Killing Ground was the twenty-third novel in the Virgin Missing Adventures series. Continuing on from the final events of author Steve Lyons' Time of Your Life, it showed what happened when the Sixth Doctor gave Grant Markham his "one trip" in the TARDIS — a journey back to Markham's home of Agora.
Unlike Time, however, Ground featured Markham as a prominent narrative element, and the book jacket formally dubbed him a "companion". Still, it proved to be his final outing in a licensed work, despite the fact that it ended in a way that promised more adventures for Markham and the Doctor.
- "Imagine that you can live forever and life is totally free from pain. You can see all things with clarity, unblinkered by irrelevant details. You will never fear, never sicken, never lose control. That is what the Cybermen are offering."
The Cybermen have taken control and set up a breeding colony to propagate their own race. While the Doctor languishes in a cell at the mercy of the sadistic Overseers, Grant joins up with a group of rebels and works on a desperate rescue bid.
With time running out, the rebels move into action. But will their solution prove more deadly than the problem itself?
Ninety-one years in Grant Markham's past, the New Hope successfully launches from Earth. The Sixth Doctor and Grant observe the launch from inside the TARDIS, which is orbiting Mars. The Doctor comments that the New Hope will travel to the Centraxis system, and its crew will establish "the most remote of the prototype colonies", which Grant immediately identifies as Agora, his planet of origin. The Doctor comments that with humanity now beginning to expand into space, the numerous alien threats that Earth's governments have kept secret for centuries will be eager to exact revenge on humanity at a time in which humans will be less equipped to fight them. However, he confirms that the New Hope will arrive safely. Meanwhile, the majority of the New Hope's Administrative Council votes in favour of establishing a more primitive society on their new home, and eschewing the advanced technology of Earth.
In the midst of a rebellion on Agora, Ben Taggart flees from Population Control, having been driven out, along with the other surviving rebels, by the Cybermen. Falling over in the mud, he eventually gets up, believing the fighting to have passed him, only to be confronted by a Cyberman; the creature is shot dead, however, by Arthur Lakesmith, the leader of the rebellion against the Cybermen, who forces Taggart to accompany him back inside Population Control with a crude bomb, with the intention of blowing up the entire complex and potentially the Cyber-ship. However, inside the complex, the duo are attacked by more Cybermen, one of whom brutally maims Lakesmith, forcing Taggart to take the bomb and detonate it himself. Taggart flees, but is trapped by two Cybermen within an Overseers' rest area, preventing him from reaching the control centre. Fearfully contemplating that detonating the bomb, and sacrificing himself, here, may end up being for nothing, he places the bomb on the floor and surrenders.
More to be added
- Sixth Doctor
- Grant Markham
- Jean Markham
- Ted Henneker
- Graduand Jolarr
- Arthur Lakesmith
- Ben Taggart
- Vincent Madrox
- Maxine Carter
Biologically modified species
- Hegelia is an expert on the history of the Cybermen. She is one of the most respected ArcHivists from the ArcHive.
- Hegelia undergoes cyber-conversion to record a first-hand experience of the process.
- The Cybermen that have conquered Agora are CyberNomads, a Cyber-subspecies that fought in the Vogan War. The Sixth Doctor recalls encountering them on Nerva Beacon as the Fourth Doctor.
- According to Graduand Jolarr, the CyberNomad attack on Nerva Beacon occurred three-hundred years after the end of the Vogan War.
- Hegelia proposed a hypothesis that a group of CyberNomads travelled to Telos and re-opened the Cyber-tombs. They subsequently merged with the CyberTelosians inside to become the CyberNeomorphs, which proliferated throughout the 26th century.
- The CyberNomads have been severely weakened by the Vogan War, in numerous ways:
- They use more organic material than any variants of Cybermen before them since the CyberMondans, which has also led to the CyberNomads regaining the CyberMondans' weakness to strong levels of radiation.
- The cyber-conversion technology used by the CyberNomads is significantly more primitive.
- The CyberNomad reinforcements that travel to Agora following the first force's destruction arrive in a Selachian battle cruiser, rather than a Cyber-ship.
- The Doctor contemplates suicide.
- The Doctor spends weeks in his TARDIS recovering from the radiation poisoning he sustained onboard the Selachian battle cruiser.
- Grant has severe robophobia, as a result of witnessing the Cybermen murder his mother when he was a chid.
- Arthur Lakesmith was the original rebel leader and was mutilated as a warning to other colonists following a failed rebellion in 2176.
- This is the second and final appearance of companion Grant Markham in the Missing Adventures. He would later appear in one more short story, Repercussions....
- The cover, by Alister Pearson, contained the only official image of Grant. Pearson chose himself on whom to to base the appearance of Grant.
- The character Hegelia was from David Banks' book Cybermen.
- This story is set between The Trial of a Time Lord and Time and the Rani.
- The Doctor exiled himself to Torrok (TV: The Ultimate Foe) and was forced to leave when the Time Lords revealed him to the Watchers. (PROSE: Time of Your Life)
- The Cybermen are CyberNomads. (TV: Revenge of the Cybermen)
- The Doctor refers to the painful beginnings of his third regeneration in the TARDIS. (TV: Planet of the Spiders)
- When discussing the subjects of government cover-ups with Grant, the Doctor mentions the Great Intelligence, (TV: The Web of Fear) the Autons, (TV: Spearhead from Space, TV: Terror of the Autons) the Axons (TV: The Claws of Axos) and the Zygons. (TV: Terror of the Zygons)
- Earth is still rebuilding after the 22nd century Dalek invasion. (TV: The Dalek Invasion of Earth)
- Grant had a recurring nightmare about being hunted by robots, which was cured. (PROSE: Time of Your Life)
- The TARDIS has an emergency exit. (PROSE: Original Sin)
- The Doctor recalls his visit to Thoros-Beta in 2379. (TV: Mindwarp)