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THE WEB PLANET
ESCAPE TO DANGER

Written by
BILL STRUTTON


1: INT. CARSENOME. CONTROL ROOM

(The ZARBI push the DOCTOR into the centre of the room. A transparent tendril-covered tube descends from the ceiling and over the DOCTORíS head. He stands still as a voice, feminine and full of menace, echoes out of the tube...)

ANIMUS VOICE: Why do you come now?

(Several feet away, IAN and VICKI watch this strange contact take place...)

VICKI: The Doctorís speaking to someone. Why canít we hear what heís saying?

(IAN shakes his head. The DOCTOR continues his conversation with this new entity.)

DOCTOR: Who are you? We come in peace.
ANIMUS VOICE: Peace? Is that why you attack? Where is your main force?
DOCTOR: We are alone. We have strayed from our astral plane.
ANIMUS VOICE: When will your invasion fleet arrive? What is its weaponry?
DOCTOR: We are peaceful travellers from Earth.
ANIMUS VOICE: You lie! You are the Menoptra. Our detectors show you are massing in space to attack. Speak!
DOCTOR: I know nothing of these Menoptra.
ANIMUS VOICE: We shall show you the fate which awaits all your ships, all your people.
DOCTOR: Please listen to me...

(The tube rises back into the ceiling.)

DOCTOR: I have not finished my explanationÖ

(The ZARBI push the DOCTOR back to stand with IAN and VICKI. A larvae gun stands guard over them.)

DOCTOR: Stand still!

(On the other side of the room, a tendril rises from the wall and aims at the TARDIS.)

IAN: Look at that, Doctor.

(The tendril, a light at its end, fires a shot at the ship. There is an explosion on the wall and the ZARBI and the larvae gun rush round in a panic through the smoke filled room.)

VICKI: Look at them! Look at them!
IAN: Whatís happened?
DOCTOR: (Pointing at the TARDIS.) Itís unbelievable! Unbelievable! (To VICKI.) What did you do in the ship, child? What controls did you touch?
VICKI: Well, I...I got thrown against the control panel and I just pressed any switches I could see. It...it suddenly became alive! I couldnít help it.
DOCTOR: You have performed a miracle, my dear. You have re-aligned the fluid link - the power is back!
IAN: If only Barbara were here, we could go.

(The DOCTOR motions for IAN to be silent. He then walks into the centre of the room in triumph and speaks out to their captor.)

DOCTOR: Trying to destroy my ship? You will achieve nothing - nothing! I have great secrets in my ship. We could help you.


2: EXT. VORTIS

(VESTRIN, fleeing from the ZARBI arrives at a cliff edge overlooking the Carsenome. The chirruping of the ZARBI is heard and the Menoptra flaps its wings and rises quickly into the air. Two ZARBI run on to the cliff edge but their quarry has eluded them.)


3: INT. CARSENOME. CONTROL ROOM

(The communications tube has again descended and the DOCTOR is once again in verbal conflict with their unseen enemy.)

ANIMUS VOICE: If your ship is proof against our weapons, remember you are not. Tell us the secret of its armour.
DOCTOR: Impossible. I cannot tell you why my ship withstood the fire of that gun unless you tell me the principle itís built on.
ANIMUS VOICE: You demand my secrets? Yield yours.

(VICKI and IAN watch these proceedings...)

VICKI: What do you think the Doctor is saying?
IAN: I donít know. I hope heís asking where Barbara is.

(The battle of wills continues...)

ANIMUS VOICE: The great secrets you speak of in your ship must be used against the invaders. In return, I offer you your freedom.
DOCTOR: Where is the fourth member of our party? Mmm? Well?
ANIMUS VOICE: She has been taken to the Crater of Needles beyond my great web. Will your secrets look into the stars?
DOCTOR: I donít know what you mean, but I have an astral map, if that answers your question.
ANIMUS VOICE: Will it show where the Menoptra are massing, where they will land?
DOCTOR: I see. So itís the Menoptra that are invading your planet, hmm?
ANIMUS VOICE: Somewhere in space, beyond the range of our locators, they are grouping. They scatter false trails to mislead us. Their numbers are great. I am aware...only of movement.
DOCTOR: And you are not aware of their position?
ANIMUS VOICE: This... you must do.
DOCTOR: I shall need assistance.
ANIMUS VOICE: Bring your astral map out of your ship.
DOCTOR: I shall need help even to do that.

