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THE MONSTER MEN, An Audio Play
David Bruce Bozarth
Copyright (c) 1982, 1997, 2001
Adapted from "The Monster Men" by Edgar Rice Burroughs
READ THE FINE PRINT
Bulan (Townsend J. Harper Jr.)
Professor Arthur Maxon
Chief Engineer, Ithaca
Scene I. The Train Station
Narr: On a warm spring day in 1929, the train station at Ithaca, New York is alive with the movements of many people and their conversations.
Harper: I say, Dexter, who is that beauty?
Dexter: By Jove, Townsend, I believe that's Virginia Maxon and her father, Professor Arthur Maxon. He's one of those eggheads over at Cornell University, Natural Science if I remember it right.
Harper: Oh? What do you know about them?
Dexter: The usual, I suppose. He's an independently wealthy eccentric that likes to play professor. I had the pleasure of meeting his daughter Virginia briefly at a picnic some months back. (PAUSE) Now I wonder where they're off to?
Harper: That I do not know, but Dexter my boy, I'll bet you a hundred that I'll find out or my name isn't Townsend J. Harper, Jr.!
STATION SOUNDS RISE BRIEFLY
Virginia: You're awfully nervous, Daddy. There's no need--we've taken the train many times to the West Coast.
Maxon: It's that not Virginia, my dear. I'm worried about the luggage and all this rough handling. And my trunk! What have they done with my trunk? I have not seen it placed in the baggage car. I do wish I had not let you talk me out of having it put in our compartment.
Virginia: I am sure that it will arrive in good condition, Daddy. You can always check it for damage before we board the Orient Star in San Francisco.
Maxon: (WORRIED TONE) Would you humor an old man, Child? See if the porter has loaded the trunk? It contains some very important papers and items.
Virginia: (LAUGHS) Anything to soothe your mind...
FOOTSTEPS, VIRGINIA WALKS AWAY, MAXON'S VOICE FADING...
Maxon: Thank you, my dear...
STATION SOUND RISE, ADD REVERB FOR MAXON'S INNER THOUGHTS
...Ah, my daughter, if I could only tell you what I have done! I have successfully traveled a road that no man has ever seen before! After all these years of study, research, yes, even the ridicule of colleagues that have no sense of perception, I have created life. Life! Life in my glass vat...life from chemicals and the knowledge of proper formulas and stimulus. Because of this breakthrough we must leave America. Sweet Child, it will be many years before we can return to our home in Ithaca because of the narrow-minds that surround us here. I cannot continue these experiments at our home and be concerned with the chance discovery by those who cannot understand the significance of this great work. There are those who would see me only as a criminally insane murderer if they were to see the results of my work...something that would appear to be the corpse of a man sealed inside a glass vat and I have not which to be called a madman. How you worried over me because I remained locked within my laboratory for three days last week, those very same days that saw my first success and my first failure, but I did create life, even if it survived only for a few fleeting moments. This is why we must leave...I must have no interference here while I continue this work. There is nothing left here for use until this is completed, I even destroyed all the tissue remains in a vat of nitric acid before I suggested this little 'vacation'.
FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING Maxon continues:
...Ah, Virginia! Is everything in order? Has the trunk been...
Virginia: Your precious trunk is in the baggage car and is very properly lashed to the floor. Now, will you please stop being so concerned?
TRAIN WHISTLE. CONDUCTOR'S VOICE YELLS FROM A DISTANCE
Conductor: All aboard!
Virginia: And now, professor, shall we depart on our adventure to the South Seas?
STATION SOUNDS FADE MUSIC SWELLS BRIEFLY, FADES
Scene II. On Board The Ithaca
SOUND OF STEAMSHIP, CREAKING. INSIDE WHEELHOUSE WE HEAR MAXON PACING.
Narr: After a layover of several months in Singapore, Professor Maxon's newly acquired steamer, rechristened the Ithaca, prepares to enter the harbor of an uncharted island near the Pamarun Islands of the South China Sea. An excited Maxon paces the bridge while Doctor Carl Von Horn occupies himself with the duties of sailing master as he guides the Ithaca through the dangerous coral reef.
Maxon: Von Horn, this is excellent! You have led us well. This island will be more than adequate for our purposes!
Von Horn: I'm glad you approve, Professor. Bududreen, get to your post! Call out the soundings!
PAUSE. WHEEL TURNS. FOOTSTEPS OUTSIDE WHEELHOUSE RUNNING ON DECK. SOUND OF WAVES CRASHING ON THE REEF. Von Horn continues:
Engine Room! Engine Room! Wake up down there or I'll have you flogged.
SPEAKING THROUGH VOICE TUBE
Chief: Engine Room, sir...
Von Horn: Half-speed, and stay by your tube while we are coming into the harbor if you know what's good for you.
Chief: Aye, aye, captain.
BUDUDREEN SHOUTS FROM THE BOW
Bududreen: Seven fathoms!
Maxon: Perfect! It's everything you said it would be, Von Horn. Look there...between those headlands...we'll build our permanent camp there on the high ground. As soon as the construction has been complete then you and I, my friend, can begin our task. You are sure that we will not be disturbed by intruders? I cannot afford publicity of any sort.
Von Horn: I am quite positive, Professor Maxon. This island meets all our requirements. I doubt if any others even know of its existence...I discovered it many years ago.
Bududreen: Five fathoms!
Von Horn: Excuse me, Maxon. I must tend to the handling of the Ithaca. You there, on deck...prepare to drop anchor! Engine room!
CHIEF THROUGH SPEAKING TUBE
Chief: Aye, captain?
Von Horn: All ahead slow. Reverse engines on my command. Prepare to stop.
Chief: Aye, sir.
Maxon: Von Horn...
Von Horn: (IRRITATED) Later, professor. (LOUDLY) Reverse engines!
SIGNAL ENGINE BELLS Von Horn continues:
Engines stop! Bududreen, drop anchor.
ENGINES SHUT DOWN. SOUND OF WATER ON HULL. MEN MOVING ON DECK Von Horn continues:
Set port watch and find ten men for a shore party!
Bududreen: Yes, Von Horn! You men, you and you...come with me... (fades)
Maxon: Can we talk now, Von Horn?
Von Horn: Why certainly, Professor. I am at your disposal.
Maxon: I find it quite unbelievable that a man of your obvious talents would have resigned a commission in the American Navy to drop out of sight in Singapore and then wish to join my little venture--a venture that will be years in the completion. Surely there are many positions of importance that would suit your abilities...
Von Horn: Maxon...let us just say that we both have our various reasons for the seclusion of the South Seas. As for the length of time the project will run, that is of little consequence to me. But I am curious why you have brought your lovely daughter on this arduous and lengthy endeavor.
Maxon: She's a dear, sweet child. I could not have left her alone in the States.
Von Horn: Without impertinence, sir, when was the last time you took a look at your 'sweet child'? These waters abound with Malay pirates and other semi-savage barbarians. I feel you have exposed Virginia unnecessarily...
Maxon: Do not concern yourself, Doctor. Virginia is my responsibility. Your only task is to see to the smooth operation of the campong and to assist me with the medical aspects of this enterprise.
Von Horn: But, sir, I must protest. This is not America with hot and cold running water and a policeman on every street corner...this is the only part of the world that civilization has not touched...
Maxon: That will be enough, Doctor Von Horn. We will discuss this matter no further. Do we have an understanding?
Von Horn: Yes, Professor. (COLDLY) Is there anything else?
Maxon: Other than the unloading of the ship...
Von Horn: (INTERRUPTING) ...Then I shall see to it immediately.
WHEELHOUSE DOOR OPENS. VON HORN WALKS AWAY, DOWN STAIRS TO DECK MUSIC RISES BRIEFLY NARR VOICE OVER
Narr: Saluting stiffly, Doctor Carl Von Horn turns abruptly and leaves the bridge of the Ithaca. Descending to the main deck he shouts orders to the mixed crew of Malays and lascars. His First Mate Bududreen, a swarthy Malay with a scarred complexion, stands before the tense figure of the Ithaca's captain.
Bududreen: Your commands, Von Horn?
Von Horn: Where's your landing party...I see them. Equip them with axes and saws. They are to begin clearing that area of the high ground nearest the stream. There had better be at least fifty trees felled by sundown. Construction of the campong will begin tomorrow.
Bududreen: Yes, Von Horn.
Von Horn: While the shore party is clearing the camp site, you and the rest of the crew will unload and transfer the heavy equipment in the forward hold. Be sure that there are guards posted on the beach this evening.
Bududreen: Do we move Maxon's luggage?
Von Horn: No. Do not touch the Professor's personal belongings. Especially the large trunk. Those are direct orders from Maxon.
Bududreen: Not touch trunk? (SLY QUERY) It is valuable?
Von Horn: That is none of your business. Now get these men to work or would you rather have a taste of my lash?
Bududreen: (FEET MOVING AWAY) No! No, Von Horn! You men...open forward cargo hatch. Rig mast for hoist...
SOUND OF WORK, SHOUTING. FOOTSTEPS ON THE DECK
Virginia: Doctor Von Horn, have you seen my father?
Von Horn: I left him on the bridge, Miss Maxon. If he is not there then I suggest that he is on the way to his cabin. Is there something that I can do for you?
Virginia: No, thank you, Carl. I'm just trying to find him. Sing Lee has prepared another marvelous lunch. Father has become so absent minded lately that his health has suffered.
Von Horn: He has been preoccupied, Virginia.
Virginia: As a man of medicine can I depend on your help to see that he remains fit?
Von Horn: (LAUGHING) What kind of employee would I be if I allowed my employer to become ill?
Virginia: Have you noticed his state of exhaustion?
Von Horn: I have, but it is understandable. Your father is involved with a great project.
Virginia: I care not for great projects...(SADLY, EMPHATICALLY) I won't let this work take his life! (APOLOGETICALLY) I'm sorry, Carl. I must sound... (PAUSE, FIDGET) ...Isn't the island lovely? When can we go ashore? I'm so tired of the Ithaca. It would be nice to stand on solid ground again.
Von Horn: Patience, Miss Maxon. I must first satisfy myself of the island's security before I will allow you or your father to leave the safety of the ship.
Virginia: Carl, please don't be so formal. Call me "Virginia". I would appreciate it if you would stop trying to frighten me with stories of pirates and cut-throats.
Von Horn: I assure you these are not idle fantasies...
Virginia: (EXASPERATED) Oh, really, Carl! In this day and age...
Von Horn: (CUTTING IN, PATIENCE FADING) I do not speak in jest Miss...er...Virginia. The danger is quite real.
Virginia: (SHOCKED) You are serious!
Von Horn: Quite. Until the campong is built I must insist you and your father remain aboard. This is for your protection and, I admit, my convenience of service.
Virginia: Very well, though I cannot conceive that any of those horrors could exist on such a beautiful little island.
Von Horn: They do exist, Miss Maxon.
Virginia: Alright, Mr. Formal. I will accept your instructions without argument.
Von Horn: I am sure you will soon tire of the island's tropical beauty. Your father has indicated this place will be our home for the next two or three years.
Virginia: I have previously accepted the idea of a number of years away from home.
Von Horn: Is there anything else, Miss Maxon? If not, you must excuse me, I have duties elsewhere. You spoke of lunch--find your father and sit to the table. Sing Lee has been known to pitch meals overboard if they aren't eaten on time.
Virginia: Will you join us?
Von Horn: Perhaps later, after I am sure Bududreen has transferred and secured the heavy equipment.
ACT II, SCENE 1
Narr: As the weeks pass the tiny island becomes the scene of furious activity. Bududreen, under the watchful eye of Doctor Von Horn, drives the crewmen unmercifully. The construction of the campong from the trees of the jungle is completed. The resulting structure as the appearance of a fortress rather than a place of scientific retreat. Two massive walls, one within the other, surround the various buildings of the community. The crew's quarters and the Big House where Maxon, Virginia and Von Horn reside are within the safety of the outer wall. The laboratory and a series of low sheds occupy the center courtyard. Once Doctor Von Horn and Professor Maxon begin their work, the crew members were no longer allowed to enter the inner area. The low cries and moans heard at all hours, both day and night, has caused the superstitious Malays to name the inner compound The Court of Mystery. (PAUSE, MUSIC SWELL) The scientists have laughingly appropriated the name and late one evening as they are concluding their efforts at the laboratory...
BUBBLES IN A VAT. ELECTRICAL HUM.
Maxon: (IMPASSIONED) Von Horn, I still believe there is hope for success. After eight months of experimentation we've made great strides in the creation of life.
Von Horn: (INCREDULOUS) I do not understand how you can call any of the twelve previous experiments "successful", Professor Maxon!
Maxon: Oh, I agree that they are hideous in appearance, but sir, you must admit that each one lives. They are the proof of my chemical process.
Von Horn: They are abominations. If it wasn't for my bullwhip we could not control them. We should destroy all except Numbers 10 and 12...of them all, only they exhibit any spark of intelligence.
Maxon: No! They must not be destroyed. The are useful yet. A study of them makes it possible to correct the minor errors in my formula. Number 13 must be a complete success.
PAPER BEING SHUFFLED. MAXON'S VOICE PREOCCUPIED. Maxon continues:
Even now, Von Horn, you do not understand what is going on here.
Von Horn: (AS AN ASIDE) Nor do I think I wish to, Professor. (LOUDER) It seems to me you have proved your theory. You have accomplished what you set out to do. I feel it is time to stop the experimentation and return Virginia to America.
Maxon: (CONDESCENDING) You have so little foresight, my good doctor. (PASSIONATE) Yes, I have created life, but now I shall create the perfect man!
Von Horn: (DOUBTFUL) The one in the vat? How can you be sure? Numbers 10 and 12 were distinct improvements, but Number 11 was a complete regression. The process is still flawed. I admit that physiologically they were less repulsive and the skin tones more natural, but they are still far removed from the human form!
Maxon: Scoff if you wish, Von Horn, but you will continue to work for me as long as I desire...
Von Horn: Threats are unnecessary, Maxon.
Maxon: I shouldn't have to remind you that you have no future anywhere but with me.
Von Horn: We agreed not to discuss...
