PART ONE

(Opening Doctor Who theme music composed by Peter Howell.)
ANNOUNCER: Doctor Who, starring Peter Davison. The Whispering Forest, by Stephen Cole. Episode One.

(A forest. People approaching.)
MERTIL: Hold tight. There's a view down to the river from this clearing. We might see them from here. Seska, I said hold tight.
(Note - "Seska" pronounced "Sesha" throughout.)
SESKA: The night-lighter won't have the range, Mertil. The Takers had too much of a head start.
MERTIL: This was your father's own strategy. He knew the Takers would return. This is our chance to take the fight to them.
SESKA: But if they've reached the river with him, we'll have lost him.
HERVEY: It might be worth a look. We might see the tracks they've left.
SESKA: Hervey, we must keep going. We might catch them up.
MERTIL: Set up the night-lighter, boy. Wait. Hands scrubbed first.
SESKA: We don't have time for that.
MERTIL: We won't help Anulf by falling sick. Now, do it, both of you.
(Washing hands.)
HERVEY: Listen. Lots of Shades about.
SESKA: They're always out in force when the Takers come.
HERVEY: The forest's alive with them tonight.
MERTIL: They can't hurt you. Come on. The night-lighter.
(Bleeps.)
HERVEY: Too many shadows. No. Hold tight. Is - is that them?
SESKA: It's only Jestan's group. Must be trying to head the Takers off.
MERTIL: Try to the east, boy.
SESKA: I'm telling you Mertil, this is a waste of time. Don't you want Anulf to be found? Do what you want. I'm going.
HERVEY: Brother Anulf ruled that only groups of three or more were allowed in the forest.
MERTIL: After what happened to your mother, Seska, I'm surprised...
SESKA: That's Sister Seska. Right now, I decide what's allowed in the bay, Mertil. If anything happens to Brother Anulf, powers of governing pass to his first-born, not to his second wife.
MERTIL: You have emergency powers only.
SESKA: And this is an emergency. Or do you need the night-lighter to show you that too?
(Moving off.)
HERVEY: Sister Seska!
MERTIL: She has no respect for anything. For the sake of Purity I hope the situation is soon resolved.
HERVEY: No-one taken has ever been found.
MERTIL: Anulf was still strong, boy. He will have resisted, slowed them down. And the Shades trail the Takers. We'll get to Jestan's group, get them and any others to search areas with the most Shades. Maybe this time we'll finally find out where the Takers hide, and deal with them once and for all. Bring the night-lighter. Scrub first.
HERVEY: But I just did,
MERTIL: Do it properly this time, not just your fingers.
(As washing continues)
MERTIL: The Shades can't hurt us. But this dirt, boy, the unclear air, the muck all around us, that's different. Scrub harder. If we drop our guard, that's when we're dead.

(TARDIS materialisation. Door opened.)
THE DOCTOR: Ah. We've landed at night.
(Starting to walk through the forest.)
THE DOCTOR: Er - step carefully, you three.
NYSSA: (from inside) Shall I fetch the torches, Doctor?
THE DOCTOR: No need, Nyssa. That moon's looking fairly full. Just wait for your eyes to adjust.
(Door closed.)
TURLOUGH: It's a forest.
TEGAN: Thanks for pointing that out, Turlough. Where are we?
THE DOCTOR: A long way from Earth, Tegan. This is the planet of Chodor, out on the eastern edge of Haldevren. No strategic importance, no mineral wealth. Overlooked by most travellers.
TURLOUGH: So is there any particular reason why we're here?
THE DOCTOR: I suggested to the TARDIS she have a little listen in on the mutterings of the Universe. Ask her to prick up her metaphorical ears at any mention of Richter's Syndrome.
TURLOUGH: Can the TARDIS really do that?
THE DOCTOR: We'll find out, once we've explored a little.
TEGAN: Exploring a dark forest in the middle of the night on a world where anyone we meet might have space rabies?
NYSSA: They won't. Not once I've tried out the cure.
TURLOUGH: She hopes.
NYSSA: I'm grateful for your help, all of you.
(Strange sound, half-voice.)
TURLOUGH: What's that noise?
THE DOCTOR: I'm not sure. Some kind of atmospheric disturbance.
NYSSA: It's almost like ... voices.
THE DOCTOR: Probably just this planet's version of cicadas, or...
TEGAN: Or something else.
HERVEY: (off) I won't be taken! Do you hear me?
THE DOCTOR: Someone's in trouble.
(Running.)
TEGAN: Wait for me!
TURLOUGH: Is that wise? Nyssa, wait.
NYSSA: Turlough, let go of my arm.
TURLOUGH: But we don't know the whole situation.
NYSSA: We never will if we don't investigate...
(NYSSA cries out.)
TURLOUGH: Are you all right? What is it?
NYSSA: Those sounds in the air. Don't you hear them? Like whispers. The noises are coming from that direction. They're coming at us.
(Checking locked doors.)
TURLOUGH: And the TARDIS is locked. Oh, wonderful.
NYSSA: We have to get away.
TURLOUGH: Well, come on, then.
(Moving off.)

(Near running water.)
THE DOCTOR: Hello?
TEGAN: Will you stop shouting? We've got nothing to follow. You don't think he went over the cliff edge and drowned?
THE DOCTOR: It sounded to me more as though he was taken deeper into the forest. Ah, should have let Nyssa bring the torches. Where is Nyssa?
TEGAN: With Turlough. Miles behind, I expect.
THE DOCTOR: Oh well. I'm sure they'll be along in just a moment.
TEGAN: Shh! Those sounds in the air again. Like whispers.
THE DOCTOR: Ah. I hear them now. Nyssa, Turlough, over here.
SESKA: Hold tight!
THE DOCTOR: Oh. Er - hello.
SESKA: In Sir John's name. What are you?
THE DOCTOR: Friendly. There's no need to be afraid. Come closer. We're - we're not armed, you can put down the club and the ... soap?
TEGAN: Smells like carbolic. Your skin! It's red raw. Are you all right?
SESKA: Stay back. I am Sister Seska, Seska of Anulf.
TEGAN: She's a nun?
THE DOCTOR: Or a nurse.
SESKA: With my father gone, I am Purity Bay's leader. Are you Takers?
TEGAN: We haven't taken anything.
THE DOCTOR: Only the time to see if we could help a man we heard calling for help.
SESKA: Father? Who are you?
THE DOCTOR: I'm the Doctor.
SESKA: A doctor? That's impossible.
THE DOCTOR: Really? Who do you call when you're sick?
SESKA: Doctor is an ancient name of power. There have been no doctors for so long. It is impossible.
THE DOCTOR: Well, as Aristotle said, a likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility.
SESKA: Next you'll tell me she's Sir John.
TEGAN: I'm Tegan. Tegan Jovanka.
THE DOCTOR: Sir John is another ancient name of power, I take it?
SESKA: Where are you from?
TEGAN: Here and there.
THE DOCTOR: We're travellers.
(Walking forwards.)
THE DOCTOR: Pleased to meet you.
SESKA: Get back. You must be with the Takers. What have you done with my father?
THE DOCTOR: I'm sorry, we know nothing about these Takers, erm, Sister Seska.
SESKA: Your skin, it's like new-born's.
TEGAN: Oh, thanks.
SESKA: And your hair, it's so long. It breaks every law. What about dirt, germs, infection?
THE DOCTOR: I'm afraid I don't follow.
SESKA: Whoever or whatever you are, you should be dead.

(Walking in forest. NYSSA gasping for breath.)
TURLOUGH: Nyssa. Finally. What - what's wrong with you?
NYSSA: I could hear them, the Shades. Not clearly, but the sound of words.
TURLOUGH: Shades? You're not making sense.
NYSSA: The whispering things, the Shades. I think that's what they call themselves.
TURLOUGH: Why would you think that?
NYSSA: I half-heard so many words, like ... someone was trying to force the sounds through my ears. Oh, I just need to rest a moment.
TURLOUGH: I don't suppose a moment matters. We've lost the Doctor and Tegan completely by now. Still, at least we got away from your Shades.
NYSSA: No.
TURLOUGH: What do you mean? The muttering's all but stopped. Your Shades have gone.
NYSSA: But we didn't get away from them. The Shades simply ... lost interest.
(Movement.)
TURLOUGH: What was that?
NYSSA: What?
TURLOUGH: I thought ... I thought someone was there, watching.
NYSSA: You're getting jumpy.

(Walking in forest.)
HERVEY: Mertil. You were right. There are ... Sir John heal me ... there are strangers.
MERTIL: They made enough noise. They cannot fear discovery. Hervey, fetch the search party here. I will stay to watch them. If they leave, I will mark the trees to show the path.
HERVEY: But if they see you they might kill you.
MERTIL: Go! Hurry, boy.
(Walking off.)
MERTIL: I cannot be hurt. Let doctors see my skin is pure. Let Sir John's blade show my heart is pure.
(Rubbing/washing vigorously.)
MERTIL: I am pure.

THE DOCTOR: Sister Seska, please don't let cultural differences blind you to the fact that Tegan and I are trying to help you.
TEGAN: We're not plague-carriers.
THE DOCTOR: And if my hair offends you I'll wear a hat. See? How's that? However our appearance might differ from yours, you really have nothing to fear.
SESKA: I'm not afraid. The Shades have moved on. That's a sure sign the Takers have gone too.
TEGAN: Shades? You mean the funny noise in the air?
SESKA: So there are no Shades where you come from as well as no scrubs.
THE DOCTOR: What are they, these Shades?
SESKA: They can't hurt you, Doctor. I must return to the hunt. If I don't find my father tonight...
THE DOCTOR: Please. Let us help you.
SESKA: No. Hold tight here. I shall be back to speak with you again.
(Walking off.)
TEGAN: Bye, then! Come on, Doctor. Now's our chance.
THE DOCTOR: Chance?
TEGAN: Couldn't we just slip away, find Nyssa and Turlough, get back to the TARDIS?
THE DOCTOR: We could, but if Nyssa and Turlough are lost out there with these Takers, Seska's help could be important to us.
TEGAN: Come off it. You just want to dig around this Purity Bay of theirs, and find out what's going on.
THE DOCTOR: I'd say there was something rotten in the state of Chodor, wouldn't you?
TEGAN: Rotten? Sterilised to within an inch of its life, you mean. Seska can't be more than what, eighteen? But no hair, her skin - it's like leather, and that chemical smell.
THE DOCTOR: Mm. A lifetime of scrubbing with carbolic. I wonder, could it be linked to Richter's Syndrome?

TURLOUGH: Those sounds have receded. It must be safe to move on.
(Brief walking.)
NYSSA: Turlough, what you said about us being watched...
TURLOUGH: Yes?
NYSSA: You weren't imagining it.
(People approach.)
MERTIL: Hold!
NYSSA: It's all right, we mean you no harm.
MERTIL: Not you, the man.
TURLOUGH: Me?
MERTIL: Step forward. A cap of red. Then the stories are true. Never thought I'd see with my own eyes.
TURLOUGH: Perhaps if you put down the club, we could talk about this.
MERTIL: Where is Brother Anulf, red thatch? Where have you taken him?
TURLOUGH: I have no idea what you're talking about.
NYSSA: Please, we've only just arrived here.
MERTIL: Yes, from the lands beyond the river. The Taker and his acolytes.
NYSSA: Your face, your hands - they're bleeding.
MERTIL: My purity shines in beads of blood, girl. The Takers will never come for me, never.
TURLOUGH: Is she suffering from this illness of yours?
NYSSA: I don't think so. My name is Nyssa...
MERTIL: I don't want your filthy name. If you've already taken Brother Anulf, why do you wait? Who else have you come for? Well?
NYSSA: Turlough, she's trying to keep us here. There are others coming.
MERTIL: And we'll kill you.
NYSSA: Turlough, look out!
(Swish, thump.)
NYSSA: Her club's stuck in the tree. Run, Turlough!
TURLOUGH: I'm running!
MERTIL: Come back here, red thatch!
(Running off. Crowd of people.)
JESTAN: Mertil?
MERTIL: Jestan, at last. Bring your men and the spark wire. Hurry, they're getting away.
JESTAN: Fan out, men. Follow the Takers. Thank Sir John you were not taken yourself.
MERTIL: The Taker's hair was truly red, Jestan. So much of it. And his skin, so pale. Unnatural.
JESTAN: And Anulf?
MERTIL: We must follow them, Jestan, and scour the truth from them.

(Walking forwards.)
HERVEY: Someone there?
SESKA: Hold tight, Hervey.
HERVEY: Oh, Seska it's you. Sister Seska, I mean. You won't believe what's happened. Mertil and me, we found two Takers.
SESKA: What? Was my father with them?
HERVEY: I don't know. Jestan and the others went off after them. I waited for you here.
(About to move off.)
SESKA: I must go, I have to see.
HERVEY: Seska, wait. You're needed at the bay.
SESKA: Where's that?
HERVEY: Garcame said that with Anulf taken, and - and you and Mertil both searching, the people need reassurance that Anulf's closest haven't been taken too. They're afraid, Seska. They need a leader.
SESKA: Mertil's right. I only have emergency powers. They need my father.
HERVEY: Isn't it better they get you right now and not Mertil!
SESKA: I'm glad to hear you say that. I thought when you stayed with her...
HERVEY: I wanted to go with you, like I wanted to go with Jestan and the others. I'm just scared, Seska.
SESKA: We all are. I suppose I'd better go back and take my news with me.
HERVEY: News?
SESKA: Not now. I must think of the implications. My mind is spinning. Imagine if we stopped an actual Taker. If we could only find out what they want with us, what they do.
HERVEY: You should have an escort back to the Bay.
SESKA: No, I'll go alone. But promise me Hervey, you'll bring word of my father, as soon as you get it?
HERVEY: Soon as. Hold tight, Seska. Sir John's hand be steady over you.
SESKA: And you. Hold tight.
(Walking off.)

