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An ocean. A rock. A baby penguin. His little feet, slapping, keeping time with the music. A shark’s fin
approaches. In a magnificent arc, the shark leaps into frame and devours the penguin. But this is not our
story. Our story is about a TURTLE.
OPEN ON the BATTLE of TURTLE BAY: this is the tail end of the worst defeat in turtle history. The Green
sea turtle, losing ground, is being pushed back inch by inch, giving up valuable shoreline. The gulls, well
organized, diving in unison into the shallow waters are picking up the baby hatchlings at will. The Green sea
turtle, as we once knew him, is now in jeopardy of complete extinction.
ONE YEAR LATER
The sea turtles have been all but invisible for the past year. The aftermath of the war, along with a three
hundred day drought, is turning the island into a barren wasteland. An occasional gull circles overhead. Even
the Ghost crabs have picked up and left.
Meet our hero, SNAP, a lone green sea turtle sitting on a rock overlooking the bay. (Sometimes, the green
sea turtle hatchlings, disorientated, run the wrong way and dehydrate. Snap is one who ran the wrong way;
but luck was on his side that day, he was the only hatchling who survived the war.)
T-DAY! is the day marked for the turtles historic return to Turtle Beach, so war is once again on the horizon.
The enemy’s battle plan (as always) will be focused on the Green Turtle hatchlings. The enemy knows the
“where,” where the Green Turtles bury their eggs (They always return to the same beach). They don’t know
OPEN ON a game of chess between PAGO PAGO, a marine iguana, and PELE, a pelican (an unlikely pair).
Their haunt is the swaying crows’ nest of a galleon sunk off Turtle Island.
PAGO PAGO floated in from one of the Galapagos islands after old Isabella (a nasty volcano),
spewed her guts all over Pinnacle rock where he was basking. He’s a cantankerous curmudgeon set
in his ways (like concrete) who’s been around for . . . nobody knows how long. (Well, that’s not
quite true . . .)
PELE, Pago Pago’s chess partner, tells us the old lizard is at least a hundred and thirty. Pele the
pelican (who has a bird’s-eye-view) thinks FAT ACE is gearing up for something. His chess pal,
Pago Pago, the iguana, answers with a grunt.
FAT ACE, the Green Sea Turtles’ arch enemy is a slope soaring Albatross who commands a rogue
squadron of sea gulls, a well-organized band of sky-divers. They pluck the baby Greens one by
one from the water and deliver them to Fat Ace’s mountaintop prison camp. This racket has been
going on for years. He sells turtle shells to the swabs (merchant sailors, that is). He’s a gourmand
(most albatrosses are, but you probably already know this). His favorite meal is (what else?) turtle
In the past, the Green Turtles’ amphibious assault on Turtle Beach was protected under the aegis of a large
elite, security task force of seals known as the NAVY SEALS.
The NAVY SEALS, unfortunately, were tied up in their own battle for survival, threatened by
long-line fishing and coastal oil spills. This year, once again, they won’t be able to send in the
The Green Turtles’ haunt is a half submerged cavern. The day the females must reach the beach to bury their
eggs is upon them. Their very existence, now, depends upon the success of this final stand, and they are
going to have to rely on an unproven security force.
Our hero, SNAP sitting atop a large rock snapping to an island beat, is the lone hatching who ran the wrong
way and survived the war. Raised by a family of fresh-water snapping turtles.(Insert snap learning to snap as
a baby hatchling) The Snappers had to move on when the island’s ponds and rivers became uninhabitable
because of the drought. Snap’s days now consist of sitting on a rock, staring out at the seashore, wondering
why he is so drawn to the sea, wondering why he didn’t even try to keep up with those great rock climbers,
the Snappers, because now he is very much alone and is feeling very, very lonely. But, on this day
something different happens . . .
