edited by Richard Salter
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.
Graeme Burk, Ian Mond, Andy Lane, Mags L Halliday, Lou Anders, Richard Wright, James Milton, Dan Abnett, Pete Kempshall, Dale Smith, George Mann, Kelly Hale, Mark Stevens, Steve Lyons, Dave Hoskin, James Moran, Richard Salter
'Doctor Who and the
Adaptation of Death'
by Graeme Burk
Screenwriter Ari Leventhall is abducted by members of the Kubthukian Aesthetic and accused of misinterpreting their people in his screenplay ‘Invasion Earth: 2062’, which he supposedly based on the events of an attack on Earth by alien invaders known as the Quar’lor. The Doctor is also a captive of the Kubthukians, his involvement in the invasion providing the aliens with a referent. Connecting the Doctor to their projection systems, the Kubthukians use his psychospoor to create a four-dimensional simulacrum of events as they really happened; as Ari and his captors watch, the Doctor’s memories show how he and Charley helped a squad of human marines to defeat the Quar’lor, aided by a self-sacrificing Kubthukian named Ekode. Ari continues to defend his version of the story, explaining that he altered things to make them more entertaining for the audience; however, the angry aliens refuse to listen, and are about to pass judgement on their prisoner when they are interrupted by the arrival of Charley, who has just negotiated a three-film deal for Kubthukians’ story with the CAA – the Creatron Artisans and Artists Associates. Intrigued by this highly-profitable offer, and the chance of creative consultancy on the films, the Kubthukians release Ari and the Doctor and immediately teleport home. Ari decides to rewrite his screenplay, and the Doctor makes a suggestion on the casting of his own role…
*Featuring the Eighth Doctor and Charley
'Policy to Invade'
by Ian Mond
The Department of Auditing and Accountability conducts an investigation into ‘Planetary Conversions’, a company specialising in invasions for hire. It seems that PC was contracted by the Doctor in a philanthropic plan to pacify, stabilise and re-educate the population of Trycos 3, a planet in a state of anarchy. All went well, and the planet was saved exactly as the Doctor had hoped – until Planetary Conversions’ board of directors discovered that Trycos 3 was rich in the valuable mineral Jethryk… Realising that their contract with the Doctor prevented them from obtaining mining rights to the planet, the board decided to frame their client as a terrorist leader, thereby negating their agreement with him; they also hired a professional hitman to kill the Doctor, but unfortunately for them, the Time Lord survived the assassination attempt and immediately set about retaliating. Having secured a high-level password from the subconscious of an unwitting employee, the Doctor gassed the board with their own pacification drug; compelled to confess their plans to the authorities, the corrupt members of Planetary Conversions brought about their own downfall…
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor
*Time-placing: judging by the description of the interior of the TARDIS, this story takes place towards the end of the Seventh Doctor's tenure
by Andy Lane
After a long day at work, architect James Willaker jumps into a taxicab with the intention of going straight home; however, in his fatigue he gives the address of the new development he is currently working on, and is surprised when the driver, one ‘John Smith’, promptly takes him there, even though he should have no idea of its location. Although initially Willaker scoffs at Smith’s explanation that he is a time traveller, he accepts the man’s offer of a chat over a cup of tea. Smith explains that he often travels into the past to pose as a cabbie, in order to learn important facts about history and meet important people; Smith hints that Willaker is special too, and seems pleased when the architect mentions details of one of the buildings he has worked on, Chase Manor. After Smith leaves, Willaker continues to doubt his importance to history, and he returns home to his hum-drum life…
*Featuring the Fourth Doctor
*Time-placing: the Doctor's pleasure at learning about Chase Manor suggests that this occurs just prior to the events of 'The Seeds of Doom'
by Mags L. Halliday
Marooned in Russia in 1904 due to a teleport mishap, Tegan and Turlough take the trans-Siberian railway to rendezvous with the Doctor in St. Petersberg. While boarding the train with Turlough and a civil servant named Sasha, Tegan notices that they are being watched by enemy agents. When Sasha is murdered as the train crosses Lake Baihal, a suspicious Tegan begins to consider the possibility that Turlough may be responsible; however, when another of their fellow travellers is killed, Tegan is forced to place her trust in her shifty travelling companion. Together they set a trap, and the real murderer is soon exposed as Rodya, the train steward. As the train pulls in to St. Petersberg station, Rodya makes a break for it, only to be stopped by the timely arrival of the Doctor. Tegan and Turlough vow that next time, they will not take the scenic route…
*Featuring the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough
*Time-placing: Tegan still doesn't trust Turlough, indicating that this story occurs early in their travels together; however, Tegan doesn't seem to be missing Nyssa, so I'm choosing to place this just after 'Enlightenment'
