Doctor Who Unbound
7. A Storm of Angels
7.A Storm of Angels
Written by Marc Platt
Directed by John Ainsworth
Music, Sound Design and Post Production by ERS

Geoffrey Bayldon (The Doctor), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Cameron Stewart (Francis Drake), Ivor Danvers (Doctor John Dee), Ian Hallard (Zeuro), Nicholas Deal (Anthony Fettiplace), Shiv Grewal (Mr Raju), Kate Brown (Queen Elizabeth), Ian Brooker (Shewstone / Bosun).

What if... the Doctor really had changed History, even just the tiniest bit?

1480: Leonardo da Vinci visits the stars.
1508: Vasco da Gama sets foot on Mars.
1585: Francis Drake begins charting the Asteroid Belt.
1588: Earth is destroyed by a storm of angels.

The Doctor was really enjoying his freedom. But now there’s a Temporal Agent on his tail. Gloriana and the President of Gallifrey are not amused. And Susan’s none too well either.

Possibilities, like the Doctor, have a habit of running away with themselves. But who cares, when the jewels are so dazzling…

  • The seventh audio in the Doctor Who Unbound series poses the question What if... the Doctor really had changed history? It follows the events of Auld Mortality, including the ones that didn’t happen.
  • Released: January 2005

  • ISBN: 1 84435 093 2
Part One
(drn: 32'47")

The Doctor has finally escaped from his sheltered life on Gallifrey, and is roaming through all of Time and Space, exploring infinite possibilities and righting wrongs wherever he encounters them. But his interference has been noted back home, and he is eventually tracked down by Temporal Agent Zeuro of the Central Office of Temporal Observation. Zeuro locks his TARDIS onto the Doctor’s and prepares to drag him back home to face charges of unregistered interference in the timelines, but the Doctor refuses to go quietly. Before Zeuro can react, the Doctor reverses his ship’s time vector drive, dragging both TARDISes through a rift in Time as Zeuro frantically signals for help.

Elsewhere, John Dee, court astrologer to Queen Elizabeth, summons a spirit by chanting spells over his magical shewstone. A voice speaks to him from the stone, asking what he desires most. Dee replies that he seeks knowledge, and the stone grants him a vision of the heavens, where a host of angels sits waiting to fulfil that desire. Excited, Dee promptly contacts Sir Francis Drake -- by telephone...

The Doctor manages to shake off Zeuro and stabilise his TARDIS without interrupting his granddaughter Susan’s vital medical treatment; however, both realise that they need to find a permanent cure for her condition. Unfortunately, the TARDIS has been drained almost completely of power, and it’s now stranded somewhere between Mars and the asteroid belt in the Earth year 1588. Without power, they’re stuck without hope of rescue -- or so it seems until they are hoisted aboard the Golden Hind, an Elizabethan space galleon captained by Anthony Fettiplace and owned by Sir Francis Drake. The TARDIS has taken on the form of an old barrel, and Fettiplace and Drake, who had assumed it to be salvage from a lost ship, are astonished when the Doctor and Susan emerge from inside; however, Drake accepts their claim to be visitors from beyond the stars, and he gallantly welcomes the Lady Susan aboard his ship and invites her and her grandfather to dine with him.

The Doctor is fascinated to learn that he’s aboard an Elizabethan spaceship powered by steam engines and the solar winds. Before he can turn the subject to the ship’s power source, however, the navigator, John Dee, arrives to speak with Drake. The Doctor has heard of Dee by reputation, but gets off on the wrong foot when he scoffs at Dee’s claim that their ship is guided through the heavens by angels. Drake leaves to speak with Dee, and the Doctor and Susan eavesdrop on their conversation and learn that Dee is concerned about Captain Fettiplace, who is becoming obsessed with the treasure in the ship’s hold. Dee also claims that his angels have warned him that galleys from the Mayan Alliance are patrolling the area, much to the Doctor’s surprise; he and Susan once visited the Aztecs, but by this time they and their neighbours should have been wiped out by the conquistadors. The Doctor concludes that his ship must have slipped sideways into another branch of possibility when it fell through the rift in the Time Vortex, but for now this is a side issue; his priority is getting power to the TARDIS to ensure that Susan’s treatment isn’t interrupted. And then there’s Zeuro to consider; if their ship can slip sideways through dimensions, so can his.

