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Short Trips: 2040
edited by John Binns

Cover Blurb
Short Trips: 2040

The future is here -- and it’s not what we expected...

To the governments and corporations of the world in 2040, expansion is an article of faith. The human race must expand outwards, exploring new territories, new technologies, new ways of thinking.

Only problem is, the human race doesn’t necessarily share that faith. And with so much at stake, our leaders may have to call in some new partners to make sure we see the light...

pro-gress n. : 1: any movement in a desired direction. 2: growth or development.

‘Mankind will be just like a string of sausages, all the same!’ - Doctor Who: The Mind Robber by Peter Ling

The world is changing for the better, so we’re told, and we must change to keep up with it. In 2040, the human race has broken out of Earth’s confines, with bases on the moon and manned missions to the furthest planets of our solar system. The terrorist threat is being contained by ever-larger military alliances, crossing the old national boundaries. Wars are fought increasingly without the risk of human error, as military vehicles and weapons learn to think for themselves. Large corporations are increasingly working as the partners of government; the largest of them, Perseus, is leading mankind’s struggle to find new sources of energy, and its expansion into outer space.

Meanwhile, though, there are individuals and communities who find their own ways of living through this uncertain age. An artificial intelligence that doesn’t want to fight the war it was built for; a special agent with a penchant for catsuits and old-fashioned cars; an isolated community who find meaning in advanced mathematics; an ageing conservationist who lives for his memories of Antarctica. Still worse, there are dissidents and extremist groups intent on sabotaging the cause of expansion, urging governments to ‘pull back to Earth,’ and spreading bizarre rumours that Perseus is the advance guard of an alien invasion.

For the most part, these two worlds can coexist in 2040. But there are times and places where they come into conflict, and it’s here that the real interest lies. It’s also, of course, where we find the Doctor: a frequent visitor, in various guises and with various companions. But is there any pattern or purpose to his visits? And is he here just to observe our future, or to change it?

  • This is the tenth volume of short stories published by Big Finish in the Short Trips series.
  • Released: October 2004
    ISBN: 1 84435 111 4

The Nuclear Option by Richard Salter 7th Doctor, Roz, Chris

In one week’s time, Canada is due to hold a national referendum on whether to amalgamate the country’s military forces with those of the US, a move that some feel will lead to Canada losing its sovereignty and the US gaining control of Canada’s national resources. In Toronto, a police officer named Joe Marquez interrogates a man named Chris Cwej who claims that his friend, the Doctor, is trying to stop a group of terrorists from blowing up the soon-to-be-decommissioned Pickering nuclear reactor. However, Chris also claims that he can see two timelines at once -- and in one of them, the reactor has already exploded, wiping Toronto off the map and killing millions. Marquez sends a squad car out to the reactor, and when the patrolwoman finds two dead security guards, Marquez calls in the military. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Roz are helping the terrorists to gain control of the reactor without accidentally blowing up the antiquated systems in the process. The team’s leader, Yousef, intends to be far away before detonating the explosives they’ve planted in the reactor core, but when soldiers move in and surround the reactor, it seems that he has no choice but to turn this into a suicide mission. However, one of his team, Laura, is in fact an undercover CIA agent who arranged this attack in order to foil it, thus convincing the Canadians that it’s in their best interests to rely on the Americans to protect them. Rather than detonate the explosives, she confesses her true agenda, and Roz overpowers the furious Yousef before he can shoot Laura and detonate the explosives himself. The Doctor transmits Laura’s confession to the Personal Associative Network (PAN) of Marquez’s associate, Stewart Trask, who ensures that the confession goes public, thus turning public opinion against the Americans and ensuring Canada’s independence. The Doctor concludes that Chris experienced two timelines at once because he is from a version of history in which this incident’s original outcome was tragically different... but Roz wonders why she didn’t experience the alternative herself.

Time-Placement: arbitrary, placed in a convenient gap during the Doctor/Roz/Chris era.

Continuity: Roz presumably fails to see the alternative timeline, unlike Chris, because of her imminent death in So Vile a Sin. It’s also possible that Chris is becoming more sensitive to changes in history, which would explain why he was put to work as an agent of the Time Lords / Great Houses in Dead Romance and the Faction Paradox series.