TEGAN: I've got such a headache.
THE DOCTOR: Mm. Proximity to those Shades, perhaps. The fluctuations in their speech and volume suggests their presence bleeds over multiple carrier wavelengths.
TEGAN: That's not helping, Doctor. Here comes Seska. Perhaps you can test out your theories on her.
(Walking over.)
THE DOCTOR: Well, here we are, where you left us.
SESKA: Good. I'm taking you to the bay. We've never lost our leader to the Takers before. The people need reassurance.
TEGAN: I'm not surprised. This whole place gives me the creeps. Don't you think the sight of us strolling into town might finish your people off?
SESKA: Your arrival must be properly handled. I need to know. Doctor, Tegan, are you from the section?
THE DOCTOR: What section?
SESKA: An expedition left Purity a hundred years ago. They didn't come back.
TEGAN: You mean nobody looked for them?
SESKA: We must always stay close to the bay. Hold tight, the most important law.
THE DOCTOR: Hold tight to what, exactly?
SESKA: To purity, to the hope that we will be rescued and taken back to the stars. If you're not from the section, Doctor, are you here to rescue us?
THE DOCTOR: Well, I er...
TEGAN: Er, what the Doctor means is, we'll help if we can.

(Running. Water nearby.)
TURLOUGH: A river. Where to now?
NYSSA: Sounds like rapids up ahead. We'll be cut off.
TURLOUGH: We can't stay here.
NYSSA: Well, perhaps if we tried to talk to them.
TURLOUGH: We did, and they talked back with blunt instruments, remember?
NYSSA: They're getting closer.
(Approaching sounds of crowd.)
NYSSA: Wait. There are more ahead of us.
(Nearer sounds of crowd.)
TURLOUGH: A different search party. We're trapped.
NYSSA: The river then. We'll have to wade across.
TURLOUGH: But it stinks! We've no idea what creatures might be in there.
NYSSA: Where else can we go?
TURLOUGH: If I must.
(Splashing.)
JESTAN: There they are, in the water. No range on the spark wire. Use the sling-stones. Get them!
NYSSA: Never mind the smell, Turlough. Swim for it.
(Throwing swishing sounds. NYSSA gasps.)
TURLOUGH: What are they throwing?
NYSSA: Anything they can find. Swim faster.
TURLOUGH: I'm swimming as...
(Swish, thump, TURLOUGH cries out.)
NYSSA: Turlough? Turlough!

(Walking on ground.)
SESKA: The path leads straight to the bay.
THE DOCTOR: I hope we won't be entering it as your prisoners.
TEGAN: Seska?
SESKA: I don't believe you are Takers.
THE DOCTOR: Who are these Takers?
SESKA: Well, they've never been seen, not properly. They walk like men, but are more than men, so the stories go. But whenever one of us is made too weak by wounds or illness, he or she is taken.
TEGAN: Body snatchers?
THE DOCTOR: Impatient ones, it seems.
TEGAN: Sounds like they really do need more doctors here.
SESKA: Anyone who is taken is never seen or heard of again.
THE DOCTOR: Without exception?
SESKA: Without exception. I ... I was so angry with Father for marrying Mertil so soon, so soon after ... Forgive me.
TEGAN: It's all right. Better out than in.
THE DOCTOR: How long has this been going on?
SESKA: Always. Or as long as anyone can remember. Like the Shades. But they don't do anything. The elders say that they're the remains of everyone who was ever taken. They are unclean souls barred from Heaven.
THE DOCTOR: So your elders don't really know any more than us.
SESKA: You don't believe them?
THE DOCTOR: Do you?
SESKA: Wounds become dirty. Sickness brings death, and cleanliness is next to godliness.
TEGAN: What happened to your father?
SESKA: A terrible sickness in his chest.
TEGAN: Then you must have known the Takers would come for him.
SESKA: We left guards on watch at his bedside, prepared alarms. It made no difference. The Takers made them sleep and took him.
THE DOCTOR: From the look of the floodlighting I assume that's our destination ahead.
SESKA: Yes! That is Purity Bay. And somehow I've got to be its leader. So suddenly it matters, doesn't it?
TEGAN: What you believe in, you mean?
SESKA: Yes. But what do I believe in?

(Near running water.)
JESTAN: Mertil?
MERTIL: Well, Jestan?
JESTAN: Couldn't get close enough for the spark wire. They went into the water, and it didn't kill them.
MERTIL: Unnatural, evil creatures.
JESTAN: We hit the Taker square on his red head, the girl screamed and then the current swept them away from us. They must be dead, gone the same way as Seska's mother.
MERTIL: These creatures are different from us. They thrive on filth and corruption. If they live, there may be reprisals.
JESTAN: What should we do?
MERTIL: I will return to Purity to give my husband's people comfort at this difficult time. My late husband's people.

(Water of bay. Walking up.)
SESKA: Tegan, Doctor, we're not far from the boundary now. It's guarded. You'd better wait here.
THE DOCTOR: Keeping us your little secret.
SESKA: I don't want people glimpsing you and rumours spreading. I want to announce you properly, to reassure people you're here to rescue us.
THE DOCTOR: We don't have magic wands to wave, Seska. If we're to help you we need to know where your people came from and what they're doing here.
TEGAN: What's that building there? Looks sort of prefabricated.
SESKA: It is the Rest Centre. The exercise centre is beside it. Rest and exercise are vital to health.
THE DOCTOR: Well, quite.
SESKA: Then there is decon chamber.
TEGAN: Who's he when he's at home?
THE DOCTOR: I think Seska means that big metal box. Decontamination chamber.
SESKA: When I take the guards away, go into the Rest Centre and wait. There are only my father's guards in there, the ones the Takers made sleep. The pass code is seven four three nine seven.
TEGAN: You're giving us our own way in?
SESKA: My father trusted his first instincts. Mine are to trust you. I'll come for you as soon as I can.
(Walking off.)
TEGAN: When she said Purity, I wasn't expecting a trailer park. And that disinfectant smell.
THE DOCTOR: Look at those guards Seska's leading away.
TEGAN: Bald as coots. Their skin red raw. Just the same as hers.
THE DOCTOR: I imagine everyone here's the same.
TEGAN: Their clothes.
THE DOCTOR: Standard issue coveralls for extended space travel.
TEGAN: No, I meant starched stiff.
THE DOCTOR: Well, that'll be too many turns through Seska's decon chamber.
TEGAN: Seska's as good as her word. The way is clear.
THE DOCTOR: I only wish Nyssa and Turlough were safe here too.
TEGAN: Safe?
THE DOCTOR: Relatively speaking. Come on, keep low.
(Walking off.)

(Flowing water. NYSSA groans with effort.)
NYSSA: Turlough.
(NYSSA gasps, out of breath.)
NYSSA: Turlough!
(Patting face to wake.)
NYSSA: Can you hear me?
(Coughing.)
TURLOUGH: Ah! What happened?
(Coughing.)
NYSSA: They hit you on the head. A stone, I think.
TURLOUGH: Feels more like a boulder.
NYSSA: I tried to keep your head out of the water but couldn't fight the current.
TURLOUGH: Probably as well. Took us out of their reach.
NYSSA: But further away from the Doctor and Tegan.
TURLOUGH: Why did those two have to charge off at the first sniff of trouble?
NYSSA: Oh, it's my fault as well. You waited for me when the Shades ... Listen.
(Running water.)
TURLOUGH: What is it?
NYSSA: The Shades, they've gone. There aren't any.
TURLOUGH: Not a whisper. And the air. Smells fresher, cleaner.
NYSSA: Yes, that carbolic smell has gone.
TURLOUGH: And the water. I thought it was polluted, but this stuff tastes pure as a mountain spring.
NYSSA: Where are we, I wonder?
TURLOUGH: I don't know. But it's getting lighter. Maybe this place improves with daylight.
NYSSA: Come on. We'd better find a way back to the TARDIS, and hope we don't run into anyone else on the way.

(Noise of electronic pass code being entered, door slides open. Walking in.)
THE DOCTOR: Here we are. Rest centre.
(Noise of door sliding closed.)
THE DOCTOR: Hmm, no Shades in here.
TEGAN: Not much of anything in here. Just beds and showers.
THE DOCTOR: A little more powerful than that. They're steam soakers. Some of this equipment on the far wall is rather more interesting.
TEGAN: In your opinion.
THE DOCTOR: An old Virtual Reality generator. Ah, no power.
(Moving of equipment.)
TEGAN: Not so loud! You'll wake Anulf's guards. They're both still well under.
THE DOCTOR: And a sleep inducer. Promotes restful sleep. Or did once. Scarring on the front panel, suggestive of a high-intensity energy blast. Ah. Similar markings on the VR unit. But why have a device that stimulates the brain right beside one that calms it? Hmm.
TEGAN: Maybe they were moved in here later.
THE DOCTOR: I wonder, did the Takers use the sleep inducer to knock out the guards?
TEGAN: I don't think so. Look here at their wrists.
THE DOCTOR: Ah. Injector marks. Shallow breathing, pupils dilated. They've been drugged. A sedative of some kind.
TEGAN: But we heard Anulf shout out. Why wasn't he sedated?
THE DOCTOR: Perhaps these two took his share of the dose. Down!
(People approaching.)
MERTIL: Hold tight, Jestan. You and your group have earned your rest.
JESTAN: Yeah. The other parties will return soon. Better steam-soak while it's quiet, Antan.
ANTAN: Jestan, behind the bunks.
JESTAN: Oh!
THE DOCTOR: Ah. There's, er, really no need to be afraid.
ANTAN: More takers?
MERTIL: So, retaliation is swift.
THE DOCTOR: Retaliation? There must be some confusion. Sister Seska let us in here.
MERTIL: Not even Seska would be so suicidally stupid.
THE DOCTOR: She wanted to present us to everyone at once precisely to avoid this reaction.
JESTAN: Look at them.
TEGAN: Not all this again.
MERTIL: Don't be afraid, Jestan. The Taker and his acolyte ran from us in the forest. They fear our purity.
THE DOCTOR: Why not find Seska? She'll vouch for us.
TEGAN: We only want to help.
MERTIL: Yes, help to poison that girl's weak mind further. Jestan, use the spark wire.
THE DOCTOR: Ah - now, you might not know it, but that's a cardax defibrillator, designed to cause the return of spontaneous circulation by remotely applying an electric shock to the heart.
MERTIL: Hear him babble in his fear.
THE DOCTOR: You haven't centred the ranging locator. Without a focus...
(Sudden movement. THE DOCTOR gasps.)
TEGAN: Doctor!
THE DOCTOR: (gasp) Stay back, Tegan. Oh! Really was extraordinarily painful.
MERTIL: Again, Jestan.
(THE DOCTOR gasps.)
TEGAN: Stop it! You'll kill him.
(THE DOCTOR gasps.)
MERTIL: Do it again, Jestan!
(TEGAN protests while MERTIL encourages the charges to continue.)
TEGAN: No...
MERTIL: Again!
TEGAN: No!
MERTIL: Again!
TEGAN: No!
MERTIL: Again!

(Closing Doctor Who theme music composed by Peter Howell.)
ANNOUNCER: The Whispering Forest written by Stephen Cole, starred Peter Davison as The Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan, Mark Strickson as Turlough, and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. Seska was played by Hayley Atwell, Mertil by Sue Wallace, Jestan by Paul Shelley, and Hervey by Harry Melling. Lennox Greaves played Anulf, and Antan by Aneurin Barnard. Original Music was by Richard Fox and Lauren Yason. Directed by Barnaby Edwards, The Whispering Forest was produced by David Richardson for Big Finish.

PART FOUR

(Opening Doctor Who theme music composed by Peter Howell.)
ANNOUNCER: Doctor Who, starring Peter Davison. The Whispering Forest, by Stephen Cole. Episode Two.

(Sudden movement. THE DOCTOR gasps.)
TEGAN: Doctor!
THE DOCTOR: (gasp) Stay back, Tegan. Oh! Really was extraordinarily painful.
MERTIL: Again, Jestan.
(THE DOCTOR gasps.)
TEGAN: Stop it! You'll kill him.
(THE DOCTOR gasps.)
MERTIL: Do it again, Jestan!
(TEGAN protests while MERTIL encourages the charges to continue.)
TEGAN: No...
MERTIL: Again!
TEGAN: No!
MERTIL: Again!
TEGAN: No!
MERTIL: Again!
TEGAN: Stop it! Or I'll give my germs to your sleeping friend here.
JESTAN: Mertil?
MERTIL: Step away from the guards, girl.
TEGAN: Not until Jestan lets go of that spark thing. Throw it on the floor. Do I have to start coughing over these two?
JESTAN: Very well.
(Disconnection of spark wire. THE DOCTOR groans.)
THE DOCTOR: No need to taunt them, Tegan, they're just afraid. We can't blame them for that.
TEGAN: They tried to kill you. Can you stand?
THE DOCTOR: Oh. Just about.
MERTIL: Now, get away from those men.
TEGAN: Not until you fetch Seska.
SESKA: I am here.
(Walking in.)
JESTAN: Sister Seska.
TEGAN: Am I glad to see you.
SESKA: What is the meaning of this?
MERTIL: That stands as my question to you.

