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Thirteen Days Movie Script

Writer(s) : David Self

Genres : Drama

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	13 Days

	by

	David Self


	DARKNESS.  As the MAIN TITLES BEGIN, the theater thrums with
	a subsonic HISS which mounts in all the rattling power of
	THX, and we...

	BURN IN, BRIGHT LIVING COLOR:

	EXT. STRATOSPHERE - DAY

	The glory of stratospheric dawn.  The engines of a silver
	Lockheed U-2F rasp upon the trace oxygen here at 72,500 feet. 
	Scattered cloud formations hang over the blue brilliance of
	sea far, far below.  In the haze, the looming edge of land.

	SUPER: FLIGHT G-3101. OCTOBER 14TH, 1962. OVER CUBA.

	The spy plane's CAMERA DOORS whine open.  The glassy eye of
	the 36-inch camera focuses.  And then with a
	BANGBANGBANGBANG, its high-speed motor kicks in, shutter
	flying.

							MATCH CUT TO:

	INT. O'DONNELL BEDROOM - DAY

	A simple CAMERA, snapping away furiously in the hands of a
	giggling MARK O'DONNELL, 4.  He's straddling and in the face
	of his dad, KENNY O'DONNELL, 30's, tough, Boston-Irish, with
	a prodigious case of morning hair.  Kenny awakens, red-eyed.

				HELEN (O.S.)
		Mark, get off your father!

	Kenny sits up to the morning bedlam of the O'Donnell house.

	KIDS screech, doors bang all over.  Kenny pushes Mark over,
	rolls out of bed, snatches up the corners of the blanket and
	hoists Mark over his shoulder in a screaming, kicking bundle.

	INT. O'DONNELL HALLWAY - DAY

	Kenny, with Mark in the bundle on his shoulder, meets his
	wife HELEN going the other way in the hall with LITTLE HELEN,
	1, in her arms.

				KENNY
		Hi, hon.

	They kiss in passing.  Daughter KATHY, 12, races by in angry
	pursuit of her twin, KEVIN, 12.

				HELEN
		Don't forget, Mrs. Higgins wants to talk
		to you this afternoon about Kevin.  You
		need to do something about this.

				KENNY
		Kids are supposed to get detention.

	Kenny dumps the bundle with Mark in a big pile of dirty
	laundry.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	EXT. MCCOY AIR FORCE BASE - FLORIDA - DAY

	A pair of massive FILM CANISTERS unlock and drop from the
	belly of the U-2.  TECHNICIANS secure them in orange carrying
	cases, lock them under key, fast and proficient.  They whisk
	them out from under the spy plane.

	The Technicians run for an idling Jeep.  They sling the cases
	into the rear of the vehicle which in turn accelerates away
	hard, curving across the runway for another waiting plane.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	INT. O'DONNELL KITCHEN - DAY

	A kitchen out of the late 1950's.  Kenny drinks coffee, ties
	a tie, rifles through a briefcase at the kitchen table.  The
	horde of kids, ages 2-14, breakfast on an array of period
	food.  Kenny grills the kids while he goes over papers.

				KENNY
		Secretary of Defense...

				KEVIN
		Dean Rusk!

				KENNY
		Wrong, and you get to wax my car.

	KENNY JR. smirk at Kevin.

				KENNY JR.
		Rusk is State, moron.  Robert McNamara.

				HELEN
		Got time for pancakes?

				KENNY
		Nope.  Attorney General?

	A PHONE RINGS as the kids cry out en masse.

				KIDS
			(chorus)
		Too easy!  Bobby, Bobby Kennedy!

	Kenny glances up at the wall.  There are two phones, side by
	side.  One RED, one BLACK.  It's the black one ringing. 
	Helen answers.  Kenny goes back to his papers.

				KENNY
		All right, wise guys, Assistant
		Secretary of State for Latin America...

							SMASH CUT TO:

	EXT. STEUART BUILDING - DAY

	A U.S. Navy truck lurches to a stop in front of the run-down,
	brick-faced seven-story Steuart Building on 5th and K.  Rear
	doors BANG open, and out hop two MARINE GUARDS, side arms
	drawn, film canisters in a carrying case between them.

	SUPER:  NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERPRETATION CENTER
	(NPIC), WASHINGTON D.C.

	As the Marines approach the building, front doors SLAM open.

	INT. OPERATIONS OFFICE, NPIC - DAY

	A bespectacled OPERATIONS MANAGER hands a clipboard to one of
	the big Marine Guards who in turn hands him a set of keys. 
	The Manager unlocks the film cases.  PHOTO INTERPRETERS swoop
	in, whisk away the contents: SPOOLS OF FILM.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	EXT. O'DONNELL RESIDENCE - DAY

	A black Lincoln pulls away from the modest white house on a
	tidy Washington D.C. residential street.

	EXT. WASHINGTON D.C., AERIAL - DAY

	The car threads its way through the Washington traffic, past
	the big administrative buildings, down tree-lined avenues,
	takes a turn into a gate.  As the car stops at the gate, the
	CAMERA flies past, revealing it's the gate to the WHITE
	HOUSE.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	INT. NPIC - DAY

	CLOSE ON the five-thousand rolls of film spewing through
	processing equipment, its streaking passage leading us
	straight through the development machinery to:

	A SERIES OF VARIOUS SHOTS:

	Photo Interpreters power up light tables, stereoscopic
	viewers, zip across the floor in wheeled chairs.

	Flying switches, flickering lights, humming motors.  It's an
	eerie dance of technological black magic.

	Another pair of Interpreters loom out of the darkness, side
	by side, ghostly looking, their glasses reflecting the glare
	of the light table, like magicians staring into a crystal
	ball.

	IMAGES FILL THE SCREEN

	Aerial shots, flashing by.  Cuban countryside from 72,500
	feet.  A MAGNIFYING GLASS swings down on its arm in front of
	us, magnifying the carpet of trees... and a row of six canvas
	covered OBJECTS among them.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	EXT. WHITE HOUSE - WEST WING - DAY

	Kenny, in business suit and tie, trots up the steps, and a
	MARINE GUARD snaps the door open for him.

	INT. WEST WING - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny, briefcase in hand, weaves his way through the empty,
	ornate hallways of the West Wing.  Past magnificent doorways,
	early American furniture, paintings.  He finally reaches a
	doorway, goes through into:

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	A long, narrow affair, window at the back looking out into
	the Rose Garden.  Kenny dumps his briefcase on the desk,
	shucks off his coat, removes a folder from his briefcase,
	turns and heads back out...

	INT. WEST WING HALLS - CONTINUOUS

	And into the warren of offices and halls that is the working
	White House.  He takes a right, passes the doors to the Oval
	Office right next to his office, goes down a long, straight
	hall, into...

	INT. MANSION - CONTINUOUS

	The formal main building, the executive mansion.  He passes
	the busts of Presidents past, turns left into an elevator. 
	The doors close.

	INT. 3RD FLOOR - FAMILY QUARTERS - DAY

	The doors open.  Kenny strides out onto a DIFFERENT FLOOR,
	the third.  He heads down the long, posh hall of the family
	quarters.  Fine furnishings, art.  The living White House.

	He approaches the double doors at the end of the hall guarded
	by a cluster of SECRET SERVICE AGENTS.  An agent opens one of
	the doors.

				KENNY
		Morning, Floyd.

				SECRET SERVICE AGENT
		Good morning, Mr. O'Donnell.

	INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny enters the elegant bedroom.  The figure alone at a side
	table by the window, drinks coffee, breakfast still spread
	out before him, Washington Post obscuring his face.

				KENNY
		Top o' the morning, Mr. President.

	The figure lowers the paper.

	It is PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY.  He's wearing boxers and a
	tank top.  Unshaven.  Bed-head.

	Kenny O'Donnell, former ward-pol and long-time Kennedy man,
	is his Chief of Staff...

				THE PRESIDENT
		Morning, Kenny.  You see this goddamn
		Capehart stuff?

	The President rattles the paper.  Kenny collapses in the
	chair opposite the President, sprawls, comfortable.

				KENNY
		Bayh's going to lose, but it's good
		groundwork for us for '64.

	Kenny steals a piece of buttered toast off the President's
	plate.  The President spares him a glance.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I was eating that.

				KENNY
		No you weren't.

				THE PRESIDENT
			(scanning the paper)
		I was, you bastard.

	Kenny takes a defiant bite.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		So what've we got today?

				KENNY
		Today, for your information, is Pulaski
		Day.  We're going to Buffalo...

							SMASH CUT TO:

	INT. HOTEL LOBBY - DAY

	SUPERIMPOSE: BUFFALO, NEW YORK

	A luxury hotel crowded with LOCAL POLS: the Democratic
	machine of Buffalo.  Beyond the open floor-to-ceiling
	windows, a CROWD.  The Pulaski Day Parade, a glimpse of '69s
	Americana.  High School bands blare Sousa.  The scene is
	deafening, boisterous.  Pols trail Kenny as he crosses the
	room: fast, tough, on-the-go.

				POL #1
		We're putting up Potowski next time. 
		Will you guys come out for him?  

				KENNY
		Who else you got?

				POL #2
		There's Richardson.  Good kid.

				KENNY
		Got the touch?

				POL #2
		Yeah.  Still moldable, too.

				KENNY
		Everyone likes a good kid...

	And like that, a congressional candidate is made...  Kenny
	accelerates, leaving the Pols behind.  Suddenly, outside the
	windows, the crowd swells forward with a collective ROAR.

				CROWD
		MR. PRESIDENT!  PRESIDENT KENNEDY!

	EXT. HOTEL - DAY

	Kenny heads down the steps with New York Times Washington
	Bureau Chief, SCOTTY RESTON. Anonymous, they weave their way
	through the crowd for a police car on a side street.

				RESTON
		How's my favorite President?

				KENNY
		Busy.  But you've got his heart.

				RESTON
		I want an hour with him.

				KENNY
		I said his heart, not his attention.

				RESTON
		Three weeks before midterm elections? 
		You need me.

				KENNY
		Well.  There is a new civil rights
		initiative he wants to talk about.

				RESTON
		I'm doing a piece on Skybolt.  I hear
		Macmillan's meeting with him in Nassau.

	Kenny just sighs as they make their way up to the police car. 
	A Secret Service Agent opens the door for him, another is
	behind the wheel.

				KENNY
		We're giving the Brits Polaris instead. 
		But a story'll just aggravate things.

	Scotty stares at Kenny, determined.  Kenny looks away.  And
	his eye catches a tall, willowy BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.  She is
	talking, excited, embarrassed, to two more SECRET SERVICE
	AGENTS.  What they're saying is lost in the noise.

	Scotty follows Kenny's gaze.  Then the two men share a look,
	a silent understanding.  Kenny glances at the Secret Service
	guy holding the car door, tilts his head at the woman.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		Not today.  He's got tight schedule.

	The Agent nods, heads for the other Agents and the Beautiful
	Woman.  Scotty acts like nothing has happened.

				RESTON
		Pretending there isn't a problem won't
		fix it.  He can clear the air on Anglo
		American relations.

				KENNY
		Forget it, Scotty.

				RESTON
		Let him talk to me, he makes Macmillan
		look good, I print it, the British
		public likes it, Macmillan owes you.

	The formula's exactly what Kenny wants to hear.  He pretends
	to consider, pretends to cave as he gets in the car.

				KENNY
		All right, you're in.  Half hour.

	Reston's won.  But so has Kenny, and he's made Scotty feel
	tough in the bargain.  People like Kenny.

	INT. POLICE CAR - DAY

	In the back seat, Kenny stares out the window at the parade
	goers.  The Secret Service Agents leave the Woman. 
	Disappointed, the Woman turns and vanishes into the crowd. 
	It's an eerie moment.  Something troubles Kenny, and he
	glances up at the sky.  A premonition.  But it's a clear,
	clear blue.  A day like this, all is right with the world...

							SMASH CUT TO:

	INT. NPIC - NIGHT

	Six Interpreters huddle around IMAGES on a light table.  One
	of them shoulders his way into the group and THUMPS a black
	BINDER on the table.  There are grim nods of agreement.

	The book is open to a PICTURE of an SS-4 BALLISTIC MISSILE. 
	A photo from Moscow Mayday parade.  An icon of the nuclear
	age escorted like some devil-god to a holocaust...

	END MAIN TITLE SEQUENCE

	EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE - DAY

	The White House casts long shadows this gorgeous October
	morning.  Blue sky; the first flash of color in the trees.

	SUPER: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16TH, 1962.  DAY 1.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Briefcase and coat in hand, Kenny enters his office - and
	finds THREE MEN.  Standing there.  Thin-haired, bespectacled,
	academic-looking MCGEORGE BUNDY, 43, the National Security
	Advisor.  The two men in the background: PHOTO INTERPRETERS.

	Kenny hangs up his coat, sees the Interpreters' large black
	display cases.  And suddenly the world is slightly off
	kilter.

				KENNY
		Hey, Mac.  You're up bright and early.

				BUNDY
		No, Ken.  I need to see him now...

	INT. WHITE HOUSE - RESIDENTIAL FLOOR - DAY

	Kenny emerges from the elevator with Bundy.  They head down
	the long, posh 3rd floor hall, the Presidential Detail
	guarding the doors at the end.  But the familiar route feels
	strange, and lasting an eternity.  Kenny eyes the package
	under Bundy's arm, its TOP SECRET stamp visible.

				KENNY
		Morning, Floyd.

				SECRET SERVICE AGENT
		Good morning, Mr. O'Donnell.  Mr. Bundy.

	The Agent opens the door.  Bundy pauses, Kenny with him.

				KENNY
		What's it about?

				BUNDY
		Cuba.

	Bundy is tense.  But Kenny relaxes.

				KENNY
		Just Cuba?  Okay, I got work to do, see
		you guys downstairs.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny's office is a raging beehive of activity.  Kenny works
	the phone as ASSISTANTS come and go with files.

				KENNY
			(to phone, scary calm)
		Listen to me, you worthless piece of
		disloyal shit.  You will pull Daly's man
		on the circuit.  You owe your goddamn
		job to this administration.
			(beat, listening)
		There is a word you need to learn.  It
		is the only word in politics.  Loyalty. 
		LOYALTY you motherfucking piece of shit!

	As Kenny THROWS the phone down at the receiver, and the
	PRIVATE DOOR to the Oval Office suddenly opens.  Kenny
	glances up.  President Kennedy stands there in the doorway. 
	Kenny thinks he's reacting to the tirade.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		What're you looking at?  This isn't the
		blessed order of St. Mary the Meek.

	Kenny stops.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		Excuse us.

	The Assistants leave, shutting the door after them.  Kenny
	rises.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I think you should come in here.

	Kenny starts for the door.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		Still think Cuba isn't important?

				KENNY
		Not as far as the election goes.

	The President lets Kenny by into...

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	WE ENTER from a different angle than we usually enter in
	movies: through the side door.  The President's ornate desk
	sits on the right, windows looking out on the Rose Garden
	behind it.  Kenny's gaze swivels to:

	THE OTHER END OF THE ROOM where the Interpreters, their
	crewcut chief, ARTHUR LUNDAHL, 50's, and Bundy stare at him. 
	They're surrounded by PRESENTATION BOARDS propped up around
	the fireplace.  The President's rocking chair and sofas.

				THE PRESIDENT
		You used to look down a bomb sight for a
		living, Ken.  What do you see?

	In eerie silence, as all eyes follow him, Kenny makes his way
	among the presentation boards with the U-2 imagery, stops in
	front of the picture of the six canvas-covered objects.  It
	unleashes a wave of memories.

				KENNY
		We hit a Nazi buzz bomb field in '45. 
			(beat, incredulous)
		It looks like a rocket base...

	He puts his hand out to touch the image, then turns and looks
	to the President, knowing what they must be.

				BUNDY
		On Sunday morning, one of our U-2s took
		these pictures.  The Soviets are putting
		medium range ballistic missiles into
		Cuba.

	Shock.  Silence.  Kenny glances to the other men.

				LUNDAHL
		They appear to be the SS-4: range of a
		thousand miles, three-megaton nuclear
		warhead.

				KENNY
		Jesus Christ in Heaven...

	INT. WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR'S CENTER - DAY

	A bank of WHITE HOUSE OPERATORS work the switchboard, fingers
	flying, voices overlapping in a babble of:

				VARIOUS OPERATORS
		Please hold for the White House...Mr.
		O'Donnell for Secretary McNamara...
		White House Operator... please hold...

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	Kenny carries the phone with him as he paces hard from his
	desk to his window.

				KENNY
		The principals are assembling in an
		hour.  See you then.

	Kenny hangs up.  The President enters.  A beat.  And in that
	beat, there's a void.  The two men are off their emotional
	stride, trying to grope their way out of shock.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Where's Bobby?

	Kenny nods, acknowledging the feeling

				KENNY
		Should be here any minute.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Good.

	And we glimpse the chemistry of these guys by Bobby's
	absence.  It's like they're missing their third wheel.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		Good.

				BOBBY (O.S.)
		Where the hell are you?

	The President and Kenny hear him out in the hall.  And the
	tension goes out of them instantly.

				THE PRESIDENT
		In here!

	They turn to the door as BOBBY KENNEDY, 37, the President's
	younger brother/Attorney General, enters.  Bobby shuts the
	door behind him, falls into Kenny's chair, and clearly
	grappling with his own disbelief, is hushed.

				BOBBY
		Jesus Christ, guys.  What the hell's
		Khruschev thinking?

				THE PRESIDENT
		Did you have any indication of this from
		Georgi?  Any possible warning or sense
		of motivation?

				BOBBY
			(shaking his head)
		Complete snowjob.  And then we went out
		and told the country they weren't
		putting missiles into Cuba.
			(beat)
		By the way, you realize we just lost the
		midterms.

				KENNY
		Who gives a shit about the midterms now? 
		The Soviets are putting nuclear weapons
		ninety miles away from us.

				BOBBY
		You mean there's something more
		important than votes?  Didn't think I'd
		live to see the day, Ken.

	The President paces away, grim.

				KENNY
		Jesus.  I feel like we've caught the Jap
		carriers steaming for Pearl Harbor.

	INT. WEST WING HALLWAY - DAY

	The President strides down the plush hallway, Bobby and Kenny
	flanking him.  Unconsciously, all three men assume the same
	gait: confident, powerful, no longer disoriented.

	And before our eyes, the three men's game faces appear, and
	they become the hard-ass leaders of the United States. 
	Secret Service Agents throw open the massive double doors to
	the Cabinet Room.

	INT. CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	And they enter.  The group of men at the long, ornate
	Roosevelt-era table, rise as one.

				GROUP
		Good morning, Mr. President.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Good morning, gentlemen.

	And the doors close on the eighteen men of EXCOM: The
	Executive Committee of the National Security Council.  They
	are the legendary "Best and Brightest."

	The President makes his way down the line: shakes hands with
	Secretary of State DEAN RUSK, 53, distinguished, with a soft,
	Georgian accent, a distant reserve.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		Dean, good morning.

				RUSK
		Mr. President.

	The President leans past him, grasps the hand of the
	Secretary of Defense ROBERT MCNAMARA, 46, a gifted managerial
	genius... the price of which is a cold, hard personality.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Bob.  Bet you had a late night.

				MCNAMARA
		Sleep is for the weak, Mr. President.

	OFF TO THE SIDE, Kenny greets Vice President LYNDON JOHNSON,
	54, and ADLAI STEVENSON, 62, Representative to the U.N.,
	intellectual, well-spoken.

				KENNY
		Lyndon.  Adlai.

	The silver-haired war hero and politically savvy Chairman of
	The Joint Chiefs of Staff, GENERAL MAXWELL TAYLOR, 50s,
	shakes the President's hand.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Max.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		McCone's been notified and is coming
		back from the West coast.  Carter's
		here, though.

	He gestures to GENERAL MARSHALL CARTER, Deputy Chief of
	Operations for the CIA.  Carter nods to the President.

	THE CAMERA PANS OVER THE OTHERS.

	DOUGLAS DILLON, ex-banker, Secretary of the Treasury.

	ROSWELL GILPATRIC, studious Deputy Secretary of Defense.

	PAUL NITZE, 55, the detail-driven facts man, Assistant
	Secretary of Defense.

	GEORGE BALL, 50s, Undersecretary of State.  Eloquent, a man
	of conscience.

	U. ALEXIS JOHNSON, Deputy Under Secretary of State.

	EDWARD MARTIN, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin
	America.

	LLEWELLYN THOMPSON, laid back, rumpled Soviet Affairs
	Advisor.

	DON WILSON, Deputy Director of the USIA.

	The President sits down at the center of the table, Rusk and
	McNamara to either side, and the others resume their seats. 
	Bobby takes one of the over-stuffed chairs at the table.

	Kenny finds one along the wall behind the President, under
	the windows to the Rose Garden to TED SORENSEN, 30s, the
	President's legal counsel and speech writer.  They greet each
	other coolly.

				KENNY
		Ted.

				SORENSEN
		Kenny.

	The room falls silent.  The President looks across the table
	to GENERAL CARTER.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Okay.  Let's have it.

				GENERAL CARTER
		Arthur Lundahl heads our photographic
		interpretation division at CIA.  I'll
		let him and his boys take you through
		what we've got.  Arthur?

	Lundahl, standing at the end of the room with briefing
	boards, steps forward with a pointer.

				LUNDAHL
		Gentlemen, as most of you now know a U-2
		over Cuba on Sunday morning took a
		series of disturbing photographs.

	SWINGING THE POINTER AT A BOARD SMASH CUTS US TO:

	EXT. MISSILE SITE - LOS PALACIOS, CUBA - DAY

	The sweltering Cuban countryside.  Shouting SOVIET ROCKET
	TROOPS, stripped to the waist, glistening with sweat, machete
	a clearing under scattered, limp palm trees.

				LUNDAHL (V.O.)
		Our analysis at NPIC indicates the
		Soviet Union has followed its
		conventional weapons build-up in Cuba
		with the introduction of surface-to
		surface medium-range ballistic missiles,
		or MRBMs.  Our official estimate at this
		time is that this missile system is the
		SS-4 Sandal.  We do not believe these
		missiles are as yet operational.

	A bulldozer TEARS through the undergrowth.  FILLING THE
	SCREEN.  A 70-foot long MISSILE TRANSPORTER creeps along in
	the bulldozer's wake like a vast hearse with its shrouded
	cargo.

	INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

	Lundahl raps his second board: a map of the United States,
	Cuba visible in the lower corner.  An ARC is drawn clearly
	across the U.S., encompassing the entire Southeast.

				LUNDAHL
		IRONBARK reports the SS-4 can deliver a
		3-megaton nuclear weapon 1000 miles.  So
		far we have identified 32 missiles
		served by around 3400 men, undoubtedly
		all Soviet personnel.  Our cities and
		military installations in the Southeast,
		as far north as Washington, are in range
		of these weapons, and in the event of a
		launch, would only have five minutes of
		warning.

				GENERAL CARTER
		Five minutes, gentlemen.  Five minutes.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		In those five minutes they could kill 80
		million Americans and destroy a
		significant number of our bomber bases,
		degrading our retaliatory options.  The
		Joint Chiefs' consensus is that this is
		a massively destabilizing move,
		upsetting the nuclear balance.

	The President stares at Lundahl, and beating out each word.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Arthur.  Are. You. Sure?

	Lundahl looks around the room.  Everyone is hanging.

				LUNDAHL
		Yes, Mr. President.  These are nuclear
		missiles.

	The men come to grips with their own fears, own anger.

				BOBBY
		How long until they're operational?

				LUNDAHL
		General Taylor can answer that question
		better than I can.

	General Taylor drops a memo on the table WHICH BECOMES:

	EXT. FIELD TABLE - MISSILE SITE, CUBA - DAY

	SCHEMATICS slapped down on a camp table.  A group of Soviet
	site ENGINEERS point and gesture as they study their ground
	from a shaded hillock.  CLEARING CREWS and SURVEYORS work and
	sweat in the distance.

				GENERAL TAYLOR (V.O.)
		GMAIC estimates ten to fourteen days. 
		However, a crash program to ready the
		missiles could cut that time.



	INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

	Taylor sees the grim looks all around.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		I have to stress that there may be more
		missiles that we don't know about.  We
		need more U-2 coverage.

	Kenny lets out his breath.  He catches Bobby's eye.  This is
	unbelievable.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Is there any indication - anything at
		all - that suggests they intend to use
		these missiles in some sort of first
		strike?

				GENERAL CARTER
		Not at present, sir.  But I think the
		prudent answer is we don't know.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Do we have any sort of intelligence from
		CIA on what Khruschev is thinking?

				GENERAL CARTER
		No, Mr. President.  We don't.  We just
		don't know what's happening inside the
		Kremlin at that level.

				BOBBY
		They lied to us.  Two weeks ago Dobrynin
		told me to my face Khurschev had no
		intention of putting missiles into Cuba. 
		They said themselves, this is our
		backyard.

	There's angry agreement.  The President cuts it off.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Gentlemen, I want first reactions. 
		Assuming for a moment Khruschev has not
		gone off the deep end and intends to
		start World War Three, what are we
		looking at?

	Rusk glances to his team at the end of the table.  Ball,
	Johnson, Martin, Thompson and Stevenson.

				RUSK
		Mr. President, I believe my team is in
		agreement.  If we permit the
		introduction of nuclear missiles to a
		Soviet satellite nation in our
		hemisphere, the diplomatic consequences
		will be too terrible to contemplate. 
		The Russians are trying to show the
		world they can do whatever they want,
		wherever they want, and we're powerless
		to stop them.  If they succeed...

