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Hook[]

1. INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

-On screen (SFX): icey surface & Moon in sky.

-Tanner leaves the screen & crouches by Rowland, sat at the desk.

TANNER: "Say I was right. Admit that I, Jack Tanner did foretell, did prophesy, long before you heard from that eyeless instrument."

-On screen (SFX):

ROWLAND: "Yes, Jack."

-Rowland & Tanner.

ROWLAND: "You were absolutely right."

Tanner backs & bows elaborately, his version of a buck & wing. Rowland claps, still watching the screen.

ROWLAND (cont): "But tell me, now tell me sensibly, how you knew." ((Tanner crouches by him; Rowland holds his beard)) "How even you could foretell that a heavenly body the size of Earth's Moon is approaching our planet?"

TANNER (insulted, slaps desk & retreats): "Not any Moon!" ((Points)) "The Earth's Moon! That selfsame orb whose unforgiving eye beheld the birth of Caesar " ((calms)) " and no doubt your own."

ROWLAND: "Jack."

Tanner moves to the desk & taps keys on a keyboard.

EXT. MOON IN PLANET SKY (SFX)

TANNER (VO): "When it came to the crunch "

1.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

TANNER (cont, looking at Rowland): " did Caesar believe the soothsayer?"

ROWLAND: "By heaven, Jack. You are right." ((stands slowly)) "That is our Moon. The Earth's Moon." ((advances))

TANNER: "Yeah. A bit eaten."

EXT. MOON IN PLANET SKY (SFX)

TANNER (VO): " but still a gift wrapped in enigma."

1.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

Tanner taps a keyboard & the screen blanks.

ROWLAND (returns & sits, in thought): "Jack. There may be people out there. And Moonbase Alpha. Earthmen from home."

TANNER: "But mortal! With we of the eternal breed there can be no contact."

ROWLAND (presses button & takes microphone): "Hello out there! Hello Alpha!"

2.EXT. PLANET OVER LUNAR HILLS (SFX)

ROWLAND (on radio): "This is Ultima Thule. Do you copy?"

4.INT. MAIN MISSION

Koenig stands at his desk & enters Main Mission through the opening big doors.

ROWLAND: "Men of Alpha, do you hear me? We have a life here, "

-Big Screen (SFX): planet.

ROWLAND (VO): "a long life that you could share..."

TANNER: "A long lane and no turning."

ROWLAND: "Ultima Thule "

-Main Mission.

ROWLAND (cont): " is a lost paradise! Come!"

TANNER: "Lost, and with no final end."

ROWLAND: "The smog is creeping in. We can talk no more. But come!"

TANNER: "Stay away!"

-Big Screen (SFX): planet.

TANNER: "Stay away!"

FADE OUT:

Act )One[]

5.EXT. SPACE (SFX)

Planet horizon as Eagle flies towards it. Titles over.

8.EXT. ATMOSPHERE (SFX)

Eagle flies into misty clouds, space over. Titles over.

6.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

ALAN: "Solid cotton wool."

KOENIG: "The man said smog. Let's see if communications are still choked. Paul."

PAUL (on screen): "Commander?"

KOENIG: "Still no contact?"

PAUL (on screen): "We're transmitting continuously but getting nothing back. Computer says the weather conditions on the surface are terrible."

KOENIG: "As we head into the smog we may lose contact with you. But keep listening anyway."

PAUL: "All the time."

8.EXT. ATMOSPHERE (SFX)

Eagle in mist.

9.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

ALAN: "This can't be too good for our onboard instruments either."

KOENIG: "Victor."

10.INT. EAGLE PASSENGER SECTION

VICTOR: "John."

KOENIG (VO): "We may have to rely on our own on board computer to put us down close to the original radio signal."

9.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

KOENIG: "Has the smog affected our instruments?"

VICTOR (VO): "Sensors are out completely."

10.INT. EAGLE PASSENGER SECTION

VICTOR: "But we've got the original data."

HELENA: "The last reading on the surface temperature was minus sixty."

9.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

HELENA (VO): "And that's in the heat of the day."

ALAN: "Some paradise, huh?"

((Sc 12)) A screen flashes 'Emergency Landing'. They check instruments & seatbelts.

13.INT. EAGLE PASSENGER SECTION

Victor crosses to his seat.

14.EXT. EAGLE (SFX)

Lands with a bump in the snow.

15.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

ALAN: "Ho ho. Nice touch down, Computer."

KOENIG: "It could have been rougher." ((they unstrap & get up))

17.INT. EAGLE PASSENGER SECTION

They all wear blue thermal suits.

VICTOR (looking into scanner on chest): "Depending on how hard the going is, about twenty minutes on a due west bearing ought to bring us to the signal source."

