A come Andromeda (1972) s01e02 Episode Script

Episode 2

In England, at Bouldershaw Fell, the most powerful radiotelescope in the world is about to be inaugurated, ready to explore the sky beyond the limits of what's currently known.
It has been built by two young scientists, John Fleming and Dennis Bridger, friends of many years standing, and Professor Reinhart has directed the team.
The day before the inauguration, a strange signal is received by the raiotelescope, that is quite unlike the usual stellar noises.
Fleming realises that the unusual signal, which comes from a point in the constellation of Andromeda, millions of light years from Earth, could be a message.
The inauguration is postponed, and Fleming works hard to decipher the signal.
Also at Bouldershaw is Judy Adamson, who officially works as press agent, but in reality is an agent for English counterespionage.
In collaboration with the technician Harries, another undercover agent, Judy monitors the movements of Dennis Bridger, who is suspected of contacts with an international espionage organisation, Intel.
Fleming arrives at the conclusion that the captured signal is a message which can be translated into arithmetical language, a series of numbers, zero and one, variously combined.
The news of a message from an unknown planet is leaked, spreading surprise and panic in public opinion.
In government circles there is consternation, and they try to play down the news.
Fleming, having deciphered the message, discovers with great surprise that it seems to state the plan for construction of an extremely powerful electronic brain, and although its aim is unknown, he comes to the decision to implement the big supercomputer.
Generale Watling, head of the Security Services, presses Judy about the continual leaking of secret documents, and Bridger's culpability is ever more evident.
Harries is discovered by Intel's men while he is following Bridger, who has gone to a betting shop to communicate with Intel by teleprinter.
Barnett, the head of Intel, meets with Bridger.
By now, Harries has proof of Bridger's treachery.
As he travels to London to give it to General Watling, he is abducted.
Fleming and Bridger discover the corpse.
A FOR ANDROMEDA THIS STORY UNFOLDS IN ENGLAND, NEXT YEAR PART TWO What happened to Harries was the direct consequence of his job.
What do you want to say, that it's our fault? No, no.
He belonged to the secret service.
But how is it possible? Probably Harries uncovered something while he was working to protect us.
We must be very important for someone to come from London to protect us.
But does London know who killed Harries? Maybe.
That's something at least.
But they can't move for diplomatic reasons.
That's beautiful! Maybe it's the world that isn't beautiful, the way it is.
Too many people are working on uncovering what happens here at the observatory.
Also for this reason I want to put you on guard.
You're not at university any more.
You're in the jungle, I can guarantee you.
They buy and they sell secrets, they steal ideas, and sometimes They kill.
Do they at least pay danger money? LONDON, MINISTRY OF SCIENCE Do you know Professor Ernest Reinhart? Only by reputation, naturally.
Colonel Geers, director of the Thorness Centre.
You'll all be his guests.
It seems the point has come when your work must continue behind barbed wire? We can't give you unlimited facilities, but the main computer will be at your disposal for some hours each day.
You'll have quarters inside the base, you'll be under our surveillance, but you'll have passes.
Major Quadring is charged with your protection.
Ah yes, I fear you'll find your stay at Thorness rather boring.
It's an isolated place.
There's nothing except the Atlantic.
Here it is, to the north of Gairloch, on the headland.
There's Thorness! That's what we've done.
You're a real wildcard John.
They've managed to put you in a cage and you're happy.
There are damned efficient instruments in there.
No, I believe I did it to save the autonomy of my brain.
Why don't you say conscience? And why not? Look, Dennis, science is never dangerous in itself.
It becomes that way when the scientist oversteps his liberty.
In changing something.
You talk like you're at university.
If only, it was lovely to dream.
But wake up, John, reality is different.
And it scares you, doesn't it? Let's go.
Spit it out, Dennis.
Spit what out? Fine, I thought it would help you to let off steam.
Remember the agreement? We'll divide the whisky and the girl.
If she agrees! But the regrets everyone keeps them to themselves.
