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The Emerald Tiger was the one hundred and fifty-ninth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Barnaby Edwards and featured Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka and Mark Strickson as Turlough.

Publisher's summary[]

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night

Calcutta, 1926. The Doctor and his companions join an expedition to locate the fabled emerald tiger — a legendary marvel shrouded in myth and mystery. They must journey to an unexplored lost world filled with wonder and wickedness.

But at the centre of this terra incognita, something is stirring. Something with emerald eyes, diamond-sharp claws and a heart of darkness.

Plot[]


Part one[]

In 1908 Adela Forster attempts to escape from some unseen threat with her son Jonathan Forster, however he is taken by the unseen threat and she barely manages to escape.

The TARDIS materialises in 1926 on a train platform and has brought the Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa to Calcutta, India, on the Doctor's insistence they watch the famous cricket match between All India and Marylebone Cricket Club. Before they can go to the match, however, Nyssa is attacked and bitten by Kimball, a chauffeur and friend of Professor Narayan, after she tries to calm him down while he makes a commotion on the platform and in the meantime the Doctor sends Tegan to gets medical supplies from the TARDIS so they can help him as he realises the man has been infected with what appears to be rabies. It is too late though when he is shot and killed by Major Cyril Haggard arrogantly claiming to an appalled Doctor that he was taking care of the situation and saving their lives before he boards the train. The Doctor believes Nyssa has been infected with rabies but if he can treat it quick enough she should be fine while he tries to bring Nyssa back to consciousness. Professor Narayan explains the situation while a delirious Nyssa slowly comes to and Tegan bumps into a mysterious man and later finds the TARDIS gone from where they had left it, and returns to inform the Doctor. They spot it on the train which is leaving the station, so the Doctor instructs Tegan and Turlough to get aboard and remove it or at least get the medical supplies at the next station and that he and Nyssa will follow them on the next train.

Aboard the train, Major Haggard finds and confronts Adela Forster, claiming he is taking over the train despite her attempts to throw him off, claiming she rented out the entire train. Tegan and Turlough, meanwhile, find themselves locked in a cage with a dangerous tiger. The Doctor, Nyssa and Professor Narayan drive Professor Narayan's Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost after the train when suddenly Nyssa tells the Doctor she's seeing double, except that she can both see them chasing the train but she can also see Tegan and Turlough in front of her, screams that the tiger with the emerald eyes is going to kill them, grabs control of the wheel in an attempt to catch up with the train and save them but the car ends up careering out of control...

Part two[]

The Doctor is awakened by Professor Narayan and they find that Nyssa has slipped into a coma. He comments that it is unusual because when Kimball was bitten, he didn't have the same reaction. The Doctor reckons it is due to Nyssa's different metabolism, while the Professor explains the circumstances behind how Kimball was bitten, because he was investigating the Karabar Caves, since his field of expertise is mythology and folklore and the caves are his favourite place to do research. Despite the car being broken, they find an air balloon owned by Colonel Burroughs and "borrow" it, deciding to go to the Karabar cavesm the source of the bites. Tegan manages to slip out of the car to find the owner of the tiger so that they might muzzle it so Turlough can get out in one piece. She finds Major Haggard and Adela Foster, and explains what happened. Turlough, meanwhile discovers the tiger is named Dawon and can talk as it shares a mind with Nyssa and it recognises him as a friend and explains the situation. Tegan, the Major and Adela arrive and the tiger tells Turlough not to reveal it can communicate with them. Adela explains to Tegan that there are no other stops on their route and she goes to check on the TARDIS, while Adela explains to Turlough that they are headed to the Karabar caves.