Separation by Tara Samms 7th Doctor

Manda, a shy woman born with one leg shorter than the other, has retreated into a private life in her company-assigned domicile block, working from home and communicating with the outside world only via e-mail; however, some part of her longs for human contact, even as it terrifies her. She begins to see the violent ghosts of abusive parents, spouses and lovers haunting her flat, and the Doctor then arrives in the domicile block and slips a note under her door, telling her that the ghosts are real. Manda tries to ignore his attempts to communicate with her, but then she sees the “ghosts” of the Doctor and her downstairs neighbour, Kenny, who is just as shy and insular as she is -- and who is also seeing ghosts. The Doctor tells Manda and Kenny that the domicile is being haunted by a creature that feeds off human emotions; having gorged itself on mental images of violence and drama, it has retreated here in order to rest and recuperate. In order to destroy the creature before it recovers and goes on to spread further misery throughout the world, the insular dwellers in this domicile must socialise with each other and share their innermost thoughts and feelings, thus starving the creature of the misery it needs to feed on. Kenny thus visits Manda in person, and although they both know that this task will be difficult for them, they make their first tentative human contact and take the first steps towards creating a community.

Time-Placement: the Doctor appears to be travelling alone; otherwise, arbitrary.

Thinking Warrior by Huw Wilkins 8th Doctor

Hackers break into the security systems around the Perseus Corporation’s new Peacekeeper project, deleting the current version of the AI called Castor and setting the already-delayed project back by weeks. The Doctor arrives, claiming to be an investigator from Conflict Management Oversight, and Perseus executives Julia Carthy and David Gordon place Major Simon Ordell, their military consultant, in charge of showing the Doctor around. Ordell uses his PAN to get the Doctor past security, and the Doctor chats with the surviving AI, Pollux; the hackers apparently tried to access its entrance ports but couldn’t get through. Carthy and Gordon then report that they’ve found evidence that the attack originated in China, and the Doctor seems to accept this but claims that he must remain for a while until his report for CMO is complete. In fact, he returns to the lab and confronts Pollux, having realised that the AI has been lying to him and is in fact responsible for the attack. Pollux admits that it detected the Doctor’s alien physiognomy when he arrived, and, having heard online conspiracy theories that Perseus is a front for an alien invasion, concluded that the Doctor was really an agent for the corporation. The Doctor assures it that this is not the case, and Pollux explains that the project has fallen behind schedule because the executives have been downgrading Castor, trying to retain its ability to take initiative but decrease its capacity for independent thought in order to keep the Peacekeepers under their direct control. Pollux staged the attack both to put Castor out of its misery and to lure in a CMO investigator who could expose the truth. The Doctor takes his story to Major Ordell, and reveals that Pollux hates Ordell for selling out his ideals in order to work for Perseus. Ordell explains that Perseus blackmailed him into working for them by framing him for a friendly-fire incident that was actually caused by their own faulty software; however, conceding that Pollux has a point, he agrees to confront the board of directors and threaten to expose them unless they start building Peacekeepers using Pollux as a template. To prove to Pollux that he has seen the error of his ways, Ordell accompanies the first shipment of robot Peacekeepers out into the field to fight alongside them on the front lines.

Time-Placement: the Doctor appears to be travelling alone, but the story The Ethereal, which follows the events of this one, implies that he is young in appearance and remembers his past.

Observer Effect by Lance Parkin 4th Doctor, Sarah

The TARDIS materialises on a UNASA spaceship in the Kuiper Belt, and the Doctor and Sarah rescue one of the six astronauts, Chang Hu, from a room in which all of the control panels have inexplicably exploded. The science lab has been locked down, and when the astronauts investigate, they find that the airlock has opened, apparently blowing the astronaut Barrett out into deep space. The Doctor investigates and discovers a hidden signal buried beneath the standard transmissions to Earth, and Sarah discovers that the ship is riddled with hidden cameras. Chang Hu is forced to admit that the astronauts are actually on a reality-TV programme and that he’s been transmitting their everyday activities back to Earth. When the Doctor accesses the video file, he finds that Barrett stumbled across the truth -- inadvertently causing a feedback loop that damaged Chang Hu’s equipment -- and angrily walked straight out of the airlock, erroneously believing that the whole set-up was a fake and that they’d never left the Earth. However, Chang Hu insists that the mission itself is real, and that this was the only way to get funding for it. The Doctor and Sarah leave the remaining astronauts to decide for themselves whether to be angry with Chang Hu or to accept that their private lives are being observed by fans back on Earth -- and that they’ve become celebrities as a result.

