Old Time Radio Drama Adventures

Episode 5 - The Tower of the Tentacle


Act 1

Our heroes awaken in darkness of their hotel rooms to hear stealthy movement. A fight ensues in which a strange weapon discharges (missing the heroes) and the intruders – two men in black suits – fade from view. Left behind is a box of dark glasses (spectacles) and a list of addresses – the fourth belonging to the heroes. The glasses allow the wearer to see through a “zone of compulsion” that has been thrown over the city to mask the activities of the intruders. The heroes rooms are splashed with slime and a trail of slime leads into the corridor and over to a window where it ends. Also in the corridor stands the figure of a woman covered in a strange substance. Penelope is encased in this substance as well. She is slowly breathing but otherwise appears to have been set in impermeable jelly. None of this is visible to anyone who is not wearing the glasses.
Following the trail of locations the heroes note a number of people who are as still as statues, set in the same way as the woman in the hotel corridor, and just as invisible to anyone not wearing the glasses. People and vehicles go around them without seeming to notice that they are doing so. Passing one of the statues, the heroes are surprised to note that at least one person in the city – one of the many unemployed who live in the shantytown of Indigo Park judging by his sorry attire – appears to be able to see them. When spotted, he is poking at one of the people on the street who have been trapped in suspended animation. He is apparently suffering from some kind of mental illness, talking to himself continuously in mumbles or shouting incoherently. When approached he pulls a gun which he then quickly puts away when he sees who the heroes are.
Talking with him the heroes discover he is Dr Sam Johnson and that at one time he was a mathematician at Star City University who was fired when he began to claim his understanding of mathematics allowed him to see into other dimensions and along other wavelengths unperceived by normal human beings. He is surprised that the heroes can see the trapped people and is fascinated by the glasses that allow it to happen. Mostly, he wants to figure out the mathematics behind how it was done and feels sure it is just within his grasp. He insists on following the heroes around muttering to himself from this point on. As they depart with Dr. Johnson in tow the heroes realise they are being followed. At every attempt to flush out their pursuers the men (dressed in dark suits) slip away before they can be identified.

Act 2

A large portion of the city has been blacked out and the second address is in the heart of the blacked out district. Arriving at the HQ of Star City Coal and Power the heroes find a large hole in the ground from which two of the city’s enormous power generators have been removed. Nearby stands a small tripod surmounted by an odd cylinder with a strange trigger mechanism. When fired the cylinder atomises anything it strikes to a depth of 3 or 4 inches. Repeated/continual application of the trigger reveals it to be a form of atomic drill (but the power pack is almost empty).
Fortunately, it appears that only one night watchman has been trapped in suspended animation. Dr. Johnson examines the drill and becomes very excited. He claims he can see exactly how the device works and begins to rave about its military applications. The tripod is locked in place and seems completely immovable.
The third location on the list is the wireless broadcasting station for WRZP Star City. As the heroes approach, the team members wearing the glasses see a group of flying tentacular creatures pass overhead with a large amount of machinery suspended between them by some kind of green energy beam. The creatures are heading back towards the centre of the city. Much of the building is missing along with the station’s powerful broadcasting machinery and antenna. Snagged on a piece of rubble nearby is a piece of parchment with a strange symbol on it. From the hill on which the broadcasting station sits the heroes (who are wearing the glasses) notice for the first time a huge building towering over the centre of the city. It is a building never seen before and at its apex is an odd pulsing green light. Without the glasses the monstrous building is invisible. On realizing the heroes can see the building, Dr. Johnson begins raving about how that is “their” HQ and that it must be destroyed for the good of humanity.
There are a handful of people, night staff mostly, who are trapped in suspended animation. Despite Johnson’s ravings, and despite the instances of suspended animation and property damage, no one has yet been killed as a result of the night’s events.
The first stop on the list is Grand Central Station. Arriving, the heroes find the station in complete disarray. Police are everywhere but appear to be in total confusion. The engines of all the trains in the station have been stolen leaving only their metal shells behind. A large number of trapped people can be seen near the trains (though they remain invisible to anyone without the glasses). Huge holes can be seen in the covered portions of the station over the engines suggesting the engines were carried away into the air. Near the lead train, half hidden in the shadow of a pillar lies a box of strange looking respirators. When someone tries to speak while wearing it their voices are electronically altered and their words emerge in a strange language (one that is harsh and painful to the ear) that cannot be understood by anyone other than Dr. Johnson.
The fourth address is that of the heroes hotel rooms and it is obvious that the visitors were searching for something when they were interrupted. Clearly they did not find it, whatever it was.
The huge building (that can only be seen with the glasses) is a no longer vacant lot right in the centre of the city (sitting between the HQ of Police and the City Council). This land has been vacant for as long as anyone can remember – and unlike every other piece of empty property in Star City, has not been settled by indigent squatters and the unemployed. With the aid of the glasses the heroes can now see the reason. The apparently empty land harbours a monstrous art-deco skyscraper that towers over the entire city. A large marble stairway leads up to three huge doors. Over each is a strange symbol – one of which matches that of the page the heroes found at the Radio Station. Taking this entrance the heroes enter. The air has a strange green hue and the heroes are forced to don the respirators to continue or fall unconscious. At each junction of what proves to be a giant maze the heroes follow the symbol until they enter a cavernous (hive-like) central chamber.
Two enormous (40 foot long) couches dominate the chamber. One holds the inert form of a cyclopean cephalopod. The other holds an exoskeletal shell from a similar creature long dead. The couches are covered in strange controls and glowing symbols. Johnson believes this is some kind of control centre. In front of the nearest couch stand two small tentacular beings with membranous wings and oozing slime.
They welcome the heroes to the council chamber of the Arun-Set and compliment tem on following the trail that was left for them. Before the speakers can finish their welcome Johnson draws his gun and tries to put a bullet into one of them. Fortunately, Dr John Waters tackles him to the ground. Alarms sound and hundreds of the creatures descend from the ceiling, seizing the heroes in their powerful tentacles – trapping them completely.