				BOBBY
		It will be Munich all over again.

				RUSK
		Appeasement only makes the aggressor
		more aggressive.  Confidence in our
		security commitments around the world
		will falter, allies will become unsure
		in the face of Soviet pressure, and the
		Soviets will be emboldened to push us
		even harder.  We must remove the
		missiles one way or another.  It seems
		to me the options are either to build up
		the crisis 'til they give in, or we hit
		them.  An air strike.

	There's silence at the table.  Some nods.  Understanding.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Bob?

				MCNAMARA
		We've worked up several military
		scenarios.  Before I ask General Taylor
		to lead us through the various options,
		I'd like for us to adopt a rule. 
		If we are going to strike, we must agree
		now that we will do it before the
		missiles become operational.  Because
		once they are, I don't think we can
		guarantee getting them all before at
		least some are launched.

	And there it is.  The clock is running.

				BUNDY
		Sir.  We need to consider... if we
		decide to act, there's a good chance
		we'll end up in a general war.

	The room falls silent.  The President leans back in his
	chair, studying the circle of men around the table, weighing
	them.

	Kenny and the others watch him in silence.  A long, dramatic
	pause.  A course that will change history is about to be
	chosen.  The President leans forward, folds his hands on the
	table.  Fated.  Grave.

				THE PRESIDENT
		It's clear we cannot permit Soviet
		nuclear missiles in Cuba.  We must get
		those missiles out.

	EXT. THE ROSE GARDEN - DAY

	Kenny and Bobby follow the President down a path through the
	Rose Garden.  The shock of the morning has worn off.  The
	President stops, looks at them.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I don't think it's going to matter what
		Khruschev's intentions are.  I tell you,
		right now... I don't see any way around
		hitting them.

	A long moment of silence as they move along again.

				KENNY
		If we hit 'em, kill a lot of Russians,
		they'll move against Berlin.  They
		attack Berlin, that's NATO... and we're
		at war.

	The guys stop again.  The autumn day is bright, warm, alive. 
	The air, the distant city sounds derail the relentless train
	of logic for a beat.  And in their faces we see that all
	three men, for the first time, feel the enormity of war, its
	shadow over everything.  It's only a couple of steps away. 
	Steps that they're seriously contemplating.

				BOBBY
		Damned if we do, but if we don't, we're
		in a war for sure somewhere else in six
		months.

	Pained, the President turns away.

				THE PRESIDENT
		No choice.  This is going to cost lives
		any way we go.  Do nothing, and it could
		be 80 million  of ours.  We have to get
		rid of those missiles.

				KENNY
		There've got to be alternatives to just
		going out and bombing them.

				BOBBY
		He's right, Jack.  Taylor is saying we
		may have some time.  We've got to use
		it.

				THE PRESIDENT
		So if there are alternatives that make
		sense - and I'm not saying there are -
		we need 'em.  Need 'em fast.

				BOBBY
		What about the allies?  Congress?  I
		think we may need to start letting key
		people know.  And they're all scattered
		across the country for the campaign. 
		We're going to need to get the U.N.
		staff in and warmed up.  Jesus... I
		don't even know if we've got secure
		communications with half our embassies
		since that the Soviets got that
		cryptographer of ours.

				THE PRESIDENT
		We can't worry about everything right
		now.  We've got to figure out what we're
		going to do before we worry about how we
		do it.

				KENNY
		The other thing is...

				BOBBY
		... I know.  CIA and the military fucked
		us on the Bay of Pigs.

				KENNY
		They're going to be pressing for a
		military solution soon.  We can't afford
		to let them ram their agenda down our
		throats.  We need to come with options
		other than air strikes so we have some
		sort of choice here.

				BOBBY
		We got a bunch of smart guys.  We lock
		'em up together in there, kick 'em in
		the ass til they come up with options.

	Kenny and the President look at him.  Bobby nods.

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		I'll do it.

				KENNY
			(to the President)
		It's too politicized with you in there,
		anyway.  They need to be able to stick
		their necks out.

				BOBBY
		It'll be the principals, a couple of the
		key guys from each department: the
		Executive Committee of the National
		Security Council.  We'll call it EXCOM.

	Kenny snorts a laugh.  Bobby shoots him a cross look.

				KENNY
		EXCOM.  Has a ring to it.  Like F-Troop.

	The President stops.  Bobby and Kenny stop, too.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Okay.  Kenny and I only show for the
		meetings you call us into.  Impress us. 
		And do it fast.
			(to Kenny)
		You're in charge of keeping this quiet. 
		If word gets out before we know what
		we're going to do, there'll be panic. 
		And it'll ruin any chance of surprise if
		we decide to hit them.

				KENNY
		Then we need to do a few things right
		away.  No Pierre.  He knows, the press
		knows. 
		You're going to have to keep up your
		schedule - your movements are followed
		too closely.  And we need to get these
		guys out of the White House.  George
		Ball's got a conference room at State.
			(to Bobby)
		Reconvene over there this afternoon,
		come back here tonight.

	Bobby nods.

				BOBBY
		I think we should bring in Dean Acheson. 
		He was fighting Soviets while we were
		still working the wards in Boston.

	The President nods his approval.  Looks at Kenny.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Find him, Kenny.  We're going to need
		all the help we can get.

	INT. WEST WING - HALL OUTSIDE PRESS OFFICE - DAY

	Kenny moves hard and fast through the twisting warren of
	hallways and tiny offices which is the West Wing.  Suddenly,
	Scotty Reston pops out of a doorway behind Kenny.

				RESTON
		Hey, Kenny!  Who died?

	Kenny glances over his shoulder at Scotty who points to a
	window.  A beat, then Kenny returns to look out the window. 
	Outside, the West Wing Drive is FILLED WITH LIMOUSINES.

	A flash of dismay, but Kenny covers fast.

				KENNY
		Way it's going, the Democratic Party. 
		DNC strategy session.  If you can call
		it that.

	Scotty chuckles.  Kenny moves off, leading him away.  Kenny's
	assistant runs up behind him, holding out a slip of paper.

				ASSISTANT
		Sir?

	Kenny tries to look him away.

				RESTON
		It's Tuesday.  You said to call.  When
		do I get my 45 minutes?

				KENNY
		Tell you what.  We're in Connecticut
		tomorrow for Ribicoff.  I'll get you up
		front with him during the flight.

				RESTON
		Deal.

				ASSISTANT
		Sir.

	Kenny turns, harsh

				KENNY
		What is it?

	The Assistant eyes Scotty, holds his tongue.  Kenny takes the
	slips.

				ASSISTANT
		The number you asked for.

				KENNY
		I ask for a lot of 'em.  Whose is it?

				ASSISTANT
		Dean Acheson's, sir.

	That shuts Kenny up.  Reston eyes the slip, then looks to
	Kenny's face.  And he knows something isn't right here.

				KENNY
		Gotta go, Scotty.  See you tomorrow.

	INT. TREASURY BUILDING GARAGE - NIGHT

	A car jolts to a stop.  The CAMERA PANS up over the sagging
	suspension, the government plates, the hood ornament
	revealing half of EXCOM inside.  Kenny stands nearby waiting
	for them.

	The doors open, and out they pile like a bunch of clowns:
	Bobby, McNamara, Rusk, Ball, Martin, Dioptric, Sorensen,
	Stevenson, and Nitze.  They're sitting in each others' laps,
	banging their heads on the roof, joking, but tense.

				BOBBY
		Screw secrecy.  You try having that fat
		ass sit on your lap all the way from
		Foggy Bottom.

				MCNAMARA
		You were excited.  I say no more.

	The gang falls in behind Kenny, trails him out of the garage.

	INT. TUNNEL TO WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

	A steel door unlocks, swings open, and Kenny marches at the
	head of the wedge of men into a long tunnel.  It's the
	infamous old passage from the Treasury to the White House. 
	Kenny and Bobby get a little ahead of the others.

				BOBBY
		Everybody agrees the diplomatic route is
		out.  It's too slow, and they'll have
		the missiles finished.

	Kenny looks at him.  Then there's only one alternative.  The
	CAMERA wipes through the ceiling to:

	EXT. WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

	GROUND LEVEL.  Where the brilliantly-lit flag flutters over
	the spotlit White House: their destination.

	INT. CABINET ROOM - NIGHT

	GENERAL WALTER 'CAM' SWEENEY, head of Tactical Air Command,
	stands at the head of the table with a presentation board. 
	The men of EXCOM gather around Sweeney in their rumpled
	shirts, nursing coffee and cigarettes.

				GENERAL SWEENEY
		We have 850 planes assembling at
		Homestead, Eglin, Opa Locka, MacDill,
		Patrick, Pensacola and Key West.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	EXT. HOMESTEAD AFB - FLORIDA - NIGHT

	An F-100 Super Sabre stands under lights on a taxiway.  The
	CAMERA DESCENDS FROM ITS OVERHEAD SHOT, discovering the
	aircraft's sleek cockpit, menacing tiger-jaw paint job, the
	four 20mm cannons on its nose.

				GENERAL SWEENEY (V.O.)
		Due to the tropical foliage, the OPLAN
		calls for high-explosive and napalm
		loadouts for our ground attack sorties.

	PULL BACK TO REVEAL:

	The FLIGHT LINE where a full strike wing stands beyond this
	plane, pylons laden with weapons, GROUND CREW servicing them.

	INT. CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	Other EXCOM members draw near the board, its order of battle,
	strike maps.  They're grim, but fascinated.  Empowering. 
	Intoxicating.  Sexy.  Kenny sees it in the faces, even the
	President's.  Adlai does too, is upset.

				ADLAI
		I still think there are diplomatic
		approaches we haven't considered yet.

	Kenny looks at Adlai.  The others around the room,
	embarrassed, don't respond.  The group has moved on and
	Stevenson hasn't.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		We have high confidence in the expanded
		air strike option.
			(beat)
		The problem, Mr. President, is that it's
		a short-term solution.  Khruschev can
		send more missiles next month.  The
		Chiefs and I believe we should follow up
		the air strikes with the full version of
		OPLAN 316.

				THE PRESIDENT
		An invasion...

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Yes, sir.  We can be sure we get all the
		missiles, and we remove Castro so this
		can never happen again.

	Kenny looks around the room at the men, the murmurs of
	general agreement, senses the consensus building and is
	agitated.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Is this the Chiefs' recommendation?

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Yes, sir.  Our best option is to
		commence the strikes before the missiles
		are operational.  The invasion happens
		eight days later.

	The President leans back in his chair, turns to the man at
	the far end of the table: DEAN ACHESON, 60s, former Secretary
	of State.  He sits silent, like some revered oracle, the
	architect of the American Cold War strategy of containment.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Dean.  What do you think?

	Acheson arches an eyebrow, and when he speaks, his voice
	resonates throughout the room, powerful, smooth, hypnotic.

				ACHESON
		Mr. President, you have rightly
		dismissed the diplomatic option.  The
		Soviet will only tie you down in
		negotiation, and leave us short of our
		goal, the removal of the missiles. 
		Negotiating will do nothing more than
		give them time to make the missiles
		operational, complicating the necessary
		military task we have at hand.

	Everyone in the room listens to him with rapt attention, his
	presence overshadowing the room, oracular:

				ACHESON (CONT'D)
		For the last fifteen years, I have
		fought here at this table along side
		your predecessors in the struggle
		against the Soviet.  Gentlemen, I do not
		wish to seem melodramatic, but I do wish
		to impress upon you one observation with
		all conceivable sincerity.  A lesson I
		have learned with bitter tears and great
		sacrifice.
			(beat)
		The Soviet understands only one
		language: action.  It respects only one
		word: force.

	Kenny stares at the old man.  Acheson's gaze finds his
	through the cigarette smoke.  Acheson's eyes travel to the
	President.

				ACHESON (CONT'D)
		I concur with General Taylor.  I
		recommend, sir, air strikes followed by
		invasion, perhaps preceded by an
		ultimatum to dismantle the missiles if
		military necessity permits.

	Taylor nods, vindicated.  The others murmur their approval. 
	Bobby, at the table in front of Kenny and to his left, trades
	a dire look with Kenny.  This is happening too fast.  Bobby
	holds his head, looks about at the others, deeply distressed.

	The President sinks back in his chair, staring at Acheson.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Then it appears we have three options. 
		Number one.  A surgical air strike
		against the missiles themselves.  Two, a
		larger air strike against their air
		defenses along with the missiles.

	Kenny eyes Bobby.  Bobby is writing something.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		And three, invasion.

	Bobby looks over his shoulder at Kenny, and REACHES BACK to
	him with a folded NOTE.  Kenny takes it, opens it.

	It reads NOW I KNOW WHO TOJO FELT PLANNING PEARL HARBOR.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		We're certainly going to do number one;
		we're going to take out these missiles,
		so it seems to me we don't have to wait
		very long.  We ought to at least be
		making those preparations.

	Kenny gives Bobby a curt nod.  Bobby tilts his head at the
	President: pass the note on to him.  Kenny rises, slips the
	note in front of the President.

	The President unfolds the note, and we HOLD ON IT and his
	reaction as in the b.g., out of focus, Taylor speaks:

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Yes, sir, we're preparing to implement
		all three options, though I must stress
		again, sir, there are risks to the
		strikes without the follow-on invasion.

	Bundy clears his throat.  Speaks from somewhere down the
	table.

				BUNDY
		You want to be clear, Mr. President,
		that we have definitely decided against
		a political track.

	The President folds the note away, glances at Bobby.  A beat,
	the President looks from Bobby to Acheson.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Dean, how does this play out?

				ACHESON
		Your first step, sir, will be to demand
		that the Soviet withdraw the missiles
		within 12 to 24 hours.  They will
		refuse.  When they do, you will order
		the strikes, followed by the invasion. 
		They will resist, but will be overrun. 
		They will retaliate against a target
		somewhere else in the world, most likely
		Berlin.  We will honor our treaty
		commitments and resist them there,
		defeating them per our plans.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Those plans call for the use of nuclear
		weapons.
			(beat)
		And what is the next step?

	Acheson sits back in his chair, smooths his moustache.  A
	dramatic beat, and then his ominous pronouncement rings out:

				ACHESON
		Hopefully cooler heads will prevail
		before we reach the next step.

	A chill runs down Kenny's spine.  He looks in shock to the
	President.  The President remains calm.  But in place of the
	fated look the President has had, there's a hesitation.

	INT. WEST WING HALLS - NIGHT

	Acheson strides down the hall, Taylor, Sweeney, Carter and
	Bundy swept along behind him.  Bundy is on the defensive, the
	others grim.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		If McNamara'd get off the fence...

				BUNDY
		We have time.

				GENERAL CARTER
		Goddamn it, it's obvious.  It's the only
		option.  That asshole, Stevenson.  We
		can't let this drag out or we lose our
		shot.

				BUNDY
		Bombing them...

				ACHESON
		Remember that the Kennedys' father was
		one of the architects of Munich.  The
		General is right.  There is only one
		responsible choice here.

	Bundy just nods.  Taylor grabs a door ahead for Acheson.

				ACHESON (CONT'D)
		Let's pray appeasement doesn't run in
		families.  I fear weakness does.

	And the men head into a stairwell going down.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

	Grimacing in pain.  He opens a pill bottle, takes two pills
	out.  He takes a whiskey in a shot glass from Kenny.

	RESUME

	Kenny finishes pouring him and Bobby a couple of more shots,
	discreetly turning a blind eye to the President's pain.

	The President returns from his desk, shirt untucked,
	disheveled, back stiff.  He eases into his rocking chair. 
	Bobby lies sprawled on the couch.  Kenny sits down.  They all
	look at each other.  A beat, something like shock.

				KENNY
		Jesus Christ Almighty...

	They burst out laughing.  An absurd, tension draining moment. 
	They shoot their drinks, Kenny refills.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		Call me Irish, but I don't believe in
		cooler heads prevailing.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Acheson's scenario is unacceptable.  And
		he has more experience than anyone.

				KENNY
		There is no expert on this subject, no
		wise old man.

	The President stares Kenny in the face, understanding.

				THE PRESIDENT
		The thing is, Acheson's right.  Talk
		alone won't accomplish anything.

	Kenny considers the President, his face straight as he says:

				KENNY
		Then let's bomb the shit out of them.
		Everyone wants to, even you, even me.
			(there's a point)
		It sure would feel good.

	The President sees what Kenny's saying: it'd be an emotional
	response, not necessarily the intelligent one.

				BOBBY
		Jack, I'm as conniving as they come, but
		a sneak attack is just wrong.

				KENNY
		He's right.  And things are happening
		too fast.  It smells like the Bay of
		Pigs all over again.

	Bobby picks up some reconnaissance photos on the coffee
	table.

				BOBBY
		As if dealing with the Russians wasn't
		hard enough, we gotta worry about our
		own house.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Tonight, listening to Taylor and
		Acheson, I kept seeing Burke and Dulles
		telling me all I had to do was sign on
		the dotted line.  The invasion would
		succeed.  Castro would be gone.  Just
		like that.  Easy.

	The President is rendered mute by a wave of pain.  Kenny and
	Bobby aver their eyes.  When it passes, the President is
	hushed, grave.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		There's something...immoral about
		abandoning your own judgement.

	Kenny nods, moved.  The President reaches out for the
	reconnaissance photos Bobby's flipping through.  Bobby hands
	them to him.  The President looks them over.  And when he
	speaks, there's humility.  And resolve.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		We can't let things get ahead of
		themselves.  We've got to control what
		happens. 
		We're going to do what we have to make
		this come out right.  EXCOM is our first
		weapon.
			(beat)
		We'll resort to others as we need 'em.

	EXT. AIRPORT - BRIDGEPOINT, CONNECTICUT - DAY

	SUPER: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17TH.  DAY 2

	A LONG SHOT of an ENORMOUS CROWD thronging a bunting-trimmed
	platform.  The President, barely recognizable at the
	distance, and a cluster of political VIPS wave from it,
	smiling.

	Kenny steps INTO FRAME, back here at the fringes of the
	crowd.

				THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
		Doesn't anybody in Connecticut have to
		work today?

	The crowd goes nuts.  Kenny paces, checks his watch,
	impatient to be done with the necessary diversion.  Kenny
	gazes off to his right and spots Scotty Reston, along with
	half the White House press corps suckered along.  Scotty
	catches Kenny's look.

	Kenny turns away, but Scotty comes weaving over.  The
	President continues on, but all we hear is Scotty and Kenny.

				RESTON
		Kenny!  What happened?  They didn't let
		me up front, said the President was on
		the phone the whole time.

				KENNY
		He was.

				RESTON
		Yeah?  Who was he talking to?  Acheson? 
		Come on, O'Donnell, everyone's wondering
		what's going on.  What's Acheson doing
		in town?  And don't give me some
		bullshit about DNC think tanks. 
		Acheson's Mr. Cold War.

				KENNY
		Why don't you ask him yourself?  You can
		have him on the way home.

				RESTON
		I'm giving you a chance here: talk to
		me.  You can influence how this thing
		unfolds.

	But Kenny stands there, mute.  Reston just shakes his head,
	knowing for sure something's up.  He turns and heads back for
	the press corps.

		EXT. STAIRS TO AIR FORCE ONE - DAY

	Kenny and the President climb the stairs to the Presidential
	plane, the crowd cheering him.  He gives a final wave.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Let's get out of here.

				KENNY
		Cheer up, you've neutralized the entire
		White House Press Corps for a day.

	INT. GEORGE BALL'S CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

	EXCOM meets in George Ball's small conference room at the
	State Department.  Bobby, in shirtsleeves, paces at the head
	of the table, very, very alone.  All eyes are on him.

				BOBBY
		No.  No.  No.  There is more than one
		option here.  If one isn't occurring to
		us, it's because we haven't thought hard
		enough.

	McNamara squirms.  The others react in frustration.  CIA
	chief JOHN MCCONE, sharp, tough, conservative, is harsh.

				MCCONE
		Sometimes there is only one right
		choice, and you thank God when it's
		clear.

				BOBBY
		You're talking about a sneak attack! 
		How'll that make us look?  Big country
		blasting a little one into the stone
		age.  We'll be real favorites around the
		world.

				ACHESON
		Bobby, that's naive.  This is the real
		world, you know that better than
		anybody.  Your argument is ridiculous.

				MCCONE
		You weren't so ethically particular when
		we were talking about options for
		removing Castro over at CIA.

	And there's nothing Bobby can say to that.  He props himself
	up on the table, stares at it as if there's an answer in its
	shiny surface somewhere.  There is only the reflection of his
	own face.

				BOBBY
		I can't let my brother go down in
		History like a villain, like a Tojo,
		ordering another Pearl Harbor.

	McCone, Acheson, and Taylor share a look.  The last
	resistance to airstrikes is crumbling.  Finally, Bobby looks
	up at McNamara.

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		Bob.  If we go ahead with these air
		strikes...
			(beat)
		There's got to be something else.  Give
		it to me.  I don't care how crazy,
		inadequate or stupid it sounds.  
			(beat, pleading)
		Give it to me.

	McNamara suffers under the gaze of everyone at the table,
	weighing the situation out.  And finally he ventures.

				MCNAMARA
		Six months ago we gamed out a scenario. 
		It's slow.  It doesn't get rid of the
		missiles.  There are a lot of drawbacks.
			(beat)
		The scenario was for a blockade of Cuba.

	SUPER: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18TH.  DAY 3

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

	Kenny enters the office from his side door in the middle of a
	debate.  Military uniforms dominate the room: General Taylor,
	General Sweeney, and a host of briefing officers.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		The situation is worse than we thought. 
		We count 40 missiles now, longer range
		IRBMs.  They can hit every city in the
		continental U.S.

	The President stares out the window at the Rose Garden, his
	back to Air Force Chief of Staff GENERAL CURTIS LEMAY, 60. 
	Beetle-browed, arrogant, the archetypal Cold War general. 
	Yet there is something about him, his intelligence perhaps,
	that suggests he's playing a role he knows and believes in.

	The only other civilians in the room are Bobby, Bundy and
	McNamara.  The pressure from the military is almost physical.

				LEMAY
		Mr. President, as of this moment my
		planes are ready to carry out the air
		strikes.  All you have to do is give me
		the word, sir, and my boys will get
		those Red bastards.

	The President continues staring out the window.  Kenny eases
	over to the desk, leans on it, arms folded, interposing
	himself between the President and the soldiers.  Bobby joins
	him, side-by-side.

				THE PRESIDENT
		How long until the army is ready?

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		We've just begun the mobilization under
		cover of a pre-arranged exercise, sir. 
		We're looking at another week and a
		half, Mr. President.

				LEMAY
		But you can begin the strikes, now.  The
		plans call for an eight-day air
		campaign.  It'd light a fire under the
		army's ass to get in place.

	That makes the President turn around, stare at LeMay.

				THE PRESIDENT
		General LeMay, do you truly believe
		that's our best course of action?

				LEMAY
		Mr. President, I believe it is the only
		course of action.  American is in
		danger.  Those missiles are a threat to
		our bomber bases and the safety of our
		nuclear deterrent.  Without our
		deterrent, there's nothing to keep the
		enemy from choosing general nuclear war. 
		It's our duty, our responsibility to the
		American people to take out those
		missiles and return stability to the
		strategic situation.  The Big Red Dog is
		digging in our back yard, and we're
		justified in shooting him.

	Taylor steps in softly, smoothly: good cop to LeMay's bad.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Sir, we have a rapidly closing window of
		opportunity where we can prevent those
		missiles from ever becoming operational. 
		The other options...

	He spares a look at McNamara, who watches the fireworks, arms
	folded, serious.

				GENERAL TAYLOR (CONT'D)
		...do not guarantee the end result we
		can guarantee.  However, the more time
		that goes by, the less reliable the
		choice we can offer you becomes.

	The President, partially defused, looks from Taylor to
	McNamara.  LeMay steps forward, softer now, sincere.

				LEMAY
		Mr. President, the motto I chose for SAC
		is 'Peace is our Profession.'  God
		forbid we find ourselves in a nuclear
		exchange.  But if launched, those
		missiles in Cuba would kill a lot of
		Americans.  That's why I'm being such a
		pain in the ass about destroying them. 
		Destroying them immediately.  Hell, even
		Mac agrees.

	Bundy is uncomfortable.  Everyone turns to him.  He nods. 
	Kenny realizes he's been co-opted by the military.  McNamara
	does too, lets out a deep breath.  The President eyes Bundy,
	then paces out from behind his desk, walks up to LeMay.

				THE PRESIDENT
		General, what will the Soviets do when
		we attack?

				LEMAY
		Nothing.

	Kenny, Bobby and the President look at each other, unable to
	believe what they just heard.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Nothing?

				LEMAY
		Nothing.  Because the only alternative
		open to them is one they can't choose.

	His pronouncement hangs there in the air: ominous, dangerous.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Those aren't just missiles we'll be
		destroying.  We kill Soviet soldiers,
		and they will respond.  How would we
		respond if they killed ours?  No, they
		will do something, General, I promise
		you that.  And I believe it'll be
		Berlin.

	INT. WEST WING HALLWAY - DAY

	LeMay walk out of the Oval Office with Taylor, Carter and
	their staffers.

				LEMAY
		Those goddamn Kennedys are going to
		destroy this country if we don't do
		something about this.

	There are dark looks on the faces of the other officers. 
	They agree.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	As the meeting next door disperses, the President rummages
	through Kenny's jacket which hangs on Kenny's chair.  Kenny,
	bemused, holds out the package of cigarettes the President is
	looking for.

