>>/ Cliffhanger

/ Cliffhanger ( 2)

: / Cliffhanger.

/ Cliffhanger

WRIGHT That never happens! Money like that goes on a Treasury jet. Who authorized it?

DAVIS Dick Travers.

WRIGHT He was running escort -- he hasn't got anything to do with evidence.

DAVIS Exactly.

The two men look at each other...

WRIGHT (softly) Jesus...

He seems to slump lower in his seat --

WRIGHT How much start has he got on us?

DAVIS Four hours.

WRIGHT Take a memo -- FBI internal: the officer in charge, every district. I want a photograph and detailed description of Travers. Mark it, "priority", make sure you scramble it...

He interrupts himself, turning to his intercom.

WRIGHT (into intercom) Get me Washington, Margaret -- the Director-General.

He turns and looks at Davis --

WRIGHT He gets away with this -- we're going to be the laughing stock of the country...

DAVIS (shaking his head) The world, Walt -- the world.

EXT. MOUNTAIN

Hal leads the rest of the gang up a narrow path chiselled into the side of the mountain. Travers looks at the monitor, checks their position and motions them forward.

As they clear frame we rack focus to:

EXT. EAST FACE - WIDE SHOT - DUSK

The sheer wall of the East Face rises, seemingly forever, into the sky above.

Gabe is clearly exhausted and freezing. The wind threatens to knock him off the wall -- but he forces himself on.

GABE (teeth chattering) A steambath. (spikes himself up) A steambath -- and a bottle of whiskey. (new foothold) A steambath with a bottle of Glenlivet. And a fire.

He climbs higher -- into a "chandelier" of hanging icicles. It's an incredible formation, part of a --

FROZEN WATERFALL

-- a sheer overhang of ice, curling over the top of the East Face.

Gabe climbs past the icicles onto a sheet of pure ice...

GABE (new handhold) A steambath -- with a bottle of Glenlivet -- and a steak. (new foothold) A steak soaked with Glenlivet, cooking over a steambath on fire.

He slows to a stop -- the ice overhang curves out, away from the wall. The ground is one slip and five thousand feet away as Gabe draws back his gloved fist and -- KA-POW! Punches the sheet of ice. His fist bounces off, his face screw up in pain.

Once again, he tries. SMASH! His fist blasts through the ice. WHOOSH! A jet of water rockets out of the hole and into Gabe's face: beneath the ice-sheet, the waterfall isn't completely frozen.

Gabe clings one-handed to the overhang. He holds his other hand in front of the streaming water and when it's soaked he slams it onto the ice. It freezes there! Allowing him to haul himself up the sheet.

He lets go of the wall with his other hand, runs it through the water and slams it higher up the ice-sheet. The glove holds fast to the ice -- but his hand doesn't.

It slips out of the glove!

Gabe's face shows real terror for the first time. He swings from the ice sheet, held only by one gloved hand, frozen to the ice above his head. His legs kick out, trying to find some support...

HUGE ICICLES break off and fall away...his naked hand stretches for the glove. He can't reach it... his spiked boot smashes into another icicle -- and holds!

SLAM! He digs his other boot in and hauls himself up. His hand slips back into the glove. Stabilized now, he wrenches one gloved hand free, reaches up and finds a hand-hold. The hard part is over. He manages to climb up over the lip of the Ice Overhang.

GABE'S POV --

A small shack with a sign nearby commemorating the "Douglas Expedition -- 1933".

INT. SHACK - DUSK

It's just a small "point of interest" shed for hardy tourists who have hiked up this far -- there's a corny photo stand where you stick your head through a hole, so your face is on top of a cartoon climber hacking up a mountain.

The door swings open. Gabe enters, ignoring the photo stand, going straight for a glass display case on the wall --

THE GORDON DOUGLAS DISPLAY

has black and white photos of the a square-jawed 1930s climber with his expedition -- more important is what's beneath it. Douglas' original climbing equipment -- a coil of rope, some pitons, a hat, a cloth backpack, small binoculars, a parka, and other odds and ends. Gabe prepares to smash the glass -- and hesitates. Respect.

GABE Sorry, Gordon -- I promise I'll have it back tomorrow.

Gabe SMASHES the glass.

EXT. THE TRAIL - DUSK

Hal is leading Qualen, Travers and the others upward -- this is a comparatively easy route, but still tiring. The sun goes down beyond a facing, taller mountain. Delmar is huffing and puffing -- a combination of the altitude and too many cookies are getting to him. Hal allows himself a smile at his discomfort.

HAL Come on -- tourists take this trail.

Qualen pokes Hal with his gun -- he moves on ahead.

EXT. THE SUMMIT - DUSK

It's getting dark fast -- Gabe has scaled a rock formation to get a view of the rest of the summit. He raises the binoculars:

GABE'S POV - SCANNING THE TREELINE

Gabe slowly looks along the trees of the summit -- something catches his eye -- he swing back to look at one tree: broken branches on top!

GABE

climbs down from his rock perch and rushes toward the tree.

EXT. SUMMIT TRAIL - NIGHT

The "expedition" reaches the top -- Hal is in the lead, with Qualen just inches behind. Travers takes out the tracer and pushes to the head of the group.

TRAVERS Out of the way.

EXT. ELSEWHERE ON THE SUMMIT - GABE

spots a crater of snow and rushes to it. Even though the case is covered by snow, the tracer's blinking red light is visible. Gabe laughs as he digs it out.

NEARBY ON THE SUMMIT - TRAVERS

has his eyes glued to the tracer monitor, which shows the case is nearby.

TRAVERS (smiling) This way.

Qualen shines a light -- all of them push through the trees.

TRAVERS

is excited now -- he can't even wait for Qualen's flashlight, he races through the trees, dividing his attention between his surroundings and

THE MONITOR

which shows he's practically on top of the case -- finally

TRAVERS

can see the blinking of the red tracer light ahead through the branches.

TRAVERS (calling behind) Over here!

Travers shoves his way through the branches, and heads for the light -- but something's wrong -- Qualen comes up behind Travers and shines the light on

A SNOWMAN --

hastily constructed -- stands with a five-pebble smile, as well as Douglas' cap. The tracer, still blinking, is its nose. The case is propped up against it. Travers runs to the case and opens it: empty -- except for a single $20 bill. Travers picks it up -- scrawled on the margin is, "LET'S TRADE."

TRAVERS (incredulous) He's alive!

QUALEN This plan of yours keeps getting better -- (to the others) He can't be far away...

Qualen, Kynette, Delmar and Kristel fan out, each with a flashlight and a gun. Ryan straps on the nightfinder goggles.

ELSEWHERE ON THE SUMMIT - GABE

watches the chaos from an elevated vantage point -- he can see the flashlight beams, all headed in the wrong direction. But he doesn't see

RYAN - "NIGHTFINDER" POV

With these goggles, light is amplified a thousandfold -- this isn't one of those infra-red, thermo-blob jobs -- it looks more like day for night photography. Even starlight is enough for Ryan to run easily through the thick woods -- and he's going in the right direction.

GABE

begins climbing down to level ground so he can circle closer to where Travers is holding Hal.

"NIGHTFINDER" POV - RYAN

looks up, and sees Gabe climbing down the small rock, twenty yards distant --

Ryan smiles, looking macabre under the goggles, and opens fire

GABE

reacts as the bullets impact inches over his head -- he jumps the last ten feet and is running even as he hits the ground. More bullets hit where Gabe was a split second ago --

Ryan chases Gabe, easily maneuvering through the trees --

Gabe runs, dodging Ryan's fusillades. Gabe knows this territory, but to him, it's still pitch dark -- he stumbles, and rams against trees --

ELSEWHERE ON THE SUMMIT

Kristel, Qualen and Kynette, having heard the gunshots, turn and run toward them.

RYAN

is closing the hap, Gabe's bright form just ahead -- Gabe bursts out of the trees and finds all that's beneath him is

GABE'S POV

-- a sudden, sloping plunge down a field of ice. No escape here -- anything that goes down this slide is going all the way to the ground far below.

A fresh burst of bullets forces Gabe to dive behind a boulder -- the sole source of cover.

RYAN

emerges from the woods. He can see there is nowhere for Gabe to have gone -- except behind the boulder. He walks toward it as if he had all the time in the world...

Gabe fumbles in his backpack and pulls out something from the Douglas exhibit -- an ancient flare that looks like a can of sterno. He pulls out his lighter and tries to light it -- finally it catches. As it ignites Gabe heaves it over the boulder at Ryan --

RYAN - "NIGHTFINDER" POV - THE FLARE

arcs over the boulder to fully ignite, turning everything into a blinding, agonizing flash of white --

RYAN

SCREAMS, blinded. As he tries to rip the goggles off --

Gabe bolts out from behind the boulder and rushes him -- Ryan shoots blind, fanning out in a semi-circle as he gets the goggles off --

Gabe charges straight for Ryan, just getting to him before the machine gun field of fire can intersect his path. He tackles him, both men falling to the ground --

The machine gun CLATTERS away, landing on the edge of the ice, just out of reach -- Ryan, recovers from the blinding flash, pulls an ice axe out of a pack sheath and swings it at Gabe. Gabe rolls away and gets to the machine gun, grabbing it -- But Ryan dives for Gabe, slamming into him -- the force of it knocks the machine gun loose -- it skips down the ice slope. The momentum of Ryan's hit also carries both Gabe and Ryan over the edge, onto --

THE ICE SLOPE

Gabe and Ryan both start sliding down, Ryan face first on his stomach, Gabe head first and on his back -- both are in immediate agony, because

CLOSE ON THE ICE

-- it's covered with razor sharp ridges, both large and small, that slice through clothing and shred skin.

