U.S. NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION -- OUTPOST #31
A rifle blast kicks up more snow.
EXT. COMPOUND OF U.S. OUTPOST #31
A large, almost snow-covered building. Not far from that
a tall, meteorological balloon tower.
A scattering of several small shacks at varying distances
from the main compound. The smaller hovels are connected
by wooden planked walkways and steadying ropes.
Multicolored pennants stick put of the snow marking
pathways and directions to outdoor experiments.
A tractor and two helicopters sit idle, covered with
mounds of continuously mounting snow.
TWO MEN, NORRIS AND BENNINGS
standing some thirty yards from the main building are in
the process of letting up a large red balloon. Childs, a
hefty black man, is twenty yards away tinkering with a
snowmobile. Their beards are caked with ice. It is
winter and it is harsh.
The faint sound of the copter turns their attention.
flying ever lower now. The man with the gun leans
dangerously outside and fires away at the dog as it nears
outside the compound look to one another, incredulous.
much too low now, and chastised by the wind, attempts a
high-speed landing, directly on the heels of the sprinting
dog. It bounces violently on the hard-packed surface.
Once. Twice. Passing the dog.
A third bounce sends it skidding. It flips; its blades
snapping off like toothpicks. It lands belly-up,
soundless except for the whine of its engine.
The man with the gun rolls out before the explosion.
INT. MAIN COMPOUND
The half a dozen men, playing cards, monitoring equipment,
listening to music -- spring to their feet, startled.
The dog reaches Norris and Bennings, as they awkwardly
wade through the snow, toward the downed copter.