Thursday, February 8, 2007

For fuck's sake..

I would just like to make the next announcement.

The next person I meet who gives a rant as to how shithouse series two is and how it's gone to the dogs, I will murder in cold blood.

Don't say you were warned.

Now, that wholy remarkable book, The Completely Useless Encyclopedia, notes that fandom is a curious beast and that every fan decides that the current output of the show is crap, not half as good as it was x years ago. Despite the fact they said the exact same thing x years ago, when the show was crap and not half as good as it was y years ago, before they were born or even watching. Now, the reissue of TCUE rips the shit out of series two on many occasions but this is forgivable as a) they did the exact same thing to every other era and b) the book was specifically about them ripping the shit out of new stuff.

However, the number of "official" intellectual fans who are banging on about how Doctor Who is doomed bugs me. Especially as they were all screaming that this was the best TV one year earlier. Mike Morris - MIKE MORRIS! My guru, the bloke who's tossed around ideas inspire me to create story arcs! The guy who was impressed by my analysis of Planet of Fire! Who, unless he's reviewed a story, I refuse to comment on! A guy whose opinion I respect - has given two rants about the second series and Christmas special, and as for Kaldor "Subtext, you moron, SUBTEXT" City...

I'd just like to sum up the general criticism.

1) The new stuff is crap.
See my comment on this being part of being a fan.

2) David Tennant isn't half as good as I was expecting.
Bollocks. He just isn't what you were expecting, which is entirely different. Everyone points to shows where he plays gritty serious characters and goes, "Ah! THAT'S how he should play it!" Steven Moffat famously decided Tennant had the right stuff when he played Carlisle in Blackpool... a character who, on paper, was just like the Ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston. Is it any wonder he plays it differently, rather than aiming for redoing his Cassanova or Carlisle or Fergus the Looney?

The fact is, David Tennant's Doctor is frankly, better for the show. There. I said it. Put the gun down, bitch, I ain't finished. Chris Eccleston was ... let's just say it... fantastic. The Ninth Doctor was brilliant. He shoulda stayed longer. Etc. But the fact is the Ninth Doctor couldn't last. An untrustworthy, morally-bankrupt character who can barely stay sane WITH a beautiful blonde teenager isn't going to work in the long run, and this is supposed to be a children's HERO!

Imagine Eccleston in Attack of the Graske. It wouldn't work. You wouldn't risk stepping aboard the TARDIS with him at the helm! You saw what happened to the last two, both abandoned without a second thought and given lots of crap in the meantime! The Ninth Doctor could screw up, get you killed, give up... arguably, that makes him the more interesting character, but, remember this sport's fans. Doctor Who is for kids. The ideal role model is not and never will be a bloke who wanders round threatening people with big fucking guns EVEN if he was never going to use it. The show itself said this guy wasn't up to it. That's why Rose was there, to make him better, to get us back/forward to David Tennant. It was the story of how the Doctor found his groove.

The Tenth Doctor is called smug, irritating, etc. But remember, the fictional character of the Doctor is having one of the best times of his ENTIRE life. He is happy! He's travelling with his best friend, having so much fun, who cares about what caused that hole in time or what "torch wood" means! And he pays for that. Like the fifth Doctor, the Tenth's confidence in himself was shattered when he lost his friend. Forever. And on top of that, he immediately started to devolve back to the harsher character before he met her - which is exactly what Rose BEGGED him not to!

Now the Doctor is trying to get on WITHOUT the massive blonde with the cute teeth... or visa versa. Now he's on the look out for repeated memes, trying not to let himself go ape shit and brutally abort spider babies. He's evolving as a character. Which is what the Ninth Doctor did. The only difference is, this one has more time to do it with.

He's the first Doctor since McCoy to have that chance as a given.

3) God damn it, Rose is a smug bitch!
Now, there IS some evidence to this and unsurprisingly it comes from the worse script in Series Two - The Idiot Lantern. Where, after losing a mother, a father and her boyfriend, who she only realized seconds before saying goodbye how rude she'd been to, how cruelly she'd treated him... and she's over it. Totally.

Would it have been so difficult to shove in a few lines? Have the trip to see Elvis a desperate attempt by the Doctor to make Rose smile again? Have the last scene with the toast also have Rose saying she'll not dwell in misery because Mickey would hate that?

Of course, this isn't ENTIRELY Gattis' fault. RTD grunted, "People move on" in justification and Gattis maybe thought TIL was set years after Rise of the Cybermen. Hell, TIL was, in the original running order, right after The Runaway Bride, which saw Rose... getting over Mickey. Yeah, she was pissed off when Mickey joined but look at all the reasons:

a) now Mickey will be in danger every time the TARDIS lands
b) it's not like Adam or Jack ended up happy
c) she thinks she'll have to live with "No, it's RICKY!" arguments
d) the Doctor asked her opinion as an afterthought
e) she won't be able to flirt with the Doctor any more...

And then she pulls herself together and gives Mickey the tour of the fifty-first century, getting a new hairdo, a tight T-shirt, and wrapping her arms around him every chance she gets!

The fact is, Rose is not so bad out of context. The trouble is we see her in The Christmas Invasion (were her confidence vanishes completely); New Earth (where she's possessed by a bitch); Tooth and Claw (where she is SUPPOSED to be smug); School Reunion (when she is SUPPOSED to be a bitch); The Girl in the Fireplace (where she is SUPPOSED to be a bitch); and Rise of the Cybermen (where she is SUPPOSED to be a bitch).

Imagine if Love and Monsters had been shown instead of TIL. When we see Rose as a hurt girl determined to protect her mother at any costs, and forgives Elton when she learns he's lost both the girl he loves and his mother. It makes sense.

If Rose WAS such a bitch, then I remind you of:
- wishing Cassandra luck
- calming down Flora
- inviting Sarah Jane aboard
- urging Tommy to reconcile with his father
- pulling together the team of SB6
- forgiving Elton
- trying to get Sec to exterminate her to save Mickey's life
- realizing that the Doctor won't cope without her.

She was willing to abandon everything she cared about for the man she loved. To sacrifice her life to stop evil. To risk brain damage to save a hospital full of hypocritical cats.

4) Torchwood is a crap arc
Indeed it is. Explaining what the word means on its second appearance is not good. Exploring the beginning of it in its third is dumb.

But the thing is, Bad Wolf was a mystery. Torchwood isn't. The Doctor's total ignorance of the organisation is a statement in itself! It's like the first episode of Destiny of the Daleks - we all know who's going to be behind the strange radioactive drilling, just as we know who's behind British Alien Defence. The Doctor doesn't. We can see him walking to his doom and, like in Earthshock, the niave cheer makes the crushing defeat all the worse.

However, all the signs are the Saxon arc will be better. Hopefully, the Doctor will actually try to find out who he is, much like Angel going on the offensive the moment he twigs that Wolfram and Heart are getting mixed up in his business. The fact the seeds have been sown in two different shows also says something.

Bad Wolf asked us "what is that?" Torchwood asked us "when will they come after the Doctor?"

5) Crap continuity
Yep. But look at the evidence! Read the pitch document for series one - everything makes sense, it all fits together neatly and the episodes happen the same way as we ultimately saw them. If RTD had stuck to his original outline, series two would have gone:

New Earth
The Girl in the Fireplace
School Reunion
Rise of the Cybermen
The Age of Steel
The Runaway Bride
The Impossible Planet
The Satan Pit
The Idiot's Lantern
Love and Monsters
Fear Her
Army of Ghosts
Tooth and Claw - the Christmas special where the ending would be a twist, the Doctor creating the very organization that just wrecked his life!

So the message to RTD is - first guess is the best.

Thankfully, Martha's intro suggests there will be a rigid order to Series Three.

6) It's childish now
No, you're just not being distracted by Slitheen flatulence and burping bins and vomit ice cubes.

7) It shows the total decline of western values that RTD is now doing 'play it safe'
Name one show that decides to tamper with a winning formula. Go on. Is 24 going to abandon the real time element? Supernatural forget the ghosts? The Bill focus on the plight of the Natterjack Toad?

This all reeks of the people who rubbished Season 17, then JNT and went back.

8) The music is too loud
Then fuck off. I don't want to talk to you no more you empty headed animal.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Faith No More

Sir Nigel Verkoff esquire, Kommisar of the new cargo cult The Order of Saint Macka the Usurper, talks with Ewen Campion-Clarke about life, God, the universe and his upcoming trial at Sydney Criminal Court

Nigel Verkoff does not look like the stereotypical view of a cult leader.

He is calm, collected, not prone to thunderous proclamations and his outfit is casual to say the least. A pair of denim jeans and a bright, neon-pink T-shirt with the words I AM WHAT WOMEN WANT (with the ‘I’ taking up most of the space) are not exactly the usual attire of religious leaders. Eyes hidden behind a pair of John Lennon spectacle sunglasses and with his beehive hairdo died peroxide blonde, he looks like a photo negative of some 1950s gay icon.

When I mentioned this to him, he called me a disgusting waste of DNA. Fair’s fair.

Appearances can be deceptive, but Verkoff’s history does not point to him as the sort of man to embrace any sort of religion, let alone style himself as the leader of a cult that misspelled the word ‘Saint’ for the first six months of their campaign.

Adopted at six weeks of age by the upper class Yang family, Aborigine Verkoff was clearly a fish out of water at home – exacerbated no doubt by his open courting of his sister, to whom he still regularly sends love tokens and used underwear.

"The past is a graveyard which need never be revisited," Verkoff opines thoughtfully over a chocolate milkshake. "Unless there’s a plague of zombie rats or something. No, I’ve restarted my life. You only have to look at my name – I used to be called Nigella Yang, but that part of me is dead and gone forever. One tick of a deed poll and I’m a new man."

Why exactly did he choose the surname ‘Verkoff’?

"Yeah, that’s a bit of a sore point. I was filling in the form at the pub, and I was chatting up the barmaid. She was obviously insane, but I respect them being released into the community so soon. They either sink or go under. No, wait, that’s wrong..."

