The Helliax Rift was the two hundred and thirty-seventh story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Scott Handcock and featured Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and introduced Blake Harrison as Lieutenant Daniel Hopkins, Russ Bain as Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis Price and Genevieve Gaunt as Corporal Linda Maxwell.
Racing about the countryside, chasing strange lights in the sky? Check. Defending the realm against extraterrestrial incursion? Check. Frequent ear-bashings from UNIT’s UK CO, the famously no-nonsense Lt-Col Lewis Price? Check. Close encounters of the First, Second and even Third kind? Check, check, check.
But he had no idea what alien beings were really like. Until the day of the Fallen Kestrel. Until the day he met the Doctor.
Amidst reports of a spaceship crashing in rural England in 1984, a UNIT garrison under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis Price seals off the area to the general public whilst they investigate. The Doctor is also in the area investigating the crash and deliberately avoids UNIT while he can, discovering during his enquiries that a tracking device meant to represent alien lifeforms has somehow been implanted on the collar of the Scrapper of local resident Penelope instead.
Before he can find an answer to this however, the Doctor encounters UNIT and is taken into custody. He immediately clashes with Price as a result of Price’s aggressive, hawkish attitude to alien threats and as such refuses to assist UNIT on Price’s terms. When the Doctor tries to leave, Price threatens the Doctor with execution and the situation is only defused by the intervention of Lieutenant Daniel Hopkins, the UNIT Medical Officer, who suggests taking the Doctor into his own custody so that he can keep an eye on him. Price begrudgingly agrees and the Doctor immediately uses his newfound custody by Hopkins to bring a protesting Hopkins along for his investigations.
At the Morden Clinic, owner Annabel Morden is secretly overseeing operations to capture and vivisect aliens in order to learn more about them. The operations are carried out by Dr Jennifer Harrison whilst the aliens are captured by father and son Morris and Samuel, who are local workers that Morden has employed. The alien from the spaceship crash is brought to the clinic and Harrison begins operating upon it. However, the Doctor’s investigations take him to the Clinic where he and Hopkins attend to bluff their way inside. They are instead captured by Morden’s security guards and taken to meet with Morden and Harrison. The women initially disbelieve that the Doctor is also an alien but upon receiving confirmation, Harrison orders Hopkins to be executed and the Doctor to be prepared for vivisection.
Just before this happens, the Doctor and Hopkins are saved by the arrival of UNIT, who responded to a secret distress signal that Hopkins managed to send before being captured. Price places the clinic workers under arrest and the UNIT squad proceed to investigate the clinic facility, discovering that there is a large, underground section where many aliens are being kept. Morden claims that this is being done to help the aliens but the Doctor notes how Harrison’s lack of medical knowledge and the atmospheric conditions on Earth mean that the aliens are suffering.
Meanwhile, the captured alien from the spaceship wakes up and demands to be reunited with its ‘kin’ when speaking to Hopkins. Hopkins calls for help but the alien escapes. It is identified as Helliax and Morden confesses that he is the father of her son Adam. Morden had been widowed some years earlier but later came across Helliax, who took on the form of her late husband Jonathan and impregnated her after a brief relationship. Morden hid the quick pregnancy as she knew it wasn’t natural and raised Adam when he was born.
However, Adam’s hybrid origins meant that he struggled with Earth’s atmosphere as he grew older, causing his skin to blister and breathing to become shorter. Morden locked him away in the clinic for his own safety and began the operations to seek out other aliens so that she could fine a cure for Adam. Distressed by being locked away, Adam sent a telepathic message to Helliax to come and save him. The Doctor realises that Helliax faked the crash to throw Earth authorities like UNIT off the scent of his real mission and will stop at nothing to free his son.
Helliax uses its telepathic and telekinetic powers to lower the security protocols in the facility, allowing all of the other captured aliens to escape. The aliens attack the UNIT forces and a massive battle ensues, during which UNIT take many casualties. In the chaos, Morris and Samuel are killed when they attempt to help a wounded UNIT soldier whilst Harrison is brutally murdered by one of the aliens as revenge for her vivisecting experiments. Helliax reunites with Adam, who is distressed by the bloodshed he witnesses as they leave the clinic. The Doctor and Morden take off in pursuit of them whilst Hopkins remains behind at the clinic to tend to wounded soldiers.
At the spaceship, the Doctor tries to persuade Helliax to stop his plan and reunite with Morden for the sake of their son. Adam is growing weaker by the minute due to exposure to Earth’s atmosphere and the situation is made even more tense by the arrival of Price and the remaining UNIT soldiers. Price attempts to arrest Helliax, Adam, the Doctor and Morden, despite the protests of Hopkins, but the Doctor manages to stall time long enough to establish a telepathic link with Adam. He shows Adam his memories and all the possible experiences out in the universe, offering to take Adam to the Eye of Orion with his parents in order to help his wellbeing.
Adam’s condition worsens again however and Price runs out of patience, ordering UNIT to open fire. Helliax uses his telepathic powers to stop the bullets before they hit the group but an enraged Adam briefly takes revenge by turning one of the bullets, which shoots and kills Private Bates. The Doctor convinces Price to stand down to avoid further bloodshed and helps Adam into the TARDIS so that he can take him to the Eye accompanied by Helliax and Morden. Before he departs, the Doctor offers Hopkins a chance to travel with him as his new companion. Hopkins declines, citing his family and responsibilities on Earth, but muses that their paths will likely cross again as the Doctor departs.
- The Doctor - Peter Davison
- Lieutenant Daniel Hopkins - Blake Harrison
- Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis Price - Russ Bain
- Corporal Linda Maxwell - Genevieve Gaunt
- Annabel Morden - Deborah Thomas
- Dr Jennifer Harrison - Anna-Louise Plowman
- Morris / Helliax - Robbie Stevens
- Samuel / Adam - Jacob Dudman
- While examining the Doctor, Lieutenant Hopkins states that he has a body temperature of 31 degrees Celsius. The Doctor then assures Hopkins and Lieutenant-Colonel Price that he doesn't have hyperthermia.
- The Doctor asks Private Bates for tea with milk and two sugars, "stirred, not shaken".
- This story was recorded on 31st October and 1st November 2017 at the Moat Studios.
- The cover of this story was the last to use the Fifth Doctor sidebar.
- Warlock's Cross later dates this story to 1984.
- This story was originally released on CD and download.
- This was the first story in the Main Range since The Girl Who Never Was (audio story) in December 2007, that was not produced by David Richardson
- The Doctor notes that he is UNIT's scientific advisor. (TV: Spearhead from Space, et al.)
- The Doctor laments the destruction of his sonic screwdriver. (TV: The Visitation)
- Daniel mentions that UNIT's previous medical officer Harry Sullivan travelled with the Doctor. (TV: Robot, et al.)
- Daniel tells the Doctor that Harry is involved with something above top secret. (TV: Mawdryn Undead)
- According to the script.