8th Doctor
Sisters of the Flame / The Vengeance of Morbius
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Sisters of the Flame
Written and Directed by Nicholas Briggs
Sound Design and Music by ERS

Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Samuel West (Morbius) [2], Kenneth Colley (Zarodnix), Alexander Siddig (Rosto), Nickolas Grace (Straxus), Barry McCarthy (Bulek / Eurelz Captain), Nicola Weeks (Haspira / Trell), Katarina Olsson (Orthena / Trell), Barnaby Edwards (Galactinet).

The richest man in the galaxy has just bought a backwards planet with no obvious mineral wealth in the outer reaches of the universe. An obscure mystical sect has been revived after centuries of neglect. A new race of aliens are hunting for prey. Why?

As the Doctor and Lucie attempt to discover the answer, it becomes clear that someone is attempting to resurrect the past - and they need a Time Lord to help them achieve it.

The Vengeance of Morbius
  • Sisters of the Flame
    Released: July 2008
    ISBN: 978 1 84435 310 1

    The Vengeance of Morbius
    Released: August 2008
    ISBN: 978 1 84435 311 8

Sisters of the Flame
(drn: ??'??")

Lucie joins the Doctor in the TARDIS control room and asks if they’re going anywhere nice. Just then, the power supply cuts out and the room is plunged into darkness. Although the Doctor thinks such a thing is impossible, he knows from the feel of the control console that this time the ship is totally dead, as if the power from the Eye of Harmony had never existed. He adds that only someone with a stellar manipulator could shut the Eye down- but there was only ever one of those and it’s long gone. Then, just as suddenly, the power returns and the lights come back on. Lucie is delighted, but the Doctor tells her it was nothing he did. Then a strange noise fills the air and the Doctor and Lucie are thrown around as the TARDIS is buffeted by a huge black hole ahead of them, which is sucking everything in. The Doctor identifies it as a particularly nasty piece of Time Lord technology and it’s coming straight towards them. He manages to pilot the ship away from danger, but as soon as they’re safe he starts to wonder what the Time Lords wanted and why they didn’t just call him up?

The TARDIS materialises and the Doctor and Lucie find themselves in the cargo hold of a space freighter. Lucie wants to leave straight away, but the Doctor is determined to take a little look around. Suddenly a group of 10-foot tall centipedes emerge from the shadows and charge towards them…

Elsewhere in the galaxy, one of Mr Zarodnix’s employees reports to him and confirms that they’ve found their objective. Zarodnix is delighted and says he knew he’d be here.

The spaceship of Police Marshal Rosto of the Trell approaches the Zarodnix Corporation freighter Euretz in response to their distress call. The Captain of the freighter tells him their stowaway has been confined and is awaiting interrogation, adding that they’d appreciate it if Rosto could clear the matter up as quickly as possible. As he manoeuvres his ship in to dock, Rosto asks if they have a name he can run through his system and the Captain tells him the stowaway claims to be a human from Earth called Lucie Miller. Rosto can’t find any record of her and the Captain isn’t surprised as she was travelling without any documentation.

Lucie has been kept waiting so long that she’s stopped being frustrated and is now just angry. The door to her cell slides back and a huge 10-foot centipede slides in. Lucie screams for help and backs away in terror, but the caterpillar uses a translator box to tell her not to be alarmed. He introduces himself as a Trell and assumes she’s never seen one of his race before, but in fact she says she was recently attacked by about twenty of them and they kidnapped her friend, the Doctor. She’s been trying to tell the crew of the freighter this for the last two days or so, but says no one would listen to her. She tells the Trell he’d better leave as the police are on their way, but he surprises her by saying he is the police. He introduces himself as Marshal Rosto and because Lucie was attacked by others of his own race, he realises that she thinks he must be involved in it too. Lucie demands to be released and says they have no right to keep her here, but Rosto says she should consider herself lucky the ship is owned by Zarodnix. On most free-trader ships the crew don’t bother to report stowaways and they save on the paperwork by simply blowing them out of the airlocks, but the Zarodnix Corporation is an interplanetary company of good reputation, which is why she’s currently under arrest and not floating dead in space.

Rosto demands that she explain herself and begins recording her statement, but whenever she tries to tell him her side of the story, he keeps interrupting with questions. Lucie gets frustrated and turns angrily on him and calls him a “great big garden bug“. Rosto tells her there’s no need to be offensive, but by now Lucie can’t help herself and she starts to question why the police employ centipedes instead of proper human people. Rosto explains that there are interplanetary police marshals from many species, so Lucie asks if she can speak to a human officer instead. Rosto agrees to arrange that, although he warns that it may take some time, but Lucie says anything is better than talking to one of “his lot”.

After she calms down, she starts to tell her story again. The TARDIS landed, they opened the door and immediately came under attack from twenty or more of the giant centipedes. The Doctor screamed at Lucie to run and then she saw him being overpowered by the creatures. Then they turned their attention on her, so she did what the Doctor suggested and ran for her life. Rosto is curious to learn from Lucie that one of the Trell spoke with a mechanical voice, which he says is very unusual. Lucie says the other Trell looked similar to Rosto, but they were wearing metal stuff and metal hat things with lights on top. From the state of her clothes, Rosto realises that Lucie must have hidden from her attackers in a waste pipe for hours. She assumes the smell from the pipe must have put them off her scent because there were moments when they were so close they were almost brushing against her. Then she noticed the attackers were accompanied by a humanoid female wearing combat gear, with her face covered with a dark visor. Lucie never saw the Doctor again, so she assumes he was taken off the ship. Rosto thanks Lucie for co-operating and then says he must continue his investigation elsewhere. In the meantime, he’ll ask the crew to continue detaining her aboard the Euretz until she can be transferred to a prison ship.