. . . her name is SHELLY. Shelly is a green sea turtle, one of the Green army’s reconnaissance maidens and
General Loggerhead’s niece. She is drawn towards this snapping sound and spots Snap sitting on a boulder
and asks him what he thinks he’s doing out here all alone and tells him he shouldn’t be sitting in the sun. He
climbs down. Snap’s never seen a green sea turtle (even though he’s one, himself). For Snap, it’s love at
first sight. (Dream sequence of snap and shelly embraced on the sand. break water crashes over them)
He asks her what kind of a turtle she is. Shelley laughs. A bird dropping hits Snap’s shell. A gull has
spotted them. Shelly makes a run for the water. Snap yells, “Wait.” He’s never been in the big pond. Shelly
yells back, “Hurry or you’ll end up in a big pot . . . of boiling water! Fat Ace loves turtle soup.” Snap
hesitates only a moment then dives in after her. Once in the water, Snap sinks to the bottom. Frantic, he
paddles his way to the surface. Shelly manages to grab hold of him and get them both to the hidden
Every one there is already on edge. No welcome-mat is laid out for Snap, a stranger. Snap bumps heads with
Ridley who accuses Snap of putting their whole operation in jeopardy . . . all that splashing on top of the
water . . . you gave away our coordinates.
Meet RIDLEY, a Kemp turtle. One hundred percent Australian, Ridley was blown in on a
hurricane. A trio of Green Cross nurses restored Ridley to his swashbuckling, Errol Flynnesque
self. All the Green Cross nurses have fallen in love with Ridley, as have all the female Greens, with
the exception of Shelly. Unfortunately, Ridley has his eye on his mates, the brigade of Green
Berets. Ridley does have a flaw, a small defect of sorts. His tail is too short. Not bitten off,
nothing like that. Just, too short. This can foster insecurity in some, and it has in Ridley.
General Loggerhead steps in, says he doesn’t know who Snap is, where he came from, what he’s doing on
their beach, but he’ll have to leave. He orders a couple of the Green Berets to escort Snap as far as the reefs.
He agrees with Ridley that Snap could have given away their coordinates. Their hidden underwater home
may have been jeopardized. Shelly grudgingly admits she made a mistake bringing in this stranger (Snap),
but in truth, she kind of likes him.
Let’s meet GENERAL LOGGERHEAD, a loggerhead turtle, a born tyrant in command of a
handpicked, elite force of Green flat back turtles, the Green Berets. General Loggerhead believes
Ridley is all navy, praises his dedication to his men (almost too dedicated sometimes; though this
goes right over the General’s head). Because of Ridley’s turtle-warfare experience, his stories of
exploits, General Loggerhead has made Ridley his 2nd in command, besides he believes Ridley is
the perfect choice for Shelly. The General does things by the book, has no tolerance for
insubordination. He once slapped a turtle named SHELL SHOCK (we’ll meet him later) for
cowering during the Gull War of ’96, “Operation Desert Tortoise.”
3rd in General Loggerhead’s command is HAWK, a Hawksbill turtle (they usually grow the
biggest); Hawk, however, is a runt with a big chip on his shell. He believes General Loggerhead
should have made him 2nd in command, not Ridley. As well, Hawk also has an eye for Shelly, but
so far he’s gotten nowhere with her. Bitter, Hawk’s now out for the grab. His modus operandi is,
make a buck, let all the Greens go out in style, extend the food source. He knows the market value
of a turtle shell: they’re all “Greenbacks” to him, and he’s made a deal with Fat Ace, the Albatross.
Time to meet ESCARGOT and LENNY: an unlikely pair. Escargot is a sea snail. Lenny is a
leatherback turtle. Escargot (but, I’m sure you’ve already guessed) is French. He’s a very small
sea snail with the heart of a giant. Lenny actually is a giant.
ESCARGOT, his binoculars hanging around his neck, rides Lenny like a broken Brahma bull,
sitting atop Lenny’s head. They go on private reconnaissance missions across the ocean floor,
Escargot accepting, rejecting possible recruits, (what recruits? crabs, coral bridge-builders, lobsters,
urchins). Though, riding in full view, Escargot remains all but invisible. The giant, Lenny, simply
looks like he’s donned a helmet. LENNY also has a bit of invisibility about him. Huge as he is, the
sea creatures avoid eye-contact and steer clear of him. He’s a clumsy, brainless, muscle-bound
brute. He hasn’t the good sense to be afraid of anything or anyone. (This isn’t completely true.)
