Monday, February 1, 2010

10th Doctor - Utopia (i)

Serial 310 – Dystopia
An Alternate Program Guide by Ewen Campion Clarke
From An Entry In The EC Unauthorized Guide O' Futility

"YOA's Discontinuity Guides - Inaccurate But Caring."

Serial 310 – Dystopia -

Once again, a story begins with the soul-crushing sight of the TARDIS landing in contemporary Cardiff of all places. Inside, Martha echoes the audience’s disgust that the Doctor actually WANTED to come to this seaside Welsh village for once instead of seeing the Aardvark people of Delonis 12 and the Opal Citadel of Metabolis.

The Time Lord explains that the city of Cardiff runs over a rift in time and space which he often uses to recharge the power source of the TARDIS – long-use Panasonic batteries. "It’s about the only interesting thing in the entire county," the Doctor sighs.

"What about the Dustbin/Cyberman war?" asks Martha.

"OK, apart from that?"

"And them electing Paris Hilton mayor before she mysteriously vanished in that inexplicable earthquake a couple of years ago?"

"All right, all right! Jings... yes, occasionally vaguely interesting things happen in Cardiff, but the locals are dull, the food is awful and everything is written in Welsh! It doesn’t balance the scales, OK?" the Doctor snaps, checking the scanner.

He then spots the familiar shambolic figure of Captain Jack Sparrow, Gentleman Slut, running toward the TARDIS, waving and shouting drunkenly at the Doctor to wait up. "Jings, not this prick again!" the Doctor sighs and starts operating controls.

As Captain Jack stumbles across the plaza towards the police box, the Doctor laughs sadistically and throws the final switch. "And go!" he mocks as the TARDIS starts to take off.

At the last second, Captain Jack manages to trip over his own feet, back flip and get his backpack caught in the door handles of the TARDIS as it slides out of reality and into the time/space vortex.

Inside, jolts run through the ship as the Doctor tries to operate controls with his feet. "The 51st Century son of a bitch! He’s hanging onto the TARDIS! Without permission! We’ll have to try and shake him off!" the Doctor says, changing the TARDIS’s direction sharply.


"Oh, just some sadact who keeps following me around like I have even the vaguest interest in their puny human lives," the Doctor mutters. "Obsessing about me, trying to get me to notice them, like I’d ever deign to lower myself to their level. You know the type, don’t you, Martha? Clingy parasites, the lot of them!"

The Doctor continues to operate controls as, weeping silently, Martha jams another needle into a voodoo doll marked 'Rose Tyler'.

Outside, Jack dangles upside down from the TARDIS as it hurtles through the vortex faster and faster, making pathetic moaning noises as the vicious time winds tear at him. "Whoa! Man down! MAN DOWN!"

"We’re accelerating into the future!" the Doctor laughs. "I was going for the 28th Century, but we can do better than the New Second Holy Roman Empire! The year One Billion! That should knock his socks off! Hang on, he’s still there! Jammy git! Try the year... FIVE Billion? Any good? No? Oh well. How about Five... TRILLION? Anything? Anything? FIFTY trillion! No? Was expecting something there. OK, the Year ONE HUNDRED SQUILLION! If that doesn’t work, I’ll be fresh out of ideas – it IS the End of the Universe itself for the love of Natalie Wood!"

Outside Captain Jack can only scream for the Doctor over the rush of time, not noticing the replies of "BUGGER OFF!!" from within the police box as it barrels straight into the opening credits – for the first time only with the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow dangling upside down from the time machine...

Parte the First

It is the year 100 Squillion, and if you want to know how long that is – if every second was a year, it would take five million years to count to it. That’s how hardcore we’re talking about here.

By now of course all the fashionable life forms have merged into telepathic gestalts who compose agonized poetry about the dimming cosmos as the stars snuff out before getting the hell out of the universe altogether as matter and energy run out.

The TARDIS arrives in a crater on one of the very last inhabitable words –Malcassairo (the others being New Sychophantos, Ember and that planet they visited in Big Finish’s "The Crossing" whatever it was called) a world illuminated only by the glow of residual vulcanism and ominous mood lighting.

Inside, the Doctor and Martha get to their feet. The Doctor – for once – has no idea what strange and alien world they may have arrived in, as not even the Time Lords travel THIS far into the future. "But at least we’ve shaken off that drunken paramilitary twat," he sighs. "We should go now. We should really, really go. Ah, what the hell?"