Alone in her cell, Lucie begins to cry and realises just how much she misses the Doctor and how worried she is about him. She can’t bear the thought that she might never see him again…

Marshal Rosto begins making his scene-of-crime report, which he records in both Trell and humanoid vocalisation formats. He goes through the account of what happened, as told to him by Lucie Miller, but then concludes that his initial conclusions are that her story is highly unlikely and says it’s a matter of historical record that the Trell are a peaceful, highly ordered race. He begins a scan for any particle traces that might support Lucie’s story or, more likely, provide clues as to what actually happened.

In her cell, Lucie is amazed to hear the familiar sound of the TARDIS engines and she calls out the Doctor’s name in delight. Her joy is short lived, however, when the Time Lord Straxus appears before her, holding a Time Ring in his hands. She demands to know what he’s done with the Doctor, but he says he’s been sent here by the Time Lords to find him. When he discovers the Doctor was “snatched” from here just two days ago, he congratulates himself on arriving so near his intended target, given the vastness of eternity. He tells Lucie he has to report back and he’ll probably be asked to have another go. Lucie asks if she can go with him, but he says he’d forgotten just what an unpleasant person she is and says lesser species aren’t allowed to go to Gallifrey. She asks him why they’re looking for the Doctor, but Straxus says the less she knows the better off she’ll be. He tells her something terrible is happening in the Universe and she’s to trust no one and do her best to keep out of harm’s way. Then he operates the Time Ring and disappears.

Rosto’s scanner shows two unusual DNA traces on the freighter in addition to those of Lucie, but when he tries to analyse the first one it says the type is unknown, but from a highly evolved humanoid species. The scan of the second type reveals that it comes from the Trell, so Rosto realises Lucie has been telling the truth all along. There are also signs of technological implantation within the Trell DNA and he also finds a small metal artefact about two millimetres in diameter which he can’t identify. He decides a further interrogation of Lucie is required.

A beautiful young woman enters Lucie‘s cell and introduces herself as Haspira. Lucie remembers Rosto was arranging a human police office for her, but she was expecting it to take longer than this. Haspira says she happened to be in the area and was happy to respond to the request. Lucie is relieved as she wasn’t too keen on Rosto, what with him being a flaming great insect thing and the fact that it was his lot that took the Doctor. Haspira says she’s read the Marshal’s initial findings and she can’t see any reason not to believe Lucie’s story. She suggests they go to the nearest Earth embassy because if the Doctor was taken by hostile forces, Lucie’s life could be in danger as the kidnappers might be looking for her too. She says the embassy can take a description of the Doctor and make a galaxy-wide appeal for any sign of his whereabouts. Lucie is impressed, so they leave straight away, without stopping to say goodbye to Rosto.

Straxus returns to Gallifrey and immediately complains that he hates travelling by Time Ring as it feels like he‘s being pulled inside out. He’s met by another Time Lord, Co-ordinator Bulek, who points out that with the Timescoop active and Zarodnix tinkering with time technology, Time Rings are the only safe way to travel at the moment. Straxus reveals that he arrived too late and the Doctor had already been snatched, but Bulek demands to know why he didn’t bring Lucie back with him. Straxus protests and says she‘s a very irritating woman, but Bulek reminds him this is a time of direst emergency and she might’ve had vital information for them. Bulek doesn’t need to remind Straxus what could happen if Zarodnix gets hold of the Doctor and as Lucie is their only lead, he orders Straxus to get back to her now and do whatever he needs to do to bring the Doctor back to Gallifrey. The survival of the Time Lords and the whole Universe of space and time depends on what Straxus does next…

Lucie is delighted by the inside of Haspira’s ship and says it’s so luxurious she can’t believe it only gets used as a police vehicle. Haspira sets course for the nearest Earth embassy and Lucie says she feels uneasy about leaving the Euretz as it feels like they’re admitting the Doctor’s really gone. Haspira is sure he’ll be alright, but Lucie realises she’s just trying to be nice. Lucie goes through the sequence of events again, desperately looking for some clue, and then it dawns on her that whoever took the Doctor must have been waiting for them. She wonders how the kidnappers could have known the TARDIS would be coming as it just appears out of nowhere - and then she remembers Straxus is a Time Lord, so perhaps the Doctor‘s been taken by his own people? But who was the mysterious woman that Lucie saw and how does she fit into everything? Haspira thinks it’s a pity Lucie didn’t see the woman’s face as they could have done a facial reconstruction and put it out with the description of the Doctor.

Lucie is very tired as she hasn’t slept much in the last two days and she gets angry with herself for talking about the Doctor in the past tense, as if their travels together are all over. Haspira suggests she freshen up and directs her to her cabin. She recommends a shower and a change of clothes, but Lucie slumps straight onto the bed and immediately starts drifting off to sleep. Then she hears a female voice repeating the words “sacred flame, sacred fire” and she starts to feel strange. She wonders what’s happening, but then she’s suddenly brought back to consciousness by a banging coming from the main part of the ship.

