For All Mankind – S02E06 – Best-Laid Plans [Transcript]

American astronauts and NASA leadership prepare for a new mission with unlikely partners. Ellen gets in touch with an old friend.
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For All Mankind - S02E06 - Best-Laid Plans

Original release date: March 26, 2021

* * *

[whistle blowing]

[playing Russian national anthem]

[band continues]

If I can pretend to be happy, so can they.

Sixty years of socialism will wipe the smile off anyone’s face, comrade.

Sergei Orestovich Nikulov.

[speaks Russian]

Sergei Orestovich Nikulov.

Margo Madison.

Sergei Orestovich Nikulov.

Thomas Paine.

Sergei Orestovich Nikulov.

Ellen Wilson.

Thomas Paine.

[Ellen] Pleasure.

[speaks Russian]

[speaks Russian]

Uh… Oh. [chuckles]

I’m sorry, I– I don’t really speak fluently.

Uh, okay. Hi.

Welcome.

Hello.

Hello.

Danielle Poole, Apollo commander. Welcome to Houston.

Stepan Petrovich Alekseev, Soyuz commander.

Exciting day, isn’t it?

This is gonna be a great mission for our two countries and for the whole world.

[band continues]

[Margo] At approximately 0700 hours, the respective spacecraft will be in position with the docking module mated to the Apollo command module.

Soyuz will execute a 60-degree roll maneuver and then maintain attitude while Apollo maneuvers along the V-BAR until contact.

And soft capture will complete the final docking procedure.

[woman clears throat]

[people whispering]

Any questions so far?

Hard-docking will be followed by main chamber pressure equalization.

Astronaut One will enter the docking module from the Apollo craft and close their hatch.

Astronaut Two remains at the command module controls.

And from Soyuz, Astronaut Three will open their hatch to the docking module, while Astronaut Four also remains at the control–

[chattering in Russian]

Cosmonauts should not be referred to as “Astronaut Three” and “Astronaut Four,” as though they are, uh, afterthoughts.

We would suggest “Cosmonaut One” and “Cosmonaut Two.”

Uh…

Sure.

Sorry.

The terminology is purely for the sake of convenience, but I will make that adjustment.

[Sergei] We would also suggest “Soyuz-Apollo” as the name of the mission.

For the sake of convenience.

[Molly scoffs, laughs]

[sniffs]

Sorry.

Let’s move on to ship-to-ship communications.

Our astronauts and your cosmonauts will need to be able to talk to each other.

[Sergei] Agreed. What is your RF encryption protocol?

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

[speaks Russian]

[whispering in Russian]

Huh.

You first.

Okay.

Maybe we should just talk about something very basic.

The docking itself.

It seems like the most logical approach would be for you to provide us with your Soyuz docking system, which we can install on our module.

The Apollo side will be the active mechanism, and the Soyuz will be passive and–

The Soyuz side will be the active mechanism, and the Apollo side will be passive.

That would require a complete redesign on our part.

Yes.

[chattering]

Jesus, what was that?

Reschedule everything.

Paine here.

Yes, Senator, my apologies.

Four hours closer to the heat death of the universe, I’ll be damned if I know what we accomplished.

[Bradford] Well… Well, that’s progress, Soviet-style.

They won’t spec us. We won’t spec them.

If we can’t share the most basic information, how are we supposed to get anywhere?

[scoffs] We’re not.

What?

Look, nothing would make the Pentagon any happier.

Just string this thing along till the Soviets take their ball and go home, or the president forgets he gave his approval for this crazy idea in the first place.

[Ellen] Oh, my God.

[Margo] This is great.

Just great.

Margo, I for one am confident in your ability to make things not happen.

[Helena] Make ready.

Fire.

[no sound]

Whoa.

Careful, Fred Astaire.

[Vance] Action’s still pretty awkward in these suits.

Range is clear.

[Vance] Charles, check the target.

[breathing heavily]

Maggie’s drawers.

Really? No.

M-Maggie’s drawers?

Means he completely missed the target.

[Charles] Missed the backstop too.

Come on!

Any idea where it went?

Nothing I can see.

[Tracy] Could be in orbit.

No one’s ever shot a rifle here before, so for all we know that bullet might be going round the moon and coming right back around in a short while.

I mean, who knows, really?

But, Vance, just to be safe, I wouldn’t stand in that same spot if I were you.

[man chuckles]

[marines chuckling]

Shit.

