Serial 6E/A
Written by Nev Fountain
Directed by Gary Russell
Sound Design and Post Production by Gareth Jenkins
Music by Russell Stone

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Ian Collier (Omega), Caroline Munro (Sentia), Patrick Duggan (Professor Ertikus), Hugo Myatt (Daland), Conrad Westmaas (Tarpov), Jim Sangster (Zagreus), Faith Kent (Maven), Anita Elias (Glinda).

A strange telepathic message prompts the Doctor to travel to the ‘Sector of Forgotten Souls’, a place where, thousands of years ago, Omega’s ship vanished whilst detonating a star.

He’s not the only one journeying towards it. ‘Jolly Chronolidays’ prides itself on giving its tourists an experience of galactic history that is far better than mere time travel.

Its motto is ‘We don’t go into history, we prefer to bring history to you’.

When Omega’s ship suddenly materialises in front of their shuttle, and one of their employees goes insane and tries to destroy his hands...

...suddenly it’s not just a motto anymore.

And Omega -- and his madness -- is closer than they think.

  • This adventure features the Fifth Doctor and is set between Arc of Infinity and Snakedance. It also features the villain Omega, who was introduced in The Three Doctors and subsequently fought the Doctor in Arc of Infinity.

    Time-Placement: This story deals with the immediate aftermath of Arc of Infinity, the production code places it between that story and Snakedance, and there is no sign of Nyssa or Tegan. We thus suggest that it takes place during the closing moments of Arc of Infinity; for more details, see the continuity notes.

  • Released: August 2003
    ISBN: 1 84435 029 0

This is the story of a foolish Time Lord who did a terrible thing, and the heroic Time Lord who learned about it...

Part One
(drn: 31'17")

A Jolly Chronolidays shuttle ferries a party of elderly tourists to the heritage centre where actors Daland and Tarpov are preparing to bring the story of Omega to life. The tour guide, Sentia, contacts the base to ensure that their welcome has been prepared, and rebuffs Daland’s attempts to flirt with her, as she’s walked out on him once before and now has a new boyfriend.

One of the passengers -- a pleasant, open-faced young man -- is seated next to an elderly woman named Glinda who prefers her holiday experiences pre-packaged and just like they are at home, and her doddery, deaf companion Maven, who happily agrees with Glinda whenever prompted. The young man tries not to let them put him off the experience as the shuttle enters the Sector of Forgotten Souls, the region of space where Omega’s mission to detonate a star for the would-be Time Lords ended in tragedy. According to legend, his ship was caught between Universes and reappears once every 100 years to lure travellers to their doom.

Even as Sentia speaks, her narration is interrupted by static, and the legendary Eurydice materialises next to the shuttle. But Sentia has been expecting that, and her only surprise comes when the Doctor rushes to the flight deck and offers to deal with the situation. She reveals that the ship is in fact the Jolly Chronolidays heritage centre, mocked up to resemble the Eurydice and hidden behind an invisibility cloak until the most dramatically appropriate moment. The Doctor, embarrassed to have mistaken a copy for the definite article, accompanies Sentia and the other tourists aboard the heritage centre while the shuttle medibot deals with one poor old dear who rather let the excitement get to her. Sentia explains to the Doctor that genuine time travel has become unfashionable in this era; these days, people prefer to stay in their home era and have a sanitised version of history recreated for them.

Daland and Tarpov greet the tourists in character as, respectively, the legendary Omega and his treacherous associate Vandekirian. According to legend, Vandekirian secretly served Rassilon, who feared the influence Omega held over the Shobogans on Gallifrey and planned to betray him. However, Tarpov strays from the script and claims that he is acting alone to prevent Omega from committing a terrible crime against the Universe. Daland and Sentia are taken aback but smooth over the improvisation with a brief Q&A session until Tarpov pulls himself together. The drama resumes as Vandekirian, wracked with guilt at sabotaging Omega’s great work, cuts off his hand to atone for his betrayal. Omega does not accept this, and punishes Vandekirian by cutting off his other hand and placing it in the stellar manipulator so Vandekirian will “have a hand” in their endeavour. However, the damage has been done, and the Eurydice is swept up in the ensuing black hole, never to be seen again. The drama ends, and a hologram of the legendary Zagreus shows the tour party to the centre’s pantry and gift shop.

