10th Doctor
The Pictures of Emptiness
by Jacqueline Rayner
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Cover Blurb
The Pictures of Emptiness

The Doctor finds himself on trial before the Shadow Proclamation where the Crystal is legally returned to Gisella.

The Doctor is ready to continue his mission until Gisella betrays him, staying with the Darksmiths.

But she accidentally reveals where the Darksmiths are meeting their client.

The Doctor arrives on the chosen planet, and becomes involved in an adventure involving missing eyes and souls.

Will the Doctor solve this mystery and stop the hand over of the Crystal?

  • Featuring the 10th Doctor, this is the eighth novel in The Darksmith Legacy series.
  • Released: July 2009

  • ISBN: 1 405 90520 4

After his capture by the Dreadbringers, the Doctor is taken back to Karagula where he is put on trial. He is led into a courtroom, almost exclusively populated by Darksmiths. The Adjudicator of the trial is a member of the Shadow Proclamation and he is the reason why the Doctor allowed himself to be captured. He wants the Shadow Proclamation to call off the Darksmiths and allow him to destroy the Eternity Crystal.

The Doctor is imprisoned in a low chair in front of the Adjudicator’s dais. When he is told the charge – theft of the Eternity Crystal from the Darksmiths, he pleads not guilty. He then tries to subvert the court proceedings and stall for time by a variety of ruses: he demands to be tried by his peers – Time Lords – before revealing that they are all dead; he suggests trial by combat where he will take on the Darksmith High Minister Drakon in a pie-eating contest. Eventually, he is told that a standard Shadow Proclamation trial will take place.

Drakon explains to the court that the Darksmiths received a commission to create an invention of which the Eternity Crystal was a key component. The commission was handed on to Brother Varlos who made the Crystal. This proves, says Drakon, the Darksmiths right to own the Crystal. The Doctor objects, saying that the Crystal belonged to Varlos and on his death should be passed on to his nearest surviving relative. Drakon points out that Varlos had no relatives but the Doctor smiles and disagrees. As he does so the TARDIS materialises and Gisella steps out. The Doctor introduces her to the court as Varlos’s daughter.

The Adjudicator immediately recognises that Gisella is not flesh and blood. Drakon argues that she is an android, albeit very sophisticated, and cannot be considered as a daughter. The Doctor contradicts him. He says that Varlos used his special skills and the Eternity Crystal to make Gisella into a truly sentient creature. In the end the Adjudicator suggests that Gisella is taken apart to see if this claim can be substantiated.

Several hours later, the court reconvenes. The Adjudicator pronounces that Gisella has been examined. She is present in the courtroom, apparently unharmed. The Adjudicator then announces that Gisella has been found to be a living being and has a legitimate claim to be the heir to Varlos. He then dismisses the Darksmiths’ claim to the Crystal and awards it to Gisella. The Doctor is told to fetch the Crystal from the TARDIS and present it to Gisella. The Doctor does so, with a growing sense of foreboding, and is horrified when she promptly presents it to Drakon. The Doctor demands to know what the Darksmiths have done to Gisella but she replies that she has been ‘fixed’ and now sees that her future lies with the Darksmiths. In addition she recognises their right to own the Crystal.

The Doctor appeals to the Adjudicator that Gisella has been reprogrammed but Drakon counters that Gisella gave her permission for this to happen. The girl agrees with Drakon and in the face of this the Adjudicator finds no legal reason for the Doctor’s challenge to be upheld. Gisella goes on to state that she sees her place with her own people – the Darksmiths – and intends to help them fulfil their commission by going with them that day to Galactic reference 297/197AHG where the device and the Crystal will be handed over to the Darksmith’s clients.

As soon as the Adjudicator declares that the Doctor is free to leave, he runs into the TARDIS and sets the coordinates for the reference that Gisella mentioned. He is surprised to find himself landing on Earth. The first thing he sees when he steps out onto a London street is a poster advertising a performance that night by the rock singer Jason Dungeon. At first he decides to attend the concert, then changes his mind and sets his sonic screwdriver to detect any spaceships approaching the Earth’s atmosphere.

He knows that the Darksmiths and their clients will probably use cloaking devices on their ships but he knows they will also need somewhere large to land. He begins to think about large open spaces when he hears a crash and a scream. He runs to the scene of an accident where a young girl has been knocked down by a taxi. Witnesses tell him that she ran out into the road. When the Doctor brushes the hair from her face he sees that she has no eyes, just blank skin where the eyes should be. He checks her purse and finds a driver’s licence; it shows her name as Mae Harrison and that she obviously had eyes until recently. An ambulance arrives and the girl is loaded into the back. The Doctor asks if he can ride along but he is refused permission, even though he tries to explain that he is a doctor.

As the ambulance departs a stranger approaches, saying that he needs a Doctor for some advice on a medical problem. He mentions that he is Bill B. Brooks, Jason Dungeon’s manager, and the advice he needs is about the singer.

The Doctor willingly accompanies Brooks to the dressing room of a nearby theatre where he finds the rock singer watching television. Dungeon appears, outwardly, to be in good health but Brooks is more concerned with his charge’s mental and emotional state. Far from having the flamboyant and extrovert personality he usually displays, the singer is quiet and withdrawn. Brooks says that this change occurred only recently, perhaps an hour ago. The Doctor asks what Dungeon was doing an hour earlier and is told that he was being interviewed by Shelley Sayers of Hi There! magazine.

