Coming Home (1st Draft) Part 1

EXT. SPACE
Earth is a spot in the distance, the Moon barely a bright dot.

BOB (O.C.)
Orion to Greeley Control. Come in Greeley.
(pause)
Greeley Control, do you read? This is Orion.
EDDIE (O.C.)
Anything, Bob?
BOB (O.C.)
No. Just dead air. No static. No nuthin’.

The camera dollys back into the command deck. Only a few
controls appear to function. Illumination comes from red
emergency lights. Two figures are silhouetted against the
view screens. Bob is seated. Eddie is standing behind him.
EDDIE
Keep trying. All frequencies.

INT. ORION COMMAND DECK – CONTINUOUS

BOB
Sure thing.
(muttering)
Not that it’ll do any good.
(louder)
Any station. This is ISF Orion
transmitting in the clear. Any
station, do you read?
EDDIE
(shaking head)
Has to be the arrays.
BOB
You can’t fix what you can’t reach.
Anything from engineering?
EDDIE
No. Not much left between here and there.
BOB
Yeah. That last hit rattled my
teeth right down to my ass.
Surprised we’re still in one piece.
Mostly.
(pause)
Orion to Greeley. Do you read?
(pause)
You think the captain made it?
EDDIE
Doesn’t seem like it. She’d be back
by now.
(pause)
If she could.
BOB
You think she even got there?

Eddie turns and looks aft.
EDDIE
Been thinking about it. Lab section
went after she left.

He shrugs and turns back.
EDDIE (CONT’D)
I’d say there’s a good chance she
went with it.
BOB
Mmm. Maybe so. Bad timing. So now what?
EDDIE
Keep trying, I guess. Closer we
get, the better our chances.
(louder)
How’s it going back there, Sam?
SAM (O.C.)
(female, distant)
Just about finished, Eddie.
(pause)
Done.

Sam enters the room, wiping her hands on her shirt. She
stands behind Eddie and Bob.

EDDIE
Find anything?
SAM
Same as the last three times. Nada!
Problem’s gotta be on the other
side of the bulkhead.

She takes a seat.
SAM (CONT’D)
Or the hull. Either way, can’t do
anything about it. Captain took the
only suit.
EDDIE
Her decision. She knew the risks.
SAM
Coulda sent one of us.
EDDIE
I think she felt responsible.
SAM
For what?
(gesturing)
All of this shit? How was that her fault?
EDDIE
Dunno how she thinks. Couldn’t get
inside her head, even if I wanted to.

Eddie sits in one of the command seats. Chen enters the room.
EDDIE (CONT’D)
Supplies?

Chen slumps into the other command seat. He runs a hand over
his scalp.
CHEN
We’ll make it. Just.

He leans forward and peers at the view screen.
CHEN (CONT’D)
What’s that?

They all lean forward.

EDDIE
What’s what?
CHEN
(pointing)
There. Upper right. Thought I saw
something flash.
BOB
Nah. I don’t see any …

He looks closer.
BOB (CONT’D)
Shit! There is something there.
EDDIE
(squinting)
Station? Comsat?
BOB
Way too far out, I think. Can’t
tell if it’s moving.

He taps the blank radar scope.
BOB (CONT’D)
Best I can do is keep an eye on it.
SAM
Any idea when we start decel?
EDDIE
Maybe an hour. Maybe a day. Maybe
never.

He glances out the view screen.
EDDIE (CONT’D)
Looks like we’re tracking straight in.
CHEN
That can’t be good.
SAM
What about orbital insertion?
EDDIE
If auto’s still working, it’s out
of our hands. If not, it’s still
out of our hands.

CHEN
So we could hit atmosphere and make
a really big flash bang. At least
everyone’s gonna know we’re home.
SAM
Everyone who’s still alive. There’s
a reason they build the drive
reactors out here.
(leaning back)
Right now, we’re just a big fucking
bomb!

Chen gestures at the screen.
CHEN
And that’s the target.

He leans over Bob’s shoulder.
CHEN (CONT’D)
Can we maneuver at all?
BOB
If we had manual control. Which we
don’t. And could disengage auto.
Which we can’t.
CHEN
So what? We cross our fingers and
hope not to die?
BOB
Oh, I’m pretty sure auto’s still with us.
CHEN
Really? What the hell makes you
think so? You got no power on that panel.
BOB
Because something got us home, and
it sure wasn’t me. Question is, does it have anything left to
control?
(gesturing left)
One of those hits took out the port
thruster pods. And you’ve seen
what’s left between us and
engineering. Probably won’t matter anyway.
(pause)
Decel will rip us apart first.
What’s left of us.
EDDIE
Guess we’ll find out when it starts.
BOB
If it starts. Hang on …

A faint crackle of static. Bob presses his headset closer to
his ear. Eddie leans forward.
EDDIE
What …

Bob holds up a hand and listens intently. He leans back again.
BOB
Thought I heard something. Guess not.

