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Stargate Reimagined: Part I (A Screenplay)
#1
Since 1999, I've been a fan of the original Stargate film. It's one of my favourite movies. I used to watch it religiously back in my teens, so much so that I basically memorized the film. Over the years, though, I've come to see just how imperfect it is; aside from some flat characterization and the unfortunate "white saviour" trope, there're a plethora of plot holes and wonky logic at work which've come to vex and befuddle me.

In writing this screenplay, my initial goal was to scrape away all the barnacles from the plot, to cast the story as-is in its best possible light without changing any of the main story beats. However, that changed along the way; what began as a tribute to Stargate — a love letter to the film which has been a constant companion for so very long — ended as an inversion. My story mirrors the original, but it's a decidedly more cynical reflection.

Aside from the film itself, I used the film novelization as the main source of information and inspiration in the writing of this script; many scenes are directly lifted from it. I'm no longer a big fan of Stargate SG-1, so I haven't incorporated many SG-1-specific characters or elements into this story; don't expect Samantha Carter or Teal'c to make an appearance here (the former is set to appear in Parts II & III, though, whenever I get around to writing them).
Rock over London, rock on Chicago. Remington electric razor — cleans you, thrills you, may even keep you from getting busted.
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#2

FADE IN

On catacomb walls.

Upon the walls, bathed in torchlight, are painted murals. Though similar in style to those created by the ancient Egyptians, these are cruder and less colourful. The scenes they depict are of a beneficent deity descending from the heavens to Earth in luminous glory, blessing the sons and daughters of Man with science and civilization.

TITLE: STARGATE

FADE TO

A shot of the sun blazing a fierce yellow in the clear blue sky.

ZOOM OUT & PAN DOWN

To a panoramic shot of the regal Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities building.

SUPERIMPOSE: "CAIRO, 1967"

INT. EGYPTIAN MINISTRY OF ANTIQUITIES BUILDING/EGYPTIAN INTERIOR MINISTER'S OFFICE — DAY

The office room — well-lit and elaborately decorated — is inhabited by a pair of men: PROFESSOR PAUL LANGFORD and the EGYPTIAN INTERIOR MINISTER. E.I.M — a plump Egyptian in a fine white suit with a meticulously waxed mustache — is seated behind a grand ebony desk, while Langford — a bean-thin Swede with a thin white mustache clad in his own fine white suit — stands before it.

The two men are engaged in a conversation already in progress when a loud rapping is heard at the office door. E.I.M barks something in Arabic and the door opens. A thin, dark-skinned man in a simple uniform enters.

DELIVERY BOY: (in Arabic, subtitled) I have a message for you, Professor Langford. From Mr. Taylor.

PROF. LANGFORD: Taylor, eh? (beat; subtitled) Alright, give it to me.

The delivery boy hands a sealed envelope to Langford. The Swede opens it and withdraws a folded piece of paper.

E.I.M: (to delivery boy; subtitled) You can go now.

As the thin man leaves, Langford unfolds the paper.

CUT TO

Close-up of the note, which reads:

"Langford,

Sitting down? We've got something. Probably a tomb. Too soon to tell. Excavation continues. Very exciting. I suggest you get your aristocratic hind-end out here. AT ONCE. And don't bring any of those pudding heads from the ministry. Let's keep this quiet for as long as we can.

Taylor."

INT. ROLLS ROYCE — DAY — TRAVELLING  

Professor Langford is seated in the back of a black Rolls Royce with his daughter KARIN. Folding the note in his hands, Langford looks up, taking in the breathtaking view of the sparkling Nile river and the Giza Pyramids beyond Cairo's conjested downtown.

KARIN: (in Swedish, subtitled) What do you think they've found, Daddy?

PROF. LANGFORD: (subtitled) I don't know, Little Bird. We'll have to wait and see, won't we?

Langford looks down at his fancy white suit.

PROF. LANGFORD: (subtitled) I really should have stopped to change out of these ridiculous clothes….

EXT. GIZA PLATEAU — EXCAVATION SITE — DAY

The Rolls Royce comes to a stop at the edge of a rock shelf. Langford climbs out and starts up the slope of loose rock and silt, Karin following close behind. Reaching the top, the father/daughter duo surveys the landscape sprawled out before them.

KARIN: (points; subtitled) Daddy, the treasure's over there.

Langford follows the girl's finger. Though the entire surface of the shelf is painted with the telltale signs of archaeological excavation, most of the site's present activity is centred around the far end of the shelf, where dozens upon dozens of workers are working at a frenetic pace, carrying away bucket-loads of loose rubble and bringing in hydralic winches.

PROF. LANGFORD: (subtitled) We'll go see Ed Taylor first.

Langford and his daughter make their way to a large tent. There, a small group of men with ED TAYLOR stand hunched over a low table off to the side of the tent entrance.

PROF. LANGFORD: (approaches Taylor) Ed, if we’ve found a pet cemetery, I quit.

TAYLOR: (to Langford) We can't decipher this writing. Take a look.

Taylor steps aside, making room for Langford. Laid out over the table top is a large sheet of paper with charcoal rubbings of strange glyphs.

KARIN: (pushes in between father and Taylor) Those aren't real hieroglyphics.

TAYLOR: At least not the ones we're used to.

PROF. LANGFORD: (edgy) Taylor, where did these symbols come from?

TAYLOR: I'll show you.

Motioning for the professor and his daughter to follow, Taylor leaves the tent. Working their way through the maze of excavated parcels, they soon come to the far end of the shelf, under a low rock wall beyond which lies the pit where the workers are congregating. There, resting in the sand, is a large coverstone. Chiselled from a single large slab of sandstone, the coverstone is perfectly circular, 7 metres in diametre. The surface is engraved with etchings, each subdivided into distinct sections: a round centerpiece with three surrounding rings. The centerpiece contains an elaborate cartouche housing eight strange glyphs; the inner ring contains a series of concentric lines, some of the intersecting points of which are clearly marked while others are not; the middle ring contains lines of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic text; the outer ring contains thirty-nine unrecognizable glyphs — eight of which match those contained in the central cartouche.

TAYLOR: It's a coverstone, the largest one I've ever seen. (beat) When you bury something with a rock this size, you mean to keep it buried.

Langford begins circling the large coverstone, inspecting the engraved surface carefully, then climbs atop the stone to scrutinize the centerpiece. The archaeologist furrows his brow and strokes his chin, deep in thought.

PROF. LANGFORD: Very queer. (beat) This inner band is somewhat legible: this one here could be the symbol for years ... a thousand years ... heaven, the stars or something like that ... lives Atum, first god. (cont'd) But what in the world do you make of these outer symbols?

Before Taylor can answer, a shout rings out from the large pit. Leaving the large round stone, Langford, Taylor, and Karin begin making their way around the stone wall to the pit beyond.

As the three enter the pit, they see the workers engage their winches, hoisting something out of the ancient earth surrounding it. As the strange object is pulled erect, the workers prop it up with padded wooden poles, allowing it to rest upright on a ninety-degree angle.

KARIN: (looks up at father; amazed) It's one of God's bracelets!

The unearthed artifact is a perfectly round ring composed of some sort of black stone, its entire surface engraved with meticulously wrought designs. 6.7 metres in diametre, the ring is lined with nine wedge-shaped jewels set apart at even distances and contains an inner ring etched with the same thirty-nine strange glyphs found on the coverstone's outer ring. As sunlight hits it, some of the ring's natural iridescence shines through its thick layer of brown dust.

