Hunters of the Burning Stone was a Doctor Who Magazine comic story released in 2013, starting in issue 456. It celebrated the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. It featured the return of Annabel Lake and the city of Cornucopia, introduced in a previous DWM strip, The Cornucopia Caper. It is most notable for the surprise re-appearance of Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. The story itself was a direct sequel to An Unearthly Child, explaining what happened to the Tribe of Gum after the TARDIS team left them.
It also added a vital piece of the mythology of Doctor Who, revealing that it was the Eleventh Doctor who broke the chameleon circuit on the First Doctor's TARDIS, as seen in the very first episode, giving the TARDIS its iconic image of a police box.
Part 1: Hunters of the Burning Stone
Returning to her quarters, she finds the Doctor waiting for her there. He tells her that he noticed her ship and came aboard. Examining the ship's memory logs, he sees that the ship was taken from the Sontarans after massacring its original crew with halisiton gas, an incident of which Clutha frequently watches the video footage.
Clutha picks up a sculpture from her desk, revealing it to actually be a Traulian mind-spike. She points it at the Doctor and threatens to kill him. The Doctor tells her he has already reconfigured it to kill the user instead of the target, but, unfortunately for her, she doesn't believe him. She fires the weapon and drops unconscious to the floor.
Cornucopia, 2013. In the aftermath of the Doctor's previous encounter with the place, the planet has become a working spaceport with Miss Ghost in charge. The takeoff of a ship has been delayed, and its captain, Pala, demands to speak to Miss Ghost.
Ghost and Pala talk, and Ghost lures Pala to a private area on the premise of negotiating the sale of medical supplies. Pala moves to attack Ghost but Ghost knocks him out instead.
Ghost, revealing her real name to be Cheshire, contacts an unseen controller, saying, "Pala didn't play along. I'll have to do this the hard way." She also says she's going to start searching for a certain item in the starboard cargo holds, on which a scan with what appears to be the Doctor's sonic screwdriver has revealed the security to be most focused.
Revealing her true form to be an android and entering "wraith mode," Cheshire gets to her destination and discovers, as she had expected, several large containers of psi-responsive metal, the same material used to build the Ziggurat of Cornucopia.
Pala wakes up and is discovered by a crew member. He issues the order to take off as soon as possible.
Cheshire attempts to leave, but her power is draining and she can no longer sustain Wraith Mode. The crew of the ship discover her and she only narrowly escapes.
Back on Gol Clutha's ship, her death is discovered by one of her crew. Elsewhere on the ship, the Doctor enters a locked area using Clutha's key card, incapacitating the guards with exo-genetic foam. Inside, he discovers a large object similar to the Pandorica, but glowing orange and with sun symbols on its sides.
On Pala's ship, six objects are seen approaching on the radar. The ship is violently rocked as the mysterious objects land on the ship's hull — while the ship is in trans-light mode, which would normally result in the objects being torn to pieces. The objects — now shown to be six glowing skeleton creatures wearing armour adorned with the same sun symbols as the cube — tell the crew they seek the Burning Stone, which the ship's crew has stolen, and proceed to kill the crew in their search.
The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver on the glowing cube, made of the same psychic metal Cheshire saw earlier, and walks through its walls, hoping that whoever is behind the chaos he has been witnessing is inside. It teleports him to a different location, and the Doctor looks on in surprise and horror...
Part 2: Doctor Who?
Ian and Barbara neither recognise the Doctor nor recall their adventures together. The Doctor tries to jog their memories, but to no avail. Looking outside the classroom they are in, he realises that the psychic prison Ian and Barbara have been trapped in is so large, they don't even realise it exists. The Doctor asks them what year it is, and they reply that it's 1963, leading the Doctor to realise that their memories of travelling with him have been erased, as they were actually abducted from 1965. The Doctor tries again to get them to remember him, this time by asking them about Susan Foreman and drawing a picture of the TARDIS on the blackboard. This tactic succeeds, and their memories come flooding back.
