The Crivit Experiment
Written by Allen Wold
(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition,
published May 1985)
The Visitors engage in an experiment to
seed the east coast of the United States with crivits.
As the book opens, a group of suspicious software developers
surreptitiously sneaks into the Visitors' research facility at
the Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North Carolina,
planting a tap on the phone lines. In another part of the
building, we learn that, besides the electrical research being
conducted there, the Visitors are coordinating a new experiment
involving crivits, a large Sirian predator that lives in sand
and strikes at its prey from underground (glimpsed previously in
At the nearby campus of the University of North Carolina, Chapel
Hill, a group of students are fed up with the Visitors and their
presence on school grounds and make plans to vandalize the
Visitors' liaison office on campus. Meanwhile, local farmer Durk
Attweiler sees a deer get suddenly sucked down into the ground
near his property and later he notices some Visitor activity at
the abandoned farmhouse on the lot next to his and it scares
That night, the students break into the Visitors' liaison office
and carry out their vandalism. But as they are about to make
their getaway, the Visitors catch them and haul them off in a
van. Durk hears about the sand-dwelling creatures the Visitors
use to guard the perimeters of their work camps and believes
one of these creatures is what attacked and swallowed the deer he saw the other day.
The captured students are taken to Camp T-3. Later, one of them
attempts an escape and she is eaten by one of the crivits
from under the sand mote ringing the camp.
Meanwhile, the software developers transcribe the phone
conversations they are getting from their wire tap and realize
some kind of experiment with living creatures is taking place
nearby. They confide in some researchers at a zoological firm in
the RTP and begin investigating. This eventually brings them
into contact with Durk, who shows them where he saw the deer,
and later a goat, get swallowed up. They bring a pig as bait
which is immediately grabbed up by a hungry crivit. Later, they
decide to go "fishing" for a crivit to bring it back for study.
While plans are being made, Durk decides to spy on his new
Visitor neighbors during the night. He witnesses them feeding
another alien life form, a mammalian verlog, to the crivits in
the old farmland and the next day he finds that the creatures
have even invaded the ground under his own bean fields. Later,
the scientists return to his farm to fish for a crivit. Though
some injuries ensue, they manage to kill and haul out of the
ground a crivit with the help of a grapple and motorized winch.
As the scientists drive off in a pick-up with their prize, Durk
remembers an old mine entrance on his property that leads into
the Visitors' lot, which should allow him to sneak over for a
closer look without being seen. He does so and later tells
his new researcher friends about it in case they ever want to get a
look or stage a raid on the Visitors' experiment. Later, they do
use the mine to sneak onto the lot and tap the Visitors' phone
there while also bringing back a couple of live verlogs for study.
After studying the dead female crivit specimen brought back, and
finding eggs inside it which they incubate and hatch, the
zoologists determine that the crivits, if let loose into the
country would pose a grave ecological threat.
They decide they must
somehow destroy the Visitors' crivit experiment.
Meanwhile, both Durk and one of the researchers' compatriots,
Professor Barnes from UNC, are captured by the Visitors for
getting too nosy about the crivit experiment and both are sent to
Camp T-3. The researchers decide they must attempt to free the
two because, if made to talk, they know too much and could
reveal the fledgling resistance groups plans and members. Not being
experts in prison breaks or guerrilla warfare, a contact of
theirs brings in three members of the Los Angeles resistance by
plane, including Chris Faber. The raid is successful, but some
human lives are lost in the process.
Some time after the raid on the work camp, the raid on the
crivit experiment has been planned and put into
motion. Shortly after the main participants have left to begin
the raid, Penny realizes from continued study of the phone
transcripts that the experiment's leader, Leon, is actually
planning to release verlogs, the Visitors' main food source, into
the wild along with some crivits, the verlogs' only natural
predator, to keep the population under control. But Penny's
research suggests the verlog population will overwhelm the
crivits' ability to prey on them and they will breed like
rabbits and devastate the vegetation across the country. The
real threat are the verlogs, not the crivits! They realize that
the others' raid on the experiment, while killing the crivits,
may allow some verlogs to go free.
They race to the farm to let the others know they must destroy
the verlog shelter on the farm as well, allowing none to escape.
Racing through the forest, they manage to get word to the
raiders just in time, and Durk burns down the verlog shelter
with kerosene. He has a showdown with the enraged Leon in the
process and he manages to trick Leon and his soldiers into
chasing him across his bean field where some of the crivits have
been loitering. Durk jumps up onto the safety of his tractor
just in time to escape the crivits and the creatures are instead attracted to the
footfalls of Leon and his soldiers, who are quickly pulled
Notes from the V chronology
Chris Faber is mentioned and then appears within the final few
chapters of the book, having flown in from L.A. to help stage
the raid on the Visitor work camp at Fort Bragg. This sets the
book sometime before the events in "The Betrayal"
when he and
Tyler leave L.A. to escort Robin to Chicago.