[Jason] Don’t look at me.

[Helena] She got you.

[laughing]

Come on, Vance. Stick to shooting.

[chuckling continues]

[Tracy] Jamestown control, LSAM 2 has cleared the pad.

How’s the ride out there, y’all?

[Jason] Sweet. I can almost feel the wind in my hair.

[Vance] I can almost feel that thruster on my face.

All right. Now, that shadow down in Shackleton, that’ll simulate night for our practice run.

For the real deal, we’d wanna come in fast and low, so the Russians won’t have time to react.

Copy that.

How close to the canyon floor do you think we can get?

Uh, I could probably get you down to five meters.

[Vance] Five meters?

Uh, well, that’s me.

I’ve had a lot of stick time on this beast.

I wouldn’t recommend y’all go lower than 20.

Yeah, I don’t wanna go lower than 20.

[both chuckle]

[Tracy] All right, we’re in line for the final run. You ready?

[Charles] Ready.

[beeps]

You have the spacecraft. No fancy shit.

Copy that.

Whoa, now.

[Tracy] All right, all right. You’re in no hurry.

Just a straight shot from here.

Twelve o’clock all the way.

We’re gonna do a couple of low passes, and then we’re gonna try to land, all right?

Whoa. Watch your roll rates. You’re overcompensating.

[alarm beeping]

[Helena] Hang on.

[Vance] Jesus, Bernitz.

[Charles] I got this.

I got it. Shit.

I got the vehicle.

[alarm stops]

[Charles] Damn it.

[Helena] What the hell was that?

[Jason] Are you drinking and driving again, Bernitz?

[marines laughing]

[chuckles]

[Charles] Yeah, that’s funny.

Tricky beast.

Tricky beast.

[Vance] All right. Tracy, you take us in for the rest of this run.

Charles, we’ll have to find some more stick time for you later.

Roger that.

[Charles sighs] Roger.

[Bill] Okay.

You’ve heard the expression “crap rolls downhill.”

And this is now officially the bottom of the hill.

We’ve gotta come up with a totally new design for the module’s docking system that’s not based on either preexisting system.

[murmuring]

I keep telling ya, don’t raise your hand, Vic.

This isn’t high school. What’s your question?

So, you want us to design a new docking system from scratch?

That’s the mandate.

The bosses want it, and they want it fast.

Without any Soyuz structural interface data?

I want first proposals on my console by morning.

[murmuring]

How are we supposed to–

I heard you the first time.

So, yeah, so why didn’t you answer me the first time?

That is a design issue for the design team, which you are not on.

If Design has a question, they will ask it.

I put you on Ops because that’s your skill set.

Stay in your lane, Aleida. Please.

[chattering]

[beeps]

[Margo] Tom.

Don’t say it.

Please make this go away.

No.

Nobody wants to do it.

The president does.

Come on. I doubt he even remembers it.

You could shitcan this thing in five minutes.

You’re probably right. But I won’t.

I want to do it.

Why?

The handshake in space is my shining city on a hill.

[chuckles] Your what?

City on a hill. You know, John Winthrop.

“We shall be a shining city on a hill, with eyes of the world upon us.”

But this time the eyes of the world will be lifted to our shining city in the sky.

Four astronauts and two capsules do not a city make.

You’re missing the point. This is for history.

Someday people will write the history of this time, and they will say that during the coldest depths of the Cold War, when the competition for space was at its fiercest, America and the Soviet Union put aside their differences and joined together in a symbolic gesture that inspired the world and helped lay the foundations for reconciliation and peaceful coexistence between the superpowers.

You really believe that?

Anything is possible. But America must lead by example.

The president himself said so. “City on a hill.”

We didn’t build that city, but we have to do our best to make it sparkle.

Then we need to blink first.

No. No can do.

Force them to compromise, or find some win-win scenario.

Like what?

I don’t know. That’s your job.

[Margo stammers]

[groans]

[whispers] Shoot.

[Michaels, on TV] Protesters across the country have decried the launch as dangerous due to the nature of the cargo, which contains a much-needed resupply of nuclear fuel for the Jamestown lunar base.

We will now take you live to the US missile range at Guam for the countdown.

[Ed] Look at that. A lot of security out there.

They got a whole carrier task force.

Well, it doesn’t seem very safe.

What if that thing explodes in the atmosphere?

[man on TV] …phase three expansion of the Jamestown colony.

