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Photosphere

Authors: Edward St. Boniface
Characters: Victor Bergman
Show Year: Y1
Rating: PG
Date: 1999
The Moon exits a nebula and finds itself hurtling towards a red dwarf star. Only Professor Bergman seems unconcerned...
Average Rating: 5.0/5 (based on 2 reviews)

TEASER:
Ext, Moonbase Alpha
THE HORIZON AND SKY ARE OBSCURED BY AN EERIE, SWIRLING DUST CLOUD.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission (Night)

MAIN MISSION IS ON NIGHT-STAFFING; ALMOST EMPTY. KOENIG, LOOKING TIRED AND IRRITABLE, STARES AT THE MAIN SCREEN. ON IT IS THE EERIE DUST-CLOUD OBSCURING THE SPACE ABOVE ALPHA. SANDRA BENES IS TENDING HER CONSOLE. SHE IS ALSO TIRED. KOENIG RUNS HIS HANDS THROUGH HIS HAIR AND STALKS AROUND MAIN MISSION LIKE A CORNERED ANIMAL.

KOENIG:
Still no break in the space-cloud?

SANDRA:
No, Commander: there is a slight ambient temperature and gravimetric increase, but no perceptible thinning. We may be approaching the centre now; which would account for the heat and gravity rises.

KOENIG COMES UP BEHIND SANDRA, LOOKING ANGRILY AT THE SWIRLING SCREEN.

KOENIG:
Damn it; we've been wandering through this nebula for three weeks now! Any idea what's in front of us?

SANDRA:
All instruments are still unreliable, Commander. The heat is too diffuse to be a hazard. But the dust is charged with so much static electricity and radiation anomalies that nothing registers. We are still blind.

KOENIG SLAPS HIS HAND DOWN ON A PANEL IRRITABLY AND SANDRA FLINCHES SLIGHTLY, LOOKING HARASSED. KOENIG DOES NOT NOTICE SANDRA'S REACTION; HE TAKES OUT HIS COMLOCK AND OPENS THE DOORS TO HIS PRIVATE OFFICE AND STALKS UP THE STAIRS TOWARD IT.

KOENIG:
Well, let me know if anything turns up...anything at all.

SANDRA NODS AND THE DOORS SHUT BEHIND KOENIG. SANDRA STARES UP AT THE SWIRLING SCREEN AND SIGHS WITH BOREDOM.

CUT TO:
Int, Victor Bergman's Quarters (Night)
VICTOR CANNOT SLEEP AND TOSSES FITFULLY. A STRANGE NOISE LIKE A VERY POWERFUL AND RESONANT BUT ALSO VERY DISTANT VOICE SEEMS TO ASSAIL HIM. WE ARE NOT SURE IF HE IS DREAMING OR ACTUALLY HEARING THE NOISE, WHICH GROWS PROGRESSIVELY LOUDER UNTIL IT IS A TERRIFIC ROAR IN THE CONFINED SPACE. IT SEEMS TO ECHO REPEATEDLY AND VICTOR BECOMES MORE AGITATED. AS HE FLOPS ABOUT, SEEMINGLY IN AGONY, A LOW RED LIGHT STARTS TO SHINE THROUGH THE WINDOWS OF THE DARKENED QUARTERS. FINALLY VICTOR WAKES; DRENCHED IN SWEAT AND WHIMPERING TO HIMSELF. HE SAGS BACK ON THE BED; EXHAUSTED. HE THEN GRADUALLY BECOMES AWARE OF THE STRANGE RED LIGHT AND GOES TO THE WINDOW. ALL THIS TIME, THE NOISE DOES NOT STOP.

CUT TO:
Ext, Moonbase Alpha
THE SKY IS NOW ONE VAST RED GLOW. THE SPACE-CLOUD IS THINNING AND VANISHES. A GIANT RED SUN IS REVEALED, VERY THREATENINGLY CLOSE.

CUT TO:
Int, Victor Bergman's Quarters (Night)
EXTREME CLOSEUP OF VICTOR'S EYE REFLECTING THE RED STAR. THE FRIGHTENING NOISE FADES AWAY.

END OF TEASER: TITLE SEQUENCE.

ACT 1:

Int, Main Mission (Night)
ALARMS BLARE. MAIN MISSION IS FILLING UP WITH APPREHENSIVE CREW. THOSE THERE ARE STARING IN AWE AT THE MAIN SCREEN. THE DOORS TO KOENIG'S OFFICE OPEN AND HE WALKS OUT, LOOKING SLEEPY AND SHOCKED. HE STOPS AND LOOKS AT THE MAIN SCREEN, CLEARLY TAKEN ABACK. THE SCREEN SHOWS THE VAST RED SUN. THREATENING RED LIGHT FROM THE SUN IS POURING THROUGH THE WINDOWS. THE CREW BEGIN TO LOOK FRIGHTENED AND KOENIG IMMEDIATELY TAKES OUT HIS COMLOCK. HE SPEAKS INTO IT RAPIDLY.

KOENIG:
Koenig to Professor Bergman: report to Main Mission. We have an emergency. Acknowledge.

THE COMLOCK REMAINS SILENT. KOENIG LOOKS PERPLEXED.
KOENIG:
Professor Bergman, report to Main Mission!

THE COMLOCK IS SILENT. KOENIG LOSES HIS TEMPER AND MEMBERS OF THE MAIN MISSION CREW LOOK AROUND IN SURPRISE.

KOENIG:
Victor, where the hell are you?! I have a...

THE COMLOCK FINALLY BLEEPS AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. HELENA RUSSELL'S VOICE ANSWERS INSTEAD OF VICTOR BERGMAN'S.
HELENA (OC):
John; Victor's in the Medical Centre. He's in deep shock. It just happened. John , Why is every alarm on Alpha going off like this?

KOENIG:
Unfortunately, our lives just got very exciting all of a sudden. Take a look out of the nearest window.

KOENIG CUTS OFF HIS COMLOCK AND GOES OVER TO THE MAIN CONSOLE. PAUL MORROW, SANDRA BENES, DAVID KANO AND THE REST OF THE CREW ARE WORKING FURIOUSLY. KOENIG PUTS HIS HAND ON PAUL'S SHOULDER.

KOENIG:
Tell me I'm not seeing this; Paul.

MORROW:
I wish I could, Commander. That's a full-sized red star out there; about ten thousand times bigger than our own sun. The Moon came straight out of the nebula within its gravity well. We couldn't be better aimed at it. It's magnetosphere is altering our course already. Instruments couldn't detect anything because of all the interference...

AN INSTRUMENT BLEEPS. MORROW LOOKS DOWN AT A COMPUTER MONITOR THEN BACK AT KOENIG WITH A FRIGHTENED EXPRESSION.

MORROW:
We're falling into it on an accelerating collision course!

KOENIG (GRIMLY):
How long have we got?

MORROW (HORRIFIED)
Less than seventy hours!

CUT TO:
Int, Medical Centre
VICTOR BERGMAN LIES ON A MEDICAL BED BEING WATCHED BY HELENA RUSSELL AND DOCTOR MATTHIAS. HE IS CLAD IN A MEDICAL GOWN AND THERE ARE SENSORS ATTACHED TO HIS FOREHEAD. THEY ARE LOOKING AT HIM WORRIEDLY. NEARBY, A MONITOR SHOWS VICTOR'S BRAIN ACTIVITY SHOWING UNUSUAL WAVE-PATTERNS. HELENA HOLDS A HYPO UNIT AND ALSO A SMALL GLEAMING METAL OBJECT THAT LOOKS LIKE A TINY BATTERY, WHICH SHE SHOWS TO MATTHIAS WHILE SHE SPEAKS.

MATTHIAS:
It's as if he's in some kind of trance...

HELENA:
Outside of a violent stimulant that might damage Victor, I can't see any way of bringing him out of this state. What could have happened to him to cause this? It's as if he's regressed from some terrible shock or trauma-experience.

MATHIAS:
At least his mechanical heart will adjust his metabolism more smoothly. Otherwise he might have entered a terminal coma. The Commander wants to talk to him badly; doesn't he?

HELENA:
Yes, Doctor. But Victor may not recover for weeks. If ever. What I don't understand is - how? When he was brought in I thought at first it might have been his heart. I applied one of the spare emergency batteries (SHE SHOWS MATTHIAS THE BATTERY SHE HOLDS) we keep for him just in case, but there was no trouble with the mechanism or the power-source. The cause seems to be entirely cerebral.

MATHIAS:
We'll keep monitoring him. With that star out there pulling us towards us, we'll need the Professor as soon as we can bring him back to lucidity.

HELENA NODS. SHE GOES OVER TO A NEARBY MEDICAL CABINET AND PUTS THE TINY BATTERY IN A SMALL METAL BOX, NODDING AT MATTHIAS THAT THEY SHOULD GO. SHE CLOSES THE CABINET AND, LOOKING WORRIED, THEY TURN AND GO OUT OF THE ROOM TOGETHER. ALMOST IMMEDIATELY THEY HAVE GONE THE BRAIN-MONITOR SHOWS INCREASED ACTIVITY. VICTOR'S EYES OPEN ABRUPTLY. THE FRIGHTENING VOICE-LIKE SOUND IN HIS QUARTERS RETURNS. VICTOR RISES AND CAREFULLY TAKES OFF THE SENSORS ON HIS FOREHEAD. HIS EXPRESSION IS DAZED AND REMOTE BUT LUCID. HE SEES HIS UNIFORM DRAPED OVER A NEARBY CHAIR AND GOES TO IT. ANOTHER THOUGHT SEEMS TO OCCUR TO HIM AND HE GOES OVER TO A CABINET MARKED 'SPECIALISED ENCEPHALOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT'. HE OPENS THE CABINET AND REMOVES A PORTABLE UNIT MARKED 'ELLENDORFF 55-A R.E.M. MONITOR'. PLACING THE MACHINE ON THE CHAIR, VICTOR BEGINS TO PUT ON HIS UNIFORM.

