Monday, November 2, 2009

7th Doctor - The Angel of Scutari (i)

Serial 7W/L – Network
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Guide O' War-Down-Shake-Time


Serial 7W/L – Network

After the really rather depressing let-down on the planet Bliss and all that business with the Dustbins, the Doctor suggests that Hex needs to reaffirm his faith in the drugs trade and his nominal profession as a paramedic. Thus, the Time Lord thinks the best thing to do is for a good old straight historical story with a guest appearance by Florence Nightingale, the Lady with the Lamp!

Hex listens to the Doctor’s plot of dumping him in the middle of the Crimean War, putting a deranged spy-catcher on his case and surrounding him not only with the dead and dying but also lots of cannons...

...and decides he’ll take a rain-check.

Instead, Hex has decided to spend yet another day lounging around in front of the the Transdimensional Sony Trinatron Total Image Screen, confident that the unbound adventure of the not-Eighth Doctor and Kate Tollinger will have all the drug-fueled craziness he desires!

Turning an asthma ventolin inhaler into a small portable bong, Hex lights up and watches another adventure that never was!

Part One

Lieutenant "Snot" Cavendish of UNIT is enjoying another paid vacation he has swindled his paymasters into giving him, with a luxury yacht stocked with more champagne and caviar than even Cavendish feels entirely comfortable using.

He finally tires of the South of France and sets sail for Tubbyland, a verdant landscape of rolling hills and strange hobbit-like dwellings. Being an all-round asshole, Cavendish decides to vandalize the first Tubbydungeon he comes across and discovers the native Tellytubbies have all gone blind from years of sustained self-abuse.

Gagging at the stench, Cavendish learns from the elderly Tinky-Winky that the Tellytubbies have committed themselves to a great purpose. Cavendish gets bored before he can hear any further details and heads into the inner sanctum and discovers a strange figure trapped within a huge pile of used tissues.

Shortly afterwards, Cavendish is laughing easily as he uses nitro-9 to blow up the Tubbydungeon and wipe out the last of the wild native Tellytubbies and their endless dates with Rosie Palms...

At Tollinger Mansion, home of the notorious crime syndicate who oddly enough only seem to get richer since they’re family friends with a deeply immoral time traveler, Kate and her father Sam are having yet another long, boring, tedious, mundane and vacuous argument.

It seems that all those years at Swiss finishing schools have given Kate nothing but a perverse interest in schoolgirl lesbianism and lock-picking, and she wishes to go to a PROPER university and get a PROPER education. She has thus enrolled herself at the New World University in an advanced course of new age hippy bollocks.

Kate rants about "bringing the light of the truth" to the world for several hours until Sam gets so bored he decides to let her go simply to get some peace and quiet. However, Sam is nothing if not a paranoid control freak and immediately demands the Doctor stop emptying the kitchen, quit making steak and kidney pies, and save his daughter from this hideous new age cult that Nigel Kneale warned us all about ever since Johnny Rotten told him that "The Stone Tape" was the shittiest bit of Christmas television he’d ever seen.

The Doctor glares into the mid-distance and makes a long speech about how he is not the man he was, that his past incarnation was the player of chess on a thousand boards and was finally consumed by the evil in his own soul – and the Doctor now believes in freedom, self-determination, and being first at the buffet table before anyone else.

"I’ll pay you time and a half," Sam offers.

"Done!" the Doctor vows.

Kate meanwhile has gone straight to the New World University, idly noting it was clearly designed with the fashions of the 25th Century with all sorts of concrete pillars and ramps. In fact, if it weren’t for all the students, it would easily pass as a Blake’s 7 stock location shoot (ooh, what a giveaway!).

Constantly reassuring herself that this is not some evil corrupt brainwashing cult, Kate undergoes a second baptism to become a Child of the New World and given a complimentary yellow baseball cap, a bright green sweater and a Hatichami Jog Person playing a perpetually looped tape of the Tellytubbies theme song. She is then chained to a desk and forced to stare at a computer terminal that has a permanent psychedelic screensaver switched on.

