The Six Million Dollar Man (1974) s01e12 Episode Script

The Coward

1 (CAMERA CLICKING) STEVE: Looks like the wreckage of an old World War II supply plane.
It is.
This photo was taken by one of our weather satellites.
Blown up two hundred times.
Can you make out any of the markings, Steve? Well, let's see, that's Army Air Corps insignia and on the nose, looks like My Little Girl.
Does that mean anything to you? No, should it? Sit back and relax I'm gonna tell you a little story.
Back in February, 1945 that plane was dispatched to Chungking on a special mission.
In it was a secret agreement between the Nationalist Chinese and the Russians.
Halfway across the Himalayas the plane and its fighter escort was attacked by zeroes.
The plane never made it.
You mean after all these years, it's just been discovered? That's right.
There was an earthquake about a month ago near there that's what our weather satellite was doing in the area.
It's two miles from the Chinese border and unless I miss my guess, those documents are still there.
And you want me to get in, get the papers and get out.
OSCAR: That's right.
If those Chinese Communists get hold of those papers it could destroy the delicate balance of peace between Russia and China today.
Well, when do I leave? Steve tell me about your father.
Well what do you mean, tell you about my father? Just tell me about him.
You know, anything.
Anything you know about him.
Well, you've met him, Oscar.
I met your stepfather, Steve.
I'm talking about your real father.
He died when I was two.
All my mother ever said was that he was a pilot killed in World War II in action.
I don't know quite how to tell you this.
Tell me what? This Air Force file shows that the pilot of the My Little Girl bailed out when the attack started leaving the crew to die.
And the name of that pilot is Captain Carl Austin.
Your real father.
FLIGHT COM: It looks good at NASA One.
B-52 PILOT: Roger.
BCS Arm switch is on.
FLIGHT COM: Okay, Victor.
B-52 PILOT: Landing Rocket Arm switch is on.
Here comes the throttle.
Circuit breakers in.
STEVE: We have separation.
B-52 PILOT: Inboard and outboards are on.
I'm comin' forward with the side stick.
FLIGHT COM: Looks good.
PILOT:Ah, Roger.
STEVE: I've got a blowout in damper three.
SR-71 PILOT: Get your pitch to zero.
STEVE: Pitch is out.
I can't hold altitude! B-52 PILOT: Correction.
Alpha Hold is off.
Threat selector is emergency.
STEVE: Flight Com, I can't hold it! She's breaking up! She's breaking-- ANNOUNCER: Steve Austin.
A man barely alive.
We can rebuild him.
We have the technology.
We can make him better than he was.
Better, stronger, faster.
Steve! Hi, Mom.
Oh, boy.
It's good to see you.
Come on in.
I didn't expect you for a couple of weeks.
And what are you doing barging in on me like this.
You didn't even give me a chance to change my dress.
Oh, you look fine.
Say what’s that new perfume I smell chicken soup? Vegetable soup, smarty.
You want some? It's ready.
No, thank you.
I'll get us a cup of coffee.
You know, the last time you asked me to stay for a snack it turned into a 12-course meal.
(HELEN LAUGHS) Well, your greens look good, Mom.
Thank you, dear.
Oh, Jim's going to be so disappointed you came early.
He's out of town until tomorrow but you can see him tomorrow.
You'll have to say hello to him for me, Mom.
I can't stay.
There's something I gotta do.
Wha-- are you all right, Steve? Oh, sure, I'm fine.
Now you know I can always tell when you're fibbing.
What's the problem, Steve? Well, it's something that just came up.
It's an assignment.
You want to talk about it.
Is it dangerous? Thank you.
Well, I can't give you much of the details but it concerns an old World War II airplane.
It was nicknamed My Little Girl.
My Little Girl, that was your father’s plane.
He used to call me that.
Mom, why didn't you ever tell me about my father? I mean my real father, Carl Austin? I did tell you about him, Steve.
Carl was a fine man, a lot like you.
Flying was his whole life.
And I loved him very, very much.
I know that, Mom.
But I have to know the real story the true story on about how he died.
What? I don't know the real story, Steve.
So since you were so young, I decided it was better left unsaid.
Little boys have ways of misunderstanding things.
And what a little boy thinks about his father can be the most important thing in his life.
Mom, I'm not a little boy anymore.
I know.
All right.
(SIGHS) Your father was flying a mission with his crew.
They were shot down somewhere near the Chinese border.
Nothing was ever heard from them.
Mom, I don't want to hurt you.
I don't mean to, but there's a report that my father deserted his men that he bailed out when the plane was attacked.
Who knows what the truth is? I heard that story, too.
Some witness, one of the fighter pilots, I think testified your father did bail out.
One man’s word.
So, I just remembered the man I loved and that that kind of man could never be a coward.
I believed that.
I still believe it.
But, Mom, if he did bail out if he did, and he could still be alive.
Steve, you never knew your father.
I'm not saying you don't have the right to find out and I know why you're asking me all these questions but I did know him and I know that next to you and me, he loved his crew.
Christopher Bell, the copilot Larry O'Hara Johnny Larson.
Now, if he did desert his crew if he did bail out, he'd be throwing his whole life away.
He could never come home.
Because of you.
No, dear, because of you.
Carl never even saw you and in every letter he wrote, he always talked about seeing you for the first time holding you in his arms for the first time.
And, if he were the coward they said he was he could never come home and look you in the eye.
That's what he wanted most.
That's the kind of man he was.
But, knowing you, you'll have to find things out for yourself.
STEVE: Why not go in by helicopter? Won’t work.
I can get in and out faster that way.
No, the wreckage, as you see here, is at a 14,000 foot level.
OSCAR: The winds are unpredictable.
As you see, they keep the plateau warm and green but at the same time it makes it virtually impossible for any kind of an air approach.
Sounds like I'm really on my own on this.
Not quite.
In order to get to that plateau you're going to have to climb a 750-foot straight-up, sheer cliff.
No one man can do it, Steve, not even you.
You're gonna need some help, a professional mountain climber someone who can work with you as a team.
And you've got one.
Chin Ling, born and raised in the area has climbed Everest first man to scale the north face of K-2.
Well, he sounds like the perfect partner.
Okay, Colonel, first familiarize yourself with the rocks then start climbing very slowly using both your hands and Legs.
CHIN LING: That's it.
See? I told you and Mr.
Goldman bionics of yours don’t work when you're climbing a real mountain.
Well, at least we get a chance to catch our breath, huh? Uh-uh.
Climbing up is the easy part.
The hard part's getting back down.
(DRAMATIC MUSIC) Steve, are you sure you haven't done this before? No.
Steve! Are you all right? Sure, I'm fine.
But nobody could survive that.
Your bionic Legs! Hey now, bionics don't help you when you're climbing mountains, remember? All of our climbing gear is already packed.
We'll drop with parachute.
Well-- I'll talk to you on the plane.
Don't keep us waitin' too long now.
Thought I'd drop by and wish you luck.
Thanks, Oscar.
Maybe I made a mistake, Steve.
Letting you go on this.
No, Oscar, you were right.
This is something I gotta do.
If I let anybody else go on this mission, I'd never forgive myself.
I understand.
Well, looks like they're ready to go.
Oscar, you saw my father's files just like I did.
What does it really all add up to? Well, the case is still officially closed, and I-- You want it straight? Yeah.
Steve, even the bravest of men sometimes panic.
They don't mean to, but they do.
I'll see you later, Oscar.
PILOT: Colonel Austin, we have the area in sight.
Stand by for jump.
We are coming up on the jump area.
When I see an opening, we make a break for it.
No, don't try it.
Maybe we can talk our way out of this.
Afraid not, Colonel.
Your white skin's gonna save you, but I haven't got a chance.
That's what he just said.
You’re worth cash to them.
They're gonna sell you to the Chinese.
But, I'm just excess baggage.
They're gonna kill me.
So if you ever used your bionics, use it now.
All right, I'll decoy them.
