Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: Junkyard
Date: Feb 02 1956

About author Clifford Simak

He was born 1904, and died in 1988. His primary occupation from 1929-76 was newspaper work. He became a full-time writer of SF after his retirement. He started writing in 1938. His first novel was ...

SFX:

Rocket firing

Announcer:

Countdown to blast-off. X minus 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... X minus 1. Fire!

SFX:

Blast-off

Announcer:

(Echo)From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future, adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand may be worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine presents X-x-x-x- (echo) Minus One.

SFX:

Rocket and theme

Announcer:

Tonight's story Junkyard by Clifford D. Simak.

SFX:

Theme Music

Warren:

The funny thing about the whole thing was the fact that we had never intended to land on Planet Nine. We circled it and decided it was strictly a low-grade affair ? wouldn't amount to anything for a billion years or so. As Commander of the Galactic Survey Team, I couldn't waste my time on it. Then my Exec saw this junkyard through the telescope. We landed. Took a look at a load of alien machine parts discarded by some other space ship and then prepared to take off for Earth. It had all been a waste of time.

SFX:

Intercom tone (telegraph key)

SFX:

Click (of intercom)

McIver:

(filtered) Engine Room - McIver.

Warren:

This is Commander Warren. All secure?

McIver:

(filtered) Yes, sir.

Warren:

Very well. Countdown to blast-off.

McIver:

(filtered) Engine Room ready, Sir.

Warren:

X minus 5 ... minus 4 ... minus 3 ... minus 2 ... minus 1 ... Fire!

(silence)

 

SFX:

Alarm bell (phone bell or buzzer)

SFX:

click (of intercom)

Warren:

Mac, what's wrong down there?

McIver:

(filtered) Well, ... I - I ... don't know, sir.

Warren:

Brady, get the data analyzer ready. We'll have to correct for a new take-off time.

Brady:

It's the first time I ever heard of engine failure before take-off.

Warren:

Better before than after. Engine Room?

McIver:

(filtered) Yes, sir?

Warren:

What's happening? You guys ready yet?

McIver:

(filtered) No, sir. (straining)

Warren:

Well, burn it, man. Get going. I want those engines started.

McIver:

(filtered) Sir?

Warren:

What is it?

McIver:

(filtered) I ... I don't know quite what to say.

Warren:

Well, say something, or I'll have you busted.

McIver:

(filtered) We can't start the engines, Commander. At least I can't.

Warren:

Well, why not?

McIver:

(filtered) I don't know.

Warren:

Fine. Put Klein on.

Lt. Klein:

(filtered) Lt. Klein, sir.

Warren:

Lieutenant, what is going on down there? Is here something wrong with the engines?

Klein:

(filtered) No, sir. I've double-checked them.

Warren:

Well, then, let's get 'em heated up or we'll be on this god-forsaken planet for the rest of our lives.

Klein:

(filtered) We can't do it, sir.

Warren:

Klein, suppose you tell me exactly why you can't start the engines. Can you do that?

Klein:

(filtered) Yes, sir.

Warren:

All right, why?

Klein:

(filtered) Because, sir, we can't remember how.

Warren:

What?

Klein:

(filtered) Yes, sir, we've forgotten how to start the engines.

Warren:

Lieutenant, report up here in one minute. Bring Dr. Spencer with you.

Klein:

(filtered) Yes, sir.

SFX:

click (of intercom)

Warren:

All right, Brady, where have you got it?

Brady:

Got what, Ira?

Warren:

Don't play innocent. You and I have been doing planet surveys together for fifteen years. You carry enough dead weight in grain alcohol on every trip to keep you happy for a million lightyears. Now obviously the crew in the Engine Room have gotten into it.

Brady:

Impossible.

Warren:

Where is it?

Brady:

I've got a few fifths in my locker, but nobody's touched it. I checked a few minutes ago.

Warren:

Well, then, somebody has got some in the Engine Room.

SFX:

Knocking on door

Warren:

Come in....

SFX:

sliding of door open and close

Klein:

Lt. Klein, sir. I brought Dr. Spencer as ordered.

Warren:

Hello, Doc. Did Klein, here, tell you what's going on?

