STARCHILD

Screenplay treatment

The original screenplay concept
developed in 1978 by Marvin Arnold

It is night. Across a small inlet of water, a rocket is sitting on a launch pad beside a well lighted gantry. There are no sounds except the rippling of water on the shoreline and the normal night time sounds. (1)

The gantry comes alive with flames from the rocket engines and the missile begins to lift off. The chest pounding noise breaks the soft still night air. The sky glows a bright yellow-gray, then fades as the missile becomes only a speck of light among the stars. It is now even darker than before and the soft night sounds return.

Inside the brightly lit Launch Control Center, several dozen scientists and engineers go through normal post-launch procedures and prepare for a work-shift changeover. Singled out among the many in the room are The Professor, a guidance controller, The Engineer, a tracking officer and The Commander, who is a former astronaut.

The Professor is the head of a special research project on hyper-light" given the code name, STARCHILD. He was in attendance as an observer at the launch. Mounted on top of the missile that was launched is a special nose cone capable of exceeding the speed of light. (2) As the work-shift changes, The Professor, The Engineer and The Commander leave the building together discussing the successful launch. The Professor then invites them to his home the following afternoon for an outdoor party and small celebration. They are to come and bring their wives and girlfriends too.

As they exit, it becomes obvious by observing the surroundings that it is not the 1970s, but more in the time period of 1980 to 1990. The environmental conditions are very poor, the sky is not clear and the air is hazy. The cars are conventional, but more modern. Many things are familiar, but there are minor differences in dress, road signs, etc. (The fact being that we are not on Earth at all, but on the planet Terra.) Terra is a planet, which at this point, is only slightly advanced over present day Earth. Terra is suffering from the technological destruction of its atmosphere. (3)

The Professor then drives to the launch gantry where two launch Technicians are supervising the cleanup and shutdown of the operation. As he gets out of the car, the two Technicians walk over to meet him. They discuss the flawless success of the missile launch and The Professor invites them to attend the celebration at his home the next day. They accept.

A patrol helicopter follows The Professor's car as he drives to a large hangar some distance away. The hangar is very isolated and well guarded. An entry sign indicates that it is a Restricted Area. He is given entry by the guard who recognizes him as he enters. In the very large, dimly lit hangar, a small craft about the size of a jet fighter, sits alone in the center of the hangar. As The Professor walks slowly around the craft, he is engrossed in deep thought. The name on the side of the craft reads STARCHILD. It is a six passenger spacecraft which has been built to test hyper-light. It is currently in phase two of the project. Phase one of the project was the unmanned nose cone atop the missile launched earlier that day. The nose cone from the unmanned missile will go into outer-space, be inserted into hyper-light speed for only a micro-second, then recovered and returned. No one actually knows how far an object will go when traveling at hyper-light speed for even a fraction of a second.

The Professor looks up as he hears footsteps coming across the hangar floor. As the darkened figure approaches, he recognizes The Director of the Space Center. The Director informs The Professor that the nose cone went into hyper-light approximately fifteen minutes earlier. No trace of it has been found as of yet, but he feels that with the sophisticated tracking equipment onboard, there will be no problem in finding and returning the nose cone. At sub-light, depending on the distance, it could take months or years for the nose cone to be recovered.

The Professor seems to be pre-occupied. When The Director asks if anything is wrong, The Professor goes into a rage about not understanding how science can accomplish something as complicated as developing a hyper-light spacecraft and then stand idly by and let nations and corporations destroy the world's environment. The Director is startled at The Professor's hostility, then realizing that is not The Director's fault, but all the world's fault, The Professor apologizes. The two men leave the hangar together and STARCHILD stands alone in the darkened hangar.

At the outdoor party the next afternoon, there are twelve guests present. A Woman Scientist, who is an astrobiologist, stands near a table spread with hors'deurves and drinks. Several other guests are standing with her as she discusses her latest research project which is cloning. (4) Her research is being conducted at the space center laboratories. Someone suggests that cloning is such a morbid subject and proposes that they toast to yesterday's successful launch. The occasion turns to a happy one, The Professor seems pleased.

