Project: Twilight
Serial 7C/E
Project: Twilight
Written by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
Directed by Gary Russell
Sound Design and Post Production by Gareth Jenkins
Music by Jane Elphinstone and Jim Mortimore

Colin Baker (The Doctor), Maggie Stables (Evelyn Smythe), Rupert Booth (Dr William Abberton) [1], Kate Hadley (Nurse) [1], Holly De Jong (Amelia Doory), Rob Dixon (Reggie Mead), Rosie Cavaliero (Cassie), Mark Wright (Mr Deeks) [1], Daniel Wilson (Eddie) [1], Stephen Chance (Nimrod), Rupert Booth (Matthew) [2].

In the renovated docklands of South East London, on the bank of the river Thames, the doors of the Dusk are open for business. Bets are called, cards are dealt and roulette wheels spun. As fortunes are won and lost, an inhuman killer stalks the local avenues and alleyways -- a killer with a taste for human flesh.

Is there more to casino owner Reggie “The Gent” Mead or is he just a common gangster? What secrets are hidden in the bowels of the Dusk? And what connection does the apparently sleazy Bermondsey casino have to a long-buried government initiative known as Project: Twilight?

The Doctor must form uneasy alliances where the line between friend and enemy is blurred, playing games of chance...

But are the stakes too high?

  • Released: August 2001
    ISBN: 1 903654 45 9
Part One
(drn: 24'03")

4 October, 1915. For king and country, Doctor William Abberton has conducted vile experiments in the secret installation known as the Forge; but while he tries to tell himself that the things he does are necessary to win the war, how much longer can he go on without losing his soul? Tonight the question becomes moot as “Twilight Seven”, Millie, murders her guards and leads her fellow “patients” in an escape attempt. She is too late to save Abberton’s latest victim, Nathaniel, and while her associate Reggie frees Nathaniel from his straps, she advances on Abberton to take her revenge. The terrified Abberton begs her to take him with her, so that he can help to reverse what he’s done, but it’s far too late for that; the killer instinct he bred in her is too strong, and even shooting her at point-blank range can’t stop her now...

According to the Doctor, one of the greatest culinary treats in the Universe can be found in present-day south-east London -- Peking Crispy Duck from a Chinese takeaway called the Slow Boat. Evelyn isn’t impressed with his choice of dinner, but as they return to the TARDIS, discussing the history of the Thames River and the buildings and tunnels which have been built around it, they stumble across the remains of a far less appetising meal. Someone has been living in the alley, in a nest scraped together from discarded litter -- and whoever it is has been disembowelling pigeons and stray cats and dogs, and eating their remains...

Nearby, at the Dusk Casino, Reggie Mead mingles with his gamblers and ensures that Inspector Hawthorne is having a run of good luck at the tables -- which ensures that the good Inspector will leave Reggie to his business. The new waitress, Cassie, has a spot of bother with a lout named Deeks, who insists that she provide the “extra” service which most of the other hostesses are willing to supply. Cassie is saved by Reggie’s associate Amelia Doory, who invites Deeks into the back room for a spot of private gambling. He accepts, but finds himself locked up alone with Amelia and Reggie in a room with no gaming tables; by failing to show Cassie the proper respect, he’s gambled and lost everything. Nobody hears him scream. Later, as the Dusk closes up, Reggie gives Cassie an extra bonus with the rest of her pay. She’s grateful, and as she leaves she fails to notice the hungry look in Reggie’s eyes, or Amelia’s. But first they must deal with Deeks. As their chief croupier, Eddie, takes the trash out, Amelia and Reggie go to the laboratory, where the dazed Deeks recovers to find himself securely strapped down on a table. Amelia explains that it’s for his own good; whenever she conducts these experiments, her “patients” always thrash about in the most terrible agony...

