Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: Universe
Date: May 15 1955

CAST:
ANNOUNCER
HUGH, who has a few questions
ALAN, his friend
OLD WOMAN
WITNESS
1ST PATROL
BOBO, a mute ape-like mutant
GREGORY, who has a few answers
UNCLE, of Hugh's
CAPTAIN, of the Ship
COMMANDER
LIEUTENANT
2ND PATROL
and various MUTANTS and PATROL OFFICERS
NBC ANNCR (1 line)

SOUND:

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

ANNOUNCER:

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

SOUND:

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

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN BEHIND--

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 would-be worlds. The National Broadcasting Company presents -- (HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

MUSIC:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, "Universe."

MUSIC:

FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

ANNOUNCER:

We are just beginning to discover how boundless our universe really is. And yet as man reaches out to the stars, out toward infinity, ironically enough, he may be building himself a new kind of prison. What would it be like to live all your life in a world no larger, say, than a single gigantic rocket ship bound on an endless mercy? [X]

SOUND:

RUNNING FOOTSTEPS APPROACH DOWN A METAL CORRIDOR

ALAN:

Hugh! Look out!

SOUND:

CLANG! OF EGG-SIZED IRON MISSILE AGAINST METAL BULKHEAD WALL ... FOOTSTEPS RUN OFF

ALAN: You all right?

HUGH:

Yes. Just missed me.

ALAN:

What was it?

HUGH:

A mutant with a slingshot, I think. Must have dashed down that passageway.

ALAN:

Want to go after it?

HUGH:

No. We'd never catch it, Alan. Probably twelve decks above us by now.

ALAN:

I didn't think they ever came down this far. Patrols usually get them before they reach this level.

SOUND:

HUGH & ALAN'S FOOTSTEPS WALK DOWN CORRIDOR, IN BG

HUGH:

They get more daring each generation. This one looked like a female.

ALAN:

Male or female, it might have killed us. I told you this trip was pure foolishness -- climbing twenty-four deck levels to hear a crazy old man rave.

HUGH:

(GOOD-NATURED) All right, Alan. We're almost there now. Let me see, Compartment X-fifteen, Level Twenty-Four. This is the place.

SOUND:

HUGH & ALAN'S FOOTSTEPS OUT BEHIND--

ALAN:

Whew! This area smells as if it hadn't been visited by a sanitation crew for generations.

HUGH:

Mmm.

SOUND:

KNOCK ON METAL DOOR

HUGH:

This part of the ship is almost deserted.

SOUND:

METAL DOOR SLIDES OPEN

OLD WOMAN:

Yes?

HUGH:

Is this the compartment of John the Witness?

OLD WOMAN:

(WARILY) Who are you?

HUGH:

My name is Hugh Hoyland, cadet from Scientists' Barracks. This is my friend Alan Mahoney.

OLD WOMAN:

What do you want of John the Witness?

HUGH:

Well, only to talk.

OLD WOMAN:

Are you a believer in Jordan?

HUGH:

Naturally.

OLD WOMAN:

I have heard that there are those among the younger scientists who doubt the Word of Jordan.

HUGH:

To doubt is death. We're not heretics.

OLD WOMAN:

(SATISFIED) Ah. Enter.

SOUND:

HUGH & ALAN'S FOOTSTEPS IN ... METAL DOOR SLIDES SHUT

HUGH:

I've brought you a gift of tobacco. Grown on the richest level.

OLD WOMAN:

(INHALES AND EXHALES WITH PLEASURE) Ohhh, it smells good.

HUGH:

I assure you it's of the best.

OLD WOMAN:

Wait here. (MOVING OFF) I'll get him.

SOUND:

WOMAN'S FOOTSTEPS AWAY ... 2ND METAL DOOR CLOSES, OFF

ALAN:

(DISGUSTED) What a rat's nest.

HUGH:

Sssh!

ALAN:

Well, what the devil do you think he can tell you?

HUGH:

Alan, I'm not sure, I'm not sure.

SOUND:

2ND METAL DOOR OPENS, OFF ... WITNESS' FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

WITNESS:

Well?

HUGH:

Are you John the Witness?

WITNESS:

I am.

HUGH:

Good eating to you. I'm Hugh Hoyland. This is my friend Alan Mahoney.

WITNESS:

What brings a gentleman of the scientist class to my humble compartment?

HUGH:

I've heard that you and your parents before you have been keepers of the legend of the Ship.

WITNESS:

Since Jordan gave the Word.

HUGH:

I'm anxious to hear the Word as Jordan spoke it.

WITNESS:

Why?

HUGH:

Because our young scientists-- Well, among them, there have been some who talk against the Word.

WITNESS:

There are Regulations against such heresy.

HUGH:

Still, some of them say the Ship has no purpose. They say that we are here accidentally. That we have no more grace in Jordan's eyes than the most deformed mutant who dwells in the highest level of the Ship.

WITNESS:

What shall I say to you?

HUGH:

Well, I wish to hear the Word from the mouth of one who knows. In order that I may become more convinced.

WITNESS:

Sit.

SOUND:

SITS ON METAL BENCH

WITNESS:

You have a gift for the Witness?

HUGH:

The finest tobacco.

WITNESS:

Good. I will dim the lights. Now, pay close attention for these are the words as my father's father's father gave them to his son's son's son. This is how the Ship came into being, how our people were created.

MUSIC:

A FANFARE ... THEN MAGNIFICENTLY IN BG, ACCENTING THE STANZAS, FADING OUT AT [X]

WITNESS:

(RECITES, GRANDLY)
In the Beginning there was only Jordan, thinking His lonely thoughts.
Out of his thoughts came a vision.
Out of the vision came a planning,
And out of the planning came decision.
Jordan's hand was lifted -- and the Ship was born!

Mile after mile of good compartments,
Tank after tank for golden corn;
Ladder and passage, door and locker,
Fit for the needs of the yet unborn.
He looked on His work and found it pleasing,
Meet for a race that was yet to be.
He thought of Man and Man came into being;
Then Jordan checked his thoughts and searched for a key.

Man untamed would shame his Maker,
Man unruled would spoil the Plan;
So Jordan made the Regulations,
And order came to the works of man.
A Crew He created to work at their stations,
Scientists to guide the Plan.
Over them all He created Captain,
Made him judge of the race of Man.
Thus it was in the Golden Age! [X]

HUGH:

These are the true words?

WITNESS:

As my father's father taught them.

HUGH:

But what of the strange beast-like people on the upper levels of the Ship? Surely Jordan did not create them.

WITNESS:

Jordan is perfect, all below him lack perfection. You have heard of the legend of Huff?

HUGH:

I have heard that he mutinied against Jordan.

WITNESS:

Darkness swallowed the ways of virtue, Sin prevailed upon the Ship. And before wisdom prevailed and the bodies of Huff and his followers were fed into the Converter, some of the rebels escaped and lived to father the mutants. They're tainted with the sins of their fathers.

HUGH:

Witness -- one more question.

WITNESS:

Speak.

HUGH:

What is the Ship?

WITNESS:

The Ship is a great sphere, twenty-five kilometers wide and one hundred levels deep.

HUGH:

I know that. But the upper levels--?

WITNESS:

Regulations forbid us to venture into the upper levels. But it is said that beyond the levels of the mutants lies the Forbidden Place where Jordan's spirit prevails.

HUGH:

So I've heard. Yet something troubles me. Something which prompted my coming here.

WITNESS:

Yes, my son?

HUGH:

(SLOWLY) What lies beyond the Ship?

WITNESS:

(STUNNED, OFFENDED) What?!

HUGH:

What lies beyond the Ship?!

WITNESS:

This is heresy!

HUGH:

Answer me!

WITNESS:

I will not permit such talk! (MUTTERS RAPIDLY, AS IF IN PRAYER) The Ship is complete. The Ship is universal. The Ship is everywhere. The Ship is endless. The Ship is--

HUGH:

Your mutterings are those of a frightened old man! They answer nothing!

WITNESS:

You question the Word?!

HUGH:

I think you lie!

WITNESS:

Hear me, Mr. Hoyland! For what you have already said, I can have your body fed into the Converter -- your soul launched on the Endless Trip!

HUGH:

You threaten me?!

ALAN:

Hugh! For Jordan's sake!

HUGH:

Do you think I fear this dried fig of a man?