She races into the main room and is terrified to see the airlock opening and a giant 10-foot centipede clamber through. Haspira calls to Lucie and warns her to get back in the cabin, but when the Trell appears to attack Haspira, Lucie rushes to her defence. She warns the Trell that Haspira is a police officer, but the centipede activates its translator box and tells her Haspira isn’t anything of the sort. Lucie recognises the voice as that of her former interrogator Marshal Rosto. He claims to have come here to rescue Lucie and says Haspira must be an impostor because he hasn’t had time to put in a request for a human officer yet. Haspira pleads with Lucie not to listen to him and accuses Rosto of being in league with the Trell who kidnapped the Doctor. Rosto then points out that Haspira knows a great deal about this case, despite the fact that he hasn’t sent in his report yet. Haspira tells Lucie to pick up her gun and shoot Rosto, but Lucie orders both of them to be quiet. Rosto tells Lucie that he thinks Haspira is the woman she saw with the kidnappers. He points out that she’s wearing an ear stud in one ear, but the other one is missing and he found it in the cargo hold of the Euretz. He argues that the evidence is strong enough to implicate Haspira and Lucie is tempted to agree. Haspira removes her other ear stud and offers to show it to Lucie, but then she hurls it down on the ground and it explodes, letting off a cloud of gas. While they’re distracted, Haspira races into her cabin and locks the door. Finally convinced that Rosto is one of the good guys, Lucie fires the gun at the lock on the cabin door and they both enter. Inside, they watch as Haspira repeats the words “sacred flame, sacred fire” and then disappears completely. Rosto says it must be some sort of teleport, but he pulls the bed away and can’t find any sign of any mechanism that could have powered it.

As the words “sacred flame, sacred fire” echo around the chamber, Haspira reappears and is greeted by an elderly woman named Orthena. The older woman rebukes Haspira for returning empty-handed and then tells her not to beg as such behaviour is unbecoming. Orthena asks what happened to the Doctor’s companion and Haspira says that she’d gained her confidence and was bringing her here, but was interrupted by the arrival of the Police Marshal. She adds that the crew of the Euretz had no idea about Zarodnix’s plans, so when they found Lucie they did the law abiding thing and reported her to the police as a stowaway. Orthena says they must bring her here as she may have vital Time Lord information. When Haspira confirms that Lucie knows Straxus, Orthena says she might help Zarodnix’s people without realising that and they cannot risk that. She demands that all links with the Doctor should be destroyed and it must be as if he had never existed.

Lucie realises she was very nearly transported off the ship herself when she was resting in Haspira’s cabin earlier and it occurs to her that she was being kidnapped. Rosto assures her it’s not in the Trell nature to engage in illegal activities, but he’s found evidence of technological augmentation which suggests the other Trell were being controlled or were under some kind of influence. Rosto is now starting to believe Lucie’s story and she apologises for being offensive towards him earlier, in particular for the “garden bug” remark. She feels embarrassed and guilty about being racist and she apologises again, but Rosto knows it was only because she was scared at the time. He says their first priority is to track down the augmented Trell and find out who Haspira is. Lucie examines the other ear stud and finds it has a flame motif on it, which tallies in with the “sacred flame” references. She suggests looking it up on the internet, but Rosto thinks she must mean the Galactinet, a supralight microwave information network transmitted across hyperspatial conduits. Every ship has access to it, so they get straight to work…

Zarodnix is horrified to learn that his people have lost the Time Lord. One of his agents, an augmented Trell who speaks with a mechanical voice, explains that Haspira took him into custody while they were searching for the human girl, but now they’ve both disappeared. When they arrived back on Karn, their cell was empty except for a bio-transmitter device that was sending out false bio-signatures to fool their internal scanners into thinking Haspira and the Time Lord were still aboard. Zarodnix examines the device and identifies it as ancient Time Lord technology, which means Haspira must be working for them. He asks the Trell for the name of their Time Lord prisoner and when he learns it was the Doctor, he remembers hearing the legends of such a person, a renegade who’s been to Karn before. Zarodnix is even angrier when he learns the Trell no longer have the Doctor’s TARDIS and he concludes that the two of them must have escaped in the Doctor’s ship. Zarodnix knows they were able to trace his TARDIS once before, so they now have a lock of its time signature. He contacts Operations Control and orders them to increase power and trace the TARDIS, but he’s told that the cost of the energy needed for the time particle monitors is extremely high and locating the materialisation point has depleted their supplies. Zarodnix doesn’t want to hear excuses and says the Time Lord’s Timescoop will be chasing the TARDIS already so it should be easy to locate. He grants them permission to sell another system of planets so they can buy as much energy as they need. He starts to rant like a madman and says nothing is more important than what they’re doing here and that they’re working for the future glory of the Universe and for the new Empire that is to come! He switches off the communicator and then asks to be escorted to the processing chamber as it will soon be time for the final extraction…

Haspira enters the cell and shouts at the Doctor to wake up, but he tells her he’s already awake and was just resting his eyes because there isn‘t much of a view in here. Other Sisters unchain him and Haspira says that he’s needed elsewhere, but when he asks about Lucie’s whereabouts she orders him to be silent.

Rosto shows Lucie how to operate the Galactinet and before long she’s tracked down the symbol on Haspira’s ear stud. It’s the emblem of the Sisterhood of Karn and Rosto recognises Karn as one of the planets Zarodnix owns and where he’s reputed to live and run his central office. He explains that Zarodnix is a businessman who buys and sells planets and collects ancient artefacts. He’s also believed to be the richest man in the galaxy, possibly even the Universe, although that may just be propaganda put about by his PR agency. The Galactinet says the Sisterhood departed from the planet Karn fifty-two standard years ago when the planet was purchased by the Zarodnix Corporation and their current location is unknown. It adds that they’re an ancient order of psychics, which explains how Haspira was able to teleport without any technology. Unfortunately all the other files on the Sisterhood have been expunged and Rosto says only someone as powerful and rich as Zarodnix would be able to intercept the signals in the hyperspatial conduits.