KOENIG: "I suggest we stick close together. But if you do get lost the comlock locator beams should bring us back to the ship. All set?"

Koenig leads them to the door.

19.EXT. PLANET SURFACE

They walk into the storm from the steps. Alan is last to leave. The mist devours them.

20.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

Jack howls like a wolf twice.

ROWLAND (walks up corridor): "Be quiet, Jack!"

TANNER: "I am the dog that bays the Moon who sets her cat among your pigeons, doctor."

ROWLAND: "Another prophecy?"

TANNER: "Merely an inclination of my ear in the right direction. You cannot hear for listening." ((presses button: static, but also a signal))

ROWLAND (galvanised): "They've come! They've come!" ((goes to earphones))

TANNER: "You didn't think they'd heed a fool?"

ROWLAND: "Alphans! Alphans!"

21.EXT. PLANET SURFACE

TANNER (VO): "Go home!"

ROWLAND (VO): "Alphans!"

TANNER (VO): "Go home!"

KOENIG (stops & looks into comlock): "The voice! I heard it!"

HELENA: "Must be the wind, John."

KOENIG: "No, Helena, I heard it. I heard it."

VICTOR: "John. We've arrived. This is the place those signals came from." ((They look round))

KOENIG: "How could men survive in a place like this? Where's Alan? Alan!"

HELENA: "He was just here!"

KOENIG (stopping Victor going): "No, Victor. Alan! Carter!"

ALAN: "Commander. I just took a look around."

KOENIG: "Don't!"

ROWLAND (VO): "Men of Alpha, do you hear me?"

VICTOR (into comlock): "Yes, we hear you. Where are you?"

ROWLAND (VO): "Men of Alpha!"

VICTOR: "It's good to know there's somebody around."

KOENIG: "We're not going to find them. I say we go back to the ship and let them find us."

ALAN: "Amen to that." ((they go)).

The four advance & are stopped in the blizzard. Close on Koenig: when we pull out, only Victor is with him.

KOENIG: "Helena! Helena! Alan! Helena!"

Helena is by herself

HELENA: "John! Victor! Where are you?"

Victor & Koenig are together.

VICTOR: "They've got the beam, John. They can follow that."

KOENIG: "In these conditions?" ((the comlock buzzes)) "Victor, grab hold of my belt."

HELENA (calling into comlock): "Where are you? John!" ((sc 22))

VICTOR: "Let's get some rest." (slumps down) ((sc 24))

KOENIG: "Victor? Get up!"

VICTOR: "We should have reached the ship long before this."

KOENIG: "Get up, Victor."

VICTOR: "This beam's leading us in circles."

KOENIG: "We can't stop, Victor. Come on."

VICTOR: "No, I gotta -I gotta sleep, I gotta sleep."

KOENIG: "Sleep will kill you, Victor. You'll freeze. Come on. Get up. Get up."

VICTOR: "No, sleep. No, sleep." ((forced up))

((sc 25)) Helena drops her pack & kneels, taking her comlock.

HELENA: "John, it's Helena, can you hear me? I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not behaving like a doctor, I'm -I'm sitting down. But it's alright. I don't feel the cold anymore. I'm getting so sleepy." ((lays her head down))

ALAN (singing): "Smile, smile, smile. As long as you -Lucifer- second stanza - Lucifer to light your fag..!" ((sc 26))

HELENA: "Helena. Get up. Helena. Get up. Helena. Let's go. Helena." ((sc 28))

She starts to drag her pack away, but faints in the snow.

ROWLAND (distant): "Hello! Helloo!" ((Helena stirs)) "Alphans!" ((She gestures weakly to 3 lights. They reach her)) "Up you get. Yes. Come." ((Rowland lifts her))

((sc 29)) Koenig carries Victor.

ROWLAND: "Hello! Earthmen!"

KOENIG: "Hello!" ((he sees their lights)) "Thank God."

31.INT. ICE PALACE

ROWLAND (carrying them in): "We've found them! Come on, hurry. We need lots of help. Come on, hurry. Don't worry about me, see to them."

GIRL: "Are they alive?"

ROWLAND: "Frieda, get lots of blankets. We need furs, blankets."

FRIEDA: "Blankets."

ROWLAND: "And hot liquid. Lots of hot liquid. And don't remove their garments. Cover them as they are. These Earthmen are in serious condition."

FRIEDA: "Right. Get some water."

Tanner crouches to observe the activity, as the Alphans are laid on beds around a central hub of hot stones. Frieda removes a glove from Helena. Tanner walks round to watch Victor, then goes to Rowland, tending Koenig.

ROWLAND: "Yes, he's fine. He's responding. Right again, Jack. More Earthmen for Ultima Thule."

