Original release date: April 16, 2021
* * *
No exit. Chest needle. Right now, goddamn it.
What the hell are you doing?
His lung collapsed. I’m relieving the pressure. We bought him some time. Get him to med bay and cut this goddamn suit off him so I can see what I’m dealing with.
Did we lose anybody?
Commander Rossi? Houston’s on the horn. They’re plenty riled.
Yeah, so am I. On me.
The other Russian?
Didn’t make it. Jason’s bringing his remains in now.
Lopez and Bernitz are still out at the site.
What the hell happened out there?
We were giving them the warning when they went for a crate that could have had weapons in it.
So we took them under fire.
What do you mean, “could have had weapons”?
Did they grab guns or not?
It happened fast.
We perceived a hostile intent, and we reacted.
They didn’t have weapons, sir.
Turns out one of them was going for their translation card when I when I shot him.
Colonel Paulson, Major Webster, are you sure there were no Russian weapons on-site?
Before I take this to the president, I need to know just how bad it is.
We’re sure, ma’am.
And the cosmonaut, will he survive?
We don’t know.
Okay. Keep us informed.
This isn’t good.
Wars have started over a lot less.
World War I started with a gunshot and killed 20 million people.
Well, if this turns into World War III, 20 million is gonna seem like a car accident.
You good, Trace?
How do you make it stop?
Just give it time.
The first violent acts on the moon have been perpetrated by the United States of America.
US Marines, armed with automatic weapons took one of our mining sites by force and shot two of our cosmonauts in cold blood.
But the Soviet Union will not be intimidated.
We have reliable intelligence that the next American Sea Dragon rocket plans to deliver nuclear weapons to the moon.
We will not allow this.
If it attempts to do so, it will be destroyed.
Just how the hell do they intend to do that?
Shoot Sea Dragon down during the launch?
I don’t think they have the ability to pull that off.
If they break our COMSEC, they could veer it off course, sending it crashing into the ocean.
A recon satellite just detected a launch from Sakhalin Island.
No. It’s their shuttle, Buran.
Guess the Soviets either fixed the problem or waited for warmer weather.
CIA says it’s armed.
To the teeth.
If Buran’s overhead, they could bomb Sea Dragon 17 from orbit, and we’d never see it coming.
And that’s not all they can hit.
Let’s go. They’re tracking it at DODCOM.
Three hours and all Buran’s done is dock with their space station.
Maybe we’re overreacting.
It’s their first shuttle flight.
It could have nothing to do with Sea Dragon.
Buran could just be running a docking test, like we do with Skylab.
I’d like to believe that.
But air force Intel says they’ve been stockpiling fuel on that station.
And you didn’t tell me?
Not relevant to NASA operations.
Our shuttles need to refuel before they burn for the moon, so they’re maybe not testing anything.
Buran’s separated from Mir.
They’re picking up substantial delta-V in the TLI window.
They’re headed for the moon.
Buran could shoot down Sea Dragon before it enters lunar orbit.
The Russians are blockading the moon.
Well, well, well, look who’s got a new pair of spectacles.
Told you it would happen to you too.
Sit your ass down.
Just one of the many wonderful experiences you’re gonna enjoy in your golden years.
Hair loss, kidney stones, colostomy bags.
You done, Ed?
What do you want to talk to me about?
DOD is taking over your mission.
Apparently the Soviets have sent Buran to the moon to stop Sea Dragon.
I can’t believe they’re trying to pull this shit.
Do they really think we’re sending nukes up there?
This entire blockade is just an excuse to cut off our people on the moon.
And we can’t let that happen.
What else can you tell me?
Not much. DOD has locked this one down pretty tight.
What I do know is that they’ve moved your launch date up to the day after tomorrow.
General Bradford will brief you on the details.
Be safe up there.
We’re taking Pathfinder to the moon?
That’s the word from up on high.
We’re going up against Buran.
Hell of a test flight.
Look, our nuclear engines are solid, but there are still plenty of things that can go wrong.
I know, it’s risky.
But we need to make the Russians think twice about stopping Sea Dragon 17 from reaching the moon.
Pathfinder is the only ship that can do it.
So we’re riding shotgun.
We’ll rendezvous with Sea Dragon in Earth’s orbit and then escort her to Jamestown.
And if the Russians don’t back down?
Then we will intercede.
With radar-guided missiles, each carrying over a hundred pounds of high explosives.
Pretty convincing intercession. And our missiles have a longer range.
No. Okay, so, just to clarify, is the plan for us to shoot down Buran before they fire at Sea Dragon?
If anyone fires, we’ve failed.
Our job is to discourage them from doing so.
