Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: The Defenders
Date: May 22 1956

CAST:
NBC ANNCR
ANNOUNCER
TV ANNCR
MARY TAYLOR, college age
PROFESSOR DONALD TAYLOR, her father
COLONEL MOSS, Director of Internal Security
GUARD
JOSEF, the enemy
SERGEANT
ROBOT N-71
2ND GUARD
ALPHA FIVE

NBC ANNCR:

Make a date tomorrow night to enjoy the best on NBC Radio. And now stay tuned for "X Minus One" on NBC.

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM ... JOINED BY ELECTRONIC BEEPING IN AGREEMENT WITH COUNTDOWN

ANNOUNCER:

Countdown for blast-off. X minus five, four, three, two. X minus one. Fire.

SOUND:

A MOMENT'S SILENCE ... THEN ROCKET SHIP BLASTS OFF

MUSIC:

BUILDS VERTIGINOUSLY TO A CLIMAX ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future, adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand maybe worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, presents -- (HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

MUSIC:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, "The Defenders," based on a story by Philip Dick.

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG

TV ANNCR:

(FILTER) And now we bring you a special film of the destruction of San Francisco by radioactive pellets released this week by robots of the Asian Confederation. This bombing was televised by robot cameramen of the Western Confederation as it took place. What you are about to see is a rebroadcast.

MUSIC:

UP, FOR BOMBING SAN FRANCISCO ... THEN IN BG

TV ANNCR:

(FILTER) Here, you see the heroic robots -- the leadys -- who defended San Francisco against the dastardly attack.

MUSIC:

UP, FOR HEROIC ROBOTS ... THEN IN BG, OUT ABRUPTLY AT [X]

TV ANNCR:

(FILTER) Of course, since all human life has been under the surface of Earth for sixteen years, there was no actual loss of life in the sense we know it. Still, the vicious destruction of Western leadys by this sneak attack by Asian robot-- [X]

SOUND:

CLICK! OF SWITCH ... ABRUPTLY, ALL IS SILENT

MARY:

(DISGUSTED) The surface war! The surface war -- that's all we hear! It's all everybody works for. Ninety cents out of every dollar goes for the surface war. Every man, woman and child is either inventing new weapons or manufacturing robots to fight for us or taking care of the people who are doing the inventing or manufacturing.

PROFESSOR:

Now, Mary, Mary, take it easy.

MARY:

Oh, I'm sorry, dad.

PROFESSOR:

Maybe you've been working too hard at the university.

MARY:

(SIGHS) Maybe.

PROFESSOR:

How's the study coming?

MARY:

All right.

PROFESSOR:

Colonel Moss was asking about it only today over at Supreme Headquarters.

MARY:

(EVASIVE) I'm still working.

PROFESSOR:

Mary, you haven't mentioned the enemy much.

MARY:

Well, what's there to say?

PROFESSOR:

Well, is he as hateful as ever?

MARY:

He - hasn't been feeling well.

PROFESSOR:

Pity. I hope he doesn't die. After all, he's the only living captive member of the Asian Confederation. How old is he, by the way?

MARY:

Thirty-four.

PROFESSOR:

(SKEPTICAL) Oh, you're joking, of course.

MARY:

No.

PROFESSOR:

Mary, Western society only moved under the surface of the Earth some sixteen years ago. Now, that would mean that the enemy was captured when he was only a boy.

MARY:

Yes!

PROFESSOR:

He told you this?

MARY:

Oh, no. He tells everyone he's forty-two. I deduced it from inconsistencies in his statements.

PROFESSOR:

Well, that's a little dangerous, isn't it?

MARY:

Well, you're the only one I've told, dad.

PROFESSOR:

I wish you wouldn't even tell me these things.

MARY:

Do you expect your friend Colonel Moss to pop out from under the bed?

PROFESSOR:

Now you're being facetious. It's no laughing matter, Mary. The whole concept of the enemy is so charged emotionally--

MARY:

And so full of lies!

