A screenplay by Hugh Holub
Copyright 1985, 2007
Wide angle shot of city in northern Pakistan. Sound of the Call to Prayer.
The American government is run by non‑military individuals. Their chain of command starts with the President, then works downward to the Vice President, the Speaker of their House of Representatives, and through the executive cabinet in descending order of importance starting with the Secretary of State.
The Ayatollah of QUM flips a chart and shows an organizational chart of the U.S. government's key individuals. The Ayatollah of TEHRAN interrupts. He is a grandfatherly sort, except for the anger in his eyes.
How many layers of succession do they have?
Sixteen. If their President dies or is assassinated, the leadership automatically passes to the Vice President. If he dies, then to the Speaker of the House and down through the sixteen layers.
Osama bin Laden, impatiently pounds on the table.
Why are we sitting here getting a schoolboy's lesson in the American government?
We would all agree that there would be great glory in blackening the American eye before the whole world even worse than 9/11. And to do so in such a way as to leave no question among our Islamic brethren as to where the leadership of the Islamic World lies.
What would be the result if all 16 of the American civilians in their chain of command were simultaneously killed? And on world-wide television?
Certainly that cannot possibly be done.
We have reason to question that fact.
(derisively) On what basis?
Qum reaches to a pile of papers in front of him and pulls out a newspaper clipping from the Washington Post.
to this newspaper account, which our people verify is accurate, the Americans
ran a war game last year in which they assumed all their civilian chain of
command had been killed in the first few minutes of World War
The American are pretty stupid if they would allow something like that to be published unless they've corrected their problem.
Who would've believed Nixon would've allowed his newspapers to hound him out of office. A free press is dangerous.
What are you proposing?
That we proceed with a plan we have prepared called HEADSMAN in which we simultaneously assassinate all 16 civilians in the American chain of command.
This is madness. There is no possible way to kill them all at the same time.
Qum turns out the lights.
First about the potential to achieve the simultaneous untimely death of all sixteen...
The television monitor comes alive. The scene on the screen is the most recent State of the Union speech.
If you would indulge me for a moment and watch the video tape of an event called the State of the Union speech in which the President of the United States speaks to the assembled U.S. government about the condition of their country.
CUT TO: CLOSEUP ON TV SCREEN.
Scene is in the House of Representatives, with people milling around, sitting down. ANNOUNCER is identifying key members of Congress and the Cabinet. Fifteen of the 16 people in the chain of succession are identified.
Qum turns up the lights and the screen goes blank.
Every year, around January 20th, the entire American government gathers in one room.
You said there were sixteen. Only 15 of them were at the speech.
To ensure the survivability of their civilian government in the event of an attack, one member of their cabinet in the line of succession is spirited away to some secret location outside of Washington during the speech.
So you blow up the room during the speech and kill virtually their entire government, but still there is one who can launch a retaliation against us.
Qum flips a page on his chart showing the floor plan of the Capitol Building.
What we propose is this. We smuggle into the U.S. Capitol Building a low yield nuclear warhead and detonate it as soon as the speech begins.
And where do we get this nuclear weapon?
We have purchased one from our Russian friends who also have an interest in decapitating the American government.
Beginning a few weeks before the speech we put hunter/killer teams on each of the cabinet members, and as soon as the one to be hidden away makes his run for cover, we use one of the American Stinger missiles they so generaously sold us and blow up his car.
Before the news of his death reaches the speech, the American government will be leaderless. Chaos will reign. They will not be able to strike back.
Bin Laden rises. The rest stand. He has a pained expression.
Large room filled with TV screen consoles (like NASA Mission Center), large electronic maps on walls. All personnel in uniform. In back is a glass walled room ‑ The "Eagle's Nest" ‑ the office of the Commanding General on Duty. The current duty shift CO is MAJOR GENERAL BRUCE CASTLEBERRY. He is talking to COLONEL WILDER, the Shift Intelligence Analyst. Castleberry is a handsome man is his early 50's who looks like he could star in recruitment commercials. Wilder is dark and brooding.
It is hard to get used to the quiet. We're buying former Soviet missiles instead of worrying about tracking them.
But there are a thousand tactical warheads running around in the backs of trucks.
Who would've thought we'd be trying to track trucks with our satellites?
Knocking them all out is the problem.
We go from Star Wars to this.
Wilder gestures to the
According to the monitors. We start believing what we see on those screens in reality. In reality we really don't know what the hell is going on some times. Nukes in trucks.
The Army always did want us to just shoot at stuff on the ground, like tanks and trucks.
She went over to Washington to see Kimberly and Joe.
They're still at Fort Meade?
Tehran's office is large, furnished with antiques, has an oriental rug on the floor.
Tehran is talking to Qum.
You don't think much of our proposal?
That depends on whether it will work or not. We think it is a long shot to kill all 16. Too many things can go wrong.
But he who seeks glory must take some risk. There is nothing to lose. Even if we fail to kill them all, we will kill many. Right in their capitol. Before the eyes of their people. The world will know they are not invincible.
Then you support my proposal?
Let us say we mutually support each other's proposal.
I think we are two of a kind.
Castleberry is wearing a polo shirt and slacks and is being interviewed by a nationally prominent television newscaster, BRANDON. His living room is dominated by a fireplace, and covers the image of a rustic ranch house with Indian rugs on the floor, a deer head and hunting rifles on the walls, and leather covered furniture. Brandon, who looks like a young Walter Cronkite, is interviewing Castleberry for a special on American military preparedness.
What the American public wants to know is if the threat of a nuclear war is over now that the Soviet union is gone?
There are still thousands of nuclear weapons. Ironically, we were probably safer with the Soviet union because they had a very tight command and control structure. All their nukes were under lock and key and it took orders from Moscow to launch.
But now there are other scenarios of limited nuclear attacks, terrorist attacks, using nuclear weapons the Russians cannot account for.
You mean the Russians have lost nuclear weapons?
They deny it. But when you start off with 30,000 of them, and they end up in a half dozen new countries that can't form a stable government, and some are trading nukes for wheat, anything is possible.
Certainly we’re not afraid of the Ukraine?
It is harder than you know.
But what would anyone have to gain by attacking us?
The cameraman taping the session moves in closer.
That’s why we went after Saddam.
People who want nuclear weapons generally have someone they'd like to use them on. And there are a lot of countries trying to get their hands on the missing Soviet weapons. Libya. Korea, Iran, Al Qaeda. And the irony is every time we buy a gallon of gas made from oil from the Middle East, we are handing over money to people who want to destroy us. We’re paying for our eventual destruction. No question they could buy a bomb. And they’re trying to make their own.
But they don't have intercontinental missiles. The best they could do is attack Israel.
That's why Israel has its own nuclear arsenal. If my enemy has a gun, I must have ten guns. If he has ten tanks, I must have 20. That was the history of the Cold War. We may be at peace with Russia, but there are many countries who do not know what the word peace means. They don’t want peace. They want jihad.
Aren't you military types just trying to justify keeping all your toys and eating up the American taxpayer even though it is time to use our wealth for schools and medical care?
Castleberry pauses, and watches the cameraman move back to behind Brandon for an "over the shoulder" camera angle.
What do you know about world history?
I'm the one supposed to ask the questions.
Since the days of the caveman someone has always coveted some else's lands, their wealth, their rivers, their homes. Their enemies are not human in their minds, and they will use whatever force they have to exterminate their enemies.
The only thing that has changed in 10,000 years is we've gotten much more efficient in killing our enemies.
So you are saying that there is always going to be someone out there who could threaten the United States with nuclear attack?
The cameraman moves to a position immediately in front of Castleberry.
If they thought for one second they could destroy us, and get away with it without our being able to fully retaliate, they'd do it.
But surely millions of people would die and their cities would be destroyed.
