CAPTION: “THE ABBEY” - PART III:
FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA ("Thy will be done"; Mt. 6:10, KJV)
24. TELEVISION PRESS CONFERENCE - NIGHT
THE YEAR OF OUR LORD, 3781.
"LUCIFER HAS FALLEN" flashes electronically across monitors all over the continent...
What is the comment of Your Lordship upon the statement by Sir Rische Thon
Berker that the radiation count on the Northwest coast is ten times above its
I have not read his statement.
Assuming that it is true, what could be responsible for such an increase as this?
The question calls for conjecture.
Perhaps Sir Rische discovered a rich uranium deposit.
No, strike that out...I have no comment.
Does Your Lordship regard Sir Rische to be a competent, and a reliable...
He was never employed by anyone in my department.
That is not a responsive answer.
It is quite responsive! Since he was never employed by my department,
I have no way of knowing his competence or responsibility,
for I am not a scientist.
Is it true that a nuclear explosion occurred recently...
Somewhere across the Pacific Ocean?
As the lady knows, the testing of atomic weapons of any kind is a high crime,
which is an act of war under present international law, but we are not at war.
Does that answer your question?
No, it does not, your Lordship.
I did not ask if a test occurred;
I asked whether an explosion occurred.
Madam, we did not set off such an explosion.
If they set one off, do you suppose they will inform our government of this?
That does not answer my question...
Your Lordship, Delegate Jerulian has charged the Asian Coalition
with the assembly of hydrogen weapons in deep space,
and he says that our Executive Council knows about it,
and they are doing nothing about it. It this not true?
Yes, I do believe it is true that the Tribune of the Opposition
made some similarly ridiculous charge.
Why is such a charge ridiculous?
Because, they are not making space-to-earth missiles in space?
Or perhaps, because we are doing something about it?
It is ridiculous, either way. However, I would like to point out the manufacturer
of nuclear weapons has been prohibited everywhere by treaty, either in space or
upon Earth, ever since they were redeveloped.
But is there no treaty to proscribe the orbiting of fussionable materials?
Of course not. The space-to-space vehicles are all nuclear-powered,
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
and they have to be fueled!
And is there no treaty to prohibit orbiting of other materials,
from which nuclear weapons are manufactured?
DEFENSE MINISTER (irritably)
To my knowledge, the existence of matter outside our atmosphere
has not been outlawed by any treaty.
Your Lordship, are you suggesting that nuclear weapons
could be manufactured without raw materials from Earth?
I was not suggesting that, although it is theoretically possible.
What I am saying is that no treaty or law prohibits the orbiting
of any special raw materials...only the nuclear weapons.
If there was a recent test shot in the Orient,
which do you think would be more probable:
a subterranean explosion that broke the surface;
or a space-to-earth missile with a defective warhead?
Madam, your question is so conjectural, you force me to say: "no comment".
I was only echoing Sir Rische, and Delegate Jerulian.
They are free to indulge in wild speculation; I am not.
Your Lordship, at the risk of being wry, what is your opinion of the weather?
Rather warm in Texarkana, is it not?
I understand that they are having some bad dust storms in the Southwest.
We may catch some of it around here.
Lord Ragelle, are you in favor of Motherhood?
Madam, I am sternly opposed because it exerts a malign influence upon youth,
particularly upon young recruits. The military services would be superior...
if our fighting men were not corrupted by Motherhood.
May we quote you on that?
Certainly, but only in my obituary, and no sooner.
Thank-you. I will prepare it...in advance.
24A. INT. THE STUDY OF THE ABBOT, THE ABBEY - DAY
DOM JETHRAH ZERCHI sits upon the floor, in a litter of typed scraps of trial diction from his
"Abominable Autoscribe" (computer), which he is trying to repair. For example, one reads:
tEsting tesTing testiNg? TESting tesTing? damNatioN?
whY the craZY capITALS# now Is the tiMe foR alL gooD
memoriZERS to Gum to tHe aCHE of the bookLEGgerS?
Drat; caN yOu do beTTer in LAtin# noW traNsLaTe;
nECCesse Est epistULam sacri coLLegio mIttendAm esse
statim dictem? What's wronG WITH tHe blasTED THing#
While tweaking and tugging at connections in its intestinal regions, searching and feeling for
loose wires, a high voltage filter capacitor discharges itself to ground through his forearm, which
now has involuntary tremors and muscular twitching. He climbs wearily up to his feet, calling
toward the outer office.
Hey, Brother Patrick!
The door opens, and his SECRETARY waddles in, glancing at the open wall cabinets with their
stupefying maze of circuitry, scanning the cluttered floor, then warily studying his expression.
Father Abbot, should I call the repair service...again?
ZERCHI (waving his hands irritably toward the autoscribe)
Why bother? You have called them three times already.
They made three promises; we have waited three days.
I need a stenographer...now! Preferably a Christian.
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
This thing is a damned infidel, or worse. Get rid of it...I want it out of here!
Yes, the APLAC. Sell it to an atheist! Sell it as a piece of junk.
Why did Abbot Boumous ever buy it?
They say your predecessor was fond of gadgets, and it is convenient
to be able to write letters in languages that even you yourself do not speak.
It is? You mean, in would be. Listen Brother, they claim that contraption thinks.
I did not believe it, at first, for "thought" implies "rational principle",
which implies "soul". May the principle of a man-made "thinking machine"
ever be a rational soul? Nothing could be that perverse without premeditation!
It must think, because it knows good and evil, and it chose the latter.
Man made the "contraption", but he did not make the "principle".
They speak of the vegetative soul, animal soul, and human soul,
with angels being disembodied. How do we know this list is comprehensive?
Vegetable, animal, and rational human...and now this thing, which fell!
Get it out of here...
24B. EXT. THE ABBEY - MID-AFTERNOON THE SAME DAY
A dusty wind comes over the mesa and the small city of "Sanly Bowitts", washing the
surrounding countryside NOISILY through the irrigated corn fields, tearing streamers of blowing
sand from the sterile ridges, MOANING about the stone walls of the ancient Abbey and the
aluminum and glass walls of its modern additions, discoloring the reddening Sun with the dirt of
the land, and sending dust devils scurrying across the pavement of the six-lane highway
separating the ancient Abbey from its modern additions. On the side road flanking the highway
and leading from the Abbey by the way of a residential suburb into the city, the OLD BEGGAR
clad in burlap pauses to listen to the throb of practice rocketry EXPLOSIONS from the South.