Maxon: Ah, Von Horn...I...I must apologize. I spoke without thought. My only excuse is the late hour. I regret that statement because you have been a competent aide. I owe you an explanation for my relentless pursuit...(PAUSE)
MUSIC TAKES EERIE TONE. SOFT, GRADUALLY RISE IN VOLUME. Maxon continues:
...Number 13 will be the culmination of all these experiments and he will be the perfect man. As final vindication of my efforts, he will mate with my daughter and the issue of that joining will be the crowning achievement of all my research!
Von Horn: (GASPING) My God, Maxon, is that why you brought Virginia? Do you know what you are saying? These creations of yours are not men. They have no souls!
Maxon: (FIRMLY) Von Horn, you will confine your interest to that of your duties. I will brook no arguments from you. Is that understood?
Von Horn: (REPRESSED ANGER) Clearly, sir.
Maxon: Good. Now, where is that Sing Lee? He was supposed to have brought dinner over an hour ago.
Von Horn: If you'll excuse me, I shall find him. But I won't be joining you tonight. As you have indicated, I have duties elsewhere.
Maxon: Certainly, Doctor, and I have much to accomplish before I retire for the evening.
KNOCK ON DOOR
Von Horn: Who's there?
Sing Lee: So sorry, Doctor Von Horn. I come late.
Von Horn: Enter, Sing Lee.
FOOTSTEPS. DISHES JIGGLE ON TRAY. TRAY SET ON TABLE.
Sing Lee: Please to serve now?
Maxon: I'll serve myself, Sing. Remember, you still must not reveal what you see here in the (SMALL CHUCKLE) Court of Mystery. The rest of the crew would not understand.
Von Horn: Come, Sing. Good night, Maxon.
Maxon: And to you, Von Horn.
DOOR SHUTS. OUTSIDE NIGHT SOUNDS. TWO SETS OF FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL KEEP PACE WITH CONVERSATION.
Von Horn: Coffee at six, Sing Lee. I plan an early start tomorrow.
Sing Lee: Yes, sir. Coming to dinner now?
Von Horn: Leave something on the table. I'll eat when I come in. Go now, I'll secure the gate.
SING LEE WALKS AWAY. SOUND STAYS WITH FOOTSTEPS AS GATE CLOSES.
Sing Lee: (MUTTERING) Sing Lee not like what Maxon say 'bout Miss Gena. Not like at all!
SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC BREAK. JUNGLE SOUNDS.
Narr: In the darkness before dawn a small furtive figure enters the silent Court of Mystery. Noiselessly tiptoeing past the grotesque monster men sleeping in the sheds, the figure opens the door to the laboratory. A match is struck and in the flickering light Sing Lee smiles as he stares at the large glass vat that occupies the center of the small room next to the main work area. The light burns out and short moments later there is the sound of breaking glass and running feet. The crash disturbs the slumber of Number One, the most horrible of Maxon's living experiments. With jerky movements it rises on unequal legs to follow the path of the running Chinese cook. Number One finds the gate to the Court of Mystery ajar. A gentle push swings it open to the amazement of the slow-witted creature. The lure of the jungle beyond attracts the man-beast and he soon disappears into the dense foliage.
MUSIC SWELLS, FADES. REPLACE WITH JUNGLE SOUNDS, BIRDS, MORNING. Narr continues:
Dawn finds Professor Maxon alone at the breakfast table enjoying the coolness of the open veranda. The morning is quite and the occasional bird in the dense undergrowth outside the campong's sturdy walls forms a pleasant background.
SOUNDS OF DISHES BEING USED. FOOTSTEPS. VON HORN ENTERS.
Maxon: Ah, Von Horn! Good morning. I see that you are as punctual as ever. Have you had breakfast yet?
Von Horn: I had coffee in my room.
Maxon: Sit down. Enjoy some eggs and toast. It appears Sing Lee's hens did very well yesterday.
Von Horn: Thank you.
PULL OUT CHAIR. SIT AT TABLE. Von Horn continues:
About last night, Professor...
Maxon: (QUIET WARNING IN VOICE) Tut, tut, my friend. The hour was late and we've both been under stress. All is forgotten.
Von Horn: I only wished to make my apology, sir. This is one of the most exciting projects I have ever been involved with. I would very much like to see it through to the end. Your vision is beyond that of any scientific circle...
Maxon: Excellent! I had not doubt that you would see the tremendous importance of my work. Today, tomorrow at the very latest, Number 13 will be removed from the vat.
Von Horn: Are you sure, sir? At yesterdays inspection you were not satisfied with the formation of the thoracic and cranial cavities. While they are much superior than all the previous experiments, I still found deviations that exceed that of the human norm.
Maxon: I believe that I solved that problem. There should be a great change visible this morning, my dear Doctor. I increased the salinity of the amino fluids and that should result in a beneficial stimulus in the development of body tissues. More toast, Von Horn?
Von Horn: No thanks. Perhaps that will work, but I think we...
FOOTSTEPS. SOUND OF LONG SKIRT.
Maxon: (SOFT SHUSH) Virginia! (LOUD GREETING) Virginia! Did you sleep well, darling?
VON HORN RISES. SOUND OF CHAIR BEING DRAWN. BOTH SITTING DOWN.
Virginia: Thank you, Carl. Oh, I suppose so, Daddy. You aren't leaving immediately are you?
Sing Lee: Coffee, Miss Gena?
Virginia: Thank you, Sing.
COFFEE POURED. CUP RATTLED.
Maxon: I am afraid we must, my dear. We're at a crucial stage of the process.
Virginia: But, Daddy, I thought that we could go for a walk, or anything at all. I've been so cooped up in this empty old house with no one but Sing and a few servants.
Maxon: Please bear with us, Virginia. Just a week or two longer. We'll have plenty of time to spend together after the completion of the project.
Virginia: Why, Carl. Are you feeling well? You've turned so pale!
Von Horn: It's just this early morning light, Miss Maxon. I really feel quite well. I'm sure that Sing will accompany you on a stroll to the waterfront.
Maxon: Capital idea, Doctor! Do take your walk Virginia. This is such a glorious time of day on the islands. If all goes well in the laboratory, Doctor Von Horn and I will join you for lunch. How does that sound?
Virginia: Oh, you men! Go on and play with your stuffy old experiments. Sing and I will leave right after breakfast.
CHAIRS MOVE AWAY FROM THE TABLE. THE MEN RISE.
Maxon: Right. Good day, my dear. Coming, Von Horn?
Von Horn: Yes, sir. Goodbye, Virginia.
FOOTSTEPS KEEP PACE WITH CONVERSATION. FIRST ON THE WOOD DECK, STAIRS, THE GRAVEL ON PATH.
Maxon: As I was saying before Virginia came down, the chemical imbalance that has been plaguing my work is more than likely...
Von Horn: (INTERRUPTS URGENTLY) Didn't you lock the gate last night?
Maxon: What do you mean? Of course I did!
Von Horn: Well, it's open!
VON HORN OPENS DOOR FURTHER. WE HEAR NUMBER 10's LABORED BREATHING. FEET SHUFFLING. Von Horn continues:
What is the meaning of this Number 10? I've told you to stay away from this gate and to keep all the others away. Do you need another taste of my whip to refresh your memory?
Number 10: No! Not let others near. Was open. Number 1 gone when sun come.
WHIP POPS. NUMBER 10 YELLS.
Von Horn: What? You say Number 1 is gone? He's not in the compound? Where is he. Speak up, you monstrosity!
Maxon: That's enough, Von Horn.
Von Horn: Enough? Enough you say? Do you realize Number 1 has escaped?
Maxon: That is doubtful, Doctor. He's probably hiding somewhere within the compound. He must be here since Number One is incapable of understanding the door mechanism. I will check the laboratory, you and Number 10 search the Court of Mystery.
Von Horn: Get moving, Number 10. Look behind all the sheds!
MAXON WALKS OFF. OPENS DOOR TO LAB. Von Horn continues:
(ANGRY MUTTERING) Maxon, you are an insufferable idiot! I pray that Number 13 is as grotesque as the rest so that you will give up this madness!
VON HORN FADES, WALKS AWAY. MUSIC BREAK THEN FADE
Narr: As Von Horn and the miserable seven foot golem known as Number 10 begin their search, Professor Maxon enters his laboratory. All seems in good order until he opens the door leading to the chemical vat. The floor is covered with thick evil smelling fluids and broken glass. Sudden anger at the damage, apparently done by Number One, causes the white-haired gentleman to turn on his heel. Von Horn's name dies on his lips as Professor Maxon's eyes turn fully on the form sitting propped upright in the corner of the room. A sudden excitement grips the old man's fingers as he reaches out and lifts the chin of the unconscious, naked, giant.
Maxon: My God, you're alive! You're alive! Von Horn! Von Horn! (SOFTER, GRUNTING WITH EFFORT) Come man, let's get you...that's it...on your feet. Very weak, but that's understandable, you weren't supposed to come out of the vat until late today or tomorrow. Good coordination...sit in this chair...(SHOUTS) Von Horn! Von...
VON HORN ENTERS AT A RUN. BREATHING HARD. Maxon continues:
Look man, I've done it!
Von Horn: I would never believed it possible...I...let me assist you, Maxon. It's incredible..It's, it's human!
Maxon: I told you that it was merely a matter of time and getting the chemicals in the proper balance.
Von Horn: Amazing. It appears that Number 13 is everything you claimed it would be.
Maxon: Notice how well formed is the cranial cavity...arms, legs, all straight. The skin is smooth and no apparent deformities anywhere on the exterior of the body. Doctor, you must start your medical examination immediately. We must know if the subject will suffer any ill effects from the premature removal from the vat.
Von Horn: I already have sir...pulse (PAUSE) normal, respiration erratic but improving...
FADE TO NARRATOR WITH VON HORN'S VOICE IN BACKGROUND.
Narr: As Professor Maxon sits at the small teak desk, he makes precise notes of Von Horn's examination of the human appearing creature found in the vat room. Long hours pass unnoticed by the scientists for Number 13 is a mighty-thewed giant of a man, becoming more alert with each passing moment. He is the seeming apex of human development with both well-formed and intelligent features, but the motivating force behind those steady gray eyes is only that of the intent curiosity of a child. Number 13 watches every motion of the two scientists and surprises both of them as they begin to dress the giant specimen in loss fitting native whites.
Maxon: Von Horn, look! Once the concept of clothing was understood, Number 13 has taken up the task on his own! Without a doubt this is proof of the natural intelligence of my creation. It has already begun to interact with it's environment.
VIRGINIA SCREAMS AT A GREAT DISTANCE. REPEATED SEVERAL TIMES. MAXON AND VON HORN BECOME AGITATED.
Von Horn: That is Virginia! It must be Number One!
Maxon: Did you not find him earlier?
Von Horn: No. I came at your call and once I saw Number 13...
Maxon: Well, man, we can't stand here!
MAXON RUNS OUT, BANGING DOORS. VON HORN IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWS.
Narr: Left alone in the laboratory, Number 13 watches as the two scientists rush out of the room. Stepping to the door, his eyes track the movement of the agitated men dashing across the Court of Mystery. Curious, the bronzed giant follows when they disappear from view. The sights and sounds of the dense jungle attract the Herculean figure along a different path than that taken by the scientists. The crashing of a heavy body moving through the underbrush diverts Number 13 towards a small clearing in the rank foliage. Suddenly Number 1 steps into the clearing immediately before the giant. Number 13 is as repelled by the monstrous sight of Number 1 as he is drawn to the beauty of the unconscious form in the beast-man's arms. Even as he watches, the please soft white figure opens its eyes and gazes imploring. Meanwhile, Von Horn and Maxon are rushing through the jungle searching for the professor's daughter. Abruptly, off to the left...
SOUND OF TERRIBLE COMBAT. SCREAMS, HOWLS, BLOWS FALLING Narr continues:
...comes the din of a mighty battle accompanied by unearthly screams and growls. Fearing for Virginia's life they move swiftly in that direction. Then, as suddenly as it had begun, the fighting stopped. Advancing carefully, Maxon and Von Horn approach the scene of the disturbance and, peering through the close underbrush they see Number 13 standing calmly in the center of a scene of carnage, with Virginia Maxon in his arms.
MAXON AND VON HORN CONVERSE IN WHISPERS
Maxon: Look, Von Horn...It is 13 and it appears he as killed Number 1.
Von Horn: Why that dirty beast dares to lay hands on her...
Maxon: Control yourself, Von Horn! Wait! Don't let them see you yet...there, I told you...Number 13 is very docile with her. See? Virginia isn't frightened, so put your whip away. He means no harm to her.
Von Horn: But that's your daughter!
Maxon: I know, that's why I do not want any trouble. In a moment, you take Virginia back to the house...
Von Horn: I think it would be best if you let me take care of that beast right now! Virginia must be made aware of it's unhuman nature!
Maxon: You will do nothing of the kind. I absolutely forbid it! Do only what I have asked of you. No more...no less...do you understand?
QUICKLY MOVE THROUGH BRUSH MAXON AND VON HORN SHOUT VIRGINIA'S NAME
Virginia! Virginia! Are you all right?
Virginia: Oh, Daddy, it was horrible. Out of nowhere that ugly beast attacked Sing and I and if it hadn't been for this brave young man, that creature would have carried me off!
Von Horn: Are you uninjured?
Virginia: Yes, Carl. Just a few bruises when that beast had to drop me to fight with this brave soul. But he's been hurt. I still don't know how he did it... he fought with that thing with his bare hands...broke the beast's back over his knee! What was that thing? Where did it come from?
Maxon: (QUICKLY INTERJECTING) I've heard tales of sub-human races that have survived the prehistoric ears. This might be one of those creatures. I'll examine it later, but first, we must get you back to the house.
Von Horn: You said it attacked you and Sing Lee? Where is the Chinaman?
Virginia: Back along the trail. The beast threw him against a tree when Sing tried to protect me. I hope he is not dead.
Maxon: Come, sir, you may release my daughter...that's it. Set her down. Virginia, I think you should lead Doctor Von Horn to Sing Lee immediately. If he is still alive he will require the expert attention of the good doctor.