PROF. LANGFORD: (to Taylor) What in the world is that? 

TAYLOR: I wish I knew….

The two archaeologists turn to one another, dumbfounded. Their eyes suddenly light up and they clasp hands roughly, broad grins breaking out across their faces.

PROF. LANGFORD & TAYLOR: (in union) We did it!

As the workers finish securing the large black ring, one of them notices something in the earth. Stepping into the depression where the ring had lain, he points down into a crack running through the bedrock.

WORKER: Look at that! There is something buried underneath!

The workers erupt into excitement; they all crowd in in an attempt to uncover what their comrade has spotted. Shouting orders to the workers, Taylor takes off in a run towards them.

PROF. LANGFORD: (places hands on Karin's shoulders; in Swedish, subtitled) You are not to move from this spot.

Langford rushes off to join Taylor with the workers. Karin stands there, impatiently rocking back-and-forth on her heels, before deciding to disobey her father's orders and join him at the site. Pushing through the workers, Karin grimaces as she makes her way to the epicentre of the frantic activity. There, Karin finds Taylor directing three men as they pull up and remove slabs of broken stone, revealing what it is the workman glimpsed.

KARIN: (subtitled) Fossils!

In the open cavity the workers uncovered lies a horribly twisted figure embedded in the stone. Though its body is humanoid, its exoskeletal head is unmistakably nonhuman; it sports the flinty eyes and wicked beak of a bird of prey. Clasped in the fossil’s one exposed hand, standing out against the surrounding sandstone, is a gold pendant on a chain, the design of a stylized human eye engraved in its surface.

PROF. LANGFORD: (angry) Karin!

The professor hurriedly crosses over to his daughter. Hoisting her up, he carries the girl away from the unearthly discovery and the throng surrounding it. Setting Karin down, pulling her alongside him, Langford leaves the pit. As they return to their Rolls Royce, another — this one white — pulls up alongside it. The side door opens and a foppish bureaucrat steps out. This man is the EGYPTIAN UNDERSECRETARY OF THE MINISTRY OF ANTIQUITIES.

E.U.S: (tips hat) Good afternoon, Mister and Miss Langford. Has anything interesting happened today?

Langford and Karin exchange glances.
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#3

EXT. GOWER STREET — INDUSTRIAL AREA — NIGHT

A heavy rainfall pelts the ground of Gower Street in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

SUPERIMPOSE: "LOS ANGELES, 2014"

DANIEL JACKSON, a 35-year-old man with dark brown hair and John Lennon glasses, walks alone down the street, miserably carrying a heavy book sack through the rain. Unshaven and clad in a faded green fishing hat, he looks positively destitute; only the long cashmere trench coat he wears gives him any air of respectability.

Turning the corner, Daniel passes by a pair of disreputable women — one short and skinny, the other tall and fat — and comes to a small convenience store. Adjusting the sack to redistribute its weight, the wet man steps through the door.

INT. CONVENIENCE STORE — NIGHT

As Daniel enters, the shopkeeper — a large man with a shaved bald head and a big handlebar mustache — puts down his copy of Gamines Galore, greeting his customer with a large, toothy grin.

ARZUMANIAN: Mr. Dan, my friend, what's happen'?

DANIEL: Amen ench shat ahavor ar. Nrank char hasskanum yes enchkar khalatse em. (beat) So I was hoping to get a bottle of wine, but I don't know when I'll be able to pay you back.

ARZUMANIAN: I got idea. Yes kpoknem. You come in next day, I tell you. Okay?

DANIEL: I'll be here. Thanks.

EXT. CONVENIENCE STORE — NIGHT

Daniel exits the store, a bottle of cheap red wine in a paper bag in his hand. Stuffing the bottle inside one coat pocket, he adjusts his sack again and continues on his way.

EXT. TKENCHENKO'S TIRES — NIGHT

Daniel walks across a largely empty parking lot to the open doors of Tkenchenko's Tires, a garage set in a short, squat building. Stepping inside, he walks past the owner, Vladimir Tkenchenko, who is busy working on a rusty Lexus. Seeing the sodden man in his pitiful state, the mechanic shakes his balding head with disapproval. Ignoring Tkenchenko, Daniel crosses over to the shop's business counter. There, filing her long, red-violet nails with her red-violet lips upturned in a smile of contentment, is a pretty woman. Sporting blonde-streaked brown hair and garbed in a bosom-hugging red-violet sweater, she's not much younger than Daniel.

DANIEL: Any mail for me, Svetlana?

Svetlana, noticing Daniel for the first time, abruptly stops filing her nails, chipping one in the process. The smile quickly flees her face.

SVETLANA: Goddammit, Daniel! Look what you made me do! (beat) I just got a manicure!

DANIEL: Why're you filing your nails if you just got a manicure?

SVETLANA: (narrows eyes) Shut up.

Svetlana reaches under the counter and brings out two items of mail. She hands them to Daniel.

DANIEL: (half-smiles) Isn't tonight Thai night?

SVETLANA: Get bent.

Frowning, Svetlana takes out her iPod. Placing the earbuds in her ears and turning it on, she ignores Daniel once again.

DANIEL: It's been a pleasure, sweet Svetlana.

Turning his back to the cold woman, Daniel goes through his mail. The first item is a phone bill with the words "FINAL WARNING" printed in big red letters at the top, the second a missing children's card. Sighing dispassionately, he stuffs the items into a coat pocket — not the one holding the booze — then leaves the garage, stepping back out into the pouring rain.

Taking a seat on a pile of beat-up old tires, Daniel spies a filthy homeless man arguing with a cat and a tough-looking chauffeur guarding a sleek limousine across the street. Sighing again, he props his chin up on his balled fists.

DISEMBODIED VOICE #1: (V.O.) Ignores long established facts….

DISEMBODIED VOICE #2: (V.O.) Jackson is either misguided and incompetent or he is engaging in substance abuse….

DISEMBODIED VOICE #3: (V.O.) This is the sort of archaeology we expect to find in The National Enquirer….

EXT. SCOTTISH RITE TEMPLE — DAY (FLASHBACK)

Though the sky is heavy with gray cloud, no rain is yet falling.

INT. SCOTTISH RITE TEMPLE/CONFERENCE HALL — DAY (FLASHBACK)

A LARGE AUDIENCE made up of Egyptologists, miscellaneous scholars, and a few scattered reporters sits in rows of seats, facing a large stage. On the stage, a dignified-looking man in his late sixties/early seventies — DOCTOR AJAMI — stands facing the audience, while Daniel — dressed in the same clothes seen earlier minus the hat, coat, and moisture — sits on a chair behind him.

DR. AJAMI: (cont'd) He graduated with his Master's at the age of twenty, speaks eleven different languages, and I fully expect his dissertation to become the standard reference on the early development of Egyptian hieroglyphics. He has written several seminal articles on the comparative linguistics of the Afro-Asiatic language groups and, of course, on the development of the Egyptian language from the Archaic Period to the Old Kingdom, which will be his topic today. Please welcome one of Egyptology's most promising young scholars, Daniel Jackson!

Rising from his chair, Daniel takes Ajami's place before the audience. From there he spots two aging professors: the pudgy PROFESSOR RAUSCHENBERG and the lanky DOCTOR TUBMAN, snickering to one another.

PROF. RAUSCHENBERG: Ah, another wunderkind.

DR. TUBMAN: Not quite up to Sir Alan Gardiner.

PROF. RAUSCHENBERG: But let's hope he's not another Wallis Budge!

Daniel quickly looks up toward the ceiling, coughs into his hand, then points in Rauschenberg's direction.

