Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: X Minus One
Show: Student Body
Date: Jul 31 1956

CAST
MARIN, biologist
HAFNER, colonial executive
ATHEEL, lab technician
KRONE, quartermaster
TULLY, machinist
WHITEHEAD, biological survey officer
ANNOUNCER
MAN
WOMAN

SFX:

HIGH-PITCHED ELECTRONIC HUM ... JOINED BY ELECTRONIC BEEPING IN AGREEMENT WITH COUNTDOWN

ANNOUNCER:

Countdown for blast-off. X minus five, four, three, two. X minus one. Fire.

SFX:

A MOMENT'S SILENCE ... THEN ROCKET SHIP BLASTS OFF

MFX:

BUILDS VERTIGINOUSLY TO A CLIMAX ... THEN IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

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 maybe worlds. The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, presents --

VOICE:

(HEAVY ECHO) X Minus One!

MFX:

TO A CLIMAX ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, "Student Body" by F. L. Wallace. Our story in one minute.

WOMAN:

Girl.

MAN:

Boy.

WOMAN:

Moon.

MAN:

June.

WOMAN:

Ring.

MAN:

Wedding.

WOMAN:

Home.

MAN:

Money.

WOMAN:

Baby.

MAN:

Money.

WOMAN:

Education.

MAN:

Money!

WOMAN:

Retirement.

MAN:

Money!

WOMAN:

Solution?

MAN:

United States savings bonds!

ANNOUNCER:

There's a smart couple. They're looking to the future. They know how important it is to plan for the future now -- with savings bonds!

MAN:

Yes, the plans you make today will determine what kind of tomorrow you have. Are you a student? Are you a young married couple? Are you approaching the golden years? Whatever your age, whatever your situation, savings bonds can be a big help in making your tomorrow secure and happy.

ANNOUNCER:

Plan wisely. Buy savings bonds regularly where you work or where you bank. They're a good investment. You're saving your money and you're earning more. Series E bonds pay three percent interest, compounded twice a year, when the bonds are held to maturity.

MAN:

And savings bonds are as safe and sound as America itself! What's more, they're protected against loss or theft.

ANNOUNCER:

For the big things in your life, be ready with United States savings bonds. (PAUSE) And now "Student Body" by F. L. Wallace.

MFX:

FOR AN ETHEREAL INTRODUCTION ... THEN OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) Emergency report to Central Colonial Service. Subject, Planet Seven-G-Six-Three -- "Glade." Reporting, Dano Marin. Special assignment from Biological Control. Report consisting of standard universal tapes and special recorded comment. First segment, landing day plus one, six a.m., sidereal mean time. Voices on tape -- myself, Colonial Executive Shep Hafner and Atheel, a female member of our crew. Tape commencing.

SFX:

CLICK... RAMP UNROLLS ... WIND BLOWS AND CONTINUES IN BG

HAFNER:

Watch your step on the ramp, Marin. It's tilted.

MARIN:

Oh, yes, I will, I will. All right, where are these people?

HAFNER:

Over there, a few hundred feet. Beneath that tree.

MARIN:

Well, come on then.

SFX:

FOOTSTEPS ON TALL GRASS ... CONTINUES IN BG

HAFNER:

You know, I'm going to have to note in the log that you cleared the planet for colonization as of last night.

MARIN:

I understand. I'm taping this now for my records. I take full responsibility for the safety of this planet.

HAFNER:

All right. (SIGHS) But wait until you see this.

SFX:

WIND DIES DOWN A LITTLE ... FOOTSTEPS SLOW TO A STOP

HAFNER:

Here we are. Now, do you see there? In the clearing beneath that tree?

MARIN:

Why, good Lord! They haven't a stitch of clothes on. None of them.

HAFNER:

It's just what I told you.

MARIN:

Are they all right? They're not--? They're not--?

HAFNER:

No, no. No, they're just asleep. You can see them breathing.

MARIN:

Look here, Hafner. Who gave them permission to sleep out here in the open?