If we even knew who to retaliate against. It was convenient to have just one or two very large enemies. Now they are smaller, but they are more numerous.
Aren't nuclear weapons obsolete?
Not if you have one.
Off the record, what did you think about that Post story about what happens to our chain of command in a if all of civilian leaders get snuffed?
Off the record. I was the one who said "who says?".
They both laugh.
Castleberry is on the phone when GENERAL ARTHUR enters. Arthur is Castleberry's opposite in appearance‑‑short, pudgy, bookish. He sits down and waits for Castleberry to complete his call. Castleberry looks up to the clock before speaking.
Early as usual..
Time flies when you're having fun. Anything important?
Only on your shift. Excitement I don't need.
Any word yet on your retirement?
Next February for sure. I'm just about burnt out. And it looks like I've got a nice job with NRM as soon as I hang up my stars.
This isn't exactly the most stress‑filled command we have. Twelve hours in rotation watch on watch sitting in the hot seat if the Syrians attack Israel again. I hear they’re going to shut this facility down.
Back when I was at the Academy I just couldn't wait to go to war. I missed out. Now I can't wait to get out. They don't make wars like they used to.
I know the feeling. We give our lives to be prepared to fight, and spend our lives avoiding the fight or walking away before we've got a chance to win. Goddamned politicians.
The damned bomb..
Ever since we used them on Japan, we've had to do our damndest to not use'em again. We could've won Korea and saved Nam if we'd been willing to nuke the enemy. But the politicians couldn't do that.
I remember one of my first courses at the Academy. How to drop a hydrogen bomb. Then three years of why we could never do this. We even had to practice flight maneuvers to unload the goods and get the hell out of there before we got caught in the blast wave.
The bomb ruined the art of war..
It took us long enough to figure out having the bomb was no protection and no alternative to good old fashioned war.
This far down the road I'm glad I never had to make the decision to use it.
I've still got a few years left on these wings. I hope I don't ever have to make that decision either. The command is yours. The code for tonight is "Once in a Blue Moon".
They both stand. Arthur walks around the desk and sits in Castleberry's chair. Castleberry puts on his coat and starts towards the door.
The Command is accepted. Christ where do they think up the codes.
The next blue moon is in January so I've been told.
Castleberry leaves. Arthur swivels on his chair and looks out through the glass wall over the Crystal Room. He is humming "Blue Moon".
Bin Laden's room is surprisingly small, with a fireplace, a small writing table, and hard wooden chairs. Tehran and Bin Laden are sitting in the chairs in front of a roaring fire.
We'll see how the rest vote. If there is any disagreement I will kill the project
Tehran steeples his fingers and stares at the fire and does not respond.
A fishing boat meets a small dory. A small object about the size of a hot water heater is transferred from the fishing boat to the dory.
EXT. NEAR THE COAST.
There is an oblong object beneath a tarp in the middle of the dory. The men dressed as FISHERMEN are rowing towards shore.
This is how drugs are smuggled, no?
EXT. IN A DENSELY VEGETATED CHANNEL.
The dory docks at a broken down pier. Three men dressed as plumbers meet the boat, and lift the object onto the pier, then load it into a panel truck marked as CAPITOL PLUMBING. The two fisherman change clothes quickly, into plumber jumpsuits.
So many plumbers. Won't anyone suspect?
We just tell anyone we are union.
Capitol Plumbing truck is parked by service entrance. Plumber is having papers checked by armed CAPITOL POLICEMAN.
Where's the hot water heater supposed to go?
The basement. Next to the cafeteria.
I've been here years and this is the first time I ever heard of a hot water heater needing replacement.
Maybe the only good thing the House does is buy quality hot water heaters.
(laughs) You're probably right. The papers are in order. Take the first elevator on the left. You need any help?
The other plumbers get out and unload the hot water heater.
Send five men to do the job of two. The government way.
The plumbers are installing the hot water heater in a very out‑of‑the way place.
