prose stub

Ashes of the Inferno was a short story in the Lethbridge-Stewart series which was released in 2016.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Five years since Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart visited an alternate reality, General James Gore - Alistair's 'brother' from that timeline - has been forcibly retired from the Vault and lives out his days in a government retirement home for other ex-spooks and spymasters. The staff are unaware of their charges' history and young attendant Rhys Rubery only knows Gore as a man who arranged him flying lessons.

In the night, Gore sees the 'ghost' of Brigade Leader Alastair Lethbridge Stewart, screaming at being abandoned. Gore is rattled by the vision, especially at the knowledge his 'brother', raised by their father to be the perfect jackboot, had the sadism to reach Brigade Leader. That morning, the Brigadier visits Gore at the home and the two have a wary conversation. Their last interaction was when the Brigadier sent Gore a photo of himself and this timeline's James Lethbridge-Stewart as children; despite that, the Brig refuses to acknowledge Gore as being Kate's uncle.

Gore describes his vision and is horrified to learn his home reality has likely been destroyed in a great cataclysm. He pleads with his 'brother' to take him to the Stahlman facility so he can say some measure of goodbye to his lost world.

After being transported to Eastchester, James Gore enters the hut where the Doctor had gone to and from the other Earth. He is confronted with another vision: the Brigade Leader desperate and threatening an unseen figure. A panicked James tries to intervene and when he touches the ghostly image, he's shot by the gun the Brigade Leader is firing.

The Brigadier tries to plug the wound as Gore apologises to the young Alastair, saying he should have protected him. He understands as he dies that he is still tied to the dead other Earth and that it called him here so that when it died, so would he. While he asks the Brigadier to forgive him for coming to this world, he dies before he hears an answer.

It's late when the Brigadier returns home, where - determined to compartmentalise his life - Fiona has no idea what he does at work. Kate is asleep and Fiona is unaware of James, who Lethbridge-Stewart now admits is his brother. Needing to talk, he calls Owain Vine, the only one in his family who knows the full story.

Characters[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • James's visions are scenes with the Brigade Leader from TV: Inferno.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • This story is set directly after TV: Inferno, linking the Lethbridge-Stewart series directly to the events of Season 7 of Doctor Who.
  • Rhys Rubery is named after a sixteen-year-old who died in a tragic accident in June 2016, a friend of range editor/author Andy Frankham-Allen. The HAVOC Files 2 was dedicated to Rhys.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

  • The events of The Schizoid Earth are referred to as happening around five years ago, dating this story to 1974.
  • The Lethbridge-Stewarts had a meeting in the past, seen in PROSE: Night of the Intelligence.
  • It's revealed Edward Travers has died and the Vault was responsible. (PROSE: Night of the Intelligence)
  • Gore mentions that he spoke with the "Russian scientist" who helped retrieve Lethbridge-Stewart from Inferno Earth and that he learned about interdimensional crossings from him. The Schizoid Earth named that scientist Kashchei; Koschei is the real name of the Master in David A. McIntee's novels.
  • Department C19 took control of the Vault and pushed out James. (PROSE: Night of the Intelligence) C19 ran it in its first appearance, The Scales of Injustice.
  • The Brigadier is married to Fiona and Kate has been born.
  • The Brigadier has standing orders to keep the Third Doctor in the dark about the government's full knowledge of aliens: among other things, this allows the HAVOC stories to take place without the Doctor being aware. The Brigadier still doesn't fully trust the Doctor, fitting their more tense relationship in series 7, and refers to compartmentalising his old command from his current one.
  • The Fifth Operational Corps still exist in secret, implied to be using UNIT as a cover.
  • The Brigadier keeps his home life and work life entirely separate, obliquely referring to Sally Wright when he says integrating them had proved a mistake.
  • In the revised version of the story (printed in HAVOC Files 2: Special Edition) Owain Lethbridge-Stewart's role is replaced with Dylan Lethbridge-Stewart (James' son, and Lethbridge-Stewart's nephew). This fixes a discontinuity with the novel The New Unusual which sees Owain fall into a coma, which he is still in during the events of The Enfolded Time set in 1990.
  • It is revealed that due to Dylan's young age when arriving in this reality, his quantum signature adjusted and so he is more at home in Lethbridge-Stewart's world than in James'. As a result, he doesn't feel the pull of the Inferno Earth's destruction.

External links[edit | edit source]

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