ALIEN


                  (project formerly titled STARBEAST)


                Story by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett


                      Screenplay by Dan O'Bannon





                                                                       1976






                              SYNOPSIS

     En route back to Earth from a far part of the galaxy, the crew of the
     starship SNARK intercepts a transmission in an alien language,
     originating from a nearby storm-shrouded planet.

     Mankind has waited centuries to contact another form of intelligent
     life in the universe -- they decide to land and investigate.  Their
     search takes them to a wrecked alien spacecraft whose doors gape open
     -- it is dead and abandoned.  Inside they find, among other strange
     things, the skeleton of one of the unearthly space travellers.

     Certain clues in the wrecked ship lead them across the hostile surface
     of the planet to a primitive stone pyramid, the only remnant of a
     vanished civilization.  Beneath this pyramid they find an ancient tomb
     full of fantastic artifacts.  Lying dormant in the tomb are centuries-
     old spores, which are triggered into life by the men's presence.  A
     parasite emerges and fastens itself to one of the men's faces -- and
     cannot be removed.

     An examination by the ship's medical computer reveals that the
     creature has inserted a tube down his throat, which is depositing
     something inside him.  Then it is discovered that the parasite's blood
     is a horribly corrosive acid which eats through metal -- they dare not
     kill it on the ship.

     Ultimately it is dislodged from its victim and ejected from the ship,
     and they blast off from the Hell-planet.  However, before they can seal
     themselves into suspended animation for the long voyage home, a
     horrible little monster emerges from the victim's body -- it has been
     growing in him, deposited there by the parasite... and now it is loose
     on the ship.

     A series of ghastly adventures follow.  They trap it in an air shaft
     and a man has to crawl down the shaft with a flamethrower -- it tears
     a man's head off and runs away with his body -- a man is crushed in
     the air lock door and the ship loses most of its air in a terrific
     windstorm -- another man is burned to death and then eaten by the
     creature -- and another is woven into a cocoon as part of the alien's
     bizarre life cycle.

     Finally there is only one man left alive, alone on the ship with the
     creature, and only six hours till his air runs out; which leads to a
     climax of horrifying, explosive jeopardy, the outcome of which
     determines who will reach Earth alive -- man or alien.






                         CAST OF CHARACTERS

     CHAZ STANDARD,
          Captain.................A leader and a politician.  Believes that
                                   any action is better than no action.

     MARTIN ROBY,
          Executive Officer.......Cautious but intelligent -- a survivor.

     DELL BROUSSARD,
          Navigator...............Adventurer; brash glory-hound.

     SANDY MELKONIS,
          Communications..........Tech Intellectual; a romantic.

     CLEAVE HUNTER,
          Mining Engineer.........High-strung; came along to make his
                                   fortune.

     JAY FAUST,
          Engine Tech.............A worker.  Unimaginative.

     The crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men or women.




   


IMAGE -- starmap.jpg
   



     FADE IN:

     EXTREME CLOSEUPS OF FLICKERING INSTRUMENT PANELS.  Readouts and digital
     displays pulse eerily with the technology of the distant future.

     Wherever we are, it seems to be chill, dark, and sterile.  Electronic
     machinery chuckles softly to itself.

     Abruptly we hear a BEEPING SIGNAL, and the machinery begins to awaken.
     Circuits close, lights blink on.

     CAMERA ANGLES GRADUALLY WIDEN, revealing more and more of the
     machinery, banks of panels, fluttering gauges, until we reveal:

     INTERIOR - HYPERSLEEP VAULT

     A stainless steel room with no windows, the walls packed with
     instrumentation.  The lights are dim and the air is frigid.

     Occupying most of the floor space are rows of horizontal FREEZER
     COMPARTMENTS, looking for all the world like meat lockers.

     FOOM!  FOOM!  FOOM!  With explosions of escaping gas, the lids on the
     freezers pop open.

     Slowly, groggily, six nude men sit up.

                              ROBY
               Oh... God... am I cold... 

                              BROUSSARD
               Is that you, Roby?

                              ROBY
               I feel like shit... 

                              BROUSSARD
               Yeah, it's you all right.

     Now they are yawning, stretching, and shivering.

                              FAUST
                    (groans)
               Ohh... I must be alive, I feel dead.

                              BROUSSARD
               You look dead.

                              MELKONIS
               The vampires rise from their graves.

     This draws a few woozy chuckles.

                              BROUSSARD
                    (shakes his fist in the
                     air triumphantly)
               We made it!

                              HUNTER
                    (not fully awake)
               Is it over?

                              STANDARD
               It's over, Hunter.

                              HUNTER
                    (yawning)
               Boy, that's terrific.

                              STANDARD
                    (looking around with a grin)
               Well, how does it feel to be rich
               men?

                              FAUST
               Cold!

     This draws a LAUGH.

                              STANDARD
               Okay!  Everybody topside!  Let's get
               our pants on and get to our posts!

     The men begin to swing out of the freezers.

                              MELKONIS
               Somebody get the cat.

     Roby picks a limp cat out of a freezer.

     INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM

     This is a fantastic circular room, jammed with instrumentation.  There
     are no windows, but above head level the room is ringed by
     viewscreens, all blank for the moment.

     There are seats for four men.  Each chair faces a console and is
     surrounded by a dazzling array of technology.

     STANDARD, ROBY, BROUSSARD, and MELKONIS are entering and finding their
     seats.

                              BROUSSARD
               I'm going to buy a cattle ranch.

                              ROBY
                    (putting down the cat)
               Cattle ranch!

                              BROUSSARD
               I'm not kidding.  You can get one if
               you have the credit.  Look just like
               real cows, too.

                              STANDARD
               All right, tycoons, let's stop
               spending our credit and start
               worrying about the job at hand.

                              ROBY
               Right.  Fire up all systems.

     They begin to throw switches, lighting up their consoles.  The control
     room starts to come to life.  All around the room, colored lights
     flicker and chase each other across glowing screens.  The room fills
     with the hum and chatter of machinery.

                              STANDARD
               Sandy, you want to give us some
               vision?

                              MELKONIS
               Feast your eyes.

     Melkonis reaches to his console and presses a bank of switches.  The
     strip of viewscreens flickers into life.

     On each screen, we see BLACKNESS SPECKLED WITH STARS.

                              BROUSSARD
                    (after a pause)
               Where's Irth?

                              STANDARD
               Sandy, scan the whole sky.

     Melkonis hits buttons.  On the screens the images all begin to pan.

     CAMERA MOVES IN ON ONE OF THE SCREENS, with its moving image of a
     starfield.

     EXTERIOR - OUTER SPACE

     CLOSE SHOT OF A PANNING TV CAMERA.  This camera is remote controlled,
     turning silently on its base.

     CAMERA BEGINS TO PULL BACK, revealing that the TV camera is mounted on
     the HULL OF SOME KIND OF CRAFT.

     When the pullback is finished, WE SEE THE FULL LENGTH OF THE STARSHIP
     "SNARK," hanging in the depths of interstellar space, against a
     background of glimmering stars.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

                              ROBY
               Where are we?

                              STANDARD
               Sandy, contact traffic control.

     Melkonis switches on his radio unit.

                              MELKONIS
               This is deep space commercial vessel
               SNARK, registration number E180246,
               calling Antarctica air traffic
               control.  Do you read me?  Over.

     There is only the HISS OF STATIC.

                              BROUSSARD
                    (staring at a screen)
               I don't recognize that constellation.

                              STANDARD
               Dell, plot our location.

     Broussard goes into action, punching buttons, lighting up all his
     instruments.

                              BROUSSARD
               I got it.  Oh boy.

                              STANDARD
               Where the hell are we?

                              BROUSSARD
               Just short of Zeta II Reticuli.  We
               haven't even reached the outer rim
               yet.

                              ROBY
               What the hell?

     Standard picks up a microphone.

                              STANDARD
               This is Chaz speaking.  Sorry, but we
               are not home.  Our present location
               seems to be only halfway to Irth.
               Remain at your posts and stand by.
               That is all.

                              ROBY
               Chaz, I've got something here on my
               security alert.  A high priority from
               the computer... 

                              STANDARD
               Let's hear it.

                              ROBY
                    (punches buttons)
               Computer, you have signalled a
               priority three message.  What is the
               message?

                              COMPUTER
                    (a mechanical voice)
               I have interrupted the course of the
               voyage.

                              ROBY
               What?  Why?

                              COMPUTER
               I am programmed to do so if certain
               conditions arise.

                              STANDARD
               Computer, this is Captain Standard.
               What conditions are you talking
               about?

                              COMPUTER
               I have intercepted a transmission of
               unknown origin.

                              STANDARD
               A transmission?

                              COMPUTER
               A voice transmission.

                              MELKONIS
               Out here?

     The men exchange glances.

                              COMPUTER
               I have recorded the transmission.

                              STANDARD
               Play it for us, please.

     Over the speakers, we hear a hum, a crackle, static... THEN A
     STRANGE, UNEARTHLY VOICE FILLS THE ROOM, SPEAKING AN ALIEN
     LANGUAGE.  The bizarre voice speaks a long sentence, then falls
     silent.

     The men all stare at each other in amazement.

                              STANDARD
               Computer, what language was that?

                              COMPUTER
               Unknown.

                              ROBY
               Unknown!  What do you mean?

                              COMPUTER
               It is none of the 678 dialects
               spoken by technological man.

     There is a pause, then EVERYBODY STARTS TALKING AT THE SAME TIME.

                              STANDARD
                    (silencing them)
               Just hold it, hold it!
                    (glares around the room)
               Computer: have you attempted to
               analyze the transmission?

                              COMPUTER
               Yes.  There are two points of salient
               interest.  Number one: it is highly
               systematized, indicating intelligent
               origin.  Number two: certain sounds
               are inconsistent with the human
               palate.

                              ROBY
               Oh my God.

                              STANDARD
               Well, it's finally happened.

                              MELKONIS
               First contact... 

                              STANDARD
               Sandy, can you home in on that beam?

                              MELKONIS
               What's the frequency?

                              STANDARD
               Computer, what's the frequency of
               the transmission?

                              COMPUTER
               65330 dash 99.

     Melkonis punches buttons.

                              MELKONIS
               I've got it.  It's coming from
               ascension 6 minutes 32 seconds,
               declination -39 degrees 2 seconds.

                              STANDARD
               Dell -- show me that on a screen.

                              BROUSSARD
               I'll give it to you on number four.

     Broussard punches buttons.  One of the viewscreens flickers, and a
     small dot of light becomes visible in the corner of the screen.

                              BROUSSARD (CONT'D)
               That's it.  Let me straighten it out.

     He twists a knob, moving the image on the screen till the dot is in
     the center.

                              STANDARD
               Can you get it a little closer?

                              BROUSSARD
               That's what I'm going to do.

     He hits a button.  The screen flashes and a PLANET APPEARS.

                              BROUSSARD (CONT'D)
               Planetoid.  Diameter, 120 kilometers.

                              MELKONIS
               It's tiny!

                              STANDARD
               Any rotation?

                              BROUSSARD
               Yeah.  Two hours.

                              STANDARD
               Gravity?

                              BROUSSARD
               Point eight six.  We can walk on it.

     Standard rises.

                              STANDARD
               Martin, get the others up to the
               lounge.

     INTERIOR - MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM

     The entire crew -- STANDARD, ROBY, BROUSSARD, MELKONIS, HUNTER, and
     FAUST -- are all seated around a table, with Standard at the head.

                              MELKONIS
               If it's an S.O.S., we're morally
               obligated to investigate.

                              BROUSSARD
               Right.

                              HUNTER
               I don't know.  Seems to me we came on
               this trip to make some credit, not
               to go off on some kind of side trip.

                              BROUSSARD
                    (excited)
               Forget the credit; what we have here
               is a chance to be the first men to
               contact a nonhuman intelligence.

                              ROBY
               If there is some kind of alien
               intelligence down on that planetoid,
               it'd be a serious mistake for us to
               blunder in unequipped.

                              BROUSSARD
               Hell, we're equipped --

                              ROBY
               Hell, no!  We don't know what's down
               there on that piece of rock!  It
               might be dangerous!  What we should
               do is get on the radio to the
               exploration authorities... and let
               them deal with it.

                              STANDARD
               Except it will take 75 years to get
               a reply back.  Don't forget how far
               we are from the Colonies, Martin.

                              BROUSSARD
               There are no commercial lanes out
               here.  Face it, we're out of range.

                              MELKONIS
               Men have waited centuries to contact
               another form of intelligent life in
               the universe.  This is an opportunity
               which may never come again.

                              ROBY
               Look --

                              STANDARD
               You're overruled, Martin.  Gentlemen
               -- let's go.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     The men are strapping in, but this time it is with grim determination.

                              STANDARD
               Dell, I want greater magnification.
               More surface detail.  I want to see
               what this place looks like.

                              BROUSSARD
               I'll see what I can do.

     He jabs his controls.  The image on the screen ZOOMS DOWN TOWARD THE
     PLANET; but all detail quickly vanishes into a featureless grey haze.

                              STANDARD
               It's out of focus.

                              ROBY
               No -- that's atmosphere.  Cloud
               layer.

                              MELKONIS
               My God, it's stormy for a piece of
               rock that size!

                              ROBY
               Just a second.
                    (punches buttons)
               Those aren't water vapor clouds;
               they have no moisture content.

                              STANDARD
               Put ship in atmospheric mode.

     EXTERIOR - "SNARK" - OUTER SPACE

     The great dish antenna on the SNARK folds down against the main body
     of the ship, and other parts flatten out, until the ship has assumed
     an aerodynamic form.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

                              STANDARD
               Dell, set a course and bring us in
               on that beam.

     EXTERIOR - SPACE

     The SNARK's engines cough into life, and send it drifting toward the
     distant dot that is the planetoid.

     CAMERA APPROACHES THE PLANETOID, until it looms large on screen.  It is
     turbulent, completely enveloped in dun-colored clouds.

     The SNARK drops down toward the surface.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

                              STANDARD
               Activate lifter quads.

                              BROUSSARD
               Activated.  Vertical drop checked.
               Correcting course.  On tangential
               course now, orbiting.
                    (brief pause as he
                     studies his instruments)
               Crossing the terminator.  Entering
               night side.

     EXTERIOR - "SNARK" - IN ORBIT

     Beneath the orbiting SNARK, night's curtain rolls across the planet.

     Descending at an angle, the SNARK drops down into the thick atmosphere
     of the planetoid.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

                              ROBY
               Atmospheric turbulence.  Dust storm.

                              STANDARD
               Turn on navigation lights.

     EXTERIOR - "SNARK"

     Hydroplaning down through the pea-soup atmosphere, a set of brilliant
     lights switches on, cutting through the dust, but hardly improving
     visibility.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

                              BROUSSARD
               Approaching point of origin.  Closing
               at 20 kilometers, 15 and slowing.
               Ten.  Five.  Gentlemen, we are
               directly above the source of the
               transmission.

                              STANDARD
               What's the terrain down there?

                              BROUSSARD
               Well, line of sight is impossible
               due to dust.  Radar gives me noise.
               Sonar gives me noise.  Infrared --
               noise.  Let's try ultraviolet.  There.
               Flat.  It's totally flat.  A plain.

                              STANDARD
               Is it solid?

                              BROUSSARD
               It's... basalt.  Rock.

                              STANDARD
               Then take her down.

                              BROUSSARD
               Drop begins... now!  Fifteen
               kilometers and dropping... twelve... 
               ten... eight and slowing.  Five.
               Three.  Two.  One kilometer and
               slowing.  Lock tractor beams.

     There is a LOUD ELECTRICAL HUM and the ship shudders.

                              ROBY
               Locked.

                              BROUSSARD
               Kill drive engines.

     The engines fall silent.

                              ROBY
               Engines off.

                              BROUSSARD
               Nine hundred meters and dropping.
               800.  700.  Hang on gentlemen.

     EXTERIOR - SURFACE OF PLANET - NIGHT

     The night-shrouded surface is a hell of blowing dust.  The SNARK hovers
     above it on glowing beams of light, dropping down slowly.

     Landing struts unfold like insect legs.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

                              BROUSSARD
               And we're... down.

     EXTERIOR - SURFACE OF PLANET - NIGHT

     The ship touches down, heavily; it rocks on huge shock absorbers.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     The whole ship VIBRATES VIOLENTLY FOR AN INSTANT -- then all the
     panels in the room flash simultaneously and the LIGHT'S GO OUT.

                              BROUSSARD
               Jesus Christ!

     The lights come back on again.

                              STANDARD
               What the hell happened?

                              ROBY
                    (hits a switch)
               Engine room, what happened?

                              FAUST
                    (over, filtered)
               Just a minute, hold it, I'm
               checking.

                              ROBY
               Has the hull been breached?

                              BROUSSARD
               Uh... 
                    (scans his gauges)
               No, I don't see anything.  We've
               still got pressure.

     There is a BEEP from the communicator.  Then:

                              FAUST
                    (over, filtered)
               Martin, this is Jay.  The intakes are
               clogged with dust.  We overheated and
               burned out a whole cell.

                              STANDARD
                    (strikes his panel)
               Damn it!  How long to fix?

                              ROBY
                    (into microphone)
               How long to fix?

                              FAUST
                    (over, filtered)
               Hard to say.

                              ROBY
               Well, get started.

                              FAUST
                    (over, filtered)
               Right.  Talk to you.

                              STANDARD
               Let's take a look outside.  Turn the
               screens back on.

     Melkonis hits buttons.  The screens flicker, but remain black.

                              BROUSSARD
               Can't see a blessed thing.

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - NIGHT

     Only a few glittering lights distinguish the ship from the absolute
     darkness around it.

     THE WIND MOANS AND SCREAMS.  DUST BLOWS IN FRONT OF THE TINY GLIMMERING
     LIGHTS.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - NIGHT

                              STANDARD
               Kick on the floods.

