Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor wants Charley to talk bout her decision to leave, but she feels they’ve already talked enough. He tells her they’ve arrived at her requested destination - Beauvais in France on 5 October, 1930 at five minutes past two in the morning. The Doctor warns her the R101 burned up instantly, so all that they’ll find here are the blackened remains of the airship where it crashed on the hillside. She doesn’t care and insists he opens the doors, but he says she’s not being practical and she’ll have a lot of explaining to do. She assures him she’s not going home, so the Web of Time will be safe. Instead, she’ll find herself a new identity and just watch the world pass by, moving around from town to town like a ghost or a tramp. Reluctantly the Doctor opens the doors and they leave.
Outside, Charley is surprised to discover the Doctor has taken them instead to Singapore Harbour on New Year’s Eve, 1930 at 11.59pm, the place she was originally heading for when they first met. The chimes of midnight strike and the crowd around them begins to cheer. She’s delighted to see they’re not far from the Singapore Hilton and she thanks the Doctor for choosing the perfect place for them to part ways. However, the Doctor notices that the skyline has far too much glass and chrome for this period. She looks around and sees that the people are using mobile telephones. Then fireworks begin to spell out the year - 2008 - and they realise they’ve arrived in the wrong year. Charley accuses him of bringing her here deliberately because he couldn’t take the risk of leaving her back in 1931, suspecting that she couldn’t resist the temptation to go back home to her family and changing history. The Doctor protests his innocence, but she feels insulted that he couldn’t trust her. He assures her there must be something wrong with the TARDIS and that they were knocked off course and he asks her to give him one minute to prove it. He rushes back to the ship, begging her to wait, but as soon as he’s inside, she whispers goodbye and walks away. In the control room, the Doctor frantically examines the TARDIS’s instruments and looks up at the scanner, but everything seems to be fine. Unable to find the answer he’s looking for, he thumps the console in frustration.
Charley arrives at the reception of the Singapore Hilton and rings irritably for attention while the woman behind the counter deals with an enquiry over the phone. As the receptionist passes Charley a pen and notepaper, an Australian hotel guest named Byron passes through the lobby and the receptionist calls him over and hands him the phone. Charley asks the woman to give her note to a man called the Doctor who is due to arrive any minute. The receptionist knows instantly who she means, claiming that the Doctor has had a permanent suite on floor six since 1872. Meanwhile, the person on the end of the phone is providing Byron with some geographical co-ordinates, but just as he’s about the end the call, Byron overhears Charley give her name to the receptionist and he reacts with astonishment.
Outside the hotel, the Doctor catches up with Charley and excitedly tries to tell her what he’s discovered, but she ignores him and crosses the busy street. A man riding a rickshaw pulls up alongside her and asks her where she’s going, but she tells him she hasn’t the faintest idea. As she moves away, she’s nearly hit by a car, but is dragged away just in time by Byron, who followed her from the reception. She’s shocked when he addresses her by name and he admits he was in the Hotel while she was talking to the receptionist. He introduces himself, but is oddly vague about certain details and Charley resigns herself to another bout of the intergalactic mystery thing she’s become so used to. Clearly taken by his charms, she readily agrees to his invitation to accompany him back to his fifty-foot yacht in the harbour where he promises her the best view of Singapore. Byron tells her she’s too good to travel by rickshaw, so he summons a car. She’s impressed that he seems to have his own personal taxi service and they both get inside. They head off for the jetty, but suddenly the Doctor jumps out in front of the car, demanding to know where they’re going and accusing the man of abducting his friend. Charley introduces the Doctor to Byron, who explains that he’s in the import/export business, then she says goodbye to her old friend again. Before the car can drive away, the Doctor tells Charley that he’s discovered what sent the TARDIS adrift - it was a temporal hump, like a swelling in space/time caused by pressure in the event ridges. It’s about 300 miles out in the Karimata Strait and he intends to go out there to sort the problem out. He reads out the exact geographical co-ordinates and Byron realises they’re the same co-ordinates he was just given over the phone. The Doctor estimates that the epicentre of the temporal hump is about sixty years back and Byron says straight away that it was 15 January 1942. Charley sighs when it looks like her new boyfriend has turned out to be a mysterious space man after all…
Byron produces a gun and orders the Doctor to get inside the car with them. As they move away, they’re stopped once more, this time by the man with the rickshaw who’d approached Charley earlier. The man introduces himself as Detective Sergeant Yew. He knows about Byron and orders the Doctor and Charley to get out of the car, warning them that there’s two pounds of plastic explosive under the chassis. Byron rebukes Yew for allowing a rival gang to plant the explosives there in the first place, but the officer doesn’t care and says smugglers often blow each other up. He plans to order Byron to drive off, but the Doctor intervenes and claims to be the smuggler himself, not Byron, and says that Interpol have been tracking his every move. He says the man behind the hot chestnut stand has been following him ever since Mumbai (or was it Mummerset?) and Charley is actually a police officer who’s been watching him since he visited that bar in Casablanca. Charley goes along with his pretence and the Doctor allows her to arrest him, using handcuffs taken from his own pocket to chain the two of them together. Yew is confused but the Doctor doesn’t give him time to think, adding that DCI Pollard has been using Byron to get to him. Not only that, she’s wired for sound and will have evidence that Yew was prepared to stand by and let Byron burn, despite him being a police informer. Yew panics and orders Byron and the driver out of the car too. The Doctor tells everyone to get back and then with his free hand he raises his “special sonic device” and aims it at the bonnet of the car. Seconds later the car explodes and during the confusion, Byron escapes. In the absence of a clever idea, the Doctor and Charley also run away, leaving Yew behind alone, calling for them to come back and submit themselves to arrest.
The Doctor and Charley reach the safety of the TARDIS and then the Doctor teases Charley for a while, claiming he can’t find the keys to the handcuffs. He asks her what she makes of the mystery about the temporal hump, but Charley knows the Doctor well and refuses to be tricked into joining him until he suggests making one last lap of glory for the team. She reluctantly agrees on condition that afterwards he takes her straight back to 1931. He programmes the co-ordinates into the console and the TARDIS dematerialises…
When her telephone rings, an elderly woman allows it to ring four times before picking it up. The caller is Byron and the woman trusts that he has something vitally important to tell her. She finds taking phone calls bothersome and hopes it won’t just be details of another dull death in the family. Byron regards her as a prickly old cactus, but she says that at her age she can’t spare the breath for pleasantries. He tells her he’s located what they’ve been looking for. It’s currently sitting in the Karimata Strait and he’s already sent a car to pick her up.
