Steven told the Interrogator he couldn’t avoid reality forever, but the man said they’d be busy for quite a while as they had the whole of Steven’s life to get through. Steven suspected the Interrogator was scared of stepping back into the present, but the man said he should be too. The Interrogator demanded to know who the Doctor was, and warned that he wouldn’t accept ’scientist’ as an answer because he regarded scientists as cold, analytical wolves. He told Steven he’d already tried to tease the Doctor apart to find out how he worked, but it was like walking blindfold through a maze. Steven continued with his story…
The ghostly image of the TARDIS remained in the air for some time and then there was a strange lurch in reality and the ship returned to its solid form. Inside, the Doctor looked pale and weak and the furniture had been overturned as if there’d been a struggle. He told Steven and Dodo that Semian had became violent, but Steven told him the real Semian was dead, so it must have the survivor from the alien ship. Dodo asked the Doctor why he tried to leave in the TARDIS and he apologised for his confused behaviour. He checked that they’d brought the medical equipment from the escape pod and said it was time they were gone, but Steven refused to leave while a murdering alien was on the loose outside. The Doctor ignored him and asked his companions to set the controls, but when Dodo told him they didn’t know how to work the ship his eyes flickered with rage. Steven was angry with the Doctor, so he picked up the alien equipment and stormed out the TARDIS.
Steven ran back to the village and found the place deserted, with many of the buildings burned to the ground. He hid the medical equipment as he heard the rumble of carts and marching footsteps approaching. He ducked for cover as an entire army moved past, stretching as far as he could see. It was the infantry and cavalry of the French Army, followed by line after line of artillery. Dodo appeared and urged Steven to bring the medical kit back to the TARDIS. Steven said he still wanted to track down Semian’s murderer, but Dodo told him to forget about that and think about Moscow. A group of older soldiers, including Generals, appeared at the back of the marching army and Steven recognised one particular officer from his history lessons - it was Napoleon Bonaparte. Dodo’s voice took on a hint of darkening menace, and then something struck Steven from behind and he was knocked unconscious.
When Steven came round he found himself being looked after by Glasha, who said she’d found him in the woods. There was no sign of Dodo and Steven feared she must have been taken by the soldiers. Glasha hadn’t seen Dodo, but she says she saw the Doctor step out in front of the soldiers. She couldn’t hear what he said, but they were all laughing like old friends, especially the General with the big hat who was in charge. After the Doctor spoke to the soldiers, a platoon was sent into the woods and they came out carrying the big blue box and carried it away with them. The soldiers found the Doctor a horse and he rode alongside Napoleon. Glasha said this all happened yesterday and the army had long since gone. Glasha asked Steven if he’d found Semian, but he didn’t answer. As he was leaving, Glasha’s mother whispered to him that she’d found Semian’s body and she was pleased that someone had made him pay for what he’d done, although she said she’d never reveal the truth to her daughter. Steven left in despair.
Steven discovered that the medical kit he’d hidden earlier had disappeared. Glasha provided him with Semian’s horse and gave him some food for his journey. Then Steven headed off in the direction of Moscow. For two days he rode at full speed, worried about the Doctor and Dodo and wondering what had happened to the alien. Every village he passed through had been burned to the ground, no doubt by their own people before the French army arrived. There was no evidence of fighting as the Russians were already weakened by the events at Borodino. No one was there to defend Moscow and the holy city had been abandoned, ready for Napoleon’s army to just walk in.
Steven eventually arrived on the outskirts of Moscow and admired the spires, cathedrals and palaces from a distance. Already a column of smoke was billowing up from the east of the city. The gates were shut, but Steven had no problem getting inside as the soldiers were only stopping people from leaving. The streets were under French martial law with a strict curfew, but the soldiers were so busy with their looting, it was easy for him to slip past them. Steven knew the Doctor was likely to be inside the walled Kremlin so he didn’t waste time going there. He told the drunken office in charge that he had information for the Emperor and he was allowed in. As he was escorted through the square, he saw the TARDIS parked on the steps of a great palace.
Steven was eventually taken to a great chamber overlooking the grounds where a cluster of generals and officers were examining reports and dispatches around a large table. Napoleon, in full uniform, sat at the head of the table, listening to the Doctor‘s advice on how to handle the occupation. The Doctor told Napoleon he should summon the Governor of Moscow and get him to sign a formal surrender, then he should demand the same from the Tsar so the whole of Russia would be handed over to France. As Steven was brought over, the Doctor looked at him and Steven saw a glimmer of anger and terror in his eyes. Steven was worried he may have upset one of the Doctor’s schemes, but when he claimed to be an old friend, the Doctor denied this and accused Steven of following him around like an unwanted dog.
Steven asked to speak to the Doctor alone and Napoleon dismissed the other officers, but remained there himself with his personal guards. The Doctor and Steven began to argue and Steven felt utterly betrayed when the Doctor accused him of sympathising with the Russians and of coming here to assassinate Napoleon. As Steven protested, he was grabbed by the guards and, in the confusion, he made the mistake of referring to Napoleon as a tyrant. Napoleon said he owed the Doctor a great debt for helping them find a safe route into Moscow and then the Doctor revealed that his plan was to make Napoleon the Emperor of the whole world. Napoleon ordered Steven to be taken out and shot. Steven was bundled outside where a group of soldiers were lounging around. An execution squad was quickly assembled and a row of rifle barrels were pointed in his direction.
Steven became confused as he knew the story couldn’t have ended like this. The Interrogator demanded that he remember more…
Just as the soldiers were about to fire, the Doctor’s voice called out and ordered them to stop, claiming that the Emperor had changed his mind. Dodo joined them and Steven accused both his friends of abandoning him. The Doctor asked the guards to take them back to the Emperor and as they were walking, he explained to Steven that the alien from the crashed ship was a shape thief who’d killed Semian and taken his shape.
The group returned to the chamber where Napoleon was still standing next to the Doctor. The real Doctor introduced himself to Napoleon, who then stared at both Doctors in utter confusion. The false Doctor accused the newcomer of being a devil in disguise, but the real Doctor explained how he was able to escape from the impostor’s knots and said his charade was at an end.
The Interrogator told Steven he hated being called a thief, but Steven insisted that’s what he was. The Doctor had said he was infinitely adaptable and in any given environment he would evolve into the ideal lifeform. The Interrogator said that being inside the TARDIS was better than any primal world, and in such a technologically superior place, what else could he become than the Doctor?
The two Doctors accused each other of being an impostor and they both circled around the room. The guards just stood and stared until Napoleon took charge and pointed to the false Doctor and said he’d been with him all the time. The real Doctor asked Napoleon if he genuinely believed the other Doctor’s assurances that he would win the war and as Napoleon looked closely at the two men, he noticed something strange in the false Doctor’s eyes and he finally realised the truth.
The fake Doctor grabbed Napoleon and held a knife to his throat. Then suddenly a bell started ringing and people shouted out that there was a fire. Everyone panicked and Napoleon staggered over to the window to see the sky alight with flame. The fake Doctor escaped and the others chased after him, out into the grounds. Steven caught up with the impostor by the TARDIS door and forced his way in, with the real Doctor and Dodo close behind him. The alien was already at the console, operating the flight controls - but the TARDIS just shuddered and refused to respond. The real Doctor told the impostor that his ship wouldn’t recognise him. The alien may have been able to copy him in detail, even down to his brain pattern and genetic codes, but it was still nothing more than an impersonation and the TARDIS would never be fooled.
The fake Doctor revealed that he’d been made by scientists, the ones he hated so much. He clutched the medical kit to his chest and explained that he was the ultimate infiltration unit, designed to fit in anywhere. He’d been programmed to go straight to the top person…and kill them.
The Interrogator couldn’t remember when he was last himself. Perhaps there wasn’t any real person left at all now. He remembered the scientists sitting in their laboratories, coldly analysing his genetic performance and he remembered destroying them and running away. He regarded himself as a spy, not a murderer, and said the death of Semian was an accident. He’d taken the form of the bear in the forest, but he didn’t know his own strength. Steven pointed out that the Doctor offered to help and give him a new life away from Earth, but the alien turned him down. The Interrogator said he couldn’t escape his nature, so rather than trust a scientist, he had another plan in mind…
The alien changed his shape again and right in front of the Doctor, Steven and Dodo, he evolved into Napoleon Bonaparte. The Doctor pointed out that Napoleon was destined to lose the war, but the alien said he’d still have the rest of Napoleon’s empire. He ran out of the TARDIS and returned to the palace, desperate to find the real Emperor. From the window, he saw Moscow burning as once again, the Russian people had elected to burn their own homes rather than allow the French to take them. The real Napoleon had already left, taking his army with him. The alien returned to the streets and straight into the path of the angry Russian mob, now determined to see off any remaining soldiers. Before Steven and the others could intervene, the mob lifted the alien high above their heads and carried him away.
For some reason, the man interrogating Steven Taylor kept insisting Steven was an impostor and that he was the real Steven. The story turned in Steven’s head, like the whole of his life flashing before him, and for a moment he couldn’t even be sure that it wasn’t Steven Taylor who was being carried away by the mob. But the Interrogator didn’t want his final performance to be taken away from him…
The crowd disappeared into the smoke and there was nothing Steven or the others could do. They hurried back to the Kremlin and watched the city burn. The last of the French invaders were leaving, but Steven knew they wouldn’t get far as the Russian winter was coming. Right on cue, the first flakes of snow started to descend through the smoke…