A new sedan is parked in front of an expensive townhouse. TV NEWS is painted on the sides of the sedan. A distinguished looking man exits the townhouse. A cameraman and a newsman jump out of the sedan and rush up to the distinguished man before he can get into his car.
The cameraman positions himself to shoot the scene. The newsman shoves a mike in front of the distinguished looking man‑‑who is the SECRETARY OF STATE.
Mr. Secretary, is it true secret negotiations are under way for US airbases in Russia?
SECRETARY OF STATE
No comment. It's seven in the morning. Don't you ever sleep?
Newsman puts down mike.
You know how cutthroat this business is.
SECRETARY OF STATE
And that's why you camp out all night in front of my house.
The DRIVER of the Secretary's car gets out and comes over.
I think the Secretary would appreciate it if you news hounds would go home and get some sleep.
The Secretary gets into his car, and it drives off.
The Secretary leans forward to talk to the driver, a Secret Service Agent doubling as chauffeur, BOB.
They're getting more determined.
Too much so.
I agree. It seems like all of us have a shadow these days.
So we've noticed. It's a new outfit. Independent. They hang around trying to shoot some footage and sell it to the cable news people.
They're legit. And not much we can do about them.
If the lights are on late at the White House they figure something important is happening.
Usually that's right. Check on the backside. They're following us.
Not that easy in a big black Cadillac.
Starting tomorrow get something less conspicuous. And change it daily. There's nothing in the Constitution that says we have to make their job easy.
Good idea. Probably should do it for the whole cabinet.
The formal cabinet meeting has just ended, and everyone is sitting or standing around, small‑talking. The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR asks the President about tomorrow's events. Interior looks like a ranch hand in a suit.
So which one of us gets to hide in the hole while you tell the country how wonderful things really are.
You’’ll soon know.
The Secretary of State overhears and comes over.
Not me of course?
One of you goes into the hole
Who gets the lucky duty?
I can only tell you this, it won't be random this time.
Then I'll be safe, John. No one would risk leaving the running of the country to a cowboy. We already did that once. Guess I you should pack your overnight bag.
Often times I think us dumb old cowboys have a lot more ability to run this goddamned country than you blue noses.
Gentlemen, gentlemen. We can't have rancor in our happy little family. By the way, John, I'm going to use that section about people being a part of the environment and public lands needing to serve the people. Good lines.
I sincerely hope you're jesting.
I ought to lock both of you in the hole just to see what happens.
Tehran is pacing around the room. Qum is watching Al Jezeera. Bin Laden is sitting on a chair and staring at the wall.
Tomorrow will be the beginning of a new world.
An Islamic World.
Castleberry and WILDER are punching up satellite photos of shipping activity off the US East Coast on one of the large screens.
So many ships.
Trucks. Ships. Next thing you know we'll be spotting for bicycles.
What are we looking for?
Something is definitely up.
What do you mean?
My guy at Langley says every Cabinet member has a shadow.
I though that was chador.
EXT. GEORGETOWN. IN FRONT OF STATE'S HOME. MORNING OF JANUARY 20TH.
The Secretary exits
and gets into a nondescript light blue
They're still there.
We'll see how determined they are this morning.
Don't spend too much time. I have an important meeting downtown.
A large office with an oriental rug on the floor, and totem poles in each corner. Interior is in the midst of a small conference. His DRIVER enters.
Mr. Secretary. You have urgent business.
I do? I don't remember ...
Today you do.
(mutters an expletives).
A green sedan exits the garage and a TV NEWS VAN falls in behind.
So I get stuck in the hole?
We have a surprise.
I've always wanted to see that installation.
In an hour you will.
The President always gives his staff the best transportation. Aurora is real.
The sedan and the TV NEWS Van are seen crossing the bridge.
We have a bird in flight (to driver).
They have their potential leader hidden away. This is falling apart.
We will have to expend LOOKING GLASS.
Our best source of information about what the American military is up to. Someone who likes money more than his country.
He would be in
And he would assassinate the secretary?
