(It's evening. People are getting out of cars and walking into a modern two-storey building.)
(Camera pans up and over to roof. We see two figures running along a flat part of the roof. It's BYERS and FROHIKE. They stop and lift off the cover of a ventilation duct.)
(Cut to security monitors showing people standing and walking in a large hall. Pan back to show security guards at the monitors as more people walk into the hall.)
WOMAN (VO): Ladies and gentlemen. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.
(Cut to the WOMAN speaking to the crowd.)
WOMAN: On behalf of our 14,000 employees, I am pleased to say "Welcome to E-Com-Con". The most technically advanced yet socially conscious company on the Fortune 500.
VOICE OFF: Yeah! Right!
(People start looking round to see who it is.)
WOMAN: In this state-of-the-art research and development centre, we are taking the next step in computer processor evolution and we're creating a new age of innovation and customer service.
(We see a large plasma screen in the background showing a revolving animation of the processor.)
VOICE OFF: But a new age of invading your customers' privacy!
(People looking round again for the mystery person.)
WOMAN: Sir, are you sure you're on the right tour?
LANGLY: Yeah. (He puts an empty glass on a waiter's tray.) Why don't you tell us about that Octium IV chip you're developing. (He's picked up a kebab from the waiter's tray.)
WOMAN: Well, ah. The, um, Octium IV is our latest high speed processor. It's capable of 6.8 gigaflops, that's nearly 7 billion calculations per second.
(Camera has switched to LANGLY while she's speaking.)
LANGLY: I mean, tell us the truth. How the Octium is secretly designed to keep tabs on the users.
(Cut to a laptop. Pan up to FROHIKE suspended in a harness. BYERS is operating the laptop. Think Mission Impossible I.)
FROHIKE: Patriot One to Patriot Two. We're in position.
(Cut to LANGLY.)
LANGLY: It's got a tiny little modem embedded in each processor, see? So they can upload your files onto the internet and your credit history and your tax bracket and your social security number. All neatly packaged for these robber barons.
WOMAN: Sir, I don't know that this is the proper forum -
LANGLY: And another thing!
FROHIKE: (In LANGLY's ear) Patriot Two.
(LANGLY stops talking.)
FROHIKE: Patriot Two. In position. Shut up, already,
(Camera focusses on device in LANGLY's ear. Camera pulls back and LANGLY looks at the kebab.)
LANGLY: Uh. Is there peanuts in this?
(LANGLY faints - very quickly. People crowd around him. Security guards rush into the hall (and away from the monitors).)
(Camera pans to monitors and focusses on one where we see FROHIKE being lowered in the harness from the ceiling of a room which is mostly empty except for table in the middle.)
(Cut to a view in the room upwards watching FROHIKE descend.)
FROHIKE: Oh yeah. Who's your Daddy.
(Camera focuses on the Octium chip on the desk.)
(Cut to hall where first-aid attempts are being made on the convulsing LANGLY.)
MAN: We have a man having a severe allergic reaction here, over.
(Cut to security monitors showing FROHIKE. Pan up to someone watching the monitors - glasses, short hair, beard.)
(Camera alternates between FROHIKE and BYERS.)
(Just as FROHIKE lifts out the chip, an alert comes up on BYERS' laptop.)
NETWORK LOG-IN. REMOTE USER LOGGED ON.
(Other alerts appear.)
ALERT: DELETING PREFS
ALERT: LOADING NEW PREFS
BYERS: Um. Frohike? Hang on tight.
(The winch starts to haul FROHIKE upward. Hew spins over backwards in his harness.)
BYERS: I don't have winch control. Our software's been hijacked.
(FROHIKE descends again.)
(LANGLY, still on the floor convulsing, jerks his had back and camera cuts to his upside-down view of the bearded person by the security monitors.)
(LANGLY spits out the pen and starts to sit up.)
MAN: Take it easy. Help's on the way.
(One of the other men sees and removes the listening device from LANGLY's ear.)
MAN: What the hell is this?
(Cut to outside the room FROHIKE is in. We see through the glass doors as FROHIKE is winched up again, and then down again. We see from FROHIKE's upside-down view a person approaching the doors. As the person walks in an alarm starts sounding. Again from FROHIKE's upside-down view we see the person - the same bearded person as before.)
(Cut to FROHIKE, still upside-down. The bearded person moves in and gives FROHIKE a full-on-the-lips kiss.)
(Cut to BYERS looking puzzled.)
(Cut back to the liplock. The bearded person pulls away.)
FROHIKE: You -
(The bearded person takes the Octium chip.)
(The bearded person pushes FROHIKE so he flips over and over in the harness, then leaves and walks down the corridor. Security men and LANGLY appear from a side corridor, walking towards the room FROHIKE is in.)
LANGLY: You're making a big mistake. That was a hearing aid!
(The bearded person goes into the Men's Restroom.)
(Cut back to FROHIKE still suspended as the security men and LANGLY enter. One man goes over to the table, sees the chip is gone.)
MAN: (to FROHIKE) Where's the chip.
(FROHIKE just looks miserable. The man looks up and sees BYERS.)
MAN: (Looking at FROHIKE) Full body cavity search.
(FROHIKE looks more miserable. Then the winch drops him onto the floor.)
(The door to the Men's Restroom opens and out walks a very attractive young woman with long black hair and wearing a skimpy figure-hugging black dress. She looks over at the security men dragging LANGLY out of the room.)
LANGLY: Honest to god, we don't have it!
(The woman walks off, pauses at a litter bin and deposits what looks like a false beard and wig in it. She walks off along the corridor.)
THE PILOT EPISODE DID NOT HAVE OPENING CREDITS
(View of a security monitor recording LANGLY and BYERS walking down steps to their office door.)
(Camera pans to inside of door. There is much unlocking of locks. The door opens and LANGLY, BYERS and FROHIKE enter.)