PROFESSOR:

Mary!

MARY:

It's true. I've been talking to him for six months now. He's just an ordinary young man who - who happens to have had the bad luck to come to symbolize every hated thing we fight against.

PROFESSOR:

I've heard him speak. He is hateful.

MARY:

He knows what to say if he wants to keep alive.

PROFESSOR:

Mary, I won't hear any more of this!

MARY:

Oh, I'm sorry, dad. I suppose it doesn't serve any useful purpose.

PROFESSOR:

It isn't that. It-- I'm - I'm thinking of your own safety. If remarks like this were overheard-- Do you know what they do to traitors?

MARY:

I've heard they turn 'em over to the leadys.

PROFESSOR:

They're taken up to the surface. As they approach it, the radioactivity begins to destroy them. And by the time they reach the top--

MARY:

I'll be careful!

PROFESSOR:

Good. (BEAT) Now then, why don't we stop this morbid talk? How about turning on some music, hm?

MARY:

All right. (EXHALES)

SOUND:

CLICK! OF SWITCH

MUSIC:

MELLOW AND FUTURISTIC ... QUIETLY IN BG

MARY:

Dad?

PROFESSOR:

Yes?

MARY:

What was it like?

PROFESSOR:

What?

MARY:

On the surface.

PROFESSOR:

Don't you remember?

MARY:

(NO) Mm mm.

PROFESSOR:

Oh, no, of course not. You were only about six at the time. Well, it - it's best not to talk about it too much.

MARY:

Oh, tell me, dad. Please.

PROFESSOR:

Well, it was quite different from living underground. We lived in a valley -- your mother and you and I. There were pretty farms along the floor of the valley, little white houses and green fields and trees.

MARY:

Oh, and there were birds!

PROFESSOR:

Yes. I'm afraid the birds are extinct now.

MARY:

It must have been hard for you those first years underground.

PROFESSOR:

Well, it wasn't pleasant. But I had my work at the War Institute. There was so much to be done then -- building the leadys to take over the surface war, designing the pneumatic tubes to get supplies and weapons up to the robots, organizing the robot councils on the surface, and, of course, the constant fight against radiation leakage. Ah, we're still working on that one.

MARY:

I wonder what my life would have been like if it hadn't happened. About all I know is metal walls and great roaring factories and barracks.

PROFESSOR:

Nobody wants to live this way, my dear. We have to. Some day, when the enemy's defeated--

MARY:

What makes you think he'll be defeated? The Asians are just as secure underground as we are.

PROFESSOR:

(INSISTENT) When our leadys conquer theirs--

MARY:

Dad--?

PROFESSOR:

What is it?

MARY:

Dad, the enemy -- the one I've been interviewing--

PROFESSOR:

(CURT) I thought we weren't discussing him.

MARY:

He mentioned a word to me.

PROFESSOR:

A word?

MARY:

Yes, it - it seems to me that I heard it before when - when I was a little girl.

PROFESSOR:

It's best to forget these things--

MARY:

No. I don't know what it means but-- It might even be a bad word, but-- I have to ask you.

PROFESSOR:

I'd rather not.

MARY:

Please?

PROFESSOR:

(PAUSE) Well?

MARY:

The word was -- "peace." (INHALES SHARPLY) Oh, dad, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to shock you. (BEAT) I think I'll go up to my room. I - I have to get up early. I'm taping an interview with the enemy. Excuse me.

MUSIC:

OUT

SOUND:

MARY'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY ... ROTARY PHONE DIAL, ONE DIGIT

PROFESSOR:

(INTO PHONE) Get me the Director of Internal Security.

SOUND:

PHONE CONNECTS

MOSS:

(FILTER) Yes?

PROFESSOR:

Moss? This is Donald Taylor.

MOSS:

(FILTER) Yes, Donald?

PROFESSOR:

It's about my daughter.

MOSS:

(FILTER) Mary?

PROFESSOR:

Yes. She's been working with the enemy, as you know, compiling a new study.

