Domain of the Voord was the first story of the first series of The Early Adventures, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Andrew Smith, narrated by William Russell and Carole Ann Ford and featured the First Doctor, Susan Foreman, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright.
The Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara land on the planet Hydra, where Admiral Jonas Kaan leads a vast flotilla of ships trying to elude the vicious race that has invaded and occupied their world. But his ships are being picked off one by one, vessels, and crews dragged underwater by an unseen foe.
The time travellers find themselves pitched into battle against the Voord, the ruthless enemy they last encountered on the planet Marinus. As they take the fight to the very heart of the territory now controlled by the Voord the stakes get higher. First they lose the TARDIS... then they lose that which they hold most dear. And that's only the start of their troubles.
In the capital, Predora City, they will learn the truth of what it means to be a Voord. And that truth is horrifying.
The Floating City (1)
When the TARDIS lands on a cargo ship called the Hopeful, the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan are discovered by the crew. Suspecting them to be spies, Pan Vexel and Amyra Kaan take them to the Fortitude, the ship at the head of an entire flotilla. On the bridge, Admiral Jonas Kaan, Amyra's father, speaks with the TARDIS crew. He tells them they are on Hydra, a planet completely covered by an ocean save for one landmass — the continent of Predora. Predora City was where the Hydrans lived before the planet was invaded a year before.
As they speak, the flotilla alarm blares out. The Hopeful has been sunk and with it, the TARDIS. The crew jump into the ocean but are pulled under. Amyra notes that although similar attacks have happened before, this is the first such attack that has been carried out during the day. One of the crew picks up a contact on sonar. To identify the source, a diving squad is formed and Ian volunteers. Once under the water in a diving suit, he spots a bullet-shaped submersible being piloted by a Voord. When Kaan learns the travellers have encountered and defeated the Voord before on Marinus, he tells them they will be of more help than he had thought.
The Voord fires a wire at one of the divers and drags him away. Ian is separated from the other divers, then spots around fifty more Voord submarines emerge from the darkness of the ocean floor and they begin firing torpedoes at the fleet. One of them hits the Fortitude and the Doctor takes over for the unconscious sonar operator. A depth charge is dropped at a large cluster of Voord submersibles, taking most of them out, but the rest head for the Fortitude. The ship comes under more fire. Kaan calls for an evacuation. The Doctor agrees to stay with the Admiral under another torpedo knocks Kaan unconscious. Barbara and Susan help him to the lifeboats but the Doctor stays to keep contact with Ian.
Ian is rammed by a Voord submersible but he grabs hold of it, although his lifeline snaps. As Barbara returns to the bridge to collect the Doctor, Ian is able to influence the direction of the submarine. When they surface, the Voord attacks him with a knife but Ian knocks him out in their struggle. Afterwards, he sees the Fortitude sinking. The Doctor and Barbara are still trapped inside as water rushes in through the windows. Susan and Amyra also witness the sinking from the lifeboat. Susan reduced to tears as she has to face the fact that the Doctor and Barbara are gone.
Return to Terror (2)
The Voord withdraw after the Fortitude sinks. A quarter of the flotilla is gone and few Hyrans who went into the water were saved. Some days after the attack, Ian speaks with a grieving Susan. She laments that with the loss of the Doctor, Barbara and the TARDIS, Hydra is now their home. She had thought they saw the last of the Voord on Marinus but Ian says that Yartek and his followers were but one group; Hydra is facing a full-scale invasion. The Voord Ian fought has been taken prisoner and remains captive in a cell but has said nothing and Vexel is watching him to make sure other members of the crew don't try to murder him in anger. Kaan recovered and they now have a new flagship called the Vigilant, a lesser warship than the Fortitude. They head for Predora City in hopes of rallying some of the resistance groups.
Ian is asked to have a hand at interrogating the Voord prisoner. Ian tells him of his history with the Voord. The Voord speaks, giving his name as Nebrin and expressing some familiarity with Yartek's expedition. But he warns Ian that Hydra is not Marinus. The Voord rule here and soon everyone will be "harvested". He says no more and Ian leaves. The ships set off on a long journey towards Predora. During that time, Susan speaks with Nebrin. She addresses him in a far friendlier manner than everyone else, despite the Voord dismissing all the death they caused as a consequence of war. Nebrin claims the Voord invaded Hydra to bring the Hydrans the "gift" of Voord leadership. He tells Susan she may speak with him again later if she wishes and after she leaves, Nebrin chuckles quietly to himself.
