EXT. BRITISH EMBASSY IN LOME - DAY

Two short, dark-skinned men in khaki army uniforms stand at attention at the embassy gates.

INT. BRITISH EMBASSY COMPOUND - DAY

Two more dark-skinned soldiers in khaki uniforms step out of the embassy and cross the compound.  They each carry M-1 carbines.  The younger of the two is TENZING, he is twenty years old.  The older man is GUENG, h is forty-eight years old.  They both speak English with Indian/British accents.

                                                                 TENZING
                                I'm very proud to be a British soldier, I just don't
                                like standing at attention all of the time.

                                                                 GUENG
                                But that's mostly what a Gurkha does, Tenzing,
                                is stand at attention.

                                                                 TENZING
                                Indeed, and I don't like it.  When I joined up I thought
                                I would be a soldier for the rest of my life just like my
                                father, my grandfather, and Great-grandfather, and his
                                father before him.  But all of them got to see action.  I
                                just get to stand at attention at a gate.

                                                                 GUENG
                                And all of them had to spend a lot of time standing at
                                attention at an embassy gate before they saw any action.

                                                                 TENZING
                                I was meant to be a warrior of another time.  Say during
                                the great wars with the British before we were incorporated.
                                Or either of the World Wars.  Even Vietnam.  Anything.
                                My father was in the Falkland Islands just before he retired.
                                But since then, nothing.

                                                                 GUENG
                                I was in the Falkland Islands, too.  Your father and I are
                                very good friends.  You'll get your chance, just be patient.

EXT. BRITISH EMBASSY - DAY

Tenzing and Gueng relieve the two Gurkhas at the gate.  The moment they get to their positions they freeze at attention.  Tenzing watches as thousands of people appear and line the streets.  The people don't seem festive.  They seem angry and disgruntled.  There is a strange murmur as the crowd amasses and mills about.

Tenzing glances at his fellow Gurkha, Gueng, who glances back and raises his eyebrow.  For Gueng to break attention means something is definitely up.

EXT. KORONGA BLVD. - DAY

The parade begins and the TOGOLESE ARMY comes marching past.  They are all black men in American camouflage uniforms with Israeli Uzi submachines over their shoulders.  There is a tension apparent in all of their faces, their hands gripping their weapons tightly.

EXT. BRITISH EMBASSY - DAY

Both Gurkhas are startled by a horn honking behind them.  Tenzing and Gueng turn to see the british Ambassador, SIR IAN CARMICHAEL and his wife, LADY ANNE, both very distinguished and in their mid-sixties, sitting in their beautiful chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce.

The Gurkhas open the gate and snap to attention.  In Tenzing's six months in Togo he had never spoken to the Ambassador.  But now he feels compelled.

                                                                 TENZING
                                Excuse me, Sir.

Gueng's eyebrows raise again.  This was improper behavior for a Gurkha.  Sir Ian pretends like he hears nothing, so Tenzing repeats himself.

                                                                 TENZING
                                Excuse me, Sir Ian.

Sir Ian turns to his wife.

                                                                 SIR IAN
                                Is that Gurkha addressing me?

                                                                 LADY ANNE
                                I believe so dear.

Sir Ian turns to Tenzing.

                                                                 SIR IAN
                                Yes?

Tenzing is hesitant, but has already started and now feels compelled to continue.

                                                                 TENZING
                                I would most heartily recommend not leaving
                                the Embassy compound today, Sir Ian.

                                                                 SIR IAN
                                And why, per chance, would you recommend that?

                                                                 TENZING
                                There could be an outbreak of hostility, sir.  It is for
                                your safety I recommend this course of action.

                                                                 SIR IAN
                                What brings you to this conclusion, sergeant?

                                                                 TENZING
                                Well . . . I sense it, sir.

Sir Ian laughs.

                                                                 SIR IAN
                                Bosh.

He motions the chauffeur forward.  The Rolls drives through the gate and the Gurkhas close the wrought iron gate behind them.

INT. ROLLS ROYCE - DAY

Lady Anne turns to her husband.

                                                                 LADY ANNE
                                Who are those funny little men?

