Contact (1997) Movie Script

It's obviously a
major malfunction.
...their President is a
crook. Well, I'm not a crook.
Robert Kennedy was
shot in that ballroom.
Thank God Almighty,
we are free at last!
A sniper has fired
at President Kennedy.
Or have you ever been a
member of the Communist party?
Hi-yo, Silver!
...a date which
will live in infamy.
We bring you the
final edition of
our Maxwell House
Good News of 1939.
Good evening,
Mr. and Mrs. North
America, and all
the ships at sea.
The only thing we have
to fear is fear itself.
...this is W-9 GFO.
CQ, this is W-9
GFO here. Come back?
...this is W-9 GFO here.
Come back?
CQ, this is W-9 GFO.
Is anybody out there?
Not getting anything.
Small moves, Ellie.
Small moves.
CQ, this is W-9
GFO here. Come back?
Copy, W-9 GFO.
K-4 WLD here.
What do I say?
Just be yourself.
Where are you,
K-4 WLD? Come back?
Pensacola. Over.
Pensacola, where's Pensacola?
I'll give you a hint.
Orange juice.
Copy that, K-4 WLD. How's the
weather down there in Florida?
Pensacola, Florida.
I have to tell you, Sparks.
Pretty good.
That's the farthest yet.
Can we hear all
the way to New York?
Can we hear all the
way to California?
I don't see why not.
Can we hear all
the way to Alaska?
On a really clear day.
Can we hear all
the way to China?
On a really, really clear day.
Could we talk to the moon?
If it's a big enough
radio, I don't see why not.
Could we talk to Jupiter?
Or what's the one after that?
Don't tell me.
I'll give you a hint.
Saturn! Could we
talk to Saturn?
Dad, could we talk to Mom?
I don't think even the biggest
radio could reach that far.
All right, no more stalling.
That's a beauty.
Now get some sleep.
Hey, Dad?
Do you think there's
people on other planets?
I don't know, Sparks.
But I guess I'd say...
...if it is just us... seems like an
awful waste of space.
CQ, this is W-9 GFO.
Repeat. This is
W-9 GFO. Come back?
I'm going to need
a bigger antenna.
What do you think, Doc Arroway?
Isn't she a beauty?
It'll do.
The village is five miles away.
There's a general
store in the cantina.
They can order
anything from San Juan.
When can I get dish time?
Dr. Clark said you couldn't
wait. Your first
shift is tonight.
Go back.
Try back a little bit.
You had something there.
- Right there?
- You hear it? Right
there, that's it.
All right, 1221.46. That's
well within the L-band.
Check off-axis.
On it.
It's not in the neighborhood.
Here it is. J-1741...
...+ 2748.
Catalogued November
Must've been the glitch in
the timing's what threw me.
Must've been a starquake.
I think it's great that you
listen. Most don't
do that anymore.
It's just an old habit.
It makes it feel more real.
Kent Clark.
They said you'd been...
...up at Owen's Valley
working under Drumlin.
How'd you like him?
That much? About
what I'd expect
after what he had
to say about you.
And what was that?
That you are brilliant...
...a major pain in the ass...
...and obsessed with a field of
study he considers
tantamount... professional suicide.
Anything else?
Those were the highlights.
Davio, Dr. Vernon. Dr. Arroway.
Believe you've already
met our tireless
research assistant,
Mr. Fisher... well as his cologne.
Brook's looking at
the black hole in M-87.
Eli's studying Markarian
Dr. Arroway will
be spending her
precious telescope
time listening for...
...listening for...
Little green men.
One down...
...a couple billion to go.
Arecibo, right?
Does it show?
Cracker Jack?
No, thanks.
Mind if I sit down?
I hear the locals, they
call it "El Radar. "
Convinced it has some
dark military purpose.
I think we're harmless.
Palmer Joss.
- Ellie Arroway.
- Nice to meet you, Ellie.
What are you studying up there?
The usual.
Nebulae, quasars,
pulsars, stuff like that.
What are you writing?
The usual. Nouns, adverbs...
...adjective here and there.
I work on a project, SETI.
Search for Extraterrestrial
That is out there!
Are you a student or something?
I'm a writer. I'm
writing a book.
I'm here doing
research about how
technology affects
Third World cultures.
I'm also looking for
this guy, David Drumlin.
He's head of the
National Science
Foundation. I
want an interview.
I take it you know him?
You could say that.
That's fringe!
I've crossed paths
with him. Something
like that must
really chap his ass.
That's for you.
You better keep this.
Might save your life someday.
Have dinner with me tonight?
I don't make a good research
subject. I'm not quotable.
No quotes. Scout's honor.
Good meal, good company.
I've got to go.
Drumlin's coming in Tuesday.
Now I remember why
I took that desk job.
Dr. Drumlin, how are you?
Glad you could make it.
If I'd known it took 3 planes,
I might've reconsidered.
How is that new office?
Still settling in.
They already want
to give half my
budget to the Pentagon.
Still waiting for E.T. to call?
Good to see you too!
Looks like it's going
to be a long night.
Science must be
accountable to the
people paying for
it, the taxpayers.
We must stop wasting money on
pie-in-the-sky abstractions...
...and spend it on
practical, measurable ways... improve the lives of
the people who are paying.
Not unlike my L-band,
globular clusters work.
You want to do away with
all pure research now?
What's wrong with science being
practical? Even profitable?
Nothing, as long
as your motive... the search
for truth. Which
is what the pursuit
of science is.
That's an interesting
position from a man...
...on a crusade against
the evils of technology...
...Father Joss.
I'm not against technology,
Doctor. I'm against...
...the men who deify it at
the expense of human truth.
Kent, I need to have a word
with you. Over here, please.
You think that hurt my
chances with that interview?
You're a priest?
Not really.
I got my Masters in Divinity...
...then left the seminary to
do secular humanitarian work...
Third World churches.
I couldn't live with
the celibacy thing.
You could call me
a man of the cloth...
...without the cloth.
You want to get out of here?
You see that large W-shaped
constellation there?
That's Cassiopeia.
And Cassiopeia A gives off
a whole lot of radio signals.
I listen to them a lot.
It's a remnant of a supernova.
When did you know you
wanted to be an astronomer?
When I was about
eight years old...
...watching the
sunset, I asked Dad,
"What's that bright
star over there?"
He said that it wasn't
a star. It was...
...a whole planet
called Venus...
...which should
be over there soon.
He said, "You know why
they called it Venus?
Because they thought it was
so beautiful and glowing.
But they didn't know...
...that it's filled with...
...deadly gases and
sulfuric acid rain. "
Wow, I thought, "This
is it! I'm hooked!"
There are four hundred
billion stars out there...
...just in our galaxy alone.
If only one out of a million
of those had planets...
...if just one out of a
million of those had life...
...and if just one
out of a million
of those had
intelligent life...
...there would be
literally millions
of civilizations out there...
If there wasn't...'d be an awful
waste of space.
So I was lying there,
just looking at the sky.
And then I felt
something. I don't know.
All I know is that
I wasn't alone.
For the first time in my life
I wasn't scared of nothing...
...not even dying.
It was God.
And there's no chance that... had this
experience because
some part of you
needed to have it?
I'm a reasonably
intelligent guy, but this...
My intellect couldn't
even touch this.
I've been to Sunday
school a few times.