Drake finds Captain Fettiplace roaming the deck, muttering to himself, and still wearing his dress goggles, even though they’re only required on the bridge. Drake orders Fettiplace to hand over the key to the hold; their cargo is intended for Gloriana, their queen, and will stay where it is until they return home. Fettiplace reluctantly gives up the key and leaves to get some rest. Susan then catches up to Drake, who is surprised to find her seeking adventure, unlike the listless ladies of the court at home. He is intrigued by her tales of other worlds and wonders, and she sees her grandfather’s adventurous spirit in Drake, who obviously doesn’t suffer fools gladly. However, she is taken aback and puts an end to their conversation when Drake announces that he intends to present her and her grandfather to the Queen as further trophies.

Dee’s shewstone has also detected the Doctor’s arrival, and fears that the newcomer may pose a threat. Dee summons the angel from the stone to speak of the Doctor, and although the shewstone suspects that Dee is simply jealous, it orders him to bring the Doctor so the stone can judge him for itself. Meanwhile, Captain Fettiplace catches the Doctor working on a power cable, but the captain’s obsession has overwhelmed him, and he wanders off, babbling about the glitter of the jewels and their whispered promises. Dee then finds the Doctor and invites him back to his cabin, offering to share his knowledge of the angels. The Doctor remains sceptical about Dee’s claim to navigate by horoscope, but Dee then shows him the shewstone, a polished obsidian mirror that he claims was created by Aztec mystics. The Doctor is disturbed when Dee informs him that the Aztecs made a great technological leap forward about a century ago, but dismisses this for the moment and takes a closer look at the shewstone. At first, all he can see is his own reflection -- but then he too has a vision of the entire Universe, mapped out across lines of perfect symmetry and inhabited by a host of angels. The voice of the stone speaks to him, demanding to know what he desires most, but all he desires is that his granddaughter should never leave him.

The Doctor is woken by a cry of distress, and he and Dee investigate to find that Drake, Susan and the sailors have found Fettiplace’s body, his eyes as hard as jewels and his hands bloody and torn, as if he died trying to claw his way into the ship’s hold. The suspicious Drake turns to the Doctor for an explanation, but the ship’s lookout then sounds the alarm and they are forced to return to the bridge. There, they find that they’re under attack by the Quetzel, a Mayan galley -- and as Drake tries to take evasive action and return fire, the sailors find that their ship is losing power. The agitated Doctor admits to Susan that he’s siphoning power away from the Golden Hind into the TARDIS, and Susan warns Drake to cut power to the lower decks. She is expecting them to fire a warning shot back at the Quetzel, but to her horror, once power is restored to the cannons, the gunner fires a direct shot and blows the Mayan galley to pieces.

Meanwhile, Dee has been summoned back to his cabin by the shewstone, which orders him to fetch the body of Captain Fettiplace. At first, Dee doesn’t understand the stone’s intentions, but then he hears movement in the corridor -- and Fettiplace’s reanimated body lurches into the cabin...

The bosun spots something like a painted Incan sarcophagus floating amongst the debris of the Quetzel and transmitting a distress signal. The Doctor and Susan instantly recognise the signal, and the Doctor urges Drake to shoot the sarcophagus out of the skies and tries to do so himself when Drake refuses. Drake has the Doctor restrained and orders his sailors to hoist the sarcophagus aboard. The Doctor orders Susan to hide aboard the TARDIS, and she reluctantly obeys -- and, just as the Doctor had feared, Temporal Agent Zeuro steps out of the “sarcophagus,” arrogantly dismisses the primitives surrounding him, and places the Doctor under arrest by direct order of the High Council and the President of Gallifrey. The Doctor’s travelling days are over...