Spencer:

She did.

Warren:

How long will it take you to get these guys sobered up?

Spencer:

I can't.

Warren:

Why not?

Spencer:

Because they're not drunk. I tested Klein in my office.

Warren:

Now, wait a minute, Doc. Are you trying to get me to actually believe that my crew, intergalactic engineers with years of hyperfission experience, have forgotten how to start the engines of this ship?

Spencer:

That's right.

Warren:

You ... You're serious?

Spencer:

Dead serious, Ira. Something, somehow, has caused them to forget how to start the engines.

MUSIC:

Bridge-- ominous music

Warren:

There it was. It fit in perfectly with a lot of other annoying little things that had been happening to us ever since we put down on Planet Nine. It was to have been a routine exploration of a low-grade uninhabited planet. Some routine exploration!

All right, Klein, now listen to me. Do you have manuals aboard? Engineering manuals?

Klein:

Yes, sir.

Warren:

Take the Engine Room crew and study those manuals. They'll tell you how to start the ship, won't they?

Klein:

Yes, sir.

Warren:

Okay, get going. Doc, I'd like you to stay here with me and Brady for a minute.

Spencer:

Okay.

Warren:

And report back to me, Klein.

SFX:

Sliding doors opening and closing

Warren:

Okay, Doc, you're supposed to be an expert on space medicine. What is it?

Spencer:

I've never seen anything like it, Ira.

Warren:

Brady?

Brady:

Search me, Captain. I've seen 'em with space blues, alien psychoses, the works, but I've never seen a disease that could make a crew forget how to start the engines.

Spencer:

Maybe it isn't a disease.

Warren:

Okay, what then?

Spencer:

Maybe it's a deliberate thing.

Warren:

You mean they're faking?

Spencer:

No, I know Klein and the others too well for that. I mean, maybe there's some outside influence.

Warren:

Doc, we've surveyed this planet from top to bottom. We know there isn't a living cell on it.

Brady:

What about the junkyard?

Spencer:

What junkyard?

Warren:

Oh, he means that pile of rusty space engine parts we found. The crew nicknamed it "The Junkyard.?

Spencer:

He's right. Somebody put it there.

Warren:

Well, we know that another space ship landed here. We know that from the blast marks on the rock. We know that for some unexplained reason they took their engine apart and tried to put it together again. We know they succeeded in building a much simpler engine leaving a lot of spare parts and we know that they took off. The blast-off marks tell us that, too.

Brady:

What we don't know is whether or not they left somebody behind ... or some thing.

Spencer:

What about that stone tower, Ira?

Warren:

The crew looked it over; it's just a pile of stones. They probably threw them together as a shelter while they were rebuilding their engine.

Spencer:

Oh, that sounds too simple.

Brady:

I don't like that tower, Ira.

Warren:

Why not?

Brady:

I don't know. It's scary and had that black look about it. The smell of death. I felt it when I walked past with Klein and McIver.

Warren:

Ahh, that's the celt in you, banshees and spooks.

Brady:

I still don't like it. I need a drink.

Warren:

Skip it! We should be ready to blast off in a few minutes.

SFX:

CLICK

Warren:

Engine Room!

SFX:

2 CLICKS

Warren:

Engine Room!

SFX:

3 Clicks (of intercom) repeated

Warren:

What's going on down there? Engine Room? Lt. Klein!

Klein:

(filtered) Daddy ... Is that you, Daddy? Did you bring me a present? Daddy, I'm scared!

Warren:

Holy mackerel! That's Klein! She's gone off her rocker! Klein

SFX:

CLICK

Warren:

Doc, I think we better get to that engine room.

SFX:

Dramatic bridge - music.

Warren:

When Doc examined Klein, he found her to have the mind and memory of a six-year-old.

Spencer:

That's it, Ira. Something drained Klein of her memory. And that's as much as I can tell you.

Warren:

That's a big help.

Spencer:

Here's the manual he was reading.

Warren:

Well, at least we can follow this manual and get off this stinking planet. Hand it to me ...

Spencer:

Right here.

SFX:

Pages being turned and then stopped

Spencer:

Anything wrong, Ira? Is it all there?