(Walking.)
TURLOUGH: Quiet here, isn't it?
NYSSA: Peaceful, and the air's so fresh. It's like we didn't just cross a river, we found our way to another world.
TURLOUGH: Or someone else found a way out of it.
NYSSA: What?
TURLOUGH: Over there, beneath the tree. With his legs ripped clear away.
NYSSA: Oh no.
(Walking over.)
TURLOUGH: Where are you going? You can't help him, Nyssa.
NYSSA: (off) It's all right. Come here.
(Walking over.)
NYSSA: It's humanoid, but it's not human. The skin is synthetic, the veins are wires, and the top of its head...
TURLOUGH: Bright orange.
NYSSA: No wonder that woman took you for a Taker. Red thatch.
TURLOUGH: What? That's a Taker?
NYSSA: Look at the disruption pattern around the chest and head. That would suggest an encounter with a phenomenal energy source.
TURLOUGH: A phenomenally destructive one. Perhaps those primitives are more resourceful than they look.
(Humming of machinery in background.)
NYSSA: Or perhaps there's another danger here.
TURLOUGH: A mechanical danger.
NYSSA: We'd better see what's making that noise.
TURLOUGH: I was afraid you were going to say that.

SESKA: You have not returned with my father, Mertil.
MERTIL: But we have returned to treachery.
SESKA: Meaning...?
MERTIL: Is it true, Seska? Have you made a pact with these unclean creatures?
SESKA: I said they could stay here while I made ready to talk to the people. There will be a meeting in the square this evening, one hour from sunset.
MERTIL: You would let these creatures spread their stink and infection through the whole of Purity in the meantime?
TEGAN: Excuse me?
THE DOCTOR: You were the one who told her about your germs, Tegan.
SESKA: They are not Takers, Mertil, you can see that. I believe, they may be a part of the rescue party.
MERTIL: You naive little fool. Ready to take the honeyed words of strangers over a lifetime's instruction in survival.
SESKA: I warn you, I am my father's daughter.
MERTIL: And I am Brother Anulf's wife, closer to him in every way.
SESKA: Too close, then, to see what he would surely see - that the Doctor and Tegan come from the stars.
MERTIL: "Doctor"?
THE DOCTOR: How do you do?
MERTIL: He mocks us with our own words of power.
THE DOCTOR: I do nothing of the sort.
MERTIL: Are you from the section, those depraved creatures who broke our laws, who would not hold tight?
TEGAN: Then how would we have come by these clothes? Surely we'd have been dressed in the same overalls as you.
SESKA: They are strangers, Mertil. Look at them. Can you deny it?
SESKA: Wherever they hail from, this must be some trick of the Takers.
THE DOCTOR: Why would the Takers bother? Why would they change their tactics now? You've never managed to stop them or even seen them, and they've been taking the weakest of you for generations.
SESKA: The Doctor and Tegan can help us to understand the Takers, Mertil. Isn't that better than plotting fruitless attacks in ignorance?
MERTIL: We know the Takers take. We know that Anulf has been taken. What else is there to know?
SESKA: How to get him back.
MERTIL: When the people of Purity see these strangers there will be panic.
SESKA: Which is why I will talk to the people first.
THE DOCTOR: If our appearance will really cause such alarm we will gladly clean up and change our clothes.
TEGAN: Are you serious?
MERTIL: Put them in decon chamber. There is a programme for human cleansing.
TEGAN: Is it safe?
MERTIL: It is rigorous, but perfectly safe.
THE DOCTOR: Very well, if that will put minds at rest.
TEGAN: Are you sure about this?
THE DOCTOR: As a show of good faith. When these people are calmer and more accepting we can ask them about finding Nyssa and Turlough. Well, that's agreed, then. Take us to your cleaner.
(Walking off, door slides open.)

(Walking, sound of humming machinery.)
TURLOUGH: The machine noise came from this way.
NYSSA: I don't see anything.
TURLOUGH: That split in the hillside, see?
NYSSA: A cave?
TURLOUGH: Looks very dark, doesn't it?
NYSSA: Perhaps whoever's inside prefers the dark.
TURLOUGH: You're going to insist on going in there, aren't you?
NYSSA: Not without something to light our way, no.
TURLOUGH: Like what exactly?
NYSSA: The remains of that Taker. That orange cap looked luminous. Perhaps in life it used to wander in the dark.
TURLOUGH: Yes well, let's just hope that whatever tore its legs off isn't waiting for us in the dark.

(Whirring of machinery.)
SESKA: Decon chamber primed. Programme Two selected.
HERVEY: Seska, Seska.
SESKA: Oh, Hervey. Hold tight. What is it? Did you find anyone in the forest?
HERVEY: No. We've given up. After Jestan's group drove off the Takers they sent word we should regroup back here. He and Mertil feared reprisals from the Takers they injured. Surely they told you what happened?
SESKA: No. Jestan was once close to Mertil, wasn't he?
HERVEY: I heard that. When they were both young.
SESKA: I can't imagine Mertil was ever young.
HERVEY: Oh. I must soak. I ran ahead of the others so I could be the first. The last man would be queuing for hours. Don't look at me like that. All right, so I want to be back in the bay as soon as I could back where it's safe and clean.
SESKA: How far behind you are the others?
HERVEY: Not very far, they ... they want to be back too, they ... Why? Is there someone else in the Rest Centre?
(Noise of pass code being entered.)
SESKA: Hold tight, Hervey. Hold very tight.
(Noise of machinery moving.)
THE DOCTOR: All clear.
TEGAN: Let's just get this over with, shall we?
HERVEY: Yes, Seska?
THE DOCTOR: Hello. We're...
HERVEY: Oh...
(Body drops.)
THE DOCTOR: He's fainted.
TEGAN: A girl could get a complex round here.
(Walking over.)
MERTIL: Get him up, Seska. The ground is not clean, even in Purity.
SESKA: I thought you'd gone, Mertil.
MERTIL: I want to be sure these creatures are correctly treated.
THE DOCTOR: Seska, let me help you with him.
SESKA: No. The other search parties will be returning any moment. Please. Doctor, Tegan, in here.
(Door opened.)

(Echoing of machine interior while walking.)
TURLOUGH: This thing weighs a ton.
NYSSA: A few kilos, that's all.
TURLOUGH: If that's all, perhaps you'd care to heft it.
NYSSA: Don't distract me. I'm trying to memorise our route. We might be stuck in these tunnels for ever.
TURLOUGH: Can you feel that?
NYSSA: Turlough, please.
TURLOUGH: The hairs on the back of my neck are standing up.
NYSSA: Don't worry, I'm sure I'll find the way back.
TURLOUGH: No, no - standing up like ... I don't know. Like static electricity.
NYSSA: You're right. There's definitely an atmosphere in here.
TURLOUGH: And there's a glow from around the next corner.
(Metal thing put down.)
TURLOUGH: I'll leave our night-light here, I think.
NYSSA: Come on.
(Walking forwards.)
NYSSA: Some sort of control area.
TURLOUGH: Built into the cave. And there's another of our red-topped friends.
NYSSA: In one piece. Though he doesn't seem to be very security-conscious.
TURLOUGH: Don't tempt fate. Another one, coming this way.
NYSSA: Back into the tunnel. Turlough!
(TAKERS voices are slightly electronic.)
TAKER 1: The monitor is still functional despite the power failures?
TAKER 2: The demands on our energy exceed available supplies. We should consider monitoring the community less frequently.
TAKER 1: The last resort. The humans there are so fragile and our window of opportunity already brief. If we cannot gather the guide in time...
TAKER 2: What is this interference with the signals? Is it the Shades?
TAKER 1: The interference would seem to come from two rogue life signs.
TAKER 2: Impossible. No spaceships detected in Chodor's facility.
TAKER 1: Agreed. To check and correct the components would mean taking the monitor offline.
TAKER 2: Take no action yet. This increase in blood pressure in several of the humans could be dangerous.
TAKER 1: We have taken their leader. Apprehension is to be expected. Levels are expected to settle.
TAKER 2: Good. I shall examine our overall energy levels, now you've processed the latest acquisition.
TURLOUGH: Care to make an educated guess who those "rogue life signs" belong to?
NYSSA: Thank goodness the Doctor and Tegan are all right.
TURLOUGH: But in a settlement full of the kind of thugs who try to kill us, how long will they stay that way?
TAKER 1: Wait. Intruders detected.
(NYSSA gasps.)
NYSSA: Oh no.
TAKER 1: Follow me.
(Shimmering noise.)
TURLOUGH: They've disappeared.
NYSSA: I was sure they'd heard us. There must be other intruders.
TURLOUGH: Some kind of matter transporter?
NYSSA: Built-in. Like the night lights in their heads.
(Shimmering noise of teleportation.)
TAKER 1: Intruders found.
(Walking forwards.)
NYSSA: And the hypodermics in their hands.
TAKER 2: Dispose of them.
NYSSA: Turlough, take the Taker and run.

SESKA: Feeling better now, Hervey?
HERVEY: There are people, Seska, strangers.
SESKA: Try not to think about it.
JESTAN: Sister Seska.
(Sounds of other people there too.)
SESKA: What is it you want, Jestan? What are the people doing here?
JESTAN: Well, they're gathering. They wish to hear from you.
SESKA: Why?
JESTAN: It is said there are strangers here in Purity.
SESKA: I asked Mertil to say nothing until I could address the people myself.
WOMAN: Sister Seska, is it true there are strangers here?
SESKA: I ... Please, I will speak to you all in due course.
MERTIL: Tell us, Sister Seska. Tell us about Hervey.
SESKA: Mertil!
MAN: What happened to Hervey?
MERTIL: The strangers looked at him, and he fell down.
HERVEY: I ... I'm all right. (Quietly) Don't tell them I fainted.
MAN: Are there Takers here?
MERTIL: Do leaders keep secrets from their people?

(Inside a machine. Blast of water. TEGAN splutters.)
TEGAN: That's the pre-wash done. Here comes the spin cycle.
THE DOCTOR: Well, I'm sure this won't take long.
TEGAN: Hey - those marks on the floor, they're like the ones from those machines in the Rest Centre.
THE DOCTOR: Oh, you're right. Disruption pattern looks identical, which means the same explosion of energy affected all three units.
TEGAN: I didn't see marks like that on the outside.
THE DOCTOR: No. Blast must have affected external and internal structures simultaneously. Intra-dimensional. What on this planet could cause that?

SESKA: A man and a woman are in a decon chamber now.
(Reaction by the crowd.)
SESKA: I did not want to risk them bringing infection to Purity, and I did not wish to discuss with you until after I had interrogated them thoroughly. But - they are not Takers. If they were, they would have come in secret as always. No, they are strangers like us from the stars. This could be the most important day of our lives.
JESTAN: Or it could be the last.
ANTAN: How did they hurt you, Hervey?
HERVEY: I - I was tired. I fell.
MERTIL: You were overcome, boy. The strangers caused it.
SESKA: One is a Doctor.
(Some of the crowd repeat this last word.)
SESKA: He brings meaning to the old words of power.
MERTIL: You call this callow girl Sister, but the strangers know her naivety, her laxity. They call her fool.
SESKA: Be quiet, Mertil.
MERTIL: I speak for Purity.
SESKA: I am the daughter of Brother Anulf. His cries of kidnap are barely gone from the air before you seek to rule in his place. Is that the reason you loved him so dearly, stepmother? Yes, and so swiftly.
HERVEY: The decon chamber. It just slipped two cycles!
SESKA: What!
MERTIL: Impurities must be driven out.

(Hissing inside machine. Coughing.)
TEGAN: Is this steam or smoke?
THE DOCTOR: Neither. A chemical mist.
TEGAN: That bleach smell's getting worse.
THE DOCTOR: Reaching poisonous levels.
(Banging on door.)
THE DOCTOR: Seska, let us out! Seska! No good. They can't hear us.
TEGAN: Or they don't want to.
(Coughing.)
TEGAN: This is deliberate. They're trying to kill us.

SESKA: Mertil, reset the decon chamber controls.
MERTIL: Their hygiene levels are low. They're in need of extra decon.
SESKA: The strangers are not soiled dressings to be made fresh. You will kill them. Do you want to throw away all hope of rescue?
MERTIL: We have survived by obeying Sir John's litanies of hygiene, by keeping ourselves pure in soul and body.
SESKA: And holding tight till rescue comes.
MERTIL: There is no rescue coming, girl. Anulf's words. He told me so.
SESKA: He did not tell the rest of Purity, and neither did you. Do leaders keep secrets from their people? Now, reset the controls before the cleansing becomes an execution.

(Hissing in machine. Coughing.)
TEGAN: Doctor!
THE DOCTOR: They're powering down. Seems someone's had second thoughts. Tegan? Tegan!
(Metal door to chamber opened.)
SESKA: Doctor, are you all right?
THE DOCTOR: Tegan's collapsed. We must get her into the Rest Centre, quickly.
(Moving off.)