LANGLY: ... what we won't do for the constitution.
FROHIKE: Yeah, like having a, role of tape shoved up our kazoo's, least it feels like that.
(LANGLY locks the door behind them.)
LANGLY: We're not gonna let this injustice stand. We're gonna stop these corporate goons from doing to the American people what they did to us last night!
BYERS: Yeah, right.
FROHIKE: What's the matter, Byers?
BYERS: The matter is that we don't have the proof. Without proof we're nothing more than conspiracy nutters. Without proof all we can do is cry wolf.
LANGLY: Don't take it personally, man. They strip searched all of us.
(During this conversation, FROHIKE is wandering around, searching for something.)
BYERS: Eleven years we've been putting out this paper. Think about it. Have we really made a difference? Is America a better place to live because of our efforts? This story would have garnered national attention. It would have forced E-Com-Con to halt the production of the Octium chip, it would have protected the civil liberties of millions of Americans. But without proof?
LANGLY: Well, we could still speculate, can't we? We'll call it editorial commentary.
BYERS: For whom? Last week's issue had a circulation of two thousand, eight hundred and twenty-four. We're preaching to the converted.
LANGLY: The readership doesn't matter, man, it's the impact on the black ops that counts. They read it too, the guys at the NSA and the CIA. They tremble every time we put out one of these babies.
(LANGLY is holding up a copy of The Lone Gunman - headline: "TELETUBBIES - MINDCONTROL".)
BYERS: You think the people at E-Com-Con trembling?
FROHIKE: They will if we get that chip back.
BYERS: Like that's gonna happen.
LANGLY: E-Com-Con's already got the Justice Department searching for the dude that snaked it from us.
FROHIKE: Only they're looking for a "he".
BYERS: Are you sure that man with the beard was Yves Adele Harlow?
FROHIKE: Trust me. No guy kisses like that. (Pause) I mean, er ...
LANGLY: I hear Harlow's a black hat. Real heavy lifter. Industrial espionage, strictly for profit.
BYERS: She's probably already sold the chip to the highest bidder, the Malaysians or the Japanese.
LANGLY: It sucks! We stole it!
(Looks over at FROHIKE who is still searching.)
LANGLY: What the hell you doing?
FROHIKE: Our operation was piggy-backed. There's only one way Harlow could know our plans.
BYERS: You believe she breached our security?
(FROHIKE points a device at a shelf and it emits a squeal sound. LANGLY goes over and FROHIKE picks up and shows BYERS a small listening device. LANGLY snatches and shouts into it.)
LANGLY: Testing. One, two, three, you bitch!
(He throws it into a glass of liquid.)
LANGLY: That's twice today I've been violated! That's it, man. Total war. Salt the earth.
(An old telephone rings. BYERS goes over and picks it up.)
BYERS: Lone Gunman Newspaper Group, Byers speaking.
(Camera pans in closer to BYERS' face.)
BYERS: Yes. I'm his son.
(Day. Cemetery. A group of people are standing around a grave in the distance. A man, RAY HELM, is eulogising on BYERS' father.)
HELM: Bertram R Byers. The R stood for Roosevelt. Which is a name fit for a true believer if ever I heard one. A true believer - that was Bert. Thirty-odd years that I was lucky enough to call him a friend. He never lost his faith in the government, a mighty power to do good. His muscular Christianity -
(The camera pans and we see FROHIKE and LANGLY in the congregation standing with BYERS.)
FROHIKE: (an aside to LANGLY) There's enough brass here to make a spittoon.
HELM: As a civilian employee of the Air Force, Bert jokingly described himself as a plodding Bureaucrat. But he never lost his love for aerospace, his chosen profession, his true love -
(His voice fades as the camera pans over LANGLY and FROHIKE. Somebody standing on the edge of the group catches LANGLY's attention. He's sure it is the bearded individual from the E-Com Con event.)
HELM: Which is why today, in accordance with his wishes, we commend his ashes to that bold frontier that he loved so well.
(Pan to BYERS.)
HELM: Godspeed, Bert.
(The Priest makes his way over to BYERS.)
PRIEST: Would you do the honours?
(The Priest hands BYERS a small black box. BYERS sighs.)
BYERS: Five -
(The mourners start moving away, revealing a small rocket, maybe 2 feet high.)
BYERS: - four, three, two, one -
(The mourners are standing well back now, away from the rocket.)
(He presses the button. The rocket fires and takes off. BYERS watches it ascend. At the top of its trajectory it explodes with a soft sound.)
(Later, LANGLY and FROHIKE are walking through the cemetery.)
LANGLY: So you never met him?
FROHIKE: Byers and his old man haven't spoken since 1989.
LANGLY: The year we started publishing.
FROHIKE: The year Byers threw away a government pension to hang out with a couple of low-life hippie scums. At least, so his old man thought.
(LANGLY is looking over FROHIKE's head at something ahead of him.)
LANGLY: FROHIKE, 12 o'clock.
FROHIKE: (Checking his watch) What?
LANGLY: One spying, chip-stealing little crossdresser.
(LANGLY runs up to a someone sporting a short beard, walking away from the service. He grabs him, turns him around and tries to pull the beard off.)
BEARDED MAN: Owww!
BEARDED MAN: What are you doing?
LANGLY: You got (touching his own face) soup.
(The man walks off, turning back to look quizzically at LANGLY.)
(LANGLY sighs and walks back to FROHIKE.)
FROHIKE: Next time leave the crack pipe at home.
(BYERS joins them.)
FROHIKE: Hey, buddy? Nice service. Looks like your old man had a lot of friends in high places.
LANGLY: Yeah. Maybe we could plant bugs on a couple of them.
(FROHIKE looks at LANGLY.)
LANGLY: Or - maybe now's not the time.
BYERS: I'm about ready to get out of here.
(RAY HELM walks over towards BYERS.)
HELM: John! We met once years ago.