Warren:

It's all here, Doc. This is the engine manual that tells all about the engine, how they operate, how to locate trouble, how to fix them, how to start them ...

Spencer:

Well, what is it then? You're sweating like a pig.

Warren:

All of a sudden, I can't remember the symbols.Doc, I've forgotten how to read.

SFX:

waiting Music up, then behind

Warren:

I left the Engine Room and went out through the lock to stand on the outside platform of the ship. I looked over the junkyard where the metal of the rusted engine parts gleamed. There was a riddle there ? a riddle we haven't been able to figure out. Why had an alien space ship landed here, ripped out its engines, and then put together a simple, less efficient engine and taken off again? And they had worked in an awful hurry, judging by the mess they left. Why? Why?

SFX:

Sliding door opens and closes

Spencer:

Mind if I join you, Ira?

Warren:

No, help yourself, Doc. How's Klein?

Spencer:

We've made her some toys. She's playing with them. I've assigned Mac to see that she doesn't hurt herself.

Warren:

Doc ...

Spencer:

Yes?

Warren:

Have you got any ideas on what's happening to us?

Spencer:

Well, man experiences incidents, gathers knowledge, knows emotions. Then as he grows older, he begins to forget those experiences, forget that knowledge. That's what life is ? a long series of forgettings. Here, on Nine in some impossible way, the forgetting is speeded up. It happens overnight.

Warren:

No, there's more to it than that. Well, I'm going back to my cabin to try and get some rest.

SFX:

Dramatic music bridge (ominous horns)

SFX:

Sliding door opens and closes

Brady:

That you, Ira?

Warren:

It's me, Bat-ears.

Brady:

What gives?

Warren:

We're in a jam.

Brady:

There's been planets I wouldn't mind being marooned on, you know, but this ain't one of 'em. There's something here, Ira. I can feel it.

Warren:

Yes, I can feel it myself. Maybe we should have looked around more.

Brady:

Klein looked around. Klein was the one who found that tower.

Warren:

Brady, that's right, she did.

Brady:

She said she didn't like it. She said it scared her.

Warren:

In the morning, Bat-ears, we'll go and see that tower.

SFX:

Music bridge

Warren:

In the morning I took Doc and McIver and Brady with me and we walked across the valley to the stone tower. It wasn't much of a tower, only eight or nine feet high, made of rocks piled one on top of another.

SFX:

Pounding on rock with hammer

Spencer:

Pretty solid. Well-built and odd. Type F culture, I'd say.

Warren:

Has anybody bothered to look inside this thing? McIver, you were here with Klein yesterday.

McIver:

Yes, sir. We couldn't find a way in, Captain. Klein poked around, but gave up.

Warren:

Well, we'll make a way in. Stand back, I think I can shoot the top off it.

SFX:

Ray gun and crash

Warren:

Now, that should be big enough for a man to lower himself into. Okay, fasten a rope around my shoulders.

McIver:

Uh, Captain ...

Warren:

Yes?

McIver:

In case there's anything ... well ...dangerous, maybe I ought to go. After all, I'm Survey Engineer.

Spencer:

McIver's right, Ira.

Warren:

Okay, Mac, your responsibility.

McIver:

Yes, sir. Just fasten the rope under my arms ...

Warren:

(Straining) Um hm.

McIver:

That's it. Now, I'll climb up and lower myself in. If I pull twice, haul me out. One pull means okay. Give me a hand, Brady, huh?

Brady:

How about a quick shot of whiskey first?

McIver:

Never touch it! All right now ... (he strains, climbing up)

SFX:

Climbing on rocks

Warren:

Can you see inside?

McIver:

Black as a tomb. I'm going to lower myself. Pay out a little rope.

SFX:

Rope going over rocks

McIver:

Well, it's been lovely. Here we go!

SFX:

scuffling

Spencer:

One tug ... She's on the ground inside.

Warren:

I wonder what she's found.

Brady:

I still don't like it!

Warren:

Oh, Brady, there's probably not a thing in there except a few ... There's two tugs, three!. Come on, haul her out!

Brady:

You mean ...

Warren:

Come on, just haul her out.