The Doctor wonders what terrible crime Omega was supposed to have committed, and Sentia admits that that wasn’t in the script. She personally regards Omega as a hero, and, of course, heroes never do anything terrible. Unconvinced, the Doctor sets off to explore the centre, and in its bookshop he meets Professor Ertikus, the author of a number of works on Time Lord mythology and history. Happy to discuss his work with a fellow academic, Ertikus gives the Doctor a free copy of his book, claiming that his only interest is in historical truth and facts -- and he believes that, in truth, Omega was more of a monster than Rassilon ever was.

Daland and Tarpov return to the green room, where Daland complains that, despite his thespian talents, the tourists only ever ask him about his role as the randy priest in the soap opera Hearts in Orbit. Sentia drops by to use the room’s waste disposal unit, and before leaving she warns Tarpov to stick to the script. Daland scoffs at her and compliments Tarpov on his improvisational workshopping, and Tarpov, gratified, repeats his “improvised” lines -- and gets far too deeply into character. When he actually attacks Daland, apparently believing him to be Omega, Daland realises something’s amiss and flees. Tarpov, now believing himself to be Vandekirian, vows to stop Omega -- and activates the room’s waste disposal unit.

Daland fetches Sentia to the green room, where they find the Doctor supporting the grievously wounded Tarpov, who’s cut off one of his hands in the waste disposal unit. Fortunately, the heat cauterised the wound, but he’s lost a lot of blood and is raving deliriously. Sentia admits that this sort of thing has happened before; this sector has a high level of background psionic energy, and Jolly Chronolidays has decided that effective shielding is too expensive to bother with. As Sentia leaves to fetch the tour shuttle’s medibot, Ertikus tracks down the Doctor, having realised that he forgot to autograph his book. The Doctor thus has an audience of two, Ertikus and Daland, as he ponders the fact that the waste disposal unit’s controls are on the other side of the room; and yet, when the Doctor found Tarpov trapped in the machine, it was switched off. The machine has no fail-safe mechanism, which means that someone must have turned it off deliberately -- and then left Tarpov attached to it without trying to help him.

Tarpov, both delirious and in character, vows to stop Omega from destroying the Scintillans. The Doctor leaves Daland to watch over Tarpov while he and Ertikus look for Sentia and compare notes. It seems that Tarpov, affected by psionic radiation, was acting out the part of the Omega legend where Vandekirian cuts off his own hand. But what are the Scintillans he spoke of? Ertikus claims to have access to a library of books on Time Lord history, and while he sets off to consult them, the Doctor tracks down Sentia. When he finds her, however, she’s discussing a dangerous plan which might cause her to kill the Doctor by accident. Surprised to find the Doctor listening, she tries to bluff her way out of the awkward conversation, but when the Doctor finally asks her just how she knew who he was, she pulls a gun on him, telling him that he must meet Omega -- in person. The Doctor refuses to play along and sets off to check on Tarpov, telling Sentia that she’ll have to shoot him if she wants to stop him.

As Tarpov raves about Omega and the Scintillans, the door opens, and the medibot’s attempts to usher the newcomer away are to no avail. Tarpov may just be acting the role of Vandekirian, who betrayed Omega and tried to sabotage his mission -- but now the real Omega has come to kill him.

Part Two
(drn: 36'19")

Omega begins to throttle Tarpov to death, and the medibot, after politely asking him to stop, disengages its Hippocratic circuits and stuns him. But then somebody else enters the room and shoots the medibot, destroying it.

