The Outer Limits (1963) s01e31 Episode Script

The Chameleon

No! ( man ) There is nothing wrong with your television set.
Do not attempt to adjust the picture.
We are controlling transmission .
We will control the horizontal.
We will control the vertical.
We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity.
For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all you see and hear.
You are about to participate in a great adventure.
You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to The Outer Limits.
( man on loudspeaker) Attention ! lf you can understand us, please listen .
We are again asking you to come out and meet with us.
You will not be harmed.
Repeat.
You will not be harmed.
Please come out.
( man ) The race of man is known for its mutability.
We can change our moods, our faces, our lives to suit whatever situation confronts us.
Adapt and survive.
Even among the most changeable of things, man is quicksilver.
More chameleon -like than the chameleon .
Determined to survive, no matter what the cost to others or to himself.
(door opens) Don 't you ever go to sleep? Do you? l try, but l have bad dreams.
Do you want some coffee? No, thank you .
Well? What idea do you people have now? - Sir, you should call off your plan .
- Leon , we've been through all that.
lt would be a tragic mistake to start shooting now.
Please.
An intelligence agent preaching ethics reminds me of Dr Johnson 's line about the dog walking on his hind legs.
lt isn 't done well, but you're surprised it's done at all.
- General, l wish you would listen - l don 't want to hear it! Please, understand my position .
l'm a soldier.
All l know is that the creatures inside that thing are both cunning and brutal.
A dangerous combination because we don 't know to what end they intend to use their cunning and brutality.
How do you know they have an end? - They must have! -Not everyone has an ulterior motive.
They didn 't come here to picnic.
And the way they destroyed that patrol They might have been frightened by them.
You can 't declare war over the loss of a few men 's lives.
Not any more.
There's got to be another way.
ls that why you came here? To sell me that insane scheme of yours? Only an insane scheme has any chance of working.
Know what l think? You join lntelligence because you haven 't gotten over wanting to play games.
l can 't afford to play games.
We haven 't established contact and that leaves me no choice.
At 0700, if we haven 't heard from them, we destruct.
Then prepare for an explosion that will destroy half this state.
What? That spacecraft, or whatever it is, contains fissionable material.
Maybe fuel, maybe weapons, but enough to make Hiroshima look like a bonfire.
- Where do you get this information ? - The Cal Tech people.
Here's the report.
That's one nightmare l didn 't have.
- Have l your permission for my plan ? - lt's just too incredible.
You'd never find anyone who'd volunteer.
Once he finds out exactly what the job involves .
.
no man would want to risk his life in that way.
l have my man .
l've had him all along.
( Spanish guitar plays) (cock crows) Leave it here.
l'm not finished with it yet.
We want to talk.
- Talk.
-Not here.
Talk here in the company of good tequila and warm music.
Poca por favor l can 't fix it.
l'm good with my hands, but not that way.
All l can offer is money.
lt's not enough, is it? - You haven 't lost your touch, Mace.
-No.
Who were they? Old enemies.
Old enemies never forget.
You don 't seem surprised to see me.
Sooner or later l figured you'd want me again .
lt's unusual.
You wanna know what it involves? Whatever it involves, no one else would do it, right? Can you leave now? - Any time.
- Wanna go pack? lt was spotted from the air about four days ago.
We know that it's inhabited.
Watch.
They seemed to sense they were being observed.
They don 't show any hostility here, but later that day, an army patrol was sent out to investigate.
The men 's bodies were found nearby, all but disintegrated.
Leon , kill that, please.
l've just got this report on your volunteer.
l'm just a little bit amazed.
- l was going to talk to you about that.
- lntelligence operates in strange ways.
You found a derelict for this job.
l've gone along with you so far, but General l picked the man l thought was best for the mission .
Best? Are you on some kind of scavenger hunt? - That report is not very complete.
- lt's complete enough.
Living in the wilds of Mexico.
No occupation .
No background.
Nothing to indicate reliability.
General, this man used to work for us.
