|Airwolf 25 years on... (fiction)||Airwolf vs Airwolf
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.
A I R W O L F
L E G A C Y
I wrote an early version of this story many years ago (around 1989, if memory serves) and found it again earlier this year. With the building of a full size replica of Airwolf in the States, and mutterings of an Airwolf movie, I decided to resurrect the story, rework it and move it to the present day - or near enough: 2008.
The story brings the Airwolf history up to the present, and is how I'd "bring Airwolf back" for TV if it were up to me. It's not a movie idea, it's more of a Pilot Episode, with hints of more to follow. To that end, and like "Down", it has been written as a kind of "compromised screenplay", with script-like dialogue, but without any "CAMERA pans around to the right" detailed direction. There are no character's innermost thoughts; just like a TV show, we don't get to see what the characters are thinking or feeling ("she felt his muscular arm brush against her thigh and could barely contain the shiver of thrill that ran like icy droplets down her spine") - it all 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.
This story is aimed at mature readers. It contains a little strong language, some mild violence, and references to other adult themes.
Note for Purists
Some of the original characters appear in this story, but not all. Let's face it, in 2008 Hawke would be in his late fifties, Archangel in his seventies and Santini in his nineties. The story completely ignores "Season 4" of Airwolf. Where characters from the original series do appear, I've tried to be "realistic" with the script, in that if the story were made for TV, there would be a chance (albeit small) of the characters being played by their original actors: where that chance is small (where the actors are no longer with us, or might not be expected to be around for much longer or be able to perform their role) the parts are correspondingly small and modifyable. And just because a character doesn't appear in this story doesn't mean they're dead! Yet.
I've not followed the popular fan preference for Hawke to continue flying Airwolf, or for Le Van Hawke to have followed in Hawke's footsteps. It is clear in the early shows that Airwolf is a means to an end for Hawke: the recovery of his brother. If that issue had been resolved, I couldn't see Hawke wanting to carry on with the espionage lifestyle - he was reluctant in the first place, admiration for the aircraft or not.
So if you're not interested in Airwolf without the original cast, don't read on. If you want a fantasy of how it all might have turned out, please do! It's just a story - it's not the end of the world.
Or is it?
[14th April 2008.
White Sands Strategic Reserve, somewhere in the Nevada desert. Late afternoon / early evening.
This is an aircraft boneyard full of mothballed bombers, fighters and helicopters, all arranged in long rows, with engines end cock-pits covered. The ground is flat but a little rough and dusty. Some aircraft show signs of parts scavenging.
A white electric bus hums between the rows of aircraft.]
THOR: Ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests, welcome to the FIRM's White Sands Strategic Reserve.
[Thor is standing at the front of the bus, addressing the passengers through a microphone in one hand, and hanging on tightly to the nearest seat back with the other as the bus pitches over the rough ground. He is in his mid forties and is dressed in a white suit.]
THOR: For those of you who don't know me, my name is James Arrowsmith; you might also know me as "Thor" ...
[He gives a wry smile, and there are a number of chuckles from around the bus.]
THOR: ... I'm head of the FIRM's Aerial Research Division.
Twenty-five years ago to the day, in Spring 1983, a truly remarkable aircraft took to the skies for the first time. Part gunship, part supersonic stealth-fighter, part helicopter, and part aerodynamic lifting body. It was literally decades ahead of its time.
In the cold war era of its conception, it would have changed the balance of world air power, and possibly history - but, as many of you know, the best laid plans ... Let's just say things never went too smoothly.
[Some of the passengers nod in agreement, or mutter quietly.]
THOR: Each of you, or the organisations you represent, played a role in the development and deployment of this superb piece of engineering. We've invited you here today to commemorate this quarter century anniversary with us, and to remind ourselves just what it was we were all working towards.
[He glances out of the window as the bus turns up a long row of mothballed Hueys, OH58s and Cobras.]
THOR: Ladies and gentlemen, twenty-five years on, may we present ... Airwolf.
[The passengers all look out of the right hand side as the bus pulls to a halt. Sat between a pair of Army Hueys is Airwolf, painted in faded all-over olive drab, with covers over the cockpit windows, plugs in the engine intakes and exhausts, and a protective sheet over the rotor hub.
It looks a little sorry for itself. A handful of FIRM personnel in overalls jump from the bus and begin to remove the protective covers from Airwolf.
There is a mix of quiet reactions from the passengers. One is an older man with a cowboy hat and white beard, in his early to mid seventies. He wears glasses, but the lens over his left eye is darkened. He sits next to a young woman of about twenty-one, with short brown hair. He points at Airwolf.]
ARCHANGEL: [With fondness] There she is. My, it's been a while.
[Sitting behind is a big man in his nineties, wearing a red cap with the initials "SA" on the front. He shifts uncomfortably and sighs.]
SANTINI: Oh my poor baby.
[The young woman smiles.]
EMILY: It's still beautiful, isn't it? Preferred it in black though.
THOR: Ladies and gentlemen, if we can remain on the bus for a few moments whilst our ground crew make Airwolf more presentable. We'll be joined shortly by the FIRM's Director, Zeus, who, I understand, has a very special announcement to make.
[Curious murmurs around the bus, as people start to stand and leave.]
ARCHANGEL: [Looking back over the seat] You going to come and take a look, Dominic?
SANTINI: [Shaking his head] Uh uh. I think I'd rather remember her as she was. Besides, these old bones of mine ...
[Archangel smiles at him. Outside the ground crew finish stripping the covers off.]
THOR: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, this way please.
ARCHANGEL: Are you sure you won't come down?
SANTINI: You give her my regards, uh?
[Passengers are filing off the bus. Archangel smiles and nods at Santini as he and Emily head for the door. As they get to the front, Thor smiles and offers his hand to Archangel.]
THOR: Archangel, it's good to see you, sir.
ARCHANGEL: James - likewise! It's been a long time since anyone's called me that. It's plain old Michael Coldsmith-Briggs the Third now - if you can describe such a moniker as "plain".
[He gives Thor a knowing smile.]
THOR: How's retirement treating you?
EMILY: He's busier now than he ever was, working for the FIRM!
ARCHANGEL: You know me - an old cowboy who just can't hang up his spurs. Catch me outside, will you? You can fill me in on what I've been missing.
[Archangel and Emily step down.]
THOR: Will do, sir. [With a nod to Emily] Miss Coldsmith-Briggs.
[The bus empties.
Santini looks out at Airwolf.]
SANTINI: Did you miss me?
[He pauses in the near-silence of the bus.]
SANTINI: I sure wish String could've been here.
[He pauses again, in thought.]
SANTINI: You take care, y' hear?
[He settles back into his seat.]
[On the ground people mill around Airwolf as the ground crew set up a small podium, microphone and speakers to one side of the area.
A further group of personnel are setting up a table with a light buffet and drinks.
Thor comes down from the bus and seeks out Archangel.]
THOR: Mr Santini joining us?
ARCHANGEL: I don't think he wants to spoil the illusion. [He indicates Airwolf] Dom flew Airwolf in its prime. While she looks complete ...
EMILY: Isn't she?
THOR: Well, she's intact, but stripped of armament, drained of fuel, and we all know what happened to the onboard computer in 1990.
EMILY: I was three years old. Humour me.
[Archangel is about to speak. He pauses to think.]
ARCHANGEL: Did you ever meet Stringfellow Hawke?
[Emily shakes her head.]
ARCHANGEL: Then I won't bore you with the details, but in 1989 we recovered - something - from South East Asia, and in doing so regained direct control of Airwolf. It's a long story.
Unfortunately, though, because of a little controversy surrounding the events of the previous five years, we were - shall we say - required to hand Airwolf over to the Air Force for evaluation. We flew it to Edwards Air Force Base in early 1990. As soon as we landed, the onboard computer shut itself down - permanently.
THOR: We don't know. It still flew. The Air Force tested it to Mach One on full manual controls; you could hand-crank the weapons, but it had no stealth capability, no detection equipment, everything was completely manual.
The Air Force turned it over to the Army who kitted it out as a helicopter gunship: it flew as a regular chopper in the Gulf and Balkans; eventually they deemed it non-standard and it came back to us in 1994.
EMILY: To the FIRM.
ARCHANGEL: Just before I retired. I hoped they might make it my retirement present...
EMILY: I wish!
THOR: We analysed everything we could, but couldn't find any answers. It hung around at Red Star Control for a while, flying equipment tests and as a target for dummy weapons firing, but it was mothballed in 2000.
EMILY: [Thoughtfully] And here she stands.
[They look up at the sound of an approaching helicopter.
A white Bell 427 swings into view over nearby aircraft. It is heading for a landing near the podium.]
THOR: Here's Zeus.
[The 427 kicks up a lot of dust and the crowd turn away or cover their eyes as it lands and shuts down.
The doors open and the pilot and co-pilot, both female and dressed entirely in white, climb out, opening the passenger doors.
A tall woman, also all in white and with dark curly hair, steps down, with an aide and two men, clearly civilians.
Archangel stares at the woman in amazement over the crowd as she steps up to the microphone.]
ARCHANGEL: [To himself, in awe] Marella!
[Marella nods to the crowd.]
MARELLA: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you all for coming. My name is Zeus, and I'm Director of the FIRM. As Thor has no-doubt explained, it's twenty-five years since Airwolf took to the skies.
It was certainly a weapon of its time: since the 1980s the theatre of war has changed dramatically - we no longer need covert spy missions into the Soviet Union or East Germany. Wars may be played out in a different way, but in some ways the basic Airwolf design is still just as valid in the modern arena. At present, alas, we can but speculate, but technology from Airwolf is, as we speak, being redeveloped for the next generation of surveillance and intercept aircraft.
Some of you will know a little more about Airwolf's - colourful - history [she grins], much of which is still classified, however under the FIRM's twenty-five year rule, we have decided that the helicopter itself, its technical development and creators - that's you, ladies and gentlemen - deserve a little more recognition.
To that end, with me today are Clark Hotel and Steven Stills from the National Helicopter Museum in Florida, to whom, I am proud to announce, we are giving Airwolf on indefinite loan.
[There is a round of applause. Hotel moves to the microphone as the applause dies down.]
HOTEL: Thank you, Zeus. We're very proud to be given this opportunity to display such a revolutionary helicopter; more so that we will be able to tell its story - and its relevance - to a hitherto blissfully ignorant public!
HOTEL: It is a great honour to be able to finally give credit to the designers, builders and aircrews who did so much to advance helicopter technology, and who have so far gone unrecognised despite their achievements. Airwolf will be a new centrepiece to our collection, and we promise to take good care of her.
[Applause again from the crowd. Marella returns to the microphone.]
MARELLA: Thank you Clark. I'm sure everyone here has a story or two about Airwolf to tell, and I'm sure these two gentlemen would be more than happy to hear them.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the meantime, please feel free to examine Airwolf at your leisure. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me or any of our staff. We're the ones in white.
[She points at the nearest white-clad person. There is a ripple of laughter.]
MARELLA: Thank you.
[She steps down to a final polite applause, as people start to mill around Airwolf and talk in groups.
Archangel intercepts Marella.]
[She stops, equally surprised to see him there.]
ARCHANGEL: You look great!
MARELLA: Thank you sir!
ARCHANGEL: [Dismissing the formality] Oh please!
MARELLA: Force of habit.
[He looks at her with admiration and a little bemusement.]
ARCHANGEL: So, you made the top spot then? Zeus. It suits you.
MARELLA: With a good tutor [she nods towards him, respectfully] and a lot of hard work. I never did figure why you didn't go for it yourself.
[Archangel tips his head towards Emily.]
ARCHANGEL: Priorities change.
[Marella looks at Emily and starts. She gasps in surprise.]
MARELLA: Emily?! Oh my word, you've grown! You must have been this high when I last saw you!
EMILY: Turned twenty-one last month.
MARELLA: Oh my! I guess you've not followed your father's footsteps into the Intelligence Community.
EMILY: Nah. Dad made the fatal error of letting me see Airwolf when I was six, was it?
[She looks to Archangel for confirmation.]
EMILY: Close enough. After that I just wanted to be a pilot.
MARELLA: Good for you! You know, we're looking for good pilots for ...
EMILY: Uh uh. Oh no. "Archangel" here already tried that. I'm happy to stay in the civilian world, thank you very much.
MARELLA: Are you sure I can't persuade you?
EMILY: Tell you what: why don't I give you my honest evaluation of Airwolf's ergonomics and aesthetics, as a consolation prize. [She beams suddenly with almost child-like enthusiasm, adding quickly] I've never been inside and I'm dying to take a look!
MARELLA: It's a deal.
[Emily nods, grins, and hurries off towards Airwolf, where other people are looking in and around it.]
MARELLA: That's a fine girl you've got, sir.
[Archangel watches Emily with pride.]
[Emily tries to peer in through the co-pilot's door, but it is blocked by a man doing a closer inspection and talking to someone inside.
She wanders along the port side, past the engines and towards the tail, looking up and down at the fuselage and rotors. Nearby another man in his mid thirties is doing the same, giving Airwolf admiring looks. He turns to her as she approaches.]
CHRISTOPHER: Superb isn't she?
[He has an English accent.]
EMILY: Certainly is. Something about the lines - it just looks "right".
CHRISTOPHER: A tribute to the designer. Genius, apparently.
CHRISTOPHER: Charles Moffet. English kinsman - brought his talents over here... The "Brain Drain" they call it back home.
[She smiles politely and looks back at the fuselage, before starting to drift away from the conversation. Christopher offers his hand, suddenly.]
CHRISTOPHER: Christopher, by the way. Pleased to meet you.
[They shake hands.]
EMILY: Emily. You too.
[She looks up at the rotor blade above them.]
EMILY: [Out of politeness] So ... what's your connection with Airwolf?
CHRISTOPHER: British Aircraft Systems - trade and retail division. We don't manufacture anymore, but one of our predecessor companies - you'll never have heard of it: MR Technologies? No? - well, they supplied a few gizmos for the target identification system, amongst others. Five mergers and acquisitions later and we get the invite through the door at B.A.S.
EMILY: It's a long way from England to view an old shell in a boneyard...
CHRISTOPHER: Pass up on an all-expenses-paid trip?
EMILY: Fair point!
CHRISTOPHER: And you? Forgive me, but I can't imagine you were on the design team!
EMILY: Oh no, I'm just here with my Dad.
[As she speaks Christopher becomes distracted by something he can see over her shoulder. She doesn't notice.]
EMILY: He was ...
CHRISTOPHER: [Interrupting] Sorry. Sorry Emily. Would you excuse me for just a minute.
[She is a little surprised as he moves past her.]
EMILY: Sure, no problem.
[He skips into the crowd and out of view. She shrugs and heads for the co-pilot's door again, now vacant.
She climbs into the seat. There is no-one else inside.
She grabs the controls.]
EMILY: [Grinning] Oh wow!
[She shifts the cyclic forwards and back, pulling on the collective.]
EMILY: Still as smooth as silk. [To Airwolf] Oh I'd love to take you up!
[She looks around and climbs over into the rear section. Everything is dark and dead. She looks round at the computer system with awe.
She pushes buttons but they do nothing. She is not expecting them to.]
EMILY: Apart from the dust and the deathly silence, you could have been built yesterday.
ARCHANGEL: [Head around the door] Are you suitably impressed?
EMILY: [Genuinely] I really want to fly it.
ARCHANGEL: I wish I could oblige. Marella costs it at two- to three-hundred-million dollars to rebuild this airframe to anything like its original specification, redesigning and replacing the computers and so on. Fifteen billion for an all new Airwolf-equivalent design.
EMILY: And you stopped my allowance when I got my own place and moved out too.
ARCHANGEL: Even my allowance wouldn't cover it.
[Marella is visible through the windscreen calling to Archangel.]
MARELLA: Michael - there's someone I'd like you to meet.
ARCHANGEL: [To Emily] No stealing Airwolf while I'm gone. Twice is enough for anyone.
EMILY: [Grinning] Three times would be positively careless.
[Archangel ducks out. Emily looks around again. She pretends to type at the keyboard.]
EMILY: [To Airwolf] I'll bet you could tell some stories.
CHRISTOPHER: You're right.
[She looks up, a little startled. Christopher has popped his head around the door where Archangel had stood. He climbs in and sits in the co-pilots seat.]
CHRISTOPHER: Sorry I had to walk out on you there. A couple of people I needed to make friends with and influence.
EMILY: No problem.
CHRISTOPHER: I've heard that Airwolf stored all its missions in there. [Points to the computer] A learning computer. Way ahead of its time, really.
EMILY: I wonder what shut it down?
CHRISTOPHER: I've got a theory about that. May I?
[He indicates her seat.]
[They squeeze past each other so that he can sit down. She crouches behind the co-pilots seat.
Christopher pulls out some papers showing the internal layout of the command area, and a small shaped plastic module with electronics mounted on the back. On the front, which is shaped such that it would fit as a module into a control panel, is a blank screen, a small knob and a couple of buttons.
He puts the module down and looks at the papers.
Emily watches curiously.]
EMILY: So what's your theory?
CHRISTOPHER: The computer was programmed to shut down.
[He sorts the papers, folding them to find the bit he's looking for. In the process he puts one in his mouth briefly, and has to talk around it.]
CHRISTOPHER: Either after some predetermined time limit, or maybe some other trigger.
EMILY: Why? I mean who would want to disable it like that?
CHRISTOPHER: Someone who had a [He lets the paper drop from his mouth] vested interest in retaining control of Airwolf.
CHRISTOPHER: [Thoughtfully] Charles Moffet. I wonder what he'd say if he were here today.
EMILY: By all accounts he wasn't a particularly nice guy.
CHRISTOPHER: So they say.
[He looks up into the corner of the equipment banks, as if looking for something, all the time referring to the drawings on his lap and on the console.]
CHRISTOPHER: But did you know he had a family? Two sons.
[He pulls out a screwdriver and reaches up into the corner. She watches with incredulity.]
CHRISTOPHER: In England. Wasn't much of a father. Left them quite early on to come here and work for the FIRM. Project Proteus, whatever that was. He didn't abandon them completely, though.
[He is working the blade of the screwdriver behind a panel seam in the console.]
CHRISTOPHER: Oh no. Moffet wasn't stupid. He wasn't going to leave his progeny unprovided for...
[Just then there are concerned voices outside, and a few shouts. They both look through the windscreen. Emily stands.]
EMILY: What's going on?
[They can see Marella's pilots looking ill, being supported by others, and being led to chairs to sit down.]
CHRISTOPHER: Looks like someone had too much cake. They'll be fine.
[He pulls and a blank console panel comes off in his hands.]
EMILY: What are you doing?
[He looks at her quizically.]
CHRISTOPHER: What was old one-eye telling you?
[She starts, but then checks herself, curiosity kicking in.]
EMILY: That apparently it'd cost two- or three-hundred-million to get Airwolf flying again.
CHRISTOPHER: Thought so. They've got no idea. Three-hundred-million! All you actually need is one of these keys.
[He holds up the module in one hand, the blank panel he has just removed, in the other. They are the same shape.]
CHRISTOPHER: If you know where to put it, of course.
[He pushes it into position where the blank panel had been.
There is a whirring noise, a screen lights up with the words "Auxiliary Battery Connected". The computers spring to life and the lights come on. There is a throbbing hum and a quiet high-pitched variable tone. She is stunned.]
EMILY: How did...?
CHRISTOPHER: You see, Moffet left a legacy to his sons, and a challenge, if you will, to see which of them was better suited to take on his mantle. Both sons had the same chance to reclaim their father's heritage, but only one could win.
[He types commands into the keyboard. A screen displays "Fuel Circulator Active. Commencing Auxiliary Reserve Tank Bleed." The sound of an electric pump running somewhere nearby can be heard.]
EMILY: You're ...?
CHRISTOPHER: Christopher Moffet. Still pleased to meet you.
EMILY: [Without any certainty] You know you can't fly Airwolf out of here. It's defuelled...
CHRISTOPHER: Not totally. It's unarmed, has no turbo power, but it will fly.
[He stops smiling, and looks serious and concerned, like a teacher or parent to a child.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Calmly and reasonably.] Now, Emily. You're faced with a choice. I'm about to press a couple of buttons that will draw attention to my devious scheme. You can stay here, in which case I'll take you with me, commit unspeakable acts of depravation against you, and then kill you; or, because I'm in a generous mood you can exit stage left [indicates the door behind her] with no hard feelings.
[She hesitates, still in a state of mild shock.]
CHRISTOPHER: Quickly... I get bored very easily.
[She casts him a last look and scrambles out of the doorway. He leans forward and pushes the start buttons.]
[Emily leaps away from Airwolf as an almighty bang emits from the upper turbines.
Everyone turns in surprise.]
CHRISTOPHER: Hmm. Letting a perfectly serviceable - and not unattractive - specimen go... Good decision? Bad decision? I'll probably regret it.
[A cloud of black smoke rises from the exhausts as the main rotors begin to turn, very slowly.
On the bus, Santini wakes abruptly from his slumber and looks around.]
SANTINI: Uh oh. Here we go again.
[He sighs and shakes his head.
Emily runs headlong towards the 427, past the pilots who are both looking very unwell. Marella is up and looking at Airwolf.]
MARELLA: What the hell is...
EMILY: Christopher Moffet!
EMILY: Son of the guy who designed it!
[She leaps into the 427 and fires it up.]
ARCHANGEL: Emily! What are you doing?!
EMILY: Do you want him to get away?
[Marella climbs into the co-pilot's seat. Airwolf's rotors rapidly increase speed.]
[Christopher seats himself in Airwolf's pilot's seat, putting on a helmet, and looks out at the confused crowd and the 427, with its rotors slowly winding up.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Puzzled and a little annoyed] Damn, I thought I'd got all the pilots.
[FIRM personnel run about, but none are armed. Airwolf's rotors reach take off speed and it rises into the sky.
It turns and climbs slowly over the crowd, landing gear retracting. It accelerates gently away.
Thor yells orders. Archangel looks around at the milling people, the FIRM personnel and Thor, as if he should be doing something.
The 427 lifts off after Airwolf. He watches it with concern.]
ARCHANGEL: Three times is careless?
[He glances about, as if looking for some role to perform. Thor sees him.]
THOR: [Over the sound of the helicopters departing] You OK, Archangel?
ARCHANGEL: I'm fine ... I ...
THOR: Airwolf has no armament. Your daughter isn't in any danger.
ARCHANGEL: I know, I know.
THOR: Don't worry, we'll bring Airwolf back. Count on it!
[Thor breaks off, purposefully.
Archangel looks around himself again, as the noise levels drop. He peers towards the now-distant helicopters, and cracks a smile.]
ARCHANGEL: [To himself] I'm too old for this... [He stops in surprise] You know what? For the first time ever, Airwolf is officially not my problem.
[Airwolf cruises at a couple of hundred knots above the desert, with the 427 in pursuit, a little higher, behind. They are flying straight and level.
