The Harvest was the fifty-eighth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Dan Abnett and featured Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace and introduced Philip Olivier as companion, Hex.
Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]
On the morning of 12 October 2021, Hex woke up. He was expecting to go to work at St. Gart's in London as normal and, that evening, have a great time in the bar of the White Rabbit, celebrating his 23rd birthday.
But after his ex-flatmate is wheeled into A&E following a bike accident, and the strange young woman from Human Resources tries to chat him up and an eight-foot-tall guy in a Merc tries to run him down, Hex realises things are not going quite as he expected.
Then in a Shoreditch car park he meets the enigmatic Doctor, who explains that he's an extra-terrestrial investigator and something very strange is going on up on the thirty-first floor of St. Gart's.
Therefore, aided and abetted by the Doctor, and his other new friend, 'Just McShane', Hex decides to investigate. Trouble is, everything that goes on at the hospital is being observed and noted by the occupants of the thirty-first floor; occupants who are none too pleased that people are poking their noses into business that doesn't concern them; occupants who will go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that no one discovers the truth...
Plot[edit | edit source]
Part one[edit | edit source]
Thomas Hector "Hex" Schofield arrives at St Gart's hospital on the morning of 12 October 2021 to begin his shift as a nurse despite it being his birthday. Just then his old flatmate Damien Boyd is brought into the emergency having been involved in a serious bike accident. Meanwhile, Doctor Farrer makes surgical corrections to Subject One as they discuss his new transformation. Hex, deeply affected, goes to the hospital cafeteria to take a break where he is met and chatted up by a secretary named McShane. She convinces him to attend his birthday celebration after work despite not wanting to after the disturbing morning events.
He heads down to surgery to ask Doctor Farrer about Damien, only to discover that Damien supposedly didn't survive the surgery. A distraught Hex prepares to go home when Ace, who had been waiting with the crowd at the White Rabbit and came to find him when he didn't show up, finds him and asks why he isn't coming to his birthday celebration. They are watched through a security camera. He explains what happened and prepares to depart when a mysterious figure tries to run them over, and they make an escape on Hex's computer. After a chase, Ace asks him to take her to the junkyard in Totter's Lane, and when he does, she tells him to go home and forget everything that happened today. Once she disappears, Hex sneaks around trying to follow her when he stumbles onto a police telephone box and a reluctant Doctor and Ace invite him inside...
Part two[edit | edit source]
The Doctor explains the situation to a thoroughly bewildered Hex while Ace tries to comfort him, about the mysterious work being done in a closed ward in the hospital and its potentially lethal consequences. In the meantime, Doctor Farrer assures Subject One that his worries of his own perceived ugliness are unfounded. The Doctor, Ace and Hex, having reluctantly joined them despite the Doctor not wanting him, go inside the hospital to uncover more, putting a plan into action. The Doctor manages to get into the restricted wards for the C-programme, but Ace and Hex are denied entry and the Doctor orders them to retreat. The Doctor attempts to figure out who overrode the clearance he programmed into the system while posing as a janitor in the hospital over the last few weeks, when Hex suggests they use Doctor Mathias to get them to floor 31 since he works on one floor below. They succeed and prepare to investigate a mysterious hatch when suddenly it opens and they hear marching, and Ace sees an oncoming troop of Cybermen...
Part three[edit | edit source]
The Doctor loses contact with Ace and but Hex reaches him through her communication device and he explains that the Cybermen took Ace and Mark Mathias. The Doctor instructs him to covertly leave the hospital while he joins him. Hex is almost caught but narrowly escapes thanks to a distracting explosion made by the Doctor. The two escape and the Doctor explains to Hex the origin of the Cybermen.
Ace and Mark, meanwhile, are hauled elsewhere and visited and interrogated by David Garnier who explains that under law he is now allowed to do whatever he pleases with those that have been caught infringing. His interrogation turns up little, however, Ace warns him about working for the Cybermen and how no good will come of it, which he ignores.
The Doctor takes Hex back to the TARDIS, explains the basics of it to him while also mentioning the difficulty in landing the TARDIS is exactly precise locations and they take off to try and find Ace. Garnier talks with Farrer while the latter performs surgery, enforcing his superiority over him. The Doctor and Hex arrive in C-programme's ward and go looking for Ace and Mathias. They see all kinds of bodies being harvested for organic components and the Doctor is puzzled as to why it isn't just a cyber-factory like any other. Hex finds Damien's body has been partially harvested and reacts in disgust but they are attacked and the two split up. Ace and Matias are brought to Farrer by Garnier to be dissected but he refuses, claiming that they were only supposed to be using bodies of people who were about to die, not live specimens but Garnier enforces his authority on an unwilling Farrer and Polk forces Farrer to cooperate against his will. The Doctor is found by Garnier just as Ace is about to be dissected by an unwilling Farrer...
