Rod Serling 2nd TV script

 

(Untitled)

 

FADE IN

 

EXT. COURTYARD - DAY - EXTREMELY TIGHT

 

CLOSE SHOT - A STACK OF RIFLES

 

As each name is called, a rifle is removed and handed off into a gloved hand.

 

VOICE

Akor

 

AKOR'S VOICE

Here.

 

VOICE

Bando

 

BANDO'S VOICE

Here.

 

VOICE

Condor

 

CONDOR'S VOICE

Here.

 

The voices continue as the CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal a COLUMN OF UNIFORMED APES in the process of picking up their weapons. Each also has a back-pack and a metal studded cross-belt along with a helmet. The PULL BACK CONTINUES until we're on the smallest of the ape soldiery. This is ZONDA who is going through a series of contorted gestures, aiming his rifle, making the sound of firing to the merriment and amusement of the group of ape soldiers surrounding him.

 

ZONDA (very boyish)

There's a human on the hill. bang! There's one crawling through the trees... bang! Another human coming down the hill... bang!

 

SOLDIER 1

The mighty Zonda.

 

SOLDIER 2 (hugging the boy)

A ferocious warrior in our midst

 

The CAMERA PANS OVER for a: SHOT - URSUS

 

This is the head of the Security Police -a squat, powerful ape with the insignia of command. A SERGEANT standing alongside takes note of the activity, smiles at Ursus.

 

SERGEANT

Every inch the soldier... Your son.

 

URSUS (soberly)

Every other inch. No shortage of brass ... But a question as to how much iron.

 

SERGEANT

If he's like his father, he'll prove himself.

 

Ursus turns to the Sergeant.

 

URSUS

And if he's like his Sergeant, he'll drown in syrup and fawn himself to death.

 

SERGEANT (gulping)

I meant it, sir—a

 

URSUS

 

And I mean it. Don't blow smoke at me, Sergeant, with your compliments. (then pointing to Zonda) And don’t give my son medals before he deserves them. (he looks briefly toward the last of the rifles being handed out then back toward the Sergeant) Five minutes- then assemble them. I want to move out before ten.

 

MOVING SHOT - URSUS

 

As he walks away toward one of the buildings forming a corner to the courtyard. We hear the Sergeant's voice calling out commands.

 

SERGEANT'S VOICE (calling)

Mustering in five minutes, Stay in the area. Are the last of the weapons drawn?

 

SHOT - ENTRANCE TO THE BUILDING

 

As DR. ZAIUS comes outside. He's an ancient, venerable ape in a waistcoat, beard and princ-nez. He peers over the glasses toward Ursus.

 

URSUS (forcing patience)

We're honoured by the presence of the Science Academy President Dr. Zaius.

 

ZAIUS

I'm not here to honour you.

 

He looks across toward the ranks of ape soldiery.

 

SHOT - ZONDA

 

continuing to draw laughter

 

TWO SHOT - URSUS AND ZAIUS

 

ZAIUS

Like father, like son.

 

URSUS

I take that as a compliment.

 

ZAIUS (gently)

Please don't. The similarity I allude to is in a single minded ferocity when it comes to the liquidation of the innocents. (a beat as he lets his eyes scan the weaponry) Such effort Ursus, such ceremony. Everything but battle flags. To hunt down two unarmed humans and a young ape- whose principal crime seems to be that they exist.

 

URSUS (ice-cold)

Our attitudes differ. Doctor. You persist in thinking of this as an execution. We think of it as a safari.

 

CLOSE SHOT - ZAIUS

 

ZAIUS

 

Then may you all come back safe and sound ... but with no trophies of the hunt. May those astronaut, Colonel Virdon, Dr. Kovak and my young friend Galen, somehow, some way, find sanctuary!

 

EXT PLAINS - DAY - HIGH ANGLE HELICOPTER SHOT - THE ROLLING, UNDULATING TERRAIN

 

Of a planet that could be Earth but is, in truth, undistinguished by a signpost or plant life that might identify as to time or place. We see three tiny figures walking in a file and gradually move in closer to them until they can be identified. They are two astronauts in torn, shabby uniforms -COLONEL VIRDON and DR. KOVAK and finally the third member of the party an ape named GALEN.

 

GROUP SHOT - FAVOURING THE ASTRONAUTS

 

As they stop, searching the horizon, then looking questioningly toward Galen.

 

GALEN

There's a river that runs north and south.

 

VIRDON

How far?

 

GALEN

Ten kilometres.

 

VIRDON

And beyond that?

 

GALEN

Beyond that is the border of the map. Or at least the maps that we know. It's forbidden territory.

 

KOVAK

Forbidden?

 

VIRDON

Why?

 

GALEN (with a little shrug)

I can only offer you legend.

 

KOVAK (sitting down, massaging his feet)

Dragons? Spirits? Dead ancestors? What are they?

 

Galen squats down opposite Kovak.

 

GALEN

Obscure mostly. Old wives tales about a deadly species of ape killers.

 

VIRDON

That's very imaginative.

 

GALEN (with a smile)

Isn't it true, though, that all legends have some basis in fact? (a beat) Perhaps fifty, one hundred years from now, there will be a legend about gods who arrived here in a silver chariot, spewing out flame. (he looks from Virdon to Kovak) Perhaps you and Dr. Kovak are the stuff of legends, Colonel.

 

Kovak, who has been staring down at the ground, looks up.

 

KOVAK (with a thin smile)

Behold the gods! Sitting on their keisters in the middle of an empty valley, running like hell from a society of Simians whose heads they used to pat in the Bronx Zoo!

