EXT. JAPANESE COUNTRYSIDE - CONTINUOUS

 

The BULLET TRAIN speeds through the lush landscape.

 

INT. BULLET TRAIN COMPARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

 

Saito WAKES GENTLY. Looks around the compartment, empty but

for Todashi, reading a comic. Saito looks down at his wrist.

Sees a small mark. Rubs it. SMILES.

18.

 

EXT. TOKYO - DUSK

 

Moving over the vast city towards a high rise. A HELICOPTER

thumps into frame, heading for a pad on the roof.

 

INT. APARTMENT, TOKYO - CONTINUOUS

 

Cobb sits, waiting. Checks his watch, restless. He pulls a

HANDGUN. Checks it is loaded. places it on the table in front

of him. Pulls out a PEWTER SPINNING TOP, SPINS it on the

table ... He INTENT STUDIES the top's spin... As he stares,

the sound of a FREIGHT TRAIN builds and builds- the top

WOBBLES, TIPS onto its side- the sound of the train STOPS.

the PHONE RINGS- Cobb GRABS it-

 

CHILDREN'S VOICES (over phone)

Hi, Daddy! Hi, Dad.

 

COBB

Hey, guys. How are you?

 

CHILDREN'S VOICES (over phone)

Good. Okay, I guess.

 

Cobb closes his eyes, trying to picture his children: INSERT

CUT: COBB's MEMORY- a LITTLE BLONDE BOY (3), back towards us,

crouches IN A GARDEN, looks at something in the grass...

 

COBB

Who's just okay? Was that James?

 

JAMES (over phone)

Yeah. When are you coming home?

 

COBB

I can't. Not for a while.

 

INSERT CUT: A LITTLE BLONDE GIRL (5), also FACE UNSEEN, joins

JAMES, CROUCHING BESIDE HIM...

 

JAMES (over phone)

Why?

 

COBB

Well, James, like I've told you-I'm

away because I'm working...

 

LITTLE GIRL (over phone)

Grandma says you're never coming

back.

Cobb pauses. Takes a breath. INSERT CUT: James and Philippa,

FACES UNSEEN, lift their heads from the grass, responding to

someone's call- they RUN AWAY FROM US ACROSS THE GARDEN...

19.

 

COBB

Philippa, can you ask Grandma to

pick up the phone-

 

PHILIPPA (over phone)

She's shaking her head.

 

Cobb TENSES, as if about to SMASH the phone.

 

COBB

Well, we'll just have to hope

Grandma's wrong about that won't

we?

 

JAMES

(over phone)

Daddy?

 

COBB

Yes?

 

JAMES (over phone)

Is Mommy with you?

 

Cobb looks like he just got punched- INSERT CUT: COBB'S

MEMORY- MAL, WIND BLOWING HER HAIR, SMILES CALMLY...

 

COBB

No. No, we talked about this,

James. Mommy's gone.

 

JAMES (over phone)

Where?

 

GRANDMA'S VOICE (over phone)

Time to go, kids. Say bye-bye-

COBB

I'll give some presents to Grandpa,

okay? Just be good for-

 

Cobb STARES at the dead phone. Then DOWNS his drink- A KNOCK

at the door. Cobb GRABS the top, the gun- MOVES to the door-

cracks it: Arthur.

 

ARTHUR

Our ride's on the roof.

 

Cobb nods. Moves to pick up his bag. Arthur watches.

 

ARTHUR

Cobb... are you okay?

 

Cobb looks up.

20.

 

COBB

Yeah, why?

 

ARTHUR

Down in the dream... Mal showing up

like that ...

 

COBB

Yeah. I'm sorry about your leg.

 

ARTHUR

It's getting worse, isn't it?

 

COBB

One apology's all you're getting,

Arthur. Now, where's Nash?

 

ARTHUR

Hasn't shown. Wanna wait?

 

COBB

(shakes head)

We were supposed to deliver Saito's

expansion plans to Cobol Engineering

two hours ago. By now they know we

failed. Time to disappear.

 

INT. CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS

 

Cobb and Arthur head towards the elevator.

 

ARTHUR

Where will you go?

 

COBB

Buenos Aires. I can lie low there.

Maybe sniff out a job when things

quiet down. You?

 

ARTHUR

Stateside.

 

COBB

(wistful) )

'Course. Send my regards.

 

Arthur looks at Cobb. Nods. Sympathetic.

 

EXT. ROOFTOP HELIPAD - NIGHT

 

The HELICOPTER sits, ROTORS SPINNING. As Cobb and Arthur

reach the door, it SLIDES OPEN. Cobb steps up into the

leather-padded interior. He freezes.

21.

 

INT. HELICOPTER ON PAD - CONTINUOUS

 

Nash, BEATEN BLOODY, sits on the far side, slumped against

the wine. Beside him: SAITO. He nods politely at Cobb.

 

SAITO

He sold you out. Thought to come to

me and bargain for his life...

 

Saito's BODYGUARD offers Cobb a GUN.

 

SAITO

So I offer you the satisfaction.

 

COBB

That's not how I deal with things.

 

SAITO

Would you work with him again?

 

Cobb shakes his head. Saito's BODYGUARDS PULL Nash from the

chopper. Saito motions Cobb and Arthur to sit. The chopper

RISES. Cobb watches Nash DRAGGED across the pad.

 

COBB

What will you do to him?

 

SAITO

Nothing. But I can't speak for your

friends from Cobol Engineering.

 

Saito looks out at the city slipping by.

 

COBB

What do you want from us?

 

SAITO

Inception.

 

Arthur raises his eyebrows. Cobb is poker-faced.

 

SAITO

Is it possible?

 

ARTHUR

Of course not.

 

SAITO

If you can steal an idea from

someone's mind, why can't you plant

one there instead?

 

ARTHUR

Okay, here's planting an idea: I

say to you, "Don't think about

elephants."

(MORE)

22.

ARTHUR (CONT'D)

(Saito nods)

What are you thinking about?

 

SAITO

Elephants.

 

ARTHUR

Right. But it's not your idea

because you know I gave it to you.

 

SAITO

You could plant it subconsciously-

 

ARTHUR

The subject's mind can always trace

the genesis of the idea. True

inspiration is impossible to fake.

 

COBB

No, it isn't.

 

SAITO

Can you do it?

 

COBB

I won't do it.

 

SAITO

In exchange, I'll give you the

information you were paid to steal.

 

COBB

Are you giving me a choice? Because

I can find my own way to square

things with Cobol.

 

SAITO

Then you do have a choice.

 

COBB

And I choose to leave.