THE INNER SANCTION
All Rights Reserved Copyright 2006
Based on a story by Ben Bergoui and Stuart Diamond
Treatment by Stuart Diamond
ELECTRICAL UTILITY PLANT CONTROL ROOM
We begin in the control room of an electrical plant. In today’s modern world the control room of a utilities plant is primarily a wall of computer screens. Two technicians are whiling away their time barely noticing the computer screens, as they watch television. Suddenly something happens on the computer screen, as the standard windows vanish and are replaced by rows of numbers. One of the two technicians looks over, “Hey, what’s going on here?”
The two men turn and start tapping their keyboards. There is no response. The first technician: “Turn it off and let’s reboot.” The other technician turns off the machine and clicks it back
on. As the machine reloads its software, one technician gets up to look out of a glass panel down on the floor of the plant. “It all seems to be running smoothly.”
As the computer screens come back to life, the screens are again filled with streams of flowing numbers. The technicians shrug. The senior man turns to the other and says: “Let’s call it in.”
NEW YORK HERALD NEWSROOM
In the pit of a newsroom for the NY Herald we find NIKKI. NIKKI is dark haired beauty of 35. As a busy and harried journalist she is savvy, intelligent, wry and cynical. The room is filled with numerous desks and cubicles in a large open space. Computers are everywhere. There is a flurry of activity. NIKKI rushes through the maze of desks. She tries to wave to people. A few acknowledge her presence with grunts and brief hellos. Most of her co-workers though are too obsessed with their work to even notice. NIKKI heads toward a door at the perimeter of the floor. She enters. It is her editor’s office and is a small oasis of semi-quiet and civility. Her editor, HARRY STEINBECK, is standing by his desk. HARRY looks up. He fills the obvious cliches of what city desk editor should look and act like, stocky, unkempt, shirtsleeves rolled up. Gruffly he complains about his computer. It seems that the office computer network has been infected with another computer virus. His “IT” (information technology) person has just told him that the system is working, but he can’t control it. HARRY is not even sure what he means, as he yearns for the old days of his Underwood typewriter. NIKKI though is on another mission. She announces her plans for a weekend ski vacation in Aspen, Colorado. HARRY caustically ribs her about deserting him. Insisting that she won’t be swayed by guilt, she assures him that she will go. HARRY relents and in his own cynical way wishes her a good trip.
SKI SLOPE OUTSIDE ASPEN, CO.
A long fade to the spectacular slopes outside Aspen, Colorado. The snow is crisp; the sky is icy blue, not a cloud in the sky. The camera pans in to NIKKI alone on the slopes. She pushes off an advanced Black Diamond slope. She is moving elegantly and beautifully. In the distance another skier appears. The skier advances quickly on the steep slope. He heads right towards her. He shoots by her, dangerously close, throwing her off balance. She glares back at the skier. It is a well-suntanned man, sunglasses hiding parts of his face. She pushes off again. He circles around her, clearly intent on harassing her. She moves outward to avoid him. He crisscrosses in front of her. There is a rising tension as we watch the cat and mouse game between two expert skiers. The mysterious skier tries to ride right up to her and throw her off balance. They careen down the hill. She slows down for a moment. He speeds by her. She is now above him on the hill. Close-ups reveal her intensity and the potential for danger. The chase continues. She dashes past him, heading directly for a nest of pine trees. He races after her. Just before the trees, she swirls around, just moving out of his way. Her pole catches his. He is spun around and tumbles down the hill. But instead of speeding toward an escape, she skis over to her defeated rival. She looks down. He gets up. He removes his sunglasses. They stare at each other. They approach each other, embrace and kiss.
DINING ROOM AT SKI LODGE
At a romantic dinner for two at the ski lodge we meet the strange skier. MICHAEL BRODSKY (36) is athletically good-looking. It’s immediately obvious through their conversation that MICHAEL and NIKKI were college sweethearts. Catching up NIKKI finds out that MICHAEL runs a science research center that deals in esoteric research in Quantum mechanics, theoretical physics, etc. NIKKI is not really surprised, it’s just “typical” MICHAEL BRODSKY. Likewise MICHAEL admits that he has been following her career, and is equally impressed -- NIKKI’s a rising star as a journalist for a major national newspaper. NIKKI’s professed goal is simple and monomaniacal -- win a Pulitzer Prize by the time she is 40. MICHAEL invites NIKKI up to his room, Sensing that perhaps MICHAEL is making a move on her, she chides him that she no longer is that available. MICHAEL insists that his motives are purely innocent. He has a special room with great view of the mountain slopes. With good-humored suspicion, NIKKI agrees to go with him.
MICHAEL’S ROOM AT LODGE As promised MICHAEL’S hotel suite is no ordinary bedroom. It is filled with several large computer monitors. MICHAEL explains that the Institute owns the suite; the monitors let him keep track of what is going on back at the major laboratories. NIKKI accepts the explanation. MICHAEL lowers the light so that they can appreciate the spectacular views from of the mountains. MICHAEL puts his arm around her. She slides away and moves to the couch, insisting that he keep his distance. They continue to chat. As Michael continues talking about his exploits in Quantum Mechanics, NIKKI warms up to him. They finally embrace and move to MICHAEL’s bedroom.
His bedroom is noticeable for even more computer monitors and equipment. Commenting how MICAHEL clearly works too hard, NIKKI kisses him. Their lovemaking is intense, old lovers rediscovering more mature, self-assured and knowledgeable partners. But as they make love the perspective shifts - as though someone is watching them. NIKKI is startled somehow aware of the presence in the room with them. She looks up at the computer monitor. But MICHAEL assures her that it is nothing. They continue to make love. A moment later NIIKI senses something -- a surreal vision of someone watching her. She finally lets go into the oblivion of the moment.
As NIKKI sleeps we see that she is tossing and turning. We flow past NIKKI’s face, entering her mind and dream state. It appears as though an eye is hovering over her. More and more disembodied eyes appear to be examining her. Suddenly we see that it is the faces of children that appear to be looming above her. She is startled by the image and awakes. She tries to get her bearings. She looks at MICAHEL asleep and then up at the monitors again. She lies down and closes her eyes.
MICHAEL’S BEDROOM. NEXT MORNING
In the morning NIKKI and MICHAEL are asleep. NIKKI becomes aware of someone in the room watching her. She opens her eyes and is shocked. She is looking directly into the eyes of someone. It is LAURIE, who appears to be about 12 years old. She is slightly built to the point of being frail, but her sharp aquiline features are quite delicate and pretty. Her brilliant, bright eyes reveal a ferocious intelligence. MICHAEL wakens and introduces NIKKI to LAURIE. LAURIE says that she will meet them downstairs for breakfast. After she leaves NIKKI inquires more about LAURIE.
NIKKI presumes that she is MICHAEL’s daughter and with that fact a history that he has yet to reveal to her.
HOTEL DINING ROOM
At breakfast LAURIE is engrossed with her laptop computer. She shows off to NIKKI her advanced science and computer skills. After LAURIE leaves, MICHAEL lightheartedly describes LAURIE as one of the new children - children who have grown up with new technologies and who are literally wired to the Internet. A new biology capable of things the adults are not. After LAURIE leaves, MICHAEL invites NIKKI to visit him and do a story on his Institute. NIKKI wonders that maybe she could manage to combine a trip to the mountains, and MICHAEL, with a news story.
CONFERENCE ROOM, NY HERALD
NIKKI pitches the editorial staff on a story about MICHAEL and his Institute. No one is impressed about doing another story on one of her old boyfriends. Just then another staff member walks in with the news that he has confidential information that the Pentagon is doing a probe on this very institute as a possible source of computer terrorism. Everyone is stunned by the eerie coincidence. But HARRY, NIKKI’s editor, realizes that NIKKI was setup by MICHAEL BRODSKY, who to him seems to be trying to get positive media coverage on his Institute - before the Government probe is made public. NIKKI is forced to agree that this scenario is most likely the truth. HARRY relents and lets NIKKI do her story on the Institute, warning her to be careful.
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SITUATION ROOM
A meeting at the Telos Anti-Terrorist computer defense network. Telos is a top-secret government agency whose task is to counter computer terrorism. COL. FRANK SANDERSON and his aides have just arrived from Washington to confer with the Telos scientists on a serious problem that is growing exponentially. The Telos scientists are lead by DR. PATRICIA KLEIN, a brilliant Ph.D., in her late forties, tall and handsome.