MOSS:

(FILTER) Yes.

PROFESSOR:

I'm afraid from some of the things he's told her that he may not be completely-- Well, completely sane.

MOSS:

(FILTER) Oh?

PROFESSOR:

I - I thought perhaps you might, well, supervise their relationship a little more. After all, she's been spending almost six months in his company, several hours a day.

MOSS:

(FILTER) I see what you mean.

PROFESSOR:

Now, I don't mean to suggest that anything has happened already. Her attitudes--

MOSS:

(FILTER) Don't concern yourself about it. Everything will be handled discreetly.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

CELL DOOR UNLOCKS ... SLIDES OPEN

GUARD:

The enemy is waiting inside, Miss Taylor.

MARY:

Good. Is the recording and filming equipment ready to go?

GUARD:

All checked and ready.

MARY:

You've checked the restraint suit on the prisoner?

GUARD:

Yes, miss.

MARY:

You may leave us alone.

GUARD:

Just buzz when you want me, Miss Taylor.

MARY:

I will. Thank you, guard.

SOUND:

CELL DOOR SLIDES SHUT

MARY:

(BEAT, BREATHY) Hello ... Hateful One.

JOSEF:

Hello, Beloved.

MARY:

How are you?

JOSEF:

Feeling no pain.

MARY:

I - thought about you last night. I talked to father.

JOSEF:

Be careful.

MARY:

Oh, it's all right.

JOSEF:

Oh, this can't go on, Mary. Sooner or later, someone will suspect.

MARY:

I don't care. I love you.

JOSEF:

(BREATHY) Mary-- (THEY KISS) Well, you'd better get something on tape. If anyone comes in--

MARY:

All right.

SOUND:

RECORDING DEVICE SWITCHED ON

MARY:

(DICTATES, COOL AND FORMAL) Tape Number Four-Twenty-Five-X. Subject -- recorded interview with Captive Z-N-Two, former soldier of the Asian Confederation and enemy of the Western Confederation.

JOSEF:

(FEIGNS HATE AND PRIDE) I am Josef Kali, Serial Number Z-N-Two, former soldier of the Asian Confederation.

MARY:

What were you taught to believe concerning the people of the Western Confederation?

JOSEF:

I hate them! With all my heart! They are inhuman and to be destroyed!

MARY:

What is your objective?

JOSEF:

It is the objective of my people to enslave all members of the Western Confederation! And to utilize them for the benefit of the masters of the Asian Confederation.

MARY:

Did you ever witness any murder of members of the Western Confederation?

JOSEF:

I was a pilot in a group which dropped radioactive dust on women and children who were preparing to be evacuated underground. I myself killed some fifteen thousand!

MARY:

We will discontinue the interview to check the quality of the recordings.

SOUND:

RECORDING DEVICE SWITCHED OFF

MARY:

(NO LONGER COOL OR FORMAL) And to kiss the lips of the captive from the Asian Confederation. (THEY KISS) Oh, Josef -- I can't tell you how it pains me to hear you mouthing this stuff.

JOSEF:

Keeps me alive.

MARY:

If there were only some way to escape, some place to go.

JOSEF:

The surface is the only place to go -- and the radioactivity kills you in forty minutes with the thickest lead suit.

MARY:

Sometimes I think even forty minutes of freedom would be worth it.

JOSEF:

Forty minutes of pain?

MARY:

If that's the price, then I--

JOSEF:

For myself, I wouldn't care. But for you, Mary--

MARY:

If there were a way to reach the surface--

SOUND:

CELL DOOR SLIDES OPEN

MOSS:

There is.

MARY:

(SURPRISED) Colonel Moss?

MOSS:

This has been, I must say, a most interesting interview to hear.

MARY:

You heard it?

MOSS:

From the beginning. We had the room wired this morning.

MARY:

Then you know?

MOSS:

Yes.

MARY:

What - what's going to happen to us?

MOSS:

To you, nothing. Because of my friendship for your father and your own youth. We will simply require that you remain silent about anything that has happened.