(BYERS and the man shake hands.)
HELM: I'm Ray Helm. I worked with your father.
BYERS: Mr. Helm. Your eulogy was very nice. Thank you.
HELM: I meant every word of it. I was hoping you and I could about him. I realised you hadn't seen each other in some time ...
BYERS: I'm just not sure what there is to talk about.
HELM: We could talk about how he died.
BYERS: According to the police his car ran off the road.
HELM: Like I said, we could talk about that.
(Behind BYERS, FROHIKE and LANGLY exchange a look.)
(The LONE GUNMEN and RAY HELM are standing under a very long road bridge in the middle of a wide open area.)
HELM: It happened here. The police ruled it a single car accident. There were no witnesses to it but based on the lack of skid marks. (HELM pauses) Their explanation was that your father fell asleep at the wheel and ran off the road.
LANGLY: But you don't believe that.
BYERS: You're not (pause) saying my father killed himself.
HELM: I'm saying he was murdered.
(Cut to inside a car, at night. We see hands on the driving wheel. Camera pans over to show the driver's face. A man, probably in his sixties.)
HELM (VO): I don't know where Bert was headed. I don't know that it mattered. Just so he was driving along a lonely stretch of road. A perfect place for an ambush.
(We see through the back window the headlights of another car approaching. That car draws level and the driver fires a gun. Within the car we see the driver's window shatter.)
(Cut to outside the car. It goes off the road, hits the bridge support and bursts into flames.)
(Cut back to BYERS.)
BYERS: What proof do you have?
HELM: Absolutely none.
(FROHIKE and LANGLY exchange glances.)
HELM: Which is exactly the way these people manage things. People your father and I worked for.
(Helm nods. BYERS by now is clearly upset.)
BYERS: Why? Why my father? He was a company man.
HELM: He was a good man. He had a conscience. Sometimes that's a problem in our line of work.
BYERS: Meaning what?
HELM: Last time I spoke to him he was upset about something he'd found out. He wouldn't tell me what.
(FROHIKE comes up.)
FROHIKE: Hold up. Something's - something's funky here. You're telling us the government is behind this?
LANGLY: (To HELM) You're the government.
HELM: If you're anything like your father I knew you'd want to know.
(Night. The Lone Gunmen's VW drives up. Inside, the residence is in a good decor, lots of wood and blinds. BYERS is looking at a document.)
FROHIKE: Hey, Byers? You sure you really want to do this?
LANGLY: Besides that government guy said there wouldn't be any proof your Dad was murdered.
(BYERS slowly walks over to a table and picks up a framed photograph.)
BYERS: If he was murdered there'd have to be a reason for it. Mr. Helm said maybe he knew something.
(BYERS is upset but then rallies.)
BYERS: I want to see what's on his PC.
(He walks off and LANGLY and FROHIKE follow. FROHIKE slips on the spot, falling towards the carpet.)
(He falls on his back with a loud thump.)
FROHIKE: Son of a bitch!
(He sits up and then looks at his fingers.)
FROHIKE: Hey, this carpet's wet. Like it's been cleaned.
BYERS: (To FROHIKE) Check it out.
(LANGLY is sitting at the computer. We see the lines of text on the monitor.)
LANGLY: Well, the good news is there's no annoying passwords to crack.
BYERS: Well, what's the bad news?
LANGLY: There's no nothing else either, only an operating system. Someone cleaned house. Erased everything and defragged this puppy.
BYERS: Try a sector editor. See if you can find any recently deleted files.
LANGLY: B-I-N-G-O. Delete commands up the wazoo.
(The monitor is now showing a screen showing a hexadecimal and text contents of a file, deleted from the disk.)
BYERS: Hey, wait, what about this one.
(BYERS points to some text on the screen.)
LANGLY: Looks like a DOD file. Scenario 12-D.
(The screen shows a partial filename "...oad\gov_docs\scenario_12-D"
LANGLY: Text file.
(Cut to FROHIKE back in the lounge in the dark. He's dressed in white coveralls, and is inching his way across the carpet on his knees, waving a ultraviolet light wand over the carpet which he is spraying with a liquid as he goes. Suddenly the light picks up an area of carpet which glows faintly green.)
FROHIKE: What the -
(He sprays it with the liquid and the glow intensifies.)
FROHIKE: Hey, Byers! Langly!
(BYERS and LANGLY hear his shouts.)
FROHIKE: Come look at this!
(BYERS and LANGLY enter the lounge. FROHIKE hands the light wand to BYERS.)
FROHIKE: Take a look at this.
(BYERS waves the light wand over the area of carpet.)
FROHIKE: That's blood. And a lot of it.
(BYERS is looking down at the carpet in disbelief.)
LANGLY: I thought your old man died in a car crash.
BYERS: (Theorising) My father was dead long before the crash.
(He exchanges a look with FROHIKE and LANGLY.)
BYERS: He was murdered here.
(Fade to black.)
(A red VW Beetle is being crushed in a breaker's yard.)
YARD WORKER: BYERS, Bertram. Blue 92 Caprice.
(The Yard Worker is walking while looking at papers on a clipboard. BYERS and FROHIKE are following him.)
YARD WORKER: Yeah. We got it.
FROHIKE: I don't get it. You're saying somebody popped your father in his living room, then loaded him into his car, then faked a car crash two miles away. Now, that's a hell of a trick. A dead man driving a car?
BYERS: They managed it somehow. There's got to be evidence in the car that the fire didn't destroy.
YARD WORKER: You're Bertram Byers?
BYERS: Uh. Yeah.
YARD WORKER: Date of birth January 1934.
(BYERS looks at FROHIKE. FROHIKE looks at the Yard Worker.)
YARD WORKER: It's over yonder.
(BYERS and FROHIKE look over and see a machine about to lift a car into the crusher.)
FROHIKE: (Worried) That yonder?