Part four[edit | edit source]
Hex finds Ace and Mathias and manages to stop Polk allowing Farrer to command the machine about to dissect them to stop. Despite wanting to hurt him, Ace convinces Mathias to leave Farrer as he isn't worth it. Meanwhile the Doctor meets with Subject One and Subject One reveals to Garnier that the Doctor is a Time Lord and will be forced to aid their operation. Subject One reveals they originally crashed on Earth and that they traded their cyber-technology and their expertise and knowledge to the European Combine in exchange for organic bodies. The Doctor is confused as to why and Subject One explains that he and his group of Cybermen want to regain their flesh forms and emotions back. When he brings the Doctor to try and save the others who are rejecting their organ transplants the Doctor becomes sympathetic but explains that they cannot be saved.
In the meantime the humans who have been partially converted to Cybermen rampage through the hospital, killing staff as Farrer explains that their grasp of logic is not solid and since they were commanded to eliminate "all threats to the cyber program", they interpret this literally as in to destroy all humans on account of one human threatening the program.
Ace, Mark Mathias, Hex and Farrer attempt to escape but Farrer gets shot. They take him to a safe place and Hex and Mark attempt to save him but Mathias faints and Ace, in the meantime, attempts to access central control in order to try and shut down the cyber-humans. She is, however, blocked and needs the password, which Farrer has but is not in a state where he is able to talk as Mark and Hex continue to try to save him from his bullet wound. The Doctor realises the hospital is really a starting ground for creating a Cyber-army to invade the Earth and that he has been tricked by the Cyber-Leader Subject One and that he lied to him, which Subject One reveals is one of the benefits of an organic mind. The Doctor also deduces that the cyber-humans are all linked together and is sure that anyone with access to the central control can shut them down. Just then, Farrer barely manages to maintain consciousness but is able to give the password "Harvest" to Ace which allows her to access the control and shut down the rampaging cyber-humans. The Cyber-Leader begs the Doctor for help as his army shuts down and his body own begins to reject the implants but the Doctor walks away and the Cyber-Leader perishes.
The Doctor reunites with Ace, Hex and Farrer where he confirms his suspicion that Ace had deactivated the partially cyber-converted humans. He and Ace decide it best to slip away in order to avoid having to deal with questions as the authorities are on their way. They bid farewell to the others but just as they are about to depart , Hex comes running after them, requesting to join them as he is "looking to change careers" and the Doctor, bemused, consents.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor - Sylvester McCoy
- Ace - Sophie Aldred
- Hex - Philip Olivier
- Subject One - William Boyde
- Doctor Farrer - Richard Derrington
- David Garnier - David Warwick
- Doctor Mathias - Paul Lacoux
- System - Janie Booth
- Polk - Mark Donovan
References[edit | edit source]
- Farrer is an expert in nanosurgery
- Ace worked at St. Gart's as a secretary for at least three weeks.
- Hex says that Europe doesn't have a space program but the Doctor explains it will eventually.
- China has colonized and owns the moon.
- The car Polk uses to try and run over Ace and Hex is a mercedes.
- Doctor Mathias thinks Ace and Hex hooked up.
- C-programme is located on floor 31 of St. Gart's.
- The Doctor creates an explosion using household cleaning products.
- The Doctor mentions that the TARDIS is dimensionally transcendental and mentions the chameleon circuit.
- The Doctor tells Hex to "hold onto [his] hat" when they take off in the TARDIS.
- The Doctor is encoded into the engrams of all Cybermen.
- Ace makes a judgement call based on the law of averages.
Individuals[edit | edit source]
- Ace tells Hex that she has been traveling with the Doctor "for a surprisingly long time."
Locations[edit | edit source]
- Hex was educated at Aigburth, Merseyside and obtained his nursing degree from Middlesex.
- St. Gart's Brookside Hospital belongs to the Euro Combine Health Administration.