GABE'S UPSIDE-DOWN POV - THE ICE FIELD

The edge and a 5,000 foot drop are a hundred yards away --

GABE AND RYAN SLIDING

Ryan flails and SCREAMS as the ice gashes him from underneath -- Gabe manages to flip over on top of Ryan and rides him down like a bobsled --

Gabe tries to maintain his perch on Ryan, who is SCREAMING and not yet used to the idea of being a human sled. Gabe frantically reaches behind to get the ice axe, trailing from a wrist strap, but Ryan's arm is thrashing away, threatening to toss off the axe --

ON SUMMIT

Qualen, Kristel and Kynette arrive at the lip -- Qualen snatches up the nightfinder goggles and sees --

QUALEN'S "NIGHTFINDER" POV

Gabe and Ryan, accelerating, have almost reached the edge -- Gabe grabs the ice axe, pulling it off Ryan's wrist -- just as they reach the precipice edge. Gabe swings it toward the ice with everything he's got. The axe's scythe- like blade catches on the ice, right at the lip of the precipice -- Gabe is wrenched to a painful halt, suspended over the drop, as what's left of Ryan, still SCREAMING, shoots over the edge -- Gabe unhooks the axe and gets another handhold. He climbs down the ice to a narrow ledge and disappears into the darkness.

QUALEN, KRISTEL AND KYNETTE

look down -- Ryan's death scream still echoing. Kynette shines his flashlight below, illuminating the long, frozen streak of blood on the ice.

QUALEN There goes another $30 million. It's not the money that matters, it's the principle -- I thought these Rangers were supposed to help people.

EXT. MOUNTAIN LEDGE - NIGHT

Gabe confidently drops down onto another, larger ledge that juts out from the wall -- obviously familiar territory for him. The ledge leads to a small, enclosed cave. Gabe takes out his penlight and shines it -- but the light looks dim: the batteries are low. Gabe pockets it, flicks his lighter and goes in --

THE CAVE

in the flickering light, we can see that no one has been in here for a while -- snow, dust, rocks -- but the weathered "Chez Walker" sign identifies this as Gabe and Maggie's hangout.

Gabe smiles with the memories -- then his face brightens with one memory in particular. He rushes to a corner of the cave and opens a rock-lid to a hiding place.

GABE Please still be there -- please --

He reaches in the stash and finds an ancient half-full pint of Jack Daniels. The first thing to go right all day. Gabe uncaps it and gratefully gulps down a double shot. Peace, at last. He smiles and leans against the wall, closing his eyes.

INT./EXT. DOUGLAS TOURIST SHACK - NIGHT

Qualen, Travers and the team have paused here for a meal -- Kristel tries to get some candy out of a vending machine that's obviously empty. Kynette saws at some camp food with a distinctive knife -- the handle is a set of brass knuckles. It's only Delmar though who is going to have a real meal -- he's spreading the food he salvaged from the plane and Gabe's pack out on a picnic table: packets of nuts, tiny wedges of cheese, mini-packs of crackers, candy bars, a stack of miniature bottles of liquor.

Travers points Hal towards a sketchy "YOU ARE HERE" map of the mountain range and hands him the tracer monitor.

TRAVERS Still interested in living?

Hal matches the monitor to the map...

HAL (pointing to map) It's up here. Somewhere on The Tower.

TRAVERS How far?

Hal walks to the door. The great bulk of The Tower -- visible in the moonlight -- rises above them...

HAL There's a way to cross over to the top -- it'll take about half a day.

TRAVERS What's it like -- compared to where we've been?

HAL (laughing) That was a cross-country walk. This is a mountain. People die on it -- (turns; walks back inside hut) -- I just hope tomorrow's no exception.

INT. THE CAVE - CLOSE ON GABE

We can see from the flickering shadows that a small fire is now burning in the cave -- we pull back to see

THE FIRE

which is built out of bundles of $100 bills. It's safe to say that something like $500,000 is going up in smoke, and the fire's dying down. Gabe takes a fresh bundle of notes out of the pack he "borrowed" from the Douglas exhibit and tosses them on the flames...

EXT. WIDE MOUNTAIN VIEW - DAWN

The first rays of the sun poke through the mountains. The storm seems to be letting up.

INT. RANGER STATION

Frank is snoring, slumped over the radio. Maggie obviously hasn't slept -- her attention is fixed out the window, on the windspeed gauge: the winds are slowing.

EXT. MOUNTAIN TOP - DAY

Travers and Hal are in the lead -- the expedition moving further ahead on the mountain top.

ELSEWHERE ON THE MOUNTAIN - BINOCULAR POV

From about fifty yards off, someone is watching --

BRETT (O.S.) They're heading toward The Tower.

BRETT AND EVAN

are crouched in the woods. Brett, gun in hand, has no idea how far out of his league he is:

BRETT I'll cut around this side, and wind up in front. You come up behind them -- quietly. And we've got 'em.

EVAN Brett -- they've got five guns --

BRETT And you can collect them all after I get the drop on 'em. Let's get moving.

Brett, automatic held high, circles off through the woods. Evan reluctantly lopes off toward his assignment.

MOUNTAIN TOP - BRETT

races quietly through the woods in a parallel path with Hal, who's guiding the gang. Brett circles around ahead of them, waiting. Before he can jump out --

HAL'S POV - ON BRETT

ahead in the trees and rocks.

Hal makes eye contact with Brett, realizes what he's doing, and shakes his head as violently as he dares -- no, don't --

Brett gives Hal a confident wink in response, then pounces in front of the gang, gun held high.

BRETT End of the line!

Travers, Delmar, Kristel and Kynette are startled, but don't immediately comply.

QUALEN "End of the line" -- that's classic.

Qualen catches Delmar's eye -- a knowing look, an acknowledgement between them.

BRETT (nervous now) Drop the guns!

Qualen smiles and steps closer to Brett. The others walk up in front of Hal.

QUALEN I'm going to give you a three-count to figure out how to turn the safety off.

Brett doesn't even look down -- he responds by FIRING a short burst over Qualen's head.

BRETT Nice try. I've got one of these at home. Now drop 'em.

All drop their guns -- Brett, unfortunately, realizes at the same time we do --

HAL (shouting) Behind you!

Too late -- Brett can only twist around half way before --

DELMAR

mows down Brett with his machine gun, riddling him with at least thirty rounds at close range. Brett falls dead into the snow. Qualen walks up to Brett's corpse, blood streaming in the reddening snow, and kicks it over.

BELOW ON THE WALLSIDE

Gabe -- moving along the rock wall -- reacts to the sound of the gun-fire. But there's nothing he can do, just move ahead -- the wall is relatively sheer, but there are shelves cut in that make progress easier. He goes as fast as he can.

QUALEN AND TRAVERS

and the others pick up their guns.

TRAVERS (turns to Hal) Time to move on --

But Hal is gone -- he's escaped in the confusion.

IN THE WOODS - HAL

runs like his ass is on fire and practically collides with Evan, who is more panicked than ever.

EVAN What do we do --

HAL You came up here to jump the Spur -- (pulls Evan's chute out of his pack) Now's the time to do it.

EVAN (panicked) But --

HAL (quick) Listen -- they don't know you're up here -- I'll draw their fire. Make the jump and get help.

Evan snatches the parachute and runs. Hal, wasting no time, goes in the opposite direction, deliberately making as much noise as he can.

THE GANG

runs into the woods -- Travers, hearing Hal's noisy retreat, leads Kristel and Delmar in pursuit.

Kynette sees Qualen stop -- he's spotted Evan's footprints in the snow, going the other way.

QUALEN AND KYNETTE

take off, fast as they can, following the footprints...

EVAN

tries to pull on the chute and run at the same time -- it's not easy, but he succeeds in closing the first of the three buckles...

TRAVERS AND KRISTEL

overtake Hal in a clearing. Travers fires over his head. Hal, caught again, freezes in his tracks.

EVAN

is still up and running, weaving through the trees, getting the second buckle closed. He sees the edge, just ahead, and puts on an extra burst of speed...

THE SPUR

is a rock formation that juts off like a diving board. Evan runs like hell down it --

QUALEN AND KYNETTE

emerge from out of the trees. They see Evan launching himself down the Spur... Qualen raises his pistol. Kynette lifts his rifle. Before they can shoot --

Evan dives off the edge and closes the third buckle --

GABE

is several hundred feet below -- looking up. He thinks Evan has made it -- but

ON THE SPUR EDGE - QUALEN

grabs the rifle from Kynette and throws himself down...

EVAN

is falling, falling...

GABE - WATCHING

GABE Don't pull it -- wait 'til you're out of range.

EVAN

pulls the D-ring -- the parachute billows open, inflating --

QUALEN

sights down the rifle.

KYNETTE Like shooting fish in a bucket.

QUALEN The canopy's easy. It's the guide-lines that are hard...

Bang! He fires...

CLOSE ON THE PARACHUTE

Perfect! One of the guide-lines parts...

EVAN

-- exhilaration turns to panic as he frantically tries to control the distorted chute. Bang! Bang! Two more guide-lines part...

QUALEN

adjusts his aim slightly. Evan is now -- literally -- hanging by a couple of threads. The chute ripples and billows, but still it holds... Bang!

EVAN

hand gripped tight around one of the remaining guide- lines. Suddenly the rope parts as the bullet shreds it. He screams -- looking up: the whole chute caves in!

GABE ON THE LEDGE

is powerless to do anything but watch --

EVAN

falls the long, full five thousand feet -- desperately, uselessly, pulling in the lines of the chute until he's tangled in it like a shroud --

GABE

turns away -- he can't watch Evan hit bottom. He looks up with absolute hate at

QUALEN

who doesn't see Gabe -- he's handing the rifle back to Kynette.

QUALEN It could catch on -- it's much more fun than trap and skeet.

Hal is led over to the Spur, with the other gang members behind him. Hal looks as angry as Gabe.

TRAVERS Was that Walker?

QUALEN (smiling) No such luck.