MARY:

And Josef?

MOSS:

The enemy will be handed over to a D-class leady at the mouth of the tube and taken to the surface. We will perform the entire operation with a ceremony and a public announcement.

MARY:

He'll die.

MOSS:

Precisely.

MARY:

(GASPS) No. Please.

MOSS:

Now, you'd better go. Your father is waiting outside.

MARY:

Josef--?

JOSEF:

Mary. Do as he says.

MARY:

Josef, I love you.

MOSS:

Take her out.

MARY:

Please let me stay. Let me say goodbye to him.

MOSS:

Remove her!

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS AS GUARDS DRAG MARY AWAY

MARY:

(DRAGGED OFF, WEEPS) Josef! Please! Please let me stay! Please!

SOUND:

CELL DOOR SHUTS AND LOCKS

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

ROOM DOOR SLIDES OPEN

MARY:

Father?

PROFESSOR:

Yes?

MARY:

Did you talk to Colonel Moss?

PROFESSOR:

Yes.

MARY:

And?

PROFESSOR:

He'll permit you to come along and watch the ceremony, provided--

MARY:

Provided?

PROFESSOR:

There's no display of any sort. And, of course, a public denouncement of the whole matter. He's prepared a statement to the effect that the enemy tried to dupe you, that he used hypnosis, et cetera, et cetera. (BEAT) Well?

MARY:

I'll sign it.

PROFESSOR:

The ceremony is at the foot of the tube tomorrow morning at six. At that hour, the enemy will be handed over to a D-class leady which is being brought down from the surface. Remember your promise.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

SOLDIERS MARCH

SERGEANT:

Detail -- halt!

SOUND:

SOLDIERS HALT

SERGEANT:

The prisoner's ready to be turned over, sir.

MOSS:

Is the robot here?

SERGEANT:

The robot is arriving now.

SOUND:

HUM! OF CAR DESCENDING IN TUBE ... CAR SLOWS TO STOP

MOSS:

I'll give the orders. I wish to converse with it.

SERGEANT:

Yes, sir. The robot has landed at the foot of the tube, sir.

MOSS:

Switch on the intercom.

SOUND:

CLICK! OF SWITCH

MOSS:

Robot?

ROBOT N-71:

Robot N-Seventy-One.

MOSS:

Can you hear me?

ROBOT N-71:

Yes, sir.

MOSS:

We have a prisoner to turn over. He is to be taken to the surface and destroyed.

ROBOT N-71:

Yes, sir.

MOSS:

Before we send him into the radiation lock, there are a few questions the military would like to have answered.

ROBOT N-71:

Yes, sir.

MOSS:

How is the war going on the surface?

ROBOT N-71:

The war continues. We are a little short of fast pursuit craft, the single seat type.

MOSS:

It will be noted.

ROBOT N-71:

Our missiles pounded the Euro munitions plant of the Asian robot team last night with good results.

MOSS:

Excellent. Are you ready to receive the prisoner?

ROBOT N-71:

I am ready.

MOSS:

I must warn all observers to remain behind the lead wall when the radiation lock opens. A few seconds exposure to a hot leady is enough to cause serious damage. (TO JOSEF) Prisoner? Step forward.

SOUND:

JOSEF'S FOOTSTEPS, IN BG

MARY:

(LOW) Father--?

PROFESSOR:

(LOW) Steady, Mary. Remember your promise.

MARY:

(LOW) Yes.

SOUND:

JOSEF'S FOOTSTEPS OUT

MARY:

(LOW) Is he--?

PROFESSOR:

(LOW) He's there.

MARY:

(LOW) Oh, if I could only see him alone a minute.

PROFESSOR:

(LOW) It's out of the question. Keep well behind the lead wall.

MOSS:

Ready?

SERGEANT:

Ready, colonel!

MOSS:

Open the lock!

SOUND:

RADIATION LOCK DOOR SLOWLY SLIDES OPEN

MOSS:

Step into the lock, prisoner!

SOUND:

JOSEF'S FOOTSTEPS INTO RADIATION LOCK

PROFESSOR:

(LOW) He's in with the leady. You can almost feel the radiation. By now, he's as good as dead.

MOSS:

Lower the door!

SOUND:

RADIATION LOCK DOOR STARTS TO SLOWLY SLIDE SHUT

MARY:

No! Wait!

SOUND:

MARY'S RUNNING FOOTSTEPS TO RADIATION LOCK

MARY:

Josef! Josef!

PROFESSOR:

Mary! Come back!

MOSS:

Hold the door!

PROFESSOR:

Mary!

SOUND:

RADIATION LOCK DOOR STOPS

MOSS:

Robot, remove the woman and take the prisoner to the surface! Hurry!

PROFESSOR:

She'll be burned to death!

MOSS:

(TO PROFESSOR) Don't go out there -- the leady is pushing her out. (TO SERGEANT) Close the lock!

PROFESSOR:

Mary--!

MOSS:

Sergeant? Get a technician in a radiation suit to pick her up. Have her shielded and brought to the decontaminating chamber.

SERGEANT:

Yes, sir!

PROFESSOR:

My daughter--!

MOSS:

You'd better get into a lead suit, Donald. We'll see what we can do to save her.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

PROFESSOR:

How is she? Bad?

MOSS:

(SIGHS) I don't understand it.

PROFESSOR:

What's wrong?

MOSS:

She's cold. Not a trace of radiation.

PROFESSOR:

You mean the leady wasn't radioactive?

MOSS:

It's impossible. Those robots are exposed to enough radiation in an hour to kill a regiment.

PROFESSOR:

Well, could the counter be defective?

MOSS:

I checked it. No, it must be some freak. Somehow, she avoided exposure to the rays. Well, you're a very lucky man, professor.

PROFESSOR:

Can I see her?

MOSS:

Oh, yes. Go in.

PROFESSOR:

Thank you.

SOUND:

HOSPITAL ROOM DOOR SLIDES OPEN AND SHUT ... PROFESSOR'S FOOTSTEPS TO BED

PROFESSOR:

(GENTLY) Mary--?

MARY:

(COOL) Hello, dad.

PROFESSOR:

Did they tell you you're going to be all right?

MARY:

Yes.

PROFESSOR:

Well, you don't seem overjoyed.

MARY:

Should I be?

PROFESSOR:

You really care for this - this murderer of women and children?

MARY:

Dad, for the last time, Josef never murdered any women and children. He confessed to those crimes to keep alive.

PROFESSOR:

Well, we won't discuss it. You're safe -- that's all that matters.

MARY:

Is he--? Was he taken up?

PROFESSOR:

Yes. By now, he's gone.

MARY:

(DEFIANT) I don't believe it.

PROFESSOR:

Mary--

MARY:

I don't believe it. Somehow, deep inside me, I know he's alive. Somehow, I knew that leady wasn't radioactive.

PROFESSOR:

(THOUGHTFUL) That leady. Yes, that's puzzling. We'll have to investigate that. I'm going to send an order to the surface asking that the same leady be sent down again. There's something very strange about the whole business.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

HUM! OF CAR DESCENDING IN TUBE ... THEN IN BG

2ND GUARD:

The tube is arriving with the leady as you requested, professor.

PROFESSOR:

Good. I'm going in to examine it.

2ND GUARD:

Isn't that dangerous even with the suit on, sir?

PROFESSOR:

It won't take me long.

2ND GUARD:

Very well.

SOUND:

CAR SLOWS TO STOP

2ND GUARD:

He's reached bottom.

PROFESSOR:

Open the lock.

MARY:

Father--?

PROFESSOR:

Hold it! Mary, what are you doing here in a radiation suit?

MARY:

I-- This is the same leady, isn't it?

PROFESSOR:

Yes. I was just going in to examine it.

MARY:

I want to go with you.

PROFESSOR:

Why?

MARY:

This is the leady that took Josef up. I want to speak to it and find out.

PROFESSOR:

Now, Mary, why torture yourself?

MARY:

It's more torture this way. I have to know. If he's alive or dead, I have to know.

PROFESSOR:

He's dead.

MARY:

The leady will know. Please, father, please.

PROFESSOR:

Very well. Close your helmet. (TO 2ND GUARD) Open the lock, guard.

SOUND:

RADIATION LOCK DOOR SLOWLY SLIDES OPEN

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Ready, Mary?

MARY:

(FILTER) Ready.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Let's go in.

SOUND:

PROFESSOR AND MARY'S CLUNKY BOOTED FOOTSTEPS INTO LOCK

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) You're Robot N-Seventy-One?

ROBOT N-71:

I am.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) The same who escorted the prisoner to the surface this morning?

ROBOT N-71:

Yes.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Is he--?

ROBOT N-71:

He is dead. The radiation killed him before he reached the surface.

MARY:

(FILTER) Oh, no.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Steady, Mary. Robot?

ROBOT N-71:

Sir?

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) You accompanied him to the surface?

ROBOT N-71:

Yes.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) You've been exposed?

ROBOT N-71:

I've fought in three battles.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Then, explain something.

ROBOT N-71:

Sir?

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) According to a counter I have concealed in my suit, you're cold. Not a trace of radio activation. How do you explain this? (NO ANSWER) Well? Answer me. That's an order.

ROBOT N-71:

I must return to the surface.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Not till you answer me.

ROBOT N-71:

I must return to continue fighting the war. Do not attempt to stop me.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) I again--

MARY:

(FILTER) Dad, he has a ray gun!

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Look out!

SOUND:

BZZZZZZT! OF SHORT-CIRCUITING ROBOT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Keep back! I've shorted him with the metal counter! He'll be burned out in a second. [X] (SIGHS) That was close.

MARY:

(FILTER) I thought these robots were unable to harm their masters.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) He might have been bluffing but I couldn't take a chance.

MARY:

(FILTER) Why do you suppose he did it?

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) I don't know. But I'm beginning to suspect something so fantastic that I've got to find out about it.

MARY:

(FILTER) Find out?

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Leave the tube, Mary.

MARY:

(FILTER) What are you going to do?

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) I'm going to the surface.

MARY:

(FILTER) What?

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) My suit will protect me for about five minutes up there.

MARY:

(FILTER) No humans have been up to the surface for years! It's illegal! It's--!

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) I know all about that. Now -- will you leave the tube?

MARY:

(FILTER) No. I'm going with you.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Mary, please--

MARY:

(FILTER) If you go, I go with you.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) All right. Hang on.

SOUND:

RADIATION LOCK DOOR SLIDES SHUT

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) I'm going to start the elevator. Here we go.

SOUND:

HUM! OF CAR ASCENDING ... THEN OUT BEHIND--

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... FOR A TRIP TO THE SURFACE

SOUND:

HUM! OF CAR ASCENDING ... THEN IN BG

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Almost there.

MARY:

(FILTER) I'm almost afraid to look, father. All that ruin.

SOUND:

CAR SLOWS TO STOP BEHIND--

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) The car's stopping.

SOUND:

A MOMENT'S SILENCE

MARY:

(FILTER) The silence is frightening.

SOUND:

ROOSTER CROWS

MARY:

(FILTER, STARTLED) Father, what was that?!

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER, AMAZED) It sounds like - like a rooster.

MARY:

(FILTER) That's impossible. There's no living thing on Earth.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Open the car door.

SOUND:

CAR DOOR SLIDES OPEN

MARY:

(FILTER, STUNNED) Father!

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Mary -- do you see what I see?

SOUND:

BIRDS CHIRP, IN BG

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Trees! Forests! A windmill and - and farm houses! Look! We must be - dreaming.

MARY:

(FILTER) Father! Birds! Look!

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER, SHAKEN) It's unbelievable. Oh, no, I - I can't believe it. I - I can't.

SOUND:

ROBOT'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

ALPHA FIVE:

Raise your hands. Both of you.

MARY:

(FILTER) It's a leady.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Do as he says. He's armed.

ALPHA FIVE:

Good. I am Alpha Five, chairman of the Surface Council.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) What's this all about? Where's the war, the ruins? What's happened here?

ALPHA FIVE:

Can't you guess?

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) The war--?

ALPHA FIVE:

There is no war. There hasn't been any war for fifteen years.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) No war? But the guns, the - the munitions, the--?

ALPHA FIVE:

We've been destroying them as fast as you send them to the surface.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) And the Asians?

ALPHA FIVE:

Their robots have been destroying their arms also.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Why? How did this happen? What about those films of the destruction of San Francisco? What about those televised reports? The - the bombings? The slaughter?

ALPHA FIVE:

Models.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Models?

ALPHA FIVE:

We have a full-time division of A-class robots who do nothing but photograph the progress of the fictitious war using scale models. The entire destruction of San Francisco, which you witnessed on your televisors, took place on a table top.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER, GASPS) Well, how did this come about?

ALPHA FIVE:

Quite logically. You created us to pursue the war for you, while you human beings went below ground to survive. But before we could continue the war, it was necessary to analyze it to determine its purpose. We did this.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) And--?

ALPHA FIVE:

We found it had no purpose. War, to the logical mind, is absurd, but it fulfills a need in human terms -- the need to direct your hatred of yourselves away from you and on to others. Eventually Man will grow up enough so that he can face his own dislike of himself with humility. The time has almost come, as a matter of fact. Until it does come, we decided to preserve the illusion of war. Meanwhile, we rebuilt the cities, replanted the farms, and kept everything in readiness. We are the caretakers.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) And what - what will happen to my daughter and myself?

ALPHA FIVE:

You will remain on the surface -- with the others.

PROFESSOR:

(FILTER) Others?

ALPHA FIVE:

There is a small group of members of the Asian Confederation which came to the surface only a few months ago. They are farming a valley not far from here. By the way, you may remove your radiation suits. There is no radiation.

SOUND:

HELMETS UNLATCHED AND REMOVED

MARY:

You said "the others." Does that mean that the prisoner, the one who--?

ALPHA FIVE:

He is alive and well.

MARY:

Oh, father -- he's alive! (TO ALPHA) Where is he?

ALPHA FIVE:

In a farmhouse, not far from here. He has rejoined some of his people.

MARY:

Would you take me to him? Can I see him?

ALPHA FIVE:

Of course. If you will just follow me.

SOUND:

HUM! OF CAR RISING IN TUBE

PROFESSOR:

Wait! There's another car rising in the tube!

ALPHA FIVE:

Stand aside.

SOUND:

CAR SLOWS TO STOP ... METAL DOORS SLIDE OPEN

MOSS:

Just remain where you are! Sergeant? Take this leady into custody!

SERGEANT:

Yes, sir!

MOSS:

Well, professor, this is quite a sight.

PROFESSOR:

How did you happen to come here?

MOSS:

The guard told us you had surfaced. We found the shorted robot where you left it and discovered it was cold. So we decided we better investigate. Good Lord, what a shock this is!

PROFESSOR:

A blessing, colonel; not a shock.

MOSS:

Do the Asians know about this?

PROFESSOR:

A few of them have surfaced but the underground civilization is still ignorant of it. They think the war is going on, just as our people do.

MOSS:

You don't say? You know what this means, don't you?

PROFESSOR:

It means the end of the war. It means peace.

MOSS:

It means victory, professor! It means we can mount a full-scale attack! We can drop hydrogen fission bombs right down their tubes! We can wipe out the whole race!

PROFESSOR:

But there's no need! There's no war!

MOSS:

There will be. I'm returning underground to report this to Supreme Headquarters. You'll have to accompany me for security purposes.

ALPHA FIVE:

You cannot do that, colonel.