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - NIGHT

     A ring of FLOODLIGHTS on the ship come to life, pouring blinding light
     out into the night.

     They illuminate nothing but a patch of featureless grey ground and
     clouds of blowing dust.  The wind shrieks.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - NIGHT

                              ROBY
               Not much help.

     Standard stares at the dark screens.

                              STANDARD
               Well, we can't go anywhere in this
               darkness.  How long till dawn?

                              MELKONIS
                    (consults his instruments)
               Well... this rock rotates every two
               hours.  The sun should be coming up
               in about 20 minutes.

                              BROUSSARD
               Good!  Maybe we'll be able to see
               something then.

                              ROBY
               Or something will be able to see us.

     They all look at him.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - NIGHT (MAIN TITLE SEQUENCE)

     The floodlights on the SNARK fight a losing battle against the
     darkness and the storm.  MAIN THEME MUSIC BEGINS, EXTREMELY OMINOUS.

     THE TITLE APPEARS:

                              ALIEN

     RUN TITLES.

     Gradually, the screen begins to lighten as the SUN RISES.  The
     silhouette of the SNARK becomes visible, like some strange insect
     crouching motionless on the barren plain.  The floods shut off.  Dense
     clouds of impenetrable dust shriek and moan, obscuring everything and
     reducing the sunlight to a dull orange.

     END MAIN TITLES.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

     CLOSE ON A SCREEN - it shows nothing but swirling clouds of orange
     dust.

     PULL BACK FROM SCREEN.  The men (Standard, Roby, Broussard, and
     Melkonis) are sitting and standing around the room, drinking coffee
     and staring at the screens, which reveal only the billowing dust.

                              ROBY
               There could be a whole city out
               there and we'd never see it.

                              BROUSSARD
               Not sitting on our butts in here,
               that's for sure.

                              STANDARD
               Just settle down.  Sandy, you get any
               response yet?

                              MELKONIS
                    (pulls off his earphones)
               Sorry.  Nothing but that same damn
               transmission, every 32 seconds.  I've
               tried every frequency on the
               spectrum.

                              BROUSSARD
               Are we just going to sit around and
               wait for an invitation?

     Roby gives Broussard a black look, then stabs a button on his console
     and speaks into the mike.

                              ROBY
                    (into mike)
               Hello, Faust!

                              FAUST
                    (over, filtered)
               Yeah!

                              ROBY
               How's it coming on the engines?

     INTERIOR - ENGINE ROOM

     Faust is seated at an electronic workbench, brightly lit, speaking
     into a wall intercom.

                              FAUST
               I never saw anything as fine as this
               dust... these cells are all pitted on
               a microscopic level.  I have to
               polish these things smooth again, so
               it's going to take a while.  Okay?

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

                              ROBY
               Yeah, okay.
                    (puts down the mike)

                              STANDARD
               Sandy... how far are we from the
               source of the transmission?

                              MELKONIS
               Source of transmission is to the
               northeast... about 300 meters.

                              ROBY
               Close... 

                              BROUSSARD
               Close enough to walk to!

                              STANDARD
               Martin, would you run me an
               atmospheric?

                              ROBY
                    (punches buttons and
                     consults his panels)
               10% argon, 85% nitrogen, 5% neon... 
               and some trace elements.

                              STANDARD
               Nontoxic... but unbreathable.
               Pressure?

                              ROBY
               Ten to the fourth dynes per square
               centimeter.

                              STANDARD
               Good!  Moisture content?

                              ROBY
               Zero.  Dry as a bone.

                              STANDARD
               Any microorganisms?

                              ROBY
               Not a one.  It's dead.

                              STANDARD
               Anything else?

                              ROBY
               Yeah, rock particles.  Dust.

                              STANDARD
               Well, we won't need pressure suits,
               but breathing masks are called for.
               Sandy -- can you rig up some kind of
               portable unit that we can use to
               follow that transmission to its
               source?

                              MELKONIS
               No problem.

                              BROUSSARD
               I volunteer for the exploration
               party.

                              STANDARD
               I heard you.  You want to break out
               the side arms?

     INTERIOR - MAIN ARM LOCK - DAY

     Standard, Broussard and Melkonis enter the lock.  They all wear gloves,
     boots, jackets, and pistols.

     Broussard touches a button and the inner door slides silently shut,
     sealing them into the lock.

     They all pull on rubber full-head oxygen masks.

                              STANDARD
                    (adjusting the radio on his
                     mask)
               I'm sending.  Do you hear me?

                              BROUSSARD
               Receiving.

                              MELKONIS
               Receiving.

                              STANDARD
               All right.  Now just remember: keep
               away from those weapons unless I say
               otherwise.  Martin, do you read me?

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

                              ROBY
               Read you, Chaz.

     INTERIOR - MAIN AIR LOCK - DAY

                              STANDARD
               Open the outer door.

     Ponderously, the outer lock door slides open.  ORANGE SUNLIGHT streams
     into the lock, and clouds of dust swirl in.  We hear the MOANING OF THE
     WIND OUTSIDE.

     A mobile stairway slides out of the open hatchway, and clunks as it
     hits the ground.

     Standard walks out into the storm, followed by the others.

     EXTERIOR - PLANETOID - DAY

     The three men trot down the gangplank to the surface of the planet.
     Their feet sink into a thick layer of dust and loose rock.

     The men huddle together, looking around.  The wind screams and tugs at
     their clothes.  Nothing can be seen.

                              STANDARD
               Which way, Sandy?

     Melkonis is fiddling with a portable direction-finder.

                              MELKONIS
                    (pointing)
               That way.

                              STANDARD
               You lead.

     Melkonis walks into the blinding dust clouds, followed closely by the
     others.

                              STANDARD
               Okay, Martin.  We're on our way.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

     Roby is the sole occupant of the bridge.  He is huddled over his
     console, smoking a cigarette and watching three moving blips on a
     screen.

                              ROBY
               Okay, Chaz, I hear you.  I've got you
               on my board.

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Good.  I'm getting you clear too.
               Let's just keep the line open.

     EXTERIOR - PLANETOID - DAY

     The three men plough their way through a limbo of yellow dust and
     shrieking wind.  With their rubbery masks and deliberate movements,
     they look like deep-sea divers at the bottom of a murky ocean.

     Melkonis leads the column, following the compass on the direction
     finder.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Can't see more than three meters in
               any direction out here.  We're
               walking blind, on instruments.

     They wade on, following Melkonis.  Abruptly he halts.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               What's wrong?

                              MELKONIS
               My signal's fading.

     He studies the direction finder.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

     Roby is listening intently to the dialogue from the helmet radios.

                              MELKONIS (CONT'D)
                    (over, filtered)
               It's the dust, it's interfering... 

     His concentration is so great that he does NOT NOTICE HUNTER COMING UP
     BEHIND HIM.

                              MELKONIS (CONT'D)
                    (over, filtered)
               ... Hold it, I've got it again.  It's
               over that way.

     Standing DIRECTLY BEHIND ROBY, Hunter speaks.

                              HUNTER
               What's happening?

     Startled out of his wits, Roby GASPS and whirls around to face Hunter.

                              ROBY
                    (startled silly)
               Hell!

     Hunter stares at Roby, whose momentary terror dissolves into
     embarrassed anger.

     EXTERIOR - PLANETOID - DAY

     The three men push their way through the storm.  Melkonis stops again,
     studies the direction finder.

                              MELKONIS
               It's close, real close.

                              STANDARD
               How far?

                              MELKONIS
               We should be almost on top of it.  I
               just can't quite... 

     Suddenly, Broussard grabs Standard's arm and points.  The others stare
     in the direction he is pointing.

     REVERSE ANGLE - THEIR POINT-OF-VIEW

     Through the dense clouds of swirling dust we can just barely make out
     some kind of HUGE SHAPE.

     As we watch, the dust clears slightly, REVEALING A GROTESQUE SHIP
     RISING FROM THE SHIP LIKE SOME GIGANTIC TOADSTOOL.  It is clearly of
     non-human manufacture.

     ANGLE ON THE MEN

     They are struck dumb by the sight of the craft.  Finally, Standard
     finds his voice.

                              STANDARD
               Martin, uh, we've found it.

                              ROBY
                    (sharply -- over, filtered)
               Found what?

                              STANDARD
               It appears to be some sort of
               spacecraft.  We're going to approach
               it.

     They start toward the alien ship.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (over, filtered)
               There are no signs of life.  No
               lights... no movement... 

     Roby and Hunter are listening with hypnotic concentration.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (over, filtered)
               We're, uh, approaching the base.

     EXTERIOR - BASE OF TOADSTOOL SHIP - DAY

     A strangely shaped DOOR yawns open at the base of the ship.  Dust and
     sand have blown in, filling the lower part of the entrance.

     With great caution, the men approach the entrance and group around it.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Appears to be a door hanging open,
               the entrance is clogged with debris.

                              BROUSSARD
               Looks like a derelict.

                              STANDARD
               Martin, we're going in.  I'm going to
               hold the conversation to a minimum
               from here on.

     INTERIOR - ALIEN SHIP - DAY

     The doorway is a glowing geometric blur of light against blackness,
     spewing dust.  In the darkness of the chamber are huge, formless
     shapes.

     Standard, Broussard and Melkonis appear silhouetted against the
     doorway.  They switch on flashlight-like devices called "DATASTICKS",
     and step in.

   


IMAGE -- datastick.jpg
   

     Carefully, peering around, they pick their way past the indistinct
     machinery.

                              MELKONIS
               Air lock?

                              STANDARD
               Who knows?

                              BROUSSARD
               Let's try and find the control room.

     As they move their lights around, they can see that the walls,
     ceiling, and machinery are FULL OF HUGE, IRREGULAR HOLES.

                              MELKONIS
               Look at these holes.  This place
               looks like Swiss cheese.

     Broussard shines his light up into a huge hole in the ceiling.

                              BROUSSARD
               This hole goes up several decks --
               looks like somebody was firing a
               military disintegrator in here.

     They all peer up the hole into darkness.

                              STANDARD
               Climbing gear.

     Standard draws out a stubby spear gun with a graplon attached to it.
     He aims it up into the hole and fires.

     The graplon is launched up into darkness, trailing a thin wire.  There
     is a dull CLUNK, and the wire dangles.

                              BROUSSARD
               I'll go first.

                              STANDARD
               No, you'll follow me.

     Standard attaches the wire to a powered gear box on his chest, and
     presses a button.  With a mechanical whine, he is pulled up into the
     hole, using his feet for leverage where he can.

     Broussard attaches the wire to his own chest unit.

     INTERIOR - CONTROL ROOM OF ALIEN SHIP

     This chamber is totally dark as Broussard arrives at the top of the
     hole.

     Standard stands with his flashlight/camera ("datastick") tracing a
     beam through the hanging dust.

     Broussard unclips himself from the climbing wire, then raises his own
     light.  At that moment, Melkonis arrives at the top of the hole.

     THEIR LIGHTS SCAN THE ROOM.  The beams are clearly visible as columns
     of light in the floating dust.  They reveal heavy, odd shapes.

     Broussard stumbles over something.  He shines his light down on it.

     It is a large, glossy urn, brown in color, with peculiar markings.
     Broussard stands it upright.  It has a round opening in the top, and is
     empty.

     Suddenly, Melkonis lets out a grunt of shock.  Their lights have
     illuminated something unspeakably grotesque: A HUGE ALIEN SKELETON,
     SEATED IN THE CONTROL CHAIR.

     They approach the skeleton, their lights trained on it.  IT IS A
     GROTESQUE THING, BEARING NO RESEMBLANCE TO THE HUMAN FORM.

                              MELKONIS
               Holy Christ... 

     Standard shines his light on the console at which the hideous skeleton
     is seated.  He moves his light closer and peers at the panel.

                              STANDARD
               Look at this... 

     They approach.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Something has been scratched here... 
               into the veneer.  See?

     Traced raggedly onto the surface of the panel, as by the point of a
     sharp instrument, is a small triangle:

   


IMAGE -- scrawledtriangle.jpg
   

     Hearing something, Broussard flashes his light across the room.  As the
     beam scans the walls, it briefly touches on SOMETHING THAT MOVES.

     Melkonis convulsively yanks out his pistol.

                              MELKONIS
               LOOK OUT, IT MOVED!

     Standard knocks his hand down.

                              STANDARD
               Keep away from that gun!

     Standard shoulders himself in front of the others.  Then, slowly, he
     begins to move toward the far side of the room.

     They approach a console on the wall, training their lights on it.
     There is a machine.  On the machine, a small bar moves steadily back
     and forth, sliding noiselessly in its grooves.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Just machinery.

                              BROUSSARD
               But functioning.

     Melkonis looks down at his direction finder.

                              MELKONIS
               That's where the transmission is
               coming from.

     He throws a switch on the direction finder -- with a crackle and a
     hum, the UNEARTHLY VOICE fills their earphones.

                              BROUSSARD
               A recording.  A damned automatic
               recording.

     EXTERIOR - PLANETOID - SUNSET

     SINISTER ANGLE ON THE SNARK.  As we watch, the sunlight turns the color
     of blood, and then the sun is down, leaving murky blackness in its
     wake.  The ring of floodlights on the ship flares into life, feebly
     combatting the darkness and the storm.

     INTERIOR - MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM

     The entire crew is seated around the conference table, watching
     holographic pictures projected onto a screen.  These are photos taken
     by their "datasticks" (flashlight/cameras).

     Standard is commenting on the changing slides.

                              STANDARD
               ... This is the control room... 

     Two or three pictures click onto the screen in succession, showing the
     suited men standing against banks of machinery.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               ... Some details of the control
               room... 

     The SKELETON appears on the screen.  The men react with mutters.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               ... This is the skeleton... another
               view of the skeleton... the
               transmitting device... 

     The triangle that was cut into the alien's console appears.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               ... This is a closeup of the triangle
               we found scrawled on the console in
               front of the skeleton... 

     Standard changes the slide.  The screen goes white.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               ... And that's it.

     He turns off the projector and brings the lights up.

                              HUNTER
               Phenomenal.  Staggering.

                              BROUSSARD
               We've got to go back and take a lot
               more pictures, holograph
               everything.

                              MELKONIS
               And bring back as much physical
               evidence as possible, too.  The rest
               of the skeleton.  Some of the
               machinery.  Written records, if there
               are any.

     Roby is slumped in his chair.  He has said nothing.

                              STANDARD
               Martin?

                              ROBY
               I agree.  This is the single most
               important discovery in history.

                              STANDARD
               But?

                              ROBY
               What killed it?

                              BROUSSARD
               Hell, that thing's been dead for
               years.  Maybe hundreds of years.  The
               whole planet's dead.

                              FAUST
               The way I figure it, they landed
               here for repairs or something, then
               they couldn't take off again.  Maybe
               the dust ruined their engines.  They
               set up an S.O.S. beacon, but nobody
               came.  So they died.

                              ROBY
               He died.

                              FAUST
               What?

                              ROBY
               Not they... he... 

     They all turn to look in the direction of Roby's nod.  CAMERA MOVES
     OVER TO REVEAL THE ALIEN SKULL SITTING ON A TABLE.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
               ... There was only one skeleton.

     There is a moment of silence.

                              STANDARD
               Jay... how's it coming on the
               repairs?

                              FAUST
               Well... I'm going to have to blow the
               engines out... 

                              STANDARD
               And when will you be ready to do
               that?

                              FAUST
               Oh -- I'm not near ready yet.

                              STANDARD
               Then why the hell are you sitting
               around here?

                              FAUST
               Right.

     The men rise and begin to disperse, but Roby remains seated, deep in
     thought, staring at the skull.  Melkonis lingers in the room with him.

                              MELKONIS
               And there sits man's first contact
               with intelligent life in the
               universe.

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - NIGHT

     ANGLE ON THE SHIP, its spotlights cutting into the gloom.

     INTERIOR - ENGINE ROOM

     A room throbbing with power, enormous pulsing engines capable of
     releasing unimaginable energies.

     Faust has a complicated arrangement set up at the base of one of the
     engines, with spotlights on it.  He is wearing goggles and thin gloves.

                              FAUST
               You ready up there?

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - NIGHT

     Broussard and Melkonis are seated at their consoles, conversing with
     Faust while they watch their instruments.

                              BROUSSARD
               Sure, we're ready.

     INTERIOR - ENGINE ROOM

                              FAUST
               Okay.  I'm going to start the
               extraction procedure now.

     He pauses to wipe his brow.

     INTERIOR - MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM

     Roby is alone in the room, slumped into a chair, watching the
     photographic slides on the screen.  He is clicking slowly through them.
     He stops on an angle of the skeleton, and stares at it.

     The alien's misshapen skull is sitting on the table next to him.  He
     picks it up, holds it up to the screen for comparison, and studies it.

     Standard appears in the doorway.

                              STANDARD
               Alas, poor Yorick.

     Roby STARTS, puts down the skull.  Standard sits at the table.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (nodding at the screen)
               Find anything we missed?

                              ROBY
                    (shrugs)
               I don't even know what I'm looking
               for.

                              STANDARD
               Still worried?

                              ROBY
               Oh well... you know me.

                              STANDARD
               I've always respected your opinion,
               Martin.  If something worries you, it
               worries me.

     Roby reaches over and changes the slide, to the one of the CRUDELY
     DRAWN TRIANGLE ON THE ALIEN CONTROL PANEL.

                              ROBY
               What would you say that was supposed
               to mean?

                              STANDARD
               Well... it's obviously intentional... 
               some kind of attempt at
               communication... maybe it's a symbol
               that means something to them... 

                              ROBY
               But why draw it on the wall?

     Roby switches off the projector, sits up, and rubs his face wearily.

     He rises and goes to the coffee machine.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
                    (picking a hair out of
                     the coffeepot)
               This ship is full of cat hair.

                              STANDARD
               Tell you what, Martin.  As soon as
               the engine's fixed --

     BEEP!  The communicator interrupts Standard.  He leans across and
     presses the button.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               This is Chaz.