Why was she insane?

"She didn’t want to sleep with me. Anyway, she took offence and wrote... er... something very rude on the form. I managed to convince people it’s pronounced ‘Ver Kov’ rather than ‘Far Koff’."

But why not simply change his name by deed poll again?

"I never thought of that," Verkoff admits after several minutes’ thought.

Moving on, what exactly is the core belief of The Order of Saint Macka the Usurper and what does it have to offer to ordinary Australians. "All religions are basically variations on the one pattern," Verkoff explains sagely. "One force creates the universe and everything in it, and the only way we can understand this and reach paradise once we die is to behave in a certain manner. Get it? Got it? Good. Oddly enough, every single religion works on the principal that it is the only true religion and all the others are misguided, wrong or out and out lies. Now, The Order of Saint Macka the Usurper is unique in the fact that, as a religion, it believes itself to be a pack of lies and all other religions to be correct, even if they contradict each other." He taps his nose with woozy cunning. "Clever, eh?"

And how in the name of all that is sane does this work?

"Well, say you wished to join The Order – and, looking at you, son, I think it might be a case of ‘too little, too late’ – after paying all the required duties, and making a contribution to the parish fund, I’d spin you a yarn about Atlantis, aliens, nuclear testing and angels. And," he continues, looking left and right to make sure no one’s looking, which is pointless as we are alone in his tree house, "if you believed so much as one word of it, you wouldn’t be allowed in."

Would I get my money back?

"Course not. If you believed it, you’d be a fool and a fool and his money are soon parted. God, are you mental or something?"

But what are the benefits of the Order?

"Depending on the amount of the donation you give, you will rise through the echelons [Verkoff mispronounces it as ‘etch-lions’] of the Order. There’s sergeants, inspectors, superintendents, detectives... no. Wait. That’s the police force. Sorry. Uh, the ranks in the Order are warrant officer, brigadier, sorry. That’s the army. In the Order, I am the Kommmisar, absolute ruler of the Order, High Lord of the Sexual Air Supply, Controller of the Supreme High Council of the Oompa-Loompas, President Elect of the Lower Order of Ice Cream Venders, Protector of the Legacy of Tarintino and Defender of Uluru.. Below me are... just about everyone really. There are Castellans, Coordinators, Cardinals and under them the most multitudinous and malevolent of all. The gofers. They are people whose contributions don’t break the five thousand mark. There are more of them out there than you think."

I point out that at last count the membership of the Order numbered in the tens.

"Pah," Verkoff jeers. "Semantics. I thought you were a serious journalist. The Order of Saint Mazza the Usurper—"

‘Macka’, I correct.

"Whatever! The Order is a serious movement for those concerned about the problems facing the Earth and the people on it. It’s the only planet we have. In fact, it’s the only planet there is!"

I can think of a few astronomers that would argue about that.

"What? Have you been to any of them? You just see a few pictures of Saturn in a school book and take it for Gospel. For crying out loud, that sort of gullibility would get you chucked out of the Order. We call your sort ‘Ye of too much faith’."

The Order was created by Verkoff on 15th of May 2002 based on the holy text What I Did On My Christmas Holidays by Verkoff himself. From a rental of the local Masonic Centre to its own prime time public access TV hour, the Order still does not carry the same weight as the Christian Church or Bhuddism to name but two. Indeed, the two members of the order that admitted their religion on the census form were fined for not taking the project seriously. Verkoff scoffs at the idea that more people claim to be ‘Jedi’ rather than ‘Usurperists’, but doesn’t say much else about it and indeed changes the topic.

"Of course, public awareness of the Order has sky-rocketed in the last year," Verkoff boasts, making a rare trip to the reality the rest of us inhabit. "Surrender to Your God with Nigel Verkoff is the highest rated informercial in its time slot and that’s a fact. Just a pity we couldn’t get it broadcast any later than five in the morning. But with only five episodes, you’d have to be bowel-shatteringly insane not to say we’ve made an impact."

That is certainly true with over thirteen TV critics listing Surrender to Your God with Nigel Verkoff as Show of the Week, with their only criticism being the ungodly hour the episodes were screened yet. However, it must be pointed out that Surrender to Your God with Nigel Verkoff was mistakenly believed to be an adult comedy with topical religious satire as its cornerstone. Verkoff himself was nominated for a Logie after his roll call of people who he had cured using the power of faith and positive thinking, especially when the unimpressed audience discovered he was bluffing this speech with a copy of the Yellow Pages and a medical dictionary.

"Philistines," is all Verkoff has to say on the matter before abruptly changing his mind yet again. "That show was made with a shoestring budget, broadcast live. I had to, out of my own pocket, pay the audience members to turn up. Half of them weren’t even members of the Order. Do you know how off-putting it is to have the floor crew singing Abide With Me? To have the audience sitting there, sobbing in silence? To have drama students thanking me after my two-hour long dissertation on the history of Atlantis and the nature of Hollow Earth in relation to the French nuclear testing? I suffered for my art, and those morons in the press assumed it was a stand up comedy act. How these people got to where they are today beggars my imagination. And my imagination isn’t begged easily."

I note that of the several jobs that Verkoff is recorded to have had before starting the Order, nearly every attempt was made to become a TV reviewer for the local paper. On one attempt he was trying to make his own newspaper, The Irish Racist, which was never seriously taken up. Is this a case of sour grapes on Verkoff’s part to be ridiculed by the very profession he was desperate to achieve?

"Well, come on. Everyone wants to be a TV reviewer. Or a porn star. Or both. Why do you think Big Brother gets so many contestants? To get paid for sitting on your arse and doing what comes naturally is the Australian ideal, the Ozzie Destiny if you’ll pardon the pun."

What pun?

"Wasn’t there one? Sorry. I mean, we may all think putting down your occupation as ‘sperm donor’ is incredibly pathetic and immature, but that guy is having a lot more fun than ‘inner city banker’, ‘rat catcher’ or ‘one-legged Tarzan impressionist’. Now, enough of these digressions. Where were we?"

We were here. We haven’t moved.

"Leave the humor to the experts, duck face," Verkoff spits on the floor.

Surrender to Your God with Nigel Verkoff is no longer being produced or broadcast, however several copies of the last episode are now highly sought after by fans, members and above all the police. During the last episode, Verkoff took faith healing to the next level in what the tabloids dubbed as ‘Slaughterhouse Savior’.
Just what possessed Nigel Verkoff – a man who even his best friends would describe as a ‘complete and total See You Next Tuesday’ – to start shooting innocent people live on television in front of not only an entire studio audience but a home audience increased to six million people by favorable reviews in the Junior Gazette?

"I am not a psychopath," says Verkoff with a surprising earnestness. "I took no joy in the shootings. I was as scared at any one and was as sickened as the next man when it became clear it wasn’t just flesh wounds. I was the one who called the ambulance, after all."

Only after the third victim died, I remind him.

"That was a tragedy and in no way my intention or the intention of the Order. How was I to know the idiot was a hemophiliac? Why didn’t he tell us? He’d be alive today if he was a bit more forward with that info!"

Maybe he would have had he known he was going to be shot?

"I couldn’t have revealed that information. It was reality television and it was what the public expected – real emotions, real fear, real desperation..."

Real corpses?

"I have more than enough visual and printed evidence to show I aimed to wound, to disable, never to kill. If those morons hadn’t started running around and screaming, my aim would have been better."

I point out he shot his own floor manager who was not part of the sequence in any way at all.

"Well, that was an accident. It was good he was appealing for calm. It was just that I wanted to appeal for calm as well and fired two warning shots."

Into his head?

"He moved. Had he stayed perfectly still, he might have got off with a fractured kneecap."

The question is, of course, why did Verkoff bring a group of audience members on stage and then go crazy with a loaded firearm? Verkoff who, as the massacre demonstrated, had no prior use or even inclination to use firearms? A man who was unable to perform even the most basic of nipple cripples? Why kill seven people?

"It was eight actually. A fiancé of one of the victims committed suicide," Verkoff corrects absently. "You see, this entire situation was forced onto us by the press."

So Verkoff is blaming the media for his use of a gun?

"No, I’m blaming the media for forcing me into the position where I needed a gun to use. You see, as you should point out in your article if you have even the slightest shred of journalistic integrity, the media assumed we were some comedic variety act. The penultimate episode, where I brought on all those healed, former-sufferers, was treated as a complete joke."

A very funny one.

"That doesn’t make it better, boy!" Verkoff snarls.

The sequence in question was in the fourth episode, just after Verkoff slipped a mordant epileptic some hallucinatory drugs and performed an ‘exorcism’ ("That was a valid reconstruction," Verkoff opines. "At no point did I claim it was the genuine devil. Apart from that one time. But hell, it convinced me."). Verkoff brought forth twelve people he knew had suffered childhood diseases and claimed that the power of Saint Macka the Usurper had cleared them of their horrible ailment. Eleven of them ridiculed this and called Verkoff a ‘lying, cheating bastard fraud’ and the remaining victim giggled uncontrollably.

"I can understand their criticism. We’ve all seen some fraud bump into a quadriplegic with syphilis, a head cold, no facial features and leprosy, lay their hands on the poor git’s head and say ‘What ails you, my child?’ and they say ‘What do you bloody reckon?!’ and then suddenly they can walk, and dance and sing and praise the word of the lord. Sure. The fact we saw the cripple lap-dancing before the show is quietly ignored.

"That was why I came up with the plan. I brought out genuine members of the audience, who I had never met before in my life, lined them up and got out the gun. No one, and I mean no one is going to think it was a set up. I maimed complete strangers live on stage. The wounds were real, the reactions real, and the faith healing would be real."

Verkoff never did get round to the faith healing part, though, did he?

"I couldn’t have just gone, ‘Whoops! Get an ambulance!’ could I? I’m a faith healer. These hands heal using the power of Saint Macka the Usurper – I’m talking crap, I hope you realize this, gullibility-brains – and the moment I call a mortal man to heal is the moment the grass-munching pig-ignorant public realize what a fraud I am!"