He worked for us for quite a while.
He is very reliable and l know exactly what he can do.
Unfortunately, his identity was exposed by one of our links.
He was ''compromised'' and could no longer function as an agent for us.
We're lucky to get him back now.
ls that? Mace.
Louis Mace.
l'm sorry if l said anything, but l can 't worry about stepped-on toes.
- l understand.
- We have a crisis on our hands.
Chambers has convinced me that this insane plan of his has a chance of working.
- With Mace it has.
- ls he right? Do you think it's possible for you to pull off a masquerade like that? Masque rade ? You do know what you volunteered for? -No.
lt doesn 't matter.
- lt doesn 't? The mission calls for an experienced agent.
There are very few experiences l haven 't had.
On the plane, Mr Chambers promised me a new experience.
Whatever it is, l'll welcome it.
Leon , the blinds, please.
Whatever it is, Mr Mace, it's this.
We don 't know who those creatures are or what they want.
We can 't blast them off the Earth because our tests show that there's nuclear material inside that saucer.
We could be blasting ourselves off the Earth.
There's one choice, dangerous, improbable maybe .
.
and that's to get an agent inside with a hidden audio camera and let him try to transmit back everything he can to our monitors.
That way we can make some sort of an evaluation .
- Do you want to hear more? - Go on .
Here's the most extraordinary part.
As an agent, you've had to meet the enemy on his ground.
Correct? Yes.
ln a foreign country you're given a foreign passport and occupation , and a foreign life.
The trick is to blend yourself into alien surroundings so you're not noticed by the enemy.
Right? Usually.
Well, this mission requires you to spy on those creatures, but to do it at all, you'll literally have to become one of them.
- ls it possible? - lt's possible.
Dr Tillyard has been working on projects related to the adapting of man to new environments.
He can change you and afterwards bring you back.
l think l can .
We've learned a great deal about the nature of genes and we've been altering their structure to produce new characteristics.
l'll show you .
This monkey is one of my subjects.
l wanted to adapt a tropical creature with a polar climate.
Note the colouring that blends in with snow.
Underneath there's a layer of lymphoid tissue, which provides insulation .
- Also, he eats fish now.
- Yeah.
Wouldn 't touch a banana.
Dr Tillyard can give you a new life.
Beyond that, we can 't guarantee anything.
You'll be in enemy territory, on your own .
That must be clear to you .
Perfectly clear.
lf you agree, we've got to get started immediately.
lmagine the panic if the public found out before we learned how to deal with them.
l agreed before l came here.
l'm ready to start.
Come this way.
That'll be all for now until l make a breakdown of this blood sample.
Put your arm around that.
- Try not to be nervous.
- You try also, Doctor.
Mace, you're an extraordinary man .
The most extraordinary l've ever known .
l was about to say the same about you .
To have found a way of changing the human structure - That's truly remarkable.
- Maybe.
But l don 't risk my life.
l have one capacity, Dr Tillyard.
The capacity to survive.
You've survived against mortals, dangerous ones no doubt, but these are aliens.
The scales are balanced, then .
We are aliens to them.
l'll survive, Dr Tillyard.
Once again , their spaceship, or whatever it is, is located right here in this canyon .
Now, aside from the bizarre problem of your identity, this mission is no different from any other.
You'll be provided with a cover story Yes, a cover story.
lf they're advanced enough, they might possibly have the ability to monitor our broadcasts and translate our language.
Well, we want them to listen in now.
We'll fill the air with talk of another creature in the area.
You .
We'll pretend to chase you and hope they'll give you refuge.
Once you're with them, you will tell them that you landed long ago on Earth.
Crash-landed.
You remember nothing of your origin .
What little language you know you picked up from humans.
They may not buy it, but you may get long enough to accomplish your mission .
This is a replica of their clothing.
You will have an audio camera hidden in here.
This will transmit pictures back to our monitor.
We'll see everything you see simultaneously.
You'll also have a buzzer link.
lf, on the basis of what we view, we decide to destroy these creatures, you will be given a signal - (two buzzes) - .
