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Short Trips: Indefinable Magic
edited by Neil Corry

Cover Blurb
Short Trips: Indefinable Magic

An anthology of brand new Doctor Who short stories that weave a spell over the wonder that is Doctor Who.

A plot to kidnap Elvis Presley...
A woman whose horoscopes prove rather too accurate...
A devastating army of mythical beasts that conquers Britain...

The Doctor and his travelling companions live magical lives – but their lives are tainted by terror. Delve into bizarre, wondrous or simply horrifying worlds with the Doctor and his friends as they land on a world where everyone can fly, help a good friend trapped four centuries in the past, and face aliens that simply want to bring peace to humanity.

  • This is the twenty-eighth volume of short stories published by Big Finish in the Short Trips series.
  • Released: March 2009
    ISBN: 978 1 84435 384 2
What Has Happened to the Magic of Doctor Who? by Gareth Roberts --
A series of imaginary letters written to the producers of Doctor who over the period of the show's run on TV from1963 to 1988 (and a final one from 2063), each citing specific examples of why the show used to be so good but no longer is.

Phoenix by James Goss 8th Doctor
The unnamed narrator finds it hard to sleep due to a constant irritating rash. He spends the early hours of the morning looking out of the window of his house while he waits for his medication to kick in. Over the course of several mornings he thinks he has hallucinated visions of a unicorn and a phoenix in the communal garden. On the next morning he spots the Doctor who invites himself in for a cup of tea. The Doctor says that he is searching for a sentient book that is creating mythological beasts out of detritus and the body parts of animals caught by the narrator's (now speaking) cat. When the book constructs a dragon from the corpse of a fat woman, her dog and some discarded umbrellas the Doctor is involved in a near-fatal escapade but manages to overcome the book and leaves, satisfied. Unfortunately the book has created a 'Doctor' from another murdered neighbour and the narrator is transformed into a personification of fire for one final battle which the 'Doctor' wins.

Time-Placement: early in the Big Finish range of stories/ audios.

The Power Supply by Eddie Robson 1st Doctor, Vicky and Steven
The Doctor, Steven and Vicki arrive in a mine shaft on the colony world of Ca-Mon Green. They are taken prisoner and marched to the colony leader, Quosh Malven. He thinks that they are spies until his lie-detector tells him otherwise. He explains that the human colonists are at war with the planet's natives, the Kel-T. Initially, the two species existed peacefully together until the humans discovered deposits of a blue liquid that, when refined and drunk, gave the drinker superpowers including flight, super-strength and the ability to shoot electricity from the hands. After a decisive battle the humans win the war and begin to celebrate. Things are not as they seem. Steven and Vicki have noticed, on the footage from the battle front, that the same Kel-T soldiers seem to be dying over and over again. Meanwhile, the Doctor has analysed the blue liquid and found that it cannot give superpowers. The humans begin to vomit the blue liquid in vastly greater amounts than they think they have consumed and start to die in the process. The Doctor guesses that the vomiting was instigated by a signal sent by the Kel-T and that the superpowers were a mass hallucination. He concocts an antidote for the humans and confronts the Kel-T about their scheme to make the humans mine the fluid and then kill them to get the refined version. After the Doctor's intervention the humans leave the planet but two hundred years later, the Kel-T are about to start their scheme again with another group of alien colonists. This time they are stopped in their tracks by the arrival of the Fifth Doctor.

Time-Placement: Before The Myth Makers .

Favourite Star by Ian Farrington 2nd Doctor
Miranda Peel meets the Doctor on the London Underground while she is going home from work. He says that he is just visiting and that his friends have gone off to look at some tourist attractions. Miranda quickly becomes friends with the Doctor and they visit a bar together where they talk over drinks. She tells him that she has been an avid believer in horoscopes and that over the past year the horoscope in '24/7'magazine have influenced her life for the better, She is now more confident and successful due to advice which seems to be aimed at her personally. The Doctor is skeptical, particularly when she mentions that she is given the magazine for free by her neighbour Tony who works in its editorial office. Miranda meets the Doctor the next day, and once more they go for a drink. This time the Doctor tells her that he has spent the day tracking down the writer of the horoscopes and found out that the entries for Miranda's birth date are altered every time by Tony. Miranda is upset but the Doctor tells her that Tony is shy and wanted to make her life better without having the confidence to speak directly to her. Empowered by this knowledge, she leaves the Doctor and heads off to talk to Tony.

