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"Legacy" "The Wolfpack"

Story and non-original characters Owen Hodgson. This story is Fan Fiction.

All characters, events and corporations depicted in this story are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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A I R W O L F

D O W N

Background

This story was written back in 1995, on the spur of an idea that I'd had maybe ten years previously. I wanted to do a story where Airwolf was seriously crippled behind enemy lines in an impossible-to-get-out-of position. Inspiration certainly came from the Firefox and Firefox Down novels and film, and there's certainly a "Soviets are (mostly) the Bad Guys" stereotypical Cold War feel, hopefully in keeping with early Airwolf shows!

It was written as a kind of "compromised screenplay", with script-like dialogue, but without any detailed direction. As there are no personal narrative elements, everything has to be done through actions and words. Hopefully this gives some immediacy to the story in the same way as watching it on TV would.

Note for Purists

Whilst this story is firmly set in 1986, towards the end of the classic "Airwolf" era, it does not feature Caitlin. This was just the way the story panned out, and she wasn't an intentional ommission; perhaps I was just going for that "Season 1" feel!

Hope you enjoy it.

Moscow, 1986.

The War Centre, somewhere beneath the Kremlin.

Rows of consoles and operators with head-sets fill the floor of the room which is dominated by a huge map-projection of the Soviet Union on the front wall.

Coloured lights and lines show various military installations and conditions.

Behind the rows of consoles there is a platform on which several other operators are positioned. Stood by them are two officers; General Alexander Tserkov and Lieutenant General Mikhail Petrovsky, Soviet Air Force.

The Lieutenant General is stood a little behind Tserkov and is regarding him uncertainly as he watches the map.

PETROVSKY: Is there a problem, Comrade General?

Tserkov mutters something, distractedly and stares at the map again. He glances at the clock, then checks his watch. Petrovsky sees this.

PETROVSKY: The First Secretary's plane will arrive in twenty-five minutes, sir.

TSERKOV: [snapping] Yes, yes, I know that, Lieutenant General.

Tserkov looks at his watch again.

PETROVSKY: I do not think that any attack will come at this stage, sir. We have all our fighters in the air, along the First Secretary's flight path. The Moscow defences are on full alert. Operation "Mask" is an impenetrable net, sir. No aircraft or missile launch will go undetected. Countermeasures are in place. Besides which, the First Secretary's plane is already well within Soviet Airspace...

TSERKOV: [impatiently] Thank you, Petrovsky. Yes, very good, you have done well.

PETROVSKY: [after a pause] Forgive me, sir, but you seem a little - distracted...

Tserkov rounds on Petrovsky suddenly. Petrovsky steps back a pace.

TSERKOV: I am responsible if anything should go wrong today! This ... this threat to kill the First Secretary cannot be idly brushed aside.

He turns to the room again.

TSERKOV: [to an operator] Show me the First Secretary's plane. Now!

A blue dot is projected onto the wall map. It is moving slowly northwards towards Moscow.

TSERKOV: And highlight the defence chain.

Scores of red lights brighten along the line of the blue dot's path, and for some distance either side.

Moscow itself is surrounded by ring after ring of defences, like a huge fortress.

PETROVSKY: You see, Comrade General, there are no gaps.

Tserkov nods abruptly.

TSERKOV: [to Petrovsky] I must go now, if I am to meet the First Secretary's plane! Have my car ready.

CONSOLE OPERATOR: Yes, Sir.

TSERKOV: You have command, Lieutenant General.

Petrovsky snaps a salute and nods. Tserkov strides towards the door and out.

The door closes. Petrovsky moves to a telephone and picks up the receiver, dialing.

PETROVSKY: Chairman Korostov, quickly! [pauses whilst the connection is made] Comrade Chairman! General Tserkov has left for the airport.

 

 

KGB Chairman Korostov's office, the Kremlin.

Korostov is holding his telephone, standing at his desk in a large ornate room. There are two other men in the room, one stood in uniform, the other sitting, important, older and in a suit.

Korostov turns to peer out over the courtyard. Below he can see Tserkov climbing into a car.

KOROSTOV: Thank you, Comrade Lieutenant General, I see him now. Proceed.

He puts down the phone.

 

 

In the War Centre, Petrovsky returns the receiver. He turns to the room.

PETROVSKY: Stand down all operation "Mask" aircraft! All ground defence units to stand-by status!

Operators begin to carry out his instructions.

 

 

Korostov turns back to the other men, as the car passes out of sight.

KOROSTOV: Colonel Kirov, what is the progress of the search for his associates?

The uniformed officer speaks, addressing both men.

KIROV: Sir, units are moving in on known hideouts and safehouses now.

KOROSTOV: And what have we learnt of his route out?

Kirov smiles nervously.

KIROV: The man, Nikolayevsky, talked under interrogation, sir. He revealed a good proportion of the operation.

KOROSTOV: Good, good! He was one of their top men, was he not?

KIROV: That is correct, Comrade Chairman. We believe he instigated this end of their pipeline.

KOROSTOV: Please, carry on, Colonel.

KIROV: [clearing his throat] It seems that the Americans, or the British, or both, have set up an escape route to the South into Turkey. He is supposed to meet his contact this afternoon while he is returning home. They were to provide him with false papers and the identity of a German businessman who regularly visits the Moscow area.

KOROSTOV: This German businessman. What do we know about him?

KIROV: He is, or must be, an agent. He arrived on a routine trip two days ago. He has been under routine surveillance. He will, no doubt, be under orders to switch with our defector General at some point. A unit is on its way to pick him up.

KOROSTOV: And what is supposed to happen beyond the Moscow area, outside the range of our German?

KIROV: Another identity change, sir. And so on until they reached Tblisi.

KOROSTOV: They, Comrade Kirov?

KIROV: Yes, sir, he would be alone at no time. All the individuals he was to impersonate regularly travel with companions. They were to travel with him as normal.

KOROSTOV: Very good, Comrade! I assume we are making progress with this new information?

KIROV: Indeed, sir. Nikolayevsky provided the identities of all the switches and their companions, locations of switch points, as well as a good deal of information regarding their operation centres. Units are moving in now to bring them in.

KOROSTOV: Do we know of any back-up arrangements that might have been made?

KIROV: No - Nikolayevsky has named several alternative switches which would come into play should something go wrong, however, the whole operation depends on the meeting this afternoon.

KOROSTOV: And our defector himself?

KIROV: We have set up - shall we say - an alternative rendezvous at the designated pick-up point this afternoon. He will suspect nothing, of course, because he has not yet met with any agents. He has been working via safe lines from the War Centre.

KOROSTOV: I am aware of it.

He turns to the older man.

KOROSTOV: You see, First Secretary, we discovered his intentions some time ago, purely by good fortune. An agent passing spy-satellite information to the Americans was brought in. His interrogation hinted at such a possibility, and our investigations, with the help of Comrade Lieutenant General Petrovsky, have confirmed our suspicions.

FIRST SECRETARY: I am impressed, Comrade Chairman. However, I fail to understand all the trouble you are going to with this fake arrival of my plane.

KOROSTOV: This operation, "Mask", I think Petrovsky called it, was set in motion some time ago. We, of course, did not have the information that the captured agent has just revealed. It will now suffice as back up. Our intentions were to get our defector to lead us to his contacts - now, we can use it to ensure he arrives at our rendezvous, this afternoon. He will be delayed before the airport, and miss your "arrival", Sir.

The First Secretary smiles.

KOROSTOV: When he discovers this, he will panic, as he was ordered to greet you on your arrival. Originally, we suspect he would have headed straight for his pick-up, and we would have followed him there. Now, we will be waiting for him.

FIRST SECRETARY: Very good. Very good. I assume he is under observation in any event.

KOROSTOV: Of course.

The First Secretary rises.

FIRST SECRETARY: Good. Inform me of his arrest, Comrade Chairman Korostov. I will speak to him myself.

He turns to go.

KOROSTOV: As you wish, First Secretary.

He leaves, joined by two guards waiting outside. Korostov smiles at Kirov.

KOROSTOV: Excellent work, Kirov! Excellent! We have them all! The whole network.

KIROV: Yes, Comrade Chairman.

 

 

A traffic jam in the Moscow suburbs. The yellow-lined Diplomatic middle lane is empty, however, and a black Zil speeds along it.

General Tserkov is within. The Driver looks agitated.

DRIVER: Sir, there is a blockage ahead.

TSERKOV: What?!

DRIVER: Some kind of accident. It is blocking the whole road, Sir.

The car slows where a large truck has overturned, right across the road.

Police are stood around. One waves the car to a halt.

POLICEMAN: Sorry Sir, there is a crane on the way.

Tserkov sticks his head out of the window.

TSERKOV: How long, man?

POLICEMAN: No more than twenty minutes, Sir.

TSERKOV: Driver! Turn us round. Find another route to the airport. Now!

DRIVER: Yes, sir!

The Driver spins the wheel and the car hurries back the way it came. Two other black cars pull out of the queue on a nod from the Policeman. They follow the Zil.

 

 

Inside the War Room, Petrovsky is on the phone.

PETROVSKY: I see... yes, I understand. Very well, Comrade Chairman. It is good news. You are certain there are no alternative escape plans? ... Very well. I shall not proceed with operation "Back-fire".

He puts the phone down, smiling.

An operator turns to him, holding a sheet of paper.

OPERATOR: Sir?

PETROVSKY: Yes? What is it?

OPERATOR: Sir, the General wanted reports on all unusual air activity...

PETROVSKY: The General is not here. Operation Mask has been stood down.

OPERATOR: But sir, a listening station near Kazan reports a low flying aircraft heading west half an hour ago, sir.

PETROVSKY: What aircraft?

OPERATOR: Unknown, sir. They could not get a radar fix and it was below their infra-red scanners within moments. They did not establish radio contact.

PETROVSKY: What speed?

OPERATOR: Sub-sonic, sir. They did not report it until they had verified it wasn't a registered movement. There were a lot of Mask aircraft in the air, sir.

PETROVSKY: Yes, yes, I know! Get confirmation from them, at once! And see if anyone else saw or heard this aircraft. Show me Kazan.

A point of light appears above the town.

OPERATOR: Kazan confirms their instruments picked up the aircraft, sir.

PETROVSKY: Was it not sighted? Visually?

OPERATOR: No, sir. It is a listening station...

PETROVSKY: And any other sightings?

OPERATOR: No, sir.

PETROVSKY: Then I would say this "sighting" is dubious in the least. Have the air-controller for that area check out any unauthorised civilian movements - it is most likely a crop-spraying aircraft or similar. Remove Kazan from the map.

He waves his arm in dismissal, and turns away.

 

 

Korostov picks up the phone in his office as it rings.

KOROSTOV: Yes? ... Good.

He puts it down again. He looks at Kirov.

KOROSTOV: He is about to arrive at the airport.

KIROV: Shall I order the cars to depart?

Korostov nods.

 

 

Tserkov looks eagerly forwards as his car approaches the airport.

TSERKOV: Come on! Come on! He will be arriving now! I will hold you personally responsible!

Army personnel are stood across the road ahead. Traffic is stopping.

DRIVER: Sir.

They are signalled to halt. Tserkov is sweating. Immediately, several very important flagged, black cars emerge from the airport entrance, crossing the road ahead and passing Tserkov's car.

He watches them go, becoming tense, with their motorcycle and Police-Car escorts.

DRIVER: Sir. That was the First Secretary's car. [He pauses] What do you wish me to do?

The soldiers signal the traffic to move on. Tserkov is sweating.

DRIVER: Shall I turn round, sir?

TSERKOV: No, no. Drive on.

DRIVER: [puzzled] Drive on, sir?

TSERKOV: [aggressively] Yes! Drive on! Now!

The Driver looks worried, but accelerates the car away from the airport.

Two black cars suddenly pull away in pursuit.

 

 

Kirov stands up, suddenly, telephone in hand. He is in Korostov's office.

KIROV: What?! .... Follow him! Go!

KOROSTOV: What? What is it, Kirov?

KIROV: Sir, Tserkov has driven past the airport. He has not turned round.

KOROSTOV: Does he know we're on to him, Kirov?

KIROV: I don't know, sir. The cars are following... Sir, he must be panicking, he's missed the First Secretary - he must assume that we would begin to look for him after such an absence - maybe he's trying to reach his second switch...

KOROSTOV: How can he, if he doesn't know who or where it is? Your agent, Nikolayevsky said he knew only of his pick up.

KIROV: Yes, sir.

KOROSTOV: Then stop him. There is nothing to lose.

KIROV: [to phone] Stop Tserkov's vehicle. ... Yes, I said stop him!

 

 

Tserkov's car heads out into the countryside, which is flat and open. The road is slightly elevated above the surrounding fields. The Driver is looking rather worried.

DRIVER: I really don't understand, sir. Moscow is in the other direction.

TSERKOV: Keep going.

The Driver glances in the mirror. Tserkov notices. He looks round and sees the two cars accelerating towards him.

TSERKOV: KGB! Drive!

He holds a gun to the Driver. The nearest car flashes its headlights. The Driver flashes his in response.

DRIVER: I'm sorry sir. I have my orders.

TSERKOV: You ... Keep going, soldier, or ...

The Driver swerves the car across the road, suddenly. Tserkov loses his balance, and falls on the floor behind the front seats.

The car skids to a halt.

The tail cars pull over and slow. Tserkov leaps out, pulling the Driver out of the front seat. The Driver charges Tserkov, knocking him backwards. The gun fires and the Driver falls to the ground.

Men emerge from the other cars as Tserkov recovers and scrambles for the car.

He aims two shots at them as he leaps in and screeches away.

They rush back to their cars.

Tserkov glances in his mirror, and checks his watch. He is sweating. He accelerates.

 

 

Kirov listens to the phone, concerned.

KIROV: Dead? .... Keep on him.

KOROSTOV: Who?

KIROV: He has shot the Driver. He is still being pursued.

KOROSTOV: He cannot keep it up, Comrade Colonel. He has nowhere to run to.

 

 

Tserkov speeds along the road, the KGB cars about quarter of a mile behind.

Sand-quarry pits line one side of the road. There is a junction ahead. He suddenly slams on the brakes, the car skids across the road and stops. He leaps out.

The two others approach quickly. He fires two shots towards them. The leading car's windscreen shatters. It skids across the road also, the second ploughing into it's side.

Tserkov runs towards the sand-quarry pit ahead. There is a lot of noise coming from below the rim, and sand billows up.

Men stagger out of the KGB cars, opening fire.

 

 

KIROV: He's out of the car and running ...? They are by the sand quarries, at ... Our men are out. They've got him now, he's at the edge of a sand-pit!

 

 

Tserkov climbes the small fence by the road. He fires again at the running KGB men. One falls dead. There is the noise of machinery from close by in the quarry.

Wind blows the sand up from below the ledge he is now on. He turns and disappears over the edge, running.

The sand-pit judders in his vision, as does the black and white helicopter he runs for.

 

 

KIROV: They have him! He's jumped into a pit!

 

 

The KGB men rush towards the fence.

Tserkov reaches the door of the helicopter and climbs in.

HAWKE: General Tserkov?

TSERKOV: Mr Hawke? I'm afraid I'm not alone!

HAWKE: KGB?

TSERKOV: Yes.

HAWKE: Damn.

He flicks the weapons system on line.

HAWKE: Welcome aboard.

Airwolf rises up from the pit, roaring and blowing sand over the KGB men. The weapons pylons extended.

They fire at it. Airwolf's guns open up and they dive for cover or are shot. Hawke rakes the three cars with bullets, and all three explode.

The helicopter rises over them.

Tserkov adjusts his position, breathing heavily. Hawke looks round.

HAWKE: What happened?

TSERKOV: They must have been onto my plans. I suspected something. They must have discovered the decoy defection route and put me under surveillance.

HAWKE: Well, lets hope we can get clear of here before they find out what's happened.

Tserkov looks worried.

Airwolf thunders away across the fields on the other side of the road.

One of the KGB officers looks up from his prone position on the road. He climbs wearily to his feet, then runs down the road.

 

 

The FIRM operations centre, Langley, Virginia.

Archangel smiles, looking up at a huge map of the Soviet Union.

ARCHANGEL: Can we get verification on the signal?

MARELLA: Verified, sir. Hawke's picked him up.

ARCHANGEL: Good. It's all finally working. What about aerial activity?

MARELLA: The British AWACS plane is still on patrol. They report no launch of aircraft since the major scramble earlier.

ARCHANGEL: Good. That had me worried for a while.

MARELLA: Soviet television suggests the First Secretary had arrived back in Moscow around that time.

ARCHANGEL: I thought he'd flown in last night?