The atmosphere is very hazy and someone remarks that the day has turned out nice for a cookout. One assumes then that the environmental conditions are very bad if this is considered a good day.

The Director and his wife leave. The two Technicians have left to take their girlfriends home and have returned. The conversation now comes around to the hyper-light Project. It is jokingly remarked that there is no great secret about what the project is, only in how it is going to be achieved. The conversation then turns to the bad environmental conditions, the armed satellites in space and other current scientific problems of the day.

The Professor goes to freshen his drink, he is followed by The Commander who engages him in a conversation about what would happen if a carbon nuclear bomb were set off in the present unstable carbon monoxide atmosphere. The Professor, who is still in a joking mood, replies that he would not want to be around to test that theory. The Commander looks very concerned and asks The Professor to come and see him at the space center the next day. They then rejoin the others at the party.

The next day The Commander and Professor meet. The Commander explains that a foreign power had placed several carbon-nuclear warhead satellites into orbit some years ago. That a project, which he is involved in, tracts these satellites. They have discovered that one of the warhead satellites is in a very low orbit that is decaying rapidly. (5)

The Professor calls in The Director and three other scientists to help in calculating the orbital decay and the potential for a nuclear reaction. It is calculated that the satellite will enter the atmosphere within a matter of hours and that a nuclear chain reaction will occur. It is suggested that the satellite be shot down by a missile. However, by the time the missile can be launched, the satellite will already be too close to the atmosphere and a chain reaction can not be prevented.

The Professor now reveals that the untested spacecraft, STARCHILD is ready for flight. The craft is capable of carrying unlimited weight, but there is only life support systems for six persons. The Girl Scientist arrives to meet The Professor. She enters the room unaware of the grim conclusions which have just been reached. She has in her hand a plastic container, in the container is a small plant which she excitedly explains is a second generation A-Anana, (6) a hybrid plant which has just been developed. She then realizes that something is wrong. The Director who has observed and remained silent up until now suggests they should try to put three couples into outer space to survive the probable destruction of the world. The Director declines to go as he feels somewhat guilty for the current state of events. The two Technicians agree voluntarily to stay behind. The Engineer's wife is called and told to come to the space center.

In the large hangar, two technicians ready the STARCHILD for the flight. The Director sits alone in the launch control center. There are some emotional moments as The Engineer talks with his wife on the phone, she will not leave her small child based on a scientific theory that the world is coming to an end and risk her life in an untried spacecraft. The Commander's girlfriend is involved in a spectacular car crash on the way to the Space Center. At the last minute, five men and one woman board the STARCHILD. The hangar door rolls open and the craft lifts off (7) into the dark starlit evening sky.

The craft must remain sub-light until it is well clear of the atmosphere. As the six space travelers look back at the world, (8) the atmosphere begins to glow red at one small point, then the blue-white begins to glow red all over. The nuclear chain reaction is no longer a theory but a fact. There is sadness among the six. The world as they knew it, no longer existed.

The Professor assisted by the Commander inserts the STARCHILD into hyper-light and Terra becomes only a small point of light in a vast star field.

Traveling at hyper-light for several weeks, The Commander, who is a celestial navigation expert, calculates that they are nearing a sun approximately the same size as their former sun. The Commander suggests that they should go sub-light and look for a habitable planet.

Looming ahead is the planet Earth. So much like Terra that they are suspect of what they see. Entering Earth orbit, they make a spectra-analysis of the whole planet. The atmosphere is pure. It is too good to be true. They search for an area of medium terrain on which to set the STARCHILD down. An attractive river valley, later to be known as the Mediterranean Valley (9) is selected for landing site.

The space-travelers have not aged during their trip. They later discover that no aging will again occur until the real-time has elapsed. (The period of time which it would take to travel the same distance at the speed of light which they have traveled at hyper-light.) It will take 6,000 to 10,000 years for this to occur. Except for bodily damage beyond repair or healing, they are immortal for the time being.

They have in fact, landed on Earth during a period thousands of years BC They have not gone through a time warp. (10) They have not landed on the same planet from which they departed.