.
like that.
Got it? (door opens) - You ready for him? - Ready.
You haven 't asked me yet how this transformation 's going to be done.
l thought l'd find out along the way.
lt might ease your mind to know something.
Facts can dispel fear.
lf you'd like to tell me.
We have a scraping of a creature.
We found it under the fingernails of a soldier.
l have an exact picture of their gene structure on tape.
l intend to reconstruct by supersonic sound that structure in you .
Every cell will be changed, except your brain .
Naturally, your mind and memory must remain intact.
-Naturally.
- Afterwards, we reverse the process.
Your genes have been formulised also and one tape will erase the other.
You mean to say that all l am .
.
everything that's me, is on that spool of tape? - That's right.
- Whatever you do, don 't lose that.
Would it be such a heavy loss? You can still change your mind.
No one will think the less of you .
No, General.
l've come this far.
lt's not too late.
l don 't think you understand me, General.
l'm not interested in becoming a hero .
.
nor do l have an overdeveloped sense of duty.
l'm doing this because l'm nothing more than an instrument for action .
Mr Chambers knows that also.
Between missions, l cease to exist.
l am what l've done and that's not always very pretty .
.
but being ugly is better than being nothing.
l have no one, l care for no one .
.
and l'm cared for by no one.
So all l have is what l can do.
All right, Mace.
Start counting backwards from 1 00.
.
.
98 97 .
.
96 .
.
95 .
.
94 .
.
93 .
.
91 .
.
89 ls it gonna fix the guitar? One constructive thing - What's he talking about? - Feel something for a change You'll be doing something worthwhile now, Mace.
Will l? ( humming and whirring ) What you're hearing now is Mace's life being rewritten .
- How long is this going to take? -Not long now.
The regrouping has begun .
(silence ) ( high -pitched squeaking ) - ls he all right? - Ask him.
Mace, can you understand me? ( high -pitched squeaking ) ( low moan ) ( low moan ) Are you laughing? - Mace, what is it? - You do look a little peculiar, men .
( low groaning ) ( helicopter whirrs) ( laughs) (radib ) This is X Y-24.
l've spotted him.
Check co-ordinates 64-37.
Repeat.
lt's in the vicinity of co-ordinates 64-37.
Seems to be heading in the direction of that ship.
Over.
This is General Crawford.
lf you can , try to scare him back toward us.
Over.
(radib ) Visibility is good.
l'll do everything l can , General.
l'm sending out units now.
Keep this hot.
Stay on it.
Well, he's got his cover story now if they're listening.
( laughs) There he is.
(radib ) lt's approaching the ship.
Mace will make it.
He's the best man we've got.
ls that good enough? - His camera's functioning.
- ( General) And he's still alive.
( Mace laughs) Why does he keep laughing that way? l don 't know.
lt's as if he knew something that we could never know.
Don 't try to struggle.
You are imprisoned in a force field.
( laughs) lt's a good impersonation , Earthman , but we know who you are.
The way one of your dogs can tell a cat.
You can understand our language.
And the rest about you .
Your spur is fear.
Your answer is destruction .
You would destroy us and we have done no harm.
You killed those men on that patrol.
- They tried to kill us.
- l'm not here to kill you .
l have no weapons.
l couldn 't kill one of my kind.
One of my kind? ( laughs) -No, l meant that.
- You're not one of our kind.
l feel l belong here, that l've been here.
lt's useless.
The charade has ended.
l think l know what this equipment does.
That's a weapon .
.
and that's a sun converter.
You're guessing.
You come from a warm, yellow planet and you crash-landed here when your converter broke down .
- You can 't know about us.
- l do.
lt was your genes from the fingernails of a soldier that transformed me.
l'm part of you .
We shall be back.
We wish to decide about you .
l advise you not to try and escape this force field.
You might harm yourself.
He was guessing about all that, wasn 't he? l don 't know.
The brain cells shouldn 't have been affected, but this is the first time we've experimented on a human being.