Part Two
(drn: 30'03")

Though impressed by Zeuro’s bearing, Drake nevertheless claims that the Doctor -- and, to Zeuro’s surprise, the Doctor’s granddaughter -- are under his protection. The Doctor questions why Zeuro doesn’t use the powers of the Time Lords to scoop him away, and realises that Zeuro’s TARDIS is just as crippled as his own. Drake’s sailors drag the enraged Zeuro off to the fo’c’sle under suspicion of being a Mayan spy, but the Doctor’s delight is curtailed when Drake, realising that the Doctor is responsible for the power drain that nearly scuppered the Hind during their battle with the Quetzel, orders his sailors to throw the Doctor into the fo’c’sle as well. Drake then tries to call Susan out of her “barrel,” but she does not answer him; the bosun then reports that they’ve received a message from Nonesuch Palace, and Drake is forced to respond, still unsure whether Susan is actually inside her ship or not. He is thus quite frustrated while speaking to the Queen’s secretary, Mr Raju, who is demanding that Drake return to Earth immediately with his tribute; this is an election year, and the Queen needs Drake’s plunder to buy votes. Raju is not pleased when Drake insists that the journey will take at least 20 days, Mayan patrols permitting.

In Dee’s cabin, the astrologer watches in horror as the jewels encrusting Fettiplace’s body force his corpse to move about, even though its brittle bones threaten to snap under their weight. Dee is beginning to reconsider his bargain with the angels, but the voice from the shewstone promises that he shall achieve his desires so long as he does not doubt their intentions. Dee urges the angels to take time to adapt to their new corporeal form, but the shewstone informs him that the journey to Earth will not take as long as he imagines. Meanwhile, the angels eagerly anticipate the new life opened to them by their envoy; no longer will they be confined to the realm of thought, forced to observe without being able to act...

In the fo’c’sle, the frustrated Zeuro lashes out at the Doctor for stranding them here. The Doctor insists that they’ve slipped into an alternative possibility, but Zeuro just as adamantly claims that this is real history changed beyond recognition by the Doctor’s meddling -- and when he learns that they’re heading for Earth, he becomes even more desperate to get away. The Doctor demands to see his arrest warrant, and is appalled when he realises that it really has been signed by the President of the High Council. Susan then arrives to release him, and the stunned Zeuro greets her as “Your Excellency” before realising that she has no idea who he is. As he pulls himself together, Susan mentions that the ship’s engines operate on astrodynamic principles similar to the ships developed by the One, the species that she and the Doctor once took Leonardo da Vinci to visit. Zeuro finds this terribly interesting, and the Doctor, shifting uncomfortably, asks Susan to keep Drake busy while he examines Fettiplace’s body. He suspects that the captain was killed by something unnatural from the hold -- something that the Hind is transporting to Earth.

Drake summons Dee and asks him to intercede with his angels to get them back to Earth as quickly as possible. He also orders that Fettiplace be buried in space, partly to honour the fallen captain and partly to lighten the ship’s load. Susan then arrives to question Drake about the cargo that Fettiplace was so obsessed with, and Drake sends Dee to consult with the angels and takes Susan to the hold to see for herself what Fettiplace died trying to reach. Susan is astounded by the beauty in the hold; it is full of dazzling jewels, mined out of the asteroids of the belt and gleaming as if already cut. When she learns that sailors died trying to dig the jewels free, she wonders if the Queen understands the human cost of her election victory; Drake considers her a monster in some ways, but perhaps that’s because she’s in a position of such power. Susan feels faint for a moment, perhaps because of the excitement -- and when Drake offers her a star sapphire as a personal gift, she drops it in horror, claiming that she saw it blink at her, as if it were an eye...