Isn’t that the point?

"In the long run, yes, but I wanted the audience to work it out for themselves. That’s why I held back the emergency services until the first one died. And, to be honest, I claim no responsibility for that death. OK, I shot him through the kidney, but I wasn’t the smart arse who shouted "LET ME THROUGH, I’M AN AROMA THERAPIST!" and started applying lavender oil to the wound, am I?"

With all the witnesses to testify how upset and desperate to help Verkoff was after the shooting, one would think that Verkoff might have a chance in hell in his upcoming trial of not going to jail. However, while only three people were shot during the show, the rest were still mortally wounded by Verkoff using golf clubs, a boom mike, the inflatable plastic furniture which is the signature of Surrender to Your God with Nigel Verkoff’s set design.

"After the first four shots, I had no intention of still firing the gun. It went off the remaining two times, I can assure you," he says with no real gravity. "I dropped the gun, kicked it out of harm’s way and immediately directed the police to it when they arrived. However, the show had to go on, so I continued to injure and beat the remaining participants with less immediately lethal weapons. In fact, I’m not sure I should be telling you this, but one of the main points of my defense is that I am not directly responsible for the death of five of the victims. Not only was one a suicide, the rest were only killed after the lighting scaffolding fell on top of them and crushed them to death. Just because one of my stray bullets is responsible for that, it’s entirely inadmissible."

I point out that at least one of the victims was found suffocated by Verkoff’s inflatable armchair.

"Oh, right. Yeah, I forgot all about that! Thanks." Verkoff shakes his head in wonderment. "That totally dropped out below my radar. Thanks for that, mate, that’s a good point to know before the court case. Man, I’d be stuffed if the prosecutor noticed that before I did. I owe you one. Do you want everlasting life?"

Ask me again in 500 years.

"OK, how about a book token? Or a free autographed pen?"

Assuming the so-unlikely-as-to-count-as-a-miracle event of Verkoff leaving that court case a free man, will he continue his association with the Order of Saint Macka the Usurper? Or start another career?

"Well, whatever happens in court, it’s got to be worth a book deal with Allen and Unwin. I’m made either way, but with a personality like mine can you imagine any reasonably-impartial jury will find me guilty."

Without doubt, I say.

"Yeah, well, you’re gullible. We established this at the start of the interview. Once the book’s published, I’ll be taking a sabbatical in my duties as Kommisar. The Order of Saint Macka the Usurper will be torn apart by internal strife and I shall salvage the wreckage to collect any more donations made during the intervening weeks. After that, I have another religion in the pipeline: the Church of the Later-Day Nymphomaniacs with me as Arch Deacon. For any Usurperist, the Church of the Later-Day Nymphomaniacs will offer the same spiritual and financial benefits, however, I should point out that joint membership will be charged double. Get it? Got it? Good. After that, well, maybe I’ll have enough experience and patience to pursue my career goals of TV reviewer and porn star. Imagine that – I could review myself. What a wonderful world we live in."

However, it appears that the police I called for when Verkoff approached me for this interview have finally arrived. Verkoff moves to climb out the window and make a break for the local railway station, intending to flee to Manly via a ferry from Circular Quay.

One final question – why did the Order petition parliament to replace Advance Australia Fair with No Milk Today by Herman’s Hermitts as the Australian national anthem? Was it some spiritual decision? Or because No Milk Today is obviously the better song?

"What a stupid question," Verkoff sneers and makes a break for it.

Depending on the outcome of his trial – assuming the police recapture him in time to attend it – our concept of Sir Nigel Verkoff esquire is hard to define. A modern-day religious icon? A notorious fraudster? A man with a unique perception about how humanity views its own reality? A dangerous lunatic with delusions of grandeur?

But what he can’t be pegged as is unAustralian.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

If *I* Had Written Time-Flight 4


Kalid has the TARDIS dragged in. He explains that he is a wizard from Arabia who was contacted by the "great power" which has allowed him to enter this realm and do the bidding of the power. The Doctor asks bluntly what Kalid wants. The Master arrives and explains that the TARDIS is needed by the power - and the power is willing to pay for its services.

Nyssa can see Tremas and Tegan can see Aunt Vanessa. Whoever it is, they explain that the Xeraphin escaped the destruction of their planet by becoming a mass of pure thought. However, every so often there is a weak point in space and time that makes them vulnerable to reality. It is such a moment, and when Concord arrived, the realm they are in reacted to all these new non-Xeraphin minds.

Because of all the dark aspects of human nature, a rift has formed between light and dark Xeraphin and the forces have been trying to guide the TARDIS crew since they arrived - though to different ends. Aunt Vanessa urges Tegan to snap the crew out of their trance as the plane is almost ready for take-off. When the passengers are aboard, they must leave at once before the window closes.

Kalid notices Tremas talking to Nyssa and uses his powers to freeze Nyssa in place to stop the good Xeraphin from revealing his plans. Meanwhile, Adric explains to the Doctor that the passengers were brainwashed so they could be used to break into the dome. Inside is the core of the Xeraphin intelligence. Once released they can return to the physical universe and become all powerful.

Kalid explains that he is willing to let the passengers and Concord go in return for using the TARDIS to travel inside the dome and collect the intelligence. The Doctor agrees and Adric calmly points out that he has made mistakes before. But which Xeraphin is talking?

The passengers and crew, lead by Tegan return to the Concord. The Doctor tries to play for time but Kalid insists that time is running out. Soon the window will close and when it does not even the TARDIS can escape. They should do their business at once.

The Doctor lets Kalid inside the TARDIS as Tegan runs back for Nyssa, only to find she has disappeared. The Doctor tells her to wait for him at the "airport". He and Kalid travel to the inside of the dome with Professor Haytor, but find Nyssa is already there, possessed. She picks up a boulder and hurls it at the intelligence.

There is a mighty flash and the intelligence vanishes. Kalid collapses and dissolves - he was a plasmaton, a physic projection of the evil Xeraphin determined to win and given a false personality. But now the good Xeraphin and bad Xeraphin are balanced out, using all their energy to attack and defend itself. Nyssa collapses and the Doctor and Haytor drag her inside the TARDIS.

With the balance restorted, the zigurat and the false Heathrow around it begin to dissolve. Stapley and the pilots power up the plane and the TARDIS materializes to pick up Tegan and drop off Haytor, who thanks the Doctor for the adventure and flees for the airplane as fast as he can. The Doctor decides they must leave at once.

Tegan drops a bombshell. She has checked with Stapley - this is the right date and Concord is heading for Heathrow. She's one step from home and can't bring herself to miss it. The Doctor insists it's safer to go by TARDIS but, with a surprising lack of malice, Tegan reminds the Doctor of Adric. She isn't blaming him, just making a point.

The Doctor watches, shattered, as she turned and runs off through the airport as it dissolves into mist. He then returns to the TARDIS and sets the time machine in motion. It vanishes just as the airport finally vanishes and Corcord flies off into reality.

Aboard the ship the Doctor tends to Nyssa as she recovers. He glosses over Tegan's whereabouts, but when pressed admits she's left. He also reveals he doesn't know whether or not she escaped the realm or died before she reached Concord. Nyssa is devastated, and the Doctor suddenly collapses.

Suddenly, he's dangling from a wire above the Pharos Project. He hears Nyssa calling for him, and then he... lets go.

The Doctor collapses onto the floor of the TARDIS. Nyssa tries to revive him, but he seems to be in a coma. As Nyssa looks around, realizing how alone, she is, the police box spins off into the void.



If *I* Had Written Time-Flight 3


Unsurprisingly, the Doctor doesn't trust the Master an inch. Nyssa is deeply comatose and insists that "the Xeraphin are divided and the balance must be restorted". The Master leaves, explaining that one of them will be needed to be sacrificed if they want to know more.

At Kalid's behest, the passengers begin to attack a dome in the middle of the Citadel with blunt instruments. He needs to break into the inner sanctum. Adric appears and insists that this imbalance is only temporary, Kalid is wasting his time. Kalid realizes that "Adric" is assuming a particular form. And that gives him a wicked idea.

The Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Haytor enter the Citadel and they pool the information they had at hand. Concord has by sheer chance plunged out of time and space into an astral dimension where a being or beings called the Xeraphin are fighting some kind of battle, and their arrival has upset the balance.

Tegan and Nyssa mention meeting their dead relatives and, while the Doctor does not admit to seeing Adric, agrees that the Xeraphin are assuming forms that they will trust. But why did Aunt Vanessa try to dupe Tegan when Tremas told Nyssa the truth?

Suddenly, the hypnotized passangers begin to leave the ziggurat. The Doctor waylays Stapley and the pilots and together with Haytor snap them out of their trance. The Doctor tells them to mingle with the passengers and see what they are doing, and that Stapley should head to the Concord and ready it as best as possible for take off. The rest head into the depths of the Citadel.

Kalid peers into his crystal ball - which is now tuned onto the TARDIS.

The quartet examine the dome the passengers were trying to break into and Nyssa senses that a Xeraphin is inside and is on the brink of... But she is distracted as Adric enters. He screams at them for daring to leave him to die and that if they don't want to die they should go back to the TARDIS. The Doctor begins to freak out but Nyssa insists that Adric is an illusion created by their enemy. Tegan notices that Adric is very insistant about going back to the TARDIS.

Kalid angrilly begins chanting.

Adric vanishes. The Doctor runs off after him, and Haytor believes that the Time Lord's sanity has finally snapped. As he heads after him, Nyssa decides enough is enough and begins to meditate. Tegan is worried that this will allow her to fall prey to the Xeraphin - and soon a strange voice begins to speak from Nyssa's mouth.

Stapley returns from the Concord to find the others, he needs to do some repairs. There he meets Bilton and Scobie watching in confusion as the passengers dragging a police box towards the zigurat. Aunt Vanessa arrives and under her influence they begin to get hypnotized again. Scobie manages to flee, but the others are soon in a trance and helping the passengers move the TARDIS.