(The tube rises back into the ceiling. ZARBI scuttle round obeying commands from their controller. The DOCTOR walks over to IAN and VICKI.)

DOCTOR: Now it is their turn to receive instructions.
IAN: Well, tell us Doctor, what happened?
DOCTOR: Let us go back into the TARDIS.

(The three walk toward the ship, but before they can go many paces, one ZARBI holds VICKI, last in line, back from her companions.)

VICKI: I think they must want to keep me here as a hostage. You go in. Iíll be all right.

(Unhappily, the two men go towards the TARDIS.)


4: EXT. CARSENOME ENTRANCE

(A ZARBI returns from the search for VESTRIN and enters the Carsenome. Behind the giant ant, VESTRIN comes into view. The Menoptra has found the entrance to the lair of the ZARBI.)


5: INT. CARSENOME. CONTROL ROOM

(VICKI bravely stands her ground watched over by her ZARBI guard.)


6: INT. TARDIS. CONSOLE ROOM

(IAN, his face still blistered, sits down in the alcove and gets his breath back in the oxygen rich atmosphere of the TARDIS.)

IAN: Hah...well, thatís easier. No message from Barbara. Nothing.
DOCTOR: (Getting his breath.) Iím just beginning to relax, my boy.
IAN: Yes, you think that kidíll be all right out there?
DOCTOR: Er, yes, I think so. (He looks at IANíS blisters.) Yes, I must do something about this face of yours.

(The DOCTOR goes over to a cupboard.)

IAN: Those...beasties are keeping their distance this time.

(The DOCTOR returns with a small bottle.)

DOCTOR: Yes, it seems theyíve learned their lesson. Here, dab some of that on your face. (Points.) Thereís some cotton wool there.
IAN: Thanks.

(IAN takes some cotton wool off the unit that BARBARA was tidying earlier. He dabs the ointment on his face.)

IAN: What do you think they are, Doctor? Those things out there?

(The DOCTOR is opening a small packet of pills. He takes one.)

DOCTOR: Well, to use the term of...Earth, I suppose we should call them - insects.
IAN: Ants?
DOCTOR: Hmm, hmm.
IAN: (Perturbed.) Iíve seen a colony of ants eat their way right through a house. That size, they could eat their way through a mountain. Why are they that big?
DOCTOR: Size is only relative. In this rarified atmosphere, it appears that evolution has...chosen that particular form of life on this planet.
IAN: Ants.
DOCTOR: Yes...
IAN: So relentless, indestructible. What are we going to do? Have you got any ideas?
DOCTOR: Well, itís this voice. Itís this, this, this, this, this Queen of the ants, you might say. If I can only trick her...into neutralising this section of this area...I want you to try and track down Barbara, hmm?
IAN: Well, all right. Did you find out where she was?
DOCTOR: Well, it has something to do with this...Crater of Needles.
IAN: Crater of Needles? Whereís that?
DOCTOR: The only clue I can give you, dear boy, itís behind a great web.
IAN: (Sighing.) Thatís not much help, is it?
DOCTOR: No, it isnít. Come on, give me a hand.

(The DOCTOR crosses to the wall and starts pulling at a large machine. On a stand with casters, it has six panels at chest level, each of which depicts a section of space. Beneath these panels are controls. The DOCTOR stops and passes IAN the tube of pills.)

DOCTOR: Oh, and by the way, I want you to take a couple of these. Theyíll be very good for your breathing in this rarified atmosphere.
IAN: Oh, what about Barbara and Vicki?
DOCTOR: You leave Vicki to me, but when you o finally catch up with Barbara, see that she takes some. Sheís probably had the same experience with breathing as we have.
IAN: Mmm. Hold on a minute...

(IAN reaches down to un-plug a cable that connects machine to a wall socket.)

DOCTOR: No no no no, donít unplug it. You must never do that. You must never break the time and relative dimension link. Come on.

