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ALIEN (project formerly titled STARBEAST)

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

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.

TOP OF PYRAMID: 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.

BRIDGE: 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.

CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK: 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!

BRIDGE / ROBY (strangely quiet): Right.

CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK: 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.

BRIDGE: 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.

CORRIDOR OUTSIDE AIR LOCK: 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.

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.


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.

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