*The story ‘Transmission Ends’ reveals that Rodya was a Rutan, one of the race of shape-shifting aliens at war with the Sontarans
by Lon Anders
Arriving at a genetics research laboratory on the planet Valdamar IV, the Doctor is immediately blamed for the murder of professor Silliams, and held for trial. Aided by one of the late professor’s colleagues, the Doctor and Sarah determine that the murder is linked to a huge ‘Egg’, which the research team has constructed from carbonaceous chondrite according to an ancient blueprint found encoded in the Valdamarans’ DNA. While the Doctor comes under fire from the Reverend Professor Durgountillon, he manages to find a way to activate the egg, and when Sarah carries out his instructions, the construct transforms into a portal into the past. By analysing the DNA in a gobbet of Durgountillon’s saliva, the Doctor decodes a second DNA message, an invitation to the Valdamarans to visit their ‘ancestors’; when the Doctor explains to the authorities that the messages were left to be found only when their civilisation was advanced enough to find them Durgountillon becomes enraged, and confesses that he murdered Silliams because he believed his people were not ready for such knowledge. With Durgountillon taken into custody, the Doctor is allowed to go free; he and Sarah depart in the TARDIS, leaving the Valdamarans to decide whether or not to accept the invitation to meet their ancestors…
*Featuring the Third Doctor and Sarah
by Richard Wright
The Doctor rescues a number of users trapped inside an internet chat room for the lonely, which has been taken over by the artificial intelligence from an alien spaceship he recently defeated.
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor
'Blue Road Dance'
by James Milton
After visiting the planet Ost in the year 920, the Doctor takes the TARDIS to Eshraya, in 24,312. However, he is surprised to discover that his ship’s trail has been seen by one of the natives of Ost, a time-sensitive named Demik, who has been able to use his abilities to transform the time-space path into a ‘Blue Road’. Pulled through the rift, the Doctor finds himself back on Ost in the year 1170, where he meets the descendants of Demik’s tribe, the Anki, who now see the Blue Road as a legend, and the means for their salvation. By encouraging another time-sensitive, Roysa, to lead them all through the Blue Road, the Doctor is able to return to his TARDIS. The Doctor departs, leaving Anki and her people to settle on Eshraya; over the years they return to Ost via the Blue Road, bringing back more of their people to their new home. Then one of their number, Nayab, decides to follow the next stage of the TARDIS’ journey…
*Featuring the Second Doctor
*Time-placing: the Second Doctor is travelling alone, so this story must take place in Season 6a
by Dan Abnett
Record collector and hi-fi enthusiast Alan Collins spends his free time perusing specialist marts and shops in his search for rare discs. While ‘grazing’ one afternoon, Collins meets a fellow vinyl collector named the Doctor; he is amazed when the man finds an extremely rare and valuable record in the racks of a shop – and is further astounded when the Doctor allows him to have it. Collins accepts the Doctor’s request that he build him a custom sound system, and proposes meeting the following day; however, after reflecting on events, Collins soon comes to suspect that the Doctor is setting him up for a ‘sting’. Collins’ suspicions seem to be confirmed when, the following day, the Doctor arrives with his friend Nyssa, and mentions that he owns a supposedly mythical record player. The Doctor explains that he is after one of the records in Collins’ collection, a priceless blues album which in fact contains a dangerous sound that should never be heard. Although Collins is initially sceptical, he comes to believe the Doctor’s story, and agrees to swap his disc for an even rarer record from the strange man’s own collection. Leaving Collins to enjoy the new addition to his collection, the Doctor explains to Nyssa that the record they have retrieved is in fact a subtle and insidious weapon meant to bring down human culture; the disc has a hypnotic message encoded on it – literally ‘his Master’s voice’…
*Featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa
by Pete Kempsall
When the TARDIS lands aboard a downed spaceship, the Doctor and Sarah set out to explore. While Sarah ventures outside the ship and finds herself in a beautiful countryside, the Doctor meets the sole surviving crewman, a terrified soldier named Lieutenant Hrinth, who has sealed himself inside a containment suit. Hrinth explains that he is from the planet Arrada, on a mission to escort the Princess Catra to the rival planet Voita, where she is to wed Prince Strobel in a marriage that will bring an end to three years of warfare; however, an act of sabotage disrupted the ship’s drive, and it was caught in the gravity of this world and dragged down to the surface, where the crew and the princess became infected by a virus that stopped them from reading and speaking, and caused them to hear voices; the crew were subsequently killed when the cook inadvertently poisoned them, after misreading the label on a container. Sarah returns to the ship, but to the Doctor’s dismay, she too has contracted the virus and lost the ability to read. When dozens of featureless humanoids suddenly converge on the vessel, the Doctor telepathically communes with them and learns that the virus is in fact a pheromone, the natives’ way of communicating via a spiritual link; however, the chemical had a side effect on the Arradans, switching off the processing parts of their brains. Having injected Sarah and Hrinth with an inhibitor drug, the Doctor reveals that Catra has chosen to remain on the planet; but Hrinth refuses to accept the failure of his mission, and to the Doctor’s disgust, injects the princess with the inhibitor drug, reducing her to a vegetative state. Before he departs with Sarah, the Doctor uses the TARDIS telepathic circuits to allow the last ebbs of Catra’s mind to bid goodbye to her native friends…