ALAN:

(ADMONISHES) Hugh! (TO WITNESS) Sir, my friend is impetuous. He - he does not understand.

WITNESS:

I might be persuaded to forget. A substantial gift?

HUGH:

Why, you pig--!

ALAN:

Hugh!

HUGH:

Come on, Alan. The sight of this so-called holy man offends me!

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS ON METAL, IN AGREEMENT WITH FOLLOWING

WITNESS:

No! You shall not leave!

HUGH:

Don't try to frighten me with that gun, old man!

WITNESS:

Remain where you are, heretic!

HUGH:

I warn you! Put down that gun!

WITNESS:

No, no! No closer!

HUGH:

Drop it!

WITNESS:

Very well, then! Death to the heretic!

SOUND:

SCUFFLE

WITNESS:

(GRUNTS IN PAIN)

HUGH:

Alan, get him!

SOUND:

WITNESS PUNCHED

WITNESS:

(GROANS)

SOUND:

WITNESS' BODY CRASHES TO METAL FLOOR

HUGH:

(AFTER A PAUSE) Alan? He's not breathing.

ALAN:

Is he dead?

HUGH:

I - I don't know.

ALAN:

Come on, Hugh. We've got to get out of here.

HUGH:

Right.

SOUND:

HUGH & ALAN'S FOOTSTEPS SCRAMBLE TO METAL DOOR WHICH SLIDES OPEN & SHUT

ALAN:

Now where? We can't go back. They'd feed us into the Converter before we could even--

SOUND:

ALARM BELL RINGS ... CONTINUES IN BG

ALAN:

What's that?

HUGH:

An alarm. That old woman must have turned it in. Come on, Alan. The patrol'll be here in no time.

ALAN:

Where can we go?!

HUGH:

Yes, where? Where? (AN IDEA) The upper levels!

ALAN:

No. The mutants--

HUGH:

We'll have to take our chances. Come on, Alan, let's go!

SOUND:

ALARM OUT ... HUGH & ALAN'S RUNNING FOOTSTEPS, IN BG ... PATROL WHISTLE (LIKE A POLICEMAN'S WHISTLE)

HUGH:

Listen! That's the patrol! Come on, we've got to climb!

ALAN:

There's a hatchway -- down the corridor.

HUGH:

All right, quickly! Quickly!

1ST PATROL:

(OFF) Halt! Halt! Or we fire!

HUGH:

Alan! Alan! Up the ladder!

SOUND:

VOLLEY OF GUNSHOTS ... CONTINUES IN BG

HUGH:

Up! Come on, Alan! Come on!

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

HUGH & ALAN'S RUNNING FOOTSTEPS SLOW TO A STOP BEHIND--

ALAN:

(EXHAUSTED) Hugh? Hugh, wait. Wait. How far are we from the outside wall?

HUGH:

Judging by the slope of the deck, 'bout two miles. Alan, let's try this passageway here.

SOUND:

HUGH & ALAN'S WEARY FOOTSTEPS ... THEN IN BG, OUT AT [X]

ALAN:

If you hadn't asked him that stupid question--

HUGH:

Now, there's no use going over that.

ALAN:

But why did you do it?!

HUGH:

I've been thinking about it for a long time. When he began to give me those stupid pat answers-- (SIGHS) Well, I just saw red, I guess.

ALAN:

Who are you to question the ways of Jordan? When you asked me to go with you to visit the Witness, I - I thought you wanted spiritual help. I never dreamed--

HUGH:

I'm sorry, Alan, I'm sorry. I couldn't foresee this.

ALAN:

Wait. Wait a minute. [X]

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN, EERIE

HUGH:

What?

ALAN:

I thought I saw something move.

HUGH:

Where?

ALAN:

Near that bulkhead.

HUGH:

I don't see anything.

ALAN:

Maybe my eyes are going bad--

MUTANTS:

(BLOODCURDLING CRIES)

ALAN:

Listen! Hugh, behind us!

HUGH:

Alan, look out!

SOUND:

MUTANTS ATTACK AND BEAT UP HUGH & ALAN WHO GROAN, THEN FALL TO THE FLOOR UNCONSCIOUS

MUSIC:

UP FOR AN ACCENT ... THEN FADES OUT

HUGH:

(WAKES, GROGGY) Oh, my head.

