Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: Cold Equations
Date: Aug 25 1955

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
BARTON, Emergency Dispatch Ship pilot
COMMANDER, of the cruiser Stardust
LAUNCH
TRAFFIC
MARILYN
COMMUNICATIONS
RECORDS
STATISTICS
MONITOR
GERRY, Marilyn's husband

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 Street and Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction, presents -- (HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

MUSIC:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight's story, "Cold Equations."

MUSIC:

FOR DEEP SPACE ... IN BG, OUT AT [X]

BARTON:

(NARRATES) There is no margin of safety along the rim of a frontier; there can't be any, until the way is made for those who come later. Until then, the penalty for mistakes is a grim one. The laws of physical nature operate with irrevocable certainty -- with no room for mercy, kindness or sentimentality. In space, life becomes a cold equation -- and the equal sign is often followed by death. I know. I'm the pilot of an EDS. (PRONOUNCED ee-dee-ess) [X]

SOUND:

KNOCK AT DOOR

COMMANDER:

Come in.

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS ... FOOTSTEPS IN

BARTON:

You sent for me, Commander?

COMMANDER:

Yes.

SOUND:

DOOR SHUTS

COMMANDER:

Sit down, Barton.

SOUND:

BARTON WALKS TO CHAIR AND SITS

COMMANDER:

We just got an ED from the territorial space station on Woden.

BARTON:

Uhh, Woden -- that's in the Crab Nebula, isn't it?

COMMANDER:

That's right. There are two exploration parties there on Manning's Continent. Eight men each.

BARTON:

Mm hm.

COMMANDER:

They've got kala fever in one of 'em and no serum.

BARTON:

(DISAPPOINTED) Ohhh. And I thought this was gonna be a nice, quiet passenger run.

COMMANDER:

Computers are working out your payload and your course right now. In exactly ten minutes, we'll drop into normal space and launch your ship.

BARTON:

I'll get her ready.

COMMANDER:

One thing.

BARTON:

What's that?

COMMANDER:

Woden is at the maximum pay limit for an EDS. Figuring the weight of the serum, we'll be able to give you just enough fuel to land on Manning's Continent if you make it the first pass. Otherwise, you'll burn out in midair.

BARTON:

Mm hm. Standard procedure.

COMMANDER:

Report to launching control.

BARTON:

Right.

COMMANDER:

Good luck, Barton.

BARTON:

Thanks. Oh, er, by the way--

COMMANDER:

Yes?

BARTON:

When can I expect to be picked up?

COMMANDER:

We'll make a stop on the run back to Earth some time next year. You'll be notified by radio.

BARTON:

Okay.

COMMANDER:

Sorry we can't make it sooner.

BARTON:

(GOOD-NATURED) Heh! That's what happens when you sign on for EDS work. I'll see you next year, Commander.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... BRISK, FOR A HURRIED LAUNCH ... THEN IN BG, OUT BY [X]

BARTON:

(NARRATES) Down in the belly of the Stardust, the crew was working like beavers to get the EDS -- the Emergency Dispatch Ship -- ready. Mechanics and technicians were swarming all over the place. Girls in inspectors' uniforms were checking the gauges and the supply cabinet. Nine minutes later, the exact course was in the computer, the serum was stowed in my supply cabinet closet, and little EDS Four-Gee-Three was ready to be borne into space. [X]

LAUNCH:

(FILTER) Barton?

BARTON:

Yes, sir?

LAUNCH:

(FILTER) Thirty seconds to blast-off. All set?

BARTON:

All set.

LAUNCH:

(FILTER) I'm turning you over to Traffic.

BARTON:

Ready.

TRAFFIC:

(FILTER) Traffic Control. Come in, EDS Four-Gee-Three.

BARTON:

Ready.

TRAFFIC:

(FILTER) Twenty seconds. Lock open.

SOUND:

LOCK SLIDES OPEN

TRAFFIC:

(FILTER) Fifteen seconds. Space Drive on.

BARTON:

Space Drive on.

TRAFFIC:

(FILTER) Ten seconds. Gravity Neutralizer on.

BARTON:

Neutralizer on.

TRAFFIC:

(FILTER) Five seconds. Four. Three. Two. One. Blast off!

SOUND:

SHIP BLASTS OFF!