Zeuro demands to know who the Doctor’s granddaughter really is, and reveals that President Susan personally ordered the Doctor’s arrest. The Doctor’s primary concern remains his granddaughter and her health, but he must put this aside for a moment to deal with the immediate threat; Fettiplace’s body is lying in the corridor, encrusted with jewels. Zeuro, clearly ill-at-ease out in the barbaric Universe, reveals that the priests aboard the Quetzel believed the Hind to be a harbinger of evil. Fettiplace’s corpse begins to stir, and Zeuro has little choice but to help the Doctor carry it to the galley and force it into the waste chute. The Doctor must remove the captain’s sword to fit his body into the chute, and as Fettiplace begins to struggle, he scratches Zeuro’s skin with the sharp jewels growing out of his body. Nevertheless, the Doctor and Zeuro succeed in expelling the late captain from the ship. The Doctor then turns the sword on Zeuro, threatening to stab him, throw his body off the ship, and go on to safety on Earth. Zeuro, obviously terrified that the Doctor isn’t bluffing, bursts out into hysterical laughter and reveals that, in this new timeline, Earth is doomed to destruction. The Doctor scoffs, but lowers his sword and advises Zeuro to have his injuries seen to.

All hands are called to the deck, and the Doctor joins Drake and Susan on the bridge, promising the irritated Drake that he will behave. There is a strange roiling darkness off to stern, like a cloud blocking the stars -- but the sailors’ attention is then drawn to Fettiplace’s body, which caught hold of the rigging and crawled back down to the fore portal. The Doctor admits that he threw the captain’s body off the ship, but insists that he is dead, his body animated by the jewels. He is horrified when Susan reveals that the hold is full of jewels, but Drake refuses to expel them from the ship, insisting that the Queen requires his plunder.

The Hind is then attacked by a Mayan fleet, but as Drake prepares to go out in a blaze of glory, Fettiplace gestures towards the storm cloud -- which is now revealed to be a vast flock of millions of angels. A stray shot from a Mayan galley knocks Fettiplace off the deck into space, but the angels destroy the Mayan fleet and then sweep the Hind up in their wake, transporting the ship through space at blinding speed. The 20-day journey back to Earth takes just over 15 minutes, and soon the ship is ready to dock with Nonesuch Palace -- an Elizabethan space station in orbit around the Earth. Susan faints, as if overwhelmed by the sight, and though Drake is disturbed by how pale she appears, the Doctor insists that this is a recurring condition that that his granddaughter merely needs to rest. Drake leaves the Doctor to tend to Susan while he and his sailors search for Zeuro, who seems to have disappeared. The Doctor now has several concerns: Susan will miss her medication unless he can restore power to the TARDIS, the Hind has transported the dangerous jewels to Earth, and there’s no sign of Zeuro...

Dee has ridden out the Mayan attack in terror, and is convinced that the loss of the angels’ envoy in Fettiplace means that the wisdom of Heaven will be lost to the world. But the shewstone chastises him for his lack of faith and reveals that they have already chosen a new envoy. Zeuro then stumbles into the cabin, seeking help; his wounds are burning, and his eyes are aflame. Dee promises to tend to his wounds, but soon, jewels are growing from Zeuro’s skin and he is as dead as Fettiplace. The angels have their new envoy, and soon the thing that was once Zeuro will be ready to meet the Queen...

Part Three
(drn: 33'51")

The Hind docks with Nonesuch Palace, and Drake orders the bosun to unload the treasure and search the ship for Zeuro. The Doctor tries again to convince Drake that the jewels pose a threat, but Drake simply warns the Doctor not to make trouble and disembarks to address a crowd of courtiers whom the Doctor and Susan assume to be journalists. When Dee arrives, the Doctor apologises for doubting his sincerity, but Dee is no less upset when the Doctor then questions the angels’ true intentions. The bosun tries to smuggle the Doctor and Susan into the palace under blankets, but the Doctor is offended and instead strides out of the ship with Susan, announcing loudly to the journalists that he has no comment to make. Unfortunately, they’re not journalists, but the Queen’s creditors, and they angrily surround the Doctor and Susan, demanding to know when they’re getting paid. The Queen’s secretary, Mr Raju, arrives and ushers the Doctor and Susan past the creditors, telling them that the new arrivals are top-level diplomats.