                              BROUSSARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Chaz, this is Dell.  Can you come
               topside for a minute?

                              STANDARD
               What's up?

                              BROUSSARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Well, the sun just came up again,
               and it seems the wind's died down.
               It's as clear as a bell outside.
               There's something I think you ought
               to see.

                              STANDARD
               I'm on my way.

     He and Roby head for the door.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

     Broussard is alone in the control room when Standard and Roby arrive.

                              STANDARD
               What is it?

                              BROUSSARD
               Take a look.

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - DAY

     The dust no longer blows.  The day is crisp, clear, and silent.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

                              BROUSSARD
               I was scanning the horizon to see
               what I could pick up.  Look there, on
               that screen.

                              STANDARD
               What is it, I can't --

     BLIP!  Broussard enlarges the image.

     The screen now shows a TAPERING STONE PYRAMID on the horizon.

     They all stare at the image for a long moment.  The silhouette of the
     PYRAMID IS INSTANTLY SUGGESTIVE OF THE SCRAWLED TRIANGLE in the alien
     ship.

   


IMAGE -- pyramid.jpg
   

     Standard presses the nearest communicator and speaks into the grille.

                              STANDARD
               This is Chaz.  All hands topside.
               Now.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY - A LITTLE LATER

     ANGLE ON A VIEWSCREEN.  It shows the PYRAMID on the horizon.  CAMERA
     PULLS BACK to reveal all the men, sitting and standing around the
     room.

                              STANDARD
               Doesn't seem much doubt about it,
               does there?

                              MELKONIS
               That creature sure must have
               considered it important... using his
               last strength to draw it... 

                              BROUSSARD
               Maybe they built it.

                              FAUST
               As what?

                              BROUSSARD
               A marker for buried instrumentation?

                              HUNTER
               Or a mass grave.

                              BROUSSARD
               Maybe the rest of the crew is in
               there -- in some kind of suspended
               animation, waiting to be rescued.

                              MELKONIS
               It wasn't necessarily built by them.

     On the screens, a puff of DUST blows in front of the pyramid.

                              ROBY
               Here comes the dust again.

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - DAY

     WITH A SHRIEK, THE DUST STORM RETURNS, completely obscuring the SNARK.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

                              STANDARD
               Well, does anyone else agree with
               Martin that we should not explore
               it?

     Everyone looks around the room, but no one volunteers.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Then the sooner we get moving, the
               better.

     EXTERIOR - PLANETOID - DAY

     LONG SHOT OF THE STONE PYRAMID, dust blowing in front of it.  It is a
     crumbling, ancient edifice, made of eroded grey stones, windowless,
     tapering toward the top.

     Standard, Broussard, and Melkonis, wearing the protective suits,
     approach the pyramid.  As they draw near, it becomes clear that the
     pyramid is roughly 50 feet tall.

                              STANDARD
               We can't make out any details or
               features yet... but it's definitely
               too regular for a natural
               formation... 

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

     Roby and Hunter are present.  They are listening to Standard's VOICE ON
     THE RADIO.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (over, filtered)
               ... There's one thing I can say for
               sure though... 

     BUZZZZZ!  Standard's voice is DROWNED OUT BY STATIC.

                              ROBY
               Now what's wrong?

                              HUNTER
               I've completely lost their signal.

                              ROBY
               Can you get them back?

                              HUNTER
               I'm trying.

     EXTERIOR - BASE OF PYRAMID - DAY

     The three men come to the base of the massive structure.  Dust and sand
     have piled thickly around the crumbling, grey stones that form the
     base.

                              MELKONIS
               This looks ancient.

                              STANDARD
               Can't tell -- these weather
               conditions could erode anything,
               fast.

     They walk around the base.

                              BROUSSARD
               There's no entrance.

                              MELKONIS
               Maybe the entrance is buried.  Could
               be under our feet.

                              STANDARD
               Maybe there is no entrance; the
               thing may be solid.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

                              ROBY
               Well, there ought to be some way we
               can get through to them --

     The INTERCOM BEEPS.  Faust's voice is heard.

                              FAUST
                    (over, filtered)
               Sorry to interrupt, but I'm gonna
               charge up the engines for a minute,
               okay?

                              ROBY
               Yeah, okay.  Go ahead.

     A LOUD, POWERFUL THROBBING BEGINS, drowning out all other sounds, as
     the engines are tested.

     A light on Roby's panel is FLASHING.  We can see that it is the
     COMPUTER ALERT.

     Irritably, Roby throws the switch.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
               Yes!

                              COMPUTER
               I have a temporary sequence on the
               monitor --

                              ROBY
               Hold it, I can't hear a damn thing!

     He puts an earphone to his ear and switches the computer's voice over.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
               Go ahead!

     There is a PAUSE while Roby listens to the computer.  His eyes widen.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
               You mean... you've translated it?

     Another PAUSE as he listens to the earphone.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
               Well come on, come on!  What does it
               say?

     Another PAUSE.  Roby's face changes; he looks CHILLED TO THE BONE.  His
     mouth works.

     Abruptly, THE ENGINES SHUT OFF, LEAVING A RINGING SILENCE.

                              HUNTER
                    (looking over at Roby)
               What?  What was that?

                              ROBY
               The computer just translated the
               goddamn message.  It's not an S.O.S.
               It was a warning.

     EXTERIOR - BASE OF PYRAMID - DAY

                              BROUSSARD
               Maybe we can get in by the top.

                              STANDARD
               You want to try?

                              BROUSSARD
               Sure.

     Broussard takes out the graplon-gun, and fires the hook up toward the
     top of the pyramid.  It catches.  He clips himself to the wire.

                              BROUSSARD (CONT'D)
               You guys just wait down here till I
               say it's okay to come up.

     Broussard turns on the climbing device, and begins to walk up the side
     of the pyramid.

     OMINOUS ANGLES showing Broussard climbing the pyramid, the dust
     blowing, the wind shrieking.

     EXTERIOR - TOP OF PYRAMID - DAY

     The peak of the pyramid is in extreme disrepair.  Broussard arrives at
     the top and clings to the jagged, crumbling stones.

                              BROUSSARD
               There's a hole at the top.

     EXTERIOR - BASE OF PYRAMID - DAY

                              STANDARD
               Can we come up?

                              BROUSSARD
                    (over, filtered)
               No, it's too small, only room enough
               for one person.

                              STANDARD
               Can you see anything in the hole?

     EXTERIOR - TOP OF PYRAMID - DAY

     Broussard leans over and looks into the hole.  He sees only blackness.

     Freeing one arm, he unclips his datastick from his belt, switches on
     the "flashlight" function, and shines it down into the hole.

                              BROUSSARD
               I can see... partway down.  It just
               goes down like a stovepipe.  Smooth
               walls.  I can't see the bottom --
               light won't reach.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

     Faust comes trotting up the steps, a questioning look on his face.

                              FAUST
               Yes?  What is it?

                              ROBY
               Jay, we've got a problem.  I was
               wondering if there was any way you
               could shortcut the repairs and give
               us immediate takeoff capability.

                              FAUST
                    (quickly)
               Why, what's wrong?

                              ROBY
               The computer's translated the alien
               signal, and it's kind of alarming.

                              FAUST
               What do you mean?

                              ROBY
               It couldn't translate the whole
               thing, only three phrases.  I'll just
               read it to you the way I got it:
                    (reads from a strip of paper)
               "... HOSTILE... SURVIVAL... ADVISE DO
               NOT LAND... "
                    (looks up at the others)
               And that's all it could translate.

     EXTERIOR - TOP OF PYRAMID - DAY

     Hanging from the lip of the hole, Broussard is unclipping gear from
     his belt.

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Dell, you want to come down, we can
               figure out where to go from here.

                              BROUSSARD
               No, I want to go in.

     EXTERIOR - BASE OF PYRAMID - DAY

     Standard and Melkonis exchange a glance.

                              STANDARD
               Okay, Dell, but just for a
               preliminary look-around.  Don't
               unhook yourself from your cable.  And
               be out in less than ten minutes.

     EXTERIOR - TOP OF PYRAMID - DAY

                              BROUSSARD
               Right.

     Broussard has rigged a tripod across the mouth of the hole.  He
     unspools a couple feet of wire from the device, and attaches the end
     of it to his chest unit.

     He climbs over the lip and drops into the hole.  He is now hanging by
     the wire, with his head and shoulders out of the hole.

                              BROUSSARD (CONT'D)
               Okay, I'm in the mouth of the
               chimney now, and I'm starting down.

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Take care.

     Broussard activates the climbing unit and lowers himself down into the
     hole.

     INTERIOR - PYRAMID - DAY

     Bracing his feet against the rough stone wall of the vertical tunnel,
     Broussard switches on his datastick and points it down into the
     depths.

     The beam penetrates only thirty feet or so, then is lost in darkness.

                              BROUSSARD
               It's noticeably warmer in here.  Warm
               air rising from below.

     He starts down, paying out the line and moving down in short hops,
     pushing off each time with his feet.

     He stops to catch his breath.  His breathing rasps loudly in his
     helmet.

     A little sunlight filters down from above.  Looking up, he can see the
     mouth of the hole, a glowing spot of light.

     Standard's voice comes over his earphones.

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Are you okay in there?

                              BROUSSARD
                    (gasping for breath)
               Yeah, I'm okay.  Haven't hit bottom
               yet.  Definitely a column of warm air
               rising; it keeps the shaft clear of
               dust.

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               What was that Dell, I lost you, do
               you read me?

                              BROUSSARD
               Yeah, but this is hard work.  Can't
               talk now.

     He kicks off and continues down, taking longer and longer hops as he
     gains confidence.

     Pausing for a moment to regain his breath, he shines the light on his
     instruments.

                              BROUSSARD (CONT'D)
               I'm way below ground level.

     EXTERIOR - BASE OF PYRAMID - DAY

                              STANDARD
               What'd he say?

                              MELKONIS
               I couldn't make it out -- too much
               interference.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

     Roby and Hunter.

                              HUNTER
               I'm getting nowhere.  The whole area
               around the pyramid is dead to
               transmission.  I think we should go
               after them.

                              ROBY
               No.

                              HUNTER
               What do you mean, no?

                              ROBY
               We're not going anywhere.

                              HUNTER
               But they don't know about the
               translation!  They could be in danger
               right now.

                              ROBY
               We can't spare the personnel.  We've
               got minimum takeoff capability right
               now.  That's why Chaz left us on
               board.

                              HUNTER
               Why, you chickenshit bastard --

                              ROBY
               Just can that crap!  I'm in command
               here till Chaz returns!  And nobody's
               leaving this ship!

     INTERIOR - PYRAMID - DAY

     Broussard resumes his downward climb.  SUDDENLY, HIS FEET LOSE THEIR
     PURCHASE AS THE WALLS OF THE SHAFT DISAPPEAR.

     The tunnel has reached its end.  Below him is an unfathomable,
     cavernous space.

                              BROUSSARD
                    (huffing and puffing)
               Tunnel's gone -- cave or something
               below me -- feels like the tropics
               in here; air is warm and humid... 
                    (consults his instruments)
               ... high oxygen content, no dust,
               it's completely breathable --

     Puffing with exertion, he releases his purchase on the stone walls and
     begins to lower himself on power.  Now he is dangling free in darkness,
     spinning slowly on the wire as the chest unit unwinds.

     Finally, his feet hit bottom.  He grunts in surprise and almost loses
     his balance.

     INTERIOR - TOMB - DAY

     Broussard is standing on a dusty stone floor, with a feeble column of
     sunlight shining down around him from the tunnel above.  Around is
     solid darkness.

     He flashes his datastick around.  The beam reveals that he is in a
     stone room.  STRANGE HEIROGLYPHICS are carved into the walls.  They have
     a primitive, religious appearance.  Row after row of pictograms stretch
     from floor to ceiling, some epic history in an unknown language.  Huge
     religious symbols dominate one wall.

     Spaced at intervals are stylized stone statues, depicting grotesque
     monsters, half anthropoid, half octopus.

                              BROUSSARD
               It's unbelievable!  It's like some
               kind of tomb... some primitive
               religion!  Hey, is anybody there?  Do
               you read me?  Standard!

     Annoyed, Broussard yanks off his breathing goggles, and leaves them
     hanging around his neck.  He takes a deep breath of the wet air.

     EXTERIOR - BASE OF PYRAMID - LATE AFTERNOON

     Standard and Melkonis are standing around nervously.

                              STANDARD
               If we don't hear from him soon, I
               think we better go in after him.

                              MELKONIS
               Sun will be down in a minute.

     INTERIOR - TOMB - LATE AFTERNOON

     Face bare, Broussard approaches the center of the room, which is
     dominated by a large, broad pedestal.  On the pedestal are ROWS OF
     LEATHERY URNS OR JARS, EXACTLY LIKE THE ONE BROUSSARD STUMBLED ACROSS
     IN THE ALIEN SHIP -- EXCEPT THESE ARE ALL SEALED.

     He walks around the urns, studying them.  They all have sealed lids.  He
     shines his light on one of them; then he lays his gloved hand on it.

     He lifts his mask radio to his lips.

                              BROUSSARD
               I don't know if you can hear me, but
               the place is full of large bottles
               or jars, just like the one we found
               on the other ship -- except these
               are all sealed.  Also they're soft to
               the touch.

     He peers more closely at the leathery object.

                              BROUSSARD (CONT'D)
               Another funny thing -- I just put my
               hand on it, and now there are these
               raised areas appearing where my
               fingertips were.

     EXTERIOR - BASE OF PYRAMID - DAY

     THE SUN DROPS BELOW THE HORIZON, throwing the landscape into gloom.
     Standard and Melkonis switch on their lights.

                              STANDARD
               Let's go.

     He attaches his chest unit to the wire and starts up.

     INTERIOR - TOMB - NIGHT

     Broussard is moving his light along the rows of heiroglyphs on the
     wall.  They depict stylized drawings of strange monsters.

     He pauses to quickly change the film clip in his datastick; then he
     turns back to the "urn" he was examining -- BUT NOW THERE IS A HOLE IN
     THE TOP OF IT.

     He shines his light on the floor at the base of the "urn."  There lies
     the "lid" -- the stopper that had filled the hole.  He picks it up and
     studies it.  It appears more organic than artificial; the inside
     surface is spongy and irregular.

     Then he turns the light to the now-open "urn."

     He bends over the mouth of the "urn" shining the light in, AND WITH
     SHOCKING VIOLENCE, A SMALL, OCTOPUS-LIKE THING LEAPS OUT AND ATTACHES
     ITSELF TO HIS FACE, WRAPPING ITS TENTACLES AROUND HIS HEAD.

     With a MUFFLED SCREAM, he launches himself backward, tearing at the
     thing with his hands.

   


IMAGE -- facehugger.jpg
   

     EXTERIOR - TOP OF PYRAMID - NIGHT

     The dust blows and howls as Standard and Melkonis arrive at the top,
     lights bobbing in the darkness.

                              STANDARD
                    (puffing with exertion)
               Here's his line.  We can haul him out
               of there if we have to.

                              MELKONIS
               It'll yank him right off his feet if
               he's not expecting it.  The line
               could get tangled in something.

                              STANDARD
               But what can we do?  He's out of
               radio contact.

                              MELKONIS
               Maybe we should just wait a few more
               minutes.

     Standard hesitates, clinging to the lip of the hole.

                              STANDARD
                    (making up his mind)
               No, I told him to be out in ten
               minutes.  It's been much longer.
               Let's get him out of there.

     Standard pulls himself up and crouches precariously on the edge of the
     tunnel.  He begins to fiddle with the winch mechanism from which
     Broussard's line dangles.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               The line's slack.  Christ, do you
               think the idiot unhooked himself?

     He switches on the winch motor.  With a whine, it begins to reel the
     line in.  After a moment, the line TIGHTENS WITH A JERK -- and the
     motor slows down, laboring under the added weight.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               There, it caught!

                              MELKONIS
               Is it still coming up, or is it
               hooked on something?

                              STANDARD
               No, it's coming.

                              MELKONIS
               Can you see anything?

     Standard shines his light down into the hole.

                              STANDARD
               No, I can't see far enough.  The
               line's moving, though.

     For a moment, the two men hang to the narrow top of the pyramid,
     saving their strength, while the line reels in and the wind howls.
     Then Standard shines his light back down in.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               I can see him!  Here he comes!

     The winch begins to LABOR HEAVILY.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Get ready to grab him!

     Broussard appears at the top of the pit, dangling limply from the
     wire.  Standard reaches for him -- then RECOILS SHARPLY.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Look out!  There's something on
               his face!

     Melkonis attempts to come to his aid.

                              MELKONIS
               What is it?

                              STANDARD
               Don't touch him, watch it!

     In their panic and confusion, the men teeter momentarily, finally
     regain their balance.  They shine their lights on Broussard.

     He appears to be completely unconscious -- AND THE OCTOPUS THING IS
     STILL WRAPPED AROUND HIS FACE, MOTIONLESS.

                              MELKONIS
               Oh God, oh God no.

                              STANDARD
               Help me -- I'm going to try to get
               it off.

     With his gloved hands, Standard grasps the tentacled mess and tries to
     pull it from Broussard's head.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               It won't come -- it's stuck.

                              MELKONIS
               What is it?

                              STANDARD
               How the hell should I know?  Come on,
               give me a hand, let's get him out of
               there!

     The two men grapple with Broussard's limp body, lifting him from the
     hole.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - NIGHT

     Roby and Hunter are sitting moodily, silent.  There is a long moment
     while nothing is said, then:

                              HUNTER
               I've got 'em!  They're back on my
               screens!

                              ROBY
                    (leaps to his feet)
               How many?

                              HUNTER
               Three blips!  They're coming this
               way!

     Roby grabs a microphone.

                              ROBY
                    (into mike)
               Hey, can you guys hear me?

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Yeah, we hear you!  We're coming
               back!