Marella and Emily watch Airwolf ahead of them.]
MARELLA: He just put a dash-panel in?
EMILY: Yep. Called it a "key". A sort of plug-in module, I suppose.
MARELLA: I don't understand how.... It was defuelled!
EMILY: Auxiliary reserve tank? Auxiliary batteries? I could hear a circulation pump running.
MARELLA: What else did he say?
EMILY: He called it his "legacy".
[Marella shakes her head in disbelief.]
MARELLA: Charles Moffet planned this? Twenty-five years ago? It's outrageous. It doesn't even make sense - Moffet planted a bug in Airwolf years ago - the entire computer system was wiped clean... There's no way he could have planned all this...
[Emily points through the windscreen.]
EMILY: [Mock surprise] Oh look! There's Airwolf, and it's flying!
[Christopher checks the controls.]
CHRISTOPHER: You're good at following, but can you chase?
[He pulls the controls over.]
[Airwolf banks sharply and drops into a canyon that opens out nearby. The canyon is deep and rocky with sharp pinnacles and deep crevasses.
The 427 follows.]
EMILY: He said he can't use the turbos - presumably they aren't fuelled by the reserve tank.
MARELLA: But Airwolf has more power and conventional speed than we do.
EMILY: He can't have much range.
[They duck around a sharp bluff.]
EMILY: Hell, he's good.
[As they wind between pinnacles and through narrow defiles, Airwolf slowly pulls ahead.]
EMILY: He's using that extra speed now...
[They continue to chase through the canyon.
Airwolf rises to pass through a narrow slot between two rock pillars, banking sharply down as it passes through, out of sight.
The 427 climbs and follows through.
As they pass through the gap there is no sign of Airwolf ahead.]
EMILY: Where did he go?!
[As she climbs and turns, Airwolf is sliding around the back of one of the rock pillars, dropping back into the canyon on the other side and out of sight again.]
MARELLA: [Angry] Damn it!
[The 427 swings around but they don't see Airwolf in the far distance.]
MARELLA: It's not your fault. Thor will have F-18s scrambled by now. Airwolf won't get far.
EMILY: Unless the legacy includes a fuel dump somewhere.
MARELLA: I'll be damned if someone is going to steal Airwolf on my watch.
[Marella looks out of the window, angrily as the 427 turns.]
EMILY: I don't understand why he wants a twenty-five year old chopper. Why not steal something more up to date?
MARELLA: It may be old, but if those onboard computers really are back on line, it's the most dangerous thing in the sky.
EMILY: They looked on line to me.
MARELLA: Then we have got to get it back.
EMILY: If that pilot's job is still open, count me in.
[Marella turns to look at Emily, confused.]
MARELLA: I thought you didn't want to be in the Intelligence Community.
EMILY: [Matter-of-factly] He insulted my Dad.
MARELLA: I'll see what I can do.
EMILY: Do I get a white suit and a codename?
[Somewhere out in the desert, sunset.
A road tanker is parked amongst rocks and scrub, looking abandoned and a little dusty. There are no roads in the vicinity.
Lying against the front wheel is the tanker driver. He is dead, and has been for some time, possibly a few days. A close inspection would suggest that his death was not a pleasant one.
In the distance Airwolf approaches at low level.
It slows, the landing gear extends, and it lands near the tanker, shutting down.
After a few moments as the rotors slow Christopher opens the door and steps out.]
CHRISTOPHER: [To the driver] Thanks for keeping an eye on the truck. You can be on your way when I've done.
[He connects a fuel hose to the tanker, and the other end to Airwolf's fuel port. He leaves the tanker's pump running and returns to the cockpit, pulling out a cellphone.
He dials a number. After a few moments he speaks.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Cheerfully, with pauses] Hi! ... Yes, Christopher Moffet. ... No, I'm fine, fine. You? ... Good! Yes, listen, I thought you might be interested to hear that we are open for business ... Yes ... In need of some new paint, perhaps, and a little work to the systems ... No. Nothing that can't be fixed with a little TLC. Can I count on you? ... Very much appreciated, my friend. ... You might like to pass word to your colleagues ... I'm sure they will, I'm sure they will! ... And you. See you soon.
[He smiles, satisfied, then dials again.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Sarcastically] Aww. I'm sorry! Did I wake you? I forgot that it's the middle of the night there. ... What do I want? To gloat, of course! Dead daddy's little challenge. I'll bet you haven't even opened your package, have you? -
[At the other end of the line it is very dark. William's hand opens a drawer, lifting out a sealed package.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Through telephone] - Not that it matters. The prize is claimed. You're on the wrong side of the Atlantic - the action's all over here -
[Christopher chuckles patronisingly, and stands up, looking round at the tanker.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Patronisingly] - but then you were never one for any action, were you William? You go get your beauty sleep; [He puts on an American accent] I'll see ya around, bro.
[He hangs up.]
[At the other end of the line, William hangs up in the dark.]
WILLIAM: [Quietly] There is no prize. There's just the game. The choice, as always, is whether to play.
[He puts the package down.]
[Several days later.]
[A compound of warehouses, docks, cranes and other industrial structures on the coast. The buildings all bear the legend "Carlisle Industries".
Airwolf is parked inside one of the large warehouses, where personnel are preparing and repainting the fuselage, whilst technical personnel are in and around the helicopter making repairs and installing equipment.
Christopher walks casually around Airwolf, watching the progress.
Through the main door, Carlisle approaches, with a couple of aides who stand off to one side.]
CARLISLE: Christopher! She's beautiful!
CHRISTOPHER: She will be.
CARLISLE: I wasn't convinced you could pull it off.
CHRISTOPHER: I always keep my promises, Carlisle.
CARLISLE: I'm sorry I wasn't here for your arrival. I hope you've managed to settle in. Do my men meet your standards?
CHRISTOPHER: So long as they don't break anything.
CARLISLE: I've seen to it that they're sufficiently incentivised!
[They walk around Airwolf together.]
CARLISLE: She is a beautiful machine, but can she do everything you promise?
CHRISTOPHER: Machine guns, rockets, sidewinders, bullpups - if you so desire - active-stealth, mach-one capable: she's done mach-two more than once. And with one or two little refinements here and there ...
CARLISLE: Such as? Your shopping list was very impressive.
CHRISTOPHER: Enhanced infra-red suppression, automatic chaff and flare dispensing, auto-defence system, updated memory and processors for the onboard computers, modern night-vision equipment and other detection systems...
CARLISLE: Yes, which brings me neatly to the price tag for these "little" refinements.
CHRISTOPHER: [As if to say, "get to the point"] What do you need, Carlisle? Specifically.
CARLISLE: [Stalling for effect] Weapons and technology like this are hard to come by - the black market doesn't always like cash - it's so traceable...
CHRISTOPHER: Let me guess. There's a federal gold shipment taking place next week and you'd like to have it intercepted.
CARLISLE: I didn't realise you could read minds too, Christopher.
CHRISTOPHER: In this business it pays to be one step ahead. As soon as Airwolf is flight-tested, you give me the time and place, I'll bring you the gold.
CARLISLE: It's a deal.
[He looks at the painters, who are applying the black and white colour scheme.]
CARLISLE: [Curiously] Tell me ... Why did you insist on black and white? Why not camouflage or a neutral grey?
CHRISTOPHER: I'm a traditionalist. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing - you can land Airwolf in a line of executive helicopters and no-one would give her a second glance. That was the whole point of Airwolf as originally conceived - you just don't see her.
[Carlisle is sceptical.]
CARLISLE: Whatever you say.
[Carlisle nods and turns to depart.]
CHRISTOPHER: Since it's going to be a few days before I go flying again, perhaps you'd care to point me towards the local entertainment or amusements. I tend to get bored very quickly, and then I tend to start killing people.
[Carlisle stops and laughs.]
CARLISLE: But of course! Come - I'll arrange the tour for you.
CHRISTOPHER: You're too kind.
[They head off.]
In Thor's office, Marella is pacing about angrily. Thor and Emily stand by, with a couple of white-clad female aides.]
MARELLA: Five days! Five days and all we have so far is a fuel tanker and a murdered driver!
THOR: Airwolf has clearly gone to ground somewhere.
EMILY: After eight years of storage, it's going to need some heavy attention. If it were me, I'd be upgrading the systems too. That takes time, facilities, equipment and money.
THOR: Do we have the data yet for suspected illegal imports of weaponry?
AIDE: Sir nothing suggests any connection with Airwolf at this stage. It's all small-arms, drug related.
THOR: What about possible hideouts?
AIDE: Assuming he refuelled fully from the hijacked tanker, Airwolf could be anywhere within a three million square mile area.
MARELLA: Is there any reason to suspect he would know about "the Lair"?
THOR: Where Hawke and Santini hid Airwolf?
EMILY: Only if the information is recorded in Airwolf's memory banks.
THOR: We can stake it out.
EMILY: It's too obvious a location. Wherever he is, he needs equipment and specialist help. He's probably at an airfield or some other industrial site.
[She suddenly looks thoughtful.]
THOR: That's a lot of potential sites.
MARELLA: Needle in a haystack.
[Emily looks up at them.]
EMILY: We need a magnet.
MARELLA: Out with it, then!
EMILY: The brother. If there's animosity between them - which seems likely - one might just draw in the other.
MARELLA: Have you completed your fast jets refresher?
MARELLA: Thor - you two take an F18 and get over to England. I'll have a Lynx ready for you on arrival. If he looks like being useful bring him in.
THOR: Yes Ma'am.
[Emily and Thor turn to go.]
MARELLA: And Miss Coldsmith-Briggs?
MARELLA: Your code name is "Athena". Welcome to the team.
[A dark room. The background is slightly lighter than the foreground, in which we can just make out the silhouette of someone lying down. We hear Christopher's voice, but don't see him.]
CHRISTOPHER: The thing about entertainment and amusements is that one is supposed to enjoy one's self. We've been here what, twelve, maybe thirteen hours now, and frankly I'm bored rigid. How about you?
[The beam of a torch suddenly falls on the face of a young woman, early twenties maybe, lying on the floor. She is scared and unhappy, and winces at the light.]
CHRISTOPHER: Are you enjoying yourself, Jenny?
[She is too scared to deny it.]
JENNY: [Quietly] Yes. Yes, I'm enjoying myself.
CHRISTOPHER: [With mock surprise] Oh! Well, that's good. Maybe we can make a little bit more of our evening before we have to bid each other farewell. That OK with you?
JENNY: That's OK with me.
CHRISTOPHER: Good answer.
[The torch light is extinguished and it goes completely dark again.
There is a shuffle and she gasps.]
[A farm nestled amongst the hills, somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales, England. Daylight. It is a clear, sunny day.
The farmhouse stands in a little hollow, with a yard to one side, bounded by a pair of big agricultural storage buildings. Both these have full doors on the ends, and these are closed.
Some way from the farm, William sits atop a stone wall, peering through binoculars. He is a little younger than Christopher.
Through the binoculars he watches a kestrel hovering and swooping down.
He lowers the binoculars and glances around at the countryside, taller hills in the distance. He sees something and stares.
He lifts the binoculars.
Through them he sees a Mast Mounted Sight peering over a hilltop nearby. From his vantage point he can just see the flicker of rotors below it. The mast is pointed at the farm.]
[As he watches the mast moves off and he catches a glimpse of a camouflaged Lynx helicopter sliding off to another position.]
WILLIAM: Looks like the game is beginning.
[He stands and heads away over the field, not attempting to conceal himself.]
[Inside the Lynx, Emily adjusts the helicopter's position whilst Thor looks through his visor.]
THOR: Movement. Someone there.
[She lowers her visor. She sees a zoomed in view of the farm.
As she watches, William steps out of the nearest doorway into view. He is carrying a white board about two feet across. He stops and lifts it up. Written on it, in big letters are the words "Would you like some tea?" He holds it towards them.]
EMILY: Since our efforts at concealment don't seem to be up to much, I think we should land ...
[She lifts the Lynx up over the rise and down towards the farm.
It kicks up dust as it lands.
Emily looks around as she shuts down the engines. William is not in sight.]
EMILY: OK, now what?
[He points to a window in the farmhouse. William is there, signing the letters "T" and "C" at them with his hands.]
EMILY: Do you like tea?
THOR: [Pretending this is normal] Coffee for me.
[She signals back to William, "1" "T", "1" "C". William nods and disappears from view. Thor sighs.]
THOR: That's it. Easy. Play it his way for now.
[The rotors slow to a halt and they climb out.
Emily looks around at the countryside.]
EMILY: It's pretty. Greener than back home.
WILLIAM: Limestone and a lot of rain. Milk and sugar on the tray. Have a seat.
[He has emerged from the house carrying a tray with tea and coffee on it. He leads them to a small table, chairs and a bench by the wall of the house.]
THOR: Thank you.
[There is a long, slightly uncomfortable silence as they all prepare their drinks. William seems relaxed.
Emily eyes him over her cup.
William puts his down, leans back and looks up at the sky.]
WILLIAM: Christopher got Airwolf: followed our illustrious father's legacy to its trans-Atlantic end, and is now on the run, no doubt allying himself with some of America's Most Wanted.
You're here to see if I - A: can shed some light on the legacy; [marks the points off on his fingers] B: am likely to follow Christopher and double your trouble, or C: will work with you to find him and recover Airwolf, given my intimate knowledge of his character flaws...
You're from the CIA's autonomous Federal Intelligence and Reconnaissance Mission; at least one of you has a double-barrelled surname, and you both have enigmatic but slightly embarrassing codenames, probably sourced from Norse or Greco-Roman mythology.
I'm William Moffet, but you know that already.
[He leans forward and takes a drink.]
EMILY: Actually, we're from the Post Office - we've just got an extra-large package for you.
[She thumbs casually at the Lynx. William smiles.]
WILLIAM: Then I'd better sign for it and you can be on your way.
[They exchange smiles. Thor offers his hand. William takes it.]
THOR: I'm James Arrowsmith.
EMILY: Enigmatic codename "Thor".
THOR: And this is Emily Coldsmith-Briggs - "Athena".
EMILY: [To Thor] Hey, I was hoping to make it a bit more dramatic.
[She pretends to sulk.]
THOR: Mr Moffet...
WILLIAM: William, please.
THOR: As you wish. Your analysis of our mission was essentially correct. Since you are aware of the details, could we cut to the chase?
WILLIAM: What am I going to do now? Do I pose a threat? Can I help you? Nothing much. No. I don't know.
[Emily and Thor look at each other. Thor is cautiously optimistic, Emily is plain cautious.]
WILLIAM: Sorry. Would you both excuse me for a moment?
[He stands suddenly and heads for the house.]
EMILY: [Whispered, to Thor] He's just like his brother.
WILLIAM: No. [He turns] No I'm not.
[He continues inside. Thor and Emily both wince. They wait a few moments in awkward silence.]
EMILY: [Quietly] So he's got acute hearing. What do you think?
THOR: He says he's not a threat.
EMILY: Christopher Moffet didn't seem to be a threat. He was the model of polite conversation.
THOR: Maybe William just hasn't tried to poison us yet.
[They both look at their drinks and put them down.
Emily looks around the yard towards the big barns. She spies the hub from a four-blade main rotor, leaning against a wall.]
EMILY: Look. That's a rotor hub.
THOR: You think they're hangars?
EMILY: The FIRM's records show that Charles Moffet did a lot of his early Airwolf design and development work over here in England.
THOR: Stands to reason then.
[William returns and sits down.]
WILLIAM: Sorry about that. I've put the heating on in the spare rooms. Miss Coldsmith-Briggs, you can have Christopher's old room - if you don't mind - he's not lived here in twelve years. Mr Arrowsmith, you can take my parent's room.
[They look at each other. Thor is about to politely refuse.]
WILLIAM: It gets cool at night in England. You'd not enjoy sleeping in the Lynx. Besides, there's a lot to discuss. More tea?
[Later, inside the farmhouse.
The three sit around in the living room. The interior is quite dark, but homely.]
WILLIAM: Christopher saw it all as a game to be won.
THOR: All what?
WILLIAM: Life. And then the legacy.
THOR: What can you tell us about that?
[William reaches over and picks up the sealed package.]
WILLIAM: We each got one of these, about two months ago. They'd been held at the family solicitor's - lawyer's - attorney's? - office to be delivered on such-and-such a date. From Dad.
EMILY: You haven't opened it.
EMILY: Why not?
WILLIAM: Our father didn't exactly care for us. I never exactly cared for him. What could he have to say to me over twenty years after his death?
EMILY: Weren't you curious?
WILLIAM: No. I don't particularly need anything. I have the family home, my work, a substantial inheritance. Christopher was on the phone within an hour anyway, telling me all about it. He'll grab at anything that gives him the advantage.
The legacy is Dad's last joke, really. A way to set his sons against each other in a bid to win the ultimate prize.
WILLIAM: Power. Dad coveted it. Christopher covets it. I couldn't care less.
[William looks at the clock.]
WILLIAM: It's getting late. I'll show you to your rooms. We can talk more in the morning.
[The door to Christopher's room opens and William shows Emily inside, switching the light on.]
WILLIAM: ... and here's your bunk. Excuse the student paraphenalia. If you're easily offended feel free to take the posters down. I've never quite got around to cleaning him out.
EMILY: [Looking round] It's fine. Thank you.
[He leaves and closes the door.
Emily looks around. Posters adorn the walls. Heavy Metal bands and girls in various states of undress and provocative stance.
She looks into the wardrobe briefly, curiously, then opens a couple of drawers. In one is a pile of magazines of dubious content.
She pulls one out and flicks through it, arching her eyebrows.]
[She puts it down and sits on the bed, thoughtfully.
Then she picks the magazine up again, and opens it.]
EMILY: I didn't think that was possible.
[Floorboards creak outside the room. She looks round and sees the light beyond the door go out.]
[The middle of the night. Rain comes down and there is a moderate wind blowing.
Emily opens the bedroom door and creeps out and down the stairs.]
[She opens the door and steps quietly out of the house, into the wet darkness. Quickly she crosses to the first of the big barns and goes inside through a small doorway on the side of the building.]
[Inside the first barn Emily squints into the darkness. She pulls out a small torch and shines it around.
The beam lands on an old Westland Scout helicopter, partly dismantled and in poor condition. Beyond it is a Bristol Sycamore, though this appears to be complete.
She looks impressed.]
EMILY: Antique helicopters...
[She walks across the noses of both helicopters, but finds nothing else of interest. She exits through another small door on the far side.]
[She crosses quickly to the second barn, and another small door. The wind blows fiercely between the two structures.]
[Emily is quite dishevelled as she closes the door of the second barn.
Her torch falls onto a very old Hughes 500 / OH6 Cayuse, missing its rotors and again partly dismantled. She moves around its nose and shines her torch onto the next helicopter, which is a new-looking MD530 Notar.
There is another helicopter beyond, but with its tail towards the main doors, and her torch only glances briefly on its rotors.]
EMILY: [To the MD530] That's more like it! You're not long out of the factory. Not like your grandad here!
[She swings the beam back to the Cayuse, smiling. As she does so it falls on something black, to the rear of the building, nestled between the tails of the Cayuse and MD530.
She moves the light back, curiously.]
[The beam falls on the struts and actuators of a simulator. The "front" faces her, comprised of a large curved box structure, behind which are cock-pit doors raised a few feet off the ground.
She walks up to it.
The doors are identical to Airwolf's.
She gasps and opens the pilot's door, looking inside.]
EMILY: Oh my god! It's Airwolf! It's an Airwolf simulator!
[She climbs up and into the cockpit.
Inside it is kitted out just like Airwolf, including the rear control area. It is dark.
She looks around. There is a control box mounted on top of the dashboard, with simulator controls and a numeric keypad. The buttons are lit up. Beside it is a small TV monitor.
She pushes the button marked "Start Simulator".
Everything comes to life around her. Beyond the windscreen a desert scene is projected. On the TV monitor an external "view" of the simulated Airwolf can be seen landed. Its rotors are turning.
Briefly the words "Scenario One" appear on the screen.
She grins and grabs a helmet.]
EMILY: OK - let's do it!
[She puts the helmet on and grabs the controls.
She pulls on the collective and Airwolf rises gently.
She slowly adjusts the controls, getting the feel of it, accelerating across the scenery.
A siren beeps.
She glances at the TV monitor to get an external view.]
EMILY: Landing gear...
[She searches for the gear control, activates it. The gear raises and the siren is silenced.]
EMILY: Smooth as silk.
[She pulls Airwolf around, climbing around rocky outcrops and levelling off.]
EMILY: If this is anything like the real thing, it's superb!
[She turns away from the high outcrops.]
EMILY: [Apprehensively] OK - now for the fun part.
[Her thumb hovers over the turbo button, then pushes it.
The simulator throws her back.
Airwolf thunders forwards rapidly, heading downwards.]
EMILY: Holy! Come on!
[Airwolf thunders into a valley. She drags on the cyclic. Airwolf pitches up violently. She tries to compensate and the nose drops again.
She fights the controls, but altitude continues to decrease rapidly.]
EMILY: Not good!
[She releases the turbo button and drags the cyclic up as the ground comes up to meet her.
The simulator shudders violently upon impact, and in the TV monitor Airwolf explodes.
The simulation stops and the hydraulics level off the cockpit.
Emily looks around, a little sheepishly.]
EMILY: Ooops. I just totalled Airwolf. Probably not going to endear me to Zeus...
[She pulls of the helmet, shaking with adrenalin, sweating, but exhilarated.]
EMILY: I think I need a bit more practice. Wow!
[In the comparative silence she can hear the rain and wind tugging at the barn and suddenly tenses.]
EMILY: I expect I shouldn't really be here.
[She hits a "Shut Down" button on the simulator console and the whole system dies.
She climbs down into the barn again.
The rain and wind make eerie noises around her, and she becomes nervous.
She heads towards the front of the hangar.
Somewhere nearby a door slams.
She runs for the small side door and exits hurriedly, running for the house.
She looks back quickly through the darkness before creeping back inside, but sees no-one.]
[In Christopher's room she closes the door quickly and quietly, trying to catch her breath.]
EMILY: OK, Em. That's enough snooping for one night.
[She sits down on the bed, shaking a little. She beams elatedly, still gasping.]
EMILY: [To herself] I flew Airwolf! I crashed Airwolf, but I flew her! Wow!
A tractor hauls Airwolf slowly out of the warehouse.
It is complete, fully painted in black and white, with weapons deployed.
Carlisle and Christopher stand by.]
CHRISTOPHER: Are you impressed?
CARLISLE: I'll be impressed if it does everything you say it will, given what it's cost me so far.
CHRISTOPHER: Then why don't you join me for a spot of gold prospecting? See for yourself.
CARLISLE: [Eager] Try stopping me.
CHRISTOPHER: Then climb aboard.
[They climb in and settle into the front seats.
Christopher points to the start 1 & 2 buttons.]
CHRISTOPHER: Care to do the honours?
