The Friendly Place was the second story of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor comic story series published in 2014. It introduced two of the elements of the year-long arc: the Entity and the company SERVEYOUinc.
When the Doctor last visited Rokhandi, it was a planet of such stunning natural beauty that an entire solar system had sworn to preserve it. What better place to take new companion Alice Obiefune on her first off-world adventure?
And it would have been a magical vacation... if the TARDIS hadn't overshot by fifty years. Now the austerity-hit pleasure planet has become a "theme safari" corporate hell, overrun by eerie, giant-headed mascots and a trillion tramping tourist feet!
But there's something more sinister at play than rampant commercialism and ecological devastation... and the Doctor and Alice need to uncover all of Rokhandi's long-buried secrets if they're to escape with their lives!
The Doctor takes Alice to her first new planet, Rokhandi, which is renowned as the most untouched beauty in the universe, so much so that he could only obtain a permit to land there after twice saving the whole system from Amstrons. But they land a dozen or so years too late and find themselves in the Rokhandi World theme park created by SERVEYOUinc. Livid at what corruption did to Rokhandi, the Doctor lashes out at a theme park employee wearing a pig's costume. He offers the Doctor complimentary Rokhandi Floss, made from chromatic lizard, a rare local animal the Doctor wanted to show Alice, and she drags him away, trying to persuade him that already being on another planet is adventure enough.
Nearby, a young man (strangely) paints "I'm bored" with a red spray-can. He is confronted by the boss and another member of security staff. To his confusion, instead of kicking him out of the park, they bring him into a big room, where they call him a friend and also offer him complimentary Rokhandi Floss. As he protests that they aren't friends, a white tentacle reaches to the middle of his forehead. His face becomes vacant as the security sing the theme park's jingle.
Meanwhile Alice wins a pig toy in a shooting gallery, but when she returns to give it to the Doctor, she finds him still sulking about the state of the planet. Alice calls out the Doctor's behaviour, drawing subtle parallels with her own mourning of her mother, which he is supposed to help her overcome. He apologises for his rudeness, but says that he has also noticed something strange about the park. Nobody behaves as one would expect; all employees are completely happy even when performing unpleasant duties like cleaning terrible messes, no children are doing tantrums, no drunks, no cutting in line, polite guests vomiting in bags provided instead of on the floor. Almost no bad behaviour at all. This is puzzling.
The Doctor decides to see what would happen if he caused a scene, so he goes to the shooting gallery, Target Happy, and starts shooting prizes instead of targets so that he can "win one of those paper targets". The Target Happy host is dismayed but does not go beyond futile pleas. Soon, a theme park employee approaches and again offers the Doctor a complimentary Rokhandi Floss. The employee is dressed in a security staff uniform but is in fact the spray-can vandal. The Doctor tries to fish for more information, but the employee says he does not know much claiming to be a recent hire of SERVEYOUinc. He asks the Doctor to follow him. Sensing trouble, Alice asks the shooting gallery host if this happens often that unruly customers are led away by the security. He assures her that this only happens with new arrivals, who do not yet understand how friendly everybody is. But this soon changes. Many, including him, even stay on to work in the park. Alice then takes a gun from the gallery and follows the Doctor, disregarding the cheerful protests of the gallery host.
After being led into the same dark room as the spray-can vandal before, the Doctor recognises him. The young man does not deny it but acts as if he does not remember it well. The other two members of security descend on the Doctor and reveal a caged white mass of moving tentacles. They're about to feed the Doctor to the creature feeling no remorse whatsoever. They say it does not hurt and promise him a job "with a future" in toxic waste mines of Rokhandi. The Doctor deduces that this entity feeds on will, creativity and ambition, removing, as a side effect, the desire to cause trouble. As a result, visitors wishing to forget about their hard lives temporarily, lose all memory of themselves.
At this moment, Alice runs in, shoots one man in the bum and threatens another shot to his crotch if they don't release the Doctor. At first the Doctor is thrilled, but warns her against shooting people in the future. However, before Alice and the Doctor can get away, August Hart arrives with armed security detail. Although he recognises the Doctor and Alice and blames them and the third one for his demotion, they have no idea who August Hart is. The Doctor asks why a person such as himself bothers with the "carrot" approach, which is clearly against his nature. Alice guesses that a voluntary submission to the Entity improves the results, but Hart assures her that it is far from being essential.
