Below we present the complete text of The Hive, episode 4 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 This is a brand new (unpublished) series (and sees the return of two of our most popular characters (Tess Carter and Trent Stone).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 #4 – THE HIVE
by Philip Craig Robotham
Cover Illustration by Miyukiko
Copyright 2016 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.
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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 1: FBI Agent Thomas
FBI AGENT 2: FBI Agent (field agent)
FBI AGENTS (GROUP): FBI Agents (field agents)
ALIEN 1: Alien Member of the Hive (leader)
ALIEN 2: Alien Member of the Hive (leader)
ALIENS (GROUP): Alien Members of the Hive (drones)
SFX: SFX operator (1 required)
Scene 11 INT – Outside the Tower (Characters – Trent Stone, Tess Carter, Dr Sam Johnson)
722. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH
723. NARRATOR: Having followed a trail of clues and cocooned bodies across Star City, Tess and Trent, accompanied by the increasingly unstable Dr Samuel Johnson, approach the, previously camouflaged, sky-scraper like stone hive that has been sitting undetected in the heart of the city.
724. SOUND: CAR PULLS UP AND DOORS OPEN – LET IT FINISH.
725. TRENT: Thanks Walt. (BEAT) I can’t believe it. That stonework is ancient.
726. TESS: The whole city’s been built around it.
727. SAM: Up close it doesn’t actually look like a skyscraper. More like… a temple…
728. TRENT: Or a…
729. TESS: Hive? A giant rock hive.
730. TRENT: Yes. That’s it exactly.
731. SAM: Then this is definitely where they’ve come from. We’ve got to tell the authorities.
732. TESS: (IGNORING SAM) I still can’t believe no one’s ever noticed. Look at the size of this thing.
733. TRENT: It must have something to do with that glowing stone at the hive’s apex. It must cast some kind of hypnotic field across the city. That’s why that patch of ground has always looked like a vacant lot…
734. TESS: And why none of the homeless have tried to set up camp on it, despite colonising every other bit of vacant ground in town.
735. TRENT: I used to think it was just its proximity to the penitentiary that kept the homeless away.
736. TESS: Well, that probably helped…
737. SAM: Are you two even listening? We need to tell the authorities.
738. TRENT: (SIGHS) We heard you Doctor Johnson but we’ve already been over this. Given that the monsters, their cocooned victims, and even their massive hive like home is invisible to normal human detection, I doubt the authorities will take us seriously. At best we’ll be locked up as cranks.
739. TESS: And besides, the people in those cocoons just don’t have the time it would take us to convince the authorities to take an interest.
740. SAM: But you can’t be thinking of taking these monsters on alone. They’ll kill us.
741. TRENT: I’m not sure they are monsters at all, Doctor. It is clear they are highly intelligent, they have technology and tools well in advance of ours. And they haven’t actually hurt anyone yet.
742. SAM: Haven’t hurt anyone? People are in cocoons all over the city. They shot at you at the radio station and collapsed the building on you!
743. TRENT: Well the radio station may well have been an accident caused by fright. We did come upon them by surprise. And those cocoons look far more like protective measures than things designed to kill, though I don’t doubt that they will prove lethal if we don’t get to the bottom of tonight’s events.
744. SAM: But…
745. TRENT: Look at it logically, Doctor. These creatures have obviously been here for a very long time. All of a sudden, in a single night, they come out and engage in a series of targeted strikes in search of, what? Scrap metal and electronics?
746. TESS: And another thing, so far tonight we’ve been led around by the nose – the addresses, the glasses, the respirators – I’d even hazard a guess we could talk to them through the translator gizmos. Heck, it’s almost like we’re being invited.
747. TRENT: It is, isn’t it. And look, up those stairs at the front of the hive. Three large doors, and the left hand one…
748. TESS: Yes.
749. TRENT: Above each of those doors is a symbol carved in the stone. The one on the left looks like the same symbol as was glowing on the floor of the radio station just before it fell on us.
750. TESS: Well, maybe we should…
751. SOUND: CARS SCREECHING TO A HALT – LET IT FINISH.
752. FBI AGENT 1: (THROUGH LOUD SPEAKER) – Trent Stone and Tess Carter, stand absolutely still. You are wanted for questioning in connection to your trespassing upon an active crime scene earlier this evening and regarding the removal of evidence from same.
753. TESS: Is that guy for real?
754. TRENT: So much for not being recognised at the station earlier. What are our options?
755. TESS: Well there’s only three carloads of them. We could try and get ourselves killed in a shootout with them.
756. TRENT: Failing that we could make a run for it and get ourselves shot trying to evade custody. Or…
757. TESS: Or?
758. TRENT: We could take a step or two backwards and hide inside the field that makes the hive appear to be an empty lot.