Spencer:

Brady, pull her through the top!

Brady:

Right. Easy now, Mac. What the heck is in there, anyway? (calling) Mac ...

McIver:

Dada? ... Dada?!

Brady:

Holy jumpin' asteroids! Doc, she's flipped!

Spencer:

No, she hasn't lost her mind. She's just reverted to babyhood.

SFX:

Dramatic bridge

Warren:

We stood there at the foot of the tower, stunned. McIver sat on the ground, happy as a clam, playing with her fingers and talking happy little nonsense syllables.

Doc, take a look at her ? make sure she's okay physically.

Spencer:

Jake, if it's fright, her pulse will be way up. Now, let me have your hand. That's a good girl. Good heavens!

Warren:

What is it?

Spencer:

I've forgotten what the normal pulse rate is. Pulse? Pulse?

Warren:

Doc, let's get out of here. Brady, pick up McIver and bring her back to the ship. Come on! Let's get away from this tower.

SFX:

Music bridge--querulous, off-key

Warren:

A few minutes later, Brady and I sat in the captain's quarters. He didn't do much talking ... just sat and tipped his bottle to his lips every so often.

SFX:

Sound of drinking glugs

Warren:

Well, at least we know in a general way what we're up against.

Brady:

Do we?

Warren:

We know there's been knowledge lost ? important information forgotten.

Brady:

Check.

Warren:

Now that memory, that lost skill, that knowledge went somewhere. Maybe there's something in that tower that takes it away, and I have a silly feeling we might even get it back.

Brady:

Have a drink.

Warren:

Bat-ears, get a couple of crew ... volunteers.

Brady:

Now?

Warren:

Now.

Brady:

What for?

Warren:

We're going to find out what's inside that tower.

SFX:

Bridge - marching music, sliding

Warren:

We lowered an infrared movie camera into the tower, took some pictures, and went back to the ship for a look. There was something in there all right.

Spencer:

Now, as far as we can determine, this thing we photographed is shaped like a watermelon standing on end. The movement of the hairs all over it suggest vibrations, such as an antenna of an insect. Underneath are wires leading to terminals that seemed to be plugged right into the thing.

Brady:

Do you think it's a form of life?

Spencer:

My guess is a combination of living organism and machine. After all, man and machines work together. The difference is that man retains his individual identity.

Warren:

Well, since it doesn't locomote, someone or something must have put it there

Spencer:

Exactly.

Warren:

It looks like some kind of communication organism.

Spencer:

If it is, it's a communication machine that is built to take in information rather than pass it along.

Brady:

Do you really think that egg in there has been stealing our memory?

Spencer:

Why not?

Brady:

Well, because, it's too ... it's too wild, that's why not.

Spencer:

It's no wilder than a lot of other things we've found. Say that that egg is a device for gathering knowledge.

Brady:

But there's no knowledge here to gather. I mean, how often does a ship land on an out-of-the-way melon like this?

Warren:

Wait a minute, Brady. Who says that knowledge has to be collected here?

Brady:

Huh?

Warren:

I said, why do we assume that knowledge has to be collected right here on Planet 9? We forget things back on earth, don't we?

Spencer:

Oh, good Lord.

Warren:

Supposed you were some race setting out fish traps for knowledge and had plenty of time to gather it. Where would you put your traps ? on a planet swarming with intelligent beings where the traps would be found and destroyed or their secrets snatched away, or would you put them out on some second-rate world where nobody would ever bother them.

Spencer:

Good heavens, I'd pick a spot just like this.

Warren:

Let me fill in this picture, Doc. I think that some unknown race is bent on trapping knowledge throughout the galaxy.

Spencer:

Ira, if what you say is true ... if it is, then every time someone on earth forgets something, it's because one of these eggs has drained it out of him.

Warren:

Well?

Spencer:

It's too fantastic.

Warren:

Have you got a better guess?

Spencer:

No.

Brady:

The question is, what do we do next? If anybody gets near that egg, he winds up like some puling little baby.

Spencer:

You were pretty near it that first day ... Did you forget anything?

Brady:

How should I know? I was too pleasantly lit up on grain spirits to know the difference.