(They run frantically towards the machine, shouting: Hey! Wait! Stop! Shut it down!)
(As they run, FROHIKE slips and falls face down into the mud.)
BYERS: Shut it down!
(FROHIKE picks himself up. He's covered in mud from head to foot.)
(They stare resignedly as the machine lowers the car into the crusher.)
YARD WORKER: Hey! Your car's over here.
(FROHIKE and BYERS turn around.)
YARD WORKER: This yonder! This one's your Caprice.
(The camera pans over a barely recognisable blue car. It's been crushed into a steel cube.)
YARD WORKER: Hope you didn't leave nothing in the glove box.
(A corridor in a building. Men come out of open doors into the corridor pointing guns. A hand appears in front of the camera holding a gun. Shots are fired. As each man in the corridor is hit, he disappears. It's a computer simulation.)
(LANGLY, complete with ear protection, steps in front of the shooter.)
LANGLY: Nice shooting. Have you seen Kimmy?
(Shooter, wearing camouflage, points his gun at the ceiling and, exasperated, points to his left. LANGLY walks off.)
(As the camera pans across we see that it is a firing range, with several shooters.)
KIMMY: You want some? You try my smorgasbord.
(The camera shows what Kimmy is looking at - it's a battle scene in woods with several warriors running forwards, they're carrying swords and shields. Again, they disappear when shot.)
(LANGLY taps Kimmy's shoulder. Kimmy whirls round in surprise.)
KIMMY: Hey! Never touch a man with a gun in his hand.
LANGLY: Shooting Vikings now? That's not very sporting.
KIMMY: What do you want, Langly? I'm locked and loaded here.
LANGLY: I need some help circumventing DoD's online security codes.
KIMMY: DOD? What for?
(LANGLY says nothing.)
KIMMY: Go put your daisy into somebody else's rifle, hippie. I gotta put some serious lead downrange.
LANGLY: I'm talking about government sanctioned murder, here.
KIMMY: What is this? Another one of your whacko conspiracy theories? Like "who shot JR?"
KIMMY: Whatever. My point being, you're wasting your life, man. A hacker of your calibre ought to be floating in a Silicon Valley hot tub, sipping champers and counting his IPO casho.
(There's the sound of rapid gunfire and both men look in that direction.)
(A woman dressed in black clothes with long hair is firing down the range using two guns.)
LANGLY: Hey chihuahua - who's that?
KIMMY: A fellow hacker. Her name's Yves Harlow.
(LANGLY goes over to the woman.)
LANGLY: I liked you better with the beard.
(She smiles. Kimmy has followed LANGLY.)
LANGLY: Where's our chip?
YVES: (In an English accent) Chip? What chip?
LANGLY: That Octium IV's rightfully ours. Give it the hell back.
KIMMY: You got an Octium IV?
YVES: And what did you three stooges plan to do with the chip? Give it to 60 Minutes? Expose the (makes quote signs) truth in your silly little rag?
LANGLY: The American people have the right to know.
YVES: If you pimply pencil-necks are the only hope for the American people, god help us all.
KIMMY: Come on, Langly. Let's go do some real hacking.
(The two guys walk off. Kimmy slaps LANGLY on his butt. LANGLY glares at him. Yves goes back to shooting.)
(Day. A dimly lit workshop. FROHIKE is working on the wrecked car. BYERS is watching.)
BYERS: Find anything?
FROHIKE: Yeah. A new meaning for the term "compact car". Talk about a needle in a haystack. If there is any evidence in this heap of junk, we're gonna be hard pressed to find it.
BYERS: We'll find it.
FROHIKE: Uh. And then what? Then you'll be happy?
BYERS: I'm not sure I understand the question.
FROHIKE: What's the best thing that could come out of this investigation, as far as you're concerned? You find out that your father was going to blow the whistle on the government. You find out (pause) they killed him for it.
(BYERS walks over to FROHIKE.)
BYERS: What's your point?
FROHIKE: Come on, Byers. We both know that you and your father didn't see eye to eye. You're hoping you'll find he was someone you could respect. But what if he wasn't?
(BYERS is silent. FROHIKE goes back to working on the car.)
BYERS: My father used to talk about JFK when I was a kid. Camelot, a government as good as its people, the American dream. (Sighs) I don't know when or why he stopped believing in it, but those stories made me who I am. Made me believe in the promise of our country.
FROHIKE: Truth, justice, and the American Way.
BYERS: Someone has to expose those who would destroy that dream. Someone has to write the stories they don't want you to read. That's why I teamed up with you guys. You're true believers.
FROHIKE: And I thought it was for the chick throw-off.
FROHIKE. Look. All I'm saying is I don't want you setting yourself up for a disappointment. I'm saying make peace with your father in another way.
(FROHIKE goes back to work on the car and pulls out a small metal object - a circuit board.)
BYERS: What is it?
(FROHIKE hands it over to BYERS.)
FROHIKE: A needle in a haystack.
(Office of The Lone Gunman. A computer monitor is showing a Department of Defence web page. Kimmy is at the keyboard.)
KIMMY: We're in. Piece of cake. My old granny could hack this site.
KIMMY: OK. Where to next?
LANGLY: OK. Products and logistics. N-no! Wait! Wait. Program analysis and evaluation. We're looking for any reference to something called scenario-12-d.
(Kimmy taps away.)
FROHIKE: (Off-screen) We got it!
(FROHIKE and BYERS walk between the shelving.)
FROHIKE: The proverbial smoking gun.
(He sees Kimmy.)
FROHIKE: Hey, Kimmy. Slumming?
LANGLY: He's helping me hack into the DOD mainframe.
KIMMY: I only said yes to keep blondie from getting his nads clipped.
LANGLY: We ran into Yves Adele Harlow at the shooting range. I didn't want to cause a scene. You know, your old man and all. So what you got?
BYERS: We found this in the engine compartment of my father's car.
