This story saw the second appearance of Colin Baker in the range, having previously cameoed as Maxil in Appropriation, this time as an alternative Doctor who was put on trial by the interventionist Time Lords. It also marked the last appearance of the prime version of Braxiatel, who meets Bernice Summerfield in a scene taken from the New Adventures novel Dragons' Wrath, until Intervention Earth.
The President of the High Council wants Romana dead. The Temporal Intervention Agency has been dispatched to hunt her down. Its mission: to eliminate her from the timelines for ever. It would be as though she had never existed...
Only an old friend can offer Romana any hope of survival. An acquaintance she and Leela once shared. One they haven't seen in years.
But time is running out. Death is fast approaching. And this time, not everyone can survive... with or without the Doctor.
Romana, Leela, K9 and Narvin are on a Gallifrey very much like their own, travelling through the cloisters to the Communications Tower to send a signal to the Axis. Guard Jevon finds them, having been sent to find Romana due to an emergency in the Temporal Operations Tower; Romana goes with him, leaving her friends. Narvin deduces from Jevon's combat armour and the name by which the Communications Tower is known that this Gallifrey is not as similar to his as he thought.
Romana has Coordinator Vansell explain that the Temporal Intervention Agency has found that the timeline of Mandatorium VI has strayed from the future that Gallifrey want for it; their Prime Minister will improve the economy ahead of Gallifrey's projections, allowing them to resist the expansion of Collastis Minor in 3,000 years' time. This world's Romana signed a Temporal Correction Edict allowing the TIA to execute the Prime Minister with a De-mat Gun, removing him from time. Despite doing this, it seems likely that further executions may be required.
Romana returns to Leela, K9 and Narvin and fills them in on what she has learnt about this Gallifrey and its interventions. If she thought it was possible to put a stop to these policies, she would stay to do so. K9 detects a biodata signal and says that he is going in search of its source, whom he calls the Master. Romana, Leela and Narvin follow.
Angered at being called away from the Chancellery, President Romana arrives at the Temporal Operations Tower and demands to know why Vansell has summoned her. Vansell is confused and tells her that she had just been there, overseeing the Mandatorium VI operation. The President orders him to show her the projected timeline for Gallifrey, which has diverged due to anomalies which she suspects the non-interventionists are behind. She determines that her other self is from another timeline and has him open a communications channel to somebody who can remove her and her friends from history without the risk of using a De-mat Gun.
Romana explains to Leela and Narvin that K9 is not referring to the Master but this reality's version of the Doctor. An alarm sounds and the Chancellery Guard corner them, Leela going to fight them so that her blindness does not slow her friends down as they escape. Several of them having been stunned by K9, Commander Andred and Guard Jevon are the only ones remaining and stun Leela before informing the Interrogator General that they are bringing her a guest. Romana, K9 and Narvin flee from the guards and are rescued by the Doctor.
Andred takes Leela to the Interrogator General, who is this world's version of Leela. The Interrogator General says that she too was a savage before her timeline was tinkered with, a process which involved killing her father and altering her early life on Mordee. Andred leaves, the Interrogator General suggestively telling him that they will have a "private interrogation" later on.
Romana thanks to the Doctor, who says that he has not used that name in a number of years. Sick of Gallifrey's policy of intervening in the worlds of others, he once stole a TARDISes and explored the universe, undoing some of the Time Lords' damage before he was put on trial. Since then, he has been a respectable Time Lord of rank and position, but says that perhaps it is time for him to become the Doctor again.
The Interrogator General, joined by Vansell, demands that Leela tells her about her and her friends. When Leela refuses, she sends a life probe into her mind to unravel her existence and capture her memories to be edited, removed and added to. Thanks to Vansell's refinement to the process, Leela's memories will be transferred into the Interrogator General's mind for her to peruse.
K9 calculates the location of the portal to the Axis in the next corridor. Narvin asks why the Doctor called them "a robot dog, the president and a paradox", which the Doctor explains was because this world's Narvin is dead.
Vansell downloads Leela's memories into the Interrogator General and sees Narvin; in this world, Narvin was the Interrogator General until his Leela killed him for being a traitor and took his job. She sees Andred before losing her sight, becoming blind like her other self.
