CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK: Faust quickly turns a couple of corners and then comes to an abrupt halt when he notices that a DOOR LEADING TO THE LOWER DECKS HAS BEEN WRENCHED OFF ITS HINGES. He hesitates, uncertain what to do, then there is A SOUND FROM THE DIRECTION OF THE AIR LOCK... AND THE INNER LOCK DOOR IS OPEN. Faust hesitates and peers into the lock.
AIR LOCK: The creature is squatting in the middle of the floor, gnawing on a bloody thigh bone. It does not see Faust.
CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK: Stealthfully, dropping back into the shadows, Faust presses the wall intercom and speaks into it.
FAUST (whispering): It's in the lock -- blow the main lock.
BRIDGE Standard, Roby and Hunter are staring at the pictures. The call from Faust catches Standard in mid-sentence.
STANDARD (into intercom): What?
CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK / FAUST (whispering): It's in the main air lock. Blow the lock.
BRIDGE: Standard hesitates, starts to frame a reply -- then changes his mind and runs to his console -- and THROWS THE SWITCH.
AIR LOCK: With a mechanical whine, the inner door starts to close. The creature hears it and INSTANTANEOUSLY LEAPS OUT OF THE LOCK.
CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK: The creature comes flying out of the lock and DEALS FAUST A BACK- HANDED BLOW, KNOCKING HIM ACROSS THE THRESHOLD OF THE AIR LOCK DOOR. FAUST SCREAMS IN MORTAL AGONY AS THE INNER DOOR CLOSES ON HIS WAIST, crushing him to a thickness of about three inches. On the wall, a green light goes on: "INNER DOOR CLOSED"
AIR LOCK: Despite the fact that the inner door is still held open a few inches by Faust's squashed body, THE OUTER DOOR BEGINS TO SLIDE OPEN. IMMEDIATELY, THERE IS A TREMENDOUS SCREAM OF ESCAPING AIR.
SHIP - OUTER SPACE: In dead silence, a thick spurt of steam comes out of the open air lock door. This is the ship's atmosphere freezing as it squirts out into the vacuum under pressure.
BRIDGE: INSTANTLY, A TREMENDOUS WINDSTORM STARTS UP as the ship's air is sucked out toward the lock. A SIREN BEGINS TO SOUND, AND A RED LIGHT FLASHES: "CRITICAL DEPRESSURIZATION" After a moment of panic and confusion, Roby bolts out of the control room.
CORRIDORS: Loose papers and articles of furniture hurtle through the passageways, as Roby hurries toward the rock, partly running, partly sucked along by the air current.
SHIP - OUTER SPACE: A huge plume of steam grows from the side of the ship, with all kinds of tiny loose particles tumbling out in it.
CORRIDORS: Whipped by the hurricane wind, Roby crashes to a momentary halt against a wall. As he hesitates there, trying to regain his balance, HE SEES THE CREATURE SCURRYING AWAY DOWN ANOTHER CORRIDOR. Ignoring the monster, he pushes off from the wall and starts running again.
CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK: Roby stops himself by grabbing the edge of a doorway at the end of the hall down from the airlock. Here, the wind is really terrific -- his clothes flap on his body and all kinds of things fly by -- the sound is a DEAFENING WHISTLE. Instantly, Roby starts turning a large wheel, which begins to close a sliding hatch door, closing off the air lock corridor.
As the hatch closes, THE CURRENT DECREASES, THEN IS FINALLY CUT OFF AS HE SEALS IT. Done in, he collapses to the floor. Then he clutches his throat and begins to gasp for breath. Because of the thinness of the air, THE SOUND LEVEL IN THE SHIP IS VERY ODD -- THIN, DISTANT, ALMOST INAUDIBLE. Roby is gasping loudly, but we can barely hear him; and his footsteps boom thinly like a man walking underwater.
CORRIDORS: Clutching his throat, he comes across the others -- Standard and Hunter -- and they are all choking, clawing at their throats, gasping like fishes out of water. They are sweating heavily and their noses bleed. They try to speak to each other, but the sound is so muffled we can only hear distant croaks. Standard mumbles something and stumbles down the hall. The others follow him.
MAIN AIR TANK ROOM: The door bursts open and Standard reels in, his footsteps pinging thinly on the metal flooring. We see several rows of large oxygen tanks, all connected by hoses to a few petcocks. Standard staggers to these and starts twisting the handles, opening them.
THERE IS A PIERCING HISS OF ESCAPING AIR, AND THE SOUND LEVEL GRADUALLY RETURNS TO NORMAL as Standard and the others sink to the floor, gasping in the oxygen gratefully. Finally they have recovered enough to be able to sit up.
ROBY: How much oxygen did we lose?
Standard rises unsteadily and peers at the gauges.
STANDARD: We've got six hours left.
HUNTER (groans): Oh my God.
STANDARD: Does anybody know what happened?
ROBY: I saw it. Faust got himself jammed in the air lock door. His body held it open.
STANDARD: Can we get to him?
ROBY: No, I had to seal off a whole section. We'd lose too much of our remaining air if we opened the connecting door.
AIR LOCK: Faust's body, crushed in the inner door, floats weightlessly in the vacuum. His nose and mouth are crusted with huge gobs of dried blood.
BRIDGE: The three survivors -- Standard, Roby and Hunter -- slump into chairs. The cat emerges from a hiding place, yowling with fear.
ROBY (picking up the cat): Poor kitty; puss puss puss.
STANDARD: At least we're rid of the damn monster. It must have been the first thing sucked out of the ship.
ROBY: No such luck. I saw it running down one of the corridors.
HUNTER (groans): Oh no! We can't fight this thing! There's only six hours of air left -- we're dead men!
STANDARD: I don't buy that. There's still time to destroy it and get ourselves in the freezers.
STANDARD: It's time for drastic remedies.
ROBY: It was time for that a couple days ago.
STANDARD: That kind of remark is pointless. Now come on -- I want to hear every suggestion you can come up with, no matter how wild.
HUNTER: We can't kill it on board. It's huge now and must have tremendous amounts of that acid in its body.
ROBY: I've got an idea, but you're not going to like it.
STANDARD: Let's hear it.
ROBY: Okay. First we shut down all the cooling systems on the stardrive engines.
STANDARD: That'll blow the ship up.
ROBY: Right... but it'll take a few minutes for the engines to overheat and melt down the core. In the meantime, we get in the lifeboat and leave the ship.
HUNTER: Blow the ship up?
ROBY: And the creature with it. We can make it back to Irth in the lifeboat.
STANDARD: But the lifeboat can't accelerate to light speed.
ROBY: Doesn't matter -- we're already at light speed. And when we get back to the Colonies, they'll pick us up in the network.
HUNTER: What about all the minerals and elements in the cargo hold? That's the only reason we came out here. We'd have to abandon them all. We'd be broke.
ROBY: Our lives are more important. Anyway, we can take a small amount of the most valuable stuff with us on the lifeboat.
STANDARD: No, it won't work and I just realized why. There's only one hypersleep freezer on the lifeboat. Only one of us could survive.
ROBY: Yeah... I forgot.
STANDARD: But the idea's good, if we could just turn it around somehow.
STANDARD (CONT'D): If we could just get the creature into the lifeboat, we could launch it into space and blow it up.
HUNTER: Good! That's good!
STANDARD: We can load the lifeboat up with explosives and trigger them remotely, once the lifeboat is in space.
ROBY: I think it's going to be almost impossible to drive it up into the lifeboat.
HUNTER: We can use the flamethrower.
ROBY: It's not going to work.
STANDARD: You can't say that; I think it's a good plan.
HUNTER: The flamethrower needs more fuel.
STANDARD: Right. We've got a lot to accomplish. Let's get moving.
MINING & CARGO BAY: The three men come down steps into this rather dirty area of the ship. A lot of tools and large items of machinery are stored around. LONG RACKS OF SHELVES ARE STOCKED WITH METAL CONTAINERS OF VARIOUS SHAPES. Each container is well packed and labelled.
HUNTER: Which explosive should we use?
STANDARD: I'd suggest the N-13 sticks. They're portable, and they can be radio detonated.
Hunter begins to unlock a locker and draw out long, red sticks like broomhandles, with tiny printing on them. Meanwhile, ROBY IS STARING AT THE ROWS OF METAL CANNISTERS. He touches one of them.
ROBY: You know, it's funny -- this stuff we went to so much trouble to dig up -- this treasure, the paydirt -- it'll make it back to Irth just fine -- even if we're not with it.
STANDARD: Here, carry these.
Hunter takes an armload of the red broomsticks, and stumbles.
ROBY (grabbing at him): Hey watch it!
STANDARD (grinning): It's stable; it doesn't hurt to drop it.
They begin to carry the explosives up the steps.
CORRIDOR The three men are carrying their equipment along the hallway, when Hunter's tracker suddenly BEEPS.
HUNTER: Hold it!
They all stop. The tracker BEEPS AGAIN. Hunter puts down his stuff and points the tracker around.
HUNTER (CONT'D) (nodding up some steps): Up there.
They all look at each other. Standard puts down his bundle and picks up the flamethrower.
ROBY: So what do we do? Do we ignore it and finish loading the explosives into the boat -- or do we flush it out now?
STANDARD: Now. If we can get it into the boat, we won't have to blow it up -- we can just eject it into space.
Standard hefts the flamethrower and starts up the steps.
DIM STAIRWELL: Standard's face is tense as he advances up the circular steps. Suddenly, a METALLIC TAPPING SOUND is heard. He freezes. Then he continues up.
DORSAL OBSERVATION DOME - VIEW OF OUTER SPACE: The view of interstellar space is spectacular. As Standard comes up the steps, the METALLIC TAPPING is heard again. Standard looks around. Then he sees it -- BROUSSARD'S CORPSE FLOATS OUTSIDE THE GLASS OF THE DOME. It is tangled in some rigging, and the movement of the machinery causes the cadaver to tap on the glass periodically.
STANDARD (shouts): You can come up! It's safe!
The others come up the steps.
ROBY (spying the corpse): Oh -- Jesus --
Broussard's corpse is blue and bloated where the wrappings have torn loose. Bumping against the glass, he looks like he wants to come in.
STANDARD: The ship's gravitational attraction must have drawn him back.
HUNTER (horrified): Should we go outside and bring him in?
STANDARD: No... the risk is too great. Perhaps after we've destroyed the thing.
Glancing back, the men retreat from the observation dome. Broussard remains against the glass, peering in with dead eyes.
NOSE OF SHIP: The floor slopes upward slightly here as the corridor funnels in and ends in the entrance to a narrow passageway or crawl-way. This passageway connects the nose of the ship with the lifeboat. The three men come up to the entrance to the passageway, carrying the equipment. They duck in and walk the short distance to the lifeboat.