8th Doctor
The Next Life
Serial 8V
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The Next Life
Written by Alan Barnes and Gary Russell
Directed by Gary Russell
Sound Design by Gareth Jenkins @ ERS
Music by Andy Hardwick and Russell Stone @ ERS

Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley), Conrad Westmaas (C’rizz), Don Warrington (Rassilon), Stephen Perring (The Kro’Ka), Stephane Cornicard (Keep), Daphne Ashbrook (Perfection), Paul Darrow (Guidance), Jane Hills (L’Da), Anneke Wills (Lady Louisa Pollard), Stephen Mansfield (Simon Murchford), Jane Goddard (Mother of Jembere-Bud).

‘All things must die.’

Washed up on the sandy shores of a paradise island, a wild-eyed shipwreck survivor is rescued by the wife of Daqar Keep, the richest man in the galaxy.

Her name’s Perfection. He’s the Doctor. Together, they face a journey into the dark heart of this mysterious island, to discover the deepest secrets of this timeless cosmos. That’s if the giant crabs, killer crocodiles and murderous natives don’t get them first.

Meanwhile, fellow travellers Charley and C’rizz have their own ordeal to endure, in the grip of the Doctor’s most dangerous rival.

And in a universe that’s facing extinction, even the best of friends may soon become enemies...

This life is almost over. Not everyone will make it to the next.

  • Featuring the Eighth Doctor, Charley and C’rizz, this story takes place after the Big Finish story Caerdroia.
  • Triple CD release.
  • Released: December 2004
    ISBN: 1 84435 105 X

Deep in the jungle, a man with a light French accent demonstrates magic tricks and sleight-of-hand to a delighted young girl. But when the simple tricks are over and the girl is unable to provide the magician with what he’d asked for, the magician shows her a new trick -- a terrifyingly real sort of magic. The girl struggles to escape, but it’s too late...

Part One
(drn: 33'13")

The Doctor, Charley and C’rizz have been travelling through space for quite a while, following their recovery of the TARDIS from Caerdroia. As C’rizz amuses his companions by changing his skin colour on cue, the TARDIS materialises, and the Doctor hesitates briefly, feeling as though he momentarily travelled backwards in Time. Charley suggests that he was feeling a “phantom limb” reflex from his missing time senses, just as her French uncle Jacques used to feel the arm he’d lost during the war. C’rizz then points out that the TARDIS is hurtling towards a large blue moon, and when the Doctor tries to materialise on its surface, the TARDIS refuses, as though it’s sensed something down there that it doesn’t like. C’rizz loans the Doctor his moonstone pendant, a gift from his father, to pry up a loose switch on the console, but it is to no avail, and the TARDIS begins to burn up in the atmosphere...

C’rizz awakens, disoriented, to find his late lover, L’da standing over him, chiding him for his behaviour on the night before his wedding; his tutors in the Foundation would be appalled, especially Guidance. Stunned, C’rizz realises that he’s somehow travelled back in Time and returned to the day of his wedding ceremony -- when the Kromon attacked his homeworld, killing his friends and family and enslaving the survivors. L’da is rather put out to learn that she died in this dream that C’rizz seems to have had, but he insists that it’s all real -- and that he’s no longer the same man she fell in love with, who gave up the Church of the Foundation to be with her. Perhaps for the first time, C’rizz realises that his old life is truly lost to him. As the church bells begin to toll, he realises that he’s about to experience these horrors all over again. Worse, L’da points out an aspect of the story that hadn’t occurred to him before: if the Doctor had never come to this Universe, the Divergents would never have set up the experiments that resulted in the Kromon attacking their wedding. She begs C’rizz to stop it from happening if it’s true, but just as C’rizz is starting to believe he may have been blessed with a second chance, the Kromon ships descend and the horror begins all over again...

Charley awakens to find that she’s been reunited with her mother, Lady Louisa Pollard. Somehow, she finds she isn’t all that surprised; she’s seen too much by now for her mother’s sudden appearance here to throw her. It occurs to her, now that she suspects death has finally caught up with her, that she’s seen a lot of death, starting with the South African secret agent who once tried to kill her. Sometimes she’s haunted by the thought that his whole life, all of his hopes and dreams and the work that went into making him who he was, led up to one pointless moment when it was all washed away. Nevertheless, she vows that all the death she’s seen has just made her more determined to make the most she can out of her own life.

