How to Make a Killing in Time Travel was the second story in the audio anthology Ravenous 1, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by John Dorney and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and Nicola Walker as Liv Chenka.
A disturbance in the vortex causes the TARDIS to land on the Scapegrace space station, where Cornelius Morningstar experiments in time-travel for nefarious purposes. But the Doctor's plan to stop him winds dangerously out of control as the different agendas of criminals, murderers and alien dynasties conspire against him.
Aboard the space station Scapegrace, a platform dedicated to business between planets, the billionaire Cornelius Morningstar berates and reproaches Dr. Stralla Cushing, a temporal engineer, for her multiple failures in building for him a working time machine. He intends to use it to steal historical artifacts and sell them back into its own times, augmenting his wealth, but until now Cushing's attempts to satisfy failed. Morningstar leaves her after a final warning. As he leaves, Morningstar succeeds in making her machine work and open a portal into the Vortex; excited, she leaves the laboratory to tell her employer the news.
Morningstar's success creates a distorsion in the Vortex, which has the result of forcing the TARDIS to land at Scapegrace. This interrupts once again the Doctor and Liv's attempt to trace the Eleven's TARDIS and find Helen. The two travellers come out of the TARDIS and track Cushing's machine, then turn it off, seemingly with no obstacles. They then come back to the TARDIS, but the Doctor finds out that the distorsion in the Vortex is getting worse, so he decides to stay to fix the problem.
Cushing reaches Morningstar as he is arguing with Yetana, Queen of the Katai: she is accusing him of having tricked her people in signing a deal unfavourable to them, but is unable to prove it. After she leaves promising to make him pay, Cushing brings Morningstar to her laboratory to show his success, only to find the machine turned off with seemingly no reason. Morningstar once again angrily berates her and decides to cut her fundings. This time, though, an exasperated Cushing shots him dead with a gun; then, panicking, throws the body out in the Vortex.
Unbeknowst to her, two technicians of the base, Dron and Gorl, saw her committing the murder. They have already been paid by Verdarn, brother of Queen Yetana, to steal Cushing's time machine, but now they decide to blackmail Cushing into giving it to them.
Cushing has just finished throwing the body in the Vortex, that the Doctor and Liv come back, pretending to be investigators, and demand to examine the machine. They find nothing unusual, but still they decide to ask also Morningstar himself. They contact Macy, the chief security of the station: he is looking for Morningstar too, but his bio-scans do not show on the station's database. This is all the stranger because nobody left the station in the last hour, so Morningstar could not leave with a space ship. The Doctor decides to turn on again Cushing's time machine, thinking Morningstar has escaped in the Vortex. Meanwhile, Cushing meets with Dron and Gorl, and agrees to hand the time machine to them.
With Cushing's assistance, the Doctor reactivates the machine in a controlled environment, the storehouse where Macy keeps the weapons he takes back from the residents (Scapegrace has a strict no-weapon rule). He tracks Morningstar, but only brings back his body, thus revealing the murder. Cushing throws the blame on Yetana and her people, saying she heard the Queen threatening Morningstar, before sneaking away with the machine. Macy and Liv go to talk to the Queen, but the Doctor is not convinced of the Katai's guilt, and goes after Cushing to interrogate her further. He finds her in the company of Gorl and Dron as she is delivering the time machine to them, and not realizing what's going on, he lingers there repairigin Gorl's translator. When he has done, Cushing forces him away from them: she has hidden a bomb inside with the time machine, and it is about to blow off.
Macy and Liv reach Yetana and her brother in the Queen's suite, but when they mention a crime involving Morningstar, Verdarn mistakingly assumes he has been discovered and attacks both her sister and them. Macy and Liv barely manage to beat him, saving in the process the Queen's life and her throne.
The bomb goes off, and its effects spread throughout the station because of it going off near a time machine. This not only damages the station, but also knocks it off its axis, which would eventually destroy it. The Doctor starts working on the time machine to destroy it, in order to prevent it, but Cushing, who admitted to have murdered Morningstar and her blackmailers, thinks about killing him to keep her secret from coming out. Eventually, though, she reconsiders it when he points out he is the only one who can save their lives, and helps the Doctor program her machine for a temporal implosion, which sets everything alright.
As they watch the station being evacuated, the Doctor and Liv are informed by Macy he's been hired by Queen Yetana as chief of security. The Doctor also recognises Cushing, once again trying to avoid justice with a disguise, and points her out to Macy, who takes her away to answer for her crimes. The Doctor feels sorry for her: she was brilliant, he says, but would not accept her responsibilites. The Doctor and Liv leave in the TARDIS, resuming their search for Helen.
- The Doctor - Paul McGann
- Liv Chenka - Nicola Walker
- Stralla Cushing - Judith Roddy
- Cornelius Morningstar / Verdarn - Roger May
- Gorl - Sarah Lambie
- Dron / Yetana - Jane Booker
- Macy - Christopher Ryan
- Liv mentions Occam's razor.
- Morningstar says that Cushing makes Archimedes look like an Ogron.
- The Kati are giant scorpions, but consider that term racist.
- EarthCom owns Scapegrace, which is next to a hyperspace gate.
- Cushing creates a rudimentary time door, which causes a "hiccup" in the vortex.
- The Doctor programs the time door for temporal implosion.
- This story was recorded at The Moat Studios
- The Doctor previously acted as an amateur detective in 1920s New York. (AUDIO: Invaders from Mars)
- Liv complains about another diversion when they should be looking for Helen. (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour)