>> I/ Mission Impossible I

I/ Mission Impossible I. .

: I/ Mission Impossible I.

I/ Mission Impossible I

EXT. STREET BY BANK/FLORENC BUS STOP - DAY

ETHAN arrives at the bus stop outside the Savoy Arcade. A MAN in a black wind-breaker sits on the bench, his back to ETHAN.

ETHAN Excuse me, could I trouble you for a match?

Without turning, the MAN offers up a box of matches. As ETHAN takes them, TWO MEN from behind take him by either arm and escort him into a car which has just pulled up.

INT. CAR - DAY

ETHAN slides into the back seat, between the TWO MEN. MATTHIAS, the man on the left, holds up a black hood. He extends it to ETHAN, who doesn't take it.

MATTHIAS Would you remove your hat please?

ETHAN Why?

MATTHIAS You wish to meet Max? This is the price of admission.

Reluctantly, Ethan pulls the hood over his head and the car takes off.

INT. MAX'S APARTMENT - DAY

The black hood still on his head, ETHAN has trouble sitting upright. He's before a desk, in an apartment somewhere in the city -- it's impossible to tell where, as the blinds are drawn. The place is roomy and lavishly furnished -- expensive Oriental rugs, well-chosen objects of art.

Somewhere down the block, a dog BARKS, steadily, every few seconds. In the hallway outside the apartment door, someone is VACUUMING. MATTHIAS and the OTHER MAN are nearby.

ETHAN I thought I was going to see Max.

MATTHIAS You misunderstood. No one sees Max.

ETHAN Then what am I doing here?

MATTHIAS Allowing Max to see you and hear what you've got to say.

ETHAN I don't communicate very well through a shroud.

MATTHIAS If Max doesn't like what you have to say, you'll be wearing that shroud indefinitely.

ETHAN I'm willing to take the chance.

MATTHIAS Very well.

MAX'S figure into frame. MATTHIAS removes ETHAN's hood. When it comes off ETHAN finds himself looking up at a tall woman of indeterminate age. She's handsome to the point of severity.

MAX Who are you and what are you doing here? ETHAN I need one hundred thousand dollars.

MAX Really? And you thought if you simply showed up I might give it to you?

ETHAN Why not? You gave Job a hundred and twenty five thousand.

MAX The penny drops. You are not Job. Yes, Job is not given to quoting Scripture in his communications. And there was its tone -- aggressive but playful. Job is not playful. So you're something of a paradox.

ETHAN That depends.

MAX On what?

ETHAN Whether you like a paradox. I want a hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

MAX It's quite out of the question.

ETHAN The disk Job sold you is worthless. It's bait, part of an internal molehunt.

MAX And how might you know that? Are you another Company man?

ETHAN Like Job?

MAX Ah, but, we're asking about you.

ETHAN I'm NOC. Was. Now disavowed.

MAX Why, may I ask?

ETHAN That's the question I want to ask Job.

MAX I don't know Job any more than he knows me.

ETHAN Even so, I'm sure you could arrange an introduction.

MAX Why should I?

ETHAN Because I can deliver the actual NOC list. The one you have is not only worthless, it's certain to be equipped with a homing device to pinpoint your exact location.

MAX It's easy to say the disk is worthless when you say I can't look at the information and see if it's worthless. Not a tenable position, sir.

ETHAN Okay, boot it up and in anywhere from thirty seconds to ten minutes you're gonna have Virginia farm boys hopping around you like jackrabbits.

MAX (Pause.) Mm - Hmmm...

ETHAN Tell you what. How good's the RF scanner you used in the car?

MAX Very good.

ETHAN Okay, use it. But I suggest pack up first.

ANGLE

MATTHIAS boots up. There's a little musical noise and the screen brightens. The computer WHIRS and CLICKS and a complex list of names, addresses, phone numbers and other personal information scrolls by. But Matthias is watching the digital read-out on the RF scanner.

MATTHIAS Twenty-six, twenty-seven. So far so good.

MAX That's not so good for you, my friend.

On the scanner, the digital read-out is now in the thirties.

MATTHIAS Thirty-two and change.

MAX (to Ethan) Doesn't mean it's a signal. Could just be the hard drive heating up.

She looks from the scanner to ETHAN as if she's trying to make up her mind about something.

MATTHIAS Forty-four. Forty-five.

ETHAN I'd say you've got about two minutes.

MAX still doubts it. The OTHER MAN goes to the windows --

--nothing happens. He opens the French doors that lead out onto a balcony.

EXT. MAX'S APARTMENT - BALCONY - DAY

The OTHER MAN comes out on the balcony. Nothing out here but a beautiful day. He walks to the railing and looks down at the street.

Down below, the dog that's still barking is tied to a street sign. WOOF. WOOF. WOOF. Abruptly, it stops.

INT. MAX'S APARTMENT - DAY

Back inside:

MATTHIAS Fifty-seven. Fifty-nine.

EXT. MAX'S APARTMENT

A pollution control van and a taxi arrive amidst other street activity. KITTRIDGE and the FEMALE CZECH AGENT exit the taxi as BARNES and TWO OTHER UNDERCOVER MALE IMF agents leave the van.

INT. MAX'S BUILDING - LOBBY - DAY

Led by KITTRIDGE, the FIVE IMF AGENTS wearing Kevlar-lined trenchcoats creep through the lobby of the building and hit the stairs. They climb them silently.

INT. MAX'S BUILDING HALLWAY - DAY

A CLEANING WOMAN is vacuuming the hall carpeting when the AGENTS come up the stairs, guns drawn. Her jaw drops and she turns off the vacuum cleaner.

FEMALE IMF (in czech) Switch it on. Keep cleaning.

KITTRIDGE looks at her sharply and gestures. She turns the vacuum back on. They reach the door of a certain apartment and --

INT. APARTMENT - DAY

-- KICK through it. The AGENTS swarm into MAX'S apartment, guns waving in all directions. KITTRIDGE sweeps in between them and takes command of the place --

--but there's nobody here. TWO AGENTS race into the bedroom, and just as quickly out again.

EXT. POWDER TOWER - TOP SHOT - DAY

MAX, ETHAN, MATTHIAS and the OTHER MAN move quickly across the bridge that connects Max's apartment to the tower.

EXT. MAX'S APARTMENT BALCONY - DAY

KITTRIDGE kicks open the door to the balcony, comes outside, and looks around. Nobody in sight.

KITTRIDGE GOD D-

INT. MAX'S CAR - ETHAN AND MAX - DAY

MAX Oh dear, Gunther will never let me use one of his apartments again. (turns to Ethan) Phew, sorry I doubted you, dear boy. You're a good sport. Do accept the compliment.

ETHAN Thanks, Max. Or is it Maxine?

INT. CAR - MOVING - DAY

MAX I don't have to tell you what a comfort anonymity can be in my profession -- like a warm blanket. (abruptly) My deal with Job was subject to a successful boot scan. Obviously it didn't pass muster. Deal's off.

ETHAN What was your deal with Job?

MAX Six million dollars. I'll give you the same. But I want the complete list now, not just Eastern Europe. I won't do this piecemeal, it's too dangerous. I want the entire list, the true name of every non-official cover agent throughout the world.

ETHAN Ten million. Ten million in negotiable U.S. Treasury certificates, in bearer form, coupons attached. And one more thing -- your personal assurance that Job will be at the exchange.

MAX Done. Bring it to me in London. I want it by the end of the week.

ETHAN How will you make sure Job will be there?

MAX How will you make sure I'll have the list in three days? It's been a delight. Now where can I drop you dear boy?

ETHAN I'm not being dropped anywhere without my money.

MAX manages to laugh without coughing. Then, with an admonishing forefinger:

MAX I'm going to have to front you personally. Don't lose that money without losing your life.

ETHAN I wouldn't dream of it.

MAX settles back and regards ETHAN. A theatrical sigh. She fancies this guy.

CUT TO:

INT. MAX'S APARTMENT - DAY

KITTRIDGE waits on the balcony for his AGENTS to complete their search. HARRY BARNES, a middle-aged, gray suited, somewhat gray-faced bureaucrat, comes to join Kittridge.

KITTRIDGE The man's gone black, Barnes. He's under until he decides to surface.

BARNES Look we can use someone from the Embassy and we can get the local authorities involved. Close off his transportation.

KITTRIDGE What can we do, Barnes? Put a guy at the airport? How many identities do you think Hunt has? How many times has he slipped past custom, in how many countries? These guys are trained to be ghosts. We taught them how to do it, for Christ's sake!

BARNES So what do you suggest?

KITTRIDGE Let's not waste time chasing him. Make him come to us. Everybodys got pressure points. Find out something that's important to him personally and you squeeze.

CUT TO:

INT. SAFE HOUSE - DAY

ETHAN enters the living room. CLAIRE walks out of the bedroom holding a gun.

ETHAN reaches into his jacket and holds up a hefty wad of currency.

CLAIRE Max made a deal with you?

ETHAN I deliver the NOC list, Max delivers Job.