I kept asking all these really
annoying questions like...
..."Where did Mrs.
Cain come from?"
And pretty soon
they asked my dad...
...if he wouldn't mind
keeping me home from now on.
Your dad...
Is it this guy?
You're close to
him, aren't you?
I was. He died when
I was nine years old.
I never got to know my mother.
I'm sorry.
That's got to be tough.
Being alone.
What do you say...
...we pack a picnic tomorrow
and hike up to Mount Arecibo?
I don't think I can.
I've got to work.
How about dinner tomorrow
night? I know a great dive.
No, I don't think so.
Ellie, did I miss something?
Shit, I'm late!
I told Kent that I'd
be there at 10:30.
I'm not trying to push you.
I've wanted to look at
this sector for weeks.
Just hang out...
...and sleep in. There's
food in the fridge.
How can I reach you?
Just leave your
number. I'll call you.
It's starting, you're
going to miss it!
Dad, there's another
one! Hurry up!
In a minute, Sparks!
I'm almost done.
There's another one.
Come on, hurry up, Dad!
I'll get the medicine.
I know it's hard to
understand this now...
...but we aren't
always meant to know
why things happen
the way they do.
Sometimes, we just
have to accept it... God's will.
I should have kept medicine
in the downstairs bathroom.
Then I could've
gotten to it sooner.
...this is W-9
GFO. Do you copy?
Dad, this is Ellie. Come back.
This is Eleanor Arroway...
on 14.2 megahertz.
Are you there?
Come back.
Are you there?
Dad, this is Ellie.
Hi, Kent. What are
you doing up so early?
I was thinking...
...we'd make a
pretty good team.
We could put together
an ad hoc SETI program.
You know the Very Large
Array in New Mexico?
It's a dynamite place
to do SETI work...
What are you talking about?
Drumlin pulled the plug.
We're homeless.
It's true, you pulled the plug?
You can't see it now,
but I'm doing you a favor.
You're too promising
a scientist to
waste your gifts
on this nonsense.
I don't consider
what could be...
...the most important
human discovery nonsense!
And two probabilities. One,
there's intelligent life...
...but too far away to
contact in your lifetime.
- And two!
- You're making a decision...
There's nothing
but gases and carbon
compounds and you're
wasting your time!
In the meantime, you
won't be taken seriously.
Your career will be over!
So what?
It's my life!
Hey, Kent. You were right.
Screw Drumlin.
We'll raise the money
ourselves. We'll
go to New Mexico.
Chicago's set. Let
me know how it goes.
I've got more corporate stops
on the East Coast for you.
Did that investor from
Houston ever get back to us?
I'll hit him up
on my way to L.A.
Beg for some of
that Hollywood money!
They've been making money
off aliens for years.
- Begging is good for the soul.
- We'll see.
Just do me a favor.
Try not to be too...
Me? What do you mean?
I'll see if I left anything.
It's a unique time
in our history,
in the history of
any civilization.
It's the moment of the
acquisition of technology.
That's the moment where
contact becomes possible.
The Very Large Array
in New Mexico... the key to our
chances for success.
With its 27 linked
radio telescopes...
...we can search
more accurately
than at any other facility.
We've gotten
approval to buy the
telescope time
from the government.
Now all we really
need is the money.
A nice presentation, Doctor.
But while our foundation arm
has a mandate to support...
programs, your proposal...
...seems less like science,
and more like science fiction.
Science fiction.
You're right.
It's crazy.
In fact, it's even
worse than that: nuts!
Want to hear something nutty?
Two guys wanted to build
a thing called an airplane.
People go in it and fly like
birds. Ridiculous, right?
What about breaking
the sound barrier...
...or rockets to the moon, or
atomic energy or
a mission to Mars?
Science fiction, right?
All I'm asking
is for you to just
have the tiniest bit of vision.
To step back and look
at the big picture.
Take a chance on
something which could
end up the most
impactful moment...
...for humanity,
for the history...
...of history.
I'm sorry.
I just spent 13 months...
...coming into rooms and
talking to people like you.
You're my last chance.
Sorry I wasted your time.
Yes, sir.
You have your money.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Perfect cast! Come on, fishy!
Frank, look at the size...
...of that
Welcome back, Dr. C.
How'd it go?
How was the trip?
I've had better.
Drumlin! Is this a
personal vendetta now?
There's been enormous pressure
from other scientists as well.
It doesn't matter. Hadden's
funding us for 2 more years.
The government
doesn't want their
telescopes used by
the high priestess...
...of the desert anymore.
Staring at TV static for hours,
listening to washing machines.
These stories get out!
I was seeking
patterns in the chaos!
It doesn't matter,
we're a joke to them.
They want us out!
We've got 3 months till
the paperwork goes through.
I'll start looking
for other funding.
Could you face reality?
Just this once? We lost.
It's over.
I'm not stopping.
If I have to, I'll go it
alone. I've done it before.
My guest tonight is author
and theologian Palmer Joss.
He's become a
spiritual counselor, and
a recent fixture
at the White House.
"God's Diplomat," according
to The New York Times.
His latest book,
"Losing Faith,"
is currently number one...
...on that publication's
bestseller list.
Thanks for being here.
You've had quite a ride...
...the last few years.
Yeah, I sure have, Larry.
Fish, I was thinking.
Who would make the best
astronomers? Think about it.
Who has the perfect synthesis
of career and lifestyle?
I give.
Are you anti-technology
and anti-science?
No, not at all.
The question that
I'm asking is this:
Are we happier... a human
race? Is the world
fundamentally a better place...
...because of science
and technology?
We shop at home,
we surf the Web...
...but at the same
time we feel emptier...
...and more cut
off from each other
than at any other
time in human history.
We're becoming a
synthesized society... a hurry to get to the...
We're looking for the meaning.
What is the meaning?
We have mindless jobs,
take frantic vacations.
Deficit finance trips to
the mall to buy things...
...that we think will fill
these holes in our lives.
Any wonder we've lost
our sense of direction?
Holy shit!
Right ascension...
...18 hours, 36
minutes, 56.2 seconds!
...+ 36 degrees, 46 minutes...
...56.2 seconds!
Right ascension, 18
hours, 36 minutes...
...56.2 seconds!
Is anybody awake in there?
I'm moving the array!
- Confirm!
Boss has a bogey!
Right ascension, 18 hours...
We're on it!
...47 minutes and 1 second!
Strong possible...
...pulse chain
on sub-array four!
I'm moving the rest.
Confirm coordinates!
Check the status of the array.
She's doing all the dishes.
Systems nominal.
Full systems check!
Coordinates confirmed.
Willie's checking the system.
Stay on top of the
systems diagnostics!
Check reference point offsets.
And I want you off-axis on
And tell Willie to
break out the big boy!
Copy that.
Yeah! Go, Ellie!
I hear it on the headphones.
We got to be sure about this.
Give me another array status.
Her four are online,
the rest are tracking in.
But there's a bad drive on 16.
The four are online,
the rest are tracking in.
There's a bad drive
on 16. Copy that?
What shall I do about
the source queue?
Forget it and hold the queue.
Get ready to set
the target frequency
to manual the
second we're aligned.
Do you copy? I want you to go
off-axis on 27 the
second we're there!
And leave the LO
frequency where it is!
Don't let it get away! If
you lose it, scan the band!
