13 Days
           DARKNESS.  As the MAIN TITLES BEGIN, the theater thrums with
            a subsonic HISS which mounts in all the rattling power of
            THX, and we...

            BURN IN, BRIGHT LIVING COLOR:

            EXT. STRATOSPHERE - DAY

            The glory of stratospheric dawn.  The engines of a silver
            Lockheed U-2F rasp upon the trace oxygen here at 72,500 feet. 
            Scattered cloud formations hang over the blue brilliance of
            sea far, far below.  In the haze, the looming edge of land.

            SUPER: FLIGHT G-3101. OCTOBER 14TH, 1962. OVER CUBA.

            The spy plane's CAMERA DOORS whine open.  The glassy eye of
            the 36-inch camera focuses.  And then with a
            BANGBANGBANGBANG, its high-speed motor kicks in, shutter
            flying.

                                                           MATCH CUT TO:

            INT. O'DONNELL BEDROOM - DAY

            A simple CAMERA, snapping away furiously in the hands of a
            giggling MARK O'DONNELL, 4.  He's straddling and in the face
            of his dad, KENNY O'DONNELL, 30's, tough, Boston-Irish, with
            a prodigious case of morning hair.  Kenny awakens, red-eyed.

                                HELEN (O.S.)
                      Mark, get off your father!

            Kenny sits up to the morning bedlam of the O'Donnell house.

            KIDS screech, doors bang all over.  Kenny pushes Mark over,
            rolls out of bed, snatches up the corners of the blanket and
            hoists Mark over his shoulder in a screaming, kicking bundle.

            INT. O'DONNELL HALLWAY - DAY

            Kenny, with Mark in the bundle on his shoulder, meets his
            wife HELEN going the other way in the hall with LITTLE HELEN,
            1, in her arms.

                                KENNY
                      Hi, hon.

            They kiss in passing.  Daughter KATHY, 12, races by in angry
            pursuit of her twin, KEVIN, 12.

                                HELEN
                      Don't forget, Mrs. Higgins wants to talk
                      to you this afternoon about Kevin.  You
                      need to do something about this.

                                KENNY
                      Kids are supposed to get detention.

            Kenny dumps the bundle with Mark in a big pile of dirty
            laundry.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            EXT. MCCOY AIR FORCE BASE - FLORIDA - DAY

            A pair of massive FILM CANISTERS unlock and drop from the
            belly of the U-2.  TECHNICIANS secure them in orange carrying
            cases, lock them under key, fast and proficient.  They whisk
            them out from under the spy plane.

            The Technicians run for an idling Jeep.  They sling the cases
            into the rear of the vehicle which in turn accelerates away
            hard, curving across the runway for another waiting plane.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            INT. O'DONNELL KITCHEN - DAY

            A kitchen out of the late 1950's.  Kenny drinks coffee, ties
            a tie, rifles through a briefcase at the kitchen table.  The
            horde of kids, ages 2-14, breakfast on an array of period
            food.  Kenny grills the kids while he goes over papers.

                                KENNY
                      Secretary of Defense...

                                KEVIN
                      Dean Rusk!

                                KENNY
                      Wrong, and you get to wax my car.

            KENNY JR. smirk at Kevin.

                                KENNY JR.
                      Rusk is State, moron.  Robert McNamara.

                                HELEN
                      Got time for pancakes?

                                KENNY
                      Nope.  Attorney General?

            A PHONE RINGS as the kids cry out en masse.

                                KIDS
                          (chorus)
                      Too easy!  Bobby, Bobby Kennedy!

            Kenny glances up at the wall.  There are two phones, side by
            side.  One RED, one BLACK.  It's the black one ringing. 
            Helen answers.  Kenny goes back to his papers.

                                KENNY
                      All right, wise guys, Assistant
                      Secretary of State for Latin America...

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            EXT. STEUART BUILDING - DAY

            A U.S. Navy truck lurches to a stop in front of the run-down,
            brick-faced seven-story Steuart Building on 5th and K.  Rear
            doors BANG open, and out hop two MARINE GUARDS, side arms
            drawn, film canisters in a carrying case between them.

            SUPER:  NATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERPRETATION CENTER
            (NPIC), WASHINGTON D.C.

            As the Marines approach the building, front doors SLAM open.

            INT. OPERATIONS OFFICE, NPIC - DAY

            A bespectacled OPERATIONS MANAGER hands a clipboard to one of
            the big Marine Guards who in turn hands him a set of keys. 
            The Manager unlocks the film cases.  PHOTO INTERPRETERS swoop
            in, whisk away the contents: SPOOLS OF FILM.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            EXT. O'DONNELL RESIDENCE - DAY

            A black Lincoln pulls away from the modest white house on a
            tidy Washington D.C. residential street.

            EXT. WASHINGTON D.C., AERIAL - DAY

            The car threads its way through the Washington traffic, past
            the big administrative buildings, down tree-lined avenues,
            takes a turn into a gate.  As the car stops at the gate, the
            CAMERA flies past, revealing it's the gate to the WHITE
            HOUSE.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            INT. NPIC - DAY

            CLOSE ON the five-thousand rolls of film spewing through
            processing equipment, its streaking passage leading us
            straight through the development machinery to:

            A SERIES OF VARIOUS SHOTS:

            Photo Interpreters power up light tables, stereoscopic
            viewers, zip across the floor in wheeled chairs.

            Flying switches, flickering lights, humming motors.  It's an
            eerie dance of technological black magic.

            Another pair of Interpreters loom out of the darkness, side
            by side, ghostly looking, their glasses reflecting the glare
            of the light table, like magicians staring into a crystal
            ball.

            IMAGES FILL THE SCREEN

            Aerial shots, flashing by.  Cuban countryside from 72,500
            feet.  A MAGNIFYING GLASS swings down on its arm in front of
            us, magnifying the carpet of trees... and a row of six canvas
            covered OBJECTS among them.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            EXT. WHITE HOUSE - WEST WING - DAY

            Kenny, in business suit and tie, trots up the steps, and a
            MARINE GUARD snaps the door open for him.

            INT. WEST WING - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny, briefcase in hand, weaves his way through the empty,
            ornate hallways of the West Wing.  Past magnificent doorways,
            early American furniture, paintings.  He finally reaches a
            doorway, goes through into:

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            A long, narrow affair, window at the back looking out into
            the Rose Garden.  Kenny dumps his briefcase on the desk,
            shucks off his coat, removes a folder from his briefcase,
            turns and heads back out...

            INT. WEST WING HALLS - CONTINUOUS

            And into the warren of offices and halls that is the working
            White House.  He takes a right, passes the doors to the Oval
            Office right next to his office, goes down a long, straight
            hall, into...

            INT. MANSION - CONTINUOUS

            The formal main building, the executive mansion.  He passes
            the busts of Presidents past, turns left into an elevator. 
            The doors close.

            INT. 3RD FLOOR - FAMILY QUARTERS - DAY

            The doors open.  Kenny strides out onto a DIFFERENT FLOOR,
            the third.  He heads down the long, posh hall of the family
            quarters.  Fine furnishings, art.  The living White House.

            He approaches the double doors at the end of the hall guarded
            by a cluster of SECRET SERVICE AGENTS.  An agent opens one of
            the doors.

                                KENNY
                      Morning, Floyd.

                                SECRET SERVICE AGENT
                      Good morning, Mr. O'Donnell.

            INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny enters the elegant bedroom.  The figure alone at a side
            table by the window, drinks coffee, breakfast still spread
            out before him, Washington Post obscuring his face.

                                KENNY
                      Top o' the morning, Mr. President.

            The figure lowers the paper.

            It is PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY.  He's wearing boxers and a
            tank top.  Unshaven.  Bed-head.

            Kenny O'Donnell, former ward-pol and long-time Kennedy man,
            is his Chief of Staff...

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Morning, Kenny.  You see this goddamn
                      Capehart stuff?

            The President rattles the paper.  Kenny collapses in the
            chair opposite the President, sprawls, comfortable.

                                KENNY
                      Bayh's going to lose, but it's good
                      groundwork for us for '64.

            Kenny steals a piece of buttered toast off the President's
            plate.  The President spares him a glance.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I was eating that.

                                KENNY
                      No you weren't.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                          (scanning the paper)
                      I was, you bastard.

            Kenny takes a defiant bite.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      So what've we got today?

                                KENNY
                      Today, for your information, is Pulaski
                      Day.  We're going to Buffalo...

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            INT. HOTEL LOBBY - DAY

            SUPERIMPOSE: BUFFALO, NEW YORK

            A luxury hotel crowded with LOCAL POLS: the Democratic
            machine of Buffalo.  Beyond the open floor-to-ceiling
            windows, a CROWD.  The Pulaski Day Parade, a glimpse of '69s
            Americana.  High School bands blare Sousa.  The scene is
            deafening, boisterous.  Pols trail Kenny as he crosses the
            room: fast, tough, on-the-go.

                                POL #1
                      We're putting up Potowski next time. 
                      Will you guys come out for him?  

                                KENNY
                      Who else you got?

                                POL #2
                      There's Richardson.  Good kid.

                                KENNY
                      Got the touch?

                                POL #2
                      Yeah.  Still moldable, too.

                                KENNY
                      Everyone likes a good kid...

            And like that, a congressional candidate is made...  Kenny
            accelerates, leaving the Pols behind.  Suddenly, outside the
            windows, the crowd swells forward with a collective ROAR.

                                CROWD
                      MR. PRESIDENT!  PRESIDENT KENNEDY!

            EXT. HOTEL - DAY

            Kenny heads down the steps with New York Times Washington
            Bureau Chief, SCOTTY RESTON. Anonymous, they weave their way
            through the crowd for a police car on a side street.

                                RESTON
                      How's my favorite President?

                                KENNY
                      Busy.  But you've got his heart.

                                RESTON
                      I want an hour with him.

                                KENNY
                      I said his heart, not his attention.

                                RESTON
                      Three weeks before midterm elections? 
                      You need me.

                                KENNY
                      Well.  There is a new civil rights
                      initiative he wants to talk about.

                                RESTON
                      I'm doing a piece on Skybolt.  I hear
                      Macmillan's meeting with him in Nassau.

            Kenny just sighs as they make their way up to the police car. 
            A Secret Service Agent opens the door for him, another is
            behind the wheel.

                                KENNY
                      We're giving the Brits Polaris instead. 
                      But a story'll just aggravate things.

            Scotty stares at Kenny, determined.  Kenny looks away.  And
            his eye catches a tall, willowy BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.  She is
            talking, excited, embarrassed, to two more SECRET SERVICE
            AGENTS.  What they're saying is lost in the noise.

            Scotty follows Kenny's gaze.  Then the two men share a look,
            a silent understanding.  Kenny glances at the Secret Service
            guy holding the car door, tilts his head at the woman.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      Not today.  He's got tight schedule.

            The Agent nods, heads for the other Agents and the Beautiful
            Woman.  Scotty acts like nothing has happened.

                                RESTON
                      Pretending there isn't a problem won't
                      fix it.  He can clear the air on Anglo
                      American relations.

                                KENNY
                      Forget it, Scotty.

                                RESTON
                      Let him talk to me, he makes Macmillan
                      look good, I print it, the British
                      public likes it, Macmillan owes you.

            The formula's exactly what Kenny wants to hear.  He pretends
            to consider, pretends to cave as he gets in the car.

                                KENNY
                      All right, you're in.  Half hour.

            Reston's won.  But so has Kenny, and he's made Scotty feel
            tough in the bargain.  People like Kenny.

            INT. POLICE CAR - DAY

            In the back seat, Kenny stares out the window at the parade
            goers.  The Secret Service Agents leave the Woman. 
            Disappointed, the Woman turns and vanishes into the crowd. 
            It's an eerie moment.  Something troubles Kenny, and he
            glances up at the sky.  A premonition.  But it's a clear,
            clear blue.  A day like this, all is right with the world...

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            INT. NPIC - NIGHT

            Six Interpreters huddle around IMAGES on a light table.  One
            of them shoulders his way into the group and THUMPS a black
            BINDER on the table.  There are grim nods of agreement.

            The book is open to a PICTURE of an SS-4 BALLISTIC MISSILE. 
            A photo from Moscow Mayday parade.  An icon of the nuclear
            age escorted like some devil-god to a holocaust...

            END MAIN TITLE SEQUENCE

            EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE - DAY

            The White House casts long shadows this gorgeous October
            morning.  Blue sky; the first flash of color in the trees.

            SUPER: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16TH, 1962.  DAY 1.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Briefcase and coat in hand, Kenny enters his office - and
            finds THREE MEN.  Standing there.  Thin-haired, bespectacled,
            academic-looking MCGEORGE BUNDY, 43, the National Security
            Advisor.  The two men in the background: PHOTO INTERPRETERS.

            Kenny hangs up his coat, sees the Interpreters' large black
            display cases.  And suddenly the world is slightly off
            kilter.

                                KENNY
                      Hey, Mac.  You're up bright and early.

                                BUNDY
                      No, Ken.  I need to see him now...

            INT. WHITE HOUSE - RESIDENTIAL FLOOR - DAY

            Kenny emerges from the elevator with Bundy.  They head down
            the long, posh 3rd floor hall, the Presidential Detail
            guarding the doors at the end.  But the familiar route feels
            strange, and lasting an eternity.  Kenny eyes the package
            under Bundy's arm, its TOP SECRET stamp visible.

                                KENNY
                      Morning, Floyd.

                                SECRET SERVICE AGENT
                      Good morning, Mr. O'Donnell.  Mr. Bundy.

            The Agent opens the door.  Bundy pauses, Kenny with him.

                                KENNY
                      What's it about?

                                BUNDY
                      Cuba.

            Bundy is tense.  But Kenny relaxes.

                                KENNY
                      Just Cuba?  Okay, I got work to do, see
                      you guys downstairs.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny's office is a raging beehive of activity.  Kenny works
            the phone as ASSISTANTS come and go with files.

                                KENNY
                          (to phone, scary calm)
                      Listen to me, you worthless piece of
                      disloyal shit.  You will pull Daly's man
                      on the circuit.  You owe your goddamn
                      job to this administration.
                          (beat, listening)
                      There is a word you need to learn.  It
                      is the only word in politics.  Loyalty. 
                      LOYALTY you motherfucking piece of shit!

            As Kenny THROWS the phone down at the receiver, and the
            PRIVATE DOOR to the Oval Office suddenly opens.  Kenny
            glances up.  President Kennedy stands there in the doorway. 
            Kenny thinks he's reacting to the tirade.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      What're you looking at?  This isn't the
                      blessed order of St. Mary the Meek.

            Kenny stops.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      Excuse us.

            The Assistants leave, shutting the door after them.  Kenny
            rises.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I think you should come in here.

            Kenny starts for the door.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      Still think Cuba isn't important?

                                KENNY
                      Not as far as the election goes.

            The President lets Kenny by into...

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            WE ENTER from a different angle than we usually enter in
            movies: through the side door.  The President's ornate desk
            sits on the right, windows looking out on the Rose Garden
            behind it.  Kenny's gaze swivels to:

            THE OTHER END OF THE ROOM where the Interpreters, their
            crewcut chief, ARTHUR LUNDAHL, 50's, and Bundy stare at him. 
            They're surrounded by PRESENTATION BOARDS propped up around
            the fireplace.  The President's rocking chair and sofas.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      You used to look down a bomb sight for a
                      living, Ken.  What do you see?

            In eerie silence, as all eyes follow him, Kenny makes his way
            among the presentation boards with the U-2 imagery, stops in
            front of the picture of the six canvas-covered objects.  It
            unleashes a wave of memories.

                                KENNY
                      We hit a Nazi buzz bomb field in '45. 
                          (beat, incredulous)
                      It looks like a rocket base...

            He puts his hand out to touch the image, then turns and looks
            to the President, knowing what they must be.

                                BUNDY
                      On Sunday morning, one of our U-2s took
                      these pictures.  The Soviets are putting
                      medium range ballistic missiles into
                      Cuba.

            Shock.  Silence.  Kenny glances to the other men.

                                LUNDAHL
                      They appear to be the SS-4: range of a
                      thousand miles, three-megaton nuclear
                      warhead.

                                KENNY
                      Jesus Christ in Heaven...

            INT. WHITE HOUSE OPERATOR'S CENTER - DAY

            A bank of WHITE HOUSE OPERATORS work the switchboard, fingers
            flying, voices overlapping in a babble of:

                                VARIOUS OPERATORS
                      Please hold for the White House...Mr.
                      O'Donnell for Secretary McNamara...
                      White House Operator... please hold...

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            Kenny carries the phone with him as he paces hard from his
            desk to his window.

                                KENNY
                      The principals are assembling in an
                      hour.  See you then.

            Kenny hangs up.  The President enters.  A beat.  And in that
            beat, there's a void.  The two men are off their emotional
            stride, trying to grope their way out of shock.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Where's Bobby?

            Kenny nods, acknowledging the feeling

                                KENNY
                      Should be here any minute.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Good.

            And we glimpse the chemistry of these guys by Bobby's
            absence.  It's like they're missing their third wheel.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      Good.

                                BOBBY (O.S.)
                      Where the hell are you?

            The President and Kenny hear him out in the hall.  And the
            tension goes out of them instantly.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      In here!

            They turn to the door as BOBBY KENNEDY, 37, the President's
            younger brother/Attorney General, enters.  Bobby shuts the
            door behind him, falls into Kenny's chair, and clearly
            grappling with his own disbelief, is hushed.

                                BOBBY
                      Jesus Christ, guys.  What the hell's
                      Khruschev thinking?

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Did you have any indication of this from
                      Georgi?  Any possible warning or sense
                      of motivation?

                                BOBBY
                          (shaking his head)
                      Complete snowjob.  And then we went out
                      and told the country they weren't
                      putting missiles into Cuba.
                          (beat)
                      By the way, you realize we just lost the
                      midterms.

                                KENNY
                      Who gives a shit about the midterms now? 
                      The Soviets are putting nuclear weapons
                      ninety miles away from us.

                                BOBBY
                      You mean there's something more
                      important than votes?  Didn't think I'd
                      live to see the day, Ken.

            The President paces away, grim.

                                KENNY
                      Jesus.  I feel like we've caught the Jap
                      carriers steaming for Pearl Harbor.

            INT. WEST WING HALLWAY - DAY

            The President strides down the plush hallway, Bobby and Kenny
            flanking him.  Unconsciously, all three men assume the same
            gait: confident, powerful, no longer disoriented.

            And before our eyes, the three men's game faces appear, and
            they become the hard-ass leaders of the United States. 
            Secret Service Agents throw open the massive double doors to
            the Cabinet Room.

            INT. CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            And they enter.  The group of men at the long, ornate
            Roosevelt-era table, rise as one.

                                GROUP
                      Good morning, Mr. President.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Good morning, gentlemen.

            And the doors close on the eighteen men of EXCOM: The
            Executive Committee of the National Security Council.  They
            are the legendary "Best and Brightest."

            The President makes his way down the line: shakes hands with
            Secretary of State DEAN RUSK, 53, distinguished, with a soft,
            Georgian accent, a distant reserve.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      Dean, good morning.

                                RUSK
                      Mr. President.

            The President leans past him, grasps the hand of the
            Secretary of Defense ROBERT MCNAMARA, 46, a gifted managerial
            genius... the price of which is a cold, hard personality.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Bob.  Bet you had a late night.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Sleep is for the weak, Mr. President.

            OFF TO THE SIDE, Kenny greets Vice President LYNDON JOHNSON,
            54, and ADLAI STEVENSON, 62, Representative to the U.N.,
            intellectual, well-spoken.

                                KENNY
                      Lyndon.  Adlai.

            The silver-haired war hero and politically savvy Chairman of
            The Joint Chiefs of Staff, GENERAL MAXWELL TAYLOR, 50s,
            shakes the President's hand.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Max.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      McCone's been notified and is coming
                      back from the West coast.  Carter's
                      here, though.

            He gestures to GENERAL MARSHALL CARTER, Deputy Chief of
            Operations for the CIA.  Carter nods to the President.

            THE CAMERA PANS OVER THE OTHERS.

            DOUGLAS DILLON, ex-banker, Secretary of the Treasury.

            ROSWELL GILPATRIC, studious Deputy Secretary of Defense.

            PAUL NITZE, 55, the detail-driven facts man, Assistant
            Secretary of Defense.

            GEORGE BALL, 50s, Undersecretary of State.  Eloquent, a man
            of conscience.

            U. ALEXIS JOHNSON, Deputy Under Secretary of State.

            EDWARD MARTIN, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin
            America.

            LLEWELLYN THOMPSON, laid back, rumpled Soviet Affairs
            Advisor.

            DON WILSON, Deputy Director of the USIA.

            The President sits down at the center of the table, Rusk and
            McNamara to either side, and the others resume their seats. 
            Bobby takes one of the over-stuffed chairs at the table.

            Kenny finds one along the wall behind the President, under
            the windows to the Rose Garden to TED SORENSEN, 30s, the
            President's legal counsel and speech writer.  They greet each
            other coolly.

                                KENNY
                      Ted.

                                SORENSEN
                      Kenny.

            The room falls silent.  The President looks across the table
            to GENERAL CARTER.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Okay.  Let's have it.

                                GENERAL CARTER
                      Arthur Lundahl heads our photographic
                      interpretation division at CIA.  I'll
                      let him and his boys take you through
                      what we've got.  Arthur?

            Lundahl, standing at the end of the room with briefing
            boards, steps forward with a pointer.

                                LUNDAHL
                      Gentlemen, as most of you now know a U-2
                      over Cuba on Sunday morning took a
                      series of disturbing photographs.

            SWINGING THE POINTER AT A BOARD SMASH CUTS US TO:

            EXT. MISSILE SITE - LOS PALACIOS, CUBA - DAY

            The sweltering Cuban countryside.  Shouting SOVIET ROCKET
            TROOPS, stripped to the waist, glistening with sweat, machete
            a clearing under scattered, limp palm trees.

                                LUNDAHL (V.O.)
                      Our analysis at NPIC indicates the
                      Soviet Union has followed its
                      conventional weapons build-up in Cuba
                      with the introduction of surface-to
                      surface medium-range ballistic missiles,
                      or MRBMs.  Our official estimate at this
                      time is that this missile system is the
                      SS-4 Sandal.  We do not believe these
                      missiles are as yet operational.

            A bulldozer TEARS through the undergrowth.  FILLING THE
            SCREEN.  A 70-foot long MISSILE TRANSPORTER creeps along in
            the bulldozer's wake like a vast hearse with its shrouded
            cargo.

            INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

            Lundahl raps his second board: a map of the United States,
            Cuba visible in the lower corner.  An ARC is drawn clearly
            across the U.S., encompassing the entire Southeast.

                                LUNDAHL
                      IRONBARK reports the SS-4 can deliver a
                      3-megaton nuclear weapon 1000 miles.  So
                      far we have identified 32 missiles
                      served by around 3400 men, undoubtedly
                      all Soviet personnel.  Our cities and
                      military installations in the Southeast,
                      as far north as Washington, are in range
                      of these weapons, and in the event of a
                      launch, would only have five minutes of
                      warning.

                                GENERAL CARTER
                      Five minutes, gentlemen.  Five minutes.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      In those five minutes they could kill 80
                      million Americans and destroy a
                      significant number of our bomber bases,
                      degrading our retaliatory options.  The
                      Joint Chiefs' consensus is that this is
                      a massively destabilizing move,
                      upsetting the nuclear balance.

            The President stares at Lundahl, and beating out each word.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Arthur.  Are. You. Sure?

            Lundahl looks around the room.  Everyone is hanging.

                                LUNDAHL
                      Yes, Mr. President.  These are nuclear
                      missiles.

            The men come to grips with their own fears, own anger.

                                BOBBY
                      How long until they're operational?

                                LUNDAHL
                      General Taylor can answer that question
                      better than I can.

            General Taylor drops a memo on the table WHICH BECOMES:

            EXT. FIELD TABLE - MISSILE SITE, CUBA - DAY

            SCHEMATICS slapped down on a camp table.  A group of Soviet
            site ENGINEERS point and gesture as they study their ground
            from a shaded hillock.  CLEARING CREWS and SURVEYORS work and
            sweat in the distance.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR (V.O.)
                      GMAIC estimates ten to fourteen days. 
                      However, a crash program to ready the
                      missiles could cut that time.



            INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

            Taylor sees the grim looks all around.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      I have to stress that there may be more
                      missiles that we don't know about.  We
                      need more U-2 coverage.

            Kenny lets out his breath.  He catches Bobby's eye.  This is
            unbelievable.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Is there any indication - anything at
                      all - that suggests they intend to use
                      these missiles in some sort of first
                      strike?

                                GENERAL CARTER
                      Not at present, sir.  But I think the
                      prudent answer is we don't know.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Do we have any sort of intelligence from
                      CIA on what Khruschev is thinking?

                                GENERAL CARTER
                      No, Mr. President.  We don't.  We just
                      don't know what's happening inside the
                      Kremlin at that level.

                                BOBBY
                      They lied to us.  Two weeks ago Dobrynin
                      told me to my face Khurschev had no
                      intention of putting missiles into Cuba. 
                      They said themselves, this is our
                      backyard.

            There's angry agreement.  The President cuts it off.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Gentlemen, I want first reactions. 
                      Assuming for a moment Khruschev has not
                      gone off the deep end and intends to
                      start World War Three, what are we
                      looking at?

            Rusk glances to his team at the end of the table.  Ball,
            Johnson, Martin, Thompson and Stevenson.

                                RUSK
                      Mr. President, I believe my team is in
                      agreement.  If we permit the
                      introduction of nuclear missiles to a
                      Soviet satellite nation in our
                      hemisphere, the diplomatic consequences
                      will be too terrible to contemplate. 
                      The Russians are trying to show the
                      world they can do whatever they want,
                      wherever they want, and we're powerless
                      to stop them.  If they succeed...

                                BOBBY
                      It will be Munich all over again.

                                RUSK
                      Appeasement only makes the aggressor
                      more aggressive.  Confidence in our
                      security commitments around the world
                      will falter, allies will become unsure
                      in the face of Soviet pressure, and the
                      Soviets will be emboldened to push us
                      even harder.  We must remove the
                      missiles one way or another.  It seems
                      to me the options are either to build up
                      the crisis 'til they give in, or we hit
                      them.  An air strike.