MUSIC:

BRIEF BRIDGE ... FOR SPACE TRAVEL ... THEN IN BG, OUT BY [X]

BARTON:

(NARRATES) I don't remember how long it was afterwards that I first noticed something wrong. Maybe an hour, maybe two. There was nothing to show it except the needle in the heat gauge. It was on zero when we left the Stardust and now I noticed that it had crept up toward the thirty mark. That meant something inside the ship was radiating heat. That something was in the supply closet -- and it was alive. [X]

SOUND:

SHIP'S ENGINES THROB, IN BG ... BARTON'S FOOTSTEPS TO CLOSET

BARTON:

(CALLS) All right! Come out! (NO RESPONSE, CALLS) Whoever or whatever you are -- if you don't come out in five seconds, I'm gonna blast you! One! Two!

SOUND:

CLOSET DOOR OPENS

BARTON:

(STUNNED) Well, I'll be--

MARILYN:

(FRIENDLY) Hello. I'm Marilyn Lee Cross.

BARTON:

What are you doing in there?

MARILYN:

(CASUAL) I'm a stowaway.

BARTON:

(HORRIFIED) Oh, my--

MARILYN:

Well, what's the matter? Do I have to pay a fine or something?

BARTON:

What are you doing here?!

MARILYN:

I wanted to see my husband.

BARTON:

Who's your husband?

MARILYN:

He's with the Government Survey crew on Woden. I haven't seen him since he left Earth four years ago.

BARTON:

Okay. But what made you hide in my EDS?

MARILYN:

I have a job waiting for me on Mimir. But I heard you were going to Woden and there was plenty of room, so I hid. Oh, I knew I'd be breaking some kind of rule but, er, what's one little rule?

MUSIC:

SOBER BRIDGE ... THEN IN BG, OUT BY [X]

BARTON:

(NARRATES) Ha! "What's one little rule?" H amount of fuel will power an EDS with a mass of M safely to its destination. H amount of fuel will not power an EDS with a mass of M plus X safely to its destination. (SIGHS) Well, how could she be expected to know? She was five-two, with brown curly hair, and the faint sweet smell of perfume. She was five-two and she smelled like apple blossoms. And her name was X in an equation that would have to be balanced. [X]

SOUND:

SHIP'S ENGINES THROB, IN BG ... BEEP! OF RADIO

COMMUNICATIONS:

(FILTER) Stardust. Come in, EDS. Come in.

BARTON:

This is Barton, Emergency Dispatch Pilot Four-Gee-Three.

COMMUNICATIONS:

(FILTER) Go ahead.

BARTON:

Give me Commander Delhart.

COMMUNICATIONS:

(FILTER) What's the message, EDS?

BARTON:

I have to consult Commander Delhart.

COMMUNICATIONS:

(FILTER) The commander is busy.

BARTON:

Listen, you squirt! Give me Commander Delhart!

COMMUNICATIONS:

(FILTER) One moment, Four-Gee-Three.

SOUND:

FILTERED CLICK! OF COM

COMMUNICATIONS:

(FILTER, INTO COM) Commander Delhart? Emergency message from EDS Four-Gee-Three.

COMMANDER:

(BEAT, FILTER, ANNOYED) This is Delhart. What is it?

BARTON:

At oh-eight-hundred hours, I discovered a stowaway aboard my ship.

COMMANDER:

(FILTER) A stowaway?!

BARTON:

Yes, sir.

COMMANDER:

(FILTER) Well, have you notified Ship's Records?

BARTON:

Not yet, sir.

COMMANDER:

(FILTER) You know the regulations as well as I do.

BARTON:

Of course I know the regulations. That's why I'm calling.

COMMANDER:

(FILTER) Barton -- what's going on?

BARTON:

Sir, this is a girl. A young woman.

COMMANDER:

(FILTER, PAUSE, LOW) Oh.

BARTON:

She wanted to see her husband on Woden. She didn't know what she was doing.

COMMANDER:

(FILTER) I see.

BARTON:

I wondered, sir-- Maybe the cruiser could - change course or something?

COMMANDER:

(FILTER) I'm afraid not. We're hundreds of light-years apart now. We have a limited fuel supply ourselves. With nine hundred passengers--

BARTON:

Is there any chance--?

COMMANDER:

(FILTER) No.

BARTON:

Okay, skipper.

COMMANDER:

(FILTER) Better get the information to Ship's Records.

BARTON:

Okay.

COMMANDER:

(BEAT, FILTER) Barton?

BARTON:

Skipper?

COMMANDER:

(BEAT, FILTER, LOW) I'm sorry.

BARTON:

Yeah, sure.