759. TESS: You think it’ll work?
760. TRENT: It’s worth a try. One, two, three… Now!
761. FBI AGENTS: Hey, where’d they go? What? Etc.
762. TRENT: Don’t forget the Doctor.
763. TESS: It’s okay, I’ve got him.
764. SAM: Hey! But this is our chance. We can tell them everything…
765. TESS: Doctor Johnson, you need to just shut up now.
766. FBI AGENTS: They just disappeared into thin air. Spread out. Look for them. Don’t let that cabbie get away. Etc.
767. TRENT: Damn. Looks like they’ve got Walt.
768. TESS: Well, they can’t see us. What now?
769. TRENT: I’m not sure we’ve got a lot of choices. I suggest we accept that invitation you alluded to earlier.
770. SAM: You don’t mean go inside the hive???
771. TRENT: That is exactly what I mean. We’ll use the entrance marked by that symbol we saw at the radio station.
772. SAM: But… no, the authorities are here… we don’t have to…
773. TESS: Come on doctor, it’ll be fine. Don’t force me to convince you.
774. SAM: Um… Right… this way then.
775. MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
Scene 12 INT – The Tower Maze (TRENT, TESS, SAM)
776. SOUND: (WALLA) ALIEN BACKGROUND HUM – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
777. TRENT: Come on. Inside.
778. SAM: But… they’re the government.
779. TESS: And they were attempting to arrest us.
780. SOUND: CREAK OPEN OF GIANT STONE DOORS – LET IT FINISH.
781. TESS: Will you look at that!
782. TRENT: I don’t believe it.
783. SAM: Hyperdimensional geometry. That corridor is far longer than the block of land this building rests upon. It’s so beautiful!
784. TESS: What are you saying? That it’s no optical illusion we’re seeing. That the building is actually larger on the inside.
785. SAM: Ahuh.
786. TESS: And the corridor… it splits and splits again. And… can you see that greenish haze?
787. TRENT: Yes. I don’t think that’s oxygen in there. It looks like some kind of green fog.
788. TESS: It’s a good thing we’ve got these breathers. Shall we put them on?
789. TRENT: I guess it’s time.
790. SAM: Are you insane. Look at that in there. It’s a maze. You have no idea how far that stretches. It could go on forever. We could be lost and die in there.
791. TRENT: While I bow to your expertise regarding the geometry of the place, Doctor, I think you’re being a little alarmist.
792. SAM: How do you propose we navigate then?
793. TRENT: See that symbol above the door? It appears over a number of the branching corridors. There’s a pattern to this maze and I think we’ll be able to navigate our way through. (PUTS ON BREATHER) We’ll just follow the symbols and see where we end up – we should have no trouble backtracking as long as we’re careful.
794. TESS: (INSIDE BREATHER) I gotta say, Trent, I don’t feel as confident about this as you sound.
795. TRENT: It’s a guess, true, but I’m trusting to your suggestion that none of this has been random, and that in many ways we are invited and expected.
796. TESS: Well, after you.
797. SOUND: BRIEF FOOTSTEPS – LET IT FINISH.
798. SOUND: GIANT STONE DOORS SLAM SHUT – LET IT FINISH.
799. SAM: (INSIDE BREATHER) No. We’re locked in. What will we do?
800. TRENT: The only thing we can do. Go forward.
801. MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
Scene 13 INT – The Tower Control Chamber (Trent Stone, Tess Carter, Dr Sam Johnson, Arun-Set #1)
802. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS – ESTABLISH AND FADE
803. SAM: I can’t believe you talked me into this. It’s all your fault. We’ve been walking around in here for hours… and we’re going to die in here… among these… these aliens.
804. TRENT: It’s only been fifteen minutes by my reckoning, and we’ve yet to see any “aliens” so I suggest you calm down a little doctor. You’re beginning to seem a little highly strung.
805. SAM: I’m not mad you know? Everyone thinks so, but I’ve been right all along. I can see into the reality of the world. The deeper mathematics of all things.
806. TESS: Yeah, you can, but being right doesn’t mean you’re not a complete fruitcake.
807. TRENT: (WARNING) Tess…
808. TESS: Sorry, Doctor. That was uncalled for. I’m just feeling a little nervous inside all this green fog myself.
809. SAM: (ATTEMPTING DIGNITY) That’s quite all right my dear. Those of us gifted with superior intellect must make allowances for those who are… more retarded in their outlook.