Time-Placement: before The Space Pirates

Hiccup in Time by Matthew James 3rd Doctor and Liz
Liz is trapped in 1539 after one of the Doctor's attempts to repair the TARDIS have sent her back in time. After landing on one of the Duke of Norfolk's men, breaking his leg in the process, Liz finds herself accepted in the Duke's house as a woman with beneficial scientific and medical knowledge. Over the course of three months her wisdom has become renowned and she is sought out by King Henry VIII who is suffering from incurable hiccups. Norfolk is aghast, he realises that if Liz fails to cure the king he and Liz will be executed. Liz tries a variety of remedies, from medicine to shouting "boo!" but none of them work.

Meanwhile, the Doctor notices Liz's absence from UNIT HQ. He reads the note she left for him, saying that she was going to Cambridge, and realises with horror that it is in his handwriting and must have been written by his future self to overcome some problem of his own making.

The Doctor arrives just as a pyre is being built to burn Liz and the Duke at the stake. He has only just been given the power to use the TARDIS by the Time Lords and has arrived as close to Liz's arrival as he could manage. He decides to use shock tactics on the King, too and leads him to the TARDIS where he is sure that the inner dimensions will astound him. The plan fails when the king is unimpressed by what he sees and the Doctor realises that the ageing monarch has cataracts. He removes these with the sonic screwdriver and this time the King sees the TARDIS for what it is and promptly stops hiccupping.

The Doctor and Liz return to UNIT HQ where she finds that she has to take the Doctor's message to himself to the canteen so that it can be delivered back to him for him to find in due course.

Time-Placement: After The Three Doctors

Shamans by Steve Lyons 4th Doctor and Leela
In New York in 1856 the Doctor is spending some time discussing philosophy and literature and taking in the vibrant energy of the young city. Leela stays at their hotel where she attends a séance. The mediums are two children, the Fox sisters. In the course of the séance the girls summon up the spirit of Neeva, the Sevateem's shaman. Leela has been convinced of the non-existence of spirits by the Doctor and suspects a trick of some sort is being played on her. She leaves the séance and returns to her room but is followed by one of the girls. In Leela's room the girl again speaks in a strange, deep voice and Leela holds a knife to the girl's throat, thinking that this must be the work of malevolent aliens. The Doctor arrives in the room, just in time to save the girl's life and tells Leela that the girls are very clever frauds who learnt about Leela and the Doctor's previous adventures by listening to their conversations in the public rooms of the hotel.

Time-Placement: after The Talons of Weng Chiang

The Fall of the Druids by David N. Smith 5th Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Kamelion
The TARDIS lands in England during the first century. The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough walk to a Celtic hill fort which soon comes under attack by the Roman army. Tegan is stabbed during the battle, but the Doctor escapes with to the Isle of Mona. He travels there with Ffion, a Celtic soothsayer and the son of Cadwallon, one of the Celtic warriors. Turlough unashamedly runs away from the fighting and gets back to the TARDIS. He plans to use the TARDIS to escape from Earth, assuming that the Doctor must be dead. However, Kamelion spots the Doctor's vital signs on a screen in the TARDIS and realises that the Time Lord is on Mona. Kamelion takes the shape of a Roman soldier and locates Cadwallon. They appropriate Roman war gear so that the Celt and Turlough can disguise themselves and then join the ranks of the Roman soldiers invading Mona.