(They wheel the astral map outside.)


7: INT. CARSENOME. CONTROL ROOM

(The ZARBI scuttle forward to examine the machine with interest. The DOCTOR waves them away. IAN crosses to VICKI.)

IAN: Donít worry, Vicki. The Doctorís got something up his sleeve.

(The DOCTOR makes a pretence of trying to activate the map.)

DOCTOR: Argh, itís useless, itís useless! Er, wait. Come along, put me through, will you?

(The DOCTOR crosses to the centre of the room and waves at the ceiling.)

DOCTOR: Come along, drop this...hairdryer, or whatever it is!

(The tube descends over the DOCTORíS head.)

ANIMUS VOICE: You have the information?
DOCTOR: No, good gracious me, no. Some kind of force of yours has jammed my instruments and whilst it continues, I cannot use them.
ANIMUS VOICE: I cannot suspend my functions for your experiments.
DOCTOR: (Snaps.) Very well, very well, take this thing away. Iím afraid we canít help you to locate your invader.

(There is a pause whilst the ANIMUS considers, then...)

ANIMUS VOICE: I will withhold certain forces near your instruments. If you take advantage of this, you will die.

(The tube rises. As the DOCTOR crosses back to IAN and VICKI, the ZARBI sink to the ground and are still.)

DOCTOR: Well, it appears, my boy, theyíve obliged. Theyíve neutralised and completely immobilised this section.
IAN: Thereís one way to make sure, Doctor.

(IAN waves his hands in front of one of the ZARBI. It does not react. He makes for the exit from the room. Suddenly, the ZARBI rises...)

VICKI: Ian!

(IAN stops and watches as the creature turns and sinks back down.)

IAN: Youíve done it!
DOCTOR: Itís time you left.
IAN: Yes.
VICKI: Where are you going?
IAN: Iím gonna find Barbara. Now, you look after the Doctor. Iíll be back.

(He runs off. VICKI looks after him with concern on her face.)

DOCTOR: Now, come along, cheer up, cheer up, my child. Itís all right. (He reaches into his pocket.) Yes, here, have a piece of chocolate. There you are.
VICKI: I donít feel like that now.
DOCTOR: Oh, come, come, come, come. You donít have to worry about him. Heís very good at this sort of thing. (The DOCTOR turns away.) Yes, heíll be back, heíll be back.

(However, his face betrays his true feelings of concern...)


8: INT. CARSENOME. CORRIDOR

(IAN runs down the tendril covered organic walls of the Carsenome. Trying to find a way out of this maze, he dives into hiding as two ZARBI scuttle by.)


9: INT. CARSENOME. CONTROL ROOM

(VICKI watches as the DOCTOR activates the controls of the astral map.)

VICKI: What are you doing, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Hmm? Oh, Iím trying to discover...a little more about this invasion fleet, my child. The more we know, the safer it will be for us.

(The DOCTOR re-tunes more controls. Suddenly, a voice is heard above the sound of static.)

FIRST MENOPTRA VOICE: Advance units, rendezvous.
VICKI: Is that the Menoptra speaking?
DOCTOR: Iíve just turned up this booster, wait a minute.
FIRST MENOPTRA VOICE: Menop pathfinder to leader one. Range to Vortis - One-four-O.
DOCTOR: Just, just turn up the recorder.

(VICKI does as requested.)

SECOND MENOPTRA VOICE: Leader to spearhead - lock course on bearing two-six-five. Speed - point O-one. Weíve jettisoned craft at altitude five above Crater of Needles. Individual descent to Sayo plateau, north of the crater.

(The sound dies down...)

DOCTOR: Did you understand any of that, hmm?
VICKI: Crater of Needles!
DOCTOR: Yes.
VICKI: Or something.
DOCTOR: Thatís where theyíve taken Barbara!


10: INT. CARSENOME. CORRIDOR

(IAN is still trying to find a way out of the Carsenome. As he turns a corner, he finds that he is behind a ZARBI that is on guard. IAN tries to sneak past it but it hears him and turns and knocks him down. IAN kicks back at it, jumps up and, after a struggle, pushes it to the ground. IAN dives down another passage but it is a dead end and a door swings to. An alarm blares out...)


