EXT. DRILLING SITE

Harry's watching the work. Out of the corner of his eye... THE DRILLING ARM KICKS. Harry turns to it. Nothing happens. His eyes move back to Chick and Bear, then back to the drilling arm. It kicks up again. Just a few inches.

Harry : Chick. Unbolt the tranny. Chick : We just put it in. Harry : Do it. NOW.

Chick, confused, starts unbolting the tranny. Suddenly the well kicks hard, one foot high. Chick's jostled. BANG!! The RIG KICKS HARD, THREE FEET, bucking Chick off.

Chick scrambles back up to the drill platform.

The ground shakes. a terrific TREMBLER rumbles through the valley. Harry, Max and Bear cling to the side of the Armadillo. Chick's nearly thrown off.

Harry : (cont'd) GET THE TRANNY OUTTA THERE! WE LOSE THE TRANNY, WE'RE DEAD MEN!!

Harry climbs up to the DRILL PLATFORM. The GROUND SHAKES violently, throwing harry and Chick around the top of the drill platform.

Harry : Max, you gotta get those bolts undone!

INT. ARMADILLO - REAR COMPARTMENT

Max is furiously unbolting the TRANNY HOUSING. There are two bolts to go. He ratches one off....

Max : I'm doin' it, I'm doin' it.

Max gets to the last bolt....

Harry : (V.O.) Go Max, go Max, get the last bolt....!

Max gets the last bolt undone.

Max : DONE!!

EXT. ARMADILLO - DRILL PLATFORM

Chick and Harry pull the unfastened TRANNY HOUSING out of the Armadillo as --

INT. ARMADILLO - REAR COMPARTMENT

Max stares at the DOWNHOLE PRESSURE GAUGES, groping through the compartment for his helmet.

Max : Pressure's through the roof! Shit, where's my helmet....!?

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Suddenly the DRILLING ARM jolts upward, lifting the ARMADILLO SIX FEET off the ground.

Chick : She's gonna blow! Harry : MAX, GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!!!

INT. ARMADILLO - REAR COMPARTMENT

Max is thrown against a wall of the rear compartment.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

The DRILLING ARM KICKS again, six feet this time, tossing the Armadillo over on two wheels.

INT. ARMADILLO - REAR COMPARTMENT

Max is SLAMMED against the wall again. Terrified, he grabs for his helmet and locks the NECK SEALS.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

A DEEP RUMBLING emanates from the drilling hole, coming seemingly from the ASTEROID'S CORE. Harry gets to his feet and SLAMS HIS FIST against the Armadillo's SIDE.

Harry : CLEAR THE RIG!

Everyone scatters....

INT. ARMADILLO - REAR COMPARTMENT

Max, helmet on, is frantically scrambling to the airlock, but there's no time...

Max : I CAN'T DEPRESSURIZE!!

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

WIth an awesome force, the DRILLING HOLE BLOWS. The DRILLING PIPE EXPLODES upward, lifting the DRILLING ARM and the ENTIRE ARMADILLO VEHICLE with it. THE ENTIRE RIG blows upward into space.

INT. ARMADILLO - REAR COMPARTMENT

Max punches the DOOR LOCK without depressurising the cabin and is sucked violently out of the rear compartment into open space.

EXT. SPACE OVER ASTEROID SURFACE

FIFTY FEET OF DRILL PIPE, THE DRILLING ARM, and the entire ARMADILLO RIG with MAX trailing, BLOWS into space. MAX'S FACE is a screaming mask of terror and confusion, reaching out, but there's no one to catch him....Harry and the guys watch in helpless silence as the drill rig and Max ascend into space.

Chick : Max.....No. No. No.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL - DAY

Skip motions to Golden. He comes over.

Skip : They just lost the rig. The hole blew out.

Golden takes the news stoically. He thinks, looking across the room at Temple. He looks at the clock. ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES TO GO.

Golden : Say nothing.

EXT. FREEDOM - DRILLING SITE

Silence. A stark tableau. Harry and the men standing there, just watching. Devastated, confused, in shock. This is a total catastrophe. The mission is over.

Sharp nods to Pitts. Pitts picks up the REMOTE NUCLEAR DETONATOR.

Sharp : Stamper, you ready to blow this? Let's get outta here...!

Harry ignores him. He won't accept defeat.