Out in the alley, Eddie hears someone approaching -- someone whom Reggie had assured him was dead. Evelyn and the Doctor hear Eddie scream, and arrive just in time to see a tall, dark and sinister man fire a crossbow bolt into Eddie’s chest. As Evelyn tries to tend to Eddie, the Doctor gives chase to his killer, but the killer knocks him aside with a single blow and gets away. Reggie arrives, and at first assumes that the Doctor and Evelyn are responsible for the assault; however, Eddie unexpectedly begins to writhe about in agony again, even though Evelyn had already checked him and found no sign of a pulse. The Doctor overrides Reggie’s objections and insists that they get Eddie some medical attention, but Reggie flatly refuses to call for an ambulance; in order to avoid drawing attention, however, he allows them to help carry Eddie back into the Dusk, claiming that he has medical facilities there.

Much to Amelia’s disappointment, Deeks has died in agony, leaving her no closer to a solution. She’s surprised when Reggie arrives with two strangers and the mortally wounded Eddie, but no more surprised than is the Doctor when he and Evelyn see Deeks’ body. Explanations will have to wait, as Eddie’s condition is getting worse in a most peculiar manner. As the Doctor tries vainly to remove the barbed spear from Eddie’s chest, Eddie’s skin temperature begins to rise until the blood is literally boiling around his wound. The Doctor, Evelyn, Reggie and Amelia barely have time to take cover before Eddie’s internal gases ignite and his body literally explodes on the operating table. The Doctor is appalled by what he’s seen, and he takes the dazed Evelyn to freshen up, promising that he will demand answers upon his return. Evelyn is made of strong stuff, however, and the Doctor is soon able to leave her alone... and advises her to poke around and see what she can find out about this very strange casino.

Reggie is frightened by the strangers, and wants to kill them -- but Amelia refuses, for her senses are sharper than Reggie’s and she knows that the Doctor is more than he seems. When the Doctor returns and describes the man who attacked Eddie, Amelia is furious, for Reggie claimed that that particular danger had been taken care of. The Doctor demands answers, and goes so far as to confiscate a powerful taser which he finds nearby, refusing to return it until he gets the answers he needs. Who is the man who killed Eddie and why are Amelia and Reggie so frightened of him? Why does a casino in the slums of south-east London have a hospital in its cellar, where up-to-date scientific equipment sits alongside Inquisitorial torture devices? Amelia realises that the Doctor could be useful if he believes they’re all on the same side, and thus calms down the angry Reggie and sends him to call his usual contacts, to find out what he can about this Doctor. In the meantime, she explains to the Doctor that she, Reggie and their friends are victims of a government installation known as the Forge; they chose people who wouldn’t be missed, press-ganged into service from the streets and prisons. Amelia was serving an extended sentence for embezzlement when the offer was made to her. She believes that the experiments conducted upon them were meant to create super-soldiers, but instead the Forge’s victims have been genetically scarred for life. All she wants to do is find a cure, even if she’s been forced to experiment upon live subjects. The Doctor doesn’t approve of her methods, but sympathises with her situation; thus, he agrees to help her, on the condition that there are no more needless deaths. But if his faith in her is misplaced, she’ll regret it.

Reggie puts the word out on the street, looking to find out more about this “Doctor”. He then hears a noise in his office; Cassie has returned, and she appears to be going through Reggie’s private files. She claims that she forgot her purse here earlier, but Reggie doesn’t buy it. Fortunately for Cassie, Evelyn arrives just as Reggie’s questioning is about to get violent, and Cassie takes the opportunity to get away from him. Evelyn follows her, trying to find out what’s wrong, but Cassie is too upset to answer, saying only that she deserved what Reggie was doing to her. Before Evelyn can learn more, they hear something moving; something is in the casino with them, something which attacks them -- something which can’t possibly be human...