So we’re playing a game of chicken with missiles.
It’s like LBJ said, whoever controls the high ground of space controls the world.
Now… if you choose to remain on this mission, we’re wheels up to the Cape in four hours. Launch in 48.
What are these for?
Well, if our return to Earth ends up in hostile territory, we may need to defend ourselves.
You can’t be serious.
The Russians do it. They have since the ’60s.
And we can’t let Pathfinder end up in their hands, so we’d need to destroy her.
Look, I realize this isn’t what either of you came to NASA to do.
If you choose to drop out… I won’t hold it against you.
I’m not gonna let you two face the Soviets with a subpar NERVA technician.
Just one thing, Ed.
What the Russians are saying about nuclear weapons aboard Sea Dragon 17.
Look, I honestly don’t know.
What you got, Nick?
A demand from the Russian commander of Zvezda.
He wants to send a team to recover his people.
Both of ’em.
He sounds pretty cranky.
Yeah, that’s an understatement.
What should I tell him?
That his injured cosmonaut remains unconscious, and I will consult my superiors concerning his request.
That’s all? You sure?
Russians understand deferring to chain of command. It’ll buy us time.
Be polite. But not too polite.
We should get going. That nurse said it would be good if we got there early.
You read the materials?
Pretty mind-blowing, don’t you think?
That it is.
Okay. Out with it.
I don’t know, just that injecting antioxidants into your eyes seems a bit extreme.
Well, so is my glaucoma.
This is the first doctor who said he can help me.
Not true. The others said…
The others said they could slow it down, not stop it. This guy is…
Is telling you exactly what you want to hear.
Okay, Wayne. Did you read the case histories?
Ninety-two percent of his patients recover their sight after just three treatments.
Molly, those are all anecdotal, okay?
He doesn’t provide any supporting research, no clinical trials, no peer-reviewed analysis by certified specialists…
Because the medical establishment is opposed to what he’s doing.
And why do you suppose that is?
Because they don’t want the competition?
Because all they think about is money?
As opposed to this guy, who wants ten grand up front and 15 after that and whatever the hell…
Wayne, this is my first ray of hope.
You are not gonna piss all over it!
Molly, this guy is a charlatan.
You don’t know that!
I do. My father…
Your father was part of the medical establishment!
Okay. Just stop and listen to me for one moment, please. All right?
Look, I know you’re scared, but if you go down to this guy’s clip joint in Juárez…
It’s not Juárez. It’s Guadalajara, okay?
It’s not some sleazy border town.
It’s a state-of-the-art medical facility. Did you look at the pictures?
I don’t give a damn about the pictures, Molly!
They wanna stick needles in your eyes!
Okay? Who knows what shit they put in there!
You could go blind right then, or get an infection, or even die.
I’m sorry, but it’s just too risky.
I don’t know, Wayne.
All I know is I gotta fly.
Okay? And if I don’t, then.
I don’t know. I don’t know.
I don’t know.
No. All right. Come on, Molly. I’ll drive.
You will not. I’m not blind yet.
At a news briefing this morning, White House press secretary Larry Speakes revealed elements of the Soviet Northern Fleet have been spotted a hundred miles off the coast of Colombia, headed for the Panama Canal.
The provocative move comes on the heels of the Soviet Union’s lunar blockade.
All leave has been canceled for US military personnel, and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger announced
American forces have been moved to DEFCON 3.
That must be why the USS Carl Vinson and the Third Fleet left the Philippines last week.
I bet they’ll be reaching the canal anytime now.
What? You’re not interested?
Your father just got home. Dinner’s almost ready.
Make sure there’s water on the table.
I can’t stay.
Pathfinder’s launch got moved up. Day after tomorrow.
I’m on my way to Ellington now, but I didn’t wanna leave without seeing you both.
That’s so rad.
Why’d they move it up?
Well, that’s classified.
Wait, it’s not something to do with Panama, is it?
Are you gonna use the Pathfinder against the Soviet fleet?
Kelly, he just said he can’t tell you.
Are you gonna be okay?
No, he can’t promise you that.
You wanna be in the navy, Kelly, this is part of the gig.
Sometimes you get deployed without any warning, and the one thing you can never do is promise the people you leave behind that you’re going to be okay.
‘Cause they will hang on to that promise like it’s a lifeline.
And it’s not real. Right, Ed?
Look, she’s right. I can’t promise that nothing’s gonna happen, but.
I feel very confident. Okay?
Any luck, I’ll be back the week after you start school.
I love you, Dad.
I love you too, kiddo.
More than you’ll ever know.
Walk me to the car?
I’m fine. I’m just tired.