[Carlisle pushes them.
There is a beeping noise and the engines begin to whine.
They put their helmets on.
The rotors spin faster.
Christopher pulls back on the collective and Airwolf lifts off with a scream.]
CHRISTOPHER: How much time do we have?
[Airwolf accelerates over the dock and out over the water.]
CARLISLE: The shipment will be in the target zone in fifteen minutes.
CHRISTOPHER: Plenty of time.
[He hits the turbos. Carlisle is taken aback by the sudden burst of speed.]
CARLISLE: Oh my god!
CHRISTOPHER: That's nothing.
[He pulls the cyclic back.
Airwolf pulls into a near vertical climb.]
CARLISLE: How high can this thing go?!
CHRISTOPHER: Eighty-five thousand feet. A bit too high for today's little adventure though.
[He pulls Airwolf through a loop and plummets back towards the sea.
Airwolf dives towards the coast.
Carlisle flinches as the coastline disappears and hills rise to meet them. Christopher makes casual adjustments to the controls and pulls out just above the ground.]
CARLISLE: Where did you learn to fly this thing? I heard only a couple of guys could do it.
CHRISTOPHER: I learnt to fly in Airwolf. Spent my spotty teenage years flying Dad's simulator back home in England. He did a lot of early development work over there.
[Airwolf streaks through valleys at Mach One.]
CHRISTOPHER: It's still there - they never knew he'd built it. He backed up the whole Airwolf programme over there - just in case. Hell, he even built a ...
[The detection system bleeps.]
CARLISLE: What is it?
CHRISTOPHER: Oh oh. We'd better get out of sight. A pair of F-18s on exercise. Probably.
CHRISTOPHER: It's possible they're still looking for me. We should get on with our little excursion anyway.
[He cuts the turbos and dives into a valley, out of sight.
The two F-18s pass in the distance, unaware.]
[A rail yard. The tracks are mostly full of long rows of freight cars. Freight trains move slowly along some of them.
In one area four parallel tracks are vacant. A short train draws into one of the middle tracks, with two big diesel locomotives hauling an armoured coach, a tough-looking box car and a second armoured coach.
It comes to a halt. A door opens in each of the armoured coaches and two guards appear in each doorway. The guards from the rear vehicle climb down and stretch their legs.
The engineer's mate is uncoupling the engines from the train. He signals to the driver and hops onto the end step as the engines pull away from the cars.
In the front armoured car, the younger of the guards turns to the older, wiser one.]
YOUNG GUARD: So what's he doing now?
OLD GUARD: He's taking the engines and putting them on the other end.
YOUNG GUARD: But that's the way we just came.
OLD GUARD: We'll take the southern fork through the junction - takes us down to the compound for unloading.
YOUNG GUARD: Gotcha.
OLD GUARD: He'll be back along this track [points to the adjacent track] in a couple of minutes, then go past the switch over there and drop back onto us.
[In the cab of the engine, the driver watches as he passes over the switch at the far end of the yard.
He looks up through the windscreen.]
DRIVER: What the hell...
[Airwolf is hovering low over the tracks. Its guns open fire.
The windscreen shatters and the driver falls to the floor with a cry. The engine shudders to a halt.
The Engineer's mate leaps from the rear step and runs forward.
Airwolf fires again and he falls to the track.]
[Back at the train the guards wait impatiently.]
YOUNG GUARD: How long does it take him to come back?
OLD GUARD: Not usually this long.
[They look along the track for the engine but there is no sign of it.
The two nearest trains are stationary on either side, but between the car ends they can glimpse other trains rolling slowly. There is the rumble of other engines nearby.
They hear a louder thudding in front of them.]
OLD GUARD: Don't often hear them sound like that.
[There is a blast of gunfire, sparks ring off the ends of freight cars nearby, and the two guards on the ground fall dead.]
OLD GUARD: What the hell?!
YOUNG GUARD: [With horror] Oh my god, they're dead!
[The old guard grabs his gun, looking around. They see Airwolf sidling along behind the adjacent train, facing them.]
OLD GUARD: Oh hell! Get on the radio!
[The young guard dives inside the coach.
Airwolf's guns come into view between two freight cars and open fire.
Shots rebound off the side of the armoured car, then smash the roof aerial.
The old guard lifts his gun and fires at what he can see of Airwolf as it slides out of view again. The young guard bursts out.]
YOUNG GUARD: It got the radio!
[The old guard pulls out his cellphone.]
OLD GUARD: They always tell us never to use these on duty. For security!
Airwolf slides past a gap and fires.
The old guard pitches forward out of the coach, landing heavily on the ground. The young guard's jaw drops, speechless and terrified.
He looks up to see Airwolf's tail disappearing between freight cars.
He jumps down and tries to find the phone under the body of the old guard.
When he does, it is smashed and useless.]
YOUNG GUARD: Oh god oh god.
[The sound of Airwolf's rotors echoes around the yard. He looks about, trying to locate it.
Trains moving beyond.
He catches a glimpse of Airwolf's tail dropping below the train on the opposite side. He grabs the old guard's gun and pulls out his own.
The noise echoes around.
He sees movement, turns and fires. It's a train.
He is sweating and shaking as the rotor noise grows louder. He looks round and round. Runs for the other end of the train. He glimpses the side of Airwolf moving slowly along between cars again and ducks behind the train.
The noise increases.
He breathes heavily.]
YOUNG GUARD: Jesus Jesus. [Panic in his voice] What's he doing?
[He runs around the end of the coach, looks rapidly around, then turns to face the empty tracks, raising both guns.]
YOUNG GUARD: Come on! Come on!
[The thud of rotors becomes louder still.
He stares ahead, teeth gritted, sweat running.
Airwolf is hovering, over his shoulder, at the other end of the train.
As he turns in terror, knees buckling, the guns open up.
He falls dead on the spot.
Christopher releases the trigger.]
CHRISTOPHER: And that, my friend, is a lesson in the fine art of scaring the living crap out of one's victims.
[Carlisle is unsettled.]
[He breathes out and relaxes into his seat.]
CARLISLE: Shall we ... er ... Shall we get the gold?
[He lowers the landing gear.
Airwolf settles towards the ground.]
[Early morning at the farm.
There is a knock at the door of Emily's room. Thor steps in.
Emily is still in bed, half-asleep.]
THOR: Sorry to burst in. Airwolf is back. It took out a gold shipment in a downtown freight yard. That puts it back under our jurisdiction. I've been called back to co-ordinate the search. You're to stay here and follow up on this legacy thing.
EMILY: [Groggily] Uh.
THOR: Sorry. I'll make sure we've got a chopper on standby when you're ready to leave.
EMILY: [Trying to sit up] I ...
THOR: Sorry Emily. I've got to go. My flight is in less than an hour... I'll call you when I get back.
EMILY: [Trying to be coherent] But ...
[Thor leaves. She sighs and slumps back onto the bed.]
[The Lynx starts up outside.
As it lifts off Emily watches wearily from one window. William watches from another.]
[Later, in the kitchen, William makes breakfast.
Emily comes down the stairs, dressed but still sleepy.]
[She sits down heavily.]
WILLIAM: Didn't you sleep well?
EMILY: Oh no, it was just fine. Really. Just jet lag catching up, you know?
WILLIAM: I'm always tired after a flight like that too.
[She looks up at him, but he's looking elsewhere. He turns and stares at her. She looks away.]
WILLIAM: Takes a lot of practice to overcome the tendency to hit the deck.
EMILY: [Pretending not to know what he means] Hit the deck?
WILLIAM: Did I say "deck"? I meant "sack". Hit the sack: go to sleep.
EMILY: Yeah. Course.
WILLIAM: Toast or cereal? Or full English?
WILLIAM: "Thor" gone back home?
EMILY: Yes. He said Airwolf was back. He's going to co-ordinate things.
WILLIAM: And you?
EMILY: [Without enthusiasm] I've to press you about this legacy thing.
WILLIAM: Thought so.
[He brings tea and toast over and sits down. She takes a bite and sips at the tea. After a few moments...]
EMILY: So do you want me to press, or ...
[He picks up the package and hands it to her.]
WILLIAM: Here. Why don't you open it?
EMILY: It's addressed to you.
She opens it.
There is a hand-written letter, some diagrams of Airwolf's rear consoles, and a box. She reads the letter.]
MOFFET: My Dear William.
The very fact that you are reading this brings me to the inescapable conclusion that I have passed away. Whilst I can have no regrets about the passing itself, I do regret being unable to pass on my legacy in person.
I may not have been the ideal father to you or your brother, but I leave you each a key: a key that ...
EMILY: He actually wrote that twice.
WILLIAM: Dramatic effect. Useful for increasing tension in the reader.
MOFFET: A key that will unlock for you my greatest creation, if you desire it. I regret that this may be my only gift to you, but it is yours to take and to do with as you see fit.
EMILY: How could he know Airwolf would still exist after all this time?
WILLIAM: The solicitors were only to deliver the packages if it did - and I don't know how they knew...
EMILY: Fair enough.
MOFFET: So, to each of you I leave this challenge: find Airwolf; make it your own; make your father proud.
[She pulls a face.]
MOFFET: Good luck. That's all, folks!
WILLIAM: I'm related to him, apparently.
EMILY: What else have we got here?
[She rifles through the papers.]
EMILY: Schematics for Airwolf's electronic countermeasures consoles ... these look familiar.
[She opens the box and pulls out a console module identical to that used by Christopher to activate Airwolf.]
EMILY: Ah! Christopher had one of these.
WILLIAM: What's it do?
EMILY: In Airwolf it reactivated the onboard computers.
[William starts, looking suddenly concerned and interested.]
EMILY: Watched your brother doing it. You prise off one of the fascia panels with a screwdriver, slot this in its place and bingo.
[She points outside.]
I could show you where it ...
[She is about to stand up when she stops. William looks shocked. Emily sits down, looking slightly embarrassed.]
EMILY: OK... I know you know I flew the simulator last night, so could we skip over all the leading questions, the bit where I pretend not to know what you're talking about, the bit where you act all offended and tell me it's none of my business poking my nose into your hangars and get straight to the bit where we realise that working together in the face of overwhelming adversity is the best way forward?
WILLIAM: You missed the bit where the guy and the girl give each other prolongued, meaningful looks, having accidentally come into close physical proximity.
EMILY: I did?
WILLIAM: Show me where it goes.
[In the hangar it is much brighter with daylight. They climb into the simulator, not paying any attention to the rest of the barn.
Emily climbs over to the rear section and points at the blank panel.]
EMILY: There you go. Blends in quite nicely, I think.
[He looks thoughtful.]
EMILY: What are you thinking?
WILLIAM: This computer is purely a simulator.
[He leans across and prises the blank panel off. There is nothing behind.]
WILLIAM: [Thoughtfully] ... but the other ...
[He pauses, wracking his brains.]
WILLIAM: Oh god, I've got it all completely wrong!
WILLIAM: The legacy! Dad's last great joke. He didn't challenge his sons to fight each other to recover Airwolf, he challenged them to fight each other in Airwolf. Come on, help me get the doors open. Bring the key.
[He leaps out of the simulator, leaving Emily surprised and confused.
She scrambles after him.
He crosses to the furthest door, unbolting it and sliding it back. She hurries across, grabbing the nearer one.]
EMILY: What do you mean?
[They tug the doors fully open. She crosses the space to where he stands, half in thought, by the shark-like tail of the third helicopter.]
WILLIAM: Dad did a lot of design work here. He built the simulator - where I learned to fly.
EMILY: [Impatiently] Good for you.
WILLIAM: He designed the basis of Airwolfs computer system here...
EMILY: Is this dramatic build-up of tension leading somewhere, or is it a hereditary condition?
[He looks along the lines of the third helicopter. She follows his gaze and stares.]
[She stares again.]
[She walks slowly along the tail of the helicopter, which is identical to Airwolf's.
She looks up at the rotors and main turbines, which are identical to Airwolf's.
She reaches the jet exhausts, which are bigger than Airwolfs and in a more squared-off housing. There is no blister above these, just a shaped rear panel and an additional window over the intake on the port side.]
EMILY: [Not quite believing what she's seeing] The insane designer built another Airwolf. It's hidden in a barn, on a farm, up in the hills, in the middle of nowhere ...
EMILY: ... in England. Isn't that a little bit unlikely?
WILLIAM: It's not Airwolf. We always just called it "the airframe."
EMILY: Very imaginative.
WILLIAM: I always assumed it was an early structural concept airframe, for testing materials, flight characteristics, et cetera.
EMILY: But now?
WILLIAM: Help me get it outside.
[They hurry around to the jet intakes, and push on the stub wings on either side, shouting to hear each other around the fuselage.
The intakes are angular, more akin to a Tornado or F15 than Airwolf.]
EMILY: Different turbo engine arrangement, I see.
WILLIAM: Not a turbo in the same sense as the Airwolf Prototype. Jets yes: lots of thrust, but less kick than the final design.
EMILY: How do you know?
WILLIAM: The simulator emulates Airwolf as built. This flies quite differently.
EMILY: You mean it flies?!
[They stop pushing as they clear the barn. The airframe has the same nose ridge as Airwolf.]
WILLIAM: Yes, but look.
[They opens the doors and climb in. The interior is nearly identical to Airwolf, but with minor lighting and detail differences.]
EMILY: It's the same as Airwolf.
WILLIAM: Except ... except all this is dead.
[He indicates the rear section.]
WILLIAM: I always assumed this was all a mock-up, for ergonomic positioning, wiring layouts, et cetera. The computer has never ever worked. At least...
EMILY: Not to your knowledge.
[Emily climbs over and pops the blank panel off. She offers up the replacement module and stops, looking at William.]
EMILY: It's your legacy...
WILLIAM: You're closer.
[She pushes it home.
There is a long silence.
They look at each other.]
EMILY: OK, that's a little disappoint...
[A quiet hum can be heard. A number of clicks sound. There is the sound of a pump running somewhere in the fuselage.
Lights on the panels slowly illuminate. Screens flare and light up. Some don't.
William stares in amazement.]
WILLIAM: Oh my god!
EMILY: [Laughing uncertainly] "It's alive!"
[The Airwolf logo appears on the main screen.
She pushes a few buttons on the weapons panel. There is a clunk as the guns slide out of the winglets on each side.
William looks out through the door.]
WILLIAM: Guns! It's got guns!
[Emily taps at the faulty screens. One lights up.]
EMILY: And a few dry joints.
[She looks at the Key module. The display panel is lit up, showing a kind of tracking screen.]
EMILY: Look at this.
WILLIAM: It looks like some sort of tracking device.
[She twists the knob and the display changes, zooming distance in and out.]
EMILY: Range up to ten, fifteen miles maybe. Not very large.
WILLIAM: I wonder what it tracks.
[Emily looks up at him, realising what it's for, with surprise.]
EMILY: Who else has got one of these?!
[They stare at each other.]
[Night time at Carlisle Industries.
Airwolf is landed and undercover.]
CHRISTOPHER: So, Carlisle, are you suitably reimbursed?
CARLISLE: With interest. It has certainly proved a good investment so far.
CHRISTOPHER: So what's next on your shopping list?
CARLISLE: Next we get down to business; get this chopper earning it's keep.
CHRISTOPHER: Oh? Anything in particular? I know you pride yourself on your multi-faceted operations.
CARLISLE: We have a new market and it's a delicate one. They've been self-supplied for a number of years, but they want to move up to the next league. They don't like to deal with "outsiders", but they need what we can supply them.
[Christopher is thoughtful for a moment.]
CHRISTOPHER: Don't tell me... Let me guess. About this tall; lots and lots of brothers, cousins, uncles; an intrinsic hatred of us Western "Infidels"; first name "Al"; last name impossible to spell with any consistency, but starts with "Q". How am I doing?
CARLISLE: You know the implications?
CARLISLE: We'll be supplying weapons that will be used right here, probably against US citizens.
CARLISLE: It's not very patriotic.
CHRISTOPHER: I'm not American, Carlisle. If you told me they were going to use them blow up the Houses of Parliament then I might feel a little twinge of guilt, but this place?
[Christopher walks away, casually.]
CHRISTOPHER: Bring it on.
Hoses are attached to the fuel ports and William is walking around the airframe checking equipment. Emily leans impatiently on the door.
He looks across at her.]
EMILY: You know, this just isn't flowing. We did the dramatic revelation thing with the Airwolf tracker in there, gave each other that look of sudden realisation, and right now, we should be jetting across the Atlantic at Mach One in hot pursuit.
[He looks at her blankly.]
EMILY: Well, we should be.
WILLIAM: In the movies they don't include airframe checks, fuelling, bleeding the lines, oiling, freeing up the mechanisms ...
EMILY: Alright, you've made your point.
[He continues with his checks.]
EMILY: So how long are we going to be?
WILLIAM: Should be OK for a check flight this afternoon. I'm not flying trans-Atlantic without a good night's sleep.
[Emily is about to protest when her cellphone rings.
EMILY: Athena here ... Thor! ... God, it must be three in the morning there. ... No, we're just discussing timescales. Actually yes. We think we've got an "Airwolf Tracker". ... No, the module that Moffet left them ... Charles Moffet - the dead one. ... Yes, well, that module appears to have some sort of tracking device built in - very close range, but nevertheless ... [she laughs] Yes, we'll bring it over. ... Actually it's attached to something you should see. ... A helicopter. ... No ... Well, I'm not actually sure. I don't know what it's called. Hang on.
[She walks out infront of the helicopter and takes a photo of it with her phone, then pushes a button and puts the phone back to her ear.]
EMILY: You got that? ...
[She looks up, smiling, listening. Then grins.]
EMILY: Thor! This is a family show, please control your language. ... You like it? ... I don't know. Ask William. ... Thor ... no, listen! He says it flies, OK? ... No, not yet. ... Tell you what, I'll call you when we're airborne, OK? ... Yes. ... Yes, sir.
[She hangs up and turns to William.]
EMILY: He wants to know what it's called?
EMILY: Your airframe. What's it called? We can't call it Airwolf, we can't call it the Airwolf Prototype, because Airwolf was the prototype.
WILLIAM: I always called it the "Airframe".
EMILY: Not very romantic, though, "Airframewolf". Doesn't it have another name?
[He continues his checks whilst she goes into thought.]
EMILY: Come on! Some imagination needed here! We can't go flying over to Thor and Zeus calling it "The Airframe".
WILLIAM: "Lapdog"? Related to Airwolf, but has less charisma and doesn't move much?
EMILY: [Rolls her eyes] What about "Nightwolf"?
WILLIAM: [Points at the sky] "Daywolf".
EMILY: It's black! It can infiltrate the enemy at night time.
WILLIAM: "Blackwolf" then.
EMILY: Or "Shadow-wolf".
WILLIAM: With a hyphen, or two words? Double-double-yous are hard to say.
EMILY: You're not trying. How about "Firewolf"?
WILLIAM: "Britishwolf". "Limeywolf" or "StupidPommieBarstardWolf"?
EMILY: It's got that tracker ... "Trackerwolf" or "Scoutwolf"?
WILLIAM: "Bloodhoundwolf". "Dogwolf". "Groundedwolf".
EMILY: Oh forget it. I'm going to call it Nightwolf.
EMILY: Nightwolf. Too late. Decision made.
WILLIAM: Whatever. Listen, if you've nothing better to do, [with a hint of suggestion] you could be using the time more productively.
[She looks at him, confused.]
WILLIAM: You do want to fly this thing, don't you?
WILLIAM: The simulator. [Points at the barn] Choose any program, but flick the "test" button on - it'll emulate "Nightwolf" [he makes the inverted-commas gesture] reasonably well, otherwise you'll be flying Airwolf.
EMILY: You serious?!
WILLIAM: [Deadpan] No, I've got some ironing you could be doing.
EMILY: How long have I got till the check flight?
WILLIAM: Three o' clock this afternoon? Lapdog here hasn't flown in six months - a lot of things to check out.
EMILY: Don't go up without me.
[She runs off towards the hangars. He smiles and carries on with his checks.]
[Army munitions storage facility. Night.
Inside the control tower of the adjacent airfield, two controllers relax by their equipment.]
CHARLIE: Hey Jim, you got the manifest through for tomorrow's convoy?
JIM: Nope. 'S supposed to be through by oh-three-hundred, though.
CHARLIE: You know, one day those lazy S.O.B.s 'll get organised before the deadline...
JIM: I'll believe that when I see it, Charlie.
[They fall silent again. Charlie looks up through the window.]
CHARLIE: Calm night, huh?
JIM: Yup. Sure is.
[Distantly two silent streaks cut across the night, moving near horizontally. A massive explosion blooms in the distance across the base where they impact. The sound hits them a moment later.]
JIM: Holy Mother of God!
[Charlie grabs a microphone and hits an alarm button.]
CHARLIE: [To microphone] Code Red! Repeat Code Red! Incident personnel to Area Twelve.
[His voice can be heard echoing outside through loudspeakers.]
JIM: What the hell's going on?
[He looks through binoculars.
In a completely different direction, low over storage bunkers, there is brief flash of aircraft navigation lights.]
[Airwolf hovers low over a bunker, sliding slowly along, weapons in combat mode. Two black Hueys hover close behind.
Christopher watches the distant fire across the base and sees a couple of helicopters flying near it through the IR scope.
He checks displays showing the disposition of vehicles and troops heading for the fire.]
CHRISTOPHER: OK, that's the bait taken. You chaps can do your stuff.
[The Hueys drop to the ground between the fortified entrances of two bunkers. Black-clad troops descend and run to both doors, setting up equipment around them.
Airwolf hovers close by.
The troops complete their work rapidly and run back for the Hueys. One waves to Airwolf.]
CHRISTOPHER: You'll have about three minutes before the first helicopters arrive, maybe five before a ground attack.
[The Hueys lift off and move away over nearby bunkers. Airwolf slides away to the side to a safe distance.]
CHRISTOPHER: ... four ... three ... two ... one ...
[From the control tower two more explosions are seen on the other side of the base.]
JIM: Oh Christ, now it's Area Four!
[He lifts his binoculars.]
JIM: Charlie, there are choppers over there, and they ain't ours!
CHARLIE: [To microphone] All units converge Area Four! Security breach! Incursion in progress!
[Hooks from the Hueys are attached to the wreckage of the doors and the Hueys pull them clear. Troops rush inside with torches.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Calmly] Two minutes until helicopter engagement.
[Through the IR scope, a pair of Cobras can be seen approaching, with others in the distance lifting off.
Inside one of the bunkers, troops prise the lids off large packing cases. They are full of rockets, ground to air missiles, launching equipment. Lids go back on roughly, and the boxes are hauled outside.]
CHRISTOPHER: One minute...
[Troops carry the cases to the Hueys and start loading up.]
CHRISTOPHER: Let's liven things up a bit.
[He hits a button, then fires two missiles.
They streak through the darkness, destroying the two approaching Cobras in massive fireballs.
Through the IR scope the more distant helicopters immediately bank away and drop down, seeking cover. Christopher looks at the radar, tracking their positions.]
CHRISTOPHER: Gentlemen, you have about four minutes until the ground assault. I'll be chasing butterflies until then.
[He hits the turbos.
Airwolf streaks forward across the base.
Cobras duck and weave amongst the bunkers, keeping low.
Christopher closes in on the first. Its pilot sees a brief glimpse of Airwolf darting around behind. He turns, surprised.
Christopher fires two rockets. The Cobra pilot pulls on the controls desperately. It explodes.
Airwolf turns away, Christopher scanning the instruments for the next Cobra.]
CHRISTOPHER: Come out, come out, wherever you are...
[The IR shows another Cobra slipping away towards where the troops are loading.
Airwolf turns and climbs, levelling off and diving directly towards the Cobra. Christopher opens up with the guns. The Cobra is raked by gunfire.
Smoke pours from the Cobra's engines. The pilot struggles to get it on the ground as Airwolf screams over at high speed.]
PILOT: What is that thing?!
[The Cobra lands heavily, smoke pouring from it.]
[The third Cobra moves slowly towards the Hueys and troops, its pilot and gunner scanning the sky and ground around.]
COBRA PILOT: Tango-Alpha to base. Targets in sight. Two UH-1s and men on the ground.
CHARLIE: [Over radio] Ground units ETA thirty seconds. Hold position and await ground support.
COBRA PILOT: Roger base.
[Nearby, armoured vehicles are converging on the Hueys. Troops are dropped and move out to surround the intruders.
The Cobra pilot sees the first vehicles approaching.]
COBRA PILOT: Tango-Alpha to base. Ground units in sight.
CHARLIE: Move in, move in.
COBRA PILOT: Roger base, moving in.
[The Cobra pilot shifts his controls then halts as Airwolf descends in a hover between him and the Hueys.]
COBRA PILOT: Uh oh.
COBRA GUNNER: Do you want me to...
[Airwolf turns side on to the Cobra, to face the troops and assault vehicles. Its guns open up on the approaching Army troops and vehicles.]
COBRA PILOT: Take him down!
[The gunner opens fire with the nose cannon. Sparks shower off the side of Airwolf.
Christopher looks casually out towards the Cobra.]
CHRISTOPHER: Really, that's not very polite.
[He flicks a switch.
The ADF pod swings around. He fires.
The Cobra Pilot watches the missile streak out from under Airwolf towards him.]
COBRA PILOT: Oh f
[The Cobra explodes.
The last of the crates is loaded onto the Hueys and the troops climb in.]
CHRISTOPHER: Did you get what you wanted?
CARLISLE: [Over radio] And some!
CHRISTOPHER: Then head home. Keep to the flight plan and you'll be invisible. I'll cover you till you're clear and then give them something to chase.
CARLISLE: See you back at the ranch.
[Army troops open fire from nearby. Gunfire flashes around the bunkers. The Hueys lift off. Airwolf slides in sideways, covering the Hueys and raking the ground units with gunfire.
Christopher fires off a string of rockets, taking out several of the armoured vehicles. The Hueys accelerate, dropping down as low as possible. Airwolf flies backwards after them, guns firing constantly until the base is out of range.
Christopher spins Airwolf on its rotor axis and turbos, climbing rapidly and away from the Hueys in a different direction.]
[The simulated Airwolf thunders down valleys at speed. Emily sits at the controls.]
EMILY: OK, we've only crashed six times. Seventh time can't be as bad. Shall we try it again?
[She grips the cyclic and hits the turbos. The simulator throws her back.]
[Airwolf starts to dive towards the ground. She concentrates.]
EMILY: Gently this time...
[She gives the cyclic a small adjustment. Airwolf's nose lifts but doesn't pitch.
She levels off cautiously, flying dead straight.]
EMILY: That's good ... I hope ...
[The valley closes in.]
EMILY: That's not good...
[She grips the stick and gives it gentle touches to left and right. Airwolf starts to swing around the contours.
She sweats and pulls back a little as the valley floor rises ahead.]
EMILY: Gently gently...
[The valley becomes narrower and tighter.
Her movements gain certainty and she starts to push a little harder. Airwolf responds with tighter cornering as the valley rushes by.]
EMILY: [With awe] This thing really flies!
[The valley ends abruptly in a sheer cliff wall.
She drags the cyclic back, cutting the turbos. Airwolf pitches back climbing rapidly.]
EMILY: [As if to a snarling dog] Niiice rocks... Pretty rocks...
[The cliff top looms in the windscreen.
Airwolf clears it and climbs into open sky.
She sighs heavily and does a hammerhead stall.]
EMILY: [With exhiliration] Wooo!
[As Airwolf dives back towards the ground, the cockpit door opens. William looks in.]
EMILY: You betcha, limey boy!
WILLIAM: Let's eat something - then we'll go and fly the real thing.
EMILY: All right!
[Emily shuts down the simulator and it levels off.]
[Thor's office, early morning. Thor paces, telephone to his ear.]
THOR: Say again? ... Airwolf? ... Well get confirmation!
[He hangs up. Marella enters. He turns.]
THOR: [Tired] Munitions storage facility out at Desert Rocks just got hit. Big heist of rockets, missiles, launchers... You name it.
MARELLA: You think it's for Airwolf?
THOR: I think it was Airwolf. They had a couple of Hueys for the heavy lifting, but Airwolf was cover for the raid. Just waiting for confirmation.
[He looks concerned.]
MARELLA: What is it?
THOR: Nothing they stole is of any use for Airwolf. It was all ground-based equipment.
MARELLA: So Airwolf is involved with black-market weapons trading... We could have guessed that's where it would end up.
THOR: No. I don't think so. Black market traders don't rip off Army bases. They buy from dealers in Russia, or Iran, or Syria.
MARELLA: With Airwolf they can rip off anything.
THOR: But they'd never get the weapons out of the country. If you're selling to guerillas in Africa or Central America, you get the stuff in the Middle East, ship it direct or via Cuba. It rarely lands here.
MARELLA: So ...
THOR: I don't think it's going to leave the country.
[Marella stares at him.]
MARELLA: Oh my god.
MARELLA: How soon can ... Athena get William Moffet and his tracker over here?
THOR: They've got to run a few checks on the helicopter - it's not flown in six months or so, she says. Apparently William doesn't want to leave until tomorrow - their time.
MARELLA: That means they'll be here sometime tomorrow afternoon, our time.
THOR: We don't have much else going for us just now.
[He looks out of the window.]
THOR: Airwolf led the Air Force on a merry chase last night - the Hueys dropped off radar. One possible sighting near the coast, but nothing to substantiate. We've run a check of all registered UH-1s within range of the base - all check out. Doesn't rule out unregistered aircraft or take into account fuel dumps or extended range capability...
[He is clearly disappointed. Marella joins him by the window.]
MARELLA: When Hawke "borrowed" Airwolf in 1984 he hid it in the desert and we didn't ever find it, in five years of covert searching. Christopher Moffet has only been off our scopes for two weeks.
THOR: The difference is Hawke wasn't the enemy.
[They both stare out.]
[Nightwolf stands by the hangars at the farm.
All hoses and cables are detached. The cockpit doors are closed.
William and Emily are zipping up their flight suits purposefully.]
EMILY: [Uncomfortably] Well... It kind-of fits...
[She is struggling to fit her female parts into the flight suit.]
WILLIAM: I was thirteen.
EMILY: And male.
EMILY: I don't see why I can't wear my own suit...
WILLIAM: This one will show off your figure better.
EMILY: Gee thanks.
WILLIAM: And it'll plug into Lapdog's pressure system, which yours won't.
EMILY: It's called "Nightwolf".
WILLIAM: Uh huh?
EMILY: [Getting the zip up] Uh! There.
WILLIAM: Tight in all the right places.
[Emily glowers at him.]
[He opens the pilot's door and climbs in.
Emily runs around the nose and climbs into the copilot's seat.
They close the doors and put on their helmets.
William sits still for a long moment. Emily looks at him.
After a short pause he takes off his helmet.]
EMILY: [Nodding, curiously] Uh huh.
WILLIAM: God, he's a clever bastard.
EMILY: So they say.
WILLIAM: Dad. Charles Henry bloody Moffet.
EMILY: Uh oh. This is the bit where you go all self-reflective and give off the "I can't go through with it" vibes, isn't it?
WILLIAM: Well look at me. Here I am playing his game, exactly the way he wanted it.
WILLIAM: I don't want to play at all. This is exactly what he wants: to set son against son. Don't you see? I never wanted his legacy. I don't want to fight Christopher.
EMILY: So we just climb out and have some tea? He's your father. He's your brother. Sooner or later it was coming to this, and whether you want to be or not, you're involved.
[He is not convinced.]
WILLIAM: If it were you, would you play the game?
EMILY: Hell yeah.
[She hits the start buttons.
The main turbines whine. The computers come online behind them.
She flicks switches. The rotors start to turn.]
EMILY: Best game in town.
[She pushes the jet throttles to idle. The jets begin to whine.
The exhaust nozzles contract and expand as she adjusts controls.
William leans back in the seat, and gazes up through the roof window at the rotors, as if appealing to heaven for an answer.
He shakes his head, grabs his helmet and puts it on.]
EMILY: [Optimistically] You playing?
WILLIAM: [Grinning] I don't want you ploughing my helicopter into the ground.
EMILY: Me? What makes you think I'd do that?
[He grabs the controls.
Nightwolf lifts off the ground slowly, hovering. The landing gear retracts.]
WILLIAM: Scenic tour?
EMILY: You're the pilot.
[Nightwolf screams forwards away from the farm, sounding a lot like its younger sibling.
It dives into the valley, accelerating.
William nudges the jet throttles forwards.]
EMILY: How's she flying?
WILLIAM: Feels OK. I'll take her up to maximum rotor speed...
[They dart along the valley floor, skimming over farms and roads.]
EMILY: Any reason we're flying so low?
WILLIAM: The airframe isn't licenced to fly.
WILLIAM: And neither am I.
EMILY: [With genuine surprise] Oh.
WILLIAM: Here. Have a feel.
[Before she has chance to comment again he releases the controls and she takes over.
She pulls up a little and curves up the valley side.]
EMILY: It's more responsive than the simulator.
WILLIAM: Were you flying in Airwolf mode?
WILLIAM: Dad always reckoned Airwolf mode was pretty close to true. Lapdog mode is as close as I could make it.
[Emily rolls her eyes and pulls Nightwolf over a railway viaduct, dropping down into the hollow behind, slowing to a hover and descending below the height of the bridge, turning.
William looks at her.
She lowers her visor.]
EMILY: You've got all that kit behind you. I want to see what it does.
[She flicks a switch and her view switches to Infra Red.]
EMILY: This would be better at night...
[Her visor lifts and she looks around at the nearby screen. She flicks the display from one setting to another. Maps, heat sources, zoomed views, radar and other odd-colour views of the viaduct and beyond flick by.]
EMILY: Pretty neat.
[She pulls on the collective and pushes the cyclic forward, pushing Nightwolf up and over the viaduct, accelerating down into the valley again.
William is a little taken aback by her apparent confidence.]
WILLIAM: You're getting the hang of it...
EMILY: I hope so...
[She pushes the jet throttles wide open.
The exhaust nozzles flare open, red hot exhaust glowing.
They are thrown back in their seats as Nightwolf screams out across the valley.]
EMILY: Disengaging rotors.
[She pulls back into a climb. William sits back, a little surprised.]
WILLIAM: I hope you know what you're doing.
[Emily levels off above the hills. The speed indicator indicates Mach 0.85.]
EMILY: Just wanted to see if she handled the same at speed.
EMILY: Smooth as silk.
WILLIAM: Just one problem.
WILLIAM: Radar. We're high enough for detection. There's an early warning station about thirty miles north. We're going to be in trouble.
EMILY: But you're forgetting something.
EMILY: Stealth. Airwolf was built with active stealth capability, and so was this! Now that the onboard computer is live, we're invisible.
WILLIAM: You sure?
[She grins and turns towards the North.]
[Early warning radar dome, somewhere on the hills to the north.
It is a giant "golf ball" construction with ancilliary buildings around it.
Nightwolf drops down and hovers infront of it.]
EMILY: If they can see us, you're right, we're in deep guano.
WILLIAM: If they hear us we're in deep guano.
EMILY: Good point.
[She breaks off and drops away over the hillside quickly.]
[Nightwolf slows and descends towards the farm. The landing gear extends and it settles to the ground, engines shutting down.]
EMILY: So... Assuming we're not surrounded by SAS troops after our little equipment test back there, are we "go for launch" tomorrow?
WILLIAM: She seems to be ready.
EMILY: [With concern] And you?
[William lifts his helmet off. He seems a little troubled at first.]
WILLIAM: It's going against all my better instincts.
EMILY: Did you have anything else planned?
[He shrugs and climbs out. She grins.]
[The desert. A large, flat dry lake bed in the middle of nowhere.
Several crates of weapons from the raid stand in the middle of it.
About half a mile away two black Hueys can be seen through the heat haze, together with a number of troops stood around.
In the opposite direction a dust cloud begins to build.
The cloud resolves into an unmarked truck and a van, driving swiftly towards the crates.
From the Hueys the vehicles can be seen approaching the crates.
The van and the truck pull up by the crates.
From the Hueys the troops can make out figures leaping from the van and loading the crates into the truck.
The figures complete the job and leap back into the van. One returns and deposits a case onto the desert floor, before climbing in again.
The vehicles turn quickly and begin to drive off the way they came. Airwolf hovers in front of them, weapons out. They brake suddenly.
Christopher looks at the vehicles and at the case on the ground behind them. A screen nearby zooms into the case. He adjusts a control and the image shifts. Nothing of note appears on the screen.]
CHRISTOPHER: [To himself] No surprises for us. Good boys.
[He lifts Airwolf over the vehicles and they drive off with urgency.
He lands next to the case, climbs out and retrieves it.
Back in the cockpit he opens it up. It is packed with money.]
CHRISTOPHER: I'll assume it's all there - this green paper all looks the same to me...
[He closes it again and lifts off, heading towards the Hueys, where the troops are boarding and rotors starting to turn.]
CHRISTOPHER: Don't blow them all up at once.
[Evening at the farm.
Emily and William sit at a table, eating. The TV is on nearby, but its sound is muted. It shows a news programme.]
EMILY: What time do you want to leave in the morning?
WILLIAM: We're illegal, so before sunrise would be good - stealth or no stealth.
EMILY: We need to organise refuelling. I'll draw up a flight plan if you give me the limits.
WILLIAM: I'll dig them out for you.
[She looks away and at the silent TV.
On it there are images of disaster: fire, people covered in blood, ambulances, burning buildings and vehicles.
The tag line at the bottom of the screen reads "Los Angeles Terror Attack".]
EMILY: [Shock] Jesus.
[William looks up, surprised at her tone, then follows her gaze to the TV. He puts the volume up with the remote.]
NEWSREADER: ... many casualties and many more dead. Once again, this is the scene of devastation in downtown Los Angeles following what is believed to have been a major terrorist incident.
[The picture switches to an aerial view of the scene.]
NEWSREADER: The first reports were received less than half-an-hour ago that a series of major explosions had occurred in the centre of the City of Los Angeles. Eyewitness accounts suggest that at 10:25 in the morning, Los Angeles time, an unmarked white van drove down South Figueroa Street, and stopped at the intersection with Wilshire Boulevard, in the heart of the city's business district. A number of men emerged from the van with rocket launchers, firing at least six missiles into surrounding buildings before detonating a massive bomb in the van itself, blowing themselves up in the process. Needless to say, the explosions have caused massive casualties and damage. Emergency services are still evacuating the buildings in the area, and it is understood there is a risk of collapse...
[Emily's cellphone rings.
She answers it quickly.]
[Thor is at the other end, in his office.]
THOR: Have you heard?
EMILY: I'm watching it now.
THOR: What they're not telling you is that the missiles were American-made. We've got CCTV footage of the attack. Airwolf ripped them off from an Army munitions store last night. Sold them straight on, by the looks of it, to our Anti-Western friends.
EMILY: Airwolf... Ohmygod.
[William turns to her, in shock.]
THOR: Yeah. I used stronger language than that. And so did Zeus. We've got to get this bastard, Emily, and whoever he's working for. You might be our best hope.
[She looks up at William, still watching the TV. He looks pale.]
EMILY: [Uncertainly] Yeah. Maybe.
[William looks away from the TV, glances at Emily, stands and leaves the room. She watches him go, concerned.]
EMILY: I hope so.
[Christopher stands by a high window overlooking the city. Smoke billows from the centre a few miles away.
His face is impassive.
Carlisle moves over and looks out. He is a little nervous, and he fidgets with his hands.]
CARLISLE: Didn't take long, huh?
CHRISTOPHER: Why wait?
CARLISLE: [Uncomfortably] Christ.
CHRISTOPHER: What's the matter, Carlisle? They paid you.
CARLISLE: Yeah. Yeah, it's nothing. I guess...
[He turns away from the scene.]
CARLISLE: I guess it's just odd. You know? It's so close.
CHRISTOPHER: Close to home? It'll never happen here? I used to play on that street when I was a kid?
CARLISLE: Something like that. Yeah.
CHRISTOPHER: The IRA were blowing up England all the time when I was a kid. You'll get used to it.
CARLISLE: Get used to it?
CHRISTOPHER: You sold them a thirty of those ground-to-air missiles, not to mention rockets. They've used six. They've ordered five more consignments. You think they've finished?
[Carlisle glances out at the skyline.]
CHRISTOPHER: This is a pretty high building.
CARLISLE: Shut up, Moffet.
CHRISTOPHER: Makes no odds to me, Carlisle. It's just business.
[He shrugs and wanders away. Carlisle stares at the distant smoke, wringing his hands.]
[Emily lies awake on her bed at the farm. It is dark but the curtains are open and moonlight leaks in. She looks upset and in a bit of shock.
She sits up and looks around. She hears the memory of the news. She shivers. "... the explosions have caused massive casualties and damage."
She looks towards the door and rubs her arms for comfort. There is no light from beyond.
After a long moment she sits up slowly.
She hesitates then stands and crosses to the door, opening it quietly.
She moves cautiously along the corridor to another door and pauses. She hesitates again and knocks gently.
There is no reply.
She takes a deep breath and turns the handle slowly. The door opens and she steps in. The room is in near darkness. She can make out the bed and she crosses slowly towards it.]
EMILY: [Whisper] William?
[The bed is empty. William sniffs. She jumps.
He is sitting in a chair near the window.]
EMILY: [Sighing] You're over there.
[He doesn't move.]
EMILY: I just... I just thought...
[She falters. He looks at her.]
EMILY: I don't know what I thought.
[She sits down on the bed, perched on the edge, uncomfortably.]
EMILY: I don't know what I'm doing here.
WILLIAM: I do.
[She looks at him.]
WILLIAM: But I'm not going to do it.
[There is a long silence. She scowls.]
EMILY: [Emotionally, to herself] Presumptious asshole.
WILLIAM: Am I wrong?
EMILY: [Loud] I don't know!
[The silence presses in again.]
EMILY: [Calmer] After New York they reckoned everyone in the country knew of someone who was affected...
[He doesn't respond.]
EMILY: [To herself, angry at being helpless] I don't know whether anyone ...
[She looks at him.]
WILLIAM: [Calmly] It's done. You'll find out when we get there.
[She stands up and turns on him.]
EMILY: Christ! William! How can you just sit on your ass ...
[This insenses her.]
EMILY: [Becoming more upset] ... and spout your infantile British witticisms while those extremist "arseholes" go round blowing my country to pieces with weapons your British "arsehole" brother sold them - in a helicopter your British serial rapist father designed?
[She sobs once and sits down again on the bed. William remains calm.]
EMILY: I just want...
[She sniffs and shakes her head.]
[William stays silent. She calms a little.]
EMILY: It's true about the old British "stiff upper lip," isn't it?
[She looks at him.]
EMILY: You don't react the same. We had "God Bless America" and candles and vigils and group hugs and god knows what else after New York ... They blew up your Underground in London and what?
WILLIAM: We just get quite cross, and write to the papers.
[She coughs a laugh and smirks.]
WILLIAM: [With mock BBC-English accent] Sir. I must object in the strongest possible terms, to the actions of the individuals who perpetrated the wholly unwarranted act of violence against my fellow countrymen last Thursday. Sincerely, Colonel Sir Reginald Sowerby-Bassenthwaite R.A.F. Retired.
EMILY: So no corresponding increase in the birthrate nine-months after?
WILLIAM: Nope. That's a feel-good myth anyway, but nope.
[She stares into the distance for a moment.
William stands and crosses to the bed.]
WILLIAM: If we're leaving early, we'd better get some rest.
[She stands, uncertainly, crossing her arms and rubbing again, as if to keep warm.]
[He climbs into bed.]
WILLIAM: Mmm hmm?
[She falters and turns away.]
EMILY: It's OK. Nothing.
[She heads for the door, then stops and turns.]
EMILY: Look. This is the part where you're supposed to comfort me, OK?
WILLIAM: I know.
EMILY: You're supposed to wrap your arms around me while I stream with tears and then you're supposed to tell me I can stay if I want...
WILLIAM: You can stay if you want.
EMILY: And then I ...
[She stops and looks at him.]
WILLIAM: If you want.
[She doesn't quite know what to do.]
WILLIAM: This is the bit where I should be standing close to you, when we look meaningfully into each others' eyes and slip slowly under the sheets. I'm already under the sheets, and it's warmer in here than out there, so you'll have to improvise.
[He pulls the covers around himself, rolling onto his side, facing the edge of the bed. She goes around the other side and climbs in, a little uncertainly.
She rolls to face his back and touches his shoulder.]
EMILY: Do I get to look meaningfully into your eyes at all?
WILLIAM: Too dark.
[He grips her hand on his shoulder briefly.
She lets go and rolls onto her back, staring upwards, uncertainly.
She lies for a long time with her eyes open.]
[The bedside clock shows 04:58. It changes to 04:59.
William lies with his eyes open, watching the clock. Emily is snuggled into his back, asleep.
After a deep sigh, he slowly slides out from her unconscious embrace and heads for the door, leaving the room.]
EMILY: [Asleep, happily] Mmmm.
[She sleeps on.
The clock flicks to 05:00 and the alarm sounds. Emily wakes up suddenly, looking around trying to get her bearings. She struggles over to silence the alarm and blinks in the darkness.
She rubs her hand on the empty half of the bed and hears the sound of water running in another room.]
EMILY: [Groggily, trying to do an English accent] No sex please... I'm British.
[She shakes her head, climbs out and heads for the door, bleary-eyed.]
EMILY: Ever the Romantic.
[William emerges from the farm, in the near darkness. He is in his flightsuit.
He crosses to the barns where Nightwolf stands.
He climbs into the cockpit, closing the door and flicking switches. He puts his helmet on.]
WILLIAM: OK, Lapdog, this is going to be the flight of your life. Are you ready?
[He hits the start buttons. The machine springs to life and the rotors start to turn.
He looks across to the farmhouse, thoughtfully.]
WILLIAM: [As if to Emily] You're an interesting girl, you know. You just land here, take over, and suddenly I've got this big powerful aerial weapon, and "only we can save the day" ...
[He flicks a few more switches.]
WILLIAM: Well, we can if you hurry up.
[No sign of Emily at the farmhouse.]
WILLIAM: [Reflectively] Emily Coldsmith-Briggs. She arrives like a whirlwind, and turns everything inside out.
[The rotors reach full speed.]
WILLIAM: And, William boy, you just led there like a stiff, and turned down the best invitation you've had for years. Idiot!
EMILY: You were the perfect gentleman.
[He stops, winces and tries to crawl into a hole and die.
Emily throws switches in the rear section.]
WILLIAM: [Embarrassed] Just rewind that last bit and pretend it never happened. Eh?
WILLIAM: [Surprised at the response] Morning. Did you sleep well?
EMILY: As well as can be expected.
WILLIAM: [Defensively] Why? What was wrong?
EMILY: You snore.
[He is about to deny it.]
EMILY: We've got a mid-air refuel booked, just this side of Greenland. Don't want to miss it - it's a long swim from there to Newfoundland.
[She shifts a little and tries to get comfy in her flightsuit.]
EMILY: And we've got to get this suit adjusted.
[William shakes his head.]
EMILY: Radar suppression at ninety-eight point three. Course laid in. She's all yours.
[William closes his eyes for a moment, as if in prayer, then sighs and turns Nightwolf.
He thrusts the throttles forward and it screams away from the farm into the night.]
[Thor sits in his office, watching the big screen. Scenes of panic and devastation can be seen, again with a news programme showing. A female newsreader is seen between shots from LA, San Francisco and San Diego.]
NEWSREADER: ... two simultaneous attacks in the centres of San Diego and San Francisco, which, together with the earlier attack in Los Angeles, are already being dubbed The California Three. Metropolitan centres all along the West Coast are being sealed off by Police and the National Guard. Army units are being drafted in to bolster security and major evacuations of the affected areas are underway. The Governor of California has declared a state of emergency throughout the coastal region.
[Thor is exhausted. He rubs his eyes.]
NEWSREADER: Neighbouring states have issued security alerts in all major cities, and civilian flights throughout the United States are being grounded as a precaution, as we speak. Over now to our correspondent on the scene in Los Angeles: Dan Stewart. Dan, what can you tell us?
DAN STEWART: Mary, the evacuation of buildings immediately surrounding the scene of this morning's L.A. blasts is now complete. The National Guard have placed a cordon around the scene, blocking off streets and alleyways for half a mile in all directions. We've heard that this is likely to be extended in the next couple of hours.
NEWSREADER: Is any new information available about the attackers?
DAN STEWART: Nothing additional to earlier eyewitness reports, although the President is expected to make a statement in about thirty minutes in which, we are told, suspect organisations - and their supporting rogue nations - will be named.
NEWSREADER: Is this a follow-up to the New York attacks of 2001?
DAN STEWART: On the balance of evidence, it seems extrememly likely that the same organisations are behind these attacks.
NEWSREADER: And what's the feeling amongst workers and residents in downtown Los Angeles this afternoon?
DAN STEWART: As you can imagine, there's a lot of fear, a lot of anger, and a lot of questions. People want to know how terrorists could have got their hands on advanced weaponry such as that used to blow up the buildings here - eyewitness descriptions seem to indicate that the missiles fired from the van were not just home-made mortars, but military-style rockets. People want to know how this kind of material can be brought into the United States without detection.
NEWSREADER: As do we all. Thank-you, Dan.
[Thor hits the mute button and swivels in his chair.
He leans on his desk, hopelessly.]
THOR: [To himself] As do we all...
[Marella stands at the head of a large table in the Committee Room at the FIRM. Members of the Committee sit around it. She is a little uncomfortable.]
MAN #1: Was this part of the plan, Zeus?
MARELLA: Obviously not.
MAN #2: Couldn't we have expected some sort of move like this?
MARELLA: I do not believe it was reasonable to do so.
[Voices clamour to protest.
She over-rides them.]
MARELLA: [Forcefully] I do not believe it was reasonable to do so because our intelligence supports the theory that the same events were going take place in any case. Perhaps not this week, but soon.
MAN #2: How can you possibly justify that statement?
MARELLA: Because these people do not do these things on the spur of the moment. Analysis of all recent terrorist atrocities shows that in each case the plans have been meticulous, the attacks rehearsed, and the bombers prepared spiritually for their own deaths. I will concede that the weaponry used was probably not that originally planned for, and I will concede that its availability and delivery have undoubtedly influenced the timing, however I refute the implication that our plan has been causal in these events in any way.
WOMAN #1: Whether or not it was caused by the plan, how can you justify continuing with the project now?
[Murmurs of agreement. Marella shouts back at them.]
MARELLA: This is your project, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Committee.
MAN #1: It was your brainchild, Zeus. Do you regret that now?
MARELLA: Regret?! What would you have us do? Pull the plug? At this stage? And for what? To let them continue to blow up our cities?
I proposed this project in 1990. It would have been up and running by 1997 if this self-same Committee had not rejected it, calling it "outdated, outmoded, and inappropriate for modern times". That is my regret, ladies and gentlemen, because in late September 2001, as you sat here, urgently approving the budget and recommending a fast-track development program, there were cries from the floor of "if only we'd implemented this sooner."
And now you ask how I can justify continuing?
[There is an uncomfortable silence.]
MARELLA: Then let us put it to the vote. All those in favour of abandoning the project?
[Some shift uncomfortably, as if uncertain, looking around at their fellows. No hands raise.]
MARELLA: Those in favour?
[Reluctantly hands lift all around the table.]
MARELLA: Then let's not waste any more time.
[She turns, grabs her file, and leaves.]
Christopher sits on the dock, throwing stones into the water.
Police helicopters fly overhead. There is an odd silence.
Carlisle is walking past and sees Christopher. He pauses and looks over. He seems reluctant to join him.]
CHRISTOPHER: I don't mind.
[Carlisle was about to walk away. He hesitates and crosses to join Christopher.]
CHRISTOPHER: Whole place is locked down. No aircraft in the air except Police, Army and Air Force.
CARLISLE: It'll stay like this for days.
CHRISTOPHER: It's a bloody nuisance!
CARLISLE: We've no big shipments or deliveries for a week or so...
CHRISTOPHER: Yes, but your legal operations are going to be hit pretty hard by all this.
CARLISLE: Same as everyone else.
CHRISTOPHER: It does mean there's bugger-all for me to do.
[Carlisle seems a little un-nerved by this.]
CARLISLE: Can I fix you up with a little more entertainment, perhaps?
CHRISTOPHER: No. The last one wasn't much fun, to tell you the truth. No brains, no guts, no stamina...
CARLISLE: I'm sorry, Moffet. I'll see what can be arranged...
CHRISTOPHER: Forget it, Carlisle. It's time for me to do my own hunting.
CARLISLE: Sure thing, sure thing.
[He backs away and heads off, uncertain.
Christopher throws another stone and pulls out a crumpled leaflet, unfolding it.
The cover reads "AIRWOLF - 25th Anniversary Reunion - Timetable of Events." He opens it and looks at the guest list.
He runs his finger down the list of names, pausing at "Emily Coldsmith-Briggs". Immediately under it is "Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III".]
CHRISTOPHER: Ah. So he's your dad, old One-Eye? Well, OK, it should make things more interesting.
[He folds the paper again and stands, heading back towards the buildings.]
[Over the ocean, daylight.
Nightwolf cruises at high speed, low over the water.
In the cockpit, William is in the right-hand seat, Emily in the rear.
William concentrates fiercely; Emily watches the screens. Bleeps sound, and the detection module flashes in the corner.]
EMILY: [Serious] Contact! Airwolf detector activated. We got him! Vector nine-three-zero. Altitude four-twenty and climbing. E.T.A. two minutes. Range to target twelve miles.
WILLIAM: [In an American accent, with exaggerated heroics] OK. Let's see what this baby can do! Nightwolf thrusters to full! Let's do it!
[Shoves the jet throttles to fully open.
The jet exhausts scream and the helicopter climbs.
William turns to look at Emily.
Emily looks up at him lovingly.]
[Abruptly we are beside a moonlit lake, Nightwolf landed in the background, the gentle sound of lapping water, stars in the skies, romantic music.
William and Emily lie on the shore, he over her, with some rhythmic motions going on. Hands entwined.]
EMILY: This is heaven, William.
WILLIAM: [Normal accent] Only with you.
EMILY: I've never... I've never felt...
[William puts his finger to her mouth to shush her, slowly draws it away, then lowers his lips to hers.
They kiss passionately. Violins swell in a crescendo.
They part and she looks up at him, dreamily.
Only now he's Christopher.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Matter-of-factly] Now, Emily, how about some of that depravation we talked about?
[Emily grins mischieviously.]
EMILY: Give it to me!
[There is a bleeping noise. Christopher looks at her.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Quite crossly] Boll...
[Nightwolf cruises at 50,000 feet. There is a bleeping noise.
Emily wakes up suddenly, in the co-pilot's seat. William is monitoring the autopilot.
The speed indicator shows a steady Mach 1.2. Far below is a regular chequerboard pattern of fields.]
EMILY: [Disconcerted] Uh.
[She looks out of the windows.]
EMILY: [Shivering as if at an unpleasant memory] Ewwwhhhh.
[She looks down at a screen where images of aircraft types flash with the beeping. The images stop on F-16. The bleeping stops.]
EMILY: What is it?
WILLIAM: The target identification system.
[She looks down at the radar.]
EMILY: This is creepy. Nothing on the scope except Air Force patrols.
[She looks down through the footwell window at the distant ground.]
WILLIAM: It's what happens when someone blows up three cities in the space of an hour and a half.
EMILY: [Stretching] We should contact the FIRM. Get landing clearance and instructions.
[She flicks switches.]
WILLIAM: Good to be home?
EMILY: I can think of better homecomings... [To radio] This is Broadsword One to Valhalla Approach, come in.
VALHALLA: Valhalla Approach, Broadsword One we read you.
EMILY: Copy, Valhalla Approach. We are at fifty-thousand, bearing two-three-seven, ETA one hour, fifteen minutes. Requesting landing instructions.
VALHALLA: Roger, Broadsword One. You have priority approach clearance to the main pad.
EMILY: Priority approach confirmed, Valhalla Approach. Thank-you.
VALHALLA: Thank-you, Broadsword One, good day.
[She flicks the switch off.]
EMILY: We just cruise on down.
WILLIAM: She's all yours.
[William closes his eyes.]
Thor and Marella step out onto the roof landing pads, looking up into the sky.
In the distance Nightwolf approaches.
From the cockpit the two figures are visible on the landing pad ahead. Emily has the controls.
Nightwolf slows to a hover over the pad, turning side on to Thor and Marella. The landing gear extends and it lands.
Emily shuts down.]
EMILY: Welcome to the United States.
[William opens his eyes.]
WILLIAM: I didn't bring my passport.
[Thor rushes over to the doors, blown by the slowing rotors.
He opens Emily's door.]
THOR: Athena! This is some tracking device! William.
[Marella stands in front of Nightwolf, looking at it with a non-committal expression, bordering on concern.
William takes off his helmet and opens the other door, climbing out into the sunshine. He looks around.
Emily climbs out; she and Thor move around to the nose, where Marella and William join them.]
EMILY: William Moffet - Zeus.
MARELLA: [Without any particular emotion] Mr Moffet.
WILLIAM: Pleased to meet you.
THOR: I've arranged accommodation for you in the visitors' suite - we assume you'd like to rest and freshen up before the briefing.
EMILY: You assume correctly.
THOR: Shall we?
[He indicates the nearest door into the building.
They head off without Marella, who remains near Nightwolf, looking at it. William looks back at Nightwolf with some concern.
As they enter the building, Marella dials up her cellphone.]
MARELLA: This is Zeus. Commence Operation Salvage. Keep it tidy guys and girls.
[She hangs up, looks again at Nightwolf, and heads for the door into the building.]
[The farm, evening.
A Lynx helicopter drops down into the yard. Eight white-clad specialists emerge and make their way variously into the house and barns.
They begin to search the buildings, being careful not to disturb anything noticeably.
One powers up a desktop computer, attaching a cable to another portable machine which shows download progress.
Another switches on the Airwolf simulator and begins doing a similar download.
Others search drawers and cupboards, finding paperwork and taking photographs of it. Another searches Christopher's bedroom. On scanning quickly through the magazines in the drawer, the man arches his eyebrows.]
SPECIALIST #1: Ouch. I didn't think that was possible.
[He puts it back and leaves.
In one of the barns, another specialist opens a large cupboard by the back wall. Inside are old-fashioned reel-to-reel computer banks. He attaches a reader head connected to another laptop and spools the tapes through it.
Swiftly they complete their search and return to the Lynx. It lifts off.]
Airwolf stands on the ground, rotors idling. Christopher is walking briskly around it.
Carlisle hurries out of a doorway towards him.]
CARLISLE: What are you doing?!
CHRISTOPHER: There's bugger-all going on here. I'm going for a little jaunt. Need to keep the old hunting instincts honed, you know.
CARLISLE: What about the no-fly restrictions?
CHRISTOPHER: What about them?
[He reaches the cockpit door and leaps in, closing it. The engine whine increases and the rotors accelerate.
He waves to Carlisle to stand back.
Airwolf lifts off and the landing gear retracts as Carlisle backs away.
Christopher hits the turbos. It streaks away from the buildings and out over the sea.
Carlisle watches it go with apprehension.]
[Thor's office, evening.
Thor, Emily and William walk in, mid-conversation.]
THOR: ... without any luck. We know it was the weaponry stolen from the storage depot - forensics have already identified fragments of casing from the buildings, and the launch gear in the van. There's no reason to suspect the San Francisco and San Diego attacks were any different.
We know how much was stolen - roughly - but we don't know how much has been sold on to this cell. It's unlikely to be the whole lot.
EMILY: Which means that whoever Christopher is working for has a pretty big arsenal in storage.
THOR: That's right. Now, we need to take advantage of this current situation. Whilst there is a no-fly ruling, Airwolf is grounded - and so are those Hueys. With Nightwolf's sensors we could cover a huge area of the coastal region in a matter of hours.
Our experts have drafted a flight plan that will enable you to cover sections of the coast without leaving any gaps, starting from here and radiating outwards. The no-fly ruling will be in place for the next 24 hours at least, so there's plenty of time.
WILLIAM: And how do we explain ourselves, being up during a no-fly ruling?
THOR: Your callsign remains Broadsword One - that will give you free passage just about anywhere.
EMILY: Just don't try to land at Edwards!
THOR: We've taken the liberty of fuelling and arming ... er ...
THOR: Nightwolf. If there's anything else you need...
[After a pause.]
EMILY: Let's go then.
[She and William head out.]
[Archangel's Ranch, evening.
A horse gallops across the countryside. Archangel rides with some vigour.
The horse threads across fields and through clusters of trees - Archangel is clearly enjoying himself. The ride continues for some time.
The pair leap a fence and splash through a shallow stream before heading uphill.
At the top of the hill Archangel reigns in the horse and they come to a stand, silhouetted against the sunset.
Archangel takes a deep breath.]
ARCHANGEL: Whoo! Good job Rocket.
[He looks down the hill towards the ranch buildings, smiling. His smile fades.
Airwolf is sitting on the lawn, just visible beyond the main buildings, rotors still.
He stares for a long moment, in disbelief and confusion, then his expression changes to concern and worry.]
ARCHANGEL: [With dread] Oh no.
[He nudges the horse on, heading towards the cover of trees.]
ARCHANGEL: [Quietly and urgently] Come on, Rocket.
[They descend through the trees towards the house. There is no sign of anyone around. Near the back door is a table with a pile of apples, some peeled and cored in a bowl, others whole. A peeler is discarded by them.
Archangel halts at a hitching rail and dismounts quietly, looping the reigns around the rail.
He looks around then creeps into the doorway.
There is no-one in the kitchen. All is silent elsewhere.
Archangel crosses to a tall cupboard and opens it, pulling out a shotgun.
He heads through the door into a hallway. Still silent.
The hallway opens out through a doorway into the living room. Through the windows Airwolf can be seen outside. He slides up to the frame and peers around.
Christopher is sitting in a chair facing him, with a pistol pointing casually in his direction.]
CHRISTOPHER: Mr Coldsmith-Briggs?
CHRISTOPHER: Please toss the gun through.
[Archangel presses back against the wall.]
CHRISTOPHER: Please, Mr Coldsmith-Briggs. I really don't want any unpleasantness.
[Archangel takes a deep breath and throws the gun through onto the floor. It clatters. He raises his arms and moves into view.]
CHRISTOPHER: Thank-you. My name is ...
ARCHANGEL: Christopher Moffet. I know who you are.
[Christopher is pleasantly surprised. Archangel lowers his arms.]
CHRISTOPHER: You're still a well informed man, Mr Coldsmith-Briggs. That's good.
ARCHANGEL: What do you want, Moffet?
[Christopher sucks his teeth.]
CHRISTOPHER: I actually came to find your daughter...
ARCHANGEL: [Surprised] Emily?
CHRISTOPHER: Lovely girl. Met her at the Airwolf reunion.
CHRISTOPHER: Well, I kind-of fancied shagging her.
[Archangel starts in disbelief, speechless.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Casually] She wasn't here, which I kind-of expected, so I'm afraid your wife had to step in.
[Points his gun briefly across the room. Archangel stares across the room, a hollow look on his face.
The legs of an attractive woman in her mid fifties can be seen lying on the floor behind a chair, motionless.]
ARCHANGEL: [In disbelief] Andrea?
[He bursts in and crosses to her. Stopping and staring in disbelief. She is dead.]
ARCHANGEL: [To himself] Andrea! Oh my god no!
[He bends to touch her head tenderly.]
ARCHANGEL: Andrea... Oh my love...
[Tears stream and there is blood on his fingers. He cries.
Christopher sits patiently, looking the other way out of politeness.
Archangel kisses her hair, touching her cheek tenderly.
He turns to glare at Christopher.]
CHRISTOPHER: Seemed like a good idea at the time.
[Archangel struggles to his feet and grabs one of his canes from nearby.
He turns to Christopher, who remains impassive.]
ARCHANGEL: You bastard.
[Christopher waves his pistol as Archangel takes a step towards him.]
CHRISTOPHER: It's not worth dying for, Michael.
ARCHANGEL: Isn't it?!
CHRISTOPHER: I still quite fancy ... how do you say it here, "a bit of tail" with your daughter.
[Christopher stands up, brushing himself down.]
CHRISTOPHER: I'm sure she'd be happy to oblige to keep her daddy alive.
[Archangel lunges at him suddenly, whilst the pistol is pointed downwards. Christopher goes sprawling across the floor.
Archangel leaps for the door to the hallway and out of the room. Christopher sits up slowly.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Indifferently] Like, whatever...
[Archangel bursts from the back door and runs for the horse, mounting in one movement. He spurs it on.]
[Rocket springs into action, away up the hill through the same trees.
The sound of Airwolf's engines firing up can be heard.]
Nightwolf crosses the coast, heading inland. William is flying, Emily in the rear, monitoring the scanners.]
WILLIAM: Passing reference point twenty-four.
WILLIAM: Anything even remotely interesting?
EMILY: A couple in the back of their car making out. Other than that...
EMILY: My dad's ranch is about twenty-five miles due west of here.
WILLIAM: You want to pop in?
EMILY: Can you picture his face if we landed in Nightwolf?!
WILLIAM: Well, no, I've never met him.
EMILY: Don't spoil the moment for me. It's almost worth it...
[She grins and looks thoughtful.]
EMILY: Thursday evening. Mom will be cooking apples,
[The apples lie abandoned at the back. Andrea lies dead at the front.]
EMILY: Dad will be out riding...
[Archangel thunders through a stream on Rocket's back. He glances back over his shoulder. Rotors can be heard distantly.]
[Emily sighs at the thought.]
EMILY: On a golden evening like this? I wouldn't dream of disturbing the peace.
[Airwolf screams overhead, following the distant horse and rider.]
WILLIAM: Sounds idyllic.
[Archangel veers into a gully.]
EMILY: They both earned it.
[Airwolf screams over, turning to follow.]
[Archangel drives Rocket up a tributary, crashing through scrub and trees. He looks back briefly as Airwolf passes down the main gully.
He spurs the horse on.]
[Christopher scans the gully below and sees no-one. He pulls Airwolf into a hover, turning slowly and looking around.
From the ground Airwolf turns slowly and methodically, as if sentient itself.]
[Archangel and Rocket climb the gorge.]
[Christopher spots a hint of dust rising distantly up the hillside.
He nudges the controls and Airwolf glides forward menacingly.]
[Archangel reaches the top and comes out onto a ridge, exposed all around. The horse halts, steaming. He looks around. He can hear Airwolf. The sound of rotors echoes around.
He catches a glimpse of the tail dropping below a nearby rise. He turns the horse, looking around for an escape route.
Airwolf's rotors flicker over another horizon. He follows them as they drop out of sight. He turns the horse and spurs it on in the opposite direction.]
ARCHANGEL: Come on!
[They plunge down a slope, Rocket's hooves slip and slide over loose rock. They reach level ground and race into a gallop.
Airwolf rises up from below the lip of a gorge directly ahead, weapons extended.
The horse rears in fright. Archangel leans into it, gripping fiercely. He isn't thrown, but Rocket wheels around and leaps away from Airwolf.
Christopher nudges Airwolf to follow, watching them through the windscreen.
The horse heads uphill again.
Archangel clings on, trying to regain control. Airwolf thunders close overhead, turning. The horse spins and leaps.
Archangel hangs on.
Christopher pushes the nose down, flying at them.
Rocket leaps away, running wildly from the helicopter. Christopher pushes Airwolf lower and closer.
The horse breaks right. Christopher hits the rudders and swings the tail around to face them again.
The horse stops, eyes rolling, bit foaming. He clings on. Airwolf drops its belly nearby. Archangel stares at the guns with dread.]
ARCHANGEL: [Quietly] Just do it.
[Christopher lowers his visor.
Archangel closes his eyes. The horse steps nervously.
Christopher closes the trigger.
The guns fire and the horse collapses, whinnying, throwing Archangel off. He rolls into a fetal position. The guns stop.
Archangel rolls over and looks back at the horse, with Airwolf hovering beyond. It is still alive.]
ARCHANGEL: Oh Rocket ...
[He climbs to his feet and walks to the horse's head.]
ARCHANGEL: I'm so sorry old boy.
[He is about to take the horses head when Airwolf's guns open up again, raking the ground nearby.
Archangel looks up at the helicopter in disbelief.]
ARCHANGEL: Come on! Let me do this one thing!
[Airwolf hovers impassively. He hesitates then reaches for Rocket's head.
The guns rake the ground again. Archangel backs off, raising his hands.
Again, tears run down. He looks down at the horse.]
ARCHANGEL: I'm sorry ...
[Nightwolf banks round over the hills in the sunset.
Emily watches the screens.]
WILLIAM: Reference point thirty-six.
EMILY: Some cows. Bulls maybe. Ever get the feeling we're just burning fuel?
WILLIAM: There's nothing environmentally friendly about this machine.
EMILY: We could ask Thor to stick some solar panels on the rotors.
There is a distinct but unfamiliar tone from the rear.
They both jump in surprise.]
WILLIAM: What is it?
[Emily looks round the screens and lights.]
EMILY: I don't know...
[She looks up at a flashing light on the tracker module, and a light on the display.]
EMILY: Oh Christ! It's Airwolf!
[She adjusts the knob. Adrenalin surges.]
EMILY: [Breathlessly] Stationary, about eleven miles north west.
[William throws the controls over and Nightwolf banks heavily to a new heading.
Emily hangs on and watches the display. She types into the console.]
EMILY: Getting a fix now.
[As she watches the dot on the display moves, accelerating.]
EMILY: It's moving ...
[It drops off the edge of the display.]
EMILY: Out of range! Give it some afterburner!
[William pushes the throttles open and the exhausts widen and spout flame.]
WILLIAM: Anything on radar?
EMILY: Blank. I'm intensifying the resolution...
[The radar and tracker screen stay blank.
She slaps the console in frustration.]
EMILY: Dammit! Dammit dammit!
[William eases off the throttles.]
WILLIAM: Did you get a directional fix on its flight path?
EMILY: [Disappointed] It was right on the edge of the scope. It wasn't good enough to be more than a guess.
WILLIAM: Well, let's see what he was doing.
[He banks Nightwolf and drops towards the ground. It is getting darker outside as the sunset begins to fade.]
EMILY: Ten degrees to starboard, another half mile or so.
WILLIAM: Fire up the night vision and I.R.
EMILY: [Flicks switches] N.V. on; infra-red on maximum.
[William drops his visor, getting a green night-vision view of the passing scenery, overlaid by red heat sources.
Emily watches the same display on the main screen.]
EMILY: Quarter of a mile. See anything?
WILLIAM: Not yet.
[He slows Nightwolf as it rises up towards the top of the hill.]
WILLIAM: Something on the ground. Hot.
EMILY: I see it.
WILLIAM: And possible exhaust heat trace over to the side.
EMILY: [With sudden concern] It's a horse. Oh god where are we?
[She stares at the screen, with a sense of foreboding.]
EMILY: Land! Land now!
[William senses her tension and lowers the landing gear.]
[Nightwolf touches down at a distance from Rocket. The horse and helicopter are lit orange by the last of the sunset.
Emily leaps out and runs to the fallen animal.]
EMILY: [With terror] Rocket!!
[She collapses by its head. It looks at her. She looks at the wounds in disbelief.
William jogs towards her from Nightwolf, confused.]
EMILY: [To Rocket] Easy boy, it's all going to be over.
[She strokes his mane and nose.]
EMILY: No more hurt.
[She stands and puts her hands round his head.
William halts and stares as Emily makes a brisk, sharp motion. He is sickened and surprised.
She looks up at him, then down at Rocket's body.]
EMILY: Dad's horse...
[She stands, shaking, and runs back towards Nightwolf.]
[At the ranch, Emily runs from Nightwolf to the front door, bursting in and looking round. William enters after her.
She sees Andrea's body and collapses to her knees. William sees the body and stares.
Emily gasps. Her hands clutch at a chair arm spasmodically. She tries to say "Mom" but the word will not come.
William steps across as if to go and check the body, but sees it is pointless and stops. He looks down at Emily, then looks away. There are tears in his eyes.
Emily's gasps finally turn to sobs, and she breaks into deep cries of loss.
The ranch sits in deepening darkness.]
[Marella's Office. FIRM.
There is a knock at the door and an Aide enters, carrying a small zip-up folder.]
MARELLA: Is that it?
AIDE: Operation Salvage, Ma'am. All the data recovered from the Moffet Farm.
AIDE: Complete details of the original Airwolf program. Moffet backed up everything.
[The Aide opens the case and shows her the handful of disks slotted inside. Marella sighs with some relief.]
[She takes the folder; the Aide nods perfunctorially and leaves. Marella grins and waves the case. This is the best news she's ever had.]
[There is a knock. She regains her composure and puts the case down.]
MARELLA: Come in!
[Thor enters, ashen-faced.]
MARELLA: Thor. We've got it!
[She points at the case. He looks at it in a detached way then back at her.]
THOR: William Moffet just called in.
MARELLA: [Sensing his fear] What is it?
THOR: It's Archangel, Ma'am. And that's not all.
[Her expression drops.]
[Morning on the hilltop overlooking Archangel's ranch.
Emily sits on the ground, head on hands, hands on knees, staring down at the buildings, alone.
Nightwolf is still parked on the lawn, and the white 427 is coming in for landing nearby. The house is surrounded by incident tape, and forensic staff can be seen moving to and fro.
Zebra-Squad guards patrol slowly.
Various vehicles including an ambulance and an armoured van are parked in the grounds.
She can just make out Marella and Thor climbing out of the 427 and talking with other members of the incident team.
Emily gazes out at the scene.
William climbs slowly up towards her. She shifts her gaze to him.]
[He sits down near her.]
EMILY: Don't worry. I don't blame you. I'm not going to snap at you for being related to your brother.
[William raises his eyebrows briefly in a sign of relief.]
EMILY: But I am going to find him. And if he has so much as laid a finger on my Dad...
EMILY: [With venom] No, actually, I'm going to blow him to hell anyway for this.
[She gestures at the ranch.
After a few moments she calms a little, and looks round at William, almost apologetically.]
EMILY: You don't mind, do you? I mean he is your brother...
[William is uncomfortable.]
WILLIAM: One thing at a time, eh?
[They both look down at the ranch, and see one of the incident team pointing up at them, Marella and Thor turning to look.]
EMILY: They've already had one of their "counsellors" try to talk to me.
[William rolls his eyes.]
WILLIAM: Whatever happened to tactful withdrawal?
[They watch the scene for a moment longer. Two forensic men emerge from the main building carrying a stretcher with a body-bag on it.]
EMILY: Oh god.
[She stands and turns to look the other way, swallowing and trying to fight tears.
William stands and looks at her, trying to decide what to do.
He moves close to her and touches her shoulder lightly. She immediately wraps her arms around him, burying her head and sobbing. He strokes her back. There are tears in his eyes.
Emily pulls back from the embrace after a long moment, trying to check her tears.]
EMILY: I could do with some of your stiff upper lip just now.
[She wipes at tears and sniffs.
William looks out at the horizon, his face hardening.]
WILLIAM: [Calm and serious] Do you want to go hunting?
[He doesn't look at her. She looks up at him, her face briefly questioning before catching his mood.]
EMILY: [Quietly] Yes.
[He looks at her briefly and then they head down towards the ranch, purposefully.]
[Emily and William cross the lawn towards Nightwolf, ducking past tape. Thor and Marella cross towards them.]
[Emily keeps walking.]
MARELLA: I'm so sorry...
EMILY: Me too.
THOR: Athena, what are you doing?
EMILY: We're going to kick some ass, sir, ma'am.
THOR: I don't think that a good...
WILLIAM: Thor - if the Lady wants to kick "ass", let her.
[Emily climbs into the pilot's position. William adjusts his trajectory and climbs in the opposite side.
The engines start.
Marella is concerned. She pulls out her phone as the rotors begin to turn.]
MARELLA: [To phone] This is Zeus. Put me through to Morningstar.
[The rotors accelerate, blowing at Thor and Zeus.
William watches Marella.]
MARELLA: Morningstar. This is Zeus. What's your status? [After a pause, angry] Well get it ready.
[She hangs up. Thor looks at her, puzzled.
Nightwolf lifts off and accelerates over the ranch.]
WILLIAM: I don't trust her.
EMILY: Marella? Why not?
WILLIAM: I don't know.
EMILY: I've known her a long time - she was Dad's Aide for years, worked on the original Airwolf program under Moffet. She's top dog now. I like her.
[William isn't convinced.]
EMILY: Replay the tracker readouts from last night. Even a rough course is better than none.
WILLIAM: [He taps at the computer] Coming up.
[Carlisle walks quickly along a corridor. An aide approaches.]
AIDE: Sir, the prisoner is demanding to speak to whoever's in charge.
CARLISLE: [Confused] What prisoner?
AIDE: The old guy Mr Moffet brought in last night.
[Carlisle looks to heaven.]
[The aide leads him down an side corridor and unlocks a door, opening it.
The room beyond is a windowless office space. Archangel looks round and starts. Carlisle flinches.]
ARCHANGEL: [In recognition and surprise] Winston Carlisle!
CARLISLE: Oh Jesus...
ARCHANGEL: What's the matter? Aren't you pleased to see me?
[Archangel grins and Carlisle closes the door quickly, looking up in despair. The aide is confused and locks the door. Carlisle dashes back up the corridor and outside through a door, pulling out his phone.
He stops and stares upwards.
Nightwolf thunders around in a tight circle a few hundred yards away, a side-on silhouette against the sky.]
CARLISLE: Oh for love of...
[He dials as Nightwolf drops out of sight.]
CARLISLE: [To phone] Moffet! What the hell are you playing at?! Why don't you just put up a big flag and say here I am! ... [Confused] You just flew past the end of the dock, in plain view!
CHRISTOPHER: I can assure you I didn't.
[He is sitting up in long desert grass, just his upper half visible and shirtless, Airwolf landed and silent in the background.]
CARLISLE: [Shouting] Then what the hell did I just see?
CHRISTOPHER: [In a similar tone] How the hell should I know? I'm currenly enjoying the morning sunshine with one of your friends from the club. When I say "enjoying" I can't, obviously, speak for my companion, [he looks down into the grass] who can't speak just now anyway.
CARLISLE: [Calming just a little] It must have been a Police chopper...
CHRISTOPHER: Don't let's get paranoid, Carlisle.
CARLISLE: Paranoid? The guy you brought in - do you know who he is?
CHRISTOPHER: Who, Mr Coldsmith-Briggs? Yes.
CARLISLE: He was the FIRM, for Christ's sake! He identified me! Do you know what that means?!
[Christopher sighs, impatiently.]
CHRISTOPHER: You still don't trust me, do you Carlisle? Have I failed you on anything yet? Is there a single promise I've made that I've not kept?
CARLISLE: If Archangel gets word out, we're finished. All of us. Do you understand?
CHRISTOHPER: [Rolling his eyes] Yes, yes. Now, do you mind? We're just getting all intimate.
[He cuts the phone off.]
[Carlisle sighs in desperation and looks around.]
[Nightwolf thunders along a beach, just above the water's edge.]
EMILY: It was worth a try.
WILLIAM: Plenty of other places to look.
EMILY: [Disappointed] Yeah ...
[She pulls Nightwolf up and inland.]
EMILY: I think I need to get lost for a little while. Do you mind?
WILLIAM: Be my guest.
[She banks off towards the distant hills.]
[Marella sits in her office, in deep thought.
After a long moment, she activates the big screen and taps a command into a keyboard.
Photos of Archangel appear, as he looked in the 1980s, with various data alongside. She stares at him. She taps a key and the image flips to Andrea, smiling. Marella looks down, as if she can't bear to look. She pushes the key again, and Emily's face appears.
The image reverts to Archangel.
She gazes into space...]
[Red Star Control, 1984.]
SENATOR DIETZ: [Bluffing] ... well, I'm sure that trust is well founded.
MOFFET: [Smirking] Not really.
[Archangel and Marella stare through the windows at Airwolf's guns. Archangel's face displays alarm.
He grabs Marella and throws her down as the guns open fire, shattering the windows.]
[Marella looks up at the screen again, with regret.]
MARELLA: I'm sorry, Michael.
[Christopher sits in the co-pilot's seat of Airwolf, door open, in the desert. He is still shirtless, but he is hot and sweat glistens.
When he speaks it is half to himself, and half to someone, unseen, outside on the ground.]
CHRISTOPHER: You know, it's funny, isn't it? All this hot desert, and yet, not a drop of water anywhere.
[He lifts a canteen and takes a sip.]
CHRISTOPHER: Except here, of course. Ahh.
[He looks out at the distant hills.]
CHRISTOPHER: This has been a bit of a dream of mine, you know? To be a free spirit, go where I please, do what I please... This is, allegedly, the "Land of the Free!" Would you class this as "living the American Dream?"
[He gestures to the landscape.]
CHRISTOPHER: Of course, no-one is really free. I mean, you're not, obviously, but I mean in a less literal sense. I've still got to earn my right to fly out here. Doing a little favour here, solving a minor problem there, but it's mostly fun work.
What about you, Cathy? What do you like to do?
[There is no reply from outside.
The tracker module sounds in the rear of Airwolf. Christopher winces at the intrusion, but ignores, smiling.]
CHRISTOPHER: Do you come here often?!
CHRISTOPHER: I didn't think so. Not really your scene, I guess. Sorry, I've been terribly rude. Can I get you a drink?
[He looks down, smiles then steps out into the sun, with the canteen.]
CHRISTOPHER: Ooof. It's hot out here! Here you go.
[He bends and tips the canteen slowly, before standing and looking round again.]
CHRISTOPHER: If you don't mind I'll just sit in the shade.
[He perches back on the seat, feet out of the door, sighing happily.]
CHRISTOPHER: If you're feeling up to it, I'll bring you into the shade and we can ...
[The tracker is still sounding. He pauses, irritated.]
CHRISTOPHER: What the hell is that, anyway?
[He climbs over to the rear, looking round at the instruments. The tracker module catches his eye, surprising him.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Puzzled] Well, that's new. I wonder what...
[Nightwolf can be heard distantly. Christopher leaps back through to the cockpit and out, looking around.]
[Emily stares at Airwolf on the ground ahead of them.]
[Christopher sees Nightwolf approaching from the other side, weapons extended. He recognises it.]
CHRISTOPHER: Oh crap.
[He pulls on a helmet and hits the start buttons.
William's voice cuts in over a loudspeaker.]
WILLIAM: Christopher, shut it down.
[Christopher flicks switches urgently as the rotors spin faster. He switches the radio on, and feigns good humour.]
CHRISTOPHER: William! How good to see you!
WILLIAM: [Over the radio] We have targetted you and are locked on.
CHRISTOPHER: You sound so official, William. And who's "we"?
EMILY: We want Archangel.
[Christopher pauses, wide-eyed. He looks out at Nightwolf.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Joyous] Emily! Oh my word! You know, I've been looking for you! I'm not even going to start to guess how you and Will have ended up together...
[Emily pulls the trigger and the guns let rip.
Sparks rebound off Airwolf's side.]
CHRISTOPHER: Oh, you'll have to do better than that, my girl.
WILLIAM: Where's Archangel, Christopher?
CHRISTOPHER: Now do you really think I'm going to tell you that? You're "locked on".
[He closes the door.]
WILLIAM: We're more than happy to take out your rotors with a rocket.
CHRISTOPHER: Yes, but the burning wreckage would shower down on my friend lying beside me here, and she'd probably die.
EMILY: Oh Jesus...
[Emily shifts Nightwolf as Airwolf rises and hovers, landing gear retracting.
It turns to face them.
Emily can just make out someone lying on the ground behind and under Airwolf.]
WILLIAM: Definitely a person.
CHRISTOPHER: Now, Emily, you're faced with a choice. I'm about to push the old Turbo button here and flee the scene of another despicable act. You can pull the trigger and blow me, Airwolf, and my prone companion to a million pieces - in which case you'll never see your father again; or you could open the throttles and pursue me - in which case that poor defenceless young woman behind me will die within ten minutes of dehydration - and I'll probably blow you out of the sky - and you'll never see your father again; or you could do what dear William would do and watch me fly off, with an angry expression on your face, curse me to my grave, but keep honour intact and save that poor girl's life.
[Emily flicks a switch.]
CHRISTOPHER: Quickly, I get bored very easily.
CHRISTOPHER: Time's up.
[Christopher waves and hits the turbos.
Airwolf streaks away. Emily turns Nightwolf and pulls the trigger twice.
Two sidewinders streak out after Airwolf.]
EMILY: There was a fourth choice.
[She lowers the landing gear.]
[Christopher watches the blips and cancels the sirens.]
CHRISTOPHER: That's not fair.
[He pulls into a climb, the missiles closing.
Displays flash to the rear. The sunburst launch control lights up automatically.
Two sunbursts curl away from Airwolf. One sidewinder takes it and explodes mid-air.
The other closes.
Airwolf dives back towards the ground. Christopher ducks it around a hillside and the sidewinder smashes into the ground.]
[Emily and William lift the girl carefully into Nightwolf.
They leap back into their positions as the tracker module goes silent. William looks at it.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Over radio] Useful piece of kit, that legacy key.
EMILY: [To William] Can we track his signal?
WILLIAM: I'll see.
CHRISTOPHER: Tells you where I am, tells me where you are. Nice!
EMILY: [To radio] What do you want?
CHRISTOPHER: A straight swap. You for ol' One-Eye.
WILLIAM: [In warning] Emily!
CHRISTOPHER: The Wolf's Lair. Tomorrow. Sometime around noon?
[Emily looks round at William.]
CHRISTOPHER: I'll hide, you come and find me.
EMILY: You can count on it.
[She cuts the radio and lifts off.]
WILLIAM: What are you doing?
EMILY: Well, first, this girl needs some TLC, and probably "counselling".
WILLIAM: That's not what I mean.
[She accelerates Nightwolf across the ground.]
EMILY: He's not going to kill my Dad too.
WILLIAM: No, he'll kill you.
[Emily nearly responds, but thinks better of it.]
EMILY: Call through to Valhalla Approach. Tell them we've got someone needing medical attention.
[Nightwolf streaks away.]
[Carlisle paces, phone to ear.]
CARLISLE: ... I ... I ... my friend ... Yes ... I ...
[Christopher enters through a door, and stays out of the way.]
CARLISLE: ... there's a no-fly ruling in place ...
[Carlisle listens then glances up at Christopher, then continues pacing.]
CARLISLE: There's no way we could drop the full load ... no wait ... I ...
[Christopher raises his eyebrows.]
CARLISLE: ... yes, I understand that you need to keep your men focused ... Alright! Alright! We'll make the drop for you!
[Christopher rolls his eyes.]
CARLISLE: Yes. Same as last time. ... Where? ... Very well. You know I should be charging you a premium ...
[He looks at the phone, surprised. He has been cut off.]
CHRISTOPHER: Our friend Al getting impatient?
[Carlisle ignores him.]
CARLISLE: We're making a drop tomorrow. Both Hueys and Airwolf - same routine. They're sending new co-ordinates.
CHRISTOPHER: Tomorrow's not good for me.
[Carlisle turns on him.]
CARLISLE: I don't give a crap what's not good for you, Moffet! Whilst I'm paying for your fuel, arms and equipment, you'll damn well march to my tune.
[Christopher looks sceptically philosophical.]
CARLISLE: You will make the drop tomorrow.
CHRISTOPHER: What about the no-fly...
CARLISLE: Doesn't seem to have stopped you so far!
CHRISTOPHER: The Hueys aren't exactly radar-invisible.
CARLISLE: Then earn yourself some kudos by figuring something out.
CHRISTOPHER: Whatever you say, mein Führer.
[He clicks his heels and gives a one-handed salute.]
CARLISLE: Get the hell out of here, Moffet.
[Moffet nods in mock subservience and leaves.
[The Committee Room. FIRM.
Members of the Committee stand around in concerned groups, glancing furtively at the door, and talking in tones of disbelief and outrage.
Marella enters, and is immediately accosted by shouts and demands, the word "Archangel" amongst them repeated, as various individuals stride up to her, gesticulating. The groups gather round, bolstering the noise.
Marella stops, stares and waits.
She remains completely impassive for some time, until the protestors realise she is waiting. Finally only one is speaking, and pointing accusingly.]
MAN #2: ... or are you just going to ignore us again? Well, Zeus?
MARELLA: [Calmly and pleasantly] Ladies and Gentlemen, would you like to take your seats, and we'll begin.
[They all start to protest again.]
MARELLA: [Shouting] We will NOT begin this meeting until we have come to order!
[Voices tail off. There is a moment's pause before they reluctantly begin to sit down. Marella waits until they are all seated and silent.
She sits at the head of the table.]
MARELLA: Thank you. The developments of the last twenty-four hours have surprised us all.
MAN #1: You're not kidding, Zeus. This has gone too far this time.
MARELLA: [Sarcastically surprised] Oh, so you're telling me that terrorists blowing up our cities is OK, but one guy abducting Archangel is too far?
MAN #1: That's not what I meant...
WOMAN #1: We have made a unanimous decision, Zeus, and we expect you to respect it.
[Marella acquiesces, signalling her to continue.]
WOMAN #1: The project is to be cancelled, immediately. We will re-assign resources and funding to finding the Airwolf prototype and this mad-man before he can do any more damage...
[The door opens and Thor enters, hurriedly.]
THOR: I'm sorry, excuse me.
[He crosses to Marella and whispers. The Committee strain to hear. She nods at him and he leaves briskly.]
MARELLA: My apologies. Please continue.
[She crosses her arms and sits back again, barely tolerating the situation.]
WOMAN #1: [Trying to reassert after the interruption] The existence of this "Nightwolf" helicopter is an un-necessary complication - the man William Moffet is an unknown. The aircraft is to be impounded and Mr Moffet debriefed.
[She stops, nodding as if to emphasise her point.]
MARELLA: And then?
[The woman looks at her fellows for support.]
MARELLA: Our terrorist cell, with the ground-to-air missiles?
[They shift uncomfortably.]
MARELLA: When an old colleague is abducted and his wife killed, it tends to get in the way of the real issues, which are, in fact, the two-and-a-half-thousand dead all along the coast here, and the next two-and-a-half-thousand dead wherever the terrorists choose to strike next. Yes, I want to find Archangel alive and capture Christopher Moffet, but that is not the issue here. The issue is extemists blowing up huge numbers of U.S. citizens.
This project was designed to stop that happening, or at least minimise the impact. We had Commanche cancelled in order to reassign the budget here. That embarrassed a lot of people in high places, ladies and gentlemen of the Committee. The decision to hand the Airwolf prototype over to a museum, and make it public was not taken lightly, as you well know. It was done to put something tangible into the public arena; something to which our chiefs of staff could point and say, "look, that's where your tax dollars are going."
Think about it. Are you really asking me to go to the President and tell him we've given up, and it's open season for the terrorists?