Lady Pollard leads her daughter to the grounds of RAF Cardington, where she was first swept away on her life of adventure. To her surprise, she runs into Simon Murchford, the young steward whose uniform she stole in order to smuggle herself aboard the R101, and when Murchford recognises her, he angrily informs her that they’ll dock his pay for his new uniform. She tries to explain that she just wanted an adventure she never would have had in her old life, but he scoffs, believing that a spoiled rich girl like her would have opportunities he could never have dreamed of. Despite her protests, Simon leaves to board the airship, and Charley realises that he has a good point; she did indeed take his livelihood away for his own selfish reasons. As she ponders what she’s done, however, she begins to feel faint; some part of her conscious mind is rejecting the fantasy world she’s been plunged into. But the Kro’ka, who is generating the dreamscape and controlling the image of Lady Pollard, isn’t ready to let her escape just yet...

Charley revives back in the dream to find that she and her mother are still in Cardington, several years later. Again, they run into Murchford, but he’s older now and has become the new base chaplain, following the abrupt departure of his predecessor, Reverend Townsend. It seems that Simon couldn’t afford to get a new kit out of stores, and thus missed his chance to board the R101; however, he ended up with terrible survivor’s guilt, and ended up having to experience the horrors of the next war. His guilt drove him to his new vocation with the Church, however, and he has come to believe he was saved for a purpose. As he cycles off to prepare for the village’s summer fete, Lady Pollard asks her daughter how she feels now -- but Charley notes her mother’s guarded reaction, and realises that she’s trying to make her doubt herself and question whether she was right to travel with the Doctor.

Charley finally pulls herself together and realises that she’s being manipulated by a false image once again -- and immediately deduces that the Kro’ka must be responsible. In fact, she and C’rizz have been placed in dreamweavers stolen from Caerdroia, and while the Doctor is occupied elsewhere, the Kro’ka and Rassilon have been manipulating their dreams. C’rizz is proving more easy to manipulate, as is usually the case with the Eutermersans -- even if he’s an unusual example of his species who has chosen to broaden his mind through travel with the Doctor. However, as Charley is proving more recalcitrant, Rassilon enters her dream personally. Charley is startled when Rassilon appears before her, offers her a chance to be reunited with her real mother -- and informs the dream Lady Pollard that Charley’s mind is entirely under his control...

Part Two
(drn: 31'35")

As Charley listens sceptically, Rassilon explains that she’s hooked up to a dreamweaver, which is keeping her mind active while her body repairs itself -- and the fact that she dreamed up her mother to guide her, rather than the Doctor, would seem to suggest that the Doctor isn’t the figure of trust she thought. According to Rassilon, he’d been trying to make contact with the Doctor for some time, but was just in time to see the TARDIS break up in the atmosphere of the blue moon; he managed to save Charley and C’rizz, but the Doctor died along with his ship. Charley refuses to believe this, and when she demands to speak with C’rizz, Rassilon agrees to link their dreamscapes together so they can speak.

Meanwhile, in the jungles of the blue moon, Daqar Keep of the Church of the Foundation is approached by a native woman whose 13-year-old daughter, Jembere-Bud, has gone missing. Her mother, frantic with worry, accuses Keep of putting inappropriate thoughts into her daughter’s head -- which is very close to the truth, as Keep is in fact the French-speaking magician who so terrified the young girl last night. The bored Keep orders Guidance to send out porters to search for the missing girl, but doesn’t intend to spend very long on the hunt, as the main mission of the Church must not be interrupted. In the meantime, he sends for his wife, only to discover that she too has gone missing.

L’da transports C’rizz to a tranquil garden where he can get his bearings, but it works a bit too well, as he finally realises that none of what he’s seeing is real. Realising that the Kro’ka is responsible, C’rizz demands that his tormentor show himself, and when he does so, C’rizz lashes out at him for abusing his memories of L’da. The Kro’ka, amused by what he assumes to be empty threats, casually informs L’da that, in the real world, C’rizz shot and killed her. Furious, C’rizz decides to show the Kro’ka the truth about himself -- and to the Kro’ka’s amazement, the dreamscape changes to a vision of Hell in which L’da is just one of the many screaming faces surrounding them. The Doctor and Charley thought C’rizz was a man of peace, but in fact, the Foundation teaches that death is the route to the next life -- and C’rizz was one of their most proficient killers, until the day he met L’da and realised the error of his ways. He joined the Doctor because he was running away from the guilt of his past life, and now the Kro’ka has brought those buried feelings back to the surface. C’rizz attacks the Kro’ka, but Rassilon intervenes before he can throttle his tormentor to death. Rassilon sends the Kro’ka out of the dream while he speaks with C’rizz, whom he claims is the only one who can help him return to his home Universe. C’rizz is reluctant to do so at first, but Rassilon then threatens to let Charley into C’rizz’s dreamscape so she can see what he’s really like for himself. Unable to shut out the voices of his victims, and terrified of what Charley will think if she can see what he used to be like, C’rizz breaks down and promises to do whatever Rassilon wants...

