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SOLAR II

Written by Terry Starker

217 Huskey Place Gatlinburg, TN 37738 Home (865) 436-6046 Cell (865) 771-0477

EXT. SPACE The sun shines bright. Several solar storms are emitting solar flares into the coldness of space. A large solar burst erupts from the surface of the Sun and heads towards Earth. A single communications satellite flying above Earth is knocked out of orbit from the shock wave. The satellite begins to burn up in orbit as it falls to Earth. Some radio and television signals are interrupted on Earth. OPENING TITLE SEQUENCE EXT. AERONAUTICAL COMPANY NORTH DAKOTA - DAY Three black sedans speed past a business sign heading towards the main building entrance. Sign reads - Branson Aeronautical Engineering Company INT. WORKSHOP - CONTINUOUS JOHN WINSTON, male, 38, clean shaven, medium height, with brown hair, wearing nice slacks and a polo shirt. He is working at a large table with electronic equipment neatly placed in various areas. There is a lot of electronic equipment spread out around the room. With phone to his ear John is talking to his wife SHANNA, 37, homemaker. The television NEWS channel is on and can be heard in the background. T.V. MALE VOICE (O.C.) Is global warming over? Scientists are at odds with the weather, and now the Earth may be cooling down not warming up. John reaches up to lower the volume to the television. T.V. FEMALE VOICE (O.C.) A scientist has discovered the reason some television and radio signals are... The conversation continues between John and Shanna. SHANNA (O.C.) So, when are you coming home?

2. JOHN I... I have some things I have to do first. It may take me longer then I expected. SHANNA (O.C.) What things? (Beat) Never mind, John. What do you want me to tell the kids? JOHN Tell them, Ill see them later, and I am sorry I will miss having dinner with them. SHANNA (O.C.) You have a problem, John. The kids need a father, and we are about to lose our home. JOHN You dont need to remind me about my gambling problem. Just give me a little more time. SHANNA (O.C.) Thats all Ive been doing. JOHN Please dont make this any harder then what it is for me Shanna. I feel alone at times. SHANNA (O.C.) You are alone, John. JOHN Can we just talk about this later? SHANNA (O.C.) Goodbye, John. CLICK, Shanna hangs up on John. JOHN Shanna, Shanna. STEVE, male, 42, a well-groomed, tall thin man, walks into the room. He overhears part of the phone conversation between John and Shanna while walking in. John hangs up the receiver. STEVE So... what are you watching?

3. JOHN Nothing right now. Steve is attentively watching the headlines scrolling across the television screen. STEVE Do you really believe what these weather forecasters are telling you these days? All they talk about is this global warming crap? JOHN Global warming is something we all have to live with, Steve. However, the way the climate is changing lately, I have a feeling someday well be calling it global cooling. STEVE You are always trying to outthink everyone. (Beat) I see you cant get away from those debts you have. John looks at Steve. JOHN What are you talking about? STEVE I heard you talking to Shanna on the phone again. MAJOR HICKAM, male, 53, and LIEUTENANT PARRY, male, 24, dressed in Air Force uniforms walk into the workshop, they stop in front of John. Both of them FLASH official military identification cards. HICKAM Are you, Mr. John Michael Winston? John carefully nods. HICKAM (CONTD) Sir, will you come with us please? Steve tries to move between the two Air Force men and John. STEVE Whats this all about?

4. JOHN Steve, stay out of it. HICKAM Sir, please come with us. I assure you, it is a matter of national security. JOHN I dont understand, why me? HICKAM Because, you have a specific skill we require. JOHN (Laughs) A skill? Can you elaborate? PARRY Not at this time. JOHN Okay, then I will entertain this idea of national security. (Beat) You guys can leave. Hickam and Parry are not amused and stand in front of John without an expression on their face. HICKAM Sir, I am afraid you have no choice in the matter. JOHN I am being forced to go with you? HICKAM I prefer to think that I am suggesting you come with us. John motions his hand towards the exit. JOHN (Smirks) Well, lead the way. EXT. U.S. HEADQUARTERS INTERNATIONAL SPACE ORGANIZATION - DAY The same three black sedans speed through a guarded gate in front of the International Space Organization. An Air Force guard salutes as they drive by.

5. INT. BRIEFING ROOM - DAY John enters a bleak looking room with a few military pictures on the wall. There are several Air Force personnel sitting in the room quietly talking. TECHNICAL SERGEANT HOOPER, male, 22, head shaven, bony cheeks with a smug look, watches John walk in. TECHNICAL SERGEANT ALLEN, male, 25, husky build with a flattop, nods his head and elbows Hooper. HOOPER Hey, who brought the new civi in? COLONEL MCLEARY, male, 45, short black hair with gray highlights, looks over at Hooper. MCLEARY Do you have a problem with a civilian on this mission, Sergeant? Hooper leans back in his chair trying to keep his composure. No, sir. HOOPER

MAJOR ROLKOV, male, 37, staunch looking with dark eyes, leans over towards Mcleary. ROLKOV Do you have any idea what this mission is all about, Colonel? MCLEARY I havent heard anything yet, Major. ROLKOV The upper chain of command has been keeping pretty quiet lately. I know. MCLEARY

ROLKOV I dont like it when I am not in control. MCLEARY Im just glad to have you back on my team again Major.

6. FIRST LIEUTENANT DANSIG, male, 38, wears small round glasses and has dark brown hair, leans forward from the table behind McLeary and Rolkov. DANSIG Its odd to see the two ranking officers of any mission, not know anything about what we are about to do. MCLEARY I would suggest for right now, you keep your opinions to yourself, Lieutenant. DANSIG (Firm) I wouldnt think about anything else, Colonel. MCLEARY My apologies Lieutenant. DANSIG No offense taken, sir. TECHNICAL SERGEANT THORP, female, 35, average built with short dark hair, sitting quietly, notices Major Hickam walk into the briefing room. She immediately stands at attention. Attention! THORP

Everyone in uniform stands at attention. John finds an empty seat near Thorp and sits down. HICKAM Have a seat, and good morning everyone. I cannot stress enough how secret this mission is. From now on, nothing will be discussed outside this room. If you have any problems, then I suggest you speak up now. Hickam waits a few seconds. Nobody says a word. HICKAM (CONTD) Good, now well get down to business. Behind Hickam a projector screen is lowered. Hickam introduces a slide show about the mission. Several slides show the spaceship Astrum Navis, and the Sun.

7. HICKAM (CONTD) Ladies and gentlemen, you all have been carefully selected for this mission known as Solar II. FIRST LIEUTENANT COURT, male, 25, short stature, young looking in his features, sitting attentively at the table behind John. COURT What the hell is this Solar II thingy. TECHNICAL SERGEANT SMITH, male, 24, thin and scrawny, with short blonde hair, hears Courts comment. SMITH If you will allow the Major to finish his brief then maybe youll know. Thank you. HICKAM

Smith stands slightly from his chair. SMITH No problem, sir. ALLEN (Whispers) I cant believe the people they let into the military these days. Rolkov turns to face Allen. ROLKOV Its a sign of a better way of life for us all. Wouldnt you agree Sergeant? (Nodding) Yes, sir. ALLEN

A few giggles are heard in the room. Hickam waits for the room to quiet again and continues. HICKAM Several years ago, scientists discovered the sun was beginning to run out of fuel. It was doing this, by expelling its reserve energy in the way of solar bursts. (MORE)

8. HICKAM (CONT'D) Now, youre probably asking yourself, what the hell a solar burst is? HOOPER I know I am. CAPTAIN REYNOLDS, male, 37, sports silver rimmed glasses smirks. REYNOLDS A solar burst is expelled energy from the sun on a large scale. HICKAM Precisely, though our magnetic sphere around the Earth keeps us safe, these solar bursts are getting stronger. The reintroduction of the element carbon is believed, well, might reinstate the suns natural cycle. JOHN A catalyst. A what? THORP

Hickam stops his lecture when he hears John speak up. HICKAM Do you have something to add to my lecture, Mr. Winston? JOHN Yes. In simple terms, carbon is considered a catalyst that allows the elements inside the sun to burn efficiently. HICKAM Quite correct. Five years ago the world space agencies came together as a collective, now, known as the International Space Organization or ISO. Several nations launched missiles at the sun with the intention to introduce a payload of condensed carbon.