                                                                 SIR IAN
                                Why, they're Gurkhas, dear.  How could you not
                                know that?  We've been posted at seven different
                                embassies over the past twenty-five years and
                                Gurkhas have been at the gates of everyone of
                                them.

                                                                 LADY ANNE
                                Have they really?  Well who are they?

                                                                 SIR IAN
                                Well, Gurkhas guard the gates of all British Embassies
                                around the world.  They're from Nepal and are the
                                toughest bloody fighters in the world.  They're the
                                only foreigners ever allowed to join the British Army.
                                There's been a Gurkha contingent of the British Army
                                since 1815 and they've fought in every battle with us
                                since then.

                                                                 IADY ANNE
                                It really is ever so odd.

                                                                 SIR IAN
                                It's not odd at all, my dear.  That's simply the way
                                it is.

EXT. BRITISH EMBASSY - DAY

As Tenzing and Gueng shut the gate, Gueng actually speaks on duty, shaking his head in astonishment.

                                                                 GUENG
                                Highly unusual behavior, Tenzing.

                                                                 TENZING
                                It was for their own safety, Gueng.  Isn't our duty
                                to keep them safe and unharmed?

                                                                 GUENG
                                Indeed it is and I respect your courage in speaking.
                                Nevertheless, highly unusual.

Gueng goes back to attention and does not say another word.  Tenzing does the same.

EXT. KORONGA BLVD. - DAY

The Rolls Royce moves slowly through a large crowd of angry Togolese with its horn honking.  The people push right in on the automobile, rocking it back and forth.

INT. ROLLS ROYCE - DAY

Sir Ian and Lady Anne both are white with fear.  They clutch each other's hands.

EXT. BRITISH EMBASSY - DAY

The Rolls Royce comes driving back to the embassy rather quickly.  As it gets closer, the Gurkhas see that the black finish of the automobile is covered with mud and vegetables and one
of the side windows is shattered.

As the Gurkhas open the gate they see the Ambassador and his wife's ashen faces.  Lady Anne rolls down her window and speaks to Tenzing.

                                                                 LADY ANNE
                                Thank you for the warning, Sergeant.  I'm only
                                sorry we didn't heed it.

The Rolls goes into the embassy compound and the Gurkhas close the gates.  With an exchanged look, they both release the safety catches on their carbines, then go back to attention.

EXT. KORONGA BLVD. - DAY

GENERAL JOMO NKRUMAHA'S six car motorcade moves slowly up Koronga Blvd.  The General is a 300 lb. black man wearing a bright green military uniform with feathers in the cap.  He sits in the back seat of a convertible 1980 Lincoln Continental and nods and waves to the cheering crowd.  And yet, there is something hollow in their cheers.

EXT. LOME ALLEY - DAY

KOUDOUGOU BOROMA watches the parade from an alley.  He is 25 years old and has a very intense face with deep lines beside his mouth and ceremonial scars on his cheeks.

Boroma reaches into his jacket and removes a pipe bomb with a timer on it.  He sets the timer for one minute, puts the bomb back under his jacket and dashes up the alley to the backs of the crowd lining the street.

EXT. KORONGA BLVD. - DAY

Boroma pushes his way up to the parade just as General Nkrumah's Lincoln is passing.  Boroma's timing is perfect.  He pulls the bomb from his coat, tosses it under the car and yells something in Togolese.

General Nkrumah turns and waves to him just as the wheel of the Lincoln goes right over the bomb.

Boroma winces in anticipation of an enormous explosion, but instead there is nothing.  He looks and sees that his bomb is crushed into the mud and now the next car of the motorcade is passing over it, then the next and the next.  Koudougou Boroma stomps his feet in frustration, turns and begins to skulk back into the alley.

EXT. ACROSS THE STREET - DAY

Suddenly a young man steps in front of the General's car, pulls out a pistol and fires it six times it into General Nkrumah's stomach and chest.  The General's driver floors the Continental and runs the young man down as pandemonium breaks out everywhere.

Masses of people surge around the rest of the cars of the motorcade and begin rocking them and tipping them over.

And then - BOOM!! - the pipe bomb in the mud goes off!  Car parts go sailing in all directions.

EXT. UP THE STREET - DAY

The Togolese soldiers, who are much further up the street, hear the explosion.  They immediately unsling their Uzi submachine guns and double-time back to the explosion.

EXT. BRITISH EMBASSY - DAY

Tenzing and Gueng watch as a riot erupts on the street in front of them.  They both get inside the embassy compound and lock the gates after them, their carbines at the ready.  Four other Gurkhas come running out of the embassy with their rifles in hand to back up Tenzing and Gueng.

EXT. EMPTY LOME STREET - DAY

General Nakrumah's car screeches up an empty street and comes to a halt.  The driver turns
to see the General's wife sobbing, her hands covered with blood.  The General turns to her with a weak smile.

                                                                 NKRUMAH
                                It's nothing.

Upon saying this, he falls over dead.

INT. THORNSBY'S OFFICE - DAY

Julius Thornsby sits by himself in the Commonwealth Mineral office.  He watches the riot in the street out the office window increase in intensity.  People are mobbing the soldiers and the soldiers are spraying automatic weapon fire in all directions.

Julius picks up the telephone and dials.

                                                                 THORNSBY
                                Sir Robert Densmore please.  This is Julius Thornsby
                                calling from Lome, Togo.

In a moment he is connected through.

                                                                 DENSMORE
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Yes, Julius, what's the problem?

                                                                 THORNSBY
                                We've just moved to code Beta, Sir Robert.

Bullets come tearing through the front window of Commonwealth Mineral.  Julius dives to the floor.

                                                                 DENSMORE
                                What's the situation?

                                                                 THORKSBY
                                General rioting in the streets, Sir.  There was a large
                                explosion moments after General Nkrumah's car
                                passed by.  He may have been assassinated.  I'll
                                know for sure very soon.

                                                                 DENSMORE
                                If the hostilities continue, Julius, get to the British
                                Embassy.  Either way I'll contact you tonight for an
                                update and to let you know how Beta progresses.

                                                                 THORNSBY
                                Yes, sir.

                                                                 DENSMORE
                                Don't worry, Julius.  I'll have you out of there before
                                you know it.

                                                                 THORNSBY
                                Right, sir.  I know you will.

Thornsby hangs up.  He then goes to a safe mounted in the wall, dials the combination, opens the door and takes out a large canvas deposit bag.  He opens the bag and looks inside.

It is filled with diamonds - hundreds of them, maybe several thousand, of all shapes and sizes.  Julius shuts the bag and locks it.

INT. DENSMORE'S OFFICE - DAY

Sir Robert dials the phone himself.  Captain Krasker's voice comes through.

                                                                 KRASKER
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Hello?

                                                                 DENSMORE
                                Chris, we've gone to code Beta in Togo.  How
                                quickly can we move?

                                                                 KRASKER
                                Right now if you want.  We're cleared all the way
                                to Lome.  A 212 helicopter is waiting there.

                                                                 DENSMORE
                                Good work, Chris.  I'm on my way.

                                                                 KRASKER
                                                           (Surprised)
                                You're coming along?

                                                                 DENSMORE
                                Yes.  I, as a matter of fact, I am.

                                                                 KRASKER
                                Well, this ought to be jolly good.

                                                                                                       CUT TO:

EXT. LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE - BEFORE DAWN

Two guards stand at attention at the main gate.  It is pitch black outside.

INT. BARRACKS - BEFORE DAWN

Mike Kelsy, with very short hair, sits on his rack in his skivvies in the dark.  FIFTY OTHER GUYS are all asleep in the barracks.  Reveille has not yet been blown.  Mike tenderly rubs Ben Gay on his aching feet.

The drill instructor, GUNNERY SERGEANT YABLONSKI, steps into the barracks.  He's about to yell and wake everyone up when he sees Mike sitting on his rack.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                What are you doing up, Kelsy?

Mike jumps off his rack and snaps to attention, a flash of pain crossing his face as his feet hit the floor.

                                                                 KELSY
                                Sir, nothing, Sir.

Sgt. Yablonski sniffs the air.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Preparing yourself for the 12 mile march today?

