Tardis

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Pandora (identified on the cover simply as Chapter Seven) was the third story of the second series of Big Finish's Gallifrey audio series. It was written by Justin Richards.

Answering the question of the identity of the broken man, Pandora made the threat of the Dogma Virus known and wrote out Braxiatel, who would not return until series 3's Mindbomb. Darkel is shown to be increasingly antagonistic, leaving Braxiatel to die, manipulating Wynter and using Andred.

Publisher's summary[]

"The APC-Net stores the preserved brainwaves of dead Time Lords... But not all our thoughts are pure and innocent."

A rogue TARDIS that should not exist... A mutilated, comatose Time Lord who cannot be identified... A new castellan desperate to make his mark... Evils of the past, events of the present, and echoes of the future conspire to destroy the very heart of Gallifrey's civilisation.

Only Romana can understand it — but she is haunted by her own ghosts. Only Leela can sense it — but she has unfinished business. Only Braxiatel can stop it — but he cannot begin to guess the personal cost.

With both Narvin and Darkel waiting for Romana to make a mistake, the President must take decisions that will change Gallifrey forever. And an ancient evil is ready and waiting for just that moment...

Plot[]

The broken man is transported to the Capitol, where Narvin has Hallan put him in a stasis vessel and taken to Containment. K9 Mark I tells Leela that this is necessary due to the pathogen being presumed to be hostile to Time Lord physiognomy.

Romana, Braxiatel and Wynter are joined by the delayed Narvin to discuss the current situation. K9 Mark II disconnects from the Matrix and suggests that the log of the version of the broken man's TARDIS on Gallifrey be checked for a record of making the flight to Davidia. This has already been done and showed no such journey but, whilst the journey could have been wiped, Wynter realises that the use of the presidential codes would be noted in the temporal flight recorder.

Romana has K9 send the codes to Wynter's personal Matrix data storage as she cannot access the Matrix herself until the K9s have successfully sealed Pandora back into the APC Net in the partition into which the dark thoughts of dead Time Lords are siphoned. Pandora had been the dominant force within this partition until somebody released her and made a connection between her and Narvin.

To avoid the pathogen being passed on to other Time Lords, K9 Mark I is given the task of entering the air-locked chamber and examining the broken man whilst Leela observes. K9 lowers the stasis field and begins his work.

Darkel enters Romana's office unannounced and demands to know why she was not informed sooner about the broken man being taken into Containment given that she is in charge of the investigation. Both Narvin and Wynter disagree, each believing that it belongs in their separate jurisdictions. Romana decrees that Darkel with serve in an advisory matter to whoever she decides to be in charge, ordering the bickering Narvin and Wynter to leave. Darkel says that Narvin would be the better choice, but Romana agrees with Braxiatel that Wynter needs an opportunity to gain experience.

Gillestes makes her final message, believing that Braxiatel might suspect her. She has a concentrated mixture which she will soon disseminate in diluted form and bring about the end of the Time Lords.

Braxiatel again tries to convince Romana to make him Chancellor, an act that would strengthen her position but which she believes would look like centralising power. He will remain her unofficial second and head of the Academy; on that topic, he mentions a student from the Princessipality of Yevnon who he is worried about as her Matrix behavioural projection flagged her as subversive and he believes that he tried to download his Matrix access codes. Romana is not concerned, remarking that all students are subversive.

Wynter, most of whose men are in the Vaults looking for Andred, comes to containment to observe K9 and learns from Leela that the broken man has died. K9 informs Wynter that his observation is not necessary and says that the broken man's injuries came from a focused laser weapon at high intensity but low power. Wynter supposes that somebody did not want him to be able to communicate, having crushed his hands and removed his tongue, but K9 lists a myriad of other ways that he could have communicated before entering his coma. He believes that the injuries were to prevent identification.

K9 Mark II informs Romana that the Pandora partition is now fully operational, although part of Pandora could have escaped and entered another mind. As there is no evidence of this, K9 says that there is no reason to worry. Romana is instead worried about who released Andred, sent him to free Pandora and gave him the necessary codes.

K9 Mark I cannot say whether the broken man was infected with the infection before or after he was injured but, having completed his examination of the injuries, he prepares to analyse the pathogen. Wynter says that this is not a priority and that he should instead work on identification.

Narvin and Darkel discuss Braxiatel's ambition to become Chancellor, but Darkel does not believe that it will happen.

Gillestes is in the main water-pumping station in the Vaults, looking for a particular tank. When she finds it, Andred appears and tries to take her flask from her as she says "Free Time". Shortly after, he contacts Braxiatel telling him to send Wynter, having subdued Gillestes before she could pour the liquid into the water. He leaves the flask hidden for Wynter to confiscate and prepares to depart, Braxiatel agreeing to give him a five microspan head-start to escape. However, Braxiatel promises to do what he can for him if he hands over Gillestes himself, which would get Andred full credit.

K9 Mark I recovers a fragmentary artron imprint from the broken man and compares it with Matrix data to identify him. Darkel arrives to see what progress has been made and, when Leela asks about the squabble of jurisdiction, she says that things would be easier if Romana appointed a Chancellor. She leaves, asking Leela to ensure that Wynter keeps her informed.

Wynter tells Narvin about the arrest of Gillestes, whom Andred was convinced by Braxiatel to stay with. Andred had said that turning in a terrorist was more important than his liberty, which Narvin sees as a sign that he is learning politics. Gillestes, Narvin says, does not truly understand the agenda of Free Time and takes instructions from a faceless superior with a scrambled voice at given times. Whilst she seems to have very little information to offer, she is in possession of but has not used Braxiatel's codes; Narvin asks Wynter to keep the matter of the codes to himself for the time being and reminds him that, should Braxiatel become Chancellor, he would have jurisdiction over the Castellan and the Chancellery Guard. He also suggests that Wynter threaten Gillestes with the mind probe.

Leela meets with Romana, who says that the broken man's earlier TARDIS had never been programmed with her codes. Leela tells her that she should appoint a Chancellor and that Darkel was the one who spoke to her about the matter.

K9 Mark I finds a matching artron imprint but rejects the finding, believing it to be impossible and therefore incorrect. He deduces that there must have been a fault in his analysis.

Darkel tells Romana that she should consider appointing a Chancellor to create a secure presidency and political front during this time of change. When Romana asks her who she should appoint, she says that it should be somebody whose appointment would actually change very little, namely Braxiatel. This surprises Romana.

K9 Mark I informs Leela that he had made an incorrect finding and is considering what approach to take next. In the meantime, he is to analyse Gillestes' liquid, given to him by Wynter. Andred enters Containment and explains to a still angry Leela that being with her made him see how ephemeral the world outside of Gallifrey was and made him want to change things quickly, hence why he took on Torvald's identity. Leela says that he did what he did out of arrogance and with a disregard for the feelings of others storms off.

Darkel manipulates Wynter, complimenting him on his decision to have K9 Mark I analyse the liquid and claiming that she had argued his case to Romana, who she says wanted Narvin in charge of the investigation because of the animosity that Braxiatel allegedly has for Wynter. She says that things would be done better under his command and that Andred would not have escaped had Romana chosen differently, successfully convincing him to release Pandora with Braxiatel's access codes to frame him and to give himself the opportunity to deal with the crisis and become a hero.

K9 identifies the liquid as a post-regenerative cerebral mutagen in concentrated form. He realises that Leela is not present and closes down, purging his memory circuits when he hears a voice and detects anomalous data within himself.

Wynter goes to a terminal and inserts Braxiatel's codes but finds that the partition containing Pandora is now empty. The terminal informs him that Pandora was released only moments earlier from the very same terminal. A voice says that he will understand.

Romana appoints Braxiatel as Chancellor and a ceremony is held in the Panopticon to invest him and for the Time Lords to ratify his appointment. The Gold Usher announces that he will strike three times - once for wisdom, once for honour and once for tradition - and that Braxiatel will be invested if no dissenting voices make themselves known before the third strike. Darkel and Wynter are in attendance and Wynter is unable to tell Darkel whether or not he had succeeded. After Braxiatel's ratification, Narvin approaches Wynter and mentions how Braxiatel had spoken on Wynter's behalf against Darkel, making Wynter realise that he has been manipulated. He leaves hurriedly, saying that he is going to see K9.

Wynter goes to Containment and hears K9 speak with another voice before he becomes unresponsive. Leela enters and watches him go in with K9 and the body. He finds that K9 has been shut down and hears a scream which Leela cannot. He shouts at the unseen voice and Leela goes to fetch help.

Braxiatel and Narvin shake hands, Andred explaining what a handshake is to Narvin before leaving. Leela rushes in and tells everybody that Wynter is in trouble in the chamber. Romana, Braxiatel, Narvin, Darkel and Andred hurry behind her towards Containment, passing two recently-killed members of the Chancellery Guard which Braxiatel presumes must have been killed by Pandora due to their bodies showing no sign of damage. Romana sends Narvin and Darkel to raise the alarm and Leela tells the group that she saw a glimpse of the broken man passing through a door with his wounds apparently fresh.

In Containment, the group sees that the broken man's corpse is still in the chamber and that the floor is covered in blood. Braxiatel powers up K9, whose laser has been removed, and Andred identifies broken glass as belonging to Gillestes' flask, the analysis of which K9 cannot recall due to his memory erasure. K9 does, however, have oral recordings which he will be able to play once he is fully powered-up.

Darkel tells Narvin that Romana or Braxiatel must be behind Pandora's release, which seems to be confirmed when she directs him to find that Braxiatel's codes had been used to access the partition from the Academy. Narvin, who knows that Gillestes too had the codes, tells Darkel that she is playing a dangerous game. She says that he should make sure that he is on the winning side.

Leela, Andred and Kosh head down into the Vaults with several guards in search of Pandora, who is in possession of living broken man whom Leela saw. Braxiatel contacts them and, in Wynter's absence, appoints Leela as Acting Castellan. Narvin disapproves of this appointment, saying that Darkel will be apoplectic but admitting that she is a better choice than Andred. He and Braxiatel discuss the codes, which Braxiatel believes that Gillestes must have passed on and which they agree that Darkel will use this against him, taking down the new Chancellor and causing controversy for Romana. However, Narvin is aware that Wynter too had Braxiatel's codes and will not help take down Braxiatel unfairly as Darkel is willing to.

