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Short Trips: Seven Deadly Sins
edited by David Bailey

Cover Blurb
Short Trips: Seven Deadly Sins

The darker side of human nature is a terrible place. Its twisted pathways and dismal corners lie ready to lead even the most virtuous traveller astray. And when someone makes just one wrong step, the darkness is quick to close in and engulf them...

Between these covers, you will find seven tales of vice, exploring the dark places at the edge of the universe. The Doctor tries to stand against the tide, to bring even a chink of light, of hope, but what good is it when he cannot even save himself from the seven deadly sins?

Alone, these seven stories tell terrible tales of misadventure, misdeed and misery -- together, they reveal an even darker story...

sins n. : 1: the breaking of divine or moral law, esp. by a conscious act. 2: an offense against good taste or propriety.

‘You can’t expect perfection, not even from me!’ - Doctor Who: The Face of Evil by Chris Boucher

If there were no sin in the universe, there would be nothing for the Doctor to fight against. Wrongdoing, in one form or another, is what the Doctor sets out to stop. But the seven deadly sins are more than simply crimes or misconduct -- they are pure, selfish emotions, unstoppable forces of desire. And humanity is nothing if not a slave to its desire.

Meet poor, dying Agatha, whose crippling envy of others’ health is sending her mad; and the tribal chief whose burning hatred and craving for revenge is so powerful it twists reality. Witness the true-life crimes of Dead Man’s Chestington and Black-Eyed Susan; and the hideous results of an eating contest gone horribly wrong. An old friend returns, and her inescapable infatuation reaches dizzying new heights -- while the object of her affection makes his own tragic mistakes. And, throughout everything, there are those who are just trying to make a dishonest buck...

Seven Deadly Sins plumbs the depths of humanity’s dark side. And it is also the tale of those who have travelled through time and space to hear the stories contained herein -- and to relish the taste of their subjects’ wretchedness...

  • This is the twelfth volume of short stories published by Big Finish in the Short Trips series.
  • Released: March 2005
    ISBN: 1 84435 146 7

SLOTH: The Duke’s Folly by Gareth Wigmore 1st Doctor, Ian, Barbara, Susan

Some time ago, the Doctor and Susan found themselves in trouble during the Indian Mutiny, and the Duke of Chilgrove saved their lives at great risk to his own. The grateful Doctor agreed to act as guardian to the Duke’s young son, David, should anything ever happen to the Duke himself. Following the Duke’s death, the Doctor visits 19th-century England, posing as Earl Foreman, only to find that David is not the man his father was; he is lazy and profligate, and is in love with a classless American woman named Joy St Peter. The Doctor sends Ian and Susan to America to find out what they can about the woman’s family, but while they’re gone, David loses a substantial amount of money while gambling, is expelled from Cambridge for skipping classes, and accidentally burns down his ancestral home, Warblington Hall, by carelessly failing to extinguish a cigar before going to bed. Ian and Susan then return from America, having experienced a number of dangerous adventures, with the news that Joy St Peter’s father was recently released from prison -- but he’s mended his ways, and in any case, she has had nothing to do with him for years. Joy does manage to charm the Doctor despite himself, and marries David when he comes of age. As the Doctor prepares to take his leave, David admits to Ian that the Doctor has taken more of an interest in his life than his own father ever did, but the Doctor scoffs when Ian suggests that perhaps the Duke could have taken more care with his own family. However, when he tries to take Ian back to 1865 to meet the old Duke and see for himself, the TARDIS materialises on an alien world with four moons, suggesting that perhaps there are things that the Doctor should work harder at himself.

Time-Placement: arbitrary.

WRATH: That Which Went Away by Mark Wright 2nd Doctor, Jamie, Zoe

The TARDIS materialises in Scandinavia during the Dark Ages, and the Doctor and his companions are set upon by barbarians led by the vicious Vignor. The Doctor and Zoe are saved by Bior, the drighten of another tribe, but Jamie is struck down by Vignor and left for dead. Bior takes Jamie back to his village, where the medicine man, Hefn, tends to his injures. While waiting for Jamie to recover, the Doctor and Zoe help out around the village, meet Bior’s wife Aella and his five-year-old son Einar, and learn that Bior’s and Vignor’s villages are competing for limited resources as winter draws in. The Doctor also notices that Bior and his thanes leave the village every night and return at dawn, but they refuse to explain where they have gone. Once Jamie is well enough, Bior invites him along, and the worried Doctor follows them and sees Hefn using magic to transform the thanes -- and Jamie -- into bears. When the Doctor confronts Hefn and Bior over this unnatural transformation, they insist that the magic is used only to protect the village, and point out that Jamie’s injuries have now fully healed. The Doctor fears that Jamie may choose to remain here, but before Jamie can decide, Vignor’s men raid the village and Einar is killed during the battle. The grief-stricken Bior orders Hefn to transform the thanes into bears once again so he may exact vengeance on Vignor’s tribe. Hefn refuses to twist his magic to a dark purpose, but Bior summons the thanes and Jamie to his side, and they find themselves unable to resist his call. Bior orders the thanes to kill Zoe and Aella if Hefn refuses to work his magic, and the medicine man reluctantly does so. The Doctor knocks Jamie out of the way just in time, but Bior and the others are transformed into bears and descend upon Vignor’s village, slaughtering men, women and children. Bior himself tears Vignor apart, but when the thanes return to human form, Bior remains trapped in the shape of a bear. The Doctor brokers peace between the survivors with the help of Aella and Vignor’s widow, and Hefn burns the bear skins that were used in the ritual. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe depart, knowing that the vengeful Bior will likely remain trapped in the form of a bear for the rest of his life.

