On the surface of the Moon, General Lee Stocker leads a force of three. The other two astronauts are Lt. Ernie Travers and Major Clint Anderson, and they travel collecting information on making the Moon fully inhabitable. Clint falls into a dusty sinkhole and the other two men pull him out. As they do, they reveal a white sphere about two feet in diameter and Clint pulls it out with him. They find no seams or markings on it, and Clint figures that it's Russian scientific equipment. He sarcastically comments on the medals that Lee has and how the Pentagon will give him another for finding the sphere
Back at the base, Professor Diana Brice is working in the research section. Out in the hallway, Lee tells Clint that his wisecrack was unnecessary. Clint says that he feels strongly about it, and Lee says that Clint has left him no choice but to send him back on the next supply ship. When Clint asks if it doesn't take much to irritate a sore conscience, Lee walks off without a word. Travers comes by with a cart containing samples, and Clint says that he'll ask around to see if he can appeal Lee's ruling.
Travers takes the samples into the research section and tells Diana and her assistant Dr. Tom Brainard. Diana has Tom put the moonstone on the table, and she runs her hands over it. Travers goes on his way, and Diana and Tom try to open the sphere with a laser. Lee comes in with Dr. Philip Mendl and Diana tells them that she's been unable to open the moonstone. They try again and fail, and Diana figures that the sphere isn't metal. She has determined that it's hollow. They scan it and pick up an unearthly screeching sound, and Mendl figures that it's collecting data electronically and sending it to the Russians. He says that he'll pass on the information to Washington and has Brainard go with him.
Once they're alone, Lee and Diana kiss and Lee asks if she loves him. He asks her to marry him, and Diana tells him that it doesn't make sense because of his military rank. Diana talks about how she's always thought that the military and the science are opposed. Behind them, five of the aquatic aliens appear and watch Lee and Diana. Meanwhile, Lee insists that he's not dedicated to destruction and wants to spend his life loving her.
Clint stands out in the hallway after drinking, and goes into the lab. He overhears Lee and Diana talking, and Diana accepts Lee's proposal. Clint quietly withdraws, and Diana asks if they can go to dinner. They go out into the hallway and find Clint, and Diana tells him that she and Lee are going to be married. Clint sarcastically congratulated Lee and goes into the research section. Lee tells Diana that they were in Korea together and something happened, and recently Clint has been undermining him so he's spending him back to Earth. Diana says that she'll talk to Clint, figuring that he can use a friend, and goes back into the research section. She finds Clint at the controls and he talks about how he's celebrating his departure. Clint says that she's marrying a murderer and tells her to ask him about a village in Korea and how he promised the people that he and his forces would support them if they rose up. Lee didn't, and as Diana goes Clint stumbles into a console and electrocutes himself. Lee tries to call for a doctor but the line is dead due to the electricity. He sees the aliens manifest on the moonstone. One of them fires a beam at Clint, healing him, and tells Diana not to touch Clint.
The alien identifies itself as a Grippian as Mendl comes in. The Grippian spokesman explains that they were in desperate flight and were heading to Earth but ran out of energy and landed on the Moon. It says that the five of them represents the most advanced minds in the universe, and the tyranny on Grippia wants to use their knowledge to conquer the planet and then the universe. The scientists have learned how to absorb knowledge from anyone and have learned how to speak English, and the tyrants could assimilate their knowledge so the scientists sought out asylum. The five scientists are mentally linked and they speak for each other. The Grippian spokesman says that they have realized that they could not survive on Earth because their sun is too weak to provide them with the energy they need. Earth's atmosphere diffuses the ultraviolet energy even further. A rescue ship is coming with energy for them, and the Grippian asks them to transmit a signal to the rescue ship because they're too weak. The aliens will give them the formula to modify their transmitter, and warns that they can only last 24 hours without more energy. The Grippian offers to feed their information into the base computers so their knowledge isn't lost, and Lee accepts.
A larger Grippian sphere hovers in space.
The Grippian scientists transmit their information into the computers. Diana tells Lee that Clint has recovered, and excuses herself rather than explain how Clint was injured. Travers confirms that the Grippian coordinates for the rescue ship and Grippia are good. The scanner unit finishes reformulating the transmitter equipment and moves away, and Lee has his people send the signal. The power levels hold and Travers sends the signal.
Clint comes in from the infirmary and stares at the moonstone, and Mendl tells Lee that the Grippians are giving them the formula to transmute matter into light and back again. He says that they'll need a decade to get one-tenth of what the Grippians know and they only have eleven hours. Lee asks to talk to Diana, and Clint walks off. Out in the hallway, Lee asks Diana what happened before the accident, and realize that Clint told her about Korea. He says that the Chinese sent reinforcements in and they were outnumbered ten to one, and he had to choose between his men and a handful of Korean villagers. Diana tells him that he should have done it even if the chance was minimal, and admits that it's hard to overcome her prejudices against the military.
Travers comes out and informs Lee that they've picked up a Grippian ship approaching them. They go back into the research section and Mendl notes that the approaching ship is decreasing velocity. The ship hovers over the Moon and the Grippian spokesman says that there's nothing more they can do and there is no rescue ship. The tyrants destroyed it and came to take them back. The spokesman informs the humans that they want them to surrender the refugees, and won't leave without them.
The tyrant's ship reaches the scanning area and destroys it. It then approaches the base and cuts off their communication. Clint sarcastically asks Lee what they should do, and the spokesman says that the tyrants will attack them if they don't surrender them. Lee asks Diana what she wants to do, and she says that they should do anything. Lee tells the spokesman to tell the tyrants that they promised them refuge and are going to keep that promise. After doing so, the spokesman says that the tyrants won't leave without them and they will attack because there is no alternative. Clint suggests that they put the moonstone in a shuttle so if the tyrants attack, they can launch the shuttle back to Earth.
Lee considers his options and then gives the orders to transfer the moonstone. The tyrants watch from their ship, and Mendl goes to secure the tapes of the Grippian knowledge as the others go to the shuttlecraft. The others hear Mendl scream as the tyrants fire eyebeams at Mendl. He staggers out of the research section and is reduced to ash. Diana cracks and says that they have to give up the refugees. The spokesman says that they will inform the tyrants of their decision.
The group returns to the research section and the tyrant ship withdraws for one hour. The humans are to take the refugees to the point of their furthest excavation, and the spokesman warns that the tyrants would pursue them to Earth and destroy the entire planet. Diana apologizes and the spokesman says they had no choice, and says that the devastation the tyrants cause will be much greater than what the humans have seen. Lee tells Diana that he's sorry that she had to learn things the way she did, and Diana figures that she couldn't have learned it any other way. Clint asks to go with Lee to take the Grippians to the excavation point and Lee agrees.
The two men take the refugee ship to the excavation point. The tyrant ship arrives and Clint puts the refugee ship on the ground. The spokesman thanks them for what they did and tells them to go quickly. Lee and Clint go back to the base, and they watch on the monitor along with Diana and Travers. Clint asks if Lee felt the same thing in Korea, and Lee admits that he did. The other astronaut says that he didn't understand, and Lee tells him that it can only be lived rather than understood.
The tyrant ship prepares to absorb the refugee ship, and the five scientists blow themselves up along with their ship so the tyrants can't take them. The humans realize that it was the only way, and Diana leaves with Clint.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 10, 2019