 

He stares down at the ground again. Galen moves over to him, touches his arm.

 

GALEN (softly)

This, too, shall pass, Doctor.

 

Kovak looks up, smiles, shakes his head.

 

KOVAK (softly)

 

I seriously doubt it.

 

GALEN

I was imprisoned and a few hours away from execution because of my friendship with humans. (a beat) And yet here I sit. Here I survive. Here I breathe free air.

 

KOVAK (studying him, for a long moment)

Galen, buddy, I'm not going to discourse with you on the fine points of comparative anguish. But you're exiled. The good Colonel and I are marooned. We’re a thousand years from the day we were born, on a planet that doesn't even exist yet. (a beat as he looks off in the direction from where they've come from - his voice softer) And our link to that time that ship of ours -four million pieces of metal fragments spread out all over the landscape - blown to hell! (he shakes his head) And your optimism isn't going to do one damned thing for us. What we really need is the Messiah - Buffalo Bill or a battalion of well armed human Marines.

 

Virdon moves over to him.

 

VIRDON

You know what could be over those mountains? Chicago, Illinois maybe.

 

KOVAK (laughs)

Honest to God? Chicago, Illinois. What else? Civilisation? Ad agencies? Maybe a rapid transit system? How about a discotheque and a City Hall? (he rises to his feet, facing Virdon) Colonel - I will now tell you what's over those mountains. More mountains. And beyond those mountains are other mountains. From sea to shining sea. And in the middle -(he points to Galen) - and with apologies - Mr. Galen's peers - whose mission in life is to turn us into wall hangings for a hunting lodge.

 

At this moment there's a loud, piercing staccato. A series of bullets kick up the dirt around them and knock off tree branches above them. All three instinctively dive for the safety of the other side of the knoll they've been sitting on.

 

HIGH ANGLE - LOOKING DOWN - THE TWO ASTRONAUTS AND GALEN

 

As they start to scramble down the opposite side of the knoll. WHIP PAN OVER TO the patrol of apes FAVOURING Ursus and his son as they race up toward the top of the knoll in pursuit.

 

SERIES OF SHOTS - THE CHASE

 

Down ravines. across ponds, up the slopes of scrubby hills, through patchy forests ..and gradually, barely perceptively, the apes gain.

 

SHOT - THE BASE OF A MOUNTAIN WALL

 

fronting a deep pass that runs between the mountains and suggests the only gradual slope to the top. The three start to scramble up this last possible avenue of escape.

 

REVERSE ANGLE - LOOKING TOWARD THE PURSUING APES

 

Zonda has outstripped all of them and is racing up the defile.

 

SHOT - URSUS

 

who senses the danger of his son's isolation, stops, holds up his hand.

 

URSUS (shouting)

Zonda! Come back! Zonda, you're too far out front.

 

ANGLE - ZONDA

 

as he scrabbles up loose rock, stops, on his hands and knees, looks up with sudden fear. Virdon has a rock which he flings out, catching the young ape on the side of the face, toppling him over backwards and unconscious.

 

SHOT - URSUS

 

who sees this, screams, starts up, beckoning his followers.

 

ANGLE - THE APES

 

As suddenly arrows sing out. One ape gets it in the throat, another the chest, a couple of others topple over with arrows protruding. Ursus, looking around wildly for the source of the arrows, again makes a hand motion.

 

URSUS (shouting)

Back! Back!

 

HIGH ANGLE - LOOKING DOWN - THE APES

 

as they retreat, firing, but firing at invisible objects.

 

CLOSER ANGLE - URSUS

 

As the apes form a skirmish line behind a clump of trees. The Sergeant crawls up to him.

 

SERGEANT

Your son is still up there.

 

URSUS (grimly. looking out through the trees)

If you were up there, Sergeant or any of the others—my orders would be to stay here until nightfall.

 

SERGEANT

If he's not dead now...he'll be dead by nightfall.

 

CLOSE SHOT - URSUS

 

He averts his eyes.

 

URSUS (his voice very soft)

Too much brass -mixed with the iron...my poor, very young son.

 

DISSOLVE TO - EXT. CLIFF TOP - DAY - TOP HAT SHOT

 

ACROSS THE GROUND - THE ASTRONAUTS AND GALEN

 

Lying there, exhausted. Virdon pulls himself up to rest on his elbow, looking left and right.

 

SHOT - HIS POV - THE CLIFF TOP

 

Empty and silent

 

VIRDON (Softly)

God bless the children and all invisible archers. We just got our bacon saved.

 

KOVAK

But nobody to thank (a beat) You see anybody?

 

Virdon shakes his head.

 

VIRDON

Just the arrows. -After they reached target.

 

KOVAK

What now?

 

GALEN

This would be the safest place to camp for the night. The only access is the pass here, and we’d hear them if they started up -

 

There is the sound of falling rock three stiffen.

 

SHOT - VIRDON

 

As he crawls over toward the edge of the cliff and looks down.

 

SHOT - DOWN - HIS POV - ZONDA

 

Bleeding, semi-conscious, scrabbling his way upwards.

 

ANGLE UP - VIRDON

 

Galen and Kovak appear at his side

 

GALEN

It’s Zonda.

 

KOVAK

You know him?

 

Galen (nods)

He’s the son of Ursus - the Head of Security Police.

 

KOVAK (with a look at Virdon)

You got the next best thing.

 

Virdon picks up a rock.

 

VIRDON

Glutton for punishment.

 

Galen, with a quick gesture, grabs his wrist.