The Doctor and Charley emerge from the TARDIS and find themselves in a huge ballroom on what appears to be a big, empty boat. Charley finds a dented piano and can’t resist playing it, but the tuning is off. The Doctor realises they’re not in 1942 and it doesn’t look like anyone’s been here for 66 years. Charley is reminded of the Marie Celeste, which she jokingly suggests was invaded by the Daleks, and she’s surprised when the Doctor confirms that it was. They discover they’re aboard the steam ship SS Batavia. The Doctor theorises that in January 1942 Singapore would have been under siege with the Japanese coming down from the Malay jungle to fight a city that was defenceless after the sinking of the battleships Repulse and the Prince of Wales. The Batavia must have been one of the last ships out of Singapore harbour, with the crew and passengers preferring to risk the dangers of torpedoes and dive-bombers rather than the horrors of Changi jail. She’s likely to have been bursting at the seams with desperate men, women and children, which raises an obvious question - what happened to everyone?
Charley cries out from a sudden pain in her hand and when she discovers she can see right through the skin to the bone she thinks there must have been acid on the handrail. The Doctor tells her not to worry and suggests blowing on her fingers. Incredibly it works and the Doctor says the effect should be stable now. It’s the result of temporal corrosion, a fungal infection found in the Vortex, which suggests that somehow the SS Batavia has been in the Vortex. They watch in horror as the infection starts to spread, firstly eating away their own footprints and then following their trail back to the TARDIS. The Doctor tells Charley that temporal corrosion is a known TARDIS killer, so they race back to the ship - but as they cross the dance floor, Charley’s foot sinks right through the wooden boards. The Doctor tries to find a safer route, but when he jumps up and down to test the boards, they split apart and he plummets down to the floor below. Charley checks that he’s okay, then she looks around for a rope to pass down to him. He warns her that any rope she finds will be just as rotted as the floor, so he throws up the TARDIS keys and tells her there’s some spare cable under the console. She reaches the door of the ship and sees that the paintwork is bubbling already. The Doctor warns her to hurry before the infection reaches the inner shell, which will in turn trigger the HADS. Charley has no idea what he’s referring to, but she continues her search for the cable. Unfortunately it’s all snarled up and before she can get it unravelled, an indicator on the console warns her that the Hostile Action Displacement System has engaged. Suddenly the doors close of their own accord and the TARDIS starts to dematerialise…
In 1942, the survivors aboard the SS Batavia wonder what will become of them. The boat is in complete darkness to prevent the Japanese from spotting them, but it’s creating a mood of fear among the passengers. One of them, the retired Colonel Borthwick, rebukes another man for outwardly expressing too much concern, so someone suggests he share out his brandy to keep everyone happy. As Borthwick fumbles around in the dark, he drops the bottle and it smashes. A door opens and an Australian man joins them, complaining that the atmosphere is like a morgue. Borthwick objects to his attitude, but the Australian assures them they’re miles away from the action now and it’s safe enough for them to make a noise. One of the men, Colville, jokingly suggests they have a sing-song, but the Australian thinks this is an excellent idea. Reluctantly everyone agrees, and Colville sits at the piano and begins to play the old convict song “Botany Bay”. By the time he reaches the chorus, everyone in the room has joined in and before long, the mood begins to lighten. Suddenly the atmosphere is destroyed when the door opens and Charley enters, politely asking if anyone can confirm that this is indeed 1942. She‘s amazed when the Australian man approaches her and she recognises him as Byron.
Back in 2008, Byron is delighted to finally track down the SS Batavia again after so many years, although the elderly woman accompanying him seems less enthusiastic. As Byron orders the helicopter pilot to take them down, the woman notices there’s someone down on the deck of the ship already. Byron is furious when he looks down and sees the Doctor waving gleefully to them. For the Doctor, it’s a welcome relief to know that he won’t be stranded here for the rest of his natural life.
In 1942, Byron introduces himself to Charley and she’s surprised that he says they’ve never met before. She asks if there are any other women on the ship and he tells her there isn’t, which contradicts what the Doctor told her earlier. She cuddles up to Byron, claiming that she’s cold, but then she whispers gently in his ear that she has a gun in her pocket. She tells him it’s time he started talking, but he grabs her hand and reveals that the ‘gun’ was just her fingers. On the other hand, he really does have a gun in his pocket. Before he can threaten her with it, Charley hears a noise in the distance and Byron identifies it as an approaching aeroplane. He dives to the floor, dragging her with him, and then the plane opens fire, strafing the deck with bullets.
In 2008, the Doctor greets Byron as the helicopter lands on the deck. However, Byron isn’t alone and a group of hostile looking thugs emerge behind him. Byron barks an order to one of them, a man called Curly, who then covers the Doctor with a machine gun. Byron then opens the side door to the helicopter and assists the elderly woman down. Byron takes her to meet the Doctor and introduces her as his mother. She apologises for the over-excited behaviour of her son and when the Doctor asks who he has the pleasure of addressing, the elderly woman reveals that her name is Miss Charlotte Pollard.
The Doctor refuses to believe that the elderly woman before him is Charley, although he admits that she’s about the same height and has the same eyes and chin. Miss Pollard isn’t impressed by him, especially when he asks her how old she is. Even though she finds the question breathtaking and he gets a slap round the face for his troubles, Miss Pollard admits that she’s 85 years old, which is a relief to the Doctor as he knows his Charley was born on the day the Titanic sank, which would make her 96 now. Then he realises she was 18 and a half when he met her, then they spent three or four years travelling, which would make her 21 when he last saw her. He asks Miss Pollard when her 21st birthday was and she tells him that was in 1942, the year this ship sailed and was lost without trace. She was the only survivor, picked up from a lifeboat and suffering from amnesia. If that survivor was Charley, it would indeed make her 85 now. Byron calls to Curly and tells him the men need to start shifting the gear…
In 1942, the Japanese plane flies away. Byron helps Charley up and says the pilot was just having fun with them, opening fire just for the fun of it. Unfortunately, it was probably a spotter and it’s likely the pilot is radioing their position right now, which means there’ll be a submarine on the way soon. Just then, a young seaman named Simons calls to Byron and tells him the Captain wants to see him urgently. Simons is intrigued to see Charley and in return, Charley sees something oddly familiar about young Simons. Not waiting for permission, Charley climbs up onto the bridge. Simons insists that this is no place for passengers, but Byron tells him to be quiet as he’s enjoying Charley’s company.
In 2008, Miss Pollard is finding the Doctor’s constant questioning very bothersome. She tells him she was a passenger aboard the Batavia, but when she was rescued she was suffering from trauma and could only remember her name. She was adopted by the Byron family and everyone hoped that one day her memories would come back, but alas they never did. The helicopter that brought them here takes off and Miss Pollard is concerned that she might end up stranded here again. Byron tells her it’s not safe to leave the helicopter on a rust-bucket like this, but he assures her it’ll return for them in a couple of hours. In any case, the Doctor must have a boat here somewhere which they can use in an emergency. Byron asks where Charley is, convinced that she was the Doctor’s girlfriend and was using his mother’s name as an alias. He orders Curly to check the Doctor’s pockets, but they’re surprisingly deep. Suddenly Curly cries out in pain and pulls his hand out with a mousetrap attached to his fingers. Miss Pollard laughs and admits that she’s starting to warm to the Doctor. Byron is angry and accuses the Doctor of coming here to pillage the Batavia. He says it was his grandfather who chartered the ship out of Singapore and he owned everything aboard, which means in law it now belongs to him. The Doctor is surprised as there doesn’t seem to be anything here worth to salvage, but Miss Pollard is convinced he already knows the truth. This ship didn’t carry refugees as the women and children had already left Singapore on the official boats, but a certain breed of rich colonial fellows refused to leave their riches behind for the invading enemy. Somewhere on this ship is their collection of antiques, artworks, cars and even gold. Byron orders his men to get ready to crack open the hold, confident they‘ll soon be going home rich.
