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Ghost Ship was the fourth story in the second series of the The Classic Audio Adventures, produced by Big Finish Productions.

Publisher's summary[]

Vila is scared. Of course he is. Vila is always scared.

He should feel safe. He is on board the Liberator, the most powerful ship ever constructed. He is home - but he is certainly not alone.

Ghostly figures stalk the corridors of the Liberator. Spectres who know Vila's name. Revenants. Demons.

And Vila has nowhere to run.


Avon has discovered that Dayna has been in contact with the Shifkin, and has himself contacted them in the guise of the recently deceased bounty hunter Lazlo Harun. His plan is to meet the Shifkin on Larudon and offer his services as a bounty hunter in exchange for information about Dayna.

Nineteen hours later, with Tarrant disguised as Harun, the entire crew bar Vila and Orac teleport down to Larudon. Although tasked with manning the teleport controls, Vila elects to take a nap, only for his dreams to be disturbed by ominous voices that tell him they are coming for him.

On Larudon, as the crew enter an abandoned town, Cally finds that she is unable to contact the Liberator owing to interference. The crew make for the tavern where Avon has arranged to make contact with the Shifkin. After an hour's wait, they hear a disturbance. Cally senses the presence of an intelligence within the building, and a powerful wind sweeps through the town, then suddenly abates. The crew come under fire from an unknown source, and Avon disappears unobserved. Cally, Grant and Tarrant decide to take refuge in the tavern's back room, but before they can reach it Grant is hit.

Vila starts to drink, and tries and fails to initiate conversation with Orac. He is disturbed when the lights dim for a second. Neither Zen nor Orac has observed any power fluctuation. Vila elects to investigate for himself, but can find nothing wrong. When he returns to the teleport bay, he finds Orac's key missing, and discovers that he is unable to make contact with the others, and that Zen is unresponsive. Making for the flight deck, Vila hears a sinister sighing sound, and the lights dim again, this time permanently. Feeling his way in the dark, he stumbles down a flight of steps and hurts his arm. Finding a communications panel, Vila again attempts to contact Zen, only to hear a spectral voice say "We see you."

Vila stumbles into a supply store, and hears the door slam behind him. He finds a few lights and spreads them around the room, but they too quickly die. With the only remaining light being the one he is holding, Vila finds the doorway, and the Liberator's lights start working again as he runs to the flight deck. Zen informs him that interference is blocking communications, and that no power fluctuations have been recorded. Vila asks Zen about the Laran Revenants, a mythical race of non-corporeal beings said to inhabit Larudon, and to have the ability to influence machinery. Zen hypothesises that they may be able to influence human thoughts as well, as these are made up of electrical impulses.

Returning to the teleport bay, Vila finds Orac's key in place once again, and Orac insists that it was never removed in the first place, insinuating that Vila is drunk. He also insists that the power fluctuations never occurred. Vila hears a door sliding open, but Orac once again becomes unresponsive. Vila grimly surmises that the Revenants have got to him. He decides to make for the engine rooms, as they are shielded and may afford some protection. On his way, Vila is pursued by two spectral voices that threaten and taunt him about his fear. The Revenants briefly disable the life support and gloat as Vila suffocates, but then inform him that they will not kill him until they have made him entertain them.

Vila returns to the flight deck and urges Zen to take the Liberator out of orbit, but he refuses. The voices continue to taunt Vila, but suddenly they disappear and Avon enters. He informs Vila that the Revenants are present on the surface too and that they attacked the crew. He orders Vila to scan the surface while he leaves the flight deck to check a relay. However, Zen informs Vila that communications are still down and that Avon is not aboard the Liberator. Indeed, Vila has been alone since the landing party teleported down.

Panicking, Vila runs into Avon, who strikes him to convince him that he is real. He insists that Zen is compromised and is therefore unable to detect his presence, and that he has the means to repel the Revenants by boosting the ship's defences. His plan to do so requires the simultaneous manual activation of two panels. The Revenants return and taunt Vila by telling him that Cally, Tarrant and Grant are dead. Vila urges Avon to proceed with his plan. As the panels are activated, the lights dip again, and the Revenants apparently disappear. Vila has his doubts, to which Avon responds by holding Vila at gunpoint. Zen reports that a ship is moving into position to dock, and Avon tells him to hold position.

As the ship docks nearby, the Revenants reappear and tell Vila that Avon belongs to them. They say that the new ship is bringing the new crew of the Liberator, with which they intend to challenge the Federation. The Revenants decloak, revealing themselves to be the Shifkin, who have used advanced technology to masquerade as the Revenants, and to control Orac, Zen and Avon, who has been under their control since he first received a message from them. Avon has tricked Vila into deactivating the ship's defences. The Shifkin instruct Avon to kill Vila, but Avon shoots the male Shifkin. Holding the female at gunpoint while he holds the prospective new crew in the airlock, Avon orders her to tell him everything she knows about Dayna. He orders Zen to undock from the Shifkin vessel and fire on its weaponry. He reveals that Orac filtered out the subliminal messages that the Shifkin thought they were using to control him, and that he had merely been playing along. Orac was the one blocking communications to the surface, which he now restores.

Orac teleports the rest of the crew back aboard the Liberator. Avon admits to Vila that he kept him in the dark to lend verisimilitude to his pretence at being under the Shifkin's control. The surviving Shifkin woman capitulates and provides Avon with the information he requires. Cally and Tarrant remonstrate with Avon over his leaving them on Larudon. Vila remarks that he is more scared of Avon than he ever was of the 'Revenants'.

While Cally patches up Grant's wound, Zen scans the town and discovers that the wind and lasers that kept Cally, Tarrant and Grant trapped in the tavern were completely automated. Vila instructs Zen to destroy the town from space. As they head for the co-ordinates provided by the Shifkin, Vila promises that if he ever dies, he will come back and haunt Avon for the rest of his days.



  • Writer - Iain McLaughlin
  • Director - Lisa Bowerman
  • Sound design - Martin Montague
  • Music - Jamie Robertson
  • Cover art - Grant Kempster
  • Recorded at - Audio Sorcery

Story notes[]

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