(They look at the circuit board under a magnifying glass.)
BYERS: None of the circuits have a manufacturer's identifying numbers.
LANGLY: And this copper zigzag looks like an integrated antenna.
BYERS: Etched into the board like a cellphone. We're thinking -
FROHIKE: If this receives radio signals and was clipped to the car engine's control module ...
BYERS: ... The speed of the car could be remotely controlled.
FROHIKE: All you'd need is a hand-held radio controller to operate the car.
LANGLY: And make it look like a dead man was driving.
KIMMY: Yes! I am the king! Numero uno, baby. Mmmm mmmm.
(The Gunmen walk over to Kimmy.)
BYERS: Find something?
KIMMY: Yep. I wound up in some government think-tank's upload directory. Here's your scenarios, ladies.
BYERS: It's in clear. Counter-terrorism scenarios. War games developed for the Defence Department.
FROHIKE: What's Scenario 12-D?
(Kimmy clicks on the file. A dialog box on the screen opens.)
Domestic Airline In-Flight Terrorist Act
LANGLY: Airline terrorism? That doesn't make sense. Your father was murdered over a war game?
BYERS: Download it.
(Kimmy taps away. The screen shows:)
(Then an alert sounds and the screen shows.)
REMOTE ACCESS DETECTED
port:1080 offending IP:222.214.171.124
(DrWeesh points out that this is an invalid IP address! 8 bit IP numbers range from 0-255.)
KIMMY: Ix-nay on the download-day.
BYERS: What is it?
KIMMY: It's a bogey. We've been spotted.
(Another monitor elsewhere. We realise we are the DOD, monitoring the Lone Gunmen's hack attempt.)
DOD OPERATOR: Sir. We've got an intruder. I'm tracing ...
CUT BACK TO:
KIMMY: They're running some realtime intrusion detection. Somebody knows we're in. We should ditch.
BYERS: Keep downloading.
LANGLY: These guys are murderers, Byers. Give it some thought, man.
CUT BACK TO:
(DOD surveillance monitor shows a trace homing in to the DC area on a map.)
DOD OPERATOR: I've isolated their bitstream, DSL, DC metro ...
CUT BACK TO:
LANGLY: They've compromised our cookie.
(Another alert sounds. Kimmy pulls his hands away from the keyboard.)
BYERS: Stay with it.
KIMMY: They're scanning our services.
BYERS: We're almost there. Keep going.
DOD OPERATOR: On board. Scanning for vitals.
CUT BACK TO:
KIMMY: I'm failing. They're scanning our file system!
BYERS: We need that file.
DOD OPERATOR: Here we go. Address data file.
(Screen shows a file being downloaded.)
CUT BACK TO:
KIMMY: Oh my god. They found a data file. They're gonna get our address!
LANGLY: They'll be busting through our door!
BYERS: Keep downloading.
(Suddenly the monitor goes blank. The system powers down. BYERS looks round. FROHIKE has pulled the plug.)
BYERS: Frohike. We almost had it.
FROHIKE: We almost got our asses fried.
BYERS: My father died for that file.
FROHIKE: Exactly. Use your head.
DOD OPERATOR: Lost them. Sorry, sir.
(Camera pans to show the DOD Operator's boss. It's HELM.)
HELM: I know who they are.
(Fade to black.)
(Lone Gunman offices. BYERS is sat looking at the circuit board.)
LANGLY: What you say we call it a night, Byers?
FROHIKE: Oh, it's too late for that - the sun just came up. Come on, Byers. I'll buy you a Grand Slam.
BYERS: It just doesn't make sense.
LANGLY: What doesn't make sense?
BYERS: The blood in my father's house.
FROHIKE: Buddy, we've been through this. They shot him.
BYERS: Why? Why go to the trouble of faking a car accident so perfectly, so convincingly, when you're starting with a body that's got a hole in it.
LANGLY: Maybe your dad put up a fight.
BYERS: Maybe it wasn't his blood.
(LANGLY gives him a sharp look.)
(The crash scene under the bridge. The three walk over to the tracks in the ground from the car's tyres. As they are examining these, another car draws up, and drives straight over the tracks. The driver gets out - it's Helm.)
HELM: You found something.
(FROHIKE holds up the circuit board.)
(BYERS takes it from him.)
HELM: Of what?
BYERS: My father wasn't murdered.
LANGLY: But not for lack of trying.
HELM: I don't understand. Are you saying it was an accident?
BYERS: We're saying he's not dead.
(HELM looks shocked.)
BYERS: It starts with a blood stain we found in my father's house. We've had it tested - the blood wasn't his.
HELM: Whose was it?
BYERS: His would-be assassin. A professional sent to make his death look like an accident.
(Flashback to BYERS SNR.'s house. A curtain is drawn back and a man holding a silenced gun enters the room.)
BYERS (VO): The carpet in the living room had been freshly shampooed.
(The assassin is creeping up behind BYERS SNR who is sat down.)
BYERS (VO): We assumed it was to get rid of the blood evidence.
FROHIKE (VO): It was - the second time.
(Still in flashback. The assassin slowly approaches BYERS SNR who is watching television. BYERS SNR is clearly enjoying what he is watching, and the assassin approaches him from behind. Suddenly the assassin slips and falls with a grunt to the ground. There is a gunshot and a bright flash. BYERS SNR is startled and looks behind him.)
CUT BACK TO:
(Under the bridge with THE LONE GUNMEN and HELM.)
HELM: He shot himself?
(HELM seems somewhat unbelieving.)
HELM: Some professional.
LANGLY: Hey! Government contractor.
(Cut with flash effect to outside BYERS SNR's home. BYERS SNR leaves the house.)
BYERS (VO): In the aftermath Dad realised he was in danger. I imagine his first impulse was to run.
(Flashback. BYERS SNR goes to his car. As he gets in he discovers a device on the driver's seat. He picks it up - it's a remote control, with a joystick-type lever.