(Running.)
TURLOUGH: Where can we run to? The Takers can appear wherever they like. We can't keep pushing past them. And when they see I'm lighting our way with a cadaver of one of their kind...
(Shimmering of TAKER materialisation.)
NYSSA: Oh no.
TAKER: Do not run. You must be disposed of, as permitted under Active Combat Regulation Two Zero One.
TURLOUGH: Just try it. We're armed. Look what we did to your friend here - took him apart.
TAKER: Confirmed.
(Shimmering.)
NYSSA: Well done, Turlough.
TURLOUGH: It won't take it long to realise I lied. That prickling feeling again, on the back of my neck.
NYSSA: It happened round here before.
(Passing her the Taker.)
TURLOUGH: Here. You hold our friend, I'll check the walls.
NYSSA: Wait. I feel it now.
TURLOUGH: And now I don't.
NYSSA: The energy's coming from the Taker.
TURLOUGH: It's responding to something.
(Tapping walls.)
TURLOUGH: The walls feel solid enough.
NYSSA: Solid, yes, but not like rock. Feel it.
(Fizzing of power.)
NYSSA: A force-field. If I just ... push...
(NYSSA gasps with effort. Noise of transference from one place to another.)
NYSSA: (distorted voice) Turlough, I'm through!
TURLOUGH: The Taker. The barrier's deactivated because you're holding it.
NYSSA: (distorted voice) Take my other hand. Come on.
(TURLOUGH grunts. Noise of transference.)
TURLOUGH: All that and it's just another tunnel. Or is it?
(Shimmering starts.)
NYSSA: Something's happening. It's the Taker. It's transporting itself.
TURLOUGH: But it's dead. It's only half there.
NYSSA: Hold onto me. (Echoed) Turlough!
(Shimmering fades.)

(Walking out to gasps from the assembled crowd.)
THE DOCTOR: Coming through.
SESKA: Hervey, the Rest Centre door.
HERVEY: Yes, right.
MAN: I don't believe it.
WOMAN: Their skin. Look at their skin.
SESKA: There is no cause for alarm. The strangers are clean now.
MAN: Just the sight of them.
SESKA: Hervey, get that door open.
(Noise of door entry.)
SESKA: Into the Rest Centre, Doctor.
(Door slides open.)
THE DOCTOR: Hervey, the door.
HERVEY: Yes, right.
SESKA: I shall supervise the Doctor and Tegan personally until the meeting at Eighteen Hundred hours. In the meantime, the Rest Centre is out of bounds. Fresh scour creams will be provided in Section D's shower block.
HERVEY: I'll help you guard them, Sister Seska.
(Door closed.)
WOMAN: Rescue. Magic.
MAN: Yeah. Wonderful.
MERTIL: Truth, Jestan. These people wouldn't know truth if you scrubbed their eyes with it. Laxity like this will ruin Purity.
JESTAN: Seska started to win the people round. She spoke well.
MERTIL: Why must the young seek always to discard the past? She has her father's tongue, and the fire that used to burn in him.
(Scrubbing/washing.)
MERTIL: I did so much to reach Anulf's side, but I could never stir up those old passions.
JESTAN: There was fire between us once, Mertil.
MERTIL: A new widow's fire sleeps, Jestan, till it is more seemly, but I have your support in seeking room?
JESTAN: Of course. Should those of our years seek to discard the past too?
MERTIL: Those of our ambition should not. We must deal with my step-daughter and the strangers.
JESTAN: Do you truly believe they are linked to the Takers?
MERTIL: No. I believe they are travellers just as they say. But they are dangerous. Their words and deeds are a pollution that must be driven from Purity, if not by a machine, then by our own pristine hands.

(TEGAN coughs, hoarse.)
TEGAN: Wow. I feel like I've been tumble-dried.
THE DOCTOR: Just lie still, Tegan, if you would.
SESKA: I'm so sorry for what happened.
TEGAN: You're in charge, Seska. Can't you have that Mertil locked up?
SESKA: She has too much influence. Until yesterday she was wife to Brother Anulf, and I was his unruly daughter.
HERVEY: You can beat her though, Seska. You were amazing out there. The people like you.
SESKA: No Hervey, they don't like change. Mertil spoke and acted for many.
HERVEY: And she tried to use me. I made such a fool of myself today.
SESKA: On the day of rescue. No-one will remember.
TEGAN: Doctor, will you stop pacing?
THE DOCTOR: You know, this equipment shows signs of being dismantled and put back together again. I can see portions of the original spaceship have been incorporated into Purity's infrastructure, but this Rest Centre seems bolted on later. And it lacks a lot of standard equipment.
SESKA: Everything that could be salvaged was done so, a hundred years ago.
HERVEY: The rest is in the Ghost Place.
TEGAN: The where?
SESKA: It's always been called that, the - the ruins of the section, away in the forest to the south.
THE DOCTOR: Could I see it?
HERVEY: It's a long hike. Only the Shades go there. It's just dirty, rusting junk.
THE DOCTOR: I might be able to learn something from it, something important.
SESKA: I can't take you, I'm needed here.
TEGAN: Just point us in the right direction, we'll find it.
THE DOCTOR: Er no, Tegan, you must stay here.
TEGAN: I'm fine now, really.
SESKA: No Tegan, if both you and the Doctor go...
THE DOCTOR: It'll seem like we're walking all over you, yes.
TEGAN: All right.
SESKA: But you must be guarded, Doctor. Hervey, will you guide the Doctor, and be back in good time for tonight's meeting?
HERVEY: Me?
SESKA: I need someone I can trust. Take Jestan with you. I'd rather he and Mertil were kept apart.

(Shimmering transportation noise, stops. Now outside, forest noises.)
TURLOUGH: I'm alive. In one piece. Nyssa?
NYSSA: I made it too. We're back, Turlough, back across the river.
TURLOUGH: So this is how the Takers can keep taking. Fully-functional, they'd be able to teleport right into the heart of the settlement.
NYSSA: What do you think triggered it? We'd only just entered the tunnel.
TURLOUGH: Maybe it was some property of the tunnel itself. Why hide the entrance behind a force-field?
NYSSA: That feeling at the back of my neck. The other end of the tunnel's close by.
TURLOUGH: There. That boulder's not real. It's a projection concealing the entrance behind another barrier.
NYSSA: But why do the Takers need the tunnel, if they can transport themselves and others at will?
TURLOUGH: Who cares? Let's just find that settlement, and get the Doctor and Tegan out so we can all get back to the TARDIS.
NYSSA: And hope the Takers can't track us out here.
TURLOUGH: We'll try this way. Come on.
(Walking off.)

SESKA: Are you feeling better, Tegan?
TEGAN: Eh? Oh. I fell asleep. Weirdest dreams.
SESKA: This day feels like a dream. So unreal.
TEGAN: I wonder how the Doctor and Hervey are getting on.
SESKA: They must be nearing the Ghost Place now.
TEGAN: Jestan went with them?
SESKA: Once he'd asked Mertil's permission.
TEGAN: Really.
SESKA: I don't know. They had a huddled meeting about something.
TEGAN: Sounds like you were right to separate them. What's the mood in Purity?
SESKA: Some are afraid. Some feel anticipation. I wish so much that things could change.
TEGAN: One thing you can be sure of Seska, things change around the Doctor.

(Walking in forest.)
HERVEY: Here we are then, Doctor. The section.
JESTAN: The Ghost Place.
(Walking stops.)
THE DOCTOR: Interesting. The remains of another prefabricated building, but this one built well away from the main camp. Quarantine, perhaps?
JESTAN: What's so interesting? It's just a heap of dirty metal, corroded, corrupted. Even the native fauna leaves it alone.
THE DOCTOR: But the Shades like it here.
HERVEY: The Elders say the way to the next life is hidden here, and that the Shades search for it forever in vain.
JESTAN: The unclean shall always be barred from true purity. It's a place that tricks the eyes. You see movement where there is no movement.
THE DOCTOR: As though the Shades were crossing over into a visual wavelength. But why here? That's what's interesting, Jestan. That and those markings.
HERVEY: Like something hit the side of the section. Hey! I've seen that pattern before.
THE DOCTOR: Back at the Rest Centre, yes. The VR unit and the sleep aider bear the same scars. They were obviously looted from this part of the wreck. A massive outrush of energy took place here, disrupting and displacing cellular matter at an intra-dimensional level.
JESTAN: What are you babbling about?
THE DOCTOR: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to babble. The green crescent you can see there on the side of the ship. Ring any bells? Nothing in Sir John's litany? Or the Surgeon's Litany, I should say. Sir John is a simple verbal corruption over the years, the real meaning long since lost.
HERVEY: I don't understand.
THE DOCTOR: The green crescent is the universal symbol for a hospital. Purity is built around a vast medical ship. I imagine your people are all descended from the original patients.
HERVEY: Our ancestors?

(Walking, stopping.)
NYSSA: So that's the settlement.
TURLOUGH: A fading huddle of emergency shelters. Bits of junk hauled out from a downed spaceship. These people might as well have put up a sign for the Takers - "Attack us, please, we're helpless."
NYSSA: That's just it. They are helpless, in need of rescue. The Shades are back.
TURLOUGH: You're right. I can almost feel them. Like bats flapping past in the dark.
NYSSA: Clean ... soothed...
TURLOUGH: I'm sorry?
NYSSA: Forever...
TURLOUGH: Nyssa, are you all right?
NYSSA: Can't you hear them whisper? Turlough, something terrible happened here on Chodor.
TURLOUGH: It happened to me last night. I know we need to rescue the Doctor and Tegan, but I'm in no hurry to be mobbed again just for the colour of my hair. Perhaps we should use their fear of the Takers against them. That trick I used on the Taker in the cave might work even better on the people down there.
NYSSA: It might. Come on, we'd better go.
(Walking off.)

TEGAN: It's getting dark. I hate waiting.
SESKA: Here in Purity that's all we ever do, day after day after day.
(Washing.)
TEGAN: How do you pass the time?
SESKA: We learn the books in the library off by heart. We hold tight. And we do occupational therapy - make things, write and draw, take turns to prepare food.
TEGAN: At least you know your hands are clean. Why do you do it? Always washing the whole time.
SESKA: Water and soap kill germs. Sir John's litany says so. The harder you scrub, the more you kill.
TEGAN: But look at what it's done to you - your hands, your poor face.
SESKA: The thicker the skin, the stronger the faith. You don't believe in any of this, do you, Tegan?
TEGAN: You're strong, Seska. Have faith in yourself.
SESKA: I don't feel very strong. First I lost my mother and now, without my father. You know, Purity's leader has special armour. My father never wore it. He felt strong enough without it.
TEGAN: You don't need armour, you're coping. With friends like Hervey, you'll go on coping, till you know what it is you really need.
SESKA: Thank you, Tegan.
(4 knocks on door.)
ANTAN: (muffled, from outside) Sister Seska. Come quickly.
SESKA: I must go.
TEGAN: A leader's work is never done.
(Noise of pass code. Door slides open. Walking in.)
MERTIL: Ah, Seska.
SESKA: Mertil? What is the meaning of this?
MERTIL: Antan, watch the stranger.
TEGAN: Found yourself another puppy, have you?
ANTAN: Be quiet, woman.
(Slight struggle.)
TEGAN: Stay away from me.
SESKA: Mertil, explain yourself.
MERTIL: You really shouldn't hide from your people, Seska. Alone with the stranger, anything might happen. Anything at all.
SESKA: What?
MERTIL: Antan, the laser scalpel, if you will.
ANTAN: My lady.
TEGAN: A scalpel!
MERTIL: Sir John's blade, woman, and may Sir John's hand be on mine.
SESKA: What are you doing? Mertil, Mertil, no!
(Device powered up.)

(Background sound of faint ethereal howling, as though the Shades are all around.)
JESTAN: You say we're descended from the sick?
THE DOCTOR: The sick, the injured, the wounded, the traumatised. That's why you find a mind stimulator next to a sleep aider. In a hospital ward where different residents have different needs.
HERVEY: Why, this is incredible, Doctor. Where was this ship going?
THE DOCTOR: I don't know. But Mertil was right. The rescue you hoped for can't be coming, not after so long. The Takers are exploiting the situation, and as for the Shades ... I don't know. I just don't know. I'm missing something.
HERVEY: Seska needs to hear this. Come on, Jestan, we must get back to Purity.
JESTAN: Sorry boy, I've heard enough.
(Slight struggle, gasp by HERVEY.)
JESTAN: You're staying here with the Shades.
HERVEY: Jestan ... please, you're hurting me.
THE DOCTOR: Let him go, Jestan.
JESTAN: To find your way to the next life.
(Struggle, crack, gasp by HERVEY. Body drops.)
THE DOCTOR: His neck's broken. With all the twisted lengths you go to in order to preserve life in Purity, you killed him in a moment. Why?
JESTAN: Me? No, you killed him, Doctor.
THE DOCTOR: What?
JESTAN: And when I show the people of Purity Hervey's poor broken body, they won't just want an eye for an eye, they'll want to flay the flesh from your bones!

(Closing Doctor Who theme music composed by Peter Howell.)
ANNOUNCER: The Whispering Forest, written by Stephen Cole, starred Peter Davison as The Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan, Mark Strickson as Turlough, and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. Seska was played by Hayley Atwell, Mertil by Sue Wallace, Jestan by Paul Shelley, and Hervey by Harry Melling, Lennox Greaves played Anulf, and Antan by Aneurin Barnard. Original Music was by Richard Fox and Lauren Yason. Directed by Barnaby Edwards, The Whispering Forest was produced by David Richardson for Big Finish.

PART TWO

(Opening Doctor Who theme music composed by Peter Howell.)
ANNOUNCER: Doctor Who, starring Peter Davison. The Whispering Forest, by Stephen Cole. Episode Three.

