Guests for the Night
Guests for the Night
Written and Directed by Nigel Fairs
Post-Production and Music by Harvey Summers

Sylvester McCoy (The Professor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Catherine Debenham-Taylor (Cecily), Oliver Bradshaw (Webster), Nigel Fairs (Harold), Julia Akerman (Nanny), Max Day (Daniel).

In search of the legendary 'Point of Stillness', the Professor and Ace find themselves in an old house, steeped in evil. Who is the ancient woman in the attic? Why are there so many clocks? And did the butler really do it?
  • This is the sixth story in BBV's audio series featuring the Time Travellers.
  • Released: November 1998

  • ISBN:
(drn: 61'07")

The old house has late mock-Gothic architecture and stands alone in the forest. In the darkness, the noise coming from the wildlife takes on the sounds of cackling laughter. The Professor and Ace have come to Vespertine Lodge in search of the ‘Point of Stillness’, something one of the Professor’s friends told him was like being caressed by the silent wings of an angel, even though another friend said it was more like watching paint dry. Ace hasn’t got a clue what he’s talking about, but he says he’s been meaning to come here and form his own opinion for at least a century. He can sense that something isn’t quite right here, but he can’t put his finger on it. He looks more closely at the sign outside the house, but it looks perfectly normal to Ace. It’s just gone midnight, but when the Professor checks the time on his own watch, he discovers it’s stopped working. As he produces a tape to measure the sign, Ace realises she’s starving and decides to see whether the Lodge is has a map of the local tourist attractions.

Finding nothing unusual about the sign, the Professor also decides to see whether the Lodge is open for business and is surprised to find Ace has already gone off ahead. He calls out for her, but then a man appears from nowhere. pointing a gun at him. The man orders the Professor to stay where he is and put his hands up in the air. The Professor introduces himself as a harmless trespasser, then he asks the man if he owns the grounds and gently points out that he’s holding the gun back to front. As the confused man looks down to check, Ace grabs him from behind and wrestles the gun from him. The man protests that Ace is breaking his arm and the Professor persuades her to let him go, satisfied he’s perfectly harmless. He points out that the man’s gun was actually a solar amplification module and even if he’d been pointing it the right way round, it would have been completely useless at this time of night - the worst it could have done is give the Professor a mild sun tan. Ace shows him something else she found and he identifies it as a rather battered neutronic feedback accelerator. It works like a torch and is much better than the oil lamp they were using. The man introduces himself as Daniel Armiston and says he came here looking for his sister. The Professor turns their attention back to the sign and asks Daniel what he thinks is wrong with it and the man spots immediately that the word ’Lodge’ has been spelt wrong. The Professor is satisfied and tells Ace and Daniel that it’s time they went for something to eat.

Inside the Lodge, an elderly butler named Webster wearily enters the main study and starts winding up all the clocks. He answers a whistle on the speaking-tube and his Mistress tells him to see to the door as they’re about to have visitors. Grumpily, he stomps off into the hall…

The Professor re-sets his watch and learns from Daniel that it’s about ten past twelve on the 12th of July. He insists on knowing the precise year as he suspects he might be a decade or so out, but it turns out the year is actually 2036, a hundred years earlier than he expected. This explains everything as the Professor’s friend isn’t due to discover the Point of Stillness for another 92 years! Ace is still confused as he told her they weren’t looking for a particular place and the Professor agrees that it’s not a place in the linear sense, but then you could say the same about love and music. You can’t see or touch them, but go to certain places and you can feel them and you know they‘re there. Suddenly Ace and the Professor feel something warm pass right through them, but Daniel didn’t notice anything. However, he does spot a light go on inside the house. Ace and the Professor can sense that something has changed, something is different. Daniel sees someone moving behind one of the windows and thinks it might be his sister, Tess. The others follow him before he does anything to upset the locals.