In 1942, the Captain of the Batavia orders the helmsman to change to dead slow ahead. Crewman Simons arrives with the others and the Captain is furious to see a woman on the bridge, especially one that‘s a stowaway. Byron intervenes and says that because it’s his boat and he‘s paying for the trip, he can decide the rules. The Captain pulls back a blanket to reveal a dead man who’d taken a bullet between the eyes during the plane attack. The Captain urges Byron to get the dead man’s special equipment working, but Byron says he can‘t. The man, named Jin, had defected from the Japanese with stolen blueprints for the equipment, claiming it could guarantee the Batavia’s safe passage. Charley realises it’s some kind of radar jamming system which she guesses works by whipping up a dense magnetic field which is then bounced all over by the cabling. Her explanation is too technical for the others and although Charley admits she’s no expert, she says she saw something similar on Quaxan IV. Byron says Jin called it an EM pulse and said it could bend light around the boat and make it invisible. He also said the Americans have been working on something similar in Philadelphia. Unfortunately Jin is dead now and he was the only man who knew how to work it. Charley discovers the equipment has a flat battery and thinks it should start working again if they can power it up. She notices a storm on the horizon and gets a flash of inspiration…
In 2008, Byron flings himself at the door to the hold, but it refuses to open. Miss Pollard warns him he’ll do himself a damage if he continues and the Doctor points out there’s six inches of reinforced metal between them and the cargo. The opening mechanism has rusted shut, so Byron sends Curly to collect some plastic explosives. The Doctor can’t believe Byron expects to blow open six inch reinforced metal doors without sinking the ship too. Byron says he’d have been prepared to take the ship into port, but because he suspects the Doctor belongs to a rival operation, his time is now running out. The Doctor assures him he has no interest in the booty and it’s only the mystery that concerns him, but for Byron there is no mystery, apart from what could be so valuable that his grandfather would shut it up behind so much steel. The Doctor wonders what the ship’s been doing for the last 66 years, why she’s only reappeared now, what happened on the night of 15 January 1942 and, most importantly, what happened to Miss Pollard? The elderly woman admits to being curious, but the Doctor says her son is only interested in the gold and is unlikely to answer any of her questions. Byron is tired of their conversation and threatens to throw them both overboard, but his mother reminds him that he’d never have found the Batavia if it wasn’t for her. She offers the Doctor a wrench and invites him to administer the whack over the head that her son deserves. The Doctor says that‘s not his style, so instead, Miss Pollard hits Byron herself and knocks him out. Confident that Byron’s three colleagues will be back soon to look after him, she suggests they continue with their investigation into the mystery of what happened to her. The Doctor noticed earlier that there was a strange mast or aerial above the bridge that he couldn’t make out, so he thinks they should start there.
In 1942, the storm outside the ship is whipping up nicely. Charley supervises the installation of the aerial above the bridge and urges the crew to raise it higher, but the Captain complains that if it goes up any further she’ll be using his men as lightning conductors.
In 2008, Curly and the other carefully carry the explosives down to the cargo hold where they discover the unconscious body of Byron. Curly begins to resuscitate him using the mouth-to-mouth technique, which immediately brings splutters of protest from Byron. He tries to tell the men about what happened, but they suspect the Doctor was responsible and think he’s taken Miss Pollard hostage. Curly orders the group to split into pairs and he teams up with Byron to go looking for the Doctor. When they find him, he’ll wish he was never born…
The Doctor and Miss Pollard continue their exploration of the ship and eventually arrive on the bridge. Miss Pollard tries to turn the lights on, but there’s no power, and the Doctor notices she knew instinctively where the light switch was without looking. This confirms that she’s been on the Batavia before and he wonders what else might be submerged in her subconscious. He finds Jin’s disabled equipment and identifies it as a pulse generator which can be used to bend light around an object to make it invisible across all spectrums. He saw something similar once on Quaxan IV, but the trouble is the process hardly ever works. However, this one does and the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to detect residual energy traces that are just a few hours old. He asks Miss Pollard if there was a storm in this area last night as he has a theory that the mast outside the ship was used to power this equipment. The Batavia has been adrift for 66 years but has hardly ever been spotted because every time there’s a storm, the device powers up and the ship disappears. Miss Pollard points out that there’d need to have been a near constant storm for his theory to work and says it’s more likely the equipment is malfunctioning in some way. As she checks several of the functions, it becomes clear again that she’s remembering things she must have witnessed here before. The Doctor is finally beginning to accept that she must be the real Charlotte Pollard, but it still leaves the question as to why she would have been fiddling with this machine back in 1942?
In 1942, the storm is still raging outside when Charley and the others return to the bridge. The Captain is disturbed to discover that the equipment won’t start working until they get a lightning strike as they’ve already picked up the sound of a submarine about 950 feet below them. It’s likely to spot them any minute and when it does, it’ll fire off torpedoes straight at them.
In 2008, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to reactivate the telegraph which is wired to the innards of Jin’s equipment. Miss Pollard examines the readings and thinks they’re gibberish, but when the Doctor looks for himself, he realises the vectors have been calculated in four dimensions. The door suddenly opens and Byron and Curly enter the bridge, warning nobody to move or else they’ll fill them with lead. Byron and Miss Pollard face off against each other until the Doctor intervenes. Curly tries to take a message from the others over his walkie-talkie, but he can only pick up interference. Eventually they hear one of their group, Barnes, warning someone to keep away, then the air is filled with the sound of machine gun fire and screaming. Byron accuses the Doctor of being responsible, but the Doctor tells him his associates are obviously under attack…
In 1942, the lightning storm is upon the ship and the crew nervously keep their distance from the mast outside. Suddenly Jin’s equipment comes to life and the telegraph starts spitting out gibberish, just as it will do again 66 years later. Electrical arcs surround the mast and the crew are worried that they’re lit up like a Christmas tree, making them visible for miles around. Byron enters the bridge and notices the equipment is starting to smoke. The Captain orders them to switch it off before it explodes, but Byron insists that it’s their only chance of survival. Ignoring Charley’s warning, the Captain steps forward to disconnect the equipment himself and is instantly killed by a massive electric shock. Charley calls out to Simons to pick up the fire axe behind him and she’s surprised to see the young crewman is barely able to lift it and is attempting to swing it underarm. Eventually Simons cuts through the power cable and is pleased that he’s been able to do something brave at last. Unfortunately it was too late to save the Captain and without the pulse generator, the ship is now a sitting duck. The scanner shows the submarine is rising and is now only 720 feet below them…
In 2008, the Doctor leads the others deep into the ship and eventually they stumble upon the dead bodies of Byron’s other crewmates. Their bodies are riddled with bullets and the Doctor inadvertently remarks that Byron’s mates were silly stupid idiots. Byron accuses the Doctor of having his own team aboard and secretly working to kill them all. Curly persuades Byron not to kill the Doctor straight away - not out of compassion, but because he doesn’t want to have to drag his dead body all the way up top just to chuck it overboard. Only the Doctor realises that Byron’s men were themselves responsible for their own deaths. He points out that the walls to the corridor have bullet impacts all along them, suggesting the men opened fire on something in an enclosed area and their own bullets ricocheted back and killed them. Byron turns angrily on Curly for not training his guys properly, but Miss Pollard still has one more question - what made them open fire in the first place?