Run every frequency
you can think of.
How you doing?
Talk to me, guys.
Partially polarized moving
pulses, amplitude modulated.
We're locked. Systems are
fine. What's the frequency?
...23 gigahertz.
Hydrogen times pi.
Told you!
Strong sucker too!
I got it! I'm patched in!
Let me hear.
Listen to that.
Make me a liar, Fish.
It could be AWACS out
of Kirkland jamming us.
But I doubt it.
See if F.U.D.D.'s
reading it too.
Patch it back and
give me the off-axis.
- We recording?
- Never stopped.
Thank you, Elmer!
AWACS status is negative.
White Sands?
On this frequency? No.
I'll punch up the darks.
How's spying tonight?
Come on!
NORAD's not tracking any
snoops in this vector.
Shuttle's in sleep mode.
Okay, point source confirmed.
Whatever it is, it ain't local.
I checked interferometry.
Somewhere in Lyra.
- Vega?
- Can't be!
It's only 26 light years away.
- Peak intensity?
- Coming up!
Vega. I scanned
it a bunch of times
at Arecibo. It was
always negative.
Got it!
Reading over 100 janskys.
Jesus! I can pick
it up on my...
Come on!
It's restarting.
Wait a minute.
Those are numbers.
That was 3, before it was 2.
Base 10 numbers. Count
and see how far we get.
Those are primes.
all prime numbers.
No way that's a
natural phenomenon!
Let's just calm down and
pull up the star file on Vega.
It doesn't make any sense.
The system is too young.
It can't have a
planetary system...
...let alone life or a
technological civilization.
Maybe they're not from
there, they're visiting.
Spacecraft? This system's full
of debris. It'd get clobbered.
Not if they used their laser
blasters and photon torpedoes.
- That's not funny.
- How else can we explain it!
He's right. If we go public
with this and we're wrong...'s over. We're cooked.
I wish Kent was here.
Whatever it is, let's do
something. Vega will set.
Position confirmed. We've got
We've got 112 janskys.
Do you have a
source location yet?
We put it right
smack in the middle.
Thanks. Keep tracking
and we'll get back to you.
...through every prime
number between 2 and 101.
Who do we call now?
The rumors are flying, the
implications extraordinary.
Detection of an unidentified... source from space can
neither be
confirmed nor denied.
But the military arriving...
Sources close to the VLA report
they have been contacted... some form of
intelligent being... outside
our solar system.
Again, there is
no confirmation.
I want all of these
people out of here.
Where's the girl? confirm the signal.
Vega's now below our horizon.
You're hearing the
signal from the Russian...
Get decryption people here.
visiting at Cal Tech.
Explain this to me.
If the source of
the signal is so
sophisticated... why
the remedial math?
Why not just speak English?
Maybe because 70% of the
planet speaks other languages.
Mathematics is the only
truly universal language.
It's no coincidence that
they're using primes.
I don't get it.
Prime numbers.
Integers only divisible
by themselves and 1.
We think this may be a
beacon, an announcement... get our attention.
If it's attention you want,
you got that. One thing: Vega.
People have looked at Vega
for years, with no results.
Yesterday they start
broadcasting primes. Why?
It's hardly yesterday.
The signal's been
transmitting for 26 years.
Excuse me, who are you?
Michael Kitz, National
Security Advisor.
Your reputation...
First, ask the gentlemen
with the guns to wait outside.
This is a civilian facility.
With all due respect...
Excuse me.
Hi! I'm so glad you're back!
Come hear this.
Is this great?
- Who are all these people?
- I have no idea.
Sit down. We need help
with the spectrum analysis.
- I'll get on it.
- Headsets.
I'll just come
right to the point.
Announcing this all
over the world may
well be a breach of
national security.
It's not a
person-to-person call.
You think a
civilization sending this
message intends it
just for Americans?
You might have consulted us.
- The contents could
be very sensitive.
- You want to
classify prime numbers?
Due to earth's
rotation, we're in
line with Vega
only hours a day.
The only way to
monitor the signal
is to cooperate
with other stations.
If Dr. Arroway hadn't acted
quickly, we'd have
lost key elements.
Fine, they've got the primes.
But if a more significant
transmission is to come...
We need help to
receive and decode.
You understand that
my job is to protect...
- Listen.
- I hear it.
Hear what?
Bingo! I had Willie ask Rattan
to retune to 8.9247 gigahertz.
There's a lot more here.
- Get on the negative sideband.
- I'm already on it.
What is it?
Another signal!
A second signal at double
the frequency. Looks like...
Get a TV monitor!
Patch it into the
image processor.
Want the new data?
Yeah, the new one
we just recorded.
David, explain
this to me, please.
There's another signal.
Looks like a TV transmission.
We're hot.
Go get the blinds.
There is a lot of glare.
You're patched in.
It's definitely an image.
Let's try and stabilize it.
What do you make of that?
It's two different interlaced
frames. I'm framing one.
- It's just noise.
- Trying frame two.
I've got an offset
carrier. I think it's audio.
Plug it in!
Center that segment.
Can you clean it up?
I'm working on it.
What the hell...?
Try zooming out.
Reverse values.
Try zooming out again.
Rotate 90 degrees
My God!
What's going on?
You're not going
to believe this.
Does anybody speak German?
"I declare the
Games in Berlin... the celebration...
...of the first Olympics
of the New Era... opened. "
Get me the White House.
defeating the bastard...
...and he's our first
ambassador to outer space?
The broadcast of
the '36 Olympics
was the first TV
...that went into space.
Sending it back is a way of
saying, "Hello, we heard you. "
Or, "Sieg Heil, you're
our kind of people. "
Hitler's politics have
nothing to do with this.
It's unlikely they understood
it. People must understand...
The people are in very
good hands, Doctor.
We'll take it from here.
Smile, folks. We're on.
A message of unknown
origin from deep space...
...was received by American
scientists. Now
to the White House.
We're told the President will
have only a few remarks...
...about today's
extraordinary events...
...and that he won't be taking
any questions from the press.
Good afternoon.
I'm glad to be joined by my...
...Science and
Technology Advisor.
This is the product of
years of exploration... some of the world's
most distinguished scientists.
Like all discoveries...
...this one will
continue to be reviewed...
...and scrutinized.
It must be confirmed
by other scientists.
But clearly...
...the fact that this is being
explored is a vindication...
Fish, what is the
story over here? I
thought Ellie was
supposed to be on.
I don't know.
Those interlaced frames
we thought were noise?
This has structure.
I'm hearing structure.
If this discovery
is confirmed... will be one of the most
stunning insights
into our universe...
...that science
has ever uncovered.
Its implications are
as far-reaching...
...and awe-inspiring
as can be imagined.
Even as it promises answers to
some of our oldest questions... poses still others...
...even more fundamental.
We will continue
to listen closely... what it has to say... we continue the
search for answers...
...and for knowledge...
...that is as old
as humanity itself...
...but essential to
our people's future.
Thank you.
Is there a renewed
assessment of security threat?
I'll answer your questions
after a few corrections.
The message was
received Friday... 6:31 a. m.
Mountain Standard Time.
It was largely mathematical...
...and in spite of
reports to the contrary...
...appears to be
completely benign in nature.
Let me say that again. The
message is completely benign.
The President has contacted
the world's heads of state...
...and every security
measure is being taken.