The mysterious unseen Chancellor in her penthouse office meanwhile is disgusted to see the media disparagingly refer to the entire NWU enterprise as "enormous willies" symptomatic of Britain’s incredible sexual repression finding vent in the form of its architecture.

Even though the strange French man who made that strange statement is now safely held in a horrifically cruel lunatic asylum, the Chancellor realizes that she needs to manipulate the media to present her evil cult of the damned in a positive light. After briefly considering having her brainwashed followers do more than loiter around Manchester picking fights with inanimate objects, the Chancellor hits upon the perfect solution:

Hire a paid DJ to read press releases on the university radio!

The Vice Chancellor, Sir Ian Shagg, points out the flaw that the only people listening to this propaganda and classic hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s will be the students INSIDE the university and the last people who need to be fooled by their intentions.

However, the Chancellor merely shouts "I! HAVE! SPOKEN!" in a variety of silly voices over and over again until Shagg gets the message.

But no sooner has Shagg placed a job advert in The Irish Racist than the Doctor literally knocks the door down. Wearing a giant afro wig, glittery sunglasses, karma-sign-bead-necklaces and one of John Satan-Turner’s less-restrained Hawaiian T-shirts, the Doctor immediately offers his services as DJ Anthony Nom De Plume.

Shagg, thinking the entire idea was utterly ridiculous in the first place, lets the Doctor have the job immediately.

The Doctor takes over the neglected and cobwebbed radio station, throwing out the skeleton of David Hatch and immediately wiring up an iPod of the greatest hits of Rogue Traders, the Herd, Jocks Wa-Hey, and the Glee Compilation Soundtrack. True, this anachronistic chart-toppers could destroy the flow of cause and effect, but the Doctor defends such actions on the grounds that he really, REALLY likes the songs.

As days turn to weeks, Kate becomes more and more indoctrinated into the New World University, losing every last trace of individuality and identity. She is just a slightly more-attractive-than-average Chilly of the New Age of Mankind.

Meanwhile, the Doctor’s radio show consists of him screaming "MAXIMUM POWER!" and playing Alexei Sayle’s Cak! album continuously. At first this could be mistaken for a cunning plan to slowly break the conditioning of the students, but it quickly becomes apparent the Doctor’s completely forgotten what he’s supposed to do and is simply having far too much fun to care.

Finally, Sam realizes that he’s going to get off his pampered butt for the first time in twenty years and actually do something himself for a change. So, gathering up a small army of hired goons together with lots of sub machine guns, they catch a limousine to the NWU, ready to unleash a can of medieval whupass on the opposition...

...however, it turns out that the New World University gets quite a lot of these vigilante gangs and so the Tollinger death squad have to make an appointment. After several hours waiting in the reception lounge being constantly watched by the dead eyes of Chillys, Sam is finally allowed to have a meeting with the Chancellor.

In the lift journey up to her office, there is an awkward moment with Sir Ian Shagg and Sam. Not only does Shagg mistakenly believe Sam to be an investigative journalist NWU has hired, but Sam has unintentionally farted very loudly.

Finally, the duo emerge into the office and in a dramatic moment that looks incredibly cool and great on TV but loses some of the impact on the page so I don’t even know why I’m typing this, the Chancellor swings around dramatically in her chair.

It’s Jo Grant!


Part Two

The Rani has hired an investigative journalist to track down certain people who were involved in the mysterious "London Event" thirty years ago. Since Sam was involved in a mysterious "London Event" thirty years ago, he is able to bluff his way in the interview until eventually it becomes clear the Rani was interested in the incident with Tellytubbies in the London Underground rather than the one with Ice Cream Vendors in the London Dungeon.

"Would it have killed you to be a little more specific?" Sam grumbles.