MOSS:

Since when does a robot give orders to a human?

ALPHA FIVE:

We were constructed to protect you. In this case, we will protect you from yourselves.

MOSS:

Stand aside. We're going to the tube.

ALPHA FIVE:

I will be happy to stand aside. But you will not be able to descend.

MOSS:

No? Well, we'll just see--

SOUND:

MASSIVE EXPLOSION

PROFESSOR:

Look out!

SOUND:

MASSIVE EXPLOSION SUBSIDES TO SILENCE

MARY:

Father, what is it? What happened?

PROFESSOR:

(STUNNED) Look.

MOSS:

Good Lord. They've destroyed the tube. We're sealed off!

ALPHA FIVE:

Exactly. We have always had heat bombs in readiness for just such an emergency. Lead and rock are fused for a depth of some ten miles. It will be years before your people can reconstruct the tube.

MOSS:

I don't believe it!

ALPHA FIVE:

It makes no difference to us whether you believe it or not.

MOSS:

Men! Destroy this robot!

ALPHA FIVE:

(A WARNING) There are many more!

MOSS:

Destroy him!

SOUND:

WEAPONS FIRED ... ROBOT DESTROYED

MOSS:

Now--

MARY:

Look! Down the road! Humans! A bunch of humans coming toward us!

PROFESSOR:

Why, they're waving!

MOSS:

Those are Asians!

MARY:

(CALLS) Josef! Josef! (TO PROFESSOR) Father, Josef's with them.

MOSS:

Ready arms, men! As soon as they're close enough, I'll give the signal to fire!

PROFESSOR:

Colonel! In Heaven's name, they aren't even armed!

MOSS:

They're the enemy!

PROFESSOR:

Our only hope for survival is to join with them. We'll need food and shelter. If we destroy them--

SERGEANT:

The professor's right, colonel. We're cut off from our own people.

MOSS:

Sergeant, another word and I'll have you court-martialed. Now! Ready your weapons!

PROFESSOR:

Men, don't do it! Our only hope now is peace!

MOSS:

Silence!

PROFESSOR:

I've got to warn them. (CALLS) Go back! Go back!

MOSS:

All right, professor -- you asked for it! Now!

MARY:

Father!

SOUND:

GUNSHOT! A MAN GASPS, GURGLES AND DIES -- IS IT THE PROFESSOR? ... WHOEVER IT IS, HIS BODY COLLAPSES TO THE GROUND

MARY:

(BEAT, QUIETLY) Father? Is he--?

PROFESSOR:

Colonel Moss is dead. (BEAT) Thank you, sergeant. You've saved not only my life, but many others.

SERGEANT:

I - couldn't see any other way, professor. We gotta live, too.

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN ... HOPEFUL

MARY:

Father?

PROFESSOR:

Yes, Mary?

MARY:

Does this mean that we can have "peace"?

PROFESSOR:

If we want it, Mary. If we really want it -- we can have it.

MUSIC:

BUILDS OPTIMISTICALLY TO A GENTLE, PEACEFUL FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard "X Minus One," presented by the National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine which this month features the Clifford D. Simak novelette titled, "Drop Dead," the story of a perfect world, accommodating and peaceful. But how it got that way was less ghastly than how it stayed that way. Galaxy Magazine, on your newsstand today.

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN UNDER FOLLOWING--

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, by transcription, "X Minus One" has brought you the George Lefferts adaptation of "The Defenders," based on a story from the pages of Galaxy written by Philip Dick. Featured in the cast were Lydia Bruce, Warren Parker, Grant Richards, Robert Dryden, Michael Ingram, Stan Early and Ivor Francis. Your announcer, Fred Collins. "X Minus One" was directed by Daniel Sutter and is an NBC Radio Network production.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

NBC ANNCR:

Tomorrow, stay tuned to NBC Radio and let "Weekday" bring pleasure into your home. Follow the news with Chet Huntley tonight on NBC Radio.

MUSIC:

NBC CHIMES