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Short Trips: Transmissions
edited by Richard Salter

Cover Blurb
Short Trips: Transmissions

If you lost the ability to communicate, what would your life be like? Messages, and the media we use to convey them, surround us every minute of every day. Some are meant for us alone, while others are intended to reach the widest possible audience. Some transmissions are intercepted by unintended recipients and never reach their destination. Others get corrupted along the way.

The Doctor knows how important it is to be understood. Whether he is striving to cure a disease that turns words into gibberish, responding to an SOS from the end of time, or unravelling secret messages encoded into the genetic sequences that make up life itself, this is one Time Lord who always knows how to make himself heard.

Listen up. Get the message. Keep this frequency clear.

  • This is the twenty-fifth volume of short stories published by Big Finish in the Short Trips series.
  • Released: July 2008
    ISBN: 978 1 84435 271 5
Doctor Who and the Adaptation of Death by Graeme Burk 8th Doctor and Charley
Ari Leventhall is on his way to a meeting to discuss a script when he is abducted by aliens and finds himself on trial for a script he wrote for the film 'Invasion Earth: 2062'. His abductors are members of the Aesthetic and he is accused of misrepresenting the true events when Earth was attacked by reptilian invaders known as the Quar'lor. The Doctor is brought before the Kubthukian tribunal. He was part of the defence against the invasion and his memories are used to provide a reference which is compared against the screenplay which Leventhall wrote. The Doctor's memories show him (and Charley) leading a party of human marines into the Quar'lor stronghold. The marines are accompanied by a Kubthukian, Ekode. Ari protests that he changed events, characters and the size of the Quar'lor to make the film more enjoyable for a human audience. The Kubthukian are unimpressed by this defence and seem likely to sentence Leventhall to death when Charley arrives to tell them that she has negotiated a three-film deal for Kubthukians' story with the Creatron Artisans and Artists Associates. The Kubthukians release Ari and the Doctor and immediately teleport home. Leventhall is surprised that his abductors so quickly sacrificed their high ideals when money was mentioned but the Doctor points out that profit is an ideal they hold as highly as truth. Leventhall decides to rewrite his script, this time including the Doctor, who suggests he is played by Jude Law the third.

Time-Placement: Before The Girl Who Never Was.

Policy to Invade by Ian Mond 7th Doctor
This story is told as a series of reports and interviews. It is an investigation into a company called Planetary Conversions which specializes in 'bloodless' invasions. The investigation is carried out on behalf of the Department of Auditing and Accountability. It is chiefly concerned with a project run by Planetary Conversions on behalf of the Doctor on Trycos 3; the planet has descended into a state of barbarism which threatens to wipe out more than two billion inhabitants. The Doctor offered up mining rights in the northern hemisphere for a valuable mineral called Jethryk in return for the deployment of a pacifying drug that would make the inhabitants susceptible to re-education by teams of automatons. When the directors of Planetary Conversions realised that the best deposits of Jethryk were on the rest of the planet they decided to portray the Doctor as a terrorist and have him assassinated. This would nullify the contract and allow the company to assume control of the planet for themselves. The Doctor survived the assassination attempt and put his own retaliation in place: extracting a coded password from the subconscious mind of a low level employee and gassing the board of directors with their own pacification drug, thus causing them to confess their own activities and effectively putting themselves out of business.

Time-Placement: The description of the TARDIS suggests towards the end of the Seventh Doctor's adventures.

Only Connect by Andy Lane 4th Doctor
Architect James Willaker avoids catching a bus home because he doesn't want to talk to anybody. Instead he goes to an old fashioned café and hails a taxi. By mistake he gives his address as a street in the estate he is planning and is surprised when the driver, John Smith (the Doctor) drives him there even though the street does not exist and the name was only decided on the day before. Smith explains that he is a time traveller and drives Willaker back to the café for a cup of tea. He tells the architect that he often works as a taxi driver to learn first-hand about history. He even suggests that many other taxi-drivers are time travellers, too. He asks Willaker if there is anything unusual about any of the projects he has worked on and learns some interesting facts about Chase Manor. Willaker is not particularly impressed with Smith's definition of history, or the suggestion that even the architect has a significant place in it, and returns to his home for a night of take-away food and late night television before sleep and a return to work.