Oh, fine, we'll get by.
Beautiful, isn't it? Like this, without people.
There, instead there are too many people.
That is the Thorness missile base.
Do you know what the irony is? It's that in a place like that, I could feel happy.
There are the only creatures I understand.
Seagulls, guillemots, petrels.
Let's hope they stink less than pigeons.
I'd like to know why anyone would travel with a henhouse.
Are you an amateur ornithologist or a poultry seller? And now headfirst into the lair of the Minotaur.
And the missiles, where do they keep them? In a cavern, under the ground, probably in hell.
Up to now we've respected the schedule.
But yes.
Maybe it's the only thing that we have respected.
You begin to get an idea of the general design.
What's your impression? It's too big.
It scares me a bit.
For the last while, the word I hear repeated most often is "fear".
You're tired, Dr Fleming Desperately tired.
We're like Jonah in the belly of the whale.
At times I have the impression, as if But yes.
The sensation that I'll never get out of here again.
Dr Fleming! Very spectacular but to what end? So? They shot at me.
A moment ago, on the moor.
Maybe some recruit doing exercises, they're disgusting shots.
They took me for a target.
That's what I say too, why should they shoot at you? Sit down, sit down.
There could be reasons.
What have you been doing? I was on the cliff, looking at the sea.
All here.
And what was there on the sea? A motor boat, Dennis Bridger's boat.
Why were you interested in Dennis's boat? I wasn't interested at all.
Can I stay here, until it's all over? Do what you like.
Drink whisky.
But why is Dennis Bridger always going to the island in front of Thorness? To watch seabirds, you know very well.
Always on the island? It's there that you can see them.
There's loads of them - gannets, guillemots, seagulls, petrels.
What was that? The wind.
I don't like this place.
Me neither.
Drink a bit more.
No, thanks.
I burst in here and interrupted your work.
Don't worry.
In this hermitage I need a bit of understanding.
Especially from a sweet girl like you.
I'm not made sweet, me.
I don't like the way I am.
And I don't like what I do.
That makes two of us then.
I don't like what I do any more either.
Tell me.
Don't trust me too much.
Are you mixed up in some dodgy business? Not as far as you're concerned.
I'm glad to hear it.
You've got a good face.
What are you thinking of doing about this shooting, reporting it? Better not.
STILL AT THORNESS, TWO HOURS LATER Sometimes at night, I lie down here, I listen to the wind, and think about that guy over there.
What guy? What we're building.
He doesn't have an organic body that can breathe, or have sensations like ours.
But a brain that's much much better.
You talk about it like it's a person.
What he is in reality we don't know.
Whoever sent that damned message certainly didn't do it just for fun.
They want us to start something.
You're simply constructing a computer.
With an intellectual power much superior to ours.
Man is a very inefficient thinking machine.
Not you.
All of us.
All computers based on the biological system are inefficient.
My biological system works very well.
You're a fascinating girl.
I have to go.
It's dark, do you want me to come with you? Or you could stay here.
No John.
Better not to.
So it's you they shot at.
How do you know that? NT28 carbine, a weapon that the Thorness troops are not equipped with.
Fleming, right? Why didn't you say anything? You haven't returned to the headland? No, never.
On the contrary, I've been told when and how often.
The particularly strange thing is that your walks coincide with engineer Bridger's outings to the island.
We're all adults, and we live in a free country.
Or don't we? Those seem like Fleming's words.
And yes, miss, we live in a free country, spot on.
But while I'm responsible for Thorness base, you'll respect discipline.
Good day.
Quadring, take note.
First point, rotate guards along the perimeter, and at the entry gates.
Second point, use of guard dogs.
Very well, colonel.
Third point, organise a patrol on the moorland and another along the shoreline.
It will be done.
From the reports I see that the barbed wire has been breached in more places.
In fact it's those damned goats.
The goats, is it? Yes, the goats.
Why did you tell Geers about the shooting? Why did you tell Geers about the shooting? Does this seem like the right moment to you? Anyway, I haven't told him anything.
