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The Andromeda Strain (1971) - full transcript

When virtually all of the residents of Piedmont, New Mexico, are found dead after the return to Earth of a space satellite, the head of the US Air Force's Project Scoop declares an emergency. Many years prior to this incident, a group of eminent scientists led by Dr. Jeremy Stone (Arthur Hill) advocated for the construction of a secure laboratory facility that would serve as a base in the event an alien biological life form was returned to Earth from a space mission. Stone and his team - Drs. Dutton, Leavitt and Hall (David Wayne, Kate Reid, and (James Olson, respectively)- go to the facility, known as Wildfire, and try to first isolate the life form while determining why two people from Piedmont (an old wino and a six-month-old baby) survived. The scientists methodically study the alien life form unaware that it has already mutated and presents a far greater danger in the lab, which is equipped with a nuclear self-destruct device should it manage to escape.


Piedmont, New Mexico.
Population 68.

Come on.

I didn't notice them before.

That's crazy. I didn't know
buzzards fly at night.

That's what they look like.

Here.

Boy, that's some dead burg.

Buzzards only come
when something's dead.

I guess we'd better go in
and have a look.

'This is Caper One
to Vandal Deca.

'Caper One to Vandal Deca.
Are you reading? Over.'

Yes, I'm reading. Over.

'We're about to enter the town of Piedmont
and recover the satellite.'

Very good, Caper One.
Leave your radio open.

'Roger.

'We're now inside the town.

'It's kinda spooky.

'I see a church steeple
ahead on the left.

'It's quiet here.

'It's the damndest thing.
There's no sign of life.

'The signals from the satellite
are getting very strong.'

- 'Sir! You see that, Lieutenant?'
- 'See what, Crane?'

'Over by the fence.
It looks like a body.'

'Easy, Crane.
You're imagining things.'

- 'Holy...'
- 'Sir, it's another one.'

'You're right.
Looks dead.'

- 'Yes, sir, shall I...'
- 'No! Stay in the van.'

Vandal Deca to Caper One.
What's happened?

'We see bodies, lots of them.'

Are you certain, Caper One?

'Dammit, Comroe,
of course we're certain.'

Your orders are...
"Proceed to satellite and retrieve."

'Roger, Vandal Deca.'

Stay at your stations!
Hit that security button!

Get me Major Manchek.

'Somehow they don't
hardly look dead, Lieutenant.'

'They're all over the place.
Must be dozens of them.'

Dammit,
get this call through!

'It's sort of like
they just dropped in their tracks, sir.

'Sir!'

'Good chri...!'

- 'Do you see that thing in white?'
- 'Yeah, it's coming toward us.'

Hello, Major.
This may sound crazy,

but there's something strange
going on with Caper One.

'Lieutenant, sir,
I think we should get out of...'

Hello, ops, this is Major Manchek.
Scoop control A-12.

We need a flyby over Piedmont,
New Mexico.

Infrared. A F.L.I.R. scan, all sectors.
Film to come direct to Scoop.

Assign Gunnar Wilson,
if he's not crocked someplace.

Jeez!

I'm declaring a state of emergency.
All personnel restricted to base.

Everything seen and heard
in that room is top secret.

Yes, sir.

'This is a recording.

'State your name and your message
and hang up.'

Major Arthur Manchek,
Scoop mission control A-12.

I recommend
calling a Wildfire alert.

We have evidence here on film
of unnatural death

caused by Scoop 7 returning to Earth.

Time check 0-1-4-7 inclusive.

We'd like to see
Dr. Jeremy Stone, please.

Well, I'm Mrs. Stone,
and we are having a party.

May I...

Does that man have a gun?

Ma'am, we must see Dr. Stone.

- What is this?
- Please call Dr. Stone to the door.

Otherwise we'll go get him, ma'am.

Just a minute.

I'll just wait here, ma'am.

I'll come to Berkeley anytime, Stone.

That $4 million must be
the largest federal grant.

May I see you, Jeremy?

The S.D.S. has arrived no doubt.

Jeremy, there are
some army types in the hall,

and there are two more outside with guns.
They want to see you.

I'll take care of it.

Jeremy! If you knew about this,
you might've told...

I didn't.
I'll explain later.

I'm Dr. Stone.

Yes. I'm Captain Morton.

There's a fire, sir.

- I've got to leave.
- For God's sakes, Jeremy!

- When will you be back?
- I'm not sure.

The guns, is it...

Mrs. Stone, it's our job
to protect your husband.

From now on, nothing must be allowed
to happen to him.

I'll be safe as in your arms.

Jeremy? Jeremy!

You tell the Senator it's his daughter!

- 'Allison?'
- Dad?

Dad, something very peculiar
has just happened, even for Jeremy.

A few minutes ago...

Dad, are you there?
What's going on?

'This communication
is being monitored.

'The connection has been broken
for reasons of national security.

'You will be briefed
at the appropriate time.

'Thank you for your cooperation,
Mrs. Stone.'

I feel like Onassis.

It was the fastest thing
we could arrange, sir.

Thanks. Yes?

General Sparks here.

I just wanted to inform you that
all members of your team have been cleared

and are now being called in.

Except for professor Kirke.
He's in the hospital. Appendectomy.

You'll get complete details on everything
when your team is assembled.

You don't make sense.
You talk like you've been brainwashed.

You don't understand.

Germ warfare people, Dad?

- A lab accident?
- Thank you.

It's different this time. Don't pack, Claire,
I won't need anything.

A hippie.
He's going to a love-in.

I give up.

One minute you're fed up.
You talk about retiring... to Alaska yet!

Now you've turned into
a cloak-and-dagger man.

- My glasses.
- Here they are, Dad.

Can't you at least tell me
who phoned at this ungodly hour?

Grandpa, there's a car,
and they got guns.

Do they now?

Oh, that's serious.

- I'll watch out.
- Honey, you've been dreaming.

I wish I were!

No.

Uh-uh.
Get someone else.

Dr. Leavitt,
I told you, there's a fire!

My experiment's at the critical stage.

I've been working around the clock.
I can't just leave now.

I want that new plate read
as soon as it's developed.

Yes, ma'am.

My orders come from Dr. Robertson,

the President's science advisor
in Washington.

There's a phone.
Pick it up. Call Robbie.

Tell him I burnt my draft card.

Are you sick, ma'am?
We have a physician on call.

All Dr. Leavitt needs is rest.

Oh, knock it off, Bess.

If the physician certifies
that you are unable to continue...

No!

I'm fine.

Relax.

I'm going with you.

Skin knife.

'Hold it, Mark.
Sorry to disturb you.

'There's just been a call from a Dr. Robertson
at the White House.

'Your orders are to break scrub.'

Orders?
I've got a patient all ready.

'Kelly will take over for you.

'It's all arranged. You're expected
in the surgeon's room in 30 seconds.'

Are you sure the satellite
isn't radioactive?

No. Manchek showed me
the telemetry reports.

Presumably, it could be
some form of space germ.

Presumably this stuff is nonporous.

Why did you pick me?

You're an M.D., a talented surgeon
who knows blood chemistries,

and you're single,
the "odd man hypothesis".

What the hell is that?

Didn't you read the Wildfire material
I've been sending you?

Very little. I never went in much
for science fiction.

Nor do I!

It seems to me, General,
Dr. Stone put one over on you.

In fact, he made us all think

his Wildfire lab could handle
any contamination from outer space.

I disagree with
the Senator from Vermont.

Dr. Stone,
a Nobel Prize winner,

twice President of the
National Academy of Sciences,

is well known here in Washington.