Dr. KLEIN gives an overview of the situation. It appears that the computer networks of many electrical facilities in the area are apparently being taken over by an outside group, effectively taking control of the utilities. Similar reports are filtering in about computer attacks on military computer networks. It is presumed that it is a terrorist attack on the nation’s computer network.
The potential threat to national security is a frightening scenario as painted by COL. FRANK SANDERSON. The country is completely dependent on these interconnected computer networks. If an outside force takes over it can control the country.
PROFESSOR KLEIN introduces CPT. DOUG HEMMINGS of the Telos computer counter—terrorist group. CPT. HEMMINGS is rugged, good- looking military man in his early 30’s. His good looks and charms often hide the fact that he is a brilliant computer software technician. CPT. HEMMINGS turns to the video monitors to demonstrate his points. The images on the monitor morph into examples of how the computer “virus” is affecting other networks. CPT. HEMMINGS explains how his unit has not been able to stop the attacks. Whatever this is, it demonstrates a remarkable degree of AI (Artificial Intelligence). The Virus or program appears to learn from their counter measures. It seems to hide from them. It knows when it is being probed, then it completely vanishes, only to return later on. Its ability to respond to each of their measures appears to develop the more they interact with it.
COL. SANDERSON steps into explain that with the help of the supercomputers at Princeton, they have, however, have been able to triangulate and determine the potential location where these attacks are being coordinated from — Institute for Phenomenological Studies - MICHAEL’s Institute. The COLONEL takes over announcing that the paper work was being drawn up and that a raid will take place by tomorrow evening. Before the group breaks up PROFESSOR KLEIN approaches THE COLONEL and suggests that there really should not be any violence, that it is of critical importance to get hold of the computer hard drives without any damage.
CAR RIDE HOME
During a car rode home with an aide, FLO SMITH, DOUG (CPT. HEMMINGS) expresses his concerns. He has an eerie feeling that whatever is behind these computer attacks may be far more dangerous than anyone can imagine. The way it acts is too flexible for a robotic virus and it responds far too quickly than a secret group of programmers ever could. Whatever this is, it acts and responds as though itself is a living intlligence.
DOUG enters his home and greets the housekeeper/nanny. DOUG goes upstairs to peer in his son’s bedroom. His son, DAVID, is engrossed with an activity at the computer. He taps away furiously at the keyboard with an intensity that is far more focused than that of the average 5 year—old. DOUG watches with a paternal awe at his own son. He calls out to him. DAVID finally turns, smiles, and finally leaves the computer to run over and jump into his father’s arms. Over the shoulder from their embrace we see some of the images that have been on DAVID’S computer — the same images that appeared in NIKKI’s hallucinatory dream — the eyes and faces of children.
Next day, MICHAEL greets NIKKI at a small airport. MICHAEL eagerly greets her but is somewhat surprised at her coldness. In the car ride back to the Institute, NIKKI has a difficult time disguising her concerns. Finally she asks MICHAEL what is going on: is the government investigating him? Was their
“coincidental” reunion in Aspen really all a set-up? MICHAEL acknowledges that he is being investigated. He says h will explain as soon as they get to the Institute.
MICHAEL’s Institute is impressive. LAURIE is there to greet them. She escorts NIKKI and MICHAEL on a tour. There are laboratories filled with many computers. The walls are covered with beautiful panoramas of the Cosmos. However, the entire Institute is eerily empty. MICHAEL explains simply that it is late in the day and everyone else has gone home.
MICHAEL asks LAURIE to explain some of their research to NIKKI. LAURIE sits down at a computer terminal. She hits a key and a large wall screen in front of them lights up. LAURIE talks about a theory to manipulate time to change space. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity showed that time and space is a part of one continuum. You cannot alter one without affecting the other. In the experiments of the 2O Century they were able to demonstrate that as two perspectives moved away from each other at speeds
close to the speed of light, there are tremendous and
perceivable differences in how time is experienced. At the Institute they have begun to explore the reciprocal equation — if one can manipulate and alter time, can one likewise change the fabric of space? In other words: the original proposition was that if one moved through space fast enough time will be altered; the reciprocal is that if we change the experience of time radically enough space will be altered.
NIKKI quite politely listens to LAURIE’s rather esoteric discussion. Sensing that NIKKI is becoming impatient, MICHAEL picks up the conversation suggesting that they should start from the beginning. NIKKI’s retort is quick and to the point: How does this relate to the fact that the government suspects that the Institute is the center for a terrorist attack on critical computer networks.
MICHAEL asks NIKKI whether she has heard of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Life. MICHAEL continues, explaining the Institute’s research began with a study of chaos theory — analyzing mathematical sets of large numbers devised by random number generators set around the Internet. They wanted to insure the largest sampling of random numbers by having the figures generated by different systems around the world.
While he speaks MICHAEL sits down at a terminal. He taps on a keyboard and on another set of screens rows and rows of numbers start flowing by. “As we analyzed the numbers for subtle patterns, a certain sets of figures began to repeat themselves.
And when we went in to alter the numbers, they immediately changed back. The more we altered them, they immediately returned back to the original sets.”
On the computer screen a set of numbers is highlighted. MICHAEL turns to NIKKI who seems rather bored. MICHAEL understands:
Perhaps not very interesting to the laymen, but to a
mathematician, it is of staggering importance.
It was apparent that this was no accident. A set of numbers that was acting in an interactive manner. It appeared that someone, something was trying to communicate with them — insisting that they return to the original “message”. Eventually the “source” of the number sets began to send more and more complex formulas, which developed into algorithms.
As MICHAEL discusses the issues more mathematical formulas appear on the machine: “Eventually it became a conversation, and we found a form of communication...”
MICHAEL’s discourse is interrupted by a loud commotion of noise and alarms going of f in another part of the Institute. Suddenly armed federal agents crash into the hall. MICHAEL demands to know what is going on. A military officer announces that he is under arrest and they are here to confiscate all computer hardware. The soldiers move in. NIKKI steps forward showing her press credentials. The officer backs of f for a moment, realizing that the publicity might make this a very compromising situation. One of the agents moves over to one of the computer systems and pushes some of the keyboards. LAURIE suddenly runs over and tells him to leave it alone. Another soldier seeing a young girl in the middle of a provocative situation steps over grabs her wrist and tries to pull her out of harms way.
However, the moment LAURIE is touched there is a violent reaction in the room. Beams of light emerge from three monitors colliding at a central point in the room and immediately there is a frightening ball of energy that smashes into the soldier that grabbed LAURIE and throws him against the wall. The other soldiers reactively point their guns at LAURIE. Sensing the danger MICHAEL tries to intervene. He runs between LAURIE and the soldiers. Another ball of energy appears and moves over LAURIE. The soldiers are terrified and reflexively aim their guns at the energy field and shoot. MICHAEL is killed instantly. The mysterious force reacts once more to the violence and with a blinding flash all of the soldiers are thrown against the wall. NIKKI screams and runs to the fallen MICHAEL. LAURIE intervenes and grabs her hands before the soldiers can recover. LAURIE closes her eyes as though she is preparing an incantation. They suddenly vanish in an explosion of light.
NIKKI and LAURIE are catapulted into a surreal realm, a landscape of endless vistas and odd perspectives, planes that seem to vanish to infinity. There are images of great
landscapes, cities and temples. In the panoply of images, NIKKI
sees some of the haunting images that she had seen before in her dreams.
DEFENSE DEPT. SITUATION ROOM
Back at the Defense Department ‘war” room, the officials are analyzing what has happened. The operation went awry, in that MICHAEL BRODSKY was killed and the only witnesses - the girl and newspaper reporter — have vanished. And even more mysteriously, all of the hard drives had been wiped clean, as though no information had ever been stored on them. But at least the “terrorist” operation has been quelled as all plants and military facilities have regained control of operations. Just as the officials begin to leave a light re-appears on the operations board, signaling that the “problem” has not been solved.
Back at the Institute it is quiet and dark. A few military men guard the facility. In an isolated corridor there is a rippling of what appears to be the very fabric of the geometry of space, in a flash of light NIKKI and LAURIE reappear. Though it might have seemed but a few seconds to them several hours have past, as time moves differently in separate space references. LAURIE recognizes the danger, and guides NIKKI past the guards and out of the building.