Meanwhile, the sailors have unloaded the treasure chests from the Hind, but before delivering their tribute, the bosun invites his fellow sailors to help themselves to a bit of the booty. But as the greedy sailors pry open a chest and dig into the treasure, the jewels begin to move of their own accord. Elsewhere, Dee consults with the angel in the shewstone, who tries to mollify Dee’s growing concerns -- but Dee has cast his own horoscope only to find that he no longer has a future beyond today...

The Doctor and Susan take tea in the conservatory and learn more about this altered version of history. Apparently, the Spanish fleets were routed by the Mayan Alliance when they reached the New World, and England successfully conquered the demoralised Spain. The Doctor realises that the Aztecs must have been expecting the Spanish to arrive, and wonders uneasily whether he really did say something he shouldn’t have during his visit to the Aztec king. Drake then arrives, and, noting that Susan has hardly touched her food, he chides Raju for providing such a lean meal to his guests; however, Raju reminds him that the Queen’s treasury is lean as well. Gloriana is relying on Drake’s tribute to pacify her creditors.

The royal yeomen arrive to escort the Doctor and Susan to an audience with the Queen. As Drake tries to find out where the treasure chests are, the Doctor notices a stamp on the bulkhead and discovers that this palace was constructed by the Da Vinci Corporation. Apparently, Leonardo learned a bit too much from his travels with the Doctor and Susan. Gloriana then descends into the court, winched down into the throne room in a glass case; she greets Drake and thanks him for his tribute, but reveals that the Mayans are demanding reparation for the loss of the Quetzel. Drake claims to be the victim of an unprovoked attack that cost the life of Captain Fettiplace, but in order to mollify the Aztecs, Gloriana officially confiscates the Hind to pay for reparation. Drake has little choice but to bow to the Queen’s wishes, and the Doctor, disturbed, wonders where he’ll get power for the TARDIS now.

Drake then introduces the Doctor and Susan -- but not in that order, much to the Doctor’s irritation. Gloriana graciously greets her visitors, but notes that one of the three is missing, along with her tribute. The treasure chests are wheeled into the throne room, and Drake announces to the court that he and his sailors found caverns in the asteroids, full of cut jewels throwing light about like angels at play -- the same angels who guided the Hind back to Earth at such speed. When he opens the chests to reveal the jewels, the courtiers advance on them, intoxicated by the sight -- but the Doctor claps his hands, breaking the spell, and addresses Gloriana, demanding to know what these so-called angels want in return for their gift. To his surprise, the jewels move aside to reveal that their envoy has been hidden beneath them, waiting for his moment to emerge; he appears to be a man made of jewels, but the Doctor and Susan realise that beneath the encrusted skin of jewels lies the body of Zeuro.

The envoy speaks to Gloriana, calling her by name, and the delighted Queen bestows upon him the name of “Moses,” a gift from afar. While all attention is on Moses, the Doctor and Drake turn on Dee, who assures Drake that the glory of bringing the jewels remains his and who ignores the Doctor’s warning that the court is playing with fire. Dee insists that the envoy heralds a new age of wisdom, and deems the Doctor to be jealous. Gloriana orders Dee to bring Moses to her quarters for a private audience, and the Doctor and Drake watch it go, knowing that it poses a threat but unsure of the nature of that threat. Nobody is privy to the private communications between Moses and the other angels; in the realm of thought, the voice of the shewstone is becoming disturbed by Moses’ growing delight at the sensations of its new body. Moses is becoming intoxicated by the senses of touch and taste and smell, just as the courtiers were intoxicated by the dazzling beauty of the jewels -- and he is beginning to think of himself as an individual, not as part of a greater gestalt being.

