THE MACRA TERROR
by IAN STUART BLACK
first broadcast - 25th March 1967
1. PILOT'S OFFICE
(On the screen is the Controller, a frail old man.)
CONTROLLER: Keep away. Don't touch me. I'll obey.
(A claw is seen on screen dragging the old man off.)
JAMIE: What's that? What's happening!
POLLY: Doctor, that was it - that thing in the picture! That was the claw! They're in control.
PILOT: Take them out of here. They're condemned to the pits.
OLA: Come on. Get out, all of you. Out! Get out!
(The Doctor, Polly and Jamie are led away by Ola's guards.)
PILOT: (To intercom.) Stand by work shift. Stand by in the pits.
VOICE: Work shift standing by.
PILOT: The strangers are being sent to you for pit labour. Put them in the Danger Gang.
CONTROL: Your orders are correct, Pilot. The strangers must be sent to explore the new gas reserves. They are dangerous people. They must be
PILOT: Yes, Control.
CONTROL: You will forget all that happened.
PILOT: Yes, Control.
CONTROL: The Colony enjoys hard work and happiness. We will not tolerate the evil of such strangers.
PILOT: Yes, Control. (To Ben.) You must serve the Colony. Keep watch on your friends, and if you see anything suspicious, report to me
BEN: Yes, Pilot.
2. THE GAS CENTRE
(The room is full of pipes, valves and pumping machinery. Ola brings in the Doctor, Jamie and Polly.)
MUSIC: We are all happy to work. We are all happy to work. For the good of the Colony. Happy to work. Happy to work.
POLLY: What's the matter?
DOCTOR: Dreadful. Did you hear that rhyme? The man who wrote that ought to be sent to the Danger Gang - not us. Ha, ha, ha.
OLA: All right. That's enough.
OFFICIA: Ah, are these the three strangers?
DOCTOR: Yes, you might call us that.
OLA: They've been allocated 176 shift.
OFFICIA: Oh, very good, Ola. I'll... I'll recall the shift leader.
DOCTOR: What an extremely remarkable place. What efficiency. What ever do you make?
JAMIE: I thought this was a mine. You know, where you dig up coal?
OFFICIA: Ah, yes. But here, you see, the rock foundation is a type of salt. Now, at depths it generates gases over the years, and these gases are
OLA: Don't bother to explain to them. Just get them to work.
JAMIE: Aye. Well, you don't send a lassie and an old man down to dig.
DOCTOR: Old? What do you mean old? I'm not old, Jamie.
OLA: You'll do as you're ordered.
OFFICIA: Here's the leader of their shift, sir.
OLA: Very well. Report any irregularities to me.
(The shift leader appears. It is Medok.)
JAMIE: Medok. How did you get here?
MEDOK: Huh! They threw me out of the correction hospital. Apparently I'm a hopeless case.
POLLY: But why did they send you here?
MEDOK: The one remaining punishment they could think of - to work in the Danger Gang for life.
JAMIE: For life?
MEDOK: Oh, don't worry. You don't survive long in this atmosphere. It's the gas. It gets everywhere. It creeps into your lungs. And when you're down
there, you're right in the thick of it.
OFFICIA: Come on, Medok. Take them to their work.
MEDOK: What's the hurry?
OFFICIA: You don't want me to call the guard, do you?
MEDOK: All right. All right. We're going. But, we are entitled to a supervisor on this shift.
OFFICIA: Ah, yes. That's true.
MEDOK: Yes. Well, I'm leaving this man.
OFFICIA: Hmm? Oh. Well, yes. I suppose that's all right.
DOCTOR: But, it's much safer up here. Isn't it, Medok?
MEDOK: It is.
DOCTOR: Ah, I see. I'm perfectly capable of working in the pit, thank you. Polly can have the safe job.
POLLY: Uh, no. You stay up here. I wouldn't know what to do.
DOCTOR: Well, I'm not sure I understand all this machinery myself.
JAMIE: Do you not think you might make better use of the opportunity, Doctor?
DOCTOR: What do you mean? Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Yes. I'll be supervisor.
OFFICIA: (Overhearing.) What was all that?
DOCTOR: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
OFFICIA: Come on you two.
MEDOK: Oh, you're going to issue them with masks, aren't you? You aren't taking them down there without any protection?
OFFICIA: Surely you could have seen to that? (To the Doctor.) Oh, ah, here. You'd better take this, um... this checklist.
DOCTOR: But I... I would have liked a mask.
(The others depart for the pit. The Doctor examines the room, full of gas pumping machinery.)
DOCTOR: This really is remarkable. Most interesting. Yes. I suppose with a little adjustment...
DOCTOR: Hello, Ben. Don't go. Come in. Don't be afraid.
BEN: I have nothing to be afraid of.
DOCTOR: No. Of course not. It wasn't your fault you betrayed your friends.
BEN: The voices tell me what to do.
DOCTOR: The voices may not be right, Ben.
BEN: I do what I am told.
DOCTOR: Yes, I know. That's why you're here, isn't it? To spy on me. What does Control want to know this time? Won't you answer me? You know, Ben, this
is very unlike you.
BEN: I don't know what you mean. It is my duty.
DOCTOR: Hard for you to struggle against the voices, isn't it, Ben? I warn you, if you spy on the others, watch out Jamie doesn't catch you. He's not so
tolerant as I am.
3. ONE OF THE PITS
(A dark tunnel resembling a coal mine. Polly and Jamie cough as they encounter the pit atmosphere for the first time.)
OFFICIA: Hurry up. Put on your equipment.
JAMIE: You shouldn't make lasses do the work of men.
OFFICIA: The Danger Gang will do as they are told. It's a punishment for their failure to cooperate.
MEDOK: We do all the dirty work. We go where the gas is worst.
OFFICIA: It's your own fault, Medok. If you obeyed Control...
MEDOK: All right. All right. Forget it. I prefer Control poisoning my lungs, to their trying to poison my mind.
(An alarm sounds.)
POLLY: What's that?
MEDOK: It's a gas strike.
OFFICIA: Go on! Help with the cable there. Go on. Hurry up. That's the alarm.
JAMIE: What does he mean?
MEDOK: He means they've struck so much gas, they can't channel it off. When it reaches a certain density, that alarm bell goes.
OFFICIA: Hurry up! Get that cable to the strike.
MEDOK: Come on. Quickly.
(Polly, Jamie, and Medok help other pit workers shift the cable.)
OFFICIA: Quickly. Come on. Pull there. Pull, all of you. Pull. Pull.
(Polly yelps and collapses.)
OFFICIA: Leave her. Get that cable to the strike.
MEDOK: Get her away from here. Away. Jamie, the head of the cable. Got it? Right. Put your masks on. They're in your pocket. Right. Now, help me with
this. Hold it. Hold it, Jamie. Right.
(Medok and Jamie and the others struggle against the gas pressure. The leak is sealed.)
POLLY: What's it all for?
MEDOK: It's a poisonous gas which we mine, from the bowels of this planet, which kills us if we breathe it. No one knows what it's used for.
4. GAS CENTRE
(The Doctor is busy chalking calculations on the wall.)
DOCTOR: Yes. Now, one must assume that the relative connection is constant. Now, let me see. Ah! Yes. I think that's right. I should give myself ten
out of ten.
(He does so. A door opens. The Pilot enters.)
DOCTOR: Oh, you did give me a turn.
PILOT: Where did you find it?
PILOT: The formula.
DOCTOR: In my head. You know.
PILOT: Don't lie. That is a secret known only to three people in the Colony.
DOCTOR: And you're one of them?
PILOT: Naturally. And you're not asking me to believe that in a few moments you have been able to work out a formula which it has taken our combined
computers years to perfect?
DOCTOR: It does seem rather a tall order.
(He chuckles to himself.)
PILOT: Yes, of course. I know what you've done. You've broken into our secret files, haven't you?
DOCTOR: I wouldn't know how to do that. Take a look.
PILOT: Well, you must have seen the document. That's the exact computation.
DOCTOR: (Pleased with himself.) Really? Huh. In that case...
(He alters his mark to eleven out of ten.)
PILOT: Do you really mean to say that you worked that out by yourself?
DOCTOR: Well, I did have a little assistance.
PILOT: Yes, I thought so. Who was it?
DOCTOR: Oh, no, no, no. Oh, no. No person. No. I simply mean that I took readings from the various dials. They appeared to be related, so I worked out
the principle that controls them. It was simple really. Like doing a sum backwards.
DOCTOR: Yes. You know. Given the answer, what's the question?
PILOT: Wipe it away. Get it off there before anybody else sees it.
DOCTOR: Oh, well. If you insist.
(The Doctor throws a bucket of water at the wall.)
DOCTOR: Ho, ho. There now. If anyone follows that formula, there'll be an almighty explosion - x to the power of y is derivative 2 3's of 6!
PILOT: Get it off.
(The Doctor finishes scrubbing the wall.)
5. THE PIT
(Other workers are drilling the rock face.)
POLLY: What are they doing?
MEDOK: We call that probing.
POLLY: They're not looking for more gas?
MEDOK: Oh, yes. We never stop!
JAMIE: There's a door here. Where's it lead to?
MEDOK: I've no idea. To my knowledge, those doors were never opened.
JAMIE: Could be an old shaft.
POLLY: Why would it need such a new door? And so strong?
(Officia and Ben arrive to inspect the work.)
MEDOK: Hey, look out!
OFFICIA: Ah, you've made the connection?