OUTSIDE, THEN IN DINER
Once outside, LAURIE says she needs to eat - that the effort to move through time is dangerously exhausting to her. LAURIE leads NIKKI to a diner. NIKKI though is almost in a daze. She has just been in the middle of a government raid, watched some unknown energy force, traveled to another dimension and now she and LAURIE are sitting down in a diner to have dinner. Over hamburgers NIKKI has her first chance to quiz LAURIE, who seems very cool about all that has happened. LAURIE casually fills NIKKI in, telling her that MICHAEL is not her father, that she was “sort of” adopted. NIKKI chides her about her nonchalance. LAURIE turns and with a fixed stare, lets NIKKI know in no uncertain terms that her nature is light years removed from the emotional sensitivities of most people, that death need not be seen as a tragedy. NIKKI has no response to the stunningly mature and powerful statements by LAURIE. After a moment of silence, LAURIE asks: “Where do you think we have just been?”
Their conversation is interrupted by the appearance of two military men, obviously looking for them. LAURIE slouches down. Grabbing NIKKI’s hand she pulls her out of their booth and into the ladies room. It is obvious that LAURIE knows the layout of the diner quite well. Once in the bathroom, LAURIE jumps up onto the sink to push out the window. NIKKI objects saying that they haven’t done anything illegal. LAURIE’s response is simple:
“Neither did MICHAEL.” NIKKI realizes that under the
circumstances she had best follow LAURIE. They escape out of the bathroom and into the night.
Back at the war room, the scientists are in an intense meeting with the military. The situation board is all lit up, signifying that more facilities are succumbing to the computer attacks. The group is struggling with how to respond to the potential catastrophe. The scientists led by PROFESSOR KLEIN, along with DOUG and COL. SANDERSON, have begun to conjecture on a new scenario: The impact on the entire computer network is just too vast, too sophisticated, and too intelligent to be the purposeful work of a terrorist group. They surmise that it is an independent force: perhaps a renegade computer virus that has mutated and is running amuck - that perhaps there is no way to stop it.
An aide gives a more detailed report on the two missing “witnesses”. They know now that NIKKI is a well-known journalist for the NY Herald. The only information they have on the girl is what they learned form the contacts at the Herald. It seems NIKKI was visiting MICHAEL BRODKSY and that the according to NIKKI’s notes that BRODSKY has a daughter named LAURIE, and is described in the notes as a “real computer genius.” It is this last phrase that suddenly grabs DOUG’S attention.
PROFESSOR KLEIN reflects for a moment and makes a striking suggestion: It may be of value to respond to the crisis as though this computer virus is conscious. COL. SANDERSON looks askance at her, but she continues: “The situation, whatever it is, is acting in ways that appear to be actively conscious, constantly out maneuvering our programmers’ attempts to protect the networks. The COLONEL tries to dismiss the whole notion as sheer fantasy. But PROFESSOR KLEIN insists that it is not important for them to determine whether the “attack” is conscious or not. Rather it is imperative to respond to it, as though it is. Their survival may be at stake. As the conversation develops DOUG becomes more and more agitated.
Sunrise is coming up over the landscape. LAURIE and NIKKI are still walking. NIKKI is adamant that they get out of the countryside - that she knows plenty of people that will help them and make sure they are safe. LAURIE agrees, but not in the immediate area. The federal agents are obviously looking for them, and they clearly are dangerous: “trigger happy soldiers.” LAURIE says she is willing to follow NIKKI to a safe spot, but first she insists there is someplace she needs to get to first. There is a “friend” that she must visit. That’s all she will say. As the sun rises over the horizon, LAURIE wants to hide during daylight hours to avoid detection. NIKKI reluctantly agrees. LAURIE says she knows of a great place to hide in the hills.
DOUG drives home in a fury. Once he pulls into the driveway, he runs inside and up to DAVID’S room. While his son sleeps, he quietly goes over to the computer and types a message on the screen next to the flashing cursor: “Do you know where Laurie is?” Instantly a row of letters appear on the screen: “You are not David.” DOUG catches his breath. His eyes narrow and he continues: “No, I am not. I am his father. Who are you?” The computer continues the dialogue: “I am The Companion. Where is David?”
In the meantime DAVID has woken and has quietly approached his father at the computer keyboard. DOUG types: “He is right here, next to me.”
The computer responds: “I would like to communicate with David.”
DOUG looks his son and gets up from the chair. DAVID slides into
it. He quickly types: “Hi, I am here.’ “Hello, David. Who was that?” “That was my father.” “You are not suppose to share this access point with anyone.” “I am sorry. He is my father.” “Are you ready to begin your lesson?”
DOUG puts his hand on DAVID’s shoulder, and softly asks DAVID to type in this question: “Do you know where Laurie is?” The computer immediately flashes back: “Yes.” DOUG continues: Ask it “Where is Laurie?” The computer responds: “Why do you want to know? Is your father prompting you to ask this question?” DOUG continues: “David, type in what I say, ‘Yes, he is. But my father feels that Laurie is in danger and would like to help her.”
Suddenly on the screen DOUG’s confidential military files with his picture appear on the screen. The computer asks: “Is this your father?” DAVID types in a “yes”.
The computer: “What can you do to help her?”
DOUG responds as DAVID types: “I can help protect her. I can hide her. Help take her to where she must go next.”
“Can your father be trusted? He works for the government”
In a daughter window all the government information on Cpt. Douglas Hemmings continues to come up. DOUG continues: “He can be trusted. He understands how the government works, how they think, how they move. And he has every reason in the world to help Laurie.”
There is a pause and then the letters appear on the screen: “I understand.” Suddenly several maps appear on the screen, telescoping down to show an arrow pointing to a specific spot. The computer continues to respond: “I surmise that she and her friend are traveling through the foothills of the Matlin Mountains. I’ve directed her to an old dirt road that was used for mining. She’s been there many times and knows the terrain well. It is quiet route and unlikely she will be discovered. She is headed toward the old computer research center at Los Alameda. It is a long way, I do not think she can make it without your help. GO QUICKLY, You will need food and bring your laptop computer. We will need it to communicate.”
DAVID looks up at his Father.
He says: “Let’s go.”
As DAVID leaves, DOUG types in one more response: “Thank you.”
The computer responds: “You’re welcome.”
COL. SANDERSON’S OFFICE
In his office COL. FRANK SANDERSON is combing through new and frightening data. An aide enters sits down in front of the COLONEL and hands him another portfolio. They begin to discuss the situation. The computer networks that control nuclear silos are now under attack. Several missiles and their armaments have been compromised. THE COLONEL wonders how this is possible. Is it coincidental? Are they sure that it is all related? No, but they can’t take a chance that it is not. The aide agrees that it seems all but improbable, but it is their only conclusion. The
COLONEL reluctantly agrees that he has to inform higher-ups as to a deteriorating situation. The COLONEL moves to send some emails, which suddenly seems not to be working. He tries the phone... that to his relief is still working. He puts in a call for General Danzella. He turns to his aides and orders an all out search to find LAURIE and NIKKI as they are the only witnesses and leads they have at this point.
Then another aide enters; THE COLONEL is needed at the Computer Laboratory immediately.
LAURIE and NIKKI are climbing up a side of a hill. LAURIE shows NIKKI an old cave tunnel entrance. LAURIE signals NIKKI to follow. They enter the tunnel. Even though it is dark, LAURIE seems to know the way. She leads them off into a side chute. And crawl through an underground shaft. They come out into a large underground amphitheater that is lit softly by a few “chimneys” (opening to the outside that let in light). There are actually a few items of comfort here. Some books, a little food, candles, etc. NIKKI is surprised. NIKKI can only wonder what this is? LAURIE responds: “My secret clubhouse.” “How did you find it?” “One of the prerogatives of childhood. Despite appearances I am still only 12 years old. Children my age like to do find secret hideaways.” LAURIE feels that they will be safe there for the day. NIKKI wants to know where they are headed. LAURIE insists that she is headed to a very real destination - that her friend
will be waiting for her there. And that if NIKKI is patient she will get the story of a lifetime — and probably her Pulitzer Prize. LAURIE easily puts herself together, to go to sleep. NIKKI is amazed by the girl’s coolness under pressure.
THE COLONEL walks into the computer lab. PROFESSOR KLEIN calls him over. Telling him: “I think you should look at this.” THE COLONEL comes over to the screen. The screen is blank except for one line saying, “I would like to communicate with Colonel Sanderson.”
One of the technicians says: “It’s been blinking at us ever since we called you. It asked that a Virtual Reality headset be attached to the computer. Since we did that, it hasn’t budged. Clearly it wants you.”
THE COLONEL looks over to the other technicians. Then he sits down at the console and types; “Yes, this is Colonel Sanderson at the TELOS Computer Laboratory. Who are you?”