TANNER: "Well met in time and space. Good doctor, revel while you can. The hour is late, our end is near. The road to paradise has seized up."

Koenig stirs as Tanner darts away. He looks across to Victor.

KOENIG: "Victor."

ROWLAND: "It's alright. You're safe."

KOENIG: "Helena. Helena." ((gets up & goes to her))

ROWLAND: "She's alright. She's fine. She's alright."

KOENIG: "Where's Carter? Alan Carter. There were four of us. He's still out there." ((moves to leave, but is stopped))

ROWLAND: "No. Believe me, it's impossible. You'd only sacrifice your own life. Ted. Search for this fourth Alphan to the limit of your endurance."

TED: "Stan. Will. Joe. Come on." ((the men leave))

ROWLAND: "Come on, you must rest, keep warm." ((puts white fur around Koenig as he sits)) "Night has fallen. Soon it'll be one hundred and seventy degrees below zero. We have adapted to these conditions."

Aside, Tanner is staring at the steam over an ice spring.

TANNER (words echoing): "A death on Thule would be a marvellous thing."

31A.EXT. PLANET SURFACE

Alan struggles on, but stumbles over snow bank & lies still.

FADE OUT

Act Two[]

35.INT. ICE PALACE

Helena is whimpering in her sleep as Frieda strokes her hand & shushes her. She awakes with a start.

FRIEDA: "It's alright. You're among friends. You'll be quite safe here."

Frieda looks across to Victor & Koenig, sat with Rowland beyond. Helena looks around, as Rowland indicates them to Koenig, drinking. He walks to her.

KOENIG: "Helena."

HELENA: "John."

HELENA: "We're safe?"

KOENIG: "Yes."

HELENA: "Victor? Alan?"

KOENIG: "Victor's fine. Alan - they're still searching for him. Helena, the planet is Ultima Thule. The people are from Earth. The survivors of the Uranus expedition of nineteen eighty six."

HELENA: "There were survivors?"

KOENIG: "I know it's incredible but they're here. You remember Doctor Rowland?" ((calls him over)) "Doctor? Doctor Russell."

HELENA: "Doctor Cabot Rowland."

ROWLAND: "Yes." ((he takes her hands))

HELENA: "You saved our lives."

ROWLAND: "And I am delighted." ((Victor comes up behind: she takes his hand))

HELENA: "Victor. Our Alan. Can he survive?"

ROWLAND: "Seven of our party perished on their first night here."

TANNER (approaches & crouches before Helena): "Hey de, hey de, misery me, lackaday de. He sipped no sup and he craved no crumb... as he sighed for the love of a lady." ((theme of 'Yeoman of The Guard', Gilbert & Sullivan))

ROWLAND: "Stop it Jack. Now come and be introduced in the proper fashion." ((takes his hand & leads him up)) "Doctor Helena Russell, Colonel Jack Tanner, commander of the Uranus Probe."

TANNER: "Call me Jack, for I am Jack the Fool. The good doctor will hang me in your heads." ((bounces onto bed)) "I go to hang my hat."

FRIEDA: "Jack. Come on." ((takes him off))

ROWLAND: "Commander. Please sit down. Over there. You need nourishment. You all do. And lots of liquid."

32.EXT. PLANET SURFACE

Alan is prone in the snow. He stirs.

ALAN: "No!"

Alan crawls on to find himself at the base of the Eagle steps. ((sc 34)) He pulls himself up to the door & fumbles with his comlock. The door opens & he falls inside. On the floor he aims his comlock again at the door & it closes.

33.EXT. EAGLE (SFX)

Eagle, half buried in snow, windows illuminated as the blizzard blows over it.

35.INT. ICE PALACE

Banquet table. Koenig takes some fruit.

ROWLAND: "No, Commander, you must eat only your rations as yet. When we arrived whatever we eat made us violently ill. We adapted in time. But the drink is fine. It's thoroughly tested."

HELENA: "How did you arrive here?"

VICTOR: "The last news we had of the Uranus Probe was Jack Tanner's report that it was breaking up in a proton storm and that was, oh, some fourteen years ago."

ROWLAND: "It is an amazing story. The ship went out of control. Instruments askew, prayers unanswered. We travelled at unbelievable speed to the farthest limit of the then known Universe. And beyond. Yes. Finally crash landing here. Blessed to be alive."

TANNER: "Amen, before it sticks in my throat."

The search party return. They rise & go to them.

ROWLAND: "Yes, Ted?"

TED: "They haven't a chance, doctor. The cold is more than even we can endure."

Koenig goes to Helena.

ROWLAND: "We'll search again by daylight. But - I'm sorry."

TANNER: "With our claws we'll dig him up again."

ROWLAND (angrily pushes away): "Jack!"

TANNER (retreats): "Poor Jack's a cold."