CLAIRE We've got seventy-five rounds for your Glock 9, but only twenty for the Sig Sauer, one pair of Visco glasses with monitor, plenty of passports. You said it yourself -- if I'm not dead, I'm with you.

ETHAN You're sure about this?

CLAIRE Jim was my husband. I want to know who killed him. ( ALT ) I want to get the son of a bitch who did this.

ETHAN We need help, and we don't have time. They have to be local.

CLAIRE What kind of help?

INT. SAFE HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER - DAY

The KY57 crypto phone, a black box with an ordinary phone receiver in the top, THUNKS down on the table.

ETHAN plugs the phone cable from his laptop into the back. The green display on top of the KY57 dials a number and makes a computer connection.

On the computer, the screen says:

I.M.F. PERSONNEL DATABASE ENTER PASSWORD NOW

ETHAN types a password and the screen asks him for the

CATEGORY?

He types in a single word.

DISAVOWED

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. TRAIN - STATEROOM - NIGHT The word "disavowed" dissolves slowly over the stateroom of a high speed train, where the newly assembled IM force has gathered around a table -- KRIEGER, a dangerous-looking Frenchman of forty or so, LUTHER STICKELL, a muscular, soft- spoken American in his mid-thirties. ETHAN, and CLAIRE. LUTHER regards the others warily.

ETHAN Simple game. Four players. (points to Krieger) Exfil opens the pocket -- (and to Luther) -- cyber ops lifts the wallet.

KRIEGER Bank?

ETHAN IMF mainframe.

KRIEGER (after a moment) Where exactly is it?

ETHAN In Langley.

LUTHER In Langley? The one in Virginia, Langley?

KRIEGER Inside CIA headquarters at Langley.

ETHAN nods. KRIEGER turns to CLAIRE.

KRIEGER (CONT'D) Is he serious?

CLAIRE Always.

KRIEGER If we're going to Virginia, why don't we drop by Fort Knox? I can fly a helicopter right in through the lobby and set it down inside the vault and it will be a hell of a lot easier than breaking into the God damn CIA.

LUTHER What are we downloading?

ETHAN Information.

LUTHER What kind?

ETHAN Profitable.

CLAIRE Payment on delivery.

LUTHER I don't know. This I don't know.

ETHAN This doesn't sound like the Luther Stickell I've heard of. What'd they used to call you? The Net Ranger? Phineas Phreak? The only man alive who actually hacked NATO Ghostcom.

LUTHER There was never any physical evidence that I had anything to do with that.. that.. (correcting himself) With that exceptional piece of work.

ETHAN You don't know what you're missing. This is the Mt. Everest of hacks.

LUTHER You're all kidding yourselves. Even with top of the line crypto. Cray access. STU 3's --

CLAIRE Krieger can get it. (to Krieger) Right?

KRIEGER May take a little time.

ETHAN May take a little time. That's not what Claire tells me about you.

LUTHER Thinking Machine laptops, I'm talking about the 686 prototypes -- with the artificial intelligence Risk chip --

ETHAN looks at KRIEGER.

KRIEGER Twenty-four hours.

ETHAN looks back at LUTHER. LUTHER thinks.

LUTHER And I get to keep the equipment when we're done.

ETHAN Luther, I guess you're all out of excuses.

LUTHER I can't just hack my way inside. There's no modem access to the mainframe, it's in a stand-alone. I'd have to be physically at the terminal.

ETHAN Luther, relax, it's worse than you think. The terminal's in black vault lock-down.

INT. CIA CORRIDOR/GUARD STATION - DAY

While ETHAN talks, we see what he's referring to:

A CIA ANALYST carrying a glass of iced tea and several file folders walks down a long corridor in the headquarters building. He comes to an impressive guard station and rests his chin on a strange-looking optometric device.

ETHAN (V.O.) They missed nothing in that room. Even the vents have laser nets over them.

Apparently the device approves and the ANALYST is buzzed into a "RESTRICTED" area of the building.

INT. CIA COMPUTER ANTEROOM - DAY

The ANALYST reaches a curtained area. He shoves the curtain aside and comes to a large, vaulted door. He slides a card- key into a slot, leaves it there and slides a second card-key into the slot beneath it.

ETHAN (V.O.) Inside, there are three countermeasure systems that can only be deactivated by authorized entry. Which we won't have.

A panel next to the ANALYST says "INTRUSION COUNTERMEASURES OFF." The ANALYST next spins a three digit combination code, CHUNKS the door open and steps into --

INT. CIA COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

-- the secured terminal room. It's not large but it's impressive. A single terminal is bolted into the middle of the floor and the glass and tile walls of the room overlook computer storage towers.

ETHAN (V.O.) The first system is sound-sensitive, anything above a whisper sets it off. The second system is on the floor and pressure-sensitive --

The ANALYST closes the vault door behind him and walks across the room. As he walks, the floor tiles light up under his feet, turning off again when he lifts the weight from them.

ETHAN (V.O.) --and the third detects any increase in temperature. Even the body heat of an unauthorized person in the room will trigger it.

A thermometer on the wall shows the temperature is 72 degrees. The ANALYST sets his glass down, boots up the computer, and starts entering data from the file folders.

ETHAN (V.O.) All three systems are state of the art. The ANALYST turns and takes a sip of his iced tea. A drop of condensation runs down the glass and hits the floor. When it makes contact, the floor panel lights up.

INT. TRAIN STATEROOM - NIGHT

The other team members gathered around the table look at ETHAN skeptically.

LUTHER And you really think we can do this.

INT. TRAIN CORRIDOR - NIGHT

The middle of the night and the train is dark. The team members come out of the stateroom to go to bed -- KRIEGER heads in one direction, ETHAN and CLAIRE in the other.

ETHAN stops. His attention is drawn to the car ahead. There is a window in the door to the car and he looks through it.

ETHAN'S P.O.V. THRU WINDOW (INT. BUSINESS CAR - NIGHT)

Ethan sees the business car, a plush space for busy executives to get some work done on the train. There are laptops, cellular phones, desks that fold out in front of spacious seats.

A FEMALE EXECUTIVE, forty or so, is seated at one of the desks, typing away into her laptop.

INT. TRAIN - CORRIDOR - NIGHT

ETHAN knocks on the compartment door.

ETHAN May I come in?

CLAIRE (wary but interested) Sure...

INT. TRAIN - CLAIRES COMPARTMENT - NIGHT

ETHAN and CLAIRE enter, ETHAN closing the compartment door. He pulls an envelope from his jacket and holds it out to her. She takes it, waits.

ETHAN It's cash. And a second passport. If anything goes wrong when we're inside, if you sense even the slightest deviation don't look over your shoulder, you walk away - you hear me? Just walk away.

CLAIRE You don't think we're going to make it.

ETHAN I didn't say that.

CLAIRE You didn't have to.........

ETHAN I just need you to be safe.

CLAIRE What about you?

ETHAN What about me - Jim called an abort - I didn't comply. I lost the team. I just need you to be safe.

CLAIRE's coolness causes ETHAN to hesitate just enough to take it in.

CLAIRE I wish I'd never laid eyes on you..

And they're suddenly, violently in each others arms, kissing and half-falling onto the converted bed. She suddenly resists. He senses it and pulls away.

ETHAN Sorry.

He rises and goes to the door. He's got his hand on the knob when CLAIRE wraps her arms around him from behind, turns him to her and kisses him, deeply. This time they sink slowly to the bed.

CUT TO:

EXT. CIA LANGLEY - DAY

Seen from the air, CIA headquarters is a sprawling complex, two huge buildings surrounded by acres of parking lots hacked out of a thick forest.

LANGLEY

INT. COMMUNICATIONS ROOM - DAY

KITTRIDGE, BARNES, and their STAFF are hard at work, photographs and biographical data of ETHAN on various computer and television screens around the room. KITTRIDGE leans back in his chair, staring at the ceiling.

BARNES What I want to know is how Hunt accessed the disavowed file, even after we cut off his authorization code.

AGENT LOWDEN/AGENT MAREK He may have used Phelps' code. They were friends, and Phelps, was still valid for twenty-four hours.

BARNES If that's the case, we need to implement a system to immediately deactivate an agent's code immediately...

KITTRIDGE brings his chair legs down on the floor with a BANG.

KITTRIDGE I can't believe what I'm listening to. Hunt just kicked us in the ass, you guys are standing here trying to figure out what kind of shoes he had on! I don't care how he did it, I want to know why he did it! Is he recruiting? For what purpose?

From somewhere in the building, an ALARM sounds, not too loud in here.

AGENT PAT/AGENT LOWDEN Survival.

The alarm get louder as it goes off in another part of the building.

KITTRIDGE Too short sighted. This guy's proactive, he initiates. The question is what does he want now and where does he need to get it and Barnes what the hell is that noise?!

An AGENT is just coming in from the hallway.

AGENT Fire alarm, Gene.

KITTRIDGE Oh, for -- do we have to evacuate?

BARNES That's S.O.P..

KITTRIDGE S.O.P..

CUT TO:

EXT. VIRGINIA TWO LANE HIGHWAY - DAY

SIRENS BLARING, three fire trucks race past an inconspicuous gray van parked on the shoulder of a two lane highway.