Virginia: Yes, Daddy. I would like to thank this gentleman, but he does seem to understand our language.
Maxon: (GROWING URGENT) From his appearance I'd say he is a native of one of the other islands. I'll convey your thanks, but if you are to be any help to Sing Lee, you must go now.
Von Horn: (VEILED CONCERN) You'll be all right, Professor?
Maxon: Certainly, Von Horn. Our friend here seems to be quite well mannered.
Act 2, Scene 2
Narr: With ill-concealed reluctance Doctor Von Horn follows Virginia Maxon along the trail of the deceased monster. They find Sing Lee unconscious next to the tree he had hit with crushing force. An examination reveals the cook has several cracked ribs and a mild concussion. In the meantime, Maxon leads Number 13 back to the Court of Mystery, arriving well before Von Horn has the Chinese cook brought back to the campong. Sing Lee eventually recovers from his injuries over period of weeks and at the same time Maxon and Von Horn work with the bronzed giant who has proved as naturally intelligent as he is strong and handsome. One afternoon, five weeks after the battle with Number 1, Carl Von Horn stands outside the small room which has been set aside for Number 13. With a grim smile on his lips, the American lifts his clenched fist and knocks on the closed door.
SOUND OF KNOCKING NUMBER 13's REPLY MUFFLED
Number 13: Yes?
DOOR OPENS, LAB SOUNDS IN BACKGROUND
Von Horn: May I come in?
Number 13: Please do. How are you today, Doctor Von Horn?
Von Horn: As well as can be expected under the circumstances, 13.
Number 13: May I offer you a brandy or a cigar?
SOUND OF GLASS, POURING
Von Horn: Thank you, no. I'm amazed at how rapidly you have acquired the trappings of civilization.
Number 13: Ah, yes, that is a debt I owe to both you and Professor Maxon. You have taught me well. I still do not understand why my memory goes no further back to my awakening here five weeks ago. Surely a man my age must have some kind of past. Professor Maxon assures me it is some form of amnesia that will pass with time.
Von Horn: Maxon is ... well, I'm afraid that this isn't a social call. I have an unpleasant duty to perform. It is not amnesia, 13. That's one of the reasons I have come to speak to you. Damn it all, I must be honest. Maxon has deceived you with a pack of lies!
Number 13: Why would you make such a statement, Doctor Von Horn?
Von Horn: What I must say to you will be shocking, it might even make you angry, so while I have your best interests at heart, I warn you in advance that I have my whip and I will not hesitate to use it in my defense.
Number 13: I have no desire to harm you. I assure you that you have no need to fear for your safety.
Von Horn: Very well, but I must remind you that you have observed me in the discipline of those others in the Court of Mystery.
Number 13: I am fully aware of that fact, Von Horn. Now, will you get on with it?
Von Horn: You sir, are not human.
Number 13: What? Explain yourself, Von Horn!
Von Horn: That I will do...
VOICE FADE, MUSIC SWELL FADE TO NARR
Narr: As Von Horn relates the series of events that began in Ithaca, New York to the present, the perplexed young Titan's confusion changes slowly from disbelief to the stony silence of outraged anger. Number 13 rises to his feet to pace the narrow confines of the very room in which he was created.
FADE TO VON HORN
Von Horn: So you see Maxon lied when he told you that you have been sick with a fever that caused a temporary memory loss.
Number 13: I...I came from a glass vat filled with...chemicals?
Von Horn: That is correct, but that is not the end of his madness. You have studied hard and well, I have taken great pride in your education, and therefore you will easily understand what i have to say next. Maxon has this insane desire for you to mate with his daughter in the interests of science. Don't look so happy, man! You have yet to consider the full gravity of the situation! Hear me out. For you to have anything to do with that hideous plan would be an offense against this fine lady because, no matter what Maxon may have mixed in his chemicals, he would not give you a soul!
Number 13: Why has he done this to me? I am then a creation? Nothing more? Is that why I have not been allowed outside the Court of Mystery?
Von Horn: Yes. He has been grooming you for Virginia.
Number 13: And that is why he has told me she waits? I...I hate the man for bringing me forth without this soul you say is so necessary...or are you lying to me, Von Horn?
Von Horn: What reason would I have to lie to you? You have eyes you have an intellect. Look around you. You';ve seen the machinery, the others in the Court of Mystery. They have numbers for names, even as you. I wish there had been some other way to tell you of this, Number 13, but I could not dissuade Maxon from carrying out this repulsive plan.
Number 13: Rest assured there will be no cooperation from me in this matter. I thank you for making it known to me, but if you will excuse me, I must have time to think...
SOUND OF DOOR OPENING
Von Horn: I understand...if there is anything...
Number 13: Thank you, no. Will you please leave now?
SOUND OF DOOR CLOSING
Narr: Von Horn exits the room with an evil grin on his hard features. Behind the door Number 13 sits in moody silence as the turbulence of his thoughts begin to crystalize into a harsh, burning hate for Arthur Maxon. Meanwhile, feeling that all is moving according to his plans, Von Horn steps outside the Court of Mystery and locates his First Mate Bududreen.
Von Horn: Bududreen, I want you to find Miss Maxon and tell her that I wish her to accompany me to the Ithaca. Have her meet me where the trail crosses the stream. Make sure that she comes alone. I do not want Sing Lee around.
Bududreen: Yes, Captain. It shall be as you have said.
Von Horn: I also want you to got the store room and bring Maxon's large trunk. We will be taking it aboard the Ithaca.
Bududreen: Is Professor Maxon going to sail?
Von Horn: Do not ask questions, Bududreen. Just do as I say and you will be well rewarded.
Bududreen: Very good, Captain Von Horn. Bududreen go now...
Von Horn: That's right you grinning ugly ape--you go, but I'll be damned if I'll share whatever is in that prize trunk of Maxon's. This whole set up is beginning to bore me and I think it's time to cut my losses. Within moments I'll have told Virginia of her father's work and his insane ambitions--she'll be only too happy to leave this island of evil. I imagine that we'll enjoy a comfortable life from the proceeds of the trunk on a less inhospitable island. (LAUGHS)
Narr: Von Horn meets Virginia Maxon on the trail. As she listens to Von Horn's disclosures of Arthur Maxon's work the woman's face reflects the horror of her father's enterprise. Von Horn suggests that their best move is to return to civilization to bring back qualified psychologists to treat Maxon. In light of the revelation that her father intended she would mate with a soulless monster swayed Virginia Maxon to accompany Von Horn to the Ithaca. On the way to the beach, Von Horn asked Virginia to wait at the stream while he returned to the Court of Mystery to pick up a revolver and documentary proof of her father's illness.
SOUND OF WALKING Von Horn whispers to self...
Von Horn: This is going to be even easier than I hoped.
GATES OPEN AND CLOSE. MONSTERS IN BACKGROUND.DOOR OPENS, DRAWER, RUMMAGING
Number 13: Oh, Von Horn...I did not see you. Can I speak with you for a minute?
Von Horn: If you are brief. I have...
PIRATE ATTACK IN DISTANCE. GUNS, SCREAMS SMALL EXPLOSION, SOUND OF BATTLE Von Horn continues:
God in Heaven! What is that?