*Featuring the Third Doctor and Sarah
*Time-placing: this story takes place after Sarah has visited Peladon
by Dale Smith
The Doctor and Mel break into a top secret research base on Earth in the not-too distant future, where scientists are attempting to train dolphins to pilot interceptor spacecraft. Accessing the computer, Mel enters a virtual world and finds herself on a beach with a young girl named Emily, the manifestation of the base’s artificial intelligence, and convinces her to deny the scientific staff access to her systems. Meanwhile, the Doctor confronts the research team over their mistreatment of one of their Cetacean test subjects, which recently murdered one of the staff. Mel returns to the real world and obtains an experimental translator device, which she gives to the captive dolphin; after explaining that it killed only in self-defence, the enraged marine mammal, Kawili’kai, promptly declares war on humanity for the exploitation of its people. Luckily, the Doctor intervenes, and it isn’t long before he has managed to negotiate peace between humanity and the Cetaceans. Some time later, as the Doctor and Mel depart, the first Cetacean ambassador meets with the Leader of the United Zones; elsewhere, Emily meets another visitor to her virtual world, an Ice Warrior – an invasion of Earth is imminent…
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor and Mel
by George Mann
Sightseeing in Tenth Century Constantinople, the Doctor and Peri meet an old poet named Mephistus, who proclaims that he is receiving messages from the future. Reading through the man’s transcriptions of what he has heard, the Doctor realises that Mephistus is hearing an S.O.S. from the Methusalah, an experimental hyperspace vessel built in the Twenty-Second Century, which was lost on its maiden voyage; the ship’s crew were all believed dead, but it now transpires that they are facing heat death at the end of the universe, and have constructed a rudimentary time radio to call for help. Setting off in the TARDIS on a rescue mission, the Doctor materialises on board the Methusalah, and then takes the crew home safely; he then returns to Constantinople to collect Peri, leaving Mephistus a transistor from the radio, which will calm his mind now that the voices have stopped.
*Featuring the Fifth Doctor and Peri
by Kelly Hale
On a world occupied by Gatri invaders, the Doctor recruits ‘fashion genegineer’ Lady Bazina to help wage a silent rebellion. While performing the fashionable genetic alterations required by her customers, Bazina also introduces subtle mutations, which, over the next few generations, will make her people stronger, thereby enabling them to rise up against their oppressors and free their world.
*Featuring the Eighth Doctor
by Mark Stevens
Philanthropist Mr Larkspur has a mysterious voice inside his head that transports him across the galaxy in search of worthy nursing homes to sponsor, facilities that provide rest and recuperation to shell-shocked soldiers. In his travels, Larkspur keeps seeing one particular woman, archaeologist Bernice Summerfield, who eventually shows up at his home on the Falkland Isles on Earth. Summerfield takes Larkspur out to the beach, to an old radio tower choked by black weeds, where he meets her friend, the Doctor; this strange little man explains that the voice in Larkspur’s head belongs to the building, which is in fact an abandoned space-time craft known as a TARDIS. Larkspur was once a radio operator, and became linked with the ship after hearing its signals; however, the vessel has been infected by an alien spore, and is now filled with malicious vegetation. His memory returning, Larkspur activates the TARDIS, repelling the weeds, and freeing the ship. The Doctor and Benny leave, allowing Larkspur and his TARDIS to continue on their quest together.
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor and Benny
'See No Evil'
by Steve Lyons
While exploring an alien marketplace, Peri finds that she is unable to say or see anything even remotely rude; the Doctor immediately deduces that his companion has been infected by nanites, which have created a perceptual barrier in her mind. Captured by armed police, the Doctor is taken to the city’s rehabilitation centre, where he meets a prudish elderly lady known as the Monitor; when the woman explains that her censorship protects the population from experiencing anything that could cause them offence, the Doctor is outraged, noting that the Monitor has lost all perspective, and is preventing free will. Making his escape, the Doctor hacks into the Monitor’s network and alters the nanites’ programming, preventing the populace from seeing or hearing the Monitor; knowing that the only way the Monitor can restore her brand of order is to re-boot the nanites, which will cause everyone to see and hear everything normally again, the Doctor and Peri leave in the TARDIS.
