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The Ethereal was the fourteenth and final short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: 2040. It was written by John Binns. It featured the Eighth Doctor.


In the months after Pull Back to Earth's publicised burning of Perseus Corporeal Stephen Le Page, the public react against Perseus. Boycotts and demonstrations are common. Governments and corporations begin to back out of their deals with Perseus.

The Doctor and his navigator, CMO field agent Wyatt, are driving through the heavy rain, headed for a government negotiations with Perseus. After driving for over an hour, they pick up their Corporeal passengers: two connected and one disconnected. The male Corporeal, Phillip Green, recognises the Doctor from a previous encounter. After an hour or so of driving, the disconnected Corporeal, Emily, begins making sounds of distress. The connected female Corporeal, Andrea, wants Emily to be reconnected. The Doctor asks if the signal from the Ethereal is strong enough, but Green replies that the signal has been weakening as Perseus' human allies withdraw their support.

Later, Green tries to justify the Corporeals' actions on Earth, and chides the Doctor for his part in bringing down Perseus. Green wonders how the movement was successful, given that it didn't seem that well organised, but the Doctor informs him that Wyatt has been feeding information to software programs and viruses that attacked Perseus' data facilities.

Green reacts angrily, but just then the car skids off the road. Before the car can fall over the edge, the Doctor and Wyatt climb out. The car continues down the side of the embankment; the Doctor loses consciousness. When he awakes, Wyatt tells him the two female Corporeals are dead, and that Green has been seriously injured in the crash. The Doctor goes to Green, who begs for the Corporeals to be reconnected. The Doctor tells him there is no power left, and Green dies.

Throughout the galaxy, the Ethereal's occupied planets throw off its influence. The Ethereal is unaware of the pattern running through all of these incidents: the Doctor.




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