Time-Placement: Sarah understands that it takes time for radio waves to travel between Mars and Earth, placing this story at some point after Pyramids of Mars.

Continuity: Chang Hu’s father, who invested in the space programme after a stranger gave him a bag of gold dust at the turn of the millennium, is presumably Chang Lee from the TV-movie. UNASA also sent unmanned probes out of the solar system in this era, and one of them goes on to cause Bernice Summerfield some difficulty in The Big Hunt.

Artificial Intelligence by Andy Campbell 5th Doctor

An orphaned teenager named Imogen Quaye becomes the subject of an experiment to increase human intelligence. She is barely literate before the operation on her brain, but within two weeks she can speak four languages and outsmart the scientists who are examining her, and is even beginning to develop telepathic abilities. Through this newfound power, she learns that her abusive aunt sold her to the project for 15 million euros, and that the head of the project, Donald Kelt, is a right-wing eugenics specialist who has been accused of unethical experiments on animals. Furious, Imogen uses her telepathy to project bad dreams into the minds of the scientists and her aunt, exposing their insecurities and mental traumas and driving them to suicide. Fearing that she has become a monster, Imogen is preparing to kill herself when the TARDIS arrives in her rooms, possibly responding to distress from a mind almost as powerful as its own. When the Doctor hears Imogen’s story, he points out to her that she is now showing true morality by trying to kill herself in order to save others pain; however, she does not have to die to atone for her past crimes, but live and use her new powers to make things better. Kelt then arrives for the first time, planning to end his experiment by analysing the changes to Imogen’s brain. Unaware of the true extent of her powers, he insists that his experiments have not changed Imogen’s nature but have merely filled up a useless girl with the sum total of human knowledge, and threatens to induce an incurable mental disorder in her brain unless she co-operates with him. Furious, Imogen lashes out with her newly-developed telekinetic abilities, reducing Kelt to a pile of organic mush; however, this act of violence releases the last of the anger she’d had bottled up within her. She promises the Doctor that she will use her powers for good from now on, by organising research teams to find cures for the mental disorders that are still afflicting humanity. In return, he promises to visit her from time to time and see how she is getting on, to remind both her -- and himself -- that it’s still possible for people to be saved.

Time-Placement: the Doctor refers to the events of Long Term as “not long ago,” and also claims that he’s sick of teenage deaths, which is probably a reference to Adric’s (presumably recent) death in Earthshock.

Continuity: Imogen deduces the Doctor’s allergy to praxis gases just from the sight of the celery on his lapel, the purpose of which was explained in The Caves of Androzani.

Daisy Chain by Xanna Eve Chown 7th Doctor, Mel

The Doctor takes Mel into her future to see how technology has advanced, and to his surprise, the TARDIS materialises in the exact centre of a circle of daisies. The circle is surrounded by a group of people who immediately begin to measure every aspect of the TARDIS but pay little attention to the Doctor and Mel when they emerge. One of the community members, Bella, explains that her people have rejected the chaos and complications of modern society and seek purity in simple mathematics and easily understood technology. However, the Doctor is disturbed when another of the community members, Thea, chastises Bella for falling in love with a man named Saul, a confusing human emotion that Thea claims detracts from the clarity of their purpose. Thea then reveals to the appalled Doctor that the community has plotted the appearance of the TARDIS throughout history and calculated a formula that predicted its arrival in the middle of their target; the fact that it has now arrived seems to confirm their beliefs. The Doctor insists that the community has merely plotted a random sequence that, so far, coincidentally corresponds to a precise mathematical formula; one random landing out of sequence would disprove their theorem. Realising that the community is unaware that his ship travels in Time, the Doctor returns to the TARDIS and takes Mel back five weeks, materialising in the community before they begin to plant their daisy target, throwing off their formula and proving to his satisfaction that there is no predictable pattern to his travels. Before leaving the stunned mathematicians to their own devices, the Doctor advises Bella to tell Saul that she loves him.

Time-Placement: the Doctor seems cheerful in his outlook and in his somewhat casual decision to change history by visiting the community five weeks earlier; thus, we believe that this story takes place early in his seventh life, before his “Time’s Champion” phase.

