EXT. MOJAVE DESERT - DAY (TELEVISION IMAGE)
A LONG LENS SHOT of a far distant metallic object hovering
just above the ground -- maybe two or three miles away.
The heat waves and the light refraction off the desert-
scape make the object undulate rhythmically, keeping its
true shape and appearance indistinct.
The VIDEO CAMERA recording this scene zooms back, then
pans over -- revealing a semicircle of US Army vehicles
and personnel. Army Engineers with their tripod-mounted
scopes and binoculars are shoulder to shoulder with the
armed infantry. Everyone stares off at the same point on
the horizon. Waiting.
The VIDEO CAMERA movements are HANDHELD, unsteady, as it
moves through the line of Army personnel to reveal a
second, less organized semicircle of observers fifty yards
behind the Army. LOCALS from nearby towns perch in truck
beds and on car roofs, Budweiser and Fritos at hand, eyes
glued to the distant object.
The VIDEO CAMERA image climbs up onto the roof of a parked
local TV van, finds the object again in the distance,
zooms in, and waits, like everyone else.
Abruptly the VIDEO IMAGE contracts, becoming a box
CHROMAKEYED behind CNN reporter DUNCAN CRAIS.
That was the scene in California's
Mojave Desert three years ago today
-- the historic first view of the
Newcomer ship upon its dramatic
arrival. As with the assassination
of John Kennedy, who among us does
not remember exactly where he was
that October nineteenth morning,
when news first broke: that people
have landed... from another star.
We PULL BACK from a large television set to reveal...
INT. A CROWDED BAR - LOS ANGELES - NIGHT
The Hollowpoint Lounge -- a cop bar.
The off-duty uniformed and plainclothes cops are mostly
ignoring the TV, except for two detectives, FEDORCHUK and
ALTEREZ, who are waiting for the ball scores.
I remember where I was -- pissing
off my balcony at the neighbor's
(yells at Crais on TV)
Get to the goddamn ball scores!
ON THE TV SCREEN, an on-location interview with a CAL-TECH
PROFESSOR comes up. Her name and title appear across the
bottom of the screen.
From the time mankind first gazed up
at the stars there had been
speculation about a visit by people
from "out there." How ironic that
when that first contact was made,
the two hundred and sixty thousand
occupants aboard the craft were as
surprised as we were about their
arrival. That they awakened from
frozen hibernation to find their
malfunctioning autopilot had landed
them here by mistake.
The CNN reporter, Duncan Crais, appears again.
These "Newcomers," we soon learned,
were a genetically-engineered race,
adapted for hard labor in almost any
environmental condition. In effect,
their ship was a slave ship...
washed ashore on Earth with no way
to get back to where they came
A dishwasher tray filled with beer glasses CUTS ACROSS
FRAME, and we PAN WITH IT as it is slammed down on the
Now an interview with a FRESNO HOUSEWIFE standing outside
a supermarket comes on the TV SCREEN.
When the Newcomers were first let
out of the ship, they were
quarantined in a camp not ten miles
from the town here. You can imagine
how the people around here felt
about that. But once they were
releases from the camp and we got a
chance to know them, we saw what
nice, quiet people they really are...
revealing a MASSIVE ALIEN FIGURE in a filthy white
busboy's uniform. His back is to us as he picks up two
trays from the counter. The bartender is dwarfed by this
Newcomer, but works around him without apparent concern.
Fedorchuk addresses the alien busboy.