The Mirror Effect
by Stewart Sheargold
The Mirror Effect
Written by Stewart Sheargold
Directed by Gary Russell
Music by David Darlington
Post Production by Andrew Swann

Lisa Bowerman (Professor Bernice Summerfield), Miles Richardson (Irving Braxiatel), Stephen Fewell (Jason Kane), Harry Myers (Adrian Wall), Steven Wickham (Joseph), Beverly Cressman (Doctor Carnivel).

“Do you believe in the mirror or do you believe in yourself?”

Under the ice on a cold world lie the derelict remains of the lost Grid 4 Mining Station. Inside the station is a mirror, an ancient alien artefact, its existence known to few. Inside the mirror is one Professor Bernice Summerfield, and she can’t get out. Trapped and alone in a place she cannot trust, with her friends distorted and turned against her, she is haunted by fears and reflections.

And inside Bernice Summerfield is a little baby creature that wants her to be mother...

  • This is the eighth audio in Big Finish's new series of The Adventures of Bernice Summerfield.
  • Released: April 2003

  • ISBN: 1 903654 71 8
(drn: 71'21")

When Jason gets too close to a full-length mirror in the Braxiatel Collection, he and Benny fall through and find themselves in a deserted mining camp beneath the ice of a distant planet. Each blaming the other for this predicament, they go looking for signs of life, and in the lower levels of the base, they find the power systems. Benny switches them back on, but she and Jason are then attacked by a frantic woman wielding a knife. They manage to overpower her, and once she’s calmed down, she identifies herself as Dr Jackson Carnivel, sole survivor of an expedition to this planet -- an expedition that she claims included Benny and Jason. According to Carnivel, their expedition was investigating rumours of a disaster that struck the original inhabitants of this base, but their sponsors had set a tight deadline and they were forced to rush their work. Carnivel claims that Benny and Jason found a mirror, and passed through it -- and when they returned, they had changed. Slowly, the members of the team turned on one another, driven by paranoia, until Carnivel was the only one left. Carnival shows Benny and Jason the mirror on the surveillance monitors, and, as they’d suspected, it’s identical to the one in the Collection.

Braxiatel and Adrian arrive in the upper levels of the base, having fallen through the mirror behind Jason and Benny. Adrian bristles, instinctively feeling as though he’s under attack, and Braxiatel also suspects that they were deliberately separated from the others on the way through. Adrian finds the body of a man who appears to have been murdered, and in the dead man’s personal recorder, Braxiatel finds two significant, incomplete diary entries, implying that the man’s expedition found a mirror that was centuries old and that something came out of it and attacked him. While Adrian repairs the lift to the lower levels, Braxiatel receives a call from Benny and Jason, who report having found both a survivor and a mirror like the one in the Collection. Braxiatel warns them that this place could be dangerous, and signs off while he looks through the expedition’s files. Benny then arrives, claiming to have taken the lift -- but Adrian then contacts Braxiatel to let him know that the lift still needs work. The “Benny” doppelganger turns on Braxiatel, snarling and accusing him of engineering the circumstances that led to Peter’s birth just so he could add a hybrid child to his Collection. When Adrian arrives to see the Benny-thing attacking Braxiatel, she declares her undying love for him, but he isn’t fooled. Enraged by the thing’s deception, he attacks it, and it shatters like a broken mirror. Braxiatel, apparently quite shaken, realises that something in the mirror is trying to turn them against each other -- and that it will try to influence Benny to pass through the mirror again.

Carnivel leads Benny and Jason to the mirror, and Benny decides to tie a rope to herself and pass through to see if the Collection lies on the other side -- or something worse. While Jason is searching for rope, Braxiatel and Adrian arrive to warn them about the danger, but they are too late; the mirror begins to change, and Carnivel, who is not the real Carnivel at all, pushes Benny through to the other side. Adrian arrives just in time to see this happen, and leaps through after Benny without a second thought. Jason blames himself for failing to do the same, but Braxiatel assures him that he made the right decision. Braxiatel also reveals that the mining base is only a front -- the miners were after the mirror all along -- and warns Jason that the mirror exists in multiple timelines. Going through more mirrors may send them into an infinite regression. However, it’s not clear how Braxiatel learned this, and Jason begins to suspect that Braxiatel knows more than he’s saying.

Benny appears and claims that Adrian left her for dead, but as Jason moves in to kiss her, she transforms into Adrian, who mocks Jason’s manhood and attacks him, apparently trying to get him out of the way so he can have Benny for himself. When Jason defends himself, the mirror-Adrian smashes into fragments. The mirror-Carnivel then returns to mock Jason’s desperation and fear, and Jason, pushed too far, sets off to find the miners’ explosives, intending to blow up the mirror. Braxiatel tries to warn him that doing so could kill both Benny and Adrian -- indeed, the explosion could destroy this entire mining camp -- but Jason, his mind breaking under the strain, no longer wishes Benny to live if she’s Adrian’s lover and not his. Carnivel then attacks Braxiatel, smashing the communications system, and strands Jason in a lift that begins filling with water.

