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Short Trips: Companions
edited by Jacqueline Rayner

Cover Blurb
Short Trips: Companions

Wanted: attractive young girl (boy may be considered). Must have strong ankles, healthy lungs, and no family ties. Ability to say “What’s that, Doctor?” in many different ways a necessity. Bizarre taste in clothes may be an advantage. Must be able to deal with traumatic situations involving life and death with no obvious after effects.

They didn’t always ask to travel with the Doctor. And even if they did, they didn’t know what the consequences would be.

Were Ian’s travels foretold? What paradoxical conundrums faced the Doctor, Charley and Will Shakespeare in Ancient Troy? And just how difficult is it to get a job when you can’t account for a gap of several years on your CV?

  • This is the second volume of short stories published by Big Finish in the Short Trips series.
  • Released: March 2003
    ISBN: 1 84435 007 X

The Tip of the Mind by Peter Anghelides 3rd Doctor, Zoe

The Time Lords send the Doctor to space station XZ49, where his former companion Zoe Heriot has taken a position with the UrtiCorp project. Her training in logic and her eidetic memory have allowed her to retain the memories the Time Lords tried to erase from her mind, but she is unable to access them consciously, and her work is suffering as she tries to make sense of her strange dreams. The Doctor assumes that the Time Lords have reconsidered his exile but are too embarrassed to clear his name publicly, and that they’ve sent him to help Zoe and to recover the TARDIS dematerialisation codes from her mind. He is aware that he will have to tread carefully, for if all of Zoe’s memories return in a single rush, the blocks imposed by the Time Lords will be reinforced and she will lose her memories again, this time permanently. Sadly, Zoe’s supervisor, Sandra Urtiman, is a failed scientist with a job in management who has nearly convinced herself that she’s really a vital co-ordinator of a cutting-edge research group, and when the Doctor arrives, Sandra fears that he’s there to poach away a valuable member of her team. Director Sheerstock advises Sandra to release Zoe from her contract, but Sandra spitefully disobeys his instructions and brings Zoe directly to the TARDIS, where the Doctor has been waiting to speak to Sandra. The sight of the TARDIS brings back Zoe’s memories in a rush, and just as the Doctor had feared, she collapses, her memories lost forever. The Doctor departs, furious, and realising that this is what the Time Lords intended all along. Zoe continues working for UrtiCorp, and never achieves her full potential.

Time-Placement: takes place during the Third Doctor’s exile. It cannot be placed specifically, but we’ve chosen to put it after Colony in Space, in which the Time Lords temporarily lifted the Doctor’s exile for the first time, on the grounds that he might more easily believe that the Time Lords have chosen to lift his exile.

The Splintered Gate by Justin Richards Ian and Barbara

While on holiday in Dorset, Ian Chesterton catches a glimpse of a woman who reminds him of his colleague Barbara Wright; she is sitting in a café with another woman, and there is a package on the table between them. Ian returns to his boarding house, where he catches his hand on an old wooden gate; later, he meets a gypsy woman who offers to read his palm, but she retreats in horror when she sees that the blood from the wound has caked into the lines of his hand. Some time later, back in London, Barbara introduces Ian to her friend Rosemary, who is also a palmist and resembels the gypsy from Dorset. Rosemary offers to read Ian’s palm, but seems unsure what she’s seeing and arranges to meet him later at a café to discuss her reading. Ian agrees to the meeting in order to be polite, and when Rosemary arrives, she brings with her a package which he assumes contains the crystal ball she’d mentioned. Rosemary tells Ian that he will soon take a long and arduous journey which will test him to his limits, and that on a day like today, he will sit in a café with a woman; there will be a package between them, and though he will be warned not to take it, he will do so nevertheless, sealing his fate. Ian scoffs at her claims, but she takes his money before he can stop her. Angered, he impulsively takes the package from her and leaves the café with it.

Time-Placement: Non-Doctor story. For Ian, it takes place before 100,000 BC.