				KENNY
		I was hoping LeMay pushed you.  I
		wouldn't mind going a few rounds with
		him.

	The President glances up, takes the proffered smokes.

				THE PRESIDENT
		We knew it was coming.  I tell you,
		Kenny, these brass hats have one big
		advantage.  We do what they want us to,
		none of us will be alive to tell 'em
		they were wrong.

	Bobby, Rusk and Sorensen enter from the hall.

				SORENSEN
		Mr. President, Gromyko should be on his
		way by now.

				RUSK
		We need to go over what you're going to
		say.

				BOBBY
		There's still no sign they know that we
		know about the missiles.  Been a lot of
		cloud cover; probably think we aren't
		getting any good product.

				THE PRESIDENT
		We keep 'em in the dark as long as we
		can.  But I sure as hell am going to
		test him.

	INT. WEST WING HALL - DAY

	Kenny comes out of the bathroom, and is buttonholed by the
	crewcut, bullet-headed Press Secretary, PIERRE SALINGER, in
	the crowded, busy hallway.

				SALINGER
		Kenny, I'm getting funny questions from
		the guys in the press office.  As Press
		Secretary, I need to know.  What's going
		on?

	Kenny wheels back into his office.  It's filled with people. 
	But he bends confidentially to Pierre's ear.

				KENNY
		They're planning to shave you bald next
		time you fall asleep on the bus.
			(off Pierre's get-serious look)
		Sorry, Pierre, Gromyko just arrived.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	The Press Corps throngs Kenny's tiny office, pushing and
	shoving for a vantage at the side door to the Oval Office,
	waiting for the Gromyko photo-op.  Kenny stands shoulder-to
	shoulder with Reston and Sorensen near the door.

				RESTON
		Are they going to discuss the military
		exercises going on in Florida?

	Kenny doesn't even blink, but Sorensen does a poorer job at
	hiding his reaction.

				KENNY
		Come on, Scotty.  This meeting's been on
		the books for months.  It's just a
		friendly talk on U.S.-Soviet relations.

	Fortunately, the conversation is cut short as a dozen
	FLASHBULBS suddenly go off on a dozen cameras as the
	reporters crush in on the Oval Office, and Reston is swept
	forward.

	KENNY'S POV:

	over the reporters.  The President, unsmiling, enters the
	room beside Soviet Foreign Minister, ANDREI GROMYKO.  Gromyko
	pauses for the photos: grim, dark haired, saturnine.

	RESUME

	Kenny reacts.  At last, the face of the enemy.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

	The CAMERA picks up the darkened windows: the meeting has
	gone long.  The CAMERA MOVES PAST Kenny and Sorensen standing
	in the doorway to Kenny's office, FINDS the President in his
	chair across from Gromyko on the sofa.  Rusk, Ambassador
	ANATOLY DOBRINYN, and two INTERPRETERS around them.

				THE PRESIDENT
		So that there should be no
		misunderstanding, the position of the
		United States, which has been made clear
		by the Attorney General to Ambassador
		Dobrynin here, I shall read a sentence
		from my own statement to the press dated
		September 13th.
			(beat, reading)
		Should missiles or offensive weapons be
		placed in Cuba, it would present the
		gravest threat to U.S. national
		security.

	The President stares at Gromyko as the translator finishes
	translating.  Gromyko sits there, enigmatic, cold,
	unreadable.  The translator finishes, and Gromyko stops him
	with a gesture so he can answer in his own accented English.

				GROMYKO
		Mr. President, this will never be done. 
		You need not be concerned.

	The President hides his fury masterfully, and gazing over his
	glasses, asks:

				THE PRESIDENT
		So I do not misunderstand you: there are
		no offensive weapons in Cuba.

	A beat.  And Gromyko's response is flat, sure, steady:

				GROMYKO
		No, Mr. President.  We have sent
		defensive weapons only to Cuba.

	Kenny's blazing eyes could drill holes in the back of
	Gromyko's head.  His gaze swings to the PRESIDENT'S DESK.

	BENEATH THE DESK sit the BRIEFING BOARDS with the evidence.

	INT. WEST WING HALLWAY - NIGHT

	Kenny emerges from his office.  The Soviet delegation
	disappears down the hallway with Rusk.  Kenny turns as Bobby,
	haggard, comes up from the other direction.

	Bobby gestures to the vanishing delegation, now being
	HARANGUED OC by the press.

				BOBBY
		What happened?

	The President comes out of the next door down the hall, the
	Oval Office.  He turns and sees Kenny and Bobby.  He's livid.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Lying bastard.  Lied to my face.

				BOBBY
		We're split down the middle.  If I held
		a vote I think airstrike would beat
		blockade by a vote or two.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I want a consensus, Bobby.  Consensus. 
		Either air strike or blockade. 
		Something everyone'll stand by even if
		they don't like it.  I need it by
		Saturday.  Make it happen.

				BOBBY
		What if I can't?

				KENNY
		We go into this split, the Russians will
		know it.  And they'll use it against us.

	The prospect disturbs the three men.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Have you cancelled Chicago and the rest
		of the weekend yet?

				KENNY
		You don't show for Chicago, everyone'll
		know there's something going on.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I don't care.  Cancel it.

				KENNY
		No way.

	The President spins on him, unsure he heard correctly.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		I'm not calling and cancelling on Daly. 
		You call and cancel on Daly.

				THE PRESIDENT
		You're scared to cancel on Daly.

				KENNY
		Damn right I'm scared.

	The President pauses, looks at Bobby.  Bobby shakes his head:
	don't look at me.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Well, I'm not.

				BOBBY
		Then you'll call, right?

	INT. HALLWAY - SHERATON-BLACKSTONE HOTEL - NIGHT

	SUPER: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19TH.  DAY 4

	THEN SUPER: CHICAGO

	Kenny threads his way through the host of SECRET SERVICE
	AGENTS and ADVANCE MAN cramming the hallway on the floor of
	the hotel they've taken over.  From one of the rooms emerges
	Salinger.

				SALINGER
		Kenny, all right.  What's going on here? 
		There's rumors going around an exercise
		in the southeast is related to Cuba. 
		I'm the Press Secretary.  I can't do my
		job if I don't know what's going on.  So
		what's going on?

				KENNY
		What are you telling them?

				SALINGER
		The truth: I don't know.

				KENNY
			(deadly serious)
		Tell 'em you've looked into it, and all
		it is is an exercise.  And Pierre --
			(beat, loaded)
		The President may have a cold tomorrow.

	Kenny stares at him, and the light dawns on Pierre. 
	Something big is going on and he's been cut out of it.  He
	stalks off.

				SALINGER
		Damn it, Kenny.  Goddamn it!

	INT. RECEPTION HALL - SHERATON-BLACKSTONE - NIGHT

	A big 100-dollar-a-plate dinner is in full swing to a dinner
	band's tunes.  The President and Chicago MAYOR RICHARD DALY
	make the rounds among the fund raising CROWD.  Kenny follows
	them at a respectful distance, greeting old cronies.

	Suddenly a MESSENGER hustles over to Kenny, hands him a note. 
	Kenny makes eye contact with the President, nods and leaves.

	INT. HOTEL ELEVATORS - NIGHT

	Kenny waits at the elevator.  Scotty saunters up behind him. 
	He sizes Kenny up, clears his throat.  Kenny turns around.

				RESTON
		There are major rail disruptions in the
		South, two airborne divisions are on
		alert.  That exercise is an invasion.

				KENNY
		Well, you know how Bobby has it in for
		the State of Mississippi.

				RESTON
		This is about Cuba.

	Kenny freezes, then explodes.

				KENNY
		Cuba?  You're fucking crazy.  We are not
		invading Cuba.  Nobody gives a rat's ass
		about Cuba.  Not now, not ever. 
		If you print something like that, all
		you're going to do is inflame the
		situation.  Nobody talks to assholes who
		inflame situations.  Assholes like that
		can find themselves cut out of the loop.

	Reston is taken aback.  Stung silence for a beat.  Kenny's
	response is far louder than any "yes."  Now Kenny realizes
	it.

				RESTON
		You've never threatened me before.

	And Kenny looks away, upset, but when he turns back to
	Reston, all that's there is his poker face.  The elevator
	arrives.

				RESTON (CONT'D)
		All right.  I'm not going to print
		anything until I have another source. 
		But I promise you, I'll get one.

	Kenny boards the elevator.  The doors shut on Scotty.

	INT. ELEVATOR - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny closes his eyes, sags against the wall, hating himself.

	INT. KENNY'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny enters his hotel room.  An Assistant waits with the
	phone, hands it straight to Kenny.

				KENNY
			(to Assistant)
		Tell Pierre I need to talk to him.
			(to phone)
		Bobby?

	INT. OUTER ROOM - GEORGE BALL'S OFFICE - NIGHT

	EXCOM files past Bobby out of George Ball's conference room.

				BOBBY
		Bring him back.

	EXT. STREET OUTSIDE SHERATON-BLACKSTONE HOTEL - DAY

	SUPER: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20TH.  DAY 5

	The President emerges from the hotel, a HAT on his head.  The
	Press and a CROWD surge forward, crying out for the
	President's attention.  Kenny slides into the limo first as
	the President waves to the crowd.

	Salinger waits on the sidewalk, and after the limo pulls
	away, the Press pushes in on him.  Pierre's face is pale -
	he's just been told everything.

				SALINGER
		The President has a cold.  He is
		cancelling the remainder of this trip
		and is returning to Washington on the
		advice of his doctor.

	INT. WHITE HOUSE MANSION - OVAL ROOM - DAY

	The White House Oval ROOM: opulent, filled with priceless art
	and furniture, but cramped.  EXCOM members crowd around the
	center coffee table and the President.  Kenny stands behind
	him with Bobby.  Rusk rises from his seat, formal.

				RUSK
		Mr. President, our deliberations have
		led us to the conclusion that, for the
		moment, a blockade of offensive weapons
		to Cuba is our best option.  But we'll
		still need a strong showing of support
		from the Organization of American States
		to give us an umbrella of legitimacy.

	At long last... Kenny looks at Bobby, relieved.  They've
	bought time to find a settlement.  Bobby smiles a small
	smile: what were you so worried about?

				MCNAMARA
		A blockade is technically an act of war,
		therefore we recommend calling the
		action a quarantine.

	McNamara folder in hand, opens it, SMASH CUTTING US TO:

	EXT. ATLANTIC OCEAN - DAY

	A SOVIET FREIGHTER churning its way south.

				MCNAMARA (V.O.)
		There are between 20 and 30 Soviet ships
		underway to Cuba at this time.

	The CAMERA races along its side, discovering TARPULINED
	OBJECTS on deck, and on its stack, the RED HAMMER AND SICKLE.

				MCNAMARA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
		800 miles out, the navy will stop them,
		board, and any vessels containing
		weapons will be turned back.

								CUT TO:

	The Destroyer U.S.S. JOHN R. PIERCE putting out to sea,
	SAILORS racing over its deck, through hatches to its 5-inch
	gun turrets.  The ship races by, AMERICAN FLAG streaming from
	its stern distaff, FILLING THE SCREEN, WIPING TO:

	INT. WHITE HOUSE MANSION - OVAL ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	The President.  He listens, looks over the briefing papers as
	McNamara continues.  Everyone watches the President.

				MCNAMARA
		A quarantine prevents more missiles from
		reaching Cuba, but it doesn't remove the
		ones already there.  It gives the
		Soviets a chance to pull back without
		war.  If they refuse to remove the
		missiles before they're operational, we
		retain the option to strike or invade.

				BOBBY
		We believe that a surprise attack would
		be counter to what the United States
		stands for.  We believe that an attack
		leaves us no room for maneuver, and the
		inevitable Soviet response will force us
		into a war we do not want.  A war that,
		this time, will really end all war.

				MCCONE
		Mr. President, there are still those of
		us who believe we should proceed with
		the strikes.  With the blockade, we lose
		strategic surprise and we run the risk
		of a first strike if the Soviets decide
		they have to use the missiles or lose
		them.

	The President gazes from one expectant face to another.  But
	he himself remains unreadable.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Quarantine or air strike.

	Adlai clears his throat.  Everyone looks over at him.  He
	stares down at his clasped hands for a beat.  He's anguished
	about what he's going to say.

				ADLAI
		There is a third option.  With either
		course we undertake the risk of nuclear
		war.  It seems to me maybe one of us in
		here should be a coward.

	He smiles weakly, but gets no response from anyone.

				ADLAI (CONT'D)
		So I guess I'll be.  Our third choice is
		to cut a deal.  We trade Guantanamo and
		our missiles in Turkey, get them to pull
		their missiles out.  We employ a back
		channel, attribute the idea to U Thant. 
		U Thant then raises it at the U.N.

	Adlai looks for support around the room, but meets only stony
	gazes.  From McCone and General Taylor, contempt.  Dead
	silence for a long, long beat.

	Kenny's heart goes out to Stevenson as he watches the man
	commit political suicide.  Even Sorensen, standing behind
	him, unconsciously moves away.  At last the President speaks.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I don't think that's possible, Adlai.
			(beat, to the room)
		I will be asking the networks for air
		time Monday night.  I have not yet made
		my final decision.  We will announce our
		course of action then.  I want to thank
		you all for your advice, gentlemen.

	EXT. TRUMAN BALCONY - DAY

	Kenny, Bobby, and the President lean on the railing of the
	Truman Balcony, stare out at the city.

				BOBBY
		Goddman Stevenson.  Jesus.  Peace at any
		price.  You'd think nobody learned
		anything from World War Two.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Somebody had to say it.  I respect Adlai
		for having the guts to risk looking like
		an appeaser.

				BOBBY
		We have to pull him.  He's not going to
		be able to handle the Soviets in front
		of the U.N.  Zorin will eat him alive.

				THE PRESIDENT
		We've got bigger problems right now.

				KENNY
		We have to try the blockades.  It
		probably won't work.  It may just be
		delaying the inevitable.  But we can't
		just go to war without trying not to.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I don't know.  I don't know.

	He stares out at the Ellipse where a little-league football
	game sweeps across the grass, the shouts and screams of the
	CHILDREN, so alive, floating to them on the wind.

	EXT. PATIO - JIM ROWE'S HOUSE - NIGHT

	A crowded D.C. party spills out of Jim Rowe's house onto his
	patio.  Kenny steps INTO FRAME.  He looks at the PARTYGOERS,
	the Washington social set.  He stands out, oppressed by the
	knowledge he's unable to share.  He takes a stiff drink.

	Suddenly out of the house totters Adlai, highball in hand. 
	Glassy-eyed, he grins at Kenny and joins him.

				ADLAI
		Just can't get away from you guys. 
		Escaping for a night on the town, eh?

				KENNY
		As the town's most popular playboy, the
		President felt my presence would be
		sorely missed.  So in the interests of
		National Security...

	Kenny shrugs.  Adlai takes a long drink, closes his eyes.

				ADLAI
		Gotta keep up appearances.  Of course, I
		don't care anymore.  I'm a political
		dead man.  You ever seen a man cut his
		own throat like I did today?

	Kenny has no answer to that.  He looks down, pained for
	Adlai.

				ADLAI (CONT'D)
		Well, it's all right.
			(beat)
		I came to tell you, just talked to a
		friend.  Reston and Frankel have the
		story.  It's going to run tomorrow.

	INT. BEDROOM - JIM ROWE'S HOUSE - LATER

	Kenny, shut in the bedroom, paces on the phone.

				KENNY
		We're not going to make it to Monday. 
		I'll try to lean on Reston, but you're
		going to have to call Orville Dryfoos. 
		This is the sort of decision the
		publisher makes himself.

		INT. ORVILLE DRYFOOS' KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

	New York Times publisher ORVILLE DRYFOOS sits at his kitchen
	table in his underwear, still half-asleep, phone to his ear.

				DRYFOOS
		Yes, sir, I understand.  But we held on
		Bay of Pigs and it was the biggest
		mistake of my life.  What makes this any
		different?

	INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

	The President, on the phone, stops pacing by his bedside
	table and exhales.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I'm asking you to hold the story until I
		can present our course of action on
		Monday night.

	INT. ORVILLE DRYFOOS' KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

				DRYFOOS
		All right.  But I need a reason to give
		my boys.  They're going to be screaming
		for my head on a plate.

	INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

				THE PRESIDENT
		Orville.  I want you to tell them this:
		they'll be saving lives.  Maybe even
		including their own.

	INT. ORVILLE DRYFOOS' KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

	At that, Dryfoos sits up.  Serious.  All resistance gone.

				DRYFOOS
		Yes, Mr. President.

	INT. ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH - DAY

	SUPER: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21ST.  DAY 6

	AVE MARIA soars over the communion meditation at a crowded
	Sunday mass.  Kenny, in a pew, glances off to his left.

	The President sits nearby, head bowed.  But Kenny knows he's
	not thinking about the mass.  And when the President at last
	lifts his head, Kenny sees the calm poise.

	The President has made up his mind...

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	Bobby barges into Kenny's office.  Kenny, knowing his unique
	entry, doesn't bother to look up.

				KENNY
		Acheson called, DeGaulle's with us;
		haven't heard from anyone else yet.

	Kenny finally looks up.  Bobby's grim.  And an icicle forms
	in Kenny's gut as Bobby relays.

				BOBBY
		He wants to talk to LeMay again.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

	Kenny, Bobby, McNamara, Rusk, Bundy and half of EXCOM stand
	to the side of the room.  General Sweeney and LeMay stand in
	front of the President's desk.

	The President, bowed in the window, is care-worn, a thousand
	years old.  The shadow, the composition of the SHOT tells us
	all.  It's down to what's in the heart of one man.  Kenny is
	deeply moved at his friend's Gethsemane.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Cam, can you guarantee me you'll get all
		the missiles?

	Sweeney glances at LeMay.  LeMay's stern, frozen look wills
	him to say, very simply, "yes."

	But then the President turns around, looks Sweeney in the
	eye.  It would make Machiavelli himself tell the truth.

				GENERAL SWEENEY
		Sir, I can guarantee we'll get all the
		missiles we know about.

	The President holds Sweeney in his gaze.  Thank you.

				LEMAY
		Mr. President, we can get better than
		ninety percent of them.

	The President doesn't respond to LeMay's last-ditch appeal. 
	Ninety-percent isn't good enough with nuclear weapons.  He
	moves to his desk, signs a paper, hands it to General
	Sweeney.

				THE PRESIDENT
		As of seven o'clock Monday night, all
		United States armed forces world wide
		will stand up to DEFCON 3.

	EXT. BARKSDALE AFB - SUNSET

	SUPER: MONDAY, OCTOBER 22ND.  DAY 7

	A DEAFENING WHINE.  And INTO FRAME yawns the enormous
	spinning mouth of a B-52 bomber jet engine.  It closes on us,
	sucking us in like a maelstrom, but at the last second the
	CAMERA SLIPSTREAMS OVER IT --

	-- carrying us over the aircraft's wing.  The CAMERA pivots
	and the vast war machine crawls away underneath joining --

	-- a long LINE of identical behemoths, in single file inching
	down a taxi way which vanishes into the distance.  As the
	plane's immense vertical tail WIPES OUR VIEW:

	EXT. MISSILE SILO - NIGHT

	The CAMERA races toward a spotlighted concrete emplacement,
	over the immense BLAST DOOR which is sliding open, and DOWN --

	INT. MISSILE SILO - CONTINUOUS

	-- into the depths of a missile silo.  The CAMERA speeds down
	the side of the Titan missile, through CLOUDS of steaming
	liquid hydrogen, past FUELING HOSES which clamp one by one to
	the rocket's side, past GANTRY ARMS pulling away.  The CAMERA
	hurtles all the way to the bottom, SMASHING THROUGH THE FLOOR
	TO:

	EXT. CARRIBEAN SEA - NIGHT

	The dark ocean, whitecaps whipping luminous around the
	aircraft carrier, U.S.S. ESSEX and her escorts.  Running
	lights flash red and green.

	The carrier's SIREN begins a lonely, eerie WOOP WOOP WOOP
	WOOP like some immense creature which has lost its mind.  The
	ship FILLS THE SCREEN, CUTTING US INTO:

	INT. WEST WING - CONTINUOUS

	The doors to the Cabinet room.  A beat.  Then they SWING
	WIDE.  The President emerges, livid fury on his face, leaving
	chaos behind: the Congressional briefing.  Kenny comes out a
	beat later, catches up with him.

				KENNY
		You'd worry that something was wrong if
		Congress offered you unconditional
		support.

				THE PRESIDENT
		They want this fucking job, they can
		have it.  It's no great joy to me.

	The President exhales, getting control.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		The elected representatives of the
		people have spoken...
			(beat; determined)
		Now let's tell the people...

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

	Kenny stands there in the doorway, arms folded.  As we PULL
	AWAY FROM HIM, we REVEAL the three NETWORK T.V. CAMERAS
	staring straight at us.  Their red lights go on as one, and
	we swing around REVERSING TO:

	The President at his desk: telegenic, powerful.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Good evening, my fellow citizens.  This
		Government, as promised, has maintained
		the closest surveillance of the Soviet
		military build-up on the island of
		Cuba...

	EXT. BARKSDALE AFB - NIGHT

	The first B-52 trundles to a stop at the end of the runway. 
	It begins to throttle-up, the ROAR of its engine mounting...

				THE PRESIDENT (V.O.)
		...unmistakable evidence has now
		established the fact that a series of
		missile sites is in preparation on that
		imprisoned island.  The purpose of these
		bases can be none other than to proved a
		nuclear strike capability against the
		Western Hemisphere...

	-- AND DROWNING OUT the President's speech as the plane
	lurches forward, down the runway into the night.

	EXT. MISSILE SILO - NIGHT

	The Titan solo door GRINDS OPEN.  And the missile inside
	begins to rise into the white bath of the crossed spotlights.

				THE PRESIDENT (V.O.)
		Therefore, in the defense of our own
		security and under the authority of the
		Constitution, I have directed that the
		following initial steps be taken. 
		First, to halt this offensive build-up,
		a strict quarantine --

	EXT. CARRIBEAN SEA - NIGHT

	The President's words conjure the ESSEX battlegroup, its
	destroyers plunging through heavy seas, lit up in the night.

				THE PRESIDENT (V.O.)
		-- on all offensive military equipment
		under shipment to Cuba is being
		initiated.  All ships of any kind bound
		for Cuba, if found to contain cargoes of
		offensive weapons, will be turned back. 
		Second: I have directed the continued
		and increased close surveillance of Cuba
		and its military build-up.  Should these
		offensive military preparations
		continue, further action will be
		justified --

	EXT. OVER THE FLORIDA STRAITS - NIGHT

	A flight of F-4 PHANTOMS drops INTO FRAME, lights flashing.

				THE PRESIDENT (V.O.)
		-- I have directed the Armed Forces to
		prepare for any eventualities.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

	A beat.  And the President looks up from his notes.

				THE PRESIDENT
		And third: it shall be the policy of
		this nation to regard any nuclear
		missile launched from Cuba against any
		nation in the Western Hemisphere as an
		attack by the Soviet Union on the United
		States, requiring a full retaliatory
		response upon the Soviet Union...

	The chilling words hang there in the air.  BLEEDING IN: the
	rising and falling WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP which becomes --

	EXT. CARRIBEAN SEA - NIGHT

	-- the voice of the Essex battlegroup: sparkling, alive, a
	constellation of lights scattered across the sea.  One by one
	the escort ships answer the carrier's SIREN with their own
	wailing cries, an alien chorus among the ships, disappearing
	and reappearing in the swells.  The communication crescendos
	to its fever pitch --

	-- and then the battlegroup goes to blackout.  Like a dying
	universe, the answering sirens cut off, the life-lights wink
	out, and an appalling darkness falls across the sea...

	FADE OUT

	BLACKNESS, LIKE BEFORE A CURTAIN RISES.  And then a
	flickering: a FLUORESCENT LIGHT COMES ON.

	INT. BATHROOM - WEST WING - DAY

	SUPER: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23RD.  DAY 8

	Kenny, stripped to the waist, Sorensen and Bundy shave in
	nearby sinks.  Bobby barges in.

				BOBBY
		We're getting the Soviet response.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

	Specks of shaving cream still on his face, Kenny paces, reads
	the inky carbon as Bobby, Bundy and Sorensen read copies.

				KENNY
		This is all rhetoric.
			(realizing)
		They don't know how to respond yet.

	Kenny looks up.  The President enters from the Oval Office.

				THE PRESIDENT
		So now you're Khurschev.  What do you
		do?

	INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

	Kenny, arms folded, stands behind the President, the rest of
	EXCOM is looking at him.

				KENNY
		-- run the blockade.  They'll run the
		blockade.

	ADMIRAL GEORGE ANDERSON, 50s, dapper, the Chief of Naval
	Operations, nods from the far end of the table.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		Which is exactly what they appear to be
		preparing to do, Mr. President.  We're
		tracking 26 ships inbound to Cuba. 
		There's no sign they're changing course. 
		The closest ships, the Gagarin and the
		Kimovsk, will make the quarantine line
		by this time tomorrow.

				MCNAMARA
		We're concerned about the possibility of
		an incident with an innocent cargo
		carrier.  If it turns ugly, the Russians
		could use an ugly incident and bad world
		opinion as leverage to force us to
		remove the quarantine.

				MCCONE
		Or they could use it as an excuse to
		escalate.

				BOBBY
		Admiral Anderson, if the ships do not
		stop, what exactly are our rules of
		engagement?