As they move closer to the house, Ace and Daniel are amazed to see the building is now in good condition even though it looked like a ruin earlier. The Professor dismisses their concerns and suggests the owners might have just got back and done a little DIY. Before they can stop him, Daniel goes up to the front door and knocks on it. There’s a timely clap of thunder as the door creaks open and the butler Webster greets them. Daniel demands to speak to someone in authority, and although Webster tells him the Master is away at the moment, he invites the three of them inside. The Professor seems keen to avoid inconveniencing the butler, but Daniel insists on being admitted. Ace looks rather cold, so Webster offers her a glass of port, but the Professor refuses it on Ace’s behalf. Daniel asks if anyone has seen his sister, so Webster asks them to step inside while he makes enquiries with his Mistress Cecily. Reluctantly, the Professor and Ace follow Daniel and Webster inside and the door slowly creaks shut behind them…

Webster shows his guests into the library and Ace squirms at the way he keeps looking at her, but before Daniel can return to his questioning, the butler has gone. The Professor is fascinated by the charming room, but Ace thinks it’s like something out of “Scooby Doo” - she even thinks she saw the portrait winking at her. The family who live here obviously can’t be very literary as none of the books have been touched for years. The Professor rebukes Daniel for stoking up the fire as it’s already quite warm enough and must have been burning for hours. Daniel is becoming increasingly worried about his sister, who disappeared in mysterious circumstances, but the Professor is intrigued and observes that people can ’disappear’ in so many different ways. He has some theories, but it’s important to hear the whole story first and he doesn’t want to say anything more until the very last piece of the puzzle is put into place.

The Professor opens a side door and finds the adjoining dining room. Ace turns her nose up at the rotting chicken wings on the table, but the Professor is more interested in the drawing that someone’s done on the tablecloth. It’s a fairly accurate reconstruction of the night sky with Orion and the Great Bear represented by place mats. They look out of the window, but the whole sky has changed and the stars are in the wrong positions. The Professor suggests they’ve travelled in time and Ace decides to ask the butler the time when he returns. Daniel has heard enough and believes he’s wasting his time, but as he turns to leave, the door opens and a beautiful young lady enters and greets the visitors warmly. The Professor apologises if they woke her up, but Cecily says she was already wide awake as she’s a bit of a night owl. As the Professor introduces the others, he’s interrupted by the sound of smashed cutlery outside and a cry from the elderly butler. In the hallway, Cecily finds Webster hanging upside down by a rope - it appears that Master Harold has been playing one of his jokes again. He’s going to get such a hiding when his father gets back! Cecily apologies to her guests and invites them back into the dining room for a spot of supper…leaving Webster hanging in the hall, calling for assistance.

Cecily asks the others to sit down and apologises for Webster’s behaviour, saying he’s getting a little eccentric in his old age. Her daddy took him on when he was very young, but now it seems like he’s been here for centuries. There’s another cry from Webster in the hallway as he finds his own way of releasing himself from the trap. Daniel asks if there’s anyone else living here apart from Cecily and her brother Harold, but the only other resident is Nanny who lives in the attic so she doesn’t really count. He asks about his missing sister, but Cecily isn’t sure whether she’s seen her and asks for a description. The Professor is intrigued to learn that Tess is a temporal physics student but when Cecily asks him if he was her tutor, he claims to be an out-of-work interior decorator who adopted the pseudonym ’Professor’ because he got thrown out of so many high class establishments. Cecily considers employing his services here as she’s sure Daddy will be furious when he returns to see how much they’ve let the house get run down. She expects him back tomorrow and hopes her guests will agree to stay the night so they can meet him. Despite the other’s protests, the Professor agrees on their behalf. Webster arrives to serve supper and Cecily specifically asks him to give Ace a healthy portion as she looks positively anorexic. Cecily suggests a little light music to aid digestion and she puts on a record that was one of Daddy’s favourites. She says she’s missed him and he’s been away far too long. Just then, Harold arrives and says he hopes his sister hasn’t been boring them. Cecily introduces them and Harold seems particularly delighted to meet Daniel, claiming to have heard so much about him. When Daniel questions him, Harold explains that he’s psychic and details keep popping into his head. Cecily insists that he’s talking rubbish and changes the subject. She asks the Professor if he’ll take a look at their ornamental gardens in the morning. They were Daddy’s pride and joy and he used to sit there mesmerised for hours and hours, as if time had stood still. She says she’s suddenly feeling rather tired and makes her excuses to retire to bed. The Professor compliments Harold on his very beautiful sister, but Harold believes she’s a bitter witch. He too goes to bed, leaving the guests alone. Oddly, the Professor also feels tired, so Webster agrees to show them all to their rooms.