                              ROBY
               Thank Christ!  We lost you!  Listen,
               there's been a new development --

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Can't talk now; Broussard's injured.
               We'll need some help getting him
               into the ship.

     Roby collapses into a chair, suddenly limp with apprehension.  He's
     feared something like this all along, and now it has begun to happen.

                              ROBY
                    (to himself)
               Oh no.

                              HUNTER
                    (into intercom)
               Jay, this is Cleave!  Meet me at the
               main air lock!

     Hunter dashes from the room.

     Roby remains where he is, seated at his console.  He is stunned, his
     mind racing.  CAMERA MOVES IN ON HIS FACE.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK - NIGHT

     Hunter comes racing down the steps and hurries up to the inner lock
     door.

     He presses the wall intercom.

                              HUNTER
                    (into intercom)
               Martin, I'm by the inner lock door!
               I'll wait here for you to let them
               in!

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - NIGHT

                              ROBY
                    (strangely quiet)
               Right.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK - NIGHT

     Faust comes running up, covered with grime.

                              FAUST
               What the hell's going on?

                              HUNTER
               Don't know -- Broussard got hurt
               somehow.

                              FAUST
               Hurt!  How?

                              HUNTER
               Don't know -- maybe we'll be real
               lucky and he just broke his neck.
                    (a beat)
               I knew we shouldn't of come down
               here.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - NIGHT

     Roby is seated alone in the room, listening to the transmission from
     Standard and Melkonis.

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Martin, are you there?

     Roby leans forward and speaks into the microphone.

                              ROBY
               Here, Chaz.

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               We're coming up now, open the outer
               lock door.

                              ROBY
               Chaz -- what happened to Broussard?

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               It's some kind of organism, it's
               attached itself to him.  Let us in.

     Roby does not reply.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (over, filtered)
               You hear me, Martin?  Open the outer
               door.

                              ROBY
               Chaz, if it's an organism, and we
               let it in, the ship will be
               infected.

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               We can't leave him out here, open
               the door.

                              ROBY
                    (urgently)
               Chaz, listen to me -- we've broken
               every rule of quarantine.  If we
               bring an organism on board, we won't
               have a single layer of defense left.

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Martin, this is an order!  Open the
               door!

     Hating it, Roby leans forward and throws the switch.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK - NIGHT

     A RED LIGHT goes on, on a console on the wall.  The whine of a large
     servo is heard, followed by a solid metallic CLUNK.

                              HUNTER
               Outer door's open.

     After a moment, they hear the motor sound again, followed by another
     CLUNK.  The outer door has closed again.  The red light goes off.

     The inner door slides open, and Standard and Melkonis stagger through,
     carrying the sagging body of Broussard.  A cloud of choking dust
     follows them out of the lock.

                              STANDARD
                    (pulling off his mask)
               You men stay clear, there's a
               parasite on him.

     Hunter and Faust RECOIL.

                              HUNTER
               Oh -- God -- oh --

                              FAUST
               Is it alive?

                              STANDARD
               I don't know but don't touch it.
               Give us a hand here, let's get him
               up to the Autodoc.

     Hunter and Faust move in carefully to help with the limp burden.

     INTERIOR - INFIRMARY

     One of them flicks on the lights as they come shuffling into the
     medical room, carrying Broussard.

     Revealed is a rather small cubicle whose walls are lined with
     machinery.  The principle item of interest is a mechanized bunk bed,
     which rests in a cradle and slides in and out of a slot in the wall.

                              STANDARD
               Help me, come on, let's get him up
               here.

     They slide the man onto the bunk.

                              HUNTER
               That thing, God almighty, didn't you
               try to get it off him?

                              STANDARD
               It wouldn't come.

     Standard yanks off his gloves.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Medical gloves.

     They pull thin elastic gloves from a dispenser in the wall, and pull
     them on.

     Gingerly, they approach Broussard.

     Standard places his hands on the octopus-thing that is slowly pulsing
     on Broussard's face.  He grasps the tentacles in his hands and tries to
     pull it free.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               It's really on there tight.

                              FAUST
               Here, let me try.

     Faust takes a pair of pliers from a rack, and carefully grasps the tip
     of one of the tentacles.  Squeezing tightly, he leans back with all his
     weight.

                              STANDARD
                    (grabbing Faust's hands)
               Stop it, you're tearing his face.

     A trickle of blood begins to ooze down Broussard's cheek.

                              MELKONIS
               It's not coming off -- not without
               his whole face coming off too.

                              STANDARD
               Let's let the machine work on him.

     Efficiently, they strip Broussard naked, then Standard presses a
     couple of switches on the wall.  The machine lights up, and Broussard
     is sucked into the slot in the wall.

     He is visible inside.  The machine immediately sprays a cloud of
     disinfectant on him, then sterilizes him with a blinding pink light.

     A bank of video monitors pops on, revealing X-ray images of different
     parts of his body.  Sensors begin to scan, relays chatter.

     ROBY APPEARS IN THE DOORWAY.

     Standard turns and looks at him.  For a long moment, the two men regard
     each other, then STANDARD STEPS FORWARD AND SLAPS ROBY ACROSS THE
     FACE.

     The others are shocked.

                              HUNTER
               Hey now, what is this?

                              STANDARD
               Ask him.

                              ROBY
                    (slowly puts his hand
                     to his cheek)
               I understand why you did that.

                              STANDARD
               Good.

                              MELKONIS
               He wouldn't open the lock; he was
               going to leave us out there.

                              HUNTER
               Yeah... well, maybe he should have.  I
               mean, you brought the goddamn thing
               in here.  Maybe you deserve to get
               slapped.

                              FAUST
                    (embarrassed)
               Excuse me, I've got work to do.

     Faust exits.

                              HUNTER
               I keep my mouth pretty much shut,
               but I don't like hitting.

                              ROBY
                    (to Standard)
               I guess I had it coming.  Let's call
               it settled.

     After a hard stare at Roby, Standard gives him a curt nod and turns
     his attention to the machinery.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
                    (slowly)
               Would somebody fill me in?

                              STANDARD
               He went into the pyramid alone.  We
               lost radio contact with him.  When we
               pulled him out, it was on his face.
               It won't come off, not without
               injuring him.

                              HUNTER
               Where did it come from?

                              MELKONIS
               He's the only one that knows that.

                              HUNTER
               How does he breathe?

     They study the monitors.

                              MELKONIS
               Blood's thoroughly oxygenated.

                              HUNTER
               Yeah, but how?  His nose and mouth
               are blocked.

                              STANDARD
               Let's look inside his head.

     Standard punches some buttons, and on the monitors, a kind of X-ray
     image in vivid colors appears, depicting Broussard's HEAD AND UPPER
     TORSO.

     The parasite is clearly visible on Broussard's face.  In X-ray, the
     creature is a maze of complicated biology.  But the shocking thing is
     that, in X-ray, we can see that Broussard's jaws are forced wide open,
     and THE PARASITE HAS EXTRUDED SOME KIND OF LONG TUBE, WHICH IS STUFFED
     INTO HIS MOUTH AND DOWN HIS THROAT, ending near his stomach.

                              ROBY
               Look at that.

                              HUNTER
               What is it -- I can't tell
               anything --

                              ROBY
               It's some kind of organ -- it's
               inserted some kind of tube or
               something down his throat.

                              HUNTER
                    (turning sick)
               Oh... God... 

     Hunter bends over and RETCHES.

                              ROBY
               I think that's how it's getting
               oxygen to him.

                              HUNTER
               It doesn't make any sense.  It
               paralyzes him... puts him into a
               coma... then keeps him alive.

                              MELKONIS
               We can't expect to understand a life
               form like this.  We're out of our
               back yard.  Things are different
               here.

                              HUNTER
               Well, can't we kill it?  I mean, we
               can't leave the damn thing on him.

                              MELKONIS
               We don't know what might happen if
               we tried to kill it.  At least right
               now it's keeping him alive.

                              HUNTER
               How about cutting it off?  We can't
               pull it loose, but we can cut off
               everything but the bottom layer,
               where it's stuck to his face.

                              STANDARD
               You're right... we can't stand here
               and do nothing.

     Standard picks up his dusty breathing mask and pulls it over his head.
     Then he pulls back on his bulky gloves.  Finally, he presses a switch
     and Broussard slides back out of the booth.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (muffled in his mask)
               Somebody give me a scalpel.

     Melkonis takes a glittering surgical blade from a slot in the wall,
     and carefully passes it to Standard.

     Clumsily because of the gloves, Standard manipulates the knife in his
     hand till he has a decent grip on it.  Then he flicks a little button
     with his thumb.  The scalpel begins to hum.

     Standard advances on the parasite.  The others draw back nervously.
     Roby reaches over and draws yet a longer blade from the rack, and
     holds it inconspicuously at his side.

     Standard bends over the parasite.  Carefully, he touches the scalpel to
     the extreme end of one of the tentacles, where it curves toward the
     back of Broussard's head.

     Effortlessly, the electronic blade slides through the alien tissue.
     Immediately, a urine-like fluid begins to flow from the wound.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (muffled)
               I've made an incision... it's not
               reacting... but some kind of
               yellowish fluid is leaking out of
               the wound... 

     The noxious-looking liquid drips down onto the bedding next to
     Broussard's head.  Instantly, it starts to hiss, and a thin stream of
     smoke curls up from the stain.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (muffled)
               Hold it, this stuff's smoking!

     The others REACT nervously.

     By now, the yellow fluid has eaten a hole through the bunk bed and has
     dripped down onto the floor below.  The metal floor begins to bubble
     and sizzle, and more smoke rises.

     The men start to COUGH.

                              MELKONIS
               God, that smoke's poisonous!

                              HUNTER
                    (pointing)
               It's eating a hole in the floor!

     Abruptly, the men jostle their way out of the room and huddle in the
     corridor outside, coughing their lungs out.

     Standard, who is masked, remains.  Frantically, he attempts to put a
     bandage on the wound, but the fluid instantly melts the bandage, and
     in the process, some of the stuff gets on Standard's gloves.  They
     begin to smoke.

     Frantically Standard leaps back, pulling off the smouldering gloves.
     Then he runs out into the corridor and yanks off his mask.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE INFIRMARY

                              STANDARD
               That stuff's eating right through
               the metal!  It's going to eat through
               the decks and right out through the
               hull!

     By this time Standard has started to run for the stairs.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS IN SHIP

     Followed by the others, Standard frantically clangs down the stairs to
     the level below.

                              STANDARD
               There!  Look!

     A droplet of the fluid is sizzling on the ceiling.  It oozes down and
     drips to the floor.

     It bubbles on the floor.

                              MELKONIS
               Jesus, what can we put under it?

     Standard and Hunter charge down the stairs to the level below.

     INTERIOR - LEVEL BELOW

     Standard and Hunter move cautiously down the corridor, looking up at
     the ceiling.

                              STANDARD
                    (pointing)
               There.  Should be coming through
               about there.

                              HUNTER
               Careful, don't get under it!

     INTERIOR - LEVEL ABOVE

     Roby and Melkonis crouch by the spot on the floor where the acid
     sizzles.

                              MELKONIS
               Christ, that stinks.

     Roby fishes a pen out of his pocket and probes into the hole in the
     floor.

                              ROBY
               Seems to have stopped penetrating.

     Hunter comes charging up the steps.

                              HUNTER
               What's happening up here?

                              ROBY
               I think it's fizzled out.

     Hunter approaches and looks.  Roby straightens up, starts to put the
     pen back in his pocket, then changes his mind and stands holding it by
     the end.

                              MELKONIS
               I never saw anything like that in my
               life... except molecular acid.

                              HUNTER
               But this thing uses it for blood.

                              MELKONIS
               Hell of a defense mechanism.  You
               don't dare kill it.

     Standard comes up the stairs.

                              STANDARD
               It's stopped?

                              MELKONIS
               Yes, thank heaven.

                              STANDARD
               We're just plain lucky.  That could
               have gone right through the hull --
               taken weeks to patch it.

                              MELKONIS
               Reminded me of when I was a kid and
               the roof leaked -- everybody running
               for the pots and pans.

                              ROBY
               My God, what about Broussard?

     They turn and run up the stairs.

     INTERIOR - INFIRMARY

     They all come into the room (Roby carrying the partially melted pen).
     Broussard is still motionless on the bunk, with the thing on his face.

                              ROBY
               Did it get on him?

     Standard approaches and peers at Broussard's head.

                              STANDARD
               No, thank God... just missed him.

                              MELKONIS
               Is it still dripping?

                              STANDARD
                    (examining it)
               It appears to have healed itself.

                              HUNTER
               It makes me sick to see him like
               that.

                              MELKONIS
               Isn't there some way we can get it
               off him?

                              STANDARD
               I don't see how.  But let's do what
               we can for him.

     Standard presses a button, and Broussard slides back into the
     diagnostic coffin.  He presses more buttons, and the displays light up
     again, showing different parts of Broussard's body.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               I think we'd better get some
               intravenous feeding started.  God
               knows what that thing is leaching
               out of him.

     Standard operates some controls, and the machine begins to invade
     Broussard's body, sliding needles into him.

                              ROBY
                    (studying the screens)
               Look there, what's that stain on his
               lungs?

     The X-ray reveals a spreading dark blot in the vicinity of Broussard's
     chest.  In the center, the stain is completely opaque.

                              MELKONIS
               It appears to be a heavy fluid of
               some sort... it blocks the X-rays... 

                              ROBY
               That tube must be depositing it in
               him.

                              MELKONIS
               Could be some kind of venom, or
               poison... 

                              HUNTER
               This is horrible.

                              ROBY
               Hey!  what about the film?

                              STANDARD
               What film?

                              ROBY
               Broussard had film in his datastick,
               didn't he?  We can see what happened
               to him.

     INTERIOR - MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM

     Again we are watching slides in the darkened room.  This time Standard,
     Roby, Melkonis, and Hunter are watching the sequence of photographs
     taken automatically by Broussard's datastick as he probed the tomb.

     The camera reveals the "urns."  The climax of the sequence of stills
     comes when THE CREATURE LEAPS OUT OF THE "URN" TOWARD THE CAMERA --
     and after that the camera drops to a useless angle and proceeds to
     show a series of meaningless blurs.  Then the reel ends.

                              HUNTER
               That must have been when he got it.

                              ROBY
               The same thing must've happened to
               the creatures on the other ship... 
               except they took one of those jars
               on board, and opened it there.

                              MELKONIS
                    (clicks back through the
                     slides to a picture of
                     one of the "urns")
               At first I thought they were jars
               too, or artifacts anyway.  But
               they're not.  They're eggs, or spore
               casings.  Let's go back to the
               heiroglyphics.

     CLICKETYCLICKETYCLICK -- Melkonis accelerates through the slides in a
     blur, stopping at the one he wants -- which shows a strip of
     heiroglyphs on the wall of the tomb.

                              STANDARD
               I personally can't make any sense
               out of it... 

     CLICK.  CLICK.  Melkonis is changing the slides as they talk, showing
     different angles on the glyphs.

                              MELKONIS
               It's a crude symbolic language --
               looks primitive.

                              HUNTER
               You can't tell -- that kind of stuff
               could represent printed circuits... 

                              STANDARD
               That sounds a little fanciful... 

                              MELKONIS
               Primitive pictorial languages are
               based on common objects in the
               environment, and this can be used as
               a starting point for translation... 

                              ROBY
               What common objects?

                              HUNTER
               Listen, hadn't somebody better check
               on Broussard?

                              STANDARD
                    (rising)
               I'll do it.  The rest of you
               continue.

                              HUNTER
                    (rising)
               I'll come with you.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE INFIRMARY

     Standard and Hunter come down the passageway.

                              STANDARD
               You know, it's fantastic -- the
               human race has gone this long
               without ever encountering another
               advanced life form, and now we run
               into a veritable zoo.

                              HUNTER
               What do you mean?

                              STANDARD
               Well, those things out there aren't
               the same, you know -- the spaceship
               and the pyramid.  They're from
               different cultures and different
               races.  That ship just landed here --
               crashed like we did.  The pyramid and
               the thing from it are indigenous.

                              HUNTER
               How could anything be indigenous to
               this asteroid?  It's dead.

                              STANDARD
               Maybe it wasn't always dead.

     They arrive at the infirmary.

     INTERIOR - INFIRMARY

     The door slides open, and they step into the room.  Hunter activates
     the bed, and it slides out of the wall.

     THERE IS A LONG, HORRIFIED PAUSE.

                              HUNTER
               It's gone.

     They rush to Broussard's prone form.  THE PARASITE IS GONE FROM HIS
     FACE.

     Broussard is still unconscious, but he is breathing.  HIS FACE IS
     COVERED WITH SUCKER MARKS.

                              HUNTER
               Now we're in for it.

                              STANDARD
               The door was closed.  It must still
               be in here.

     They immediately grow very tense.  Hunter starts edging toward the
     door.  Standard grabs his arm.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               No, don't open the door.  We don't
               want it escaping.

                              HUNTER
                    (very nervous)
               Well, what the hell good can we do
               in here?  We can't grab it -- it
               might jump on us --

                              STANDARD
               Maybe we can catch it.

     Standard picks up a stainless steel tray with a lid.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               As long as we're careful not to
               damage it... 

     Tray in one hand, lid in the other, Standard begins moving slowly
     around the room.  There are very few places to hide.

     He bends down and peers under the bunk.

     As he is down on his hands and knees, WE SEE ONE TENTACLE OF THE
     THING, VIBRATING ON A LEDGE JUST ABOVE STANDARD.

     He rises, and HIS SHOULDER BRUSHES THE TENTACLE.  THE PARASITE DROPS TO
     THE FLOOR.

                              STANDARD
                    (leaping back)
               Shit!

     But the thing is not moving.  It lies motionless on the floor, its
     tentacles curled up.  Its color has faded to a dead-looking grey.

     Without taking his eyes off the thing, Standard reaches behind him and
     takes a long probe from the wall.  He prods the thing; it does not
     respond.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               I think it's dead.