ROWLAND: "You are exhausted. And should sleep. Tomorrow we'll look at the future. But above all welcome to Ultima Thule."

36.EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX) NIGHT

The Eagle.

INT. ICE PALACE

Tanner goes to sit on the stairs, looking at the sleeping party. Koenig lies unsleeping. Frieda puts her arm around Tanner.

37.EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

Moon in sky.

38.INT. MAIN MISSION

Kate brings in coffee, giving David a mug. Paul takes a mug.

PAUL: "Thank you. Sunrise, Kano."

DAVID: "Yeh. But it's little more than a technicality on the Ice Planet. Smog's still dense."

PAUL: "We must try again. We'll transmit at full power. If they're alive they must be in the Eagle."

SANDRA: "Surface temperature reached a hundred and eighty nine below during the night."

DAVID: "How can anything live there?"

-Big screen (SFX): planet.

PAUL (VO): "I'm beginning to doubt that it does. Even wild geese can't live in conditions like that."

-Main Mission

PAUL: "Link up?"

DAVID: "Full power."

PAUL: "Hello Eagle One. Do you hear me?"

45.INT. ICE PALACE

All asleep.

PAUL (VO, faint): "Eagle One, if you can hear me you must lift off immediately. Icing conditions are worsening." ((Rowland stirs & rises)) "Come in, Eagle One. Alpha calling."

46.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

Rowland walks up.

PAUL (VO): "Eagle One, do you copy? Report, Eagle One. Report your situation. Do you hear me, Eagle One? Do you copy, Eagle -"

Rowland removes a panel, pulls out a circuit board & touches it with an instrument; it shorts out. He pushes the board back in & replaces the panel, looking back.

39.EXT. PLANET SURFACE: (SFX)

Eagle.

PAUL (VO): "Eagle One, this is Alpha."

40.INT. EAGLE PASSENGER SECTION

Alan stirs.

PAUL (VO): "Come in, Eagle One, do you copy? Eagle One, do you copy? "

Alan rises.

41.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

Alan walks up the corridor.

PAUL (VO): "Do you read me, Eagle One? Do you copy? Eagle One, this is Alpha. Eagle One, this is Alpha. Eagle One, do you copy?"

ALAN: "Alpha, Alpha, I can hear you."

PAUL: "Come in, Eagle One, do you copy?"

ALAN: "Paul. Paul, I can hear you, do you copy? Paul, do you hear me?"

43.INT. MAIN MISSION

SANDRA: "Perhaps we are just not hearing them. We are transmitting on interstellar strength, but they cannot."

PAUL: "Eagle One, this is Alpha."

44.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

Alan sits in the pilot seat.

PAUL (VO): "Eagle One, do you copy? Come in, Eagle One. Alpha calling."

-Console screen (SFX): view of top of Eagle buried in snow.

PAUL (VO): "Hello, Eagle One, do you hear me?"

-Alan.

ALAN: "Alpha, Alpha, in case you can hear me. I've gotta take off here, before-"

EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

Eagle.

ALAN (VO, cont): " I'm buried."

46.INT. ICE PALACE

Koenig gets out of bed & goes to Rowland, eating breakfast at a table with other Thulians.

KOENIG: "Doctor, we must speak to Alpha."

ROWLAND: "Yes, I have been trying since dawn. The smog is too thick. We'll try again. Come on. This way."

They leave, Koenig putting on his jacket. Frieda pauses & drops the piece of food she holds.

46.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

Rowland & Koenig walk up. Rowland presses two keys & holds the microphone.

ROWLAND: "Hello, Moonbase Alpha. This is Ultima Thule. Do you copy?" ((Hands Koenig the headphones)) "This is Ultima Thule. Do you copy? Perhaps the smog will clear later. I need someone here calling constantly."

KOENIG: "I don't understand why we can't hear them."

ROWLAND: "I have tried everything."

KOENIG: "If you could take me to the Eagle perhaps we could make contact from there. Let them know we're safe, alive."

They go.

47.EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

Eagle.

48.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

ALAN: "I don't know if you can hear me, Alpha. I'm going to try to get rid of some of this snow. Full power." ((he presses a switch & grips the control levers))

EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

Eagle whines.

48.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

Alan's hands strain on the control levers.

EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

Eagle engines scream, snow being blown up from underneath it.

48.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

ALAN: "Come on, you beautiful bird. Lift off. Lift off!"

49EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

Eagle rises slowly.

50.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

51.EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

Eagle falls abruptly & hits the snow.

52.EXT. PLANET SURFACE

Rowland, Koenig & 2 Thulians hear the engines.

KOENIG: "That's Alan, it must be! He's alright. Alan! Alan!"

55.EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

Eagle rises again.