- By 2021, Totter's Lane is a commercially zoned area of Shoreditch which is mostly made up of office blocks. A car park has been built on the former location of I.M. Foreman's junkyard.
- The Cybermen arrived because their expeditionary force encountered a problem and crashed in the Pyrenees mountains.
- Hex describes the C-programme ward in the hospital as similar to Dr. Frankenstein's lab.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Hex was the first companion of the Seventh Doctor to be created by Big Finish Productions.
- Although the Doctor discovers that Hex is the son of Cassie Schofield in this story, this information was not revealed to the audience until AUDIO: Thicker Than Water, which was first released in September 2005.
- Both this story and its prequel AUDIO: The Gathering take place on the relevant companion's birthday. 12 October 2021 is Hex's twenty-third birthday and 22 September 2006 is Tegan Jovanka's forty-sixth birthday.
- An illustrated preview by Martin Geraghty appeared in DWM 344.
- Hex's status as the Seventh Doctor's latest companion was foreshadowed in He Jest at Scars..., which was released in September 2003. In the story, the Valeyard tells Melanie Bush the names of various companions with whom the Doctor might have travelled. Aside from Ace and Hex, they included Peri Brown, Evelyn Smythe, Charley Pollard and C'rizz.
- This audio drama was recorded on 30 and 31 March 2004 at The Moat Studios.
- This was the only main range story to be released in 2004 to feature the Seventh Doctor.
- This story was originally released on CD. It is now available as a download only.
- Hex asks the Doctor the infamous question "Doctor who?" when the Doctor informs him that he's called the Doctor.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor has a sonic screwdriver. (PROSE: The Pit, Blood Heat) He lost it in TV: The Visitation.
- The Fifth Doctor and his former companion Tegan Jovanka were involved in the circumstances surrounding System's creation in Brisbane, Australia on 22 September 2006. (AUDIO: The Gathering)
- Presumably, the White Rabbit bar where Hex has his birthday party, is the same "White Rabbit" on the Embankment, which Mrs van Gysegham's late husband had owned prior to his death in 1977. The Doctor had visited it at least once by the time of his sixth incarnation. (AUDIO: The Reaping) Ace would later meet Henry Noone in the White Rabbit on several occasions between June and August 2027. (AUDIO: A Death in the Family)
- The Doctor discovers that Hex is in actuality "Little Tommy," the son of Cassie Schofield, whom he and his companion Evelyn Smythe met in AUDIO: Project: Twilight and AUDIO: Project: Lazarus. He would later reveal this information to Evelyn in AUDIO: Thicker Than Water. Having previously observed him from a distance in AUDIO: The 100 Days of the Doctor, Evelyn would eventually meet Hex in AUDIO: A Death in the Family.
- The Doctor refers to the fact that he witnessed the creation of the Cybermen on Mondas. (AUDIO: Spare Parts)
- Ace tells that Hex to warn her when "it gets all eyestalks and sink plungers" and then to "run like hell." (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks; AUDIO: The Genocide Machine)
- In the far future, radio and television broadcasts concerning St. Gart's Hospital could be accessed via the Gogglebox inside the Moon. (AUDIO: The Reaping, The Gathering)
- The Harvest also exists as the final part of a trilogy comprising: The Reaping, The Gathering and The Harvest. This was retroactively done by Joseph Lidster.
- Hex keeps calling the TARDIS exterior a portaloo but the Doctor corrects him, reminding him it is a police box. The TARDIS often gets mistaken for other things. (TV: An Unearthly Child et al. )
- Ace jokes with Hex that if the situation becomes all "eye stocks" and "sink plungers" then run. This is often a description used to identify the Daleks by the Doctor's various companions. (TV: Asylum of the Daleks et al. )
- The Doctor explains to Hex the origin of the Cyberman and their evolution on Mondas. (TV: The Tenth Planet)
- When Garnier interrogates Ace and Mark Mathias, he asks he what the Doctor's name is, to which she replies she "wish she'd asked". (TV: Dragonfire et al)
- Hex thinks the TARDIS being bigger on the inside was an optical illusion. Robin Hood thought something similar. (TV: Robot of Sherwood)
- Subject One, the old Cyber-Leader, identifies the Doctor as a Time Lord. (TV: Earthshock et al.)
- Voga is mentioned, as are glitterguns. Gold is described as a weakness of the Cybermen. (TV: Revenge of the Cybermen)
[edit | edit source]
- Official The Harvest page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for The Harvest at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide