After surviving a plane crash in the harsh deserts of Iran, a U.S. Air Force pilot stumbles across the largest buried treasure in history.
Synopsis: High above the Persian Gulf, Air Force Major Kip ‘Hawk’ Hawkinson and his systems officer, Clayton McGuire, soar towards Iran in the Artemis stealth reconnaissance plane–the most advanced and secretive spy plane in existence–with orders to photograph a potential nuclear weapons facility. As they fly back to base, their jet is crippled by a strange malfunction, forcing Hawk to make an emergency landing in the middle of the harsh Iranian desert.
With the Iranian military, led by the cold, calculating Colonel Nazir and the merciless, soft-spoken war hero Karim Akbari quickly swarming the crash site and capturing Clayton, Hawk flees into the desert and hides in mysterious set of mountainous caves, where he’s able to regain his strength, hide the film with a tracking device, then continue his journey towards Quatar. But before he can get very far, a cave-in sends him hurtling down the mountain, splashing unconscious into a river to be swept away.
Hawk awakens to find himself being cared for by Ardesher, an elderly sheep herder, and Leilah, his beautiful daughter. As Hwak describes the cave, and the strange symbols he found etched into the walls, they grow giddy and explain that they are actually American treasure hunters risking their lives to search Iran for the elusive Dragon’s Den, the long-lost hidden fortune of King Darius the Third. Not only may Hawk have discovered it, but his tracking device can lead them right back to it. Intrigued, Hawk agrees to take them there, provided they help him, too.
But before they can begin their trek into the mountains, Hawk is spotted by Iranian soldiers and taken into custody, brought before Karim for interrogation. Karim, himself once the victim of barbaric treatment as a POW, has no reservations about using torture to extract information from his own prisoners. However, Hawk manages to cut through his bonds and flee the facility. Unbeknownst to him, this was what Karim had hoped for, as he had secretly planted a tracking device on Hawk, knowing he would lead him directly back to the black box.
As Hawk, Ardesher, and Leilah make their way into the mountains, Nazir, eager to recover the treasure for the Iranian government, awaits the arrival of Karim and his troops. However, Karim arrives with only his two trusted guards, and murders Nazir out of revenge for allowing him to be imprisoned and tortured by the Iraqis years ago. The three follow Hawk into the caves, hoping to take the treasure for themselves.
Once in the labyrinthine caverns, Karim and his men attack, leading to a volatile game of cat and mouse, forcing Hawk, Ardesher, and leilah deeper into the caves. Eventually, Karim is joined by Clayton, who reveals himself to be a Russian double agent working to deliver the Artemis into Russian hands with Karim’s help. After a stray bullet triggers a cave-in, pinning Clayton, Karim takes the opportunity to regain his weapon, but before he can kill Hawk, Leilah appears behind him, stabbing him in the back(just as Hawk jokingly proclaimed all women would eventually do). Ardesher asks where she got the knife, and grinning, she shows them: the cave-in actually revealed the entrance to the Dragon’s Den.
The three stare in wonder at the enormous treasure trove, the climax of Ardesher’s life’s work. But as Hawk and Leilah celebrate with a kiss, the cave continues to rumble–a total cave-in imminent. With no time to spare, the three grab the film and make their escape, leaving CLayton and Karim to be entombed forever alongside the Dragon’s Den
Creative notes: The story is based a a true lost treasure hidden in 331 b.c. by King Darius IIII after losing a battle with Alexander The Great. I do research on real accounts of shipwrecks and lost treasures.
Race To The Dragon’s Den ©
An Original Screenplay by Mark Kostrubala