Cry of the Phoenix (Sold)
INT. OFFICE DOOR-DAY
Above the door reads: "Through this door pass the meanest sons of bitches on this planet. U.S. Marine Recon, Snipers & Scouts. Semper Fidelis."
On the door's plate glass reads: SPECIAL OPERATION, CAPTAIN WILLIAM S. BALLARD, OIC.
Stryker, your reputation precedes you.
CAPTAIN BALLARD, a stocky man in his late forties, with a thick neck and barrel chest, sits behind the desk.
Jake stands before him stiff and nervous -- young and vulnerable.
Ballard scrutinizes him.
After the call I got this morning from
Okinawa, I figure you're either an asshole
loser or full of piss and vinegar. Which is
Piss and vinegar, Sir!
A smile breaks on Ballard's face.
Good. That's what I'd hoped. At ease,
Jake relaxes his stance.
Do you know why you're here at 3rd Anglico,
Pause as Ballard looks Jake hard in the eyes.
You are here, Stryker, because you are now an
operative in the Phoenix Program. Do you know
what our job is?
No sir, I haven't heard of the program, sir.
And you're not alone. Neither has anyone in
the real world -- and very few in the
military know that we exist. There is good
reason for that, Stryker.
We kill people, Stryker. You are now a "hit
man" for Uncle Sam.
INT. SAIGON RESTAURANT - LATER - DAY
Jake and Tom sit at a table. Jake's food remains untouched, while Tom stuffs his face.
Get over it, Jake. He was, as they say, just
another casualty of war; just another letter
to somebody's mother.
Jake looks away. Disgust.
Ain't no room for conscience or
compassion in our business; both'll
get you killed.
Tom pops another fork-full of breakfast.
Jake leans into him -- lowers his voice...
I'm nothing but a 13 cent assassin, right?
Isn't that what they call us? Well, I'm not
like you and hope to God I never am.
Jake snaps his head away.
Tom chuckles -- shakes his head.
You'll learn. Before long you'll be pickin'
off the problems like rubber ducks at a
carnival, only you won't be bringin' home no
teddy bear for your girl.
He takes another bite. While chewing...
Oh, yeah... nearly forgot. Only local food
from now on. These mutherfuckers have noses
on 'em like bluetick hounds. Startin'
tomorrow our shit and sweat smells local.
He grins -- pops another fork full into his mouth.
My legs felt like rubber as we skirted
to the camp perimeter. I was about to
They move into position, twenty feet apart -- hunker down in the short brush, with a clear field of fire on the front of the villa.
The villa is surrounded by a small rock wall, with a gate in front. A narrow dirt road passes the wall, ending at a small storage hut.
A SQUAD OF NVA come up the path and take positions around the perimeter, joining the troops already there.
A car moves slowly down the dirt path toward the villa.
The little man and the Russian, accompanied by the NVA officers, walk toward the gate.
The car passes them, makes a U-turn, and stops in front of the gate.
Intense. Fierce concentration. Sweat.
Our Father who art in heaven...
Tom gives the thumbs up to Jake.
The DRIVER hops out of the car -- goes around to open the rear door.
Hallowed be thy name...
The Russian and the little man move toward the car.
Thy kingdom come...
Jake sites the rear door of the car -- ready to take care of business.
Thy will be done...
He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, as he takes the slack out of the trigger.
as TRAN climbs from the back of the car -- the base of his skull appearing above the car roof.
On earth as it is in heaven...
The Russian moves to the gate.
Give us this day our daily bread...
And forgive us our trespasses...
They fire simultaneously.
Tran is hit in the back of the skull.
As we forgive those who trespass
The Russian's mouth is open -- a shout about to emerge, as his head is blown away.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver
us from evil.
The little man is struck in the jaw by a round; he stumbles toward the gate as another round finishes the job.
His head explodes in a spray of red mist.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and
glory forever and ever.
(Jake has just been forced to "eliminate" his partner, and render him "unidentfiable" to the enemy because of injuries his partner received)
EXT. COMBAT BASE - DAY
The helicopter lands. The rotors wind down as Jake jumps from the chopper.
-- Just get me your best shooter. Get me "Mad Dog."
A sniper rifle hangs over his shoulder. He wears three bandoleers. Billy's and his own pack are slung over the other shoulder. His 9mm is holstered on his side.
He moves slowly toward the Commo bunker.
A 2nd LIEUTENANT stands afar scrutinizing Jake, then moves quickly to intercept him.
Where the hell do you think you're going, Marine?! What's your rank?
Jake does not salute the Lieutenant.
Gunny Sergeant, sir.
Really? You look too young to be a Gunny. Where's your insignia?
I don't wear my rank in the bush, sir.
Did you leave proper military courtesy in the bush?
I don't salute officers in combat areas... not good for the health... sir.
I don't give a fuck what you don't do. In my area you will always render a salute.
Jake comes to attention and salutes, then spins to walk away.
The Lieutenant grabs him tightly by the arm.
I'm not finished with you, Marine!
Jake stops in his tracks. Drops his head.
Your so-called "uniform" and personal appearance look like shit.
Jake's eyes close.
He sucks in a deep breath; not a good sign.
You are a sorry fuckin' excuse for a United States Marine.
Snap up the 9mm into the Lieutenant's face.
Thumb cocks the hammer back.
Lieutenant goes white.
Shove the barrel into the Lieutenant's mouth.
Kick off safety.
I'm tired. I just got in from assignment. I don't have no I.D. or uniform because I don't exist, mutherfucker. Now, we can end this conversation with a big bang or I can go take a fuckin' shower. What'll it be?
INT. COMMANDER'S OFFICE - LATER - DAY
Jake stands stiffly before the COMMANDING OFFICER, as the 2nd Lieutenant stands smirking off to the side.
FOUR MP's stand near Jake.
So... you're telling me that you refuse to be debriefed or tell on what orders you were acting?
Yes sir. Captain Ballard-- 3rd Anglico-- is my commanding Officer. I am to report only to him. I cannot be debriefed without his presence or the presence of someone so designated by Captain Ballard.
What the hell is going on here!?
EXT. HELICOPTER PAD/COMBAT BASE - NIGHT
Jake is escorted by four MP's to the bird.
I couldn't blame the C.O. for being pissed. Only a few higher-ups knew about the Phoenix and he wasn't one of them. He made a call to the skipper, then looked at me like I was the grim reaper.
I guess I was.
INT. HELICOPTER - NIGHT
Jake sits solitary... staring out the window, as the combat base slides out of sight below.
He clutches Billy's pack close to his chest.
It wasn't easy being an apparition.