Static. Louder. Everyone leans closer. Faint, indistinct
voice. More static.
SAM
(hushed excitement)
Clear it up!
BOB
(exasperated)
Gimme a sec, will ya?

He fiddles with a dial. Static. Louder. Silence.
BOB (CONT’D)
Shit! Lost it!
CHEN
What about that ship we saw?
EDDIE
All I saw was a flash. Coulda been
anything. Shitload of stuff
floating around out here.
BOB
Yeah. And we’re flying blind
without the radar. Can’t see a damn
thing.
(pause)
We’re fucking lucky we got this far
without hitting anything.
SAM
I’m not sure I believe in luck.
BOB
Must be something to it.
(slapping the console)
This is like being deaf and blind!
We’ll see what auto does. If it does.
CHEN
So we wait?
EDDIE
So we wait.

EXT. SPACE
The dot flashes in the distance, still too far away to make
out details.

INT. ORION COMMAND DECK – LATER

Sam is dozing in a seat. Bob is still at the controls. Eddie
and Chen are going over a checklist.
CHEN
Why are we even bothering with
this? Nothing’s changed in months.
EDDIE
Just trying to occupy some time. Or
would you rather just sit here and
stare at the walls?
CHEN
Fine. Whatever.

He picks up the checklist.
CHEN (CONT’D)
So the radio’s crappy; we got no
radar at all; manual control is
toast. Auto may or may not be
working. Portside thrusters are gone …
(twirling a finger)
… so best we could do is really
fast donuts and no way to stop.
What else?

EDDIE
Life support? Main computer?
Gravity? Well, that’s obvious.
CHEN
Computer’s completely fried. Most
of it’s on the other side of that
bulkhead. Life support’s minimal,
but online. And don’t ask me how.
It’s controlled from engineering.
EDDIE
So we got lucky there. Looks like
the keel is all that’s holding us
together. Some of the control
conduits run right alongside. What
about cabin power?
CHEN
Minimal solar and battery, I think.
Most of the lights are blown
anyway. What power we have is going
to the controls. And we don’t have
many of those, so they don’t take
much. But I’ll tell ya …
(gesturing)
… this em-red shit is about to
drive me crazy!
Chen sets the list in his lap and looks out at Earth.
CHEN (CONT’D)
So you think they’ve spotted us yet?
BOB
Probably. Those big-ass flares
behind us put out a pretty big signature.

Sam jerks awake and looks around quickly, panicked,
terrified. She stares at the others.
SAM
Shit! Shit, shit, shit!

The others turn quickly toward her.
EDDIE
What? Look like you’re seeing
ghosts!

Sam calms down a little. She looks around the room.

SAM
(breathes heavily)
Something like that. I think I was
dreaming.

Her eyes are still wide. She looks around again.
SAM (CONT’D)
Everything in here was all busted
up. And cold. And you guys were all
dead. I mean, fuck, it felt so
real, except — not real — at the
same time. And I – I think I was dead, too.
CHEN
Well dammit, Sam! Don’t dream
anymore! Scared the shit outta me!
BOB
You aren’t the only one. Orion to
any station. Come in. Orion to
Greeley Control. Do you read?
EDDIE
Try that ship or whatever it was.
BOB
Still can’t tell, but I think it’s
bigger. We may be closing on it.
(presses headset closer)
Orion to approaching ship. Do you
read?
Eddie squints at the screen.
EDDIE
Yeah. Still can’t make it out.
Maybe a patrol cruiser. We’re
probably entering restricted space.
SAM
What if they don’t know it’s us?
BOB
Shoot first; pick through what’s left.
SAM
They’d kill us?
EDDIE
Way I look at it, unless auto can
put us in orbit we’re already dead.

He shudders.
EDDIE (CONT’D)
(sighing)
Try the radio again.
BOB
This is ISF Orion. Greeley Control,
do you read? Any station. This is
Orion. Do you read? Approaching
vessel. Do you read?
(louder)
Dammit! Can anybody hear me?
EDDIE
I don’t think they can. Best give
it a rest, Bob. Try again later.
When we’re closer.
SAM
(fanning herself)
Is it me or is it getting a little
stuffy in here. Harder to breath.
CHEN
I’ll check the scrubbers. Still got
a couple of cannisters left.
(pause)
Been saving them.
SAM
Saving them for what? An emergency?
What the fuck do you think this is, asshole?

Chen ignores her. He moves to the rear and opens a panel. Sam
moves around the cabin. She looks aft through the port.
SAM (CONT’D)
(quietly)
So do you think they knew what was happening?
EDDIE
Who?
SAM
The rest of the crew. Amidships. It
happened so fast. Do you think they
had time to feel anything?
BOB
That’s a cheery thought.