To better explain the events
of the last 48 hours... the leader of
the scientific team
that made this
remarkable discovery...
...Dr. David Drumlin, special
Science Advisor
to the President.
Thank you, Rachel.
In 1936 a very faint
television signal...
...transmitted the
opening ceremonies
of the Olympic
Games as a show...
...of German
superior technology.
That signal left Earth at the
speed of light and
...arrived in the vicinity
of the star we call Vega.
That signal has been sent
back to us hugely amplified... unmistakable
sign of intelligence.
Kent, go ahead.
The Adolf transmission
used 25 frames
per second but
we're receiving 50.
So we put the other 25
through search algorithms.
We found a series of markers
on the top of each frame.
- Are you ready?
- Yeah, go ahead!
Send it, Willie.
Here it comes.
It's digital...
...massive amounts
of data which
extend right to the
higher harmonics.
All right, as you'll see...
...interlaced with the frames
of the original Hitler image...
...we found these sections.
We thought they were noise,
but they're actually data...
...huge amounts of it.
When we combine this with the
data from the
original signal...
...we get these
encrypted pages of text.
No two are alike and we've
uncovered over 10,000 already.
What does it mean, Doctor?
We have no idea. It
could be anything.
Volume 1 of an
Encyclopedia Galactica.
Instructions for us on their
colonization procedures.
Moses with a few
billion new commandments.
How long will it
take to decode it?
It could take forever.
We really need a primer...
We need to get the best
decryption people we have.
I intend to use the
VLA as my command post.
In the meantime, my office has
made out a preliminary budget.
Wait a minute.
This is a
privately-funded operation.
We lease dish time
from the government...
This is a clear-cut
case of eminent domain.
I'm recommending
to the President
we militarize this project.
What?! This is my project!
Nobody knows more about this
than I do. David, tell them...
Excuse me! Could
we calm down here?
I'm going to recommend
that Dr. Drumlin
coordinate the
decryption effort.
But in light of Dr. Arroway's
long experience
in these matters...
...for the time being, she will
direct operations at the VLA...
...understanding that
future discoveries
will be kept in
strict confidence...
...until such time
as the President...
...can decide the most suitable
course of action. Understood?
This is CNN Breaking News.
The President called
the message from Vega...
..."a stunning insight
into our universe... "
Attendance at
religious services has
risen a dramatic police clashed
with neo-Nazi protesters.
So, there's life
on other planets.
Boy, this will really change
the Miss Universe contest.
Health officials worldwide are
concerned that the
message from Vega...
...might trigger a
rash of mass suicides...
...not unlike recent cult
deaths near San Diego...
Even a scientist must admit...
...there are some
pretty serious
religious overtones
to all this.
Here's someone
whose organization... accused of conducting
its own inquisition:
Richard Rank, head of the
Conservative Coalition.
Thank you.
This is yet another
example of science
intruding into
matters of faith.
This means they have been
reacting to TV signals...
...from the 1930's.
They're just getting them.
Imagine how disappointed
they'll be if
they're Cubs fans.
We now go to Jeremy
Roth, who is reporting...
...from the Very Large Array
near Socorro, New Mexico.
Like a bolt from
the blue it came.
"The Message from
Vega" has caused...
...thousands of believers
and non-believers... descend upon
the VLA facility
here in the desert
of New Mexico.
Many have come to
protest, many to pray...
...but most have
come to participate
in what's become the
best show in town.
Well, I saw the thing
coming out of the sky
It had one long
horn and one big eye
I commenced to
shaking and said Oo-ee
Looks like a Purple
People Eater to me
Hail to Vega Hail to Vega
But they have failed!
It's the same people
who, again and again...
...have brought us to
the brink of destruction!
Who've polluted our air,
who've poisoned our water!
Now these scientists...
...have had their chance.
Are these the kind of people...
...that you want talking
to your God for you?
Efforts continue
around the clock.
But for now,
almost 2 full weeks
after the message's arrival...
...scientists here at the
VLA still have no answers...
...only more questions.
Jeremy Roth, CNN,
Socorro, New Mexico.
More on the quest for the
message's meaning, after this.
They have to line up somehow.
This one doesn't fit, either.
We've tried over a
million permutations.
Always, I can only get
three corners to fit.
I don't understand
their significance.
Somebody broke in...
Whoever you are, you
broke into the database...
What? Now?
I'll be there.
You should feel fortunate.
He hardly lands for anyone.
Dr. Arroway.
I presume?
Mr. Hadden.
I've had my eye on you
a long time, Doctor.
I consider you one of my most
valuable long-term investments.
And when it comes
to my investments...
...I always do my homework.
Eleanor Ann Arroway...
...born 25th August, 1964...
...De Pere, Wisconsin.
Mother, Joanna, died from
during childbirth.
Early testing indicated
high predisposition...
...towards science
and mathematics.
Father, Theodore...
...advised to
provide enrichment
activities in these areas...
...did so conscientiously
until his death...
...from myocardial
infarction, November 10, 1974.
You graduated from
high school in 1979...
...almost two full years early.
Awarded full
scholarship, M.I.T...
...graduated magna cum laude.
Doctoral work, Cal Tech...
...where you worked on the
lanthanide-doped ruby maser...
...dramatically increasing the
sensitivity of
radio telescopes.
Subsequently offered a teaching
position at Harvard
...which you turned down
to pursue SETI work... the Arecibo
Observatory in Puerto Rico.
Changes in N.S.F. policy...
...gave rise to certain
funding problems... which point... came to my attention.
You compromised
our security codes.
Once upon a time...
...I was a hell of an engineer.
Please, sit, Doctor.
I have guests so rarely, it's
important they feel
welcome in my home.
You live here?
I find it convenient
to keep my interests...
Anyway, I've had my fill
of life on the ground.
I guess I should...
I guess I should thank you for
having bailed me
out all that time.
I know a good bet
when I see one.
Earl Grey. No sugar,
no milk, I believe.
What am I doing here?
The powers that be have
been very busy lately...
...positioning themselves...
...for the game
of the millennium.
Maybe I can help
deal you back in.
I didn't realize
that I was out.
No. Maybe not out...
...but certainly
being handed your hat.
I've had a long time
to make enemies, Doctor.
There are many governments... interests...
...even religious
leaders that would
like to see me
depart this earth.
And I'll grant them
their wish soon enough.
But before I do, I wish to
make a small contribution.
A final gesture
of goodwill to the
people of this planet
who have given...
...from whom I
have taken so much.
You found the primer.
Clever girl!
Pages and pages of data.
Over 63,000 in all.
And on the perimeter of each...
Alignment symbols, registration
marks, but they don't line up.
They do...
...if you think like a Vegan.
An alien intelligence has
got be more advanced...
...and that means efficiency
functioning on
multiple levels...
...and in multiple...
Yes, of course!
Where's the primer?
You'll see.
Every three-dimensional page
contains a piece of the primer.
There it was all the time,
staring you in the face.
Buried within the message
itself is the key
to decoding it.
Within the layering
of the matrix,
we have these basic equations:
So with this very
elementary foundation,
they have given us a kind of...
scientific vocabulary.
We now have the symbols
for true and false...
This was the key...
...that allowed us to
decipher their language...
...for physics, geometry,
chemistry. Next frame, Ellie.
Yes, and when we apply this
to the rest of the message...
...we find this.