He would try.
It is worth the loss. Proceed.
Members of the House and Senate are arriving for State of the Union Speech. Zoom in on NETWORK NEWS commentator in gallery doing pre‑speech commentary.
The President is expected to arrive momentarily. The security for the speech is extraordinary. Normally one of the cabinet members does not attend to insure the continuity of the government in the event of a terrorist attack. Tonight three cabinet members are missing. Secretary of Defense Kimble is reported to have had a sudden health problem this morning and is at an undisclosed military hospital. The Secretaries of State and Interior are probably at the secret emergency command center beneath the Appalachian Mountains...
Castleberry, Wilder, and Interior are watching the television coverage of the State of the Union speech in the Eagle's Nest office.
Scene is of President arriving.
On a large screen the President is shown standing at the podium, and a standing ovation is in the process. The Speaker of the House is pounding on his gavel to gain order. The President begins the speech.
My fellow Americans....
The screen goes blank.
Wilder pulls his service revolver and shoots Interior in the head. Castleberry grabs for a gun in his drawer and shoots Wilder. People come rushing into the room.
The network newsman, BRANDON appears on the screen.
Castleberry turns towards the main screen
DEFCON 3 immediately. Activate the National Emergency Communication System.
We have live coverage from
Scene of mushroom cloud
Chaotic scene. People rushing to their consoles, lights flashing everywhere.
(to Officer) We have a
confirmed nuclear strike on
The goddamned terrorists did it.
He picks up the red phone.
(into phone) What's your status?
EXT. THE PENTAGON
The building looks heavily damaged.
The room is heavily damaged. An OFFICER is on a red telephone.
(into phone) We have confirmation of a low yield nuclear strike on the Capital. All the Indian Chiefs are presumed dead.
Negative. I am assuming command under Executive Order 295.
Helicopter shot over
We have an unconfirmed report of a nuclear explosion in the nation's capitol.
(to Officer) Activate MASSPATCH. Preempt every communication line in the country.
red telephone) General Smith. This is Castleberry at Cheyenne. We
have taken a hit in
Panic in the streets. People rushing to cars. Traffic jams.
red telephone) Admiral Gates. This
is Castleberry at Cheyenne. Confirmed strike on
The Officer is listening to a headset he is holding to one ear.
Picture is interrupted and Castleberry appears on screen.
am Major General Bruce Castleberry and I am in the
They've overridden our broadcast?
The crew beings to gather around monitor to watch.
Cars are pulling off the road.
Family is listening to radio.
to Executive Order 295, I have temporarily assumed the position of Acting
Commander in Chief of the
Castleberry is facing a TV Camera in the
"Eagle's Nest". His back
is to the window overlooking the
TV SCREEN IN FAMILY LIVING
Family is clustered around television set. They appear to have been in the midst of packing to flee.
am sitting in the
CAMERA PULLS BACK
Scene shows Castleberry with
are seeing exactly what we can see.
We are not involved in a nuclear war. There are no, I repeat, no
missiles launched against the
If the evil men who did this are watching, I want you to know we know who you are. I have full command authority to retaliate this instant against you.
I repeat, we know who you are and we know you are watching us right now. You will regret for eternity what you have done.
Castleberry stands up and faces sideways
TV SCREEN IN FAMILY LIVING
Family is sitting on floor around tv set.
in the history of the
Everyone is clustered around monitor on news set.
As you can plainly see, the attack on
Castleberry points to
The whole world is watching us now. Our enemies especially are watching us now. In the next few minutes, over the next few days and weeks, we will be judged. We are one nation under God. And we must prove what a nation we are.
I interviewed him recently for the Sunday show. Boy is that tape going to be interesting to show now.
In my capacity as your acting Commander in Chief I have no choice but to declare an unprecedented military emergency. As of this moment every reserve and national guard personnel are on active duty, and every civilian law enforcement agency is under my command. A state of martial law now exists. Anyone found rioting, looting, committing arson or any other civilian crime will be shot on sight.