CUT TO:
Int, Moonbase Corridor & Travel-Tube Entrance.
VICTOR, NOW IN UNIFORM AND CARRYING THE 'ELLENDORFF' MACHINE IN ONE HAND, GOES DOWN A CORRIDOR TOWARDS THE TRAVEL TUBE. COMING UP THE CORRIDOR IS ALAN CARTER WHO WAVES CHEERFULLY AND GREETS VICTOR.

CARTER:
Hiya, Professor, I just got the call from Main Mission. What's all the hooha about?

VICTOR DOES NOT ANSWER AND GOES INTO THE TRAVEL TUBE. CARTER SMILES AFTER HIM, TURNS AND CONTINUES ON HIS WAY, NOT SUSPECTING A THING.

CUT TO:
Int, Travel Tube
VICTOR SITS DOWN IN A CHAIR AS THE TUBE CAR ACCELERATES. HE LOOKS UP AT THE MAP OF THE TUBE. WE SEE A CLOSEUP OF THE TUBE-MAP AS VICTOR'S EYES FOLLOW A LONG BRANCHING LINE THAT TERMINATES AT 'COPERNICUS ASTRONOMICAL STATION'.

CUT TO:
Int, Clavius Astronomical Station
VICTOR BERGMAN, CARRYING THE 'ELLENDORFF' MACHINE, EXITS THE TRAVEL-TUBE INTO A LOW-LIT COMPUTER CENTRE FULL OF MONITOR SCREENS AND ASTRONOMICAL CHARTS. THERE IS AN AIRLOCK NEARBY AND A RACK OF SPACESUITS. THROUGH A WINDOW CAN BE SEEN A COMPLEX OF RADIO TELESCOPES. ANGRY RED LIGHT FROM THE NEARBY STAR POURS THROUGH THE WINDOW. VICTOR LOOKS WITH INTEREST AT THE TELESCOPES AND PUTS THE 'ELLENDORFF' MACHINE ON A TABLE NEAR THE AIRLOCK. HE TAKES DOWN A SPACESUIT FROM THE RACK.

CUT TO:
Ext, Lunar Surface & Radio Telescope Array
VICTOR BERGMAN WALKS ACROSS THE LUNAR SURFACE FROM A MOON-BUGGY, STILL CARRYING THE 'ELLENDORFF' MACHINE, NOW WITH A STRAP ATTACHED TO IT. MOONBASE ALPHA IS VISIBLE FAR AWAY IN THE DISTANCE AS A CLUSTER OF LIGHTS. HE REACHES THE RADIO TELESCOPE ARRAY AND BEGINS SLOWLY TO CLIMB ONE OF THE HUGE UNITS USING A SERVICE LADDER. THE VOICELIKE NOISE FIRST HEARD IN HIS QUARTERS IS FAINT BUT AUDIBLE IN THE BACKGROUND.

CUT TO:
Ext, Near top of Radio Telescope.
THE RED STAR IS LIKE AN OCEAN OF RED FIRE IN THE SKY; MAKING EVERYTHING TINGED WITH A THREATENING CRIMSON. THE CURVING WHITE DISH OF THE RADIO TELESCOPE LOOMS ABOVE VICTOR AS HE INSTALLS THE 'ELLENDORFF' MACHINE IN THE TELESCOPE'S MAIN RECEIVER. HE SWITCHES IT ON AND A GREEN LIGHT APPEARS ON A TECHNICAL PANEL. SATISFIED, VICTOR BEGINS TO CLIMB DOWN AGAIN.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission
KOENIG IS OVERSEEING OPERATIONS LOOKING WORRIEDLY AT THE IMAGE OF THE RED STAR ON THE MAIN SCREEN. ALAN CARTER STANDS BESIDE HIM WITH ARMS FOLDED, LOOKING AWE-STRUCK AND NERVOUS. SUDDENLY KOENIG'S COMLOCK BUZZES AND HE WHIPS IT OUT. HELENA SPEAKS.

HELENA:
Medical Section here, John. Something very strange happened here just now. Victor Bergman was in a virtual coma; and now he's gone. Just gone.

KOENIG LOOKS SHOCKED, BUT ALAN CARTER IS PUZZLED.
CARTER:
The Professor? That's impossible; Commander. I met him ten minutes ago heading for the Travel Tube! He was so busy he didn't even see me! I'd call that pretty wide awake...

KOENIG AND CARTER LOOK AT EACH OTHER IN SURPRISE.
HELENA:
And that's not all; John. The 'Ellendorff' unit we use for researching the brain's sleep patterns is missing. Only Victor could have taken it. What could he possibly want with an experimental device like that?

CUT TO:
Int, Copernicus Astronomical Station
VICTOR BERGMAN ATTACHES SENSORS TO HIS HEAD AND PLUGS THEM INTO INPUTS IN A COMPUTER CONSOLE. HE TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS SO THAT THE ONLY LIGHT IS FROM THE RED STAR. VICTOR RELAXES AND SEEMS TO GO INTO A TRANCE-STATE. HE LOOKS AT THE RED STAR. THE NOISE FIRST HEARD IN HIS QUARTERS RETURNS AND GROWS LOUDER AND LOUDER. VICTOR CLOSES HIS EYES AND APPEARS TO SLEEP. AS HE DOES SO LIGHTS WINK ON ACROSS THE CONSOLE. A SCREEN LIGHTS UP WITH COMPLICATED WAVE-PATTERNS. VICTOR TURNS IN THE CHAIR SO THAT WE SEE HIS SILHOUETTE AGAINST THE ANGRY RED LIGHT.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission
SANDRA BENES LOOKS UP FROM HER CONSOLE IN CONFUSION.
SANDRA:
Commander, the computer reports that someone is transmitting from the Copernicus Astronomical Station. It seems to be directly at the star! There is no one listed on duty there...

KOENIG:
Copernicus has been off the roster for months. Alan...

CARTER:
It has to be the Professor, Sir. He was going for the long-distance tube.

KOENIG (INTRIGUED):
Sandra, put those transmissions on main screen.

THE TRANSMISSION WAVES APPEAR. HELENA HAS COME INTO MAIN MISSION AND STARES IN FASCINATION AT THE PATTERNS.
HELENA:
Those look like some of the 'Ellendorff Morphean Variants...'

KOENIG:
Does that mean Victor is in some kind of trance or hypnosis? Could that star out there be influencing him?

HELENA:
In the Ellendorff research there are a number of extremely rare brain-response patterns to intense dreams or transcendental states of consciousness. Those waves are like records I've studied, but they seem to be more refined; more focused...

KOENIG (THOUGHTFULLY):
He could be trying to communicate. Or it's an experiment...

HELENA (QUIETLY):
It could also be a sign of insanity. Victor may have experienced something an hour ago so intense and traumatic that he is now functionally deranged. What he's doing could be merely a sign of that madness.

THE CREW IN MAIN MISSION ARE SHOCKED AND TURN TO LOOK AT KOENIG AND HELENA. KOENIG LOOKS SERIOUSLY AT HELENA, ALARMED.
KOENIG:
I hope you're wrong, Helena. Because right now, the only thing standing between us and that monster star is Victor Bergman's brain.

THEY ALL LOOK BACK AT THE COMPLEX WAVE-PATTERNS PULSING ON THE SCREEN.
CUT TO:
Ext, Lunar Surface
VICTOR BERGMAN IS HEADING AWAY FROM THE RADIO TELESCOPE ARRAY IN A MOON-BUGGY. MOONBASE ALPHA IS ALSO VISIBLE; RECEDING. VICTOR IS HEADED OUT INTO UNKNOWN TERRITORY. THE BUGGY REACHES A CLIFFTOP AND BERGMAN DEBARKS AND GOES TO THE EDGE ON FOOT. BEYOND IS A LUNAR VALLEY CRISSCROSSED WITH LONG METAL TRACKS. THERE ARE YARDS FULL OF HUGE CYLINDRICAL CANISTERS ON PLATFORMS THAT ARE ALSO LINKED BY A SYSTEM OF RAILS. A STATION IS SET NEARBY. THE INSTALLATION LOOKS DISUSED. VICTOR STARTS DOWN INTO THE VALLEY.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission
SANDRA BENES LOOKS UP FROM HER CONSOLE IN ASTONISHMENT.
SANDRA:
Commander, someone has just reactivated one of the old magnetic accelerator stations and is diverting power to the launch system!

THE LIGHTS IN MAIN MISSION SUDDENLY GO OUT AND THEN LOWER EMERGENCY LIGHTING COMES ON. THE MAIN MISSION CREW LOOK UP AT THE LIGHTS APPREHENSIVELY.
KOENIG:
Those accelerators are for receiving the old nuclear waste containers launched from Earth! They were decommissioned years ago once we started using the Eagles! It must be Victor. What the hell is he playing at?!

SANDRA:
More data; Commander. He has launched three of the containers from the accelerator directly at the star. All the containers are full ones according to the computer...

KOENIG:
Victor, what are you trying to learn...Kano; give me a trajectory on those containers.

DAVID KANO RAPIDLY PRESSES SWITCHES ON HIS CONSOLE AND THEN RIPS OUT AN ANSWERING SPOOL OF TAPE AND READS IT. HIS EXPRESSION IS SURPRISED.
KANO:
The containers have been launched at maximum thrust. All of them are engine-fitted models. With the progressive magnetic and gravitational pull of the star plus velocity they will reach it in a few minutes at over a thousand miles per second...

SANDRA:
Sensors now recording unusual radiation patterns and chemistry in the star's outer layer. The anomalies are intensifying. They are highly unstable and are becoming volatile...

KANO (BREAKING IN, ALARMED)
Commander, with the amount of concentrated waste in those containers, if they reach a critical mass on contact with the star's outer layers they will yield almost four hundred megatons. Each.

KOENIG (WHISPERING):
A thousand megatons of nuclear hell coming straight back at us with interest: Victor, what have you done...

CUT TO:
Ext, Deep Space
THE THREE NUCLEAR WASTE CONTAINERS, EMBLAZONED WITH THE UNIVERSAL 'RADIOACTIVE' SYMBOL HURTLE TOWARDS THE RED STAR'S FIERY OUTER LAYER. THEY HIT THE BOILING ATMOSPHERE SIMULTANEOUSLY AND THERE IS AN EXPLOSION OF LIGHT.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission
THE MAIN SCREEN SHOWS A CLOSEUP OF THE TREE CONTAINERS IMPACTING, THEN THE RED STAR RADIATING A BRILLIANT EXPLOSION OF LIGHT. KOENIG, FRIGHTENED BUT IN CONTROL, SHOUTS ORDERS. ALARMS SOUND.

MORROW:
Blast wavefront imminent! Ninety seconds to impact, Commander!

KOENIG:
Secure the base! All personnel to deep shelters!

CUT TO:
Int, Moonbase Staircase to Lower Levels
MOONBASE CREW HURRY DOWN STAIRCASES TO THE SHELTERS, ALARMS BLARING.

CUT TO:
Ext, Deep Space
THE BLAST-WAVE OF THE EXPLOSION REACHES OUT TO ENGULF THE MOON.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission
PAUL MORROW CROUCHES HOLDING SANDRA PROTECTIVELY. KOENIG HOLDS HELENA SIMILARLY. THEY LOOK AT EACH OTHER AND NOD NERVOUSLY. THE BLAST-WAVE HITS. CONSOLES EXPLODE WITH SPARKS AND THE WHOLE BASE SHUDDERS. PARTS OF THE CEILING FALL DOWN. ALL FOUR HUDDLE DOWN TO THE FLOOR AS EVERYTHING GOES HAYWIRE AND SHORT-CIRCUITS VIOLENTLY AROUND THEM. THE LIGHTS GO OUT AND ONLY THE BRIGHT RED LIGHT COMING IN FROM THE WINDOWS ILLUMINATES MAIN MISSION. GRADUALLY THE SHUDDERING ENDS AND THEY STAND UP. MAIN MISSION IS HALF-RUINED. THE MAIN SCREEN STILL WORKS; DISPLAYING THE STRANGE WAVE-PATTERNS VICTOR BERGMAN WAS TRANSMITTING. ALL FOUR LOOK AT EACH OTHER AND BACK AT THE SCREEN.

CUT TO:
Int, Ruined Magnetic Accelerator Station
VICTOR BERGMAN LIES ON THE FLOOR OF THE SMASHED-UP STATION. MACHINERY INTERMITTENTLY SHORT-CIRCUITS ALL AROUND HIM. HIS HELMET IS ONLY PARTLY SECURED ON HIS SUIT. BEHIND HIM A SIGN FLASHES ON AND OFF: 'DANGER - ATMOSPHERIC LEAKAGE: EVACUATE'.

CUT TO:
Ext, Deep Space
THE RED STAR WAXES BRIGHTER OVER THE MOON AND MOONBASE ALPHA. THE NOISE VICTOR BERGMAN HEARD IN HIS QUARTERS CAN BE HEARD: VERY LOUD AND FRIGHTENING IN INTENSITY.
FADE.

ACT 2:

Int, Medical Centre
VICTOR BERGMAN LIES SLEEPING IN A HOSPITAL BED, CLAD IN A MEDICAL GOWN AGAIN. WATCHING HIM WITH CONCERN ARE HELENA, MATTHIAS, CARTER AND KOENIG. MATTHIAS AND CARTER ARE WEARING SPACESUITS. THE 'ELLENDORFF' DEVICE VICTOR TOOK HAS BEEN CAREFULLY PLACED ON A NEARBY TABLE. KOENIG LOOKS GRIM. HELENA INJECTS VICTOR CAREFULLY WITH A HYPO AND STANDS BACK.
HELENA:
He'll be conscious in a moment.

KOENIG:
How bad is it?

HELENA:
It's hard to say this early. Alan and Dr.Matthias got to Victor just in time - his suit had been compromised. Another few minutes and he would have died. As for his mental condition...

KOENIG AND HELENA EXCHANGE A SIGNIFICANT GLANCE. KOENIG TURNS TO ALL THREE OF THEM, HIS EXPRESSION GRAVE; ALL AUTHORITY.
KOENIG:
I have to talk to him alone. Everyone dismissed.

HELENA:
I'll wait outside the door.

KOENIG NODS AND THE THREE GO OUT OF THE CENTRE. SLOWLY, VICTOR RECOVERS AND OPENS HIS EYES. HE FOCUSES ON KOENIG AND SMILES SHEEPISHLY - BUT HE IS STILL WEAK.
VICTOR:
I've been a very naughty boy; haven't I?

DESPITE HIMSELF, KOENIG CANNOT HELP SMILING BACK; BUT HIS FACE BECOMES SERIOUS AGAIN.
KOENIG:
You know the questions I have to ask; Victor. Especially...

KOENIG GOES OVER TO THE TABLE ON WHICH THE 'ELLENDORFF' UNIT SITS. HE TAPS THE DEVICE AND LOOKS SIDELONG AT VICTOR, WHO SIGHS AND SINKS HIS HEAD BACK INTO HIS PILLOW. HE PUTS HIS HANDS BEHIND HIS HEAD, RELAXING. HE LOOKS HAPPY AND CHEERFUL; COMPLETELY AT ODDS WITH THE MOOD OF THE SITUATION.
VICTOR:
Would you believe I was trying to play an elaborate practical joke?

KOENIG CHUCKLES AND VICTOR GRINS IMPISHLY.
VICTOR:
I dreamed a dream; John.

KOENIG (INTERESTED BUT WARY):
What kind of dream, Victor?

VICTOR:
A dream that felt so important, so overwhelming and so...compelling that I became indistinguishable from it. At first I didn't want to. Then somehow I passed across a threshold of understanding and in full lucid consciousness I knew that I had to launch those waste containers at the star. And that's the whole story until the nuclear backlash hit us and I woke up in here.

KOENIG LOOKS AT VICTOR UNEASILY. HE LOOKS DOWN AT THE 'ELLENDORFF' UNIT AND BACK AT VICTOR, ALMOST IMPLORINGLY.
KOENIG:
Victor, right now I have three hundred-plus Alphans close to absolute panic. That star out there is more than ten thousand times the size of our original sun, and we've got at best sixty-five hours before it snuffs us out like you might blow out a candle. To divert the Moon we have to blow up as much waste as we can...

VICTOR (SMILING BEATIFICALLY)
Oh; that. Listen, John, don't get yourself worried about it. I worked out our trajectory on the way to the old accelerator station. We're on the wrong course to collide. Rather, we'll skirt the photosphere -the outermost atmospheric layer- of the old star and maybe pass through a few dissipating plasma clouds, that's all.

KOENIG (DISMAYED):
That amounts to the same thing; doesn't it? The Moon will still be burnt to a cinder!

VICTOR (SMILING AT JOHN PATIENTLY):
Not at all; not at all. It's simply a question of perspective!

KOENIG IS DUMBSTRUCK; CLEARLY BELIEVING VICTOR IS INSANE. HE NODS CAUTIOUSLY AT VICTOR WITH A WAN SMILE. VICTOR SMILES SUNNILY AND MANAGES A FRIENDLY WAVE. KOENIG EXITS THE MEDICAL CENTRE INTO THE CORRIDOR WHERE HELENA IS WAITING.
CUT TO:
Int, Moonbase Corridor
KOENIG LEANS AGAINST THE WALL, APPALLED. HELENA LOOKS AT HIM CURIOUSLY.
HELENA:
Well, John?

KOENIG (BLEAKLY):
We're falling towards the biggest star ever recorded with our brains shot out...

HELENA LOOKS HORRIFIED.
CUT TO:
Int, Hydroponics Lab
A TECHNICIAN IS EXAMINING A RACK OF TRAYS FULL OF SOIL THAT ARE SHOWING THE GREEN SHOOTS OF NEW PLANTS. THE TECH IS SURPRISED AND GOES OVER TO THE SUPERVISOR.
TECH:
Doctor, you know those unviable seeds I was experimenting with using new soil types? They seem to be germinating - and quickly!

INTRIGUED, THE SUPERVISOR COMES OVER TO THE RACK AND LOOKS IN SURPRISE AT THE FLEDGLING PLANTS.
SUPERVISOR:
I would have said it was impossible. Quite amazing! Well, keep up the good work!

THE TECH SMILES AND GOES BACK TO WATERING THE PLANTS - WHICH ARE VISIBLY GROWING.
CUT TO:
Int, Sandra Benes' Quarters
SANDRA ENTERS HER QUARTERS, LOOKING TIRED. WHEN SHE TURNS ON HER LIGHTS SHE STARTS UP IN SURPRISE AND SQUEALS. THEN SHE SMILES IN WONDERMENT. OUT OF HER PERSONAL DESK'S FRONT DRAWER GROW A WILD TANGLE OF ORCHIDS AND LILIES AND POPPIES. SANDRA GATHERS THEM UP AND INHALES THEIR FRAGRANCE, THEN LOOKS PERPLEXED. SHE OPENS THE DRAWER, SEARCHES AMONG THE STEMS AND PULLS OUT A SMALL TRANSPARENT PACKET WHICH HAS BEEN BURST OPEN BY THE SHOOTS COMING OUT OF IT. THE LABEL ON THE PACKET IS MARKED 'SEEDS OF EXOTIC FLOWERS OF THE ORIENT'.

CUT TO:
Int, Moonbase Corridor
THE HYDROPONICS SUPERVISOR FROM THE PREVIOUS SCENE GOES TO A DOOR MARKED 'BOTANICAL SECTION' AND USES HIS COMLOCK CASUALLY TO OPEN THE DOOR. HE FALLS BACK IN SURPRISE AS NUMEROUS BRANCHES HEAVY WITH FRUIT AND DRAPES OF IVY FALL ALL OVER HIM.

CUT TO:
Int, Moonbase Corridor
KOENIG AND CARTER (STILL IN HIS SPACE-SUIT) ARE WALKING DOWN A CORRIDOR. A SIGN INDICATES THAT MAIN MISSION IS JUST AHEAD.
KOENIG:
Alan, I want you to reconnoitre the remaining waste dumps and take out teams to set nuclear detonators...

KOENIG STOPS IN MID-STRIDE AND SNIFFS THE AIR. CARTER LOOKS SURPRISED, THEN NOTICES THE SAME THING AND LOOKS AT KOENIG IN CONFUSION.
CARTER:
Smells like a spruce forest in here, Commander...

KOENIG:
Doesn't the head of hydroponics keep a small evergreen bush and a Herb tray in his quarters?

CARTER (INDICATING A NEARBY DOOR):
That's his door right there.

KOENIG TAKES OUT HIS COMLOCK.
KOENIG:
Computer: Command Order. Open door to the quarters of the chief of hydroponics...

THE DOOR OPENS. WITHIN THE ROOM BEYOND IS A RIOTOUS TANGLE OF HERB PLANTS. IN THE CENTRE OF THE ROOM IS A FULL-SIZED SPRUCE TREE. CARTER AND KOENIG LOOK AT EACH OTHER; BAFFLED.
CUT TO:
Int, Command Staff Meeting Room.
ON THE TABLE IN FRONT OF KOENIG IS A SINGLE TINY POT FROM WHICH GROWS A FANTASTIC AND BEAUTIFUL FLOWER. KOENIG PICKS IT UP AND PASSES IT AROUND THE TABLE. PRESENT ARE HELENA, MORROW, SANDRA, KANO AND CARTER. ALL OF THEM LOOK AT THE FLOWER IN WONDER.
KOENIG:
Incredible. I'm told that's a Himalayan rose-poppy hybrid found only in the highlands of Nepal. Almost the rarest flower on the Earth as we knew it. One of the botanists in Hydroponics found it growing out of the wall in her lab. All over Alpha we're finding plants growing at an accelerated rate...

THERE IS A SUDDEN BUZZING AND KOENIG SLAPS HIS NECK IRRITABLY. THERE ARE BRIEF SMILES AROUND THE TABLE.
KOENIG:
...We even seem to have an insect problem. Just about every dormant seed or spore or cutting on Alpha has come to life. And it started happening at exactly the same time Victor hit that star's outer layer with a thousand-megaton 'hello'.

THE FACES AROUND THE TABLE BECOME GRIM, AS DOES KOENIG'S.
KOENIG:
As you all know, the official story is that Victor is helping plan our trajectory-diversion from Medical Centre. Whatever has happened to him he doesn't seem to be aware of or care about the imminent danger. And that's something the rest of the base just won't accept in this kind of emergency. Kano; it's up to you and Computer and all the help we can give you..

KANO LOOKS A LITTLE DAUNTED, BUT NODS.
KANO:
Computer has already proposed controlled nuclear reactions in precisely-defined patterns to give us steady directional thrust, Commander. Professor Bergman's calculations are correct - we are obliquely headed for the star's photosphere rather than an impact. Our main anomalous factor is the fluctuating magnetosphere of the star, which is very unstable and keeps reversing polarity. Violently.

CARTER:
In other words we're being pushed and pulled; but we don't know when or which way at the critical moment.

KANO:
Affirmative. And the instability becomes more pronounced as the Moon nears the star and its own magnetic field reacts with the infinitely larger one of the primary.

KOENIG:
Too many unanswered questions, ladies and gentlemen. Whether or not the phenomena of magnetic fields and overexcited plant metabolisms are related we don't have time to care about. We need a single but essential push that will catapult us just past the photosphere of this monster star. Alpha's screens can do the rest. Without Professor Bergman there's no room for error from any of us. The crew has to believe the situation is under control or someone will lose their nerve when we need it most.

THE OTHERS LOOK AT EACH OTHER; A LITTLE RELUCTANT AT KEEPING THE BURDEN TO THEMSELVES, BUT NOD. KOENIG NODS BACK - THE MEETING IS OVER. HE POINTS HIS COMLOCK AT THE DOOR TO MAIN MISSION AND IT OPENS. KANO AND MORROW AND SANDRA RETURN TO THEIR POSTS. CARTER SALUTES KOENIG AND EXITS MAIN MISSION. HELENA REMAINS BEHIND. KOENIG CLOSES THE DOORS AGAIN.
HELENA:
John, perhaps this isn't the right time...

KOENIG SMILES IRONICALLY. HELENA SMILES BACK.
HELENA:
Victor was speaking to me earlier. Before we started discovering all this strange plant growth. He said something very odd.

KOENIG:
I still can't believe he's gone out of his mind. His trajectory calculations prove he's still capable - the computer confirmed them down to the last decimal. There has to be another explanation...

HELENA:
John, Victor said something about...what did he call it... creative radiation. Coming from that star out there. I wasn't really listening, but he did say that it was like a thought; or a reflection of a thought. Anything that lived would respond to that influence by evolving. And that the only way to mentally experience a portion of that thought was like an intense dream.

KOENIG (INTERESTED):
He didn't know about all the plant growth? You're sure?

HELENA:
I restricted access to Victor to prevent any rumours. Only I've seen or treated him since we brought him back from the accelerator station. There is no way he could have known about those events.

KOENIG:
And yet he knew somehow.

KOENIG GOES OVER TO HIS GLOBE AND RUNS HIS HAND OVER IT, THEN TO THE WINDOW AND LOOKS OUT AT THE SKY - IT IS ENTIRELY DOMINATED BY THE RED STAR - AN OCEAN OF TERRIFYING HELLFIRE.
HELENA (ENIGMATICALLY):
There's more; John.

KOENIG LOOKS AROUND AT HELENA, PUZZLED.
KOENIG:
How so? Is there a jungle in Alpha I don't know about yet?

HELENA (SMILING):
Something's happening to us, too. Health factors among the crew are improving. I have almost no medical complaints coming in. Even with all the stress and activity I've had almost no cases to deal with in the Dispensary. Calls to Medical Centre are down by sixty percent or more. I've never seen anything like it. I've discharged or released almost all the sick patients under my care...

KOENIG (FASCINATED BUT UNCERTAIN)
There might be something to Victor's 'creative radiation' after all. The only question is: will we live long enough to enjoy the benefits of it?

HELENA JOINS KOENIG AT THE WINDOW. THEY LOOK APPREHENSIVELY AT THE BALEFUL FIERY SPECTACLE ABOVE.
CUT TO:
Int, Medical Centre
VICTOR BERGMAN LIES IN BED, AGAIN WITH THE BRAIN-MONITOR SENSORS ATTACHED TO HIS FOREHEAD. THE NOISE HE HEARD AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EPISODE RETURNS - IT IS EVEN LOUDER NOW. HIS EYES OPEN AND AS IF IN A TRANCE VICTOR RISES AND TAKES OFF THE SENSORS. HE WALKS AROUND THE ROOM, LOOKING AT HIS SURROUNDINGS. HE NOTICES A BUNCH OF FLOWERS (MORE OF THE NEPALESE POPPY-ROSES KOENIG WAS EARLIER INTERESTED BY IN THE COMMAND STAFF MEETING) IN A POT SET ON A TABLE NEAR HIM. QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY HE COLLECTS BUDS FROM THE HYBRID FLOWERS AND PUTS THEM IN THE POCKET OF HIS ROBE. THE NOISE FADES AWAY AS HE SURREPTITIOUSLY OPENS THE DOOR BY SABOTAGING ITS CIRCUITRY. IT CLOSES BEHIND HIM AS HE LEAVES; STILL CLAD IN HIS MEDICAL GOWN.
CUT TO:
Int, Moonbase Corridor and Entrance to Travel Tube.
VICTOR HIDES AROUND A CORNER AS TWO CHATTING MOONBASE CREW WALK BY. WHEN THEY ARE GONE HE STEALS OVER TO THE TRAVEL-TUBE ENTRANCE, LOOKS ROUND AND TINKERS WITH THE DOOR CIRCUITRY SO THAT IT OPENS FOR HIM. HE GOES IN AND THE DOOR SHUTS.

CUT TO:
Int, Travel Tube
VICTOR SITS PRIMLY WITH A TRANCELIKE EXPRESSION ON HIS FACE.

CUT TO:
Int, Moonbase Corridor near Airlock
VICTOR EXITS THE TRAVEL TUBE INTO A CORRIDOR WHERE AN AIRLOCK IS SIGNPOSTED ALONG WITH A NOTICE: 'EMERGENCY SUITS, ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT & SPARE OXYGEN HERE!'. VICTOR GOES INTO THE AIRLOCK.

CUT TO:
Ext, Lunar Surface
A SPACESUITED VICTOR CARRYING AN EQUIPMENT CASE WALKS ACROSS THE LUNAR SURFACE ONTO A PATCH OF LEVEL GROUND SURROUNDED BY ROCKS. THE SKY IS ONE MASS OF SWIRLING FIRE AND THE OVEN-LIKE LIGHT IS OPPRESSIVE. HE OPENS THE CASE AND SWIFTLY SETS UP WHAT WE SEE TO BE A PORTABLE CAMERA. THE CAMERA IS ADJUSTED TO POINT TO A PATCH OF BARE LUNAR SOIL. HE SWITCHES IT ON. VICTOR LOOKS AROUND HIM AND THEN UNDOES A ZIP-POCKET IN HIS SUIT AND TAKES OUT THE ROSEBUDS HE TOOK FROM THE MEDICAL CENTRE. HE SCATTERS THEM ON THE GROUND IN SIGHT OF THE CAMERA, SITS DOWN ON A NEARBY ROCK AND WATCHES. IN CLOSEUP WE SEE THE BUDS IMPOSSIBLY GERMINATE, THROW OUT SHOOTS, TAKE ROOTS AND FLOWER IN ACCELERATED TIME. VICTOR SEEMS FAR FROM SURPRISED AND STANDS UP. HE LAUGHS CHEERFULLY. HE TAKES OUT A COMLOCK MARKED 'EMERGENCY COMMUNICATOR' AND POINTS IT AT THE CAMERA. A LIGHT MARKED 'MAIN COMPUTER LINK' ON THE CAMERA COMES ON.

VICTOR (LAUGHING):
Bergman to Main Mission: are you getting this?

VICTOR MANOEUVRES AROUND UNTIL HE IS IN THE LINE OF SIGHT OF THE CAMERA BEHIND THE IMPOSSIBLY-SPROUTING SMALL GARDEN OF FLOWERS.
VICTOR:
Keep watching, everyone...

SUDDENLY AND SHOCKINGLY, VICTOR BREAKS THE SEALS ON HIS SUIT AND TEARS OFF HIS HELMET. HE IS UNAFFECTED BY THE AIRLESS COLD VACUUM. HE LOOKS UP AT THE SKY OF FIRE, THROWS HIS HELMET AWAY AND LAUGHS WITH JOY.

CUT TO:
Int Main Mission
THE ENTIRE CREW, WITH KOENIG AND HELENA AND ALAN CARTER PRESENT ARE SILENT AS THEY SEE VICTOR WAVE CHEERILY TO THE CAMERA MINUS HIS HELMET, STILL ALIVE AND WITH A FULL ROSEBUSH GROWING ON THE BARREN LUNAR SOIL IN FRONT OF HIM. IN THE BACKGROUND IS CLEARLY SITUATED MOONBASE ALPHA.

FADE.

ACT 3:

Int, Koenig's Office
KOENIG AND VICTOR BERGMAN SIT ALONE. KOENIG LOOKS OUT THE WINDOW AT THE SKY OF FIRE AND VICTOR SITS IN A CHAIR, CALMLY. HE GETS UP, GOES OVER TO KOENIG AND PUTS A FRIENDLY HAND ON HIS SHOULDER.
VICTOR:
Still think the old man belongs in the loony-bin?

KOENIG SMILES AND SHAKES HIS HEAD. HE TURNS TO VICTOR, HIS FACE OUTLINED BY THE INTENSE RED STARLIGHT.
KOENIG:
How did you know you wouldn't die, Victor?

VICTOR:
I'll admit I did think carefully about it first.

KOENIG CHUCKLES SLIGHTLY, BUT HE IS STILL UNCERTAIN ABOUT VICTOR.

KOENIG:
One hell of a risk; though.

VICTOR:
When I saw those flowers growing in lunar soil, in zero humidity, a hundred degrees below zero; it was very convincing. But John; I would have done it even without seeing that. Because I realised something at that moment. And I've known it ever since I had that strange coma-attack.

KOENIG:
Victor, something is happening on Alpha that neither I nor anyone else can hope to understand. But you seem to be attuned to it somehow - maybe you have an empathy with it. What conclusions do you have about what we're facing?

VICTOR TURNS FROM KOENIG AND WANDERS AROUND THE OFFICE WRINGING HIS HANDS. HE PASSES A HAND OVER KOENIG'S GLOBE FONDLY.
VICTOR:
John; none of this was a co-incidence. Can't you see that? Something has been trying to communicate with us. It was as surprised by us coming into its space as we were alarmed to encounter it. I've touched the edges of its consciousness. But it's so powerful and so alien that it's almost impossible.

KOENIG:
Victor, are you seriously suggesting that star is alive?

VICTOR:
What is the one constant thing we've experienced since we began this journey? Life, John. We've found life everywhere. There's a microcosm and a macrocosm in the Universe. How do we really know to which part we belong?

KOENIG:
A star is just a ball of burning gas; Victor. It's a nuclear explosion multiplied trillions of times over billions of years. How could anything conscious evolve like that?

VICTOR (EARNESTLY)
John; John. Listen to yourself. Think of all the things we've seen - experienced. A star has to radiate more than light. There's something else in the Universe - a cosmic life-force; if you will. It operates everywhere. Perhaps the stars and planets are merely the prisms through which it projects and materially forms itself. Aren't we all living proof of that? Life; it's the most potent force in space.

KOENIG (LOOKING UP):
Except for fire...

KOENIG STALKS AROUND THE OFFICE LIKE A HUNTED MAN, UNCERTAIN AND UPSET. VICTOR WATCHES HIM CALMLY, SMILING.
VICTOR:
Have you ever wondered why I stayed on after the Ultra Probe fiasco?

KOENIG LOOKS AT VICTOR IN SURPRISE.
VICTOR:
When you came back here to take command for the subsequent Meta Probe, I told you I'd 'got caught' up here. That wasn't strictly true.

KOENIG:
I don't understand, Victor. You've been essential to the space program. They needed you up here and you stayed, didn't you?

VICTOR:
I'm over sixty; John. Even in space that's old. Did you know I was married once?

KOENIG (VERY SURPRISED):
No, I didn't.

VICTOR:
Kendra Summers Bergman died of an unknown space-virus on the Mercury Solar Observatory station more than twenty years ago. I was there. I was lucky not to be abandoned to the Triage quarantine. Most of the people on that station died too.

KOENIG (LOOKING DOWN AT THE DECK)
I'm sorry, Victor. I didn't know.

VICTOR:
Time never really heals anything. I couldn't go back to Earth for any length of time - too many memories. So I stayed up here - we hadn't any children. Space is a good place to forget; there's little time for ignoring immediate needs.

KOENIG:
You became Alpha's father. Mine too; in many ways.

VICTOR:
Maybe I'm a hopeless sentimentalist, John; but when that thing, that creature, that entity tried to make contact I found myself trusting it. As inhuman as the comparison of a star to a human being is, I didn't feel manipulated or hypnotised. All life is precious to me and I sensed that very same empathic response implicitly in the communication; fractured and remote as it was. From what little I could gather that star has raised whole planets over the eons and watched them flourish and die. And it's literally done it dozens of times! The planets form in that dustcloud we encountered and others like it. All of them are from the body of the star itself. The planets in the 'temperate' distances from their primary begin to host life, they live their time and decay. Over and over again. The star feels every nuance of it somewhere in that gigantic consciousness. It's a creator and it loves life with an intensity and in a way we couldn't begin to comprehend. A million years for it is like a second to us. And that's the gulf it's trying to cross with me - with us.

KOENIG:
Victor, you know there's no one whose opinion I respect more than yours. But this doesn't give me the answers we need. Maybe that star out there is alive and communicating with you. But just what does this 'creative radiation' you mentioned to Helena mean?

VICTOR:
Just as that red star is more than ten thousand times vaster than our own sun, the life-stimulating energy emitting from it is equally concentrated - in fact, probably more so. My analyses indicate this star is in the final stage of a progressive condensation process that is just about to activate.

KOENIG (ALARMED)
It's about to implode?! Why didn't you say so?! That's even worse than punching through its photosphere!!

VICTOR:
Not merely implode, John. I've...communed with this entity somehow -in a dream state- and this is no blind, mechanical cosmic phenomenon. It's a metamorphosis. Yes! This being, whatever it is, will soon transform before our eyes...

KOENIG:
...Into a white-dwarf star. And the rest of the thing self-destructs around it; taking us with it in the nova-storm.

VICTOR:
It's aware of us, John. It's asking for help. We've arrived at an opportune moment. That's why it looked into my mind, saw our limited capabilities and influenced me into launching those canisters. By itself it can't do what we can do for it.

KOENIG (SCEPTICAL AGAIN):
Which is what?

VICTOR:
In crude terms, cracking open its chrysalis-shell. The critically unstable nucleonic membrane of the photosphere.

KOENIG:
Why should that be so important?

VICTOR:
I couldn't understand its attempt to explain it. How could a lifeform twenty billion years old bridge that gap? It was so complex and tremendous that all I could feel was this incredible, dreamlike sense of truth. I was so compelled that I did all those things that endangered Alpha without a trace of fear that it would allow us to be harmed.

KOENIG (DOUBTFULLY):
Victor, part of me believes you. I want to believe you. But how can you be sure you weren't being coldly manipulated?

VICTOR:
I can't. All I have is my faith. Faith in life. And this thing is life-force incarnate; John. We don't have anything else it needs but a little mass and velocity. But if you can't trust me then I can't be part of this plan to divert the Moon from our present course. Oh, it can be done; of course. Kano and Computer will have found the answer by now. What I'm saying is that we shouldn't.

KOENIG (SYMPATHETIC BUT FIRM):
I'm sorry, Victor. But while I'm Commander I still have the responsibility for all our lives - faith or no faith. And that means deliberately recreating the very situation that knocked us out of orbit in the first place: massed nuclear waste. If we don't blast ourselves sideways in a few hours, by every law of physics we know, we're finished. And even then it might not be enough.

VICTOR (QUIETLY):
On the surface it does look that way. But life isn't just a mechanical process; regulated by this thermodynamic principle and measured by that system of established, formulised criteria. We're not biological machines - with the flesh there's a spirit, too. Any machine can be replicated; or the semblance of a machine. But no machine is a living thing, and machine-logic doesn't rule the Universe. Causality in time and space doesn't hinge on tangible and immediate forces alone. Call it Fate, or even God; if you like. We've faced the unexplainable; the impossible again and again. And we've survived - what are the causal and physical chances of that? I'm a scientist, John. But before the laws of physics and before science there were other laws. Everything we've discovered proves they're still working out there. Try the First Book of Genesis...

VICTOR SMILES BENIGNLY, TURNS AND WALKS UNHURRIEDLY OUT OF KOENIG'S OFFICE. KOENIG SITS DOWN IN A CHAIR AS IF SUDDENLY EXHAUSTED AND PUTS HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS IN FRUSTRATION. HIS COMLOCK BLEEPS AND HE ANSWERS IT. THE CALLER IS PAUL MORROW.
KOENIG:
Koenig here.

MORROW:
Commander, could you please come to Main Mission? There's something you need to see.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission.
THE DOORS TO HIS OFFICE OPEN AND KOENIG COMES INTO MAIN MISSION. EVERYONE IS STARING RAPTLY AT THE MAIN SCREEN, WHICH SHOWS A SERIES OF VIOLENT SOLAR PROMINENCES SHOOTING OUT OF THE RED STAR'S SURFACE. MORROW TURNS TO KOENIG WITH A GRIM EXPRESSION.

MORROW:
This started happening all over the star's surface a few minutes ago. Most of the storms we're seeing are bigger than our own sun.

KOENIG LOOKS AT THE TERRIFYING SPECTACLE, AWED.
KOENIG:
Victor was right; it's started. My God. It's colossal...

SANDRA BENES LOOKS UP FROM HER CONSOLE.
SANDRA:
And it is becoming more violent. The entire photosphere is now in a state of fluxion. Those storms will soon reach out past our own position and we continue to accelerate faster and faster as we near the red star. It is only a matter of time before we are engulfed by one of them.

MORROW (NERVOUS):
Commander, when are we going to implement the explosion and catapult ourselves out of this?

KOENIG (DECISIVELY):
Right now. Give instructions to all engineers and pilots, Paul. Get it moving; and fast.

RELIEVED, MORROW BEGINS ISSUING ORDERS. KOENIG LOOKS AT THE EXPLOSIVE VIOLENCE ON THE MAIN SCREEN AND SHUDDERS SLIGHTLY.
MORROW:
Eagle crews to launch pads. Engineering Section, prepare to implement waste-dump detonation. All Sections prepare for emergency readiness and acknowledge when ready. Medical Section prepare for casualties. Report, please...

REPORTS BEGIN TO COME IN. KOENIG SHAKES HIMSELF OUT OF TIREDNESS AND RETURNS TO HIS PRIVATE OFFICE AS MAIN MISSION BECOMES ENGROSSED IN THE OPERATIONAL DETAILS.
CUT TO:
Ext, Deep Space
THE MOON HURTLES TOWARDS THE VAST, INCREASINGLY TURBULENT MASS OF FIRE THAT IS THE RED STAR. AS WE WATCH IT BEGINS TO ACCELERATE AS IN THE BEGINNING OF A LONG FALL.

CUT TO:
Ext, Eagle Launch Pads & Nuclear Waste Dump Areas
A MONTAGE OF SHOTS OF EAGLES LAUNCHING THEMSELVES AND FLYING TO THE NUCLEAR WASTE DUMPS. EAGLES TAKE NUCLEAR WASTE CANISTERS FROM STORAGE SHAFTS AND CONCENTRATE THEM IN A VAST NATURAL PIT. DAVID KANO'S VOICE IS HEARD GIVING DIRECTIONS.
KANO (OC):
Computer has calculated the exact moment relative to the Moon's spin and rate of acceleration to detonate nuclear charges. Chain reaction must be achieved instantly to yield a sufficient force of counter-acceleration...

CUT TO:
Int, Victor Bergman's Quarters.
VICTOR LIES ON HIS BED, RESTLESS. SUDDENLY THE NOISE HE HEARD AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EPISODE RETURNS - LOUDER AND MORE STRIDENT THAN BEFORE. THERE ARE OVERTONES OF GREAT URGENCY IN IT NOW. VICTOR WINCES AT THE ONSLAUGHT AND HOLDS HIS HEAD IN PAIN. HE CRIES OUT AND REELS AROUND HIS QUARTERS, FINALLY FALLING OVER A TABLE WITH TERRIBLE IMPACT AND KNOCKING HIMSELF UNCONSCIOUS - HE MAY EVEN HAVE BEEN FATALLY INJURED.; HIS FOREHEAD IS BLEEDING BADLY. AS HE LIES THERE THE NOISE FURTHER INCREASES IN VOLUME AND URGENCY. SUDDENLY VICTOR'S EYES POP OPEN. A HALO OF LIGHT OBSCURES HIS HEAD. HIS EYES GLOW BRIEFLY, THE LIGHT FADES AND HE RISES IN WONDER, FEELING HIS FOREHEAD GINGERLY. THE WOUND HAS VANISHED. HE GOES OVER TO THE WINDOW AND LOOKS OUT AT THE BALEFUL FIERY SKY.
VICTOR:
I understand. I know what to do...

VICTOR LEAVES HIS QUARTERS BY MERELY GESTURING AT THE DOOR.

CUT TO:
Int, Moonbase Corridor, Entrance to Computer Section
VICTOR MAKES HIS WAY STEALTHILY ALONG THE CORRIDOR, AVOIDING SEVERAL CREW-MEMBERS UNTIL HE REACHES A DOOR MARKED 'MAIN COMPUTER SECTION -RESTRICTED ACCESS'. VICTOR GESTURES AT THE DOOR AND, LOOKING AROUND TO BE SURE HE IS UNOBSERVED, ENTERS THE COMPUTER SECTION.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Computer Section
VICTOR ENTERS THE COMPUTER CENTRE CALMLY AND WITHOUT HURRY. A SINGLE TECHNICIAN IS TENDING THE ROWS OF COMPUTER BANKS AND LOOKS AROUND IN SURPRISE, BUT THEN SMILES. VICTOR APPROACHES THE TECHNICIAN IN A FRIENDLY WAY AND COMES UP CLOSE.
TECHNICIAN:
Professor Bergman! How can I help you? Is it the operation?

VICTOR (SMILING ENIGMATICALLY):
It's my operation...

VICTOR SWIFTLY AND EXPERTLY CHOPS THE TECHNICIAN ON THE BACK OF THE NECK AND THE TECHNICIAN SLUMPS OVER IN UNCONSCIOUSNESS. VICTOR CAREFULLY PROPS THE TECHNICIAN COMFORTABLY UP IN A CONSOLE CHAIR AND GOES OVER TO THE MAIN CONSOLE. HE PRESSES A SWITCH AND A PANEL MARKED 'MAIN PROCESSING CORE UNIT' SLIDES BACK, REVEALING A COMPLEX-LOOKING CUBIC OBJECT (WITH HANDLES BUILT INTO THE TOP) STUDDED WITH LIGHTS AND MARKINGS. IT IS CONNECTED IN SEVERAL PLACES BY PLUG-CABLES TO THE MACHINERY AROUND IT. VICTOR SWIFTLY AND CAREFULLY REMOVES THE PLUGS ONE BY ONE. ON A NEARBY SCREEN, MAIN COMPUTER FUNCTIONS ARE SHOWN BEING DISENGAGED. AS VICTOR REMOVES THE LAST PLUG A SIGN ILLUMINATES; READING 'WARNING: COMPUTER CORE FUNCTIONS NOW COMPROMISED - ENGAGE AUXILIARY & MANUAL CONTROL SYSTEMS'. AN ALARM BEGINS TO SOUND. VICTOR HOISTS THE COMPUTER CORE EASILY AND RAPIDLY EXITS THE COMPUTER CENTRE BY GESTURING AT THE DOOR AGAIN, WHICH INSTANTLY OPENS TO LET HIM THROUGH.

CUT TO:
Int, Elevator.
HOLDING THE COMPUTER CORE-UNIT CAREFULLY IN ONE HAND AND CARRYING ANOTHER CASE MARKED 'SCIENCE SECTION' IN THE OTHER, VICTOR WATCHES A FLOOR-LEVEL INDICATOR SINK TO THE BOTTOM OF ITS RANGE. IN THE BACKGROUND, THE SAME WARNING ALARM AS IN THE COMPUTER CENTRE SOUNDS. WHEN THE DOORS OPEN BEFORE HIM IT IS ON A SERIES OF BRIGHTLY-SIGNPOSTED ROCKY TUNNELS STRETCHING AWAY INTO THE DARKNESS.
VICTOR (TO HIMSELF):
Just you try to find me down here in time, Gentlemen...

FADE.

ACT 4:

Int, Underground Moonbase Catacombs
KOENIG, WITH A LARGE DETACHMENT OF SECURITY MEN GATHERED IN THE CATACOMBS IS GIVING THEM INSTRUCTIONS. ALL THE MEN CARRY PORTABLE SCANNERS AND ELECTRIC TORCHES.
KOENIG:
...Now remember, under NO circumstances can we let that computer core be damaged. It's irreplaceable, and so is Professor Bergman. So normal procedure is off. I want you to encircle him progressively And no shooting. We have a deadline that can be measured in less than a few hour. If we fail, it's the end of all of us. We have one major advantage. We can't use infra-red down here because of all the interference from electrical systems, but the Professor's mechanical heart has unique trace-elements that are instantly detectable. The scanners have been tuned to register only those trace elements; so there can't be any doubt. You'll use your scanners to locate and surround, not chase him. If he drops or loses that core we may never find it or repair it in time.

KOENIG GESTURES AND THE APPREHENSIVE-LOOKING MEN MOVE OUT INTO THE CATACOMBS. TWO SECURITY MEN REMAIN GUARDING THE ENTRANCE TO THE ELEVATOR. KOENIG TAKES OUT HIS COMLOCK AND HAILS MAIN MISSION.
KOENIG (QUIETLY):
Status report, Paul.

MORROW:
Computer failure has been total across base, Commander. Eagle crews have been carrying on by manual tackling and drag-loading. It's slower but we've built up enough waste -concentration for the explosion, which leaves only...

KOENIG:
The last-minute computations for the detonation sequence. I know. We'll get the computer core back in place. What are sensors telling you?

MORROW:
Sandra reports that gravity, magnetism and solar activity are changing radically from minute to minute. The star is beginning to implode. We're headed straight for its photosphere as the Professor calculated. Radiation levels are off the scale and some Eagle shields have failed.

KOENIG:
Keep everyone working until the last possible minute, then get everyone inside fast and secure the base. When whatever happens does, there'll be no time for preparations. You're in command the first time I don't report in; Paul.

MORROW:
Acknowledged. Good luck, Sir.

MORROW SIGNS OFF AND KOENIG PUTS HIS COMLOCK ON HIS BELT. HE HOLDS UP HIS OWN SCANNER AND MOVES OUT INTO THE CATACOMBS. ON HIS WAY HE PASSES A CLUSTER OF LIGHTS WHICH SHINE ONTO A POLISHED STAINLESS-STEEL MIRROR SET AT AN ANGLE TO THE END OF THE CORRIDOR THAT SCATTERS THE LAMPLIGHT MORE WIDELY. HE BRIEFLY LOOKS AT HIS OWN REFLECTED WORRIED FACE AND GOES ON.

CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs
VICTOR BERGMAN HASTENS DOWN A ROCKY CORRIDOR AND INTO AN UNLIT AREA. HE MELTS INTO THE DARKNESS, LOOKING BEHIND HIM.

CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs
A MONTAGE OF SHOTS OF KOENIG AND THE SECURITY MEN FRUITLESSLY WANDERING THE SHADOWY CORRIDORS AND PERIODICALLY CHECKING THEIR SCANNERS, WITH NO RESULT. ALL LOOK FRUSTRATED AND THEY ARE BEGINNING TO SWEAT.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission
PAUL MORROW IS DIRECTING OPERATIONS. IT IS CLEARLY GETTING HOTTER ON MOONBASE; EVERYONE THERE IS PERSPIRING. ALAN CARTER IN HIS EAGLE COCKPIT IS ON THE MAIN SCREEN. HIS FACE IS DRENCHED WITH SWEAT.
CARTER:
It's like a furnace up here; Paul. We can't hold out much longer.

MORROW (STRAINED BUT CALM):
We have the nuclear waste-concentration we need now, Alan.

MORROW LOOKS OVER AT KANO, WHO NODS. MORROW WIPES HIS BROW.
MORROW:
Operation is complete. All Eagles return to base.

CARTER:
Thanks, Paul. Eagle One will put down as soon as I make sure there're no stragglers.

MORROW:
Acknowledged. Don't stay out too long; Alan.

CARTER (GRINNING):
Hey, Paul, we're used to a little sun in the old Down Under...

MORROW SMILES AND SIGNS OFF. A CHART OF THE MOON'S TRAJECTORY TOWARDS THE RED STAR REPLACES THE IMAGE OF CARTER. THE MOON IS PLAINLY ACCELERATING. PAUL MEETS SANDRA BENES' EYES; SHE IS WORRIED. PAUL LOOKS PENSIVELY AT THE SCREEN.
MORROW (TO HIMSELF):
Hurry, Commander...

CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs
KOENIG, NOW PERSPIRING HEAVILY, TAKES OUT HIS COMLOCK AND HAILS MAIN MISSION.
KOENIG:
It's getting hot down here, Paul. What's the situation upstairs?

MORROW (OC):
Eagles are landing at all pads, Commander. They can't go on, but we have what we need. Alpha's heat shields are taking a terrible beating. We've had to divert everything but emergency life-support to maintain them.

KOENIG:
Paul, we're doing our best to find Victor, but we're all up against the best brain we've got. He's more than a match for us, so we'll need a little luck. You all have to be ready up there until the last possible second.

MORROW:
Understood. We're waiting.

KOENIG REPLACES HIS COMLOCK ON HIS BELT AND LOOKS AROUND HIM. HE MUSES:
KOENIG:
Victor, if I were you, what would be the simplest solution to this complicated problem...

CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs
VICTOR BERGMAN MAKES HIS WAY QUIETLY DOWN ONE OF THE DIMLY-LIT PASSAGES, TRACING HIS FINGER ALONG THE WALL WITH SEEMING PURPOSE. THERE ARE SOUNDS OF PURSUIT ECHOING FAR AWAY. IN A TANGLE OF PASSAGES BEYOND THERE CAN BE SEEN SECURITY MEN AND ELECTRIC TORCH-BEAMS GOING TO AND FRO USELESSLY. VICTOR HIDES HIMSELF IN THE SHADOWS WHEN SOME OF THEM COME NEAR AND PASS HIM BY WITHOUT NOTICING. HE EMERGES AGAIN FROM THE SHADOWS AND SMILES IMPISHLY AND GOES BACK ON HIS CAUTIOUS WAY. AT LAST HE COMES TO A JUNCTION-BOX MARKED WITH AN ELECTRICAL 'DANGER' SYMBOL. VICTOR LOOKS BACK DOWN THE CORRIDOR AND BEGINS TO OPEN THE PANEL OF THE JUNCTION-BOX.

CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs
A MONTAGE OF SECURITY MEN ALMOST SIMULTANEOUSLY RECEIVING A CONTACT ON THEIR SCANNERS, WHICH 'BLEEP' TO INDICATE THEY ARE DETECTING. THE SECURITY MEN FOLLOW THEIR CONTACTS FURTHER INTO THE LABYRINTH.

CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs
KOENIG STOPS AS HIS COMLOCK BLEEPS. HE ACTIVATES IT AND SEES A SUCCESSION OF FACES ON ITS SCREEN TELLING HIM VICTOR BERGMAN HAS BEEN DETECTED.
KOENIG:
Commander to all searchers: converge on Professor

Bergman's position. Encircle but do not close in

and alarm him. On my way to you.

KOENIG, LOOKING DOUBTFUL, PUTS HIS COMLOCK BACK ON HIS BELT AND MOVES QUICKLY ON DOWN THE CORRIDOR HE IS IN.
CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs
KOENIG JOINS THE SECURITY MEN WHO ARE CLUSTERED AROUND THE ENTRANCE TO A CAVE. THERE ARE LIGHTS IN THE CAVE BUT IT IS FULL OF SHADOWS. THERE IS A MASSIVE CENTRAL COLUMN. ONE OF THE SECURITY MEN REPORTS TO KOENIG.
SECURITY MAN:
The signal is emanating from behind the column, Commander. All scanners check out.

KOENIG (TROUBLED)
Something's wrong. This is too easy...

THE SECURITY MEN BEGIN TO CLOSE IN AND FINALLY CIRCLE THE COLUMN WARILY. THE BACK OF THE COLUMN IS IN DARKNESS. THEIR TORCH-BEAMS SHINE SIMULTANEOUSLY ONTO A SMALL METAL OBJECT THAT GLINTS ALONE ON TOP OF A PIECE OF NOTEPAPER. ON THE NOTEPAPER IS SCRAWLED A MESSAGE: 'SORRY, JOHN. VICTOR.' KOENIG LOOKS GRIM BUT ADMIRING. HE HOLDS UP THE TINY OBJECT IN THE TORCHLIGHT.
KOENIG:
Of course: it's one of the spare emergency batteries for his heart - he has an implant to fit them himself if he needs to. It's the power source that contains the strongest trace-elements. A machine or the semblance of a machine can be replicated...

WITH A LOOK OF HORRIFIED REALISATION, KOENIG DASHES OUT OF THE CAVE AND DOWN THE CORRIDOR BEYOND. THE SECURITY MEN FOLLOW.
KOENIG:
The elevator! Somebody warn the guards there!

CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs with Door to Elevator
THE TWO GUARDS ARE STANDING TO ATTENTION WHEN THEY SUDDENLY HEAR A NOISE OF MOVEMENT. BOTH DRAW THEIR LASERS AND LOOK AROUND APPREHENSIVELY. SUDDENLY THEY SEE VICTOR BERGMAN AT THE END OF THE CORRIDOR, HOLDING UP THE COMPUTER CORE AND GESTURING TO THEM.
VICTOR:
Hi! You two! I'm giving up - here's the computer!

THE GUARDS RUSH OVER, LOOKING CAREFULLY AROUND FOR TRAPS. SUDDENLY VICTOR VANISHES BEFORE THEIR EYES AND THERE IS THE SOUND OF RUNNING FEET. THE GUARDS LOOK AROUND WILDLY BUT CAN SEE NO ONE. THEY RUSH FORWARD, ONLY TO SUDDENLY CONFRONT THEMSELVES AS REFLECTED IMAGES - THEY HAVE ENCOUNTERED THE STAINLESS STEEL MIRROR KOENIG NOTED EARLIER. THEY SWING AROUND SIMULTANEOUSLY TO SEE THE ELEVATOR DOOR SLAMMING SHUT. AT THE MOMENT THIS HAPPENS THEIR COMLOCKS START BLEEPING URGENTLY. THE TWO MEN LOOK AT EACH OTHER, EMBARRASSED AND APPREHENSIVE.

CUT TO:
Int, Elevator
VICTOR BERGMAN TAKES OUT A MODIFIED LOOKING COMLOCK AND PRESSES A SWITCH ON IT. THE COMPUTER CORE IS SET DOWN CAREFULLY BESIDE HIM.

CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs
A JURY-RIGGED LOOKING RADIO-LIKE MACHINE STANDS HIDDEN IN A CREVICE IN ONE OF THE LUNAR CAVERNS. BESIDE THE MACHINE JAMMED INTO THE CREVICE IS THE EQUIPMENT CASE VICTOR WAS CARRYING IN THE ELEVATOR WITH THE COMPUTER CORE. THE MACHINE IS MARKED 'ALL-FREQUENCY TRANSMISSION MODULATOR'. IT IS DORMANT BUT SUDDENLY LIGHTS ALL OVER IT SWITCH ON AND A FREQUENCY-BAND INDICATOR DISPLAYS POWERFUL UHF SIGNALS BEING TRANSMITTED. THE DEVICE ITSELF IS SILENT. THERE ARE THE SOUNDS OF MEN RUNNING BY IN THE DISTANCE AND THE FLASH OF TORCHES IN THE CORRIDORS BEYOND.

CUT TO:
Int, Catacombs at Elevator Entrance
KOENIG AND THE OTHER MEN ARE WAITING FOR THE ELEVATOR TO COME DOWN, BUT THE INDICATOR LIGHT REMAINS AT THE TOP LEVEL NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES THE BUTTON SET BESIDE THE ELEVATOR IS PRESSED.

KOENIG (FRUSTRATED):
He's sabotaged it!

KOENIG WHIPS OUT HIS COMLOCK AND TRIES TO HAIL MAIN MISSION, BUT ALL HE GETS IS STATIC. HE KEEPS TRYING, BUT WITH THE SAME RESULT.
KOENIG:
He's rigged-up a signal-jammer somewhere! Everyone fan out and find it quickly! If you can't turn it off, blast it!

THE MEN SCATTER INTO THE LABYRINTH. KOENIG AND ONE OTHER MAN REMAIN AT THE ELEVATOR ENTRANCE. KOENIG LEANS BACK AGAINST THE DOOR, HIS EYES WILD WITH STRESS AND WORRY.
KOENIG (TO HIMSELF)
A whole base after him and he'll still get through... God help us all.

CUT TO:
Int, Koenig's Quarters
VICTOR SITS CALMLY IN A CHAIR LOOKING AT A SMILING PICTURE OF HELENA. THE COMPUTER-CORE IS BESIDE HIM, CAREFULLY PLACED ON A NEARBY TABLE. HE PICKS UP HIS MODIFIED COM-LOCK AND HAILS MAIN MISSION.

VICTOR:
Professor Bergman to Main Mission. That you, Paul?

MORROW (OC, COLDLY):
Yes, Professor. We've been looking for you.

VICTOR (GRINNING):

When John extricates himself from that little situation I designed for him, tell him to meet me in his quarters, will you? I have the core here. No great rush.

MORROW (OC, SURPRISED)
He's on his way.

VICTOR SETTLES BACK COMFORTABLY IN THE CHAIR AND SMILES, LOOKING OVER AT THE COMPUTER CORE.
VICTOR:
No need to hurry at all...

FADE.

ACT 5:

Int, Koenig's Quarters
KOENIG ENTERS HIS QUARTERS WARILY, FLANKED BY TWO SECURITY MEN. OTHERS ARE VISIBLE BEYOND AS THE DOOR CLOSES. VICTOR BERGMAN WAVES AT KOENIG CHEERILY AND POINTS OVER AT THE COMPUTER CORE LYING ON THE TABLE. KOENIG GOES OVER AND PICKS IT UP GINGERLY.
VICTOR:
Don't worry; it's completely undamaged. I did make one small modification, however...

KOENIG LOOKS SIGNIFICANTLY AT VICTOR, WHO SMILES AND SHAKES HIS HEAD.
VICTOR:
It will now refuse any order to detonate the waste site. Oh; I know David could program new codes to override what I've done, but by then it'll be too late.

KOENIG LOOKS ANGRY, THEN RESIGNED. HE HANDS THE COMPUTER CORE TO ONE OF THE SECURITY MEN.
KOENIG:
Get this to the Computer Section anyway. You're both dismissed.

TAKING THE CORE, THE TWO MEN GO OUT, THEIR FACES UNEASY. KOENIG REMAINS STANDING ALTHOUGH HE IS TIRED AND SWEATY, LOOKING DOWN AT VICTOR.
KOENIG:
So you've won, Victor: you've killed us. Why? What in the name of...anything; made you do it?

VICTOR (SERENELY):
If the Universe has decreed our time is up, then nothing can prevent that, John. There's an order to things; but that doesn't mean we were meant to understand it. A tiny glimpse -a fraction of eternity- is all we get.

KOENIG (BITTERLY):
That's a great comfort to the hundreds of others you made that decision for.

VICTOR:
I'm not hiding it, John. Let's go down to Main Mission. There's no real point in slamming me in the brig now, is there? If anybody wants to take a swing at me there, you can hold me down.

KOENIG ALMOST SMILES, BUT LOOKS HAGGARD. HE GESTURES TO VICTOR, WHO FOLLOWS HIM OUT OF KOENIG'S QUARTERS.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission
THE DOORS TO KOENIG'S OFFICE OPEN AND KOENIG AND VICTOR ENTER MAIN MISSION. SOME PEOPLE THERE GLARE AT VICTOR BUT NOBODY SPEAKS UP. HELENA RUSSELL IS THERE AND KOENIG MOVES OVER TO HER. THE MAIN SCREEN SHOWS A VIOLENT SOLAR LANDSCAPE, AND EVERYONE IS WATCHING IN FRIGHTENED AWE. THE HEAT IS PALPABLE - EVERYONE IS SWEATING HEAVILY.
MORROW:
Heat shields are overloading. Radiation and magnetic levels have run off the scale.

DAVID KANO LOOKS AT VICTOR ACCUSINGLY.
KANO:
We have only minutes now. All of that work for nothing...

MORROW:
Acceleration rate is nearly a thousand miles per second, now. For what its worth, we're travelling faster than any human beings in history. Life-support...

SUDDENLY A BANK OF EQUIPMENT VIOLENTLY SHORT-CIRCUITS AND EXPLOSIONS LEAP FROM CONSOLE TO CONSOLE THROUGHOUT MAIN MISSION. EXTINGUISHERS ARE BROUGHT OUT. KOENIG SHOUTS ORDERS AMIDST THE DIN.
KOENIG:
Shut down all systems! It doesn't matter now anyway!

MORROW:
Main Mission to all Sections Alpha: shut down all electrical systems immediately. Contact with the red star's outer layer in estimated ninety seconds. Good luck, everyone...

MORROW SHUTS OFF HIS OWN CONSOLE AND LOOKS BACK AT KOENIG; NODS. THE LIGHTS GO DOWN TO 'EMERGENCY' ILLUMINATION AS THE LIGHT FROM THE RED STAR NOTICEABLY INTENSIFIES. KOENIG PUTS AN ARM AROUND HELENA AND VICTOR STANDS BEHIND THEM, WATCHING THE SCREEN, WHICH IS STILL FUNCTIONING. SUDDENLY THE SCREEN TOO GOES BLANK. A CRACKLING NOISE BUILDS IN VOLUME AND INTENSITY. IT BECOMES A ROAR AND EVERYONE CLAPS THEIR HANDS TO THEIR EARS.
MORROW (SHOUTING):
We're grazing the photosphere now! All radiation and heat shields gone! It won't be long now!

THE LIGHT BECOMES LIVID AND HELLISH LIKE THE INSIDE OF AN OVEN. THE CRACKLING ROAR BECOMES A HOWLING, SHRIEKING NOISE. HELENA HUDDLES IN JOHN'S ARMS AND SANDRA BENES IN PAUL MORROW'S. SUDDENLY MAIN MISSION ROCKS, AND EVERYONE IS THROWN TO THE DECK.

CUT TO:
Ext, Red Star's Photosphere
THE MOON SHOOTS DOWN TOWARDS THE FIERY VIOLENCE AND STRIKES THE OUTERMOST LAYER OF PLASMA. AT ONCE A BRILLIANT WHITE LIGHT BEGINS SPREADING FROM THE POINT OF CONTACT AND SIMULTANEOUSLY BEGINS TO RAPIDLY RECEDE. THE MOON IS LEFT ALONE SAILING THROUGH SPACE, UNDAMAGED.

CUT TO:

Int, Main Mission
EVERYONE IS RISING TO THEIR FEET. A BRILLIANT BUT REMOTE WHITE LIGHT SHINES THROUGH THE WINDOWS OF MAIN MISSION, AND PEOPLE CROWD OVER TO SEE, WITH THE SINGLE EXCEPTION OF VICTOR BERGMAN. ON THE LUNAR HORIZON IS A SINGLE POINT OF BLINDING WHITE - A NEW STAR.

CUT TO:
Ext, Deep Space
FAR AWAY FROM THE MOON, NOW COASTING FREELY THROUGH SPACE, THE NEW WHITE STAR SHINES AND PULSES LIKE SOMETHING ALIVE AND JOYOUS.

CUT TO:
Int, Main Mission
THE CREW RELUCTANTLY LEAVE THE WINDOWS AND BEGIN SWITCHING-ON THEIR CONSOLES AGAIN. THE MAIN SCREEN BECOMES ACTIVE. REPORTS BEGIN COMING IN FROM ALL OVER ALPHA AS PAUL MORROW RECEIVES THEM AND ACKNOWLEDGES. KOENIG AND HELENA REMAIN AT THE WINDOW BUT VICTOR BERGMAN HANGS BACK, HIS POSE STRANGELY RAMROD STRAIGHT WITH HIS HEAD COCKED ON ONE SIDE AS IF LISTENING INTENTLY. NO ONE NOTICES; ENGROSSES AS THEY ARE.
HELENA:
We should all be dead. The heat and radiation bombarding us when we entered the photosphere should have killed us all a hundred times over.

KOENIG (SMILING):
I guess we all got a good dose of Victor's 'creative radiation' too. He was right all along - incredible! I have to ask him...

KOENIG AND HELENA TURN ROUND TO SEE VICTOR STANDING AS IF IN A TRANCE. SUDDENLY HE SEEMS TO RECOVER AND STUMBLES A LITTLE, SHAKING HIS HEAD. KOENIG AND HELENA RUSH OVER AND HELP HIM UP.
KOENIG:
Victor, are you all right? You knew all along; and it happened just as you told me.

HELENA:
It's beautiful, Victor; a new young star. Somehow the rest of the red star simply...dissipated. We're back on course again.

VICTOR (RECOVERING):
More than just a new star, Helena; John. A real and true metamorphosis; just as it said. A lifeform passing from one larval stage to a chrysalis to...something unique. Something not one in a trillion trillion stars can become. And we helped to bring it about; in return it saved us. It was just telling me... or rather giving the most general impression I could absorb of its gratitude that we trusted it.

KOENIG:
It was all up to you, Victor.

VICTOR:
All of us; John. All it takes is a little faith...

KOENIG CHUCKLES. HE STARTS WALKING WITH VICTOR AND HELENA UP THE STEPS LEADING TO HIS PRIVATE OFFICE.
KOENIG:
Hard to imagine a red star ten billion years old as a larva...

VICTOR:
Just one stage in a vast life-cycle; John. But it told me the whole Universe was alive...it was so beautiful. I couldn't hang onto it. We're just at the beginning.

THEY STOP AND LOOK BACK AT THE STAR THROUGH THE WINDOWS.
VICTOR (PLAYFULLY):
It didn't call me 'Dad', though...

THEY ALL LAUGH AND THE DOORS CLOSE BEHIND THEM.

CUT TO:
Ext, Deep Space
THE MOON IS HEADING OFF INTO DEEP SPACE. BEHIND IT THE NEW STAR PULSATES. THERE IS A SOUND LIKE THAT VICTOR FIRST HEAD IN HIS QUARTERS, BUT MORE HAUNTING AND HARMONIOUS. THE MOON MOVES OUT OF VIEW.

FADE.

THE END.


Copyright (c) 1999. Reprinted with permission.
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