This was the planet Mars as my crew and I first saw it.
Alive with something we came to know only as...
This is what we faced when our spaceship cracked up in landing just six months ago...
In January of this year, 1973.
But it seems as if six centuries passed before a rescue ship arrived...
For today, of all my crew, I, col. Edward Carruthers of the United States space command, am the only one alive.
Now, I will be going back to face my superiors on earth in Washington.
And perhaps there, too, I will find another kind of death.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, as you know, the first attempt to send a spaceship to the planet Mars was made 6 months ago.
We knew that that ship, the Challenge 141, had reached its destination.
But that's all we knew.
Teleradio communication with Mars ceased immediately.
And we were forced to assume that the ship and crew had been lost.
The man in charge of this expedition was a man who had become known to the world as the first man to be shot into space.
The man who pioneered interplanetary space travel.
Col. Edward Carruthers.
2 months ago, we sent a second ship to Mars to learn the fate of col. Carruthers and his crew.
The president has asked me to pass on to you this significant news.
Col. Edward Carruthers has been found alive on Mars.
But there is a tragic side to this history-making event.
Col. Carruthers was the sole survivor of this first expedition.
1 hour ago, we received a teleradio communication from col. Van heusen, commander of the second spaceship.
This ship is now ready to take off for its return trip to the earth from Mars.
And col. Carruthers is being brought back for a court-martial to face trial for the murders of the rest of the crew.
The rescue ship is ready to return to earth.
I am to spend the next 4 months with strangers, a crew of men and women who have but one single purpose...
To see that I face a military firing squad.
The emergency air lock in c compartment has been left open. What gives?
Sorry, sir, that was me.
I was dumping some empty crates overboard a while ago.
Eric Royce, secure.
Mary Royce, secure.
Ann Anderson, secure.
Maj. John Purdue, secure.
Bob Finelli, secure.
Lt. James Calder, secure.
All right! Countdown.
Minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!
What are you thinking about?
Those 9 bodies you left down there?
But I didn't kill them.
Still sticking to your story about a mysterious creature.
Do you expect a court-martial to believe it?
It's all I can tell them.
I wish we could've stayed and searched for the bodies.
However, there's still enough evidence to put you in front of a firing squad.
You honestly believe I'd murder 9 of my closest friends in order to survive on Mars?
Isn't it logical, colonel?
The Challenge 141 cracks up in landing.
You know you're marooned indefinitely on Mars until another ship is sent.
If another ship is sent.
You know the food and supplies aboard would last the entire crew only a year, but they'd last you 10 years, if the others were dead.
Those people were killed by something.
I want to show you another something, Carruthers.
At least I appreciate the freedom of a ship.
Why not? Can you think of a better prison?
Aren't you afraid I'll murder you all in your sleep?
Either It. Calder or myself will be with you every second of the trip.
Take a look at this.
We brought the dental records of the first crew from earth.
This is frank kenner.
We found it near the Challenge 141, the day after we found you.
There's only one kind of a monster that uses bullets.
The second we hit earth, I'm gonna jump through that air lock all the way to the ground.
Then I'm gonna roll around and stretch like a cat in the sun.
Oh, boy, the sun.
We'll be 50 million miles closer to it.
Even when I was a kid, I could never stand being cold.
How'd you ever win the ardmore fellowship in low temperature physics?
I wore long underwear. Ha ha ha.
Aah. That figures.
What do you look forward to?
I think I remember, a fascinating research.
Won't a geologist do?
You're, uh, military property, Ann.
Every time van sees you, he floats, even though the ship is equipped with artificial gravity.
These days, van seems more concerned over a manhunt, than a woman hunt.
It's just that Eric believes Carruthers' story, I don't.
I don't believe it, necessarily.
Nor do I disbelieve it.
However, one thing's sure: He does believe it.
He had to force himself to believe it or he'd go insane.
And I didn't do that, did I?
Missed your dinner, col. Carruthers.
I'm tired of ruining appetites.
I'd just like a coffee, if I may, miss Anderson.
Of course, colonel.
Better stay here, Carruthers.
Here's some last-minute computations on adjusting the orbit.
Look 'em over when you get a chance.
By the time we reach earth, I'll have his confession on tape.
Such a cold, desolate world. We saw so little of it.
Sometimes I almost want to believe you.
I killed them or I didn't. It was me or something.
I've only heard the story through van.
Now you'd like to hear my version?
It's a long story, but I'll make it brief.