Meanwhile, the Doctor has washed up on the shore of a tropical island, where he is attacked by a cluster of small hermit crabs -- which herd him towards their gigantic mother. Just as the giant crab is about to devour the Doctor, however, a woman arrives and shoots it between the eyes, and the smaller crabs close in and feast on its body as the Doctor retreats to safety. The woman, who introduces herself as Perfection, is suspicious of the Doctor’s arrival on this island, and isn’t satisfied with his claim to be a shipwreck survivor of sorts. However, the Doctor then notices that the crabs are scurrying for cover; a storm is about to break over the island, and worse, a tsunami is sweeping towards the beach as they speak. The Doctor and Perfection flee for the cliffs and climb to safety as the tidal wave breaks over the shore.

The Kro’ka wakes Charley from her dream, giving her just enough time to bid her mother goodbye. Rassilon is there to greet Charley when she wakes, and as they wait for C’rizz to wake, Rassilon shows her the Doctor -- who seems to have picked up another travelling companion already. Rassilon reveals that Perfection and her companions are searching for the way out of this Universe, and it seems that the Doctor has decided to join them rather than search for his missing companions. Charley insists that the Doctor would never abandon them -- but Rassilon reminds her that he is the Doctor’s enemy, C’rizz is native to this Universe, and the Doctor never wanted Charley to accompany him here in the first place...

As Charley ponders these unpleasant truths, Rassilon wakes C’rizz and discusses the same matter with him -- and more. C’rizz has gathered that the Doctor exiled himself to this Universe because he was infected with the mind-altering energies of anti-Time... but Rassilon now points out that, in all his time with the Doctor, C’rizz has never seen any evidence of that infection. Rassilon claims that the Doctor has been free of the anti-Time energies ever since he arrived in this Universe, but that he withheld the truth from C’rizz and Charley because he needed their help to find the way back home. Now that he’s reached his goal, he has no further need of them. C’rizz, who’s spent his entire life blindly following one cause or another, finds this disturbingly easy to believe...

Perfection leads the Doctor back to her camp, explaining that her husband has brought the message of the Foundation to this planet. Before she can explain further, she stumbles across a pit trap dug by the natives, and while helping her out, the Doctor notices signs that she’s been abused in the past. He and Perfection then realise that they’re being watched, and manage to catch their pursuer -- Jembere-Bud, who seems oddly distant, as if entranced. The Doctor tries to hypnotise her by waving C’rizz’s moonstone before her eyes, but she panics and flees -- into the pit, where she is impaled on the stakes at the bottom. When the Doctor examines her body, however, he discovers that she is not a complex living being at all, but a sculpted mass of undifferentiated tissue. Perfection’s husband, Daqar Keep, then arrives with Guidance and his porters, but before the Doctor can introduce himself properly, the porters spot Jembere-Bud’s body on the ground behind him. Keep accuses the Doctor of killing the young girl, as he needs a scapegoat in order to remain on good terms with the natives. The Doctor and Perfection protest, but Keep ignores them and orders his porters to kill the Doctor...

Part Three
(drn: 28'26")

Keep is outraged when the porters refuse to kill the Doctor immediately... but he changes his tune when Guidance explains that the condemned man is traditionally hunted through the forest and killed. Keep agrees to these terms, only to learn that the Doctor will then have the right to hunt down his accuser if he survives through the night. The hunting party returns to the mission camp with the Doctor, who is to be released into the jungle at high tide. On the way back, the Doctor notes that Guidance is a Eutermersan, like his friend C’rizz. Guidance recognises the name -- and more besides, as the Doctor notices that Guidance flinches whenever the Doctor mentions Time. Somehow, even though the people of this Universe should be unfamiliar with the concept, Guidance knows what Time is...