Right, and how could he have known? I really don't care.
There it is, there it is! Finally! It looks like an enormous hatbox.
Except that instead of a hat, there's a brain.
Why does it smoke? It's not smoke.
It's a helium system to maintain it at very low temperature.
But how much? When it's working, about absolute zero.
Actually two hundred and seventy two degrees below zero.
Consider that at thirty degrees below zero, my brain refuses to collaborate.
Naturally, to you that's a secret, not to be divulged.
And to you? To him, no.
John, do we start the links? Certainly Dennis, I'll catch up with you in a moment.
Come on, Harvey, and you too, let's go.
Somebody bring me the schematics.
This is the centre of the whole installation.
What you see is the heart, the brain.
The memory, the soul, the conscience, call it whatever you believe.
Each component of the nucleus is comprised of alternating disks of conducting and non-conducting materials.
Of a thickness of a tenth of a micron, that is, a ten-thousandth of a millimetre.
A technological prodigy.
More or less equivalent to the number of cells in a brain.
Billions of billions.
Is it more powerful than a human brain? It's much faster, and more efficient.
And these are But I don't really know what they are.
Nor what they do.
Maybe just an error in the interpretation of the message.
Certainly, Minister Sir, the links will be completed by the evening of the twenty-second.
In less than six months we've gained thirteen days on the expected schedule.
Thank you! It's very kind of you, colonel, to welcome us and host our supercomputer.
To host it on the superior orders of pure research, we rude mechanicals Do you know General Vandenberg? Good day, Miss Adamson.
I haven't received reports for at least two weeks.
You're right, General, but Somehow, news escapes from the base.
If they've tried to shoot you, there must be a reason.
Perhaps, inadvertently, you're on the right track.
It's strange.
Bridger doesn't leave the base, and doesn't have contacts with anyone.
But only the trips in the boat to the island.
There's no time to lose.
Shall I show the way? Do.
This way, excellencies.
The Prime Minister is arriving.
Minister, sir, Doctor Liz Murray, Engineer Bridger, Doctor Fleming, the designer.
Really the designers are in the constellation of Andromeda.
Minister, sir, I'll show you the way.
As you see, in this part we have That's the thing.
Minister, sir, nothing more perfect! You've really done a beautiful job.
Now I understand why you always asked for so much money.
And and now? There.
One minute.
Professor Reinhart! Here, these are the final instructions.
Thank you.
Minister, sir, all the data of the program that came from Andromeda have been memorized.
Only these last codes remain.
Now we input these final codes using the input terminal, and start the whole machine working.
A solemn moment.
Absolutely! If you'd like to gather round the output printer, you'll see the beginning of its operation.
The moment of waiting.
Minister, sir, I believe the wait will have to be prolonged.
I understand.
I believe we can consider the ceremony to be concluded.
OK guys, go and smoke a cigarette.
In the United States, these stupid incidents don't happen! I fear they'll be reconsidering your knighthood.
Let's not be hasty.
I'm very honoured but also very patient.
Professor Reinhart! Professor Reinhart to the telephone! Urgent call from Thorness base! Quadring! Let's go.
Do you have an idea what this might mean? Naturally I've translated into decimal arithmetic, and here I've used other symbols.
Don't you recognise it? I can't say yes, but I feel a sense, a hint.
There it could be Aren't they the energy levels of the hydrogen atom? Yes, could be.
According to these symbols you've used.
Are you saying it's suddenly started to print this? Let me see how you got to that interpretation.
It seems they could really be the levels of the hydrogen atom.
What an extraordinary thing! Everything's a bit out of the ordinary.
It seems as if someone up there has been working very hard to tell us what we already know about hydrogen atoms.
If that's all there is here, it's a bit of a delusion.
For me it isn't a delusion.
It's a point of departure.
The problem is something else - do we want to go forward? How can we go forward? Hydrogen is the element that's common to the whole universe, isn't it? In consequence, this is a thought that, even if it's very simple, is universal.
If we don't recognise anything, the machine stays closed.
Because it doesn't have anything that would let it go forward.
But if we recognise it, then we can go on to the next question.
What next question? We don't know.
Liz, input it! Really? Really.
And I would carry on with terms in decimal arithmetic, and conventional symbols.
If it wants an answer let's give it a proper one.
It's right.
Questions and answers.
Do you believe it? Let's start from the idea that that this thing was designed especially to do this job.
On behalf of them up there.
John, if we're on the right road, are we really in possession of something terrible? John has a particular instinct for those things.
Above all, if they're terrible.
I've finished.
What's happening, Dennis? I don't know.
Maybe you've made a mistake? No.
We're not wrong yet.
There, do you see? They're more codes.
I bet this is the second move in a very long game of questions and answers.
All right, Quadring.
You too suspect that Bridger takes documents out with him when he goes to the island with his boat.
I'm sure of it.
There's a lack of evidence.
We will search him on the beach.
And if we found nothing on him, I'd be very surprised.
You would look like an idiot.
Without considering that if he did have something on him, we'd put him on his guard.
We can conclude: we've input the formula for hydrogen, and it gave us helium.
We input the formula for helium again and it gave us this, here.
In order, the first three elements of the periodic table.
What do you intend to do? The only logical thing.
Which would be? Jump the preliminary phases.
Let's input the data for all the elements into the computer.
All? All.
In order.
Both in the binary form and in our own symbols.
Then we wait and see.
But why do you believe that inputting? Because the machine keeps asking questions in order to know what point we're at in our cognition.
Maybe it's asking which form of life we belong to? Certainly.
It could be an hypothesis.
So, Professor? Very well.
Go ahead.
Liz, there's work for you.
Dennis, let's prepare the materials for Liz.
It'll take all night.
We'll take shifts.
We'll work together.
The night is long, the night of Andromeda.
It makes me happy, to see you return to your old enthusiasm.
It's not enthusiasm, Professor, it's thirst.
Thirst for knowledge.
Like Empedocles, I want to enter into the volcano.
OK, let's get going.
Finished? It's working flat out.
It's making us wait.
We've stuffed it like an egg, let's see if a chick hatches.
All here.
I don't understand this stuff.
Whereas they seem strangely familiar to me.
They could be indeed they're the bases typical of nucleotides.
Adenine, guanine, cytosine, uracil.
What? Yes! The incredible thing is that it's formulated them uniquely because we've input the table of elements.
And in conclusion? This is organic chemistry.
And the machine would have formulated spontaneously.
This is the result! You see it too.
Can you manage to understand what it's about? Yes, chromosomes, the origin of life.
RNA? One of the nucleic acids.
Ribonucleic acid.
And in other words? Genetic information.
Biology, in sum.
We're entering the field of the biologists.
Biology! You wouldn't like to sign this, sir? What is it? A pass for a person who Professor Reinhart is bringing from Edinburgh.
Dr Madeleine Dawnay.
Who's she? A biologist.
Very famous, it appears.
These scientists come and go as if this were a fairground! That's the thing! Next they'll want a sociologist, a radiologist, a paleontologist, an astrologer! There.
And this is the machine that has given us the formula you've examined.
It has a formidable rectilinearity.
Engineer Dennis Bridger, Dr Madeleine Dawnay.
Therefore this masterpiece is also your work.
It was him who designed the project.
Also, the message was interpreted by Fleming.
The masterpiece of electronics.
But what can I say, a simple biologist like me? And this is our precious collaborator, Dr Liz Murray.
Glad to meet you.
Good day, Liz.
Am I late? No, no.
I've just been getting Dr Dawnay up to date with everything.
Lucky you.
I'd like to be too.
Can we get started? I would say so.
Look, this is the latest material.
How have you obtained it? In a rather frightful way.
He gave it to us.
And now we're not able to respond.