MARELLA: He did, sir.

Archangel looks puzzled.

ARCHANGEL: [joking] How many First Secretaries do they have?

MARELLA: Of course, the intense aerial activity surrounding both flights may indicate strengthened security after the anonymous threats of assassination attempts on the First Secretary.

She looks at Archangel knowingly.

ARCHANGEL: [grinning] I do hate to cause trouble like that. Send out the coded signals to our refuelling stations. Let's make sure they don't die of thirst.

MARELLA: Right away.

 

 

Airwolf passes low over fields, sub-sonic.

TSERKOV: [concerned] Forgive me, Mr Hawke, but ... my contact informed me that I was to be picked up by some ... special high-speed aircraft ... has there been a change of plan?

HAWKE: Naa, this is it, General.

TSERKOV: Now you jest, Mr Hawke! You cannot think that you can escape Soviet air defences in a helicopter! Only an hour ago, I was in command of them; I know!

HAWKE: We're radar invisible, General. And as you know, if I go any faster, we'll be picked up by all your listening stations. We've got to take it slowly until we're past Moscow.

TSERKOV: And then? You cannot expect to outrun any pursuit in a helicopter.

Hawke smiles to himself.

 

 

Kirov looks up suddenly at Korostov, his face shocked.

KOROSTOV: What?!!

KIROV: Sir, an aircraft ... a helicopter has picked Tserkov up. It gunned down our men and headed north from the quarry, perhaps twenty minutes ago...

Korostov picks up the second phone. He dials quickly.

KOROSTOV: Lieutenant General Petrovsky!

 

 

Petrovsky stares at the map, phone in hand.

PETROVSKY: A helicopter? ... Yes, yes, ... at once!

He puts the phone down suddenly.

PETROVSKY: Enlarge southern Moscow area, quickly!

 

 

Korostov looks round at Kirov.

KOROSTOV: We have no knowledge of any aircraft, Colonel! Where has it come from?! I thought Nikolayevsky told us everything?!

KIROV: Evidently not, sir...

KOROSTOV: Bring all his contacts in. I want them all interrogated. I thought we had this all sown up. Report to me in the War Room, Colonel.

KIROV: Yes sir.

They both make to leave.

 

 

Petrovsky stares at the enlargement on the map.

PETROVSKY: ... and the aircraft's heading?

A line appears on the map heading north from the quarry pits.

PETROVSKY: I need confirmation of the aircraft's position. Show all radar traces ...

Lots of red lights appear, all carrying identification numbers.

PETROVSKY: Where is it? Contact "Mask" landing control ... they are within radar range of the sighting ... alert all defence chain stations around the city. Instruct them to train their radars on this projected course.

OPERATOR: Sir, landing control has no unidentified aircraft on its scopes.

PETROVSKY: [softly, with menace] Where is it? [He pauses] Instruct all Warsaw Pact airfields to report missing aircraft, especially helicopters. ... And plot in the course of the unidentified sound trace at Kazan.

OPERATOR: Sir?

PETROVSKY: Just do it!

A line appears from Kazan and intersects the other line at the quarry.

PETROVSKY: That's it!

OPERATOR: Sir, mobile outer defence chain unit is reporting a visual sighting ... low flying helicopter ... they cannot get a radar trace ... speed about two-hundred and fifty knots, sir.

PETROVSKY: Scramble interceptors immediately - Moscow Ring. Alert helicopter gunships at stations V3 to V9 to take up positions along the flight path.

Korostov enters.

KOROSTOV: Comrade Lieutenant General!

PETROVSKY: We are tracking the helicopter. It is flying almost at ground level. I have aircraft ready to intercept it.

KOROSTOV: Bring him down, if you can. I want Tserkov alive.

PETROVSKY: Very well. Instruct all units to attempt to disable the aircraft, or force it to land.

KOROSTOV:[with an implied threat] The First Secretary would also be disappointed if Tserkov were killed.

Petrovsky looks round at Korostov.

 

 

Marella looks up from her console, suddenly, worried.

MARELLA: Michael! There's been another massive scramble.

ARCHANGEL: Where?

MARELLA: Along Hawke's projected flight path.

ARCHANGEL: Alright, keep monitoring the AWACS reports - I want to know what they're saying to each other out there.

 

 

Hawke looks down at his controls. The radar is covered in dots.

TSERKOV: What is it?

HAWKE: There's been a scramble. They're coming for you.

TSERKOV: What are you going to do?

 

 

The pilot of an Mi-24 gunship scans the ground below him. He sees Airwolf passing beneath him, hugging the ground.

PILOT: Unidentified helicopter sighted! Moving into pursuit. My position is...

 

 

War Room. The Operator flicks switches. Lights and lines appear on the map.

OPERATOR: Positive sighting, sir! The gunship is following at maximum speed.

PETROVSKY: Can he identify the type of aircraft?

OPERATOR: No, sir. He has never seen one of this type. He says he cannot understand why it wears no form of camouflage.

KOROSTOV: No camouflage? A civilian helicopter? This makes little sense, Lieutenant General.

PETROVSKY: Instruct the gunship to force it down, at once. Maybe we will find some answers, hmm, Comrade Chairman?

 

 

The Mi-24 closes in on Airwolf. The Pilot moves the gunship above the tail of the other helicopter.

PILOT: Unidentified aircraft. You are ordered to land immediately.

 

 

Hawke looks round at Tserkov.

HAWKE: There's a gunship on our tail.

TSERKOV: Then it's too late!

HAWKE: Yeah, hang on, General.

Tserkov looks worried for a moment. Hawke punches the Turbo button. Airwolf streaks forwards, climbing up and away from the Mi-24.

PILOT: Oh my god! It's fired some kind of jet engines! Look at the speed...!

 

 

Airwolf's Mach-counter passes 1.00. Tserkov hangs onto his seat.

 

 

Petrovsky looks round at the operator in shock.

PETROVSKY: Repeat!

OPERATOR #1: The pilot says the aircraft has accelerated away from him, using some kind of jet engines ...

OPERATOR #2: Ground stations are picking up a super-sonic footprint, along the helicopter's flight-path. No radar trace.

KOROSTOV: [smiling at Petrovsky's discomfort] Something is surely amiss here, Lieutenant General! A helicopter accelerating beyond Mach one?

PETROVSKY: Instruct all aircraft and ground stations to track the aircraft using Infra-red sensors! Fighters are to intercept immediately!

OPERATOR #2: Definite heat trace, sir. Ground station is able to lock its weapons onto the target. They are awaiting instructions, sir.

OPERATOR #1: Aircraft of the 9th Squadron report a visual sighting. They are closing in. They confirm the helicopter's speed in excess of Mach one-point-three.

KOROSTOV: That cannot be possible.

PETROVSKY: Open communications with the ... helicopter.

 

 

Hawke watches the two dots behind him on the radar screen. Airwolf is at 20000 feet.

HAWKE: I think they want you alive, General. They're holding back from firing.

PETROVSKY: [over radio] General Tserkov! I have two MiG-29s on your tail. They are both armed with heat-seeking missiles. Your aircraft may be invisible to radar, but you are not invulnerable. They will be given the order to fire, if you do not move to land immediately.

HAWKE: Looks like we're gonna have to run for it.

TSERKOV: You heard him! They have heat seeking missiles!

HAWKE: So do I.

He punches the turbo button again. Airwolf's speed increases. Hawke puts it into a dive.

 

 

Petrovsky turns to Korostov. He nods, disappointed.

PETROVSKY: All units lock on and open fire. Destroy the aircraft!

 

 

The MiG-29s launch missiles at Airwolf as they dive after it.

 

 

On the ground several SAM sites train their weapons on Airwolf's heat trace, and launch.

 

 

Sirens sound in Airwolf's cock-pit. The radar is littered with specks moving towards the centre.

He dives towards the ground and into the low hills. He fires two flares and begins to wind the helicopter along valleys.

The first missile explodes in the flare. The second misses Airwolf as Hawke pulls up suddenly. It smashes into the ground.

A SAM missile streaks towards the upturned helicopter as Hawke loops it over. Hawke fires two sunburst flares. The missile deviates and explodes.

Airwolf levels off, diving back into the hills, passing over mobile rocket launchers. They fire volleys of rockets at the helicopter. Several streak past. Two hit the underside, exploding.

The shock shakes the helicopter. Hawke checks the instruments.

TSERKOV: Are we damaged?

HAWKE: We'll survive.

TSERKOV: There will be more installations ahead.

HAWKE: I know. Hold on.

He activates the weapons systems, hitting turbo again. A siren sounds as another missile closes behind. Two more join it.

Hawke fires three flares. Two missiles explode in them, the third follows Airwolf. He launches another flare. The missile ignores this also.

TSERKOV: Mr Hawke!

He points at another rocket site directly ahead. Hawke launches a missile, which streaks towards the unit.

The unit fires a volley of rockets then explodes. Rockets shower across Airwolf's front, several hitting and exploding. Sirens scream in the cockpit. Hawke struggles with the controls.

HAWKE: Now we're hit!

The trailing missile explodes in the debris of the rocket site.

Warning sirens sound through the cockpit and smoke drifts. He punches turbos again. The speed increases to Mach 1.5.

A MiG-29 screams towards Airwolf, head on. It's cannons fire. The shells recoil heavily off Airwolf. Hawke fires the chain-guns. The MiG disintegrates. He pulls Airwolf over the explosion, and into the sights of one of four Su-27s behind him.

They all launch missiles.

Hawke fires the turbos, releasing two more flares.

Two missiles take them. Two stay locked on. Hawke cuts the turbos, lowers the collective suddenly and pulls back the cyclic.

Airwolf slows and drops out of the sky, nose up.

The missiles lose him. The Su-27s pass over, immediately banking off in two directions. Hawke hits the turbos again, firing five missiles at the jets ahead. Two lock on.

One Su-27 explodes. The other evades the missile. Hawke dives again, levelling out just above the plain, at Mach 1.8.

Two of the Su-27s pull round to follow again, though much higher. They fire further missiles. Hawke does nothing. The missiles blast into the earth.

TSERKOV: We can't go on like this, Mr Hawke!

HAWKE: They can't target us accurately at this altitude.

TSERKOV: What altitude? One slip and we die anyway!

Airwolf accelerates to Mach 2 at zero feet.

 

 

The wall map is covered in moving dots, all north-west of Moscow, between it and Leningrad.

Petrovsky stares at it. Korostov watches also.

OPERATOR: The Sukhoi-27 pilot reports that he is now at Mach 2, sir, less than ten feet from the ground. They cannot target him at that altitude...

PETROVSKY: [calm] Mach 2. Ask him to verify that the aircraft is a helicopter.

OPERATOR: Yes, sir. He cannot understand it, sir.

KOROSTOV: What is your explanation of this anomaly, Comrade Lieutenant General Petrovsky?

PETROVSKY: There is only one explanation, Comrade Chairman. It is the aircraft lost by Colonel Kadaffi in 1984, or another of its type. It is American. They call it Air - Wolf.

KOROSTOV: Air Wolf?

PETROVSKY: Yes sir.

OPERATOR: Ground units north of Tikhvin have him sighted, sir.

PETROVSKY: Show me!

The map enlarges an area north and east of Leningrad. It is dominated by Lake Ladoga. Petrovsky strokes his chin, concentrating.

KOROSTOV: What are you thinking, Mikhail?

PETROVSKY: I am thinking that his flight path takes him directly across Lake Ladoga. Since he will not land, we have no option but to force him down. If we could recover the aircraft, however, we may gain more than we have lost in Tserkov.

He turns to the room.

PETROVSKY: Instruct all interceptors in the vicinity to close in around the helicopter. They are to force it down onto Lake Ladoga.

KOROSTOV: A good plan, Comrade.

OPERATOR: Sir, several pilots wish to know whether they may open fire on the aircraft, to cripple it?

PETROVSKY: To cripple it, yes. They must not destroy it.

 

 

Airwolf screams out across the lake, still at low height.

MiG-29s close in above, keeping pace. Their pilots watch the speeding helicopter as they descend.

TSERKOV: The MiGs are directly above us, Mr Hawke!

HAWKE: Yeah, I see them. And there's a whole crowd more right behind.

Several more MiGs and Su-27s fly in tight formation behind the group.

One launches a missile. It homes on Airwolf, the navigator guiding it.

Hawke fires two flares.

HAWKE: It's a wire guided missile. Proximity fuse...

The missile explodes behind Airwolf.

The helicopter shudders violently.

The two shepherd MiGs pull away.

Sirens sound around the cockpit. Hawke pulls both controls back, rising sharply away from the lake. The trailing fighters launch a volley of missiles.

Hawke punches the flare button, but none emerge. He cuts the turbos, pulling Airwolf straight up. It decelerates suddenly. The missiles close in.

He pulls over in a loop.

There are large explosions suddenly all around the overturned helicopter.

Hawke and Tserkov are thrown about.

Airwolf drops towards the lake, nose first. The cock-pit is full of smoke and various instruments crackle.

Hawke pulls on the controls. Sirens blare.

The nose comes up slowly. The lake rushes towards Airwolf.

HAWKE: Come on!

Airwolf pulls out of the dive just feet above the surface. Fighters scream overhead, in tight circles.

Hawke fights the controls, bringing Airwolf slower and slower.

HAWKE: Steady, girl!

Airwolf slows and hovers unsteadily above the water, swinging this way and that.

Three of the fighters zero in on it. Hawke sees them coming.

HAWKE: Come on, baby, just one last kick...

The fighters launch missiles. Airwolf turns side-on to them.

The missiles close quickly. Hawke punches the turbos.

Airwolf leaps forwards, out of sight of the missiles, which smack into the lake. It climbs rapidly into cloud.

The fighters circle below, following uncertainly.

 

 

OPERATOR: The aircraft has climbed into cloud, sir. They have lost visual sighting. Their infra-red detection is limited. They think the aircraft has been quite heavily damaged. They think it will not remain airborne for much longer.

PETROVSKY: Then tell them to stay with him. Follow his flight path. He will have to emerge at some point. All other aircraft should proceed to the area immediately. He will head for the border with Finland. Form a staggered sector net. He wont get through.

 

 

Hawke checks the controls. Sirens still sound and there is some significant internal damage. Smoke fills the area.

The cloud passes by outside.

HAWKE: She's not gonna take much more, General. I'm gonna have to land.

TSERKOV: They will see us if we drop out of the cloud.

HAWKE: Yeah, but they'll expect me to head for the border.

TSERKOV: They will set up a net of aircraft. We will not get through.

HAWKE: I know. I'm not crossing the border.

TSERKOV: What?!

HAWKE: We're gonna head north as far as she'll take us, away from the action. We'll cross there and land. We've got back-ups on stand-by in Helsinki - I'll call them up when we're across.

Hawke banks Airwolf over to the right. The Mach-meter reads 0.95.

Cloud surrounds.

 

 

There are lots of red dots on the map between the border and Lake Ladoga. Fewer indeed further north where the border sweeps round to the north-west.

KOROSTOV: You have lost him?

PETROVSKY: He will make a run at the border. He has to before his aircraft falls out of the sky.

KOROSTOV: You cannot have thoughts of recovering the aircraft now?

PETROVSKY: Of course not, Comrade Chairman! That would have been a bonus, certainly. No, it will be destroyed when it is sighted.

Korostov nods and watches the map.

 

 

Archangel is staring at his wall display with dismay. Marella holds one earpiece to her ear, listening whilst talking.

MARELLA: The AWACS can confirm the explosion, sir. Multiple shockwaves, almost simultaneously. Above Lake ... Ladoga, north of Leningrad. They also confirm activity has moved towards the border, in a staggered sector net.

ARCHANGEL: Well that's it, isn't it. We might as well call it quits here.

Marella looks at him sympathetically.

 

 

Hawke watches the moving map display, then checks the radar.

HAWKE: OK, we're less than twenty miles from the border. She's ready to fall apart. I think we can make a run for it, there's no aircraft on the scope that can reach us in that time.

TSERKOV: You're the pilot, Mr Hawke.

HAWKE: OK, lady, let's see what you've got left in you.

He punches the turbos, banking to the left and descending out of the clouds.

There are no other aircraft visible.

Hawke fights the controls. Sirens sound again.

HAWKE: Come on!

 

 

On the ground, Soviet troops stood by their Mil Mi-24 helicopters look up suddenly as Airwolf speeds over. They shout and point.

One, with a portable rocket launcher turns and fires immediately.

Hawke watches the blip on the radar.

HAWKE: Where did that come from?!

The missile closes. Hawke swings Airwolf down into the valley below him.

He fires two missiles directly ahead. They explode on the ground. The missile on his tail does not deviate. It closes.

