Spirits of the Jungle was a comic story published in Doctor Who Magazine.
The Twelfth Doctor and Clara are among a group of people riding a spacecraft entering the mesosphere of Unnamed BX-4. An unseen enemy fires at the vessel, and the Doctor estimates that they will crash in a mere two minutes.
Clara reflects on how the Doctor talked her into the experience; at Coal Hill School, though the other specifics are not mentioned. Even earlier, the Doctor had a conversation with Mr Hitch, who knows of a sentient super-weapon called the Hadax Ura that went awry. Hitch is the only one who knows where the weapon is, and he has elected to combine his muscle and Blueboy's piloting skills to make a recovery team. Hitch asks the Doctor to join the team, using his technical expertise to its advantage...
Back in the present day, the recovery team uses jet packs to reach the planet. The ship's crash conveniently means that the group has been given up for dead, despite actually being alive. Supposedly, the attack came from the Hadax Ura, which the group plans on approaching.
The Doctor and the rest of the team encounter hostile Pterosaurs, which the team narrowly escapes. Clara, however, is nowhere to be seen, and she has presumably dropped into the Jungle canopy. She could be anywhere...
Clara lands in a lake, and is unsurprisingly lost in the jungle and covered in mud. The Doctor insists on finding her, and despite Gela's objection, Hitch agrees to satisfy the Time Lord. During the search, Hitch explains that the Hydrax Ura was developed by the Hub Alliance to end its war against the Axis Worlds, before escaping from its laboratory. Gela, meanwhile, feels like the jungle is somehow watching them, and indeed, the group is seen through a high-tech view-screen...
The group encounters a hostile group of primitive Anthropoids. The species is usually nonthreatening, so the Doctor speculates that the Hadax Ura cybernetically augmented them to find the group - which they have succeeded in doing. And after the Anthropoids are knocked out, a bigger creature arrives on the scene. Clara, meanwhile, hears a noise in the forest. The source of the sound is revealed to be... Danny Pink!
The Doctor recognises more cybernetic implants on the creature. He throws his sonic screwdriver into its mouth, knocking it out with a "sonic brainstorm". Getting the device back proves to be unpleasant...
Clara disbelieves Danny's identity, since she knows he is dead. She instead assumes the man to be a clone, shapeshifter or robot. Danny recalls a memory with Clara; however, when she asks him about his favourite primary school teacher, he is unable to remember. Clara claims that nobody forgets his favourite primary school teacher; in reality, he doesn't know because she doesn't. Clara realises that this copy of Danny was made from her memories. He admits that this true; he took on Danny's form so Clara would trust him. Clara is not happy about this...
No-one other than the Doctor wishes to find Clara; if they do not find the weapon it will keep trying to kill them. The Doctor, however, insists on reaching his friend without them. He encounters another creature, and this time the sonic screwdriver proves useless.
The rest of the group has gotten lost. Contacting Blueboy to get the weapon's location, Wiremu accidentally reveals themselves to the Hadax Ura. A group of hostile creatures immediately arrives...
The Doctor manages to escape the creature, finally finding Clara. The Danny duplicate explains that it is an organic avatar created for the group's assistance - an avatar for the jungle. It explains that the entire jungle is a computer: the rivers are data streams and the trees are information servers. As the Doctor explains, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from nature!" The Hadax Ura is enslaving the creatures of the jungle, turning them into "tools of war"; the Danny duplicate urges the Doctor to destroy or move the weapon. Unfortunately, though, the three are standing on a cliff overlooking the Hadax Ura, and there is no clear path to it.
The rest of the group encounters a partially mechanic creature, this one claiming to be the Hadax Ura itself. It plans on converting the group into soldiers. The Doctor arrives at that instant, explaining that the weapon wants to end war by wiping out both sides. Using the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor causes some machinery to explode. However, the Hadax Ura servants grab Clara... and convert her into a technological being loyal to the Hadax Ura...
The cyborg Clara orders the Hadax Ura's servants to place the team in the augmentation chambers. However, it turns out this being is not Clara at all - it is the avatar which previously took the form of Danny. The avatar goes against the weapon's orders, halting all the conversions and releasing all of the subjects. The Hadax Ura pleads for it to stop - it chose this world out of billions due to its vast information network which the weapon could use to augment its own consciousness. Nevertheless, the avatar preforms a complete systems shut-down and engages safety mode, shutting off the Hadax Ura. Mr Hitch has been injured in the struggle, but he is just barely still alive. The partially converted Wiremu, however, is dead.
With the computers shut down, the Hadax Ura's true form is apparent - a mere small technological orb. However, that device is simply the weapon's controlling intelligence; it supposedly "cannibalised its propulsion system" to build the room in which they are standing.
Soon, the jungle avatar, once again in Danny's form, congratulates the Doctor on saving their world. As the team boards its repaired spacecraft, he Doctor wonders whether the Hadax Ura could really have been tricked so easily. He and Clara are not yet on the ship, so Gela exits to in search of them.
It does not take long to find the time travellers. Unfortunately, though, the ship takes off before they can board it. The Doctor locates and utilises one of the jet packs which the team used earlier, managing to grab onto the spaceship. But Gela, turning into a mechanical hybrid, announces that the Hadax Ura has secured the ship. As it turns out, the weapon was forcibly confined to the jungle, and the humans were lured to the planet as a means of escape. The Doctor, discovers that Hitch has been converted as well, and that the actual weapon is now connected to him.
The Gela hybrid considers Clara to be disposable "excess baggage". However, the organic avatar returns to the scene to stop the weapon - and this time, it has brought the whole jungle. The various animals attack and presumably destroy the hybridised humans, leaving only Hitch and the orb remaining.
On the spacecraft, the Doctor simultaneously opens the inner and outer airlock doors. As the Time Lord holds on to a handle, the Hitch-weapon hybrid rushes out the ship into space; with no propulsion system or heat shielding, the Hadax Ura (along, unfortunately, with Hitch) will burn upon re-entry to the planet.
Later, the Doctor lands his TARDIS on the planet to pick up Clara. The avatar, still in the form of Danny Pink, reminds Clara that the real Danny will always survive in her memories. As Clara leaves with the Doctor, she urges him to never bring her back to the jungle - she has had enough goodbyes.
- Twelfth Doctor
- Clara Oswald
- Mr Hitch
- Mr Wiremu
- Organic avatar (in the forms of Danny Pink and Clara Oswald)
- Hadax Ura
to be added
Original print details
- (Publication with page count and closing captions)
- DWM 489 (12 pages) Next: From Beyond the Grave!
- DWM 490 (12 pages) Next: A Flight to the Death!
- DWM 491 (12 pages) The End
- Clara says that "Danny Pink is dead." (TV: Dark Water)
- Clara again bids an emotional goodbye to an apparition of Danny. (TV: Last Christmas)
to be added