9. JOHN (Whispers) The missiles didnt make it to the Sun. HICKAM As you all can guess, the first mission failed. The next mission, is planned to be manned by the ten individuals in this room. Various protests are heard in the room. What? JOHN

HOOPER (Shaking head) No... no... HICKAM All right. Lets settle down. (Beat) I know you all didnt sign up for this mission. I wont tell you, it will be an easy one either, because it wont. If this mission fails, as the first one did, then none of us will have to worry about living on this planet much longer. SMITH Why, what happens? COURT Arent you listening to anything the Major is saying, knuckle brain? SMITH Hey, Im listening. JOHN The Earth will be destroyed. HICKAM Yes, Mr. Winston. If this mission fails, the Earth will be destroyed. McLeary raises his hand. HICKAM (CONTD) Yes, Colonel McLeary.

10. MCLEARY I want to know more about this spaceship, the Astrum Navis. HICKAM The Astrum Navis is a missile platform, designed to carry fifty Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to the sun. We need assistance with the guidance systems onboard, and the shield designs. This is where Mr. Winston comes in. JOHN Me? What about somebody else? HICKAM There is no time to train anyone else on the intricate systems you have been working with. JOHN Ill train them. It wont take long. HICKAM As I said, there is no time. If there is nothing further, you are all dismissed for your assignments. Hickam nods to the airmen in the room. The room clears quietly. John walks up to Hickam. HICKAM (CONTD) Is there something you want out of me, Mr. Winston. JOHN I really am the only one who knows anything about the systems I have been working on. HICKAM Yes, this is the very reason why you are needed on this mission. I cannot stress to you how many lives are at stake. John slams his fists on the table next to him. JOHN I cannot stress how terrified I am....

11. HICKAM You stick with the senior military on the mission and they will assist you. JOHN I want my family taken care of. HICKAM Its already being done as we speak. What next? JOHN

HICKAM When in doubt, Mr. Winston, follow the military in your team. They will lead you to the medical facility and make sure you are ready. JOHN I want to make a call. HICKAM You are not authorized to talk to anyone outside this facility. John stares at Hickam as he turns around and heads towards the door with the everyone else. Hickam turns and looks at John. HICKAM (CONTD) This way, Mr. Winston. INT. MEDICAL FACILITY - CONTINUOUS John follows Hickam and catch up to the rest of the crew sitting in chairs along the wall. Each person is pulled into a separate room one at a time. A MALE DOCTOR looks at John. MALE DOCTOR Youre next. John walks into the small plain white room with two chairs and a table. He sits done in one of the chairs. MALE DOCTOR (CONTD) John Winston, engineer?

12. JOHN Um, what I specialize in is sort of classified. MALE DOCTOR Yes, or no. JOHN (Hesitates) Yes. MALE DOCTOR Good. You may go. JOHN What? (Beat) Am I getting a physical? MALE DOCTOR Everything has already been taken care of. You may go. The doctor leaves the room through the door leaving John sitting by himself. INT. MISSION PREP ROOM - NEXT DAY John stands in line half behind the rest of the crew. Several scientists are assisting with monitoring equipment. Everyone who was in the briefing room, except Hickam, is half dressed waiting to be hooked up to the equipment. JOHN Whats this room? MCLEARY This is where we go to sleep. Each member lie down on bed looking similar to a coffin with a curved glass top locking them in. John hesitates when he sees the glass lock shut. JOHN (Shaking head) Im not going in there. HICKAM Its all right Mr. Winston. There is a large glass top so you can see out. There is nothing to fear.

13. JOHN No, Im afraidHICKAM I know. Ive read your file. JOHN Dont tell me, the governmentHICKAM Has a file on you, yes. We have addressed the fears of claustrophobia with the large glass canopy. Please, take your time getting in. John nods his head in agreement. He then takes a deep breath, then lies down on the bed. The top of the canopy closes and locks with a SWOOSH. HICKAM (CONTD) Knock him out before he changes his mind. Were leaving sooner then we planned. When? Now. EXT. SPACE THE SPACESHIP ASTRUM NAVIS FLIES THROUGH SPACE. Subtitle: SOLAR II mission, 90 days from Earth. INT. SPACESHIP POV person walking in spacesuit, he is looking at the names on the sleeping chambers. BREATHING can be heard from the spacesuit. When the person reaches the last sleeping chamber he looks at the man sleeping inside. The person in the suit, pulls up a small pad showing the identification of the person in the chamber. The name on the pad is different then on the chamber. The small pad shows the man in the chamber is a U.S. Marshal. SCIENTIST HICKAM

