Under Three Hundred

The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

(Remember The Days Of The) Old School Yard

Out today, there’s a new special edition of Doctor Who Magazine about The World of Doctor Who – The past, present and future of fandom’. What a marvellous idea for a magazine. I had the enormous pleasure of writing the first article in the magazine, about Doctor Who fans in the 1960s, before there was social media, before there were fanzines, before there was a ‘fandom’.


For the article, I interviewed such legendary luminaries as Jeremy Bentham, Richard Landen, Ian McLachlan and Dick Fiddy, and tracked down and interviewed Stephen Qualtrough, who met William Hartnell as a young boy. I did try to track down the fans who ran The Official William Hartnell (Dr Who) Fan Club but sadly they eluded me. But, to be honest, I only had a limited amount of room, and I already had enough material for 10 pages, never mind 4. Jeremy, Richard, Ian and Dick all gave very interesting interviews, so at some point I’ll post on this blog some of the stuff that I didn’t have room for, as it seems a pity for it to go unseen.

Anyway, it was a lovely article to do, I hope people like it, and I see the rest of the magazine maintains a similar high standard.


In other news, Big Finish have announced a couple of forthcoming Doctor Who audio adventures that I’ve written. The first is Chase the Night, due out in January 2020, featuring Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor, Lalla Ward as Romana, Matthew Waterhouse as Adric and John Leeson as K-9. I was at the recording of this one a few weeks ago and it sounded marvellous. It’s set during the period where the Doctor and his friends were trapped in ‘E-Space’, having various adventures involving marooned spaceships. I can’t say what Chase the Night is about save for that fact that it’s set on a planet where daylight is lethal, but it’s very much in the ‘hard science’ mould of that era of the TV series. You can pre-order it here.


The second forthcoming adventure is The Day of the Comet, due out in January 2021, featuring Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor and Louise Jameson as his companion Leela. I attended the recording of this one too and it also sounded marvellous (I wouldn’t tell you if they didn’t). I’ll talk more about it nearer the time of release – 2021 sounds incredibly distant – but you can already pre-order it here.


And finally, there’s now a blurb for my more imminent adventure, The Crash of the UK-201. You can pre-order it here. The blurb is as follows:

You can’t change the past, every time traveller knows that. What’s done is done and cannot be unwritten. But what if it isn’t the past any more? What if it’s now the present?

The spaceship called the UK-201 was intended to fly to the Earth colony of Astra. But it never made it. Crashing on the planet Dido, a tragic chain of events was set in motion leading to the death of almost all of its crew and a massacre of the indigenous population.

The only survivor of these events was a young girl called Vicki. Rescued by the time traveller known as the Doctor, she’s been travelling in his ship for some time.

So when she suddenly wakes up in her cabin on the UK-201 again, without her friends, a few days before the accident, she’s faced with a stark choice... Can she stop the crash from happening? And if she can, should she?

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Puppets

Today - the great lost Jonathan Morris Doctor Who novel! Destination: Bandril!

Way back in 2001, I put together a ‘Past Doctor’ proposal with my fellow author, Lance Parkin. The story was for the third Doctor, with his companion Jo and the UNIT team, and the unique selling point, if you like, was that it would be the unseen adventure to which Timelash is a sequel. The idea being, it would be to Timelash what The Tomb of the Cybermen is to Attack of the Cybermen; the (vastly superior) story that inspired a comparatively lacklustre sequel. However, I was also keen that it would re-contextualise Timelash in order to make people look at Timelash in a new way – such as the idea that on Karfel, aristocratic women try not to display any emotion. Another of the ‘gags’ which made us roll in the aisles was that the most important person in our story, Queenie, would be Maylin Renis’ wife, who is killed off-screen in Timelash; our thinking was that Queenie was played by Penelope Keith and that she declined the offer to return in Timelash.