Well, that’s why we’re launching from the middle of nowhere, Karen.

[Karen] Look, it’s risky, Ed. All right?

It’s not just another payload. That thing’s carrying plutonium.

[man on TV] …two, one.

Ignition.

[Ed] See?

No fiery, radioactive explosion. It’s just another day at the office.

Hooray.

[Michaels] It looks as though the immense American supply rocket has cleared the missile range, leading many to breathe a sigh of relief.

[typing]

Hey, Dad?

Mmm?

What’d you write your essay about when you got in?

Oh, God. Um, that was such a long time ago.

Probably something about why I wanted to go to Annapolis.

Thanks, Dad.

Look, just… tell ’em who you are.

They’ll love you.

[Michaels] …as the crisis in Panama continues to unfold.

As the main resupply rocket…

Okay. Who am I?

…element of the American space program.

The Panama Canal is the only possible route for the rocket to reach Guam as it is too large to be moved over land.

But after the daring rescue of US servicemen, which resulted in the deaths of two Panamanian guards…

Why did you adopt me?

[chuckles]

Come on, Kel.

You know this. Must’ve told you a thousand times.

[TV continues in background]

[Ed] When we walked into that adoption center, and– and we saw you sitting by the window, helping one of the younger kids put together a puzzle.

You were so kind and patient.

I mean, we knew right away.

Yeah, it was love at first sight.

[Ed] Yeah.

No, I mean, why didn’t you have another baby?

[Ed exhales]

Uh…

Well, Kelly… it was difficult.

I– I had some– some medical issues, and I– I didn’t think I could.

[Ed] Then we saw this report on the news.

They called it Operation Babylift.

Yeah, you called me from the Shamrock while it was still on TV.

Yeah, I remember.

Yeah, we watched it together over the phone.

[Kelly] The Shamrock Hotel?

That’s, like, ten minutes away.

Yeah, I, uh, stayed there for a while.

It was temporary.

Were you guys separated?

We were going through a rough spot.

After Shane died.

Yeah.

We– We still loved each other very much.

But every time we looked at each other all we saw was him.

[Ed] And then we saw that report on TV.

All those children from Vietnam that were brought over here in the hope of finding them a better life.

That’s all we talked about that whole car ride.

We were so excited.

It was the most that we had spoken to each other in weeks.

Yeah.

[Kelly] So, I was your…

Band-Aid.

What? No.

Y-You were not a Band-Aid, Kelly.

Honey, you were our heart transplant.

Yeah.

It’s okay, Mom.

[Dani] I did not know we were supposed to bring gifts.

[man] Neither did I.

[both chuckle]

Thank you. Very nice.

Mm-hmm.

[grunts]

Um…

I would love to know a little bit more about you both.

Uh…

What drew you to the space program?

All right. Uh, why don’t I start out?

Yeah.

Okay.

Uh, well, I always loved flying. Ever since I was a little girl.

[chuckles]

My father taught me. He was a cargo pilot in Memphis, Tennessee.

Something about being up there in the clouds always makes me feel like I’m still close to him.

And then when NASA opened up the program to female astronauts, well, I just jumped at the chance. [chuckles]

I was in Soviet Air Force.

Selected for cosmonaut training by superior officer.

Joined program.

[door opens]

Food’s here. [chuckles]

Thank God.

[Dani] Uh…

Now this is, uh, borscht and piroshki from the best Russian restaurant in town.

[man] The only Russian restaurant in town.

[Dani chuckles]

[door closes]

[man speaks Russian]

[Stepan speaks Russian]

Um, is– is there a problem? Is there something wrong with the food?

We would like, uh, hamburgers.

Hamburgers?

Mmm.

[rock music playing]

[Karen] Here you go. Good to see you, Dani.

Can I get you guys anything to drink?

Mm-hmm.

Mm-hmm.

Vodka?

Do you have Jack Daniel’s?

Yeah, think we can track that down.

[Dani chuckles]

[Stepan] Mmm.

To Apollo-Soyuz.

No.

Uh, to Soyuz-Apollo?

No, no, there is an order to the toasting.

First, to fallen comrades.

To Vladimir Komarov,

Viktor Patsayev, Georgy Dobrovolsky, to Vladislav Volkov.

Soyuz 1, Soyuz 11?

Da.

All right.

Uh, to Gus, Ed and Roger.

Apollo 1.

To Patty, Harry… Deke.