Is the implication that
Dr. Stone deliberately misled us?

Perhaps not deliberately, Senator.

I'm reasonably certain that before the night
the Wildfire team was mobilized,

Dr. Stone didn't know Scoop existed.

- I'm astounded.
- Reasons of national security.

Very smart.

We've had experiences
with scientists before.

Now, let's talk about this famous letter

Dr. Stone sent to the President
some two years ago.

From what you're saying, General,
it was just a shot in the dark?

Perhaps that's a little unfair, Senator.

Dr. Stone and I were consultants with NASA
on the lunar receiving lab.

He wasn't completely satisfied with that.
He felt a more advanced lab was required.

You mean more expensive, don't you?

I call that Dr. Stone's $90 million
mash note to Uncle Sam.

"In a true biological crisis

"which our exploration of space
could bring about,

"the present lunar receiving laboratory
might prove inadequate.

"I therefore urge
the establishment of a facility

"to deal specifically with
an extraterrestrial form of life.

"The purpose of this facility
would be to limit

"the dissemination of such an unknown
organism from outer space,

"and to provide laboratories
for its analysis.

"I recommend
that this facility be located

"In an uninhabited region
of the United States,

"that it utilize all known
isolation techniques,

"and that it be equipped with
a nuclear device for self-destruction

"in the event of an emergency.

"Yours very truly, Jeremy Stone."

Don't encourage the President
to think scientists are wizards, Jeremy.

If things get out of control,
and they might,

even you can't work miracles.

I'd expect to have your help, Charlie.

Piedmont approaching, gentlemen.

Go over and give us
a look first, Dempsey.

I was afraid of that.

The birds'll eat the infected flesh,
and then fly off and spread the disease.

If it is a disease.

Drop the gas canisters, Dempsey.

Someone's supposed
to be alive down there!

Somebody did something.
That's for sure.

Let's give it a double dose.

That gas will only kill the birds.

OK, Dempsey, hover over the main street
and drop the ladder.

- Do not attempt to land. Is that clear?
- Roger. Clearer all the time.

When we climb down, lift off to 1,000 feet
and hover at a safe distance.

And come back when we signal.

If anything happens to us,
you have your orders.

Yes, sir. Proceed directly
to Wildfire and then...

If we're eliminated, the aircraft and pilot
will have to be sterilized.

Wait a minute!

That's not what they told me.
Just incinerated.

Coronary?

I doubt it.

Hall!

Take a look at this.

Are you sure that isn't coronary?

No, coronary's painful.
They should grimace.

If it was fast,
they wouldn't have time.

Fast? These people
were cut down in mid-stride.

Up there! Look.

An air force jet.

If we don't make it to Wildfire,
he'll see the helicopter does

or shoot it down.

Well, for Dempsey's sake,
we'd better not slip up.

"The day of judgment is at hand.

"Have mercy on my soul
and to hell with all the others. Amen."

Senile.

This took time! Regardless
of what made her do it, it took time.

There's a chance someone's still alive.

I wouldn't believe you could
commit suicide that way.

Most of them died instantly,
but a few had time to go quietly nuts.

Let's find the damn satellite.

This injury,
there isn't any bleeding.

A cut like this, torn veins, broken capillaries -
it should bleed like hell.

Yes.

There's no blood on any of them.

Even where it's chewed,
no bleeding.

Hold it, hold it!

You'd better back up.
We gotta go to the... left.

We're damn close.
Bear right.

I'll bet they took it to the doctor.

There it is.

The damn fool opened it!

Yeah, every country doctor
should run his office like the lunar lab.

The capsule first, Hall.

We've got about
40 minutes of oxygen left.

Have a look at his buttocks.

- That's not funny.
- Not meant to be.

Normally blood in a dead person
goes to the lowest points.

There should be marks of lividity.

Do you see purplish marks
on his butt?

No.

Careful you don't puncture your suit.

Clotted blood!

Powdered!

I'll be damned!

No wonder they didn't bleed.
It's clotted throughout the entire system.

Five quarts of blood turned to powder!

In theory, I suppose,
a single organism could do it.

But, in fact, there isn't
an organism on Earth...

You mean there didn't used to be.

- I don't...
- We heard it alright.

Go away! Go back!

- Get back! Get outta here.
- Go back!

Get away!

This must be the mother.

He's scared
and hungry as hell.

Can't be more than six months old.

- There's probably a formula in the kitchen.
- Don't feed it!

He hasn't eaten in at least 12 hours!

We don't do anything until we get that kid
into a controlled situation.

Maybe feeding is part
of the disease process.

Maybe those who hadn't eaten yet
lasted longest.

Whatever it is, with our oxygen running out,
we can't take a chance.

Oh, wait a minute.

This is a major break... a survivor.

Too bad he can't tell us what happened.

Maybe he can... if he lives.

You!

You... You did it!

Give me that knife.

You're not human.

Everybody's dead.

What happened?

What is it?

What's happened?

The town is finished,
contaminated beyond all...

Careful, sir.
This is an open transmission.

I'm aware of that, Manchek.
Order up a 7-12.

- Only the President...
- Precisely. Get on it.

The town must be neutralized immediately.

Has the President made his decision
on directive 7-12 yet?

He doesn't jump into things,
Dr. Robertson.

First I've got to put together
a briefing for him.

The President's main concern
is the international consequences.

What do you think, Mr. Secretary?

It's against the Moscow Treaty of 1963
to fire thermonuclear weapons above ground.

The Russians will have to be privately
informed we're going to cauterize the area.

Then they'll ask a flock of questions.

Some we don't want answered.

That'll take hours.

God knows how far the infection
can spread in that time.

Yes, Chief?

Yes, sir.

Yes, Mr. President.

The President's decided to postpone
directive 7-12 for 24 to 48 hours.

But...

Instead he'll call out the National Guard
to cordon off the area around Piedmont.

- That's your department, Ed.
- Safe and sound.

It should've been left up to the scientists.

It's a colossal mistake.

Tell the President I said so.

No, but...
I'll get you an appointment.

By whose decision, General,

was the site for Wildfire chosen?

Largely Dr. Stone's.

It seemed ideal to him
because of its remoteness.

There was no inhabited area near Wildfire
for a radius of 112 miles.

Las Vegas is to the north,

Phoenix to the south,
Los Angeles, west.

Weren't you worried the infection
might spread to them?

Yes, sir, I was.

But Dr. Stone and Dr. Robertson
assured the President

Wildfire was foolproof because of
its device for atomic self-destruct.

The military had to take a backseat.

At least they could've sent a licensed driver
to meet me at that crummy airstrip.

They keep personnel to a minimum
for obvious reasons.

You're lost! No one's been
down this goat path for years.

That's how it's supposed to look.
They spent $50,000 on it.

Putting in the potholes?

Getting rid of the tread marks.

Those big tractors
leave a lasting impression.

A lot of heavy equipment
has passed this way.

Where's our leader?

We'll catch up to him and Hall
very soon now.

Why'd they pick Hall? He's no scientist.
Who needs an overpriced M.D.?

Relax and enjoy your cigarette.
It's your last.

It starts here.

It's a great place to grow pot.

Just a plain old crop of barley.

Still, it is rather clever, I think.

- Something wrong?
- I never liked red lights.

Reminds me of my years in a bordello.

Howdy.

Howdy-doo-dee.

You got the time?

My watch stopped at 11:46.

- Darn shame.
- Must be the heat.

It's no fake, believe me.

When I retire, I'd like an agricultural station
like this in Alaska.

- You, a sourdough?
- The sourest.

This way.

Step in.

Cute.

The whole thing.