(Background sound of faint ethereal howling, as though the Shades are all around.)
THE DOCTOR: His neck's broken. With all the twisted lengths you go to in order to preserve life in Purity, you killed him in a moment. Why?
JESTAN: Me? No, you killed him, Doctor.
THE DOCTOR: What?
JESTAN: And when I show the people of Purity Hervey's poor broken body, they won't just want an eye for an eye, they'll want to flay the flesh from your bones!
THE DOCTOR: With Mertil urging them on, no doubt, branding Seska a fool for ever trusting me, is that it?
JESTAN: Mertil's taking care of Seska and your woman.
THE DOCTOR: If Tegan is harmed...
JESTAN: There's nothing you can do, nothing you can change.
THE DOCTOR: Jestan, you know we're nothing to do with the Takers.
JESTAN: The people don't. The people need more discipline, better management. That's why Mertil has to be their leader.
THE DOCTOR: Nonsense. They need knowledge, understanding. Mertil will keep them in fear and ignorance, at the mercy of the Takers.
JESTAN: We'll deal with them too. We've seen them run. We will take the fight to them.

(TEGAN gasps.)
TEGAN: Put the scalpel away, Mertil.
MERTIL: Hold the stranger, Antan. I shall be, must be, Purity's leader. It is my destiny.
SESKA: It is my right.
MERTIL: So long now I have prepared for this, prepared for my moment.
SESKA: You married my father but months ago.
MERTIL: Before that, even. I remember your mother, girl, remember the look on her face as she fell from the cliff-top.
TEGAN: What? You killed her mother?
MERTIL: She stood between me and Brother Anulf's power. What else could I do?
SESKA: No!
MERTIL: Now it is you who stands in my way, Sister Seska.
TEGAN: Mertil, don't you dare.
MERTIL: Blessed be the hand of Sir John.
(Attack. SESKA cry.)
TEGAN: You killed her!

THE DOCTOR: Jestan, listen to me. Whoever these Takers are, they've been preying on you for over a hundred years. You don't understand them. Have you never so much as seen them clearly? If you try and attack them you'll only be risking more lives.
JESTAN: You've said enough, Doctor.
THE DOCTOR: Oh, so now you're going to kill me too?
(Distant howling.)
JESTAN: Be quiet! Cursed creatures.
THE DOCTOR: The Shades. They're gathering. Hervey said they had an affinity with this place, perhaps the energies released here...
(THE DOCTOR cry out.)
JESTAN: I said be quiet!
THE DOCTOR: Listen! They're trying to communicate.
JESTAN: Get out of my head.
THE DOCTOR: I-I'm listening. What are you trying to say?
VOICE: Clean, take, forever.
THE DOCTOR: I don't understand.
VOICE: Kill, stay, forever.
THE DOCTOR: I can hear the words but I don't understand. Hello? Hello?
JESTAN: They've gone. Foul whisperers.
THE DOCTOR: They've lost their focus, that's all. Now, where were we? Oh yes.
(Thump, JESTAN cry, falls to the ground.)
THE DOCTOR: Please forgive me, but under the circumstances ... ER, yes, well ... Tegan.

TEGAN: Murderer. How could you do that?
MERTIL: Quiet. Her wound is not mortal. Clean it, girl.
(Moving over to her.)
TEGAN: Seska?
(SESKA murmurs.)
TEGAN: Can you hear me? Seska?
SESKA: Mertil, you will ... you will not...
TEGAN: She needs medical attention, not soap.
MERTIL: And she shall have it, when the Takers come for her.
TEGAN: Seska was right. You are mad.
MERTIL: Secure the stranger in the sleep-inducer, Antan.
ANTAN: As you wish.
(Moving over, holding her.)
TEGAN: Oh! No! Get off me!
(Led off.)
MERTIL: Meanwhile I must address the people.

(Humming of machinery.)
TAKER 1: Rogue life-signs affecting signal interpretation. Projection field limited.
TAKER 2: There has been a fatality, and one other is deeply harmed.
TAKER 1: Prepare for transference.
(Teleportation.)

TURLOUGH: What's happening down there? Nyssa.
NYSSA: The settlers are gathering.
(Distant murmuring of voices.)
NYSSA: There's that woman. The one who called you red thatch.
MERTIL: People of Purity, I warned you all we could not trust the strangers. Sister Seska did not believe, and she has paid the price for a heart rimed with dirt.

MERTIL: (distant) And now she is hurt, their allies...
TURLOUGH: Sounds like they have a dirt fixation.
NYSSA: The Doctor and Tegan would never hurt anyone.
MERTIL: (faint) I drove them away once...
TURLOUGH: Whatever the circumstances...
MERTIL: (faint) Who will stand with me...?
TURLOUGH: That woman's stirring up a lynch mob.
MERTIL: (faint) Scour yourselves, stop the dirt...
NYSSA: The Shades don't like it either.
MERTIL: (faint) If we are to stand against their corruption...
TURLOUGH: So, what are we going to do?
MERTIL: (faint) ... we must be spotless clean.

MERTIL: We stand clean and in virtue. Now, let us kill the spike-haired girl. Let us open her dirt-packed veins and take from her as her Taker friends have taken from us.
(Murmurs of agreement.)
NYSSA: No! You are making a terrible mistake.
MERTIL: You, here.
(Walking over.)
NYSSA: This woman thought that I was an acolyte to these Takers, but it's not true. I am a traveller and so are my friends.
MERTIL: Don't believe her. Look at her. Soft white skin, hair like mudded brambles. She is a thing of corruption and indolence, to be stamped out.
NYSSA: If I serve the Takers, would I bring you ... this?
(Producing object.)
MAN: A Taker!
WOMAN: It's one of them!
(Gasps.)
WOMAN: But if she can do that to a Taker, what can she do to us?
NYSSA: I escaped from the Takers and came here, to show you we mean no harm to any of you.

(Faint argument in background between NYSSA and MERTIL.)
TEGAN: I will not sleep...
MERTIL: (faint) Sister Seska lies dying at the hands of the spike-haired girl...
TEGAN: I will not sleep, I will not...
NYSSA: (faint) ... And where is the Doctor?
MERTIL: (faint) Who knows what he has done to Jestan and Harvey.
NYSSA: (faint) I am not tricking you.
TEGAN: Nyssa.
NYSSA: (faint) I know my friends.
(NYSSA's voice continues in background, materialisation of a Taker.)
TEGAN: What? Who are you?
TAKER: You are sick. You must be taken.
TEGAN: Leave me alone.
TAKER: We have come to take you.
TEGAN: Please, get back. I'm not like the others.
(Her voice echoes.)
TEGAN: No! (Echoed) No! No!

(Pass code entered. Metal door opened.)
THE DOCTOR: Tegan? Funny. I could have sworn I heard her voice.

(Faint whispering of Shades in the background.)
MERTIL: Disregard the whisperers. We will fetch the spike-haired girl. We will hear the filth fall from her mouth.
GIRL: Look there, at the forest edge. Takers.
NYSSA: They've got Tegan.
MERTIL: A trick. You distracted us so the Takers could help your friend escape our justice.
NYSSA: When will you listen? If I was in league with the Takers they would have taken me with them.
MERTIL: They left you here to spread more contagion, more corruption. Antan, kill her now. Carve the dirt out of her. Kill her!
NYSSA: No!
VOICE: (TURLOUGH) Leave the stranger.
ANTAN: Who was that?
VOICE: (TURLOUGH) Your actions have displeased the Shades. Stay away from her, or we shall destroy you all.
(Alarmed murmurings from the crowd.)
MERTIL: Don't be afraid. It's another trick. Don't let the girl go. Come back. We must ... must be strong.
ANTAN: Mertil. I ... I can't keep my eyes open.
(Sounds of yawning and sleeping around them.)
MERTIL: What is this?
NYSSA: I ... I don't understand.
TURLOUGH: Nyssa. Snap out of it.
NYSSA: What's happening? Turlough?
TURLOUGH: I tried to scare them off. I wasn't expecting them all to fall asleep.
THE DOCTOR: (off) Ah. That'll be down to me, I'm afraid.
NYSSA:/TURLOUGH: Doctor!
THE DOCTOR: (off) Into the rest centre, quickly.
(Running off.)

(Materialisation of TAKER.)
TEGAN: Where are we now?
TAKER 1: The Shades did not follow.
TAKER 2: The Stiletti wall still stands at full integrity.
TEGAN: Let me go. I'm not even part of Purity. I'm not even sick.
TAKER 1: Take the subject for processing.
TEGAN: What, your disappearing trick again?
(Her voice echoes.)

(Opening door. Walking in. Faint hum of machinery.)
THE DOCTOR: Won't be a moment. I need to maintain the booster circuit in this sleep inducer so Mertil's lynch mob won't wake up too soon.
NYSSA: So that's how you did it.
THE DOCTOR: Hmm. We're safe in here in the eye of the hurricane, so to speak.
TURLOUGH: Yes, but ... where did you spring from, Doctor?
THE DOCTOR: The Ghost Place, where a section of hospital ship rusts quietly in the afterglow of some very strange energies. I took advantage of your excellent distraction to slip inside and put the people to sleep.
NYSSA: Doctor, the Takers have taken Tegan.
THE DOCTOR: Yes. Thought as much.
TURLOUGH: I just hope she isn't badly hurt.
THE DOCTOR: Quite. I found Sister Seska dumped under a sheet in the side room. Nyssa, could you check on her, please?
NYSSA: Of course.
(Walking off.)
TURLOUGH: Doctor, I think we know where Tegan's been taken.
THE DOCTOR: You do? Yes, good. Yes, we can't stay here. The sleep inducer won't last. It wasn't designed for sustained wide broadcast. Why?
TURLOUGH: I don't know. I'm not a technician.
THE DOCTOR: No, I mean, why didn't the Takers take Seska when they took Tegan?
NYSSA: (off) Here's your answer. Body armour beneath her coveralls. The actual wound isn't so serious.
THE DOCTOR: Body armour? On a hospital ship?
(Small explosions.)
TURLOUGH: There goes your sleep inducer.
THE DOCTOR: We must go. We've got to get Tegan back from the Takers. We'll take Seska with us. Turlough, you can lead the way. Come on, there's not a moment to waste.
(Running off.)

(Background sounds of machinery.)
TEGAN: Where am I?
TAKER: In the recovery area.
TEGAN: Thanks. I'm so much the wiser.
TAKER: You are in the recovery area of segregated community zone Chodor One Alpha.
TEGAN: Felt so strange, like I was looking down at myself. What did you do to me?
TAKER: No medical treatment was prescribed.
TEGAN: Medical treatment?
TAKER: You were processed in error. You are a space traveller outside our authority. You do not belong in the settlement.
TEGAN: I told you that much before you zapped me off here.
TAKER: Interference in monitor systems resulted in your being taken in error.
(Noise of power loss.)
TEGAN: Have you forgotten to pay your electric bill?
TAKER: Power supply is at a premium. You are not eligible for treatment. You are not eligible for compensation. You will remain in segregated community zone Chodor One Alpha.
TEGAN: I don't want to stay here. I have to find my friends.
TAKER: You are not eligible to find your friends. Changes in your medical condition may lead to re-assessment of treatment rights. Attempts to leave will result in termination. This is your only warning.
TEGAN: You mean I have to stay here forever?
(Walking forwards.)
ANULF: If you want to live, we all must, all who've been taken. Even a traveller from the stars.
TEGAN: Who are you?
ANULF: In Purity, I was Brother Anulf.

(Walking through forest.)
THE DOCTOR: Turlough, Nyssa, are you sure this is the way?
NYSSA: I hope so. We're looking for the entrance to a kind of service tunnel, but the forest looks very different by night.
TURLOUGH: Can we rest? Carrying this woman uphill is killing me.
THE DOCTOR: This half-Taker of yours isn't the lightest of objects either. All right, just for a moment. Set Seska down here on the grass.
NYSSA: Mind her head.
THE DOCTOR: I'm certain those Shades are following us. What do they want?
NYSSA: They're telepathic on some level, I think.
TURLOUGH: What? They're trying to communicate?
THE DOCTOR: If only we could ask them for directions.
TURLOUGH: I'm so sorry. Believe it or not, we weren't checking for landmarks when we were running for our lives from the Takers' lair, on our way to rescue you.
NYSSA: It's all right, Turlough. He's only worried about Tegan.
THE DOCTOR: And the future of this community. Between the Takers and Mertil's machinations it doesn't look promising.
(SESKA groans.)
NYSSA: Seska's coming round.
THE DOCTOR: You'd better check that dressing you made to staunch the bleeding. Nyssa, hold the Taker's headlight steady while I take a look. Luminous? Why luminous?
SESKA: Mertil, no!
THE DOCTOR: It's all right, Seska. Hold still.
SESKA: Doctor? Mertil and Antan attacked us, Tegan and I.
THE DOCTOR: Was Tegan hurt?
SESKA: She was struggling. I didn't see ... Ow!
NYSSA: Luckily your body armour prevented the laser from going too deep.
SESKA: Father's armour, to make me strong. Who are you?
THE DOCTOR: These are the two friends I told you about. Turlough and Nyssa.
SESKA: Where's Hervey? Why isn't he here with you? Is he all right?
THE DOCTOR: I'm sorry, Seska. Jestan killed him. He wanted your people to believe I was responsible. A martyr for Mertil's cause.
SESKA: Dead, because of her. She's deranged, Doctor. She killed my mother, she told me, just to clear a path to my father. She's so desperate for influence to make everyone as extreme as she is.
THE DOCTOR: After the way things have turned out and in the absence of other candidates I'm afraid influence is almost certainly what she's got, and she'll mean to use it.