In 1942, the scanner shows the submarine is getting closer by the second. Byron decides to call for help, and even though Charley points out that this will give away their position, he judges that they’ll be sending out a Mayday signal soon enough anyway, so if they can call for help a few minutes early, it could mean a few more lives saved. He sends the call, identifying the ship and the location and asking for urgent assistance. Moments later, another signal breaks in and suddenly the radio is filled with static. Byron rips off his earphones in agony before collapsing to the floor. Simons examines him and says he thinks he’s dead. Then a distorted voice begins to speak through the radio, telling them their transmission has been received and Simons thinks this means they’ve been saved, but Charley has been deeply disturbed by the voice and says she doesn’t think so. Charley and Simons both jump when Byron sits up unexpectedly and replies to the message in a slow mechanical sounding voice. Despite Charley’s warnings, Byron adjusts the controls of the receiver and the entire room is filled with more of the painful static that hurts everyone’s ears. Charley pushes Simons out of the bridge, but Byron remains behind and asks for further instructions…
The Doctor works out the Byron’s men were firing down the corridor towards the bulkhead leading to the cargo hold, but there’s nothing there. No exits, no entrances, just a six inch thick immoveable bulkhead with no obvious way of opening it. Byron and Curly start to get irritated by the way everyone seems to be treating the Bavaria as if it’s a ghost ship, and finally Byron orders Curly to take his mother and lock her in the brig. Miss Pollard is far from impressed, but Byron tells her its for her own safety in case the Doctor really does have another team on board. Miss Pollard is dragged away, protesting, and the Doctor wonders whether she ever dropped Byron on his head when he was a baby. Byron starts to unpack the explosives.
Outside the bridge in 1942, Charley and Simons watch as Byron begins working on the pulse generator, which is odd because Byron said earlier that he knew nothing about the workings of the machine. Charley concludes that he must be receiving instructions from the voice on the radio. During their conversation, Charley lets slip that she realises Simons is actually a girl. When Simons expresses surprise that her secret has been discovered, Charley supposes she probably found life with her parents a drag and one day decided to go off on an adventure, then found herself on a strange craft being dragged halfway across the world wondering how she could get herself out of it. Charley knows because she had the same experiences herself. Simons admits that her real name is Madeleine Fairweather. She ran away from a finishing school and stowed away on a trawler, but was soon caught and hauled before the purser. She couldn’t understand what they were saying but she was handed some papers to sign and it was only afterwards that she discovered it was a three-year contract.
The noise from the bridge stops and Byron emerges, still talking in a monotone mechanical voice. He tells them he’s made amendments to the refractive index, repaired the damage and recalibrated the port flange and says there is no cause for alarm. Suddenly the enemy submarine emerges nearby and Madeleine is convinced they’re all dead in the water. The strange equipment in the bridge starts working again, but Madeleine thinks it’s too late to do anything and rushes off to warn the other passengers.
In 2008, Byron finishes setting of the explosives against the bulkhead, then the entire area is filled with smoke as the dynamite goes off. When the dust has settled, Byron celebrates the fact that they haven’t sunk the ship, then he pulls a gun on the Doctor and orders him to step inside the cargo hold, just in case he needs a human shield to protect him from what’s in there…
In 1942, Charley catches up with Madeline and warns her against starting a panic among the passengers. Just then, Charley hears a familiar sound and races off to investigate. Madeleine follows her, but when they reach the area where the TARDIS had landed, they find there’s nothing there. Charley realises the HADS has activated again, which means the ship must have predicted a fatal event. Suddenly a voice calls out, warning them of incoming torpedoes. Madeleine screams as the weapons race through the water towards them. Charley realises it’s too late, but up on the bridge, Byron announces that ’translation’ is beginning…
In the darkened hold of the ship in 2008, the Doctor and Byron discover a room filled with crates. Excitedly, Byron rushes over to open one of them, but inside he finds nothing but books. Byron moves on, convinced the more valuable contents will be further inside, but then he hears a noise coming from the darkness. The Doctor spots something approaching them - it’s five foot four tall, has a wrinkled hide and a vicious tongue. It’s Byron’s mother. Miss Pollard joins them and says Curly underestimated her and is now in the brig himself. Then they hear a metallic grinding sound coming from all around them, followed by loud, regular stomping sounds, like metal footsteps…and to Miss Pollard’s horror she can suddenly remember what they are. They’re Cybermen! Within moments, the three of them are surrounded by an army of huge metal monsters. The Cybermen announce “You will become like us!”.
The Cybermen order everyone to surrender and when Byron insists the ship belongs to him, they ignore him and begin restraining their prisoners. Miss Pollard advises Byron not to antagonise them as they‘re clearly dangerous. The Cybermen recognise the Doctor, which convinces Byron that the creatures are working for him. The Doctor assures him their presence here is as much of a surprise to him as it is to Byron, and he points out how rusted and decrepit they are. They’ve been shut away down here for so long their brains have rotted. One of the Cybermen demands the Doctor explain himself, but another Cybermen insists that dialogue with organics has no value. The Doctor explains to Byron that they’re the ultimate health freaks - everything inefficient has been replaced, stripped out and cut away, including their feelings. They’re hollowed-out nothings and their only imperative is to survive. The Cybermen prepare to recycle the new arrivals and the Doctor advises Byron and Miss Pollard not to squander any advantage they might have. At the first opportunity, the three of them make a break for it…
Back in Charley‘s time, the crew and passengers of the Batavia are relieved to discover that the torpedoes didn’t hit them. However, the sky has turned a fantastic bright orange colour and the sea has started to boil. Something has happened that they don’t understand, so Charley leads Madeleine back to the bridge to get some answers from Byron. Charley slaps Byron until he revives, but even though he realises he’s been under someone else’s control, he has no recollection of what he’s done. Madeleine asks where they are and Byron recalls that they’ve been ’translated’ somewhere. They pick up the signal of something just 20 feet below them, but then they start to pick up multiple signals showing as many as 12 vessels and they realise it isn’t the submarine, but something else. Charley rushes out of the bridge and calls down to the crew on the deck, warning them to stand by to repel any boarders. Suddenly the Cybermen appear and give orders for all the humans to be located. Madeleine thinks they must be enemy divers, but Charley recognises them immediately.