            There's silence at the table.  Some nods.  Understanding.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Bob?

                                MCNAMARA
                      We've worked up several military
                      scenarios.  Before I ask General Taylor
                      to lead us through the various options,
                      I'd like for us to adopt a rule. 
                      If we are going to strike, we must agree
                      now that we will do it before the
                      missiles become operational.  Because
                      once they are, I don't think we can
                      guarantee getting them all before at
                      least some are launched.

            And there it is.  The clock is running.

                                BUNDY
                      Sir.  We need to consider... if we
                      decide to act, there's a good chance
                      we'll end up in a general war.

            The room falls silent.  The President leans back in his
            chair, studying the circle of men around the table, weighing
            them.

            Kenny and the others watch him in silence.  A long, dramatic
            pause.  A course that will change history is about to be
            chosen.  The President leans forward, folds his hands on the
            table.  Fated.  Grave.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      It's clear we cannot permit Soviet
                      nuclear missiles in Cuba.  We must get
                      those missiles out.

            EXT. THE ROSE GARDEN - DAY

            Kenny and Bobby follow the President down a path through the
            Rose Garden.  The shock of the morning has worn off.  The
            President stops, looks at them.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I don't think it's going to matter what
                      Khruschev's intentions are.  I tell you,
                      right now... I don't see any way around
                      hitting them.

            A long moment of silence as they move along again.

                                KENNY
                      If we hit 'em, kill a lot of Russians,
                      they'll move against Berlin.  They
                      attack Berlin, that's NATO... and we're
                      at war.

            The guys stop again.  The autumn day is bright, warm, alive. 
            The air, the distant city sounds derail the relentless train
            of logic for a beat.  And in their faces we see that all
            three men, for the first time, feel the enormity of war, its
            shadow over everything.  It's only a couple of steps away. 
            Steps that they're seriously contemplating.

                                BOBBY
                      Damned if we do, but if we don't, we're
                      in a war for sure somewhere else in six
                      months.

            Pained, the President turns away.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      No choice.  This is going to cost lives
                      any way we go.  Do nothing, and it could
                      be 80 million  of ours.  We have to get
                      rid of those missiles.

                                KENNY
                      There've got to be alternatives to just
                      going out and bombing them.

                                BOBBY
                      He's right, Jack.  Taylor is saying we
                      may have some time.  We've got to use
                      it.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      So if there are alternatives that make
                      sense - and I'm not saying there are -
                      we need 'em.  Need 'em fast.

                                BOBBY
                      What about the allies?  Congress?  I
                      think we may need to start letting key
                      people know.  And they're all scattered
                      across the country for the campaign. 
                      We're going to need to get the U.N.
                      staff in and warmed up.  Jesus... I
                      don't even know if we've got secure
                      communications with half our embassies
                      since that the Soviets got that
                      cryptographer of ours.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      We can't worry about everything right
                      now.  We've got to figure out what we're
                      going to do before we worry about how we
                      do it.

                                KENNY
                      The other thing is...

                                BOBBY
                      ... I know.  CIA and the military fucked
                      us on the Bay of Pigs.

                                KENNY
                      They're going to be pressing for a
                      military solution soon.  We can't afford
                      to let them ram their agenda down our
                      throats.  We need to come with options
                      other than air strikes so we have some
                      sort of choice here.

                                BOBBY
                      We got a bunch of smart guys.  We lock
                      'em up together in there, kick 'em in
                      the ass til they come up with options.

            Kenny and the President look at him.  Bobby nods.

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      I'll do it.

                                KENNY
                          (to the President)
                      It's too politicized with you in there,
                      anyway.  They need to be able to stick
                      their necks out.

                                BOBBY
                      It'll be the principals, a couple of the
                      key guys from each department: the
                      Executive Committee of the National
                      Security Council.  We'll call it EXCOM.

            Kenny snorts a laugh.  Bobby shoots him a cross look.

                                KENNY
                      EXCOM.  Has a ring to it.  Like F-Troop.

            The President stops.  Bobby and Kenny stop, too.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Okay.  Kenny and I only show for the
                      meetings you call us into.  Impress us. 
                      And do it fast.
                          (to Kenny)
                      You're in charge of keeping this quiet. 
                      If word gets out before we know what
                      we're going to do, there'll be panic. 
                      And it'll ruin any chance of surprise if
                      we decide to hit them.

                                KENNY
                      Then we need to do a few things right
                      away.  No Pierre.  He knows, the press
                      knows. 
                      You're going to have to keep up your
                      schedule - your movements are followed
                      too closely.  And we need to get these
                      guys out of the White House.  George
                      Ball's got a conference room at State.
                          (to Bobby)
                      Reconvene over there this afternoon,
                      come back here tonight.

            Bobby nods.

                                BOBBY
                      I think we should bring in Dean Acheson. 
                      He was fighting Soviets while we were
                      still working the wards in Boston.

            The President nods his approval.  Looks at Kenny.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Find him, Kenny.  We're going to need
                      all the help we can get.

            INT. WEST WING - HALL OUTSIDE PRESS OFFICE - DAY

            Kenny moves hard and fast through the twisting warren of
            hallways and tiny offices which is the West Wing.  Suddenly,
            Scotty Reston pops out of a doorway behind Kenny.

                                RESTON
                      Hey, Kenny!  Who died?

            Kenny glances over his shoulder at Scotty who points to a
            window.  A beat, then Kenny returns to look out the window. 
            Outside, the West Wing Drive is FILLED WITH LIMOUSINES.

            A flash of dismay, but Kenny covers fast.

                                KENNY
                      Way it's going, the Democratic Party. 
                      DNC strategy session.  If you can call
                      it that.

            Scotty chuckles.  Kenny moves off, leading him away.  Kenny's
            assistant runs up behind him, holding out a slip of paper.

                                ASSISTANT
                      Sir?

            Kenny tries to look him away.

                                RESTON
                      It's Tuesday.  You said to call.  When
                      do I get my 45 minutes?

                                KENNY
                      Tell you what.  We're in Connecticut
                      tomorrow for Ribicoff.  I'll get you up
                      front with him during the flight.

                                RESTON
                      Deal.

                                ASSISTANT
                      Sir.

            Kenny turns, harsh

                                KENNY
                      What is it?

            The Assistant eyes Scotty, holds his tongue.  Kenny takes the
            slips.

                                ASSISTANT
                      The number you asked for.

                                KENNY
                      I ask for a lot of 'em.  Whose is it?

                                ASSISTANT
                      Dean Acheson's, sir.

            That shuts Kenny up.  Reston eyes the slip, then looks to
            Kenny's face.  And he knows something isn't right here.

                                KENNY
                      Gotta go, Scotty.  See you tomorrow.

            INT. TREASURY BUILDING GARAGE - NIGHT

            A car jolts to a stop.  The CAMERA PANS up over the sagging
            suspension, the government plates, the hood ornament
            revealing half of EXCOM inside.  Kenny stands nearby waiting
            for them.

            The doors open, and out they pile like a bunch of clowns:
            Bobby, McNamara, Rusk, Ball, Martin, Dioptric, Sorensen,
            Stevenson, and Nitze.  They're sitting in each others' laps,
            banging their heads on the roof, joking, but tense.

                                BOBBY
                      Screw secrecy.  You try having that fat
                      ass sit on your lap all the way from
                      Foggy Bottom.

                                MCNAMARA
                      You were excited.  I say no more.

            The gang falls in behind Kenny, trails him out of the garage.

            INT. TUNNEL TO WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

            A steel door unlocks, swings open, and Kenny marches at the
            head of the wedge of men into a long tunnel.  It's the
            infamous old passage from the Treasury to the White House. 
            Kenny and Bobby get a little ahead of the others.

                                BOBBY
                      Everybody agrees the diplomatic route is
                      out.  It's too slow, and they'll have
                      the missiles finished.

            Kenny looks at him.  Then there's only one alternative.  The
            CAMERA wipes through the ceiling to:

            EXT. WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

            GROUND LEVEL.  Where the brilliantly-lit flag flutters over
            the spotlit White House: their destination.

            INT. CABINET ROOM - NIGHT

            GENERAL WALTER 'CAM' SWEENEY, head of Tactical Air Command,
            stands at the head of the table with a presentation board. 
            The men of EXCOM gather around Sweeney in their rumpled
            shirts, nursing coffee and cigarettes.

                                GENERAL SWEENEY
                      We have 850 planes assembling at
                      Homestead, Eglin, Opa Locka, MacDill,
                      Patrick, Pensacola and Key West.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            EXT. HOMESTEAD AFB - FLORIDA - NIGHT

            An F-100 Super Sabre stands under lights on a taxiway.  The
            CAMERA DESCENDS FROM ITS OVERHEAD SHOT, discovering the
            aircraft's sleek cockpit, menacing tiger-jaw paint job, the
            four 20mm cannons on its nose.

                                GENERAL SWEENEY (V.O.)
                      Due to the tropical foliage, the OPLAN
                      calls for high-explosive and napalm
                      loadouts for our ground attack sorties.

            PULL BACK TO REVEAL:

            The FLIGHT LINE where a full strike wing stands beyond this
            plane, pylons laden with weapons, GROUND CREW servicing them.

            INT. CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            Other EXCOM members draw near the board, its order of battle,
            strike maps.  They're grim, but fascinated.  Empowering. 
            Intoxicating.  Sexy.  Kenny sees it in the faces, even the
            President's.  Adlai does too, is upset.

                                ADLAI
                      I still think there are diplomatic
                      approaches we haven't considered yet.

            Kenny looks at Adlai.  The others around the room,
            embarrassed, don't respond.  The group has moved on and
            Stevenson hasn't.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      We have high confidence in the expanded
                      air strike option.
                          (beat)
                      The problem, Mr. President, is that it's
                      a short-term solution.  Khruschev can
                      send more missiles next month.  The
                      Chiefs and I believe we should follow up
                      the air strikes with the full version of
                      OPLAN 316.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      An invasion...

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Yes, sir.  We can be sure we get all the
                      missiles, and we remove Castro so this
                      can never happen again.

            Kenny looks around the room at the men, the murmurs of
            general agreement, senses the consensus building and is
            agitated.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Is this the Chiefs' recommendation?

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Yes, sir.  Our best option is to
                      commence the strikes before the missiles
                      are operational.  The invasion happens
                      eight days later.

            The President leans back in his chair, turns to the man at
            the far end of the table: DEAN ACHESON, 60s, former Secretary
            of State.  He sits silent, like some revered oracle, the
            architect of the American Cold War strategy of containment.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Dean.  What do you think?

            Acheson arches an eyebrow, and when he speaks, his voice
            resonates throughout the room, powerful, smooth, hypnotic.

                                ACHESON
                      Mr. President, you have rightly
                      dismissed the diplomatic option.  The
                      Soviet will only tie you down in
                      negotiation, and leave us short of our
                      goal, the removal of the missiles. 
                      Negotiating will do nothing more than
                      give them time to make the missiles
                      operational, complicating the necessary
                      military task we have at hand.

            Everyone in the room listens to him with rapt attention, his
            presence overshadowing the room, oracular:

                                ACHESON (CONT'D)
                      For the last fifteen years, I have
                      fought here at this table along side
                      your predecessors in the struggle
                      against the Soviet.  Gentlemen, I do not
                      wish to seem melodramatic, but I do wish
                      to impress upon you one observation with
                      all conceivable sincerity.  A lesson I
                      have learned with bitter tears and great
                      sacrifice.
                          (beat)
                      The Soviet understands only one
                      language: action.  It respects only one
                      word: force.

            Kenny stares at the old man.  Acheson's gaze finds his
            through the cigarette smoke.  Acheson's eyes travel to the
            President.

                                ACHESON (CONT'D)
                      I concur with General Taylor.  I
                      recommend, sir, air strikes followed by
                      invasion, perhaps preceded by an
                      ultimatum to dismantle the missiles if
                      military necessity permits.

            Taylor nods, vindicated.  The others murmur their approval. 
            Bobby, at the table in front of Kenny and to his left, trades
            a dire look with Kenny.  This is happening too fast.  Bobby
            holds his head, looks about at the others, deeply distressed.

            The President sinks back in his chair, staring at Acheson.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Then it appears we have three options. 
                      Number one.  A surgical air strike
                      against the missiles themselves.  Two, a
                      larger air strike against their air
                      defenses along with the missiles.

            Kenny eyes Bobby.  Bobby is writing something.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      And three, invasion.

            Bobby looks over his shoulder at Kenny, and REACHES BACK to
            him with a folded NOTE.  Kenny takes it, opens it.

            It reads NOW I KNOW WHO TOJO FELT PLANNING PEARL HARBOR.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      We're certainly going to do number one;
                      we're going to take out these missiles,
                      so it seems to me we don't have to wait
                      very long.  We ought to at least be
                      making those preparations.

            Kenny gives Bobby a curt nod.  Bobby tilts his head at the
            President: pass the note on to him.  Kenny rises, slips the
            note in front of the President.

            The President unfolds the note, and we HOLD ON IT and his
            reaction as in the b.g., out of focus, Taylor speaks:

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Yes, sir, we're preparing to implement
                      all three options, though I must stress
                      again, sir, there are risks to the
                      strikes without the follow-on invasion.

            Bundy clears his throat.  Speaks from somewhere down the
            table.

                                BUNDY
                      You want to be clear, Mr. President,
                      that we have definitely decided against
                      a political track.

            The President folds the note away, glances at Bobby.  A beat,
            the President looks from Bobby to Acheson.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Dean, how does this play out?

                                ACHESON
                      Your first step, sir, will be to demand
                      that the Soviet withdraw the missiles
                      within 12 to 24 hours.  They will
                      refuse.  When they do, you will order
                      the strikes, followed by the invasion. 
                      They will resist, but will be overrun. 
                      They will retaliate against a target
                      somewhere else in the world, most likely
                      Berlin.  We will honor our treaty
                      commitments and resist them there,
                      defeating them per our plans.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Those plans call for the use of nuclear
                      weapons.
                          (beat)
                      And what is the next step?

            Acheson sits back in his chair, smooths his moustache.  A
            dramatic beat, and then his ominous pronouncement rings out:

                                ACHESON
                      Hopefully cooler heads will prevail
                      before we reach the next step.

            A chill runs down Kenny's spine.  He looks in shock to the
            President.  The President remains calm.  But in place of the
            fated look the President has had, there's a hesitation.

            INT. WEST WING HALLS - NIGHT

            Acheson strides down the hall, Taylor, Sweeney, Carter and
            Bundy swept along behind him.  Bundy is on the defensive, the
            others grim.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      If McNamara'd get off the fence...

                                BUNDY
                      We have time.

                                GENERAL CARTER
                      Goddamn it, it's obvious.  It's the only
                      option.  That asshole, Stevenson.  We
                      can't let this drag out or we lose our
                      shot.

                                BUNDY
                      Bombing them...

                                ACHESON
                      Remember that the Kennedys' father was
                      one of the architects of Munich.  The
                      General is right.  There is only one
                      responsible choice here.

            Bundy just nods.  Taylor grabs a door ahead for Acheson.

                                ACHESON (CONT'D)
                      Let's pray appeasement doesn't run in
                      families.  I fear weakness does.

            And the men head into a stairwell going down.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

            Grimacing in pain.  He opens a pill bottle, takes two pills
            out.  He takes a whiskey in a shot glass from Kenny.

            RESUME

            Kenny finishes pouring him and Bobby a couple of more shots,
            discreetly turning a blind eye to the President's pain.

            The President returns from his desk, shirt untucked,
            disheveled, back stiff.  He eases into his rocking chair. 
            Bobby lies sprawled on the couch.  Kenny sits down.  They all
            look at each other.  A beat, something like shock.

                                KENNY
                      Jesus Christ Almighty...

            They burst out laughing.  An absurd, tension draining moment. 
            They shoot their drinks, Kenny refills.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      Call me Irish, but I don't believe in
                      cooler heads prevailing.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Acheson's scenario is unacceptable.  And
                      he has more experience than anyone.

                                KENNY
                      There is no expert on this subject, no
                      wise old man.

            The President stares Kenny in the face, understanding.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      The thing is, Acheson's right.  Talk
                      alone won't accomplish anything.

            Kenny considers the President, his face straight as he says:

                                KENNY
                      Then let's bomb the shit out of them.
                      Everyone wants to, even you, even me.
                          (there's a point)
                      It sure would feel good.

            The President sees what Kenny's saying: it'd be an emotional
            response, not necessarily the intelligent one.

                                BOBBY
                      Jack, I'm as conniving as they come, but
                      a sneak attack is just wrong.

                                KENNY
                      He's right.  And things are happening
                      too fast.  It smells like the Bay of
                      Pigs all over again.

            Bobby picks up some reconnaissance photos on the coffee
            table.

                                BOBBY
                      As if dealing with the Russians wasn't
                      hard enough, we gotta worry about our
                      own house.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Tonight, listening to Taylor and
                      Acheson, I kept seeing Burke and Dulles
                      telling me all I had to do was sign on
                      the dotted line.  The invasion would
                      succeed.  Castro would be gone.  Just
                      like that.  Easy.

            The President is rendered mute by a wave of pain.  Kenny and
            Bobby aver their eyes.  When it passes, the President is
            hushed, grave.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      There's something...immoral about
                      abandoning your own judgement.

            Kenny nods, moved.  The President reaches out for the
            reconnaissance photos Bobby's flipping through.  Bobby hands
            them to him.  The President looks them over.  And when he
            speaks, there's humility.  And resolve.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      We can't let things get ahead of
                      themselves.  We've got to control what
                      happens. 
                      We're going to do what we have to make
                      this come out right.  EXCOM is our first
                      weapon.
                          (beat)
                      We'll resort to others as we need 'em.

            EXT. AIRPORT - BRIDGEPOINT, CONNECTICUT - DAY

            SUPER: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17TH.  DAY 2

            A LONG SHOT of an ENORMOUS CROWD thronging a bunting-trimmed
            platform.  The President, barely recognizable at the
            distance, and a cluster of political VIPS wave from it,
            smiling.

            Kenny steps INTO FRAME, back here at the fringes of the
            crowd.

                                THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
                      Doesn't anybody in Connecticut have to
                      work today?

            The crowd goes nuts.  Kenny paces, checks his watch,
            impatient to be done with the necessary diversion.  Kenny
            gazes off to his right and spots Scotty Reston, along with
            half the White House press corps suckered along.  Scotty
            catches Kenny's look.

            Kenny turns away, but Scotty comes weaving over.  The
            President continues on, but all we hear is Scotty and Kenny.

                                RESTON
                      Kenny!  What happened?  They didn't let
                      me up front, said the President was on
                      the phone the whole time.

                                KENNY
                      He was.

                                RESTON
                      Yeah?  Who was he talking to?  Acheson? 
                      Come on, O'Donnell, everyone's wondering
                      what's going on.  What's Acheson doing
                      in town?  And don't give me some
                      bullshit about DNC think tanks. 
                      Acheson's Mr. Cold War.

                                KENNY
                      Why don't you ask him yourself?  You can
                      have him on the way home.

                                RESTON
                      I'm giving you a chance here: talk to
                      me.  You can influence how this thing
                      unfolds.

            But Kenny stands there, mute.  Reston just shakes his head,
            knowing for sure something's up.  He turns and heads back for
            the press corps.

            EXT. STAIRS TO AIR FORCE ONE - DAY

            Kenny and the President climb the stairs to the Presidential
            plane, the crowd cheering him.  He gives a final wave.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Let's get out of here.

                                KENNY
                      Cheer up, you've neutralized the entire
                      White House Press Corps for a day.

            INT. GEORGE BALL'S CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

            EXCOM meets in George Ball's small conference room at the
            State Department.  Bobby, in shirtsleeves, paces at the head
            of the table, very, very alone.  All eyes are on him.

                                BOBBY
                      No.  No.  No.  There is more than one
                      option here.  If one isn't occurring to
                      us, it's because we haven't thought hard
                      enough.

            McNamara squirms.  The others react in frustration.  CIA
            chief JOHN MCCONE, sharp, tough, conservative, is harsh.

                                MCCONE
                      Sometimes there is only one right
                      choice, and you thank God when it's
                      clear.

                                BOBBY
                      You're talking about a sneak attack! 
                      How'll that make us look?  Big country
                      blasting a little one into the stone
                      age.  We'll be real favorites around the
                      world.

                                ACHESON
                      Bobby, that's naive.  This is the real
                      world, you know that better than
                      anybody.  Your argument is ridiculous.

                                MCCONE
                      You weren't so ethically particular when
                      we were talking about options for
                      removing Castro over at CIA.

            And there's nothing Bobby can say to that.  He props himself
            up on the table, stares at it as if there's an answer in its
            shiny surface somewhere.  There is only the reflection of his
            own face.

                                BOBBY
                      I can't let my brother go down in
                      History like a villain, like a Tojo,
                      ordering another Pearl Harbor.

            McCone, Acheson, and Taylor share a look.  The last
            resistance to airstrikes is crumbling.  Finally, Bobby looks
            up at McNamara.

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      Bob.  If we go ahead with these air
                      strikes...
                          (beat)
                      There's got to be something else.  Give
                      it to me.  I don't care how crazy,
                      inadequate or stupid it sounds.  
                          (beat, pleading)
                      Give it to me.

            McNamara suffers under the gaze of everyone at the table,
            weighing the situation out.  And finally he ventures.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Six months ago we gamed out a scenario. 
                      It's slow.  It doesn't get rid of the
                      missiles.  There are a lot of drawbacks.
                          (beat)
                      The scenario was for a blockade of Cuba.

            SUPER: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18TH.  DAY 3

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

            Kenny enters the office from his side door in the middle of a
            debate.  Military uniforms dominate the room: General Taylor,
            General Sweeney, and a host of briefing officers.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      The situation is worse than we thought. 
                      We count 40 missiles now, longer range
                      IRBMs.  They can hit every city in the
                      continental U.S.

            The President stares out the window at the Rose Garden, his
            back to Air Force Chief of Staff GENERAL CURTIS LEMAY, 60. 
            Beetle-browed, arrogant, the archetypal Cold War general. 
            Yet there is something about him, his intelligence perhaps,
            that suggests he's playing a role he knows and believes in.

            The only other civilians in the room are Bobby, Bundy and
            McNamara.  The pressure from the military is almost physical.

                                LEMAY
                      Mr. President, as of this moment my
                      planes are ready to carry out the air
                      strikes.  All you have to do is give me
                      the word, sir, and my boys will get
                      those Red bastards.

            The President continues staring out the window.  Kenny eases
            over to the desk, leans on it, arms folded, interposing
            himself between the President and the soldiers.  Bobby joins
            him, side-by-side.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      How long until the army is ready?

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      We've just begun the mobilization under
                      cover of a pre-arranged exercise, sir. 
                      We're looking at another week and a
                      half, Mr. President.

                                LEMAY
                      But you can begin the strikes, now.  The
                      plans call for an eight-day air
                      campaign.  It'd light a fire under the
                      army's ass to get in place.

            That makes the President turn around, stare at LeMay.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      General LeMay, do you truly believe
                      that's our best course of action?

                                LEMAY
                      Mr. President, I believe it is the only
                      course of action.  American is in
                      danger.  Those missiles are a threat to
                      our bomber bases and the safety of our
                      nuclear deterrent.  Without our
                      deterrent, there's nothing to keep the
                      enemy from choosing general nuclear war. 
                      It's our duty, our responsibility to the
                      American people to take out those
                      missiles and return stability to the
                      strategic situation.  The Big Red Dog is
                      digging in our back yard, and we're
                      justified in shooting him.

            Taylor steps in softly, smoothly: good cop to LeMay's bad.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Sir, we have a rapidly closing window of
                      opportunity where we can prevent those
                      missiles from ever becoming operational. 
                      The other options...

            He spares a look at McNamara, who watches the fireworks, arms
            folded, serious.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR (CONT'D)
                      ...do not guarantee the end result we
                      can guarantee.  However, the more time
                      that goes by, the less reliable the
                      choice we can offer you becomes.

            The President, partially defused, looks from Taylor to
            McNamara.  LeMay steps forward, softer now, sincere.

                                LEMAY
                      Mr. President, the motto I chose for SAC
                      is 'Peace is our Profession.'  God
                      forbid we find ourselves in a nuclear
                      exchange.  But if launched, those
                      missiles in Cuba would kill a lot of
                      Americans.  That's why I'm being such a
                      pain in the ass about destroying them. 
                      Destroying them immediately.  Hell, even
                      Mac agrees.

            Bundy is uncomfortable.  Everyone turns to him.  He nods. 
            Kenny realizes he's been co-opted by the military.  McNamara
            does too, lets out a deep breath.  The President eyes Bundy,
            then paces out from behind his desk, walks up to LeMay.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      General, what will the Soviets do when
                      we attack?

                                LEMAY
                      Nothing.

            Kenny, Bobby and the President look at each other, unable to
            believe what they just heard.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Nothing?

                                LEMAY
                      Nothing.  Because the only alternative
                      open to them is one they can't choose.

            His pronouncement hangs there in the air: ominous, dangerous.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Those aren't just missiles we'll be
                      destroying.  We kill Soviet soldiers,
                      and they will respond.  How would we
                      respond if they killed ours?  No, they
                      will do something, General, I promise
                      you that.  And I believe it'll be
                      Berlin.

            INT. WEST WING HALLWAY - DAY

            LeMay walk out of the Oval Office with Taylor, Carter and
            their staffers.

                                LEMAY
                      Those goddamn Kennedys are going to
                      destroy this country if we don't do
                      something about this.

            There are dark looks on the faces of the other officers. 
            They agree.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            As the meeting next door disperses, the President rummages
            through Kenny's jacket which hangs on Kenny's chair.  Kenny,
            bemused, holds out the package of cigarettes the President is
            looking for.

                                KENNY
                      I was hoping LeMay pushed you.  I
                      wouldn't mind going a few rounds with
                      him.

            The President glances up, takes the proffered smokes.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      We knew it was coming.  I tell you,
                      Kenny, these brass hats have one big
                      advantage.  We do what they want us to,
                      none of us will be alive to tell 'em
                      they were wrong.