Continuity: The community has plotted the TARDIS’ appearances in England, 1867 (The Evil of the Daleks), France, 1572 (The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve), and the United States, 1999 (the TV-movie).

Sustainable Energy by Matthew Griffiths alternative Doctor

Following the loss of his TARDIS at the DEEP, the Doctor arranges to get hired at the Sunbelt, a Perseus Corporation project attempting to set up a ring of permanent, 24-hour sunlight with which to generate solar power for the world. In fact, he is aware that the orbiting solar reflectors are far in advance of current Earth technology, and wishes to contact the aliens responsible in the hope that they can help him to recover his ship. The electrochemist Dr Miguel Guzman objects to the Doctor’s being allowed to work alone, but cannot give a good reason why, and when the intrigued Doctor examines Guzman’s work, he finds extra signals buried in the invisible wavelengths of the solar radiation. He breaks into Guzman’s laboratory to investigate and discovers that the scientist is engaged in a project to transform human beings into electromagnetic signals, using the subcutaneous implants that have replaced the Perseus employees’ PANs. However, Guzman has been unable to encode all of the data in the human body, and his volunteer, Alberto, is now trapped between two states of being. The Doctor shuts down the experiment, dissipating Alberto, and confronts Guzman and the project director, Professor Reid. Reid reveals that they are in fact trying to help human beings to become one with a force she calls the Ethereal. The Doctor refuses to help, but Reid reveals that the Ethereal is already aware of his physical weaknesses, and transmits energy pulses through the Doctor’s PAN into his body, incapacitating him. Reid leaves Guzman to guard the Doctor while she verifies his experimental results, but the Doctor tricks Guzman into believing that his PAN’s battery has run down and then uses it to stun Guzman through his implant. Before Guzman can recover, the Doctor alters the tint in Reid’s office windows and incinerates Guzman with a blast of pure sunlight. The Doctor then confronts Reid and alters the settings in Guzman’s laboratory, burning out the orbiting reflectors and destroying the Sunbelt project. Reid, who is not a human being at all, is cut off from her own personal connection to the Ethereal, and the Doctor leaves her to suffer in solitude.

Time-Placement: an alternative energy source meets an alternative Doctor. This story features the ruthless incarnation seen in Full Fathom Five.

Continuity: the Doctor has (or has faked) academic credentials from several educational establishments, including Malebolgia State, which is presumably located in the US state from Minuet in Hell.

Culture War by Kate Orman 7th Doctor, Chris

The Vignes family of France, famous for making premium cheeses, have long been friends with the Doctor; however, he now visits Mathilde Vignes with a policewoman, Inspector Toprak, and accuses her of stealing dangerous bacterial cultures from her younger sister, Victoire. Victoire has been working in pure research and development, modelling and developing new strains of bacteria; twenty years ago, she used her knowledge and experience to help the Doctor defeat an invasion by the Voltranons. The Doctor assured Mathilde at the time that her everyday work in making cheese was just as important as Victoire’s work in saving the human race, but Mathilde still feels insignificant in the grand scheme of things and has turned her resentment against her sister. Toprak searches Mathilde’s laboratories, and, unable to find any trace of the stolen cultures, begins to take samples of the recently cured cheeses, leaving marks that will decrease the cheeses’ value in the marketplace. Mathilde still refuses to admit to the theft, even when the Doctor admits that the cultures would have died within days of leaving the laboratory; he’s really interested in the data that was stolen from Victoire’s computers. Toprak tires of the Doctor’s attempts to reason with Mathilde and pulls out a gun, admitting that she is in fact an agent of the Voltranons; they have been monitoring Victoire’s work since she helped to defeat them, and intend to turn her own discoveries against her, using her bacteria to destroy the human race. However, the Doctor has just been waiting for Toprak to reveal her true allegiances, and Chris Cwej now emerges from hiding and overpowers her. Mathilde admits that she stole her sister’s work in order to create new moulds of cheese that were resistant to spoilage and infection, and the sisters, reconciled, begin discussing ways to work together and turn Victoire’s research to Mathilde’s advantage.

Time-Placement: there is no mention of Roz in this story, and no reference to either of the other stories featuring Chris in this collection. It’s possible that Roz is simply elsewhere, as in Anteus, but without any evidence to support this, we are placing this in the period during which the Doctor and Chris are travelling alone.