810. TRENT: (URGENTLY, TO TESS) Easy slugger. This is neither the time or place for this.
811. TESS: Yeah, and when do you think that time and place likely to arrive? I want to mark it on my calendar.
812. TRENT: (GROWING IMPATIENT) Just come on!
813. TESS: Hey Trent, it looks like these corridors are actually coming to an end. There’s some kind of opening ahead.
814. TRENT: So there is. Let’s have a look.
815. TESS: I don’t believe it.
816. TRENT: (WHISTLES IN AWE)
817. SAM: What’s there. I can’t see past you through the gap.
818. TESS: Sorry, Doc. It’s some kind of central chamber. It’s huge.
819. TRENT: It’s like the inside of an enormous hive. The dimensions are staggering.
820. TESS: And those things in the middle. Equally huge.
821. SAM: What things? What?
822. TRENT: A pair of… couches, or beds perhaps? They must be forty feet long if an inch, and there are two creatures resting on them. Giants. Vaguely humanoid with large claw-like hands and heads that look like an octopus, all eyes and tentacles.
823. TESS: Yeah, but that second one looks in a bad way. It’s not much more than a calcified skeleton. The other looks a lot more fresh. Asleep do you think?
824. TRENT: I don’t know… Those couches, or whatever they are, appear to be powered in some way, they’re covered in glowing symbols and gauges etc. And there are lots of wires connecting to the giants.
825. TESS: They don’t look very similar to those things we saw flying back here earlier do they.
826. TRENT: Speaking of those winged tentacle creatures, I believe there are two of them conferring at the base of the first bed.
827. SAM: A control centre! Just… Oh, shut up and let me see… I want to… (SCREAMS) Aaah. Monsters.
828. TESS: So much for the stealthy approach.
829. ALIEN 1: (DISTORTED) Ah, welcome humans. We have been expecting you.
830. ALIEN 2: Yes, welcome to the council chamber of the Arun-Set we are glad you have found your way here.
831. TESS: So you did leave us a trail to follow deliberately.
832. ALIEN 1: Yes, we…
833. SAM: It’s a trap. You won’t take me without a fight.
834. SOUND: GUN READIED AND FIRED – LET IT FINISH.
835. TESS: No. You idiot. You’ve shot one of them.
836. SOUND: ALARMS SOUND – PLAY UNDER.
837. SOUND: SQUELCHING FOOTSTEPS AS MANY ALIENS EMERGE – PLAY UNDER.
838. ALIENS (OVERLAPPING) Get them. Stop them. Capture the interlopers. Destroy them. Tear them apart. Etc.
839. SOUND: GUN HITS FLOOR – LET IT FINISH.
840. TESS: There, he’s disarmed.
841. SAM: (WHIMPERS IN FEAR). You fool, now we can’t defend ourselves!
842. TRENT: A pity I didn’t think to do that earlier.
843. TESS: They’re all around us. What do we do?
844. TRENT: I’ve tangled with them before. We’re no match for their strength.
845. TESS: And there’s nowhere to run to.
846. TRENT: I guess that gives us little choice. (TO THE ALIENS) We surrender.
847. ALIENS (OVERLAPPING) Get them. Stop them. Capture the interlopers. Destroy them. Tear them apart. Etc.
848. SAM: Get your tentacles off me you filthy monsters.
849. ALIEN 1: (IN PAIN BUT ALIVE) Stop! I still live and the puncture is easily repaired. We still need the humans’ assistance.
850. ALIENS: (GRUMBLING SUBSIDES).
851. ALIEN 1: Please, we need your help… and you need ours. If we are to escape this place and avoid the death of your species then we must act quickly.
852. SAM: Are you threatening us, monster! We are going to destroy you… we are going to…
853. SOUND: SHARP SMACK AND BODY DROP.
854. TESS: That should shut him up for a little while.
855. TRENT: Normally, I wouldn’t approve… but in this case…
856. TESS: (MATTER OF FACT) It was time… and I’ve been wanting to do that for most of the night.
857. ALIEN 1: Are you always so violent as a species?
858. TESS: Pretty much. You’ve been watching us, so you should know. One of us just shot you.
859. ALIEN 1: (SOUNDING NERVOUS) Yes. Well.
860. ALIEN 2: (URGENTLY) There is little time.
861. ALIEN 1: Yes. We have no choice. We need, as I said, your help.
862. TRENT: Perhaps you should start at the beginning. Why do you need our help and what is the threat to our species that you referred to?
863. ALIEN 1: We, the Arun-Set, are a race who have been enslaved for millennia by the Archons – creatures of great mental power and lust for conquest that could command our every action – but now, due to the death of the Second Archon, we are free. The hive was originally controlled by two Archons but one died in the time of the dinosaurs when the hive first crash-landed on earth. With the power of control effectively halved we were able to stalemate the remaining Archon. It could control us within the confines of the hive but could not use us to conquer the planet.
