edited by Ian Farrington
|Best Seller by Ian Mond and Danny Oz
|8th Doctor, Charley
The Doctor and Charley witness a violent riot in a Melbourne bookstore over The Darvius Saga, a sci-fi bestseller published on Biblio-Tablets that lock onto a single purchaser’s retinal pattern and cannot be read by anyone else. The publishers are offering a limited quantity of the book, and people have been killed trying to get their hands on a copy. While investigating, Charley makes contact with Professor Bruce Gillespie and his followers in the Movement for Real Literature, who claim that anyone who’s tried to transcribe the book has mysteriously disappeared. The author, Nathaniel Clamp, then announces that he’s written a prequel that will have an even more limited run, and Gillespie decides that Clamp must die. The Doctor has disappeared while trying to trace the signal that activates the Biblio-Tablets, and Charley, seeing the horrifying violence that has broken out because of the books, agrees to help Gillespie and his team assassinate Clamp. At the last moment, however, she is unable to go through with it, and instead shoots the gun out of Gillespie’s hand. Meanwhile, the Doctor has successfully traced the signal to a warehouse, but due to a glitch in the TARDIS he has materialised one week later. After stealing a copy of the prequel and popping into temporal orbit in the TARDIS to read it, he visits the publishers’ boardroom and finds that they are in fact monsters from the upper dimensions. The chairman, Mr Tluss, explains that he and his fellow directors are in fact in charge of a broadcast network back home, and that they’ve been stirring up riots and savage behaviour on Earth for the amusement of the masses in their home dimension. However, the Doctor then reveals that, while in temporal orbit, he arranged for the entire prequel to be posted on the publishers’ website; it is thus available for everyone in the world to read, and there will be no further riots caused by its limited availability. Tluss apparently accepts that he’s been outflanked, and agrees to leave the Earth in peace -- but in fact, he’s realised that the Doctor tends to show up wherever there is trouble. As the Doctor and Charley depart, Tluss and his team prepare to seed listening posts and transmitters throughout this entire dimension in order to monitor the Doctor and broadcast his adventures back home, convinced that they’ll make a killing in the ratings.
|From Eternity by Jim Mortimore
On behalf of the Time Lords, the Doctor interrogates a being responsible for deaths beyond counting. The entity believes itself to have been the first intelligence born into the Universe, and it spent aeons of darkness alone until it saw the first speck of physical matter come into existence. As further aeons passed, it saw the first stars blossom, and eventually it made contact with an intelligent species, only to see the species devolve into savagery, gradually becoming less sentient until all that was left was primordial ooze. When the same happened to the next Minds that the entity encountered, it concluded that this bizarre infection was built into the nature of the Universe, and, fearing that it would be alone for all of eternity, it tried to warn species of the danger they faced. When they failed to respond to the threat, the desperate entity tried to force them to do so by presenting them more immediate dangers. The first species it destroyed was the Iarcho, and many more followed until it finally learned the truth from the Time Lords: it perceives Time backwards, and has been witnessing evolution and progress in reverse. Unable to correct its past (or rather future) mistakes, the entity accepts that it has performed monstrous acts for which it can never atone, and accepts that it will spend the rest of its long life alone until it dies at the beginning of the Universe. But when this finally occurs, the entity discovers that this Universe is just one of many, separated by dimensional membranes that occasionally collide and interact, creating new Universes and new Minds whenever they touch. The entity is at peace, knowing that its long periods of loneliness are merely a phase that will be interspersed with moments of brief and intimate contact with other Minds.