 

SHOT - DOWN : INCLINE - ZONDA

 

Who has fallen forward and lies on his face.

 

GALEN (Softly)

He'll give you no more trouble.

 

VIRDON (still holding the rock)

I'd better make sure.

 

GALEN

He’s very young.

 

VIRDON

He was old enough to join the posse. (a beat, then to Kovak) Let's check him.

 

SHOT - THE TWO MEN

 

As they move down toward the prostrate body of the young ape.

 

ANGLE - THE TWO OF THEM

 

As they reach the body. Kovak turns him over, quickly examines the wound on the side of the head and in the process sees evidence of tears on the cheeks.

 

KOVAK

That wound should be washed, even if it can`t be sutured. (a beat) That's what the doctor in me says. (he rises) And the head should be stomped in to finish the job - that's pragmatic man trying to survive.

 

SHOT UP - VIRDON

 

VIRDON

We better get back topside. Up there is defensible.

 

The two men start to scramble back up. Galen has moved down halfway.

 

GALEN (pointing)

And the boy? Leave him there to die?

 

VIRDON

Alternative?

 

GALEN

Let's take him up to the top. He’s fifteen years old.

 

Kovak and Virdon exchange a look. Kovak reaches down to start to pull Zonda to his feet.

 

KOVAK

Maybe we add to the legend, Allen. The gods were compassionate.

 

SERIES OF SHOTS

 

Lugging Zonda to the top of the cliff, lowering him to the ground, Kovak administering to the wound.

 

CLOSE GROUP SHOT

 

VIRDON

Is he still alive?

 

KOVAK

Just barely. Concussion at least (he looks down toward a collection of kindling that Galen has put into a pile) Get the fire started. I can cauterise it. (a beat as he shakes his head, looking down at Zonda) But please, Colonel - don't ask me why.

 

DISSOLVE TO EXT. CLIFF TOP - NIGHT

 

The campfire sends out undulating crisscrossed patterns of light. PAN OVER TO Zonda lying a few feet off. Galen stirs the fire then moves over to kneel beside him. Zonda's eyes open. He stares at Galen, reaches up and touches the makeshift bandage that is wrapped around the side of his head.

 

GALEN:

Don't disturb it.

 

Zonda drops his hand and stares at Galen.

 

GALEN:

You know who I am?

 

ZONDA: (nods)

 

And what you are. (he weakly points to the makeshift bandage) And if you did this-you do me no honour.

 

GALEN:

The perversity of the lesser animal known as Man. That very unpredictable breed. Dr. Kovak did it. And cleansed the wound. And cauterised it. And probably saved your life.

 

ZONDA: (looking around)

Where are they-your friends?

 

GALEN:

 

Looking around. Trying to find who our allies were.

 

ZONDA:

Where are we?

 

GALEN:

A thousand feet from your father and your dedicated comrades.

 

There is a silence.

 

ZONDA:

I'll make a bargain with you. Help me back down to where they are. (he raises himself weakly and clutches at Galen) I'll tell them of your cooperation. I'll ask for lenience.

 

Galen reaches out and gently takes the boys hands off of him.

 

GALEN:

How cheering that sounds by a campfire on a cliff-a hundred miles from the barracks. But when I'm marched back in with my hands tied behind my back-what kind of lenience can I expect then?

 

ZONDA: (almost breathless)

My word, Galen. I swear to you-my word. I'll see to it that the worst thing you get is imprisonment.

 

Galen gently forces the boys head back.

 

GALEN: (softly)

Such a gift, Zonda. Lenience puts me inside a barred room for the rest of my life.

 

Zonda stares at him, almost as if disbelieving.

 

ZONDA:

But the alternative ... to wander the earth with animals.

 

Galen rises, staring down at the boy.

 

GALEN: (in almost a whisper)

Animals.

 

ZONDA:

They are animals. Clever and devious and dangerous-but animals. Galen ... they're different from us. And when things are different .. they ... they become a menace.

 

ANGLE UP - GALEN THE PATTERN OF FIRE LIGHT CRISS-CROSSES HIS FACE

 

GALEN:

And what is different—must he destroyed. (a beat; he shakes his head back and forth) I wonder if there is anyone on his earth who understands enough to regret (another beat) When we borrowed from man-we took his firearms and his hostility. We took only the bad part of him.

 

Suddenly there is the sound of voices off in the distance.

 

VIRDON'S VOICE: (shouting)

Stan! Stan, look at this!

 

SHOT - EXCAVATED AREA

 

A vast, cavernous hole in the ground flanked by a bent, decaying lamp post. Running down into the hole are rotting steps. Virdon stands at their top looking downward.

 

SHOT - ACROSS THE AREA

 

As KOVAK, in a dead run, comes into the frame, stops near Virdon, looking down.

 

KOVAK:

What the hell is it? Where does it go?

 

CLOSE SHOT - VIRDON

 

He kneels down and picks something up, turns to Kovak.

 

VIRDON:

Where does it go? Right across Manhattan and over to Coney Island.

 

He holds out his hand. There is a fragment of glass and on it is the legend "SUBWAY"

 

FADE OUT.

 

END OF ACT ONE

 

 

START OF ACT TWO

 

FADE IN

 

INT. SUBWAY-NIGHT-HIGH ANGLE-LOOKING UP

 

Toward the flight of wrecked stairs as Virdon and Kovak walk slowly down them. They pause two thirds of the way down to stare through the gloom at the remnant of the underground station. - Cracked tile walls, a partially intact set of tracks, torn posters advertising ancient gum with headless bathing beauties. The sum total is that of an ancient tomb full of hauntingly familiar things.