     With great care, he uses the probe to fish the motionless parasite
     into the tray.  Then he quickly closes the lid.

     INTERIOR - LABORATORY

     Standard, Roby, and Melkonis have the parasite spread-eagled on a
     stainless steel table, with a bright light on it.  It is belly-side up.

     Wearing gloves, Standard probes at the thing with an instrument.

                              STANDARD
               Look at these suckers -- no wonder
               we couldn't get it off him.

                              ROBY
               Is that its mouth?

                              MELKONIS
               More likely that organ -- the tube-
               like thing -- fits up in there.

     With a pair of needle-nosed pliers, Standard fishes in the fleshy
     aperture.  Carefully, he extracts the end of the tube-organ.

                              ROBY
               Ugh.

     Suddenly, it starts to FALL APART IN THE PLIERS.

                              STANDARD
               Quick -- it's decomposing -- gimme
               something to grab it with!

     It begins to SMOKE AND BUBBLE.

     Roby grabs a long pair of tongs from the wall and thrusts them at
     Standard -- who throws down the pliers, snatches the tongs and seizes
     the thing in the tongs.

     It is smouldering and dripping acid on the floor.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Christ!  Let's get it out of here!

     Carrying the thing, he heads for the door.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS IN SHIP

     The men run down the passageways, Standard carrying the dripping thing
     in the tongs.  It leaves little smoking droplets on the floor.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK

     They come running up to the airlock.  Roby stabs the button and the
     inner door slides open.  By the time Standard is in the lock, Roby is
     already on the intercom:

                              ROBY
                    (shouts into intercom)
               For Chrissake, open the main lock!

     INTERIOR - AIR LOCK - DAY

     Roby stumbles in as the inner door closes; and with a heavy whine, the
     thick surface door rumbles open.  Orange sunlight billows in, followed
     by the inevitable dust.

     Standard HURLS THE CARCASS OUT, tongs and all.

     EXTERIOR - BASE OF SHIP - DAY

     The parasite hits the ground and begins to sink into the dust,
     smouldering and fuming.

     INTERIOR - AIR LOCK - DAY

     The outer door rolls shut.

                              ROBY
                    (slumping against the
                     wall)
               My God, it's lethal even when it's
               dead!

     Melkonis gets down on his knees and studies the small burn-holes in
     the floor.

     Standard opens the inner door and steps out into the corridor.  There,
     he activates the wall intercom and punches out a combination.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK

                              HUNTER
                    (over intercom,
                     filtered)
               Yes?

                              STANDARD
               How's Broussard?

                              HUNTER
                    (over, filtered)
               He's running a fever.

                              STANDARD
               Still unconscious?

                              HUNTER
                    (over, filtered)
               Yes.

                              STANDARD
               Can you do anything for him?

                              HUNTER
                    (over, filtered)
               The machine will bring his
               temperature down.  His vital
               functions are strong.

                              STANDARD
               Good.

     He switches off the intercom.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (suddenly exhausted)
               I need some coffee.

     He turns and walks away.

     INTERIOR - MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM

     The cat is strolling around as Roby and Melkonis drop into seats;
     Standard draws a cup of coffee from the machine.

                              MELKONIS
               These day and night cycles are
               totally disorienting.  I feel like
               we've been here for days, but it's
               only been how long?

                              ROBY
                    (stroking the cat)
               About four hours.

                              STANDARD
                    (staring into his coffee
                     cup)
               I'm sorry to say it looks like you
               were right in the first place,
               Martin.  We never should have landed
               here.

                              ROBY
               Look, I'm not trying to rub
               anybody's nose in anything.  The
               important thing is just to get away
               from here as fast as possible.

                              STANDARD
               I can't lean on Faust any harder --
               he's been working non-stop on the
               engines.

                              ROBY
               If we knew exactly what happened to
               the beings on the other ship --

                              MELKONIS
               We do know that.

                              ROBY
               Yeah?

                              MELKONIS
               They never made it off the planet.
               The parasites won.

     This brings a CHILLY SILENCE.

                              ROBY
               Where did the parasites come from?

                              STANDARD
               They seem native to the planet.  It's
               got an atmosphere and a dense
               gravity.  It's dead now, but once it
               must have been fertile.

                              MELKONIS
               No.  It's just too small to support
               fauna as big as the parasites.  If
               there were a native ecology, it
               would have to be microscopic.

                              ROBY
               Couldn't the pyramid have been built
               here by space travellers?

                              STANDARD
               Too primitive.  It's a pre-
               technological construction.  That
               slab was engineered by an Iron-Age
               culture at best.

                              MELKONIS
               They're from a dead civilization;
               they're spores from a tomb.  God
               knows how long they've been here.

                              ROBY
               I think we better take another look
               at those heiroglyphs.

     Suddenly the door opens and Faust sticks his head in.  He is covered
     with dirt and grime.

                              FAUST
               Hey, guess what?

                              STANDARD
               What?

                              FAUST
               The engines are fixed.

     EXTERIOR - PLANETOID - DAY

     The SNARK's engines cough and then with a ROAR BEGIN TO BELCH OUT
     STREAMS OF SUPERHEATED AIR, cutting through the tulgy dust.

     The ship roars and vibrates like a huge beast, capable of unlimited
     power.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

     They are all at their posts.

                              STANDARD
               Switch on tractor beams.

     There is a hair-tingling ELECTRICAL HUM which permeates the whole
     ship, and it begins to float, like a cork in water.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Lock tractor beams.

     The pitch of the hum changes, and the ship levels itself.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Retract landing struts.

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - DAY

     The ship is hovering above the ground on beams of shimmering force.
     The landing struts fold up under the belly of the ship.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

                              STANDARD
               Take us up.

                              ROBY
                    (into intercom)
               Up one kilometer, Jay.

     EXTERIOR - PLANETOID - DAY

     The SNARK begins to levitate up into the sky, on the beams of light.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

                              STANDARD
               Switch on lifter quads.

     A POWERFUL, DEEP THROBBING BEGINS.  THE SHIP VIBRATES.

     EXTERIOR - "SNARK" - DAY

     The hovering SNARK begins to accelerate through the choking
     atmosphere.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

                              STANDARD
               Engage artificial gravity.

     Roby throws a switch, and the ship LURCHES.

                              ROBY
               Engaged.

                              STANDARD
               Let's take her into an escape orbit.

     The men get busy with switches.

                              ROBY
               I'm altering our vector now; should
               give us an easy escape velocity --

     A HUGE TREMOR RUNS THROUGHOUT THE SHIP.

                              ROBY & MELKONIS
                    (in concert)
               What was that?

     In answer, THE COMMUNICATOR BEEPS.

                              FAUST
                    (over, filtered)
               This dust is getting clogged in the
               intakes again!

                              STANDARD
               Just hold us together till we're in
               space, that's all!

     The pitch of the engines changes, deepens.

     EXTERIOR - SKY - DAY

     The SNARK swoops up at an acute angle into the boiling clouds.
     Visibility is zero.

     INTERIOR - ENGINE ROOM

     Faust is pulling on a gasmask, because the engine chamber is beginning
     to fill with dust.  He turns on a huge exhaust unit which begins to
     suck up some of the dust.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - DAY

     On the screens, nothing but clouds.  Then, ANOTHER TREMOR SHUDDERS
     THROUGH THE SHIP.  The men no longer speak; their expressions are grim,
     set, and sweating; they are watching their instruments.  Periodically
     they mutter technical instructions to each other.

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - DAY

     Abruptly the ship CLEARS THE TOP OF THE CLOUD LAYER AND BURSTS OUT
     INTO STAR-SPRINKLED SPACE, trailing a wake of dust behind it.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - OUTER SPACE

     They all CHEER.

                              ROBY
                    (pounds his panel)
               We made it!  Damn, we made it!

                              STANDARD
               You bet we made it.  Martin, set
               course for Irth and accelerate us
               into stardrive.

                              ROBY
               With great pleasure.

     Roby begins to punch buttons.

                              MELKONIS
               I feel like an escapee from Hell.

                                                            DISSOLVE TO:

     EXTERIOR - SHIP AT LIGHT SPEED - LATER

     The ship's speed is so great that there is perceptible movement in the
     universe all around.

     There is a strange corona effect which causes the stars approaching
     the ship to appear blue, and the receding ones to be red.  This is
     redshift, made visible because of their incredible velocity.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE - OUTER SPACE

     They are unstrapping.

                              ROBY
               That's the part that always makes me
               feel like I'm gonna puke -- when we
               accelerate into light speed.

                              STANDARD
               Quit complaining; we're in space.

     They rise and head out of the room.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR

     As they walk along.

                              STANDARD
               I think the best thing to do with
               Broussard is to just freeze him as
               he is.  It'll arrest the progress of
               his disease, and he can get complete
               medical attention when we get back
               to the Colonies.

                              ROBY
               We'll have to go into quarantine,
               maybe for quite a while.

                              STANDARD
               That's okay, he can remain in
               hypersleep until they're ready to
               treat him.

     They enter the infirmary.

     INTERIOR - INFIRMARY

     As they enter the room, THEY ARE SHOCKED TO SEE BROUSSARD SITTING UP
     in BED -- AWAKE.

                              BROUSSARD
                    (hoarsely)
               ... Mouth's so dry... can I have some
               water... 

     Instantly, Roby brings him a plastic cup of water.  Broussard gulps it
     down in a swallow.

                              BROUSSARD (CONT'D)
               More.

     Roby quickly fills a much bigger container and hands it to Broussard,
     who greedily consumes the entire thing.  Then he sags, panting, on the
     bunk.

                              STANDARD
                    (softly)
               How do you feel, Dell?

                              BROUSSARD
                    (weakly)
               Wretched.  What happened to me?

                              STANDARD
               Don't you remember?

                              BROUSSARD
               Don't remember nothing.  Can't hardly
               remember my name.

                              ROBY
               Are you in pain?

                              BROUSSARD
               Not exactly, just feel like
               somebody's been beating me with
               rubber hoses for about six years.

     Melkonis laughs at this remark.  Broussard smiles faintly at him.

                              STANDARD
               Hell, you're in great shape, you've
               got your sense of humor back!

                              BROUSSARD
               God I'm hungry.

                              ROBY
               Dell, what's the last thing you can
               remember?

                              BROUSSARD
               ... I don't know... 

                              ROBY
               Do you remember the pyramid?

                              BROUSSARD
               No.  Just some horrible dreams about
               smothering.  Where are we?

                              STANDARD
               We're going home.  We're in
               hyperspace.

                              MELKONIS
               We're going into the freezers now.

                              BROUSSARD
               I'm really starving; can we get some
               food before we go into the freezers?

                              STANDARD
                    (laughs)
               I think that's a pretty reasonable
               request.

     INTERIOR - MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM

     The entire crew is seated around the table, eating huge portions
     greedily.  The cat eats from a dish on the table.

                              HUNTER
               Boy do I feel a lot better.  It's a
               straight shot back to the Colonies,
               and then we can start taking bids on
               the paydirt.  Any bets on the top
               bid?

                              FAUST
                    (chewing)
               Well, we should at least be able to
               each buy our own planet.

     They all CHUCKLE.

                              MELKONIS
               I'm going to write a book about this
               expedition.  I'm going to call it
               "The Snark Log."

                              STANDARD
                    (stiffly)
               The commander normally has first
               publication rights.

                              MELKONIS
               Maybe we could write it together.

                              ROBY
               First thing I'm going to do when we
               get back is eat some biological
               food.

                              MELKONIS
               What's the matter, you don't like
               this stuff?

                              ROBY
               Tastes like something you'd feed a
               chicken to make it lay more eggs.

                              STANDARD
               Oh it's okay.  I've had better cag
               than this, but I've had worse too,
               if you know what I mean.

                              FAUST
               I kind of like it.

                              ROBY
               You like this shit?

                              FAUST
               It grows on you.

                              ROBY
               You know what they make this stuff
               out of?

                              FAUST
                    (annoyed)
               Yes, I know what they make it out
               of, so what?  It's food now.  You're
               eating it.

                              ROBY
               I didn't say it was bad for you,
               it's just kind of sickening, that's
               all.

                              HUNTER
               Do we have to talk about this kind
               of crap at the dinner table?

     Suddenly, unexpectedly, BROUSSARD GRIMACES AND GROANS.

                              STANDARD
               What's wrong?

                              BROUSSARD
                    (his voice straining)
               I don't know... I'm getting these
               CRAMPS!

     The others stare at him in alarm.  Another GROAN is torn from his lips.
     He clutches the edge of the table with his hands, his knuckles
     whitening.

                              STANDARD
               Breathe deeply.

                              BROUSSARD
                    (screaming)
               OH GOD IT HURTS SO BAD!

                              ROBY
               What Dell -- what?

     Broussard's face is screwed up into a mask of agony, and he is
     trembling violently from head to foot.

                              BROUSSARD
                    (incoherent shriek)
               OhmygooaaAAAHHHHH!!!

     A RED SMEAR OF BLOOD BLOSSOMS ON THE CHEST OF BROUSSARD'S TUNIC.

     THEIR EYES ARE ALL RIVETTED TO BROUSSARD'S CHEST AS THE FABRIC OF HIS
     TUNIC IS RIPPED OPEN, AND A HORRIBLE NASTY LITTLE HEAD THE SIZE OF A
     MAN'S FIST PUSHES OUT.

     Everybody SCREAMS and leaps back from the table.  The cat spits and
     bolts.

     The disgusting little head lunges, comes spurting out of Broussard's
     chest trailing a thick, wormlike tail -- splattering fluids and blood
     -- lands in the middle of the dishes and food on the table -- and
     scurries away while the men are stampeding for safe ground.

     When they finally regain control of themselves, it has escaped.
     Broussard lies slumped in his chair, a huge hole in his chest,
     spouting blood.  The dishes are scattered and the food is covered with
     blood and slime.

                              HUNTER
               Oh, no.  Oh, no.

                              FAUST
               What was that?  What the Christ was
               that?

                              MELKONIS
               It was growing in him the whole time
               and he didn't even know it!

     Slowly, they gather around Broussard's gutted corpse.

                              ROBY
               That thing used him for an
               incubator!

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - OUTER SPACE

     A hatch slides open on the side of the ship, and Broussard's wrapped
     body tumbles silently out.

     AN ELECTRONIC BASS DRUM BEATS A DIRGE as Broussard drifts into
     eternity.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS

     The entire remaining crew is walking toward the bridge.

                              MELKONIS
               We can't go into hypersleep with
               that thing running around loose.

                              HUNTER
               We'd be sitting ducks in the
               freezers.

                              ROBY
               But we can't kill it.  If we kill it,
               it will spill all its body acids
               right through our hull and out into
               space.

                              FAUST
               Shit... 

                              STANDARD
               We'll have to catch it and eject it
               from the ship.

                              MELKONIS
                    (sighs)
               Well, I kind of hate to point it
               out, but all our supplies are based
               on us spending a strictly limited
               amount of time out of suspended
               animation... and as you know, we used
               up most of that time in harvesting.

                              STANDARD
               We've got about a week left, right?

                              HUNTER
               And then we run out of food and
               oxygen.

                              FAUST
               The water will still recycle.

                              ROBY
               We won't need it then.

                              STANDARD
               All right, so that's what we've got.
               A week.  It's plenty of time.

                              ROBY
               But if we haven't caught it in a
               week, then we have to go into the
               freezers anyway.

     They enter the bridge.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

                              STANDARD
               So does anybody have any
               suggestions?

                              FAUST
               We could put on our pressure suits
               and blow all the air out of the
               ship.  That would kill it.

                              STANDARD
               No, we can't afford to lose that
               much oxygen.  We're going to have to
               flush it out.

                              MELKONIS
               How?

                              STANDARD
               Room by room, corridor by corridor.

     No one likes this thought.

                              MELKONIS
               And what do we do when we find it?

                              STANDARD
               We'll have to trap it somehow.  If we
               had a really strong piece of net, we
               could bag it.

                              FAUST
               We could cut a section out of that
               metallite netting.  It won't hold up
               to that acid, but aside from that
               it's pretty strong.

                              ROBY
               We have to avoid injuring it.  What
               we really need is some electric
               animal prods.

                              HUNTER
               I think I could cobble something
               together.  A long metal rod with a
               battery in it.  Give it a hell of a
               shock.

                              STANDARD
               Good.  Get on it.  But first, I'm
               issuing a standing order: from this
               moment forth, every one of us will
               wear protective garments, including
               helmets.  Let's get down to the
               locker and change.

     They start for the exit.

     EXTERIOR - OUTER SPACE

     The SNARK continues on its way through the weird vortex of hyperspace.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS IN SHIP

     Standard is walking purposefully along the corridor, alone.  He is
     garmented in an unusual outfit which makes him look like a riot
     policeman, including clear plastic helmet.

     He reaches a corner and turns.  But this new passageway has a different
     gravity orientation -- Standard seems to be walking down a vertical
     wall.

     He makes yet another disorienting turn, and now he is walking upside-
     down.  He reaches a set of steps and climbs up them -- or rather, down
     them.

     INTERIOR - VENTRAL OBSERVATION DOME - VIEW OF OUTER SPACE

     Melkonis is seated in the dome, upside-down, peering down into space.
     He also wears the protective suit.

     Standard, upside-down, climbs into the dome.  It is dark and eerie
     here, under the stars of interstellar space.  A few glowing panels
     provide the only illumination.

                              STANDARD
               I thought I'd find you here.

                              MELKONIS
               I was thinking of a line from an old
               poem: "Water, water everywhere, but
               not a drop to drink."  All that space
               out there, and we're trapped in this
               ship.

                              STANDARD
               That's the one about the albatross,
               right?

                              MELKONIS
               We can't even radio for help; the
               carrier wave wouldn't reach its
               destination till long after we'd
               died and turned to dust.  We are
               utterly, absolutely alone.  Can
               anybody really visualize such a
               scale of distances?  Halfway across
               Creation... 

