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Short Trips
edited by Stephen Cole

Cover Blurb
Short Trips

From Neolithic Earth to the furthest reaches of the universe in the far future, Short Trips brings together established Doctor Who authors and first-time writers in a collection of stories exploring the ever-changing worlds of the Doctor and his friends.

Witness the last days of the siege of Masada with the First Doctor and meet the Fourth Doctor's extraordinary 'old flame'. An evil enemy makes life difficult for the Seventh and Third Doctors, and while the Fifth Doctor is under attack on a sinister ship shrouded in fog, the Second may soon be guilty of a grave error of judgement... The Sixth Doctor's hopes of a holiday are dashed when he discovers a pleasure planet is hiding a shocking secret, and the Eighth Doctor is caught up in a deadly drama played out during the construction of Stonehenge.

And of course, that just the beginning...

  • Short Trips is the first collection of Doctor Who short stories published by the BBC.
  • The audio release, read by Nicholas Courtney and Sophie Aldred, includes five stories taken from the book (Freedom, Model Train Set, Glass, Stop the Pigeon and Old Flames) and features an exclusive story (Degrees of Truth) found only on the cassette.
  • The People's Temple has been included on the Earth and Beyond audio cassette, and an abridged version of Wish You Were Here has been included on the Out of the Darkness double CD.
  • Released: March 1998

  • ISBN: 0 563 40560 0 (book), 0 563 55746 X (audio)

Model Train Set by Jonathan Blum 8th Doctor

The Eighth Doctor isn't satisfied with his model train set any more, as it was built by his seventh incarnation as a model of clockwork timing, and that just isn't him any more. Instead he re-engineers the entire set to work by itself without needing his constant attention and is delighted by the complex patterns that result. Unfortunately, after leaving it alone for a time he returns to find that a group of impatient clockwork passengers have started a chain reaction which has resulted in the total destruction of the train set. But a few of the clockwork engineers have survived and are beginning the process of reconstruction, and the Doctor helps to get them started, still hoping against all the evidence that this time they'll get it right.

Time-Placement: This features the Eighth Doctor by himself, and seems to cover a period of time, since there's a passage in the centre about how the Doctor leaves his train set to function by itself for a while. I place it between The Eight Doctors and Vampire Science, since it's written by one of the authors of Vampire Science, and said book included a bit where Sam talks about how the Doctor once left her at a rally for a few hours and when he returned three years had passed for him.

Old Flames by Paul Magrs 4th Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith

The TARDIS materializes near an 18th-century manor, where the Doctor nearly drowns in a frozen lake while following giant cat footprints. He is rescued by the kindly Rector Adams, and eventually recovers and decides to go back to the TARDIS - but on his way he and Sarah see a 20th-century double-decker bus trundling through the woods and decide to remain and investigate. Adams invites them to accompany him to Lady Huntingdon's ball, where the Doctor meets an old "friend" - Iris Wildthyme, fellow renegade Time Lady. She's brought her human companion, a young man named Turner, to the ball in the hopes that he'll marry Lady Huntingdon's granddaughter Bella and Iris will inherit the estate. The ball ends badly when Adams' body is found outside, mauled by a giant animal. The Doctor attends a dinner with Lady Huntingdon, Iris, Bella and Turner, where it is revealed that Lady Huntingdon and her daughter are shape-shifting cat aliens and that Lady Huntingdon is fully aware of Iris' plans and intends to take Iris' TARDIS, the bus which the Doctor and Sarah spotted earlier. Bella refuses to help her grandmother, claiming that Earth is the only home she knows now, and Lady Huntingdon transforms into the cat-shape in which she killed Adams and heads into the woods to find Iris' TARDIS. The Doctor beats her to it and uses a Time Lord dimensional message capsule to trap her in a pocket dimension. The Doctor and Sarah then leave, and Iris sets off as well, leaving Turner behind with Bella.

Time-Placement: There are no direct references to where this story takes place, apart from Sarah thinking to herself that the Doctor has been moody lately.