Raju declares the audience at an end, but the courtiers close in on the jewels, their eyes flashing with greed. Raju orders the yeomen to hold them back, but instead, the guards begin helping themselves to the jewels as well. Soon a riot has broken out, and even Drake is beginning to fall under the jewels’ influence. The Doctor and Susan drag him out of the court as Raju seals it off, placing the entire palace under quarantine. Susan takes the dazed Drake to his quarters while the Doctor heads for the Queen’s chambers, determined to stop the future.

Dee has taken Moses to the Queen’s chambers to await their private audience. Moses grabs a nearby lute and smashes it to pieces in his jewelled hands in his eagerness to experience music. The Queen then arrives, and though saddened to see that her lute has been destroyed, she admits that she has so many belongings that she’s lost track of them all. Here in her private quarters, she is Elizabeth, not Gloriana, and she can put aside the weary trappings of power. She places Indian music on the phonograph, and to her delight, Moses sways and dances with the music, entrancing her with his dazzling beauty. And while she’s entranced, Moses asks her what she most desires.

Raju catches the Doctor eavesdropping outside the Queen’s chambers, but concedes that Moses poses a threat; this would be obvious even if the Queen’s personal guards weren’t missing, apparently struck down with jewel fever like the rest of the court. The Doctor bursts in on Moses and the Queen, interrupting their dance, and reminds the Queen that he too is a visitor from the stars -- and that whatever Moses may promise, only the Queen can decide what her future will be. Upset by the Doctor’s harsh advice, the Queen dismisses everyone from her presence to consider matters alone. Moses recognises the danger posed by the Doctor, and once outside the Queen’s chambers, he turns on Dee, claiming that he has served his purpose and demanding the shewstone. When Dee refuses, Moses tries to take the stone by force, only to find that he no longer has it; before leaving, the Doctor picked Dee’s pocket. Dee does not understand why Moses is so desperate to get the stone, until Moses tells him to look out of the nearby porthole -- and to his dismay, Dee sees that the storm of angels is now flocking towards Nonesuch Palace...

Drake recovers his senses once he’s away from the jewels, but then it’s Susan’s turn to faint. She tells the appalled Drake that she’s dying from a virus she picked up on her travels; her grandfather has been giving her regular treatments, but each time she gets a little weaker, and now that there is no power for the TARDIS she can’t continue her medication. Drake tries to tend to the exhausted Susan, promising to take her back to Earth and set her up in a good, solid home where she can regain her health. The Doctor arrives as Susan passes out, and Drake leaves him to tend to her while he fetches help. But as soon as Drake has gone, someone else steps out of the shadows to confront the Doctor, and he’s appalled to see that the newcomer is also Susan -- President Susan of the High Council of Gallifrey...

Part Four
(drn: 37'03")

Before the Doctor can react, President Susan transports him, via Time Ring, away from the Hind to a pond. She gives him bread so he can feed the ducks, but he does so sullenly, aware that she plans to drag him back to Gallifrey. She insists that she has no choice; she’s had to spend her entire Presidential term trying to cover up the results of the Doctor’s meddling, but they’ve finally become too glaring to hide. She came in person to find out what happened to Zeuro, but before taking the Doctor back home, she’s brought him to Earth to see the results of his meddling for himself. Twilight seems to be falling, but it’s still midday; the sun is being blotted out by the hordes that have come to destroy the Earth...

Dee believes the storm of angels to be a sign that Judgement Day has come, and he is horrified when Moses reveals that the “angel” that has been guiding Dee was in fact the shewstone itself, showing Dee what he most desired. The Queen’s courtiers arrive, with jewels growing out of their skin, and Dee flees, realising that he’s been used. Meanwhile, Drake returns to his cabin and wakes Susan; the whole palace has become crazed with jewel fever, and they must flee to safety with the Queen. On their way to the Queen’s chambers, they see two courtiers smothered in gems and dancing in the corridors; despite himself, Drake is almost entranced by the glitter, until Susan points out that the dancing courtiers are dead and the jewels are moving their bodies about like puppets.

