The Shadow Play
Protocols: Volume Two
The Shadow Play
Written by Lawrence Miles
Directed by Nigel Fairs
Post Production and Music by Nigel Fairs

Suzanne Proctor (Cousin Justine), Ellis Pike (Godfather Morlock), Caroline Burns-Cook (Lolita), Emma Kilbey (Cousin Eliza / Godmother Quelch), Nigel Fairs (Lord Ruthven / General Kine), Linda Bartram (The Voice).



Era: Last thirteen-million years.
Technology: Military (blatant), limited time-awareness.

It’s perhaps unwise to think of the Sontarans as a species, as such. A homunculus breed, hatched by the million and engineered for full-engagement warfare, the Sontaran military machine is regarded by many time-active cultures as an “occupational hazard”: a force of nature rather than a race, compelled by duty and genetics to acquire new technologies for its endless war effort. It should be remembered, however, that with the backing of a higher power even the crudest of breeds can become something quite different.

  • This is the second story in BBV’s Faction Paradox audio series. It immediately follows the events of The Eleven-Day Empire.
  • Released: October 2001
(drn: 65'55")

Justine successfully bonds with Grandfather Paradox’s shadow, and discovers that her new shadow has unlimited weaponry at its disposal. Lolita contacts her and offers her the opportunity to change sides before it’s too late, but Justine remains loyal to the Faction and refuses the offer. Lolita then attends the final negotiations of the treaty, along with Lord Ruthven and a squad of Sontarans, ostensibly hired as an independent security force until a formal peace has been established between House Paradox and the other Houses. Morlock notes an clause in the treaty, stating that any Faction member who has committed a serious crime against the Great Houses must be surrendered for trial, but as nobody in the Empire has actually committed any of the crimes outlined in the treaty, he agrees to sign it.

Ruthven and Lolita then address the assembled members of the Faction in Trafalgar Square, where Lolita drops a legal bombshell; according to Faction protocol, the shadow is more important than the flesh, and thus Justine is now culpable of Grandfather Paradox’s crimes. If she is not surrendered for trial, the Houses will declare martial law in the Eleven-Day Empire -- and since the treaty has been signed into law, the spirits will do nothing to prevent it. The city descends into violence again as the Faction members protest and the Sontarans attempt to impose order, and in the confusion, Morlock and Eliza hurry Justine away, intending to steal Ruthven’s timeship and get Justine to safety. Ruthven, shocked by the abrupt change of plans, has withdrawn his guards from the timeship to quell the riot, much to Lolita’s irritation. She sends Kine to protect the timeship and informs Ruthven that she only brought him along because she needed one of the Oldblood Houses to lend credibility to her mission -- and he has now outlived his usefulness.

Justine kills her way through the Sontaran guards on the timeship and severs Kine’s arm, but Morlock allows the General to live, as he’s realised that Kine objects to Lolita’s arrogance and will no doubt attempt to kill her -- which might slow her down a little. Morlock orders Justine to retreat to the Homeworld, claiming that in the current political climate it’s the safest place for her. However, Justine is beginning to feel as though she’s being manipulated, and after Morlock leaves her and Eliza on the timeship, Justine takes it to Tower Hill to speak with the Unkindnesses again. She needs to know if her future is predestined, but the Unkindnesses tell her that it’s all a matter of probability. They foresaw this disaster, but only because it was the most probable outcome -- and Justine’s most probable destiny is to travel to the Homeworld and discover Lolita’s true agenda.

Another Sontaran warship arrives in the Empire, with full legal authority to impose martial law. Morlock and Quelch are captured and brought before Lolita, who orders Quelch to help her invoke the spirits which protect the city. The biodata sample stolen from the Catalogue -- the one which the Sontarans replaced with a fusion bomb -- has enabled Lolita to get in touch with the spirits already, and since the “spirits” are just another term for the laws and protocols which bind history together, Lolita can communicate with them more sensibly than even members of the Faction. The ritual binds Lolita to the city, and though Morlock expects the strain to burn out her nervous system, this does not happen -- and Ruthven realises that this is what Lolita planned to do all along. Bored by Ruthven’s bleating, Lolita orders Kine to kill him, and when Kine refuses, Lolita does so herself and then dematerialises as the Sontarans vainly open fire upon her. Morlock, surprised by Lolita’s incredible capabilities, realises that she risked killing Lord Ruthven because she intends to leave no witnesses behind her.

Lolita materialises aboard the timeship to confront Justine and Eliza, and reveals that she and the spirits are now one. Lolita is more powerful than any of the Faction had guessed, but at least she’s the only one of her House, although it’s producing children as quickly as possible. Her intention was always to destroy the Eleven-Day Empire, just as a demonstration of power to make a point back on the Homeworld. However, Justine is now more powerful than even Lolita had anticipated; her new shadow contains more subtle weapons than the physical, including some which enable her to reprogramme the weapons system of the Sontaran warship and launch an attack on her own timeship. Since the Sontarans don’t come under the jurisdiction of the city, Lolita cannot prevent the attack, and she is thus forced to flee.

Justine calls off the warship’s attack, but she and Eliza see the city twisting out of shape on the timeship’s scanner screen as Lolita begins to consume it, taking the entire city into her body. Before the Empire is destroyed, Lolita speaks to Morlock one last time, congratulating him on his ruthlessness; she’s guessed that he arranged for Justine to be given the shadow of Grandfather Paradox, perhaps believing she would be easily manipulated into taking the shadow to the Homeworld for reasons only Morlock understands. However, it seems his plan may have backfired, for Lolita now consumes and destroys the Eleven-Day Empire.

There are only a few survivors. The Unkindnesses have retreated from Tower Hill, sensing the destruction to come. Justine and Eliza have escaped in Ruthven’s timeship, but Justine does not intend to travel to the Homeworld; instead, she intends to roam the Universe, reuniting the scattered survivors of Faction Paradox from their missions on other worlds and preparing to fight Lolita. Lolita herself returns to the Homeworld and announces that Faction Paradox no longer poses any kind of a threat. Despite the unfortunate loss of Lord Ruthven, it seems that House Lolita has proven her loyalty to the other Houses -- as far as they know...

Source: Cameron Dixon

Continuity Notes:
  • The story of Cousins Justine and Eliza continues in Sabbath Dei.
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