Phase IV (1974) Script

That spring, we were all watching the events of space and wondering what the final effect would be.

Astronomers argued over theory while engineers got pretty excited about variables and magnetic fields.

Mystics predicted earthquakes and the end of life as we knew it.

When the effect came it was almost unnoticed because it happened to such a small and insignificant form of life.

One biologist, an English man, Ernest Hubbs saw something, got nervous and started investigating.

While I was playing around with number theory at the university.

Hubbs was already on to something.

Ordinary ants of different species were doing things ants don't do.

Meeting, communicating.

Apparently making decisions.

By summer the rest of the world had moved on to other things but Hubbs kept making notes.

While the threat grew.

Only fragments of what he knew got out he kept most of it to himself.

So when I got into it, I didn't know a damn thing.

"Memorandum to alf launder smith"

"secretary, national science foundation"

"committee on biological controls."

"From E.D. Hubbs, senior fellow Coronado institute"

"subject - biological imbalance in an upland Arizona Valley."

"Facts on hand - traditional antagonisms,"

"amongst several ants species have come to a dramatic halt."

"At the same time there has been an apparent disappearance"

"of those insects which prey on ants"

"specifically mantises, beetles,"

"millipedes and spiders."

"If these conditions persist they must inevitably"

"lead to increases in ant population."

"Proposal - an immediate full scale attack"

"on the threat of biological imbalance to other life forms"

"in the subject area."

"Mode of operation - an experiment station"

"to be built and maintained with equipment"

"sophisticated enough to control the problem"

"and any potential consequences."

"Personnel - one senior scientist, myself."

"Plus one associate"

"a qualified information specialist"

"with cryptological background."

"In this connection I have been impressed"

"with the recent work of J. R. Lesko"

"at the naval under sea centre of San Diego."

"Location of installation -"

"it is suggested the experiment station"

"be placed in the locale"

"of the most recently observed phenomena."

"Conclusions and recommendations -"

"speed is of the essence."

This is the place.

This is the place.

This is it.

No bodies I hope.

The population moved itself out some days ago.

We've got some pretty powerful friends.

Just another desert development which did not develop.

You did your major work applying game theory to the language of killer whales.

Well, it seemed cheaper than applying it to real air.

Did you actually succeed in making positive contact with the whales?

Only with the emotionally disturbed.

How were you able to determine that?

We talked.

Is that a joke?

Look, I'm sorry, I'm strictly a pencil and paper guy I wouldn't know the front end of a whale from... A hole in the ground.

I know that game's your business, James, you play them very well. That's why you're here.

But this is a serious game.

Well, that's the best kind, isn't it?

Wednesday, three o'clock, further discoveries this afternoon on a nearby farm.

To be added to those observed earlier.

I might have pointed them out to Lesko.

But it would be better to let him learn at his own pace.

There are certain equatorial ants that would attack anything - insects, mammals - anything at all that threatens their food supply.

The smell triggers their behavior.


They are picky eaters.

Now this thing here.

You see what we're doing, we're running lines from these fuel tanks and if those ants get over that water trap we're gonna set fire to this here ditch and watch 'em all burn.

What do you think?

Done a lot of good work.

I'd say they started pulling out three, four weeks ago a couple of families at a time.

What else?

That's about the size of it.

I guess it must have been some kind of infestation but... Well, I couldn't say for sure.

Maybe the heat got too much for 'em.

There's a collapsed house down there.

Well, I wouldn't know about that.

I didn't really get to know those people they were... They were city folk mainly.

Tell me about the towers.

Don't know, wasn't there.

Of course it's been a dry year.

You know we do get ants in dry years.


I talked to an entomologist up at the state department of agriculture at one time, he said these things were cyclical.

They weren't talking about those ants.

Mildred, come on out here.

That's alright. It isn't alright.

These people will think I've got you chained up in there.

These gentlemen are from the university, they're gonna develop a new spray for those ants.

You know what I think.

Ha! You know if she didn't have something to worry about, she wouldn't know what to do with herself.

I'm afraid you're gonna have to leave for a few days.

Mr. Eldridge.


Look I... Mr. Eldridge.

I... I... I don't understand this. It's for your own protection.

Evacuation? What's this all about anyway?

Why this isn't right. They can't just push us off...

Didn't you hear what the man said?

It's for our protection.

When do they get their farm back?

That depends.

Friday, eight o'clock, the zone should now be clear of population, we can proceed with the next step.

The facility is completely self contained, except for a primary power source and the generator in our trucks supplies this, the experiment has begun.

What's wrong?

Well, I guess they're not ready to play yet.

Dr. Hubbs, there's already been a twelve day over run which averages out at 36% when projected over the course of the total program.