Number 13: What do you make of it, Von Horn?
Von Horn: I do not know...we best find out...
SOUND OF RUNNING TO GATE SUDDEN STOP, PANTING Von Horn continues:
Pirates! Damn it, they must have seen the Ithaca in the harbor!
Number 13: What shall we do?
Von Horn: Fight for our lives! They leave no witnesses!
Maxon: (TO ONE SIDE, MOANING) Help me! Someone please help me!
BATTLE CONTINUES. FADE TO NARRATOR
Narr: Forty minutes of hard battle drives the pirates away, but not before they set fire to the crew's quarters. During the engagement with the motley corsairs Number 13 quickly learns hot to combat men with pistols and swords using Von Horn's fallen bullwhip. The American doctor used his pistols to hold off the attackers as Number 13, with his great strength and natural agility wielded the whip with terrible effect. The pirate horde could not stand in the face of such determination and returned from the field of battle. Number 13 aids several wounded men after the fight, one of whom is Professor Maxon. He lifts the semi-conscious man in his arms to carry Maxon into the Big House.
Maxon: (GROGGY) Put me down, you soulless beast!
Number 13: That's the second time today that I've been referred to as soulless.
Maxon: And it is the truth! I created you in my laboratory and now I've just witnessed you slaughtering men with the mindless fury of a jungle beast. That is not the trademark of a man with a soul!
Number 13: It would be such a simple matter to crush you with this great strength you gave me or the injustice of this existence...
Maxon: (YELLING) Sing Lee! Help me, Sing Lee!
Sing Lee: No crushee...please put on bed. Please!
Number 13: I'll put him down, Sing Lee. I could not cause harm to the father of Virginia Maxon.
Maxon: You stay away from her! I must have been insane to believe that I could ever improve on God's finest creation! Get out of my sight before I go mad and slay you!
SOUND OF RUNNING FEET. DOOR SLAMS. PANTING
Von Horn: Maxon! The pirates got away with Virginia and the trunk!
Maxon: Virginia? Dear God...
Number 13: Then we must be off after them!
Maxon: Once again I say: Stay away from my daughter!
Number 13: How soon will you be ready to leave, Von Horn? Every moment we delay allows them to retreat further into the jungle.
Von Horn: It is futile, 13. It would take hours to round up all the men that fled during the attack. By now they will have...
Number 13: We cannot afford to waste time, Doctor. It must be now.
Von Horn: It is impossible. We do not have enough men...
Number 13: There are men here now at this moment capable of her rescue.
Maxon: What? Who are you talking about, Thirteen?
Number 13: Why...my brethren, Maxon. Your own Monster Men!
Maxon: Stop him, Von Horn!
Number 13: No!
BRIEF FIGHT. BODY FALLS, MOANING. Number 13 (BREATHING HARD) continues.
You will not prevent me from saving Virginia.
ACT III, The Jungle
Narr: The light cast by the Earth's satellite always seems bright on a tropical isle, but for Virginia Maxon that celestial light held no beauty. As she lay bound hand and foot near a large vine-covered tree, her eyes beheld the horrors the vicious pirates performed on the last of the unfortunate captives from the battle with the Ithaca's crew. Three times men had screamed and begged for release from those bloody tortures and three times Virginia had pleaded with the leader of the band, who was known as Muda Saffir...
Saffir: Are you enjoying the entertainment?
Virginia: You...you're horrible!
Saffir: I'm sorry you do not appreciate my efforts, white woman. It is shame you are not...
Virginia: The only thing that I want is to be as far away from you as possible!
Saffir: Such soft skin you have...
Virginia: Get your filthy hands off me, you beast!
Saffir: You are very beautiful. Later tonight we shall have pleasantries. If you are good to Muda Saffir maybe I will no give you to crew! (EVIL LAUGH) But now we see what is in this heavy chest that Malay you called Bududreen fought so hard to protect...
Virginia: He was trying to protect me.
Saffir: Oh? Then why is it he died near the chest and not at your side? Chop it open!
MEN MOVE FORWARD. CHOPPING AT LOCKS Saffir continues:
Soon we shall see, white woman. (EVIL LAUGH) Then afterward...
MUSIC SWELLS, CHOPPING CONTINUES. FADES TO JUNGLE SOUNDS AND SOFT FOOTFALLS OF LARGE MEN IN BRUSH. FADE TO NARRATOR
Narr: Intent on the effort to open the trunk, the pirates fail to notice eleven hulking forms led by a twelfth of equal stature...one carrying a long, wicked bullwhip. At a single from the leader a chorus of unearthly yells accompany the attack of the misshapen brutes. The terrified pirates, caught by surprise and horror, fall before the devastating onslaught.
GUNFIRE, SHOUTS. SCREAMS BATTLE RAGES
Number 13: To the left, Number 10! Do not let them get away! I will see to Miss Maxon!
Number 10: Yesssss....Number Six...Number Three... Come! We kill men!
FIGHTING. 13 MOVES TOWARD SAFFIR VOICES OVERLAP
Number 13: Hold it, pirate! Get away from that girl!
Saffir: (HORRIFIED) Get away, Bulan!
Virginia: Who are you, sir? (GASP) Look out! There's a monster behind you!
Bulan (13): Do not worry, Miss Maxon. Number Five...take out those men by the fire.
FIVE GROWLS HIDEOUSLY AND ATTACKS. MEN SCREAM. RUNNING.
Saffir: Stay away or I kill you, Bulan!
Bulan: Try if you will, pirate, but I control these demons and it I that will be taking life, not you!
Saffir: (DRAWING SWORD) We shall see! Die, Bulan!
CRACK OF WHIP, SWORD FALLS TO GROUND. BODIES MEET, BATTLE. SAFFIR DIES
Bulan: I do not have time to untie you. I shall carry you out of the camp. Quiet, now, while the pirates fight with the monster men.
MOVING INTO JUNGLE. BATTLE SOUNDS FADE
Virginia: (WHISPERING) Who are you?
Bulan: Thir--They have named me, Miss Maxon. I am Bulan.
Virginia: Bulan...that is a native name and now that I can see you clearly in the moonlight you are either and Englishman or an American. What is your true name?
Bulan: (CHOKING) My name is...Bulan.
Virginia: Then let me thank you Mr. Bulan for the service you have rendered an unknown and helpless woman.
Bulan: Just "Bulan." There is no need for Miss or Mister in the savage jungle, Virginia.
Virginia: How is it you know my name? Have we met before?
Bulan: I live on the island near your father's campong. I know you all by sight. Quiet now. We'll hide in the bush long enough to remove your bonds.
Virginia: Thank you...How long have you lived here?
Bulan: (WRY) All my life. (RUSTLE LEAVES) It is safe to proceed. Take my hand...
Virginia: (SOFTLY) It is strange, but back there...you seemed to control the monsters.
Bulan: Von Horn taught them to obey the whip. I have it now.
Virginia: (APPALLED) He used it on them?
Bulan: It was the only way. For the most part they are quite brainless. The understood nothing else for they could not reason.
Virginia: You say "were?" You sound as if you think them gone.