MEDOK: Of course. Otherwise you wouldn't be here.
OFFICIA: Now, be careful, Medok. There are other places worse than the Danger Gang, you know.
(He looks at the rock face.)
OFFICIA: This is a high pressure strike. You are going to need a stronger screw than this.
MEDOK: Don't touch it.
OFFICIA: I know what I'm doing.
(A blast of gas catches Officia in the face. He staggers.)
POLLY: He's fainted.
JAMIE: Aye. He must have.
(As Medok plugs the gas leak, Jamie takes Officia's keys.)
BEN: What's the matter? What has happened to him?
JAMIE: He's had a wee whiff of the gas.
BEN: Get him up. I'll look after him. (To Officia.) Yeah. It's all right, mate. Hang on.
(Ben helps Officia away.)
POLLY: How long do you think Ben was watching us?
JAMIE: I don't know.
POLLY: Do you think he saw you take the keys?
JAMIE: Well, if he did, we're in trouble.
JAMIE: It just means we'll have to make use of them quick as we can.
POLLY: But where, Jamie. And how?
JAMIE: Let's try that wee door first. Come on.
(He tries to unlock the door.)
JAMIE: Give me the word if anybody comes.
POLLY: Right. Lookout, OK.
MEDOK: (Further along the tunnel.) Hey, you two, give us a hand.
POLLY: Um, all right. (To Jamie.) I'd better go.
JAMIE: Just a minute Polly. This key's turning. Oh.
POLLY: Good luck.
JAMIE: Aye. It fits. Come on, Pol.
(Jamie steps through the doorway.)
MEDOK: Come on. Here everybody. Lend a hand.
6. THE OLD SHAFT
(A gloomy tunnel similar to the main pit tunnel. Jamie edges along in the dark.)
(An alarm sounds.)
POLLY: What's that?
MEDOK: It's impossible.
POLLY: Is it more gas?
MEDOK: No. It's an escape. That bell means that someone has escaped down here.
POLLY: It's Jamie.
MEDOK: Your friend? That door! I'm going with him.
POLLY: Hey wait! Don't leave me down here.
8. GAS CENTRE
(Ben has brought Officia back, he has recovered. They hear the alarm.)
OFFICIA: We couldn't have an alarm. It's impossible. No one ever escapes. (To communicator.) Calling Pit Guard. Close exits to all gas shafts.
Stand by. A prisoner has escaped. Shoot on sight.
DOCTOR: But, if no one can escape...
OFFICIA: My keys! My keys! They were on my tunic.
BEN: You must have dropped them.
OFFICIA: (To communicator.) Special guards to cover all exits to the old shaft. With Pilot's permission, they may have to go on forbidden ground.
9. OLD SHAFT
(Medok has followed Jamie into the shaft.)
MEDOK: Jamie? Jamie? Jamie? Ah!
(A claw grabs Medok by the throat.)
10. FURTHER ALONG THE OLD SHAFT
JAMIE: Hello? Who's there?
11. GAS CENTRE
CONTROL: No permission is granted for the guard to go on forbidden ground. Repeat, no permission. They are not to cover the exit to the old shaft.
This is in use at this moment by Control. No one is to go in or near the old shaft. Top priority.
DOCTOR: They seem very emphatic about that.
OFFICIA: Control knows best.
DOCTOR: But what if your prisoner escapes that way? What will happen to you?
OFFICIA: I shall be punished.
DOCTOR: Well, aren't you going to do something about it?
OFFICIA: Control knows best.
DOCTOR: Who has escaped anyway?
OFFICIA: We shall soon find out.
BEN: It is Jamie.
DOCTOR: How do you know that, Ben?
BEN: I saw him take the keys.
DOCTOR: And you didn't report it?
DOCTOR: Why not?
BEN: I don't know. I don't seem to be able to think straight.
DOCTOR: Ben, you're recovering. I always thought you were a tough customer. Well done!
BEN: Control knows best.
DOCTOR: You don't seem very sure.
BEN: Jamie took those keys. I must report him!
12. OLD SHAFT
(Jamie doubles back. He finds Medok lying on the floor. Jamie looks around in the gloom and is suddenly face to face with a Macra.)
13. GAS CENTRE
POLLY: Doctor, you know what's happened?
DOCTOR: Yes. Jamie's got free. By my calculations he's got a very good chance. Hold that for me, will you?
POLLY: What do you mean?
DOCTOR: Well, as I understand it, Jamie's in the old shaft.
POLLY: Yes. That's right.
DOCTOR: And for reasons of their own, Control don't want anyone there. It's forbidden territory.
POLLY: So you think he'll be all right?
DOCTOR: I don't know. I'll be able to tell you when I've tested this to see how lethal it is.
POLLY: But what's that got to do with Jamie?