 

SHOT-KOVAK

 

Who points toward a turnstile. Above it we see the lettering on a sign which reads: "BMT"

 

SHOT - THE TURNSTILE THEN BACK TO KOVAK

 

KOVAK:

Allan, it's New York. At least it was New York. (a beat, he looks over his shoulder toward the top of the stairs) But the topography has changed.

 

VIRDON:

Earthquakes, floods, a couple of bombs - then about 8 or 10 centuries of wind and erosion.

 

He takes another few steps toward the bottom and stops abruptly and stares.

 

SHOT - JUST ABOVE THE TRACKS

 

From the ceiling hangs an electric bulb which is lit.

 

SHOT - VIRDON

 

As he runs his hand down the side of his face, half in awe, half in bewilderment. Kovak comes down to a point alongside of him, also staring toward the light bulb; Then Virdon looks up toward the ceiling, listening, and from far off we hear a very low, distant hum of machinery.

 

KOVAK:

An engine

 

VIRDON:

Sounds like a generator.

 

Kovak very slowly sinks down to the steps and sits there, staring across at nothing, then he looks up toward Virdon.

 

KOVAK:

You know what happens next? A subway train goes by. We get on it. And it takes us out to Brighton Beach. We'll eat a couple of Nathan's hot dogs ... pick up a couple of broads... (he rises to his feet, his voice shaking and growing louder) ... then we'll run over to the Garden for a hockey game or maybe a Hansom ride in Central Park

 

Virdon grabs him.

 

VIRDON:

Easy, Stan.

 

Kovak breaks away, races down the rest of the stairs and over to the edge of the platform facing the tracks, looking left and right.

 

KOVAK: (shouting)

All right—all 20th Century ghosts front and centre! All mummified, calcified, stalking spectres, come on out and do your thing!

 

SHOT - DOWN THE LENGTH OF THE PLATFORM

 

Where suddenly, inexplicably, more light bulbs suddenly go on

 

SERIES OF SHOTS

 

Virdon, then Kovak, as they react to the sudden intrusion of light.

 

SHOT

 

Kovak as he walk very slowly down the length of the platform, stops, looks across at the tile wall .

 

SHOT - THE WALL

 

We see the remnant of a "Mens Room" sign.

 

REVERSE ANGLE - LOOKING TOWARD KOVAK

 

He closes his eyes, shakes his head.

 

KOVAK:

The complete nightmare (he turns toward Virdon) How about that colonel? Men's Room. Just a little ghostly reminder that there was a time when the plumbing belonged to us!

 

SHOT

 

Virdon as he turns and starts to walk down the platform in the opposite direction. Kovak follows him.

 

MOVING SHOT WITH THEM

 

The camera behind them, looking up the tracks which suddenly bend. Facing the astronauts is a single bright light which, as the camera draws closer to it reveals the front end of an ancient subway train.

 

The camera continues to track with the two astronauts toward the train, then they both stop dead in their tracks staring.

 

WHIP PAN OVER TO THE TRAIN.

 

Standing in the operators section is a man looking through a cracked window toward them.

 

REVERSE ANGLE - LOOKING TOWARD VIRDON AND KOVAK

 

KOVAK: (in a hushed voice)

Anytime you wanna wake me up, baby, you do so. It's getting too much now. Too much.

 

VIRDON: (shouting)

Who are you? Who's in there?

 

SERIES OF SHOTS - THE SUBWAY TUNNEL

 

As various lights begin to come alive. Naked bulbs strung out strategically, master switched to life by some unseen hand and revealing several humans lined up along the tunnel on either side and on the platform of the waiting area

 

Many are armed with bows and arrows. All stare toward the two astronauts. the collective looks are inquisitive but not neccesarily friendly. One archer steps forward and points toward the subway car. Virdon and Kovak start to walk toward it.

 

CUT TO INT. SUBWAY CAR - NIGHT

 

As a door to the subway train slides open. Virdon and Kovak enter. In the semi ruin of the ancient vehicle a table and chairs have been set up. behind the table is the tall, greying man we’ve already seen through the window. His dress is like those of the others - shirt, trousers - homespun and simple.

 

VIRDON:
(with a look toward 2 men carrying bows and arrows) I guess we can thank you for helping us to get away.

 

A beat as the man just stares at him. Virdon and Kovak exchange a slightly apprehensive look as they take note of a mob of people pressing in on the subway car and overflowing the platform outside. they even peer through the window.

 

VIRDON:

(a little more nervously) That was you, wasn't it? We were about to buy it when you showed up.

 

PAN SHOT - PAST THE FACES OF THE SILENT ONLOOKERS

 

KOVAK:

(clearing his throat) We didn't expect ... I mean... (he points toward the electric lights) ... electricity. Or much of anything else.

 

VIRDON:

We heard a generator running as we came down.

 

The silence persists. The people stare. the man behind the table looks mildly bemused.

 

KOVAK: (blurts it out)

You do speak, don't you?

 

The man tips back in his chair, looking from one to the other.

 

MAN:

With some fluency. We also read. Yes, we have electricity. Yes, we have a generator powered by gasoline. And yes, it supplies light and air. (a beat) And you two? You run from apes and with apes. And we find that intriguing.

 

Virdon shakes his head

 

VIRDON:

It's a very long, long story. Originally we're from a ship... A space vehicle. But I'm afraid it's more complicated than that.

 

MAN:

Your names?