War Crimes by Simon Bucher-Jones 2nd Doctor, Jamie and Zoe

Prior to the War Lords' decision to concentrate upon humans, other alien species were kidnapped and experimented upon to determine their suitability as soldiers in the War Lords' armies, and the Time Lords in charge of returning these species to their home worlds didn't always check to see whether their deprogramming had been completed. Ossu-male, a warrior male of the Aelcluk clan, is returned to his home planet, but an implant which the Time Lords failed to remove seizes control of his body and sends him on a quest for his clan to form them into an army with which to serve the War Lords. His clan is heading for the seas which poison males and thus allow females to breed in safety on the islands without fear of the warrior males eating their young, and Ossu-male manages to keep control of his mind long enough to throw himself into the ocean. By the time the implant realizes what is happening it's too late to override Ossu-male's impulses and he is swept out to sea. The Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe, attempting to flee from the Time Lords, materialize briefly on this world, and when Ossu-male is swept back inland and begins to revive, the Doctor, realizing the truth, reluctantly "switches him off".

Time-Placement: This takes place during Episode Ten of The War Games.

The Last Days by Even Pritchard 1st Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara

The TARDIS crew are split up and find themselves on opposite sides of the walls of Masada. While the Doctor and Susan infiltrate the Roman camp and set themselves up as influential Roman citizens and military advisors, the Jewish rebels in the fort tend to the wounded Barbara and Ian helps them to fight off their oppressors. Barbara recovers just in time for the last days of the siege, but Ian refuses to accept that it will all end in tragedy until the Romans begin burning down the walls of the fort. The Jews' leader, Eleazar, announces that rather than allow themselves to be captured they shall all take their own lives, and Ian is appalled when Barbara informs him that this is exactly what did happen -- archaeologists have reconstructed it exactly. And it only makes sense, considering that the men would otherwise face agonising death by crucifixion while the women and children would be sold as slaves if they were lucky. Ian fakes Barbara's death and joins the surviving lieutenants as they draw lots to see who will survive to kill the rest of them. Ian's name is drawn and he is forced to stand by with his sword while the other lieutenants impale themselves on it. Eleazar then reveals that he knows Barbara isn't dead, and that he rigged the drawing to ensure Ian would survive; their sacrifice means nothing if it isn't freely given, and he has no wish to rob Ian of the hope which Ian had given to them all in the last days. Eleazar kills himself, and when the Romans finally enter Masada, all but two of the women are dead, and the Doctor is able to convince the furious Flavius Silva that Ian and Barbara are his spies and must therefore be spared.

Time-Placement: This definitely takes place after The Aztecs, since Barbara has learned her lesson about interfering with history, and possibly before The Witch Hunters, since Ian hasn't.

Stop the Pigeon by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry 7th Doctor and Ace

The Doctor and Ace investigate a missing tree in a housing development in Croydon, but Ace is attacked by a terrified man who's been transported through time twice for no reason he can think of. At that moment a talking pigeon arrives and transports both Ace and the man, Joe Dakin, through Time. The pigeon is part of a Virgoan probe, an emissary of a species of biomechanical shape-shifters who travel the galaxy trying to sort out temporal irregularities, and Joe Dakin is just such an irregularity. To make matters worse, the Virgoan probe was infected by a Krynoid while on Melandra IV, and the Krynoid part is beginning to become dominant and causing plants to come to life throughout Croydon as the probe struggles to fight off the infection. Meanwhile, Ace and Joe find themselves eighty years in the future, where it turns out Joe is originally from this time zone; he's been hypnotised and sent back in time by the Master, who claims to have developed a process of restoring the elderly to youth. In fact, he's been imprisoning the elderly and draining their bodies of nutrients in order to reverse his own mutation which he picked up on the Cheetah world, and he's been sending people back in time to kidnap the old people as babies in order to convince the public that his process works. The Doctor arrives with the pigeon, and sends Joe and Ace back in time to use the Master's equipment to separate the Virgoan probe and Krynoid pod and send the Krynoid pod forward in time to the Master's base of operations. The plan goes wrong, however, when Joe slips back under the Master's conditioning and attempts to kidnap a baby, and in the confusion Ace accidentally transports herself, Joe, and both the pod and probe forward in time. The confusion provokes a final struggle between the probe and pod, and machinery and plant life throughout the "retirement home" comes to life, destroying the Master's operation. The Master succumbs to the stress and nearly transforms into a Cheeta while trying to kill the Doctor, but he regains control of himself and kills the last of the old people he's kidnapped in order to stabilise his condition. The Doctor tries to use the Master's equipment to expel the Krynoid pod into the time vortex, but just in time the Virgoans get the upper hand, transform themselves into vegetable matter and absorb the Krynoid into themselves. The Master flees, leaving the Doctor to sort out the mess he's left behind him.