|Last Rites by Marc Platt
|7th Doctor, Ace
The Doctor and Ace trace a rift in the fabric of space/time to the Epajaenda Resource Sphere, a planet that has been stripped of its resources and is due to be turned into a dumping ground for toxic waste. While exploring the grounds of the spaceport, the Doctor finds a hole in the perimeter fence and a Rattenkoenig, or Rat King, a gestalt of several rats with their tails knotted together; as the planet rots, the rats are evolving to take advantage of their environment. He and Ace are arrested by android security guards when they realise that the Doctor has been outside and that Ace is carrying explosives, but the guards are distracted when an alien visitor is attacked by a swarm of rats. The Doctor and Ace are granted shelter by Crospa, the leader of the frog-like Travellers who once lived on Epajaenda; 300 years ago, they sold their planet’s mineral rights to prospector Abraham Derris-Cuthbertson, and they have now returned, secure in the belief that the company will honour its promise to return their planet to them. The security guards again try to arrest the Doctor and Ace, but Crospa and his people prepare to fight to enforce their hospitality; however, they are interrupted when the dimensional rift opens within the spaceport, revealing a swirling vortex of water. The spaceport is then attacked by a Rattenkaiser, or Emperor Rat, a gestalt of thousands of rats knotted together into a single monster that intends to kill the Travellers to protect the rats’ new domain. Before it can do so, a spaceship lands and disgorges Abraham Derris-Cuthbertson himself, who has gained an unnaturally long life from the profits he has made but is now condemned to wander the galaxy, honouring his ancient deals. Epajaenda will not be used as a rubbish tip after all; the board of directors has created the rift in order to revitalise the planet with the oceans of Dirrijali, and when the contract with Dirrijali expires, it will be refreshed with the waters of the next world in line. Derris-Cuthbertson seals the Rat Kaiser behind a force field and sends the Travellers out to reclaim their world, but as the Doctor and Ace return to the TARDIS, another swarm of rats knots itself into a new Rat Kaiser to protect their domain. Nevertheless, Derris-Cuthbertson remains behind and sacrifices his life to open up the dimensional rift, restoring the planet to full health as promised.
|The Touch of the Nurazh by Stephen Hatcher
|3rd Doctor, Jo
Jo visits her uncle Jack Canning in Kenstone Hall, a convalescent home for injured British secret agents. Canning was shot in the leg on a recent mission, but to Jo’s surprise, he is now up and walking, as is another agent who was paralysed when she last visited. Another injured visitor seems to have grown back his hand. Jo is unsure whether this is all in her imagination, until she tries to leave the Hall and her taxi driver parks across the nearby train tracks and drops dead. Jo barely escapes, and tells her story to the Doctor, who returns to the Hall with her to investigate. He soon becomes convinced that the matron, Ms Caxton, is being controlled by an alien influence, but before he can investigate, he and Jo are captured by the Hall’s possessed residents. The director, Dr Thynne, has been killed and replaced by the Master, who reveals that the residents of the Hall have been healed and are being controlled by a Nurazh, a mind parasite that travels from world to world, consuming their inhabitants’ life force. The Master encountered a weakened Nurazh on a dead alien world and brought it to Earth to feed; in exchange, it has been placing key government officials under his mental control. The Nurazh possesses Jo and attacks the Doctor, but then reveals to the Master that it is strong enough to devour the Earth and no longer requires him. The Master is forced to flee before it can consume his mind, and while the Nurazh is distracted, Jo breaks free of its control and releases the Doctor. The possessed residents chase them to the Hall’s roof, where Ms Caxton, the monster’s primary human host, attacks the Doctor; however, both fall from the roof in the struggle. Ms Caxton is killed instantly, and the Nurazh tries to pass into the Doctor’s body -- but possessing one Time Lord mind is difficult enough for it to handle, and as the injuries the Doctor suffered are causing him to regenerate, for a moment he possesses the equivalent of two Time Lord minds at once. Unable to cope with the strain, the Nurazh fails to possess him and dies, and the Doctor, healed by its influence, transforms back into his old body.
Continuity: Jo witnesses the Doctor’s near-regeneration and later describes it to him, which explains how he knew in The Five Doctors that his next incarnation would be “teeth and curls.”