BOBO:

(LAUGHS LIKE A MONKEY ... THEN IN BG)

HUGH:

Where am I? (SEES BOBO, GASPS) No! What - what are you?

BOBO:

(GROWLS MENACINGLY)

HUGH:

Put away that knife. Keep away from me, you!

BOBO:

(GROWLS)

GREGORY:

(FROM OFF) No, Bobo, don't kill him. Not yet.

BOBO:

(QUIETS DOWN)

HUGH:

Who are you?

GREGORY:

(OFF) You must forgive my friend Bobo. Like so many of my people, he's rather impetuous where members of the so-called "super race" are concerned.

HUGH:

Who are you?! What place is this?!

SOUND:

GREGORY LIMPS CLOSER

GREGORY:

(APPROACHES) As you can guess from my leg, I'm a mutant.

HUGH:

Mutant? (BEAT) Where - where is Alan?

GREGORY:

Your friend is dead.

HUGH:

Dead?

GREGORY:

I was not able to restrain my people in time to save him.

HUGH:

Why don't you destroy me and get it over with?

GREGORY:

We do not kill for pleasure, Mr. Hoyland. Only when necessary.

HUGH:

You know my name?

GREGORY:

I read your identification tag.

HUGH:

Who are you? Mutants can't read.

GREGORY:

My name is Gregory.

HUGH:

Gregory?

GREGORY:

I'm a leader of my people. You see, although we are unfortunate in our heredity, Mr. Hoyland, many of us are quite intelligent.

HUGH:

Then why do you live like animals?

GREGORY:

We'd rather live like free animals than like regimented slaves as you do.

HUGH:

(UNEASY) I've heard you - practice cannibalism.

GREGORY:

Undoubtedly you hear many things about us. [We raise our own cattle on the upper levels and those of our people who choose to farm raise enough crops for our small population.] You turn your head. Why?

HUGH:

(WITH GREAT DISGUST) That - that monster. I've never seen a creature like him.

BOBO:

(MURMURS)

GREGORY:

Bobo is an unfortunate. He was born without the power of speech.

HUGH:

How can you tolerate such a monstrosity?

GREGORY:

We've learned to live with difference. If we began to destroy our imperfects as you do on the lower levels, there would soon be no one left.

HUGH:

It violates the Regulations. The Word of Jordan states specifically that--

GREGORY:

You know, Mr. Hoyland, your people are really quite primitive and barbaric.

HUGH:

You dare say that to me?

GREGORY:

I dare say a good deal more. Let us go to my compartment and speak further. I'm always interested in information on the lower levels.

HUGH:

(DEFIANT) I'll give you no information.

GREGORY:

Bobo?

BOBO:

(MURMURS)

GREGORY:

I want Mr. Hoyland in my cabin, please.

BOBO:

(GRUNTS MENACINGLY)

SOUND:

SCUFFLE AS BOBO GRABS HUGH

HUGH:

Stop it! No! (GRUNTS AND GASPS IN TERROR)

GREGORY:

I would advise you to go quietly, Mr. Hoyland. Bobo has a hatred of superior beings which is unfortunate but quite understandable.

HUGH:

(GRUNTS WITH EFFORT BEHIND--)

SOUND:

HUGH STRUGGLES HELPLESSLY

GREGORY:

Proceed.

MUSIC:

BRIEF BRIDGE

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

GREGORY:

Enter, Mr. Hoyland.

SOUND:

DOOR SHUTS

HUGH:

(DISBELIEF) This is where you live?

GREGORY:

Yes.

HUGH:

But you have books!

GREGORY:

Stolen from your libraries, Mr. Hoyland.

HUGH:

(READS BOOK TITLES) "Compton's Astrophysics," "Philosophy of Interstellar Navigation," "Celestial Mechanics." (ASTONISHED, TO GREGORY) You've read these?

GREGORY:

Most of them.

HUGH:

I had no idea that you-- (BEAT) Why did you bring me here? What do you intend to do?

GREGORY:

Do you believe in Jordan, Mr. Hoyland?

HUGH:

There is no other belief.

GREGORY:

And the Trip? I suppose you believe in the Trip, too.

HUGH:

What else is there to believe? When you die, your remains are fed to the Converter and your soul makes the Trip.