HAFNER:

Sh! Don't wake them yet. I gave them permission, Marin. They've been cooped up in that ship for over six months. They wanted to sleep outside. And, in view of your clearance, I couldn't see any reason to refuse permission.

MARIN:

I know, I know. You were within your rights. But the clothing--? Why they - they don't even have blankets.

HAFNER:

They did have -- when they bedded down last night. Some of them even used the standard-issue sleeping bags.

MARIN:

Well, then what happened to them? There are thirteen people sleeping around that tree and they're stark naked, all of them.

HAFNER:

Last night, you told me there was nothing dangerous on Glade. Do you still think so?

MARIN:

I know so. I had the complete biological survey.

HAFNER:

Does your survey account for anything like this?

MARIN:

You know it doesn't.

HAFNER:

That's what I thought. Okay. Now you've seen it for yourself. Let's wake them up and get them back to the ship.

MARIN:

No, wait. We better wake them one at a time. This will be embarrassing enough for them as it is.

HAFNER:

Yes, I suppose you're right. Well, we'll wake the nearest one first. That's Atheel, our lab technician.

MARIN:

Yes, well, here. Take my jacket. Cover her with it before you wake her.

HAFNER:

All right. (PAUSE) Wake up, Atheel.

ATHEEL:

(SLEEPY) Mmm?

HAFNER:

All right, Atheel, wake up. It's Executive Hafner.

ATHEEL:

(AWAKE) What? Oh! What is it?

HAFNER:

I am sorry, Atheel. Something has happened.

ATHEEL:

(STARTLED) Oh! My clothes! My - my - my blanket! Everything's gone!

HAFNER:

Now, now, be careful. Don't - don't wake the others.

ATHEEL:

Oh! Oh, yes, the others. (PAUSE, REALIZES) Why, good Heavens! They're all that way!

HAFNER:

Atheel, just go back to your cabin on the ship. Everything is all right. We'll explain it to you when we have the others safely back.

ATHEEL:

Well, I feel so - so foolish. How could this happen? What's the meaning of this?

HAFNER:

Now, just get back to the ship. Your clothes back there are perfectly safe.

ATHEEL:

Yes. Yes, all right. I-- Well-- Thank you.

SFX:

HER FOOTSTEPS AWAY

MARIN:

Hm. You told her we'd explain it later, Hafner. Do you think we can?

HAFNER:

That's your job, isn't it?

MARIN:

This planet is as new to me as it is to you.

HAFNER:

You're the biologist. What destroyed their clothing?

MARIN:

It would have to be something that could destroy both blankets and clothing without waking the people.

HAFNER:

Nocturnal insects?

MARIN:

Ordinarily, I'd say that was a distinct possibility if it weren't for the fact our surveys show no evidence whatsoever of any such insects on Glade.

HAFNER:

Your survey could have missed them, couldn't it?

MARIN:

Not if they existed in any great quantity. Besides. If insects were the answer, there should be some kind of evidence of them right here in the area where Atheel was lying. Certainly one or two of them would be crushed when she rolled over in her sleep.

HAFNER:

Well, that sounds reasonable.

MARIN:

Now, look for yourself. There's absolutely no sign of anything at all here.

HAFNER:

Well, what about some chemical, some vapor oozing from the ground?

MARIN:

No chance at all. I'd rule that out completely.

HAFNER:

Then what?

MARIN:

Well, there's the tree itself. I suppose it could exude some sort of a chemical that might dissolve cloth but-- I can check that in the lab.

HAFNER:

We'd better arouse the rest of these people and get them back to the ship.

MARIN:

Wait! Wait!

HAFNER:

What? What is it?

MARIN:

Why, it's -- some kind of an animal.

HAFNER:

Hm?

MARIN:

Just caught a glimpse, through there. Ah! There he is. Yeah. Y'see behind that bush?

HAFNER:

Yeah. Looks almost like a chipmunk.

MARIN:

Yes, and he's feeding on something. Why, it - it looks like a piece of cloth.

