Below we present the complete text of Holding our Breath, episode 5 (and final) of The Tower of the Tentacle. This is a brand new (unpublished) series (and sees the return of two of our most popular characters (Tess Carter and Trent Stone). If you would like to see these new stories advance from being drafts into polished publications then please consider supporting us by purchasing one or more of our previously published titles. Every sale directly funds the production of new stories.
THE TOWER OF THE TENTACLE
EPISODE #5 – HOLDING OUR BREATH
by Philip Craig Robotham
Cover Illustration by Miyukiko
Edited by Margaret Wilkins
Copyright 2013 Philip Craig Robotham
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition.
This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) International license. This play may not be commercially reproduced, performed, or sold. Non-commercial production, performance, and reproduction are allowed under this license so long as attribution is maintained. No derivative content or use is allowed. It can be freely shared in its current form (without change) under this license. If you would like to purchase one or more copies of this work (for your own personal non-commercial use, or to help financially support the author) then please return to https://www.weirdworlstudios.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Other works by this author can be found at the author’s website: https://www.weirdworldstudios.com or through select, online book retailers.
Serial #5: The Tower of the Tentacle
When Trent Stone is awakened in the middle of the night to find that his room is being ransacked he confronts the intruders only to see them vanish into thin air before his eyes. Finding some strange glasses the intruders left behind, he and Tess Carter set out following a trail of clues across the city where they encounter mysteriously cocooned people, stolen city infrastructure, and flying tentacled monstrosities. In order to get to the heart of this mystery, they need to employ the glasses to “see” into the reality behind reality and determine just what the objective of the strange otherworldly presence that has settled in Star City for the night is… before a world-destroying cataclysm results. Can they solve the mystery AND save the world? Tune in to “The Tower of the Tentacle” and experience this exciting adventure for yourself.
Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.
THE TOWER OF THE TENTACLE
NARRATOR: The Narrator
TRENT STONE: Adventurer
TESS CARTER: Reporter
DR SAM JOHNSON: Former Physics Professor
FBI AGENT THOMAS: FBI Agent Thomas
FBI AGENTS (GROUP): FBI Field Agents
ALIEN 1: Alien Member of the Hive (Leader)
ALIEN 2: Alien Member of the Hive (Leader)
POLICE: Beat Cops and Other Police on the Ground
SOLDIER: Standard Private or Corporal
WAITER: Restaurant Waiter
SFX: SFX operator (1 required)
Scene 14 INT – The Car Chase (Trent Stone, Tess Carter, Dr Sam Johnson)
904. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
905. NARRATOR: The threat has been revealed. The aliens must get their malfunctioning spacecraft away from the earth or the resulting explosion will destroy the entire planet. Can Trent and Tess recover the gemstone they require as a power source in time?
906. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS – FADE IN SIRENS, COP VOICES – etc.
907. TRENT: Will you look at that!
908. TESS: Wow, those G-Men are everywhere. It’s a good thing the distraction field is still in place. We’re pretty much invisible to them for the moment.
909. TRENT: Yes. Hopefully it’ll give us the edge we need to get back to the hotel and retrieve the crystal. But it hasn’t been so effective that the Bureau men have stopped looking for us. They seem to think we’ve hidden in one of the surrounding buildings and they have set up a cordon. We’re going to have trouble getting out of here.
910. TESS: Hey isn’t that Walt over there. I thought they’d be done with him by now.
911. TRENT: Looks like they’re holding on to him. Someone’s suspicious that he might be more than a cab driver to us.
912. TESS: Well, that should make the Doc happy. Those two didn’t exactly… hey, where’d the Doc go?
913. TRENT: Oh no. He’s slipped away and is running for the edge of the field.
914. POLICE: (COMMOTION) SHOUTS OF AMAZEMENT – Where’d he come from? What the…? Etc.
915. SAM: (DISTANT) Help! Help! The traitors are in the empty block. Fire into the vacant land. Fire!
916. SOUND: (DISTANT) GUNSHOTS FIRING- ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN UNDER RUNNING FEET.
917. TRENT: Aw, Hell! This is just what we need. Come on, run for those cars.
918. TESS: What are we going to do?
919. TRENT: We can’t take on the entirety of Star City’s finest and we can’t allow ourselves to get arrested, there just isn’t time.
