Below we present the complete text of Break-in, episode 1 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 This is a brand new (unpublished) series (and sees the return of two of our most popular characters (Tess Carter and Trent Stone).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 #1 – BREAK-IN
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.
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 GIRL IN THE IVY GATE
NARRATOR: The Narrator
TESS CARTER: Reporter
TRENT STONE: Adventurer
MAN IN BLACK#1: Intruder
MAN IN BLACK#2: Intruder
SFX: SFX operator (1 required)
Scene 1 INT – Hotel Restaurant (Tess Carter, Trent Stone, Messenger)
1. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH
2. NARRATOR: In the hotel restaurant of the Regency in Star City, Trent Stone and Tess Carter sit enjoying a fine dinner and a well-deserved break…
3. SOUND: RESTAURANT AMBIENCE – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
4. TESS CARTER: (ECHOING AS THOUGHTS) Let’s see if I can get it out of him tonight. We’ve been going out for a month now. He can’t hold out forever.(WHILE EATING) So, you’re looking restless, Trent.
5. TRENT STONE: (GRUMPY) Yeah. Let’s just say I’m a little tired of the civilized life.
6. TESS: (UPBEAT) Not me, bud. I could get used to this life. Toast of the town. Idolized. You know, I even had someone ask me for my autograph yesterday.
7. TRENT: (SULLEN AND DISTRACTED) No thanks.
8. TESS: Aw, come on. You aren’t really that upset at the city liking us for a change, are you? I figure, after everything we did, we’re entitled to enjoy a few perks.
9. TRENT: It makes us soft, Tess. I don’t like it.
10. TESS: (LAUGHS) Ha. You’re just missing the malaria… try some of this steak… some action will cheer you up.
11. TRENT: Maybe. But I’ll be glad when we’re back in… less civilized… surroundings.
12. TESS: All the more reason to enjoy it while it lasts. We’re not likely to have it so good again for some time. Hey, what did you do with the dingus, anyway?
13. TRENT: What?
14. TESS: That power crystal thingy we got off the Technomaster? You went to that appointment regarding its value this afternoon, didn’t you? What did they say? Did they give it back to you?
15. TRENT: Yeah, they gave it back all right. That’s another reason I can’t wait to be gone.
16. TESS: Why? What did they say?
17. TRENT: Apparently, it’s practically priceless. I’ve had it put in the hotel safe. The agency wanted to value it at around a million.
18. TESS: (EXCLAIMING) Dollars!!?
19. TRENT: No, bottle-caps. Of course dollars.
20. TESS: Holy smokes. I wasn’t expecting that.
21. TRENT: I don’t think the Technomaster realized it’s true value either… Or he’d never have needed to pull off that heist at the end.
22. TESS: I’m not sure the heist mattered nearly as much to him as he made out. He just wanted to have his revenge on the city.
23. TRENT: Maybe.
24. TESS: So, there’s at least one upside to it all.
25. TRENT: What’s that?
26. TESS: What, with us being independently wealthy now that we’ve got the use of that treasure from the City of the Gold Spider…
27. TRENT: (SUSPICIOUS)Yes…
28. TESS: and now with the crystal as well…
29. TRENT: (WAITING FOR IT) Ahuh?
30. TESS: Well, it occurred to me that you’ll easily be able to afford a ring, now. No more excuses.
31. TRENT: (ANNOYED) I didn’t get into this game to hunt for lost treasure or make my fortune, Tess.
32. TESS: Um.. . I think you’re missing my point there a little, sparky.
33. TRENT: What? I.. .
34. MESSENGER: Excuse me, Mr Stone?
35. TESS: Aw hell.
36. TRENT: (FLUSTERED) Uh.. . Yes?
37. MESSENGER: A telegram sir.
38. TRENT: Oh.. Uh.. Thankyou.
39. TESS: (BEAT) Come on, then. What’s it say?
40. TRENT: It’s from Miriam Ribbensberg.. .
41. TESS: Yeah, yeah. President of the League of Adventure Seekers and (sort of) our boss. Get to the point.
42. TRENT: (READING) New Vision from Maryanne. Stop. Focused on ocean shipping. Stop. Please stay in Star City a little longer. Stop. Miriam.
43. TESS: What?
44. TRENT: It looks like we’re not getting out of this city anytime soon, after all.
45. TESS: You make it sound like a prison sentence.
46. TRENT: I wanted to move on, Tess. We’ve been here long enough.
47. TESS: Take it easy, Trent. (BEAT) You know… we don’t actually have to follow these instructions if we don’t want to? We’re free agents and Miriam doesn’t own us.
48. TRENT: Thanks, Tess, I get it. But we both know that when Miriam’s sister has one of those visions it means real danger for the world.