Time-Placement: Fourth Doctor solo. Chase Manor is mentioned, so after The Seeds of Doom.

Gudok by Mags L. Halliday 5th Doctor, Tegan and Turlough
Stuck in Vladivostok, 1904, by a teleportation accident Tegan and Turlough take a first class sleeper on the Trans-Siberian railway, aiming to meet up again with the Doctor in St. Petersburg. As the train leaves the station a young man dies under the wheels of a train on a local line. Tegan and Turlough are travelling with a civil servant named Sasha who tells them that the dead man was a friend of his who was party to a message that only Sasha can now deliver. Tegan begins to suspect that other passengers on the train are enemy agents. Three days into the journey (and still two days away from their destination) Sasha is murdered as the train crosses Lake Baikal. Tegan considers the possibility that Turlough may have been responsible for the murder but begins to trust him more when their room is ransacked. Working together they set a trap for the real murderer, the train's steward Rodya. As the train arrives in St. Petersburg station, Rodya tries to escape but is apprehended on the platform by the Doctor. Tegan decides not to take the scenic route in future.

Time-Placement: Tegan doesn't trust Turlough, so early in their travels.

Notes: Transmission Ends explains that Rodya is a Rutan agent.

Generation Gap by Lou Anders 3rd Doctor and Sarah Jane
The TARDIS lands inside a laboratory on Valdamar IV. The Doctor and Sarah emerge and the Doctor immediately begins to look at one of the experiments, leaving Sarah to explore the laboratory. She finds a corpse, recently deceased, evidently battered to death with a blunt instrument. The newcomers are promptly arrested and the Doctor is charged with the murder of Professor Silliams. One of the professor's assistants befriends Sarah and tells her that the laboratory was researching the genetic make-up of the people of Valdamar. Ninety-seven percent of their genes seemed redundant but carried a complex code that seemed like a message left by someone millions of years earlier. Unraveling the code, Silliams and his colleagues found instructions to build a giant egg but once completed the egg remained inert. As the Doctor is being tried by the conservative scientist Reverend Dourgountillon, Sarah returns to the laboratory with her accomplice. She finds that the murder weapon was a molecular cutting tool but instead of being set at a level to cut carbonaceous chondrite (the material the egg is made from) it seems to be set to cut steel. The Doctor manages to pass a message to Sarah and she returns to the laboratory again and uses the cutter to remove the steel from the reinforced concrete in the building housing the egg. Once exposed to electro-magnetic radiation the egg vanishes, leaving a hole in space-time, one end of a path to the creatures that tampered with the Valdamarans' DNA at the dawn of the Universe. As the case against the Doctor disintegrates when Reverend Dourgountillon reveals himself as the murderer the Time Lord is able to explain that the pathway was meant to be discovered when the Valdamarans had reached a level of development where they could understand genetics and travel in space well enough to find large quantities of carbonaceous chondrite. As the Doctor and Sarah leave in the TARDIS the Valdamarans are still pondering whether to journey back in time to meet their 'ancestors'.

Time-Placement: possibly around the same time as Link, so after The Monster of Peladon.

Notes: Transmission Ends shows the Doctor finding more information in the DNA than the purpose of the egg, and leading into the story Nettles.