Harry : Chick, get your butt over here.

Chick drags his ass over to Harry.

Chick : Yeah. Harry : We're gonna fix this - make it work. If we weld those two together and go in one speed....

Chick : Harry.... Harry : Get your ass up here!

Chick doesn't move. The two men stare at each other.

Chick : I've been with you fourteen years. I've never said this to you, never thought I would. It's over.

Chick walks off toward the shuttle. Bear joins him.

Harry, atop of the Armadillo, looks around. His head drops...he's burning up. His fist clenches the HALF MEDALLION in his hand (where is it - clipped to suit - in pouch of suit?) His eyes shut tightly. He is going to will victory from defeat. He will not give up.

CAMERA'S at low angle, giving Harry a larger-than-life look.

Harry hears something. A LOW RUMBLE. It is confusing. It sounds like......an ARMADILLO ENGINE.

Harry opens his eyes. He slowly turns and looks --

ACROSS THE VALLEY - ON THE DISTANT RIDGE - The front bumper of A.J.'s Armadillo inches over the ridge crest.

HARRY, for the first time on the asteroid, smiles. Miracles do happen.

HARRY : CHICK...BEAR!!!

Chick and Bear about ready to enter the Freedom's airlock, stop and turn. They see A.J.'S ARMADILLO ROARING down the hillside onto the drilling site.

EXT. FREEDOM - DRILLING SITE

A.J. and Lev roar up to the drilling site in the Independence's Armadillo. They come down a hill spectacularly without brakes and it piles into shit, knocking things down.

Lev and A.J. bounce up to Chick and Bear.....hugs and high-fives go around.

Bear : A.J. Frost. Back from the dead. Chick : Now you can die with us. Harry : All the bits are gone, A.J. I've been inventing drill bits for twenty-five years and I don't know what to use. A.J. : You wouldn't happen to need a diamond tipper, would you?

A.J. pulls out the POUCH OF DIAMONDS, found on the ridge.

Harry : Boys, we're back in business!

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL - DAY

Golden stares at the wall. Grace is curled up on a chair in the corner.

Harry : (V.O.) We have good news folks. A.J. and the Russian just showed up. No other survivors.

Grace shuts her eyes, smiling. Sobbing.

EXT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - AFTERNOON

Chick shuts off an ARC WELDER and moves aside, letting Harry view a DRILL BIT with A.J.'S DIAMONDS mounted on the top like diamonds in a ring setting. Harry and the guys smile.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

The NEWLY CREATED DRILL BIT lowers into the drilling hole and begins turning. It CHEWS into the shit down below, WHIRRING and RIPPING and......descends quickly.

Chick : It worked! She's goin' through her like a hot knife through butter!

BEGIN MONTAGE:

The men drill a shitload of feet in very little time. It is a feverish pace, their teamwork perfectly timed, as if choreographed.

QUICK CUTS:

--A.J. working the levers on the drill platform.

--Hydraulic tongs clamping, unclamping on pipe.

--Bear hoisting pipe.

--Chick and Bear waiting with connecting pipe.

--The drilling arm going up and down.

--Newly connected drill pipes descending into the hole.

--Harry watching, shouting orders.

--There are serious wind storms, giving Harry, A.J., and the other guys problems. So severe they knock guys across the asteroid.

END MONTAGE

INT. MISSION CONTROL

Skip looks at thermal readings with alarm.

Skip : Dan, the surface is heating up!

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Harry : Time, A.J. A.J. : One hour. Harry : Distance, Chick. Chick : Eight hundred and twenty feet, Harry. Harry : We gotta do 180 in thirty minutes. Chick : Downhole pressure's goin' through the roof! Harry : Stop! Shut down.

Chick throws the lever. The drill pipe stops turning.

A.J. : Harry, we can't stop. Harry : Got to, kid. No choice. A.J. : Drill right through the pressure to pay dirt. Harry : That's crazy. A.J. : Sometimes crazy works.

Harry and A.J. stare at each other.

Harry : Chick, A.J.'s callin' this one. A.J. : Full throttle!

Chick throws the lever. The DRILL PIPE descends on full throttle.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL - DAY

All the TECHNICIANS stand, staring at the CENTRAL BOARD, where a graph shows the drilling progress.

Flip : Nine hundred and eighty...Nine ninety...they're into the fault, they're doing it.

