A Script for a Two-Hour Theatrical Movie

In a realistic, dramatic “tale of two worlds,” Jack and Kate save each other and her progressive planet from the grasp of the dictator Max and his greedy son Victor, who ultimately bring their own, backwards world to doom. Ever adventuresome, Jack and Kate and fellow spacefaring pioneers start a new world, in the “new frontier.”


First Draft: March 27, 1993. Registered WGAw No. 521573.

Jack's Fateful Boyhood on Planet Fortus

Around a campfire in a meadow on Planet Fortus, young Jack Warren (about 10 years old) and his parents discuss (discreetly) “the bats and the moths” (a la “the birds and the bees”).

On the road home that evening a freak storm arises. “Damn Greenhouse Effect,” mutters Jack’s father, although his mother is just thankful the weather held for their weekend outing. Jack falls asleep in the back. Suddenly, their landrover screeches to a halt, his mother’s shriek all but drowned-out by a deafening roar: Jack rises to see a tremendous funnel cloud ripping through a grain field and rapidly approaching. The family pile out of their vehicle and into a ditch — rain, debris, and then their vehicle fly overhead. Cut to black. Jack awakes to find himself all alone in the world.

A photo of the awestruck boy is on the front page of a newspaper, whose headlines concerned the election of Nicholas “Max” Maximillian as prime minister of their troubled nation. A subsequent edition of the newspaper shows Max adopting the well-publicized orphan, Jack.

Max’s spoiled son, Victor, not wanting to share his room or his father, gets into a pillow-fight with Jack. Winded, the two collapse, laughing and crying, finally accepting one another as brothers.

A montage of newspapers chronicles the maturation of Max’s sons as well as their nation’s descent into fascism and its ascent to world domination, the young men becoming war heroes in the process.

Back in the meadow, little flowers are bulldozed, the moths dependent on them and the bats dependent upon the moths also becoming extinct (with eventually dire consequences).

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Foiling Terrorism in a World Gone Mad

A terrorist uses his cunning — and an identity-card, voice-print, and assorted (discreetly presented) body parts from a technician — to evade security measures and plant a bomb in the core of a nuclear reactor. As he strolls away, however, he is stopped in his tracks by the sound of the voice — and pump-action shotgun — of Jack, now a formidable man in his 30s. Distracted by a technician, Jack is overpowered by the terrorist, who escapes, leaving Jack to defuse the bomb in just the nick of time (a steampipe, however, blows, scaring the wits out of Jack). Confronting a mutant “devil dog” patrolling the grounds and commandeering a landrover, Jack chases off after the terrorist, driving a souped-up car. They bang into each other’s vehicles as they drive through the polluted countryside, past a dilapidated factory and schoolhouse. Jack follows the terrorist into a nightmare of a city, in which their vehicles are stopped by a massive traffic jam. They engage in a running gun-battle, through all manner of urban squalor (under omnipresent surveillance cameras). Finally, Jack corners the terrorist in a subway station; but the terrorist throws himself in front of an express train. Jack decries the waste of life, but is “heartened” by Max, on his two-way wrist TV.

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The Kangaroo Court & “The Island of a Thousand Delights”

Within the walled-off capital city (“an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty”), in an office whose walls are covered with video monitors, Max greets Jack and also now-general Victor and his affected wife, Priscilla. Victor persuades Jack to fly him to a “meeting.”

Max sits in judgment in a televised, game-show-like kangaroo court, complete with personable emcee, acting as prosecutor. With trumped-up evidence and coached witnesses — and no means of rebuttal — the rights of a dissident are trampled; and with Max stirring-up the audience, his life is taken.

Victor directs Jack to fly to “The Island of a Thousand Delights.” Initially put-off by such decadence, Jack reluctantly takes a massage from “the new girl”: Enslaved but defiant, Kate Wright — a trader from the enemy world of Fairhome — challenges Jack’s notions and opens his eyes to the exploitation all around him. Victor breaks in and beats Kate; but Jack defends her, overpowering Victor and helping Kate escape (even though he doesn’t accept all she’s said).

In another episode of the kangaroo court, Victor presents Jack, captured and beaten, and convincing evidence against him. Enraged, then broken-hearted, Max condemns Jack’s “betrayal.”