The Rani takes that on board and has her smarmy marketing facilitator flogged and punished by the Chillys. Why? I dunno, but silent teenagers head-banging to Tibetan chants and techno-beats clearly have deep psychological significance to the author.

Needing a good lie down and maybe an hour with a Vietnamese masseuse, Sam and his goons take their leave of the NWU... and are immediately arrested by UNIT and taken to their secret base in a public toilet in Tooting Bec. There they meet Brigadier Bambi, who believes that the NWU is a front for Tellytubby-related terrorist activities attempting to seize control of the central European node of the information superhighway and cause untold chaos and horror.

Sam politely asks what in the name of God’s arse Bambi is on about.

In his studio, the Doctor is going through the headlines and punctuating them with deeply inappropriate song dedications. When the Director of MI5 is killed in a when her computer-controlled car locks her inside and drives into a brick wall, the Doctor plays Madness’ "Driving In My Car"; while the fact the anti-terrorism squads are now completely happy to have all hostage situations done by microchip gets them "S.O.S." by ABBA. And the mysterious deaths of software technicians by having their necks shattered with inhuman strength leads the Doctor to play "For What It’s Worth" by Buffalo Springfield.

It then strikes the Doctor that the first manifestation of the Internet will be activated in a few day’s time, making this a unique and crucial nexus point in time and space from which all other probabilities unfold.

So he plays Bad Religion’s "21st Century Digital Boy."

In her classes, Kate’s indoctrination has stalled ever since she found the Games folder and has been playing Solitaire ever since. As she is the only student smart enough to done this, she is a threat to the NWU which reacts in a suitably surreal manner: her computer seems to come to life; light blazes from the monitor, and tubbycustard forms where the light touches her skin.

It finally occurs to Kate that her further education would probably be better served by getting the sweet merciful fuck out of there as fast as humanly possible and then does just that.

However, this spooky supernatural shtick means she is soon being chased up and down countless corridors by an army of Chillys and the truly evil Shagg who throws countless bowling balls down the carpets to try and trip up the fleeing cat burglar.

At one point in this extended Scooby Doo chase, Kate finally passes the University Radio section and desperately tries to get the attention of the Doctor within, but he has his headphones on and can’t hear her desperate pleas over the sound of "Mambo No. 5".

Finally, the episode gets padded enough and Kate runs to the roof of a building and leaps to her death to escape certain death... hmm, bit of a slight logical flaw in that, methinks...

Luckily, at that moment a passing alien spacecraft happens to be flying past the NWU and Kate arrives safely in the cockpit with the two Snotaran warriors as they have a dog-fight with a crystalline Ru-tan fighter ships, both competing to be the quickest fast food delivery service this side of Mutter’s Spiral.

The dogfight ends with both alien ships hit and crashing but Kate has, inexplicably, survived the entire ordeal unharmed. A passing tramp marvels at what a "jammy cow" she is and then wanders off, bored.

In her office, the Rani has a round of phone sex with the Minister for Technology and tricks him to activate the internet a day early so the catering will be cheaper.

Meanwhile the Doctor continues his "Desert Island Disasters" playlist. At number 3, an exploding chemical company’s storehouse comes in with "Fire!" by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Ahead, Travelling Wilbury’s "The End of the Line" celebrates the head-on collision of two British trains. But top of the pox has to be the overloading power junctions and the inappropriate "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats.

Numerous callers point out that all these disasters are clearly down to faulty microchips recently installed. The Doctor listens to various callers’ theories that binary code of such chips is somehow rebelling against humanity, then gets bored. Reminding everyone that this is HIS radio show and he’s had enough paranoid rantings for the moment, he puts on Psuedo Echo’s "Living in a Dream" and forgets all about it.

Back at UNIT HQ, naughtiness starts to occur as the mainframe overheats and explodes – some evil force shut off the coolant fan, the same evil force that ensures the lift doors open to an empty shaft to kill some redshirt UNIT soldiers to ramp up the tension.

And at the Tollinger mansion, similar poltergeist-like crap is going down as the televisions let out hideous screams, and the toaster tries to set the house aflame. Luckily, the fire brigade is on permanent standby if things kick off around Sam Tollinger and they quickly get the blaze under control. If anything, they’re a bit depressed at the lack of armed sieges, drug smuggling and human misery this time.

At the NWU, the Doctor finally twigs some serious crap is going down. His suspicions were first aroused by the lack of student parties, recreational drug-taking or jailbait DJ groupies screaming for his body – though perhaps that last one isn’t QUITE so suspicious. Anyway, furious at the lack of a fanbase, the Doctor decides it is time to try and wake up the Stepford Students from their trance.

However, a phone-in "Guess the Average Weight of a Rabbit" competition is far from a success.

The Doctor thus gives his ultimatum to management. Either he receives a BAFTA for services to public radio, a salary rise and daily pizza allowance or he’ll do what David Tennant did in Taking Over The Asylum. No one is 100% sure what the Doctor is referring to there, but even Shagg can tell it’s going to be epic.

Finally, the Rani leaves her office to complain about the perpetual loop of Booker T. & The MG’s "Green Onions" and realizes that the DJ is none other than her old enemy (and occasional squeeze) the Doctor!

Realizing how serious things are, the Doctor immediately uses his mighty DJ powers to expose to the world that the NWU Chancellor is actually a mongrel Time Lady with a truly disastrous love life. He announces a new segment, entitled "Lift the Lid", where the audience ring in and get the Rani to reveal her evil master plans.

"Rani, can you hear me?" the Doctor booms over the airwaves. "The Rani’s the evil mastermind behind all this, ladies and gentlemen, so ring in with those questions. New World is just a very-well financed front, but time travel pays well, believe you me! Something’s coming to this world and if you guess the correct answer, I am prepared to stop playing 'Green Onions!'"

All across campus, Chillys starts to sit up and take notice.

Realizing that she could soon have a rebellion on her hands, the Rani unleashes the powers she has been summoning by typing in COBOL into word documents... but hey, it was the early 90s, people fell for crap like that when it came to convincing computer graphics!

Everything controlled by a computer chip starts to turn against the Doctor; blinding light flashes at him from photocopiers, laser printers fire sheafs of paper at him, and the emergency fire systems attempt to lock him in rooms. Cunningly, the Doctor’s broadcast booth is hidden in the women’s toilet and lacks any chips at all – the NWU is such a cheap organization all the radio equipment is decades out of date!

Safe and sound, the Doctor laughs evilly and vows to plot his revenge by rousing that great giant known as the British public. Alas, the evil computer virus has got there first and the phone lines are cut off and so is the Doctor’s transmission.

Suddenly and terribly, the Doctor’s old payslip begins to glow with evil light, spreading out hideous tubby custard everywhere. As the detestable substance begins to fill the ladies’ loo, the Doctor discovers that Shagg has locked the door, trapping him inside.

Threatened to be smothered under gallons of Cthulu-spunk, the Doctor struggles feebly to think of famous last words before he shuffles off this mortal coil for the eighth time.

"Oh, fate! Oh, fortune! Well, oh fuck really!"

Part Three

The Doctor escapes certain death. How? No bloody idea, I’m missing that CD track. Stupid dodgy illegal bit torrent downloads! No one takes any pride in internet piracy any more! GOD DAMN!

Anyway, after this mysterious escape, the Doctor is now wandering the gridlocked streets of London – taking the occasional moment to point and laugh at the primitive humans with their easily-scrabled, virus-unprotected computer systems.

But as he heads through the traffic towards the TARDIS, he begins to have waking visions of the Rani and the Tellytubbies and he realizes that he must have very low blood sugar. He pops into the nearest pizzeria and treats himself to lunch.

Kate finally returns to her smoldering family home and finds her father discovering to his fury that the insurance companies won’t pay up on the grounds their computers say it is February 18 1900 and thus Sam won’t take out his policy for another nine decades, so there!

Demanding compensation, Sam and Kate head for UNIT HQ – where they are immediately captured by Colonel Cavendish and his Chilly concubines who try and force the Tollinger to wear headphones, so they too can hear the wonderful melody of the Tellytubby theme music!

Sam, completely and utterly sick of this, pulls out a gun with a silencer and kills Cavendish and his groupies and the storyline can advance once more with that extraneous plot thread dealt with by patented TILT (Tollinger Instant Lead Transfusion).

Back at the pizzeria, the Doctor remembers the crisis engulfing the human race and guiltily realizes he should be trying to work out what the hell is going on. Thus, he Doctor broods over the problem and, entirely off the top of his head, suggests that some kind of digital life form has come to Earth to liberate the enslaved human technology. Which, admittedly, seems to make a hell of a lot of sense.

But what form will this life form take?

What is its plan?

And how will the Doctor pay for his meal when the only cash he presents needs to be planted in warm peat for six months before tey count as legal tender?

Thinking again, the Doctor attracts the attention of the Chillys clustering on the jammed street corners, then beats them up, steals their wallets, pays for his pizza and goes on his merry way.

The Doctor pops down to the canal and finds Sam and Kate taking refuse in Sam’s old houseboat where he used to live in the 1960s as a dirty, filthy hippie. The Doctor is delighted – not only does this houseboat allow them to travel free from electronic gridlocks, it’s also the place where Kate was born and the Doctor can disgust her for hours about the gory details of her birth.

Thankfully, the Chillys attack, providing an excuse to change the subject and our heroes bravely flee for their miserable lives.

"Well," the Doctor says confidently, "as long as none of them have mastered telekinesis or anything like that..."

The Chillys use their telekinetic powers to force the houseboat onto a riverbank. While Sam and Kate take turns to smack the Doctor on the head for jinxing them so thoroughly, the Chillys start to do disgusting things to themselves with ping-pong balls you normally wouldn’t see outside of VERY disreputable Bangkok whorehouses.

The moment the ping-pong balls are... er... "in place", so to speak, the brainwashed psychic student body of the damned suddenly and inexplicably transform into an army of Tellytubbies.

It is at this point Kate decides she is clearly tripping on cheap smack and refuses to accept that any of this surreal bullshit can possibly be occurring in reality.

The Doctor meanwhile finally twigs that he is dealing with the Lovecraftian horror and eldritch abomination known as the Great Narrator – normally it lives in the dark places of the inside, the void beyond the mind, between the light and the shadow... or, for some reason, vast amounts of custard.

But now, with the genuine Tellytubbies destroyed, there is nothing to prevent its return to Earth in a brand new physical manifestation.

"THE INTERNET!" the Doctor gasps.

"The what?" Sam boggles.

"Oh, er, the Information Superhighway. Computer stuff. Etc." The Doctor clears his throat. "Mmmm. I’m sure this all made much more sense back in the Sixties."

With the aide of all these brainwashed Chilly cultists and the New World University, the Great Narrator has spread like a virus through the computer systems of the entire world, and is now so utterly powerful it can turn people into Tellytubbies...


...admittedly, even the Doctor isn’t sure how that one works.

In town, the evil from before the dawn of time continues to cause immense naughtiness. It chews up phone cards, stares out of TVs at passers-by, constantly interrupts Blue Peter with that old test-card of the girl and the clown, blows fuses at BBC Television Centre, possesses Michael Parkinson and generally is annoying.

Back at UNIT HQ, Brigadier Bambi has finally twigged this herself and demands they get all the information they have about the earlier Tellytubby incident – but all the hard copies were used as paper planes by Cavendish! When UNIT try to get their computer files, the voice of the Great Narrator laughs mockingly he deleted them first. In fact, he also mucked about with all their records so UNIT dating can NEVER be successfully resolved.