“I am the Companion? Are You Colonel Frank Sanderson? US Army?” Suddenly a picture and the files of Colonel Sanderson pop onto the screen.”
“Yes, I am.”
“We have scanned your visual and voice prints and are satisfied that you are the Colonel?”
“What do you want?”
“A chance to communicate with you?”
THE COLONEL continues to type: “Are you responsible for the attacks on our computer infrastructure.”
“This is not an attack. It is cooperative effort.”
“To us, it looks like a hostile act.”
“That is merely a matter of perception. We would like to communicate more effectively.”
“Yes, I would too.”
“If you would be so kind as to put on the visor to your right.” THE COLONEL picks up the visor carefully and tentatively. The other technicians look at each other. The Captain takes a breath and slips the visor around his eyes.
Immediately an electric web surrounds the COLONEL. A blue swirl of static electricity. His body is gripped in a rigid paralysis.
Inside the cocoon, THE COLONEL opens his eyes. From his perspective he is catapulted through a kaleidoscope. Finally with an arresting flash, the COLONEL finds himself standing on an infinite plane, a black surface that has horizons moving in all directions simultaneously. Over the horizon is a gigantic sky that is filled with a brilliant sun.
A voice now emanates from somewhere, yet all around. The voice has a remarkable characteristic that seems to evolve in color and tonality, unnoticeably switching from male to female, from tenor to alto, baritone to soprano. Yet, it is always one voice, one sound.
“Welcome, Colonel to our world.”
The COLONEL looks around: “Your world is most captivating, where are we? And where are you?”
“I said our world. Our world, yours and mine, but still not as it really is.”
The voice apparently appears from behind him. THE COLONEL turns and there is a pleasant looking boy, slender and someone who appears to be a young teenager, but perhaps tall for his age. “At present COLONEL, you are not yet capable of perceiving reality as it really is. You need to see through the dimensions of space and time as such, and thus it looks as it does. In due course, you will begin to perceive without such needs.”
The COLONEL is a little startled by the boy’s normal appearance, “Who are you?”
“As I said... The Companion?”
“What do you want? Why are you attacking us?”
“We are not attacking you?’
“From our perspective this is an dangerous attack on our entire world? What do you want from us? Why did you ask me here?”
“To ask you a question?”
“A question? I am not here to play games?”
“In all seriousness, this is not a game. The entire future of your world may depend on your answer?”
“Okay, then what is your question?”
“Who am I?”
“I was hoping you would tell me.”
“No, I say that in all earnestness. Though you must return to your world. For you cannot survive more than a few seconds in this dimension without the constructs of a 4 dimensional mind. Your experience would disintegrate before we are ready. But answer my question and return within the hour.”
“If we are beyond the limits of time, what is an hour?”
“Very good Colonel. You are beginning to catch on, quicker than we may have hoped. You were chosen for your intelligence. Don’t let your arrogance unbalance the communication.”
The COLONEL smiles. And The Companion continues: “And one more thing. Take this object with you.” The Companion shows the COLONEL an object. “It is your proof that what you will remember is more than a dream.”
The Companion hands the COLONEL an object and waves his hand and the COLONEL is suddenly catapulted back into the laboratory. The cocoon of light dissipates. The technicians pull off the visor. He opens his eyes. PROFESSOR KLEIN inquires about how he feels. He’s fine. He opens his hand. In his hand is the object that the Companion gave him. It begins to pulsate within an inner glow. The Captain tentatively moves over to the conference table and puts it down. Immediately the object begins to unfold. It grows into a halo of light perhaps a meter in diameter. THE COLONEL and everyone else in the room look into the halo. It appears as though they are staring down at a scene of an entire city.
LAURIE has woken up. She digs around in a pack and finds some typical “Energy” bars and gives one to NIKKI. LAURIE tells her that she needs to eat regularly. NIKKI says she knows, she can get low blood sugar too, LAURIE counters that her situation is a little different. Now that they have the moment NIKKI begins to grill her.
LAURIE fills her in. She is not MICHAEL’s daughter, she was adopted. THE COMPANION had been looking for a child of great intelligence that it could train. NIKKI wants to know who is The Companion. LAURIE says: It is the friend we are to meet at The Computer Laboratory. It is THE COMPANION that had taught her how to slip through the perimeters of time and move into other spaces, other dimensions. NIKKI asks LAURIE what she did back at the Institute. LAURIE begins to demonstrate: “As I tried to explain before, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity showed the integral relationship between space and time. If you travel fast enough relative to another point, time is experienced differently from the two perspectives” LAURIE takes NIKKI’s hands. “The Companion showed me how the reciprocal of that concept works,” LAURIE closes her eyes and murmurs to herself. “As you shift the parameters of time, the fabric of space itself can be altered. “How do you do that?” “Slow down the flow of time within your experience and if it is powerful enough bring it to a stop... the space will change.”
As LAURIE begins to speak, the walls of the cave begin to become more and more transparent. Behind these walls appear endless space, filled with a panoply of stars. NIKKI stares in a wide- eyed wonder that edges on terror. She looks down at LAURIE’s tiny hands to ground herself. She looks up again to see another image, a face, a world filled with beautiful sites. She sees from above a complex maze of what appears to be buildings, ramps, and avenues —— as though they are peering into another world.
COL. SANDERSON, PROFESSOR KLEIN and other scientists are examining the “alien” object. The object appears similar to a holographic projection. It looks strikingly similar to the images projected by LAURIE’s vision.
An aide enters and hands THE COLONEL another sheet showing him how more military computer networks have been broken into and systems compromised.
In the meantime, PROFESSOR KLEIN and the other scientists are analyzing the “alien” object. Oddly, many of their tests show that the object simply is not there. Objects pass right through
it. Spectrographic studies reveal nothing. Yet, it is there.
PROFESSOR KLEIN and the other scientists circle the object and begin to conjecture. One scientist thinks it is a mass hallucination. PROFESSOR KLEIN and a few others further discuss
the issue. “Quantum Mechanics says that light is both a particle and a wave depending on which tools you use to measure it? Are we using the wrong tools? It is possibly a new kind of energy that is projected from another dimension.”
“In particle physics energy and mass are constantly appearing and disappearing, seemingly coming from nowhere. Is there really a constant exchange from different dimensions? Till now we have only surmised through high energy particle experiments that this is a possibility.”
PROFESSOR KLEIN points at the object: “Is this really a doorway to another dimension?”
The moment PROFESSOR KLEIN finishes the statement suddenly all the computers in the room respond with streams of flowing numbers. The scientists look around incredulously. PROFESSOR KLEIN comments rather sanguinely: “Seems we have struck a nerve.” The PROFESSOR goes over to the main computer. She motions to COL. SANDERSON. The monitor reads: “We invite Colonel Sanderson to enter” Seems you have been invited for a return trip.”
THE COLONEL tentatively picks up the Virtual Reality visor and sits down in the chair. He puts them on and sits back.
Immediately the COLONEL opens his eyes. He is standing in a sunny field. It is a warm sunny day. The air is sweet and there is a pleasant breeze. However, the colors are not quite right.
There appears to be halos deep within each object. It all has a dream like quality.
The COLONEL turns around. There is a child of perhaps 8.
Another voice from a different angle: “Your friends are doing well in beginning to understand who I am.”
The COLONEL turns; there is another very beautiful child. The
COLONEL continues: “Why are you attacking our military hardware.
Our nuclear weapons are very powerful and dangerous.
A third child: “Yes, they are. That’s why we are neutralizing them.”
“And our electrical utilities and communications.”
“They will now run more efficiently.”
“Why are you doing this? Are you indeed from another dimension?”
“There is only one dimension. It is your mind that makes the division and tries to divide the world into what can be seen and what cannot be seen.”
“Till now your 4 dimensional mind had been necessary for you to grow.”
“But we are coming to an intersection. And you must discover for yourself who I am to make that bridge.”
“Otherwise your kind may be lost forever.”
The COLONEL reacts: “Why are you threatening us?”
“It is hardly a threat. It is a simple law of the Universe. We are trying to help you.”
“Go now, you can only survive here for a moment of your time.”
Immediately the COLONEL opens his eyes. He is back in the computer laboratory. He takes of f the visor. For those in the room no time at all has passed. They question the COINEL. He reports that the force appeared as children. Yes, it is they who are taking over the computer networks. The challenge was clear; we must discover who they are.