Meanwhile, Haytor finds the Doctor and tells him to pull his act together. Haytor's wife drowned last year and he knows how bad things can be, but he knows there's no point moping - it won't bring Adric back or make what happened any better. The Doctor has to keep what friends he has alive, or else he really will have failed Adric.

Back at the dome, Nyssa insists that Tegan must surrender herself for the Xeraphin to communicate. It is the only way for them to understand what's happening, even if there is the risk that they will die as the Master predicted. Tegan does so and Tremas arrives to explain he is an ambassador of the Xeraphin. Things are very serious...

Haytor and the Doctor are trying to find their way through the maze but it appears that the corridors are changing - either someone is deliberately altering the architecture, or its an hallucination. Either way, they find themselves in the heard of the zigurat, facing the sinister form of Kalid, who greets them.

He is Kalid. They will obey him. Or die.


If *I* Had Written Time-Flight 2


The Doctor runs from Adric, refusing to accept this. He believes he has gone mad and turns round a corridor and finds the Master waiting for him.

Meanwhile, Tremas instructs Nyssa to go and find the Doctor. There are dark forces at work and they are preying on her companions. She must find them both and take them back to the TARDIS. The professor follows her and grabs her, demanding she reveal what's happening to them all.

The Master, like Adric, must be dead and the Doctor refuses to believe in ghosts. The Master gleefully reminds the Doctor of how he's failed his companions so badly and now he doesn't even know where they are in a strange realm. The Doctor just isn't cut out for the universe.

The Time Lord begins to get angry. Why the hell does he care what the Master thinks of him? At least the Doctor hasn't wiped out half the galaxy or created a city full of pacifists out of sheer sadism. The Master, annoyed, turns and walk off. The Doctor follows him but the Master is gone.

As he returns onto the concourse he spots Tegan addressing some commuters like she's working there. Heading down to the concourse he confronts her and realizes she has somehow been hypnotized. As he moves to break her trance, Adric appears again, warning him not to.

In the zigurat, Kalid grows troubled as he watches Nyssa and the professor talk.

The man is Professor Haytor and he was shocked to realize that when the plane arrived at Heathrow everyone bar the passengers and crew were ghosts and the passengers were all hypnotized. As an expert in hypnotism, he has been able to keep his senses. He's watched Nyssa and knows that not only is unaffected, she is working to a plan. Nyssa explains she arrived with the Doctor and Tegan and that this entire airport is not real. It's fake - an accident.

Kalid mumbles and chants to himself, and Adric urges the Doctor to leave Tegan in her state. Here, she hasn't witnessed the horrors she faced with the Doctor. Her life is normal and she believes that her Aunt is alive. Just who is the Doctor to make her suffer reality? The Doctor points out that Adric's presence is making him suffer. Which in turn suggests that Adric is there simply to taunt him - and as the Doctor doubts Adric's ghost would be vengeful, realizes that someone is controlling these manifestations.

Nyssa and Haytor return to the Concord where Captain Stapley, Co-pilot Bilton and navigator Scobie are mindlessly checking and re-checking their plane for take off. Haytor has tried for hours to break them out of it, but Nyssa is certain that from what her father told her she can break through. Indeed, her presence is enough to distract the pilots, because she wasn't part of the initial hypnosis, but they rationalize her as a wandering passenger. They get into an argument and soon Stapley realizes that the airport they have arrived at is hanging in the middle of a grey void...

The Doctor finally snaps Tegan out of it and they begin to search for Nyssa. The Doctor suspects that they have arrived in a psycho-reactive plain. This world shapes itself to the expectations of the arrivals. So when a Concord full of passengers were so expecting to arrive at Heathrow, the plain shaped itself to the airport and the milling tourists are part of the hallucinations. However, Tegan points out that while this might be accidental, the hypnosis of the genuine human beings certainly can't be down to chance. The Doctor agrees - some force is determined to stop the intruders from interfering.

Kalid is furious. They are too close to the truth. He begins to chant loudly.

The real passengers, at various points throughout the fake airport, suddenly freeze and start to make their ways through the building and outside towards the zigurat.

The Doctor and Tegan meet up with Nyssa and the others. The pool their resources and realize that the zigurat is not part of the illusion and must be the centre of what is happening here. They decide to head for it when the pilots begin to zone out, and the Professor believes that their host is trying to hypnotize them. Nyssa desperately starts calling out for her father to help, but the Doctor's shouts that Tremas is dead comes to naught.

Kalid laughs evilly as the passengers and crew enter the zigurat.

The hysterical Nyssa suddenly has trouble breathing and collapses. The Master enters and reveals that the Xeraphin required a sacrifice. Nyssa provided it - and now the Traken girl is dead.


The Five Minute Game

DOCTOR: Right, Adric...
ADAM: Adam.
DOCTOR: As you're new aboard the good ship TARDIS, I think we should treat you with kid gloves and try not to scar you emotionally for the rest of your stunted life. So, set course for the day the sun expands and the planet Earth boils away into space...
ROSE: Aw, I saw that already!
DOCTOR: Oh. OK. I shall take us to the far future then. To the year 2000!
ROSE: I'm from 2005, Doctor.
ADAM: And I'm from 2012.
DOCTOR: It always used to impress the 1960s chicks. OK, I shall take us to the far future - the year 2000 times 100! 200, 000 AD, if you will.

ADAM: Hey, this is just a fast-food retailer!
DOCTOR: A fast-food retailer in the year 200,000, Adam!
ROSE: Are we on Earth, then?
DOCTOR: No, for a change, I've taken us off Earth.
ROSE: How far off Earth?
DOCTOR: Well, we're closer to it than the moon is. We're on a spacestation overlooking Earth in the far future.
ROSE: This sounds suspiciously familiar.

DOCTOR: Hey, how much is a kronkburger, mate?
COOK: 2 credits 20.
DOCTOR: My god! That's far too expensive for Happy Hour! History must have changed! Humanity's vision is scuppered! Oh well, I'll just loot the local ATM and try to relax.
ADAM: If this is the far future, where are all the aliens.
DOCTOR: Good question. Excuse me? Hi, can you look at this blank piece of paper?
SUKI: Sure.
DOCTOR: Now, I am your superior. You worship and respect me and will not be at all suspicious that I have absolutely no idea what's happening and am asking painfully obvious.
SUKI: Hmm. That's what it says.
CATHICA: OK. You are on Satellite 5, floor 139. You might have noticed it from the whacking great sign over there.
DOCTOR: I knew that.

EDITOR: Hmmmm. What shall I do today. Oh, look! That lady looks hot! Have her brought up to me at once, brainwashed into a slave to do my bidding and put her with the others.
EDITOR: What, sir? Oh, er, she's a terrorist. In disguise. Very good disguise. She looks like a badly-dressed airhead, but I know beneath that massive chest is the heart of a true anarchist.
JAGRAFESS: GRAAGAGAGAGAG!EDITOR: Oh, please, sir! Two more and I'll have the whole set!

COMPUTER: Hello, Suki. Your application to be promoted to Floor 500 has been accepted. Kiss your ass goodbye - sorry, I mean, congratulations!
SUKI: Whoopee!
CATHICA: Fine. Get your promotion. I get to stay here, with all the fast food and your boyfriend and these wierdoes from that blue box. On second thoughts, Suki, take me with you!!!
DOCTOR: Too late. So, to summarize, this entire space station controls all the media on Earth and comprizes of you and four other yuppies plugged into a computer?
DOCTOR: And despite the fact that it only needs the five of you, there are at least a thousand people on this station, and everyone who gets promoted vanish, never to be seen again? And, according to my highly-tuned powers of observation, flares are back in?
CATHICA: Are you trying to say that Satellite 5's media bias is preventing mankind from developing past 199,009?!
DOCTOR: No, but now you come to mention it, that's a damn good idea.

ADAM: No sex with Rose, no exciting adventures in time and space, and this slurpie tastes of re-fried beans. That does it, I'm turning to the Dark Side. Hey, Rose, can I use your phone?
ROSE: Sure. What do you want it for?
ADAM: I'm gonna find out the results of the horse races for the next 100,000 years, telephone them back to my house and make a fortune.
ROSE: Really?
ADAM: ...uh, no.
ROSE: OK, then! I'm off to nag the Doctor and reassure total strangers that we aren't a couple.
ADAM: A natural blonde. What a pity. OK, computer, let's change civilization as we know it... Damn it! The computer's not working. I could try and fix it, being a genius and all, but to do so would prevent IT support from flourishing. Man, I am such a nice guy.

SUKI: Wow! Floor 500 looks just like Floor 139. Only, snowing. Ooh, snowmen! And they have holes in their foreheads! But why not carrots for noses. Something's wrong.
EDITOR: Hello. I'm the Editor, but you can call me Simon.
SUKI: Are you an albino? Or just really cold?
EDITOR: How dare you! I shall let my master rip your mind apart.
SUKI: Who's your master?
EDITOR: Up there.
SUKI: Your master is the cieling?!
EDITOR: No, not there - there!
SUKI: Oh. Your master is a giant tapeworm?
EDITOR: Oh dear. He hates getting called that.
EDITOR: Damn. There goes another one.

ADAM: Wow. IT support is full of ladies in nurse uniforms. As a geek, this is several orders of heaven for me!
NURSE: Hello. What's your problem?
ADAM: Yeah, I can't hijack all the information of the future for my own personal game ten thousand centuries ago.
NURSE: I'm afraid we don't let people do that without a sheet of psychic paper.
ADAM: Botheration!
NURSE: We can give you a free vomit-o-matic implant that turns bodily waste into attractive ice cubes that can be sold at profit to small and gullible children?
ADAM: Hah! I need a vomit-o-matic like I need a hole in the head.
NURSE: Whatever turns you on?