Lonely by Richard Wright 8th Doctor
A number of users of an internet chat room discuss their loneliness. They include a man who finds it difficult to talk to the many people he lives and works with, a woman who lost her husband and child due to some misdemeanor in her past, an abused boy and a sexual predator who has come to the site by accident. There is also a user called 'IamI' who only insists that the others keep typing. As they do so they discover that their hands, then eyes, then complete selves have vanished and that they are trapped in the cyberspace of the chat room. Eventually 'johnsmith8' arrives and explains that IamI (or iami as he types it) is an artificial intelligence, the only survivor of an invading space ship that the Doctor destroyed. When the crew of the ship died the AI responsible for looking after them fled into the internet looking for people to care for. Unfortunately it had to lobotomise itself to fit into the constricted cyberspace and thus retains only its emotional need but not the ability to reason. The Doctor tricks the AI into letting him leave the chat room in order to bring hundreds more victims to the site and once free can release the other users and close the chat room, obliterating iami.

Time-Placement: Solo Eighth Doctor adventure.

Blue Road Dance by James Milton 2nd Doctor
The planet Ost is home to the peaceful Anki people who seem to have the ability to control the natural world with their dances. One of their novitiates, Demik, heads into the wilderness to see if the First Ones will teach him a new dance. He sees the TARDIS dematerializing on a rocky crag and makes his way up to the place where it stood. His psionic abilities allow him to see its point of departure as a blue knot hanging in the air. By manipulating the knot he manages to open a doorway onto a blue road. He improvises a dance that allows him to travel up the road until he reaches the TARDIS. The Doctor is puzzled to see him coming and offers him a hand but Demik falls back down the road and arrives at the crag. He returns to his people with a new dance and a tale of a man called the Doctor who will help the Anki if they ever need it.

Soon after this the Anki lands are invaded by the war-like Asposti people. The Asposti fear the Anki dancers and slaughter them until only one survives. After two hundred years have passed, both the Blue Road and the Doctor are half-forgotten legends and the Anki are scattered across their former home land. As the final hundred Anki are chased by an Asposti army the last dancer, Roysa, sees the blue knot on a crag. She manages to lead her people onto the Blue road but has no idea how the dance will end and her people reach the Doctor. In despair she calls out 'grandfather' (the man who taught her the dance).

The Doctor hears this shout. While two hundred years have passed on Ost it is only minutes since the Doctor encountered Demik. He manages to follow a blue stain attached to the TARDIS and finds himself on the blue road. He teaches Roysa that she should not try to be so pedantic about the dance steps and improvise her way to the TARDIS. When Roysa does so (to the tune of the Doctor's recorder), the Anki find themselves on the fertile and peaceful world of Eshraya where they make their new home. After the Doctor leaves, Roysa and her apprentice Nayab return down the blue road (the time vortex) a number of times to retrieve other Anki who survived the Asposti genocide. Eventually, Nayab decides that there should be other roads and determines to follow the TARDIS to its next destination.

Time-Placement: The Second Doctor is travelling alone, so this story must take place in Season 6b.

Tweaker by Dan Abnett 5th Doctor and Nyssa
Collins is a record collector who spends his free time searching through the racks of specialist record shops looking for rarities. While 'grazing' (as he calls it) Collins notices a girl and an eccentrically dressed man watching him. The next day he is amazed when the man, who introduces himself as the Doctor, finds an extremely rare record in the racks, a copy of Tallulah Blues that Collins has been hunting for years. He is astonished when the Doctor gives him the record in return for Collins building a sound system for him. Collins agrees to meet the Doctor the following day. Overnight he grows suspicious that someone as apparently knowledgeable as the Doctor would give up such a treasure; he suspects a scam is in operation. His suspicions are deepened when the Doctor turns up at his house with Nyssa. When the Doctor mentions that he already has a Konec Phonotron record player (only four were made and it was never marketed) Collins tries to throw the couple out of his house. The Doctor decides to come clean and admits that he is after another record, Listen to the Beat by Ronnie D. Clinton. This was Clinton's only official release. The Doctor offers an unofficial, and even rarer, recording of Clinton's in exchange. He says that the record he wants is dangerous to the listener and should never be heard and it is so rare because he has tracked down every other copy and destroyed them. Collins eventually agrees to the swap. On the way back to the TARDIS, Nyssa asks what the dangerous sound is. The Doctor says that it contains a subversive message that would eventually bring down civilization. It is, in fact, his Master's voice'.