920. TESS: So?
921. TRENT: So, I say we steal a police car.
922. TESS: Hot damn! (BEAT) But I get to drive.
923. TRENT: All yours.
924. AGENT THOMAS: (IN BACKGROUND) Hold your fire! Hold your fire!
925. AGENTS: Hey, where’d they come from! They’re taking one of the cars. Stop them! Etc.
926. SOUND: DOORS OPEN AND CLOSE.
927. SOUND: ENGINE STARTS AND CAR SQUEALS AWAY!
928. THOMAS: Halt. Halt or we shoot!
929. SOUND: GUNSHOTS AS CAR DRIVES INTO DISTANCE – FADE OUT.
930. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
Scene 15 INT – At the Hotel (Trent Stone, Tess Carter, Dr Sam Johnson, Agent Thomas)
931. SOUND: BUSY HOTEL FOYER – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
932. TESS: Ah. Home sweet home.
933. TRENT: Or as much of a home as a hotel can be.
934. TESS: Well, you’ve retrieved the crystal from the vault. Now we just need to get to the roof.
935. SOUND: COMMOTION AT ENTRANCE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
936. THOMAS: (AT A DISTANCE) Dr Johnson, if this is some kind of wild goose chase.
937. SAM: No, agent Thomas, I swear, this is where they said they were going.
938. THOMAS: I’m going to distribute these glasses we recovered from the cab to my men. Now that you’ve shown us how they work, these… creatures… won’t be able to hide from us. But for your sake, I hope you are telling the truth.
939. SAM: It’s all true. They’ve betrayed us to monsters from beyond our world. If we don’t stop them, the earth will fall.
940. THOMAS. Alright men, spread out. Go floor by floor, but find them. We can’t let them get away.
941. SOUND: BOOTS IN MANY DIRECTIONS – QUICKLY FADE.
942. SAM: They’ll be trying to get to the roof. That’s where they agreed to meet the monsters.
943. TESS: Aw, hell. You should have let me punch that little guy out hours ago.
944. TRENT: In hindsight perhaps I should have.
945. TESS: Well, what are we going to do?
946. TRENT: They’ve got the stairwells blocked and they’re guarding the elevators.
947. TESS: And any moment now the concierge will let them know we’re already here.
948. TRENT: And they’ll have men on every floor very shortly.
949. TESS: The fire-escape then?
950. TRENT: The very thing.
951. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER
Scene 16 INT – The Hotel Roof (Trent Stone, Tess Carter, Agent Thomas)
952. SOUND: (WALLA) WIND, DISTANT TRAFFIC, ETC. – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
953. SOUND: LAST FEW STEPS CLIMBING METAL LADDER – LET IT FINISH.
954. TRENT: Well, here we are.
955. TESS: Yup. On the roof. (BEAT) No sign of our flying tentacled friends yet.
956. TRENT: No. Not yet. It might be advisable to secure the stairwell access to the roof while we wait.
957. TESS: And the fire escape.
958. TRENT: First the door to the stairs. We’ll hear anyone on the fire escape long before we need to worry.
959. SOUND: DOOR OPENS – LET IT FINISH.
960. THOMAS: A pity you didn’t think of that on your way up. The two of you made enough noise on those metal stairs to wake the dead.
961. TRENT: Easy Agent, put the gun down and let’s talk this through.
962. THOMAS: What? And let you get the drop on me. Not likely. Now, get your hands up where I can see them.
963. TESS: But, wait, you don’t understand.
964. THOMAS: Why? You think I don’t know what I’m dealing with here? That I’m dealing with a pair of traitors to the human race? You two may think you’re big heroes in this town, but I don’t care. You don’t get to sell out your fellow man on my watch and get away with it.
