After finding an earring, Steve, Mark, and Barry are heading back to Spindrift when a giant, Gorak, comes out to the forest. The Earthlings hide and Gorak secretly leaves an envelope in a stump while pretending to adjust his shoe. Once he leaves, another man comes along and takes the envelope, while Gorak watches from hiding. Two policemen arrive and yell at the man to stop. He runs and they wound the man then search him for the envelope. Once they find it, one policeman takes him away. while the other one searches the forest.
As the Earthlings head away, Gorak spots them and Mark drops the earring. He's forced to abandon it and the4y hide behind some roots, and Gorak kneels down to spot them. As he reaches for them, the policemen approach and Gorak is forced to leave.
After nightfall, the trio returns to Spindrift and have everyone turn off the lights. They get into the ship while Dan calls from the outpost. The police are searching the forest for Gorak, and Dan tells Steve that some of them are heading toward Spindrift. Steve tells Dan to get back to the ship, and picks them up on the radar. Once he goes to tell the others, Barry in the cockpit hears someone from Spaceship RFX23 call on the radio for other Earthlings. The others come in and Steve doesn't recognize the code designation. He has Barry get his code designation book and responds to the caller. The caller finally responds and claims that his name is Captain Hartman, and he crashed three days ago. Hartman has repaired his ship and asks if he can be of help, and says that he has room for extra passengers. The radar shows more police coming and Steve tells Hartman that he'll call back as soon as he can.
The police pass near Spindrift and Dan arrives. They tell him about RFX23 and Steve calls Hartman back. Hartman mentions Hadley Space Center and asks where their position is, and Steve says that they'll come to him. The captain agrees and gives him directions, and Steve says that there are police in the forest and they can't get to him. Hartman warns that he may not be able to wait, and Steve says that they'll come as soon as possible. Steve cuts the connection and , he tells the others that they'll check it out when it's daytime.
Once Steve leaves, the others figure that he's lost his mind and confront him. Steve points out that they didn't see or hear a crash landing three days ago, and that Hadley was closed four years ago. Mark points out that when they left, the Pentagon was talking about reopening Hadley. Steve refuses to go into a trap, and Mark suggests that he ask Hartman some questions that only an Earthling would know. The captain notes that Hartman could track their radio signal, and figures that being cautious could save their lives.
After everyone else goes to sleep, Fitzhugh sneaks off and goes to the rendezvous. Valerie follows him and says that someone has to talk Hartman out of leaving. Fitzhugh agrees and they go on.
Later, Steve discovers that Valerie is gone. They confirm that Fitzhugh is gone as well, and Steve figures that they're walking into a trap. He and Dan go to find them while the others wait by the radio.
Fitzhugh and Valerie reach the rendezvous, and Steve catches up to them. As they start to go back, Gorak captures all three of them in an empty can. Dan sees Gorak go into a nearby camouflaged cave and radios Mark and the others to tell them what happened. The co-pilot tells Mark and the others to stay put and maintain radio silence while he tries to rescue their friends.
Gorak puts his prisoners in a wooden box and apologizes for luring them into a trap. He admits that he posed as Hartman and says that there was a spaceship that crashed, killing everyone aboard. Gorak used the salvaged radio to contact Spindrift. As Dan crawls under the camouflaging, Gorak explains that he's a university professor and needs their help. The man they saw died before they could get him to the interrogation room, and the envelop contains the names of 20 dedicated members of a freedom underground organization. Gorak is their leader and they're sworn to overthrow the tyrannical government. The letter is in code, but the police decoding expert is out of town on another assignment. They must destroy the letter before the expert returns. The letter is in the vault of the security police building, and only a little person can break in.
Dan rustles some branches outside the cave, and Gorak hears them. Dismissing it as random noise, he shows his captives a blueprint of the building with the air vents marked. Dan makes more noise while Gorak says that all they have to do is burn the letter and get out via the air vent. He goes to investigate the noise, and then goes back in and says that he's expecting a messenger. Gorak tells his captives that he's going to find the man, and puts a peg through the hasp to seal the box.
