Prometheus Analysis Part IX – Act 4

Stone Vases outside the Command Center - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Stone Vases outside the Command Center – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Let us focus now on the second exploration scene inside the structure. Janek heads a team back to the structure to locate Millburn and Fifield. In the meantime, David is on his way alone to find the probe that seems to be picking up a life form at regular intervals. Vickers wants David to connect his camera feed to her room. David finally finds the probe floating in front of what seems to be a door to another room. He opens the door and inside he finds thousands of stone vases that we saw earlier, all neatly stacked. David opens another door that leads him to what could be thought of as a command center. At the entrance, there are four, large, 1:1 scale engineer statues, all suited up. Suddenly, something catches his attention. At this point, he cuts off his camera feed much to the annoyance of Vickers. He sees a large circular structure with four hyper-sleep chambers.

Suited up engineer at the entrance of the command center - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Suited up engineer at the entrance of the command center – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Four hypersleep chambers - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Four hypersleep chambers – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The rest of the exploration team come across the pile of dead engineers that Millburn and Fifield earlier encountered. Holloway, seemingly sick from the infection trips on one of the bodies. Shaw takes a closer look at him and is worried on seeing his eyes bloodshot. She tells that he is sick, but Charlie advises to move forward. They enter the room where they found the vases earlier and when Chance is about to touch the black goo oozing out of one of the vases, Janek advises him not to. Shaw tells Janek that they were dormant when they first saw the vases. Chance finds a motionless body on the ground and he realizes that it is Millburn.

Chance finds a motionless Millburn - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Chance finds a motionless Millburn – Copyright 20th Century Fox

As they approach Millburn, Holloway falls again and he asks Shaw to look at him closely and tell him what she sees. Shaw knows instantly that Holloway is very sick. The others turn Millburn’s body over and find out that he died with his mouth open. Shaw tells Janek that they have to get back to the ship immediately due to Holloway’s infection. The ones checking on Millburn find something crawling in his esophagus that is ruptured open. A snake like creature  jumps out of his esophagus, unsettling everyone before swimming away. Shaw gets in touch with Prometheus tells that a medical team is required by the airlock and also calls for quarantine fail-safe since Holloway’s sick. Vickers is worried about this development and denies Shaw’s request and tells her that she would be closing it up.

Shaw checking on sick Holloway - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Shaw checking on sick Holloway – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Dead Millburn with mouth open - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Dead Millburn with mouth open – Copyright 20th Century Fox

While this chaos is going on with Shaw and gang, David is busy figuring out the specifics of the command center. He finds some rubbery egg like buttons and he presses them. One of them lits up and he presses it again, which results in a chair being released and presumably another hologram activated. He proceeds to sit on the chair and watches the hologram as the scene unfolds.

The Hologram

The Chair - Copyright 20th Century Fox

The Chair – Copyright 20th Century Fox

When David sits on the chair with almost a child like enthusiasm, the hologram is activated. We see four engineers coming in and speaking to each other. One engineer checks on one of the hypersleep chambers and seems to motion another engineer to his right. The other two engineers come in and one of them seemingly makes an action that could only be interpreted as something along the lines of “Enough with this!”.

Hologram showing the first engineer - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Hologram showing the first engineer – Copyright 20th Century Fox

First engineer checking one of the hypersleep chambers - Copyright 20th Century Fox

First engineer checking one of the hypersleep chambers – Copyright 20th Century Fox

He is pointing to his right - Copyright 20th Century Fox

He is pointing to his right – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer heading towards the chair - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer heading towards the chair – Copyright 20th Century Fox

This engineer heads straight to the chair. David makes way for the holographic engineer to take his place. The engineer then uses a flute like device to play a tune and immediately a three dimensional structure is activated along with a few other controls. He proceeds to operate the controls.

Engineer playing the instrument - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer playing the instrument – Copyright 20th Century Fox

A mathematical structure is activated - Copyright 20th Century Fox

A mathematical structure is activated – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer activating more controls - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer activating more controls – Copyright 20th Century Fox

At this point, something very interesting happens. The first engineer, who was checking on one of the hypersleep chambers, comes to the engineer at the chair and has a conversation with him. The body language of the engineer suggests that he is concerned and seems to suggest that he may be asking if it would work. Just a hunch!

Another engineer walking towards the pilot - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Another engineer walking towards the pilot – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer talking to the pilot - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer talking to the pilot – Copyright 20th Century Fox

The engineer on the chair activates a complex map of sorts that show various star systems, galaxies and planetary systems. David is completely overwhelmed by joy seeing these images that he starts exploring the maps. It is clear that our solar system is prominently featured in one of the maps and our planet is marked. David observes this closely and it is very clear that the engineer has plotted course to planet earth. The other engineers are busy attending to the hypersleep chambers.

Complex starmap  - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Complex starmap – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David overawed by the starmap - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David overawed by the starmap – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Our solar system on the map - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Our solar system on the map – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Course plotted towards earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Course plotted towards earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

David looks closer at the holographic earth - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David looks closer at the holographic earth – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Right when the hologram of earth disappears, David discovers that one of the hypersleep chambers is lit. He checks it and finds an engineer, alive and well and sleeping. He hears the heartbeat of the engineer with utmost satisfaction.