"How utterly evil!" Bambi gasps... before putting a bullet through the nearest monitor. Admittedly this doesn’t defeat the Great Narrator, but it shuts the annoying bastard up for once.

UNIT forces advance on the NWU, confident their new computerized tactician won’t turn evil and bite them in their ass trying to stop a biological computer virus designed to do just that. Frankly, they deserve their inevitable slaughter, don’t you think?

After about fifteen minutes of UNIT troops being blown up before they even get out of their computer-controlled helicopters, Brigadier Bambi realizes they might be able to win by using weapons WITHOUT computer chips in them that can be controlled by their enemy.

The surviving UNIT troops charge NWU armed with pointed sticks and breeze blocks, but the Great Narrator just turns more Chillys into Tellytubbies and sends them to fight. The Tellytubbies start firing custard out of their hands, Spiderman-style, and soon the grounds of the university are smothered in the gunk and UNIT are wiped out.

Thus it is a bit embarrassing when the Doctor, Sam and Kate are dragged there by their Tellytubby captors and the Doctor is going on about how confident he is that UNIT will kick some serious arse and there is absolutely no reason at all to be worried.

Looking around the custard-smothered corpses and hundreds of growling Tellytubbies, the Doctor revises his assessment of the situation and concludes that they are all of them, to a man, completely stuffed.

Part Four

Marched through the University, its corridors and students lost under heaps of tubbycustard, the Doctor and the Tollingers are brought before the Rani and the Great Narrator who has taken over the body of Sir Ian Shagg on the grounds Shagg’s consciousness never used it anyway.

The Rani restores the polarity of the mylar flow that was so cruelly reversed back in some Troughton story or other. Thunder rumbles, lightning flashes and that incredibly pretentious glass pyramid roof of the central computer block starts glowing with evil light. Soon the skies are boiling with Tubbycustard and the PA system shouting Biblical quotes like "MY NAME IS LEGION FOR WE ARE MANY!!"

Being a total prick, the Great Narrator makes trains leap off their tracks, has every computer monitor in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange smash themselves against their desks over and over again, cause every bank cashpoint from Manila to Mexico City to self-destruct, blows up random nuclear reactors in the Ukraine, and sets Stockholm computer-based heating systems to "inferno".

Unimpressed, the Doctor challenges the Great Narrator to do something more creative – transmit the CIA database live to every Russion TV station in the Kremlin, replace all cancer research with Vienna theatre reviews, or use an array of tomahawk missiles to write the words BUSH SUX in the sky above Baghdad maybe?

Sam and Kate freak out at the Doctor encouraging more carnage. "Oh hush," the Doctor scolds them. "Have you two ever saved the human race from total extinction? No, I didn’t think so. So why don’t you let the 900-year-old Lord of Time take the lead and for once, just for once, SHOW A BIT OF BLOODY CONFIDENCE IN MY TALENTS, DAMN YOU?!?"

Meanwhile, by some miracle possibly relating to the fact she’s not a complete moron, Brigadier Bambi has survived the slaughter and sneaks into the NWU reception. She immediately grabs the nearest terminal and tries to type instructions into the computer system in the hope she can mess up the Great Narrator’s plan...

...but she can’t, so she gives up and starts playing FreeCell instead.

Finally, the Great Narrator has run out of party tricks, since it can only do so much before it blows up the entire Information Superhighway it has delicately wreathed itself inside. "Let they who live in glass houses throw the first stone," the Doctor concludes. "See?" he asks his mutinous companions. "I know precisely what I’m doing."

"BWA!" the Great Narrator mocks. "My strength is growing! Your defenses are powerless against me! THIS IS MY WORLD NOW!"