BYERS (VO): But then he started to piece together the larger plan.
(Flashback. BYERS SNR gets out of the car and raises the bonnet of the car. There's a circuit board with wires leading to various parts of the engine. BYERS SNR clicks a button on the remote control and the headlights light up.)
BYERS (VO): He found the remote control that the assassin attached to his car.
(BYERS SNR moves the joystick and the car reverses.)
BYERS (VO): Someone was going to great lengths to fake his death in a car accident.
(BYERS SNR continues to operate the joystick and the car moves towards him.)
BYERS (VO): To murder him without arousing suspicion.
(BYERS SNR reaches up to close the bonnet.)
BYERS (VO): So he came up with his own plan.
(Cut with flash effect to a seat belt being engaged to strap in the dead assassin.)
BYERS (VO): Dad knew whoever would go to such lengths would only stop if he were dead.
(BYERS SNR gets out of the car.)
BYERS (VO): So he made it look as though he was.
(BYERS SNR operates the remote control and the car drives off fast, hits the bridge support and burst into flames.)
CUT BACK TO:
(BYERS finishing his theory with HELM.)
HELM: What reason did they have to kill your father? What were they trying to hide?
BYERS: Something called Scenario 12-D.
HELM: We have to find Bert. He can tell us everything we need to know.
LANGLY: We don't know where he is. We've got to find what Scenario 12-D is.
FROHIKE: That's why we need your help. As a government monkey man.
LANGLY: We need your password to get beyond password security. What is it?
(HELM hesitates then decides.)
HELM: Whatever I can do to help.
BYERS: Good. (pauses) We'll catch up with you later.
(BYERS walks away.)
LANGLY: Why's he so bummed? His dad's alive.
FROHIKE: Yeah. But he may never see him again.
(BYERS SNR's living room. It's day but the curtains are drawn. BYERS enters. He goes over to a small bureau and pulls open a compartment. He then notices several magazines on one shelf. He pulls some out - they are all Lone Gunman newsletters. Headlines: "ATMs STEAL CASH", "SUPERMARKET BARCODES USED TO TRACK YOU". While he is looking as these, another man enters the room.)
BYERS SNR: John.
(We see it's BYERS SNR.)
(BYERS goes over to his father. He starts to smile. His father then slaps him across his face.)
BYERS SNR: What the hell are you doing? Why can't you stay out of this. Leave me buried.
BYERS: What is scenario 12-D?
(BYERS SNR doesn't respond.)
BYERS: We know it's a war game scenario. That it has to do with airline counter-terrorism. Why is it important enough to kill for.
BYERS SNR: Because it's no longer a game.
BYERS: But if some terrorist group wants to act out this scenario, then why target you for assassination?
BYERS SNR: Depends on who your terrorists are.
BYERS: The men who conceived of it the first place. You're saying our government is planning to commit a terrorist act against a domestic airline?
BYERS SNR: There you go again. Blaming the entire government as usual. In fact, a small faction ...
BYERS: For what possible gain?
BYERS SNR: The Cold War's over, John. But with no clear enemy to stockpile against, the arms market's flat. But bring down a fully loaded 727 into the middle of New York City and you'll find a dozen tinpot dictators all over the world just clamouring to take responsibility, and begging to be smart-bombed.
BYERS: I can't believe this. This is about increasing arms sales?
(BYERS SNR nods.)
BYERS SNR: Tonight.
BYERS: How are you going to stop them?
(BYERS SNR says nothing.)
BYERS: Why didn't you tell the world about this - go to the press?
BYERS SNR: You think I'd still be drawing breath 30 minutes after I made that call? The press - who's going to run this story?
BYERS: We would!
BYERS SNR: This?
(He goes over to the pile of Lone Gunman newsletters and picks one up.)
BYERS SNR: This is bird cage liner. Wild-eyed crap, up there with "Elvis is an Alien" and two-headed babies.
BYERS: You obviously read it.
BYERS SNR: Don't be so damned naive. This isn't going to save the world. (He sighs) I'm doing what I can, John. I don't have all the specifics on scenario 12-D, but I think I know the flight they've chosen. You stay out of it. I don't want Overlord gunning for you too.
(The Lone Gunmen offices. Someone is making a list of anagrams of "Yves Adele Harlow". It's FROHIKE. The door opens and he looks up as does LANGLY and Helm who are sitting at the computer. BYERS comes in.)
HELM: Feeling better?
LANGLY: We're on the job here, Byers. I think we're making some real headway.
FROHIKE: Hey, buddy. You OK?
BYERS: I just found my father.
BYERS: At his house. He's there now.
FROHIKE: What did he say?
BYERS: After he hit me? He told me to stay away from him, not to get involved.
HELM: I've got to get over there.
BYERS: Mr. Helm. Be careful. He doesn't trust you either. He thinks you were somehow involved in the attempt on his life.
(HELM nods and leaves.)
FROHIKE: What the hell are you doing?
LANGLY: What if he's involved. What if he used us to get to your father?
FROHIKE: You might have ratted out on your dad.
BYERS: That was their plan. Put the son in danger and you flush the father out of hiding. We had a couple of portable hydrocarbon-sniffers, where are they?
(FROHIKE and LANGLY look at each other.)
(BYERS starts looking around.)
(There's a knock on the door.)
BYERS: Somebody get that?
(FROHIKE goes over to the security monitor. There's a man standing outside.)
BYERS: Let him in before somebody sees him.
(FROHIKE opens the door. It's BYERS SNR. FROHIKE gestures him in.)
(BYERS SNR goes over to LANGLY and BYERS who is holding a couple of devices in his hands.)
LANGLY: Congrats on not being dead.
BYERS SNR: Oh, the day is young.
FROHIKE: BYERS, you want to clue us in?
(BYERS looks at his father.)
BYERS: We've got a plane to catch.