Amyra meets Ian who has volunteered for night-watch. Amyra tells Ian about how she lost her mother and brother in the occupation. She inquires about the TARDIS and Ian tells her it was a time machine and, despite her giggles, Amyra believes him. Meanwhile, Susan speaks with Nebrin again about her grandfather and Barbara. Nebrin tells her that his father was a teacher just like Barbara. Before Susan can ask more, she is found speaking to Nebrin and taken away. Suspicious and angry, Ian forbids Susan and Nebrin from speaking again. Alone, Nebrin says she will be harvested.
After some months of travelling, the flotilla enters Voord territory and as they close in on Predora City, it seems quiet. They spot an unusual dome building, presumably constructed by the Voord, rising out of the water but they decide not to investigate and instead follow their original objectives. Scout ships report that the streets are empty. The Admiral prepared a party of troops to venture towards the Autumn Palace, Predora's centre of government, while Vexel is left in command of the flotilla. Ian and Susan willingly join the landing party and Nebrin is taken along too for use as a hostage. When they arrive at the palace, the Voord reveal themselves in their hundreds and with the captains of the ships that did not join the convoy to Predora months earlier in their capticity. The landing party surrenders. Nebrin, being a Voord commander, takes charge summons the rest of the Voord and thousands of them emerge from the buildings of the city below the palace. The ships were also overrun but Vexel surrendered to avoid bloodshed. Nebrin announces that Predora City is now the domain of the Voord.
Nebrin then takes Ian, Susan, Kaan and Amyra back inside the palace and out into the garden where he reveals that the Voord are in possession of the TARDIS. Two Voord submersibles caught it before it sank to the seabed but they have been unable to gain access. They seem confident that Susan will teach them how it works soon enough however. Suddenly a group of armed Hydrans resist the Voord and charge into the garden firing their weapons. As the Voord fight back, Kaan and Amyra usher Ian and Susan inside the TARDIS. They urge them to take the TARDIS away to prevent the Voord from discovering the secrets of time travel. From the scanner the time travellers watch the Hydrans run from the Voord but only Amyra escapes over the garden wall. The others, including the Admiral, are all shot. The Voord then surround the TARDIS and order Ian and Susan to exit the craft. Although Susan tries to protest, Ian sees taking the TARDIS away from Hydra as the best option and he sets the ship in flight.
Behind the Mask (3)
Susan stops Ian before take-off can properly commence. She thinks the Doctor and Barbara are alive. She heard Nebrin refer to him as "the Doctor" but when she was speaking with him, she only ever called him "Grandfather". Thus she has concluded that Nebrin knew he was called the Doctor by communing with other Voord, and these other Voord must have known he was called the Doctor by communicating directly with him or Barbara. Ian thinks Susan may be right and agrees to stay. They give up and Nebrin has them separated. Susan is allowed to hold on to her TARDIS key so the Voord may access the ship later.
Ian is put in a cell with other Hydrans, some of them members of the landing party. Among them is Jonas Kaan. Those that were shot by the Voord were only stunned as they were required for the harvest. They are being held prisoner until they can be indoctrinated to accept the Voords' life view. Ian tells Kaan the Doctor and Barbara may still be alive and somewhere in Predora. They spy a small window in the cell and through it Ian sees a huge airship landing in the square below the Autumn Palace. Out of it steps Overlord Tarlak who expressed his displeasure with Nebrin for being captured, bringing the Voord operations to near disaster, though Nebrin defends his decisions to attack the flotilla which was ultimately successful. Tarlak communes with Nebrin to learn more about what has happened before he arrived.