Lucie cross-references the Galactinet entry with one for the Time Lords, but apart from saying they’re a legendary race of time travellers, all other information on them has been expunged too. Lucie thinks Zarodnix has been busy recently and Rosto admits that he’s starting to feel a little out of his depth. Lucie struggles to fit everything together and suggests they go to Karn and see if they can find out more about the Sisterhood. Rosto goes to find the star charts for that area and while he’s setting the controls, he realises Lucie still feels guilty for leaving the Doctor, so he reminds her that the Doctor ordered her to run and she has no reason to feel bad. In any case, if she’d been kidnapped too then she’d never have met him. Lucie is getting to like Rosto and she realises he too is worried about his race’s involvement in all this. It seems they both have good reasons for wanting to find the truth.

An elevator drops down from the windswept surface of Karn and proceeds to level minus one. Inside, Zarodnix asks for an update on the final extraction and then orders the process to go ahead without him as he doesn’t want any further delays. Space Traffic Control contacts him to report than an unknown ship has entered the exclusion zone around the planet, so he tells them to keep monitoring it and if it gets too close they’re to deal with it in the usual way.

Lucie and Rosto are aboard Haspira‘s ship as it approaches Karn. Rosto says he’s been checking the news bulletins from his home star system and admits that he’s homesick as it’s been a long time since he last went back. He’s learned that many Trell worlds have recently been purchased by Zarodnix who has a reputation for making offers that cannot be refused, but Rosto has been unable to find out what’s happening on these planets as those files have been expunged too. They remember the bionic augmentations on the other Trell and suspect Zarodnix has been using the Trell as henchmen or a private army. Rosto is starting to feel alone, but at least he has Lucie with him and he thinks she’s the most remarkable humanoid he’s ever met.

Mother Superior Orthena orders the Sisterhood to bring the Doctor forward. She says the stories passed down through the generations tell of him being a “prattling man full of idle questions“, yet he seems to have nothing to say for himself. The Doctor retorts by saying no one’s been particularly forthcoming since he got here and he has no reason to assume the situation has changed. He asks to be taken back to Lucie and Orthena says she may be in a position to grant that request, at least in a manner of speaking. She points towards a nearby door and tells him it leads to oblivion…

The auto pilot takes Haspira’s ship into orbit and Lucie and Rosto look down at the surface of Karn. Lucie thinks it looks nasty and her mood isn’t improved when an alarm sounds and the ship comes to a sudden halt. Rosto tells her they’re caught in an energy field and are probably being scanned by security. Suddenly the air is filled with a sound that Lucie finds only too familiar and then Straxus materialises before them. He greets Lucie with a lot more charm than the last time they spoke and when Rosto asks who he is, he orders the officer to stay out of it. Rosto asks Lucie if she wants the intruder restrained and Straxus immediately becomes nervous and defensive. Lucie tells Rosto who Straxus is and then accuses him of leaving her in the lurch. Straxus apologises, but Lucie isn’t impressed and orders him to hand over his Time Ring to stop him vanishing again. He tells her she has to come back to Gallifrey with him, but she warns him to shut up or else her 10-foot centipede friend will start dancing on his head. She demands to know what’s happened to the Doctor…

The Doctor identifies the ’door to oblivion’ as a molecular dispersal chamber, which he says is both quaint and utterly barbaric, and he’s only partly embarrassed when Orthena points out that they stole it from the Time Lords. Haspira confirms that it still works and the Doctor wonders why they’ve waited all this time to show it to him. Orthena says they need his help to find Lucie Miller but when Haspira plays back a recording of her meeting with Lucie back on the Euretz, the Doctor is confused as this obviously means the Sisterhood already know where Lucie is. He guesses they’ve tried to teleport her but failed, and he assumes Lucie must be out of their reach. Orthena says Lucie is still aboard Haspira’s ship which is far from here, but when she attempts to make telepathic contact she’s shocked to discover Lucie is approaching Karn. She confirms that the Sisterhood is no longer based on Karn and says they departed that terrible world many years ago, but she refuses to disclose where they are now.

On the ship, Straxus blames the Doctor for everything that’s happened and says it’s his fault for avoiding the Timescoop in the first place. Lucie remembers the big black hole that came screaming at them out of the Vortex and says she’s not surprised the Doctor didn’t want to get swallowed up by that. She wonders why they didn’t just ask him politely, but Straxus says in this time of emergency it wouldn’t have been safe. Before he can answer any more of their questions, the ship shakes again and Rosto reports that the energy field from Karn has increased in power and they‘re now being pulled down to the planet. Straxus is horrified to learn that they’re in orbit around Karn…

Orthena reports that Lucie is in danger, but the Doctor isn’t sure he can believe her. The Sisters say Lucie needs his help and he should add his mind to theirs because he has an affinity with her. Haspira threatens to put him in the molecular dispersal chamber if he refuses to help and Orthena tells him he has no choice.

Straxus begins to panic and demands that Lucie give him back his Time Ring. He promises to take Lucie with him, but she says she owes Rosto her life and she refuses to leave him behind. Straxus tells her to forget about Rosto, but she won’t agree to that. It seems they can’t prevent the ship from landing on Karn and Straxus is surprised they don’t understand why he’s so keen not to go there. He reveals that Zarodnix bought the planet because he’s the leader of the Cult of Morbius! The situation is so serious Straxus has no choice but to agree to use the Time Ring to get all three of them out of here. Lucie is considering her options when she starts to feel strange. She recognises the effect of the Sisterhood’s teleportation and within seconds she’s disappeared, taking Straxus’s Time Ring with her.

Lucie starts to come round and is relieved to find the Doctor leaning over her. He tells her she’ll be OK and although she’s overjoyed to see him again, her response is short-lived as she realises they’re being watched by Haspira. Orthena congratulates the Doctor on bringing Lucie to them, then Haspira says that with both of them here, they can be sure there’ll be no trace of the Doctor. Orthena agrees and orders the Sisters to place them both inside the dispersal chamber…

The Vengeance of Morbius
(drn: ??'??")

The Doctor and Lucie protest as the Sisters force them over to the dispersal chamber. The Doctor insists that because he’d done everything they’d asked of him, the very least they owe him is an explanation. Orthena accepts this and reveals that Zarodnix is the leader of the Cult of Morbius. Lucie confirms that she’d heard this too and the Doctor is surprised to learn that she was briefed by Straxus - but they’re both still confused as the Doctor has no idea who Zarodnix is and Lucie doesn’t know who Morbius is! Even when the Doctor explains that Morbius was a Time Lord dictator who wanted to take over the Universe, Lucie still can’t see what the problem is if he’s already dead, but when the Doctor learns that Zarodnix is a rich intergalactic businessman who lives on Karn, the pieces start to fall into place.

Haspira believes the Doctor is playing for time and wonders what makes him any different from all the other Time Lords. Lucie realises they must have killed other Time Lords, but Orthena says they were mere bookworms, academics and small-minded researchers with no experience of the Universe outside Gallifrey, whereas the Doctor actually fought Morbius and has a right to know the truth before he dies. She explains that the Zarodnix Corporation drove the Sisterhood from Karn and mined out the surface of their planet. After the Sisterhood found a new home, they discovered Zarodnix has a dangerous obsession with Morbius and has dedicated his entire life to collecting every surviving artefact relating to the despot. Haspira was given the task of infiltrating the Zarodnix Corporation and fortunately the Trell were easily manipulated and soon trusted her…but then she learned that Zarodnix planned to revive Morbius…

On Karn, Kristof Zarodnix arrives on level minus 1,087 where the main laboratory is located. After confirming his voice print, retina scan and blood DNA sample, the security computer grants him access. He’s overjoyed when he learns that the latest extraction experiment was totally successful and he holds up a molecular-sealed specimen capsule and lovingly admires its engineering. He congratulates the Trell on their work and prepares to fulfil his life-long vision, but then they’re interrupted by news that the incoming spacecraft is about to land. Zarodnix doesn’t care and gives the Trell permission to arrest the occupants or kill them, whatever they prefer.

Aboard Haspira’s ship, Rosto informs Straxus that they’re about to land, but the Time Lord panics and insists that the Marshal take them back up into space. Unfortunately none of the controls are working and it’s not long before the ship settles on the surface. Straxus appears genuinely terrified and Rosto can’t understand why he’s so frightened.

The Doctor reminds the Sisters that the brain of Morbius fell to its death in the deepest canyon on Karn centuries ago and no part of him could have survived. Orthena admits that they don’t know what Zarodnix’s plan is and all they know is that he’s been scouring space and time with one aim - to find a Time Lord. The Sisterhood warned the Time Lords, who immediately quarantined Gallifrey and recalled all TARDISes, then they used the Timescoop to track down any Time Lords who didn’t respond. Orthena says that Zarodnix’s time particle monitors were able to follow the movements of the Timescoop, which is how his agents found and captured the Doctor. Fortunately Haspira was there to ‘rescue’ him, but Haspira is now keen to have the Doctor and Lucie executed…

In the laboratory, Zarodnix and the Trell are implanting the specimen capsule into a cabinet-like device called the Genetrotron when news arrives that security scans show one of the occupants of the captured spaceship is a Time Lord. Zarodnix is delighted and orders him to be brought down immediately.

Rosto and Straxus hear banging outside the spaceship. Rosto suggests opening the hatch as Zarodnix’s people are quite within their rights to arrest them, but Straxus says Zarodnix is a maniac and they have to find a way off the planet quickly. Suddenly the airlock blows open and the Trell storm in, grabbing hold of Rosto and immediately implanting him with augmentation nanocytes. He cries out and collapses, then the Trell turn their attention to Straxus.

Haspira demands that the Doctor and Lucie be placed in the dispersal chamber, and despite their protests, the two travellers are dragged inside and the door is closed behind them. Reluctantly Orthena gives the order for the machine to be switched on. Inside, the Doctor is hopeful the chamber is so old it might not work, but they soon discover they’re not going to be so lucky. The Doctor bangs angrily on the door and demands they be released, but no one is listening. He tells Lucie they have about 37 seconds left and admits that he’s run out of ideas. Lucie is remarkably calm and tells him she’s glad that if they have to die at least they were reunited first. The Doctor wonders how Straxus was able to find Lucie and she suddenly remembers she took the Time Ring from him. The Doctor rebukes her for not mentioning it earlier, then he grabs it and activates the controls. Immediately an alarm sounds which tells them the dispersal chamber doesn’t like the energy the Ring is emitting.

Outside the chamber, Orthena realises the power is being blocked by the energy of a Time Lord device. The Doctor and Lucie are worried when the Time Ring slows down and the dispersal chamber starts to power up again. The air inside starts getting really hot and the Doctor realises their molecules are getting agitated, so he bangs on the door again and calls out to the Sisters, warning them that Zarodnix already has a Time Lord prisoner. Moments later, the machine is switched off and the door opens. Orthena orders the Doctor to prove what he said and he shows her the Time Ring which belonged to Straxus, who was left behind on Haspira’s ship which was en route to Karn. Orthena had already sensed that Lucie was near Karn when the Sisters teleported her away so she realises he’s telling the truth. Whatever Zarodnix’s crazy plan is, this means he already has the Time Lord he needs.

