Carl drives through the underground hallways of Merrymount Archive on a golf cart, watching behind him. He pulls into the rock tunnels, stops, gets out, and records what has happened to date now that "it" is after him.
April 20, 3:30 pm. Seismic expert Dr. James Verhyden and his tool packet Howard Kimper pokes around an undeveloped tunnel in the complex. They find several egg-like agate objects and Verhyden carefully removes the rock cocoon surrounding the objects. Verhyden then takes the rock back on the kart, while Kimper stays to secure the area. Something attacks Kimper from the shadows and kills him.
10:00 am, one day after Kimper's death, in Sector M of the same underground complex, journeyman electrician Lawrence Earl Coogan is replacing lights. The same figure comes down the hallway, smashing the lights as it goes. Coogan tries to run away but trips and the creature kills him.
Carl arrives at the station when he learns that Lt. Irene Lamont is in charge of the case. Supposedly she had only risen so fast in the department because of her good looks and charm, Carl and two reporters question her about the police department's involvement with a routine industrial accident. She claims that it's a route investigation and the other two reporters cheerfully accept her story. Carl doesn't, and they insist that Irene is just doing her job. One reporter, Brian, says that he hopes to ask Irene out and warns Carl to lay off of her.
Going to Irene's desk, Carl tries to get the straight facts. Irene says that she likes his style and directness, but insists that they have nothing to talk about. Carl continues regardless and asks her why she isn't letting the relatives identify the bodies. She claims that it's a rumor and the bodies were so badly mangled that they saved the families the anguish. Continuing, Carl asks why the police hasn't released any details about the cause of death, and Irene says that there are special problems dealing with the Merrymount Archive Corporation, and they store government records. She begs off going into details, and Carl admits that he knows that she's going to Coogan's autopsy report.
At the hospital, Carl joins the autopsy team posing as a visiting doctor. He wears a surgical mask so Irene can't identify him. The coroner, Dr. Lamar Beckwith, determines that Coogan died just like Kimper: bitten to death by a large reptile. Carl quickly excuses himself.
Carl drives to Merrymount and puts his hat, camera, and recorder in a briefcase. The storage vaults are located two miles underground, and vice president and sales representative Tom Flaherty sees him come in. Carl claims that he's with a company interested in leasing storage space. Flaherty says that they're opening up a new sector and can't take him down, but Carl pressures him into taking him down. They reach the 10,000-foot level and the engineer, Ted Chapman, approaches Flaherty. Chapman insists that he and his men aren't going to work there unless they get extra compensation. Flaherty puts him off and Chapman storms away.
Irene and her men arrive at Merrymount and she sees Carl's Mustang parked outside. The receptionist says that someone matching Carl's description came in.
Flaherty shows Carl around and Carl asks about the "trouble" they had. The sales rep says that he's not at liberty to discuss it because of insurance regulations, and claims that the deaths were industrial accidents. There's a section marked off and a security guard on duty, and Flaherty claims that there's just more data.
In the central processing area, Verhyden is talking to the data storage director, Ruth Van Galen. Flaherty brings Carl in, and Verhyden demands to know when the locks will be changed. Verhyden complains about the mysterious occurrences and strange people, and asks who Carl is. He figures that Flaherty is in on the conspiracy or a pathetic judge of character, and threatens to go over Flaherty's head if he doesn't get the locks changed. Once he leaves, Ruth explains that Verhyden is the head of the government seismic lab. Merrymount is in a stable area so it's used for long-range quake readings. Carl asks about the people Verhyden was talking about and Flaherty quickly changes the subject and introduces Ruth.
As Flaherty shows Carl around, a call comes in for him. It's Irene, who tells him who he's really with. Carl overhears Flaherty talking and quickly slips away. He finds Chapman in the cafeteria about his union dealings. Chapman complains about the accidents, and figures that Carl isn't a buyer. Carl admits that he's an insurance investigator, and bribes Chapman. Chapman says that Kimper worked for Verhyden, who uncovered valuable rocks in Utah. Another geologist stole the rocks and took credit for the discovery. Chapman says that Kimper's body was found in Sector R, a natural rock tunnel that hasn't been used since the salt-mining days. Coogan was killed in Sector M.