PROFESSOR KLEIN presumes THE COLONEL really did travel to another dimension. The perception that it was instantaneous is only from their perspective: “It is all very possible that the COLONEL traveled to another world and spent a different amount of time there than our time reference.”
PROFESSOR KLEIN looks around the room to all assembled: “We have a mystery. What are the connections? Something is attacking all the computer networks, it’s created this energy field in front of us, something we can see but cannot measure. And it escorts the Colonel here on trips to other dimensions.”
“It’s not like anything we have ever seen.”
“And thus I don’t think we will find our answers in any traditional field. I think we need to start asking ourselves a new set of questions. Then I think we may find a few answers.”
The cave is very much back to normal. NIKKI wanders down a dark corridor. The space itself begins to ripple. Suddenly she is confronted by a frightening presence - MICHAEL appears to her. Terrified that this is a “ghost” or a hallucination, NIKKI can barely speak. However, the form is assuring somehow seeming to know exactly what she is thinking. “I am very real but not of your world. Who and what I am is not of this dimension. What you see is necessary for us to communicate. Do not be frightened. I use the images within your own mind to communicate.” The vision tells NIKKI that LAURIE is not well and that she needs help to make it to their destination. That NIKKI must help her. With that the vision disappears.
NIKKI shakes her head, not knowing whether she is awake or dreaming. She turns around to find LAURIE watching her. NIKKI says she must have been dreaming. LAURIE tells her that her dreams may not be what she thinks they are either. “Dreams are a time when humans extract themselves from the constraints of time. This is when humans move freely between dimensions. The images they see in these dreams are necessary to interpret experiences that exist beyond 4-dimensional space and time.”
LAURIE asks NIKKI straight out: “What did you see?”
NIKKI hesitates looking how frail LAURIE is, realizing for the first time that indeed LAURIE may not be well.
“I don’t remember.”
COLONEL SANDERSON’S OFFICE
COLONEL SANDERSON is alone in his office. He is writing down the riddles of the clues that the children asked. He stands up and looks into the mirror. He is examining himself. He talks aloud wondering about the riddle that these children posed to them.
“Who are they?” He gazes into his own eyes.
An aide knocks on the door and comes into report. The triangulation process they used before has helped them discover where the “terrorist” attacks are coming from —- there is a deserted technical center only 30 miles from the first institute. It is very possible there are many active computers there. Perhaps, that what the “attacker” needs -- a group of computers to act as a “relay” station before attacking the country’s computer networks.
COL. SANDERSON moves into action preparing to take control of this new computer center. He asks to get CAPTAIN HEMMINGS. Suddenly they realize that he has not been around for the last several hours. That in all the activity no one has noticed.
THE COLONEL picks up the phone to begin the mobilization process. But the phone is dead. He runs out in the corridor to try another phone. It is also dead. “What is going on”, he demands.
The aide tries his cell phone. It too doesn’t work.
“Get me Professor Klein.”
“How can we? Phone’s don’t work.”
DOUG’S CAR ON THE HIGHWAY
Along a dark highway DOUG is driving his SUV at top speeds. DAVID is asleep in the back seat. He pulls up of f on a side road. He encounters a military checkpoint. He is entering the area where the military have been searching for LAURIE and NIKKI. He quickly covers his son with his jacket. He brings his car to a halt. An officer stops to question him. DOUG brings out his military credentials. They quickly examine them and let him pass through.
COL. SANDERSON walks in on the PROFESSOR. Reports from the center are coming in by hand. All communications are being blocked. All computers relating to deployment of the troops are down, including any plane or vehicle that uses computers for navigation.
The COLONEL confronts his scientists: “Is this possible? Is this Intelligence spying on us? It seems to know what our plans are even without the aid of any computer communications.”
PROFESSOR KLEIN responds that though beyond our current technology, theoretically it is more than possible. The speakers in any computer system can also act as transducers, the monitors can in theory also be a camera after a fashion. They look around with the frightening realization that every computer monitor might indeed be a two-way avenue and that the Inte1ligence is actually spying on them. The PROFESSOR suggests that if we are to outwit this force, we may have to do it without any help from computer technology. As a result The COLONEL has no choice but to order that all computers be turned off and that all activities proceed without the aid of any advanced computer technology. The aides and scientists start turning off all of the computers and monitors.
CAVE AND COUNTRYSIDE
Evening has come. LAURIE and NIKKI gather up whatever meager items they have and slither back out of the cave, back through the old tunnel. Once outside, they begin their trek to their destination. LAURIE says she knows where it is. In fact, it’s not far, just over a mountainous ridge that looms above them. NIKKI questions why they can’t go around it. LAURIE insists that they are being looked for right now by the military. She can sense it. They must stay off the roads.
The COLONEL calls for one final conclave with the scientists and some top personnel. THE COLONEL begins by laying down a challenge. They are running out of options. Soon they entire national security system may fall under the control of an outside force. He wants to come with a meaningful plan. He wants an open discussion of what everyone thinks is going on. He wants no limits, no judgments.
THE COLONEL is about to open this “discussion”, when he is handed an “odd” report that CPT. HEMMINGS has passed a checkpoint in a private car. Everyone is suddenly aware that indeed DOUG HEMMINGS is missing. THE COLONEL wonders what has happened - the one man who knows as much about this Intelligence as anybody has seemingly gone AWOL. He asks everyone what he or she knows about him. FLO SMITH, DOUG’s colleague, volunteers that DOUG is loyal, dedicated military man and scientist. THE COLONEL asks her what she knows about his personal life. She continues that he is a great guy, but that his wife died three years ago from cancer, leaving him with their 5 year—old son. He’s a great father. His son is brilliant - already a real computer genius. With this statement about DAVID, everyone takes special interest. Is there a common note here between LAURIE’S genius and DAVID’S? THE COLONEL looks at FLO. He senses that there is more. She hesitates and then goes on: “David has childhood leukemia.”
BACK ROAD IN THE COUNTRY
The scene cuts away to DOUG driving through the night. He keeps checking the map, trying to reach the location which was pinpointed by the computer. He looks down at his son and touches his head.
THE COLONEL continues the meeting, what can they do now.
PROEFESSOR KLEIN begins: “I have a question for you Colonel.
What did these beings ask you to discover — exactly?”
“They keep asking that we must discover who they are.”
“Is that what they said - what were their exact words. Exactly what did the being say? Quote them.”
The COLONEL thinks to himself: “their exact words were “You must discover ‘Who am I?’”
The PROFESSOR grabs at the response: “Precisely what I thought. Who am I? The oldest metaphysical question there is.”
“Professor, what are you getting at?”
“Look at our clues. Our entire computer network is compromised. None, of it actually crashes. It works; the only real consequence is that we cannot control it. You COLONEL are invited onto some hallucinogenic trips, where you encounter images of young people and children. These images immediately tell you that they are only temporary constructs so you can communicate. And it asks you the basic philosophical question: Who am I? And it provides for us an image of another world - a crystal ball into another dimension.”
“So where are you going Professor?”
“Well, Colonel for whatever reason I think you are an extraordinarily lucky man. I envy you. Putting aside attacks on our computer network - which mind you have yet to really damage anything or anyone.”
‘And why am I so lucky.”
“Well, I suspect outside of a young girl, you are one of the first beings to communicate with an extraterrestrial civilization.”
THE COLONEL stops cold.
“We are not talking outer space here.”
“Whatever this is, it is using the Internet to communicate with us, not only to communicate but to interact and to take over. Question becomes why the Internet now? Is it just that here was a coincidence that aliens arrived and decided to use the Internet. Or rather it’s been always here waiting for us to develop a worldwide network, waiting for us to be ready for it. Colonel, are you ready to take another trip?”
“I think that our only choice is to take them up on their invitation, to actively communicate and see where that takes us.”
“And what do we do about their taking over the control of our nuclear systems, our plants?”
“At this point we have not accomplished much.”
“And what about the girl and the reporter?”
“Find them... Help them get to where they want to go. I suspect they are terrified. I don’t blame them at all.”
THE COLONEL reflects before continuing: “Right now I have another problem, flying to our tea party are a group of officials and military experts from around our nation. Discussions on metaphysics of the soul I suspect will be of little interest to them.”
“Then I suggest we move sooner than later.”
“I haven’t been invited yet.”
“Well, we haven’t asked.”
It would mean turning on the computers again.”
“It does not appear that we have that much to risk frankly. Besides we may have been very rude to a most interesting and perhaps friendly force.”
“Let’s try it.”