What a world we're making.

I can see why the kids are dropping out.
We should've.

It's an emergency, Dutton.
We got tagged. Period.

Till I saw those photos
from Vandenberg, I...

- They brought it on themselves.
- Who?

The people in Piedmont?

What you said before,

you don't believe the infection in that capsule
was brought back deliberately, do you?

Skip it, skip it. I hope
I'm talking through my hat.

Put your hands on that glass,
palms down.

It's a finger and palm print analyzer. It...

...reads a composite
of 10,000 dermatographic lines.

How'd you know that?

Oh, Dutton,
I have a long criminal record.

Then you're in trouble.
This machine has a long memory.

It gives you final
clearance to enter Wildfire.

'Isothermal reading
for M.C. levels 4 and 5

'is Z.B. and R.A. over 2.9.'

- How's Piedmont?
- I had to order up a 7-12.

- How are you, Ruth?
- Hello.

- No other way to halt the infection spread.
- Oh.

You two know each other, don't you?

By reputation only.

Yes, up to now we've had
to worship from afar.

Be good, Ruth.

Any messages for me
from the White House?

Not a thing, Dr. Stone,
or you'd have it.

- No personal messages?
- No, ma'am.

Nothing from Dr. Robertson?
Are you sure, Sergeant?

Dr. Stone, sir,
I have one thing to do. Just one.

Everything else is fully automatic,
computerized and self-regulating.

I listen for a little bell in here.

Ding-a-ling. That means a message
coming in is for the Wildfire team.

Precisely! An M.C.N. communication.
I'm expecting one.

Yes, sir! Top priority.

Ding-a-ling.
I push a button,

and all five level control centers
are notified the same time you are.

The bell hasn't rung, sir.

Thanks for the tour, Sergeant.

Dr. Dutton. Thank you.

Will you follow me, Dr. Leavitt?

- And may I have your glasses, please?
- What for?

They'll be treated
and returned to you, Doctor.

Well, they'd better be,
or I'll need a white cane.

Who picked Leavitt?

Talk about the odd man hypothesis,
which we haven't yet.

She's really an odd ball.

We're lucky to have her.

She's the best-equipped of us
to double up for Kirke in microbiology.

'When dressed, the team
will proceed directly to conference room 7.'

Keep this with you at all times.

What's it for?

You're the odd man.
The key man, quite literally.

This other key, and Wildfire itself,
depend on your key.

Wildfire's equipped with
a nuclear device for self-destruct.

In an emergency,
it's activated automatically.

I've just inserted the key in the main station
that arms the mechanism.

The device is ready for detonation.

- When?
- Never, we hope.

It only goes off if there's danger
of infection breaking out from here.

That silver key can't be removed.

You're the only one who can disarm
the mechanism by inserting your red key

In one of the substations
located throughout the facility.

Now, there's a five-minute delay
between the time detonation locks in

and the bomb explodes.

That gives you
a chance to think and...

please God, call it off.

- Look, I'm the new boy here. Why me?
- Because you're single!

You should have done
your homework, sport.

Page 255,
Robbie's odd man hypothesis.

"Results of testing confirm
the Robertson odd man hypothesis:

"That an unmarried male
should carry out command decisions

"involving thermonuclear
destruct contexts."

Let me take a look at that.

It's of vital importance, Hall,
that you always know where you are

in relation to the nearest substation.

To do that, you have to be
familiar with the entire facility.

It can be studied
on this electronic diagram

which rotates to afford an overall view,
or can be stopped at any section.

Detailed plans of the various levels and labs
are also stored in the system.

We're on level 1 of a five-story
cylindrical underground structure

surrounded by solid rock.

Each level has three substations
indicated by the yellow lights.

In the event the nuclear device is triggered,
you can still cancel self-destruct

by inserting your red key in a substation.

After our last simulation run,

we decided to add
two more substations per level,

but they're not finished yet,
so don't confuse them with functioning ones.

At the bottom of the central core
is the apparatus for self-destruct.

Each level is a different color,

based on a navy study of the psychological
effects of color in environments.

Also, each level is bio-medically
cleaner than the one above it.

We don't want anything
to contaminate a possible organism.

That would make it twice as hard
to isolate and characterize.

It'll take us 16 hours

to descend through the programmed
decontamination procedures

on the first four levels,

to level 5 where the main labs are.

Where exactly are we now?

There's one way you can always
locate yourself or any of us instantly.

Simply by calling up projections
from the electronic diagram

on any video monitor
anywhere in Wildfire.

Views such as this.

Now, this shows we're
in conference room 7, level 1.

Each of us is indicated by our initial.

Our movements are continuously
monitored on the electronic diagram.

Where are the patients?

Where's the capsule?

The patients are the yellow X's.

The red circle is the capsule.

On level 5, the patients and capsule
will be isolated in biologically secure setups.

Are you sure the old man
and the baby are still alive?

What are their chances, Hall?

Uncertain.

I'm hoping the intravenous dextrose
and saline will hold them until we get to them.

We start decontamination
and immunization procedures now.

You really expect me to fire the thing?

I'm afraid you don't understand.

All you can do is stop it.

In a biological emergency,
the bomb is activated automatically.

It'll then go off within five minutes

unless you get to a substation
and lock in your key.

Oh.

'Delta five to all levels.

'We are checking out ray band
emergency communications.

'This is a test.

'Proceed to infrared radiation
decontamination room 1-d.'

Also it could be an organism
from another planet released deliberately.

To wipe us out?
Really, Charles!

Just the opposite.
To make friendly contact.

A kind of messenger to show us
life exists elsewhere in the universe.

It could be benign
in its own environment.

Pretty far-fetched.

We can't ignore any possibility.

'You are about
to undergo long-wave radiation.

'A buzzer will sound.

'Close your eyes and stand still
or blindness may result.'

We faced quite a problem.

How to disinfect the human body, one of
the dirtiest things in the known universe.

That is without killing the human being
at the same time.

It gets tougher as we go.

Hard on the taxpayers,
the way we burn up uniforms.

They're paper.

- I'd swear it was cloth.
- New process.

Where's the next substation, Hall?

Left of elevator on level 2.

Right. Across the corridor from
body analysis, our next port of call.

Not for my alabaster body.

I mean it, Stone. You can take
your body analyzer and you can...

'Sit down, please.

'Please look at the screen
in front of you.

'Please place your body
so that all points are obliterated.

'That is fine. We may proceed.

'State your name for the records.
Surname first.'

Mark Hall.

Hall, Mark.

'Thank you for your cooperation.'

Yes, dear.

'Please answer
the following questions, yes or no.

- 'Have you any allergies?'
- Yes, to ragweed pollen.

OK, I'll repeat for your memory cells...

'Please repeat your response
for our memory cells.'

Ragweed pollen!

'This ends the formal questioning.
Please undress.

'This is a scan for fungal lesions.'

'Dr. Stone, this is level 2 control.
The answer is affirmative.

'Major Manchek contacted the White House
at 11:23 our time this morning.'

'Contact on all leads
is "r" for ready.

'Do not be nervous.'

I'm not nervous.

'Physical parameters
are being measured.

'There's no need to be nervous,
Dr. Leavitt.'

'Please raise your left arm.

'Please sit up, facing the scan screen
and watch carefully.

'You have received pneumatic injections
of booster immunizations.

'You may get dressed.
Thank you.

'This recording is now ended.'

That body analyzer!

I want to be there
when the A.M.A. gets wind of it.

So far it's only been used by NASA
to diagnose astronauts in space.

You doctors better start
making house calls again.

'This is a xenon lamp apparatus.

'To insure complete effectiveness,
spread your feet apart.

'To protect scalp and facial hair,

'place the metal helmet
securely on the head.

'Make sure the helmet is firmly seated
and the visor lowered.

'Then raise your arms and wait.'

'You may now remove helmet.

'You will notice a fine white ash
on your body.

'This is the outer epithelial layers of your skin
that have been burned away.

'Please replace the helmet
in compartment

'and proceed through shower
in next room.

'Then you may dress
and descend to level 4.'

We're required to rest for six hours on level 4
after exposure to the xenon lamp.

So go to your rooms and sleep.

At the end of the corridor
is the cafeteria.

We'll meet there
at 0400 hours tomorrow.

'Pharmacology
to maintenance L.B.

'One of our R.S. shows six points
over normal and pressure 3.'

'Watchdog to all levels.
Scoop 7 capsule secure.

'Bio-check 66 plus 9 minus 0-5.'

'Leo control to Keepsake 5.

'The pressure integrity check
runs 2.54 g-cm to the second.

'Please confirm.'

'A new form of life.

'Like Rudolph Karp's bacteria.'

Fools!

They refuse to believe
life exists in meteorites.

I showed them at the Astrophysics
conference what I just showed you.

But no, even with a microscope,
they're blind.

What do I have to do?
Hit them over the head?

I'm glad you're amused, gentlemen,
but it might just turn out to be true.

During this symposium,
we'll discuss the possibility

that intelligent life on a distant planet
may be no larger than a flea.

Perhaps no larger than a bacterium.

'Time to wake up, sir.

'Time to wake up, sir!'

Hello?

'Time to wake up, sir.'

Who are you?

'Time to wake up, sir.

'Do you wish something, sir?'

Your name.

'Will that be all, sir?'

For the moment.

'This is the answering
service supervisor.

'We wish you'd adopt
a more serious attitude, Dr. Hall.'

Sorry, her voice is quite luscious.

'The voice belongs to Miss Gladys Stevens
who is 63 years old.

'She lives in Omaha

'and makes her living taping messages
for voice-reminder systems.'

Much obliged.

Let's not get sidetracked on Rudolph Karp
and his meteorite theories.

His technique was worthless!

- I still think we should contact him.
- Fair enough. Where is he?

Behind the Iron Curtain.
He couldn't get a research grant here.

'H.P. Nutrient
now available in the cafeteria

'for staff members
from sectors 1 through 6.'

Hemlock!
All for you, Hippocrates.

Not your own venom?

Tastes like orange juice.

Nutrient 42-5.

Developed for the astronauts.

Eight ounces satisfy
all daily nutritional requirements.

Except coffee.

And lipid soluble vitamins.

For that we have these.
Help yourself.

So what's the point of the cafeteria?

Wildfire isn't always on crash status.

Maybe there's some sugar.

Nope. Nothing that might provide
a bacterial growth medium.

Precisely.
No sugar in the gut.

I'd like a cigarette right now.

- It's after meals you really miss 'em.
- You should have no trouble on level 5.

You won't even get this close to a meal.

We'll be entirely
on high-protein nutrients.

I planned our work in three stages.

One, detection.

First step is to confirm
that an organism is present.

Two, characterization.
How's it structured, how does it work?

Three, control.

How to contain and exterminate?

Jeremy, on this matter of extermination,
we should go slowly.

Without ever realizing it,

we might destroy
a highly intelligent form of life.

Why don't we get going?
I've got two patients down there.

The team has two subjects.

They're not guinea pigs!

'You may now proceed
to level 5, gentlemen.'

Um, stop by your rooms and insert these
before taking the elevator.

I have risked drowning in that foul bath.

I have been parboiled,
irradiated and xenon flashed.

- And now you suggest I...
- I have to!

We haven't done anything
about the G.I. tract yet.

On level 5 we must be
as nearly germ free as possible.

Anyone care to join me for a smoke?

'Watchdog to level 2, sector D.

'You are Red Kappa Phoenix status.'

Off the main corridor
on the outer rim

are the main living quarters,
conference room, cafeteria,

bio-safety maintenance, etc.

Inside are the labs.

Where is the library?

No need for books.
Everything's in the computer.

Notice the capsule
has already been delivered

by the sterile conveyor system
to the main control lab here.

Your patients are here
in the hot room of miscellaneous.

We can't have any direct contact with them.
Poor souls.

'Dr. Dutton and Dr. Hall
are wanted in main control immediately.'

Hey!

If the patients are sealed off,
how do I get to them?

- Ever used a glove box?
- No.

Wildfire's gone a step further.

Whole rooms that operate
like glove boxes.

You'll be working in one shortly.

'Level 5 to Watchdog.

'We have a magnetic "K" indices here.

'Give us a code 3 when you get it.'

I wanted you here while we find out

if there's anything still biologically active
in the capsule.

Suggestions?

- Use a buffalo.
- Audio.

'Detectors "E"
through "G" correction.

'Negative "N" scan.
Negative "N" scope in LY-1.

'Affirmative. "N" indicator in MP-4.
I will repeat.

'Negative "N" scan.
Negative "N" scope in LY-1.

'Affirmative.
"N" indicator in MP-4.'

Whatever killed them at Piedmont
is still there and still as potent as ever.

If potent's the word.
Let's try a rhesus.

Yeah. We'll want
a postmortem on it anyway.

'Housekeeping to level 5.

'Clean sweep schedule B
now in effect.

'Germ-free animal technicians,
please consult schedule A.'

So, OK.

Isolate and identify.

Right. You and I'll scan
the capsule, Ruth.

Charlie, you work on these in autopsy.
Open the S.L., Ruth.

'Adjust S.Y. system
for aseptricity as follows.

'Points 2-a at 5.

'Points 9 through 12 at plus 1.

'Plus 3, plus 6 at minus.'

Run an initial vector study, Charlie.
Find out how the disease enters the body.

- Charlie?
- Yes.

Yes, the vector study first,
then autopsy.

Incredible.

Dutton, be careful.

Let our distinguished surgeon
handle the knife.

Fine, but not for a while.

First, I'm a pediatrician
and a geriatrist.

Take it easy.
Charlie will have a technician.

What's been done for them?

Just plasma for the old man,
dextrose for the baby.

- Your therapy?
- No.

Medcom's.

Do I call you Miss Medcom?

If you like, Dr. Hall.
My name's Karen Anson.

Good! I couldn't cope with two machines.
How does this work?

You're lucky. Medcom's got
one of the best minds here.

It's a medical data analyzer
that can diagnose as well as prescribe.

It's hooked up to
the main computer on level 1.

Every console and instrument in Wildfire
is plugged into the main computer

on a time-sharing basis.

All our key lab studies are done
on automated machines.

I prefer the personal touch.

It's hard to come by in those suits.

Have you worked in them?

Not for real. But I've been drilling
for three months.

Thank God for an expert.
This sort of thing's new to me.

It's new to all of us.

Until now,
Wildfire's been like a game.

We've even had simulation
biowar games here.

With live subjects, volunteers.

I mean, I'm scared.

I never believed
this could really happen.

Well, it has happened.

I'll need some lab tests.

Use this to check off
what you want.

Just touch the pen to the screen.

You draw the bloods,
I'll do the physicals.

Use the bar.

The tunnel seals off
automatically behind you.

The only way you might possibly
break your suit is with a scalpel,

and a surgeon isn't likely to do that.

'Bio-safety to S.L.
An animal in airlock 0-9-5.

'Re-confirm red R.D.P. status
before transfer.'

Second scan completed.