(Running in forest.)
JESTAN: Mertil? Mertil. Wake up. What has happened here? The Rest Centre's full of smoke.
MERTIL: Jestan? Something made me sleep.
JESTAN: Made all of you sleep. On the ground?
MERTIL: Oh! The Doctor. He was here. In the confusion he put everyone to sleep with that Rest Centre machine.
(Cleaning/rubbing.)
MERTIL: How did he escape you?
JESTAN: The Shades helped him in the Place of Ghosts. They attacked me.
MERTIL: The Shades can hurt no-one. I don't understand how the Takers left Seska but took the spike-haired girl. Is she really in league with them, her and her friends? And have they really taken my daughter?
JESTAN: I don't know. I did as you said with Hervey.
MERTIL: Ah! Perhaps the boy can still be of use.
JESTAN: Your plans still stand?
MERTIL: While Seska lives I will never know rightful power, and while the Takers take I will never know security. Only by uniting all Purity will we have strength to vanquish their evil.
(Groans of recovery from others.)
MERTIL: Uniting them by any means. Yes Jestan, my plan still stands.
JESTAN: The people are waking now.
MERTIL: And no-one will have realised what happened. So the truth is ours to twist. (Louder) Rouse yourselves from the filthy ground. The strangers have killed young Hervey.
(Gasps of horror from the others.)
JESTAN: I was lucky to survive myself.
MERTIL: Remember, the boy fell at the Doctor's look before. A second look struck him dead. Now we too have fallen, and a second look could kill any one of us.
GIRL: We must hide!
MERTIL: No! We must follow him and kill him. All of us together with night lanterns, so he cannot look at any one of us. Scour your skin, people of Purity.
(Scrubbing.)
MERTIL: We are right and we are strong. Scrub harder. Harder!

NYSSA: Doctor?
THE DOCTOR: Yes, Nyssa, I know, it's time to go. Seska, I know you've been through so much and you don't have to come with us of course, but we must find Tegan.
SESKA: I'll come, Doctor. If you find Tegan perhaps I will find my father.
(Grating sounds.)
NYSSA: Doctor, look.
TURLOUGH: Our Taker's having some kind of fit.
NYSSA: We knew there was residual power in the cells, but...
(Bird-like screeching.)
DEMI-TAKER: Clean...
SESKA: Sir John's hand, shield me!
THE DOCTOR: You mean the Taker's remains haven't spoken before?
TURLOUGH: It hasn't moved either.
DEMI-TAKER: Forever only us, heal, take flesh, make fresh, only us.
NYSSA: That's a Taker's voice, but the words are the Shades, aren't they?
THE DOCTOR: They're animating it. Synthetic flesh and artificial synapses. Seems they can enter the form and inhabit it.
SESKA: The Shades are always out in force when the Takers walk.
NYSSA: Drawn to their physical stability, perhaps.
THE DOCTOR: Hello, can you understand me?
DEMI-TAKER: Section must leave, must find, heal.
THE DOCTOR: Who are we speaking to?
DEMI-TAKER: We are many, any. We are any. Takers take, takers keep. Heal, keep Takers, keep take, keepsake.
TURLOUGH: It's just babbling.
THE DOCTOR: Or the last echoes of consciousness. I think the Shades were once living beings. They were turned by some cataclysm into these revenants. That's why so many linger at the Place of Ghosts. I'm wondering if that's yet another name on Chodor that's lost its meaning.
SESKA: What?
NYSSA: The Doctor believes your colony is descended from the patients of a hospital ship.
THE DOCTOR: Your people's persistence in doing nothing but holding tight to the wreckage of your ancestors' lives left a vacuum at the heart of Purity. To fill that absence, the simple rituals of cleanliness in a hospital ward have been conflated with a handful of half-remembered maxims into the basis for your entire culture.
SESKA: That's all we are?
NYSSA: How could things get so out of hand?
THE DOCTOR: Something certainly happened at the section in the Ghost Place. The disruption matrix was unlike anything I've seen.
DEMI-TAKER: Section six...
TURLOUGH: Seems to strike a chord.
NYSSA: Richter's Syndrome. Does that mean anything to you? Richter's.
(Words from DEMI-TAKER stop.)
THE DOCTOR: Apparently it does.
SESKA: What is Richter's Syndrome?
NYSSA: A devastating illness. There may have been traces of it here.
DEMI-TAKER: The Shades must not ache us.
THE DOCTOR: That's the real Taker. It's re-asserting control over its speech circuits.
SESKA: Why have you persecuted us? Why take my father, and Tegan, and so many others before them?
DEMI-TAKER: I am battle-space auto-medic unit G Six. Your welfare must be maintained.

(Walking, near running water.)
ANULF: I cannot believe all you've told me, Tegan. I ruled Purity for twenty years, and in a single day, I ... I knew Mertil to be ambitious, but this.
TEGAN: At least Seska wasn't here with you. If her condition was life-threatening the Takers would jump in, right?
ANULF: Perhaps she's already dead. She said she would never forgive me for marrying Mertil.
TEGAN: Trust me, she didn't mean it. When they see me out in these communal areas, Anulf, aren't people going to start running for the hills at the unclean sight of me?
ANULF: There is no fear. Everything is clean here, stranger.
TEGAN: So for all these years, those robot Taker things have been bringing your sick or dying people here to be made well?
ANULF: It seems so. I have devoted so much of my rule to devising ways to defend Purity and attack the Takers. And yet, they have made my heart whole so quickly, and just with machines. I've met again with old friends I thought would have died of their wounds or sickness. Seen the children of some who were taken when I was young.
TEGAN: But where did the Takers come from?
ANULF: They have always been here, I suppose.
TEGAN: And your people are allowed to do what they like, apart from leave? Even start families?
ANULF: The Takers take care of us all. They house us, keep us clean with special air and water, filtered through a ... a sterile wall, I think they called it. Like an invisible bubble that keeps out the dirt, and even the Shades. We believed the river so filthy we could not cross it without dying. And yet all the time on just the other side lay this secret place.
TEGAN: They keep an eye on you too, I see.
(Metal walking.)
TEGAN: How thoughtful of them. Fountains, fields, peace and quiet, great views. It's the prettiest prison I've ever seen. But it's not keeping me.

NYSSA: Auto-medics? That's all the Takers are? Medical drones?
THE DOCTOR: Designed to treat the wounded in combat situation and to evacuate them, hence their transmat capability, for instant patient transportation. The glowing orange skull-cap not only provides light, but marks out the medics in poor visibility.
TURLOUGH: The ones that chased us quoted combat regulations at us. They must think they're still on a war footing.
NYSSA: But what did it mean, "your welfare must be maintained"?
SESKA: Well? Come on, speak. You abduct us, silence us, then...
DEMI-TAKER: We are programmed to heal you in secret.
THE DOCTOR: Oh? What prompted that decision?
DEMI-TAKER: Forty-four patients with suspected Richter's Syndrome contracted in Dravidian war zone. Post-crash, housing quarantine section, prognosis - no cure. Risk of infecting majority of ward. Action recommended under active combat regulation two zero five - euthanasia.
NYSSA: There was no cure other than to kill all those people?
THE DOCTOR: Not one known to auto-medics in the Twenty-Eighth Century, it seems.
DEMI-TAKER: For the good of the community.
(Voice fades at end.)
THE DOCTOR: How many times have I heard that justification for the worst atrocities?
TURLOUGH: Doesn't look as though we'll get any more out of him. His energy must be completely depleted.
SESKA: We've always wondered where the people of this section went.
TURLOUGH: Up in smoke, it seems.
NYSSA: That's not funny.
THE DOCTOR: And not necessarily true. Something tells me the proposed euthanasia of the sufferers went badly wrong.
NYSSA: The energy blast you told us about.
THE DOCTOR: An out rush of intra-dimensional energy tearing through different layers of reality, mauling mind and matter, and creating the Shades.
SESKA: They're our ancestors?
THE DOCTOR: And they've been haunting you ever since. Living ghosts, forged in the fall-out of some tremendous explosion.
SESKA: All this time they've been trying to speak to us?
NYSSA: Seska, you're burning up.
SESKA: I'm all right.
THE DOCTOR: Let me see. Hmm. Your pulse is quickening too.
TURLOUGH: Pity this Taker can't do his job.
SESKA: If only he could tell us more.
THE DOCTOR: We must find others who can get treatment for you, at the Takers' hideaway.
NYSSA: I'm sure it's close by. Hey!
TURLOUGH: What's that light?
JESTAN: There. That's them.
SESKA: Night-lighters. Jestan's brought half of Purity after us.
NYSSA: Turlough, look. Those boulders on the next hillside.
(Sounds of the crowd in the background.)
TURLOUGH: That's them! The way in, I'm sure of it. But the last time we were there the Takers tried to kill us.
THE DOCTOR: I imagine Mertil and Jestan have something similar in mind. Seska, can you walk?
SESKA: I think so.
THE DOCTOR: Then run.
(Running off.)
MERTIL: There! Jestan's picked out the strangers. Switch on our night-lighter. Hurry!
(People chatter in background.)
MERTIL: We've got them pinned against the cliff-face. They're trapped.
(Pursuing, out of breath gasps.)
TURLOUGH: Nice to know where the other half of Purity got to.
SESKA: Mertil's so close.
THE DOCTOR: Is this the place?
NYSSA: That light's so blinding, but ... I think ... yes. Here, between the two boulders. You can feel the force-field barrier.
TURLOUGH: Hold up the Taker. It disabled the barrier before.
SESKA: Nothing.
TURLOUGH: Give it here.
THE DOCTOR: It's no good. Using its vocal circuits, fighting off the Shades, has exhausted the last of its power.
MERTIL: Jestan! Attack together!
SESKA: They're moving in from both sides.
THE DOCTOR: Nowhere left to run.
TURLOUGH: Think of something, Doctor. They'll pull us to pieces.
JESTAN: It's safe to approach. The night-lighters dazzle them. They cannot see your faces.
MERTIL: The strangers brought Seska back from the dead with their powers. She is theirs now, theirs and the Takers. They would have her rule you on their depraved behalf.
SESKA: Mertil tried to kill me, like she killed my mother.
JESTAN: Lies. The strangers have made her their puppet.
SESKA: No!
NYSSA: Doctor, her condition's getting worse.
THE DOCTOR: Turlough, keep trying with the Taker. There might just be enough latent power still in there.
MERTIL: You put Purity under the spell of sleep so you could fly back to the dirt and darkness with Seska's soul. Now we must return her to her natural rest.
THE DOCTOR: (laugh;) Oh, you make it sound almost poetical, Mertil. This is murder you're talking about, killing. Slaughter in cold blood. If she cares so little for her own step-daughter, how much can she care for you?
(Beginning of materialisation.)
THE DOCTOR: Oh no.
NYSSA: More Takers.

TEGAN: All right, Anulf. So it's more of a rest home than a prison. I still prefer to look after myself.
ANULF: For those of Purity I think it soon becomes a refuge. Can you imagine how it feels to have fought against so tireless an enemy as dirt and disease your whole life, and then to find yourself safe, in a place where such things no longer matter?
TEGAN: Okay, I get that. But why can't anyone ever go back to Purity and tell the others they're all right? Why the kidnap, the fear, the secrecy?
ANULF: The Takers say it must be this way.
TEGAN: And everyone just accepts that?
ANULF: In time, they have to. This community is sealed in with the good air. There's no way back out. Except the tunnel.
TEGAN: Tunnel?
ANULF: Yeah ... my - my condition meant, the Takers could not drug me or dissolve me into the air for fear of killing me.
TEGAN: I heard you call out in the forest.
ANULF: They had to carry me. They made a tunnel appear in the rock that stretched all the way to here.
TEGAN: Then if we could find the other end of that tunnel.
ANULF: Impossible. It is shielded with an invisible wall so the Shades cannot follow them inside.
TEGAN: You've completely given up, haven't you? A couple of days ago, you were Purity's leader. Are you going to turn your back on your people? On Seska? On the woman who's trying to take your place? On the woman who's killed your wife?
ANULF: My wife? My wife fell in an accident.
TEGAN: Sorry, Anulf. She was helped to fall by Mertil.
ANULF: What?
TEGAN: Mertil killed her.
ANULF: No!
TEGAN: I heard her brag about it. You can't just walk away from this, Anulf.
ANULF: Precisely. I cannot. Mertil is many things, but she did not kill my wife. My wife still lives, after a fashion. The Takers found her when she fell and brought her here. Forgive me, I would prefer to be alone.
(Walking off.)
TEGAN: Handled that well, didn't I?
(Metal walking.)
TEGAN: What are you looking at?
TAKER: Tegan Jovanka, you will accompany me to in-patient processing.
TEGAN: If I know what's good for me?
TAKER: Yes.

(Crowd in background.)
SESKA: There's angels coming here?
THE DOCTOR: Yes, of course. They've no choice, Seska.
SESKA: What do you mean?
NYSSA: Doctor, the barrier's down.
THE DOCTOR: Hold hands with Seska. Get ready to jump through.
MERTIL: For Seska, death will be a mercy. People of Purity, we all will die if we do not kill Seska ands the strangers now.
JESTAN: Kill them all!
THE DOCTOR: Now!
(Moving forwards. Taker transference sound.)

(Closing Doctor Who theme music composed by Peter Howell.)
ANNOUNCER: The Whispering Forest written by Stephen Cole starred Peter Davison as The Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan, Mark Strickson as Turlough, and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. Seska was played by Hayley Atwell, Mertil by Sue Wallace, Jestan by Paul Shelley, and Hervey by Harry Melling, Lennox Greaves played Anulf, and Antan by Aneurin Barnard. Original Music was by Richard Fox and Lauren Yason. Directed by Barnaby Edwards, The Whispering Forest was produced by David Richardson for Big Finish.