Those look like engineering
schematics, almost
like blueprints.
It is our belief that the
message contains
...for building something,
some kind of machine.
A machine? That
does what, Doctor?
We don't know. It
might be some type...
...of advanced
communication device,
or a teaching
machine of some kind.
Or it might be...
...some kind of a transport.
- Transport?
- There's no proof of that.
The fact is you don't know what
it does. It could be anything.
A Trojan Horse. We build it and
out pours the
entire Vegan army.
Why risk the personnel?
It could be a weapon.
Right. Some kind of
a Doomsday Machine.
Every time they detect
a new civilization...
...they fax construction
plans from space.
We poor saps build
this thing and
blow ourselves to kingdom come.
There's no reason to believe
their intentions are hostile.
Why is it the egghead position
that aliens are always benign?
We pose no threat to them.
It'd be like us going
out of our way... destroy
microbes on an anthill.
Interesting analogy.
How guilty would we feel if we
destroyed a few
microbes on an anthill?
I hope you're right.
I really do.
But my job is to protect
American lives
from any threat... I am obligated
to assume the worst.
Yes, and I am forced
to agree with you.
My problem is this:
The content of that message
is morally ambiguous at best.
Our internal
numbers show support
for this is incredibly soft.
If the President
stays this course...
...his numbers will be going
south like ducks in winter.
This is nuts!
Excuse me...
We know nothing of
these creatures' values.
We don't even know whether
they believe in God.
This doesn't make
any sense. If...
Excuse me, Dr. Arroway.
We won't be suppressing
any opinions here today.
No, of course
not. I understand.
What I meant to say... the message was written
in the language of science.
If it was religious in nature,
it should have
taken the form...
...of a burning bush
or a voice from the sky.
But a voice from the sky... exactly what you
found, Doctor Arroway.
I'm sorry I'm late, ma'am.
I agree with Mr. Rank that
there are unavoidable...
implications at stake.
But that doesn't justify
being an alarmist.
I hope that we can
find a common ground...
...break through obstacles
that may have kept us apart.
Listen, I need to make
one thing very clear.
Our organization
will not be placated
with flowery New
Age rhetoric...
Mr. President!
The President met
with top advisors...
...regarding the latest
efforts to decode the message.
While there has
been some progress,
the official line
remains cautious.
If you're asking
when we'll find out...
...what the purpose
of that Machine is...
...maybe tomorrow, maybe
next year, maybe never.
There he is. The
man with his finger
on the nation's
spiritual pulse.
It's so good to see you.
You too.
Your discovery, all of this.
It must be a real vindication.
I'm really happy for you.
Are you?
Mr. Joss, the
President's waiting.
The President's waiting.
See you at the reception?
Yeah, I wouldn't miss it.
Miss Constantine,
may I speak to you?
I have a big problem.
Do you know where I can
find a really great dress?
God created man in the form of
Himself, not in
the form of monkeys!
Get a job! Don't
waste my tax dollars!
You look beautiful, Ellie.
- So do you.
- You really do.
I read your book.
Here we go.
You want me to quote you?
...the thing people
are most hungry for...
...meaning... the one thing science
hasn't been able
to give them. "
It's like you're saying that... killed God.
What if science
simply revealed...
...that He never existed
in the first place?
I think we need
to get some air.
And a few more of these.
Thank you.
A little chilly out here.
Yeah, this is nice.
I got one for you.
Occam's Razor.
Ever heard of it?
Occam's Razor. Sounds
like some slasher movie.
No, Occam's Razor is a basic
principle which says:
Things being
equal, the simplest
explanation tends to be right.
Makes sense to me.
So what's more likely?
Thank you.
An all-powerful God
created the universe...
...then decided not to give
any proof of His existence?
...that He doesn't exist at
all and that we created Him... we wouldn't feel
so small and alone.
I don't know.
I couldn't imagine living in
a world where God didn't exist.
I wouldn't want to.
How do you know you're
not deluding yourself?
I mean, for me...
...I'd need proof.
Did you love your father?
Your dad, did you love him?
Yes. Very much.
Prove it.
The White House.
No excuses.
Whoever's responsible,
I want their head on a platter.
What happened?
You were right all along.
The team at the VLA has
worked around the clock...
...and the hard work
has finally paid off.
This key section
uncovered tonight,
and obtained
exclusively by CNN...
...shows an illustration
of a human figure...
...inside a geometric
structure of some kind.
This and other
contextual clues... lead scientists to
believe the message
is, in fact...
- President called
an emergency meeting.
- I imagined he would.
...designed to take a single
human occupant into space...
...presumably to the star Vega.
Tell me.
They will build it.
Who goes?
The President's
gone international
to spread the risk and cost...
Who goes?
Well, it's complicated.
They have formed a group
of international candidates.
Now, it's your discovery.
They understand that. You're
at the top of a
very short list.
But they're also forming
a selection committee.
It's made of
scholars, theologians,
scientists, philosophers...
You're on it.
I've been asked, yes.
I guess that means...
...that you're a selector,
I'm a selectee and we can't...
What you don't
understand, Ellie, is...
I understand.
I want you to know, whatever
happens, as far
as I'm concerned...
Good luck.
Whatever you do, make sure he
doesn't monopolize
the committee.
He is not on the
committee, Ellie.
He just resigned. He
wants to be the one to go.
The President is already
feeling the financial pinch.
Sources say the cost of
the project is spiralling... more than a third
of a trillion dollars...
...making this perhaps the
most expensive
single project... all of human history.
Months of debate
finally reached...
...a conclusion last week as 10
candidates were
selected by the I.M.C...
...representing a cross section
of political and
religious views.
Many are the same experts
who have consulted...
...on the Machine's
design and function.
They will actively
participate on-site,
during the
construction process.
The choice of these 10
candidates has
been controversial.
One-third of the
candidates are American.
And many international
observers ask why.
The U.S. is shouldering
a large part of the cost...
Isn't it true that contractors,
like Hadden Industries...
...are making contributions in
exchange for technology rights?
Different nations are being
compensated in different ways.
Japan made headlines
by opting to
forego candidate
representation... exchange for the systems
integration subcontract.
On what basis do you choose...
...a human being to
represent humanity?
Good question, Larry.
If nothing else... should be
somebody fluent in
the language the
message was given in.
Science, in this case.
Despite your
obvious enthusiasm...
...there's been a
lot of criticism...
...that this endeavor
is simply too dangerous.
Some of that criticism
from scientists.
One Nobel Prize winner
noted, his words:
"There is every indication...
...that this is beyond
our capabilities,
that this endeavor will fail...
...and that the
Machine's occupant
will pay for it
with his life. "
How do you respond?
This message is from a
civilization that
may be anywhere...
...from hundreds
to millions and
millions of years ahead of us.
I have to believe that an
intelligence that advanced...
...knows what they're doing.
Now all it requires
on our part is...
I was going to say,
a sense of adventure.
And in breaking news...
...astronaut John Russell...
...considered to be
the leading American
candidate for the
Machine seat...
...has dropped
out of the running.
Russell met with reporters
today at his Houston home.
I told my dad I
didn't want him... go.
Daddy, don't go.
Nothing would give
me more pride...
...than to...
...represent my country.
But what can I say to this?
Consortium officials had no
comment, but inside sources...
...have disclosed
that Dr. Arroway...