Professor Narayan explains the mysteries of the caves to the Doctor as Adela explains to Tegan how her husband Edgar Forster, a naturalist, went exploring to try and find the fabled city where creatures were made of crystals and he brought her and their son Jonathan with them, wanting to find it and make a name for himself as a great scientific discovery. However, she ended up losing both of them but in a last-ditch effort managed to seal the cave's entrance, saying that something evil was located at its center in order to stop it escaping. Years later, when word reached her about a tiger with "crystal claws", she realised that the creature in the cave had found a way out and has now returned, with a train full of dynamite, to properly finish the job. In the meantime, Major Haggard lets himself out and locks the compartment from the outside, claiming that since Adela has seen his briefcase full of money and they know of his presence, they know too much as he is a thief and does not want to be caught. He then kills the driver and sets the train to crash through the station and go off the mountain, killing all witnesses and allowing his getaway. He is thrown out by Tegan, however, she cannot stop the train. Nyssa awakens and instructs the Doctor on how to find them, which they manage to by turning the balloon into a high-powered ship. Tegan spots the Doctor and guessing the situation, he uncouples the cables holding the cars together in an attempt to stop the whole train from going through the station and over the cliff but it seems too late...

Part three[]

The Doctor manages to uncouple the car and save Turlough and Lady Adela but the front of the train ends up going through the cliff and Tegan is presumed dead. Meanwhile the hot air ballon, containing a grieving Nyssa over Tegan's apparent demise and a consoling Professor Narayan over-shoots the station and ends up descending down into the depths over the cliff, with the Doctor promising Nyssa he will come rescue her. In her last words, she tells the Doctor to talk to the tiger. Turlough finds the Doctor and explains everything while Major Haggard, having been jettisoned, comes to, fixes his shoulder and prepares to go to the caves on foot. The Doctor talks to Dawon and he, the tiger, Turlough and Lady Adela set out to find Nyssa and Professor Narayan. Meanwhile, suspended in the hot air balloon as it has crashed in the trees, Professor Narayan realises he is back where he came from and explains to Nyssa his back-story, as he is Ayyappan the destroyer, the sister of Dawon and brother of Shardul Khan. Meanwhile Dawon finds and attacks Haggard but he shoots her and escapes, while the three find her and the Doctor attempts to help her recover. Haggard is found by the Doctor and escapes but supposedly finds his demise at the beetle's, whose bite can kill. Adela lights a fuse on a stick of dynamite she brought to try and stop the beetles escaping the cavern in fear. A snake attacks Nyssa in the balloon and Professor Narayan saves her at the cost of being transformed and he warns her to run away as he will soon lose control of himself and begin chasing her.

The four discover that the water they saw earlier is actually because of a lake nearby and the dynamite set off by Adela 10 years ago and just now have caused the fissures to tear and Dawon is swept away by the incoming current while Adela goes after her, followed by the Doctor and a reluctant Turlough in the stream. They manage to save Dawon who tries to find Nyssa using their connection. Meanwhile Nyssa is found by the other wolves in the cavern and begins to change due to the curse of the 'Emerald Tiger'. However, she is found in time and at first is saved by the Doctor, Turlough, Adela and Dawon. However, they begin losing to wolves until they are chased away by an elephant one of whose rider is revealed to be Tegan...

Part four[]

Tegan explains how she survived, first taking shelter inside the TARDIS as the Doctor he given her the key earlier to survive the train crash, after which she was found by Djahn. He helps her to find the others and is reunited with his mother Adela, as they realise thanks to the book with Djahn (which happens to be "The Jungle Book") that he is Jonathan. Nyssa surmises that Dawon raised Jonathan due to her motherly instinct while her brothers merely sought death and destruction. In the meantime they try to find Dawon and the Professor, who it transpires are being held captive by Shardul Khan who has swallowed them as he has, after years of separation from his brother and sister, absorbed the emerald tiger and plans to take control of the entire kingdom. While discussing what happened, the Doctor realises that the jungle's perimeter is similar to an impact crater and realises that the resulting life forms, a fusion of flesh and mineral materials, is likely the result of the emerald tiger which he then realises must not be from Earth. Nyssa begins to suffer headaches as her mental connection is strained while Dawon and Ayyappan battle Shardul for control of the emerald tiger. They find a temple and make their way inside while Shardul kills Dawon and Ayyapan. The Doctor explains that the emerald tiger may be the exceedingly rare and fragile mineral homogenite and hence responsible for the strange fusion of beast and mineral in this jungle. They are cornered by Shardul Khan but the Doctor tries to taunt him, however, Adela lights dynamite and places it next to the crystal, and threatens Khan (who was distracted by the Doctor) with its destruction (which will destroy him). The Doctor instructs Turlough and Tegan to take Adela and an injured Jonathan (who attacked Khan after discovering that Khan had killed his foster mother Dawon) out of the cave and get to safety in the TARDIS. Nyssa holds off Khan and instructs the Doctor to leave despite his protests as she begins transforming again against her will, hoping to use the last of her mental connection to the absorbed Dawon to hold off Khan until the dynamite goes off and destroys the crystal, finishing him off for good. The dynamite goes off and the crystal is destroyed, taking Khan with it.