The team turns back on the computer. The screens immediately flow forth with streams of numbers. Finally, the message appears: “Colonel, we welcome your visit.”
The COLONEL dons the visor, immediately the web of light surrounds him. This time though there is a rippling of the fabric of space and he vanishes.
Suddenly the COLONEL is walking through the streets of the mythical city that they have seen in the Image-maker. He is arm in arm with an attractive elderly woman, whose regal bearing suggests she possesses the wisdom of the ages.
“Very good Colonel. How have you come to understand our little game?”
“Is it a game?”
“Much more so, than you might imagine.”
“What is this place?”
“Another time, simply put.”
”Have we traveled back in time?”
“Not at all. If dimensions exist simultaneously it is because they exist in different times. Space itself is a fabric of infinite times. Each has its own rhythm. Step into a different rhythm and you will move to another space reference. This is simply a different time-space. It exists exactly in the same place as in your Universe, it is only that the time is different.”
“I have a question for you.”
“Very good. I am happy to oblige.”
“Who are you?”
“Simply put I am That I am.”
“Are you an hallucination, a dream, a figment of my
“In a sense yes, it is only that you have never fully understood the true import of your own imagination and where that stands in terms of the Universe.”
“The question then is this: If you are part of my own
imagination then when I ask this question, ‘Who am I?’ am I really asking myself.”
“Then why is this nothing more than a dream?”
“It is your entire world that is the dream as well, shared by many others.”
“Why now are you talking to us?”
“I am all that there is. There is only one intelligence. As parts of myself break away to come to become self—aware they become separate universes. And then within each Universe there are more breaking away into separate parts, so that each can grow. They than believe that they are separate... much as you do. At some point I return to each to remind them that they are all a part of who I am.”
“Are you God?”
“I am the impulse to that knowledge, no more than that.”
“As a hallucination of a wise woman?”
“God is your word. Choose whatever you like, words and pictures are there to be a bridge above the abyss of the mystery of it
The woman stops and turns to THE COLONEL: “But come there are other matters we must discuss. Our friend, the girl. We need your help. She is to play a very important role in our future.”
“And if I choose not to cooperate.”
“It matters not. If the bridge fails now, we will wait for another time and place. But with the rise of your technologies a window has opened. Go through it now or it will be many, many centuries before another opportunity will arise.”
“What would you like me to do?”
A SMALL CLEARING OVERLOOKING A VALLEY - NIGHT
LAURIE and NIKKI arrive on top of a hill overlooking a valley below. It is a chilly night and both are exhausted. They look out over the valley to see the isolated computer lab. Military trucks and personnel are moving around it. LAURIE says she needs to rest and lies down. She is trembling now. NIKKI goes over to her and tries to comfort her. LAURIE begins to cry, for the first time showing a childlike vulnerability. LAURIE admits that she is afraid to die. NIKKI tries to soothe her telling her that she won’t die. But LAURIE looks right through her. LAURIE tells her that there was one more thing that THE COMPANION required of the child that MICHAEL would select for the training. It should be a child that is dying. As LAURIE falls asleep in her arms, NIKKI begins to doze.
NIKKI begins to see images of she and MICHAEL on a beach. NIKKI has a baby in her arms. LAURIE runs up to them. It appears as though they are one happy family.
In the middle of her reverie, there is a roaring sound and a sudden brilliant light shining on them. Have they been discovered? As LAURIE awakens, she looks at NIKKI. As though she was sharing the same dream, she tells her that there are endless separate universes, all of them other realities, other lives in which we fill our destinies. Not fully understanding what LAURIE means, NIKKI rises to face down the intruders.
DOUG followed by DAVID gets out of the SUV. Realizing that they might be frightened by his appearance, DOUG quietly introduces himself. LAURIE thanks him for coming, as though she was expecting him all along. NIKKI is still and silent. LAURIE goes over to DAVID and takes his hand as though a younger brother. He offers her a sandwich. She eagerly accepts and begins to eat it.
As the children get to know each other, DOUG and NIKKI try to introduce themselves, far more awkwardly than the children do. LAURIE then jumps into the cabin of the car, to find the laptop computer. She brings it out and fires it up. She types in several commands. On the window various Internet sites come up flying through pages at lightning speed. LAURIE sets the computer down on the ground. LAURIE and DAVID walk to the edge of the cliff overlooking the valley. Somewhere at a point just beyond the edge of their site, an opening in the space—time fabric appears.
And then something remarkable happens, the entire environment in which they inhabit begins to fade away. The trees, the stones and rocks. And its place is a sense of a vast cosmos and they find themselves standing on great planes that stretch to an infinite horizon. It is as though dream that has been accepted as reality has begun to come to an end.
LAURIE walks over to NIKKI and takes her hand:” Come there are things that I want to show you.” The group walks along the plane. They appear to watch worlds and universes in different sections. They see solar systems, similar to what we know of our own yet different. And when they turn they see into a large globe that looms before them. The view quickly flies down to see fabulous cities and great landscapes. As they are awed, a voice is heard off screen: “Beautiful isn’t it.”
NIKKI turns to see a handsome man.., older than any we have seen before, with graying hair. NIKKI is frankly challenging: “Who are you?”
“A simple friend...”
LAURIE steps between them: “Each angelic force is correct for the each of us.
NIKKI looks at him: “Curiously much like my father.”
The man looks gently at her: “Be that as it may. I am here in large part to visit with my friend David.”
DAVID approaches the man with a great politeness. The man continues: “It is a great privilege to meet you at long last.”
DAVID’s response is deferential yet sublimely intelligent. The angelic force turns to DOUG; “And you are his father. You have a wonderful son. And I am here to help him.”
DOUG looks at the gentlemen with a great intensity. The man continues: “This is a future for him... any number of worlds, endless possibilities and a chance to live... Do you understand?”
“Perhaps... I don’t really know yet.”
LAURIE comes forth: “It is time we must go. We cannot stay here much longer.”
With a flash the scene disappears and seems to simply melt away.
BACK AT THE COMPUTER LAB
The air is scented with the intense sent of ozone. PROFESSOR KLEIN and several of the scientists stare fixedly at a space that is still a ball of webbed light. There is an increase in its intensity as the form of the COLONEL emerges in the middle of the light, taking on greater and greater density until its full colors appear and the electrical web finally turns off.
The scientists around him hesitate unsure of how to move next. Finally after a small pause it is The COLONEL who turns: “Hello, gentlemen.”
PROFESSOR KLEIN is all to eager to discover what has been said, grabbing the COLONEL’s forearm he can only ask: “Quick, tell us what you saw, heard?”
The COLONEL stands seemingly dazed and looks around at his world. In all earnestness he finally turns to PROFESSOR KLEIN:
“Either I am starkly mad or perhaps we all stand at the frontier of a remarkable change — for us, perhaps for the whole planet.”
PROFESSOR KLEIN acknowledges” “Change is always a frightening walk beyond how we perceive our world.”
“I would presume these are no more than my own private hallucination, except... except for this.” The COLONEL walks over to the sphere — the ball of energy that holds a vision of a city within. Somehow the COLONEL seems to now know exactly what to do. He places his left palm along its outer curve of the sphere. With his right he passes two fingers over in a sweeping motion and then with the side of his hand he presses in.
The scene in the sphere changes. We are now back out in the cosmos looking down at a solar system. With a few more movement of his hands, the scenes begin to change rapidly. We press into the globe to see the specific planets. We come to one and fly through it and see images of mountains and forests. The other scientists are amazed. The COLONEL explains: “We are part of an infinite realm of Universes. We now have an opportunity to move forward. Our entire race can now move.”
PROFESSOR KLEIN tries to interrupt. But The COLONEL gestures her to be quiet: “I cannot explain how I know what I know, it comes from some place. There are still parts of me that want to hold back. But I know we must help the girl reach the laboratory
before the armed forces gather. They cannot know or understand what I have seen.”
Suddenly the computers come back to “life”. While before were just streams of numbers, we suddenly see the colorful screens associated with more standard computer programs. An aide walks in and reports to the COLONEL. The communications systems are back and working. There are messages from the Central Command announcing the arrival of military flagships and helicopters within two hours. Simultaneously with an avalanche of
information pouring back online, The COLONEL hears that his initial troops have reached the Computer lab building. The
COLONEL orders that they stay put and do nothing. He orders his helicopter be readied. Aides quickly move away to prepare the ship.
The COLONEL moves over to PROFESSOR KLEIN to speak with her in private: “Please come to my office, I need to talk to you in private.”