Meanwhile, the Doctor finds himself in a hallucinatory dreamscape where Omega is the captain of a sailing vessel. Omega explains that he became an incorporeal spirit after their encounter in Amsterdam, but that he pulled himself together thanks to Sentia, a natural telepath whose mind acts as a focus. Omega claims that Sentia rendered the Doctor unconscious so that they could communicate -- and also claims that he no longer finds this Universe fulfilling, and that he wants to return to the anti-matter Universe where he was a god of creation. And, like it or not, the Doctor is the only one who can help him.

Sentia tricks the elderly tourists into entering the heritage centre’s restaurant, and locks them in, out of harm’s way. Daland then contacts her in a panic, claiming that he left Tarpov alone for a moment in order to get himself a drink, and returned to find only the shattered remains of the medibot spread out as though a body had been dragged through the mess. Daland is convinced that the lunatic Tarpov has murdered the Doctor and will now be after Daland himself, believing him to be Omega. He thus heroically offers to run away in the tour shuttle and fetch help -- but before he can do so, Sentia injects him with a knockout drug.

The Doctor wakes to find Sentia tending to him in the cargo hold, and although she begs him to help Omega, he’s not convinced that she or Omega deserve his help. The excited Ertikus then arrives and points out that the Eurydice -- the real one -- has just materialised in a dimensional anomaly a short distance away. When he announces his intention to explore it, the Doctor realises that only a TARDIS could cross that unstable area of space, and only a Time Lord could survive the trip. Caught out, Ertikus confesses that he is a Time Lord as well as a historian, and is delighted to realise that he’s talking to the famous Doctor -- the man who exposed Omega as the monster he was, rather than the hero of legend. Surprised and saddened, the Doctor realises that he does owe Omega something after all.

Since the Doctor’s TARDIS is unavailable, he hitches a lift with Ertikus, who confesses that he’s down to his last incarnation and is tired of having to rewrite history every time someone unearths new evidence or decides that the current historical perspectives are politically inconvenient. Ertikus has been writing a biography of Omega -- in fact, he recently travelled to 20th-century Amsterdam to see the location of his final stand for himself -- and now that he has the opportunity to find out the truth he intends to seize it.

Ertikus’ TARDIS materialises aboard the Eurydice, and Ertikus and his vidibot set off to explore. As soon as Ertikus has gone, Omega manifests himself to the Doctor, claiming that the high background levels of psionic energy enable him to do so. Omega is disturbed by Ertikus’s presence, but the Doctor dismisses him as a harmless old man and attempts to activate the Eurydice’s engines so Omega can return “home” as he wishes. The engines are out of action, however, and Omega suggests that the dimensional instability may be affecting them. He further suggests that the Doctor use Ertikus’ TARDIS to generate a stable area of space, proving that, whatever else Omega may be, he is an engineering genius. Despite this suggestion, however, the engines still don’t start, and the Doctor soon realises that their cipher-ident locks require the symbiotic imprint of the ship’s original crew. Since they obviously aren’t available, the Doctor must build an electronic bypass switch.

While the Doctor works, Omega asks how he’s remembered on Gallifrey; his legend is all that he has now, and he can’t bear to think that he’ll be forgotten. The Doctor assures Omega that he’s a hero on Gallifrey, and that his legend inspired the Doctor himself to rebel against the Time Lords’ stultified society. But he’s forced to concede that, though he was punished for his rebellion, his freedom was eventually restored to him -- as a reward for defeating Omega. Omega has been in the Matrix, and he knows the truth; the Doctor is now regarded as a hero, while Omega has become a monster used to scare children.

Daland recovers to find that Sentia has tied him up aboard the tour shuttle and launched into space. She’s waiting for the Doctor to finish his work -- and when he’s done so, Daland will be able to meet the real Omega for himself. Meanwhile, aboard the Eurydice, Ertikus and his vidibot come across a strange, shimmering transparent glow which seems to have wraiths living inside. The wraiths hiss at Ertikus, identifying themselves as the Scintillans; they are unable to communicate effectively, but Ertikus gathers that they feel great hatred for Omega. Before he can learn anything more, the Scintillans attack him.

