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Thirteen Days (2000)

by David Self, Ernest R. May & Philip D. Zelikow (book "The Kennedy Tapes - Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis".)

More info about this movie on IMDb.com


FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY


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.

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