56.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

ALAN: "You beauty, I've made it." ((Calls)) "Paul. Paul, I've made it!"

57.EXT. PLANET SURFACE

KOENIG (runs up): "Alan! Alan!"

58.EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

Eagle flies off.

59.EXT. PLANET SURFACE

ROWLAND (comes up to him): "Thank heavens he's safe."

KOENIG: "The Moon is only within range of this planet "

EXT. EAGLE (SFX)

Leaving into sky.

KOENIG (cont): " for five more days."

59.EXT. PLANET SURFACE

KOENIG: "We have to let Alpha know we're still alive."

60.EXT. EAGLE (SFX)

Rises above clouds.

61.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

ALAN: "Alpha. Alpha, do you copy now, "

62.INT. MAIN MISSION

ALAN (VO): "Alpha? Alpha, this is Eagle One. Do you copy? Come in, Alpha."

Paul goes from David's desk to his own.

PAUL: "Yes, Alan. We copy. Report?"

ALAN (on monitor screen): "It's no good news, Paul. I'm the only one on board. We went to the source of that radio signal."

PAUL: "And?"

ALAN: "Nothing. Nothing but snow, ice, smog."

PAUL: "What about the others?"

ALAN (on screen): "They must be dead. We got lost in the smog, were separated. Just by sheer chance I stumbled back on the ship. The others never made it back."

PAUL: "Alan. There's nothing you can do. Return to base."

FADE OUT:

Act Three[]

64.INT. ICE PALACE

Jack runs up to the lab area where Ted is showing Victor a window through which dense vegetation is seen.

TED: "We've grown these from seeds salvaged from the spaceship."

VICTOR: "And you built all this equipment from salvaged material too, did you?"

TED: "Yes. We went Robinson Crusoe one better. Umm. Thulian salad."

VICTOR: "Oh. This new Thulian would like to have a taste of that. It looks delicious."

TED: "In it's natural form it is extremely bitter. It provides the staple diet for a species of ox found on the surface."

VICTOR (as wanders round): "You know, we weren't going to give this new planet a second look, but you've made it into a really very attractive proposition."

TANNER: "Oh, yes, wonderful. Science in the belly and salad on the brain."

VICTOR (goes to cabinet): "Now this looks interesting, Ted. Tell me about this."

TANNER: "Oh. Toys. New toys for the professor. Toys to play with Time. Take care! They'll twist you out of mind" (cartwheels away) "Take care, huh?"

Helena is sleeping by the fire. Tanner whispers in her ear. ((sc 65))

TANNER: "Go home." ((to other ear)) "Go home." ((She stirs; he goes to other side of fire)) "Go home to Alpha."

HELENA (to Frieda): "What does he mean?"

FRIEDA: "He's right. You must go back to Alpha."

TANNER: "Doom sits upon a pinnacle of rock and no birds sing."

FRIEDA: "You must not stay here. There is nothing for you. We are living people frozen in eternity. You must go home to Alpha."

HELENA: "But Alpha isn't home. It's a barracks, on a barren rock flying endlessly through space. We're looking for a real home, a place to live, to raise children."

FRIEDA: "There can be no children here."

HELENA: "But you asked us to come. There was a voice. That must have been Doctor Rowland."

FRIEDA: "Yes."

TANNER (appears close, calm): "Oh yes. The doctor. But he hasn't told you, yet, that here, we live forever, that we've been here for eight hundred and eighty years. That we haven't aged since we landed, that we are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow." ((backs, by Victor & Ted)) "And that the price of immortal life is " ((shouts)) " impotence! No growth, no future, no end! Just ever and a day...this!"

Koenig, Rowland & others return from surface.

KOENIG: "Helena! Helena! Alan's alright. He found the Eagle. He's lifted off. I've got to contact Alpha immediately." ((moves to Technical))

HELENA (stops him): "John. Wait. These people say they are immortal. That they have lived over eight hundred years." ((Koenig looks back at Victor, who nods))

VICTOR: "I think it's true, John. I've started to ask their computer some simple questions, but.. it seems my premises were all wrong. The year is two thousand eight hundred and seventy. So either they or we must have been through some kind of time warp."

ROWLAND (walks down stairs): "Commander Koenig. The blight of human life has been death. The most brilliant lives cut off. Progress held back. We have lived on Thule for eight hundred years. We have immortality. I have tried to analyse the difference between what we are now and what we once were on Earth. For in the difference lies the secret of eternal life. Now with that secret uncovered we shall leave Thule. There will be no end. Only better and better beginnings. Nothing will hold us back. We shall find... Paradise. So far my experiments have been unsuccessful."

HELENA: "In what way?"

ROWLAND: "Because I have needed a mortal subject. But now I have you! You are the mortals I have so long needed to make the comparison. I need your help." ((beat)) "Come. Let me show you the substance of this dream." ((leads them off))

TANNER (jumps on bed; to Thulians & Koenig, looking back): "And ladies and gentlemen, who'll make the first bid for Doctor Rowland's magic elixir? Huh? Do I hear one million souls? Two?"

FRIEDA (pulling him down): "Jack!"

TANNER (to Koenig, hesitating behind the others): "Alphans are not all fools."

ROWLAND (ahead): "Commander!"

66.INT. SHIPYARD BALCONY

Helena, Victor, Rowland, Koenig & Tanner enter.

ROWLAND: "There."

-POV: (SFX) The Phoenix in scaffolding.

ROWLAND (VO): "Phoenix. Rising from the ashes of the Uranus Probe."

-They are awestruck.

ROWLAND: "When we have the secret of eternal life, and when this ship is complete, then we shall be free. We shall not be dependant on your lumbering and uncontrollable Moon. We shall travel wherever and whenever we please."

VICTOR: "Yes."

HELENA: "Extraordinary."

ROWLAND: "But this, this is mere technology. I want you to join me, now, in this last experiment." ((Embraces Helena & Victor)) "And then together we'll step forward into the greatest scientific adventure in the whole history of man. Unencumbered by death, we shall leap from planet to planet, from solar system to solar system, from galaxy to galaxy! We shall be as gods in the Universe!"

KOENIG (quietly): "Gods."

-(SFX) Phoenix.

-Balcony.

ROWLAND: "Come. There is so much to show you."

Helena talks. Rowland passes Koenig, about to follow them.

ROWLAND: "Commander."

TANNER (stops him): "I see a hungry mind. I'll feed it on wormwood and gall." ((Leads off))

INT. ICE CORRIDOR

Tanner leads Koenig along.

68.INT. CAVE OF REVERED ONES

Tanner leads Koenig into an orange womb-like ice cave. The sound of dripping springwater is heard. A woman shakes her head persistently, a man rotates like a clockwork automaton. Others stare absently into nothingness.

TANNER: "The revered results of eight hundred years of experimentation."

KOENIG: "Revered?"

TANNER: "Our honoured living dead, yes. Doctor Rowland and his faithful followers never forget their gratitude to these, our friends of bygone days who've given their all for science." ((Koenig walks forward past them)) "We take care of them, feed them, bathe them. They need nothing more. The ultimate welfare, where want, is dead."

KOENIG: "Ghastly. Unbelievable."

TANNER: "Oh, don't whisper. Shout!" ((quiet again)) "No-one can hear you. This is death on Ultima Thule. We cannot die. But we can live on, perhaps forever, in complete mindlessness."

KOENIG: "Why haven't you tried to stop him?"

TANNER: "We're scientists, we all wanted to know the answer to the ultimate question. As Commander of the Probe, I submitted myself to the first experiment. But I was luckier than them. I walked out of here."

KOENIG: "You..- were here?"

TANNER: "For a long time, yes. Then I regained what we.. wittily call my mind. The rational doctor deplores its erraticism, but he envies my new psychic abilities."

KOENIG: "Right now you're as sane as I am."

TANNER: "It comes and goes." ((short silly laugh, then serious again)) "It comes and goes. Right now the doctor is preparing his final great experiment."

Koenig looks round at a girl, then runs off. Tanner follows.

INT. ICE CORRIDOR

Koenig & Tanner run.

71.INT. ICE PALACE

Koenig & Tanner run in.

FRIEDA: "Commander! Quickly!"

KOENIG: "Stop!"

He runs up to Victor in the cabinet, but is caught by Ted & another man, who wrestle him away. Victor stares forward blankly, slightly swaying.

FADE OUT:

Act Four[]

72.INT. ICE PALACE

((sc 71)) Frieda rushes up with a surface beacon & uses it to smash instruments.

FRIEDA: "Stop the experiment! Destroy the equipment!"

ROWLAND (by Koenig): "Stop it!" ((more is smashed; Rowland rushes to her)) "Stop it, you fools."

Koenig pushes away Ted & the other Thulian, then pulls out Victor. He drags him away as Frieda & the rebels smash more instruments.

FRIEDA: "Destroy everything! Destroy everything! Go back to Alpha!"

ROWLAND: "Stop it! Stop it! Stop it, that's enough." ((Fight ends, all rebels held. Rowland looks at the wreckage & flames & goes to Koenig. Sc 72)) "Commander Koenig. I hold you responsible."

KOENIG: "Victor. Do you know what might have happened to you?"

VICTOR: "Doctor Rowland described the experiment as a development of epsilon ray analysis."

KOENIG: "Did he tell you why?"

VICTOR: "I accepted his assurance that I would be in no danger."