 

VIRDON:

I'm Colonel Virdon... This is Dr. Kovak.

 

MAN:

And the ape you were seen with? You captured him?

 

KOVAK:

We escaped with him. He's a friend.

 

There is the first murmurs of reaction from the crowd.

 

MAN:

A friend? (he looks over his shoulder toward the pressing mob) an ape as a friend. (he smiles for the first time) An ape can be one of two things. He can be the enemy ... or he might be a pet. But for ape and man to be friends...

 

He shakes his head.

 

KOVAK: (interrupting)

His ape brethren think the same thing. Which is why he's running with us.

 

An onlooker from the crowd steps forward, leans across the table and whispers something into the leaders ear. The man nods and looks up toward Virdon and Kovak.

 

MAN:

I'm told there is yet another ape. One of their security police.

 

KOVAK:

He was wounded. We took him with us.

 

Murmurs from the crowd and then an errant laugh.

 

VIRDON: (bridling ever so slightly)

I said something funny?

 

MAN: (with a grim smile)

Mildly funny. First you hit this ape in the head with a rock, then you solicitously carry him up to the top of a cliff and administer to him.

 

KOVAK:

What would you have done? Left him down there to die?

 

The man rises from behind the table.

 

MAN:

Mr. Space traveler... Or whoever you are... We were the ones who skewered his companions with our arrows. It was our intention that he die down there. (he looks from one to the other through narrowed eyes) And what was your intention? You run with apes. You befriend apes. Is there some brotherhood that we've not heard of?

 

KOVAK:

We just have a disinclination to leave a person to die.

 

There is a louder murmur from the crowd and with it the first sense of real hostility. The man leans forward across the table.

 

MAN:

A person? What happens to the senses out there in space? You think these loping, hairy imitators of man are persons? You lose sight and smell out there in the stars? (he pounds on the table) Apes is what they are! And with your impaired hearing and impaired sight, you think that if you put clothes on an animal that makes him some kind of dancing partner!

 

KOVAK: (blurting this out)

He's sufficiently your equal to keep you living down here in a pit. Or maybe you wander around underground from choice.

 

There is a hushed collective intake of breathe at this from the onlookers as if this were preparatory to some giant explosion. The man looks down at the table then raises his head.

 

MAN:

Hardly from choice. Only from desperation. The ape outnumbers us a thousand, two thousand, five thousand to one. He has weapons. Firearms. We have bows, arrows and rocks.

 

He comes out from behind the table

 

MAN:

But we have something that will ultimately make us the conqueror of the ape... Books... Knowledge. Where you're standing at this moment was once a vast city. In our excavations we keep coming up with clues from the past. The generator, for example. It was covered with some preservative and we learned how to use it. Not too far from here we unearthed a library and gradually we're learning from the books.

 

There are more murmurings from the crowd.

 

SHOT - DOWN THE PLATFORM - A MAN

 

Who comes swiftly down the steps two at a time. He pushes his way through the crowds of people to the leader, looks briefly at Kovak and Virdon then whispers something in the leaders ear. The man nods.

 

MAN:

Your ape friends have been found and taken.

 

Kovak and Virdon exchange a look.

 

VIRDON:

Alive, though

 

MAN: (with a shrug)

Temporarily. We'll send them on their way with a quality of mercy that your average ape doesn't reciprocate. Merciful deaths. Quick ones.

 

VIRDON:

The one named Galen .... he's a scientist.

 

The man exchanges a look with the crowd

 

MAN:

A scientist. An ape scientist (he shakes his head) At the very most, a mimic in a costume. An ape is an ape.

 

ANOTHER ANGLE - FAVOURING THE MAN

 

As he moves out of the car onto the platform followed by Virdon and Kovak. He turns to them.

 

MAN:

As for you two-consider yourselves blessed. You are free to go.

 

ANGLE - VIRDON AND KOVAK

 

As they move down the platform past the various people over to the stairs. When they reach the foot of the stairs there is a sudden murmuring and jostling of the crowd as all eyes look toward the top. Appearing at the top and walking down slowly are a group of humans. They carry poles from which dangle the tied up bodies of Galen and Zonda, suspended by the wrists and ankles. Kovak quickly moves up the stairs. he checks out Galen first whose eyes are open, though his face is bruised and swollen. he turns down toward Virdon.

 

KOVAK:

They're alive—

 

MAN:

We'll interrogate them. And then we'll see to it that they won't remain alive.

 

VIRDON: (very slowly, softly)

This question before we leave. What distinguishes man from ape?

 

MAN:

My God. (he looks toward the bound figures) Don't you see?

 

VIRDON: (very softly)

All I see is that we've met ape ... and we've met man ... and we still haven't found a civilisation.

 

Pan down at the faces of the silent humans. Something Virdon has said has touched them... Moved them... Or at the very least caused them to think. The PAN ENDS on

 

CLOSE SHOT - THE MAN

 

MAN:

Tell me something, since you travel through space in some incredible machine from a world far ahead of ours. What might we do to prove that we're civilised?

 

Virdon points up the star is towards the trussed up bodies.

 

VIRDON:

Put them on trial. Give them a chance at least.

 

TIGHT CLOSE SHOT - THE MAN

 

MAN:

A trial? Put apes on trial? (he just shakes his head at the enormity of this nonsense, looks up toward the bodies then back toward Virdon and Kovak) How in God's name can I make this clear to you? They're animals.

 

CLOSE SHOT - VIRDON - WHO COMES UP ALONGSIDE OF KOVAK.

 

VIRDON:

Then make the point that you're men!

