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ALIEN (project formerly titled STARBEAST)

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

BASE OF SHIP: The parasite hits the ground and begins to sink into the dust, smouldering and fuming.

AIR LOCK: 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.

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)

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?


FAUST: The engines are fixed.

PLANETOID: 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.

BRIDGE: 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.

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

BRIDGE / STANDARD: Take us up.

ROBY (into intercom) Up one kilometer, Jay.

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

BRIDGE / STANDARD: Switch on lifter quads.


"SNARK": The hovering SNARK begins to accelerate through the choking atmosphere.

BRIDGE / 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 --


ROBY & MELKONIS (in concert): What was that?


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.

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

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.

BRIDGE: 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.

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