Golden looks at the CLOCK. THIRTY-ONE MINUTES TO GO. He twists his wedding ring.

Golden : Now just get the thing in the hole.

All the TECHNICIANS stare at their monitors. The atmosphere is thick with tension. Clark chews his nails.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

The HOLE'S finished, the drill pipe's been pulled; A.J. drives the ARMADILLO safely away from the site.

Watts and Sharp roll a GURNEY containing the NUCLEAR DEVICE (a massive stainless steel tube) down Freedom's cargo bay RAMP toward the hole. Harry and all the Roughnecks stand by the HOLE.

Harry : One thousand feet. Chick : (smiles) Thousand and three, Harry. With a half hour to spare.

Sharp and Watts roll the NUCLEAR DEVICE GURNEY past the Roughnecks up to the drilling hole.

Harry : Get the pipe and bit outta there.

Chick gets inside the Armadillo. Grabs the stick-shift. Compresses the clutch and throws it in reverse.

THE DRILL PIPE begins to reverse out of the hole.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Skip : She's gettin' hotter! Gotta mean gas - methane, helium, probably water vapor.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

The DRILL PIPE turns sloely, retracting from the hole. Bear, atop the drilling platform, is working on something with a wrench.

Bear accidently drops his wrench. It falls on the turbine's RIPPED MESH PROTECTIVE SCREEN and hangs there. Bear looks at it nervously and reaches...THE WRENCH falls into the turbine spinning at six-thousand r.p.m. With a GRINDING SQUEAL, the wrench shrapnel blows out of the turbine and --

THE DRILLING ARM reverses speeds and VIOLENTLY THRUSTS THE PIPE FORWARD, buckling it. A piece of the drill string is BLOWN OUT, smashing into Sharp's helmet, spider- webbing his faceshield. He's out cold.

Harry and the guys dive away from the hole. Chick, confused, works the clutch furiously to no avail. THE DRILLING ARM RAMS THE PIPE back down the hole, where it BUCKLES, BENDS AND BREAKS IN HALF.

Tito tends to Sharp..his face has lost all color. Harry approaches the hole. Looks down. FIFTY FEET DOWN IS A MESS OF MANGLED PIPE, blocking the hole.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL - DAY

Golden continues looking at the THERMAL IMAGING.

Golden : Harry, c'mon, we got thirty minutes.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Harry : Well, Dan, you're just going to have to goddamn wait 'CAUSE WE GOTTA BIG PROBLEM UP HERE IN HELL. (turns to guys) Somebody's gotta go down there. Chick : Don't look at me. Bear : I can't even get my foot in there.

Harry turns and eyes A.J. A.J. stares down the hole.

Harry : Do or die, kid.

CLOSE ON A.J. as he peers into the hole.

A.J. : Something I've been meaning to talk to you about. When this is all over and we're back home, I'd like to marry your daughter....

Harry stares at A.J., the look priceless.

A.J. : (cont'd) Maybe I'll ask her again later....

Harry turns around..looking up at the star-filled sky. A.J. walks over to Sharp...who's coming to now.

Harry : (to Golden) Oh yeah, Golden? Golden : (V.O.) Go ahead, Harry. Harry : Your shuttle pilot just took a nasty shot from a drill string.... Golden : Is he alright? Harry : I hope so, he's gotta get us off this shithole.

INT. DRILLING HOLE

A.J, tied to a SAFETY TETHER, comes down the hole with a HAND-HELD CUTTER and a LENGTH OF ROPE. He reaches the obstruction. The DRILL PIPE has been mashed, bent, buckled. Severed ends stab into the sides of the hole. A.J. starts cutting with the hand-held cutter.

EXT. DRILLING HOLE

The guys stand there, watching. Nothing happens. Agonising seconds pass. Suddenly the ground rumbles. Another EARTHQUAKE. It slowly starts to subside.

INT. DRILLING HOLE

The hole shakes. A.J. freezes, sweating.

Harry : (V.O.) A.J., we need you. I need everything you got.

A.J. wrestles with the severed pipes, untangling them, tying the ROPE to them. He gives the rope a tug. Chick and Bear, above, pull up the broken pipes.

EXT. DRILLING HOLE

Sharp : Enter interface with the weapon.