Time-Placement: Definitely after Survival, and it features the "Old Ace". Considering it's from the same team as Illegal Alien I place it between Season 26 and the New Adventures.

Freedom by Steve Lyons 3rd Doctor, Jo and UNIT

An army of hypnotised salespeople storm Stangmoor Prison, attempting to rescue the Master, but the escape attempt is foiled and he is whisked off to another secure holding facility. But all the salespeople worked for the Freedom Corporation, which recently announced a breakthrough in time-travel technology. Suspicious, the Doctor breaks into the Freedom Corporation with Jo, only to be trapped in an extra-universal prison from which there is no escape. The Brigadier is forced to strike a deal with the Master to release the Doctor and Jo, but the Master double-crosses him and uses the time-travel technology to regress the Earth backwards in time, while his powers as a Time Lord enable him to resist the reverse flow and escape back to his TARDIS. The Time Lords send the Doctor's TARDIS to him in the prison and restore his knowledge of time travel, and although he's tempted to simply leave in the TARDIS and let the Time Lords sort out the problem themselves, he can't bring himself to let Jo down. He thus returns to Earth, defeats the Master and restores everything to normal even though it means giving up his own freedom.

Time-Placement: This takes place between the Master's arrest and trial, so definitely after The Dæmons and before The Face of the Enemy. For convenience's sake I'd suggest before Day of the Daleks, as well, thus between seasons.

Continuity Note: Although the Doctor has lost this chance at freedom, he eventually regains it full-time in The Three Doctors.

Glass by Tara Samms 4th Doctor and Romana II

An ordinary woman in Cambridge is haunted by the vision of an evil little boy's face which appears to her in every pane of glass she sees. By the time the Doctor and Romana show up, she's nearly gone mad with fear and her husband and child have been driven from her side. The face is in fact the manifestation of an alien mind which escaped from Skagra's mindsapping sphere, and which is using the woman's mind to focus itself into real existence in this timespace. The Doctor and Romana are able to trap it in the woman's greenhouse by making her look at it while they smash the windows, and the Doctor takes the remains of the entity away to deal with it. But the woman will never recover or fully understand what happened to her.

Time-Placement: Probably immediately after Shada, since they're dealing with fallout from that adventure.

Mondas Passing by Paul Grice Ben and Polly

New Years' Eve, 1986. Ben and Polly have gone their separate ways, and married separate people, but on this one night they meet in a hotel room simply to reminisce about old times and to wait for the Tenth Planet to pass by, as they've lived through it before. They part, ready to let go of their pasts and continue on with their lives.

Time-Placement: This has no reference to the Doctor.

There are Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden by Sam Lester 1st Doctor and Dodo

The Doctor and Dodo materialize in what, to Dodo, appears to be a world of disease, in a vast organic cavern sick with decay. She can't understand why the Doctor insists that there's beauty here, especially when she appears to be attacked by a headless creature which moans an ululation of anger and despair. She follows the retreating creature to a glade of beautiful crystal, where creatures like faeries dance about the monster until it splits open and a fairy hatches from it. Dodo thinks she understands the transformation she's witnessed until the Doctor arrives and deliberately smashes the crystal at the heart of the glade, killing the dancing faeries. She's furious with him until he takes the TARDIS out into space to show her the big picture; they'd materialized on the petal of a gigantic, continent-wide flower, which had been infected by a parasitic crystal plague, and the true song of the healed flower is a song of freedom and joy.

Time-Placement: This obviously takes place between The Savages and The War Machines, but there's no indication as to which side of The Man in the Velvet Mask. I'd say after, just because Dodo seems more wounded and mistrustful of the Doctor, as though she's already gone through the events in that book.