DOCTOR: On this planet it's got a lot to do with everybody. There now. Yes.
POLLY: Oh, Doctor. What on earth are you doing?
DOCTOR: I'm trying to analyse this gas, and I'm not having very much luck.
POLLY: Is that the same stuff that we've been pumping out of the pits?
DOCTOR: Yes. And they go to great efforts to get it. The question is why?
POLLY: Ssh! Somebody's coming.
DOCTOR: Ooh! Mustn't find this.
14. PILOT'S OFFICE
(Ben is slowly recovering as he waits.)
SUNNA: Oh, the Pilot's not here. Let me help you.
SUNNA: Always lend a helping hand. A willing friend makes the task lighter.
BEN: I'll wait for the Pilot. If I'm going to tell anybody...
SUNNA: You are, aren't you?
BEN: I don't know what I'm going to do. I got these voices in my head. Sometimes I just think I'm having a bad dream.
SUNNA: But the voices are here to help us. They are our friends.
BEN: That's it. What about my friends?
15. OLD SHAFT
(Jamie looks at the inert Macra. He throws a stone at it, but there is no response. Suddenly, the Macra's eyes open.)
16. GAS CENTRE
(An alarm sounds.)
OFFICIA: I'll see you are reported for this. If this were not an emergency...
POLLY: The bell stopped. Why has it stopped?
OFFICIA: Because, young lady, the emergency is over.
POLLY: Does that mean he's been caught?
OFFICIA: It means they're closing in on him.
17. OLD SHAFT
(The Macra is still staring at Jamie.)
18. PILOT'S OFFICE
(The Pilot has returned.)
PILOT: Thank you. But, why didn't you tell this to Officia?
BEN: You told me to report back to you.
PILOT: I see. Very well. (To intercom.) The stranger who has escaped is in the old shaft. Control will now give instructions.
CONTROL: All guards will leave the area of the old shaft. No one must go near it, even in search of the stranger. Do not approach its exit or
entrance. Do not go in. Officials are to stand by at the gas centre.
PILOT: We will obey, Control.
19. GAS CENTRE
OFFICIA: Gas centre standing by. What transfers do you wish made?
CONTROL: Prepare for gas to be diverted into the old shaft. Inspect connection immediately and report back.
POLLY: The old shaft. Doctor, that's where Jamie is!
DOCTOR: They're going to pour this gas in the old shaft - gas they value above all else. What do you make of that, Polly?
POLLY: For goodness sake, Doctor. What are you going on about?
DOCTOR: Don't you see? Control are not pouring this poisonous gas into the old shaft to kill Jamie. They've quite another reason.
20. OLD SHAFT
(Jamie and the Macra stare at each other.)
21. GAS CENTRE
POLLY: Doctor, you've got to do something to help him.
DOCTOR: Before we act, we must think. Now, the Macra that have come to the surface of this planet have not found sufficient gas in the atmosphere, so
they've had to get somebody to pump it up from down below.
POLLY: But, if it's life and death to them, why do they waste it? Why divert it into the old shaft?
DOCTOR: That's obvious, Polly. Obvious. Because there's something trapped down there they wish to keep alive.
22. OLD SHAFT
(Jamie backs away as the Macra slowly moves toward him.)
23. GAS CENTRE
OFFICIA: Officia reporting. All connections have been tested. They are all one hundred percent serviceable. Transfer of all gases may now be made to
the old shaft.
CONTROL: Stand by for action.
MUSIC: The Colony. The Colony is happy to obey. The Colony is happy to obey.
POLLY: We've got to help him.
DOCTOR: I'm doing my best, Polly. I'm thinking at top speed. There's a pattern involved here - a combination of pipes. If one were to follow this one...
CONTROL: Stand by gas Officia. All flow is to be channelled through systems seven and eleven.
DOCTOR: Seven and eleven. Now which are they?
OFFICIA: All channels are ready.
CONTROL: Prepare to turn on at half blast.
OFFICIA: All ready.
24. OLD SHAFT
(The gas floods in. Jamie gasps for breath. As the Macra slowly revives, its claws flail. It moves forward.)
25. GAS CENTRE
DOCTOR: Seven and eleven. If that's the system in use, it must go from here round up to there.
CONTROL: Officia is to increase pressure.
POLLY: Doctor, quickly.
DOCTOR: Polly, I think I've found the gas flow.
OFFICIA: (To Control.) The pressure's being increased.
26. OLD SHAFT
(The gas is at once choking Jamie and reviving the Macra. The Macra advances on Jamie.)
27. GAS CENTRE
CONTROL: Turn on full pressure now.
OFFICIA: Full pressure in action!
28. OLD SHAFT
(Jamie runs along the shaft away from the Macra. Ahead of him is another Macra. He is cut off.)
and THE DANGER GANG