Spoilers are precisely defined here. Rules vary by the story's medium. Info from television stories can't be added here until after the top or bottom of the hour, British time, closest to the end credits roll on BBC One. Therefore, fans in the Americas who are sensitive to spoilers should avoid Tardis on Sundays until they've seen the episode.



You may wish to consult Evolution (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

Evolution (identified on the cover simply as Chapter Twenty) was the second story of the fifth series of Big Finish's Gallifrey audio series. It was written by Una McCormack.

Publisher's summary[]

Before the fall of Project: Rassilon, the Regenerators of Gallifrey committed atrocities upon their slaves in the name of science. As Leela discovers the results of one such crucible, Romana and Narvin are pushing forward ways to discover the secrets of time travel, and jump-start their new Gallifrey's evolution.

However, science isn't always the way forward, and in a society built upon the foundations of amorality and fear, a backward step may be the only solution...


Assisted by Taine, Hector welcomes everybody to an experiment where he asks the spectators to imagine a pathway. When they open their eyes, the pathway has appeared and soon, he says, they will walk upon it and reach their new home at the White Lands. The voice of a woman emerges from the pathway, saying "In time".

Romana visits Narvin, who has been working hard to return to Gallifrey Prime by monitoring the Time Vortex, looking into medical science and spending a lot of time with Kavil. He finds Lord Zakar's financial prize for time travel breakthroughs crude, but Romana believes that it could only be helpful despite having been presented with a number of unconventional and unsuccessful attempts by people labelled by Narvin as crackpots. Twenty-four of these people will be gathered together in one place at the same time, which Narvin believes will be a disaster and will require Slyne to be there with the Chancellery Guard.

In the Wildlands, Leela enjoys the fresh air whilst Maris, who invited her on a journey into the wild, falls asleep. Leela thinks that their quest to find an abandoned Regenerator base is foolish and that she would be of more use at Mancipia or Anarchos, but Maris says that they might be able to trade the secrets of the base with the Inner Council.

Romana delivers a speech to the scientists at the Ministry of Science and says that she plans on speaking with each of them throughout the week and, at the end, will award the Zakar Prize. Afterwards, Guard Commander Lukas tells her that, after attending preliminary presentations with Academician Jeranti and Chief Analyst Baroc, prodigy Assistant Analyst Jonias will be giving her an overview of his project. Narvin expresses no interest in seeing anybody but Jonias.

Maris tells Leela that it was common knowledge that the Inner Council were having projects done in the wild, many of which involved experimenting on slaves, but that this one was the most notorious. Maris says that she had managed to avoid being sent to any such bases and that it is ironic that she is now looking for one voluntarily.

Romana and Narvin watch Jonias' project overview and find that he is clumsy and nervous, but confident in his abilities. According to him, everybody's attempts to merge Jeranti's Simultaneity Theory and Denaloc's Multiplicity Model have been a waste of time and that there is a pathway through space and time which he will show them at his demonstration tomorrow. Upon entering that path, with Romana identifies as the Vortex, time travel is possible.

Whilst Leela sleeps, Maris calls Narvin and expresses her displeasure with having to spy on Leela for him. She says that she will find the base tomorrow and, when the call ends, she is grabbed by Taine, who demands that she and Leela accompany him.

Romana is falling asleep during Analyst Glower's speech on Denaloc's Multiplicity Model when Slyne calls her away to speak with Kavil.

Taine, who is clearly a former slave, takes Leela and Maris to the base to see Hector. Hector welcomes them as guests and promises that they will be joining them in their journey along the path into the White Lands.

Romana goes to Kavil and learns that he attended a private demonstration of Jonias' technology and that he had succeeded in creating a pathway. During the demonstration, his technicians picked up a faint signal which seemed to be bleeding through the fabric of reality itself. Romana listens to it and asks Kavil to contact her the minute that his technicians are able to make any sense of it.

Hector explains to Leela and Maris that the Regenerators left twenty-four slaves behind to die after abandoning the base following the experiment's cancellation. The slaves chose to remain there and believe that a woman will lead them to peace in the White Lands when the pathway is opened. Leela says to Maris that she has seen slaves on other worlds make up similar fantasies in order to deal with their lives of suffering. Maris believes that this is indeed what has happened and that the group of slaves might be intending to commit mass suicide in order to reach the better life that they dream of.

Romana tells Narvin about the signal that the Ministry of Science is working on, but he dismisses it whilst it remains undeciphered. He gives her a pile of disks showing that Jonias was involved in experimenting on slaves and warns her of the political scandal that would result should she endorse his work given her outspokenness for the Outsiders. When Romana asks how he uncovered this, he remains vague, but she accepts that it might be best for her to remain unenlightened in this instance.

Hector directs the slaves, Leela and Maris to imagine the pathway before opening their eyes and seeing the pathway. Before the machine powers down, Maris sees the woman who has come to take them to the White Lands, but Leela saw nothing but light. Maris begs to be allowed to go with them and confesses to Leela that she has been watching her and reporting back to Narvin.

Romana and Narvin have Lukas bring Jonias to them. Narvin questions him about the ethics of his experiments, presenting him with the evidence that he has acquired, but Jonias denies having ever done anything wrong and that everybody had done it and that he was only following orders.

When Leela asks Maris why she betrayed her, Maris says that Leela is not truly an Outsider, not having been enslaved, and brings up her friendships with Romana and Narvin. She is sure that Hector is not using these people, despite having been suspicious before, and goes to see him when Taine fetches her. Taine apologises for how he and Hector have come between Leela and Maris and, whilst he is not a believer, he assures Leela that she can trust Hector and that he has the former slaves' interests at heart. When the project is successful, he will be ready to fight to keep it from any who should try to claim it from them.

Jonias tells Romana that he knew when the base was closed that they had been close to a breakthrough but, being in a junior position, could not keep it going. He admits to being one of the last scientists to leave and took copies of all of the data that he was ordered to destroy and has been working on them since. The project had involved performing surgery on the slaves, which he calls "neural enhancement", which allowed them to visualise and materialise the path, not unlike the ability of the Tharils. Since the cancellation, he has remained in contact with one of the slaves, a failed test subject who has been continuing the experiment, and says that only one more push is needed before they are capable of time travel.

Hector asks Maris to make peace with Leela, telling her that distrust among the sect would be a worse sickness than the ailment currently afflicting them. He says that he is dying and that he wants to see everybody living in peace before he goes and that, should he be unable to go to the White Lands with them, he believes the woman will take them. Afterwards, she goes to speak with Leela, who says that she is swapping one master for another. Hector begins the experiment and the pathway is finally complete. The woman comes through the light and Taine shouts Jonias' name, saying that he has finally succeeded.

Jonias makes contact with Taine at the base and learns of the project's completion, angering Jonias since it was done without him. He takes remote control of the pathway, trying to shut the project down before the former slaves can leave as they are required to create the pathway. Leela and some of the former slaves appear in the Ministry and Jonias attempts to destroy the technology before Romana has Lukas restrain him. Whilst Taine takes control of the technology at the base, Hector takes control at the Ministry. The former slaves are afraid to follow the saviour into the light without Hector, who reveals that the woman is Maris' future self. Maris convinces them to go through the path with her and Hector tells Taine to join them.

The pathway closes, Leela returned to the base whilst all of the former slaves bar Hector, who has died, have gone into the future. Romana has Lukas arrest Jonias for murder and Leela confronts Narvin about having Maris spy on her, but accepts that his intentions were good and thanks him.

With the technology no longer capable of being used, Lord Zakar has earnt a reputation for good works without having to actually pay out. Narvin asks Romana if, knowing what she does about the pathway technology, she would have used it; she does not give an answer, saying only that she is glad that she did not have to make the decision. Lukas interrupts, informing them that Kavil wants to speak with them, and they return to the Ministry to read the decoded signal, written in Rassilon's Cipher. It says "Axis".





External links[]