(He hands his father one of the devices.)
(Airport terminal. An tannoy is announcing departing flights. A monitor is displaying flight details.)
Departs 6:50 PM
(BYERS and his father walk across a crowded concourse towards departure gate 34. BYERS SNR hesitates. BYERS walks back to him.)
BYERS: Do you see anyone you recognise?
BYERS SNR: No. But that doesn't mean they're not around.
BYERS: OK. Let's board and check the cabin for free hydrocarbons. Try and pinpoint their bomb.
BYERS SNR: This is your plan? I still think we should call in a bomb threat and let the FBI deal with this.
BYERS: You said yourself we don't know the full extent of this conspiracy - we can't trust any government official. Our only hope is to get on that plane.
(BYERS walks off to the departure gate, his father follows him. The camera pulls and we see a man using a public telephone.)
MAN: They're boarding.
(HELM is talking on his mobile phone, standing in BYERS SNR living room.)
HELM: That's two problems solved.
(Fade to black.)
(Night. An aircraft is flying through the sky. Ahead can be seen the many lights of a City.)
(Inside the aircraft. BYERS is using the hydrocarbon sniffer in what appears to be the galley. He goes back into the passenger cabin and sits down next to his father.)
BYERS: Find anything?
BYERS SNR: Well the luggage hold's clear if this thing can be trusted. What did you do - make with your Erectorset?
BYERS: Are you absolutely sure this is the targeted flight?
BYERS SNR: This flight was chosen primarily for its visibility. It's schedule to pass over Manhattan on its way to Boston.
BYERS: You said they intend to bring this down in the middle of New York City?
BYERS SNR: Shush!
BYERS: What if there is no bomb.
BYERS SNR: Well, how they going to bring it down?
BYERS: The same way a dead man can drive a car.
(BYERS SNR looks astounded. BYERS gets out of his seat.)
(The Lone Gunmen offices. FROHIKE and LANGLY are both listening on the phone to BYERS, calling from the plane.)
FROHIKE AND LANGLY: What do you mean, no bomb?
BYERS (VO): Langly, I need you to hack into the airline's onboard navigation system. (LANGLY rushes over to the computer.) We need to know where we're headed.
FROHIKE: OK. Going to headsets.
FROHIKE: I'll clone the airphone's carrier. Make them think we're sending a ground-to-air fax.
LANGLY: That's one twisted star 69.
FROHIKE: Uh, just get ready ride the wave, hippie boy.
LANGLY: Just get me on that plane and I'll get you auto-pilot access.
FROHIKE: How are you going to do that?
LANGLY: Airline telemetry systems use processors similar to those found in CB radios.
FROHIKE: I'm in. We've got ourselves a convoy.
(BYERS and his father on the airplane's phone.)
BYERS: What's your progress.
LANGLY (VO): I've hacked into the flight control system output.
CUT BACK TO:
(LANGLY and FROHIKE are in front of their computer. They are running some systems monitoring software.)
FROHIKE: With a little bit of help.
LANGLY: It's what the brains of the plane is telling the little black box.
FROHIKE: Course, heading, attitude, hold, yaw, axis, stabilisation (pauses) what? (points at screen) what the heck's that?
LANGLY: Is that what it looks like?
FROHIKE: I think it is what it looks like.
(On the plane with BYERS.)
BYERS: What does "what" look like?
LANGLY: Modem protocol. Remote access. Somebody on the ground's flying your plane.
(DOD monitoring station. The DOD operator we saw earlier is monitoring the Lone Gunmen's progress. Helm is with him.)
DOD OPERATOR: Bogey, sir.
HELM: Keep your course.
CUT BACK TO:
(Onboard the aircraft.)
BYERS: We need to know our flightplan.
CUT BACK TO:
(LANGLY and FROHIKE are checking the flight data.)
FROHIKE: I'm mapping the data now.
(The monitor changes to show a map. The map increases in detail and a line showing the flightplan is superimposed on it. The line stops at a point on the map and the target building is highlighted. FROHIKE and LANGLY look at each other.)
LANGLY: Byers. Your flight's going to make an unscheduled stop. In exactly 22 minutes.
(Cut to FROHIKE and LANGLY.)
FROHIKE: Corner of Liberty and Washington, Lower Manhattan.
(Onboard the aircraft. BYERS and BYERS SNR are trying to keep their voices low.)
BYERS: World Trade Center. (He turns to his father) They're going to crash it into the World Trade Center.
BYERS SNR: I'll tell the flight crew.
(The Lone Gunmen offices. LANGLY is frantically working at the console.)
BYERS (VO): Langly, can you override the flight control system?
LANGLY: Working on it.
CUT BACK TO:
(The aircraft flight deck. BYERS SNR enters. The pilot turns to him)
PILOT: What is this?
(The navigator tries to stop BYERS SNR.)
BYERS SNR: My name is Bert Byers. (He shows them his ID) I work for the government. I believe this plane has been commandeered.
PILOT: Sir, passengers are not allowed in the cockpit. I need you to return to your seat now.
BYERS SNR: You don't have control of this plane and I don't know what we can do to get it back. Turn off your auto-pilot. There may be a chance we can override it.
PILOT: Sir, I'll be happy to contact your superiors in the government -
(BYERS SNR rushes to the flight controls.)
PILOT: Sir! Dammit!
(The navigator hauls BYERS SNR back. The Co-Pilot has grabbed the control stick.)
CO-PILOT: He's right!
(Cut to monitor in Lone Gunmen offices. The screen shows: "ALERT: SYSTEM OVERLOAD. Flushing C- Please wait".)
LANGLY: Dammit! Frozen again. (Exasperated) They've encrypted the manual override commands.
FROHIKE: Well, decrypt them then.
LANGLY: I don't have enough power ...
(We cut between BYERS and the Lone Gunmen offices.)
LANGLY (VO): ... my CPUs are pegged.