As Straxus is brought before Zarodnix, the businessman orders his Trell servants not to damage him. Zarodnix uses a scanner to confirm the prisoner is a Time Lord, then he tells the Trell to prepare him immediately as they have no time to waste. Straxus warns him that what he’s doing is forbidden by the High Council of the Time Lords, but Zarodnix reminds him they’re currently hiding away on Gallifrey. Straxus is dragged away, screaming…

Haspira insists they kill the Doctor and Lucie anyway - just to be sure - which makes Lucie realise how wrong she was when she first met Haspira and thought she was really nice. The Doctor returns to the idea of Zarodnix mining Karn and Haspira confirms that she saw mining equipment arrive on the planet. The Doctor realises Zarodnix must have located a fragment of Morbius’s brain in the canyon, but that still doesn’t explain why he needs another Time Lord.

Straxus is strapped onto a machine in the laboratory and Zarodnix takes the opportunity to mock the weak, defenceless Time Lord as a typical example of his race. He says they have such power, but they never fulfil their potential or put their greatness to any use. Straxus accuses him of being as deranged as Morbius, but Zarodnix is flattered by the comparison. Then he explains that Straxus is going to help him bring Morbius back to life…

The Doctor has realised Zarodnix’s plan must involve genetic fusing. The Sisters can’t comprehend what he means, but Lucie has seen “Jurassic Park” and explains that Zarodnix has a piece of Morbius’s brain which he can mix with Straxus’s DNA to bring him back to life like a dead dinosaur. Orthena confirms that Zarodnix has access to the greatest minds in the known Universe so he’s probably bought the know-how to blend their genetic codes. The essentials of Morbius are contained within the brain fragment and everything else Zarodnix needs to create an entirely new Time Lord can be extracted from Straxus. They realise they have to rescue him quickly. Orthena starts to chant in an attempt to teleport Straxus to safety, but the Doctor knows Karn will be protected by energy fields and they’ll never reach him through mind power. Orthena believes all is lost, but the Doctor says they can still use his TARDIS him by coding the ship’s co-ordinates to those in Straxus‘s Time Ring.

Straxus pleads with Zarodnix to stop the experiment, but to no avail. He tries to convince Zarodnix that Morbius is dead and there’s no power in the Universe that can bring him back, but Zarodnix says he’s devoted his entire life to studying Morbius’s ideals and he believes his reputation is based on propaganda and lies. Among the artefacts he’s obtained over the years include Morbius’s Presidential robes, the technology he developed with his own hands and, not least, the very cells from his mind. With an infusion of living Time Lord DNA, there can now induce a new regeneration of Morbius.

Orthena takes the Doctor and Lucie to the TARDIS, ignoring Haspira’s pleads that she’s making a mistake for letting them go free. The elder Sister says their only concern is that Morbius should never rise from the dead and this is now the Doctor’s sacred mission also. She tells him the Sisterhood will be watching over him and he promises to do his best. As they enter the TARDIS, Lucie asks the Doctor what Orthena meant about watching over them, and he tells her no one’s ever been sure about the true extent of the Sisterhood’s psychic reach. The Doctor starts programming the controls for Karn, but Lucie asks why they can’t just go back in time and land inside Haspira’s ship before it reached the planet. He says this would involve him crossing his own timeline, which would be very unwise. In fact, he’s worried they may have already done that and he reminds her when the power shut down earlier as if the Eye of Harmony had never existed. He decides it’s worth taking Lucie’s advice and prepares to cross their timeline. Lucie is excited and wonders if they’ll bump into themselves, but suddenly the TARDIS jolts and the Doctor tells them the Timescoop snuck up behind them and disabled the controls while he wasn’t looking. There’s nothing he can do now to stop them being swallowed up by the black hole…

The TARDIS materialises and the Doctor and Lucie emerge to find themselves on Gallifrey. There’s no one about and it seems they’ve landed in some kind of holding area inside the Capitol. Bulek calls to them from the shadows and tells them the Timescoop is only employed to bring all their errant children back into the fold in the direst emergencies. He tells them the other Time Lords are all in deep isolation, but when he says he isn’t happy to discuss such matters in front of Lucie, she realises he’s just scared about Morbius coming back from the dead. She reminds him that his ’mate’ Straxus is in trouble and says they were on the way to help him when they were diverted. Bulek knows they were preparing to break the rules of time and he insists they stay here rather than continue on their journey. Bulek’s records indicate that Straxus was on his way back to Gallifrey and he expects him to arrive shortly, but the Doctor points out he’s been following Straxus’s Time Ring, not Straxus himself. In fact, Straxus is now in the hands of Zarodnix…

The processing of Straxus is now complete and Zarodnix is pleased to see he’s still alive as they may need him again in the future. The Trell technicians confirm the gene-splicing was completed successfully, then they open up the Genetrotron cabinet and inside the cabinet they see a man wearing Presidential robes. Zarodnix asks Straxus if he can identify the man, but before he can answer, the man steps out and proudly announces that he is Morbius!

Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor and Lucie are waiting for Bulek to shut down the Transduction Barriers so they can leave Gallifrey when the ship suddenly starts shaking. The Doctor realises the whole planet is being affected, so they race outside to find Bulek. He tells them they’re under attack from primitive interplanetary missiles and the earthquakes they’re feeling are the missiles bouncing off the Barriers. The ships in orbit are manned by the Trell and Lucie realises they must be working for Zarodnix. The Trell can’t get through the Barriers, but they’ve been sent here to relay a hyperlink transmission from Karn. Everyone turns to look at a screen and they see Zarodnix next to a young man he refers to as his Lord Morbius.