DANIEL: Sir, what kind of car do you drive?

PROF. RAUSCHENBERG: (confused) A Ford.

DANIEL: A Model T?

A number of audience members laugh at Rauschenberg's expense. The professor takes it all in stride.

PROF. RAUSCHENBERG: (smiles) I'm not quite that old. I drive a Focus.

DANIEL: (scratches chin) I see. Power steering and power brakes?

PROF. RAUSCHENBERG: (grins) Don't forget power windows!

DANIEL: So, in the unlikely event that a long-dormant volcano erupts in Santa Monica this afternoon and we're all exhumed hundred of years later by wunderkind archaeologists, there's really no chance of them dating you and your car to the early part of the last century?

DR. TUBMAN: (frowns) What are you driving at?

DANIEL: Henry Ford starts out modestly — one could say primitively — with the Model A, then he slowly develops his product into the sophisticated technology we enjoy today. Which leads to my central question about the ancient Egyptians: Why didn't their culture "develop"? (beat) I believe the evidence shows that their arts, their sciences, mathematics, technology, and techniques of warfare were all there, complete from the beginning.

The audience members begin murmuring amongst themselves. Daniel gives them a moment then resumes.

DANIEL: (cont'd) What I want to argue here today is that the Egyptians of the Archaic Period somehow "inherited" all of these arts and sciences, then, after a short "getting acquainted" period, we see the full flowering of what we call ancient Egypt. (beat) Their writing for example. The hieroglyphic system of the first two dynasties is notoriously difficult to interpret. The common wisdom holds that it is a crude version of the more complex writing we find later, at the time of the Old Kingdom. But, what I have tried to demonstrate in a series of articles, is that this early language is a fully developed system, a combination of phonetic and ideogrammatic elements. If this is true, they were able to move from crude cave paintings to a complicated system for describing the world and themselves in virtually no time at all, a few generations.

Pausing, Daniel watches as the first group of scholars rises from their chairs and moves toward the exits. Rolling his eyes, he continues.

DANIEL: Let's take another example. The theme of today's conference is the Great Pyramid of Khufu.

Dr. Ajami coughs politely and nods, wordlessly reminding Daniel that that is the theme and silently admonishing him to stick to it.

DANIEL: (cont'd) The same argument applies to Khufu's Pyramid. Most scientists believe that this masterpiece of engineering must have been the result of generations of practice. According to this theory, Djoser's Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the so-called Flat Pyramid, and the large tombs at Abydos are seen as warm-ups, learning exercises that lead to the infinitely more complex and precise Great Pyramid. (beat) As many of you know, I don't subscribe to that theory. In my view, the Great Pyramid must have come first, followed by the lesser structures just mentioned. The evidence supporting the traditional sequence of construction is based on folklore and written records that were made hundreds of years after the fact. (beat) The scant evidence we do have suggests, in my view, that the people living along the Nile were slowly forgetting how to build these structures, getting worse and worse at it with each passing generation.

A number of audience members giggle at Daniel's proclamation while a few others stand and walk out.

DANIEL: (cont'd) Unfortunately, the many attempts to determine the construction dates of the pyramids using C14 tests haven't given us conclusive results. Enough conflicting data exists to justify just about any theoretical position. But ask yourselves this question: All the lesser pyramids are heavily inscribed with the names of the pharaohs who ordered their construction. The mastabas surrounding the pyramids are blanketed with hieroglyphs announcing the names and titles of their owners, lists of offerings, construction dates, which gods they worshipped, the musical instruments they played, etc. Typically, we find painted histories in these tombs extolling the many godlike qualities of the persons buried there. And yet the greatest pyramid of all, Khufu's, has no writings whatsoever. Not a mark anywhere, inside or out. Does that make any sense?

A tall, gaunt man — the English PROFESSOR ROMNEY — rises up, interrupting Daniel.

PROF. ROMNEY: It's an interesting theory, Dr. Jackson, one that most of us are familiar with.

Someone begins humming the Twilight Zone theme, cracking some of the audience members up.

PROF. ROMNEY: (cont'd) You suggest that the pyramid wasn't built for a pharaoh because there was no name in it. But what about Vyse's discovery of the quarryman's inscription of Khufu's name written inside the relieving chamber, sealed since its construction?

DANIEL: (sighs) That discovery was a joke, a fraud perpetrated by Vyse himself.

The audience erupts into loud, vehement dissent. Some boo, others leave.

PROF. ROMNEY: That's too easy, Dr. Jackson. If you had done your homework, you wouldn't have to defame the good reputation of dead men to support your ideas.

DANIEL: (takes off glasses; wipes smudge from lens) Before leaving for Egypt, Vyse bragged that he would make an important discovery that would make him world famous. Using his father's money, he hired an elite team of experts and brought them to the Giza Pyramids. But after several very expensive months, they had nothing to show for their efforts, so Vyse fired the lot of them and imported a gang of gold miners from his father's South American mining operation. Less than three weeks later, they "discovered" what forty centuries of explorers, grave robbers, and scientists could not find — the secret room "sealed since construction". (beat) In this otherwise empty room, they found the very thing that made Vyse's reputation: the long-sought-after cartouche with Khufu's name. The cartouche appears on three walls of the chamber, but, strangely, not on the wall Vyse sledgehammered into rubble to enter the room. The name is written in a red ink that appears nowhere else in ancient Egypt. It is astonishingly well preserved and, incredibly, it is misspelled.

PROF. ROMNEY: Well, what can you expect from an illiterate quarryman?

Daniel turns his back to the audience, strides over to the whiteboard behind him and, picking up a marker, draws a cartouche containing a hieroglyphic inscription.

DANIEL: This is the inscription Vyse claims to have found in the relieving chamber. Now we all know, if we're done our homework, (narrows eyes at Romney) that Vyse carried with him the 1828 edition of Wilkinson's Materia Hieroglyphica published in Amsterdam by Heynis Books. (beat) Diligent students such as yourself, Professor, will not have failed to notice that in the very next edition the publishers included a loose-leaf apology listing the errata in the previous edition. This list includes the hieroglyphs for the name "Khufu". They misprinted the first consonant of the name. It should look like this….

Daniel crosses out the cartouche and draws another containing a nearly identical line of hieroglyphs beside it.

DANIEL: (cont'd) What an exceedingly strange coincidence that the cartouche Vyse discovered is misspelled in exactly the same way! (beat) If a quarryman had misspelled the name of the pharaoh, especially inside his burial chamber, he would have been put to death and the wall would have been torn down and rebuilt. (sarcastic) But I'm sure you knew all this already because you look like a man who takes his work seriously.

PROF. ROMNEY: (sneers) You sound like a bad television show.

With those words, Romney turns and leaves for the exits. The majority of the audience remains seated, however, and are now far more interested in what Daniel has to say.

DANIEL: (runs hand through hair) Now if we could get back for a moment. Perhaps the real origins of their civilization lay buried in the wadis of the Western Sahara —

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: (O.C.) Doctor, if I may….

Daniel looks around, searching for the owner of the voice with his eyes, until he spots a 56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN standing back at the far end of the conference hall. Dressed in all-black with a gold pendant bearing the design of a stylized human eye clasped around her neck, she has shoulder-length blond hair and an accent that, while largely American, contains a Swedish tinge.

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: Let me first say that your command of the facts is impressive.

DANIEL: (smiles) Thank you.

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: I just have one question: Who do you think built the Great Pyramid?

DANIEL: (loses smile) I have no idea who built it or why.