Meeting secretly, Harold and Cecily discuss their new guests. It’s agreed that Webster can have the girl, Cecily will have the cute little man with the eyebrows and the boy can be Harold’s. It’s proving to be quite a diverting evening!

Webster checks with Professor and Ace that everything is satisfactory, then he offers to take them to their rooms, but Ace refuses to go with him and he leaves alone. The Professor rebukes her for being so rude, then he decides to sneak out for a look at the ornamental gardens. As soon as she’s alone, Ace realises she’s locked in the dining room and bangs in frustration on the door. Eventually it opens and Webster enters, asking if he can help her.

Daniel wakes up in his room with a start and finds Harold standing over him. The strange man tells Daniel that his sister drugged the food, so it’s just as well he didn’t eat too much or he’d have been unconscious for hours. He offers to help Daniel find his sister and takes him down to what appears to be a boiler room filled with pipes, but which Harold says is actually the waste disposal room. He claims to have seen Daniel’s sister Tess down here earlier and is sure she’ll be along again in a minute. While they’re waiting, he pours Daniel a drink…

The Professor explores the garden and finds the device from which the neutronic feedback accelerator came. Cecily arrives and she’s annoyed with Harold for leaving his toys outside where the rust will ruin the geraniums. She notices the Professor never finished the nightcap she left for him earlier, so she pours him another.

As Webster accompanies Ace through the house, she angrily orders him to leave her alone and stop following her around. He tries to stop her opening a nearby door, but she refuses to listen and steps inside, locking it behind her. She looks around the room in awe. This is Harold’s bedroom, but it’s filled with all sorts of technical equipment, including a screen that allows Ace to watch Webster outside. The butler begs her not to touch anything and then threatens to take violent action against her if she doesn’t come out. As he produces a gun, Ace spots a switch marked ’intruder disposal’. She presses it and Webster disappears through a trap door that opens up beneath him. Ace decides it’s time to find the Professor, but as she tries to leave, a recorded announcement tells her she’s activated the automatic anti-theft device. Suddenly a robot emerges from the shadows and advances towards her…

Harold pours Daniel another drink and invites him to sit down. Harold persuades him it’s time he started to relax as the stress of looking for his sister is starting to make him look ‘pinched’. He sympathises with Daniel’s plight but admits that personally he didn’t take to Tess very much. In fact, he’s always found girls difficult and would much rather talk to the boys. Harold tells Daniel that Daddy left him a lot of work to do, but he’s grown tired of it and has much more important things he wants to do. He helps Daniel over to the bed and encourages him to lie down, then compliments the young man on his soft skin. Daniel mumbles his sister’s name over and over again so Harold decides it’s time to let him see her. He unlocks a cupboard where Tess has been kept all this time, but when Daniel sees what’s happened to her, he’s horrified. All that’s left of her is skin and bone! He crawls over to his sister and tries to touch her, but her bones are so brittle they shatter instantly and spread out all over the floor.