...appears to now be the
front-runner for
the Machine seat.
"Meet me at noon. Must talk. "
I didn't expect a message
like this from you.
Thanks for coming.
Is this kosher?
Fraternizing with the enemy?
Selectors and selectees
mingling around?
Can we talk about Einstein?
Yeah, sure.
Special relativity.
This Machine...
...if it works, you travel
to Vega at the speed of light.
- When you come back...
- If you come back.
If you come back...'ll be 4
years older, but over
passed here on Earth.
And everybody that
you care about...
...will be gone,
dead and buried.
If you came back, if
you survived at all...
Look, Palmer, nobody's
saying this isn't dangerous.
The rest of the
candidates and myself
understand the
risks we're taking.
It's a historic opportunity.
The world needs...
You, Ellie. You!
You personally.
By doing this, you're
willing to give your life.
You're willing to die for it.
From as long as I can remember,
I've been searching for...
...some reason why we're here.
What are we doing
here? Who are we?
If this is a chance to find out
even a part of that answer...
I don't know, I think
it's worth a human life.
Don't you?
You're an incredibly
brave woman, Ellie.
Or incredibly nuts.
I'm really confused.
So am I.
I think I speak for us all when
I thank you for your patience.
Myself, I have one final
question, Dr. Arroway.
If you should meet
these Vegans...
...and were permitted only
one question to ask of them...
...what would it be?
I suppose it would be:
"How did you do it?
How did you evolve? How did you
survive technological
destroying yourself?"
That more than any
other question is
one I personally
would like answered.
Not too bad, Mike.
I join Dr. Bergeron... expressing thanks for
your patience, Dr. Arroway.
We're all impressed
with your candor...
...and your stamina.
I think we're ready to move
on to your final statement.
I have one more question.
Yes, Mr. Joss.
Would you consider yourself...
...a spiritual person?
I don't understand the
point of the question.
I consider myself
a moral person.
We're sure that's the case, but
what Mr. Joss is
in fact asking...
Do you believe in God?
As a scientist...
...I rely on empirical
evidence, and in this matter...
...I don't believe that
there's data either way.
So your answer would in fact be
that you don't believe in God.
I don't understand the
relevance of the question.
...believes in a Supreme
Being in one form or another.
I believe that makes the
question more than relevant.
I believe...
I believe I've already
answered that question.
I'm proud of what we've
achieved as a species...
...and as a civilization.
I would hate to see
everything we stand for...
...all that we have fought for
for a thousand generations...
...all that God has
blessed us with...
...betrayed... the final
hour because we sent
a representative who
did not put our...
...most cherished
beliefs first.
Thank you.
Why'd you do it?
Our job was to select someone
to speak for everybody.
I couldn't in good conscience
vote for a person...
...who doesn't believe in God.
Someone who...
...honestly thinks
the other 95% of us...
...suffer from some
form of mass delusion.
I told the truth up there.
Drumlin told you exactly
what you wanted to hear.
With full humility
and utmost gratitude...
...I accept this great honor...
...and I promise I will do my
best to represent my nation... planet and my
God on this historic...
I thank you from the
bottom of my heart.
There's a carnival atmosphere
at Cape Canaveral... the International
Machine Consortium...
...hosts as much a media
event as a systems test.
David Drumlin is supervising
the on-site
portion of the test.
We spoke with
him earlier today.
We'll be able to
monitor the stresses
and effects using
the robot passenger...
...who we lovingly call Elmer.
The press wants to ask
you a few questions... soon as they're
done with Dr. Drumlin.
When we release the
pod, a substantial
amount of energy
will be generated.
We'll be able to monitor
the stresses and effects...
...using our robot
passenger, who we...
...lovingly call Elmer.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
They're ready for
you out at the site.
Yeah, just a minute.
- Congratulations.
- Glad you could come.
Didn't expect to see you here.
Well, I'm still...
...Crew Ops at
the Control Center.
I suppose the fact
that I discovered
the message means
I have PR value.
Of course.
I know you must think
this is all very unfair.
And maybe that's
an understatement.
What you don't
know is, I agree.
I wish the world was a place
where fair was
the bottom line...
...where the
idealism you showed
at the hearing was rewarded...
...not taken advantage of.
Unfortunately, we don't
live in that world.
...I always believed the
world is what we make of it.
Excuse me!
Good luck on the test.
Thank you.
Test director...
...everything looks
good. Ready to go.
I want things double
and triple checked here.
We only get one shot at
this. Let's get it right.
Ladies and gentlemen, we
are ready for start-up.
All controllers, I need a
go-no-go for test initiation.
- Mechanical?
- Go.
Pod systems?
Crew Ops, verify all pre-test
procedures are complete.
Yes, verified. I'm go.
Pad Leader, is
everything okay with you?
Roger. The pad is a go.
Test initiation, on my mark.
- Test start.
- Rings are unlocked.
Power levels show a good start.
We've begun the test of...'s first
system built by sharing
knowledge with a
neighbor in space.
All power sources on
core induction bus.
IPV power transfer.
Ring motion detect.
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie.
- Gerry, how are we looking?
- Looks good. We're underway.
Looks like a normal start-up.
Roger, David. It's
looking good here.
We are moments away from the
initiation of
the drop sequence.
All systems are go.
- Mechanical, you still happy?
- Roger.
It's very exciting...
...from up here.
We've got 4%.
We're confirming 4%.
Frequency 9.85.
Harmonics in the green.
G-level 1.1.
- 5%.
- Confirmed. We are at 5%.
David, how's it looking to you?
Okay. I'm going to take a
look and show you what we got.
Instrumentation looks good.
We have a good picture
from Dr. Drumlin's PRD.
Hope you guys are
seeing what I'm seeing.
All systems are go.
This is really something!
For purposes of this test...
...Dr. Drumlin will
be on top of the
Gantry crane that's
over the Machine.
We've got some
video animation... show just
how this Machine...
it is thought... will work.
The passenger pod will release.
It will come down
through the center of
the rings and into
the Machine's core.
The question everyone
here is asking is...
...what happens then?
Some believe the
rings function as some
sort of an accelerator
or something...
...sending its
energy into the pod...
...making it rocket
away at near light speed.
Others believe it might open up
a doorway to some
other dimension.
Who's right?
That's what today's
test is all about.
- 35%.
- Subsystems ready?
Confirm 40%.
Controllers stand by to
initiate drop sequence...
...on my mark.
All systems ready
for drop sequence.
We're in 45%.
Verify closure.
All controllers
stand by to initiate
IPV drop sequence. On my mark.
I'm feeling a very
strange vibration.
- Are you feeling
it down there?
- Gerry, can you confirm?
Everything looks good.
Crew Ops?
Nothing wrong.
We see nothing abnormal here.
No good. Hold sequence.
I'll take a direct reading.
What's he talking about?
Can anyone say grandstanding?
He sure knows he's on TV!
Back home that's what we
call an overcooked ham.
I'm reading 10 kilohertz!
What do you read on the first
and second order G-levels?
G-levels are right on!
We confirm Drumlin's
readings. All normal. We're go.
I think we're okay, but
we'll let him finish.
- Mechanical, you still okay?
- Roger. Right on the money.
Security problem!
Ellie, are you sure?
He shouldn't be
there. I know him.
Gerry, execute the
rapid shutdown sequence.