HAFNER:

Marin, do you think that--?

MARIN:

Ssh. He doesn't hear us. We'll just ease up to him now. Closer. Closer. Now!

SFX:

AMBUSH! ANIMAL SQUEALS, STRUGGLES, IN AGREEMENT WITH--

HAFNER:

You got him!

MARIN:

Ohhhh, why, you--! You little devil!

HAFNER:

Watch out, Marin, he's got sharp teeth.

MARIN:

(LAUGHS) You're telling me. (GENTLY, TO THE ANIMAL) Easy. Easy there, boy, easy. Yeah. Like to have your head stroked? Ah, sure you do. That's a boy.

HAFNER:

He's calming down.

MARIN:

Yes. Look at that. He's nestling in the crook of my arm. Almost - almost like a kitten.

HAFNER:

Almost. Marin, I hope you don't mind short sleeves.

MARIN:

Well, what do you mean?

HAFNER:

He's already eaten half the sleeve off your shirt. I think we found the answer to our problem.

SFX:

WIND FILLS A PAUSE ... ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) The animal was a small furry mammal resembling an earth-type rodent. Its overall length is fourteen centimeters; weight, five hundred and twelve grams. Fur, stringy and sparse; color, a light beige, indicating no particular protective coloring. The animal was placed in a special cage in a biological laboratory aboard ship for further study. Next tape -- landing date plus two.

SFX:

CAGED ANIMAL SQUEAKS ... CONTINUES IN BG

HAFNER:

Can we exterminate it?

MARIN:

Uh uh, it's quite a job.

HAFNER:

How about locally?

MARIN:

Hardly. It's ecologically basic.

HAFNER:

Look, Marin, you're from Biological Control; I've just got an Executive's rating.

MARIN:

Well, look, you know how Control works. They send a survey ship over and record the neural currents of the animals. They get everything that has a brain, including insects, and they take a few specimens to check the patterns. Now, here's the report on Glade. The survey shows that this animal is one of only four species of mammals on the planet. It is also the most numerous.

HAFNER:

So if we kill them off here, others will swarm in from other areas?

MARIN:

Yes, that's about it.

HAFNER:

Hmph!

MARIN:

There're probably millions of them around this planet. Of course, if you want to put a barrier across the connection to the mainland, you might be able to wipe them out locally.

HAFNER:

Look, Marin, I've got a tight schedule. I can't spare dirt-moving equipment for that. By the way, what do they eat?

MARIN:

Well, as far as I can see anything -- insects, fruit berries. You could call it an "omnivora." Now that our clothing is handy, it eats that, too.

HAFNER:

I thought our clothing was supposed to be vermin-proof.

MARIN:

It is, on twenty-seven planets. On the twenty-eighth, we met up with a little fella that has better digestive fluids, that's all.

SFX:

ANIMAL SQUEAKS AND RATTLES AROUND CAGE, BRIEFLY

MARIN:

Hey, he's eating a leather belt right now.

HAFNER:

Yeah. Are they likely to bother the crops we plant?

MARIN:

They shouldn't, but, uh, then I would have said the same thing about our clothing.

HAFNER:

All right, Marin, you worry about the crops. Find some way to keep them out of the fields. Meanwhile, everyone sleeps inside the ship until we can build dormitories.

SFX:

ANIMAL SQUEAKS TO FILL A PAUSE, THEN ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) Biological examination of omnivora posed this question -- Why only four species of mammals on Glade? No reptiles and only a few birds. On all comparable planets a large variety of species. Nearest Earth parallel, fossil remains from the late Carboniferous show creatures like the omnivora but on Glade there appears to be no further evolution. Next tape segment, L plus twenty-two. Place, temporary warehouse. Quartermaster Krone and myself.

SFX:

SLIGHT WAREHOUSE ECHO, IN BG

KRONE:

There you are, Mr. Marin. They got in every seed sack and barrel in this part of the warehouse.