Benny and Adrian find themselves back in the mining base -- or rather, in another version of the base, possibly its future. Their only hope of escape is finding another mirror, but will it let them out of the trap or lead them deeper into it? While searching the base, Benny and Adrian find Jason and Braxiatel’s bodies, and realise that they apparently killed each other long ago. Adrian’s mind is assaulted by the evil forces stalking them, and he urges Benny to run and save herself; reluctantly, she does so, leaving Adrian to die. Torn by guilt, she finds herself standing before four identical mirrors, and mirror images of Adrian and Jason appear, surrounding her and demanding to know which of them is to be the father of her child. When she refuses to choose between them, both Jason and Adrian step forward and push her into the mirror.

Now deep in heart of the mirror, Benny comes face-to-face with her own reflection, the embodiment of the entity that has been stalking them. The entity has been trapped in the mirror for centuries, and has been trying to escape by sending copies of the mirror out to other timelines -- but every time it did so, it lost a bit of itself. It has been trying to restore itself by reflecting back the passions of everyone who encounters it and absorbing their personalities into itself. Now, through Benny, it has learned the concepts of motherhood and birth, and it thus demands that Benny give birth to it so it can escape from the mirror.

The mirror-Carnivel taunts Braxiatel, trying to reflect his darkness by showing him that he treats his “friends” simply as part of his collection -- but his dark side proves too much for even the mirror to handle, and when it catches a glimpse of what the Braxiatel Collection really is, Braxiatel shatters the mirror-thing to pieces. He then finds Jason apparently drowning in the lift, but manages to convince him that the water is only an illusion created by the mirror. When Jason emerges from the lift, however, he has some questions for Braxiatel: how come they haven’t seen his dark, twisted reflection yet? Is it possible that the dark, twisted part of Braxiatel is the real Braxiatel? Unlike Benny and Adrian, Jason wasn’t around when Braxiatel set up his Collection, and perhaps this means he’s the only one who’s free to question Braxiatel’s motives in doing so.

Braxiatel hypnotises Jason to forget this conversation and to suffer terrible migraines whenever it occurs to him to question Braxiatel’s motives. Unfortunately, this backfires, and when Jason forgets everything they’ve been talking about, he remembers only his intention to destroy the base. Braxiatel is finally forced to admit that, when he was younger and more foolish, he financed the original mine works because he’d learned of the mirror’s presence and wanted to add it to his Collection. In a way, all of this is his fault. He warns Jason that the mirror can protect itself, and advises him to wait for Adrian and Benny to emerge of their own accord; however, Jason is no longer thinking clearly, and he arms the explosives, vowing to make Peter think of him as his real father.

Deep within the mirror, Benny tries to explain to the mirror-thing that the creation of life is an act of love, and that she does not love the entity. However, the entity is not convinced, and considers its own death a greater violation of its rights than using Benny for its own purposes would be of hears. Benny screams as the entity impregnates her with itself, and within seconds, she has carried the entity to term and given birth to it.

Adrian awakens to find himself surrounded by mirrors, but refuses to give in to despair when the entity taunts him. He knows that Benny doesn’t love him, but he loves her, and will kill anything that tries to harm her. Adrian smashes apart the mirrors, looking for Benny, and the mirror thus expels him from this level of itself, back into the mining base. There, the mirror begins to give birth to itself, and Braxiatel pulls the baby out of the mirror, believing that Benny will be expelled along with it. Jason is unable to help, as he is suffering from a terrible migraine. When Benny emerges from the mirror, she rages at Braxiatel for trying to separate her from her child, but Braxiatel manages to get through to her and remind her that the entity is twisting her emotions for its own benefit. Benny realises that this is true, and Braxiatel urges her and Adrian to forget the baby they see crying before them and concentrate on their home, the Collection. When they do so, a portal back to the Collection opens up, and they carry Jason through to safety. For a moment, the baby’s cries sound like Benny screaming, and then the explosives that Jason set go off, shattering the mirror from behind.

Back on the Collection, Jason is still suffering from a migraine, and he collapses while trying to deliver a warning to Benny. Braxiatel claims that the mirror entity is responsible for Jason’s condition, and sends him to the Calfedorian medical satellite for treatment. Benny is somewhat suspicious of his motives in getting Jason off the Collection, but puts aside this question and concentrates on tending to Peter -- her real child.

Source: Cameron Dixon

Continuity Notes:
  • Jason has returned to the Collection by the time of Life During Wartime, by which time he seems to have forgotten the cause of his not-suspicious-at-all migraines.
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