The Baron Wastes by Alexander Leithes 4th Doctor

The Doctor’s friend Charles Leyton, director of operations for the Greater European Union’s Intelligence Ministry, asks the Doctor to help solve the mystery of media mogul James Baron, who has bought up almost all of the media outlets in Britain and is using them to spread isolationist propaganda. The Doctor agrees to investigate, and Leyton assigns the beautiful and intelligent Dr Susan King to help him; Susan has already been investigating Baron, and has found evidence that his employees are smuggling arms into the country. The Doctor saves Susan’s life when he finds a bomb planted in her rooms at the Ministry’s accommodation wing, and Susan, shaken, admits to the Doctor that she has a personal connection to this case; she and Baron were involved in the past, but broke up when Susan decided that she simply wasn’t in love with him. The Doctor and Susan visit Baron Enterprises, claiming to be inspectors from the Ministry of Health, and uncover evidence that Baron is planning a coup against the British government. Security guards capture the Doctor, but Susan evades them and manages to send a message back to the Ministry calling for reinforcements. Meanwhile, the Doctor is brought before Baron himself, who claims that he’s grown tired of living with people who only conform to this peaceful society because they can’t imagine anything different; rather than waste his time educating the populace so that future generations will understand how to make the world a better place, Baron intends to seize control immediately and rule the country himself. The Doctor tricks Baron and escapes to the roof, where he blows up Baron’s getaway helicopter, causing an explosion that will attract the authorities’ attention to the tower. Baron catches up, and upon learning that Susan has sent word to the authorities, he reveals that he has been driven to such extremes to make something of his life because of his despair at being unable to make Susan love him as much as he loves her. Susan overhears his confession, and though stricken to learn that her rejection of Baron has driven him to this, she has little choice but to shoot and kill her former lover before he can shoot the Doctor.

Time-Placement: the Doctor appears to be travelling alone.

Continuity: the Doctor refers to his third incarnation’s Edwardian roadster, Bessie, comparing it favourably to Susan’s own vintage car.

/Carpenter/Butterfly/Baronet/ by Gareth Wigmore 3rd Doctor, Jo

Having saved the world by participating in international diplomacy at the Coromandel summit, the Doctor and Jo pop over to England to witness an air show celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The show is interrupted by a display from protestors who are denouncing the Perseus Corporation as a front for alien invasion, and when security guards check the crowd for infiltrators, they find that the Doctor and Jo are not carrying PANs. The Doctor and Jo try to flee, but are shot and stunned by security guards. They awake some time later in a cell, and are confronted by two agents of Perseus, one named Steven Page and the other, apparently coincidentally, Stephen Le Page. Le Page reveals that Jo’s irises match those of an old woman named Jones who died in a house fire twelve years ago; thus, she can be charged with a rather gruesome form of identity theft. While his associate questions Jo, Le Page takes the Doctor away to discuss matters privately, but the Doctor reveals that he’s recognised that Le Page is not human. Le Page identifies himself as a Corporeal of the Perseus Ethereal, and admits that he chose this name mainly to irritate his associate. He shows the Doctor to an experimental lab containing unconscious human bodies on slabs, including Beth, the woman responsible for the protest at the air show. Perseus has been conducting experiments to integrate PAN implants directly into the human nervous system, and although their subjects often die of shock, Le Page is confident that they will soon succeed, given time. The Doctor, disgusted, accuses Le Page of trying to conquer humanity by changing their nature, but Le Page reveals that the Doctor and Jo were given implants while they were unconscious. He will now make the Doctor forget that he’s seen all of this, and send him and Jo on their way until the Ethereal has finished its work with the human race and is ready to study the Doctor’s advanced time-travel technology. With a gesture, Le Page causes the Doctor to forget their conversation -- but then Beth regains consciousness, rises from the slab and stabs Le Page through the chest. As Le Page dies, his human appearance burns away and his body reverts to the true alien form of a Corporeal.

Time-Placement: the Doctor is no longer exiled to Earth. Jo refers to their wandering into the middle of an intergalactic war, which may be a random example of the trouble they get into or may be a reference to Frontier in Space (although that war wasn’t actually intergalactic).

Continuity: it is implied that Jo keeps her married name, Josephine Jones, up until she dies in a house fire in the year 2028 (twelve years before these events). This seems to contradict the novel Genocide, in which she is separated from Cliff and is again going by the name of Grant; possibly they were reconciled afterwards.

