Now the threat of a NEW temporal war brews on the horizon. Can the Doctor stop history repeating itself?
Having just saved Blitz-stricken London from the threat of a damaged Chula warship and its runaway nanogenes, and with Jack having revealed his inner heroism by nearly blowing himself up while towing a German bomb into space, the Doctor, Rose and Jack are taking a tour of the universe, hoping for more sightseeing opportunities and fewer occasions of near-certain death.
However, the three arrive at Excroth to find the planet destroyed, despite the fact that they should have arrived "slap bang in the middle of the Second Excrothian Tetrarchy, a period of unparalleled scientific enlightenment". Almost immediately, a massive ship decloaks and captures the TARDIS with a tractor beam; the Doctor storms out of his timeship to confront a platoon of massive robotic Lect, which confine the Doctor, Rose, and Jack inside a localised force field and demand to know why the travellers have come to the Excroth system.
The Doctor, however, uses his sonic screwdriver to activate Jack's vortex manipulator and teleport the three to the safety of a storage bay. There, Rose finds a tachyon inhibitor, which, the Doctor explains, protects "its wearer from cause and effect", and the Doctor explains that "the whole system is buzzing with chronon particles". Moments later, the storage bay's artificial gravity fails as a squadron of armoured centaur-like Unon attack the ship.
The Doctor attempts to lead Rose and Jack back to the TARDIS, but the three are intercepted by a group of Lect, who order the Doctor and his companions to leave the ship. Another moment later, one of the Lect is destroyed by an Unon fighter, who blasts a hole in the ship, creating a decompression leak that nearly drags Jack and Rose out into space. Rose begins to glow when the tachyon inhibitor on her wrist activates, and one of the Lect reactivates the ship's external shield, saving the two humans. The Doctor offers to help the Lect escape their damaged ship even as another of the robots is destroyed by an Unon fighter, but the Lect insist that his kind "never run from battle" before attempting to terminate the Doctor.
Jack knocks the Doctor out of the way, blasting off the Lect's arm with his sidearm before the three escape and head for the TARDIS while Rose demands to know why she started glowing when the tachyon inhibitor activated. When they are intercepted by another Lect, Jack blasts it with his sidearm before the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to destroy Jack's weapon, and the three of them finally make their way back to the TARDIS. The Doctor and Jack rush into the timeship, but Rose's jacket becomes snagged on the severed arm of the destroyed Lect as the police box door slams shut. The TARDIS dematerialises just as the Lect ship is destroyed, causing Rose and the Lect to be thrown directly into the Time Vortex, where the tachyon inhibitor on Rose's wrist activates.
As Rose falls through the Vortex, the Doctor tries to materialise the TARDIS around her, but only her jacket appears within. Meanwhile, Rose wakes up next to a squid-like alien. The Doctor refuses to believe she is dead, and uses the TARDIS to track the DNA from her jacket. However, the coordinates it finds would place her in the blast radius of a nascent supernova Beart-54 in the Beart system. Jack materialises the TARDIS on a nearby planetoid, Fluren's World. They find the sun's nova is being held back by a time bubble, technology that hasn't existed since the Time War.
Jack takes the Doctor to the Fluren Temporal Bazaar, a black market for time weapons. There, they find Rose, who has been stuck there for four days. She fell through the Vortex, and the tachyon inhibitor protected her from the time winds. Glom, the squid alien, picked her up with his ship's time scoops. The Doctor recognises one of Glom's weapons, and realises they're all from Gallifrey. He flips Glom's table in anger, and steps up to make an announcement. He's offering his Time Lord mind for sale, in an attempt to attract the Unon. Instead, the Lect appear.
The Doctor tries to open the Lect robotic armour with his screwdriver to see who he is dealing with, but he is not quick enough. While Jack and the Doctor wrestle with the Lect, the Unon arrive and engage the Lect in a fight without so much as a warning.
The ensuing chaotic battle between the Lect, the Unon and the security guards of the Fluren Temporal Bazaar triggers the emergency protocol. The time bubble that have been keeping the supernova in check will disperse in ten minutes. All the traders, including Glom, hurry to leave Fluren's World.
The Doctor seems to pay little heed to this development. He is busy trying to get the attention of the Unon. At the same time, Jack notices that the Lect are loading the TARDIS into their ship.
An Unon directs a blast of energy at the Doctor that completely dissolves him, leaving no trace of the Time Lord. Rose, horrified, cries: "You killed him!", while Jack drags her away from the commotion in a last minute attempt to save at least the TARDIS.
But, unbeknownst to both Rose and Jack, the Doctor was not vaporised. Instead, he was dumped into a sub-dimensional void. He can tell that he is being watched by someone unseen. This observer is Arnora, the mother superior of the Unon. She knows a lot about the Time Lords, Time War and the Doctor himself. As if that knowledge is not enough, she tries to get into his head, causing some memories to resurface that are best left forgotten. She wants to learn how the Doctor has survived the Time War.
