Adam Norris: Charlie, Charlie, Charlie!
Eric Norris: We don't have time for Charlie, Adam. Mommy's waiting.
Adam Norris: Charlie, Daddy, please!
Eric Norris: Adam, how many times have you seen Charlie? A hundred times? A million times? A gazillion times?
Adam Norris: Charlie, Charlie, Charlie!
Eric Norris: Okay. You wanna see Charlie?
[He looks out the window to the driveway, where Miriam begins to honk the horn to fetch them]
Miriam Norris: Come on!
Eric Norris: All right, here: Charlie on Red Bull.
[He begins a theatrical shuffling toward Adam, who laughs in delight]
Eric Norris: [Waving to an imaginary audience] Thank you, everybody! Thank you so much!
Adam Norris: Charlie doesn't talk.
Eric Norris: You're the only four-year-old in the world that knows that! Mommy's waiting. Let's go.
Eric Norris: [Holding a syringe in his lab, speaking to a Rhesus monkey] Come on, Maggie. It may be a jab in the ass to you, but it could be one large step for mankind.
Shilling: I read your report. You can't compare one diseased animal to another. That monkey might have lasted three months longer regardless! Your proof is flawed. Can you even remember the last time you were published in The New England Journal of Medicine?
Eric Norris: No. But I bet you do. Month, day, hour. Position of the Earth, the Moon.
Shilling: Whatever humor you think you're finding at my expense has its own very steep charge. You'll find that out when your keys don't fit here any longer.
[Dr. Proway and Eric are looking at X-ray scans]
Dr. Proway: Well, as far as I can tell, it isn't a virus or a bacterial infection. It's nothing you contracted at the lab. Old tight-ass Shilling won't have to worry about his insurance rates. And it's not a tumor.
Eric Norris: You've told me what it isn't.
Dr. Proway: As of now, some form of as-yet unidentified parasite that is growing inside you at a very rapid rate. It seems to have tapped into the cardiovascular network through thousands of filament-like protrusions that act as conduits. It has also compromised your respiratory system. Like a true parasite in host, it is getting everything it needs to survive from you.
Eric Norris: Right. Oxygen, blood nutrients.
Dr. Proway: Mm-hm. It really is grotesque.
Eric Norris: Yeah.
Dr. Proway: A monstrosity. But evidently, it has a physiology compatible with yours. Do you have any idea how you could have come in contact with this?
Eric Norris: No. And to remove it?
Dr. Proway: Well, that's the bitch, Eric. It has integrated itself so insidiously into your biology that to remove it would cause massive hemorrhaging and instantaneous death.
Eric Norris: [grimly] Prognosis?
Dr. Proway: I've never seen anything like this.
Eric Norris: Prognosis?
Dr. Proway: Well, it'd just be a guess. But I think, either way, it will kill you in a very short period of time.
[Andreas is the friend who found the meteorite and brought it, with its parasite, to Eric]
Andreas Cabrosas: So was it some jellyfish flopping around a hundred miles inland, or was it some creature from another planet?
Shilling: Norris's friend found a foreign organism attached to a piece of the meteor, and he gave it to him. According to what Norris told him, the thing has gotten inside of him and is growing at an accelerated pace. Norris believes that it is some sort of alien parasite that's determined to free itself and, in the process, kill him.
Gerhard: Didn't I see this on X Files?
[Eric, panting and in great pain, has shown Amanda the parasite under his skin]
Eric Norris: I asked you here because I know it's going to kill me. And when it does, it needs to be immediately removed and placed into an environment where it can maintain. I don't trust anyone else to do it.
Amanda Mayfield: No. That can't be our only option.
Eric Norris: It's going to need to have a continuing blood supply with my blood type, and an oxygen source if it hasn't matured enough to function on their own. I don't think it can survive outside the host in any case, but you gotta keep it alive long enough to conduct some experiments.
Amanda Mayfield: You're not making any sense!
Eric Norris: We're talking about extraterrestrial life here.
Amanda Mayfield: Eric!
Eric Norris: This is going to be the scientific discovery of the millennium.
Amanda Mayfield: Okay, well, tell me. What symptoms have you experienced?
Eric Norris: I don't know. Uh, vomiting. Cramps. Um, cold sweats. Stuff like that.
Amanda Mayfield: Okay. What about the emotional changes? Eric, you just bought yourself a sporty new car. You've got a big hello for everybody. You've been practically euphoric.
Eric Norris: I think we can attribute that to other sources. I believe I've fallen in love with you.
Amanda Mayfield: [after a pause] Damn you. Damn you. Damn you, Eric! How dare you tell me something like that, the same time you're telling me you're going to die?