STEVE: When they start for me, you make your break.
Follow me.
There's no time.
They'll find you.
Who are you? Just what are you doing here? You know, you're probably not gonna believe this but my friend and I came here to do a little mountain climbing.
Yeah, that's what your friend told Quang Xi.
Quang Xi didn't believe him and I don't believe you.
Well, then why should you believe anything I say? Because you're an American and I am or at least I was.
Look, if I'm going to help you, I have to know the truth.
All right.
There's a wreckage of a World War II plane on that mountain.
I gotta climb it and get to it.
A plane from World War II? Yeah.
Ha! How would they have discovered it after all these years? Well, I guess that earthquake you had broke away the undergrowth and it was spotted by a weather satellite.
You know, somehow nothing can be hidden from modern technology.
Soon, I suppose, your satellite will even find me.
Well, is there a reason you don't want to be found? In many ways, yes.
(WOMAN HUMMING) (HORSE NEIGHS) (WHISTLES) (GASPS) It's all right, he's an American, a friend of mine.
This is my wife, Marnu.
Quang Xi and his men, they captured he and his friend as they landed in by parachute.
Your husband helped me escape.
It will be all right.
You are risking our lives? If Quang Xi is looking for him, he will kill us for helping him.
I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I-- No, no, no, no, I insist.
GARTH: We've talked about this long enough.
Would you please get us some tea? I'm sorry about my wife.
She's usually quite hospitable but I'm afraid she is right about Quang Xi.
He does have a violent temper.
Oh, look, then I'll leave.
I have to get to the wreckage as soon as I can, anyway.
You are almost as impulsive as your friend and he's dead.
Please, sit down.
If you're going to that plane you will need some help.
You know the mountain? Yes, and of course now you’re gonna have to worry about the avalanches.
Avalanches? GARTH: Yes.
I guess it was that same earthquake that uncovered the plane that set off-- (DOOR SLAMS) That has set off aftershocks and the normal approach up the mountain is a deathtrap.
Well, perhaps, but I gotta try.
Then I'll take you.
Look, helping me and risking your life are two different things.
But risking one's life for a countryman is a rare gift.
Please do not take it away from me.
(FIRE CRACKLING) (WORLD WAR II DC-3 ENGINE SOUND) Pilot#1: Bogies, we got bogies at 3:00.
PILOT#2: Man it! Man it, Carl! Zeroes, they're coming in.
PILOT#1: Rog, I see them, they're coming into my-- (CRICKETS) (WORLD WAR II DC-3 ENGINE SOUND) PILOT#2: Zero! Zeroes at 3:00! PILOT#1: Rog, I see them.
PILOT #2: They're coming in, Carl.
CARL: Get down! PILOT#2: Fire in the well! CARL: We're hit! We're hit! PILOT#2: She's burning out.
We're on fire! CARL: She's burning up! She's burning! (CRICKETS) (OMINOUS MUSIC) (DOOR CLOSES) Where is the stranger? I'm not sure.
Garth, who is he? He is an American.
I've told you that before.
Garth, I am your wife and that is not an answer.
If he believes in what he sees at the wreckage and reports it I'll never have anything to fear again.
Then let him go alone.
It's been years since you climbed that mountain and with the avalanches Garth, who is he to you that you should risk your life for him? We'll discuss this no further.
I will stop you.
I will tell him who you are.
Manu, I'm your husband and I appreciate your concern and I love you deeply for it but this is something that I must do.
(STEPS APPROACHING) It seems like Quang Xi left these behind in his hurry to catch me yesterday.
STEVE: Could be a sign my luck's holding out, huh? I'll wait for you outside, huh? All right.
(OMINOUS MUSIC) GARTH: Well, from here on, we'll begin to climb.
You won't need those in the beginning.
You said you've climbed this mountain.
When I was younger.
To the ledge where the wreckage is? Wreckage? I never saw any wreckage.
Of course, there are many ledges.
Many of them.
Here's a detailed aerial photo of the mountain.