Part Two
(drn: 20'29")

The Doctor arrives in search of Evelyn, and tries to distract her attacker while Evelyn and Cassie escape; however, he is unable to fight it off when it turns on him, and Evelyn steps in, beating it off with her handbag. Amelia arrives in time to soothe and calm the attacker, who is revealed to be a badly burned man named Nathaniel. The Doctor and Amelia carry him to the lab, where Amelia explains that Nathaniel suffers from porphyria, a genetic condition marked by anemia and extreme sensitivity to sunlight. But the Doctor notices rope burns on his ankles and wrists; someone deliberately tied him up out in the sun, presumably the mysterious figure whom Reggie and Amelia refer to as “Nimrod”. Cassie has suffered a great shock, and the Doctor asks Evelyn to take her home... and to find out what she’s hiding. Meanwhile, Reggie calls in enforcers to protect the Dusk, ordering them to kill Nimrod if he tries to step foot inside.

Evelyn escorts Cassie back to her flat, where Cassie bursts into tears when Evelyn asks about the photograph of a young child. Cassie gave birth to her son Tommy while she was still in school, and left him with her mother while she came to London to make her fortune. Instead, she’s ended up working at a casino for a brutal gangster, and a few days before she started, a mysterious figure broke into her flat and threatened to kill both Tommy and Cassie’s mother unless she agreed to act as his agent on the inside. She’s found nothing so far, however, but for a book which appears to be written in code. Evelyn offers to take a look at it; her ex-husband was a great fan of war stories, and some of the details of the codebreaking operations rubbed off on her. As she works, however, Cassie answers the doorbell and is stabbed by the mysterious blackmailer. Evelyn hears her scream, and arrives to find that the blackmailer has already gone; but Cassie, fearing the consequences for her family should the authorities get involved, begs Evelyn not to call an ambulance. Evelyn thus reluctantly decides to take Cassie back to the Dusk, to seek help from the Doctor.

The Doctor studies Eddie’s remains and finds that the crossbow bolt injected nanobots into his immune system, destroying his ability to regenerate damaged tissue before going to work on the rest of his body. Interestingly, there’s no sign of nanobots in Nathaniel’s body; Nimrod just wanted to torture him, to send a message to Amelia and Reggie. The Doctor has worked through the day, and as dusk falls the Dusk prepares to open again; despite the Doctor’s distaste for Reggie’s criminal ambitions, Amelia is willing to indulge him for the sake of the money she needs to fund her work. The Doctor pops out to order in dinner from the Slow Boat, and Amelia takes the opportunity to communicate telepathically with Reggie. Reggie has learned of the Doctor’s connection with UNIT, confirming his familiarity with unnatural events and Amelia’s belief that he could come in useful. In the meantime, she and Reggie have other business to take care of.

The Doctor has in fact used the excuse of ordering dinner to slip away and have a look around the Dusk for himself. He finds a locked door guarded by a sophisticated security system, but before he can break through he spots Reggie heading off elsewhere and follows to see what he’s up to. Reggie and Amelia are meeting a man named Matthew, who has brought only half of the promised “merchandise”; he and his fellows have lost faith in Amelia’s project, and no longer believe that she’s close to the breakthrough she’s been promising them for decades, especially as Nimrod appears to be on the move again. Reggie will not stand for this disrepect, and he breaks Matthew’s fingers one by one while explaining that Matthew will bring the rest of the merchandise. And until it arrives, he’ll only be paid for the DNA samples which he actually did bring.

The Doctor, intrigued by what he’s heard, follows Matthew out of the club, but Matthew won’t talk; his hand is already healing, but he’s learned his lesson and won’t cross Reggie again. But when Matthew gets into his car and tries to start the engine, the doors lock, the power windows roll up and the handbrake releases itself, causing the car to start rolling towards the river. Matthew flies into a panic, and desperately smashes the window with the briefcase which Reggie gave him; but the car is already in the river, and although Matthew manages to throw the briefcase to the Doctor, exposure to the river water causes his body to burst into flame and melt away. The appalled Doctor is then confronted by Nimrod, who’s disappointed to see the legendary Doctor helping these creatures; Reggie and Amelia have more blood on their hands than the Doctor can imagine. Reggie arrives, looking for the missing Doctor, and is infuriated to find that Nimrod is on the point of revealing the whole truth. Nathaniel then lurches out of the shadows to attack, but Nimrod grabs him first. The Doctor tries to force Nimrod to back down by threatening him with the taser, but Nimrod calls his bluff -- and when the Doctor uses the taser, the 10,000-volt discharge has no effect on Nimrod. Nimrod thus kills Nathaniel and invites the Doctor to look inside the briefcase. The bemused Doctor discovers that Reggie was paying Matthew for their transaction with bags of blood. All is explained when Nimrod points out Reggie’s reflection... or rather, the lack of it. For the first time, the Doctor realises that he’s committed himself to helping a gang of vampires...