[She lifts her hands to her face]
Amanda Mayfield: This thing is not just a hole in your tissue, okay? It dilates with tactile stimulation. What if there's another answer, huh? What if there's another answer what this thing is? Something that's not going to kill you.
Eric Norris: What do you mean?
Amanda Mayfield: What if this is not just a parasite? The vomiting, the cold sweats, the cramps - what if this thing somehow hooked itself into your vital organs and then attached itself into your reproductive system? Oh, my God, this is completely nuts, but - I, I, I'd have to run a whole bunch of tests.
Eric Norris: You're saying that it harvested some of my sperm, when we made love? That it, uh, somehow enabled me to impregnate myself? But, if that was true, it would likely have some of my genetic coding, wouldn't it?
Amanda Mayfield: I don't, I just threw something out there. Right now it's nothing more than a postulation.
Eric Norris: [beginning to weep] What if I'm going to give birth to it?
Eric Norris: I had a beautiful son. I can't be the father of a monster!
Eric Norris: It's protecting me! It won't let me hurt myself. I have to live so it can be born.
Amanda Mayfield: Baby, you need to stop. Let me help you, Eric. I want to help you.
Eric Norris: Don't touch me. Don't touch me.
Amanda Mayfield: [angrily] Why not?
Eric Norris: It needs me alive to be born. It needed me in love to be conceived. Without it, without it, I don't think we would have been together. I don't think I would have let you into my life. Without it, I'm not sure that I would be in love with you.
Amanda Mayfield: Listen to me. If they find you, they are going to take it away. And then they're going to conduct experiments on both of you. They're going to put you in cages like one of your monkeys, and they're going to inject you and draw your blood and hook you up to all kinds of machines. And I'm not going to let that happen.
Shilling: It didn't arrive in a spaceship, for God's sakes. It was a meteor. A shooting star. A chunk of rock. I saw what was left of it after it burned up. We will never know where it came from or whatever it was; there are no more.
Dr. Magee: And isn't that enough to try to preserve it? Or, at least, what it's become?
[after the federal science team has watched the reunion of Eric and his alien son, Benjamin, during which Eric persuades Benjamin to walk and to smile, Gerhard also smiles]
Gerhard: Imagine that. Just like any father and son.
Shilling: And you can train lizards to slither through hoops.
[Amanda is visiting Ellis, an eccentric attorney]
Howard Ellis: I know there're aliens out there. At least, I'm pretty sure there're aliens out there. I mean, how else would you explain Andy Kaufman or Jim Carrey?
Howard Ellis: Why would the FBI guy...
Amanda Mayfield: I don't know! He was doing his job, you know. Maybe, maybe he just wasn't happy about it. Not that it matters, anyway. Because you think I'm making this up.
[She gets up and walks toward the door]
Howard Ellis: It's an impossible case.
Amanda Mayfield: I know.
Howard Ellis: Impossible. I'll take it!
[Shilling visits Norris in the army hospital, where Norris has been restrained and gagged]
Shilling: What have you hoped to accomplish? Did you think you were going to sneak down the back staircase with your little freak and disappear into the night? Is that what you thought? And by the way, after your midnight visit, Benjamin became quite violent. He tried to kill people. Did considerable damage. Is there any end to your talent for causing pain and suffering?
Shilling: [to the FBI / medical team] It appears that I have been drafted by our government. I am no longer an advisor to this team. In the matter of Benjamin, the mad little monster, I am now in charge. That information will remain in this room. Our new marching orders are these. The creature is a viable threat. It's a danger to us all and must be dealt with accordingly. It's growing and gaining strength exponentially. We need to push an aggressive testing regimen that will show us how it's happening.
[the team are looking uneasy and unhappy with these instructions. Benjamin is writhing in his cage]
Shilling: Hopefully, it'll survive. If it doesn't, so be it. Better to err on the side of the intrepid.
[after seeing the footage of Eric playing with Benjamin]
Howard Ellis: It's not a fake. It's a real life alien. My first fucking alien!
[He bursts into laughter]
Howard Ellis: I knew it! I knew it, I knew it!
Amanda Mayfield: [alarmed] Who are you calling?
Howard Ellis: The first line of defense is to keep the government from doing anything to Benjamin. The way to do that is to go public with this. Put it out there for everyone to see and freeze the Feds in their tracks. The Society of Alternative Explanations, they have an uncanny way of arousing media interest.
[Howard and Amanda are in a restaurant with Crystal Barry and the Blue Skinned Woman. He hands two DVDs to Crystal]
Howard Ellis: So, view the DVDs, upload them to the Internet, link to every science fiction and science fact site there is. We need to get the word out.
Crystal Barry: Telepathically? Or a letter-writing campaign?