Is it about the mission?
Ed, we’ll talk about it when you get back, okay?
That doesn’t sound good.
Yeah. Well, now’s not really the time. You have to focus on Pathfinder.
That’s right. And I won’t be able to if you don’t tell me what’s going on.
Ed, I need to sit with it. I don’t…
Sit with what? What are you talking about?
Let it go. We’ll talk about it when you get home.
No, no, no. No.
No, we made a pact, remember?
Yeah, I know. I…
We made a pact.
You and me, we don’t keep any secrets from each other anymore.
I’d never go out on some mission without knowing what was going on back home.
Ed. I know.
No. You need to tell me the truth.
We wouldn’t keep any more secrets.
Yes, Ed. I know…
Just tell me. Tell me, Karen!
I slept with someone.
And I wasn’t drunk or crazy or didn’t know what I was doing.
It was a decision that I made.
Doesn’t matter who.
The hell it doesn’t.
It was a onetime thing.
It’s not gonna happen again, Ed, okay?
What the hell, Karen?
What is this? You want out?
This is your way of asking for a divorce?
I don’t know. I don’t know!
You don’t know if you wanna stay in our marriage?
I don’t. I really, really don’t anymore.
I think that we need counseling.
To fix things, or blow ’em up?
To figure this out.
We need to figure this out, okay?
When you get back, that’s what we’ll do.
We’ll go to counseling and figure it out.
You don’t get to just drop a bomb in the middle of our lives and then just say that “yeah, we’ll figure it out.”
No, no. You need to decide.
You need to decide whether this marriage…
Is something that you’re interested in saving.
Really, Ed? Life’s a little more complicated than that.
Don’t give me that bullshit. It’s not complicated.
You’re either in or you’re out.
No, it’s not that simple, Ed.
You just don’t like to live in the gray.
I don’t like to live in the gray. What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
You like it simple, Ed. You want up or down, in or out, yes or no.
You live in a perfect binary world that the rest of us don’t live in.
We live in the… I live in the gray, Ed, where everything is complicated and nothing is simple.
Webster, it’s time.
How many Russians did they say are coming?
The State Department agreed to two.
What if they bring more?
They wait outside.
They’ll be here in three hours.
All right, I want eyes on both these assholes every moment they’re here.
If one of them has to drop a deuce, I want a marine in the head with him to make sure he doesn’t dump Semtex in the plumbing. Am I clear?
Aye, aye, sir.
Aye, aye, sir.
Around the globe, thousands are protesting the United States’ recent shooting of two cosmonauts in a dispute over lunar mining claims.
In Panama the protesters cheered at the arrival of the Soviet Northern Fleet.
In a related story, musician John Lennon will hold his concert for peace in Madison Square Garden Friday night.
Tickets sold out in mere minutes.
During the rising friction of the last few months, Lennon has been an outspoken critic of both the Americans and the Soviets…
Ready for another one?
Here we are.
Are you okay?
I just need to… slow down a little.
Okay, we’ll just slow down a little bit.
How long you been divorced?
What makes you think…
Tan lines on your ring finger.
Takes a while for that to go away.
So how long has it been?
It’s kinda hard to say.
Divorce hasn’t gone through yet.
That is a bad time.
Caught between one world and the next.
Best thing to do is not think about it.
Don’t think about anything.
Just be here. Just be right here.
I’m not divorced or separated.
I’m just going through a rough spot.
I don’t wanna know.
Little advice, make up your mind before you buy somebody a drink and turn on the charm.
Welcome to Jamestown, Colonel Tsukanov.
I’m Colonel Rossi, commander of Jamestown.
Where is our comrade?
Your doctor may examine the patient. You will wait here.
No. I will go with him.
That wasn’t the agreement.
You are to wait here.
I can get you a cup of coffee, if you like.
This way, Doctor.
You keep your medical bay sealed off?
It’s routine for a non ambulatory patient.
And the room can double as a hyperbaric chamber.
Does not seem to have helped the cosmonaut you shot.
It was a mistake. I…
It was an unprovoked act of aggression.
You should be charged and tried before an international court.
All of you.
For the moment, let’s keep this to the medical issues.
Pathfinder standing by. We have a green light.
Standing by for Sea Dragon launch.
All systems green. Sea Dragon launch confirmed at 4:36 local time.
Pathfinder, Houston. Just got word from Guam.
Sea Dragon 17 has launched.
Roger that, Houston.
IMU alignment matches FRED’s. RTB window still good.
Say again, Gary?
I said we have good IMU and RTB window, skipper.
Copy good IMU and RTB window.
Y’all ready for the inaugural flight of the most bad ass nuclear rocket ever to grace God’s green Earth?