SAM
I’m serious.
EDDIE
Some of them, maybe. More like a
split second of surprise. Explosive
decomp is pretty much instant, and
probably painless. I doubt any of
them had time to be anything other
than dead.

Sam sits back in her seat.
SAM
(quietly)
I don’t want to die.
EDDIE
Not many do, Sam. Most times it
isn’t a choice. We all knew the
risks when we signed on.
BOB
That’s something I don’t plan on
doing again. I’m gonna find me a
lake and a fishing pole, and my
feet’ll stay firmly planted on the
ground. And that’s where I want to
be when my time comes.
SAM
If I’m gonna die, I just don’t want
it to be slow and painful.
EDDIE
Not my first choice, either. But it
won’t matter in the long run.
Dead’s dead.
They’re all quiet for a moment.
SAM
I wonder what it’s like? Being
dead, I mean.
BOB
You wonder a lot. Do you have to be
so morbid?

Chen returns. He wipes his hands on his shirt.
CHEN
I guess we’ll all find out …
sooner or later.

He sits in the command seat again and pulls up a small
folding table from the side. He takes an old deck of cards
from his pocket and starts dealing solitaire.
CHEN (CONT’D)
(holding up a diamond)
Fucking emred! Can’t read the
cards.
SAM
Do you think there’s a Heaven? Out
here? Are we closer to it? Or
farther away?
(pause)
Or does it even exist?
BOB
Heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla. Maybe
nothing. Whatever, I figure
someone’s gonna be really surprised.
SAM
(quietly)
I hope there is.
(sighing)
I think I’d like Heaven.

She slumps back in her seat, lost in thought. Eddie stares
blankly at the back of Bob’s head. Chen gathers the cards,
starts to shuffle, stops. Earth is closer. Chen stares
somberly at the cards in his hands.
CHEN
We should have started decel by now.
EDDIE
Looks like it.
BOB
Bow thrusters may be gone.
CHEN
We can’t slow down?
BOB
Or stop. So yeah. We’re fucked, if
that’s what you’re thinking.
SAM
There’s gotta be something we can
do. Something we haven’t thought of? We
can’t get this close and die!
CHEN
Maybe we’ll miss. Just pass real
close?
BOB
Yeah. Maybe. But I wouldn’t count on it.
EDDIE
Even if we did, then what?
(gesturing)
One side, we could hit the Moon.
Other side? Gravity slingshots us
around and we could still hit the Moon.
(pause)
That’s if we don’t hit a station
first. Three scenarios. None of
them good. We die.
BOB
A butcher’s bill no matter what.
Four or …
(gesturing toward Earth)
… four billion. Give or take.
SAM
I don’t like any of the choices.
CHEN
What about self-destruct. If we’re
gonna die anyway.
BOB
Computerized. And the manual
control’s in …
CHEN
… engineering. Yeah. Figures.
Another masterpiece of design.
EDDIE
Only other chance I can see is they
get someone out to us. Take us off,
blow the ship.
(pause)
Shoulda spotted us by now.
SAM
So why haven’t they? Not much left
of us, but we aren’t invisible.

They’re all quiet. Somber. Lost in thought.
BOB
Orion to Greeley. Do you read?

EXT. SPACE
In the darkness, a floodlight shines over the wreckage. It
moves slowly forward.

INT. ORION COMMAND DECK – CONTINUOUS
No one has moved. Chen gathers up his cards.
CHEN
Anybody hungry?
BOB
Nah! Orion to Greeley. Come in,
Greeley.
EDDIE
Me either. Can’t remember the last
time I was.
CHEN
Yeah. Just a thought. Rations
aren’t exactly memorable.
(pause)
Funny, though. I can’t remember
what a steak tastes like. I always
loved a good steak. Medium rare,
inch thick or so, big baked potato.
That’s what I want when we get
back. Refresh my taste buds.
EDDIE
I could go for a cold beer. And a
pizza from that little place on
43rd. Moretti’s. But you’re right,
I can’t remember what they taste
like, either. Been out here too
long.
SAM
I’d like a cigar.
EDDIE
(scoff)
You don’t smoke.

SAM
Still want one. I just like the way
the tobacco smells. Reminds me of
my dad. Didn’t say I wanted to
inhale that shit.
EDDIE
What about you, Bob?
BOB
Orion to Greeley. Blackened redfish
on a big pile of dirty rice, side
of gumbo. Courville’s in the
Quarter. Sometimes, I think I can
just about smell it all.
SAM
Weird, isn’t it? I mean, like none
of us can remember the last time we
ate? I can’t even remember the last
time I pissed.
CHEN
Well that’s not exactly something I
keep track of myself.
SAM
No. I guess not. Still, it’s weird.

An audible metallic clang. The crew jolts up and looks toward
the airlock. Another loud clang. Scraping.

TO BE CONTINUED

About the Author garethdeputron

Creator in the world of SCOW

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s