Spencer:

Well, the question is still, what now?

Warren:

I'm going outside to think.

Spencer:

Ira ...

Warren:

Yes?

Spencer:

There is one thing to keep in mind ...

Warren:

What is that, Doc?

Spencer:

If those are memory traps, then there must be a way for somebody to empty them. And if we are ever going to get away from here, what's gone in has got to come out.

SFX:

Music bridge (soft)

Warren:

I stood out on the platform of the ship and tried to make some sort of pattern out of it. Forgetfulness ... that was the key word. All through the galaxy, in every culture, there was forgetfulness. There were lots of learned theories, of course ? kinks in the brain, neuroses, data processing ? but suppose they were wrong. Might it not be that forgetfulness was caused by thousands upon thousands of these memory traps planted throughout the galaxy, nibbling away at the conscious memory of all the sensient beings that lived among the stars. On Earth, a man forgets slowly because the traps are far away. But here, in their very shadow, a man forgets suddenly. And then another thought entered my mind. What kind of race had set these traps? How do they empty them? How? How?

SFX:

Door slides open

Warren:

Brady!

Brady:

Huh?

SFX:

Door slides closed

Warren:

Where do you keep your liquor?

Brady:

Now, Chief ...

Warren:

Come on, where?

Brady:

It's in my locker.

Warren:

Get it out of there ? all of it.

Brady:

Ira ...

Warren:

That's a direct order!

Brady:

Okay.

SFX:

click of lock, Sound of glasses clinking

Warren:

All of it ...

SFX:

Sound of glasses clinking

Warren:

That it?

Brady:

Yeah, I never thought I'd see the day when you pulled rank on me, Ira. If you confiscate this stuff, so help me, I'll never forgive you...

Warren:

(offended) Who said anything about confiscating? Bat-ears, have you ever really hung one on? I mean, just pie-eyed drunk?

Brady:

Well, let's see ... There was once on Mars ...

Warren:

Was that the worst?

Brady:

It was beautiful. Took me three days to sober up. They say I fought off the whole galactic patrol for hours.

Warren:

Well, do you think you've got enough here to get that polluted again?

Brady:

I got a pretty good supply, Ira.

Warren:

Well, that's good, because in one minute I'm going to give you a direct order to hang on the biggest, the most monstrous drunk in the entire history of the universe. But first you have to volunteer.

Brady:

(quickly) I volunteer.

Warren:

No, no, no. Not until I explain why I'm doing this.

Brady:

Ira, this sort of project don't need reasons ... it's a pleasure!

Warren:

Let me finish. You know that egg up in the tower?

Brady:

Yeah.

Warren:

The minute you get near it, it grabs your mind ? wipes it clean. Right?

Brady:

Yeah.

Warren:

And a lead space helmet doesn't shield you, as we saw with McIver.

Brady:

Right.

Warren:

Now, Doc thinks this egg is a kind of communications thing.

Brady:

It must be.

Warren:

Okay, you're a communications man. What do you do when you can't shield a communication?

Brady:

Well, that's easy. You scramble it. Any fool knows ... Holy mackerel!

Warren:

Exactly! Are you still game?

Brady:

Do you think it'll work?

Warren:

I don't know. I think it might.

Brady:

But suppose it doesn't?

Warren:

You're a babbling infant like Klein and McIver.

Brady:

If we don't stop that thing, it'll happen anyway.

Warren:

Unless we can remember how to start the engines...

Brady:

Okay, Ira. I'll do it. When do I start?

Warren:

Right now.

SFX:

Sound of glass and liquid pouring, glass clinking

Brady:

Well, Ira, here's mud in your ever-lovin', inter-galactic eyeballs. Aaaaaaaaah. (after drinking) You know something? I'm beginning to like this mission already.

SFX:

Music bridge

Brady:

Aaaaaaaaah (another drink).

Warren:

Well, that kills the last bottle.

Brady:

(drunkenly) How'm I doin', Ira, ol' buddy?

Warren:

Not drunk enough. I should have picked somebody like Doc, except she'd probably pass out.

Brady:

I'm not drunk enough, huh, ol' buddy pal?

