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The Drop

Tales of Tomorrow

The Drop

Apr 09 1953



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

HOST


BOB, freighter captain

MATHEWS, another captain

ANDERS, of the Security Service

OSBORN, the steward

VODER, the executioner type

LARRY




(MUSIC: THEME)


ANNCR: TALES OF TOMORROW. TALES BEYOND HUMAN IMAGINATION..UNTIL THEY HAPPEN.


(MUSIC: ACCENT)


ANNCR: TALES OF TOMORROW. STORY NUMBER 15.


(MUSIC: ACCENT)


ANNCR: "THE DROP", BY JOHN CHRISTOPHER.


(MUSIC: CLIMAX AND OUT)


HOST: This is your host, OMENTOR, saying hello for ABC.


(MUSIC: UNDER)


HOST: Like to spend the week-end on Mars..Or Venus..or one of the other planets? It's really quite easy. All you do is buy your ticket and board a space liner..IF you're lucky enough to be living in the 33rd century! (CHUCKLE) How do I know there will be space travel between the planets thirteen hundred years from now? I've read all about it, friends...in a remarkable story from Galaxy Megazine...a story that intrigued me so much that I've stepped into the part of Captain Bob Newsam, skipper of a 33rd century space-freighter, in a thrilling tale of tomorrow called.."THE DROP".


(MUSIC: TO BUTTON. THEN UNDER TO BACK NARRATION)


(STEPS UNDER)

(FUTURISTIC TRAFFIC BG)


BOB: After three months in the cramped quarters of a space freighter it was good to be back on Mars, walking the solid pavements of Forbeston. I headed toward the senior officers club. Above me was the almost invisible plastic dome of the transparent bubble that contained Forbeston space-port's man-made atmosphere. Beyond the dome hung the purple velvet of the Martian sky. Now that the sun was low on the horizon it was flecked with the larger stars. One of them, unwinking and tremendous, was green. That was Earth...the forbidden world.


(MUSIC: ACCENT)


BOB: The lobby of the club was the same as usual. Clusters of officers sitting around and chatting. A few pretty girls waiting for their dates. The chief steward, Osborn, behind the desk.


(CLUB LOBBY EFFECTS BG)


OSBORN: Great to see you again, Captain Newsam! I was saying only yesterday to Wilson, my assistant, that you ought to be back any day now! Have a good trip, sir?


BOB: The usual. I sure am glad to be back. Is my cousin Captain Gains, in his room?


OSBORN: (FLUSTERED) Captain Gains? Well, no sir, he isn't..As a matter of fact, Captain Newsam, your cousin is no longer staying at the club.


BOB: You mean he's moved to his place in the country?


OSBORN: Well...as to that I couldn't say, sir. He checked out of the club two months ago. Left no forwarding address.


BOB: Then he must be at the country place. Call him on the vidphone, Osborn. The dial number is 3712.


OSBORN: Yes sir.


(CLICK)

(DIAL FOUR TIMES)

(REPEATED BEEPS)


OSBORN: (CUE) No answer there, Captain.


BOB: Strange. It's not like Larry to clear out without leaving a message for me. (WORRIED) Osborn, is anything wrong?


OSBORN: (EVADING) Wrong, sir?


BOB: Gains was badly injured during his Last Tycho voyage ten months ago. He was recuperating here at the club. (BEAT) Are you trying to keep something from me?


OSBORN: No, sir. The Captain was in good health when he left two months ago, sir.


BOB: And you don't know where he went?


OSBORN: No sir.


BOB: I see. (BEAT) I'm going into the dining room. While I'm having dinner I want you to try to locate him. Check every possible place in town. Call Central Registration, if necessary.


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER)

 

BOB: I ordered dinner. Waiting for the first course I puzzled over Osborn's behavior. He was concealing something..but what..and why? Before I could give it much thought..


MATHEWS: Hello, Newsam. Mind if I join you?


BOB: It was Mathews, skipper of the Firefly and one of Larry's closest friends. If anything had happened to Larry he'd be sure to know about it. I told Mathews of my conversation with Osborn, and my suspicion. He listened with a thin smile.


(MUSIC: OUT)


(DINING ROOM EFFECTS BG)


MATHEWS: There's nothing suspicious in what you've said so far, Newsam..Aren't you jumping to conclusions?