Howard Ellis: I think we'll stay with the letter-writing. I want 20,000 letters to Amnesty International and the Council on Human Rights.
Howard Ellis: If we go to the Justice Department, they'll just freeze us out.
Crystal Barry: What about the Earthling press?
Howard Ellis: Avoid the tabloids at all costs. Especially The World, The Globe, and that rag, The Star.
Crystal Barry: The New York Times?
Howard Ellis: Uh-huh.
Crystal Barry: The Rolling Stone? Wall Street Journal?
Blue Skinned Woman: [in a very New York, non-alien dialect] Unhhh. I work for The Wall Street Journal!
Gerhard: In case you haven't heard, the secret is out. The entire world knows we have Benjamin. He doesn't belong here. He belongs with Norris. We've made a goddamned prisoner out of him. Now, how does that make us look?
Braxton: He's dangerous. He's attacked.
Gerhard: Sure, when you take him away from Norris. You put them together and they do soft-shoe numbers!
Howard Ellis: The United States government is holding Benjamin without good cause and is going to have to defend its actions. Even an alien has inalienable rights. I filed a writ!
Judge Deville: I have a writ of habeas corpus. Who speaks for the petitioner?
Howard Ellis: Howard Ellis, your Honor, for the petitioner.
Judge Deville: Jesus. And who speaks for the respondant?
Attorney Barry: Victoria Barry, Deputy Attorney General on behalf of the United States. Your Honor, the government objects to this entire proceeding and moves that this petition be dismissed.
Judge Deville: On what grounds?
Attorney Barry: The court lacks jurisdiction.
Judge Deville: Why is that?
Attorney Barry: The petitioner is an alien, your Honor.
Judge Deville: I know that.
Attorney Barry: From another planet.
Judge Deville: They usually are.
Howard Ellis: Not from another planet, your Honor: the child was born here!
Judge Deville: I know that!
Howard Ellis: To a human father.
Attorney Barry: We don't know that!
Howard Ellis: [making opening remarks on the second day of trial] The government will argue that Benjamin is so unnatural an occurrence, so abnormal, despite the presence of human DNA, that he has no birthright and, in fact, belongs to no one. True, Benjamin is different. So is a Down Syndrome baby or a child born with a genius IQ. Would anyone dare suggest that the United States government has the right to detain, to conduct experiments on, and deprive a child the love and comfort of a parent just because he's different? What does that sound like to you, your Honor? Do I have to click my boots to make the point?
Attorney Barry: [addresses the judge and court with her own opening remarks] We all know the story of the Elephant Man. At best, he was a curiosity who engendered sympathy in a compassionate few. At worst, he was an object of scorn who was put on display and who was cruelly ridiculed by the public. And the Elephant Man was a human being. He, he could speak; he wore clothes; he had the power of cognition. This creature is not a human being, not even remotely. Not by any stretch of the imagination. For heaven's sake, just look at him, your Honor!
[She holds up a photo of Benjamin]
Attorney Barry: This is an alien creature, first and foremost.
[Amanda is on the stand in the courtroom]
Howard Ellis: Dr. Mayfield, what is the nature of your relationship with Eric Norris?
Amanda Mayfield: We're colleagues.
Howard Ellis: Anything else?
Amanda Mayfield: We were lovers.
Howard Ellis: To the best of your knowledge, does he have any other lovers?
Amanda Mayfield: No. In fact, he explained to me that before our relationship, he'd been celibate for many years.
Howard Ellis: [Ellis turns around to address Barry] Would you care to object to that as hearsay, Miss Barry?
Attorney Barry: No. But I wouldn't boast about it, either.
[Emil has been waiting on a bench in the courthouse for Amanda and rises as she walks past during recession. She turns angrily and places her hands on her hips, and he is intimidated]
Amanda Mayfield: Is there something I can do for you?
Emil: I'm Emil Giddings. I, I made that video you saw.
Amanda Mayfield: How?
Emil: Well, I worked at the hospital. I recorded that session between your friend and the alien.
Amanda Mayfield: Oh! We're very grateful to you. Thank you.
[She extends her hand to shake his, but he rushes on]
Emil: The government wanted to hush it up, keep it a secret.
Amanda Mayfield: Yes, we know.
Emil: The people had to know about it! It had to be exposed for the public to see, you know?
Amanda Mayfield: That's what this hearing is doing.
Emil: [panicky] So, how are you gonna keep it from laying eggs in other people? Are you gonna put it in a cage, keep it locked up somewhere?
Amanda Mayfield: Look, there's no evidence that Benjamin is even capable of laying eggs.
Emil: [not listening] So, are you going to go away, somewhere in the desert, where no one can find you?