            Bobby, Rusk and Sorensen enter from the hall.

                                SORENSEN
                      Mr. President, Gromyko should be on his
                      way by now.

                                RUSK
                      We need to go over what you're going to
                      say.

                                BOBBY
                      There's still no sign they know that we
                      know about the missiles.  Been a lot of
                      cloud cover; probably think we aren't
                      getting any good product.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      We keep 'em in the dark as long as we
                      can.  But I sure as hell am going to
                      test him.

            INT. WEST WING HALL - DAY

            Kenny comes out of the bathroom, and is buttonholed by the
            crewcut, bullet-headed Press Secretary, PIERRE SALINGER, in
            the crowded, busy hallway.

                                SALINGER
                      Kenny, I'm getting funny questions from
                      the guys in the press office.  As Press
                      Secretary, I need to know.  What's going
                      on?

            Kenny wheels back into his office.  It's filled with people. 
            But he bends confidentially to Pierre's ear.

                                KENNY
                      They're planning to shave you bald next
                      time you fall asleep on the bus.
                          (off Pierre's get-serious look)
                      Sorry, Pierre, Gromyko just arrived.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            The Press Corps throngs Kenny's tiny office, pushing and
            shoving for a vantage at the side door to the Oval Office,
            waiting for the Gromyko photo-op.  Kenny stands shoulder-to
            shoulder with Reston and Sorensen near the door.

                                RESTON
                      Are they going to discuss the military
                      exercises going on in Florida?

            Kenny doesn't even blink, but Sorensen does a poorer job at
            hiding his reaction.

                                KENNY
                      Come on, Scotty.  This meeting's been on
                      the books for months.  It's just a
                      friendly talk on U.S.-Soviet relations.

            Fortunately, the conversation is cut short as a dozen
            FLASHBULBS suddenly go off on a dozen cameras as the
            reporters crush in on the Oval Office, and Reston is swept
            forward.

            KENNY'S POV:

            over the reporters.  The President, unsmiling, enters the
            room beside Soviet Foreign Minister, ANDREI GROMYKO.  Gromyko
            pauses for the photos: grim, dark haired, saturnine.

            RESUME

            Kenny reacts.  At last, the face of the enemy.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

            The CAMERA picks up the darkened windows: the meeting has
            gone long.  The CAMERA MOVES PAST Kenny and Sorensen standing
            in the doorway to Kenny's office, FINDS the President in his
            chair across from Gromyko on the sofa.  Rusk, Ambassador
            ANATOLY DOBRINYN, and two INTERPRETERS around them.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      So that there should be no
                      misunderstanding, the position of the
                      United States, which has been made clear
                      by the Attorney General to Ambassador
                      Dobrynin here, I shall read a sentence
                      from my own statement to the press dated
                      September 13th.
                          (beat, reading)
                      Should missiles or offensive weapons be
                      placed in Cuba, it would present the
                      gravest threat to U.S. national
                      security.

            The President stares at Gromyko as the translator finishes
            translating.  Gromyko sits there, enigmatic, cold,
            unreadable.  The translator finishes, and Gromyko stops him
            with a gesture so he can answer in his own accented English.

                                GROMYKO
                      Mr. President, this will never be done. 
                      You need not be concerned.

            The President hides his fury masterfully, and gazing over his
            glasses, asks:

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      So I do not misunderstand you: there are
                      no offensive weapons in Cuba.

            A beat.  And Gromyko's response is flat, sure, steady:

                                GROMYKO
                      No, Mr. President.  We have sent
                      defensive weapons only to Cuba.

            Kenny's blazing eyes could drill holes in the back of
            Gromyko's head.  His gaze swings to the PRESIDENT'S DESK.

            BENEATH THE DESK sit the BRIEFING BOARDS with the evidence.

            INT. WEST WING HALLWAY - NIGHT

            Kenny emerges from his office.  The Soviet delegation
            disappears down the hallway with Rusk.  Kenny turns as Bobby,
            haggard, comes up from the other direction.

            Bobby gestures to the vanishing delegation, now being
            HARANGUED OC by the press.

                                BOBBY
                      What happened?

            The President comes out of the next door down the hall, the
            Oval Office.  He turns and sees Kenny and Bobby.  He's livid.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Lying bastard.  Lied to my face.

                                BOBBY
                      We're split down the middle.  If I held
                      a vote I think airstrike would beat
                      blockade by a vote or two.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I want a consensus, Bobby.  Consensus. 
                      Either air strike or blockade. 
                      Something everyone'll stand by even if
                      they don't like it.  I need it by
                      Saturday.  Make it happen.

                                BOBBY
                      What if I can't?

                                KENNY
                      We go into this split, the Russians will
                      know it.  And they'll use it against us.

            The prospect disturbs the three men.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Have you cancelled Chicago and the rest
                      of the weekend yet?

                                KENNY
                      You don't show for Chicago, everyone'll
                      know there's something going on.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I don't care.  Cancel it.

                                KENNY
                      No way.

            The President spins on him, unsure he heard correctly.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      I'm not calling and cancelling on Daly. 
                      You call and cancel on Daly.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      You're scared to cancel on Daly.

                                KENNY
                      Damn right I'm scared.

            The President pauses, looks at Bobby.  Bobby shakes his head:
            don't look at me.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Well, I'm not.

                                BOBBY
                      Then you'll call, right?

            INT. HALLWAY - SHERATON-BLACKSTONE HOTEL - NIGHT

            SUPER: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19TH.  DAY 4

            THEN SUPER: CHICAGO

            Kenny threads his way through the host of SECRET SERVICE
            AGENTS and ADVANCE MAN cramming the hallway on the floor of
            the hotel they've taken over.  From one of the rooms emerges
            Salinger.

                                SALINGER
                      Kenny, all right.  What's going on here? 
                      There's rumors going around an exercise
                      in the southeast is related to Cuba. 
                      I'm the Press Secretary.  I can't do my
                      job if I don't know what's going on.  So
                      what's going on?

                                KENNY
                      What are you telling them?

                                SALINGER
                      The truth: I don't know.

                                KENNY
                          (deadly serious)
                      Tell 'em you've looked into it, and all
                      it is is an exercise.  And Pierre --
                          (beat, loaded)
                      The President may have a cold tomorrow.

            Kenny stares at him, and the light dawns on Pierre. 
            Something big is going on and he's been cut out of it.  He
            stalks off.

                                SALINGER
                      Damn it, Kenny.  Goddamn it!

            INT. RECEPTION HALL - SHERATON-BLACKSTONE - NIGHT

            A big 100-dollar-a-plate dinner is in full swing to a dinner
            band's tunes.  The President and Chicago MAYOR RICHARD DALY
            make the rounds among the fund raising CROWD.  Kenny follows
            them at a respectful distance, greeting old cronies.

            Suddenly a MESSENGER hustles over to Kenny, hands him a note. 
            Kenny makes eye contact with the President, nods and leaves.

            INT. HOTEL ELEVATORS - NIGHT

            Kenny waits at the elevator.  Scotty saunters up behind him. 
            He sizes Kenny up, clears his throat.  Kenny turns around.

                                RESTON
                      There are major rail disruptions in the
                      South, two airborne divisions are on
                      alert.  That exercise is an invasion.

                                KENNY
                      Well, you know how Bobby has it in for
                      the State of Mississippi.

                                RESTON
                      This is about Cuba.

            Kenny freezes, then explodes.

                                KENNY
                      Cuba?  You're fucking crazy.  We are not
                      invading Cuba.  Nobody gives a rat's ass
                      about Cuba.  Not now, not ever. 
                      If you print something like that, all
                      you're going to do is inflame the
                      situation.  Nobody talks to assholes who
                      inflame situations.  Assholes like that
                      can find themselves cut out of the loop.

            Reston is taken aback.  Stung silence for a beat.  Kenny's
            response is far louder than any "yes."  Now Kenny realizes
            it.

                                RESTON
                      You've never threatened me before.

            And Kenny looks away, upset, but when he turns back to
            Reston, all that's there is his poker face.  The elevator
            arrives.

                                RESTON (CONT'D)
                      All right.  I'm not going to print
                      anything until I have another source. 
                      But I promise you, I'll get one.

            Kenny boards the elevator.  The doors shut on Scotty.

            INT. ELEVATOR - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny closes his eyes, sags against the wall, hating himself.

            INT. KENNY'S ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny enters his hotel room.  An Assistant waits with the
            phone, hands it straight to Kenny.

                                KENNY
                          (to Assistant)
                      Tell Pierre I need to talk to him.
                          (to phone)
                      Bobby?

            INT. OUTER ROOM - GEORGE BALL'S OFFICE - NIGHT

            EXCOM files past Bobby out of George Ball's conference room.

                                BOBBY
                      Bring him back.

            EXT. STREET OUTSIDE SHERATON-BLACKSTONE HOTEL - DAY

            SUPER: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20TH.  DAY 5

            The President emerges from the hotel, a HAT on his head.  The
            Press and a CROWD surge forward, crying out for the
            President's attention.  Kenny slides into the limo first as
            the President waves to the crowd.

            Salinger waits on the sidewalk, and after the limo pulls
            away, the Press pushes in on him.  Pierre's face is pale -
            he's just been told everything.

                                SALINGER
                      The President has a cold.  He is
                      cancelling the remainder of this trip
                      and is returning to Washington on the
                      advice of his doctor.

            INT. WHITE HOUSE MANSION - OVAL ROOM - DAY

            The White House Oval ROOM: opulent, filled with priceless art
            and furniture, but cramped.  EXCOM members crowd around the
            center coffee table and the President.  Kenny stands behind
            him with Bobby.  Rusk rises from his seat, formal.

                                RUSK
                      Mr. President, our deliberations have
                      led us to the conclusion that, for the
                      moment, a blockade of offensive weapons
                      to Cuba is our best option.  But we'll
                      still need a strong showing of support
                      from the Organization of American States
                      to give us an umbrella of legitimacy.

            At long last... Kenny looks at Bobby, relieved.  They've
            bought time to find a settlement.  Bobby smiles a small
            smile: what were you so worried about?

                                MCNAMARA
                      A blockade is technically an act of war,
                      therefore we recommend calling the
                      action a quarantine.

            McNamara folder in hand, opens it, SMASH CUTTING US TO:

            EXT. ATLANTIC OCEAN - DAY

            A SOVIET FREIGHTER churning its way south.

                                MCNAMARA (V.O.)
                      There are between 20 and 30 Soviet ships
                      underway to Cuba at this time.

            The CAMERA races along its side, discovering TARPULINED
            OBJECTS on deck, and on its stack, the RED HAMMER AND SICKLE.

                                MCNAMARA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                      800 miles out, the navy will stop them,
                      board, and any vessels containing
                      weapons will be turned back.

                                                                 CUT TO:

            The Destroyer U.S.S. JOHN R. PIERCE putting out to sea,
            SAILORS racing over its deck, through hatches to its 5-inch
            gun turrets.  The ship races by, AMERICAN FLAG streaming from
            its stern distaff, FILLING THE SCREEN, WIPING TO:

            INT. WHITE HOUSE MANSION - OVAL ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            The President.  He listens, looks over the briefing papers as
            McNamara continues.  Everyone watches the President.

                                MCNAMARA
                      A quarantine prevents more missiles from
                      reaching Cuba, but it doesn't remove the
                      ones already there.  It gives the
                      Soviets a chance to pull back without
                      war.  If they refuse to remove the
                      missiles before they're operational, we
                      retain the option to strike or invade.

                                BOBBY
                      We believe that a surprise attack would
                      be counter to what the United States
                      stands for.  We believe that an attack
                      leaves us no room for maneuver, and the
                      inevitable Soviet response will force us
                      into a war we do not want.  A war that,
                      this time, will really end all war.

                                MCCONE
                      Mr. President, there are still those of
                      us who believe we should proceed with
                      the strikes.  With the blockade, we lose
                      strategic surprise and we run the risk
                      of a first strike if the Soviets decide
                      they have to use the missiles or lose
                      them.

            The President gazes from one expectant face to another.  But
            he himself remains unreadable.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Quarantine or air strike.

            Adlai clears his throat.  Everyone looks over at him.  He
            stares down at his clasped hands for a beat.  He's anguished
            about what he's going to say.

                                ADLAI
                      There is a third option.  With either
                      course we undertake the risk of nuclear
                      war.  It seems to me maybe one of us in
                      here should be a coward.

            He smiles weakly, but gets no response from anyone.

                                ADLAI (CONT'D)
                      So I guess I'll be.  Our third choice is
                      to cut a deal.  We trade Guantanamo and
                      our missiles in Turkey, get them to pull
                      their missiles out.  We employ a back
                      channel, attribute the idea to U Thant. 
                      U Thant then raises it at the U.N.

            Adlai looks for support around the room, but meets only stony
            gazes.  From McCone and General Taylor, contempt.  Dead
            silence for a long, long beat.

            Kenny's heart goes out to Stevenson as he watches the man
            commit political suicide.  Even Sorensen, standing behind
            him, unconsciously moves away.  At last the President speaks.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I don't think that's possible, Adlai.
                          (beat, to the room)
                      I will be asking the networks for air
                      time Monday night.  I have not yet made
                      my final decision.  We will announce our
                      course of action then.  I want to thank
                      you all for your advice, gentlemen.

            EXT. TRUMAN BALCONY - DAY

            Kenny, Bobby, and the President lean on the railing of the
            Truman Balcony, stare out at the city.

                                BOBBY
                      Goddman Stevenson.  Jesus.  Peace at any
                      price.  You'd think nobody learned
                      anything from World War Two.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Somebody had to say it.  I respect Adlai
                      for having the guts to risk looking like
                      an appeaser.

                                BOBBY
                      We have to pull him.  He's not going to
                      be able to handle the Soviets in front
                      of the U.N.  Zorin will eat him alive.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      We've got bigger problems right now.

                                KENNY
                      We have to try the blockades.  It
                      probably won't work.  It may just be
                      delaying the inevitable.  But we can't
                      just go to war without trying not to.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I don't know.  I don't know.

            He stares out at the Ellipse where a little-league football
            game sweeps across the grass, the shouts and screams of the
            CHILDREN, so alive, floating to them on the wind.

            EXT. PATIO - JIM ROWE'S HOUSE - NIGHT

            A crowded D.C. party spills out of Jim Rowe's house onto his
            patio.  Kenny steps INTO FRAME.  He looks at the PARTYGOERS,
            the Washington social set.  He stands out, oppressed by the
            knowledge he's unable to share.  He takes a stiff drink.

            Suddenly out of the house totters Adlai, highball in hand. 
            Glassy-eyed, he grins at Kenny and joins him.

                                ADLAI
                      Just can't get away from you guys. 
                      Escaping for a night on the town, eh?

                                KENNY
                      As the town's most popular playboy, the
                      President felt my presence would be
                      sorely missed.  So in the interests of
                      National Security...

            Kenny shrugs.  Adlai takes a long drink, closes his eyes.

                                ADLAI
                      Gotta keep up appearances.  Of course, I
                      don't care anymore.  I'm a political
                      dead man.  You ever seen a man cut his
                      own throat like I did today?

            Kenny has no answer to that.  He looks down, pained for
            Adlai.

                                ADLAI (CONT'D)
                      Well, it's all right.
                          (beat)
                      I came to tell you, just talked to a
                      friend.  Reston and Frankel have the
                      story.  It's going to run tomorrow.

            INT. BEDROOM - JIM ROWE'S HOUSE - LATER

            Kenny, shut in the bedroom, paces on the phone.

                                KENNY
                      We're not going to make it to Monday. 
                      I'll try to lean on Reston, but you're
                      going to have to call Orville Dryfoos. 
                      This is the sort of decision the
                      publisher makes himself.

            INT. ORVILLE DRYFOOS' KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

            New York Times publisher ORVILLE DRYFOOS sits at his kitchen
            table in his underwear, still half-asleep, phone to his ear.

                                DRYFOOS
                      Yes, sir, I understand.  But we held on
                      Bay of Pigs and it was the biggest
                      mistake of my life.  What makes this any
                      different?

            INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

            The President, on the phone, stops pacing by his bedside
            table and exhales.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I'm asking you to hold the story until I
                      can present our course of action on
                      Monday night.

            INT. ORVILLE DRYFOOS' KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

                                DRYFOOS
                      All right.  But I need a reason to give
                      my boys.  They're going to be screaming
                      for my head on a plate.

            INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Orville.  I want you to tell them this:
                      they'll be saving lives.  Maybe even
                      including their own.

            INT. ORVILLE DRYFOOS' KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

            At that, Dryfoos sits up.  Serious.  All resistance gone.

                                DRYFOOS
                      Yes, Mr. President.

            INT. ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH - DAY

            SUPER: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21ST.  DAY 6

            AVE MARIA soars over the communion meditation at a crowded
            Sunday mass.  Kenny, in a pew, glances off to his left.

            The President sits nearby, head bowed.  But Kenny knows he's
            not thinking about the mass.  And when the President at last
            lifts his head, Kenny sees the calm poise.

            The President has made up his mind...

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            Bobby barges into Kenny's office.  Kenny, knowing his unique
            entry, doesn't bother to look up.

                                KENNY
                      Acheson called, DeGaulle's with us;
                      haven't heard from anyone else yet.

            Kenny finally looks up.  Bobby's grim.  And an icicle forms
            in Kenny's gut as Bobby relays.

                                BOBBY
                      He wants to talk to LeMay again.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

            Kenny, Bobby, McNamara, Rusk, Bundy and half of EXCOM stand
            to the side of the room.  General Sweeney and LeMay stand in
            front of the President's desk.

            The President, bowed in the window, is care-worn, a thousand
            years old.  The shadow, the composition of the SHOT tells us
            all.  It's down to what's in the heart of one man.  Kenny is
            deeply moved at his friend's Gethsemane.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Cam, can you guarantee me you'll get all
                      the missiles?

            Sweeney glances at LeMay.  LeMay's stern, frozen look wills
            him to say, very simply, "yes."

            But then the President turns around, looks Sweeney in the
            eye.  It would make Machiavelli himself tell the truth.

                                GENERAL SWEENEY
                      Sir, I can guarantee we'll get all the
                      missiles we know about.

            The President holds Sweeney in his gaze.  Thank you.

                                LEMAY
                      Mr. President, we can get better than
                      ninety percent of them.

            The President doesn't respond to LeMay's last-ditch appeal. 
            Ninety-percent isn't good enough with nuclear weapons.  He
            moves to his desk, signs a paper, hands it to General
            Sweeney.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      As of seven o'clock Monday night, all
                      United States armed forces world wide
                      will stand up to DEFCON 3.

            EXT. BARKSDALE AFB - SUNSET

            SUPER: MONDAY, OCTOBER 22ND.  DAY 7

            A DEAFENING WHINE.  And INTO FRAME yawns the enormous
            spinning mouth of a B-52 bomber jet engine.  It closes on us,
            sucking us in like a maelstrom, but at the last second the
            CAMERA SLIPSTREAMS OVER IT --

            -- carrying us over the aircraft's wing.  The CAMERA pivots
            and the vast war machine crawls away underneath joining --

            -- a long LINE of identical behemoths, in single file inching
            down a taxi way which vanishes into the distance.  As the
            plane's immense vertical tail WIPES OUR VIEW:

            EXT. MISSILE SILO - NIGHT

            The CAMERA races toward a spotlighted concrete emplacement,
            over the immense BLAST DOOR which is sliding open, and DOWN --

            INT. MISSILE SILO - CONTINUOUS

            -- into the depths of a missile silo.  The CAMERA speeds down
            the side of the Titan missile, through CLOUDS of steaming
            liquid hydrogen, past FUELING HOSES which clamp one by one to
            the rocket's side, past GANTRY ARMS pulling away.  The CAMERA
            hurtles all the way to the bottom, SMASHING THROUGH THE FLOOR
            TO:

            EXT. CARRIBEAN SEA - NIGHT

            The dark ocean, whitecaps whipping luminous around the
            aircraft carrier, U.S.S. ESSEX and her escorts.  Running
            lights flash red and green.

            The carrier's SIREN begins a lonely, eerie WOOP WOOP WOOP
            WOOP like some immense creature which has lost its mind.  The
            ship FILLS THE SCREEN, CUTTING US INTO:

            INT. WEST WING - CONTINUOUS

            The doors to the Cabinet room.  A beat.  Then they SWING
            WIDE.  The President emerges, livid fury on his face, leaving
            chaos behind: the Congressional briefing.  Kenny comes out a
            beat later, catches up with him.

                                KENNY
                      You'd worry that something was wrong if
                      Congress offered you unconditional
                      support.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      They want this fucking job, they can
                      have it.  It's no great joy to me.

            The President exhales, getting control.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      The elected representatives of the
                      people have spoken...
                          (beat; determined)
                      Now let's tell the people...

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

            Kenny stands there in the doorway, arms folded.  As we PULL
            AWAY FROM HIM, we REVEAL the three NETWORK T.V. CAMERAS
            staring straight at us.  Their red lights go on as one, and
            we swing around REVERSING TO:

            The President at his desk: telegenic, powerful.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Good evening, my fellow citizens.  This
                      Government, as promised, has maintained
                      the closest surveillance of the Soviet
                      military build-up on the island of
                      Cuba...

            EXT. BARKSDALE AFB - NIGHT

            The first B-52 trundles to a stop at the end of the runway. 
            It begins to throttle-up, the ROAR of its engine mounting...

                                THE PRESIDENT (V.O.)
                      ...unmistakable evidence has now
                      established the fact that a series of
                      missile sites is in preparation on that
                      imprisoned island.  The purpose of these
                      bases can be none other than to proved a
                      nuclear strike capability against the
                      Western Hemisphere...

            -- AND DROWNING OUT the President's speech as the plane
            lurches forward, down the runway into the night.

            EXT. MISSILE SILO - NIGHT

            The Titan solo door GRINDS OPEN.  And the missile inside
            begins to rise into the white bath of the crossed spotlights.

                                THE PRESIDENT (V.O.)
                      Therefore, in the defense of our own
                      security and under the authority of the
                      Constitution, I have directed that the
                      following initial steps be taken. 
                      First, to halt this offensive build-up,
                      a strict quarantine --

            EXT. CARRIBEAN SEA - NIGHT

            The President's words conjure the ESSEX battlegroup, its
            destroyers plunging through heavy seas, lit up in the night.

                                THE PRESIDENT (V.O.)
                      -- on all offensive military equipment
                      under shipment to Cuba is being
                      initiated.  All ships of any kind bound
                      for Cuba, if found to contain cargoes of
                      offensive weapons, will be turned back. 
                      Second: I have directed the continued
                      and increased close surveillance of Cuba
                      and its military build-up.  Should these
                      offensive military preparations
                      continue, further action will be
                      justified --

            EXT. OVER THE FLORIDA STRAITS - NIGHT

            A flight of F-4 PHANTOMS drops INTO FRAME, lights flashing.

                                THE PRESIDENT (V.O.)
                      -- I have directed the Armed Forces to
                      prepare for any eventualities.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

            A beat.  And the President looks up from his notes.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      And third: it shall be the policy of
                      this nation to regard any nuclear
                      missile launched from Cuba against any
                      nation in the Western Hemisphere as an
                      attack by the Soviet Union on the United
                      States, requiring a full retaliatory
                      response upon the Soviet Union...

            The chilling words hang there in the air.  BLEEDING IN: the
            rising and falling WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP which becomes --

            EXT. CARRIBEAN SEA - NIGHT

            -- the voice of the Essex battlegroup: sparkling, alive, a
            constellation of lights scattered across the sea.  One by one
            the escort ships answer the carrier's SIREN with their own
            wailing cries, an alien chorus among the ships, disappearing
            and reappearing in the swells.  The communication crescendos
            to its fever pitch --

            -- and then the battlegroup goes to blackout.  Like a dying
            universe, the answering sirens cut off, the life-lights wink
            out, and an appalling darkness falls across the sea...

            FADE OUT

            BLACKNESS, LIKE BEFORE A CURTAIN RISES.  And then a
            flickering: a FLUORESCENT LIGHT COMES ON.

            INT. BATHROOM - WEST WING - DAY

            SUPER: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23RD.  DAY 8

            Kenny, stripped to the waist, Sorensen and Bundy shave in
            nearby sinks.  Bobby barges in.

                                BOBBY
                      We're getting the Soviet response.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER

            Specks of shaving cream still on his face, Kenny paces, reads
            the inky carbon as Bobby, Bundy and Sorensen read copies.

                                KENNY
                      This is all rhetoric.
                          (realizing)
                      They don't know how to respond yet.

            Kenny looks up.  The President enters from the Oval Office.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      So now you're Khurschev.  What do you
                      do?

            INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

            Kenny, arms folded, stands behind the President, the rest of
            EXCOM is looking at him.

                                KENNY
                      -- run the blockade.  They'll run the
                      blockade.

            ADMIRAL GEORGE ANDERSON, 50s, dapper, the Chief of Naval
            Operations, nods from the far end of the table.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      Which is exactly what they appear to be
                      preparing to do, Mr. President.  We're
                      tracking 26 ships inbound to Cuba. 
                      There's no sign they're changing course. 
                      The closest ships, the Gagarin and the
                      Kimovsk, will make the quarantine line
                      by this time tomorrow.

                                MCNAMARA
                      We're concerned about the possibility of
                      an incident with an innocent cargo
                      carrier.  If it turns ugly, the Russians
                      could use an ugly incident and bad world
                      opinion as leverage to force us to
                      remove the quarantine.

                                MCCONE
                      Or they could use it as an excuse to
                      escalate.

                                BOBBY
                      Admiral Anderson, if the ships do not
                      stop, what exactly are our rules of
                      engagement?

            Anderson signals A BRIEFING OFFICER who hits the lights and
            an overhead projector which SMASH CUTS TO:

            INT. BRIDGE - U.S.S. JOHN R. PIERCE - DAY

            The bridge of the U.S.S. John Pierce, a Gearing class
            destroyer.  A RADIO OPERATOR addresses a mike in Russian.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON (V.O.)
                      Russian-speakers have been transferred
                      to all of our ships.  Once the
                      quarantine takes effect in the morning,
                      our ships will attempt to make radio
                      contact with the approaching vessels. 
                      They will be ordered to reduce speed and
                      prepare for inspection.

            INT. WEAPONS' LOCKER - U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

            MARINES in flak jackets grab M-16s off a rack, race by.

            EXT. U.S.S. PIERCE - AFT DECK - DAY

            A ship's boat full of Marines lowers away, hits the water,
            engine spraying as it launches forward - in dress rehearsal.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON (V.O.)
                      An inspection party will then board and
                      search the ship.  If weapons are found,
                      the ship will be ordered to leave the
                      quarantine area or be towed into port
                      upon refusal.

            INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

            All eyes are on Admiral Anderson's overhead projections. 
            Bobby, restless, gets up, begins pacing.

                                BOBBY
                      What happens if the ship doesn't stop
                      for inspection or want to be towed?

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      A warning shot will be fired across its
                      bow.

            Bobby stops, stares directly at the Admiral.

                                BOBBY
                      And what happens if the ship ignores the
                      warning shot?

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      Then we fire at its rudder, disable it,
                      and carry out the inspection.

            Kenny looks at the President who remains unmoved, unreadable.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      There will be no shooting without my
                      explicit orders.  Is that understood?

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      Yes, sir.

            The President glances at McNamara.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Well, Admiral, it looks like it's up to
                      the Navy.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      The Navy won't let you down, sir.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      General, have we developed any more
                      information on the missiles?

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      They are continuing to proceed with the
                      development.  We're commencing low-level
                      photography runs this morning.

                                MCCONE
                      The pictures will be used to firm up our
                      estimates of the missiles' readiness and
                      develop target packages for strikes
                      should you order them.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Our guy running this show is the best. 
                      Commander Bill Ecker of the Navy's VFP
                      62, the Fightin' Photo.  Something of a
                      character, but the highest efficiency
                      ratings we've ever had.

            He pushes Ecker's personnel file across the table, and as the
            President opens it, on ECKER'S PHOTO, we SMASH CUT TO:

            INT. READY ROOM - KEY WEST NAVAL AIR STATION - DAY

            The man himself, COMMANDER BILL ECKER, 30s, playing cards,
            smoking cigars with his wingman, LIEUTENANT BRUCE WILHEMY and
            the PILOTS of VFP-62, the 'Fightin' Photo.'  They lounge,
            tinker with equipment.  Their ready room is filled with pin
            ups, movie posters, and all things photographic.

                                ECKER
                      75 millimeter, I'm listening.  On the
                      big screen there's nothing like it.

            The other pilots heckle him, but are muted by Taylor.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR (V.O.)
                      To protect our pilots, we're prepared to
                      retaliate against any SAM site or anti
                      aircraft battery that opens fire.

                                WILHEMY
                      Watch out, Hollywood.  There's a new
                      epic director in town!

            INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

            EXCOM listens in sober silence.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      We have a flight of Thunderchiefs able
                      to respond within minutes of an attack
                      on our planes.

            Kenny catches the President's eye.  Kenny glances at the
            door.  Step outside, I need to talk to you.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            The President and Kenny stand in front of the President's
            desk.  All the doors are shut.  Weak sunlight filters into
            the hushed room as if to a confessional.

                                KENNY
                      I don't like what's happening.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      In the morning I'm taking charge of the
                      blockade from the situation room. 
                      McNamara'll set up shop in the flag plot
                      at the Pentagon, keep an eye on things
                      there.

                                KENNY
                      All right.  'Cause you get armed
                      boarders climbing into Soviet ships,
                      shots being fired across bows...

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I know, I know...

                                KENNY
                      What about these low-level flights? 
                      They're starting in what?  An hour?  Do
                      you realize what you're letting yourself
                      in for?

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      We need those flights.  We have to know
                      when those missiles become operational,
                      because when they do, we need to destroy
                      them.

                                KENNY
                      Fair enough.  But Castro's on alert and
                      we're flying attack planes over their
                      sites, on the deck.  There's no way for
                      them to know they're carrying cameras,
                      not bombs.  They're going to be shot at,
                      plain and simple.

            Kenny's right, and the President looks away in frustration.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      I'm your political advisor, and I'm
                      giving you political analysis here. 
                      This is a setup.  The Chiefs want to go
                      in.  It's the only way they can redeem
                      themselves for the Bay of Pigs.  They
                      have to go in, and they have to do it
                      right.  It's that simple. 

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I'm gonna protect those pilots.

            Thep President stares intently at Kenny.  Kenny glances at
            the door, his voice hushed.  He hesitates.

                                KENNY
                      They're boxing us in with these rules of
                      engagement.  If you agree to 'em, and
                      one of our planes gets knocked down or
                      one of the ships won't stop for
                      inspection, the Chiefs will have us by
                      the balls and will force us to start
                      shooting.  They want a war, and they're
                      arranging things to get one.  If you
                      don't want one, we have to do something
                      about it.

            The President understands.  He shakes his head, paces away.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      How does a man get to a place where he
                      can say, 'throw those lives away,' so
                      easily?

                                KENNY
                      Maybe it's harder for them to say it
                      than they let on. 
                      At the very least, they believe it's in
                      our best interest.  And at the end of
                      the day, they may end up being right.

            The President turns away, considers.  Then turns back.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Triple check everything the Chiefs say
                      to us with the guys who actually have to
                      do it.  No one's to know about this but
                      Bobby.  I need redundant control over
                      what happens out there.  And if things
                      aren't as advertised, you're going to
                      make sure they come out the way I want
                      them to come out, starting with this low
                      level flight thing.

            Jesus Christ...Kenny is daunted.  For a beat he just stares.

                                KENNY
                      That's going to be tough.  You know how
                      these guys are about their chains of
                      command...

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Any problems, you remind them those
                      chains of commands end at one place. 
                      Me.

            INT. WEST WING HALLS - DAY

            Kenny and the President head for the Cabinet Room.  Rusk
            comes out before they get there.

                                RUSK
                      Mr. President. The OAS meeting starts in
                      an hour.  I haven't prepared at all.  We
                      can't expect --

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      -- we need this one, Dean.  The
                      quarantine's legal if we get a mandate,
                      otherwise it's an act of war in the eyes
                      of the world.  Get me that vote.  Make
                      it unanimous.

                                RUSK
                      Mr. President, The Organization of
                      American States hasn't had a unanimous
                      vote since --

            The President moves for the Cabinet Room.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      -- unanimous, Dean.

            Kenny slaps the dismayed Rusk on the back, heads off down a
            hall away from the Cabinet Room.

            INT. WHITE HOUSE SWITCHBOARD - DAY

            Kenny opens the door to the White House switchboard room.  A
            half-dozen OPERATORS work their lines, making connections on
            the old-fashioned switchboard.  Unnoticed, he sizes them up,
            their skill.  They're all courteous, pretty, professional.

            The CAMERA PANS down the line... and stops on a middle-aged
            matron at the end - the sternest, most scary of them all. 
            Her name is MARGARET.

                                MARGARET
                      White House Operator.  Yes sir.
                          (beat, harsh, booming)
                      Speaker McCormack, hold for the Vice
                      President.

            Her voice is so severe, so smoker-gravelled, it makes the
            blood run cold.  This is the woman Kenny's looking for.

                                KENNY
                      Ma'am, would you mind helping me out
                      with a few special calls?

            INT. READY ROOM - KEY WEST NAS - DAY

            Ecker, Wilhemy and their Pilots are in angry debate.

                                ECKER
                      Orson Welles is a hack.  Now you want to
                      talk about a director, you talk about
                      David Lean...

                                WILHEMY
                      Welles is a G-d.  Lean's the hack.

                                ECKER
                      Bullshit, Bruce, nobody but Lean is
                      making decent movies these days.
                          (to Young Pilot)
                      Get that fixed yet?

            Nearby, a YOUNG PILOT tinkers with a $300,000 spy camera.

                                YOUNG PILOT
                      Uhhh... yup.  Think so.

            Suddenly, the door opens and a pale DUTY SERGEANT enters.

                                DUTY SERGEANT
                      Sir...telephone, sir.

            INT. DUTY OFFICE - DAY

            Ecker enters, marches over to the phone.  All the SOLDIERS in
            the room stare at him.  Ecker wiggles his cigar to a corner
            of his mouth, picks up, styling.

                                ECKER
                      VFP-62, Fightin' Photo, here.  But what
                      we really want to do is direct.

                                                       INTERCUT CALL TO:

            INT. WHITE HOUSE SWITCHBOARD - CONTINUOUS

            Margaret works her magic.

                                MARGARET
                      This is the White House Operator.  Hold
                      for the President.

            INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Ecker blinks, becomes a mild lamb.

                                ECKER
                      Oh shit.

            INT. WHITE HOUSE SWITCHBOARD - CONTINUOUS

                                MARGARET
                      Honey, you don't know what shit is.

            BEGIN INTERCUT

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny, sitting on his desk, taps his fingers, looks at the
            phone.  He's kept Ecker on hold long enough - and picks up.

                                KENNY
                      Commander, my name is Ken O'Donnell. 
                      Special Assistant to the President.

                                                       INTERCUT CALL TO:

            INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Ecker exhales.  It's not the President, but Ecker is so
            shaken up it might as well be.

                                ECKER
                      Yes, sir.

                                KENNY (O.S.)
                      The President has instructed me to pass
                      along an order to you.
                          (beat)
                      You are not to get shot down.

            Did he hear right?

                                ECKER
                      Uh... we'll do our best, sir.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

                                KENNY
                      I don't think you understand me
                      correctly.  You are not to get shot down
                      under any circumstances.  Whatever
                      happens up there, you were not shot at. 
                      Mechanical failures are fine; crashing
                      into mountains, fine.  But you and your
                      men are not to be shot at, fired at,
                      launched upon.

            INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Ecker sits down in a chair, sobered.

                                ECKER
                      Excuse me, sir, what's going on here?

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny stands, drops the hard nose bullshit.

                                KENNY
                      Commander, if you are fired upon, the
                      President will be forced to attack the
                      sites that fire on you.  He doesn't want
                      to have to do that.  It's very important
                      that he doesn't, or things could go very
                      badly out of control.

            INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Ecker lets out a long breath.

                                ECKER
                      I think I understand.  What about my
                      men?  If it comes up hot and heavy, and
                      we don't have anyone to protect us...
                      I'm going to be writing letters to
                      parents.  I hate writing letters to
                      parents.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny nods to himself, feeling.  He's done it himself.

                                KENNY
                      If the President protects you,
                      Commander, he may have to do it with the
                      Bomb.

            INT. DUTY OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Ecker doesn't want to be avenged with atomic weapons.  No
            sane person would.

                                KENNY (V.O.)
                      I've known the man for fifteen years. 
                      The problem is, he will protect you.  So
                      I'm asking: don't make him protect you. 
                      Don't get shot at.

            Ecker down, deeply affected.  Suddenly, A BELL RINGS.  A
            TELETYPE goes off.  Ecker knows it's for him.  His orders.

                                ECKER
                      Okay, Mr. O'Donnell.  We'll do what we
                      can.

            END INTERCUT.

            As Ecker hangs up, the Duty Officer rips off the ORDERS,
            hands them to Ecker, who takes one look, then gazes out the
            window at the runway --

            EXT. RUNWAY - KEY WEST NAVAL AIR STATION - DAY

            A CART speeds down the flight line past the waiting F8U-1P
            Corsairs.  One by one, the four pilots accompanying Ecker and
            Wilhemy jump off to mount their planes.  The cart still
            moving.

                                ECKER
                      Get that fuel assayed?

                                WILHEMY
                      Yeah.  It sucks.  Ain't for high
                      performance babies like ours.  Shoulda
                      brought some from home, but what can you
                      do?  Last-second deployments...

            Wilhemy jumps off, then they're at Ecker's plane, and he
            jumps off.  Too late to worry about bad fuel now.  He hoists
            himself up and into the cockpit of the sleek navy jet.

           INT. ECKER'S CRUSADER - DAY

            As the canopy closes, Ecker powers up the engines, talks to
            his flight over the Guard channel.

                                ECKER
                      Okay, time to play Spin the Bottle with
                      our bearded buddy.  Nobody gets out
                      ahead.  Remember, just sitting here
                      we're only ten minutes from target.

            EXT. RUNWAY - DAY

            The Crusaders swing around in pairs at one end of the runway,
            and then the first two throttle-up, flaps down, and drop
            their brakes.  The machines LUNGE forward like duelling drag
            racers.  The FILL THE SCREEN, blow past.

            EXT. AERIAL - OVER KEY WEST - DAY

            The six Crusaders, in pairs, streak over the buildings and
            streets of Key West.  And in a heartbeat, cross the beach and
            are out to sea.

            And already on the horizon, the low clouds and dark line of
            land.  Cuba.  Ninety miles away.

            INT. ECKER'S CRUSADER - DAY

            The ocean shrieks past so close you can see the white foam. 
            Ecker checks the altimeter: 150 FEET.

            A small fishing boat looms ahead, its net booms reaching up
            like tree limbs.  The Crusader rockets over it.

            Ecker checks his instruments.  OUT THE WINDOW, the other
            Crusaders thunder over the water, past sailboats, cabin
            cruisers, the small-craft traffic outside Key West.  The
            speed sucks the breath away.

                                ECKER
                      Go to military throttle on my mark. 
                      Three...two...one... mark.

            His airspeed indicator spins up to 400 knots.  And then his
            radio suddenly crackles:

                                PILOT #1 (O.S.)
                      Flameout flameout!

                                PILOT #2 (O.S.)
                      Shit!  Me too!

                                ECKER
                      Get some altitude!

            Two of the Crusaders pull up, away from the water.

                                PILOT #1 (O.S.)
                      Oh, God damn.  Got it restarted.

                                PILOT #2 (O.S.)
                      Yeah.  Yeah.  Me too.  Goddamn fuel.

                                PILOT #1 (O.S.)
                      Sir, I don't think she's gonna hold up
                      for the run.

                                ECKER
                      Affirmative.  You two get out of here.

            EXT. AERIAL - CRUSADERS - DAY

            The two planes with bad fuel pull wingovers to their left,
            head for the airfield in the distance.  The four remaining
            planes streak over the ocean.  There are no more small craft
            this far out in the strait.

            INT. ECKER'S CRUSADER - DAY

            Cuba, green and hazy, looms in the window.  Ecker throws a
            series of switches.

                                ECKER
                      Start your camera checks.

            A mechanical WHINE accompanies the switch-throwing.  Ecker
            pulls the trigger on his joystick and a THUMP THUMP THUMP
            hammers away.  There are green lights across his boards.

            One of the other pilots cuts in on the radio:

                                PILOT #3 (O.S.)
                      Failure.  All cameras.  Sonofabitch. 
                      Film must not have fed.

                                PILOT #4 (O.S.)
                      Jesus!  Shit!  Oh shit!  I just shot it
                      all, boss.  Activator jammed open, its
                      exposing everything now.

                                WILHEMY (O.S.)
                      That's alright, Lenny, it happens to
                      most men at some time --

            Ecker grimaces, but his voice stays cool.

                                ECKER
                      -- Scrub, you two.  Get out of here. 
                      Still with me, Bruce?

                                WILHEMY (O.S.)
                      That's affirm.

            The two Crusaders who've failed their camera checks break
            off.  And now Cuba's hills, the Havana sky line are right in
            front of them.

            EXT. CUBAN BEACH - CONTINUOUS

            The last two Crusaders streak over the surf, a white wake of
            spray in their jetwash, and cross the beach with a boom.

            EXT. AERIAL - CRUSADERS - CONTINUOUS

            The planes dip and rise with the green tropical contours,
            taking us on a sickening roller-coaster ride over Cuban
            countryside at treetop level.

            Palm forest, roads, can fields, more palm forest race by. 
            And then, ahead, a large clearing.

                                ECKER (O.S.)
                      Warm 'em up.  We're here.

            EXT. ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERY - CONTINUOUS

            Cuban ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNNERS shout as they traverse their 40mm
            guns in their sandbagged emplacement.  The low rippling
            thunder of the incoming jets becomes an earsplitting ROAR...
            and the Crusaders blast out over the clearing.  The anti
            aircraft guns open up.

            INT. WILHEMY'S CRUSADER - CONTINUOUS

            Wilhemy jinks left to avoid a streaking of TRACER FIRE.

                                WILHEMY
                      Holy shit!

            INT. ECKER'S CRUSADER - CONTINUOUS

            Tracers and flack pepper the air in front of Ecker's
            Crusader.  METAL PINGS, TINKS, RATTLES off the fuselage. 
            Anti-aircraft and small arms fire comes up from all over,
            hitting the planes multiple times.  He surveys the shapes in
            the target zone dead ahead.

                                ECKER
                      Lights.

            And sees the long, canvas-covered objects on the ground.  The
            missiles.  They draw closer.

                                ECKER (CONT'D)
                      Camera.

            A steel fragment CRACKS his window, obscuring our view.

                                ECKER (CONT'D)
                      Action.

            And he thumbs the CAMERA SWITCH.  All twelve B-system cameras
            begin banging away like cannons.

            EXT. AERIAL - CRUSADERS - DAY

            TRACERS lace the air between the two planes as they blast
            over the missile site.  Over trailers.  Over tents.  Over
            trucks.  Over trenches.  Over bulldozers.

            And then they're out over forest again.  It's all over in
            seconds.  The triple-A stops.  In unison, the two planes bank
            right, heading for the distant blue, blue sea.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            Kenny paces by the phone.  It rings.  He picks up, listens,
            reacts.  Relief.  And we know the planes have made it back.

            EXT. RUNWAY - CECIL FIELD, FLA. - DAY

            Ecker jumps down from the cockpit ladder and turns an eye to
            his battered, pock-marked plane.  Wilhemy and the GROUND CREW
            CHIEF come running up, the Chief letting out a whistle.

                                GROUND CREW CHIEF
                      Lookit what daddy done brung home.

                                WILHEMY
                      You shoulda seen it, Chief, they --

                                ECKER
                      -- damn sparrows.  Must've been
                      migrating.  Guess I hit a couple
                      hundred.
                          (to Wilhemy, stern)
                      How many did you hit, Bruce?

            Wilhemy stands there, looking at Ecker, not sure what to make
            of him.  The Crew Chief just starts laughing as more
            impressed GROUND CREW come up.

                                WILHEMY
                      A few.  I guess.

                                GROUND CREW CHIEF
                      Was them 20 or 40 million sparrows?

            Ecker, sweat-plastered and foul, steps into the Chief's face.

                                ECKER
                      Those are bird strikes.  Sparrows to be
                      precise.  Got a problem with that?

            The Chief stands there, glances at the plane one more time,
            and shakes his head, 'No.'  Ecker takes the Chief's
            maintenance clipboard from him, writes in big bold marker:
            BIRD STRIKES.  He thrusts it back into the Chief's hands and
            walks off; the astonished Wilhemy remains behind.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            In Kenny's credenza, a small black and white T.V. plays. 
            WALTER CRONKITE narrates on the television as a train laden
            with TANKS on flatbeds pulls out of a station.

                                WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.)
                      Massive military preparations are
                      underway throughout the southeast in
                      what Pentagon officials are confirming
                      is the largest mobilization since Korea. 
                      The railways have been nationalized to
                      assist in the deployment, here
                      transporting elements of the U.S. 1st
                      Armored Division from Ft. Hood, Texas.

            A PHONE RINGS.  Kenny turns from the T.V., turns down Walter
            Cronkite, as he answers.

                                KENNY
                      Yeah?

            INT. OAS MEETING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            George Ball stands at the back of a crowded room filled with
            applauding OAS DELEGATES.  It's for Rusk, at a podium up
            front.

                                BALL
                      Kenny.  The vote just came down.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

            Kenny opens his door, lets Rusk in.  The President, Bobby and
            half of EXCOM look up.  Rusk stands there somber.

                                RUSK
                      Unanimous.  One abstenation.

            And then he breaks into a huge grin.  Everyone cheers him.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      About time something went our way.

            An Assistant enters behind Kenny.  Kenny senses him, turns as
            the others move to shake hands with Rusk.

                                ASSISTANT
                      Telephone, Mr. O'Donnell.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            Kenny, grinning, ducks back into his office, closes the door
            after the Assistant leaves.  He picks up the phone.

                                KENNY
                      Hello?

                                                       INTERCUT CALL TO:

            INT. READY ROOM - CECIL FIELD - DAY

            Ecker stands at a phone, stares out a window at a replacement
            plane being fueled.  A Crusader, not his shot-up one.

                                ECKER
                      Mr. O'Donnell, I've been ordered to
                      deliver the film to the Pentagon
                      personally.  What's going on?

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny thinks fast.  Oh shit.

                                KENNY
                      The Chiefs must want to talk to you.
                          (beat)
                      Listen to me, Commander, they'll want to
                      know if you were fired on.  Were you?

                                ECKER (O.S.)
                      You could say that, sir.

                                KENNY
                      Commander.  Do not, under any
                      circumstances, tell the Chiefs.

            END INTERCUT

            INT. PENTAGON - DAY

            SUPER: E-RING.  Then SUPER: THE PENTAGON

            Ecker, still in his sweat-drenched flight suit approaches a
            security checkpoint.  GUARDS secure his sidearm and user him
            through a doorway.  A sign over it reads JCS.

            INT. THE TANK - DAY

            The door swings open into the Joint Chiefs' SOUND-PROOFED
            briefing room known as THE TANK.  LeMay, Taylor and Anderson
            sit there around the table.  Ecker salutes.

                                ECKER
                      Commander William B. Ecker reporting as
                      ordered!

            LeMay rises, prowls over to Ecker.

                                LEMAY
                      Son , I want to know just one thing. 
                      Those bastards shoot so much as a BB gun
                      at you?

            A long beat.  Sweat runs off Ecker's head.  He can smell
            LeMay's breath.

                                ECKER
                      Sir, it was a milk run, sir.

            INT. WEST WING HALL - NIGHT

            Kenny joins the President and General Taylor in the hallway
            as they head for the Oval Office.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      It appears our low-level flights are
                      getting back okay.  Some unconfirmed
                      reports of small-arms fire from some of
                      the missions, but that's it.

            Slightly behind them, Kenny looks sidelong at Taylor.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Guess we can't blame Khruschev for a few
                      patriotic farmers.  And the ships?

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Still heading for Cuba.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      All right.  Then I guess it's time.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

            FLASHBULBS go off all around the room as the President walks
            in, goes over to his desk.  Reporters observe silently, T.V.
            cameras track him; Kenny, Bobby and Sorensen watch as the
            President sits, takes a pen form his pocket.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      In accordance with this afternoon's vote
                      at the OAS, the quarantine shall hereby
                      be effective as of ten o'clock tomorrow
                      morning.

            Kenny observes in silence as the President SIGNS the
            Proclamation of Interdiction.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - LATER

            The Oval Office has emptied out.  Only Kenny, Bobby, Sorensen
            and the President remain.  The President looks out the
            window, Sorensen sits in a chair in front of the desk.  Bobby
            and Kenny sit on the edge of the desk.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Last summer I read a book.  The Guns of
                      August.  I wish every man on that
                      blockade line had read that book.

            The President moves over to the GLOBE by his desk, spins it,
            stopping in on Europe.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      World War One.  Thirteen million killed
                      all because the militaries of both
                      alliances were so highly attuned to each
                      other's movements and dispositions,
                      afraid of letting the other guy have a
                      theoretical advantage.  And your man in
                      the field, his family at home, couldn't
                      even tell you the reasons why their
                      lives were being sacrificed.
                          (beat)
                      Why couldn't they stop it?

            Can we?  The President's fingers turn the globe.  It stops on
            North America.  Kenny and Bobby listen.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      And here we are, fifty years later.  One
                      of their ships resists the inspection. 
                      We shoot out its rudder and board.  They
                      shoot down our planes in response.  We
                      bomb their anti-aircraft sites in
                      response to that.  They attack Berlin. 
                      We invade Cuba.  They fire their
                      missiles.  We fire ours.

            The President sets the globe gently spinning and walks away.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

            Kenny rubs his eyes, listens to his phone and the WOMAN'S
            VOICE at the other end.  It's his wife.

                                HELEN (O.S.)
                      When are you going to be home?

                                KENNY
                      I don't know, Helen.  I want you to keep
                      the kids close tomorrow.  Leave the T.V.
                      on, sleep with it on in the bedroom
                      until I tell you you can turn it off.

                                HELEN (O.S.)
                      What's happened?

                                KENNY
                      Nothing.  Nothing you don't know about. 
                      Tomorrow's the big day.  Just have the
                      car ready to go if I call or if the
                      Civil Defense Warning comes on.

                                HELEN (O.S.)
                      What happens to you?  I'm not leaving
                      without you.

                                KENNY
                      I'll be evacuated with the President.

            A long silence on the other end of the line.

                                HELEN (O.S.)
                      Great.  So while you're under a rock
                      somewhere with the President, what am I
                      supposed to do with your five children?

            And to that, there is no answer.  A beat, and it's all Kenny
            can promise:

                                KENNY
                      I'll find you.  But we're not going to
                      let it come to that.  I promise.

            INT. WHITE HOUSE CAFETERIA - NIGHT

            Kenny hands Bobby and Bundy cups of coffee.  The three men
            nurse them in the silence of the abandoned cafeteria.

                                KENNY
                      Helen just asked me what sort of
                      arrangements we have for the families.

                                BUNDY
                      I just checked myself.
                          (beat)
                      They're being issued identity cards. 
                      Call comes, and evacuation officers meet
                      them at pre-arranged departure areas. 
                      They go by helicopter to Mount Weather. 
                      We meet them there.

            Bobby looks at his coffee, then up at Kenny.  He gently
            shakes his head.  It's all a sham.

                                BOBBY
                      Course that's for morale.  The missiles
                      only take five minutes to get here.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

            SUPER: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24TH.  DAY 9.

            Kenny bolts upright from his couch.  He rubs his face, sits
            on the edge in the dark for a beat.  He's not going back to
            sleep.  He grabs his trousers.

            INT. WEST WING HALLS - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny makes his way through the dim, deserted halls. 
            Somewhere in the distance a phone rings.  He reaches a door.

            EXT. WHITE HOUSE - NIGHT

            Kenny, bundled in an overcoat, steps outside the North
            Entrance.  The cool air invigorates him.  He eyes the fence,
            Pennsylvania Avenue beyond it, seeming to isolate this world
            from the living city beyond.  He starts for the main gate.

            EXT. MAIN GATE - CONTINUOUS

            A WHITE HOUSE POLICE OFFICER jumps up as Kenny approaches.

                                POLICE OFFICER
                      Would you like me to call a car, Mr.
                      O'Donnell.

            Kenny checks his watch.

                                KENNY
                      How long will it take to get someone up?

                                POLICE OFFICER
                      Fifteen minutes, maybe.  To your house,
                      sir?

            Kenny considers, shakes his head.  He wants to go home,
            but...

                                KENNY
                      No.  No, I'll let her sleep.  Let 'em
                      sleep.

            Kenny says it with a certain finality.  The Police Officer
            nods, and Kenny wanders out through the gates, shouldering
            the weight of the world.

            EXT. CITY STREETS - NIGHT

            Kenny makes his way down a sidewalk not far from the White
            House.  A 24-hour drug store's doors are open.  He pauses.

            Inside, a knot of PEOPLE - late-night deliverymen, a cop, the
            store employees - talk in undertones at the counter.  Behind
            it, a T.V. is signing off with the national anthem.  Sober
            voices, sober looks.  Kenny moves on.

            EXT. NEWS STAND - NIGHT

            A cluster of COLLEGE STUDENTS talk at a news stand.  They're
            waiting for the NEWSIE to cut the bands of the next day's
            Washington Post, the bundles just being thrown to the
            sidewalk from the delivery truck.  Kenny approaches.

            In their thing beards, counter-culture clothes, the kids seem
            so young, Kenny so old.  Kenny buys a newspaper, its dire
            headlines, every story about the crisis.

            EXT. CATHOLIC CHURCH - NIGHT

            Kenny, newspaper under his arm, continues down the street. 
            Up ahead, the lights are on in a Catholic Church.  Lines of
            CHURCHGOERS are at the door.  Kenny stops, surprised at the
            sight this late.  And then he sees the hand-painted banner:
            CONFESSIONS 24 HOURS.  PRAY FOR PEACE.

            Kenny is moved.  He glances over his shoulder, and then...
            joins the line himself.

            INT. WHITE HOUSE - SITUATION ROOM - DAY

            Kenny's WATCH reads one minute til ten o'clock.  PULL BACK TO
            REVEAL:

            Kenny, standing just inside the open doors to the White House
            Situation Room, a state-of-the-art conference room.  A long,
            central table surrounded by leather chairs with phones and
            screens built in.  T.V. monitors hang from the ceilings in
            the corners.  There are no windows, just oppressive bunker
            like walls.  It's far underground.

            Across the room the President paces, phone in hand.  Half of
            EXCOM is in their seats.  The other half, along with a steady
            stream of DUTY OFFICERS, are coming and going.  Kenny steps
            aside for a Duty Officer, listens to the President.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Okay, Bob, I'm putting you on intercom.

            Suddenly, McNamara's VOICE fills the room.

                                MCNAMARA (O.S.)
                      Hey, guys, can you hear me?

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - DAY

            McNamara stands, phone in hand.

                                MCNAMARA
                      I have one minute til ten here --

            THE CAMERA TRACKS AROUND HIM, REVEALING:

            A large, elaborate war room, like Mission Control.  Big
            screens, plexiglass tracking boards, tiered banks of
            communications equipment.  A massive LIGHT TABLE on the floor
            at the center of the room projects a map of the Caribbean and
            Atlantic.  Arcing across it is a RED LINE: the blockade.

            The map is covered with cryptic military notations; WATCH
            OFFICERS on a platform which swings out over it update the
            latest ship positions.

            McNamara's in a booth overlooking the room.  It's open to the
            next tier below where Admiral Anderson is giving orders.

                                MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
                      -- and no sign of them stopping.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - DAY

            Kenny and Bobby move to the President's end of the table, sit
            down across from each other in mirror-image fashion.  EXCOM
            looks to the President.  The second hand of the clock on the
            wall wheels past 12.  A hush falls over the room.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Bob, the quarantine is now in effect.

            INT. FLAG PLOT - DAY

            McNamara is mute for a beat.  He turns to view the big room.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Then it looks like our first customers
                      are the Gagarin and Kimovsk.

            He nods to Admiral Anderson, who calls an order down to a
            Watch Officer on the floor, and on screens all around the
            room, a sector of the map MAGNIFIES the unfolding encounter --

            EXT. BRIDGE WING - U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

            -- between the destroyer, U.S.S. Pierce and the SOVIET
            FREIGHTERS Gagarin and Kimovsk.  The Pierce's bridge wings
            are crammed with helmeted OFFICERS and LOOKOUTS.  They peer
            through binoculars at the distant ships, plowing ahead,
            straight for them.  The CAPTAIN lowers his binoculars,
            determined.

                                CAPTAIN
                      Helm, shape heading for intercept, zero
                      one zero.  All ahead full --

                                OFFICER (O.S.)
                      -- new contact!  New contact!

            Everyone whirls to the bridge.  The Captain steps forward.

            INT. COMBAT INFORMATION CENTER - U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

            The Captain ducks into the CIC.  The CHIEF SONARAN reports.

                                CHIEF SONARMAN
                      Submerged contact, designation Sierra
                      one at 6000 yards bearing 030.

                                CAPTAIN
                      A submarine...

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - DAY

            The President reacts.  Kenny and Bobby react.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      It's protecting the freighters.

            Consternation.  The President picks up the phone.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Bob, is there any way we can avoid
                      stopping a submarine first?

                                MCNAMARA (O.S.)
                      I'm afraid not, Mr. President.  The sub
                      has positioned itself between the Pierce
                      and the Soviet ships.  Admiral Anderson
                      insists it's too much of a risk to
                      proceed with stopping the freighters. 
                      The Pierce would be a sitting duck for
                      the sub.

            All around the room frustration.  Bobby shakes his head. 
            Kenny sinks back in his chair.  The President hesitates.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Put me through to the Pierce.

            INT. FLAG PLOT - DAY

            Admiral Anderson nods to a COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER.  The man
            makes the connection on a switchboard.

            McNamara casts an eye to the map.  The two red MARKERS
            labeled Gagarin and Kimovsk are joined by a third: the SUB. 
            They are ALMOST TOUCHING the blockade line.  On the other
            side, the single blue marker for the Pierce.

            INT. BRIDGE - U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

            The Captain enters the bridge, takes the phone from the arm
            of his chair.

                                CAPTAIN
                      Mr. President?

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            The President holds the phone, agonized.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Captain, can you force that submarine to
                      the surface for inspection without
                      damaging it yourself?

            INT. BRIDGE, U.S.S. PIERCE - DAY

                                CAPTAIN
                      I can bring it up, Mr. President.  But
                      whether it's damaged or not is up to the
                      sub.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            The President lowers the phone, looks to Bobby and Kenny.

                                MCCONE
                      Even if they force it up, that sub will
                      be inspected over the crews' dead
                      bodies.  They'd be executed for allowing
                      it when they got home.

            All eyes are on the President.  His eyes are closed tight,
            face gray, hand over his mouth.  The time of decision is at
            hand.  He lifts the phone once again.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Captain, force the sub to the surface
                      for inspection.

                                MCNAMARA (O.S.)
                      Mr. President!  We're receiving reports
                      that the ships are stopping!

                                THE PRESIDENT
                          (to phone)
                      Captain, belay that order!
                          (to McNamara)
                      Bob, where's that coming from!

                                MCNAMARA (O.S.)
                      Just a second, Mr. President.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Will somebody find out what's going on?!

            McCone jumps up, leaves the room.  The President looks at
            Kenny, tense.  Everyone holds their breath.

                                RUSK
                      Are they stopping?

            The HISS of static on the open line fills the room.  Silence.

            EXT. BRIDGE - U.S.S. JOHN R. PIERCE - CONTINUOUS

            Lookouts peer across the water at the oncoming Soviet
            Freighter.

            BINOCULAR POV:

            Of the Soviet Bridge, where their LOOKOUTS are staring right
            back through their binoculars.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - DAY

            The HISS of static.  And then.

                                MCNAMARA (O.S.)
                      Mr. President?

            INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

            McNamara is grinning wildly at the chaos unfolding in the
            flag plot below.  Phones are ringing everywhere.

            ON THE LIGHT TABLE

            The Watch Officers' hands fly from one notation to the other,
            circling the Soviet ships, marking them DEAD IN THE WATER.

                                MCNAMARA
                      -- we've got reports coming from all
                      over!  The ships are stopping!  Some...
                      are turning around!

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            The room EXPLODES, victorious.  Kenny and Bobby break into
            big grins, grab each other.  Kenny pumps the President's
            hand.  Rusk and Bundy slap each other on the back.

                                RUSK
                      We were eyeball to eyeball and I think
                      the other fellow just blinked.

            The ruckus goes on for a minute.  McCone comes back in.

                                MCCONE
                      Mr. President.

            His voice is lost in the celebration.  McCone calls out:

                                MCCONE (CONT'D)
                      Mr. President!

            The hubub dies away.

                                MCCONE (CONT'D)
                      Sir, we have the tally from NSA.  We
                      have twenty ships stopping and or
                      turning around.  Six, however, appear to
                      be continuing for the line.  Including
                      the Gagarin and Kimovsk.

            The elation goes out of the room.  Kenny looks at the
            President.  The President picks up the phone again.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Captain, have the ships you're observing
                      changed course?

                                CAPTAIN (O.S.)
                      No, Mr. President.  They've just crossed
                      the quarantine line.

            Bobby grips the edge of the table, immediately believing.

                                BOBBY
                      It's an accident.  They must not have
                      gotten their orders yet.  Let 'em go.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Unlikely, Mr. President.  We've been
                      monitoring transmissions from both the
                      Gagarin and Kimovsk.  Their radios are
                      working fine.

                                MCCONE
                      One ship, an accident maybe.  Six: this
                      is intentional.

            The President looks to Bobby.  He has no answer.  Kenny's
            mind races over the variables, and he leans forward, intense,
            suddenly understanding in a flash of insight:

                                KENNY
                      They're right.  This is intentional.

            He glances around the room.  All of EXCOM is looking at him. 
            Bobby stares at Kenny, too shocked to feel betrayed.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      Khruschev's stopped the 20 ships which
                      are carrying contraband, and he's
                      letting the ones which aren't go
                      through, hoping for an incident.  I
                      think we should let them go.

            Bobby relaxes.  Around the table there are nods.

                                MCCONE
                      If we do, it erodes the credibility of
                      the quarantine.  He'll just send more
                      through tomorrow.

            The President looks at Kenny.

                                KENNY
                      Then we deal with it tomorrow.  But
                      today he's stopped most of them.  He's
                      done something smart here.  We gave him
                      an ultimatum, and he's agreed to most of
                      it, preserving just enough room to save
                      face.  We need to do something just as
                      smart now.

            Bobby's nodding, following the argument.  Kenny looks around
            the room for support.

            INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

            McNamara, pacing on the phone, jumps in.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Mr. President, I agree.  Let them go. 
                      Four of the six continuing ships are
                      still a day away from the line.  They've
                      stopped all the ones we suspect have
                      weapons aboard. 
                      It would look bad shooting up a
                      freighter full of baby food.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            The President holds Kenny's gaze, then lifts the phone.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Captain, I want you to maintain contact
                      with those ships.  Do nothing until I
                      order otherwise.  Is that clear?

                                CAPTAIN (O.S.)
                      Yes, Mr. President.  Contact only.

            He hangs up, turns to Kenny.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I hope you're right.

            EXT. SOUTH LAWN - DAY

            Kenny, Bobby and the President make their way across the
            lawn, out of earshot of the building.

                                BOBBY
                      What happened to speak when spoken to?

                                KENNY
                      Give it a rest.  You were thinking the
                      same thing, just didn't have the guts to
                      take the heat.

            Bobby likes getting under Kenny's skin.  Bobby aims a punch
            at his head which Kenny knocks away.  The President changes
            gear, serious.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      We can horsetrade with Khruschev on
                      ships.  But it doesn't get us any closer
                      to removing those missiles.

                                KENNY
                      Have to hope it's a signal that he'll
                      back down on the real issue too.

                                BOBBY
                      We're going to have to stop a ship
                      eventually, show the quarantine's got
                      teeth, or we'll prove McCone right.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      McNamara's on his way back here now.  We
                      need to pick the right ship.  No subs. 
                      No armed boarding parties either.  We
                      need a little more time to figure this
                      one out.

                                KENNY
                      Then let's move the quarantine line.

            It's a simple suggestion.  The President considers him a
            beat, and then McNamara emerges from the White House, heads
            for them.  The three friends assume their more reserved,
            political faces as he comes up.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Mr. President.  Bobby.  Kenny.  The
                      Essex battle group has the Gagarin,
                      Kimovsk and the sub escort under their
                      thumb.  We've got a few hours now before
                      we need to worry about any more
                      flashpoints on the line.
                          (beat)
                      We could use a few more hours.  I think
                      we should consider moving the quarantine
                      line back to 500 miles.

            Bobby and the President look at Kenny like he's some kind of
            Svengali.  Kenny just stands there, poker faced.

            INT. WEST WING - DAY

            Kenny and McNamara enter the White House from the South Lawn. 
            They stride down the hall, side by side.

                                KENNY
                      Moving the line.  Stroke of genius.

                                MCNAMARA
                          (snappish)
                      Of course it is.  But the President
                      needs to realize we're going to have to
                      stop a ship eventually.

            They turn a corner, silence for a beat.

                                KENNY
                      The Chiefs are looking for a provocation
                      out there.  The President's going to
                      come under enormous pressure.  You have
                      to keep 'em on a short leash, Bob.

            McNamara spares Kenny a short, nasty look.

                                MCNAMARA
                      You must think I'm blind and stupid. 
                      I've already gotten the birds and bees
                      from Bobby.  The President doesn't have
                      to double-barrel me.

                                KENNY
                      Listen to me, goddamn it.  We're talking
                      about a possible nuclear war.  You
                      dropped the ball on Bay of Pigs --

                                MCNAMARA
                      -- you sonofabitch, goddamn it, I didn't
                      drop --

                                KENNY
                      You were in the room.  It was your
                      purview.  It was your job to make sure
                      Bissel wasn't fucking us over and you
                      didn't do it.  You've got the most
                      important job in the world right now. 
                      You're the smartest guy the President
                      has.
                          (beat)
                      Besides me.

            That gets an amused snort from McNamara, breaking the
            tension.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Anybody ever tell you you're an
                      egomaniac and a prick, O'Donnell?

            Kenny stares him in the eye, serious, hushed.  A friend.

                                KENNY
                      You need to be the best you've ever
                      been.

            McNamara enters the elevator.  He turns, stands there facing
            Kenny for a dramatic beat.  Then the doors close.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            WALTER CRONKITE, on the B&W T.V. screen, sits in front of a
            map showing Cuba and the blockade line.

                                WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.)
                      -- well, it appears the world has just
                      received a reprieve.  Defense Secretary
                      Robert McNamara has announced that the
                      quarantine zone has been moved from 800
                      to 500 miles.

            PULL BACK, REVEALING:

            Kenny watching the T.V., is yelling at the phone.

                                KENNY
                      Find out how close our exercises are
                      coming to their cruise missiles.  I'm
                      calling you back in five, and you will
                      have an answer for me or I will come
                      down there and beat the shit out of you.
                          (beat)
                      Then you can press charges, and I'll get
                      a Presidential pardon.

            He hangs up, hears SHOUTING from the Oval Office.  He goes to
            the door, enters --

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            -- and sees the President leaning over his desk, jabbing his
            finger at General Taylor.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      -- how the goddamn hell did this happen? 
                      I'm going to have Power's head on a
                      platter next to LeMay's!
                          (noticing Kenny)
                      Hey, Kenny, did you hear me give the
                      order to go to DEFCON 2?  I remember
                      giving the order to go to DEFCON 3, but
                      I must be suffering from amnesia because
                      I've just been informed our nuclear
                      forces are DEFCON 2!

            Kenny realizes he's not joking as he spots Bobby sitting on
            the couch behind Taylor, pale as a ghost.  Taylor, embattled,
            wants to die, but stands there like a man.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            INT. MISSILE SILO - DAY

            CLOSE ON

            The nose cone of a TITAN MISSILE, its 20 megaton nuclear
            warhead wrapped in the steel re-entry shell.  Cold, silent,
            fearsome.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR (V.O.)
                      Mr. President, the orders were limited
                      to our strategic forces in the
                      continental U.S.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Taylor continues on.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Technically, General LeMay is correct
                      that SAC has the statutory authority --

            The President punches his desk.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      -- I have the authority.  I am the
                      commander-in-chief of the United States,
                      and I say when we go to war!

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      We are not at war, sir, not until we're
                      at DEFCON 1.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      General, the Joint Chiefs have just
                      signalled our intent to escalate to the
                      Soviets.  You have signalled an
                      escalation which I had no wish to
                      signal, and which I did not approve.  

            But Taylor knows this very well.  And the way he's suffering,
            it's clear he's taking the heat for his underlings.  From
            over on the couch Bobby chimes in:

                                BOBBY
                      LeMay... he's history.

            The President glances at Kenny who stands there, speechless.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Get out of here, Max.

            The General leaves.  Kenny closes the door, wanders deeper
            into the office.  He looks from the President to Bobby. 
            There's a long, long beat of shocked silence.

                                KENNY
                      Jesus...

                                BOBBY
                      Rescind the order.  Can all the Chiefs. 
                      Put Nitze, Gilpatric and the
                      Undersecretaries in charge.

                                KENNY
                      We can't do that, Bobby.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      He's right, we can't rescind DEFCON 2. 
                      The Soviets will think we've gotten
                      sweet on them.

                                KENNY
                      And we can't purge the Chiefs.  Our
                      invasion talk will look like a bluff. 
                      Or even that there's been an attempted
                      coup.

            Bobby is disgusted, but knows they're right.

                                BOBBY
                      McNamara won't be able to handle them. 
                      It's too much for one man...
                          (knowing look to Kenny)
                      ...with all due respect to our heroic
                      fifth column.

            The President collapses in his rocking chair.  Kenny leans
            over the back of the sofa next to Bobby.

                                KENNY
                      We've got Khruschev's attention with the
                      blockade.  If we want a political
                      solution.  I think it's time to turn up
                      the diplomatic heat.  Cause if we let
                      this go on too long, we're going to find
                      ourselves in a war.

            Bobby looks at the President, meaningful.  The President
            turns to Kenny.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I've been considering a variation on one
                      of Stevenson's ideas.  We're going to
                      send up a trial balloon through Lippman. 
                      The Jupiter missiles.

            EXT. WEST WING DRIVEWAY - DAY

            SUPER: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25TH.  DAY 10.

            The West Wing looms behind Kenny and Bundy.  Kenny, poker
            faced, takes a drag on his cigarette.  Bundy nervously flicks
            his, looks away from Kenny a beat.

                                BUNDY
                      What did you think of Lippman's column
                      this morning?

                                KENNY
                      I think it's a bad idea.

            Bundy turns back to him.

                                BUNDY
                      Thank God.  Look, everyone is furious
                      about it.  We trade away our missiles in
                      Turkey and we're fucked politically.

            Kenny grinds his jaw, but doesn't say anything.  He agrees. 
            Bundy steps up to him, confiding.

                                BUNDY (CONT'D)
                      You gotta stop 'em.  We know it's Jack
                      and Bobby's idea - they leaked it to
                      Lippman.  The military guys are going
                      ape, and they're not alone.

                                KENNY
                      Then they should speak up.

                                BUNDY
                      Christ, Ken, you know it's not that
                      easy.

                                KENNY
                      Yes it is.

                                BUNDY
                      No it isn't.  They don't trust the
                      people that feel this way.  But these
                      people are right.  And the Kennedys are
                      wrong.
                          (beat)
                      We need you to tell 'em, Kenny.  They'll
                      listen to you.

            Kenny prickles, intense, but Bundy presses on, too wrapped up
            in his own thinking to notice.

                                BUNDY (CONT'D)
                      Jack and Bobby are good men.  But it
                      takes a certain character, moral
                      toughness to stand up to --

                                KENNY
                      -- You listen to me.  Nobody, nobody,
                      talks about my friends that way.  You're
                      fucking here right now because of the
                      Kennedys.  They may be wrong.  They make
                      mistakes.  But they're not weak. 
                      The weak ones are these 'people' who
                      can't speak their own minds.

                                BUNDY
                      You know I don't mean they're weak.

            Kenny gets in his face, intimidating.

                                KENNY
                      No, they just lack 'moral toughness.' 
                      And you think I'll play your Judas.  You
                      WASPS and blue-bloods never understood
                      us, thinking we want into your club. 
                      Well we got our own club now.
                          (beat)
                      And you guys don't realize fighting with
                      each other is our way.  Nobody plays us
                      off each other.  And nobody ever gets
                      between us...

            INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - DAY

            Kenny throws himself on a chair in the bedroom's sitting
            area, newspaper in hand.  The President, buttoning his shirt
            in a full-length mirror, sees him.  There's a TV on.  The
            President selects a tie from a nearby rack, eyes the paper.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      What's that?

                                KENNY
                      Oh, just a bunch of crap about
                      withdrawing our Jupiter missiles in
                      Turkey if the Soviets'll do the same in
                      Cuba.

            The President's eyes flick over to him in the mirror.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      I don't want to listen to this again.

                                KENNY
                      If we made a trade, we'd be giving in to
                      extortion, and NATO would never trust us
                      again.  We'll get clobbered in world
                      opinion.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      It's a goddman trial balloon.  Trial is
                      the operative word, here.

                                KENNY
                      Then somebody'd better deny it publicly.

            The President turns around, heads over to the T.V.  Kenny
            folds his arms, disgusted.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Jesus Christ, O'Donnell, you're the one
                      saying we need to move forward on a
                      political solution.

                                KENNY
                      Yeah, a good political solution.

            ON THE T.V.

            Live coverage of the United Nations Security Council
            meetings.  Holding forth in Russian is VALERIAN ZORIN, 50s,
            tough, likeable, the Soviet Ambassador to the U.N. and
            chairman of the Security Council.  A translator relays the
            meaning.

                                TRANSLATOR FOR ZORIN (O.S.)
                      We call on the world to condemn the
                      piratical actions of America...

            RESUME

            The President's jaw tightens.  He turns to Kenny.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      You want to turn up the heat?  You call
                      Adlai.  Tell him to stick it to Zorin.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            Kenny, phone to his ear, suffers as Bobby harangues him.

                                BOBBY
                      Adlai's too weak!  We have to convince
                      Jack to pull him, get McCloy in there.

                                KENNY
                      You can't take him out this late in the
                      game.

                                BOBBY
                      Zorin will eat him alive!

                                KENNY
                      Then talk to your brother, goddamn it. 
                      The two of you don't need any advice to
                      get into trouble.

                                BOBBY
                      What's gotten into you?

            Kenny throws the Lippman article at him.

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      Oh, still sore about this.

                                KENNY
                      Something your father would've come up
                      with.

            Silence.  Terrible silence.  That paralyzes Bobby.  Kenny
            stares at him.  He means it, but regrets it, too.

                                BOBBY
                      My father --

                                KENNY
                      -- I'm just trying to make a point. 
                      This idea is that fucking bad.

            But Bobby gets it.  Kenny shifts gears, lets it go.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      Adlai can handle Zorin.  He knows the
                      inning and the score.

                                BOBBY
                      He better.  Because nobody thinks he's
                      up to this.  Nobody.

            INT. U.S. OFFICES - U.N. - DAY

            The U.S. suite is in frantic preparation, STAFFERS coming and
            going.  Stevenson takes his phone from a SECRETARY.

                                ADLAI
                      Yes?

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny turns to gaze at his little T.V. in the credenza, U.N.
            coverage continuing, as if he could see Adlai there.

                                KENNY
                      Adlai, it's Kenny.  How're you doing?

            INT. U.S. OFFICES - U.N. - CONTINUOUS

            Adlai is packing up his briefcase.

                                ADLAI
                      Busy, Ken. What do you need?

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny rises from his chair, paces toward the T.V.  He pauses.

                                KENNY
                      The President told me to pass the word
                      to you: stick it to them.

            INT. U.S. OFFICES - U.N. - CONTINUOUS

            Adlai looks around to his own T.V., showing the session going
            on downstairs.  Zorin, ON CAMERA, dominates the council:
            alternately bold, aggressive, and then reasonable.  Even in
            Russian, with the lagging translation, he's formidable.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny is watching exactly the same performance.  Zorin is
            masterful.  Kenny knows it.  And when he talks to Adlai, it's
            with the fatalism of a coach knowing he's putting his third
            string quarterback in against the all-Pro linebacker.

                                KENNY
                      Adlai.  The world has to know we're
                      right.  If we're going to have a chance
                      at a political solution, we need
                      international pressure.  You got to be
                      tough, Adlai.  You need to find it, old
                      friend.

            INT. U.S. OFFICES - U.N. - CONTINUOUS

            Adlai watches his Staffers leave his inner office.  He hears
            Kenny, and everything Kenny is saying.

                                ADLAI
                      I hear you.  I'm glad it's you calling. 
                      I thought it would be Bobby.  If they're
                      still sticking to their stonewall
                      strategy, I'll get 'em.
                          (beat)
                      Thanks, Ken.

            Adlai lowers the phone to its cradle.  An ANXIOUS STAFFER
            sticks his head in the door, a concerned, questioning look on
            his face.

            Adlai adjusts his tie.  HIS HAND IS SHAKING.  He notices it,
            and manages a brave smile.

                                ADLAI (CONT'D)
                      I'm an old political cat, Jimmy.
                          (beat)
                      But I've got one life left.

            INT. HALL, U.N. - CONTINUOUS

            Adlai, briefcase in hand, marches down the hall at the hand
            of his team: Staffers and Photo Interpreters with large
            leather portfolio bags.  The big double doors to the council
            chamber loom, and he gestures to the Photo Interpreters.

                                ADLAI
                      Wait here.

            And then a DOORMAN throws open the door for him.

            INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

            Adlai enters.  He is instantly dwarfed by the enormous room. 
            Lights, T.V. cameras, the imposing circular arrangement of
            delegation tables.  And the entire world is watching.

            Adlai pauses.  Then as the first SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
            begin to notice him, he heads for the vacant seats for the
            American delegation.  The ROMANIAN DELEGATE saws the air.

                                ROMANIAN DELEGATE
                          (through translator)
                      ...we call upon the world to condemn
                      this purely American provocation...

            But as the Romanian wheezes on, all eyes are on Adlai.  Adlai
            takes his seat, his Staffers behind him.  They pass him up
            papers, and he spreads them before him, taking no notice that
            the entire room is staring at him.

            Adlai finally glances up.  Across the circle sits Zorin, in
            the flesh, at the head of his own tough-looking DELEGATION. 
            He acknowledges Adlai with a superior smile.

                                ROMANIAN DELEGATE (CONT'D)
                      We, the people of Romania, stand in
                      solidarity with the people of Cuba and
                      their revolution in the face of this
                      American threat to world peace.  Thank
                      you, Mr. Chairman.

            The Romanian Delegate leans back from his microphone.  Zorin
            leans forward, begins in Russian, and the Translator's voice
            catches up with him.  His tone, body language, composure are
            all that of complete confidence.

                                ZORIN
                          (through translator)
                      We are glad you could join us, Mr.
                      Stevenson.

            Adlai nods, returns to his notes, as Zorin continues.

                                ZORIN (CONT'D)
                      For the last couple of hours I have
                      heard nothing but questions from the
                      world here.  The United States has led
                      us to the brink of calamity.  The
                      peoples of the world want to know why. 
                      We are told again and again of this so
                      called incontrovertible evidence of
                      offensive weapons in Cuba.  Yet we are
                      not allowed to see this evidence.  Are
                      your spy planes so secret you cannot
                      share this evidence with us?  Some
                      planes?!

            The audience laughs.  Zorin basks in it.  And then grows
            stern.

                                ZORIN (CONT'D)
                      Or perhaps there is no such evidence. 
                      Perhaps the United States is mistaken.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - WHITE HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

            EXCOM watches the coverage on the situation room's T.V.'s. 
            The President and Bobby sit side by side, Kenny just behind
            them.  Bobby checks his watch, looks at the President.

                                BOBBY
                      I make the call, and Adlai is out. 
                      McCloy goes in.

            Bobby looks back at Kenny. 

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

            INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

            Zorin stares at Adlai.  Adlai studiously ignores him, works
            on his own papers.

                                ZORIN
                      The United States has no facts in hand. 
                      Falsity is what America has in its hands
                      - false evidence.

            Zorin leans back in his chair.  Adlai finally looks up.  He
            meets Zorin's icy bravura.  He notes the cameras around the
            room.  This is the grandest stage of all.

                                ZORIN (CONT'D)
                      The chair recognizes the representative
                      from the United States.

            And in that moment, Adlai becomes the spokesman for America.

                                ADLAI
                      Well, let me say something to you, Mr.
                      Ambassador, we do have the evidence.  We
                      have it, and it is clear and
                      incontrovertible.

            Adlai's tone is definitive.  A tremor of interest passes
            through the various delegations.

                                ADLAI (CONT'D)
                      And let me say something else.  Those
                      weapons must be taken out of Cuba.  You,
                      the Soviet Union, have created this new
                      danger, not the United States.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            EXCOM is transfixed by the continuing debate.

                                BUNDY
                      Come on, Adlai!

            They all crowd the T.V. as if it were a title fight.  Except
            for Bobby.  Kenny glances over at him.  He has the phone
            pinned between his ear and shoulder.  Kenny looks back to the
            T.V.

            INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

            Adlai fixes Zorin in his seat, his voice rising.

                                ADLAI
                      Mr. Zorin, I remind you that the other
                      day you did not deny the existence of
                      these weapons.  But today, again, if I
                      heard you correctly, you now say they do
                      not exist.

            Zorin, headphones on, listens to his own translation, but
            doesn't respond, acts bored.  It gets Adlai's goat, and he
            begins to lose his cool.  A rumble from the U.N.  The CAMERA
            FINDS Adlai's hand SHAKING, gripping his pen.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - WHITE HOUSE - DAY

            EXCOM is worried.

                                RUSK
                      Come on, Adlai, don't let him off!

                                BOBBY
                      John?  It's Bobby.  Get ready to send
                      your staffer in.  He's going to be
                      coming out.

            INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

            But Adlai's tremors are not tremors of fear.  They are
            tremors of anger.  His voice goes hard and cold.

                                ADLAI
                      All right, sir.  Let me ask you one
                      simple question.  Do you, Ambassador
                      Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed
                      and is placing medium and intermediate
                      range missiles and sites in Cuba?  Yes
                      or no - don't wait for the translation -
                      yes or no?

            The diplomatic world GASPS as Adlai drops all pretense of
            civility, all statesman-like grace.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            EXCOM's excitement mounts.  In the chorus urging Adlai on, we
            find Kenny edge toward the screen.

                                KENNY
                      Yeah.  Yeah.

            INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

            Zorin shoots Adlai a testy look.

                                ZORIN
                      I am not in an American courtroom, sir,
                      and therefore I do not wish to answer a
                      question that is put to me in the
                      fashion in which a prosecutor puts
                      questions.  In due course, sir, you will
                      have your answer.

            There's laughter at Zorin's refusal to be bullied: but it's
            nervous laughter, not the polite stuff of diplomatic tete-a
            tete.  The RUMBLE in the room grows louder.

                                ADLAI
                      You are in the courtroom of world
                      opinion right now, and you can answer
                      yes or no.  You have denied they exist,
                      and I want to know if I have understood
                      you correctly.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - DAY

            EXCOM ROARS!  Fists in the air!  Bobby lets the phone dangle
            a beat, covers it.  And then he lifts it again.

                                BOBBY
                      John, I'll get back to you.

            He lowers the phone to the receiver.  Kenny shoots him a
            triumphant smile.  The President looks at Kenny, shakes his
            head, a big smile on his face.

            INT. U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS - CONTINUOUS

            Adlai presses on.

                                ADLAI
                      And I'm prepared to present the evidence
                      in this room, proving that the Soviet
                      Union has lied to the world.

            And Zorin cracks.  He looks uneasily to his delegation.  They
            bend forward to consult.  Adlai sits back in his chair,
            draping his arms over its wings with the confidence of
            someone who knows he's kicked ass.

            Adlai looks around the room while he's waiting for his
            answer, managing not to smile.  The diplomatic world is
            scandalized.  At last Zorin regroups, lifts his head from his
            huddle.

                                ZORIN
                      If you do not choose to continue your
                      statement, the Chair recognizes the
                      representative from Chile.

            The CHILEAN DELEGATE stands.

                                CHILEAN DELEGATE
                      I yield my time and the floor to the
                      representative to the United States.

            The room explodes in laughter.  Not just nervous any more,
            not just polite.  They're laughing at Zorin's parliamentary
            ploy blowing up in his face. 
            Zorin's smile is gone, his smooth facade destroyed.  And he
            looks like the biggest fool in the world.

            Adlai stares at the beet-faced man with disdain.  At last,
            Adlai stands, gestures to the door to the hall behind him.

            The PHOTO INTERPRETERS come racing in with their briefing
            boards.

                                ADLAI
                      Well then, ladies and gentlemen, since
                      it appears we might be here for a while,
                      shall we have a look at what the Soviets
                      are doing in Cuba?

            The Delegates RUMBLE in interest, rise from their seats to
            approach Adlai.

            INT. SITUATION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            EXCOM celebrates.  Phones ring at several of the chairs at
            the conference table. The President and Kenny meet as Bundy
            picks up a phone in the b.g.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Didn't know Adlai had it in him.  Too
                      bad he didn't have this stuff in '52.

                                KENNY
                      Zorin must not have gotten instructions. 
                      Somebody in their Foreign Ministry's
                      blown it big-time.

            Bundy steps forward, holding the phone.

                                BUNDY
                      Mr. President...

            Kenny and the President turn to see what they already have
            heard in those two words: concern.  The room falls quiet.

            INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

            Phone in hand, McNamara paces at his post over the flag plot.

                                MCNAMARA
                      ...the ship is called Groznyy.

            EXT. OCEAN, PUERTO RICO TRENCH - CONTINUOUS

            The Soviet Tanker, Groznyy, breasts the heavy seas.  Armed
            CREWMEN race along the deck to makeshift sandbagged
            emplacements in the bow.

                                MCNAMARA (V.O.)
                      We lost track of it yesterday at
                      nightfall.  We thought we gave it plenty
                      of room when we moved the quarantine
                      line back.  We just reacquired it.

            The CAMERA PANS to the left, revealing a U.S. DESTROYER
            racing up alongside a few hundred yards away, pounding up and
            over the swells, punching up a huge fan of spray from its
            bow.

            INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

                                MCNAMARA
                      It crossed the line hours ago.

            Admiral Anderson, on the phone on the level below, is tense.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      Hail them again.

                                THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
                      Keep us posted, Bob.

            McNamara leans against the wall, closes his eyes in
            exhaustion and stress.  And when he opens the, we PAN AROUND
            TO REVEAL:

            A G-d-like view of the flag plot, covered with HUNDREDS OF
            SHIPS, PLANES AND MARKINGS.

            McNamara stares out at the bewildering tangle of symbols,
            living men behind each one.  Each tangle of red and blue
            symbols a powderkeg.  A G-dlike view indeed.  And it is far
            more than any one mere man could keep control of. And he
            begins to realize it.

                                MCNAMARA
                      We're kidding ourselves...

            And not only that, in his bleary, sleep-deprived fog, he
            begins to understand something happening down there.

            The CAMERA MOVES over the enormous map, over the scrolling
            cryptic numerology.  THE BUZZ of radio communications bleeds
            in from the background.  The overhead platform swivels on its
            motor, like the vast arm of some fate-writing god as the
            Watch Officer on it updates the movements of the ships.

            McNamara stares, at the verge of grasping something.  Through
            the door-crack of genius, he has the glimpse of some grander
            thing, some grander design.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      Very well.  Load your guns.

            That starts McNamara from his fatigued reverie.  He goes to
            the railing, looks down on Anderson.

                                MCNAMARA
                      What was that, Admiral?

            Anderson turns, gazes up from his tier below, distracted.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      We've been hailing the Groznyy for the
                      last hour, Mr. Secretary.  The Groznyy
                      refuses to stop.

                                MCNAMARA
                      What are you doing?

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      Carrying out our mission, Mr. Secretary. 
                      If you don't mind, we're very busy right
                      now.  We need to be able to do our jobs.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Admiral, I asked you a question.

            Anderson holds the phone aside, turns around again, looks up
            at him, impatient.  His answer is hard, cold, dangerous.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      We're going to follow the Rules of
                      Engagement.  The Rules of Engagement
                      which the President has approved and
                      signed in his order of October 23rd.

            Anderson listens again to the phone.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON (CONT'D)
                      Yes, Captain, you may proceed.  Clear
                      your guns.

                                MCNAMARA
                      What --

            EXT. OCEAN, PUERTO RICO TRENCH - CONTINUOUS

            The Destroyer's forward 5-inch twin guns swivel, train on the
            Groznyy.  A beat.  They OPEN FIRE with an ear-splitting
            BAMBAM, ripping the air in front of the muzzles, the Groznyy
            so close a miss isn't possible.

            INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

            McNamara SHOUTS at Anderson, dropping down the steps to
            Anderson's level.

                                MCNAMARA
                      GODDAMNIT, STOP THAT FIRING!

            Watch Officers scramble to comply, chaos and shouting in the
            war room as a chorus if "Cease fire cease fire cease fire,"
            goes up.  McNamara turns on Anderson, is in his face.

                                MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
                      Jesus Christ, God help us.

            Anderson smashes the phone down, wheels on McNamara, furious.

            EXT. OCEAN, PUERTO RICO TRENCH - CONTINUOUS

            The Destroyer's guns hammer away at the Groznyy, at point
            blank range... but the Groznyy IS UNHARMED.  

            Suddenly, in the air above it appear BRILLIANT FLARES.  They
            light up the ship, brighter than the sun.  The destroyer
            isn't firing deadly rounds... it's firing harmless
            starshells.

            INT. FLAG PLOT - THE PENTAGON - CONTINUOUS

            Anderson gets in McNamara's face. 

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      That ship was firing starshells. 
                      Starshells.  Flares, Mr. Secretary.

            Everyone's eyes are on the two men.  Only the chatter of
            teletype breaks the paralyzing silence.  McNamara blinks,
            looks down at the plot on the floor.  Anderson's voice drops
            to a deadly sotto.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON (CONT'D)
                      Goddammitt, I've got a job to do. 
                      You've been camped out up there since
                      Monday night.  You're exhausted and
                      you're making mistakes.  Interfere with
                      me, you will get some of killed.  I will
                      not allow that.

            McNamara looks away at the faces of the men in the room.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Starshells.

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      Get out of our way, Mr. Secretary.  The
                      navy has been running blockades since
                      the days of John Paul Jones.

            McNamara turns back.  And all trepidation, embarrassment,
            hesitation are gone.  He coldly appraises Anderson.

                                MCNAMARA
                      I believe the President made it clear
                      that there would be no firing on ships
                      without his express permission.  

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      With all due respect, Mr. Secretary, we
                      were not firing on the ship.  Firing on
                      a ship means attacking the ship.  We
                      were not attacking the ship.  We were
                      firing over it.

                                MCNAMARA
                      This was not the President's intention
                      when he gave that order.  What if the
                      Soviets don't see the distention?  What
                      if they make the same mistake I just
                      did?
                          (beat)
                      There will be no firing anything near
                      ANY Soviet ships without my express
                      permission, is that understood, Admiral?

                                ADMIRAL ANDERSON
                      Yes, sir.

                                MCNAMARA
                      And I will only issue such instructions
                      when ordered to by the President.
                          (beat)
                      John Paul Jones... you don't understand
                      a thing, do you, Admiral?

            He passes his hand over the enormous plot below.

                                MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
                      This isn't a blockade.

            McNamara, trembling with anger, awe, whirls to Anderson.  And
            his burgeoning insight is born - clear, hard and cold.

                                MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
                      This, all this, is language, a new
                      vocabulary the likes of which the world
                      has never seen. 
                      This is President Kennedy communicating
                      with Secretary Khruschev.

            McNamara JABS HIS FINGER OUT AT the plot, and --

            -- the CAMERA RACES DOWN, TRACKING OVER IT, across the vast
            ebb and flow of information, the delicate ballet of symbols
            and numerology, this language of steel and human life.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            SUPER: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26TH.  DAY 11.

            On Kenny's T.V. Walter Cronkite reads the news to footage of
            a BOARDING PARTY going up a ladder to the freighter MARCULA.

                                WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.)
                      At 7:29 this morning, the U.S.S. Joseph
                      Kennedy stopped and boarded the Soviet
                      charter vessel Marcula.

            The Boarding Party wears dress whites and is UNARMED.

                                WALTER CRONKITE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                      After a 3-hour inspection, the Kennedy
                      signaled no contraband found.  Cleared
                      to continue.  Pentagon spokesmen expect
                      the next encounter.

            Kenny, who turns from the T.V. as the door to his office
            opens.  Rusk walks in.

                                RUSK
                      Kenny, we need to see the President. 
                      Something's happened.

            Kenny reacts to Rusk's enigmatic expression.  And out from
            behind Rusk steps JOHN SCALI, the ABC News Correspondent.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - DAY

            OFF THEIR REACTIONS, the CAMERA FINDS an under-strength, ad
            hoc EXCOM - Kenny, Bobby, Taylor, Bundy, Sorensen, McCone,
            Ball and the President.  Guarded hope all around.  The short,
            balding, pugnacious Scali looks discomfited.

                                SCALI
                      I have lunch with him maybe once a
                      month.  Way he talks, he acts like he
                      knows Khruschev personally, but he's
                      never elaborated.  I've used him as a
                      source in a couple of stories.

            Kenny paces behind the gathered men around the President's
            desk, listening, mind going a million miles an hour.

                                RUSK
                      The FBI has identified this Alexander
                      Fomin as the Soviet Resident, the KGB
                      equivalent of one of our station chiefs. 
                      He's their highest ranking spy in this
                      country.  And he knows John's a friend
                      of mine.

                                BUNDY
                      All the trademarks of a back-channel
                      overture.

            Kenny eyes Bundy, makes him uncomfortable.  The President
            sizes Scali up.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      So they'll remove the missiles, and
                      we'll pledge not to invade Cuba,
                      destabilize Castro or assist anyone who
                      plans in doing so...

            Nobody dares speak.  It's as if the possibility of a
            settlement will vanish into thin air if anyone moves.

                                BOBBY
                      I think... this may be our first real
                      message from Khruschev.

                                MCCONE
                      The alternative, Mr. President, is that
                      this could be a trap.

                                KENNY
                      Dangle a settlement, tie us down in
                      negotiations, we come up short...

                                MCCONE
                      Why else would they approach us in this
                      way?  It's deniable.  The Soviets have
                      done nothing but lie to us.  This could
                      be more of the same.

                                KENNY
                      That may be why Khruschev's introducing
                      this guy.  We've been burned by his
                      usual players in the formal channels, so
                      he brings in an honest broker.

                                MCCONE
                      That may be what they want us to think.

                                RUSK
                      The truth is, Mr. President, we don't
                      even really know whom Fomin speaks for. 
                      It could be Khruschev. It could be some
                      faction in the Politburo or the KGB
                      itself.  We just don't know.

                                BOBBY
                      By the way, Scali, your activities now
                      fall under the secrecy codicils of the
                      National Security Act.  Sorry, no
                      Pulitzer.

            The gathered men chuckle, only Scali a bit dour but being a
            good sport about it.  Scali checks his watch.

                                SCALI
                      Mr. President, we don't have much time. 
                      I'm supposed to meet with him again in
                      three and a half hours.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Well, it seems the question of the day
                      is -- is the offer legitimate?

            He moves away from his desk.  The men watch him.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      If it is... if it is, then we can't
                      afford to ignore it.
                          (beat, to Scali)
                      John, we'll have instructions for you in
                      a couple of hours.

            Scali nods.  Rusk escorts him out.  They wait until the door
            closes.  Taylor looks over at McCone who nods.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Mr. President, I'm afraid we have some
                      bad news.  We're getting GMAIC estimates
                      from our latest low-level overflights. 
                      It appears the missiles are two to three
                      days away from operational status.

                                MCCONE
                      So we don't have much time to play out
                      back-channel communiques.

            Kenny gives Bobby a hard look.  The President appears
            unfazed.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      The quarantine, sir, is not producing
                      results.  The Chiefs feel it's time you
                      take another look at our options.

            The President considers Taylor, then looks over to Kenny.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Kenny, get over to your old stomping
                      grounds.  Go through everything the FBI
                      has on Fomin.  I need your best call: is
                      this guy legit and is he speaking for
                      Khruschev?  And I need you to tell me by
                      the time I call you, because right after
                      I call you, I'm calling Scali with his
                      instructions.

            INT. FBI, COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT FILES - NIGHT

            BANG!  A STACK OF FILES slams down beside Kenny on a large
            paper-covered conference table.  WALTER SHERIDAN, Kenny's
            investigator-buddy, wears a visitor's pass just like Kenny. 
            Kenny and Walter RIFLE through the folders, super fast, super
            proficient.  A half-dozen FBI AGENTS work around the table.

                                SHERIDAN
                      Okay.  So, what we've got is this guy
                      Alexander Feklisov, aka Alexander Fomin,
                      declared Consul to the Soviet Embassy,
                      but in reality the KGB Papa Spy.  An
                      illustrious tour of duty during the
                      Great Patriotic War gets him on the
                      Party fast track, various tours of duty
                      in KGB, American postings.  He's an
                      expert on us, and... that's all we've
                      got on Papa Spy.

                                KENNY
                      Who's he talking for?  Is it Khruschev,
                      or is this more bullshit?

            Kenny stands, runs his hands through his hair, aggravated.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      How do you become the KGB top spy in the
                      United States?

                                SHERIDAN
                      Gotta know someone.

            Kenny whirls on Sheridan.  A frozen beat.

                                KENNY
                      Politics is politics.  Walter.
                          (whirling on Agents)
                      Khruschev is the Moscow Party Boss under
                      Stalin.  Give me their career
                      chronologies!

            Walter pushes a typed dateline of Khruschev's major career
            moves, and one of the Agents hands Kenny a list of Fomin's
            postings.  He lays them side by side.  And for every step of
            Khruschev's, there's a step for Fomin.  Not only that, but
            the DATES ARE IDENTICAL or nearly so.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      Every time Khruschev moves up, Fomin
                      does within a year...
                          (tracing up the list)
                      Khruschev was the administrator in
                      charge of preparing Moscow's defenses
                      during the war.  And Fomin... was here
                      in the U.S.

            Kenny's face falls.  But a YOUNG FBI AGENT cuts in.

                                YOUNG FBI AGENT
                      Not at first.

            The Young FBI Agent proffers him a file.  Kenny snatches it.

                                YOUNG FBI AGENT (CONT'D)
                      He was an engineer stationed outside
                      Moscow in '42.  Specialized in tank
                      traps.

            Kenny looks up at Walter.  Walter nods sagely, lights a pipe.

                                KENNY
                      They know each other.  They're war
                      buddies.

                                SHERIDAN
                      It's thin.  But real life usually is.

            A PHONE on the table SHRILLS, shattering the silent triumph.

                                KENNY
                      Hello?

                                THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
                      I've got to move.  What do you have,
                      Kenny?

                                KENNY
                      They know each other!  Khruschev and
                      Feklisov aka Fomin were war buddies!

                                THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
                      You're sure...

                                KENNY
                      Don't take it to court, but we've got
                      good circumstantial evidence...
                          (off Walter's nod)
                      Walter agrees.  My gut's telling me
                      Khruschev's turning to a trusted old
                      friend to carry his message.

                                THE PRESIDENT (O.S.)
                      Okay, Ken.  We're going.

            INT. STATLER HOTEL COFFEE SHOP - NIGHT

            A few lonely BUSINESS TRAVELERS hang out in the dim coffee
            shop.  Faint music plays.  Scali and ALEXANDER FOMIN sit with
            steaming cups of coffee.  Scali, nervous, unfolds a note. 
            Fomin, an expressionless gray spectre of a man, eyes him.  He
            is, in his boredom, a spy's spy.

                                SCALI
                      I am instructed to tell you that the
                      American Government would respond
                      favorably to an offer along the lines
                      you have discussed.  If this solution
                      were raised at the U.N. by Ambassador
                      Zorin, he would find a favorable reply
                      from Ambassador Stevenson.

                                FOMIN
                      So I understand you correctly.  If the
                      missiles in Cuba were dismantled,
                      returned to the Soviet Union, and a
                      guarantee was made not to reintroduce
                      them, the United States would be
                      prepared to guarantee that it would
                      never invade Cuba?

                                SCALI
                      That is correct.

                                FOMIN
                      This is from the Highest Authority?

                                SCALI
                      Yes.  From the Highest Authority.  There
                      are two conditions.  The U.N.
                      must be allowed to inspect the removal
                      of the missiles.

                                FOMIN
                      And, of course, the U.N. must be allowed
                      to observe the redeployment of forces
                      from the American Southeast.

            Scali demurs.  He has no instructions on this count.

                                FOMIN (CONT'D)
                      And the second condition?

                                SCALI
                      Time is of the essence.

            Scali takes a sip of coffee.  Fomin stares at him, intense.

                                FOMIN
                      John.  How much time?

                                SCALI
                      48 hours.  In 48 hours there can be no
                      deals.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

            Scali finishes debriefing the President, Bobby, Kenny,
            McCone, Taylor and Bundy.

                                SCALI
                      He left right away.  Got the feeling he
                      meant business.

            Kenny and Bobby share a hopeful glance.  Rusk enters from
            Kenny's office.  And he's unable to contain his excitement.

                                RUSK
                      Mr. President, we're receiving a letter
                      from Khruschev over at State.

            INT. COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE - STATE DEPARTMENT - NIGHT

            From a cluster of folding metal chairs, Kenny, Bobby, Rusk
            and Sorensen watch a TELETYPE hammer out the message as it
            comes off the wire.  It's painfully slow, like watching a bad
            typist type a manuscript.  Ten pages of this is an eternity. 
            To top it off, it's in Russian.  A TRANSLATOR reads it off,
            word by word to a TRANSCRIBER.

                                TRANSLATOR
                      ...two...of...us...pull...on...the...
                      knot...of...war...

            INT. CABINET ROOM - NIGHT

            Kenny slams a page of Khruschev's letter on the table.  He
            jabs his finger at it.  EXCOM listens, intent.

                                KENNY
                      It's ten pages of sentimental fluff, but
                      he's saying right here.  He'll remove
                      the missiles in return for a no-invasion
                      pledge.  It looks like Fomin's overture
                      was genuine.

            The President turns to McCone.

                                MCCONE
                      Our early analysis says this was
                      probably written by Khruschev himself. 
                      It's a first draft, and shows no signs
                      of being polished by the foreign
                      ministry.  In fact, it probably hasn't
                      been approved by the Politburo.  They
                      wouldn't have let the emotionalism go
                      by.  The analysts say it was written by
                      someone under considerable stress.

            EXCOM chuckles.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Glad to hear we're not alone.

            The President eyes the EXCOM members one by one, an incipient
            smile on his face.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      Well, gentlemen, I wasn't planning on
                      invading Cuba anyway.  I think we can
                      live with the terms of this deal.

            There are mostly nods of assent, big smiles around the table. 
            Except from  McCone and Taylor.  The President takes his copy
            of the letter, flips through it.  He shakes his head, almost
            unable to believe that Khruschev has given in.  A long beat.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      Ted, I want you to draft our acceptance.

            EXT. O'DONNELL DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

            A long, black car stops at the end of Kenny's driveway.  The
            door opens, and Kenny steps out.  He says an inaudible
            goodnight to the driver, and the car pulls off.  He turns,
            facing the white two-story house with the neat front yard,
            the lights out.  And he smiles.  Home at last.