I thought we were onto a winner with this, but sadly range editor Justin Richards did not receive it with unalloyed enthusiasm. He probably thought it was an elaborate and deeply sarcastic practical joke, or at least not a serious submission. It was, though, our thinking being that if another book in the range fell through (as they were occasionally wont to do) we would be able to step into the breach with Destination: Bandril. But sadly it never went ahead.

This synopsis has languished on my hard drive ever since. However, I have used bits of it for other stories. The idea of someone on Earth gun-running to an alien planet turns up in The Crimes of Thomas Brewster, while a building sending out an aggression ray (a very hokey idea!) turns up in We are the Daleks. Nothing is wasted! And even in the unlikely event Big Finish or someone were to ask me to write a third Doctor story telling the unseen adventure to which Timelash is a sequel, I would have to start again from scratch.

I shall provide a little commentary after each chapter in italics.

- DOCTOR WHO -

DESTINATION: BANDRIL

A Third Doctor Adventure 

by Jonathan Morris and Lance Parkin



PART ONE

It is late evening on a planet of swirling mists and gnarled outcrops. A figure flees through the darkness; Malton;. He is heading for the concealed entrance to a time corridor. His planet has been invaded by hideous snake-like aliens, and the time corridor offers his only chance of escape. But the aliens have discovered the time corridor and set an ambush. There is a flashing, multi-coloured light and Malton dies in agony.

Earth, and the Doctors laboratory at UNIT HQ. The Doctor and Jo are packing their things, preparing for a holiday jaunt in the TARDIS. Whilst the Doctor studies his star maps, Jo pops out to get her bags. As she leaves, a man dressed like an extra from Salad Days appears in the laboratory. The Doctor recognises him as a fellow Time Lord. The Time Lord informs the Doctor that they have detected a planet about to face terrible danger. The Doctor agrees to help, and asks for the co-ordinates of the planet. The Time Lord disappears with the words, ‘You’re already there.’ The planet in terrible danger is Earth. As Jo returns, the Doctor tells them their holiday is cancelled.

The Brigadier enters and reports that they are on the trail of the Master. Someone has been buying arms on the black market, and paying for them with strange glowing crystals. The Doctor subjects the crystals to his scientific instruments.

As the Doctor is busy with his laboratory tests, Jo is bored and starts to read her newspaper. There have been apparitions and strange sightings at a rest home for the elderly in a town on the English coast, Malmington-On-Sea. Unable to interest the Doctor, Jo decides to investigate alone.

After Jo has gone, the Doctor informs the Brigadier that the crystals they have recovered are not from Earth. The Brigadier tells the Doctor that one of his soldiers will go undercover and pretend to be a gangster and meet with the arms dealer. The soldier in question is Sergeant Benton; Captain Yates is unavailable, having been seconded to the International Arms Limitation Conference in London.

Sergeant Benton meets the arms dealer, Kelton, in a multi-storey car park. Kelton wants to buy nerve gas and other weapons. He intends to pay Benton with a suitcase full of strange, glowing crystals.

 The Brigadier, the Doctor and UNIT troops arrive, intending to intercept Kelton. But Kelton suspects something and takes flight. The Doctor pursues him through the city by various types of transport; on foot, by car, by bicycle, by escalator, on foot. The Doctor manages to capture him and subject him to hypnotic interrogation. When asked who he is working for, he mentions ‘Sunset Years’. Seconds later, some of his fellow gangsters arrive and rescue him. By the time the Brigadier and the troops catch up, he has made his escape.

On their way back to UNIT HQ, the Brigadier and the Doctor discover that Sunset Years is a rest home for the elderly which has recently been the sight of mysterious apparitions.

Jo, meanwhile, has arrived at Malmington-On-Sea and met with an ex-resident of the rest home, who describes what she saw - people appearing out of thin air. After the experience, she was forced to move out for her nerves. Others have left the home in recent months, with staff refusing to work there. Other staff and residents have died in mysterious circumstances.

The Brigadier and Doctor are still discussing Sunset Years when Jo returns. The Doctor immediately deduces that these apparitions and the alien crystals are connected in some way. They have to get inside somehow - someone should go in undercover. The Doctor, Jo and the Brigadier debate who should go, and elect the Doctor as the obvious candidate, much to his indignation.