Would you be able to help, Madeleine? Would you like to work with me, Dr Fleming? No.
The problem is outside my field.
I've finished.
That's the thing! In the case the computer is no longer of use That's the thing! You use it, colonel, like a nice, old, handy computer, without all this buffoonery, for healthy military uses.
John, what Madeleine said was an invitation.
No, I've got to where I wanted, to interpret the message.
Now we need to forge ahead.
What are you afraid of, John? Of his aims.
What do you want to say? Computer neurosis? In nature moral laws don't exist, but just one universal law, that of survival.
On the basis of which, you kill, and you devour.
Man himself has organised his society to help survival, that of the strong, the powerful and the rich.
Even if we construct an electronic brain that's much more perfect and complex than that of Man, it certainly couldn't have a soul - we can't translate that into mathematical terms - but a will to survival, yes, certainly.
And if this brain were to have self-awareness and self-decision absolutely independently of humans, and it wanted to establish a law, what would it be Well, I believe it would be to condemn all idiots to death.
Why the acetylcholine? Acetylcholine allows the brain cells to transmit nervous impulses.
And it's offered you this alternative from an entire series of others? Yes, initially.
And we fed that back in.
Therefore the machine now knows how it functions in our brain? It knows much more, day by day.
But why the hell does it want to know that? You talk like Fleming! It's not that it wants to know something.
It's limited to calculating logical responses on the basis of information that we give it and that it already possesses.
It's a calculating machine.
Let's try to be scientific, and not mystical, in this matter.
What does Fleming think about it? Go and fish.
Young Fleming is emotionally disturbed, if you want to know my impression.
But I'm making a copy of every document printed by the computer.
I'm stuck on a street without exit.
We've so much material we're drowning in it.
Yes but there's an order in this material.
There's a general design in what the computer does.
I, too, have half an idea of what it means.
I think it's given us the basic plan for a living cell.
Dr Dawnay believes she is in possession of the chromosomal structure of a cell.
A cell? Yes.
The order in which molecules of nucleic acid are laid out.
Therefore, you could really construct one? If we can construct a DNA synthesiser, then it's possible to construct a living cell.
What biologists have been trying to do for years, or am I wrong? Exactly.
Dawnay would like to try.
Fleming's against it.
Dr Fleming, why are you contrary? Because we're letting ourselves be dragged along by an outside will.
Reinhart, what do you think? I don't know.
I really don't know.
It's come from an alien intelligence, but But we can always cut off the power, eh? Listen, we've constructed the machine to test the contents of the message.
Good, we've tested it.
We've put it in action to discover its objectives.
Now we know those too.
But do we really know that? I believe I know.
It's a kind of intellectual fifth column that comes from another world.
From another form of existence.
It has in itself the germ of life.
But also that of destruction.
But do you have any evidence for that? Nothing tangible.
But then, how can we? OK, OK, go right ahead.
Go ahead and see what happens.
But then don't come crying to me.
Yes, a method that's not suspect precisely because it's obsolete.
It had it tied to its foot.
The message says: "Absolute emergency.
The usual way.
With everything that US" Evidently that stands for undersecretary, namely Osborne.
"With everything that US will bring.
And the copies of Project Alpha," nothing else.
Yes, yes, it flew from the island to the base.
The only one who keeps pigeons at Thorness is Dennis Bridger.
Very well, General.
Where was it found? On the headland.
Who killed it? We don't know.
That's the thing! Observe the foot.
Do you see these signs? Yes, certainly colonel.
This is evidence against Bridger.
He's a sp Keep calm! Let's avoid hasty conclusions.
You say he's a spy? And this is the famous island.
John, is it true that Dr Dawnay is trying to recreate life? It's the function of a woman, isn't it? And the function of a man, what's that? All here? For now.
Next I'll take the sun, then I'll go for a swim.
What are you looking for? I don't see nests on this island, and no little animals.
I see one there.
Where? Here.
It's you that's the little animal.
Oh, it's cold, I'm leaving.