Mother's Little Helper by Matthew Jones 2nd Doctor

Nanci Cruz, an American teenager who's recently moved to Southend with her mother, is fighting off feelings of betrayal after catching her best friend and boyfriend in a clinch at the disco, and she's starting to accept her mother's attitude of never talking to strangers when she runs into a young boy who quite literally touches her and takes the pain away for a moment. The boy's being chased by a sour-faced older woman and by a strange little man who calls himself "the Doctor", and despite herself Nanci finds herself helping him to find the missing boy. They eventually track down the boy and the woman at an abandoned pier, where the woman has snapped a restraining collar onto the boy and is forcing him to take on her own emotional pain, despite the Doctor's insistence that the boy won't be able to handle it all and she must learn to live with her own problems. The Doctor attempts to rescue the boy but the woman captures Nanci and uses her as a hostage, demanding the boy back. Once she's got what she wants the woman activates a punishment circuit on Nanci's collar, nearly killing her, but the boy takes on all of Nanci's pain in addition to the pain he's already absorbed from the woman and then releases it all back into the woman, causing her to burst into flame and explode. The Doctor takes the boy to safety, while Nanci returns home, knowing that she'll have to live with her feelings of betrayal and cope with them in her own way.

Time-Placement: This story features a grey-haired Second Doctor apparently travelling by himself, and is thus placed in “Season 6b”.

The Parliament of Rats by Daniel O'Mahony 5th Doctor and Nyssa

The TARDIS crashlands on a temporally disjointed planet, where the delirious Constantine navigates a ship named the Lung of Heaven through timestorm seas. The Doctor and Nyssa are taken on board the Lung just before it collides with a legendary lost ship, the Parliament of Rats. This is exactly what the priest Brunner was hoping would happen; he's on a mission to destroy false gods with his silver staff of truth, and legend has it that the White God is aboard the Parliament. The Parliament is crewed by mutants deformed by their exposure to temporal radiation, and they capture Brunner and Nyssa and take them to the White God, a mirror which grows out of its frame and threatens to envelop them. Brunner's silver staff proves ineffective against it, to his horror, but Constantine leads the Doctor to the White God, and he's able to communicate with Brunner's staff -- a discarded sample of validium from Gallifrey -- and orders it to transform itself and all of its creations to water. The Parliament disintegrates and the planet returns to normal, and Constantine vanishes after revealing that she was the one who created everything using the validium she'd found, simply to amuse herself.

Time-Placement: Definitely between Time-Flight and Arc of Infinity.

Rights by Paul Grice  4th Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith

About a century ago, the sun of the planet Farrash changed, and the natives are now doomed to extinction within a few centuries unless something can be done. But nobody is interested in a dying planet any more, and when the Doctor and Sarah learn that the Earth Delegate to the Farrashian Future Ratificaion Assessment Committee has decided to go on holiday instead, they steal his paperwork and attend themselves. Sarah is separated from the Doctor during a public demonstration to protest "babykilling", and when the Doctor investigates he learns that the Leader has been sanctioning the abortion of foetuses in order to supply his scientists with the neurochemicals their experiments require. Sarah's captors are experimenting upon animals towards the same ends, and they insist that she champion their cause at the Committee, since they believe the Doctor will be championing the Leader's. The Committee meets the next day, but soon dissolves into chaos when a scientist attempts to demonstrate the mechanical body he has created into which Farrashian minds can be downloaded; the robot body goes rogue, and kills both its creator and the Leader before falling out of the Committee meetings to shatter on the ground several storeys below. The Doctor tries to convince the survivors to work together to find a solution instead of dividing their efforts, but isn't sure whether he's succeeded or not.

Time-Placement: Sarah and the Doctor are wearing the same clothes than in Planet of Evil.