Back on the Fluren's World, the Lect demand that Rose and Jack open the TARDIS. Just as Rose begins protesting, the door of the TARDIS opens. But it is not the Doctor inside. It is Jack. While the Lect and Rose are baffled by the second Jack and with only ten seconds before the collapse of the time bubble, the Jack on the ground understands the hint of the Jack from the TARDIS and operates his vortex manipulator. He manages to circumvent the TARDIS defences and transport himself into the TARDIS and a couple of seconds into the past. Ignoring the ill effects of his little trick, he runs to the TARDIS door and opens it from the inside. Now he is the Jack in the TARDIS. Rose makes a run for the TARDIS but cannot reach it in time before the time bubble deactivates.
Arnora demonstrates to the Doctor what happened, accusing him that once again he left his friends to burn.
Jack is distressed that Rose was left behind but happy that the TARDIS survived the supernova blast. As he tries to operate the controls, however, he realises that the TARDIS is being towed through the Vortex by the Unon.
Meanwhile Rose is being woken by the Lect and finds herself their prisoner. Her threats to them that the Doctor will sort them out die out as the Lect remind her that he was killed by the Unon. They order her to serve the Lect now, causing a furious reaction. Rose challenges them to torture her. In the face of her defiance, a Lect opens up his armoured suit to reveal a figure inside, wired to the suit and resembling an Excrothian.
In the Vortex, desperate Jack is trying to half threaten half reason with the TARDIS. Suddenly, the Doctor's face appears on one of the screens. The Doctor explains that the Unon are bringing the TARDIS to him. The TARDIS materialises in the Perpetual City, which is anchored within the Vortex itself. Jack warily steps out, gun in his hand, and receives another reprimand from the Doctor, until the latter realises that Rose is not with Jack. Arnora is pessimistic about Rose's fate, Jack tries to stay optimistic while simultaneously flirting with the mother superior, and the Doctor heads for the TARDIS to save Rose no matter what, when Evja, the Grand High Seer of the Unon, who has no ordinary sight but can see through time and space, explains that Rose is not on Fluren's World any longer. She is in a forbidden sector of time. The Doctor is unimpressed but another Unon, Borga, blocks his way to the TARDIS. She insists that the Doctor must remain and do the will of the mother superior, accusing him of the atrocities of the Time War. The Doctor intends to have none of this. Only the intervention of Arnora prevents further escalation.
She explains that before the Time War the Unon were explorers, scientists. The war destroyed their civilisation and nearly destroyed theme species itself. But it was the aftermath of the war that was more important. The demise of both Time Lords and Daleks created a vacuum of power that many races wanted to fill, races like Cybermen and Sontarans. The Unon seers saw what was coming, so the Unon decided to prevent further chaos. They collected the detritus left over from the Time War and turned it into tools for peace, including the Perpetual City they are in. The Unon have no ambition to control time, but they prevent others from doing so.
The Doctor asks if the Lect are one of those trying to cease control and learns that Borga despises them. Arnora intercedes once again before the tempers could flare. She saw in his mind the sacrifice the Doctor made for the good of the universe. She knows he's a good man. She proposes an alliance.
The Doctor, however, is determined to save Rose first. But Arnora shows him a planet, Traxis, a world with more than seven billion inhabitants. A fracture in time caused by the Time War resulted in the past, present and future coexisting and creating chaos. If left unchecked, this time fissure would spread to the whole sector with catastrophic consequences. She shows him a temporal stabiliser of Gallifreyan make that could stitch time back together. She thinks that the Doctor is best qualified to put it to the good use.
As the Doctor reaches for the stabiliser, he, Jack and Borga are suddenly transported to Traxis. The Doctor is not amused but resigns to do the job first and make a row later. The place is a mess with dinosaurs, neanderthals and killer robots competing for the title of the deadliest menace. While Jack and Borga cover his back, the Doctor detects the fault line smack under a mammoth. Briefly regretting not having learned Mammoth and rescued by Borga from being trampled over, the Doctor activates the device.
Just as the device does its magic, the Doctor, Jack and Borga find themselves back in the Perpetual City. Arnora shows them the peaceful Traxis. She explains that this was the last test to make sure of the Doctor's motives. Finally, a mutual understanding of the common goals starts to emerge between the Doctor and Arnora.
At his moment, the vortex manipulator on Jack's wrist beeps and shows a hologram of Rose's head. She seems distressed and says that she has escaped from the Lect. She needs Jack's co-ordinates to use the Lect's time scoop. Arnora is not quick enough to stop Jack from sending the data. Immediately a flotilla of Lect ships materialises above them. Neither Jack nor the Doctor can believe that Rose would betray them like this when Rose appears in front of them, holding a huge Lect-made gun and flanked on both sides by two Lect towering over her.