On the island Ffion seems confident that her assembled ranks of soothsayers and druids will defeat the Romans, even when the Doctor - with the benefit of his historical knowledge - knows that they will be slaughtered. As the Romans come ashore the Celtic mystics apparently use a psychic field to immobolise them, allowing Celtic bowmen to kill them at their leisure. The Doctor throws Ffion to the floor, disrupting her 'spell' and releasing the Romans to engage in battle. The Doctor uses Ffion's wooden mask to create a psychic perception filter around the hut where he and Tegan (as well as Turlough, Kamelion, Cadwallon and his son) are hiding. As such they watch the terrible slaughter of the druids during a battle that lasts for two days. The time travellers then make their escape, the Doctor burdened by the knowledge that he was responsible for the demise of a magical people, arguing whether the psychic field ever really existed.

Time-Placement: before Frontios

Priceless Junk by Cavan Scott and Mark wright 6th Doctor and Peri
The Doctor takes Peri to Las Vegas in 1971 as a birthday present. The trip is intended to take in a performance by Peri's idol, Elvis Presley. As they sit in front of the stage the Doctor notices some commotion behind the curtains and pretends to be getting Peri a drink. Instead he makes his way to Elvis's hotel suite. He is knocked out and transported to a spaceship by a one-eyed alien that he recognises as a Mongarian.

On board the ship are two other Mongarian's and an unconscious Elvis. The aliens are replicating the singer in order to use him to sign autographs on the inter-galactic convention circuit. With their power to duplicate the duplicates they can even sell clones for big money. Worse than that, the Mongarians have been using time-travel technology to collect Elvis copies from various points in his life. The Doctor learns that the aliens have never even heard Elvis sing and makes them listen to 'Love me Tender'. They are so overwhelmed that they release the singer and stop their plan. Elvis returns to his hotel room where the Doctor gets him to sign an autograph for Peri. The Doctor hands this autograph to Peri as Elvis arrives onstage, making an announcement of thanks to the Doctor for his help.

Time-Placement: before The Two Doctors

Have You Tried Turning it Off and Then Back On Again? by John Callaghan 7th Doctor and Mel
The Creator wakes up to another day in his control room at the centre of the planet. Surrounded by banks of screens and computers he tries to make sure he answers all of the emailed prayers and requests of the planet's denizens.

In the city there are only four worshippers in the Committee of Worship building: Mrs. Prendergast, Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks and their son Slove. Slove becomes bored and leaves the meeting to watch the bicycle race in the park. The Creator realises, with horror, that he has forgotten to supply the traditionally perfect weather for the race and battles with the oncoming rain. This is the least of his worries as he watches the TARDIS materialise and dozens of citizens transforming into zombies seeking out brains to eat. Slove meets the Doctor and Mel and takes them to the safety of the Committee Building. The Creator searches for a cure for the zombie disease in his Care Of Your Flock book. Meanwhile the Doctor explains that the zombies have been created by an alien fungus known as the Benoride Spread and he has come here specifically to fight the disease.

Slove becomes a blue-skinned zombie, too. The Doctor realises that the effects were held off by the unpleasant incense that the worshippers were inhaling. They set fire to the building and the barrels of incense within. This kills the disease but, apparently, all the human carriers. The Creator sees the arrival of the rain and channels all the power from his base of operations into a bolt of lightning. The population recovers consciousness with their memories wiped. The Doctor's attempts to put all this down to a rational explanation are overheard by the Creator who shaves off his beard and sets off for a holiday under his preferred name, Leslie.

Time-Placement: before Dragonfire

The Reign Makers by Gareth Wigmore 1st Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara
The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan are in France in 1415. Henry V and his troops are camped in the night, waiting for the Battle of Agincourt. The English army are outnumbered ten to one and face almost certain defeat. The King is making his rounds of the army, attempting to raise their morale, and with him is Susan disguised as a page boy and answering to the name Simon. It is her task to distract the king from the rockets that the Doctor is launching to seed the clouds and make the rain fall. The Doctor knows that for the English to win the battlefield must be muddy so that the French knights are ineffective. He is worried that the weather will not turn out as history records it and has come to the battlefield to make sure that the course of history remains on track.

