The X-iles

By Andy Lund


Inhabitants of the planet Zabdi, threatened with their planet being annihilated, look for a new, peaceful world to which they can migrate. They get a misleading impression that Earth is the right place when they hear a broadcast of a Christmas carol.


Alien Commander, 
Alien 2, 
Alien 3, 
Alien 4, 
Hostage 1, 
Hostage 2, 
Hostage 3.


(All scenes take place within the headquarters of an alien planet. Some attempt could be made to make an appropriate set/set up appropriate props. Costume of some kind for the aliens and the odd prop is pretty essential.)

Scene 1

Commander: (entering in conversation with Alien 2) It’s really getting more than urgent now. We’ve known about the situation for some time and the All-High-One says that unless we get something sorted out within the next 3 zillion years we’ve had it.
Alien2: How do you mean, "had it". Surely we’re safe for some time to come.
Commander: You heard what she said yourself. The planet of Zabdia is coming to the end of its natural life. We shall be plunged into eternal darkness. There have been all kinds of signs which anyone can see - craters appearing from nowhere, spontaneous combustion of various parts of the planet and some of the self assembly furniture’s coming unstuck.
Alien 2: I know all that, but surely there’s no need to panic.
Commander: I disagree …and what’s more, so does the All-High-One. She’s a forward thinking sort of leader. You only have to see how she saw off the invasion of the Glutonians to realise that.
Alien 2: Yes, nasty creatures from an even nastier planet.
Commander: I’ve got every confidence in her, and if she’s convinced that our life on this planet is severely limited - down to 3 zillion years - she’s probably right.
Alien 2: The thing is, what’s to be done? That’s the 60 million-pushtee question.
Commander: I really wish you wouldn’t come out with those awful Glutonianisms. That’s just the sort of language we don’t want to have here. We’ve got rid of them; we don’t want their awful slang instead.
Alien 2: Sorry. I just mean it’s important to have an idea about what we’re going to do about our planet reaching the end of its lifespan. I bet there’d be something in it for the Zabdi who came up with a halfway decent suggestion for a solution.
Commander: I should think so. After all, the All-High-One awarded a free holiday on Tikvah to the Zabdi who found a way of opening the packaging on our entertainment modules without destroying the contents.
Alien 2: She’s generous all right. I’d love to impress her with a solution to the destruction of our planet.
Commander: I suspect that problem’s in a different league. I tend to agree with her when she says we might have to leave. Not now, but in the near future. Maybe in the next zillion years even.
Alien 2: Yes, but where would we go? The commander and all the council are pretty particular about the kind of lifestyle we’ve built up here. And very jealous of it. It’s not every planet that has creatures as peaceful as Zabdis. You know what they call us - "the silent planet."
Commander: If the Glutonians had taken over, as they wanted, I don’t think we’d be saying that now.
Alien 2: True enough, but perhaps they did have the right idea in a way.
Commander: What are you talking about. They’re an aggressive, mean, nasty bunch of creatures whose only contribution to the entire universe has been the invention of a device to take nasal hair from Vaniahs, which as you know are the other creatures which inhabit their ghastly planet.
Alien 2: Yes, the one’s without noses.
Commander: So I really don’t think we’ve much to learn from them.
Alien 2: What I meant was that they tried to go to another planet…
Commander: Take it over, more likely.
Alien 2: Well true. We wouldn’t want to do that. That’s not our peaceful way of going about things. Not on the silent planet. But it might be a good idea to find a planet where we could emigrate. You know, take every Zabdi on the planet.
Commander: What, all 8?
Alien 2: Why not? It could be done.
Commander: I suppose so, but where do we take them? It’s not so easy finding planets that support a peaceful lifestyle. One where we would feel welcome with our way of thinking.
Alien 3: And one where the inhabitants hadn’t been plunged into total darkness, as we’re likely to be.
Alien 2: I know that we’ve not found one in the near vicinity, but we’ve been a bit limited in our contacts. I expect we’ve only been in communication with planets within a radius of 20 light years.
Commander: That’s because our equipment is so elementary. In order to talk to life forces at a greater distance than that we’d need a device with a fantastic range…it doesn’t bear thinking about.
Alien 2: That’s it!
Commander: What?
Alien 2: That’s how I can impress the commander and the council. (Thinking it out as it goes along)…If I were to come up with a new super dooper communication device …that would help us to talk to life forces in remote parts of the universe…where there’s bound to be peaceful lifestyles…then we could get into negotiations about emigrating…before we finally see our planet destroyed…the light finally going out. What do you think?
Commander: Could you do it?
Alien 2: I reckon so. After all I went to school for 3000 years. I must have learnt something.
Commander: Well have a go. Why not?
Alien 2: I’ll get cracking right away. It’s going to have to be a big undertaking, I mean a communication device with that range is going to take a lot of building…but, what the heck. When the All-High-One sees the potential, she’s going to be so ecstatic. I mean I might even get a holiday on Shicron. Maybe even the Award of the…
Commander: Steady. Don’t let your imagination run away with you. You’d better get along.
Alien 2: I’ll be back in a flash. See you in 50 years.
Commander: As quick as that?
Alien 2: Well, maybe 52.