Tarlak later addresses Susan in the Palace and asks her how she can have defeated Yartek on Marinus when those events happened a hundred years prior. Susan instead asks about Ian, Barbara and the Doctor. Tarlak claims she will have no need of that family any longer — the Voord will be her family. They call forward Vexel who has been an agent of the Voord since the first week of the invasion. It was he that sent messages to the Voord to allow them to launch such a successful attack on the Hydran Navy when the TARDIS crew first arrived, and he also placed a tracking device on the TARDIS to signal to the Voord to capture it before it sank. Tarlak now prepares to reward Vexel with "a public demonstration of what it means to be Voord".
In the square, the assembled prisoners watch as Tarlak presents Vexel with a Voord mask. The mask alters the wearer's genetic code and becomes part of them, turning them into a Voord. However the wearer must be fully committed to the Voord and accept the transformation, otherwise the mask rejects them. Removing the mask can result in horrible disfigurement, if not death, as it becomes a part of the wearer. Tarlak places the mask over Vexel's head and he becomes a Voord. This is the plan the Voord have for all Hydrans, and those that reject it will become slaves for a time and be killed before the year's end. Many have already become Voord. Tarlak and Nebrin leave with Susan to inspect the sea engine.
Ian, Kaan and the other prisoners are led to the dome building by the shore and are set to work digging away rocks restricting access to the site. Tarlak's airship flies above the dome and a capsule carrying Tarlak, Nebrin, Susan and two guards is lowered inside. The building is for generating power with a type of hydroelectric dynamo. Tarlak does not tell her what they use the power for. He sends Nebrin away to inspect the slaves but before he leaves Nebrin warns Susan to be careful, as Tarlak is becoming impatient with her. As they leave the dome, a hidden attack begins and the slaves take the opportunity to flee. Those that make it encounter Amyra and other Hydran rebels.
Susan is taken to the slave deck of Tarlak's airship. After comforting a crying woman, she hears an old man and makes out some familiar features in the dark. But when she gets close enough, she screams as she finds the man's face scarred and disfigured, caused by the removal of a Voord mask. A voice tells her he is not the Doctor. Susan is elated to see Barbara again but her spirits do not remain high after Barbara tells her the Doctor is dead.
Barbara explains that when the Fortitude sank, it broke apart, allowing her and the Doctor a small gap of time to swim out of the wreckage, but then the Voord captured them. From what Barbara heard afterwards, Voord physicians failed to give the Doctor adequate medical treatment and he died. Elsewhere on the airship, Tarlak and Nebrin discuss the recent attacks. The rebels are gaining victories in the provinces. Tarlak is sure someone is giving them tactical advice and he has some idea of who it might be — the Doctor. The Overlord tells Nebrin the Doctor's body shut itself down when near death, then he woke up later and escaped, which coincided with the upsurge in rebel attacks. Tarlak convinced Barbara he was dead to avoid giving hope to the resistance. Nebrin is shocked to learn that Tarlak had the Voord physicians executed. Tarlak makes nothing of it and decrees that as the Doctor and Susan are of a fantastically advanced race, they must be harvested. As they speak, a man named Tarn leads the escapees into a cavern where the meet the Doctor.
The Doctor details his plan to destroy the Voord sea engine, which they plan to use to enhance their telepathic powers, before construction is completed. At present, these powers are being stretched thin by the sheer number of Voord in the vicinity. He sends a message all over Predora, rallying the Hyrans in preparation for a huge rebellion against the Voord. Tarlak responds to the message by threatening to place a Voord mask onto Susan. Nebrin tries to convince Susan to accept the Voord conditioning as it is the only way to save her life. He is opposed to Tarlak forcing Susan to wear the mask, which goes against Voord customs, but sees no way he can stop the Overlord.
Kaan and Amyra lead an attack on Predora City. This leaves the sea engines lightly guarded and the Doctor and Ian enter with a smaller party. Nevertheless they encounter Vexel who has the Doctor watch Susan receive the Voord mask on a screen. However, Nebrin knocks the mask out of Tarlak's hands and denounced his actions for dishonouring the ritual and being no more than murder. Tarlak subjects Nebrin to a mental onslaught, killing him. Fortunately these events distract Vexel and Ian tackles him. Their fight ends with Vexel falling into the generator. The Doctor uses the sea engines to send a pulse wave through the city, severing the mental connection between the Voord commanders and their footsoldiers, rendering them harmless, and to prevent them from repairing the connection, the Doctor blows up the sea engines. Tarlak is retrained by the now free Hydrans.