Pitts clicks a six digit code into a DIGITAL PAD on the DEVICE'S REMOTE DETONATOR.

Pitts : Device armed.

The NUCLEAR DEVICE has a small SLED with RATCHET WHEELS to let it slide down the hole slowly. Sharp and Watts lift one end of the gurney. THE NUCLEAR DEVICE slides off the gurney toward the MOUTH OF THE DRILLING HOLE.

NT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL - DAY

The thermal and seismic sensors BEING TRANSMITTED FROM FREEDOM START GOING CRAZY

Skip : It's a mess up there...!

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

ANOTHER TEMBLOR hits, the worst yet, 9.7 on Earth. Watts falls, losing her grip on the gurney; her end collapses. THE NUCLEAR DEVICE lurches sideways off the gurney and rolls away from the drilling hole......

The NUCLEAR DEVICE slides off the gurney....

INT. DRILLING HOLE

A.J. experiences the DEEPEST, MOST SINISTER RUMBLE YET, emanating form the asteroid's core, something from hell. There's a horrendous WHOOSHING SOUND.

A WINDSTORM OF PEBBLE, like a blowing tornado, whooshes up from the hole, smashing into A.J.'S FACESHIELD.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Everyone whirls around in the sound's direction as --

ACROSS THE VALLEY FLOOR - A 100 FOOT METHANE GEYSER erupts, spewing a PLUME OF HIDEOUS GREENISH GAS into space. Then another 200 FEET HIGH! Another 500 FEET HIGH! The ASTEROID has become alive. The geyser's eruptions loosen the asteroid's surface material and --

INT. DRILLING HOLE

A.J. : THIS SUCKS....

A.J. is whooshed violently out of the hole.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

PEBBLES AND HOT STEAM BLASTS from the drilling hole. Everyone recoils....

Harry : Get back!!

A.J. shoots out of the pipe, tethering the SAFETY LINE behind him, blowing into space. The safety tether snaps and RIPS off. A.J. is 70 feet off the surface. Harry dives for his ripped tether. Catching it, inches before A.J.'s thrown into space.

Harry and Bear grab A.J.'s safety tether and begin to pull him down. Chick stares at something O.S., his jaw drops.

Chick : This thing definitely doesn't like us.

CHUNKS OF THE ASTEROID, some as big as trucks, others as big as houses, dislodge from the ASTEROID SURFACE and, slowly at first, but with terrifyingly increasing speed and momentum.....

.... they start rolling.

HARRY AND THE GUYS just stand there, disbelieving what they're seeing.

On come the ROCKS and ICE CHUNKS, rolling. As they hit smaller surface rocks, they take little hops, and bigger hops, until they are BOUNDING across the surface. Harry lashes A.J.'s tether to the Armadillo.

Harry and the guys run for their lives.

In the midst of this --

-- A 500 FOOT HIGH GEYSER erupts next to the drilling hole. Pitts gets blasted by the geyser, which blows him across the asteroid floor, SLAMMING him into the parked Armadillo. A BOULDER rolls at Pitts and squashes him against the ARMADILLO , killing him.

A 20 FOOT ICE BOULDER rolls toward A.J.'s SAFETY TETHER.

A.J., suspended 70 feet off the asteroid surface, looks down at the ONCOMING ICE BOULDER. A.J., terrified, tries to unbuckle the tether, but he can't in time.

The boulder hits A.J.'s tether, rolling over it, flattening it to the asteroid surface, which causes --

--A.J., with a JOLT, to be yanked toward the surface. A.J. scrambles with his safety harness.

Chick, next to the Armadillo, sees A.J.'s plight. He dives inside, engages the gears. The Armadillo ROARS toward the oncoming ICE BOULDER.

A.J., terrified, continues to descend as --

Chick, driving the Armadillo, rams the ICE BOULDER just as it's about to roll over A.J. The boulder hops up, SMASHES down on the Armadillo's hood, CRUSHING the steel compartment around Chick, and gently rolls over onto --

A.J., who log-rolls under the Armadillo, as the ice boulder WHOMPS down and keeps rolling.

THE NUCLEAR DEVICE is rolling across the asteroid's surface. Pebbles and debris CLANGING off the device's REMOTE DETONATOR.....

Harry bounds toward the Armadillo. THE LARGEST, JAGGED ROCK rolls at the vehicle. Harry's caught. There's no place to turn. The rocks rolls straight at him. Twenty feet....10 feet....Harry FALLS heavily to the ground.