Score, nothing to nothing.

Go to 100 power.

No, Ruth.
Use only one microscanner.

You being paid by the hour?

We could cover the capsule
in one half the time.

There's less chance of missing something
when we both concentrate on one screen.

Let's go directly to the inside.

We can assume they put the scoop
on the thing to scoop something into it.

Brother, they sure got
what they were looking for.

We're not here to make accusations.
We have a job to do purely as scientists.

Maybe not so pure.

Continue the scan, Ruth,
on the outside.

No, don't do that.
We'll use the hands.

Nothing can happen, sir.
I'm faster than the hands.

I want you out of the hot room.

'B.Z. Doris to I.Z. Alice.

'S.D.T. energy output is 1.8,
3.0 joules,

'with rate two to three milliradians.

'And we still need those blankets.'

No sweat, sir.
Those cages are airtight.

I wish you would
sweat a little more, Toby.

Sweat is a safeguard against
some kinds of bacteria and carelessness.

Use the hands.

Wow!

Transmitted by air,
as we thought.

Now we've got to determine its size.

Could be a gas
or some kind of a virus.

We'll use a hundred
angstrom filter to begin.

About the size of a small virus.

All systems go, sir.

Whatever it is,
it's larger than a virus.

We'll try one micron filter.

Hang in there, baby.

It must be pretty big.
I'm gonna get me a fly swatter.

Do that.
Here goes with two microns.

Uh-huh.

Nasty.

At least we'll be able
to get a good look at it.

Dutton to Stone.

We've just found out its size:
about two microns in diameter.

Big enough to be a complete cell.
Interesting.

There's a good chance it's alive.
Airborne transmission?

Yes. What have you found?

So far nothing.

Our Nobel laureate here won't scan
on the inside because he says...

Alright, Ruth.

Thanks, Charlie.
Keep at it.

It's pointless to go on
scanning outside.

If it's two microns in diameter,
it would've showed up at 440.

True, but we didn't
know that before, did we?

We'll start with five power
on the inside.

Stick to established procedure.

Establishment gonna
fall down and go boom.

Switch to manual, Ruth.

The interior's too irregular
to probe on automatic.

More light, huh?

Here's his blood value now.

Half normal.
Severely anemic.

Wake up, sir.

Can you hear me?

What's your name?

- J-Jackson.
- What?

Jackson.

Stay awake, Mr. Jackson.

Stay awake!

Tongue blade.

'Sixty-eight degrees on 1-4-0-7.

'Sixty-one on 1-2-0-3.

'Loss rate is minus 0-0-12.

'Please copy and confirm
all receiving locks.'

- You can tell you're a bachelor.
- What was that?

I didn't say anything.

We're doing an isotope scan, Hall.

How the bugs get into the body.
Thought you should watch it.

I assume it was inhaled.

Not likely it's absorbed
through the skin.

That's what we'll find out now:
the mechanism of death.

We'll look
at a replay of that at speed 6.

That tells us what we want to know, Hall.

The organism is inhaled.

The clotting begins in the lungs
and spreads outward.

I didn't think it possible.

I didn't think the total volume of blood
could solidify that fast.

I'd hoped maybe one crucial clot
might form in the brain,

which was what made them go insane.

And then the rest of the blood
clot more slowly.

We'd have a chance to cure that.

Cure what?
We don't know what it is.

Stone and Leavitt haven't been able
to isolate the hellish thing.

Of course they will in time.

Of course.

Hold it.

At the edge of that shadow,
I think...

Me too.

It's an indentation.

Yes, about the size
of a pencil point.

Go to 40.

Go to 60.

Jeremy,
do you think maybe...

Maybe it's just a grain of sand.

Go to 80.

What about the bits of green?

- Paint.
- For God's sake!

Pistachio ice cream! There's no basis
to assume it's anything yet.

You're too good a scientist
not to be thinking the same thing I am.

If this is really something new,
some brand-new form of life...

The best hope of cracking it
is to be grindingly thorough

with the help of computer number one.

OK? Now let's get on with it.

Hold it.

More pistachio?

I count four patches.

Keep going. I'll computerize
the coordinates.

Let's take a look at the rock at 100.

I doubt that's what knocked
the capsule off trajectory.

Unless the rock was going at tremendous
speed, or unless it's terribly heavy.

For Pete's sake, Ruth, it can't be that heavy.
Hall and I could lift the capsule.

However, it's possible
the rock is different in space.

Out there it might do anything.

Maybe it has elastic properties
we don't even know yet.

Let's have a look
at the green patches.

They must've come off the rock.

If it is rock.

You know something?

They do look like spatters of paint.

Let's go back to the rock
and see it at 440.

If that's a meteor,
it's a damn peculiar one.

This left border over here,

it's smooth,
almost like an artificial surface.

Painted, maybe.
Luminous paint.

If I keep watching it,
I might think so.

Wet paint sign and all.

Jeremy?

What?

Nothing.

You OK?

It's just my eyes are getting tired.
We've been at it five hours straight.

We'll take a caffeine break in a minute.

First, though, I'd like to see one
of the separate patches of green at 1,000.

- Did you see that?
- I saw it.

- You didn't change the lighting?
- I didn't touch it.

- It's alive.
- Yes.

It's bigger than two microns.

Which means the infection is spread
by a mere fraction of the green.

I'm bringing down cameras.
Let's have the other microscanner.

Stone to level control.
I need a mic-t.

'Roger. Will send.'

Jump it up to 1,500.

Microscan doesn't go any higher.

We can get 1500 light magnification
in microchemistry. I'll send the rock through.

'Attention C.L.T.s
on levels 4 and 5.

'Main computer shows capacity
versus access time,

'at ten to the twelfth bit.

'For any change
in memory configuration,

'C.L.T.s must check their unicom op.'

Beautiful, sir.

I'm the mic-t.
You're real sharp on the hands.

Thanks. Nice to know
one hasn't lost one's touch.

The next step is to find out
what makes it grow.

We'll need samples from the scoop to send
through maxcult for culture and isolation.

Roger, sir. In work.

Good God!

It's growing.

Not so good.

Naturally he has acidosis.
His blood pH was nine points off normal.

But why? Stupid machine!
What makes his blood too acid?

Ask the patient.

'Bio-safety to S.L.,
sectors 3 and 6.

'Give us a code 3 when you get it.'

Mr. Jackson?

Now, don't be scared.
I'm a doctor.

Bull.

Where am I?

A special laboratory in Nevada.

We brought you here from Piedmont.
You're sick.

It's this damn stomach of mine.

Bleeding?

Hell, yes, bleeding!

Bleeding in your stomach?
You have an ulcer?

Damn tootin'. Two years.

But you must have pain.
What do you do for it?

Aspirin...

And squeeze.

"Squeeze"?
What's that?

Ain't gonna tell ya.

So you're a Sterno drinker, huh?

Works good.

Give him squeeze.

What's the baby's name,
Mr. Jackson?

You the nurse?

Uh-huh.

Shoot!

Can't see your legs.

Do you know the baby's name?

Give us a butt first.

Smoking isn't allowed here.

Then go fish.

Yeah.

When you're finished, we'll transfuse
Jackson and start ice water lavage.

He has a two-year history
of bleeding ulcers.

You seem delighted.

It may be the reason he survived.

If only our young gourmet
weren't so normal.

Well, let's hope
nothing changes that.

We might have to before this is over.

They should've dropped the bomb.

They should've dropped it
two days ago, General.

This Phantom crashed a good 60 miles
beyond the cordoned area.

Men on the ground
can't cordon off airspace, sir.