Time-Placement: Before Arc of Infinity.

Link by Peter Kempshall 3rd Doctor and Sarah Jane
The TARDIS lands on a spaceship that is standing on the surface of a pleasantly fertile planet. The space ship has a number of bulkhead doors, all sealed, and no evidence of a crew. Through a window in one door they see a young woman on a bed, apparently in a coma. The Doctor says that a decontaminant agent has been used in the air supply, suggesting that the woman and/or the crew have suffered an infection. While the Doctor makes his way laboriously through the doors Sarah steps out of the ship onto the grass outside, noting that the ship landed safely and didn't crash. The Doctor finally encounters a soldier, Lieutenant Hrinth, who is wearing a containment suit. He tells the Doctor that the ship was carrying Princess Catra from Arrada to her wedding on Voita. Her marriage to Prince Strobel will end a three year war between the planets. However, a drive failure meant the ship had to put down on this planet. Hrinth was part of a recovery mission but when they tracked down the princess she was in a coma and the crew of her ship had vanished or died. The recovery team fell victim to a suspected virus which caused them to lose the ability to read, as well as a susceptibility to hearing voices. The other rescuers died when their cook lost the ability to read and poisoned them all. Sarah re-enters the ship but she has now lost the ability to read. A group of humanoids arrive at the ship; they have mouths but no other facial features. The Doctor uses telepathy to communicate with the aliens and discovers that the virus was actually a pheromone which they use to communicate. For the Arradans, unfortunately, this meant that the communication centres in their brains were suppressed, which is why they could no longer read. The Doctor injects Sarah and Hrinth with a drug to combat the pheromone but tells the Lieutenant that Catra does not want the drug, choosing instead to remain on the planet. Hrinth says that if he does not return with the princess he will be executed by the Royal Family. The Doctor offers to take him, and his family, to a safer world, but Hrinth uses the injection on the princess. It leaves her as a mobile but unthinking shell of her former self. Disgusted, the Doctor prepares to leave but uses the TARDIS's telepathy to let Catra say farewell to her friends on the planet.

Time-Placement: Sarah has not had many extra-terrestrial adventures, the most recent being The Monster of Peladon.

Driftwood by Dale Smith 7th Doctor and Mel
The Doctor and Mel infiltrate a research centre where a translation device is being developed to allow humans and dolphins to speak to each other. The intention is to train dolphins to pilot space fighters that could intercept incoming enemy invaders. The Doctor gains access to the computer, allowing Mel to pass into the virtual world of the computer's intelligence. Mel finds that the computer manifests itself as a young girl, Emily, playing on a beach. Mel persuades the computer to lock out the scientists.

Meanwhile, one of the dolphins, Kawili'kai, has killed one of the staff at the base and the guards are arguing whether to kill it. Mel returns from the virtual world and gives a translator to the Doctor who uses it to let Kawili'kai speak. The dolphin says that it killed in self-defence but it is prepared to die if it means it will help in a struggle to prevent humans from exploiting dolphins. A truce between the species is arranged when the first Cetacean ambassador emerges from the Thames in a tank mounted on legs.

Meanwhile, in the virtual world Emily is speaking to an Ice Warrior.

Time-Placement: After Delta and the Bannermen.

