Tardis

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Spirit (identified on the cover simply as Chapter Six) was the second story of the second series of Big Finish's Gallifrey audio series. It was written by Stephen Cole.

This story was written as Lalla Ward and Louise Jameson wanted to perform a two-hander, the writing of which was handed to Cole after another writer had to drop out. The broken man's warning to Romana and Leela hinted at the Dogma Virus which would go on to prove a major threat to the Time Lords in series 3's Panacea.

Publisher's summary[]

"They can bewitch at a glance, these ones. Fan fires you did not know burned inside you."

Leela is tired. Tired of the backbiting politics and intrigues in the sterile society of Time Lords. With the fate of her husband now known, she feels lonely and out of place on Gallifrey.

Romana is tired. Tired of justifying herself and her policies to a hostile council. With the line between allies and enemies beginning to blur, she persuades Leela to go with her to the presidential retreat of Davidia, a protected paradise.

Then an anomalous time ship arrives, carrying a single passenger. His hands are crushed, his tongue torn out, his mind destroyed. Is this broken man a victim of some terrible crime or part of a trap now primed and ready to spring? After this strange encounter, Romana and Leela may never be the same again.

Plot[]

Romana has had her guards escort Leela to meet with her after she failed to respond to all of the messages that she has sent; Leela has been seeking out Andred in the lower levels of the Capitol without any success, as has Wynter despite having far more resources. Romana believes that whoever helped him escape his cell has helped him avoid detection and that he will not be found until it suits him, but Leela refuses to give up on finding him. Romana asks if she wishes to leave Gallifrey and Leela says that she does.

Braxiatel, Narvin and Darkel discuss the aftermath of the Pandora incident and the fact that Romana can no longer safely interface with the Panatropic Net. Darkel says that there is no legal recourse to remove her as President, but Braxiatel has no desire to have her removed and says that they must instead work on removing Pandora from the Matrix. K9 Mark I and K9 Mark II are currently working on locating her and, in the meantime and on Braxiatel's suggestion, Romana will be resting off-world.

Romana and Leela arrive on the presidential retreat of Davidia with Commander Hallan where they can relax, protected by a flotilla of security ships in orbit. Romana says that she has come to think of Leela as an asset and somebody that she can trust and that this is an opportunity to talk, but Leela is offended by her choice of words and says that trust means nothing to Time Lords. Hallan takes their things to Melyin, who took a shine to him during his last visit ten years ago and gives Leela directions to her room. Confused by the directions, she is instead escorted by Hallan.

Romana apologises to Leela, who apologises for her own shortness of temper. When Leela complains that the window will not open, Romana smashes it with a chair, sounding an alarm which summons Hallan. Romana says that a bird flew into the window and took the chair and that they do no wish the breakage to be repaired. She and Leela laugh and they agree to alternate which of them decides the activities of the day.

Leela takes Romana into the wildlands, going on a walk along the cliffs by the sea. Hallan is unhappy that he is not accompanying them and waits for them with Melyin, talking about his opposition to Leela and Andred's marriage and begrudgingly accepting that Gallifrey's isolationism was never going to last forever.

Romana and Leela talk about their beliefs, Leela believing in a female spirit which guides creation whilst Romana insists that it is natural selection and says that it is a shame that somebody as wise as Leela should hold such beliefs. Later, Romana catches up with Leela, who has lit a fire and is cooking a pig-like animal, and apologises to her. Leela decides to stay in the wilderness for the night and Romana, not knowing the way back to the complex, agrees to stay with her and tries to convince her to stay on Gallifrey.

At Piazza Alpha, Melyin asks Hallan for a kiss despite knowing that it would lower her impeccable security rating. Hallan is curious, but they hear the sound of a materialising TARDIS which could only get through the planet's security with Romana's access codes. Hallan calls for a security squad and a man exits the ship, making Melyin scream. He is a crying, damaged individual and Hallan has Captain Kosh take him to the infirmary under guard. He also has Kosh patch him through to the ranger station.

Leela is conflicted about Andred, unsure if she wants to hurt him or find a way to be at peace with him, and says that she will not know her intentions until she finally finds him. She is also unsure if she has been right to trust Romana, now being incapable of looking at her without seeing her first incarnation, a woman who was so unlike her, and worries that Romana could become a new person any day who she would no longer recognise. Romana reminds her that the Eighth Doctor is still the same man as the Fourth Doctor and that the same would be the case for her. Leela is not convinced, likening her Andred to a healing potion and his new self to a poison.

Hallan collects Romana and Leela is a flying craft and tells them about the TARDIS, the Rassilon Imprimatur of which Braxiatel is now cross-referencing with birthing records, and its occupant, who is burnt and has pulverised hands and a missing tongue. Although he has two hearts and would seem to be a Time Lord, he has not regenerated despite being in pain. Romana is concerned that he used her codes, as only the security consuls, herself and K9 know them and goes to see him.

Romana and Leela examine the man, whom no medicine seems to be able to help. Romana initiates contact and finds that his mind is broken, preventing telepathic communication. If he is indeed a Time Lord, they will have to force-regenerate him in the Capitol, presuming that he has not used all of his regenerations already. Leela disagrees with this and, as the medicines are not working, she goes to make a soothing balm of her own for him despite Romana's insistence that it would be for naught. Hallan informs Romana that the ident of the man's TARDIS is shared with one still berthed on Gallifrey; as the journey log of the one on Gallifrey indicates that it has not been to Davidia, Romana wonders if it was illegally cloned by one of the Temporal Powers. It seems more likely to her, however, that the man's TARDIS is from the future.