SOUND:

CLICK! OF RADIO ... SHIP'S ENGINES SLOW, THEN CONTINUE IN BG

MARILYN:

You cut our acceleration, didn't you?

BARTON:

Yes.

MARILYN:

Why?

BARTON:

Mm, save fuel. For a while. (EXASPERATED) How did you manage to stow away?

MARILYN:

(MERRILY, A LITTLE PROUD) Well, I was taking a language lesson in Mimirese from a girl in the Inspection Corps. The order came in for your trip and I just went along on an impulse. Oh, it was easy. I'll be a model prisoner, I promise.

BARTON:

(GROANS) If you were only a thief or a spy, it would make it easier.

MARILYN:

Make what easier?

BARTON:

(CURT) Oh, forget it!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE ... SAD ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

BARTON:

(NARRATES) Why couldn't she have been somebody with some ulterior motive? A fugitive, hoping to lose himself in a raw new world; a crackpot, with a mission. Why did she have to be a woman? A beautiful, kind, trusting woman? [X]

SOUND:

SHIP'S ENGINES THROB, IN BG ... BEEP! OF RADIO

RECORDS:

(FILTER) Stardust.

BARTON:

Barton, EDS Four-Gee-Three.

RECORDS:

(FILTER) Go ahead, Four-Gee-Three. Identify stowaway.

BARTON:

(TO MARILYN) Uh, give me your identification disc, Miss Cross.

MARILYN:

Here. Why?

BARTON:

It's for Ship's Records. (READS) Uh, Identification Number T-eight-three-seven-four--

RECORDS:

(FILTER) One moment. This is for the Gray Card, of course?

BARTON:

Yes.

RECORDS:

(FILTER) I'll need the time of--

BARTON:

I'll tell you later.

RECORDS:

(FILTER) That's highly irregular--

BARTON:

Then we'll do it in a highly irregular manner! The subject is a young woman. She's listening to everything that's said. Are you capable of understanding that?

RECORDS:

(PAUSE, FILTER, LOW) Oh. Go ahead, Four-Gee-Three.

BARTON:

(READS) Number T-eight-three-seven-four dash Y-five-four. Name: Marilyn Lee Cross. Female. Married. Born: July seventh, Twenty-One Sixty. (SHOCKED, TO MARILYN) Good lord, you're only a child.

MARILYN:

(GIGGLES)

BARTON:

(READS) Height: Five feet, two inches. Weight: a hundred and ten. Hair: Brown. Eyes: Blue. Complexion: Light. Blood Type: O. Original destination: Port City, Mimir. (TO RECORDS) Listen, I'll call you back later.

SOUND:

CLICK! OF RADIO

BARTON:

Look, miss--

MARILYN:

Marilyn.

BARTON:

Look, Marilyn. I - I guess you don't know what you got yourself into here. Well, it's like this. This ship is carrying kala fever serum to the survey group on Woden.

MARILYN:

Yes?

BARTON:

Their supply was wrecked in a tornado. The fever is always fatal unless the serum is given in the first forty-eight hours. Now, these little ships have exactly enough fuel to reach their destination. If you stay aboard her, your added weight will cause it to use up all its fuel before it can land.

MARILYN:

Oh. What happens then?

BARTON:

We crash. You die. I die. And six fever victims on Woden die.

MARILYN:

Can't they send out another ship to meet us?

BARTON:

There are no ships to send.

MARILYN:

Well, I-- (REALIZES, PANICS) Oh, no. No, no, you - you couldn't do that.

BARTON:

That's how it has to be.

MARILYN:

But that's crazy. I haven't done anything! I haven't hurt anybody!

BARTON:

I'm sorry. I - I - I should have told you before but I wanted to make sure there was no other way.

MARILYN:

You mean it? You're gonna make me leave this ship?

BARTON:

That's how it is.

MARILYN:

But I'll die! I'll explode! I'll be like those horrible pictures of--!

BARTON:

Try to understand.

MARILYN:

I do understand! You're going to kill me and I didn't do anything!

BARTON:

I know you didn't! I know you didn't! That has nothing to do with it.

MARILYN:

It has everything to do with it! Nobody just dies like that for no reason! Oh, listen, maybe there are other cruisers. Cruisers you don't know about. Maybe the radio-- Maybe it--

BARTON:

Now, listen to me. It's different here. Different from anything you've ever known. On Woden, there are sixteen men -- sixteen men on an entire world. They're fighting. Fighting an alien environment. The environment fights back. You can only make a mistake once.