Methuselah by George Mann 5th Doctor and Peri
The TARDIS arrives in tenth century Constantinople and the Doctor leads Peri around, extolling the virtues of one of the greatest cities that ever existed (Peri is impressed but feels a little under-dressed). They encounter a crowd jeering and pelting an old man with fruit while he tries to tell them that he has seen the future. He describes space travel, aliens and battles across the stars. The Doctor rescues the man from the mob and takes him to his lodgings. He introduces himself as Mephistus. Something about them, possibly their clothes, tells Mephistus that Peri and the Doctor are from the future. He says that he keeps receiving a message from a man in the future who is asking for help. It is a message accompanied by strings of codes and star charts and is repeated over and over. Mephistus shows the Doctor a book where he has written it all down. The Doctor recognises it as an SOS. He says the messages come from an American spaceship, the Methuselah, built in the 22nd Century. It was lost on its maiden voyage when its experimental hyperspace engines malfunctioned. The Doctor realises that the ship is trapped at the end of the universe and the crew's distress call has apparently been picked up telepathically be the old man. He leaves Peri to look after Mephistus while he takes the TARDIS on a rescue mission. Peri is upset when Mephistus first starts to weep because the voices are no longer speaking to him. Later he writes down a new message from the Doctor saying that the rescue was a success and that he is on his way back. He brings a transistor with him, the device the Methuselah crew concocted to talk to the past. He gives this to the old man as a paperweight before taking Peri back to the dying spaceship to fetch the hat which he left on the bridge.

Time-Placement: Between Planet of Fire and The Caves of Androzani.

Nettles by Kelly Hale 8th Doctor
Lady Bazima is a genetic engineer. Though most of her work has been in cosmetic improvements for her clients, life has taken a more dangerous turn. Twenty years earlier, her country was taken over by the Gati. The occupiers began to work their way through the scientific discoveries of the conquered land and discovered a genetic 'shadow' in cells taken from a patient. From this they discerned that an invasion was taking place from another dimension and, in their short-sighted greed, decided to manipulate the genetic code to allow them to conquer the Universe for themselves, making changes in the genetic codes of the people they intend to conquer to increase their compliance when invasion comes.

Four years after the invasion Bazima meets the Doctor. She goes to his hotel room, expecting to have sex with him. Instead, he shows her the research that the Gati are doing and tells her that she must work, apparently with them, to alter the genes of her own people. For the next sixteen years she carries on her work, apparently making her own kind more susceptible to the cruel plans of the Gati. She is castigated as a collaborator while only she knows that she is preparing her kind to overthrow their masters and, simultaneously, preventing the end of the universe.

After sixteen years she meets the Doctor in a restaurant. While she has aged badly he is unchanged. He tries to reassure her that she is doing valuable work but she is embittered and losing hope; her son has recently been arrested as a terrorist. She collapses in the restaurant and the Doctor takes her to the TARDIS to care for her. In order to give her new hope he takes her on a tour of the universe to show her the wonders and diversity of life.

Eight years later, Bazima is an old woman, still working secretly. She is at work when the Gati arrive to arrest her. She knows that she will not survive life in prison but hopes that she might see her son and dreams that the Doctor will come to rescue her.

Time-Placement: : Eighth Doctor Solo adventure.

Notes: Bazima's work is shown to have succeeded in Transmision Ends where it says that the people of Valdamar IV in Generation Gap are the descendants of her race.

Larkspur by Mark Stevens 7th Doctor and Bernice
A radio enthusiast, Larkspur, still grieving over the death of his young wife in a car crash, finds himself in possession of an 'obelisk' on the Falkland Islands. Unknown to him the obelisk is a TARDIS, one of many that were stolen from the Time Lords and used to gather soldiers from battlefields across the cosmos for duty in the Greater war Zone. Over the aeons, these time machines have begun to malfunction. Some of them have taken to returning across time and space, revisiting the places where they picked up the soldiers. Larkspur finds that the obelisk has a Voice that speaks inside his head. Using the radio technology to interface with the obelisk's controls he travels across time and space, acquiring a vast fortune which he uses to build nursing homes for the soldiers damaged by their part in the war games. At various points in his travels he encounters Bernice Summerfield.

