In a prologue, business magnate Peter Weyland speaks with his newly activated android.
PETER: How do you feel?
PETER: What do you see?
ANDROID: White. Room. Chair. Carlo Bugatti throne chair. Piano. Steinway, concert grand. Art. The Nativity by Piero della Francesca.
PETER: I am your father. . . . Ambulate. . . . Perfect.
ANDROID: Am I?
ANDROID: Your son?
PETER: You are my creation. What is your name?
The android looks at a replica of Michelangelo's statue of David.
PETER: Why don't you play something?
David sits at the piano.
DAVID: What would you like me to play?
PETER: Dealer's choice. . . . . The Entry of the Gods into Valhalla. A little anemic, without the orchestra.
David stops playing and turns to Peter.
DAVID: May I ask you a question, father?
DAVID: If you created me, who created you?
PETER: The question of the ages. Which I hope you and I will answer one day. All this. All these wonders of art, design, human ingenuity. All utterly meaningless in the face of the only question that matters. Where do we come from? I refuse to believe that mankind is a random byproduct of molecular circumstance. No more than the result of mere biological chance. No. There must be more. And you and I, son, we will find it.
DAVID: Allow me, then, a moment to consider. You seek your creator. I am looking at mine. I will serve you. Yet, you are human. You will die. I will not.
PETER: Bring me this tea, David. Bring me the tea.
COLONIZATION VESSEL: COVENANT. DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2104. CREW: 15.
CARGO: 2,000 COLONISTS, 1,140 EMBRYOS. DESTINATION: ORIGAE-6. ETA: 7 YEARS, 4 MONTHS.
The ship is monitored by Walter, a newer synthetic physically resembling the earlier David model, albeit with some modifications. He is alone in the ship, performing his duties while the entire crew is in stasis. His only audible source of communication is with Mother, the ship's A.I.
MOTHER: Walter, it's time to recharge the energy grid. Please report to the bridge.
WALTER: On my way, Mother. . . . . Deploying energy recharge sails now.
MOTHER: Sails deployed. Recharge commencing now.
Soon after, Walter checks on the crew members in their cryo-chambers.
MOTHER: Seven bells and all's well. Crew checks complete.
WALTER: New security Code 31564-F.
Walter checks on the colonists in their cryo-chambers and the embryos. He disposes of one embryo that had expired.
MOTHER: Walter, we have a problem. A neutrino burst was detected in sector 106. This could trigger a destructive event. Report to the bridge immediately.
WALTER: On my way, Mother.
The neutrino burst damages the ship.
MOTHER: Warning, power surge detected.
WALTER: Mother, retract the energy sails and channel all the reserve power.
MOTHER: Emergency. Threat level critical.
WALTER: Initiate emergency crew revival.
MOTHER: Attention. Non-essential personnel, evacuate the cryo-chamber immediately.
Captain Oram is already up and about quickly. He races to Daniels' chamber to get her out, who is badly shaken. Walter enters the bridge and extinguishes multiple fires.
ORAM: Daniels! Look at me. I need you to get up, okay? We're coming out early. Override the SSP and breach the chamber now.
MOTHER: Threat level critical. Non-essential personnel, evacuate the cryo chamber immediately.
ORAM: Look at me. It's okay. Hey, come on up.
LOPE: Captain! Jacob! Wake up!
ORAM: Let them work.
The ship's captain, Jake Branson, dies when his stasis pod malfunctions. The cryo-chamber is filled with flames.
DANIELS: Jake! Oh my God!
ORAM: Daniels, come on!
LOPE: Come on.
ORAM: Let them work.
ORAM: Let them work!
LOPE: Get it open! Come on!
DANIELS: Jake! No!
TENNESSEE: Get her out of there! Get back!
LOPE: Stay back!
During her mourning, Daniels takes a nail from Jake's belongings and ties it to a string necklace for her to wear. She watches a video of her husband, Jake, who is mountain climbing with friends.