BOB: Maybe I am. But on the other hand, why didn't Larry leave a message for me? And if he isn't at his cottage, where is he?


MATHEWS: Perhaps he's out hunting.


BOB: Larry isn't strong enough to hunt, it's too soon after the accident! 


MATHEWS: Your nerves are jumpy, Newsam. You've been out in space too long.


BOB: Maybe so..but I still think something's wrong.


MATHEWS: Forget it. (CHANGING THE SUBJECT) By the way, what run are you on these days?


BOB: Venus to Mercury.


MATHEWS: That used to be my run five years ago. Still touch at the Moon for refueling?


BOB: Yes, at Clarke's Point.


MATHEWS: (ELABORATELY CASUAL) They've got a pretty good telescope at Clarke's Point Observatory. Strong enough to get a good view of the Earth. You can even make out some small groups of buildings on Earth when the weather is right. Ever do that, Newsam?


BOB: (SHRUGS) Never give it a thought. No one bothers about the Earth anymore.


MATHEWS: Except as a place to drop the misfits of society. Incidentally, Newsam, ever wonder why we drop the misfits back to Earth?


BOB: What's there to wonder about? It's the only alternative to keeping them in institutions at the planet's expense.


MATHEWS: Still I've known people to argue we never should have abandoned the Earth. They claim it's richer in natural resources than all the other planets combined.


BOB: Well..in a way it would be more merciful to kill the misfits, rather than drop them on a radio-active planet where..where.. (HIS VOICE FADES OFF)


MATHEWS: (PAUSE) What's the matter, Newsam?


BOB: I just got an unpleasant idea. Is it possible that Larry's been..dropped?


MATHEWS: Larry? Whatever put that crazy notion into your head? 


BOB: You know how people are about someone that's been dropped. It suddenly occurred to me that Osborn's attitude..


MATHEWS: (OVER, SHARPLY) Look here, Newsam, your cousin is far from a misfit. There's no reason to assume anything like that! But if he had been dropped, don't you realize it's dangerous to even discuss it?


BOB: I know that. But you're Larry's friend. I thought that if he had been..


MATHEWS: (INTERRUPTS) Never mind what you thought. If Larry has been dropped, the Security Service will be keeping a close watch on his friends. This table may be wired for sound. Who knows, maybe security agents are listening in on this talk. Let's change the subject!


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER)


BOB: After that we talked about astrogation and the big colonization project on Sirius until the meal was over. Then I said goodnight to Mathews and left the dining room. Osborn was still behind the desk. When I asked if he'd been able to locate Captain Gains he shook his head..


OSBORN: No one seems to have any record of his whereabouts. Not even Central Registration.


(MUSIC: ACCENT)


BOB: Larry's cottage was eight miles from the city. I took a cab to the West Lock and went the rest of the way on foot. No one had been in the cottage for weeks. That was clear by the amount of dust on the floor, and on the living room table. In the kitchen I found a copy of the Forbeston newspaper. It was three months old.


(DOOR OPENS OFF)


BOB: Still, when the door opened behind me, I turned around half expecting to see Larry. But instead there were two men in Security Service uniforms. The older and taller of the two stepped forward.


(MUSIC: OUT)


ANDERS: Captain Newsam, of the space freighter Ironrod?


BOB: That's right.


ANDERS: I'm Colonel Anders, Security. This is just a check-up, Captain.


BOB: That won't be necessary. I had one when I landed the Ironrod at Forbeston this afternoon.


ANDERS: I'm afraid you'll have to submit to a secondary. We won't keep you long.


BOB: You won't keep me at all. I'm getting out of here!


(STEPS)


ANDERS: (OFF A BIT) I wouldn't do that if I were you, Newsam. Stop him, lieutenant!


(MUSIC: STING, THEN UNDER)


BOB: The gold vapor floating through the air was Venusian arodate, against which the Security men were immunized. Its effect on me was split second fast, I was able to walk only a step or two before my muscles locked and everything went black.


(MUSIC: ACCENT)


BOB: When I awoke I was back in Forbeston, in the Security building. My muscles were still rigid. I was lying on a stretcher, underneath the Verifier. Electrodes were clamped behind my ears. Above me were the gleaming mirrors, silver balls, and electronic devices of the truth machine. Colonel Anders was at my side, showing a toothy grin..