Hawke pulls Airwolf round tightly to the right.

The helicopter screams in protest. The missile closes suddenly and impacts.

A huge explosion erupts by the lower turbine exhausts.

Airwolf drops like a stone. Hawke pulls the controls back. The nose lifts slightly.

The floor of the valley rises up, rock and shrubs. There is a stream falling in shallow stages through a narrow channel in the rocky bed. He lowers the landing gear, retracts the weapons pylons.

Airwolf wobbles and slows, the gully and stream rising to meet it.

It splashes into the water, rolling forwards, the fuselage scraping against rocks and slamming against boulders.

The nose thumps up against a small ridge of rock with a waterfall trickling over it and comes to a halt.

The rotors slow down - they clear the rocks only by a few feet on either side.

Hawke looks dazed, but tries to restart the engines. There are warning beeps as he does so, but they do not start. Tzerkov is unconscious.

Three Mi-24s climb up the valley behind, passing over and turning to look. Hawke grabs his pistol wearily, reaching for the door handle.

He looks down at the instruments, then reaches instead for a switch. He flicks it and a light activates, then falls unconscious.

Water splashes down across Airwolf's nose.

An Mi-24 lands above the waterfall, and troops jump out, running towards and with their guns trained on Airwolf.

 

 

An operator turns to Petrovsky, grinning ecstatically.

OPERATOR: Comrade Lieutenant General! The aircraft is down! Army border units sighted it in west Karelia! It is down about ten miles east of the Finnish border.

PETROVSKY: Is it destroyed?

OPERATOR: No, sir. They report it as crippled and landed, but intact! They are moving in now to secure it.

PETROVSKY: Good! Good! Instruct the base at Belomorsk to prepare a heavy-lift helicopter: an Mi-10 or -26. Have as many ground units as possible move into the area immediately.

OPERATOR: Sir, the patrol on location wishes to know what to do with the occupants.

PETROVSKY: Comrade Chairman, you may wish to make arrangements for the safe return of General Tserkov...

KOROSTOV: Indeed, I would. I think also that the pilot may provide us with a good deal of useful information.

PETROVSKY: Very well. Have a transport helicopter flown in from Leningrad. Inform the ground units on location that they should arrest and detain the occupants of the aircraft.

He turns back to Korostov.

PETROVSKY: I believe we may have killed two birds with one stone, Comrade Chairman Korostov.

They smile.

 

 

Marella looks up hurriedly.

MARELLA: Sir, the AWACS plane reports a good deal of activity in the middle of nowhere, about ten miles from the border, north of Hawke's flight path. Coded transmissions, certainly helicopter movements ... also the interceptor net is being dismantled and recalled.

ARCHANGEL: What the hell is going on out there?

MARELLA: [suddenly excited] Michael! I'm picking up Airwolf's scrambled emergency beacon!

ARCHANGEL: What?

MARELLA: Confirmed! It's definitely him ... located right in the middle of this new aerial activity. It would suggest that ...

ARCHANGEL: Airwolf is down!

MARELLA: Hawke and the General may still be alive, sir. If he managed to control a forced landing ...

ARCHANGEL: Yes, yes! Contact Helsinki - tell them to initiate "Fallback B", and find out what men and equipment they have on stand by ...

MARELLA: Sir, if it has landed, then it's still inside the Soviet border...

ARCHANGEL: I know that! Also - see if you can locate Santini, and bring him in!

MARELLA: Sir.

ARCHANGEL: Oh, and alert our contacts over there to stand by with operation "Recoil". If Hawke and Tserkov survived, you can bet your bottom dollar they'll be headed straight back to Moscow. I'm going to need a flight out to Helsinki this afternoon, and I need you on a plane with as much personnel and equipment as we can squeeze in.

 

 

An Mi-8 transport stands with its rotors idling on the rocks above the waterfall. Hawke and Tserkov are carried towards it. Both are unconscious.

Troops peer in through the open left-hand cock-pit door. The right one is blocked from opening far by a ridge of rock.

Orders are shouted. The Mi-8 lifts off with Hawke and Tserkov on board.

 

 

Petrovsky stands in a side office, a subordinate to one side. On the table are scattered several blotchy enlargements of distant photographs of Airwolf. Korostov peers round.

KOROSTOV: This is the aircraft you think we have shot down?

PETROVSKY: This or one like it. [Sarcastically] Our dear friend Colonel Kadaffi managed to acquire this prototype in 1984. He refused to let our experts examine it at the time. An American agent was sent to retrieve it, though Kadaffi claims it was destroyed. Our own intelligence suggested that it had indeed survived.

KOROSTOV: Well, at least your experts will now have their chance to examine it.

PETROVSKY: Yes. A team will meet at Belomorsk and fly in ahead of the heavy-lift helicopter to assess damage. I think I should like to see the aircraft myself before it is moved; however, I must speak with the First Secretary before I indulge myself, and inform him of our success. Would you care to join me, Comrade Chairman?

KOROSTOV: Indeed I would. Tserkov and his pilot will arrive before nightfall. I assume you would like to speak to the General before your promotion?

They both laugh and head out.

 

 

The FIRM's military airfield, Langley.

Several white helicopters stand around. Another lands.

Archangel walks swiftly across the concrete towards the 206 Longranger. Nearby, an F-14 taxies round towards them, with its dual canopies open.

It pulls up near Archangel. The pilot waves and Archangel acknowledges him. Steps are pulled up and Santini climbs out of the second seat, dressed in full flight gear.

He runs towards Archangel.

ARCHANGEL: [shouting above the noise] Dominic!

SANTINI: This had better be good, Michael!

He beckons him to enter the helicopter.

It lifts off immediately. Santini looks round, exhausted.

SANTINI: Now how about telling me what's going on, huh?

ARCHANGEL: We think ... no we're fairly certain that Airwolf has crash-landed just inside Soviet territory. We're picking up the emergency beacon ...

SANTINI: Now hold on just a minute! You mean to tell me you've sent String into Russia?!

ARCHANGEL: His mission was to pick up a defecting Red Air Force General. This operation has been in planning for three years now - everything went to plan as far as we know ...

SANTINI: Yeah, except for now you've gone and lost them behind the Iron Curtain!

ARCHANGEL: You've both flown through Soviet airspace before, Dominic! It looks like this time someone spotted him. There was a lot of aerial activity before we got the signal. Airwolf may be damaged.

SANTINI: Ah, well, that's just great. So what're you gonna do about it?

ARCHANGEL: He's down in a remote area in the hills about ten miles from the border with Finland. I'm flying us over to Helsinki - there's a plane of equipment and specialists already en route - we'll take a Concorde flight to London, then from there across to Finland.

SANTINI: Then what? We just waltz in and fly her out again?

ARCHANGEL: That depends on what we find out before and when we get there. A British AWACS plane patrolling the Gulf of Bothnia reports activity around the crash site, probably helicopters.

Santini looks worried.

SANTINI: Then they're there? The Russians are on the ground there? But what about String? They'll take him straight to Moscow!

ARCHANGEL: I've got agents working on the problem, Dominic.

SANTINI: [as the truth sinks in] Oh, my God. They'll interrogate him, Michael! You know what they'll do to him! They'll destroy his mind!

ARCHANGEL: We're doing everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen.

SANTINI: You really screwed up this time, Archangel, didn't you? Huh?

 

 

The First Secretary, Petrovsky and Korostov walk brisky along ornate corridors. Petrovsky is carrying a number of the clandestine Airwolf photographs.

FIRST SECRETARY: ... yes, yes, I am very pleased that we have caught up with General Tserkov, but why are you so concerned with the aircraft? What is so special about it?

PETROVSKY: If you recall, First Secretary, the reports some years ago of the secret American aircraft which Colonel Kadaffi ...

FIRST SECRETARY: What? The nonsense about a helicopter that could fly faster than sound, was invisible to radar? It was destroyed, Lieutenant General. Kadaffi insisted the Americans failed to retrieve it.

PETROVSKY: [cautiously and tactfully] I believe, sir, that Kadaffi may have been mistaken. Our own intelligence found evidence to suggest the aircraft, which they call Air Wolf, did survive. I believe also, that this Air Wolf is the aircraft used in Tserkov's attempted defection.

FIRST SECRETARY: It was invisible to radar?

PETROVSKY: Yes, First Secretary.

FIRST SECRETARY: Capable of - Super-Sonic flight?

PETROVSKY: Sir, it was tailed at Mach 2 by our interceptors.

FIRST SECRETARY: And it is a helicopter?

PETROVSKY: All sightings were confirmed. Sir, if I am correct, then the aircraft is possibly the most technologically advanced in the world. The information we may be able to gather from it would be invaluable. It would maybe change the balance of world air power.

FIRST SECRETARY: What? By making us equal to the Americans?

PETROVSKY: Sir, we have reason to believe that there are very few of these Aircraft in existence. The Americans certainly do not have squadron fleets of them. There may be only this one.

The First Secretary pauses and looks at the photographs.

FIRST SECRETARY: Very well, Comrade Lieutenant General Petrovsky. You may proceed with your - salvage operations.

PETROVSKY: Thank-you, First Secretary.

FIRST SECRETARY: Comrade Chairman. What is your progress of your interrogations?

KOROSTOV: Very enlightening, sir, however, it would seem now that the operation as we understood it from the agent Nikolayevsky was nothing more than an elaborate cover for the General's true escape route. Nikolayevsky and the others knew nothing about the helicopter. I believe they were - set up - as a distraction, and exposed to us, maybe even deliberately.

FIRST SECRETARY: Then we know nothing of use?

KOROSTOV: On the contrary, sir, they have provided us with many leads; after all, someone gave the orders. We are following up various trails now. If anything, sir, the Americans have expended more than forty agents or accomplices in this hoax, and we have them all.

FIRST SECRETARY: Good. I trust you will be as thorough with our defector?

KOROSTOV: Certainly, First Secretary. I think also that the pilot may provide us with a good deal of information.

FIRST SECRETARY: Proceed, gentlemen.

He turns abruptly into an office. The others leave.

 

 

Darkness is falling around the gully. Airwolf's doors are closed. Five Mi-24s stand guard in a semi-circle a few hundred yards away. Armed soldiers pace about near them. Tents have been set up beyond them.

Another Mi-24 sits further down stream. There is no-one in the space around Airwolf, as if it is off limits.

Clouds roll in above.

 

 

In similar darkness, Santini and Archangel hurry across an airfield near Helsinki, towards a waiting Gazelle helicopter. Wind is blowing fiercely.

ARCHANGEL: We're ahead of schedule. Marella will arrive with the plane in a couple of hours' time. The equipment will be transferred to a couple of S-65s we've flown in from Germany. They'll meet us at the camp site! Lets hope the weather holds out!

A man hurries to them and thrusts papers at Archangel. He takes them and they board the Gazelle. It lifts off.

ARCHANGEL: Let's see what we've got here. Ah ha. These are encoded signals from Marella. She's in touch with just about everyone we can lay our hands on.

SANTINI: Well, what's it say?

ARCHANGEL: Operation "Recoil" is underway.

SANTINI: What's operation "Recoil"?

ARCHANGEL: Our "real" agents in Moscow have a contingency plan for the worst case scenario. There's a back-up for every possible problem. They should be able to get Hawke out of there, maybe even the General.

SANTINI: From KGB headquarters?

ARCHANGEL: We have a lot of contacts.

SANTINI: And what do you mean by "real" agents?

ARCHANGEL: To ensure the absolute success of this operation, we set up another escape route - in this case false - to divert attention from our true plan. We recruited a second network in Moscow, who set up the false route, as well as a back up, but we didn't tell them about Airwolf's involvement. Therefore they don't have any knowledge of the true plan and can't lead the KGB to our real network of agents.

SANTINI: You mean you set them up as scape-goats to this scheme? As a sacrifice for the good ol' USofA's military advantage? What happens to them when the KGB find them? They'll all most likely end up rotting in the basement of some torture chamber, and for what? To distract attention! This is making me sick, Michael!

ARCHANGEL: They all knew the risks involved, Dominic...

SANTINI: Don't give me that! They're all just expendable nobodies to you, aren't they?!

ARCHANGEL: No, of course not!

SANTINI: And you blew it! All sacrificed for the cause, and now the whole thing's been blown out of the sky

ARCHANGEL: Not quite. Look at this.

He shows Santini a photograph, very distant and blotchy. It is an overhead view of the crash-site, showing the six Mi-24s around the gully. Airwolf's main rotors are just visible.

SANTINI: What's this?

ARCHANGEL: High-level recon photo of the crash site, just before it clouded over. These must be Soviet gunships.

SANTINI: Oh my God. Look!

ARCHANGEL: That's Airwolf.

SANTINI: It looks to be still in one piece. String could have made it alive.

ARCHANGEL: It seems the main blades are still in position ... that's a good sign ... probably a controlled landing.

SANTINI: And you're saying we might be able to fly it out.

ARCHANGEL: What do you think? You're the avionics expert.

SANTINI: Oh, come on, Michael, I'd need a better look at it than this, for a start.

ARCHANGEL: Marella's working on it.

SANTINI: Uh huh? And what about the gunships? How exactly do we get to the lady in the first place? Or is Marella working on that too?

 

 

Tserkov wakes up slowly, blearily. Faces solidify in front of him. He is sat in a small white room, strapped to a chair.

Kirov is looking at him, as is Petrovsky, with a new uniform.

KIROV: He is coming round, Comrade General Petrovsky.

PETROVSKY: Thank you, Colonel, I see him. Welcome back to Moscow, Mister Tserkov.

TSERKOV: [with difficulty] So .. they promoted .. you, eh , Mikhail?

Tserkov laughs.

PETROVSKY: You will not be so amused when my Comrades here have finished with you, Alexander.

Petrovsky moves out of his sight, as the First Secretary moves in.

FIRST SECRETARY: Or when I have finished with you.

TSERKOV: First ... Secretary.

FIRST SECRETARY: Now then. Comrade Chairman Korostov wishes to ask you one or two questions. I would be interested to hear your answers.

Kirov and Petrovsky leave the room, as Korostov moves round with the First Secretary. Two heavy-looking guards stand by.

 

 

Kirov and Petrovsky walk around the bare corridors, towards another interrogation room.

KIROV: The pilot is in here, Comrade General. His name is Hawke.

PETROVSKY: Wolves? Hawks? Whatever next!?

They go inside.

 

 

Hawke is similarly strapped into a chair. Two guards stand by here also.

PETROVSKY: Mr Hawke? You led us quite a chase!

HAWKE: I do my best.

PETROVSKY: Obviously your best is not good enough, eh? I brought you down, Mr Hawke.

HAWKE: That why you've got a new uniform, Comrade General?

Petrovsky looks Hawke over, with superiority.

PETROVSKY: My uniform is no concern of yours, however, yours has at least confirmed my suspicions.

HAWKE: And what're they?

PETROVSKY: Air Wolf. As your shoulder badge so proudly proclaims. I suspected as much. A helicopter, capable of exceeding the speed of sound, with no radar trace ... we heard much about it from Kadaffi. He had told us it was destroyed, Mr Hawke. It was such a disappointment. I am most pleased that he has been proved incorrect.

We will learn much from the aircraft, no doubt, when we air-lift it back to our research facilities; however, maybe we could start with you. Maybe you would fill in some details beforehand, as a preliminary to our thorough investigation. I know Comrade Kirov has other pressing questions to put to you, regarding the defection, so I wouldn't wish to delay him long. So how about it, Mr Hawke? Help us a little on the road to discovery?

HAWKE: I'm sorry, General, I can't do that.

PETROVSKY: I had anticipated your answer, Mr Hawke. Why do you westerners insist on making life difficult for yourselves?

He nods at the two guards, who move forward, in front of Hawke's chair. They mean business.

 

 

Night time at the camp. Archangel and Santini walk towards a portable cabin. Tents and boxes of equipment lie around, and men are busy attending to them.

Rain drives down heavily, and it is windy.

In the cabin, Archangel unfolds an area map.

ARCHANGEL: We're here. The crash site is about twenty miles due east from us, across the border. That's the only distance we'll need to move it.

SANTINI: Apart from one thing. Getting to Airwolf in the first place.

ARCHANGEL: We think we might have the answer to that.

SANTINI: Oh?

ARCHANGEL: You'll see in a while.

SANTINI: And even if we do get her out, then what?

ARCHANGEL: With the equipment and personnel the S-65s are bringing in, we aught to be able to rig Airwolf to fly home. We can arrange a full overhaul there.

SANTINI: And if we find we can't fly her out of there in the first place?