49. TESS: Well, danger’s good, right?
50. TRENT: Some danger’d be welcome about now. But does it have to be here? (BEAT) (DEJECTED) I’m going up to my room, Tess. I’ll see you in the morning.
51. SOUND: TRENT DEPARTING – LET IT FINISH.
52. TESS: (BEAT)Aw Hell. (BEAT) Hell.
53. MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
Scene 2 INT – HOTEL ROOM (Two men in black suits, Trent Stone, Tess Carter)
54. SOUND: CLOCK TICKING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
55. SOUND: TRENT ASLEEP – STEADY DEEP BREATHING – CONTINUE FOR A COUPLE OF SECONDS UNTIL TRENT WAKES (AT LINE 57).
56. SOUND: RUMMAGING THROUGH DRAWERS – LET IT FINISH.
57. TRENT: (WAKING UP)Hmm? What?
58. SOUND: SOMETHING DROPS ON FLOOR – LET IT FINISH.
59. TRENT: Who’s there? What?
60. SOUND: CLICK OF LIGHT SWITCH – LET IT FINISH.
61. TRENT: (UNRUFFLED) Hmmm. You’re rather clumsy thieves. What’s with the black suits and glasses? I suggest the two of you surrender now and tell me what’s going on.
62. MAN IN BLACK#1: (DISTORTED ELECTRONIC ALIEN VOICE) He sees us. We must escape.
63. MAN IN BLACK#2: (DISTORTED ELECTRONIC ALIEN VOICE) But we haven’t found it. Our mission is incomplete.
64. TRENT: Alright, I gave you fair warning.
65. SOUND: FIGHT/STRUGGLE, BANGS, GRUNTS ETC.- ESTABLISH AND UNDER
66. TRENT: (DURING FIGHT) Damn. What… are you? Argh. My throat… Too… strong… (FALLS UNCONSCIOUS) Ugh.
67. SOUND: BODY DROP – LET IT FINISH
68. SOUND: DOOR OPENING – LET IT FINISH
69. TESS: Trent? Is everything alright? It’s two in the morning… Oh no!
70. MAN IN BLACK#1: (DISTORTED ELECTRONIC ALIEN VOICE) More humans. We must leave.
71. MAN IN BLACK#2: (DISTORTED ELECTRONIC ALIEN VOICE) Yes. Engaging cloaking… now.
72. SOUND: ELECTRONIC HUM – FADE IMMEDIATELY,
73. TESS: They vanished. But how? (BEAT) Trent? Trent, are you alright?
74. TRENT: (MOANS) Ugh. Tess? Where are they? I think I passed out for a minute. They were too fast… and too strong.
75. TESS: Sure, big guy. It never occurred to you that taking on two at once might have been a bit much for you?
76. TRENT: Yeah, well, I never was that smart. Besides, there wasn’t time for anything else… and…
77. TESS: And?
78. TRENT: Tess, they were inhumanly strong. I didn’t stand a chance. The whole fight (short as it was) felt off.
79. TESS: How so?
80. TRENT: When he got his hand around my throat, it didn’t feel right… didn’t feel like a hand at all.
81. TESS: Are you sure you’re okay? Maybe they cut off more oxygen to your brain than you think.
82. TRENT: (THOUGHTFUL) Hmmm. (BEAT) How long was I out?
83. TESS: Only a second or two.
84. TRENT: (ALARMED) What? But they could still be nearby.
85. TESS: Easy, buster. If they are, we’ll never find them.
86. TRENT: (DIZZY) Ugh. I think I need to take it a little more slowly. (BEAT) So, what do you mean “we’ll never find them?”
87. TESS: They’ve got some kind of machine that does the whammy. They kind of faded out of view and were gone.
88. TRENT: What? Like magic.
89. TESS: Yeah. Or another one of the Technomaster’s gizmos.
90. TRENT: The Technomaster’s dead, Tess. He blew his brains out right in front of us.
91. TESS: True, but his machines are still out there. You’re forgetting that Madame Sofia stole all his notes. (BEAT) You don’t think this has something to do with Miriam’s Telegram do you?
92. TRENT: (THOUGHTFUL) I don’t know.(BEAT) Here, help me up.
93. TRENT AND TESS: (GRUNTS) Ugh.
94. TRENT: Thanks. They were looking for something. Let’s see what we can find.
95. TESS: You must be a heavier sleeper than I thought. They’ve tossed the room pretty thoroughly.
96. TRENT: I told you all this city living was making me soft.
97. TESS: Yeah. Yeah. Any ideas where to start.
98. TRENT: I’m a bit fuzzy, but they dropped something when I first woke up. Over there by the bureau.
99. TESS: Got it. (BEAT) Hey, this is strange.
100. TRENT: Well, don’t keep a fella waiting. What is it?
101. TESS: Just a cardboard box… but it feels weird, almost leathery… and one side has broken open.
102. TRENT: What’s in it?
103. TESS: Sunglasses.
104. TRENT: (MYSTIFIED) What?
105. TESS: I kid you not. Sunglasses. (BEAT) (JOKING) There’s not some lucrative new trade in black-market sunglasses that we don’t know about is there?