The Doctor brings them back through the gateway onto Clutha's ship. However, he soon realises that Ian and Barbara still don't know who he is, as they know nothing of regeneration. Before their conversation can continue, however, Clutha's crew start to cut through the door, and the trio are forced to flee into a hatch in the floor.
Crawling through a passageway to the engine room, the Doctor quickly sets to work pulling an electrical panel off the wall, while Ian and Barbara find the TARDIS and start calling for the Doctor, believing him to be inside.
The Doctor finishes what he is doing and the three go inside the TARDIS. Ian and Barbara are understandably surprised by the new interior, and Ian becomes convinced that the Doctor is an impostor.
The Doctor explains what he knows about the psychic metal — that devices made of it "have been raining down on Earth for centuries now, hitting cities at key points in history." They all seem to be connected to a question that the Doctor has been asked several times in his recent past (including once by Cheshire): "What is buried in man?"
Barbara tells the Doctor of Ian's suspicions. The Doctor tries to explain the truth, but he and Ian soon get into an argument. Barbara breaks it up, and the Doctor swiftly sets course for Cornucopia. Ian, immediately noticing that the Doctor is able to pilot the TARDIS accurately, points out to Barbara that the "real" TARDIS was never as reliable as this.
Back on Pala's ship, the crew issues a mayday call. The leader of the Hunters commands two others, Garn and Rakk, to search the lower levels, where he senses the Stone may be. Cheshire, meanwhile, asks for her extraction from the vessel to be delayed so she can figure out what's going on. She pulls aside a passerby, Tarky Pakko, who is rushing to safety and interrogates him about the origins of the psychic metal. She doesn't learn much, however, before Garn and Rakk burst through the ceiling.
Cheshire and Pakko secretly look on as the two Hunters find the "Burning Stone" — revealed to have been the psychic metal all along. Cheshire detonates a fusion charge and the containers of metal explode. The Hunters, outraged, destroy the ship and take off back into space. Cheshire leaves through a portal. Pakko begs her to take him with her, but she tells him that as he has no information on where the psychic metal was headed before Pala's ship took it, he is useless to her.
The TARDIS lands in a market in Cornucopia. The Doctor tells Ian and Barbara that they must keep a low profile, as there is evidently a heavy price on their heads. The Doctor then uses his sonic screwdriver to advertise their presence to the right party. The Doctor explains to Ian and Barbara about Cornucopia, then goes off to talk to a vendor. Barbara tells Ian that it's not so impossible that the Doctor is who he says he is. Ian agrees, but wants to see some proof before he's convinced.
The Hunters land in the western plaza. Upon discovering that the Ziggurat of Cornucopia has been destroyed, they decide to "make this world scream and die!"
Part 3: Night of the Hunters
The Hunters begin their attack on Cornucopia. The Doctor tells them that he was the one who destroyed the Ziggurat, and is nearly killed, but Ian saves him and accepts that he is indeed the Doctor. Cheshire appears and demands that the Doctor tells her what he knows about the Hunters. Barbara arrives and is taken as a hostage by Cheshire. She struggles and they both accidentally fall through Cheshire's portal. Ian is devastated, but the Doctor promises him that they'll find her.
The Doctor and Ian run up to the roof where the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to call for help. A group of creatures appear that are seemingly made out of the psychic metal. They introduce themselves as the Prometheans and reveal that they arranged Ian and Barbara's kidnapping and asks where Barbara is, saying Ian is "only one half of the catalyst". The Doctor deduces that the coated engine, the gauntlet and the Ziggurat were all made by the Prometheans and is about to get some answers when he and Ian are both rescued by Horatio Lynk. They persuade him to help them find Barbara.
On Cheshire's ship, Barbara demands to know where she is, but Cheshire tells her to shut up. She manages to get a picture of the Prometheans on the monitor. Barbara, enraged at being ignored, exclaims that "This is the second time I've been kidnapped today and I'm getting jolly sick of it!" and once again demands to know who Cheshire is. Cheshire gets up and starts to take her helmet off...