	Anderson signals A BRIEFING OFFICER who hits the lights and
	an overhead projector which SMASH CUTS TO:

	INT. BRIDGE - U.S.S. JOHN R. PIERCE - DAY

	The bridge of the U.S.S. John Pierce, a Gearing class
	destroyer.  A RADIO OPERATOR addresses a mike in Russian.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON (V.O.)
		Russian-speakers have been transferred
		to all of our ships.  Once the
		quarantine takes effect in the morning,
		our ships will attempt to make radio
		contact with the approaching vessels. 
		They will be ordered to reduce speed and
		prepare for inspection.

	INT. WEAPONS' LOCKER - U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

	MARINES in flak jackets grab M-16s off a rack, race by.

	EXT. U.S.S. PIERCE - AFT DECK - DAY

	A ship's boat full of Marines lowers away, hits the water,
	engine spraying as it launches forward - in dress rehearsal.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON (V.O.)
		An inspection party will then board and
		search the ship.  If weapons are found,
		the ship will be ordered to leave the
		quarantine area or be towed into port
		upon refusal.

	INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

	All eyes are on Admiral Anderson's overhead projections. 
	Bobby, restless, gets up, begins pacing.

				BOBBY
		What happens if the ship doesn't stop
		for inspection or want to be towed?

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		A warning shot will be fired across its
		bow.

	Bobby stops, stares directly at the Admiral.

				BOBBY
		And what happens if the ship ignores the
		warning shot?

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		Then we fire at its rudder, disable it,
		and carry out the inspection.

	Kenny looks at the President who remains unmoved, unreadable.

				THE PRESIDENT
		There will be no shooting without my
		explicit orders.  Is that understood?

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		Yes, sir.

	The President glances at McNamara.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Well, Admiral, it looks like it's up to
		the Navy.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		The Navy won't let you down, sir.

				THE PRESIDENT
		General, have we developed any more
		information on the missiles?

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		They are continuing to proceed with the
		development.  We're commencing low-level
		photography runs this morning.

				MCCONE
		The pictures will be used to firm up our
		estimates of the missiles' readiness and
		develop target packages for strikes
		should you order them.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Our guy running this show is the best. 
		Commander Bill Ecker of the Navy's VFP
		62, the Fightin' Photo.  Something of a
		character, but the highest efficiency
		ratings we've ever had.

	He pushes Ecker's personnel file across the table, and as the
	President opens it, on ECKER'S PHOTO, we SMASH CUT TO:

	INT. READY ROOM - KEY WEST NAVAL AIR STATION - DAY

	The man himself, COMMANDER BILL ECKER, 30s, playing cards,
	smoking cigars with his wingman, LIEUTENANT BRUCE WILHEMY and
	the PILOTS of VFP-62, the 'Fightin' Photo.'  They lounge,
	tinker with equipment.  Their ready room is filled with pin
	ups, movie posters, and all things photographic.

				ECKER
		75 millimeter, I'm listening.  On the
		big screen there's nothing like it.

	The other pilots heckle him, but are muted by Taylor.

				GENERAL TAYLOR (V.O.)
		To protect our pilots, we're prepared to
		retaliate against any SAM site or anti
		aircraft battery that opens fire.

				WILHEMY
		Watch out, Hollywood.  There's a new
		epic director in town!

	INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

	EXCOM listens in sober silence.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		We have a flight of Thunderchiefs able
		to respond within minutes of an attack
		on our planes.

	Kenny catches the President's eye.  Kenny glances at the
	door.  Step outside, I need to talk to you.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	The President and Kenny stand in front of the President's
	desk.  All the doors are shut.  Weak sunlight filters into
	the hushed room as if to a confessional.

				KENNY
		I don't like what's happening.

				THE PRESIDENT
		In the morning I'm taking charge of the
		blockade from the situation room. 
		McNamara'll set up shop in the flag plot
		at the Pentagon, keep an eye on things
		there.

				KENNY
		All right.  'Cause you get armed
		boarders climbing into Soviet ships,
		shots being fired across bows...

				THE PRESIDENT
		I know, I know...

				KENNY
		What about these low-level flights? 
		They're starting in what?  An hour?  Do
		you realize what you're letting yourself
		in for?

				THE PRESIDENT
		We need those flights.  We have to know
		when those missiles become operational,
		because when they do, we need to destroy
		them.

				KENNY
		Fair enough.  But Castro's on alert and
		we're flying attack planes over their
		sites, on the deck.  There's no way for
		them to know they're carrying cameras,
		not bombs.  They're going to be shot at,
		plain and simple.

	Kenny's right, and the President looks away in frustration.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		I'm your political advisor, and I'm
		giving you political analysis here. 
		This is a setup.  The Chiefs want to go
		in.  It's the only way they can redeem
		themselves for the Bay of Pigs.  They
		have to go in, and they have to do it
		right.  It's that simple. 

				THE PRESIDENT
		I'm gonna protect those pilots.

	Thep President stares intently at Kenny.  Kenny glances at
	the door, his voice hushed.  He hesitates.

				KENNY
		They're boxing us in with these rules of
		engagement.  If you agree to 'em, and
		one of our planes gets knocked down or
		one of the ships won't stop for
		inspection, the Chiefs will have us by
		the balls and will force us to start
		shooting.  They want a war, and they're
		arranging things to get one.  If you
		don't want one, we have to do something
		about it.

	The President understands.  He shakes his head, paces away.

				THE PRESIDENT
		How does a man get to a place where he
		can say, 'throw those lives away,' so
		easily?

				KENNY
		Maybe it's harder for them to say it
		than they let on. 
		At the very least, they believe it's in
		our best interest.  And at the end of
		the day, they may end up being right.

	The President turns away, considers.  Then turns back.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Triple check everything the Chiefs say
		to us with the guys who actually have to
		do it.  No one's to know about this but
		Bobby.  I need redundant control over
		what happens out there.  And if things
		aren't as advertised, you're going to
		make sure they come out the way I want
		them to come out, starting with this low
		level flight thing.

	Jesus Christ...Kenny is daunted.  For a beat he just stares.

				KENNY
		That's going to be tough.  You know how
		these guys are about their chains of
		command...

				THE PRESIDENT
		Any problems, you remind them those
		chains of commands end at one place. 
		Me.

	INT. WEST WING HALLS - DAY

	Kenny and the President head for the Cabinet Room.  Rusk
	comes out before they get there.

				RUSK
		Mr. President. The OAS meeting starts in
		an hour.  I haven't prepared at all.  We
		can't expect --

				THE PRESIDENT
		-- we need this one, Dean.  The
		quarantine's legal if we get a mandate,
		otherwise it's an act of war in the eyes
		of the world.  Get me that vote.  Make
		it unanimous.

				RUSK
		Mr. President, The Organization of
		American States hasn't had a unanimous
		vote since --

	The President moves for the Cabinet Room.

				THE PRESIDENT
		-- unanimous, Dean.

	Kenny slaps the dismayed Rusk on the back, heads off down a
	hall away from the Cabinet Room.

	INT. WHITE HOUSE SWITCHBOARD - DAY

	Kenny opens the door to the White House switchboard room.  A
	half-dozen OPERATORS work their lines, making connections on
	the old-fashioned switchboard.  Unnoticed, he sizes them up,
	their skill.  They're all courteous, pretty, professional.

	The CAMERA PANS down the line... and stops on a middle-aged
	matron at the end - the sternest, most scary of them all. 
	Her name is MARGARET.

				MARGARET
		White House Operator.  Yes sir.
			(beat, harsh, booming)
		Speaker McCormack, hold for the Vice
		President.

	Her voice is so severe, so smoker-gravelled, it makes the
	blood run cold.  This is the woman Kenny's looking for.

				KENNY
		Ma'am, would you mind helping me out
		with a few special calls?

	INT. READY ROOM - KEY WEST NAS - DAY

	Ecker, Wilhemy and their Pilots are in angry debate.

				ECKER
		Orson Welles is a hack.  Now you want to
		talk about a director, you talk about
		David Lean...

				WILHEMY
		Welles is a G-d.  Lean's the hack.

				ECKER
		Bullshit, Bruce, nobody but Lean is
		making decent movies these days.
			(to Young Pilot)
		Get that fixed yet?

	Nearby, a YOUNG PILOT tinkers with a $300,000 spy camera.

				YOUNG PILOT
		Uhhh... yup.  Think so.

	Suddenly, the door opens and a pale DUTY SERGEANT enters.

				DUTY SERGEANT
		Sir...telephone, sir.

	INT. DUTY OFFICE - DAY

	Ecker enters, marches over to the phone.  All the SOLDIERS in
	the room stare at him.  Ecker wiggles his cigar to a corner
	of his mouth, picks up, styling.

				ECKER
		VFP-62, Fightin' Photo, here.  But what
		we really want to do is direct.

							INTERCUT CALL TO:

	INT. WHITE HOUSE SWITCHBOARD - CONTINUOUS

	Margaret works her magic.

				MARGARET
		This is the White House Operator.  Hold
		for the President.

	INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Ecker blinks, becomes a mild lamb.

				ECKER
		Oh shit.

	INT. WHITE HOUSE SWITCHBOARD - CONTINUOUS

				MARGARET
		Honey, you don't know what shit is.

	BEGIN INTERCUT

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny, sitting on his desk, taps his fingers, looks at the
	phone.  He's kept Ecker on hold long enough - and picks up.

				KENNY
		Commander, my name is Ken O'Donnell. 
		Special Assistant to the President.

							INTERCUT CALL TO:

	INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Ecker exhales.  It's not the President, but Ecker is so
	shaken up it might as well be.

				ECKER
		Yes, sir.

				KENNY (O.S.)
		The President has instructed me to pass
		along an order to you.
			(beat)
		You are not to get shot down.

	Did he hear right?

				ECKER
		Uh... we'll do our best, sir.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

				KENNY
		I don't think you understand me
		correctly.  You are not to get shot down
		under any circumstances.  Whatever
		happens up there, you were not shot at. 
		Mechanical failures are fine; crashing
		into mountains, fine.  But you and your
		men are not to be shot at, fired at,
		launched upon.

	INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Ecker sits down in a chair, sobered.

				ECKER
		Excuse me, sir, what's going on here?

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny stands, drops the hard nose bullshit.

				KENNY
		Commander, if you are fired upon, the
		President will be forced to attack the
		sites that fire on you.  He doesn't want
		to have to do that.  It's very important
		that he doesn't, or things could go very
		badly out of control.

	INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Ecker lets out a long breath.

				ECKER
		I think I understand.  What about my
		men?  If it comes up hot and heavy, and
		we don't have anyone to protect us...
		I'm going to be writing letters to
		parents.  I hate writing letters to
		parents.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny nods to himself, feeling.  He's done it himself.

				KENNY
		If the President protects you,
		Commander, he may have to do it with the
		Bomb.

	INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Ecker doesn't want to be avenged with atomic weapons.  No
	sane person would.

				KENNY (V.O.)
		I've known the man for fifteen years. 
		The problem is, he will protect you.  So
		I'm asking: don't make him protect you. 
		Don't get shot at.

	Ecker down, deeply affected.  Suddenly, A BELL RINGS.  A
	TELETYPE goes off.  Ecker knows it's for him.  His orders.

				ECKER
		Okay, Mr. O'Donnell.  We'll do what we
		can.

	END INTERCUT.

	As Ecker hangs up, the Duty Officer rips off the ORDERS,
	hands them to Ecker, who takes one look, then gazes out the
	window at the runway --

	EXT. RUNWAY - KEY WEST NAVAL AIR STATION - DAY

	A CART speeds down the flight line past the waiting F8U-1P
	Corsairs.  One by one, the four pilots accompanying Ecker and
	Wilhemy jump off to mount their planes.  The cart still
	moving.

				ECKER
		Get that fuel assayed?

				WILHEMY
		Yeah.  It sucks.  Ain't for high
		performance babies like ours.  Shoulda
		brought some from home, but what can you
		do?  Last-second deployments...

	Wilhemy jumps off, then they're at Ecker's plane, and he
	jumps off.  Too late to worry about bad fuel now.  He hoists
	himself up and into the cockpit of the sleek navy jet.

		INT. ECKER'S CRUSADER - DAY

	As the canopy closes, Ecker powers up the engines, talks to
	his flight over the Guard channel.

				ECKER
		Okay, time to play Spin the Bottle with
		our bearded buddy.  Nobody gets out
		ahead.  Remember, just sitting here
		we're only ten minutes from target.

	EXT. RUNWAY - DAY

	The Crusaders swing around in pairs at one end of the runway,
	and then the first two throttle-up, flaps down, and drop
	their brakes.  The machines LUNGE forward like duelling drag
	racers.  The FILL THE SCREEN, blow past.

	EXT. AERIAL - OVER KEY WEST - DAY

	The six Crusaders, in pairs, streak over the buildings and
	streets of Key West.  And in a heartbeat, cross the beach and
	are out to sea.

	And already on the horizon, the low clouds and dark line of
	land.  Cuba.  Ninety miles away.

	INT. ECKER'S CRUSADER - DAY

	The ocean shrieks past so close you can see the white foam. 
	Ecker checks the altimeter: 150 FEET.

	A small fishing boat looms ahead, its net booms reaching up
	like tree limbs.  The Crusader rockets over it.

	Ecker checks his instruments.  OUT THE WINDOW, the other
	Crusaders thunder over the water, past sailboats, cabin
	cruisers, the small-craft traffic outside Key West.  The
	speed sucks the breath away.

				ECKER
		Go to military throttle on my mark. 
		Three...two...one... mark.

	His airspeed indicator spins up to 400 knots.  And then his
	radio suddenly crackles:

				PILOT #1 (O.S.)
		Flameout flameout!

				PILOT #2 (O.S.)
		Shit!  Me too!

				ECKER
		Get some altitude!

	Two of the Crusaders pull up, away from the water.

				PILOT #1 (O.S.)
		Oh, God damn.  Got it restarted.

				PILOT #2 (O.S.)
		Yeah.  Yeah.  Me too.  Goddamn fuel.

				PILOT #1 (O.S.)
		Sir, I don't think she's gonna hold up
		for the run.

				ECKER
		Affirmative.  You two get out of here.

	EXT. AERIAL - CRUSADERS - DAY

	The two planes with bad fuel pull wingovers to their left,
	head for the airfield in the distance.  The four remaining
	planes streak over the ocean.  There are no more small craft
	this far out in the strait.

	INT. ECKER'S CRUSADER - DAY

	Cuba, green and hazy, looms in the window.  Ecker throws a
	series of switches.

				ECKER
		Start your camera checks.

	A mechanical WHINE accompanies the switch-throwing.  Ecker
	pulls the trigger on his joystick and a THUMP THUMP THUMP
	hammers away.  There are green lights across his boards.

	One of the other pilots cuts in on the radio:

				PILOT #3 (O.S.)
		Failure.  All cameras.  Sonofabitch. 
		Film must not have fed.

				PILOT #4 (O.S.)
		Jesus!  Shit!  Oh shit!  I just shot it
		all, boss.  Activator jammed open, its
		exposing everything now.

				WILHEMY (O.S.)
		That's alright, Lenny, it happens to
		most men at some time --

	Ecker grimaces, but his voice stays cool.

				ECKER
		-- Scrub, you two.  Get out of here. 
		Still with me, Bruce?

				WILHEMY (O.S.)
		That's affirm.

	The two Crusaders who've failed their camera checks break
	off.  And now Cuba's hills, the Havana sky line are right in
	front of them.

	EXT. CUBAN BEACH - CONTINUOUS

	The last two Crusaders streak over the surf, a white wake of
	spray in their jetwash, and cross the beach with a boom.

	EXT. AERIAL - CRUSADERS - CONTINUOUS

	The planes dip and rise with the green tropical contours,
	taking us on a sickening roller-coaster ride over Cuban
	countryside at treetop level.

	Palm forest, roads, can fields, more palm forest race by. 
	And then, ahead, a large clearing.

				ECKER (O.S.)
		Warm 'em up.  We're here.

	EXT. ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERY - CONTINUOUS

	Cuban ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNNERS shout as they traverse their 40mm
	guns in their sandbagged emplacement.  The low rippling
	thunder of the incoming jets becomes an earsplitting ROAR...
	and the Crusaders blast out over the clearing.  The anti
	aircraft guns open up.

	INT. WILHEMY'S CRUSADER - CONTINUOUS

	Wilhemy jinks left to avoid a streaking of TRACER FIRE.

				WILHEMY
		Holy shit!

	INT. ECKER'S CRUSADER - CONTINUOUS

	Tracers and flack pepper the air in front of Ecker's
	Crusader.  METAL PINGS, TINKS, RATTLES off the fuselage. 
	Anti-aircraft and small arms fire comes up from all over,
	hitting the planes multiple times.  He surveys the shapes in
	the target zone dead ahead.

				ECKER
		Lights.

	And sees the long, canvas-covered objects on the ground.  The
	missiles.  They draw closer.

				ECKER (CONT'D)
		Camera.

	A steel fragment CRACKS his window, obscuring our view.

				ECKER (CONT'D)
		Action.

	And he thumbs the CAMERA SWITCH.  All twelve B-system cameras
	begin banging away like cannons.

	EXT. AERIAL - CRUSADERS - DAY

	TRACERS lace the air between the two planes as they blast
	over the missile site.  Over trailers.  Over tents.  Over
	trucks.  Over trenches.  Over bulldozers.

	And then they're out over forest again.  It's all over in
	seconds.  The triple-A stops.  In unison, the two planes bank
	right, heading for the distant blue, blue sea.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	Kenny paces by the phone.  It rings.  He picks up, listens,
	reacts.  Relief.  And we know the planes have made it back.

	EXT. RUNWAY - CECIL FIELD, FLA. - DAY

	Ecker jumps down from the cockpit ladder and turns an eye to
	his battered, pock-marked plane.  Wilhemy and the GROUND CREW
	CHIEF come running up, the Chief letting out a whistle.

				GROUND CREW CHIEF
		Lookit what daddy done brung home.

				WILHEMY
		You shoulda seen it, Chief, they --

				ECKER
		-- damn sparrows.  Must've been
		migrating.  Guess I hit a couple
		hundred.
			(to Wilhemy, stern)
		How many did you hit, Bruce?

	Wilhemy stands there, looking at Ecker, not sure what to make
	of him.  The Crew Chief just starts laughing as more
	impressed GROUND CREW come up.

				WILHEMY
		A few.  I guess.

				GROUND CREW CHIEF
		Was them 20 or 40 million sparrows?

	Ecker, sweat-plastered and foul, steps into the Chief's face.

				ECKER
		Those are bird strikes.  Sparrows to be
		precise.  Got a problem with that?

	The Chief stands there, glances at the plane one more time,
	and shakes his head, 'No.'  Ecker takes the Chief's
	maintenance clipboard from him, writes in big bold marker:
	BIRD STRIKES.  He thrusts it back into the Chief's hands and
	walks off; the astonished Wilhemy remains behind.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	In Kenny's credenza, a small black and white T.V. plays. 
	WALTER CRONKITE narrates on the television as a train laden
	with TANKS on flatbeds pulls out of a station.

				WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.)
		Massive military preparations are
		underway throughout the southeast in
		what Pentagon officials are confirming
		is the largest mobilization since Korea. 
		The railways have been nationalized to
		assist in the deployment, here
		transporting elements of the U.S. 1st
		Armored Division from Ft. Hood, Texas.

	A PHONE RINGS.  Kenny turns from the T.V., turns down Walter
	Cronkite, as he answers.

				KENNY
		Yeah?

	INT. OAS MEETING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	George Ball stands at the back of a crowded room filled with
	applauding OAS DELEGATES.  It's for Rusk, at a podium up
	front.

				BALL
		Kenny.  The vote just came down.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

	Kenny opens his door, lets Rusk in.  The President, Bobby and
	half of EXCOM look up.  Rusk stands there somber.

				RUSK
		Unanimous.  One abstenation.

	And then he breaks into a huge grin.  Everyone cheers him.

				THE PRESIDENT
		About time something went our way.

	An Assistant enters behind Kenny.  Kenny senses him, turns as
	the others move to shake hands with Rusk.

				ASSISTANT
		Telephone, Mr. O'Donnell.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	Kenny, grinning, ducks back into his office, closes the door
	after the Assistant leaves.  He picks up the phone.

				KENNY
		Hello?

							INTERCUT CALL TO:

	INT. READY ROOM - CECIL FIELD - DAY

	Ecker stands at a phone, stares out a window at a replacement
	plane being fueled.  A Crusader, not his shot-up one.

				ECKER
		Mr. O'Donnell, I've been ordered to
		deliver the film to the Pentagon
		personally.  What's going on?

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny thinks fast.  Oh shit.

				KENNY
		The Chiefs must want to talk to you.
			(beat)
		Listen to me, Commander, they'll want to
		know if you were fired on.  Were you?

				ECKER (O.S.)
		You could say that, sir.

				KENNY
		Commander.  Do not, under any
		circumstances, tell the Chiefs.

	END INTERCUT

	INT. PENTAGON - DAY

	SUPER: E-RING.  Then SUPER: THE PENTAGON

	Ecker, still in his sweat-drenched flight suit approaches a
	security checkpoint.  GUARDS secure his sidearm and user him
	through a doorway.  A sign over it reads JCS.

	INT. THE TANK - DAY

	The door swings open into the Joint Chiefs' SOUND-PROOFED
	briefing room known as THE TANK.  LeMay, Taylor and Anderson
	sit there around the table.  Ecker salutes.

				ECKER
		Commander William B. Ecker reporting as
		ordered!

	LeMay rises, prowls over to Ecker.

				LEMAY
		Son , I want to know just one thing. 
		Those bastards shoot so much as a BB gun
		at you?

	A long beat.  Sweat runs off Ecker's head.  He can smell
	LeMay's breath.

				ECKER
		Sir, it was a milk run, sir.

	INT. WEST WING HALL - NIGHT

	Kenny joins the President and General Taylor in the hallway
	as they head for the Oval Office.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		It appears our low-level flights are
		getting back okay.  Some unconfirmed
		reports of small-arms fire from some of
		the missions, but that's it.

	Slightly behind them, Kenny looks sidelong at Taylor.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Guess we can't blame Khruschev for a few
		patriotic farmers.  And the ships?

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Still heading for Cuba.

				THE PRESIDENT
		All right.  Then I guess it's time.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

	FLASHBULBS go off all around the room as the President walks
	in, goes over to his desk.  Reporters observe silently, T.V.
	cameras track him; Kenny, Bobby and Sorensen watch as the
	President sits, takes a pen form his pocket.

				THE PRESIDENT
		In accordance with this afternoon's vote
		at the OAS, the quarantine shall hereby
		be effective as of ten o'clock tomorrow
		morning.

	Kenny observes in silence as the President SIGNS the
	Proclamation of Interdiction.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - LATER

	The Oval Office has emptied out.  Only Kenny, Bobby, Sorensen
	and the President remain.  The President looks out the
	window, Sorensen sits in a chair in front of the desk.  Bobby
	and Kenny sit on the edge of the desk.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Last summer I read a book.  The Guns of
		August.  I wish every man on that
		blockade line had read that book.

	The President moves over to the GLOBE by his desk, spins it,
	stopping in on Europe.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		World War One.  Thirteen million killed
		all because the militaries of both
		alliances were so highly attuned to each
		other's movements and dispositions,
		afraid of letting the other guy have a
		theoretical advantage.  And your man in
		the field, his family at home, couldn't
		even tell you the reasons why their
		lives were being sacrificed.
			(beat)
		Why couldn't they stop it?

	Can we?  The President's fingers turn the globe.  It stops on
	North America.  Kenny and Bobby listen.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		And here we are, fifty years later.  One
		of their ships resists the inspection. 
		We shoot out its rudder and board.  They
		shoot down our planes in response.  We
		bomb their anti-aircraft sites in
		response to that.  They attack Berlin. 
		We invade Cuba.  They fire their
		missiles.  We fire ours.

	The President sets the globe gently spinning and walks away.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

	Kenny rubs his eyes, listens to his phone and the WOMAN'S
	VOICE at the other end.  It's his wife.

				HELEN (O.S.)
		When are you going to be home?

				KENNY
		I don't know, Helen.  I want you to keep
		the kids close tomorrow.  Leave the T.V.
		on, sleep with it on in the bedroom
		until I tell you you can turn it off.

				HELEN (O.S.)
		What's happened?

				KENNY
		Nothing.  Nothing you don't know about. 
		Tomorrow's the big day.  Just have the
		car ready to go if I call or if the
		Civil Defense Warning comes on.

				HELEN (O.S.)
		What happens to you?  I'm not leaving
		without you.

				KENNY
		I'll be evacuated with the President.

	A long silence on the other end of the line.

				HELEN (O.S.)
		Great.  So while you're under a rock
		somewhere with the President, what am I
		supposed to do with your five children?

	And to that, there is no answer.  A beat, and it's all Kenny
	can promise:

				KENNY
		I'll find you.  But we're not going to
		let it come to that.  I promise.

	INT. WHITE HOUSE CAFETERIA - NIGHT

	Kenny hands Bobby and Bundy cups of coffee.  The three men
	nurse them in the silence of the abandoned cafeteria.

				KENNY
		Helen just asked me what sort of
		arrangements we have for the families.

				BUNDY
		I just checked myself.
			(beat)
		They're being issued identity cards. 
		Call comes, and evacuation officers meet
		them at pre-arranged departure areas. 
		They go by helicopter to Mount Weather. 
		We meet them there.

	Bobby looks at his coffee, then up at Kenny.  He gently
	shakes his head.  It's all a sham.