DOCTOR: Wow. The TARDIS has landed just next to a junction box full of cables that keep the space station from exploding and killing every single person aboard. Hey, Rose, help me rip this stuff up, will you?
CATHICA: That's not a good idea.
DOCTOR: At least I'm not stupid enough to get a hole drilled into my head on the pretext of getting richer!

NURSE: There you go, sir. A hole has been drilled in your head. I'm sure you can get richer now.
ADAM: OK, obviously sarcasm does not survive into this time. I'm definitely going to distort the pattern of history now. And after that... I'm taking my dog for a walk!

EDITOR: Suki? Oh, poor, Suki. I knew her well, Mr. Jagrafess.
EDITOR: OK, I didn't, but I could have! Oh, well, never mind. Plenty more fish in the sea. Any other brainless blondes on the station that I can use for my wicked ways and not have anyone notice? Hey! Her! Next to the big-eared prick in the leather jacket. Who's she?
COMPUTER: No idea.
EDITOR: But this station contains every last drop of data in the entire cosmos! How could she avoid our omnipotent glare?
COMPUTER: Maybe she didn't fill in her census.

DOCTOR: Right. This lift takes us straight to Floor 500, a place where no one has managed to return from, the source of a lethal amount of heat, and doubtless the force preventing mankind from developing so... anyone for a ride?
CATHICA: I may have half my brain missing, but I know a stupid offer when I hear it.
ROSE: I wish I understood that. I'll come!

ADAM: Right. Just snap open my head, begin downloading the whole internet and convert it into morse code I can record on the answering machine and translate later... Hey, that might take a while. Still, it IS Rose's phone. She gets the bill. Damn it, I'm evil!

DOCTOR: Oh, my god! It's the Master!
EDITOR: No, I'm the Editor.
DOCTOR: Oh, sorry, my mistake.
EDITOR: Please, we're all friends here, aren't we? Now, my frozen zombie chicks, chain them to the wall! I feel particularly cool today and, after one hundred years of continual success I'm certain our evil plans can survive me explaining them all to a complete stranger.
DOCTOR: You're SURE you're not the Master?

CATHICA: Oh, well. Nothing else to do to day but head up to Floor 500 and face my destiny. Plus Suki still owes me a fiver.

EDITOR: So, you see, by repeating a phrase over and over again you can get whole hoardes of people worked up and speculating and having no idea that they're just being distracted. Well, that's what I think RTD is doing with this "Bad Wolf" thing.
ROSE: Hey, you said that without moving your lips!
DOCTOR: Good gravy! There's a giant booger on the cieling and it's gurgling in an evil fashion!
ROSE: Why doesn't the TARDIS translate its evil gurgles?
DOCTOR: He must have Tourette's syndrome - the TARDIS refuses to translate swear words. Why do you think I never tell your mother that she's a GRAAGAGAGAGAG? *
EDITOR: Language!
DOCTOR: Just why are you and this thing trying to control humanity?
EDITOR: That "thing" is the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy... oh, forget it. Call him Max. And why are we interfering with mankind's development? Well, like we need a reason?
DOCTOR: This badly-thought out plot has all the hallmarks of my old enemies the Cybermen!
ROSE: But the walls are made of gold?
DOCTOR: Oh. So they are. But all this ice... It must be the Ice Warriors then!

ADAM: What does this button do? ARGh!!!

EDITOR: I downloaded Adam Mitchell's entire brain! Quicker than normal, actually, come to think of it.
DOCTOR: Adam who?
ROSE: He means Adric.
DOCTOR: Oh, right. Still, what harm could he do?
EDITOR: I now know that you are the Doctor, the last of the Time Lords, I now have your TARDIS and the key you were stupid enough to give him.
DOCTOR: Well, apart from that. I hope someone just happens to be listening in the background to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.
EDITOR: Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow? That couldn't harm us in the slightest. Now, if she reversed the flow of the air conditioning and pumped it up here, then, I admit, we'd be stuffed...
EDITOR: Oops. Sorry, sir.

ADAM: Argh! It's the end of the world as we know it. And I'm getting the hell out of here!

DOCTOR: Rose! Use your escapology skills and untie me.
ROSE: I don't have any escapology skills, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Damn! We'll just have to escape with the restraints still on.
ROSE: Kinky!

EDITOR: I think it's time for a career change - Whoa! Suki! You've come back to life! You really must love me. Either that or the Jagrafess is possessing you to make me share his death!
EDITOR: So... it's not option one then?

DOCTOR: OK, so your heating system is stuffed and the satellite's on the brink of collapse, the media itself has ended and humanity's guiding light is now three litres of pond scum...
DOCTOR: I was hoping YOU would be able to say something positive. I'm just off to discipline Adric. Rose, stay here and for god's sake don't screw up the course of established history.
ROSE: You betcha, Doctor. So, Cathica, instead of news, how about... oh, I don't know... reality TV gameshows?
CATHICA: Hey, that might just work!

ADAM: Wow! You've taken me back to my living room! How kind!
DOCTOR: Not exactly, I landed the TARDIS on your dog.
ADAM: Nooo!
DOCTOR: And now I will steal your answering machine.
ADAM: Can't you just steal the tape?
DOCTOR: Shut up or I'll click my fingers. Just like that!
ADAM: Gurk!
ROSE: Eew! His third eye has opened!
DOCTOR: Come on, let's get out of here before he sees his reflection and starts vomiting ice cubes.
ADAM: You can't leave me here! How do I explain this hole in my head?
ROSE: You're the genius!
ADAM: Yeah, I am. I'll just tell people it's a piercing. That got out of hand. Oh, no! What if they think I'm gay! Doctor, come back!!

* this idea was stolen by Gareth Roberts for his novel Only Human. Go on Outpost Gallifrey - I posted it first, and there's proof!

If *I* Had Written Time-Flight 1

An unearthed document created in 2005, long before the IIHWS22 operation began, reprinted here for the first time...


A Concord plane is streaking through the sky above the Atlantic. At Heathrow airport, the traffic controllers are totally taken aback when the plane suddenly vanishes in mid-air. Aboard the plane, however, nothing has changed.

The Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa are repairing the damage to the TARDIS console in silence, avoiding each other's gaze. Tegan is shattered to learn that the repairs will not allow them to return and save Adric - the TARDIS couldn't save him at the time and it can't save him now. Nyssa is even disconcerted as the apparently indifferent Doctor begins to test out the console, pretending to have forgotten about Adric already.

But this argument is broken when the time machine suddenly goes out of control before stabilizing - inside Terminal Three at Heathrow, the day Tegan was supposed to arrive. The Doctor calmly announces that it is time Tegan got her things and prepared to return to her old life. Before his companions can argue, he opens the doors and walks outside.

The Doctor is surprised that no one has noticed the TARDIS and when he crosses to a news stand, the assistant doesn't seem to see him. Paying the man and taking the paper, the Doctor is shocked to find the front page has a photo of Adric - MATHEMATICAL GENIUS MAKES FATAL MISTAKE! DOCTOR BLAMED! He angrily turns on the vendor, but he still doesn't react. The Doctor reads the rest of the paper, which has articles like CYBER FLEET DISPERSES TOO LATE, FREE WILL IS AN ILLUSION and OPINION: WHY DOESN'T THE STATE OF GRACE AFFECT THE TARDIS ANYMORE?

The Doctor storms back into the TARDIS and demands to know what the others are up to - are they messing with him? They don't have the faintest idea what he's talking about or what newspaper disturbs him. The Doctor realizes the paper has vanished from his pocket.

Troubled, the trio emerge from the TARDIS and have a look around. People continue to move back and forth but pay the travelers no attention whatsoever. The Doctor, puzzled, grabs an airport police officer and shakes him. But he can't, for the officer is a ghost who doesn't seem to notice.

Tegan can't cope with the concept that Heathrow has been invaded by ghost commuters and runs off. Nyssa runs after her and when the Doctor follows he bumps into a foreign businessman, who mumbles an apology and wanders off. The Doctor stops dead in his tracks and runs after this seemingly real-traveller.

Nyssa loses track of Tegan in the crowd and begins to hear a voice calling her name. Soon, Nyssa is compelled to follow it, not realizing she has been followed by a short, bearded professor. Tegan, meanwhile, heads for the security block to try and get some answers and is stunned to find her Aunt Vanessa waiting for her. Like she promised, she got her niece to the airport in time, despite that flat tyre.

Tegan protests that Vanessa died and she met the Doctor, but she can't quite remember the details. Vanessa is bewildered when Tegan mentions the Doctor becoming someone else, and soon Tegan is too. How can a man come back to life in a different body? It's nonsense...

The Doctor finds the businessman and quizzes him. The businessman is baffled at the Doctor's questions; they're in Heathrow, and the planes are temporarily grounded due to a snowstorm of course! But as the Doctor ruminates on it, the businessman falls into a trance and wanders off.

The Doctor catches up with him and snaps him out of it - but the man has no memory of meeting the Doctor before or the conversation they just had. The man moves off into the crowd and this time the Doctor doesn't follow. Because he's seen something outside the window.

A hideously deformed figure called Kalid watches this on his crystal ball, chanting with delight and giggling as the ball shows what has happened to the TARDIS travelers.

Tegan is now with Aunt Vanessa. She has forgotten all about the Doctor, Nyssa and the TARDIS, and is eager to get on her plane. Once the snow lets up, she can finally do it. Together they wander off into the crowd of ghosts.

Nyssa finally finds the voice calling her name coming from a doorway. Sitting there is a kind, bearded old man. Nyssa backs away, horrified to see the Master has somehow escaped Castrovalva. But the man insists he is Tremas, her father, he's finally returned for her, to take her home. To Traken...

The Doctor stares out the window, incredulous. There is only one plane there, the missing Concord, and the only other thing outside Heathrow bar the snow is a huge stone zigurat. He considers what has been happening and wonders if he is finally going mad.

"You're not going mad," says a voice behind him.

The Doctor turns. His jaw drops.

"You know that, Doctor!" says Adric reprovingly...


Sunday, February 4, 2007

Cover Story

I may be a crap cartoonist, but I do wonders with photoshop.