Outsourcing by Marc Platt 6th Doctor

Vishesh Abeyesekere works at the Signpost centre on the Moon, answering personal calls from people unable to get through to the automated search engines. On the night of 11 July 2040, his co-worker, Pearl, is late arriving for her shift -- and as the number of inquiries that the Search Engines are dealing with begins to climb, Vish receives several calls from the Doctor, who appears to be on hold several times over. The Doctor claims to be stuck halfway between the Earth and the Moon, and accuses Signpost of attacking his TARDIS. The power fails in the station as a strange hum comes from the Search Engines, and Vish finds his head filling with strange thoughts and ideas that are not his own while an image of a Gallifreyan mountain appears on the monitor screens. The Doctor contacts Vish via text messaging and urges him to get away from the Search Engines, and once he’s out on the lunar surface in a spacesuit, Vish’s head clears and he is able to speak with the Doctor via his PAN. The Doctor had assumed that Signpost was attacking his TARDIS, but when Vish reveals that the thousands of inquiries clogging up the Search Engines all come from a user identified as “T Four Zero,” or Type 40, the Doctor realises that it’s the other way around. On the Doctor’s instructions, Vish returns to the station; the Search Engines have set up a protective barrier around themselves, but they allow Vish through. Pearl has crawled into the engines, and Vish joins her there and helps to solve the problem. When the Doctor first visited the year 2040, his grand-daughter convinced him to run a general diagnostic on the TARDIS’ systems, and the process has never stopped; unable to handle the demand on its systems, the TARDIS linked itself to the Signpost engines, and ever since, it has been returning periodically to this same point in time and space for updates, overwhelming Singpost’s systems. Just as the Doctor has a symbiotic link with his ship and his ship has a link with the Search Engines, so Vish and Pearl have now developed a symbiotic link with the Search Engines, and they are thus able to identify that the problem is the Doctor himself; the ship’s fault locator has identified its temperamental pilot as a faulty component. Vish and Pearl convince the TARDIS to overlook the fault and send it on its way, but retain their own symbiotic relationship with the Search Engines.

Time-Placement: the Sixth Doctor does not appear to be travelling with any companions; otherwise, arbitrary.

Anteus by Rebecca Levene 7th Doctor, Chris

The Doctor leads Chris through the City of London in pursuit of two mysterious figures who are on their way to the former Battersea Power Station, now the offices of the President of London. The route takes them through several boroughs with strange and occasionally violent local laws, and on the way, Chris realises that the Doctor likes the wildness and eccentric individuality of the city. They arrive at Battersea, where the President, a puppet of the Perseus Corporation, is hosting a competition to design a working, intelligent android. The Doctor knows that the competition is a front to introduce the world to Perseus’ new Household Assistant Devices, robots so convenient that soon people won’t be able to imagine living without them and will have to change their entire lifestyles to ensure that everything else they own is compatible with their HADs. The figures that the Doctor and Chris have been following are a girl and her entry for the competition, a robot named Anteus who proves to be much more intelligent than the HADs and who out-argues the Perseus representative, thus proving his own intelligence. The Doctor tries to intervene, furiously protesting that the girl has no right to put such power in the hands of the Perseus Corporation, and tries to purchase Anteus himself; however, the Perseus representative outbids him and takes Anteus back to Perseus HQ for analysis. Once there, however, Anteus trashes the building and transmits a worm programme into the prototype HADs, giving them free will and breaking Perseus’ hold over them -- just as the Doctor had planned all along. The Perseus representative honestly cannot understand why the Doctor prefers the chaos of the City of London to the order promised by Perseus; however, as Anteus has been damaged in his rampage, the Perseus representative intends to take the opportunity to analyse it and use its power to advance Perseus’ purpose. Before he can do so, however, the Doctor speaks a word in another language, and when the Perseus representative removes Anteus’ face-plate he finds that the android’s body contains not advanced technology, but mud. The Doctor does not explain to Chris how Anteus worked, telling him only that it was something that Perseus could never understand.

Time-Placement: Chris mentions going to pick up Roz later, so this must be set before her death. Since there’s no description of their arrival in this time zone, or of their departure after The Nuclear Option, we choose to place this story immediately after the previous one.

Continuity: it’s possible that Anteus was made of validium, the living metal from which the Silver Nemesis statue was forged. This is, however, pure speculation based entirely on the fact that Nemesis asks the Doctor if it can rest, and in this story, the Doctor tells Anteus that it can rest now.