MARILYN:

(QUIETLY) And - I made a mistake.

BARTON:

Yes.

MARILYN:

(SLOWLY) There's no hope of--?

BARTON:

Absolutely none. You'll have to be put out of the ship.

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

BARTON:

(NARRATES) It was better so. With the going of all hope would go the fear. Then would come the resignation. She needed time and there was so little. [X]

SOUND:

RADIO STATIC ... THEN IN BG

COMMUNICATIONS:

(FILTER) EDS? Starship to EDS. Need pertinent data.

BARTON:

All right, starship.

COMMUNICATIONS:

(FILTER) When do you expect to complete your report?

BARTON:

I - I need a computer check.

COMMUNICATIONS:

(FILTER) I'll give you Statistics.

SOUND:

BUZZER!

STATISTICS:

(FILTER) Statistics.

BARTON:

This is EDS Four-Gee-Three. I'm intersecting course vector seven-point-three at oh-eight-three-one. Deceleration, seventeen-fifty. Weight, one ton. I would like to stay at point-ten as long as the computers allow. Will you give them the question?

STATISTICS:

(FILTER) Check. I'll call you back.

MUSIC:

AN ACCENT ... THEN IN BG

BARTON:

(NARRATES) We wouldn't have long to wait. The new factors would be fed into the steel maw of the computer bank and the electrical impulses would go through the complex circuits. Here and there, a relay would click, a tiny cog turn over. But it would be the current -- formless, mindless, invisible -- which would determine with utter precision how long the pale young girl beside me would live. Five little segments of metal in the second bank would trip against an inked ribbon and the machine would spit out the answer.

STATISTICS:

(FILTER) You will resume deceleration at nineteen ten.

BARTON:

(NARRATES) It was eighteen ten when he spoke. One hour. She has one hour to live.

MUSIC:

UP, FOR A BRIDGE, THEN OUT WITH--

SOUND:

SHIP'S ENGINES THROB, IN BG

MARILYN:

One hour?

BARTON:

That's it.

MARILYN:

All I did was hide in a closet. Now you tell me I have to die. I don't believe it.

BARTON:

You might as well get used to it.

MARILYN:

If this happened back on Earth, a thousand ships would fill the sky. The whole word would know about it. They'd do everything to save me.

BARTON:

This isn't Earth.

MARILYN:

It was such a big dream. Gerry and I separated almost five years ago. We were too young. And I was going to see him to - try to make everything all right again. Are - are you married?

BARTON:

I - was.

MARILYN:

Oh?

BARTON:

She ran off with some guy in the Weather Service.

MARILYN:

Do you still think about her?

BARTON:

I don't let myself.

MARILYN:

Where is she?

BARTON:

Back on Earth. Look, if you don't mind, I'd just as soon talk about something else.

MARILYN:

Okay. (PAUSE) What do you do when you've got an hour to live? What do you talk about?

BARTON:

(AWKWARD) What's - Gerry like?

MARILYN:

Gerry? Oh, he - he's a funny guy. When he found out I-- I mean, about the other fella. He didn't get mad. He - he cried. That was all he felt -- sadness.

BARTON:

So you walked all over him.

MARILYN:

Oh, I thought I wanted him to get mad at me -- to be jealous.

BARTON:

And now?

MARILYN:

I've been thinking about him for five years. So when I heard this ship was bound for Woden and I knew Gerry was there -- I stowed away. I didn't know about the fuel. I didn't know this would happen to me.

MUSIC:

MELANCHOLY ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

BARTON:

(NARRATES) She had violated a man-made law that said "Keep Out." The penalty was not of man's making or desire. It was not a penalty men could revoke. H amount of fuel will power an EDS with a mass of M safely to its destination. The time was eighteen-thirty. Forty minutes. It was beginning to get me. A space frontier is a rough place and I'd seen a hundred men die since I left Earth. But this was different. I watched her as she wrote a message to her folks. I watched her as she fought her way through the black horror of fear toward the calm gray of acceptance. And then, there it was on the viewscreen -- the planet Woden, a red ball enshrouded in the blue haze of its atmosphere, swimming in space against the background of star-sprinkled blackness. The chronometer on the instrument panel said eighteen-forty-five. [X]

SOUND:

SHIP'S ENGINES THROB, IN BG

BARTON:

Listen. We're in radio range of Woden now. I mean, would you want me to try to contact your husband?