A collective groan of disappointment goes up from the audience. The woman, however, just nods briskly, apparently satisfied with the answer. She then turns around and leaves.

PROF. RAUSCHENBERG: (in posh English accent) The lost people of Atlantis?

A number of audience members break out in riotous laughter. They begin collecting their belongings and start leaving in droves.

PROF. RAUSCHENBERG: (cont'd) Or Martians, perhaps!

DANIEL: I didn't say that.

PROF. RAUSCHENBERG: (drops accent) No, but you were about to.

DANIEL: You're missing the point entirely.

Half the audience has left at this point, with the other half beginning to follow its example. Desperately hoping to find a way to salvage the lecture, Daniel hurriedly begins rifling through his stack of notes.

DANIEL: (frantic) Geological evidence dates the Sphinx back to the Neolithic Period. Knowing this to be true, we must begin to re-evaluate everything we've come to accept about the origins of ancient Egyptian culture….

The few remaining audience members depart, leaving Daniel and Dr. Ajami alone together on the stage. Ajami, clearly disappointed, approaches Daniel with his hands clasped tightly together.

DR. AJAMI: I'm very, very disappointed with you, Daniel. I thought we had an understanding that you wouldn't discuss this nonsense here today. I took a risk presenting you here today, tried to do you a favour, but now I'm afraid you've killed your career. Goodbye.

Ajami leaves the stage, leaving Daniel truly — finally — alone in the deserted conference hall.

DANIEL: Are there any questions?

EXT. TKENCHENKO'S TIRES — NIGHT

DANIEL: (deadpan) I'd like to meet that nice lady again. Fix some tea, have a little chat, then slowly strangle her to death.

Daniel rises to his feet, takes off his waterlogged hat, wrings it out, then places it back on his head. Turning around, he heads back to the crumbling building.

INT. DANIEL'S APARTMENT BUILDING — NIGHT

Daniel ascends the stairwell leading to the second floor of the ramshackle building. Making his way down the short corridor, he suddenly halts dead in his tracks, dropping his book sack. There the door to his apartment stands wide open before him.

INT. DANIEL'S APARTMENT/ENTRY HALL — NIGHT

Daniel cautiously steps inside his apartment and, wary of potential threats, reaches into his coat and pulls out the bottle of wine. Brandishing it like a club, Daniel presses himself up against the wall, listening for sounds, then leaps into his living room.

DANIEL: YAH!

There, going through the loose papers strewn atop his old mahogany desk, is the same middle-aged woman in black from the conference.

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: (nonchalant) Come in. (beat) Your cleaning lady must be taking the year off.

Perplexed, Daniel slowly steps forward, tossing the bottle unceremoniously onto a duct taped recliner.

DANIEL: Uh ... is there ... what the hell are you doing in my apartment?

The mature lady, her attention now diverted to a marble bust of a lovely Egyptian woman situated atop Daniel's desk, picks the graceful sculpture up and begins examining it, turning it slowly over in her hands.

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: Now this is a truly beautiful piece of art. I'd guess 14th century BC, probably from the area around Edfu. (looks about shabby apartment) How did you ever manage to afford it?

DANIEL: (nervous) Please, be very careful with that.

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: (carefully places bust back on desk) I've come to offer you a job.

DANIEL: (frowns) What kind of a job?

The lady leaves the desk, moving over to a wall adorned with a medium-sized photograph. In the photograph are three figures: a handsome blond man built like a linebacker, a willowy woman with auburn hair, and an eleven-year-old Daniel Jackson; the three figures are posed in a group hug, broad smiles on their faces.

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: (turns to Daniel) Your parents?

DANIEL: Foster.

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: Oh, that's right. Your parents died in that plane crash back in ... what was it, '87?

DANIEL: (sarcastic) Ah yes, let me think. Yes, I believe it was '87. An excellent year for a fiery death, wouldn't you say?

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: (ashamed) I'm sorry. It was —

DANIEL: (angry) No, really, if it would amuse you, let's definitely have a chitchat about the way my parents died!

Daniel stares daggers at the woman, who averts her eyes. Fuming, he walks past her into his small kitchen, opening the refrigerator and peering into the wasteland within.

56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN: My name is Karin Langford. I have some very early hieroglyphs I'd like you to work on.

Concluding none of the few foodstuffs left inside his refrigerator are fit for human consumption, Daniel closes it and rejoins Karin's company.

DANIEL: Since when is the military interested in Egyptian hieroglyphs?

KARIN (56-YEAR-OLD WOMAN): (cocks eyebrow) Military? What makes you think this has anything to do with the military?

DANIEL: The chauffeur across the street was sporting a crew cut. An oddity on the streets of Hollywood, wouldn't you say? (beat) I think I'm too old to run off and join the Army.

KARIN: (grins) Very impressive, Doctor. (loses grin) Look, I wish I could explain everything to you, but there's a certain amount of secrecy involved with this project.

DANIEL: Well maybe you can divulge this much: Why should I take a job I know nothing about?

KARIN: Your landlord mentioned he'd served you an eviction notice, there's a stack of unpaid bills on your desk, and your grants have run out. Now, it looks to me like young Dr. Jackson needs a job, and after your talk this afternoon, I wouldn't sit home waiting for the phone to ring. (beat) But there's an even better reason you should come to work for me, Daniel.

DANIEL: (smirks) And what might that be?

KARIN: (unclasps handbag; pulls out large brown envelope) To prove that your theories are right.

Karin hands the envelope to Daniel. Taking the envelope, he pulls open the tab and pulls out the contents. There in his hand are several black-&-white photographs of the unusual coverstone her father's expedition had uncovered in Egypt. Going through the photos, Daniel's mouth falls agape.

KARIN: (pulls photos from Daniel's hands) That's enough for now.

Sliding the photos back in the envelope and the envelope back in her handbag, Karin withdraws another envelope — a white envelope emblazoned with the Air Force logo. She hands it to Daniel, who tentatively takes it.

DANIEL: What's this?

KARIN: Travel plans.

Opening the envelope, Daniel peers at the contents.

DANIEL: Denver? (sneezes) Look, as you can imagine, I'm not real big on flying.

Without a word, Karin walks past Daniel to the open apartment door. She turns to Daniel, a slight smile on her lips.

KARIN: Get over it.

She steps out, closing the door behind her.
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#4

EXT. SUBURBAN NEIGHBOURHOOD — DAY

An intensely sunny day, though it is late fall, the temperature is scorching, causing rippling waves of heat to rise from the baking sidewalks and roads. Except for a few pets resting here-and-there on the lawns of their homes, there is no outdoor activity going on.

SUPERIMPOSE: "YUMA, ARIZONA"

A navy blue sedan drives past the front yard of a home where a large Border Collie sits panting under the shade of an elm tree. The dog, half-interested in the vehicle's passing, regards it with a slow turn of its head.

EXT. O'NEAL HOME/FRONT YARD — DAY

The sedan pulls up to a pretty two-storey house with a modestly landscaped front yard, braking in front of the garage. The front doors click open and TWO OFFICERS in crisp blue uniforms — one TALL and one SHORT — step out, regarding their surroundings as if on a recon mission. They stride to the front door, the tall one in front. The short officer, a black folder tucked under his arm, regards the garage. A boy's red-&-teal bicycle leans against the wall beside the garage door, obviously neglected and disused. The tall officer — his tag identifying him as MAJOR SILAS ANDERMAN — knocks on the door. Moments later the door opens a crack and a PRETTY BRUNETTE in her early fifties peeks out from behind the chain.