The Doctor’s insouciant attitude reminds Omega of a man named Peylix, and the Doctor recognises the name from Gallifreyan mythology. Omega asks the Doctor to tell the story of Peylix, and the Doctor thus speaks of the lowly time plumber who took it upon himself to learn how everything in the Universe worked. Using spare time he’d cleaned out of the Vortex tubes, Peylix studied and studied until he knew everything that there was to know -- and when all of the mystery left the Universe, everything stopped working. Peylix was forced to leave the Universe entirely and was never seen again. Omega then tells the Doctor about his friend Peylix, a man who was so curious that, one day, the Chancellery guards removed him from Omega’s laboratory, and he was never seen again. It’s a tragic story, but Omega then admits that he made it up. If all Peylix has left is the story of his life, then what if the wrong story is being told? The Doctor concedes the point, and Omega admits that the real Peylix was killed by a man named Luvis while Omega did nothing to stop him; from that day on, Omega swore to make a difference in the Universe, not to stand by and let terrible things happen.

The Doctor, moved by Omega’s story, finishes his work and builds a remote activator for the bypass switch. Once he and Ertikus are clear of the Eurydice, the Doctor will activate the ship’s engines and send Omega back “home”. However, Ertikus then bursts in, convinced that the Scintillans which attacked him are linked to some terrible deed in Omega’s past, and that somehow Tarpov learned the truth. As Ertikus pops back into his TARDIS to see if its database contains information about the Scintillans, Omega speaks to the Doctor again, demanding that he stop Ertikus before it’s too late. The Doctor realises that Omega is hiding something, and begins to doubt Omega’s explanation for his ability to manifest himself to the Doctor. Just how is he really managing to do it?

Ertikus is unable to find any data on the Scintillans, but he does notice that the Doctor has been meddling with his dimensional stabiliser. At Omega’s prompting, the Doctor asks Ertikus to leave it be while he conducts a few more experiments. Ertikus is happy enough to leave the Doctor to his work while he tracks down the Scintillans and learns the truth. The Doctor then demands to know why Omega wants him to leave the dimensional stabiliser active, and realises the truth too late when the tour shuttle docks with the Eurydice. By stabilising this area of space, the Doctor has made it possible for Sentia to cross the dimensional anomaly.

Sentia is disappointed to hear the Doctor’s voice when she contacts Omega, but the Doctor is just as disappointed with her for tricking him and leaving her tour party trapped aboard the heritage centre. She assures him that the tourists will be well -- and then reveals that she’s brought Daland with her to conduct a marriage ceremony. She and Omega are to be wed. Daland is stunned, figuratively at first, and then literally when Tarpov emerges from hiding and clubs him with the gun Sentia threatened the Doctor with earlier. Tarpov still believes himself to be Vandekirian, and threatens to destroy Omega’s life just as Omega destroyed so many others. Sentia screams as a shot rings out...

Part Three
(drn: 30'27")

Tarpov hasn’t killed Sentia, but he has destroyed the communications system so that Omega won’t be able to stop him from telling her about the Scintillans. When he’s finished his story, he gives her the gun so she can defend herself from Omega, and then flees. By the time Omega arrives, Tarpov is gone and the shuttle’s flight controls have been destroyed.

Sentia and Omega are reunited, but the Doctor refuses to let the marriage proceed. Sentia will only be able to survive the trip if Ertikus leaves his TARDIS behind to keep this sector of space stable, and even if Ertikus were to agree to that, now that the shuttle’s controls have been destroyed there’s no other way for the others to leave. Omega departs, angry, and Sentia leaves to shut down the engines until they’ve found some way out of this situation.

Daland then opens his eyes; he’s been shamming unconsciousness since shortly before the Doctor and Omega arrived, and has heard enough to realise how desperate the situation is. Daland is only in this situation himself because he played the priest in Hearts in Orbit and the network had him ordained as a publicity stunt. Unfortunately, he really was unconscious while Tarpov and Sentia were speaking, and he and the Doctor must therefore track down Tarpov and question him to find out the truth about the Scintillans. While speaking to the Doctor about what he overheard, Daland realises something odd, but before he can tell the Doctor, they run into the elderly tourists Glinda and Maven, who seem to have wandered onto the tour shuttle and thence onto the Eurydice. They are apparently under the impression that it’s still part of the heritage centre, and the despairing Doctor leaves Daland to wait for him while he takes the old ladies back to the shuttle.

Lost in the corridors of the Eurydice, Tarpov is surrounded by wailing Scintillans, and begs their forgiveness for failing to stop Omega. But Omega himself then arrives and murders him, re-enacting his murder of Vandekirian. Daland and Ertikus both hear the scream, and the Doctor arrives to find them studying Tarpov’s body. Daland now mentions the incident with the medibot; he’d thought that Tarpov destroyed it and attacked the Doctor, but that clearly isn’t the case. The Doctor notes that there are no metal fragments in Tarpov’s clothing, which means that it wasn’t Tarpov who was dragged out of the room through the medibot’s remains. He deduces that someone attacked Tarpov, the medibot stunned the attacker, and someone else destroyed the medibot and dragged the attacker out of the room. But who, and why?

The Doctor notes that Tarpov’s other hand has been severed, and notes the similarity to the legend of Vandekirian. In the legend, Omega placed Vandekirian’s other hand in the stellar manipulator, which was subsequently renamed the Hand of Omega -- for political reasons, as the public believed that Rassilon was behind the attempt on Omega’s life, and Rassilon therefore honoured his fallen rival. The question is, who is recreating the legend of Omega here and now? Ertikus and Daland both suspect that the other has become obsessed with the legend, but the Doctor notes that Omega himself was desperate to stop “Vandekirian” from telling Sentia the truth about the Scintillans. Omega is currently incorporeal, but could someone else be killing on his behalf? Daland then remembers what he wanted to tell the Doctor earlier; though his eyes were closed, he believes he heard the flare gun fire after Tarpov fled from the shuttle, which means that Sentia destroyed the controls herself to keep them here. Disturbed, the Doctor sets off to question her as Daland and Ertikus eye each other warily.

Omega gives Sentia the remote activator for the ship’s engines, telling her that the Doctor now has no choice but to accompany them both into the anti-matter Universe. But Sentia becomes disturbed when Omega shows no concern for the others who will also be forced to accompany them. She is then surprised when the Doctor resurfaces, and horrified when he reveals that Tarpov has been murdered. The Doctor suspects that the killer wanted to prevent Tarpov from telling Sentia about the Scintillans, and as Sentia seems genuinely grieved to hear of his death, perhaps Omega found some way to commit murder without her help.

The Doctor begs Sentia to see Omega’s madness for what it is, and reminds her that she’ll be condemning others to imprisonment in the anti-matter Universe, including the two harmless old ladies whom he brought to her. Except that it turns out he didn’t; they’re locked up somewhere in the Eurydice, passing the time by playing five-dimensional cribbage. As the Doctor struggles to understand how this could have happened, Omega reveals that he’s somehow taken the remote activator from the Doctor, which gives the Doctor a moral dilemma; either he agrees to accompany Omega and Sentia into the anti-matter Universe, or he can flee in Ertikus’ TARDIS -- and condemn the humans on the Eurydice to death in this unstable sector of space.

The Doctor activates the shuttle’s intercom and broadcasts the ensuing conversation on the Eurydice’s public address system, thus delivering a warning to Daland and Ertikus. The Doctor wants them to evacuate themselves and the two old ladies into Ertikus’ TARDIS, but when Ertikus hears and recognises Omega’s voice, he rushes off to speak to the legendary Time Lord in person, leaving Daland to look for the old ladies himself.

Sentia is starting to have second thoughts, but Omega becomes threatening and takes the remote activator from her by force. Terrified by this new side of Omega, she flees from his rage as the Doctor struggles to understand what he’s seeing; how can the incorporeal Omega be holding a solid object? Ertikus then arrives, demanding to be introduced to Omega, but is horrified when Omega actually speaks to him. The Doctor is unable to intervene as Omega attacks Ertikus and snaps his neck, refusing to let the nosy historian unearth the truth about the Scintillans and tell the Universe what Omega has done.