|Flashpoint by Matt Grady
|5th Doctor, Liz Shaw
1999: Dr Liz Shaw is called in when a bust of Nero is unearthed from a wreck in the Mediterranean, as water is constantly dripping from the bust as if an intense heat source inside the bust is causing condensation to form. When she arrives at the University of Rome, she finds that UNIT has apparently sent her an assistant, a blond young man named Dr Jonas Smythe wearing a sprig of celery on his beige lab coat. Dr Smythe suggests testing the bust for electrical activity with an EEG machine, but as the bust is put on display in the Palermo Museum in the afternoons, he and Liz must wait to conduct their experiment. A madman tries to steal the bust from the museum, claiming that it is speaking to him, but he faints as if overheated and drops the bust, damaging it. Liz and Smythe take it back to their laboratory, where they determine that an alien entity is trapped inside the bust and is drawing on any exterior sources of heat it encounters. Smythe decides to store the bust in a vat of liquid nitrogen and take it back to UNIT, but while he and Liz are making arrangements to do so, the university’s caretaker, Claudio Terrizzi, enters the lab and sees the bust wired up to the EEG machine. Offended to see such a priceless artefact being treated as an experimental subject, he picks it up, intending to take it away and show it the respect it deserves -- and the monster lurking within draws on his body heat, incinerating him and setting the laboratory on fire. Firemen put out the blaze, and Liz and Smythe recover the bust and place it in a vat of liquid nitrogen. Smythe offers to take the bust back to UNIT, but Liz gets the impression that he intends to dispose of the monster in some other manner -- and after Smythe has gone, Liz finds a note in her pocket, thanking her for her help and telling her to let Lethbridge-Stewart know the Doctor says hello.
Continuity: the Doctor claims to have been sent by Colonel Emily Chaudhry, a character in the UNIT miniseries. The Fifth Doctor had a previous encounter with UNIT in Rome in the 1980s, as described in The Fires of Vulcan.
|These Things Take Time by Samantha Baker
|7th Doctor, Ace, Hex
The Doctor travels to the human colony on Armstrong’s World to visit a friend, and gives Hex a tracer so he can find his way back to the TARDIS if need be. Ace offers to carry the tracer in her bag, but as she and Hex stroll through the nearby village Hex suddenly finds himself outside the village with Ace, with no memory of the past few minutes. They are reunited with the Doctor, who leads them to the estate of Baron Denton de Kay Leigh, an old friend who is having trouble with bandits and has invited the Doctor to help him deal with them. As the Doctor speaks with him, the Baron discovers that his servant, Venetia, is not on the estate -- and Hex suddenly finds himself back in the village, watching as an angry mob chops off Ace’s head. Hex then finds himself back on the Baron’s estate, where he learns that someone stole the tracker from Ace, presumably during the minutes he’s forgotten. The Doctor sends Ace and Hex back to the TARDIS, but on the way, Hex experiences another discontinuity and sees Venetia steal the tracker from Ace back in the village. He then finds himself back with the angry mob, and this time it’s the Doctor who is being lynched -- but before he is killed, he warns Hex to destroy the tracker. Hex finds himself back in the village with Ace, and he chases down Venetia, recovers the tracker and destroys it. He then finds himself back aboard the TARDIS before any of this occurred, and when he tells his story to the Doctor, the Doctor concludes that Venetia misused the tracker and unleashed a shockwave of potential futures that Hex experienced when he smashed it. Since it seems that the TARDIS crew will be in deadly danger if they visit Armstrong’s World, the Doctor decides to put off his visit, thus leaving Hex with memories from a timeline that never happened.
|Categorical Imperative by Simon Guerrier
|4th Doctor, Sarah
with: 1st Doctor, Susan; 3rd Doctor, Jo; 5th Doctor, Tegan; 6th Doctor, Peri; 7th Doctor, Ace; 8th Doctor, Charley
The Fourth Doctor and Sarah visit a desolate urban wasteland in which the few survivors of a terrible war are dying of radiation poisoning. The Doctor and Sarah do what they can to ease the survivors’ last days, and the Doctor then takes Sarah to the christening of the baby who will grow up to be the dictator responsible for the war. Sarah is horrified to realise that the Doctor is actually considering killing the baby, but the Doctor then points out that his third self is standing in line with the other well-wishers, holding a silver knife and approaching the baby while Jo Grant distracts the baby’s mother, Ann. The First Doctor is also standing in line with the same knife, but he drops it and stumbles away, unable to go through with this, and his grand-daughter picks up the knife before escorting him from the room. The Third Doctor reaches the front of the line, but catches a glimpse of his sixth self standing behind him and realises that he can’t go through with this either. Sarah, watching all of this, realises that there are other incarnations of the Doctor here as well -- the Fifth, Seventh and Eighth -- and that their companions are all trying to distract Ann from what their Doctors are doing. However, each Doctor is unable to bring himself to kill the baby -- and as Ann speaks with Peri, Tegan, Ace and Charley, she comes to realise from their reactions just how isolated and cruel she has become. She married her husband in order to improve her social standing, but he has neglected her and she has become a petty tyrant in response. When the Fourth Doctor sends Sarah to speak to Ann, Sarah’s nervousness brings him to Ann just what kind of monster she’s become, and she turns to look at her child just as the Eighth Doctor arrives at the front of the line. Seeing him raise the knife, Ann shouts out a warning, and the guards descend upon the Eighth Doctor and begin beating him. The baby’s father notes the situation but loses interest when he sees the guards have it under control, and Ann, finally realising just how little he cares for his child, vows to be a proper mother to the baby. The Fourth Doctor identifies himself as a doctor and convinces the guards that they’ve beaten their prisoner to death, enabling his future self and Charley to slip away quietly. The Fourth Doctor and Sarah then depart, hoping that Ann will raise her child properly and that the terrible future they witnessed will not come to pass.