The crivits as described in this novel are quite similar to the
"graboids" as depicted in the later film and TV series
Tremors. Maybe the writers of the original films were
The Crivit Experiment?
Many of the main characters work for Data Tronix in the Research
Park. Although there are several businesses sharing this name in
a number of states, none of them appear to occupy facilities in
the real world Research Triangle Park.
Much of this story takes place in Chapel Hill, NC. This city was
also mentioned in the Freedom Network report in
Page 1 reveals that the Visitors are now occupying the former
General Electric complex at Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North
Carolina. Research Triangle Park is a real facility founded in
1959, located near the cities of Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill
and housing over one hundred companies' and organizations'
research facilities on 7,000 acres.
Page 4 describes the blue horizontal lines of the Visitors'
energy-beam fence around their research facility. This seems to
describe the type of fences used by the Visitors in several
episodes of the TV series.
On page 7, Anne reveals that she attended Caltech. This is the
California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, known for its
strong sciences and engineering curriculum.
Page 11 mentions the Raleigh-Durham airport.
Presumably this is referring to
Airport, the real world airport which serves the area.
On page 11, the Visitor Freda mentions that the Research Park
exists in the Piedmont. The Piedmont is a geologic region of
low, rolling hills of mostly clay and rock running between the
Atlantic Coastal Plain and the Appalachian Mountain range.
Page 17 mentions the Minutemen facing the British. This is a
reference to the American Revolutionary War. The Minutemen were
a militia formed by the colonies and designed for rapid response
to emergencies. The "Minutemen" nickname came from their ability
to respond "at a minute's notice".
Several characters are said to attend the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is a public university
dedicated to research and is located at one corner of the
Research Triangle. Page 19 mentions several students walking
down Franklin Street to the Old Well. Franklin Street is a
Chapel Hill road leading into the University. The Old Well is
a neoclassical rotunda on campus modeled after the Temple of Love
in the Gardens of Versailles, France. Page 20 also mentions
Cameron Avenue, the South Building and the Courtland Building.
Cameron Avenue is another road leading into the University and
South Building is one of the buildings on campus (the Old Well is
right in front of it). I've found no references to the Courtland
Building, so I don't know if it's real or not; perhaps it was
made up by author Wold since it is depicted as having become the
Visitors' campus liaison office. Page 32 mentions Hanes Hall,
also on campus.
On page 19, Benny says his dad talks about the good old days at
Berkeley. He is probably referring to the
Page 21 mentions the Five Star Bar and Estes Bar and Grill.
These appear to be fictional businesses. The community of
Churchill near Chapel Hill is real.
On page 22, the bartender gives Durk a Stroh's.
Stroh's is a
brand of beer, at the time made by the Stroh's Brewery Company
in Detroit, Michigan. The brand was bought by Pabst Brewery in
2000 and they continue to make it.
On page 23, Wendel tells Durk he's going up to Pisgah to poach
deer. Pisgah is a reference to Pisgah Forest, a community in
Transylvania County, NC.
On page 27, Lester mentions Ma Bell. Ma Bell is a nickname that
was given to the American Bell Telephone Company and used
colloquially by the public to refer to any of their local
telephone systems, particularly when ATT ran the company as a
government-approved monopoly from 1934-1984.
Page 28 mentions a wave pattern on a scope that looks like an
EKG. An EKG is an electrocardiogram, which measures the
electrical activity of the heart.
On page 29, Paul covers up his team's work on the phone tap of the Visitors' research facility by using the cover
story that they are working with JPL on data from the
Galileo probe. JPL is the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the
city of La
Cañada Flintridge, CA, operated by Caltech and is a NASA
research and development center. The
Galileo probe is the probe sent by NASA to Jupiter to
study the planet and its moons; the problem with this reference
though is that Galileo did not launch from Earth until
1989 (at least in the real world!). I presume author Wold was
writing this in early 1984 when the launch was still expected to
take place at around that same time, but it was delayed many years for
various reasons over time, not the least of which was the destruction of
the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. Perhaps in the
V universe, the
Galileo launch somehow maintained its originally-scheduled
Page 29 also mentions a teaching hospital in Chapel Hill called
Memorial. This is
North Carolina Memorial Hospital.
Page 34 describes loblolly pines now growing over most of the
abandoned Thurston farm. This is an accurate portrayal, as the
loblolly is one of the dominant pines of eastern North Carolina.
Page 35 mentions Fayetteville. Fayetteville is a city in North
Carolina and is home to the U.S. Army's Fort Bragg.
