Songs of Love was the second story in the audio anthology Doom Coalition 4, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Matt Fitton and featured Alex Kingston as River Song, Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, Nicola Walker as Liv Chenka and Hattie Morahan as Helen Sinclair.
Publisher's summary Edit
Left to fend for herself against a bunch of power-hungry plotters hell-bent on destroying the universe, what choice does a girl have but to throw in her lot with the winning side? Using her past to her advantage, River Song returns to the ancestral seat of the Time Lords to make her last stand.
On the Crucible of Souls, Padrac ejects an escape shuttle with the Doctor, Liv and Helen inside and is congratulated on his success by River. She deactivates her psychic wimple and has him run her biodata, asking to join him and the Doom Coalition.
The Keeper confirms for Councillor Volstrom that information from Padrac's TARDIS has proven that usage of the Time Vortex will soon be compromised. He also says that Chancellor Jerasta needs to be informed of a rippling effect in the data streams of the Matrix, infostamps of which he hands over.
Intrigued by River, Padrac has her secured in his TARDIS and orders Captain Veklin to send the Doctor's TARDIS to Gallifrey and maintain a garrison on the Crucible, as well as to tell the Eleven, should he appear, that he has been waiting for him. Meanwhile, in outer space, Liv and Helen wait to be rescued when a spacecraft approaches. Jerasta calls Padrac after a High Council meeting and informs him of the Matrix's projections and that some councillors are suggesting that they flee Gallifrey. Liv and Helen remove the helmets of their pressure suits and find themselves in another escape capsule which automatically re-enters the Vortex.
In the Panopticon, Jerasta has Volstrom inform the High Council of the Matrix's projections for the future of Gallifrey and that Padrac is risking his life to investigate. He denies Jerasta's suggestion that the Matrix might be compromised and says that Padrac is the best person to advise the Council in the absence of the President. After the meeting, Volstrom and Jerasta talk about the absence of so many councillors and that the Inner Council will be convened when Padrac returns.
River and Padrac arrive on Gallifrey and meet Volstrom. He and Padrac agree that they will push for the Harmony vote. Meanwhile, Liv tries to operate the crashing shuttle and reroutes it to land in London. Volstrom tells Padrac that River's biodata confirms that she is Dr River Song and that she is linked to the assassination of the Doctor at Lake Silencio. Padrac introduces her to the Sonomancer, who is distorting information within the Matrix and who demands that River prove herself.
On Padrac's orders, the Sonomancer searches the Matrix for the secret of the Resonance Engine, planning to use it at the time that the Doomsday Chronometer pinpointed as the alignment of all celestial bodies. Padrac and Volstrom tell River some of their plans before Volstrom gives River a tour of the Capitol. With River gone, Padrac and the Sonomancer discuss her uses, as well as the Eleven's, before the Sonomancer returns to the Matrix and finds that the Doctor, Liv and Helen are still alive.
In the spaceport, Liv and Helen search for a ship in which to escape.
At a meeting of the Inner Council, Volstrom uses a Matrix window to show what will soon happen. Padrac gives a speech on how he has seen Gallifrey's fall in every possible timeline and suggests that they allow the rest of the universe to be destroyed whilst preserving their own planet, shocking Jerasta.
Having stolen Volstrom's passkeys, River explores the Capitol, using her sonic screwdriver on the cameras. She finds a Matrix window and sees that a vortex sphere had been sent to save Liv and Helen and deposited them in London. She contacts her "favourite girls", who are stealing a skimmer, and, to get Liv's trust, tells Helen to tell her the truth of her identity. She leaves for her room to ensure that Padrac does not find her out, concerned that her time will be up once the Eleven arrives.
Padrac interferes in the vote by giving another speech, which Jerasta says to Volstrom is unprecedented. She receives a message from a presidential aide informing her that the President's TARDIS is and has been trapped in the transduction barrier for days and that Time Rings might be their only option. Jerasta tells them that Padrac is manipulating the council, unaware that the Sonomancer is listening in.
The Sonomancer tells Padrac what has happened and opens a channel to the presidential TARDIS where Jerasta is now on board. On Padrac's orders, the Sonomancer destroys the TARDIS, killing the President, Jerasta and all inside before wiping out those who vote against him. He promotes Volstrom to Chancellor and tells him to secure the Capitol's exits.
