Doctor Who Logo 'Short Trips':
'Crystal Ball'

(1 Part)

by Rob Nisbet
Jacket Illustration

Ace accompanies the Doctor on one of his secretive missions, as they visit an elderly spiritualist named Kenneth. Posing as the man’s relatives, they persuade Kenneth to conduct a séance to contact a wife the Doctor has invented; however, using his crystal ball Kenneth instead contacts a man, who manifests out of glowing ectoplasm in the air above. The experience drains Kenneth, and the séance abruptly ends. Returning to the TARDIS, the Doctor tells Ace that the manifestation was created from Kenneth’s own body mass. Given that she breathed in some of the substance, Ace is understandably unnerved, but agrees to using her inadvertent connection to the ghost to hold another séance; she sees a vision of a woman holding the glowing crystal ball, a fortune-teller based in Brighton. That night, the Doctor and Ace sneak back into Kenneth’s house, where they see Kenneth given a glowing tonic by his helper, Nurse Lorimer – a liquid that restores Kenneth’s spindly body to its former health. When the Doctor questions Nurse Latimer on the contents of her tonic, she suggests that Ace drink it so they can hold another séance. This time ectoplasm is drawn both Kenneth and Ace, depleting their bodies to form the shape of the man again. When Nurse Latimer changes into a gaseous form and merges with the man’s body, the Doctor pulls out a newspaper cutting of a fortune-teller found dead at the seaside; the Doctor knows she was consumed by the vampiric alien in the crystal ball she found on the shore, a creature made of thought, which is now attempting to bring another of its kind into reality. Revealing that he drank the tonic instead of Ace, the Doctor turns the séance back on the aliens, restoring Ace and Kenneth to normal; he then encourages them to think of a crystal ball, which traps the thought-creatures inside the glass sphere. Kenneth is grateful for his restoration, and reveals that he contacted the Doctor’s real mother; using the disposal of the crystal ball as an excuse, the Doctor makes hasty exit…

Stephen Critchlow (Narrator)

Notes:

*Featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace

*A Big Finish Audio Production

*Time-placing: The Doctor and Ace leave for Perivale to dispose of the crystal ball, so I’m choosing to place this just prior to the events of ‘Survival’