I just don't understand why the Wildfire team
hasn't beefed about the delay in 7-12.

It's been almost 24 hours,
and not a word from them.

I don't think Piedmont had anything to do
with this crash, Manchek.

It was a fluke.

That plane was only over the w.f. area
for two minutes at 23,000 feet.

It's a routine training mission
accident, I bet you.

Pilot error. Let's go.

Check with Wildfire
message center, delta five.

Make sure everything there is nominal.

Send me word on scrambler
at big head crash base.

OK.

Checklim program completed.
All circuit banks nominal.

Same thing on the M.C.N. console,
Captain.

Just a minute,
Dr. Robertson.

You're saying Stone's $90 million facility,
which you recommended,

was knocked out by a sliver of paper?

You tell that to the taxpayers!

These were highly-trained
electronics men, Senator,

looking for an electronic fault.

The trouble was purely mechanical
of the simplest kind.

But for them, it was like trying to see
an elephant through a microscope.

The sliver had peeled from the roll

and wedged between the bell and striker,
preventing the bell from ringing.

I'm convinced we're being held
incommunicado.

Very flattering. We don't know
much more than when we got here.

We know about Scoop now.

It's possible what Scoop found
was no accident.

I suspect they were looking
for the ultimate biological weapon.

Sounds like you're getting a little paranoid
in this fun house.

What does Stone think?

About the ultimate weapon, I mean.

We've isolated the organism.

It's in microchemistry.

We'll show you.

'Watchdog to electrical support.
Sectors three to...'

Alright, Lieutenant.

'Albuquerque center,
Albuquerque center.

- 'This is Air Force 561.'
- 'Go ahead 561.'

'My air hose is coming apart,
like it's dissolving!'

'561. Have you...'

'Everything made of rubber
is coming apart!

'I feel funny.'

It's a fluke,
a vibration effect maybe.

Let's get up there.

Has Wildfire been informed?

- You mean the germ people?
- Yeah.

It went out to them
on the scrambler an hour ago.

Well, this they can't ignore.

'I.B. control
to cafeteria level three.

'Number 4 charlie hatch
shows condition blue.

'Alter responsivity characteristics
until you get condition green.'

Ready.

Nothing so unusual
about our rock after all.

Hydrogen, carbon, oxygen,
sulfur, silicon, etcetera.

Except the black rock
isn't rock at all.

It's some kind of material
similar to plastic.

How about that?

The green is even simpler.

Hydrogen, carbon,
nitrogen and oxygen.

The four basic elements
of life on Earth, nothing else.

That's a relief.

I'd have been happier
if it'd turned out not to be alive.

Green stuff,
you really had us going for a while.

A.A. analysis results are ready,
Dr. Dutton.

Something's wrong.
It's not registering.

Yes it is, sir.

It's just registering
double-zero, double-zero.

We'll switch to computerized analysis.

No amino acids!

No proteins,
no enzymes, no nucleic acid.

Impossible!

No organism
can maintain life without them!

You mean no Earth organism?

It must have evolved
in a totally different way.

You got it.

It doesn't come from here.

Without chemical reactions
there can't be life,

- yet it grows, reproduces...
- Wait!

The infection at Piedmont
has been stopped by the bomb.

We're secure at Wildfire.

We have everything we need
to achieve a breakthrough.

All we have to do is attack this problem
like any other in science.

You could spend years
working on a thing like that,

without solving its structure.

But when you do,
there'll be some red faces around.

It could change everything.

Great.

Ruth, since Kirke isn't here, you take over
the growth program in microbiology.

We're halfway home if we find out
what will keep that from growing.

- Charlie, you work with me on the E.M.
- Alright.

- All I'm...
- Let me get back to my patients.

I'm sure they were protected
by the same thing,

some simple mechanism,
I just don't recognize yet.

There's gotta be something that the old man
and the baby have in common.

Oh, Hall?

Five minutes.

You told me before.

Yes, we wouldn't want you to get too far
from the substation now.

'Now, men, keep a sharp eye open
for pieces of rubber.

'I'll repeat that for you.

'Keep a sharp eye open
for pieces of rubber.'

Major! Major Manchek!

Take a look at that, sir.

We just found this, General.
It's a human bone.

Arm, I think.

It looks picked clean,
almost like it was polished.

That's right.

Well, I don't get it.

There is no actual rubber
on the Phantom F-4, General.

It's all a synthetic plastic compound
called Polycron.

It has some of the characteristics
of human skin.

What the hell is that?

What's left of his oxygen mask.

It's made of Polycron.

I'd say it was done by
a chemical reaction of some sort.

- Or maybe a microorganism.
- Meaning?

Meaning there was something in that plane
that consumes plastic.

How's Maxcult coming, Ruth?

Will you be finished
by the midnight conference?

Easy.

Good. You can give us
the results then.

Feeling better, aren't you,
Mr. Jackson?

Yep.

Do you always have to wear
that iron suit?

Yep.

Maybe you'll tell us the baby's name now,
Mr. Jackson.

Manuel Rios. Mex.

Real little heller.

Squalls morning, noon and night.

Neighbors wouldn't let 'em
keep their windows open.

Do you sleep with your window closed?

No siree, Bob.

Fresh air fiend.

Tell us what happened, Mr. Jackson.

I don't want to think about it.

You know what people will say?

Piedmont was bad.

That's why it was punished.

First the town went crazy
and then was destroyed.

You're crazy.

Folks at Piedmont was good.
Decent, normal folks.

The man we found dressed up
in his Doughboy's uniform, call that normal?

Pete Arnold who worked at the store.

- It was the disease.
- How do you know?

Cos the only thing wrong with him
before that night was sugar.

Diabetes?
Did he take insulin?

A couple of times a day.

Hated the needle.

I tried to talk him into using squeeze.

Insulin. If he missed
his treatment, he'd go...

Thanks, Mr. Jackson.

Oh, my God.

'Central C.C.
to big P.C. control, all levels.

'Testing laser systems.

'Please maintain random fringe drift
within ten percent of initial value.'

'Dr. Leavitt,
you have a midnight conference.

'The signal has struck twice.'

I heard!

I heard. I've... I've been busy.

The important thing is
that something can slow it down.

I think it's some kind of blood disorder.

If the old soldier missed his insulin treatment,
he'd go into acidosis.

The same as Jackson on Sterno.

I'll bet Leavitt finds the organism shows
no growth on some of the blood cultures.

What's wrong
with the baby's blood?

Nothing. So far.

Then you're back where you started.

No, somehow they're all interrelated.

I'll have the answer when I know why
a 69-year-old Sterno drinker with an ulcer

is like a normal, six-month old baby.

- Did you get any no-growth readouts...
- No, but I'm not finished yet.

You told me you'd be finished
by the conference time.

I decided to play part of it back.

What for? The first time
around should be enough...

Knock it off, Hall.

Wait. Wait.

We're all tired.

Tired people make mistakes.

They draw wrong conclusions,
they drop things.

That mustn't happen.

Starting now, I want the team
to get six hours sleep out of every 24.

Suits me.

Before turning in,
shouldn't we file for a code name?

Yeah, good idea.

'Nine over four over eight
under 167.29.

'Auto check in grade.

'Auto check in grade.'

Why Andromeda?

- Andromeda's our...
- Stone.

"Directive 7-12 has not been acted upon.
Alternative directive 7-11 now in effect."

- They didn't drop the bomb!
- It's an M.C.N. transmission sent yesterday.

Idiots!

- Put me through to Dr. Robertson.
- In work, sir.

Burke, you didn't special alert
an M.C.N. message to us.