As Hart's retinue begins manhandling the Doctor pushing him within the range of the Entity, he surprises everyone by willingly submitting himself to the creature. The Entity sends its tentacle to the Doctor's forehead and suddenly explodes. Its victims get back their memories and turn on each other and then on Hart, who frantically demands extraction off-world, vowing vengeance as he runs from the room.
The Doctor tells Alice that he was able to defeat the Entity by overloading it with a desire for 208 different 43-dimensional superimposed supersolids, a concept it took him eight years to learn in the Time Lord University. He jokes that he made the Entity throw up, and Alice states that Rokhandi World wouldn't be a proper theme park without vomit. Walking out of the room and towards the TARDIS, the Doctor and Alice see much more recognisable theme park scenes, with customers fighting among themselves and abusing employees and with employees vomiting and clearly showing how they hate their jobs. The Doctor hopes that SERVERYOUinc is not likely to survive this scandal, and with that the TARDIS dematerialises.
Sometime later a man sits in his top-floor office with a view over a city and talks on the phone with Professor Dutta, discussing the Rokhandi situation and lamenting that the park has become a dead loss, the mine workers are striking, and there is even talk of revolution against their friends in the system government. And all this is caused by the same Doctor who cost them the ARC experiment ten years prior. He asks Professor Dutta for good news, but she explains that the destruction of the portion of the Entity on Rokhandi affected also the remainder of the Entity.
- Eleventh Doctor
- Alice Obiefune
- August Hart
- Customer Service Pig employee
- Security staff boss
- Security staff employee
- Troubled youth
- Target Happy host
- Rokhandi World customers
- SERVEYOUinc executive
- Professor Dutta
- The unspoilt beauty of Rokhandi has been turned into Rokhandi World by SERVEYOUinc. The Doctor previously saved its system from the Amstrons of the Great Wheel.
- The Customer Service Pig mascot that the Doctor lashes out at offers to give him a free roll of Rokhandi Floss.
- The Doctor refers to the graffiti artist as "Banksy junior".
- The Doctor has a higher dimensional physics degree from "Time Lord University".
- The Next Time page of both the US comic and the UK Doctor Who Comic reveals "a new companion awaits" for issue #3. This companion is referenced without revealing his name, John Jones.
- Unlike the first issue that is almost completely a stand-alone story, this story seeds many elements of the first-year arc for the comic series. In particular, it sees the first appearance of the recurring character Entity and the company SERVEYOUinc connected to it, gives veiled mentions to two companions to be introduced in future stories, etc.
- The epilogue of this story is reprised in the prologue of The Rise and Fall, where it is extended and minor details are added to some of the repeated panels, such as the name plaque on the table of Enoch Thorne, who remained unnamed in this story.
- This is a rare story where the Doctor is seen shooting a gun, albeit in a shooting gallery.
Original print details
to be added
- The Doctor repeatedly refers to Alice as a "clever librarian" and Alice continues telling him that she's a "library assistant." (COMIC: After Life)
- Alice asks if anyone has ever tried to throttle the Doctor with his bowtie, to which he replies that someone has, and that's why he's wearing a clip-on bowtie. He later wears a different coloured clip-on bowtie after meeting Clara Oswald. (TV: The Bells of Saint John)
- Alice says her mother would have loved Rokhandi World. (COMIC: After Life)
- The Doctor is initially enthused to see Alice arrive with a gun, though he chastises her for shooting someone in the bum. He has similar approval of River Song toting a gun around despite his usual resistance to the weapons. (TV: Day of the Moon)
- The Doctor has saved Rokhandi's system from the Amstrons twice. He and Alice would later encounter the Amstrons. (COMIC: The Eternal Dogfight / The Infinite Astronaut)
- August Hart met the Doctor and Alice before and asks where their other companion is. Ten years prior to this the Doctor, Alice and John Jones put an end to the ARC experiment Hart was involved in. (COMIC: Whodunnit? / The Sound of Our Voices)
- The main mass of the Entity in SERVEYOUinc City contained Talent Scout trapped inside it. He was awoken by the Doctor thinking about a time machine on Rokhandi. (COMIC: The Rise and Fall)