Bulan: I imagine they are all dead, Virginia. When was the last that you heard a shot? There were only eleven of them against near a hundred armed with swords and revolvers. (SADLY) Poor unloved, unloving things. They have given up their mean lives for the daughter of the man that made them the repulsive creatures they were.
Virginia: What do you mean? Were those grotesque creatures my father made, the ones Von Horn told me about?
Bulan: They died searching for you, to rescue you from the pirates. They may have been soulless creatures, but they loved the lives they gave up for you.
Virginia: (CONTRITE) Those poor, poor things! But perhaps they are better off, for without brains or souls there could be no happiness in life for them. My father did them a great injustice, but it was an unintentional wrong--(SOFTER) though the action he considered for me was even more unjust...Do you wish to know what my father had planned?
Bulan: If you wish...
Virginia: It was his intention to give me to...to have me marry one of his soulless creatures...the monster he called Number 13. But no matter, they are all dead now and my father cannot do it.
LEAVES RUSTLE. STARTLED BIRDS MONKEYS
Bulan: Quick, in here and do not make a sound!
MALAYS RUN PAST SEARCHING Bulan continues:
They are gone. The fact that they are looking for us tells the truth of the monster men. They are all dead. Come, we must leave the trail. (PAUSE) Tell me--why you loathed them so. Is it because they were hideous or because they were soulless?
Virginia: Either fact would have made them repulsive, but that they were without souls made them totally impossible. One easily overlooks physical deformity but the moral depravity that must be inherent in a creature without a soul must forever remove them from intercourse with humans.
Bulan: And you think that, regardless of their physical appearance?
Virginia: I'm sure of it. I would know the moment I laid eyes on a creature without a soul.
Bulan: Just how do you distinguish the possessor of a soul?
Virginia: You are making fun of me.
Bulan: Not at all! I am just curious as to how souls make themselves apparent. I have seen men kill as the beasts kill...I've seen a man that was cruel to those he had in his power, yet they are men with souls. Yet again, I have seen eleven soulless monsters die to save the daughter of a man that wronged them terribly--a man that has a soul! How am I to know what attributes denote the possession of the immortal spark? How do I know if I have a soul?
Virginia: You are courageous and chivalrous. Those attributes are sufficient to warrant the belief that you have a soul. Even so, it is most apparent from you countenance that you are of the higher type of mankind...
Bulan: I hope that you will never change your opinion of me, Virginia.
Act III, Scene 2
Narr: For several days the couple flees the search parties of the pirates. In all cases Bulan eludes them without incident, but good luck does not last forever. One the third day they are surprised by four of the rough Malays
FIGHTING Narrator continues:
Bulan succeeds in killing the trackers, but in the process he has sustained a terrific cut across his ribs. Fearing further pursuit from the Malay pirates, Bulan leads Virginia deeper into the jungle. Finding a cave that could be easily defended, they stop there. In the days that follow Bulan hunts for food. Virginia notices the giant does not eat with her. Bulan explains that he eats on the hunt, when the truth is there is little food to be found. Virginia wakes on the morning of the fifth day to find Bulan tossing on the wet ground before her shelter, delirious with fever.
Virginia: Bulan! What a noble and unselfish love yours has been. I've know of it for days, but you have tried to hide it from me, and now when it may be too late I find hat I love you--that I've loved you from the first that I saw you. Bulan, my Bulan! What cruel fate has permitted us to come together only to have us die just as we've found one another?
Bulan: (DELIRIOUS) Nine-Ninety-Nine Priscilla. Nine-Ninety-Nine Priscilla...
FADE TO NARRATOR
Narr: Though the girl tended him carefully and hunted both food and water, she had given up hope that Bulan would every recover--so emaciated had become. When the fever finally left him she was positive that it was the beginning of the end, but the morning of the seventh day Virginia looked down to see Bulan's eyes resting upon her face with a look of recognition.
Virginia: You've been very sick, Bulan. But you'll be better soon.
Bulan: How long have I been like this?
Virginia: Two days...
Bulan: You watched over me all this time, in the jungle?
Virginia: (FERVENT) Had it been for life it would have scarce repaid the debt I owe you...
Bulan: (SOFTLY) It would have been best if I had died.
Virginia: Oh, Bulan! You must not say that! Why should you wish to die?
Bulan: Because I love you, Virginia. Because when you find out what I am you will hate and loathe me.
SHOUTS. MAXON. VON HORN. SING LEE CRASHING THROUGH BRUSH.
Von Horn: You beast! We've caught up with you at last!
Maxon: Shoot the monster, Von Horn! Do not let him escape!
Sing Lee: No shoot! No kill!
Maxon: Look out, it is getting to its feet!
SHOT. BULAN FALLS. SING LEE FIGHTS VON HORN.
Von Horn: Out of my way, Sing! I must make certain it is dead!
Sing Lee: No shoot again! I take gun!
FIGHT. VON HORN FALLS
Virginia: Murderers! Cowardly murderers! Weak and exhausted by fever Bulan could not protect himself and now you have robbed the world of one of the noblest men God ever created!
Maxon: Hush, child. You do not know what you say! That think was a monster--a soulless monster.
Virginia: What do you mean, Daddy?
Von Horn: I'll answer that. Virginia, no god created that. He was one of the creatures of your father's mad experiments. The soulless thing at your feet is none other than Number 13--the one you were to mate with.
Maxon: Have you gone mad, Virginia? Why are you cradling that thing's head, child?
Virginia: I am not mad...not yet... I loved him. Man or monster it would have been all the same for me, for I loved him!
Maxon: Dear God! What an awful punishment you have visited upon me for the sins of my experiments!
Sing Lee: No cry, Miss Gena. Him no dead. And him no monster either! He white man allee same Professor Maxon and Von Horn. Sing know. Sing Lee know!
Virginia: He's not dead, Sing? He will live? Bulan! Oh, I do not care about anything else if only you live!
Sing Lee: Him live. Get little flesh wound is all.
Von Horn: Why do you say that he's not a monster?
Sing Lee: You wait, Von Horn. You damn fool I tell lot more I know. You wait. I fix him, then I fix you!
Von Horn: Why you little...
Maxon: Wait, Von Horn! I don't know what Sing means, but he has been very faithful to us. I think he deserves consideration. Maybe we have acted too hastily. It will not hurt to hear his explanation. Continue with your ministrations, Sing. Virginia...tear a length from you hem that Sing Lee might bind that head wound.
TEARING CLOTH. MOANS.
Virginia: Look! Bulan's coming out of it!
Bulan: (WEAK) You still look at me? Have they not told you?
Virginia: Yes, they have told me, but it makes no difference. You have given me the right to say this and I say it now in front of them all. I love you. I love you!
Bulan: No, Virginia, it would not be right. It would be wicked as I am not a human being. I am only asoulless monster like the others.
Virginia: But I love you! You said you loved me.
Bulan: You cannot mate with me. You might go away with your father and forget that we...
Virginia: Never, Bulan!