GREGORY:

And where does the Trip take you?

HUGH:

Why, to Centaurus, of course.

GREGORY:

Ah! And where -- or what -- is Centaurus?

HUGH:

Centaurus is-- Mind you, I'm just telling you the orthodox answer. Centaurus is where you arrive when you've made the Trip. The place where everybody is happy and there's always good eating.

GREGORY:

And you believe this?

HUGH:

Well, the peasants believe it literally but many of the younger scientists like myself know it is figurative and symbolic. Why do you ask?

GREGORY:

Did it ever occur to you, Mr. Hoyland, that the Trip is exactly what your peasants believe it is?

HUGH:

What?

GREGORY:

And that the Ship and all the Crew are actually going somewhere? Moving?

HUGH:

The Ship can't go anywhere. It already is everywhere.

GREGORY:

Imagine a place bigger than the Ship. Much bigger.

HUGH:

Bigger?

GREGORY:

With the Ship inside it. Moving inside it.

HUGH:

There can't be any place bigger than the Ship. There just wouldn't be any place for it to be.

GREGORY:

Oh, for Huff's sake, listen. You know the lowest level?

HUGH:

Of course.

GREGORY:

If you started digging a hole in the lowest level, where would that hole go?

HUGH:

It's forbidden to think such thoughts.

GREGORY:

Where would it go?

HUGH:

I can't think about it.

GREGORY:

(CALLS) Bobo?

BOBO:

(MURMURS)

GREGORY:

We're going to take Mr. Hoyland to the Place.

HUGH:

No! Where - where are we going?

GREGORY:

The top level.

HUGH:

But that's certain death!

GREGORY:

Nonsense. I've been there a thousand times. Come along.

HUGH:

No, no, I won't. I won't. You can't make me!

GREGORY:

I think we can.

BOBO:

(APPROACHES, MURMURS)

HUGH:

No, no. Please!

GREGORY:

Now, shall we proceed peacefully or shall I have Bobo persuade you?

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

GREGORY:

Open the door, Bobo.

BOBO:

(MURMURS, GRUNTS)

SOUND:

DOOR OPENS

GREGORY:

Inside.

SOUND:

FOOTSTEPS IN ... DOOR CLOSES

HUGH:

(GASPS, IN AWE) No. What place is this?

GREGORY:

This, Mr. Hoyland, is the Main Control Room. Mr. Hoyland, you're trembling.

HUGH:

It isn't true. No. No, there's no such place, except in mythology.

GREGORY:

Ah, you younger men are so wise, Mr. Hoyland, except for one thing. This happens to be the Main Control Room of the Ship.

HUGH:

Main Contro--? But it's just a huge room with an instrument panel.

GREGORY:

And what did you expect?

HUGH:

How do you know this is the Main Control Room?

GREGORY:

See these instruments? Using them, the navigator, many hundreds of years ago, actually steered the Ship on its voyage.

HUGH:

I don't understand.

GREGORY:

I didn't suppose you would. Sit down.

HUGH:

Very well.

SOUND:

HUGH SITS

GREGORY:

Look up. What do you see?

HUGH:

(IN AWE) A huge shield.

GREGORY:

Watch it for one moment, Mr. Hoyland. (MOVES OFF) You're going to see something that few of us have ever been privileged to witness.

SOUND:

GREGORY LIMPS TO PANEL

HUGH:

What are you doing?

GREGORY:

(OFF) I'm dimming the lights.

SOUND:

HUMMING ... AS EQUIPMENT WARMS UP

GREGORY:

(OFF) Don't be frightened. Keep your eyes focused on the shield above us. Ready? Watch.

SOUND:

GREGORY THROWS SWITCHES ... BOOM! HEAVY SHIELD UNLOCKS AND SLOWLY SLIDES OPEN

HUGH:

(GASPS) It's sliding back. (STUNNED, WHISPERS) Ghost of Jordan!

GREGORY:

(OFF) Well?

MUSIC:

SNEAKS IN ... WEIRD, CELESTIAL ... FADES OUT GENTLY AT [X]

HUGH:

(ASTONISHED) What am I seeing?

GREGORY:

(CLOSER) The universe, Mr. Hoyland. The universe in all its beauty. The stars, the planets, the suns and moons and constellations.