                                                                 KELSY
                                Sir, yes, Sir.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Very conscientious of you Kelsy.  Or maybe you're
                                just hurting from yesterday?  What about it?

                                                                 KELSY
                                Sir, the maggot is hurting from yesterday, Sir.


                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                And why is it, do you think, that you're the only
                                one smearing smelly shit all over yourself while
                                all the other maggots are sleeping?

                                                                 KELSY
                                Sir, the maggot doesn't know, Sir.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Well, we'll just have to find out now won't we?

                                                                 KELSY
                                Sir, yes, Sir.

Sgt. Yablonski turns his attention to the rest of the barracks.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                                           (Yelling)
                                All right you stinking little shitballs, up and at 'em!
                                We're gonna have fun today!

EXT. DESERT - DAY

Mike and the rest of the recruits sing a cadence as they march through the desert wearing 70 pound packs, O.D. uniforms and helmets.  The all call cadence in unison:

                                                                 CADENCE
                                I don't know but I believe/ I'll be home by
                                Christmas Eve . . .

Mike has a look of blinding pain on his face.  Sgt. Yablonski marches along beside him, totally aware of his pain.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Whatsa matter Kelsy?  You hurtin'?

                                                                 KELSY
                                Sir, yes, sir.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                What's that Kelsy?  You say something?

                                                                 KELSY
                                Sir, the maggot's said he's hurting, sir.  Bad.


                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Aw, my heart's breakin'.  Double-time maggots!

The recruits all begin marching in double time.  Now Mike is in terrible pain.  Lights are flashing in his eyes, his face twisting into a knot.  Sgt. Yablonski is right there beside him.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Four miles to go, Kelsy.  Think you can make
                                it?

                                                                 MIKE
                                Sir, the maggot isn't sure, sir.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                I think you got a problem, Kelsy.  I think you slipped
                                something over on your recruiter, but that don't matter
                                'cause everything comes out in the wash here.  Faster,
                                maggots!

Everyone speeds up to a run and chants.

                                                                 CADENCE
                                I don't know but I've been told/ Eskimo pussy's mighty
                                Cold . . .

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Sound off!

                                                                 CADENCE
                                One, two.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Sound off!

                                                                 CADENCE
                                Three, four.

Mike drops out of line and falls on his back.  Sweat is pouring off his face.

                                                                 YABL0NSKI
                                Take five, maggots!

Everyone falls out and sits down.  Sgt. Yablonski looms over Mike.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                We were makin' good time on this march, Kelsy.
                                You're ruinin' my average.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Sir, there's something wrong with the maggot's feet,
                                sir.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                There damn well better be, Kelsy.  Otherwise you're
                                in a world of shit.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Sir, there really is something wrong, sir.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Let the corpsman decide that.  You ain't qualified.

INT. BASE INFIRMARY - DAY

The MEDICAL CORPSMAN looks at Mike's swollen, blistered feet.  He pokes the bottom of Mike's foot with his finger.

                                                                 CORPSMAN
                                Does this hurt?

                                                                 MIKE
                                Sir, yes, sir.

                                                                 CORPSMAN
                                Knock that shit off.  Yes or no.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Yes.

                                                                 CORPSMAN
                                How about this?

Mike is reeling from the pain.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Yes!

                                                                 CORPSMAN
                                Guess what?  You've got flat feet.

                                                                 MIKE
                                But I got through the examination at the recruiting
                                office.

                                                                 CORPSMAN
                                They missed it.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Well, what does that mean?

                                                                 CORPSMAN
                                It means you're on your way out of the Air Force.

Mike can't believe it.

                                                                 MIKE
                                But . . . what'll I do?

                                                                 CORPSMAN
                                I don't know, but I'll tell you what you shouldn't do.

                                                                 MIKE
                                What's that?

                                                                 CORPSMAN
                                Don't become a mailman.

INT. BASE PX - DAY

Mike is using the pay phone.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Hello, mom?

                                                                 MOTHER
                                                           (happy to hear from him)
                                Mike, how are you?  I've missed you.

                                                                 MIKE
                                I've missed you too, Mom.  Uh . . .