                              STANDARD
               We came out there, we'll go back.  A
               long time by the clock, but a short
               time to us.

                              MELKONIS
               Time and space have no meaning out
               here.  We're living in Einsteinian
               equation.

                              STANDARD
               I can see you're putting your spare
               time to good use.
                    (leans forward and taps
                     him on the knee)
               Let me tell you something: you keep
               staring at hyperspace for long
               enough, they'll be peeling you off a
               wall.  I've seen it happen.

                              MELKONIS
                    (smiles at him)
               We're the new pioneers, Chaz.  We
               even have our own special diseases.

                              STANDARD
               Come on -- let's go above and see
               how they're coming with the gear.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     The whole crew has assembled.  Faust is unfolding several yards of
     shimmering metallic netting.

     Hunter hands out five thin rods, like metal broom handles.

                              HUNTER
               These have portable generators in
               them.  They're insulated down to here
               -- just be careful not to touch the
               end.

     He demonstrates by touching the tip of one of the rods to a metal
     object.  A blue spark leaps.

                              FAUST
               Might even incinerate the damn
               thing.

                              STANDARD
                    (sharply)
               I hope not.

                              HUNTER
               Don't worry, it won't damage it,
               it'll just give it a little
               incentive.

                              STANDARD
               How do we locate the creature?

                              FAUST
               With these.

     He picks up a small portable unit.

                              FAUST (CONT'D)
               Tracking device.  You set it to
               search for a moving object... It
               hasn't got much range, but when you
               get within a certain distance, it
               starts beeping.

     Standard takes the device and studies it.

                              STANDARD
               These will be very useful.  At least
               we won't have to go digging around
               in closets with our bare hands.  All
               right, here's the battle plan: we're
               going to break into two teams and
               start systematically covering the
               ship.  Whoever finds it first,
               catches it in the net and ejects it
               from the nearest airlock.  Clear?

                              ROBY
               Even simple.

     Standard shoots him a vicious look, then continues:

                              STANDARD
               For starters, let's make sure the
               bridge is safe.

     Faust takes the device and turns it on.  He scans it around the room.

                              FAUST
               It's clear.

                              STANDARD
               All right -- Roby and Melkonis will
               go with Faust.  Hunter and I will
               make up the second team.

     They start doling out the equipment.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               We'll all carry communicators.  We
               want to keep in constant touch.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS IN SHIP

     Melkonis and Roby carry the net, while Faust walks directly behind it,
     carrying the tracking device.  He continually scans it from side to
     side.

                              FAUST
               Nothing yet... nothing... we can move
               pretty fast as long as there's
               nothing on the tracker.

     INTERIOR - OTHER CORRIDORS

     Standard and Hunter move silently along.  Standard is forced to serve a
     double function, carrying one edge of the net and the tracker as well.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS

     Roby's team is moving at a fairly brisk pace, when:

                              FAUST
               Hold it.

     Faust's tracker is BEEPING, and a small light flashes.

                              FAUST (CONT'D)
               I've got something.

     Immediately, they grow very tense and start looking around.

                              ROBY
               Where's it coming from?

                              FAUST
                    (peers closely at tracker
                     and frowns)
               Machine's screwed up, I can't tell.
               Needle's spinning all over the dial.

                              MELKONIS
               Is it malfunctioning?

     Faust turns the tracker on its side, and the needle stabilizes.

                              FAUST
               No, just confused.  It's coming from
               below us.

     They all look down at their feet.

     INTERIOR - MAINTENANCE LEVEL

     Roby, Melkonis, and Faust come carefully down a set of crude metal
     stairs, into a drab, functional section of the ship.

     The corridors in this level are lit by rows of bare bulbs in the
     ceiling.  The effect is ugly and confining.

     They stop at the foot of the stairs and move into position, spreading
     the net across the corridor.

                              ROBY
               Okay.

                              FAUST
                    (looking at tracker and
                     nodding down the passageway)
               That way.

     They begin to walk down the passageway, footsteps clanging on the raw
     metal flooring.  It is extremely dark.

                              ROBY
               What happened to the lights?

                              FAUST
               Bulbs burned out, nobody bothered to
               replace 'em.

     They switch on the helmet lights.

     CAMERA FOLLOWS THEM AROUND A COUPLE OF TURNINGS, AND THEN:

                              FAUST (CONT'D)
               Hold it.

     They all stop quickly, almost stumbling.

                              FAUST (CONT'D)
                    (whispering)
               It's within 4 meters.

     Roby and Melkonis heft the net, each keeping his prod in hand.  Faust,
     prod in one hand and tracker in the other, has the unpleasant job of
     approaching the source of the signal.

     He moves with great care, in a half crouch, ready to leap back at any
     second, prod extended, constantly glancing at the tracker.

     The tracking device leads him right up to a small hatch or door in one
     wall.

     Behind his plastic mask, sweat is pouring down Faust's face as he sets
     down the tracker and reaches for the little door.  He raises the prod,
     grasps the door handle, yanks it open, and jams the electric prod
     inside.

     WITH A NERVE-SHATTERING SQUALL, A SMALL CREATURE COMES FLYING OUT OF
     THE CABINET, EYES GLARING, CLAWS FLASHING.

     Instinctively, they throw the net over it, but:

                              ROBY
                    (very annoyed)
               Oh, hold it!

     They open the net and release the creature.  IT IS THE CAT.  Hissing and
     spitting, it scampers away.

                              MELKONIS
               We're making fools of ourselves!

     Roby's COMMUNICATOR BEEPS.

                              ROBY
                    (into communicator)
               Yes!

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               We've got it up here!  It's trapped!
               Get up here fast!

                              ROBY
               Where are you?

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Food-storage room!

                              ROBY
               We're coming!

     They dash for the stairs.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS IN SHIP

     Roby, Faust, and Melkonis charge down the hallways until they arrive
     at:

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE FOOD STORAGE ROOM

     Standard and Hunter are waiting for them, in hysterics.

                              HUNTER
               We saw it inside and slammed the
               door on it!  It's in there now!

     On the other side of the door, CRASHING AND BANGING can be heard.

                              ROBY
               What's it doing, having a seizure?

                              STANDARD
               It started crashing around right
               after we locked it in.

                              ROBY
               Now what?

                              STANDARD
               I guess we open the door and net it.

                              HUNTER
               I hate to open that door.

     Again the thing can be heard CRASHING AROUND INSIDE.

                              STANDARD
               It looks completely different from
               the first one -- it's more like a
               worm with legs... and tentacles.

                              FAUST
               Well we better do something.

                              HUNTER
               Maybe we don't have to.  It's trapped
               in there.  We could just leave it in
               there all the way back to Irth.

                              STANDARD
                    (snaps)
               Don't be an idiot.

                              FAUST
               I know what we can do.  We can pump
               poison gas into the room and kill
               it.  Through those ventilator slots
               there.

     He indicates a row of slots in the bottom of the door.

                              ROBY
               Hey, wait a minute!  That's all our
               food supplies in there!  We can't
               pump poison gas all over them!

                              STANDARD
               Once we kill the thing we won't need
               the food any more -- we can go
               straight into hypersleep.  Also, it
               sounds like that thing is already
               doing a pretty good job on our
               supplies; it may be fouling them
               all.

                              ROBY
               You win.

                              FAUST
               Somebody gimme a hand, I'll get the
               stuff.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE FOOD LOCKER - LATER

     CAMERA PULLS BACK TO REVEAL THAT they are fastening a large funnel-
     shaped device over the ventilator grill at the bottom of the door.
     This funnel is attached to a thick hose, which runs back to a large
     metal tank with pressure gauges.

                              STANDARD
               Get those masks on.

     They pull on gas masks.

                              ROBY
               This stuff's deadly -- I hope we
               know what we're doing.

                              STANDARD
               Go ahead, Jay.

     Faust turns on the machine.  It begins to throb as it pumps the gas
     through the hose and into the room.

     Immediately, THE CRASHING NOISES RISE IN CRESCENDO, AND THE THING CAN
     BE HEARD SCREECHING AND SQUEALING.

     Then the sounds stop altogether.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Shut it off.

     Faust shuts off the pump.

                              ROBY
               Now what?

                              STANDARD
               What do you think?  Now we go in.

     Standard steps to the door and opens it.  A thick cloud of gas billows
     out.

     INTERIOR - FOOD STORAGE ROOM

     The room is thick with the poison gas.  The men look like insects in
     their gasmasks.

     The food packages are ripped to shreds, and foodstuffs are scattered
     all over the floor.

                              FAUST
               Looks like he helped himself.

     Carefully, the men poke through the garbage, net and prods raised.

     Then Hunter points.

                              HUNTER
               God damn it.

     They all look where he is pointing.  In the wall, A VENTILATOR GRILL
     HAS BEEN RIPPED OPEN.

                              HUNTER (CONT'D)
               It escaped.

     They move to the shredded ventilator and shine their lights into it.

                              ROBY
               Where does that go?

                              FAUST
               All over the ship; we'll have to
               check the charts to know for sure.

                              STANDARD
               Then let's go and do it.

     They head for the door.

                              HUNTER
               Have we got any food at all left in
               the ship?

     They slam the door shut and seal it.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     The screens are showing them a schematic of the ship's system of
     ventilator shafts.

                              FAUST
               That one section of the ventilator
               shaft has only two outlets -- you
               notice?  The food storage room on one
               end --

                              HUNTER
               -- And the cooling unit on the
               other.

                              STANDARD
               So it's trapped in between -- now we
               have to drive it out.

                              FAUST
               Poison gas... 

                              HUNTER
               We can't pump poison gas down into
               the cooling unit!  It'll flood the
               whole ship!

                              STANDARD
               The only other thing I can think of
               is for somebody to crawl in there
               and flush it out.

                              ROBY
               Are you crazy?

                              STANDARD
               The man would need protection,
               obviously -- as well as some way to
               drive the thing before him.

                              FAUST
               How about a flamethrower?  That
               wouldn't poison the air.

                              MELKONIS
               So one of us goes into the airshaft
               and drives the thing along --

                              STANDARD
               While the rest of us wait down in
               the cooling unit with the net.

                              HUNTER
               Sounds like a rough one.

                              STANDARD
               Got a better idea?

     Hunter shrugs.

                              ROBY
               So the only question left is: who
               gets to crawl down the airshaft?

                              STANDARD
               Let's be democratic.

     He tears five small sheets of paper from a pad on his console.  On one
     of them, he draws a large X.  Then he wads each piece of paper into a
     tiny little ball.

     He rolls the paperballs between his hands and tosses them on the table
     like dice.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Martin, take one.

     Roby picks one up and unfolds it.  It is blank.

     Melkonis picks up another and opens it.  Again blank.

     Faust picks up a ball, and Standard immediately picks his own up.  They
     are both blank.

     They all look at Hunter, who has not yet unfolded his.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Open it up, Cleave.

     INTERIOR - FOOD STORAGE ROOM

     Hunter is strapping on an oxygen mask and a flame thrower.  Faust is
     helping him.

     Finally, Faust hands him a tracking device.

                              FAUST
               Well, uh... good luck.  I hope you
               won't need me, but if you do, I'm
               here.

                              HUNTER
                    (grimly)
               Right.

     Hunter turns and climbs into the ventilator opening, which is just
     large enough to crawl through.

     INTERIOR - AIR SHAFT

     It is completely dark in the shaft.  Hunter reaches up and turns on his
     helmet light.  Then he switches on his radio.

                              HUNTER
               Hey, do you guys read me down there?

     INTERIOR - CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM

     Standard, Melkonis and Roby are spreading out the net.  We hear the hum
     of huge cooling plants, and their hair ruffles.  Large airshafts run
     off in different directions.

                              STANDARD
               Yeah, we're getting into position.

     INTERIOR - AIR SHAFT

                              HUNTER
               Okay, I'm starting now.

     He begins to crawl forward into the narrow metal tunnel.  He turns a
     corner.

     After a couple more tight turns, THE TRACKER SUDDENLY BEEPS.

     Hunter twitches.  He raises his flamethrower and FIRES A BLAST INTO THE
     DARKNESS.  It roars loudly in the confined tube, and the air instantly
     heats up.  Smoke drifts back into his face.  He begins to sweat.

     INTERIOR - CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM

     Roby points to a large rectangular opening in one wall.

                              ROBY
                    (pointing)
               There.  That's where it's got to come
               out.

     He throws a switch, and a large metal panel rises and seals off the
     opening.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
               That's a flip-flop gate to channel
               the air, but we can use it to trap
               the thing.

                              STANDARD
               Right now let's keep it closed.

     Melkonis is setting up a little portable unit with a screen on it.  The
     screen shows a section of the ship's schematic.

                              MELKONIS
               I've got Hunter... and something else
               as well, in front of him.

                              STANDARD
               Are they close?

                              MELKONIS
               They're on the next level up.

                              STANDARD
               Let's get moving with this net.

     They lift the net up, holding it in front of the opening.

     INTERIOR - AIR SHAFT

     Hunter is still crawling on hands and knees.  Up ahead, he can see that
     the shaft takes an abrupt downward turn.

     He crawls toward the down angle, then fires another blast from his
     flamethrower.

     Then he starts crawling down, head first.

     When he is nearly upside-down, the shaft takes yet another turning
     which puts him into a nearly impossible position, almost immobilized.

     Then the tracker starts BEEPING LIKE CRAZY.

     Frantically, he fumbles the flamethrower around, but the space is
     narrow -- it is difficult maneuvering.  He hears a HISSING CRY up
     ahead, and claws scrambling on metal.

     Then he has the weapon into position, and sprays another lethal
     flaming burst toward the sound.

     INTERIOR - CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM

     Melkonis is staring at his screen.

                              MELKONIS
               They're getting pretty close now.

                              STANDARD
               All right, then -- when it gets to
               the other side of the door, you sing
               out, then drop the door.  Okay?

                              MELKONIS
               Okay.

                              STANDARD
                    (to Roby)
               And you and I will bag it, and then
               we'll take it to the ventral air
               lock, got it?

                              ROBY
                    (tensely)
               Uh-huh.

     INTERIOR - AIR SHAFT

     Hunter is huddled against a wall of the shaft, clutching the
     flamethrower.

                              HUNTER
                    (whispers)
               Hey, you guys.

     INTERIOR - CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM

                              STANDARD
                    (into communicator)
               Yes!

     INTERIOR - AIR SHAFT

                              HUNTER
                    (whispering)
               I don't think this shaft goes on too
               much farther... anyway it's getting
               pretty hot in here... 

     INTERIOR - CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM

                              STANDARD
                    (into communicator)
               Okay, our screens show you as being
               near to the opening.  We'll open it
               up, then we'll cue you and you can
               start blasting.  That'll drive it
               right out.  You don't have to go any
               farther.

     INTERIOR - AIR SHAFT

                              HUNTER
               Good.

     He readies the flamethrower.

     INTERIOR - CLIMATE CONTROL ROOM

                              STANDARD
               Okay, get ready.

     He and Roby heft their respective ends of the net, crouched to catch
     the small creature when it darts out.  Melkonis picks up his electric
     prod.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               Open the vent, Sandy.

     Melkonis reaches over and throws the switch.  The metal gate drops
     down, opening up the shaft.

     A SIX-FOOT MONSTROSITY STANDS IN THE OPENING.  GHASTLY BEYOND
     IMAGINATION, SQUAMOUS, COVERED WITH TENTACLES, IT HOPS DOWN LIKE AN
     OVER-SIZED BIRD AND GRABS MELKONIS IN RAZOR-SHARP TENTACLES.

     Melkonis lets out a horrible shriek, and the thing grabs his head in
     one claw and TWISTS IT OFF LIKE A MAN PULLING THE HEAD OFF A CHICKEN,
     THEN THROWS IT TO THE FLOOR WITH AN AUDIBLE CLUNK.

     CLUTCHING MELKONIS' BODY TIGHTLY AGAINST ITSELF, IT TURNS AND BOUNDS
     DOWN THE HALL.  MELKONIS' HEADLESS BODY IS STILL KICKING AND STRUGGLING
     AS THE MONSTER LEAPS HEAD-FIRST INTO ANOTHER AIR SHAFT.

     Standard and Roby are left standing in shock.  After a moment, Hunter
     climbs out of the shaft.

                              HUNTER
               What happened?  Where is it?

     They break from their paralysis, and run toward the opening the
     creature just leaped into.  It is another shaft, going down into
     darkness.

                              STANDARD
                    (awed)
               How did it get so big?

                              ROBY
               By eating our food supplies.

                              HUNTER
               Where's Melkonis?

     INTERIOR - FOOD STORAGE ROOM

     Faust is still waiting.

                              FAUST
                    (into his communicator)
               Hey, are you guys still there?
               What's going on?

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               Meet us on the bridge.  Be careful --
               it's huge now.

                              FAUST
               Right.

     Faust lets himself out of the food storage room and carefully locks
     the door behind him.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS

     Standard, Roby and Hunter are rapidly ascending toward the bridge.

                              HUNTER
               You mean his body was still kicking
               when it ran off with him?

                              ROBY
               It was horrible -- horrible.  Like a
               chicken.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     Standard, Roby and Hunter enter and drop into chairs.  Faust follows
     shortly.  They all look blank, stunned.

                              FAUST
               What happened?  Where's Sandy?

                              ROBY
               Dead.

                              FAUST
               Dead!

                              ROBY
               It's monstrous -- it grew, like some
               horrible tapeworm.  We were
               completely unprepared.

                              FAUST
               It's still in the ship?

                              STANDARD
               We'd better seal off the lower
               maintenance level; at least trap it
               there.
                    (throws a switch;
                     circuitry lights up)

                              HUNTER
               At least it can't get up here now.

                              ROBY
               Two down, four to go.

                              STANDARD
                    (angrily)
               What's that supposed to mean?

                              ROBY
               Nothing.

                              HUNTER
               Listen, it sure didn't like this
               flamethrower.