The Doctor flees and finds Daland and Sentia, who both heard Ertikus’ murder over the tannoy. The Doctor has disconnected the telepathic circuit from Ertikus’ TARDIS, and intends to use it to trap Omega; however, he’s no longer sure whether this will work, since it seems Omega isn’t composed of pure thought after all. Sentia still hopes that Omega can see reason, and she’s horrified when the Doctor admits that, before disconnecting the telepathic circuit, he used it to send a distress call to the Time Lords. While waiting for them to arrive, he intends to lure Omega into a trap by setting up the wedding ceremony.

As Daland rehearses his lines for the wedding, Ertikus’ vidibot arrives, politely requesting that its vid-stick be replaced. However, Omega is a no-show, and the Doctor notes that Sentia doesn’t seem surprised. As the Doctor demands an explanation from Sentia, Daland tries to replace the vidibot’s memory, but he inadvertently hits rewind and sees what happened when Ertikus was murdered. Horrified, he pulls a gun on the Doctor, but Sentia overpowers him, knocking him out. In the confusion, the gun fires, damaging the wall. The Doctor assumes that Daland was affected by the psionic radiation, as was Tarpov before him... at least until he realises that the flare gun Daland is holding is the same gun Sentia threatened the Doctor with earlier, when he was rendered unconscious and spoke to Omega. How could Sentia have stunned him with a flare gun, without leaving a mark on him?

Realising that Daland is shamming unconsciousness again, the Doctor threatens to shoot him, and Daland rises in a panic, confirming the Doctor’s growing suspicions. At the Doctor’s request, and despite Sentia’s pleas, Daland replays the vidibot’s record, which shows the Doctor himself strangling Ertikus and speaking in two different voices as he does so. It was the Doctor who attacked Tarpov on the heritage centre; it was the medibot, not Sentia, that stunned the Doctor; and Sentia then used her flare gun to destroy the medibot. The Doctor and Omega are the same man, in the same body. And both are horrified when a TARDIS materialises next to them -- and the real Doctor emerges, here for the first time...

Part Four
(drn: 42'45")

It seems that Omega survived the battle in Amsterdam at the cost of his sanity, for when he copied the Doctor’s bio-print, he acquired a copy of the Doctor’s mind as well. Omega passes out, his madness having left him vulnerable to this sector’s dimensional instability, and the Doctor and Sentia take the opportunity to explain to Daland that Omega has two personalities vying for control of his body -- and that, until now, the Doctor half was unaware of it. Now that the truth is out, Omega may suffer a complete breakdown.

Omega revives and gives the Doctor the control circuit which will activate the Eurydice’s engines, and the Doctor decides that it’s best to get Omega back to his own Universe, out of harm’s way. He can’t talk Sentia out of going with him, and now that Ertikus is dead, his TARDIS can remain on the ship to anchor Sentia to reality as they pass through the black hole. The Doctor thus agrees to send the happy couple on their way as soon as the remaining hostages are aboard his TARDIS.

Unfortunately, before Omega can release the two old ladies he locked up earlier, they hear the sound of a ship docking with the Eurydice. Omega lapses into paranoia, convinced that the Doctor has brought the Time Lords here to arrest him on charges of genocide. The Doctor points out that Time Lords would arrive in TARDISes, not spaceships -- and the sound of TARDIS engines echoes through the hold. Omega flees with Sentia in pursuit, but Daland begins to feel odd, and the Doctor realises that Ertikus’ TARDIS, grieving for its master’s death, is about to fling itself into the Time Vortex. Since it’s the only thing keeping this sector of space stable, the humans will be torn apart if it leaves. The Doctor and Daland try to speak to Ertikus’ TARDIS and cheer it up, but to no avail, and the Doctor rushes Daland back to his own TARDIS to put things right.

Sentia begins to fade in and out of existence as the dimensional anomaly reasserts itself, but Omega barely notices, as he’s once again under attack by the Scintillans. Lost in his madness, he flashes back to his days at the Academy, when he was still called Peylix -- before he wrote a paper extrapolating from an unconventional theory to suggest that his people could take control of all history if they detonated a star within the Sector of Forgotten Souls. His tutor at the Academy, Luvis, felt that the paper was foolish and dangerous, and to prevent Peylix from ever getting a chance to put his theory into practice, Luvis gave him the lowest grade possible. The nickname “Omega” stuck to him, but he turned it into a positive -- or rather, his ambitious friend “Razz” did. Together, Omega and Rassilon started a scientific and cultural revolution -- but Omega was horrified when the revolution began with bloodshed, as Rassilon’s inquisitors rounded up all those who opposed his vision and put them to the sword.

The revolution gave Omega the chance to put his theories into practice, but locating a suitable star took time -- and when Omega’s associate Vandekirian came to him, claiming that the system was inhabited, Omega dismissed his claims and demanded that the procedure go ahead anyway. It might take thousands of years to find another suitable star, and after being scorned for his beliefs and being forced to live with the insulting nickname “Omega” for so long, he refused to abandon his work and fade away into history as an unknown. Vandekirian tried to prevent Omega from launching the stellar manipulator by plunging his own hands into the ship’s fusion reactor; as a security precaution, the ship required the handprint of every member of the crew to activate the manipulator. Vandekirian passed out from the pain after destroying one of his hands, and Omega, albeit somewhat reluctantly, cut off his other hand and used it to launch the stellar manipulator -- wiping out the Scintillans in the process.

The Doctor configures his own TARDIS to stabilise the dimensional anomaly, but then finds that the docking sound he heard earlier was the sound of the heritage centre, which has been drawn towards the Eurydice and automatically docked with the other ship. Daland notes that the Doctor seems quite up to date on the situation, and the Doctor explains that the Time Lords received a fully detailed distress call which seemed to have been sent by the Doctor himself -- or rather, from the side of Omega which believed itself to be the Doctor. The Doctor rigs his scanner to trace psionic activity, and finds Omega apparently under attack -- but by extensions of his own psionic energy. The alien ghosts which Ertikus saw, and the spirit of Vandekirian which Tarpov channelled, were created from this sector’s background psionic energy by Omega’s own madness and telepathy. And when Daland casually identifies the attackers as “Scintillans,” the Doctor is horrified. The Doctor emerges to deal with Omega, giving Daland the activator for the Eurydice’s engines -- and inside, Daland finds Tarpov’s other hand.

Omega wakes from his dream of the past to find Sentia tending to him. In his confusion, he tries to confess to his crime, but Sentia admits that Tarpov already told her about it and that she has forgiven him. To her horror, this drives Omega into a rage. He can’t forgive himself for slaughtering an entire species out of impatience, and the fact that Sentia can forgive him for such an unspeakable crime is itself unforgivable. Sentia finally gets to see Omega’s violent side for herself...

The Doctor finds his way to the heritage centre’s tea shop, where he finds the battered Sentia. Sentia dreamily explains that the vulnerable and mad Omega wandered into Ertikus’ TARDIS in Amsterdam and was transported to the distant future, where he met Sentia. Sentia helped Omega to regain a sense of his identity, and when they learned that Ertikus planned to travel to the Sector of Forgotten Souls they came up with their own plan, believing that once Omega was back in his own universe he could rid himself of the “Doctor” half of his personality and be whole once more. But now Sentia has seen the dark side of Omega’s personality, and what he’s done to her has driven her into a state of shock.

The Doctor speaks to Sentia as a passenger to a stewardess, using her delusional state to get her to unlock the door of the Prydonian Pantry and release the other tourists. Omega tracks them down, but as he raves at them -- both as himself and as the Doctor -- the door to the tea shop opens and dozens of elderly tourists pour out, all affected by the psionic energy of the Sector and channelling the spirit of Vandekirian. The Doctor sends Sentia back to the TARDIS to warn Daland, and then follows the tourists and distracts them, claiming to be Omega. The tourists chase him back to the TARDIS, where he lures them through the console room and locks the internal door behind them, trapping them in the TARDIS corridors.