Security, move emergency
response team into position.
Get Drumlin on a secure loop.
You got him.
- Can you hear me?
- Yes, I hear.
We've got a
security breach here.
Behind you.
The tall guy.
The technician.
See him?
He shouldn't be there.
Something's in his hand!
Him! Take him! Security breach!
A bomb!
I want that emergency response
team up on the gantry. Now!
Stage One Alert!
Move all fire and rescue
personnel into position one.
All right, back
to your stations.
I need you to be
professional. Settle down!
Pad Leader, do you copy?
The scene earlier today,
when David Drumlin...
...advisor to two Presidents...
...and winner of the National
Academy of Sciences
lifetime award...
...was laid to rest at
Arlington National Cemetery.
In a related story...
Can I help you?
I've got some mail for you.
...the apparent
suicide note of the
terrorist now
believed responsible...
...for the explosion
in Florida this week.
What we do...
...we do for the
goodness of all mankind.
This won't be
understood, not now...
...but the
Apocalypse to come...
...will vindicate our faith.
Welcome home.
Comrade Arroway...
...we have been expecting
your call. One moment, please.
Mr. Hadden?
How kind of you to call.
Mr. Hadden, where are you?
The Russian government
was kind enough
to give me
accommodations on Mir.
You're living on
a space station?
It's quite simple, really.
The low oxygen, zero
gravity environment... the only thing keeping
the cancer from
eating me alive.
Actually, I quite
like it up here.
My little room has
one hell of a view.
I want to show you something.
Hokkaido Island.
The systems integration site.
Look closer.
First rule in
government spending:
Why build one when you can
have two at twice the price?
Only, this one
can be kept secret.
Controlled by Americans...
...built by Japanese
...who also happen to be...
...recently acquired...
...of Hadden Industries.
They still want an
American to go, Doctor.
Want to take a ride?
Augmenting our restraint and...
console subsystem... your personal
recording unit.
Normal, infrared and
ultraviolet lenses.
Digital microchip good for
thousands of
hours of recording.
Okay, look, I understand...
...the reason for recording
and documenting the mission.
But I just want to go
on record one more time.
The transmitted specs never
said anything
about any chair...
...or a restraining harness...
...or survival gear.
Why can't we just
trust the original...
Doctor, both the
IMC Board and the
SI team reviewed
the material...
...and concluded that the
design impact is negligible.
Bottom line is...
...we're not putting anyone
aboard this Machine...
...unless there is some
sort of minimal protection.
End of story.
We've given these
to the astronauts
since the start of
the space program.
It's never been made
public, of course.
It's fast and it's painless.
I'm going to travel 26 light
years to commit suicide?
Something may go wrong.
There may be an unforeseen
mechanical failure.
You could be marooned,
unable to return.
There are 1,000 reasons we
can think of to have this...
...but mostly it's for the
reasons we can't think of.
Come in.
Dr. Arroway, time to get ready.
Thank you.
I know there's not much time.
As soon as I found out about
it, I called the President.
I came with Kitz.
I had to see you one more time.
Oh, God, I'm sorry.
No, I'm glad you came.
There's something
I got to say to you.
The reason I
didn't vote for you
was a good one, but
not the real one.
I didn't vote for you to go...
...because I don't
want to lose you.
Now you find your
way home, all right?
...was stunned by
the announcement
of the existence of
another Machine...
...and its passenger,
Eleanor Ann Arroway.
...the question that's
on everyone's mind:
Will history repeat itself?
With a piece of
engineering this complex...
...with so many unknowns,
could the unthinkable occur?
The security in Hokkaido
has been incredibly tight.
No reporters whatsoever have
been allowed near the site.
Restraint secure. Life
support functions normal.
This is Control. Do you copy?
Reading you
Give me Ellie's PRD.
Video unit recording
and transmitting.
- Are you reading me?
- That's affirmative.
Video looks good.
Copy, Control.
Ellie, we're going to
proceed to button you up.
I'm ready.
Confirming walkway retraction.
- Communications?
- Go.
- Life support?
- Go.
We are go for closure.
I'm go here.
Mechanical, initiate
IPV closure sequence.
Let me get you a chair.
- It's nice to smell
you again, Mr. Kitz.
- You too.
Wouldn't peg him as a Polo man.
I got a visual on the door.
The door is looking good.
Door alignment looks good.
We're green across the board.
Copy that, Control.
IPV is secure.
We are at 30%.
Copy that, 30%.
How you doing in there?
Is that you?
That's a big affirmative.
Who let you in there?
A higher power intervened.
I'm glad you came.
Copy that, 35%.
- Mechanical?
- We're good.
I'm picking up a
moderate vibration.
Dynamics, can you
confirm vibration?
It looks good here.
She's feeling the same
thing they felt at the Cape.
Vibration's normal.
We are at 50%. All
systems nominal.
Copy that, 50%.
Vibration's a
little stronger now.
We're picking up some
low frequency noise.
Mechanical, confirm?
It looks fine to me.
Roger. Jerry,
what do you think?
I'm still go.
People, we are still go.
Something's happening.
You see that light?
I'm seeing...
I can't tell if it's daylight.
There it is again. It's
coming from the bottom.
Let me show you. See that?
Negative. You're breaking up.
- Can we boost signal?
- It's at maximum.
The material is changing.
It's bordering on translucence.
The system's intact.
It has to be...
...some kind of
electromagnetic field.
Do you read this?
We see only interference.
It's becoming translucent.
I can't describe it. I
can't even explain it!
We have intermittent
comm, but we are go!
Initiate secondary
drive systems.
Initiating auxiliary
booster sequence.
We're go for ignition.
We have auxiliary ignition.
Life support, how is she?
Heart and respiration are
high but within limits.
Ellie, do you copy?
If you hear...
...I am okay to go.
All vibration and
G-levels are in the green.
Control, if you're
reading me...
...I am okay to go! Okay to go!
All tips are on the profile.
structural instability.
- Is she holding?
- We're within limits, barely.
I'm okay to go!
I'm okay to go!
My God!
Okay to go!
I'm okay!
Tremendous EMI
levels around Machine!
Field measurements
are off-scale.
We're approaching
our abort limits.
Okay to go.
I hear her!
I hear her. Barely,
but she's there.
Okay to go.
Says she's okay to go.
Steve, we're real close.
- Your core reading?
- Internal environment
looks normal.
Inside the core, the
weather's beautiful.
I'm okay to go.
I'm okay to go.
Initiate drop sequence.
On my mark.
I'm okay to go.
Oh, God!
Ellie to Control.
Ellie to Control,
do you read me!
Ellie to Control,
do you read me!
I'll try... keep recording!
I'm going through...
...some kind of a tunnel!
There's a light source ahead!
Residual radiation?
It's a star.
I must have...
...gone through a wormhole.
It's Vega!
I'm in another wormhole now!
I had no idea!
A series of them!
They're alive.
It's like...
...some kind of
a transit system.
A subway!
Oh, God!
I have to keep talking.
It's a triple..., a quadruple system.
They're alive!
Another wormhole!
This one's much more violent!
...celestial event...
No words!
No words... describe it!
They should have sent...
...a poet.
It's so beautiful!
So beautiful.
I had no idea.
Hi, Sparks.
I missed you.
Aren't you...?
I'm sorry I couldn't be
there for you, sweetheart.