965. TRENT: And what gives you the fool idea that we’re traitors?
966. THOMAS: Doctor Johnson told us everything. About the invasion. About your deal with the monsters. We can see them now you know.
967. TESS: Johnson? That lunatic? And you believed him?
968. SAM: That’s right. Don’t look so surprised. Agent Thomas here brought me with him. He trusts me, which is more than you ever did.
969. TESS: Why is it that every thinks he’s got the world by the tail if he’s following a man with a gat in the hand?
970. SAM: (SOUNDING DERANGED) Don’t you make fun of me. I was smart enough to see through your plan. You’re not going to get away with it.
971. THOMAS: You two are under arrest for treason. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will…
972. SAM: (ANGRY) What? You’re just going to arrest them!?? But… they’re traitors.
973. THOMAS: Enough Johnson. It’s my job. You’ve helped us find them. I’ll take it from here.
974. SAM: No that’s not good enough. They’re traitors. They deserve to die!
975. THOMAS: Johnson, what are you? No. Let go of my gun…
976. SOUND: GUNSHOT AND BODY DROP – LET IT FINISH.
977. TESS: Look out Trent, I’ll get him.
978. SOUND: SMACK AND BODY DROP – LET IT FINISH.
979. TRENT: Damn it, Doctor, what have you done?
980. TESS: He’s out cold. Look to the other guy.
981. TRENT: Agent Thomas, you’ve been shot!
982. THOMAS: That idiot. If your time ever comes, make sure you’re up against someone who knows how to shoot.
983. TRENT: Let me see. Damn. It’s a gut shot. I take it you know what that means?
984. THOMAS: Yeah. I’m done for. I’m only sorry I couldn’t stop the two of you.
985. TESS: You still believe that idiot, even after he shot you?
986. THOMAS: Are you still trying to tell me he was wrong?
987. TRENT: Was and is wrong. We’re trying to save the planet, not destroy it. Those monsters, as you call them, need to get their rocket ship off our world before some kind of explosion on board wipes out most of the planet’s life forms.
988. TESS: Trent, I can see them coming. They’re flying towards us now.
989. TRENT: Alright. Quickly secure the door. That gunshot is sure to have drawn the attention of the other agents. We’ve only got a few seconds before we have even more guns on the roof.
990. TESS: Got it.
991. SOUND: FEET RUN, DOOR SHUTS, AND IS JAMMED – LET IT FINISH.
992. TESS: I’ve jammed the door, but I’m not sure how long it’ll hold.
993. SOUND: LARGE WINGS – UNDER.
994. TRENT: Here they come.
995. SOUND: WINGS STOP – LET IT FINISH.
996. ALIEN 1: I take it you have the crystal.
997. TESS: They’re not much for small talk, are they?
998. TRENT: (IGNORING TESS) Yes. We’ve got it here. Take it.
999. ALIEN 1: What has happened to your friends?
1000. TRENT: An accident. The one over there is… sleeping. This one is dying.
1001. ALIEN 1: You humans are incredibly careless… and violent. You should probably try to do something about that.
1002. TESS: Yeah, probably, but we’re kind of on the clock here.
1003. SOUND: BANGING ON STAIR DOORS – LET IT FINISH.
1004. AGENT: (BEHIND THE DOOR) This is the law. Open up.
1005. ALIEN 1: We will be as quick as we can. Marisplax?
1006. ALIEN 2: It will only take a moment.
1007. SOUND: ELECTRONIC HUM – UNDER.
1008. TRENT: Whoah, what are you doing?
1009. ALIEN 2: You humans are pitifully easy to harm, but you are also fairly easy to repair… I can repair the damage that has been done to him with this machine.