Harry gets up and dives down inside a fox-hoe-sized INDENTATION in the asteroid surface....

The BOULDER rolls right over him.

Finally the quake stops. The situation stabilises. Everyone gets to their feet. Harry and A.J. get up. They look off at --

The MASSIVE BOULDERS rolling away in the distance, smashing into other rock formations.

Harry picks up a DIAMOND. It SPARKLES in the light. Chick grabs one. Holds it up, marvelling at it. The MASSIVE BOULDERS rolling away in the distance, smashing into other rock formations.

Harry picks up a DIAMOND. It SPARKLES in the light. Chick grabs one. Holds it up, marvelling at it.

Sharp, with bruises on his face, looks through his cracked faceshield down at Pitt's corpse.

Sharp : He's dead. Harry : Put it down, Chick.

Chick tosses down the diamond and follows Harry. Everyone checks themselves. Looks at others. There's no talk, no time to lose. They reconvene, by the NUCLEAR DEVICE. It's dented. The alumniium gurney is smashed, mangled.

Sharp : Three on that side, the rest over here.

They hoist the nuclear device and carry it to the drilling hole. They plug one end of the nuke in the drilling hole and lift the other. The NUKE begins to insert down the hole. Suddenly Sharp tries to grab a TUBULAR PIECE OF ALUMINIUM from the broken gurney.

Sharp : (cont'd) Stop...!

-- rams it into the wheels of the NUKE'S RATCHET-WHEEL DELIVERY SLED. The nuke stops inserting into the hole. Sharp inspects the REMOTE DETONATOR.

Sharp : (cont'd) The remote's shot. (looks up) It'll have to be manually detonated. Chick : What's that mean?

Pause.

Harry : Means one of us ain't leaving.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Golden addresses the room. Golden : The situation: the hole is drilled but the remote detonator is not functional. One of the crew is going to stay behind and....(deep breath) ...manually detonate the device.

Golden looks over at Grace. She is stunned. The news is just sinking in.

Golden : Don't stay for this. Grace : I'm not leaving. Temple : In 18 minutes we will be at Zero Barrier. (to Grace) Your father better be a man of his word.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - CABIN

PAN FROM HARRY...to A.J. to...to Chick....to Lev...to Bear. Everyone is huddled inside the cabin.

The SMASHED REMOTE DETONATOR, a 2000-foot spool-drum of ELECTRICAL WIRE and a KNIFE sit on the table.

Sharp : (stoically) I'd trade places with any one of you. But we need two people to fly this mother back. So, we either all stay or you guys draw.

Sharp raises a BUNDLE OF ELECTRICAL WIRES in his hand. The crew's going to draw straws. The highest tension yet. No one breathes, no one moves.

Sharp : Who's first? (no response) Clockwise then.

Sharp holds the WIRE STRAND BUNDLE in front of Lev.

Lev stares at it. He smiles nervously and reaches...and draws. The strand is LONG. Lev exhales. Next...

Chick, Chick stares at the bundle, sweating. He grabs a strand. Pulls slowly. LONG. He exhales. Next...

Bear. He stares at the bundle, thinking, choosing. He grabs and pulls quickly, decisively. LONG. Two strands remain, and two men, Harry and A.J. It's A.J.'s turn....

A.J. stares at the wire strands - not a bundle now. A.J. shifts in his chair. The matter will be decided on this last pull. A.J. looks at Harry. They lock eyes.

Harry : Your turn. A.J. : I ain't gonna draw against you Harry. Chick : (starts to get up) I can't watch this. Harry : (stern, hard) Sit down, Chick.

Chick sits down. Harry looks at A.J.

Harry : Draw.

A.J. stares at the two strands. Gets used to the idea. He reaches and begins to pull. Stops. Chooses the other strand. And pulls. It is SHORT. A.J. stares at the SHORT STRAND OF WIRE in his hand. We see a fear on his face that gets covered by a small smile.

A.J. : Well, I guess I won. Now I'm the guy who gets to save the Earth.

A.J. takes off the half medallion. Harry takes off his half medallion.

A.J. : We said we'd join these after we drilled the hole. It just ain't gonna be on Earth.