In 2008, the Doctor tells Byron and Miss Pollard that the Cybermen came from outer space originally, but the presence of them here answers the question about what happened to the passengers 66 years ago. Miss Pollard is exhausted and says she’s too tired to continue, but the Doctor is horrified when Byron readily agrees to leave her behind. Miss Pollard explains that she raised her son to survive and gives him her blessing. Refusing to accept that, the Doctor prepares to give the elderly woman a fireman’s lift, but she refuses and says there’s a better solution. As the Cybermen approach, she whispers to the Doctor to take a sharp turn, then they can go back the way they came. To the Doctor’s amazement, they find themselves facing the TARDIS. Miss Pollard urges the Doctor to use his key quickly and they both race inside the box.
Miss Pollard doesn’t recognise the inside of the huge control room and is sure she’d remember if she’d seen it before. She admits she did recall the noise it made and she’d heard it again when she was making her way from the brig to the hold. The Doctor recalls the wheezing and groaning, but Miss Pollard thinks he’s talking about her and points out that she’s not that unfit. He checks the controls and confirms that the TARDIS has defaulted back from 15 January 1942 when Miss Pollard would have last heard her. He also discovers that it was the disappearance of the Batavia that caused the TARDIS’s HADS to kick in and remove her from trouble. The vectors they saw earlier had been calculated in four dimensions, so it’s a question of when the Batavia went, not where.
Aboard the earlier version of the Batavia, the Cybermen swarm across the ship and eventually find themselves in the lounge where everyone is still sitting around the piano listening to music. They demand the passengers desist immediately and when the pianist carries on playing, they shoot him dead. Borthwick asks what the invaders want and they reveal that their bodies are needed. Charley and the others arrive and Madeleine believes the Cybermen are pirates employed in the white slave trade. Borthwick points out that they have no women here but the Cybermen say they do not discriminate by gender. As they approach the terrified man, Charley orders them to leave him alone. The Cybermen say their wishes are irrelevant and they will all be converted, but then Charley states that she has important information for the Cyberleader and mentions the Garazone System. The creatures realise she is familiar with their hierarchy and the way they operate. She refuses to speak to them further and will only talk to their boss, but the Cybermen grab her and physically drag her from the room.
In 2008, Curly bangs in frustration on the doors of the brig where Miss Pollard locked him earlier. He hears someone moving around outside and calls out, but suddenly the entire metal door is ripped from its hinges. He finds himself facing a Cyberman who declares that he will become like them. Curly backs away in terror and screams…
The TARDIS materialises again, this time on the bridge of the ship, and the Doctor and Miss Pollard emerge to find themselves facing a shocked Byron. He assumes they’ve been following him, but his mother explains that they came here only because the bridge is the most easily defended position and it’s where the radio is. The Doctor tunes the radio into the TARDIS’s own frequency and slaves the pulse generator into the TARDIS’s guidance system so he can tow the Batavia through light space. He doesn’t intend to take the ship very far, just outside the reach of human civilisation where he can scuttle it. Byron is furious that the Doctor intends to sink his ship with all his gold aboard, but the Doctor points out it will have all the Cybermen aboard too. On hearing this, Byron calls out to the Cybermen and they come out from where they’d been hiding. The Doctor is furious with Byron, but it’s too late and the Cybermen step forward and restrain both him and Miss Pollard. Byron tells them they’re going to be taken back downstairs and the Doctor suspects it’s organ replacement time, but surprisingly the Cybermen explain that they have need of his abilities, not his body parts.
The Cybermen return Charley to the bridge where she demands to see the Cyberleader. Instead, they insist that she speaks to the Cyber-Planner who demands to know how she has knowledge of Cyberman strategies. Charley refuses to engage in conversation with anything that doesn’t have a face, but one of the Cybermen grabs her roughly, so reluctantly she explains that she’s met them before in the Garazone System. The Planner realises no humans from 1942 were capable of interstellar travel and tells her they’ve been ‘translated’ to the year 500,000. The Cybermen searched all the media wavelengths for indications of high technology and detected an EM pulse at this location. Charley realises they must have used the pulse wavelength to transmit control signals back to Byron, which is how he was able to modify the machine. The Planner explains that light bending technology is similar to matter transmission technology and only minor modifications were required to transmit vectors of this ship through space/time. It says a Cyberman time squad was dispatched into the future, but the test flight was curtailed when their vessel’s systems failed and it was forced to make an emergency exit from the Vortex. Their distress signal went unanswered for reasons unknown. Charley asks what the value is in transporting a boat load of toffs into the future and the Cyber-Planner reveals it has a new priority - to re-establish the Cyber race on the Earth of the year 500,000 which had been abandoned due to solar flare activity. The humans from this ship will be converted into new Cybermen, then transported back to establish cybernetic conversion facilities in 1942. Charley realises this will mean changing history…
Byron wakes up with a thumping headache and realises how hot things have become. He finds himself imprisoned with Madeleine, Borthwick and the others, who are beginning to suspect that they’ve been transported to Hell. Borthwick is convinced their situation is disastrous. He owns a rubber plantation, but like the rest of them aboard, he ran away when then Japanese advanced, taking whatever worldly goods they could carry with them. The only thing they don’t have aboard is their servants, their housemaids and their faithful workers, all of whom were left behind to the mercy of the Japs. Byron passes out again and the Cybermen explain that being the conduit for the Cyber control signals can cause deterioration of un-augmented brains. It says Byron’s brain function is ‘terminally prejudiced’ and he will soon die.