A cover I made for the story two years before I even started writing it. It was destiny, I tell ya. DESTINY!!!

You see that? I did that, did I.

And a totally irrelevant story of evil genetic experiments, monster babies and divergent histories I did for 27 Up entitled Genesis of the Dreilyns (AKA Doctor Who Vs Species).

A cover for the David Collings Doctor in his two seasons of angst, hate, death and despair.

My abortive cover for Jared Hansen's anti magnum opus, If He Wrote Attack of the Cybermen.

And my non-abortive cover used pencil and rubber and pen and ink and sweat AND BLOOD!!!

B7 explained!

OK, here is an explanation for the third episode of the fourth series of Blake's 7, Traitor by the all-knowing-all-seeing-all-baloney mighty Robert Holmes.

Which he really wanted to call "A Land Fit For Helots". But they made him call it "Traitor".

Ok, start at the beginning.

By the time of "Death Watch", Servalan's little empire now consumed all the other factions of the splintered Federation, united as never before. Unfortunately, this means Servalan's asking for trouble. Her political enemies stage a coup. Losing control of the Federation, Servalan's forces flee to the planet Geddon to regroup. Servalan heads for Terminal to start the operation to grab the Liberator and turn the tide of battle - if she has the most advanced ship in existence, well, the Federation will have to let her back.

The Federation storm Geddon and after a long and bloody battle, finally wipe out the last of Servalan's empire. A body double is found dead, and a new President takes over the Federation. However, the malfunctioning teleport has dumped Servalan on a Federation planet. Using her spare identity of Commissioner Sleer, she wriggles her way into the ranks since several of her supporters are still in the new regime.

Servalan then discovers the miracle of Pylene, a muscle relaxant. If you OD on it, it brainwashes you, prevents you from producing adrenaline. Poisoning the research scientist Forbus, she forces him to mass produce Pylene 50 and, while keeping as low a profile as she can, creates the Pacification Police - a sort of UNIT-type organization. The plan is simple. The Federation storms a planet and then adapts all the prisoners, making them docile, and then uses them to increase their armed forces. Kinda like Cybermen.

The Federation, which covered a handful of solar systems, is now reconquering all the lost territories. When Helotrix falls however, Avon is concerned. Helotrix is famous for its inhabitants being the toughest, most hardcore bastards in the history of everything ever. Helots could walk the back alleyways of Manhatten stark naked and beat the shit out of every mugger without getting a scratch. Helotrix has kicked the Federation's arses three times, and conquering them is an ideal rather than a plan. It took DECADES for anyone to even stand a chance at holding the planet.

And Helotrix fell in three weeks.

You see why Avon's bricking it?

Now, the Federation lead by an unamed General and the monocular Colonel Quute have based themselves in the ruins of a main city around the Magnetrix Terminal - the equivalent of a modem linking all Federation planets. The columns of Helot rebels are now ex-teachers and civilians, and considering how fucking lethal they are, it's clear the show would not be suitable for BBC audiences if there were PROPER Helot rebels without buckets of gore and machine gun fire.

Igin, one of the older and less useful rebels, tries to sneak into the city in order to evaluate the latest plan - sneak under the Magnetrix Terminal and blow up the foundations. Wreck the Terminal, and the Federation force will be isolated. Not a bad plan... except the rebels can't do it with their resources. Igin is caught by a random census (where all the natives are 'adapted' again so as to catch any stragglers). Quute, for a laugh, tricks Igin into swallowing a homing beacon. They let him go and wait until he stops moving. Assuming he's at the base, they fire a flock of missiles at Igin and blow him up.

Luckily, Hunder - the rebel leader - was suspicious and kept Igin several miles away from the main camp. So when Igin was atomized, everyone else made it. Hunder is furious at the fact his friend died in such a pointless manner but his fellow rebels Avandir and Hask point out the rest of them are alive. Indeed, Quute and the General are now convinced that they have wiped out all the rebels. They intend to get a Helot from the Federation Civil List to take over control of Helotrix while the Pacification Police prepare to conquer the next planet on their list - Uanta.

Meanwhile, Vila is trying to make toast while Soolin watches on.

VILA: I've got the makings of a dozen wheatfields here - IF I can get them to germinate.
SOOLIN: I don't see you as the back-to-nature type somehow.
VILA: If we're going to be here as long as Avon reckons, then we might as well be comfortable. I keep dreaming about toast.
SOOLIN: "Toast"?
VILA: (kisses fingertips) A delicacy!
ORAC: Report for Avon.
SOOLIN: What is it, Orac?
ORAC: Report for Avon
VILA: (into comm) Avon? Your friend Orac wants a chat. (to Soolin) Some people dream about money. Or power. I dream about toast.
SOOLIN: Uhhuh. Well, unless you can make whatever that is out of pure dirt I should forget it.
VILA: There must be thosuands of them in these trays ... potentially... All I need is a mill. And a bakery. And a few slaves to do the work.
SOOLIN: And some seeds that will germinate.

Orac reports the Helotrix Terminal is now working and Avon makes a decision.

AVON: There's only one way. We have to go to Helotrix.
VILA: You're getting worse than Blake used to be! You're turning into a HERO, Avon!
AVON: Whatever the occasion demands. (grins) Actually, I'm going to let Tarrant be the hero. Soolin, tell him to get Scorpio ready for takeoff!

As the plant hopper approaches Helotrix, Vila's still not convinced.

AVON: Good material, Tarrant. One of the best.
VILA: He's not the man for the job! Tarrant's got about as much subtlety as a Bulrasian war-strangler!
SOOLIN: Are you volunteering?
VILA: ME?! Walk into the middle of a WAR?!?
SOOLIN: The Federation have the Terminal, according to Orac.
VILA: That doesn't mean the fighting's over! All I'm saying is that Tarrant's going to walk straight into trouble and get himself killed or captured - preferably the first.
AVON: Happy little comrade, aren't you?
VILA: Only thinking of myself.

Below, Hunda makes plans. Knowing that the Federation will send out a survey team to check the base was destroyed with Igin, he orders Hask to set up an ambush. The Federation send in adapted Helots who, oddly enough, lack the normal reaction times and are thus massacred. Since Igin died before he could tell anyone the plan wouldn't work, Hunda decides to see things for himself. He dives into the lake and swims under the Terminal reactors and manages to climb up through them into the jungle around the city.

He is not the only new arrival. Practor has arrived, a native Helot now high enough in the Federation to take over the planet. He's not impressed with his predecessor's apartment with the Baroque style and portraits of the ex-Empress Servalan, and is shown around by Leitz, appointed by Commissioner Sleer to help him settle in. Tomorrow he will be sworn in as the appointed ruler of the planet. Leitz leaves Practor alone and soon Commissioner Sleer visits Practor, kills him, wrecks his computer, and scorches the painting of Servalan before retreating.

Tarrant and Dayna teleport down to the outskirts of the city, but the communicator circuit on Scorpio breaks down. As they move through the city, there is another census. Tarrant, Dayna and other Helots make a break for it, and the Helots are gunned down by the Pacification Police, 'adapting' them with Pylene 50 and rendered zombies. Hunda spots them and together they hide. Hunda gives them some Helot clothing and explains the current situation before Leitz arrives, a double agent helping the rebels. However, one of the rebel columns has been destroyed, and the other two have fled to the White Mountains, leaving Hunda's the only remaining rebel column in action - having wiped out two gunships. Leitz suggests that instead of trying to blow down the Terminal from underneath, they sneak through the wrecked monorail. Hunda heads off to tell the others the new plan while Tarrant and Dayna quizz Leitz.

Meanwhile, Avon tells Orac to work out how to improve Scorpio's engines. Bored, Orac logs onto the internet to look up engine designs, and unfortunately uses the nearest Magnetrix Terminal to do so - so the Federation watch in awe as user ORAC downloads these plans. Quute, realizing what a threat this could be, has the General order pursuit ships up into the atmosphere to find Orac.

AVON: What are these, Orac?
ORAC: Coefficient factors of nose-cone profiles.
AVON: All right. File them. What's the next program?
ORAC: Weight and velocity indices.
AVON: File those too. In fact, store all the data. I'll go through it when we get back to base.
VILA: IF we get back to base. How much longer are we going to wait, Avon?
SOOLIN: Until we get the information we came for.
VILA: You're an optimist, Soolin.
SOOLIN: And you're a very poor judge of character.
AVON: Vila's not as his best hanging around. He's an action man.
VILA: I'll tell you what kind of man I am, Avon! I'm a running man! The way YOU used to be before you caught Terminal Bakeitis!
(Avon doesn't pay attention. Vila groans.)
SOOLIN: I suppose it isn't possible that you and Blake do have something in common after all?
AVON: No it isn't. We're different in every possible way.
SOOLIN: For instance...?
AVON: For instance... I survived. Blake didn't.

Avon realizes what has happened and, since Tarrant and Dayna are still free... and refusing to come back... decides to stay in orbit, hiding from the pursuit ships rather than running like ninjas on fire.

On Helotrix, Leitz finds Practor's body. Sleer, of course, takes charge and the General is disgusted to find that Leitz is a double agent who has been setting up all the rebels to be killed rather than letting the General have a proper war (as written, the General's practically a Sontaran...). As per Sleer's orders, Leitz has set up Hunda to head with all his men into the monorail tunnel, which is booby trapped. As for Dayna and Tarrant, they have been sent to the pylene labs underground.

LEITZ: Though, naturally, I didn't tell them about our security measures.
GENERAL: Naturally.
LEITZ: I expect they're dead now.

Dayna and Tarrant kill the guard and steal his key, narrowly avoiding a booby trap. Inside, they meet Forbus, the creator of Pylene 50, now stuck in a wheelchair and in constant agony. He has constructed a crude TNT bomb which he intends to kill himself, Sleer and Leitz. Learning that Dayna and Tarrant are the ones from the Liberator, he hands over the immunity drug to Pylene 50 and the formula so they can stop the Pacification Police and wreck Sleer's career. Realizing they can alert Hunda to a trap and throw the Federation off Helotrix, Dayna and Tarrant ignore Avon's commands to return to the ship. They meet up with Hunda's group just before they enter the monorail tunnel and, immunizing them, walk straight into the city.