The Doctor and Martha recklessly charge out of the TARDIS, expecting to find a peaceful, pastoral world full of happy, simple Pokémon-like post-humans who have devolved into incurious, unimaginative hedonist communists, basking beneath a permanent, baleful red sunset at the very end of everything itself.

Instead they find themselves in what looks like a cold, damp Welsh slate quarry scattered with a few brown weeds and broken quad bikes. In fact, the only thing suggesting that they are NOT in a Welsh slate quarry is the complete lack of stars or moon or anything in the endless black sky overhead.

As the Doctor looks around the cold, rocky, barren world, he finally spots the body of Captain Jack lying sprawled before them and shouts the word "JINGS!" very loudly and very angrily.

Martha runs and checks Captain Jack over since she’s a medical student and that sort of thing is what you do when you’re trying to be a doctor. Unfortunately, the closest thing to a medical kit the TARDIS has is a twelve-pound lump hammer which Martha uses to test the reflexes of the corpse, which waits until Martha has declared him dead before returning to life and scaring the crap out of her.

"Jings, Martha, you got my hopes up," the Doctor scowls, kicking a stone.

"Captain Jack Sparrow," gasps Jack woozily. "I can see your underwear from here?" he says, sliding his hand down Martha’s pants.

"Oh don’t start!" the Doctor shouts.

"I was just saying hello!"

"You were using your last breath to chat up the nearest thing with a pulse! AGAIN! Keep it your pants for once, ya intergalactic MANWHORE!"

"I don’t mind," says blushing Martha and no one notices.

"What the hell are you doing here anyway?" the Doctor demands. "Do I have to fix the chameleon circuit or something? New rule – if you see a police box, don’t expect a lift! And after that wee bit of chutzpah you have to cling on the outside all the way through the vortex and NOT die! How selfish can you get, honestly?!"

"You abandoned me!" Captain Jack retorts bitterly.

"Yes. Repeatedly. Haven’t you got the message yet? Just because I put up with you in a bit of a midlife crisis when I was wearing a leather jacket and shaving my head and lying about my age doesn’t mean we’re actually FRIENDS or anything. MOVE ON!"

"Just gotta ask," Captain Jack sighs, "The Dustbins and the Cybermen... I saw the list of the dead. It said 'Rose Tyler'."

"Wha...? She’s not dead ya daft slut, she’s alive, safe and sound in a parallel world with her parents and Ricky!"

"You’re kidding!"

"You were THERE when it happened, remember?!"

" I was. Oh, well, thanks for that."

Martha stares at them both. "What in the name of God are you two talking about?" she boggles. "Can’t we just have one conversation without good old Rose fucking Tyler?!"

Elsewhere, a filthy-looking beggar called Padra Sef Caine is running through a different part of the slippery quarry when he is attacked by a forty-strong pack of wild, hairy abhuman bikers with piercings and comedy fangs.

So, using his nifty post-human speed and resilience, Padra runs for his miserable life in the opposite direction at twice the speed of sound. The Chieftain of the gang – easily identified by the Dunlop tyre tracks over his face – riles up the pack to hunt mouth-watering "man-flesh" in a sequence with no homo-erotic subtext of any sort whatsoever.

Watching this deep underground, a dignified white-haired old man in a frock coat broods over various control panels. He asks his constant companion, his forever faithful girlfriend and humanoid beetle, Chantho, to rustle up some popcorn while they watch the Futurekind hunt down another post-human.

"Chan/sure thing/tho," she replies, mandibles twitching.

"Ever since they stopped screening Eastenders, this is the best entertainment around," the old man sighs and knocks back a coffee. "Poor beggar’s on his own. Another lost soul, dreaming of Dystopia... Reality TV, you can’t beat it, can you?"

As they settle down to watch, a cheerful black guy called Atillo sticks his head around the door and asks how everything’s going. Immediately the old man has a panic attack and babbles, "Ah yes, er yes, yes working, yes almost there. It’s good! Yes fine, excellent!" before cringing and hiding underneath a table.

Leaving Chantho to technobbabble their way out of this mess, the old man covers his ears as an incessant Elvis Costello drumbeat fills his mind, getting louder and louder.

Finally Atillo sods off and Chantho tells him he can stop hiding under the table and get back to watching TV. "Chan/and here’s another cup of tea, prepared with my own internal milk/tho," she tells the old man, who stares at her in disgust.