We were all outside the ship, exploring the Southern tip of syrtis major, suddenly a sandstorm came up and we started back.
I was driving the Jeep.
The sand was so thick we could barely see.
We were almost back to the ship when...
Cartwright just disappeared.
One minute he was there and the next minute he was gone.
As if something had just plucked him out of the Jeep like... Candy out of a box.
We heard a weird sort of sound.
Then we thought we saw a dark shape running near the Jeep and started shooting at it.
A few moments later, kenner and all the rest were gone.
I was the only one who made it back to the ship.
When the sandstorm quit, I...
Went out and searched all over.
There wasn't a sign of them.
How can you explain the bullet hole in the skull?
We were all shooting at this thing...
Maybe the one who got the bullet was lucky.
You don't believe me, do you?
I don't disbelieve you.
How about you, lieutenant?
Mars is almost as big as Texas, maybe it's got monsters.
Carruthers is still talking about his monsters?
Why don't you stop baiting him, van?
You're not using your authority very well.
I'm not doing it for kicks. Believe me, chicken.
I'm just playing the odds.
Your odds, because you think he's guilty.
But, Anne, there's a time factor involved here.
He's unstable right now.
If I crack his story, I can turn him over to the court-martial tied up in a little pink ribbon.
What if he's done nothing to confess?
Then he won't.
But I owe it to the lives of those 9 men who died to try and find out.
Don't you owe it to Carruthers to treat him as a fellow officer, not as an animal?
Do you think he's innocent?
I don't know.
It's not for me to decide, or for you, van.
Ok, chicken. I'll let up on the third degree.
Looks like I either have to do that or get lynched myself.
It's you I'm worried about, van.
I hate to see you so vindictive.
Every move I make's worse.
Ah, come on, Eric, resign...
I haven't resigned a game in 30 years.
I'll be damned if I'm gonna do it now.
What was that?
I heard something.
I don't know.
I didn't hear anything.
I learned to hear all over again on Mars.
Who's up there?
Come, colonel, we got a game to finish.
Did you hear anything?
Now he's hearing things.
Come on, let's get him before he wakes up the others.
Hey, Carruthers, come on down here.
Kienholz is gone.
Kienholz isn't gone, he's probably just turned in.
I'll check his cabin.
He's not in his cabin.
Will you stop this nonsense, currathers?
Kienholz, do you hear me?
What's he hollering about?
I don't know. He can't find kienholz.
Kienholz, this is Royce. Reply at once.
Reply at once.
Joe, can you hear me? Reply at once.
Report at once to the quarters level.
If this is one of his jokes, I'll make him walk home.
Everybody search the ship.
He isn't here.
Not a sign of him.
This is ridiculous.
It's just plain crazy. Kienholz's gotta be here.
Where's your brother?
Funny, he was right behind me.
Maybe he went below.
But we were here together.
Now there's 2 of them missing.
This is ridiculous.
There's just no place on this ship for a man to hide.
Ay, gino, where are you?
Where can he be?
If he were here, he'd hear us.
Oh, look, maybe he's hurt. We've got to find him.
Lord have mercy on his soul.
First storage, c compartment.
Come quick. Come quick.
All hands on the double.
What's the matter?
Hey, maybe gino's up there.
No. No, he's not there.
If he's in there, we can get him through this hatch.
I'll go, I know the layout in there.
He's in here.
Gino. He found gino.
You're not gonna leave gino up there.
Get him out of here!
Get my brother outta there.
Get out of here, will ya?
Get a head start. Go!
What are you gonna do with those?
We can wire 'em up to the hatches.
Let's do it!
Put up the grille. Hurry up.
There wasn't anything else to do, Bob.
I know how you feel, but there wasn't anything else we could do.
We could've tried.
You heard what Jack said. Gino was past help...
We should've tried.
Sooner or later, he's gotta come out of the duct.
Right into the grenades.
There, you'll be all right, but you have to rest.
Jack, nobody blames you.
Do you know what happened to kienholz?
Every bone in his body must be broken.
I'm not sure that's what killed him.
That shriveled-up effect...
I'll have to do an autopsy.
What is that thing down there?
What is it?
Do you know what it is, Carruthers?
I have a theory based on what you and Jack told me.
You say it's man-shaped, humanoid.
Perhaps there was once a civilization on Mars.
It ended. Disease, war, something terrible.
The martians that were left went back to barbarism.
Maybe that's what we've got on board.
I was only 3 feet away from him.
He was shaking his head, trying to warn me.