The Doctor, disguised as 80-year old cockney Old Joshua Smith, is taken to the rest home with Jo, who is posing as his grand-daughter. They are given a tour of the building by its owners, matronly Hettie Plumstead and her henpecked husband George. It is easy to get Old Joshua a place; people have left in droves because of the ghosts. The Plumsteads dismiss the ghosts stories - all the residents need are more cold baths. The Doctor, humorously pretending to be half-senile and deaf, is booked in, and makes friends with two other residents - retired electrician Freddie Gloucester and the glamorous Queenie O’Toole.

The Brigadier is informed that his agents have found Kelton again, and discovered that he has rented a warehouse on outskirts of Malmington-On-Sea.

After dropping off the Doctor, Jo bumps into Terry, Queenie’s handsome grandson, and they hit it off and decide to go for a curry.

Led by the Brigadier and Benton, UNIT surround the warehouse. It is full of crates of weapons and men loading them onto heavy trucks. There’s even a tank! Whatever these gangsters are up to, it’s something big. Benton is convinced the Master must be behind it.

The Doctor discovers that Queenie, very sensibly, thinks there aren’t any apparitions. Freddie claims to have seen people in strange clothes wandering the rest home at night, but he does take quite a lot of pills.

Meanwhile, Hettie Plumstead has seen through the Doctor and Jo and, via a video link, shares her suspicions with Kelton. Kelton realises that the authorities are on his trail and orders his men to move their equipment to Warehouse B.

Later that evening and the Doctor decides to investigate the building alone. He dodges the Plumsteads, but is joined by an ebullient Freddie. They set off in search of ghosts.

UNIT attack the warehouse, but Kelton has been expecting them.. Kelton’s men are well-trained and move the trucks out. As the battle gets into full swing, strange glowing snake-like aliens start materialising and attacking both UNIT and Kelton’s men. Seen by one of the aliens, Kelton tries to contact Sunset Years to warn them. The Brigadier realises that one of the trucks is on fire - with all the explosives in the warehouse, the whole building is going to blow! He orders his men to retreat.

The Doctor and Freddie meanwhile, are suddenly confronted by a terrifying presence materialising in one of the corridors of the rest home. A hideous, snake-like alien - it spots them and lunges. The Doctor is horrified - it is a BANDRIL!

Part One was mostly my idea. You can see me having far too much fun wheeling out all the tropes – a death in the opening scene, a Time Lord giving the Doctor a mission, the Doctor adopting a comedy disguise, an international peace conference, UNIT having a shootout in a warehouse and, of course, the reveal of the monster as the cliffhanger. 


PART TWO

The Brigadier evacuates his men as the warehouse is destroyed. The monsters disappear. But a lot of the trucks have got away, destination unknown.

As the Bandril leaps for the Doctor, it suddenly snaps out of existence. The Doctor explains to a terrified Freddie that it was only partially in their region of space-time and something cut the link with its place of origin. But if the Bandrils are on Earth, that certainly represents a dire threat.

The following morning, back at HQ, UNIT realise that any evidence and leads
they had have been obliterated by the explosion. Jo come in on top of the world, and recommends the Bengal Nights curry house.

Meanwhile, at Sunset Years, the Doctor is impressing Queenie with his tale of derring-do. It is clear they really quite like each other. The Doctor is decidedly reluctant to take a visit from his granddaughter Jo and his young nephew Alistair.

They tell him what he already knows: the Bandrils have a presence on Earth, and seem to be working with mercenaries to acquire heavy weapons. The Brigadier and Jo suspect an imminent invasion, but the Doctor isn’t so sure - if you were an alien monster about to invade Earth, wouldn’t you bring your own weapons with you?

The Doctor arranges a day out and heads to UNIT HQ to build a space-time teleportation detector. Jo sheepishly tells them she’s got a lunch date with Terry and heads off.