"You drink your own milk?!"

"Chan/yes, it is a more sensible beverage/tho," Chantho replies. "Chan/we have already had this particular exchange twice already today, have you forgotten/tho? Chan/it was when you kept thinking the coffee machine had moved again/tho."

"So it was. Must be getting old."

They sit down in two worn leather armchairs and turn their attention to the scanner, as the Doctor, Captain Jack and Martha wander into view down a barren path. After a few moments, the old man turns to Chantho and asks, "You SURE this isn’t Eastenders?"

As they watch, Captain Jack retells his entire sordid history to Martha Jones, with the Doctor pointing out inaccuracies every twenty seconds so no one, least of all Martha, has a clue what actually happened.

"So there I was, stranded in the year 200100, ankle deep in Dustbin dust and he and Rose go off without me. Then he comes back with some Australian backpacker looking for the Grinch and when I try to talk to him, he abandons me AGAIN – this time in Cardiff, 1869! I had to live through the entire 20th century waiting for a version of you that would coincide with me, or at least ones that weren’t as freaky as the one with the cape and the yellow car, what was that about?"

"But that makes you more than a hundred years old!" Martha points out as the trio navigate a large boulder.

"Guess it does," Captain Jack shrugs. "Still looking good? Anyway, I joined Touchwood cause of the time rift and I knew, I just KNEW he’d come back there to refuel. And when he finally turned up, there was the Dustbin/Cyberman war that wiped Cardiff off the map and he runs away from me YET AGAIN! So I went backpacking, looking for something to do when I spotted the TARDIS – turns out I was still in Cardiff!"

"And I ran away from you again," the Doctor growls. "Have you detected any sort of pattern yet, Captain?"

"But the thing is," Martha persists, "how come you left him behind, Doctor? Is that what happens, though? Seriously? Do you just get bored of us one day and disappear?"

"Not if you’re blonde," Captain Jack sneers.

"Oh, she was BLONDE!" Martha rolls her eyes. "Now you told me. I could have put on a wig and started talking like a chav if I’d known that. How far do I have to put out before he notices?"

"Oh, you’d be surprised..." Captain Jack replies.

"SHUT THE FUCK UP THE PAIR OF YOU!" the Doctor shouts at them. "We are at the END of the UNIVERSE, right at the EDGE of KNOWLEDGE itself and what do you two do? Stand around bitching like a couple of bloggers on an opinion forum! GET LIVES!"

The Doctor storms over to the edge of a high cliff and is mildly impressed to find something that ISN’T easily found in a Welsh quarry – a marvelous collection of buildings and pathways carved into and scooped out of the wide, deep canyon, now covered in dust. The smooth steps and bold arches cunningly stop it looking like a CGI ant hill.

"Oooh," the Time Lord boggles. "A city! Or a hive. Or a nest. Or a conglomeration. I liked that. Nice word. Conglomeration. Looks like it was grown, but look, pathways and roads! There must have been some sort of life, long ago."

"What happened to it?" asks Martha for the benefit of everyone who missed the whole 'End of the Universe' shtick.

"Time killed it. Just time. Everything’s dying now. All the great civilizations have gone. This empty black sky isn’t just night – all the stars have burned out and faded away into nothing. The Universe is an old and dark place now, full of memories of past glories and devoid of anything fresh or new. Mind you, it’s been like that since the 80s..."

"Then how come we aren’t frozen to death?" asks Captain Jack.

"I wonder that about you all the time, Jack," the Doctor snaps. "Obviously there’s an atmospheric shell keeping the surface habitable. Not that’ll do much good to anyone. The universe is beginning to unravel, the laws of physics are bending and changing. Soon, there’ll be no ground, no sky, not even SPACE. Did no one else read The Last Question by Isaac Asimov?!"

"Doesn’t anything survive?" asks Martha, bummed out.

"How the hell should I know?" the Doctor retorts. "We could be the last three living things in all of creation, then again there might be a bloke looking just like Michael Palin in animal skins running over the hell to tell us "IT’S..." something or other."

"What, like that guy?" asks Jack, pointing.

"Yes, like that guy. What guy?!"

"The unshaven one running away from dozens of terrifying creatures with daggers and axes and spears and balls and chains shouting guttural cries of 'HUMAN!' as they wave the burning torches about."

"Oh. THAT guy."