 

SLOW FADE OUT

 

END OF ACT TWO

 

 

 

ACT THREE

 

FADE IN

 

THE WRECKAGE OF A PUBLIC LIBRARY - DAY

 

Shafts of light come through from up above like criss crossing spotlights revealing wrecked book shelves, some still housing books. Humans are filing into the room to sit on the remnants of tables or on the ground. A tables has been set up for "the Judge" and a bench off to one side is now being occupied by the "Jury"

 

Virdon enters the room and moves over to DEMPSEY who is standing in a corner of the room, surveying it.

 

DEMPSEY:

It's as you wanted it, Colonel. (he points to himself) Judge (he points toward the bench) Jury. (he points to another section) Prisoners Docket. (he takes out a book from under his arm) And the prescribed legal procedures as written down in a book which has to do with something called the King's Law. I understand it be the basis of Anglo-Saxon justice for a thousand years

 

VIRDON:

That will do.

 

Another man (FALLON) enters the room, moves toward a bench that’s been set up near the Jury.

 

SHOT - DEMPSEY

 

DEMPSEY:

The prosecutor, His name is Fallon.

 

VIRDON:

And your name?

 

DEMPSEY:

Dempsey (a crooked smile) Judge Dempsey. (a beat) For the moment anyway. For as long as it takes the trial to go on.

 

VIRDON:

You're the leader here?

 

DEMPSEY: (with a shrug)

 

I serve as a kind of arbitrator. Until someone younger, wiser replaces me. (a beat) We rule by majority will here, Colonel. Not like the apes. Where a prerogative is judged by breadth of shoulders and length of fangs.(another beat) We happen to be a people not a tribe. (he looks across the room toward the entrance) Are your defendants ready?

 

VIRDON:

Shortly (there is a silence) Will this be a fair trial, Mr. Dempsey?

 

DEMPSEY: (looking him straight in the eye)

Let's say it will be a trial. And guilt or innocence will be decided.

 

CLOSE SHOT - VIRDON

 

VIRDON: (very softly, earnestly)

Have you ever heard the statement "rail roaded?"

 

DEMPSEY. (frowns)

Having to do with trains?

 

VIRDON:

Having to do with condemning for the sake of expedience and to satisfy majority opinion. Not having to do with justice.

 

DEMPSEY: (softly)

You ask a great deal, Colonel. (a beat as he looks around the giant, cavernous room.) Once this was a Public Library. (he looks at Virdon) Man was in the ascendancy then. Now look at R as it exists underground. A mausoleum a graveyard of dead pages and mummified words. All because during an errant moment in the passage of time-man stepped down and ape stepped up. (a beat) What was it you asked for? Justice? (he nods) Your apes will get justice, Colonel. I guarantee it. They'll get all the justice they deserve.

 

He turns and moves over to the bench where the Judge is supposed to sit.

 

INT. ROOM - DAY

 

A bare, locked cubicle with earthen walls, just a pale light coming from a slit up above, leading to the surface.

 

Kovak is in the process of re-bandaging Zonda’s head. He finishes tying the knot then steps back.

 

KOVAK:

A-okay.

 

ZONDA: (tiredly)

Why do you go to the trouble?

 

KOVAK: (with a shrug)

Why not? If I ever start a practice around here, you can drop off a testimonial to me.

 

Zonda looks toward Galen who sits dejectedly on the floor in a corner.

 

ZONDA:

Why don't you explain to your mad friend that he's wasting his time?

 

Virdon is allowed into the room at this point then the door closes and we hear it lock from the outside.

 

VIRDON:

We're not wasting it, sonny. We're borrowing as much of it as we can.

 

GALEN:

But the fact is, Colonel, a trial...

 

VIRDON:

A trial takes time. It uses up minutes. And for every minute we can beg, borrow, steal or usurp-that's another minute that you stay alive.

 

GALEN:

Prolonging the inevitable -

 

VIRDON: (snapping)

Maybe! And maybe, just maybe, we've run across a group of humans who have enough memory genes to recall a time when sometimes mercy went hand in hand with justice!

 

ZONDA.

What are we being charged with?

 

ABRUPT CUT TO INT. LIBRARY - COURTROOM - DAY - CLOSE SHOT-FALLON

 

The human who serves as prosecutor, stands between his table and the Judge.

 

FALLON:

Murder!

 

He whirls around and points to Zonda and Galen who sit between Virdon and Kovak.

 

FALLON:

The defendants, Zonda and Galen by name are accused of acts of murder kidnapping enforced servitude and destruction of property (he holds up a paper) I have here a document enumerating the charges.

 

SHOT - VIRDON WHO RISES

 

VIRDON

Your Honour. The Defence accepts the documentation of the various so-called crimes.

 

DEMPSEY:

Does it, indeed? Then may I ask the defence what is the defence?

 

VIRDON:

It is our contention, your Honour, that one of the defendants took no part in any of these activities. And the other - (he looks toward Zonda) - is under age and not responsible.

 

There is a murmur from the audience and some laughter. Dempsey leans across the table, pointing to Zonda.

 

DEMPSEY

How old are you?

 

ZONDA

Fifteen.

 

DEMPSEY

Mister Prosecutor—put the question to him.

 

FALLON (moving across to stand in front of Zonda)

Were you on an expedition to kill and capture humans?

 

ZONDA

I was a member of a patrol in force of the Security Police.

 

FALLON

You had a weapon?

 

ZONDA

I was issued a rifle.

 

FALLON

Did you use it?

 

ZONDA

To the best of my ability.