JAKE: Hey! Where are you? I miss you. Would you take a look at this. I know. I said I wouldn't go without you . . . Good? Yes. Look at this! Now get your ass up here. I can't make any promises. I love you.
KARINE: They're your crew now. They need a leader.
ORAM: You believe in me, right?
Oram gathers the crew, including Rosenthal, Ledward, Tennessee, Faris, Ankor, Lope, Hallet, Cole, Ricks, Upworth, Karine, Daniels, and Walter, to regroup and plan for repairs.
HALLET: Sorry I'm late, sir.
ORAM: No, it's okay. I can't think of any other way to say it even . . . . We suffered a monumental tragedy. And I'm going to do the best that I can to live up to Jacob's fine example as your captain. But he will be sorely missed. And I'm grateful in advance for your support. So, we lost 47 colonists and 16 second generation embryos and obviously, one crew member. The current structural integrity of the ship is holding at 83%, but we have many secondary systems that are offline.
TENNESSEE: So what was it?
WALTER: A highly charged shock wave from a nearby stellar ignition. As the cells were deploying for recharge, we absorbed the full burn of the storm.
ORAM: And Walter, I will want you and Mother to do a complete core code review so that we can understand how this happened in the first place.
WALTER: It was a random localized event, sir. There is no way to detect spontaneous stellar flares until it's too late.
FARIS: It was bad luck.
ORAM: All right, Faris, I don't believe in luck. I'm not interested in luck. I prefer that we be more capable and prepared than lucky. Observation, reflection, faith and determination. In this way we may navigate the path as it unfolds before us. All right? We have what? Eight more recharge cycles to go before we get to Origae-6?
WALTER: Is that a question, sir?
ORAM: Yes, Walter, that's a question.
WALTER: That is correct.
ORAM: So let's get this ship fixed. Okay? Let's get to work.
LOPE: Sir, excuse me.
LOPE: We just lost 47 colonists and our captain. We need to acknowledge that.
ORAM: I completely understand, but if we don't make these repairs, we will lose all the colonists.
TENNESSEE: Yeah, we should do something for Captain Branson at least.
ORAM: This is not a discussion, Tennessee.
DANIELS: Hey. The terraforming module is stable, but the connecting struts took some damage. I still need to check the vehicles.
WALTER: I can help if you like.
ORAM: Walter, how long do you predict before we can make our next jump?
WALTER: Repairs should take approximately 48 hours. But we should make an effort to vacate the sector in case of after-flares.
ORAM: Absolutely agreed. So let's get to work, okay? Dismissed. Thank you.
MOTHER: C-62 open.
DANIELS: Seal C-62. Open Airlock 17. Open door to Terraforming Bay. Fuck. Tensions are 15% down. Arming.
DANIELS: Copy that. . . . It wasn't my idea. Jake had this dream of us building a cabin on the new world. Like pioneers. A cabin on a lake. There is a lake in the terraforming zone on Origae-6. I mean a real cabin made of real wood. So in the ship storage, there's enough wood to build a cabin. Axes and saws and metal nails. I don't have a clue what to do with them. All of this to start our new life. Now I wonder, why bother?
WALTER: Because you promised to build a log cabin on a lake.
TENNESSEE: This was his favorite. A man of taste. Straight up. No ice, no water, no chaser.
DANIELS, FARIS: No shit.
WALTER: When in Rome . . .
TENNESSEE: To all the good people gone too soon. May we remember that.
ALL: Remember that.
Daniels pulls the lever that ejects Jake's body. Oram watches them on a monitor. Karine joins him.
ORAM: They disobeyed a direct order.
KARINE: She buried her husband.
ORAM: No, Karine, it's not that. They don't trust me. And they don't trust me for the same reason the company didn't trust me to lead this mission. Because you can't be a person of faith and be counted on to make qualified rational decisions. You're an extremist. You know, you're a lunatic.
KARINE: When we get to where we're going, these people won't be your crew anymore. They will be your neighbors. Remember that. Tread softly, okay?