They manage to find Nyssa buried in the rubble after the destruction of the temple and find that the detrimental effects the crystal had been inflicting on her have been halted and have disappeared, although she seems to have become rejuvenated and looks as she did when she stopped traveling with the group before to stay on Terminus. Adela decides to stay with her son Jonathan and live with him in the jungle and the four head back to the TARDIS.

Cast[]

References[]

  • Lady Adela Forster reads the short story "Tiger! Tiger!" from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book to her young son Jonathan in 1908.
  • Lady Adela was a journalist until she married her husband, Lord Edgar Forster, who was killed by a tiger during his 1908 expedition to India.
  • The Doctor has come to Calcutta on 31 December 1926 to witness the second Unofficial Test match between All India and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which the MCC won by four wickets, at Eden Gardens. Arthur Gilligan was the captain of the MCC team while C. K. Nayudu is a batman for All India. The Doctor considers it to be one of the best cricket matches of all time.
  • The Doctor mentions the British Raj.
  • It is initially believed that Kimball infected Nyssa with rabies by biting her.
  • Professor Narayan owns a white 1908 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.
  • Turlough tells Tegan that "stubbornness is one of Australia's greatest exports."
  • Tegan refers to Dawon as "Pussy Galore".
  • The Doctor tells Colonel Burroughs that his name is "Dr Smith."
  • Dawon's owner was killed in the anti-British Empire protests in Burma in November 1926.
  • Professor Narayan refers to the crystal skull carved by pre-Columbian Mesoamericans currently in the British Museum.
  • Major Haggard refers to the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.
  • The Doctor mentions the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.
  • Turlough states that he always hated the works of William Shakespeare.
  • Tegan survived the train going over the cliff by taking refuge in the TARDIS. The Doctor had previously given her the TARDIS key.
  • Tegan mentions Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • The Doctor estimates that the Emerald Tiger crashed to Earth hundreds of thousands of years earlier, and the Karabya valley was the impact crater.
  • Tegan refers to a crocodile as "an overgrown handbag".
  • Turlough wears a three piece suit which Nyssa tells him makes him look smart; she says it's a nice change from the school boy uniform.
  • Metamorphic metamorphosis is the process by which flesh becomes stone. The Doctor explains that this is what happened to the beetle that had a body that looked like a gemstone.
  • Tegan sings the popular song "Ten Green Bottles".
  • Professor Narayan mentions that Proust has his Madeleine. He is referring to Marcel Proust.
  • "Narayan" means "Lord of Truth" and is one of the names of the Hindu God Vishnu.
  • Tegan curses out the Doctor over "inertial dampers", claiming she's been in less bumpy dodgeem cars.
  • Tegan mentions the book "How to Make Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie when she attempts to befriend a monkey.
  • The Doctor mentions Captain Hook while they cross a bridge made of a fallen tree in order to avoid the crocodiles in the water below to get inside the temple.
  • Tegan compares the temple and its treasures to Aladdin's cave.

Notes[]

Continuity[]

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