The Doctor, Ian and Lynk are breaking into Miss Ghost's home. They are attacked by gravity globes, but the three manage to stop them, Lynk using what looks like a sonic screwdriver. They start searching the house, and the Doctor finds Annabel Lake's doll.
On the ship, Cheshire reveals herself to be Annabel Lake. She tells Barbara that she first met the Doctor in Prague, 1989, the night her mother died.
The Doctor is confronted at gunpoint by Patrick Lake. The Doctor shouts angrily at Patrick, "WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE?" who simply tells him that he took the Doctor's advice and made the leap. The Doctor, Patrick, Horatio and Ian are all knocked back by a sudden explosion. Lynk takes the worst of the blast, being knocked unconscious. The Prometheans and the Hunters emerge from the wreckage and knock Patrick's gun away.
The Prometheans refer to the Hunters as their children, and the Hunters ask Ian for "more words to remember". When Ian says he doesn't know them, they tell him that they remembered his trick in which the skulls came to life in the flame and that they took it for themselves. Saying that they fear nothing, the Hunters blast away their skulls and are revealed to be Za, Hur and Horg from the Tribe of Gum. They decree that they will take back their world.
Part 4: Quantum Leap
The Prometheans revealed that they visited primitive worlds and granted them the gift of their psychic metal, and that they had witnessed Ian, Barbara and the First Doctor's encounter with the tribe of Gum, and given the tribe the psychic metal after the TARDIS departed.
The Tribe became the Hunters, who travelled through time and space in search of more of the metal. The Doctor was shown Patrick's memories; shortly after a repelled Cyberman invasion in the early 21st century, Patrick lobbied for a new branch of MI6, one dedicated to space travel and defence against alien threats, to be formed.
He trained his daughter to become one of the branch's agents. The Doctor, realising the Prometheans were feeding on Patrick's psychic energy, shut down Patrick's conscious mind. The Prometheans turned on the Doctor, and sent him to relive his most terrifying memories, transporting him to the last day of the Last Great Time War and filling his head with visions of his deadliest foes.
Part 5: History Lesson
The Doctor was able to overcome the onslaught, and the memories changed to the moment during their time in prehistoric Earth, when Ian persuaded the Doctor not to kill someone. The Doctor told Ian that he helped him to be better, and revealed that he had been inspired by Ian and Barbara to take on more human companions. He also told Ian of the many deaths he brought about, particularly those of the Time War.
Ian reassured the Doctor that he was a good person, and the two finally escaped the psychic realm. They then discovered that the Prometheans' craft was a "neural reverser", which the Prometheans used to regress humanity to the level of cavemen, so that they may once again worship the Prometheans as gods. The Doctor, Ian and Patrick were then picked up by Barbara and Patricia. Once onboard their ship, the Doctor admonished Patrick for turning his daughter into a weapon, with Patricia retorting that she was honouring her fallen mother, and telling the Doctor to think of a solution himself. When the Doctor was unable to, Ian encouraged him, and he suddenly hit on a plan, departing in the TARDIS.
Part 6: Till Death Us Do Part
As the Tribe of Gum instructed the primitive humans to worship the Prometheans, the Doctor returned, having planted images of the TARDIS throughout human history, and using that image to alter the neural platform, reversing the effect, destroying the platform, and "locking" the minds of the human race from being altered again. He answered "What is buried in man?": It was him and his TARDIS. Incensed, the Tribe of Gum, at the Prometheans' urging, attacked the Doctor.
Ian and Barbara landed their ship on a fragment of the neural platform, and convinced the Tribe to stop by telling them of love and sacrifice, and how the Doctor protected the people of Earth for years. When the Tribe of Gum ceased their assault, the Prometheans attacked Ian and Barbara. The Tribe of Gum then turned on the Prometheans. Both sides were destroyed in the ensuing struggle.
The Doctor tried to shut down Hugo Wilding and Patrick Lake's MI6 organisation. Hugo had information on the Doctor and threatened to upload it to every database in the universe and make the Doctor a popular figure again, which the Doctor had spent a long time trying to erase.