There haven't been any, sir.
The bell didn't ring.

Don't argue, dammit!
I've got one in my hand.

Well, well, about time
we heard from you.

There has been a communications foul-up.
Never mind that now.

Why hasn't that bomb
been dropped on Piedmont?

The decision on 7-12 isn't final.
It was just postponed 48 hours.

By then the disease could spread
into a worldwide epidemic.

It's because of rash statements like that,
the President doesn't trust scientists.

Warn the President
it may already be too late.

Stay on his back, Robbie.
You've got to make him call a 7-12.

Can you get me another appointment
tonight, Grimes?

Now let's all just keep
our heads screwed on.

Any thoughts about the Phantom crash?

We sent you a couple messages on it.

A Phantom jet strayed over
the cordoned area around Piedmont.

Any other information?

Well, the pilot said that
all the rubber on the plane was dissolving.

- His last communication was pretty weird.
- Like he was crazy?

He was mighty confused,
that's for sure.

Robbie, it's your job to get the President
to activate a 7-12 immediately.

If he doesn't, there's no guarantee anyone
west of Piedmont will be alive in the morning.

Simmer down, Professor.
I'll wake the boss.

But General Sparks says
the crash was just a fluke.

Forget the crash, Robbie.
Stay on that 7-12 and get back to me.

We'll be working around the clock.

That's a good slice.
It's too thick.

I'm setting it at 800 angstroms, Hall.

And I'm going to a higher magnification.

Now we're getting somewhere!

Yeah. But these can't be more
than a few molecules in depth.

That's the one.
That silver one.

'This is a Villabach alert,
all levels.

'This is a Villabach alert.

'Electromagnetic waves
are not registering on the D.I.R.'

Sample in the button and seal, Charlie.
Start the vacuum pump.

Stone, can I see you?

I have the results
of the growth cultures.

No, we can't leave now.
We have an Andromeda cell in the E.M.

OK, Charlie,
let's put it on the screen.

Let's run it through the computer
for contrast expansion.

Stone?

What do you think?

Looks like a crystal.

- Well, gentlemen, there's our answer.
- To what?

How Andromeda functions
without amino acids.

- Crystalline structure.
- Yes.

I've often thought that living matter
might be based on crystals of some kind.

All these wedge-shaped compartments,

they'd serve to separate
bio-chemical functions very well.

It's dividing.

In a vacuum, bombarded by electrons?
It shouldn't even be alive.

That's what I wanted to tell you.

The growth program shows
Andromeda can live on anything.

Only gas and light affect it.

You didn't get any no-growth
results on the cultures?

None. Look.

The poorest growth
occurs in pure oxygen,

incubated under infrared light.

Andromeda grows best
in carbon dioxide and hydrogen,

incubated under X-rays.

No excretions.

No waste of any kind.

You'd expect that.

Andromeda's perfect
for existence in outer space.

Consumes everything,
wastes nothing.

- Good Lord.
- What?

Stone to delta five.
Put me through to Robertson immediately.

- What?
- God, I hope we're not too late.

- Tell me.
- It functions like an atomic reactor.

An atomic blast could provide it
with enough energy

- to grow into a gigantic super colony.
- In one day.

You can relax now.

We've just left the President.
He agreed to drop the bomb.

No, you've got to stop 7-12
from being carried out.

Now, wait a minute.
We're not playing ping-pong.

- We just got through telling the President...
- For God's sake, go back.

It grows when exposed to X-rays
or any source of energy.

Tell him, no nuclear device
must be detonated anywhere near it.

We just found out Andromeda
works like a little reactor:

converts matter to energy,
energy to matter directly.

Then the bomb would only provide
a fantastically rich growth medium.

- Understand?
- No, but I'll pass along the recommendation.

The boss will be pleased to know

that he made the right decision
on 7-12 in the first place.

Congratulate him
on his scientific insight.

Oh, and Robbie?

You'd better get the atomic self-destruct
in here disarmed as soon as possible.

Right. I'll start
on the clearances now.

It'll be done by morning.

No, no, no. That won't work
until the damn thing's going.

All the molecules
appear to be the same.

Yes.

Andromeda isn't composed of different
substances like a normal cell.

All the subunits are the same.

Damndest thing I've ever s...
Boy, a single substance.

Then how the hell
does it operate?

How does anything so simple
utilize energy for growth?

No way of telling
from that structure.

Yes, there is.
With this new data,

we can now get a computerized
version of how Andromeda functions.

They're not uniform.
Could be mutations.

- What the devil?
- 601?

The computer's overloaded.
Too much data coming in too fast.

Dividing and mutating
at the same time?

And nothing to stop it.

Normal earth checks
and balances don't exist for it.

We'd better get a bio-math mapping
of its new growth potential and spread.

According to this,
there'll be a super colony of Andromeda

- over the entire southwest...
- Jeremy!

These are biological warfare maps.

Yes, so they are.

Oh, but simulations, Charlie.

Defensive.
It's just a scenario.

That's not the point,
for God's sake.

Wildfire was built for germ warfare.

Wildfire and Scoop.
And you knew, Stone.

- You knew it!
- That's not true, Ruth.

I learned about Scoop
the same time you did.

They already had
Andromeda programmed.

The purpose of Scoop was to find
new biological weapons in outer space,

- and then use Wildfire to develop them.
- It stinks, Stone!

You're blowing your tops.
We have no proof.

- The map!
- Don't be an ass!

That map only shows what Andromeda
could do in the hands of an enemy.

Enemy?
We did it to ourselves.

Perhaps, but this is hardly the time
to organize a protest.

Another giant leap for mankind.

I wish I could believe you.

Whether you do or not, the only
important thing now is to find the antidote.

Let's get on with it, Charlie.

Test the cultured organisms
for biologic potency.

Alright, I'll run them
against a rat in autopsy.

- I want to seal up the capsule.
- Watch it.

Andromeda's altered.
Its effect might be radically different.

I'll try to get us
a photo of the mutated form.

'Photo lab to red map.

'The offbeat access reference
reads at 649-F, 1,500...

'Please copy.'

This may be the key
to beating Andromeda.

How?
By starving him to death?

No, but don't feed him until I tell you.

Contamination.

'A seal has broken in autopsy.
A seal has broken in autopsy.

'Emergency procedures are in effect.'

- What's the matter?
- Infection spread. Autopsy.

- Is he alive?
- I should've been with him! Dr. Dutton!

It's no use.
It's sealed off.

Dr. Hall!

She's in trouble.

Ruth, are you...

She's got the germ!

Someone bring 100 milligrams
of Phenobarb in a syringe fast!

There's no danger.
She isn't contagious.

There's no danger!

'...to L-5, P.I.E. and E.T.E.

'Your second quarter rest period
has been canceled.

'Time R.A. has been reassigned
according to crash program...'

Come on.

Come on.
She can't hurt you.

Wasn't she with Dr. Dutton?

No, it's epilepsy. Give her the injection.
She'll be alright.

Good girl. Thanks.

I'm scared.
Oh Lord, I'm scared.

You'll be OK, Charlie. We're pumping
pure oxygen through your lab now.

We know Andromeda
doesn't do well in oxygen.

- He's alive.
- Where have you been?

- Leavitt had a seizure.
- What?

Epilepsy. The red light flashing
at three per second brought on a fit.

Why the hell
didn't she tell us about it?

Probably no top lab
would have her if they knew.

Insurance, prejudice, all that crap.

From the middle ages.

Amazing he's still alive.

It's been three minutes.
He's on pure oxygen.

I don't know how long that can hold him.

We're, um...
working on some ideas, Charlie.