Act 3

The creature who was shot at intervenes to prevent the heroes from being torn apart. It explains that the Arun-Set are a race who have been enslaved for millennia but now, due to the death of the Second Archon, 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 his servants stalemated the remaining Archon. He could control them within the confines of the hive but could not use them to conquer the planet. Now, the slaves are free to depart if they can get the hive to run again. It is imperative that they do so, since, when the first Archon began to decay, it resulted in the extinction of the dinosaurs. Having used the resources of the city to affect the necessary repairs, all that remains for them to do is to secure a power source sufficient to energise the hive. Such a power source is, they believe, in the possession of the heroes – the crystal that powers the teleportation portal between the two Meso-American monoliths created by the Techno-Master. Retrieval of the crystal is all that stands between this race and freedom – and all that may prevent the immanent extinction of the human race.
Having had the urgency of the request impressed upon them, the heroes leave the tower and begin to get in their car when a pair of black suited individuals (carrying FBI badges) appear and open fire. A high-speed car chase ensues and the pursuers are lost in a back alley allowing the heroes to retrieve the crystal. Dr. Johnson, however, slips away at the hotel and contacts the FBI, alerting them to the heroes’ location. He is determined that the aliens must be kept on earth so that we can learn the secrets of their technology. Special agent Ralph Thomas arrives as the heroes attempt to leave and tells informs them that they are under arrest on suspicion of sabotage throughout the city on behalf of a hostile foreign power. The heroes vanish under the alien’s field of compulsion as the aliens arrive to take them back to the hive, leaving Dr. Johnson to be arrested by the FBI.
The aliens take the crystal and return to the hive. Minutes later the hive slowly takes off like a rocket rising slowly into the sky. Moving through the atmosphere the zone of compulsion eventually fades. All those trapped in suspended animation emerge, visible and free to move once more (if a little sticky). The atomic drill is gone (it looks as though the concrete on which it stood has been dug up in order to move it), taken by the FBI. Dr. Johnson, who claimed to have unlocked the mathematical key to the alien technology is whisked away by the FBI also – never to be heard from in Star City again. Agent Thomas, in charge of the FBI team, has nothing he can hold the heroes on and releases them after many hours of questioning – but warns them that he will be watching from now on. The missing Star City infrastructure is never found and a giant crater now stands in the vacant lot between City Hall and Police HQ.



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