Elsewhere, the Queen is pondering a weighty decision, using Raju as a sounding board. The dazzling Moses has whispered seductive promises to her, while the wizened old Doctor spoke harsh words of truth. Her decision will change the future, but which of her advisors should she trust? Before she can decide, she sees the storm of angels outside her porthole, and orders Raju to summon her council -- but when he hesitates, she realises that something’s gone wrong and that Raju is hiding it from her. Raju leaves her chambers, but is confronted outside by Moses and the undead courtiers -- and despite himself, he too is overwhelmed by the jewels’ dazzling beauty.

The Doctor tries to convince President Susan that she’s freed him from the dull and dusty trap that was Gallifrey only to fall victim to it herself. He admits that he created the alternative Susan in his possibility generator because he couldn’t bear to be alone, but now the generator is breaking down, and thanks to Zeuro, the Doctor no longer has a power source with which to boost it. Soon the Doctor’s Susan will be no more, and it seems the Earth will follow. As the Doctor broods, he and President Susan hear a voice whispering from his pocket, calling out for John Dee, and the Doctor remembers stealing the shewstone. Susan sees the dazzling form of an angel reflected in its surface, but the Doctor realises that the stone is showing them an intoxicating illusion; it is in fact the mother lodestone of the crystal horde, and it’s drawing its kin to Earth. Jewels begin to rain from the sky, and Susan forces the Doctor to grab the Time Ring and transports him back to Nonesuch Palace.

Drake and the alternative Susan arrive in the Queen’s chambers to find her pondering her decision. Drake threatens to carry her out of the palace by force, but the Queen is not amused -- and, noting that Susan seems to be attracted to Drake, she reveals that he is already married. As Susan glowers at the embarrassed Drake, the Queen orders them to find the Doctor and hands Drake her symbols of office; if this is indeed the end of the world, she intends to face it as Elizabeth, not Gloriana. Frustrated, Drake storms off with Susan, but moments later Raju returns, his skin encrusted with jewels. He is simply here to introduce Moses, who tells the Queen that the time has come for her to decide.

President Susan has returned to the palace to help Zeuro if she can. She refuses to let the Doctor examine her Time Ring, realising that he wants to tap into its power reserves. The Doctor then notices a star sapphire crawling up Susan’s shoulder like an insect, but he plucks it from her body with the shewstone, confirming his suspicions in the process; each crystal is a single thought in a gestalt mind, and they’re all homing in on the shewstone, which is why it rained jewels when the Doctor inadvertently took the shewstone to Earth. When the Doctor and Susan step out onto the balcony and look beyond the illusory storm of angels, their fears are confirmed; Earth is now surrounded by asteroids, the natural home of the jewels. The people of Earth will see them as angels and welcome the divine messengers with open arms, sealing their fate. The Doctor vows to prevent this disaster, whatever Susan might say; the ability to see the future is a gift they must use to help others. The Doctor challenges Susan to visit the Queen for herself and see the difficult choice she must face, but he doesn’t expect her to storm off and do just that. Before the Doctor can follow her, Dee arrives and demands that he return the stone; Dee now knows that he’s been misled, and that all will be lost if Moses gets his hands on the shewstone. But before they can think of a way to transport the stone away from Earth, they are surrounded by the undead courtiers.

President Susan visits the Queen’s quarters to find her surrounded by jewels and wracked with doubt. Moses has offered eternal life and peace to all her subjects, and sure she must choose to allow her people into Paradise -- but she knows the Doctor spoke truth to her, though it was painful to hear, and that her future is hers to decide. Susan realises that this is true, and admits that she once made the easy choice to stay home and has regretted it ever since. Despite herself, she urges the Queen to reject Moses and change the future. The Queen thanks Susan for her advice and dismisses her, intending to make her decision alone.