The real Omega then arrives, wracked with guilt and madness; he killed Tarpov and Ertikus to prevent them from revealing what he’d done to the Scintillans, but still blames himself for it nonetheless. His ship’s fusion reactors originally failed, dropping it into the black hole, because of impurities in the fuel -- impurities from the hand which Vandekirian successfully destroyed -- and Omega now regards his exile as just punishment for his crime.

However, the Doctor has a confession to make. Before his two personalities separated, Omega must have taken on some of the Doctor’s memories and woven them into his own, perhaps because he couldn’t bear to believe that his long exile really was undeserved. The Doctor doesn’t know what really happened on the Eurydice -- perhaps Vandekirian really was working for Rassilon, or perhaps he too was driven mad by the psionic radiation in the Sector of Forgotten Souls -- but he does know what happened to the Scintillans. Long ago, the Doctor encountered a Lurman colony under attack by space pirates who used telepathically-controlled weapons and ships. The Doctor helped the colony to defend itself by creating a telepathic dampening field... but he didn’t realise until too late that the same asteroid belt was inhabited by the Scintillans, creatures of pure thought. When the Doctor used the telepathic damper against the pirates, he inadvertently wiped out the entire species. Omega is stunned by this revelation. History paints him as a monster, and the Doctor as a hero -- but the Doctor is responsible for more death than Omega ever was.

Sentia then speaks over the intercom; she’s stolen the remote activator from Daland and returned to the bridge, and before anyone realises what she’s doing, she activates the Eurydice’s engines, sending it straight for the black hole. Omega rushes to the bridge, but the Doctor returns to his TARDIS, realising that Sentia is now beyond saving. If the Doctor stays, he risks the lives of Daland and the tourists; if he leaves, he condemns Sentia and the two missing old ladies to death in the dimensional anomaly. Realising that the Doctor is already weighed down with guilt from his past mistakes, Daland takes responsibility for the decision and sets the TARDIS in flight himself.

On the bridge of the Eurydice, Omega is stunned to find his crazed lover channelling the spirit of Vandekirian. As the Doctor’s TARDIS dematerialises, Sentia is torn apart, and Omega screams as the Eurydice is drawn over the event horizon of the black hole once again.

As the Doctor and Daland try to come to terms with the tragedy they’ve witnessed, the elderly tourist Glinda suddenly materialises in the console room -- and her “deaf” friend Maven emerges from inside her. Glinda is a walking, talking TARDIS, and Maven is an incognito Time Lord from the Doctor’s future. They are agents of the Celestial Preservation Agency, with a mandate to ensure that history -- and the perception of history -- remains under control. In their era, the Doctor is regarded as a great hero, and they’re here to ensure that the true story of the Scintillans never gets out. To that end, Maven offers Daland a new job playing the role of the Doctor in a Gallifreyan historical museum, keeping Daland safe where the Time Lords’ enemies won’t be able to track him down and extract the truth from him. Daland accepts the offer. The Doctor, disturbed but curious, asks Maven how he’s remembered, and Maven, who also regards the Doctor as a great hero, agrees to tell the Doctor the story of his battle with Omega as history will remember it -- the story of a foolish Time Lord who did a terrible thing, and the heroic Time Lord who learned about it.

Source: Cameron Dixon

Continuity Notes:
  • There’s no sign of Nyssa or Tegan in this story, but the production code suggests that it takes place between Arc of Infinity and Snakedance. We therefore suggest that the Doctor is dealing with this situation during the closing moments of Arc of Infinity, while Tegan helps her cousin Colin deal with his traumatic experience and Nyssa stays on Earth to visit her friend.
  • The hologram of Zagreus in the heritage centre foreshadows the forthcoming anniversary epic Zagreus.
  • The Lurmans are a humanoid life-form, first seen in the persons of Vorg and Shirna from Carnival of Monsters.
[Back to Main Page]