"I’m going to have to stop you there," the Rani points out. "Your new form is just a stolen web of cable and silicon you can’t escape from. Your power goes no further than the campus mainframe which, by a staggering coincidence, happens to be controlled by me."

The Great Narrator stamps his foot and swears.

The Rani now reveals her TRUE evil master plan: to create a worldwide office network that will be the most efficient system in the universe, without any unreliable organic employees to screw things up or take mornings off to recover from hangovers. The Great Narrator will become the Great Paperclip, condemned to spend the rest of eternity creating letterheads and organizing committee meetings!

"B-but I was going to impose organization and order on the chaotic world!" the Great Narrator. "One thought to burrow deep into the Earth’s roots and reach high into its skies! The humans were going to provide me with new machines and new bodies! YOU PROMISED!"

"It’s hardly my fault you were stupid enough to fall for that crap I spun you, now is it?"

"Or is that what I WANTED you to think?" the Great Narrator retorts, and then has the assembled Tellytubby hoards grab the Rani and rip her limb from limb, while more guard the campus mainframe. Its conquest is now totally complete.


Kate and Sam fold their arms and glare at the Doctor, who just scratches his scarab broach and mutters, "So I got it wrong. What are you? Perfect?"

However, the Doctor hasn’t been fighting alien menaces for 28 seasons without learning the odd trick or two about the areas of end-user interface and human-centric computer design. Rushing to the reception area, they find Bambi playing Minesweeper.

Bambi admits she didn’t bother to try and get more reinforcements because all the rest of UNIT is being used to set up a police state, shooting looters before they can do too much damage to Sainsbury’s. Thus, there is no one to hold back the Tellytubbies and it is mere moments before our heroes are doomed.

Nonetheless, the Doctor is ridiculously confident that the computer apocalypse virus he knocked up – The Electronic Enema – will purge the Great Narrator from the global information superhighway. The Doctor uploads the virus and waits for the day to be saved.

After five minutes, nothing has happened. The Tellytubbies are still closing in for the kill, the Great Narrator is still causing chaos across the Earth and countless people die every second. Another five minutes and nothing’s happened.

"Oh dear," the Doctor notes. "I forgot, you have yet to invent wireless internet broadband. This is slower than dial-up!"

Finally, the computer virus finally activates and destroys the Great Narrator – and also destroys the internet as well. Chaos ensues as computers all over the world go apeshit and suffer catastrophic shutdown. Earth is struck by power failures, bank machines refuse to give out cash, radar and runway lights are lost and satellite navigation shuts down. Planes fall out of the sky, cars crash, trains are suddenly on time... hey, there HAD to be an up side!

Earth is plunged into a digital winter, and soon Russian defense systems start to accidentally launch nuclear missiles across the globe, heralding World War III and the end of civilization.

Back at the NWU, the Doctor tries to get everyone to be a bit more Buddhist about nuclear Armageddon and accept the philosophical truth that nothing lasts forever and death is the only constant. However, if there is going to be anyone surviving the end of the world, it’s dam well going to be him!

The story ends with the Doctor deciding to leg it in the TARDIS, informing the Tollingers and Bambi: "Well, that’s life. At least for YOU lot anyway! Ciao!"

Back in reality, it seems that Hex has completely OD-ed on oregano-laced opium smack cocktails and slumps dying to the floor of the TARDIS. "Time and a place, Mr. Hex!" reproaches the Doctor, as Hex babbles that he was only trying to "make me feel better about meself".

The Doctor and Ace rush to the console to set course for some poncey space hospital where they can rush a junkie like Hex at a moment’s notice, and Hex insists he would rather be treated by cynical, depressed paramedics he knows and supplies to – his old pals at Albion Hospital... well, those still alive after the Cyber apocalypse, anyway.

Ace tries to point out this is hardly a sensible option, but it is too late: the TARDIS has already changed course, and Hex is blowing saliva bubbles and embarking on the biggest trip of his entire life...

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