1010. SOUND: ELECTRONIC HUM CONTINUES A MOMENT THEN ENDS – LET IT FINISH.
1011. ALIEN 2: There. As good as new.
1012. THOMAS: (AMAZED) Thank you.
1013. AGENT: (BEHIND THE DOOR) Open up or we are coming through by force.
1014. SOUND: GUNSHOTS INTO LOCK – LET IT FINISH.
1015. TESS: But now, it’s time for you to go.
1016. SOUND: BANGING ON DOOR – UNDER.
1017. ALIEN 1: Yes, Farewell humans.
1018. SOUND: LARGE WINGS – UNDER.
1019. SOUND: CRUNCH OF DOOR BREAKING – LET IT FINISH.
1020. AGENTS: Look, they’re getting away. Stop them. What the? Etc.
1021. THOMAS: Hold your fire.
1022. TRENT: I’m glad you see it our way, Agent.
1023. THOMAS: I don’t. At least not yet, and not until we’ve conducted a complete interview. You’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent…(FADE OUT)
1024. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER
Scene 17 INT – Interview Room (Agent Thomas, Tess, Trent)
1025. SOUND: (WALLA) FAINT WHIRRING FAN – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
1026. THOMAS: (FADE IN) And then you made your way back to the hotel and retrieved the crystal. Is that it?
1027. TRENT: Pretty much. You were there for the rest of it.
1028. THOMAS: That pretty much tallies with the testimony of Dr Johnson and the girl.
1029. TRENT: You’d better not let her hear you referring to her as “the girl”. She’s likely to hand you your teeth.
1030. THOMAS: So I’ve noticed. You’ve taken an enormous risk, you know?
1031. TRENT: So did you, in letting them fly away from the rooftop.
1032. THOMAS: Yeah, well… I’ve had plenty of time to regret that.
1033. TRENT: I can imagine. Your superiors aren’t too happy with you are they Agent?
1034. THOMAS: No they are not. We’ve got the empty block surrounded by the national guard. The monsters have put up some kind of energy barrier around it so we can’t get in. According to Johnson and your own reports there are thousands of those things inside there.
1035. TRENT: And you’re wondering if this isn’t an invasion after all. Am I right?
1036. THOMAS: Time will tell.
1037. TRENT: And what are your orders if they do launch an attack?
1038. THOMAS: They’re what you’re expecting. I have the same orders as the agent watching over Miss Carter. I’m to kill you.
1039. TRENT: You work for some nice people. Has it occurred to you that they probably have someone with similar orders waiting to kill you when you emerge from this room?
1040. THOMAS: It occurred to me.
1041. TRENT: And?
1042. THOMAS: If it turns out to be an invasion, and I let them go… then I deserve whatever’s coming.
1043. TRENT: I think I’m beginning to rather like you, Agent Thomas.
1044. THOMAS: It’s a pity the feeling’s not mutual. But things may be going your way. All those trapped in suspended animation seem to have emerged, visible and free to move once more (if a little sticky). The atomic drill you mentioned in your testimony is gone (possibly destroyed by all that molten metal), and Dr. Johnson? Well let’s just say that, if he has truly unlocked the mathematical key to the alien technology, he is going to be spending the rest of his life as a guest of Uncle Sam, working in some secret facility somewhere.
1045. TRENT: I’m sure he’ll enjoy that. And what about us? What happens if you don’t get to kill us?
1046. THOMAS: I’ve got nothing I can hold you on. Supposing we all survive this, you’ll be sent on your way. But I’ll be watching. Don’t think I won’t.
1047. TRENT: Don’t worry. It’ll be comforting to know you are… looking out for us. (BEAT) What about the driver of the cab we were using? What’s going to happen to him?
1048. THOMAS: (AMUSED) I thought there was a connection between you folks. We cut him loose a few hours after we arrested him. He knew nothing, and we had the doctor to help us track you down.