Believing this is a trick and most of the rebels have entered the monorail, the General orders it blown up and then sends his forces to attack the "survivors". However, the census guards and pacification police only have Pylene 50 rays - no ordinary guns. So the immunized rebels cannot be stopped as they sweep into the Terminal.

There, Commisioner Sleer is waiting for them... and when Dayna and Servalan and Tarrant see each other, their mutual surprise is a distraction which allows Hunda to unleash his own artillery, which is far more effective. As the General and Quute arrive, the fighting starts. Quute is shot dead, Dayna beats the General up as the rebels storm the Terminal and smash it to peices.

Servalan flees underground to Forbus, realizing he's somehow betrayed her. Forbus tries to go for his TNT booby trap and Servalan shoots him dead. Leitz arrives, having deduced Sleer's identity and that she is killing anyone that can reveal she was not killed at Geddon - Servalan is a political criminal. Leitz offers to keep her secret in return for becoming the President of Helotrix when order is restored. Servalan kills him.

With the Federation control of Helotrix broken, Tarrant and Dayna strip off their disguises and return to Scorpio which immediately heads off back to Xenon at top speed. At first, Avon refuses to believe that Servalan is dead. But, on the up side, this means he can now kill her himself...

YOA Review 3!

As the episode ends, Andrew turns down the sound. Eve sits beside them, her hair in a towel.

ANDREW: I like it. You don't get cliffhangers like that any more.

DAVE: What do you mean? There are only four cliffhangers nowadays - everyone surrounded by monsters threatened with electrocution; zombies surround one regular while we see the evil controlling force for the first time; the shock appearance of the Daleks; and one of the regulars being miraculously replaced in the TARDIS control room! That's it!

ANDREW: I still like it.

NIGEL: Rubbish. It's full of glaring inconsistencies! How could a trained military officer fall for the old "behind you" trick?

EVE: It wasn't a trick.

NIGEL: Oh, there's always SOME excuse isn't there! And he even nicks the most brilliant 'why isn't anyone pleased to see us?' gag from Hitchhikers!

ANDREW: Works better in Doctor Who than Hitchhikers. Besides, most of Hitchhikers IS old Doctor Who stuff. Or old Ringo Starr stuff. Or Dirk Gently stuff.

NIGEL: There you go again, trying to justify a total lack of literary talent by picking holes in other, better, PUBLISHED authors! I mean, after all the whinging that the TARDIS Crew don't get enough to do, he knocks out Turlough for the episode.

DAVE: Yeah. Episode. Singular. It might get better.

NIGEL: Oh yeah, cause when Kamelion, UNIT, drulanium and the Daleks get together, that's a byword for quality, isn't it!

ANDREW: Come on, UNIT is cooler than the bomb disposal squad.

NIGEL: Pah, it's fanwank and you know it.

EVE: Nah, fanwank would be the BDS working for Torchwood.

ANDREW: And the warehouse being the Palace Theatre, with the Daleks using Greel's distilation chamber.

DAVE: And the old guy with the metal detector Henry Van Statten senior.

A pause. The others turn and look at Dave.

DAVE: I'm sorry. Went too far.

ANDREW: You did indeed. Anyway, all those reinstated scenes with the Doc and Archer, plus the bodysnatcher stuff...

NIGEL: Andrew, if they are SO good, why didn't he write an original story then?

Andrew sighs and covers his face in his hands.

ANDREW: Nigel. Do you like Torchwood?

NIGEL: Of course, it's the best damn show on television.

EVE: That explains a lot.

The others rise and leave.

NIGEL: It's the best damn show ever. Multi-species lesbian threesomes, the ultimate cybersex upgrade, chicks with their brains blown out of their head, jellied eels, damn it, jellied eels, the most unconvincing CGI monster since Invasion of the Bane, oh yeah, that's the good stuff, baby!

A pause. Nigel looks around.

NIGEL: Where did everyone go?

Warhead of the Daleks 1 (d)


The Doctor approaches a pair of loading doors and tries to shift them. No luck.

This should give us a good view of the street if I can just open them...

He tries again. Tegan joins him.

If you know where the time corridor is and who the soldiers are, why not talk to them?

I think the people in charge of the corridor haven’t left this place unguarded. Now the signs of executions Kamelion mentioned... I want to know what’s going on before we jump in feet first. Now help me with these.

Kamelion approaches. They all try to shift the doors. No luck.

The wood’s swollen with the rain. This place probably hasn’t been used for years – it sure smells like it.

Such neglect. A hundred years ago, this place would have been bustling with activity.

Yeah, right.

The Doctor sighs and gives her a sideways look.

Where’s your sense of imagination, Tegan?

Just because I can’t get worked up about a load crumbling brickwork?

Tegan, Tegan, Tegan. Not that long ago, every single one of London’s sea-borne imports would have been unloaded at the wharves like the one the TARDIS landed in...


...and then reloaded in here. Your economy depended on it before and during the collapse of the empire...

Kamelion speaks more firmly.


The Doctor and Tegan finally turn to look at him. In the entrance stands Archer and Calder, guns at the ready. The Doctor and Tegan raise their hands. Kamelion glances at them, then follows suit. Archer speaks in a frostily polite tone.

May I help you people?

Why isn’t anyone ever pleased to see us?

The Doctor smiles disarmingly.

Ah, yes, I’m so sorry about this. The doors weren’t locked.

So you just strolled in?

As is our want. May we...?

Archer nods. They lower their hands.

I am Colonel David Archer of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. Who are you?

Laird enters, stopping as she stops them.

What’s going on, Colonel?

Archer doesn’t take his eyes – or his gun - off the Doctor.

Precisely what I am trying to find out. What are you three doing here?

You really wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

Try me.

The Doctor shrugs.

I just suspect that this warehouse is the termination point for a time corridor most likely operated by alien beings for purposes unknown. But the classic military mind is unlikely to accept that explanation.

Time corridors? Alien beings?

What did I tell you.

The entrance to the time corridor is on the level below, somewhere.

They’re not with the builders?


Thought not.

Are you from the press?

No. Like I said, we’re investigating this place. You may have heard of me – I’m UNIT’s unpaid scientific advisor and these are my assistants, Tegan Jovanka and... well, we call him Kamelion.

Is that some sort of joke?

Certainly not!

am UNIT’s scientific advisor. Professor Annie Laird.

That is as may be, but I am Doctor John Smith. The Doctor John Smith.

Laird’s eyes widen. She speaks cautiously.

You don’t look anything like the photograph.

The Doctor approaches her slowly, speaking with the same caution.

It obviously wasn’t my best side.

What are you talking about? Professor Laird has been advisor for UNIT for years!

There’s a way to prove what I’m saying is the truth.

Of course there is. Sergeant, get onto HQ and run a check on this man’s identity.


Calder nods and leaves.

Well, that wasn’t what I was thinking of, but...

If you are part of UNIT, why weren’t we informed of your presence?

We weren’t informed about the builders either, Colonel.

That doesn’t confirm or deny his identity, Professor. Why didn’t they reveal themselves at once if there was nothing to hide?

I could ask you the same question.

There is another, very simple way – and if the Professor knows who I claim to be, she’ll know what to look for.

Archer glances at Laird. She’s still confused.

I hope you know where you’re going with this, Doctor...

Brave heart, Tegan.


The battle cruiser is now parked next to the space station.


An open chamber with corridors leading away. A large doorway is half-covered by a black grey shield which has dropped down half-way to block the doorway but not seal it. A number of crewmembers are present, either trying to haul the hatch down or setting up boxes as shelter. Mercer and Phin run into view, followed by Zena.

The cruiser’s docked! Get that shield down!

They haven’t fixed the door malfunction...

Then we’ll use brute force! Come on!

They all rush over to the door and haul down on it, dragging towards the floor.


This is shown on the main screen. Doran slides a card into a slot next to a box on the console. He presses a sequence of buttons with intense care. There is a clicking noise and the box slides open to reveal a red button beneath the safety catch.

Our very survival depends on that duranium shield. Comforting thought, isn’t it?

How long until they get into the airlock?

If we’re lucky, I don’t know... three minutes? Mercer was right. We better break out the battle kits.

Osborn hurries over to the open hatch and starts handing out the contents to the other guards. Styles concentrates on Doran.

What are you doing?

If we’re boarded, then this switch will destroy the prisoner.

What good will that do?

Doran looks at her, sneering.

What do you think they’re here for?


The group finally manage to close the door. They are all out of breath.

Now what?

Phin, you’re the engineer. Help me. The rest of you, get under cover.

Phin and Mercer head for a groove between two floor panels not very far from the closed airlock. Mercer puts down two of the explosives on the floor. Phin pulls out a small hand-held control and begins adjusting it.

I’m not dressed for battle, Roylan.

None of us are. But it’s too late to do anything about it now.

Not even an ‘I told you so’?

When we’ve gotten out of this alive, trust me, you won’t hear the end of it.

Phin chuckles, reassured.


Laird is studying the bullet Kamelion has handed over.

You found this outside?

Yes. In the alcove two doors down in the direction of the river.

Laird sniffs it.

Recently fired.

You still haven’t said why were you trying to open the loading doors?

I wanted to get a clear view of the street. The windows aren’t very clean.

Why not go through the front door?

The Doctor doesn’t reply. Tegan glances at him.


I think we’re not alone here.

You mean the builders?

No. Well, I don’t think so. I don’t know what happened to those builders of yours. Maybe they were sucked up the time corridor, I don’t know. But I am certain that whoever constructed it left some kind of guard to watch over it...

Calder re-enters. Galloway and another soldier enter, rifles slung over their shoulders.


The R/T won’t work, sir, we can’t get through to UNIT HQ. Heavy static – even on that old trannie radio we found.