Drake and the alternative Susan have returned to the Hind, where Drake reluctantly admits that he is indeed married already but insists that his feelings for Susan are genuine. He urges Susan to remain on the ship in safety while he finds the Doctor, whom he hopes can talk sense into the Queen. However, Susan collapses before she reaches her cabin. To her surprise, she awakens to find herself back in the revitaliser aboard the TARDIS, being tended to by her counterpart, President Susan, who used her Time Ring to boost the TARDIS’ power supply. To the President’s surprise, the alternative Susan admits that she knows the truth about herself but has allowed her grandfather to believe otherwise. She insists that the Doctor is a good man who helps people rather than turning his back on evil, and the President concedes that she too chose to interfere when she saw the Queen for herself. However, the alternative Susan is still fading away, and the Time Ring only provides a temporary solution. The Doctor will soon lose his granddaughter... unless the two Susans can come up with some other possibility.

Moses and the undead courtiers surround the Doctor and Dee, and Dee urges the Doctor to flee with the shewstone while he tries to hold back the advancing hordes. Drake arrives just in time to see the jewels swarm over Dee and transform him into an angel, lifting him up off the ground and dashing him against the palace’s power field. The Doctor threatens to smash the shewstone if the courtiers threaten him or Drake, and, having won a stalemate, he offers to negotiate terms in the throne room. The unattended palace is beginning to fall out of orbit, and as the Doctor tries to think of a way to delay the jewels further, the shewstone lashes out at Moses, who has become corrupt with the sensations of corporeality. The Doctor promptly urges the other courtiers to dance and rejoice in the wonder of their new forms, and, like Moses, the courtiers become drunk with the sensations. As Moses and the shewstone protest, the courtiers begin to dance -- and their jewel-encrusted bodies, unable to bear the weight of the gemstones, snap like twigs and fall to pieces.

Moses attacks the Doctor and Drake, insisting that the future will still be his -- but at the last moment, the Queen arrives and shoots Moses with a Walsingham 68 rapid repeater, claiming that she’s always found target practice much more exciting than playing the dulcimer. The Doctor urges Drake and the Queen to help him get the shewstone away from Earth, and the Queen promptly returns ownership of the Hind to Drake and accompanies him and the Doctor back to the ship. Both Susans have stoked the boilers and prepared for a quick getaway, and Drake launches the Hind just as Nonesuch Palace begins to break up in the Earth’s atmosphere. The shewstone calls out to its kin, and as the asteroids close in on the Hind, the Doctor orders Susan to take the Queen to safety in the TARDIS. He then silences the shewstone by fitting it against the wing mirror he acquired when the TARDIS transformed into a Morris Oxford. The two mirrors reflect against each other, the shewstone falls silent, and the asteroids slow their pursuit until they’re trailing behind the Hind like a flock of sheep.

It will take months for Drake to get sufficiently far away from Earth to risk firing the shewstone out of a cannon, and he thus asks the Doctor to take the Queen back home -- but she refuses to return to the dull routine of her reign now that she’s seen the wonders of space for herself. As she and Drake begin to squabble over who is in charge aboard the Hind, the Doctor decides to take his leave -- but to his surprise, there is only one Susan waiting for him aboard the TARDIS. She tells him that the President returned to Gallifrey to fob off the High Council, and that before she left, she changed the TARDIS recognition codes and fixed matters so that her alternative self would be permanently revitalised. Now the Doctor and his granddaughter are free to continue their travels for as long as they desire. The Doctor seems to accept this, but of course, the truth is that the two Susans have swapped places; the dying alternative returned to Gallifrey to smooth matters over there, allowing the President to correct the mistake of her past and accompany her grandfather on his travels. The Doctor does not admit to Susan that he knows exactly what they’ve done, but he does, and he’s more grateful than he can ever say.

Source: Cameron Dixon

Continuity Notes:
  • The Doctor’s journeys have also included visits to the Thaleks (mentioned in Auld Mortality) and Elvis. In the mainstream timeline, he and his companions visited the Aztecs in The Aztecs, during which adventure the First Doctor was adamant that history could not be changed.
  • Back in the mainstream timeline, the Sixth Doctor visits John Dee in the short story Mortlake. Dee, or an impostor, also appears in the novel Birthright, which seems to contradict the short story.
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