Ground-to-air interceptor missiles are being fired toward target orbits from a launching range far
across the desert. The OLD MAN gazes at the faint red disk of the Sun, leaning upon his staff,
and MUTTERING to himself: "Omens". A group of CHILDREN play in the weed-filled yard
of a hovel just across the side road, under the auspices of a gnarled black woman smoking a
weed-filled pipe upon her porch. A CHILD notices the OLD TRAMP standing across the road.
Lookit! It's old Lazar! The one `ut the Lor' Hesus raise up! Lazar!
The CHILDREN throng to the broken fence to see the OLD PILGRIM, who regards them
grumpily for a moment, wandering along the road. A pebble skips across the ground to his feet.
Auntie say, what the Lor' Hesus raise up, it stay up!
Lookit him! Still huntin' for the Lor' `ut raise him.
Another rock goes skippity-hop after him. He does not look back.
The OLD WOMAN sleepily nods, and the CHILDREN return to the game.
24C. EXT. THE NEW ABBEY - LATER THE SAME DAY
Across the highway from the ancient Abbey, a MONK upon the roof of one of the new
aluminum and glass buildings samples the wind with a suction device which eats the dusty air,
and blows its filtered sample to the intake of an air compressor upon the floor below. Between
youth and middle-age, his short red beard gathers pendant webs and streamers of dust, which he
scratches from time-to-time, once thrusting his chin into the end of the suction hose. The motor
of the compressor COUGHS, dying. The MONK switches off the suction device, disconnecting
the blower hose, and pulling the device across the roof leading to an elevator and into the cage.
He presses the down button. In the laboratory upon the top floor, he glances at the compressor
gauge, which registers MAX NORM. He closes the door, removing his habit, shaking the dust
out of it, hanging it upon a peg, and going over it with the suction device. Going to the deep
sheet-steel sink at the end of the laboratory work-bench, he turns on the cold water, letting it rise
to the 200 JUG mark. He thrusts his head into the water, washing the mud from his hair and
beard. Dripping and sputtering, he glances at the door, removing his underwear, climbing into
the tank, and settling back, SIGHING. The door abruptly opens, and SISTER HELENE enters
with a tray of newly uncrated glassware. The MONK leaps to his feet, startled. HELENE drops
half a dozen beakers, screaming: "BROTHER JOSHUA!" The MONK sits down into the tub
with a splash, spraying the room. SISTER HELENE CLUCKS, SPUTTERS, and SQUEAKS,
dumping her tray on his workbench, and fleeing. JOSHUA vaults out of the sink, donning his
habit without bothering to dry himself, or to put on his underwear. He runs to the door, but she
is gone; then he goes to his office upon the subjacent floor to complete his work.
24D. INT. THE OFFICE OF BROTHER JOSHUA, THE NEW ABBEY - DAY
JOSHUA sits at his desk, flipping the video-phone switch, whose screen flashes and beeps,
and then has the following:
ZERCHI (grunting; on-screen)
Abbot Zerchi here, Brother Joshua.
I was going to call you.
Have you been taking a bath? (laughing)
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
Yes, my Lord Abbot.
You might at least blush!
Well, it does not show up on my viewer!
Listen, please see me here when you are finished.
I talked to Father Leme. They have noticed an increased radiation count
connected with that seismic disturbance a few days ago,
carried by upper winds in that direction...it looks like a fallout
from a low altitude burst in the megaton range.
ZERCHI (sighing; covering his eyes)
Yes, Domne...it was a weapon.
But we would know if a war is on. An illicit test could be done upon
the dark side of the moon. What is left: a display, threat, or warning shot?
It explains the defense alert, rumors, and refusals to comment...
with dead silence from Asia...
The circuit opens; the screen fades. JOSHUA sees the bicephalous tomato woman at the driveway; he fingers a
World globe on his desk, faster like a gaming wheel, braking with his thumb on Asia...
25. PRESS CONFERENCE - DAY
Television broadcast throughout the Christian Coalition; banner headline reading:
"LUCIFER HAS FALLEN"
Your Lordship, you appear rather calm in the face of the facts.
Two violations of international law, both defined by treaty as being war-like acts,
have recently occurred. Does that not worry your War Ministry at all?
Madam, as you very well know, we do not have a War Ministry here,
we have a Defense Ministry; and as far as I know,
only one violation of international law occurred.
Would you please acquaint me with the other?
Which one are you not acquainted with: the disaster in Itu Wan;
or the warning shot over the far South Pacific?
MINISTER (suddenly stern)
Surely you do not intend anything seditious,
but your question seems to give comfort, if not credence,
to the utterly false Asian charges that the so-called Itu Wan disaster
was the result of weapon tests by us, and not by them!
If it does, I invite you to throw me into jail.
The question was based upon a Near East neutralist account,
which reported that the Itu Wan disaster was the result of
an underground Asian weapons test, which broke free.
The same account said that the Itu Wan test was sighted from our satellites,
immediately answered by a space-to-earth warning shot South of New Zealand.
Now that you suggest it, was the Itu Wan disaster the result of our weapon test?
MINISTER (with forced patience)
I recognize the journalistic requirement of objectivity,
but to suggest that the government of His Supremacy would deliberately violate...
His Supremacy is an eleven-year-old boy,
and to call it His government is not only archaic,
but it is a cheap and highly dishonorable attempt to shift responsibility
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
for a full denial from your own...
Madam! Please restrain the tenor of your...
Overlook it? Madam, you have my full denial if you dignify the fantastic charges.
The so-called Itu Wan disaster was neither the result of a weapon test by us,
nor do I have any knowledge of any other recent nuclear detonations.
I believe the editor of the Texarkana Star-Insight has been trying to speak.
Thank-you. I would like to ask, Your Lordship:
"What did happen in Itu Wan?"
We have no nationals in that area;
and we have had no observers there since diplomatic relations
were broken off during the last World crisis.
Therefore, I may only rely upon indirect evidence,
and conflicting neutralist accounts.
That is understandable.
Very well. I gather there was a sub-surface nuclear detonation in a megaton
range, and it got out-of-hand. Rather obviously, it was a test of some kind.
Whether it was a weapon, or as some Asia-fringe "neutrals" claim,
an attempt to divert an underground river, it clearly was illegal,
and adjoining countries are preparing a protest for the World Court.
Is there any risk of war?
I do not foresee any; but as you know,
we have certain detachments of our armed forces,
which are subject to conscription by the World Court to enforce decisions,
if necessary. I do not foresee such a need, but I may not speak for the court.