Are you suggesting? We may be losing our agent.
Not through death, but through defection .
We've tried to adapt him, sir, but l'm afraid he may be adapting too well.
ln trying to combat those creatures, we may have contributed to their number, sir.
Perhaps our cellular blueprints did produce you .
On our planet, the altering of genes is well within our knowledge.
And so we've decided we will not harm you .
We have no wish to harm anyone.
We wish only to return home.
- (alien ) But we insist you come along with us.
- ( Mace ) You want me? The reason we did not communicate with you is because we must not make contact with any destructive society or leave them any trace of ourselves.
Our knowledge must not become known by someone who would pervert it .
.
who would use it ruthlessly for aggressive purposes.
You are, if only in part, one of us.
You know what we know now.
For that reason , you cannot be left on Earth any more.
Go to another planet? lt will be a new experience for you .
A rich one.
We do not mistrust each other there and we do not live in fear of war.
That's true.
And l also know something else now.
You have no atomic weapons up there or on this ship.
(alien ) No, we do not.
But we affected your instruments so it would appear that way.
lt was our only way of thwarting an attack.
Will you come with us peacefully? We leave as soon as our ship is repaired.
My origin is on this planet.
l still belong here.
- Do you? - l'm an agent was an agent.
l was sent to accomplish a mission .
l have a life to go back to.
What kind of life? ls it a better one than the life we offer you? lt's a life l've learned to accept.
Accept or resign yourself to? Please don 't make us force you .
We want you to want to share our life.
What a trick on Chambers.
( laughs) What a wild joke.
But he'll understand me.
He always has.
- You'll come? - l want to.
We can use your help with our repairs.
Come.
- He can 't go with them.
- He can .
And maybe that's all right.
- For Mace maybe that's all right.
- You don 't understand.
We have as much to worry about from them holding something human as they do from us holding one of them.
With Mace, they'd know all about us, all our strengths and weaknesses.
They could blackmail us or conquer us.
Get me Red Line.
- General! -No.
l can 't be talked out of it.
They have no atomic explosives.
We can deal with them the way we should.
But they may be just a peace-loving people.
There's too much at stake to take that chance.
- Mace is in there.
You'd be killing him.
- l'm sorry about that, Doctor.
lt's an awful thing to sacrifice a man , but we can 't trust the unknown in case it's far more awful.
Hello? Get me Colonel Stevens.
- Wait.
Let me give him the signal.
- But he's joined them.
What's the good? l'm counting on a conditioned reflex.
Mace has never been disloyal.
He has always executed his mission .
This may be our last hold on him.
Stand by with your artillery, Colonel.
l'll get back to you .
Go ahead.
(two buzzes) (two buzzes) Mace, you've done things you've hated before.
You've never failed me yet.
(two buzzes) No! ( loudspeaker) Mace Mace! - We've got our man back.
- l'll send help.
That won 't be necessary, General.
No You were right.
You see how destructive we Earth people are? You are right.
Would you still have me come along with you? lt's a long journey to my planet.
lt would be better to make it with a friend.
Come.
Mace ! Mace ! Come back! This is General Crawford.
l'm ordering you to come back.
l'm sorry.
l can 't obey.
Mace , they co u d use yo u Get information about us which could prove disastrous to us if they attacked us.
No.
l'm neither Mace nor one of them .
.
but l know they spoke the truth.
- ( General) You can 't go with him! - l can .
l've completed your mission .
l'm going to a warm, yellow planet where there's no need for a man of brutal action , where the chameleon no longer has to change his colouring to survive.
Get me Red Line.
want Co ono SSteve ns Colonel, signal your artillery.
l don 't want that ship to l don 't want that ship to be interfered with.
Did you get that? Let it take off.
l want no interference.
No interference.
(engines roar) ( man ) A man 's survival can take many shapes and the shape in which a man finds his humanity is not always a human one.
We now return control of your television set to you until next week at this same time when the control voice will take you to .
.
The Outer Limits.