In 2008, Miss Pollard is relieved when the Cyberman brings them to a halt in the cargo hold as her ankles are starting to swell up. The Cybermen tells her the cybernetic conversion process will alleviate that problem, so she asks them to provide a hip replacement while they’re at it. The Doctor warns her that these creatures may be made of iron, but they don’t do irony. The Doctor finds himself facing the defunct and deactivated Cyber-Planner and, knowing he’s familiar with cyber technology, the Cybermen order him to repair the damage while Miss Pollard is to be taken away for dismemberment. The Doctor examines the Planner, but can’t understand why the Cybermen can’t do the work themselves. He realises this army of Cybermen are stuck here without the faintest idea what to do next. The Cyberman confirms that any amendments to their plans must be ratified first by the Cyber-Planner so reactivating it is their main priority. The Doctor completes his work and the Planner starts to come to life. With the job done, Byron orders the Cybermen to leave his boat as per their agreement, but the creatures insist on waiting for the Planner to ratify their plans. They await a response from the machine, but when it comes the words are meaningless and the Doctor diagnoses temporal corrosion. This must be why it went into hibernation in the first place. Unfortunately, this means the Cybermen are forced to return to their original protocols which is to convert all prisoners into new Cybermen. As the creatures start to rally them together, the Doctor tosses a bar of gold he picked up from the hold to Byron and then passes another to Miss Pollard. The Cybermen react instantly as the three of them hold up their gold and force them to retreat. The Doctor opens the door to the TARDIS and ushers the others inside, but Byron is reluctant to leave the gold behind and calls out to the Cybermen to stop them escaping. He stays behind and drops his gold bar, then the Cybermen drag him away to be converted, ignoring his cries of protest…
Aboard the earlier version of the Batavia, the Cybermen announce that Byron’s brain function has ceased. Suddenly Madeleine spots something unusual and although Borthwick thinks it looks like rust, Madeleine realises it’s moving! The Cybermen establish that the corrosion is of alien origin and immediately transmit details to the Cyber-Planner for analysis.
On the bridge, the Cyber-Planner is in the process of certifying Charley’s knowledge of the Garazone System. When she proves resistant, the Planner orders a nearby Cyberman to commence coercive procedures, but as the creature grabs her hands, news of temporal corrosion within the structure of the vessel starts coming through. Charley reveals that the corrosion was everywhere around when she visited the ship in 2008 and the Cybermen realise for the first time that she came from the future. The Cyberman releases her when it becomes clear that Charley has carried the corrosion here herself. The Planner orders her to be destroyed immediately, but the Cyberman is unable to obey as its joints have already ceased to function. Within seconds, the creature has turned to rust and it collapses in a pile of dust. Charley taunts the Cyber-Planner and says she has it at her mercy, but the Planner orders the other Cybermen to protect it. Before they can attack her, she leaps forward and touches the Planner, instantly infecting it. Knowing it has little time left, the Planner orders the Cybermen to begin transferring its consciousness into a suitable vessel. The download begins and Charley realises she’s made a terrible mistake when she begins screaming in agony…
In 2008, Byron struggles against the Cybermen and begs them not to go ahead with the conversion, but they ignore his protests and begin their preparations. Stage 1 of the process is initialised and Byron is introduced to the previous occupant of the conversion chamber. He cries out in horror as his old friend Curly emerges from the shadows, mid-way between his former self and his future cybernetic body. The equipment closes in on Byron and he screams as the sharpened tools begin to slice into his body…
Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor has set up the pulse generator so that it’s in perfect phase with the guidance systems. As soon as the ship dematerialises, it should kick start the device, but first he needs to find the best place to ‘translate’ them to. Miss Pollard doesn’t care where they go, but the Doctor has a specific target in mind - 75 miles north-north-east of Spitsbergen. Aboard the Batavia, the pulse generator on the bridge becomes active and the Cybermen realise they’re being ‘translated’. The TARDIS materialises on the bridge and the Doctor and Miss Pollard emerge, but before the Cybermen can attack, the Doctor points out that the entire ship, including the crew, the passengers and even the TARDIS, has arrived right in the path of a huge iceberg, the biggest ever recorded in open water since the Titanic went down. The Cybermen order the Doctor to steer the ship clear, but there isn’t time. He calls to everyone to brace themselves and then they hit the iceberg.
In the cargo hold, the Cybermen who were converting Byron are thrown to the ground. They quickly establish that the hull has been breached and they descend to the breach to begin repairs. As waters starts flooding into the ship, they prepare to seal the cargo hold.
The Doctor and Miss Pollard race back to the TARDIS and although Miss Pollard’s thoughts are for Byron, she finds she can’t cry for her son. The Doctor assures her she will in time, but first they need to be somewhere else. He sets the TARDIS controls for Singapore Harbour in 1931, but he also tries to tempt her with further travels, knowing there are still so many more places for her to see. His only regret is that they’ve missed out on the intervening 66 years, but now he gets to show the Universe to her all over again. Miss Pollard stops him in his tracks and announces that she’s finally remembered something. Curly, the man she locked up in the brig, is still trapped aboard the sinking ship and she refuses to leave him to his death. Despite the Doctor’s protests, she insists that they go back to rescue him before he drowns.
The TARDIS materialises just around the corner from the brig. Miss Pollard leads the way, but unfortunately their path is blocked by a section of the corridor that goes underwater, so the Doctor insists that he go on alone. He takes a deep breath and dives under, but seconds after he disappears from view, Miss Pollard is disturbed by a strange sound coming from nearby. Then suddenly the water erupts and the half-converted form of her son leaps out and grabs her. In a mechanical monotone voice, he identifies her as his mother, then he tries to drag her away.
Aboard the earlier version of the ship, Madeleine and the other passengers are waiting to die. Borthwick doesn’t know what they can do about it, but Madeleine decides to call one of the Cybermen over. She points out that the temporal corrosion is starting to spread and has now reached the piano. The creature examines the inside of the piano, but realises straight away that she’s lying. Before it can react, Borthwick runs over and slams the lid of the piano down on the Cyberman’s head. The creature struggles and the other passengers join in as they smash the lid down again and again…
In 2008, the Doctor returns to the spot where he left Miss Pollard and immediately reports that the door to the brig was already open and Curly wasn’t there. He spots that Miss Pollard has been wounded and she appears to be in a state of shock. As he tries to get her back to the TARDIS, she tells him it was Byron who attacked her, but she didn’t see where he went. Then she mumbles about her whole life flashing before her eyes - including the first 21 years. The Doctor enjoys the memory of the times they’ve spent together, but she interrupts and tells him she’s not Charlotte Pollard. He thinks she’s still in shock, but in fact she has total clarity for the first time in 66 years. She remembers that her name is actually Madeleine Fairweather and she was with Charley all those years ago on this very boat. She tells the Doctor she’s sorry but then she starts to weaken and her condition seems to be getting worse. The Doctor frantically urges her to tell him what happened to Charley.
Back on the earlier version of the ship, the passengers realise the Cyberman has finally stopped moving. They let the creature drop to the floor, then Madeleine tells everyone they need to make their way to the lifeboats, but suddenly more of the Cybermen arrive, insisting that resistance is futile. The passengers begin to fight with any weapons they can find, but they’re hopelessly outclassed and it’s only a matter of seconds before the rebellion is completely quashed. The Cybermen turn to their leader for further instructions and Madeleine is shocked to see Charley enter the room in a zombie state. Speaking in a slow monotone voice, Charley introduces herself as the new Cyber-Planner and tells the passengers they will all be converted and become like her…
The rebellion is quashed and the Cybermen await new instructions. Madeleine is shocked by what’s become of her new friend and urges her to fight against it, but Charley believes she has been “improved” and says her mind is now clear. Soon her body will be augmented too and the Cybermen are fitting conversion apparatus below deck so Madeline will not have long to wait before it’s her turn. Madeleine insists that she’d rather die, but Charley says that would be wasteful. She will watch Charley’s conversion and see for herself that her fears are unreasonable. Then the conversion will be spread out to all humanity, first here in the future and then later in the past. As Madeleine screams out for someone to save them, the ship is suddenly lit up by a luminous electrical discharge. Borthwick cheers and tells the Cybermen this is St Elmo’s Fire. The pulse generator immediately becomes active and the Cybermen report that ’translation’ is beginning again. Charley says this is impossible and orders the device to be shut down, but it’s too late.