The Doctor sends away Andred, who calls him the Lord Burner, so that he, Romana, K9 and Narvin can get to the portal. The others hear that he is the Lord Burner, but do not know what it means and the Doctor offers no explanation.
Vansell tries to restore the Interrogator General's sight using the life probe, something which could result in brain damage to Leela. The Interrogator General does not care and orders him to go ahead with it. He is successful and goes to update the President after following the Interrogator General's order to have Andred sent to the cells. As a result of having Leela's memories, she has developed a plan.
Braxiatel welcomes Romana, K9 and Narvin to the Axis and is surprised to see the Doctor, who asks to stay with them. The Axis systems have, for reasons that K9 does not know, begun to fail and the portals now function only as points of entry, meaning that saving Leela will be difficult. The Doctor says that the TIA have been working on a way to collapse timelines into a single monoverse ruled by the President, an action which poses a threat to the Axis so long as the portal is open, and that the President will not give up on hunting for her counterpart. He also suggests that the Axis situation might be due to the presence of Narvin, a paradox.
Leela pretends to be unconscious as Andred and Jevon move her into a cell and catches them off guard. Vansell cowers in fear of her and hands over her knife when she commands him to, after which she escapes.
K9 alerts Braxiatel to the arrival of Leela on the Axis, dressed in her skins and wielding a staser. The Doctor greets her, twice making references to her blindness, and talks at length about the punishments that the Interrogator General would suffer for acting without the authorisation of the President or her staff. He takes her to see Narvin, on the way reminiscing about when the Interrogator General was brought to Gallifrey as an amusement for a former President. She denies that she was ever anybody's pet.
K9 runs a scan and detects six life forms on the Axis, despite the only life forms registering are Braxiatel, Romana, Leela, Narvin and the Doctor. Braxiatel says that they do not know for a fact that Romana or Leela are the prime versions and thinks that the presence of one of them and their double on the Axis could be causing the destabilisation. The death of Romana or Leela should resolve this.
The Interrogator General confronts Narvin, confusing him by throwing her voice, and plans on killing him just as she had her version. He escapes to Braxiatel and K9, telling them what has happened, and another Leela arrives through the portal. Braxiatel tests her blindness by throwing something at her and determines that Narvin and the Interrogator General cannot both be alive on the Axis as the Interrogator General killed her Narvin. Romana and the Doctor arrive. Braxiatel says that K9 could boost the Axis power to the portal to allow them to send the Interrogator General back to her own Gallifrey whilst the Doctor goes in search of the Interrogator General.
When Narvin mentions that the Doctor is Lord Burner, Braxiatel is shocked and tells them that Lord Burner is the title of an assassin who burns people out of history for the President. Braxiatel and K9 work on the portal whilst Romana, Leela and Narvin go in search of the Doctor and the Interrogator General.
The Doctor finds the Interrogator General and is unimpressed by her incompetence. As she killed her Narvin to get her job, he believes that she is now trying to discredit him in order to get his job as Lord Burner. He orders her to allow herself to be captured and sent back to Gallifrey where she will tell the President that the Doctor has found the means for accessing numerous other Gallifreys for her to control. In the meantime, the Doctor will stabilise the Axis with the murder of a very old friend, resolving an anomaly which the others have not yet realised.
Braxiatel explains to Romana that a President can send a Burn Edict into the Matrix, where it is sent directly into the mind of the Lord Burner. After Pandad VII issued a Burn Edict on Braxiatel, he killed his would-be assassin with an impulse laser; as punishment, Pandad withdrew the Edict and appointed him as the new Lord Burner, ordering him to kill an innocent old man and his granddaughter as a test. Braxiatel tipped the man off, allowing him to steal a TARDIS and escape with his granddaughter, after which he killed Pandad and headed the inquiry which found that his death was an accident.
Leela and Narvin locate the Interrogator General and take her to be returned to her world. She passes through the portal, her survival uncertain, but the Axis deterioration increases. The Doctor reveals he killed his Braxiatel many years ago and damages K9 with a staser before preparing to kill Braxiatel to stabilise the Axis and Romana due to the President issuing a Burn Edict on her. Braxiatel uses the impulse laser to bring the roof down on the Doctor, stunning him for a moment. The two Time Lords fight and Braxiatel throws himself and the Doctor through the vortex between realities.
