Sunday, September 20, 2009

5th Doctor - Singularity

Serial 6P/C – Singular Angularity
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Toclafane

Serial 6P/C – Singular Angularity -

The TARDIS rematerializes in Red Square, Moscow, in 2008, parked awkwardly atop Lenin’s tomb. The Doctor explains to Turlough and Kamelion that a rift in the fabric of time and space runs through Moscow, the practical upshot means they are marooned in Russia for the next twenty three minutes.

Turlough notes that as long as they don’t get caught up in any intrigues, conspiracies, mayhem or plots for twenty four minutes, they should be all right.

Kamelion notices the curios sight of a replica GPO tower built on top of the Kremlin, with the sort of architectural insanity of mixing styles that won’t become fashionable until a really embarrassing period of the early 27th century and therefore just SCREAMS intrigue, conspiracy, mayhem and plot!

Turlough sighs.

The trio decide to investigate, and, in order to look less inconspicuous, transforms into a giant transformer robot, which curiously enough absolutely no one notices.

The trio enter the tower and discover it is owned by the Ominous Foundation, an organization claiming to know the future of humanity, a manifest destiny where mankind becomes gods beyond flesh and blood and walk amongst the stars, and that the Ominous Foundation can create a Utopian Earth with the help of a small cash donation.

Turlough and Kamelion snigger and sarcastically say that it’s not like they’ve ever heard THAT one before.

The TARDIS crew are forced to watch an incredibly tedious and cheap film explaining that all humans emit a field of psychic energy, and reading said field allows the understanding of both past and future timelines. Since none of them are human, the trio agree to be read, just to screw things up.

Unfortunately, the Ominous workers instead tie the trio to a couch as the Doctor bitches that the Foundation’s predictions are clearly being based on The Terrestrial Index, and thus have totally mixed up the Dustbin and Cyber Wars, while the creation of artificial intelligence is noted a mere twenty-nine centuries later than it happened. This fan chronology is the most confused mess ever!

"Haven’t you lot even LOOKED at TimeLink?!" the Doctor complains.

At that point, an angry woman called Lena shouts that this is the biggest pile of crap she’s ever heard, and her own religious organization (Vigilantes for Stalin) is far more credible and what’s more not only promises to create a Utopian Earth, but also victory for the proletariat in six days money back guarantee!

She is also incredibly pissed off that her brother, Comrade Alexei Sayle, has sold out to the Ominous Foundation, and now runs around calling himself Monsieur Aubergine trying to awaken mankind’s potential in return for tax-deductible charity.

She starts handing out pamphlets insisting that if the human race EVER ascends, it’ll be the cheap ass hypocrites of the Ominous Foundation will be left behind, and who’ll be laughing then, huh?

A woman called Qel charmingly slides up to Lena and tells her to get the hell out of there or else they will release the packs of mad dogs that they keep for just these sorts of embarrassing incidents.

Unfortunately, the mad dogs are not available, as are the mad cats and mad rodents, and so a flock of ferocious killer pigeons are unleashed instead to attack Lena, but Kamelion simply uses his new transformer artillery to turn the pigeons into scorched drumsticks.

Taken aback, the Foundation members watch on as Kamelion morphs a chainsaw and cuts himself free of his bonds, and releasing the Doctor and Turlough. Luckily, twenty five minutes have now passed and they rush back to the TARDIS and escape!

However, the TARDIS simple reappears atop Lenin’s tomb eleven years previous, where the Foundation is now an extremely violent narcolepsy clinic where patients are hooked up to all sorts of diabolic machinery which changes their brain patterns and creates artificial telepathy.

The Doctor flips through some secret folders lying around the place and notes that if this experiment was repeated on a larger scale, the entire human race would become a single, godlike psychic entity – an evolutionary quantum leap in the blinking of an eye.

"What are the chances of that?" Turlough sneers.

Admitting that no one in their right minds would attempt that, the Doctor ushers the others back to the TARDIS, noting that the likelihood of some loony psychic monsters trying to achieve godhood using the human race as canon fodder are ridiculously low.

Kamelion and Turlough stare at the Doctor, who starts swearing very loudly and decides to start an electrical fire to destroy the Foundation, but this merely causes some cheap negative effects and all the patients are suddenly possessed by outside intelligences.

Realizing that they’re just setting up the events of the story, the TARDIS crew head back, well, forward, to 2007 but unfortunately the Ominous Foundation has had eleven years to set a trap and thus they are immediately taken captive.