In an instant, the entire ship and everyone on board has disappeared from the future and has returned to its original place in 15 January 1942. As Charley tries to establish the cause of the reversal, Madeleine and Borthwick celebrate their good luck. The Cybermen insist that the conversions will continue as planned, but their captives now have hope on their side. The Doctor then appears unexpectedly on the bridge and introduces himself. He recognises Madeleine, but she’s baffled as to how he knows who she is. Instead, he whispers in Charley’s ear and suggests it’s time they adopted their escape strategy number seven, which is a classic move involving diversion and counter-diversion. Charley responds to him robotically and tells him the strategy will not work, and when the Cybermen start referring to her as their leader, he’s shocked to discover she’s been taken over. Charley denounces the Doctor as an enemy of the Cyber race and gives orders for him to be disabled.
The Doctor suddenly whips out a bar of gold and warns the Cybermen away. Borthwick claims the gold as part of his own collection from the storage hold, but the Doctor has already identified it as being part of Adolf Hitler’s private hoard. Borthwick tries to protest, but the Doctor isn’t remotely interested. He tells everyone to file slowly out of the bridge while he keeps the Cybermen at bay, but unfortunately their weakness of gold doesn’t apply to Charley and she grabs the gold bar from the him. As the Cybermen advance, the Doctor explains how he translated the Batavia back to 1942. From the space-time location where he’d towed the future Batavia using the TARDIS, he scanned this latitude and longitude for the characteristic signature of an EM pulse and found it in the year 500,002. All he had to do then was broadcast a reactivation protocol into the future and bring them back. Charley notes the explanation and orders the Cybermen to continue with their conversion plans. The Doctor quickly adds that he had to make one small, but crucial modification to the translation vectors - he had to shift the vectors to about half a mile away from where they left in order to avoid the ship being hit by torpedoes. However, those torpedoes are now about fifty yards off the starboard bow after cruising straight past their original location. He tells everyone to brace themselves for impact…
The torpedoes slam into the Batavia. The hull instantly breaches in two places and the ship begins taking on water fast. The ship will sink unless someone can do something, so Charley orders the Cybermen to begin emergency repairs to the hull breaches. Borthwick is furious when the Doctor tells him he won’t be seeing his loot ever again, but the Doctor is only interested in saving their lives. Borthwick ignores his offer and insists on every man for himself. He calls to the rest of the passengers to follow him to the lifeboats and within minutes the men are lowering the boats down towards the water. The Doctor tells them he’s already seen the future and if they go ahead with their plans none of them will live, but with Borthwick’s encouragement everyone jumps the twenty feet or so into the sea and starts swimming towards the boats. Madeleine wonders whether the Doctor’s facts are correct as it doesn’t seem very far back to land, but the Doctor tells her only one person will make it back via the lifeboats - her! He grabs her and drags her physically towards the one remaining lifeboat. Although she insists that she can’t row it on her own, he tells her the Web of Time says she can. Aboard their boats, Borthwick orders the men to row as fast as they can and before long they’ve disappeared from sight. Seconds later, there’s the sound of a huge explosion and the Doctor suggests one of the lifeboats must have hit a mine. He turns away sadly, knowing he did all he could to warn them.
The Doctor and Madeleine sneak back onto the bridge and the Doctor starts tuning in the radio to pick up the Cybermen’s own control frequency. Madeleine knows this was what the Cybermen used to take over Byron, and the Doctor realises she’s talking about the grandfather of the Byron he’s met. He’s horrified when she tells him the control signal causes the deterioration of un-augmented brains. Just then Charley returns with the Cybermen and seize them both. Charley knows the Doctor planned to save her by over-writing the Cyber-Planner protocols imprinted on her brain, but she also knows her brain will be dead within the hour and she can feel her synapses withering as she speaks. The human brain is incapable of sustaining the Cyber-Planner’s consciousness, but a Time Lord’s brain can. She orders the Cybermen to kill Madeleine, knowing from Charley’s own experiences that the future can always be changed. In a flash, the Doctor leaps forward and activates the radio transmitter. He tells the Cyber-Planner to prepare to accept his transmission and in unison, the Cybermen begin to speak as if they are Charley, so the Planner orders them to retreat beyond the range of the control transmissions. The Doctor suggests they go to the hold where the area is lined with lead and await further instructions. With the Planner temporarily bewildered and confused, the Doctor forces it to repeat that its name is really Charlotte Pollard. The message is received and seconds later, Charley’s consciousness returns and she hugs the Doctor in relief. Unfortunately, the transmission has had an unexpected side-effect. Madeleine speaks to them in a dull, monotone voice - she no longer recognises the identity of Madeleine Fairweather and believes she too is Charlotte Pollard.
The Cybermen obediently march into the Batavia’s storage hold and prepare to seal themselves inside. They realise the Cyber-Planner is unaccounted for, but the Planner’s instructions cannot be overruled, so they close the vault anyway and patiently await further instructions.
The Doctor explains to Charley that the Cybermen will remain sealed up in the hold until Byron releases them in 2008. The ship will continually be translated in space-time between 1942 and 500,002 every time there’s a storm. Everything is in its right place now apart from Madeleine, who still repeats monotonously that her name is Charlotte Pollard. Working together, the Doctor and Charley load her into the sole remaining lifeboat and then lower it down to sea level. The Doctor is sure she’s going to be alright - a single survivor picked up from a lonely lifeboat. He starts to wonder whether this might be a clue as to how he can ‘save’ Charley’s life too. The control signal burnt out Byron’s brain and even though Madeleine only got a touch of it, it destroyed her memory. The Doctor identifies it as a neural worm which uses people’s memories to exert its influence over their brain. A Time Lord would just put themselves into a coma for a while until the brain had time to cauterise the affected sections, but they need to try a different approach for Charley. The Doctor produces a fob watch and begins to instigate a technique that he once taught Freud. He needs to starve the neural worm before it’s too late or else Charley will die, and the only way he can do that is to make Charley forget everything. Not just today, or even the last month, but everything - Venice, Orson Welles, everything! She’s unwilling to forget her time with the Doctor and refuses to submit herself to hypnosis, but he says anything that might prompt her to remember today could allow the worm to survive. He starts swinging the fob watch and encourages Charley to forget…forget…forget…
Charley wakes up with a start. The Doctor greets her and introduces himself, but she doesn’t recognise him and is worried about why she needs a doctor. They’re on a boat heading out of Singapore Harbour but when she asks him to turn around and head back, he says he has an easier way - a box that‘s bigger on the inside than on the outside. She’s sceptical, but then she starts to think about it and gets flashbacks to the moment when she and the Doctor first met aboard the R101. The memories flood back immediately and the Doctor is disappointed, but Charley suspects some things are just too good to be forgotten.
