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A global conflict was coming. When President Helen Colton arrived at the G-7 summit in Brussels, Belgium she was facing an international crisis with Russia’s annexation of Crimea. But no sooner did she land when Elisabeth Seward, her National Security Advisor, informed her that General John Reager, the Commander of Air Force Space Command, wanted an immediate unscheduled meeting.
As Colton and Seward secretly descend into a nearby bunker, Reager is reviewing the slide presentation he is about to give to the leader of the free world with the assistance of Major Ellen Sampson of Space and Missile Systems Center. But just as Reager advises Sampson on the nuances of Presidential diplomacy, their stoic world is interrupted by Cedric Yonah. Incensed by the intrusion of a civilian, Reager’s start of an interrogation falls short when Colton arrives and takes command of the moment.
Awkward introductions present Yonah as a science advisor to Colton. But Reager immediately locks horns with the mysterious Yonah who comes across as neither present nor absent. Was it Yonah’s mid-thirties looks, Nehru styled suit and flagrant disrespect that bothered Reager or was it is Reager’s four star uniform that represented military power and overconfidence that offset Yonah? Regardless, their clash of personalities would soon have worldwide implications.
With time short Colton instructs Reager to get on with his presentation. In military precision with each passing slide, Reager builds to the moment of revelation – an alien satellite is parked at LaGrange Point 2. Discovered when Sampson’s unit intercepted an alien signal through a military satellite, the decoded signal reveals all Earth orbiting satellites, military and civilian air traffic and weather forecasting models. But its greatest reveal—a flight plan of an unknown aircraft.
Shocked by its revelation, Colton’s attempts to learn more results in a confrontation between Reager and Yonah who are both protecting their worlds. But what world is Yonah protecting? When an exasperated Reager literally orders Colton to sign a worldwide surveillance order to track down this alien presence, Yonah erupts into an impassioned plea citing world history and the oppression of millions based on fear of the unknown. The speech falls cold on Reager who dismisses Yonah as a pacifist. A reluctant Colton signs Operation Troy giving Reager near unlimited resources and funding to identify this alien threat. Upon signing, it’s Seward and Sampson that see Yonah go blank as he relives the horrors and sounds of a war fought over seventy years ago—a war he was in.
As the meeting disbands, a dejected Yonah accepts a ride by an empathic Sampson under a previous order by Reager to learn more about him. As Reager leaves, Colton finds herself alone with Seward and informs her that she’s been aware of an alien presence on Earth since she assumed office. A stunned Seward follows Colton’s instructions to have two other world leaders join her to implement a plan to stop Reager before he inadvertently starts a war of biblical proportions.
With Operation Troy now implemented, a nervous Yonah directs Sampson not to an airfield, but an actual field. As they awkwardly exit her vehicle and begin a slow methodical walk, Yonah attempts to recruit Sampson in a vain attempt for assistance to find his missing people and to defy Reager. Bewildered, angry and fearing a plot, Sampson states the she cannot pledge allegiance to Yonah on his words alone.
It is in that moment than an unknown aircraft that resembles the Concorde reveals itself. Shocked and confused, Sampson’s attempt to understand begs her to ask “Where are you from?” When Yonah responds “Earth” he hopes Sampson’s confusion abates with a gift that only NASA can authenticate – the plaque from Apollo 11 that states – we came in peace for all mankind. No sooner does she look up to thank him and a warping of air is all that’s left of Yonah and the mysterious aircraft.
First Signal is an 81 page science fiction screenplay written by Mark Lund (firstname.lastname@example.org). The story takes place before the events in the ebook Covenant and is a prequel to the screenplay First World.
First Signal completed principal photography in July, 2019 and was released in March, 2021.
Poster design by Adam Starr.
First Signal WGA-East Reg. Number I308514