Time-Placement: arbitrary.

ENVY: Angel by Tara Samms 3rd Doctor, Jo

A dying woman named Marion Connors lies bedridden in hospital, envious of those in good health and of the patients whose loved ones come to visit them. At night, she dreams of drifting through the corridors as a disembodied spirit with the power to torment those she hates; in this form, she breathes sickness into a fellow patient’s visiting son, who then develops cancer as the rash on Marion’s skin takes on the form of a crab. The Doctor and Jo arrive at the hospital to investigate, and the Doctor sees that Marion’s rash has taken on the form of time equations; however, due to the Time Lords’ meddling with his memory, he is unable to decipher them. Marion realises that her rash takes the form of whatever hurts her victims the most; the equations remind the Doctor that, like her, he is trapped and unable to escape. She attempts to kill him while dreaming, but he is too full of vitality for her to strike him down. He returns to the hospital and warns her that an alien force is feeding off her misery and giving her the ability to spread that misery to others; however, when he offers to help her fight it, she instead asks him to put her out of her misery by killing her. If he does, she will show him the rest of the time equations he needs to escape his exile. Though tempted, he turns her down and instead teaches her fellow patients how to defend themselves from her astral attacks. Unable to cause any further harm, unable to do anything at all, Marion loses the will to live and dies, with the equations on her body still incomplete and the Doctor still trapped.

Time-Placement: arbitrary; however, the Doctor is still visibly chafing at his confinement to 20th-century Earth.

LUST: Suitors, Inc. by Paul Magrs 4th Doctor, Romana, K9

Arriving in Britain in the late summer of 1979, the Doctor and Romana find to their great surprise that the Doctor has somehow become a sex symbol and that a nearby factory is using alien technology to produce electronic Suitors in his image, otherwise known as Gigolobots or Erotic DoctorBots. Although initially flattered by the attention, the Doctor eventually decides to investigate when he learns that some of the old ladies who have purchased the DoctorBots have vanished under mysterious circumstances. He and Romana soon realise who’s behind the bizarre events when they discover that the factory is called Wildthyme Unlimited -- as in Iris Wildthyme, who has already begun manufacturing a second series of DoctorBots in the image of his third incarnation. Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan are also investigating the strange circumstances that have turned their old friend into a sex symbol, but they are captured by Iris’ DoctorBots when they enter the factory, as is the Doctor when he tries to disguise himself as one of the DoctorBots. Romana and K9, feeling that the Doctor just enjoys making things more complicated, simply remove one of the DoctorBots’ electronic brains and rewire it to short out the others, thus putting the kybosh on Iris’ plans. Entering the factory with their appropriately-named Kybosh Machine, however, they discover that Iris is in fact in league with Binky, the evil warrior leader of a planet of cats, who has stolen her double-decker bus and is forcing her to use the DoctorBots to transport little old ladies to the Pussyworld. Iris, the Doctor, Sarah and Harry are transported to the Pussyworld just as Romana and K9 arrive, and the two have little choice but to follow the others, as once again the Doctor’s adventures are never as simple as they’d like.

Time-Placement: arbitrary; however, as the setting is the summer of ’79, it makes sense to position it close to the stories that were broadcast around that time.

Continuity: Iris Wildthyme first appeared in the short story Old Flames, and has reappeared in numerous novels and stories since. The Pussyworld was mentioned at the end of the novel Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