Earth's hologram prior to its disappearance - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Earth’s hologram prior to its disappearance – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer in hypersleep chamber - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Engineer in hypersleep chamber – Copyright 20th Century Fox

Excited David - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Excited David – Copyright 20th Century Fox

What is evident from the aforementioned developments is the fact that the engineers wanted to get the hell out of LV 223 and as it would emerge later in the movie, wanted to take their spaceship to earth, with its deadly cargo. If you looked at the scene closely, it would be clear that from the vantage point of the engineer on the chair, the hypersleep chamber to his top left is the one where one engineer is still alive. What happened to the other three is not known. Even after having “warmed up the ship” and plotting their course, something stopped them from leaving. As we will see very soon, there is one more step needed to activate the pilot’s seat, which means that something attracted the engineers’ attention prior to this step. It basically killed three of the engineers. May be only one engineer was not infected and he went to hypersleep without knowing what fate had in store for the other three engineers.

Now, let us look at the starmap itself. It is undoubtedly a celestial sphere displaying various star systems. As it emerges later we find that the primary focus is our solar system. What of the geometrical skeleton that makes up the sphere? It looks to me like a tessellation. Once defined mathematically, the tessellations are perfect tools to solve complex and tricky problems. In astronomy, one of the most widely used tessellations is the Voronoi Tessellation (VT). It is also known as Dirichlet Tessellation or Thiessen polygons. A VT is a tessellation based on a set of points, like stars on a chart. Each point is enclosed by a polygonal cell — a closed shape formed from line segments — that encompasses the entire area that is closer to its defining point than to any other point. Cell boundaries (or polygon segments) are equidistant to two points; nodes, where three or more cells meet, are equidistant to three or more defining points. VTs can tessellate higher dimensions as well.

VTs provide a useful way to visualize and analyze data patterns as well. Closely clustered spatial data will stand out on a VT as areas dense with cells. Astronomers use this quality to aid them in identifying galaxy clusters.

A close relative to the VT, the Delaunay tessellation also boasts a variety of uses. To make a Delaunay tessellation, begin with a VT, and then draw lines between the cell-defining dots such that each new line intersects a shared line of two Voronoi polygons. The resulting lattice of chubby triangles provides a handy structure for simplifying graphics and terrain.

May be it is not a tessellation and I am imagining things. It is certainly not a VT. Nevertheless, it doesn’t affect our analysis a lot. The pattern most likely resembles Penrose tiling. One sub-structure that you could oft see is a rhombus type with a diagonal intersection with some vertices having a kind of marking. Let me repost the picture and I hope it would be clear what I am talking about.

David overawed by the starmap - Copyright 20th Century Fox

David overawed by the starmap – Copyright 20th Century Fox

It could be likely that this structure is simply part of a more complex repeating pattern of a polygon. But, I am unable to make out more from the picture. It could be likely that what we see here is just a portion of a polygonal symmetry that could be an element of Penrose tiling, I don’t think I would like to go into details regarding Penrose tiling. I think the wiki page is comprehensive with a ton of information. All I would like to say is that we could also see diagonals connecting the vertices of a few rhombuses. This could be the classical golden ratio (1.618). Penrose tilings normally involve the golden ratio. In addition, in case of of a particular Penrose tiling with global symmetry, the center point is either the sun or the star vertex.

Our solar system on the map - Copyright 20th Century Fox

Our solar system on the map – Copyright 20th Century Fox

What we see in the center is actually our Sun, with planetary orbits around it. I know, it is quite a stretch to talk about Penrose tilings and symmetry and stuff! But, it is just interesting. Anyway, regardless of whether you find the topic of celestial spheres, tessellations or Penrose tiling relevant or not, the most important information that could be gleaned from the hologram is that the engineers were in a hurry to leave and their destination was earth.

OK, now let us move to the next scene. As the crew rush back to Prometheus with the sick Holloway, they find the air lock shut. Vickers shows up at the air lock and is unwilling to let Holloway in and she is carrying a flamethrower. She is worried that he would infect other people as well. Holloway is progressively getting worse and his skin seems to be changing very rapidly, something akin to a fast mutation of sorts. Shaw is unwilling to leave his side, but Holloway asks her to go. He badly wants to escape the misery of carrying such an infection and he goads Vickers into shooting him. Vickers finally shoots Holloway with the flamethrower resulting in his fiery death.

With that, we are finished with Act 4. Let us do a brief review. We learn that the black goo is oozing out of the vases and Millburn is found dead, with a strange creature shooting out of his throat. David discovers important information about the engineers and finds one of them very much alive and in hypersleep. Holloway’s infection gets progressively worse and he believes that only death can help him get past his misery. His wish is granted by Vickers.

That concludes Part IX of the article. In the next part, I would like to look into Act 5, which takes place back on Prometheus.

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