I was that close and I couldn't help him.
Instead I ran.
Why don't you hate me, too?
At least Carruthers did what he thought was right.
If anybody did a wrong thing, it was me.
But please believe me, we couldn't of saved him.
Gino knew that. Gino knew that himself.
I don't blame Carruthers, you, I don't blame anybody.
It's just that he's down there.
How could that thing have gotten aboard?
And why? Just to kill us?
What is the usual reason an intelligent creature kills.
What makes you so certain it's intelligent, colonel, not just an animal?
It opened the door to c compartment.
Those gas grenades that gino made up.
He joked about them, said if we ran into any dinosaurs on Mars, the grenades would take care of them, but... If nothing else works, maybe gas?
They're in the chemical cabinet, Eric.
We'll use them as a last resort.
Jim, will you get out the gas masks?
The second storage hatch. Close it! Close it!
Bullets, grenades, nothing stops it.
What do we do now?
What'd you find out?
There's not a molecule of oxygen or a drop of water left in kienholz's body.
Blood, bone marrow, glandular secretion, moisture in the tissues...
Every ounce of edible fluid in his body is gone.
Probably through some osmosis process, there are no punctures.
That's what killed him.
Cellular collapse and dehydration, not being crushed into that duct.
It holds together.
Mars is a world almost totally without water or oxygen.
The creature's entire being is probably organized to feed in that manner.
It preys on smaller creatures, which in turn feed off the sand itself, converting their intake and hoarding it as water.
I'm worried about van.
Infection's set in and I can't seem to control it.
It's exploring, testing.
It can get through the center hatches.
It has to kill us or starve, and we've got to kill it or die.
Why is it so quiet now?
Why doesn't it attack?
'Cause it's got gino, huh?
Bob, look, I've got an idea.
How is he?
It's an alien bacteria of some kind.
So far the infection isn't critical, but our drugs don't even touch it.
I know this may sound horrible, but you were right and we were all wrong.
It's taken this to prove it.
It's moving around.
Bob and I have a suggestion.
We could get around behind the creature by going out the control room emergency air lock, moving down the hull to the emergency air lock on the motor level.
That would put us one level below it.
We might be able to surprise it that way.
If we knew what to surprise it with.
I've been thinking of something.
At least, it's worth a chance.
Exactly 520 minutes, 10 seconds, now.
We'll time it to get to the motor level air lock at exactly 525.
Start making noise then, not a lot, just talk, move around.
Don't make it sound threatening.
Just enough to keep his attention away in case we make noise coming in below.
Good luck, in case we don't come back.
I said, "good luck, in case we don't come back."
The plan is a simple one.
While the rest try to hold the attention of the beast with their talk and footsteps, we will attempt to get to a level below the monster.
Our only hope is that this will be the last attempt we have to make to kill the thing.
I've gotta fix that pillow for van.
I'm sure they will. They'll be all right.
I hope they're making noise.
Do you think they're gonna be all right down there?
Grenades, gas and bullets have failed to stop the beast, but perhaps it can be electrocuted.
There's enough voltage in these lines to kill 30 human beings.
The only drawback is, the thing isn't human.
I know, but they'll be back up. They'll be all right.
I can't make it. My leg's broken!
Get out! Get help!
I've switched the intercom to pickup his suit-radio.
Calder? Calder, can you hear me?
Loud and clear.
It's nice to have company.
Are you all right?
I'm alive, if that's what you mean.
I picked a good spot, right between the induction pumps.
You mean it can't get at you?
It could, if I didn't have this torch.
To reach me, it has to stretch down in.
Every time it does, I give it the torch in the eyes.
Can you reach the lock?
No. No chance.
Looks like I'm here for the duration.
Oops! Here it comes again.
The plate on this torch says, "good for three hours continuous use."
And to return it for your money back if unsatisfied.
Hang on, Jim.
We'll leave the intercom on. Just hang on.
Sure. What else?
Will you keep us informed of its movements... we'll try to figure how to get you out.
Just send care packages.
You know, if that thing should attack the induction pumps or...
The bank of control relays, we couldn't maneuver the ship or land it. we'd just...
Drift right past earth towards interstellar space. We'd...
So I decided after one bad marriage to bury myself in science.
I didn't want anybody.
Van changed your mind?
If we get out of this, I'd...
The bacteria is attacking the bone marrow, resulting in a leukemia condition.
I can fight it with drugs, but slowly.
If they're going to live, they've got to have fresh blood constantly...
