DOCTOR WHO: Classic Doctors, New Monsters, New Possibilities – Part 2

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Tony Fyler couples Classic Doctors with New Series Monsters for another collection of new possibilities.


Read Part 1 here, featuring the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Doctors.

The Seventh Doctor: The Fault In The Stars and The Hunger
In the Old Times, when the Racnoss were being hunted to extinction, the King and Queen separated, each taking an army with them, to better their chances of survival. The Queen and her army ended up at the heart of the Earth. The King found a wormhole into a different universe, where he and his descendants have been ruling and eating and conquering ever since.

Until now.

Now, the unthinkable has happened – the Racnoss have eaten their way through an entire mini-universe. The only thing there is left to eat is each other. AchMect the King is determined to lead his people back to their home universe.

All of which is unknown to the people of Galadra (destined one day to be renamed Galadra Prime, the hub of a beneficent federation of worlds but still in a primitive Bedouin stage when the Seventh Doctor and Ace pop in for tea and houmous). When new stars appear in the sky, it causes chaos – prophets claim it heralds the birth of a savior, doomsayers claim the gods are angry and must be propitiated. Rationalists (never popular in times of crisis) claim they cannot be stars, and that the whole situation is impossible.

Gangs rise up in the street, and Shalim, the Caliph of Mahadrabash, (the main hub of commerce and culture on the planet), finds his throne threatened over the new stars. All the while, the Doctor has an uneasy suspicion of what they really mean. The time travelers are embroiled in local power struggles, as Shendrach, the Grand Vizier, plays politics with the local warlords to unseat the Caliph and seize power for himself. As the Racnoss arrive, it becomes clear that the Shendrach has been communing with the King, and the deal has been done – the Caliphate will be his, and the Racnoss can feed on his enemies. As Episode 1 ends, more and more stars become visible in the sky, a seemingly endless array of web-stars, ready to swarm back into the universe. Then the King, fresh from his hunger in the other universe, sinks his teeth into his erstwhile helper, and calls his Racnoss army to the feast.

Episode 2, told mostly from Ace’s point-of-view, tells the story of the day the Doctor ran away and left her to die on a planet swarming with spiders, their hunger insatiable, their power unstoppable. It tells of how she fought the Racnoss to survive, forming a resistance cell (Ace does Lawrence of Arabia meets Starship Troopers) while the Racnoss swarmed over the planet. The Doctor ran away, and she’s been fighting for a year, expecting nothing now but to one day die and be eaten by the rapacious spider-creatures. Then, as she’s telling the story, there are noises of death. The spiders are dying. Everywhere, they are dying. Throughout the system, where they’ve rampaged, they’re all dying.

And then the Doctor returns for her. His plan, faced with the return of the Racnoss, was desperate and horrible. For once the master strategist was caught on the hop, caught up in events with no time to stop them unfolding. He tried everything, he says – inverting gravity pulses to suck the Racnoss back into their sub-universe failed, an all-out war would be bound to fail, as they breed faster than humans. His only choice was to go back in time and introduce a plant all across the quadrant. A simple plant, similar to a garlic bulb, which grows on worlds all across the Galadran system. While harmless to the local life forms, in sufficient intensity, it will prove fatal to arachnoid life-forms like the Racnoss. Yes, he concedes, his plan was desperate enough to depend on the Racnoss eating enough of the Galadrans to build up the toxicity in the Racnoss’s systems and kill them. Just when Ace thinks the Doctor can do nothing more to shock her, he has proven her wrong. She leaves with him, but she’s unsure whether their relationship will ever be the same again.  


The Second Doctor: The Warmongers
On the resort planet Phringara, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are enjoying some well-earned rest and recuperation – the Doctor has some caves he wants to investigate, Zoe wants to talk to the planet’s artificial climate technicians about how they generate the resort’s sun-bubble, and for Jamie, the chance to lie around with a few ales and some fair lassies can’t come soon enough.

Then from space comes a message: Surrender or your world will be Blitzed. Mass panic ensues, and the Doctor tries to get the resort’s directors to send a message of submission: he knows what’s coming. They refuse, and then their buildings start falling down – there’s a Skovox Blitzer on the loose on the planet.

The Skovox Legions, the Doctor explains, are legendarily powerful, but actually nothing more than machines. He leaves Jamie and Zoe on Phringara to deal with the lone Blitzer on the planet, while he takes a rocket to the ship in orbit, to try and parlay with the Warmongers, the builders of the Skovox Legions.

The craft he’s piloting is blown from the sky, but the Doctor manages to use a homing life-capsule to the Skovox ship. Meanwhile, Zoe and Jamie are conducting a Blitzer-hunt, trying to lure the killing machine out without getting slaughtered.

Onboard the Skovox ship, the Doctor has to elude the Skovox Servitors, a kind of lethal but low-spec service and security robot, and manages to override one Blitzer’s programming (whom he calls Fred). He sends it on a mission to the engine room, then sneaks to the captain’s office, trying to avoid Servitors, Blitzers, Artificers and Generals. There is only one non-robot on the ship, and like all warmongers, he’s contemptuous of the little people. He doesn’t even particularly care about Phringara, it’s just on the way to his real war. The Doctor tells him that unless he stops the attack on the pleasure planet immediately, Fred has orders to blow up the engine room. He laughs.

Down on the planet, Jamie and Zoe find the Blitzer, and the Highlander has his work cut out running and jumping to avoid the thing’s deadly weapons, leading it to where Zoe can pose it logic and coding problems. She can’t pretend to be its superior, but she can confuse its brain. She does, and the Blitzer goes into dormant mode, awaiting further orders.

On the ship, after a showdown which fails to convince the warmonger of his threat, the Doctor runs, chased by several Blitzers. He finds a computer terminal and introduces an algorithm into the Skovox programing that means the Skovox robots see their non-robot controller as a threat. The Doctor broadcasts a warning to him, and then heads to the escape pod. Just as he gets there, the warmonger arrives and they tussle to get in the pod. The Doctor wins – then grabs the man and takes him with him. As the pod tumbles down towards Phringara, Fred completes his task and blows up the engine, setting off a chain reaction of Blitzer throughout the ship, which vapourise it. While the warmonger is taken away to be put on trial by the Phringaran authorities, the Doctor de-weaponises the Blitzer on Phingara, and instructs it to help with the rebuilding work. The three friends slip quietly to the Tardis, deciding that perhaps rest and recuperation is not all it’s cracked up to be after all.


The Eighth Doctor: Scream of the Isolus & Mind Over Matter
In deep space, the SS Dauntless is on a hunt for fuel when the Tardis lands onboard. All seems normal and dull and the Doctor is about to leave when an alarm sounds – they’ve found one! One what? One swarm of the Isolus, with their unique power to turn images into reality. Throughout the eight galaxies of the Purgona system, the Isolus are isolated and forced into the generation chambers of matter converters that make everything people need, like replicators. Fed any image, the Isolus are forced to create the items. Forced by fear, by a reduction in the anaesthetic quality of the environments in which they’re housed, allowing them to briefly realise their solitude and their situation.

The Doctor is horrified that the creatures are being hunted to extinction and enslaved this way. In Episode 1, his fight is to free the swarm captured by the Dauntless and escape with his life. In Episode 2, he must take on the JustWish Corporation that supplies the matter convertors – and then, having freed the Isolus, stop them taking their vengeance on the children of the entire Purgona system.

Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the 70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By day, he runs an editing house, largely as an excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book. With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk

This article was originally published July 15th, 2015. Classic Doctors, New Monsters Vol 1 from Big Finish is released July 2016. Find out more here.

 

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