Houston, we are configured for NERVA flight.
Looking good here, Pathfinder.
FRED PLV, Houston is go for pushover and sep.
FRED rogers go for pushover.
Altitude 25,000, speed 270.
Pushover in three, two, one, pushover.
Houston is go for separation.
Altitude 22,000, speed 270. Launch ready.
Sep in three, two, one.
I show good sep.
Pathfinder, FRED is clear for NERVA start.
Let’s light ’em up.
It’s all you, Sally.
I show green on the control drum actuator.
Throttle control is all yours, skip.
Thought you’d like that.
Houston, we are under nuclear power and hauling ass.
Engine cutoff in five, four, three, two, one, cutoff.
Pathfinder is in orbit.
How nice of them to keep us in the loop. Pathfinder’s on track for rendezvous.
Copy that. Sea Dragon rendezvous burn in 20 minutes.
Pathfinder, you’re right smack-dab on trajectory and go for orbit.
Expect Sea Dragon rendezvous burn in 19 minutes.
Fly a ship into space.
That’s what we dreamed about in flight test.
The X-15 could fly so close to space that we could see it.
Always just out of reach.
No bone damage. Good.
Bullet must have hit something before.
Do you have theory as to why he remains unconscious?
Hypoxia. And possibly DCS from loss of suit pressure could have knocked him out.
Might have caused brain damage.
We will not know unless he wakes.
I want this to happen under my supervision.
Please prepare him for travel.
Doctor, you know he won’t survive the trip.
That is your opinion.
He is my countryman. We are taking him home.
Not while I command Jamestown.
I will protest to my government.
Feel free to do so.
Let me see Ilya Yozhkin.
We suspect the bullet made a spark when it entered his suit.
Like ours, your suits contain pure oxygen.
We can help you carry…
No, you will not touch him! None of you.
We will take care of him.
You know what to do when you hear the beep, so do it.
Hey, it’s me. I have to head to…
Was just leaving you a message.
I gotta get to the Cape.
Help prep with the launch of Apollo 75.
Yeah, you need ten grand to do that?
I saw you took the money out of our savings.
You’re going to Guadalajara, aren’t you?
Congratulations, Columbo. You cracked the case.
Yeah, so you’re just gonna let some tent show huckster blind you, or worse?
What do you want from me, Wayne?
Can you imagine me with a white cane? Can you?
Helping me up and down those stairs, driving me around, wiping my ass because I can’t find it anymore?
No. No way.
You do this and I won’t be here when you get back.
Don’t be so melodramatic.
No, I’ve put up with a lot of shit, Molly. A lot.
Because I love you desperately, right?
But… this is as far as I can go.
I won’t watch you do this.
Free at last.
Any idea what a burden you’ve been all these years?
Tiptoeing around your phobias…
You wanna talk about fears, Molly? This right here is cowardice.
Man, I have clung to the back of rockets!
I have been to the moon more times than I can count!
You can barely watch it on the TV, but I’m the coward?
No, no, no! Don’t do that.
My wheelchair-bound mother in assisted living has more guts than you do.
Then go live with her.
Hey. Hey, get the doc in here.
Easy, buddy. Doc will be here soon.
This is Jamestown Base.
Yes. Yes, we are Americans.
I’m Major Helena Webster.
I wish to defect to United States.
Jamestown is American soil.
The cosmonaut has requested asylum, and we’re going to grant it.
The president told Ambassador Dobrynin a half hour ago.
He thinks we’re lying. Holding their man against his will.
They’re convinced we’re interrogating him.
I find it a bit hard to swallow myself.
I mean, we did shoot the man, and now he wants to defect.
You ever eaten the food in the Soviet Union?
Rossi’s moved him out of critical care.
So the plan is to transport him down here on the next shuttle trip later this month.
Okay. Thank you.
You talk to the president about Apollo-Soyuz?
Not yet. But if he asks my opinion, I’m gonna recommend that he cancel it.
Don’t you… think that’s a little premature?
With everything happening?
I just don’t see how it makes sense anymore.
Why don’t we wait to see what the Russians do?
If they launch Soyuz, it’d be a sign that they don’t want to escalate.
And if they cancel it, then we’ll know we’re in for some real trouble.
All right. Let’s see how this plays out.
Think you guys will actually go up today?
With all the shit going down with Russia, don’t hold your breath.
Sorry, all jewelry’s gotta come off for launch.
Sorry, I forgot to leave it with the CAO.
Apollo, this is Launch Control.
We’ve reached the scheduled hold.
We will resume the count when we have confirmation that Soyuz has launched.