Scene 2

Commander and Alien 3 enter talking
Commander: So he said, " I can build a communication device which will have a range of well over 150 light years."
Alien 3: That takes a lot of doing.
Commander: Precisely what I thought, but you know what he/she’s like. Won’t give up.
Alien 3: I’m really eager to see what kind of device it’s come up with. The mind boggles. It’s a massive undertaking.
Commander: I’m expecting it to come back fairly soon. It’s been over 49 years now.
Alien 3: I’ll hang about, if you don’t mind. This has got to be some invention.
Commander: Fine. In fact, here he/she comes now.
(Alien 2 enters)
Commander: Hello. You’re back sooner than we thought you’d be. Any luck?
Alien 2 (Obviously proud of the achievement): I’ll say so. I had a few false starts but once I’d got the relevant component parts with the right quality it was a piece of cake.
Alien 3: Where is it then. Have you got it in storage?
Alien 2: No, it’s here. (Takes out small torch. It is not used as a torch but can be spoken into, used as a display screen, listening device etc)
Commander: I must admit I was expecting something bigger.
Alien 3: The point is, will it do the job? The commander tells me you want to contact a remote planet with the hope of emigration.
Alien 2: Not just any remote planet. It has to have room for all 8 of us to start with and, of course, it must live according to the same peaceful lifestyle as we ourselves.
Alien 3: The Commander is likely to be extremely grateful if you come up with a way out of our dilemma. I could see you getting the Award of the Yellow Spiky Flower
Alien 2: Not the Award of the Yellow Spiky Flower!
Commander: Steady. Let’s not get its hopes up. We’ve not even seen the apparatus in operation yet. Come on, let’s give it a try.
Alien 2: Right, I’ll switch it on. Oh, blast, I’ve forgotten the power pack. Hang on a jiffy. (Disappears offstage and returns with massive battery, which he plugs in to device) That’s better.
Alien 3: See what you can tune into then. Only it’s got to be further away than Beta Interferon because we know all the planets between here and there and I wouldn’t want to send my pet Nekoda to a single one of them.
Alien 2: Right you are. Here goes. (Fusses with device - sound effect of hissing noises) I think I’m getting something…. Yes…
Commander and 3: (Eagerly) Yes?
Alien 2: No, nothing.
Commander and 3: (in disappointment) Oh…
Alien 2: No, wait a jiff…yes I think I’ve got something…yes (faintly at first and then louder, the theme tune to "Neighbours") Blast. It’s a jamming signal from Glutonia.. Just my luck.
Commander: Just the kind of unpleasant thing they’d do.
Alien 3: Try again.
Alien 2: OK, Here goes (Fiddles with torch again). Yes, I think I’ve got something. Yes…wait…yes - it’s kind of strange, but interesting. Have a listen - it seems to be some kind of call sign, but I didn’t quite get the name of the planet.
(Fade up singing of O Little Town of Bethlehem - verse 1)
Commander: It seems to be from the planet Beth Lee M)
Alien 3: And they certainly seem to have heard from us. Did you hear that? "The silent stars go by".
Alien 2: There must be other planets like us. This looks promising.
Commander: How far away is the planet Beth Lee M?
Alien 2: (Looks at device) it would appear to be 123 light years. The information display indicates it is also known under the alias Earth.
Alien 3: It’s sounding quite promising. Good feelings and not too far away. Can you get any more of that call sign message?
Alien 2: (Tunes in again) Yes, here’s something.
(Sound of verse 2 of the carol. When the line "Peace to Men on Earth" is sung the 3 aliens jump around, do cartwheels etc. Whatever you’re up to!)