				BOBBY
		Course that's for morale.  The missiles
		only take five minutes to get here.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

	SUPER: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24TH.  DAY 9.

	Kenny bolts upright from his couch.  He rubs his face, sits
	on the edge in the dark for a beat.  He's not going back to
	sleep.  He grabs his trousers.

	INT. WEST WING HALLS - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny makes his way through the dim, deserted halls. 
	Somewhere in the distance a phone rings.  He reaches a door.

	EXT. WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

	Kenny, bundled in an overcoat, steps outside the North
	Entrance.  The cool air invigorates him.  He eyes the fence,
	Pennsylvania Avenue beyond it, seeming to isolate this world
	from the living city beyond.  He starts for the main gate.

	EXT. MAIN GATE - CONTINUOUS

	A WHITE HOUSE POLICE OFFICER jumps up as Kenny approaches.

				POLICE OFFICER
		Would you like me to call a car, Mr.
		O'Donnell.

	Kenny checks his watch.

				KENNY
		How long will it take to get someone up?

				POLICE OFFICER
		Fifteen minutes, maybe.  To your house,
		sir?

	Kenny considers, shakes his head.  He wants to go home,
	but...

				KENNY
		No.  No, I'll let her sleep.  Let 'em
		sleep.

	Kenny says it with a certain finality.  The Police Officer
	nods, and Kenny wanders out through the gates, shouldering
	the weight of the world.

	EXT. CITY STREETS - NIGHT

	Kenny makes his way down a sidewalk not far from the White
	House.  A 24-hour drug store's doors are open.  He pauses.

	Inside, a knot of PEOPLE - late-night deliverymen, a cop, the
	store employees - talk in undertones at the counter.  Behind
	it, a T.V. is signing off with the national anthem.  Sober
	voices, sober looks.  Kenny moves on.

	EXT. NEWS STAND - NIGHT

	A cluster of COLLEGE STUDENTS talk at a news stand.  They're
	waiting for the NEWSIE to cut the bands of the next day's
	Washington Post, the bundles just being thrown to the
	sidewalk from the delivery truck.  Kenny approaches.

	In their thing beards, counter-culture clothes, the kids seem
	so young, Kenny so old.  Kenny buys a newspaper, its dire
	headlines, every story about the crisis.

	EXT. CATHOLIC CHURCH - NIGHT

	Kenny, newspaper under his arm, continues down the street. 
	Up ahead, the lights are on in a Catholic Church.  Lines of
	CHURCHGOERS are at the door.  Kenny stops, surprised at the
	sight this late.  And then he sees the hand-painted banner:
	CONFESSIONS 24 HOURS.  PRAY FOR PEACE.

	Kenny is moved.  He glances over his shoulder, and then...
	joins the line himself.

	INT. WHITE HOUSE - SITUATION ROOM - DAY

	Kenny's WATCH reads one minute til ten o'clock.  PULL BACK TO
	REVEAL:

	Kenny, standing just inside the open doors to the White House
	Situation Room, a state-of-the-art conference room.  A long,
	central table surrounded by leather chairs with phones and
	screens built in.  T.V. monitors hang from the ceilings in
	the corners.  There are no windows, just oppressive bunker
	like walls.  It's far underground.

	Across the room the President paces, phone in hand.  Half of
	EXCOM is in their seats.  The other half, along with a steady
	stream of DUTY OFFICERS, are coming and going.  Kenny steps
	aside for a Duty Officer, listens to the President.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Okay, Bob, I'm putting you on intercom.

	Suddenly, McNamara's VOICE fills the room.

				MCNAMARA (O.S.)
		Hey, guys, can you hear me?

							SMASH CUT TO:

	INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - DAY

	McNamara stands, phone in hand.

				MCNAMARA
		I have one minute til ten here --

	THE CAMERA TRACKS AROUND HIM, REVEALING:

	A large, elaborate war room, like Mission Control.  Big
	screens, plexiglass tracking boards, tiered banks of
	communications equipment.  A massive LIGHT TABLE on the floor
	at the center of the room projects a map of the Caribbean and
	Atlantic.  Arcing across it is a RED LINE: the blockade.

	The map is covered with cryptic military notations; WATCH
	OFFICERS on a platform which swings out over it update the
	latest ship positions.

	McNamara's in a booth overlooking the room.  It's open to the
	next tier below where Admiral Anderson is giving orders.

				MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
		-- and no sign of them stopping.

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - DAY

	Kenny and Bobby move to the President's end of the table, sit
	down across from each other in mirror-image fashion.  EXCOM
	looks to the President.  The second hand of the clock on the
	wall wheels past 12.  A hush falls over the room.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Bob, the quarantine is now in effect.

	INT. FLAG PLOT - DAY

	McNamara is mute for a beat.  He turns to view the big room.

				MCNAMARA
		Then it looks like our first customers
		are the Gagarin and Kimovsk.

	He nods to Admiral Anderson, who calls an order down to a
	Watch Officer on the floor, and on screens all around the
	room, a sector of the map MAGNIFIES the unfolding encounter --

	EXT. BRIDGE WING - U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

	-- between the destroyer, U.S.S. Pierce and the SOVIET
	FREIGHTERS Gagarin and Kimovsk.  The Pierce's bridge wings
	are crammed with helmeted OFFICERS and LOOKOUTS.  They peer
	through binoculars at the distant ships, plowing ahead,
	straight for them.  The CAPTAIN lowers his binoculars,
	determined.

				CAPTAIN
		Helm, shape heading for intercept, zero
		one zero.  All ahead full --

				OFFICER (O.S.)
		-- new contact!  New contact!

	Everyone whirls to the bridge.  The Captain steps forward.

	INT. COMBAT INFORMATION CENTER - U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

	The Captain ducks into the CIC.  The CHIEF SONARAN reports.

				CHIEF SONARMAN
		Submerged contact, designation Sierra
		one at 6000 yards bearing 030.

				CAPTAIN
		A submarine...

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - DAY

	The President reacts.  Kenny and Bobby react.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		It's protecting the freighters.

	Consternation.  The President picks up the phone.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Bob, is there any way we can avoid
		stopping a submarine first?

				MCNAMARA (O.S.)
		I'm afraid not, Mr. President.  The sub
		has positioned itself between the Pierce
		and the Soviet ships.  Admiral Anderson
		insists it's too much of a risk to
		proceed with stopping the freighters. 
		The Pierce would be a sitting duck for
		the sub.

	All around the room frustration.  Bobby shakes his head. 
	Kenny sinks back in his chair.  The President hesitates.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Put me through to the Pierce.

	INT. FLAG PLOT - DAY

	Admiral Anderson nods to a COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER.  The man
	makes the connection on a switchboard.

	McNamara casts an eye to the map.  The two red MARKERS
	labeled Gagarin and Kimovsk are joined by a third: the SUB. 
	They are ALMOST TOUCHING the blockade line.  On the other
	side, the single blue marker for the Pierce.

	INT. BRIDGE - U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

	The Captain enters the bridge, takes the phone from the arm
	of his chair.

				CAPTAIN
		Mr. President?

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	The President holds the phone, agonized.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Captain, can you force that submarine to
		the surface for inspection without
		damaging it yourself?

	INT. BRIDGE, U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

				CAPTAIN
		I can bring it up, Mr. President.  But
		whether it's damaged or not is up to the
		sub.

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	The President lowers the phone, looks to Bobby and Kenny.

				MCCONE
		Even if they force it up, that sub will
		be inspected over the crews' dead
		bodies.  They'd be executed for allowing
		it when they got home.

	All eyes are on the President.  His eyes are closed tight,
	face gray, hand over his mouth.  The time of decision is at
	hand.  He lifts the phone once again.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Captain, force the sub to the surface
		for inspection.

				MCNAMARA (O.S.)
		Mr. President!  We're receiving reports
		that the ships are stopping!

				THE PRESIDENT
			(to phone)
		Captain, belay that order!
			(to McNamara)
		Bob, where's that coming from!

				MCNAMARA (O.S.)
		Just a second, Mr. President.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Will somebody find out what's going on?!

	McCone jumps up, leaves the room.  The President looks at
	Kenny, tense.  Everyone holds their breath.

				RUSK
		Are they stopping?

	The HISS of static on the open line fills the room.  Silence.

	EXT. BRIDGE - U.S.S. JOHN R. PIERCE - CONTINUOUS

	Lookouts peer across the water at the oncoming Soviet
	Freighter.

	BINOCULAR POV:

	Of the Soviet Bridge, where their LOOKOUTS are staring right
	back through their binoculars.

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - DAY

	The HISS of static.  And then.

				MCNAMARA (O.S.)
		Mr. President?

	INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

	McNamara is grinning wildly at the chaos unfolding in the
	flag plot below.  Phones are ringing everywhere.

	ON THE LIGHT TABLE

	The Watch Officers' hands fly from one notation to the other,
	circling the Soviet ships, marking them DEAD IN THE WATER.

				MCNAMARA
		-- we've got reports coming from all
		over!  The ships are stopping!  Some...
		are turning around!

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	The room EXPLODES, victorious.  Kenny and Bobby break into
	big grins, grab each other.  Kenny pumps the President's
	hand.  Rusk and Bundy slap each other on the back.

				RUSK
		We were eyeball to eyeball and I think
		the other fellow just blinked.

	The ruckus goes on for a minute.  McCone comes back in.

				MCCONE
		Mr. President.

	His voice is lost in the celebration.  McCone calls out:

				MCCONE (CONT'D)
		Mr. President!

	The hubub dies away.

				MCCONE (CONT'D)
		Sir, we have the tally from NSA.  We
		have twenty ships stopping and or
		turning around.  Six, however, appear to
		be continuing for the line.  Including
		the Gagarin and Kimovsk.

	The elation goes out of the room.  Kenny looks at the
	President.  The President picks up the phone again.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Captain, have the ships you're observing
		changed course?

				CAPTAIN (O.S.)
		No, Mr. President.  They've just crossed
		the quarantine line.

	Bobby grips the edge of the table, immediately believing.

				BOBBY
		It's an accident.  They must not have
		gotten their orders yet.  Let 'em go.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Unlikely, Mr. President.  We've been
		monitoring transmissions from both the
		Gagarin and Kimovsk.  Their radios are
		working fine.

				MCCONE
		One ship, an accident maybe.  Six: this
		is intentional.

	The President looks to Bobby.  He has no answer.  Kenny's
	mind races over the variables, and he leans forward, intense,
	suddenly understanding in a flash of insight:

				KENNY
		They're right.  This is intentional.

	He glances around the room.  All of EXCOM is looking at him. 
	Bobby stares at Kenny, too shocked to feel betrayed.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		Khruschev's stopped the 20 ships which
		are carrying contraband, and he's
		letting the ones which aren't go
		through, hoping for an incident.  I
		think we should let them go.

	Bobby relaxes.  Around the table there are nods.

				MCCONE
		If we do, it erodes the credibility of
		the quarantine.  He'll just send more
		through tomorrow.

	The President looks at Kenny.

				KENNY
		Then we deal with it tomorrow.  But
		today he's stopped most of them.  He's
		done something smart here.  We gave him
		an ultimatum, and he's agreed to most of
		it, preserving just enough room to save
		face.  We need to do something just as
		smart now.

	Bobby's nodding, following the argument.  Kenny looks around
	the room for support.

		INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

	McNamara, pacing on the phone, jumps in.

				MCNAMARA
		Mr. President, I agree.  Let them go. 
		Four of the six continuing ships are
		still a day away from the line.  They've
		stopped all the ones we suspect have
		weapons aboard. 
		It would look bad shooting up a
		freighter full of baby food.

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	The President holds Kenny's gaze, then lifts the phone.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Captain, I want you to maintain contact
		with those ships.  Do nothing until I
		order otherwise.  Is that clear?

				CAPTAIN (O.S.)
		Yes, Mr. President.  Contact only.

	He hangs up, turns to Kenny.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I hope you're right.

	EXT. SOUTH LAWN - DAY

	Kenny, Bobby and the President make their way across the
	lawn, out of earshot of the building.

				BOBBY
		What happened to speak when spoken to?

				KENNY
		Give it a rest.  You were thinking the
		same thing, just didn't have the guts to
		take the heat.

	Bobby likes getting under Kenny's skin.  Bobby aims a punch
	at his head which Kenny knocks away.  The President changes
	gear, serious.

				THE PRESIDENT
		We can horsetrade with Khruschev on
		ships.  But it doesn't get us any closer
		to removing those missiles.

				KENNY
		Have to hope it's a signal that he'll
		back down on the real issue too.

				BOBBY
		We're going to have to stop a ship
		eventually, show the quarantine's got
		teeth, or we'll prove McCone right.

				THE PRESIDENT
		McNamara's on his way back here now.  We
		need to pick the right ship.  No subs. 
		No armed boarding parties either.  We
		need a little more time to figure this
		one out.

				KENNY
		Then let's move the quarantine line.

	It's a simple suggestion.  The President considers him a
	beat, and then McNamara emerges from the White House, heads
	for them.  The three friends assume their more reserved,
	political faces as he comes up.

				MCNAMARA
		Mr. President.  Bobby.  Kenny.  The
		Essex battle group has the Gagarin,
		Kimovsk and the sub escort under their
		thumb.  We've got a few hours now before
		we need to worry about any more
		flashpoints on the line.
			(beat)
		We could use a few more hours.  I think
		we should consider moving the quarantine
		line back to 500 miles.

	Bobby and the President look at Kenny like he's some kind of
	Svengali.  Kenny just stands there, poker faced.

	INT. WEST WING - DAY

	Kenny and McNamara enter the White House from the South Lawn. 
	They stride down the hall, side by side.

				KENNY
		Moving the line.  Stroke of genius.

				MCNAMARA
			(snappish)
		Of course it is.  But the President
		needs to realize we're going to have to
		stop a ship eventually.

	They turn a corner, silence for a beat.

				KENNY
		The Chiefs are looking for a provocation
		out there.  The President's going to
		come under enormous pressure.  You have
		to keep 'em on a short leash, Bob.

	McNamara spares Kenny a short, nasty look.

				MCNAMARA
		You must think I'm blind and stupid. 
		I've already gotten the birds and bees
		from Bobby.  The President doesn't have
		to double-barrel me.

				KENNY
		Listen to me, goddamn it.  We're talking
		about a possible nuclear war.  You
		dropped the ball on Bay of Pigs --

				MCNAMARA
		-- you sonofabitch, goddamn it, I didn't
		drop --

				KENNY
		You were in the room.  It was your
		purview.  It was your job to make sure
		Bissel wasn't fucking us over and you
		didn't do it.  You've got the most
		important job in the world right now. 
		You're the smartest guy the President
		has.
			(beat)
		Besides me.

	That gets an amused snort from McNamara, breaking the
	tension.

				MCNAMARA
		Anybody ever tell you you're an
		egomaniac and a prick, O'Donnell?

	Kenny stares him in the eye, serious, hushed.  A friend.

				KENNY
		You need to be the best you've ever
		been.

	McNamara enters the elevator.  He turns, stands there facing
	Kenny for a dramatic beat.  Then the doors close.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	WALTER CRONKITE, on the B&W T.V. screen, sits in front of a
	map showing Cuba and the blockade line.

				WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.)
		-- well, it appears the world has just
		received a reprieve.  Defense Secretary
		Robert McNamara has announced that the
		quarantine zone has been moved from 800
		to 500 miles.

	PULL BACK, REVEALING:

	Kenny watching the T.V., is yelling at the phone.

				KENNY
		Find out how close our exercises are
		coming to their cruise missiles.  I'm
		calling you back in five, and you will
		have an answer for me or I will come
		down there and beat the shit out of you.
			(beat)
		Then you can press charges, and I'll get
		a Presidential pardon.

	He hangs up, hears SHOUTING from the Oval Office.  He goes to
	the door, enters --

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	-- and sees the President leaning over his desk, jabbing his
	finger at General Taylor.

				THE PRESIDENT
		-- how the goddamn hell did this happen? 
		I'm going to have Power's head on a
		platter next to LeMay's!
			(noticing Kenny)
		Hey, Kenny, did you hear me give the
		order to go to DEFCON 2?  I remember
		giving the order to go to DEFCON 3, but
		I must be suffering from amnesia because
		I've just been informed our nuclear
		forces are DEFCON 2!

	Kenny realizes he's not joking as he spots Bobby sitting on
	the couch behind Taylor, pale as a ghost.  Taylor, embattled,
	wants to die, but stands there like a man.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	INT. MISSILE SILO - DAY

	CLOSE ON

	The nose cone of a TITAN MISSILE, its 20 megaton nuclear
	warhead wrapped in the steel re-entry shell.  Cold, silent,
	fearsome.

				GENERAL TAYLOR (V.O.)
		Mr. President, the orders were limited
		to our strategic forces in the
		continental U.S.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Taylor continues on.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Technically, General LeMay is correct
		that SAC has the statutory authority --

	The President punches his desk.

				THE PRESIDENT
		-- I have the authority.  I am the
		commander-in-chief of the United States,
		and I say when we go to war!

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		We are not at war, sir, not until we're
		at DEFCON 1.

				THE PRESIDENT
		General, the Joint Chiefs have just
		signalled our intent to escalate to the
		Soviets.  You have signalled an
		escalation which I had no wish to
		signal, and which I did not approve.  

	But Taylor knows this very well.  And the way he's suffering,
	it's clear he's taking the heat for his underlings.  From
	over on the couch Bobby chimes in:

				BOBBY
		LeMay... he's history.

	The President glances at Kenny who stands there, speechless.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Get out of here, Max.

	The General leaves.  Kenny closes the door, wanders deeper
	into the office.  He looks from the President to Bobby. 
	There's a long, long beat of shocked silence.

				KENNY
		Jesus...

				BOBBY
		Rescind the order.  Can all the Chiefs. 
		Put Nitze, Gilpatric and the
		Undersecretaries in charge.

				KENNY
		We can't do that, Bobby.

				THE PRESIDENT
		He's right, we can't rescind DEFCON 2. 
		The Soviets will think we've gotten
		sweet on them.

				KENNY
		And we can't purge the Chiefs.  Our
		invasion talk will look like a bluff. 
		Or even that there's been an attempted
		coup.

	Bobby is disgusted, but knows they're right.

				BOBBY
		McNamara won't be able to handle them. 
		It's too much for one man...
			(knowing look to Kenny)
		...with all due respect to our heroic
		fifth column.

	The President collapses in his rocking chair.  Kenny leans
	over the back of the sofa next to Bobby.

				KENNY
		We've got Khruschev's attention with the
		blockade.  If we want a political
		solution.  I think it's time to turn up
		the diplomatic heat.  Cause if we let
		this go on too long, we're going to find
		ourselves in a war.

	Bobby looks at the President, meaningful.  The President
	turns to Kenny.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I've been considering a variation on one
		of Stevenson's ideas.  We're going to
		send up a trial balloon through Lippman. 
		The Jupiter missiles.

	EXT. WEST WING DRIVEWAY - DAY

	SUPER: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25TH.  DAY 10.

	The West Wing looms behind Kenny and Bundy.  Kenny, poker
	faced, takes a drag on his cigarette.  Bundy nervously flicks
	his, looks away from Kenny a beat.

				BUNDY
		What did you think of Lippman's column
		this morning?

				KENNY
		I think it's a bad idea.

	Bundy turns back to him.

				BUNDY
		Thank God.  Look, everyone is furious
		about it.  We trade away our missiles in
		Turkey and we're fucked politically.

	Kenny grinds his jaw, but doesn't say anything.  He agrees. 
	Bundy steps up to him, confiding.

				BUNDY (CONT'D)
		You gotta stop 'em.  We know it's Jack
		and Bobby's idea - they leaked it to
		Lippman.  The military guys are going
		ape, and they're not alone.

				KENNY
		Then they should speak up.

				BUNDY
		Christ, Ken, you know it's not that
		easy.

				KENNY
		Yes it is.

				BUNDY
		No it isn't.  They don't trust the
		people that feel this way.  But these
		people are right.  And the Kennedys are
		wrong.
			(beat)
		We need you to tell 'em, Kenny.  They'll
		listen to you.

	Kenny prickles, intense, but Bundy presses on, too wrapped up
	in his own thinking to notice.

				BUNDY (CONT'D)
		Jack and Bobby are good men.  But it
		takes a certain character, moral
		toughness to stand up to --

				KENNY
		-- You listen to me.  Nobody, nobody,
		talks about my friends that way.  You're
		fucking here right now because of the
		Kennedys.  They may be wrong.  They make
		mistakes.  But they're not weak. 
		The weak ones are these 'people' who
		can't speak their own minds.

				BUNDY
		You know I don't mean they're weak.

	Kenny gets in his face, intimidating.

				KENNY
		No, they just lack 'moral toughness.' 
		And you think I'll play your Judas.  You
		WASPS and blue-bloods never understood
		us, thinking we want into your club. 
		Well we got our own club now.
			(beat)
		And you guys don't realize fighting with
		each other is our way.  Nobody plays us
		off each other.  And nobody ever gets
		between us...

	INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - DAY

	Kenny throws himself on a chair in the bedroom's sitting
	area, newspaper in hand.  The President, buttoning his shirt
	in a full-length mirror, sees him.  There's a TV on.  The
	President selects a tie from a nearby rack, eyes the paper.

				THE PRESIDENT
		What's that?

				KENNY
		Oh, just a bunch of crap about
		withdrawing our Jupiter missiles in
		Turkey if the Soviets'll do the same in
		Cuba.

	The President's eyes flick over to him in the mirror.

				THE PRESIDENT
		I don't want to listen to this again.

				KENNY
		If we made a trade, we'd be giving in to
		extortion, and NATO would never trust us
		again.  We'll get clobbered in world
		opinion.

				THE PRESIDENT
		It's a goddman trial balloon.  Trial is
		the operative word, here.

				KENNY
		Then somebody'd better deny it publicly.

	The President turns around, heads over to the T.V.  Kenny
	folds his arms, disgusted.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Jesus Christ, O'Donnell, you're the one
		saying we need to move forward on a
		political solution.

				KENNY
		Yeah, a good political solution.

	ON THE T.V.

	Live coverage of the United Nations Security Council
	meetings.  Holding forth in Russian is VALERIAN ZORIN, 50s,
	tough, likeable, the Soviet Ambassador to the U.N. and
	chairman of the Security Council.  A translator relays the
	meaning.

				TRANSLATOR FOR ZORIN (O.S.)
		We call on the world to condemn the
		piratical actions of America...

	RESUME

	The President's jaw tightens.  He turns to Kenny.

				THE PRESIDENT
		You want to turn up the heat?  You call
		Adlai.  Tell him to stick it to Zorin.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	Kenny, phone to his ear, suffers as Bobby harangues him.

				BOBBY
		Adlai's too weak!  We have to convince
		Jack to pull him, get McCloy in there.

				KENNY
		You can't take him out this late in the
		game.

				BOBBY
		Zorin will eat him alive!

				KENNY
		Then talk to your brother, goddamn it. 
		The two of you don't need any advice to
		get into trouble.

				BOBBY
		What's gotten into you?

	Kenny throws the Lippman article at him.

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		Oh, still sore about this.

				KENNY
		Something your father would've come up
		with.

	Silence.  Terrible silence.  That paralyzes Bobby.  Kenny
	stares at him.  He means it, but regrets it, too.

				BOBBY
		My father --

				KENNY
		-- I'm just trying to make a point. 
		This idea is that fucking bad.

	But Bobby gets it.  Kenny shifts gears, lets it go.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		Adlai can handle Zorin.  He knows the
		inning and the score.

				BOBBY
		He better.  Because nobody thinks he's
		up to this.  Nobody.

	INT. U.S. OFFICES - U.N. - DAY

	The U.S. suite is in frantic preparation, STAFFERS coming and
	going.  Stevenson takes his phone from a SECRETARY.

				ADLAI
		Yes?

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny turns to gaze at his little T.V. in the credenza, U.N.
	coverage continuing, as if he could see Adlai there.

				KENNY
		Adlai, it's Kenny.  How're you doing?

	INT. U.S. OFFICES - U.N. - CONTINUOUS

	Adlai is packing up his briefcase.

				ADLAI
		Busy, Ken. What do you need?

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny rises from his chair, paces toward the T.V.  He pauses.

				KENNY
		The President told me to pass the word
		to you: stick it to them.

	INT. U.S. OFFICES - U.N. - CONTINUOUS

	Adlai looks around to his own T.V., showing the session going
	on downstairs.  Zorin, ON CAMERA, dominates the council:
	alternately bold, aggressive, and then reasonable.  Even in
	Russian, with the lagging translation, he's formidable.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny is watching exactly the same performance.  Zorin is
	masterful.  Kenny knows it.  And when he talks to Adlai, it's
	with the fatalism of a coach knowing he's putting his third
	string quarterback in against the all-Pro linebacker.

				KENNY
		Adlai.  The world has to know we're
		right.  If we're going to have a chance
		at a political solution, we need
		international pressure.  You got to be
		tough, Adlai.  You need to find it, old
		friend.

	INT. U.S. OFFICES - U.N. - CONTINUOUS

	Adlai watches his Staffers leave his inner office.  He hears
	Kenny, and everything Kenny is saying.

				ADLAI
		I hear you.  I'm glad it's you calling. 
		I thought it would be Bobby.  If they're
		still sticking to their stonewall
		strategy, I'll get 'em.
			(beat)
		Thanks, Ken.

	Adlai lowers the phone to its cradle.  An ANXIOUS STAFFER
	sticks his head in the door, a concerned, questioning look on
	his face.

