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The Ruins of Time was the second short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Time Signature. It was written by Philip Purser-Hallard. It featured the First Doctor, Susan, Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton.


Susan and Ian are playing a board game belonging to the Doctor when the TARDIS lands on a desolate planet. It used to be beautiful, but things are in ruins and there are people, not dead but not alive, frozen in place.

They are surprised by one of the natives, a Torcaldian named Vedirioi, who welcomes them and gives them hospitality. Vedirioi explains that bandits have been raiding the city.

Ian and Barbara are at first confused by the genders of the Torcaldians until Susan explains that they are hermaphrodites. Meanwhile the Doctor, having found out what's wrong with the planet, says they must leave. He explains that some catastrophe has drained this planet of time. The frozen people have had all the time drained out of them.

Susan and Vedirioi are playing the board game when bandits attack. Astebo, the leader of the city, urges the travellers to leave, but Susan wants to help her friends. She and the Doctor are captured by the bandits.

The bandits drained all the time from Astebo, who is now frozen, and Vedirioi explains that is what the bandits do — steal time from other Torcaldians. Susan wakes up in a cage; the Doctor is unconscious. Vedirioi and Ecsilo accompany Barbara and Ian to rescue the others.

Susan talks with a Torcaldian, Tranell, who is a slave of the bandits' leader Balthar. Tranell drains time from others to give to Balthar, who shares it among the bandits. Susan and the Doctor are brought to Balthar to be drained. Ian, watching, cannot help because he left the others behind. Tranell convinces Balthar that the Doctor should be drained, not Susan.

Ian is horrified to see that the Doctor is frozen, but when the bandits leave, taking Susan back to her cage, the Doctor moves. Because of his "special relationship" to time, he wasn't affected the way the Torcaldians were. When Barbara and the Torcaldians rescue Susan, they tell her that the Doctor is fine.

Barbara and the Doctor are taken by Ecsilo to the site where a tear in time, called Torcaldi's Bane, began. It happened during a musical presentation, and the Doctor is intrigued, even to the point where he drains time from himself to allow the music to play for a brief moment so he can record it. Meanwhile Ian and Susan are with Vedirioi; Vedirioi asks to drain Susan of time to keep the village alive. Susan is horrified and Vedirioi feels bad, realising that it would be wrong to do this to Susan but at a loss for a way to save the Torcaldians.

The four travellers reunite, then the village is once again attacked by bandits. Tranell, however, instead of draining one of the villagers, drains Balthar instead.

As the travellers prepare to leave, Barbara and Ian are upset that they couldn't help the Torcaldians, but the Doctor is adamant that they leave nothing of themselves behind. Unknown to him, however, Susan has left the board game behind — something that has been in the TARDIS and has a special relationship to time.




  • The board game Susan plays with Ian and Vedirioi is implied to be Sepulchasm.