To Susan's dismay, Henry sees a flash in the sky and decides to investigate. He leads her to the rocket launching site and challenges the three people he sees there. Ian refuses to put out the fuse of a rocket that he has just lit, saying he is working for the King. When Henry steps forward to stamp on the fuse Barbara knocks him out with a branch. The Doctor, Susan and Barbara take the king back to his tent while Ian sets off the remaining rockets. There they convince the King that they are agents of a benign God, sent to aid him in the battle. Susan and the Doctor return to the TARDIS while Barbara goes to collect Ian. As the two schoolteachers make their way through the rain and darkness they are set on by angry villagers. The villagers think that Barbara is a witch after she beat the blacksmith in a drinking game set up to distract him while the Doctor raided the smithy of the materials he needed to make the rockets.

Ian and Barbara end up lying in the mud on the edge of a forest as their pursuers hunt for them. The Doctor and Susan also have problems regaining the TARDIS when they are stopped by French sentries but the Doctor bribes them with a lump of silver he stole from a church, the left-over material from his rockets. As dawn breaks the four travellers are reunited in the TARDIS and watch the armies moving into position on the scanners. The Doctor asks if they want to stay for the battle but Barbara refuses to watch a massacre and the Doctor agrees that it would be ghoulish. The TARDIS dematerializes as the first volley of arrows is fired.

Time-Placement: shortly before Planet of the Giants

Pass It On by Simon Guerrier 2nd Doctor; 6th Doctor; Ace
In London, sometime between the First and Second World Wars, the Doctor literally bumps into a woman called Mable, knocking her bags of shopping to the ground. He picks up her things and offers to carry them back to her house. She warily agrees but walks at a distance from him, not wanting to be associated with a tramp-like figure. On their journey the Doctor explains that he bumped into her because he was looking at something in the sky. Mable looks up and notices a huge airship of a type she hasn't seen before which vanishes at impossible speed. Something about the Doctor makes her pour out her frustrations with life; since her husband's death at the Battle of Ypres she has been reduced to a housebound existence looking after her parents. The Doctor leaves her after telling her it is not too late to change and that she should repay his kindness to her by doing something that makes somebody else smile. The next day she takes a part time voluntary job in the local library where she quickly earns a reputation for her considerate and helpful nature. In particular, she helps a little boy called Malcolm Wells with his reading.

In the late 1960s Malcolm is a distinguished psychiatrist who counts a successful politician among his friends. When the politician's daughter begins to behave erratically Malcolm is asked to interview her. It is clear that both Malcolm and Theresa know the sub-text of the interview; if Theresa's 'madness' is to prove an embarrassment to her father she will be placed in a mental institution. It becomes apparent from their conversation that Theresa has been dallying with the late sixties' counter culture and dresses like a hippy. However, the main cause for alarm has been her sudden interest in extra-terrestrial life. This dates back to a bus journey where she travelled on an otherwise empty bus until the Doctor apparently materialised behind her and asked her to change her seat. When she did so he used a bizarre device to make the air turn white and when her vision was restored Theresa found that the bus was full of semi-comatose people. These people were immediately treated by medical and military staff who boarded the vehicle. In the course of their dealings she heard the word 'extra-terrestrial' used frequently. She recounts this story to Malcolm who is impressed that she does not embellish or attempt to explain what happened, as would be the case if it were a psychotic episode. Remembering the kindness shown to him by the old lady in the library he offers Theresa a way forward to make a positive contribution with her life.

Twenty years later, Theresa is a magistrate. She finds herself taking a personal interest in a teenage girl who has a history of violent and anti-social behaviour. Instead of awarding a custodial sentence she decides to talk to the girl, remembering Malcolm Wells' care for her. The girl is 'Ace'.