River calls Liv and Helen and uses a biodata lock to teleport them out of their skimmer to Gallifrey. Volstrom sees them and reveals that he is a double agent working for Cardinal Ollistra and that he has managed to evacuate only Councillor Alekall before the Sonomancer's purge. The four head to Arrival Bay γ where Commander Veklin, a spy pretending to be a captain, is within the Doctor's TARDIS planning to return to Ollistra.
The Sonomancer shows Padrac that River has manipulated the cameras in her room to make it seem that she is in there when she is not. Having found where she really is, she leaves the Matrix.
After being told by Veklin to look into the Matrix to find the Doctor, River pretends to hold Volstrom captive with a staser to trick Padrac and the Sonomancer whilst Veklin dematerialises the TARDIS with Liv and Helen inside. River tries to escape using her vortex manipulator but it fails to work due to the state of the Time Vortex and the Sonomancer transports herself and River into the Matrix to torture her. Padrac asks that she instead continue looking for the Resonance Engine and River tries to tell her that he does not really love her.
The Eleven, who sabotaged the Presidential TARDIS for the Sonomancer, arrives in the Capitol in his TARDIS and tells Padrac and Volstrom that he learnt in his "old haunts" that Veklin is a spy for Ollistra and that she likely has an accomplice.
From the Matrix, River connects to the Doctor's TARDIS and talks to Veklin, Liv and Helen, telling them that she can serve as a door to transport the Doctor to them. She tells Helen to fight to be who she wants to be and Liv to make sure that the Doctor and Helen look after her just as she does them. She talks to the Doctor, who remembers her name and how he met her in his fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh incarnations, and says that she believes she is almost at her final destination. River sends the Doctor through into the TARDIS, remaining in the Vortex whilst it collapses. He takes over control from Veklin, who says that they are on the way to Ollistra.
The Sonomancer tells Padrac that the Doctor and River have escaped. The Eleven reveals that he picked up a sub-space communication on the same path that Veklin used on the Crucible with Volstrom's communication code, outing him as a traitor. The Eleven shoots him, triggering a regeneration, and tells the Sonomancer to trace the Doctor's TARDIS so that he might hunt the Doctor down.
- The Doctor - Paul McGann
- Liv Chenka - Nicola Walker
- Helen Sinclair - Hattie Morahan
- River Song - Alex Kingston
- The Eleven - Mark Bonnar
- Padrac - Robert Bathurst
- The Sonomancer - Emma Cunniffe
- Veklin - Beth Chalmers
- Jerasta - Olivia Poulet
- Volstrom / Matrix Keeper / Computer - Vince Leigh
- Presidential Aide - Sasha Behar
- River has a binary vascular system.
- The Two boasted that his "nose was particularly good at sniffing out traitors." Within the Eleven, he exposed Volstrom's betrayal of Padrac as an agent of Ollistra.
- The TARDIS is transported to Bay γ.
- Veklin collects the Chancellery Master Key.
- According to Padrac, the Capitol of Gallifrey, like TARDISes, has the ability "to change its interior décor to suit the mood of its occupants".
- This is the first and, in fact, only Doctor-lite story of Doom Coalition.
- Despite the fact that Padrac foreshadows the possibility of a time war, Matt Fitton says that the events of The Night of the Doctor, and even the Last Great Time War are "still a long way away". (VOR 97)
- Gallifrey's records of River Song include the fact that she is linked to a fixed point in time at Lake Silencio, on Earth, where she assassinates a future incarnation of the Doctor. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut, The Wedding of River Song)
- River mentions the Clocksmith and the Doomsday Chronometer. (AUDIO: The Eighth Piece, The Doomsday Chronometer)
- The Doctor temporarily remembers meeting River many times before. He mentions the Great Storm, (AUDIO: The Eye of the Storm) the Discordia, (AUDIO: Someone I Once Knew) and Vienna. (AUDIO: A Requiem for the Doctor)
- Time Lords use infostamps. (TV: The Next Doctor)
- Liv impliedly asks if Helen and River are romantically engaged. River had previously been surprised by Helen's positive reaction to her looking like Rita Hayworth. (AUDIO: The Sonomancer)
- River mentions going "fist to fist" with the Eleven. (AUDIO: The Sonomancer)
- River talks about being the Child of the TARDIS. (TV: Let's Kill Hitler, PROSE: River of Time)
- River's double hearts are mentioned. (AUDIO: The Eye of the Storm)