Below we present the complete text of Portrait of Villainy; episode 4 of The Alligator Menace.
THE ALLIGATOR MENACE
EPISODE #4 – PORTRAIT OF VILLAINY
An original audio dramas and fun dinner party idea
by Philip Craig Robotham
Cover Illustration by Miyukiko
Edited by Margaret Wilkins
Copyright 2013 Philip Craig Robotham
Creative Commons Edition
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Series #1: The Alligator Menace
Trent Stone and Tess Carter are in Star City to participate as junior members in the League of Adventure Seekers annual dinner. However, when the dinner — and a number of other key events throughout the city — is broken up by a horde of remotely controlled albino sewer alligators, Trent and Tess are launched into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an insane genius bent on controlling the city’s underworld. In order to overcome this villain our heroes must navigate a dangerous world of organized crime bosses, gang war, exploding alligators, and weird science. Can they locate the villain before his plans reach their fruition? Tune in to “The Alligator Menace” and experience this exciting adventure for yourself.
Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.
THE ALLIGATOR MENACE
NARRATOR: The Narrator
TERESA CARTER: Our heroine and reporter
TRENT STONE: Our hero and adventurer
MIRIAM RIBBENSBERG: President of the League
THE TECHNOMASTER: aka John Whistler (Villain)
THEO TYRONE: Coroner
SFX: 1 SFX artist required
EPISODE 4: Portrait of Villainy
SCENE 25: INT. CORONER’S COOL ROOM
(TERESA, THEO, TRENT)
514. MUSIC  (BRIDGE) OPENING THEME MUSIC — LET IT FINISH
515. NARRATOR: NARRATOR: Someone in Star City is manipulating events to create a gang war between the major crime families… but who, and for what reason? Our heroes (Trent Stone and Tess Carter) have followed what few clues they have found to the coroner’s office in the hope of tracking down the master criminal behind all the recent mayhem.
516. TERESA: [CUE] A bit undignified, isn’t it, laying them out on tables like so many slabs of meat.
517. THEO: The dead don’t care. But that isn’t what I want you to see. It’s these alligator corpses.
518. TRENT: There’s not much left.
519. THEO: Admittedly, but I was able to examine the brain and the stomach contents of each. See this machine I recovered. It was plumbed directly into the motor control region of one of the creature’s brains. And this small metal card with various bumps and grooves in it, I believe this provided the instructions the animal was required to follow. Very ingenious, and requiring no small amount of work to produce in quantity.
520. TERESA: Looks like you were right, Stone. It is some kind of mechanical mind control.
521. THEO: But that’s not all. There have been rumors for some time that a nest of the beasts is hidden somewhere near Pevensee Street. I never gave it much thought — people are always claiming to have seen this or that around the city and it’s usually just tall stories. But the homeless avoid the area unless they’re desperate for a place to stay. Lots of people have supposedly gone missing there, but, of course, with so many transients passing through looking for work it’s hard to determine whether a disappearance equals a missing person or simply someone who has moved on… and the police have higher priorities than looking into every report that comes in from the homeless community.
522. TERESA: (WRYLY) I’m sure.
523. TRENT: Yes, but what has this to do with your findings?
524. THEO: Just this. In the stomach of one of the alligators I found…
525. TERESA: A wallet?526. THEO: That’s right. It belonged to a homeless man named Herbert Whitman. He disappeared last week. Some of the folk at Indigo Park reported it. They said he had gone to stay in the abandoned Pevensee Street Mission. There is a regular soup kitchen on the street in front, and, despite all the warnings, some of the homeless try to sleep there in order to be early enough to get a meal before the food runs out. His meal ticket for the soup kitchen is still inside.
527. TRENT: This could be just the break we were looking for.
528. TERESA: At the very least it links the alligators used in the commission of these crimes with a specific location.
529. TRENT: Thanks, Dr Tyrone. We’ll check it out.
530. THEO: Don’t mention it… and be careful. The bullets haven’t started flying yet, but once the gangs start shooting it out, this town will be a dangerous place to be out and about in.
531. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
532. TRENT: [CUE] So Tess, what do you think?
533. TERESA: Ugly looking place, isn’t it? Hard to believe it was a mission once. It’ll take some work to get inside too. Look at all those boarded-up doors and windows.