(MUSIC: OUT)


ANDERS: Sorry to use such drastic measures, Captain, but you left me no choice. You understand, of course, that the Verifier is always accurate. When you answer truthfully a bell will chime. If not, a buzzer will sound. Shall we start?


BOB: Whenever you're ready.


(SWITCH)

(HUM 0F ELECTRIC MOTOR)

(SOUND OF SILVER BALL SPINNING IN ITS CHANNEL..THIS SOUNDS LIKE A ROULETTE WHEEL IN OPERATION)


ANDERS: Look up into the mirrors. Watch the silver ball spinning in its channel. (BEAT) Now then, what is the closest distance that you've ever approached the planet Earth?


BOB: I used to refuel at the moon. That's as close as I've ever come.


(CHIME)


ANDERS: What's your opinion of the so called "drop" method of eliminating the misfits of our society, Captain?


BOB: Never gave it much thought, but I don't suppose there's anything wrong with it.


(CHIME)


ANDERS: Do you ever dream of wide stretches of water, such as we're told exist on Earth?


BOB: I used to have such dreams, but not since I was a boy.


(CHIME)


ANDERS: What were you doing in Captain Gains' cottage this evening?


BOB: I was looking for him. (CHIME) Maybe you'll tell me where I can find him.


ANDERS: (CHUCKLE) I'm not under the Verifier. Your answers seem to be satisfactory. I'll switch off the machine.


(SOUND OUT)


BOB: Can I go now?


ANDERS: As soon as you're able to move. Which will take a few more minutes. On your way out, stop at the bar. I'll be there.


(MUSIC: BRIDGE)


(LIGHT BAR EFFECTS BG)


ANDERS: (UP) Over here, Captain. (BEAT) Well, how do you feel?


BOB: (FADE IN) A little stiff in the joints, but all right otherwise.


ANDERS: Good. Here's your drink.


BOB: (TOSSES IT OFF) Now, Colonel, just why did you pick me up for a second verification?


ANDERS: I can't answer that.


BOB: I see. (PAUSE) Well, then, can you tell me where to find Captain Gains?


ANDERS: I'm afraid not.


BOB: Because you don't know, or you don't want to?


ANDERS: Take a word of advice, Newsam. Go to bed. Forget about Captain Gains.


BOB: Gains happens to be my cousin, and I'm fond of the guy! Why is everyone so anxious for me to forget him?


ANDERS: It might be extremely unhealthy to do otherwise.


BOB: Unhealthy?


ANDERS: I've examined your record. You don't have a single black mark against you -- yet. You're the captain of your own ship. If you keep your nose reasonably clean you can look forward to a long and successful career in the merchant service. Don't do anything to put that career in jeopardy! (CHANGE TONE) I've got to get back on duty. (FADING OFF) Good night, Captain...and remember my advice!


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER)


BOB: I stood there at the bar, turning Anders' advice over in my mind. He'd threatened me. A friendly threat, but a threat nevertheless. Which meant Larry's disappearance was somehow linked with the Security Police. But why? What had he done? Larry Gaines was the soundest man I'd ever known. If the Security Police had declared him misfit, they were the misfits, not Larry!


(MUSIC: STING AND UNDER)


BOB: That thought stopped me in my tracks. The first rebellious thought I'd ever had in the 33 years of my existence. In our society that isn't done. We members of the lower classes..workers, technicians and professionals...do as we're told. When one of us attempts to think independently he suddenly disappears..like Larry!


(MUSIC: STING)


BOB: I left the Security Building. A black runabout was parked at the curb outside. I started to walk past it when..


(LIGHT TRAFFIC BG)


MATHEWS: Newsam - just a moment.


BOB: Oh, hello, Mathews.


MATHEWS: Can I give you a lift?


BOB: I'm just going to the club.


(CAR DOOR OPENED)


MATHEWS: Get in, I'll drive you there.


BOB: Thanks.


(CLIMBS INTO CAR)

(CLOSE DOOR)

(CAR UNDER WAY)


MATHEWS: (AFTER A PAUSE) What were you doing in the Security Building?


BOB: Having a heart-to-heart talk with Colonel Anders..under the Verifier.


MATHEWS: What sort of questions did Anders ask you?


BOB: Look, Mathews, you didn't pick me up by accident. What is this all about?


MATHEWS: What did Anders want to know?


BOB: Well, he asked me what I was doing at Larry's cottage.