Rassilon has told Charley that he too was infected with the Zagreus energy when they last met, which explains his cruel and cowardly behaviour; however, he claims to have freed himself from its influence and repaired the Doctor’s TARDIS, and once he’s helped cure the Doctor, they can all return home. Charley isn’t sure whether to believe him, but holds onto the hope that she can return home. However, she’s surprised by C’rizz’s reaction when they get a chance to talk; she’d forgotten that this Universe was his home, and he’s upset to learn that Charley and the Doctor would consider leaving him behind. When he points out that the Doctor has shown no signs of his anti-Time infection, it occurs to Charley that this is true, and she begins to wonder whether he really has picked up another companion and abandoned his friends. After discussing the situation, she and C’rizz confront Rassilon and demand to be let free to find their own way -- and to the Kro’ka’s surprise, Rassilon does so without question. As Charley and C’rizz leave the TARDIS to search for the Doctor, Rassilon remains quietly confident that one or both will betray their friend...

Keep invites the Doctor to dine with him before his flight; the meal consists of live insects, but to Keep’s surprise, the Doctor dives into the meal with gusto. While eating, he tries to learn more about Keep’s mission to this mysterious island with its sudden tsunami, the plethora of strange animals, and most oddly of all, a volcano which must have been here for millennia yet does not seem to have erupted in all that time. Before the Doctor can ferret any answers out of Keep, however, the time comes for the hunt to begin. Perfection tries to convince her husband to call off the hunt, but instead he gives her a gun so she can put the Doctor out of his misery if need be. Perfection reminds Keep that this island is their only chance of survival, and points out that the Doctor may be the only one who can save them, but Keep refuses to listen to her. As the hunters prepare to release the Doctor, however, Jembere-Bud’s mother storms forward, furious with the others for laughing and treating the death of her daughter as an excuse for sport. The Doctor tries to explain that he wasn’t responsible, but the furious woman attacks him with a knife -- and Perfection shoots and kills her. The natives are not impressed, and Keep instantly accuses Perfection of murder and demands that she face the same fate as the Doctor. Perfection insists that the woman’s death was an accident, but the time has come for the hunt to begin, and she must flee into the jungle alongside the Doctor as the hunters prepare to follow them.

C’rizz and Charley are lost in the jungle nearby, and as Charley reminisces about the sights of home, C’rizz loses his temper with her. He admits that Rassilon has offered him the chance to change the past and save L’da, but insists that he knows Rassilon’s promises are empty -- but he’s not so sure that Charley has resisted temptation. At that moment, they hear gunshots in the distance, and Charley rushes off to investigate, convinced that it’s the sound of the Doctor getting himself into trouble. She runs straight into Daqar Keep and the hunters, but when she tries to introduce C’rizz, she discovers that he’s no longer there. Keep, noting that Charley is not native to this world, deduces that she’s a friend of the Doctor’s and insists that she accompany him on his hunt, claiming that it’s too dangerous for her to stay out in the jungle alone.

As the hunt resumes, Keep notices that Guidance is no longer with him. Guidance has in fact noticed C’rizz hiding nearby; he’s changed colour to blend in with the scenery and is watching in disgust as Charley goes off with the first man she finds. He then hears Guidance calling him from the distance, and follows his voice to a small well on which the screed of the Foundation is written in Eutermersan script. It should be impossible, this far out from home, but Guidance then reveals himself and informs C’rizz that this well is the original Foundation, the place from which all life in the Universe originated. C’rizz has taken a long, strange journey and suffered many hardships to reach this place, but at last he’s here, and the time has come for him to enter the next life alongside Guidance... his father.

Part Four
(drn: 28'02")

The Eutermersans have the ability to blend in with their surroundings, and the truly adept can make themselves virtually invisible -- but those who take their gift for granted sometimes forget that they can change not only their appearance, but their behaviour. Guidance concludes that C’rizz has spent too much time travelling with the Doctor and has forgotten the ways of the Foundation. Despite C’rizz’s protests that his heart remains devout, Guidance grabs his son and ducks him repeatedly beneath the waters of the well to purge him of the alien thoughts in his head. C’rizz soon breaks and begins repeating the mantra of the Foundation as his father watches with combined pity and disgust. Guidance knows that C’rizz killed L’da not out of mercy or fear, but on impulse -- the same unconscious impulses that drove C’rizz to pilot the TARDIS to this planet without being aware of it. Some part of C’rizz has always been searching for this place, and now that he and Guidance have been reunited, C’rizz begs his father to remind him of the teachings of the Foundation, which have been driven from his mind by alien heresies.