Page 35 also mentions the Saksapaw River. I can find no real
world counterpart of this river.
Pages 47-48 depict Durk's drive over several roads to get to the
FCX (Farmers' Central Exchange). The road intersections depicted
all exist in Chapel Hill, though there is no store known as FCX
in that particular city as far as I can find.
Page 52 says the city of Durham is known as the City of
Medicine, which is one of it's nicknames in the real world.
Page 54 mentions Diger-Fairwell Zoologicals in the RTP. This
appears to be a fictional business.
On page 55, Anne and Mark drive on Alexander and Cornwallis in
Durham. These are real roads in the RTP area.
Penny mentions ITA on page 58. As far as I can tell she is
referring only to a fictional business in the RTP.
In the work camp on page 65, Chuck Lamont says he was arrested
by the Visitors two weeks after they first arrived on Earth. He
must be referring to their second arrival though, after the
events of "Dreadnought", because if he'd been arrested during the
first occupation, he would have either been freed after they left
or retained by them and placed in suspension aboard a mothership as food stock.
On page 66, Dr. Van Oort and her husband are drinking
a popular brand of cognac. She warns it is the last they have
and it will have to be
Sebastiani after that. Sebastiani is a
brand of California wine.
On page 68, a student directs Durk to "Memorial", where he can
find Information. Memorial Hall
is a building on the UNC campus.
Also on page 68, Professor Barnes' office is said to be in the
Smythe Building. I've found no evidence of this building on the
campus, it may be a fictional building to house a fictional
On page 78, Mary Kennedy and Professor Barnes are looking at a
map of Orange, Durham, Alamance, Chatham, and Churchill counties
of North Carolina. These are all real counties of NC except for
Churchill! Churchill County is where the Visitors' crivit
experiment is taking place.
Page 81 mentions the Visitors giving Peter and the other
arrested students an EEG. An EEG is an electroencephalograph,
which measures the electrical activity of the brain.
Page 81 mentions the North Carolina National Bank. This was a
real bank at the time which has since acquired the Bank of
America company and changed it's branches to the BofA name.
Page 81 also mentions Papagayo's restaurant on Franklin Street.
This appears to be a real business.
On pages 87-89, the Visitors Darin and Freda kill and eat a
verlog, a mammal apparently from their homeworld. It is
described as "...the size of a very large house cat. It had
short fur, and face like a rabbit's, but with small, round ears.
Its feet had short but strong claws like a squirrel's, and its
legs seemed as adapted to tree climbing as to ground walking."
On page 93, Mark says he and his group have always assumed that
the Visitors were taking their prisoners to someplace like
Florida or Mississippi. Why those states? Possibly this is a
reference back to the Freedom Network Report in
where Howard K. Smith reports on a raid on one of the Visitors'
detention camps in Florida. Is there also a well-known Visitor
work camp in Mississippi?
Page 109 mentions the Porthole Restaurant and the Evergreen
House. The Porthole Restaurant is a real eatery in Chapel Hill
and Evergreen House is a building on the UNC campus.
On page 110, Barnes reflects that, while red is still a popular
clothing color among humans, the particular red shade of the
Visitor uniforms is not one that is worn.
Page 118 reveals that crivit blood is green.
Among other plant growths, page 127 mentions one called
hearts-a-bustin'. This is an actual wild shrub that produces
small reddish-purple fruit (about the size of a strawberry),
bursting with large, orange seeds.
Page 131 mentions highway 54 in the RTP. This is a real highway.
Pages 145 and 173 suggest that verlogs are the chief food source
of the Visitors on the ships and possibly on their homeworld as
well, because they breed fairly quickly and are efficient in
converting the vegetable matter they eat into the growth of
their own bodies.
On page 150, Durk mentions U.S. highway 56. This appears to be a
fictional route in the fictional Churchill County (although
there is a real U.S. 56 running from Kansas City, MO to
On page 150, the Visitors load Professor Barnes onto a skyfighter
sitting in the parking lot of the
Eastgate shopping center. This
is a real shopping center in Chapel Hill.
Page 152 suggests the Visitors use the prisoner work camps not
just for human labor but as a way to plump the humans up as
food. (This is somewhat similar to Camp Lakka in
"Alien Conflict" as well.) Is this
also what was really going on in the work camp in
Reporting on their examination of the dead crivit brought back,
Penny and Joann state that the creatures appear to be sexually
mature at birth and the females are capable of carrying a
reservoir of a male's semen in their bodies for later fertilizations of eggs.
Page 155 mentions the town of Carrboro. This is a real town just
west of Chapel Hill.
Page 165 mentions Pittsboro. This is a real town located about
30 miles west of Raleigh, North Carolina.
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