864. TRENT: By Archons, I take it you are referring to those creatures upon the couches.
865. ALIEN 1: Exactly. Now, we are free to depart, but only if we can get the hive to run again. It is imperative that we do so, since, the process of decay the Archon corpse undergoes after death results in the release of radiation that is massively inimical to terrestrial life and will, in all probability, result in an extinction event. The dinosaurs were wiped out in your long distant past as a result of the first Archon’s death.
866. TESS: Wait a minute. Radiation? Are we safe?
867. ALIEN 1: For the moment. The process has not yet begun, but it is only a matter of days before the chemical breakdown of the tissue begins – and we have no way of shielding you from it once the process starts.
868. TRENT: Exactly what is the extent of the effect you are expecting?
869. ALIEN 2: The initial burst is likely to be planetary in scope.
870. TESS: Planetary? That’s not possible.
871. ALIEN 1: I assure you that it is.
872. TESS: And your species is unaffected? That bullet seems to have done you some harm.
873. ALIEN 1: It is painful, yes. But only a flesh wound. Beyond our physical strength, which as you have gathered does not make us invulenerable, we have been… modified, by our masters. The burst will leave us unharmed. It would be possible to modify your biology to survive it as well, but there are so many humans and the process is so lengthy, we’d only be able to save a handful of you at most. And then there is the fact that you are so integrated into your eco-system that saving a handful of you would be of little value once the rest of the plant and animal life of your world dies. You would have no means left to you to sustain your species.
874. TESS: Charming.
875. TRENT: So, now we understand the threat, what is required to avert it?
876. ALIEN 1: We need to leave this world. We need to be outside your solar system by the time the burst occurs. Having used the resources of the city to affect the necessary repairs, all that remains for us to do is to secure a power source sufficient to energise the hive. Such a power source is, we believe, in your possession – a crystal containing Ephestrial Energy.
877. TESS: Ephestrial energy? You mean magical energy, correct?
878. ALIEN 1: Call it what you will. The crystal contains a huge concentration of Ephestrial energy. Enough, if properly harnessed, to power this ship for millennia. Retrieval of the crystal is all that stands between us and freedom – and all that may prevent the immanent extinction of the human race.
879. TESS: I’m sold. Trent?
880. TRENT: You’ve scrupulously avoided taking any lives so far, and I’m inclined to believe you, but what of the people you have cocooned around the city?
881. ALIEN 1: The cocoons, as you call them, will breakdown shortly, returning the people held by them to perfect health. We placed them in a state where their biological systems are suspended but maintained. They will come to no harm.
882. TESS: From our examination they will run out of air in only a few hours…
883. ALIEN 1: At which time the outer coating will fall away, revealing them to the world again, awakening them and releasing them once more.
884. TRENT: Alright. I assume that the ability to hide things from our sight is part of your technology, some kind of cloaking field of energy or something similar?
885. ALIEN 1: You surmise correctly human. It is how we have existed in the midst of your city since you humans came to settle here.
886. TRENT: It seems the risks are too high to allow us to withhold our aide. We’ll help you.
887. ALIEN 1: Alright. Retrieve the crystal from wherever you have hidden it at the hotel and some of us will meet you on the roof to take charge of it.
888. SAM: (GROANING) Ugh. What hit me?
889. TESS: That would be me, sunshine. Come on. Get on your feet. We’re getting out of here.
890. SAM: (SUSPICIOUS) They’re letting us go?
891. TRENT: That’s right. We’re leaving. No thanks to you.
892. SAM: But… (EVEN MORE SUSPICIOUS) What have you done? You made a deal with them didn’t you? You’ve betrayed us to them!
893. TESS: Do you want to go back to sleep, Doctor?
894. TRENT: It’s alright Tess, let’s just get out of here.
895. ALIEN 1: We shall see you on the hotel roof.
896. SAM: The hotel roof? What?
897. TRENT: Don’t worry Doctor, you won’t be coming to the hotel with us. It’s time for us to part company.
898. SAM: Are you going to (GULP) kill me.
899. TESS: Idiot.
900. TRENT: No Doctor, we’re going to drop you off a few blocks from here where you won’t be able to get into any further mischief.
901. TESS: You hope.
902. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
903. 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!
WALT: I‘m your typical big city cabbie. I’ll get you where you’re going and throw in a bit of home-spun philosophy along the way. The way I figure it, people are always in a rush. They don’t take time for the little things. But me, I’m here to help. I’ll get you where you wanna be on time. But part of the fee is I get to give you some of the good advice I keep stored up. Something for every occasion.
CASTING SHEETS – MINOR CHARACTERS
FBI AGENT 1: 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 AGENT 2 (AND 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.
ALIENS (GROUP MEMBER): I am a member of the hive. I have no emotions; no pity, no remorse. I have my assigned task and I carry it out. And I won’t let anything stand in my way.
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: https://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.