MATHEWS: Go on.


BOB: He asked a couple of questions I couldn't understand. Wanted to know how close my ship had ever come to Earth, and if I ever dream of wide stretches of water. Why should he want to know about that, Mathews?


MATHEWS: It all ties in.


BOB: With Larry's disappearance?


MATHEWS: Yes. (PAUSE) Newsam, do you honestly want to know what happened to your cousin - even though the knowledge might involve considerable danger to you?


BOB: You seem to know, and you're still alive!


MATHEWS: Yes, but it's only fair to warn you of what you may be getting into.


BOB: I'm sick of being warned! Anders gave me that routine a few minutes ago. I want to get to the bottom of this thing! 


MATHEWS: All right. But we can't talk freely at the club. That place is crawling with Security agents. We'd better go to my apartment.


(MUSIC: BRIDGE)


(DOOR CLOSED) 

(STEPS INTO ROOM)


MATHEWS: Here we are. Sit down, Newsam. (PAUSE) Now, about Larry. You were right this afternoon. He was classified as a misfit three weeks ago. Last week he was dropped to earth.


BOB: So that's it. (BEAT) It doesn't add up. Larry was perfectly sane when I left Mars three and a half months ago. To be classified as a misfit he'd have to be rejected by two Sanity Boards, with four months between each board examination!


MATHEWS: That's true for ordinary misfits..but not for classification 3-K.


BOB: 3-K! Isn't that...organized activity against the State?


MATHEWS: It is.


BOB: Larry..in a revolutionary plot? Are you trying to kid me, Mathews?


MATHEWS: I never felt less like joking in my life. What do you know about the Earth, Newsam?


BOB: Just the usual stuff we learn in primary education. But why change the subject?


MATHEWS: You know, of course, that Earth was almost completely destroyed two hundred years ago.


BOB: Why bring it up now?


MATHEWS: Because it's to the point. The colonies concentrated on their own expansion..first on the Moon and Mars..later on Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. There was no point in going back to an Earth poisoned by radioactive gases, with an epidemic population. The obvious thing was to expand outward, toward other solar systems.


BOB: (IMPATIENTLY) What does all this have to do with Larry?


MATHEWS: I'm coming to that. For two hundred years, led by the Directorate, we've been developing the planets. Not once has the Directorate permitted men to go back to Earth and find out what's been happening there.


BOB: Why should they? You yourself just admitted the Earth is a radioactive mess!


MATHEWS: So we're told..by the Directorate. But some scientists say the Earth's radioactivity was dissipated a hundred years ago. They claim we're turning our backs on an unbelievably fruitful planet. This life we lead on planets inhospitable to mankind..in artificial enviromnents..they argue that all this is insane!


BOB: They do...until they're given the drop.


MATHEWS: That doesn't prove them wrong.


BOB: Look, Mathews, maybe those fellows are right...I'm not competent to judge. But you still haven't told me where Larry figures in!


MATHEWS: After his accident Larry had a lot of time on his hands. He got to thinking about this, and I encouraged him. Finally he joined our group.


BOB: Your group? What are you talking about?


MATHEWS: Our objective is to overthrow the Directorate. We want to go back to Earth. Larry came in with us.


BOB: You're crazy! 


MATHEWS: I'm sorry you think so. 


BOB: What makes you think you know better than the Directorate? We're improving conditions on the planets every year. Why, the new bubble up the Long Canal covers more than forty square miles!


MATHEWS: I don't deny that. We've become experts at bubble building..the champion bubble builders of the universe. We're great at creating artificial environments for ourselves..but does that compare with living a natural life in natural surroundings? 


BOB: Where are we going to do it? On Earth?


MATHEWS: Yes!


BOB: I wouldn't know about that. (BEAT) And Larry..you let him get caught? 


MATHEWS: It was bad luck. He and Bessemer, another of our group, had their conversation tapped by the Security boys. We couldn't save them.


BOB: He's really gone? You're sure of that?


MATHEWS: Yes. Our information is definite. Larry and Bessemer have been dropped on the North American continent.


BOB: So he's gone..for keeps.


MATHEWS: Not necessarily. Larry is a good man. We hated to lose him, and we want to get him back.


BOB: Back -- from Earth?