Said fugitive is Padra who skids to a stop over the loose, wet rocks before the trio. Instantly Captain Jack draws an old revolver from his coat and aims it at the newcomer. "Jack don’t you dare!" the Time Lord shouts, before realizing the 'revolver' is actually a novelty-shaped cigarette lighter. However, this misunderstanding has allowed them to be surrounded by the savages who prevent them from returning to the TARDIS.

The savages’ prey tells the travelers they must make it to the gigantic metal pyramid of the Last Redoubt, where the last of the human race finds safety and – having absolutely no better ideas – the Doctor, Captain Jack and Martha follow Padra through the wasteland.

"You know, before I met you, I would have questioned the wisdom of running toward a man being pursued by a pack of ravening aliens who look like a grunge band," Captain Jack complains as they run.

"No you wouldn’t, you bloody liar!"

"OK, you got me there."

Finally they arrive at a large compound beside the cliff, guarded with watchtowers, searchlights and a sturdy but incredibly cheap-looking chain-link fence – like some mixed up version of Stargate Command and a German prisoner of war camp. And this is supposed to be the year 100 Squillion, remember? That was the plot’s credibility you just heard die screaming in the distance.

A bunch of burly Welshmen with AK-47s refuse to let the group into the compound until they all show their teeth to prove they have been flossing and brushing. It seems that in the far future, humanity values oral hygiene above all else and once all of them have gurned uncontrollably, are allowed in while the guards open fire on the hideous abhuman creatures who I will now refer to as Futurekind because I honestly can’t be bothered waiting for them to be named.

After they realize what crap aim the neosapians possess, the Chieftain starts sledging the guards with racist abuse. Tragically, his fangs make it impossible to work out what the hell he’s saying. "Humans! Humanie! Humanity! Too many? Make feast! My feast! Have ones of you? Canny One! I see you! Kind see you! And hungry! I’m hungry! KIND HUNGRY!"

"Um... OK. Can you just piss off now?" asks the guard.

Deeply embarrassed, the Futurekind wander off, bored, and the remainder walk past a huge truck as they enter a stone corridor which, the guards confidently claim, will take them to the Final Zero Point. Whatever the hell that means.

Back at the lab, Chantho and the old man get a call from Atillo explaining that some guy has turned up who claims to be a scientist and might not actually be lying to cover hi ass like most new arrivals. Jubilant at the idea of someone who knows what the hell a Triaxilation Capacitor Matrix actually IS, the old man bolts out of the room.

"Chan/where is this relationship going?/tho," Chantho sighs.

Beneath a green-lit stairwell, Atillo hands out swipe cards and sets up Padra with the paperwork expert, Dakota Fanning’s long-lost twin brother, Creet who though still only a child knows all important info like every irritating child prodigy. After working out the supply forms, Padra is reunited with his mother and brother in a beautiful, life affirming moment which is guaranteed to make everyone puke in nihilistic disgust when they see what happens at the end of this story arc.

"'Alpha-6-grape-dot-2-3-0'?" the Doctor muses over his new passcard. "Jings. I’m a grape. Would have preferred banana but never mind... You lot aren’t doing anything important? Think you can collect a big blue wooden box for us? Says police? Really need it back, it’s stuck out there with the cannibals, it’s all so much of muchness..."

Since the as-yet-unidentified old man seems to think the Doctor is important, Atillo says he’ll keep an eye out for it during the last water collection but makes no promises.

"VERY reassuring," the Doctor grumbled.

The Doctor, Martha and Captain Jack wander off into a maze of clean concrete corridors and a notice board covered in pictures, notes, parents imploring their Gods for some word of their children, husbands and wives seeking each other, some written in handwriting not even the TARDIS can translate, and a trading post add from some guy willing to swap a tame tarantula for a cricket bat.

They then find hoards of people living in the corridors for as far as the eye could see, making their beds and living spaces wherever they can, sleeping on old rugs, or coats, or jackets while babies wailed in the distance and people hug their last loaves of bread and cook potatoes over a tiny gas stove.

"It’s like a refugee camp!" Martha gasps.

"I know," Captain Jack sighs. Like anyone would wear cardigans like THAT out of choice. No offence, not you, sir," he says when he notices the evil looks he keeps getting.

"I kind of find it a tad difficult to buy human beings still exist, I mean, shouldn’t they have evolved or something by now?"