                                                                 MOTHER
                                What is it, Mikey?

                                                                 MIKE
                                Uh . . . they kicked me out of the Air Force, Mom.

                                                                 MOTHER
                                What?  How come?

                                                                 MIKE
                                My feet are flat.

                                                                 MOTHER
                                Aw, honey, I'm sorry.  What are you going to do
                                now?  Come home?

                                                                 MIKE
                                Dad said I can't, remember?

                                                                 MOTHER
                                Mikey, this is your home too.  If you want to come
                                back, you come back.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Thanks, Mom.  But I don't think I will.

                                                                 MOTHER
                                Then what are you going to do?

                                                                 MIKE
                                Well, I don't know.  I think I'll visit Stan.  He's here
                                in San Antonio.

                                                                 MOTHER
                                And after that?

                                                                 MIKE
                                And after that, we'll see . . .

                                                                 MOTHER
                                How much money do you have?

Mike counts out his money reserves.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Not much, but enough.

                                                                 MOTHER
                                Don't get into trouble, Mike.


                                                                 MIKE
                                That's what I'm in now.  I'm looking to get out.
                                See ya, Mom.

                                                                 MOTHER
                                I love you.

Mike is about to answer her, but TWO MEAN LOOKING RECRUITS come walking by.  Mike waits for them to get out of earshot before responding.

                                                                 MIKE
                                I love you, too, Mom.  'Bye.

                                                                 MOTHER
                                Bye, bye.

Mike dials another number.  In a moment it is answered.

                                                                 VOICE
                                                           (O.S.)
                                Hello?

                                                                 MIKE
                                Hello, Stan?

                                                                 VOICE
                                                           (O.S./ As though Mike
                                                           can't be heard)
                                Hello?

                                                                 MIKE
                                Stan?  Is that you?  Can you hear me?

                                                                 VOICE
                                Sorry, I'm not here right now.  Leave a message at
                                the tone.

The Stan's voice laughs and is cut short by the beep.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Hello, Stan.  This is Mike Kelsy.  Very funny message,
                                you fooled me.  I'm coming over.  See ya.

Mike hangs up and leaves the PX.

INT. BARRACKS - DAY

Mike is all alone in the big, empty barracks as he finishes packing his duffel bag.  He is wearing his green and white Ferndale High letter jacket and blue jeans.  He looks and feels very out of place.  Swinging the duffel bag over his shoulder he takes one last look around, then leaves.

EXT. BASE - DAY

As Mike walks toward the front gate where a taxi is waiting, Sgt. Yablonski appears and begins walking with him.

                                                                 YABLONSHI
                                It's much better this way, Kelsy, take my word
                                for it.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Oh yeah?  How do you know?

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                What's that?

                                                                 MIKE
                                How do you know my life's gonna be better out of
                                the Air Force?  Maybe things were a lot better for
                                me in.


                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Let's face it, Kelsy, you couldn't cut it.

                                                                 MIKE
                                People can adapt to anything.  I'll get over my flat
                                feet.  I was just pushed too far too soon.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                You weren't being pushed any farther than anyone
                                else.  You're just not cut out for the military.  You're
                                not a fighter.

Mike turns to face Yablonski and throws down his duffel bag.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Oh yeah?  I'll kick your ass right now!

Sgt. Yablonski instinctively tightens up, then relaxes and smiles.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                I like you Kelsy, you're all right.  Maybe you are
                                a fighter.

Yablonski picks up Mike's duffel bag and holds out his hand.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                Good luck to you out in the world.

Mike hesitates for a second, then takes his duffel bag and shakes the Sergeant's hand.

                                                                 MIKE
                                Thanks.

                                                                 YABLONSKI
                                You'll do okay, Kelsy, I can tell.

                                                                 MIKE
                                                           (going through the gate)
                                I'm glad you can tell . . . 'cause I sure can't.

Mike tosses his bag in the back of the cab and gets in.

                                                                                                       CUT TO:

EXT. LOME AIRPORT - DAY

A sign in front of the little wooden building says, "Lome Airport, Togo" in English and a half a dozen other languages.

The Commonwealth Mineral 125 company jet sets down on the runway.

 

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