Wish You Were Here by Guy Clapperton  6th Doctor

The Doctor visits a leisure complex on the planet Nestra, where people have been checking in for holidays but for some reason haven't been checking out again. The complex is run by the Thetrans, a species whose economy is based entirely on service industries; after five centuries of serving other species the Thetrans have realized that there's nothing they hate more, and thus they automated the planet, putting it under the control of an AI service drone called Lakksis. The Doctor meets Janis Carma, a Thetran security agent sent to investigate the disappearances, and she and the Doctor are pegged as potential troublemakers and arrested by Lakksis' security drones. The Doctor soon realizes what's happening; Lakksis has been programmed with extremely linear thought patterns, and when somebody asks for something which would cause them pain -- insulin injections, for example, or the opportunity to depart this pleasure centre -- Lakksis has concluded that they're suffering from psychosis and has been forced to restrain or kill them for their own good. The Doctor manages to logically argue that Lakksis is in error, but before Lakksis can correct his mistake Janis escapes and blows him up. She then arranges for a replacement droid to be rebuilt with more advanced thought patterns, while the victims of Lakksis-1 return home - those who are still alive. The Doctor leaves, unaware that as he does so Janis complains of a mild headache - and Lakksis-2, putting into practice the Doctor's arguments, prepares to cut Janis' head open to ease the pain. For her own good.

Time-Placement: Somewhere between Killing Ground and Business Unusual, as it features the Sixth Doctor by himself.

Ace of Hearts by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry  7th Doctor

Kathleen Dudman's daughter hires an entertainer for the WRN's 30th reunion, and agrees to put him up for the night. Kathleen thinks she recognizes the entertainer from somewhere, but doesn't know where until after the Doctor has done what he came here to do -- apologise to Kathleen's baby grand-daughter for his treatment of her in the future.

Time-Placement: The Doctor is still travelling with Ace, but at what point in his journeys isn't made clear. He's apologising for pain done to her and pain "yet to come", so I'd say probably between Season 26 and the New Adventures, like the rest of Tucker and Perry's work.

The People's Temple by Paul Leonard 8th Doctor and Sam

Sam wants to see Stonehenge, but the Doctor materializes too early, while the monument is still under construction, and Sam discovers the hard way that it was built with slave labour. The king of the Bear Men, Coyn, has conquered several other tribes to provide himself with labour and stones with which to built the biggest temple in existence, believing that this will make him a god in the afterlife. Although his friend and advisor Shalin, originally came up with the idea, he's growing frightened of Coyn's obsession with the temple and won't stand up to Coyn's great cruelty towards the slaves. One of the stones falls during construction and kills a slave girl, and Coyn blames Dorlan, the young leader of a conquered tribe, and prepares to sacrifice him. Sam rescues Dorlan, but the Doctor is captured while creating a distraction. Shalin speaks with the Doctor and asks him to use his magic to kill Coyn, but Coyn overhears this and kills Shalin before the Doctor can stop him. The Doctor explains to Coyn that Shalin was just frightened of him, and that Coyn should release his slaves and convince his own people to work on the temple of their own free will. Sam, meanwhile, gets Dorlan back to the TARDIS and gives him aerosol paint cans, telling him to use them to spray his tribe's markings on the stones and convince Coyn's tribe that their gods have turned against them. She's appalled when Dorlan instead grasps the concept of spraying the paint directly into his enemies' eyes, and uses them as weapons to start a slave rebellion. Several slaves and Bear Men are killed before the Doctor takes Coyn into the TARDIS and pilots it into the middle of the fighting, surprising everybody enough to make them stop while Coyn officially releases the slaves.

Time-Placement: For the sake of convenience let's go with publishing order and say this is set between Option Lock and Longest Day.

Degrees of Truth by David A. McIntee  3rd Doctor and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart

Following the Devil's End incident, the Brigadier is contacted by Major Carver, the father of a young private who was vapourised by the gargoyle Bok.  Carver demands to know why his son's body was never recovered, and, sympathising with his grief, the Brigadier allows Carver to accompany him to UNIT for a talk.  There, Carver holds him and the Doctor hostage with primed grenades sewn into his jacket, and demands the truth -- but even if the Brigadier thought Carver would believe the truth, the Official Secrets Act prevents him from revealing it.  The Doctor is able to hint that Private Carver's death was related to the capture of the notorious criminal Mr Magister, and the Brigadier tells Carver that his son's body was unable to be recovered after Magister's experimental weapons detonated the church at Devil's End.  Carver reveals that the grenades are fakes. The Brigadier allows him to leave without pressing charges, but even though Carver has as much of the truth as he's allowed, he will always be haunted by visions of his son's death.

Time-Placement: After The Dæmons.

Source: Cameron Dixon

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