"Oh yeah," the Doctor grins. "After a few million years, you all evolved into gas but then the sinister robot Bagglots tried to dominate the universe until a dashing, striking, virile, charming, popular, surprisingly handsome wanderer in time and space took charge and saved the galaxy from certain doom. I epitomized humanity back into the old humanoid shape and that lasted a while before you all turned into the hive consciousness of the Hive Mind, but it turned out to be run by ugly horny red devil bastards calling themselves Overlords. I mean, I HAD to put a stop to that, didn’t I? A few million years later those immortal posthumans were at it again, modifying their flesh genes that nearly caused a grey-goo destruction of the cosmos if I hadn’t been there to save the dozy gits! Nowadays they’re mostly downloads but I made sure that they could only revert to basic, fundamental human. No really long figers with little hands on it or anything stupid like that."

"So you’ve single handled held back mankind’s evolution for over 100 Squillion years, right to the End of the Universe itself?" Martha summarizes bluntly.

"Well... if you want to look at it that way. On the other hand, I’m maintaining the natural balance. Honestly, do you know how many ancient alien races fiddled with the progression of humanity? I’m just giving the rest of organic life a chance to catch up with you! OOH! Locked door! Locked doors make me antsy!"

The Doctor starts to crack the lock of a door marked "DO NOT ENTER – LETHAL DANGER" before he notices that Captain Jack is making out with one of the bigger, more strapping blond men in cardigan and beige shirt.

"Oi! STOP IT! You wanna be a companion, act like one and do as the Time Lord says instead of bonking every grimy Adonis you stumble across..." the Doctor reproaches, before the door slides back to reveal a huge silo containing a huge Jules Verne style rocket and steaming clouds. The Doctor stares at the huge rocket in its launch tube and then slams it shut. "OK, the mystery of the locked door is solved."

"Is it?" asks Martha, slightly distracted by all the gay porn.

"Exactly! A huge rocket, underground silo, these sorry degenerates are nae refugees – they’re PASSENGERS! It’s a different social strata altogether! They’re probably just waiting for some lemon-soaked paper napkins or something before they blast off into the wide blue yonder. What’s LEFT of it, anyway. Mind you, as long as they aren’t going to that dump in the Spinward Deeps, cause that is seriously not a place you’d want to visit unless you LIKE insane floating soccer balls..."

Unfortunately, at this crucial moment the old man turns up.

"BLOODY HELL!" exclaim the trio. "SIR DEREK JACOBI!!!"

"Yes, it is I, Derek Jacobi – please, never mind the sir," the old man says. "So, er, I assume the strapping American in the army greatcoat is the One They Call Doctor?"

"No," the Doctor says awkwardly. "That’d be me."

"Oh. Well, you’ll do!" Derek Jacobi says, and then grabbed one of the Doctor’s arms exuberantly and tugs him down the corridor, thus they miss one of Captain Jack’s partners succumb to total, soul-crushing despair without his salty goodness.

Of course, this happens quite a lot but rarely do they sprout fangs and start hissing and clawing the air around them before scuttling into the darkness to growl evilly.

Sometimes, but it’s rare.

Anyway, moving on, Derek Jacobi leads the Doctor, Captain Jack and Martha into his en suite bachelor pad he shares with Chantho. Chantho herself tries to tidy up the place and make it presentable for guests, but as ever Derek Jacobi is far too busy showing off his gramophone player, airfix model rocket ship collection, small marijuana garden and suspiciously familiar-looking blue reel-to-reel computer bank.

Twitching her mandibles in despair, Chantho immediately tries to get her boyfriend jealous by flirting with Captain Jack, not realizing how much she’s letting herself in for. "Chan/Welcome!/tho. Chan/I am Chantho/tho!"

"Hey, Blue, I’m Captain Jack Sparrow, Intergalactic Gigolo!" seduces the ex-Time Agent, immediately undressing her. And not with his eyes, I mean, LITERALLY undressing her there and then.

"Stop it!" warns the Doctor.

"Chan/I do not protest/tho," Chantho says as Jack helps her out of her underwear.

"Pity, I kinda like it when they struggle..."

"The rocket!" Derek Jacobi continues, not in the least concerned about what his girlfriend and some passing stranger are getting up to amongst the scattered paperwork and control panels. "It was an old Amber Legion Galaxy-Decimation missile, but we gutted it to use as our transport. The problem is the propulsion system; the missile had a Quadrasenatic Slip Thruster system, and it rotted away beyond repair. Do you follow?”

"Um... possibly," the Doctor covers by adjusting his glasses.