534. TRENT: Then we’d better get started. I’m willing to bet though, that if this place was being used as a regular squatters’ residence by the homeless, some of those boards will swing back fairly easily.
535. TERESA: Hey you’re right. These boards do shift easily.
536. SOUND:  SOUND OF WINDOW BEING RAISED
537. TERESA: Yep, we can get in here.
538. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) NEUTRAL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
539. TERESA: [CUE] This isn’t what I expected, Stone.
540. TRENT: What do you mean?
541. TERESA: Well, look at this corridor we’re standing in. This place is supposed to have been abandoned for some time, right?
542. TRENT: Yeah, so?
543. TERESA: So, where’s all the dust?
544. TRENT: Hmm. (URGENTLY) Tess, don’t move!
545. TERESA: What? Why?
546. TRENT: I think this is some kind of trap.
547. TERESA: Hang on then, I’m coming back over to you.
548. TRENT: No, wait!
549. SOUND:  SOUND OF SOMETHING CLICKING INTO PLACE
550. TERESA: Oh no, the floor’s falling away. Aaaah!
551. TRENT: Whoah!
552. SOUND:  SLIDING SOUND AS CRIES TRAIL OFF INTO THE DISTANCE
553. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) CLIFFHANGER SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
SCENE 28: INT. CAGE OVER THE ALLIGATOR PIT WITHIN THE SEWERS (AN UNKNOWN PERIOD OF TIME LATER)
(TRENT, TERESA, TECHNOMASTER)
554. SOUND:  WALLA — SLIGHT CREAKING AND SWAYING NOISE — FADE IN AND UNDER
555. TRENT: (GROANING) Tess, are you alright?
556. TERESA: Hmmm? Yes, I think so. What happened?
557. TECHNOMASTER: (LAUGHING VILLAINOUSLY) You “fell,” quite literally, into my clutches.
558. TERESA: I know that voice. You were on Claire’s tape. You’re the villain who’s behind this mess.
559. SOUND:  RATTLING OF CAGE BARS
560. TRENT: Let us out, you fiend!
561. TECHNOMASTER: Such cliché? Really? You needn’t bother trying to escape. The bars of the cage you’re in are of tungsten steel. Have you worked out where you are, yet?
562. TERESA: Oh, no! We’re hanging over the alligator pit.
563. TECHNOMASTER: Yes, that’s right. And you know what happens when I set this mechanism in motion, don’t you? You’ve seen it once before. It must be galling to realize my hideaway was just over the other side of the chasm you saw those poor “mob brats” fall into this morning.
564. TERESA: You’re a madman!
565. SOUND:  SQUEAKING NOISE OF WHEELCHAIR APPROACHING
566. TECHNOMASTER: (ANGRILY) I’m not mad, you pathetic little worms. Everything I have done has served a highly rational purpose. I am the Technomaster, the master of machines, and my brilliance has kept me well ahead of your pathetic League and your own floundering attempts to determine what has been going on!
567. TERESA: Look, he’s coming into the light. It’s a man, hooded and cloaked… in a wheelchair!
568. TRENT: (STAGE WHISPER) I’ll try to keep him busy, Tess. See if you can figure out the mechanism.
(TO TECHNOMASTER) We’re not so foolish as you believe. We found you, didn’t we? A petty little coward hiding in the sewers doesn’t seem so much.
569. TECHNOMASTER: Ha! Don’t flatter yourselves. You are my prisoners! That hardly strikes me as a victory on your part.
As for my disability, you know nothing of what I’ve sacrificed. I was on my way to greatness when the Great War came along, a research scientist and inventor par excellence. I did my part and signed up, but a bullet in the back put an end to my days on two legs. A bullet in the back, mind you! (BITTERLY) I was hit by a stray bullet from our own side. And when I returned? Well, I was an embarrassment. I received a letter of thanks for my service, a medal — in the mail — and a tiny pension. That was all the thanks I got from my country.
No one wanted to hire a maimed researcher. I lost my home, my lab, the respect that was rightly mine, everything.