ARCHANGEL: Then we'll attempt to air-lift Airwolf out, using one of the S-65s.

SANTINI: You've still not told me how we're gonna deal with those troops and gunships.

ARCHANGEL: Marella's working on it.

Santini rolls his eyes.

 

 

Rain sweeps across Airwolf's fuselage. It drips from the rotors.

Wind tugs at the tents beyond the Mi-24s. Lights are on inside the helicopter cabins, and cold, wet troops crouch in their doorways, facing the tents.

 

 

Petrovsky walks brisky along a corridor, towards the entrance of the KGB building.

He nods at various guards as he passes out, escorted by two bodyguards.

It is raining outside. A car pulls up, and another Air Force officer climbs out, carrying a briefcase. He runs up the steps, not seeing Petrovsky.

PETROVSKY: Yes, Major Berdyansky?

BERDYANSKY: [surprised] Sir! ... My apologies, sir, I did not see you there.

PETROVSKY: No, no, carry on, Major. What have you to report.

He hesitates for a moment, looking down at the steps, worried.

BERDYANSKY: ... Sir, the inspection team is assembled at Belomorsk, ... but the weather is preventing them from lifting off. They will attempt again in the morning.

PETROVSKY: And the heavy-lift helicopter?

BERDYANSKY: It is still under repair. They hope to have it air-worthy by mid-day tomorrow.

PETROVSKY: Good. There is no hurry to move the aircraft. Have a plane ready for me first thing in the morning. I will fly to Belomorsk myself, and go out to the crash-site with the inspection team.

BERDYANSKY: Immediately, sir. Have a pleasant evening, sir.

Major Berdyansky walks up to the building while Petrovsky climbs into the waiting car. Berdyansky watches it pull away.

 

 

Marella enters the Portacabin, wet and windblown. It is dark outside.

ARCHANGEL: Marella! Pleasant trip?

MARELLA: Very funny, Michael. We've had no problems with the equipment. The team are erecting a field hangar - we'll commence installation as soon as it's up.

ARCHANGEL: No problems with the weather, coming up?

MARELLA: The pilots in the transports were not impressed.

ARCHANGEL: What about our transport?

MARELLA: The Norwegians were not keen at all, but they're sending it down from Kirkenes. It'll arrive, depending on the weather, sometime tomorrow.

ARCHANGEL: Damn. I was hoping we could move tonight.

MARELLA: You owe them a lot of favours already for this, as well as the Finns.

SANTINI: Excuse me, but am I missing out on something here?

ARCHANGEL: It's nothing to worry about. Just a little something the Soviet Army accidentally dropped on the wrong side of their border with Norway.

Marella smiles knowingly.

 

 

The First Secretary stands up from his position in the Interrogation room.

Tserkov is dazed and bruised. Korostov stands watching, and the two guards move back.

FIRST SECRETARY: I am disappointed Mr Tserkov. I would have thought that you of all people would know that silence is foolish. Who are you protecting, Mr Tserkov? You cannot expect us to believe you know nothing more than an anonymous voice on the other end of a telephone line?

He turns to Korostov.

FIRST SECRETARY: Use whatever methods you think appropriate, Comrade Chairman. Find out names, find out contacts, locations of their "safe-houses", there must be contacts in the American embassy. I want details of intelligence he has already passed, what he intended to tell them, everything!

KOROSTOV: Yes, First Secretary.

FIRST SECRETARY: You will report your findings to me.

KOROSTOV: Of course, sir.

The First Secretary leaves.

KOROSTOV: Take him to the drugs unit. Instruct the duty officer to prepare Tserkov for questioning - Sodium Pentathol.

The two guards release Tserkov and drag him out of the room. Korostov stares into space for a moment, then goes out into the corridor.

As he passes Hawke's interrogation room, Kirov peers round the door.

KIROV: Sir?

KOROSTOV: Yes, Kirov?

KIROV: Sir, the American pilot, Hawke, has told us nothing so far. Do you wish him to be sent to the drugs unit?

KOROSTOV: Yes. Tserkov has just been taken. We will question him first. Put Hawke in isolation until tomorrow. He can be treated then.

KIROV: Yes, sir.

Korostov heads away. Kirov goes back into the white room. He nods and the guards unstrap Hawke, who is only semi-conscious, and about as pretty as Tserkov.

Kirov leads them out.

KIROV: You see, Mr Hawke, your lack of co-operation is futile. Your resistance will be broken down - you are probably aware of our methods - and you will tell us what we want to know. This wall of silence you put up means only that the process takes a little longer, and is a little more painful. In the morning, your time will be up.

HAWKE: Yeah. Sure it will.

KIROV: Defiant until the end, eh, Mr Hawke?

He nods to the guards again as they reach another door in a dim corridor. They take Hawke into a small cell and strap him to the wall.

KIROV: Pleasant dreams.

They leave, locking the door.

Hawke's head hangs forwards for a moment. He looks up at the door and smiles.

HAWKE: The longer it takes you ... the better!

 

 

Archangel and Marella dash hunched across the space between the portacabin and the field-hangar.

Wind and rain blast at them.

They reach the cover of the tunnel-like structure. There is still plenty of wind.

ARCHANGEL: Well, at least it's dry in here. What have we got?

MARELLA: News from operation "Recoil", Michael. Hawke and Tserkov are in the main KGB interrogation unit in Moscow.

ARCHANGEL: Not the headquarters?

MARELLA: It seems not.

ARCHANGEL: Well that's a start, anyway.

MARELLA: Michael, the message came with a Code Epsilon signal.

Archangel's eyes widen with surprise.

ARCHANGEL: They're going in?!

Marella nods.

 

 

Tserkov is laid on an operating table. Kirov stands by. Several guards are positioned around the room, and a number of doctors and nurses attend.

Tserkov is unconscious.

A doctor turns to Kirov.

DOCTOR: He is under sedation now. He should come round within the next quarter of an hour. You will be able to question him then.

KIROV: Good. I will require American accents, Doctor. Have two interrogators standing by.

He turns and hurries towards the door. Major Berdyansky enters and stops suddenly, facing Kirov.

BERDYANSKY: Comrade Colonel!

KIROV: Major? If you are looking for General Petrovsky, then he left some minutes ago.

BERDYANSKY: No, Comrade Colonel, I am here on his orders. I have several urgent questions to put to the American pilot regarding the escape aircraft.

KIROV: It will be no use, Major. He refuses to talk. We will have him drugged tomorrow. You may ask him then.

BERDYANSKY: Sir, the General insists. We have uncovered background information and wish to confirm it. The General suggests he may break, now that we know more about him.

Kirov considers for a moment.

KIROV: Very well, Major. Speak to him. However, I would be surprised if you learnt anything new today.

He leads Berdyansky out. Berdyansky casts a quick glance back at Tserkov. The doctor watches him.

Berdyansky pulls out a packet of cigarettes, shaking it. It is empty.

BERDYANSKY: Damn.

KIROV: Here, Major.

Kirov offers him one from his pocket.

KIROV: Stress of promotion, eh?

BERDYANSKY: I am in your debt, Comrade Colonel.

He tosses his empty packet into a waste bin and it lies there.

 

 

Kirov and Berdyansky enter Hawke's cell. Two guards follow. Hawke looks up.

KIROV: He's all yours, Major.

Kirov leaves. The guards stand by the door, inside.

HAWKE: Don't bother.

BERDYANSKY: So you do talk?

He grabs Hawke's chin roughly, lifting his head. Hawke spits at him.

The guards move forward.

Berdyansky looks angry. He turns to the guards.

BERDYANSKY: [with malice] Wait outside.

They are surprised.

BERDYANSKY: Did you hear me? Go! This is my turn, gentlemen.

He turns back to Hawke as they leave and close the door. He reaches into his pocket with his left hand.

BERDYANSKY: [shouting] I will teach you some manners, you American scum!

He throws a punch with his right fist at Hawke, bringing his left hand out, holding a leather pad, and blocking his own punch with it.

It makes a realistic noise.

The guards look round at the door, stood in the corridor, and can hear the impacts.

Hawke looks at him, confused.

BERDYANSKY: [quietly] Stringfellow Hawke? It is time for you to leave.

He opens his briefcase and pulls out a doctor's white medical uniform and a gun.

HAWKE: What the hell ...?

BERDYANSKY: Quiet. We have only a few minutes.

Berdyansky begins to unstrap Hawke.

BERDYANSKY: Can you walk, Stringfellow?

HAWKE: I think so ... who are you?

BERDYANSKY: A friend!

HAWKE: You're with the FIRM?

BERDYANSKY: I am here to get you out. Please, do not say anything of your mission or organisation. I do not want to know. Or should I say, I do not want them to know, if they catch up with me.

HAWKE: I'm gonna put these on?

Berdyansky starts to undress himself.

BERDYANSKY: No, you will wear my clothes. Quickly, put them on. My cap will hide your bruises once we are outside.

HAWKE: Yeah, but what about getting outside?

BERDYANSKY: Quickly! Yes, put this on also.

He hands him his gun-belt and holster. Berdyansky quickly puts on the medical robes, pocketing the gun.

He pulls a wad of documents from the briefcase, handing them to Hawke, and pulling out his own set from the jacket.

Hawke looks at them. His face, in a Soviet uniform is apparent on them.

BERDYANSKY: You are Major Ivan Lisunov, Soviet Air Force. Don't worry, the papers are realistic enough. No-one should stop you anyway.

HAWKE: And if they do? I don't speak a word of Russian.

BERDYANSKY: I am hoping you will not have to.

 

 

Tserkov is still unconscious. The doctor looks him over, then looks at his watch.

DOCTOR: Nurse, he should begin to come round shortly. I will be back in a few moments.

He indicates another door. She nods and smiles.

He goes through the door and to the male wash-rooms, entering a cubicle.

The nurse watches Tserkov.

The doctor pulls out a packet of cigarettes, opening it.

He pushes a button on the unit concealed within.

In the corridor waste bin, Berdyansky's empty packet explodes, as do various other items around the building.

Alarms sound immediately.

The nurses and guards all stare about, panicked.

Fire spreads quickly.

The guards by Hawke's room look round and run towards the flicker of flames.

The doctor presses another button.

Secondary explosions thunder around the building. People run.

Smoke fills the corridors.

Smoke billows into the surgery. Personnel hurry out.

 

 

Berdyansky opens the door and he and Hawke dash into the corridor, lost in the smoke and running people.

 

 

The doctor enters the room again. He wears a surgical face mask and eye protectors. There is no-one there except Tserkov. He quickly fits another mask and wheels the trolley through the doors.

People flood out of the building, down the steps, and into the night, turning and looking as flames leap from windows.

Fire-tenders skid around the corner, sirens wailing.

Hawke and Berdyansky hurry down stairs and out of the front doors. Everyone is in a panic.

The surgery explodes in a fireball.

Berdyansky leads Hawke away from the steps outside and round to an official car parked in a nearby street.

They jump in and Berdyansky reverses rapidly towards a gate in the surrounding wall of the building.

It opens suddenly, and an Ambulance emerges, lights flashing, the doctor driving. It heads away from the car.

Berdyansky turns the car in the gateway and accelerates after the Ambulance.

BERDYANSKY: That's Tserkov.

HAWKE: A little bit obvious?

BERSYANSKY: No-one will suspect it.

Fire-fighters rush into the building. People are shepherded into groups away from the steps.

 

 

The Ambulance turns into a back street, its lights off. The car follows and they stop.

The doctor and Berdyansky get out hurriedly and carry Tserkov to the boot of the car, putting him in.

BERDYANSKY: Good luck, Comrade Doctor.

DOCTOR: Major.

The doctor throws his "cigarette packet" in amongst discarded boxes piled nearby.

They both jump in their vehicles. The Ambulance accelerates down the back street.

Berdyansky reverses the car slowly back to the other road, then drives off in traffic.

HAWKE: That was pretty cool ...?

BERDYANSKY: It's the nature of the business, Mr Hawke. I will take you both to a safe location. My colleagues will attend to your injuries as best they can. We will not risk moving you until the KGB is certain you both perished in the fire.

HAWKE: And if they aren't?

BERDYANSKY: They will be.

The car travels on, anonymously.

 

 

Marella and Archangel are in the portacabin. Santini is asleep in a corner.

MARELLA: [quietly] Michael, there's a lot of activity in central Moscow suddenly - Emergency services channels - there's a fire - a big one - Boriskova Prospekt.

ARCHANGEL: The KGB interrogation centre!

MARELLA: I think they did it.

 

 

Dawn at the burnt-out KGB building. Behind the main facade, there is little remaining above the ground floor.

Burnt beams and girders stick out, but support nothing.

Fire-fighters tackle the last small fires.

Police, soldiers and KGB men clamber over the wreckage.

The Ambulance stands to the rear, with a wall partly collapsed onto it.

A soldier sees a body under a light covering of rubble. It's arm moves.

SOLDIER: Quickly! There's somebody here!

Others rush over to help, lifting the rubble away. The doctor lies beneath it, badly cut.

SOLDIER: We need a medical team, quickly!

Orders are passed.

A large Zil pulls up near the front of the building. Korostov steps out. He looks round at the wreckage.

Kirov, dirty and bedraggled, limps towards him, putting his cap on.

KIROV: Comrade Chairman.

KOROSTOV: What have you discovered, Colonel?

KIROV: There is so much damage, sir, the forensic team is searching now. They are not hopefull.

KOROSTOV: Casualties?

KIROV: Several staff, sir. As far as we know, none of the prisoners survived.

KOROSTOV: Tserkov and the American?

KIROV: Sir, Tserkov was unconscious at the time, Hawke in an isolation room. The entire floor has been destroyed. There is no way they could have survived.

KOROSTOV: You have, of course, established who was last with these men?

KIROV: Yes, sir. The guards and the medical team who survived are on their way to headquarters. I believe they have just found the head doctor alive, sir, round the back.

KOROSTOV: Good. Well anticipated, Colonel.

KIROV: Sir, before the fire, an Air Force Major, - er Berdyansky - spoke to the American also, on orders from General Petrovsky.

KOROSTOV: Did he learn anything?

KIROV: Unfortunately no, sir. The Major said he left Hawke when the alarms began. He has gone to make his report to General Petrovsky, however he is willing to assist our investigation in any way. I requested he go to KGB headquarters as soon as possible.

KOROSTOV: Good thinking. An unfortunate loss, indeed, Colonel. General Petrovsky will be disappointed.

 

 

An Mi-8 transport thunders over the hills. Clouds are low and it is raining.

Petrovsky sits in the passenger cabin, wearing a head-set. The aircraft inspection team fills the other seats.

An officer operates the radio device that Petrovsky is using.

PETROVSKY: Yes ... No, I did not know ... A civilian agency operates the Air Wolf? ... No. ... I expect there are connections with the CIA here. Yes ... Stringfellow? ... a Vietnam veteran. ... Saint John Hawke? ... I see. How very interesting! Thank-you Lieutenant. Let me know as soon as you find anything else.

He is about to remove the head-set.

RADIO OPERATOR: Sir, Major Berdyansky is trying to reach you.

PETROVSKY: Put him through, put him through. ... Yes, Major?

BERDYANSKY: Sir, Hawke is dead.

PETROVSKY: Dead?!

BERDYANSKY: There was a fire at the interrogations centre after you left. No prisoners survived. Hawke was trapped in an isolation room.

PETROVSKY: Are you certain?

BERDYANSKY: Yes sir. The building has been destroyed almost completely.

PETROVSKY: Tserkov?

BERDYANSKY: He was drugged and unconscious, sir, awaiting interrogation.

PETROVSKY: This is bad news, Major. [He pauses to think] I will be arriving at the crash site shortly. Contact me there.

BERDYANSKY: Yes, sir.

 

 

The Mi-8 descends towards Airwolf and the Mi-24s. It is brighter here, though rain still falls heavily.

The helicopter lands within the circle of gunships.

Army personnel rush to meet it.

 

 

Archangel looks through the rain towards the sound of a helicopter landing.

He turns to Santini.

ARCHANGEL: Dominic! Come and see!

He looks up from his sleeping position and joins Michael at the door.

SANTINI: Mamma mia!

ARCHANGEL: What do you think?

Santini stares as an Mi-24 gunship, fully armed, lands in front of them. It shows no markings. They walk towards it.

ARCHANGEL: This is costing us an arm and a leg to pull off.

SANTINI: This is the little something the Russians dropped on the wrong side of the border, right?

ARCHANGEL: Two years ago. The Norwegians returned the pilot and gunner, of course.

SANTINI: Well of course.

ARCHANGEL: It'll be marked out with Soviet insignia and numbers before we leave.

SANTINI: That's gonna get us across the border?