No, wait a moment.
I want to go swimming, not potholing.
You're scared, right? No! No! Don't throw me! John! What is it? Look here.
It seems like Dennis's one.
It was handy for picnics.
But yes, look at this sign, it's really his.
And why has he left it here? I don't know, we should ask him.
Bloody hell! What is there? Our materials.
The copies.
I should take them back.
What do you want to do? Put it back in place.
But that's absurd.
Please John, I know what I'm doing.
You know what you're doing? Yes.
What an idiot! Now I finally understand.
The mystery girl, the press person! John! You belong to that gang of spies too! No! - That's what you are, a spy! - No, John, let me explain! - A spy! - Please, John! Listen to me! He's taking out the printouts.
Who? What printouts? The computer printouts.
He's hiding them in a cave on the island.
And then he delivers them to the people he works for.
But who are you talking about? Bridger.
Dennis Bridger.
As we thought! John.
Do you have a minute? For you, yes.
But for the computer work, no.
Officially I'm not here.
Listen to me, John.
We're in a jam.
Yes? Very good.
Madeleine has had a big result.
The synthesis of DNA, I know.
You'll be proud of her, I imagine.
Cells have really formed.
They're single cells, but they only survive for a few seconds.
Then you're lucky.
If they lived any longer they'd be under the computer's control.
In what way? In what way, I don't know.
But they're made on his instructions.
So, are you coming? Or are you scared they'll bite you? There's a smell of biologist.
No novelty in the broth? Really, I'm afraid this laboratory won't ever have a popular canteen.
Nothing new in the broth.
She seems like a witch with her assistants.
Hi, deputy witch.
How are you? We've prepared a new batch.
Would you like to stay and see it? Certainly.
A slide, please.
We do the synthesis round about freezing point, and the cells come to life at normal temperature.
What form of life do they have? They're monocellular, nucleus and cytoplasm.
What did you expect, tentacles and heads? They move about for a few minutes and then they die.
This is the point.
Probably we haven't yet found suitable conditions for them to live.
Would you like to look, Fleming? Impressive.
Why don't you destroy the lot? There he is.
Is the patrol ready? Of course.
Then go, but be careful, I'd recommend.
Don't worry, sir.
Hello! Operator! From the island, as usual.
We'll wait here all right, if necessary.
There's another.
There's one that's forming there, don't you see? Yes.
I'm holding my breath.
This one's finished too! There's another one.
This is going better.
It's holding on.
It's going better than usual.
Look, it's beginning to divide.
Yes, it's dividing in two.
Yes, it's reproducing! I don't know if I believe it.
We've created life! We've really constructed a reproductive cell.
Look it's reproducing again.
What do you think, Fleming? Yes.
Someone in Andromeda has created life.
What will you do to stop it? Who's thinking of that? It's developing into a very coherent structure.
Kill it.
What? Kill it while you've still got time.
But it's perfectly well under control! You can make an amoeba reproduce enough to cover the whole Earth, if you manage to feed it enough.
This isn't an amoeba.
It looks a lot like one.
Kill it, I say! Don't shout, please.
I'll shout as I see fit! You're being thoughtless! No! Stop! Arrogant idiot! John! John, for the love of God! Mindless madman! It's you who are mad! Mad and blind! Get out! Out of my laboratory! John! John! Stupid imbecile! Check, please.
You too, you too, you too! But what do you want to check? There, your stupid document! Thank you.
It's in there that you should check, not here! Dr Fleming! What are you doing here? Who are you expecting? Dennis, right? Dr Fleming, this is not your place.
I advise you to go away, if you don't want to assist in his arrest.
Arrest? But you're all crazy.
Crazy! At least keep out of sight and shut up! Leave me in peace! Look out! It's him! Quadring! Quadring, think what you're doing.
Fleming, go back to the base, or be quiet.
We'll get him when he comes over the cliff edge.
Dennis! Dennis, don't come this way! Dennis! Dennis!