Narvin does not know where Braxiatel and the Doctor will end up, saying that it is possible that one or both of them might slip through a crack into another universe. Should that happen, Romana says that the timeline will adjust to accommodate them. If not, they will struggle with each other for eternity. The Axis is restored and the group mourn their loss.
Braxiatel is approached by a woman, who recognises him and, when he fails to, tells him that he will one day be at her wedding. He introduces himself and she says that her name is Professor Bernice Summerfield but, as he is going to be her friend, he can call her "Benny".
On another Gallifrey, Arcalia and Cassandra disturb their father, Lord Prydon, during his studies to inform him of an attack. He tells them to join him and shows them the view through the window, reminiscing about the planet before it became covered in darkness. They have nothing to fear so long as Arcalia can keep the enemies from getting the Great Key, Prydon says, but Arcalia tells him that the enemy have somehow gained a new weapon. Prydon wonders where they got the technology as Rassilon, whom he knew long ago, had always been discreet. Regardless, once he knows how they came by it, he will destroy them.
- Romana - Lalla Ward
- Leela - Louise Jameson
- K9 Mk II - John Leeson
- Braxiatel - Miles Richardson
- Narvin - Seán Carlsen
- The Doctor - Colin Baker
- Lord Prydon - Geoffrey Beevers
- Mysterious Stranger - Lisa Bowerman
- Guard Commander Andred - Andy Coleman
- Guard Jevon - Scott Handcock
- Cassandra - Charlie Hayes
- Technician Hester - Chris Johnson
- Coordinator Vansell - Anthony Keetch
- Prime Enforcer Arcalia - Alexander Vlahos
- Narvin mentions the Master as he initially misinterprets K9's reference to detecting 'the Master'.
- In the alternative timeline, Interrogator General Leela was preceded by Narvin, whom she murdered for the position.
- The Temporal Intervention Agency monitors the Jancis Quadrant. Mandatorium VI is a planet there.
- This story marks the only appearance of Bernice Summerfield in Gallifrey.
- This is Colin Baker's second appearance in Gallifrey, given that he reprised his role as Commander Maxil from Arc of Infinity in an uncredited cameo in the audio story Appropriation.
- This was the only Big Finish audio drama to depict an encounter between the Doctor (albeit an alternative version thereof) and Braxiatel until the audio story Theatre of War.
- While in the alternative timeline, Romana gives Narvin the pseudonym "Fred," the name which the Fourth Doctor proposed to give her first incarnation shortly after their first encounter. (TV: The Ribos Operation)
- As was the case with his counterpart in the proper timeline, the Burner Doctor was put on trial by the Time Lords during his sixth incarnation. (TV: The Trial of a Time Lord)
- Romana previously met the Sixth Doctor from the proper timeline on Archetryx. (AUDIO: The Apocalypse Element)
- In his capacity as Lord Burner, Braxiatel was ordered by President Pandad VII to burn "an old man" and "his granddaughter" from history. He disobeyed this order and the intended victims stole a TARDIS and fled Gallifrey. (TV: An Unearthly Child, AUDIO: The Beginning) The very same day, President Pandad died when a power relay in his office overloaded; an inquiry headed by Braxiatel found that this was an accident.
- As Braxiatel is about to push the Burner Doctor into one of the Axis' portals without setting any coordinates, the Burner Doctor's final line is, "How could you do this to your own...?" He was presumably going to say "brother" as such a familial relationship has been hinted at since PROSE: Tears of the Oracle. On several occasions during this story, the Doctor and Braxiatel are implied to be related but this is not directly stated nor is the extent of their familial connection. Furthermore, the line is highly reminiscent of the Master's plea to the Fifth Doctor in the proper timeline before being apparently killed on Sarn: "Won't you show mercy to your own...?" (TV: Planet of Fire) According to that serial's DVD commentary, Fiona Cumming asked John Nathan-Turner how the line was to end, to which he replied "brother". Wheres the Tenth Doctor responded to Martha Jones' question as to whether he had a brother with "No, not anymore" in TV: Smith and Jones, he later strongly implies in TV: The Sound of Drums that the Master is not his brother. In the former instance, he may have been instead referring to Braxiatel.
- Bernice Summerfield mentions that Braxiatel attended, or from his perspective would later attend, her wedding to Jason Kane, which took place in Cheldon Bonniface on 24 April 2010. (PROSE: Happy Endings)