ROWLAND: "It is perfectly safe." ((Koenig & Rowland glare at each other))

KOENIG: "Listen, Victor. There are dissidents here, and with good reason. There's a cave, a kind of living graveyard with victims. Vegetables who sacrificed their minds to science."

FRIEDA: "And we have sacrificed enough. We have the secret of eternal life. Must we also seek to understand it?"

ROWLAND: "You may already be adapting to Thule. I saw no reason to involve you in the mistakes and arguments of the past. I myself have resolved them. I've learnt enough to guarantee, at least to myself, the success of this final experiment."

HELENA: "John. I can and do accept Doctor Rowland's medical judgement, just as you often have to accept my medical judgement on Alpha."

KOENIG: "Helena, listen..."

ROWLAND: "When we have the secret of eternal life, then we shall concentrate on restoring the minds of the Revered Ones. And then we shall complete our spaceship. Then we shall take our prize to the peoples of the Universe and build our new world in which death shall have no dominion." ((he places his hands on Victor's & Helena's shoulders))

TANNER: "Hallelujah!"

HELENA: "John. Don't forget we are talking about the conquest of death. The greatest medical challenge conceivable!"

VICTOR: "Everything mankind has ever desired."

KOENIG: "Except humanity." ((he walks away to look over the wreckage at them))

73.EXT. SPACE (SFX)

Eagle 2 approaches Ice Planet.

74.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

Alan and Bob pilot.

ALAN: "Paul. As soon as we get into the smog you won't hear us, but keep talking. Put us down as close to the original fix, huh?"

PAUL (on screen): "On top of it."

ALAN: "Next to it. Bob, switch on the infra-red de-icing circuits."

BOB: "Auxiliary de-icers on and functioning." ((sc 76))

77.EXT. EAGLE (SFX)

Passes over clouds.

79.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

Tanner takes a circuit board from a panel.

KOENIG: "Jack. When Rowland begged us to come, it was your voice, your voice telling us to stay away."

TANNER: "It had little effect. Though you heard it well enough." ((replaces board & opens panel below it)) "Strange, don't you think, that now they are so close your people should suffer your loss in silence."

KOENIG (crouches by him): "What do you mean?"

TANNER: "It's an ill wind that carries the stink of fish."

KOENIG: "Come on, Jack, there's more in that mind of yours than meets the ears."

TANNER: "One thing's straight. I am Thule's fool." ((Pulls out burnt circuit))

KOENIG (looks at board): "Well, looks like your psychic fears were founded in hard fact." ((Sc 84; Tanner puts in another circuit; they walk round to the desk. Koenig whispers)) "Hello, Alpha."

85.INT. MAIN MISSION

KOENIG (VO as Paul hurries from Tanya to his desk): "This is Koenig. Do you read me? Do you read me?"

PAUL: "Commander! Come in, Commander."

86.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

KOENIG: "Paul. We're alive. Are you receiving me?"

87.INT. MAIN MISSION

KOENIG (VO): "There is life here. People. People from Earth."

SANDRA: "Earthmen."

PAUL: "Alan."

88.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

PAUL (VO): "I hope you're hearing this."

ALAN: "You can tell him we'll be right there!"

91.INT. ICE PALACE

Bob & Alan smell a large roast on the table & look at the Thulian girls. He shakes hands with Bob over the meat & walks into the central area, delighted.

ALAN: "All this and live forever? When do we move in, Commander?"

KOENIG: "Alan, I wish it was as simple as that, but there are Thulians who would rather move to Alpha than face eternity here on Thule."

ALAN (laughs & puts his arm round girl): "They must be crazy."

BOB: "Commander, we must call Alpha. They're waiting for news."

ALAN: "Commander, they went off their heads when they heard you were okay. What are they gonna do when they hear that we can all live here forever?"

KOENIG: "Alan." ((Alan walks up to him)) "I feel we shouldn't stay here at all."

VICTOR (walks up; Tanner leaps past behind him): "John. We may be on the threshold of a new step in the evolution of man." ((Helena joins them)) "Thulians and Alphans may be the forerunners of a new race of humans as different from ourselves as we are from our caveman ancestors!" ((excited))

KOENIG: "Or we could be staring down a blind alley, Victor."

ALAN: "Commander, I just don't see what you've got against it."

ROWLAND (standing a distance away): "I should have thought that it was a matter of individual choice. All of you could come. For those of you who prefer mortality and the off-chance of bumping into a pleasant planet can stay if they choose."

HELENA: "That's reasonable, John."

VICTOR: "A democratic choice."

ALAN: "Sounds fair enough to me."

Koenig walks past them & up to Rowland.

KOENIG: "No."