Commander: That’s it. That’s the one. (Great excitement)
Alien 3: Peace is on their agenda. And what are they called?
Alien 2: The inhabitants appear to go under the name of ‘men’. (Checks on display again) That’s right, men. (Sound effect of signal giving up) Oh, dear. I’m losing them. It’s the power pack. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted to power source called Never Ready.
Commander: At least we have established that there is a planet out there which might fit the bill. One where there’s peace. And we have a fix on it.
Alien 2: That’s right. We’ve got what we need.
Alien 3: What shall we do now?
Commander: I suggest we need confirmation and some first hand experience of Planet Beth Lee M. This calls for a mission. We need volunteers to go to Planet Beth Lee M. It may need courage, bravery, ability to withstand hardship. Step forward volunteers. (Alien 2 steps back, leaving Alien 3 exposed)
Commander: Well done. Although I had thought more of a team.
Alien 2: Well, of course, I would have volunteered myself but as you know it falls to me to service the intergalactic coffee machine, an arduous and perilous procedure which I would not want to wish on anyone.
Commander: Of course.
Alien 3: There is my brother (sister). I’m sure (s)he’d be willing.
Commander: By all means go and get him (her), then. (Alien 3 exits)
Commander (to Alien 2): I thought you were on intergalactic coffee machine duties last time. Are you sure they’re not working you too hard?
Alien 2: You know me: everything for the planet.
(Alien 3 returns with Alien 4)
Alien 3: This is my brother.
Commander: I know that. There are only 8 of us on the planet. (Turning to Alien 4) Now look, this is the situation. The planet has a limited amount of time left to it. It can be measured in mere zillions of years. We need desperately to find another planet where we can head for in exile. A planet where peace is highly prized. We have located by means of a new amazing interplanetary device, called a …what is it called?
Alien 2: I have named it the Tracker of remote celestial habitations.
Commander: I like it. Perhaps we could patent it if you shortened the name.
Alien 4: I’m good with that kind of thing. I’ll just take the first letter of each word. Let’s see: Tracker of remote celestial habitations…err t- o- r- c-h.
Alien 3: What kind of word is that? I can’t see that taking off.
Commander: Anyway, the point is that your brother here has heard from life on the planet Beth Lee M, also known as earth. It is a planet, which appears to share the same ideals as ourselves. A longing to live in peace and goodwill. We were able to establish some contact…and then his power pack failed.
Alien 2: We thought we could gather more information on the planet by sending a mission of 2 of us. Unfortunately certain…err…pressing duties prevent me from going.
Commander: So you and your brother have been selected.
Alien 4: Thank you for this...honour.
Alien 2: If things go right there may be something in it… the Award of the Yellow Spiky Flower at least for the inventor of the t-o-r-c-h.
Alien 4: (Ironically) Great.
Commander: We estimate that planet Beth Lee M is 123 light years away. If you go to the launch pad now we should see you back here a week Thursday. (To Aliens 3 and 4) We wish you well on your voyage of discovery.
The All High One: (Enters to gasps and consternation) And so do I.
All: The All-High-One!
The All High One: I thank you for taking up the commission of the venture to save our planet. And yes, to show you my faith in you and in the mission I shall give you before you go the Award of the Yellow Spiky Flower. (Pins one on Alien 3 and 4. Alien 2 looks hopeful and then disappointed) Go, and may the gorse be with you!

Scene 3

Commander: Your All Highness, the Mission team is approaching and will dock in a few moments.
The All High One: Thank you, commander.
(Voice off: Mission team seek permission to dock on Zabdia. Mission team seeks permission to dock on Zabdia.)
Commander: Permission to dock granted
(Aliens 3 and 4 enter, carrying between them tinsel, crackers, Frisbee)
Alien 3: Greetings, your All Highness.
Alien 4: Greetings, Commander. We have returned from planet Beth Lee M
Alien 3: Otherwise known as Earth.
Commander: And have you brought good news for Her All-Highness? Is this earth a place where we might continue our peaceful existence? Is this planet truly one of peace and harmony? Were the reports we received correct?
Alien 3: Yes and…
Alien 4: No.
All-High One: There seems to be some confusion.
Alien 3: Which is exactly what we found. A great deal of confusion. We were able to lock on to the message we received from here once again.
Alien 4: In fact we have brought it back in its entirety (Operates torch. Strains of the carol again - verse 1)
Alien 3: But we were unable to locate the exact nature of this everlasting light in the dark streets.
Commander: What is a street exactly?
Alien 4: A street is a launch strip for the many mobility devices that the inhabitants appear to possess.
All-High One: Oh. From the rest of this message the aliens appear to place a great deal of hope on the appearance of an everlasting light.
Alien 3: Yes, and there is mention too of a holy birth, which will bring peace to men on earth.
All-High One: And has this holy birth occurred yet?
Alien 4: Apparently not as there appeared to be very little peace around.
Commander: So all is not lost. Perhaps when this birth occurs the situation will be changed.
Alien 3: We were able to bring back a great deal of those things on which the earth dwellers place so much reliance.
Commander: Such as?
Alien 3: This (Produces Frisbee)
All-High One: And what is that?
Alien 4: We were unable to establish that exactly. But many earth dwellers appeared to use them and were giving to each other whilst we were there.
Alien 3: It may be that the people of Beth Lee M have yet to discover the secrets of interplanetary travel and this may be their crude first attempts.
All-High One: How are they launched?
Alien 4: Err…they throw them.
Commander: They would appear to be several light years short of a universe.
Alien 3: We also were able to return with these esteemed items. (Produces box of Christmas crackers)
All-High One: Those being?
Alien 3: We are unsure...but judging by the tiny explosion produced when the earthlings operate them, this may well be the beginning of their attempts at fuelling their primitive interplanetary exploration programme. Also much is made of the messages received from inside the capsule.
Commander: Were you able to retrieve an example?
Alien 4: Indeed (unrolls motto on small piece of paper) ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’
All-High One: What exactly is a road?
Alien 4: Very similar to a street, your All-Highness
Commander: And chicken?
Alien 3: A small creature very similar to our Nekodas…except they don’t keep them as pets but eat them in vast quantities.
All-High One: So are they in any condition to cross the road anyway?
Commander: It’s all very confusing.
Alien 4: Exactly what we found.
Commander: I see you have another similar message with you. Does this also concern the fate of creatures destined for consumption?
Alien 3: (who has been holding a New Testament) It appears to be some primitive form of communication containing a code which we have yet to break.
Commander: Send it to the appropriate department.
All-High One: I expect that the only way in which we are to know the truth, to know if this really is a planet of peace, and to know if we could truly settle there, is for us to interview some of the alien creatures.
Commander: Surely you are not suggesting that you put your own life in danger by undertaking such a perilous journey.
All-High One: No, I was thinking that maybe a few err…representatives could visit us.
Alien 4: Representatives?
Alien 3: She means hostages.
All-High One: Could that be arranged, commander?
Commander: For your All Highness it would be a privilege. (Turning to Alien 3 and 4) I fear your duties are not yet finished. We would like to interview some of the life forms from Planet Beth Lee M.
Aliens: As you wish, commander.