MARIN:

Well, what makes you think it's mice?

KRONE:

Look, I've worked in grain elevators for thirty years in Kansas. Look at the way that sack is gnawed. And look over there. Droppings.

MARIN:

Well, it's not exactly--

KRONE:

I know, I know. So they're mice-like. I want to know how to get rid of 'em.

MARIN:

Have you tried poison?

KRONE:

You tell me what poison to use and I'll use it. They got into a hundred pound sack of arsenic -- and went through it like it was whipped cream.

MARIN:

Well, how did they get in? It's a fused-dirt floor, isn't it?

KRONE:

It should be pest-tight. But, see? There are cracks along here. They must have burrowed through. They were loose in here and we don't have time to build another warehouse. They've got to be controlled here.

MARIN:

Well, I'll catch me a few of them alive and I'll see what I can do.

SFX:

SLIGHT WAREHOUSE ECHO ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) Next morning, a dozen live specimens of mice-like mammals were delivered to the lab. No two of them were affected by the same poison and the poison developed to control the omnivora was completely ineffective. Alternate discussed with Executive Hafner and Machinist Tully of computer engineering. Next tape, L plus twenty-four. Hafner, Tully and myself.

SFX:

BANG OF HAMMER ON METAL

TULLY:

I tried it out yesterday, Mister Hafner. I think I've got all the bugs licked now.

HAFNER:

Tully, I don't want any more metal used than is necessary. This isn't standard authorized equipment.

MARIN:

You're not dealing with a standard authorized problem.

HAFNER:

Are you ready to activate the device?

TULLY:

Sure thing. Here. Help me get it down from this assembly bench, down on the floor.

HAFNER:

All right.

BIZ:

THEY GRUNT WITH EFFORT

SFX:

HEAVY METAL MACHINE SET ON FLOOR

TULLY:

There you go, Kitty. (TO THE OTHERS) Now, what do you think of her? A robot cat!

MARIN:

Well, I still think we need at least three of them.

HAFNER:

Mister Marin, inventory on colonial expeditions is always short. One will have to do. All right, Tully, show us how this mechanical mouse catcher operates.

TULLY:

You better get out of the way, Mister Marin. If you've touched any of the mice in the lab, she'll go for ya. She reacts to smell as well as sight and sound.

HAFNER:

All right, Tully, start it up.

SFX:

CRACKLE OF ELECTRICITY ... CONTINUES IN BG

TULLY:

(LAUGHS) All right, Kitty, go ahead and have a good time.

MARIN:

Well, she - she moves like a cat.

TULLY:

You know, I wouldn't bet a plugged nickel on any mouse in the same warehouse with that baby.

SFX:

CRACKLE OF ELECTRICITY ... ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) Robot cat device proved relatively successful in Warehouse One. Rodent damage held below danger margin. Next tape, L plus thirty-seven. Tully, Hafner and myself.

SFX:

SLIGHT WAREHOUSE ECHO, IN BG

TULLY:

I can't salvage it, Mister Hafner. Just look at that. That skeleton was chrome steel; now it's bent. The skin was Duraplastic -- and now it's cut to ribbons. The computer parts are all smashed to bits.

HAFNER:

How do you account for it, Tully?

TULLY:

Well, look around the poor thing. You had me build it for mice. These things weren't mice. They're - they're a good foot long. They just outnumbered him, that's all.

HAFNER:

You examined these dead animals, Marin?

MARIN:

Not closely.

HAFNER:

Well, you'll find your mice have grown. They ganged up on that cat.

TULLY:

There aren't supposed to be any rats on Glade, are there?

MARIN:

Well, there weren't supposed to be any mice either. What're you going to do?

HAFNER:

We'll have to build another warehouse. Two-foot-thick fused floors.

TULLY:

Wait a minute, Mister Hafner. To do that, we'll have to stop all the other construction. The atomic generators won't--

MARIN:

Why not build more robot cats?

