Doctor Who: Revisitng THE WAR MACHINES

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Christopher Morley frees his mind at the Inferno Club...

Computers, eh? The modern world of business seemingly can't live without them, but WOTAN should serve as a cautionary tale - underestimate the machines at your peril!

Will Operated Thought Analogue, to give it its full title, has designs on more than just an office job & comfortable nine to five shift. Not that its creator Professor Brett has any clue until it takes control of his mind & has him supervise the building of some colleagues for it. Sadly the poor old Prof can't simply place a call to the IT department to work out the problem before he comes under the machine's spell- but someone who can do something beyond turning it off & on again is at hand!

Folks like him aren't simply on the job within normal office hours though. For he is the Doctor, and it's a good thing he's thought to pop into what is then present-day London. His assistant for this spot of technical support is Dodo Chaplet who's rather happy to be back home in London having mysteriously adopted a received pronunciation ''BBC English'' accent to replace the Northern burr she had upon first discovering that the TARDIS wasn't just any old Sixties police box.

Of course to the modern viewer the idea that the bigger on the inside temporal transport could resemble something as anachronistic as an old-time police box may seem bizarre. But as the only future incarnation of the Doctor to share Dodo's initial Mancunian accent puts it:
"It's called a chameleon circuit. The TARDIS is meant to disguise itself wherever it lands, like if this was Ancient Rome, it'd be a statue on a plinth or something. But I landed in the 1960s, it disguised itself as a police box, and the circuit got stuck."
It did indeed, but as he would note:
"I like it, don't you?"
Quite so! And indeed the companions he picks up to replace Dodo following her decision to stay put in Swinging London will fall for the disguise it adopts, and indeed witness his first regeneration, which is fast approaching.
DOCTOR: There you are, my child. It's nice to see you so well again. And you, my boy, away from that wretched tower.
POLLY: Never felt better, Doctor, Sir Charles has been looking for you everywhere. We've got a message from him about Dodo.
DOCTOR: Oh, yes, I've been waiting around here for her. Where is she? I very nearly left without her.
BEN: Left?
DOCTOR: Yes, er, to the airport, yes. She is well, I hope?
POLLY: She says she's feeling much better and she'd like to stay here in London, and she sends you her love.
DOCTOR: Her love? Oh, there's gratitude for you. Take her all the way around the world, through space and time, and then.....
But why was she unwell in the first place? She's eventually among the humans WOTAN sets to work on its plan to lead a mechanical uprising, and the machine wants the Doctor to aid its industrial action, using its sentience to place a call to him, presumably at standard rate.

Its already taken Ms Chaplet, too!
DODO: Don't be alarmed, Doctor. This is the method of establishing contact. Time is very short. Construction has already begun. You are needed.
DOCTOR: What happened?
DODO: It's all right, Doctor. You are now one of us. My function was to bring you in contact. Now I shall serve as an assistant.
DOCTOR: Oh, what are you talking about, child?
DODO: Listen, Doctor, construction is taking place at strategic points in London.
DOCTOR: What were you saying, my dear?
DODO: But you took the call. You made the telephone call You made contact, didn't you?
DOCTOR: Yes, yes, I think I remember, I was speaking to Professor Brett and all of a sudden there seemed to be an explosion. It very nearly knocked me off my feet. It was as if, as if...
DODO: What, Doctor?
DOCTOR: It was if something enormous and terrific was trying to absorb me. Yes, yes, yes. Oh, it's ridiculous, child, isn't it? Yes, yes, yes, there's something erratically wrong with that telephone, yes. It was just like an electric shock.
DODO: Then you received no instruction.
DOCTOR: From whom, my dear?
Unfortunately there's no helpline number for attempts at possession by machines. After a hard day's work looking into the problem, though, where better to let your hair, however white, down than the local nightspot? Before he finds his companion's mind has been requisitioned by WOTAN for its own ends, perhaps the man in the Astrakhan hat finds himself in the mood to mix business with pleasure.

Coincidentally it's the phone at the Inferno club that's made her abandon any attempts to free her mind & allow her ass to follow, to borrow from the lexicon of Funkadelic. Sadly Professor Brett's creation has far more formal plans for her mental capacity & is willing to forego her bottom.............
KITTY: Hello, Inferno. What? Who? Speak up! Oh, right, yes. I'll get her. Dodo, it's for you!
DODO: Hello? Yes, who is it? Hello, who is this? Hello?! Yes. Yes, I understand.
Just like that any thought of a good night out evaporates! And the Doctor has grounds to panic, despite a compliment on his fashion sense having made the acquaintance of Ben & Polly, Professor Brett's secretary (who'd quite rightly earlier been a little worried about her employment prospects once she found the computer that started all this could do her job quicker than any human) and the sailor boy who'll become her beloved.
DOCTOR: Ah, I thought I'd find you both here. Well I hope Dodo and yourself have enjoyed yourselves.
POLLY: Yes, thanks.
KITTY: Have one on the house, Doctor. It isn't every day we get the over twenties in this place. Oh, I dig your fab gear.
DOCTOR: Fab gear. Who is your friend?
POLLY: He's not exactly a friend. I've just met him. His name is Ben. Ben, the Doctor.
DOCTOR: Ah, yes, how do you do, my boy.
BEN: Hello, sir.
DOCTOR: I don't see Dodo about.
POLLY: I'm afraid she's gone.
DOCTOR: She's gone? Gone where, child?
POLLY: Well, she came to answer the phone about half an hour ago, and we haven't seen her since.
He and they won't see her again after she's sent to the country to recover from her ordeal, either.

Very soon Ben will be swapping HMS Teazer for a very different ship, and indeed a captain who can change his very face and personality when the need arises....

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