The TARDIS is placed in the middle of a phase array and use it to crack open the time rift in Moscow, and wouldn’t you know it? It will create a critical mass of psyches in Moscow to instantly evolve into one mental singularity, thanks to these loony psychic monsters!

The Doctor is furious at the fact that forcing the TARDIS to continually materialise and dematerialise, then tapping the resulting release of chronometric particles to power the creation of their singularity, will definitely invalidate the time machine’s warrantee!

Meanwhile, Turlough is strapped to an operating table and a ridiculous maguffin known only as the "psi gate" is aimed at his head. In a ridiculously trippy psychedelic corkscrew of light and colour, the mind, soul and essence of Turlough is sucked out of his body and sent one hundred trillion years into the future.

Turlough’s essence finally inhabited a half-metal-half-flesh spherical husk – while the previous occupant has swapped places and now controls Turlough’s body in 2007 Moscow! Turlough muses on this soul transmigration and admits it is one hell of a cool idea.

The buzzing, soccer ball-like husks floating around the place explain that Turlough is now in the city of Ember, on the cold, black, desolate, endlessly bleak and generally barren planet Dystopia - beyond the edge of the Spinward Deeps, with a ring side seat to view the heat death of the Universe. Dystopia circles the only surviving star, the rest of the cosmos just a cold void of ashes, and property prices have soared to a Lovecraftian mind-shattering level.

Back on Earth, the Ominous Foundation explain that when humanity IS turned into one godlike entity, the spirits of the husks on Dystopia will be sucked back through time to take over the brain of singularity, and then... well... do stuff, the nature of which will become more obvious when they ascend to the next phase of existence.

The Doctor and Kamelion wonder exactly who these alien invaders are, speculating that it could be the ultimate form of the Cybermen, the Embodiment of Gris, or perhaps even the Zarbi?

Qel snaps that the Dystopian husks are, in fact, human beings – the last remnants and descendents of humanity at the very end of the universe. As reality began to collapse, the human race created Dystopia, a scientific research outpost that decided instead to surgically turn human beings into floating soccer ball husks so they wouldn’t need food or water or sunlight, and then lured the rest of humanity to Dystopia to do the same thing to them.

The Doctor is horrified at such monumental stupidity – the human race turned itself into some Star Wars props that will STILL be destroyed when the universe ends instead of say, oh, I dunno, creating a gateway to another realm to do so?

Qel shuffles her feet and explains that a focus group preferred the soccer ball idea, and the paperwork was already sorted out, so they’d be fools not to do it. However, it seems that the rest of the universe thought up the gateway idea and escaped – leaving the humans to perish.

Kamelion cannot blame them – I mean, would you want to share a new universe with a bunch of idiots who cut their heads off and put them in floating soccer balls at the first sign of trouble?

Qel points out that – unless they were completely obliterated in some massive Temporal Difference of Opinion – the Time Lords betrayed and abandoned the human race, and now it’s time for payback!

The Doctor protests that punishing him for something that won’t happen for billions of years is a bit harsh, and promises to take some DVDs of human art, culture and knowledge with him as he flees this universe, but somehow this doesn’t cheer up the Ominous Foundation.

In the End Time, Turlough learns that although they the husks think of humans as contemptuous, savage, disgusting animals only good for exploiting, the End Time is one hell of a boring place and suggest a nice game of Celebrity Heads.

However, when Turlough chooses the insane power mad Trion dictator, Mrs. Rehctaht, a huge argument breaks out that since Turlough is the only person who could possibly know about her, it counts as cheating.

A huge fight breaks out and Turlough and the prisoners discover their husks are fitted with nifty red laser beams that fire Stet radiation which then leads to a full out massacre.

The chaos on Dystopia means the mass download is unready, and the distraction allows the Doctor to remember he has an incredibly cool shape-shifting android at his beck and call.

Kamelion goes nuts and starts smashing up the place, allowing the Doctor to sabotage the psi-gate, sucking Turlough’s soul and all the other Russians back into their bodies, as Qel bitches that life is so unfair and you can’t even callously abuse your own ancestors and steal their bodies nowadays!

The Doctor, Turlough and Kamelion rush into the TARDIS and take off, causing the Ominous Foundation tower to explode in a spectacular display of BBC standard pyromania.

Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor vows to once again locate a new female companion to replace Tegan, and while Kamelion wanders off to write a self-pitying blog entry, Turlough idly wonders if anyone will ever tackle the dangling plot thread of the last surviving humans trapped as the universe fades to nothing.

Back on Dystopia, the remaining six billion human husks are squabbling over who’s bright idea it was to allow their prisoners access to lethal laser beam technology.