INT. CIA LANGLEY LOBBY - DAY

Three FIREMEN stomp into the main lobby of the CIA headquarters building. ETHAN and KRIEGER are among them, in firemen's jumpsuits, carrying packs of equipment.

ETHAN takes a breath as they cross to the GUARD's desk. He looks up, above him.

Etched into the top of one wall are the words "AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE."

They reach the GUARD. ETHAN, who wears Visco glasses, elbows to the front of the group and takes charge.

ETHAN (to the Guard) We picked up alarms in sectors three, seven, and twelve.

The GUARD checks a screen in front of him.

GUARD RICHARD Yeah. That's what I've got too.

The FIREMEN look at each other. Who is this guy? But he seems to know what he's talking about, so --

ETHAN (to the Guard) What sector's the air conditioning?

GUARD RANDALL Uh -- twenty-one, but there's no alarm in sector twenty-one.

ETHAN I gotta go in there and shut it down!

GUARD RANDALL Nobody goes into any sector where the alarm didn't go off.

ETHAN Do you want to blow the fire through the whole building?

GUARD RICHARD (reciting policy) Nobody goes into any sector where the alarm did not go off --

EXT. CIA LANGLEY - PARKING AREA - DAY

One fire truck is parked slightly behind the others in the parking area of the headquarters building. Second truck roars past. LUTHER watches it go.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

LUTHER is in the belly of the fire truck with a ton of equipment -- three laptops, a bundle of phone cable, a mini- dish antenna, a cellular phone, several thick phone company manuals with names like "COSMOS" and "SWITCHED ACCESS SERVICE."

One laptop serves as a Visco monitor, showing a video image in which LUTHER watches ETHAN'S point of view of the stubborn GUARD, who's finishing his sentence. GUARD (on screen) --and it did not go off in twenty-one!

LUTHER turns to a screen on another computer and searches through a complex facilities menu.

LUTHER (mouths) Twenty-one, twenty-one --

He finds what he's looking for and double clicks on it. A red box on his screen lights up --

INT. CIA LANGLEY - LOBBY - DAY

-- and the same red box lights up on the GUARD'S screen. From in the distance, a new ALARM begins to wail.

GUARD RANDALL Wait! Hold it - it's on. Let's go.

ETHAN Let's move!

ETHAN turns and looks at one of the FIREMEN behind them -- it's CLAIRE. CLAIRE and KRIEGER follow ETHAN/GUARD to corridor.

INT. CIA STORAGE ROOM - DAY

CLAIRE quickly slips out of her fireman's jumpsuit, revealing a business suit underneath. She clips an ID tag to her breast pocket.

She pulls a piece of paper from her pocket, a computer printout of a man's ID photo. She stares at the face, studying it.

INT. CIA CAFETERIA - DAY

CLAIRE, carrying a cup of coffee and a muffin, looks for a spot among the tables in the cafeteria of the headquarters building.

She sees a MAN sitting alone, reading a newspaper. It's the man whose picture she looked at in the storage room. She sits next to him.

He looks up and gives her an acknowledging half smile, then goes back to his paper.

He turns to pick up the paper and in the moment he is facing the other way, CLAIRE pulls out a small vial resembling a perfume sampler. She dumps the clear liquid contents into his coffee. He turns back and hands her part of the paper. CLAIRE smiles.

COFFEE MAN drinks up. CLAIRE stares at his shoulder strangely. He notices.

She reaches out and flicks something off his shoulder blade.

He smiles. But she hasn't flicked something off his shoulder blade, she's flicked something onto it -- a little piece of shiny gray metallic tape. CLAIRE leaves the table. COFFEE MAN drinks up and leaves the table.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

LUTHER stares at another one of his laptops, this one with a blueprint of the inside of the building. A cursor begins to flash in one of the rooms. LUTHER smiles.

LUTHER Hi there.

INT. CIA CORRIDOR/GUARD STATION - DAY

A GUARD carrying an MP5, a handheld machine gun, leads ETHAN and KRIEGER to a heavy metal door marked SERVICE.

GUARD Air conditioning's through here!

They turn a corner, walking directly past --

-- COFFEE MAN, who's coming the other way. We stay with COFFEE MAN.

INT. CIA LANGLEY - CORRIDORS - DAY COFFEE MAN comes out of the cafeteria, walks down the corridor. he goes to the restricted access door, taps the control panel.

CIA ANALYST William Donloe.

COFFEE MAN (ANALYST) walks past a GUARD desk and peers into an optometric scanner and we suddenly remember where we've seen COFFEE MAN before. He's the TECHNICIAN who works at the secured computer terminal.

INT. CIA - SERVICE AREA - DAY

ETHAN and KRIEGER in the service area - preparing. ETHAN putting the mask in a bag.

The GUARD returns.

GUARD Where's the other guy?

The GUARD moves towards ETHAN, who kicks back at him, pushing him back to KRIEGER, who zaps the GUARD on the back of the neck. He twitches and slumps to the ground, unconscious. KRIEGER quickly grabs him around the neck.

ETHAN turns. Holding the GUARD'S head with one hand, KRIEGER pulls a stiletto from the sheath in the back of his belt with the other. He jabs it toward the base of the GUARD'S skull -

-- but ETHAN is on him in a flash. He grabs KRIEGER's knife arm shoving it up against the wall. Staring into KRIEGER'S face in warning.

ETHAN Zero body count.

KRIEGER (a threat) We'll see.

ETHAN Time up.

ETHAN releases him and walks away.

INT. VERTICAL DUCT - DAY

The Guard is tied up, lying on the floor of the Service Area Room. ETHAN and KRIEGER are below the open vent into the duct system.

The first climb is straight up. KRIEGER cups his hands under ETHAN'S foot and lifts him up into the duct as he starts to climb.

INT. DUCT - DAY

ETHAN and KRIEGER crawl quickly through the ducts, moving horizontally now. They reach a juncture and turn right.

ETHAN 1 - 2 - 3 - Toast, toast. Luther, I'm going in. Don't disappoint me...Krieger, from here on in, absolute silence.

INT. DUCT - DAY

ETHAN and KRIEGER reach a ventilator shaft in the duct. A laser net protects the ventilator, red shafts of light cris- crossing every which way. ETHAN looks down, through the net.

He can see the computer room below and the top of the TECHNICIAN'S head.

INT. DUCT - DAY

In the duct, ETHAN signals to KRIEGER, making a triangle of his hands. KRIEGER wriggles forward and hands him a multi- sided, pyramid shaped glass object.

ETHAN raises the pyramid and intercepts a portion of one of the laser net's beams. The pyramid glows and we realise what it is -- a prism.

The laser beam now captive in the prism, ETHAN carefully moves it out of the centre of the ventilator shaft and directs it toward another prism, clearing a path through the shaft.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

Up in the ceiling above it, one of the screws starts to move in the ventilator shaft, unscrewing. When it appears ready to drop out, a thin strip of metal snakes out from between the bars of the shaft and edges up next to the screw.

The screw drops out of its hole but it doesn't drop to the floor, it zips over and clings to the side of the metal strip with a gentle CLICK, as to a magnet.

The screw is pulled up, through the shaft. Now the whole shaft moves, down, into the room, held by a hand.

It turns sideways and is pulled up, into the duct.

A rubber tube snakes down, through the hole, coming to a stop near the thermostat, which says it's seventy-two degrees. A gentle WHOOSH is audible as frosty air blows through the tube, cooling the room.

INT. CIA COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

The TECHNICIAN defaults the security systems outside the terminal room.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

It is eerily still in the locked-down computer room we saw earlier. No-one is there, there's not a sound but for the gentle HUM of the computer as it waits to be put to use.

Now ETHAN's head descends slowly into the room, his hair falling in front of him.

At first it seems he's just poking his head in for a look, but he keeps coming and coming -- first his head, then shoulders, then waist, then knees, and finally we see his ankles and understand.

He is lowered to stop in front of the thermometer and temperature read out on the computer. Suddenly ETHAN is lifted back up quickly to hang at ceiling height above the computer as the ANALYST enters the room.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

The TECHNICIAN crosses to the computer and sits down, a stack of work to his right.

INT. CIA COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

The TECHNICIAN is working away at the computer. He pauses and wipes some sweat from his forehead.

INT. CIA COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

With a strange look on his face, the TECHNICIAN looks up. It's almost as if he senses ETHAN above him but instead --

TECHNICIAN Oh, God.

-- he vomits.

He reaches for the garbage can and upchucks again. Puzzled, sick and feeling another wave coming on, he drags himself to his feet, hauls himself across the room and leaves.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ANTEROOM - DAY

Even sick, the TECHNICIAN still thinks to re-activate the alarm systems with a card-key. They HUM back to life efficiently, a light flashing:

INTRUSION COUNTERMEASURES ON

INT. CIA COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

ETHAN descends again, slowly but steadily, until he is at the same height as the computer terminal to hang horizontally in front of the computer.

A heavy velcro strap binds his ankles together, secured by a rope that leads up into the ventilator shaft and through the set of pulleys.