The six emerge from the STARCHILD. They marvel at the beautiful Earth, thinking that a long time ago Terra must have been much like this. They begin to take stock and make camp. It will soon be dark.

The next day, The Technician uses a one-man retro- rocket (11) to make an aerial survey of the area. He encounters some nomads. They are homosapiens (12) which are native to Earth, but still not men as we know them today.

The space travelers befriend the natives and for a time they live among them, treating them more like friendly children than equals. They show them how to make fire, purify meat and roll things on wheels.

Years pass and by now it is evident that the six space-travelers are not aging. They move to a mountain top home and install many conveniences which they build from scratch. It seems to the Earth men that they are truly gods. The Commander, one day kills a beast (13) with a laser gun. He becomes known as Thor. The Technician who often flies around on a Mercury powered rocket pack, becomes known as Mercury, the messenger of the gods. (14) The Girl Scientist becomes known as Pallasathena, the name given to her means Protectress of Civilized Life.

A crude form of Latin, the language of Terra, is then taught to the natives. Several of the male space-travelers mate with the humanoid women of Earth, (15) but the offspring are not ageless like their space-traveler parents. In fact, Adam, the first Terra-Earth Man only lives 130 years, but his son, Seth, became a powerful ruler in Mediterranean and lives 912 years. (16)

Although the space-travelers can copulate with the humanoids who cohabit the Earth, it is decided, after several decades, that each man will marry Athena. They will raise a family of a least three female children. She will then formally divorce herself of that man and wed another, repeating this procedure five times. It is found that the offspring are highly evolved like their parents, but are not ageless because they are born within their own time frame. It then becomes necessary for the men from Terra to mate with other than their own offspring for several generations. This is so that the offspring will never marry closer than a third cousin. (17)

The only woman space-traveler becomes the (Eve) mother of the New Earth. The twelve original daughters become the mothers of the twelve major tribes of Earth. Their early offspring have long life spans, but after cross-breeding and in-breeding (18) takes place their life spans shorten. (19)

During the next several thousand years, the space-travelers inhabit various parts of the planet Earth. In their travels, they are able to meet and visit with two other extraterrestrial. The first landed in Tibet. His name is BoDa. (20) He has traveled her sub-light from Himala, and his people are known as Manchu. The planet Himala is about 15 light-years away in the region of the constellation Draco (the Dragon). He has made the trip knowing that he cannot return. He ascended to Earth in a small shuttle craft. The larger interplanetary vehicle was burned up in the Earth's atmosphere. BoDa can communicate with his home planet by thought wave, but the longer he stays on Earth, the more his power is weakened. The Manchus are a very religious, highly evolved people. It is said by BoDa that he does not believe anyone else will follow him to Earth. He remains in Asia for many years and he and his descendants found most of the worlds great religions.

The other landing by extra-terrestrials is a group of 7 feel tall, thin, dark-skinned people who have traveled here from Sirius E-2, a planet having two suns (21) in the constellation Canis. Their home planet is suffering from a 3000 year drought.

It is doubtful that anyone who remained on Sirius will survive. Their craft too is a sub-light craft and its atomic fuel has been expended on this migration. It is agreed, with their leader NaGa, that his people may remain in Africa. Their descendants along with some of the descendants of the Manchu later unite to form the Egyptian empire.

The space-travelers from Terra establish a great civilization on the island of Atlantis. North America is to remain undeveloped, more of an experimental than anything else. They consider it like an international park or game reservation. It will be preserved until time and population demand that it be used. They are able to travel from continent to continent by means of an anti-gravity device taken from the engines of the STARCHILD. This is attached to simple baskets or carriages for carrying several people. Often, they take friends or offspring aboard these crafts. One who is unfamiliar with a flying craft, which can climb high above the clouds, would describe their encounter as being carried to heaven by the gods. (Legends carried down through various cultures, described heaven as like sitting around on puffs of clouds.)

An understanding of the current (22) flows of the great oceans is taught to the sailor merchants of the time. Trading throughout the world is done on a large scale. They teach these same merchants how to use the sail like the air-foil of an airplane to pull the boat across the water instead of being pushed by the wind.