The controller would like to get the final figure before the fiscal period ends on the 14th.

Shall we put you down for one more week?

I'm sorry, this is not a precise business.

Well, can you give us an estimate?

We cannot study the ants until they make an appearance.

Can we put you down for ten more days?

This is not a controlled experiment, in our judgment another occurrence in this area is highly probable.

But we cannot command the ants to appear.

Well is there something you could do to hurry them up?

We have been thinking about that.

You know, of course, there is concern over possible outbreaks in other areas?

Ah, I share that concern.

My associate, Mr. Lesko, has something to say.

Listen, I want you to do me a favor -

I want you to call Miss Dobson, d-o-b-s-o-n.

6-6-2-0-7-9-9 in Los Angeles.

Tell her not to take the plane to Vegas on Thursday.

Tell her it'll be a couple more weeks and...

She'll hear from me, okay?

Did you say a couple of weeks?

That's right.

Mr. Lesko, that's not going to be possible, accord...

Let's see some activity.

Hi, there?



They got the horse, Clete, light the fire.

Kendra. Oh, my god.

Grandpa, can't you something?

Oh, my god.

Clete, get over here.

Can't you do something?

Give me the gun.

No, no, no. Let me go.

Clete, get her in the house, get her in the house.

Don't kill him.

Don't kill him.

All set?

Keep down now. That's right. Hang on.

Now this is really interesting.

You see what I do is I get to the parameters of the problem by breaking down the movement of a vector of a single anthill.

Now, I don't know what they're doing, I don't care, I'm just breaking down their simple basic move.

Stop, go.

Turn, duration. That's it period, okay?

Now I take my ant signals, I run them through the digitizer, I record them on tape, I write them down and I search for a correlation between what they say and what they do.

Now assumption.

What we're seeing and hearing are commands being directed at the central mass.

They warned us.


I forgot to turn out the light.

Stop! Cut it out! What's the matter?

Cut it out!

Come back here.

Goddamn it, will you sit...

They're all over the place.

Clete, take care of the women. Get some help.

Now I make various adjustments, make up for time lag and a couple of other things don't worry about it.

Then I come up with...

Ha, are you ready for this?

I come up with a positive correlation on the order of 80% between this little squiggle and the command we commonly know as stop.

And a positive correlation between that little squiggle and go.

And that means these little mothers talk to each other.

Now I think if I... Hey, the lights.

They've got into the generator. Don't move, the back up unit cuts in automatically.

I'm going to counter with 100% yellow.

You're letting some get away.

Maybe they've learnt something.

Come over here, James, this is really fascinating.

People are dead back there.

Yes, a tragedy.

I don't understand it, they accepted the order, why should they come here?

Irrational behavior, very sad.

Now just look at this, James.

Consider the execution of this maneuver, in order to explode the generator, they had to create a living chain...

Listen, Hubbs, those people are dead, don't you understand?

People get killed sometimes.

I think this yellow should hold it's potency for three or four days.

We can start collecting now.

Little sons of bitches.

No, no, no.

They're not individuals, they are individual cells.

Tiny functioning parts of the whole.

Think of a society, James, with perfect harmony, perfect altruism and self sacrifice, perfect division of labor, organized for preordained roles.

Think of the building, elaborate and complex structures according to plans that they know nothing of, but can execute perfectly.

Think of their ability to evolve and adapt in ways that are so beautiful, and still so unknown and all contained in one simple form.

So defenseless in the individual, and so powerful in the mass.


Let's begin with the first behavioral series, heat, cold, isolations, starvation, slow pressure,

and threat.

Mantises prey on ants, as you know.

Now if...

If you're still with us, James.

When are we gonna get her out of here?

That's going to be a little difficult, I'm afraid.

Um... turn on the microphone, please?

Call in and have them send out a helicopter.

I'm afraid the bureaucrats will be rather unhappy with all of our casualties.


Mantises, at this end of the maze, the ants are at the other.

What are we gonna do with the girl?

What is your concern with her?

She's in shock, we can't just... she's a kid.

Don't shout.

This is a problem that will have to be dealt with over the next few days until we're finished.

If you won't call the base, I will.

I'm very much afraid that that will end our mission.

Screw our mission.

I've finished eating.

You know, I don't know your name.

Oh, Kendra. I'm Jim.

That's Dr. Hubbs.

Come in, come on.

You sort of had a close call out there, didn't you?

How do you feel? Well, I'm ready to go home now.

Um... I'll send a message today.

Somebody will come along and pick you up tomorrow, if that's convenient.

They killed my horse.

Kendra, I'm sorry.


Stop it, stop it.

Back away.

Don't touch anything.

It's alright.

That should do it.

You've been bitten.