ARCHANGEL: What better?

SANTINI: And no-one over there's gonna mind us landing right by Airwolf and jumping inside, huh?

ARCHANGEL: Don't worry, it's all taken care of.

SANTINI: Well I'm glad to hear it.

 

 

Hawke looks out of an apartment window, high above a street in Moscow. He sips at a drink, then turns to look back into the room. His face appears less bruised, or at least they are concealed with make-up.

Tserkov is sat in a chair. A woman [Natalia] is attending to his bruising. He sighs. A young man [Boris] sits opposite, nervously.

HAWKE: So what's next, Boris?

BORIS: I ... the Major has it all arranged. Once Natalia has finished, we will provide convincing identities for you both.

HAWKE: And then? Where do we go?

BORIS: That I cannot say.

NATALIA: It is best that we don't know, Mr Hawke. That way you will not be followed.

HAWKE: Yeah, but someone must know.

NATALIA: The Major will return for you. Here, you are bleeding again.

He touches his face, and crosses to her. She wipes it away.

 

 

Petrovsky climbs into the pilot's seat in Airwolf's cockpit. He is impressed.

Others climb into the rear section, looking round at the equipment. All the screens remain dead and silent.

PETROVSKY: My suspicion was correct, eh, Doctor Volynsky?

One of the scientists looks round.

VOLYNSKY: It is magnificent, Comrade General.

PETROVSKY: What is your impression on the airframe? Can it be lifted?

VOLYNSKY: Most probably. We must locate any self-destruct mechanism that may be present first.

PETROVSKY: Yes, I would not like to see it explode the moment we attempt to move it.

VOLYNSKY: You were wise to keep the helicopters well clear. We do not know what type of mechanism may be present.

PETROVSKY: Well, whatever it is, you must succeed in finding it, Doctor.

VOLYNSKY: Yes, General.

Petrovsky moves the controls like a child with a new toy.

 

 

Santini sits in the cock-pit of the captured Mi-24. Marella rushes over to Archangel.

MARELLA: We've got a report of a large Mi-10 transport helicopter ready to fly from Belomorsk to the crash site.

ARCHANGEL: It looks like they want to air-lift it out of there themselves. How long before it arrives?

MARELLA: Difficult to say - the weather at Belomorsk is deteriorating again - the worst of it is heading this way too, high winds and heavy rain. If it doesn't get off ahead of the front, I don't think they'll risk flying it till it clears again.

ARCHANGEL: Well, fingers crossed.

MARELLA: If it does arrive at the crash site, they wont be able to go ahead with the lift anyway until the weather clears.

ARCHANGEL: But they'll have eyes and ears on the ground during our diversion. Let me know if you hear of a lift off.

Marella dashes back towards the hangar. Santini climbs down into the cabin. Archangel joins him.

SANTINI: Hmph!

ARCHANGEL: Not to your liking, Dominic?

SANTINI: I hope it's not as heavy as it feels.

ARCHANGEL: Well, just so long as it can get you in and get back out again fast, that's all that matters.

SANTINI: Just a minute Michael! What do you mean, get back out again?

ARCHANGEL: We can hardly leave this thing just stood there. Even the Russians can count!

SANTINI: So now you're saying that our repair team's gonna be left there - in Airwolf - surrounded by Soviet troops and gunships?

ARCHANGEL: Hopefully, those Soviet troops and gunships will have no idea. Once the equipment is loaded into Airwolf, the first thing the two of you have to do is ...

SANTINI: The two of us?! As in me and who, exactly?

ARCHANGEL: Marella, of course.

SANTINI: Marella?

ARCHANGEL: Marella is a top-notch computer and aeronautics expert - as you well know! After all, she did work on the original Airwolf program.

SANTINI: [in disbelief] A - and who else?

ARCHANGEL: No-one.

SANTINI: [Italian curse] Now he tells me! Well that's just great! [He pauses] And how do I know what she'll be putting into the computers?

ARCHANGEL: [shaking his head] You don't. You'll just have to trust us on this.

SANTINI: Oh yeah?

ARCHANGEL: What did you expect, Dominic?

SANTINI: So all ... all these experts of yours ... they just sit here and do nothing? I thought the plan was to get Airwolf back in the air!

ARCHANGEL: It is. I don't know what's surprised you so much about this. You don't think I flew you all the way over here just so you could look at the scenery, do you? You're the only person we've got who can fly Airwolf, and you've got the most experience with its systems. Our job is to get it back across the border. Then the experts can do their stuff.

SANTINI: You know? I just don't believe you sometimes!

 

 

The doctor is laid on a hospital bed. Kirov is stood by him.

KIROV: Do you feel fit enough to help us, Comrade Doctor?

DOCTOR: Yes, Colonel.

KIROV: Did you notice anything suspicious, before the fire began?

DOCTOR: No. I was in the surgery, preparing the prisoner.

KIROV: Tserkov?

DOCTOR: Well, yes.

KIROV: Of course. You were found by the remains of the Ambulance doors, Doctor. Why did you end up there?

DOCTOR: I ... was in the lavatory when the alarms sounded ... when I reached the surgery, everyone else had gone. The fire had caught in the corridor. I used the stretcher lift.

KIROV: You took the lift in a fire emergency? That is not very responsible behaviour, Doctor.

DOCTOR: It was on the spare of the moment, Colonel.

KIROV: Well, it is of no matter. You did survive. Your story is consistent with the account given to us by your nurses. We will not disturb you further. Thank you, Comrade Doctor.

Kirov leaves. The doctor sighs heavily.

 

 

Tserkov looks better. He is sitting up in a chair in the apartment.

He is wearing an Air Force General's uniform.

Hawke moves away from the window again. He is dressed similarly, though as a Captain.

HAWKE: There's no-one watching this place.

BORIS: [nervously] Why should they? We are not known to them.

HAWKE: Yeah, well the KGB has a funny habit of finding out, you know?

NATALIA: How are you feeling, General?

TSERKOV: [smiling] I think I will live now, thanks to you.

She smiles.

TSERKOV: I did not expect to regain my commission, I must say!

BORIS: It is the Major's instructions that you be dressed this way.

NATALIA: Mr Hawke, you will retain the identity of Ivan Lisunov, only you are a Captain now. Your papers are correct.

TSERKOV: And you have been demoted!

HAWKE: Naa, I didn't suit being a Major anyway.

BORIS: He will come for you as it gets dark.

HAWKE: Well, you two be careful.

They smile nervously.

 

 

Berdyansky meets Kirov in a corridor of the KGB headquarters.

KIROV: Major Berdyansky. I'm glad you could come.

BERDYANSKY: It is no problem, Comrade Colonel. Have you made any progress?

They go into a room.

 

 

Petrovsky runs across to one of the tents. The rain is coming down heavily again, the wind blowing fiercely.

SOLDIER: General Petrovsky! Message from Belomorsk!

He dives into the radio-tent, taking the head-set.

PETROVSKY: Yes?! ... When is it due to clear? ... No, I understand. Well, as soon as you can, Captain.

He removes the head-set.

PETROVSKY: The heavy-lift helicopter is grounded again by the weather. Is it always like this, Corporal?

 

 

Major Berdyansky enters the apartment.

BERDYANSKY: Good. General Tserkov, Captain Lisunov. Please come with me.

Hawke and Tsekov follow him out. They nod and smile thanks at Boris and Natalia.

NATALIA: Take care.

 

 

In Berdyansky's official car, they drive down darkening streets.

HAWKE: So what's the plan, Major?

BERDYANSKY: My orders are to get you out to Helsinki.

TSERKOV: How long - How long have you been ... doing this, Major?

BERDYANSKY: I arranged your initial contact with the British embassy. I have been working on behalf of the western intelligence sources for almost six years.

TSERKOV: And we knew nothing!

HAWKE: You weren't supposed to know. What gets me is why you're all so keen to take these risks.

BERDYANSKY: What about you, Hawke? Didn't you take a risk coming here?

HAWKE: Yeah, but I had a way out. You guys have to stay here.

BERDYANSKY: I decided a long time ago that I could not destroy the system myself. You are either a part of it, or at its mercy. By doing this, by passing information, we are gnawing away at its edges, de-stabilising it just a little bit. But every little move is one nearer to collapse. Eventually we will bring it down.

HAWKE: Well, I'll wish you all the best.

BERDYANSKY: Not me, Hawke. I can't go back after this. I'm taking you across the border - my time inside is over.

 

 

Darkness around the camp. Wind and rain.

Marella, Santini and Archangel are in the cabin.

ARCHANGEL: Are they in position?

MARELLA: The two units reported in twenty minutes ago.

ARCHANGEL: Right.

MARELLA: We'll be able to communicate by the emergency scrambled link.

SANTINI: Are you sure they can't hear us on that?

ARCHANGEL: It's a shifting frequency signal. If anyone hears anything, it'll be so brief as to be mistaken for static.

SANTINI: Well that's something.

ARCHANGEL: Are you ready, Dominic?

SANTINI: As ready as I'll ever be.

MARELLA: Our pilot is not happy with the weather conditions, sir.

ARCHANGEL: Neither am I. We can't afford to wait any longer.

MARELLA: And let's hope our Russian friends don't mind the conditions.

ARCHANGEL: I'm sure they'll find themselves sufficiently motivated.

SANTINI: Uh?! Isn't anybody gonna tell me?

ARCHANGEL: You'll see.

MARELLA: [to her radio] Angel Two to Alfred and Bertram - stand by. [To the men] Shall we?

ARCHANGEL: Come on, Dominic. Your chopper's loaded and ready.

Archangel, Santini and Marella go out into the rain. The Mi-24, now in Soviet markings, is starting up. They run over and climb into the main compartment.

SANTINI: I hope to God you know what you're doing.

ARCHANGEL: So do I.

The Mi-24 lifts off cautiously and heads off low over the trees.

 

 

Tserkov, Hawke and Berdyansky walk up to a security gate at a military airfield. Guards salute them and let them pass without question. They enter a building.

It is dark outside. An Officer approaches the Major. Tserkov is to the rear of the three.

OFFICER: Comrade Major, sir.

BERDYANSKY: Is my plane ready?

OFFICER: [nervously] Yes, sir! Sir, I must have senior confirmation of your flight details and authorisation before I can release the aircraft.

Hawke moves over suspiciously.

TSERKOV: Is there a problem ... Lieutenant?

He looks the officer up and down. The Officer steps back and salutes, surprised and suddenly afraid of the higher rank.

OFFICER: No, Comrade General, Sir!

TSERKOV: Good. Then may we proceed without further hindrance?

OFFICER: Yes, Sir, sorry, Sir!

BERDYANSKY: Very good. Immediate take-off, Lieutenant! Inform the tower. Captain Lisunov - if you please.

Hawke leads on through the next door. The officer watches them go, saluting.

They cross the tarmac to a waiting small Antonov transport plane. A pilot greets them and steps out of the plane as they climb aboard.

The pilot pushes the boarding steps away and closes the door.

They move into the cockpit and Hawke takes the controls. The pilot comes through and looks surprised.

BERDYANSKY: Sorry.

He knocks him out with the but of his gun.

BERDYANSKY: We are scheduled to fly to Vyborg, north west of Leningrad. We will not land there. It is less than twenty-five miles to the border. We will be expected on the other side. I will secure our friend here. Start the engines. I will make the necessary communications.

The engines start and propellers begin to turn.

The officer in the building relaxes a little and switches on a radio device.

OFFICER: Control!

The Antonov moves off towards the runway.

CONTROL: Go ahead.

OFFICER: Control, clear flight F23, the General's transport for immediate take off.

CONTROL: The General, Lieutenant?

OFFICER: Yes, Control! General Tserkov is on board... ?

The Officer looks worried suddenly.

CONTROL: General Tserkov is dead, Lieutenant.

OFFICER: But ... I just saw him ...

CONTROL: Are you certain?

OFFICER: I could have sworn...

CONTROL: Contact General Petrovsky. Tell him what is happening. I will hold the plane.

The Officer turns dials on his radio.

Hawke turns the Antonov into line with the runway. The Major hurries through and straps himself in.

CONTROL: Airstrip Control to flight F23, hold your take off - runway required for emergency landing, over.

BERDYANSKY: Say again, Control?

CONTROL: Flight F23, please clear the runway, emergency landing...

Hawke opens the cockpit window and glances back outside. He shakes his head at Berdyansky.

BERDYANSKY: Go! They're on to us!

Hawke opens the throttles. The plane jerks forwards and gains speed.

CONTROL: Flight F23, you are not cleared for take-off!

HAWKE: [to himself] Too bad.

The plane lifts up into the night sky.

 

 

Santini and Archangel peer from the Mi-24's windows. It moves slowly just above the trees.

Wind pulls at it and the trees below.

ARCHANGEL: We've avoided their radar by coming in low.

SANTINI: So why're we stopping?

The Mi-24 slows to a hover.

ARCHANGEL: We're almost on top of the crash site.

MARELLA: Time for our little diversion.

She switches on the communication unit.

ARCHANGEL: Send the boys out to play.

MARELLA: Roger.

Archangel grins.

MARELLA: Angel Two to Alfred and Bertram. Your father's home.

 

 

Two mobile missile launchers swing round somewhere in the nearby hills to the north.

They launch several missiles on low trajectories.

 

 

In the Mi-24, Santini and Archangel see distant traces.

There is a series of explosions.

 

 

Personnel around the crash site emerge from their tents.

Petrovsky looks across to where a red glow is building up on the horizon. A second set of explosions follows.

PETROVSKY: Get these aircraft airborne, immediately! All personnel. Quickly!

Men scramble into the Mi-24s and engines start. The wind blows fiercely. Everyone is wet within moments.

PETROVSKY: Set course for the explosions. Inform Moscow centre!

Rotors move faster. The first Mi-24 lifts off and hovers. A second follows. Petrovsky's machine moves upwards as the others lift off.

Mi-24s fill the dark sky. The first three begin to move off.

Another Mi-24 joins the confused crowd from over nearby trees, hovering and moving slowly over the rocks.

Archangel scans the ground with an IR viewer.

ARCHANGEL: The ground's clear of personnel.

SANTINI: There she is! Oh, my God!

They see Airwolf in the gully.

ARCHANGEL: Can you move us closer?

An officer in Petrovsky's Mi-24 looks up at him from the radio.

RADIO OPERATOR: General, Sir! It's Moscow! Urgent!

He takes a headset.

PETROVSKY: Yes?! .... What?!

He rips the headset off.

PETROVSKY: Hold positions!!!

The Soviet machines are beginning to move off, they all suddenly stop and hover.

ARCHANGEL: What are they doing?

PILOT: Sir! They've been given orders to wait.

MARELLA: Set us down by Airwolf; make it look as if we're waiting.

The Mi-24 hovers for a moment then lands on the rocks above Airwolf.

PETROVSKY: [into radio] Flying to where? ... Vyborg! Alert western chain stations to stand by; I will go to Vyborg myself.

Archangel scans the positions of the confused helicopters. Another lands again nearby, on the other side to Airwolf.

ARCHANGEL: OK, let's do it!

The doors open and Santini, Marella and Archangel jump out, lifting boxes of equipment to the edge of the gully.

PETROVSKY: All units proceed to the site of the explosions - report to me on this channel.

Petrovsky's Mi-24 turns to face the opposite way. Four others move off towards the explosions. The last Soviet Mi-24 lifts off and follows.

The three figures move quickly backwards and forwards from the gully to the gunship.

PETROVSKY: Set a course along the border to Vyborg. Maximum speed!

RADIO OPERATOR: Sir, one of the helicopters is still on the ground.

They look out of the window at Archangel's Mi-24.

Archangel looks up at the pilot who signals frantically to them.

SANTINI: Go! Go!

Archangel climbs back aboard the helicopter.

ARCHANGEL: Good luck!

SANTINI: [sceptically] Yeah.

Santini slides the door shut.

PETROVSKY: Find out what is wrong.

Archangel's Mi-24 lifts off suddenly, turning towards Petrovsky's machine. It accelerates towards it, lifting slowly.

RADIO OPERATOR: Sir!

PETROVSKY: What does he think he's doing?

Marella and Santini leap into the gully, dragging as much equipment with them as they can.

Petrovsky watches the Mi-24 come at him, rather shocked. It lifts over, just. He and the radio operator cross over and watch it from the other window.

It turns and pursues the other Mi-24s.

Marella and Santini can be seen through the windows on the other side, hurriedly passing down the equipment.

PETROVSKY: Move us out, Captain!

His Mi-24 accelerates away south.

Archangel's Mi-24, trailing the other gunships heading towards the explosions, suddenly dives and veers off to the left, skimming the trees and vanishing from view.

Santini opens Airwolf's door. It doesn't hiss. He looks inside.

SANTINI: Oh, my poor lady!

MARELLA: Time for reunions later. Come on, Dominic.

They bundle the equipment inside, then Marella climbs over into the rear, while Santini squeezes behind the co-pilot's seat. It is very dark indeed within.

He closes the door. They talk in whispers.

SANTINI: I don't believe it. We made it and they don't even know we're here!

MARELLA: Well, don't get too excited. The only certain way out of here is to get Airwolf airborne.

Santini's smile fades.

MARELLA: Did you manage to get a look at the airframe? The rotors?

SANTINI: Did you?!

MARELLA: Perhaps it might be wise to check now, while our Russian friends are temporarily absent.

SANTINI: Uh huh. Well, OK. You're right.

MARELLA: I'll see if I can jump-start Airwolf's computer.

SANTINI: [with suspicion] Well all right, Marella, but be careful with her!

MARELLA: Be careful with yourself, Dominic. Those gunships will be landing using Infra-Red. With all due respect, if you're out there when they come back, you'll show up like a light-house.

SANTINI: Well then, you'd better wish me luck, huh?!

He scowls and climbs out quietly.

He looks up at the darkness and rain covers his face. The blades rock in the wind. He pulls out a torch and switches it on.

From the deserted Soviet tents, the light can just be made out, playing along the length of the blades and on the rotor hub.

Santini moves carefully down the side, looking at boulders jammed against the pylons. He shakes his head and climbs over moving quickly to the tail rotor.

Marella connects a portable computer unit into sockets below the consoles. The portable machine is operative and she taps commands into it.

Santini looks round. Through the wind and rain he hears helicopters approaching. He hurries back to the cockpit climbing in.

SANTINI: They're coming back.

MARELLA: How does she look?

SANTINI: Main rotor and tail rotor look OK. The turbines are anybody's guess!

MARELLA: Well, I suggest the first thing we do is try to secure the cockpit.

SANTINI: You mean lock the doors.

MARELLA: We should be able to hide back here while it's light, but that's no use if they climb in and say good morning tomorrow.

SANTINI: Well, let's see if we can rig some power to the door mechanisms. Pass me that pack.

They set to work, Santini opening panels and shaking his head in dismay.

Four of the Mi-24s approach and hover, moving in to land at their previous positions.

 

 

 

The Antonov speeds through the night sky. Tserkov stands behind Hawke and Berdyansky.

HAWKE: Ever get the feeling you've been here before, General?

BERDYANSKY: What do you mean?

HAWKE: This is almost the exact route we took last time we ran for the border.

TSERKOV: Only this time they can see us on radar as well as Infra-Red.

BERDYANSKY: Well they have not sent any ships up after us yet. They are probably trying to reach Petrovsky. He is up at the crash site.

TSERKOV: I wonder what they are doing with your aircraft, Mr Hawke.

HAWKE: Yeah.

 

 

Petrovsky glares out at the darkness. His Mi-24 speeds on, regardless of the weather conditions.

RADIO OPERATOR: Sir, the unit Captain reports that the explosions seen from the crash site appear to be rocket or guided missile impacts. One gunship has remained at the scene. He has informed Moscow, and they are preparing a crash investigation team.

PETROVSKY: The other helicopters?

RADIO OPERATOR: They have returned to the camp.

PETROVSKY: Good. Get on line to Air Traffic monitoring - find out the latest position of the plane reported carrying our dead General.

RADIO OPERATOR: Yes, sir.

 

 

At the field base the Mi-24 appears through the darkness, landing nearby. Archangel climbs down.

ARCHANGEL: [apprehensively] So far, so good.

 

 

Kirov hurries along corridors, knocking on Korostov's door and entering. Korostov turns to face him.

KOROSTOV: Yes, Colonel, what is it?

KIROV: Sir ... Sir we have just received a report, unconfirmed, that ... General Tserkov boarded a plane for Vyborg an hour ago.

KOROSTOV: Tserkov is dead! He burned in the fire.

KIROV: Sir, only one officer at the airfield spoke to him, but he was almost certain it was him.

KOROSTOV: Almost certain? He cannot be alive, Colonel. Unless the medical team, ... and that Air Force Major ... were all lying.

KIROV: Sir, the plane was requested by Major Berdyansky, the same ...

KOROSTOV: [suddenly] Who else boarded the plane with him?

KIROV: The officer reported a Captain ... Lisunov he thought was his name, and the pilot.

KOROSTOV: Have you checked this?

KIROV: Sir there are more than thirty Captains named Lisunov - we are trying to locate them all now. The pilot can be confirmed - he was merely a duty officer.

KOROSTOV: You say this Major is on the plane ... the one who spoke to the American before the fire. Are you certain?

KIROV: Berdyansky's name appears on the aircraft request document.

KOROSTOV: He was the last to see the American alive?

KIROV: Yes, Comrade Chairman.

KOROSTOV: Then we have only his word that the American was left in the isolation room!

KIROV: He is a trusted officer, sir. General Petrovsky himself...

KOROSTOV: Colonel! Who was the last to see Tserkov alive?

KIROV: Sir, it could have been any of the medical team ... No, Sir, the head doctor! He was - in the lavatory when the alarms began, he became trapped and used the stretcher lift to escape.

KOROSTOV: In the lavatory, Colonel?

KIROV: Several nurses confirmed...

KOROSTOV: He used the stretcher lift, Colonel. Why not take a stretcher with him? Why not the surgical table with Tserkov on it? Bring the doctor in for questioning ... Immediately!

KIROV: Yes, Comrade Chairman.

KOROSTOV: And contact General Petrovsky!

KIROV: He is already on his way to Vyborg, Comrade Chairman. He has alerted Western chain forces to stand by.

KOROSTOV: Very well, go, Colonel.

Kirov makes a hasty departure.

 

 

Airwolf is a very pale green smudge in one of the Soviet infra-red sights. A soldier swings it across the ground around the helicopter, then lowers it.

Rain splatters everywhere and the wind still blows.

Men look miserable again.

 

 

Santini curses, his head under a console.

SANTINI: Aaahhh, Marella, I can't see a thing in here! How's a guy supposed to work when he can't even see his hand in front of his face!?

MARELLA: I admit, the conditions are not ideal, Dominic.

SANTINI: Can't we rig some sorta screen across the middle so that they can't see, and maybe use a light?

MARELLA: That would also mean we can't see them.

SANTINI: Yeah, I guess you're right.

MARELLA: How's that connection coming?

SANTINI: I hope it's not upside down or something. There. Try it now.

Marella taps something into her portable machine.

MARELLA: Nothing.

SANTINI: Mamma mia!

He struggles out from the console, checking connections. He sees the power pack, and presses the "ON" button. The pack hums quietly.

SANTINI: OK, try now.

Marella taps the computer again. There is a clunking sound and a loud hiss from the doors. Santini grins.

SANTINI: Ha ha ha! Hey, what did I tell you?! We can do this, piece of cake! The old bird's got life in her yet!

He crouches down under the console again. Marella smiles and shakes her head.

 

 

Two guards stand by an interrogation room door in KGB headquarters. Sounds of punches come through the door.

The doctor is sprawled on the floor inside. Kirov nods to a heavy guard, who picks him up.

KIROV: You are lying, Doctor! You are partaking in this conspiracy with the Air Force Major, are you not?! You removed Tserkov's body from the building, did you not? Just as the Major removed the American pilot!

DOCTOR: I ... told you ...

KIROV: I believe you lied, Doctor! I believe you deliberately allowed yourself to be injured in the confusion, to cover your tracks.

DOCTOR: And ... how am I ... supposed to ... have taken him away ... from the building? ...

Kirov is taken aback by this. He clears his throat.

KIROV: I'm sure, when you have had time to experience your own form of medicine, you will tell us the details.

DOCTOR: I ... don't ... think so!

The doctor smiles then appears to cough. Kirov looks surprised.

The doctor slips a capsule from his hand into his mouth as he coughs.

KIROV: Stop him!! The tablet!

The guards and Kirov all grab for his mouth, trying to force it open. The doctor's body falls limp.

Kirov steps back, raging at the guard who cowers back.

KIROV: You imbecile! You could have stopped him!

Kirov storms out.

 

 

The Antonov flies on through cloud. The three are in the cock-pit, looking tense. The original pilot is tied up securely in the cabin.

BERDYANSKY: We're through the Leningrad control area. I'll contact Vyborg control in a moment.

HAWKE: Why're they so quiet?

BERDYANSKY: I think they are not sure. The General is dead, as far as they are aware. They are not sure whether this is simply a most unfortunate mistaken identity on the part of one or two officers.

HAWKE: But they are suspicious.

BERDYANSKY: Yes, I should think so.

HAWKE: Well then, they're not just gonna let us waltz out of here, are they? The minute we overfly Vyborg, they'll be all over us.

BERDYANSKY: Maybe. I would assume, though, that the KGB have our Doctor for questioning by now.

HAWKE: And that's all the confirmation they need.

BERDYANSKY: Let us just play out our role as it is planned. Any wild move now will confirm their fears. If we can keep them sniffing at us for as long as possible, the less time they will have to bite.

 

 

Korostov turns to Kirov, in his office, livid.

KOROSTOV: DEAD?

KIROV: He swallowed a cyanide capsule, sir, we could not stop him.

KOROSTOV: Don't give me excuses, Colonel.

KIROV: [quickly] Sir, it is my belief that this confirms our suspicions.

KOROSTOV: Oh? And why is that?

KIROV: If he truly knew nothing, he would not have been carrying the capsule. Sir, he - somehow - managed to get Tserkov away from the building - maybe to an accomplice - and deliberately caused himself to be injured, so as to avoid suspicion.

KOROSTOV: And? What would you suggest we do now, Colonel?

KIROV: Sir, I have already alerted Vyborg KGB Centre - they will meet the plane when it lands and arrest everyone on board.

Korostov nods, slowly.

KOROSTOV: I hope, for your sake, Colonel, that nothing goes wrong.

Kirov looks decidedly sheepish.

 

 

Petrovsky looks through the window of the Mi-24. Vyborg is visible ahead, twinkling.

RADIO OPERATOR: Sir, the plane is requesting landing clearance now.

PETROVSKY: Order the tower to allow the plane to land. Take us to the airfield!

 

 

The Antonov is descending slowly out of the cloud.

CONTROL: F23 you are cleared to land. Windspeed is 25 knots, gusting to 30, heavy rain.

BERDYANSKY: Thank you, Control.

He turns to Hawke.

HAWKE: You want us to go in?

BERDYANSKY: Yes, I want it to look as much like a normal landing as possible. Do nothing until the nosewheel is on the runway. That is when they will consider us to have landed, the point when they will move to surround us on the taxiway. You must bring us back to take off speed immediately and pull us out.

HAWKE: And then the Air Force'll be on our backs.

BERDYANSKY: It is less than twenty miles to the border, Mr Hawke. In their move to surround us, orders will be delayed; there will be enough confusion to get a sufficient head start.

HAWKE: And what's gonna stop them following us across the border?

BERDYANSKY: An escort is waiting for us.

HAWKE: You hope.

He operates the landing gear.

The runway is visible ahead.

 

 

Troops rush into position around the buildings at Vyborg Airfield. They are all armed. Landing lights can be seen in the distance.

Orders are shouted.

Other flashing lights are visible across the runway. Petrovsky's Mi-24 hovers there.

He stands in its open doorway, looking towards the landing lights. Rain blows at him.

PETROVSKY: Take up a position by the landing grid.

The Mi-24 moves off slowly, low across the grass, towards the landing end of the runway.

The Antonov comes lower, towards the airfield.

Troops watch anxiously.

The Mi-24 turns to a hover, parallel to the runway, facing back along it.

The Antonov approaches.

 

Hawke sees the Mi-24's lights.

HAWKE: They've got a gunship waiting for us!

BERDYANSKY: They won't open fire until they're absolutely sure.

The plane crosses the runway threshold. The main undercarriage hits the ground with a shriek.

The Mi-24 accelerates.

The nose comes down slowly.

The nosewheel touches.

Orders are shouted and men and vehicles spread quickly across the airfield.

BERDYANSKY: Hold on ...!

The plane flashes down the runway.

BERDYANSKY: Go! Go!

HAWKE: Hell!

The Mi-24 is directly above the cockpit, flying parallel.

HAWKE: He's blocking us in!

BERDYANSKY: We've no time!

Hawke cuts the throttle, operates the flaps and slams on the brakes.

BERDYANSKY: What are you doing?!

HAWKE: We need to turn round!

The plane slows suddenly. The runway end approaches and Hawke turns the plane.

It lurches off the runway, on the opposite side to the advancing soldiers.

The Mi-24 pulls round and after the plane.

The Antonov lurches across the grass and back up onto the runway.

Orders are shouted. Troops open fire at it. Hawke pushes the throttles forwards again.

Bullets whine off and puncture the fuselage.

Petrovsky waves his arm as a signal as the Mi-24 accelerates after the plane. A stream of unguided rockets bursts from the gunship's pylons.

They explode around the plane, on the runway. Others damage the wings.

The plane shudders.

TSERKOV: We're hit!

Gunfire rakes an engine and it explodes.

BERDYANSKY: It's too late, Hawke!

The Mi-24 launches a missile. Gunfire hits the plane's fuel lines. The wings explode.

The missile hits the burning engine and the wing it is supported on is wrenched from the plane.

The inferno still speeds towards the end of the runway. The cock-pit is full of smoke.

HAWKE: Hold on! Get that pilot out of there!

Tserkov rushes to untie the pilot.

Hawke turns the column and the plane swerves off the runway at its end.

It bounds onto the grass, bursting into flame completely.

Petrovsky stares, delighted, as the Mi-24 moves in closer. He signals to land.

Troops are running towards them distantly. The Mi-24 lands in the grass not far from the fire.

Petrovsky jumps out and runs forwards, then stops, watching in amazement. The radio operator follows. Petrovsky signals him to go round the plane. Petrovsky goes the other way.

The radio operator's ankle is grabbed by a low flat shadow on the ground. He cries out and falls. Berdyansky knocks him out.

Hawke gives him the thumbs up and crawls past, towards the Mi-24. Tserkov follows.

Troops are running along the runway.

Petrovsky is round the back of the blaze. He finds the pilot, laid on the grass, still tied up. He helps him up.

The Mi-24 pilot sees Petrovsky bringing the other pilot round. He knocks on the canopy to attract the gunner's attention in front of him.

Hawke reaches the side door and opens it, climbing in. Tserkov follows.

Hawke climbs up the pilot's steps, grabbing the pilot, and pulling him out of the seat. There is a struggle. The pilot goes for his gun. Hawke punches him unconscious, then drags him out.

Berdyansky has reached the door. Troops approach.

Petrovsky looks towards the helicopter and sees movement in the pilot's position, someone climbing up. He looks puzzled, then points.

The gunner opens his canopy and stands up, looking round into the cockpit behind.

Berdyansky pulls the pilot out onto the ground.

HAWKE: Come on! Get in!

The gunner panics and grabs his own pistol. Berdyansky fires at the nearest troops, jumping in through the door.

Hawke pulls the controls back suddenly. Tserkov and Bersyansky fall to the floor, the gunner is thrown half out of his cock-pit, dropping his gun.

PETROVSKY: Get them! Quickly!

Troops fire at the Mi-24 as it rises across the airfield rapidly. Bullets whine off it.

PETROVSKY: Contact Western chain squadrons! Immediate scramble!

The nearest troops do not have radios. Two of them run off to fulfill the orders.

 

The Mi-24 climbs, racing away from the airfield.

HAWKE: Everyone OK?

Berdyansky and Tserkov are closing the doors.

BERDYANSKY: Yes, Mr Hawke, we're alright.

TSERKOV: Impressive flying, Mr Hawke!

HAWKE: Yeah, well it's not over yet.

 

The gunner operates his controls. Immediately the remaining rockets are let fly, followed by the remaining missiles. The nose cannon opens up.

 

HAWKE: And there goes our means of defence. Anyone know how to isolate his controls before he uses up the last of everything?

TSERKOV: There should be an over-ride switch on the top right of your instrument panel.

HAWKE: OK, I got it.

 

The gun stops firing. The gunner looks confused.

 

Petrovsky, gasping, reaches a soldier with a radio back-pack. He operates it immediately.

PETROVSKY: This is General Petrovsky!! Order all Western Defence chain squadrons to launch! Immediately!

 

 

Hawke brings the Mi-24 down low.

HAWKE: We're about five miles from the border.

BERDYANSKY: He's not launched anything after us.

TSERKOV: I think we stole his radio!

He points at the radio gear in the main compartment. They laugh.

 

 

Soviet fighters streak upwards from military airfields.

 

 

Berdyansky operates the radio.

BERDYANSKY: This is Recoil to Guardian Angel, Recoil to Guardian Angel, come in, over!

VOICE: [American accent] We read you, Recoil! What is your status, over?

BERDYANSKY: We have had a change of vehicle. No pursuit, over.

VOICE: [laughing] You guys are never happy. Listen we're picking up a massive launch, you think you can get to us before they get to you, over?

BERDYANSKY: We are two miles out.

HAWKE: Here they come!

His radar scope shows blips appearing from both sides.

BERDYANSKY: We will be there if you are, over.

VOICE: We're coming up to meet you, Comrades! Out.

Hawke's radar shows another group of blips appearing ahead of them.

MiGs streak through the night.

The Mi-24 passes over a double high-wire fence.

HAWKE: Here are our Guardian Angels!

Two F-15s pull alongside. Other fighters cut round above. One of the pilots raises his thumb. Hawke returns the gesture.

 

 

Petrovsky stands in the control tower at Vyborg. Fighter pilots' voices can be heard over the radios.

OPERATOR: The target has crossed the border, sir, and is being escorted by a number of fighter aircraft.

Petrovsky looks lost.

OPERATOR: Sir, the pilots are requesting further instructions.

Petrovsky moves slowly to the window and stares across to the burning Antonov in the distance. He scrutinises the shape.

OPERATOR: Sir?

PETROVSKY: [disappointedly] Order all aircraft to return to station. At once.

OPERATOR: Yes, sir.

 

 

Airwolf sits in the darkness. The stream water gushes over its nose.

Marella is leaning over the co-pilot's seat, testing buttons on the control panel. Nothing is working.

Santini is twisting wires together, inside some of the computer panels.

Suddenly sparks fly and the wires crackle. He leaps back, clutching his hand and gripping his teeth. Several screens flicker momentarily then die.

Marella turns.

MARELLA: Are you all right?

SANTINI: Fffff... Yes! Blasted thermo-screen alpha circuitry!

MARELLA: The alpha circuitry? That shouldn't be...

Santini puts his hand in and draws out a fist-full of wires, shaking it.

SANTINI: No?!

MARELLA: Shh! [Looking at the wires] Oh.

SANTINI: [quietly] Well, I don't mind telling you, I'm starting to wonder whether this is all worth it.

MARELLA: You're not getting cold feet, are you, Dominic?

SANTINI: Well, it's not exactly warm in here, is it?

MARELLA: Well who knows? Maybe if you fix that "alpha circuitry", we'll get the cabin heater working. I guess it's up to you, "Dom"!

She chuckles. Santini scowls and plunges back into the console.

 

 

Dawn breaks over the Kremlin.

The First Secretary is not pleased. Arranged before his desk are Petrovsky, Korostov and Kirov.

FIRST SECRETARY: Why? Why am I surrounded by incompetents? What is so difficult about detaining and questioning two criminals? General Petrovsky! What was your airforce doing while this aeroplane flew from Moscow to ... to Vyborg or wherever it was? Why was nothing done?

PETROVSKY: We were not certain, First Secreta...

FIRST SECRETARY: Not certain? Of what?! You could have ordered the plane to land at any number of airfields before their destination and established what it was you were not certain of. And how is it, Chairman Korostov, that they managed to evade you for so long?! Did you not suspect sabotage at your ... interrogation centre? Was it not logical that this was an attempt to free the American and the defector? You have been led in circles by these western agents! How is it that they go undetected among us? I thought that was what the KGB was for, Chairman!

KOROSTOV: Yes, First...

FIRST SECRETARY: At least we can live with the reassurance that they were killed in their aircraft at ... Vyborg.

He stares at Petrovsky, as if to challenge the truth of this statement. Petrovsky holds his stare.

FIRST SECRETARY: It is better than nothing that they are dead, however, I would have liked to have them alive. [He pauses] Very well, you will each submit your reports, and then we will hear no more of this matter. Dismissed.

The three turn to leave.

FIRST SECRETARY: Oh, General.

PETROVSKY: Yes, First Secretary?

FIRST SECRETARY: You will arrange transport for me, this afternoon, to the location of your super-helicopter. I am intrigued by what I have learned about it.

PETROVSKY: [scowling] Of course, First Secretary.

He leaves.

 

 

Petrovsky arrives in the war room. An operator turns to him.

OPERATOR: Sir?

PETROVSKY: Yes?

OPERATOR: The heavy-lift helicopter is ready for take-off at Belomorsk, sir. They report that weather conditions have improved sufficiently for the flight. They are confident they will be able to perform the lift today, sir.

PETROVSKY: [sighing] Tell them ... tell them to stand down.

OPERATOR: Sir?

PETROVSKY: Tell them the First Secretary is going to inspect the aircraft. The lift will have to wait.

He thumps the railing, angrily.

 

 

Morning over the crash-site. The rain has stopped. The stream gurgles.

The troops mill around their helicopters, stretching.

Santini pushes a panel home. It clicks into position.

MARELLA: [yawning] It's getting light.

SANTINI: I know: I can see what I'm doing.

He clicks several makeshift connections into place.

SANTINI: OK, fingers crossed.

He sits down and flicks two switches. The computer springs to life. Screens link in and stabilise, the console lights illuminate and it hums it's usual sounds.

SANTINI: Hey hey!

MARELLA: Excellent work, Dominic!

SANTINI: Don't thank me, buddy, thank her for not electrocuting me again! And you did help me a little! Oh oh!

They look out of the windows as several men approach above the waterfall.

MARELLA: [whispered] Get down.

Santini disconnects the computer again and it dies. They both scramble to the floor, Marella behind the co-pilot's seat, and Santini behind the console.

They listen warily.

The scientists of the inspection team climb down the side of the gully, talking cheerfully.

VOLYNSKY: At least it's not raining.

He pulls on the door handle, but nothing happens. They look at each other, then he tries again.

VOLYNSKY: What on Earth?

SCIENTIST: Let me try.

He can't open it either. He peers through the window, then through the windsreen.

VOLYNSKY: I don't understand it.

SCIENTIST: Perhaps some kind of security mechanism has activated.

VOLYNSKY: It must be. Bring over the equipment. We will try to open it from here.

Marella turns to Santini, worried.

MARELLA: [whispered] Can they do that?

SANTINI: I don't think so.

 

A scientist returns with a rack of electronics. They begin to probe the door frame.

Marella and Santini stay frozen.

 

 

The Gazelle descends towards the camp. Archangel watches it with a satisfied smile.

It lands and Hawke climbs out of the co-pilot's seat while the pilot shuts down the engines. He walks across to him.

HAWKE: Can't anybody get any sleep around here?

ARCHANGEL: It's good to see you, Hawke.

HAWKE: Yeah, well, I hoped it would be a bit sooner, you know?!

They go into the cabin.

HAWKE: So what's the story?

ARCHANGEL: Marella and Dominic are working on Airwolf.

HAWKE: They're what?

ARCHANGEL: They're attempting to repair Airwolf sufficiently to fly it out.

HAWKE: That thing's surrounded by gunships! How in the hell 're they gonna fly it out? How the hell did they get in?!

ARCHANGEL: Here, let me get you a drink, I'll fill you in.

He smiles.

 

 

The Scientists step back from the door, perplexed.

VOLYNSKY: I don't want to damage it. I think we would be best to leave it until we get back to the research unit. Our scanners there will be able to trigger the release.

SCIENTIST: Failing that, we could maybe cut it open.

VOLYNSKY: Maybe, comrade. However, I'm afraid that until the airlift goes ahead, we will have to content ourselves with the exterior.

They shift their equipment away.

Marella breathes a sigh of relief.

SANTINI: At least that means they're not gonna try lifting her out today.

MARELLA: The weather's fine enough. I wonder why they're holding off? It doesn't make sense.

SANTINI: Well, whatever reason, it gives us time to get her out of here first.

 

 

The First Secretary and Petrovsky sit inside an Mi-8 in flight.

FIRST SECRETARY: ... and the wreckage of the Antonov aeroplane has been checked? Just to be quite certain they are dead?

PETROVSKY: Yes sir, I supervised it myself. There were three bodies on board, unfortunately too damaged to identify visually. However, a dental expert has linked two of the corpses to Tserkov and Berdyansky. It is likely that the third is the American pilot, sir, though we have no way of checking this.

FIRST SECRETARY: Very good, Comrade General.

Petrovsky relaxes a little, as the First Secretary nods in satisfaction.

FIRST SECRETARY: And the Mi-24 gunship which flew from Vyborg across the border, General?

Petrovsky turns suddenly, afraid.

FIRST SECRETARY: Perhaps you would like to tell me about that.

PETROVSKY: I ... sir, ...

FIRST SECRETARY: Take your time, General.

The First Secretary smiles to himself. Petrovsky is speechless.

 

 

Hawke and Archangel walk across to the hangar in the field.

HAWKE: There's no way you can get me in?

ARCHANGEL: I'd have thought you'd've had enough action already.

HAWKE: I don't know, I just feel kind of useless here, y' know?

ARCHANGEL: Well, hopefully, Marella will make contact tonight. We've been maintaining radio silence as much as possible. At least we'll find out what the state of the game is.

HAWKE: Listen, the minute they start those engines, the Ruskies are gonna be swarming all over them. If there's just this much chance that they're not gonna get off the ground, I want to be there to pull them out.

ARCHANGEL: If they start the engines at all. And how do you propose pulling them out?

HAWKE: I've seen that borrowed gunship of yours hidden under the netting over there.

He indicates the Mi-24.

ARCHANGEL: We already have a pilot, Hawke.

HAWKE: Change him!

Archangel shakes his head in amazement.

ARCHANGEL: You never stop, do you?

HAWKE: Only when it's over.

 

 

Santini and Marella continue their work inside Airwolf, ducked down out of sight of the windscreen.

SANTINI: So how'd you get involved with the FIRM?

MARELLA: The same way we all do.

SANTINI: Uh uh. Not me. I just got dragged into all this, remember?

MARELLA: [reflectively] Well, I was a fifteen-year-old, grade-A, high-school student. Archangel turned up at school one day, took me out of class, went to see my parents, and the next day I was enrolled in the FIRM's training academy in Washington State.

SANTINI: Mr Clean obviously took a shine to you, "Angel Two".

MARELLA: [a little defensively] I worked damned hard to get where I am.

SANTINI: I believe it! I believe it! [After a pause] So, Michael tells me you worked on The Lady whilst she was in development.

MARELLA: That's right. I joined the program as a systems specialist, reporting directly to Dr Moffett.

Santini tenses a little at the name and harrumphs.

SANTINI: Huh!

MARELLA: For all that he was probably insane, he was a genius. After two years, though, I moved up to Project Liaison Officer, and then Archangel took me on to oversee the completion and testing program.

SANTINI: And you've been with him ever since.

MARELLA: The project isn't complete.

SANTINI: Oh?

MARELLA: Officially, we're still awaiting completion of the testing program. Once it's done, we are required to hand the prototype over to the Air Force.

SANTINI: And unofficially?

MARELLA: Unofficially... [she pauses to think] I put years and a lot of work into this machine. I'd rather keep Airwolf where I can keep my eye on her. Let those Air Force Techs start poking around with Airwolf's circuits? Over my dead body.

She turns back to her task with renewed vigour. Santini looks at her with some admiration and smiles. He taps a console affectionately.

SANTINI: Hey, old girl, I think you've got another admirer!

There is the sound of rotors as the First Secretary's Mi-8 lands above the waterfall. Petrovsky and the First Secretary step out.

Marella peers quickly over the seat back.

SANTINI: Uh oh!

MARELLA: Looks like we've got more visitors.

The First Secretary looks down at Airwolf.

FIRST SECRETARY: And these mysterious explosions you witnessed? I assume the matter is being dealt with?

PETROVSKY: Yes, sir.

FIRST SECRETARY: Well then, General Petrovsky, let your last duty before - retirement - be to show me this aircraft, about which there has been such a commotion. I have to say, it looks rather small to be capable of the things you claim!

PETROVSKY: Appearances, First Secretary, Sir, can be deceptive. Please watch your step as we ...

FIRST SECRETARY: Yes, yes, thank you, General, I am quite capable of walking over rocks without your assistance. Your humble servitude will not save you now.

PETROVSKY: Yes, First Secretary.

They descend to the nose. The First Secretary peers in.

FIRST SECRETARY: So where are all the marvellous electronics, General?

PETROVSKY: They are inside, First Secretary, in a compartment to the rear.

FIRST SECRETARY: Carry on.

He tries the door. It won't open.

FIRST SECRETARY: Can't you even open the door to this technological wonder, General? Does one get in by matter transference or some other science fiction?

PETROVSKY: Sir, it was open ...

VOLYNSKY: Pardon me, First Secretary, General. Doctor Volynsky, Sir, inspection team.

FIRST SECRETARY: Go ahead. What do you wish to say?

VOLYNSKY: Sir, we discovered the doors in this condition this morning. We believe an internal security system may have activated during our earlier investigations. We are confident we will be able to de-activate it once it is moved to the research facility.

FIRST SECRETARY: Thank you for your concise explanation, Comrade Doctor Volynsky. I will recommend you lead the full analysis programme on this machine.

VOLYNSKY: Thank-you, First Secretary.

FIRST SECRETARY: Now then, General, continue.

They move off down the side.

MARELLA: That's the Soviet Premier!

SANTINI: [sadly] My God. I guess String caused quite a stir in Moscow.

MARELLA: Well, let's hope he got out OK.

SANTINI: Got out? Of the KGB's interrogation centre? Ha!

MARELLA: I'll get an update from Archangel as soon as ...

SANTINI: Shsh!

The voices pass nearby again.

FIRST SECRETARY: Well, let us hope that we can learn something from this ... decidedly unconvincing aircraft.

Santini rolls his eyes in disgust.

FIRST SECRETARY: I will retain my scepticism until I see it, or a copy of it, flying for myself. Perhaps, Comrade Volynsky, you would care to accompany me back to Moscow. I would find your suggestions and comments valuable.

VOLYNSKY: But of course, First Secretary.

FIRST SECRETARY: I trust, Petrovsky, that you can make your own way home?

Petrovsky scowls. The First Secretary goes with Doctor Volynski to his Mi-8. It starts up. Petrovsky watches it lift off, bitterly.

PETROVSKY: Start up this gunship. Be ready to leave for Belomorsk immediately.

PILOT: Yes, General.

An Mi-24 winds up and its rotors begin to turn. Petrovsky climbs aboard.

It lifts off.

MARELLA: Two gunships down ...

 

 

Darkness.

Laughter comes from the troops by the remaining Mi-24s. There is little wind.

They are telling jokes and singing.

Marella scans the area with her IR viewer. The computer is operating and humming.

SANTINI: It's not looking good. These readings show damage in the main and secondary turbines.

MARELLA: Does it specify what the damage is?

SANTINI: Nah, but it means we aint going no place tonight. I'm gonna have to go out there and fix 'em.

MARELLA: Can you do it? I mean without being seen.

SANTINI: Well now that just depends, doesn't it, on whether anyone looks over here while I'm up on the roof! After all, I show up like a lighthouse, now don't I?

MARELLA: Do you want to risk it?

SANTINI: No, but I have to, don't I?

MARELLA: Well, for all our sakes, be careful.

SANTINI: Uh huh.

He climbs over to the co-pilot's seat, collecting various tools.

MARELLA: Do you think you can get her airworthy by the morning?

SANTINI: Depends on how much damage there is.

MARELLA: OK, but remember, silence is golden.

SANTINI: You don't have to remind me!

He opens the door. It hisses. The soldiers laugh. Santini climbs out onto the rocks. Marella passes him a folded step-ladder stowed against the wall. He leaves the door slightly open.

Santini glances at the Mi-24s in the darkness and climbs up to the upper engine covers, opening them.

 

 

Hawke paces around nervously, outside the cabin.

HAWKE: Yeah, well, I don't like this quiet.

ARCHANGEL: Marella would have contacted us if there was a problem.

HAWKE: Unless she didn't get the opportunity.

ARCHANGEL: Don't be so negative, Hawke!

HAWKE: I just wish I could do something!

ARCHANGEL: [sighs] I know what you mean.

 

 

The soldiers are quieter now. Muttering voices talk in Russian.

A couple of soldiers move round their Mi-24, staring across the space towards Airwolf, hidden in the darkness.

 

Santini is half consumed by the upper engine compartment. He is wrenching something within, grunting softly, with a spanner or similar between his teeth.

He pulls something out of his pocket and reaches in with it.

A light suddenly falls on the rotor hub and blades nearby. Startled, he jumps quickly down, ducking for cover below the rear fuselage.

Marella is frozen, watching the beam.

The light moves along a blade, missing the open engine cowling. It falls on a roof section, then is extinguished.

Santini stays motionless for a long moment, looking out from his hiding place, cautiously.

Marella scans the helicopters with her IR viewer, sighing with relief. She gives two quiet taps on the wall.

Santini hears them and moves out, slowly climbing back up to the engine, watching the darkness all the time.

 

The troops are retreating to tents and aircraft.

Marella flicks a couple of switches on one of the boxes they brought with them. She taps a code quickly and a light flashes synchronously.

 

 

Archangel turns to the cabin, hearing the beeps.

ARCHANGEL: Hawke! It's Marella!

They go in. He taps a response.

 

 

Santini pops his head round the door. Marella beckons him in, putting on an Airwolf helmet.

MARELLA: Angel Two to Angel One, over?

ARCHANGEL: Angel One receiving you.

Santini puts on a second helmet.

ARCHANGEL: They've not spotted you?

MARELLA: Not yet.

ARCHANGEL: How about your repairs?

Marella looks at Santini.

SANTINI: Well, the turbines are pretty shot at, but I think I can get them in working order before sun-up.

ARCHANGEL: What about the rotors and blades?

SANTINI: I got a good look at them when we arrived. They seem OK. I suppose we'll only know for sure when we give them a try.

ARCHANGEL: Dominic ... we need to know ... what are the real chances of you pulling this off? I mean, of actually flying Airwolf out? Can you do it?

Santini looks at Marella.

HAWKE: Course he can, Michael. If anyone can get the lady in the air again, Dom can.

SANTINI: String?!

HAWKE: Listen. I'm not real busy right now, so why don't you give me a call when you're ready to come over, and I'll see if I can arrange for someone to come and show you the way.

SANTINI: [laughing] It's a deal! You hear that, Marella? He got out!

ARCHANGEL: With a little help from his friends!

HAWKE: Are those gunships still with you?

MARELLA: I'm afraid so, Hawke.

SANTINI: Listen, String, if you're sending someone over, make sure they know how to look after a lady, will ya? I wouldn't count on her being all that keen in the self-defence department right now.

HAWKE: I'll see what I can do.

 

A soldier is walking slowly across the rocks a short distance from the top of the waterfall. He is not looking at Airwolf.

 

Hawke and Archangel are stood by the communications unit.

ARCHANGEL: .. alright, but if there's the slightest chance of this failing, let me know.

HAWKE: Yeah, and you be careful.

SANTINI: Me? I'm always careful!

MARELLA: Right. We'll give you a Code Delta signal if all is well.

ARCHANGEL: Roger, Angel Two.

MARELLA: Angel Two out.

Hawke and Archangel smile.

HAWKE: Can we rig that gunship to fire from the pilot's position?

MARELLA: [smiling] You never cease to amaze me, Hawke!

They head off into the dark.

 

Santini is backing through the door. He is chuckling with Marella.

The soldier stops and looks down towards Airwolf. He peers into the darkness just making out movement. He moves his gun and advances.

Santini smiles as he moves round to the lower turbine exhausts. He crouches down and inspects them.

The soldier mutters to himself, surprised. He reaches the edge of the gully, Santini in full view. He clicks the safety catch.

Santini looks round suddenly.

Pfft.

The soldier collapses onto the rocks. Santini looks wildly around. Marella holds a pistol with silencer through the gap in the door.

They look at each other, then the dark shape of the body. She retreats inside.

MARELLA: Damn, damn, damn!

 

 

Hawke climbs up into the pilot's cock-pit of the borrowed Mi-24. Archangel follows.

ARCHANGEL: Are you sure, Hawke? I'd rather have someone who's familiar with the type.

HAWKE: Oh, I'm familiar, all right. I came out in one yesterday.

ARCHANGEL: You flew out of Russia in a gunship?!

Hawke smiles.

 

 

Petrovsky sips a hot drink in an airfield office in Belomorsk. He is tired.

Another officer enters, air-lift Captain.

CAPTAIN: Comrade General, sir.

PETROVSKY: Ah, yes, Captain. Have the heavy-lift helicopter ready for departure. I want the American aircraft moving from the crash-site at first light. There are to be no more delays.

CAPTAIN: Yes, general. Weather conditions are quite acceptable.

PETROVSKY: Good, good. Continue, Captain.

The Captain leaves. Petrovsky leans back and closes his eyes, wearily.

 

 

Santini is reaching into the starboard turbo intake. Something rattles inside. He pulls out his torch and inserts it, switching it on well inside. He switches it off again after looking up the hole briefly.

He tuts disappointedly, pulling out the torch and a chunk of broken metal and a cloth covered in dirt.

Marella taps furiously at Airwolf's computer. Various screens list information.

Santini enters quietly, holding up the metal.

MARELLA: What is it?

SANTINI: Looks like the remains of an unguided rocket casing. My guess is it's detonated right by the nose and the whole lot's gone straight up the turbo intake. Took out the mesh shield. She's lucky it jammed before the turbine blades; which, incidentally, are full of dirt.

MARELLA: So ... can you fix it?

SANTINI: It means we can fire them up to get us outa here, at a pinch, but they're gonna need a complete overhaul.

MARELLA: Will they give us any speed?

SANTINI: Huh! Who knows?

MARELLA: Well we're going to need plenty of it as soon as those guards see their friend lying out there. It'll be getting light in less than half an hour.

SANTINI: Well, there's nothing more I can do out there.

MARELLA: I've got most systems back on line here.

SANTINI: What's the damage on the weapons systems?

MARELLA: Hold on.

She taps the computer.

MARELLA: Hmm. Well, it's showing minimal damage. Some circuitry malfunctions and a couple of secondary hydraulic actuators.

SANTINI: Then she might be OK! How about the main flight controls?

MARELLA: I hoped you wouldn't ask.

SANTINI: Oh oh.

The communicator bleeps a code. They look at it.

SANTINI: Trouble?

MARELLA: Could be.

They put helmets on. Marella responds with a code.

MARELLA: Go ahead, Michael.

ARCHANGEL: Bad news, you two. That heavy lift helicopter is on its way from Belomorsk. It'll reach you in about twenty-seven minutes. It's a long-legged Mi-10; they'll have to land it on top of you to make the lift.

MARELLA: Damn!

ARCHANGEL: Can you get Airwolf out before it arrives?

Marella looks up at Santini. There is a long pause.

MARELLA: It's gonna be touch and go.

ARCHANGEL: I'll send in your escort. Good luck. Angel One, out.

She disconnects the unit.

SANTINI: Can you do it?

MARELLA: You'd better check the avionics again, Dominic.

She pushes buttons on the console. Santini climbs quietly out.

 

 

Petrovsky is almost asleep in his Mi-24. There are the first traces of dawn in the sky. Behind the gunship lumbers the Mi-10 heavy-lift helicopter.

A radio operator tentatively wakes him.

OPERATOR: Sir? General Petrovsky?

PETROVSKY: [wearily] What now?

OPERATOR: Sir a Tupolev early warning aircraft patrolling the border is reporting a very weak signal, sir, possibly scrambled, between a point within Finland and ... well, sir, the crash-site.

PETROVSKY: What?

OPERATOR: That's all they can say, Sir.

PETROVSKY: [in exasperated disbelief] There are have agents at the crash-site? Contact the commanding officer, quickly.

OPERATOR: Yes, sir.

 

 

Archangel watches Hawke lift off in the Mi-24. He waves once.

 

 

Petrovsky grabs a head set and puts it on.

PETROVSKY: Lieutenant Colonel!

L.COLONEL: Yes, General?

PETROVSKY: We have reason to believe there may be Western agents among your men.

L.COLONEL: General Petrovsky. Are you certain sir?

PETROVSKY: We are picking up scrambled transmissions from the crash-site - yes we are certain. Have your men searched immediately for transmission devices. If there are agents, they may wish to sabotage the airlift.

L.COLONEL: Yes, Comrade General.

PETROVSKY: And place a guard around the aircraft.

 

 

The sky is getting brighter. Santini rocks the tail rotor assembly, then hurries back to the cock-pit.

Troops are emerging slowly from the tents and helicopters.

Marella hits a control.

SANTINI: All clear.

MARELLA: Try the controls.

Santini climbs into the pilot's seat, and pushes the pedals. The tail rotor assembly moves. He moves the collective and cyclic, looking up at the main blades.

They rock slightly.

SANTINI: Hey, hey! We're away!

He leans across and closes the door. It hisses.

 

Orders are being shouted around the Mi-24s.

A soldier turns to the sound of the hiss. He looks towards Airwolf, then sees the body on the rocks.

SOLDIER: Look! Look!

Others dash over. Orders are shouted again.

MARELLA: Oh oh, looks like they've seen our friend.

SANTINI: I guess it's now or never, huh?

Soldiers run towards the body. The sound of a helicopter can be heard distantly towards the border.

The soldiers stop and turn, looking back at the silent Mi-24s.

Then sounds come from down the valley in the opposite direction. They turn to look again.

Petrovsky's Mi-24 and the Mi-10 are approaching distantly.


Santini pushes the two start buttons. The computer bleeps.

Four bangs occur at the turbine exhausts, accompanied by a spectacular pall of black smoke.

The soldiers turn again, shocked.

SANTINI: Come on, baby! Come on!

The whine of the turbines begins to build. The main rotors move.

Orders are shouted. An officer spies Santini in the cockpit.

They put their helmets on quickly.

He yells an order, pointing.

The rotors sweep faster. The men open fire on the cockpit. Bullets ricochet off.

Petrovsky hangs out of the door of his approaching Mi-24. Airwolf's rotors move faster.

PETROVSKY: No!

The other gunships are starting up, rotors turning.

 

SANTINI: Come on!

MARELLA: Fifty percent. She's too slow!

 

Petrovsky's Mi-24 thunders overhead, turning and descending above the waterfall.

A soldier runs up the side of Airwolf, scrambling to the cockpit door. He turns his gun on the window, determined.

Santini looks round. He fires. The bullets rebound and fly off. The soldier is hit and collapses.

The Mi-10 passes over and away beyond the trees.

Petrovsky jumps down from his Mi-24, staring at Airwolf in disbelief. He looks at Santini.

He turns and signals the gunner to fire.

 

MARELLA: Oh my God!

 

Hawke's Mi-24 rises suddenly over the trees. It opens fire on Petrovsky's machine, raking it with bullets.

Petrovsky, on the ground, ducks. His Mi-24 turns towards the aggressor, moving away from Airwolf.

SANTINI: And about time too!

HAWKE: You pleased to see me, Dom?

Santini laughs.

Hawke launches a volley of unguided rockets. Petrovsky's Mi-24 shatters and crashes down onto the rocks in an explosion.

Soldiers run for cover.

Debris destroys another Mi-24 still on the ground. Petrovsky yells at the soldiers, pointing at Hawke's gunship.

PETROVSKY: Destroy it! Destroy it!

Another Mi-24 leaves the ground, turning, followed quickly by a second. Hawke passes between them, turning.

Soldiers fire at everything.

Petrovsky waves his hands.

An Mi-24 explodes.

 

MARELLA: Ninety-five percent!

SANTINI: It's enough!

He moves the controls gently.

Airwolf lifts slightly, scraping the rocks.

Petrovsky turns and watches it back out of the waterfall. He grabs his pistol and fires repeatedly at the windcreen.

The nose clears the waterfall.

Airwolf rises slowly.

SANTINI: Put the weapons on line, Marella!

MARELLA: Pretend I'm new to this.

SANTINI: By your right shoulder!

She pushes the buttons. Guns and missile tubes extend.

MARELLA: All on line!

Santini moves Airwolf forward and over Petrovsky. Hawke opens up with the Mi-24's gun on the surviving gunships.

One lines up with Airwolf.

MARELLA: Dominic!

He swings Airwolf suddenly and fires a sidewinder. The Mi-24 explodes.

A soldier shoulders a rocket launcher. Airwolf passes over him. Hawke turns and sees him, opening up with the guns.

The man is hit and falls.

The remaining Soviet Mi-24 turns and fires two missiles towards Airwolf.

HAWKE: Dom!

Marella shoves two levers forward.

Hawke fires at the Mi-24.

Santini pushes the turbo button. Airwolf leaps forwards, the missiles streak past and explode around the tents. Soldiers fall.

Airwolf rises and turns.

The Soviet Mi-24 is riddled with gunfire. It turns towards Hawke defiantly.

Airwolf streaks back towards it. Santini fires the guns. They spit fire, hitting the Mi-24 across it's engines and hub. It flops downwards and smashes on the ground.

HAWKE: Nice shooting, Dom!

SANTINI: Hey, it wasn't me, it was the lady! She's come out fighting!

HAWKE: Well, let's get her out of here!

SANTINI: You bet!

Santini turns Airwolf again, passing over the camp and Hawke's Mi-24. Soldiers stagger around, confused. Hawke looks down at them.

Airwolf passes over the trees.

Petrovsky looks up at the Mi-24 hovering side on, in front of him. Hawke sees him.

Petrovsky sees Hawke.

PETROVSKY: Hawke.

Hawke turns the Mi-24 face on then opposite side on, to Petrovsky. Hawke gives him a wave of recognition.

Petrovsky stares with hatred. Hawke stares.

Petrovsky draws his gun suddenly and aims at Hawke.

Hawke throws the cyclic over and forward, banking the Mi-24 over away from him as he fires. The bullet whines off. The Mi-24 lifts over the trees and down out of sight.

Petrovsky, still holding his gun aimed, stares ahead for a long time. Slowly, lost, he lowers the gun and becomes indistinguishable from the remaining soldiers amongst the flames.

 

 

Hawke brings the Mi-24 parallel to Airwolf. They pass over the border fence.

SANTINI: Hey, String! We made it in one piece!

MARELLA: Thanks to you, Hawke.

HAWKE: Oh, come on, Marella, you know the lady could've taken them all on single handed. I was just there to keep an eye on her, make sure she didn't get carried away.

MARELLA: And that wasn't far off happening, I can tell you.

They laugh. The helicopters fly on.

 

 

Airwolf stands under the temporary hangar at the camp. Experts crawl over it. Archangel, Marella, Hawke and Santini walk away from it, towards the portacabin.

MARELLA: ... and anyway, we had the First Secretary come to visit us.

HAWKE: Top brass, huh?

ARCHANGEL: I think Airwolf must have caused quite a lot of excitement in Moscow.

MARELLA: Well, at least they weren't able to learn anything from it, since all the computer equipment was down.

SANTINI: A ... and just as well, if you ask me! I'd say we got there just in time.

ARCHANGEL: I can't bear to think what'd happen if the Soviets were able to mass-produce it.

HAWKE: I can't bear to think what'd happen if the United States were able to mass-produce it, either.

ARCHANGEL: Yes, well, there's only one or two people standing in the way of that possibility.

SANTINI: And we're gonna stay stood, right String?

HAWKE: Right.

ARCHANGEL: Between you and me, I think it's for the best that way.

SANTINI: [agreeing] Naa, it wouldn't be the same if everybody was doing it, now would it!?

They all laugh and walk on.

 

 

 

NOTICE
I, OWEN ANDREW HODGSON, hereby assert and give notice of my right under section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988 to be identified as author of the foregoing work.

OWEN HODGSON

Reviews

A few kind souls have left comments about this storyline, and since my ego sometimes needs a little boost, here are some of the nicer ones!

* That's very good work there. Also some of those photos with the Hinds are pretty cool :D [Steelbonnet]

* I just read your story and man I loved it. Very good reading. [Sleepydude]

* Wow thats a great story and the photos are fantastic [Yojimbo]

* VERY IMPRESSIVE!! I read the Airwolf Down piece, great story!! That's some serious season one stuff. I like the modern equipment and story line. I get some Tom Clancy/ Mr. Clarke elements out of it, and is there some Stephen Coonts inspiration as well, perhaps a little Firefox insight as well. It makes it fast paced and believable story. I like the political elements too. Way to take a lot of fluff out, while staying true to the original storyline. I like the photo work you did as well. So when does the show come out? I want a copy! That would bring a tear to old Donald Bellasario's eye. Someone paid attention to the details of his premise. GOOD JOB!! [Bell430drvr]

* The short story rocks! - Along with all the graphics you created for it. Good stuff!!! Really good little fanfic... [Trissybabes]

Thanks all!


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Last modified: 01 March 2011 09:48:18.