The Dark Path was the thirty-second novel in the Virgin Missing Adventures series. It was written by David A. McIntee and featured the Second Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield. This novel features one of the earliest encounters with the Master and the Doctor, greatly expanding on their personal histories on Gallifrey.
Darkheart: a faded neutron star surrounded by dead planets. But there is life on one of these icy rocks — the last enclave of the Earth Empire, frozen in the image of another time. As the rest of the galaxy enjoys the fruits of the fledgling Federation, these isolated imperials, bound to obey a forgotten ideal, harbour a dark obsession.
The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive to find that the Federation has at last come to reintegrate this lost colony, whether they like it or not. But all is not well in the Federation camp: relations and allegiances are changing. The fierce Veltrochni — angered by the murder of their kinsmen — have an entirely different agenda. And someone else is manipulating the mission for his own mysterious reasons — another time traveller, a suave and assured master of his work.
The Doctor must uncover the terrible secret which brought the Empire to this desolate sector, and find the source of the strange power maintaining their society. But can a Time Lord, facing the ultimate temptation, control his own desires?
to be added
- Second Doctor
- Jamie McCrimmon
- Victoria Waterfield
- Gillian Sherwin
- Vernon Terrell
- Viscount Gothard
- Lieutenant Clark
- Mei Quan
- Chief Engineer Ipthiss
- Surgeon Hathaway
- Adjudicator Matthews
- Adjudicator Hiller
- Captain Colley
- Adjudicator Paxton
- Victoria is trying to get Jamie to read Robinson Crusoe.
- The Doctor is recognised as a Noble of Draconia.
- At first, the Doctor is afraid that Koschei, despite being an old friend, is looking for him under the direction of the Time Lords.
- Koschei persuades Terrell to use the Darkheart to destroy Terileptus (home planet of the Terileptils).
- Koschei uses hypnotism to convince some of the crew he and Ailla have been onboard the Piri Reis all along.
- The Federation succeeded the Earth Empire.
- The Adjudicators on the planet Darkheart still believe in the superiority of Earth and humanity.
- The Adjudicator's Lodge contains murals depicting the conquering of Solos and the destruction of Mondas; Terrell is also working on one depicting the triumph over the Cybermen with the glittergun.
- The Adjudicators have access to logs from the Britannicus Ice Base, showing the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria.
- Koschei has visited the Skonnon Empire.
- The Rimworld Alliance existed during the Earth Empire.
- The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria have just departed Vortis.
- Darkheart is the location of a device constructed by Chronovores to heal their young and sick. It is actually a hollow bubble made from neutron star material connected to the star by a dimensional bridge
- Koschei shows Victoria Skaro prior to the period when the Daleks developed space travel.
- In a bid to prevent Ailla from being killed in the first place before he learns the truth, Koschei shows Terrell how to focus a blast of temporal energy from the Darkheart and the Imperials use it to destroy Terileptus.
- Koschei compares the pyramid on Darkheart to be similar to the ones on Phaester Osiris.
- Victoria gets hypnotised by Koschei, initially playing on the idea that destroying a planet is not always a crime by referencing the possibility that he could do this to the Daleks.
- The Veltrochni previously triumphed against the Tzun confederacy. Many of them took to the stars to become nomads to escape the Earth Empire so they wouldn't have history repeated.
- The Doctor refers to the Animus as Lloigor.
- Sherwin wishes there was a mentiad on board her ship.
- Epilira is an Alpha Centauran who was a cultural advisor on the ship Piri Reis.
- Victoria distantly observes the early Daleks in the Dalek City.
- There is a mural in the Empire's colony depicting the conquest of the Solonian "mutts."
- The Federation ship has a culturally diverse crew - humans, a Draconian, a number of Terileptils and an Alpha Centauran among others.
- Koschei's TARDIS is a Type 45 with user definable macros for easy navigation.
- The Doctor can use Koschei's TARDIS to remotely control his.
- Koschei deletes Ailla's rooms in his TARDIS after encountering her new incarnation.
- The Darkheart is the technology of the Chronovores. It focuses time energy on any area the creatures needed to heal.
- The Imperials have found the Darkheart and have learnt it can manipulate morphic fields, and have used it to become immortal. It has a side effect of rendering people sterile.
Theories and concepts
- Koschei considers the Blinovitch Limitation Effect while pondering saving Ailla's life.
- The Doctor once explained to Victoria you couldn't change the past in a TARDIS without splitting off another universe. Koschei confirms this before going on to explain that Darkheart can affect time anywhere.
- Ailla regenerates after being hit with a disrupter fired by Koschei by accident.
- "Telefrag" is a Marine Corps term for transmatting somebody into the exact same coordinates as somebody else (the result is "splat").
- The story takes place between The Web of Fear and Fury from the Deep, and follows on from Twilight of the Gods.
- While the publisher's summary mentions "Time Lord", the text of the novel does not. This preserves the inner continuity of the first mention of the name in the television story The War Games.
- This is the very first, and one of the few, stories released which depict the Second Doctor in his own story with the Master, though it would be chronologically preceded by AUDIO: The Home Guard. Some readings of PROSE: Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons also suggest that the Master appeared in The War Games itself, as the War Chief, (PROSE: CIA File Extracts)]] backs this claim up. Additionally, AUDIO: The Black Hole saw the Second Doctor encounter Pavo, a character intended to be an even earlier version of the Master who has yet to become a Renegade, although this is not confirmed in-story.
- Scenes cut from the novel were published in the charity anthology Perfect Timing.