The Man From DOCTO(R) by Andrew Collins Harry Sullivan

Harry Sullivan runs into a beautiful woman named Lettice Butts who seems to be on the run from nefarious parties. Lettice slips Harry a set of documents and asks him to deliver them for her, but before he can do so he is abducted by the sinister Abel Crumpton, leader of a race of reptilian aliens seeking a device known as the Egg. He is rescued by Radcliff, an agent of the Department of Overt and Covert Tactical Operations (Regional), and taken to meet “Auntie” Emily Dunkirk, leader of the Zantoran operations on the planet Earth. Zantor was invaded by Crumpton’s people, the Garvaks, but some Zantorans escaped with the Egg, a genetic template with which they can recreate their race on another world. Lettice, the last of the native-born Zantorans, is the only one who can activate the Egg, but Crumpton has now captured her -- and his people have found the Egg. With both in his possession, Crumpton can transform the people of Earth into his own kind. Harry and Radcliff travel the globe searching for the Garvak base of operations, and eventually locate it beneath the Belgian Alps. Before they are captured, Harry switches the Egg for an ordinary hen’s egg from the Garvak cafeteria, and when Crumpton activates the genetic sequencer, he and his fellow Garvaks are transformed into chickens. The Zantorans depart with the real Egg to start a new life on a new planet.

Time-Placement: Non-Doctor story. For Harry, it takes place after Terror of the Zygons.

Continuity: Harry has developed a reputation as a storyteller, as he tells his friends about his exploits with the Doctor (including the events of The Sontaran Experiment), rewritten slightly to make him sound more heroic. It’s implied at the end of this story that Harry may have made the whole thing up.

Apocrypha Bipedium by Ian Potter 8th Doctor, Charley

The Doctor tries to take young Will Shakespeare back home following the Dalek incident, but he misses the target and ends up in Asia Minor. There, he is reunited with his former companion, Vicki, who is now named Cressida and is happily married to the Trojan prince Troilus. Unfamiliar with regeneration, Vicki assumes that this is a younger version of the Doctor she knows, and thus convinces Troilus and his friends not to acknowledge that they know him, for fear of revelaing to the Doctor events which will occur in his future. The Doctor, meanwhile, knows that Shakespeare will one day write a play about Troilus and Cressida, which contributed to his decision to let Vicki stay behind in Troy; thus, if young Will meets them now, this will create a temporal paradox. The Doctor therefore asks Charley to get young Will thoroughly drunk so he won’t remember the events of this evening. Unfortunately, Vicki notes the Doctor’s increasingly bizarre behaviour as he tries not to acknowledge knowing her, and concludes that he’s not the Doctor at all, but a Dalek robot like the one she encountered on Mechanus. She and her friends thus attack the Doctor, Charley, and Will, believing them to be killer robots; fortunately, by this point in the evening they’re all too drunk to do very much damage. The Doctor eventually sorts through the muddle and explains the situation, but young Will reveals that he already knows the story of Troilus and Cressida from the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, and Charley points out that, in Shakespeare’s play, the love affair ended tragically. The embarrassed Doctor admits that he never actually read the play all the way through, and, recalling an esoteric theory that Aeneas’ relatives were the first Britons, advises Vicki and Troilus to move to Cornwall instead.

Time-Placement: between The Time of the Daleks and Neverland.

Continuity: Before finally getting young Will back home, the Doctor asks him not to mention that they’ve met before when they next meet (as related in Planet of Evil and City of Death). Also, one of the “reprinted sources” used to tell this story is a children’s book written by Flavia, the Time Lady introduced in The Five Doctors.

A Boy’s Tale by Gary Russell Adric

After seeing the loving family relationship between Nyssa and Tremas on Traken, Adric feels compelled to write a letter to K9, telling him of the one time in E-Space when he was happy. Bored by the rote education on the Starliner, Adric became intrigued when he stumbled across a lesson on “pets,” and was subsequently horrified to learn that most domestic animals on Terradon was killed off by a genetically engineered plague intended for use as a weapon -- and that the remainder were subsequently slaughtered by mobs who feared that surviving animals would still carry the plague. While researching the history of pets, Adric made contact with a woman named Máire, who showed him a secret community on the other side of the river -- a community which didn’t live by the strict rules of the Starliner, and where they still kept domesticated animals such as dogs. Even Decider Draith visited the community on occasion, and helped to keep their existence a secret; thus, when Adric’s absence from the Starliner was noted, Draith helped to cover it up, noting as he did so that Adric had a promising future ahead of him. This is why, when Adric left Alzarius in the TARDIS, he bonded more with K9 than either the Doctor or Romana, and why he misses K9 most of all.