Kelton and his fellow mercenaries including the scientist Megellen discuss their next move. They have both UNIT and the Bandrils on their trail, so they will have to act carefully. Megellen says he will try to open another route to Karfel.

The Doctor fills the Brigadier in about the Bandrils - the Time Lord was right: in all the universe there are few monsters quite as terrible as the Bandrils. The Brigadier suggests a full military attack on the Sunset Years rest home, but the Doctor persuades him to wait and trust in his spying abilities and his space-time-teleporter detector.

Jo has lunch with Terry, and they even go shopping. He buys her a locket from Samuels with their photos in it. They part, but he’s left behind something, and Jo hurries after him - and sees him with Kelton. Terry is one of the mercenaries!

The Doctor returns to Sunset Years and Queenie.

Jo follows the mercenaries to the new warehouse they’ve rented. They have strange, futuristic technology as well as loads of weapons. She sneaks around the military vehicles and hides in the back of one. With her inside, it starts moving.

The Doctors detector goes wild another time corridor has been opened nearby. Whilst he and Freddie are busy taking readings, Queenie enters his room and points a space gun at them.


Jo emerges from the truck, to find herself in a purple, rocky desert, with three moons in a starless sky. She has moved all right - she is on the other side of the universe. Kelton and Terry are there, also holding space guns. Terry tells she should have realised – wasn’t it obvious that he was an alien? [On his planet, Terry is quite a common name].

Kelton says it’s a shame, but she knows too much - she’ll have to die. He raises his gun.

This part was mostly by Lance. Maybe he was taking the piss just a bit...

PART THREE

In an astonishingly anticlimactic but deeply typical Pertwee cliffhanger resolution, Terry persuades Kelton not to kill Jo. He reminds Kelton that they risk being caught by the Bandrils, and they should get moving as soon as possible. They are many miles from Karfel City.

The Doctor and Freddie are brought before the mercenaries in the rest home. Their leader is Queenie; or rather, Queen Tola of Karfel. Her fellow refugees and subjects Megellen, Hettie and George Plumstead are also there. Megellen has recently opened and closed a time corridor.

Simultaneously, the Doctor and Jo learn of the backstory. Karfel has recently been invaded by the monstrous Bandrils from the neighbouring planet of Bandrunn. The Bandrils have enslaved the population using their blue-faced androids and are occupying the capital city, having installed their own puppet government. The Karfelans are not sure why the Bandrils have invaded up until recently, they were co-existing quite happily, sending their scientists back and forth on cultural exchanges.

As the Bandrils invaded, the Queen and some of her subjects managed to escape down a time corridor, a new invention created by their chief scientist Megellen. Their plan was simple: to regroup and buy weapons with which to launch a counter-attack on the Bandrils.

Kelton informs the Queen that Jo has been brought to Karfel with them.

The Doctor disapproves of the Queen’s scheme, and, using his considerable charm, persuades her to adopt his, much better, plan. Whilst she and her servants (Hettie and George) will be placed under the protection of UNIT, he will travel to Karfel in the TARDIS and try to defeat the Bandrils and find Jo.

Contacting UNIT, the Doctor arranges for soldiers to patrol the corridors of Sunset Years, placing the Brigadier in charge (the Brigadier being somewhat bewildered by Queen Tola’s company). He has the TARDIS brought to the rest home. With Megellan’s help, he fixes the co-ordinates of Karfel and prepares to leave. The Brigadier insists that he takes some soldiers with him the Doctor agrees reluctantly to take Sergeant Benton and Sergeant McGough with him. Megellen also insists on going with him.

The Doctor and Megellen make a time-corridor-deflecting-device, and give it to the Brigadier to help defend the rest home from Bandril attacks.

The TARDIS departs for Karfel. The Doctor does not realise, however, that he has one more passenger on board. In his search for adventure, Freddie Gloucester has decided to stow away.