Continuity: It’s entirely possible that the Doctors’ other companions are waiting back in the TARDIS, but it’s much simpler to assume that they are travelling only with the companions seen here. So: if the First Doctor and Susan are travelling together, this must occur for them at some point between Frayed and Time and Relative. This appears to be a personal mission rather than an assignment by the Time Lords, so it presumably takes place for the Third Doctor and Jo after his release from exile (and thus after his first trip in The Wages of Sin). If the Fifth Doctor and Tegan are travelling solo, this presumably takes place before or after Excelis Dawns. For the Eighth Doctor and Charley, this presumably takes place before Neverland. Otherwise, the placings are completely arbitrary.
|Trapped! by Joseph Lidster
|6th Doctor, Peri
A young woman named Sacha Mary Palmer sees a figure lurking near her bus stop, and, frightened, decides to take a nearby taxi instead of waiting for the bus. The figure lunges out at her as she approaches, but she gets away from him and the taxi drives her away. Unfortunately, the figure was the Doctor, who was trying to save her from the taxi driver, a vampire named Saric Warder. Warder slams on the brakes and sends Sacha through the windshield, and the Doctor and Peri arrive too late to save the already injured girl. The Doctor attacks Warder, but the vampire gets away into a nearby office building. There, a clerk named Mr Thompson is trying to work up the nerve to stalk his attractive co-worker Joanne, and despite his fear of elevators, he follows her into the lift in order to be with her for a while longer. Warder then boards the lift, jams it between floors by punching his hand through the wall, and begins to slaughter the terrified passengers, including Joanne, as the terrified Thompson suffers a heart attack. The Doctor leaps into the lift shaft and breaks in, but is too late to save Warder’s victims. As the lift plunges to the ground floor, the Doctor forces Warder’s head out into the shaft, decapitating him. Peri, waiting in the lobby, is drenched in blood and gore when the lift hits the ground. Thompson survives, but is traumatised by the experience, as is Peri. The Doctor, shaken by his violent reaction and his failure to save Warder’s victims, fears that he too is turning into a monster.
Continuity: Vampires were introduced to the Doctor Who mythology in State of Decay, and the Doctor has also fought them in I Was a Monster!!!, Goth Opera, the comic strip Blood Invocation, Blood Harvest, and Vampire Science.
|Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life by Anthony Keetch
|5th Doctor, Nyssa
The TARDIS materialises on a deserted London street, and the Doctor and Nyssa see a single man running for a TV rental showroom, desperate not to miss the latest episode of the smash hit TV series Surrender, Earthlings! The Doctor is inexplicably captivated by the violent show about an invasion of Earth by the monstrous Xyz, and when the episode ends on a cliff-hanger, he and the enthusiastic fan, Norman Atkinson, begin to discuss the programme. The Doctor then sees the Xyz walking down the street, and when he rushes up to ask for an autograph, they drag him back to their club and lock him in the cellar for three hours. The Doctor suffers agonising withdrawal symptoms and breaks free of his addiction to the show, which comes as an embarrassment to the Xyz when they realise that he wasn’t trying to lure them into a false sense of security after all. The Xyz have already conquered Britain with their addictive programme, and intend to spread their influence over the rest of the Earth. The Doctor is horrified to learn that the human “actors” on the show are genuinely being killed simply because it’s easier for the Xyz to keep track of the continuity that way. The Xyz decide to deal with the Doctor by writing him into the series as a human traitor, and kick him out of the club, trusting that the programme’s fans will tear him to shreds on sight. Meanwhile, Nyssa falls in with the Provisional Wing of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, who are firmly opposed to violence on TV and intend to protest the airing of Surrender, Earthlings! by blowing up the BBC. Nyssa reluctantly accompanies them to the Television Centre, but while trying to get past the security guard, the protestors catch sight of the latest episode of Surrender, Earthlings! and immediately become glued to the television. The Doctor has made his own way to the BBC, where the Director General’s secretary runs screaming at the sight of him. The Director General himself is a mousy little man who remembers little of what he sees on TV, but when the Doctor explains the problem, the DG tells him that the BBC would automatically stop transmitting in the event of nuclear war, which would be assumed if the ratings ever fell to zero. The Doctor, reunited with Nyssa, evades the rampaging mob searching for him and destroys the BBC’s ratings computer, an out-of-date machine that probably hasn’t given accurate data for years. The people of Britain are shocked out of their addiction to Surrender, Earthlings! when the transmission cuts out in mid-episode. The Xyz try to slip away unnoticed, but are pursued by hordes of screaming humans; however, the Doctor and Nyssa are unsure whether the mob intends to kill the aliens for what they’ve done, or if they just want autographs.
|Screamager by Jacqueline Rayner
|2nd Doctor, Jamie, Victoria
While the Doctor and Jamie are investigating mysterious activity in 14th-century Ireland, Victoria stays with a friendly family: Niall, his brother Cormac, and Cormac’s wife and son, Sorcha and Tadhg. One night, however, Victoria sees the face of a hideous old hag outside her window, and she and the creature both scream, waking the rest of the household. In the confusion, the household discover that Tadhg has contracted a fever and that the servant, Martha, has died. Over the next few days, Tadhg’s condition grows worse, and each night, Victoria sees the monster outside her window and screams in terror. Tadhg dies, and the illness spreads to the rest of the family and then into the village. Victoria insists that the fever has been brought by a hostile alien being, but Niall is unable to see the monster when she points it out and attacks her, blaming her for his family’s deaths. Jamie and the Doctor arrive just in time to save her, and when the Doctor studies the bodies, he concludes that the village has been hit by the legendary Black Death. He and Jamie wait up with Victoria that night until the monster returns, and the Doctor identifies it as a Banshee, a legendary spirit whose cry heralds death. The Banshee claims that its people have become overworked by the plague, and as Victoria’s screams have heralded death within this household, the monster has come to claim her as one of its own. However, the Doctor reveals that he’s injected Niall with some of Victoria’s blood, providing him with antibodies that will help him fight off the infection; rather than heralding death, Victoria has saved a life. Thwarted, the Banshee withdraws, but Victoria realises that she’s seen far too much death and privately decides that the time has come for her to stop travelling with the Doctor.
Continuity: it’s interesting to note that one of the Doctor’s companions inadvertently helps to cure a victim of the Black Death while another of his companions, in Bunker Soldiers, may have accidentally caused it. The plague also plays a big part in The Visitation, and Sarah briefly contracts a case in The Republican’s Story.
|The Colour of Monsters by Steve Lyons
A grievously injured survivor of a failed attack on Earth seeks shelter in a nearby barn. While he is dozing, a young girl enters the barn and talks to him, innocently believing that she is the only one who can see him. The alien tries to lull the girl into a false sense of security so she will draw close enough for him to kill her, but he is weaker than he imagined. Despite himself, he listens to the girl speak of her world, which is entirely unlike the harsh, barren landscape of his own home planet. For a moment he tries to believe that he can change his ways and make a new life on this planet, but then he realises that the girl regards him as a sort of pet. Infuriated, he attacks the girl and throttles her, but at the last moment, his race’s worst enemy -- the man responsible for defeating the invasion attempt -- enter the barn and rescues the girl. The man tries to convince the monster to surrender, but the alien attacks him, and in the struggle, the weapon the enemy was using to defend itself falls to the straw and sets it alight. The enemy retreats with the young girl, reluctantly leaving the monster to its fate in the burning barn.
|Source: Cameron Dixon