 

FALLON

Do you regret using it?

 

ZONDA

I regret not killing a human with it. I was wounded before that could happen.

 

FALLON turns toward Dempsey.

 

FALLON

I don't have any more questions, your Honour.

 

Virdon rises from alongside of Zonda, moves around the table to a point between Dempsey and the defendants. He turns and looks at Zonda.

 

VIRDON

Zonda - what are humans?

 

ZONDA

Animals. Inferior animals.

 

VIRDON

Who told you that?

 

ZONDA (with a shrug)

It's a known fact.

 

VIRDON

You learn it in school? Your parents told you that? Your friends, your teachers?

 

ZONDA

Everyone

 

VIRDON

What else did they tell you of humans?

                                 

ZONDA

That they are ferocious, clever, untrustworthy

 

Dempsey pounds on the table with a makeshift Gavel

 

DEMPSEY

That will be quite enough. We know what apes think of humans. Make your point, Colonel Virdon. Don't waste our time.

 

VIRDON: (turning toward Dempsey)

My point, your Honour, is that you're seeking to condemn a teenaged boy.

 

SHOT - THE CROWD A WOMAN RISES AND SHOUTS

 

WOMAN: (shouting)

He's not a boy - he's an ape!

 

There is a loud roar of assent, pounded fists, stomped feet and Dempsey has to pound on his gavel agin to restore order.

 

VIRDON:

A teenage boy, your Honour, who's been fed an attitude; he's had a point of view thrust into him like a needle. To think of humans as animals was as natural to him as breathing. Now do you condemn a boy for an attitude poured into him from birth.

 

FALLON

When the attitude takes the form of acts of violence against human beings.

 

VIRDON

He took no lives—

 

DEMPSEY

His intent was to take lives.

 

KOVAK: (on his feet)

He was ordered to!

 

SHOT - DEMPSEY

 

Who smiles, opens up a book on the table, peers down at it and looks up.

 

DEMPSEY

On this earth... hundreds and hundreds of years ago. There was an event called the Nurenberg Trials - humans known as Nazis were condemned despite the fact that their Defense had them innocent by virtue of their simply following orders. (he points to Zonda) That he tried to kill because he was ordered to is not a defense Colonel. The court so rules.

 

There is a murmur from the onlookers.

 

SHOT - A MAN AS HE RISES

 

MAN

What is all this nonsense? They're a couple of wild animals. Treat them as wild animals.

 

There is a chorus of assent at this and again Dempsey has to pound the gavel. Virdon moves away from his table toward the audience, pointing out the man who’d just spoken.

 

VIRDON

Tell me something, sir. Enlighten me. You say those are wild animals. Now on the other hand, we are humans. They're a pack, we're a race. They're a species, we're a community. (a beat) Why? Why are they different from us? What makes them animals and what makes us civilised?

 

WOMAN: (shouting)

They kill us—

 

VIRDON: (quickly overlapping her)

You kill them!

 

WOMAN #2: (shouting)

Only in self defense—

 

VIRDON

Are they threatening you now? Look at them! Are you in jeopardy from them at this moment?

 

Another man rises

 

MAN #2:

You let them loose and put a rifle in their hands...You'll see how much jeopardy they'd put us in!

 

This time there are louder cries of assent and a general tumultuous stirring among the people.

 

VIRDON

Hold on a minute. Just hold on a minute. Let's understand something. Is that what we're trying them for. Intent? Are we judging them for what they might do to us? Are they going to be condemned on this given afternoon, for what they might do next week?

 

DEMPSEY

Judging from what they've done to us in the past, Colonel, to keep them from doing it in the future is nothing more than prudent.

 

VIRDON

It may be prudent, Mr. Dempsey... But it's a helluva long way from being just! I maintain, your Honour ... (he looks toward the "Jury') ... and gentlemen of the jury ... that neither of these defendants have ever killed a human being. One in particular has never even felt hate or animosity or anything but a regard for human beings. Neither of them are guilty of murder or anything else.

 

There is a dead silence as the camera pans down the faces of the sombre looking Jurymen.

 

FALLON

If the defense is finished. The Prosecution will make its...

 

He pauses, looks questioningly toward Dempsey.

 

DEMPSEY

Its final arguments.

 

FALLON nods, turns toward the two apes.

 

SHOT - FALLON

 

FALLON

Have any of you ever met an ape with human attributes? Have any of you ever been helped by an ape? Comforted by an ape? Had a wound treated or an ailment cured by an ape? Do any of you feet free to walk out of here and move across the land without fear of capture or killing ... by the apes? (he shakes his head) They are guilty of all the crimes attributed to them. They should be put to death.

 

There are loud cries of approval at this as people rise, stamping with their feet, clapping with their hands.

 

PAN PAST the faces that show nothing but lust for a hanging. THE PAN CONTINUES over to the defendants and finally to Galen who rises very slowly. Gradually the noise subsides. All eyes are on him. he takes a step out ion front of the table, looks first toward Dempsey then to the crowd.

 

GALEN

I want to speak.

 

DEMPSEY

You have that right.

 

GALEN

I have only this to say. What is it you accuse us of? Is it murder? (he shakes his head) I don't think so. Not just murder. Neither of us have ever taken a life. But we stand guilty of something else. Because what we're accused of is being apes and we have no defence. We're accused of being animals and how can we deny that we're animals?

 

He takes a step closer to the crowd, letting his eyes scan the various faces.