Leela and Andred find Pandora, but staser fire is ineffective and Andred orders Kosh and the guards to fall back.

K9 Mark I is fully restored and still has the full analysis of Gillestes' toxin, identifying it as the same thing that infected the broken man. He plays his audio recording and they hear how Wynter entered the chamber, refused to help Pandora and drank the contents of Gillestes' flask to infect himself. He begs the dormant K9 for help and takes the laser gun from his nose, shooting himself on full power and burning himself. He says that Pandora will not have his hands and pulverises them. The rest of the recording is silent.

Presuming Kosh and the other guards to be dead, Andred tells Leela what he knows about the Pandora creature and how it feeds on ambition and greed. He learnt this from Darkel, who was the one who set him free and kept Wynter's guards away from him whilst he was in hiding.

K9 also has data on brainwaves in the chamber which he translates into aural data, allowing Romana and Braxiatel to hear the voice that Wynter did. They hear the voices of Pandora, saying that they cannot live in empty space or in K9 and need a host of flesh. The voices told Wynter what the contents of the flask that he had drunk were, making him realise that he was the broken man. He crushed his hands in the door and bit out his tongue to prevent Pandora from using them. Pandora then left.

Braxiatel has gone after Pandora, a suggestion that Darkel supported knowing that she would win whether he dies or succeeds. Whilst Narvin chooses to stay safe and in charge of the guards, Darkel goes to see how events will play out.

Leela and Andred follow the wounded Wynter and are joined by Braxiatel, who sends them to remove the guard from the duplicated TARDIS in Bay 9. Darkel steps out of the shadows and speaks with Braxiatel, revealing that she is aware that he became Chancellor in the hopes of becoming President should the attempts to discredit Romana be successful. In turn, Braxiatel says that he knows that Darkel used Andred and Wynter to try to release Pandora before finding that she was already in Wynter's mind. The Pandora-possessed Wynter then emerges and Braxiatel tells her that he will be the next President.

K9 tells Romana that he has prepared a transduction chamber. Leela then arrives and tells Romana that she eavesdropped on Braxiatel, Darkel and Pandora and heard that Braxiatel wants to be President.

Pandora senses Braxiatel's ambition and begins to feast on him with Darkel's blessing. Darkel leaves him to die.

Romana explains to Leela that K9 has shielded the containment chamber from the Matrix. Braxiatel arrives and enters the chamber with Pandora trapped in his mind, containing her by thinking of the same patterns and protocols that make up the shell of the Pandora partition. Meanwhile, the dying Wynter free to take the TARDIS to Davidia using the codes given to him by Romana to warn her of the pathogen as he struggles not to regenerate. Narvin and Darkel are brought up to speed and Braxiatel says that he must leave Gallifrey forever to keep Pandora from escaping back into the Matrix. Before he goes, he asks for a private word with Romana, telling Leela that they will be able to meet again as she is not a Time Lord.

Braxiatel tells Romana that he planned to invite Leela to lecture at the Academy about life on Gallifrey as an alien, a suggestion Romana promises to pass on to his successor, whom she will allow Darkel to select. He informs her that the Pandora creature was comprised of three parts as it existed in three overlapping times, but whilst the past and present forms are trapped within him, the future form is still out there. Planning to go to the Braxiatel Collection, he asks that he be allowed to keep his title of Chancellor.

Darkel declares that she will name Andred as Wynter's successor, a decision which Narvin disagrees with. Narvin publicly reveals Braxiatel's violation of Gallifreyan law by being in contact with his past and future selves, forcing Romana to strip Braxiatel of his title and to officially exile him. Darkel informs Braxiatel that this is the case before he departs and says that he will be better off away from Gallifrey now that Romana's days are numbered. She admits that she was the one who freed Pandora and promises that, with Braxiatel away, she will succeed in toppling Romana. Braxiatel boards his TARDIS and leaves, insisting that he is leaving of his own choice.

Cast[]

References[]

Individuals[]

Locations[]

Gallifrey[]

  • Darkel tells Romana that Braxiatel has been breaking the First Law of Time and making contact with his past and future selves.
  • Braxiatel gets appointed to the position of High Chancellor.
  • Braxiatel appoints Leela as temporary Castellan due to the absence of Wynter.

Science and technology[]

  • Braxiatel has the Matrix run a behavioural projection for each of the students from off-world.
  • Braxiatel believes that Gillestes tried to download his Matrix access codes from an Academy terminal.
  • K9 attempts to use the unique artron activity in the broken man's brain to identify him.
  • Narvin tells Wynter to threaten Gillestes with a mind probe.

Species[]

Notes[]

Continuity[]

  • Braxiatel previously revealed to Narvin that he had been supplying his future self with artefacts for his collection. (AUDIO: Lies)
  • Darkel mentions to Narvin about lack of sleep. (AUDIO: Lies)

External links[]

Footnotes[]

  1. Leeson plays both K9 Mark I and K9 Mark II.
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