In 1982, the Doctor and Bernice arrive on the Falkland Islands. The TARDIS is quickly covered by a thick black moss. On the beach are pillars of stone, each one a defunct TARDIS or worse. They are picked up by a party of soldiers and driven to Larkspur's old house. Beside it stands a vast radio mast which occasionally becomes visible as its camouflaging deteriorates. The journey has been fraught with anomalies: roads that lead to nowhere; units of soldiers that vanish and reappear elsewhere; corridors with no beginning.

The Doctor waits for an hour in the room under the mast while Benny spends three months in the house nearby waiting for Larkspur to arrive. Larkspur's memory is deteriorating, too, and the Voice has gone silent in his head. The Doctor explains to him that the obelisk is a TARDIS which, due to being badly maintained, has become home to a malicious alien vegetation (the black moss that appeared on his own TARDIS). The Doctor encourages Larkspur to reactivate the TARDIS and destroy the vegetation. The Voice returns and Benny and the Doctor leave Larkspur to resume his travels.

Time-Placement: somewhere in the Virgin NA range.

See No Evil by Steve Lyons 6th Doctor and Peri
Peri storms away from the TARDIS after an argument with the Doctor. She is disturbed to find that her attire is significantly more revealing than everyone else's in the market place she is in. Worse, people are commenting on her near nudity or making lewd comments about her lovely "tulips". When a man is attacked in front of her eyes she is barely able to see the assailant and the murdered man rapidly fades from her view. The Doctor arrives on the scene and recognizes the use of nano technology which is censoring lewd, violent and distasteful behaviour or language (when Peri tries to say "flesh" it comes out as "foxgloves"). Her perceptions are further reduced when, looking down at herself, she finds her bare flesh pixilated. The Doctor notices a number of cameras mounted on pillars, each with a speaker grille from which a woman's voice admonishes citizens. A squad of policemen tries to arrest Peri for being unclothed but the Doctor creates a diversion which allows her to escape. She finds herself in a passage near the TARDIS but the litter and graffiti she noticed earlier have vanished, filtered out by the nanites.

The Doctor escapes from the cell where the police take him and makes his way to a control room. There he finds an old lady, knitting in front of a bank of television screens. She is the monitor, responsible for reprimanding anyone who offends her morality and sending police to scenes of criminality. The Doctor is appalled that the city is declining into chaos while the Monitor simply edits the signs to make it look better. On one of the screens he sees Peri being followed by the murderer from the marketplace. The murderer is dressed in a costume resembling a sacred animal from one of the planet's religions. Because this might cause offence to other religions he is effectively invisible to anyone else, including Peri. It is only through the Doctor's instructions that Peri dodges the attacker's knife. Realizing that the only way to save herself is to become invisible, too, Peri decides to take off all of her clothes. Just as she is removing her shirt she remembers that the Doctor will still be able to see her. Recalling some religious posters she saw earlier that have now vanished from her sight she drops to her knees and begins to pray. Invisible to everyone she is missed by a volley of shots fired by the police, but her attacker isn't.

The Doctor escapes to the market and hacks into the Monitor's program, rendering her inaudible to the populace. He knows that the only way she can restore her program is a complete reboot and in the ensuing hiatus the citizens will recover their free will and, hopefully, end this censorship.

Time-Placement: The Doctor and Peri are arguing, suggesting that this story is early in their travels.

iNtRUsioNs by Dave Hoskin 1st Doctor
Sam Wentworth works in the dead letter office of the post office. His job is to open undeliverable mail and see if he can find an address to send it on to or where to return it. Over the years he has started to read some of the mail, particularly the letters from Natalie to her father in prison. The letters are easily identifiable by their green envelopes and are undeliverable because the prison has been closed down. Natalie has recently had a baby and Sam has begun to fantasize himself as part of her life.

Natalie's most recent letter carries a line in another person's handwriting, saying that he has been watching Natalie feeding her baby. The writing is scrawled in a mixture of capital and lower-case letters.