HAFNER:

You weren't here when we opened the doors, Marin. The warehouse was swarming with rats. Tully, how many robot cats would we need? Five? Fifteen?

TULLY:

We don't have enough parts to build more than three.

HAFNER:

If we need more than that, we'll have to rob the computer in the spaceship. And that's one thing I refuse to do. The spaceship is our only link with Earth until the next wave in two years. All right, then, I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll floodlight the supplies at night. We'll post a guard with half-charged rifles until we can move to the new warehouse. That'll take about ten days. Meanwhile, our fast crops are ripening. It's my guess that the rats will turn to that for food. Now, in order to protect our future food supplies, you'll have to activate your cold storage animals, Marin--

MARIN:

Mister Hafner! It's against regulations to release any cold storage animals on a planet until after a complete investigation.

HAFNER:

That takes ten to twenty years. This is an emergency.

MARIN:

I don't want to be responsible for another rabbit-infested Australia -- or that planet in the Centauri system that the snails took over.

HAFNER:

Marin, I'll take the responsibility. You're recording now, aren't you?

MARIN:

Yes.

HAFNER:

All right. If that isn't authorization enough, I'll put it in writing.

MARIN:

Well, the beasts I've got for this job won't be any good against rats this size.

HAFNER:

You've got hormones! Use them!

SFX:

SLIGHT WAREHOUSE ECHO ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) Dead rats were gathered and frozen for further study. Observed animals, a wide variation in size. Internally, a lack of uniformity in organs. Some specimens had huge fangs and delicate jaws. Others had tiny teeth and massive bone structure. Obviously, the most scrambled species ever encountered by a biologist. Reproductive cells were especially baffling. Proceeding with hormone treatment on cold storage Earth animals. Next tape, L plus thirty-nine. Lab technician Atheel and myself.

SFX:

RESPIRATOR SLOWLY PUMPS ... CONTINUES IN BG

ATHEEL:

First one is coming out of it, Mister Marin.

MARIN:

Yes, that makes eighty-five percent viability. That's not bad.

SFX:

SQUEAK OF LITTLE DOG ... CONTINUES IN BG

MARIN:

Ah, ah. All right, fella. Now, take it easy, take it easy.

ATHEEL:

(LAUGHS) Aw, he's a cute little fella.

MARIN:

But he's tough. That's a wire-haired terrier. They're small but they've been used for ratters since the Middle Ages.

ATHEEL:

Mm. Do you think he's nearly ready for the hormone course?

MARIN:

I think so. All right, first pituitary injection.

ATHEEL:

Ready. All right, now, this is going to hurt just a little, fella.

SFX:

SQUEAKY LITTLE DOG REACTS TO INJECTION

MARIN:

Oh. Yes. A dirty trick, isn't it, jabbing you with a needle when you're fresh out of the deep freeze. But don't you worry, fella. You'll be glad you had it. You'll stand a better chance against those rats when we work you up to about a Great Dane's size.

SFX:

DOG AND RESPIRATOR FILL PAUSE ... THEN ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) L plus fifty. Artificially-enlarged terriers loosed in the fields of the fast crops. Following tape, field observation of terriers. Executive Hafner and myself.

SFX:

BARK OF LARGE DOGS, OFF ... CONTINUES IN BG

HAFNER:

How long have they been at it, Marin?

MARIN:

Ah, since daybreak. I have to bring the dogs in at night and shoot 'em full of antibiotics.

HAFNER:

Will the dogs last?

MARIN:

Well, this crop will be harvested in about a week. We'll make that. Then there'll be two weeks to rest up before the next fast crop shows above ground. I think we've got the rats licked for a while.

HAFNER:

Well, when you get a chance, you might ask some of those Ph.D.s in Central how they happened to hand us a survey and forgot to give us a few details like mice and rats.

MARIN:

I've been checking on that, Mister Hafner. I don't think there's any doubt when that survey was made before we landed, there weren't any mice and rats on Glade.

HAFNER:

Then where did they come from? How did they get here?