[glasses thud on table]

If you had mixed nitrogen with your oxygen like Soviets, perhaps Apollo 1 astronauts would still be alive.

And maybe if your cosmonauts on Soyuz 11 had worn pressure suits during reentry like Americans do, they’d still be alive too.

Or maybe we could just say shit happens.

I hope shit doesn’t happen when we are 200 kilometers above the planet.

So, what’s the next toast?

The second toast is, um, to the women.

[chuckles]

I’m the only one here.

[speaks Russian]

It is a plural. To the women, all the women in the world.

Mmm.

To the ladies. I can drink to that.

[both chuckle]

[exhales]

I really love being with you, I do, but I’m just…

[sighs]

I don’t know what’s gonna happen here.

And I’m not going to toss my whole life aside for you again.

I– I’m not asking you to.

I just–

I don’t know. That we could keep figuring out what this is.

This is an affair.

That’s what this is.

It doesn’t have to be just that.

I’m serious.

Honestly, it’s…

[sighs]

[sighs]

It’s just… it’s hard– It’s hard to trust you.

After everything that happened, I… I was in a different place back then.

You’re still at NASA.

What, are they– [chuckles] …they more accepting of alternative lifestyles in the Reagan administration?

Who says I have to stay at NASA?

You just got a promotion.

I don’t care.

I don’t.

I know what I want.

And it’s not a promotion, and it’s not NASA, and it’s not any other thing in this world but you.

And I don’t care who knows it.

Ellen. This is not the place.

I don’t care anymore.

I love you.

[exhales] I love you.

I couldn’t say it ten years ago, and I lost you, but I’m saying it now, and I am ready to do whatever it takes to keep you.

[women murmuring]

You’re a public figure.

I don’t want Elise finding out about this because someone saw us holding hands in a park.

That’s fair.

You gonna tell Elise?

You gonna tell Larry?

Yeah.

Yeah, I guess I am.

I have to tell my husband I’m leaving him for another woman.

[chuckles]

This is a weird life. [sniffs]

[Pam chuckles softly]

Yes, it is.

[Ed] AR data looks good.

[Gary] Copy. Taking AR data to GNC.

[Ed] I see it.

[Sally] Okay. HUD power on.

[Ed] Copy that.

Speed, Mach 0,98. We are subsonic. Two minutes from touchdown.

Copy that. Taking manual control.

[whirring]

She feels good. Let’s see how she flies.

Passing 14,000. Speed, 390 knots.

[SIM controller] Pathfinder, Kennedy.

Weather aircraft reports unexpected heavy clouds moving in at 9,000.

All right, Mr. Piscotty, check your flight controller power is on and nose wheel steering set to one.

Verified.

KSC runway 33 should be out your window as we come around the HAC.

Call field in sight.

All right, we’re in the clouds now. Flying blind. On instruments from here.

[alarm beeps]

IMU-2 is showing us two kilometers right of our landing path.

[Gary] Other units show zero error. Must be malfunctioning.

[alarm beeps]

Primary flight computers three and four have failed to sync.

One and two are still good.

[beeping stops]

Okay, Mr. Piscotty, you’re me.

What do you do next?

Take computers three and four off-line.

Mm-hmm.

Now how are we looking?

On centerline and on glide slope. 8,000 feet, 307 knots.

Coming right down the middle, skipper.

Is that right?

Looks to me like we’re about to feed the alligators.

So…

[whirring, hums]

Now, tell me why I did that.

It’s something about the navigation units.

Which IMU is the backup computer using to guide us down?

Three and four are off. It’s gotta be one or two.

IMU-2, which showed us too far to the right. We can’t trust it.

[rattling]

[whirs]

You changed our course to the right to compensate for the error.

And… straight down the fucking middle.

[chuckles]

[speaks Russian]

Hello?

[opera plays]

[Sergei] Come in, please.

[opera continues]

[door closes]

[Margo] Working late?

Uh, sorry to interrupt.

[speaks Russian]

Writing reports to Moscow.

Bureaucrats, they love their reports.

Do not know what they do with them, but they love to get them.

Sounds familiar.

Might help if you played something a little more lively.

[opera continues]

I keep waiting for them to play something else, but…

There’s more than one radio station in Houston.

Top 40, country-western, jazz.

It would not be wise for me to be listening to non-politically approved music at work.

[opera continues]

Right.

We need to find a way around this roadblock with the docking mechanism.

It is not negotiable and cannot be worked around.