With the Unon protecting the Doctor and the Lect protecting their newly found ally, Rose shoots the Doctor, while asking herself if he would ever forgive her. She gives the signal to the Lect to transmat her and the Doctor away, leaving the flabbergasted Jack behind. Although he continues fighting the Lect alongside the Unon, Evja dissolves him with a blast of energy.
The Doctor comes to on the Lect command ship, understandably mad at Rose. She explains that they needed to plant a tracker on him for the Lect transmat to work. She did not know this would knock him out. Using Lect equipment, they try to locate Jack but he cannot be found on the Perpetual City. A Lect approaches the Doctor to discuss tactics and opens up the armoured suit to reveal a creature inside, a creature the Doctor clearly recognises.
Jack finds himself in the same void, where the Doctor first met Arnora. Evja and Borga appear and explain that Jack is kept as an insurance. Evja thinks that involving the Doctor and his people was a mistake. She saw Jack's future and it should not be allowed.
The Doctor has figured out that the Lect are actually Excrothians. But he does not understand how the peace-loving people he knew became tank-like warriors. The Lect uses a needle to establish a psychic bridge. His name is Marleth. He used to be the grand prelon. He shows the day the Unon came and demanded to stop experiments with time travel. The Unon foresaw Exrothians becoming the Lect and tried to avoid it. They threatened to destroy Excroth if research in time travel continued. And they kept their word. Although Excrothians managed to escape using the very time-travel experiments that led to the destruction of their planet, they suffered a horrible fate. Their bodies became mere wizened husks. They built the walking tanks for supporting them and started calling themselves the Lect, after their god of war and revenge. The Doctor recognises the weapon used by the Unon against Excroth.
Jack manages to call Evja back to the void by crushing a banshee capsule in his back molar and, thereby, shattering all psionic bonds. He wants to talk to her.
The Doctor explains that the horrible weapon is an entropy engine, a Dalek-made weapon from the Time War. It can age a whole planet or a solar system to dust within minutes. What's worse, the entropy engine is behind impenetrable flux shields. The Doctor realises that only one thing can get past them, his TARDIS. Having decided to help Marleth in destroying the entropy engine, the Doctor loses no time. He crashes the Lect command ship into the perpetual city to create a diversion, while instructing the Lect to leave the ship and transmat him, Rose and Marleth near the TARDIS. They manage to get past the Unon guards, run into the TARDIS and materialise within the entropy engine. Then the Doctor leaves the rest to Marleth, who is going to turn the entropy engine on itself. As Marleth begins priming the engine, they are surrounded by the Unon, who shoot Marleth.
With Marleth down, the Doctor threatens to ignite the entropy engine himself if Arnora does not stand down. She does not believe he is capable. But he's already done it once. The Unon have become just like the Time Lords, paranoid, corrupt and tyrannical.
In the void, Evja explains why she thinks the Doctor is dangerous. She sees destruction following him wherever he goes.Jack asks Evja to look now at the future without the Doctor, with only the Unon in charge.
As an Unon sneaks behind the Doctor to deal a fatal blow, he is preempted by Evja, who is carrying Jack on her back. She implores Arnora to listen to the Doctor because she saw their own future. Arnora disagrees. But Marleth, in a last effort before his death, manages to kill Arnora and is immediately killed by the Unon. The Doctor says that it is already too late and there is no way to disperse the energy in time. Evja is ready to accept her fate and resigns to disappear along with the Perpetual City.
Fortunately, the Doctor manages to save her and some of the Unon by escaping in the TARDIS. He brings them to a planet off the beaten track, with no technology and makes Evja promise to leave the universe to look after itself.
- Rose calls Earth the Doctor's favourite planet.
- The Doctor's psycho telemeter tracks the time-space origin of DNA fragments.
- Species at the Fluren Temporal Bazaar include a Raxacoricofallapatorian, a Blowfish, an Amstron, a J'arrodic, and some Hoix.
- Organisations selling objects at the Bazaar include Bah'raith Industries, Source Equation Defense System, Granex Community Defense, Galatron Trade Corporation, Temporal Studies Inc., Oseidon Robotics, Glom Enterprises and Forge Industries. One sign is labelled Bad Wolf Bargains.
- The Fluren Temporal Bazaar has a hypercube for sale.
- Glom uses the expression "wait a rel..."
- The Doctor claims to know the Lost City of Sakkrat's post code and Colonel Sanders' secret ingredient.
- The Doctor was the Time-Tot hide and seek champion for forty-two years in a row. He claimed it used to drive the Rani nuts.