MARIN:

I don't know. But we're going to have to find out.

SFX:

BARK OF LARGE DOGS ... ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) Research project on pseudo-mice and pseudo-rats interrupted by field trip with Biological Survey Officer Whitehead. Tape L plus sixty-three in field, Geological Survey Vehicle. Whitehead and myself.

SFX:

HUM OF VEHICLE ... CONTINUES IN BG

WHITEHEAD:

You think you got troubles. Can you read a sonar map?

MARIN:

No.

WHITEHEAD:

Here, look. See this scope? It reads straight down about ten miles. I'm supposed to be out looking for oil shale but I got kind of interested in this. Look. First few feet down, you can find fossils. After the first few feet -- that's about twenty thousand years -- there are no fossils until you get way down here. That's about the same as late Carboniferous on Earth. Then you get the fossils again. It doesn't figure.

MARIN:

But isn't that usual? Changes in geological eras?

WHITEHEAD:

You don't get it, man. I'm not talking about eras, I'm talking about years. Straight down from here, twenty thousand years ago, this was a desert. And then three years later it was a jungle. Five years after that, there was a glacier. Earth-normal would be fifty thousand years or more for a change like that.

MARIN:

Mm? What caused it?

WHITEHEAD:

You've got me. Fluctuations in the sun, I don't know -- but, talk about changeable weather, this planet really has it.

SFX:

HUM OF VEHICLE ... ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) Based on accumulated data, theory developed regarding mammalian life on planet Glade. Tape L plus sixty-five. Place, temporary headquarters of Executive Hafner.

HAFNER:

Marin, I've got a lot of work to clear up this morning--

MARIN:

I thought you might like to know where the mice came from.

HAFNER:

They don't bother us anymore.

MARIN:

I've also determine the origin of the rats.

HAFNER:

They're under control.

MARIN:

I wonder if they are, Mister Hafner.

HAFNER:

What do you mean?

MARIN:

Mister Hafner, I checked this with Whitehead. Between one hundred million years and twenty thousand years ago, this planet was changing violently and quickly. The first change wiped out the dinosaur, just the way it did on Earth. But it kept on changing. Desert, glacier, jungle -- and all this within the life span of a single animal. For one million years, this was the norm of existence on Glade.

HAFNER:

I've checked Geological Survey. The planet is stable now.

MARIN:

Well, that's not what I'm getting at. The point is, survival was difficult. Only one species of mammals managed to come through.

HAFNER:

Now, wait a minute, Marin. There are four species, ranging in size from a squirrel to a water buffalo.

MARIN:

One species. They're the same. If the food supply for the largest animal increases, some of the smaller so-called species just grow up. Conversely, if a food becomes scarce in any category, the next generation which apparently can be produced almost instantly, switches to a form which does have an adequate food supply.

HAFNER:

The mice?

MARIN:

The mice weren't here when we got here. They were born of the squirrel-sized omnivora.

HAFNER:

And the rats?

MARIN:

Born of the next largest size. After all, we are environment, too, and they adapt to environment.

HAFNER:

Let me get this straight. The mutations--

MARIN:

On Earth, it would be mutation. Here, it's merely normal evolution. These animals have no genes or chromosomes. I don't know how they pass down heredity but they react to external conditions far faster than anything we've ever encountered.

HAFNER:

Then we'll never be free from pests -- unless, of course, we rid the planet of all animal life.

MARIN:

Yeah, you mean with radioactive dust? That won't work. They've survived worse.

HAFNER:

Well, maybe we could leave the planet. Leave it to the animals. I - I could exercise authority under Clause Three Sixty-Four.

MARIN:

It's too late for that.

HAFNER:

What do you mean?

MARIN:

We sent back the specimen ship. The animals are on Earth, too.

HAFNER:

But those specimens were in cages.

MARIN:

Yes, but the next generation would be small enough to get out through the bars. They'll be running free in the cargoes of the spaceships. They'll land on Earth and the first thing you know a new mutation of rats will appear. They won't have any reason to connect it with the specimens from Glade.