Two of the original space-travelers are destroyed by a natural disaster. The others build a pyramid, the first pyramid in the Nile River Valley, to focus cosmic energy and help preserve their remains. They have knowledge of cloning and by storing the remains of their two companions, they know that someday it will be possible to reinstate them to life form.

During a major Earth catastrophe, the island of Atlantis sinks and the Mediterranean Valley is destroyed by flood. The main power cell from the STARCHILD is lost at the sinking of Atlantis. (23)

During the time of Moses, three of the space-travelers visit with him and instruct him as to how to build a radio receiver into the temple walls. This would allow them to communicate with him in times of need. They also assist in the destruction of the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorra with an atomic device. Moses was very important to them because he is the leader of the people who are the direct descendants of the survivors of the original Earth base.

The four remaining space-travelers from Terra become involved in a project to civilize the world, the founding of the Athenian empire. (24) This project is interrupted after about 200 years when a foreign space craft arrives from Olmac, in the constellation Ophiuchus (the Snake Bearers). It lands in Peru, South America. The four remaining space-travelers go to meet the new extra-terrestrials who are somewhat humanoid. (25) Stranded here on Earth forever, they are forced to colonize. They have traveled here in a very primitive military type rocket from only a few light-years away. They are a very savage people. They, however, die off after only 60 to 70 years on Earth. Their descendants remain to found the Myan civilization.

At one period while living among the hordes of Eurasian, The Engineer teaches some nomads to capture and ride horses. They are the first Chap-Ben-Dar. (26) He teaches them to play a game on horseback called Bush-Cas-he and they quickly learn to conquer and rule the hordes of Asians because of their great advantage over foot soldiers when mounted horseback.

The Professor helps the natives of England to understand astronomy and assist in building Stonehinge. It is used for telling the coming of the seasons, the eclipses of the sun and days of the year. Later, he becomes known as Merlin of King Arthur's court and helps establish the city of Camelot, which later becomes London.

The Commander becomes an assistant to Leonardo DiVinci and helps him understand concepts like the air screw and flight which are reflected in his writings. Athena is a friend and associate of Ludig von Beethoven and inspires him to compose many of his great symphonies.

In 1850 in European Prussia (on a peaceful rolling countryside) there is a company of foot soldiers spread out and moving forward as though attacking. As they come closer, they are charged by mounted Dargous who ride into the soldiers and a bloody battle ensues.

On a nearby hillside is an open carriage, in it are seated three men and a coach driver. The Professor suggests to The Engineer that if he had not been fooling around teaching those nomads how to ride horses so they could play that damn game Bush-Cas-he, then possibly this type of thing would not have come about. He replies that who is to say what we have taught them and what they would have learned for themselves.

In 1900 in Dayton, Ohio, The Engineer meets two mechanics who run a bicycle repair shop. They explain to him their interest in building a flying machine and he shows them some simple principles. (27) Using the two brothers, he has them walk through examples. He has one lean on a wall and see how difficult it is to move along the wall; then he has them both run a race starting from the same point, but with one taking a straight route and one running a curved route. See, he says, now you understand. They did not understand but they figure it out later.

When the first un-powered flight leaves from a hillside in Ohio, our four space-travelers are standing nearby observing. At a university in the U.S., prior to WW II, The Commander is visiting with Dr. Einstein. Before leaving, he walks to the blackboard and changes some equations, reducing them to E = mc2.

As The Commander leaves the university building, he is met by The Professor who has been waiting for him. They agree that although the work which they will be starting at Pennumundy in Germany, will be in danger by the Americans developing the atomic bomb, that it must be done. They have lost faith in Hitler's ability to rebuild the Roman Empire. Besides, The Professor says, I believe we can continue our space research here in America once this war is ended.

It is now 1978 on Earth. A small missile is launched from Cape Kennedy. In the NASA launch control center we find the three space travelers. They work here now and it is quitting time. They leave sharing a ride in a large limousine. This is very similar to the beginning of our story, except that it is indeed Earth, 1978. The missile just launched was a routine communications satellite firing.

The three pull up to a large mansion in a isolated and very exclusive rural neighborhood. Also just pulling in the drive is Athena in a Jaguar roadster. She remarks that she had always preferred her 1939 model, but that it had finally worn-out. The four enter the house together. A servant meets them at the door, Charles and, and is greeted by name. The inside of the home is both posh antique and ultramodern combined. Servants greet them saying dinner will be ready shortly. They have dinner served to them at a large dining table. After dinner, they have coffee in a impressive room which opens onto a terrace and garden area. In the garden are large hybrid B-Anana plants which Athena still raises as a hobby. Athena is talking with Charles about something that had occurred during World War I. However, Charles is no more than 40 years old. As Charles leaves the room, The Professor remarks that he was proud of Athena for her work with Charles. Charles had been cloned from a servant whom had been with them for over a hundred years. They were very fond of him and therefore hated to lose him. It is their first totally successful attempt at cloning. It was considered so because Charles had retained his full memory. He had been told only that a youth experiment had been conducted on him which had been successful.

The party of four now retire to another area of the house which is the center for much of their research. The Commander has been searching the stars for another Earth-like planet. He has found several suns that look rather promising. Among them he has also found two planets that are suitable except for their absence of blue-green algae which is a necessary basic building block to life forms. The third planet, located in Andromeda seems to meet the requirements for supporting humanoid life.

It is decided the Andromeda E-5 will be the next planet which they journey to. They have been looking for a new planet which they can journey to because it has been discovered a few weeks ago that some possible aging is now occurring. Until now they have not aged; they theorize that because the normal aging process has began again, that the real-time since they had entered hyper-light has now elapsed. In other words, the journey that took a week at hyper-light speed would have taken them thousands of years to date to complete at the speed of light and even longer at sub-light speeds.

The two planets which have no algae, it is decided, will have missiles containing DNA fired toward them aboard a hyper-light nose cone which will be mounted aboard one of the routine communications satellite launches coming up soon. This will prepare these planets for colonization in the event they are needed at a later time.

The Professor reveals that NASA now has the technological capability to build a hyper-light craft and that he will start to work immediately on project STARCHILD II (two). The Engineer suggests that it is now time to take their private Lear Jet to Egypt, to the oldest pyramid, and to recover their two companions who had been stored there. They agree and depart that night. They arrive at a small desert airstrip near the ancient pyramids along the Nile. They load the portable cloning equipment onto a truck and proceed to the original pyramid. Knowing the secret to its entry, they enter the pyramids hidden passageway. The equipment is set up and their two companions are cloned in an 18 hour process. The two are as they were before, there last memory is of the day each was injured originally. They greet their friends and are filled in on what all has happened since each of their accidents. The six now return to the waiting jet and depart. The Commander and one of the revived Technicians pilot the jet. The Technician is amused at the primitive craft as he is checked out on how to fly it. The topic of discussion during the trip home is about how the people of the Earth can be made to understand that they must not destroy their environment like the people of Terra had done.

A plan is devised, based on the fact that music is a universal language, (28) to form a Rock Music Group. After all, had they not taught David to play the harp and helped Beethoven write some of his better symphonies On stage at rock concerts, the group performs in costumes and makeup that hides their true identities. Traveling on concert tours and through recording sessions, they become the number one music group in the world.

A five month concert tour is ended in London at an outdoor concert where 200,000 people attend. The concert is being televised and broadcast by satellite throughout the world. The performance is stopped. The leader of the group steps to the microphone. He makes an urgent appeal for the people of Earth to save their planet's environment while they still can. Silence falls over the crowd. The group of six walk through the crowd protected by police. On the back of a semi-trailer truck is the spacecraft STARCHILD II, (29) draped in canvas. The cover is removed and the six board the craft. Radio and TV commentators are explaining what is happening. The craft lifts off, hovers for a moment, then speeds out of sight. (30)

Aboard the craft, the six original space-travelers insert the STARCHILD II into hyper-light. They wonder if the children of Earth, their children, will heed their warning and save the planet Earth while there is till time. What new worlds lay ahead? Will they be able to do better or worse on this new planet? But even more shocking to them is the sudden realization that they may be the seed from which all life throughout the universe will spring. Traveling from planet to planet, aging only a few months through thousands of years, they will populate the universe.

