Stymied for 20 years by a senator’s interference, Astrobiologist Dr. Jeffrey Hyde has no hope of confirming a signal he believes to be of extraterrestrial origin. A new discovery from his old flame, Radio Astronomer Dr. Lorraine May, brings him back into the game.
Amidst a presidential campaign, obstructionist Senator Jack Sawyer encourages societal polarization to suit his political agenda, further delaying the astronomers’ investigation and paralyzing progress for the sake of fiscal conservatism.
Captain Vi and Lieutenant Qraus, aliens aboard a large spacecraft, endure the harsh reality of interstellar travel. Their technology is advanced enough to download their consciousness into humanoid robots, to extend life beyond the expected span.
DR. JEFFREY HYDE is a passionate radio astronomer who has worked his whole life searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. Serving as head of a NASA program in 1993, he and his friend DR. JOHN FESQ discover an unnatural radio signal originating from space. Signal confirmation is aborted when SENATOR JACK SAWYER shuts the program down overnight. Devastated, Hyde abandons radio astronomy to teach astrobiology.
Twenty years later, Fesq contacts Hyde and tells him a similar radio signal was recently found by Hyde’s old flame, DR. LORRAINE MAY. Hesitant about reuniting with Lorraine, but eager to learn more, he accompanies Fesq to her observatory. Lorraine hasn’t forgiven Hyde for leaving her, and is reluctant to acknowledge the similarities between their discoveries.
The signal approaches Earth, causing worldwide speculation and societal polarization. Hyde contacts aerospace engineer DR. RYAN BLOOM for help. Together they confront Sawyer and demand funding to construct a space-based antenna to search for an Earth-bound spacecraft.
Amid political struggle, NASA builds the antenna and finds an autonomous probe headed for Earth. Upon arrival, the Navy salvages the probe from the Ocean. They open it to find canisters of soil, water, atmospheric gas, and an engraved plaque. Hyde believes them to be from the Alpha Centauri system.
The probe bears striking similarity to wreckage discovered over twenty years earlier during the Afghan civil war, reiterating the significance of Hyde’s original discovery.
Lorraine falls victim to societal chaos caused by Sawyer’s incitement of hostility, but not before reconnecting with Hyde. Hyde and company believe the probe’s purpose is to inspire humanity to become a multiplanetary species. They plead with Sawyer to recognize and act on its significance.
Many years pass as national indifference threatens the prospect of leaving Earth. Hyde’s vision can only be realized when a long forgotten acquaintance presents an opportunity for Hyde to live beyond his years. Foreign interest intervenes to ultimately construct and send a ship to Alpha Centauri.
The Big Reveal...
The crew aboard the spacecraft are not actually aliens. They’re humans, hundreds of years in the future, traveling to the habitable world identified by the plaque. China was ultimately responsible for the construction of the interstellar spaceship, due to the United States failure to recognize the value and significance of the plaque’s call to action. One of the original astronomers from Earth is a passenger because China also successfully developed the ability to download a person’s consciousness.
The interstellar spaceship reaches its destination and the crew discovers an intelligent reptile-like alien species who have lived there for several generations. The humans learn that these reptile-like aliens were also contacted by a probe, just like the one sent to Earth, by philanthropic machine-like extraterrestrial beings of much higher intelligence and capability.
“Immensely entertaining and imaginative. A unique take on how first contact would play out.”
"By building the story upon a fictional catalyst but incorporating truth and real past events into the narrative, the reader is given a fascinating look into what could have been, what could possibly be. At times the reader becomes so enthralled that s/he forgets that it is fiction, almost falling into the potential truth of it. The events unfold and build naturally, adding to the illusion that the narrative is more truth than fiction."
"The endless stream of factoids, terms, and issues surrounding astronomy reveal an informed writer who's teaching the audience as much as entertaining. With many space programs facing real-life budget cuts, this form of education is crucial for the masses. To that end, the well characterized politician Sawyer was a nice villain to demonstrate the way politics can get in the way of science."
“An intense, modern take on the film Contact.”
“It has story elements of GRAVITY, INTERSTELLAR, and CONTACT all wrapped into a DR. STRANGELOVE type environment, making this script a creative blend of the genre.”
“The strengths are the script's conviction in its own beliefs, its excellent dynamic between the scientists, and its visually compelling space sequences. The script believes wholeheartedly in its subject, and this allows the reader to feel like they're really part of this world. This script makes strong points about the importance of scientific investment and the future of STEM research in America.”
“The science never breaches reasonable suspension of disbelief.”
“The space ship and the people on board feel like the kind of craft that we haven’t really seen before in too many science fiction projects.”
“The cinematic and uplifting conclusion underscores the philosophical position of discovery over fear. Science over panic.”
“This script is great and a buyer will absolutely see the potential in it. There is so much psych/sci-fi fun here, with the right talent attachments, this could be a real contender in the market. Studios would love a project like this. It has a little social commentary, a little political awareness, a little humor, a little love interest intrigue, and a lot of talented writing. This script could do very well and could absolutely find its audience at the box office.”
“The script's ending is very clever, while finally giving the audience a peek at a truly alien life form and planet. Like many of the best space movies, the script ends by finally affirming the idea that there is an unlimited expanse of life out there for humans to find. ”
“Relatable politics is among this material's very best assets. Sawyer, an immensely hateable villain, is a phenomenal antagonist. His rhetoric is incredibly transparent and upsetting but it feels real, like he could be a real Congressman. The reader can easily imagine that such a character exists in present day politics and it transforms this script into a tragic cautionary tale. The writer should be commended for creating a thoroughly feasible scenario surrounding alien detection and engineering a plausible domestic reaction.”
From: Brian Dobbs
Sent: Fri, Jan 3, 2014 1:10 pm
Subject: The Drake Equation
Hi Mrs. Tarter and Mr. Drake. Consider me a long time fan. I've been waiting for Hollywood to make another movie in the spirit of Contact and 2001, but instead we just keep getting alien invasions. I got tired of waiting so I wrote a screenplay titled, The Drake Equation, of which is based in two separate storylines - radio astronomers in the present day and space travel in the far future.
My one sentence pitch is...
A passionate scientist and pioneering astronauts endure a lifetime of struggle against bureaucratic politics, a polarized society and the harsh reality of interstellar travel in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
The framework of the story is based on these real life components...
I wanted to reach out to you both and SETI to let you know the admiration I have for the work you do, and felt like this was the best way to show you my appreciation. Please let me know if you would like to read my one-page synopsis (outlining the story) and I will send it to you. Thank you so much for your time.
----- Original Message -----
From: fdrake <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Brian Dobbs
Sent: Friday, January 03, 2014 4:15 PM
Subject: Re: The Drake Equation
Your story sounds potentially fascinating. Please send me the one-pager.
Frank Drake writing the Drake Equation.