570. TRENT: So that’s what this is? A cry for attention from a poor little man who hasn’t been appreciated enough?
571. TECHNOMASTER: Don’t mock me. I have lost everything.
572. TRENT: And so have the people you’ve killed. You don’t really expect sympathy from us do you?
573. TECHNOMASTER: No, I didn’t expect you would understand. But, still, my plan is greater than simple revenge on the society which has so failed me. My sights are set much higher.
574. TRENT: Yes, how so?
575. TECHNOMASTER: See that machine behind me. See its connection to the sewer pipes. Every pipe in the city connects with these junctions at some point.
576. TRENT: So?
577. TECHNOMASTER: Sound, Mr Stone! Sound!
I’m sure you are aware that sound is simply vibration. The vibrations of speech travel through the air and, however faintly, strike metal objects — like pipes. The pipes then transmit the sound along their lengths.
578. TRENT: Ah, the blackmail scheme. So is that your grand scheme? You’re nothing more than a listener at keyholes. But surely, it would be impossible to detect and separate all the vibrations travelling down the pipes.
579. TECHNOMASTER: Ah, but that is my genius. I have created a machine which can discern and separate even the smallest and weakest vibrations which travel through these pipes. I am not here, hiding in the dark, Stone. Rather, I have been gathering every dirty secret uttered in this city, and I have been growing rich keeping them on behalf of the city’s elite. I have now grown rich enough to put the next part of my plan into motion.
580. TRENT: And what might that be?
581. TECHNOMASTER: Control of the city’s underworld of course. I will be receiving a cut from almost every criminal enterprise in the city.
582. TRENT: Almost? That’s right, your deal is only with the Tremeres and Falcones. That leaves the Cordovas outside your little net, doesn’t it?
583. TECHNOMASTER: Not for long. The gang war everyone is talking about will happen. But not in the way anyone expects. With Dillon Tremere and Tommy Boscone in charge, the Tremere and Falcone organizations will unite and destroy the Cordovas. The Cordovas are too new and not nearly strong enough to hold their own in this contest. In the end I will be making money from every criminal enterprise in the city.
584. TRENT: And is that what this has all been about? Money?
585. TECHNOMASTER: Again, your thinking is too small, too limited. Money is but a tool. Still, I shan’t be telling you everything. I want you to die frustrated that you were unable to unravel my plans… and die you will.
Once I pull this lever…
586. SOUND:  SOUND OF LEVER PULLING AND TICKING BEGINS — CONTINUE UNDER
587. TECHNOMASTER: …the timer will be underway. In just over an hour my pets will gather to be fed. They will flood into the chasm below and, exactly fifteen minutes later, you will be dropped into the pit to serve as their dinner.
I hope you like alligator… I’m sure they will enjoy you! (SINISTER LAUGHING)
588. SOUND:  SQUEAKING OF WHEELCHAIR TRAILS OFF INTO THE DISTANCE
589. TRENT: He’s gone, Tess. Did you find anything?
590. TERESA: Not much. These locks seem to be electrical but the wiring is encased in these metal tubes.
There doesn’t seem to be any way to halt the mechanism or timer.
591. TRENT: Electrical, you say? Do you remember what Cinqo Tavoli called this gun that I’ve been carrying in my pocket?
592. TERESA: An electrical disrupter! (BEAT) But what if you use it and it triggers the mechanism early?
593. TRENT: I think we’ll have to take the risk. I can’t think of any other options.
594. TERESA: Alright. Just give me a moment to get a good grip on these bars.
595. TRENT: Okay, if I can just aim this at the control mechanism over on the ledge…
596. SOUND:  SOUND OF ELECTRICAL DISCHARGE
597. SOUND:  TICKING STOPS, FOLLOWED BY SOUND OF WHIRRING GEARS AS THE CAGE STARTS MOVING
598. TERESA: I think it worked. The cage is being winched back to the ledge.
599. SOUND:  SOUND OF LOCKS RELEASING
600. TRENT: Whew! That was close. Let’s get out of here and see if we can’t get this “Technomaster” before he does any more damage.
601. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) ACTION SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
602. TERESA: [CUE] Cosy little place he’s got here. Is that a bedroom through there?
603. TRENT: Looks like it. There’s a desk with a journal and what looks like a ledger on it.
604. TERESA: We’ll need to come back for those.
605. TRENT: Yes. What we want right now is his lab. I’m willing to bet that’s where he is. These insane genius types just can’t stand to be away from their experiments for very long.