Romana contacts Braxiatel and says that they need to find the present-day version of the man, but the only way to identify him would seem to be for Romana to interface with the Matrix and extrapolate his identity from the projections. As she cannot do this for fear of Pandora escaping, her effectiveness as President is compromised, a situation which seems deliberate and would prove ideal for her political rivals. She wonders if the man came willingly or if he was sent.

Romana joins Leela and Hallan at breakfast and enquires about the broken man, who seems to have got some benefit from Leela's soothing balm. As Braxiatel cannot come to Davidia without raising suspicion, Romana plans to smuggle the broken man and his TARDIS off-world on a droid-piloted cargo thruster which will take them to a crewless CIA special ops TARDIS station on Heflon VII. Narvin will then collect the evidence. As her choice of activity, Romana has Melyin prepare sensory baths to give herself, Leela and the broken man three hours of pleasant dreams. She assures the wary Leela that she will wake up feeling like a new person.

Romana awakes and struggles with all of the emotions that she is feeling, saying that there is a wild woman inside of her, whilst Leela finds that her mind is full of strange technological knowledge; they have swapped attitudes and speech patterns. The broken man has disappeared and there are watery tracks leading away despite his condition. Romana and Leela go in search of Melyin and realise that they have slept far later than the intended three hours.

With little time, Leela and Romana decide to contact Braxiatel using Romana's private link. They find that it has disappeared and that the broken man is in their rooms, having again used Romana's codes. They put him on the bed and discuss the fact that the complex is empty and that the weather is now wintry, hypothesising that the sensory baths had been taken and left in a copy of Davidia. However, the window in Leela's room is broken, meaning that they must be mistaken. Chased by bat creatures from outside, Leela tries to speak with them whilst Romana flees with the broken man to the Presidential TARDIS, but Leela finds that they have no interest in her.

The TARDIS having disappeared, Leela and Romana are cornered and carry the broken man out into the wildlands. Romana slits the man's throat with Leela's knife to trigger his regeneration, which he encourages her to do. He is then surrounded by the bats and Romana believes that the man must have encouraged her to do this only so that she would see that everything will end. She disappears and Leela, hearing the voice of Pandora, calls out for Romana not to leave her alone.

Romana awakes in the bath after two hours and sees Hallan and Melyin kissing. She interrupts them and determines that she, Leela and the broken man had had a shared dream in which the broken man had shown them his nightmares. She orders Hallan to quarantine Heflon VII and to search for a cryogenic support system for them to transport the broken man in. After getting Leela and asking what was in the balm, she surmises that the henbane allowed the broken man to create the shared dream so that Romana and Leela would warn Gallifrey and communicate that his regeneration would unleash evil.

Having seen the world through Leela's eyes, Romana apologises to her for being so dismissive. Leela now has a new understanding of regeneration and hopes that she will one day recognise Andred once more, also deciding to stay with Romana regardless of what face she has. Later, Leela overhears Hallan rejecting Melyin for being an "ephemeral" and knocks him out, impressing Melyin who admits she was only feigning interest in him in front of a camera to lower her security rating to get herself free from her ten-year contract.

Romana and Leela are summoned to Haflan VII by Braxiatel, who informs them that word of Romana's situation has been leaked. He tells Romana that the K9s have located Pandora and are partitioning her and that the broken man has been examined; there is a dormant alien pathogen in his brain awaiting his regeneration. His TARDIS is being placed in the Anomaly Chambers and a close eye will be held on its double. Meanwhile, Darkel has appointed herself as head of the inquiry whilst both Narvin and Wynter believe that it comes under their own jurisdiction, Narvin because the pathogen might be alien and Wynter because the broken man is a Time Lord.

Leela prepares to return to Gallifrey and promises the broken man that there will be a reckoning for what has happened to him.

Cast[]

References[]

Davidia[]

  • Romana says that the air on Davidia has, among other things, a faint whiff of methane.
  • Davidia has six moons, two of which orbit in retrograde to the other four.

Individuals[]

Locations[]

  • The broken man is transported to Heflon VII in temporary cryogenic suspension.

Science and technology[]

  • Romana and Leela's possessions are loaded onto auto-porters by Hallan for transport.
  • The rangers have Romana and Leela's life registers on their spy sats.
  • The doctors give the broken man a dermal-regeneration gel which has no effect.
  • The Time Lords have bio-fields which are active at all times to adapt to the bodily trauma of regeneration. As a byproduct, they rejuvenate Leela's cells, making it so that she has barely aged despite being on Gallifrey for about twenty-five years. Should she leave, however, she would begin to rapidly age.
  • The sensory baths have water which contains chlorine, dopamine and protein chains linked to sentient cells.
  • Leela and Romana debate on the manner of life's progressions towards natural beauty. Romana argues for natural selection, whereby the best adapted lifeforms and specimens are simply more likely to procreate, while Leela holds that there must be a spirit in nature which designs according to its plan. As Leela summarises their argument, the Time Lords have faith only in their own certainty and breadth of knowledge, while her faith lies in a grander plan, a magic beyond herself, which accounts for nature's perfections.

Notes[]

  • Spirit was recorded at the Moat Studios.
  • Stephen Cole was not initially invited back by Gary Russell to write for series 2 as he did not believe that he was best-suited to any of the five stories. After another writer dropped out, Russell asked Cole to write Spirit and was impressed. (DOC: The Making of Gallifrey)
  • Cole was asked to write a two-hander for Romana and Leela, something that Lalla Ward and Louise Jameson had previously asked Russell for. (DOC: The Making of Gallifrey)
  • This is the first Gallifrey audio drama in which neither K9 Mark I nor K9 Mark II appear.

Continuity[]

External links[]

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