106. TRENT: Not that I’m aware of. Let me have a look.
107. TESS: Knock yourself out.
108. TRENT: Yep. Sunglasses. Though, they feel a bit odd too… rubbery almost.
109. TESS: Put em on. Let’s see how you look.
110. SOUND: ELECTRONIC HUM – FADE IMMEDIATELY.
111. TRENT: Well I’ll be.
112. TESS: (DISTRACTED) Hmmm?
113. TRENT: Try a pair, Tess. I think you’ll find the view very interesting.
114. TESS: Okay?(BEAT) Holy smokes. Are you seeing this?
115. TRENT: Ahuh. And I’m willing to bet I can make some guesses, now, regarding our visitors.
116. TESS: Go ahead and impress me, tough guy.
117. TRENT: You said the men you saw had some kind of machine that let them disappear from sight.
118. TESS: You’re darn tooting.
119. TRENT: I think these glasses, like the glasses they were wearing, let them see through their own cloaking technology.
120. TESS: Cloaking technology, huh?
121. TRENT: Yeah. And I think I get why their grip felt so strange too. Look at that slime trail.
122. TESS: Wow. You can’t see it without the glasses.
123. TRENT: Right. I don’t think our visitors were human.
124. TESS: Now hold on a minute, they looked…
125. TRENT: They looked human to us… but I think they’d appear quite differently through these glasses.
126. TESS: So you think that slime trail…
127. TRENT: Will lead us straight to them, whatever they are? Yes.
128. TESS: So what are we waiting for?
129. TRENT: There’s one thing more. There’s some writing on the side of this box. Take a look.
130. TESS: Whoa. The symbols. They’re all moving about.
131. TRENT: Don’t stop. Keep looking.
132. TESS: Incredible their transforming, turning into words…
133. TRENT: I think these glasses are acting like some kind of perception filter, looking through to the heart of things and translating them in such a way that we can understand them.
134. TESS: And the text, those are addresses right.
135. TRENT: Yes, it looks like… the railway station, the power station, one of the city’s radio stations… and the last one is the address for this apartment.
136. TESS: Uh, Trent?
137. TRENT: Yes?
138. TESS: Have you looked at me while I’ve been wearing these glasses yet?
139. TRENT: No, I’ve been looking at… Great Scott!
140. TESS: You said it buster.
141. TRENT: The glasses…
142. TESS: Aren’t glasses at all. They’re some kind of organic mask.
143. TRENT: It’s hideous.
144. TESS: Well thanks. You’re not going to win any beauty contests either, you know?
145. TRENT: Sorry Tess. It just kind of took me by surprise.
146. TESS: (SARCASTIC) Ahuh. (BEAT) Are we going to follow this trail or what?
147. TRENT: I guess so. Whatever they were looking for here seems to have eluded them so, let’s go.
148. TESS: I’ll throw on some more appropriate gear… and you should probably do the same. See you in five minutes.
149. MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
Scene 3 INT – OUTSIDE THE HOTEL ROOM (Trent Stone, Tess Carter, Maid, Bellboy)
150. SOUND: CONFUSED GABBLE OF VOICES – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
151. TESS: There you are. I thought it was just us girls who took their time getting dressed to go out.
152. TRENT: Funny. I’d have been quicker if the room hadn’t been turned upside down. It took me an age to find my socks. (BEAT) What’s happening here?
153. TESS: Not sure. Something’s got the hotel staff in an uproar. Excuse me, Miss? What’s going on?
154. MAID: Oh, it’s you miss Carter. I’m sorry if we bothered you.
155. TESS: No no. It’s not like that. We were already awake. Can you tell me what’s going on?
156. MAID: A number of rooms on this floor have been broken into and one of the staff is missing. We’re trying to conduct a search.
157. TRENT: Yes, my room as well.
158. MAID: Oh no. Another one. I’ll tell management.
159. TRENT: Thank you.
160. TESS: (BEAT) So what do you think? An inside job?
161. TRENT: Perhaps, but if one of the staff were involved I think there’d be more than just this pair of slime trails leading in and out of the rooms.
162. TESS: Maybe. Let’s follow the trail. It leads around that corner.
163. TRENT: Alright. After you.
164. SOUND: BRIEF FOOTSTEPS AND STOP – UNDER
165. TESS: I don’t know about you, but waking in the middle of the night always puts me in a mind for breakfast. You don’t think we could… crimeny!