After ensuring his existence was to remain shadowed, the Doctor attended Barbara and Ian's wedding as Ian's best man, telling Barbara what he did; He arrived in 1963, at Totters Lane, where he entered his first incarnation's TARDIS, and used the sonic screwdriver to break the TARDIS' chameleon circuit. Barbara realised that that blue box would always be around in case of trouble.
- Eleventh Doctor
- Ian Chesterton
- Barbara Wright
- Annabel Lake
- Patrick Lake
- Horatio Lynk
- Captain Gol Clutha
- Captain Pala
- Tarky Pakko
- Gol Clutha is known as "the temporal mercenary", and has stolen a Sontaran timeship.
- Annabel uses an Amaranian Star-hopper.
- The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom eats a ferret.
- The Doctor says he isn't good at water skiing.
- Annabel mentions a Ford Focus.
- This is the first comic story to feature the TARDIS' new interior from the television story The Snowmen.
- This is the first DWM strip that features the Eleventh Doctor travelling solo.
- This story marks the marriage of Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright.
- This is the first DWM comic strip to feature Ian and Barbara.
Original print details
- (Publication with page count and closing caption)
- DWM 456 (12 pages) Next: Doctor Who?
- DWM 457 (10 pages) Next: Night of the Hunters!
- DWM 458 (12 pages) Next: Quantum Leap!
- DWM 459 (12 pages) Next: History Lesson!
- DWM 460 (12 pages) Next: Till Death us do Part!
- DWM 461 (12 pages) The End.
- Gol killed the Sontarans on their Timeship by pumping it full of Halisiton gas. (TV: The Two Doctors)
- The Doctor reverses the polarity on Gol's Traulian Mind-Spike so that it stuns her instead of killing him (TV: The Five Doctors, et al)
- When Gol Clutha states that he is "a dead man", the Doctor says "and I want to keep it that way", referring to the fact that the whole universe thinks that he is dead. (TV: The Wedding of River Song - The Angels Take Manhattan)
- While inside the psychic metal, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright believe that they are at Coal Hill School in 1963, when they have really been captured from 1965. The Doctor reminds them of their wiped memories by speaking of Susan Foreman, and what would happen if they were to follow her home, all while drawing the TARDIS on the near-by chalkboard. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
- When attempting to jog Ian and Barbara's memories, the Doctor mentions Morphoton and brains in jars. (TV: The Keys of Marinus)
- When Ian remembers his adventures with the Doctor, he mentions Marinus (TV: The Keys of Marinus), Vortis (TV: The Web Planet), the Sense Sphere (TV: The Sensorites), Daleks, Thals and Skaro (TV: The Daleks).
- When Barbara remembers her adventures with the Doctor, she mentions Susan (TV: An Unearthly Child et al.), Vicki (TV: The Rescue et al.), Saladin (TV: The Crusade), Napoléon (TV: The Reign of Terror), and Kublai Khan (TV: Marco Polo).
- The Doctor mentions his recent visits to Athens (COMIC: The Chains of Olympus), London (COMIC: Sticks & Stones) and Prague (COMIC: The Broken Man)
- When the Doctor tells Ian and Barbara that he is the Doctor, Barbara replies "Doctor Who?" (TV: The Snowmen)
- To try to convince Barbara of his identity, the Doctor mentions she helped Marco Polo travel and became an Aztec god. (TV: Marco Polo, The Aztecs)
- A year has passed in Cornucopia since the Bank of Heaven robbery. (COMIC: The Cornucopia Caper)
- The Doctor recalls Ian and Barbara stumbling into the TARDIS. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
- After Ian knocks out Kagg with his sword, The Doctor calls Ian "The Knight of Jaffa" and "Sir Ian." (TV: The Crusade)
- The villains, with heads like burning skulls, are revealed to be the Tribe of Gum, first seen in TV: An Unearthly Child. They know Ian and Barbara as "teachers," and claim that their disguises were learned from Ian's trick of lighting the skulls in the cave on fire.
