Red Planet Screenplay
Original Movie Screenplay by Tom Wakefield

In the weeks and months after the Soviets hijacked the joint mission to Mars (in the year 2017), there was much debate among the generals, scholars, scientists, politicians, and theologians of Earth on what to do about the fourteen renegade Soviet cosmonauts.

The American Generals proposed a nuclear strike.

The scientists were outraged by the thought of having the virgin Martian ecosystem contaminated in such a drastic and vile manner. They joined with the theologians to defeat the proposal.

Scholars and academia believed the Soviets were no threat, and the small Soviet outpost would eventually wither and die.

Whatever the course of action, the politicians were concerned about the prohibitive cost of dislodging the Soviets from a planet millions of miles away in what would be the 21st century equivalent of crossing the English Channel.

So, they did nothing. Anyway, Earth was having problems of its own. China, having intimidated Taiwan into capitulation under a weak American presidency, was hungrily eyeing Australia and New Zealand. A new Islamic Confederacy was ready to once again pounce on Israel. Hardliners in Russia, riding a wave of patriotism as a result of the Soviet capture of Mars, were seeking a return to the old Communist system.

Meanwhile, the fourteen cosmonauts were hard at work forging a new world. They weren't about to wither and die. In fact, the bleak Martian environment was, in many ways, no different from Siberia. Besides, everything they needed had already been pre-staged on the planet in anticipation of the mission's arrival. This aspect of the proposed mission had been carefully and calculatingly planned by the Russians from the beginning.

NASA had originally proposed a smaller mission for mankind's first trek to the Red Planet. Five astronauts were to travel to Mars, spend about 500 days on the surface, and return. The Russian space community, led by Dr. Groz Korelev, proposed a much more ambitious project. In hindsight, their intentions were apparent from the beginning.

The Russians proposed establishing a permanent colony on Mars. Their reasoning was that if the industrialized nations were to expend such great effort in such an undertaking, that it might as well have permanent and lasting value. Their plan called for up to 50 individuals to travel to Mars. Once there, the colonists would begin building a new life and a new world, just as the Pilgrims did 400 years earlier in America. Everything the colonists would need would already be pre-staged on the planet. The cash-strapped Russians even (uncharacteristically) pledged to cover much of the extra costs associated with such a mission.

NASA readily excepted Russia's generous and ambitious proposal, however, the final number of individuals making the journey was eventually whittled to 28 (14 Americans and 14 Russians).