FOOTNOTES:
(1) This is basically the description of the Apollo 17 launch.
(2) Einstein's law of relativity states that the speed of light is the ultimate speed and his special law states that the speed of light can be exceeded due to time warping. Hyper-light speeds are conceivable, but the explanations are too lengthy to discuss in this writing.
(3) The fact that Terra is not Earth in the 1990's, but another planet entirely, will not become known until later in the story.
(4) Cloning - the biological hypothesis in which one cell of a living body can be used to grow an identical while body.
(5) Decaying orbits of warhead satellites is a real problem. As recent as January 1978, a Russian atomic satellite disintegrated over Canada.
(6) The 'A" strain plant has been dropped for a hardier 'B" strain which will be called the B-anana. Some writers theorize that the Banana tree is not native to this planet.
(7) Using a Marine Corps Harrier jump-jet VTO aircraft which is modified to simulate the spacecraft.
(8) Using the actual film of the earth as viewed from a moon voyage, adding special effects.
(9) A theory in geology, that this area known as the Mediterranean Sea was once a fertile river valley, a garden of Edan and the cradle of civilization. Later, the oceans poured through the Straits of Gibraltar, covering the valley.
(10) They have not gone backwards or forwards in time. Real time in the universe cannot be changed, only our position in distance relative to the universe. The earth is exactly in the era it is when they land. Terra was indeed destroyed several weeks ago. Therefore, Terra was thousands of years advanced over the earth in the development of civilization and technology.
(11) A Ryan Aircraft Rocket Back-Pack currently operational today, is used for this. Except that the jet blast sound is omitted and it is flown in a dust free area so as to give the effect that it is other than jet powered.
(12) The humanoids, which are found on earth at this time, are of two types. The homoneanderthalensis was more primitive and was believed to be a long time native of earth. The other called Cro-Magnon was a tall large brained man and did not appear on earth until aproximately 25,000 to 10,000 years B.C. Neolithic man appeared about 10,000 to 5,000 years B.C.
(13) Chapter 6:4 Genesis of the Bible.
(14) This may account for the legendary gods of mythology and their strange powers. These gods of old were recorded in every culture throughout history.
(15) Chapter 6:1 and 2 Genesis.
(16) Chapter 5:1 thru 8 Genesis.
(17) This procedure is used quite often in animal breeding and in creating new breeds.
(18) Cross-breeding refers to mating with the native humanoids. In-breeding refers to mating with distant relatives.
(19) Chapter 6:3 Genesis.
(20) BoDa looks very much like today's statues of Buddha.
(21) In Africa today, there is a cult which has known of the twin Star Sirius (in the constellation Canis) for many generations prior to modern astronomy being able to detect it. Canis means dog. It is interesting that the Egyptians often painted men with dog's faces.
(22) Examples of current flow in the Atlantic Ocean and how easy it was to cross the oceans. Without sails in 1969, Tom McClean, in a twenty foot boat, crossed from Newfoundland to Ireland in seventy days. In 1970, Sydney Genders averaged thirty-seven miles a day crossing from England to Florida in a nineteen foot boat.
(23) Some people theorize today that there is something deep in ocean floor near Bermuda Triangle which throws navigational instruments off and disorients travelers in this area.
(24) The islands of Crete and Peloponnesus were the foothills to the Mediterranean Valley before the great flood. The inhabitants of the northern valley migrated to this area and the rest went south into Mesopotamia.
(25) The Olmac look very much like the carvings on ancient Maya stones, having large broad facial features.
(26) Chapbender; Houseman. The game polo probably evolved from Buschashe.
(27) These are two simple ways of explaining Bunnillies principle - 'As velocity increases, pressure decreases.
(28) Music is mathematical and has been suggested as a means of communication in other popular science fiction stories.
(29) Here again, we use the modified USMC/VTOL Harrier jump jet. The jet blast sound is omitted to give the effect of silence and a clean paved area is used for takeoff to minimize the dust, etc. stirred up by the jet blast.
(30) Like a UFO, it glows as its departing speed increases.
STARCHILD, copyright WGA200979/1978.

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