- Numerous characters from the strip reappear, including Horatio Lynk, Miss Ghost, (COMIC: The Cornucopia Caper) and Patrick and Annabel Lake. (COMIC: The Broken Man)
- Inside Patrick Lake's memories, the aftermath of The Flood is shown, with the creation of a new branch of MI6, dealing with interstellar travel and defence, entitled Wonderland, focusing on before the invasion rather than after.
- The Doctor and Ian are sent into the Doctor's mind, and they arrive on the final day of the Time War on Gallifrey. (TV: The Day of the Doctor, et al) He forces their way to other parts of his memory.
- While falling through the Doctor's memories many faces are seen. A Weeping Angel (TV: Blink), the Master (TV: Terror of the Autons et al), Scaroth (TV: City of Death), a Sontaran (TV: The Time Warrior et al), a Sycorax (TV: The Christmas Invasion), Omega (TV: The Three Doctors et al), a Cyberman (TV: The Tenth Planet et al), Davros (TV: Genesis of the Daleks et al) a Zygon (TV: Terror of the Zygons et al) Mavic Chen (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan), Mr Sin (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang), an insectoid Solonian (TV: The Mutants) and a Cheetah Person (TV: Survival) are a few of those seen.
- The Doctor and Ian follow through their adventures in the Doctor's memories, branching the stories An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, Mission to the Unknown, and Marco Polo, as well as many others in less detail.
- The Doctor reflects that it was Ian and Barbara's perseverance which made him want to travel with more humans. Those seen include Jamie McCrimmon, Tegan Jovanka, Ace McShane, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, and Sarah Jane Smith.
- Among the events seen in the Doctor's memories are the Third Doctor fighting an Ogron (TV: Day of the Daleks) the Second Doctor using his invention on an Ice Warrior (TV: The Seeds of Death), the Sixth Doctor shooting a Cyberman (TV: Attack of the Cybermen), the Eighth Doctor fighting the Master (TV: Doctor Who), the Tenth Doctor fighting a Sycorax (TV: The Christmas Invasion), the Fourth Doctor encountering Sutekh (TV: Pyramids of Mars), the Fifth Doctor carrying Peri to the TARDIS (TV: The Caves of Androzani), Sara ageing to death as the First Doctor holds the Dalek Time-rotor (TV: The Daleks' Master Plan), the Ninth Doctor absorbing the Time Vortex energy from Rose Tyler (TV: The Parting of the Ways), the Doctor with Robot Yeti and soldiers (TV: The Web of Fear), and the Seventh Doctor surrounded by Fenric's creations (TV: The Curse of Fenric). The Fourth Doctor holding the wires to destroy the Dalek race is seen, and is referenced to as the first shot of the Time War. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
- The Doctor claims to be late to a cricket match; his fifth incarnation previously enjoyed cricket.
- It is revealed that the TARDIS' chameleon circuit was deliberately sabotaged by the Eleventh Doctor to make it keep its iconic police box shape.
- The Doctor uses Monos's glove to change the shape of the Promethean's Neural Platform into that of the TARDIS. (COMIC: Sticks & Stones)
- Among the images of the TARDIS depicted throughout human history is the carving of the Caecilius family's household gods (TV: The Fires of Pompeii), and the church window depiction viewed by Wilfred Mott. (TV: The End of Time)
- The question "what is buried in man?" (COMIC: The Chains of Olympus, The Cornucopia Caper) is answered - the answer is, in fact, the Doctor and his TARDIS, both having become part of humanity's race memory as a result of their frequent trips to Earth's past.
- At Ian and Barbara's wedding, the Doctor mentions that some of Barbara's male acquaintances will be disappointed - namely Ganatus, Léon Colbert and Nero. (TV: The Daleks, TV: The Reign of Terror, TV: The Romans)
- Ian had proposed marriage to Barbara in PROSE: Byzantium!.
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