State of Bliss was the first story in the audio anthology The Eighth Doctor: Time War: Volume Three, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Matt Fitton and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, Rakhee Thakrar as Bliss and introduced Adèle Anderson as Major Tamasan.
Bliss has lost her home, her family, and her friends – an orphan of the Time War. The Doctor attempts to find out where things went wrong. Across a multiverse of possibilities, Bliss discovers the many paths her life could have taken – but do they always lead to the Time War?
And if Bliss can save her past, will she destroy her future – and the Doctor’s?
Wanting to find out what has happened to Bliss's timeline, the Doctor opens up the TARDIS's telepathic circuits and has her reach in her hand and think about how she came to be aboard the Theseus. She cannot remember why, but then the circuits begin to work.
Aboard a ship near Titan, Bliss, Calla and Ryall observe an expanding tear in spacetime. They lose contact with Professor Deepa and find that her ship and the entirety of Titan have disappeared. The tear continues to grow and Calla reveals that there is something that she should have told Bliss. The anomaly engulfs them and Bliss hears the voice of the Doctor, which she does not recognise, telling her to find and live her true timeline.
On Derilobia, having taken a sick day, Bliss searches for a hidden vidcast which supposedly shows the universe without the Lords of Time. She succeeds and, with Calla and Ryall, sees the city without a dome and where interplanetary travel is possible. When Bliss sees the Sythes enter the house, she tells her friends to escape through the fire escape and into Shaylor's house whilst she surrenders, having been seen.
Bliss is arrested and demands to speak to the Lords of Time or their leader, the Doctor of Derilobia. The Doctor enters her cell and takes her for a stroll, explaining that his people have the Derilobians best interests in mind and are helping keep them safe from the Daleks. He leaves her in a cell with the woman behind the vidcasts, which she says are the result of a quantum visualiser which she built. Having seen alternative timelines, the woman knows that Bliss is important.
Bliss and the woman, in another timeline, watch what is happening on a quantum visualiser before it cuts out, that timeline having come to end. In this world, Derilobia is at peace and Bliss is studying robotics at Derilobia University. She is invited by the woman, Deepa, to study at Luna University and make better use of her aptitude with applied quantum mechanics, as are her friends. According to Deepa, time is becoming unhinged around Bliss, but she does not listen and refuses her offer. Deepa leaves the visualiser with her.
Bliss returns home with rizerfruit for her grandfather, who looks like the Doctor; he asks if she is doing what is best for her future by staying on Derilobia to look after him and her mother rather than going to Luna. As sometimes happens due to his problems with his brain, he briefly loses himself, talking about how Bliss has so many alternatives to choose from, before returning to normal. With Calla and Ryall, Bliss flicks through the quantum visualiser without finding anything. Ryall leaves and Calla asks Bliss about the fact that both she and Ryall like her, but Bliss feels that she has too many choices to make already without choosing between them.
To get back to Derilobia University once the holidays are over, the trio decide to work passage as cooks on a ship, the Captain of which looks like the Doctor and whom Bliss briefly thinks she recognises. Ryall chooses his cabin and Bliss decides to share with Calla. With two days left, the ship is attacked by Sythes and the Captain calls for an evacuation before one side of the ship is destroyed and he is killed. Deepa speaks over the PA and calls for Bliss to travel to the bridge to stop the ship from crashing, the Sythes now leaving to deal with the TARDISes materialising over Derilobia. They succeed and Bliss joins Luna.
In another timeline, where Bliss simply applied to Luna and never studied robotics, Bliss and Deepa watch these events on a visualiser before that timeline cuts out. The visualiser reacts far more strongly to Bliss than with anybody else and has given her grandfather and the Captain different appearances based on random patterns due to the sensory details being unclear. Deepa asks Bliss if she came to ask about the Titan anomaly, which Bliss believes could be a window into another dimension, and gives her permission to use a research shuttle to observe it and peak into the Time War.
Calla suggests that they take the visualiser on the field trip and Ryall invites Bliss to have a drink at the dorm and talk about their relationship, aware that Calla likes her as well. Bliss brushes him off, saying that she has a lot of work to do. Later, Bliss tries to call her grandfather without success and experiences a strange phenomenon before answering the door to Ryall, who does not recognise her and was looking for someone else. She finds that her name is missing from her door and calls her grandfather again, but he does not recognise her either and says that he does not have a granddaughter anymore.