Part Three
(drn: 20'03")

The Doctor, stunned by this revelation, fails to prevent Reggie from attacking Nimrod, but even Reggie’s teeth can’t penetrate body armour forged, as it were, from bonded polycarbide. Amelia shows up just in time to shoot Nimrod through the chest with a shotgun, but she knows that this is only a delay; indeed, even as the Doctor lashes into her for failing to reveal the truth, Nimrod manages to slip away unnoticed. The Doctor and the vampires retreat into the casino, and moments later Evelyn arrives as well, bearing the badly injured Cassie. Amelia helps to get Cassie to the lab, while Reggie, infuriated by the Doctor’s condescending attitude, blows off steam by smashing apart his office with a baseball bat. He’s worked thirty years to get where he is, and won’t stand for this disrespect. Amelia then contacts him telepathically and orders him to pull himself together; Cassie is in a bad state, despite the Doctor’s efforts to help her, and Amelia thinks it’s time to move on to the next stage...

The Doctor gives Cassie a transfusion from Matthew’s “blood money”, and retreats to the casino, wearied and horrified by what he’s learned. Evelyn doesn’t understand why he’s so upset, and she gives up trying when the Doctor mentions horrors from Gallifrey’s past. Are the Time Lords so arrogant that they believe everything centres around them, even a gangster from south-east London? The Doctor can’t explain; how can Evelyn understand the abhorrence he feels at helping these creatures when his own people unleashed their evil upon the Universe in the first place? He begs her to take Cassie to safety in the TARDIS; things are more dangerous than he’d thought and he wants them both safely out of the way while he puts right something that never should have happened. Before leaving, Evelyn hands over the book which Cassie gave her earlier; it appears to be some kind of journal.

The Doctor returns to the laboratory to confront Amelia; he’s still angry that she didn’t tell him the truth, but she lashes out at his prejudice in turn. Just because the crumbling British Empire of 1915 played with powers it didn’t understand in the hope of creating immortal super-soldiers, Amelia has been trapped working in this two-bit casino while the people she loved aged and died. She, Reggie and Nathaniel are all victims as well. The Doctor can’t defend himself against her accusations, and agrees to help her complete her work, find a cure and correct the mistakes of the past.

Reggie’s goons have found no trace of Nimrod outside, and he angrily places them back on guard at the doors. Meanwhile, Evelyn tries to get Cassie up and moving, but Reggie interrupts them, claiming that the Doctor asked him to send Evelyn to the lab. Cassie begs Evelyn not to leave her alone with Reggie, but Reggie seems calm and earnest enough as he insists that the Doctor told him it was a matter of life and death. Evelyn thus pops out, assuring Cassie that she’ll be right back... and Reggie locks the door behind her. It’s time for Cassie to confess just how long she’s been selling Reggie out to Nimrod. Once, Reggie and his mates caught one of the Kaiser’s soldiers in their trench, and it’s amazing how talkative he became when they started putting out cigarettes on his back, and his eyes. The tools may have changed with time, but the principles remain the same...