MATHEWS: That isn't as hard as it sounds. Misfits are generally dropped in the same spot...in an area that used to be known as New Hampshire. If someone were dropped with instructions for Larry and Bessemer, all three of them could go to a pre-arranged rendezvous, where they would be picked up by a small space-cruiser.


BOB: You've a space cruiser at your disposal?


MATHEWS: That's right.


BOB: Oh brother, if the Directorate ever got wind of this..


MATHEWS: They won't unless you tell them.


BOB: What makes you so sure you can trust me?


MATHEWS: Frankly, I'm gambling on your affection for Larry Gains. I want you to be the contact man between us and Larry. I want you to get yourself dropped, and arrange the rendezvous for our space cruiser.


BOB: You aren't asking much!


MATHEWS: If you really care for Larry you'll do it.


BOB: Isn't there anyone else?


MATHEWS: No.


BOB: When do you want your answer?


MATHEWS: Right now.


BOB: (PAUSE) All right, I'll take the job.


MATHEWS: Good! 


BOB: How do I go about getting myself dropped?


MATHEWS: We'll take care of that. Certain papers will be planted in your room at the Club. One of our men in Security will direct suspicion at you. Your room will be searched, and from then on it will be simple.


BOB: You seem to have everything pretty well worked out.


MATHEWS: We're playing for big stakes.


BOB: Just as a matter of academic interest..if I hadn't volunteered for this assignment, what would you have done?


MATHEWS: Open that desk drawer.


(DRAWER OPENED)


BOB: Say -- you've got a gun here!


MATHEWS: That's your answer, Newsam.


(MUSIC: UP AND FADE)


BOB: Things happened fast. Two days later my room at the club was searched. The next morning, as I was getting dressed to go out, the vidphone rang. It was Colonel Anders. He wanted to see me at Security Headquarters. Immediately!


(MUSIC: STING)


ANDERS: Sit down, Captain...(BEAT) Well, I must confess you certainly fooled me. After our session at the Verifier the other day I gave you a clean bill of health.


BOB: Is there any reason why you should change your mind?


ANDERS: I have three very good reasons here on my desk. First..Professor Hood's treatise on the alleged decontamination of the Earth; second - a scurrilous pamphlet put out by a group attacking the Directorate's colonization program for the planet Sirius. This organization advocates the re—colonization of the Earth. Third - a signed membership card in that organization, countersigned by your cousin, Captain Gains.


BOB: Where did you get that stuff?


ANDERS: Your room was searched yesterday. This material was found there. Apparently you've been a member of this organization for a good many months. Just tell me this: why did you pretend that you didn't know what had happened to Captain Gains? 


BOB: Since you've got the proof against me..isn't that rather obvious?


ANDERS: Hm..we'll have to be more careful about little things of that sort in the future.


BOB: Speaking of the future, what are you going to do with me?


ANDERS: Really, Captain Newsam..isn't that also obvious?


(MUSIC: HIT AND FADE UNDER)


BOB: I'll say this for the Security Service..they waste no time. Within a week I was standing before the Supreme Tribunal, hearing myself pronounced a misfit, and condemned to the drop back to Earth. Then into a small room near the tribunal chamber. Anders was there, waiting for me.


(MUSIC: OUT)


ANDERS: (CHUCKLES) Well, Captain, so we meet again.. for the last time, I'm afraid.


BOB: I've been condemned to the drop. What more do you want?


ANDERS: Personally, I never want to see you again. But the regulations specify a total recall for people like you.


BOB: You can't do that! Regulation 55 states that no one can be put under a form of interrogation that his conscious mind can't observe! The Verifier is the limit!


ANDERS: You fellows certainly are good at quoting the regulations. However, they don't apply to you. The State has cast you out. Follow me, please!


(MUSIC: STING AND UNDER)


BOB: Resistance was useless. But a total recall would reveal my talk with Mathews..it would reveal the space cruiser..and the time and place of the rendezvous..and there was nothing I could do to stop it!


(MUSIC: ACCENT)


BOB: I followed Anders to the interrogation room. There I received an injection of actro-climatrone. Then following instructions, I looked up at the little silver ball whirling in its channel and the mirrors gleaming with strange lights.


(SILVER BALL EFFECT AS BEFORE)


BOB: I was getting dizzy..sleepy..the combined effect of the hyponic ball and the drug. I fought with all my strength to keep awake..a losing battle.


(MUSIC: SWELLS..WASHES OVER SOUND..FADE FOR)


ANDERS: Come out of it, Newsam! Wake Up!


