- You may be looking for those travelling through the Gate of Creation.
Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]
When Alice is forced into a high-stakes solo challenge that could end the conflict, she'll need to muster everything she's learned on her travels with the Doctor in order to succeed – and even that might not be enough!
Has the Doctor made a grave mistake – or is it all part of a larger plan?
Plot[edit | edit source]
Alice Obiefune had a perfect picture of what would happen after the Eleventh Doctor saw her mother return. He would smile and give an explanation, more than half of which Alice would not understand. He would be happy for her. ARC and John Jones would miraculously get fine. And the Doctor would invite her mother to travel with them, though forgetting what exactly her name was. Suddenly Alice remembers her mother's last days, when she said, "Something is wrong."
But the Doctor does none of the things Alice expected. He just stands there looking at the woman Alice brought. ARC and Jones continue lying on the floor in pain. The Doctor tries to tell Alice that this can't be her mother, not really. Ada seems taken aback. And Alice gets angry. She has seen so many impossible things. Why can't her mother coming alive again be one of them? Ada agrees. Jones blabbers something, still in delirium, causing Ada to ask, "What's wrong with the boy?" Then she notices ARC, who is now curled into a ball. The Doctor, however, decides to deal with her first. He scans her with the sonic screwdriver and tells Alice that her "mother" doesn't have cells, that she's just a big "glob of stuff", similar to ARC. Now Ada appeals to the infinite possibilities the universe can offer. Why can't her soul find a new home in such a strange body?
The Doctor changes tactics and asks how Alice and Ada got to the Great Wheel. Ada explains that the mobile phone the Doctor gave Alice was connected to his blue box and she was somehow able to use this connection to teleport herself and Alice. This makes the Doctor even more suspicious. But Alice interrupts the scene that is becoming more and more awkward saying that they should do something about the endless space war. The Doctor agrees, gives her his jet pack and sends her to search the Amstron sacred library they are standing in. Alice needs to find the original reason for the war and possible ways to stop it. He also gives Alice his sonic screwdriver in case some books ask for a password.
After Alice flies away, the Doctor turns to Jones and ARC. The balled-up ARC just says, "Hurts. Fear." The Doctor understands that it was fear that made ARC violent earlier. He also figures out that Jones, being a human chameleon, is mirroring ARC's fear and pain. In turn, ARC is feeling Jones' sickness, creating a feedback loop. Ada interrupts his thinking out loud by pointing out another group of Amstron guards entering the library. As the guards before them, they prepare to terminate the "J'arrodic spies" on the spot. This time Alice saves the day descending with a book in her hands and reciting from it, "Earth claims the right to seek and to see, to send the Infinite Astronaut through the Gate of Creation." This has an immediate effect. The guards order a Amstron ensign to prepare luxury quarters for the guests from Earth. A ceasefire is announced, and tomorrow the Infinite Astronaut is to fly. In the quarters prepared for them, the Doctor enquires who the Infinite Astronaut is. The ensign is surprised at their lack of knowledge, but explains nevertheless.
Once upon a time the two empires, Amstrons and the J'arrodic Federation built a wormhole that served as a doorway to another universe and called this wormhole the Gate of Creation. They sent an Amstron and J'arrodic astronauts in a two-man starship Infinite to scout the unknown. Drones could not be used for that purpose, so the Infinite astronauts were to go in, broadcast a message about what they saw and get out. After the ship went in, the Star Control coordinator requested a report. The message back was, "It's the face of the creator." That was the last anyone had seen or heard from the mission. More astronauts were sent by the allied empires, but none of them returned. And people started theorising about the meaning of the message. A J'arrodic radio talk show host posited that the face of the creator had a beak. Amstrons strongly disagreed, believing the creator to be "of the Wheel".
Since those times, the two empires have been carrying the Gate of Creation with them on a neutral craft. Any pilot who dares to become the Infinite Astronaut triggers a ceasefire and is sent through the wormhole. If they return, they might finally answer the question that started the war. But no one has ever returned. The Doctor is relieved. He is planning to take the TARDIS, check this other universe out and return in no time. But that turns out to be against the rules. It was Alice who posed the challenge, and so the Infinite Astronauts must be of the challenging species. The trip must be made in the Infinite or its exact reproduction. In addition, it turns out that, if Alice does not return, Earth will be destroyed. The ensign assigns Jones to be the second pilot, despite his state not improving at all.
A reproduction of the Infinite with controls adapted for humans is ready to pass through the Gate of Creation. The Doctor worries about Jones, but Alice says she's gonna fly the craft alone. Jones just need to hang in there. The Doctor tries to come up with alternatives, but they are all refused by the Amstron ensign who is very strict about the rules. Ada takes the communicator to say some last words before the departure. But her voice reminds Alice how in 1982 her mother taught her to always speak out if she knows that something is wrong, no matter how hard and painful that might be. This finally brings Alice to the reality that this woman is not her mother. John Jones was Ada's favourite singer. The real Ada would have recognised him and would never call him "a boy". Crying, Alice does speak out. As the Amstron ensign prepares his weapon, "Ada" turns into the familiar figure of the Talent Scout. He gives his usual speech about giving Alice what she wanted and his organisation serving her. He teleports away threatening next time to talk about what the Doctor wants.