166. TRENT: You said it, Tess. I think we’ve found that missing staff member. Quick take your glasses off and look again.
167. TESS: (BEAT) Yep. Totally invisible without the glasses.
168. TRENT: But with the glasses, she’s cocooned inside a translucent coating of slime.
169. TESS: And look at the rest of the staff. They’re just moving around her without even noticing – adjusting their path as they go.
170. BELLBOY: Ugh. Oh, excuse me, sir.
171. TRENT: It’s alright son. (BEAT) But whatever’s causing this clearly doesn’t prevent people from blundering into us.
172. TESS: Let’s take a closer look. What do you think it’s made of.
173. TRENT: I said slime at first, but I think that was wrong. It appears to be some kind of clear, rubbery, gelatinous substance. It has a certain amount of give to it. Here feel.
174. TESS: Yuk. It’s a little bit sticky.
175. TRENT: It looks to be about an inch thick and covers the whole of the body.
176. TESS: At least she appears to be breathing normally. Look, her chest is rising and falling.
177. TRENT: Amazing. Perhaps it has some kind of inbuilt oxygen component.
178. TESS: That’s a pretty big perhaps. Should we try to get her out of it?
179. TRENT: (MUSING) No… I don’t think so. We don’t know what effect interfering with the material might have. (BEAT) Besides, it feels incredibly strong. I’m not sure we’d be able to get her out.
180. TESS: What should we do then?
181. TRENT: Let’s finish following this trail. It looks like it’s starting to dry out and evaporate.
182. TESS: Gotcha. It leads over there to that open window.
183. TRENT: Damn. It looks like this is the end.
184. TESS: Maybe on the ledge outside. Nope. Nothing here.
185. TRENT: This gets stranger by the minute.
186. TESS: Well, they couldn’t have just flown away. Maybe we should back-track.
187. TRENT: No this is the end. And why couldn’t they just fly away? We know almost nothing about these creatures yet.
188. TESS: You’re still going with the not-human idea?
189. TRENT: It seems to fit.
190. TESS: Perhaps. But I don’t buy it. They could just be whack-jobs with access to some new kind of biologically based technology.
191. TRENT: Either way, we need to decide what to do next.
192. TESS: What about that list you found. There were three other places listed on it, besides the hotel. Maybe we can find out more at those sites.
193. TRENT: Perhaps. I’m loathe to leave that young woman trapped in… whatever that goo is.
194. TESS: You said it yourself; she’s breathing and perfectly safe for now. I think the fastest way to help her is to get to those who put her in that condition.
195. TRENT: Science isn’t my strong suit anyway. I’ll stop in the lobby and make a couple of quick calls, first to Catherine Filmore…
196. TESS: Ha. She’ll give you an earful, waking her up after two in the morning.
197. TRENT: She’ll get over it. Besides, I’m willing to bet she’ll still be in her lab and she won’t want to miss the chance of examining something like this.
198. TESS: You’ll have to leave some glasses for her at the front desk. I think we should keep the rest with us, though. (BEAT) And the other call?
199. TRENT: Walt Krogan. The cab driver.
200. TESS: (SARCASTIC) Oh, great.
201. TRENT: What? I thought you liked Walt.
202. TESS: I do. It’s just he could talk the leg off an iron stove. I’m not sure I’m up for it this early.
203. TRENT: (SARCASTIC) Oh, you poor thing! I’ll make it up to you later.
204. TESS: (BRIGHTENING) I’m gonna hold you to that.
205. TRENT: Come on. Let’s make tracks.
206. MUSIC: NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
207. 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.
CASTING SHEETS — MINOR CHARACTERS
MESSENGER: Hey don’t call me a kid. I’ll be sixteen next year. And I’ve got a good job. Steady hours, reliable. That’s more than a lot of people these days. The pay isn’t great, but the tips can be good.
MEN IN BLACK: What is this thing? A recording device? It will not understand me. My voice is being filtered, as is my appearance. Yes, I guess you would say I sound robotic, electronic, but the technology we use is biological in nature and I am not as I appear or sound. You humans will not be able to keep me here for long. As soon as my cloaking device self-repairs, I will be able to …
MAID: Is there anything I can do for you, buster? I provide turn-down service, collect the towels, and will even do some general light dusting in your room. But if you turn out to be one of those grabby types, I’ll break your jaw.
THE BELLBOY: I’m another fresh-faced kid. All “gee whiz” and “can I have your autograph, please”? I love my job because of the people I get to meet. I’m chatty and friendly (and really irritating if you just want peace and quiet from a staff who are seen but not heard). I’m probably the second or third staff member you’ll meet (after the doorman and the concierge) so I always try to make a good and helpful impression.
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.