At the beginning of The Andromeda Strain a few military guys were sent to retrieve a downed satellite before it was apparent that there was an airborne virus killing everyone. They were just in a Jeep with no protective clothing.

Someone at their base was listening to them on the radio, to monitor their progress. After they started seeing dead bodies one of them saw some sort of "white thing" and (in a very scared tone) said that it was coming towards them. Immediately thereafter their radio cut out. Later they were found dead.


Good Chri..!

Do you see that thing in white?

Yeah, it's coming toward us.

What was the white thing? I don't remember this being brought up or explained later in the movie.

  • Note: This question is based on the movie, but someone answered using the book and I'm OK with that as long is there are no relevant differences in their plots.
    – Hack-R
    Jul 15, 2017 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


It's Peter Jackson, one of the two survivors in the town according to the book.

Another silence, then Crane: "Sir!"
Shawn: "Judas."
Crane: "You see him? The man in the white robe, walking across the street--"
Shawn: "I see him."
Crane: "He's just stepping over them like--"
Shawn: "He's coming toward us."
Crane: "Sir, look, I think we should get out of here, if you don't mind my--"
The next sound was a high-pitched scream, and a crunching noise. Transmission ended at this point, and Vandenberg Scoop Mission Control was not able to raise the two men again.


"Look at this," he said, pointing to a figure. It was a man in knee-length white robes, standing and looking up at the plane. He was an old man, with a withered face. His eyes were wide.


Burton was beginning to regain his composure now, after the initial shock of the town. He was beginning to think clearly. They walked up to the van, standing in the middle of the street, its lights still shining weakly. Stone reached in to turn off the lights. He pushed the stiff body of the driver back from the wheel and read the name on the breast pocket of the parka.
The man sitting rigidly in the back of the van was a private named Crane. Both men were locked in rigor mortis.


He stopped. He was looking at the face of Shawn, who had obviously pitched forward hard onto the steering wheel at the moment of death. There was a large, arc-shaped cut across his face, shattering the bridge of his nose and tearing the skin.


He was an old man, with thin gray hair and a wrinkled, worn face. He wore a long nightgown that was smudged with dirt and yellowed with dust, and his feet were bare. He stumbled and tottered toward Stone. His chest was heaving with exertion beneath the nightgown.
"Who are you?" Stone said. But he knew: the man in the pictures. The one who had been photographed by the airplane.


"We won't hurt you," Stone said. "What is your name?"
"Jackson. Peter Jackson. Sir. Please don't hurt me."

So, long story short, one of the survivors is still wearing the white night-gown he was wearing when everyone suddenly died. Shawn and Crane saw him moments before the disease hit them, causing Shawn to convulse forward, smashing into the steering wheel (and possibly leading to some sort of a crash).

  • Thanks much. I noticed that all of this is in quotes (yellow formatting) but it doesn't look like the movie script. Is this from a book version or something? I think you must be right but it's a little confusing. I take it that Craine and Shaw were the 2 men who came later by helicopter; not the 2-3 original guys I was thinking of. If they were just talking about that old "Sterno" drinking guy, then why did they refer to him as a "thing" and why would a bunch of military men have been afraid of him? I'll go ahead and upvote and will probably accept as the answer after I figure this out.
    – Hack-R
    Jul 15, 2017 at 22:00
  • Wouldn't you be afraid of an old guy named, Peter Jackson, especially if he is threatening to make a couple of films out of your cherished childhood book series?
    – RoboKaren
    Jul 15, 2017 at 22:02
  • @RoboKaren ha! OK I had to Google the name to get that reference, but I take it you don't care for the LOTR director of the same name
    – Hack-R
    Jul 15, 2017 at 22:11
  • @Hack-R: It is from the book. Basically, they saw someone or something in white, and were suddenly struck with the disease. As for why they'd be spooked, they were surrounded by dead people and suddenly they see moving white material and are seized by sudden pain as they stop breathing and their blood congeals...
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 15, 2017 at 23:36
  • @Hack-R. And Jackson does show up in the script, although his first name isn't given.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 16, 2017 at 21:23

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