It's time for Alice and Jones to launch. Away they go, though she feels so broken she doesn't even want to come back. The other universe is extremely beautiful, so much so that prior Infinite Astronauts just refused to turn away from this unbelievable beauty, which could indeed be described as the face of God. They all just stayed there until their life support ran out. Even Jones is cured from his malaise by the infinite play of colours of this universe. Only Alice cannot see the beauty, not in her state. She turns the starship around and becomes the first Infinite Astronaut ever to return. With tears still streaming down her cheeks, she tells the Amstrons that there is nothing on the other side, just a bunch of stupid lights.
From a gallery, the TARDIS crew watch how the Amstron and J'arrodic negotiators prepare to sign a peace treaty. To their amazement, a round hole opens up in the armour of the Amstron and a little hamster-like creature jumps out with the offer of peace. Alice cannot help but laugh.
Back in the TARDIS, Alice asks why the Talent Scout would do such a cruel thing. The Doctor responds that it's impossible for them to guess that until they know how the Scout's timeline relates to their own. He decides to visit the headquarters of SERVEYOUinc. Everyone is relatively fine, except for ARC, who remains in the permanent state of fear.
Characters[edit | edit source]
- Eleventh Doctor
- Alice Obiefune
- John Jones
- Talent Scout
- Amstron ensign
- Amstron negotiator
- J'arrodic negotiator
- Amstron guards
London flashbacks[edit | edit source]
- Ada Obiefune
- Alice Obiefune
First starship Infinite flashback[edit | edit source]
- Amstron Infinite astronaut
- J'arrodic Infinite astronaut
- Star Control coordinator
- J'arrodic radio talk show host
References[edit | edit source]
- The Eleventh Doctor explains to Alice Obiefune that the TARDIS will translate books for her.
- John Jones is human.
- The Amstron ensign knows that the Doctor has two hearts and concludes that the Doctor is not human and cannot be an Infinite Astronaut for Earth.
- The Doctor mentions TARDIS scanners.
- In June 1982, when Ada Obiefune taught Alice to always speak out when something is wrong, a front-page article in the Daily Mirror about the Falklands War states that the Falklands were taken and the Argentine troops fled the Task Force.
- The Doctor mentions trans-temporal chess.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The story subtly smuggles in some political commentary. When Ada Obiefune tells her daughter that one must always speak up if something is wrong no matter how hard and painful it is, a front page with the news of the British victory over Argentina in the Falklands War is conspicuously placed in the foreground of the comic panel.
- The reveal at the end of the story that Amstrons are actually sentient hamsters uncovered the in-joke of Amstrons describing themselves as being "of the Great Wheel" or simply "of the Wheel".
- In a sequence representing Alice imagining how the Eleventh Doctor would greet her mother, the Doctor calls her "Ava" instead of "Ada".
- Alice implies that she did not know the Doctor two months ago. However, the story is set in 2015, and Alice was supposed to move out of her apartment by August 2014.
- Following the tradition established in previous stories, some of Jones' words are close to the lyrics of David Bowie's songs: In particular,
- "Hope is... a cheap thing," "When it's good... it's really good... But when it's bad... I go to pieces..." and "Like a portrait in flesh" are reminiscent of his "Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)" suite of songs;
- Jones' words "Don't say it's true" are from the song "Ashes to Ashes";
- "Head all tangled up... but... if I could only" is from "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide";
- "The shame... It's on the other side", "Forever and ever... we could be... we can be... just for one day" are lyrics from versions of "Heroes".
- When recalling the events of the comic story What He Wants..., the Doctor places it "in the Louisiana bayou". However, in that story Mississippi, not Louisiana was explicitly given as the setting. Moreover, the Mississippi part of the story happens on and around the Dockery Plantation, which in the real world is the birthplace of the Delta jazz in the state of Mississippi. This can be explained either by the Doctor misremembering or by the creators of the comic story mixing up the Mississippi Delta from the state of Mississippi with the Mississippi River Delta from the state of Louisiana.
Original print details[edit | edit source]
to be added
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- Alice Obiefune thinks that her late mother (COMIC: After Life) is back from the dead and brought her to Amstron sacred library on the Great Wheel to meet the Eleventh Doctor, John Jones and ARC. (COMIC: The Eternal Dogfight)
- The "doughnut" that Jones ate on the Great Wheel causes him pain (COMIC: The Eternal Dogfight) and apparently attacks his emotional centres.
- When the Talent Scout asks if the Doctor ever saw a mind finding a home in another body, the Doctor thinks of Rory Williams becoming a Roman Auton. (TV: The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang)
- The Talent Scout uses the mobile phone connected to the TARDIS that the Doctor gave Alice (COMIC: The Eternal Dogfight) to teleport himself and Alice to the Doctor's location.
- The Doctor arrived on the Great Wheel to try and stop the Eternal Dogfight using a legal loophole that he hopes to find in Amstron Law Museum. (COMIC: The Eternal Dogfight)
- Alice used to be a library assistant. (COMIC: After Life)
- The reason ARC was so violent in attacking the Amstron guards (COMIC: The Eternal Dogfight) is fear.
- Jones was Ada Obiefune's favourite singer ever. (COMIC: What He Wants...)
- The Talent Scout is revealed to be posing as Alice's mother. (COMIC: The Eternal Dogfight) He claims to have given Alice what she wanted (COMIC: What He Wants...) and that his organisation wants only to serve people. (COMIC: The Friendly Place, What He Wants..., Whodunnit?)
- The Doctor recalls meeting the Talent Scout before in the bayou but cannot remember what the Talent Scout showed him. Although that meeting happened on the Dockery Plantation in Mississippi, the Doctor describes it as having happened in the Louisiana bayou. (COMIC: What He Wants...)