[She pauses whilst they look at each other.]
MARELLA: I've come here this afternoon direct from the Sunset Dunes Facility.
[Murmurs of surprise.]
MARELLA: Morningstar has handed over responsibility for the project to the Aerial Research Division.
[Gasps of genuine astonishment.]
MARELLA: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's way too late to cancel.
MARELLA: And, to cheer you up, Thor has just informed me that Christopher Moffet will release Archangel tomorrow.
[More murmurs of astonishment.]
MARELLA: Unless anyone has anything to add...?
[There is no immediate response. Marella sweeps out.]
[The FIRM helicopter pad. Nightwolf is there, and FIRM personnel are completing re-armament.
Emily, William and Thor stand by the nose, looking at a map.]
THOR: The "Wolf's Lair" that Christopher mentioned can only be the Valley of the Gods. That's where Stringfellow Hawke and Dominic Santini hid Airwolf in the 1980s. This is the Lair: it's a hollow mesa with a wide chimney and a low side entrance here.
EMILY: Christopher won't use it for Airwolf.
THOR: Why not?
EMILY: Sitting duck. We all know where it is; we would just drop a warhead down the shaft on top of him. He's not that stupid.
WILLIAM: There's a lot of other rocks to hide in.
THOR: So what do you propose?
EMILY: Don't know. We don't know what he'll do, he doesn't know what we'll do. There's no point staking out the Lair. To cover the whole valley you'd need hundreds of units, and they're going to stand out like sore thumbs. He'd just take them out anyway.
WILLIAM: Then we just play it by ear.
THOR: I can't permit you to go in without any backup. Either of you.
WILLIAM: Who says you've got a choice?
THOR: Athena is my responsibility...
EMILY: And Emily Coldsmith-Briggs is mine. I'm on compassionate leave, Thor. My mother is dead.
[He is about to object.]
EMILY: If you've got a better plan, then say so.
THOR: Look, we can ... we can make a plan ...
WILLIAM: Christopher doesn't do plans.
[He climbs into the cockpit.]
THOR: You're going now?!
EMILY: Spend a cool night in the desert, looking at the stars? Sure thing, mister.
[The engines start.]
THOR: Emily ...
EMILY: Hey, don't worry! You'll be backing us up all the way, right?
[He hesitates. She smiles at him and climbs into the co-pilot's seat.
Thor nods at her, smiling. He waves then runs for the door to the buildings.
Nightwolf lifts off.]
[Carlisle Industries. Sunset.
The two Hueys sit on the ground, rotors idling. Airwolf is being hauled out of the hangar building.
Christopher adjusts his flight suit as Carlisle approaches.]
CARLISLE: What's going on?
CHRISTOPHER: Heading off to make your delivery for you.
CHRISTOPHER: The only way around this no-fly restriction involves Mexico. It's a long trip, and you're paying for at least two refuels on the way.
CARLISLE: Just ... just don't get caught.
CHRISTOPHER: Nothing could be further from my mind. Oh. I'll be taking Mr Coldsmith-Briggs with me.
CHRISTOPHER: I need to drop him off on the way back.
[Carlisle steps up close to Christopher.]
CARLISLE: [Quietly threatening] If he breathes a word to anyone, we're finished. You, me, everything. Do you understand?
CHRISTOPHER: Breathing was not one of the things I had on my list for him.
CARLISLE: Good. Now go, and don't foul it up.
[Carlisle stalks off. Christopher looks just slightly cross.]
Marella is with him.]
THOR: ... we've got a dozen Apaches stationed around the perimeter of the Hot Zone, and six F-18s for back up.
MARELLA: Good. Make sure the pilots understand their orders.
THOR: No aircraft are to be allowed to leave the Zone. Already done.
THOR: Other than that, I can't think of any way to improve our chances on this.
[They look at each other for a moment.]
MARELLA: There's one possibility.
MARELLA: I've informed the Committee that Morningstar's project has moved over to your division.
[He sits up and pays attention.]
THOR: I didn't even know it was at the construction phase...
MARELLA: It's complete.
[Thor is stunned.]
THOR: Are you saying we could...
MARELLA: Testing hasn't started.
[Thor shakes his head.]
THOR: There's too much riding on this to risk putting it into operation without so much as a test flight.
MARELLA: [Reluctantly] You're right. You're right. But it's so close...
THOR: I wish you'd told me sooner.
MARELLA: The Committee have been playing this close to their chests...
THOR: I've got no spare test pilots, no-one trained up on the combinations required...
[Marella raises her eyebrows.]
MARELLA: Haven't you?
[Thor looks at her.]
THOR: Under the circumstances I don't think...
MARELLA: Under the circumstances I think we need someone in the cockpit yesterday. Our extremist friends won't wait around for us to get our act together.
THOR: But Airwolf ...
MARELLA: The prototype is a museum piece, James. Yes, Moffet's little gizmo has breathed a bit more life into it, but it's twenty-five years old and I can guarantee that it won't last forever, Moffet's son or not in the cockpit. "Nightwolf" isn't even airworthy.
[Thor looks surprised.]
MARELLA: It's unregistered. It's a development airframe - a structural test unit. It was stressed to breaking point to establish the structural parameters for the prototype. At the time Moffet told us he'd had the frame scavenged and scrapped - obviously we now know he shipped it over to England. That airframe had already passed its maximum hours before Moffet shipped it out.
THOR: Then they're flying a death trap.
MARELLA: William Moffet knows as much. He's not stupid. I can see it in his eyes every time he starts it up.
[Thor contemplates this.]
MARELLA: That's why no aircraft are to leave the Hot Zone tomorrow, James.
[He looks at her, realising what she is implying.]
MARELLA: For Christopher Moffet to carry out his exchange, Archangel for Athena, both helicopters will need to be on the ground together at some point. If they can be safely disabled at that point then fine: we can ship Airwolf off to Florida as planned, and Nightwolf can be broken up; if not, you have full authority to destroy both aircraft.
[Thor looks at her, with an unspoken question.]
MARELLA: I don't want to see Archangel or Athena hurt.
THOR: William Moffet...
MARELLA: ... Is a loose cannon, and so is his helicopter. We don't know him, we have no real data on his character or past activities. We can't take the risk that he is absolutely genuine, not given his sibling's performance. [She sighs] If he's on a flight back home to England tomorrow afternoon I won't object, but I won't be shedding any tears if he isn't. He's not part of the plan, James, and he's his father's son. We do not need any more Moffets at the FIRM.
[Thor considers this, reluctantly.]
THOR: I understand.
MARELLA: Thank you, James.
[He nods abstractedly. She leaves.]
[The Valley of the Gods. Night.
Stars fill the sky in all their glory.
Nightwolf is landed on the top of a mesa. Emily and William lie on the ground nearby, looking up.]
WILLIAM: Magnificent, isn't it?
EMILY: You know how many stars you can see from downtown L.A. on a clear night? Six. If you know where to look, and you're in the middle of a park or something.
WILLIAM: Back home, for new year 2000, there were a whole bunch of projects to get historic buildings floodlit at night time. I just wished someone had had the guts to suggest switching all the lights off and getting everyone to look up at the same time.
WILLIAM: I think we're all scared.
WILLIAM: Of being faced with how insignificant we all are. You see six stars in the sky and you can ignore them. What are six tiny pinpricks of light? You look at this, with each tiny dot another sun or another galaxy... We're nothing. We're scared of being reminded so we put more and more lights on, blotting out the heavens themselves.
[They fall silent. Emily props herself up on an elbow and looks at him.]
EMILY: You're a nice guy, you know.
EMILY: You are. You can come across all distant, but I've seen under the surface.
WILLIAM: You've known me ... how many days?
EMILY: Look. Tomorrow I'm going to walk over to your brother in some grand futile gesture, and hopefully kick his ass some before he kicks mine. I just wanted you to know I think you're a nice guy.
WILLIAM: That's very sweet.
[He smiles back at her.]
EMILY: You're supposed to drop me some compliment and say you think I'm nice too.
WILLIAM: My life, narrated by Emily Coldsmith-Briggs.
EMILY: Well, you don't seem to take hints very well.
WILLIAM: No, Emily, I hear you loud and clear.
EMILY: So what's wrong?
WILLIAM: Nothing's wrong...
[He tails off. She looks at him, puzzled, as he stares at the stars with a perplexed expression.]
EMILY: L.A.'s been blown up, my Mom's dead, my Dad's abducted, tomorrow I'm probably going to be defiled by some maniac, and I'm kinda desperately giving you the come-on, but you're just not taking the bait...
[Her voice cracks towards the end. He sits up and strokes her arm.]
WILLIAM: You are a lovely lass, but what you don't need right now is to start an intense relationship. With anyone. Because that's what it would be: intense and reactionary, probably ending in tears.
God help me I would love to take you on...
EMILY: [She thumps him lightly in the chest, dejectedly] Then why don't you?
[He sighs and holds her hands.]
WILLIAM: Because I would be taking advantage ...
[She is about to protest.]
WILLIAM: ... which is exactly what you want, and exactly what you don't need.
EMILY: Bloody British stubborn bastard.
WILLIAM: Yes. I am.
EMILY: I'm not in love with you or anything.
WILLIAM: You're too clever for that.
[She sits back, and sighs.]
EMILY: Is there someone back home?
EMILY: Are you ...
EMILY: [Casually] Well, it might have been the reason.
EMILY: No, it's OK. Best to check these things before anything more embarrassing happens.
[She swoops down on him, and kisses him fully, pinning him to the ground. He is startled but relaxes into it after a moment.
She lifts off and smiles at him, with a hint of victory in her expression.]
[She rolls off and stands up.]
EMILY: Time we got some sleep.
[She climbs into Nightwolf. William lies on the ground in a state of shock.]
[Airwolf and the two Hueys fly low through winding mountain valleys in the darkness.
Christopher views the terrain through the night-vision viewer.
Behind him Archangel is tied up, lying on the floor of the rear section.]
CHRISTOPHER: OK, gentlemen, we're approaching our landing zone. Follow me down and shut down. We can unload at sunrise.
[He activates the landing gear.
Airwolf and the Hueys touch down in the darkness.
Christopher shuts down the engines and looks around at Archangel, who lies motionless.
Christopher climbs out, closing the door.
Archangel twists around and tries to get a view of the instruments. A map and co-ordinates are visible on one.]
ARCHANGEL: Red Dry Lake... Arizona. Just over the hills from Vegas.
[He drops back down and begins to work at the ropes.]
[Dawn over the dry lake. Hills can be seen in the distance.
The Hueys are some distance from Airwolf, rotors idling. Carlisle's men are unloading crates from them.
Christopher watches dispassionately. He glances round at Archangel.]
CHRISTOPHER: Just a bit of business to take care of before we head off. Some friends of ours have need of some equipment. A little project they're working on. They like to blow things up.
CHRISTOPHER: Once I've collected payment we've got a little meeting to go to, you and I.
ARCHANGEL: Go to hell.
CHRISTOPHER: I undoubtedly will - I hear they're looking for staff. But not today. You, on the other hand, have a one-hundred-percent chance of meeting your namesake later today.
[Archangel turns away.
The Hueys lift off and fly back towards Airwolf, turning and landing nearby. The crates can be seen in the distance.]
CHRISTOPHER: We're early, so I'm afraid we've just got to bide our time. If we didn't have company, I'd be finding ways of making our wait more interesting, but I don't like to upset the boys.
[He indicates the Hueys and the troops climbing out and relaxing.]
CHRISTOPHER: Maybe later. Maybe Emily can help us out.
ARCHANGEL: If you lay one finger on her...
CHRISTOPHER: What? What exactly are you going to do, old man? This was her idea. Well, actually it was mine, but she seems keen to go along with it. She's a spirited girl, your daughter.
[Archangel is worried.]
[Emily stands near the edge of the mesa, looking out over the valley.
The sun is rising and a brisk breeze is playing at her.
There is an edge of nervousness and uncertainty to her expression.
William joins her.]
EMILY: Do you think he's here?
WILLIAM: Christopher? No. The tracker would have sounded.
EMILY: I've taken it out.
WILLIAM: What? Why?
EMILY: I don't want him knowing where we are.
WILLIAM: But without that key ...
EMILY: We can put it back in when we need to. It at least gives us some kind of element of surprise.
[She smiles at him, half heartedly.]
WILLIAM: Do you have a plan yet?
WILLIAM: That's a start, anyway.
[They look out at the view.]
WILLIAM: What for?
EMILY: Not taking advantage.
[William looks away.]
WILLIAM: It was nothing.
[She grips his hand in hers for a moment and heads back to Nightwolf.]
[Christopher looks at his watch. It reads 11:35. He taps his feet impatiently.]
CHRISTOPHER: Oh, come on! Some of us have got appointments to keep.
[The troops are bored and sit around in the shade of the Hueys.
Distantly a dust cloud rises. It resolves into a truck and a van.]
CHRISTOPHER: About bloody time. Jesus you can't rely on anyone these days. And these guys are supposed to be disciplined.
[The truck and van pull up by the crates. Through the heat haze Christopher watches them loading up. Another figure drops a case on the ground in the same place.
Christopher flicks switches and zooms a scanner onto the case. Nothing suspicious. The vehicles head off at speed.]
CHRISTOPHER: [To radio] All clear. You guys pick up the payment. I've got a little errand to run. Wait for me here.
[He fires up Airwolf's engines.
Archangel continues to work at his bonds.
Airwolf lifts off and climbs over the Hueys, dropping down low over the lake bed.
It flashes over the case.
Archangel looks up as Christopher puts the nose down to accelerate past the truck and van - they are visible through the windscreen briefly.
Airwolf thunders overhead, but the van and truck drive on.]
[William walks over to Emily atop the mesa. Nightwolf stands nearby in combat mode.]
WILLIAM: We're not alone.
EMILY: He's here?
WILLIAM: No, but the FIRM is. Apache gunships. Personnel carriers.
EMILY: Our back-up.
[She looks at him curiously.]
WILLIAM: It's noon. What do you want to do?
EMILY: He said we'd have to find him.
WILLIAM: There are a lot of places to hide. Where do you want to start?
[She holds her hand up to silence him and they listen.
Distantly they hear the sound of a fast aircraft echoing amongst the rocks.
They both go to the edge.
Far far below, distantly against another mesa, they see Airwolf, decelerating.]
EMILY: He can't see us...
WILLIAM: But we can see him. Come on.
[They run back to Nightwolf.]
[It lifts off and drops over the edge of the mesa.
William pilots, Emily in the rear.]
EMILY: Can you see him?
WILLIAM: No, but I know where he went.
[He dives Nightwolf towards the ground, opening the throttles.
Nightwolf thunders between rocks and around cliffs.
It rounds the edge of a mesa wall and Airwolf is ahead, slowing, facing away from them.]
WILLIAM: Get ready to put that key back in.
[As he closes on Airwolf's tail, he opens up with the guns.
Shots recoil off Airwolf.
Christopher, surprised, pulls into a sharp climb and hits the turbos.]
CHRISTOPHER: Where the heck did...
[Emily shoves the module back into place and the computers come on line. The tracker sounds immediately.
William thrusts the throttles to full, pulling Nightwolf up after Airwolf.]
[Christopher banks over and down, dropping towards the valley floor at speed. He looks back through the door window. The tracker siren starts up.]
[Nightwolf follows. He switches on the radio.]
CHRISTOPHER: Very clever of you.
WILLIAM: I'm surprised you didn't think of it yourself.
CHRISTOPHER: I'm afraid my passenger isn't in a position to help by inserting or removing modules.
[Christopher tucks Airwolf in close to a cliff, turning tightly to follow it around. Nightwolf closes.]
WILLIAM: So how do you want to play this?
CHRISTOPHER: Well at the moment we seem to be enjoying a little aerial chase. Let's make it a bit more interesting, shall we?
[He cuts the turbos and drops Airwolf suddenly.
William pulls back the throttles and lifts the nose to decelerate, but passes over Airwolf.
Christopher opens fire with the guns.]
EMILY: I'm guessing he won't actually shoot us down...
WILLIAM: Depends whether he changes his mind about you.
[William shoves the throttles forwards again, climbing slightly. Airwolf turbos in pursuit.
Nightwolf climbs and passes between two rock pillars, turning sharply and descending. Airwolf screams around the side, guns blazing.
Shots rebound off Nightwolf's tail.
William cuts the throttles and climbs. Airwolf slows. Nightwolf swings through a hammerhead stall and drops back towards Airwolf.
Christopher banks sharply and drops towards another mesa, Nightwolf descending behind. William blasts the rear with the guns again.
Airwolf passes between rock pinnacles and turns sharply, slowing to a hover. Nightwolf slows on the other side of the pinnacles.]
CHRISTOPHER: That was fun!
[The two helicopters face each other, a tall pinnacle between them. Slowly they rotate around it, each trying to target the other.]
WILLIAM: It used up a little adrenalin, yes.
CHRISTOPHER: Which one of us is going to blast the rock out of the way first?
WILLIAM: Waste of armament.
CHRISTOPHER: But it would spectacular to see, eh?
[The helicopters slowly circle the pillar, face to face.]
WILLIAM: Do you want to play merry-go-round all day, or is there something else you'd rather be doing?
CHRISTOPHER: You know, you're right. I almost forgot.
EMILY: I want to speak to him.
CHRISTOPHER: You can do that when you land.
CHRISTOPHER: Tell my brother to take that bag of nails over to the Lair. He can demonstrate his flying skills by landing inside. I don't want him trying any heroics like blowing up Airwolf whilst we're doing our handover.
You'll walk out through the cave entrance. Your dear father can walk in. We go our way, William and Michael go theirs, no hard feelings, and three hundred feet of rock between our respective weapons systems.
[The helicopters face each other for another moment. Airwolf moves off, slowly, heading down towards the lair.]
WILLIAM: I hope you know what you're doing.
EMILY: As soon as I'm out you get the hell out of that rock and blow Airwolf to kingdom come before he gets a chance to lift off. If you can do it before I'm on board, I'd prefer that. I'll try to stall him. My Dad will be safe in the cave.
[William nods and nudges Nightwolf off towards the lair.]
[Thor stands by a rocket launcher, manned by FIRM personnel.
He watches the two helicopters through binoculars. He lifts a radio to his mouth.]
THOR: OK. This is it. They're going for the exchange. Lock targets.
[The launcher swings round to follow the two distant helicopters.]
[Elsewhere another launcher follows suit.]
[Bleeps in the cock-pit: Christopher slows to a hover and flicks a display. He looks around.]
CHRISTOPHER: Oh yes?
[He activates the ADF pod, swinging it to the right.
[Thor sees the missile coming for them.]
THOR: Take cover!
[Personnel dive for cover as the missile races up towards them.]
[Christopher fires a second in a different direction.]
[Thor dives behind a large boulder as the rocket launcher explodes, showing debris all around.]
[A second explosion billows up distantly.]
CHRISTOPHER: Not very polite, trying to interrupt our little family reunion like that.
[Nightwolf climbs up the rock face as Airwolf's landing gear extends.
Airwolf lands a short distance from the cave entrance.
Nightwolf rises over the lip and hovers over the chimney opening.]
EMILY: Can you do it?
WILLIAM: [Uncertain] We'll soon see.
[He lowers the collective and Nightwolf drops slowly down below the rim.]
[Christopher climbs out of Airwolf and looks about, stretching casually, leaving the door open. He has not shut Airwolf down.
Archangel finally works the ropes loose. He sits up and looks through the windscreen to where Christopher is walking about aimlessly. Archangel smiles.]
[Nightwolf drops gently towards the floor of the lair, landing gear down.]
WILLIAM: I think we're nearly down.
[Nightwolf lands with a bump.]
EMILY: [Nervously] OK.
[She climbs over and opens the door.]
EMILY: Wish me luck.
WILLIAM: Good luck.
EMILY: Now get out of here!
[She climbs down and shuts the door.
William lifts off immediately. She runs for the wall of the cave and watches Nightwolf rise up the chimney.]
[Christopher walks slowly towards the cave opening.
He stops and smiles as Emily emerges.]
CHRISTOPHER: Good to see you!
EMILY: Where is he?
CHRISTOPHER: In Airwolf.
EMILY: I want to see him.
CHRISTOPHER: Come over then.
EMILY: I don't think so. The deal was that he walks into the cave.
[Archangel climbs slowly over to the pilot's seat, and pulls the door almost closed.
He sees Emily at the cave and stares with affection.]
CHRISTOPHER: He's tied up. You can help me get the ropes off if you like.
[She stares angrily at him.]
CHRISTOPHER: Your choice.
[He shrugs and turns to walk back to Airwolf. Emily is uncertain for a moment.
There is a shriek and Nightwolf thunders over the lip, diving straight down towards them, guns blazing.
Christopher runs for the cock-pit. Emily runs out of cover towards Airwolf, waving up at William.]
EMILY: [Shouting] Not yet! Not yet!
[Christopher reaches the door. Archangel kicks it open, smacking Christopher full in the face. Christopher goes over, dazed.
Archangel jumps out. Nightwolf screams overhead. Bullets richochet off everything and blast into the ground nearby.
He grabs Christopher by the collar and turns him over.]
ARCHANGEL: This is for Andrea.
[Archangel throws a right hook at Christopher's face.]
ARCHANGEL: Not bad for an "old man" huh?
[Archangel looks up and smiles at Emily as she runs over.
Christopher rolls over, draws his gun and fires.
Archangel's expression changes to surprise. He looks down at his stomach as a pool of red seeps into his clothes.]
[Archangel slumps to his knees as Christopher scrambles up, groggily, touching his bleeding lip. He pulls the gun round on Emily who staggers to a halt by Airwolf's nose, stunned and shocked.]
CHRISTOPHER: Get in!
[Emily doesn't understand for a moment.]
CHRISTOPHER: Come on! Get in, you stupid bitch!
[Nightwolf is approaching again. She glances at it. Christopher follows her glance.
She kicks at the gun, it fires wildly and flys up into the air. She barrels into Christopher, sending him sprawling.
She rolls over him and onto her side, springing up. He glances round for his gun.]
EMILY: Helpless without it, are you?
[He sees it and grins at her.]
CHRISTOPHER: Want to find out?
[He leaps for the gun as Nightwolf passes over, turning. She leaps after him, cannoning into him. They both miss the gun, but he gets the advantage, landing a kick into her side. She falls but kicks up at him as he follows through to strike again.
He goes over and she rolls quickly, bringing her fist hard down under his ribcage. He gasps.
She stands quickly, stamping down on him. He tries to avoid her, but isn't quick enough. She follows with a kick to the stomach.
He groans and smiles up at her.]
CHRISTOPHER: You're great, Em.
EMILY: Shut up.
CHRISTOPHER: I knew you would be.
[She kicks him in the face.
He spits blood.]
CHRISTOPHER: Your mother was the same.
[Emily seethes and charges. He leaps up, charging her in the chest with his head. She flies backwards and crashes to the ground, winded.