You're not real.
None of this is real!
That's my scientist.
When I was unconscious, you
downloaded my
thoughts, my memories.
We thought it might make
things easier for you.
Why did you contact us?
You contacted us.
We were just listening.
There are others?
Many others.
They all... here through that
transit system you built?
We didn't build it.
We don't know who did.
They were gone long
before we ever got here.
Maybe someday
they'll come back.
All the civilizations
you find come here?
Not all.
- Is this some test?
- No, no test.
You have your mother's hands.
You're an
interesting species... interesting mix.
You're capable of such
beautiful dreams...
...and such
horrible nightmares.
You feel so lost... cut off, so alone.
Only you're not.
In all our searching...
...all we've found that makes
the emptiness bearable... each other.
What happens now?
You go home.
...I have so many questions.
Do we get to come back?
This was just a first step.
In time, you'll take another.
But other people need
to see what I've seen...
This is the way it's been
done for billions of years.
Small moves, Ellie.
Small moves.
We've got video on Ellie!
She's through!
She is in the net.
She's alive. Get the
President on the phone!
What's going on? How is she?
Ellie, this is
Control. You copy?
- What's going on?
- I don't know.
- She's alive.
- Put her on P.A.
Ellie, hold on tight.
We're still trying to determine
the nature of
the malfunction...
...but the important
thing is you're okay.
It's all right.
The important thing
is you're safe.
What malfunction?
What happened?
What day is this?
I'm sorry.
Did you say what day?
How long was I gone?
The IPV dropped straight
through the Machine.
You didn't go anywhere.
But I did.
I did go.
That's what I've
tried to tell everyone.
But the headset didn't
record a single image?
Just this.
Thank you.
Let me show you what we saw.
show exactly the same event.
The IPV dropped straight
through. Everyone
saw exactly...
...the same thing.
Nothing happened.
How do you explain
this, Doctor?
I can't.
I'd encourage you...
...not to inflame
this situation...
...beyond the facts.
Let us deal with
this on the facts.
We are monitoring what
has actually happened.
We are taking what we
believe are factually...
...appropriate steps.
Amid a flurry of accusations
and counter-accusations... the nations representing
the Machine Consortium...
...the President has
ordered a special inquiry.
But the appointment to the
committee of Michael Kitz...
...who has resigned as
National Security Advisor...
...has raised eyebrows
on Capitol Hill.
I have made no
decision to run for
Congress, announced
no candidacy.
I resigned as National
Security Advisor... order to devote all
of my energy to this inquiry.
The people of the world have a
right to know what
really happened.
Yet every scientific
instrument confirms...
...the IPV was out of contact
for only a fraction
of a second.
Isn't that correct, Doctor?
A fraction of a
second Earth time, yes.
Earth time?
Senator, I believe that the
Machine opened up a wormhole...
...a tunnel through
space-time, also
known as an
Einstein-Rossen Bridge.
Due to the effect of
general relativity,
what I experienced
as 18 hours...
instantaneously on Earth.
Isn't it true
these wormholes are
merely theoretical predictions?
There is no evidence
they actually exist?
There is no direct
evidence, no.
Tell me...
...why would these aliens
go to all this trouble?
Bring you thousands
of light years,
then send you
home without proof?
They said it's how it's been
done for billions of years.
You have no proof because they
didn't want you to have any.
A phenomenon known
in psychiatric
circles as a
self-reinforcing delusion.
You think I was delusional?
I do think you
may have suffered
some kind of an
episode. Yes, I do.
I'd like to propose an
alternate hypothesis...
...and I'd like
you to bring your
scientific expertise
to bear on it.
To fake a signal from Vega...
...what would you need?
You'd need a
satellite to transmit
it, but it would
be impossible to...
You'd need a satellite and
launch capabilities
to orbit it.
And the message itself. To put
something like this together... complex, drawing
on many disciplines...
Would be impossible.
Is there anyone who might
have been up to the challenge?
Someone with extraordinary
technical expertise...
financial resources...
...someone perverse
enough, eccentric
enough to come
up with the idea?
S. R. Hadden.
You're implying
that this was...
...some kind of a hoax?
That he engineered this?
S. R. Hadden...
...a legendary power broker in
perhaps his final
bid for immortality.
Maybe he wanted to
exploit new technologies...
...having world
governments pick up the tab.
Perhaps this was his
final altruistic gesture... unite the world in some
common goal. Maybe
all of the above.
S. R. Hadden, a brilliant...
...and complicated man.
Doctor, are you familiar
with the scientific precept...
...known as Occam's Razor?
It means the
simplest explanation
generally tends to
be the right one.
You tell me. What
is more likely here?
A message from aliens results
in a magical machine...
...that whisks you to the
center of the galaxy... windsurf with Dad
and a split second later...
...returns you home without
a single shred of proof?
Or that your experience
is the result of being...
...the unwitting star in the
farewell performance of one...
...S.R. Hadden?
A man with the means and motive
to play you and all of us... pawns in
the most elaborate,
most expensive
hoax of all time?
You come to us with no
evidence, no records... artifacts...
...only a story that, to put
it mildly, strains credibility.
Over half a trillion
dollars were spent.
Dozens of lives were lost.
Are you going to
sit there and tell
us we should just
take this all...
...on faith?
Please answer the
question, Doctor.
Is it possible that
it didn't happen?
As a scientist I must concede
that. I must volunteer that.
Let me get this straight.
You admit you have no physical
evidence to back up your story?
You admit you may have
hallucinated this whole thing?
You admit if you were
in our position... would be as incredulous
and skeptical as we?
Then why don't
you simply withdraw
your testimony and concede...
...that this
journey to the center
of the galaxy never took place?
Because I can't.
I had an experience.
I can't prove it. I
can't even explain it.
But everything I know as a
human being, everything I am...
...tells me it was real.
I was given
something wonderful,
something that
changed me forever.
A vision...
...of the universe...
...that tells us undeniably... tiny and
...and how rare and
precious we all are.
A vision that tells us that
we belong to something...
...that is greater
than ourselves,
that none of us are alone.
I wish I could share that.
I wish...
...that everyone,
if even for one...
...could feel...
...that awe and
humility and hope.
That continues to be my wish.
Dr. Arroway, can I
get a picture, please.
Reverend Joss!
What do you believe?!
As a person of
faith, I'm bound by a
different covenant
than Dr. Arroway.
But our goal is
one and the same.
The pursuit of truth.
I, for one, believe her.
So what happens now?
We give her a medal?
I'd say at least
a healthy grant.
You read the
confidential report
from the investigating
I flipped through it.
I was very interested in the
section on
Arroway's video unit.
The one that
recorded the static.
The fact that it recorded
static isn't what interests me.
What interests me... that it recorded
approximately 18 hours of it.
That is interesting, isn't it?
And you can see
over there, we're
building 45 brand new dishes.
That means when you
put them together
with all the
radio telescopes...
...all over the world...
...we'll hear
farther into space
than anyone has
ever heard before.
Are there other people
out there in the universe?
That's a good question.
What do you think?
I don't know.
That's a good answer.
Skeptic, huh?
The important thing
is that you all
keep searching for
your own answers.
One thing about the
universe, though.
The universe... a pretty big place.
It's bigger than anything...
...anyone has ever
dreamed of before.
So if it's just us... seems like an
awful waste of space.