As the hunting party makes its way through the forest, Charley reminisces about her own childhood experiences on the hunt -- and her sister Cissy, who laughed with delight when she killed a fox for the first time. The trail leads through the mangrove swamp, and Keep and Charley are forced to disembark from their howdah and continue on foot -- but the porters are set upon by crocodiles when they try to follow. Horrified, Charley insists that Keep drive off the animals and save his porters, but Keep doesn’t care what happens to one or two natives, and when Charley tries to insist, he forces her onward at gunpoint. Charley finally realises that Keep is far more than a simple missionary, and he admits that he has an ulterior motive for coming to this particular island...

The Doctor and Perfection make it to the other side of the swamp, where they’re forced to stop briefly and pick leeches from each other’s skin. As the Doctor sheds his sodden coat, Perfection explains that Keep bought the Church of the Foundation because being the head of a religion appealed to his sense of vanity. He has enough money to buy anything he wants -- including, it seems, Perfection. But Keep came to this island for far more important things than money, and Perfection now explains to the Doctor what those reasons were.

The story of this Universe is thus told from three different perspectives, by Guidance, Keep, and Perfection. Some time ago, a small blue planet began traversing the nine known galaxies, wiping out all life wherever it passed and spreading terror before it. Seeking an explanation for this horror, the Eutermersans turned to their legends of a foundation planet from which all life originated, and became obsessed with their belief that the blue world was the tool of the Creator, who had sent it back into the Universe to destroy the life he had created. This creed developed into a religion, and became the Church of the Foundation. Meanwhile, in the second galaxy, a cadre of scientists came to conclude that the Universe was locked into an endlessly repeating cycle, and that the blue planet had traversed the galaxies many times before, alternately seeding them with life and then culling that life before it could progress too far. The scientists began experimenting on the planet Bortresoye to speed up evolution and create a species capable of diverging from the Creator’s plan...

The Doctor reads between the lines and concludes that Rassilon, deliberately or otherwise, gave these Divergents the needed to create a new life form that understood the concept of Time. He now understands why there is no Time in this Universe -- because it repeats in an endless cycle. There are no fixed temporal co-ordinates here because each moment has been repeated countless times before. The Doctor may be the only one in the Universe who can break the cycle, which is why the Divergents were throwing him into so many experiments back on Bortresoye, in order to see how a random element would affect the process of evolution and change. But the scientists themselves were part of this Universe’s cycle, which means that they were incapable of diverging from it; only their creation could do that. Perfection now reveals that the new being fled its creators and fled to her home galaxy... but what happened to it there?

Keep and Charley find the Doctor’s coat lying on the ground, and Charley soon realises from Keep’s reaction that the prey he’s hunting is the Doctor. Keep claims that the Doctor stole his wife from him, and although he concedes that the Doctor may not actually have designs on her, he nevertheless claims that Perfection is the key to what they all seek on this island. Charley realises that Keep understands the concept of Time, which means that he’s far more than he seems -- and there’s something naggingly familiar about him, as well. Frustrated, Charley searches the pockets of the Doctor’s coat and finds a child’s catapult, which she uses to threaten Keep. She fires first when he threatens to shoot her, and he accidentally shoots off his own foot. But after a moment’s effort, he grows himself a new one. The terrified Charley flees into the swamps, and Keep reloads his gun, confident that she won’t get far...

Perfection and the Doctor are lost in the thick mists of the jungle. Guidance was supposed to find a way through for them, as he’s the only one who can translate the ancient Eutermersan texts and find the original place of the Foundation. However, the Eutermersan creed states that this planet’s passing is meant to be, and Perfection has come to suspect that Guidance has been leading them around in circles rather than help Keep to put a stop to the Creator’s design. She also believes that Keep doesn’t really care one way or the other, which is why he chose to marry her, the perfect woman; if he can’t save the Universe, then he will breed with Perfection and repopulate the Universe in his own image. But now that the Doctor is here, Perfection believes that she’s found a new Adam for her Eve -- and when she enters the next life, it won’t be Keep by her side...

Part Five
(drn: 26'53")

The Doctor warns Perfection not to get her hopes up, but she’s sure that she can win him around. In the meantime, they must solve the puzzle of the Foundation, and Perfection, apparently grasping at straws, suggests that the key to the mystery may be C’rizz’s moonstone, which the Doctor is still wearing around his neck. Before they can come to any conclusions, they hear Charley shouting for help nearby; she has evaded Keep and the surviving hunters, only to run into a pool of quicksand. The Doctor and Perfection help pull her out, but Charley and Perfection are instantly jealous of one another; nevertheless, they have no choice but to flee together, as Keep and the hunters draw nearer.