Time-Placement: Second Doctor is travelling alone, so Season 6b

The Science of Magic by Michael Rees 3rd Doctor and Liz
The Witch-Queen Karolina emerges from another dimension, leading a vast army of mythical creatures that swiftly invade Britain and use their terrible magical powers to murder and enslave the population. U.N.I.T. and the regular army try to fight back, but to no avail, and the Brigadier is killed in battle along with most of his men. For months the situation worsens. The Doctor and Liz are among those fortunate enough to escape to Ireland while all around the coast vast storms keep the rest of the world at bay. Eventually they return to Cornwall where the Witch-Queen's Thorn Castle is located. While Sergeant Benton leads a diversionary attack the Doctor and Liz use Bessie to drive to the castle. They manage to survive encounters with a Minotaur, a Dragon, centaurs and pixies but on the way they have to plunge into a river and Liz ends up sitting by a fire, naked, while the Doctor dries her clothes.

They eventually reach the castle but are taken prisoner and brought before the Witch-Queen. The Doctor offers to fight a duel with her, saying that if he loses he will arrange for the Time-Lords to make her rule permanent but if he wins she must withdraw from the world forever. As the fight progresses (badly for the Doctor) Liz continues to struggle with the concept of magic. She is convinced that the Witch-Queen must be an alien using technological power. Just as the Doctor loses Liz steps forward and denounces Karolina as a fraud. She lays her hand on the Witch- Queen's crystal staff and declares that magic does not exist. The effect is immediate and devastating: the castle vanishes, as do the all of the creatures and the Brigadier arrives within minutes. He tells Liz that he wasn't killed but used the rumours of his death to his advantage, fighting a covert war and tracking the Doctor and Liz to the witch's lair.

The Brigadier tells them that Karolina is, in fact, an escaped mental patient named Caroline Brown. Her crystal staff gave her some sort of hypnotic power and she broke into a television studio to create a mass hallucination of invading magical armies. Liz is therefore perplexed when later events show that Caroline Brown is an ordinary woman in her forties and her magic crystal was actually made of glass. Liz wonders whether her declaration that magic was not real caused the staff to remove magic from the world. This is supported by the fact that the Brigadier can give no explanation of his covert operations in the war nor remember anything from the time when he allegedly faked his own death.

In her padded cell, Caroline is joined by a tiny sprite and realises that her army is beginning to reform. When it does so, she will kill Liz.

Time-Placement: after Inferno

Hello Goodbye by Jim Sabgster 4th Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry
The Doctor returns from a trip to the moon where he has had to persuade some slug-like aliens to find a new home on one of the moons of Jupiter. The Brigadier's space-time telegraph has recalled the Doctor who is less than pleased to return for a training exercise. An argument breaks out between the two men and the Doctor tenders his resignation and storms out. Sarah tries to intervene but finds the Brigadier to be intransigent; he simply cannot take to the new Doctor and wishes that he was one of his previous selves. Sarah tries to point out that it is the same man.

Sarah goes to give Harry a present of some moon rock and hears that U.N.I.T. has had no alien invasions to deal with for two months. This is because the Doctor left a warning beacon on the moon to ward off aliens for the next twenty years. Harry tells Sarah that the thought of ever having to go back in the TARDIS fills him with dread. Benton arrives with a report of fifteen alien craft over the Channel Island and the Brigadier begins an operation to counter any possible threat. The Doctor and Sarah decide to leave him to it, recognising that he is a capable defender of the Earth without them, and return to the TARDIS for a new journey.

Time-Placement: the Doctor is using the secondary control room. After The Masque of Mandragora

Trial by Fire by Mike Amberry 6th Doctor and Evelyn
The Doctor takes Evelyn for a trip to medieval France where they start to hear tales of a mysterious figure called a woodwose, akin to the myths of the Green Man. While searching in woods for the woodwose they are taken prisoner by soldiers who suspect that the Doctor is practicing witchcraft.