Warren:

Not yet.

Brady:

(drunkenly) Well, then, in which case, ol' buddy, I'm goin' to have to do somepun I never like ta have ta do.

Warren:

What's that?

Brady:

I'm gonna have ta go inta my extra special emergency reserve supply. A little supply I keep in case I get marooned on a planet, you know? I don't like ta go into it, but in this case, it's my duty.

SFX:

Bridge

Brady:

(drunken, singing) I'm a ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech ... heck of an engineer ... ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech and a heck of an engineer ... Woooooo....Blast-off!

Warren:

Okay, I guess you're ready. What do you think, Doc?

Spencer:

The most amazing thing I've ever seen!

Warren:

Is he drunk enough?

Spencer:

What I want to know is what's keeping him conscious?

Warren:

Okay, Bat-ears. On your feet. Help him up, Doc.

Brady:

(Really drunk) I'm a ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech ...

Spencer:

Let's go, Bat-ears.

Brady:

Right ... A ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech ...

SFX:

Music bridge ominous waiting

Warren:

Somehow, we pushed, hauled, and stumbled Bat-ears Brady out of the ship and up the rocks to the egg tower. We erected a tripod over the hole with a block and tackle, passed a rope around Brady's chest, and hauled him over the entrance of the tower. There he swung like some over-stuffed pig, singing raucously under the eerie moonlight.

Brady:

(drunkenly) Ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech ...

Spencer:

Well, what do you say, Ira?

Warren:

Got the earphones on him so they can't slip off?

Spencer:

They're on.

Warren:

Guess we're ready to lower him.

Spencer:

Ira?

Warren:

Yeah?

Spencer:

You sure? It's a man's life.

Warren:

I'm not sure, Doc. But as commander of this expedition, I sometimes have to risk the lives of my men.

Spencer:

Okay, Ira.

SFX:

squeaking pulley

Brady:

(still drunkenly) Lower away, before I start to get sober! Lower away! Blast off. Fire one. Fire two. Bon voyage, Ira.

Warren:

Good luck, Brady! (under his breath) Good luck.

SFX:

end of pulley sounds

Spencer:

He's at the bottom, Ira.

Warren:

Bat-ears, can you hear me?

Brady:

(drunkenly) Get your hands out of my hair. The guy's got his hands in my hair, Ira.

Warren:

(aside) The thing must be picking at his brain. (louder) Brady, Brady, listen to me. Do you see the egg?

Brady:

See it! It's my buddy, Ira. It's my lil-ol' egghead buddy. You and me's buddies, egghead. Right? (laughs) Have a drink ...

Warren:

(aside) Oh, good Lord, he's got a bottle with him. He's pouring it on the egg. (louder) Brady, Brady, listen to me. The wires ...

Brady:

Wires?

Warren:

The lead wires you took in with you ...

Brady:

Yeah.

Warren:

Pull out the studs on the egg and hook your wires to it. You got that?

Brady:

(drunken) Yeah, jes' a minit. Me an' Egg here gotta have a drink.

Spencer:

Good heavens! It's no use, Ira. He's too drunk to know what he's doing.

Warren:

(aside) I'll try again. (louder) Brady, listen. Your friend, the egg, can't hear you, see. He can't have a drink until you hook your wires into him. You got that?

Brady:

Sure. Thas an awful thing ? thas dreadful. Okay, okay.

Warren:

What's he doing? Doc, you getting any impulses?

Spencer:

Not a thing.

Warren:

Maybe we better haul him out. If he starts to sober up ...

Spencer:

Maybe we better.

Warren:

Okay. One ... two ...

Spencer:

Wait a minute. Wait! ... I'm getting something, Ira. This is fantastic! Oh, I'm getting something ...

Warren:

Haul him out ? quick!

Spencer:

Right!

SFX:

Squeaky block and tackle

Spencer:

Come on ...

Brady:

Ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech ... a ramblin...

Warren:

Brady, Brady, you all right? Doc, help me ... Take a look at him. Is he okay?

Spencer:

Yes, he's okay. Just passed out.

Warren:

Let's get him back to the ship.

Spencer:

Right. You know what, Ira?