Elsewhere, Guidance leads C’rizz to the original Church of the Foundation to remind him of the creed he has forgotten; Guidance found it some time ago, but chose not to inform Keep. He believes that he and C’rizz were destined to be brought together here, and as C’rizz wonders why this is, he finally realises what the “Foundation” really is. Guidance is disappointed when C’rizz refers to the Church as the way out, which is not the way Guidance sees things; however, C’rizz no longer follows his father’s creed. In any case, the Church is closed to them, as they have each given up their moonstones; C’rizz gave his to the Doctor, and Guidance surrendered his to Keep but suspects that Perfection has since stolen it. The moonstones are indeed the key -- literally, for when joined together, they will open its door or ensure that it remains locked forever.

The Doctor, Charley and Perfection arrive at the entrance to the Foundation, which lies underground beneath a slab of rock like a manhole cover. There, they are reunited with Guidance, who claims that all of this has happened before; the Doctor agrees, but unlike Guidance, he and Perfection seek a way out of this endless cycle. Charley, for her part, is bitterly disappointed to learn that C’rizz has apparently been using his companions all along in order to get here, but before the Doctor can question his motives more closely, Keep arrives and orders them to stand back. He’s used the hunt as an excuse to herd them all together here, and now he intends to enter the Church alone. When the Doctor refuses to surrender, wild animals emerge from the jungle and close in on them, apparently at Keep’s command. The Doctor and his allies retreat underground into a tunnel, closing the cover before them -- but as Keep hammers angrily on the slab of rock, the Doctor and Charley realise that he’s making the same sound the Divergents made when they tried to break out of their own timeline.

Frustrated by Perfection’s snide comments, Charley lashes out at her for manipulating the Doctor into this position. The Doctor agrees that she has a point, and in response, Perfection takes the Doctor’s moonstone and joins it with hers to create a key. When she saw that the Doctor had the other half, she knew she had to get him here in order to open the door. Charley explains that it’s the door back to their Universe, but then must admit that she knows this because Rassilon told her. Keep then breaks down the door, and since he no longer needs the wild animals, he absorbs them back into his body; like the faux Jembere-Bud, whom he generated to spy on Perfection, they were only ever extensions of his self. The Doctor now understands why Keep speaks fluent French: it’s because Charley learned French from her uncle Jacques, and Keep is part of her -- and the Doctor. When they first arrived in this Universe, they were caught in a chamber that accelerated the evolutionary process; they chose to reverse what was happening to them, but if they hadn’t, then Keep is what they would have become together.

Keep reveals that he emerged from the chamber to find that the Divergents had withered and died. He absorbed their knowledge into himself, but chose to let the Doctor and Charley remain as separate individuals, since they were bringing fresh concepts and ideas to this stagnant Universe. Now they’ve shown him the way out, and just as he has absorbed all of the dominant species of this Universe into himself, he intends to do the same for the next Universe and every one beyond, keeping all forms of life safe within himself so that nothing need ever die. Horrified, Charley begins to wonder whether Rassilon was right to lock the Divergents away, but the Doctor points out that Keep is not a natural product of their timeline. Rather, he believes that this little blue planet is Rassilon’s creation, orbiting the Divergent timeline in an endless cycle, drawing in life through the volcano and reducing it to its constituent parts to ensure that nothing progresses too far.

Guidance declares Keep to be an aberration and demands that Perfection surrender the moonstone key to him, and Keep finally decides that he’s had enough and generates vultures that tear out Guidance’s eyes. C’rizz then strikes down Keep and Perfection with a particle wave disseminator -- the same device Rassilon used to torture the Kro’ka -- and takes the moonstone key. Guidance dies from his injuries, still insisting that he was justified in his actions. The Doctor sympathises for C’rizz’s loss, but after a moment’s hesitation, C’rizz shoots the Doctor and Charley as well. As the TARDIS materialises in the tunnel and Rassilon emerges, C’rizz reveals that the Church’s name has been corrupted throughout the years; this is not the Foundation, but the Foundry. And C’rizz didn’t betray the Doctor to his father -- because he’s already betrayed him to Rassilon...