MARILYN:

Gerry?

BARTON:

It'd mean-- He would know you're going to die. There'd be nothing anyone can do.

MARILYN:

Yes. I would like to talk to him. Do you think we can?

BARTON:

Well, the planet is turning. If his group is on the side facing us, we might be able to reach him.

MARILYN:

Oh, try.

BARTON:

All right.

SOUND:

BUZZER!

BARTON:

Hello? Hello, Woden? EDS to Government Survey Group, can you hear me? Come in, Woden.

SOUND:

PAUSE ... RADIO STATIC

BARTON:

(TO MARILYN) They may not be monitoring.

MONITOR:

(FILTER) Hello? Hello?

BARTON: Hello? Hello? Identify yourself, please.

MONITOR:

(FILTER) This is Government Survey Group One on planet Woden.

BARTON:

This is John Barton, EDS pilot.

MONITOR:

(FILTER) Do you have the serum?

BARTON:

Yes. How bad is it?

MONITOR:

(FILTER) One man died last night. Six have the fever. How long will it take to--?

BARTON:

I start deceleration at nineteen-ten hours. I should be able to land at nineteen-thirty.

MONITOR:

(FILTER) Thank God.

BARTON:

Uh, look, do you have a Gerald Cross in charge of the group?

MONITOR:

(FILTER) Commander Cross? Yes, we do.

BARTON:

Could I speak to him?

MONITOR:

(FILTER) He isn't here. He's out with a survey team.

BARTON:

Well, when do you expect him?

MONITOR:

(FILTER) Can't say.

BARTON:

How do you read me? How much time do we have left for communication?

MONITOR:

(FILTER) Less than fifteen minutes.

BARTON:

All right. If Commander Cross comes back before we lose radio contact, will you have him buzz me? It's important.

MONITOR:

(FILTER) Okay, EDS.

BARTON:

I'll keep the set open.

MONITOR:

(FILTER) Check.

SOUND:

CLICK! OF RADIO

MUSIC:

TENSE ... THEN IN BG, FADES OUT AT [X]

BARTON:

(NARRATES) The minutes passed like small bits of eternity. On the viewscreen, I could see Manning's Continent sprawled like a gigantic hourglass in the Eastern Sea. There was a thin line of shadow where it was beginning to disappear as the planet turned on its axis. I looked at the pale woman next to me and I thought of another woman, long ago, who'd sat next to me and cried because I wouldn't try to understand. What had she written in those letters back home? What would they think of the faceless, unknown pilot who'd sent her to her death? What would I think of myself -- alone, nights -- reliving this voyage? [X]

SOUND:

SHIP'S ENGINES THROB, IN BG

MARILYN:

Cold, isn't it?

BARTON:

I'll turn up the thermostat.

MARILYN:

Nothing from Gerry?

BARTON:

We have about two minutes of radio contact left.

MARILYN:

Maybe it's better. I mean, suppose it were you and your wife tried to call you. How would you feel?

BARTON:

I don't know.

MARILYN:

Do you ever hear from her?

BARTON:

I got a letter about a year ago. I tore it up.

MARILYN:

That was foolish.

BARTON:

Yeah, it was.

MARILYN:

Life is so terribly short - to be wandering around alone.

SOUND:

RADIO STATIC, BEHIND--

BARTON:

Well, I - I-- Wait a second, we're getting something.

MARILYN:

How much time before - before I have to leave the ship?

BARTON:

About ten minutes.

MONITOR:

(FILTER) Hello, EDS? Hello, EDS? Come in. Come in.

BARTON:

(ANSWERS) EDS.

MONITOR:

(FILTER) This is Woden. I have Commander Cross.

BARTON:

All right, go ahead.

CROSS:

(FILTER) Hello? This is Commander Cross.

BARTON:

Gerry Cross?

CROSS:

(FILTER) Yes.

BARTON:

I have someone for you. Go ahead.

CROSS:

(FILTER) Hello?

MARILYN:

Gerry?

CROSS:

(FILTER) Hello?

MARILYN:

Gerry?

CROSS:

(FILTER) Who is it?

MARILYN:

It's me -- Marilyn.

CROSS:

(FILTER) Marilyn?

MARILYN:

I wanted to see you again. I stowed away on the EDS.

CROSS:

(FILTER) You what?! But, Marilyn--!

MARILYN:

It doesn't matter, Gerry. All that matters is that I can tell you all the things I've kept inside for so long. Gerry -- I want you to know, I - I've never forgotten.