HAFNER:

They won't be able to vermin-proof every building on Earth.

MARIN:

No. We've got to stay here. We've got to study the animals here and find out how to beat them. If we can.

SFX:

CLICK OF TAPE MACHINE

MARIN:

(REPORTS) Next tape, L plus eighty-three. Place, field outpost. Quartermaster Krone, Hafner and myself.

SFX:

WIND BLOWS EERILY ... CONTINUES IN BG

KRONE:

I saw it, Mister Hafner. I saw it.

HAFNER:

Are you sure?

KRONE:

There. You see that tree? No, no, the big one.

HAFNER:

The white flowers?

KRONE:

That's the one. I saw it behind there.

HAFNER:

Can you describe it?

KRONE:

Well, I didn't get a good--

SFX:

GROWL

KRONE:

That's it! That's what I heard.

HAFNER:

Sounds like a tiger. I've heard them like that in India.

KRONE:

You watch. Right by that tree.

SFX:

GROWL ... CLOSER

KRONE:

Look out, look out. It's heading this way.

HAFNER:

Give me that rifle!

KRONE:

Hurry up, shoot! Shoot!

SFX:

RIFLE SHOT

KRONE:

Try again!

SFX:

RIFLE SHOT

KRONE:

(WITH RELIEF) That - that got it.

HAFNER:

Come on. Come on, let's take a look.

SFX:

FOOTSTEPS THROUGH BRUSH

MARIN:

Now, look out. Might be still alive.

HAFNER:

No, no. I hit it square with that second charge.

SFX:

FOOTSTEPS STOP

HAFNER:

What in the devil is it?

KRONE:

That's a good eight feet long.

HAFNER:

What do you make of it, Marin?

MARIN:

Well, except for the lack of markings, it closely resembles a tiger.

KRONE:

Look at those claws.

HAFNER:

We chase the rats out of the warehouse, they go to the fields. We hunt them down in the fields with dogs and they breed tigers.

MARIN:

Well, that's easier than rats. We can shoot tigers.

HAFNER:

Wait a minute. We've been here less than three months, Marin. The dogs have been in the fields only two. And that tiger's mature. How do you account for that?

MARIN:

I am not sure, Mister Hafner, but I imagine if the survival factor is high, the young don't ever have to be young.

HAFNER:

What?

MARIN:

They can be born as fully functioning adults.

SFX:

WIND ... UP FOR PUNCTUATION ... THEN ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) Development report. Mice under control. Field rats under control by terriers. Tiger-like animals under control with searchlight and rifle. Additional complication -- the original animal developed an appetite for electrical insulation. There is no protection except to keep the power on at all times. The last tiger-like animal was seen at L plus one hundred and thirty. After that, the attacks ceased. By L plus two years, the animal seemed to have been controlled in all its forms. However, three months before the next colonists were due, a new animal was detected. Food was missing from the fields. Dogs were useless. The animals seemed to roam the fields and the dogs did not attack. Patrols were unable to find the animal. Tape L plus two years. Hafner, Engineer Tully and myself.

SFX:

GRIND OF DIRT-MOVING EQUIPMENT ... CONTINUES IN BG

TULLY:

Now, here's the way I'm rigging it up, Mister Hafner. Whatever it is, it spotted the photoelectric cell ray. So I've worked up an alarm that reacts to body radiation.

HAFNER:

You're sure the animal won't spot that?

TULLY:

Well, I'm burying it in the field. Then we'll move the visible alarms to another field.

HAFNER:

All right, Tully. As soon as the alarm goes off, notify Mister Marin and me. Do you understand?

TULLY:

Yes, sir -- just as soon as the alarm goes off.

SFX:

DIRT-MOVING EQUIPMENT ... ABRUPTLY OUT

MARIN:

(REPORTS) L two plus fifteen. Radiation alarm sounded. Place, field station. Hafner and myself.