He is afraid of his little passenger, Escargot; terrified, really. Terrified, he’ll fail in the eyes of his
friend, his only friend, his first friend, and possibly his last.
Escargot is hell-bent on organizing his own French underground, readying for the day he might be
called to duty. Despite all his enthusiasm, his tireless efforts, the little snail Escargot manages to
enlist only two recruits: An ELECTRIC EEL: his mission will be to radiate the area and secure the
sea floor after the females return from laying the eggs. The little eel is very young and can’t always
control himself. He tends to shock Escargot frequently which angers little Escargot. We’ll call the
little eel AFTER-SHOCK. Escargot’s other recruit is LOUIE, an accident prone Ghost Crab.
Lenny’s order of the day, and every day from now on, and until T-Day, is to see that the Greens do not
surface or make land fall except under cover of darkness. Who gave this order? Escargot? No! General
Snap manages to make it from the reefs to the beach where Louie the accident prone Ghost Crab waves Snap
into a small cave. Louie, all but camouflaged, and despite having painted himself to blend into the rocks, was
jumped by a flock of sea gulls and is slightly injured. “There are hundreds more of them up there, hiding,
organizing, waiting,” he tells Snap. “You’ve got to help me get to the cavern to tell them they’re on to us!”
Snap snaps back, “What’d’ya mean, ‘us?’”
Louie answers, “You’re a Green, aren’t you? Saw you swim off with your girlfriend this morning . . . now
there’s a nice piece of shell.” Snap tells Louie he’s not a Green, he’s a freshwater Snapping Turtle
Louie stares at him, “Wow! You could have fooled me, but as you can see, I’m into camouflage, myself.”
Snap counters that she’s not his girlfriend, and that ‘nice piece of shell’ nearly drowned him. What’s more,
he barely made it back here. Louie nods, “Yeah, I saw him, EL TIGRE! That guy scares the crab out of me.”
THE PREDATOR: Meet El TIGRE. El Tigre the terror, a tiger shark. And, he’s huge. Turtle
Island is his haunt. He patrols an area of forty leagues, always circling, always returning. Pele (the
pelican) has tracked him at speeds up to thirty-three mph. El Tigre is an eating machine. He’s
been evolving for four million years (give or take an eon) and is bio-designed to crack the shells of
Pele, who is always trying to distract Pago Pago who is studying his next chess move, says, “You know, El
Tigre has traveled around the world, from the North Pole to the South, you think this makes him bipolar?”
(Pele, one for telling bad jokes, is his own best audience. Have you ever seen a pelican laugh?) Pago Pago’s
reaction is brief. He gives a humorless grunt.
Louie tells Snap the Berets saved his butt, that El Tigre probably ate three or four and that’s why El Tigre
didn’t turn Snap into a plate of shredded lettuce. He tells Snap to get his butt in the water and help him save
these turtles. He has to warn General Loggerhead they’ll be swimming into ambush!
Snap shuttles Louie across the seabed and into the cavern. Louie tries to warn General Loggerhead. Hawk
the hawksbill argues that Snap and Louie don’t know what they’re talking about. Shelly and Escargot side
with Snap and Louie. Snap suggests going in at night instead, because birds don’t fly in the dark. Escargot
reminds the General about the full moon which means glowing plankton. That, and his recruit, the little
Electric Eel, can help light the turtles way to the beach. Hawk screams out, “You going to listen to a bunch
of bottom-feeders?” This insult is heard by all. Many heads nod in agreement. Not General Loggerhead’s.
General Loggerhead is finalizing his failsafe strategy. All the Greens listen: The amphibious assault of the
beach will take place at night because gulls don’t fly in the dark. His slide rule out, General Loggerhead
calculates El Tigre’s distance-times-cruising-speed then announces time-of-departure. Camouflaged, faces
blackened, the Green Berets line up before General Loggerhead.
Readying to go in, General Loggerhead gives Ridley ( 2nd in command) the order to clear the Beach. Hawk,
3rd in command, begs the General to let him lead the Green Berets in this assault. The General caves in.