MAJ. ANDERMAN: Mrs. O'Neal?

The door is quickly closed again. The two officers exchange glances. As Anderman goes to knock again, it swings open, revealing the full form of SARAH O'NEAL. She regards the pair with an icy glare. The officers, intimidated by her cold eyes, unconsciously shrink back.

SARAH: (cold) Wipe your feet.

Sarah disappears inside the house. The officers exchange glances again before following her inside.

INT. O'NEAL HOME/ENTRY HALL — DAY

The two officers enter the immaculate interior of the house, closing the door behind them. Stepping deeper inside the house, they find the living room on their left; perfectly clean and tidy, it is also completely empty. On their right they find the kitchen.

INT. O'NEAL HOME/KITCHEN — DAY

The officers find Sarah busy slicing raw meat on a cutting board.

MAJ. ANDERMAN: Mrs. O'Neal, is your husband home?

SARAH: (eyes fixed on meat) Yes, he is.

MAJ. ANDERMAN: Ma'am, do you think we might be able to speak with him?

Finished with the meat, Sarah places her knife down then cleans her hands off on some paper towel. Reaching into her front shirt pocket, she retrieves a pack of cigarettes and fishes out a cigarette. Lighting it with a green plastic lighter, she puts it to her lips and takes a deep drag.

SARAH: (exhales) You can try.

INT. O'NEAL HOME/TYLER O'NEAL'S BEDROOM — DAY

A MAN sits inside the dim interior of what appears to be a teenaged boy's bedroom. Among the various items we see taking up space within the room are a Seventh Seal poster above the headboard of the room's bed; a small shelf packed full of books and magazines; various LEGO models; sports trophies; and a catcher's mitt complete with softball. Seated in an armchair, the man is shirtless and unshaven, his hair long and greasy, his face perfectly devoid of expression. Staring straight ahead, eyes fixed open, he grips the stock of an uncocked Smith & Wesson Model 29 loosely in his hands.

INT. O'NEAL HOME/HALLWAY — DAY

As Anderman and his comrade stride down the hallway toward the bedroom, they pass several framed photographs on the white wall to their left. All the photos depict images of life, love, and happiness among friends and family.

INT. O'NEAL HOME/TYLER O'NEAL'S BEDROOM — DAY

Perched atop the small shelf is a framed photo of a thirteen-year-old boy in a softball uniform, standing with a beefy, red-mustached man in a coach's uniform. The boy, tossing a softball in the air, is beaming into the camera. The boy is Tyler O'Neal, the last tenant to inhabit this room.

Sensing the officers' arrival, the unshaven man quickly hides the Model 29 beneath the armchair cushion. The two officers tentatively enter the bedroom. The man they seek, though well aware of their presence, pays them no heed, continuing to stare straight forward.

SHORT OFFICER: Pardon us, Captain O'Neal. We're from General West's office.

For the first time, JACK O'NEAL turns his head to the officers, regarding them stonily.

SHORT OFFICER: (holds out black folder) We're here to inform you that you've been reactivated.

O'Neal rises from the chair, turning to them. Maj. Anderman, turning around, closes the bedroom door.

EXT. O'NEAL HOME/FRONT YARD — DAY

The front door of the O'Neal residence opens and the two officers step outside. As they return to their car, it is apparent the short officer no longer carries the black folder on him.

From the kitchen window, obscured behind a heavy curtain, Sarah peers out at the two officers as they leave.

INT. O'NEAL HOME/TYLER O'NEAL'S BEDROOM — DAY

The door creaks open and Sarah peers in. Her husband is no longer there. Slowly she leans back out, closing the door once again.

INT. O'NEAL HOME/HALLWAY — DAY

Sarah steps back from the bedroom door. At this point she hears the faint sound of the shower running from the bathroom. A troubled expression worn on her face, she goes to another room — their bedroom.

INT. O'NEAL HOME/O'NEAL BEDROOM — DAY

The bedroom door swings open and Sarah enters. She stiffens. There, lain out on the king-sized bed like a corpse prepared for burial, is her husband's neatly pressed uniform. Resting beside it, like a profane idol dedicated to an obscene god, is the black folder.
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#5

EXT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN — SUNSET

Though an access road, another navy blue sedan reaches the entrance tunnel into a military installation hidden deep beneath the mountain.

SUPERIMPOSE: "CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN COMPLEX, COLORADO"

INT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN/ENTRANCE TUNNEL — SUNSET

The sedan parked, Daniel climbs out. A big, muscular non-commissioned officer in a crisp blue uniform — MASTER SERGEANT ADAM KAWALSKY — is there to greet him.

KAWALSKY: Daniel Jackson?

DANIEL: Yes?

With a large grin, the sergeant takes Daniel's hand and gives it an eagre shake. Daniel winces from the strength of his grip.

KAWALSKY: I'm Sgt. Adam Kawalsky.

Daniel sneezes.

KAWALKSY: (frowns) Cold?

DANIEL: Allergies. Always happens when I travel. (beat) So, is this an Army base?

KAWALSKY: I'm not authorized to discuss that.

DANIEL: (grins) No, seriously. Is this like a camp for Army scholars, a think tank or something?

KAWALSKY: Until you sign the non-disclosure agreement, sir, I'm not at liberty to discuss that subject.

Circling around behind the sedan, Kawalsky finds Daniel's large book sack along with two bulging suitcases inside the open trunk.

KAWALSKY: (eyes sack) Help you with that?

DANIEL: Careful. They're books and they're really —

Without any visible effort, Kawalsky hefts the sack out of the trunk single-handedly.

DANIEL: (cont'd) heavy.

With Kawalsky carrying the book sack and Daniel carrying the suitcases, they start towards the entrance.

INT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN/ELEVATOR — TWILIGHT

Daniel and Kawalsky enter an elevator. As the doors close, Kawalsky slides a keycard through a slot and — pressing the button marked "18" — the box begins its descent.

KAWALSKY: (hands stick of gum to Daniel) Equalizes your ear pressure.

Daniel takes the gum and, unwrapping it, stuffs it in his mouth and begins chewing nervously.

INT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN/LEVEL 18/CORRIDOR #1 — TWILIGHT

The elevator finishes its descent and the doors swish open. Emerging, the sergeant leads the Egyptologist down a sterile hospital-type corridor.

Coming to a pair of doors, the non-com raps on them both.

KAWALSKY: Dr. Meyers — Shore — are you in?

The doors open. The first individual to emerge is DOCTOR GARY MEYERS, a tall, chunky man of about thirty-eight. Dressed in pressed black slacks and a beige sweater, he should look studious and serious, though he comes off more as the boisterous type. Shortly following is BARBARA SHORE, a 48-year-old Texan woman in a midnight blue jumpsuit. Tall and sexy with wavy black hair, she wouldn't look at all out of place on a fashion runway.

MEYERS: (grins) You must be Jackson. (offers hand) I'm Dr. Gary Meyers, Ph.D on loan from Harvard.

DANIEL: (shakes Meyers' hand) Dr. Meyers. Of course — you specialize in comparative linguistics. (beat) I read your thesis on Sumerian cuneiform's influence on the early development of Egyptian hieroglyphs. (grins) I can't say I fully agree with your conclusions.

MEYERS: (smiles) Neither do I on your theories.

BARBARA: I'm Barbara Shore, the token astrophysicist on the team. Hello.

DANIEL: Hi.

Barbara shakes hands with Daniel then turns to Kawalsky.

