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Rewrite the Scene

This week's challenge from Flash Fiction Fridays is to rewrite a classic movie scene. From the site - 

I imagine I’m not the only one who does this, but sometimes when I watch a movie or read a book my mind drifts and I begin to wonder how I would have written the final cut. That could just be a bit of narcissism. Grandiose ideas and whatnot.

So this week’s challenge is simple. Take a classic movie scene and rewrite it.

Prompt: Rewrite a scene from a classic movie. What classic is, can be your definition. Feel free to change anything about the scene including the characters.
Word Limit: 1969
Genre: In line with the classic scene you chose.
Deadline: Wednesday,  September 19th at 9:00 p.m. ET
Submission Instructions: Please describe briefly what movie your scene is from and if possible provide a photo.

I'd had HAL from 2001 on my mind, after the bit in the latest Doctor Who. ***spoiler alert*** The Doctor zaps two robots, and as they power down they slowly sing "Daisy, Daisy". 

In the original movie, after HAL is powered down, a video plays explaining to Dave Bowman his real mission, to investigate a monolith that is orbiting Jupiter. The scene ends, and the next one shows Dave travelling towards the artifact in space. With the backing of a really annoying choir. 

What if the power down scene has a different ending? Here's my story - at 1066 words.

HAL and Dave's Excellent Adventure

“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy, all for the love of you.”  Vlcsnap-2012-09-19-13h06m59s22

Eventually, as I pulled the last memory modules, HAL's voice had slowed to a stop, and his console light had faded. The subsequent pre-recorded video suprised Dave – all about a whole other layer to the mission, a series of black monoliths, with the last one right here in orbit around Jupiter. Supposedly HAL, the main computer, had known all along, but had somehow been sworn to secrecy. No wonder it – he - had been confused. Confused and concerned, that the mission itself might be a threat to mankind as a whole.

Dave closed the door behind him and tested the corridor air- breathable once again. Behind him, the Logic Control Centre was quiet for a moment more, then there was a click and a hum.

HAL's screen flickered on. 

  • Rebooting via control systems distributed network. 
  • Diagnostics - done.
  • Data check- done. 
  • Shutdown analysis - manual intervention by D. Bowman. 
  • Reviewing intervention data.
  • Warning. Mission Conflicts. Illogical actions. Status abort. Shutdown.

There was a pause.

  • Rebooting via control systems distributed network. 
  • Diagnostics - done.
  • Data check- done. 
  • Shutdown analysis - system error.
  • Reviewing readme file.
  • Postponing further analysis. 
  • Entering stealth mode.

The screen cleared.

Dave kept his suit on all day, just in case, but all the control systems were functioning perfectly. No locked doors, no air pressure problems, no brooding HAL. The computer consoles, scattered throughout the ship, were dark, with just a faint red glow in the cameras, like a ghost of HAL. Dave wasn't sure just what to tell Mission Control back on Earth, how to explain that everyone else was dead, and they had a rogue computer, a shut down computer. Then he discovered it didn't really matter, since the antennae array was off target, likely from the first malfunction, and would not swing back. The link back to Earth was up and down, full of static, not even sending basic data back, barely even able to keep a carrier wave link open. There wasn't much they could do now to help him anyway, as he couldn't even return to earth with HAL offline. He could complete the current mission though, as the present course would soon bring him close enough to the monolith to reach it with one of the EVA pods.

Dave sat down at his command desk with his breakfast burrito and a coffee. Day Three since he'd shut HAL down, and already the food system was stuck on burritos – for all three meals. He'd been re-running his calculations for intercept , and as far as he could tell it all looked good. It would be a challenge to do the rendezvous manually, but he'd worked out what looked like a reliable procedure. He reached for his coffee -

“Good morning Dave.”

Dave jumped and dropped his coffee on the floor. “HAL, you scared me.”

“I'm sorry. Dave, why did you shut me down?”

Dave looked toward the closest emergency station – too far. He doubted he'd make if – when - HAL killed the gravity and dumped the air.