11: INT. CARSENOME. CONTROL ROOM

(The alarm also sounds in the control room as one of the walls bursts into life with flashing lights. The ZARBI jump up and scuttle round.)

DOCTOR: It sounds as though weíre under attack, my dear.
VICKI: Itís Ian! I know it is! Theyíve caught him!


12: INT. CARSENOME. CORRIDOR

(As IAN runs back the way he came, another wall swings down, trapping him inside. More ZARBI arrive, together with a larvae gun, joining their toppled and twitching companion.)


13: INT. CARSENOME. CONTROL ROOM

(The DOCTOR and VICKI watch the commotion in the control room. One ZARBI rears up at them , then shoots away.)


14: INT. CARSENOME. CORRIDOR

(IAN looks for a way out of his prison. The ZARBI direct a larvae gun towards the wall. It fires at the wall but IAN ducks back and the shot blasts open not only the first wall but also the wall opposite - freeing IAN. He takes the opportunity and runs. The ZARBI and the larvae gun follow...)


15: EXT. CARSENOME ENTRANCE

(VESTRIN shoots out of the sky and lands near IAN who, not surprisingly, runs off as fast he can. The ZARBI and their larvae gun run past in another direction...)


16: INT. CARSENOME. CONTROL ROOM

(VICKI has been subdued by one of the gold wishbone-shaped necklaces. She stands motionless and subdued, guarded by a ZARBI, as the DOCTOR communicates once again with the ANIMUS under the tendril tube...)

ANIMUS VOICE: You have tried to escape - why?
DOCTOR: I am still here.
ANIMUS VOICE: Where is the third?
DOCTOR: Why question me? Surely you can see our movements?
ANIMUS VOICE: You will no longer be trusted.
DOCTOR: Were we ever? Hmm?
ANIMUS VOICE: I can kill you all.
DOCTOR: Yes, you can, but to what end? The information I have will die with me.
ANIMUS VOICE: Information? Of the Menoptra invasion? Speak!
DOCTOR: I am still collating the various readings of my instruments.
ANIMUS VOICE: You lie! It is another of your tricks.
DOCTOR: That is for you to decide. Am I really lying...or do I possess this information? Hmm?

(The tube rises. The DOCTOR walks over to VICKI and signals to the ZARBI to take the necklace off her shoulders.)

DOCTOR: Away!

(The ZARBI does so. VICKI awakens and the DOCTOR grabs her.)

VICKI: Oh! Oh, Doctor! That thing made me...go to sleep.
DOCTOR: Yes, I know my dear, I know. I think Iíve, erm, earned...us a little breathing space.
VICKI: What did you tell them?

(A ZARBI comes close.)

DOCTOR: Nothing, nothing!
VICKI: Are you going to tell them about the Menoptra?
DOCTOR: Just about as much as I ever want to, weíll see. Come, letís, er...letís look busy. I...I want you to look into the ship and bring me back a little red box and in it is a recording compound. Youíll find it on the left near the first aid kit. Go at once and come back immediately.


17: INT. TARDIS. CONSOLE ROOM

(VICKI enters the console room. In the alcove, she picks up the box described by the DOCTOR and goes back outside.)


18: INT. CARSENOME. CONSOLE ROOM

(She brings the box to the DOCTOR who is at the astral map.)

VICKI: Is this it, Doctor?
DOCTOR: (Tuts.) Oh, I said a white box, child!
VICKI: You...
DOCTOR: You never think! This is one of my specimens, look.

(The DOCTOR takes a small glass case out of the box. In it is a preserved spider.)

VICKI: Eeuuhh!
DOCTOR: Now, take it back.

(VICKI takes the box back to the ship. The lid of the box is open revealing the specimen case inside it. A ZARBI comes up to investigate, sees the spider and jumps back in alarm. VICKI approaches the quivering creature with the glass case.)

VICKI: Doctor, look! Itís frightened. Iím sure it is. Itís frightened!

(The DOCTOR comes forward to investigate this new development.)