The Doctor traces Shelley to the magazine’s office. She can only tell him that Jason Dungeon seemed to be his normal self when she spoke to him. She says she has to write up the interview for a pressing deadline but will give him a transcript in an hour or so. The Doctor uses this time to visit the hospital where Mae Harrison was taken but he is refused access to the girl so he returns to the magazine office. Shelley has left the office but one of her colleagues gives the Doctor a copy of the interview. he notices that the accompanying pictures show Jason Dungeon to be wearing the same clothes that the Doctor saw him in a couple of hours previously. He asks who the photographer was and is told that it should have been Des Martin but a woman had turned up instead to do the shots. Pondering on the possibility of a soul-stealing supervillain being loose in London, the Doctor tracks Shelley down to her favourite fast-food restaurant.

She tells him that the magazine’s regular photographer, Des Martin, was unexpectedly away and his place was taken by an attractive young woman. She can tell him no more so the Doctor decides to visit Des Martin’s studio. On the way he hears somebody crying as he walks past a row of Victorian terraced houses. He makes his way to a basement flat where there is a young woman whose nose has vanished from her face. She manages to tell him that her name is Natasha and that her boyfriend is Des martin. The previous night they had dinner in her flat and then Des went home. Immediately after he left there was a knock on her door and a young woman waiting outside in the rain. Natasha invited her in and can remember no more until she woke up without a nose.

The Doctor hurries to Des’s studio. He finds the photographer in a similar apathetic state to the one he saw in Jason Dungeon. He checks the photographer’s diary to see what could have caused this but only finds details of the photographer’s shoots for that day. After the Dungeon shoot in the morning there is only ‘Market Square’ for the afternoon. He decides to ask a woman at a nearby newsagent if there is a market square nearby but she tells him that the only Market Square she knows is a television soap opera. He promptly sets off to the television studios.

Bypassing security with his psychic paper he arrives at the set. A stressed woman with a clipboard mistakes him for a late replacement for one of the actors and hurries him to wardrobe where he is dressed in jeans and T-shirt. He then makes his way to the set. The Doctor sits next to a man who he thinks is an extra but he soon realises that it is the actor he is replacing; like Jason and Des this man seems to have lost his personality. The Doctor asks the woman with the clipboard, Pamela, if he was like this earlier but she replies that he was fine until he had his photograph taken.

Hunting round the set for the photographer he realises that the other actors are losing their talent, muttering their lines in expressionless voices. He tells Pamela that he can sort all of these problems out if he meets the photographer and is taken to a tall, stunningly attractive woman. As soon as she sees the Doctor she mutters that he has so much inside him that she must have and raises her camera. He immediately tells everyone not to look at her camera. However, all of the television cameras start to work as if by themselves and the whole of the crew on set loses any sort of animation. Only the Doctor and Megan from wardrobe seem to have avoided looking into any lenses. The Doctor asks Megan to return to the dressing rooms and fetch his possessions from his jacket pocket. With relief he hears her leave the set. Meanwhile, the photographer is closing in on him. He steadfastly averts his gaze from her. He tells her that he knows who she is and adds that he doesn’t think she knows who she is herself. He tells her that she thinks she is human but he knows that she isn’t.

The photographer insists that she is human but the Doctor tells her she doesn’t even have a name. She slowly replies that her name is Mitra Ashkanazi. When Megan returns to the studio, the Doctor asks her to turn off all the lights and then make her way to him in the dark. As Megan does so the Doctor tells her that Mitra is a Vacant (an alien species that arrives on a planet in vaguely humanoid form and then steals physical features and personalities from creatures it meets until it has an appearance and a character of its own, after which it settles down to live out life unaware of its own origins). As such she has acquired the facial features of Mae, Natasha and others and the belief, from Des Martin, that she is a photographer.

As he finishes explaining this Megan arrives at his side with the Doctor’s coat. He grasps his screwdriver and points it at Mitra’s camera. Just then it emits a screaming noise to tell him that a spaceship has entered the Earth’s atmosphere. He glances into Mitra’s lens and she turns her camera to full power. Mitra is astonished that the Doctor seems unaffected by her snatching of his personality. He grins and tells her that he has multiple personalities and she has only taken one. He then grabs her camera and points it at her.

Later, as the Doctor gets dressed in his normal suit, he tells Megan that all of the people who lost their physical features or ‘souls’ to Mitra have been restored to normal. He shows her the photographer’s camera – an Ashkanazi MITRA – and says that she is trapped inside it. He hasn’t decided whether to let her out or not. He asks Megan if there is anywhere nearby where a large space ship could land undetected and she points him in the direction of some disused television studios.

He makes his way through darkened and deserted streets to the studios. In front of him he sees three people (Gisella and two tall, cloaked figures). They enter the deserted building so he follows them. An enormous warehouse has had its roof removed and within the enormous space is a huge alien warship. As he watches the Doctor recognises the nightmare creatures coming from the ship as Krashoks.

Source: Mark Senior

Continuity Notes:
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