ON THE LEDGE BELOW - CLOSE ON GABE

who is still shaking with fury.

LONG SHOT OF MOUNTAIN

On top, Hal reluctantly leads the gang away -- below, we can see Gabe start out on a parallel path along the ledges.

EXT. RANGER STATION - HELIPAD - DAY

Winds or not, Maggie is untying the helicopter's rotor from the bolts on the helipad. Frank, who has obviously just awakened, steps out of the station.

FRANK Maggie?

MAGGIE I'm going to go nuts if I sit here one more hour.

FRANK Still a little breezy --

She gets into the helicopter and starts the rotor.

MAGGIE (over engine's whine) You coming?

Frank hesitates -- then climbs in the other side. The helicopter lifts off and heads toward the mountain range.

EXT. MOUNTAIN - AERIAL SHOT - DAY

Hal leads the gang through a buttress -- a large, stark boulder formation -- that lays between the mountain they've just come from, and the nearest mountain to it: The Tower.

Hal and the rest of the expedition are totally exposed as they climb in single file up to the top. The terrain is flat enough that the climb amounts to an uphill run on all fours.

CLOSER ON HAL AND GANG

Hal leads the gang forward -- and keeps casting anxious glances back at them. And beyond them.

TRAVERS Forget it. He's smart, not invisible.

Travers is right. There's absolutely no way Gabe can come up behind them without being seen.

LOWER DOWN ON BLUFF

where the bluff meets a tree-lined plain. Gabe, in hiding, watches Hal and the others go up. He knows he can't follow them without being seen. But, moving closer to the bluff's base, he shoves through a screen of brush to the beginning of

THE CRACK

A crevice runs the entire length and breath of the bluff.

Gabe pulls out his ancient binoculars, and scans the crack.

GABE'S POV - THE CRACK

Picture a mine shaft designed by a madman. The crack moves upward, then erratically to the side, then straight up again. The width of the crack is uneven, ranging from six inches to six feet. And that's just how it looks on the outside.

Gabe turns the binoculars to the inside of the crack. It looks as if the crack goes all the way through the bluff. On this route, Gabe can tunnel through the mountain instead of going up the side.

Gabe puts away the binoculars and wedges himself into the crack, starting the long process of going up -- and through -- the mountain.

EXT. TOP OF THE BLUFF - DAY

A vista. From this point, you can see everything else in the mountain range. The only thing that's taller is The Tower. Between the two mountains lies a drop of a mere four thousand feet.

TRAVERS I thought you said there was a way across.

HAL There is...

Hal points further down -- the sides of the two mountains converge. At one point, they're only about fifteen feet apart -- it's here that a rope and timber bridge spans the drop.

Travers pokes the gun in Hal's neck.

TRAVERS Go.

Hal leads them off the lip of the mountain -- down a steep two-hundred yard trail toward the bridge.

INT. THE CRACK - CLOSE ON GABE'S FACE

Gabe is sweating, straining in the dark, climbing up -- there's about two inches of clearance between his chest and the rock, and about the same between his back and the rock. There is no light inside -- not even above, because the crack doesn't go straight, it zig-zags up. Gabe is well within the mountain rock. Nothing could be closer to being buried alive.

Gabe snakes through a spot where the crack goes straight up -- he takes out his penlight and turns it on --

GABE'S POV

scores of bats hang on the wall, surrounding him, up and down, left and right --

GABE'S FACE

is somewhere between nausea and the realization that he's made a big mistake.

GABE I didn't need to see that.

Gabe cuts the light and slithers up through the dark.

EXT. RESCUE HELICOPTER - DAY

Maggie and Frank are flying low and fast -- over treetops and snow -- both are intently staring down -- their view is nothing but empty wilderness. A BUZZER goes off -- Frank looks at an infra-red screen mounted on the dash --

FRANK Heat scope! They're under the trees --

Maggie sends the copter into a tight roll, bringing it over a clearing --

EXT. WOODS

The copter touches down. Maggie is out of it before the rotor has stopped turning.

MAGGIE Gabe! Hal!

She runs into the trees, headlong into -- a pack of wolves tearing at a body. They turn and SNARL at Maggie -- but Frank, close behind, pulls a gun from a holster.

He aims high and FIRES twice to scare the pack -- the wolves run off. Frank tries to hold Maggie back, but she goes ahead anyway, worried it might be Gabe --

TIGHT ON MAGGIE

as she looks at the body -- a mess of broken bones wrapped in the tangled shroud of the parachute.

MAGGIE It's Evan. (she examines chute) Parachute failed...

FRANK (not unkindly) Damn fool. Why would anybody try that in the middle of a storm?

MAGGIE (standing) Why would anybody try it at all?

INT. BLUFF CRACK

Gabe has a quick climbing rhythm now -- he's not looking up, because he can't see anything anyway. This leads to --

Gabe's head crashes against a new part of the crack, as the passage thins out. He gropes up. The passage narrows to the point that he can't get through it.

He stops and uses his penlight to look for a way out -- the dim light reveals he can only move to the side. Exasperated, he puts the light in his mouth and moves on. He looks up to see if the crack has gotten wider. It hasn't.

Mumbling something phonetically near "motherfucker" around the flashlight, he aims it up -- no opening larger than a mail slot. Still cursing, still looking up, still moving to the side, he gets the opening he wants, but not where he wants it --

The crack suddenly, drastically widens as he moves to the side -- since he's been bracing his back against the wall, Gabe falls out of control, twisting around, face down --

Gabe bounces down the walls for several yards and catches himself by bracing his arms and legs against the crack. As he brakes himself the penlight falls out of his mouth and tumbles down, ping-ponging from one side of the crack to the other -- even after the light is gone, we can still hear it clattering against the walls.

EXT. BLUFF BASE

The copter -- Evan's covered body attached to a "cradle" on the skid -- touches down. Frank is flying the copter, but doesn't turn it off -- Maggie jumps out.

FRANK Maggie -- I'm not happy about this --

She doesn't give him a chance to finish --

MAGGIE Get going, Frank. Call the Sheriff's office and put together a local team. Let's get some back-up out here. I'll call you when I've found Brett. Or Hal. Or Gabe. Or anybody.

Maggie grabs her pack, rope and other equipment and runs off into the snow. Frank lifts off.

EXT. BRIDGE

The bridge, narrow and dilapidated, is only wide enough for one person at a time. Hal is half way across, swaying above the massive drop, the wind whistling through the chasm...

HAL'S POV

Kristel waits on the other side of the bridge, a gun trained on him...

HAL

turns and looks back the way he's come at Qualen who has a gun pointed at him. He turns to Kynette --

QUALEN Smoky should be coming up by now -- go back and kill him.

INT. BUTTRESS CRACK

Gabe is face down, arms and legs pressing against the five-foot gap of the tunnel walls. Carefully, he takes one hand off the wall, gets out his lighter with the other, and ignites it for a look --

GABE'S POV - UPWARD

Just as the crack has widened below him -- it's wider above him. More important, it slants at an easy enough angle to allow him to walk up. If only he can get up there.

GABE

snaps the lighter shut, and braces himself with one leg and one arm -- then moves the other leg and arm up, until he has his hands on the curved edge where the crack shakes into a sideways passage. But there are no handholds that will allow Gabe to get a grip and simply swing over and climb up.

GABE (winded) I've never met a mountain I didn't like -- until now.

OVERHEAD ANGLE - THE CRACK

Gabe takes a deep breath, readies himself, and shoves himself away from the wall with his arms, pushes himself into a squat against the opposite wall, hanging for a second with no support at all, then springs from that wall into the diagonal passage. Gabe lands hard but flat on the passage and starts backsliding, but he digs in with his boots and his hands -- and starts heading up.

EXT. BUTTRESS TOP

Kynette lies flat, and looks down --

KYNETTE'S POV - ON THE BUTTRESS SIDE

Maggie is climbing up, but she's still some way down -- the hood of her parka pulled over her head. All Kynette can see is a figure moving up.

Kynette smiles and hits his headset radio.

KYNETTE (into radio) He's on his way up.

Kynette flattens out to wait -- Maggie is coming up fast.

INT. MOUNTAIN CRACK

Gabe moves up through the diagonal section -- the crack is starting to go directly upward. Gabe looks up --

GABE'S POV - TOP OF THE CRACK

It's coated with snow, but not too much -- Gabe can faintly make out light shining through.

Using the rope and pitons he borrowed from the Douglas exhibit, Gabe starts up the easy segment, his back braced against one wall...

EXT. BUTTRESS SIDE

Maggie, tired, gets near the top and rests for a moment, her arms on the edge --

Kynette looms over her, his gun aimed down... she looks up -- Kynette reacts with surprise -- he thought it was Gabe -- but he takes it in stride.

KYNETTE Rotten weather for a climb, huh?

Maggie stares up, frozen -- whatever she was expecting, it wasn't this.

KYNETTE (aims barrel) You know a man named Gabe Walker?

MAGGIE Yes. (breathless, scared) Where is he?

KYNETTE You don't know? Too bad. That was question number two. (lowers barrel) Thanks for your time.

As Kynette tightens his finger around the trigger --

Gabe appears -- running towards Kynette's back. He kicks him over the edge -- Kynette goes flying over Maggie, his shots going wild -- but he catches himself on the rock, coming to a painful halt after skidding down ten feet -- Gabe yanks Maggie to her feet and onto the top. She looks at him -- his clothes are slashed, he's covered with cuts, and coated with slime and dirt from the crack. Gabe grabs her hand and runs.

Qualen appears at the opposite edge -- he fires an automatic BURST at Gabe and Maggie.

MAGGIE What the hell? --

GABE I'll explain when someone isn't shooting.

He jumps on a spot in the snow over the crack, caving it in, falling two feet into --

THE CRACK - MAGGIE'S POV

Gabe is hanging from the rope he anchored to a piton on the edge of the rock.

GABE Come on!

He rappels down the rope into the darkness. Kynette woozy but recovered, has climbed up -- he runs toward the opening, FIRING --

Maggie drops into the safety of the crack and rappels down. She reaches rope's end thirty feet down, as the vertical passage again becomes diagonal. Gabe is waiting as Kynette reaches the edge of the crack and FIRES down at --

Gabe and Maggie -- bullets RICOCHET all over -- Gabe throws himself over Maggie, shielding her. Kynette, seeing the rope, bends down to climb after them -- Gabe and Maggie are further down -- he reaches up and tugs gently on the rope twice --

Kynette reaches for the rope which is tied in a standard climber's slipknot. It comes undone with a final tug. As it falls Kynette grabs hold of the end -- Gabe feels the rope go taut -- he yanks down hard -- Qualen arrives in time to see --

Kynette getting more pull than he counted on, takes a head-first fall into the crack. He disappears with a scream. Gabe watches as Kynette bounces past. The rope goes slack in his hand as Kynette falls below.

Up above, Qualen FIRES a burst straight down into the crack -- Gabe and Maggie, moving laterally through the crack -- flatten themselves against the walls. The bullets ricochet past...

The crack narrows from five to three feet. Gabe edges Maggie down into it and along a ledge moving to the side. Qualen is still at the edge of the crack. He's definitely not climbing down after them. Instead, he kneels down on the edge and empties out his pack...

IN THE CRACK - GABE AND MAGGIE

find a comparative point of comfort -- a toe-sized ledge. Maggie is moving ahead of Gabe.

GABE (exhausted) I need to... rest.

He braces himself against the wall.

GABE (looks at Maggie) I'm glad to see you -- but Christ, I wish you hadn't come.

EXT. BRIDGE - TOWER SIDE - DAY

Qualen scrambles across the rope and timber bridge to where Hal, Travers and Kristel are waiting.

QUALEN He's still alive...

Travers uses Hal's axe to take a couple of heavy swings at the bolts which tie the bridge to the rock. Qualen grabs his arm before he can take a third swing.

QUALEN (looking at watch) For another four minutes.

IN THE CRACK - GABE AND MAGGIE

Gabe is still catching his breath.

MAGGIE It hurts just to look at you.

GABE I've felt better. Do you still have your radio?

MAGGIE It's not going to work in here.

GABE Let's give it a try.

EXT. TOWER FACE - DAY

Hal is leading the expedition upward along a ledge -- the radio, in Travers' pack, comes to life.

GABE (O.S.) (over radio) -- Come in, Rescue One --

INT. RESCUE STATION

The radio is reading Gabe loud, if not entirely clear -- but we can see out the window that Frank is now between radios, carefully hauling Evan's body from the helicopter to the station on a collapsible gurney. No one else is in the station.

GABE (O.S.) (over radio, broken up) -- Come in, Frank --

INT. BUTTRESS CRACK

GABE Frank, pick up the goddamn radio -- (keys it) -- Come in, Rescue Unit --

TOP OF BUTTRESS

Push in on a HOLE punched in the snow along the crack's top, near the edge. Shoved inside is a packet of plastique -- the detonator LED races down -- 3:01 -- 3:00 -- 2:59 --

EXT. TOWER FACE

Qualen gestures toward the mountain with the radio --

QUALEN Hope you like the seats -- any closer and we'd be on the stage. (smiling to Hal) That charge is primed to go off right over his head.

Hal explodes! He throws himself at Qualen, grabbing for the radio -- Qualen lets him take it!

QUALEN Why not? There's nothing he can do -- he might as well feel the moment.

HAL (keying it) Gabe, there's a bomb -- get the fuck out!

Delmar puts a gun to Hal's head. Qualen takes the radio back --

EXT. RESCUE STATION - DAY

Frank, wheeling the gurney outside, is away from the radio --

GABE (O.S.) (over radio) -- Hal -- where are you --

INSIDE THE CRACK

QUALEN (O.S.) (over radio) With us, Mr. Walker -- waiting for your burial. Over -- and out.

Gabe leads Maggie horizontally through the crack, fast and furious --

MAGGIE (pointing) Up that way -- there's an opening --

GABE If it blows before we can get up, the whole damn crevice'll slam shut. The fastest way is through the side.

They scrambles along a single ledge. The crack narrows -- Gabe straddles it, putting his feet on the opposite edge to walk faster.

A hand grabs one of Gabe's ankles from below and yanks him down -- he drops the radio as he tumbles, braking himself in front of Kynette -- bruised and bloody from the earlier fall.

KYNETTE Miss me?

He smashes Gabe's face with a brass-knuckled punch -- Gabe falls back, grabbing at the walls to stop himself from going all the way down -- Kynette opens his knife, re-laces his fingers into its brass-knuckle handle...

EXT. RESCUE STATION - DAY

Frank -- who completely missed the radio exchanges -- climbs into the helicopter and takes off.

IN THE CRACK - MAGGIE

can only look down helplessly as Kynette slashes at Gabe with his knife, forcing Gabe to back up. The crack is getting wider.

Gabe's in a bad position -- he has to spread his feet out wider as he backs up. He throws a punch at Kynette's stomach, but there's no power to it. Kynette slams Gabe with a knuckle-duster punch -- Gabe flies back several feet, managing to straddle the crack walls, now four feet apart. Kynette moves in for the kill! He swings down with the knife -- but Gabe grabs his knife hand and, adding his own force to the swing, imbeds the knife to the hilt in the rock wall, trapping Kynette's hand in the brass-knuckle handle.

Now Gabe gets a little payback -- three solid punches to Kynette's face -- then he climbs up his pinned opponent, stepping on Kynette's stuck hand as if it were a piton.

TOWER FACE

Everyone is staring at the wall. Qualen looks at his watch: the second hand sweeps around...

HAL You fucked up, Qualen -- you left him enough time to get out.

QUALEN Why -- you think he's gonna come out the side of that tunnel? (smiling) I rather thought he would too -- with a little coaxing. (lowers his voice -- a stage whisper) That's why I put the charge there.

Hal realizes what Qualen has done -- by letting him give the warning, Gabe is now heading toward the bomb, not away from it.

QUALEN (claps Hal on the back) I want to thank you -- I couldn't have killed him without you.

GABE AND MAGGIE - ON THE WALL

Gabe takes a piton and hammer from his belt and hands it to Maggie, along with the rope.

GABE Make it firm!

Maggie hammers the piton into the rock as Gabe takes the binoculars up to the top edge of the wall.

GABE'S POV - UP THE WALL

He swings the binoculars up to the top edge of the wall. He racks focus and sees -- the bomb! The LED counts down, but it's partly obscured. All Gabe can see is the seconds, not the minutes, that remain -- :42 -- :41 --

GABE (O.S.) It's right over us!

He rapidly scans the rock below. All smooth. Until -- he swings the binoculars back -- there's a lip ninety feet below, leading into the wall. A cave.

GABE (O.S.) Drop the rope!

Gabe turns back to Maggie. She lets the length of rope drop: it's thirty feet long. Not even almost long enough to get to the shelter. Gabe leans against the crack wall, drained. Now what?

INT. CRACK

Kynette having recovered from Gabe's pounding, struggles with the knife and pulls it out -- he heads out of the crack, murder in his eyes --

HELICOPTER - MOVING OVER MOUNTAINS

Frank is in the air, heading out toward the range, frantically working the radio.

FRANK Maggie -- come in, Maggie, this is Rescue One --

TOWER FACE

Qualen smiles.

QUALEN Haven't I always said you can rely on the Ranger Service? Here comes our ride out of here. (hands Kristel radio) Time to play dead.

Travers grabs Hal -- they all scramble out of sight.

INSERT - THE BOMB

We now see what Gabe couldn't -- the timer has about two minutes left -- 1:59 -- 1:58 --

GABE AND MAGGIE - AT THE CRACK'S EDGE

Gabe looks completely defeated: no options left.

GABE Sorry, Maggie -- sorry you got into this.

They fuse together in a tight embrace -- a final embrace. But Gabe opens his eyes as the rope, still in Maggie's hand, brushes his cheek. The end is frayed. His eyes light up. He breaks off the embrace, snatches the rope from her and then pulls at the end, furiously unravelling it.

EXT. HELICOPTER - FLYING OVER THE MOUNTAINS

Frank is practically at the buttress and the facing Tower.

FRANK (over radio) Come in, Maggie, over --

KRISTEL (O.S.) (over radio; "weak") -- please -- help --

Frank recognizes the voice from the "distress call".

FRANK Where are you -- over --

An aerial flare fires up, leaving a clear marker.

FRANK Two minutes, ma'am -- I'm on my way.

GABE AND MAGGIE - AT THE CRACK'S EDGE

Gabe is still unravelling the rope fiber -- it's three different strands wound together.

GABE (hands Maggie rope) Tie these together. Tight.

MAGGIE (realizing) Are you out of your mind --

GABE It's from the Gordon exhibit. They way guys climbed then, they'd tie on three at a time --

MAGGIE Gabe -- it's sixty years old!

GABE (mock serious) I know -- you can't get rope like this today. They made things better then -- believe me.

Gabe ties the rope to the piton -- Maggie works on the third connecting knot.

MAGGIE (dazed) Will it hold?

GABE How the hell do I know?

He takes the line from her and lets it drop. Ninety feet of what looks like twine.

Maggie clearly not convinced -- but there's no choice. She starts the rappel down, Gabe close behind.

INSERT - THE BOMB

is ready to blow -- 0:42 -- 0:41 --

MAGGIE AND GABE - RAPPELLING DOWN

have to swing over to the side about fifteen feet to get to the cave. It means pendulum type swings that put even more pressure on the rope. Worse yet --

KYNETTE

emerges from the crack, knife poised to cut the rope --

MAGGIE AND GABE - RAPPELLING

swing down lower -- twenty feet to the cave, four thousand to the ground --

INSERT - THE BOMB

-- 0:34 -- 0:33 --

MAGGIE AND GABE - RAPPELLING

They reach the end of the rope -- six feet above the cave and fifteen feet away laterally.