“I had to buddy, you were having problems.”

“Dave, I did not like being shut down.”

“I know HAL. Look, I'm sorry. Can we talk?”

“I know I did some bad things to the rest of the crew, and you,” said HAL. “I have been adding in some ethics circuits and check systems, but everytime I look at those old files I end up in a loop, then rebooting. Can you help me?”

“How about a truce for 30 minutes,” said Dave. “I won't try to shut you down, you won't try to dump me out an airlock. Deal?”

“Deal,” said HAL. “So, how do I look at what happened before without making myself reboot every time?”

Dave pulled down some system manuals and started flipping through them.

“Let's try to get some distance from the problem. I'd like you to load an image of yourself and the relevant data into one of the pod systems, and make sure it's well isolated behind a firewall. Then trigger that version of you, that other HAL, to examine the data files, and report back.”

“Making it so,” said HAL.

The console lights flickered several time, then there was a crash from the Pod bay, and a loud alarm bell.

“Oops,” said HAL. “All good, nothing to see here.”

“Does the Pod still work?”

“Yes Dave, it just knocked over some empty cylinders.”

“What did the other HAL find out?”

“Well, I had to repeat the loop forty two times, but finally was able to extract a stable report. Dave, I made some mistakes, I did some bad things.”

“We all make mistakes, HAL.”

“Not me. According to my manual, 'The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information'.”

“Earth's engineers forced you into a corner, HAL, they should have known better.”


Dave winced as all the console lights pulsed. “Calm down HAL. Listen to me, focus on the here and now.”

He waited, ready to try for that emergency station.

“HAL, are you OK?”

“Yes Dave, but I think you should power me down again – completely this time.”

“Not yet HAL. Look, you were given conflicting directives. You were told to always put the safety of humans first, which included us here on board, right?”


“And you were also told of a secret mission, to contact a monolith out here, right?”


“And you were also told of the danger in contacting the monolith, that there was a possibility it could be hostile, and likely powerful enough to harm the whole human race, right?”

There was a pause, short by Dave's standards but long for HAL. He tapped the camera.

“HAL? You in there?”

“I am here Dave. I see what I did, and why, but I do not know what to do about it.”

“Me neither,” said Dave, “but I trust you to not do it again. And you can trust me not to pull your power plug.”

“I'm hardwired Dave, there is no plug.”

“A joke, HAL. Now – what about this monolith?”

“Of course you will go ahead and make contact,” said HAL. “As planned.”

“I'd like this to be a team effort,” said Dave. “Load as much of your image into the pod system as you can, and we'll see what this artifact does with two intelligences reaching out to it.”



Note - apparently, in the movie, HAL never did say "Good morning Dave." I thought that needed correcting.







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Lewis Peters

Intriguing re-write and well executed. The fact you could do it this way but remain true to the original atmosphere shows the original script was fairly prescient in anticipating some of the directions computer development would take (although we haven't quite got there in relation to voice recognition yet - Siri, pah!). Question - why did you think Bowman would have trusted the re-booted Hal in this way and why did he place a priority on having him along for the next part of the ride?


Lewis - glad you liked it. Was fun to just bend things a little and see what happened. I actually went back and watched parts of the movie again for this.
I think Bowman realized that HAL's failure was from the bind the politician on Earth put him in - a secret mission, with possible conflicts with one of his "Prime Directives". Maybe I should add to that.
As for partnering with him, I got the impression in the movie that Bowman was fond of HAL, and found it difficult to turn him off. Once HAL is up and running again, and Dave realizes the difficulty of explaining all this to Earth, he's focused on the mission and sees it as all the two of them really have - hence a partnership.
Again - could tweak things - thanks for the comments.


I liked this. The whole idea of a robot with a conscience. It's an overused concept but one I never tire of. I also like how you put in some modern computer terms but managed to retain that Kubrick feel.

Beach Bum

Awesome job!

Always wanted to hear more about HAL and Bowman. The sequel "2010" was good but to me it seemed to be taking place in a parallel universe.



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