So we thought if you knocked down one of the towers, taking proper precautions of course, you might get an interesting reaction.

We'll consider it.

Just an idea doctor. Appreciated.

Oh, one other thing. Yes?

We got a report about a family in your vicinity;

You haven't contacted any civilians, have you?


Monday, 2:00 a.m.

Lesko continues to make progress, deciphering the ant language from the tapes recorded during the first skirmish.

If he maintains this pace, we should be ready for their next move.

It's a rather crude language, I think if I keep building up my library of sound words I might even...

Strike up a conversation with them.

Of course then the ants would have to come back.

We'd have to be here for a while.

When's the helicopter coming?

Oh, it'll be here.

I'm sorry about that. Oh, not your fault.

Listen, you really wanna see something?

Another way of visualizing their signals.

Watch this.

I don't have the faintest idea what it means.


Remember me?

Oh, y... y... yeah!

How do you feel?

Oh... Better. That's good.

H... h... how is um...

Dr. Hubbs? Yeah.

Oh, he'll survive.

I'm really sorry about that I...

Listen, if I were you I'd have popped those ants pretty good myself.

You know you've got a mean swing.

Well, the main thing is you're alright.

We'll get you out of here today.

What's the matter?

Don't tell me you like this place?

My grandparents are dead, aren't they?

Yeah, they are.

What? Don't you have parents?

Well, you must be hungry.

Come on, I'll get you some breakfast.


Follow me through the hardware department.

Can I ask you a question? Yeah, sure, go ahead.

What do you do here?

Just a little research into statistical probabilities.

Really? It must be interesting.

Well, we've got powdered eggs, powdered milk, powdered juice, dehydrated bacon, just like home.


Are you alright? Oh, yeah.

See you in a little while. Okay.

Good morning James.

As you can see we're under siege.

What the hell's that?

It's more than reflected sunlight.

Our temperature is already up five degrees.

There's another interesting detail.

How do you suppose those ants managed to build on a poisonous strip where they absolutely cannot live?

Did you say five degrees? Hmm.

In an hour and a half.

And of course the sun's not yet at full strength.

Now watch this. An hour and a half?

Oh, you must watch this, this is fascinating, there.

Beautiful adaptation, isn't it?

We challenge with yellow chemistry, they respond with yellow creatures.

We're gonna fry in here.

Question, what do they want?

What are their goals? They have no goals.

Well, you saw how they disabled the truck.

Listen, Hubbs, I came down here to get in a couple of weeks of science in the sun, I did not sign up for a war against a bunch of goddamn ants.

And furthermore, why the hell did you leave the truck out there in the first place?



Well, I had to get them to attack us, didn't I?

They're rather intelligent, you know.

I thought you'd observed that geometric pattern in the field?

You mean you saw it?

Of course I did.

Why didn't you say something? Why didn't you?

Well, I didn't think you were smart enough to appreciate it.

With all your high class bug talk.

I was afraid that you'd be terrified and run away, and I need you.

Well, you're right about that. When's the helicopter coming?

James, we are faced with a power that has appeared and is exerting itself.

We have the opportunity to study it, to learn from it, to teach it its limitations.

We can, in a word, educate it.

You said you called.

We can try the blue, of course, but they'd only re-adapt again.

So we have to consider other alternatives.

You mean you didn't call?

It is absolutely vital that we give them the opportunity to try their strength against ours, and learn from its consequences.

I'm gonna call in, Hubbs.

And I'm gonna tell them not only to take that girl out of here, I'm gonna tell them to take me out of here too.

You wanna call?

You're just as fascinated by this challenge as I am.


We're cut off.

Then our success will be all the sweeter.

Sunday, one o'clock, the battle is on, lesko is preparing the counteraction.

I have indicated.

The air conditioner is being adjusted to take account of the temperature rise.

Human beings can exist in temperatures of 120 degrees or higher.

But our computer shuts down at 90.


You wanna see what we're doing?

Come on, I'll show you, it's interesting.

The name of the game today is king of the hill.

You see over there?

Now we wanna knock them down before they burn us out, okay?

What's that?

White sound.

That's every sound in the world all pushed together to make one really terrific noise which we're broadcasting to those mounds out there.

And that's what it looks like as we send it out.


Now when that sound gets out to those mounds, it bounces right back here and winds up down there.

Good. Something's missing.

One of the sounds we sent out didn't come back.

Now let's just see if we can find out what that sound is.

There it is.

Now that's the sound we're gonna broadcast to those mounds.

And when we do, interesting things better happen.

If you think that's loud for us think about how those ants are gonna feel.

That'll do it.

They're going crazy.



Damn air conditioner.

I'm afraid I'm feeling rather... Ow!