606. TERESA: There’s a light coming from that chamber up ahead. He could be in there.
607. TRENT: Okay, but quietly. We don’t know what other surprises he might have up his sleeve.
608. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) SUSPENSEFUL SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
609. TERESA: [CUE] (STAGE WHISPER) This chamber is huge. Look at all this equipment.
610. TRENT: Yeah. There are crates of those electrical disruptor guns… all ready to be shipped out by the look.
611. TERESA: And what’s that over there? A shelf full of control harnesses for the alligators.
612. TRENT: Well, I’ll give him this much, he’s been an industrious little madman.
Look over there, between those shelves. I think that may be him working at that desk.
613. TERESA: You’re right. Let’s see if we can take him by surprise.
614. TRENT: I think you’d better get behind me, Tess. We don’t know what other kinds of weapons he may have.
615. TERESA: Well, just this once. But only because I don’t have a weapon of my own.
616. TRENT: Don’t worry, Tess, your tough-girl image is safe with me.
(LOUDLY) Don’t move, Technomaster! I’ve got you covered!
617. TECHNOMASTER: What? It can’t be! I had you trapped.
618. TERESA: You wouldn’t be the first villain to ever underestimate us.
619. TECHNOMASTER: Is that so? Then I hope you’re fast on your feet. (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT)
620. TRENT: Tess, get back. He’s pulling those shelves down on us.
621. SOUND:  HUGE CRASH OF FALLING SHELVES
622. TERESA: Oh my. That was close. But, look, he’s getting away down that corridor.
623. TRENT: He’s heading back towards the pit… and that machine he’s carrying… I’ll bet it’s the controls for directing the alligators.
624. TERESA: We’ve got to stop him before he calls them. Otherwise we’ll be up to our elbows in the animals.
625. TRENT: You’re right, come on.
626. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) ACTION SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
627. TERESA: [CUE] (PUFFING) He’s really moving!
628. TRENT: Yes, this tunnel’s on a slight slope and that chair of his is really gaining speed.
629. TERESA: That would explain why he’s veering so wildly from side to side.
630. TRENT: That and his own terror. He’s none too brave when facing people without the backup of his creatures…
631. TECHNOMASTER: Turn, damn you. Turn! No! (WAILING SCREAM TRAILS OFF)
632. TERESA: He shot out over the edge! He’s fallen into his own pit.
633. SOUND:  FAINT ALLIGATOR GROWLS AND ROARS
634. TRENT: Well, I guess that ends the threat posed by the “Technomaster.”
635. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) TRIUMPHANT SCENE ENDER — LET IT FINISH
636. SOUND:  WALLA — SOUNDS OF DINNERWARE, CUTLERY ETC. — ESTABLISH AND UNDER
637. TRENT: Well, Miss Ribbensberg, I mean Miriam, that sums it up. We destroyed his listening machine… I’m pretty sure no one should have the power to invade people’s privacy like that ever again… and we burned his ledger of secrets. The guns are in the hands of the police — and I think Commissioner Doogan now hates us more than ever — and the Technomaster is gone.
638. TERESA: Apparently he was a war veteran, Lt. John Whistler. Before the war he was an up-and-coming inventor and physicist. His injuries and the Wall Street crash put an end to his dreams.
639. TRENT: No body was recovered so we assume he was eaten. Without the control mechanism the alligators have dispersed. No one is sure where they have gone. Unfortunately, we couldn’t prove Claire’s claims regarding collusion between Tommy Boscone and Dillon Tremere in the murders of Jerry and Jocelyn Falcone, and Eadie and Marco Tremere. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens as far as the gangs of Star City are concerned.
640. MIRIAM: And what of your friend Tegan? How is she handling things?
641. TERESA: Not so good. She’s refusing to see us. We got back to the house to find most of our belongings had been thrown out into the street. Much of it had been taken already by the homeless.
642. MIRIAM: I’m sorry, my dear, but you do look lovely in the gown I lent you.
643. TERESA: Yes, thank you, Miriam. After three separate trips into the sewers my own gown, aside from being ruined, was more than a little ripe.