BYERS: Langly, what's happening?
LANGLY: I'll try decrypting in background mode.
BYERS: How long will that take?
LANGLY: On my calcs per sec? I estimate (pause) seven to ten days.
BYERS: Oh. Needless to say!
LANGLY: Our asses are fried.
(FROHIKE takes off his headset.)
LANGLY: Where you going?
FROHIKE: To unfry us.
(LANGLY continues working on the computer, which freezes again.)
(The firing range. Yves is there dressed in black, wearing ear-protectors and firing down the range.)
FROHIKE: I need that chip, Yves.
YVES: Melvin. I knew you'd come begging sooner or later.
FROHIKE: (Seriously) Lay off the Melvin crap. I need some serious gigaflops and I need them now.
YVES: Well I hear some guy with a beard took that chip.
FROHIKE: Those were a woman's lips I kissed.
YVES: Like you ever kissed a girl before.
FROHIKE: I don't have time for this.
(Yves loads and locks a gun.)
YVES: You going to take it away from me?
FROHIKE: Give us the chip, Yves, or you'll be sacrificing the lives of hundreds of people including Byers and his father.
YVES: I'm crying.
FROHIKE: Yeah, you're one real tough cookie. How much you going to enjoy spending the millions you'll make selling that chip when you realise it's been paid for in blood.
YVES: I guess you don't know me.
FROHIKE: Well, maybe I do (pause) Lee Harvey Oswald.
(Yves looks at him.)
FROHIKE: Your name, Yves Adele Harlow is an anagram of Lee Harvey Oswald. Some joke. I know who you really are, sugar. And I can tell the world in my (makes quote signs) silly little rag.
(Fade to black.)
(Night. We are flying over the New York City area high above the ground - we see skyscrapers below. Many lights and bright windows below us on the ground.)
(Aircraft flight deck.)
PILOT: All right, try cutting electrical power.
BYERS SNR: They've thought of that. They've thought of everything.
(The Pilot flips a switch, turning on the tannoy in the passenger compartment.)
PILOT: Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are experiencing some, uh, technical difficulties up here. At this time we would like you all to return to your seats.
BYERS SNR: And kiss your asses goodbye.
(View through aircraft front window towards the twin towers.)
(Cut to BYERS.)
BYERS: Langly, we're getting close.
(Cut to LANGLY.)
LANGLY: I know. I know.
(Computer freezes again.)
(Cut to view from aircraft again. The City lights are getting brighter.)
PILOT: New York Center? This is Atlantic National flight 265 heavy. We are declaring an emergency. We have 110 souls on board, 16,000 pounds of fuel, and no dangerous goods or cargo to report.
(Cut to LANGLY hitting the desk in frustration again.)
LANGLY: Come on, Frohike.
(Cut to aircraft cabin. BYERS SNR and BYERS still on the phone)
BYERS SNR: Your friends have failed, haven't they?
BYERS: There's still hope.
BYERS SNR: I hope my next funeral is as nice as my last one.
(A shot of the aircraft from above then from underneath showing the Twin Towers getting closer. Then BYERS. Then the pilot. Then view through flight deck window. Then LANGLY with his head in his hands.)
(LANGLY's computer beeps. The message on screen reads: "ALERT: REMOTE ACCESS DETECTED. Port: 1080 offending IP: 2126.96.36.199")
(Then another message: "Manual Override Unlocked")
LANGLY: Oh. B - I - N - G - O.
(He types. The screen now shows: "Octium Inside! Octium IV". This is an obvious rip-off of the Intel Inside campaign.)
(We cut to FROHIKE and YVES who are typing away on a laptop.)
(We then cut to view of the Twin Towers approaching quickly, then to flight deck. There's a beep and a green light shows on the control panel.)
CO-PILOT: We've got manual override!
(Scene of aircraft rapidly gaining altitude. Passengers and belongings tumble to the cabin floor. Long scene of aircraft flying up and eventually over the top of the buildings.)
(Cut to airport. Screen shows Flight 256 as cancelled. BYERS and his father along with others are disembarking.)
BYERS: If we can't get the FBI we'll go public. With your testimony, we can break this conspiracy wide open. Bring Overlord down. The whole operation.
(BYERS realises his father has lagged behind him. He turns to face his father.)
BYERS: Dad. What is it?
BYERS SNR: God, I see myself in you. The same youthful enthusiasm, idealism. (Pause) I was so angry at you for so long because I didn't want you to waste your life tilting at windmills. But I can see now, you've got something I never had. (Beat) You're a brave man, John.
BYERS: (Realising what his father is saying) You're not going to testify. You're going to let them cover this up.
BYERS SNR: They almost killed me twice. They won't fail a third time. My silence will keep me alive. (he puts his hand on BYERS' shoulder) And you. I know you and your friends are fighting for the American dream. (Pause) Just don't expect to win.
(BYERS SNR walks away).
(The Offices of The Lone Gunman. A monitor is showing the latest copy of The Lone Gunman, the headline reads "Terrorist Attack Narrowly Averted".)
LANGLY: So, we go with this, then?
BYERS: We can't do it. We don't have the proof.
LANGLY: Then we don't have a lead story for this week's issue.
FROHIKE: Yeah, we do.
(FROHIKE starts typing. Screen show headline changed to "Octium IV Chip Invades Privacy".)
BYERS: Well, we certainly don't have proof of that.
LANGLY: You're pistol-packing, bearded lady has it, remember?
FROHIKE: Yeah? Well, turnabout's fair play.
(FROHIKE holds up the chip.)
LANGLY: How the hell did you get that?
FROHIKE: Hey! (Grinning) Once you've had a little taste of Frohike ...
(BYERS and LANGLY look sceptical.)
FROHIKE: OK. I grabbed it and ran.
BYERS: Well, we've got a story to write.
(They all gather round the computer as BYERS starts typing. The camera pans back. Fade to black.)