14. The person in the spacesuit takes a small spike and slowly shoves it through the seal around the chamber the U.S. Marshal is in. The sound of air escaping the chamber causes the marshal to wake. DANSIG (Gasping for air, muffled voice) What are you doing? Stop! Help... I know... who... you... VOICE (O.C.) (Raspy) You alone cannot stop me. INT. SPACESHIP - LATER John wakes up screaming. His sleeping chamber opens up immediately, John is helped out by McLeary and Hooper. John goes down to his knees and vomits on the deck. HOOPER Oh man, that's freakin cool. THORP Shut up, Hooper. JOHN (Catching his breath) Whats going on? MCLEARY Youre a little delirious from the extended sleep in the chamber. ROLKOV You might be a little space sick. John looks over to a body lying on the deck surrounded by Smith and Court. JOHN What happened to him? Where are we? ROLKOV You might experience some loss of your temporary memory. It will come back. HOOPER Yeah, soon.

15. MCLEARY Right now, we are not sure what happened. Looks like the seal surrounding Dansigs sleeping chamber must have failed. I just hope he didnt suffer long. HOOPER (Laughs) Failed? Man, what a way to go. One minute you are happy and breathing, the next, dead as a door nail. Court walks up behind McLeary when she hears Hooper's comments. COURT Shut up, Hooper. Youre such an ass. HOOPER Man, why is everyone telling me to shut up? Im just sayingMCLEARY Thats enough. Let me remind you this could have been any one of us. JOHN What? We could have suffocated in these chambers? MCLEARY No, not exactly. The ship maintains the sleeping chambers to the proper oxygen content. The rest of the ship is depressurized for the first part of this voyage. THORP Until we are woke up. Ship? JOHN

ALLEN Yeah, remember, we are on a ship. ROLKOV Don't worry. Your memory will slowly return. You've been sleeping for three months.

16. MCLEARY Lets get freshened up, I dont want to keep smelling any of you. HOOPER Yeah, you all smell likeMCLEARY Zip it, Hooper. (Beat) Get something to eat. We should be getting close to Venus in a few hours. INT. DINING HALL - LATER The entire crew is sitting around a table with various plates of food and drinks. Different conversations unrelated to the mission can be heard. The ship rumbles. A glass half full of water falls off of the table and smashes on the deck with a CRASH. SMITH What the hell was that? HOOPER (Sarcastic) Must be gas. McLeary looks at Hooper. HOOPER (CONTD) I know, shut up, Hooper. ALLEN Wow, I thought I was going to have to say that this time. JOHN I think you have just experienced a small sample of a solar burst. MCLEARY This far from the Sun? I suggest you clarify your statement, Mr. Winston. JOHN It's possible. Remember, this ship is just a small seed flying through space. (MORE)

17. JOHN (CONT'D) Unlike the planets in our solar system, we don't have a magnetic field and therefore don't have the ability to deflect larger solar bursts away from the ship. MCLEARY What can we do? JOHN Hope there is no burst that's too big for us to handle? HOOPER You mean we're gonna die? THORP Shut the hell up, Hooper! HOOPER Maybe you want to die out here, but I don't. Rolkov moves in front of Hooper. ROLKOV You will maintain yourself, Sergeant Hooper. We don't need the extra drama onboard this ship. HOOPER Why are you getting after me for? I'm just stating the facts. ALLEN Your facts are a little skewed. Grumbles are heard from the rest of the crew. MCLEARY Okay, that's enough from everyone. We will be making our approach around Venus in order to make our slingshot maneuver soon. I want all stations prepped and ready. Various acknowledgements are heard from the crew. John slowly turns to walk away without saying anything. MCLEARY (CONTD) Mr. Winston, may I have a word with you for a moment? John stops and turns to face McLeary.

18. JOHN Is there something you need? MCLEARY Just one thing. I have served with a few of these men and women before being assigned on this mission. They are military and I know how they work. While you are under this command, I am in charge. Is that clear? JOHN Did I do something to offend you? MCLEARY I just wanted to make my position clear to you, Mr. Winston. McLeary turns around and leaves John standing alone. JOHN (Whispers) Yes, Colonel. INT. CONTROL ROOM Mcleary sits in the middle of the control room LOOKING at all of the equipment and controls. Allen and Thorp are checking the readings at their stations. Report. MCLEARY

ROLKOV Everything seems to be working up to specifications Colonel. Very well. MCLEARY

John walks into the control room. McLeary looks in his direction. MCLEARY (CONTD) Mr. Rolkov, you have the con. I will be in my stateroom if I am needed. (Beat) Mr. Winston, will you join me?