1049. SOUND: RUMBLE OF ROCKET LAUNCH – SMALL OFFICE ITEMS SHAKE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
1050. THOMAS: What’s that? What’s happening?
1051. TRENT: At a guess? Either they’re leaving or it’s the end of the world.
1052. SOUND: RUMBLE FADES.
1053. SOUND: DOOR OPENS – LET IT FINISH.
1054. SOUND: GUN COCKS – LET IT FINISH.
1055. SOLDIER: Sir?
1056. THOMAS: Yes, Solider?
1057. SOLDIER: It appears the ship has taken off. It is leaving the earth and passing through our atmosphere.
1058. SOUND: GUN UNCOCKS – LET IT FINISH.
1059. THOMAS: Well, it looks like you were right, Mr Stone. You’re free to go.
1060. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER
Scene 18 INT -The Hotel Restaurant (Trent Stone, Tess Carter)
1061. SOUND: (WALLA) RESTAURANT AMBIANCE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
1062. TESS: Well, that was quite the adventure. What do you think they’ll do with the huge pit that’s sitting where that empty lot used to be?
1063. TRENT: I don’t know. Fill it in for a start. We wouldn’t want anyone falling into it now would we.
1064. TESS: Very droll. I wonder where they came from… and whether there are any more of them?
1065. TRENT: Who knows? I imagine those very questions will be keeping some of our smartest military and scientific minds from getting any sleep at night for some time to come.
1066. TESS: Do you think the aliens may actually be a threat?
1067. TRENT: I don’t think the Arun-Set are, but the creatures that enslaved them are another matter. I think it is probably wise for the government to take the situation seriously. Still, the universe is a very big place. That rocket was here for thousands, perhaps millions of years and it appears to be the only one to have found us.
1068. TESS: Perhaps. I hope so. (BEAT) Well, now that it’s over, I figure we deserve a little break.
1069. TRENT: Oh, yes?
1070. TESS: A holiday maybe. Paris? Or failing that Bermuda?
1071. TRENT: Aren’t you forgetting something?
1072. TESS: I’ve heard they make great honeymoon destinations…
1073. TRENT: (CHOKING SUDDENLY) Now hold on a minute.
1074. TESS: What were you saying?
1075. TRENT: (SQUEAKING WITH FRIGHT) Don’t forget the telegram.
1076. TESS: What?
1077. TRENT: (RECOVERING) The telegram from Miriam Ribbensberg? The one that asked us to stay in Star City?
1078. TESS: But surely…
1079. TRENT: It said something about a danger to shipping.
1080. TESS: I’ll give you something about a danger to shipping if you keep changing the subject.
1081. TRENT: No seriously, I don’t think the adventure of the last few days is really it. It certainly had nothing to do with shipping.
1082. TESS: Unless you count rocket ships.
1083. TRENT: Touche. But I do think we’re going to have to keep our plans for the future on hold for a little longer.
1084. TESS: You do huh? You know what I think?
1085. WAITER: Excuse me sir, miss? Are you ready to order?
1086. TRENT: (RELIEVED AND ANXIOUS TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT) Why yes thank you, waiter. Hmmm, what looks good?
1087. TESS: I know what he’s having?
1088. TRENT: Hmmm?
1089. WAITER: Yes, miss?
1090. TESS: Chicken.
1091. MUSIC: CLOSING THEME AND CREDITS – LET IT FINISH.
CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS
NARRATOR: Hello, I am your narrator. I introduce the cold stormy nights on which our stories take place, the dark alleys, and darker personalities who inhabit the lonely city. It is my job to set the scene and establish the serious tone of suspense and intrigue that will carry the story forward. It is also my job to remind listeners of what came before in a calm, trustworthy voice and ensure that everyone is oriented to where we are and where we are going.
TRENT STONE: Hello, I’m Trent Stone, Adventurer. I’m always in command of the situation (except perhaps, when it comes to Tess — who can easily throw me for a loop). I say things like “indeed,” “hmmm,” and “I see” a lot, and speak in a way that friends of Clark Kent would find very familiar. I’m smart, observant, and quick to use my fists when required (but never impulsive). I sound like Joe College but I’m blue collar through and through. My lack of higher education is something of an embarrassment to me (but I’d never let on).
