UNIVERSE - EIGHT BILLION LIGHT YEARS FROM EARTH
The cosmos on the grandest scale we know. Clusters of
galaxies strewn like sea froth; whorls and smudges of
light representing hundreds of billions of stars each.
MILKY WAY GALAXY
A view from the edge. We DRIFT ABOVE the majestic,
spiraling disk, tens of thousands of light years across.
RING NEBULA (M57) - CONSTELLATION LYRA
A local group of stars, the brightest of which is a point
of hot, blue-white light...
Rings of glowing gas and debris surround the giant, blue-
white star... and then we notice something ahead of us in
An immense, world-sized construct gleams in Vega's blue
light. Far too big to be artificial, by human standards
-- but this wasn't built to human standards.
Bowl-shaped transmitters cover the quicksilver gel-like
surface of the polyhedron, forming then vanishing again.
We DESCEND INTO one vast bowl as it deepens --
-- then silently convulses. A lost chord. We SWING
AROUND, assuming a breathtaking, MOVING POV --
A message begins its journey.
Shadows appear, dark and murky. Slowly we become aware of
a MUFFLED, PULSING sound; like a DISTANT, BOOMING
Suddenly a bright light unzips the amniotic darkness; two
great hands reach in to assist what we now realize is a
age five seconds, opens her eyes wide. In the b.g., we
can see a nurse methodically giving CPR to the unseen
mother; the decor beyond tells us we are in a small-town
doctor's office. The DOCTOR holds Ellie as he calls
softly to the nurse.
You can call it, Nan. Mark time of
birth as... 12:
(looking down at the
Happy New Year, little lady.
(to the nurse)
Tell Ted he has a girl.
TED ARROWAY stands watching through the window in the
office door. Numb.
BABY'S TINY HAND
clasps its mother's finger.
Ted, holding his newborn daughter, sitting quietly next to
the bed where his sheet-covered wife still lies.
EXT. MAIN STREET (NEHALEM, OREGON) - DAWN
Ted, carefully holding little Ellie, walks down the empty
street, his FOOTSTEPS ECHOING...
DEEP SPACE - MESSAGE
rockets through a black dust cloud where young stars are
just beginning to glow. An icy worldlet evaporates,
releasing gasses which blow away in spectral bursts of
SURFACE OF ALIEN WORLD
We are MOVING OVER an exotic, technological landscape;
strange ALIEN SQUELCHES and SQUEALS become audible --
-- and then a child's hand reaches in and twists a giant
dial on what we now see is an old shortwave RADIO.
CQ CQ WR2 GFO... WR2 GFO, come back.
INT. ARROWAY HOUSE - NIGHT
SIX-YEAR OLD ELLIE leans in towards a large microphone.
CQ WR2 GFO, do you copy?
I'm not getting anything.
Ted joins his daughter at the workbench where she sits in
front of the short-wave, her feet dangling from the stool.
He puts his hands on her shoulders.
Small moves, Captain, small moves.
I can't move any smaller.
Try again between the static and
'Hey Jude'; that's where they're
Ellie bites her lip, tries again. Her little hand slowly
turns the dial -- suddenly --
RADIO VOICE (V.O.)
Copy... WRS GFO...
W2P KLD talking... what's your
handle, WR2 GFO?
What do I do?
Talk to him.
But what do I say?
Just be yourself, Captain. Find out
where he is.
Ellie tentatively reaches out and grasps the microphone.
Where are you calling from, W2P KLD,
RADIO VOICE (V.O.)