HUGH:

No. No, it can't be. The Ship is the universe. There is nothing but the Ship.

GREGORY:

Ah, but there it is. You see it before your eyes spread out like a canopy of glory. [X] Do you still deny it? Answer me, Mr. Hoyland. Do you deny it?

HUGH:

No. No, I can't deny it. They've lied. They lied to all of us.

GREGORY:

Good.

SOUND:

BOOM! HEAVY SHIELD SLOWLY SLIDES SHUT

GREGORY:

I have showed this to others of your people whom we captured and, though they saw it before their very eyes, they would not believe it.

HUGH:

Please-- Please, tell me all about it. Tell me the truth about the Ship and about the universe. What are these things? How did this come about?

GREGORY:

Many thousands of years ago, on a planet like those you have just seen -- a planet called Earth -- a scientist named Jordan decided to build a ship that would carry men from one planet to another. For many years, Jordan, and thousands of others, studied and planned. And when they were finished, they built the Ship -- a ship so large that it had to be assembled in its own orbit beyond a place called the Moon. Sixty years it took them to construct. And when it was finished, a whole new science had been conceived. Then the Trip was begun -- the trip that was to land a colony of Earth men on a far-off planet called Centaurus, millions of light-years beyond the furthest planet ever reached before.

HUGH:

How do you know these things?

GREGORY:

Among my books are the log which Jordan himself kept, and the records of the journey for the first forty years.

HUGH:

What happened?

GREGORY:

There was a mutiny. A man named Huff led a rebellion of those who wanted to turn back. In the struggle, the navigators were killed. And the Crew fell into a state of anarchy. In the years to follow, small groups of men tried to organize the ship for navigation, and each time -- they failed. Finally, the whole idea was abandoned. (SLOWLY) And so - for centuries - we have swung in space - unmanned, undirected - living in a lost world of our own making - without purpose - without direction.

HUGH:

(BEAT) Why have you told me this?

GREGORY:

Can't you guess?

HUGH:

You want to finish the Trip.

GREGORY:

Yes. But I can't.

HUGH:

You can't?

GREGORY:

Look at me, Mr. Hoyland. You see a mutant. A man with a twisted leg. My people are outcasts, condemned to death if we so much as set foot in the lower levels of the Ship. The Main Drive is in the lower levels where my people are forbidden to go. No. It would mean that both our people would have to work together -- our differences encouraged, rather than denied.

HUGH:

All right. I'll see the Captain himself. I have an uncle on the Central Board. I'll tell him what I've seen here.

GREGORY:

And do you think he'll believe you?

HUGH:

Send one of your people with me.

GREGORY:

(UNSURE) That's asking a good deal.

HUGH:

I'm risking a good deal by going back.

GREGORY:

Very well. Bobo will go with you.

HUGH:

Bobo? He can't talk.

GREGORY:

There will be no need for talk. I will write a message guaranteeing safe conduct for a group of unarmed scientists to visit the Main Control Room. Bobo will take you safely through our territory. What happens when you reach your own level -- is up to you.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

KNOCK ON METAL DOOR

UNCLE:

(OFF) One moment!

SOUND:

METAL DOOR OPENS

UNCLE:

Yes, what--? (GASPS) Hugh!

HUGH:

Quick, uncle, let us in.

UNCLE:

But this - this mutant--?

HUGH:

He's harmless. Please, uncle, please.

UNCLE:

(A SMALL SIGH)

SOUND:

METAL DOOR SHUTS

UNCLE:

Now. What is this? You're wanted for--

HUGH:

I know all about that. Uncle, listen. I must see the Captain.

UNCLE:

The Captain? Are you mad?

HUGH:

Uncle, you're a council member. You can get me to see him.

UNCLE:

They'll kill you. You're wanted for heresy.

HUGH:

I don't care. I must speak with the Captain. Now, uncle, you're close to him; you can arrange it.

UNCLE:

I - I don't understand--

HUGH:

Listen to me! The Ship is moving. I can prove it. Do you understand? There is a purpose in the Ship.

UNCLE:

I don't understand what you're babbling about.

HUGH:

Never mind. Just talk to the Captain. Tell him I have information of tremendous importance. Tell him I've arranged a truce with the mutants!