"Now, this is the Gravitissimal Accelerator - it’s a piece of crap, but I’ve got it working again. And over here is the Footprint Impeller System and if you know anything about Anti Gravity Etheric Finessing you should see what I’m hoping to achieve here..."

"Of course!" the Doctor says, tripping over a tangle of wires. "Does this have something to do with the rocket?"

"Yes, but we can’t get it to harmonize! It’s just, without a stable footprint, you see, we’ll never achieve escape velocity. If only we could harmonize the five impact patterns and UNIFY them, well we might just make it. Here’s a circuit diagram – it’s drawn in crayon by Creet the precocious brat, but it’s the best we’ve got. But, I-uh… w-what do you think, Doctor? Eh? Any ideas?"

The Doctor is still struggling to untangle himself from another bundle of wires. "Would it scar you permanently for life if I said that I hadn’t a clue, I’m not from round these parts and I’ve never seen a system like it?"

"Quite probably," Derek Jacobi sighs, and kicks Captain Jack’s discarded backpack, spilling its contents all over the floor: a mass of contraceptives, sex aides and a severed arm encased in a jar of bubbling liquid.

"That’s my arm! The one I lost in a sword fight on Christmas Day! And as I begin to ask Captain Jack what the hell he’s down with my severed arm amongst his kinky bondage paraphernalia, it strikes me that I am probably best off not knowing!"

Even more disturbingly, Captain Jack and Chantho are able to easily continue the conversation while heavily petting each other behind a suspiciously familiar blue reel-to-reel computer:

"And those psycho mutant cannibals outside?" asks Captain Jack. "What are they? And that dirty 80s-hair girl with the fangs, I know I wouldn’t ask her for oral, but is she seeing someone?"

"We call them the Futurekind, because Morlocks would just be pushing irony too far since WE’RE the advanced ones hiding under the ground. Since all humans sculpt their bodies to reflect their mental state, you can tell they’ve gone batshit insane. It’s the realization we’re all trapped in a godless universe and condemned to totally pointless death and there’s nothing you can do about it."

"And that causes them to grow fangs?!" boggles Martha.

"Chan/With the NICE ones, yes/tho."

"The rest of us are trying to stay in denial before the same thing happens to us – that’s why we have to get through the gravity shadows to Dystopia! You know, the Dystopia Project the Touchwood Institute set up thousands of years ago to preserve mankind and to find a way of surviving beyond the collapse of reality itself. We all thought they’d never get started and just screw and shoot each other but they’ve been calling across the stars for the last of the humans, scattered across the night. 'Come to Dystopia out in the Wild Lands and the Dark Matter Reefs! Fabulous prizes to be won'"

"So what is it? A colony? A city? Some sort of haven? And why do you call it Dystopia? It’s a bit negative."

"You tend to be a bit negative nowadays," the old man sighs. "When humanity used to be greater in number than the stars themselves, making our homes in ten billion galaxies... NOW look at us. So we don’t have high hopes it will be the perfect place of legend, and we’ll settle for anything. Even a Dystopia."

"Sounds like Touchwood to me," Captain Jack grins with absolutely no irony whatsoever. "Plus, that signal keeps modulating so it’s not on a mechanical repeater. Which might be proof someone’s alive there, but also that they accidentally broke the signaling equipment in a kinky bondage session..."

At this point Derek Jacobi bites his lip, screw his eyes shut and starts screaming. "It’s started again! Pounding away in my mind! I hoped that last time would be the end, but they always stage a comeback tour! They never, never stop! Inside my head... inside my MIND! LEAVE ME ALONE! IT... NEVER... STOPS!!!"

"Chan/He does this a lot/tho."

The old man snaps out of it. "My leg’s gone to sleep. Right, you young people, go away if you can’t be of any use. I’m fine. And busy!"

"Except you can’t actually get any of this to work, remember? It’s not working. You’re stuck on this planet and you haven’t told the others, have you? hat lot out there. They still think you’re gonna fly."

"Well, it’s better to let them live in hope," Derek Jacobi sighs, "rather than letting them live in fanged cannibalistic knowledge of the nightmare they’re facing. We’ve known for ages there’s no hope, and the idea we could fix it within the next hour before the deadline was a bit much to expect, I suppose..."

"Sir De’ek, this new science is well beyond me, but all the same, while we’ve been chatting away, I forgot to tell you – I’m brilliant!" the Doctor says, and in moments the lab is lit in a golden light.