Sergei, this whole mission is predicated on our being able to dock our two ships together in some way.

One might even believe Soyuz-Apollo is a ruse to obtain Soviet specifications solely to give Americans a military edge in space.

I assure you, it is an advantage you will not keep for long.

If that’s what you believe, you should pack your bags and head back to Moscow.

Good night.

[jazz plays]

[music stops]

[scattered applause]

That was, uh, certainly lively.

I’ll take that as a compliment.

As I intended.

Wasn’t sure if you’d be able to give your babysitter the slip.

[chattering]

[jazz playing]

[sighs] They know I would never defect.

I’m on a long leash, and, uh, I– I know enough not to bite the hand that holds it.

This is a secret place for you?

What makes you say that?

It would seem unwise for us to meet at a place where we might be recognized.

I don’t see any of your colleagues.

It… [sighs]

…is a secret place for me.

[jazz continues]

But not because of the music?

No, not the music. I… just don’t choose to share this part of my life with many people.

It’s private.

Something I do for– for me.

So, to our shared secrets.

[song ends]

Mmm.

[chattering]

What is the meaning of this name?

It refers to the Doomsday Clock. You know, 11:59?

Midnight is nuclear apocalypse.

Gallows humor.

Not far from the truth.

One minute to midnight.

Do you really think so?

We have civil defense drills in all our major cities now.

You know, they stopped during the ’70s. Now they are back.

It feels very real to us.

Very real.

[Margo] I remember doing civil defense drills when I was a little girl.

Teacher had us stack all the furniture up against the windows to counter the blast.

But then they showed us a film that said you were supposed to hide under the desk during an attack.

So, were you supposed to stack the desks or hide under them?

I used to lie in bed at night and… think about that.

So, what do we do about our docking problem?

What?

Get me a knife.

Okay.

Soyuz.

Apollo.

Houston, we have docking.

[chuckles]

[Tracy] ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪

That was yesterday, Mom.

♪ Happy belated birthday to you ♪

Mom, cut it out.

♪ Tried to make some time for you But the phone was booked up ♪

Thanks.

What’d y’all do?

Dad baked a cake.

He baked a cake, or he bought a cake?

Yes.

Yes, what?

He baked a cake, and then we bought a cake, because the oven wasn’t working right.

So the oven’s broke now?

That’s what Dad said.

[snorts]

I wanna see a picture of this cake.

We destroyed the evidence.

Course you did.

Oh, God. I think the last time your father tried to bake you a cake you were six.

Do you remember that?

Yeah, the trauma remains.

[chuckles]

Remember when you got me the Bonanza board game for my eighth birthday?

No one could figure out the rules. So Dad just started making stuff up.

[snorts] Oh, he was– he was hysterical.

Ah.

Your father used to make me laugh.

I mean, I swear, he could just look at me and I’d bust up sometimes.

Mmm, those were happy times.

I miss those days.

Yeah, me too.

You do?

Oh, sure.

Yeah. I mean, if– if I could go back, you know, I…

[man] Almost done, Stevens?

Ah, shit. I’m about to run outta time, darlin’.

Bye.

Well, I have about 30 seconds…

You little shit.

[typing]

[sighs]

[sighs]

[rock music playing]

Any requests?

I enjoy automobile crash category.

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

[hums]

[Stepan] Do you like dog?

Dogs?

[scoffs]

Of course. Who doesn’t?

Not dogs.

The dog. Laika.

Mmm.

Laika.

The first living being to go to outer space.

Can’t top that.

To Laika.

I held her in my arms.

For a minute or two.

At the launch?

As a cosmonaut candidate, part of my training.

I was still, uh, practically a boy.

[Dani chuckles]

What was it like?

What was she like?

This big.

Very bright eyes and very curly tail.

[chuckles]

She was pretty cute in the pictures.

They put her in “preferred” classification.

Spirited but balanced, adaptable to new situations.

Mmm.

Sounds a lot like us. [chuckles]

Uh, astronauts, I mean. Cosmonauts.

The data from the dog flight informed the selection process for human beings.

Mmm.

See? That makes it all worthwhile.

Her… sacrifice.

Death, you mean.

When we launched her into the orbit with no means of return.

Yes. Her death.

[sighs]

Seven days in orbit.

She was the first to see the Earth from outer space.

The moon. The stars.

And then peacefully went to sleep.

We should be so lucky.

All lies.

The rocket did not separate as planned.