They find themselves approaching the city of Carcassonne which is under siege by Crusaders trying to drive out Cathar heretics. They are taken to the pavilion of the Grand Inquisitor who has been sent by the Pope to oversee the siege. They are relieved to see that the TARDIS has been brought there too. In the pavilion a series of witnesses testify that the two travellers had gone into the forest looking for a demon and had returned unscathed, evidence that they were in league with the creature. They also saw the Doctor using a scanner. The Doctor demands a chance to defend himself and the Inquisitor says that he will be given one in a trial by fire. The Doctor and Evelyn are to be burned at the stake.

The Doctor finds himself in a dungeon with the Viscount of Carcassonne. He tells the Doctor he was imprisoned after refusing the harsh terms for a treaty put forward by the Crusaders. He recounts the atrocities perpetrated by the Crusaders in the surrounding lands but says his people will not fall victim in the same way. While the army surrounds the city the people within are escaping through tunnels and when the gates of the city are opened later that day the Crusaders will find it empty.

The TARDIS has been added to the pyre on which the Doctor and Evelyn are tied. As the Inquisitor thrusts a flaming brand into the pyre, the gates of the city open. The knights in the crowd run off to get their weapons and a page boy, Brecq, who Evelyn had befriended earlier, climbs up to her and frees her bonds, then those of the Doctor. They climb down to the TARDIS and dematerialize. Meanwhile the army enters the city only to find it deserted.

Time-Placement: after Assassin in the Limelight

Death Sentences by Stephen Hatcher 6th Doctor and 7th Doctor
Charisma is a planet long past its Golden Age and Hogarth City has turned into a lawless criminal playground. In a dark alley a watchman finds the TARDIS and standing near it, apparently, stands the Doctor. The watchman tells him that a spate of murders is baffling the authorities; corpses are turning up with no obvious cause of death. Fifteen victims have been found but there is no pattern to them; young and old, rich and poor, men and women. The other puzzling thing is that all of the victims were seen alive and well after the time of their death. The Doctor suggests that he might be able to solve this crime before asking the watchman to tell his life story. The watchman introduces himself as Edward and tells his tale, of his love for his wife Eleanor and his various adventures. As he does so he grows weaker until he collapses on the ground. Then he revives himself and angrily and announces that he is the Doctor, and the tale he told was the life of his friend Edward Granger. He accuses 'the Doctor' of being Logovore - word eater - who feeds off the life essence of people he befriends, making them talk themselves to death. The real Doctor throws off his disguise and reveals his true self. The Logovore recognises him even though he has changed since their meeting two nights earlier. The Doctor demands that the Logovore tells its own story. The Logovore recounts all the stories of his many victims, growing visibly weaker with each until he dies. The Doctor regrets that his actions have killed the creature and sets off to find his own TARDIS before his previous incarnation returns to the one in the alley.

Time-Placement: the Doctor is wearing his cream linen suit, so near Bullet Time

Once upon a Time Machine by Stephen Dunn 3rd Doctor and Jo
Jo and her five year old daughter, Lisa, are guests in someone else's house. Jo is settling Lisa down for the night when the little girl demands to be told a story about her mother's adventures with the Doctor. Jo tells her about a visit to a cold and beautiful city on a distant planet whose name she never knew. In the city are two little princesses, the twins Sophia and Alice. The two girls are embroiled in a series of tests to see which shall become queen but the manipulative Sophia always beats her gentler sister until the Doctor intervenes. The final test is to predict the three items in a sealed temple. Sophia declares that there are a crown, a scepter and a mace on the altar but Alice predicts a yoyo, an umbrella and a bag of sweets. When the temple is opened Sophia is shocked to be proven wrong (she had cheated by sneaking in through a tunnel at the back) and that Alice is completely correct. Jo finishes her tale with the coronation of Queen Alice as the Brigadier arrives in the bedroom with a glass of hot milk for Lisa.