Back inside the TARDIS, the Doctor asks where Charley wants to go next and they consider visiting the relief of Mafeking or the sacking of Londinium before the Doctor decides on the party to end all parties - the thousand-year carnival known as the Millennium Mardi Gras at the Jovian Fold. Suddenly, the half Cybernetic Byron emerges from the shadows within the console room and grabs Charley by the neck, threatening to rip her head off her shoulders. He regards himself as Super-Byron and says he feels fantastic. The Doctor says it was too late to go back for him, but Byron believes he didn’t even try. When the Batavia was sunk, the Cybermen had only just started his conversion, and when he saw the TARDIS door open he took his chances, stopping only to attack his mother. The Doctor isn’t sure what Byron has planned, but he warns him about the Web of Time and says the ship is out of bounds and they won’t be going back there in either the past, the present or the future. However, Byron has another salvage operation in mind - in the year 500,002. Damaged or not, the Cyber ship is bound to be packed full of technology. He releases Charley and then produces the Cyber-Planner and proceeds to link himself up to it. He activates it and the Doctor cries out in pain. Moments later, Byron demonstrates how the Doctor is now under his total mental control, unable to obey any will other than Byron’s own. He orders the Doctor to take the ship to 500,002.
The TARDIS materialises and the Doctor blindly obeys Byron’s instructions to open the doors. Byron mocks Charley and tells her he can make the Doctor dance or sing or do anything he likes, although he accepts that now that he has a new Cyber brain, he doesn’t find his control over the Doctor as amusing as he once would. But now that he has a better idea about how to control the TARDIS, he doesn’t think he’ll need the Doctor anymore. Charley warns him not to hurt the Doctor, but Byron regards him as no more important than a toaster. He pulls the plug and the Doctor crashes to the floor. Charley tries to revive him, but he only remains conscious long enough to tell her not to forget, then he appears to die.
Byron leaves the TARDIS and is immediately confronted by more Cybermen who warn him the area is restricted. Byron tells them they’re all brothers and they realise he’s been cybernetically enhanced. However, they also note that his conversion is incomplete, so they give orders for him to be aborted. Charley rushes out and tells the Cybermen that she has their Cyber-Planner. They demand she hand it over, but she adopts a mechanical monotone voice and says she’s been instructed to return the Cyber-Planner to its headquarters.
When they arrive at the control centre, the Cybermen demand that Charley and Byron prove the Cyber-Planner hasn’t been corrupted first. The Planner was last reported in an area known to be infected with temporal corrosion, which could cause total systems collapse, so their protocols insist that the device be placed in quarantine first. Charley knows this will take too long, so she drops her pretence and tells Byron to attack the Cybermen. As he distracts them, she begins installing the Cyber-Planner into the Cyber ship mainframe. Charley notices that the Cybermen have taken Byron’s arm off, even though he hadn’t realised it himself, and the fighting continues until the Cybermen are alerted to a fault within their systems. The Cyber-Planner is aware that it’s been corrupted and orders that it be removed from the system before it infects the rest of the ship, but it’s too late and it only takes seconds for the temporal rust to completely overwhelm the Cybermen and reduce them to piles of dust. Unfortunately, the infection reaches Byron too and he pleads with Charley to help him, but she coldly bids him goodbye and tells him the experience hasn’t been a pleasant one. She turns and leaves, ignoring his screams as he turns to dust…
Charley races back to the TARDIS as the voice of the Cyber-Planner echoes around the ship, predicting total destruction of the Cyber ship within sixty micro spans. The effects of the temporal corrosion start to catch up with Charley in the corridors and although as she knows it won’t get much sustenance from her, she realises it’ll have a major effect on the TARDIS. She sees the ship just ahead and is sure she can make it in time, but the HADS is still active and the TARDIS suddenly dematerialises, stranding her alone in the year 500,002. The Cyber-Planner revises its calculations and predicts that total destruction of the Cyber ship is imminent. As Charley curses her bad luck, the ship completely disintegrates around her…
The TARDIS materialises back in Singapore and the Doctor races out. In the Singapore Hilton, the receptionist is taking a booking over the phone when the Doctor arrives and calls out for Charley. He rings the bell for attention and the receptionist rudely asks if he’s a guest. When he introduces himself, she recognises his name as a permanent guest and goes to collect his key. He notices there’s something wrong with the clocks as it was midnight just a minute or so earlier, but she assures him this can’t be the case as the clocks are beryllium chipped. She hands him the keys and a bill dated back to 1926. The Doctor seems confused and his head is spinning. He pays the bill with a gold bar he pulls from his pocket, but he has absolutely no idea how it got there. He describes his friend and asks if the receptionist has seen her, so she hands over the note Charley wrote and left for him earlier that night. He starts to read it…
It’s been such a long journey for both of us. I never, ever wanted it to end, but end it has. We both know that. A long time ago now, I said you were the oddest man I’d ever met. You’re that still. You’re the best man I’ve ever met too. But we’ve chanced our luck once too often, I think, so I’m bailing out. Escape strategy number five. I’m going to disappear. There’s no freedom like being dead. I can go anywhere, be anyone I want. Just like a Time Lord really. Don’t look for me, please. But remember me. I’ll remember you always.
The Girl Who Never Was”
The receptionist is concerned about the Doctor when he goes silent. He assures her he’s fine, then he screws up the letter and tells her she can bin it. She seems surprised that he’s leaving so soon, but he reminds her she works in a hotel, so she of all people should realise that everybody leaves.
End Theme (from Big Finish’s Paul McGann series)
Charley continues to write her “Memoirs of an Edwardian Adventuress“. She writes about her childhood, staying at a hotel in Ostend where she’d been reading “Treasure Island”. She sent off hundreds of bottles from the end of the pier, all with her name and address on them and all drifting off to who knows where, but she never got anything back. Now she’s stuck on her very own desert island where she was washed up after the Cyber ship broke up and she’s sending out messages again. She thinks the Doctor would be proud of her for not giving up. She’s also been able to build a crystal radio set from the debris and every hour she taps out an SOS message, over and over again. She’s sure someone will be listening somewhere. To her delight and complete amazement, she hears the familiar wheezing and groaning again, signifying the arrival of the TARDIS. This means the Doctor was alive after all and she excitedly races inside the ship - only to stop in her tracks. She apologises to the person standing by the controls and explains that she was expecting to find someone else…
End Theme (from Colin Baker’s ’Trial of a Time Lord’ season)
|Source: Lee Rogers