Meanwhile, the convoy of trucks on Karfel is under attack. The Bandrils seemed to know exactly where they would be; they don’t stand a chance. Many of the mercenaries are killed with the Bandrils’ multicoloured-light weapons, and the Earth weapons are useless against their Bandrilanium armour; Jo and Terry are taken prisoner, whilst Kelton escapes. The rest of the trucks and weapons are destroyed.

The TARDIS lands in Falchian rocks, a cave hidden deep beneath Karfel City. The Doctor and Megellan’s plan is to enter the city surreptitiously via the labyrinth of caves and tunnels beneath it. Megellen knows it is possible to reach the Inner Sanctum from the caves, but doesn¹t know the exact way. Much to his chagrin, the Doctor discovers Freddie’s presence; but there is no time for Freddie to be returned to Earth. He will have to go with them, though the journey will be fraught with many perils. Megellen explains that fearsome monsters live in the tunnels - the Morlox, the Spore-Bees, the Poison-Spitting Plants and other things simply too horrendous to mention.

Meanwhile, the Brigadier supervises the security at the rest home. The other residents are evacuated for their own safety; Freddie is missed. Queenie takes quite a shine to the Brigadier. They reminisce happily about military tactics.


The Doctor’s party has got lost in the tunnels and ended up back at the start.

Jo and Terry are brought before the Bandril leaders in the Inner Sanctum. The aggressive Bandrils are their blue-faced androids to control the local population. The Bandril Commander and Chief Scientist, Velkrow explains that they have been forced to invade Karfel. They are on the brink of starvation, after their grain crop failed, so they have decided to take Karfel’s grain. However, in order to gain access to this grain, they need the two keys to the city’s power generators. This key has been taken by the Queen of Karfel to another planet. They have located this planet, and, using their own time-travel technology, they are trying to recapture her. Velkrow is a bit of a megalomaniac, and wants to invade Earth too.

Jo and Terry are placed in a cell after their questioning, and mount an escape attempt.

On Earth, the Brigadiers men spot some Bandrils materialising in one of the corridors. They shoot at it, but to no avail..

And on Karfel, the Doctor, Megellen, Benton, Kilkenny and Freddie are making their way through the treacherous caverns, narrowly avoiding falling stalactites and traversing deep chasms. But then the dreadful Morlox attack. Sergeant McGough is killed, and the others are surrounded. Things look bad.

This was mostly by me. You see how I sneak the ‘puppet government’ gag in there. Subtle. I also deliberately ‘echo’ elements of the plot of Timelash as part of the idea that Timelash is a derivative sequel, recycling ideas from its predecessor.


PART FOUR

Thanks to the Doctor¹s daring, implausible and hitherto unmentioned ability to hypnotise Morlox with Venusian Lullabies, everyone manages to escape. But they are split up, and Benton and Freddie will have to make their own way through the treacherous tunnels. The Doctor and Megellan press on.

The Brigadier activates the Doctor’s time-corridor-deflecting device, and is astounded to see the Bandril swaying, disorientated and making alien mewing noises. Despite Queenie’s demands, he stops firing. The Bandril collapses.

Benton and Freddie avoid the sinister Green Men, savage inhabitants of the caves, and speed on their way.

The Brigadier is surprised just how softly-spoken and placid the Bandril is now its woken up. The Bandril introduces itself as Pritztik. It can’t account for its violent actions, but assures them that the Bandrils aren¹t usually like this at all. It’s as though they being manipulated by an unseen hand. Queenie takes some convincing, but has to admit there’s something unusual going on. Something ­ or someone ­ has turned the peace-loving Bandrils into nightmarish monsters.

The Doctor and Megellan are cornered by the primitive Green Men. The Doctor’s hypnotism proves ineffective and they are led away, to be sacrificed to the Green Men’s pet killer Spore Bees. We see that Megellan’s got a devious plan up his sleeve, but he is waiting for the right moment.

Benton and Freddie have found a way up to the surface and are met by members of the Karfelan resistance, including the Brigadier, Queenie and Pritztik, who have teleported to Karfel to uncover the truth. As soon as they arrive, however, Pritztik suddenly turns aggressive again; something unseen force is guiding him. In dreadful torment, Pritztik asks to be tied up, so that he cannot harm his friends.

The Doctor tries to negotiate with the Green Men, but to no avail. Megellan has some sort of device in his pocket, and unseen he uses it on the Green Men. Suddenly, the Green Men start beating each other up. With seconds to spare, the Doctor and company make their escape.


Velkrow and the other aggressive Bandrils detect a disturbance in the caverns. Paranoid, Velkrow orders the androids and Bandrils to man the barricades.

The Doctor still can¹t understand why the Green Men started fighting each other. Megellan tells him that it’s because they are so primitive, but the Doctor is not satisfied with that explanation. Finding a secret passage, they are trapped in a weightless tunnel, and have to find another way round.

The Brigadier, Queenie and their party are approaching the Inner Sanctum, when they are fired upon by the Bandrils and their androids.

The Doctor and Megellan reach Jo and Terry’s cell and free them. They are grateful to be rescued. But the Doctor tells Megellan to get in the cell - it is his aggression ray that has been the cause of the Bandril’s new-found aggression.

Megellen laughs - he will rule both planets. He¹s invented some fantastic stuff - time travelling, unlimited grain supplies, genetic engineering, clones, revolving chairs, space guns, blue-faced androids, aggression rays and so forth, and he never gets any credit - the Karfelans just take him for granted. His plan is as simple as it is devious ­ having turned the Bandrils into homicidal monsters, he will save the planet Karfel from them. Everyone will be so grateful they will make him Maylin and let him reign supreme.

The Doctor and Terry tell him he’ll get all the attention he wants - in court. Megellan laughs, points his aggression ray at Jo, and she leaps at the Doctor.

This part was by Lance, so presumably ‘Pritztik’ was his idea. I accept no responsibility. I remember that the gag for this part was that, for the sake of authenticity, it should consist almost entirely of outrageous padding, just like the middle episodes of most if not all Pertwee six-parters. The other gag was that this episode is based on the game from the 1973 Doctor Who annual – hence the Green Men, the weightless tunnel etc.


PART FIVE

The Doctor tries to reason with the feral Jo, but to no avail. He tells her doesn¹t want to hurt her but it seems far more likely that she’s going to tear his head off. She’s already knocked Terry out.

The Brigadier’s party arrives in time to save the Doctor, but they can¹t do anything for Terry and Jo. Having rescued the Doctor, they hurry to barricade themselves into a secure part of the pyramid. But Megellan captures Queenie and steals her ear rings, which are the two keys to the power generators of Karfel City.

Megellan is brought before Velkrow; he has been working as a Bandril agent and has been co-operating with them, helping them track the time-corridors and bring them the keys to the power generators. He now has their complete trust. He presents Queenie, Jo and Terry to them. With Queenie’s set of keys to the power reactor, they will be invincible. Velkrow asks why they don¹t want to people to see them. Megellan says invincible, not invisible, you cretinous creatures.

In a parallel spot of story-so-farring, the Doctor and Megellan explain what’s going on: Megellan has been using his aggression ray to spark war between the two sides. Megellen previously visited Bandrunn on an exchange visit, on which he sabotaged the Bandril grain crop.


Megellan tells Velkrow that he’ll need a new Maylin, and what better way of demonstrating the new era of interplanetary co-operation that for it to be Velkrow himself. Together, with an army of aggressive soldiers and blue-faced androids, they’ll be able to conquer the galaxy and where better to start than the planet Earth? Jo and Terry tell Megellan hell never get away with it. But Megellan just cackles insanely.

Now that he has lured some of the Bandrils to Karfel, all he needs to do is to increase the power on his aggression ray directed at the planet Bandrunn. All the Bandrils on Bandrunn will be destroyed, and thus the Bandrils on Karfel will be forced to surrender their planet to him. Megellan will then be swept to victory on a tide of public gratitude.