Time-Placement: before Frontier in Space

Mardi Gras Massacre by Arnold T. Blumberg 6th Doctor and Peri
The Doctor and Peri travel to New Orleans in 1932, arriving during the Mardi Gras festivities. They are searching for a Mykosian Pod that has crashed into the bayou. Peri is hungry, however, and the pair split up while Peri goes into a restaurant called the 'Legendre Lounge'. She befriends the restaurant's owner, Cassandra, and orders a bowl of gumbo. She also wants to try the house speciality, a drink called 'The Elixir of Life', but Cassandra warns her that it might be too strong for her. The Doctor meets a fortune teller, Madam Ledanois, who accurately reads the Doctor's mission from a pack of playing cards. Together they set off to find the Mykosian pilot. On the way they notice that the carnival-goers are being turned into zombies after drinking free shots of 'The Elixir of Life'. Peri is attacked by zombies in the restaurant kitchen and discovers that chicory returns them to their normal selves. She sets out through the city streets to find the Doctor and rescues him and Madam Ledanois from zombies. The three of them eventually find the Mykosian in a cage. Cassandra has been using its blood as one of the ingredients in her drink. They return to find Cassandra and discover that she has been taken over by the Mykosian pendant she is wearing round her neck. The pendant has been making her turn people into zombies so that they will revolt against the government and help a Mykosian invasion of Earth. The Mykosian takes back its pendant and restores the zombies to normality. Unfortunately, Cassandra's mind has been ruined by the experience. Madam Ledanois volunteers to take care of Cassandra while the Doctor and Peri spend some time at the Mardi Gras. Afterwards they agree to return the Mykosian to its home.

Time-Placement: after Mark of the Rani

Blessed Are the Peacemakers by Caleb Woodbridge 4th Doctor and Sarah Jane
The Doctor and Sarah arrive in Egypt during the Crusades and find themselves close to the army of Count Otto of Henneberg. They claim to be travellers, pilgrims, looking for the pyramids. They hear that the Crusaders have recently been attacked by demons summoned by their Muslim enemies who carried off some of the soldiers. They visit the Crusaders' encampment and meet Francis of Assisi. The camp is attacked again by large, flying humanoid beetles which kidnap Sarah. The Doctor and Francis ask the Crusaders' leader (Cardinal Pelagius) to accompany them on a visit to the Muslim leader Al-Kamid, to ask for help. The Doctor recognises the beetles as alien in origin and suspects the Muslims have been attacked by them, too.

Sarah is a prisoner of the Barasci. Far from being hostile invaders, the Barasci want to bring enlightenment and peace to the humans of Earth. Their technique is akin to brainwashing and they call it the Mindspell. Unfortunately, they are struggling to convert many of their prisoners, some of whom are being driven mad by the experience. Sarah argues that they are trying to deprive humans of free will but the aliens mesmerize her so that she becomes a part of their conjoined mind and sees the beauty of their philosophy. They realise the power of her mind and see that it can be used as a conduit to reach out to the minds of others in the region. The effort will kill her, she realises, but the importance of the deed persuades her to let them try. The Doctor, Francis and Count Otto's soldiers create a clandestine army with the men of Al-Kamid and attack the Barasci ship. The Mindspell starts to control the soldiers but the Doctor manages to protect himself and Francis by hypnosis. They use the distraction of the battle to enter the ship where they find Sarah. She refuses to break free of the Mindspell so Francis goes among the aliens to sacrifice his life to save Sarah. This selflessness confuses the Barasci and the Mindspell is broken. Sarah is still in a psychic connection with the Barasci and they begin to learn the concept of free will and individuality. There is a schism in the ranks of the aliens as they begin to debate the two opposing philosophies and the humans are released from the aliens' control. The Doctor initiates the launch sequence of the Barasci ship and escapes with Sarah and Francis. They return to the TARDIS where the Doctor tells Francis that what he is about to see is science, not magic.

Time-Placement: after 'Pyramids of Mars'


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