June 12, 1983
The sub-orbital transport Spindrift, Flight 612, is flying from New York to London amidst solar turbulence. Captain Steve Burton tries to contact flight control without success. In the back, passengers Commander Alexander B. Fitzhugh, young Barry Lockridge, engineer Mark Wilson, and heiress Valerie Scott sit nervously. They look outside and see a glowing disturbance in space. Stewardess Betty Hamilton asks everyone to return to their seats.
Co-pilot Dan Erickson tells Steve to pull up, but the pilot is unable to maintain control. The disturbance draws them in and they enter a corridor of energy. Betty comes forward to see what's happening, and they watch helplessly. Steve is finally able to gain control and they compute a re-entry. The captain notifies the passengers that they are approaching London as they descend into fog. There's no response and Dan spots a city below even though there's no signal. The pilots take Spindrift down before their power cells fade and they make a rough landing in the middle of nowhere.
There's still no response from London Control, and no one has come out to greet them. Steve and Dan go out into the fog while Betty informs the passengers that they've made an emergency landing. Barry, an orphan, asks Betty to help with his dog Chipper and worries that his cousins will miss him at the airport. Fitzhugh insists on leaving immediately. When Betty asks him to sit down and offers to take his suitcase, Fitzhugh angrily tells her not touch it. Valerie asks for a telephone to call her chauffeur, and Mark says that he needs to get to a $50 million dollar deal. He demands to see Steve and Betty assures him that the captain is going out to make contact.
Steve and Dan continue exploring and hear something roaring toward them out of the darkness. They realize that it's a giant car, twelve times the size of a normal one. It passes over them and the two men run when they hear footsteps approaching. They get back to Spindrift and order everyone to strap in. The pilots prepare for launch as a giant human boy steps out of the darkness and picks up the ship. A boy stares in through the cockpit windows, and Steve activates the engines. They blast out of the boy's grip and ascend to 5,000 feet, but there are impossibly large buildings around them.
Steve levels off when he realizes that they don't have enough reserve power to make orbit. He looks for a place to land and they put down in a giant forest. Once the ship comes to a stop, they tell the passengers that there'll be 24-hour delay while they explore their strange environment. Mark doesn't believe them and insists that he has to be in London when the banks open. He offers to pay Steve to get him there. He figures that someone is paying Steve to delay him, and Steve shrugs him off and orders everyone to their seats.
Later, Fitzhugh is sneaking out and hears Dan and Steve in the cockpit, discussing a report from London that there's police waiting for him regarding the theft of a million dollars. Fitzhugh goes out and Barry follows him out, holding onto Chipper. The commander shushes the boy and claims that he's on a top-secret mission. He says that there are enemy agents who want the suitcase and Barry says that he understands. Fitzhugh tells him not to tell anyone what he's said and then heads off into the fog. Barry follows Fitzhugh anyway and finally calls to him. A giant lizard emerges from the woods and chases them.
Betty tells Steve and Dan that Barry and Fitzhugh are gone. They send her to check with the other passengers and Steve prepares to turn on the landing lights at full power. Dan warns that it'll set their recharge back an hour but his friend insists. They see nothing in the lights and Steve prepares to go out. Valerie comes up and offers to go with him, but the captain orders her to stay put. He goes out into the forest and then calls back to the ship on his radio. Dan sets up a radar scan to pick up anything moving and reports a lot of objects moving.
Something approaches Steve and he grabs a branch as a makeshift weapon. A giant spider approaches him and Steve has no choice but to run off. Once he gets clear, Steve tells Dan that he's all right and orders him to stay put. As he moves on, Steve hears something behind him and hides. It's Valerie, who has followed him out. She refuses to go back alone, pointing out that anything could happen to her.
Fitzhugh realizes that the story Steve told them was true. As they head back to the ship, they hear something growling and cautiously move off. A giant cat finds them and swipes at the suitcase, spilling out the money. Fitzhugh, Barry, and Chipper run back to Spindrift and tell Dan that they have to leave. The cat follows them and swipes at the ship. Circuits blow out everywhere and gas leaks into the passenger cabin. Mark runs back to the engine compartment and activates the emergency cutoff. Dan fires the stabilizing retros in an attempt to scare the cat away.