BARBARA: So Kawalsky, you overgrown testicle, isn't it about time you reintroduced us to our illustrious host and let us know just what it is we've all hauled ass here for?

KAWALSKY: (sighs) If you'll follow me….

INT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN/LEVEL 18/COVERSTONE ROOM — TWILIGHT

The twin doors of the coverstone room swing open and Kawalsky escorts Daniel, Meyers, and Barbara inside. Seeing the immense room's main attraction, their mouths fall agape. There — beyond three long tables outfitted with various artifacts, documents, and advanced computer equipment — is the large sandstone coverstone recovered from the Langford excavation, secured high above on the far wall. Standing there, like a high priestess within the Holy of Holies, is Karin Langford.

KARIN: (turns to new arrivals) Glad to see you all made it.

The three scholars approach Karin slowly, eyes transfixed on the coverstone.

DANIEL: Where did you find this?

KARIN: Giza Plateau, 1967. (beat) As you can see, there are two rings of glyphs. The inner tract of writing is an extremely early form of hieroglyphs and we've managed to make preliminary translations of it, but the outer one has been giving us the fits. The symbols, as you can see, are unlike anything we've ever found before.

DANIEL: Could be some form of hieratic.

MEYERS: Maybe cuneiform.

KARIN: Like Champollion with the Rosetta Stone, we thought the two scripts might be parallel translations, but if they are, we can't find the similarities. It doesn't help that it's written in a circle without any discernible punctuation.

DANIEL: Alright, I understand why Gary and I've been brought on board, but what's Barbara's role in all this? An astrophysicist's expertise doesn't exactly lie with 5000-year-old Egyptian tablets.

O'NEAL: (O.C.) My report says ten thousand.

The six people in the large room quickly turn towards the owner of the voice. Standing behind them, black folder in left hand, is Capt. Jack O'Neal. In his crew cut and immaculate uniform, he is the very picture of self-assurance and command.

KAWALSKY: (snaps to attention) Sir!

KARIN: (to Daniel) Barbara was brought in to analyze the concentric lines etched on the coverstone. There's evidence they hold geometric significance. (to O'Neal) Do I know you?

O'NEAL: (opens folder; withdraws document) I'm Capt. Jack O'Neal from Gen. West's office. I'll be taking over from this point forward.

Kawalsky approaches the captain, who hands him the document to look over.

DANIEL: (to no one in particular) Wait a second — ten thousand years?

MEYERS: (to Karin) I'm sorry, but that's impossible. Egyptian culture didn't even exist —

KARIN: (attention on O'Neal) Radiometric dating's been conclusive.

DANIEL: This is a coverstone. Was there a tomb underneath?

KARIN: No, not a tomb. We've found something far more interesting — the primary reason I wanted you for Project Giza, Barbara. That's —

O'NEAL: Excuse me, but that information's become classified.

BARBARA: Karin, what the hell is goin' on here?

KARIN: I'm not sure.

O'NEAL: (to Kawalsky) Effective immediately, no information is to be passed on to non-military personnel without my expressed permission.

DANIEL: We've just come from across the country. What exactly is it you want us to do here?

O'NEAL: You're all translators and analysts, so translate and analyze. (to Kawalsky) Sergeant, I want all information not directly pertaining to this tablet to be removed from this workspace and brought to my office immediately. Until that happens, you are the only individual authorized to be in this room.

With that last command, O'Neal turns and leaves. Wasting no time, Karin follows after him.

BARBARA: (smirks) Who was that masked man?

DANIEL: (approaches Kawalsky) You guys can't be serious about restricting us from information. I mean, if we're going to have any chance of figuring out what this stone says, we're going to need information. Otherwise, what the hell are we doing here?

KAWALSKY: (sullen) Your quarters are over there, directly across from the hall. If there's anything you need, don't hesitate to ask.

DANIEL: (angry) Didn't you hear what I just said‽ How am I supposed to decipher this thing without any information‽

KAWALSKY: (frowns) I have my orders.

Kawalsky points toward the double doors, silently ordering Daniel, Meyers, and Barbara to leave the room at once.

DANIEL: (shakes head in disbelief) Do you always follow orders? Always?

KAWALSKY: As a matter of fact, I do.

INT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN/LEVEL 18/CORRIDOR #1 — TWILIGHT

Capt. O'Neal walks through the corridor at a brisk pace, Karin keeping pace right behind him.

KARIN: Capt. O'Neal, I think you owe me an explanation. I was personally assured by Gen. West that I would have complete autonomy.

O'Neal stops. Turning around, he regards her with hard eyes.

O'NEAL: Plans change.

KARIN: Apparently. I'd appreciate some elaboration.

O'NEAL: The way I understand it, the folks at headquarters find things have gotten a little lax around here. And now you've brought in more civilians.

KARIN: (stern) Captain, they were approved.

O'Neal remains silent.

KARIN: This doesn't have anything to do with them, does it? (beat) What's this all about? Why'd they bring you in on this project?

O'NEAL: I'm here in case you succeed.

This time Karin remains silent.

INT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN/LEVEL 22/MESS HALL — NIGHT

Daniel, Meyers, and Barbara are seated close together at one of the small tables taking up space within the mess hall. Beyond them, four solitary enlisted men having meals by their lonesome, and a sandy-haired civilian member of the personnel arguing with a cook over the lemon content in the lemon chicken, the room is eerily empty.

DANIEL: (cont'd) Why bring us in on this project? Why recruit an Egyptologist, comparative linguist, and astrophysicist if you're only going to cuckold them? If there's a method to their madness, I fail to see it.

MEYERS: I suppose that's why "military intelligence" is an oxymoron.

BARBARA: OOPArts are fine and dandy like sour candy, but they're not subjects the military goes gaga over — not unless there's somethin' important about them, somethin' exploitable. (beat) Mark my words, studmuffins — the coverstone is to the Staff of Ra what whatever-it-is is to the Ark of the Covenant.

Meyers whistles the tune from Raiders of the Lost Ark where the Nazis melt and everyone at the table chuckles.

BARBARA: Why don't we open up some, get to know a little more about each another? (turns to Meyers) I nominate Meyers.

MEYERS: (smiles) Oh, I don't think so, Doctor. It was your idea to open up; you start.

BARBARA: Oh, very well. (punches Meyers playfully in arm) As you can both doubtlessly guess, I'm a thoroughbred Texan through-and-through. I grew up on a ranch with my Mama and Pop — both of whom are still kickin', thank God — and my brothers Kenny and Laurel. Laurel has a daughter — my niece, Mistress — who's the cutest little carrot-top in pigtails. A bona fide Annie of Green Gables. (beat) She's just darlin'.

MEYERS: I don't like subscribing to stereotypes, but you don't strike me as the astrophysical type. What got you into the game?

BARBARA: I guess you could say I've always had a connective streak, for want of a better descriptor — an eye for connectin' the proverbial dots which make up our reality. (beat) It started when I was a little girl, just this little skinny thing of seven. The family had taken a trip to Florida, and one day at the beach I was just runnin' a stick through the wet sand of the shoreline — I had it in my head that this was the way to catch a fish — and I just happened to spy trash some litterbug had left in the sand. In my mind's eye, I saw an isosceles triangle — an honest-to-God isosceles triangle. Lord, it was frightenin'.

DANIEL: (incredulous) Frightened ... by a triangle.

