Tardis

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The Inquiry (identified on the cover simply as Chapter Three) was the third story of the first series of Big Finish's Gallifrey audio series. It was written by Justin Richards.

This story included the first appearance of Lynda Bellingham as the Inquisitor, who was given the name "Darkel" and would go on to become a major antagonist, since 1986's The Ultimate Foe. It resolved the question of the origin and threat of the Timonic Fusion Device, established that there were multiple Braxiatels in the universe and seemingly answered the question of what had happened to Andred, although this would be further elaborated upon in the series finale.

Publisher's summary[]

"Let those who have business in this place rise and state it to the Court of Enquiry."

President Romana has been called to account for her actions. But the only evidence that she has responded to a real and present danger has disappeared. To clear her good name she is dependent on the testimony of the very people who want to see her publicly humiliated and her power removed.

While Leela tries to discover truths of her own, Romana is forced into an uneasy truce with her rivals at the CIA. But at least she can be sure the inquiry will be handled in a fair and proper manner. Or can she? When the investigation itself triggers danger and time is — quite literally — running out for all of Gallifrey's power and knowledge, just who can Romana trust?

Plot[]

Darkel, inquisitor of the judicial inquiry into Romana's actions on Gryben, opens the court and invites those with business with the court to stand; Leela, K9 Mark I (who can also speak for K9 Mark II), Narvin and Torvald will all be acting as witnesses whilst Braxiatel presides over the inquiry. He and Darkel will, after the evidence is heard, cross-examine the witnesses whose accounts do not match that recorded by the Matrix and, finally, Braxiatel will make his ruling.

During Project Alpha, Glower assures Narvin that Braxiatel's concerns of temporal energy waves and galactic destruction are entirely unfounded. Braxiatel calls them, asking them to stop after running a simulation predicting armageddon, but Glower continues working on the project. As the countdown approaches zero, Narvin says that they have a problem.

In the courtroom, Narvin insists that the Timonic Fusion Device could not possibly have been built, but Torvald says that he saw the device himself. Braxiatel sees this as an ideal time to adjourn for the day and, afterwards, he visits Romana, Leela and K9 and says that he will speak with Darkel about her line of questioning. According to him, rumour has it that Narvin stopped Project Alpha just as Glower was about to test the device, after which Narvin was recruited by the CIA.

Narvin stops the test and says that they have no choice but to inform the CIA of what he has just discovered. He suggests that they contact Braxiatel rather than the High Council.

Braxiatel tells Romana that information on Project Alpha must be in the Matrix and leaves to meet with Narvin, who is with Torvald. He suggests that Darkel's line of questioning assume that the threat could be real so as to avoid the risk of Project Alpha being brought up and then heads off to another meeting. Torvald expresses his frustration about information being kept from him and Narvin tells him that they did indeed make a Timonic Fusion Device and accesses the Matrix, revealing that not only the President can do so.

At Romana's suggestion, Romana says that they will analyse the energy wave signature from the detonation, they might be able to trace the device. K9 Mark II links with the Matrix to find data on Project Alpha and detects another mind within the data, a mind which Leela guesses is Narvin. Aware of K9's presence, Narvin severs his link, but has located a data bomb within the information. K9 too locates it and finds that he has unwittingly activated its defences and it will explode in microspans. Narvin assumes that the data bomb contains a virus which could destroy the Matrix due to the data being interconnected by the APC Net.

Braxiatel has K9 isolate the data bomb and stop the countdown but, once K9's power has been depleted, it will detonate. Although they have found data of the Timonic Fusion Device's explosion, Braxiatel knows that it was dismantled prior to detonation and leaves to have Narvin send a recovery team, wondering where this data could have come from. If the device was tested in secret, Narvin must know about it. Leela catches up with him and asks if the Matrix could reveal what happened to Andred; he tells her to ask Romana, but that the Matrix might have forgotten the information.