	Adlai adjusts his tie.  HIS HAND IS SHAKING.  He notices it,
	and manages a brave smile.

				ADLAI (CONT'D)
		I'm an old political cat, Jimmy.
			(beat)
		But I've got one life left.

	INT. HALL, U.N. - CONTINUOUS

	Adlai, briefcase in hand, marches down the hall at the hand
	of his team: Staffers and Photo Interpreters with large
	leather portfolio bags.  The big double doors to the council
	chamber loom, and he gestures to the Photo Interpreters.

				ADLAI
		Wait here.

	And then a DOORMAN throws open the door for him.

	INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

	Adlai enters.  He is instantly dwarfed by the enormous room. 
	Lights, T.V. cameras, the imposing circular arrangement of
	delegation tables.  And the entire world is watching.

	Adlai pauses.  Then as the first SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
	begin to notice him, he heads for the vacant seats for the
	American delegation.  The ROMANIAN DELEGATE saws the air.

				ROMANIAN DELEGATE
			(through translator)
		...we call upon the world to condemn
		this purely American provocation...

	But as the Romanian wheezes on, all eyes are on Adlai.  Adlai
	takes his seat, his Staffers behind him.  They pass him up
	papers, and he spreads them before him, taking no notice that
	the entire room is staring at him.

	Adlai finally glances up.  Across the circle sits Zorin, in
	the flesh, at the head of his own tough-looking DELEGATION. 
	He acknowledges Adlai with a superior smile.

				ROMANIAN DELEGATE (CONT'D)
		We, the people of Romania, stand in
		solidarity with the people of Cuba and
		their revolution in the face of this
		American threat to world peace.  Thank
		you, Mr. Chairman.

	The Romanian Delegate leans back from his microphone.  Zorin
	leans forward, begins in Russian, and the Translator's voice
	catches up with him.  His tone, body language, composure are
	all that of complete confidence.

				ZORIN
			(through translator)
		We are glad you could join us, Mr.
		Stevenson.

	Adlai nods, returns to his notes, as Zorin continues.

				ZORIN (CONT'D)
		For the last couple of hours I have
		heard nothing but questions from the
		world here.  The United States has led
		us to the brink of calamity.  The
		peoples of the world want to know why. 
		We are told again and again of this so
		called incontrovertible evidence of
		offensive weapons in Cuba.  Yet we are
		not allowed to see this evidence.  Are
		your spy planes so secret you cannot
		share this evidence with us?  Some
		planes?!

	The audience laughs.  Zorin basks in it.  And then grows
	stern.

				ZORIN (CONT'D)
		Or perhaps there is no such evidence. 
		Perhaps the United States is mistaken.

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - WHITE HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

	EXCOM watches the coverage on the situation room's T.V.'s. 
	The President and Bobby sit side by side, Kenny just behind
	them.  Bobby checks his watch, looks at the President.

				BOBBY
		I make the call, and Adlai is out. 
		McCloy goes in.

	Bobby looks back at Kenny. 

				THE PRESIDENT
		Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

	INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

	Zorin stares at Adlai.  Adlai studiously ignores him, works
	on his own papers.

				ZORIN
		The United States has no facts in hand. 
		Falsity is what America has in its hands
		- false evidence.

	Zorin leans back in his chair.  Adlai finally looks up.  He
	meets Zorin's icy bravura.  He notes the cameras around the
	room.  This is the grandest stage of all.

				ZORIN (CONT'D)
		The chair recognizes the representative
		from the United States.

	And in that moment, Adlai becomes the spokesman for America.

				ADLAI
		Well, let me say something to you, Mr.
		Ambassador, we do have the evidence.  We
		have it, and it is clear and
		incontrovertible.

	Adlai's tone is definitive.  A tremor of interest passes
	through the various delegations.

				ADLAI (CONT'D)
		And let me say something else.  Those
		weapons must be taken out of Cuba.  You,
		the Soviet Union, have created this new
		danger, not the United States.

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	EXCOM is transfixed by the continuing debate.

				BUNDY
		Come on, Adlai!

	They all crowd the T.V. as if it were a title fight.  Except
	for Bobby.  Kenny glances over at him.  He has the phone
	pinned between his ear and shoulder.  Kenny looks back to the
	T.V.

	INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

	Adlai fixes Zorin in his seat, his voice rising.

				ADLAI
		Mr. Zorin, I remind you that the other
		day you did not deny the existence of
		these weapons.  But today, again, if I
		heard you correctly, you now say they do
		not exist.

	Zorin, headphones on, listens to his own translation, but
	doesn't respond, acts bored.  It gets Adlai's goat, and he
	begins to lose his cool.  A rumble from the U.N.  The CAMERA
	FINDS Adlai's hand SHAKING, gripping his pen.

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - WHITE HOUSE - DAY

	EXCOM is worried.

				RUSK
		Come on, Adlai, don't let him off!

				BOBBY
		John?  It's Bobby.  Get ready to send
		your staffer in.  He's going to be
		coming out.

	INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

	But Adlai's tremors are not tremors of fear.  They are
	tremors of anger.  His voice goes hard and cold.

				ADLAI
		All right, sir.  Let me ask you one
		simple question.  Do you, Ambassador
		Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed
		and is placing medium and intermediate
		range missiles and sites in Cuba?  Yes
		or no - don't wait for the translation -
		yes or no?

	The diplomatic world GASPS as Adlai drops all pretense of
	civility, all statesman-like grace.

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	EXCOM's excitement mounts.  In the chorus urging Adlai on, we
	find Kenny edge toward the screen.

				KENNY
		Yeah.  Yeah.

	INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

	Zorin shoots Adlai a testy look.

				ZORIN
		I am not in an American courtroom, sir,
		and therefore I do not wish to answer a
		question that is put to me in the
		fashion in which a prosecutor puts
		questions.  In due course, sir, you will
		have your answer.

	There's laughter at Zorin's refusal to be bullied: but it's
	nervous laughter, not the polite stuff of diplomatic tete-a
	tete.  The RUMBLE in the room grows louder.

				ADLAI
		You are in the courtroom of world
		opinion right now, and you can answer
		yes or no.  You have denied they exist,
		and I want to know if I have understood
		you correctly.

		INT. SITUATION ROOM - DAY

	EXCOM ROARS!  Fists in the air!  Bobby lets the phone dangle
	a beat, covers it.  And then he lifts it again.

				BOBBY
		John, I'll get back to you.

	He lowers the phone to the receiver.  Kenny shoots him a
	triumphant smile.  The President looks at Kenny, shakes his
	head, a big smile on his face.

	INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

	Adlai presses on.

				ADLAI
		And I'm prepared to present the evidence
		in this room, proving that the Soviet
		Union has lied to the world.

	And Zorin cracks.  He looks uneasily to his delegation.  They
	bend forward to consult.  Adlai sits back in his chair,
	draping his arms over its wings with the confidence of
	someone who knows he's kicked ass.

	Adlai looks around the room while he's waiting for his
	answer, managing not to smile.  The diplomatic world is
	scandalized.  At last Zorin regroups, lifts his head from his
	huddle.

				ZORIN
		If you do not choose to continue your
		statement, the Chair recognizes the
		representative from Chile.

	The CHILEAN DELEGATE stands.

				CHILEAN DELEGATE
		I yield my time and the floor to the
		representative to the United States.

	The room explodes in laughter.  Not just nervous any more,
	not just polite.  They're laughing at Zorin's parliamentary
	ploy blowing up in his face. 
	Zorin's smile is gone, his smooth facade destroyed.  And he
	looks like the biggest fool in the world.

	Adlai stares at the beet-faced man with disdain.  At last,
	Adlai stands, gestures to the door to the hall behind him.

	The PHOTO INTERPRETERS come racing in with their briefing
	boards.

				ADLAI
		Well then, ladies and gentlemen, since
		it appears we might be here for a while,
		shall we have a look at what the Soviets
		are doing in Cuba?

	The Delegates RUMBLE in interest, rise from their seats to
	approach Adlai.

	INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	EXCOM celebrates.  Phones ring at several of the chairs at
	the conference table. The President and Kenny meet as Bundy
	picks up a phone in the b.g.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Didn't know Adlai had it in him.  Too
		bad he didn't have this stuff in '52.

				KENNY
		Zorin must not have gotten instructions. 
		Somebody in their Foreign Ministry's
		blown it big-time.

	Bundy steps forward, holding the phone.

				BUNDY
		Mr. President...

	Kenny and the President turn to see what they already have
	heard in those two words: concern.  The room falls quiet.

	INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

	Phone in hand, McNamara paces at his post over the flag plot.

				MCNAMARA
		...the ship is called Groznyy.

	EXT. OCEAN, PUERTO RICO TRENCH - CONTINUOUS

	The Soviet Tanker, Groznyy, breasts the heavy seas.  Armed
	CREWMEN race along the deck to makeshift sandbagged
	emplacements in the bow.

				MCNAMARA (V.O.)
		We lost track of it yesterday at
		nightfall.  We thought we gave it plenty
		of room when we moved the quarantine
		line back.  We just reacquired it.

	The CAMERA PANS to the left, revealing a U.S. DESTROYER
	racing up alongside a few hundred yards away, pounding up and
	over the swells, punching up a huge fan of spray from its
	bow.

	INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

				MCNAMARA
		It crossed the line hours ago.

	Admiral Anderson, on the phone on the level below, is tense.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		Hail them again.

				THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
		Keep us posted, Bob.

	McNamara leans against the wall, closes his eyes in
	exhaustion and stress.  And when he opens the, we PAN AROUND
	TO REVEAL:

	A G-d-like view of the flag plot, covered with HUNDREDS OF
	SHIPS, PLANES AND MARKINGS.

	McNamara stares out at the bewildering tangle of symbols,
	living men behind each one.  Each tangle of red and blue
	symbols a powderkeg.  A G-dlike view indeed.  And it is far
	more than any one mere man could keep control of. And he
	begins to realize it.

				MCNAMARA
		We're kidding ourselves...

	And not only that, in his bleary, sleep-deprived fog, he
	begins to understand something happening down there.

	The CAMERA MOVES over the enormous map, over the scrolling
	cryptic numerology.  THE BUZZ of radio communications bleeds
	in from the background.  The overhead platform swivels on its
	motor, like the vast arm of some fate-writing god as the
	Watch Officer on it updates the movements of the ships.

	McNamara stares, at the verge of grasping something.  Through
	the door-crack of genius, he has the glimpse of some grander
	thing, some grander design.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		Very well.  Load your guns.

	That starts McNamara from his fatigued reverie.  He goes to
	the railing, looks down on Anderson.

				MCNAMARA
		What was that, Admiral?

	Anderson turns, gazes up from his tier below, distracted.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		We've been hailing the Groznyy for the
		last hour, Mr. Secretary.  The Groznyy
		refuses to stop.

				MCNAMARA
		What are you doing?

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		Carrying out our mission, Mr. Secretary. 
		If you don't mind, we're very busy right
		now.  We need to be able to do our jobs.

				MCNAMARA
		Admiral, I asked you a question.

	Anderson holds the phone aside, turns around again, looks up
	at him, impatient.  His answer is hard, cold, dangerous.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		We're going to follow the Rules of
		Engagement.  The Rules of Engagement
		which the President has approved and
		signed in his order of October 23rd.

	Anderson listens again to the phone.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON (CONT'D)
		Yes, Captain, you may proceed.  Clear
		your guns.

				MCNAMARA
		What --

	EXT. OCEAN, PUERTO RICO TRENCH - CONTINUOUS

	The Destroyer's forward 5-inch twin guns swivel, train on the
	Groznyy.  A beat.  They OPEN FIRE with an ear-splitting
	BAMBAM, ripping the air in front of the muzzles, the Groznyy
	so close a miss isn't possible.

	INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

	McNamara SHOUTS at Anderson, dropping down the steps to
	Anderson's level.

				MCNAMARA
		GODDAMNIT, STOP THAT FIRING!

	Watch Officers scramble to comply, chaos and shouting in the
	war room as a chorus if "Cease fire cease fire cease fire,"
	goes up.  McNamara turns on Anderson, is in his face.

				MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
		Jesus Christ, God help us.

	Anderson smashes the phone down, wheels on McNamara, furious.

	EXT. OCEAN, PUERTO RICO TRENCH - CONTINUOUS

	The Destroyer's guns hammer away at the Groznyy, at point
	blank range... but the Groznyy IS UNHARMED.  

	Suddenly, in the air above it appear BRILLIANT FLARES.  They
	light up the ship, brighter than the sun.  The destroyer
	isn't firing deadly rounds... it's firing harmless
	starshells.

	INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

	Anderson gets in McNamara's face. 

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		That ship was firing starshells. 
		Starshells.  Flares, Mr. Secretary.

	Everyone's eyes are on the two men.  Only the chatter of
	teletype breaks the paralyzing silence.  McNamara blinks,
	looks down at the plot on the floor.  Anderson's voice drops
	to a deadly sotto.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON (CONT'D)
		Goddammitt, I've got a job to do. 
		You've been camped out up there since
		Monday night.  You're exhausted and
		you're making mistakes.  Interfere with
		me, you will get some of killed.  I will
		not allow that.

	McNamara looks away at the faces of the men in the room.

				MCNAMARA
		Starshells.

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		Get out of our way, Mr. Secretary.  The
		navy has been running blockades since
		the days of John Paul Jones.

	McNamara turns back.  And all trepidation, embarrassment,
	hesitation are gone.  He coldly appraises Anderson.

				MCNAMARA
		I believe the President made it clear
		that there would be no firing on ships
		without his express permission.  

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		With all due respect, Mr. Secretary, we
		were not firing on the ship.  Firing on
		a ship means attacking the ship.  We
		were not attacking the ship.  We were
		firing over it.

				MCNAMARA
		This was not the President's intention
		when he gave that order.  What if the
		Soviets don't see the distention?  What
		if they make the same mistake I just
		did?
			(beat)
		There will be no firing anything near
		ANY Soviet ships without my express
		permission, is that understood, Admiral?

				ADMIRAL ANDERSON
		Yes, sir.

				MCNAMARA
		And I will only issue such instructions
		when ordered to by the President.
			(beat)
		John Paul Jones... you don't understand
		a thing, do you, Admiral?

	He passes his hand over the enormous plot below.

				MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
		This isn't a blockade.

	McNamara, trembling with anger, awe, whirls to Anderson.  And
	his burgeoning insight is born - clear, hard and cold.

				MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
		This, all this, is language, a new
		vocabulary the likes of which the world
		has never seen. 
		This is President Kennedy communicating
		with Secretary Khruschev.

	McNamara JABS HIS FINGER OUT AT the plot, and --

	-- the CAMERA RACES DOWN, TRACKING OVER IT, across the vast
	ebb and flow of information, the delicate ballet of symbols
	and numerology, this language of steel and human life.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	SUPER: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26TH.  DAY 11.

	On Kenny's T.V. Walter Cronkite reads the news to footage of
	a BOARDING PARTY going up a ladder to the freighter MARCULA.

				WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.)
		At 7:29 this morning, the U.S.S. Joseph
		Kennedy stopped and boarded the Soviet
		charter vessel Marcula.

	The Boarding Party wears dress whites and is UNARMED.

				WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
		After a 3-hour inspection, the Kennedy
		signaled no contraband found.  Cleared
		to continue.  Pentagon spokesmen expect
		the next encounter.

	Kenny, who turns from the T.V. as the door to his office
	opens.  Rusk walks in.

				RUSK
		Kenny, we need to see the President. 
		Something's happened.

	Kenny reacts to Rusk's enigmatic expression.  And out from
	behind Rusk steps JOHN SCALI, the ABC News Correspondent.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

	OFF THEIR REACTIONS, the CAMERA FINDS an under-strength, ad
	hoc EXCOM - Kenny, Bobby, Taylor, Bundy, Sorensen, McCone,
	Ball and the President.  Guarded hope all around.  The short,
	balding, pugnacious Scali looks discomfited.

				SCALI
		I have lunch with him maybe once a
		month.  Way he talks, he acts like he
		knows Khruschev personally, but he's
		never elaborated.  I've used him as a
		source in a couple of stories.

	Kenny paces behind the gathered men around the President's
	desk, listening, mind going a million miles an hour.

				RUSK
		The FBI has identified this Alexander
		Fomin as the Soviet Resident, the KGB
		equivalent of one of our station chiefs. 
		He's their highest ranking spy in this
		country.  And he knows John's a friend
		of mine.

				BUNDY
		All the trademarks of a back-channel
		overture.

	Kenny eyes Bundy, makes him uncomfortable.  The President
	sizes Scali up.

				THE PRESIDENT
		So they'll remove the missiles, and
		we'll pledge not to invade Cuba,
		destabilize Castro or assist anyone who
		plans in doing so...

	Nobody dares speak.  It's as if the possibility of a
	settlement will vanish into thin air if anyone moves.

				BOBBY
		I think... this may be our first real
		message from Khruschev.

				MCCONE
		The alternative, Mr. President, is that
		this could be a trap.

				KENNY
		Dangle a settlement, tie us down in
		negotiations, we come up short...

				MCCONE
		Why else would they approach us in this
		way?  It's deniable.  The Soviets have
		done nothing but lie to us.  This could
		be more of the same.

				KENNY
		That may be why Khruschev's introducing
		this guy.  We've been burned by his
		usual players in the formal channels, so
		he brings in an honest broker.

				MCCONE
		That may be what they want us to think.

				RUSK
		The truth is, Mr. President, we don't
		even really know whom Fomin speaks for. 
		It could be Khruschev. It could be some
		faction in the Politburo or the KGB
		itself.  We just don't know.

				BOBBY
		By the way, Scali, your activities now
		fall under the secrecy codicils of the
		National Security Act.  Sorry, no
		Pulitzer.

	The gathered men chuckle, only Scali a bit dour but being a
	good sport about it.  Scali checks his watch.

				SCALI
		Mr. President, we don't have much time. 
		I'm supposed to meet with him again in
		three and a half hours.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Well, it seems the question of the day
		is -- is the offer legitimate?

	He moves away from his desk.  The men watch him.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		If it is... if it is, then we can't
		afford to ignore it.
			(beat, to Scali)
		John, we'll have instructions for you in
		a couple of hours.

	Scali nods.  Rusk escorts him out.  They wait until the door
	closes.  Taylor looks over at McCone who nods.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Mr. President, I'm afraid we have some
		bad news.  We're getting GMAIC estimates
		from our latest low-level overflights. 
		It appears the missiles are two to three
		days away from operational status.

				MCCONE
		So we don't have much time to play out
		back-channel communiques.

	Kenny gives Bobby a hard look.  The President appears
	unfazed.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		The quarantine, sir, is not producing
		results.  The Chiefs feel it's time you
		take another look at our options.

	The President considers Taylor, then looks over to Kenny.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Kenny, get over to your old stomping
		grounds.  Go through everything the FBI
		has on Fomin.  I need your best call: is
		this guy legit and is he speaking for
		Khruschev?  And I need you to tell me by
		the time I call you, because right after
		I call you, I'm calling Scali with his
		instructions.

	INT. FBI, COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT FILES - NIGHT

	BANG!  A STACK OF FILES slams down beside Kenny on a large
	paper-covered conference table.  WALTER SHERIDAN, Kenny's
	investigator-buddy, wears a visitor's pass just like Kenny. 
	Kenny and Walter RIFLE through the folders, super fast, super
	proficient.  A half-dozen FBI AGENTS work around the table.

				SHERIDAN
		Okay.  So, what we've got is this guy
		Alexander Feklisov, aka Alexander Fomin,
		declared Consul to the Soviet Embassy,
		but in reality the KGB Papa Spy.  An
		illustrious tour of duty during the
		Great Patriotic War gets him on the
		Party fast track, various tours of duty
		in KGB, American postings.  He's an
		expert on us, and... that's all we've
		got on Papa Spy.

				KENNY
		Who's he talking for?  Is it Khruschev,
		or is this more bullshit?

	Kenny stands, runs his hands through his hair, aggravated.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		How do you become the KGB top spy in the
		United States?

				SHERIDAN
		Gotta know someone.

	Kenny whirls on Sheridan.  A frozen beat.

				KENNY
		Politics is politics.  Walter.
			(whirling on Agents)
		Khruschev is the Moscow Party Boss under
		Stalin.  Give me their career
		chronologies!

	Walter pushes a typed dateline of Khruschev's major career
	moves, and one of the Agents hands Kenny a list of Fomin's
	postings.  He lays them side by side.  And for every step of
	Khruschev's, there's a step for Fomin.  Not only that, but
	the DATES ARE IDENTICAL or nearly so.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		Every time Khruschev moves up, Fomin
		does within a year...
			(tracing up the list)
		Khruschev was the administrator in
		charge of preparing Moscow's defenses
		during the war.  And Fomin... was here
		in the U.S.

	Kenny's face falls.  But a YOUNG FBI AGENT cuts in.

				YOUNG FBI AGENT
		Not at first.

	The Young FBI Agent proffers him a file.  Kenny snatches it.

				YOUNG FBI AGENT (CONT'D)
		He was an engineer stationed outside
		Moscow in '42.  Specialized in tank
		traps.

	Kenny looks up at Walter.  Walter nods sagely, lights a pipe.

				KENNY
		They know each other.  They're war
		buddies.

				SHERIDAN
		It's thin.  But real life usually is.

	A PHONE on the table SHRILLS, shattering the silent triumph.

				KENNY
		Hello?

				THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
		I've got to move.  What do you have,
		Kenny?

				KENNY
		They know each other!  Khruschev and
		Feklisov aka Fomin were war buddies!

				THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
		You're sure...

				KENNY
		Don't take it to court, but we've got
		good circumstantial evidence...
			(off Walter's nod)
		Walter agrees.  My gut's telling me
		Khruschev's turning to a trusted old
		friend to carry his message.

				THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
		Okay, Ken.  We're going.

	INT. STATLER HOTEL COFFEE SHOP - NIGHT

	A few lonely BUSINESS TRAVELERS hang out in the dim coffee
	shop.  Faint music plays.  Scali and ALEXANDER FOMIN sit with
	steaming cups of coffee.  Scali, nervous, unfolds a note. 
	Fomin, an expressionless gray spectre of a man, eyes him.  He
	is, in his boredom, a spy's spy.

				SCALI
		I am instructed to tell you that the
		American Government would respond
		favorably to an offer along the lines
		you have discussed.  If this solution
		were raised at the U.N. by Ambassador
		Zorin, he would find a favorable reply
		from Ambassador Stevenson.

				FOMIN
		So I understand you correctly.  If the
		missiles in Cuba were dismantled,
		returned to the Soviet Union, and a
		guarantee was made not to reintroduce
		them, the United States would be
		prepared to guarantee that it would
		never invade Cuba?

				SCALI
		That is correct.

				FOMIN
		This is from the Highest Authority?

				SCALI
		Yes.  From the Highest Authority.  There
		are two conditions.  The U.N.
		must be allowed to inspect the removal
		of the missiles.

				FOMIN
		And, of course, the U.N. must be allowed
		to observe the redeployment of forces
		from the American Southeast.

	Scali demurs.  He has no instructions on this count.

				FOMIN (CONT'D)
		And the second condition?

				SCALI
		Time is of the essence.

	Scali takes a sip of coffee.  Fomin stares at him, intense.

				FOMIN
		John.  How much time?

				SCALI
		48 hours.  In 48 hours there can be no
		deals.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

	Scali finishes debriefing the President, Bobby, Kenny,
	McCone, Taylor and Bundy.

				SCALI
		He left right away.  Got the feeling he
		meant business.

	Kenny and Bobby share a hopeful glance.  Rusk enters from
	Kenny's office.  And he's unable to contain his excitement.

				RUSK
		Mr. President, we're receiving a letter
		from Khruschev over at State.

	INT. COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - STATE DEPARTMENT - NIGHT

	From a cluster of folding metal chairs, Kenny, Bobby, Rusk
	and Sorensen watch a TELETYPE hammer out the message as it
	comes off the wire.  It's painfully slow, like watching a bad
	typist type a manuscript.  Ten pages of this is an eternity. 
	To top it off, it's in Russian.  A TRANSLATOR reads it off,
	word by word to a TRANSCRIBER.

				TRANSLATOR
		...two...of...us...pull...on...the...
		knot...of...war...

	INT. CABINET ROOM - NIGHT

	Kenny slams a page of Khruschev's letter on the table.  He
	jabs his finger at it.  EXCOM listens, intent.

				KENNY
		It's ten pages of sentimental fluff, but
		he's saying right here.  He'll remove
		the missiles in return for a no-invasion
		pledge.  It looks like Fomin's overture
		was genuine.

	The President turns to McCone.

				MCCONE
		Our early analysis says this was
		probably written by Khruschev himself. 
		It's a first draft, and shows no signs
		of being polished by the foreign
		ministry.  In fact, it probably hasn't
		been approved by the Politburo.  They
		wouldn't have let the emotionalism go
		by.  The analysts say it was written by
		someone under considerable stress.

	EXCOM chuckles.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Glad to hear we're not alone.

	The President eyes the EXCOM members one by one, an incipient
	smile on his face.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		Well, gentlemen, I wasn't planning on
		invading Cuba anyway.  I think we can
		live with the terms of this deal.

	There are mostly nods of assent, big smiles around the table. 
	Except from  McCone and Taylor.  The President takes his copy
	of the letter, flips through it.  He shakes his head, almost
	unable to believe that Khruschev has given in.  A long beat.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		Ted, I want you to draft our acceptance.