UNCLE:

Truce?!

HUGH:

Here, show him this paper. Signed by their leader. (BEAT) Do it, uncle, for my sake.

UNCLE:

I don't know what to--

HUGH:

Uncle, please, if I am to die, let this be my last request to you.

UNCLE:

(SIGHS) Very well. I'll speak to the Captain.

MUSIC:

BRIEF BRIDGE

CAPTAIN:

And you say, Mr. Hoyland, that you saw this with your own eyes?

HUGH:

I swear it, Captain. I swear it on the Word of Jordan.

CAPTAIN:

Hmmmm. Uh, let me see the paper again.

SOUND:

RATTLE OF PAPER

CAPTAIN:

Commander Erst, what do you think?

COMMANDER:

I don't know, sir. It might be a trick.

HUGH:

(IMPLORING) "I guarantee you safe conduct."

CAPTAIN:

If these things are as Mr. Hoyland reports them, it would pay to risk a few lives.

COMMANDER:

The man is a convicted heretic.

CAPTAIN:

Still, we must not discount his word. He has a "safe conduct" -- and the mutant risked its life coming with him. I think we might investigate.

HUGH:

Captain -- you mean you will do it?

CAPTAIN:

I will have an expedition outfitted. Dismissed, Mr. Hoyland.

HUGH:

Thank you, sir!

SOUND:

HUGH'S FOOTSTEPS TO DOOR WHICH OPENS AND SHUTS

COMMANDER:

Captain, do you--?

CAPTAIN:

Commander Erst.

COMMANDER:

Sir?

CAPTAIN:

You will make the necessary arrangements for an expedition. (SLOWLY) And I trust you understand?

COMMANDER:

Perfectly, sir. Perfectly.

MUSIC:

BRIDGE

SOUND:

PATROL MARCHES DOWN CORRIDOR, THEN IN BG

HUGH:

Lieutenant?

LIEUTENANT:

Mr. Hoyland?

HUGH:

Well, you'd better halt your men here. This is the spot.

LIEUTENANT:

Patrol! Halt!

SOUND:

PATROL HALTS

LIEUTENANT:

Well, I see no welcoming party of mutants.

HUGH:

(CHUCKLES) There'll be none. Their leader will meet you inside the Main Control Room.

LIEUTENANT:

You don't say? Just where is this Main Control Room?

HUGH:

Beyond that door.

LIEUTENANT:

I see. (CALLS) All right, men! Ready arms!

SOUND:

CLICK! OF WEAPONS READIED

HUGH:

Lieutenant! Why do you ready arms?

LIEUTENANT:

In case of ambush.

HUGH:

Ambush? Wait a minute, Lieutenant! What are those men doing with that ray gun?

LIEUTENANT:

Just aiming it at the door.

HUGH:

Are you mad?

LIEUTENANT:

No, Mr. Hoyland, but most certainly you are to think that we could be lured up here to be slaughtered with a fantastic story about some mythical Control Room.

1ST PATROL:

Guns ready, sir.

HUGH:

Lieutenant, I warn you. These people have acted in good faith. You can't break that faith.

LIEUTENANT:

(CALLS) Ho, mutant! Come out!

HUGH:

For Jordan's sake, Lieutenant!

LIEUTENANT:

Hold it! (PAUSE, LOW) A little too quiet for comfort. (CALLS) Mutant! Open the door!

HUGH:

(TO HIMSELF, A PRAYER) Please, Jordan, don't let anything happen. Don't let--

SOUND:

CONTROL ROOM DOOR SLOWLY OPENS

LIEUTENANT:

It's opening. Ready, men.

PATROL OFFICERS:

(MURMUR)

LIEUTENANT:

Someone's coming out.

PATROL OFFICERS:

(MURMUR)

LIEUTENANT:

Steady.

HUGH:

(CALLS, LOUD) Gregory! Stay back!

LIEUTENANT:

Fire!

SOUND:

WEAPONS UNLEASHED

GREGORY:

(DEATH SCREAM)

SOUND:

GREGORY'S BODY FALLS TO FLOOR

HUGH:

You fools! You've killed him!

