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Observation was the fourth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Life Science. It was written by Ian Farrington. It featured the Fifth Doctor and Turlough.


The TARDIS lands on Earth circa 40000 BC. The Doctor and Turlough head for a rise in terrain, below which they can see a tribe of Cro-Magnons. The Doctor hopes to observe the first contact between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons. He has spent much research into finding the correct moment, and has narrowed it down within six months. Turlough is amazed at the prospect of observing for six months. The Doctor suggests he take the TARDIS and jump ahead six months so he won't have to wait with the Doctor. As Turlough heads back to the TARDIS, the Doctor sets up his surveillance equipment.

Turlough sets the TARDIS controls and materialises six months later. He heads for the Doctor's site and realises something is wrong. The Doctor is impatient with Turlough and tells him to gather the rest of the equipment while he heads for the TARDIS. As Turlough picks up the equipment, he finds the Doctor's notebook. He furtively reads it while he packs.

After more than three weeks of watching the Cro-Magnons, the Doctor notes the Neanderthals' arrival. For almost four months, the two tribes go about their business, not meeting at all. After six months, expecting Turlough any day, the Doctor scouts around his observation site and finds something unexpected. He notes the coordinates in the notebook.

Turlough, curious, heads for the location specified by the coordinates. He finds a dead Neanderthal body and deduces that the man had seen the Doctor's camp site and died while approaching it. Turlough sees a Neanderthal approach, but he retreats when he sees that Turlough has seen him. Turlough heads back to the TARDIS.

The last thing Turlough sees is members of both tribes approaching the spot.





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