Thermal control failed.

The capsule overheated.

She suffered and died a few hours later after only… three orbits.

Wow.

Nobody knows that.

You do now.

But she was still the first.

Her name will be remembered when we are all moondust.

“Sacrifice for the motherland.” It’s what Pravda said.

[scoffs]

She only wanted to go home.

Think about all the other dogs who fell out because they were too spirited, too scared, too annoyed with the centrifuge, the sledge, the confinement, hell, the shitty food.

But Laika? She stuck it out.

Yeah. To please her trainers.

When a hundred other dogs decided otherwise.

What are you saying?

I’m saying give her some credit.

Some agency.

She went to outer space for the people she loved and for anybody who loved her back, including a young cosmonaut who held her in his arms, only for a minute or two… on that launchpad.

That’s how she died.

Not for all of humanity.

For the people she loved.

Just a scared little thing, in the end.

-[clinks]

To Laika.

To Laika.

[siren wailing in distance]

[crickets chirping]

Three capture latches will work for the initial dock, but–

But we will need at least double that for the seal itself.

At least.

[voice muttering]

[snorts, chuckles]

[speaks Russian]

Someone is sleeping in my bed!

Hello?

[Aleida] Uh, hang on.

Aleida?

Oh.

Hi.

Friend of yours?

Yes.

No. It’s a long story.

Aleida Rosales, one of our junior engineers.

Sergei Orestovich Nikulov.

Very good.

I’m a quick study.

Sergei is head of the Soyuz program.

Cool.

What are you doing here at this hour?

Uh, the universal docking system.

I figured I needed some inspiration, so I thought, go to the source.

Is that under your purview?

No, not really.

[Sergei] She’s good. Keep her.

Engineers who like to get their hands dirty are the best.

Thanks.

He’s drunk.

[Sergei] I am not.

Not much. [chuckles]

Oh, my God.

That’s… beautiful.

[Margo] It really is.

[Aleida] Identical on both sides.

Each petal has a latch either side can grab.

But it won’t work.

What?

It’s all petals and latches.

There’s nothing to disperse the energy of contact.

If you hit hard, you could rupture the hull.

Of course. We need a shock absorber.

A ring. Right there.

[Sergei] Okay.

Let us begin.

I guess we’re doing this tonight?

Didn’t look like you had anywhere to be.

A completely androgynous docking system.

No active probes, no passive cones, no male or female components.

Three petals, on both sides, simultaneously latching with identical actions.

[murmuring]

[speaks Russian]

[murmuring]

Very clever. This will work for us.

Now, leading up to the approach, the two crafts will need to coordinate their approach, so…

Soyuz frequencies are 121,75…

[murmuring in Russian]

…and 130,167 megahertz.

296,8 and 259,7.

[murmuring]

[speaks Russian]

Guess the cat’s out of the bag now.

I guess so.

[Tracy] I mean, lunar night’s just around the corner.

I don’t think Charles is gonna be ready.

LSAM’s a bitch to fly until you get the hang of it.

I like those guys though.

Yeah, they’re funny.

I like their attitude.

First to fight, semper fi, oorah. [chuckles]

My brother was like that.

Oh, it’s one of the things I love about Gordo.

He was one cocky piece of hot shit once upon a time, but you know that.

Maybe I was too.

Guess people change. Except for you.

You’re all perfectly preserved down there.

Never gonna… turn into some scary old skeleton with a bad haircut.

And you did have a bad haircut. I hate to break it to you.

Nah, you’re gonna remain just as you are now.

Permanent. Unchanging.

Something that lasts.

Yeah, nothing lasts on Earth.

It’s always changing.

[woman] Mr. Cleveland will see you right away.

Thank you.

[clock ticking]

[footsteps approaching]

Hey, you got a library card?

I left it at home.

[chuckles] You’re gonna have to leave a deposit at the desk if you wanna check anything out.

[chuckles]

How you doing, Gordo?

Just fine, Sam. How are you?

Couldn’t be better.

Plutarch.

Yeah.

Yeah, I read it when I was a kid. Loved it.

Who the hell reads Plutarch as a kid and loves it?

I did.

Heroic tales of brave men long past.

[bottle uncorks]

Just like you.

Hey, I hear you’re going back to the moon.

Wine?

Yeah, sure.

Yeah. Heading up in a few weeks.

[wine pouring]

Good for you. Glad to see you getting back in that saddle.