In court, Romana announces that the Timonic Fusion Device has been traced to Gryben, moved one day into the future after its dematerialisation during the Monan invasion and Braxiatel suggests that the Chancellery Guard take responsibility for recovering it. When Narvin questions this and refers to Andred as Leela's "late husband", Leela is suspicious of his choice of words; she and K9 Mark I are selected as impartial observers to accompany a CIA team on the recovery mission. Outside of Narvin's office, Leela uses K9 to listen to Narvin and hears him talk to Torvald about the data bomb, which has an artron imprint "as big as a vortisaur". Torvald leaves and Narvin directs Leela to meet with him at TARDIS Bay 3, telling her not to get in the team's way.

K9 Mark II can hold the bomb for only 45 more microspans and says that, realistically, it will detonate despite Romana's plan to find a way to stop it.

On their way to TARDIS Bay 3, Leela and K9 Mark I visit Braxiatel and tell him that Narvin has found an artron imprint and that he suspects that it is Romana's. Braxiatel says that he will think about this and, before they leave, he says that Leela should look for Andred's biodata extract in the archives. K9 begins recording at TARDIS Bay and he and Leela leave in a TARDIS with Torvald and his team, travelling to Gryben where a fight begins with the Servitors stolen before the temporal summit.

Romana, Braxiatel and K9 Mark II discuss the data bomb and Narvin's belief that Romana put it there, after which Braxiatel leaves as he has "things to do". The Timonic Fusion Device is recovered and the team leave Gryben in the TARDIS. Afterwards, Narvin tells Torvald that he has attempted to identify who planted the data bomb by searching for artron traces out in the wider universe, expecting identify Romana as the saboteur. He shows Torvald his findings.

Leela bemoans that she was unable to capture a Servitor to gain further information and Romana suggests that Torvald might have ensured that that did not happen. Romana suspects Torvald and, by extension, Narvin of being involved and Leela wonders if Torvald knows what has happened to Andred, as he said something on Gryben which Andred used to say to her, i.e. telling her to try not to kill anybody.

The artron traces do not match Romana's travels in the universe. Narvin and Torvald find a bill of sale connected to the traces, one which uses the individual's actual name. Narvin doubts that Romana knew of this individual's actions, but says that she should and asks for an urgent meeting with her.

Leela and K9 Mark I visit the archives and ask the archivist for information on Timonic Fusion Device research and data bomb construction and defusion techniques. When the archivist leaves to check with Romana, Leela goes looking for Andred's biodata extract, but the archivist returns and says that Romana suspected what she might unlawfully be doing. However, she told the archivist that it would not be a failing on his part if he was not able to stop her before she found out. As such, he helps her locate it.

Narvin meets with Romana, who tells K9 Mark II not to listen, and shows her the evidence that he has found: a bill of transaction drawn against the Fifth Galactic Bank of Phaesterus in payment of a holocolour in 2347 bearing the name of a Time Lord. He goes on to show her that there are 4,739 other transactions, for artwork, sculptures and buildings.

The archivist finds that Andred's biodata extract is missing and finds that it was last accessed on 17 11 005 by an "unidentified researcher", meaning that a CIA encrypted ident key must have been used.

Romana selects the transfer of a sculpture and decides to leave Gallifrey to speak with the vendor, who had been sold it only a day earlier. Narvin protests but Romana insists, refusing to arrest a prominent member of the High Council until she is certain. She leaves, promising to be back for the inquiry.

The archivist finds that the only other biodata extract accessed on the same day as Andred's was Torvald's. In her enthusiasm to look at Torvald's, the extract falls.

Romana arrives at a museum and meets somebody who was expecting the man who planted the data bomb and assumes that she is an agent of his. She purchases the woman's sculpture and gives her a letter to pass on to Irving Braxiatel when he arrives in the future.

The cap of Torvald's biodata extract has become dislodged and it is clear that it has been removed and restored with adhesive before. However, the archivist can think of no reason why anybody would have done this.

Per Romana's unsigned letter, Braxiatel goes to the ruins of Colesteron and is confronted by the Lady President. She had refused to believe that he was responsible at first before remembering reading about the Braxiatel Collection, which at this point is still only an idea of Braxiatel's. He confesses that he has been collecting art to preserve them ever since Project Alpha came close to causing monumental destruction but denies planting the data bomb to cover up the evidence should he be caught. He had considered planting one when Project Alpha was going to go ahead and Romana asks what he would have put in it.