Amanda Mayfield: [sharply] Dr. Norris isn't going to do any of those things. He is going to raise Benjamin as his son, the very best that he can.
Shilling: [speaking viciously to Eric Norris] I loved Miriam. She should have been my wife. Adam should have been my son. She loved me. She did. Until you showed up.
Shilling: And still, I was living with it. And you know why? Because before the accident, she confessed to me that she wasn't happy in her marriage. That she made a mistake. That she should never have left me for you. But before we could act on it, before we could smooth that bump in the road, you took her from me for the second time.
[Eric's jaw has been working, but he remains silent]
Shilling: When you killed her, Eric, my dear friend, you killed the last hope I'll ever have.
Eric Norris: [whispering, with tears in his eyes] I'm sorry, Frederick. I've been sorry every minute for the last eight years of my life.
Shilling: I don't know. Can you ever get even with someone for the loss of a loved one? Maybe not. But seeing you here, in this courtroom, knowing that you're going to lose, knowing that this monster you so pathetically call your son is going to be taken from you forever...
[He stands up and speaks bitterly]
Shilling: Well, I guess that's as close as payback will ever come for me.
[Speaking to a witness on the stand]
Howard Ellis: What is your profession, sir?
Professor Randolph Barnett: I was the Carmack Whitehouse Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown University.
Howard Ellis: The petitioner maintains that the United States government is holding Benjamin without cause. This flies in the face of habeas corpus, does it not?
Professor Randolph Barnett: Well, habeas corpus is the most important safeguard of personal freedom we have against arbitrary state action; and for all practical purposes, it's a hundred times more important than constitutional guarantees of individual liberty.
Howard Ellis: Now, it's been determined by scientists - employed by the federal government
[he glances at prosecutor Victoria Barry]
- that approximately 12 percent of the genetic material found in Benjamin is mirrored in the DNA of Dr. Eric Norris. Now, in your expert opinion, sir, would this qualify the subject in question to the rights and privileges of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, including the writ of habeas corpus?
Professor Randolph Barnett: Well, when I was younger, considerably younger, people's rights in some states in this country were determined by what percentage of his genetic inheritance was white and what percentage was of another race. An octaroon, for example, is a person whose blood is one-eighth African American. And it was a crime for such a person to vote or to marry someone who was black. And that racist law was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1967.
Howard Ellis: Do you see any difference, sir, in restricting the rights of a person who is one-eighth black and denying the writ of habeas corpus to Benjamin because he is one-eighth human blood?
Professor Randolph Barnett: I do not.
Attorney Barry: Correct me if I'm wrong, Professor, but when the Founding Fathers created the Constitution of the United States, it was to protect the rights of human beings, not octopi. No further questions, your Honor.
[Eric Norris is on the witness stand, almost weeping while declaring that Benjamin is his son]
Eric Norris: The connection that we have had since he was born, before that even took over, there is no stronger bond in this world - in any world, apparently - than that between a parent and his or her child!
Eric Norris: [speaking to the courtroom] The photos you have been asked to look at, in horror, this strange creature you saw dancing with me, on the tape - this thing with its long appendages and large, flat face, that maybe looks like an octopus to some - is my son, Benjamin Norris.
[Shilling is on the witness stand]
Shilling: Dr. Norris lost his wife and son in an automobile accident eight years ago. He's never been able to let that go.
Attorney Barry: In what way, sir?
Shilling: He's a sullen, detached man, with very few friends.
Howard Ellis: Objection, your Honor!
Judge Deville: Overrruled.
Attorney Barry: And yet you've kept him on all these years. Why is that?
Shilling: Well, actually, those are probably good qualities to have in a research scientist.
Shilling: [feigning pity] He's trying to make of this alien creature a child to replace the son that he lost. In his own mind, I truly believe he thinks that this parasite is his real child.
Attorney Barry: Wouldn't you consider that to be extremely unhealthy reasoning?
Shilling: I feel for the man. I understand his grief. The loss of loved ones is a terrible thing. And yes, that can distort one's sense of reality.
[Eric closes his eyes in incredulous disbelief]
Shilling: And that's the reason why I keep him on. Because without me, he'd have nowhere else to go.
[the Prosecutor has Benjamin, in a cage, wheeled into the courtroom. Benjamin is frightened and Eric shouts in protest]
Attorney Barry: THIS is what the petitioner would have you believe is someone's child. A human being's son! Would you want this thing crawling around out there? Would you want this thing marry your families? Look on my work, you mighty, and despair! This is not God's work!
[Eric leaps up and the bailiff grabs him; they struggle together]
Eric Norris: I'm going to kill you!
[Emil leaps out of the public area of the courtroom; he produces and points a gun]
Emil: It's the ascension of evil! He'll kill all of humanity!