INT. DUCT - DAY

KRIEGER holds the rope, his jaw clenched, sweat breaking out on his forehead.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

Unfortunately, he's three feet away from it. He stretches his arms but can't reach.

He blinks, unable to believe this. He curls himself into a situp and looks up, into the shaft.

INT. DUCT - DAY

KRIEGER sees the predicament.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

ETHAN gestures to him, pointing to the floor. Slowly, KRIEGER drops him another few feet. Now ETHAN's lower than the terminal and still three feet away from it. He closes his eyes, summoning his strength and does another situp, bringing himself up right in front of the terminal.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

In the fire truck, LUTHER, who is watching on the Visco monitor, turns his head upside down to get a look at what ETHAN sees.

He cups his hands around the microphone of his headset and begins to whisper. We hear only the moist, airy sound of his breath, not the words.

LUTHER Type this password: AW96B6. Return. Go to the files menu, find the NOC list file. Open "NOC List." Put your diskette in. Double click on the NOC list.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

ETHAN's ear receiver WHISPERS ever-so-slightly. He reaches out, to the upside down keyboard, cranes his head to see it and starts typing, softly.

The computer HUMS, activated. ETHAN unbuttons his pocket, withdraws a 3.5 disk and slides it gently into the floppy drive.

The computer accepts it with a soft WHIR. ETHAN winces, even that soft sound is deafening in these circumstances.

But no alarms go off.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

LUTHER cranes his head again to see the computer terminal through ETHAN's trembling viewpoint. He WHISPERS more commands.

LUTHER Ok, good! It's scrolling. 0K, now we're going to download. Edit menu. Select "copy to disc". You're downloading. When it's all green it's done.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

ETHAN types in the contends, presses enter and the screen displays a comforting message:

DOWNLOADING

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

LUTHER'S eyes widen as he gets his first look, on the Visco monitor, of the specific information they're downloading. The NOC list.

LUTHER Holy mother of God.

INT. DUCT - DAY

KRIEGER shakes with the strain of holding the rope. His eyes suddenly widen as he sees something next to him.

It's a rat. KRIEGER stares. The rat stares back. Neither moves. Puzzled by KRIEGER'S lack of response, the rat crawls forward, inquisitive.

KRIEGER's eyes water, his nose twitches. He's about to sneeze.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

LUTHER pulls himself together and WHISPERS another command into the microphone.

LUTHER You've done it. Eject it.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

The 3.5 disk is ejected from the floppy drive. ETHAN pockets it and signals to be raised.

Slowly, his body starts to move up. As it does, a bead of sweat rolls down his nose, balling at the tip.

ETHAN ignores it. But below him, he sees the floor tiles, four of them lit up under the wheels of the chair at the computer terminal.

His eyes widen as he realizes something --

--the drop of sweat falls --

--and he catches it with his right hand.

INT. CIA - MEN'S - DAY

CIA ANALYST crosses corridor from restricted access door to bathroom.

A toilet FLUSHES, smashing the silence, and the TECHNICIAN staggers out of the bathroom. He goes to the sink and throws some water on his face. He's still unaware of the piece of shiny metallic tape stuck to his shoulder blade.

He walks out of the bathroom, crosses corridor to door.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

On one of LUTHER'S laptops, the blinking cursor starts to move down a corridor. LUTHER speaks into his microphone.

LUTHER He's rolling. Get moving!

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

ETHAN is near the ceiling, but KRIEGER isn't pulling any more. ETHAN looks up at him, wide-eyed and gestures to pull him up. KRIEGER shakes his head no.

ETHAN gestures -- "WHAT?!"

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

The cursor is halfway across the screen.

LUTHER Get out of there -- get out of there --

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

ETHAN still dangles. Holding the rope with one hand, KRIEGER holds out his other, demanding something. He wants the disk.

INT. CIA CORRIDOR/GUARD STATION - DAY

The TECHNICIAN makes his way back down the corridor, toward the computer room.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

The blinking cursor is near the edge of the screen and LUTHER is sweating.

LUTHER He's at the vault - get moving! 1 yellow, 2 yellows...Toast!

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

ETHAN, still hanging upside down, has refused. KRIEGER demands again.

INT. CORRIDOR/GUARD STATION - DAY

The TECHNICIAN passes through the optometric scanner.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

LUTHER You're not moving!

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

ETHAN is hoisted up.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - DAY

LUTHER Phew! (to himself) NOC list.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

ETHAN has the diskette in his mouth. KRIEGER leans down and takes it. He drops the knife.

KRIEGER Merci.

ETHAN We're not outta here yet.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ANTEROOM - DAY

The TECHNICIAN deactivates the alarm systems, swings the door open and comes back into the room.

He turns to close the door behind him and in so doing just misses seeing ETHAN'S head as it is pulled back up into the ceiling.

CUT TO:

INT. DUCT - DAY

ETHAN throws smoke cannisters and he and KRIEGER crawl frantically back through the duct, the way they came.

INT. CIA LANGLEY - LOBBY - DAY

CLAIRE walks quickly past the GUARDS in the reception area and out of the building.

INT. CIA - COMPUTER ROOM - DAY

The TECHNICIAN enters the room and shuts the door. He sees the knife, picks it up, looks at it and then puts it down. He resumes his work at the computer but when he punches up his program, something prints out on his screen. Its header:

KEYSTROKE LOG -- FILE DOWNLOAD 11/18/95 9.58 AM

And it goes on. The TECHNICIAN'S eyes widen in disbelief. He spins back in his chair and reaches for the nearest telephone.

INT. CIA - COMMUNICATIONS ROOM - DAY

In the communications room, tempers are running a little high. KITTRIDGE is on his feet, berating his staff.

KITTRIDGE Think, for Christ's sake, you guys are mired in detail, open your minds, it's gotta be staring us in the face! What does Ethan Hunt want?!

BARNES Same thing he wanted in Prague! Same thing he's always wanted! The NOC list!

KITTRIDGE Okay!

Now it's coming together in KITTRIDGE'S mind and a horrible thought occurs to him.

KITTRIDGE (CONT'D) And where is the list vulnerable?

There is nervous silence for a moment. Behind KITTRIDGE, on the other side of the room, the phone starts to ring.

An AGENT gets up to answer it as a creeping fear pervades the room.

KITTRIDGE (CONT'D) (joking) Other than here.

Nervous laughter goes around the table. It fades. On the other side of the room, the AGENT who answered the phone turns, receiver in hand, face ashen.

He holds the phone out to KITTRIDGE, terrified, the bearer of extremely bad news.

They all turn slowly and look at him. He holds the phone out to KITTRIDGE, shaking slightly.

AGENT It's for you.

KITTRIDGE Kittridge, yup?

CUT TO:

EXT. VIRGINIA ROAD - DAY

It may be a HUMAN SCREAM or it may be a SIREN'S WAIL but it echoes over the forest as a lone fire truck ROARS away from the headquarters building, making its escape.

INT. FIRE TRUCK - MOVING - DAY

LUTHER, KRIEGER, CLAIRE and ETHAN, the victorious team, are in the truck's cab. They exchange looks of massive relief. But no one speaks. LUTHER, in particular, looks heavily troubled by what they've just done.

ETHAN looks at CLAIRE, who is jammed into the seat next to him. She drops her head on his shoulder, exhausted.

KRIEGER, in the driver's seat literally and figuratively.

ETHAN just looks straight ahead and to CLAIRE.

CUT TO:

INT. COMMUNICATIONS ROOM - DAY

The TECHNICIAN who discovered the theft of the list sits at one end of the now-empty conference table in the communications room. KITTRIDGE sits in a chair beside, staring gravely at him.

He gets up and walks to the door, where HARRY BARNES hovers. KITTRIDGE lowers his voice, it's barely audible.

KITTRIDGE (CONT'D) (to Barnes) You and I know about this -- and that's where it stops. Understand? It never happened.

BARNES What about him...?

He gestures to the TECHNICIAN, who watches them anxiously.

KITTRIDGE I want him manning a radar tower in Alaska by the end of the day. Just mail him his clothes.

He leaves. Barnes turns to the TECHNICIAN, who looks up at him anxiously.

CUT TO:

EXT. LONDON - NIGHT

Night. This street is a row of nondescript hotels, one after the other, with anonymous names like "Hotel Pomeroy," "Hotel Vincent," and "Hotel Berridge."

LONDON

INT. LONDON SAFE HOUSE - NIGHT

This barely furnished flat is as nondescript as the row of buildings it's in. ETHAN hurriedly digs through an overnight bag until he finds what he's looking for -- the now-battered bible he's used to contact Max. He flips through the pages and crosses the room to his laptop, which is powered up and waiting on the tiny desk.

LUTHER, alone in a chair across the room. is seriously preoccupied. KRIEGER is sprawled-on a ratty sofa, hoisting a lager and watching CNN.

CLAIRE is at the window staring out, anxious.

KRIEGER glances over the back of the sofa at ETHAN.

KRIEGER You contacting your buyer? (no answer) Ethan?

From the desk, ETHAN glances up. Then goes back to the computer. KRIEGER continues to glare over the sofa back.