Steve and Valerie find an enormous box with an open door. They avoid it and call Spindrift on the radio, but gets no response. As Steve tries to determine if the radio is working, Valerie enters the box despite Steve's order. He goes in to get her and the door slams down, trapping them. Steve tries to cut the wire screening loose, but a giant entomologist arrives to check his specimens before they can get free. The two Earthlings hide in a corner of a box and the entomologist picks up the box without noticing them.
Dan tracks the giant on the radar and realizes that he must have found what he was looking for. Fitzhugh is ready to write them off and suggests that Mark fix the engines. Dan refuses to leave without Steve and Valerie, and Fitzhugh goes to the storage bay and gets a gun from his coat pocket. Barry notices and Fitzhugh says that it's part of their survival kit.
The entomologist returns to his lab and his female assistant greets him. He sets the specimen box down and goes to work, and Steve manages to pry the screening loose. They hide behind the specimen box as the entomologist comes in to get a beaker and goes back to the adjoining lab. Valerie suggests that they ask the giant for help, pointing out that they appear civilized. Steve figures that the giants would consider them oddities and refuses.
Steve and Valerie find a spool of thread but the entomologist returns, forcing them to hide. Once he leaves, Steve lowers the thread down, anchoring it with a needle. He goes down first and Valerie knocks over a test tube, alerting the giants. They come in, grab Steve, and place him in a beaker. When Valerie tries to run, they grab her as well and place her in the beaker with Steve.
Dan and Betty create a makeshift grappling hook out of a safety pin, while Mark and Barry make an axe out of a broken razor and a matchstick. Fitzhugh points out the futility of it, and Barry reminds him that he has a gun. Fitzhugh draws it and orders Dan to take off immediately without their companions. Mark agrees to work on the engines but Dan refuses. He points out that if he's dead then none of them can fly the ship out. Fitzhugh finally gives up and Mark offers to go with Dan. Barry looks pityingly at Fitzhugh, who says that he's no military man. The boy hands Fitzhugh his gun and says that he could fight now, and Fitzhugh gratefully takes the weapon back.
The giants tape Steve and Valerie to microscope slides and study them, poking and prodding.
Dan and Mark search the forest and hear Valerie scream. They follow the noise to the lab, passing a drain pipe, and climb the steps. Going inside, they move beneath the table and Dan tells Mark to create a distraction while he climbs up to rescue their friends. Mark cuts through a gas hose and then uses a match to set it on fire. The explosion rocks the lab and the giants choke on the gas. Dan cuts Steve and Valerie loose with a scalpel and they climb down the line
The entomologist finally comes out to check on his prisoners and discovers that the Earthlings are gone. He spots them running for the door and grabs a butterfly net. Still coughing, he chases them outside just as Fitzhugh, Barry, and Betty arrive. The Earthlings head for the drainpipe but the giant snares Dan. Fitzhugh panics but Barry holds his hand steady and he shoots the giant in the leg. The others free Dan and enter the drainpipe, and the giant bends down and calls for them to come back. When they don't, he reaches in and tries to grab them. They slip and fall further into the pipe, and Fitzhugh shoots the giant's hand.
The Earthlings emerge from the other end of the drainpipe and Fitzhugh staggers off... and yells for the others. They discover that they're in a garbage dump, and Chipper wanders off. When Barry goes to get his dog, a giant dog approaches them. Steve has Mark take Barry to hide in an egg carton with Valerie, Fitzhugh, and Betty. The dog sniffs at the carton and Steve throws a discarded light bulb at it. The dog barks at him and then returns to the egg carton, and Steve uses a match and some cleaning fluid to create a flame and drive the dog off.
Once the dog leaves, everyone emerges from hiding and Fitzhugh insists that he can't go on without knowing what to expect. Steve tells him that's what they can expect and they head back to Spindrift.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 14, 2015