PRIDE: The 57th by John Binns 5th Doctor, Nyssa

Three scientists are assigned to research station number 57 on a newly-discovered, unnamed planet: Sarah Emmins, her husband Stuart Gorey, and young Ian Bird. However, after three years of relative calm, the scientists run into a problem when Bird comes back to the base twice over. The duplicate is placed in quarantine, questioned and examined, and the scientists come to a grudging acceptance that he doesn’t know what he is or how he came to exist. However, their superiors in the head research station are more deeply concerned, and when the Doctor and Nyssa arrive and claim to be experts in this sort of thing, they are sent to investigate. The Doctor is concerned that the duplicate may have a hidden agenda, as is Dr Gorey; however, Emmins is convinced that the duplicate is telling the truth and doesn’t know where he came from. Gorey believes that the duplicate is a clone created by a rival corporation to interfere with their work, and Bird, already unnerved by seeing his own duplicate, is letting Gorey’s fear rub off on him. The Doctor questions the duplicate, but it realises that he doesn’t fully trust it and finally loses its temper, feeling that it’s being treated as a laboratory animal when it just wants to know for itself what it is. The duplicate thus kidnaps Emmins and holds her in the base’s collection room, threatening to open the doors and expose her to the corrosive chemical atmosphere outside unless it is allowed to participate fully in the investigation into its existence. The Doctor convinces Gorey to let him talk to the duplicate, confident that he can prevent disaster -- but the duplicate, knowing that it is unique, has concluded that it was created by the planet to act as an ambassador. If so, the people it was sent to contact have greeted it with suspicion and fear, and now the Doctor seems to be trying to predict its actions in order to control it. To show that it cannot be controlled by others, the duplicate opens the doors. Gorey rushes in and grapples with the duplicate while the Doctor gets Emmins to safety, but Gorey is killed by the corrosive storm. The duplicate itself vanishes, but the Doctor can’t tell whether it too was killed. The subdued Doctor and Nyssa return to the head research station, but while the Doctor is upset by his failure, he fails to notice that Nyssa is even more affected by the tragedy, which was brought on at least partly by their interference.

Time-Placement: arbitrary, in release order.

AVARICE: Telling Tales by David Bailey 6th Doctor, Peri

Soon after leaving Varos, the Doctor detects an energy trace in the space-time Vortex, and realises that something is following him. Peri points out that the transmission’s pattern is too regular to be accidental, and the Doctor realises that something has been following and watching him for quite some time. He manages to trace the transmission before it cuts out, and follows it to a crowded complex of some kind on a devastated, oppressive wasteland of a world. There, he encounters the harried Monitor Kall, who has just received a report from the technician Lotu that the Doctor has realised what was going on; Lotu tried to destroy the evidence, but shut down the systems too late. Kall leads the Doctor and Peri to a strangely oppressive and doom-laden library full of data crystals, where they meet the Overseers in charge of the complex. The lead Overseer, Penser, explains that his people discovered this world in a fold of space, connected to but not a part of the real Universe. The entirety of space and time is available for them to view, but having profited from this ability, his people became complacent and stagnant. Lotu thus began weaving tales of misery and woe from the visions open to him, and watching others’ unspeakable tragedy and suffering made the Overseers’ people feel alive again. They then began to sell these stories to the richest and most powerful people in the Universe, giving them a taste of suffering and at the same time charging outrageous prices to ensure that their clients knew the Overseers would always be richer and more powerful than they. The Doctor, disgusted by the Overseers’ profiting from misery and by the fact that they’ve been observing his own adventures, vows to stop them -- but the Overseers then reveal that it’s even worse than that. They’ve begun to run out of stories, and Lotu has been tweaking the threads of reality so that the Doctor’s adventures have become even more desperate, dangerous and miserable of late. Worse, when Lotu switched off his machine, he was in the middle of rewriting another of the Doctor’s adventures so that an innocent bystander, a crippled man named Laurence, got caught up in the middle of it. Laurence had fallen in love with his caregiver, Ellen, but now, thanks to Lotu’s meddling, Ellen met a UNIT corporal named Damon Burton during the Doctor’s adventure, fell in love with him and left Laurence without ever realising his feelings for her. Worse, because Lotu switched off in the middle of editing, now Laurence is stuck in a single moment of the story, trapped alone in his flat forever. Penser reveals that the machine that controls the stories is breaking down, as Shen, the man who had volunteered to serve as its organic core, is dying -- and unless the Doctor agrees to return and take Shen’s place when he dies, the Overseers will continue to tweak his life until he spreads nothing but misery wherever he goes. The Doctor has no choice but to give his word that he will return to this world when Shen dies. Before he leaves, the Overseers allow him to visit Laurence in his moment of frozen Time and explain the situation to him. The Doctor can do nothing but apologise, but he promises that one day he will find a way to save Laurence somehow.

Time-Placement: the Doctor and Peri have only just left Varos when the Doctor picks up the mysterious signal.