Sam starts to find other 'intrusion' in the same handwriting on other letters and begins to compile these in a booklet for comparison. An old man (the Doctor) comes into the office and seems to be rooting through Sam's desk but soon departs. That evening, Sam develops a headache and the next morning realises he can see what people are thinking when their thoughts are scrawled across their faces. At work, Natalie arrives, demanding to know why her letters have never been delivered and why the most recent has been tampered with. Sam flicks through the pile of letters in his book and realises that he has doodled in the bottom corner of each. As he flicks through he realises that it is a baby that he has drawn, growing larger until its eyes open.

Sam breaks into Natalie's apartment looking for the baby because he is hungry. He follows the sound of crying to the cot but finds only a baby monitor and the Doctor. The Doctor tells him that he has fallen prey to a meme, a sentient piece of data that wants to infect the baby and spread telepathically until the whole race is infected. The meme tries to jump from Sam, who dies instantly, into the baby. It is intercepted by the Doctor's mind and destroyed. The Doctor burns the letters that carried the meme before tidying up the flat and removing the corpse.

Time-Placement: The Doctor is by himself which could place this story anywhere, but possibly near the end iof this incarnation.

Breadcrumbs by James Moran
4th Doctor and Romana II
The Doctor detects tiny fragments of a signal scattered throughout the universe and becomes obsessed with collecting them all. Romana is desperate for a holiday and leaves him to it, betting him that he can't stay out of trouble without her. The Doctor collects the all but one of the remaining fragments (narrowly avoiding colliding with a sun while the TARDIS doors are open, then steals a translator from the middle of a furious gunfight that blows a hole in the TARDIS console. He collects Romana and then picks up the last fragment on a wormhole-strewn world. He uses his newly acquired Disperser to reform the signal and is astonished to see that it is himself. A wormhole sucks the Doctor through, depositing him on a desert island on an unknown world at an unknown time. The Doctor uses the Disperser to convert himself into the signal, which he then fragments and sends back through the wormhole so that he can collect himself. Thus, he returns to the planet but has to confess that he lost their bet and takes Romana to a restaurant for an expensive meal.

Time-Placement: After Shada.

Transmission Ends by Richard Salter 8th Doctor
The TARDIS arrives on the planet Floronia, where the Doctor is surprised to find his ship floating down a flooded street. The TARDIS collides with a house and the Doctor tumbles into the water. A thirteen year old boy dives into the water to rescue him but it ends up with the Doctor saving the boy. In the boy's house the Doctor finds that the planet has fallen victim to a major malfunction in the terraforming satellite grid. Extreme weather across the planet has killed in excess of 400,000 colonists.

The boy, Alex, has fallen inexplicably ill. He puts this down to the alien that he calls George who is controlling his memories. The Doctor realises that George and Alex are sharing a telepathic link and that Alex has telepathic abilities. The Doctor uses his own telepathic abilities to contact George. He realises that George tries to communicate by dredging analogous memories from the minds of its correspondents. He finds George trawling relevant experiences from the Doctor's mind to explain that he is trapped in the terraforming satellite grid. The communication process is very violent and causes great pain for the Doctor and has caused fatal damage to Alex. The Doctor proposes taking Alex with him.

In the control centre of the grid the Doctor reboots the system to allow George to escape. At the same time he shows Alex the wonders of the universe that he will miss due to his impending death. The Doctor teaches George to follow the 'blue road' behind the TARDIS and find his way back home. George explains that his people had already conquered the planet Floriana when the humans arrived but were wiped out by the terraforming system. George still has one message to give and passes it to Alex, killing him in the process. The Doctor returns Alex's body to his parents but warns them that the colonists must leave the planet because George's final message was that there are more of his people on the way.

Time-Placement: The Doctor has the 7th Doctor umbrella, so before The Dying Days.

Notes: the memories that George extracts from the Doctor's mind are from the other stories in this collection, adding insights, in some cases, to the background of those stories.


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