The archivist promises to contact Leela if he gets any more information but he is unauthorised to find out who used the ident key. K9 Mark I, however, is able to find that it was registered for use by Narvin's immediate staff and that, in this instance, it was used by Torvald.

Having told Romana what he would have put in the data bomb, Braxiatel suggests that they ought to wait for it to detonate.

Leela goes to Braxiatel's office, where he is on a call with somebody who has just met somebody that he is fond of, but Torvald arrests him before she can speak with him. She flees as Torvald takes Braxiatel to the inquiry and goes to Narvin, threatening him with a knife to find out about Andred. He tells her that Andred contacted him for a meeting and tried to gain his trust by claiming to share his views on Romana's policy of cooperation; Narvin saw through the act and sent Torvald to meet him in the lower levels of the old city beneath the Capitol. The two fought and Andred was killed. Torvald saves Narvin from Leela and says that he had no choice but to kill Andred, who had attacked him believing him to be Narvin.

Romana returns to the Capitol and heads to the Inquiry, taking Leela off of Torvald's hands and sending her away on a mission. Romana enters the courtroom and tells Braxiatel, who has confessed to his crimes, tell the story of Project Alpha. Centuries ago, the test detonation of the Timonic Fusion Device went ahead as the High Council did not listen to Braxiatel's protests, explaining how there is information in the Matrix of a test which did not take place. Romana suggests that they wait for the data bomb to explode to uncover the truth.

Leela and K9 Mark I reach K9 Mark II, who is able to continue holding the bomb back by using power from the Capitol. Ordered by Romana to let the bomb detonate, K9 Mark I shoots his counterpart. The bomb detonates and imprints the story of Project Alpha all over the Matrix, just as Braxiatel had planned before the test failed to go ahead. Braxiatel forces Narvin to reveal that the reason the test did not go ahead was because the device disappeared, after which he claimed to have had it dismantled rather than admit that it had been stolen.

In the original timeline, just as Braxiatel predicted, the detonation caused a timonic wave which destroyed the transduction barrier and crashed down on Minyos, ageing to death a hundred million Minyans. In case of an attempted cover up or an assassination, Braxiatel put the data bomb into the Matrix, which exists outside of time. Time travel was later used to steal the device prior to the detonation, meaning that this never happened. To set history back on track, Romana and Braxiatel say that they must prevent the theft and allow the detonation, although this will mean that the Minyans will be wiped out.

Romana and Braxiatel arrive in the past in a TARDIS and find Servitors on a mission to steal the device. They destroy them before leaving, allowing the test to go ahead. In the present, they find that the Timonic Fusion Device found on the Third Moon of Kikrit was fake, rendering the inquiry redundant as the device was both real and fake depending on the timeline. Darkel closes the inquiry and leaves. Narvin insists that Braxiatel stand trial, but Romana refuses. She thinks that it is far more important that she and Leela find out who was behind the Servitors' theft of the device.

Cast[]

References[]

Art[]

Locations[]

Miscellaneous[]

Science and technology[]

Notes[]

Continuity[]

  • Minyos (and Gallifrey's involvement) was first mentioned in TV: Underworld.
  • Braxiatel is caught collecting art for his Braxiatel Collection, breaking the laws of time. He claims he started the endeavour after witnessing how easily time can be destroyed with things like the Timonic Fusion Device. The Collection plays a large role in the Big Finish Bernice Summerfield series.
  • Braxiatel claims that he will receive a K9 unit as a gift from an old friend that he hasn't met yet. It is unknown whether this is true, yet it suggests that Braxiatel is knowledgable about his own future, revealing that he is breaking more laws of time than he has let on. Braxiatel becomes much more invested in bending the laws of time later in his life. (AUDIO: Resurrecting the Past, Escaping the Future)

External links[]

Footnotes[]

  1. Leeson plays both K9 Mark I and K9 Mark II.
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