BARBARA: (gives him evil eye) It's not that I saw a triangle; it's that I recognized the mathematical significance of it. Me, a girl of seven still learnin' how to carry numbers. (beat) I didn't understand it, but I could recognize it, and that's what scared me. (beat) But later it began to fascinate me. And the more it happened — in different places, different circumstances, with different shapes — the more fascinated I became. Here I was, seeing all these random, disconnected items joinin' together, forming concrete shapes ... shapes which were random, disconnected items in-and-of themselves, just waitin' to be interconnected in ever bigger shapes. (beat) I fell in love with discoverin' these shapes, of uncoverin' their secrets, of seein' the universe in its entirety. I suppose, in the end, I wanted to see my personal universe in its entirety as well. (beat) That's the cut-and-dry of it. (to Meyers) Now it's your turn, Big Bear.

MEYERS: (blushes) When it became apparent I'd never compare to Plácido Domingo, I went with my second love and chose the pursuit of comparative linguistics.

DANIEL: (deadpan) That's it?

BARBARA: (smirks) A man of few words, our darlin' Gary is.

MEYERS: (shrugs) What you see is what you get.

BARBARA: And other cliches, I'm sure.

Daniel chuckles. Meyers just frowns.

MEYERS: And what's your story?

Daniel falls silent and still, face going stoney.

BARBARA: (places hand on Daniel's shoulder) Hey, shug, don't become an icicle on us now.

DANIEL: As a kid, my biggest dream was to become a cartoonist. (beat) I'd gotten into comics when I was around six and I just fell in love with sequential art, but my parents were scholarly types; they tolerated my hobby but didn't exactly approve of it. (beat) The day came when I decided I wanted to take art lessons. Mom and Dad agreed to sign me up, but they kept putting it off. I got fed up with their excuses and one night I ... blew up, just had a great big tantrum. (beat) That was the evening of their flight.

After a few moments of awkward silence, Meyers reaches under his sweater and pulls out a bronze flask.

MEYERS: This is our first night as a team. I suggest we propose a toast. (unscrews cap) To Project Giza. (takes sip)

Meyers hands the flask to Barbara.

BARBARA: To Project Giza. (takes sip)

Barbara hands the flask to Daniel.

DANIEL: To Project Giza. (takes gulp)
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#6

CROSSFADE TO

A shot of Cheyenne Mountain silhouetted against a red sunset.

SUPERIMPOSE: "FOURTEEN MONTHS LATER"

INT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN/LEVEL 18/COVERSTONE ROOM — SUNSET

In the long months which have passed since Daniel, Meyers, and Barbara joined Project Giza, the entire layout of the coverstone room has changed. A portable stereo, a coffee machine, a small refrigerator, stacks of volumes on Egyptian hieroglyphs and other Near East writing systems, and a scaffold erected under the coverstone have all been brought in; the room has been wallpapered with charcoal rubbings and photo enlargements of the coverstone's engravings; and the floor — along with various available spaces — have been carpeted with discarded junk food packaging. Daniel and Meyers stand at a whiteboard inscribed with a copy of the coverstone's inner line of writing, arguing fiercely over how it should be translated, while Barbara tries — with faltering success — to ignore them and concentrate on the computer program she is running. The camaraderie the three scholars initially established is long gone.

DANIEL: (cont'd; angry) This is all wrong!

Daniel rubs away a word Meyers has written under a set of hieroglyphs — "TIME" — and replaces it with "YEARS".

MEYERS: (outraged) I beg your pardon!

DANIEL: You used Budge, didn't you? (aside) Why do they keep reprinting his books?

MEYERS: Just because you have an irrational disdain for conventional methodology —

DANIEL: (facepalms) Not this again. (beat) I do not have "an irrational disdain for conventional methodology."

MEYERS: (cont'd) Oh yes, you do! You're a hair's breadth away from being another Graham Hancock or Zecharia Sitchin!

DANIEL: Oh, great comparison, Meyers! Great! Why not go all out and brand me the Second Coming of Erich von Däniken‽

Meyers turns back to the whiteboard, pointing at a section Daniel has translated.

MEYERS: The word "qebeh" is followed by an adverbial "sedjemenef" with a "cleft" subject.

DANIEL: So‽

MEYERS: (incredulous) "In his sarcophagus"? (shakes head) I don't think so. I think "sealed and buried" is a little more accurate.

Meyers rubs out Daniel's translation, replacing it with his own. Daniel stares at the older man as if he just killed his beloved pet dog.

MEYERS: (triumphant) There! (beat) Beginning here, it reads: "THOUSANDS OF YEARS INTO THE SKY IS ATUM, FIRST GOD. SEALED AND BURIED FOR ALL TIME, HIS ..." (falters) door to heaven?

Daniel sighs dramatically, looking to the ceiling as if for deliverance from God Himself.

MEYERS: (strokes temple) No, that doesn't feel right to me. Maybe —

DANIEL: (losing control of temper) Give me that pen, you —!

The two men begin grappling for the whiteboard marker. Barbara — reaching the ends of her endurance — bolts upright from her station with a cry of frustration.

BARBARA: That's it! I've been listenin' to your bickerin' since the cock crowed! You wanna continue actin' like infantile asswipes‽ Fine! You can compare schlongs without me to referee. I'm goin' to bed.

With that final word, the tall raven-haired woman storms out, leaving the two men by themselves. After a moment they pull away from one another. Though the worst of their rage is spent, their eyes still burn with mutual resentment.

MEYERS: (holds marker out before Daniel's eyes) You want the marker, Little Orphan Danny? (hurls marker at whiteboard) There you have it!

With that final word, Meyers also storms off. He pushes through the twin doors the very moment Kawalsky enters balancing three trays of food on his arms, nearly knocking both the master sergeant and his load over.

KAWALSKY: Meyers! Hey, Meyers, dinner! Turn on back, man!

Meyers refuses to heed the military man's call. Shrugging as best as he can under the circumstances, Kawalsky makes his way into the interior of the room, setting two of the trays down on the edge of a table.

KAWALSKY: (holds tray out) Dinner, Jackson.

DANIEL: (moody) Good morning, Sergeant.

Daniel ignores the proffered food, choosing instead to make his way over to the scaffold.

KAWALSKY: It's almost 2000 hours. (looks at trash scattered throughout room; frowns) Why don't you guys clean this place up a little?

DANIEL: (climbing scaffold) That information is classified.

KAWALSKY: (rolls eyes) Give it a rest, Professor. (sets tray down on plastic crate) I'm going into town. Is there anything you need?

DANIEL: (looks down at Kawalsky from atop scaffold) Yeah. You could pick me up a point of reference. And maybe some context. (beat) No, seriously, Kawalsky, just give me ten minutes alone with the goddamn janitor. I'm sure he knows more about what was buried under this coverstone than I do.

KAWALSKY: (sighs) That might be true, but the janitorial staff has clearance.

DANIEL: Look, Sergeant, you people want me to solve this puzzle for you. You want me to decipher this stone that no one else has been able to read. But you won't give me enough information to do my job.

Kawalsky notices an untouched lunch tray sitting on the floor. Walking over to it, be bends down and picks up a cold sloppy joe, giving it a sniff.

KAWALSKY: Have you people got a problem with the food around here?

DANIEL: (cont'd) How about this. What if someone anonymously slipped an unauthorized copy of a report under my door? They'd never know who it was. They'd never even know I got it! I'd figure this thing out and we could all go home happy.

KAWALSKY: Jackson, do me a big favour and get off my back. You know I'm under the strictest orders.

DANIEL: So disobey orders!

KAWALSKY: (shakes head) It must be hard to always be the smartest guy in the room.