Hawk and the Green Berets move out. General Loggerhead and all the female Green turtles waiting to
follow, wait off shore.
Hawk returns, yells, “ALL CLEAR.” General Loggerhead gives the order, “WE’RE GOING IN!”
The sea floor lit, General Loggerhead, Shelly, and Ridley lead a magnificent, amphibious assault of Turtle
Beach. As the hundreds of females erupt onto the shoreline, they spread out and begin digging the sand
On the beach, ALL IS QUIET. Ridley whispers to Shelly, “Where are the Green Berets? And where’d Hawk
go? Some-thing’s wrong!” Then the sounds of something falling into the sand is heard . . . SPLAT, SPLAT.
Something splashes General Loggerhead’s helmet. He reaches up to feel . . . his hand is covered with bird
droppings. “FALL BACK, FALL BACK!” he yells. The general and a few of the Greens make a run for the
sea. Once underwater, The General yells to After Shock, “Douse the light! Douse the light!“ Little After-
Shock, the electric eel, frantically, tries, but he’s so excited that . . . on and off it goes, like a broken neon
All the Green Berets have been captured. The dead-eye sea gulls, diving in unison, in fifteen second
intervals, captured all who were on the beach, and flew them to the enemy camp.
Fat Ace’s aerie: The expectant females, Shelley and Ridley are thrown into cages. Ridley, yells, “SNAP
TIPPED THEM OFF?”
Only a handful of General Loggerhead’s brigade, make it back. Passing Snap, on the way, Snap, too far
behind to have seen anything, tries to find out what happened. One of the turtles, wounded, pauses long
enough to tell Snap, all the females are captured, Shelly and Ridley, the Berets, everyone. It’s as if they
knew we were coming. Another voice yells, “El Tigre, is coming! El Tigre is coming!”
At the cavern, all are horrified to see their secret home in ruins. Without a moment’s delay, they make for the
wreckage of the sunken galleon. El Tigre circles.
Once inside, Hawk appears, accuses Snap of being a traitor, or betraying T-Day to the enemy, as well as the
secret entrance to the cavern. “He’s not one of us! He even admits it. Calls himself a Snapping turtle . . . ”
The General drops his head, he’s had it. Defeat, written all over his face. Hawk tells him his first mistake
was trusting Ridley, another outsider… and why isn’t Snap in irons, he gave away the coordinates and he’s in
league with the enemy, “He’s not one of us!”
SHELL SHOCK, the flat back turtle, the one General Loggerhead slapped during the Battle of Desert
Tortoise during the Gull War of ’96 answers Hawk’s accusations with, “what do you mean, not one of us?
We’re all turtles here.” Hawks answers, “Who are you to speak, you don’t exactly have the best track record.
Snap cuts in, “Hawk’s right! I’m not one of you,” and leaves.
Snap surfaces, climbs to the crow’s nest. El Tigre, smelling a meal, begins circling the wreckage. Shell
Shock, following, only has to swim out of El Tigre’s jaws twice before he surfaces under the light of a full
moon to join Snap.
THE RESCUE and THE VIGIL
The marine iguana, Pago Pago, for the first time, feels he must speak. (Pele’s never heard him utter more than
three grunts in succession until now). Pago Pago begins by equating the game of chess with life. Tells Snap
and Shell Shock how important it is to anticipate a move before making the move. Snap doesn’t appear to be
listening. But Shell Shock is enthralled.
Pago Pago, reminiscing about dangers of living on volcanic islands, tells them about the Blue-footed Rubies.
How they are lured (by the fish) to dive into sea beds filled with rocks where they break their beaks and
drown. “That’s a chess move,” Pago Pago says, “. . . on the part of the fish.”
