Threshold was the first audio story in Big Finish Productions' first series of Counter-Measures. It featured Simon Williams, Pamela Salem and Karen Gledhill reprising their roles as Professor Rachel Jensen, Dr Allison Williams and Group Captain Ian Gilmore from the 1988 Doctor Who television story Remembrance of the Daleks.
A missing scientist and ghostly phenomena bring Gilmore and Allison to a factory in Bermondsey, and the discovery of a science that should not exist. As Rachel Jensen returns to help them, a new future for Counter-Measures is set in motion...
In 1964, three-quarters of Group Captain Ian Gilmore's troops in the Intrusion Countermeasures Group (ICMG) have been re-assigned to the Ministry of Defence and are stationed in Cyprus. His superior at the MoD is Sir Tobias "Toby" Kinsella.
Professor Rachel Jensen has been conducting research into artificial intelligence at the Cavendish Laboratory in the University of Cambridge since 1962. She was instructed by her superiors to make use of her holiday days so she arranged to meet up with her former student Allison Williams, who has finished her degree and obtained her doctorate since the Shoreditch Incident.
Allison worked with Professor Heinrich Schumann at the British Rocket Group. She believes that Schumann has succeeded in creating a matter transfer device. He was found unconscious in one of the transmat pods, having presumably been teleported from one pod to the other. The doctors are unsure as to whether he will recover. Schumann powered the device using the street lights outside Bermondsey Electronics.
According to Allison, Rachel never accepted Schumann's presence in the BRG as she is Jewish while Schumann was a former Nazi who had worked on Adolf Hitler's advanced weapons research programmes during the Second World War. He is rumoured to have used human test subjects in his experiments. However, the British government never charged him with war crimes as they wanted to make use of his scientific acumen. While Gilmore voices his disapproval at the United Kingdom using Schumann's data for their experiments, Sir Toby claims that it was better that the UK gained access to his skills than the Soviet Union.
On his tapes, Schumann remarked that the only god in which he believed was Hitler but he became an atheist after Hitler committed suicide on 30 April 1945. Given his wartime crimes, he hoped that there was no God as he feared the punishment which he would face if they were.
Lt. Carver is aware that Jenny Haveloc is having an affair with Allison's driver Simkins, who is a married man. He uses this as leverage to prevent her from reporting to Gilmore, whom he refers to by his nickname "Chunky", that he was drunk when he came on duty. Shortly after Carver's arrival, the matter transmission device at the factory activated itself. At the same time, Schumann regained consciousness in St. Hugo's Hospital but was still delirious.
Rachel believes that the strange noises which she, Gilmore, Allison, Schumann and Carver heard in the Bermondsey factory were caused by the accidental activation of the intercom which has been picking up radio singles from all over London. However, on further investigation of the factory, Rachel and Allison hear the voice of a little girl crying out for her mother. Concurrently, while at home in bed, Carver hears the girl crying out for her father and assumes that it is his daughter calling for him.
Rachel determines that the Schumann device may be a portal to another time or place. Her theory is that Schumann was assisted in creating the device, perhaps subconsciously, by an alien life form which sought to set itself free.
Schumann succeeded in teleporting a wristwatch, a shoe and a toy but he claimed that they were damaged by interstitial thrust when they arrived at their destination pod. However, Rachel believes that they have in fact rotted.
After regaining consciousness, Schumann strangles his nurse at St. Hugo's and shoves her corpse into a cupboard. He then makes his way to the factory and reactivates the matter transfer device. This causes his caravan to shake and one of its drawers to open while Rachel is investigating his papers. Furthermore, the toy which he transferred in the Schumann device (a talking doll in the shape of a little girl) picks up a scalpel and begins advancing towards Rachel. Rachel believes that it was being manipulated by a powerful telekinetic force which is alien in origin, as was the equipment in the factory.
Although there was only a gap of fifty yards between the two pods, Rachel believes that Schumann and the items which he transferred through the device travelled through what science fiction writers have called hyperspace, possibly all across the universe and for hundreds of years. This accounts for the fact that the wristwatch, the shoe, the doll and Schumann's clothes rotted with age. However, Schumann and later Carver were preserved through the centuries by an alien collective who took control of their bodies. The collective's plan was to take over not only Earth but all of reality. Carver's personality reasserted itself and he sacrificed himself to save Gilmore, Rachel and Allison. The collective was converted into pure energy and channelled through the intercom as sound waves and was dispersed.
Rachel agrees to come aboard Counter-Measures in a permanent capacity on the condition that she will be supplied with the facilities to continue her artificial intelligence research on site and that she will replace Gilmore as its leader. However, she assures him that she will defer to his judgement in all matters of security.
- Group Captain Ian Gilmore - Simon Williams
- Professor Rachel Jensen - Pamela Salem
- Dr. Allison Williams - Karen Gledhill
- Sir Toby Kinsella - Hugh Ross
- Professor Heinrich Schumann - Vernon Dobtcheff
- Lieutenant Tom Carver - Andrew Fettes
- Jenny Haveloc - Alison Thea-Skot
- Simkins - John Banks
- Allison's boyfriend Julian St Stephen is away for the weekend.
- Tom Carver drinks heavily but not on duty.
- A radio DJ refers to the fact that the Dave Clark Five song "Glad All Over" has knocked the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top of the British charts. However, it peaked at No. 6 in the United States.
- The British Rocket Group hired former Nazi scientists, at least one of whom was a suspected war criminal.
- Counter-Measures has the authority to shoot people on British soil by virtue of the Peacetime Emergency Powers Act.
to be added
- Gilmore mentions that he has seen matter transfer technology before but believed that the development of such technology on Earth was not yet a possibility. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
- Rachel refers to the Shoreditch Incident at Coal Hill School in November 1963. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
- After Schumann's death, the matter transfer device was confiscated by Counter-Measures and placed under constant guard by Gilmore's men. (AUDIO: The Pelage Project) However, it was later used by members of General Peters' coup against Harold Wilson to transport creatures from another dimension known as the Outside into London. After the coup was defeated, the matter transfer device was destroyed. (AUDIO: State of Emergency)