Part Six
(drn: 39'36")

Rassilon reveals that he’s been inside the TARDIS since before the Doctor reclaimed it on Caerdroia -- and now that the Doctor has brought it to the Foundry, Rassilon can use it to return home. However, C’rizz refuses to hand over the moonstone until Rassilon has fulfilled his part of their bargain and used his Foundry to change the course of history in this timeline, ensuring that C’rizz will be reunited with L’da in the next life. The Doctor reminds C’rizz that Rassilon promised the Kro’ka his freedom, and he instead ended up frantically trying to appease two masters at once. However, Rassilon reveals that the Eutermersans were bred to be chameleonic in personality as well as appearance, which means that C’rizz has truly switched loyalties.

Rassilon ushers C’rizz and the Kro’ka into the TARDIS and dematerialises, leaving the Doctor stuck outside the Foundry with no hope of escape. The Doctor is puzzled by Rassilon’s parting shot, as he’d had no intention of leaving this Universe anyway; he still believes himself to be infected with anti-Time, and in any case, if he opens up the Foundry, Keep will get in and go on to devour the next Universe. However, Charley reveals that Rassilon claimed the Doctor was free of his infection, and Keep then reveals that he can squeeze his body through the space between the lock in any case. The Doctor has no choice but to pursue Keep, but when he has trouble decoding the logarithms that will open the bulkhead, Perfection helps him with a remarkably “lucky guess”...

The TARDIS materialises inside the Foundry, where Rassilon discovers that the outer bulkhead has been breached and activates the defences. The Doctor, Charley and Perfection find themselves pursued by a wall of molten lava, cosmic matter drawn in through the volcano -- and the Doctor is separated from the others when Perfection drags Charley to safety behind another bulkhead. Dismissing the Doctor as lost, Perfection opens up another bulkhead leading to Rassilon’s armoury, intending to collect a weapon with which to dispose of her husband. When Charley demands to know how Perfection knows so much about the Foundry, Perfection loses her temper and snaps at Charley -- with a familiar, crackling undertone to her voice...

Trapped between the flowing lava and a dead-end corridor, the Doctor uses his mental link with the Kro’ka to ask for help. The Kro’ka scoffs at him, but the Doctor reminds him that Rassilon can’t be trusted to keep his promises; even if the Kro’ka does get into the next Universe, Rassilon will no doubt hunt him down for the sport. However, if the Kro’ka saves the Doctor’s life, the Doctor will give him his TARDIS. The Kro’ka lets the Doctor steam for a moment (figuratively) before agreeing to his terms; however, Rassilon catches him diverting the lava flow and punishes him with the particle disseminator. Seeing the way Rassilon treats the Kro’ka finally convinces C’rizz that Rassilon has been lying to him, and Rassilon admits that this is the case. He deliberately bred the Eutermersans to be easily swayed, so that their species would follow the creed of the Foundation and bring the moonstone key to the lock at the end of every life cycle. Rassilon now uses the key to open the door between the Universes; however, the cosmic spheres have not yet intersected, and anyone who passes through the door now will simply begin their next cycle in this Universe. Rassilon offers C’rizz the chance to pass through and be reunited with L’da, but C’rizz now knows that this will mean reliving the horrors of his past all over again.

Rassilon then experiences a nasty shock as a swarm of insects buzzes in through the gaps in the bulkhead and reforms into Keep. Keep took this form once before, when the Doctor and Charley first entered the interzone, in order to delay them and give the Kro’ka a chance to catch up with them. He now reveals to the horrified Rassilon that this is not the first time he’s been here; this is Rassilon’s 84th time through the loop, and on each occasion, he has failed to open the door and has been sent back to the start of his life in this Universe, his memories of the previous iteration erased. Just as Rassilon manipulated the Eutermersans to get the key to the lock, the Divergents -- and now Keep -- have manipulated Rassilon for the same reason. As Rassilon and the Kro’ka protest, Keep generates two gibbering monkeys from his flesh, and the monkeys throw Rassilon and the Kro’ka through the door, sending them back to the start of their life cycle once more -- but this time with their memories intact.

Keep then strikes down C’rizz, destroying the particle wave disseminator before C’rizz can use it against him. However, as Keep approaches the TARDIS, Perfection and Charley arrive -- and C’rizz’s mind snaps when he realises that Charley has been possessed by some malevolent entity and is no longer the friend he remembers. Perfection shoots Keep with a harpoon gun, and although Keep was expecting to laugh off the injury, he discovers that the harpoon was tipped with a regenerative inhibitor. Keep collapses into an undifferentiated mass of flesh, temporarily unable to generate any new life forms from his body.