644. MIRIAM: Well, thank you for the report. Marianne and I will be leaving in the morning but I need to say a few things to you before we go.
Whatever this affair set in motion has not yet reached its conclusion. My sister tells me that this is not over and that the threat she has been sensing, while reduced by your efforts, has not yet been neutralized.
There is a significantly bigger game in play than what has so far been revealed. I need to ask you to stay on a little longer. Perhaps even make this city your base for the foreseeable future (if you will pardon the pun).
Given your circumstances, I am arranging for you to have this suite when I vacate it tomorrow. And the League will cover the cost of replacing your possessions, of course.
645. TRENT: That’s extremely generous.
646. MIRIAM: Think nothing of it. We need you here. In fact the world needs you. This threat has not yet been vanquished and, until it is, the League of Adventure Seekers stands ready to support you.
647. MUSIC:  (BRIDGE) CLOSING THEME MUSIC — ESTABLISH, FADE UNDER AND CREDITS
CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS
NARRATOR: Hello, I am your narrator. I introduce the cold stormy nights on which our stories take place, the dark alleys, and darker personalities who inhabit the lonely city. It is my job to set the scene and establish the serious tone of suspense and intrigue that will carry the story forwards. It is also my job to remind listeners of what came before in a calm, trustworthy voice, and ensure that everyone is oriented to where we are and where we are going.
TRENT STONE: Hello, I’m Trent Stone, Adventurer. I’m always in command of the situation (except perhaps, when it comes to Tess — who can easily throw me for a loop). I say things like “indeed,” “hmmm,” and “I see” a lot, and speak in a way that friends of Clark Kent would find very familiar. I’m smart, observant, and quick to use my fists when required (but never impulsive). I sound like Joe College but I’m blue collar through and through. My lack of higher education is something of an embarrassment to me (but I’d never let on).
I’m aware of Tess’s flirting, and occasionally I wonder if it’s more than just a way to keep entertained on the job — mostly I just ignore it and keep on working.
TERESA CARTER: Hiya. Everyone calls me Tess. I’m the take-no-prisoners sort who can hold her own in the man’s world that is the concrete jungle of Star City. I’m college educated but have a mean right hook. I’m a reporter by training and a stickybeak by inclination — this tends to get me in trouble. Curious, playful, and smart, that’s me! But I’m also painfully honest, easily moved by the troubles of others, and as protective as a tigress of my friends. I secretly have a thing for Trent (who’s a bit of a stuffed shirt and easily embarrassed by flirting). We both pretend it’s not there for the sake of the job, but I can’t help occasionally feeling a bit wistful.
MIRIAM RIBBENSBERG: Good evening, I am Miriam Ribbensberg, the mysterious and beautiful President of the League of Adventure Seekers. While I display all the feminine graces, men are often surprised to discover I am a world-renowned aviatrix and coordinate an organization numbering almost 600 members. I am politically astute, unabashedly honest, and courteous in all circumstances. It is impossible to get me riled. If ever my enemies do succeed in killing me, I will die with composure and dignity.
THE TECHNOMASTER: You think of me as a villain, but you know nothing of what I’ve sacrificed. I was on my way to greatness when the Great War came along, a research scientist and inventor par excellence. I did my part and signed up, but a bullet in the back put an end to my days on two legs. A bullet in the back, mind you! I was hit by a stray bullet from our own side. And when I returned? Well, I was an embarrassment. I received a letter of thanks for my service, a medal — in the mail — and a tiny pension. That was all the thanks I got from my country.
No one wanted to hire a maimed researcher. I lost my home, my lab, the respect that was rightly mine, everything.
But, I remain a genius! And compared to the brainless, worthless, peons roaming this pathetic little city, I am a god. I will have my revenge and everyone will be forced to grovel at my feet.
THEO TYRONE: I’m the impeccably dressed and well-mannered Coroner of Star City. That means I spend my time around dead bodies. The dead keep no secrets from me. What I do is intimate and unpleasant, and I am long past attributing any dignity to the corpses which cross my tables. I occasionally forget how traumatic it can be to encounter my workplace if you have spent your life sheltered from the ugliness of death and, even when I attempt to show sympathy, it comes off a little hollow and my natural impatience shines through. Try not to waste my time.
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