Once Gorak leaves, Dan goes back inside the cave and goes to work on the hasp on the box. With the others' help, Dan manages to pull out the peg and open the hasp.
At Spindrift, Mark prepares to call Dan. Betty objects, and Mark says that he's going to cave to help and tells Betty and Barry to come with him.
As Dan tries to get the box lid open, Gorak returns and Dan realizes that there's no escape.
Mark, Betty, and Barry reach the cave and they go in to check it out. They find Dan's pocketknife on the ground but no sign of their friends or Gorak. Figuring that there's nothing they can do, they head back to the ship.
Gorak goes to the security building with the four Earthlings in a pouch. He places Steve and Dan by the vent but insists on keeping Valerie and Fitzhugh. They enter the vent and Gorak walks away. Inside, the two men discover that the foundation has crumbled. They soon realize that there's no chance of clearing it and go to find another way in.
Steve and Dan follow the vent to the vault lobby where two policemen are standing guard in front of an electric barrier. Another officer wheels in the mail on a cart and they shut down the barrier long enough so he can enter the vault, drop off the late-night mail, and leave. The two men go back outside and tell Gorak what they've discovered. Gorak gives them Fitzhugh to help with the digging and leaves. Steve has an idea and goes after Gorak, and tells him that he saw late-night being delivered. He suggests that Gorak put one of them in a package, mail it in, and then the others will break through the vent and free him. Gorak says that he'll get a mailman's uniform and deliver the package himself, while the Earthlings get the others to help them dig. Steve says that the Earthling with the most experience with combination locks will break in, and asks Fitzhugh if he'll do it.
Despite his objections, Fitzhugh soon finds himself in the package. Gorak gives him a razor blade to cut his way out and some matches to burn the letter. Steve gives Gorak a radio to give to Fitzhugh, and the giant closes the package. They test the radio and get a candle to provide light for digging. Gorak puts them in his mailbag and drops them off outside the security building Mark stands watch while the others go in and start digging. Gorak gives the package to the sentry and the man takes it inside. Mark tells the others that Fitzhugh is in and helps dig. Steve sends Barry to the lobby to report when Fitzhugh makes it into the vault.
As the sentry delivers the package, he almost drops it... and knocks Fitzhugh unconscious. The officers put the package in the vault, and Barry goes back to tell the others what happened. Steve calls Fitzhugh on the radio but gets no response. The men go to the lobby and figure that they have to get into the vault. Steve calls Gorak, unaware that the sentry has captured him. When the sentry hears Steve on the radio, Gorak knocks him out and Steve tells him that they need to get to Fitzhugh. He tells Gorak to turn up the volume on the radio and shout.
Gorak agrees and the guards hear him through the radio inside of the vault. Steve points out that the electrical barrier doesn't go all the way to the floor, and they can get under it. The guards open the vault door to investigate, turning the barrier back on behind them, and Mark goes back to the digging while Steve and Dan slip under the barrier and into the vault.
The officers find nothing, while Steve and Dan spot the box holding the letter. As the officers leave, Fitzhugh wakes up and the officers see the box shake. They start to open it, and Steve throws a penknife out the vault door to distract them. He then calls Fitzhugh and confirms that he's all right, and tells him to push his way out while he distracts them. Steve then sets the discarded wrapping on fire and hides, and the officers stamp it out. Fitzhugh climbs out but the officers spot him as he hides.
Steve tells Gorak that they're in trouble, and Gorak takes the sentry's rifle and goes inside. The officers spot Steve and Dan, just as Gorak comes in and sets off the barrier alarm. He kills one officer and the other one shoots him before Gorak can dispose of him as well. Dying, he gets the envelope and tosses it to the Earthlings, and begs them to destroy it. They burn it and Gorak thanks them and tells them to run as he frees Valerie
The others break through the vent, and they all get out as more officers run in. The Earthlings head back to Spindrift.
Written by Gadfly on Jun 15, 2017