The Doctor has found the key to the problem -- Nimrod’s nanobots, suitably reprogrammed, can use the body’s immune system to do the work for them. It’s a step in the right direction, one which Amelia would never have thought of by herself. Evelyn then arrives, and it takes only a moment for her and the Doctor to realise that Reggie lied to her in order to get Cassie alone. By the time they break down the door, Reggie has beaten Cassie nearly to death in the process of learning that Nimrod knows nothing of importance. The Doctor refuses to let him get away with this, but the choice isn’t his, for Amelia now has everything she needs from him. As she mocks his foolishness, the truth finally sinks in; Amelia hasn’t been trying to develop a cure, but to perfect the Twilight virus in order to unleash it upon humanity. The Doctor now has no choice but to reveal the truth to Evelyn -- Amelia and Reggie are vampires, and he’s made a terrible error of judgement in trusting them. Amelia, who knew she could use the Doctor for her own ends the moment she heard the two hearts beating in his chest, orders Reggie to take Evelyn and Cassie to the lab -- and to lock the Doctor up for later. It would be foolish to waste such a resource. Meanwhile, the two goons on guard outside have a fatal encounter with Nimrod and his crossbow...

The Doctor tries to convince Reggie that Amelia’s just using him and will discard him once she’s turned humanity into a race of vampires, but Reggie locks him up, refusing to listen as the Doctor rages impotently against him. Meanwhile, Amelia ties up Evelyn and Cassie in the lab, and prepares to inject Cassie with the perfected Twilight virus. The scientists at the Forge were unable to isolate the element which allowed vampires to create more of their own kind, but now, thanks to the Doctor, Amelia has made the final step. Evelyn is helpless to intervene as Amelia empties a syringe into Cassie’s bloodstream -- and elsewhere, the Doctor rages helplessly, near tears as he realises the extent of his failure...

Part Four
(drn: 25'56")

Cassie screams as the virus works its way through her system, transforming her into the first of the new breed of vampires. She can soon hear voices in her head, and feels stronger than she ever has before. Evelyn begs her to remember that she’s still a mother, but Cassie seems too confused and hungry to understand what she should do. Unwilling to “waste” the virus on the elderly Evelyn, who’s past the prime of her life, Amelia urges Cassie to explore her new powers -- the new richness of colours and sounds, the voices on the street outside and the sound of the Doctor, locked up and cursing somewhere in the club. Cassie can hear Amelia’s thoughts, and the blood pulsing through Evelyn’s body. And like all newborns, she’s hungry.

The Doctor can’t break out of his cell, and to take his mind off his despair he leafs through the book which Evelyn gave to him. It’s the private journal of Dr Abberton, the man who set this all in motion back at the Forge. Nimrod arrives and releases the Doctor, who suspects that Nimrod’s survival is down to something more than just polycarbide armour. Nimrod needs the Doctor’s help to learn the truth about the Dusk; he believes that there’s something hidden here of which even he was unaware. Despite his fears for Evelyn’s safety, the Doctor can’t argue with Nimrod’s crossbow, and thus leads Nimrod to the locked door which he found earlier -- although he still doesn’t approve of Nimrod’s methods, regarding one type of murder as very like any other. Nimrod shoots out the lock, and enters with the Doctor to find something worse than the Doctor could have imagined. Over a hundred cages sit beneath the Dusk, with human beings trapped in each one, fed intravenously and bled to providet he vampires with a never-ending supply of fresh human blood. This is a battery farm for people, who were bred just for this purpose and have never seen the sunlight or known real human contact. Nimrod is carrying enough explosives to bury this place and block off the vampires’ escape route into the tunnels, but the Doctor won’t let him kill these helpless people and starts opening the cages, urging the vampires’ victims to flee.

Reggie flies into a rage when he brings breakfast to what turns out to be the Doctor’s empty cell. He goes straight to Amelia with the news, just as an alarm goes off, indicating that someone has broken into the blood farm. Amelia goes to deal with it, telling Reggie to take care of Cassie. Cassie begs Reggie to untie Evelyn so she can feel Evelyn’s fear as she feeds; amused, he does, but as soon as Evelyn’s free, Cassie turns on Reggie, catching him by surprise and knocking him down with a single blow. Cassie has always been a fast learner, and she once overheard Reggie telling the lads how easy it was to snap a man’s legs. Lowlifes like him have walked over Cassie all her life, and the crossbow bolt which Nimrod used to kill Eddie is lying on the table, with the self-replicating nanobots still inside. Reggie begs her to reconsider; he can teach her how to be a proper vampire, without the stuck-up Amelia getting between them. But Cassie stabs him with the arrow and watches as he explodes. The horror is too much for her, and as Evelyn tries to comfort her, Cassie runs from the casino, sobbing, knowing that it isn’t safe for Evelyn to be near her now.