Bliss starts to remember things which have not happened and recognises her grandfather as the Doctor. He tells her to find the right life, but she ends the call and takes a rover out onto the Moon's surface to clear her head. The air supply in the rover is deactivated as it believes that it is unoccupied and she is unable to get it back on or to leave.
Bliss wakes up in the TARDIS, having been connected to the telepathic circuits for about 2¼ seconds and flooded the ship with data. The Doctor gets a lock on her research shuttle, located on an asteroid near Titan's orbit, and they find its wreckage. Bliss worries about what happened to her friends and hurries to a nearby dome, finding quantum visualisers inside all showing her different lives. Ryall greets her but does not know exactly what has happened beyond having been rescued by Deepa. The Sythes attack and Bliss and Ryall flee, losing the Doctor who soon finds himself strapped to a gurney by Deepa, who identifies him as a Time Lord.
According to Ryall, Deepa told him that Calla was a "casualty of war" and did not survive the crash. He claims that he and Deepa have only been here for a week, but Bliss determines that that is impossible.
Deepa has been using the quantum anomaly, a relic of the Time War, to power her quantum visualisers and allow her to step through timelines and change them. She wires the Doctor's mind into her machines and plans to alter the timeline slightly in order to get the key to his TARDIS, having altered Bliss's timeline in order to get her to travel with him and help her gain a timeship.
Bliss senses that there is something twisted about Ryall and that he is not the friend that she knew. Realising that the Sythes are Deepa and Ryall's security, Bliss incapacitates him with a power pack and runs to find the Doctor. She overhears the Doctor and Deepa and believes that the professor, who succeeds in gaining access to the TARDIS, is her future self. Bliss watches herself dying in the moon rover and remembers that she was saved by somebody in a spacesuit whom she finds in the dome. Removing the helmet, she finds that it is a glowing Calla, who apologises for having killed her so many times in her attempts to get her here; whilst the anomaly sent Bliss to the Time War and kept bringing Ryall back, it trapped Calla in a quantum state. She asks Bliss to stop her other self.
Bliss helps the Doctor and tries to fix things with the visualisers, but the Doctor, who remembers Emma and Sheena, warns her not to become like Deepa and that they have to leave. They enter the TARDIS, where Deepa is becoming each of her alternative selves. Deepa screams and the Doctor says that he believes that Bliss saved her and Ryall before the Theseus.
In the research shuttle near Titan, Deepa's ship has disappeared and the anomaly is growing. They spot the Theseus and Bliss plots a sideways course, aware that this might mean that they would be split across three different realities. The Theseus asks if they need assistance.
Having detected a quantum anomaly burst, Tamasan contacts the Doctor, asking what has happened, but the Doctor tells her that the danger has passed and to have Ollistra put her disintegrators away. Bliss's biodata remains corrupt but is no longer dangerous, although Tamasan still tries to get the Doctor to meet with her at the Ninth Orion Outpost in the Argodian system. Having awoken from her nap, Bliss's timeline is still in flux and a visit to Derilobia might fix it in place; she would rather remember everything than nothing and, wanting to make a difference to others, asks the Doctor to take her somewhere that they can do good. The TARDIS dematerialises.
- The Doctor - Paul McGann
- Bliss - Rakhee Thakrar
- Calla - Anjli Mohindra
- Deepa - Nina Wadia
- Ryall / Sythes - John Scougall
- Spaceport Announcer / Robot Com / Theseus Coms - Tracy Wiles
- Major Tamasan - Adèle Anderson
- In one timeline, Bliss says that her mother and grandfather are at their factories. In another, she says that her mother is taking her grandfather to the medicentre. This Bliss chose to stay on Derilobia rather than go to Luna so that she could look after them both. Her grandfather was the one who suggested her name.
- According to Deepa, a quantum visualiser can show alternate timelines and parallel universes.
- Bliss mentions encyclopads.
- The Sythes are insectovores.
- Deepa is a professor from Luna University.
- Bliss's grandfather likes rizerfruit.
- Calla has an uncle called Victor who is friends with the Captain.
- Luna University has a Department of Psychic Studies. Professor Gondall invented a dream reader.
- Calla likes quatrafish.
- Tamasan is at the Ninth Orion Outpost in the Argodian system.
to be added
- In an earlier timeline, before the Time War, Bliss studies robotics and computer science. This is the same Bliss who was kidnapped by the Nine. (AUDIO: Companion Piece)
- The Doctor regains his memories of former companion Sheena, who was erased from history during an adventure aboard the Theseus. (AUDIO: The Starship of Theseus)
- Not credited in the audio credits