The Catacombs The Production Guide
Writer's Guide


Travel Tube

Movement about Alpha itself is by travel tube. This is a basic travel capsule with seating for up to 10 people. Every room or corridor has a door, which will give access to the travel tube. When an individual wants to move from one part of Alpha to another, he goes to the travel-tube door and selects his intended destination on the exercise scale of his IDX (see Section 6(a)). He then points the IDX at the key-plate beside the door and the tube capsule will appear, the door will open, the traveller will enter and the door will close automatically after him. His destination has been cued by the IDX and so he has to do nothing but get out when the tube stops and the doors open. As with passing through doorways, the movement is handled by the Central Computer (see Section 6(b)) so that if the individual requests the tube to take him to an area for which he does not have clearance then it will refuse to take him.

For travel to the Moon's surface, the travel tube will take people to an airlock, which will not let them out unless they have been authorised, and are wearing appropriate spacesuit. The travel tube will also carry astronauts and passengers from Alpha to the Multiple Transportation Units which wait on launch pads, ready for blast off. In this case the travel tube itself will telescopically extend to one or other of the two entrances to the vehicle, so that people will be able to walk from the travel tube compartment into the passenger capsule of the MTU without necessarily having to don a spacesuit.

The Travel Tube seen in the series only seats 6, instead of 10, and we never see anyone key a destination on their commlock.

The M. T. U. (Multiple Transportation Unit)

The MTU is the only space vehicle that Alpha has left to it after Episode One. Originally intended to provide a shuttle service between Alpha and the orbiting space station onto which docked the deep-space penetration vehicles and Earth ships, the MTU has had to be adapted to all space travel purposes after the catastrophe which blasts the Moon out of Earth orbit and away on its random trajectory through space.

Basically, it's a workhorse a thoroughly utilitarian Spacecraft. It consists of a basic frame section - a container platform driven by three main nuclear motors. It can land like a helicopter, and once in flight the main motors will drive it horizontally, like an airplane. Attached to the main platform are four fuel pods which also support the undercarriage sections. On the outer edge of these pods are vernier motors for directional control.

The whole Craft is manipulated from the Command Module where there is seating capacity for two people pilot and co-pilot. Under normal circumstances they will have access to the Command Module through the main passenger cabin of the MTU, via an airlock. In the event of an emergency, the Command Module can be detached from the main MTU and used as a "lifeboat". In this case there would be room for more people to crowd in uncomfortably and for a short period of time. There are attached to the Command Module also small vernier motors which will give it very limited propulsion power and a modicum of directional control.

In this form the Command Module could also be used by not more than two people for short-haul trips over the surface of the Moon itself.

On occasions such as this, when the Command Module is used in separation from the main MTU, the crew gain access by a subsidiary entrance in the side of the Module itself to which the travel tube can be connected.

But under most normal circumstances the MTU will be used as a complete unit. That is, as a main frame with main vertical and horizontal engines and with a Command Module attached. And to this main frame different containers would have seating for 10 people plus cargo holds. But from time to time new containers will be devised for specific purposes, e.g. a fuel container, to give the MTU deep-space range, or a self-contained laboratory and living quarters for a couple of scientists which can be put down on the surface of an alien planet and left for a while. Should it be necessary for Alpha to repel an alien attack, then the container could house a complete weapons system. There are a lot of these MTUs at Alpha - but they are all the Moonmen have.

The MTU will be renamed as the Eagle

Copyright Martin Willey