The people watching break out in murmurs of disbelief.
Jesus Christ. We're about to be blown off the face of the earth and we have a military dictator.
For the rest of my fellow Americans, if you are at home, stay there. If you are in your cars, go home. If you are at work, and still have work to complete, do it, then go home. Our federal government may be in a mess right now, but for most of you your life has gone on without needing the immediate attentions of our federal government. My next order is quite simple, but will be difficult to perform under the circumstances. I want everyone to go about their lives tomorrow morning like nothing has happened.
Like nothing has happened?
Castleberry is seen speaking to TV Camera.
must show the world and especially our enemies what Americans are made
of. If our nation dissolves into a panicked mob, the entire world will
pay the consequences. We must hang tough. We must not let this
attack break our spirit. I am reminded of the dark days of World War II
when German rockets and bombs were raining down on
We must immediately launch a massive relief effort for the victims of this terrorist attack on our nations' capitol.
will leave it to the local authorities of the states of
Hundreds of hospital staff, doctors and nurses are gathered around a tv set.
will need an unprecedented medical response for the people of
The hospital staff quickly disburses and people are seen putting on coats, putting medications in bags and boxes, and equipment being loaded into cars and trucks.
Castleberry is handed a fax.
I promise you tonight three things. First, if you will show your courage and stand fast and keep our nation working, we will emerge from this crisis stronger and more united than we have ever been as a people. That strength and that unity will prevent this kind of terrible attack from ever happening again. Second, as soon as it is possible I will restore civilian control to our nation. In furtherance of that goal, I will tonight contact the governors of all 50 states and convene them in a secret location to appoint replacements for our members of the House and Senate who died defending our nation's honor. They will in turn select a new civilian president. Third, we will not let this attack pass unpunished. You who launched this attack against an innocent people who merely want to live their lives in freedom hear my words.
You will be destroyed. Your evil government will be destroyed. But we will not, and I repeat, we will never use nuclear weapons to punish you. We do not wish to harm one individual innocent member of your society. But mark my words and vow of every American tonight. We will get even.
I am now going to restore the civilian broadcast system. There will be no censorship. A free society is a strong society. As there are further developments during this emergency you will be instantly advised of same. Tonight and for the next few weeks we are all soldiers of liberty. In your hearts you know what is the right thing to do in our time of trial. I trust in God and I trust in the American people to show that we are the greatest nation ever created by people. And remember the words of our national anthem. Through the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air our flag was still there. By tomorrow morning's dawns early light, our flag will still be there as the beacon of freedom.
Thank you and good night.
The people in the network newsroom applaud. We hear a whispered “too bad Bush wasn’t that good after 9/11”
Castleberry slumps down into his chair. A medical team that has been hiding out of sight of the camera rises, and carries out the body of State. Another team comes in to pick up Wilder's body. General Arthur walks in.
Who was that?
Probably the greatest traitor in American History. He puts Benedict Arnold to shame. Our mothers will not be naming their children Sam in the future, and every family named Wilder ought to have a free name change if they want it.
Everyone accepted your command authority?
The history books will record that they did.
Castleberry gets up, goes to the edge of the room, and picks up a blood splattered brief case.
The son of a bitch was carrying the codes.
He opens the brief case and looks inside.
You mean Wilder?
They nearly had us, my friend. You want to be my acting Vice President?
Good God! No way. How about General Bratton?
The NATO Commander. Good choice. I'm going to need one hell of a devious son of a bitch to help me. I just promised the people we were going to get even without starting a nuclear war, and I haven't got the slightest idea what I'm gonna do.
And get a steno in here. We've got a long night's work putting this country back together.
Did you know you screwed up the words to the Star Spangled Banner?
Shit. I can't remember half of what I said on the broadcast.
You'll get your chance to remember. That was probably the greatest speech in the history of the country.
Get me the goddamned steno and let's get to work.
The family is still sitting on the floor watching television.