The Doctor, Queenie and the Brigadier start to draw up their plans. All they need to do is find a way to turn off Megellan’s aggression ray. The Doctor realises that to affect a whole planet, he must have a big spire pointing at Bandrunn. Queenie remembers that a few months ago, just before all this trouble started, Megellan built a Purple Searchlight and mounted it on the apex of the pyramid. No-one knew what it was at the time, but it was quite pretty, so they let him. The Doctor deduces that this is the aggression ray.

Under Megellen’s hypnotic control, Jo and Terry materialise back at Sunset Years. They seemed strangely subdued. Hettie and Brian wonder what’s going on.

In a tense, series of escapades, the Doctor, Brigadier, Queenie and Pritztik climb the outside of the pyramid, trying to reach the top. Blue-faced androids attempt to stop them, but the Doctor fights them off. He has realised that holding a hand mirror up to their faces confuses them – the whole city of Karfel is filled with mirrors, through which the androids are controlled.

Jo and Terry are constructing a giant version of the aggression ray in the TV room of the rest home. Hetty and Brian try to escape but Jo brutally guns them down.

In a carefully stage-managed scene, Megellan places the ear rings into their sockets in the power generator and activates the aggression ray, inflicting great pain on every Bandril on Bandrunn. Soon they all will be dead! Realising his treachery, Velkrow attacks Megellan ­ but is too slow. Megellan shoots him and claims victory.

As they reach the summit of the pyramid, and the Purple Searchlight, Queenie, the Brigadier and Pritztik become more and more aggressive. Of course, it’s the rays influence. The Doctor fights them off - and smashes the Searchlight.

At that signal, the rest of the Karfelans storm the Inner Sanctum. Without their aggression, the Bandrils and Megellan’s supporters are easily overpowered – and the androids are confused by hand mirrors. The Doctor confronts Megellan it’s over, he¹s beaten.

Megellan tells the Doctor he’s too late. He turns on a viewscreen, showing the completed aggression machine at Sunset Years. The whole Earth will fall to him, in a wave of expanding aggression and violence. Let the orgy of destruction begin! He reaches for the activation control…

This part was by me. I made up the ‘invincible’ joke when I was about 14. I’m quite surprised I haven’t used it elsewhere.


 PART SIX

Back on Earth, everyone is waking up, putting out the milk bottles and collecting the morning papers. And then suddenly the aggression beam takes effect, and people start smashing things and fighting amongst themselves and screaming and shouting.

Even worse, there is an international Peace conference going on. The Americans, the Chinese and the Russians have all convened in London to discuss arms limitation treaties. But now they are so filled with hatred it looks as though the situation could escalate to a nuclear war. Mike Yates is caught in the thick of it.

The Bandrils on Bandrunn believe the Doctor’s story about Megellan’s treachery. Having been influenced by the aggression beam, they have retaliated the only way they know how. They have launched a big Bendalypse warhead towards Karfel. Now they’re not feeling so aggressive, they’re very apologetic about it, but it’s too late to stop it. Karfel will be destroyed.

Megellan, meanwhile, makes his escape and runs down into the lower tunnels, where he has a secret laboratory.

The Doctor is faced with several dilemmas. Which planet should he strive to save first ­ the Earth or Karfel? And how? The Brigadier sarcastically suggests that perhaps these aggression machines could have the neutron flow of their polarities reversed. Of course, says the Doctor ­ given a change of circuits, they can be used to create peace. But first they have to get back to Earth.

The Brigadier, Freddie and Benton are sent in a time-corridor back to the Sunset Years rest home. Together they manage to overpower Jo and Terry; Freddie, who is a dab hand at electronics, then has the task of rewiring the machine, following the Doctor¹s hastily-scrawled instructions. The Brigadier calls his troops, but they are in disarray. The aggression ray has taken hold.

The Doctor, meanwhile, takes Pritztik in the TARDIS to the incoming missile, taking some of Megellan’s time-travel equipment with them. They materialise inside the missile, and together they set about attaching the time-travel equipment. Once the time machine is activated, the missile will be sent back through a time corridor to a point a hundred million years ago, where it can safely explode. But there is no way of operating the time-travel equipment by remote control Someone will have to stay on board the missile to do it, even though it means certain death.