	EXT. O'DONNELL DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

	A long, black car stops at the end of Kenny's driveway.  The
	door opens, and Kenny steps out.  He says an inaudible
	goodnight to the driver, and the car pulls off.  He turns,
	facing the white two-story house with the neat front yard,
	the lights out.  And he smiles.  Home at last.

	EXT. O'DONNELL PATIO - NIGHT

	A screen door squeaks open.  Kenny steps out into the
	darkness of the back yard.  And there, in her robe, sitting
	startled on a lawn chair, lit only by the dim glow of the
	kitchen window, is Helen.  Kenny stands there tired, his coat
	slung over his shoulder.

				KENNY
		Hi.

	Helen rises, her own care-worn face turned to his.  For a
	silent moment they gaze at each other, searching in the lines
	of each others' face for the changes of a long separation. 
	They see them.  But they've been married a long time, and the
	awkwardness passes.

				HELEN
		Hi, O'Donnell.  You look old.

	Kenny drops his coat on a table as Helen comes up and folds
	herself into his arms.

				HELEN (CONT'D)
		This job's going to kill you.  If I
		don't first.

	They kiss, comfortable.  But not too long, and he lets her
	go.  She looks at him again, sees he's suppressing a smile.

				HELEN (CONT'D)
		If you're home it means either Jack and
		Bobby have finally figured out what a
		con man you are and fired you, or --

				KENNY
		-- we got a back channel communication
		from Khruschev this evening feeling us
		out about a deal.  He confirmed it just
		a little while ago in a letter to the
		President.  I think we've won.

				HELEN
		A thing like this... who could even
		think of winning?

	INT. HALL OUTSIDE KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	SUPER: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27TH.  DAY 12.

	Kenny, in his overcoat, steps aside as a pair of Duty
	Officers race past him, almost bowling him over. 
	He slows as he nears the doors to his office and the Oval
	Office, DISCOVERING:

	TOTAL CHAOS.  EXCOM guys, Assistants, dart to and from the
	offices and halls.  On all their faces grim expressions. 
	Kenny stands there a beat in confusion.  And then Bobby
	swings out of Kenny's office.  There's a desperate edge to
	Bobby's voice.

				BOBBY
		Where've you been?  We've been trying to
		find you all morning.

				KENNY
		Helen and I went out for breakfast.
		EXCOM's not supposed to convene til
		eight.

				BOBBY
		We just got a second letter from
		Khruschev.  The deal's off.

		INT. HALL OUTSIDE CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny and Bobby walk fast for the cabinet room, Kenny still
	in his coat.

				BOBBY
		We're getting everyone together as fast
		as we can.

				KENNY
		What does the letter say?

				BOBBY
		They want us to take our missiles out of
		Turkey along with the no invasion
		pledge.  It looks like Fomin was a ploy
		after all, and they were just stalling
		for time.

	Kenny is stunned.

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		It gets worse.

	Kenny gives Bobby a sharp look as they enter --

	INT. CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	The President, in shirtsleeves, no tie, glances up at Kenny
	as he and Bobby enter.  Kenny can only bear his look for a
	second: he blew the call on Fomin.  But the President is
	clearly relieved to see him, gives him a faint smile. 
	Half of EXCOM, including McNamara, McCone, Rusk, and Taylor
	barely notice them as they're already there arguing.

	Kenny sits down hurriedly, shucks off his coat as he joins
	the conversation in mid-stream.

				MCCONE
		My specialists are in agreement: this
		morning's letter is not Khruschev.  Last
		night's letter was.
			(beat)
		The evidence supports only one
		conclusion: there has been a coup, and
		Khruschev was replaced overnight.

				KENNY
		Jesus Christ...

	Bobby gives him a look: told you things got worse.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Dean?

				RUSK
		It doesn't necessarily mean there's been
		a coup.  Khruschev's name is signed to
		the letter.

				MCNAMARA
		Aw, come on, Dean!

				RUSK
		But at the very least... It does suggest
		he's been co-opted by hard line
		elements.

				MCNAMARA
		Which at the end of the day is the same
		thing as a coup.  A puppet Khruschev,
		and a hard-line Soviet government
		pulling the strings.  No deal.  And the
		missiles are almost operational.

	Bitter silence.  They all look to the President.  Imminent
	victory has turned to ashes.  The President studies his own
	folded hands.  Ball and Thompson enter, take seats.  One by
	one, throughout the scene, other EXCOM members join the
	group.

				THE PRESIDENT
		You know, the problem we have is that
		this is latest offer of theirs will seem
		reasonable to everyone.  We remove our
		missiles, they remove theirs. 
		Our Jupiters were scheduled for removal
		anyway.  They're obsolete, after all.

	Kenny shakes his head in mute anger.  McNamara and Rusk seem
	to sense the President's feelings, too.

				RUSK
		Mr. President, agreeing to such a trade
		would be tantamount to paying ransom. 
		They'll put a gun to our head again, and
		expect us to pay again.

	Kenny looks the President in the eye.

				KENNY
		We can't sell out one of our friends for
		our own safety.  NATO wouldn't trust us
		anymore, and they'd be right not to.

	The President sighs in the face of the stern advice.  He
	nods, expecting as much.  Bobby still can't look at anyone.

				THE PRESIDENT
		So which one of you geniuses can tell me
		how to explain ourselves to the world? 
		How do we work with them if there's been
		a hard-line coup?

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Mr. President, there is another
		possibility we haven't considered.  This
		may not be a coup at all.

	Everyone of Kenny's instincts jumps.  His head snaps up to
	listen to Taylor.  Taylor pauses.

				GENERAL TAYLOR (CONT'D)
		It's possible that the back-channel
		overture, last night's letter, and this
		letter today, along with everything the
		Soviets have said all along, is nothing
		more than a lie -- disinformation.

				MCNAMARA
		Designed to keep us from taking action.

	Kenny hears the fatalism in McNamara's voice.  A long beat. 
	Everyone stares at McNamara.

				MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
		I hate to say it, but if I had to bet,
		I'd bet Max is right.  What if they have
		no intention of honoring this deal,
		either? 
		Then tomorrow they add another
		condition.  Meanwhile, the quarantine
		isn't working and they're continuing to
		work on the missile sites.
			(beat)
		I think we have to consider issuing
		warning orders for our forces.

	They were so close last night... and suddenly Lundahl and
	LeMay enter the room with the day's briefing boards.

				LUNDAHL
		Mr. President...

	Lundahl stands there at the end of the table, gray.  He
	almost can't say it, can't look the President in the face.

				LUNDAHL (CONT'D)
		This morning's photography is in.  It
		appears the Soviets have commenced a
		crash program to ready the missiles.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	EXT. MISSILE SITE - CUBA - CONTINUOUS

	The missiles site is now more than just dirt and clearing
	equipment.  It's an armed camp, with missiles, fuel trailers,
	erectors spaced every few hundred yards.  MISSILE TECHNICIANS
	service the towering SS-4s.

				LUNDAHL (V.O.)
		The first missiles became operational
		last night.

	With a barrage of shouted orders in Russian, and a whine of
	the ERECTOR's engines, THE MISSILE BEGINS TO RISE.

				LUNDAHL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
		We expect they'll all be operational in
		36 hours: Monday morning.

	It stops, vertical.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	INT. CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

	The news hits the room like a thunderbolt.  Kenny looks to
	Bobby and the President.  The blood is gone from their faces.

				MCNAMARA
		Then we're out of time.  We have to go
		in.

				LUNDAHL
		That may not be as easy as we thought
		either.  We've gotten confirmation that
		the Soviets have also deployed
		battlefield nuclear weapons to Cuba. 

	A pall falls over the room as LeMay explains.

				LEMAY
		FROGS, we call 'em.  Short range
		tactical nukes.  It's possible they've
		delegated release authority to their
		local commanders for use against our
		invasion troops.  It'd be standard
		doctrine.
			(beat)
		Our capability to get all the missiles
		has eroded during our delay with the
		quarantine.  The good news is that for
		the moment we know where the FROGS are,
		and we can target them, too.  But the
		longer we wait, the hard it's going to
		get.

	They all look to the President.  Kenny stares, in a private
	hell, blacker and more complete than anyone should ever know.

	In that shocked silence each man grapples with failure.  The
	Best and the Brightest could not prevent what must come next.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Then we have no choice.
			(to  Taylor)
		General, issue the warning orders to our
		forces.  They will be prepared to
		execute the air strikes Monday morning
		and the follow-on invasion according to
		the schedule thereafter.  I'll need the
		official release orders on my desk
		Sunday night.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Understood, sir.  We need to step up the
		overflights, finalize our pilots' target
		folders in order to be able to carry out
		the strikes.

	The President gives Kenny a meaningful look.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Permission granted.

	Taylor exits.  Kenny rises, gives the President an almost
	imperceptible nod, as he prepares to leave in Taylor's wake.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		Gentlemen, if anybody's got any great
		ideas, now's the time...

	INT. READY ROOM - MACDILL AFB - DAY

	MAJOR RUDOLPH ANDERSON, 30, wearing the bulky high-altitude
	pressure suit of a U-2 pilot, takes the phone from one of the
	Air Force NCOs who are helping him suit up.

				MAJOR ANDERSON
		This is Major Anderson.

							INTERCUT CALL TO:

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny, at the other end of the line, stares out the window at
	the fall day.  It seems so mild, so unlike war.  And it takes
	him a beat before he realizes Anderson's on the line.

				MAJOR ANDERSON (O.S.)
		Hello?  Anyone there?

				KENNY
		Major, my name is Kenneth O'Donnell. 
		Special Assistant to the President.

	Kenny takes a breath, ready to start the shuck-and-jive...
	but for some reason doesn't.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		Major, a few days ago the President
		ordered me to help him keep control of
		what's going on out there.  I've been
		browbeating pilots, navy guys left and
		right to make sure you don't get us here
		in Washington into trouble.  But you
		know what?  We're pretty damn good at
		getting ourselves into trouble.  So
		instead of riding your ass, I'm just
		going to tell you what's going on, and
		let you figure out how best to help us
		out up here.

	INT. READY ROOM - MACDILL AFB - CONTINUOUS

	Now mostly suited up, Major Anderson takes the phone out of
	the NCO's hand.  He nods, serious.

				MAJOR ANDERSON
		Go ahead, sir.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

				KENNY
		Last night, we looked like we were going
		to cut a deal to get us all out of this
		mess.  Today, the Soviets are reneging. 
		We're going to try to salvage the
		situation, but a lot of things are going
		wrong today.  It's making everyone
		nervous, and it will be very hard to
		avoid going to war.  Don't get shot
		down, Major.  Beyond that, whatever else
		you can do to help us, I'd really
		appreciate it.

	INT. READY ROOM - MACDILL AFB - CONTINUOUS

	Major Anderson waves his NCOs away.  They leave the room. 
	The Major sits on a bench in front of his locker, thinks.

				MAJOR ANDERSON
		When you're up there at 72,000 feet,
		there's a million things that can go
		wrong.  Is your oxygen mix right?  Will
		your cameras freeze up?  Are you leaving
		contrail...
			(beat)
		Those million things are beyond your
		control, mostly... But you know, when
		you realize that, there's a kind of
		peace.  You don't need to be in control. 
		You never were in control in the first
		place.  If you're a good man, and your
		ground crew are good men, it's all you
		can ask for.  And with the grace of G-d,
		it'll get you through.

	The young Major smiles to himself, to the phone.

				MAJOR ANDERSON (CONT'D)
		You sound like a good man.  You'll be
		all right, Mr. O'Donnell.  We believe in
		you guys down here.
			(beat)
		Thanks for the call.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny nods to himself, deeply touched by the man's faith.

				KENNY
		Thank you, Major.

	INT. READY ROOM - MACDILL AFB - CONTINUOUS

	With a click, the line goes dead and Anderson walks the phone
	over to the receiver on the wall.

	END INTERCUT

	EXT. RUNWAY - MACDILL AFB - MOMENTS LATER

	A cart speeds down the tarmac, an NCO behind the wheel. 
	Beside him sits Major Anderson, his helmet on, visor up.  He
	adjusts the mix on the oxygen bottle he's carrying at his
	feet, breathing in preparation for the high-altitude flight. 
	Up ahead, among a host of service vehicles, sits the U-2.

	INT. U-2 - DAY

	Anderson switches over to the U-2's oxygen supply as his NCOs
	belt him in.  They slap him on the helmet for good luck and
	lower the canopy as he brings his engines up to power.

				MAJOR ANDERSON
		This is flight G3132, requesting
		permission for take-off.

				TOWER VOICE (O.S.)
		G3132, you've got runway one, you are
		cleared to proceed to Angels 72.

				MAJOR ANDERSON
		Roger that.

	And he throws the throttle forward, 

							SMASH CUT TO:

	EXT. STRATOSPHERE - MOMENTS LATER

	The twilight, in-between, world of the stratosphere.  Far
	below -- clouds, shining blue day.  Above, stars and the
	indigo depths of space.  We hang in utter silence.

	A silver glint appears in the center of the horizon.  It
	grows larger.  Then larger still.  It is the U-2.  We barely
	have time to register the rising hiss of its engines, when it
	FILLS THE SCREEN and BOOMS PAST, leaving us standing still.

	The CAMERA PANS to follow it, but it's already dwindled to a
	speck, and we feel how fast 600 miles an hour really is.

	INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	Anderson's gloved hand reaches for the CAMERA HEATER
	switches.

	EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	The belly door whines open like a silver eyelid, exposing the
	camera's lense.

	INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	Anderson double checks his position, switches to the
	autopilot for the stability only the machine can provide,
	then hits the CAMERA ACTIVATE button on his joystick. 
	BAMABMABMABMA... The camera begins its photography.

	Anderson watches the number on the film-remaining counter
	spool down.  He stares out the window.  The towering clouds
	below rise up magnificent, glorious... a glimpse of heaven.

	Rapt,  Anderson stares.  And then suddenly a BLARING ALARM
	GOES OFF IN THE COCKPIT.  It shocks Anderson around to the
	controls.  It's his MISSILE WARNING LIGHT.

	Anderson' hands flash out to the joystick, turning off the
	cameras, disabling autopilot.  He banks the U-2 hard.

	EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	As the U-2 turns, far, far below, emerging from the clouds,
	barely visible, rises a CONTRAIL.  It arcs lazily toward us. 
	A beat, and then another CONTRAIL.  

	Then ANOTHER.  The anti-aircraft missiles creating them are
	too small to be seen with the naked eye.

	INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	The cockpit is a cacophony of alarms and lights, the horizon
	outside tilted.  Anderson's breath comes fast, rasping as he
	does his strains going into the high-g turn.

	He looks out the cockpit window, finds the first SA-2 missile
	in pursuit only several thousand feet below him now.  He
	waits. Waits.  Waits, still in the turn.  The black head of
	the missile now visible.

	He puts the plane over, rolling out into an opposite bank.

	EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	The spy plane's long flimsy wings weren't made for
	dogfighting.  They BEND terribly in the rollout.  And then
	the first missile STREAKS past, tries to correct its miss,
	but can't and vanishes into the distance at a 90-degree
	angle.

	INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	Anderson's breath comes faster and faster as the second
	missile rises up, now visible.  He puts the throttle as far
	as it goes, trying to outrun death.  Every second is a tenth
	of a mile, and every mile shortens the missile's life span.

	The rising missile drafts aft, closing on the U-2 from
	behind.

	EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	The second missile's contrail rises up behind the plane,
	levels off, and closes on it at a tremendous rate.

	The third missile rises up in the far distance behind the
	second.

	The second missile races up on the U-2, closer, right behind
	it, can't miss.  Then at a hundred yards, the contrail
	suddenly peters out, and the missile, out of fuel, drops
	away.

	But the third missile closes.

	INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	Anderson glances out the window, sees the spent missiles fall
	away, and spots the third missile still seeking him aft. 
	Hand pinning the throttle forward, he prays under his breath.

	EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	The third SA-2 rides its billowing column of exhaust straight
	for the tail of the U-2.  This one is not out of fuel.

	INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	Major Anderson opens his eyes.  He stares out the window at
	the glorious wonder of cloud and sea and earth below.

	EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

	And the missile looms.  We have time to realize it's almost
	as big as the plane itself before it SHEARS right into the U
	2's tail and EXPLODES in a BLINDING FLASH.

	INT. HALL OUTSIDE BUNDY'S OFFICE - DAY

	Kenny, jogging down the hall, hears form an open door.

				BUNDY (O.S.)
		Kenny!

	Kenny goes over to the threshold.  Inside the office Bundy
	stands up from behind his desk, grave.  And Kenny knows.

	INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

	All of EXCOM is there except for Bundy.  Kenny sits behind
	the President, deeply distraught over Major Anderson.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Does this attack on our plane represent
		a definitive, intentional escalation on
		the part of the Soviets?

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		The Soviets are in control of the SAMs. 
		It's hard to believe with their
		centralized command structure that it
		could be an accidental launch.

				MCCONE
		Mr. President, taken with the events of
		the past few hours, I believe this
		confirms our worst fears.  We're now
		dealing with a hard-line Soviet
		government, perhaps with Khruschev as a
		puppet head, perhaps not.

	In the silence, Kenny reads the faces around the room. 
	They're convinced by McCone's pronouncement.  Kenny's not.

				KENNY
		It could be a mistake.

	McCone gives him a get-serious look.  But Kenny presses on.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		We need to be positive before we react.

	Bundy enters the room.  Everyone looks up.  He stands there
	in the doorway, his face tight.

	Kenny sags in his chair.  Bundy, of course, has more bad
	news, and they all know it.  A hopeless beat.  The President
	just stares at Bundy, unable to ask.  Bundy nods, affirming
	what everyone is thinking.

				BUNDY
		A U-2 on a routine air-sampling mission
		over Siberia got lost and penetrated
		Soviet airspace.  The Soviets scrambled
		MIGs in pursuit, thinking it was a
		bomber.  It got out okay.  Somebody
		forgot to cancel the mission.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Goddammitt.  There's always some
		sonofabitch who doesn't get the word. 
		All we need is the Soviets thinking
		we're bombing them.
			(facetious)
		Anybody else?

	The humor falls on a cold audience.

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		Mr. President, our pilots are in danger. 
		We must order punitive airstrikes
		against the SAM site that shot down
		Major Anderson per our rules of
		engagement.

	And finally the moment Kenny has dreaded all this time has
	come to pass.  He looks at Bobby, then at the President.  The
	President stares at the cup of coffee in his hands, as if
	trying to read the Fates' design in it.  A long beat, and
	everyone holds their breath.

				THE PRESIDENT
		No.  I want confirmation there wasn't
		some sort of accident first.

	LeMay clears his throat.  Everyone looks at him, expecting
	him to scream or jump up and down.

				LEMAY
		I think that's a good idea, Mr.
		President.  It'll be safer for my boys
		to get those SAMs on Monday when we get
		the rest of the bastards.  I can wait a
		day and a half.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Very well, then.

	But he says it without any belief in the words, realizing
	they're being tied fast to the train tracks of war.

	INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

	Alone in his office, shattered, Kenny stares out the window,
	viewing the distant Ellipse through a gap in the trees.  Kids
	are out there playing football.  He glances at his watch, and
	grabs his jacket.

	EXT. WHITE HOUSE - DAY

	Kenny puts on his jacket as he goes down the steps into the
	bright autumn day, walking away from the White House.  It
	drops behind him -- his step is faster, more urgent.

	EXT. STREET - DAY

	Kenny walks down the sidewalk, drawn toward the Ellipse.  The
	sixth grade FOOTBALL PLAYERS sweep forward with a running
	play.  Kenny scans them, searching, his breath coming hard.

	EXT. ELLIPSE - DAY

	He reaches the edge of the open field.  And then he spots the
	name on the jersey: O'Donnell.  It's Kevin. The players
	relinquish the ball and the offense comes off the field. 
	Kevin sees his dad.

				KEVIN
		Hey!  Dad!

	Kenny manages a smile as Kevin trots over.  Kevin pulls his
	helmet off.  They stand there a long beat, Kenny desperate to
	take him up, abandon his post... but he doesn't.

				KENNY
		Hey, sport.  You winning?

				KEVIN
		Yeah.

	But Kevin sees the turmoil in his father's face.

				KEVIN (CONT'D)
		Is everything going to be okay, Dad?

	Kenny's forced smile is answer enough.

				KENNY
		Yeah, Kev.  Everything's gonna be fine.

	But Kevin knows.  Together they know.  The end of the world
	is at hand.

				KEVIN
		I guess you won't be coming home
		tonight.

				KENNY
		I, uh...

	Suddenly a car HONKS.  Kenny turns around.  Bobby is leaning
	out the rear passenger window of his limo.  And he sees what
	Kenny is doing.  He doesn't want to cut in, but has to.

				BOBBY
		Kenny!  We need to talk.

	Kenny looks back at his son.

				KENNY
		Get back out there, kid.  Remember to
		hit 'em hard.

				KEVIN
		What about you?  Where are you going?

				KENNY
		Back to work.

	Kevin puts his helmet back on his head.  Kenny watches as
	Kevin jogs off to rejoin his team.  Kenny turns his back on
	his son, and strides for Bobby's limo, dying inside.

	EXT. SANS SOUCI PARKING LOT - DAY

	Kenny and Bobby stand by their car off to one side of the
	restaurant's parking lot.  Bobby's Secret Service Agents
	maintain a discreet distance.

				KENNY
		If we're going to make a deal, we're
		going to have to do it fast.  This is
		only getting out of control.  The only
		reason we're not at war this very minute
		is he's been able to stretch, bend and
		break his own rules.  He won't be able
		to keep it up forever.

	Bobby jams the last bit of sandwich in his mouth.  A beat. 
	Kenny looks him in the eye.

				BOBBY
		And?

				KENNY
		And Jack wants to trade the missiles in
		Turkey.

				BOBBY
		The Jupiters are obsolete.  They were
		supposed to have been dismantled last
		summer anyway --

				KENNY
		-- Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  I told you
		how stupid it was to float the Lippman
		article!  But you wouldn't listen to me. 
		What if there hasn't been a coup at all? 
		What if it's you two who invited that
		second letter by raising the possibility
		of a trade?

	Bobby is speechless with rage.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		And if the two of you are thinking this
		trade is your ace in the hole, you're so
		wrong.  It's a deuce.

	Bobby's beyond furious.  They catch their rising voices.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		And it's not just me who thinks that. 
		Everyone on this so-called EXCOM is
		telling you exactly the same thing: make
		the trade, and they're going to force us
		into trade after trade until finally
		they demand something we won't trade
		like Berlin, and we do end up in a war.
			(beat)
		Not to mention, that long before that
		happens, this government will be
		politically dead.

	Bobby simmers for a long beat, thinking.  And boy, does this
	guy hate admitting he's wrong.

				BOBBY
		All right, so maybe we overestimated how
		reasonable this trade would look.  Okay? 
		You happy?  So now what?

				KENNY
		So now you've got to talk him out of it. 
		And then we've got to figure out an
		acceptable political solution.

				BOBBY
		And if there has been a coup and there
		is no acceptable political solution?

	Kenny stares off at the city, agonized.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

	Kenny enters from his office, finding Bobby, Rusk and
	Sorensen talking with the President.  The President gives him
	a brief, meaningful look.

				RUSK
		Whatever response we send, it will take
		several hours for the wire to be
		received by our embassy and delivered to
		the Kremlin.  So we're looking at early
		tomorrow morning at the earliest before
		Khruschev could respond.

	As Rusk talks, Kenny passes close by Bobby.  Bobby whispers:

				BOBBY
		He gets it, but he's pissed.

				THE PRESIDENT
		That's all well and good, but what do we
		say to 'em?

				SORENSEN
		It depends on if we really believe
		there's been a coup.

	That strikes a cord with Kenny.

				KENNY
		I agree.  If there has been a coup, and
		there's a hard-line government in power
		now, then it doesn't matter what we say. 
		The end of the day we'll either agree to
		their terms, they'll agree to ours, or
		we'll go to war.  But what if there
		hasn't been a coup?  What if... what if
		what is happening is a series of
		accidents?

				SORENSEN
		The second letter is an accident?

				KENNY
		No.  The letter is an intentional, but
		it's having an effect far greater than
		its authors intended.
			(beat)
		What if our Jupiter missiles are just a
		last minute haggle to salvage something? 
		Maybe a bone Khruschev is throwing to
		the hard line, not really caring if we
		reject it or not?
			(beat)
		And then these accidents have happened.

				BOBBY
		Making the second letter and the overall
		picture look worse than it really is.

				SORENSEN
		The Guns of August.

				KENNY
		Exactly.
			(beat)
		If they're sane and human like we are,
		then maybe we just refuse, and they'll
		let it slide, like we've been letting
		things slide.

				SORENSEN
		So we reject the second letter.

	And Kenny looks at Bobby.  The world stops.

				KENNY
		No.  We don't reject it...

	It hits Bobby like a lightning bolt.

				BOBBY
		... We accept the first letter and
		pretend the second doesn't exist.

	The President, Rusk and Sorensen stare at him, mute.

		INT. CABINET ROOM - NIGHT

	HOLD ON the exact same mute reaction from the entire
	assembled EXCOM.  Finally McCone breaks the spell.

				MCCONE
		It won't work --

	Bobby, Kenny and Sorensen start to object, but McCone raises
	his voice over theirs.

				MCCONE (CONT'D)
		-- because it's wishful thinking!  It's
		the same wishful thinking that blinded
		us all these months while the Soviets
		were sneaking those missiles in under
		our noses!

	McNamara shakes his head, intrigued but skeptical.