Suddenly, the TARDIS materializes and an amphetamine-fueled midget doing a second-rate Jim Carrey impression emerges, along with a bit of blonde totty.

At first, the husks assume that this is a future incarnation of the Doctor come to gloat, but the stranger insists he’s here to save humanity and give them a whole new world, the start of a new and shining future with just a SLIGHT tweak on their original plan to conquer Earth in 2008. He wouldn’t abandon humanity and leave them to their fate.

"I’m not THAT much of a Bastard," he grins evilly...

Book(s)/Other Related –
Doctor Who Rides The Kremlin Baby!
Dr Who Embraces Scientology (Canada Only)
The Long Melancholy Afternoon of the Ancient Instrumentality of Mankind's Stagnation and Sunfall Shrine of Virconium (or "Why The Whole Universe Is Fucked Anyway")

Fluffs –
Turlough: I'm not the Doctor... I'm not the hero... I shouldn't be the one who has to say this. Seriously, I’ve got Peter’s script for some reason...

Goofs -
Upon learning that the Doctor has time travel, Lena for no real reason immediately blames the Doctor for global warning, the sinking of the Titanic, and the popularity of Falco: Der Kommissar.

Qel says Dystopia is set at the outermost edge of the universe one hundred trillion years in the future, while the Doctor describes it as "just off the M23 the following Tuesday".

Fashion Victims –
Turlough’s school tie clashes with his Russian Peasant garb.

Technobabble –
"Time for me to use the incredibly powerful Gallifreyan science, a secret beyond the understanding of mere mortals like yourselves. I am going to... REVERSE THE POLARITY OF THE NEUTRON FLOW!!!"

Links and References -
There are plenty of unsubtle foreshadowing to the next story, Mammaries of Fire, and also plenty of completely unintentional foreshadowing to the Tenth Doctor epics "Dystopia/The Beat of the Drums/Lust of the Time Lords", where he, Martha Jones, Captain Jack Sparrow and the Bastard found themselves in a situation very much like this one.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor insists that he only ever visits the end of the entire universe to hang out with his deeply immoral mates Jherek Carnelian and Lord Jagged for decadent incestuous orgies as the nature of creation winds up to a close.

Groovy DVD Extras -
The Tense Planet edition cover, with a mosaic of every single snapshot from the film clip of Boney M’s "Rasputin" building up to form an image of Turlough in a fur hat pole dancing beneath the Russian flag.

Dialogue Disasters -

Doctor: You're invading your own planet!
Qel: So, it hardly counts as ‘invading’ does it?
Kamelion: Smartarse.

Kamelion: Where's your sense of adventure?
Turlough: In the TARDIS, in a box marked "Sense of Adventure". Where’s your sense of fair play, Kamelion?
(Kamelion shows Turlough his fist)
Kamelion: Why, it’s right here, Turlough!
(Kamelion punches Turlough unconscious)

Doctor: You can't do this, you're going to obliterate the future!
Qel: Precisely. And humankind will thank us for it!
Kamelion: How will they thank you for saving them from something that never happened? Huh? Smartarse? Answer me that!
Qel: Lalala – I can’t HEAR you!
Doctor: Despite all the human qualities you've lost, you've retained the worst.

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: Even the act of observation changes something. We can’t trample heedlessly through history.
Turlough: Didn’t you just cause a huge fire?
Doctor: Your point being, Turlough?

Qel: Realizing that the food wouldn’t last, the humans of Dystopia came up with a new way of surviving! It was less organic, so much more efficient and better equipped to survive. But we went one better than that... because we have higher ideals than merely our own personal survival. We liked what we became and decided we knew best how to ensure the survival of the whole Human Race! We sent out a message across the empty skies; a message for all the other humans left starving and struggling in the dark! Come to Dystopia! Come to Dystopia! There was no malice. No evil intention. We believed it. A place to survive, a place better than the dark, bleak one out there. There was hope for all humanity that we would continue! And so they came, from all over what’s left of the universe, unable to resist a call to the promise of a better world. And here they were converted to a new way of being. Some struggled and kicked against it. Most accepted it quietly, and, more than you would think, went to it willingly once it was explained to them.
Doctor: Well... that sure was a stupid thing to do.
Qel: Yeah, suppose it was, really.

Doctor: The problem with looking after your own skin and forgetting the rest of us is, if you only ensure your own survival, sooner or later there's no-one left except you. Terribly lonely way to go through life.
Turlough: Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

Qel on the Fifth Doctor:
"This is one of his more passive personas. He just watches while everyone else gets on with it!"