And there's no more up here in the dispensary.
Then we've got to go down and get it.
You couldn't help Calder.
You had to...
You had to leave him there.
What did you do, Carruthers?
Throw him in as bait so you could get away?
How come you...
How come you always get away without a scratch?
He doesn't know what he's saying.
I heard that. Tell him he's nuts.
Van heusen's got it all wrong.
Hey, can anybody hear me?
Van heusen's got it all wrong.
We hear you, Jim. Thanks.
Somehow we've got to get that blood.
Well, this time it's my turn.
I'm going with you.
All right, we'll make a run for it.
One thing, remember there's only 10 feet of ladder between it and us when we get down there.
So, we better take it slow and easy.
One sound, and we're dead.
Let's take our boots off, huh.
Here are the inventory numbers.
Type o, compartment x-1, storage b.
They're all marked.
I'm with it.
I'll let out a shout if the critter even looks at the ladder.
Right now, it's just prowlin' around.
Hey, this might be worth something.
It just went in the reactor room.
This might be the break we're waiting for.
It took gino with him.
Calder, listen, I'm going to close the door to the reactor room.
Let me know what he does, will ya?
Nothing. Not a squawk.
We're Comin' down.
Van'll appreciate it. Come back.
Maybe we can get Calder out of there now.
Take a look.
We'd better hurry and get that blood.
Easy, Bob, easy. No noise!
No! Van, no!
No! Let me go!
Let me go!
Let go of me. Van...
I know what I'm doing.
We can unshield the reactor.
The radiation... The radiation will kill it.
It's too dangerous while they're down there.
If the creature breaks loose he'll...
Wait until they come back.
It's a good idea, but, van, please.
Now is the time.
No, van, please.
Hurry! Van unshielded the reactor.
I hope that door holds if it wants out.
Bob, hurry up.
It's enough to kill 100 men.
Get up the stairs.
I'll be all right.
No, I'm not leaving ya.
It won't die.
Eric, hurry. Hurry!
What about Bob?
There's nothing we can do!
Get that blood up there fast! Don't stop!
Get up to the control level. Hurry!
Be careful, dear.
At least down below I could've died on a mattress.
You'll be all right.
You'll be all right.
I guess it... I guess it looks like it's you and ed now, huh, chicken?
What do you mean?
I got good ears. I can hear.
You and him, just out of nowhere.
Let's talk about it later.
There isn't any later, the way things look.
That's why I asked now... I, i...
I just got to know.
Anne, where are the flashlights?
Better get Goin'.
Am I going to make it? I mean, if all of us get away, uh...
Okay, Mary, I understand.
I'm the guy with all the answers.
There is nothing to do but wait now, nothing to do but see if the beast will reach us through the center hatch.
We can go no higher.
We are in the top level of the ship.
This is where either we die, or it dies.
Don't ask me why I bother.
Good. Can you see it?
Big as death.
It's been sitting here for the last half hour, licking its chops.
Incidently if anybody's interested at this late date I got it figured how the critter got aboard.
It Must've followed us back to the ship, after we picked you up, climbed one of the fins just before takeoff and got in through the open emergency hatch in c compartment.
How's the air down there?
My suit-tank helps, but it's about empty.
It's going up the ladder.
I can hear it prowlin' around up there.
Anne, Mary, get those flashlights on quick.
Ed, it's going up to first storage, banging on everything it passes.
It's Goin' nuts.
Can you get to the air lock?
Why? Look at the pretty stars through my broken faceplate.
Get in the air lock and hide there.
Take a look at this.
The oxygen consumption's way up.
40 percent over every previous maximum.
40 percent! Perhaps the gas from the grenades.
No, that wouldn't affect it that much.
It's not a leak, the pressure's all right.
Are you thinking the same thing I'm thinking?
It must have enormous lungs from the thin air on Mars.
Let all the air out of the ship.
If we can do it in time, we can kill it.
We can build up our air supply later.
Get your spacesuits on. Quick!
Drive him below so I can get to the air lock.
You have been called here again to receive further information about the story which was given to you last night.
I will read you the text of a teleradio message received from the Challenge 142 less than an hour ago.
"This is Eric Royce talking.
"Of the 19 men and women who have set foot upon the planet Mars, 6 will return.
"There is no longer a question of murder, "but of an alien and elemental life force.
"A planet so cruel, so hostile, that man may find it necessary
"to bypass it in his endeavor
"to explore and understand the universe.
"Another name for Mars is death."