Again I repeat,
Brandon is wiping his brow, and watching the replay of the speech on the monitor. The Director is standing next to him with a clip board.
We've got your tape of Castleberry's interview. You want to use it tonight?
No way. Let's get through the night and see what happens. Any reports from the streets?
It's amazing. The freeways cleared. Every light in the country must be on. Every tv in the country is on and people are just watching like zombies. The closest thing to this I can remember is the Kennedy assassination and 9/11.
What about the rest of the world?
Same thing. Literally, the whole world is watching right now.
Did you notice Castleberry never said who the enemy was and who launched the attack?
He apparently didn't have to.
I wonder what the hell he's going to do to get even.
and everyone else. We've also got some pretty graphic footage fresh out
Hold it. There'll be enough time later to document the mess. Stick to the flags and the patriotic music and let's do our bit to see that dawn's early light.
The room is packed with people, with a constant churn as some leave and new ones enter. Castleberry is feverishly issuing orders into the telephone, to the steno, to Arthur, and to everyone else. The red telephone rings. Everyone in the room freezes. It stops ringing.
MONTAGE: DAWN ACROSS
GRAND CENTRAL STATION
Thousands of people going to work. None of them are smiling. Most are seen with grim expressions of determination.
A tent city is being erected. The sky is filled with helicopters arriving and departing from landing areas.
The people are out in the street picking up bricks from fallen buildings and stacking them in piles on the sidewalk.
A SCHOOL YARD.
Hundreds of people are waiting loaded with boxes of food and clothing.
THE FRONT OF A BANK.
Two POLICEMEN are standing by the front door of the bank. The scene is utterly deserted.
If there was going to be a run on the banks people'd be lining up by now.
Not if they heard that general's speech last night.
A long line of youth gang members streams from the front door of an Army recruiting office.
A RED CROSS OFFICE
A large crowd of people are waiting in line with their sleeves rolled up.
A TELEVISION STORE WINDOW
A crowd of people are standing in the street watching the televisions in the window, all of which are on.
A large transport plane is being loaded with relief supplies.
THE EXERCISE YARD OF A PRISON
A large group of prisoners are standing in perfect lines, at attention, and all appear to be well groomed. The guards are standing by, shaking their heads.
EAST LOS ANGELES
A parade of low riders is slowly driving
down a barrio street, calling to the people in the homes to bring out their
A lingering pan across the city, holding on
The walls of the cave are lined with filing cabinets. Folding chairs are set up in the middle of the room sufficient to accommodate over 100 people. Most of the chairs are filled. At the head of the room is a platform, with an American flag next to the dais. Castleberry is graveling the meeting to order.
I want to thank all you governors for being here on such short notice. I think you know why we're here. This country needs a President and a Congress.
A distinguished silver‑haired gentleman in the first row stands. He is GOVERNOR JOHNSON.
Castleberry. I'm Governor Johnson of
The room explodes in applause. People are shouting "Second" and "Approved". Castleberry gavels them quiet.
Are there any other nominations?
The room explodes again with shouts of "Nominations Closed."
All those in favor please stand.
You're going to have to appoint a Supreme Court so someone can swear me in.
The crew and Brandon have been watching the appointment of Castleberry on their monitor.
Too bad we couldn't have fed that live.
had a point. Don’t give’m a second chance. Once
they're out of
Castleberry is standing at the dais as applause declines. He pulls out some papers from inside his coat and starts to speak.
accept. But I promise you that this state of emergency is not going to
last very long if I have anything to say about it. We need an elected
President, not some old military war horse who just happened to have a
television camera in his office the other night. I'm not going to dwell on the tragedy that
has fallen on
I want to tell you how proud I am of my country. The American people proved themselves last night and today.
And I know from here on out this is going to be the kind of country we all dreamed it could be. We've paid a terrible price to be here today. To just be alive, let alone still free. But alive we are and free we are, and no one on earth doubts our resolve now.
I've promised you we'd punish those who attacked us. And we will. So help me God we will. But we're going to do it the right way. The honorable way. And in a way that will make this role safer for everyone alive today and in the future. That's a tall order. But we're tall people.
I shouldn't go making any more promises. Lord knows we have enough to do to put our government back together and gain our justice. But I have another promise to make, that requires the help of everyone in our great country.
capitol city is badly damaged. The bomb used, though nuclear in nature,
was small. The radioactivity was
minimal. The major damage was centered on Capitol Hill and on our Federal
buildings. I just learned that though the
The Governors leap to their feet and cheer. Castleberry gravels them quiet.
I think it's time you folks got busy getting me a Congress. Thank you.
Castleberry walks from the dais to thunderous applause.
The Commander in Chief's plane is seen
Castleberry is meeting with Arthur, his chief of staff, BRATTON, his newly appointed Vice President. Bratton is a lantern‑jawed type.
We still have no word about your wife and daughter.
It's pretty chaotic there, isn't it?
is. But if they were more than a mile away from the Capitol, they're
probably o.k. The phone company is setting up special call centers all
Once the shock wears off, our people are going to be screaming for revenge. And they're going to get it. No more of this crap about now knowing exactly who blew up our embassy or our barracks. We know exactly who did it.
What’s the plan?.
We’re going to isolate and bankrupt all of them. The Iranians, the Saudis, everyone of those outfits that let the god drunk mullahs stir up jihad. And we’re going to take out bin Laden if we have to level every mountain in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We've got three hundred million angry people. We ought to have a lot of support.
Starting tomorrow we’re not buying a drop of oil from any middle eastern country.
And we’ll ask our so called friends around the world to do the same. If they don’t support us, we’ll bomb the oil fields and refineries and shut them down.
And I’m going to ask every one of those middle eastern countries to vow to rid their countries of the jihad infestation. If they refuse, we shut down their banking systems, trade, everything. If they want to live in the 8th century, they’ll find out how nice it really was back them. We’re going to create the mother of all quarantines.
They get up and leave the compartment. Castleberry stares out the window of the plane as it lands.
The Hill is a beehive of activity with a large number of construction workers and pieces of construction equipment are seen clearing the rubble.
Castleberry is still in his "Eagle's Nest" office which has been converted into the Oval Office West. Brandon is interviewing him.
A lot's happened since we talked last.
(sarcastically) No Shit.
(to cameraman) Erase that. (to Castleberry) Give me a break. How does it feel to be the first military dictator in American history?
Like shit. And if you want to ask questions like that, you can get your ass out of my office and out of this country.
But you are in effect a military dictator.
You're right. Understand I don't want to be, but I've got the job. You media people are just itching to see if I'll turn into some kind of Generalissimo Franco and decide to keep the job for life. Well forget it. I believe in the Constitution and I swore an oath to defend the Constitution. I'm just a caretaker. And maybe you all will finally realize that generals, at least this one, aren't lunatics who want nothing but power and to blow the world all to hell.
An aide rushes in and whispers into Castleberry's ear. His face lights up and he breaks out into a big smile.
Castleberry's wife and daughter are escorted into the office. Castleberry leaps up, and bear‑hugs the both of them. The cameraman is seen carefully recording the scene. Brandon is seen softly talking into his mike.
President Castleberry's wife and daughter, who were in Washington the night of the attack, have just been reunited with the general. This is Frank Brandon, the Network News.
EXT. CAPITAL BUILDING THE FOLLOWING JANUARY 5TH
The scene is a Presidential Inauguration. In the background workers can be seen putting the finishing touches on the rebuilt Capitol Building. Castleberry is standing at the podium, in a suit, with his right hand raised and his left hand on a Bible held by an elderly man wearing a black robe. As the scene continues text appears on the screen.
On November 6th General Bruce Castleberry was elected by the largest vote margin in American history as President of the United States.
His campaign was simple and direct. He promised only one thing and that was
"America will get even."
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