The Doctor receives a strange message from an impossible source, and finds himself trapped inside a house of infinite dimensions. What is the Doctor's connection to the family that brought him there, and what is the stunning secret of the house itself?
As the Doctor and Hattie have a jam session, an alarm suddenly sounds out, the Doctor recognising it as the emergency stop. Looking over the scanner, the Doctor explains that something is leaking massive amounts of temporal radiation on 21st century Earth, a time and place where temporal radiation should not exist.
Arriving at an ominous manor, the Doctor uses the sonic screwdriver to grant them access only for the door to slam shut behind them, unable to be opened, before a bell strikes fifteen. With no choice, the duo, to the Doctor's naked delight, go investigating. The investigation only spawns more mysteries as they find themselves lost in an endless hodgepodge of rooms. When in an observatory, the two briefly see a figure tapping on the glass before Hattie sees a young girl, sending the duo chasing after her only for her to pass through a wall. As they discuss possible explanations, the bell strikes fourteen.
Heading into a forest room, the two meet a lost woman named Holly. After hearing the tapping again, Holly leads them to a library, with books that have yet to be written. Settling in with some of the inexplicably prepared tea, the Doctor asks what happened. Holly answers that, roughly a week ago, she came back from an antiques fair and that very same night, her children began complaining of strange noises in the house and new rooms popping up. Yesterday, they went missing during a game of hide-and-seek with her and husband John having also become separated as they searched for them.
As the tapping returns, along with the bell striking thirteen, the Doctor recognises the culprits as the Spyrillites, creatures of the Void that feed on artron energy given off by dying space-time vessels, and the inspiration for ghosts. Gambling that the Spyrillites can lead him to the source of the danger, the Doctor lets them in, leading his friends after them through more rooms as the bell continues to ring.
Rounding a corner, the Doctor comes face to face with an architectural reconfiguration system and slaps himself for his stupidity. Bigger on the inside and with such a mess of rooms? This isn't a haunted house. It's a TARDIS!
After dodging Hattie's questions about TARDISes, the Doctor turns on Holly, asking what she bought at the auction, concluding that one of her purchases was the TARDIS. But the TARDIS is damaged and dying. The many rooms Holly's family is lost in are the result of the TARDIS' interior dimensions leaking out, with the mass of a TARDIS being liable to destroy Earth. To stop this, the Doctor needs to get to the control room, assuring Holly that, as the safest place on the ship, the TARDIS will have led her family there with Hattie remembering that the "ghosts" were leading them towards the cellar.
As the bell now strikes seven, sped up by the Spyrillites' feeding, the group arrives at the cellar door, Holly kicking it down. Making their way down more stairs, the trio find Holly's family, with the Doctor getting the kids to lead them to the control room, which they've been using as a kitchen.
After running through even more rooms, the group arrives at the control room, populated by very corporeal looking Spyrillites. When the bell strikes three, the Doctor races for the console, frantically working the damaged and decaying controls. Guarding the kids, Hattie remembers their using the console room as a kitchen and the Doctor telling her that the Spyrillites hate sodium. Grabbing some salt, she turns it on the scavengers, buying the Doctor enough time to trigger the dematerialisation sequence, sending the TARDIS away and taking the Spyrillites with it.
After bidding goodbye to the family, the Doctor leads Hattie back to his TARDIS so they can catch up to the dying one, sent by the Doctor to a star where they watch it die in peace.
Sometime later, the Doctor drops Hattie off back at the Twist, both promising to see each other again.
- The inside cover incorrectly stated Hattie's home century as the 41st century, when it is the 40th century.
- One of the TARDIS' rooms is the "Room of Requirement", a reference to the Harry Potter series. In another reference, the path to the control room starts at "the cupboard under the stairs."
Original print details
to be added
- Hattie assumes that all TARDISes looks like police boxes. (PROSE: The Ripple Effect)
- The Doctor recognises that they're in a TARDIS by seeing the architectural reconfiguration system. He also mentions that a damaged TARDIS guides people towards the control room. (TV: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS)
- The Doctor once told Clara Oswald that a TARDIS' true weight could "fracture the surface of the Earth". (TV: Flatline)
- Bill Potts would also mistake the TARDIS control room for a kitchen. (TV: The Pilot)