Warren:

What?

Spencer:

Tomorrow, about 9 a.m., we're going to be in on the most colossal hang-over in the history of mornings-after.

SFX:

Music bridge

Warren:

We were in on more than Doc Spencer had bargained for ? more than any human being had any business being in on.

Brady:

Ohhhhhh (sigh)

Warren:

Well, Brady, how do you feel?

Brady:

Shoot me!

Warren:

You turned the trick!

Brady:

Trick?

Warren:

The tower. You hooked into the egg. The stuff is rolling out now. Doc and the boys have got a recording hooked up. The stuff they're listening in on is enough to set your teeth on edge.

Brady:

What stuff?

Warren:

The information that mind trap has been collecting for hundreds of years. It will take us years for us to sort it out, but we are getting some of it straight already.

Brady:

Any of our own stuff?

Warren:

Plenty!

Brady:

Anything on engines?

Warren:

Well, not on our engines.

Brady:

So?

Warren:

We got the dope on the junkyard anyway. Mac and the boys are hoping to put something together so we can rip out our own engines and just keeping some of the parts.

Brady:

Another junkyard, huh?

Warren:

Another junkyard. The engine we're building now is superior to anything ever built.

Brady:

Pretty handy little gadget, that egg. Only one thing...

Warren:

What's that?

Brady:

Tell Doc if he comes across a good hang-over remedy to let me know. Ohhhhhh....

SFX:

Music bridge (happy)

Warren:

It took us about six days to assemble the new engines using some of our parts and some of the advanced designs from the junkyard. During most of that time, Doc Spencer sat down at the tower with a set of headphones, monitoring the information from the egg. She was like a woman possessed. I didn't think anything unnatural was happening until the night of the sixth day.

SFX:

Door opens

Warren:

Well, that does it. The boys have got the engines ready for blast-off.

And there's a full moon, too.

Brady:

We should be able to lift her by tomorrow morning, huh?

Warren:

We're blasting off in exactly one minute ...

Brady:

What?

Warren:

In exactly one minute.

Brady:

But Ira, Doc and some of the techno-boys are down monitoring that egg.

Warren:

I know it.

Brady:

Well, it'll take them 20 minutes to get back into the ship with all that equipment.

Warren:

They're not getting back.

Brady:

Huh?

Warren:

I said "They're not getting back.?

Brady:

Ira, are you nuts?

Warren:

Come here, Bat-ears. I want you to take a look through this field scope. You can get a good close-up of Doc and the boys who have been monitoring that egg.

Brady:

Wait until I get it focused.

Warren:

Got 'em?

Brady:

Yeah.

Warren:

Take a close up.

Brady:

Mother in heaven!

Warren:

You see why we have to leave them here?

Brady:

Those faces! They're like ... like some kind of beast! What is it, Ira? What's happened to them?

Warren:

The same thing that must have happened to the crew of the last ship that touched here. The same thing that made them blast out of here in such a tearing hurry ...

Brady:

What?

Warren:

Bat-ears, there isn't only knowledge in that thing. Those boys are monitoring something else.

Brady:

(thoughtfully) Something else.

Warren:

Personalities, Bat-ears. They're not human any more. They're turning alien.

SFX:

Music bridge; sound of wind

Warren:

They were still there when the ship roared up away from Planet 9 and pointed her silver nose toward Earth. We could see them in the scopes ? a group of tiny figures crouched over the recording equipment, their earphones plugged into the egg. They didn't even look up when we blasted off. They were no longer human now ? they were something else. Something a million lightyears old, and of another world.

SFX:

Music bridge

Announcer:

You have just heard X-1 presented by the National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine which this month features the R. DeWitt Miller story "Swenson - Dispatcher,? the story of a shrewd but unscrupulous spaceship dispatcher who tries to best the rival airlines by unethical means and with most surprising results. Galaxy Magazine on your newsstand today.

Tonight by transcription X-1 has brought you "Junkyard,? a story from the pages of Galaxy written by Clifford D. Simak and adapted for radio by George Lefferts. Transcribed by Sandy Mael. This story was originally broadcast on Feb. 22, 1956.

SFX:

Music bridge