                              STANDARD
               That's right -- we can't kill it on
               the ship, but we can at least keep
               it at bay -- and maybe drive it into
               the air lock.

                              HUNTER
               Thing is, I'm about out of fuel.

                              FAUST
               There's some more combustible fuel
               down in the storage lockers next to
               the lounge.
                    (rises)
               I'll go get it.

                              STANDARD
               No, I don't want us separated.

                              FAUST
               You just sealed it off; it can't get
               to that section.

                              ROBY
               Don't count on it.

                              HUNTER
               We sure need this flamethrower.

                              STANDARD
               All right... but do not go below
               decks.

                              FAUST
               Right.
                    (heads for the door)

                              STANDARD
               And be right back.

	Faust exits.

                              ROBY
               I think it's time we took a hard
               look at those heiroglyphs.

     Roby begins to punch buttons; the photographs of the heiroglyphics
     appear on some of the screens.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
               Can you make out any pattern in all
               that?

                              STANDARD
                    (baffled)
               Well... yes... there's a pattern... but
               it's meaningless to me.

                              ROBY
               I know it looks like a senseless
               jumble, but if you look closely,
               there are recognizable forms.

                              HUNTER
               Recognizable!  In that?

                              ROBY
               In symbolic form... very stylized... 
               but if you stare at it, you can see
               some of the different creatures
               we've been dealing with.

                              HUNTER
               Well... I suppose that star-shaped
               thing could be the parasite that got
               on Broussard.  Is that what you mean?

                              ROBY
               And right next to it, that oval
               design with the markings -- it's a
               dead ringer for the spore casings.

                              STANDARD
               That next thing there -- six legs,
               tentacles -- that's the thing we saw
               in the food locker.

                              ROBY
               So the next step should be --

                              HUNTER
               -- The big one.  And there it is.

     Out of meaningless geometric symbols on a wall, it has become possible
     to recognize each stage in the alien's life cycle.

                              ROBY
               This is all the same creature.  We're
               seeing the different stages in its
               life-cycle.

                              STANDARD
               Then that tomb... must have been some
               kind of fertility temple... where
               they stored their eggs, and maybe
               held mating rituals... 

                              HUNTER
               ... And Broussard got caught in their
               reproductive cycle.

                              ROBY
               You will notice, though, that there
               are no more phases.  Only four forms
               are shown.  After that the pattern
               repeats.

                              STANDARD
               Which presumably means... 

                              ROBY
               ... More spores coming.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK

     Faust quickly turns a couple of corners and then comes to an abrupt
     halt when he notices that a DOOR LEADING TO THE LOWER DECKS HAS BEEN
     WRENCHED OFF ITS HINGES.

     He hesitates, uncertain what to do, then there is A SOUND FROM THE
     DIRECTION OF THE AIR LOCK... AND THE INNER LOCK DOOR IS OPEN.

     Faust hesitates and peers into the lock.

     INTERIOR - AIR LOCK

     The creature is squatting in the middle of the floor, gnawing on a
     bloody thigh bone.  It does not see Faust.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK

     Stealthfully, dropping back into the shadows, Faust presses the wall
     intercom and speaks into it.

                              FAUST
                    (whispering)
               It's in the lock -- blow the main
               lock.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     Standard, Roby and Hunter are staring at the pictures.  The call from
     Faust catches Standard in mid-sentence.

                              STANDARD
                    (into intercom)
               What?

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK

                              FAUST
                    (whispering)
               It's in the main air lock.  Blow the
               lock.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     Standard hesitates, starts to frame a reply -- then changes his mind
     and runs to his console -- and THROWS THE SWITCH.

     INTERIOR - AIR LOCK

     With a mechanical whine, the inner door starts to close.  The creature
     hears it and INSTANTANEOUSLY LEAPS OUT OF THE LOCK.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK

     The creature comes flying out of the lock and DEALS FAUST A BACK-
     HANDED BLOW, KNOCKING HIM ACROSS THE THRESHOLD OF THE AIR LOCK DOOR.

     FAUST SCREAMS IN MORTAL AGONY AS THE INNER DOOR CLOSES ON HIS WAIST,
     crushing him to a thickness of about three inches.

     On the wall, a green light goes on:

                         "INNER DOOR CLOSED"

     INTERIOR - AIR LOCK

     Despite the fact that the inner door is still held open a few inches
     by Faust's squashed body, THE OUTER DOOR BEGINS TO SLIDE OPEN.
     IMMEDIATELY, THERE IS A TREMENDOUS SCREAM OF ESCAPING AIR.

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - OUTER SPACE

     In dead silence, a thick spurt of steam comes out of the open air lock
     door.  This is the ship's atmosphere freezing as it squirts out into
     the vacuum under pressure.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     INSTANTLY, A TREMENDOUS WINDSTORM STARTS UP as the ship's air is
     sucked out toward the lock.

     A SIREN BEGINS TO SOUND, AND A RED LIGHT FLASHES:

                         "CRITICAL DEPRESSURIZATION"

     After a moment of panic and confusion, Roby bolts out of the control
     room.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS

     Loose papers and articles of furniture hurtle through the passageways,
     as Roby hurries toward the rock, partly running, partly sucked along
     by the air current.

     EXTERIOR - SHIP - OUTER SPACE

     A huge plume of steam grows from the side of the ship, with all kinds
     of tiny loose particles tumbling out in it.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS

     Whipped by the hurricane wind, Roby crashes to a momentary halt
     against a wall.  As he hesitates there, trying to regain his balance,
     HE SEES THE CREATURE SCURRYING AWAY DOWN ANOTHER CORRIDOR.

     Ignoring the monster, he pushes off from the wall and starts running
     again.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK

     Roby stops himself by grabbing the edge of a doorway at the end of the
     hall down from the airlock.  Here, the wind is really terrific -- his
     clothes flap on his body and all kinds of things fly by -- the sound
     is a DEAFENING WHISTLE.

     Instantly, Roby starts turning a large wheel, which begins to close a
     sliding hatch door, closing off the air lock corridor.  As the hatch
     closes, THE CURRENT DECREASES, THEN IS FINALLY CUT OFF AS HE SEALS IT.

     Done in, he collapses to the floor.

     Then he clutches his throat and begins to gasp for breath.  Because of
     the thinness of the air, THE SOUND LEVEL IN THE SHIP IS VERY ODD --
     THIN, DISTANT, ALMOST INAUDIBLE.  Roby is gasping loudly, but we can
     barely hear him; and his footsteps boom thinly like a man walking
     underwater.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS

     Clutching his throat, he comes across the others -- Standard and
     Hunter -- and they are all choking, clawing at their throats, gasping
     like fishes out of water.  They are sweating heavily and their noses
     bleed.

     They try to speak to each other, but the sound is so muffled we can
     only hear distant croaks.

     Standard mumbles something and stumbles down the hall.  The others
     follow him.

     INTERIOR - MAIN AIR TANK ROOM

     The door bursts open and Standard reels in, his footsteps pinging
     thinly on the metal flooring.  We see several rows of large oxygen
     tanks, all connected by hoses to a few petcocks.

     Standard staggers to these and starts twisting the handles, opening
     them.  THERE IS A PIERCING HISS OF ESCAPING AIR, AND THE SOUND LEVEL
     GRADUALLY RETURNS TO NORMAL as Standard and the others sink to the
     floor, gasping in the oxygen gratefully.

     Finally they have recovered enough to be able to sit up.

                              ROBY
               How much oxygen did we lose?

     Standard rises unsteadily and peers at the gauges.

                              STANDARD
               We've got six hours left.

                              HUNTER
                    (groans)
               Oh my God.

                              STANDARD
               Does anybody know what happened?

                              ROBY
               I saw it.  Faust got himself jammed
               in the air lock door.  His body held
               it open.

                              STANDARD
               Can we get to him?

                              ROBY
               No, I had to seal off a whole
               section.  We'd lose too much of our
               remaining air if we opened the
               connecting door.

     INTERIOR - AIR LOCK

     Faust's body, crushed in the inner door, floats weightlessly in the
     vacuum.  His nose and mouth are crusted with huge gobs of dried blood.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     The three survivors -- Standard, Roby and Hunter -- slump into chairs.

     The cat emerges from a hiding place, yowling with fear.

                              ROBY
                    (picking up the cat)
               Poor kitty; puss puss puss.

                              STANDARD
               At least we're rid of the damn
               monster.  It must have been the first
               thing sucked out of the ship.

                              ROBY
               No such luck.  I saw it running down
               one of the corridors.

                              HUNTER
                    (groans)
               Oh no!  We can't fight this thing!
               There's only six hours of air left
               -- we're dead men!

                              STANDARD
               I don't buy that.  There's still time
               to destroy it and get ourselves in
               the freezers.

                              HUNTER
               How?

                              STANDARD
               It's time for drastic remedies.

                              ROBY
               It was time for that a couple days
               ago.

                              STANDARD
               That kind of remark is pointless.
               Now come on -- I want to hear every
               suggestion you can come up with, no
               matter how wild.

                              HUNTER
               We can't kill it on board.  It's huge
               now and must have tremendous amounts
               of that acid in its body.

                              ROBY
               I've got an idea, but you're not
               going to like it.

                              STANDARD
               Let's hear it.

                              ROBY
               Okay.  First we shut down all the
               cooling systems on the stardrive
               engines.

                              STANDARD
               That'll blow the ship up.

                              ROBY
               Right... but it'll take a few minutes
               for the engines to overheat and melt
               down the core.  In the meantime, we
               get in the lifeboat and leave the
               ship.

                              HUNTER
               Blow the ship up?

                              ROBY
               And the creature with it.  We can
               make it back to Irth in the
               lifeboat.

                              STANDARD
               But the lifeboat can't accelerate to
               light speed.

                              ROBY
               Doesn't matter -- we're already at
               light speed.  And when we get back to
               the Colonies, they'll pick us up in
               the network.

                              HUNTER
               What about all the minerals and
               elements in the cargo hold?  That's
               the only reason we came out here.
               We'd have to abandon them all.  We'd
               be broke.

                              ROBY
               Our lives are more important.
               Anyway, we can take a small amount
               of the most valuable stuff with us
               on the lifeboat.

                              STANDARD
               No, it won't work and I just
               realized why.  There's only one
               hypersleep freezer on the lifeboat.
               Only one of us could survive.

                              ROBY
               Yeah... I forgot.

                              STANDARD
               But the idea's good, if we could
               just turn it around somehow.

     They think.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
               If we could just get the creature
               into the lifeboat, we could launch
               it into space and blow it up.

                              HUNTER
               Good!  That's good!

                              STANDARD
               We can load the lifeboat up with
               explosives and trigger them
               remotely, once the lifeboat is in
               space.

                              ROBY
               I think it's going to be almost
               impossible to drive it up into the
               lifeboat.

                              HUNTER
               We can use the flamethrower.

                              ROBY
               It's not going to work.

                              STANDARD
               You can't say that; I think it's a
               good plan.

                              HUNTER
               The flamethrower needs more fuel.

                              STANDARD
               Right.  We've got a lot to
               accomplish.  Let's get moving.

     INTERIOR - MINING & CARGO BAY

     The three men come down steps into this rather dirty area of the ship.
     A lot of tools and large items of machinery are stored around.

     LONG RACKS OF SHELVES ARE STOCKED WITH METAL CONTAINERS OF VARIOUS
     SHAPES.  Each container is well packed and labelled.

                              HUNTER
               Which explosive should we use?

                              STANDARD
               I'd suggest the N-13 sticks.  They're
               portable, and they can be radio
               detonated.

     Hunter begins to unlock a locker and draw out long, red sticks like
     broomhandles, with tiny printing on them.

     Meanwhile, ROBY IS STARING AT THE ROWS OF METAL CANNISTERS.  He touches
     one of them.

                              ROBY
               You know, it's funny -- this stuff
               we went to so much trouble to dig up
               -- this treasure, the paydirt --
               it'll make it back to Irth just fine
               -- even if we're not with it.

                              STANDARD
               Here, carry these.

     Hunter takes an armload of the red broomsticks, and stumbles.

                              ROBY
                    (grabbing at him)
               Hey watch it!

                              STANDARD
                    (grinning)
               It's stable; it doesn't hurt to drop
               it.

     They begin to carry the explosives up the steps.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR

     The three men are carrying their equipment along the hallway, when
     Hunter's tracker suddenly BEEPS.

                              HUNTER
               Hold it!

     They all stop.  The tracker BEEPS AGAIN.  Hunter puts down his stuff and
     points the tracker around.

                              HUNTER (CONT'D)
                    (nodding up some steps)
               Up there.

     They all look at each other.  Standard puts down his bundle and picks
     up the flamethrower.

                              ROBY
               So what do we do?  Do we ignore it
               and finish loading the explosives
               into the boat -- or do we flush it
               out now?

                              STANDARD
               Now.  If we can get it into the boat,
               we won't have to blow it up -- we
               can just eject it into space.

     Standard hefts the flamethrower and starts up the steps.

     INTERIOR - DIM STAIRWELL

     Standard's face is tense as he advances up the circular steps.
     Suddenly, a METALLIC TAPPING SOUND is heard.  He freezes.

     Then he continues up.

     EXTERIOR - DORSAL OBSERVATION DOME - VIEW OF OUTER SPACE

     The view of interstellar space is spectacular.  As Standard comes up
     the steps, the METALLIC TAPPING is heard again.

     Standard looks around.  Then he sees it -- BROUSSARD'S CORPSE FLOATS
     OUTSIDE THE GLASS OF THE DOME.  It is tangled in some rigging, and the
     movement of the machinery causes the cadaver to tap on the glass
     periodically.

                              STANDARD
                    (shouts)
               You can come up!  It's safe!

     The others come up the steps.

                              ROBY
                    (spying the corpse)
               Oh -- Jesus --

     Broussard's corpse is blue and bloated where the wrappings have torn
     loose.  Bumping against the glass, he looks like he wants to come in.

                              STANDARD
               The ship's gravitational attraction
               must have drawn him back.

                              HUNTER
                    (horrified)
               Should we go outside and bring him
               in?

                              STANDARD
               No... the risk is too great.  Perhaps
               after we've destroyed the thing.

     Glancing back, the men retreat from the observation dome.  Broussard
     remains against the glass, peering in with dead eyes.

     INTERIOR - NOSE OF SHIP

     The floor slopes upward slightly here as the corridor funnels in and
     ends in the entrance to a narrow passageway or crawl-way.  This
     passageway connects the nose of the ship with the lifeboat.

     The three men come up to the entrance to the passageway, carrying the
     equipment.  They duck in and walk the short distance to the lifeboat.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     The passageway connects into the rear of the lifeboat.  It is an
     extremely simple, stripped-down vehicle; even the metal struts and
     beams-are exposed.  A single hypersleep freezer takes up a fair amount
     of floor space.  It is an escape-craft, nothing more.

                              STANDARD
                    (pointing)
               Along the base of the walls there.

     They begin to stack the red broomsticks against the base of the walls
     on both sides of the lifeboat, and to wire them into position tightly.

                              HUNTER
               This should do it.

                              ROBY
               I should hope so!  And we'd better
               make sure it's pretty far from the
               ship when we blow it.

                              STANDARD
               It will be.

                              HUNTER
                    (surveys the craft uneasily)
               What we really need is some red meat
               in here for bait.

                              ROBY
               Well, if we had some, I'd eat it.
               I'm starting to get hungry.

     By this time, they are exiting.

     INTERIOR - NOSE OF SHIP

                              STANDARD
               Well... now we have to herd that
               thing up here.

                              HUNTER
                    (nervously)
               Whoever's doing the herding is gonna
               have their hands pretty full.  I
               think somebody should stay by the
               lifeboat to slam the door on the
               thing once it's inside, and to serve
               as... as... 
                    (searches for a word)

                              ROBY
               Isn't "bait" the word you used?

                              HUNTER
               Hey look, somebody has to have his
               hands free to lock the creature in
               the lifeboat!

                              STANDARD
               Yes, and maybe launch the boat and
               blow it too... if the others are
               injured.

                              ROBY
               Who gets the privilege?

     INSERT: THREE CRUMPLED PIECES OF PAPER.  Three hands pick them up.

     ANGLE ON ROBY.  He unfolds his paper, turns it so the others can see
     it.  It has a big X on it.

     ANOTHER ANGLE - SHORTLY LATER.  Hunter is showing Roby a small device
     like a transistor radio.

                              HUNTER
               Just keep your finger off the button
               till she's way away from the ship,
               that's all.

                              ROBY
               Is it armed?

                              HUNTER
               If you press the button right now,
               it will blow the whole nose of the
               ship off.

                              ROBY
               Thanks for the thought.
                    (puts detonator in his
                     breast pocket)

                              STANDARD
               All right, Martin, we'll be in touch
               with you on the communicator.

                              ROBY
               And you'll let me know when you've
               got it coming this way... 

                              STANDARD
               And you stand aside while we drive
               it in, then shut the hatch, launch
               the boat, and --

                              ROBY
               Kablooey.

     Hunter's face twitches nervously at this.

                              STANDARD
               Come on; we haven't much time, air
               is a factor.

     They leave the nose of the ship, Standard carrying the flamethrower,
     Hunter the tracker.

     Roby settles himself at the controls, runs through them briefly to
     familiarize himself.  Using a switch, he opens and closes the lifeboat
     door a couple of times.  It slams open and shut quite rapidly.

     He presses a few buttons and sets the launch button to "READY."

     Then STANDARD'S VOICE comes from the communicator:

                              STANDARD
                    (over, filtered)
               We've got something on the
               tracker... got to be it, it's
               too big for the cat.

     This is a VERY SPOOKY SCENE, ROBY ALONE BY THE LIFEBOAT, LISTENING TO
     THE VOICES ON THE COMMUNICATOR.

                              HUNTER
                    (over, filtered)
               It's coming from down there.