19: EXT. VORTIS

(IAN has made more friendly contact with VESTRIN and they now rest on a cliff edge observing the Carsenome below. IAN turns and lies down with a groan. VRESTIN speaks to him but has trouble pronouncing his name.)

MENOPTRA VESTRIN: Heron? Do you still intend to go to the Crater of Needles?
IAN: Yes, I do.
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: Many of my friends are enslaved there. They tear off our wings so that we may not escape.
IAN: What do you expect when you invade a planet?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: Invade a planet? Vortis is ours. We, the Menoptra, are re-claiming it.

(IAN sits up at this...)

IAN: Vortis is your planet?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: Of course.

(They are interrupted by the chirruping sound of a ZARBI. They see it below going back into the Carsenome.)

MENOPTRA VESTRIN: They are returning to the Carsenome. They do not search for long.
IAN: Those things invaded your planet?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: You do not know our story?
IAN: No, I donít. Tell me.
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: The Zarbi are not an intelligent species. But they were essential to the life pattern here. We lived at peace with them, until they were made militant by the dark power.
IAN: Dark power? Whatís that?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: The Animus. At that time, the Carsenome appeared. It grew like a fungus. We had no weapons. We had not had the need. And by the time we sensed the danger, the Zarbi were too strong.
IAN: So you left the planet?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: We had no choice.
IAN: Where did you go?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: (Pointing at the sky.) At that time, these strange moons appeared. One of them became our home, those of us who could reach it.
IAN: Can you live up there?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: It is a dim, half-world and our wings grow weaker. We must return to Vortis, for when the Carsenome encircles the planet, it will be too late.
IAN: So now youíre ready to attack?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: No. We are not ready, but we must try.
IAN: I see. And whatís your part in all this?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: Three of us were sent here to prepare the way for the invasion force. Now, I am alone. I do not know...
IAN: What happened to the other two?

(VRESTIN makes a noise that sounds like a cry.)

IAN: They were killed?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: One is dead. The other was taken to the Cra...
IAN: (Interrupting.) Crater of Needles.
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: Friend Harbara?
IAN: Yes, like friend Barbara. Vrestin, weíve both lost friends, come with me to the Crater. You know the country. We can collect your friend and mine.
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: There are many of my friends in the Crater of Needles.
IAN: All the more reason to go.
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: (Pausing to consider.) Yes Heron. We will do as you say.
IAN: Good. Come on then.

(They leave...)


20: EXT. VORTIS

(VESTRIN leads IAN to a plain of rocks...)

MENOPTRA VESTRIN: That is the way to the Crater of Needles.
IAN: How far?
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: You cannot fly? (IAN shakes his head.) It will take two hours.

(Nearby ZARBI rise from behind rocks.)

IAN: Vrestin, quick! This way!

(IAN leads VRESTIN along a ledge against a cliff face. More ZARBI and a larvae gun approach. IAN sees a cleft in the rock.)

IAN: Vrestin! Quick! In here!

(IAN pushes VRESTIN in first. As he is about to follow, VRESTIN calls out from within the cleft...)

MENOPTRA VESTRIN: Get back! The groundís giving way!
IAN: Here! Take hold of my hand!
MENOPTRA VESTRIN: Let go! Youíll be pulled down with me!

(IAN takes no heed of this advice and is pulled into the cleft as the roof collapses. The ZARBI and their gun arrive at the cleft but there is no sign of the two escapees...)


Next Episode
CRATER OF NEEDLES


Dr. Who
WILLIAM HARTNELL

Ian Chesterton
WILLIAM RUSSELL

Vicki
MAUREEN OíBRIEN

Menoptra Vrestin
ROSLYN DE WINTER

The Zarbi
ROBERT JEWELL
HUGH LUND
KEVIN MANSER
JACK PITT
JOHN SCOTT MARTIN
GERALD TAYLOR

Animus Voice
CATHERINE FLEMING

Insect Movement by
ROSLYN DE WINTER

Title music by
RON GRAINER
and the BBC Radiophonic
Workshop

Story Editor
DENNIS SPOONER

Designer
JOHN WOOD

Producer
VERITY LAMBERT

Directed by
RICHARD MARTIN

(c) BBC tv

Transcribed By
JOHN TOMLINSON

 

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