I’m aware of Tess’s flirting, and occasionally I wonder if it’s more than just a way to keep entertained on the job — mostly I just ignore it and keep on working.
TERESA CARTER: Hiya. Everyone calls me Tess. I’m the take-no-prisoners sort who can hold her own in the man’s world that is the concrete jungle of Star City. I’m college educated but have a mean right hook. I’m a reporter by training and a stickybeak by inclination — this tends to get me in trouble. Curious, playful, and smart, that’s me! But I’m also painfully honest, easily moved by the troubles of others, and as protective as a tigress of my friends. I secretly have a thing for Trent (who’s a bit of a stuffed shirt and easily embarrassed by flirting). We both pretend it’s not there for the sake of the job, but I can’t help occasionally feeling a bit wistful.
DR SAM JOHNSON: I’m not mad I tell you. Those idiots at the university fired me, but I’m not mad. They were just too small minded to see my genius. The symmetry of the equations. The perfection of the numbers. I can SEE! See into the reality behind things. I can see past the numbers and unlock the way things really are. If you could just SEE the world the way I SEE it. Your mind would be unlocked too. You’d be free. Free, like me!
CASTING SHEETS — MINOR CHARACTERS
FBI AGENT THOMAS: I’m part of Mr. Hoover’s FBI, A G-Man. I’m smart and arrogant, and here to protect my country from people like you, so don’t think for a minute you can put one over on me without getting a fat lip for your trouble. I don’t put up with any nonsense from anyone, and if you’re dirty, well, you’ll pay for whatever it is you’ve done. I’ll see to it. If you’re not, well, you’ll get a fair shake, eventually, but don’t expect me to make it easy for you in the meantime. That’s not part of my job description.
FBI AGENTS (GROUP MEMBERS): I’m a G-Man too, but I’m just one of the guys on the ground. I don’t give orders, I just take ‘em. I do what I’m told and, when the bosses point me at a bad guy, well, I go after ‘em with everything I’ve got.
ALIEN 1 and 2: I am a member of the hive. I am one of the elders, a leader of my people. I am thoughtful and wise, as well as clever and resourceful. But because I am also alien, I do not quite understand humans effectively. I believe we need their help, but I am unsure whether they can be trusted fully.
POLICE: Hey there, folks, and top of the morning to you. I love being a flat-foot. I normally walk a beat. I get to talk the neighborhood gossips on their stoops, grab the occasional kid by the ear who’s been throwing stones through windows, and chase down the occasional shoplifter. It’s a pretty good life when you’ve got the know of it. On those occasions where something big happens I get re-deployed. Crowd control, usually. Making sure only the right people get in and out of a crime scene etc. I’m not a fan of these FBI boyos, though. They act like they own the world.
SOLDIER: Sir, yes sir! I follow orders, sir! I don’t question my orders, sir! It’s my job to do as I’m told, sir! Show me who the enemy is and point me at ‘em, then tell me what has to be done, sir! You can rely on me.
WAITER: Hey I just work here. I’m polite, I smile, but the last thing I want is a deadbeat patron. The money comes out of my wages if they skip out on the check. I’ve got to do right by my family — and there are a hundred other guys lined up for my job — so there’s no way a deadbeat walks out without paying.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, an e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).
He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.
You can contact the author regarding performance rights (or simply to say hello) through his website: http://www.weirdworldstudios.com.
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This post and all its content is copyright © 2013 Philip Craig Robotham and has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. This play cannot be reproduced, shared, or performed commercially without the written permission of the author. The production of derivative content, merchandise, or creative works and materials is expressly forbidden under this agreement. However you may share, reproduce, and perform this play freely so long as authorship is acknowledged, no money changes hands, and the play is not modified in any way.