VICTOR: "Oh, John- " ((all murmur protest))

KOENIG: "Alpha cannot function without a great many trained men to operate it. Therefore freedom of choice is out of the question. Either all of us come, or all of us stay. Now, I'm not prepared to make that decision. Therefore I suggest a vote. A majority decision. As Commander, I'll accept it."

VICTOR: "Oh, that's fair enough."

HELENA: "That's certainly a workable solution as far as I'm concerned."

TANNER (stomping by Koenig): "Glory, glory Hallelujah! Glory, glory Hallelujah!"

ROWLAND: "Alright, Jack, come on, that's it." ((laughing at him)) "Come on. Yes, Commander, a fair decision. The only fair decision. But first the Alphans must be given all the facts. They must hear what living on Thule will mean to them. Then they will vote." ((Tanner shelters in Frieda's arms))

KOENIG: "Alright, I'll agree to that."

ROWLAND (walks round Thulians): "Good. Then I shall go to them. I shall tell them about our way of life here, eternal life. Lives of challenge and dedication. Lives of service to the highest purpose of all! They will hear me. They shall not fail me."

FRIEDA: "Wait a minute. The Alphans have the right to hear the whole truth. They must be told everything about life on Thule. I shall go with you."

TANNER (distressed): "No!" ((goes to hold her)) "No!" ((screams; Koenig puts his hands on her)) "No! You shan't go!" ((to Rowland)) "And nor should you! By all dishevelled wandering stars, I tell you.!.." ((quietly)) "death has dominion." ((after a beat he flees))

KOENIG: "Alan. Take Doctor Rowland to the Eagle."

ROWLAND (as Alan leads him off): "Thank you."

KOENIG (left with Frieda): "If you permit me, I'll speak on your behalf. I'll state your case, yours and Jack's."

FRIEDA: "Thank you." ((he goes off after Tanner))

92.INT. CAVE OF THE REVERED ONES

Koenig searches through the mindless husks to find Jack.

KOENIG: "Jack. I need your help. Come with me, Jack. There's something you know. Jack, this is no place for you, you can't hide in here. Your mind's too sharp. Jack, if I win my case I'll not see you again."

TANNER (quiet, reluctant): "You...will...win."

KOENIG: "Tell me what you know." ((Tanner turns away)) "Then it's goodbye."

Tanner grabs Koenig's shoulders, making him start back in fear.

TANNER: "Thule is a jealous woman. She'll never let us go." ((Shrieks)) "Never!"

Koenig leaves.

93.EXT. EAGLE (SFX)

Lifts off from snow.

INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

Alan & Koenig pilot.

ALAN: "Leaving gravitational pull and switching to automatic."

94.INT. EAGLE PASSENGER SECTION

Rowland sits by Helena.

ROWLAND: "As I recollect human nature, we shall soon be returning with a full complement. Alphans and Thulians will walk together into the future. And what a future!"

He grips her hand.

95.INT. EAGLE PILOT SECTION

KOENIG: "Alan. I'd like to be able to count on you for support."

ALAN: "Most times you know you can do that. But this time? Commander, I just don't see your problem."

Helena's scream is heard. They both get up & rush back.

96.INT. EAGLE PASSENGER SECTION

They enter. A claw like hand grips Helena's as she screams again. Koenig reaches to prise the hand off. Rowland's body is a steaming cadaver.

TANNER (VO): "Death..has dominion."

FADE OUT:

Epilogue[]

97.EXT. MOONBASE ALPHA (SFX)

The Ice Planet shrinks above the Moonbase.

98.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

Tanner types; the other Thulians are crowded around.

TANNER: "Well, Commander, not to be outdone, we here on Thule have also cast our votes. If the outcome is of interest "

99.INT. MAIN MISSION

TANNER (cont, VO): " to mere mortals."

KOENIG: "Jack. What have you decided?"

98.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

TANNER: "We have abandoned our search for the secret "

99.INT. MAIN MISSION

TANNER (cont, VO): " of eternal life. Instead "

98.INT. ICE PALACE TECHNICAL SECTION

TANNER (cont): "we've turned our minds and resources to the problems of restoring the Revered Ones."

99.INT. MAIN MISSION

KOENIG: "Jack, wherever we are, the future of Thule will haunt us to the end. We pray for your success."

EXT. SPACE (SFX)

Thule shrinks over lunar hills. Chorus of goodbyes over, including:

MAN: "Goodbye."

WOMAN: "Goodbye, Alpha."

EXT. PLANET SURFACE (SFX)

-Moon moves from Thule surface. More goodbyes over.

99.INT. MAIN MISSION

Koenig walks back to sit at his desk.

KOENIG: "Is it death that gives a meaning to life, in the end?"

TANNER (VO): "If there is an end?"

FADE OUT






Final draft 23rd August 1974

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