Pele looks at Snap, asks Shell Shock what’s wrong with Snap. Shell Shock answers, “Hawk ate us up pretty
good downstairs. Called Snap a traitor and me a coward.” Pago Pago warns them, there’s a whole world at
stake here, not just the Greens. If someone doesn’t figure out how to save those Greens, he tells them, the
whole ecological balance will be thrown out of whack, “I also have a stake in this. I’m a reptile, too. Some
one’s going to have to go up there. The Green Berets are there. If they’re released, first . . . might be a
Pele says, “Wish I could help.” Pago Pago, grunts a laugh, “You mean like last time?” Pago Pago focuses on
Snap, says, “You know Shelly’s on that mountain top, too. You two look like you’re made for each other.”
Snap reacts to this, “You think so?” Everyone nods. Shell Shock adds, she would have stood up for you, if
she’d been there.” Snap answers with, “I can’t even swim.” Shell Shock says, “You’re getting better, and
you can climb.” Snap, getting interested, “ . . . and I’m not afraid of heights. I’ll need ropes!” Shell Shock,
offers, “How ‘bout seaweed?” Underneath the Crows’ nest, listening in, is Louie the Ghost Crab. He crawls
aboard, “I’ve got a better idea. “How about a chain?”
Later that night, a moving chain of Ghost crabs can be seen moving up the Cliffside. It’s like a conveyor
belt. Snap, Shell Shock, and Louie on board. Without the Ghost crabs, the climb would have been
impossible. Escargot and Lenny wait on the beach. They are there to guide the females back to the safety of
the sunken ship.
The climb is treacherous. Running out of Ghost crabs, Snap make the final assault, a daring free climb,
alone. Once on top the mountain, tension building, he waits. Finally, seeing an opening, he sneaks into the
camp, spots Shelly’s cage, motions her to silence. Ridley is caged with the Green Berets. He makes eyecontact
with Snap. Realizes he misread Snap, but here and now aren’t the right time for apologies. The raid
on the hideout is successful. The Green Berets go to work and the females are quietly herded down a slope
and onto the beach, and not a fraction too soon. They begin digging, with the help of the Ghost crabs, they
lay and bury their eggs. Shell Shock yells out, Shelly and Snap didn’t make it back.
On the mountain top, the Gulls, alerted that something’s up, have Snap and Shelly cornered. Pele the pelican
appears from out of nowhere and scoops them up.
Because of the weight of his cargo, Pele is gliding closer and closer to the water. El Tigre is racing for him
and makes several giant leaps trying to snag him. Then, El Tigre realizes he only has to wait. Pele’s feet will
soon be dragging in the water. Pago Pago yells, “You can make it! You can make it!” Pele is too exhausted
to yell back.
Lenny, still carrying Escargot, heads for El Tigre. Even though a pelican is a rare treat for the shark, Lenny
knows he is El Tigre’s favorite meal. Escargot, holding on tightly, yells for him to, “ABORT, ABORT!
Youuu iiidiot!” El Tigre’s mouth opens wide! Not wide enough, Lenny is one big son of a turtle! Escargot
is knocked clear. El Tigre’s jaws crunch down on Lenny’s shell.
Escargot’s lone underground recruit, After-Shock, the electric eel, returns the injured sea snail to the sunken
ship. The trio of Green Cross nurses think he’s been hit by lightning. They console and administer to him.
He needs a lot of TLC. He isn’t handling the loss of Lenny very well.
Lenny, broken but alive, (half the shell of the brute he used to be) manages to limp back home. He enters
Escargot’s hospital room. Escargot, thrilled at seeing him alive . . . begins lashing out at him for being
Because of Lenny’s heroism, all the females made it back to the safety of the sunken ship. The battle was
won but unless someone can think of something, they’ll lose the war: there’s still T-DAY, Operation, “The
March of the Hatchlings,” from the sand to the sea, to deal with.
General Loggerhead goes to Ridley to congratulate him. Shelly steps in, tells him Snap’s the real hero.
Ridley seconds this. Snap is put in charge of organizing the March of the Hatchlings. He’s got sixty days to
come up with a doable plan.
OPERATION STONEWALLED: Snap with Louie the Ghost Crab, and his team of apprentices, begin
painting rock after rock, coconut shells, to look like newly hatched baby turtles, to be positioned an hour
before the real hatchlings begin digging their way out of the sand to make the long crawl across an open
beach to reach the safety of the sea. Shelly is there, helping. Snap and Shelly exchange looks.