Time-Placement: Non-Doctor story. For Adric, it takes place between The Keeper of Traken and Logopolis.

Kept Safe and Sound by Paul Magrs K9

A young boy named Jack goes shopping every Sunday in the village market. Although his mother disapproves of flights of fancy, Jack is buying up the Books of Mayhem, a multi-volume collection of old ghost stories and tales of the macabre. One day, Jack also finds the remains of an electronic dog in one of the market stalls, and listens, entranced, as the dog tells him that the ignorant shopkeeper is disassembling him for parts. Each time Jack returns to the stall there is less of the dog left. His mother spends her nights drinking and playing old records, and one night, after she catches Jack reading one of the Books of Mayhem, she tells him that his father was eaten alive by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. She eventually purchases a CD-ROM burner and begins to transfer her old vinyl records to CD, believing that this will preserve them forever. Soon afterwards, Jack returns to the market to find that the last volume of the Books of Mayhem has come in -- but he is reluctant to finish it, knowing that there will never again be any more stories as good as these. When he returns to the electronics stall, he finds as well that the dog has been almost completely disassembled; only its computer brain remains. Acting partly on impulse and partly on the dog’s urging, Jack steals the remains of the dog, who advises him to record the contents of his brain onto CD-ROMs. The dog promises to tell Jack stories beyond his imagining, and Jack takes the dog’s brain home to transfer his memories onto CD and keep him preserved.

Time-Placement: Non-Doctor story.

Continuity: as with any Paul Magrs story, trying to fit it into continuity is probably missing the point. Nevertheless: it’s likely that Jack’s father was killed during the set-up to Invasion of the Dinosaurs. There’s no telling which version of K9 this is; Marks I and II were last seen on Gallifrey, in Lungbarrow and Zagreus respectively, and Mark III fell foul of Sarah Jane Smith’s enemies in Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre.

The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe by Mark Michalowski 4th Doctor, Romana

Romana is soon going to regenerate, possibly due to cumulative damage from exposure to the Key to Time or its its chronodyne segment. Romana explores the TARDIS wardrobe while waiting for the change, and is surprised to meet a woman named Iraj, who claims to be the keeper of the Doctor’s wardrobe. Iraj, apparently a shapeshifter, offers to play a trick on the Doctor by pretending to be Romana and appearing to him in a number of different bodies, claiming that she’s trying each one on for size. Romana tires of the joke, but before she can return to the Doctor, Iraj unexpectedly traps her in a force field and reveals that she is a manifestation of the TARDIS itself. The TARDIS believes that the Doctor and Romana share a bond unlike any of his previous companions have had with him, and Romana realises that the TARDIS is jealous of her. Iraj leaves Romana trapped in the wardrobe and joins the Doctor on his next adventure, having taken on the appearance of Princess Astra. However, the Doctor’s behaviour on Skaro convinces Iraj that the Doctor doesn’t really want a loving companion by his side, but someone whom he can show off to. Realising that she has been behaving irrationally, Iraj concludes that she’s due for her maintenance check-up, and to avoid confusion, Iraj “pushes” Romana into regenerating into a double of Princess Astra. Though irritated and somewhat nervous about the TARDIS’ behavior, Romana nevertheless notes to herself that the Doctor did seem somewhat more attracted to her in his body.

Time-Placement: during Destiny of the Daleks.

Continuity: an alternative (or, perhaps, simply more thorough) explanation for Romana’s regeneration is revealed in the audio Gallifrey: Lies.