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The Penal Colony on Asteroid Horribilis

Jack and others are taken to the penal colony on Asteroid Horribilis, where they are to labor to the death in the rock pits under “The Taskmaster” — an awesome, 10-foot-tall, robotic “praying mantis” (controlled by a shadowy figure in a control tower). Each prisoner’s thoughts are monitored by an implanted “brain-wave bug,” which can also receive transmissions of each man’s personal-worst fears (for Jack, the loss of his parents) and bring him to his knees.

In a slave auction, Jack is sold to a veiled woman, who reveals herself to be Kate! In the fight to free Jack, one of Kate’s exploding bullets cracks the dome overhead, which then threatens to explode! After spinning, laser-emitting Sam (Kate’s helpful little robot) cuts the threatening robotic “mantid” into “mincemeat,” Jack and Kate confront its mysterious controller in the tower — a maniacal little man, who attacks them but whom they blow away. As they quickly board her ship, the structure shudders: Jack slips and his leg is crushed by a door. As he is attended by Sam, whom Jack was helping, Kate flies them away, just as the dome explodes violently, but silently, into space!

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The Wonders of Planet Fairhome

Max thinks all of Jack’s and Kate’s actions to help one another have been part of an elaborate plot to get him; so he agrees to let Victor go to Fairhome for assassination, although only after Victor presents his clone — an exact, although dehumanized replica of himself as a boy — so that Max will not be left without an heir.

After viewing the wonders in orbit around Fairhome, including massive solar-energy-capturing satellites — advances never dreamt-of on Fortus — Victor lands at a Fairhome spaceport, where he finds Kate transferring the now-unconscious Jack from her spaceplane to her jump-jet, for transport to the hospital. Homing-in on Jack’s brain-wave “bug” — and his own brain waves monitored by Max on Fortus — Victor is driven by down-to-earth electric-taxi driver, Sofie (and her “street smart” computer, Charley), who brags up their wondrous city and cooperative society.

Jack later awakes in the hospital, with Kate by his side, only to find the doctor has had to amputate his leg; however, through “genetic reactivation,” he is growing a new one! Again sedated, Jack is left alone and, unwittingly, saved from Victor, disguised as an orderly, by a headstrong nurse.

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Love & Hate

Jack finally awakes on a sofa bed in living room of Kate’s futuristic, yet homey home. Befriended by Kate, in love with life, (and served blue food by his new “little buddy,” Sam), Jack opens up some but still holds back much. Kate thinks, then shows Jack the brain-wave “bug” which has been taken out of his head: “For maybe the first time in your life, your mind is your own. Tell me what you’re thinking, Jack — what thoughts are swirling around in that precious head of yours?” Jack replies: “I think ... I’ve never known a woman like you before.” “Is that good?” They kiss. Her head appears in the cross-hairs of a telescopic sight; but before Victor, atop a garbage hopper, can shoot, her home, in the distance, streaks off through a pneumatic tube into the countryside! A burly recycler overpowers Victor and knocks him into a hopper car of an “MLV” [Magnetic Levitation Vehicle] train running parallel to the pneumatic tube. Confused and frustrated, Max monitors Victor’s thoughts as he exits the train in a recycling plant but is unable to get a shot off: Kate’s home streaks through the tube, which plunges into a shallow sea. Silhouetted in close-up against the backdrop of a colorful coral reef streaking past the window, Jack and Kate profess their love. Tilting-up from an underwater mining colony they pass, past a city at sea, and up to their moon; dissolving to a lunar mining colony; and tilting down to Planet Fortus (also in orbit around their sun), the scene dissolves to Max’s office, where he fumes as the clone asks him, “Did they make a fool out of you again, Grandfather?”

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His leg on the mend, Jack and Kate picnic on a hill overlooking her homeland — a desert region made to bloom. Back at her home, parked in the tube near her folk’s place, Jack is accepted by her stepmother but not by her father. Back in her home, Jack flips through the electronic menu of her “Multi-Media 1000” (controlling every household and communications function imaginable) and brings up holographic dancers, whom he and Kate and even Sam join. However, their joy is interrupted by an emergency broadcast: Through translator, the President of Planet Fairhome (a woman as exotic as sensible) presents pictures of an invasion fleet of spaceplanes from Fortus and a plea for self-defense. Kate and the other citizens of their world government phone in their votes to agree. Although her father thinks it is of no consequence and her mother can only pray, Kate gets an idea: She holds up the brain-wave “bug” that had been in Jack’s head.