Roger that, Control. We’ll sit tight.
Yes, we will.
“We’re human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands.”
But we can stop it.
We can admit that we’re killers.
But we’re not going to kill today.
That’s all it takes.
“Knowing that we’re not going to kill today.”
That’s from Star Trek, isn’t it?
“A Taste of Armageddon.” Season 1, episode 23.
First aired February 23rd, 1967.
Hello, Mr. Nikulov.
What’s the word?
Soyuz has launched.
Our cosmonauts look forward to meeting the Apollo crew in space.
Apollo 75, this is Houston. We got some good news for ya.
Hear ya loud and clear, Houston.
Mr. Sulu, set course for Earth orbit.
Aye, aye, Captain.
Roll complete, Houston. We’re on our way.
Hope you got a thing for old blind ladies.
Are you kidding? White canes and dark glasses turn me on.
I’m dead serious, Lar.
The old man, he thinks the world of Ellen.
And with Calhoun retiring, it’s the perfect time.
The Grand Old Party needs some fresh faces.
The 22nd District?
She’d be tarred as a carpetbagger, an East Coast elitist who eats quiche from a can.
And Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood actor from hippie-dippie California.
But he claimed the South as the new bastion of the Republican Party.
I did that for him. And I can do it for her.
No offense, Lee, but your tactics are a bit… Machiavellian.
Are you and Ellen wrestling fans, Lar?
We… don’t really follow it.
You should start.
Wrestling is the only honest sport there is.
Do you know why?
Because it’s so obviously dishonest.
I don’t know what in the hell that’s supposed to mean.
It means people crave drama more than truth.
Give the public a villain and a hero to vanquish ’em, they’ll vote for the hero every time.
And Ellen Wilson? She’s a genuine hero if there ever was one.
Hell, she’s the girl who caught the tank.
Congress, it’s just the first step.
She could be the first woman president, for Christ’s sake.
I’m sorry, I hope I didn’t interrupt anything.
This is Lee Atwater.
Pam’s an old friend of Ellen’s…
From the Apollo days.
She’s staying with us while she’s in town.
Nice to meet you, Pam.
Well, think it over, Lar.
I’ll be in Houston in a couple of weeks. Love to get dinner with you and Ellen.
That’d be great. I’ll show you out.
Don’t bother. I can find my way.
What was that about?
Lee is the special assistant to Ronald Reagan for Political Affairs.
They want Ellen to run for Congress.
Yeah, I heard. That’s amazing.
Did he really mean what he said? About…
It sounds crazy, I know. Right? But he’s the man that could put her there.
Says she’s the perfect candidate.
Well, except… for me.
Pam, that’s not…
It’s true, and you know it.
Dear Ellen, I’m sorry. You deserve to hear this from me in person, but I don’t have the courage for that.
You and I owe each other the truth, and the truth is I still love Elise.
She and I shared a life together, a life I turned away from because seeing you brought back a rush of old and wonderful feelings.
But my heart still belongs to her.
I hope you understand.
I thought I heard something. What are you doing home?
It’s from Pam.
She’s gone back to Elise.
God, I’m so sorry, El.
I don’t understand.
I don’t understand.
And what I’m gonna tell you now -Gordo?
Won’t be easy to say.
Before I left you.
How long have you been behind the curtain?
I was a happy man.
Now I’ve been so lonely.
Since I’ve been away -You went for the high note. Okay.
And, girl, I’ve tried and I know I can’t make it alone It’s such a long way to go I just can’t make it alone -Please be quiet.
And there’s something in my soul.
This is juvenile.
You cannot seduce me like one of your 19-year-old space bimbos.
No, no, no. Hey. No expectations.
It’s just feelings. You should try the wine.
Nothing else like it for 240,000 miles.
Smuggled it in a mouthwash bottle.
Maybe it is mouthwash.
I know you, Tracy.
From the first flight in that old Cessna, you had to be in control.
And from the very first moment I saw you, I felt out of control.
And it scared the living shit out of me. And I’m still scared.
I’m just not running from it anymore.
That’s one hell of a routine just to bum a smoke.
I think I’m about to.
Jon, I’ve got four through six to minimums. What do you see?
Temperature is still in the green. Steady as a rock, Nat.
Even the black box still looks good.
Maybe one day the spooks will tell us what it does.
Okay, bring up seven through ten.
Seven through ten, coming up.
Nat, how much longer before we’re back on nuclear power?
We’re there now. New fuel rods are in. We’re calibrating the actuators.
Awesome. We can finally quit the power-saving protocols.
The old man awake?
Your guess is as good as mine.
What the hell is he doing out there?
We’re gonna breach!