KRIEGER (CONT'D) Ethan? Oh, 'scuse me Mr. Hunt?

ETHAN ignores him, working. His computer jams with static as it connects to a BBS. The screen blinks and displays the familiar Bible group service through which he's contacted Max. When it asks him which chapter and verse for the posting, ETHAN flicks through the Bible, looking for the next code. He begins to type.

MAX -- Now might be an excellent time to interpret Scripture face to face. Meet on TGV, noon tomorrow. Take seat 27. Bring our mutual friend Job.

KRIEGER suddenly appears over his shoulder and knocks bible out of Ethan's hands to the floor.

KRIEGER You're not going to any meeting without me.

ETHAN My contact is extremely shy.

He goes back to the computer, his finger hovering over the "ENTER" button.

LUTHER and CLAIRE watch this growing conflict closely. ETHAN sighs and stands up. KRIEGER pulls out the blue disk he took from ETHAN in the computer room and waves it in front of him.

KRIEGER I don't think you're in any position to give orders, do you? Not while I'm holding this.

CLAIRE Krieger.

KRIEGER Stay out of this. OR Lachez - moi OR T'agueue

ETHAN Don't you mean this?

He reaches into his briefcase and pulls out an identical disk. He puts it back in his jacket pocket.

KRIEGER stares for a second.

KRIEGER That's not it. That's not the list.

ETHAN What's the matter, you don't know this trick?

He holds the jacket pocket wide open, for KRIEGER to look into. KRIEGER does. The pocket is empty.

ETHAN (CONT'D) (mock surprise) Where did it go?! It's GONE!

ETHAN walks over to CLAIRE, reaches into the pocket of the trousers she's wearing and pulls out the disk.

ETHAN (CONT'D) But not too far!

He palms the disk in his right hand.

ETHAN (CONT'D) I know what you're thinking, Krieger. You're thinking, back in the computer room -- I was up here -- he was down there -- . He was carrying two discs.

While he talks, he rotates his hand, palm away from KRIEGER. When he rotates it back, the disk is gone again. He holds up his left hand. It's there now.

ETHAN (CONT'D) So hard to keep track of these things.

ETHAN shows his hands -- now both are empty.

KRIEGER (fuming) Where is it?

ETHAN pats his pockets, pretending to be frantic.

ETHAN I thought you had it! Do you actually think I'd let you have the NOC list?

KRIEGER just stares at him, shaken. CLAIRE laughs. KRIEGER looks at her. He turns completely red. When he looks back at ETHAN, ETHAN holds two disks -- one in each hand.

KRIEGER Try any sleight-of-hand with my money and Ill cut your throat.

He tosses his worthless disk into the trash can and storms out, SLAMMING the door behind him. ETHAN picks up the Bible and sees Drake Hotel.

CLAIRE I'm so sorry. Krieger was my call. I've never worked with him. I'm sorry, Ethan.

ETHAN We did what we had to do.

CLAIRE I'm going to try and get some sleep.

She leaves, closing the door behind her, leaving ETHAN and LUTHER alone.

ANGLE

ETHAN waits a moment, then casually walks to the trash can, picks up the disk KRIEGER threw out and brushes it off carefully.

He replaces it, in the trash, with the blue disk from his jacket pocket.

LUTHER Krieger did have the NOC list.

ETHAN Now I want you to hold onto it.

LUTHER What makes you trust me?

ETHAN Because if you knew what you were getting into, you never would have done it.

LUTHER I'm not letting this list get out in the open.

ETHAN Exactly, that's your job. Tomorrow on the train, you can't let this list get out into the open. What's the range of this thing?

LUTHER It's hard to tell. I'm gonna have to be close.

ETHAN I'll get you close.

Claire opens the door.

CLAIRE Ethan I need to talk to you.

ETHAN follows CLAIRE into her room where she shows him the television screen.

INSERT - SCREEN

On the screen, an anchor in the CNN news center.

ANCHOR The unlikely setting...a farm in the heartland of America...the State of Wisconsin, where federal agents claim to have broken the brain trust behind an international drug ring. For a report we go live now to CNN correspondent (Joe Jones) in the state capitol, Madison. (Joe)...?

CNN reporter speaks to camera, on the steps of a courthouse.

REPORTER Authorities have identified the couple as Margaret Ethan Hunt and Donald Hunt.

BACK TO SCENE

ETHAN looks. CLAIRE behind him.

INSERT - SCREEN

An OLDER COUPLE, mid-sixties, exit the doors and are led down the steps of the courthouse in shackles. The Reporter and other news crews race up to the door.

REPORTER Here they are now.

Camera follows the couple downstairs. Police roughly pull them away from the news crews.

BACK TO SCENE

INSERT - SCREEN

REPORTER They were apprehended this morning by the DEA in a major sting operation for the illegal manufacture of the drug methcathinone, known on the street as "cat".

BACK TO SCENE

ETHAN

INSERT - SCREEN

VOICE (O.S.) Similar to methamphetamines, cat is seen by officials as one of the most powerful and dangerous drugs in the world. Some thirty-four cat labs have been seized so far, but the recently widowed Mrs. Hunt and her brother-in-law are believed to be involved in a global drug distribution network.

A public official exits the building. The reporter and other news crews charge up to him.

REPORTER Mr. Fairchild, agent Fairchild, a comment please.

The image on the television changes to an interview with a PUBLIC OFFICIAL who faces a bank of microphones.

PUBLIC OFFICIAL I think it's sad, really. Farmers, unless they're a conglomerate, are always operating on a paper-thin margin. I'm afraid what we have here is a case of a naive and lonely widow with a lot of financial problems who chose to make money through illegal means.

REPORTER That was John Fairchild, the DEA agent in charge of this investigation. Officials tell me that international law enforcement agents are expected to arrive here later today to question the Hunts. This is Joe Jones, CNN, Love in Madison, Wisconsin.

BACK TO SCENE

ETHAN Kittridge...

CLAIRE Bastard!

ETHAN switches TV off and paces away from it. His anger erupts and he kicks the old filing cabinets, then picks up a chair and throws it across the room so it smashes into the wall. CLAIRE tries to get hold of him, but he shakes her away.

ETHAN Don't...don't touch me...

CAMERA SWING PANS between them.

CLAIRE What are you going to do?

ETHAN (turns to her and gestures at TV) He's expecting my call. (strides to door) I'm going to the station... (o/s at door) And I'm going to call him.

EXT. LONDON SAFE HOUSE - RAIN - NIGHT

ETHAN comes out from a side street by Liverpool Street Underground Station and crosses the road to the main station. CLAIRE watches him from the window.

INT. LONDON TERMINUS RAILWAY STATION - NIGHT

ETHAN hurries down escalator. CAMERA MOVES IN on him. He crosses to the TELEPHONE BOXES. He starts to dial a number.

CUT TO:

INT. CIA - COMMUNICATIONS ROOM - NIGHT

A light flashes and a phone BUZZES. KITTRIDGE in shirt and tie, picks up. BARNES and several other AGENTS are monitoring newscasts and engaged in various activities related to the Hunt case.

KITTRIDGE (picking up) Kittridge.

ETHAN (O.S.) I see you've been out visiting the folks.

KITTRIDGE (covers receiver) It's Hunt. What do you need for a pinpoint? (to Ethan) Been watching a little T.V., have you?

One of the technicians frantically scratches something on a piece of foolscap and waves it at KITTRIDGE: "80 SECONDS".

KITTRIDGE nods.

EXT. PHONE BOX - LONDON - NIGHT

ETHAN Hauling Mom off to jail in shackles was an especially nice touch.

INT. CIA - COMMUNICATIONS ROOM - NIGHT

At the console, the number 44 flashes on the TECHNICIAN'S screen.

TECHNICIAN He's in England.

BARNES scratches England and 22 seconds on foolscap and waves it.

KITTRIDGE (covering receiver) Get MI5.

The TECHNICIAN opens another line on his console and begins patching through to Whitehall.

KITTRIDGE Ethan, I want to reassure you that my first order of business after you come in is to get these ridiculous charges against your family dropped and eliminated completely from their files. Come in now, we can plea down the charges against you as well.

The wall clock is thirty seconds and counting down. The TECHNICIAN is frantically signalling KITTRIDGE to keep talking. KITTRIDGE is momentarily stuck. Fortunately:

ETHAN (O.S.) Can I ask you something, Kittridge? KITTRIDGE Certainly Ethan.

INT. PHONE BOX - LONDON - NIGHT

ETHAN If you're dealing with someone who's crushed, stabbed, shot and detonated five members of his own IMF team, how devastated do you think you're going to make him by marching Ma and Uncle Donald down to the county courthouse?

INT. CIA - COMMUNICATIONS ROOM - NIGHT

KITTRIDGE I don't know, Ethan. Suppose you tell me?

Click. ETHAN has hung up. KITTRIDGE looks hopefully to the TECHNICIAN who says:

BARNES Lost him. We needed three more seconds.

Surprisingly KITTRIDGE is not as upset as he is puzzled.

KITTRIDGE He wanted us to know he was in London.

Clearly that's the question that KITTRIDGE is turning over in his mind and he doesn't have a simple answer to it.

CUT TO:

EXT. PHONE BOX - LONDON - NIGHT

Close Digital clock. It reads 23.59. Angle widens to show ETHAN looking at it with grim satisfaction. He opens the door of the phone booth and almost SMACKS right into --

--the pale, weary, ghostlike figure of a man standing just inches in front of him. Startled, ETHAN looks up, but what he sees shakes him to the core.

The man is JIM PHELPS.

ETHAN SHOUTS and almost falls back into the phone booth. PHELPS leans against the door of the booth and smiles weakly.

PHELPS You're a hard man to catch up with. PHELPS falls towards ETHAN. ETHAN tries to speak, but can't even form words.

INT - RAILWAY STATION CAFE (DAY)

ETHAN and PHELPS opposite one another in a booth, PHELPS looking clammy and listing to one side. But the banter seems friendly and very quick - two friends and close colleagues able to follow one another's reasoning easily, finishing each other's sentences:

PHELPS ..the next day I managed to drag myself to the safe house, must've just missed you..anyway, I checked our aliases.

ETHAN - and picked us up in the States -

PHELPS - but you left before I could get there and I could check just so many places..

ETHAN Yeah, smaller countries don't computerize customs records -

PHELPS - so I watched Europe. Once you showed up in England..it was easy.

ETHAN You knew I liked the rentals at Liverpool Street.

PHELPS Hey, I showed 'em to you!

ETHAN I remember..

PHELPS smiles warmly, has to steady himself to maintain an upright position. He opens a medicine bottle and takes the pain killers.

ETHAN Jim, who do you think you're kidding? A doctor's gotta look at that. You can't sit up straight.

PHELPS I can sit up straight. I just can't..sit up straight very well. It's not important! I saw who shot me. Ethan, I saw the mole. It was Kittridge. (a fist into the table) Kittridge!

PHELPS grips the sides of the table.

ETHAN Kitteridge. Oh my god! Kittridge is the mole?

PHELPS Yeah.

ETHAN How did Kittridge do it?..

EXT. CHARLES BRIDGE - FLASHBACK - NIGHT

A reprise of PHELPS'S narrative only now ETHAN'S telling it and camera is showing the events as ETHAN sees they actually happened.

ETHAN VO - first he took care of Jack in the elevator - At the Embassy PHELPS sends the elevator to the top of the building, watching it go and crush Kiefer.

ETHAN VO - he shot you on the bridge -

On the Charles bridge PHELPS using the Visco glasses aims the gun toward them, fires, cants the glasses and tosses them into the Vltava River.

ETHAN VO - he must have had back up take out Golitsyn and Sarah at the fence..

There on the embankment, in the night and fog, it is KRIEGER who takes out GOLITSYN and SARAH thru the fence..

ETHAN VO How did he do Hannah?

Here it is CLAIRE with back to camera who presses the detonator and turns dreamily to face it, the explosion brilliant behind her...

ETHAN VO No. No. He could've taken out Hannah himself.

PHELPS presses the remote detonator and the car blows..

OVER SHOULDER - PHELPS (INT. RAILWAY CAFE)

ETHAN looking intently at him.

ETHAN Why, Jim? Why?

Awkward moment.

PHELPS ..when you think about it, Ethan, it was inevitable..no more Cold War. No more secrets you keep from everyone but yourself, operations you answer to no one but yourself. Then one morning you wake up and find out the President of the United States is running the country - without your permission. The son-of-a- bitch! How dare he? You realize its over, youre an obsolete piece of hardware not worth upgrading, youve got a lousy marriage and sixty-two grand a year. Kittridge, well go after that no good son-of-a-bitch, big time!

ETHAN We dont have to, Jim. Hell come after us.

PHELPS Whats going to make him do that?

ETHAN What he didnt get in Prague. The NOC list.

PHELPS Jesus, Ethan. Good for you.

ETHAN A meeting tomorrow on the TGV, enroute to Paris.

PHELPS Tight security. No guns. Real plus.

ETHAN If I supposedly deliver the NOC list to Max, Max has agreed to deliver Job to me. Ill have Claire and Luther Stickell with me on the train. Marcel Krieger will have helicopter transport waiting in Paris.

PHELPS looks away. Seems badly shaken.

ETHAN Jim...?

PHELPS I was sitting in a cafe waiting for you and suddenly there she was, standing in the rain just outside the safe house..alive and beautiful..and thinking Im dead and gone. God knows what shes had to do forget about me to keep going and get the job done, I..

PHELPS breaks off abruptly. Apparently some inner struggle over this threatens to overwhelm him. Then, controlling it:

PHELPS - no. She cant know about me. No one can. Not til this is over. Theres too much at stake, Ethan.

ETHAN Youre probably right.

PHELPS I usually am.

ETHAN Once we leave the safehouse, get in there and crash. Ill call you from Paris.

PHELPS You got it.

ETHAN And get a doctor.

PHELPS Good luck.

INT. LONDON SAFE HOUSE - CLAIRES ROOM - NIGHT

The door to CLAIRE'S room in the safe house opens, throwing a shaft of light over her form. ETHAN creeps in and closes the door behind him.

It is approximately one a.m. . CLAIRE is huddled in the corner. ETHAN enters and stands looking at her.

CLAIRE What happened?

ETHAN (walks towards her) I sent the message to Max. Were on for tomorrow.

CLAIRE Okay...

ETHAN (he steps towards her, stops) Is this the only way?

CLAIRE Yes.......come here....viens pres moi...

She draws him down by his hand to kiss her.

He kisses her again, more fully. She wraps an arm around him and he holds onto the kiss. The room appears to revolve around them.

CUT TO:

EXT. PRIVATE HELIPAD - DAY

Suddenly its bright, broad daylight, so bright it hurts our eyes.

KITTRIDGE and BARNES step off a military helicopter, blinking at the sunlight and hurry down the steps.

TWO AGENTS immediately flank KITTRIDGE at the bottom and fall into step alongside, ready to brief him. One of them holds out a small package with "for Job" written on it.

KITTRIDGE looks at him. He rips it open. A note inside simply says:

TGV. LONDON TERMINUS Noon.

KITTRIDGE looks at his watch. Its ten to twelve.

As he reads the note, something else falls out of the envelope and CLUNKS to the ground.

He bends over, picks it up, and looks at it. Cradled in his hand, we cant see what it is. But to him, its very interesting.

He steps up his pace, headed for the car.

KITTRIDGE (to the Agent) How long to the London Terminus?

AGENT Twenty, twenty-five minutes.

KITTRIDGE Youve got ten. Move!

INT. WATERLOO STATION PLATFORM - DAY

The sleek front power car, looking like the nose of an SST, gets its 25,000 volt charge from the overhead catenary.

The rear power car gets its jolt.

The TGV starts to move, pulling out of the station.

INT. BUSINESS CAR - MOVING - DAY

The business car is similar to the one ETHAN saw on the first train they look across Europe. Its crowded, maybe THIRTY MEN and WOMEN in suits, most of them already immersed in work on their laptops or talking on their cellular phones.

One such woman is MAX in her seat, number 27. MATTHIAS and the OTHER MAN, last seen dropping off ETHAN in Prague, sit across from her, her laptop is on the table next to her, in her briefcase.

MAX How long until we reach the Chunnel?

MATTHIAS Twenty minutes.

INT. REAR CAR - MOVING - DAY

A MAN puts a cellular phone and a radio/cassette machine on the bunk-bed. We only see his hands as he proceeds to take the parts of a pistol out of the cassette machine and assemble a wicked-looking pistol from the seemingly innocuous electrical parts inside.

INT. BUSINESS CAR - MOVING - DAY

MAX is reading the Financial Times. MATTHIAS is looking out of the window. A cellular phone rings inside MAXs briefcase in front of MATTHIAS. MATTHIAS takes the phone out.

MATTHIAS Yes... (holds phone out for Max) Its him.

MAX (into phone) This wasnt what we discussed.

ETHAN (O.S.) (on phone) My apologies Max. Couldnt be helped. Theres a piece of black cloth under your seat. Tear it away and youll find the disk.

MAX reaches down and does as instructed, finding the computer disk as promised. She hands it to Matthias who strips off the velcro covering and slots it into the drive next to the computer in the briefcase. He boots it up quickly and turns the briefcase containing the computer toward MAX for her to see.

One half of the screen, with the heading "CRYPTONYM AND OPERATIONAL SPECS" is already jammed with information. The blank second half of the screen acquires the title "TRUE NAME," and information starts filling itself in rapidly -- names, addresses, identities.

As the two sides match up, a legend flashes:

IDENTITY MATCH

MAX (back into phone) Ha, dear boy! I do hope this doesnt prelude a meeting in private.

ETHAN (O.S.) It doesnt, dear girl. as long as you tell me where the money is.

MAX The possibility alone is worth ten million. Baggage car, rack 3. Silver briefcase. Combination 314.

ETHAN (O.S.) What about Job?

MAX I wouldnt worry about him. Once youve got the money -- hell find you.