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In the lead spaceplane, Victor provides Max, back on Fortus, with his description of the “target rich” environment surrounding Fairhome: He plans to attack the vital solar-energy satellites. Just as Max gives his approval, however, he receives a transmission from Jack’s reactivated thought-monitor: According to the monitor, Jack is only now regaining consciousness and learning of the attack. He supposedly learns that Crater Valley is being made to look like a military command center when it is actually a trap. The transmission ends. The clone asks Max if they are trying to make a fool of him again; and Max says, “Obviously”: Max orders Victor to attack Crater Valley, which he has concluded must actually be a military command center, the conveniently timed story of a “trap” being only a “feeble ruse.”

Victor’s spaceplane leads the others to fly over Crater Valley, part of an international park. They let dummies parachute into the crater and heretofore hidden gun emplacements blow them apart — Victor blows the emplacements apart and then parachutes his men and equipment just outside the crater. Uncrated, helicopters ferry the troops into the crater, Victor alone is his command copter, hovering overhead. He targets huge steel doors in the crater and blows them away; however, as the dust clears, there is only a banner of peace. Suddenly, a force field starts to form over the crater; Victor’s copter barely escapes; but his men are trapped, then subdued by a sleeping gas which fills the crater under the force-field “lid.” Monitoring the action, Max realizes that it was “a trap ... within a trap”; and Victor flies off in his command copter: 10 even more formidable “compound helicopters” (courtesy of FX and Sikorsky?) of the Fairhome military are closing in, Jack and his pilot in the lead.

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The Chase!

Intercutting between the clone and Max (in his office watching helplessly from Victor’s P.O.V.), the pilots and co-pilots (of both sexes) in the cockpits of the copters, and the natural wonders of the international park, the chase is on!

Victor and his firing pursuers first fly deftly around spouting geysers.

In a valley of awesome landforms, all make it safely through a natural arch bridge ... except for the “Yellow #3” Fairhome copter, bringing up the rear. Losing sight of Victor, Jack’s pilot spots his vapor trail on infrared, which they follow into a river gorge until it disappears at a fork. The 3 Red Group copters take the smaller branch, to the right; Jack’s copter, the 3 in the Blue Group, and the 2 remaining Yellow Group copters take the larger branch, to the left.

In a backwater, the 3 Red copters come to a smaller branch; but before they can split up, Victor’s copter appears from behind trees, blows away the Red #3 copter, and flies away. Their radios jammed, the 2 Red copters must pursue him on their own. Coming upon a waterfall, Victor carefully pilots his copter through it and into an immense cave behind. Red Leader cautiously follows, leaving Red #2 on guard outside. Threading their copter through stalactites, the Red Leader finds the cave illuminated only by his craft’s lights ... then by the tailfire of an incoming missile, which blows him away! Outside, fire, water, and debris pummel Red #2, just before Victor’s copter races out and destroys it, too.

Unaware of the fate of the Red Group, Jack’s pilot directs the 2 Yellow copters up yet another branch in the river to the left; but he leads the Blue group up another branch with high-tension towers to ... Before he can say, Victor’s copter ambushes them — Jack’s pilot turns their copter just in time so that his side, not Jack’s, takes the hit. As Victor flies off upriver, and the 3 Blue copters give chase, Jack tries desperately to get the craft back under control, his pilot dying. His copter smoking, Jack follows the others.

Flying wildly, Victor gets Blue #2 to tangle in the electric wires. Turning a corner in the canyon, they are flying straight toward a massive hydroelectric dam: Victor and Blue #1 pull up in time, but Blue #3 crashes into it and Jack flies up through the flame and does a loop high into the sky. The pursuit continues, nearly taking-out a flock of birds, balloonists in a hot-air balloon, and sightseers in a gondola car — they are now high up in snow-covered mountains. In a steep canyon, Victor quickly turns and fires, sending an avalanche down onto Blue #1 and nearly onto Jack.

Flying up through an arch bridge, Victor and Jack, his copter smoking even more, find themselves joined by the 2 Yellow copters, rising from behind the abutments. Victor leads them into a huge tunnel. Jack aims the targeting laser; but just as he exits, Victor swoops up out of sight: A massive MLV train is approaching! Jack and Yellow #1 fly out of the tunnel in time, but the train comes crashing into Yellow #2!