Morbius sends a message to the High Council of Time Lords - he tells them he’s returned and will show them as much mercy as they afforded him. When he receives no response, he assumes the Time Lords are too afraid, so the Doctor asks Bulek to open a channel, then he apologises for the delay and says they were all busy finishing off a particularly good jigsaw puzzle. Morbius recognises the Doctor from centuries ago, but the Doctor tells him he should give up his plans for galactic domination, because although he’ll never succeed, he’ll create endless carnage while trying. Morbius says there’s nothing the Time Lords can do to stop his vengeance from consuming the cosmos, but the Doctor mocks him and says he’s surrounded by yes-men like Zarodnix. Morbius produces a medallion-like device, which the Doctor identifies as the remote activator for a Stellar Manipulator. He assures Lucie it’s harmless without the Manipulator itself and only one was ever constructed, but Morbius says he’s mistaken. He presses a switch and says the Stellar Manipulator is now active. On Gallifrey, the lights start to fade and Bulek reports a power drain. Morbius is draining off the energy from the Eye of Harmony and soon the Time Lords will be left without the power of time travel and at the mercy of his Trell army. The Doctor switches the transmission off and tells Bulek to deactivate the Transduction Barriers. Gallifrey will be exposed soon enough anyway, so they need to leave in the TARDIS before it becomes immobilised. The Doctor and Lucie plan to go to Karn, stop Zarodnix and prevent the resurrection of Morbius - even if it means breaking the rules of time!

On Karn, Zarodnix tells Morbius that the Transduction Barriers have been shut down. Morbius calmly orders the Trell to open fire and says that when the Times Lords have been destroyed, there’ll be plenty more work for them to do…

The Doctor and Lucie race into the TARDIS, but Lucie is worried that when the Eye of Harmony shuts down they’ll be trapped in the ship without any power. The Doctor assures her they’ll have a certain amount of reserve power and if they can latch on to one surviving nano-second of temporal energy they’ll be able to complete their mission. As they dematerialise, Lucie insists they go back to before all this started and nobble Zarodnix. Just then, the console starts to spark and the Doctor realises the Stellar Manipulator is ripping the heart right out of his TARDIS. Then there’s an explosion…

…and the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor and Lucie are relieved to be alive and it even looks like there’s an ounce of power still left in the ship’s cells. They don’t have enough energy left to check what’s outside, so they have to trust the ship’s homing instincts. When they emerge, they find themselves in a large cell that reminds Lucie of the London Dungeons. They notice a hooded prisoner in the shadows and when the Doctor removes the man’s cowl, he’s revealed to be Straxus.

Across the planet, the computerised voice of an augmented Trell announces the return of their Lord Morbius in victory from battle. The people are ordered to rejoice…

In the cell, the Doctor and Lucie have also heard the announcement. Weakly, Straxus explains that this is what’s happened for the last ten or more years, and Lucie realises to her horror that the TARDIS must have slipped forward in time rather than backwards. Morbius has been going about his conquering ways for over a decade and every opponent has fallen before his might. Straxus says the Palace they’re in was built on the remnants of a thousand worlds and he only ever leaves his cell for the ‘feeding’. The Doctor realises he’s referring to unsuccessful gene-splicing and Straxus explains that Zarodnix never really understood the technology hat he was using. Every time Morbius’s life force weakens, they take more of Straxus’s. If Morbius is returning from battle, then Straxus will be summoned shortly and he’s not sure how much longer he can survive…

Zarodnix greets his Lord Emperor, but his welcome is dismissed by the weary Morbius who demands they bring up their prisoner from the dungeon. Zarodnix had predicted this and had prepared the gene-infuser the moment he heard Morbius was returning. Morbius admits that he’s fatigued by battle, but says it was a good fight and his empire continues to grow…and the more it grows, the more fear itself becomes their greatest weapon. Whole star systems are now surrendering at the mere sight of his fleets, but there are still occasional challenges to enjoy.

In the dungeons, Lucie assumes the Doctor’s silence means he’s coming up with a plan, but she tells him to be quick as someone’s going to come through the door any minute now and drag poor Straxus off to have the life drained out of him. The Doctor asks if Morbius is still wearing the Stellar Manipulator remote control around his neck and Straxus says it’s always there as a symbol of his power. The Doctor thinks it’s more than just a symbol and says it’s holding the Eye of Harmony at bay and denying it to the Time Lords. Lucie says if they can switch it off, Gallifrey will get its power back and they can travel back in time to put everything right. The Doctor sarcastically points out that it’s not going to be that easy, but essentially she’s right.

Zarodnix tells Morbius he’s heard a rumour that Earth put up a bit of a fight. Morbius says it’s true and the humans were very tenacious…for a while at least. He says he’s brought back the Statue of Liberty as a trophy to put on top of the Palace and he’s already put a thousand slaves to work on it. He wonders whether the humans, if trained and conditioned correctly, would make good soldiers for the empire. Morbius becomes weary again and goes out onto the balcony to think about the many races he still has left to conquer. After a campaign he always likes to come out and look down over the canyon where he once fell to his death. He says he has a lot to thank Zarodnix for, but then Morbius is suddenly gripped by an intense pain and he orders Zarodnix to send for Straxus immediately.