SIXTY DAYS LATER
When the day of the March of the Hatchlings arrives, the beach APPEARS to be filled with newly hatched
Green Turtles. Shelley and Snap remain on land, watching, together with Louie and Shell Shock (who is now
wearing a green beret).
(Do you remember Pago Pago’s story about the Blue-footed Rubies, how they broke their beaks, diving into a
rock bed? Snap remembered.)
Believing the eggs have hatched, Fat Ace’s Diving Gulls launch their attack! All hell breaks out! The Gulls
make their dive only to break their beaks on the fake turtles painted on the rocks. Fat Ace’s squadrons of
Gulls, completely disabled, fly off screeching in pain.
Utilizing every inch of his incredible wing-span . . . (he’s that overweight) . . . Fat Ace glides to the ground
and singles out Hawk, accusing him of not having warned him about the fake hatchlings painted on the rocks,
thus exposing Hawk as the traitor. Then Fat Ace heads straight for Snap, with, “You think you had a plan?”
Fat Ace, continuing, “. . . you think I’d put all my trust in a hawksbill turtle? Depend on your own kind.
Always have a backup, a plan ‘B’” At this point, ten more albatrosses fly in, landing on the beach, flanking
Out of nowhere, a RUMBLING sound. The bushes and trees begin moving. Something’s coming. All are
startled when a family of freshwater snapping turtles, breaking through the trees, move onto the beach. Fat
Ace’s backup, ‘Plan B (the newly arrived albatrosses) takes off. Louie the Ghost crab grabs hold of Fat
Ace’s leg. Snap moves in quickly. SNAP . . . SNAP! Fat Ace’s wings are now clipped. The family of
Snappers call out, “Well done! Well done, Snap!”
Fat Ace, grounded, dragging his wings in circles, screaming for his back-up to return, yells, “They’re just
turtles, more turtles! Get back here, FIGHT!”
The Green Berets, back in action, begin escorting the hatchlings, the moment they pop their heads out of the
sand, across the beach and into the water. They will protect them until they can reach the sunken galleon.
Were General Loggerback’s calculations off, or did El Tigre change his routine? The huge shark has
appeared off shore. He’s waiting for them. General Loggerhead tells his Green Berets, “We’ll lose most,
perhaps all of the hatchlings. But, what choice do we have? FORWARDS! We’ll make a run for it.”
Another sound is heard in the distance, a sound similar to a tidal wave’s. The ocean water is moving
strangely. The Green Berets, their hatchlings in tow, El Tigre closing in on them . . . all stop to listen . . .
even El Tigre pauses.
Now, guilty as charged, Hawk swimming frantically, is trying to make a break for it. He swims straight into
El Tigre who, as if only responding to a small distraction, opens his jaws, crunches down on Hawk’s shell . . .
and continues listening . . .
The sound waves turn out to be the NAVY SEALS, hundreds of them . . .
General Loggerhead returns to the beach. The war, won, he joins Shelly and Snap. Shelly, stares over at the
family of Snapping turtles, asks Snap, “Do you know those guys?” Snap answers, “My family. I told you!
I’m a freshwater Snapping turtle.” General Loggerhead tells him, “No Snap, you’re not. You’re a Green.
We’re your family. And, you’re a hero. You belong in the ocean. You belong with us.”
A drop of something hits General Loggerhead’s shoulder. He looks, fearing the sea gulls have returned. It’s
not bird droppings. It’s a drop of rain. The drought is over.
A year later
The hatchlings are digging their way out of the sand and heading for the sea. Shelly and Snap are waiting.
Shell Shock, Louie and Escargot are there. One of the hatchlings pops his head out of the sand, looks around
and takes off running in the wrong direction. Shelly looks at Snap. Snap looks at Shelley. Snap runs after
him . . .
Once again, every one’s happy to be able to be on the beach. Everyone is there: Pago Pago and Pele, Snap
and Shelly, Louie, the Ghost crab, Escargot and Lenny, Ridley and Shell Shock with General Loggerhead,
and all the Snapping turtles.