- The Corsair had a sub-dimensional void he kept in 23rd century Swindon.
- The Doctor calls a charging Unon Champion the Wonder Horse.
- The Doctor mentions tea and HobNobs.
- When Jack damages the Lect keeping the hull of the spaceship intact, the Doctor sarcastically calls him Einstein.
- According to the Doctor, Rose's mum, Jackie Tyler, liked to shop at the Elm Grove Market, where bargains were good but dodgy.
- When the Doctor tried to mimic Jackie, Rose told him that Dick Van Dyke wanted his accent back.
- Jack knows a good dry cleaner near Epsilon Volantis.
- When Jack walks out of the TARDIS brandishing a gun, the Doctor says that this wouldn't be a good Connery impression and would barely pass for Moore.
- Arnora mentions the home planets of the opponents in the Time War: Gallifrey and Skaro.
- When the Doctor and Jack are suddenly transported to Traxis, the Doctor says: "I'm guessing we're not in Kansas any more?"
- On Traxis, dinosaurs, mammoths, neanderthals and robots all coexisted due to a fracture in time.
- The Doctor calls a Lect Humpty Dumpty.
- This is the first Ninth Doctor comic story to be released since the Prisoners of Time series in 2013, and the first to be released by Titan Comics overall.
- Captain Jack jokingly calls the Doctor "Spock", referring to the character from Star Trek. The actor who played him, Leonard Nimoy, passed away a couple months before the release of the comic mini-series.
- A partial sign for Intra-Venus, Inc. can be seen at the Fluren Temporal Bazaar.
- Rose calls Glom "Squidward", a reference to Spongebob SquarePants.
- The Doctor compares Jack to James Bond by mentioning two actors who played him: Sean Connery and Roger Moore.
- Jack criticises how the Doctor negotiates with the Lect by saying: "Hardly the way to make friends or influence people." This is a reference to the book How to Win Friends and Influence People.
- Rose calls armed security "stormtroopers", a reference to Star Wars.
- "Colonel Sanders's secret ingredient" is a reference to the founder of KFC.
- "Champion the Wonder Horse" is a reference to a horse character from film and movies.
- Rose says that a tracker was needed to beam the Doctor up. The phrase "beam you up" is a reference to Star Trek.
- This adventure takes place between the episodes The Doctor Dances and Boom Town.
Original print details
to be added
- The Doctor destroys one of Jack's sonic blasters with his sonic screwdriver, telling him he has seen enough weapons to last him several lifetimes and will not let the people who travel with him use them. Jack jokes that he has a "bananas only" policy. (TV: The Doctor Dances)
- The Doctor refers to Jack as Rose's boyfriend. (TV: The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances)
- Jack is wearing the costume he will later wear in Cardiff. (TV: Boom Town)
- Jack jokily calls the Doctor "Spock", a callback to Rose's choice of introduction for the Doctor when introducing him to Jack. (TV: The Empty Child)
- Rose had known that the Doctor would catch her if she fell since he grabbed her hand on Westminster Bridge. (TV: Rose)
- The Doctor refers to the TARDIS outrunning the Big Bang. (TV: Castrovalva)
- In the Fluren Temporal Bazaar there is a vendor called "Bad Wolf Bargains". (TV: Bad Wolf)
- The Doctor has a flashback to the Dalek fleet attacking Gallifrey. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)
- Arnora ravages through the Doctor's mind, bringing up memories of the Eighth and War Doctors, as well as the barn where the War Doctor was planning to finish the Time War. (TV: Doctor Who, The Night of the Doctor) Notably, this is the first time he is forced to acknowledge the War Doctor instead of trying to forget him. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
- This is the earliest appearance of the Hoix in the Doctor's life so far. They were first introduced in TV: Love & Monsters.
- The Doctor mentions taking an evening class to learn how to speak Horse instead of how to speak Mammoth following an advice of Romana. (TV: The Ribos Operation et al.) He doesn't think it will ever come in handy. (TV: A Town Called Mercy)
- The seers of the Unon foresaw many other wars taking the place of the time war, some of the combatants in these wars would be Cybermen (TV: The Tenth Planet et al) and Sontarans (TV: The Time Warrior etc.)
- The Unon also foresaw Jack being shot by the Daleks, coming back to life, (TV: The Parting of the Ways) and sacrificing his grandson, Steven. (TV: Children of Earth: Day Five)
- Rose compares the Lect with Slitheen, (TV: Aliens of London / World War Three) Daleks (TV: Dalek) and Shadeys (COMIC: A Groatsworth of Wit), who were also hiding behind armour and disguises. She calls them all bullies and cowards.
- The Unon defend the Web of Time. (AUDIO: Neverland, Zagreus etc.)