Ever been to that one? Well, I'm afraid I've never climbed that face of the mountain.
We'd better start up.
I'll go first.
(OMINOUS MUSIC) (DRAMATIC MUSIC) Throw me a 3/4" one! Okay.
Catch! Roger! Wilco! Did you ever do any flying? No, but during the war in Malay at the airfield I sure wanted to learn.
No one had enough time to teach me.
(SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC) There aren't any more pitons! You didn't use a hammer.
Won't you need one? No, I don't think so.
Can I have a little more coffee, please? Who are you? Oh, you mean my name? No, no, names are only labels the outside world attaches meanings to.
You outran horses.
Your strength-- Your strength is incredible.
Just who are you? I'm just a man.
Not an ordinary one.
In most ways I am.
And in the others? How about you? Well, the locals here call me Garth.
What does Quang Xi call you? Now don’t you underestimate Quang Xi.
You know he's not an ignorant man.
He speaks and steals in five languages.
And I arrange for the sale of what he steals, so he lets me live.
You know, your questions are much deeper than your search for a missing airplane.
Just what are you looking for? My father.
I don't quite understand.
My father was the pilot of that plane that crashed on the ledge.
He was a pilot? Captain Carl Austin.
My name is Steve Austin.
And you expect to find him in that wreckage.
I don't really know what to expect.
(DRAMATIC MUSIC) I'll lower you to the next piton! Okay.
You all right? I'm solid! (WIND BLOWING) Was that your father? No.
My father bailed out.
You know, it's hard to believe after all these years that seal on the courier pouch is still unbroken.
Your mother, she didn't hear from your father since the war, did she? No.
I'm sorry.
That was sort of a foolish question.
But your father, if he did survive the jump he wouldn’t come back home, would he? You know, all the time we were climbing and when we reached this ledge I had the feeling you'd been here before.
(LAUGHS) Yeah, that is a funny feeling all right.
You know, the French have a word for it, déjà vu.
Did you know my father? Now how could I? Well, he could've passed through this area, he could've lived here.
You know, since I arrived here you're the only American that's passed through here.
If we're gonna make it down by dark, we better get moving.
Good day, Marnu.
We expected your husband at the camp today.
We thought he might be ill.
The American forced him to climb the mountain with him.
The American How interesting.
That is very interesting.
Garth didn't want to go, but the American had a gun and force him to go with him.
And what does the American want on the mountain? An airplane.
Airplane? It's been there a long time.
But the American forced Garth to go with him just to climb to it.
Thank you for telling me.
And do not worry.
I promise, we will take care of the American.
The American had no gun.
I know.
It seems that Garth has found himself a new partner.
But if they went up the mountain, they must also come down.
(GUN RELOADS) Agh rifle.
Get him! Quang Xi and his men.
They're gonna try to kill us! (YELLING) You stay put.
Why? I had to.
I owed you at least that.
You owed me? Why? My reasons.
I had reasons.
In my my pocket.
I kind of thought your-- Your mother liked would like to have those.
Who are you? I'm Bell.
Chris Christopher Christopher Bell.
The co-pilot.
It was it was me, I-- I bailed out.
Your father, he was he was wounded.
II took his seat.
I I didn't think we’d make it.
How did you get his dog tags? I climbed I climbed back up the mountain.
I didn't want anybody to know what I did.
I bailed.
I bailed out.
My father? Where is he? You buried him.
You buried him up there.
(EERIE MUSIC) (CHIMES) Honor Guard! Right face! Forward, huh! Ready, aim! Fire! (GUNS FIRING) (BUGLE PLAYS TAPS) Here, let me.
Thank you, Oscar.
You bet.
I'll, um I'll wait for you in the car.
He was a good man, Steve and you cleared his name.
I'm sure he'd want to thank you for that.
Well, I just wish I had never doubted him.
No, you were right not to listen to anyone not even me.
Your father was the kind who had to prove everything to himself, too.
Oh, I almost forgot.
These belonged to Dad.
I think he'd want you to have them, Steve.
Please? Goodbye, Mom.