But the Asian coalition has threatened an immediate all-out strike
against our space installations, if the court does not take action against us.
What if the court is slow in acting?
No ultimatum has been delivered. As I see it,
the threat was for Asian home consumption to cover their blunder in Itu Wan.
Lord Ragelle, how is your abiding faith in Motherhood...today?
I hope that Motherhood has at least as much abiding faith in me,
as I have in Motherhood!
I am sure that you deserve at least that much...
25A. INT. THE STUDY OF ABBOT DOM ZERCHI, THE ABBEY - THE SAME DAY
ZERCHI (turning off his monitor; thinking to himself)
Are we helpless? Are we doomed to do it again?
Do we have no choice but play the Phoenix in an unending rise and fall sequence?
Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Rome, Empires of Charlemagne
and the Turks? Ground to dust, and plowed with salt.
Spain, France, Britain, and America...all burned in the oblivion of the centuries...
Lord, are we doomed to do it, chained to the pendulum of our mad clockwork,
and helpless to halt its swing...
There is KNOCKING upon his door. BROTHER JOSHUA enters.
We have things to discuss. First, please turn on the silencer.
JOSHUA closes the door, flipping a switch in the wall. Concealed loudspeakers briefly
SQUEAL, and the acoustic properties of the room seem to suddenly change.
We have a ship.
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
Yes, no less. We have a crew capable of managing it.
We have the crew right here.
Here at the Abbey? Who is it? Domne, my experience in space
has been entirely in orbital vehicles, not star-ships!
There are others with star-ship experience...you know who they are.
There are even jokes about ex-spacers who seem to feel a vocation to our Order.
Do you remember being quizzed about your experience in space, when you were
a postulant? You must remembering asked about your willingness to go back into
space again if the Order asked it from you.
The Order goes, and the Memorabilia too...on microfilm...
to the Centaurus Colony. Only, if you go, you will never come back.
There are three questions for you to think about:
First, are you willing to go;
Second, do you have a vocation to the priesthood?; and,
Third, are you willing to lead the group?
By "willing", I do not mean "willing under obedience",
but willing to become "enthusiastic".
You have three days to think it over.
25B. EXT. THE CENTER ISLAND OF THE HIGHWAY - FLASH-FORWARD
JOSHUA (catching his breath)
Look who is standing over there!
ZERCHI (peering, and clapping his forehead)
Misses Grales! I forgot that it is her night to prowl me down.
She has sold her tomatoes to the refectory of the sisters,
and now she is after me again.
After you? She was there last night, and the night before, too.
I thought that she was waiting for a ride. What does she want from you?
Nothing, really. She has finished gypping the sisters on the price of tomatoes,
and now she will donate the surplus profit to me for our poor box.
It is a little ritual that I do not mind.
It is what comes afterward which is bad.
You will see.
Should we go back?
And hurt her feelings? Nonsense...she has seen us now.
The TWO-HEADED WOMAN waits by the new gate with her empty vegetable basket,
SOFTLY CROONING to her six-legged dog PRISCILLA. Her second head is small; cherubic;
lolling uselessly upon her shoulder; blind; deaf; mute; and showing no signs of life. Her other
face has aged and grown wrinkled. She curtsies at their approach, and her dog draws back,
Evenin', Father Zerchi. A most pleasant evenin' to yer...and to yer, Brother.
Why, hello, Misses Grales...
Father, only a minute for 'n old tumater woman, if ye have the time to spare.
Here, take a little something for yer box (rattling her coins).
No, take of it...if you don't, that no-good man of mine'll have it from me,
and do him the Devil's work. Here, I sold my tumaters, I got my price near,
and I bought my feed for the week, even a play-pretty for Rachel...
Only a minute more of yer, Father, and I'll keep ye no longer.
It's little Rachel I wanted to see yer about.
There's the baptism and the christenin' to be thought of,
and I wished to ask yer if ye'd do the honor of...
Misses Grales, please go and see your own parish priest.
He should handle these matters, not me...I have no parish, only the Abbey.
Talk to Father Selo at Saint Michael's, as our church does not even have a font,
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
and women are not permitted, except in the...
The sister's chapel has a font, and women can...
It is for Father Selo, not for me.
It has to be recorded in your own parish.
Only as an emergency, could I...
Ay, that I know, but I saw Father Selo.
I brought Rachel into his church,
and the fool of a man would not even touch her.
He refused to baptize Rachel?
That he did, the fool of a man!
It is a priest whom you are talking about.
He is no fool, for I know him well.
He must have his reasons for refusing.
If you do not agree with his reasons,
then see someone else...but not a monastic priest.
Perhaps you could talk to the pastor at Saint Maisie's.
Ay, and that too have I done...
JOSHUA fixes his gaze on the extra veiled head of the OLD WOMAN, seizing the arm of the
ABBOT, and digging his nails until ZERCHI winces in pain, who tears away with his free hand.
I am sorry, Misses Grales. I really must go now.
I will tell you what: I will call Father Selo for you,
but that is all that I may do. We will see you again.
Thank yer kindly, and beg yer shriv'ness for keeping yer.
Good-night, Misses Grales.
25C. EXT. OUTSIDE THE NEW ABBEY - LATER THE SAME NIGHT
They enter the gate, walking toward the refectory.
JOSHUA thumps his hand against his temple,
as if remembering something.
Why were you staring at her like that? It was rude.
Do you mean that you did not notice?
Then you did not notice!
Who is Rachel?
Why will they not baptize the child?
Is she her daughter?
That is what Misses Grales contends,
but there is some question as to whether Rachel is her daughter,
her sister, or merely an excrescence...growing out of her shoulder.
Rachel is...her other head?
Please do not shout so loud.
She may still hear you.
And she wants "it" to be baptized?
Rather urgently, would you not agree?
It seems to be her obsession, would you not say?
JOSHUA (waving his arms)
How do they settle such things?
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
I do not know, and I do not want to know.
I am graceful to Heaven that it is not up to me to figure this out.
If it was simply a case of Siamese twins, it would be easy. But it is not.
The old folk say that Rachael was not there when she was born.
A farmer’s fable?
Perhaps, but some are willing to confess it under oath.
How many souls does an old lady have with an extra head...a head that "just
grew"? Things like these cause ulcers in high places.
How what did you notice my son?
Why were you staring at her and trying to pinch my arm?
JOSHUA (slow to answer)
It smiled at me.
Her extra head...Rachel...she smiled. I thought that she was going to wake up.
ZERCHI (peering curiously)
You imagined it? Then look like you imagined it!
He drops her coins into the poor box at the refectory.
25D. DREAM SEQUENCE - THE SAME NIGHT
BROTHER JOSHUA is sleeping badly afterward.
In his nightmare, he meets Misses Grales again.
There is a surgeon who sharpens his knife.
This deformity must be removed,
before it becomes malignant.
The Rachel face opens its eyes, trying to speak to JOSHUA; but he only hears her, faintly.
Accurate am I the exception.
I commensurate the deception.
He tries to reach and save her through a rubbery wall of glass. He pauses to read her lips.
RACHEL (dream whisper)
I am...I am the....I am the Immaculate Conception.
He tries tearing his way through the rubbery glass to save her from the knife, but it istoo late,
and there is a great deal of blood afterward. He awakens from his blasphemous stupor
shuddering and PRAYING.
25E. INT. THE NEW REFECTORY - SUPPERTIME
It is functional, chromium-fixtured, acoustically-tailored, and germicidally-illuminated...
resembling an industrial lunch-room, except for its cruciform seating arrangement and images on
its walls. Their tables are bare of dishes, and no food has yet appeared. The ABBOT is
RAPPING for SILENCE, and gesturing FATHER LEHY to the lectern.
We all regret the necessity of sometimes disturbing the quiet contemplative life
with news from the outside World, but we must also remember that we are here
to pray for the World and its salvation, just as for our own,
and especially now, since the World could use some praying for.
He pauses to glance at ABBOT ZERCHI, who nods in agreement.
Lucifer has fallen.
He stops, looking down at his lectern like he is suddenly struck dumb. ZERCHI rises.
The Regency Council of the Atlantic Confederacy has said nothing to speak of...
That is the inference of Brother Joshua.
The dynasty has not issued any statement.
We know no more than we knew yesterday,
except that the World Court is meeting in an emergency session,
and that the Defense Interior people are moving as fast as they can.
There is a defense alert, and we will be affected; but do not be disturbed.
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
Thank-you, Domne. Now, Reverend Father Abbot Zerchi asked me to announce:
1. For the next three days, we will sing the Little Office of Our Lady before
Matins, asking for Her intercession for peace;
2. General instructions for civil defense in the event of a space-strike
or missile-attack alert are available on the table by the entrance.
Everyone please take one; and if you have read it, read it again;
3. In the event that an attack warning is sounded, the following brothers are
to immediately report to the old Abbey courtyard for special instructions.
Even if no attack warning comes, these same brothers will report there
anyway the day after tomorrow morning, right after Matins and Lauds:
Joshua, Christopher, Augustin, James, Samuel...
The MONKS listen with quiet tension, emotionless. The list of twenty-seven names includes a
janitor and a cook, but no novices, as if drawn from out of a hat. The BROTHERS are eyeing
...and this same group will report to the dispensary for a complete physical exam
tomorrow after Prime. (turning, to look questioningly) Domne?
ZERCHI (approaching the lectern)
Yes, just one more thing. Brothers, do not assume that there is going to be a war.
Instead, let us remind ourselves that Lucifer has been with us thirty-two centuries,
and that what was dropped only twice, was in smaller sizes than megaton.
We all know what could happen, if there is war.
The genetic festering is still with us the last time man tried to eradicate himself.
Back in the time of Saint Leibowitz, they may not know what would happen;
or perhaps even if they did know, they could not quite believe it until they tried it.
They had not yet seen a billion corpses.
They had not yet seen the still-born, monstrous, dehumanized, and blinded.
They had not yet seen the madness and the murder, and the blotting out of all
reason. Then they did it; and then they saw it.
Now the princes, presidents, and præsidiums know it with dead certainty...
by the children they send to asylums for the deformed...
and now they keep the peace...not the peace of Christ, but until lately, the peace.
My sons, they may not do it again, for only a race of madmen would do it again...
Someone is smiling, only a small smile; but in the midst of the sea of grave faces, its stands out
like a dead fly in a bowl of soup. DOM ZERCHI frowns...the OLD MAN keeps on wryly
smiling: an old fellow with a brushy beard, stained yellow about his chin; a burlap bag with
armholes for his jacket; who is sitting with three other transient tramps, continuing to smile at
ZERCHI, who pauses upon his way back to his place. The BEGGAR is pleasantly nodding at
his host, so ZERCHI nears.
May I please ask who you are?
Have I not seen you somewhere before?
Latzar shemi ( Hebrew).
What? I do not quite...
Then, please call me Lazarus.
DOM ZERCHI shakes his head, moving on.
Let the bread be brought for blessing.
After their PRAYING, the ABBOT glances toward the table of the beggars, where the OLD
MAN merely fans his soup with a sort of basket hat. ZERCHI dismisses it with a shrug, and the
meal begins...in SILENCE.
26. INT. THE STUDY OF THE ABBOT, THE ABBEY - THE NEXT DAY
JOSHUA enters, as the ANNOUNCER is broadcasting on the monitor of his ABBOT (captions):
"This is your Emergency Warning Network,
bringing you the latest bulletin on the pattern of fallout
from the enemy missile assault on Texarkana...
Did you send for me?
ZERCHI waves for him to be SILENT, and to have his seat.
...but first, an announcement just released by the Supreme Command.
The Royal Family is safe. I repeat: the Royal Family is known to be safe.
The Regency Council is said to have been absent from the city,
when the enemy struck. Outside of the disaster area,
no civil disorders have been reported, and none are expected.
A cease-fire order has been issued by the World Court of Nations,
with a suspended proscription, involving the death sentence,
against the responsible heads of government of both nations.
Being suspended, the sentence is applicable only if the decree is disobeyed.
Both governments cabled their immediate acknowledgment of this order,
and therefore there is a strong possibility that the clash is at an end,
after it was a preventative assault against a certain illegal space installation.
In a surprise attack last night, space forces of the Atlantic Confederacy
struck at concealed Asian missile sites located on the dark side of the moon,
and totally destroyed an enemy space station known to be involved in a
guidance system for space-to-earth missiles.
It was expected the enemy would retaliate against our forces in space,
but the barbarous assault on our capital city
was an act of desperation which no one anticipated.
SPECIAL BULLETIN: Our government has just announced its intention to
honor the cease-fire for ten days, if the enemy agrees to an immediate
meeting of foreign ministers and military commanders on Guam who we
expect to accept. However, the Asian radio is still insisting that the recent
thermo-nuclear disaster in Itu Wan, causing eighty thousand casualties, was
the work of Texarkana, and therefore was retaliation-in-kind..."
ZERCHI (groaning quietly)
Ten days does not give us enough time.
Where is the truth?
What is to be believed?
Does it even matter at all?
When mass murder has been answered with mass murder,
rape with rape, and hate with hate,
there is no longer much meaning in asking which axe is bloodier.
Evil on evil, piled on evil.
Was there any justification in our "police action" in outer space?
How may we ever know?
There was no justification for what they did....or was there?
We only know what that thing says, and that thing is a captive.
Asian radio has to say what will least displease its government;
ours has to say what will least displease our fine patriotic and opinionated rabble,
which coincidentally is what the government wants it to say anyway...
so what is the difference?
Dear God, there will be half a million dead,
if they hit Texarkana with the real thing.
I feel like saying words that I have never heard:
"toad dung", "hag pus", "soul gangrene", and "immortal brain-rot".
Brother, do you understand me?
Christ breathed the same carrion air with us...
how meek is the Majesty of our Almighty God...
what an infinite sense-of-humor...to become one of us!
Why do they do it all over again? Please forgive me, for I am raving.
(speaking to the old wood-carving of Saint Leibowitz in the study corner, which
looks old because dry-rot has etched its wood, lining its face with a satiric smile)
Did you see that old beggar in the refectory last night?
I did not notice, Domne. Why?
Never mind, I guess that I just imagined it.
(fingering a mound of faggots where the wooden martyr stands)
The divinity of Cæsar is showing again.
Are the brothers in the courtyard yet?
About half of them were, when I passed. Should I look?
The communicator BUZZES LOUDLY.
OPERATOR (voice of a robot)
Reverend Father Jethrah Zerchi, Abbas, please.
Urgent priority wire from Sir Eric Cardinal Hoffstraff, New Rome.
I will read the text, which is as follows:
"It will be a foreign flock.
What must be undertaken by us is to be done as soon as possible.
By order of the Holy See.
Support the first part of the work by your Order."
Receipt acknowledged. My reply is as follows:
"Very Eminent Lord Eric Cardinal Hoffstraff
submits himself to Jethro Zerchi, A.O.L., Abbot.
I have already ordered brothers, who are about to depart,
to be sent to Rome by the first airplane, to discuss these matters."
Yesterday, I asked you three questions. Now, I need your answers.
I am willing to go.
That leaves two questions to be answered.
I am not sure about the priesthood.
You will have to decide. You have less experience with
star-ships than any of the others, who are not ordained.
Someone must be partially released from technical
to pastoral and administrative duties.
Your group will be an independent daughter house of our Order,
under a modified rule. Its Superior will be elected by secret ballot
of the professed, and you are the most obvious candidate,
if you have a vocation to the priesthood as well.
Do you have one, or do you not?
There is your inquisition, the time is now, and it is brief.
But Reverend Father, I am not through studying...
It does not matter. Besides a twenty-seven man crew other people are going too:
six Sisters, and twenty children from Saint Joseph school;
a couple of scientists; and three Bishops, two of them newly consecrated,
who may ordain; and because one of them is a delegate of our Holy Father,
they will even have the power to consecrate Bishops.
You will be in space for years, you know.
We want to know whether you have a vocation,
and we want to know it right here, and right now!
I do not know.
Would you like another half-hour? Would you like a glass of water?
If you are to lead the flock, you will have to decide things in the here-and-now.
You need to know. Well, may you speak? Are you going to submit to the yoke?
I do not think that I am able to.
This Order has had Abbots of gold; Abbots of cold tough steel;
Abbots of corroded lead; and none of them was able,
although some were more able, and some Saints.
The gold got battered, the steel got brittle and broke,
and the corroded lead got stamped into ashes by Heaven.
I have been lucky enough to be quicksilver...
I splatter, but I run back together somehow.
What are you made of?
Puppy dog tails. I am meat; and I am scared.
Steel screams when it is forged; it gasps when it is quenched;
it creaks when it goes under a load; and I think that even steel is scared, my son.
Take a half-hour to think it through. Have a drink of water.
Breath in the wind. Totter off for awhile.
But come to church before Mass, and tell us what a monk is made of.
Our Order is fissioning, and the part of us which goes into space, goes forever...
Are you called to be its shepherd?
I guess that there is no way out for me.
Of course there is. You only have to say:
"I am not called to it", and another will be elected.
But go and decide, calm down, and come to us in church
with your yes or no answer, which is where I am now going now.
He rises, nodding his dismissal.
26A. INT. THE CHURCH - DAWN
PRAYING is heard, as BROTHER JOSHUA pauses in the doorway.
"One bread and one body, though many, are we,
and of one bread and one chalice have partaken..."
JOSHUA slips inside, kneeling with the OTHERS, and joining in their voice.
"And there will be declared to the Lord a generation
to come; and the heavens will show forth His justice.
To a people who will be born which the Lord has made..."
JOSHUA sees the ABBOT motion to him, going to kneel beside him.
This office, my son...may we impose this burden on you...?
If they want me...I will accept this honor...
You heard me wrong...I said "burden", not "honor".
If you bear the burden of the cross as an honor,
you did not hear me wrong.
Are you certain?
If they choose me, I will be certain.
26B. INT. CHARTERED AIRPLANE TO NEW ROME - MID-AFTERNOON
ABBOT ZERCHI addresses twenty-seven book-leggers before take-off.
You are the continuity of the Order. With you goes the Memorabilia.
With you also goes the apostolic succession, and, perhaps...the Chair of Peter.
MURMURING of surprise from the MONKS.
No, not His Holiness. I have not told you this before,
but if the worst happens here on Earth, the College of Cardinals will convene.
The Centaurus Colony may then be declared a separate patriarchate,
with jurisdiction going to the Cardinal accompanying you.
If the scourge falls upon us here, then to him will go the Patrimony of Peter.
As long as Man lives elsewhere, the office of Peter cannot be destroyed,
as by Epikeia. You will be years in space. The ship will be your Monastery.
After the patriarchal see is established at the colony,
you will establish a mother house of the Visitationist Friars
of the Order of Saint Leibowitz of Tycho.
The ship and the Memorabilia will remain in your hands.
If civilization may maintain itself on Centaurus,
you will send missions to other colony worlds,
and eventually to the colonies of their colonies.
Wherever Man goes, you and your successors will go;
and with you, the records and remembrances of over four thousand years.
Some of you, or some of those who will come after you,
will be mendicants and wanderers,
who will teach the chronicles of Earth
and the canticles of the Crucified to the people,
and the cultures that may grow out of colony groups.
Some may be lost for a time from the Faith.
Teach them, and receive into the Order those among them who are called.
Pass the continuity to them. Be for Man the memory of Earth and Origin....
Remember this Earth...never forget Her; but never return.
(voice hoarse and low) But if you ever do come back,
you may meet the Archangel at the east end of the Earth,
guarding Her gate with a sword of flame. God bless you all.
ZERCHI moves slowly down the aisle, pausing at each seat to bless and embrace them before he
leaves the plane, which taxis on to its runway, roaring aloft. He watches it, until it disappears
from view into the evening sky.
27. INT. THE STUDY OF THE ABBOT, THE ABBEY - ANOTHER DAY
The area affected by local fallout remains relatively stationary,
and the danger of further wind spread has nearly vanished...
Well, at least nothing worse has happened yet.
So far, we have been safe here from it.
It looks like we will remain safe, unless the conference falls apart.
Now we will...but please listen for just one moment.
The latest death toll estimate this ninth day after the capitol destruction
gives two million, eight hundred thousand dead.
More than half of this figure is from the city proper population;
the rest is an estimate based upon the percentage of the population in the
fringe and fallout areas known to have received critical radiation doses.
Expert prediction is that the estimate will rise,
as more radiation cases become reported...
This station is required by law to broadcast the following announcement
twice daily for the duration of this emergency:
"The provisions of Public Law 10-WR-3E in no way empowers
private citizens to administer euthanasia to victims of radiation poisoning.
Victims who have been exposed, or who think that they have been exposed
to radiation far in excess of the critical dosage,
must report to the nearest Green Star Relief Station,
where a magistrate is empowered to issue a writ of: "He wishes to die"
to anyone properly certified a hopeless case, if the sufferer desires euthanasia.
Any victim of radiation who takes his own life other than that prescribed by law,
will be considered to be a suicide, and will jeopardize the right of his heirs and
dependents to claim insurance and other radiation relief benefits under the law.
Moreover, any citizen who assists such a suicide may be prosecuted for murder.
The Radiation Disaster Act authorizes euthanasia only after due process of law.
Serious cases of radiation sickness must report to a Green Star Relief..."
ZERCHI twists the knob right off of the receiver, swinging himself out of his chair, going to
stand at the window, and looking down on the courtyard where a REFUGEE CROWD mill
around hastily-built wooden tables. He watches TWO NOVICES carry a steaming cauldron out
of their emergency kitchen, hoisting it upon a table, and ladling out soup. The DOCTOR, his
visitor, clears his throat, stirring restlessly in his chair. The ABBOT turns around.
They call it "due process"...mass, state-sponsored, suicide;
with all the blessings of society!
It is certainly much better than to let them die, in degrees, their horrible death.
Is it? Better for whom...the street cleaners?
Is it better to have your living corpses walk to a central disposal station
...while they are able to walk?
Less public spectacle...horror lying around...disorder?
If you think that you have a soul that God would send to Hell,
if you chose to die painlessly, not horribly;
then go ahead and think so, but you are in the minority.
I disagree, and there is nothing to argue about.
The very existence of the Radiation Disaster Act is the plainest possible evidence
governments are fully aware of the consequences of war, and provided in advance
for consequences. Are the implications of this fact meaningless to you, Doctor?
Like euthanasia? I feel the laws of society are what makes something a crime.
I am aware that you do not agree, and that there may be bad laws...
but I believe that we have a good law. If I thought that I had a soul,
and that there was an angry God in Heaven, then I might agree with you.
You do not have a soul; you are a soul.
You have a body; and that little, is only temporarily.
DOCTOR (politely laughing)
A semantic confusion.
True, but which one of us is confused? Are you sure?
I work on the Exposure Survey Team.
Will the work that you want to do here take long?
DOCTOR (shaking his head, negatively)
I think that at the most, it will take two days.
We have two mobile units that we can bring into your courtyard,
hitch the two trailers together, and start working right away.
We will take the obvious radiation cases and the wounded first,
treating only the most urgent cases. Our job is clinical testing,
and the sick ones will be treated at an emergency camp.
And the sickest ones...do they get something else at a..."mercy camp"?
Only if they want to go...no one makes them go.
But you do write out the permit for them to go?
I have given some red tickets, and I may have to this time. Here...
The DOCTOR fumbles inside his jacket pocket, bringing out a red cardboard form,
something like a shipping label with a loop of wire for attaching it to a buttonhole or a belt-loop,
and tossing it upon the desk of ABBOT ZERCHI.
...a blank "crit-dose" form. There it is. Read it.
It says that the man is very sick. And here...this is a green ticket,
saying that he is well and that he has nothing to worry about.
Look carefully at the red one: "Estimated exposure in radiation units.
Blood count. Urinalysis." Upon one side, it is just like the green one.
Upon the other side, the green one is blank, but look at the red one...
the fine print is directly quoted from Public Law 10-WR-3E,
which has to be read to them by law, telling them of their rights.
You just read it to them, do you?
And do nothing else?
It has to be explained, if they do not understand. (pausing; irritated)
Good Lord, Father, when you tell a man that he is a hopeless case,
what are you going to say? Read him a few paragraphs of the law,
show him the door, and ask: "Next please? You are going to die, so good-day?"
I understand. What I really want to know is do you, as a physician,
advise hopeless cases to go to a..."mercy camp"?
The DOCTOR closes his eyes, resting his hand on his forehead, and slightly shuddering.
Of course I do. If you saw what I did, you would too.
You will not do it here.
The DOCTOR quenches his angry outburst, standing up, putting his cap on, tossing it upon the
chair, walking over to the window, and gloomily looking down at the courtyard and highway.
DOCTOR (pointing; glancing at Zerchi)
There is the roadside park.
We may set up shop there, but it is two miles.
Most of them will have to walk.
Look at them...sick, hurt, fractured, frightened, tired, lame, and miserable.
You would let them be herded off down the highway to sit in the dust and Sun...
I do not want it to be that way.
You only need to make me one promise,
and then you may use the courtyard.
That you will not advise anyone to go to a "mercy camp"...
instead, limit yourself to diagnosis. If you find hopeless radiation cases,
tell them what the law forces you to tell them, be as consoling as you wish,
but do not tell them to go and kill themselves!
27A. EXT. VIEW-POINT FROM THE TOWER, THE ABBEY - ANOTHER DAY
ABBOT ZERCHI sees the highway and the city, as far as the mesa. He focuses his binoculars
upon the mesa, watching the radar installation, slightly lowering his glasses to watch the new
Green Star encampment down at the roadside park, which is roped off, tents being pitched, utility
crews working at tapping the gas and power lines, and several MEN engaged in hoisting edge-
wise its entrance sign. There is a big red engine, seeming to have a fire-box and a boiler. MEN
in Green Star uniforms erect a small carousel. A dozen trucks are parked upon the side road,
some loaded with lumber, others with tents and collapsible tents; one hauls firebricks, and
another is burdened with pottery and straw. The cargo of the last truck was a load of identical
urns or vases, packed together with cushioning wads of straw; and yet another is carrying only a
great stone statue, and its square slab mount. The statue lays upon its back, supported by a
wooden framework and a nest of packing material, showing only its legs and one outstretched
hand thrust up through the packing straw, with its bare feet projecting beyond the tailgate. The
MEN erect the sign with one of them lowering his end of the board, and climbing up a ladder to
perform an adjustment of the overhead brackets:
MERCY CAMP NUMBER 18
DISASTER CADRE PROJECT
He swings his binoculars, searching for the truck loaded with firebrick, now parked in the area.
The bricks are being unloaded near the great red engine...it is a furnace!
Here comes the Devil!
27B. INT. MOBILE UNIT, THE COURTYARD - THE SAME DAY
DOCTOR CORS is wiring a yellow ticket to the jacket lapel of an OLD MAN.
You should go to a rest camp for awhile, and mind the nurses;
but you will be alright if you take care of yourself.
ZERCHI stands with folded arms, munching his lip edges coldly.
CORS (looking up at his binoculars)
Yes? (grunting) Oh, well I have nothing to do with the end of it...
28. EXT. THE CHURCH - MIDNIGHT
The ABBOT kneels alone in the evening gloom.
The PHYSICIAN looks haggard and wholly unnerved.
I just broke my promise!
Are you proud of it?
They walk toward the mobile unit, stopping in the bath of bluish light spilling out its entrance.
The lab-coat of DOCTOR CORS is soaked with sweat, and he dries his forehead upon his sleeve.
CORS (turning to enter)
Of course, we will leave immediately. I just thought that I would tell you.
Wait a minute...tell me the rest!
Why? So that you may go and threaten Hell-fire?
She is sick enough now, and so is her child. I will tell you nothing more.
You have already. I know who you are talking about. I suppose the child, too.
Radiation sickness...flash burns...
the woman has a broken hip...the father is dead...
the fillings in the teeth of the woman are radioactive...
her child almost glows in the dark...
vomiting shortly after the blast...
nausea, anemia, and rotten follicles...
blind in one eye...the child cries constantly because of her burns.
How did they survive? I may do no more for them.
28A. INT. THE GUEST-HOUSE - NIGHT
ABBOT ZERCHI finds her lying upon her cot with her child, in the corridor of the over-crowded
guest-house, huddling together under a blanket, CRYING. She looks up at his vague silhouette.
We are done for...do you see what they gave me?
He hears her fingers PICKING at the edge of her red ticket, so he stands over her cot, fishing in
his pocket, and bringing out his rosary. She hears the RATTLING of BEADS, groping for them.
Do you know what this is?
Then keep them, and use them.
Bear it, and pray.
I know what I have to do. The Doctor said...
ZERCHI (blessing them; leaving)
Please...do not be an accomplice.
28B. INT. THE STUDY OF THE ABBOT, THE ABBEY - ANOTHER DAY
And now a word from...
Turn it off!
LEHY (snapping off the set, staring wide-eyed)
I do not believe it!
What? About the Pope? I did not either, but I heard it earlier,
and New Rome has had time to deny it...they have not said a word.
What does it mean?
Is it not obvious? The Vatican diplomatic service is on the job.
Evidently, they sent a report on the Guam conference;
and evidently it horrified the Holy Father.
What a warning! What a gesture!
It was more than just a gesture, Father.
His Holiness is not chanting Battle Masses just for dramatic effect.
Besides, most people will think that He means "against the heathen"
on the other side of the ocean, and "justice" for our side;
or if they know better, they will still mean that themselves.
(burying his face in his hands, and rubbing them up-and-down)
What is sleep, Father Lehy? Do you remember?
I have not seen a face in ten days that did not have black circles under its eyes.
Last night, I could hardly doze for someone screaming over in the guest-house.
It is true that Lucifer is not a sandman.
What are you staring at out the window?
Everyone keeps looking at the sky, staring up, and wondering if it is coming.
I was watching the buzzards.
There have been dozens of them all day, just circling over the
Green Star encampment down the highway.
It is not an omen, just healthy vulture appetite.
I am going out to get some fresh air.
28C. EXT. GREEN STAR RELIEF CAMP TRIP - THE SAME DAY
ZERCHI climbs into his car, dialing his destination, sinking back wearily into its cushions as
automatic controls engage the gears, and nosing her toward the gate. He sees Misses Grales, jabs
the cancel button, stopping the car, whose robot controls say "waiting". He dials again, and the
car waits for a traffic break, swerving onto the mid-speed highway lane. Minutes later, they
approach the Green Star encampment, and he dials slowest speed. FIVE HOODED MONKS
parade in front of the tent area, beneath the sign: MERCY CAMP. Freshly-painted signs read:
ABANDON EVERY HOPE
(Dante, Divine Comedy; Canto III, 1)
29. INT. THE CHAPEL - A DAY LATER
Misses GRALES kneels in a pew near the confessional, half-asleep. ZERCHI kneels near the
altar, PRAYING, and then moving back to the confessional, SPEAKING TWICE before she
hears him; who, rising, stumbling a little, and then pausing to feel the eyelids and the lips of her
RACHEL face, with her withered fingertips.
Is there anything wrong, my daughter?
GRALES looks up at its high windows, her eyes wandering about its vaulted ceiling.
Ay, Father. I feel the Dread One about, I do...
The Dread One is close, very close about us here...
I feel the need for shriv'ness, Father...
and something else, as well...
Something else, Misses Grales...?
GRALES (leaning closer; whispering behind her hand)
I need be giving shriv'ness to Him, as well...
ZERCHI (recoiling slightly)
To whom? I do not understand you.
Shriv'ness...to Him who made me as I am...
(slowly smiling) I never forgave Him for it...
How may you?
He is justice;
He is love.
Mayn't an old tumater woman forgive Him just a little for His justice?
Afor I asking His shriv'ness on me?
ZERCHI glances down at her bicephalous shadow upon the floor, who genuflects toward the
altar before they enter the confessional, crossing herself with her hand, touching the forehead of
RACHEL. ZERCHI brushes back its heavy curtain, slipping into his half of the booth, and
WHISPERING through its grille.
What do you seek, my daughter?
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned...
If you are trying to say you are guilty of abortion,
I must tell you absolution is reserved for the Bishop, and I may not...
Distant ROARING and faint SNORT-GROWLING of missiles being fired from the range.
The Dread One!
Quick! An act of contrition! Ten aves, and ten pater nosters for your penance.
You will have to repeat your confession later, but for now, an act of contrition...
ZERCHI hears her MURMURING from the other side of the grille.
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
Our Lord Jesus Christ absolves you;
I, through His authority, free you from all chains.
Finally, if you can be absolved of your sins,
I absolve you in the name of the Father.
Before ZERCHI finishes, a light shines through the thick curtain of the door of the confessional,
growing brighter and brighter, until its booth is like bright noon...the curtains begin smoking.
Wait...until it dies!
GRALES (strange, soft voice)
wait until it dies
GRALES (fading away)
I never meant to...never love...love...
ZERCHI bounds out of the confessional, running down the aisle toward the altar of reservation.
The light has dimmed, but the Church is full of smoke. He vaults its sanctuary, stumbling over
its first step, and going to its altar. Frantically, he removes its Christ-filled ciborium from its
tabernacle, genuflecting, grabbing up the Body of his God, and running away. The building falls
in upon him ...there is nothing left but ashes and dust. ZERCHI is pinned to the ground at his
waist, laying upon his belly in the dirt, and trying to move. One arm is free, but his other is
caught under the weight holding him down. His free hand still clutches the ciborium, tipped in
falling, its top coming off, spilling several of its small Hosts. There is great ROARING of
engines in the sky, with blue lights winking through the dust. He CRIES out, softly, recovering
his little Hosts, moving his free arm gingerly, and cautiously picking each of them out from the
sand. A trickle of blood seeps into his eyes; he wipes at it with his forearm, returning most of the
scattered Victim into the vessel, and then stretching for a few out-of-reach fugitive flakes.
Jesus! Mary! Joseph! Help!
VOICE (soft, strange, distant, and barely audible)
jesus mary joseph help
CALLING THREE TIMES, there is no answer.
Dust sprinkles down as he replaces the lid down, upon his ciborium.
VOICE (soft echo of childish sing-song)
la la la...wait wait wait...till it dies
The two-headed WOMAN wanders into sight at a rubble heap, stopping,
and looking down on him.
Thank God! Misses Grales! See if you may find Father...
thank god misses grales see if you may...
ZERCHI blinks away a film of blood, studying her closely.
She kneels upon her heels; her head sleeps, while RACHEL smiles.
Listen, is anyone else alive? Get...
listen is anyone else alive...
She savors these words, enunciating them distinctly, smiling over them,
and her lips reframing them when her voice is finished.
ZERCHI (noticing her arm)
You are hurt!
ROBERT DOUGLAS MANNING
ZERCHI points to her arm, who imitates his gesture, and instead of looking where he points, she
looks at his finger, extending her own wounded arm to touch it. There is very little blood, but a
dozen cuts, one of which looks deep. He tugs at her finger, bringing her arm closer, and
plucking out five slivers of broken glass: he removes an inch-long lance of glass, with a trace of
blood; but when he pulls the others free, they leave tiny blue marks, without bleeding. She still
smiles, as if the removal of her glass splinters caused her no discomfort; but her face is now grey,
and her lips are bloodless. He traces a cross upon her forehead with his moist finger.
Unless you are baptized, and unless you are no one to be baptized,
I baptize you in the name of...
GRALES quickly leans away from him before he may finish, with her smile freezing, and
vanishing. She wipes the trace of moisture from off of her forehead, closing her eyes, and letting
her hands lie limply upon her lap, with an expression of complete passivity. With her head
bowed, a smile is reborn, growing. She opens her eyes, looking at him with open warmth,
glancing around, searching for his ciborium, and then picking it up.
ZERCHI (coughing hoarsely)
GRALES holds the golden cup in her left hand; and a single Host delicately between her thumb
and her forefinger, in her right.
Lord, I am not worthy, but only speak the word...
ZERCHI receives the wafer from her hand, who replaces the lid of the ciborium, setting the
vessel down in a protected spot under a jutting rock. SOBBING FAINTLY, he tries
unsuccessfully to force his eyes to focus upon her cool, green, and troubled eyes.
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior,
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden... (Luke 1:46-8; KJV)
ZERCHI runs out of breath, his vision goes foggy, and her cool fingertips touch his forehead.
And now she is gone, with her voice trailing away in the new ruins...
la la la...
EPI. EXT. THE ABBEY - THE FINAL DAY
The Abbey arch becomes the front of a star-ship, its MONKS SINGING, and lifting the
CHILDREN one-at-a-time up the ladder to the SISTERS inside the spaceship. The horizon,
alive with flashes, becomes a red glow, and a distant cloud-bank is born where none has been
before, the visage of Lucifer mushrooming in hideousness rising slowly above the cloud-bank.
The last BROTHER enters, pausing at the lock, taking off his sandals in the open hatchway, and
slapping the dirt out of them by beating his soles together.
Is this the way that the World ends...?
He scratches his beard, looking back at the glow, and closing the hatch. There is a blur; a glare
of light; a high, thin WHINING; and then their star craft thrusts itself toward Alpha Centauri...
(aural and visual)
"A wind came across the ocean,
sweeping with it a pall of fine white ash.
This ash fell into the sea,
and into the breakers,
which washed dead shrimp ashore with the driftwood,
and then, they washed up the whiting.
The shark swam out to the deepest waters,
and brooded in the cold clean currents.
He was very hungry that season..." (shutting book)
ZOOMING AND DISSOLVING IMAGES OF DEEP SPACE.
MUSIC FADES OUT INTO APPLAUSE.
TITLE AND END CREDITS.
FADE TO BLACK.
END OF PART THREE.