Amelia is amused when she catches the Doctor helplessly urging the victims of the blood farm to escape; they’ve been locked up all their lives, and are more animal than human now. Amelia calls it a matter of survival; the vampires once hunted freely, but as police technology and procedures grew more sophisticated, it became more difficult to take people without their being missed. Thus, in the early ’80s, Amelia began breeding battery humans, and selling their blood to other vampires in exchange for DNA samples with which to conduct her experiments. As she and Nimrod face off, Nimrod uses a turn of phrase which the Doctor finds familiar; as well he should, for he’s just read it in Abberton’s journal. Amelia left him for dead the night she escaped from the Forge, but he had just given the Twilight virus to Nathaniel and he lived just long enough to inject the remainder into himself. Ever since then he’s hunted down his own creations, and he’s been augmented by the scientists at the Forge until he’s no longer sure himself whether he’s man, machine or vampire. Amelia still manages to overpower Nimrod, get the crossbow and shoot him through the jugular; he’ll survive, but he’s been slowed down long enough for Amelia to escape into the sewers with a vial of the Twilight virus. Nimrod sends the Doctor after her, and sets the timer on the explosives which he mentioned earlier. The blood farm will be destroyed in four minutes.

The sewers come out on the banks of the Thames, where the Doctor finds Amelia watching the sun rise over London. Not all of the Forge’s vampire soldiers are affected by sunlight; the Forge gave them all different weaknesses, and Amelia’s never bothered to find out what hers is. The Doctor begs her to see reason; there’s still time for her to work with him and reverse what’s been done to her, rather than exact revenge on the whole of humanity. She refuses. Nimrod’s explosives then go off, destroying the Dusk, the blood farm, and presumably Evelyn as well, and the Doctor, enraged, attacks Amelia. In fact, Nimrod got Evelyn to safety moments before the explosives went off, and she arrives just in time to see them go into the river together, but the Doctor surfaces moments later with the vial. Amelia went straight to the bottom; she may have drowned, or river water may be her fatal weakness as it was Matthew’s. In any case, the virus is now in the Doctor’s hands, and humanity is safe.

The Doctor and Evelyn track down Cassie as she hides in the shadows, watching the emergency services approach the ruins of the Dusk. She believes that she’s beyond help now, but Evelyn saw the expression in her eyes as Reggie died and knows Cassie is no killer at heart. There’s still hope for her, but Cassie knows she’s too dangerous to remain among other people; it’s time for her to accept the responsibilities she fled when she abandoned her son and ran away from home. The Doctor offers to let her stay aboard the TARDIS while he seeks a cure, but she turns him down, and instead, he takes her to Norway, just short of the Arctic Circle. It will be dark for months here, the perfect conditions for a porphyriac vampire. Cassie and Evelyn share a tearful goodbye, and the Doctor and Evelyn depart. The Doctor apologises for putting Evelyn in such danger, and when Evelyn accepts the apology, the Doctor prepares a cup of cocoa for her, promising that Cassie will be all right if he has anything to say about it.

But they aren’t the only ones who escaped the Dusk. Nimrod has survived, and he’s been unable to find Amelia’s body. Whether or not Amelia is dead, Nimrod knows that Cassie survived, and his superiors have ordered him to bring her back... alive.

Source: Cameron Dixon

Continuity Notes:
  • At one point, the Sixth Doctor hums a Gallifreyan nursery rhyme about a fiend named Zagreus, foreshadowing events to come in the Eighth Doctor audio Neverland.
  • The Eighth Doctor is roped into helping vampires again in Vampire Science, although there he's able to make a greater difference; he even causes a vampire to turn back into a human.
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