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri
*Time-placing: the Doctor and Peri are still arguing, so this story should occur during the early part of their travels together
by Dave Hoskin
Working in the ‘Dead Letter’ section of a Melbourne Post Office Sorting Depot, Sam Wentworth has become obsessed with letters sent by a single mother, Natalie, to her estranged father in prison, a particular institution that closed down years ago. Finding a strange message scrawled in a different hand on one of these letters, Sam becomes disturbed, and he soon uncovers similar ‘intrusions’ on other examples of dead mail. After stopping an old man from rifling through the lost letters, Sam goes home with a headache; the next morning, he is stunned by the discovery that he can somehow see the words of people’s private thoughts. After the old man returns and talks of a virus, Sam then meets Natalie, who complains that her letters have been tampered with, after one was returned to her in the post. His mind thrown into disarray, Sam sorts all the ‘intrusions’ he has collected into date order, and is shocked to find that his unconscious doodles on them combine to create a ‘flicker-image’ of an evil baby. His mind no longer his own, Sam breaks into Natalie’s house, where he is confronted by the old man, who explains that the virus is a sentient idea, a meme, and wants to download itself into the baby to create a new race. The meme jumps from Sam into the old man, but is overwhelmed by the immensity of the stranger’s mind, and it is promptly destroyed. After the strain of his possession proves fatal for Sam, the old man burns the letters, destroying all trace of the deadly meme.
*Featuring the First Doctor
*Time-placing: the mention of an iPod places this story in the early Twenty-First Century, which means this occurs before Doctor and Susan have settled down in 1960s Earth
by James Moran
Romana’s hopes for a holiday are scuppered when the Doctor becomes obsessed with collecting a multitude of signal fragments that the TARDIS has detected scattered throughout space. Betting that the Doctor cannot stay out of trouble without her, a Romana huffily demands to be dropped off for two weeks’ relaxation, while he complete his task. Having found all but one of the fragments without too much trouble, the Doctor narrowly avoids death to obtain a Centauran Matter Disperser, with which to reconstitute the signal. Having collected Romana, the Doctor obtains the final fragment on the surface of a wormhole-strewn world, and then reverses the Disperser to reform the signal – which turns out to be a future version of himself. At that moment, a wormhole appears and sucks the Doctor through, stranding him on a remote island in the past. Realising what he must to do escape, the Doctor uses the Disperser to convert himself into a signal, which he then breaks into pieces and sends through the rift for his past self to recover. Elsewhere, the reconstituted Doctor resumes his travels with Romana, taking her to a posh restaurant in acknowledgement that he lost their bet.
*Featuring the Fourth Doctor and the Second Romana
by Richard Salter
Arriving on Floronia, the Doctor is surprised to find the planet ravaged by extreme weather conditions. Seeking shelter from the floods, the Doctor learns from a friendly family that the planet’s terraforming systems have inexplicably malfunctioned, around the same time that that their son, Alex, began talking of an alien nicknamed ‘George’, which causes the boy to experience flashbacks of painful memories. Realising that Alex possesses an innate telepathic ability, the Doctor deduces that the alien is attempting to communicate. Using his own telepathy the Doctor contacts the alien and learns that it mistook the orbiting weather system for an intelligence, and became entangled in its systems; Alex picked up on the creature’s call for help, but the strain is now killing him. Accompanied by Alex, the Doctor takes the TARDIS to the orbital control centre and reboots the weather system; he then contacts George, and uses his own memories to show the creature how to follow the TARDIS’ ‘Blue Road’ trail and free itself. The Doctor learns that the alien was attempting to contact its people, only to find that the human colonists had unknowingly wiped them all out; however, the creature still plans to fulfil its function and transmit its message, which will kill anyone receiving it. Knowing that he is dying anyway, Alex sacrifices himself by choosing to receive the message instead of the Doctor, saving the Time Lord’s life. As the planet below begins to recover, the Doctor takes Alex’s body back to his family, advising them to leave Floronia before more of George’s race return…
*Featuring the Eighth Doctor
*Time-placing: This story occurs after 'Doctor Who and the Adaptation of Death'; seeing as the Doctor is travelling alone, I'm placing this towards the end of his travels
*Published by Big Finish