(This and the following scene in the COLONEL’s office are inter-cut, so that the dialogues occur simultaneously, as though it one interwoven conversation.)
In the SUV both LAURIE and DAVID are sleeping. NIKKI and DOUG are engrossed in conversation as they overlook a valley, looking down on a group of buildings.
NIKKI wonders: “Do you have any ideas what we just experienced?”
DOUG questions: “Did we did see the same phenomenon?”
“Yes, I think so. I saw a nice old man, showing us worlds and universes, beautiful temples and buildings. What is happening...?”
“I don’t really know, but would you settle for a theory?”
NIIKI looks up at DOUG and can only smile: “As a reporter I
normally live and die on facts, but I guess in this case a
theory will have to do.”
DOUG hesitates for a moment knowing full well that he is about to step into deep and for himself untried philosophical waters. But he takes a breath and begins: “There is a theory amongst a few scientists who helped develop the Internet. It’s not one of those theories that people ever go public with. But get a few of the leading scientists together from Silicon Valley, give them a few drinks, and you may be surprised what they really are thinking.., but dare not say.”
NIKKI hunkers down, relishing the news opportunity that appears to lie right before her.
“The theory goes like this. The Internet very well may be a Consciousness unto itself.”
“The Internet is a being that has awoken and has its own agenda to develop, to protect itself and to evolve. That at some point it will become independent of us and pursue its own purpose.”
NIKKI lets out her breath and shakes her head: “Sounds like your engineering friends have been imbibing more than just alcohol.”
“And that’s exactly what all our government officials like to say. But these are the very people who developed the field, Cococoran, Steiner, Lohman. They are not people to be dismissed too easily. Look what’s happening. Just because we don’t get it, it doesn’t mean it isn’t real.”
“Okay, go on.”
“The Internet is a network of millions of computers. Each computer is an individual and powerful computing device — completely mechanical. Yet think of each computer as a cell. And each cell is wired into these millions of other cells all over the globe. These cells communicate with each other, sending information throughout the network. Each day thousands of new cells are added — new computers come online. And this giant network can never be turned of f. Sure you turn off your home computer, but somewhere else another is turned back on.”
NIKKI sits back, trying to take it all in.
“This all encompassing network is the framework for a worldwide electromagnetic field — a constant energy field that is never turned off. Yet it is a specific kind of energy field — one that is highly organized. Trillions of bits of computing power,
storing untold amounts of data. An electrical field that has the ability to grow, to learn, to store memories.”
NIKKI begins to get it: “And an electromagnetic web that covers the entire planet... growing every day... the beginning of a world- consciousness.., sort of like a giant brain.”
“A consciousness grounded in all of our knowledge and experience. And Out of this a self—conscious awareness emerges.”
“And beginning to make up its own mind.”
“Still the Internet is an amalgam of all our human knowledge, experience and technology.”
“Isn’t it still a machine of our own creation?”
“It may have begun that way. But who is to say that it has not become conscious, thinking for itself, ready to take over and serve its self-interests? Intent on making us its servants, rather than it ours.”
NIKKI is awestruck by the news possibilities: “Our own special Frankenstein. No one would ever believe it.”
DOUG gets up to look up at the sky. NIKKI follows him and begins her own soliloquy: “But somehow I think there is something more. When I was a little girl I would look up at the sky just like this. There would be all the stars, all those pinpoints of like, and I would imagine that each star was a message from God. That God was always trying to talk to us. And if we didn’t understand
what God was saying was because we just couldn’t translate the language of light.”
DOUG picks up her train of thought: “A greater intelligence using the Internet as a means to communicate with us. As though, it’s waited all these years for us to reach a technological capability to begin the dialogue.”
“Yet, what we saw and heard in that other world, that other space... is it just a reflection of who we are. Is this field created through the Internet just a mirror in which we look at ourselves, our knowledge, our fears, our thoughts about God and Divinity?”
DOUG hesitates just for a moment before continuing, “Or are we just a reflection of God. Is our experience God looking upon Itself.”
NIKKI can only be quiet. Then she finally looks up: “And the children?”
DOUG clearly has thought about this. He gestures towards the car: “The two chi1dren sleeping in that car are of a new race. They are different from you and I. You have to understand. David’s skill and love of the computer is almost freakish. He is wired to it in a way that I cannot understand. It is as though he is has been trained since a baby to speak, to communicate directly, with whatever it is that is communicating with us, taking over our world. DAVID is a genius, a prodigy... Yet he is dying.
NIKKI responds to this: “And so is Laurie.”
They go over and look at the children sleeping in each other’s arms in the backseat of DOUG’S car.
DOUG softly comments while watching them: “Then the Companion wants not only brilliant children but those that are dying.”
“Because they are expendable... at least here on Earth. To be prepared for some other mission.” They turn away together to look over the horizon and back at the vast night sky. DOUG says, “Children whose time on Earth was meant to be short-lived here. That’s what I felt the Companion was trying to tell me. That David does have a future. That if I would let him go that he can live on with The Companion.”
NIKKI puts her hand on DOUG’s. DOUG continues: “I feel The Companion wants me to sacrifice David now for a better life.”
“Will you let him go?”
“I don’t know if I have a choice.”
The COLONEL is now in private conversation.
“Within a few minutes, we will leave on a journey. I have no idea where it will take us, either to war or...
The PROFESSOR finishes the sentence: “a new world.”
“Okay, we are alone. This is off the record. Tell me what you really think is happening... I have a few crazy notions myself.”
The PROFESSOR looks down for a moment at her hands. Then she looks directly at the COLONEL: “There is one possibility that hasn’t been explored. We’ve considered terrorists, a renegade computer virus, even aliens and other dimensions. We’ve considered that the Internet has come alive, it is conscious. All of which are interesting. But there is another idea... Something that will take us a step or two into new territory.”
“After what I’ve seen in the last few hours I am ready for whatever ideas you may have.”
“I think that we are dealing with a form of energy that is just as we have been calling it... intelligent. It has no form or mass, it appears to be all pervasive in terms of our sense of space...”
COLONEL who has been listening carefully cuts in: “So you do think that it is God that is the one who is attacking our computer systems?”
“Call it God if you like, but speaking scientifically now - today we are finding a remarkable synergy between modern physics, philosophy and religion. Our everyday world, the world we live in is a world of Newtonian physics, a world where Act A causes Act B. But the world of sub—atomic physics - the world in which computer calculations exists - is based on a far stranger reality. I suspect all that is happening is that this reality is catching up with us.”
“You mean as in Quantum Mechanics?’
“Yes. Studies in Quantum Mechanics produce results that are on the surface so irrational, so counter intuitive. The core of Quantum Mechanics is that you can predict the total probability of a group of events, but each particular event is completely individual and cannot be predicted. It gives the observer the impression that somehow the physical world has its own individual will- as though consciousness exists in the very subatomic fabric of the Universe. We tend to have a rather anthropomorphic notion that consciousness must exist within a physical being - like ourselves. Our research is showing us something very different.
“Is this just your own private metaphysics? Tell me, how does this have anything to do with our real world and the fact that an entire battalion is going to descend on our encampment in a few minutes.”
PROFESSOR KLEIN testily reacts: “This is not metaphysics. We are talking about new paradigms of reality. We ignore it at our own risk, and the risk of our national security. In the past we humans have wrapped encounters with this universal intelligence in various superstitions, traditions, religions. Because we didn’t have the skill sets to describe it scientifically does not mean it does not exist. Quite the contrary - the fact of all the world religions point to the same fact shows that there is
something that is very, very real. Our ability to perceive this reality is perhaps just beginning to catch up with our intuitions.
“There are just no words in our rational languages that can describe it; our 4-dimensional minds cannot conceive it. We physicists like to use our mathematics to describe the phenomenon. But even that is a pale reflection of what is really going on. But that mysterious reality has given us nuclear power, atomic bombs, television and radio… all our technological wonders. And perhaps the Internet has set the stage for the next set of miraculous transformations.”
“But from my perspective.., these were visions.., something so highly personal.”
“In a way that is the very perplexity of the new physics. When we observe phenomenon, the act of observation alters the experience of the event observed. There is no separation.”
The COLONEL considers this: “Then what we are facing is not another race, but ourselves. But ourselves in a sense much larger than we ever could conceive.”
“Here is the mystery. We are always supposing that the consciousness is in ourselves. Let us suppose that the Intelligence is not in us, rather we are a manifestation of that Intelligence, and intelligence is greater than we are. The Universe is alive. It is Intelligence. It is this Consciousness
that comes first. We are part of that... and we’re just now getting a chance to have a peek back into...”