- Victoria briefly observes the Daleks in their city, marking the only appearance of the Daleks in the Virgin Missing Adventures.
- The Master was illustrated on the cover of the book as already having the likeness of Roger Delgado. However, this is somewhat hard to reconcile with the text of the book, which features an incarnation of the Master who has yet to taken on that name, instead going by "Koschei", and whose involvement in the plot ends with him trapped in mortal peril at the same time he takes on the name of "the Master" for the first time. The Face of the Enemy would later see the Delgado Master looking back on "Koschei's death", as well as regarding the name as no longer applying to the person he had since become. McIntee noted on his Tumblr blog that "we know from Romana that Time Lords regenerating properly can choose their appearance, and the Master is vain enough to do just that", meaning that Koschei may have resembled Roger Delgado without actually being the same regeneration as TV's Delgado.
- On his Tumblr blog, McIntee further commented that although one possible interpretation of the book is that Koschei regenerates directly into the TV Roger Delgado Master, losing most of his remaining regenerations to the black hole, he intended to leave open the possibility of gap incarnations (including Edward Brayshaw's War Chief:
The end of the book has it take several lifetimes (and, by implication, possible incarnations) for the Master to get out the Darkheart. This was intended to fit in with the stuff in the novelisations about the Master having used up is regenerations, but it also allows for him to actually be, say, Edward Brayshaw, if you really want him to, and that he then regenerates back to Delgado.
- Koschei, often dubbed "Koschei the Deathless" is a stock antagonist in Slavic mythology. Among his key characteristics are being a villainous sorcerer who sought immortality, and being locked underneath a tower for inhuman amounts of time. The former characteristic closely parallels a recurring character trait of the Master, while the DWU "Koschei" would be depicted in the latter predicament in the short story Rebel Rebel.
- According to McIntee, his original draft for the book, instead of having "Koschei turn dark because his companion turned out to be, er, not dead, but a Timey spying on him", had him "turn dark because after she got killed the Doctor wouldn’t let him change what happened, cos he was so sure he knew what was right, and what would keep Koschei as his BFF". This was changed against McIntee's wishes by the editor.
- The Doctor, Victoria and Jamie on separate occasions mention seeing the "final end" of the Daleks (TV: The Evil of the Daleks)
- When the Doctor learns that the Master is present, he automatically assumes that he is hunting him on behalf of the Time Lords. (TV: The War Games)
- The Doctor states that they "...don't want to crash into the other time machine...," something that he would later do in his fifth and tenth incarnations, at the same time (TV: Time Crash) as well as in his seventh (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible).
- The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria have just left Vortis. (PROSE: Twilight of the Gods)
- Victoria compares the temperature outside to that of Tibet. (TV: The Abominable Snowmen)
- The Darkheart has the ability to make humans immortal and alter DNA, similar to the Miracle. (TV: Miracle Day)
- When Jamie asks Hakkauth if he can really shape shift, he says that it is only a hologram and says, "I am no shapeshifter like the Rutan..." (TV: The Time Warrior, TV: Horror of Fang Rock)
- The Tzun first appeared (and the Veltrochni were mentioned) in PROSE: First Frontier.
- The fall of the Earth Empire occurred in PROSE: So Vile a Sin.
- The Doctor mentions an incident with the time path indicator and the Daleks. (TV: The Chase) The Seventh Doctor and Ace later use the time path indicator again to track the Timewyrm. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Genesys)
- An alternate version of Koschei appears in PROSE: The Face of the Enemy. He and the alternate version of Ailla were captured by Republican Security Force after they had dealt with that universe's version of the Great Intelligence, and Ailla and Koschei were both tortured. Ailla died but Koschei lived, and the RSF tortured him as he kept regenerating.
- Prior to attempting to merge his TARDIS with the Darkheart, Koschei tears out the recall circuit. (TV: Arc of Infinity) Koschei also deletes Ailla's rooms. (TV: Castrovalva)
- Ailla works for the CIA and knows of the Doctor. She tells him he has to return the TARDIS to Gallifrey. (TV: The War Games)
- After seeing all the death and destruction, Victoria decides to leave the TARDIS the next time they land on Earth. (TV: Fury from the Deep)
- This is Jamie's first experience using transmat. (TV: The Seeds of Death)
- Ben and Polly told Jamie about the Doctor's regeneration, but Jamie assumed they were joking until he witnesses Ailla's change. (TV: The Tenth Planet)
- The Sons of Earth are still active at this time. (TV: The Power of Kroll)
- Jamie refers to Edward Waterfield and Theodore Maxtible, (TV: The Evil of the Daleks) the Cybermen (TV: The Moonbase The Tomb of the Cybermen) and the Yeti. (TV: The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear)
- Victoria recalls the Doctor telling her about his family. (TV: The Tomb of the Cybermen)
- The Darkheart colony has files of the Doctor's encounter with the Ice Warriors on Brittanicus Base in their database. (TV: The Ice Warriors)
- Terrell comments that the Cybermen often ally themselves with human traitors in order to aide their infiltration plots. (TV: The Invasion, Revenge of the Cybermen, Earthshock)
- The Adjudication Lodge contains murals depicting the conquest of Solos (TV: The Mutants) and the destruction of Mondas in December 1986. (TV: The Tenth Planet)
- Terrell is in the process of painting a mural depicting the successful use of a glittergun against the Cybermen aboard the Nerva Beacon in the 29th century. (TV: Revenge of the Cybermen)
- The Doctor and Sherwin discuss the Earth Empire's expedition to Avalon. (PROSE: The Sorcerer's Apprentice)