INT. BUSINESS CAR - MOVING (ANOTHER ANGLE)

LUTHER, three rows behind in another seat, is at work on a laptop of his own. A mobile Nokia phone is beside it - red light flashing.

INT. SECOND CLASS CAR - MOVING (ANOTHER ANGLE) - DAY

KITTRIDGE and BARNES move through the second class car. They turn around and start working their way back again.

At the front, CLAIRE is getting desperate. A LARGE MAN passes through the door behind her.

The LARGE MAN continues back, nearing KITTRIDGE and BARNES, who are forced to step into empty seats on the side in order to make room for him to pass. As they move by him, their vision is momentarily blocked --

-- and CLAIRE gets up to follow.

She follows to the rear of the car and she passes through the door and out of the car, after KITTRIDGE and BARNES talk in doorway.

BARNES Only four more cars.

KITTRIDGE And if we dont find him - well search the whole train again.

BARNES Whats Hunt doing on the TGV?

KITTRIDGE High speed train. No-one gets on. No- one gets off. High security. Good place for a pass off to Max.

BARNES But why tell us?

KITTRIDGE Hes putting on a show, Barnes.

BARNES What kind of show.

KITTRIDGE I dont know. (looks at his wrist monitor) It didnt say on the tickets.

KITTRIDGE and BARNES go off back through the next coach. CLAIRE follows into the same doorway and stops to speak into her wristwatch to ETHAN:

CLAIRE Ethan...Kittridge is on the train.

ETHAN Kittridge is Job. Max delivered. How far is he from Luther?

CLAIRE Two cars. Where are you?

ETHAN You are my eyes. Stay with him.

She moves onto the next coach, going after KITTRIDGE and BARNES.

INT. BUSINESS CAR - MOVING - (MAX) - DAY

On her computer screen in the business car, an ominous message flashes.

LIST COMPLETE

MAX dials a number on her cellular phone. She is calling Job.

MAX (into phone) Hes in the baggage car.

PHELPS (O/S) (assembling gun in sleeping compartment) Ill be there.

MAX hangs up and hands the phone to MATTHIAS who slots it into the briefcase next to the computer. He dials a number on the keyboard and pushes send. The computer emits a DIAL TONE. Her computer flashes a message.

MODEM DENIED

MAX Whats the problem.

MATTHIAS Connection denied.

MAX Try it again.

MATTHIAS Its not working.

MAX Is something wrong with the phone? (Pause as he tries the phone) Well is something wrong with the batteries?

MATTHIAS I always check the batteries.

MAX Run it through from the top.

INT. REAR CAR (SLEEPING COMPARTMENT) - MOVING - DAY

The MAN assembling the gun CLICKS the last piece, the silencer, into place.

INT. CAR (NEXT TO MAXS CAR) - MOVING - DAY

KITTRIDGE and BARNES looking - stop in doorway.

BARNES Nothing but civilians, Gene.

KITTRIDGE This is bullshit - we dont even know what Max looks like.

BARNES Maybe we dont have to know what he looks like. If hes got that list, hes going to want to check it. We should be looking for laptops.

KITTRIDGE Good idea.

INT. BUSINESS CAR - (LUTHER) - MOVING - DAY

LUTHER sees them coming. He smacks the laptop shut and positions his jamming phone on the table to point at Maxs computer. He gets up, taking his computer with him, headed for the rear of the car. A WAITER sees the phone and goes after LUTHER with it.

WAITER Excuse me, Sir, your telephone...

OTHER PASSENGERS phones nearby go haywire. LUTHER looks to MAX. Exits car.

INT. BUSINESS CAR - MOVING - (MAX) - DAY

Her dial tone finally hits the static of a computer connection and the message on her screen changes:

TRANSFER IN PROGRESS

MATTHIAS Its working.

MAX Phew! Weve got five minutes...

INT. BUSINESS CAR - MOVING - DAY

LUTHER shuts himself in the bathroom. The OTHER MAN follows him, tries the door and waits his moment. The OTHER MAN bangs against the door. LUTHER braces himself against the door.

INT. ANOTHER CAR - MOVING - DAY

CLAIRE walking through. She pauses to listen in her earpiece.

ETHAN (O/S) Ive got the money. Meet me in the baggage car.

She walks on.

INT. BUSINESS CAR - MOVING - DAY

KITTRIDGE and BARNES are looking at the people in the Business Car behind MAX. CLAIRE passes them by heading for the last executive coach to get to Club and Baggage Car. She passes the OTHER MAN at the bathroom door. He follows her.

KITTRIDGE Get this door open.

KITTRIDGE and BARNES have seen CLAIRE go through MAXS Business Car and past the OTHER MAN at the bathroom door. They follow, but suspect the locked bathroom door and stop there to listen.

INT. LAST EXECUTIVE CAR - MOVING - DAY

CLAIRE moves swiftly through the last car (after MAXS car). up into the Club Car and opens the door leading to the BAGGAGE CAR. Goes in. The door slams shut.

KITTRIDGE Hello, Luther. Wheres Hunt?

LUTHER Mr. Kittridge, the NOC list is being modemed off the train.

KITTRIDGE Where?

INT. REAR CAR - MOVING - DAY

CLAIRE enters a little breathless. Spotting PHELPS profile in the darkened car.

CLAIRE Ethans right behind me. Listen to me Jim. Is it such a good idea to kill him? We take the money. Ethan takes the blame. No-one else has seen you alive. No-one will believe him.

ETHAN Of course - Im sorry to hear you say that Claire.

CLAIRE Ethan?

PHELPS Yes. Ethan Hunt, darling. Remember him?

Here PHELPS pulls out his assembled pistol.

CLAIRE You knew about Jim?

PHELPS Course he did. Just exactly when he knew is something of a question. Before or after I showed in London, mind telling me, Ethan?

ETHAN Before London. But after you took the Bible out of the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

PHELPS They stamped it, didnt they? Those damn Gideons.

PHELPS watch alarm goes off.

PHELPS Two minutes til Krieger shows. Thisll have to be quicker than Id like. Certainly quicker than youd like.

CLAIRE Ethan, if you knew about Jim?..Why..

PHELPS Why the masquerade? Why take the risk? Well, Claire, youve asked the question and you are the answer.

ETHAN I knew about Jim.

PHELPS But, he didnt know about you. In all fairness, Ethan, Claire was never convinced her charms would work with you. But I was supremely confident - having tastes the goods. "Thou shall not covet thy Neighbours wife", Ethan. Oh, Ethan is in love with you, Claire, make no mistake about it. And like all the worlds lovers, hes tortured by the same, one pathetic question - "does she feel the same way I do?"

JIM turns to CLAIRE.

PHELPS Well Claire do you? Have you been exploiting his feelings or returning them?

CLAIRE Jim - lets just get the money and get out of here.

CLAIRE goes to ETHAN.

CLAIRE (CONT'D) The money Ethan.

ETHAN hands her the money.

ETHAN Youve earned it.

CLAIRE goes to Jim with the money.

PHELPS Count it.

CLAIRE starts to count.

ETHAN Tell me something Claire, that night in Prague, was it you or Jim that blew up the car and scattered Hannah all over town?

PHELPS Keep counting Claire.

CLAIRE It was me. I did it.

CLAIRE hands PHELPS the money.

PHELPS Satisfied?

CLAIRE All ten million.

PHELPS Fold it. Fold it tight.

ETHAN Arent you going to thank me Jim. Ten million is better than six.

PHELPS Dont flatter yourself - six was for Eastern Europe. You made a lousy deal - ten for the world? What is that? But I needed you for the transfer with Max. I got a little extra change; and you got a little extra too.

PHELPS watch alarm goes off.

PHELPS Sorry Ethan. Times up. Say goodbye.

ETHAN Youre wrong about one thing. Im not the only one whos seen you alive.

ETHAN throws JIM the Visco glasses.

KITTRIDGE Good morning, Mr Phelps.

PHELPS and CLAIRE are stunned.

PHELPS You son of a bitch.

PHELPS points the gun at ETHAN.

CLAIRE Dont Jim.

PHELPS Now we dont have to eliminate him? You like that, dont you Claire? Dont you?

CLAIRE Yes.

ETHAN Jim, its over.

PHELPS Ethan - Ive always taught you, nothing can be more dangerous than the truth. It can kill you.

PHELPS shoots CLAIRE. Struggle between PHELPS and ETHAN. The gun is lost. PHELPS beats ETHAN to the ground. His watch alarm beeps rapidly. He turns, goes up the stairs and...

ETHAN goes to CLAIRE. ETHAN Claire...Hey...

CLAIRE This stuff is so sticky.

ETHAN Claire.

CLAIRE Its all right, Ethan..youll bring me back...wont you...

ETHAN I always have, Claire..

CLAIRE dies. ETHAN looks to ladder hatch and climbs ladder.

INT. REAR CAR - ENGINEER'S SECTION - DAY

PHELPS climbs up a ladder past an inert engineer slumped over the control panel -- an obvious earlier victim of PHELPS. PHELPS puts on a pair of clear goggles, reaches a trap door and climbs through it --

EXT. ROOF OF TRAIN - DAY

-- halfway out onto the roof of the train. He reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a suction cup with a handle on the end of it. He SMACKS the suction cup down on the roof and pulls himself the rest of the way out.