     Roby hears various tinny sound effects, rustlings, clunkings,
     breathing, etc.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDOR IN SHIP

     Standard has the flamethrower at the ready, and Hunter is staring at
     the tracker.

                              HUNTER
               It must have stopped moving.  I'm not
               getting anything.

                              STANDARD
               Let me go first; you stay behind me.

     Carefully, Standard advances down the corridor.  Then THE CREATURE POPS
     OUT OF HIDING BEHIND HUNTER, AND PICKS HIM UP.

     HUNTER SCREAMS.

     Standard whirls around, sees the thing clutching Hunter.  It holds him
     off to one side, as though to keep Standard from getting at him.

     Standard doesn't know what to do.

                              HUNTER
               The flamethrower!

                              STANDARD
               I can't, the acid will pour out!

     At that moment the creature TAKES A BITE OUT OF HUNTER, WHO SCREAMS IN
     MORTAL AGONY.

     Standard can take it no longer; he raises the flamethrower and fires
     -- BUT THE CREATURE SWINGS HUNTER AROUND AS A SHIELD AND HUNTER
     CATCHES THE FULL BLAST OF THE FLAME.

     Standard instantly stops firing, but now Hunter is a kicking ball of
     flame, held out at arm's length by the monster.

     INTERIOR - NOSE OF SHIP

     Roby is listening to all this on the communicator.  He can hear the
     shrieks and crashing noises.

     Then the communicator goes dead, and all he hears is a rush of static.

                              ROBY
               Hello?  Standard?  Hunter?

     He waits quite a while for a response, but we can see from his
     expression that he expects none.

     He drops his face into his hands.  When he lifts his head again, he has
     managed to summon a certain amount of resolve.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS IN SHIP

     Roby walks along watching the tracker, carrying a pistol in the other
     hand.  He comes across Standard's flamethrower, lying on the floor.  He
     picks it up, substituting it for the pistol.

     Then he continues to follow the tracker; it takes him down the steps
     into the maintenance level.

     INTERIOR - MAINTENANCE LEVEL

     Roby follows the device for a short distance until it indicates that
     the source of the signal is directly under his feet.  Looking down, he
     sees that he is standing on a square metal plate.

     Getting down on his hands and knees, he removes the heavy plate,
     revealing a black opening with a ladder going down.

     Substituting the tracker for a flashlight, but still carrying the
     flamethrower, Roby starts down the ladder.

     INTERIOR - DARK STORAGE ROOM

     Shining the light around into the darkness, Roby descends the metal
     ladder to the floor.

     THE PLACE IS A HORRIBLE LAIR, FULL OF BONES, HAIR, SHREDS OF FLESH,
     PIECES OF CLOTHING, AND SHOES.

     Something moves in the darkness -- Roby turns his light on it.

     HANGING FROM THE CEILING IS A HUGE COCOON.  It appears to be woven from
     some fine, white, silk-like material, and it is slowly undulating.

     Flamethrower ready, Roby approaches the cocoon.  As he gets close
     enough, he sees that the cocoon is semi-transparent and THE BODY OF
     STANDARD IS INSIDE IT.

     Unexpectedly, Standard's eyes open, and focus on Roby -- who jumps
     violently.

                              STANDARD
                    (a feeble whisper)
               Kill me... 

                              ROBY
                    (sickened)
               What did it do to you?

                              STANDARD
                    (moves his head slightly)
               Look... 

     Roby turns his light where Standard indicates.  Another cocoon dangles
     from the ceiling, but this one looks a little different.  It is smaller
     and darker, with a harder shell.  In fact, it looks almost EXACTLY LIKE
     THE SPORES IN THE TOMB.

                              STANDARD (CONT'D)
                    (whispering)
               That was Melkonis... it ate Hunter... 

                              ROBY
                    (looking around for a tool)
               I'll get you out of there.

                              STANDARD
               No... don't... 

                              ROBY
               But I can save you -- get you to the
               Autodoc!

                              STANDARD
               No good... it's eaten too much of
               me... 

                              ROBY
                    (in horror)
               What can I do?

                              STANDARD
               Kill me... 

     Roby stares at him in horror, then bends down and takes a closer look
     at him.  REACTING, he straightens back up, raises the flamethrower, and
     sprays a molten blast.  When the entire room is in flames, he turns and
     scrambles back up the ladder.

     INTERIOR - MAINTENANCE LEVEL

     Roby drops to his knees and gasps for breath, trying not to throw up.
     At length, he regains control of himself.

     EXTERIOR - OUTER SPACE - AT LIGHT SPEED

     The SNARK appears to hang motionless, with planets and star clusters
     rolling past in the infinite distance.

     INTERIOR - BRIDGE

     Roby is putting the cat into a metal, vacuum-sealed catbox, with a
     little oxygen tank on it.

                              ROBY
               Kitty go bye-bye.

     He seals the catbox, then turns on the oxygen.  There is a faint hiss
     of pressurized air.  Wild-eyed, the cat peers out of a little window in
     front.  It YOWLS.

     He picks up the pressurized catbox and leaves the bridge.

     INTERIOR - MINING & CARGO BAY

     Carrying the catbox and a shoulder bag (and of course the
     flamethrower), Roby goes quickly to the nearest rank of metal
     cannisters.

                              ROBY
                    (reading from labels)
               What'll it be, Kitty?  Here -- how
               about some Tacitum-35, ten kilos of
               it.  This'll buy us an island on some
               nice planet.

     Putting the invaluable cannister into the shoulder bag, he hurries
     back up the steps.

     INTERIOR - ENGINE ROOM

     Catbox in one hand, flamethrower in the other, Roby enters the engine
     room, containing the massive stardrive engines.

     He puts down his parcels and approaches the main control board for the
     engines.  Studying the instructions, he begins to close switches, one
     by one.

     A SIREN BEGINS TO HONK THROUGHOUT THE SHIP.

                              COMPUTER
               Attention!  The cooling units for the
               stardrive engines are not
               functioning!  Engines will overload
               in 4 minutes, 50 seconds!  Attention!

     Finally Roby closes the last switch.  Shaking with nervousness, he
     hurriedly picks up catbox, bag and flamethrower and hurries out of the
     engine room.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS IN SHIP

     Roby hurries on, listening to the siren.

                              COMPUTER
               Attention!  Engines will overheat and
               main core will melt in 4 minutes, 30
               seconds!

     INTERIOR - NOSE OF SHIP

     Roby comes hustling up to where the lifeboat is berthed.  Hands full,
     he starts to enter the connecting passageway.

     INTERIOR - CONNECTING PASSAGEWAY

     THE CREATURE IS WAITING AT THE OTHER END OF THE PASSAGEWAY, INSIDE THE
     LIFEBOAT.

     It HISSES and starts toward him.

     INTERIOR - NOSE OF SHIP

     Roby leaps out of the passageway, bounds to the controls, and throws
     the switch.  The hatch door SLAMS SHUT, locking the thing in the
     lifeboat.

                              COMPUTER
               Attention!  Engines will overload in
               4 minutes!

     Indecisive, Roby stares at the lifeboat "LAUNCH" button.  The thing can
     be heard fumbling around in the passageway.

     Finally, he turns and bolts back toward the engine room.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS IN SHIP

     Like a maniac, Roby runs through the ship, level after level, pounding
     down stairwells, his footsteps clanging metallically throughout the
     ship as he sprints for the engine room.

                              COMPUTER
               Attention!  Engines will overload in
               3 minutes, 30 seconds!

     INTERIOR - ENGINE ROOM

     The door crashes open and Roby comes running in.  The room is full of
     smoke and the engines are whining dangerously.  It is extremely hot in
     the room; Roby instantly breaks out in sweat.

     He runs to controls and begins throwing back on the cooling unit
     switches.

     Still THE SIREN CONTINUES.

                              COMPUTER
               Attention!  Engines will overload in
               3 minutes!

     Roby pushes a button and speaks into it.

                              ROBY
               Computer!  I've turned all the
               cooling units back on!  What's wrong?

                              COMPUTER
               The reaction has proceeded too far.
               The core has begun to melt.  Engines
               will overload in 2 minutes, 35
               seconds.

     A look of terror comes onto Roby's face.  He turns and runs from the
     engine room.

     INTERIOR - CORRIDORS IN SHIP

     Again, Roby must run through all the levels of the ship, this time
     up the stairs, exhausted, stumbling, while the computer counts down:

                              COMPUTER
               Attention!  Engines will overload in
               2 minutes!

     INTERIOR - NOSE OF SHIP

     Reeling, gasping for breath, Roby staggers into the vestibule where
     the lifeboat is berthed.  He grabs the flamethrower and turns it toward
     the passageway.

     It is then he realizes that THE LIFEBOAT DOOR IS OPEN AGAIN.

     Quickly, he glances around to see if the creature might be behind him.
     Then he advances on the passageway.

     INTERIOR - PASSAGEWAY

     Dripping with sweat, his face a mask of fear, Roby enters the
     passageway, flamethrower gripped tightly in his hands.  He is goaded on
     by the siren and the computer:

                              COMPUTER
               Attention!  Engines will explode in
               90 seconds!

     He makes it all the way to the end of the passageway, then sticks his
     head into the lifeboat.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     HIS POINT-OF-VIEW as he quickly scans the lifeboat, reveals that it is
     EMPTY.

     INTERIOR - PASSAGEWAY

     Immediately, he turns and dashes back to the head of the passageway.
     There he grabs the catbox and bag, then runs back into the lifeboat.

                              COMPUTER
               Attention!  Engines will explode in
               60 seconds!

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     He comes in on the run, hurls the catbox and bag toward the front, and
     does a dive over the back of the control chair.  He is no sooner in the
     seat than he hits the "LAUNCH" button.

     EXTERIOR - NOSE OF SHIP - OUTER SPACE

     The retainer clips drop away, and with a blast of ramjets, THE
     LIFEBOAT IS LAUNCHED AWAY FROM THE "SNARK."

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     Roby is frantically strapping himself in, as the lifeboat accelerates
     away from the mother ship.

     EXTERIOR - SPACE

     The tiny pod of the lifeboat accelerates away from the larger bulk of
     the SNARK.  The scene is strangely serene for such deadly
     circumstances.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     Roby finishes strapping himself in, then he reaches and grabs the
     catbox.  The cat is YOWLING.  Roby hugs the box to his chest and hunches
     his head down over it.

     EXTERIOR - SPACE

     The SNARK drifts ever farther away as the lifeboat leaves it behind,
     until it is barely a point of light.

     THEN IT BLOWS UP.

     AN EXPANDING ORANGE FIREBALL WITH PIECES OF METAL FLYING IN ALL
     DIRECTIONS.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     The shockwave hits the escape craft, jolting it and rattling
     everything inside.  Then all is quiet.

     Roby unhooks himself from his straps, rises, and goes to the back of
     the lifeboat.  He stares out through the porthole.  His face is bathed
     in orange light.

     EXTERIOR - SPACE

     What he sees is the boiling fireball, now fading and fizzling away
     into nothingness, and a couple of pieces of debris floating past.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     Roby's expression is mournful as he watches the final obliteration of
     his ship and friends.

     BEHIND HIM, THE CREATURE EMERGES FROM SOME HIDING PLACE -- IT HAS BEEN
     INSIDE THE LIFEBOAT ALL ALONG.

     The cat SCREECHES.

     Roby whirls, and finds himself facing the thing across the length of
     the boat.  It squats, then pulls out its trophy -- a man's arm.

     It begins to eat the arm, watching Roby.

     His first thought is for the flamethrower -- unfortunately, it lies on
     the floor right next to the monster.  Next he glances around for any
     place to hide.  His eye falls on a tiny locker containing a space suit,
     with the door standing open.

     He begins to edge toward the locker.  The creature rises.  He freezes.

     It throws down the arm.  With that, Roby dives for the open locker
     door, hurls himself inside, and slams the door shut.

     INTERIOR - SPACESUIT LOCKER

     There is a clear glass panel in the door, and the thing puts its face
     right up to the glass, peering in at Roby.  The locker is so small that
     Roby's face is only inches away from the creature's.  The sight is
     disgusting.  It turns its head, looking at him in curiosity.

     Then the MOANING OF THE CAT distracts it.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     The creature waddles over to where the pressurized catbox sits.  It
     bends down and peers inside.  The CAT YOWLS LOUDER.

     It picks up the catbox in its tentacles.

     INTERIOR - SPACESUIT LOCKER

     Trying to distract the monster away from the cat, Roby TAPS ON THE
     GLASS.

     But the monster reacts so fast that its face is instantly back at the
     glass, startling the hell out of Roby.

     Getting no more interference from him, the thing returns to the
     catbox.

     Roby looks around.  He spies the spacesuit.  Quickly, he begins to pull
     it on.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     The creature picks the catbox up in its tentacles and shakes it to see
     if there is anything inside.  The cat MOANS.

     INTERIOR - SPACESUIT LOCKER

     Roby is halfway into the pressure suit.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     The creature throws the catbox down.  It clangs, and bounces.  The thing
     picks it up again and hammers it against the wall.  Then it jams it
     into a crevice in the wall.

     With one tentacle, it begins to pound the sealed catbox into the
     crevice.  The cat has gone beyond hysterics.

     INTERIOR - SPACESUIT LOCKER

     Roby pulls on the helmet, latches it into place, then turns on the
     oxygen.  With a hiss, the suit fills itself.

     In a rack on the wall is a long metal rod with a blunt rubber tip.
     Roby peels the rubber off, revealing a sharp steel point.

     Again he raps on the glass.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     The creature turns.  It faces the locker, peers at him.

     INTERIOR - SPACESUIT LOCKER

                              ROBY
               Try a little of this, you fucking
               bastard.

     HE KICKS THE DOOR OPEN.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     The creature rises, but just in time to catch THE STEEL SHAFT RIGHT
     THROUGH ITS MIDRIFF.

     IT MAKES A HORRIBLE NOISE AND CLUTCHES AT THE SPUR.  The yellow acid
     begins to flow from the wound.

     Before the acid can touch the floor, Roby reaches back and pulls a
     switch -- BLOWING THE REAR HATCH.

     In a poof, the tiny atmosphere in the lifeboat is sucked out into
     space -- and the bleeding creature along with it.  Roby grabs a steel
     strut to keep from being sucked out, but as the creature passes him IT
     WRAPS THE END OF A TENTACLE AROUND HIS ANKLE.

   


IMAGE -- finalbattle.jpg
   

     EXTERIOR - LIFEBOAT - OUTER SPACE

     Roby is now hanging halfway out of the lifeboat, with the thing
     clinging to his leg.  He kicks at it with his free foot, but it won't
     let go.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     Looking for any salvation, Roby grabs the hatch control lever and
     yanks it.

     The hatch slams shut, closing Roby safely inside but TRAPPING THE END
     OF THE CREATURE'S TENTACLE IN THE DOORJAMB.

     It instantly releases Roby, who staggers back.

     EXTERIOR - LIFEBOAT - OUTER SPACE

     The creature is now outside the lifeboat, in the vacuum, squirming,
     the tip of its tentacle caught in the closed hatch.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     Where the tentacle is caught in the hatch, it is wounded, and is
     starting to foam with acid, eating away at the metal.

     Roby stumbles forward to the controls and pushes a lever labeled:

                              "RAM JETS"

     EXTERIOR - LIFEBOAT - OUTER SPACE

     The jet exhausts are located at the rear of the craft, right where the
     creature is wriggling.  THE ENGINES BELCH FLAME FOR A FEW SECONDS, THEN
     SHUT OFF.

     INCINERATED, THE CREATURE TUMBLES SLOWLY AWAY INTO SPACE.

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT

     Roby hurries to the rear hatch and looks out after the thing.

     EXTERIOR - OUTER SPACE

     The burned mass of the monster drifts slowly away into space, a
     writhing, smoking, foaming mass.

     As it tumbles into the distance, pieces drop off it -- it bloats --
     then bursts, soggily, sending a spray of particles off in all
     directions.  The last we see of it is a few smouldering rags, dwindling
     into infinity.

                                                            DISSOLVE TO:

     INTERIOR - LIFEBOAT - LATER

     The boat is re-pressurized and Roby is seated in the control chair.  He
     seems calm and composed, almost cheerful.  The cat purrs in his lap.

                              ROBY
                    (dictating)
               ... So it looks like I'll make it
               back to the Colonies on schedule
               after all.  I should be to the
               frontier in another 250 years or so,
               and then with a little luck the
               network will pick me up.  I'm not as
               rich as I was a couple days ago --
               but I'm not exactly broke either.
               Incidentally, I did manage to
               salvage one souvenir out of this
               whole mess.

     He reaches down into the carrying bag he brought on board, and pulls
     out the ALIEN SKULL.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
               Poor Yorick here should go at least
               partway toward proving I'm not a
               crank.  I wish it was him we'd met in
               the first place -- things might have
               turned out different.

     He puts the skull down on a shelf and locks a glass lid over it.

                              ROBY (CONT'D)
               This is Martin Roby, executive
               officer, last survivor of the
               commercial vessel SNARK, signing off.
               Come on, cat, let's go to sleep.

     Roby leans forward and switches off the recorder.  Then he rises and,
     carrying the cat, walks to the hypersleep freezer, which stands open.

     He climbs in and stretches out on his back, holding the cat against
     his chest.  With one hand, he presses a switch, and THE LID CLOSES OVER
     HIM.

     CLOSE-UP OF THE ALIEN SKULL, watching sentinel over the slumbering
     Roby like some dead, melancholy pixie.

     EXTERIOR - OUTER SPACE

     The lifeboat -- SNARK 2 -- sails away toward its rendezvous with Irth,
     250 years from now.

     As SNARK 2 drifts past camera, we suddenly see that A SPORE POD IS
     ADHERED TO THE UNDERBELLY OF THE CRAFT.

     ROLL END TITLES & MUSIC.

                              THE END



   
TitleAlien (1978)
TypeText
Size200.446 kB
Date Added2008-09-10
Views3765
CategoryMovie Scripts
Placement