Jack’s copter slowing, Yellow #1 gains on Victor — the city in the distance is home to the family of the pilot of Yellow #1 and Victor’s copter is carrying a nuclear bomb! Yellow #1 is able to head Victor off towards a solar-energy-satellite power-receiving station. Jack — with an “inside track” — catches up. Racing around and around the humming, intense, immense blue beam of pure energy pouring into the gigantic receiving dish below, the three copters jockey for position (a la Ben Hur). Victor bumps Jack’s copter towards the beam, which burns his rotor tips: Jack’s copter falls away. Yellow #1 rocks to slam suicidally into Victor’s, but Victor pulls out just in time and Yellow #1 crashes explosively into the energy beam and vaporizes!

Finally, Victor leads Jack over a massive mountain, a small plume of smoke rising from a crater at its summit. Victor’s copter stops, turns; Jack’s grinds to a halt. The two take aim and fire! Victor’s missile takes-out Jack’s remaining engine; Jack’s, Victor’s tail-rotor. Victor spins down madly, apparently hitting bottom in the “bottomless” crater when its nuclear bomb explodes, sending a small mushroom cloud up past Jack’s copter, slowly “whirligiging” down into the now rumbling, smoking crater. Jack ejects. The parachute lines from the dead pilot’s seat get tangled with the rotors, and the copter splashes down into the lava bubbling-up below. Drifting downward to his doom, Jack prays for God to look after ... “Kate!” Appearing over the rim of the crater, Kate and Sam pilot her jump-jet! Swooping down into the crater to retrieve their “precious cargo,” their grappling hook snags Jack’s parachute lines; and they swoop up and out of the crater just before the volcano erupts with a thunderous boom, spewing lava, flame, and rock a mile high into the sky and far out into the countryside.

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Back on Fortus, the clone is unaware of what Max knows has happened. In addition, the video monitors covering the walls of the office show pandemonium amongst commodities traders and riots in food stores: Their grain crops are succumbing to a disease, spread by certain flies, which had been controlled by certain bats (which, unbeknownst to them but re-shown to us, had become extinct when the meadow was bulldozed). Max invites the clone to join him in a toast: “To Pestilence, Famine, Greed, and War — the only forces I could never conquer — I salute you!” With the clone in his lap and a lament on his lips, Max succumbs to the poison in the drink. His heart stops. A “deadman switch” is activated: Sirens blare, lights flash, and a countdown starts. Outside the capital, starving masses fight with guards; but they are all silenced when huge missiles come flying out of the silos in the wall surrounding the city. Finally, an even more immense missile rises out of the silo near the statue of Max: It ascends, slows, and then turns back to earth: The mob panics but is soon obliterated by a bright white light.

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The New Frontier

“What happened next, Granpa?!” Extremely elderly Jack and Kate sit on the front porch of their homestead and tell their tale to their wide-eyed great-, great-granddaughter, as family and friends (including old Sam the robot) picnic in their front yard.

They explain that it’s been about 15 million years since Max’s holocaust: With off-screen narration by elderly Jack and Kate, on-screen visualizations present their interstellar voyage into “The New Frontier.” Jack and Kate, married by the ship’s captain, and the other space pioneers were quite comfortable aboard their ship — a massive cylinder whose inner wall bore a rather suburban environment, even as the wall curved up and around the interior of the ship: Artificial gravity, always pointing in the direction of the wall of the cylinder, was provided by the spin of the ship. Their ship and its two sister ships, each powered by a rubidium ion-propulsion drive and carbon matter/antimatter engines and protected by a force-field, accelerated to nearly the speed of light (The realistic relativistic effects and calculations are fully detailed by notes in the script): They traveled millions of light-years in just a few years, even though millions of years would pass back home, to which they could never return. They visited a bizarre bazaar in a deep-space “boom town,” fought-off the ambush of a deep-space pirate ship, and eventually settled down to make a world of their own — despite “hell and high water” — on Planet Paradisa.

Alone in their rocking chairs, under setting twin suns, Jack and Kate take stock of their long lives. Jack wonders what it’s all been worth, in the eternity and infinity of Creation (with appropriate on-screen graphics). But Kate won’t have any of that: “Jacob! You know life has meaning ... as long as there is love!” The picnickers play, the elderly couple hold hands, and the film fades out.

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