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ALIEN (project formerly titled STARBEAST)

Story by Dan O'Bannon & Ronald Shusett | Screenplay by Dan O'Bannon | 1976



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.

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

BRIDGE / 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.


PLANETOID: 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...

BRIDGE: 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.

BASE OF PYRAMID: 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.

BRIDGE / 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.

BASE OF PYRAMID / 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.

TOP OF PYRAMID: 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.

BASE OF PYRAMID / 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?

TOP OF PYRAMID: 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.

BRIDGE: 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.

TOP OF PYRAMID: 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.

BASE OF PYRAMID: 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.

TOP OF PYRAMID / 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.

PYRAMID: 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.

BASE OF PYRAMID / STANDARD: What'd he say?

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

BRIDGE: 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!


PYRAMID: 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.


TOMB: 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.

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.


TOMB: 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.

BASE OF PYRAMID: 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.



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