Sing Lee: You keep still, Bulan. You wait till Sing tell all he know. You no monster. Maxon no make you. I find you in row boat just outside cove. You dummy. No talk, not know name. Sing, he hear Maxon talk Von Horn about marry Miss Gena to Number 13. Sing know what freaks Maxon make. Miss Gena always good to Sing. I take Bulan to my room. Hide him till dark. When all sleep take Bulan to workshop and kick over vat. Leave Bulan and in morning Maxon make hullabaloo. Dance up and down. Anyway... Bulan no look like one of Maxon's freaks.
Von Horn: You lying yellow devil...
Sing Lee: Maybeos, Von Horn, but how you explain Bududreen have Miss Gena and Maxon's trunk on way to Ithaca when pirates attack? Sing know. He hear you.
Von Horn: That's enough! I'll cut your lying tongue out!
Maxon: Stop it, both of you! Von Horn, there have been charges made. Sing Lee, can you proves these statements?
Sing Lee: These and many more!
Maxon: And this is the truth, Sing Lee? That this thing...this man...that he's not one of those created in the laboratory?
Sing Lee: You no make find young man like Bulan, Maxon. You know that! You make twelve freaks. You ought to know that you can no make Bulan!
Maxon: (QUIETLY) If you aren't Number 13, who are you?
Bulan: I do not know, Maxon, but what Sing has said has made me remember drifting in an open boat for days. Beyond that is a blank.
Virginia: That's wonderful! Now you cannot send me away, Bulan!
Maxon: We know nothing about this young man...
Bulan: Have no anxiety, Maxon. I will not force my attentions upon your daughter until I can prove my identity and lay my past before her without shame.
Virginia: You will do nothing of the kind. You love me and I you. My father would have forced us to mate while you were the soulless 13, but not that he knows you are a man he hesitates--but I will not! You have demonstrated a love that is so noble, and beyond that no woman ever needs know more. I am satisfied to be the wife of Bulan, that is if Bulan will have me for his wife since I am the daughter of the man that has wronged him so cruelly.
Bulan: Professor, in the face of Sing's testimony and the obvious differences between me and the other twelve, wouldn't it be an act of folly to assume that I am anything else but human? Someday I will remember my past, but until then I shall prove my worthiness by not asking Virginia to be my wife and she must agree with me in this...the truth about my past may present some impediment to our marriage. In the meantime, let us be friends, Professor, for we are both interested in eh same thing, the welfare and happiness of your daughter.
Maxon: I am delighted to take your hand, Bulan. You are truly a gentleman and it is quite impossible for you to have ever been on e of my creations. If I have wronged you, I must beg your forgiveness.
Bulan: That is all right, Professor...
Maxon: Then let us be off to the campong. Von Horn, there are some questions I want to put to you.... Eh? Where is Von Horn?
Sing Lee: Him leave long ago. Hear all he like. (LAUGH)
Narr: Three days later the small party returned to the campong without incident. While sitting on the veranda discussing Von Horn and his acts, all were drawn to their feet by the cry of the lookout on the roof of the big house. Following the man's pointing finger, they gaze out over the harbor and see the trim lines of an American warship rounding the headlands. The vessel made way to where the Ithaca swung gently at anchor. Moments after the cruiser hove to, a long boat was lowered and the oars were manned by white-clad sailors. In the stern were two officers of the United States Navy. Maxon sent a runner to bring the men to the campong without delay.
MARCHING PARTY APPROACHES GATE OPENS
May: I am Lieutenant May of the U.S.S. New Mexico. Have I the honor of addressing Professor Arthur Maxon?
Maxon: Yes. I am delighted, sir. What brings you to our island?
May: We have come because an intelligence informed us that you might have a member in your party that was hired in Singapore. We have been trying to apprehend this man for several years. I am speaking of Doctor Carl Von Horn.
Maxon: He is not with us any longer. We had...
IN THE DISTANCE SEVERAL SHOTS. BLOOD THIRSTY YELLS THEN SILENCE
Narr: In the company of well-armed American sailors, Maxon, Bulan and Lieutenant May dash into the jungle to investigate the disturbance. The sight that met the searchers told all of the story they needed to know. There was the great chest, and lying across it was the headless body of Carl Von Horn.
May: You are certain this is the body of Von Horn?
Maxon: It is he...
May: The chest?
Sing Lee: Maxon's treasure! Sing Lee hear Von Horn and Bududreen plot to steal it!
Maxon: Treasure? Sing Lee, do you mean to tell me that so many have died for that chest? That pirates took it and now poor misguided Von Horn's head will grace the rafters of some Dyak's longhouse--all because of this chest?
May: Professor Maxon, men will suffer all of that and more for gold.
Maxon: Gold? (WRY LAUGH) Why, Lieutenant May, that is a box of books on biology and eugenics!
May: Books? Did you say books? (TRACE AMUSEMENT) And to think Von Horn was accredited as being one of the shrewdest and more adventurous swindlers in America. But come, we may as well return to the ships. My men will carry the chest for you, Professor Maxon.
Maxon: (VEHEMENTLY) No! Let them bury it. There is to much pain and misery in that box. Bury it deep and pray to God that no man ever finds it on this out of the way island. I--I shall spend the rest of my life trying to forget its contents.
Narr: On the morning of the third day after Von Horn's death Lieutenant May and another American officer acting as First Mate, guides the Ithaca from her mooring to the open sea. The day had dawned with the fresh brilliance common to the expanses of the South Pacific and the seas were calm. Nearby the U.S.S. New Mexico paced the steamer and would remain in convoy with the scientific party until Manila. On deck Bulan and Virginia stand close together looking back at the island on the near horizon.
Virginia: Thank heaven we are leaving that behind us forever!
Bulan: Amen, Virginia, but if it weren't for that island, I would never have met you.
Virginia: We wold have met elsewhere, Bulan, for we are made for each other. In your true guise you would have found me, I am sure of it.
Bulan: It's so maddening trying to dredge up my past. Do you realize that I could be a thief? A scoundrel like Von Horn. Maybe worse?
Virginia: You couldn't have ever been a criminal, Bulan, but there is one thing that haunts me. You might have already loved another, you may even be married. There is something I haven't told you that gives weight to my fear. When you were ill with the fever you kept repeating the same thing over and over. A woman's name preceded by a number. Nine-Ninety-Nine Priscilla. Maybe she...
Bulan: Virginia! That's it! You had the key to my memory! Everything's going to be all right. Nine-Ninety-Nine Priscilla is my father's address. My name is Townsend J. Harper, Jr. and I'm not married, never been in love, I do not have a record with the authorities, my family is wealthy and they'll love my new wife, the one I'll marry in Manila!
LAUGHTER. HUGS. A KISS
Virginia: But how did you get to the island?
Bulan: I came looking for you! I'll tell you all I remember after dinner, but I fell in love with you when I saw you at the rail platform in Ithaca, New York. I followed you across the States, lost your trail, found it again, and came out here on my father's yacht. We stopped at a few wrong islands and then came out this way. We were going to explore an island and that's the end of my memory. Sing Lee did find me in a boat, remember?
Virginia: You may be the son of the great Townsend J. Harper, you may have been the soulless monster Number 13, but to me you will always be Bulan, for it was Bulan I learned to love.
RAISE END MUSIC
Permission for LIVE PERFORMANCE ONLY is granted.
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