GLUTTONY: Too Rich for My Blood by Rebecca Levene 7th Doctor, Chris, Benny

The Doctor takes Chris and Bernice to a Las Vegas casino called the Intergalactic, which, for reasons of his own, the Doctor refers to privately as the Purloined Letter. Bernice borrows $2,010 from the Doctor and starts to play poker, but one of her opponents runs out of money for the pot and tosses in an electronic ticket that will enable the winner to attend a big game upstairs for very high stakes. Benny wins the pot and attends the game out of curiosity, only to discover that the stakes are the highest imaginable; when a player runs out of money, they are taken away to be killed. Meanwhile, the curious Chris attends a competitive eating contest as a spectator, and finds himself sitting beside a man named Tom who advises him to bet on the little guy, Jimmy Lilly. Jimmy polishes off food faster than should be humanly possible -- and seems to get hungrier as he goes, until he suddenly turns to the man beside him and starts to eat him alive. Jimmy’s victim shakes him off -- and then turns on the person beside him. Chris tries to evacuate the panic-stricken crowd, but someone has locked the doors of the casino, trapping them all inside with the rapidly spreading contagion. Chris manages to lead some survivors to safety in a locked freezer cabinet, but by the time they seal the doors, less than half a dozen remain uninfected. Meanwhile, the Doctor confronts the alien owners of the casino; he’s the one who locked the doors in order to stop the infection from getting out onto the streets of Vegas, but he demands that the aliens explain why they’ve done this. In fact, they aren’t responsible, or at least not directly; their ship crashed in the desert in 1947, and, fearing what the American government would do to them, they hired Bugsy Malone as their go-between when they sold the remains of their ship. They have since prospered in Vegas by doing favours for the mob -- and now one of the aliens, desperate for a taste of danger, has joined the high-stakes poker game by selling the serum that enables the slow-lived aliens to accelerate their metabolisms and live at an ordinary human rate. Tom gave this serum to Jimmy in order to increase his metabolic rate so that he’d win the eating contest, but it’s had a far more devastating effect than anyone expected. The Doctor visits the poker game, where Benny has just won the last hand, beating out the alien player, Chuck. She gets to live, but Chuck must forfeit his life -- and the Doctor thus sends him downstairs to walk into the crowd of infected people. By now most of the infected have already died, their accelerated metabolisms burning their bodies away to skin and bone, but the few surviving victims tear Chuck apart and eat him -- and the alien enzymes in his body counteract the effects of the serum, restoring them to normal. The Doctor orders the aliens to use their memory-erasing technology so that the survivors of the tragedy won’t remember what they’ve seen -- or done.

Time-Placement: though it seems a bit much to believe that the Doctor would expose Benny and Chris to such a traumatic experience immediately after the events of Eternity Weeps, this is the only period we know of in which they were travelling together without Roz.

linking material by Jacqueline Rayner (Prologue/Epilogue by David Bailey) 8th Doctor

The Doctor hosts a presentation called the Purgatoria Experience for seven very special clients. These seven are amongst the richest and most powerful in the galaxy, and they’ve paid good money for an experience unlike any other -- and that’s just what the Doctor intends to give them. King Loesin of Granneth is so indolent that he doesn’t even lift a finger to save himself when he believes that the Doctor has locked them both inside a room with a bomb. General Candy is consumed with rage and has slaughtered uncountable innocents in her quest for military victory at all costs. Tebediatroculozan is a Time Lord who has everything going for him, or would have if he weren’t so envious of the Doctor’s adventurous spirit. The vampire queen Fiorla once gave in to her desire for the handsome stranger who passed through her village, and has been condemned to a half-life of bloodlust ever since. Pooh-bah, an artificial life form created for a theme park, was created with an overwhelming sense of pride -- and that sense of pride led him to ignore peace overtures when his people went to war with their creators over their right to exist. Miss Tabitha Dunhut has ruined whole worlds’ economies in her single-minded drive for profit. And Gilbert Fleshsmith, the greatest celebrity chef in the galaxy, has driven species to extinction and ruined the health of millions by espousing a diet of fattening gourmet foods, while relying on surgery and other advanced medical techniques to remain fit and trim for the cameras. Each person is consumed by a particular vice, and once they are in their separate chambers and hooked up to the proper implants, the Doctor deliberately provokes them into displaying that vice -- and triggers the implants once their emotions are at their peak, causing them to experience a story directly related to their great sin. After the show is complete, the Doctor is confronted by the furious Overseers, led by Penser, who accuse him of reneging on their deal -- but he reveals that by overloading each mind with the misery of one of the seven primal sins, he’s burnt out the circuitry of the Overseers’ machine. Not only has he destroyed the misery machine, but he’s freed his seven clients from the grasp of their vices -- and now seven of the richest and most powerful people in the galaxy regard the Doctor as their saviour, and will react very poorly if the Overseers attempt to ruin his life in revenge. Satisfied, the Doctor is finally able to keep his promise to Laurence and free him from the story in which he’s been trapped.

Time-Placement: the Doctor refers to Romana being President of Gallifrey and to the Dalek invasion, presumably the one that occurred in The Apocalypse Element.

Source: Cameron Dixon

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