 

GALEN

Hear me now, for I ask a very simple thing. I ask that you put me to death ... In place of this other animal. (he points to Zonda) All that's needed her is proof of man's superiority. All right. Won't one death of one ape suffice? Let me die and let this young one go. You will then have your ape victim ... You will have your proof of the sovereignty of man and you will also have demonstrated that not only can man reason ... He can be compassionate. And what more proof of superiority is there than that?

 

SHOT - THE CROWD

 

They just stare

 

SHOT - DEMPSEY

 

Who looks down at the table.

 

SHOT-KOVAK

 

Who rises.

 

KOVAK

Your Honour.

 

Dempsey looks up very slowly. Kovak points to the mangled stacks of books.

 

KOVAK

In those volumes ... someplace ... Must be the work of a man named Shakespeare.

 

SHOT - THE CROWD

 

There are a few nods.

 

KOVAK

In one of his plays ... I think it was called the Merchant of Venice ... It went something like this..."The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

 

A PAN OVER TO GALEN

 

GALEN

Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes the throned monarch better than his crown; his sceptre shows the force of temporal power, the attribute to awe and majesty wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; but mercy is above this sceptred away, it is enthroned in the hearts of kings, it is an attribute to God, Himself, and earthly power doth then show likest gods, when mercy seizes justice."

 

A PAN PAST stunned, silent people over to Dempsey who is visibly, if not moved, then at least shaken. He rises

 

DEMPSEY

If the Defense rests and the Prosecution has nothing more the jury will now retire to deliberate on a verdict.

 

HIGH ANGLE - LOOKING DOWN ON THE ROOM

 

As the Jury rises and starts to slowly file out.

 

SHOT - THE CROWD

 

They remain sitting as if transfixed, staring toward Galen as we...

 

DISSOLVE TO: EXT. LANDSCAPE - DAY

 

Ground fog semi-enshrouds the scene as we track along the edge of the forest, picking up face after face of an ape skirmish line. The track ending ultimately on Ursus himself. The sergeant comes up alongside.

 

SERGEANT: (his voice a whisper)

The replacements are here, sir. I've placed them on the right.

 

URSUS

Grappling hooks?

 

SERGEANT

Ready to be put in place.

 

URSUS

All right then - (he holds up his arm) - On my signal.

 

APE SOLDIER #1

A moment, sir -

 

He half rises, peering out.

 

SHOT - THEIR POV

 

The defile splitting the two cliffs. Appearing at the top is Zonda, walking slowly, carefully down the pathway of loose rocks.

 

SHOT-URSUS

 

As he rises.

 

URSUS

 

Hold!

 

SERGEANT

It's Zonda! It's your son, sir.

 

ANOTHER ANGLE - THE SCENE

 

As Ursus comes out from behind the trees, moving toward the defile, staring up.

 

ANGLE SHOT - HIS POV - ZONDA

 

As he continues to move down then about halfway, stops, looking down at his father.

 

URSUS

Trick? Zonda... is it a trick?

 

CLOSE SHOT - ZONDA

 

He turns to look over his shoulder. WHIP PAN UP to the top of the cliff. There stand the two astronauts and Galen.

 

SHOT-ZONDA

 

He turns back down toward his father.

 

ZONDA

No. No trick.

 

Again he looks back toward the top of the cliff and holds up his left hand in farewell.

 

SHOT - THE THREE SMALL FIGURES

 

Who wave back.

 

MOVING SHOT - ZONDA

 

Down toward his father.

 

GROUP SHOT - THE TWO ASTRONAUTS AND GALEN

 

Standing at the top of the cliff. Dempsey joins them.

 

VIRDON (a quick look toward Dempsey then down the cliff)

Take a look at that journey, Mr. Dempsey. You might want to tell your great grandchildren about it.

 

DEMPSEY: (very thoughtfully)

We let some animals go free. Is it more than that?

 

KOVAK: (with a look at Galen)

It's a whole helluva lot more than that. (he holds up a bundle that he's carrying, similar to those carried by his companions) You've given us provisions ... New food ... water - (he looks down toward the foot of the cliff) You've given him a seed to carry with him. And you may have just started the planting of the biggest garden in the history of earth. (a brief look again down the cliff then he turns to Virdon) Ready?

 

VIRDON

All set?

 

Virdon looks questioningly to Galen who nods. The three of them start off along the top of the cliff in an opposite direction.

 

A SLOW PAN DOWN to the foot of the cliff to Ursus, Zonda and a group of apes, staring up toward the cliff.

 

THE SAME PAN BACK UP to

 

SHOT - DEMPSEY AND SEVERAL HUMANS

 

Standing at the top, looking down at the apes.

 

GROUP SHOT - THE APES

 

The sergeant comes up alongside Ursus, holding up his rifle.

 

SERGEANT

We can bring a few of them down, sir. Shall we try?

 

Ursus looks quickly at Zonda then back up toward the cliff. He shakes his head slowly.

We shall return home. There'll be no more killing.

 

He makes a motion, the apes fall into line and start to follow them, stops, turns, looks back up toward the cliff.

 

URSUS

Humans. Who's ever understand humans?

 

Again he shakes his head, turns and starts after the long of soldiery.

 

CLOSE SHOT - ZONDA

 

Who brings up the rear. He too stops, turns, looks toward the top of the cliff.

 

SHOT - THE TINY GROUP OF HUMANS

 

On the top of the cliff. Dempsey impulsively raises his hand as if in a farewell.

 

HIGH ANGLE -LOOKING DOWN ON THE APES

 

Who now look just as small and we see Zonda raise his hand.

 

SLOW FADE OUT

 

THE END