Swiping the bag of French fries from Daniel's tray, Kawalsky leaves. Exhausted, Daniel lies down on his back atop the scaffold, staring up at the ceiling.

FADE TO

The coverstone room, several hours later. Daniel is still there but has left the scaffold for a chair on the floor. A camcorder, set up on a tripod before him, is currently recording his latest log entry.

DANIEL: (cont'd) No matches whatsoever. I've yet again exhausted all reference material in comparing the symbols in the cartouche against all known writing samples from the period pre-&-post. Still no similarities. (beat) I'm never gonna get paid.

Daniel shuts the camera off. Stretching, he yawns, then gets up and lethargically staggers over to the coffee machine. As he picks the pot up, he finds it all but empty.

INT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN/LEVEL 18/CORRIDOR #2 — DAWN

Daniel exits the coverstone room, the empty coffee pot dangling at his side. Making his way down the empty corridor, he passes the night guard — Airman 1st Class Higgens — who is stationed at his desk post.

A1C HIGGENS: What's up, Doc?

DANIEL: How's it hangin', Higgens?

Daniel stops at a water fountain. Placing the rim of the pot under the spout, he begins filling it with water. Waiting for the pot to fill, Daniel glances back at Higgens. The guard is reading a paperback novel: Stargate by Pauline Gedge. Brow furrowing, Daniel stops filling the coffee pot and places it on the floor. Sauntering over to Higgens, he leans in over him, scrutinizing the book cover closely.

DANIEL: Good book?

A1C HIGGENS: Yeah….

Without another word, Daniel hurries back to the coverstone room.

INT. CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN/LEVEL 18/COVERSTONE ROOM — DAWN

Daniel strides over to the whiteboard he and Meyers had been arguing over earlier. Picking up a fresh marker, he rubs his tired face, regarding the "DOOR TO HEAVEN" translation Meyers himself had felt inadequate. With only a second's hesitation he erases the line, replacing it with one of his own.

Completely and accurately translated, the inscription now reads: "THOUSANDS OF YEARS INTO THE SKY IS ATUM, FIRST GOD. SEALED AND BURIED FOR ALL TIME, HIS STARGATE."

CROSSFADE TO

The interior of the coverstone room, which has undergone a dramatic transformation since we saw it last. Though still cluttered with tools, equipment, documents, and various knick-knacks, the floors — and various other surfaces — have been swept clean of junk food packaging. The only person in the room is Barbara, who is busy running another computer analysis on the coverstone's concentric lines.

SUPERIMPOSE: "PRESENT DAY" [2016]

The twin doors swing open and Daniel comes sauntering in. The Egyptologist has undergone a stunning transformation since we saw him last. With a short, stylish haircut, new glasses, and an outfit consisting of a black turleneck sweater worn with crisp blue jeans and blue high-top sneakers, he looks like an entirely different person.

DANIEL: (nods to Barbara) Good morning, Barb.

BARBARA: (raises hand) Mornin', Danny-boy.

DANIEL: (looks about room) Where's Meyers?

BARBARA: McKay's suspicions proved correct. The lemon chicken's not to be trusted.

DANIEL: (pained) Ouch!

Walking over to the bookcase, Daniel regards the titles on the shelf.

DANIEL: We really need to get some new books.

Barbara half-smiles.

DANIEL: (approaches Barbara) So, how are the new calculations coming along?

BARBARA: (sighs) We'll just have to wait and see.

DANIEL: (looks at coverstone) I thought decoding the hieroglyphic text would lead us to the answers we've been seeking, but it's only brought more questions.

BARBARA: Well, I'm takin' a break.

Sliding over to another computer, she opens a web browser.

DANIEL: (cocks eyebrow) Taking a break? We just got here.

BARBARA: (chooses search engine) You just got here. I've been runnin' P-TMPJDOPERW/53669 since 0530.

DANIEL: (watching Barbara surf 'Net) I'm surprised we've been able to get away with surfing the Internet on company hours.

BARBARA: I suppose allowin' me to ogle jpgs of Crissy Moran fingerin' herself is their way of saying "We're sorry for giving you the shaft."

Daniel cocks an eyebrow at her comment.

BARBARA: Just a little dirty humour for a dirty mornin', as my ex used to say. I'm 100.96% AC.

Focusing her attention back to her computer, she types "UHoroscope" into the search bar and presses "ENTER". Her screen immediately goes black and a white diagram of the Zodiac fades into existence. There, arranged in a ring around an anthropomorphized sun, are the signs for Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

DANIEL: (scrutinizes computer screen) An astrophysicist who follows astrology. That's got to be up there with fundagelicals who believe God is dead.

BARBARA: (smiles) I know it's all just so much bunk, but what can I say? I've always had a superstitious streak.

Daniel rolls his eyes good-naturedly then leaves Barbara to her hobby. As he passes the table stacked with photos and documents, he suddenly halts. There, out in full view, is a photograph of the coverstone's inner ring of marked-off concentric lines. Turning from the photo, he looks up at the coverstone itself, eyeing the physical etchings. Without haste, he picks the photo up and rushes back to Barbara's side.

DANIEL: (sets photo down between Barbara and keyboard) Barbara, look at this.

BARBARA: (looks at photograph) The ring of concentric lines. (eyes Daniel) We've been introduced.

DANIEL: (points at screen) Look.

BARBARA: So?

DANIEL: Can't you see it?

Barbara looks back to the photo, then to the computer screen, then back to the photo. She doesn't get what Daniel is driving at. Suddenly, her eyes light up with understanding. The images of the coverstone's ring of lines and the Zodiac diagram are unmistakably similar.

DANIEL: Remember the last line in the inscription? Of the stargate?

BARBARA: You think the lines make up some sort of early Zodiac, a diagram of the stars?

DANIEL: A gateway to the stars.

Without a moment's hesitation, Barbara returns to the computer she was working on earlier, cancelling the run of P-TMPJDOPERW/53669. Typing a command into the keyboard, she calls up a fresh display of the coverstone's concentric lines.

DANIEL: Remember, if this is a star map, it'll be a map of the stars as they were seen ten thousand years ago. You'll have to adjust for stellar drift.

BARBARA: You don't have to remind this astrophysicist of that, Danny-boy.

Barbara goes to the menu of the computer program she is running and chooses an option. Seconds later it begins comparing the concentric lines to the night sky of Egypt as seen in 8000 BCE. The analysis soon ends, "NO MATCHES FOUND" appearing on the screen in big red letters.

BARBARA: Maybe we're underestimatin' the original designers. We're assumin' they operated on the same limited playing field other primitive cultures operated under, but maybe they didn't. (beat) This could still be a star map, just not meant to be viewed on a two-dimensional plane.

Barbara enters new commands in the computer program. Almost immediately, the ring of concentric lines is realigned into a series of three-dimensional forms and compared against star charts of the nearby galactic neighbourhood in the same configurations. After a few minutes the simulation comes to an end. "ONE MATCH FOUND" appears on the screen in big green letters.

BARBARA: (grins) Tiger, we've just hit the jackpot!

There, displayed in ultra-high definition, is a spherical map of the Milky Way Galaxy 7000 light-years out from Earth. An uneven blue line — starting at Earth and running out to various stars and systems before coming to an end-point in the constellation Auriga — runs through the length of the map.

BARBARA: It's locked onto a point in the M37 cluster. (beat) That's on the other side of the galaxy.

Daniel looks up at the coverstone, focusing on the central cartouche containing the eight unusual glyphs.
Rock over London, rock on Chicago. Remington electric razor — cleans you, thrills you, may even keep you from getting busted.
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