            EXT. O'DONNELL PATIO - NIGHT

            A screen door squeaks open.  Kenny steps out into the
            darkness of the back yard.  And there, in her robe, sitting
            startled on a lawn chair, lit only by the dim glow of the
            kitchen window, is Helen.  Kenny stands there tired, his coat
            slung over his shoulder.

                                KENNY
                      Hi.

            Helen rises, her own care-worn face turned to his.  For a
            silent moment they gaze at each other, searching in the lines
            of each others' face for the changes of a long separation. 
            They see them.  But they've been married a long time, and the
            awkwardness passes.

                                HELEN
                      Hi, O'Donnell.  You look old.

            Kenny drops his coat on a table as Helen comes up and folds
            herself into his arms.

                                HELEN (CONT'D)
                      This job's going to kill you.  If I
                      don't first.

            They kiss, comfortable.  But not too long, and he lets her
            go.  She looks at him again, sees he's suppressing a smile.

                                HELEN (CONT'D)
                      If you're home it means either Jack and
                      Bobby have finally figured out what a
                      con man you are and fired you, or --

                                KENNY
                      -- we got a back channel communication
                      from Khruschev this evening feeling us
                      out about a deal.  He confirmed it just
                      a little while ago in a letter to the
                      President.  I think we've won.

                                HELEN
                      A thing like this... who could even
                      think of winning?

            INT. HALL OUTSIDE KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            SUPER: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27TH.  DAY 12.

            Kenny, in his overcoat, steps aside as a pair of Duty
            Officers race past him, almost bowling him over. 
            He slows as he nears the doors to his office and the Oval
            Office, DISCOVERING:

            TOTAL CHAOS.  EXCOM guys, Assistants, dart to and from the
            offices and halls.  On all their faces grim expressions. 
            Kenny stands there a beat in confusion.  And then Bobby
            swings out of Kenny's office.  There's a desperate edge to
            Bobby's voice.

                                BOBBY
                      Where've you been?  We've been trying to
                      find you all morning.

                                KENNY
                      Helen and I went out for breakfast.
                      EXCOM's not supposed to convene til
                      eight.

                                BOBBY
                      We just got a second letter from
                      Khruschev.  The deal's off.

            INT. HALL OUTSIDE CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny and Bobby walk fast for the cabinet room, Kenny still
            in his coat.

                                BOBBY
                      We're getting everyone together as fast
                      as we can.

                                KENNY
                      What does the letter say?

                                BOBBY
                      They want us to take our missiles out of
                      Turkey along with the no invasion
                      pledge.  It looks like Fomin was a ploy
                      after all, and they were just stalling
                      for time.

            Kenny is stunned.

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      It gets worse.

            Kenny gives Bobby a sharp look as they enter --

            INT. CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            The President, in shirtsleeves, no tie, glances up at Kenny
            as he and Bobby enter.  Kenny can only bear his look for a
            second: he blew the call on Fomin.  But the President is
            clearly relieved to see him, gives him a faint smile. 
            Half of EXCOM, including McNamara, McCone, Rusk, and Taylor
            barely notice them as they're already there arguing.

            Kenny sits down hurriedly, shucks off his coat as he joins
            the conversation in mid-stream.

                                MCCONE
                      My specialists are in agreement: this
                      morning's letter is not Khruschev.  Last
                      night's letter was.
                          (beat)
                      The evidence supports only one
                      conclusion: there has been a coup, and
                      Khruschev was replaced overnight.

                                KENNY
                      Jesus Christ...

            Bobby gives him a look: told you things got worse.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Dean?

                                RUSK
                      It doesn't necessarily mean there's been
                      a coup.  Khruschev's name is signed to
                      the letter.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Aw, come on, Dean!

                                RUSK
                      But at the very least... It does suggest
                      he's been co-opted by hard line
                      elements.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Which at the end of the day is the same
                      thing as a coup.  A puppet Khruschev,
                      and a hard-line Soviet government
                      pulling the strings.  No deal.  And the
                      missiles are almost operational.

            Bitter silence.  They all look to the President.  Imminent
            victory has turned to ashes.  The President studies his own
            folded hands.  Ball and Thompson enter, take seats.  One by
            one, throughout the scene, other EXCOM members join the
            group.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      You know, the problem we have is that
                      this is latest offer of theirs will seem
                      reasonable to everyone.  We remove our
                      missiles, they remove theirs. 
                      Our Jupiters were scheduled for removal
                      anyway.  They're obsolete, after all.

            Kenny shakes his head in mute anger.  McNamara and Rusk seem
            to sense the President's feelings, too.

                                RUSK
                      Mr. President, agreeing to such a trade
                      would be tantamount to paying ransom. 
                      They'll put a gun to our head again, and
                      expect us to pay again.

            Kenny looks the President in the eye.

                                KENNY
                      We can't sell out one of our friends for
                      our own safety.  NATO wouldn't trust us
                      anymore, and they'd be right not to.

            The President sighs in the face of the stern advice.  He
            nods, expecting as much.  Bobby still can't look at anyone.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      So which one of you geniuses can tell me
                      how to explain ourselves to the world? 
                      How do we work with them if there's been
                      a hard-line coup?

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Mr. President, there is another
                      possibility we haven't considered.  This
                      may not be a coup at all.

            Everyone of Kenny's instincts jumps.  His head snaps up to
            listen to Taylor.  Taylor pauses.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR (CONT'D)
                      It's possible that the back-channel
                      overture, last night's letter, and this
                      letter today, along with everything the
                      Soviets have said all along, is nothing
                      more than a lie -- disinformation.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Designed to keep us from taking action.

            Kenny hears the fatalism in McNamara's voice.  A long beat. 
            Everyone stares at McNamara.

                                MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
                      I hate to say it, but if I had to bet,
                      I'd bet Max is right.  What if they have
                      no intention of honoring this deal,
                      either? 
                      Then tomorrow they add another
                      condition.  Meanwhile, the quarantine
                      isn't working and they're continuing to
                      work on the missile sites.
                          (beat)
                      I think we have to consider issuing
                      warning orders for our forces.

            They were so close last night... and suddenly Lundahl and
            LeMay enter the room with the day's briefing boards.

                                LUNDAHL
                      Mr. President...

            Lundahl stands there at the end of the table, gray.  He
            almost can't say it, can't look the President in the face.

                                LUNDAHL (CONT'D)
                      This morning's photography is in.  It
                      appears the Soviets have commenced a
                      crash program to ready the missiles.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            EXT. MISSILE SITE - CUBA - CONTINUOUS

            The missiles site is now more than just dirt and clearing
            equipment.  It's an armed camp, with missiles, fuel trailers,
            erectors spaced every few hundred yards.  MISSILE TECHNICIANS
            service the towering SS-4s.

                                LUNDAHL (V.O.)
                      The first missiles became operational
                      last night.

            With a barrage of shouted orders in Russian, and a whine of
            the ERECTOR's engines, THE MISSILE BEGINS TO RISE.

                                LUNDAHL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                      We expect they'll all be operational in
                      36 hours: Monday morning.

            It stops, vertical.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            INT. CABINET ROOM - CONTINUOUS

            The news hits the room like a thunderbolt.  Kenny looks to
            Bobby and the President.  The blood is gone from their faces.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Then we're out of time.  We have to go
                      in.

                                LUNDAHL
                      That may not be as easy as we thought
                      either.  We've gotten confirmation that
                      the Soviets have also deployed
                      battlefield nuclear weapons to Cuba. 

            A pall falls over the room as LeMay explains.

                                LEMAY
                      FROGS, we call 'em.  Short range
                      tactical nukes.  It's possible they've
                      delegated release authority to their
                      local commanders for use against our
                      invasion troops.  It'd be standard
                      doctrine.
                          (beat)
                      Our capability to get all the missiles
                      has eroded during our delay with the
                      quarantine.  The good news is that for
                      the moment we know where the FROGS are,
                      and we can target them, too.  But the
                      longer we wait, the hard it's going to
                      get.

            They all look to the President.  Kenny stares, in a private
            hell, blacker and more complete than anyone should ever know.

            In that shocked silence each man grapples with failure.  The
            Best and the Brightest could not prevent what must come next.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Then we have no choice.
                          (to  Taylor)
                      General, issue the warning orders to our
                      forces.  They will be prepared to
                      execute the air strikes Monday morning
                      and the follow-on invasion according to
                      the schedule thereafter.  I'll need the
                      official release orders on my desk
                      Sunday night.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Understood, sir.  We need to step up the
                      overflights, finalize our pilots' target
                      folders in order to be able to carry out
                      the strikes.

            The President gives Kenny a meaningful look.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Permission granted.

            Taylor exits.  Kenny rises, gives the President an almost
            imperceptible nod, as he prepares to leave in Taylor's wake.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      Gentlemen, if anybody's got any great
                      ideas, now's the time...

            INT. READY ROOM - MACDILL AFB - DAY

            MAJOR RUDOLPH ANDERSON, 30, wearing the bulky high-altitude
            pressure suit of a U-2 pilot, takes the phone from one of the
            Air Force NCOs who are helping him suit up.

                                MAJOR ANDERSON
                      This is Major Anderson.

                                                       INTERCUT CALL TO:

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny, at the other end of the line, stares out the window at
            the fall day.  It seems so mild, so unlike war.  And it takes
            him a beat before he realizes Anderson's on the line.

                                MAJOR ANDERSON (O.S.)
                      Hello?  Anyone there?

                                KENNY
                      Major, my name is Kenneth O'Donnell. 
                      Special Assistant to the President.

            Kenny takes a breath, ready to start the shuck-and-jive...
            but for some reason doesn't.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      Major, a few days ago the President
                      ordered me to help him keep control of
                      what's going on out there.  I've been
                      browbeating pilots, navy guys left and
                      right to make sure you don't get us here
                      in Washington into trouble.  But you
                      know what?  We're pretty damn good at
                      getting ourselves into trouble.  So
                      instead of riding your ass, I'm just
                      going to tell you what's going on, and
                      let you figure out how best to help us
                      out up here.

            INT. READY ROOM - MACDILL AFB - CONTINUOUS

            Now mostly suited up, Major Anderson takes the phone out of
            the NCO's hand.  He nods, serious.

                                MAJOR ANDERSON
                      Go ahead, sir.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

                                KENNY
                      Last night, we looked like we were going
                      to cut a deal to get us all out of this
                      mess.  Today, the Soviets are reneging. 
                      We're going to try to salvage the
                      situation, but a lot of things are going
                      wrong today.  It's making everyone
                      nervous, and it will be very hard to
                      avoid going to war.  Don't get shot
                      down, Major.  Beyond that, whatever else
                      you can do to help us, I'd really
                      appreciate it.

            INT. READY ROOM - MACDILL AFB - CONTINUOUS

            Major Anderson waves his NCOs away.  They leave the room. 
            The Major sits on a bench in front of his locker, thinks.

                                MAJOR ANDERSON
                      When you're up there at 72,000 feet,
                      there's a million things that can go
                      wrong.  Is your oxygen mix right?  Will
                      your cameras freeze up?  Are you leaving
                      contrail...
                          (beat)
                      Those million things are beyond your
                      control, mostly... But you know, when
                      you realize that, there's a kind of
                      peace.  You don't need to be in control. 
                      You never were in control in the first
                      place.  If you're a good man, and your
                      ground crew are good men, it's all you
                      can ask for.  And with the grace of G-d,
                      it'll get you through.

            The young Major smiles to himself, to the phone.

                                MAJOR ANDERSON (CONT'D)
                      You sound like a good man.  You'll be
                      all right, Mr. O'Donnell.  We believe in
                      you guys down here.
                          (beat)
                      Thanks for the call.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny nods to himself, deeply touched by the man's faith.

                                KENNY
                      Thank you, Major.

            INT. READY ROOM - MACDILL AFB - CONTINUOUS

            With a click, the line goes dead and Anderson walks the phone
            over to the receiver on the wall.

            END INTERCUT

            EXT. RUNWAY - MACDILL AFB - MOMENTS LATER

            A cart speeds down the tarmac, an NCO behind the wheel. 
            Beside him sits Major Anderson, his helmet on, visor up.  He
            adjusts the mix on the oxygen bottle he's carrying at his
            feet, breathing in preparation for the high-altitude flight. 
            Up ahead, among a host of service vehicles, sits the U-2.

            INT. U-2 - DAY

            Anderson switches over to the U-2's oxygen supply as his NCOs
            belt him in.  They slap him on the helmet for good luck and
            lower the canopy as he brings his engines up to power.

                                MAJOR ANDERSON
                      This is flight G3132, requesting
                      permission for take-off.

                                TOWER VOICE (O.S.)
                      G3132, you've got runway one, you are
                      cleared to proceed to Angels 72.

                                MAJOR ANDERSON
                      Roger that.

            And he throws the throttle forward, 

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            EXT. STRATOSPHERE - MOMENTS LATER

            The twilight, in-between, world of the stratosphere.  Far
            below -- clouds, shining blue day.  Above, stars and the
            indigo depths of space.  We hang in utter silence.

            A silver glint appears in the center of the horizon.  It
            grows larger.  Then larger still.  It is the U-2.  We barely
            have time to register the rising hiss of its engines, when it
            FILLS THE SCREEN and BOOMS PAST, leaving us standing still.

            The CAMERA PANS to follow it, but it's already dwindled to a
            speck, and we feel how fast 600 miles an hour really is.

            INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            Anderson's gloved hand reaches for the CAMERA HEATER
            switches.

            EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            The belly door whines open like a silver eyelid, exposing the
            camera's lense.

            INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            Anderson double checks his position, switches to the
            autopilot for the stability only the machine can provide,
            then hits the CAMERA ACTIVATE button on his joystick. 
            BAMABMABMABMA... The camera begins its photography.

            Anderson watches the number on the film-remaining counter
            spool down.  He stares out the window.  The towering clouds
            below rise up magnificent, glorious... a glimpse of heaven.

            Rapt,  Anderson stares.  And then suddenly a BLARING ALARM
            GOES OFF IN THE COCKPIT.  It shocks Anderson around to the
            controls.  It's his MISSILE WARNING LIGHT.

            Anderson' hands flash out to the joystick, turning off the
            cameras, disabling autopilot.  He banks the U-2 hard.

            EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            As the U-2 turns, far, far below, emerging from the clouds,
            barely visible, rises a CONTRAIL.  It arcs lazily toward us. 
            A beat, and then another CONTRAIL.  

            Then ANOTHER.  The anti-aircraft missiles creating them are
            too small to be seen with the naked eye.

            INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            The cockpit is a cacophony of alarms and lights, the horizon
            outside tilted.  Anderson's breath comes fast, rasping as he
            does his strains going into the high-g turn.

            He looks out the cockpit window, finds the first SA-2 missile
            in pursuit only several thousand feet below him now.  He
            waits. Waits.  Waits, still in the turn.  The black head of
            the missile now visible.

            He puts the plane over, rolling out into an opposite bank.

            EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            The spy plane's long flimsy wings weren't made for
            dogfighting.  They BEND terribly in the rollout.  And then
            the first missile STREAKS past, tries to correct its miss,
            but can't and vanishes into the distance at a 90-degree
            angle.

            INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            Anderson's breath comes faster and faster as the second
            missile rises up, now visible.  He puts the throttle as far
            as it goes, trying to outrun death.  Every second is a tenth
            of a mile, and every mile shortens the missile's life span.

            The rising missile drafts aft, closing on the U-2 from
            behind.

            EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            The second missile's contrail rises up behind the plane,
            levels off, and closes on it at a tremendous rate.

            The third missile rises up in the far distance behind the
            second.

            The second missile races up on the U-2, closer, right behind
            it, can't miss.  Then at a hundred yards, the contrail
            suddenly peters out, and the missile, out of fuel, drops
            away.

            But the third missile closes.

            INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            Anderson glances out the window, sees the spent missiles fall
            away, and spots the third missile still seeking him aft. 
            Hand pinning the throttle forward, he prays under his breath.

            EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            The third SA-2 rides its billowing column of exhaust straight
            for the tail of the U-2.  This one is not out of fuel.

            INT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            Major Anderson opens his eyes.  He stares out the window at
            the glorious wonder of cloud and sea and earth below.

            EXT. U-2 - CONTINUOUS

            And the missile looms.  We have time to realize it's almost
            as big as the plane itself before it SHEARS right into the U
            2's tail and EXPLODES in a BLINDING FLASH.

            INT. HALL OUTSIDE BUNDY'S OFFICE - DAY

            Kenny, jogging down the hall, hears form an open door.

                                BUNDY (O.S.)
                      Kenny!

            Kenny goes over to the threshold.  Inside the office Bundy
            stands up from behind his desk, grave.  And Kenny knows.

            INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

            All of EXCOM is there except for Bundy.  Kenny sits behind
            the President, deeply distraught over Major Anderson.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Does this attack on our plane represent
                      a definitive, intentional escalation on
                      the part of the Soviets?

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      The Soviets are in control of the SAMs. 
                      It's hard to believe with their
                      centralized command structure that it
                      could be an accidental launch.

                                MCCONE
                      Mr. President, taken with the events of
                      the past few hours, I believe this
                      confirms our worst fears.  We're now
                      dealing with a hard-line Soviet
                      government, perhaps with Khruschev as a
                      puppet head, perhaps not.

            In the silence, Kenny reads the faces around the room. 
            They're convinced by McCone's pronouncement.  Kenny's not.

                                KENNY
                      It could be a mistake.

            McCone gives him a get-serious look.  But Kenny presses on.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      We need to be positive before we react.

            Bundy enters the room.  Everyone looks up.  He stands there
            in the doorway, his face tight.

            Kenny sags in his chair.  Bundy, of course, has more bad
            news, and they all know it.  A hopeless beat.  The President
            just stares at Bundy, unable to ask.  Bundy nods, affirming
            what everyone is thinking.

                                BUNDY
                      A U-2 on a routine air-sampling mission
                      over Siberia got lost and penetrated
                      Soviet airspace.  The Soviets scrambled
                      MIGs in pursuit, thinking it was a
                      bomber.  It got out okay.  Somebody
                      forgot to cancel the mission.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Goddammitt.  There's always some
                      sonofabitch who doesn't get the word. 
                      All we need is the Soviets thinking
                      we're bombing them.
                          (facetious)
                      Anybody else?

            The humor falls on a cold audience.

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      Mr. President, our pilots are in danger. 
                      We must order punitive airstrikes
                      against the SAM site that shot down
                      Major Anderson per our rules of
                      engagement.

            And finally the moment Kenny has dreaded all this time has
            come to pass.  He looks at Bobby, then at the President.  The
            President stares at the cup of coffee in his hands, as if
            trying to read the Fates' design in it.  A long beat, and
            everyone holds their breath.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      No.  I want confirmation there wasn't
                      some sort of accident first.

            LeMay clears his throat.  Everyone looks at him, expecting
            him to scream or jump up and down.

                                LEMAY
                      I think that's a good idea, Mr.
                      President.  It'll be safer for my boys
                      to get those SAMs on Monday when we get
                      the rest of the bastards.  I can wait a
                      day and a half.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Very well, then.

            But he says it without any belief in the words, realizing
            they're being tied fast to the train tracks of war.

            INT. KENNY'S OFFICE - DAY

            Alone in his office, shattered, Kenny stares out the window,
            viewing the distant Ellipse through a gap in the trees.  Kids
            are out there playing football.  He glances at his watch, and
            grabs his jacket.

            EXT. WHITE HOUSE - DAY

            Kenny puts on his jacket as he goes down the steps into the
            bright autumn day, walking away from the White House.  It
            drops behind him -- his step is faster, more urgent.

            EXT. STREET - DAY

            Kenny walks down the sidewalk, drawn toward the Ellipse.  The
            sixth grade FOOTBALL PLAYERS sweep forward with a running
            play.  Kenny scans them, searching, his breath coming hard.

            EXT. ELLIPSE - DAY

            He reaches the edge of the open field.  And then he spots the
            name on the jersey: O'Donnell.  It's Kevin. The players
            relinquish the ball and the offense comes off the field. 
            Kevin sees his dad.

                                KEVIN
                      Hey!  Dad!

            Kenny manages a smile as Kevin trots over.  Kevin pulls his
            helmet off.  They stand there a long beat, Kenny desperate to
            take him up, abandon his post... but he doesn't.

                                KENNY
                      Hey, sport.  You winning?

                                KEVIN
                      Yeah.

            But Kevin sees the turmoil in his father's face.

                                KEVIN (CONT'D)
                      Is everything going to be okay, Dad?

            Kenny's forced smile is answer enough.

                                KENNY
                      Yeah, Kev.  Everything's gonna be fine.

            But Kevin knows.  Together they know.  The end of the world
            is at hand.

                                KEVIN
                      I guess you won't be coming home
                      tonight.

                                KENNY
                      I, uh...

            Suddenly a car HONKS.  Kenny turns around.  Bobby is leaning
            out the rear passenger window of his limo.  And he sees what
            Kenny is doing.  He doesn't want to cut in, but has to.

                                BOBBY
                      Kenny!  We need to talk.

            Kenny looks back at his son.

                                KENNY
                      Get back out there, kid.  Remember to
                      hit 'em hard.

                                KEVIN
                      What about you?  Where are you going?

                                KENNY
                      Back to work.

            Kevin puts his helmet back on his head.  Kenny watches as
            Kevin jogs off to rejoin his team.  Kenny turns his back on
            his son, and strides for Bobby's limo, dying inside.

            EXT. SANS SOUCI PARKING LOT - DAY

            Kenny and Bobby stand by their car off to one side of the
            restaurant's parking lot.  Bobby's Secret Service Agents
            maintain a discreet distance.

                                KENNY
                      If we're going to make a deal, we're
                      going to have to do it fast.  This is
                      only getting out of control.  The only
                      reason we're not at war this very minute
                      is he's been able to stretch, bend and
                      break his own rules.  He won't be able
                      to keep it up forever.

            Bobby jams the last bit of sandwich in his mouth.  A beat. 
            Kenny looks him in the eye.

                                BOBBY
                      And?

                                KENNY
                      And Jack wants to trade the missiles in
                      Turkey.

                                BOBBY
                      The Jupiters are obsolete.  They were
                      supposed to have been dismantled last
                      summer anyway --

                                KENNY
                      -- Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  I told you
                      how stupid it was to float the Lippman
                      article!  But you wouldn't listen to me. 
                      What if there hasn't been a coup at all? 
                      What if it's you two who invited that
                      second letter by raising the possibility
                      of a trade?

            Bobby is speechless with rage.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      And if the two of you are thinking this
                      trade is your ace in the hole, you're so
                      wrong.  It's a deuce.

            Bobby's beyond furious.  They catch their rising voices.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      And it's not just me who thinks that. 
                      Everyone on this so-called EXCOM is
                      telling you exactly the same thing: make
                      the trade, and they're going to force us
                      into trade after trade until finally
                      they demand something we won't trade
                      like Berlin, and we do end up in a war.
                          (beat)
                      Not to mention, that long before that
                      happens, this government will be
                      politically dead.

            Bobby simmers for a long beat, thinking.  And boy, does this
            guy hate admitting he's wrong.

                                BOBBY
                      All right, so maybe we overestimated how
                      reasonable this trade would look.  Okay? 
                      You happy?  So now what?

                                KENNY
                      So now you've got to talk him out of it. 
                      And then we've got to figure out an
                      acceptable political solution.

                                BOBBY
                      And if there has been a coup and there
                      is no acceptable political solution?

            Kenny stares off at the city, agonized.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

            Kenny enters from his office, finding Bobby, Rusk and
            Sorensen talking with the President.  The President gives him
            a brief, meaningful look.

                                RUSK
                      Whatever response we send, it will take
                      several hours for the wire to be
                      received by our embassy and delivered to
                      the Kremlin.  So we're looking at early
                      tomorrow morning at the earliest before
                      Khruschev could respond.

            As Rusk talks, Kenny passes close by Bobby.  Bobby whispers:

                                BOBBY
                      He gets it, but he's pissed.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      That's all well and good, but what do we
                      say to 'em?

                                SORENSEN
                      It depends on if we really believe
                      there's been a coup.

            That strikes a cord with Kenny.

                                KENNY
                      I agree.  If there has been a coup, and
                      there's a hard-line government in power
                      now, then it doesn't matter what we say. 
                      The end of the day we'll either agree to
                      their terms, they'll agree to ours, or
                      we'll go to war.  But what if there
                      hasn't been a coup?  What if... what if
                      what is happening is a series of
                      accidents?

                                SORENSEN
                      The second letter is an accident?

                                KENNY
                      No.  The letter is an intentional, but
                      it's having an effect far greater than
                      its authors intended.
                          (beat)
                      What if our Jupiter missiles are just a
                      last minute haggle to salvage something? 
                      Maybe a bone Khruschev is throwing to
                      the hard line, not really caring if we
                      reject it or not?
                          (beat)
                      And then these accidents have happened.

                                BOBBY
                      Making the second letter and the overall
                      picture look worse than it really is.

                                SORENSEN
                      The Guns of August.

                                KENNY
                      Exactly.
                          (beat)
                      If they're sane and human like we are,
                      then maybe we just refuse, and they'll
                      let it slide, like we've been letting
                      things slide.

                                SORENSEN
                      So we reject the second letter.

            And Kenny looks at Bobby.  The world stops.

                                KENNY
                      No.  We don't reject it...

            It hits Bobby like a lightning bolt.

                                BOBBY
                      ... We accept the first letter and
                      pretend the second doesn't exist.

            The President, Rusk and Sorensen stare at him, mute.

            INT. CABINET ROOM - NIGHT

            HOLD ON the exact same mute reaction from the entire
            assembled EXCOM.  Finally McCone breaks the spell.

                                MCCONE
                      It won't work --

            Bobby, Kenny and Sorensen start to object, but McCone raises
            his voice over theirs.

                                MCCONE (CONT'D)
                      -- because it's wishful thinking!  It's
                      the same wishful thinking that blinded
                      us all these months while the Soviets
                      were sneaking those missiles in under
                      our noses!

            McNamara shakes his head, intrigued but skeptical.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Ignore the second letter, agree to the
                      conditions of the first...