19. McLeary makes a motion with his hand towards the door of the control room. John smirks in Thorps direction and then follows McLeary. INT. MCLEARYS STATEROOM McLeary holds up a bottle of Vodka and motions to John while holding two glasses in his other hand. Drink? MCLEARY

JOHN No, thanks. Ive quit drinking. MCLEARY Nobody ever quits drinking. McLeary pours two glasses of Vodka. JOHN Why did you call me here Colonel? McLeary clenches his lips together with a short pause. Swallows one drink of Vodka before answering John. MCLEARY Mr. Winston, I believe that it is my responsibility to inform you that the death of Lieutenant Dansing may have not been an accident. JOHN Has the rest of the crew been informed? No. MCLEARY

JOHN Then why tell me? (Beat) Wait, you thinkMCLEARY Nothing of the like. Right now you are the anomaly of this crew because you are the only civilian onboard. JOHN It may be a blessing.

20. MCLEARY Ive read your file and know where you have been. I dont believe you are a killer anymore then I really believe you want to die. John sits down in a nearby chair. He reaches over for the drink McLeary offered him earlier. He downs a large portion of the Vodka and coughs. JOHN Smooth. (Beat) So, you read my file. It doesnt mean I am a threat. MCLEARY Oh, I know this or you wouldnt be here. JOHN Okay, then back to my original question. Why are you telling me? McLeary leans over and hands a file to John. MCLEARY This file was in the safe when I came to my stateroom. John opens the file and shuffles through the pages. MCLEARY (CONTD) You can see inside it discusses the fact that Dansing was not who we thought he was. In fact for some reason he is or rather was a U.S. Marshal. JOHN Still, why involve me? MCLEARY Simple. I may be the superior officer onboard this ship, however these men and women always follow my commands. You on the other hand... JOHN A civilian who doesnt fall under the jurisdiction of the military.

21. MCLEARY Something like that. I just want you to keep an eye out and report to me anything that may be suspicious. The ship vibrates violently back and forth. MCLEARY (CONTD) Another one of your solar bursts? JOHN Yes, but this one seems to be a little more violent. INT. CONTROL ROOM - LATER Control room LIGHTS FLASHING on several control panels. McLeary makes his way past Allen and Thorp who are manning the flight sensors station. MCLEARY What do we see out there Thorp? THORP Nothing but planet, sir. MCLEARY Fantastic, just the way I like it. ALLEN We are about to enter the planets magnetic sphere. The ship SHUDDERS violently without warning. McLeary falls against his chair. Report! MCLEARY

ALLEN I don't know what the hell just happened. MCLEARY Could it have been the magnetic sphere? John runs into the control room to relieve Allen from his station. Allen runs out of the control room and heads for the science pod.

22. ROLKOV Colonel, we are in the planets gravity. We're gaining speed. John stares at the control panel at his station. He notices several red lights on a panel that reads - HULL PRESSURE. Another warning light reads - PERIMETER ALERT. (Whispers) Holy crap. JOHN

MCLEARY Explain your scientific comment, Mr. Winston. The ship shakes under the gravity. The ship moves faster towards Venus. JOHN McLeary, we need to maneuver the ship two degrees off this course. The hull is taking on tremendous pressure. MCLEARY We stay on our heading. John makes his way over to McLeary. JOHN You don't understand. If we don't turn the ship we will run right into the surface of the planet. MCLEARY We stay on course. JOHN If we do, we will die right here. McLeary stares into the eyes of John for a good long time. Colonel! JOHN (CONTD)

MCLEARY You better be right, Mr. Winston. ALARMS sound all over the control room. John is back at his station sitting next to Thorp. Thorp is staring at a view screen.

23. THORP What the hell is that? JOHN Colonel, we may have a bigger problem then I previously thought. MCLEARY Not right now, Mr. Winston. We've already altered the course as you suggested. JOHN This could be a little worse. There is a massive solar burst heading our way at a high rate of speed.