An alarm goes off, and Chapman explain that he and his men are supposed to look for trespassers. He tells Carl that he's a fool for going out without extra hazard pay, and Carl quickly leaves. He drives a cart to Sector M and proceeds on foot. There are shattered light bulbs on the floor and Carl sees the creature approaching him down the darkened hallway. The reporter snaps several photos and then runs back to the cart and drives off. The creature cuts him off and Carl leaps off the cart as it slams into his pursuer.
Carl runs back to the cafeteria and finds Irene and her officers there. He says that there's something out there, and Irene arrests him for impersonating a doctor and trespassing. She takes his film and says that there are no photos allowed in a classified area. Flaherty comes in and claims that he played along with Carl. Carl tells them about the creature, but they don't believe him and drag him out. As they take Carl out, several men in worker's uniforms are standing by. The man in charge, Brody, says that he'll take care of Carl, insisting that Carl's trespassing falls in his jurisdiction. Irene overrides him and tells Carl that they're with the water department.
Later, Tony bails Carl out. He doesn't want to hear about Carl's monster story and tells him to keep away at the authorities at Merrymount. Carl grouses about the guys supposedly with the water department, and calls Arnie Wisemore. Arnie is out on parole, and Carl tells him that he wants him to deliver a package. Carl says that he'll give him the details later. Once he hangs up, Tony advises him not to get involved with Arnie. Carl figures that Irene has gotten to Tony, and Tony admits that she's a charming woman. He insists that they have a professional relationship, and he agreed to backpedal the investigation and she would call him with any exclusives. Carl tells him that Irene is never going to call, and that the authorities very high up are covering it up. He ignores Tony and heads back to Merrymount.
As Arnie prepares a crate, Carl goes through a book on reptiles. None of them walk upright, but some of them are photophobic: they don’t like the light. Arnie puts Carl into a crate marked for "precision instruments", and he takes him to Merrymount. The onsite workers take crate down below, and Brody's men march by in lock-step precision. Carl gets out and heads for Sector M. Verhyden is talking to Irene, telling her that all they found there were large agate specimens. Irene has him go over what happened on the day Kimper was killed, while Brody's men stand by with rifles.
Carl retreats and finds Verhyden's seismic lab. As he finds the agate specimens, Verhyden comes in and tells Carl to put the specimens down. He claims that they're an alloy he's working with, and Carl hears something moving behind the walls. Carl asks to see the specimen Verhyden found, and Verhyden angrily says that he's done letting people steal from him. The reporter asks him what he has that's worth stealing, and points out that the specimens look like eggshells. Carl says that he saw an eight-foot reptile in Sector 4 and asks if Verhyden found the eggs there. As Verhyden goes to call Irene, the creature smashes through the wall Verhyden attacks it and it smashes him aside. Carl runs out into the hallway and finds Brody's men waiting. They open fire on the creature when it comes out, but the bullets have no effect and it smashes through them. Once it walks off, Carl checks one of the bodies and discovers that it has Army dog tags. As he takes photos of them, Irene arrives.
In the cafeteria, Irene demands that Carl hand over his film. As he does so, he answers her question and says that he and Verhyden were talking about rocks. Carl points out that Irene has turned hard of ails, and Brody speaks up. He takes up the questioning and plays good cop. He admits that he's a colonel, and Carl figures that the Army thinks that there are more of the creatures around and they'll get into more government bases. He points out that the creatures might already be in the subways and underground tunnels. Brody says that they'll warn the general public when they think that the time is right. The lights go out as the creature tunnels near the fuse box. When Brody and his men turn on their flashlights, they discover that Carl has slipped away.
Carl goes to Verhyden's lab and then hears someone in the hallway. It's Chapman, who says that he's getting out. Carl asks him if Verhyden kept all of his specimens in his lab, but Chapman ignores him and runs off. The reporter finds a storage room in Sector O and breaks in. He finally finds the rock nest with the eggs. Carl puts the nest on a cart and sees the creature approaching, grabs some wood to make a torch, and drives to Sector R, watching behind him. He pulls into the rock tunnels, stops, gets out, and finishes recording his story.
As the creature approaches, Carl sets the nest on the ground and hopes that it will take it and go. He lights the torch and fends off the creature as it advances on him. It knocks the torch out of Carl's hand but then takes the nest and leaves. Relieved, Carl figures that the authorities will shut down the entire thing. As for the creature--the sentry--Carl admits that they'll never know if the government will find it. He then quickly runs for the surface.
Written by Gadfly on May 22, 2017