That’s why I wanted to talk to you, Sam.

Um, about me going back to the moon.

Thomas Jefferson himself owned this very bottle.

Oh, you don’t wanna…

Yeah, course I do.

What’s it for unless you’re gonna drink it?

I don’t even wanna tell you what that bottle cost.

But I will tell ya what that glass is worth.

[sniffs]

That’s about $1,500.

Oh.

Oh.

Exactly. So drink it slow.

You know what? I can’t even watch you do it.

It’s like I’m pouring money down your throat. Okay?

[chuckles softly]

Am I right?

Tommy Jefferson’s loss is our gain.

I know. [chuckles]

Here, have a seat. Tell me what’s on your mind, Gordo.

[Sam clears throat]

[sighs]

I’m getting Tracy back.

Is that right?

That’s right.

So I thought I’d come here and, you know, tell you face-to-face my intentions.

I’m going to the moon.

And I’m gonna get my wife back.

[chuckles]

You’re serious.

I don’t mean to stand on ceremony, but, um, she’s actually my wife now.

For the moment.

You know, I figured that I owed you the courtesy of a heads-up.

[chuckles]

You got some balls there, Gordo Stevens. I’ll give you that.

Well, listen, I guess I could reach over there and punch you in the nose right now.

Or, uh…

Or maybe I’ll let you go ahead and try.

‘Cause I don’t think she’s going anywhere, Gordo.

I really don’t.

That a fact?

That is a fact.

She’s made her choice.

And when Tracy makes up her mind, neither man nor beast can change it.

She’s a wild horse, Gordo.

She can’t be caught.

Tracy goes exactly where she wants to go, and she does exactly what she wants to do.

One of the things I love about her.

So you can go all the way there, and you can try your very best to win her back.

But you know what the truth is.

She ain’t mine, she ain’t yours.

She’s hers.

And if she picks you, nothing on earth I can do about it.

But if she picks me… nothing up on that moon you can do about it.

It was good talking to you, Sam.

Yeah, well, see you around, Gordo.

There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.

You met someone.

How did you…

Oh, come on, El. You’re practically glowing.

[chuckles] Give me the details.

Where’d you guys meet? What’s her– What’s her name?

[chuckles]

Uh, her name is Pam.

Pam Horton? Seriously?

How’d that happen?

She sent me her book.

She’s a writer now?

Yeah, a poet.

[chuckles] Of course she is.

What’s that supposed to mean?

No, it’s just, I’m, uh…

Holy cow. [chuckles]

Well, good.

Good for you. You look happy.

I am.

That’s all that matters.

Larry–

Just surprised that she’s up for the whole… you know.

Last time she was pretty adamant that you had to come out or she wasn’t going to…

Oh.

Yeah.

Wow.

Okay. Um…

It’s…

It’s time.

It’s time?

I– I didn’t know that there was a time. What– What are you saying?

I’m saying that we should start– we should start living our real lives.

Maybe think about getting a divorce.

A divorce?

You walk in here and you just announce that we’re getting a divorce?

Larry, we’re not really married.

What, because we don’t sleep together?

Well, for one thing, yeah.

So that’s your definition of marriage?

No, Lar–

I love you, Ellen.

I do. And I thought that we were sharing a life… together.

We have plans.

[sighs]

Now that’s just over?

I know. I know. But this wasn’t meant to last forever. You know that.

Mars, the asteroid belt, the moons of Jupiter, the–

The future is there for the taking.

And you and I are the perfect people to seize it.

I’m alone, Larry.

Really alone.

You– You have Peter.

And before that there was John. And before that there was…

David.

David. But I’m not you.

I– I go to sleep alone every night, and I wake up alone every day.

And it’s not like I haven’t tried looking over the years, I have, but there’s been no one since her.

I love you, Larry.

I do. I love the life we’ve built here together. It’s amazing.

I don’t want to lose you.

But I love her… in a different way.

Like… Like my…

Like my heart stopped for ten years and then suddenly started beating again.

Okay. Okay.

Really?

For my wife, anything.

Oh! Oh, thank you!

We don’t have to do anything right away.

You mean you’re not coming out before you go to the airport?

No. [chuckles]

I’m gonna miss my flight.

We’ll, uh–

We’ll talk when I’m back.

Yeah.

Safe travels.

[door opens]

[door closes]

Where’s our brass band?

[men speaking Russian]

[Russian continues]

[weapons, equipment clattering]

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