It's on fire. Get away from it.

Get out of the way.

I just... I can't believe it.

To know our plans, our strength, our weaknesses.

Even the one machine that everything else depends on.

How could they know?

This is impossible.

They knew.

I am choosing one of my less painful moments to record these notes.

Our equipment only functions now for a few hours at night.

Lesko believes we're being allowed this time for some purpose.

A hypothesis, I do not share.

If this were so it would raise questions.

I had not considered.

"Transfer to..."

"Nag tape unit three."

"Go straight six units."

"Right 120 degrees"

"four units."

"Right 60 degrees"

"four units."

"Right 120 degrees"

"six units."

What are you doing?

What are you doing?

I'm doing something my way.

I'm sending a message to the ants.

Yes, I've been thinking about that.

The conditioning process must be working.

But they're not all affected as yet.

They must be informed of their losses and their suffering so they can draw the appropriate conclusions.

Where is your message?

On the plotter.

This is no message.

Mathematics is the universal language among intelligent creatures.

If there's an intelligence there I want it to know there's an intelligence here.

Go away.

Please go away.

Hubbs: We're reviewing data.

Previous analysis show...

Do you wanna drink this? Analysis...


Clear, they failed to achieve a...

They will learn we've made up our mind.

How did they know? How did they know?


Kendra: Jim! Jim!

Jim: What's going on back there?

Hubbs. Hubbs. Come on, come on.

I am not helpless, I will not be humiliated.

Got him!

I'm sorry.

Come on, come on.

Could you hold me for a minute?



If I was irrational during the heat of the day, I apologize.

Why don't they kill us?

Why roast us in here all day, dare us to come out at night?

Why play these games?

What do they want?

I've been thinking about specialization among certain insects.

Take it easy.

Try to get some sleep.

In every ant colony...

Workers, winged males and the queen.

Ants are organized by the queen.

Keeping her alive.

She's the heart and soul of their lives.

She's at the centre. It is she who speaks.

If she died, discipline, organization would crumble.

The war's over, Hubbs.

They have the power.

Only hope now is if they answer our message in the morning.

Convince them we're worth keeping alive.

I think I could locate the queen and kill her.

Lock the tracker onto her voice when she speaks.

What makes you think she'd speak to you?

What is it?

Th... the... the...


Ha-ha, it's just a...

Bare in mind we still have our hard suits.

Yeah, two of them.

They're sending back my message.

Hubbs, there's more.

What does it mean?

What the hell does it mean?

A circle with a dot.

Now I know how a rat feels in a maze.

Rats in a maze.

It's almost like a controlled experiment in which we are the subjects.

Find out which rat is the smartest.

The strongest.

An intelligence test.

Could the circle be this place?

And what does the dot represent?

Could the dot be a person?

Someone they want.

Who could they want?

They want somebody?

I think so.

But why would they want somebody?

To talk to them.

You mean they...

They might be angry at someone who did them some harm?

What would they do with that person?

I don't know.

Would they let the others go free?


Come here.

I believe I've located the queen.

She's in there.

♪ Oh, sweet to walk ♪

♪ In the pilgrims way ♪

♪ Leaning on the everlasting arms ♪

♪ Oh, how bright the path ♪

♪ Grows from day to day ♪

♪ Leaning on the everla... ♪

Where are the grenades?

Used up when you destroyed the towers.

All of them?

Then we must devise something else.

James, please I...

My boots I...

Would you please, I can't...

You're gonna walk out of here?

Trek miles through the desert?

Destroy a colony full of poisonous ants and a deadly queen?

You can't even get your boots on.

Come on, Hubbs, sit down.

What we're gonna do is send another message.

You must go!

You must show them we will not...

Man will not give in.

Did I tell you I figured out their first message?

The dot is you.

They want you.

And they shall soon have me.

I'm sorry, Hubbs, it's not gonna happen your way.


Stop! She's there.

That hill, the queen.

Hubbs, you can't do it. Now come on, come on!






Goddamn you.


I would still like to believe that given time we could have come to an understanding.

Some rational accommodation of interests, some agreement.

But that's not the way it's going to be.

I've made some calculations about their rate of expansion using their intelligence and their powers of organization, and their network of communications, their poisons.

Their ability to adapt genetically.

I believe that after this test run now they'll move rather quickly into desert areas.

Taking over the countryside first then laying siege to towns and cities.

I believe they will learn as they advance, anticipating our moves and continue to stay a move ahead.

We have only one chance, the counter attack suggested by doctor Hubbs.

A direct assault on their queen.

Jesus, I wish it wasn't me.

There you are.

They wanted...


We knew then, we were being changed and made part of their world.

We didn't know for what purpose.

But we knew we would be told.