                                GENERAL TAYLOR
                      There's no reason to believe the Soviets
                      will let it go.

                                RUSK
                      Max is right.  Why will they accept it?

                                MCNAMARA
                      It can work.  If, IF they believe we'll
                      hit them.

            Kenny, Bobby and Sorensen look at McNamara, grateful.

                                MCNAMARA (CONT'D)
                      We've only got time for one more round
                      of diplomacy.  The first airstrikes
                      start in less than 36 hours.

                                RUSK
                      But we have to make them agree to it. 
                      So how do we do that?

            The President leans forward.  Sensing he's about to speak,
            all eyes turn to him.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      We give them something.  We tell them
                      we'll remove the missiles from Turkey
                      say, six months from now so that there
                      appears to be no linkage.  We also tell
                      them if they go public about it, we deny
                      it and the deal is off.

                                KENNY
                      And we do it under the table so we can
                      disavow any knowledge of it.

                                MCCONE
                      It's transparent.  The press'll be all
                      over it.

                                KENNY
                      Six months from now, I'm not going to
                      care.  Are you?  We'll deal with it.

                                MCNAMARA
                      At least it will expose whether
                      Khruschev has been overthrown.  We'll
                      know what we're dealing with.

                                KENNY
                      And if this is a move to appease the
                      hard line, then it may just be the bone
                      he needs to regain control of his own
                      house.

            Most EXCOM is nodding, agreeing.  McCone shakes his head in
            disgust.  Taylor sits in silence.

                                RUSK
                      Whoever carries the message has to hit
                      the nail on the head.  Come across as
                      too soft, they'll push us.  Too hard,
                      they'll be cornered and even more
                      dangerous.

                                MCCONE
                      They could pre-empt.

            It's a terrible responsibility to bear.  The room is silent. 
            At last Bobby looks up from his folded hands to his brother. 
            The President stares back.  There is nobody else who can do
            this.  Only Bobby. His brother.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Bobby.  You know Dobrynin best.

            Bobby nods, taking up the gauntlet.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      Ted, you get working on the draft.

            Sorensen and Bobby rise as one, head for the doors.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      And make sure he knows we have to have
                      an answer tomorrow.
                          (beat, final)
                      Because on Monday we begin military
                      action against Cuba.

            Bobby and Kenny exchange a look.

            EXT. WEST WING DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

            A LONG SHOT: Bobby emerges from the West Wing in his
            overcoat, briefcase in hand.  He pauses, tiny, alone.  The
            West Wing - and all its imposing spotlit power behind him -
            reduced to this insignificant man on his eleventh-hour
            mission.

            And then, out of the shadows, in the f.g., steps Kenny in his
            own coat, his breath frosting in the late-night air.  Bobby
            sees him, and knows he is not so alone anymore.

            ON THE DRIVEWAY

            They meet in front of the limo.  Bobby stops, shuffles his
            things, awkward.

                                BOBBY
                      What do you want?  A good-bye kiss?

            Kenny opens the driver's side door.  The Secret Service LIMO
            DRIVER peers out.

                                LIMO DRIVER
                      Hey, Kenny.

                                KENNY
                      Hey, Joe.  Listen, I'll take care of
                      him.  Go ahead in, grab some coffee. 
                      We'll be back pretty quick.

                                LIMO DRIVER
                      You sure?

            Kenny's nod and look -- there's no arguing.  The Limo Driver
            hops out, and Kenny gets in.  Bobby stands there outside for
            a beat.  He tries to hide how touched he is, but can't
            completely.

                                KENNY
                      What's the matter with you?  Forget how
                      to open a car door?

            INT. BOBBY'S LIMO - NIGHT

            Bobby recovers, opens his own door, gets in the front seat
            next to Kenny.

                                KENNY
                      Jesus, you rich people.

            Kenny starts up the engine.  Bobby smiles a twisted smile. 
            As the car pulls away, the two men sit in silence, neither
            willing to admit how glad the other is there.

            EXT. PENNSYLVANIA AVE. - NIGHT

            The limo wheels out into the street, carrying the two friends
            into the darkness.

            INT. BOBBY'S LIMO - NIGHT

            Bobby stares out the window at the passing city, the lights
            the lives behind those windows.  As the car drives on and on,
            the tension returns.  Bobby feels the weight of all those
            lives.  On him.  A long beat.  He gazes at Kenny, the only
            man he could ever admit this to:

                                BOBBY
                      I don't know if I can do this.

            Kenny glances over at him.  Bobby stares back.

                                KENNY
                      There's nobody else I'd rather have
                      going in there.

            Bobby looks at him.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      Nobody else I'd trust Helen and the
                      kids' lives to.

            Kenny means it.  He looks away.  Bobby shifts, awkward.

                                BOBBY
                      Take a left.

            Kenny looks him.  This isn't the way to the Justice
            Department.  But he complies.

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      We gave so much to get here.  I don't
                      know.  Sometimes I think what the hell
                      did we do it for?

                                KENNY
                      Because we knew we could do a better job
                      than everyone else.

            And Bobby, in the silence and closeness of the car, turns on
            Kenny - anguished, knowing his life is at its climax.

                                BOBBY
                      You know... I hate being called the
                      brilliant one.  The ruthless one.  They
                      guy who does the dirty work.  The one
                      everybody's afraid of.  

            Kenny looks to him, moved, not knowing what to say.

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      I hate it.  I'm not smart, you know. 
                      And I'm not so ruthless.

            He looks to Kenny, searching his face, then away,
            embarrassed.

                                KENNY
                      You're right about the smart part, but
                      ruthless, well...

            That breaks the tension as they arrive at the scene:

            THROUGH THE WINDOW

            Appears the grim, square lines of the SOVIET EMBASSY.  Police
            cars line the streets outside it.  All the windows are dark. 
            A cordon of KGB GUARDS in plainclothes stand by the gated
            entrance.  On the opposite side of the street lounge two
            dozen WASHINGTON D.C. POLICE.

            RESUME

            Kenny gives Bobby a look.  Bobby rolls down his window.

                                BOBBY
                      Slow down.  Smell that?

                                KENNY
                      Smoke.

                                BOBBY
                      Just wanted to see for myself.
                          (beat)
                      They're burning their documents.

            The final duty of an embassy before war...

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      They think we're going to war.  G-d help
                      us, Ken.

            EXT. SOVIET EMBASSY - NIGHT

            THE CAMERA lifts away from the limo, turning toward the
            Embassy, past the Guards, past the brass plate which reads
            EMBASSY OF THE UNITED SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, up and up
            to the roof where black, reeking SMOKE billows from all of
            the Embassy's several chimneys.

            The CAMERA races into it.  It engulfs us all.

            EXT. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT - NIGHT

            Kenny squeals the limo up to the curb in front of the Justice
            Department.  The doors fly open, and Kenny and Bobby jump
            out, head up the steps to the building.

            INT. HALL OUTSIDE BOBBY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

            Bobby's STAFFERS greet them as they stride down the hall,
            Staffer #1 taking Bobby's coat.

                                STAFFER #1
                      Sir, Ambassador Dobrynin is already
                      here.  We have him waiting in your
                      office.

            They reach the double oak doors to Bobby's suite and stop. 
            Bobby faces Kenny.

                                KENNY
                      I'll whistle up some luck for you.

            And before Kenny's eyes, all of Bobby's doubt vanishes.  In
            its place, a severe confidence.  A grandeur Kenny has never
            seen.

            It makes Kenny pause.  He beholds his best friend become a
            man of the ages.  And then Bobby SMOOTHLY opens the door.

            INT. BOBBY'S WAITING ROOM - NIGHT

            And a DOOR SHUTS OC like a threshold of history.  HOLD ON
            Bobby's waiting room.  Silent.  Cavernous.  Dim.  Plush
            carpet.  Heavy drapes framing dark windows.  And abandoned
            secretary's desk.  A row of sofas and chairs on either side
            of the room.  Two doorways, one at either end of the room.

            A WOMAN sits in one of the chairs for visitors.  Dressed in
            gray.  Prim.  But beautiful.  A secretary of some sort.

            One of the double doors to the hall swings silently open. 
            Kenny glides in.  He sees the other door shut at the far end
            of the room.  Kenny crashes in one of the chairs to wait.

            HOLD ON THE SCENE, motionless, silent.

            Kenny WHISTLES two notes.  Stops.  And then he begins to
            WHISTLE the Irish tune, O'Donnell Aboo.  He gets a bar into
            it -- and there's a polite, soft COUGH.

            Kenny stops.  Then notices the Woman in gray across the room. 
            He didn't see her.  It's dim over there.  She looks at him,
            expressionless.

            The CAMERA FINDS: a pin on her lapel.  A RED HAMMER AND
            SICKLE.

            Kenny reacts.  Dobrynin's assistant?  His opposite number?  A
            friend?  Or more than a friend?

            Here is the face of the enemy.  Not a smile between them. 
            Kenny resumes his ease.  And begins to WHISTLE again.

            The haunting Irish song echoes in the vaulted ceiling,
            filling the dim room.  Strange, sad, beautiful.  The woman
            listens.  And her face begins to soften.  

            Kenny stares at the dark, lonely windows, his SONG striving
            to fill the empty room.

            Kenny sinks deeper in the chair, his tune all-consuming...
            and the Woman's voice breaks in.  Kenny stops, looks over. 
            Her voice is tremulous and beautiful.  Just a snatch of some
            song in Russian.  She stops, awkward.

            Kenny stares.  The Woman stares back.  No smiles.  But in
            their eyes, they each see the other's fear, the other's
            beauty, the other's humanity.

            So this is the enemy.

                                THE WOMAN
                      Who are you?

            Kenny glances to the door.  He considers for a long moment.

                                KENNY
                      The friend.

            Kenny breaks the gaze.  He begins to whistle again.  The
            CAMERA drifts away, finding the far DOOR to the inner office,
            Kenny's tune stronger, carrying with it hope...

            INT. BOBBY'S OFFICE - NIGHT

            ... to the other side of that DOOR.  Dobrynin sits in a chair
            opposite Bobby behind his desk.  The room is equally dim. 
            And far more tense.

            Silence.  And then the FAINTEST STRAIN of O'Donnell Aboo. 
            Dobrynin glances briefly over his shoulder at the door.

            But Bobby, unseen by Dobrynin, can't help the flicker of a
            private smile.  It's Kenny's presence, and Bobby is the
            stronger for it.  And then the tune is gone.

            Bobby leans forward, cool, controlled, masterful.

                                BOBBY
                      Ambassador Dobrynin, we are aware that
                      at this moment your missiles in Cuba are
                      at the brink of operational readiness...

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            EXT. MISSILE SITE - CUBA - CONTINUOUS

            Floodlights illuminate MISSILES, vertical on their erectors,
            support VEHICLES, clustered across the man-made clearing.

            Mask-wearing Technicians wave a FUEL TRUCK back to the
            nearest missile.  Clouds of toxic VAPOR rise from the others. 
            They've already been fueled.

                                BOBBY (V.O.)
                      They are a vital threat to my country. 
                      If launched, they would kill 80 million
                      Americans.

                                                           SMASH CUT TO:

            INT. BOBBY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

            Dobrynin listens impassively, as is his professional duty.

                                BOBBY
                      My brother, my friends, my countrymen
                      and I cannot and will not permit those
                      missiles to become operational.
                          (beat)
                      I promise you that.

            Dobrynin looks out the window.  And then, pained, looks back
            at Bobby.

                                DOBRYNIN
                      Then I fear our two nations will go to
                      war.  And I fear where war will lead us.

            Bobby acknowledges him with a nod.

                                BOBBY
                      If the missiles do not become
                      operational, if you remove the missiles,
                      then there will be no war.
                          (beat)
                      At this moment, the President is
                      accepting the terms of Secretary
                      Khruschev's letter of Friday night.  If
                      the Soviet Union halts construction
                      immediately, removes the missiles, and
                      submits to U.N. inspection, the United
                      States will pledge to never invade Cuba
                      or aid others in that enterprise.

            Dobrynin stares at Bobby.  Stares hard.

                                DOBRYNIN
                      If your Jupiter missiles in Turkey were
                      removed also, such an accommodation
                      could be reached.

            The two men move their argument forward with the deliberation
            and formality of chess masters.

                                BOBBY
                          (tired sounding)
                      The United States cannot agree to such
                      terms under threat.  Any belief to the
                      contrary --
                          (beat)
                      -- was in error.

            Dobrynin reels internally.  The only sign on his face is a
            slight tremor.  Bobby looks up, registers the calculated
            effect.  And to Dobrynin's horror, the Russian believes:

                                DOBRYNIN
                      You want war...

            But not so fast.  Bobby folds his hands.  And he smoothly
            goes from hard-ass brinksman to sensitive deal-maker.

                                BOBBY
                      However, while there can be no quid pro
                      quo on this issue, the United States can
                      offer a private assurance.

            Dobrynin holds his breath.

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      Our Jupiter missiles in Turkey are
                      obsolete, and have been scheduled for
                      withdrawal for some time.  This
                      withdrawal should be completed within,
                      say, six months.

            Dobrynin lets out his breath.

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      Of course, any public disclosure of this
                      assurance would negate the deal and
                      produce the most stringent denials from
                      our government.

            Dobrynin grasps the move immediately, understanding the
            ramifications.  Still he hesitates a moment.

                                DOBRYNIN
                      This private assurance represents the
                      word of the Highest Authority?

                                BOBBY
                      Yes.

                                DOBRYNIN
                      And it can be relayed beyond Comrade
                      Khruschev's ears to the top circles of
                      my government

                                BOBBY
                      Of course.  Our pledge can be relayed to
                      any government official Secretary
                      Khruschev sees fit to satisfy.

            Meaning this is the bone he can show the hard line.  Dobrynin
            struggles internally, knowing what Bobby has done, wanting to
            hug him.  It comes across as agitation.

                                BOBBY (CONT'D)
                      With the caveat that it is not made
                      public in any way, shape or form.
                          (beat)
                      And we must have an answer tomorrow at
                      the latest.  I cannot stress this point
                      enough.

                                DOBRYNIN
                      Tomorrow...

                                BOBBY
                      Tomorrow...

            Dobrynin rises from his chair.  Bobby rises with him.

                                DOBRYNIN
                      Then you must excuse me and permit me to
                      relay the substance of our discussion to
                      my superiors.

            Dobrynin heads for the door.  Half way there he turns back to
            Bobby, deeply moved.  Deeply grateful.

                                DOBRYNIN (CONT'D)
                      We have heard stories that some among
                      your military men wish for war.
                          (beat)
                      You are a good man.  Your brother is a
                      good man.  I assure you there are other
                      good men.  Let us hope the will of good
                      men is enough to counter the terrible
                      strength of this thing which has been
                      put in motion.

            INT. OVAL OFFICE - NIGHT

            Kenny enters the Oval Office through his side door.  The
            office is dark, only the desk lamp on.  Kenny's gaze moves
            over the trappings of power: the carpet with the Presidential
            Seal, the rocking chair by the fireplace, the desk.

            And on the desk, tucked almost out of sight, sits a small,
            humble wooden plaque.  It's turned to face the occupant of
            the chair behind the desk.  Kenny reaches out, turns it
            around.  It is the Breton's Fisherman's Prayer.

            It reads: OH LORD, THY SEA IS GREAT, MY BOAT SO SMALL.

                                BOBBY (O.S.)
                      We're out here.

            Kenny holds on the plaque a beat, and looks up at the open
            French door to the Rose Garden.  The curtains swirl around
            him in the wind as he goes through the door and out --

            EXT. PORTICO - CONTINUOUS

            -- onto the portico.  Standing there in the dark, by the
            white neoclassical pillars of the cloister, are Bobby and the
            President.  They're holding drinks.  Kenny joins them.

            The President gestures out across the South Lawn to the
            gleaming Washington Monument.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      We were just debating who had it worse,
                      us or George Washington and his guys.

                                BOBBY
                      He didn't have to worry about nuclear
                      weapons.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Yeah, but the country didn't even exist
                      as a country yet.  It was a mess, and he
                      didn't have a leg to stand on.

                                KENNY
                      All he had was his character.

            The President and Bobby nod at the justice of that remark.

                                BOBBY
                      How does a guy get a rep like that?

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Doesn't matter to me.  If I went down in
                      history like Adams, I'd die happy.  All
                      they say about him today is --

                                KENNY
                      -- he kept the peace.

            Kenny looks at the President.  The President feels it, and
            gazes back to him.

            The three of them stare out at the glittering city.  The
            grandness of the world lies before them, and they are
            deciding its fate, and are humbled by the awfulness of it. 
            The silence is beyond power.

            And for a long moment, they know not to disturb it.  There is
            nothing left to say.  The President, at last, finishes his
            drink.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      You know, we never did control it.  Not
                      really.  Not like we think.

            He looks at Kenny.  Kenny nods.  He knows that now too.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      But we did our best.  Now it's up to
                      them.

            EXT. O'DONNELL DRIVEWAY - NIGHT

            Kenny's limo pulls away, leaving Kenny, coat in hand, at the
            bottom of his driveway.  He watches it go, silently urging it
            to return for him with some call from the President telling
            him he's desperately needed.  But it doesn't.

            He turns to his house.  The lights are all out.

            He notices he's CLUTCHING the handle of his briefcase.  His
            knuckles are white.  With conscious effort, he unfolds his
            hand, letting the briefcase drop on the driveway.

            He stands alone, stripped of his friends, his family, his
            job... and in that moment, mute, impotent in the shadow of
            Armageddon, Kenny is our Everyman of the Nuclear Age.

            INT. O'DONNELL KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

            Helen stands in the kitchen, a ghostly white figure in her
            robe, the windows open and curtain flapping as she breathes
            the air.  Kenny enters.  He stands in the doorway.

                                HELEN
                      I saw you out there.  You want him to
                      call you back, need you.

                                KENNY
                      No.  I'm glad I'm home.

            And she knows the worst.

                                HELEN
                      How long do we have?

            Kenny's voice breaks. 

                                KENNY
                      If the sun rises in the morning, it is
                      only because of men of goodwill.
                          (beat)
                      And that's all there is between us and
                      the Devil.

            They take each other in their arms, the wisdom of the atomic
            age so simple, so tenuous, every human life hanging by such a
            thread... yet a thread so powerful.  The CAMERA RISES FROM
            THEM, finding the OPEN WINDOW and the DARKNESS.

            INT. O'DONNELL BEDROOM - DAWN

            The RED DOME OF NUCLEAR FIRE rising over Washington.  It
            roils the air in its expanding, blood-red glory.

            It is the sun.  The dawn in the East.

            PULL BACK THROUGH THE OPEN WINDOW.

            SUPER: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28TH.  DAY 13

            into Kenny and Helen's bedroom.  And silence.  Kenny and
            Helen lie together on the bed.  The light burns into Kenny's
            half-shut eye.  Kenny is only dimly conscious of the light's
            meaning.  Until the PHONE SHRILLS downstairs.

            Kenny is instantly up, launched out of the room.

            INT. O'DONNELL KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

            Kenny snatches the RED PHONE from its hook.

                                KENNY
                      Yeah?

                                BOBBY (O.S.)
                      Kenny.  It's over.

            EXT. ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH - DAY

            THE CHURCH BELLS TOLL in raucous celebration.  Kenny, Helen
            and the five O'DONNELL KIDS join the throng packing through
            the doors to the church.  They're all smiling except Kenny
            who searches fro faces in the CROWD.

            And then he spots Bobby with his FAMILY.  Bobby grins at him. 
            That makes Kenny grin back.

                                RADIO MOSCOW (O.S.)
                      This is Radio Moscow.  Moscow calling.

            But Kenny keeps looking.

                                RADIO MOSCOW (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                      The following statement is the text of a
                      letter from General Secretary Khruschev
                      to President Kennedy.

            Kenny spots him emerging from the Presidential limo,
            surrounded by Secret Service Agents - John Kennedy.  His
            FAMILY also is with him. 

                                RADIO MOSCOW (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                      ...I regard with respect and trust the
                      statement you made in your message of 27
                      October 1962 that there would be no
                      attack, no invasion of Cuba, and not
                      only the part of the United States, but
                      also on the part of the Western
                      Hemisphere, as you said in your same
                      message.  Then the motives which induced
                      us to render assistance of such a kind
                      to Cuba disappear...

            Kennedy, greeting well-wishers, a brilliant smile on his
            face, is carried through the crowd toward Kenny and the doors
            of the church.

                                RADIO MOSCOW (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                      ...it is for this reason that we have
                      instructed our officers - these
                      missiles, as I already informed you are
                      in the hands of Soviet officers to take
                      appropriate measures to discontinue
                      construction, dismantle them, and return
                      them to the Soviet Union.

            EXT. MISSILE SITE - CUBA - DAY

            the base has been half-dismantled over night.  Fuel trucks
            pull away, lumping down the makeshift dirt road.  Across the
            site missiles are lowered, their nose cones being removed.

            A MISSILE on its transporter, Technicians crawling all over
            it, COVERING IT with a tarp.

            A massive Soviet Helicopter's rotors thunder as it lifts off,
            cargo crates swaying under it, a CLOUD OF DUST FROM ITS WASH
            FILLING THE SCREEN, WIPING US TO:

            INT. CABINET ROOM - DAY

            EXCOM laughing, celebrating, half-drunk already this Sunday
            morning.  The President shushes the group.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Hey!  Hey.  Okay, that's enough.

            The group quiets down.  The Presidents stares at them, calm,
            firm.  They sober up quickly.  Kenny listens, expectant.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      I don't want any gloating.  This is not
                      a victory over the Soviets.  It's a
                      victory with the Soviets.
                          (beat)
                      I want everyone to remember that.

            INT. WEST WING HALLWAY - DAY

            Kenny rounds a corner.  McNamara, Bundy and McCone are
            talking, excited, hushed, standing to one side, down the
            hall.  Kenny eyes them as he draws closer, and then they
            notice he's approaching.  Bundy nods him over, confidential.

                                BUNDY
                      We've been talking.  We can play this
                      big in '64.  It's the foreign policy
                      trophy we've been waiting.

            Kenny sickens.  He tries to listen, but it all begins to
            blur.

                                BUNDY (CONT'D)
                      I think we can ride it all the way home
                      next election.  Bet you're way ahead of
                      us, eh?

            Bundy slaps Kenny on the back.  Kenny is pale.  Is what
            they're saying possible?  But Bundy and McCone are too
            wrapped up in their schemes to notice Kenny's distress.

                                MCCONE
                      We've ordered crash reassessment of our
                      major geopolitical hotspots.  We've got
                      a lot of new clout, and we can run the
                      table on the Soviets.  Middle East,
                      Southeast Asia...

            And Kenny, sad, moved beyond all pity and loathing, realizes
            it is possible.  They haven't gotten it.  He is speechless,
            helplessly shaking his head.  Bundy finally sees something
            isn't right with him.

                                MCNAMARA
                      What's wrong, O'Donnell?

            Kenny can't speak.  Can't find the words.  But tongue-tied
            finally manages:

                                KENNY
                      Don't you understand?

            McNamara and Bundy look at him funny.

                                BUNDY
                      Understand what?

            Kenny just looks at them, eyes filled with sorrow.  They
            begin to feel uncomfortable.

                                KENNY
                      The sun came up today.

                                BUNDY
                      Yeah.

                                KENNY
                      It shouldn't have.  But it did.

                                MCCONE
                      We were lucky we were able to keep it
                      under control.

            Kenny looks away, unable to bear it.

                                KENNY
                      Every day the sun comes up... says
                      something about us.

                                BUNDY
                      Says what, Kenny?

            Kenny looks back at them.

                                KENNY
                      Something... amazing.

            They just stare at him.  And with secret smiles, superior
            smiles, they nod.

                                MCNAMARA
                      Sure, Ken.  I understand.  Feels good to
                      win, doesn't it?

            But they don't understand, and together turn away.

                                BUNDY
                      See you later, Kenny.

            Kenny watches them, heads bowed in discussion, disappear into
            the labyrinth of the West Wing.  Kenny turns his back on
            them.

            INT. PRESIDENT'S BEDROOM - DAY

            The President stands at his mirror, tying a bow tie to a tux
            for some Sunday special event.  Kenny gathers up his folder
            from nearby breakfast table.

            Kenny meets the President's gaze in the mirror, and the two
            men know they have been to the same mountaintop.

                                THE PRESIDENT
                      Kenny...

            A beat.  Kenny stands straight, ready for action, ready for
            some necessary thing.  Ready to go back into the game.

                                THE PRESIDENT (CONT'D)
                      ...never mind.  See you around, Kenny.

            Kenny starts to leave, but at the door, turns back.

                                KENNY
                      You know...

            The President looks at him in the mirror.

                                KENNY (CONT'D)
                      ...this was what we're here for.

            The President smiles an ever-so-faint smile.  Kenny turns and
            leaves the room, vanishing, and as we HOLD on the empty
            doorway, the simple, whistled melody of O'DONNELL ABOO drifts
            from the hallway beyond, becoming our END MUSIC.

            FADE OUT

            SUPER:

            Shortly after the crisis President Kennedy ordered a
            reassessment of U.S.-Soviet relations, ushering a brief thaw
            in the Cold War.  During this time, the Washington-Moscow
            hotline was installed to ensure that in a future crisis,
            miscommunication would not lead to nuclear war.

            The President was assassinated on November 22nd, a year after
            the crisis ended.

            THE SUPER:

            Bobby Kennedy ran for president in 1968.  After winning the
            California primary, he called Kenny from the Ambassador Hotel
            in Los Angeles and told him, "I finally feel like I'm out
            from under my brother's shadow."

            Bobby was assassinated minutes later.

            THEN SUPER:

            The members of EXCOM continued  to serve with distinction in
            government in various capacities over the next three decades.
            As Lyndon Johnson's Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara
            urged containment of the Soviet threat in every theatre of
            conflict around the world.  He ultimately advised President
            Johnson to increase the U.S. military commitment to one of
            these minor backwater conflicts: Vietnam.

            AND FINALLY SUPER:

            Kenny O'Donnell witnessed the President's assassination from
            the car behind.  He went on to head the Peace Platform at the
            1968 Democratic National  Convention, fighting to end the
            Vietnam War.  He died in 1977.

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