BOB: (WAKING) Wha..Oh, Colonel Anders. Is it all finished?


ANDERS: Yes..and I must say you've been very cooperative. I had no idea that Captain Mathews is a member of your organization.


BOB: He isn't! I never heard of Captain Mathews!


ANDERS: (AMUSED) Come, come, we know better than that. Thanks to you, we now know about that space cruiser. By the way, if I were you I wouldn't bother keeping that rendezvous. I can guarantee the cruiser won't be there.


BOB: You seem to know everything.


ANDERS: The Verifier makes mistakes now and then, but the total recall method never fails.


BOB: What happens now?


ANDERS: Now you take a little trip..to Earth. Your escort, Lieutenant Voder, is waiting for you in the next room. Goodby, Newsam..and should I add, good luck?


(MUSIC: STING AND UNDER)


BOB: Lieutenant Voder was a big burly fellow with nasty bloodshot eyes. In the old days he probably would have been the state executioner. Handcuffed to him, surrounded by Security guards, I walked through the Lock to the Main Take-off Ramp. Voder's ship was a small corvette displacing about 5 thousand tons.


(CLANG OF LOCK OPENING)


BOB: We went through the entrance lock. In the main cabin Voder removed my handcuffs. A moment later there was a blast of jets as the corvette took off.


(JETS)

(TAKE-OFF)

(SPACE SHIP IN FLIGHT BG)


BOB: In three hours we'd reach the Earth's orbit. That gave me plenty of time to consider the situation. Mathews' scheme was ruined. When his cruiser arrived at the rendezvous, a battle fleet would be waiting. He and his group were fools, dreaming that they could outwit the Directorate! As for re-settling on Earth..I had Larry and this fellow Bessemer, if I could find them.


VODER: (P.A.) Attention all hands. We are approaching Earth. All hands to stations. Stand by to fire retarding jets.


(MUSIC: STING)


(SHIP AS BEFORE)


VODER: (FADE IN) All dressed up in your drop suit, eh?


BOB: Yes, I'm all set, Voder. When do I jump?


VODER: You've about two minutes. Any questions?


BOB: How does this suit operate?


VODER: Very simple. The retard jets work automatically when you leave the exit hatch. There are two of them. Ten seconds after the second jet is fired your parachute should open..also automatically.


BOB: And if it doesn't?


VODER: Give it five seconds more. If it doesn't open by then you'll be killed instantly, when you hit ground. No pain.


BOB: Thanks.


VODER: (CHUCKLE) We've never had any complaints yet..but then I don't suppose we would.


BOB: Very funny. (BEAT) What is it like down there?


VODER: Some say it's good hunting territory. If you survive long enough you might even try farming.


BOB: Do I get any provisions?


VODER: You'll find them in a compartment in back of your suit. Concentrates to last a week. And a Klaburg pistol with a hundred rounds. I'd take good care of the gun if I were you...(CHANGE TONE) Well, time's up. Let's go.


(CLANG OF HATCH OPENING)


BOB: The exit hatch?


VODER: Right. When you're inside the tube I'll close this lock and you open the outer one. The air-blast and the jets do the rest.


BOB: Okay. (DEEP BREATH) Well, so long, Voder.


VODER: (DRY) Happy landings. 


(STEPS INTO TUBE..ECHO)

(HATCH CLANGS SHUT)

(STEPS ALONG TUBE)

(SECOND HATCH OPENED)

(WHOOSH OF WIND BG)


BOB: I sprang clear without waiting for the air-blast. As I did so the first jet went on behind me. (JET) The corvette far away, I was tumbling through space when the second jet exploded. (JET) Ten seconds now for the parachute to open. Then the thought struck me..who would know, or care, if the drop ended in death? Might not the Directorate feel that so swift an end was only merciful? I began counting in my head. Ten seconds passed and I was still falling! Five seconds more..One..Two...Three...Four..Five! I was still falling through space..faster and faster! I'd been right about the Directorate..Death was waiting below me! And then..


(PARACHUTE JERKS OPEN)

(OUT WHOOSH OF WIND)


BOB: The parachute opened..my downward rush was checked..Voder had lied to me..a practical joke worthy of an executioner!


(MUSIC: SNEAK UNDER)


BOB: Approaching the Earth there was plenty of time to marvel at the great spreading trees, the wild flowers in the fields, the sparkling sun and the fleecy clouds in the sky. I'd never seen anything like this before. Was all this beauty contaminated by radioactive poisons? I'd soon find out. But first I had to land. As my feet scraped ground I braced for the impact. Rolling over and over, dragged by the parachute, I struck my head against a rock. Then a second blow..and everything blacked out!


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER)


LARRY: (WAY OFF, ECHO) Bob, can you hear me? Can you hear me, Bob?


BOB: The voice came from way off, like a voice in a dream. I opened my eyes. A figure was bending over me. It couldn't be..but it was..It was Larry!


(MUSIC: OUT)


LARRY: Easy, boy. Don't try to talk. You were unconscious when I found you. Must have taken a couple of nasty knocks on the head.


BOB: Larry..is it safe out here in the open? Isn't this place contaminated?


LARRY: (LAUGHS) Smell the air. Take a deep breath of it. Go ahead, don't be afraid. (BOB DOES SO) Does that taste like poison?


BOB: It's..wine!


LARRY: Air like wine..a land of milk and honey..that's New Hampshire, Bob.


BOB: But the Directorate claims this planet isn't fit for human habitation!


LARRY: We have a nice little colony here..fifty-eight of us..fifty-nine, including you. You'll like it here, Bob. There's everything on Earth that a man could wish for!


(MUSIC: UP AND UNDER)


BOB: We walked to the village through flowery fields and glades of green trees. In my excitement I'd forgotten about the failure of our plan. When Larry and I were alone in his cabin. Then I told him everything, starting with my first meeting with Mathews and ending with the total recall session. I was miserable, but Larry didn't seem much concerned...


(MUSIC: OUT)


LARRY: (SMILES) Don't worry about it, Bob. It's all right.


BOB: All right? Don't you understand? The Directorate knows all about the rendezvous! When the cruiser reaches the...


LARRY: (INTERRUPTS, LAUGHING) Hold it, Bob. There isn't any cruiser.


BOB: What?


LARRY: We don't even have a corvette. That rendezvous was only make-believe, to send the Directorate off on a wild goose chase.


BOB: I..I don't get it. If there is no cruiser, how will you get back to Mars?


LARRY: I'm not going back to Mars. This is where I intend to spend the rest of my life..and with no regrets.


BOB: But Mathews said..


LARRY: Mathews lied to you. He had to. If he'd told you the truth it would have been revealed when you underwent the total recall. We foresaw that. So there had to be another story, one that would convince you and throw the Directorate off the trail at the same time. You see, we wanted you here, Bob. We need men like you to help us build our villages.


BOB: I'm completely confused. You talk about the truth. What is the truth, Larry?


LARRY: All this. The village..the green grass..the blue sky..this wonderful planet. Our group has no intention of overthrowing the Directorate. We're just normal, happy people. Let the Directorate go on fumbling with interstellar projects. Let them spread their artificial cities over the planets, and more power to them. All we ask is to live out our lives here on Earth, unnoticed, and without interference. We farm our land, and our agents on the planets pick our recruits. Ninety percent of the people who get dropped are useful to us. Every day life becomes more wonderful. (SMILES) Is it clearer now?


BOB: Yes. (BEAT) So I'm a recruit..


LARRY: Sorry we couldn't warn you in advance. Any regrets, Bob?


BOB: No. (STRONGER) No regrets, Larry. I - I'm going to like it here. All this is still new, and strange..and yet, somehow, it feels like..(BREAKS OFF)


LARRY: What?


BOB: Like home!


(MUSIC: UP AND ON TO CURTAIN)


HOST: That's it. "THE DROP" - thanks to GALAXY, that wonderful magazine now on the stands. Yes, it's a wonderful world, our planet EARTH. And it's going to stay that way..Tonight we conclude our current series of Tales of Tomorrow..with a deep bow, of course, to Galaxy Magazine. 


Good night.


(MUSIC: THEME AND UNDER)


ANNCR: TALES OF TOMORROW! (BEAT) Heard in tonight's play were:






(MUSIC: OUT)


ANNCR: Music composed and conducted by Bobby Christian. Script by Michael Sklar. Produced by ABC, in association with George Foley and directed by Warren Somerville.


This program came to you from New York.


THIS IS ABC..RADIO NETWORK.



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4/7/53

6 pm

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