Cecily asks the Professor what he thinks of the garden, but he finds it too difficult to speak as he’s yawning so much. She tells him he looks rather quaint in the moonlight, although he’s starting to look a little pale. Either the wine has gone to his head, or else it’s the effect Cecily herself is having on him. She invites him to sit down. After a while, Cecily realises it must be getting quite late and asks if she can have a look at the Professor‘s watch. He mumbles incoherently and she suggests he go to sleep. The Professor struggles to stay away, concerned for the safety of his friends, but Cecily tells him not to worry as she’ll take good care of them while he‘s gone. The Professor collapses at her feet, but before he passes out, he grabs Cecily and realises she’s as cold as ice…as if she’s dead. Cecily confirms his worst fears - he’s absolutely right, everyone is dead here! At first she thought she was going to hate being dead, but she soon got used to it and now she’s having the time of her life as there’s no need to worry about where your life’s going because it simply doesn’t matter anymore. The Professor is soon fast asleep…

Ace backs away from the robot, which continues to advance towards her, smashing anything she puts in its way. Nothing seems to have any effect on it. Then suddenly, without warning, the robot comes to a complete halt. Webster steps out from the shadows and tells her he switched it off. He rebukes her for making such a mess of Master Harold’s room and quickly goes to check that the bed is still in one piece. Ace joins him and is surprised to discover that the bed is actually a coffin…

Howard drags Daniel’s unconscious body towards the bed, but first he needs to take the young man’s dirty clothes off first. Before he can do that, he’s interrupted by a signal from his sister Cecily. She asks him to send one of his little ‘toys’ down to collect the Professor from the ornamental garden as she doesn’t want to ruin her pretty nightgown. Howard reminds her that the Mk 3 is already down there, but she tells him it won’t listen to a word she says and just carries on pruning the rose bushes instead. Reluctantly he agrees…although he has a little something to finish off first. He straps Daniel to the bed, just to make sure he doesn’t wake up and wander off half way through the procedure. Just then the door opens and Webster enters, dragging the struggling Ace behind him and complaining that she’s refusing to drink her nightcap. Howard tells the butler it’ll have to wait and he returns his attention to Daniel. He operates the machinery, which crushes Daniel. As his blood spills out across the room, Ace screams in terror. Howard orders her to shut up, arguing that he’s just doing a decent night’s work. His task complete, Howard decides to return to his own room to do a bit of tinkering. He leaves Webster to look after Ace on his own, telling him to report to Cecily after he’s finished. Webster is shocked and reminds Howard about the time. When the young man realises how late it’s getting, he agrees it’s time he went to bed. He asks Webster to remind Cecily about the time too, and while they’re both distracted, Ace breaks free from the butler and runs off. Angrily, Howard tells Webster to get after her - they can’t have a specimen running around the house while they’re asleep, can they?

Cecily uses the speaking-tube to call Nanny in the attic, but the old woman is holding the device upside down again and can’t hear her. Eventually she manages to tell Nanny that there’s a body for her out in the ornamental gardens. She says she tried to get Webster to bring it upstairs for her, but he was too busy running around with a gun, so Nanny will have to come down and get it herself.

Ace finds the unconscious body of the Professor in the garden and tries to get him to wake up, but it’s no good. Moments later, Webster arrives and laughs. He pulls out the gun and fires it at Ace…

Cecily assures an angry Howard that she hasn’t been anywhere near his room, but her brother doesn’t believe her and asks how else could it have got in such an almighty mess? Cecily assumes it was either Webster or Nanny, or perhaps one of Howard’s toys did it? Howard insists that they’re not toys, but fighting machines, but Cecily laughs and tells him Daddy would be angry if he knew he was wasting time playing when he’s supposed to be doing research. Webster returns, dragging Ace behind him again and still complaining that no one was around to help. Cecily doesn’t like his tone and reminds him who’s in charge. She’s the eldest, so what she says goes. Cecily and Howard start arguing about who was Daddy’s favourite, and when Webster interrupts them and tries to bring the debate round to the subject in hand, Howard storms off to bed in a strop. Cecily turns on the butler and tells him Howard will probably be sulking for at least ten years now and it can get really dull around here without him! As she too leaves, Webster swears that one of these days he’s going to lock both of them in their coffins and throw away the keys.