The Doctor arrives to find that the good guys have apparently won and that the Universes are coming into synch. However, he refuses to allow Perfection into the TARDIS, as he’s worked out the truth about her. He was disturbed when she killed Jembere-Bud’s mother just so she could accompany him into the jungle; he became suspicious when she mentioned the legend of Adam and Eve, which shouldn’t exist in this Universe; and his suspicions were confirmed when she referred to Charley by name before she should have known it. He now knows that the TARDIS tried to crash into this planet because it sensed her presence -- or rather, the presence of the entity that now possesses her. Rassilon was telling the truth about one thing at least; the anti-Time infection was filtered out of the Doctor when he arrived in this Universe, and when the real Perfection killed herself to escape the brutal Keep, it possessed her body. The woman calling herself Perfection is in fact Zagreus.

Zagreus laughs, releases Charley from her thrall and prepares to board the TARDIS. C’rizz tries to stop her, desperate to do the right thing, but she knocks him halfway across the room with a blow. The Doctor does nothing to stop her from boarding, but as the frustrated Charley concludes that their Universe is now doomed despite all that they’ve been through, the Doctor points out something that Zagreus failed to notice in all the confusion. Keep seems to have disappeared... and there’s a second TARDIS in front of the other one. Too late, Zagreus learns that she’s stepped into Keep’s body, and her former husband melts around her, wrapping her up in his flesh as she struggles to escape.

While Zagreus and Keep are fighting with each other, the Doctor prepares to escape with his friends -- but it’s clear that Charley and C’rizz are no longer friends, and as they snipe angrily at each other, the Doctor slams the TARDIS door shut, refusing to leave until his companions have settled their differences. If they can’t live together as a team, then the conflict between them will end up getting them killed. The Doctor stands firm despite his companions’ protests, and as time runs out, Charley finally caves in and admits that she’s jealous of anyone who gets too close to the Doctor; she thought she was following him into this Universe to help him, but she’s the one who needed him all along. C’rizz in turn admits that he no longer knows who he really is or what he’s capable of, but he wants to travel with the Doctor and Charley, because he likes who he is in their company and he wants to stay that way. Charley still isn’t sure whether she can trust him, but she has little choice, and she and C’rizz agree to put aside their differences and travel together as friends. The Doctor thus ushers his companions into the TARDIS and dematerialises, passing back into his own Universe just as the two timelines drift back out of synch.

Zagreus fights her way free of Keep’s embrace only to find that she’s missed her chance to escape; she’ll be trapped in this timeless Universe for another twenty to thirty millennia until the loop resets itself again. Keep then points out that they’ll both need to keep themselves busy while they wait, and proposes that they renew their marriage vows; rather than lay the galaxies to waste fighting with each other, they can team up and really show this Universe who’s boss. Intrigued, Zagreus accepts his offer. As for Rassilon and the Kro’ka, they’re trapped in an earlier stage of the cycle, stuck in the Divergents’ accelerated evolution chamber and going through the same experiences that the Doctor and Charley did when they first arrived. Their senses are atrophying, and Rassilon can feel his sense of identity slipping away. He cries out for help, but this time around, there’s nobody watching...

The TARDIS materialises in a dark, metal chamber, and the Doctor, Charley and C’rizz emerge and try to get their bearings. The Doctor stops Charley and C’rizz when they start to squabble, finds his way to a door, and, despite his companions’ concern, opens it to see what’s on the other side. Unfortunately, he finds out. The good news is, they’re definitely back in their own Universe. The bad news is, they’ve fallen into the hands of Davros -- and the Daleks...

Source: Cameron Dixon

Continuity Notes:
  • The Doctor and Charley entered the divergent timeline following the events of Zagreus, met the Kro’ka and C’rizz in The Creed of the Kromon, and remained unwilling participants in the Divergents’ experiments until Caerdroia. C’rizz’s moonstone first appeared in The Last. The end of this story leads into the next Eighth Doctor audio, Terror Firma.
  • While dining with Keep, the Doctor refers to a similar meal he took on a Pacific island in the 1930s, presumably a reference to the comic strip Tooth and Claw.
  • Guidance punishes his son by ducking him repeatedly underwater -- which may be a deliberate reference to the cyclical nature of events in this Universe, since C’rizz has undergone water torture before in The Creed of the Kromon.
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