CROSS:

(FILTER) Oh, it's been so many years, I - I can't believe it.

MARILYN:

I thought I'd see you again but-- Now I can't. Gerry, you don't hate me, do you?

CROSS:

(FILTER) Hate you? Oh, Marilyn, I've never stopped loving you. Not for an instant.

MARILYN:

Oh, Gerry--!

CROSS:

(FILTER) Listen, we don't have much time. The transmission is getting fuzzy. Oh, Marilyn, I've got to see you. There's got to be some way.

MARILYN:

There isn't.

CROSS:

(FILTER) Let me talk to the pilot.

BARTON:

(LOW) Give it to me. (TO CROSS) Hello?

CROSS:

(FILTER) Pilot, have you called the mother ship? Did you have them check with the computers?

BARTON:

I've done everything. You've been on the frontier long enough to know the set-up in an EDS.

CROSS:

(FILTER) Oh, dear God, there must be something. Some way.

BARTON:

Do you think I'd let this happen if I wasn't sure?

MARILYN:

He tried to help me, Gerry. He tried. And it really doesn't matter. I'm not frightened any more. Not now.

CROSS:

(FILTER) But how did you get here? I don't understand.

MARILYN:

Well, I was going to Mimir to take a job, I thought, and-- Now I realize I was just going because I'd be closer to where you were. Oh, Gerry, all this time--

SOUND:

RADIO STATIC GROWS WORSE BEHIND--

CROSS:

(FILTER) Don't. Let me tell you something. Marilyn, I've always known you'd come back to me. I've known it every minute. It's what's kept me alive. I want you to hold that in your mind--

MARILYN:

Gerry, I - I can't hear you!

CROSS:

(FILTER) We haven't much time. We're losing radio contact.

MARILYN:

Gerry!

CROSS:

(FILTER) Oh, don't cry, darling. Just know how I feel.

MARILYN:

I do.

BARTON:

It's fading.

MARILYN:

There are so many things to say. Gerry, if you can still hear me-- Maybe I'll come to see you again. Maybe I'll come to you in your dreams. Or - or be the touch of a breeze. Or one of those golden-winged little birds, singing my silly head off. Maybe I'll be nothing you can see or hear but-- You'll know I'm there. Think of me like that, Gerry. Goodbye.

CROSS:

(FILTER, VERY FAINT) Goodbye, my darling.

SOUND:

SHIP'S ENGINES FADE OUT BEHIND--

BARTON:

(NARRATES) She sat motionless in the hush that followed, and then she looked at me.

MARILYN:

Now?

BARTON:

Now.

MUSIC:

FOR MARILYN'S DEATH ... IN BG, OUT AT [X]

BARTON:

(NARRATES) I pulled down the black lever and the inner door of the lock slid open. She walked with her head up and the brown curls brushing her shoulders. I let her do it alone. She stepped into the lock and turned to face me, and I could see the pulse in her throat.

MARILYN:

(AFTER A PAUSE) I'm ready.

SOUND:

LEVER PULLED ... AIR LOCK DOOR SLIDES SHUT

BARTON:

(NARRATES) I pulled the red lever and there was a slight waver as the air gushed out. I thought I sensed a bump -- as if something had bumped the outer door. And then there was nothing. [X] The white hand of the closet temperature control was back at zero. A cold equation had been balanced and I was alone in the ship.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard "X Minus One" presented by the National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Street and Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction.

MUSIC:

CLOSING THEME SNEAKS IN UNDER FOLLOWING--

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, by transcription, "X Minus One" has brought you "Cold Equations," written by Tom Godwin and adapted for radio by George Lefferts. Featured in the cast were Court Benson as Barton, Jay Meredith as Marilyn, Milo Boulton as Commander Delhart, Bob Hastings as Gerry Cross, Jack Arthur as Traffic Control Officer, and Walter Kinsella as the Woden monitor. Your announcer, Bill Rippe. "X Minus One" was directed by Ken MacGregor and is an NBC Radio Network production.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM ... IN BG, OUT ABRUPTLY AT [X]

ANNOUNCER:

And now, next week! In the days of the windjammers, whalers sometimes went on cruises that lasted as long as two years, and so, sometimes, they had to resort to rough methods to gather a crew. But what of the future, when a cruise to a distant star may last for fifteen years or more? We hear of such a voyage next week on-- [X] (HEAVY ECHO) X ... Minus ... One!