Mar 31, 2012

Contact: Pilot Episode

By the end of Episode 6 of the Contact television series (collaborative fan fiction), viewers have been introduced to nine of the ten main characters. The tenth character, the alien Huaoshy individual called o'Seriat, will not be understood to be an alien by viewers until the 12th episode. However, some mysterious events seen by viewers in the pilot episode will be the work of o'Seriat.

Our galaxy was first visited by an automated Huaoshy probe ship seven million years ago and so far the only actual Huaoshy visitor is o'Seriat. The Huaoshy had a biological origin on a planet of a distant galaxy, but they long ago converted from their original cellular form to a type of artificial life form composed of nanoscopic structural units.

Like all Huaoshy, o'Seriat is a "shape shifter", able to take on any form by rearrangement of nanite components. Also, o'Seriat is a colonial life form, able to split into multiple bodies that can simultaneously exist in many star systems scattered around the universe. The various component bodies of a Huaoshy "individual" are connected by hierion-mediated communications.

The Connatic ponders the unequal distribution
of wealth among the inhabitants of Merlank,
the single continent of Trullion.

Jack Vance had fun imagining rulers who maintain secret identities. In the Alastor Cluster novels, the Connatic is absolute ruler over 3,000 planets, but he enjoys secretly living among his subjects and making use of temporarily assumed identities that allow him to be unrecognized. On the planet Trullion, the Connatic, in the guise of journalist Rhyl Shermatz, helps local resident Glinnes Hulden steal 30,000,000 ozols from the wealthy Lords of the Fens, the district of Merlank where Hulden was born.

Similarly, o'Seriat is free to wander around our Galaxy and visit planets like Earth. When visiting the Solar System, o'Seriat takes on the physical form of a human and is never recognized as an alien. o'Seriat devotes a significant amount of effort to the development of "domesticated" life forms on the planets that are close to the galactic center. Near (within 10,000 light years) the central black hole there are many habitable planets that have had their advanced life forms destroyed by exploding stars. o'Seriat routinely establishes populations of species such as humans on planets near the galactic center. The Central Worlds are thus the heart of Genesaunt culture. Dr. Wye is from one of the most advanced alien civilizations that o'Seriat has "cultured" near the galactic center.

In general, o'Seriat pays less attention to the Outer Worlds such as Earth where the "automated" system of Observers and Overseers watches over developing civilizations that are allowed to mostly follow a natural pace of technological development. However, some species have a natural talent for self-destruction, and o'Seriat is always ready to give some special attention to the "marginal cases" that might not survive their technological adolescence.

The Huaoshy maintain a monopoly on their advanced technologies. They never share with other species the secrets of their nanotechnology and methods for faster-than-light travel through space. However, artificial life forms such as Dr. Wye are a tool that o'Seriat makes use of for helping "marginal cases" like humans. o'Seriat knows that Dr. Wye is on Earth and o'Seriat could step in and prevent Dr. Wye from helping Interventionists like Hadden, but through long experience with other "marginal cases" o'Seriat knows that Earthlings need some help.

The 12th episode of the Contact television series will have two versions. The first version will be used as the pilot episode for the series. The time frame of the pilot episode will be from just before Major Russell drops out of contention for the "machine seat", through the destruction of the Machine in Florida and until Ellie is inside the Machine in Japan and has her brain invaded by o'Seriat's nanite probes. Those nanites provide Ellie with her experience of having travelled to the center of the galaxy and also prevent Ellie from dying inside the IPV.

The first scene of the pilot will show Dr. Zelter going to the Moon. At Observer Base, she meets with the other Overseers and they discuss the fact that although Ellie has Interventionist nanites in her body, they previously decided to leave the nanites inside Ellie and work to learn who placed nanites inside Ellie and Hadden (Hadden's nanites were removed from his body). Zelter reports that both of Ellie's parents were probably also infected by Interventionist nanites, but they led unremarkable lives and very little information about them is available in the Observer Archives of Earth's history. The Overseers affirm their commitment to making sure that humans on Earth will gain little of value from the Machine technology in the "message from Vega". The term "Overseer" will not be used in this first scene of the pilot episode, so viewers will not really understand who Dr. Zelter is, but it will be obvious that she is more than just Ellie's physician.

o'Seriat will first be seen as a "duplicate" of astronaut Major Russell. Russell's wife has been pleading with him to not volunteer to be the passenger in the Machine, but he has been insisting that it is his duty to do it. In the pilot episode, a collection of nanites in the form of a strange cloud leaves the body of Major Russell after he has had an argument with his wife. While the real Russell sleeps, the nanite cloud forms a synthetic copy of Russell. The duplicate Russell tells his wife that he "changed his mind" and he has decided to drop out of contention for the Machine seat.