				MCNAMARA
		Ignore the second letter, agree to the
		conditions of the first...

				GENERAL TAYLOR
		There's no reason to believe the Soviets
		will let it go.

				RUSK
		Max is right.  Why will they accept it?

				MCNAMARA
		It can work.  If, IF they believe we'll
		hit them.

	Kenny, Bobby and Sorensen look at McNamara, grateful.

				MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
		We've only got time for one more round
		of diplomacy.  The first airstrikes
		start in less than 36 hours.

				RUSK
		But we have to make them agree to it. 
		So how do we do that?

	The President leans forward.  Sensing he's about to speak,
	all eyes turn to him.

				THE PRESIDENT
		We give them something.  We tell them
		we'll remove the missiles from Turkey
		say, six months from now so that there
		appears to be no linkage.  We also tell
		them if they go public about it, we deny
		it and the deal is off.

				KENNY
		And we do it under the table so we can
		disavow any knowledge of it.

				MCCONE
		It's transparent.  The press'll be all
		over it.

				KENNY
		Six months from now, I'm not going to
		care.  Are you?  We'll deal with it.

				MCNAMARA
		At least it will expose whether
		Khruschev has been overthrown.  We'll
		know what we're dealing with.

				KENNY
		And if this is a move to appease the
		hard line, then it may just be the bone
		he needs to regain control of his own
		house.

	Most EXCOM is nodding, agreeing.  McCone shakes his head in
	disgust.  Taylor sits in silence.

				RUSK
		Whoever carries the message has to hit
		the nail on the head.  Come across as
		too soft, they'll push us.  Too hard,
		they'll be cornered and even more
		dangerous.

				MCCONE
		They could pre-empt.

	It's a terrible responsibility to bear.  The room is silent. 
	At last Bobby looks up from his folded hands to his brother. 
	The President stares back.  There is nobody else who can do
	this.  Only Bobby. His brother.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Bobby.  You know Dobrynin best.

	Bobby nods, taking up the gauntlet.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		Ted, you get working on the draft.

	Sorensen and Bobby rise as one, head for the doors.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		And make sure he knows we have to have
		an answer tomorrow.
			(beat, final)
		Because on Monday we begin military
		action against Cuba.

	Bobby and Kenny exchange a look.

	EXT. WEST WING DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

	A LONG SHOT: Bobby emerges from the West Wing in his
	overcoat, briefcase in hand.  He pauses, tiny, alone.  The
	West Wing - and all its imposing spotlit power behind him -
	reduced to this insignificant man on his eleventh-hour
	mission.

	And then, out of the shadows, in the f.g., steps Kenny in his
	own coat, his breath frosting in the late-night air.  Bobby
	sees him, and knows he is not so alone anymore.

	ON THE DRIVEWAY

	They meet in front of the limo.  Bobby stops, shuffles his
	things, awkward.

				BOBBY
		What do you want?  A good-bye kiss?

	Kenny opens the driver's side door.  The Secret Service LIMO
	DRIVER peers out.

				LIMO DRIVER
		Hey, Kenny.

				KENNY
		Hey, Joe.  Listen, I'll take care of
		him.  Go ahead in, grab some coffee. 
		We'll be back pretty quick.

				LIMO DRIVER
		You sure?

	Kenny's nod and look -- there's no arguing.  The Limo Driver
	hops out, and Kenny gets in.  Bobby stands there outside for
	a beat.  He tries to hide how touched he is, but can't
	completely.

				KENNY
		What's the matter with you?  Forget how
		to open a car door?

	INT. BOBBY'S LIMO - NIGHT

	Bobby recovers, opens his own door, gets in the front seat
	next to Kenny.

				KENNY
		Jesus, you rich people.

	Kenny starts up the engine.  Bobby smiles a twisted smile. 
	As the car pulls away, the two men sit in silence, neither
	willing to admit how glad the other is there.

	EXT. PENNSYLVANIA AVE. - NIGHT

	The limo wheels out into the street, carrying the two friends
	into the darkness.

	INT. BOBBY'S LIMO - NIGHT

	Bobby stares out the window at the passing city, the lights
	the lives behind those windows.  As the car drives on and on,
	the tension returns.  Bobby feels the weight of all those
	lives.  On him.  A long beat.  He gazes at Kenny, the only
	man he could ever admit this to:

				BOBBY
		I don't know if I can do this.

	Kenny glances over at him.  Bobby stares back.

				KENNY
		There's nobody else I'd rather have
		going in there.

	Bobby looks at him.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		Nobody else I'd trust Helen and the
		kids' lives to.

	Kenny means it.  He looks away.  Bobby shifts, awkward.

				BOBBY
		Take a left.

	Kenny looks him.  This isn't the way to the Justice
	Department.  But he complies.

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		We gave so much to get here.  I don't
		know.  Sometimes I think what the hell
		did we do it for?

				KENNY
		Because we knew we could do a better job
		than everyone else.

	And Bobby, in the silence and closeness of the car, turns on
	Kenny - anguished, knowing his life is at its climax.

				BOBBY
		You know... I hate being called the
		brilliant one.  The ruthless one.  They
		guy who does the dirty work.  The one
		everybody's afraid of.  

	Kenny looks to him, moved, not knowing what to say.

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		I hate it.  I'm not smart, you know. 
		And I'm not so ruthless.

	He looks to Kenny, searching his face, then away,
	embarrassed.

				KENNY
		You're right about the smart part, but
		ruthless, well...

	That breaks the tension as they arrive at the scene:

	THROUGH THE WINDOW

	Appears the grim, square lines of the SOVIET EMBASSY.  Police
	cars line the streets outside it.  All the windows are dark. 
	A cordon of KGB GUARDS in plainclothes stand by the gated
	entrance.  On the opposite side of the street lounge two
	dozen WASHINGTON D.C. POLICE.

	RESUME

	Kenny gives Bobby a look.  Bobby rolls down his window.

				BOBBY
		Slow down.  Smell that?

				KENNY
		Smoke.

				BOBBY
		Just wanted to see for myself.
			(beat)
		They're burning their documents.

	The final duty of an embassy before war...

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		They think we're going to war.  G-d help
		us, Ken.

	EXT. SOVIET EMBASSY - NIGHT

	THE CAMERA lifts away from the limo, turning toward the
	Embassy, past the Guards, past the brass plate which reads
	EMBASSY OF THE UNITED SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, up and up
	to the roof where black, reeking SMOKE billows from all of
	the Embassy's several chimneys.

	The CAMERA races into it.  It engulfs us all.

	EXT. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT - NIGHT

	Kenny squeals the limo up to the curb in front of the Justice
	Department.  The doors fly open, and Kenny and Bobby jump
	out, head up the steps to the building.

	INT. HALL OUTSIDE BOBBY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

	Bobby's STAFFERS greet them as they stride down the hall,
	Staffer #1 taking Bobby's coat.

				STAFFER #1
		Sir, Ambassador Dobrynin is already
		here.  We have him waiting in your
		office.

	They reach the double oak doors to Bobby's suite and stop. 
	Bobby faces Kenny.

				KENNY
		I'll whistle up some luck for you.

	And before Kenny's eyes, all of Bobby's doubt vanishes.  In
	its place, a severe confidence.  A grandeur Kenny has never
	seen.

	It makes Kenny pause.  He beholds his best friend become a
	man of the ages.  And then Bobby SMOOTHLY opens the door.

	INT. BOBBY'S WAITING ROOM - NIGHT

	And a DOOR SHUTS OC like a threshold of history.  HOLD ON
	Bobby's waiting room.  Silent.  Cavernous.  Dim.  Plush
	carpet.  Heavy drapes framing dark windows.  And abandoned
	secretary's desk.  A row of sofas and chairs on either side
	of the room.  Two doorways, one at either end of the room.

	A WOMAN sits in one of the chairs for visitors.  Dressed in
	gray.  Prim.  But beautiful.  A secretary of some sort.

	One of the double doors to the hall swings silently open. 
	Kenny glides in.  He sees the other door shut at the far end
	of the room.  Kenny crashes in one of the chairs to wait.

	HOLD ON THE SCENE, motionless, silent.

	Kenny WHISTLES two notes.  Stops.  And then he begins to
	WHISTLE the Irish tune, O'Donnell Aboo.  He gets a bar into
	it -- and there's a polite, soft COUGH.

	Kenny stops.  Then notices the Woman in gray across the room. 
	He didn't see her.  It's dim over there.  She looks at him,
	expressionless.

	The CAMERA FINDS: a pin on her lapel.  A RED HAMMER AND
	SICKLE.

	Kenny reacts.  Dobrynin's assistant?  His opposite number?  A
	friend?  Or more than a friend?

	Here is the face of the enemy.  Not a smile between them. 
	Kenny resumes his ease.  And begins to WHISTLE again.

	The haunting Irish song echoes in the vaulted ceiling,
	filling the dim room.  Strange, sad, beautiful.  The woman
	listens.  And her face begins to soften.  

	Kenny stares at the dark, lonely windows, his SONG striving
	to fill the empty room.

	Kenny sinks deeper in the chair, his tune all-consuming...
	and the Woman's voice breaks in.  Kenny stops, looks over. 
	Her voice is tremulous and beautiful.  Just a snatch of some
	song in Russian.  She stops, awkward.

	Kenny stares.  The Woman stares back.  No smiles.  But in
	their eyes, they each see the other's fear, the other's
	beauty, the other's humanity.

	So this is the enemy.

				THE WOMAN
		Who are you?

	Kenny glances to the door.  He considers for a long moment.

				KENNY
		The friend.

	Kenny breaks the gaze.  He begins to whistle again.  The
	CAMERA drifts away, finding the far DOOR to the inner office,
	Kenny's tune stronger, carrying with it hope...

	INT. BOBBY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

	... to the other side of that DOOR.  Dobrynin sits in a chair
	opposite Bobby behind his desk.  The room is equally dim. 
	And far more tense.

	Silence.  And then the FAINTEST STRAIN of O'Donnell Aboo. 
	Dobrynin glances briefly over his shoulder at the door.

	But Bobby, unseen by Dobrynin, can't help the flicker of a
	private smile.  It's Kenny's presence, and Bobby is the
	stronger for it.  And then the tune is gone.

	Bobby leans forward, cool, controlled, masterful.

				BOBBY
		Ambassador Dobrynin, we are aware that
		at this moment your missiles in Cuba are
		at the brink of operational readiness...

							SMASH CUT TO:

	EXT. MISSILE SITE - CUBA - CONTINUOUS

	Floodlights illuminate MISSILES, vertical on their erectors,
	support VEHICLES, clustered across the man-made clearing.

	Mask-wearing Technicians wave a FUEL TRUCK back to the
	nearest missile.  Clouds of toxic VAPOR rise from the others. 
	They've already been fueled.

				BOBBY (V.O.)
		They are a vital threat to my country. 
		If launched, they would kill 80 million
		Americans.

							SMASH CUT TO:

	INT. BOBBY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

	Dobrynin listens impassively, as is his professional duty.

				BOBBY
		My brother, my friends, my countrymen
		and I cannot and will not permit those
		missiles to become operational.
			(beat)
		I promise you that.

	Dobrynin looks out the window.  And then, pained, looks back
	at Bobby.

				DOBRYNIN
		Then I fear our two nations will go to
		war.  And I fear where war will lead us.

	Bobby acknowledges him with a nod.

				BOBBY
		If the missiles do not become
		operational, if you remove the missiles,
		then there will be no war.
			(beat)
		At this moment, the President is
		accepting the terms of Secretary
		Khruschev's letter of Friday night.  If
		the Soviet Union halts construction
		immediately, removes the missiles, and
		submits to U.N. inspection, the United
		States will pledge to never invade Cuba
		or aid others in that enterprise.

	Dobrynin stares at Bobby.  Stares hard.

				DOBRYNIN
		If your Jupiter missiles in Turkey were
		removed also, such an accommodation
		could be reached.

	The two men move their argument forward with the deliberation
	and formality of chess masters.

				BOBBY
			(tired sounding)
		The United States cannot agree to such
		terms under threat.  Any belief to the
		contrary --
			(beat)
		-- was in error.

	Dobrynin reels internally.  The only sign on his face is a
	slight tremor.  Bobby looks up, registers the calculated
	effect.  And to Dobrynin's horror, the Russian believes:

				DOBRYNIN
		You want war...

	But not so fast.  Bobby folds his hands.  And he smoothly
	goes from hard-ass brinksman to sensitive deal-maker.

				BOBBY
		However, while there can be no quid pro
		quo on this issue, the United States can
		offer a private assurance.

	Dobrynin holds his breath.

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		Our Jupiter missiles in Turkey are
		obsolete, and have been scheduled for
		withdrawal for some time.  This
		withdrawal should be completed within,
		say, six months.

	Dobrynin lets out his breath.

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		Of course, any public disclosure of this
		assurance would negate the deal and
		produce the most stringent denials from
		our government.

	Dobrynin grasps the move immediately, understanding the
	ramifications.  Still he hesitates a moment.

				DOBRYNIN
		This private assurance represents the
		word of the Highest Authority?

				BOBBY
		Yes.

				DOBRYNIN
		And it can be relayed beyond Comrade
		Khruschev's ears to the top circles of
		my government

				BOBBY
		Of course.  Our pledge can be relayed to
		any government official Secretary
		Khruschev sees fit to satisfy.

	Meaning this is the bone he can show the hard line.  Dobrynin
	struggles internally, knowing what Bobby has done, wanting to
	hug him.  It comes across as agitation.

				BOBBY (CONT'D)
		With the caveat that it is not made
		public in any way, shape or form.
			(beat)
		And we must have an answer tomorrow at
		the latest.  I cannot stress this point
		enough.

				DOBRYNIN
		Tomorrow...

				BOBBY
		Tomorrow...

	Dobrynin rises from his chair.  Bobby rises with him.

				DOBRYNIN
		Then you must excuse me and permit me to
		relay the substance of our discussion to
		my superiors.

	Dobrynin heads for the door.  Half way there he turns back to
	Bobby, deeply moved.  Deeply grateful.

				DOBRYNIN (CONT'D)
		We have heard stories that some among
		your military men wish for war.
			(beat)
		You are a good man.  Your brother is a
		good man.  I assure you there are other
		good men.  Let us hope the will of good
		men is enough to counter the terrible
		strength of this thing which has been
		put in motion.

	INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

	Kenny enters the Oval Office through his side door.  The
	office is dark, only the desk lamp on.  Kenny's gaze moves
	over the trappings of power: the carpet with the Presidential
	Seal, the rocking chair by the fireplace, the desk.

	And on the desk, tucked almost out of sight, sits a small,
	humble wooden plaque.  It's turned to face the occupant of
	the chair behind the desk.  Kenny reaches out, turns it
	around.  It is the Breton's Fisherman's Prayer.

	It reads: OH LORD, THY SEA IS GREAT, MY BOAT SO SMALL.

				BOBBY (O.S.)
		We're out here.

	Kenny holds on the plaque a beat, and looks up at the open
	French door to the Rose Garden.  The curtains swirl around
	him in the wind as he goes through the door and out --

	EXT. PORTICO - CONTINUOUS

	-- onto the portico.  Standing there in the dark, by the
	white neoclassical pillars of the cloister, are Bobby and the
	President.  They're holding drinks.  Kenny joins them.

	The President gestures out across the South Lawn to the
	gleaming Washington Monument.

				THE PRESIDENT
		We were just debating who had it worse,
		us or George Washington and his guys.

				BOBBY
		He didn't have to worry about nuclear
		weapons.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Yeah, but the country didn't even exist
		as a country yet.  It was a mess, and he
		didn't have a leg to stand on.

				KENNY
		All he had was his character.

	The President and Bobby nod at the justice of that remark.

				BOBBY
		How does a guy get a rep like that?

				THE PRESIDENT
		Doesn't matter to me.  If I went down in
		history like Adams, I'd die happy.  All
		they say about him today is --

				KENNY
		-- he kept the peace.

	Kenny looks at the President.  The President feels it, and
	gazes back to him.

	The three of them stare out at the glittering city.  The
	grandness of the world lies before them, and they are
	deciding its fate, and are humbled by the awfulness of it. 
	The silence is beyond power.

	And for a long moment, they know not to disturb it.  There is
	nothing left to say.  The President, at last, finishes his
	drink.

				THE PRESIDENT
		You know, we never did control it.  Not
		really.  Not like we think.

	He looks at Kenny.  Kenny nods.  He knows that now too.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		But we did our best.  Now it's up to
		them.

	EXT. O'DONNELL DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

	Kenny's limo pulls away, leaving Kenny, coat in hand, at the
	bottom of his driveway.  He watches it go, silently urging it
	to return for him with some call from the President telling
	him he's desperately needed.  But it doesn't.

	He turns to his house.  The lights are all out.

	He notices he's CLUTCHING the handle of his briefcase.  His
	knuckles are white.  With conscious effort, he unfolds his
	hand, letting the briefcase drop on the driveway.

	He stands alone, stripped of his friends, his family, his
	job... and in that moment, mute, impotent in the shadow of
	Armageddon, Kenny is our Everyman of the Nuclear Age.

	INT. O'DONNELL KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

	Helen stands in the kitchen, a ghostly white figure in her
	robe, the windows open and curtain flapping as she breathes
	the air.  Kenny enters.  He stands in the doorway.

				HELEN
		I saw you out there.  You want him to
		call you back, need you.

				KENNY
		No.  I'm glad I'm home.

	And she knows the worst.

				HELEN
		How long do we have?

	Kenny's voice breaks. 

				KENNY
		If the sun rises in the morning, it is
		only because of men of goodwill.
			(beat)
		And that's all there is between us and
		the Devil.

	They take each other in their arms, the wisdom of the atomic
	age so simple, so tenuous, every human life hanging by such a
	thread... yet a thread so powerful.  The CAMERA RISES FROM
	THEM, finding the OPEN WINDOW and the DARKNESS.

	INT. O'DONNELL BEDROOM - DAWN

	The RED DOME OF NUCLEAR FIRE rising over Washington.  It
	roils the air in its expanding, blood-red glory.

	It is the sun.  The dawn in the East.

	PULL BACK THROUGH THE OPEN WINDOW.

	SUPER: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28TH.  DAY 13

	into Kenny and Helen's bedroom.  And silence.  Kenny and
	Helen lie together on the bed.  The light burns into Kenny's
	half-shut eye.  Kenny is only dimly conscious of the light's
	meaning.  Until the PHONE SHRILLS downstairs.

	Kenny is instantly up, launched out of the room.

	INT. O'DONNELL KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

	Kenny snatches the RED PHONE from its hook.

				KENNY
		Yeah?

				BOBBY (O.S.)
		Kenny.  It's over.

	EXT. ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH - DAY

	THE CHURCH BELLS TOLL in raucous celebration.  Kenny, Helen
	and the five O'DONNELL KIDS join the throng packing through
	the doors to the church.  They're all smiling except Kenny
	who searches fro faces in the CROWD.

	And then he spots Bobby with his FAMILY.  Bobby grins at him. 
	That makes Kenny grin back.

				RADIO MOSCOW (O.S.)
		This is Radio Moscow.  Moscow calling.

	But Kenny keeps looking.

				RADIO MOSCOW (O.S.) (CONT'D)
		The following statement is the text of a
		letter from General Secretary Khruschev
		to President Kennedy.

	Kenny spots him emerging from the Presidential limo,
	surrounded by Secret Service Agents - John Kennedy.  His
	FAMILY also is with him. 

				RADIO MOSCOW (O.S.) (CONT'D)
		...I regard with respect and trust the
		statement you made in your message of 27
		October 1962 that there would be no
		attack, no invasion of Cuba, and not
		only the part of the United States, but
		also on the part of the Western
		Hemisphere, as you said in your same
		message.  Then the motives which induced
		us to render assistance of such a kind
		to Cuba disappear...

	Kennedy, greeting well-wishers, a brilliant smile on his
	face, is carried through the crowd toward Kenny and the doors
	of the church.

				RADIO MOSCOW (O.S.) (CONT'D)
		...it is for this reason that we have
		instructed our officers - these
		missiles, as I already informed you are
		in the hands of Soviet officers to take
		appropriate measures to discontinue
		construction, dismantle them, and return
		them to the Soviet Union.

	EXT. MISSILE SITE - CUBA - DAY

	the base has been half-dismantled over night.  Fuel trucks
	pull away, lumping down the makeshift dirt road.  Across the
	site missiles are lowered, their nose cones being removed.

	A MISSILE on its transporter, Technicians crawling all over
	it, COVERING IT with a tarp.

	A massive Soviet Helicopter's rotors thunder as it lifts off,
	cargo crates swaying under it, a CLOUD OF DUST FROM ITS WASH
	FILLING THE SCREEN, WIPING US TO:

	INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

	EXCOM laughing, celebrating, half-drunk already this Sunday
	morning.  The President shushes the group.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Hey!  Hey.  Okay, that's enough.

	The group quiets down.  The Presidents stares at them, calm,
	firm.  They sober up quickly.  Kenny listens, expectant.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		I don't want any gloating.  This is not
		a victory over the Soviets.  It's a
		victory with the Soviets.
			(beat)
		I want everyone to remember that.

	INT. WEST WING HALLWAY - DAY

	Kenny rounds a corner.  McNamara, Bundy and McCone are
	talking, excited, hushed, standing to one side, down the
	hall.  Kenny eyes them as he draws closer, and then they
	notice he's approaching.  Bundy nods him over, confidential.

				BUNDY
		We've been talking.  We can play this
		big in '64.  It's the foreign policy
		trophy we've been waiting.

	Kenny sickens.  He tries to listen, but it all begins to
	blur.

				BUNDY (CONT'D)
		I think we can ride it all the way home
		next election.  Bet you're way ahead of
		us, eh?

	Bundy slaps Kenny on the back.  Kenny is pale.  Is what
	they're saying possible?  But Bundy and McCone are too
	wrapped up in their schemes to notice Kenny's distress.

				MCCONE
		We've ordered crash reassessment of our
		major geopolitical hotspots.  We've got
		a lot of new clout, and we can run the
		table on the Soviets.  Middle East,
		Southeast Asia...

	And Kenny, sad, moved beyond all pity and loathing, realizes
	it is possible.  They haven't gotten it.  He is speechless,
	helplessly shaking his head.  Bundy finally sees something
	isn't right with him.

				MCNAMARA
		What's wrong, O'Donnell?

	Kenny can't speak.  Can't find the words.  But tongue-tied
	finally manages:

				KENNY
		Don't you understand?

	McNamara and Bundy look at him funny.

				BUNDY
		Understand what?

	Kenny just looks at them, eyes filled with sorrow.  They
	begin to feel uncomfortable.

				KENNY
		The sun came up today.

				BUNDY
		Yeah.

				KENNY
		It shouldn't have.  But it did.

				MCCONE
		We were lucky we were able to keep it
		under control.

	Kenny looks away, unable to bear it.

				KENNY
		Every day the sun comes up... says
		something about us.

				BUNDY
		Says what, Kenny?

	Kenny looks back at them.

				KENNY
		Something... amazing.

	They just stare at him.  And with secret smiles, superior
	smiles, they nod.

				MCNAMARA
		Sure, Ken.  I understand.  Feels good to
		win, doesn't it?

	But they don't understand, and together turn away.

				BUNDY
		See you later, Kenny.

	Kenny watches them, heads bowed in discussion, disappear into
	the labyrinth of the West Wing.  Kenny turns his back on
	them.

		INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - DAY

	The President stands at his mirror, tying a bow tie to a tux
	for some Sunday special event.  Kenny gathers up his folder
	from nearby breakfast table.

	Kenny meets the President's gaze in the mirror, and the two
	men know they have been to the same mountaintop.

				THE PRESIDENT
		Kenny...

	A beat.  Kenny stands straight, ready for action, ready for
	some necessary thing.  Ready to go back into the game.

				THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
		...never mind.  See you around, Kenny.

	Kenny starts to leave, but at the door, turns back.

				KENNY
		You know...

	The President looks at him in the mirror.

				KENNY (CONT'D)
		...this was what we're here for.

	The President smiles an ever-so-faint smile.  Kenny turns and
	leaves the room, vanishing, and as we HOLD on the empty
	doorway, the simple, whistled melody of O'DONNELL ABOO drifts
	from the hallway beyond, becoming our END MUSIC.

	FADE OUT

	SUPER:

	Shortly after the crisis President Kennedy ordered a
	reassessment of U.S.-Soviet relations, ushering a brief thaw
	in the Cold War.  During this time, the Washington-Moscow
	hotline was installed to ensure that in a future crisis,
	miscommunication would not lead to nuclear war.

	The President was assassinated on November 22nd, a year after
	the crisis ended.

	THE SUPER:

	Bobby Kennedy ran for president in 1968.  After winning the
	California primary, he called Kenny from the Ambassador Hotel
	in Los Angeles and told him, "I finally feel like I'm out
	from under my brother's shadow."

	Bobby was assassinated minutes later.

	THEN SUPER:

	The members of EXCOM continued  to serve with distinction in
	government in various capacities over the next three decades.
	As Lyndon Johnson's Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara
	urged containment of the Soviet threat in every theatre of
	conflict around the world.  He ultimately advised President
	Johnson to increase the U.S. military commitment to one of
	these minor backwater conflicts: Vietnam.

	AND FINALLY SUPER:

	Kenny O'Donnell witnessed the President's assassination from
	the car behind.  He went on to head the Peace Platform at the
	1968 Democratic National  Convention, fighting to end the
	Vietnam War.  He died in 1977.