It’s a side effect of the time corridor. It probably covers the docklands.

Be quiet!


Archer glares at him.

As we haven’t been able to verify or discredit your identity...

There is another way.

So you said.

Colonel, did you notice a police telephone box around when we arrived?

Archer stares at her, taken aback at this left-field idea.

What? No! Not at all.

That doesn’t mean a thing. There’s one now, at the wharf at the end of the street.

And that is supposed to prove his identity?

Laird looks at the Doctor doubtfully.

If he is who he says he is, then it might.

Very well. Mellor, head down the street. If there is a police box then head to the nearest pay phone and confirm with the police. Then come back.


He turns and leaves.

If you think the time corridor isn’t real, why are you here, anyway?

UNIT has a lot of specialized equipment, Tegan. A time corridor smashing into a 1984 warehouse was bound to be detected, even if they had no idea what it was.

Archer and Laird exchange looks. Laird shrugs.

You might as well tell them, Colonel. They’ve guessed most of it already.


Turlough groans and opens his eyes. He looks around, sounding weak.

Norna? Doctor?

Wincing, he manages to sit up in bed, rubbing his head.

Doctor? Tegan? Where have they got to now?


Everyone looks up at the screen, anxious. Doran looks at the others.

Osborn, Styles, head down to the cryogenics unit and make sure all the explosive charges are primed. I want to know this will work.

We should stay here.

Why? What have you got to lose?

Styles can’t think of an argument. She scowls and turns with Osborn to the exit. Doran turns to look up at the screen once more.


Styles and Osborn run around a corner at top speed.


As before. All the troopers present are heading for the doorway.

On my order, blow the airlock and attack.


Kiston enters, barring their way. All bar Lytton back off, but all stop their advance.

The Supreme demands your presence, Commander Lytton.

We are about to carry out the attack! This isn’t the time for a committee meeting!

You will obey our masters. You will obey.

Lytton glances around him. The troopers are all staring at him with dead eyes. Lytton suddenly gives a lazy smile. Kiston is ever-so-slightly disconcerted.

Well now, all they have to do is ask.

Lytton strides off.

Continue the attack while I’m gone!


Mellor is moving through the streets. He brightens as he spots a phone box on the corner and hurries over to it. Fumbling in his pocket, he produces a coin. He enters the box, slides in a coin and lifts the receiver. He blinks, holding the receiver to his ear – nothing. Not even a dial tone. Silence. Mellor taps the cradle, but there is nothing. Angrily, he slams down the receiver... and notices for the first time the cord has been cut through. Mellor rolls his eyes.

Typical! Typical, bloody vandals...

With a growl of annoyance he emerges from the booth. He starts as he registers the presence of the two policemen down the street, having appeared from nowhere. They stare impassively down the street, as if he is invisible. Mellor is still relieved.

Ah, that’s lucky. Eh, lads, do you know anything about the police box down the road? I mean, has that been there long? Stupid place to put it but...

He trails off. They still don’t seemed to have noticed him.


The continue to stand rigidly to attention, hands behind their backs, like waxwork dummies. Mellor, confused waves a hand in front of their eyes. Nothing. He snaps his fingers rapidly. Nothing. Unnerved, he shakes and hurries past them towards the entrance to the warehouse. The policemen turn. One of them raises his handgun, fitted with a silencer and takes aim at the oblivious Mellor’s back. The policeman fires one shot.


The Doctor and Tegan are sitting on some crates. Kamelion, Laird, Calder and the soldiers are standing around and Archer is pacing up and down.

Mellor’s taking his time.

Maybe we could pop downstairs and have a cup of tea until he gets back?

No. Five people went missing who were working on that level, and you say a time corridor or something ends there. It’s off limits from now on.

So you believe us, then?

I don’t disbelieve you. UNIT doesn’t need troops with closed minds.

The Doctor smiles, delighted.

I wanted that to be the company motto, but they never took it up.

Calder rolls his eyes.

I wonder why.

If you are the Doctor, why are you here, now?

My... instruments detected the time corridor. From what I can tell, it’s a particularly crude form of travel – linking two fixed points in different times and spaces. One end is here, 1984 London. The other is, well, who knows where? The point is, I don’t believe the people who constructed the corridor were aiming for this warehouse.

What were they aiming for?

I’m not sure they were aiming for anything. They opened their end and it was pure chance that the other opened here. The question is what they intend to do now they have effectively free passage from their own era into twentieth century Earth.

Could be some kind of invasion attempt?

How could it if they didn’t intend to come here? Sounds more like an escape attempt.

But now that they have escaped, could they be attempting to invade?

By killing builders?

No, no, no, no. We’re going about this the wrong way. We need to know more about the people who built this. And the best way to do that is find whoever was ordered to watch over this warehouse.

But we don’t know who that is, so we’re back to square one.


Relaxed, Lytton moves through the area. He crosses to a corridor directly opposite the time corridor terminal. It ends in a closed door. He places his hand on a glowing blue square beside the door. The door slides back. Lytton enters.


A redressed version of the flight deck. It is dimmer, lit by reds and there is a familiar electronic heartbeat noise in the background. Lytton enters and the door slides closed. Lytton stands with his hands behind his back, legs apart.

You wished to speak with me.


The stratagem will be completed.


Lytton is unimpressed.

So you keep saying.


Mellor lies on his side on the ground. Blood trickles from his open mouth. He is quite, quite dead. Standing over him is the policeman that fired, still holding the gun. We pan across to see that a man identical in every respect to Mellor – except being very much alive – is also standing there. He nods to the policeman and walks towards the building. The remaining policeman takes out a yellow control similar to the one Lytton used. He slides it and the corpse of the real Mellor fades away in a ruby glow. The fake Mellor strides into the warehouse. The policeman pockets the yellow control and marches towards the open doorway.


‘Mellor’ runs up the steps towards the upper level.


As before. Everyone is milling about.

Perhaps we should get out of here, Colonel. If there is some kind of danger...

We’ll wait for Mellor to return. We’re a level up from the builders with at least three escape routes and we know something’s up. Until we find out for sure who that man is we’re not risking anything. Understood, Professor?

Laird sighs and nods.

Understood, sir.

Sitting on the crate, Tegan wrinkles her nose. The Doctor is still trying to shift the doors. Kamelion is staring at the grubby window beside it.

That smell is getting worse. It’s like rising damp...

Probably is. The rain is seeping through the old brickwork.

Do you think getting Kamelion to turn into the Brigadier would help?

Maybe. But we’d have to find an excuse for Kamelion to leave and then come up for an excuse for a retired maths master suddenly coming to our aid from the other side of the country. By that time their friend will probably be back and...

They are coming.

The other two look at Kamelion in surprise.

Who? Kamelion, who are you talking about?

‘Mellor’ enters. They all look up.

Ah, Mellor, any luck?

None sir. There is no police box anywhere and never has been.

Archer turns angrily to face the Doctor. Behind him, Mellor draws his pistol.

As I thought...

Behind you! Get down!

Archer glances behind him as ‘Mellor’ aims the gun at his head. Archer ducks as Mellor fires. Laird screams and everyone scatters. Calder whirls as the bullet digs into the wall beside his head.

Mellor, what the hell are you doing?

‘Mellor’ aims the gun at him when the Doctor shoulder charges him, sending him reeling and his shot wild. Tegan and Kamelion rush over to the Doctor as ‘Mellor’ whirls and knocks him over. ‘Mellor’ moves to shoot the Doctor as Calder raises his gun.

You two, down!

Kamelion and Tegan duck. ‘Mellor’ whirls back to face Calder as he fires a round of machine gun fire. ‘Mellor’ is slammed against a column with the force, but shows no real sign of injury. In the confusion, the time travellers run down it as ‘Mellor’ straightens up, unharmed and aims the gun at Calder, who, amazed, fires another round. ‘Mellor’ staggers, but the holes in his uniform simply fix themselves. Smiling, he takes aim as Calder empties his gun uselessly...


Tegan and Kamelion run down the stairs, followed by the Doctor.

What about the others?

Archer has numbers on his side, let’s just hope...


The doors are wrenched open by the policeman, who reaches immediately for his gun. Kamelion kicks him in the stomach, causing him to stagger back.


They ran back through the doorway into the lower level. The policeman regains his balance and fires a shot at Kamelion – blasting into the stone of the doorway. Kamelion runs though and slams the door. The policeman fires again.


They move out of the firing line as bullets punch through the door. The machine gun fire can still be heard. The Doctor, Tegan and Kamelion run around a corner and move away from the entrance.

They’ve got the stairs covered. Kamelion, could you run past him for the TARDIS and pilot it here?

Interference from the time corridor makes that maneuver dangerous, Doctor.

No, you’ve got a point... Perhaps you can just run for help? That phone box we saw...

Help wouldn’t get here in time, we need a way out!

Yes, you’re right, Tegan. Let’s try this way.

They move on past the foreman’s office and turn another corner. In front of them is a wall, filling the archway and blocking off further escape.

There’s no way out. It’s a dead end!

It can’t be...

The Doctor steps forward and runs his hands over the wall.

There should be another six metres of space. And it’s new... But why would the builders wall it up?

Who cares, we’ve got to get out of here!

The Colonel is holding the attackers at bay.

For how long, though?

I do not have that information, Miss Jovanka.

Of course! This isn’t a real wall – just a partition!

The Doctor moves to the archway and opens a segment of brick to reveal a control.

Someone wants to keep this area off limits.

Maybe that is wise, Doctor.

He’s right, we don’t know what’s on the other side.

You’d rather face those killers?

He twists the control. There is a whirring noise and wall slides upwards.

Quickly, let’s...

He trails off as the wall rises enough to reveal a DALEK standing behind it. There are four or five other Daleks behind it, deactivated and lifeless. More importantly, the Dalek in front is alive and angry. As it spots the trio it begins to scream:


Take cover!

He, Tegan and Kamelion scramble back as the Dalek glides past the doorway.