As soon as "Major Russell" has gone before the cameras to announce his decision, the nanites are seen leaving the body of the duplicate Russell and forming a cloud. After the duplicate Russell dissolves to nothing and as the cloud dissipates, the real Russell wakes up, smiles at the last wisps of the cloud, and goes to be with his family.

o'Seriat will then assume the role of Joseph, the religious fanatic who destroys the Machine in Florida. In the pilot episode, the viewers will not fully understand that Joseph is the "puppet" of an alien (o'Seriat).

Dr. Wye will be shown when she tells Hadden the that Overseers plan to kill Drumlin. They discuss how to make sure that after Drumlin dies, Ellie will still want to be the passenger for the second Machine.

Dr. Wye: "When Drumlin dies, there must be no indication that the Machine itself is dangerous."

In the pilot episode, viewers will see a "nanite cloud" emerge from the original Joseph after a dramatic scene in which he prays for guidance. The cloud will form a duplicate of Joseph. Without explanation, the duplicate immediately kills the original Joseph. However, not until the 12th episode will the meaning of these nanite clouds become clear and viewers will then fully understand that the "Joseph" who destroyed the Machine was actually o'Seriat, an alien.

In the pilot episode, Hadden and Dr. Wye will be shown as providing support for Joseph....without that support and assistance a human would never have been able to penetrate security for the International Machine Consortium. During this time, o'Seriat has a full understanding of how Earth's Overseers plan to deal with Hadden's unwelcome scheme to provide advance technology to humans: they plan to kill anyone who is a machine passenger. The original Overseer plan for killing Drumlin is that he will appear to die when the "restraint chair" in the transport pod (IPV) rips loose and crashes against the wall of the pod.

Restraint chair.
o'Seriat is also aware of how Hadden plans to have Ellie as the passenger in the second Machine. o'Seriat decides that it will be best for Earthlings if there appears to be a successful journey by a human to the center of the galaxy. Since the Overseers are going to kill Drumlin anyhow, o'Seriat decides to work with Dr. Wye and Hadden and make Drumlin's death as dramatic as possible...with the blame falling on Joseph.

o'Seriat also decides on a plan that will allow Ellie to not be in the restraint chair when it is sent crashing against the wall of the IPV by the forces generated inside the Machine. At that time (during the IPV drop), o'Seriat's nanites will go into Ellie and protect her against the Overseer nanites that they plan to use to make sure that Ellie dies in the IPV.

Funny CGI scene.
o'Seriat (seen only as a nanite cloud) goes to the Nesr asteroid and examines the equipment that Dr. Wye has used to transmit the "message from Vega". It is a modified version of the message that was used long ago to make first contact with her species. o'Seriat (the nanite cloud) is shown splitting, and some nanites remain at the asteroid transmitter station. Briefly, these nanites take on a ghostly shape of Hadden and o'Seriat says: "The Overseers have exiled you from Earth. Wait here until it is safe to return."

o'Seriat then once more "splits in two", half of the nanite cloud goes to Observer Base on the Moon. The other half finds Ellie on Earth and enters her brain, stimulating a vivid dream sequence. After an Observer finishes a duty shift at a complex human-computer interface (analyzing and filing observations from Earth), the nanite cloud (o'Seriat) accesses the database and starts programming a new swarm of nanites that will be used to insert false memories into Ellie. The "o'Seriat nanites" coalesce into a ghostly form that uses the human-computer interface to assemble the scenes of Contact, the movie, representing Ellie's experience of a trip to the center of the Galaxy. o'Seriat experiments with several ways to get Ellie out of the restrain seat, finally pulling up memories of Palmer that lead to the Cracker Jack compass.

"They still want an American to go."
After Joseph is "killed" in the explosion that destroys the first Machine, o'Seriat is "seen" again after taking control of the body of the Hadden Industries technician (Shizue) who install equipment in Ellie's room so that she can talk to Hadden.

"Wanna take a ride?"
After Ellie is finished speaking to Hadden by the satellite link, the Hadden Industries technician (Shizue) knocks on Ellie's door and says: "Your ride."
It is still raining, but at the curb can be seen a Hadden Industries limousine.
Ellie: "It's late, can't you come back in the morning?"
Shizue (picks up Ellie's bag): "You can sleep on the flight to Hokkaido."
In the limousine, Ellie reads Shizue's posted license.
Ellie: "Shizue, how long have you been waiting here for me?"
Shizue: "Not long. I came with you on the flight from Florida."
Ellie: "You've been following me?"
Shizue: "Yes. I expected Hadden to contact you."
Ellie: "Do you know Hadden well?"
Shizue: "I followed his remarkable career for a long time...that is how I come to be here today....working for him."
Ellie: "You've met him?"
Shizue: "Yes, many times. I often have had to give him a warning, as I must now warn you."
Ellie (alarmed): "A warning?"

I've long been puzzled by Hadden's line in Contact, the movie: "They still want an American to go..."

Who is "they"? I assume that Dr. Wye is "they" and that the aliens have long been working to provide important technological advances to the U.S.A.

Shizue: "Yes, a warning. Machine Consortium security is in lock-down mode....not letting any visitors near the Machine site. Palmer is taking commercial flights to Nakashibetsu. He has the pass code -Nosappu- but you need to warn Consortium security to keep agents at Nakashibetsu airport, watching for Americans asking about flights to Nosappu."
Ellie: "I have not seen Palmer in almost a year."
Shizue: "He needs to see you before you enter the IPV."

Ellie is nervous about becomeing a Machine passenger and she is happy to hear that she will meet Palmer in Japan. After a short ride in the limo, Ellie is put on a Hadden Industries VTOL aircraft. As the plane flies off, Shizue drives the limo into a parking garage. The nanite copy of Shizue morphs into a cloud, some of which goes to the nearby sleeping human Shizue and enters into her brain to provide her with false memories of having brought Ellie to the aircraft. The real Shizue wakes up and wonders why she is sleeping. She goes out again to retrieve the satellite communications equipment from Ellie's room.

In a related scene, Palmer is contacted by o'Seriat nanites impersonating Ellie and asking him to come to the second Machine before she departs Earth.

Palmer arrives at the second Machine site and gives Ellie the compass. When the rotating rings system powers up the IPV, o'Seriat's special memory-encoding nanites are transported into the IPV. Those nanites make sure that Ellie survives passage through the Machine's core. When the IPV splashes down, Ellie briefly looses consciousness. She finds herself in the floor next to the compass and the nanites start constructing false memories that give her the experience of having gone to the center of the galaxy. Ellie, when finally alone with Palmer (she is still in the biocontainment facility, a precaution being taken in case she has actually traveled off Earth and had contact with aliens) tells Palmer that the compass saved her life.

The pilot episode gives viewers a new perspective on the events depicted in Contact, the movie. Viewers are introduced to the mysterious nanite clouds that can morph into the form of humans. Also, Dr. Wye has been introduced as a mysterious U.S. government employee who has secretly helped Hadden destroy the Machine in Florida. Dr. Zelter is introduced as a mysterious space traveler who can travel between the Earth and the Moon. A few quick views of Observer Base have been provided, just enough to suggest the possibility that aliens might be on the Moon, although many might still be wondering if Hadden is connected to the Moon Base.

The pilot episode will end with some teaser scenes from the next six episodes:
Contact Episode 1: Pull the Plug
Contact Episode 2: Good to Go
Contact Episode 3: Voice from the Sky
Contact Episode 4: Hail to Vega
Contact Episode 5: Look Closer
Contact Episode 6: For Carl

Episode 12 of the Contact television series will be a second version of the pilot episode. By episode 12, viewers will be ready to understand the mysterious nanite clouds as being o'Seriat, an alien visitor to Earth.

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