After an awkward pause, Pritztik volunteers and the Doctor leaves in the TARDIS.

The Doctor’s plan works; the missile is sent back in time and destroyed, and back on Earth Freddie manages to re-wire the aggression machine successfully. All over the Earth, people who were formerly fighting are suddenly enveloped in a sudden feeling of utter peace and love. World war is averted. Flower power breaks out all over the globe. The Brigadier and Benton are unable to resist its overwhelming effects and end up embracing.

After five minutes, Freddie decides enough is enough and turns off the aggression/love machine. But, in the confusion, Terry and Jo have disappeared back down a time-corridor to Karfel.

The victory celebrations in the Inner Sanctum are short-lived, however, as suddenly Megellan appears on a viewscreen. He has decided to try more direct methods of taking power. Unless they let him take command, he will flood the city with poison gas. They have one hour to decide what to do....

The Doctor makes his way down to Megellan’s secret laboratory, where he meets Terry and Jo, who are still under his command. The Doctor manages to break their hypnotic conditioning – ‘Concentrate Jo, concentrate’ and resists the effects of Megellan’s mind control machine himself. Together, they manage to overpower Megellan, but some of the poison gas has already billowed out into the caves. Megellan recovers his aggression ray gun and flees.

The Doctor and Jo manage to get out of the caves alive, but Terry isn’t so lucky. He collapses, coughing, and dies. But, says the Doctor, at least he didn¹t die in vain. He died to make sure that Megellan would be defeated. And there is no way that Megellan could have survived in the caves…

Fleeing from the Green Men and their Spore-Bees, Megellan is confronted by the Morlox. However, Megellan believes that the Doctor has re-wired his aggression ray gun into a peace-making ray gun, and so fires on the Morlox, trying to pacify them. However, the Doctor was bluffing ­ he hadn’t reversed the settings ­ and the Morlox are made more aggressive and attack. As poison gas floods into the chamber, Megellan is set upon by the ravenous Morlox.

The Doctor negotiates a trade agreement between the Karfelans and Bandrils, exchanging grain and building up a peaceful-coexistence. Out of gratitude, the Karfelans decide to have the mirror in the inner sanctum painted over with an image of the heroic Doctor, so that they will never forget how he saved them from folly. Queenie is returned to her throne to rule Karfel in peace.


The Doctor and Jo leave in the TARDIS, the co-ordinates set for the Doctor’s laboratory in UNIT HQ. After they have gone, Queenie realises that Jo has foolishly left her locket behind; her only memento of Terry. And Terry's picture has fallen out of it, leaving only a picture of Jo. Queenie instructs the locket be given to Terry's granddaughter as a memento.

Back in UNIT HQ, the Brigadier describes how the recent pacification beam has brought about world peace, and the international conference have resolved to use far less nuclear weapons in future. And in the laboratory, the Doctor and Jo are congratulated by the mysterious Time Lord. He fades away, saying, ‘We’ll be in touch.’

THE END

This part was also by me. I still think it’s rather well-plotted. I like the idea of a story ending with an outbreak of flower-power. I vaguely recall that there would have been a scene with an Arab delegate snogging Mike Yates. I also rather like how neatly it dovetails into Timelash. A terribly silly and pointless thing to do but fun nonetheless. Which rather sums up the whole enterprise!

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Human Racing


Out this week – in fact last Thursday – the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine contains another instalment of The Blogs of Doom to surprise and delight readers of all ages. This time the Blog of Doom is Scaroth, last of the Jagaroth, and contains a Da Vinci joke of which I am particularly proud. You may note this sees a slight change of format; from now on the blogs will be characters that, er, readers might have heard of. So alas I shall never write a piece on Fear Her taken from the point of view of commentator Bob.


I’m not in the rest of the magazine, but I have a fun article in the next special edition so, fear not, I am being kept off the streets.