SFX:

EERIE WIND ... CONTINUES IN BG

HAFNER:

(HUSHED) Look out where you're walking, Marin. We don't want to scare it away.

MARIN:

(HUSHED) Well, there are dogs in that field, aren't there?

HAFNER:

Well, there were supposed to be. But they didn't bark. Quiet.

MARIN:

There! There it is! See? See?

HAFNER:

Huh?

MARIN:

It's in between the rows.

HAFNER:

Look out. Look out, give me a clear shot.

MARIN:

No, wait a minute. Don't shoot.

HAFNER:

Look, Marin, I'm the executive here. I say it's dangerous.

MARIN:

Dangerous! That's why you can't shoot. It's more dangerous than you know.

HAFNER:

Quiet, quiet. It'll hear you.

MARIN:

We're downwind. Now, listen, Hafner, this is important--

HAFNER:

I don't want any lecture now, Marin. I don't want to lose the shot.

MARIN:

You've got to listen! That animal could evolve mice. We stopped mice and it brought rats. We turned back the rat and it provided the tiger.

HAFNER:

All right, we stopped the tigers.

MARIN:

Not really. There was another animal being formed. The one that's in that field now. It took the animal two years to create it. How, I don't know. A million years were required to evolve it on Earth.

HAFNER:

He's moving away. Marin, I'm going to shoot--

MARIN:

Don't shoot. We can't destroy the animal. It's on the Earth now and on other planets. We've never even been able to get rid of our own rats. How can we exterminate this animal?

HAFNER:

All the more reason to start now. Get down and give me a clear shot.

MARIN:

Listen. Are their rats better than ours? Will their beasts win or ours be stronger? Or will the two make peace, unite, and interbreed? It's not impossible. This animal could do it, if interbreeding had a high survival factor. Don't you see? After the tiger, they - they - they bred this thing. If we shoot it down, what'll come next? Look at it -- standing erect. Opposable thumbs. Binocular vision. A large brain capacity. This one I think we can compete with. It's the one after this that I don't want to face.

HAFNER:

Marin! Marin, it must hear us. It's looking this way.

MARIN:

Look at it, Hafner. He's holding his hands up to show us he's got no weapon. Drop your rifle.

HAFNER:

Are you sure?

MARIN:

Drop your rifle.

SFX:

ANIMAL'S FOOTSTEPS APPROACH

MARIN:

He's - he's coming this way.

HAFNER:

He's got one of those white blossoms in his hand.

MFX:

SNEAKS IN

MARIN:

Yes. Must be a sign of peace.

HAFNER:

Why, it-- It looks - almost like a man. I wonder what's inside that body.

MARIN:

I wonder what's inside that - head.

MFX:

BUILDS TO A FINISH ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard X Minus One, presented by the National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine which this month features "Verbal Agreement" by Arthur Sellings, the story of an unsuccessful poet who was forced to ask what it was the aliens could want that was half as precious as the skins they wouldn't sell. Galaxy Magazine, on your newsstand today.

MFX:

IN BG

ANNOUNCER:

Tonight, by transcription, X Minus One has brought you "Student Body," a story from the pages of Galaxy written by F. L. Wallace and adapted for radio by Ernest Kinoy. Featured in the cast were John Radee, Bob Hastings, Kate Wilkinson, James Stevens, Charles Carruth and Merrill E. Joels. Your announcer, Fred Collins. X Minus One was directed by Bob Mauer and is an NBC radio network production.

MFX:

TO A FINISH ... THEN OUT

ANNOUNCER:

Suppose you met a man in a tavern and he told you quite seriously that he wasn't a man at all. That he was the last Martian left alive. Well, that's what happens to a newspaper reporter next week when he is sent out on what appears to be a routine crank story. What happens next, though, is very far from routine as the interview leads to a whole succession of astonishing events. The story is "The Last Martian" by Frederic Brown -- next week on X Minus One.

The Fisher Body Awards to teenagers will be made tonight on the NBC radio network.

SFX:

NBC CHIMES