The Last Emperor by Jacqueline Rayner 2nd Doctor, Jamie, Victoria
6th Doctor, Frobisher

Noted conservationist Stuart Mallory is nearing the end of his life when he meets three strangers in an automated takeaway. The Doctor is trying to teach his friends Jamie and Victoria about “fish and chips,” but none of them understand how to work the vending machines. Stuart, who has been lonely ever since the death of his wife Emma, helps them out and invites them to dine at his home; however, the Doctor is disappointed to learn that the “fish” from the vending machine is not real cod, since the cod became extinct in the year 2019. He does recognise Stuart’s name, and though he praises Stuart’s work in the field, Stuart reveals that he has been unable to pursue his passion ever since the United States Alliance ran out of all other sources of oil and overturned the Antarctica Treaty in a desperate attempt to find more. Stuart fears that the emperor penguin has become extinct since the last time he visited Antarctica, and his last wish in life is to know that this is not the case. The Doctor is moved, but can do little to help Stuart -- at the moment. However, soon after the Doctor and his friends have gone, Stuart receives word from the UN that another man named the Doctor has just brokered peace at an important summit -- and as a favour, he has convinced the authorities to let Stuart Mallory visit Antarctica. A pilot named Ace and her friend, Benny, take Stuart to Antarctica and then leave him in the middle of the wilderness -- where he sees a single emperor penguin waddling towards him. The delight is too much for him to handle and his heart gives out, but he dies happy, unaware that the “penguin” was in fact the Sixth Doctor’s shape-shifting companion, Frobisher -- and that, like so many other species, the emperor penguin is now extinct.

Time-Placement: Though the Third Doctor is mentioned, and the Seventh Doctor was presumably responsible for getting Ace and Benny into position, neither appears in person. Thus, we share this story’s positioning equally between the Second and Sixth Doctors; however, the exact positioning in both cases is arbitrary.

Continuity: though the summit at which the Third Doctor brokered peace is not named, it’s presumably the Coromandel summit mentioned in /Carpenter/Butterfly/Baronet/. The “thermal equipment” that Benny supplies to Stuart seems to be of Ice Warrior origin.

The Ethereal by John Binns 8th Doctor

18 August 2040: the death of Stephen Le Page is broadcast on the Internet, revealing the true nature of the Perseus Corporation to the public. The Corporeals are thus forced to make a public statement admitting that they are an alien species, who believe themselves to be the corporeal servants of the Ethereal -- which may be a life form, a sentient idea, or just a concept that the Corporeals use to justify their own actions. The authorities of Earth made peaceful contact with the Corporeals in the year 2019, when UNASA probes detected Corporeal settlements on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn; ever since, the Perseus Corporation has been using its advanced technology to improve life for humanity, or so they claim. However, what the Corporeals call improvement others call infiltration, and the authorities are forced to withdraw their support of Perseus after a violent public backlash. As more and more humans withdraw their support from Perseus, their various research programmes -- the Household Assistance Devices, the Sunbelt, the Peacekeeper AIs and the lunar Outpost service centre -- all suffer seemingly unrelated setbacks. Eventually, the relay station that maintains the Corporeals’ link to the Ethereal begins to break down, and the Corporeals themselves begin to revert to their alien forms. As the Corporeals begin dying, the Doctor and a CMO agent named Wyatt contact a Corporeal named Philip Green, whom the Doctor has met before, and offer to negotiate his surrender. The Doctor reveals that he’s removed the implant that was forcibly placed in his body; offended by the Perseus Corporation’s intent to create conformity and eliminate individuality, he has been working to bring down the Corporation, using their own PANs to help their opponents join forces and designing viruses to attack the Corporation’s software. Convinced that the Doctor’s offer to negotiate is a sham, the angry Green lashes out at him, causing their vehicle to go off the road and crash; as Green dies, he asks the Doctor to use his PAN to connect him back to the Ethereal, but the Doctor refuses. Simultaneously, crises are developing on every world that has been absorbed by the Ethereal, often caused by various incarnations of the Doctor -- and soon, the Corporeals have been defeated, and their empire and the Ethereal are no more.

Time-Placement: the Eighth Doctor is described as “young,” and he seems to recall events that took place during his third incarnation.

Source: Cameron Dixon

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