The war on Hydra is not over but now all that remains is to capture the Voord commanders in the provinces, who are now without their footsoldiers. Kaan becomes the President of Predora and Amyra succeeds him as Admiral. They say their farewells to the TARDIS crew and inform them that the Voord will face galactic justice. After wishing the Hydrans good luck, the TARDIS dematerialises. As Kaan and Amyra think about where the travellers are going, the TARDIS has already taken them several galaxies and thousands of years away.
- Ian Chesterton / The Doctor / Narrator - William Russell
- Susan / Barbara Wright / Narrator - Carole Ann Ford
- Amyra Kaan - Daisy Ashford
- Admiral Jonas Kaan / Tarlak - Andrew Dickens
- Pan Vexel / Nebrin - Andrew Bone
- The flotilla on Hydra reminds Barbara of photos of the Dunkirk evacuation in May and June 1940.
- The Hydrans are unfamiliar with Earth.
- Nebrin's father was a teacher.
- Voord commanders have telepathic abilities that can be used to commune with other Voord.
- Ian served part of his national service in Cyprus.
- This story was the debut release of The Early Adventures range.
- Along with narrating the story and voicing Ian and Susan, their respective roles in the TV series, William Russell and Carole Ann Ford also effectively double as the roles of the Doctor and Barbara respectively (although the Doctor and Barbara are absent from a considerable portion of the story so that this does not become too prominent). Previously, this pattern was largely, but not always, followed in The Lost Stories range for audio dramas featuring the First Doctor. William Russell also voiced both the First Doctor and Ian in the audio story The Light at the End.
- This story may make the Voord, chronologically speaking, the first enemy to have a rematch with the Doctor. This is dependant on when it takes place relative to the later release Return to Skaro; if the latter story takes place first, then the Daleks take that position. The Daleks remain the first enemies to have a rematch from a production standpoint, following The Dalek Invasion of Earth in 1964. Coincidentally, both Domain of the Voord and Return to Skaro were written by Andrew Smith and featured foes created by Terry Nation.
- In seeking to change other species into members of their own race, the Voord are not dissimilar to the Cybermen. It was claimed in The World Shapers, and was further suggested in The Doctor Falls, that the Voord evolved into the Cybermen. Nevertheless, Andrew Smith explained that while he was aware of the Voord reappearing in both The World Shapers and The Fishmen of Kandalinga, he quickly chose to disregard both for the purposes of writing Domain of the Voord. (VOR 67)
- This is the first audio drama to feature the Voord. It was followed by Beachhead in Doom Coalition 2 in 2016.
- The story takes place over the course of more than two months.
- The Doctor does not appear in either the second or the third episode while Barbara does not appear in the second.
- This story was recorded on 24 and 25 January 2013 at The Moat Studios.
- The story was originally released on CD and download. It is now available as a download only.
- Barbara refers to the evacuation of Dunkirk. The Doctor was present for this event during his first (PROSE: Just War, Byzantium!), eighth (AUDIO: Fugitives) and tenth incarnations (AUDIO: The Nemonite Invasion).
- The TARDIS has been lost at sea once before, in the Pacific Ocean in 1770. (AUDIO: The Transit of Venus)
- The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan previously encountered the Voord on Marinus more than a century earlier. (TV: The Keys of Marinus)
- Ian mentions Yartek. (TV: The Keys of Marinus)
- Ian refers to his national service. (PROSE: The Time Travellers, The Eleventh Tiger, The Face of the Enemy)
- The Doctor is able to heal by placing himself into a self-induced coma. (TV: Spearhead from Space)
- Ian and Barbara hope to one day to be able to return to Earth in the 1960s. (TV: The Chase)
- While travelling alone, the First Doctor later encountered the Voord on Kandalinga several million years later. (PROSE: The Fishmen of Kandalinga) During his eighth incarnation, he encountered them again in Stegmoor in 2017. (AUDIO: Beachhead)