In the attic, Nanny begins sharpening her knives. She’s convinced the others are trying to kill her by getting her to do all the work herself while they just sit around all day doing bugger all. Despite her weak hands, she realises she’s just going to have to get on with it and she turns her attention to the meat in front of her. This one looks a bit tough, but she has a nice new knife that will do the trick. Suddenly the Professor wakes up and Nanny complains that the lazy good-for-nothings downstairs can’t even drug up the meat properly any more! She reaches for an anaesthetiser, but then drops it. The Professor makes a suggestion: why doesn’t she try a bit of deep heat for the arthritis in her fingers? She assures him it won’t stop her cutting him up. She’s cut up more bodies than he’s had hot dinners, not to mention skinning, peeling and her speciality - breaking down the bones. She tells him they do the same thing downstairs, but they leave the complicated stuff to her. The Professor suggests they come to some sort of agreement. He used to be a doctor and as she’s obviously in a great deal of pain, he can probably cure her arthritis if she lets him go. Nanny is sure there’s nothing he can do to help and is determined not to waste her whole day chatting to him. She reaches for the gas and puts the struggling Professor back to sleep again…

The next morning Ace wakes up. She’s still in the garden, but she‘s alone and is badly grazed by the bullet Webster fired at her the night before. In a dazed and confused state, she returns to the house and finds a large clock with a ‘No Entry’ sign on it. Before she can investigate further, the robot that attacked her earlier in Howard’s bedroom approaches again. She makes her way up the stairs, desperately hoping it won’t be able to follow, but to no avail…

Moments later, the door to Nanny’s attic room bursts open and the robot enters, dragging Ace behind it. Furious at the interruption, she orders it to get out before she de-connects it, so the robot leaves the room and a grateful Ace thanks her. Nanny asks what she’s doing running around as she thought Ace had copped it much earlier. She tells Ace she can’t use her as she was shot by that lot downstairs so her meat will be contaminated with lead poisoning by now. As Nanny asks her to leave, Ace spots the Professor strapped to the table and demands to know what’s going on. She picks up a nearby object, the neutronic feedback accelerator, and clubs Nanny to the ground. The Professor opens his eyes and rebukes Ace for her actions - the accelerator could be worth a lot of money one day! Ace is delighted to see the Professor isn’t dead, but he tells her they’re just about the only people round here that aren’t. Ace unstraps him and in return he uses a spray to treat the graze on her head.

He admits that he’s not entirely sure what’s going on, but it would appear the people downstairs are zombies - the walking dead. Ace tells him she found a coffin in Harold’s bedroom and that she saw him kill Daniel. She describes the blood and the Professor asks if it was drained away in pipes like the ones here in the attic. He suspects they’ve narrowly avoided becoming the Soup of the Day - the old Nanny evidently breaks down dead bodies and pours the results into the pipes…but where do they go and who eats them? Ace wonders if the zombies might actually be vampires. The Professor draws her attention to the clocks all around the house. The hands never move, but they strike twelve o’clock every twenty minutes or so. His watch has also stopped at twelve, which suggests something here has control over time itself. He guesses it has something to do with the Point of Stillness - perhaps it’s a time bubble of some sort, a very rare natural phenomenon in which a point of time and space is completely cut off from the rest of existence. If so, they must be suspended inside it. Ace recalls the strange feeling she had when they approached the house from the forest and the way that the sky changed completely from the moment they arrived. They’re trapped here in one moment of time, a constant night time…except in actual fact it’s not night time any more and it’s broad daylight outside. The Professor is amazed and checks his watch again - it now says one o’clock. This changes everything! But if they’ve escaped from the bubble, why is the old Nanny still here and why does the house still exist around them?

The Professor announces that he hasn’t got a clue what’s going on! They decide to ask the Nanny, but as they go to lift her body up they realise that she’s not a zombie at all, but is actually alive. The old lady starts to wake up, so the Professor quickly sprays her hands as he did with Ace’s graze earlier. He proudly tells her the arthritis should clear up completely within a couple of minutes and proposes they come to another agreement. He’s cured her hands so in return she can give them a little information. She refuses to co-operate so the Professor throws a “horribly lethal weapon” at Ace and asks her to point it at Nanny’s head. But still Nanny refuses to speak and says the others would go stark raving mad if she told them anything. She urges Ace to shoot her, and when she refuses, the bluff is exposed. Instead, the Professor asks Ace to tie the Nanny up. It looks like they’re just going to have to find out what’s going on for themselves. He asks Ace if she saw any mysterious doors on the way up here and she recalls the clock with the ‘No Entry’ sign.

Ace leads the Professor and Nanny to the clock, but the old lady starts to protest, claiming the other will kill her. Suddenly a Mk VII robot appears and Nanny calls out to it to shoot the intruders! The Professor calmly approaches the robot and notices it seems to have been programmed to stop anyone approaching the clock. He can’t see an off-switch, but Ace thinks she has an idea. She races off towards Harold’s room…

Ace smashes open the door to Harold’s bedroom and activates the screen that allows her to watch the Professor, Nanny and the robot by the clock. She listens as the Professor theorises that the little slice of daylight they’re currently experiencing isn’t going to last long. She continues to explore some of the other controls and eventually she succeeds in deactivating the robot. She watches as the Professor opens up the door to the clock and invites Nanny to step inside. Her mission accomplished, Ace starts to look around the room for something to use as a wooden stake in case she encounters Harold, but the door opens and she comes face to face with Webster again…

Entering the clock, the Professor finds himself inside a huge chamber. At the centre of the room is a sickly looking young man floating in a tank of bubbling water being fed by the pipes. Nanny reveals that the man is diseased and the Professor realises he must have put himself into suspended animation in this nutrient tank after finding the Point of Stillness. It doesn’t seem to offer much of a life, being stuck in a tank, so what is he waiting for? Nanny explains that he’s waiting for his good-for-nothing son Harold to come up with a cure, but they’ve been waiting a very long time as he prefers to spend all his time tinkering with his robots instead. She reveals that she’s actually Harold‘s mother and the man inside the tank is her husband. The Professor realises she must have continued to age while her children kept re-freezing themselves. Her husband wanted her to get inside the tank with him so they could both emerge together, nice and young, but she had other ideas. He’s been like this for hundreds of years and she had no wish to share that kind of life. The Professor asks how the man was able to harness the time bubble, but just then the door opens and Cecily and Harold enter the chamber. They accuse Nanny of being naughty and regret not putting her in a home as they originally suggested. Harold summons robot Mk VIII and orders it to teach Nanny a lesson about letting strangers into their father’s room. The robot advances on the screaming lady and seconds later the miserable old hag drops to the floor, dead. Cecily thinks Nanny is play-acting and goes over to wake her up, but when she realises the truth she turns on Harold angrily. Her brother maintains that being dead never did either of them any harm, but Cecily reminds him that Nanny isn’t like them and isn’t going to get up and start walking again. This is terrible - who’s going to do all the work for them now?

Cecily and Harold start to argue over who has the most available free time. Cecily, it seems, spends all her time on her fat arse preening herself for when their father returns, whereas Harold seems to be permanently occupied playing with his toy soldiers. Their arguing becomes ever more hostile until the Professor forcibly intervenes and accuses them both of behaving like three-year olds. He knows they could kill him if they wanted, but he thinks he might actually have the answer to all their problems. He says he can cure their father by carrying on with Harold’s experiments. He plans to make more toy soldiers, but this time in miniature. Harold had the basic theory right and had created some fairly impressive micro-biotic fighting cells, modelled no doubt on some of the sketches his father made on the tablecloth downstairs. If they were a thousand times smaller, they could do the job on a cellular level. Harold doesn’t understand how he could make the robots that small, but the Professor says he could do it in a couple of hours if he had the right equipment. After that, there’ll be no need to provide their father with his daily blood and nutrients. He offers to start work straight away, but Cecily says he can’t until she’s had a chance to do her hair and change her dress.

Ace is struggling on the bed where Daniel was killed earlier. She asks Webster if he ever worries about tying people up and crushing them to death (where she comes from, butlers tend to make tea and crumpets) but he tells her not to bother trying to free herself. He pulls the lever - but the compression mechanism seems to be jammed and nothing happens. He apologises and says it won’t take him a moment to repair it. He digs around and pulls out a rather stubborn bit of bone that was stuck inside. He’s about to recommence the procedure when the speaking-tube activates and Cecily asks him to bring the girl up to Daddy’s room. It seems the Professor is ready to conduct an experiment but he needs his friend to hold something for him.

Cecily returns to the others and Harold compliments her on her new radiant appearance. Webster arrives, dragging the kicking and screaming Ace behind him. He sees the Professor standing by the nutrient tank and orders him away at gunpoint. Cecily and Harold inform him that the Professor has offered to cure their father and things will be just like they were before (apart from Nanny being dead, of course, but you can‘t have everything). Webster accuses them both of being empty-minded little fools and asks them whether they really think their father will allow them to carry on as walking corpses? They’d be a constant, but twisted and imperfect, reminder of the children he once had, but then lost. He believes their father kept them like this for one reason only - to cure him. Once they’ve achieved that, their usefulness will be over and he‘ll let them rot. Cecily and Harold insist that isn’t true, but Webster knows their father better than either of them. Their Daddy might have seemed to be a loving father who provided them with every conceivable material comfort, but in reality he was a cold-hearted businessman and the only person in his life who was important was himself. Webster served him for the best part of his life and got no thanks in return. Even his wife was treated no better than a slave - she may have been pampered, but they never loved each other. Why else would she refuse to join him in the tank? He pulls the gun on the Professor and refuses to back down, so Harold orders the Mk VIII robot to attack him. The robot marches forward and seconds later, Webster is dead. Cecily is pleased. He was a horrid little man and they never liked him.

Harold asks the Professor to continue with his job, but as he turns to Ace and asks for her help, she lashes out in anger and rushes forward. She uses the neutronic feedback accelerator to smash the filter unit of the tank containing the father’s nutrient. The rust from the equipment clogs up the filter and the effect is instantaneous - not only does the father die without his life-giving fluid, but Cecily and Harold also begin to age…slowly at first, and then more rapidly. They scream in agony and decompose into rotting corpses which decay before the Professor and Ace’s eyes. Just a few moments later, the chamber is silent and the shocked Professor looks at his young friend in confusion. She turns on him and accuses him of trying to help these monsters after everything they’ve done and all the people they’ve killed. The Professor gently points out he could have helped the father, but she stopped him. In his eyes, Ace murdered the father. The realisation of what she’s done stuns the girl and she tries to argue that things aren‘t what they seem. She accuses Cecily, Harold and Webster of being the murderers, and although the Professor argues they were just puppets, she says their father was evil and got what he deserved. The Professor asks if she ever met the father? Did she ever talk to him? Ace knows the answer and breaks down in tears. She didn’t think it would go this far and she just wanted to stop the Professor from helping these monsters. He understands and tells her it’s not always easy judging right from wrong. Who’s to say whether it’s right to kill one man if that act saves a thousand? Ace points out that the Professor makes these decisions all the time, but he tells her that doesn’t make it any easier. He spots something near the wreckage of the tank and is surprised to find it’s a Time Prohibitor. He explains that it’s a party trick, an artificial time bubble that was banned centuries ago because it was too unstable. He should have realised that the father in the tank had his finger on the button and when he let go, real time finally asserted itself and the others died of instant old age.

As the Professor and Ace leave Vespertine Lodge, they turn round and see that it’s just become a normal old house again. It’s completely deserted now, apart from the odd ghost. He tosses the Time Prohibitor into the pond in the ornamental garden, which Ace thinks is a bit reckless, but the Professor says it has to be here in a hundred years time for his friend to discover it. The Point of Stillness is actually a Time Prohibitor chucked by him into a garden pond. Ace has had enough of this place and is only too happy to accept the Professor’s suggestion that they leave.

Source: Lee Rogers
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