He pulls out a second suction cup and SMACKS it down on the smooth surface of the train.

Now for the tough part. Using the suction cups, PHELPS slowly pulls himself forward, a foot at a time, pulling and replanting the cups as he goes.

He drags himself over the length of the final car, to the back of the train, where the rear engine slants off sharply, a window for the ENGINEER.

Half kneeling on the roof, PHELPS pulls out the clip from his belt.

He looks up, scanning the sky behind the train. From out of the fog, a helicopter approaches.

PHELPS turns and looks ahead, in the direction the train is going. In the distance, he can see the chunnel approaching the tunnel under the English Channel. His eyes widen.

INT. HELICOPTER - DAY

KRIEGER is at the controls. He sees the approaching tunnel as well.

EXT. ROOF OF TRAIN - DAY

PHELPS crawls like hell to get into position. Looking up, he sees KRIEGER pointing frantically behind him. PHELPS turns.

ETHAN is climbing out the trap door.

A cable and hook swing down from the helicopter, almost touching the roof of the train. PHELPS crawls closer to it.

ETHAN, behind him, is in a far more precarious position. Without goggles or suction cups, he has to use his fingers to grab small holes on the roof.

He is flipped over by the wind, ending up facing the other way. Loses his grip and is blown backwards over the roof.

INT. HELICOPTER - DAY

KRIEGER sees the Chunnel entrance approaching. He gestures to PHELPS and tries to move the cable closer to him, passing over PHELPS and then back to him.

EXT. ROOF OF TRAIN - DAY

PHELPS grabs the cable and is about to hook the cable onto his belt, ETHAN slides into him and they both crash onto the roof.

ETHAN grabs the cable out of PHELPS hand and clips it onto the roof.

PHELPS and ETHAN struggle, but they are hurtling dangerously closer to the chunnel entrance.

They're now right on top of the chunnel entrance.

INT. HELICOPTER - DAY

KRIEGER sees the tunnel, only seconds away now. He paws at the controls, jerking back desperately on a certain lever.

EXT. ROOF OF TRAIN - DAY

PHELPS kicks ETHAN and he falls off the far side of the train. PHELPS falls off the near side and holding onto the strap manages to pull himself back on.

-- The train ZOOMS into the tunnel --

-- AND THE HELICOPTER ROARS RIGHT IN BEHIND IT!

INT. BUSINESS CAR/TUNNEL - MOVING - DAY

As the train roars into the tunnel, the business car goes nearly dark and the message on MAX'S computer screen changes one last time. This time it says:

CONNECTION TERMINATED. TRANSFER LOST.

MAX'S face falls.

MAX Damn!

INT. REAR CAR/ENGINEER'S SECTION - DAY

Another CONDUCTOR races into the power car, past his inert companion, and is shocked to see the copter right behind the train. He grabs a radio and SCREAMS into it.

CONDUCTOR No, no, it's IN the tunnel!

VOICE (O.S.) Stop the train!

CONDUCTOR It'll crash into us! Accelerate, accelerate.

EXT. ROOF OF TRAIN/TUNNEL - DAY

For a moment, we see no one. No ETHAN. No PHELPS. Moving around to the other end of the car, we see where they've gone.

They're dangling from either side of it.

PHELPS paws for one of the suction cups and pulls himself back onto the roof of the train. ETHAN reaches for the other cup.

The helicopter, fortunate that this tunnel is double track and barely wide enough to accomodate it, pursues, KRIEGER pushing it up to full speed again.

But it can't lift up high enough to go completely over the train.

EXT. ROOF OF TRAIN/TUNNEL - DAY

PHELPS, nearing the back, manoeuvers himself to the windshield of the rear power car, trying to grab the skid of KRIEGER'S copter.

He doesn't see what's headed toward him, coming from the other direction.

Another train.

At the last moment, PHELPS notices the reflection of the oncoming train in the windshield and swings back onto the roof of his train, barely avoiding getting creamed by it as it blows by.

The helicopter avoids the oncoming train too -- and PHELPS misses the skid.

KRIEGER tips the front of the copter, trying to decapitate ETHAN with the rotor. PHELPS jumps onto the skid, but the copter pitches so far forward the blade hits the top of the tunnel. SPARKS and chunks of cement fly.

KRIEGER levels the chopper quickly. ETHAN uses the moment to leap from the train onto the other helicopter skid.

PHELPS and ETHAN now hang on the skids, facing one another. Crouching on the skid, ETHAN digs in his pocket and pulls out --

-- a red and green piece of bubble gum.

PHELPS sees it and SCREAMS at KRIEGER, who scrambles frantically for his gun.

ETHAN Red light, green light. Asta Lasagna mother fucker.

ETHAN mashes the red into the green, slaps the gum onto the copter's underbelly and turns away from it.

PHELPS kicks vainly at the gum, SCREAMING --

-- but the gum EXPLODES. The force of the blast rockets ETHAN forward, he lands on the train's windshield.

The helicopter whirls and BASHES into the tunnel, veers wildly, then pitches forward and down, smashing PHELPS under the skid and EXPLODING in a giant fireball.

ETHAN, stuck on the windshield, can only watch as the wreckage of the copter tumbles down the train towards him. It stops just short of him, with its bent and broken rotor blade barely missing his throat.

ETHAN lays his head against the windshield glass, utterly drained.

INT. BUSINESS CAR/TUNNEL - MOVING - DAY

KITTRIDGE comes back into the business car and is joined by BARNES. LUTHER, only slightly bruised, stands up next to them and gestures to MAX and her laptop.

LUTHER I think this is what you're looking for.

MAX looks up, stunned. KITTRIDGE leans over and peers at her screen. He just smiles and sits down next to her, content to wait for her to speak.

When she finally does, she's almost charming.

MAX My lawyers will have a field day with this. Entrapment, jurisdictional conflicts --

KITTRIDGE leans closer to her and lowers his voice, just as friendly.

KITTRIDGE Maybe we'll just keep the courts out of this one.

MAX I'm sure we can find something I have that you need.

KITTRIDGE You know, I would love to try.

EXT. LONDON PUB - DAY

LUTHER sits on a high stool, his PowerBook next to him, while he sips a beer. A television screen is featuring follow-up coverage of yesterday's dramatic helicopter-train wreck in the chunnel. Aside from emphasizing that it was the work of a lone, crazed character in a helicopter who was killed in the crash, there are comments about how miraculous it was there were no other fatalaties. There are intermittent sounds of aircraft taking off and landing, announcements of arrivals and departures. ETHAN into shot. He sits beside LUTHER.

LUTHER Reach your folks? (ETHAN nods) How they feeling?

ETHAN About what?

LUTHER The official apology from the Justice Department, the VIP treatment, you know, the whole nine yards.

ETHAN Well my Mother was a little confused about how the DEA could mistake her and Uncle Donald for a couple of dope smugglers in the Florida keys.

LUTHER picks up his beer.

LUTHER (Laughs and with a British accent) Cheers.

They drink.

ETHAN Here's to you, Luther. (clink glasses) To being off the disavowed list.

LUTHER Hey, I'm the flavour of the month!

ETHAN You're more than that, Luther. They were mistaken about you and they're trying to show you they know it. They want you back in.

LUTHER Sure. They want me back in so I won't break in! They still can't figure out how we did it.

ETHAN You didn't tell 'em at the debriefing?

LUTHER I figured I'd let 'em reinstate my back pay, give me a promotion, check out my office at Langley and then, maybe, talk about it.

ETHAN (laughing) It's all one big negotiation, isn't it?

LUTHER Why don't you come back with me?

ETHAN Just don't know why I'd be doing it.

LUTHER You really liked Phelps, didn't you?

ETHAN He was a good guy for a long, long time. Just - not long enough. (looks up) Gotta catch my flight..(rising) So. How's it feel being a solid citizen again?

LUTHER Oh man...I don't know. I'm gonna miss being disreputable.

ETHAN Well, Luther - if it makes you feel any better I'll always think of you that way.

The two men understand one another and LUTHER will say no more. The two exchange slight gestures of farewell and in a moment ETHAN disappears from the bar, leaving a contemplative LUTHER looking after him.

INT. PLANE - NIGHT

ETHAN HUNT slumps down in his scat, dosing. A FLIGHT ATTENDANT makes her way down the aisle, holding a case filled with movie cassettes. She stops before a lady passenger.

FLIGHT ATTENDANT Would you like to watch a movie, Miss Clarke?

She then stops before ETHAN.

FLIGHT ATTENDANT Excuse me, Mr. Hunt. Would you like to watch a movie.

ETHAN No, thank you.

FLIGHT ATTENDANT Would you consider the cinema of the Caribbean?

ETHAN just stares at her. This couldn't be what it's sounding like.

FLIGHT ATTENDANT Aruba, perhaps?

The camera moves into ETHAN's face. They found him. They want him back. He looks up at her and.....

CUT TO BLACK

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I/ Mission Impossible I.
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