Scene 4

(Three hostages are coaxed very much against their will into alien headquarters by Aliens 1,3 and 4. The All-High-One, the Commander and Alien 2 are seated very much like a bench of judges or an interview panel.
Hostage 1:(the youngest, clothed in bath towel and carrying sponge/rubber duck or the like) (shouting) Oi! Steady on, you’re hurting me. What are you lot playing at? Where are we?
Hostage 2: (a mechanic torn away from a job, so could be carrying spanner, oil can etc) Yeah, what’s the game exactly. And who are all these …err…people?
Alien 1: Just follow us, if you would be so kind.
Hostage 3: (Holding a toaster) Do we have a choice? I was just putting on some toast for my husband's breakfast when whoosh, I found myself caught up in a kind of tornado and whisked …to here…where are we anyway?
Hostage 1: Looks like something off Star Wars. Great! Beats having a bath anytime.
Commander: (attempting to be imposing) You are on the planet Zabdia….
Hostage 2: Never heard of it!
Commander: (ignoring the interruption) …and are privileged to be presented to The All-High-One, herself.
Hostage 3: (still holding toaster whilst trying to shake hands) Pleased to meet you.
All High One: Please put down all weapons. We are a peace-loving planet. We destroyed such primitive devices as these many light years ago.
Hostage 3: No, it’s not a weapon. It’s for making toast. Although, come to think of it, my husband does think some of my cooking’s a bit like biological warfare.
Hostage 2: Can we cut the cackle? Just what are we doing here. What’s gone on? I’m in the middle of an oil change on Mr Jones’ station wagon and there’s gonna be everything to pay for if he doesn’t get it back by tea-time.
Commander: May I explain. Some of our inhabitants from this planet of Zabdia have visited your planet…
Hostage 2: I knew it…you’re really The Spice Girls (substitute some appropriate group)
Commander: Please let me finish. We have sent missions out to your planet because we need to find a new home. Our planet has not much time left. We will be destroyed and plunged into eternal darkness. We desperately need to find a location where we can live in peace and tranquillity.
All-High-One: And the reports we received of your planet were most encouraging.
Alien 2: Yes I was able to build a device, which picked up your call sign. (Turns ingratiatingly towards the All-High-One) I worked long and hard on the device and sought no reward.
All-High- One: Nor shall you receive one.
Alien 2: (Disappointed) Of course.
Alien 3: The point is, we were able to pick up your message from your planet of Beth Lee M. A message of peace to men on earth, of a wondrous gift of an everlasting light.
Alien 4: It all sounded too good to be true. These are all things that we shall desperately need.
Hostage 2: What are you on about? We’re from earth; not…what did you call it?
Alien 3: Beth Lee M. There can be no doubt. We heard the message.
Hostage 1: (Excitedly) I know what they’re saying…I know
Hostage 3: Shh…best not to provoke them…best keep quiet.
Hostage 1: But I know.
Hostage 2: You know nothing, you’re just a kid.
Commander: So you have been invited here…
Hostage 2: Invited! You’re kidding. I was whisked away between oil changes.
Commander: And will be whisked back. As I say you are here so that we may better understand the secrets of Beth Lee M and decide whether we can join you.
Hostage 3: Beth Lee what?
Hostage 1: M M...M. Don’t you see. They are saying Bethlehem. What they’ve been listening to is a carol.
Hostage 2: It’s probably that Carol from the laundromat. She talks any amount of old rubbish. I shouldn’t be surprised if she’s an alien from the planet Washerteria.
Hostage 1: No not Carol…a carol. A Christmas Carol. They’ve picked up ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem.’
Hostage 3: You know, I think you’re right…’cos it has got a line about peace to men on earth…and the everlasting light, come to think of it…what a joke!
All-High-One: We trust it is no joke.
Commander: Our hopes are pinned on finding that what you have is real.
Hostage 2: (Somewhat afraid) Well…err..Not a joke exactly. It’s just that it’s the Christmas story. It’s what we tell to our children at Christmas…err at a certain time of’s not serious.
Commander: I see. So you are in the habit of telling your children...the next generation, as it were…something that is a story, an invention.
All-High-One: And there is no everlasting light and no peace to men on earth?
Hostage 2: Well not really. }Speaking at same time
Hostage 1: Yes there is }
Commander: Pardon
Hostage 2: Well not really. }Speaking at same time
Hostage 1: Yes there is }
All-High-One: This is unclear. Can we hear from one of you?
Hostage 1: There is an everlasting light. And the reason we celebrate and sing carols is because he came to our planet to bring us peace and to change our lives.
Hostage 3: If that’s the case, he didn’t make much of a job of it. I’ve not noticed much of it. Least not from what you read in the papers.
Hostage 2: Or from what you see in our neighbourhood for that matter. Not much peace in my life either, come to that…if you knew what I have to put up with…
Hostage 1: Well there is in mine.
Hostage 2: The kids forever complaining…the problems with….what? What did you say?
Hostage 1: I said there is peace in my life. I’ve changed…I met Jesus Christ.
All-High-One: Jesus?
Commander: I believe a few things are falling into place, All-High-One. The work back from the code breaking module says that the fragment brought back by our brave mission team (Aliens 2-4 beam) has much to say of this ..this...this ….
All-High-One: Yes?
Commander: I was about to say ‘earthling’ but there is much to cast doubt on whether he is indeed of the planet.
Hostage 1: That’s because he’s not. He came down to us…at Christmas…He is the everlasting light. He’s the one who brings peace to men on earth. He’s the one who is changing my life. He’s great.
All-High-One: And this is the secret to the peace for your planet.
Hostage 1: Yes. Yes, He is.
Hostage 2: So why is he not doing anything for me? Tell me that.
Hostage 1: (To Aliens 3 and 4) Have you got that message you brought back still?
Alien 3: Yes, I remember it well. It concerns a small creature on one of your roads.
Hostage 1: No, I don’t think that can be it..
Alien 4: (Producing New Testament) Would it be this one?
Hostage 1: (Excitedly) Yes...that’s it! May I have it?
Commander: Of course.
Hostage 1: (Leafing through to John’s gospel) In here it says – well, you read the code for yourself
Alien 4: (reads) The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God -
Hostage 1: And the carol…err the song you picked up says ‘ Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in’
All-High-One: And this Christ…this is Jesus?
Commander: And is He the one who brings peace?
Hostage 1: Oh, yes.
(Long pause)
All-High-One: And would the peace He brings extend to everyone…to say …exiles…
Hostage 1: Oh yes
All-High-One: … to strangers… to.. …outsiders?
Hostage 1: Oh yes. That’s what He does best. He specialises in outsiders.
Copyright A.Lund, all rights reserved
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