PART THREE

(Opening Doctor Who theme music composed by Peter Howell.)
ANNOUNCER: Doctor Who, starring Peter Davison. The Whispering Forest, by Stephen Cole. Episode Four.

NYSSA: Doctor, the barrier's down.
THE DOCTOR: Hold hands with Seska. Get ready to jump through.
MERTIL: For Seska, death will be a mercy. People of Purity, we all will die if we do not kill Seska and the strangers now.
JESTAN: Kill them all!
THE DOCTOR: Now!
(Moving forwards. Taker transference sound.)

(Running.)
THE DOCTOR: That's far enough. We can't let the barrier re-seal.
MERTIL: (distant) Get them!
TURLOUGH: If we stay here, Mertil will kill us.
THE DOCTOR: So will the Takers if we don't time this right. Nyssa, take my hand.
TAKER: Stand aside from the barrier. Stand aside.
THE DOCTOR: No. The tunnel is open, Taker. Mertil is coming. You'll be too late to heal Seska in secret or otherwise unless you take her now.
SESKA: Whoah, what's happening?
THE DOCTOR: Nyssa, Turlough, don't let go of her. It'll have to take us too.
(Last three words echoed. Running up.)
MERTIL: Curse them.
JESTAN: The air has turned solid. We can't get through. Mertil, that's real sorcery.
MERTIL: Use the spark-wire, Jestan. We'll break their invisible wall.
JESTAN: Stand back. I'll put it to the highest setting.
(Blast. JESTAN cry in voice as though being electrocuted.)
MERTIL: Jestan!
(Running over.)
ANTAN: The air threw the sparks back at him. Is he dead?
MERTIL: A new widow's fire sleeps Jestan, till it is more seemly.
ANTAN: I said, is he...?
MERTIL: Yes Antan, he is dead. Lift him up, up from the filthy ground.
ANTAN: We'll all be dead if we stay here.
MAN: I'm going back.
WOMAN: Me too.
MERTIL: No, listen to me!
MAN: Jestan listened to you and it killed him.
ANTAN: Mertil,. something moved.
MERTIL: Jestan?
ANTAN: No. The half-thing, I think. Look. It's twitching. Like it's coming to life.
DEMI-TAKER: Find. Heal. Take flesh. Make fresh. Find. Heal. Take flesh. Make fresh. Find. Heal. Take flesh. Make fresh. Find...

(Taker transference sound. Faint humming sound in background.)
SESKA: What was that?
THE DOCTOR: Oh! Low-level matter transporters always put my teeth on edge.
NYSSA: We're back in the Takers' control area.
TURLOUGH: And I think these two are the ones who tried to kill us before.
(SESKA light moan.)
NYSSA: Seska!
THE DOCTOR: She's collapsed. Carbolic acid poisoning, I would think. Soap must have got into the wound.
TAKER 1: The diagnosis is accurate.
TAKER 2: We shall heal her.
(TAKER 2 has a more female voice.)
NYSSA: Why did you leave her in pain for so long?
THE DOCTOR: Her condition had to reach critical before they could intervene, Nyssa, that's their rule.
TURLOUGH: And why they monitor everyone in the settlement so closely.
NYSSA: But why?
TAKER 2: Bring Tegan Jovanka.
NYSSA: Tegan?
(Walking over.)
TEGAN: I can walk by myself, thank you very much. Doctor! Nyssa, Turlough!
THE DOCTOR: Tegan. You're unharmed.
TEGAN: They haven't touched me, yet. What about Mertil and the Purity mob?
NYSSA: They're safely shut outside. It's so good to see you're safe.
TURLOUGH: I'm not sure any of us are safe.
TEGAN: Seska. Will she be all right?
TAKER 2: Carbolic acid is a fat-soluble depressant, and must be removed from the nervous system before functional inactivity sets in.
TEGAN: Well, do it. Seska, it's Tegan. Your father's here, Seska. And not just him.
TURLOUGH: Her father? So you found him in the end, then?
TAKER 1: Tegan Jovanka, these humanoids are your fellow travellers. There are no more?
TEGAN: That's right.
TAKER 1: They have caused interference with our monitors, and used subterfuge to enter this camp. They will be disposed of...
TEGAN: No!
TAKER 1: ... according to active combat regulation Two Zero One.
TURLOUGH: You - you don't understand. We're ... we're the rescue party.
THE DOCTOR: Yes, the rescue party you've spent a century waiting for.
(Sound of machinery failing.)
NYSSA: And they need rescuing quickly. Their power's wearing down.
TEGAN: Right. They told me that too.
TAKER 1: Prove you are personnel from the genuine rescue mission.
THE DOCTOR: Can you prove otherwise?
TAKER 2: Before any action can be taken, confirmation of rescue status is needed from Earth Empire Command.
THE DOCTOR: Only you can't get it, can you? You've no way of contacting them for help or guidance. We may be able to provide both if you explain what happened.

DEMI-TAKER: Find. Heal. Take flesh. Make fresh. Find. Heal. Take flesh....
MERTIL: Antan...
DEMI-TAKER: Make fresh. Find...
MERTIL: Antan, stop that obscene monstrosity. It's only half a creature.
DEMI-TAKER: Heal. Take flesh. Make fresh. Find...
(Shot fired.)
ANTAN: I can't stop it.
DEMI-TAKER: Heal...
(Shot fired.)
DEMI-TAKER: Take flesh. Make fresh. Find...
ANTAN: It's after the spark-wire.
MERTIL: Everybody back!
DEMI-TAKER: Heal. Take flesh. Make fresh.
(Whine of power.)
ANTAN: Mertil. The barrier - it's gone.
MERTIL: The moment that thing touched the spark-wire, as if it opened it for us.
ANTAN: I don't understand.
MERTIL: We don't need to understand, only to take advantage. (Amplified) See? Jestan's sacrifice was not in vain. No leader has ever brought you so close to our enemies. Where they go now, we can go. Now we can destroy.

THE DOCTOR: Auto-medic, we need to know what happened on the day of the quarantine.
TAKER 2: Historical testimony has no relevance to current situation.
THE DOCTOR: Nonsense. Learning from the past is the only way to build a future. But you auto-medics had no past experience of containing an outbreak of Richter's Syndrome, did you?
TAKER 2: All but two human medical practitions perished in the crash. All communications were destroyed. We could not connect with Central Medical Register.
THE DOCTOR: And so you concluded the simplest way forwards was to eliminate the sufferers.
TEGAN: That's horrible.
TAKER 1: One senior surgeon supported the decision. One staff doctor did not. She encouraged other patients to prevent our actions. They brought weapons. They fired upon us and struck the damaged engines.
NYSSA: What sort of engines?
TAKER 1: Sub-space dilution drive.
THE DOCTOR: So there's our outburst of energy. A percussive impact from the quantum flux generator. Layers of warp energy sent shattering outward through reality transforming humans and medics alike.
TEGAN: Into the Shades.
TAKER 2: Into intra-dimensional contaminants.
NYSSA: Into helpless chimera, left in terrible pain!
THE DOCTOR: Gently, Nyssa. We haven't heard all its story.
TAKER 2: The surgeon was eliminated in the conflagration. The staff doctor became Purity's leader. Our presence, and that of the intra-dimensional contaminants, caused mental disturbances in the humans. Fear, alarm, paranoia.
TURLOUGH: Can you blame them?
TAKER 2: A staff doctor banished us from the bay. All mention of the auto-medics and the events of that day were forbidden. Soon after, Sheetu died of warp radiation.
THE DOCTOR: But you couldn't just abandon your patients, could you? Just as you couldn't go on causing them such distress or disobey direct instructions from a superior.
TEGAN: So the only way they could continue to care for the people was in secret.
TAKER 1: It was the only way. It took the ten of us many years to sterilise the area beyond the river, shut out the contaminants, and build a hospital from salvaged parts.
NYSSA: And all the time the survivors held tight for a rescue that never came. If they ever became ill you spirited them away.
TAKER 1: We could not allow them to see us, so we could cause them no distress.
TEGAN: You stole their sick and injured without explanation, and didn't think it would cause them distress?
THE DOCTOR: They're programmed for physical medicine, not psychiatry. They took the staff doctor's words at face value.
NYSSA: And for all this time the Shades have been ignored. They're desperate to be healed, to know peace again.
(Fizzing sounds around them.)
TEGAN: It's getting worse.
TAKER 2: Our purpose is to heal humans.
THE DOCTOR: And so it's gone on year after year. The Takers subservient to their programming, the survivors living out their rituals. Neither side with any real understanding of what it means to live at all.
(Distant echoing cries.)
TAKER 1: Warning. Contamination breach.
TURLOUGH: Shades!

(Walking up.)
MERTIL: Inside the Takers' stronghold, Antan. Did you ever imagine?
ANTAN: Why did that half-there thing open the way?
MERTIL: It sought to escape us.
ANTAN: You don't think this could be a trap to take us all?
MERTIL: We're too strong, too pure. We have spent our lives preparing for this day. Thirteen men and women stand with us to be honoured always, and all who fled will have their muck-stuffed hearts scrubbed to pulp upon our return.
ANTAN: We never heard the Shades this way before.
MERTIL: Even they sense the importance of this day. Do not falter now, Antan, not now.

TAKER 1: Warning. The humans have entered the tunnel.
TURLOUGH: The Shades must have got in with them.
TAKER 2: They are advancing on our settlement.
THE DOCTOR: Good. Don't you see, you can re-integrate your worlds. Once the people of Purity see you mean them no harm, find that those who've been taken are treated well they won't fight you.
TAKER 2: We can only heal in secret. The humans are armed. There will be violence.
TEGAN: How did Mertil even get in? Why didn't they set off any alarms?
NYSSA: In theory only Takers can open the barriers.
TURLOUGH: Including that husk we've been carrying round with us.
THE DOCTOR: Where did you leave it?
TURLOUGH: Er - I must have left it behind at the mouth of the tunnel. But like this place, it had no power.
THE DOCTOR: Perhaps it wanted us to think that.
NYSSA: Medic, we came through a barrier at the end of this tunnel.
TAKER 1: Power failure. Relieve barrier. Must find. Heal. We are many.
TURLOUGH: Oh no.
TEGAN: What's happening?
NYSSA: It's being animated by the Shades.
TEGAN: They're inside it? Why?
THE DOCTOR: Solid plastic flesh, a mind fixed in steel and circuits. To know a stable form after so long, for a Shade that's purity. Medic, you must talk with Mertil and her followers before it's too late.
(Taker walking forwards.)
TAKER 2: Takers sleep, keep, takers cleanse. Heal. Kill.
(THE DOCTOR choking.)
TURLOUGH: Doctor! Tegan, help me!
TAKER 1: Please ... cleanse...
(NYSSA cries out too as though being choked.)
TEGAN: Nyssa!
(TAKERS laughing.)

(Running up.)
MERTIL: Here are the Takers' machines. We must be close to the heart of their operations, and still they offer no resistance.
ANTAN: Wait. The Shadow.
(Taker walking forwards.)
TAKER 1: Sickness. Live. Let live. Give.
ANTAN: A Taker who thinks it's a Shade?
MERTIL: And it is no more dangerous than a Shade. Together we attack.
ANTAN: Who's with me?
TAKER 1: Together. All above.
(Strikes to metal object.)
MERTIL: Antan!
(Panicked running.)
TAKER 1: Above.
MERTIL: No. No! Stay back! Stay...
(MERTIL cry.)

(THE DOCTOR gasping. TAKER laughing.)
TURLOUGH: Doctor! Tegan, help me, he's going to be crushed.
TEGAN: I can't leave Nyssa. I can't break its grip.
TURLOUGH: And when they're dead, it'll be our turn!
ANULF: What's this?
TEGAN: Anulf!
ANULF: What's happening?
TEGAN: What does it look like? Help!
(THE DOCTOR groans, crash of machine.)
THE DOCTOR: Oh, thank you. Nyssa. Help Nyssa.
ANULF: Leave that woman be!
(Crash of machine.)
NYSSA: Thank you.
THE DOCTOR: Yes. Brother Anulf, is it? Hello. I've heard a lot about you. I'm the Doctor.
ANULF: The ancient word of power.
THE DOCTOR: Power. Yes. And that's about all that has an effect on these possessed Takers.
ANULF: Tegan, I saw you taken and I followed you.
TEGAN: I'm glad you did. And there's someone else I bet is glad about it too.
SESKA: Father, is that you?
ANULF: Seska.
TAKER: Cleanse, long, die, strong.
THE DOCTOR: The happy reunion will have to wait, I'm afraid. The Shades are very much alive and well. Anulf, help Seska. We've got to warn everyone here they're being invaded.

MERTIL: Let go ... of ... me!
(Sound of machine falling over.)
MERTIL: Antan, wake up! Get up off the ground!
ANTAN: Mertil? Saint John take me. What are these creatures? We should never have come here.
MERTIL: My fighters have all run away.
ANTAN: Then there is no shame in following.
MERTIL: No shame? I have killed for this chance to prove my way is right. I will not waste it. I will claim something from this day.
TAKER: Take. Cleanse. Right. Take. Kill.
MERTIL: Blocks our way in any case. The only way to run is deeper inside.