Turlough: I suppose it's too much to ask to land somewhere tropical with beaches and pretty girls?
Doctor: Probably, but I have a great video on that very subject.

Alexei: I've always found the psychology of oppressive architecture quite fascinating. Take that huge tower rising up into the sky. Does that make you horny?

Viewer Quotes -

"Bunch of desperate cyborg humans trying to escape the end of the universe by using the TARDIS to create a gateway allowing them to conquer contemporary Earth? That’s very good. I might use that."
- Russell T Davies (2005)

"Pavel has the best dying words in Doctor Who history. Just before popping off, he says "tell them I was right about everything"! That's how I want to go - by noting that, by the way, I was right about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE ELSE in the WHOLE WORLD are a bunch of MORONS!"
- Ian Levine (2007)

"I think you’ll find that *I* was the one right about everything. Did you predict the collapse of civilization and the heat death of the universe with a poem in 1816? I think not!"
- Lord Byron (1983)

"Throughout Singular Angularity I was given a good slap around the chops and violently taught a lesson. It was seriously kinky. Just the way I like it." - Nigel Verkoff (2006)

" Stories featuring the 5th Doctor and Turlough are few and far between, with Singular Angularity being only the 3rd time in 76 monthly Big Finish releases that the pairing has been used."
- stater of the completely brain-bleedingly obvious (2005)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I hate Russia. Last time I was there, all the blood froze before I could use to paint my tag on the Kremlin wall. It’s not fair."

Peter Davison Speaks!
"Will Mark be back? Maybe. Maybe not. You can't hold on to them forever... this is the contract you make with fate. And more specifically, the contract you make with Big Finish. When you let people close to you, you have to accept the pain when they've gone. And also the joy when you realize you might get paid more. Such is life."

Rumors & Facts -

Reformed Star Trek fan James Swallow (though he refuses to admit if he is an African Swallow or a European Swallow) turned his attention to Star Wars and James Bond, before obsessing about Doctor Who. For years he pitched ideas to BBC Books that were inevitably rejected; pitched Doctor Who video games that were inevitably rejected; and ideas for a third webcast for the REG Doctor, which wasn’t just inevitably rejected, but the whole project cancelled to make way for BBC Wales.

It took a year for Swallow to recover from his paranoid belief that RTD was out to ruin his life, and tried to pitch stories to Big Finish’s Judge Dredd department, which were inevitably rejected.

In order to appeal to Big Finish, Swallow chose a story that used the range’s most obvious elements – a rarely-seen Doctor/Companion partnership, a near-future Earth setting with no period detail, a well-meaning but aggrieved South American, lots of foreignors, future people as villainous organizations who want to steal your mind, sinister big buildings, kidnappings, black vans, everyone slagging off Time Lords in part three, pointless side trips in the TARDIS, subterfuge, explosions, torture, mindswaps and a young guy who dies a martyr in episode three.

Producer Gay Russell found its bland inoffensiveness appealed to him, and thus allocated it the most rarest of slots – a Fifth Doctor and Turlough adventure, made all the more scarce by Mark Strickson’s globe-trotting reptile stalking activities.

Of course with Strickson’s lack of availability and continual need for Big Finish to renew their license, some unkindly claim that Singular Angularity would be the last ever appearance of Turlough. Still, who cares what they think? Who are "they" anyway? I’ll tell you: Doctor Who fans. The bastards are everywhere.

Originally entitled Singularity, the title was changed since it would make everyone think the story was about black holes and other boring crap like that. God, the amount of times I’d dozed off while being sucked into the heart of an event horizon...

After setting the story in Vancouver, then Berlin, then Adelaide, the setting for Moscow was chosen – luckily, since the cast consisted almost entirely of Eastern Europeans and the incidental music stuffed full of balalaika music.

The Russian setting and the mention of Lenin’s tomb lead Swallow to write an allegory of communism - the baddies have this idea of creating this giant collective intelligence of people, but their own petty powerplays and squabbles prove that they can never truly get rid of their own sense of individuality.

Instead of economic resources being put into a collective, it's the people's psyches and intellects. Yet, it's the poor leadership and totalitarian methods that ultimately prove to be the collective's undoing as well as ignoring basic human individualism.

However, not many people have categorically proved that the Czars of Russia were really floating metal spheres containing the aristocracy’s severed heads, or that the Winter Palace was built over a time rift.

Singular Angularity was one of the most popular Big Finish releases of 2005. Which was why it was immediately stolen and plagiarized by the genuine production team, since RTD apparently DOES have a mission to make James Swallow’s life a misery.

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