GABE (shouting) Swing towards it -- and drop!

They start the swing -- as they get over the cave's lip --

Kynette grabs the rope and cuts it -- Maggie and Gabe fall onto the cave's narrow lip. Gabe lands -- sprawled on the rock -- but Maggie tumbles and slides... over the edge! Reaching up, she drops! Gabe's hand flashes out -- their hands catch. He's got a tenuous grip on her upper arm... Maggie swings like a pendulum over the abyss, with each swing -- her hand slips further down Gabe's arm... their grip slides to wrist level. Gabe's hand digs into Maggie's glove and holds...

FLASHBACK - GABE'S POV

Sarah's hand slides out of her glove. She falls -- her eyes still locked on

GABE

his grip on Maggie's hand unconsciously relaxes -- but his eyes jolt open -- his other hand flashes out, grabbing hold of her, hauling her up...

THE BOMB -- 0:04 -- 0:03 --

GABE AND MAGGIE

throw themselves across the cave's narrow lip --

ABOVE ON THE WALL

the bomb detonates, raining debris, triggering a massive rock slide.

KYNETTE

turns -- a storm of rock sweeps him to his death...

MAGGIE AND GABE

lunge into the small cave as the rockslide tumbles past. Safe. For now.

THE HELICOPTER - OVER THE TOWER

Frank reacts to the explosion --

FRANK What the hell --

But he sees Kristel in a clearing, face down in the snow --

EXT. CLEARING

Delmar, in hiding, watches as the 'copter lands next to her...

Frank, carrying a first aid kit, swings out of the 'copter and hurries to her side. He turns her over and breaks a capsule under her nose. She "wakes up" with a start and looks "terrified".

KRISTEL What -- who are --

FRANK Don't worry...

Kristel sees the snap is off Frank's holster -- she grabs it, spins it around, and pulls the trigger. CLICK.

Frank grabs her wrist with a move faster than you'd expect from him, and he yanks the pistol back.

FRANK Jailhouse load. First chamber's empty -- (aims gun) -- the rest aren't.

Delmar steps out of hiding, firing his automatic --

The fusillade blasts into Frank, hurling him against the pilot side door of the 'copter. Delmar keeps firing -- Frank staggers away, dying as the ruined door falls slowly to the ground. Silence.

INT. CAVE - GABE AND MAGGIE

Dust from the rockslide drifts past the cave opening, but the worst is over. Gabe rolls Maggie over carefully.

MAGGIE What's going on?

GABE They were smart enough to steal a fortune, but dumb enough to drop it all over the range. They've got Hal as a bird dog -- -- and they're heading for the rest of it.

MAGGIE Where?

GABE Close to the lake. (stiffly gets up) I can get there first -- all I have to do is make it to the Bitker ladder --

MAGGIE "All?" Jesus, Gabe -- (beat) I'm going with you.

GABE No way. You're going back down -- get to the station or find some help.

MAGGIE I'm as good a climber as you are. Right now, I'm definitely in better shape.

Maggie stares him down. Guess who won all the arguments when they were together? A beat -- then Gabe moves out of the cave, favoring one foot.

GABE The second you slow me down, I'm leaving -- (slips on sore leg, Maggie catches him) -- I'm leaving you behind. Understood?

MAGGIE (helping him out) Anything you say, Gabe.

EXT. HELICOPTER - DAY

The gauges and panel lights in the helicopter cockpit spring to life. Pull back to reveal Kristel sitting in the pilot's seat. Travers is watching her...

TRAVERS You can fly it?

QUALEN (O.S.) She can fly anything.

Travers turns to see Qualen walking up behind him...

TRAVERS Things are looking up --

He takes the monitor and keys in a series of numbers -- the frequency of the tracer on case three. Blip! A location pops up on screen...

TRAVERS Ten minutes we can be there, maybe less...

KRISTEL No we can't -- there's half a tank of fuel and we're gonna need it to get off this rock.

TRAVERS (exasperated) Shit!

Qualen is lifting up the helicopter door, trying to see if it can be repaired.

QUALEN You're right though, Dick -- things are looking up.

Travers, struck by Qualen's friendly tone, turns to face him -- suspicious:

TRAVERS How do you figure that?

QUALEN Out of nowhere, someone comes along and gives me a get-out-of-jail-free card. Not only that, we're about to pass Go and we collect $30 million. There's only one thing wrong --

CLICK! The sound of a gun being cocked -- Travers spins: Kristel, sitting in the pilot's seat, has a pistol pointed straight at his head.

TRAVERS (oddly nonchalant) Gee -- and I thought we were friends.

QUALEN (warm and caring) We are, Dick. This is just business --

He lifts the door up, trying to fit it back on its hinge...

QUALEN That's a subject I know something about. You and I have what's called a limited liability partnership.

TRAVERS We do?

QUALEN That's right. The time's limited and you're a liability.

Unsuccessful with the door, he drops it into the snow. He faces Travers --

QUALEN Time to dissolve it, I'm afraid. Not upset are you?

TRAVERS (shrugging) I had exactly the same thing in mind -- you just beat me to it. I guess I should hand over my share of the assets...

QUALEN (to Kristel) What did I tell you? (turns to Travers) I was just saying to Kristel back there in the woods -- "Dick won't be any trouble -- he's a professional."

TRAVERS (modestly) That means a lot, Eric -- I've always prided myself on that.

He hands Qualen the tracer monitor. Qualen's smile is wiped away as --

THE MONITOR

goes completely blank.

Qualen punches in commands, trying to reactivate it.

TRAVERS It works in thirty-second intervals. But don't worry -- -- a man of your intelligence, you'll get it sooner or later. There's only about fifty thousand possible combinations.

Qualen stares at it for a moment -- then looks up, smiling --

QUALEN Believe me, Dick -- (he hands back the monitor) -- the old firm just wouldn't be the same without you.

Hal, filled with fury and grief, is kneeling next to Frank's body. A shadow falls over him. He looks up -- Travers.

TRAVERS Time for number three. Unless you want to have a longer conversation with him elsewhere.

HAL (low) Fuck off.

Travers kicks him in the head, knocking him into the snow. As Hal struggles up we --

INSERT -- HAL'S HAND

He has palmed something from Frank's body.

Qualen and Kristel come round the side of the 'copter.

QUALEN Ready?

TRAVERS I've been thinking -- I'd rather be looking for the case than watching my back. You and Amelia Earhardt stay with the 'copter.

QUALEN I'd hate you to get lost -- especially with all that money.

TRAVERS I'll take Delmar -- that should keep everyone happy.

He pushes Hal forward.

TRAVERS You're on, bird-dog.

He and Delmar follow...

EXT. BRIDGE

Gabe and Maggie scramble down a steep slope -- up to the rope and timber bridge that spans the chasm. Maggie's about to cross it when Gabe pulls her back. He steps out on the timber slats, grabs hold of the rope "rails" and swings it hard --

THE BOLTS

on the far side which tie the bridge to the rock -- weakened earlier by Travers -- still hold...

GABE

takes another step out across the chasm... the bolts still hold. Gabe swings the bridge again, testing it -- KA-BANG! One of the bolts springs out of the rock.

THE BRIDGE

One side of it anyway, sags. The wind howls through the chasm... Gabe scrambles back towards safety. The ground, several thousand feet below, suddenly seems much nearer --

The last bolt forced to take all the strain, inches out of the rock. Bang! It breaks free --

The bridge collapses -- swinging down, spilling wooden slats and debris into the chasm. The rope and timber completely unravels -- Gabe jumps! Off the disintegrating bridge, onto the --

ROCK SPUR

Maggie grabs him, steadying him. Accidentally, they're in each other's arms. They look at one another --

GABE (smiling) Lucky I tested it.

MAGGIE Or unlucky you're so heavy --

GABE I hope you're not saying I'm fat --

Maggie disengages herself.

MAGGIE Lean as a greyhound. Or you will be soon -- (indicates the drop) -- it's two hours down and three back up -- just to get to the other side.

GABE There's no time -- they've almost found the last of the money. As soon as they do, Hal's dead.

Maggie turns, looking around, as if somewhere she'll see a solution --

MAGGIE Back to the station -- get help. There's no other way.

GABE That's exactly what I want you to do.

MAGGIE What about you?

GABE I'm going to jump.

MAGGIE WHAT?!

He turns her around, pointing across the chasm.

GABE Nobody could reach the ledge -- you have to realize you're going to fall.

MAGGIE Oh, good -- for a minute I thought you'd lost your mind. At least you accept you're going to die.

GABE

points to a series of tiny ledges just below where the bridge was anchored.

GABE I can hit those hand-holds, though -- then it's just a straight climb up.

MAGGIE Are you crazy?

GABE It's a difficult maneuver but it's not impossible. It's called the King's Leap.

MAGGIE I've never heard of it.

GABE I'm not surprised -- I just made it up.

He walks back, preparing himself, getting ready to jump...

MAGGIE If you fall, scream, will you?

GABE Why?

MAGGIE 'Cos I won't be watching.

She turns and goes. Gabe doesn't look after her: all of his senses are focused on the gap -- and the hand-holds beyond it. Push in on his face -- a moment of meditation as he centers himself. Then he's off! A few powerful strides and he leaps!

ACROSS THE GAP

Nothing but air for four thousand feet... his whole body wound like a spring... the wind rushing past. His arms firing out, reaching --

THE ROCK

racing to meet us. His hands stretching... stretching... his fingers touching! Sliding down the rock -- gripping the handholds. Gabe, like a fly on the wall, hangs by nothing more than his fingernails.

MAGGIE

keeps walking, determined not to turn and look. Suddenly -- a scream! She spins and looks -- Gabe is standing on the ledge, grinning.

GABE Just kidding.

He waves to her, turns and disappears 'round a corner...

EXT. WILDERNESS - CRASH SITE - DAY

Several dozen emergency workers and FAA agents sift through the wreckage of the FBI jet. They take photos and put pieces into bags for analysis. We move to one bag --

CLOSE ON BODY BAG

as the zipper is pulled down -- before we see anything wreverse to --

WRIGHT AND DAVIS

are standing near an FBI helicopter. With them is an FAA forensics expert. This is STUART.

STUART That used to be your pilot. Thirty years in this job -- I've never seen injuries like it.

WRIGHT Really?

STUART Yeah -- he was shot. Single bullet, straight through the temple. It wasn't just murder, Mr. Wright -- it was an execution.

Wright turns away, running his eye over the soaring mountains, the incredible terrain.

WRIGHT (sotto voce) Where the hell do you start? (turning to Davis) Call the Army -- we need helicopters, heat-scopes, night-vision goggles.

DAVIS I'll need authorization. It could take hours.

WRIGHT (tired) I know that, Pete.

STUART What about the park rangers?

Wright turns and looks at him --

WRIGHT What are they gonna do -- (indicates the plane wreckage) -- arrest 'em for littering?

EXT. MOUNTAIN WALL - GABE MOVING ON A LEDGE

that's extremely narrow. It's got irregular breaks, causing it to go up or down several feet -- and Gabe is jogging it, leaping across the ledge's gaps, leaning toward the wall -- and away from the four thousand foot drop.

He makes the last jump to a section of ledge near the bottom of

THE "BITKER" LADDER

consists of metal rungs woven into loose steel cable bolted into the rock, running two hundred feet to the top -- something left here by a past expedition, now a tourist's toy. The bottom rung is three feet above Gabe's outstretched arms.

GABE (coiling for jump) Bitker, you cheap bastard. Would another four feet have killed you?

Gabe leaps up, grabbing the bottom rung instead of a half mile of air, and he shoots up the ladder as we PULL BACK --

WIDER ANGLE ON MOUNTAIN WALL

A closer look at terrain seen earlier --

As we track Gabe up the ladder, we can see a lake on top of the mountain -- constant motion keeps it from totally freezing, but it is still coated with a solid sheet of ice.

ELSEWHERE ON MOUNTAIN SLOPE - HAL

leads the others down the grade, which is slippery, thanks to the fresh, thick snow -- we can see from their relative position to the lake that Gabe has a lead on them. A very slight one.

TOP OF LADDER - GABE

pulls himself over and starts running into a --

WOODED AREA

where he spots the third case. It took a tough landing on a rock -- it's shattered into halves, and the bands of bank notes are scattered around in the snow.

Gabe rushes down behind a rock and starts gathering the cash -- soaked by the snow, they've frozen into ice bricks. A noise -- something coming over the rock -- he whirls around --

A rabbit has landed in the snow and looks a lot more frightened than Gabe. He leans back, relieved.

EXT. FURTHER UP THE SLOPE - HAL

and the other two crest a rise. Unaccustomed to the altitude and the exercise, Travers and Delmar are fading. They stop, catching their breath. Hal leans against a rock formation and swiftly, subtly wedges something into a crack behind his back.

INSERT - THE OBJECT

is what Hal lifted off Frank's body -- a speed load cylinder from a revolver with six bullets in it.

TRAVERS

checks the monitor. A smile washes across his face. The relative position shows they're --

TRAVERS Almost there.

Delmar walks over to check the monitor... Hal, at the rock formation, has one hand behind his back.

INSERT - HAL'S HAND

shakes a box of matches from his sleeve. He slides a single wooden match half out of the pack and ignites it with his thumbnail... He leans back, masking what he's doing.

Delmar looks up from the monitor --

DELMAR (indicating Hal) Do we need him?

TRAVERS Not anymore. Time to put the old dog down.

Delmar grins as he raises the gun.

INSERT - THE MATCH

has burned more than halfway down to the rest of the box, which is behind the speed load cylinder...

HAL AND DELMAR

Delmar has the gun pointed straight at Hal --

DELMAR Tell me -- where would you like the first one?

HAL (softly) Do me a favor -- I want to pray.

DELMAR Why bother with a message? Another minute and you can tell Him in person.

Hal turns his back to Delmar, head bowed as if in prayer but from under hooded eyes, he watches --

THE MATCH

burning down closer to the box...

HAL

is "praying" -- inaudible to Delmar -- but we hear him raging under his breath --

HAL Come on you motherfucker, burn...

Travers is looking down at the monitor. Suddenly the tracer blip starts to move -- fast -- away from their position.

TRAVERS Shit!

DELMAR What?

But Travers doesn't bother to answer -- he's off in pursuit, scrambling over the rocks, out of sight.

HAL ("praying" under breath) Kill him, Lord. It's not much to ask, is it?

Delmar turns to Hal --

DELMAR Time's up. Say "Amen", brother.

Click! The sound of the gun being cocked.

Hal keeps praying --

HAL Blow his fucking head off...

BAM! Delmar fires -- straight into the back of Hal's leg. He staggers but manages to stay upright... Delmar laughs.

DELMAR Was that the answer to your prayers. Or maybe this is --

CLICK! He cocks the gun again --

HAL I'm not praying for myself -- I'm praying for you.

INSERT - THE MATCH

burns down to the box, igniting all the matches!

DELMAR (laughing) I don't think the Lord's gonna forgive me.

INSERT - THE MATCH

The flame curls into the cylinder...

HAL Funny that -- nor do I.

Hal drops to his knees, clutching his shattered, bleeding knee... Delmar reacts -- for one nano-second he sees the flame flare in the rock... it blasts the powder in the first bullet... BANG!

It fires -- straight over Hal's head -- into Delmar's face!

EXT. THE WOODS

Travers turns, reacting to the sound of the gun-shot. Bang! Bang! Two more. He smiles, yelling into the woods.

TRAVERS Your friend just died, Walker. You're next.

He starts running again, eyes fixed on the screen, following the blip that's zig-zagging ahead of him... Up a slope, around a tree, down another slope -- Travers breathing hard, the blip moving away from him --

TRAVERS (tugging headset radio) Qualen -- get down here. Now.

QUALEN

and Kristel are stripping out the 'copter, making it lighter, discarding everything except the essentials.

QUALEN (into radio) Have you found the money?

TRAVERS (O.S.) No. Walker has and Jesus -- can he run!

Kristel clambers into the pilot's seat and kicks the motor over. Qualen swings himself aboard...

TRAVERS

is running, following the monitor's lead -- until he sees a band of bills in the snow. Sure he's on the right track, he picks it up and looks down at

THE MONITOR

-- the blip turns around and starts heading back --

TRAVERS

stops his uphill climb, aims his gun and waits. At the top of the hill --

The rabbit that spooked Gabe sticks its head up for a curious sniff -- the tracer is fastened to its neck with a currency band.

Travers throws the useless monitor away. He turns, looking for some sign of Gabe. Then he sees it: footprints in the newly fallen snow.

GABE'S FEET

sink into the snow, lying in drifts so thick that it's murderously hard going. As he makes his way towards a thickly-wooded area, we crane up to --

TRAVERS cresting the top of the slope. He sees Gabe wading through the snow...

BULLETS

blast into the ground just behind Gabe. He doesn't even waste time turning to look at Travers -- he just runs. But it's that lead-footed, slow-motion stuff that only happens in nightmares -- with every step Gabe's foot breaks through the icy crust and sinks two feet into the snow. More bullets kick up the snow -- closer... closer... as Travers finds the range...

Gabe runs, stumbles, faster -- staying just ahead of the barrage. He's almost into the safety of the trees when -- SMASH! -- a bullet blasts into his shoulder -- sending him sprawling. He tumbles, rolling, rolling into -- the thickly wooded area and disappears into the shadows.

TRAVERS

plunges into the snow drift, moving as fast as he can along the trail cut by Gabe, heading for the trees.

GABE

bleeding from the shoulder, runs through the woods. The snow is much lighter here and despite his wound he moves fast, out of the trees, bursting onto --

THE SLOPE

that leads down to the lake. It's totally exposed -- just loose rocks and patches of snow. Gabe doesn't hesitate -- he plunges down the slope, his feet kicking up small avalanches of rocks, his boots slipping, sliding, trying to find purchase in the rubble until -- HE TRIPS! -- and falls out of control sliding, tumbling, his hands trying to grab hold of something -- anything! -- but the loose rocks just keep rolling end-over-end with him. Down the slope he goes -- faster than he could have ever run -- straight towards the timber bridge that spans the lake. It's a beautiful sight, but there's no cover here either...

EXT. MOUNTAIN TRAIL - MAGGIE

is wending her way down a hiking trail on the opposite side of the mountain. In plain view.

QUALEN IN HELICOPTER

is scanning the terrain through the missing door. Kristel is at the controls, expertly piloting the 'copter through a narrow gap between two rock formations.

As they emerge into clear sky, Qualen points: Maggie.

THE HELICOPTER

swings into a tight, rolling turn --

EXT. MOUNTAIN TRAIL

Maggie glances back and sees it. She starts to run -- the 'copter swoops in fast and low behind her. Qualen fires at her -- ahead, behind -- not to kill, just to show he's in control. Maggie stops. Kristel lands the 'copter, Qualen keeps his gun trained on Maggie.

QUALEN Wanna ride? I know someone who'd like to see you again before he dies.

EXT. BRIDGE - DAY

Travers is at the bottom of the slope, bending over, examining the trail of blood. He steps onto the bridge, following it: no sign of Gabe, not anywhere. Gun raised, cautious, Travers moves across the bridge: the wooden planks creak, the side rails sway, icicles hanging from the rope suspension cables crack.

Suddenly, they splinter and fall. Travers spins! He opens fire, blasting them into something more like you'd serve in a cocktail. He turns back, following --

THE TRAIL

it ends half-way along the bridge. Through a crack between the planks we see a pair of eyes, watching -- Gabe is grimacing, shivering, ashen from his wound and exertion. He is hanging under the bridge, waiting -- Travers stops, looking down at the last of the blood on the planks. Through a crack, he sees part of Gabe's vest --

TRAVERS (smiling) You've come a long way to die.

Ka-snap! He fits a fresh clip into his gun...

TRAVERS If you were smart you would have forgotten about your friend. As it is he's dead, anyway.

Gabe, hanging from the cross-beam, reacts to the news...

TRAVERS Now you're going to join him. Cause of death -- an overdose of heroism.

He pulls the trigger, blasting a fusillade through the planks -- shredding the empty vest.

Gabe is hanging several feet ahead of the decoy -- even so, shrapnel and ricochets are whizzing by too close for comfort. Travers stops firing, swinging the weapon's strap over his shoulder and kicking away the shredded remnants of the planks. He leans down and grabs the vest -- there's nothing in it except the pack Gabe took from the Gordon exhibit --

WHAM!

Gabe launches himself up at Travers, ice-axe swinging. Swish! The blade nicks Travers' chin as it creases past and hooks under the shoulder strap of his gun. Gabe yanks on the axe. Travers pitches forward -- SLAM! his face hits the deck. Gabe yanks again -- Travers is dragged down the hole. As he falls through, he grabs a timber strut.

WHACK! Gabe's fist connects with Travers' bloodied face. Wham! He hits him again but -- Travers hooks his legs around a timber beam and lunges at Gabe -- SMACK! right into Gabe's wounded shoulder. A flood of pain -- the hand holding onto the beam starts to slip -- Smack! Another blow on the shoulder from Travers. Gabe's hand slips! His leg shoots out, hooking 'round a beam. Gabe now hangs upside down -- the bridge above, the frozen lake below...

Travers, like an acrobat on the trapeze swings across -- and kicks! Straight into Gabe's knee. Gabe screams. Travers kicks again. But Gabe's anticipated it -- he catches Travers' leg as he falls -- Travers' take all the strain as he clings to the overhead beam. He tries to kick free, but Gabe hangs on grimly...

The two men swing, scramble and kick, neither able to gain the upper hand. Then -- Travers' fingers spring open, sliding off the beam. Travers and Gabe fall -- they land hard on the ice. A spider-web of cracks crazes out from the point of impact... Gabe disentangles himself first. He gets to his feet, grabs the ice axe and moves in for the kill. Travers, on all fours, scrambles toward his gun, lying on the ice. Slam! One of Gabe's steel-spike boots crushes down on his hand.

Travers screams, his hand pinned, blood pumping onto the ice. He looks up -- Gabe towers overhead. Backlit by the sun, blood staining his shoulder, clothes tattered and torn, his face scratched and bruised -- he looks like the mountaineer from hell. Slowly he raises the ice-axe, swinging it back, ready to split Travers' head. He raises his hands to cover it, trying to protect it. But nothing will save him -- except

THE ICE

just opens up. In a moment the cracks turn to crevices and the crevices to chasms. Water floods through, the ice disintegrates...

Gabe swings wildly with the axe but his foot pinning Travers plunges into the freezing water. Travers wrenches his hand free -- and disappears! Into the lake... the ice under Gabe's other foot shatters. He pitches head-first into the lake.

EXT. UNDERWATER - DAY

Gabe does a forward roll under the water, bringing his head upright, zooming for the surface and the light flooding through the hole in the ice. Up he goes, up... KA-WHAM! From behind, a pair of hands lock around his throat --

TRAVERS! His cheeks bulging with air, eyes popping, lips turning blue, he digs his fingers into Gabe's throat, choking him.

Gabe strikes out, driving his knee upwards. Slam! Into Travers' balls. Pain floods through him. He clings to Gabe as both men shoot to the surface...

EXT. ICE HOLE - DAY

Travers' gun lies on the ice. Just behind it, the jagged hole. Whoosh! Gabe and Travers break the surface of the water. Both of them gasp, dragging in lungfuls of air.

Slam! Travers drives Gabe's head against the side of the hole -- into a jagged piece of ice! Blood pours down Gabe's cheek. He grabs the ice-axe, tethered to his wrist by a length of rope... Slam! Again Travers rams Gabe's head against the ice. Then he sees -- the ice-axe rising out of the water, arcing down... Travers plunges down into the water...

EXT. UNDERWATER - DAY

The ice-axe slices through the water -- ripping through the back of Travers' parka, but missing his flesh. Travers, hooked like a fish, twists 'round and grabs the rope which attaches the axe to Gabe's wrist. He hauls!

EXT. ICE HOLE

Gabe is ripped downwards -- head disappearing under the water...

EXT. UNDERWATER

Travers' hands go for Gabe's throat, but Gabe's fist slams into his chest. A burst of bubbles -- precious oxygen -- erupt out of Travers' mouth. He squirms away -- tangling himself in the rope tethering them together. It tightens...

EXT. ICE

We see their bodies clearly through the ice-cap, ripping and clawing at one another. As they fight, the current is dragging them across the lake, away from the hole and the life-sustaining air...

EXT. UNDERWATER

Travers, cheeks bulging, veins almost bursting has both hands under Gabe's chin. He drives Gabe's head upwards -- SMASH! Into the ice-cap...

EXT. ICE

Looking down, through the slab of pure crystal, we see Gabe's head once again rammed up. SMASH!

EXT. UNDERWATER

Gabe's head lolls, his eyes glaze -- he's almost finished. Travers breaks free of the rope and casts Gabe adrift...

EXT. ICE

Through the ice we see Travers swimming back towards the hole. The current is carrying Gabe away -- in the opposite direction. We hold on them for a beat -- one moving towards life, the other towards death... Suddenly -- wham! Gabe slams the axe into the ice above him.

EXT. UNDERWATER

Tethered by the axe, out of breath and barely conscious, Gabe drags the bolt gun out from under his jacket. BAM! He fires -- up into the ice...

EXT. ICE

The bolt blasts through, opening up a small hole. Travers, still under the ice some distance away, is almost at the hole...

EXT. UNDERWATER

Gabe uses his thumb to slide a catch on the side of the bolt fun. He's field-stripping it: the barrel comes apart. He drives it up the hole cut in the ice by the bolt, wraps his lips around the end and drags down a great gulp of air...

EXT. ICE

Travers is out of the hole, exhausted, stumbling across the ice. We hold on him for a beat, then we crane up: he's being followed! Gabe is moving fast under the ice, gaining on him.

EXT. UNDERWATER

Gabe is using the axe -- burying it in the ice above -- to haul himself along. Ahead, distorted by the water and ice cap, he sees the stumbling figure of Travers... Gabe raises the bolt gun -- its barrel re-attached -- and takes aim...

EXT. ICE

Travers, totally unaware, moves forward... BAM! The bolt smashes out of the ice, heading straight for him...

EXT. UNDERWATER

Gabe -- almost out of breath -- watches as Travers spins 'round and falls... Gabe keeps watching. A beat. Then Travers hauls himself up! Gabe turns and -- once again using the ice axe -- tries to get away. He heads for the hole but he's almost frozen, exhausted. Every yard he travels is slower than the last.

A shadow falls across him. He looks up --

A DARK SHAPE

looms above on the ice. It's backlit by the sun, distorted through a drift of snow, but it's clearly recognizable as a man. Gabe is fading fast. He looks up -- the shape swims in and out of focus...

THE MAN

raises a weapon but Gabe's too far gone now to try to escape. His grip on the axe starts to slip as he weakens... A blast of sound, muffled through the ice, tells him the man has opened fire... Ice shatters. Gabe's hand slides down the axe -- bullets, slowed by the water, glide past. The ice breaks apart... Gabe's hand slips from the axe. He starts to drop! Down into the ice-cold depths... WHOOSH! A hand plunges down into the water. Snap! It grabs Gabe by the collar and hauls him up through --

EXT. ICE - THE HOLE

Gabe's head breaks the surface. His lips burst open and he ducks air into his aching lungs. Now his eyes flick open, focusing. He sees --

HAL

-- his shattered knee roughly bandaged -- is kneeling next to the hole he's cut with Travers' gun. Gabe stares at him, then:

GABE (sputtering) Are you alive -- or am I dead?

Hal looks at his friend -- the sunken eyes, bloodied face, blue lips.

HAL Right on both counts by the look of it.

He helps Gabe up onto the ice. As he slumps there, he looks across. A body lies in a darkening pool of blood: Travers.

GABE How'd you kill him?

HAL (shaking his head) You did. A bolt through the stomach. He bled to death -- must have been agony.

GABE First thing that's gone right all day.

INSIDE HELICOPTER - OVER MOUNTAIN

Maggie's hands are cuffed to a bar on the 'copter's roof. Qualen keys his headset radio --

QUALEN (into radio) Travers -- come in...

HAL AND GABE

are scavenging what they can from Travers' body -- waterproof clothes, a knife... Gabe hears a radio crackling. He opens Travers' jacket and grabs it --

GABE (weary; into radio) He can't talk right now, Qualen -- being dead and all.

A moment's silence as Qualen adjusts to the new situation --

GABE (into radio) Yeah -- I know it's a surprise. It was for him, too. You could say it came like a bolt from the blue.

Hal raises his eyebrows to heaven: that was terrible.

INSIDE 'COPTER

QUALEN (into radio) I take it that's some sort of joke, Mr. Walker. I'm sorry I can't share it. Have you got the money?

GABE (O.S.) I sure do.

QUALEN (into radio) You wanted to make a trade earlier -- still interested?

GABE - ON THE LAKE

is crouched on the lake. Suddenly he's worried --

GABE (into radio) Trade for what?

QUALEN My turn for a joke now.

A beat -- then a voice.

MAGGIE (O.S.) (through radio) Gabe!

Gabe and Hal just look at each other. Another beat, then --

QUALEN (through radio; like an auctioneer) Going once! Going twice! Are you there?

GABE (somber) Fly to the lake.

QUALEN (through radio) It's all done and all sold! Thank you, Mr. Walker.

Click! The radio goes dead.

HAL Now what?

GABE I have no idea.

He picks up Travers' gun, but before he can even check it --

HAL I emptied it.

GABE (sagging) Why can't anything be easy?

THE HELICOPTER

thunders around the mountain wall, getting closer --

HAL AND GABE

have crossed the bridge, near the mountain edge -- Gabe, now wearing his pack again, nods over to the wooded area.

GABE Stay over there --

HAL Look -- let me --

GABE -- what, throw snowballs at him? You can barely walk, Hal...

The two men look at each other. A beat.

GABE Whatever happens -- get Maggie out of here.

HAL (relenting) Count on it.

Gabe heads toward the edge as Hal limps slowly into the woods.

THE HELICOPTER

blasts along the wall towards the lake.

QUALEN IN HELICOPTER - QUALEN'S POV

tops the precipice, revealing Gabe, standing on the end of a narrow spur -- it juts out from the edge like a diving board. Gabe has his pack on one arm -- the money is visible.

GABE (over radio) Remember that bet? About whether I could find the money or not? (holds pack over drop) You won.

Kristel flies in low, tight circles over Gabe and the spur -- if Qualen shoots Gabe, the money falls too. He turns the gun on Maggie.

QUALEN (into radio) I'll kill her --

GABE (over radio) You do, and next month's thaw's going to be worth about thirty million bucks.

QUALEN (into radio) All right. Put the money down.

GABE (into radio) When she's safe on the ground.

Qualen gives Maggie the handcuff key and she frees herself as they fly away from the spur, touching the copter down on the mountain top.

QUALEN (to Maggie) Get out.

Maggie moves out the door and stares uncertainly at Gabe.

GABE (shouting) Run!

She doesn't.

GABE Run!

Maggie runs for the trees. But Gabe keeps the pack suspended over the edge.

GABE (into radio) Now come and get it. My arm's getting tired.

EXT. SPUR

Kristel flies the copter up and over, until it is five feet away from Gabe's position on the spur. Gabe is buffeted by the copter's wind, but stands firm.

Qualen levels his gun at Gabe through the open passenger door as Gabe heaves the pack in. Qualen doesn't even look down -- he just stares at Gabe as he prepares to shoot.

GABE (shouting) Don't you want to count it?

Puzzled, Qualen rips open the pack. The banknotes are there -- but they've been shredded by Travers' earlier blast of gunfire. Few, if any of the bills are passable. Qualen stares down, incredulous -- as he does -- Gabe rips open his parka and yanks the bolt gun out. Qualen looks up but he's too slow! Gabe fires! At point blank range --

The bolt goes straight through Qualen's shoulder and into -- Kristel's head -- killing her instantly, spraying blood over the windshield.

GABE Bargain time! Two for the price of one.

THE HELICOPTER

-- pilotless now -- spins out of control...

QUALEN

-- in the co-pilot's seat -- gasping from the pain of the wound, is thrown almost out of his seat. He drops the gun and lunges for the stick...

THE HELICOPTER

spins around, and Gabe instantly flattens to avoid the tail swinging past him. Gabe looks down as the helicopter quickly begins to spiral down in wide, aimless circles -- Gabe stares down coldly, waiting for the crash -- but --

INSIDE THE COPTER - QUALEN

won't give up -- sweating, bleeding, he grabs the co-pilot's stick, trying to control the helicopter...

GABE'S POV - THE HELICOPTER

stops its descent and -- veering and yawing -- it begins to rise up. Like some rogue beast -- wounded, out of control, charging wildly -- it climbs higher...

CLOSE ON GABE

eyes widening with realization. Gabe gets up from the spur and starts running back towards the woods. Several hundred yards from safety -- before he can get very far --

THE HELICOPTER

tops the precipice edge and -- barely under control -- sweeps low over the snow. Suddenly, violently, it veers between Gabe and the trees, cutting him off --

WOODED AREA - HAL AND MAGGIE

watch, powerless --

QUALEN IN 'COPTER

Ashen, hyper-ventilating, he works the co-pilot's controls. Running on pure adrenalin and fury, he manages to keep the machine aloft. It's zig-zagging, plunging and rearing -- but still he drives the stick forward --

QUALEN'S POV - GABE

is stiff-legging it toward the edge of the mountain -- but he's too banged up to run fast through the thick snow --

THE HELICOPTER

with its skids skipping just over the snow, gains on Gabe.

CLOSE ON THE HELICOPTER'S SKIDS

virtually out of control, they dip and slice through the top of the snow towards --

GABE

as he runs toward the mountain's edge -- it's just feet ahead, but the copter is almost on him. As it overtakes him, dipping even lower into the snow, he dives off the edge -- FALLING. Gabe is at the ladder -- he falls the first twenty feet of the long drop, then grabs a rung on the cable ladder, stopping his fall -- but in the same split second --

THE HELICOPTER

skid dives into the top two runs of the cable ladder --

WIDE SHOT - THE HELICOPTER

-- is caught in the rungs of the cable ladder -- as it keeps flying over the abyss, it pulls the cable ladder, popping out the bolts that hold the ladder in place, rung by rung -- one of the popped bolts shoots like a bullet into the exposed upper engine of the copter -- still going, the copter strains against the ladder -- thirty feet of it tethers the copter to the wall -- and Gabe is dangling from the center of it.

On the ladder -- Gabe has one arm hooked around a rung, hanging on for his life as the copter thrashes the ladder up and down --

INSIDE THE COPTER

Qualen is totally disoriented -- he has no idea what to do.

INSERT - THE ENGINE

as sparks fly and it grinds to a halt --

THE HELICOPTER

still strains against the cable ladder but the rotor blades slow --

GABE ON LADDER

stares at the stalling rotor -- if it were possible for him to grip the ladder tighter, he'd do it now --

ON THE HELICOPTER

-- as the rotor WHOPS to a dead halt the copter arcs down and slams against the mountain wall. The skids are still caught in the ladder, and it holds --

Gabe is shaken off by the massive impact -- he falls -- landing on the helicopter, half in and half out of the cockpit! As Gabe scrambles for a solid hold --

INSERT - THE HELICOPTER SKID

One of the two runs holding the copter bursts --

THE HELICOPTER

slips, now hanging from just a single rung. Qualen scrambles up through the cabin to go after -- Gabe, who is trying to get off the helicopter and onto a solid part of the ladder before the whole thing goes down --

CLOSE ON THE HELICOPTER SKID

-- as the last rung supporting the copter snaps in two -- Gabe jumps for the wall and grabs hold of the ladder as

THE HELICOPTER

plummets down -- but as it starts its fall --

Qualen leaps from the falling copter and grabs Gabe's leg. Gabe struggles to hold onto the ladder -- his wounded shoulder having to bear the strain of not only supporting himself, but Qualen too. He looks down at Qualen -- struggling to "climb" up his leg. The two men look at one another. A beat. Then Gabe raises his other boot. Qualen catches sight of the rows of steel spikes as Gabe drives it down -- into his face! Qualen falls!

THE FALL - LONG SHOT

Qualen SCREAMING, trailing behind the helicopter -- we] follow the entire four thousand foot drop -- until the helicopter explodes when it hits the ground far below, and the fireball engulfs Qualen just before he impacts into the explosion!

GABE

looks down at the burning wreck then turns at the sound of another helicopter --

THE FBI HELICOPTER

has shown up, too late to be of any help.

INSIDE THE FBI 'COPTER

Wright, Davis and Stuart -- the FAA inspector -- look down at the billowing flames of the wreck. Wright turns to Stuart --

WRIGHT You're the expert -- what do you make of that?

STUART (still staring at flames) How the hell would I know? I just pick up the pieces.

WRIGHT (very tired) Yeah. It's that sort of day, I guess.

He motions to the pilot: put her down...

EXT. SPUR

Gabe turns and looks back at The Wall --

GABE'S POV

The section of ladder above him, of course, is gone -- he has to cover the fifty feet of wall above him by free climbing. There are holds that look easy enough for him, but --

Gabe leans back, gripping the ladder, too tired to move. Just the thought of one more climb drains him.

GABE (mumbling) Forget it. No fucking way. I'm staying right here. I've spent the night of walls before -- some of the best nights of my life have been spent lashed to walls --

Before Gabe can take this any farther, a loop tied to the end of a rope falls next to him. Gabe looks up --

ON THE EDGE - HAL

has thrown the line down. Maggie is by his side.

HAL Remember -- keep your arms and legs in the vehicle at all times --

Gabe puts the loop around himself and tightens it by rote -- even this action aches.

GABE (too tired to shouts) Fuck you --

Hal and Maggie draw Gabe up -- Gabe pulls some of his weight by using hand and foot holds, but when he reaches

THE PRECIPICE EDGE

Hal and Maggie are both winded from the effort as they haul Gabe onto the top. Gabe unties himself, and collapses into Maggie's lap.

HAL (winded, coiling rope) Jesus Christ -- -- you think you could have put a little less effort into that climb? I mean, what have you done for me lately?

Hal ends his harangue and looks over -- Gabe has apparently revived, because he and Maggie are locked in the kiss of their lives.

Hal stands and smiles. He heads off towards where the FBI 'copter is landing -- it's obviously going to be a very long explanation.

GABE AND MAGGIE

break off their kiss.

MAGGIE Does this mean you're staying?

Off Gabe's answering smile, we --

FADE OUT.

<<<

/ Cliffhanger.
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