Hearts of Stone by Steve Lyons 5th Doctor, Adric, Nyssa, Tegan

The TARDIS materialises on a forest world which shows no signs of civilisation. Nyssa and Tegan appreciate the opportunity to relax, but Adric is soon bored out of his mind -- and angered that the Doctor doesn’t seem to be taking his feelings into account. While exploring, Adric and the Doctor find a glade full of remarkably lifelike statues, which Adric finds to be comforting in some way. That night, he hears a voice in his head and returns to the glade of statues, where he finds one exactly like him. The voice claims to be Adric himself, from the future, and it tells Adric that his feelings of frustration are natural. When the Starliner crashed on Alzarius, the natural evolution of the Marshmen became corrupted, which is why Adric feels confined in such an awkward body. If he abandons his flesh and becomes a statue, his mind can achieve its full potential. Adric accepts the “offer,” but the Doctor finds him and drags him back to the TARDIS, insisting that Adric was being brainwashed by a gestalt entity. Adric feels as though the Doctor has denied him a great opportunity; however, Nyssa convinces him to think long and hard about whether he wants to return. Back on the forest planet, the statue of Adric vanishes as the gestalt mourns the loss of a promising individual who could have enriched their collective mind.

Time-Placement: it’s implied that Adric recognises a Terileptil, which would place this after The Visitation. It’s also possible that these events spark the bitter argument which opens Earthshock.

Distance by Tara Samms Ian and Barbara

While undergoing tests at the hospital, Barbara meets Karen Ellis, the daughter of one of Ian’s research associates. Karen clutches Barbara’s hand as they speak, leaving a mark, and takes Barbara to meet her father; Frank Ellis is dying, and as Barbara speaks to him, he raves deliriously about a unicorn. On her way home, Barbara begins to suffer hallucinations and a feeling of being trapped, and later, at home, she recognises the pattern on her hand as the constellation of Monoceros -- the unicorn. Ian reveals that he and Frank recently conducted repairs on a NASA satellite which suffered a systems failure while taking infrared pictures of Monoceros and the Cone Nebula, which Barbara recognises from her hallucinations. She tells Ian about Frank, although she doesn’t tell him why she was at the hospital in the first place, and convinces Ian to visit the hospital. There, they find that Frank has died while undergoing surgery to remove a dermoid cyst from his body. Karen meets Barbara and convinces her to come home with her, claiming that only she can speak to Frank now. In Frank’s cellar, Barbara finds an infrared camera set-up which shows something insubstantial wrapped around her body. Karen then attacks Barbara, trying to cut the entity free from her in the deluded belief that it’s her father. Ian tracks them down just in time, subdues Karen and smashes the optical baffles from the NASA satellite, which Frank had taken home with him. This sets the entity free, and Barbara realises that this is all it ever wanted; Karen became irrational when it possessed her, confusing its attempts at communication with her own inability to communicate with her father. Barbara no longer feels unable to communicate with her loved ones, and finally admits to Ian why she went to the hospital in the first place.

Time-Placement: Non-Doctor story. For Ian and Barbara, it takes place some time after their travels with the Doctor. Though never stated explicitly, it’s implied that Barbara has cancer or some other fatal illness.

Qualia by Stephen Fewell 5th Doctor, Tegan, Turlough

When Kamelion takes on the form of Tegan’s mother, Tegan is initially irritated, but then realises that Kamelion offers her the opportunity to show Turlough what the Doctor was like when she first met him. However, Kamelion begins to behave erratically as he takes on the forms of the first four Doctors, and before Tegan or Turlough can stop him, he interfaces with the TARDIS’ telepathic circuits, sending the ship into spasm. The Doctor separates Kamelion from the console just in time, and deduces that, in addition to the objective, quantifiable data from Tegan and Turlough’s memories, Kamelion also accessed their subjective experiences and impressions, and was overwhelmed by the sheer influx of unquantifiable data. The Doctor constructs a casket which will shield Kamelion from the outside world, giving him a necessary respite from the floods of data which he can’t process properly.

Time-Placement: some time after The Five Doctors.

Curriculum Vitae by Simon Guerrier Polly

After twelve years working as a personal assistant, Polly is laid off due to cutbacks at her company. She finds it difficult for someone her age to find a job as a secretary, but eventually lands an interview with John Eliot Maurice, a young executive for a record company. She soon realises that Maurice is looking for someone younger and prettier, but her experiences with the Doctor have given her the confidence necessary to withstand the sometimes insulting interview. Maurice -- who also knew a man called the Doctor, albeit not the same one Polly travelled with -- is actually impressed with her confidence and ability to handle herself, and though he doesn’t promise her the position, she leaves that he will seriously consider her for it.