Christopher pins her down. Blood drips onto her.]
CHRISTOPHER: She was good. And I've been wondering ever since what you'd be like.
EMILY: You bastard.
CHRISTOPHER: Yep. Pretty much. Told you so when we first met. British Aircraft Systems, Trade And Retail Division. My little joke.
[Nightwolf slides into view from behind Airwolf. Christopher glances around at it. He smiles.]
WILLIAM: [Through speaker] Get off her, Christopher!
CHRISTOPHER: [Shouting] Or what?
William opens fire. Bullets rake the ground. Christopher is hit in the leg and rolls over, crying out.]
CHRISTOPHER: You bloody idiot! You shot me!
[The roll takes him within reaching distance of his gun. He grabs it.
Emily is scrambling towards Archangel.
He fires. She cries out and drops down, lying flat and clutching at her shoulder.
Christopher hauls himself around towards the co-pilot's door, wincing in pain and struggling to lift himself upright.
Nightwolf slides slowly round the front of Airwolf.
Christopher opens the door and climbs in, pulling on a helmet.]
CHRISTOPHER: You bloody stupid arse, William!
WILLIAM: Don't even think about lifting off.
CHRISTOPHER: You going to shoot me again? Ricochet's a killer.
[He grabs the controls, turns the throttle and lifts off, hovering and retracting the landing gear.
The pilot's door is still open. He gives Airwolf a sharp nudge and the door slams.]
WILLIAM: If I have to.
CHRISTOPHER: Sure you will. Kill your own brother. Come on then.
[William looks down at Emily and Archangel lying on the ground.
His fingers close on the trigger.]
CHRISTOPHER: You can't do it. You know you can't.
[William's fingers tighten.]
CHRISTOPHER: I'm the one you played hide and seek with. British Bulldog ... mind you wasn't much fun with only the two of us. Who helped you build the tree-house?
[William relaxes his grip, sadly.]
CHRISTOPHER: You can't let that go, can you? I, on the other hand have no problems whatsoever.
A rocket smacks into Nightwolf's upper engine intakes. Nightwolf immediately spins upwards, smoke pouring from the damaged cowling.
William fights for control.
Christopher turns Airwolf and looks down at Emily as she crawls towards Archangel.]
CHRISTOPHER: Next time, Emily.
[He hits the turbos. Airwolf screams away.
William fights Nightwolf's controls as smoke pours from the engines. Displays flash "ROTOR CONTROL MALFUNCTION".]
WILLIAM: If the rotors won't keep her up...
[He pushes the throttles to maximum and Nightwolf dives forwards, accelerating after Airwolf.
Emily reaches Archangel. He is covered in blood.]
EMILY: Dad! Dad!
[Archangel is a long way away, and it takes him some time to focus on her.]
ARCHANGEL: [Hoarse whisper] Emily?
EMILY: I'm here. We'll be alright. Help's on the way.
[She looks up and around, desperately. There is no sign of anyone.]
ARCHANGEL: They're going to ... blow up Las Vegas ...
EMILY: Shhh! Just relax.
ARCHANGEL: [Faintly] Carlisle.
[He coughs, a little blood on his lips.]
ARCHANGEL: Tell Marella ...
[He coughs again. Emily is starting to realise he's not going to make it.]
EMILY: You can tell her yourself. Come on, Dad! Hang in there.
[He smiles and touches her face.]
ARCHANGEL: You've got your mother's eyes...
[He subsides a little.]
EMILY: Don't you dare fade away on me!
ARCHANGEL: My little star!
[He falls limp.
Emily shakes him a little, crying.
She looks up at the landscape, hopelessly.]
[Airwolf streaks low through the Valley of the Gods, Nightwolf thundering down behind.]
CHRISTOPHER: Come on, William, there's nothing to be gained by chasing me around the desert. We're just putting carbon into the atmosphere and warming the planet.
WILLIAM: Shut up, Christopher, I'm thinking.
CHRISTOPHER: Well, that's a new one on me!
WILLIAM: I'm thinking about the tree-house, and British Bulldog, and hide-and-seek ...
CHRISTOPHER: I told you!
WILLIAM: And I'm thinking about Judith.
[Christopher's grin vanishes and he gulps.]
WILLIAM: And when all's said and done, she kind-of eclipses everything else.
CHRISTOPHER: It was a long time ago...
WILLIAM: And you've changed, have you?
[Christopher is worried.]
WILLIAM: You never knew quite when to stop. And then you took that one step too far.
CHRISTOPHER: Look, William. Why don't we land and talk about it?
WILLIAM: It's a bit late for that, don't you think? Maybe twelve years ago we could have sat down, had a beer, and you could have somehow explained that it was all a terrible accident, and maybe I would have been stupid enough to believe you...
CHRISTOPHER: Come on, William. You said it yourself. Twelve years. We can start afresh, you know. I've got a great business opportunity for you and that bird. Come on, land, and we can talk about it.
WILLIAM: Can't do that, Christopher. You shot up my rotors - I can't land. I've nothing to lose.
[Christopher throws Airwolf into a sharp bank, Nightwolf following.
William lowers his visor and the target square centres on Airwolf. He fires.
A missile streaks out.
The automatic defence panel flashes in Airwolf and a sunburst is ejected. The missile explodes on it.
He opens up with the guns.
Christopher pulls Airwolf into a shallow climb, lifting up and around another mesa. William fires off two more missiles.
One smashes into the rock, the other follows Airwolf.
Chaff flutters out of Airwolf's dispenser. The missile veers off course exploding on the ground. Nightwolf flies through the chaff, it rattles off the windscreen and sparks through the jets.
Airwolf dives through rocky canyons.
William follows without losing ground. He fires another missile. Airwolf kicks out another sunburst but the missile ignores it.
Christopher cuts the turbos, pulls the cyclic back, pitching the nose up. The missile closes. He hits the turbos again.
Airwolf streaks upwards, the missile exploding in the turbo exhaust stream.
The shockwave whacks into Airwolf, sending it tumbling.
Nightwolf banks clear.
Christopher fights the controls, bringing Airwolf level and steady.
Nightwolf comes around head on, guns firing.
Christopher fires off a missile. Nightwolf lifts up, the missile streaking underneath. He looks up as Nightwolf pulls over in a loop, dropping back down towards him.
He hits the turbos again and dives into a valley, Nightwolf following.
William fires off a salvo of rockets. Christopher tries to evade but several explode under Airwolf's tail. Smoke begins to pour from it.]
CHRISTOPHER: Alright, little brother. No more games.
[He pulls Airwolf into a steep climb, turbos on full. William opens the throttles wide and follows.
The two helicopters climb steeply, high above the mountains.
The altimeters show 10,000 and then 15,000 ft.
William watches Airwolf swinging ahead in the blue. Its turbos burning brightly.
Suddenly they cut out and Airwolf seems to hang in mid air.
William fires another missile.
Airwolf drops out of view and there is an explosion somewhere below him, its light coming through the floor windows. The tracker siren ceases and its screen goes dead.
William cuts the throttles and drops the nose to level, pulling around.
The fireball is below him and he glimpses it through the footwell windows.]
WILLIAM: Oh god.
[There is no sign of Airwolf.
He pulls Nightwolf into a slow circular descent, scanning the remnants of the explosion and the sky below.]
WILLIAM: Christopher? Are you still there?
[There is no reply.]
WILLIAM: Christopher? Come on, if you're playing silly buggers then stop it.
[He scans the sky around and looks down at the land distantly below.
There are the beginnings of tears in his eyes.]
THOR: [Over radio] Thor to Broadsword One, Broadsword One do you copy?
[William is surprised for a moment.]
WILLIAM: Broadsword One. I hear you, Thor.
THOR: [With obvious relief] Thank god. We saw the explosion. We weren't sure...
WILLIAM: Is Emily OK?
[Thor is standing beside a white 412 emblazoned with a red cross. Emily is receiving attention from medics.]
THOR: She's here with the Medevac team. It's a superficial injury.
WILLIAM: And Archangel?
[There is a long silence.]
THOR: He's dead.
[William sighs regretfully.]
THOR: He did give us something though. He told Emily that "they are going to blow up Las Vegas."
[William looks puzzled.]
THOR: Odds-on it's our terrorist friends. We can only assume he witnessed a weapons drop ...
WILLIAM: Hell of an assumption.
THOR: From Airwolf's arrival vector, it didn't come here direct. Since Airwolf is radar invisible, he'd have no need to come any route other than direct unless there was some other purpose. We've got units following the route back now.
WILLIAM: How do I find them?
THOR: All we have is that last time they used an unmarked van.
[William shakes his head.]
WILLIAM: That's not much to go on, Thor.
THOR: No, but if Nightwolf is anything like Airwolf, your scanners can detect primed surface to air missiles.
WILLIAM: And there won't be many unmarked vans with those on board.
THOR: Airwolf's flight path suggests the drop was made to the south east of Vegas.
WILLIAM: Alright. It's better than nothing.
THOR: Good luck.
[Nightwolf is a small speck far below as it turns and dives back towards the ground.]
[Thor switches channels on the radio.]
THOR: All units this is Thor. DO NOT FIRE on aircraft leaving the Hot Zone, I repeat DO NOT FIRE on aircraft leaving the Hot Zone.
[Emily looks at him suspiciously.]
[Highway 93 snakes north through desert and mountains towards the Hoover Dam.
Occasional vehicles speed along it.
Nightwolf descends towards it at speed. The speed indicator shows Mach 0.76.
William lowers his visor and watches a superimposed image of false colour over real world.
Vehicles flash below.
A screen shows "Signal Detector". Each time Nightwolf passes a vehicle it reads "Scanning" then "No signal detected".
William keeps Nightwolf in line with the road.]
WILLIAM: This is hopeless.
[The road widens onto the Hoover Dam bypass. Nightwolf passes over a white van which is trailing a white truck by some distance.
The scanner bleeps.]
WILLIAM: Oh Christ. That's them.
[Nightwolf shoots past and round the curve of the road as it climbs towards the Hoover Dam bridge.
He banks round to the right, cutting the throttles, thundering over the dam then curving left, back towards the bridge again. As he approaches the road he fires a rocket at the eastbound carriageway.
It explodes, blowing a crater in the road and blocking the bridge from the west side. Approaching vehicles brake to a halt. Vehicles coming the other way veer out of the path of the debris.
William throttles back further.
Warning sirens appear. Screens declare "Stall Warning - Re-Engage Rotors"; a further alarm shows "Rotor System Failure".]
WILLIAM: Come on, you're an aerodynamic lifting body ... just keep lifting for me a little bit longer.
[Nightwolf shudders as he turns it back along the road, over the bridge, where the truck and van are now approaching.
He opens the throttles and speeds towards the truck, opening fire with the guns.
Bullets rake the road and pierce the truck but it swerves and continues towards the bridge.
He fires two rockets towards the trailing van. It explodes violently, as multiple missiles detonate within.]
WILLIAM: One down...
[He turns Nightwolf again, screaming over the dam once more and rising towards the bridge.
The truck speeds onto the bridge, smoke pouring from it.]
WILLIAM: ... one to go...
[He fires a missile and pulls sharply upwards.
The missile streaks into the truck as Nightwolf screams upwards.
There is a colossal explosion as the truck's missiles detonate. Several smaller explosions follow.
Debris rains down from the bridge into the gorge below.
William turns Nightwolf in a wide circle, looking down at the fireball.]
WILLIAM: Broadsword One to Thor. Targets destroyed.
[Nightwolf screams away to the south-east.]
[Thor turns to Emily beaming, and holding the radio up in victory.
Emily shuffles uncomfortably in her bandage beside the Medevac 412 near the lair entrance.]
THOR: He got them!
EMILY: [With a little enthusiasm] That's great.
THOR: Thanks to Archangel.
[She smiles at him, appreciating the gesture.]
WILLIAM: Just one little thing, Thor.
THOR: Go ahead, William.
WILLIAM: Christopher took out my rotor control.
[Emily starts at this, concerned.]
THOR: What do you mean?
EMILY: He's on jet power and Nightwolf's fuselage is providing his lift. He can't slow down below about two-fifty knots or he'll drop out of the sky.
WILLIAM: Sums it up quite well.
THOR: Then what can we do?
WILLIAM: I'll need a stretch of highway or a smooth lake bed. I can try to put her down like a plane, but it's going to be fast and I'm not sure the landing gear will take it.
[Emily looks worried.]
THOR: There's a highway about fifteen miles north from the lair. Needle-straight through the middle of the desert.
WILLIAM: Alright. I'll see you when I land. Broadsword One out.
[Thor yells to nearby personnel.]
THOR: Crash teams and med units to the highway. We've got an incoming!
EMILY: He's right. The gear won't take it.
[Thor looks at her with concern.
The 412 starts up.]
THOR: Come on.
[He indicates the chopper as the med team load their equipment.
Emily climbs aboard, wincing.]
[Nightwolf thunders down between mesas once again. William scans the desert floor for the highway.]
WILLIAM: Long straight highway... Not here.
[He banks round between two large pillars of rock.]
[The 412 skims along over the desert. Emily looks out, scanning the sky for aircraft.]
THOR: Only a couple of miles to the highway.
EMILY: I don't see him.
WILLIAM: [Over radio] I think I'm in the wrong valley. Christopher's rocket has scrambled one or two nav aids here...
THOR: Do you have us on radar?
WILLIAM: Not yet.
[In Nightwolf he flicks switches.
He adjusts the radar. A blip appears away to one side.]
WILLIAM: Got you now.
Another blip appears near the centre closing fast.]
WILLIAM: Where the hell did that...
[The missile explodes under Nightwolf.]
[Emily and Thor look at each other, alarmed.]
[Nightwolf's cockpit fills with smoke.
William fights for control. He opens the throttles.]
CHRISTOPHER: [Over radio] Sorry, William. I was playing silly buggers. Stole your trick and pulled the key out. Game's over now.
[Nightwolf screams round a cliff wall, climbing.
Airwolf banks away behind, diving quickly into a gorge and out of sight.
Sirens sound throughout Nightwolf. Screens flicker and die.]
[Emily holds the radio.]
EMILY: William! Can you hear me?!
He reaches for the eject control.
Nightwolf climbs into the sky. The rotors disconnect and fly off, spinning away.
The pilot's door blows out, the roof blows off and the ejector seat rockets upwards.
For a moment Nightwolf floats in mid air.
[Emily and Thor turn at the distant flash.
A dull concussion reaches them in the 412.
Thor closes his eyes in despair. Emily stares at the fireball in disbelief.]
[Burning wreckage is strewn across the desert floor.
The 412 is landed at a safe distance. The wreckage is clearly Nightwolf - its tail section is mostly intact. The main body is destroyed completely.
Emily stands and watches it burn. Thor joins her.]
THOR: Zeus checked Nightwolf out. [He pauses, unsure] It wasn't licenced. Apparently it was Moffet's structural test airframe. Out of hours before it even flew. [He waits for a reaction but gets none.] She was worried this would happen.
[His phone rings and he backs off, answering it and moving back to the 412.
Emily stands and stares for a long time.]
[From the top of a distant mesa the 412 appears tiny as it lifts off. It turns towards the mesa, climbing.
In the background equally tiny ground crews extinguish fires and begin the tidy-up operation.
The 412 climbs upward and passes close by the rock, accelerating away.
Below, flapping over a rock ledge some way up the side of the rock face is a fold of parachute material.]
Emily sits on the front porch, looking out across the lawn, fields and hills beyond.
On the table beside her is a family portrait of her, Archangel and Andrea, as well as a small fold-up mini-computer like a palm-top but with fold-out larger keyboard.
She sits and stares for a long time.
Sparrows hop along the porch rail.
She turns her head, looking off to the right as if she's heard something.
Zeus's white 427 comes into view around the trees in the distance. She watches it for a moment and looks down at one of the sparrows, eyeing her suspiciously.]
EMILY: [She smiles at it] This is the part I say something cool and reclusive, and you agree reluctantly.
[The sparrow flies off. She half laughs.
The 427 touches down on the lawn and shuts down.
Thor and Marella climb out and head towards the steps. Emily watches them come.
They climb the steps and cross to her.]
MARELLA: Emily. How are you?
EMILY: [With no emphasis] Wealthy. Have a seat.
[They pull up chairs next to her.]
THOR: We've got the preliminary results from the crash inspection on Nightwolf.
[He drops a memory card onto the table.]
EMILY: Is it what you thought?
MARELLA: Mostly, yes.
[Emily looks at her.]
THOR: Take your time and read through. If you want to talk about it, call me.
[Emily looks down at the card.]
MARELLA: Athena ...
[She turns at the use of her code name.]
MARELLA: You're still on the payroll. I have a position for you, if you're interested. It's a test pilot position, flying a new piece of hardware - a counter-terrorist aircraft ...
EMILY: I'm not a test pilot.
MARELLA: You could be. All the details are here.
[She puts another memory card on the table, and adds a bound folder. Emily looks at the words "Aircraft Testing Program" on its otherwise blank cover.]
MARELLA: I'll understand if you say no.
EMILY: Thanks. Both of you.
[They smile and head back to the steps.]
THOR: If there's anything you need...
[He nods and smiles. Emily nods back.
They go down the steps and back towards the 427.
Emily opens the palm-top and inserts the first memory card as the 427 starts up.
She locates the file and scrolls to the end of the document.
She reads the conclusion.]
EMILY: "... the airframe had suffered from, and was weakened by, extreme fatigue beyond normally acceptable limits, exacerbated by strenouous air-to-air combat in the minutes prior to structural failure. The break up of the airframe was primarily a result of fatigue failure compounded by the ignition of fuel and weapons load."
[She leans forward and stares at the words "fatigue failure".]
EMILY: [Sighing] Damn...
[She looks up as the 427 lifts off.
She grabs the Aircraft Testing Program folder and opens it. There is a photograph of the aircraft on the first page inside. She stares at it in surprise.]
EMILY: [With awe] Oh my god.
[She stands and crosses to the rail, leaning on it and staring at the picture.
She looks out at the scenery, in deep thought.
The Ranch sits in the sun.]
Hot sun beats down. The middle of nowhere.
William collapses onto the ground, bleeding, parched, exhausted and dusty.
He struggles back to his feet and stumbles onward.]
So what has happened to Stringfellow Hawke? What did the FIRM recover from South East Asia in 1989? Why wasn't Caitlin mentioned anywhere in the script? What will the terrorists do with the other 24 missiles they've already got? Why did Marella go to the trouble of recovering the original Airwolf data when the FIRM have clearly built another? Where did Airwolf go? Why doesn't the report include reference to Nightwolf being hit by a missile at the end? Hang on, wasn't the ending a bit different last time I read it?
To the last question - yes. I've just slightly amended the final scene to allow for a sequel with more plotlines!
The original cast
As I mentioned in the notes at the start, when I wrote this story I tried to make it realistic in terms of what could be produced for a new-run TV show of Airwolf in the 2000s. Don't get me wrong - I'm under no illusions that this story would ever get made, but it's been an enjoyable exercise, nonetheless. In terms of characters, Hawke isn't there because JMV isn't around on the acting scene so much these days (and has voice problems, making a major speaking role difficult to do); likewise JBS doesn't seem to be on the acting scene to replay Caitlin. In both cases, there is nothing to stop their characters appearing at a later date, although I'd envisage them being back for one or maybe two episodes each, rather than permanently.
I've included EB as Santini as I sincerely hope he'll never die, but the part in the story is minimal - and could just about be created using existing dialogue and a bit of clever editing/graphics, or indeed removed completely, if he wasn't around to play it himself; conversely if he was still around and up for it, the part could be expanded for the first scenes, but it would only be as a cameo for this story. Likewise I've included AC as Archangel for this story as the major hand-over character, presuming he'd be willing to resurrect the character for a one-off. DP as Marella is a huge presumption on my part, as I believe she is primarily a Director now, but as Zeus I'd not expect the character to appear frequently, so I've assumed an "occasional" appearance might be possible.
For the helicopter and locations, both Airwolf and Nightwolf would be Bell 222s, one fitted out as the original, and the other with relatively simple body additions - because of the split in locations between England and the US, I'd imagine the Nightwolf kit being mounted on two different 222s to avoid shipping an entire helicopter across the Atlantic. There aren't many scenes with Nightwolf flying in England anyway, so maybe it would all be filmed in the US if it were made for real. The "new" Airwolf, seen at the end, is based on a Bell 430 for reasons of modernity and to give the new model some distinction from its older relative.
Many fans like the idea of Stringfellow and/or St.John Hawke remaining at the controls for ever, understandably, and if that can't be done, maybe Le Van Hawke (St.John's possible son) would be groomed to take over the reigns. As I've said before, I'm not keen on these scenarios, mostly because it's unlikely in "real life", and in this case because it probably wouldn't be practical for casting purposes if the show returned for TV. What I did try to do, however, is keep the new characters "in the family" in a different way. So, Archangel's daughter, Moffet's sons, Marella returning as Zeus, all keep a link with the previous era, with only Thor and Carlisle as completely unrelated new characters.
What happens next?
So what would happen next? There's the introduction of the "New Airwolf" to deal with, along with Emily's decision on whether to take up the test pilot role (do you think she will?!). There's the question of what will happen to William Moffet, stranded in the desert, not to mention Marella's clear antipathy towards him. Where did the original Airwolf go? Is it damaged? All these elements would need to be addressed in follow-up stories, not to mention the anti-terrorist theme.
I would certainly like to see other members of the original cast return for a show or two, specifically Hawke and Caitlin, to fill in the details of where they've been for the last twenty years if nothing else; however, if I were writing for a real show, such storylines would be dependent on the availability and willingness of the actors/actresses to play the parts, so in reality they might not be possible. I'd also like to see a couple of bit-part characters return, D.G.Bogard, for instance.
I have some ideas as to where this Airwolf Universe would go next, and a few kind souls have suggested a sequel would be nice...
Click here for episode 2: The Wolfpack!
A few kind souls have left comments about this storyline, here are some of them.
* Remarkable simply remarkable. I actually thought I was watching a new episode as I was reading. [Knight347]
* Down was brilliant but Legacy is even better. Great Story and again excellent pictures. And the way you brought Airwolf up to date with the computer shutting down and all was klass. I think Knight347 summed it up, it really did feel like you were watching an episode, you're a very talented writer. [Yojimbo]
* Excellent, excellent read!!!!!! [Atsfry]
* Very nice story. I think you should do a sequel where William joins the team and starts to fall in love with Emily but only after she finds him alive in the valley of the gods. They plus Thor, and Marella are the new airwolf crew and they fight evil terrorists and maybe you should also make Christoper Moffett come back as he gets revenge against the firm, Emily, and William. [RedLifeguardRanger]
* That was a great story. I agree with everyone else that said it was like "watching an episode" while you read. You are a very talented writer. I wish I could write like that. I hope you continue the story with a sequel or something. I really enjoyed it though. Thank you for creating it. [NIN]
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