Ask your germ warfare friends.
They have lots.

Try to stay calm.

- What happened?
- The seal must've broken in there.

They had the same thing
at the lunar lab.

That's why we use
Polycron gaskets here.

At least the rest of Wildfire is secure.

Poor devil.

Look at the way he's breathing.
He's scared to death.

That oxygen should relax him,
slow down his breathing.

No, we want him to breathe fast.

In Piedmont,
Jackson was crocked on Sterno.

Sterno acidosis.
Acidosis, rapid breathing.

- What the hell are you doing?
- Turn off the oxygen. Put him on room air.

- The baby, he's normal.
- Cries all the time. Can't catch his breath.

- Rapid breathing? It just can't be that simple.
- It isn't.

Dutton,
I think rapid breathing helps.

Don't let the bug in your lungs long enough
to penetrate blood vessels.

I want to turn off the pure oxygen,

then you start breathing room air
as fast as you can.

No! No, I was running
a test in here.

The air is thick with Andromeda.

Experiment with your own life, dammit!

- We won't do it, Charlie. Take it easy.
- I know I'm close.

I'm sure it has something to do
with blood chemistry and breathing.

Dr. Hall!

May I please feed the baby now, Dr. Hall?
He's been crying steadily...

That's what I want.
Keep him crying.

And run another blood value on him.
Get his pH measurements.

Yes, Doctor!

With all the yelling,
blowing off carbon dioxide,

the kid should have too little acid.

Alkalotic, a blood condition
just the opposite from the old man.

Too much alkali.

What good does that do Dutton?

Karen, where's the blood test?

It's coming through now
on your console.

Hell of a way to run a hospital.

Just what you expected.

Opposite blood chemistries,
the baby and the old man.

- One of them should be a dead opposite.
- But he's not.

There must be a connection!

They both stayed alive at Piedmont
breathing the same air.

One's blood too alkaline,
the other too... acid.

Yes.

Yes!

Dutton, I'm turning off the oxygen.
Breathe fast and hard.

No, Jeremy!
Don't let him cut off my oxygen.

No!

- The air in that room is loaded...
- Air doesn't matter.

Blood does.
That's the answer.

I need 30 seconds
to run a growth program.

He could die in 30 seconds.

Besides, Leavitt checked
all the growth programs.

She might have missed something.
Epileptics blank out.

I want to see how the growth of Andromeda
is affected by blood chemistry.

The pH... Oh, damn.

You do it.

Excellent. The graph's
practically straight up and down.

That means that Andromeda
can only exist within a narrow range of pH.

A very narrow range.

On either side of the tolerance range,
no growth. Nothing, right?

It's exterminated.

- Dutton, our troubles are over.
- Look at your console.

It grows within
a narrow range of pH.

A very narrow range.

If your blood's abnormal,
if it's too acid or alkaline,

Andromeda can't survive in the body.

So breathe as fast as you can.
Go into respiratory alkalosis.

Yes, fine. That'll shoot
your blood chemistry to hell.

It's what happens to the baby
when he cries too much,

or the old man on Sterno.

- How do you feel?
- OK.

Uh... a little dizzy, but OK.

He can't keep breathing like that forever.
He'll hyperventilate, pass out.

We've got to get him something
to alkalize his blood.

We can't in there.

Charlie!

That cage.

In the hot room.

Right in front of you.

It's alive!

The rat's been exposed
as long as I have.

Longer. I exposed it to the cultures
before the seal broke.

Precisely.

Andromeda's mutated
to a noninfectious form.

Holy...

Where does that gasket lead?

Central core.
It connects all the labs.

The gaskets are decomposing.
It's Andromeda.

Next sector.
There's no substation in this sector.

'Level 5 is sealed.
Level 5 is sealed.

'Emergency procedures are in effect.'

When the bomb goes off,
there'll be a thousand mutations.

Andromeda will spread everywhere.
They'll never be rid of it.

'There are now
five minutes to self-destruct.'

What about the other levels?

Can't tell. Each sector seals off
when it's contaminated, even the elevator.

The defense system is perfect, Mark.
It'll even bury our mistakes.

What about the central core?

- The core's equipped with safeguards.
- Like what?

Gas, lasers...
To prevent escape of lab animals.

What would my chances be in there?

They don't exist for anyone,
anywhere if you stay here.

- How do I get into the core?
- Through that service port.

Go ahead. I'll ride shotgun
for you in main control.

I can't monitor the lasers here.

Karen, get me a scalpel.

'There are now
4 minutes and 30 seconds to self-destruct.'

Cut it off!
Cut the panel off.

Karen, cut it!

Come on, hurry up.

Hey, Doc, you ain't
leaving us here, are you?

The lasers are tuned low
for small animals, Mark.

You can make it if you're
not hit along the spinal cord.

'There are now
4 minutes to self-destruct.'

That's the ladder
across from you.

Go, man, before the gas starts.

'There are now 3 minutes
and 30 seconds to self-destruct.'

That's the gas.
Keep going.

The sensors have picked you up.
Get moving.

Duck!

Keep going.

Duck!

Keep going.

Duck!

'There are now
3 minutes to self-destruct.'

No, it's no good.

The level's contaminated.
You'll have to go to 3.

Go to 3!

'There are now
2 minutes and 45 seconds to self-destruct.'

Sway! Weave!

You're zeroed in. Duck!

'There are now
2 minutes and 30 seconds to self-destruct.'

Keep going!
You'll make it.

'There are now
2 minutes and 15 seconds to self-destruct.'

Fight the effect.
It's mostly shock.

You've lost some time,
but you can still do it. See the door?

'There are now
2 minutes to self-destruct.

'There is now 1 minute and 45 seconds
to self-destruct.

'There is now 1 minute and 30 seconds
to self-destruct.

'There is now...'

- You're in an airlock. Turn the wheel.
- '...1 minute and 15 seconds...'

No, no, not that one!
The one near the door!

'There are now
60 seconds to self-destruct.

'There are now
55 seconds to self-destruct.

'There are now
50 seconds to self-destruct.'

Where is it?

- 'There are now 45 seconds...'
- Come on, where is it?

Help me!

'There are now
40 seconds to self-destruct.

'There are now
35 seconds to self-destruct.

'There are now
30 seconds to self-destruct.

'There are now
25 seconds to self-destruct.

'20 seconds, 19, 18, 17,

'16, 15,

'14, 13, 12,

'11, 10, 9...

'Self-destruct
has been canceled.'

Congratulations.

I take it the bomb didn't...

No, it didn't.

Eight seconds to spare.
Hardly even exciting.

What's happening?

The supercolony's now off the coast,
moving southwest across the Pacific.

Apparently Andromeda
hasn't turned lethal again.

At least there hasn't been
any reports of bizarre death.

We're applying an adaptation
of your antidote to it, Mark.

Cloud seeding.

We're seeding the clouds
above Andromeda with silver iodide.

The raindrops will carry
the organism into the ocean,

and the alkaline reaction
from seawater should kill it.

Just as acids or alkali
in the blood stopped it.

This cloud seeding business, Stone,

you absolutely sure it worked?
You better be.

All reports continue to indicate
the experiment was successful, Senator.

Then we can feel confident
your so-called biological crisis is over.

As far as
Andromeda's concerned, yes.

We have the organism at Wildfire
and we continue to study it.

We now know beyond a doubt
that other forms of life exist in the universe.

Thanks to Scoop.

Yes.

However,
with this new knowledge,

there's no guarantee that another so-called
biological crisis won't occur again.

Hmm.

What do we do about that?

Precisely, Senator.

What do we do?