"Chan/Son of a bitch!/tho!" exclaims Chantho.

Derek Jacobi stares at all the suddenly-functioning machinery, completely stunned, and asks the Doctor how he managed this.

"You forgot to plug it all in!" the Doctor grins.

With the rocket ready EXACTLY on schedule, the countless refugees are not in the least bit surprises as they gather up their tattered possessions and leave the bleak concrete corridors and begin to board the rocket. All the troops defending the outer perimeters and collecting fresh water retreat back to the Great Redoubt, abandoning the Futurekind to the wastelands and certain death.

Makes you feel proud to be human, don’t it?

Things quickly devolve into an action montage as the Doctor, Derek Jacobi and Captain Jack snatch up discs, program coordinates and splice together wires respectively as Martha and Chantho bustle their way though the throngs of hopeful refugees and that fanged ex-lover of Captain Jack loiters with malicious intent in the background.

The Doctor realizes that the Footprint Datasheets are wired to the Neutrino Map with chewing gum, old string and staples – an indictment on the total collapse of civilization, or evidence of Derek Jacobi’s audacious improvisational skills. Either way, the Doctor spots a massive flaw in the plan: "You can’t activate this thing from on board the rocket – you’ll have to stay here, get left behind!"

"Well, I have travelling economy class anyway," Derek Jacobi shrugs. "Besides, I’ve got Chantho, a herb garden and the constant threat of death from hairy, fanged, devolved psychopaths. Dystopia’s bound to be a disappointment in comparison."

Just then, Atillo shouts over the PA that he found the Doctor’s goddamn blue box so they can stop nagging him. A convenient patch of ceiling slides back and the police box is slowly lowered into the conveniently empty corner of the lab. As Derek Jacobi watches it descend, what sounds like the bassline to "Pump It Up" starts up inside his head.

Chantho and Martha arrive to see the old man clutching his head and humming loudly – so they ignore him and slide some circuits into the System Propulsion Accelerator (just next to that suspicious blue reel-to-reel computer) and gossip about what Captain Jack is like in bed.

"It’s just a headache, it’s just... this noise!" Derek Jacobi moans. "Inside my head, Doctor. Constant noise, inside my head. It’s the sound of drums, more and more, as though it was getting closer. Working to a bubblegum rock music tune!"

"So when did this pulsatile tinnitus start, then?" asks the Doctor.

"Oh, I’ve heard it all my life, every waking hour!" the old man sighs.

"Probably nothing we can do about then," the Doctor shrugs before pointing to the suspicious blue reel-to-reel computer. "Um, what exactly is that for?"

"Oh, no idea. It’s got a complicated acronym but no one can remember what it means any more. Total Automatic Rotation Directive Instinct Synthesizer or something like that. It’s totally useless, got nothing to do with the retro feeds, just sits there and hums to itself!"

"Jings, what you keep it for then?"

"Feng Shui, Doctor! Feng Shui!"

In the silo under the ten-mile-high rocket, Atillo draws lots with some redshirt called Jate for who has to enter the Rad Chamber and connect the couplings, unblock the Stedt Impeller System, release the couplings again, charging up the engines. It’s an incredibly piss-easy task, marked only by the incredibly high risk of total bodily annihilation. Unsurprisingly, it’s Corporal "No Dialogue" Jate who draws the short straw and enters the eerily red isolation chamber.

"Captain," the increasingly senile Derek Jacobi calls, "Go to that piece of machinery. Its use temporarily eludes me, but I remember we have to keep the dials below the red, or the radiation will
overflow, the system will undergo a catastrophic feedback pulse, the rocket will explode and we are all completely screwed. Do you understand?"

"Heeeeeeeeeey," says Captain Jack in a not-too-reassuring manner.

On the screen, the group watch as Jate nervously undoes the seals and painstakingly slowly clicks the tubes into position. Just as the tension cannot possibly get worse, that newbie Futurekind decides to make everyone else suffer and starts playing with a fuse box before taking a percussive maintenance approach – with a sewing machine.

Unfortunately, she is so caught up in the excitement, she carelessly neglects to NOT be machine-gunned to death by Atillo who comes to see what all the ruckus is about.

This causes a radiation overload, and more importantly, leads to Jate evaporating and leaving an empty biohazard suit to flutter to the floor in a cool gruesome image to lead into a cliffhanger!

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