When the Doctor takes Lucie back to the TARDIS she’s worried he’s planning to take off and leave Straxus to his fate, but he tells her it’s time to use their last remaining ounce of power. While he activates the ship’s telepathic circuits to see if the Sisterhood are still around, he sends Lucie back to Straxus with some water. The weakened Time Lord is sceptical when he learns the Doctor is trying to contact the Sisterhood as he believes they’ll have been one of Morbius’s first targets for vengeance. Lucie wonders what happened to her friend Rosto and she’s surprised when Straxus tells her he’s still here. He says they injected him with whatever Zarodnix was using to control the Trell and ever since then, he’s been the one who collects Straxus and takes him to Morbius. He thinks there may be something of the old Rosto still left in the new augmented creature as he speaks to him from time to time and he always says the same two words - “Lucie Miller”…

The Doctor telepathically sends out a message to Orthena, warning that they only have one chance to get things right. He’s prepared to sacrifice his life, but it’s vital they get the Manipulator away from Morbius. When he switches the device off, the Sisterhood must teleport him away immediately or else they’ll just kill him and re-set it. Although he’s sure he can feel Orthena’s mind, there’s no response. Eventually the power in the TARDIS fades completely and he can do no more.

Haspira complains to Orthena that the Time Lords have never done anything for them and that they should leave the Time Lords where they are, besieged and isolated. She believes the Sisterhood are safe and that they don’t owe anything to the rest of the Universe, so she suggests they let the Doctor fight his own battle without their help.

The Doctor returns to the dungeon and reveals that he’s used up the last of their power and he doesn’t know whether the Sisterhood got his message. He’s surprised to see Lucie and Straxus being watched over by one of the augmented Trell guard, but Straxus explains that this is Rosto, the policeman who helped Lucie earlier. The Doctor knows that without the bionic alterations, the Trell are normally quite an affable species, and this is confirmed when Rosto turns to Lucie and calls her name. It seems Lucie must have made quite an impression on him after all…

Zarodnix assures the weakened Morbius that the infusion is ready. Straxus is on his way, but he’s taking a long time and Morbius wonders what’ll happen if the Time Lord is dead. Zarodnix is confident Straxus should survive for a number of years yet, but Morbius realises that eventually he’s going to need another Time Lord - and in all his campaigns, there’s been no sign of them anywhere. Morbius looks down over the canyon again and wonders if this is where his ultimate destiny lies. Zarodnix says Morbius is overwrought and notes that he’s always like this just before the ’feeding’. The doors open and their prisoner is brought in. Morbius urges Zarodnix to bring him straight to the infuser, but when he orders Straxus to remove his cowl so he can see his rotting, stinking face, he discovers the prisoner is none other than the Doctor!

Before anyone can react, the Doctor snatches the remote activator from around Morbius’s neck. Morbius calls for Zarodnix to kill the Doctor, but then Lucie, Straxus and Rosto burst in. There’s a brief battle with the guards in the throne room during which Rosto is hit and falls to the floor. Morbius struggles with the Doctor as they fight over the activator, so the Doctor concentrates and sends a telepathic signal to the Sisterhood, pleading for their help. Morbius taunts the Doctor and says he’s not strong enough to fight him without the help of those witches. They soon find themselves out on the balcony. Lucie shouts out a warning, but the Doctor is too busy shutting down the Manipulator. He tells Morbius the power is now returning to the Time Lords and they’ll soon be on their way here, crossing their timelines and shutting Morbius out of history completely. Morbius finally realises he has no future and is determined that at least he can force the Doctor to join him in his oblivion. With the last of his strength, Morbius grabs hold of the Doctor and the two of them fall over the edge of the balcony, disappearing from sight, deep into the canyon below…

Lucie screams for the Doctor. Straxus tells her they’ve gone, but at least Morbius is back where he belongs. Lucie refuses to believe the Doctor could be dead and looks over the balcony, clinging to the hope that he might be holding onto something just below them - but there’s nothing there. Slowly the truth dawns on her and she realises the Doctor has gone. Suddenly the air is filled with a strange noise and Straxus says it must be the Time Lords correcting the flow of time. Then they miraculously find themselves on Karn many years earlier, before the Zarodnix Corporation came here. Bulek appears and explains that thanks to the Doctor they’ve been able to put everything right. There never was a Morbius empire, but Bulek says the Doctor’s death was part of the vital time event that made the repairing of history possible. His actions are at the centre of things, so there’s nothing they can do to save him.

Lucie threatens to kick some sense into Bulek, but he tells her she too has to be returned to her correct timeline. She begins to cry and says her correct place is down in the canyon with the Doctor. She says they might as well chuck her down there with him, but as she completely breaks down, Straxus knows she doesn’t mean it. He tells her the Time Lords can make her forget everything and says it might be for the best, but she pushes him away angrily and refuses the offer. She says the Doctor was her mate and he saved the Universe, and that’s something she never wants to forget. Bulek says the Doctor always inspired such peculiar loyalty and they agree to respect Lucie’s wishes. Lucie says she doesn’t respect any of the Time Lords because if they really cared they’d be willing to break a few of their fancy rules and bring him back to life. Bulek asks her if deep down she really thinks it’s all over, but all Lucie can say is that she’ll never forget the Doctor. She asks the Time Lords to take her home.

Much later, Lucie is at home when there’s a ring on the doorbell. Although it’s the middle of the night, the caller is obviously impatient as the ringing and knocking becomes more intense. Eventually Lucie opens the door and is shocked to find herself facing her old foe, the Headhunter. The woman raises an alien gun and warns Lucie that she’ll kill her if she makes a move. Lucie protests, but this is enough for the Headhunter and she opens fire. Lucie screams and the sound of her voice echoes in the air and then fades away…

Source: Lee Rogers
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