They slide the two halves together to make a whole. Harry and A.J. exchange a long look.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Watts flips switches. Suddenly the jets ignite!

Watts : Ignition! She's started!

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Skip turns to Golden excitedly.

Skip : They got Freedom goin'!

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - CARGO BAY

A.J. and Harry stand in the airlock, helmets on. Harry carries the two thousand foot spool-drum of wire. The airlock opens. Harry and A.J. descend onto the asteroid.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Golden looks at the CLOCK running down: 10:33....10:32....10:31...

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Harry and A.J. approach the NUCLEAR DEVICE. It's half in, half out of the drilling hole, as they left it. Harry and A.J. alligator-clamp the end of the wire spool-drum onto the nuke's DETONATION DEVICE.

A.J : You never answered my question.

They finish attaching the wire.

A.J. pulls the piece of TUBULAR ALUMINIUM out of the nuke's ratchet wheel delivery sled. The NUKE descends downhole, slowly spooling out wire from the SPOOL DRUM.

A.J. : About Grace, Harry. (laughs nervously) I know it ain't gonna happen now, but....if things were different...What would you say...?

Harry walks back toward Freedom. A.J. follows.

Harry : I always wanted a son. And if I had....I'd want him to be like you.

Harry hands him the pipe section.

Harry : (cont'd) You're going to need some magic in the world. You can marry her, A.J.

A.J. laughs, being told at this dire time in his life. He looks at Harry with a hint of bittersweet smile.

A.J. : Mean "could have...?" Harry : No. Go home, A.J. Marry Grace. A.J. : I'm not going home Harry.

With one hand, Harry stabs the airlock door, and then with a small pipe clamp, rips A.J.'s air tubes off.

Harry : It's my hole, I drilled it, and I'm staying with it till the end.

Harry grabs him, throws his kicking, screaming body into the airlock. A.J. is choking.

Harry : (cont'd) She's always going to be my little girl.

The door shuts automatically. Harry is now alone.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - AIRLOCK

A.J. explodes from the airlock into the cabin.

A.J. : Goddamn it, HARRY....!

A.J. lunges for the airlock.

Sharp grabs A.J. with his good arm, helped by Bear..holding him back.

A.J. : LET ME GO....LET ME GO....!! SHARP : YOU HAVE NO OXYGEN...YOUR TUBES ARE RIPPED...LET IT GO....!!

A.J., sobbing, furious, POUNDS on the AIRLOCK WINDOW, staring at Harry outside.

A.J. : (pounding on the door) HARRY!!

Harry turns and walks back to the drilling hole. Sharp looks at him.

Sharp : This guy really is a hero....

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL REAR ROOM

Skip : Director? It's Mr. Stamper. He wants to talk to his daughter.

Golden looks over at Grace. Their eyes meet....

A N.A.S.A. Tech hands Grace a mike and exits. She stares at the static on the monitor. Harry's face fades in and out. Grace knows something is very wrong from her father's strained, tired face. She forces a smile. INTERCUT with Harry inside the Armadillo:

Grace : Daddy. Harry : (V.O.) Grace. I...(sighs) This is so hard for me. I don't have....

Tears start to well up in her eyes.

Harry : (V.O.) (cont'd) ...I just....want you to know how much I love you. Grace : I'm so proud of you, Daddy.

Grace wipes a tear from her face.

Harry : (V.O.) (looking at Earth) It's so beautiful up here. So pure. (swallows hard) I remember something I read once..."The world is a fine place...and worth fighting for." looks at Earth, smiles) Gracie, I'm just an iron-ass-warrior doin' what's best. (pause) Take care of A.J. I'll look in on you from time to time....

Harry pulls off the video link. Grace's monitors go black. Grace touches the monitor, as Harry's face fades away.

Her knees buckle. She sinks to the floor.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Harry looks at the detonator in hand.

Harry : You have three minutes and I'm not waiting.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Watts and Sharp settle into the cockpit and begin flipping switches.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Harry, all business now, situates himself next to the nuke. The manual detonator in his hand.

Harry : Let's go, Sharp. Get the hell off this rock. I WILL push this button.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Sharp hits the THRUSTER SWITCH.

EXT. FREEDOM

The booster rockets SPUTTER and die.

INT. FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Nothing happens. He HITS it again. Again.

Watts unbuckles and goes to the ENGINE IGNITION SYSTEM.

The timer continues counting down to 1:34...1:33...1:32....

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Skip : The thrusters are down! 32 seconds.

EXT. ASRTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Harry looks irritably at the SHUTTLE'S SPUTTERING THRUSTER.

Harry : Sharp, you better get those engines goin'.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - SERVICE HATCH

The timer counts 23...22...21.

Watts is frantically adjusting the FUEL MODULATOR'S VALVES...

Sharp : Watts, we gotta get that thing going! Watts : THE INTERIORR VALVE'S STUCK!

Lev crowds in next to her.

Watts : (cont'd) (to Lev) BACK OFF!! YOU DON'T KNOW THIS COMPONENT!!

Lev backs off. Keeps looking at the modulator, curiously.

IN THE COCKPIT - the Timer reads 10...9...9...SHARP keeps hitting the THRUSTER SWITCH.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Golden paces. Technicians stare pessimistically at consoles.

Golden : Stamper, you gave me your word. You have five seconds. PRESS THE BUTTON!

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Temple : (V.O.) Sharp, I NEED A SOLUTION!

BACK TO LEV , Watts and Sharp.

Sharp : Sir with all due respect, if I knew the PROBLEM, I'd give a SOLUTION, SIR..! Temple : Well, find a solution!!

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Harry is looking at the shuttle. Close-Up on finger ready to pull the trigger.

Harry : SHARP, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!

Harry's eyes close as the clock counts -10...-11...-12.

Temple : STAMPER DETONATE!

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - SERVICE HATCH

Lev : (to Watts) WE HAVE JUST THE SAME SHIT PART IN RUSSIA!! SOMETIMES IT NOT WORK SO WE HIT!! YOU GOTTA GIVE IT WHACK!! WHACK!! HIT!! Watts : WHAT!!? Lev : GIVE IT WHACK!!

Lev grab a wrench and goes ballistic. SMASHES it down on the component, AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. We hear JET FUEL COURSE through the component and --

-- SHARP hits the IGNITION SWITCH and the THRUSTERS FIRE.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - SHUTTLE FREEDOM

Shuttle Freedom lifts off the asteroid on full REVERSE THRUSTER POWER, like a Harrier jet. It ascends backwards, falling away from the asteroid, away from Earth, toward the Moon.

Harry is a solitary figure, left behind.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

Sharp, Watts, A.J., Lev and Bear watch Harry becoming smaller and smaller on the asteroid.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Harry takes his final breaths. Looks around.

Harry : All right, son-of-a-bitch, it's just you and me....

Harry's FINGER compresses on the detonator button....

A GEYSER OF STEAM next to the drilling hole BLAT up to five feet away. A SECOND GEYSER, directly underneath Harry, BLOWS. The MANUAL DETONATOR flies from Harry's hand as he's knocked backward --

-- into the drilling hole!

INT. DRILLING HOLE

Harry falls ass-first down the hole, his PRO-GRAVITY THRUSTERS pushing him further and further down. Harry's FINGERS GOUGE into the walls of the hole. He scissors his legs. HIS BOOTS scrape the sides. He begins climbing up out of the hole....We see that his air has been punctured. He's losing pressure. He starts to choke.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

They've ascended to a safe distance.

Sharp : Something's wrong. A.J. : Don't worry. He'll come through. Sharp : We should have detonation by now. A.J. : Harry doesn't fail. Sharp : We're going back. A.J. : What? Sharp : Every life, that you know, will die....unless that nuke is detonated.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

HARRY'S GLOVED HANDS grip the sides of the hole. Then his helmet appears. He looks across the asteroid surface to the MANUAL DETONATOR, lying in the dirt.

The nuke has now descended several hundred feet into the hole.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

WE MOVE DOWN the faces of the terrified men, looking down on the craggy asteroid....

Chick : (unsure) That means we might die too.... Sharp : Watts, prepare for re-landing. NOW!!

Watts, frozen with fear, begins hitting switches.

EXT. ASTEROID SURFACE - DRILLING SITE

Harry crawls out of the hole.

The nuke is at the bottom of the hole. Harry runs, gasping for air, bounding across the asteroid surface, dodging geysers and rolling debris. He dives for the detonator. He stares long and hard. A TEAR wells in his eye. His finger presses on the detonator...sweat pours over his face....

Harry : I beat you.

SLOW-MOTION CLOSE-UP on Harry's finger as it presses the detonator.

EXT. SPACE

The nuclear device DETONATES. A spectacular concussion. The ASTEROID SPLITS in two halves, as planned, like a split diamond. The TWO BLOWN PIECES wing off into space, on new vector angles which might miss the Earth....

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM - COCKPIT

The detonation ROCKS the cabin. Everyone's violently buffeted around.

Watts : Houston, we have detonation!

Watts fumbles for the reverse switches as the flames from the explosion grow CLOSER....She hits the directional THRUSTERS, jamming it as hard as it will go...the flames bite up at them. The shuttle veers off toward Earth.

A.J. : Harry....

A.J. and the others stare out the cockpit window as the NUCLEAR FISSION EXPLOSION FLAMES OUT, the halves of the asteroid wing off.

EXT. AROUND THE WORLD - MONTAGE OF IMAGES

IN EXTREME SLOW MO, we see images around the world. WALL STREET deserted....a crowded BAR with people huddled around a T.V....Extremely tight on a TEAR falling form a woman's face....ENGLISH FARMERS in a corn field.....a FATHER holding his SON as they watch the brilliant flaming sky....Golden closes his eyes and falls to his seat....Arms raise in unison....PEOPLE embrace....AT THE PYRAMIDS, dappled in firelight, hundreds praying....

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

Grace is quietly weeping.

THE ASTEROID'S DETONATION is computer-imaged on the Central Board. WE SEE the ASTEROID'S TWO HALVES, moving in new directions. The Technicians stare in wonderment.

Golden : Where are they, Flip? Give me some angles, give me some directions, give me speeds... Flip : (analysing new data) The new courses are....they're gonna miss us!

The Technicians CHEER. Grace looks up. Wipes her tears. Golden approaches her.

Golden : I just want to tell you I'm proud to know the daughter of the man who just saved the world.

EXT. ARIZONA - SHUTTLE LANDING AREA

Shuttle Freedom touches down. N.A.S.A. QUARANTINE VEHICLES race out to meet it.

INT. N.A.S.A. - MISSION CONTROL

N.A.S.A.TEHNICIANS sit at consoles, exhausted. There are Coke cans, coffee mugs, cigarettes overflowing ashtrays. Jimbo, Theo and Pearl, wearing V.I.P. VISITORS BUTTONS, stand at the back.

Jimbo : This definitely doesn't look like a glamorous job.

INT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

A.J., Chick and Bear unbuckle, begin to rise from seats.

Chick : I'm dyin' for a Budweiser. Sharp : Stay seated. Let the medical quarantine trucks set up. Bear : I ain't gettin' another enema from Nurse Ratchet.

A.J., Chick and Bear look at each other.

A.J. : What would Harry do? Bear : I think he'd go get a beer.

EXT. SHUTTLE FREEDOM

The EMERGENCY HATCH DOOR BLOWS in front of surprised N.A.S.A. QUARANTINE TECHNICIANS.

EXT. ARIZONA - SHUTTLE LANDING AREA

A.J., Chick and Bear walk away from the shuttle. All he N.A.S.A. QUARANTINE MEDICS are looking for them.

Chick : What are you lookin' at? Bear : Yeah, okay, you're right, we're the studs who just blew up the Death Star.

A wave of fans are held back by MILITARY POLICE.

Sharp, holding his shoulder in pain, is helped across the tarmac by Watts. A VET BYSTANDER comes up to Sharp and drapes an American flag over his shoulders.

Temple, with a huge grin, approaches Sharp. Temple salutes Sharp.

Among the masses, Chick catches sight of Denise. Tommy stands next to her, waving a small flag, proud as can be.

Grace runs toward A.J.; he sees her and runs to her.

They fall into each others arms. Grace is crying. A.J. is crying. They kiss. A.J. looks up at the sky.

A.J. : He's up there, Grace. And he'll never die. Will you marry me? I gotcha a new rock....

A.J. pulls out one of the DIAMONDS from the asteroid surface, as big as a doorknob, about two thousand karats. It glitters in the sunlight. Grace stares at it, agog.

As we PULL BACK and CAMERA TILTS TO THE SKIES ABOVE.

Where Harry Stamper's soul remains.....

<<<

/ Armageddon.
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