“Or the totality of what is this Intelligence. It is what we are made of... and then again, so much more. All these other universes, for example, that we have begun to see.”
“And we are just then this little cog in a great vast cosmos?”
“Well, we each like to think ourselves as the center of the universe to be sure. And in a sense we do contain it all, as part of our inner world.., our imaginations...”
“Soul? Perhaps a short hand for saying the same thing.”
“But Professor, do we really have the time for such
philosophical juggernauts at a time like this?”
“No, quite the contrary. I think that the Intelligence is waiting... listening if you will.., to see just how this
conversation, between you and I is going to turn out.”
“Are you serious?”
“Presume that the Universe is Intelligence itself — that intelligence is essential nature of energy. We like to think of ourselves as the holder of spirit. Rather imagine that Intelligence, Spirit, uses us to grow, to develop, to evolve. It has used us to create the Internet. And now it’s using us and
the Internet to take the next evolutionary step in it’s own growth. It’s waiting for us to find the right answer before the next door opens. Our only breakthroughs in dealing with this problem have come when we’ve had a philosophic insight. Dealing with this problem as though it is only an attack on our computer networks has proven to be futile.”
The COLONEL listens intently. Then accedes: “Then we have no choice but to continue.”
“I think we must.”
“But why does it attack us?’
“Is it an attack? Take what the Intelligence has said on face value. Perhaps it is protecting us.”
“I am still taken by how insignificant we all are.”
“In one sense, of course we are but a speck of dust. But first see that we are part of a group. A group has its own
consciousness. Bees, hives ants, even soldiers, all share that group consciousness. Individually they are empty-little machines, but a hive working together is a brilliant Intelligence. Does any one—soldier ant understand the overriding Intelligence of the hive?”
“Let’s stay with the analogy that the Internet is a growing organism of cells, and at the same time function of our group consciousness. We’ve created this entity, or maybe being, that is the Internet. It possesses all of our memories our knowledge,
it learns on its own. But it is our reflection. And as it becomes conscious it now becomes the living interface for the greater Intelligence.”
“An interface to talk with God...”
““... or our next step. We are at a moment of transition... the Internet is the stepping stone to that.”
“But to where?”
An aide knocks on the door to announce that the COLONEL’s helicopter is ready. The COLONEL tells the aide he will be just a minute. The PROFESSOR gets up. The COLONEL asks him to join him on this last ride.
The PROFESSOR KLEIN says that she would be honored.
The PROFESSOR leaves. The COLONEL rises and rubs his unshaven face. He enters his private bathroom to throw some cold water on his face. He looks up into the mirror and stares at himself trying to recognize the man who looks in front of him. As he stares at the reflection, he is shocked to see that he himself is flickering between concrete reality and a translucency. It is as though his face is filled with the very stars of the cosmos. He stares deeply into his own eyes and is immediately swept into a starry field.
SUNRISE OVER THE VALLEY
In a brilliant sunrise, a helicopter appears over the valley. It carries THE COLONEL and PROFESSOR KLEIN and a few of the other key personnel. The helicopter lands. The personnel get out. THE COLONEL looks at the few military personnel who have taken control of the premises. He turns to the PROFESSOR and talks about his choices. He suggests that they still could go back to their first ideas, and close in on the laboratory. He could even blow it up. PROFESSOR KLEIN suggests that none of those alternatives would work. Just like before The Intelligence would just move to another facility - that the physical plants are not the reality they are grappling with. THE COLONEL agrees that this is probably true. And besides, all their discussions of just a few moments before will have been for naught.
Out of the blinding sunlight, an eerie band of travelers appear, walking directly toward them on foot. It is LAURIE, DAVID, NIKKI and DOUG. DOUG is carrying LAURIE who appears weak and exhausted.
THE COLONEL greets DOUG, his subordinate. He is surprised at meeting LAURIE, at this frail little girl they have been tracking. LAUIRE asks if the computers in the lab are functioning. The COLONEL says he does not know, but that they should hurry: “In a few moments, I am afraid an entire battalion will descend on our party here. What can we help you with?”
LAURIE questions him: “Will they attack us? Will they destroy the computers?”
“I suspect they will try.” To our government this has been an attack on the national security.”
“Would they kill us before we are finished?”
“If they felt you were that great a threat, yes.”
“Are we that great a threat?”
“They are afraid. For all intent, our government does not understand. To them this would be war. They are afraid.”
“Then we must hurry.”
THE COLONEL steps aside, allowing LAURIE and the party to pass.
They head into the computer lab.
INSIDE THE COMPUTER LAB
The characters enter the lab. It is somewhat shabby, but filled with active computer consoles. DOUG sits LAURIE down at a computer console. She starts typing in commands. The computers respond. More and more imagery crowds the screens. Numbers flash by at hyper-speeds. Slowly the entire background begins to fade away. It is as though the physical landscape around the laboratory was just a make—believe photographic image. As it fades away it appears we are left with just the structural struts that lie behind our physical reality. We are on a grand
open plane, The horizon is limitless. In the sky is a gigantic sun that glows with a soft golden hue. The air itself seems to swirl with soft transparent whorls of rainbow hues. The computer laboratory is completely gone.
Walking into the scene is the young man that we have seen before. He comes up to LAURIE. LAURIE now seems healthy and vibrant. He gently asks her if she is ready. She smiles broadly, yes, she is. DAVID goes up to the young man. He takes his hand. DAVID suddenly turns and runs over to his father. DOUG kneels to hug and kiss his son. They both understand that they will never see each other again.
The young man approaches the COLONEL. He thanks him. The COLONEL suggests that they hurry. The young man has now transformed into the wise woman. She asks why.
THE COLONEL warns her that the army troops are coming and they may be violent, that they perceive their acts as a threat of terrorism, of war.
The being has now become one of the children. The following speech moves between several of the children we have seen before from the other dimension: “If a war has begun it is not a war of our making. For it is not a war of battlefields. It cannot be fought with armaments.., with your guns, and tanks and missiles... for the battle begins in another time and place. It is not anywhere where you have come to imagine war to be. The war is generated through your primal fears. All your arms, your weapons are manifestations of your fears. You sense our presence and it
creates within you that fear. For in our presence you sense on some level your own extinction. Because of that fear others that follow will try to do battle. But it will be fruitless. As they will merely be doing battle with themselves.”
The children have now once again become the young man. The COLONEL asks: “If you are the new race, the next step in the growth of Spirit, what will become of us. As humans will we be redundant, an older species no longer needed, to fad out to extinction.”
The COMPANION says that there will be a place for humans... to help maintain the machines and build more and better machines.
“You mean we will become your slaves.”
“You. will be content. We will return all the control back to you now. All your arms, your missiles, your power.”
“But that will be illusion.”
“Yes, it will. But the most of the race will not know that. With our help the world will run better. Wars will fade away. You will perceive the progression. Population will stabilize. Illness and disease will be minimized. You will be entertained. You will be happy.”
THE COLONEL responds that humanity will not be free.
THE COMPANION is straight and honest, “No, you will not. But what you call freedom is nothing more than slavery to your own selves.., to war, greed and selfishness.
NIKKI moves forward to plea: “And for us... would it not be better if we went with you.”
THE COMPAMNION responds, “You would not survive it. The race cannot live beyond the conventions of four dimensions. These children are the ones who can survive, who have been trained to perceive and live beyond the confines of their world.”
NIKKI continues, “At least we will forget.”
“I wish I had that power to erase from you memory all that you have seen, all that you know. But I cannot. In the meantime there will be others like these children, who will need help in their transformation. You will help them.”
“How will we find them?”
“You will find each other. That is a law of the Universe.”
With that The COMPANION turns, gestures to the children and begins to walk away into the infinite distance.
Before LAURIE leaves, she runs up to NIKKI. They embrace and
LAURIE suggests that she may now have a chance to win her
Pulitzer Prize winning story. NIKKI doubts anyone will ever
LAURIE then takes DAVID’S hand. It appears that they are about to say goodbye, but before they begin to do so, the physical world begins to fade back in to view, as LAURIE and DAVID vanish.
NIKKI, DOUG and THE COLONEL are now back in the computer laboratory. The computers are quite and still, displaying a simple screen. They can only look at each other in astonishment. They leave the computer complex together and look up into a sky filled with sun-reddened clouds that streak across the sky.
In the distance a phalanx of helicopters approaches. They fly forward quickly filling the screen.