Time-Placement: Non-Doctor story. For Polly, it takes place some time after her travels with the Doctor.

Continuity: Maurice once encountered the Seventh Doctor and Ace during an incident involving killer fax machines. He is set to interview another contender for the job after Polly -- a young Australian woman who used to be a stewardess, quite possibly Tegan (although not necessarily).

Notre Dame du Temps by Nick Clark 7th Doctor; 8th Doctor, Anji

Before travelling to Skaro to fetch the Master’s remains, the Seventh Doctor stops off in Paris, 1979. His recent reunion with Romana has reminded him of his travels with the one companion whom he truly regarded as his equal -- and perhaps more. Thus, he shadows his past self about the city and takes the opportunity to retrieve the sketch of Romana which a French artist discarded in a café, and which his fourth self inadvertently lost while strolling about the city. Years later, in the Doctor’s eighth lifetime, his companion Anji Kapoor finds the sketch while browsing in the TARDIS library, but doesn’t understand its significance and leaves it out on the table. The Doctor himself has forgotten much of his past, but when he finds the sketch, something about it moves him deeply; however, he’s unable to put his feelings into words, and he sadly abandons the sketch in the library.

Time-Placement: for the Seventh Doctor, this takes place immediately before he collects the remains of the Master, as seen in the TV-movie. Since Anji is exploring the TARDIS libraries, we therefore suggest that she finds the sketch around the same time as the framing sequence from Grimm Reality. The Eighth Doctor has a single heart, and his segment therefore takes place between The Adventuress of Henrietta Street and Time Zero; probably later rather than sooner, as quite some time has passed since Anji’s segment.

The Little Drummer Boy by Eddie Robson 1st Doctor, Steven, Sara

The TARDIS repeatedly materialises on Earth at Christmastime, and the Doctor eventually discovers that his ship is following another time machine’s distress call. When the TARDIS materialises between the trenches on Christmas of 1914, Sarah meets a young boy, Robert, whom she also saw in Christmas of 1885 -- and Robert vanishes before her eyes. The Doctor traces Robert to Christmas 1956, where he realises that Robert himself is the time machine. Robert opens up to allow the Doctor and his companions inside, where they find the real Robert, over thirty years old, connected to the controls of the time machine. The machine itself explains that it is a prototype designed to take on the form of its symbiotically-linked pilot; however, their link malfunctioned on its test run, and the pilot ejected, leaving his ship to crash in Robert’s back garden in 1966. Robert’s twin brother had died of leukemia just after Christmas, his father had abandoned the family, and his mother had just committed suicide. Unable to understand what was happening to his family, when the young boy stumbled across the time machine he asked it to take him back to Christmas, when he had last been happy. It has been doing so ever since, unable to sever the link between itself and Robert, and although Robert had aged naturally inside the time machine, he still sees himself as a young child. Robert then touches the taranium core which the Doctor has been safekeeping, and it rolls time back over his body until he is once more eight years old. Deciding that the time machine changed the natural course of history, the Doctor sends it on its way and uses the TARDIS’ Fast Return Switch to take Robert back to 1965, where he takes the place of his twin brother. The Doctor in turn takes the dying Christopher to Mars, allowing him to see something wondrous before his natural death.

Time-Placement: set between episodes 7 and 8 of The Daleks’ Master Plan.

Continuity: the Fifth Doctor attends the famous World War I football match in Never Seen Cairo, and the Tenth Doctor attends it in Deep and Dreamless Sleep.

Hidden Talent by Andrew Spokes 3rd Doctor, Jo

The Doctor becomes suspicious of a new reality game show called Make a Star, on which contestants compete to become a famous singer. None of the fame-obsessed contestants has yet realised that the people who are voted off the show are never seen again. The Doctor pulls strings to get Jo selected as a contestant, and with her on the inside, he discovers that the Master is producing the programme. The Master is arranging for the diffident Chris to win the contest, intending to turn his teenage fans into an army of hypnotised followers; on the final show, the contestants are to cover pop songs that have not yet been written, throwing the timelines into disarray and allowing the Master to take over the world. However, before the final programme airs, Chris’ fans break into the studio, looking for him, and the Doctor tricks them into releasing him and Jo from the dressing room where the Master has imprisoned them. He then calls on the Brigadier to block the transmission of the final episode, and keeps the Master occupied until it’s too late. Though thwarted, the Master escapes.

Time-Placement: the Doctor and Jo mention Latep, so this takes place after Planet of the Daleks, and after Jo has been back on Earth for “a bit.”

The Canvey Angels by David Bailey 5th Doctor, Peri

The TARDIS materialises on Canvey Island in Essex in the summer of 1953, and the Doctor comes to suspect that an alien radiation is affecting the plants around St Anthony’s Church. While he investigates, Peri listens to gossiping townsfolk and learns that the young priest at St Anthony’s, Father Hemmings, was apparently having an affair with Marjory Kennedy; when her boyfriend, Walter Seacombe, learned that she was pregnant with Hemmings’ child, he beat her to death. Walter’s father has provided him with an alibi, and Marjory’s family blame Hemmings for her murder. The Doctor traces the alien radiation to the church crypt, where he finds that Hemmings is keeping four dead alien bodies. Hemmings tries to drive the Doctor and Peri out of the crypt, claiming that the creatures are fallen angels and that only he can give them the absolution they need to return to God’s grace. However, Peri has read the church records and deduced the truth; Marjory deliberately broke the news of her affair to Walter, and Hemmings thus blamed her for their unborn child’s death and refused to give her the Last Rites. When the aliens crashed to earth and their bodies washed up on shore, Hemmings believed that he had been given a chance to redeem himself by absolving them. Peri manages to convince him that he’s putting himself and his congregation at risk by keeping the radioactive bodies in the crypt, and when she forgives him his sins, he agrees to let the Doctor dispose of the bodies.

Time-Placement: uncertain; all we can tell is that the Doctor and Peri are travelling alone.

Balloon Debate by Simon A. Forward Sarah, K9

The Universe is under threat from a terrible extra-dimensional force, and in order to protect their companions, the Doctor’s first seven incarnations have placed them all inside the TARDIS. Unfortunately, the convergence of the different timelines causes the TARDIS’ interior to collapse in on itself; soon it will be too small to support life. The companions realise that they have no choice but to sacrifice some of their number so the remainder can survive until one or more of the Doctors return to rescue them. The companions thus engage in a debate to defend their right to survive, and then vote to see who will be expelled from the console room. However, the debate itself takes too long, and the six remaining companions must vote once more to whittle the number down further. Finally, only Victoria, Sarah and K9 remain, but the collapse is accelerating and one of them must go. At the last moment, K9 shoots Victoria, who is revealed to be Kamelion in disguise, and reveals to Sarah that the Doctor foresaw this and took the real Victoria away some time ago. Fortunately for Sarah and the other companions, however, this is all just a story which Sarah has written to get her creative juices flowing.

Time-Placement: Non-Doctor story. For Sarah and K9, it takes place before Moving On.

A Long Night by Alison Lawson 1st Doctor, Barbara

For the past year, Barbara’s mother, Joan, has been haunted by her daughter’s unexplained disappearance and by the whispers of scandal surrounding it. However, on 23 November 1964, exactly a year after Barbara vanished, Joan has a dream in which her daughter speaks to her and assures her that she is safe and well, travelling with friends and seeing sights she never dreamed possible. Joan wakes reassured that her daughter will one day return to her. Elsewhere, on the TARDIS, Barbara wakes from a similar dream, and when she tells the Doctor, he theorises that his ship’s telepathic circuits briefly placed her in contact with her mother, enabling Barbara to set Joan’s mind at ease.

Time-Placement: uncertain; we’ve chosen to place it between The Dalek Invasion of Earth and The Rescue in order to match the date of Joan’s dream as closely as possible to the broadcast dates of the surrounding TV episodes.

Source: Cameron Dixon

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