SOUND:

DOORS OPEN ... MUTANTS CHARGE DOWN CORRIDOR

MUTANTS:

(HOWL AND HOLLER)

LIEUTENANT:

Here come the rest of them. Fire! Fire!

SOUND:

WEAPONS UNLEASHED

HUGH:

You fools! You fools!

MUSIC:

WILD BRIDGE ... FOR SLAUGHTERING MUTANTS

LIEUTENANT:

That should teach 'em a lesson they won't forget. All right, men! Inside the room!

SOUND:

PATROL HURRIES IN & SECURES CONTROL ROOM

LIEUTENANT:

Hoyland, you're under arrest as a conspirator in this ambush.

HUGH:

Ambush? You fool. You blind, stupid fool!

LIEUTENANT:

All right, that'll be enough. Have you been inside this place before?

HUGH:

Yes.

LIEUTENANT:

What's this machinery?

HUGH:

These are the controls he would have used to steer the Ship.

2ND PATROL:

Gone out of his mind, Lieutenant.

LIEUTENANT:

Steer the Ship? Who?

HUGH:

The leader -- the one you killed.

LIEUTENANT:

(CHUCKLES SKEPTICALLY) This ugly mutant?

HUGH:

This ugly mutant -- happened to be a man of true genius.

LIEUTENANT:

Why, you're mad.

HUGH:

Am I? Lieutenant, this man had a vision which would have saved you -- but you chose to kill him because you couldn't stand the sight of his difference from you.

LIEUTENANT:

Shut up, Hoyland! Don't listen to him, men!

HUGH:

You can't shut your eyes and you can't shut your minds and you can't shut your ears to this!

SOUND:

BOOM! HEAVY SHIELD UNLOCKS AND SLOWLY SLIDES OPEN

1ST PATROL:

Roof's moving back!

2ND PATROL:

Look!

HUGH:

Yes! Look!

PATROL OFFICERS:

(SOME OF THEM GASP IN AWE AND SURPRISE)

MUSIC:

WEIRD, CELESTIAL ... SNEAKS IN BEHIND--

HUGH:

Let the vision of this confound your ignorance and blind your eyes! This is the heritage of stars and open skies -- for which men have yearned for centuries! Try to destroy this and you will only destroy yourselves!

1ST PATROL:

(OFF) Death to the heretic!

SOUND:

GUNSHOT

HUGH:

(SCREAMS, GASPS, WOUNDED, DYING) But I - I say to you - that you can't keep this from our people. They - they will seek it out. The Ship will be manned and the Ship will be steered -- and there will be freedom, purpose, and respect for ourselves. This is your heritage.

PATROL OFFICERS:

(SOME OF THEM SCOFF)

HUGH:

Look! Look upon the universe!

2ND PATROL:

Kill him!

PATROL OFFICERS:

(MURMUR IN AGREEMENT THEN QUICKLY HOLLER LIKE A LYNCH MOB)

HUGH:

(BLOODCURDLING DEATH SCREAM)

MUSIC:

TO AN OMINOUS FINISH ... THEN CLOSING THEME SNEAKS IN BEHIND--

ANNOUNCER:

"X Minus One" has just brought you "Universe," a story written by Robert Heinlein and adapted for radio by George Lefferts. Heard in the cast were Donald Buka as Hugh, Peter Capell as Gregory, Bill Griffis as Alan, Abby Lewis as the woman, Edgar Stehli as the Witness, Jason Johnson as the uncle, John Seymour as the captain and Ian Martin as the lieutenant. Your announcer is Fred Collins. "X Minus One" is directed by Fred Weihe and is a transcribed NBC Radio Network production.

MUSIC:

TO A FINISH

ANNOUNCER:

And now-- Next week!

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Next week, we have a strange story to tell -- a sweet, bloodcurdling little story that is really only two sentences long. "The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. And then -- there was a knock on the door..." What knocked on that door? You'll find out next week on--

SOUND:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM OUT

ANNOUNCER:

(HEAVY ECHO) X ... Minus ... One!

NBC ANNCR:

(AFTER A PAUSE) When you buy United States Savings Bonds, you help to build your own future security. Here's an opportunity to save systematically for long-range personal objectives. So invest in United States Savings Bonds.

Now, follow "The Abbotts" to mystery and adventure over most NBC Radio stations.