(Running outside and shouts.)
THE DOCTOR: The slaughter has started.
TEGAN: We've got to help these people.
TURLOUGH: How? There's ten of those things unmoveable, pretty much indestructible, and with a very tight grip.
NYSSA: Why are the Shades doing this? I thought they wanted peace.
THE DOCTOR: A hundred years in formless agony, enough to drive anyone insane. The sterility war can't have helped. Charging the local atmosphere with destructive particles.
NYSSA: I could feel it in my mind outside the TARDIS. Such a longing, a yearning.
THE DOCTOR: I felt them too, in the Ghost Place. They helped me get away from Jestan.
ANULF: The Shades were always out in numbers when the Takers walked.
NYSSA: We thought they were drawn to the Takers, but perhaps they were hunting them.
THE DOCTOR: And it's only now the Takers have been weakened by power failures that the Shades have been able to take control of them.
TURLOUGH: Ready to take their revenge on the humans who refuse to listen to them.
TEGAN: Doctor, there are so many people here. Families, children...
TURLOUGH: And once the Shades work out how to use the Takers' matter transporter...
THE DOCTOR: Yes, thank you, Turlough, the Shades don't seem to have mastered that particular function yet. Evacuation I think is the only option.
ANULF: But we have held tight all our lives.
SESKA: And it's been slowly killing us, Father. We must go.
ANULF: What of those who cannot leave? Those in intensive care here, like your mother.
SESKA: My mother?
ANULF: The Takers' machines keep her heart beating. But she lives.

(Clicks, running.)
ANTAN: Mertil, across the courtyard, Brother Anulf.
MERTIL: Alive, with the strangers, and with Seska. Oh Anulf, what have they done to you? He looks just the same...
(Scrubbing clean.)
MERTIL: But she will have poisoned his mind against me. I must speak with him.
ANTAN: Please Mertil, not here, not now. Seska and the strangers will try to kill us for what we've done.
MERTIL: Listen to the screams. Who's screaming? Are all those taken held in such agony?
ANTAN: Anulf is not. The spike-haired stranger is not.
MERTIL: Everything is tricks here, Antan. Don't be deceived. Don't be deceived. Don't. Don't.
(Vigorous scrubbing.)

SESKA: Father, if my mother is alive, I must see her.
ANULF: Seska, I know how you must feel, but this is not the time.
SESKA: There may not be any other.
(Rumble of machinery.)
TEGAN: Doctor, the power drains. They seem to be coming faster.
NYSSA: It's affecting the Takers as well as their equipment. The power must be broadcast from a central source.
TURLOUGH: If we wait long enough, might the Takers wear down altogether?
THE DOCTOR: Their power source has lasted for a hundred years, it could take another fifty to exhaust itself. Unless of course, we give it a helping hand.
NYSSA: You mean discharge the energy somehow?
THE DOCTOR: Cut the supply. The simplest way to stop them in their tracks.
TEGAN: But it'll stop everything else too. The lights, the sterility walls...
TURLOUGH: Intensive care?
SESKA: You can't!
ANULF: Seska...
SESKA: They just can't.
ANULF: Being leader, Seska, means making decisions for everyone, not just for yourself.
THE DOCTOR: There might be a way to maintain power to the essential systems, while taking it from Shade-Takers.
NYSSA: Doctor, look.
TAKER: Take flesh, make fresh...
TURLOUGH: They're coming!
THE DOCTOR: Anulf, do you know the way to the power supply?
ANULF: Sorry, no.
THE DOCTOR: Then we'll start looking near the intensive care ward. Any emergency power will be routed through there as a priority. Come on.
(Running off.)

(Running up.)
ANULF: The intensive care ward is this way.
SESKA: If those things have harmed my mother, I'll hack them to pieces.
THE DOCTOR: Wait, look. Threaded through the venting hatch.
TEGAN: Cables.
NYSSA: Heavy-duty cables by the looks of it.
TURLOUGH: But the Takers operate on broadcast power, not a wired system.
THE DOCTOR: Which means the life-support machines run on a smaller isolated circuit, and won't be affected. Tegan, Nyssa - go with Anulf and Seska. Anyone in that ward will be entirely helpless. Try and make it as secure as you can.
(Running off.)
TEGAN: Let's hope visiting hours are over.
THE DOCTOR: Turlough - with me. We've got a power supply to sabotage.
(Transportation.)

(Struggle, male screams amidst multiple TAKERS indistinct chanting.)

(Walking towards bleeping machinery.)
THE DOCTOR: She's through here.
TEGAN: Are you all right, Seska?
SESKA: Yes.
(Door operated. Sound of respirator.)
NYSSA: Not too crowded in here, anyway. That's something.
TEGAN: Come on. We'd better see what we can find for a barricade. Those spare beds, for a start.
ANULF: Seska, I should warn you your mother looks different since the accident.
SESKA: Mother. Your hair is so long. And your face. It's grown as soft as the strangers'.
(Walking in.)
MERTIL: The thicker the skin, the stronger the faith.
ANULF: Mertil.

(Humming of machinery.)
THE DOCTOR: The conduits lead ... here. If I can trip the switch...
(Bleeps, metallic crashing.)
THE DOCTOR: Eureka.
TURLOUGH: For your next trick, you'll discharge a broadcast power supply without blowing us all to smithereens.
THE DOCTOR: Hopefully, Turlough, hopefully. Help me with this hatch cover.
(Grunting as moving metal.)
THE DOCTOR: It should show us what we're up against.
TURLOUGH: Doctor ... you mean what else we're up against.
THE DOCTOR: What?
TURLOUGH: We have a visitor.
THE DOCTOR: Oh. Antan, isn't it?
ANTAN: I've been sent here to kill you.

TEGAN: Mertil. What are you doing here?
SESKA: Don't take a step nearer to my mother. Keep away.
MERTIL: There are Takers coming here, Anulf. We must leave. Come with me, my love.
ANULF: I am not yours in any way.
MERTIL: If you stay you will die. Purity needs you.
ANULF: My family needs me more. The help of Purity's beyond me now. I help the strangers. They fight. They understand where I do not.
MERTIL: I am your family.
SESKA: You never came close.
NYSSA: Come inside, Mertil, or leave.
TEGAN: We've got to get this barricade up or the people here will be defenceless.
ANULF: Yes.
(Grunts of effort.)
ANULF: We must help them.
MERTIL: Help me, husband. As a child I knew truth like spotless white. Now I see it stained red and dark. I have pulled the nails from my fingers so no mud may get behind them. Blood hardens the cracks I've scrubbed into my face. But everywhere I look I still see only dirt and sickness.
SESKA: Because the sickness is in you . It's all you've ever looked for.
TEGAN: Now, come in if you're going to or get out. I mean it. These doors are closing.
MERTIL: Perhaps they are. I spent my life afraid of the dark. If any of you live to tell stories of this day, tell that I never ran from it.
NYSSA: Mertil!
(Sounds of chanting TAKERS.)
MERTIL: Let me pass. I'm stronger than you. My purity shines. Let me pass! I insist you let me pass.
(Chanting of multiple TAKERS. MERTIL scream.)
ANTAN: Mertil.
(Thump. Metal device dropped.)
TURLOUGH: I'll take that, thank you.
THE DOCTOR: Thank you, Turlough.
TURLOUGH: Yes, well, the prospect of imminent death tends to dissipate one's natural cowardice.
ANTAN: I ... That was...
THE DOCTOR: Yes, a pity. And the knife please, Turlough. Should help us get this cover off.
(Metal being moved.)
ANTAN: But Mertil...
TURLOUGH: Come on, Doctor!
(Metal moved.)

(Chanting, rapping against door.)
TEGAN: The door won't hold them.
NYSSA: They're getting in!
(Crash.)
ANULF: This was our refuge. Our only refuge. I won't let you destroy it.
(Chanting TAKERS.)
SESKA: Father!
ANULF: Don't let them destroy us, Seska!
(ANULF cry, smash.)

(Metal shutter raised.)
THE DOCTOR: There. Now then, these must be the broadcast power cells. Ancillary system wired in here. Oh.
ANTAN: What are you going to do?
THE DOCTOR: Antan, how are you at power flux computations?
ANTAN: Eh?
THE DOCTOR: Oh dear. In which case how are you at guarding doors?
TURLOUGH: Power flux computations are hardly my strong suit either, Doctor.
THE DOCTOR: It's no good in any case, look. The router couplings are dead-locked. There's no way of dissipating their broadcast power charge.
TURLOUGH: Could you divert the charge into the ancillary system?
THE DOCTOR: Mm. Too much power. Would short out in seconds.
(Chanting TAKERS in the distance.)
ANTAN: Doctor, the Takers are coming.
TURLOUGH: We've got to get out of here.
ANTAN: We can't.
THE DOCTOR: Oh, it's no good, it won't work! Come on, come on! Antan, close the door.
(Metal door closed.)
TURLOUGH: The Takers will only open it again, like they did the barriers. Their proximity activates their technology.
THE DOCTOR: What? Of course.
(Metal clank, chanting TAKERS.)
TURLOUGH: See? Stay back!
THE DOCTOR: On the contrary, do come in and inspect my handiwork. Proximity you said, Turlough? Let's see how close they need to be.
TURLOUGH: What, to kill us?
(Metal crash.)
THE DOCTOR: Oh! There goes the deadlock.
(TAKERS chanting.)
TURLOUGH: Oh, wonderful.
ANTAN: And?
THE DOCTOR: And with the help of one not so subtle knife ... That's it.
(TAKERS chanting faster, echoing, power fades.)

SESKA: Father, Father!
TEGAN: Seska, get back, you can't help him now.
SESKA: Oh no, no!
NYSSA: It's no good. The Doctor's failed.
TEGAN: He doesn't fail. Come on. While there's life there's hope.
(Multiple TAKERS chanting, then sound fades down to silence.)
NYSSA: The Takers, they've stopped moving. The power's dead.
TEGAN: Isn't it just.
SESKA: Life support. There's no life support.
(Crash.)
TEGAN: There is now.
(Hum of power.)

ANTAN: The Takers have melted.
TURLOUGH: Tell us, then. What did you do?
THE DOCTOR: Well, it was something of a joint effort, really. The Takers' proximity to the systems triggered the settings menu and I used Antan's knife to sever the couplings and I slit the wired circuit.
TURLOUGH: So all that broadcast power discharged directly into the Taker.
THE DOCTOR: And since they share a neural network, from him it flowed into all the others.
ANTAN: What about the Shades?
THE DOCTOR: They would have had time to leave the melting bodies. They chose not to. They'll finally know peace. Perhaps, so too will Purity.

(Walking outside on ground, near running water.)
TEGAN: Couldn't ask for a neater bit of symbolism.
THE DOCTOR: Symbolism, Tegan?
TEGAN: Well, you know, a new dawn.
THE DOCTOR: Ah yes.
(Walking stops.)
THE DOCTOR: Is it that time already?
NYSSA: A new dawn for Purity. New Purity.
TURLOUGH: It's Chodor, actually.
SESKA: Purity's better.
THE DOCTOR: I agree. Well, Antan will be back soon with the rest of your people. Even without the sterility barrier this will be a good clean place from which to govern.
SESKA: I'm not sure that's what I want, to govern.
TEGAN: What?
SESKA: Oh - I mean to make my voice heard, but from this day on, life's not about holding tight, but letting go.
THE DOCTOR: A world free of ghosts, in all ways.
TEGAN: Wish my world was free of headaches.
TURLOUGH: Any particular headache?
NYSSA: No bickering, you two.
THE DOCTOR: No, it's no way to greet a new dawn. Goodbye, Seska, and good luck.
SESKA: Goodbye. Thank you for our rescue, all of you.
(Walking off.)

NYSSA: Here we are. The TARDIS.
TURLOUGH: At last.
(Door opened.)
THE DOCTOR: In you go, everyone.
TURLOUGH: Gladly.
THE DOCTOR: Coming, Tegan?
TEGAN: Just a second. I could use a bit more fresh air, I ... I really do feel strange.
NYSSA: Headaches, you said?
THE DOCTOR: Yes, what sort of headaches?
TEGAN: Just headaches. What are you looking at me like that for?
THE DOCTOR: You - you have been sleeping well, I take it?
TEGAN: Yes. Well, no. But it's nothing.
NYSSA: Tegan.
TEGAN: Back there the Takers said they wouldn't treat me because I wasn't part of Purity, but my medical condition might mean they'd reassess me. What did they mean, my condition?
THE DOCTOR: I'm - I'm not sure. Come on, in the TARDIS, we can run some tests.
(TEGAN's voice starts to change.)
TEGAN: Tests, where you hypnotise me? Where you stop me dreaming? Where you check my arms to see if the mark is still there?
NYSSA: Tegan, we don't know if that's what this is.
TEGAN: We know exactly what this is.
NYSSA: Tegan?
THE DOCTOR: Nyssa, help me get her into the TARDIS.
TEGAN: Time to go? Too green for you here? You told me I was rid of it, but it's still there inside, its coils winding ever tighter.
THE DOCTOR: Tegan, listen to me.
TEGAN: I live, Doctor. The Mara lives.
(TEGAN laughs.)

(Closing Doctor Who theme music composed by Peter Howell.)
ANNOUNCER: The Whispering Forest written by Stephen Cole, starred Peter Davison as The Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan, Mark Strickson as Turlough, and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. Seska was played by Hayley Atwell, Mertil by Sue Wallace, Jestan by Paul Shelley, and Hervey by Harry Melling, Lennox Greaves played Anulf, and Antan by Aneurin Barnard. Original Music was by Richard Fox and Lauren Yason. Directed by Barnaby Edwards, The Whispering Forest was produced by David Richardson for Big Finish.