Doctor Who Logo 'Short Trips':
'Life Science'

edited by John Binns
Jacket Illustration

Once, we believed our lives were sacred, that we had souls. Now we know we are mere machines; genetic data. We are science.

But even as we learn, the properties of life remain uncertain. How does life acquire consciousness, or rights? Does a robot dream? If a person transforms into an oak tree, is it science, or the work of gods? Did the Victorians find a way to resurrect the dead?

To science, such questions are invitations to explore. Who better to explore with, than the Doctor?

Featuring stories by Kate Orman, Lance Parkin, Jonathan Morris, Jim Mortimore, Steve Lyons and more!

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Doctor Who Logo 'Syntax'

by David Bailey
The Doctor


The Doctor and Izzy arrive on the planet Jora, a beautiful world tinged with a warm red hue caused by the plant life’s equivalent of chlorophyll. But while the Doctor can smell the pleasant fragrance of the planet’s flowers, Izzy can only detect a putrid, foul odour. Approaching a wheat field, they find a horrible black mass of dying and dead insects; Izzy then begins to exhibit strange behaviour, first feeling tired and then becoming highly amorous towards the Doctor. A group of grimy, naked people appear from the depths of the wheat field and, zombie-like, attempt to attack the two time travellers. Making their escape, the Doctor and Izzy reach a nearby beach, where they find a metal hatch set into the group; they enter a tunnel that takes them under the water, to an off-shore algae farm that generates powers for the planet. Here, the station’s sole occupant, Deezer, allows the Doctor and Izzy to pass through decontamination, and offers them hospitality. While looking around the station, the Doctor discovers that the complex’s bio-filaments have been realigned, so that instead of taking in energy, it is in fact keeping something out; the Doctor concludes that Deezer has developed a mind-controlling agent, which is responsible for the Joran’s trance-like state. However, Deezer informs the Time Lord that the population’s condition is due to work carried out by himself and a scientist named Doctor Manser, on a project to develop pheromones. Manser studied the pheromone language of the planets’ weevils, hoping to create a form of chemical telepathy that his people could use. However, a laboratory accident unleashed the pheromone biochemical ‘xemes’ on everyone except for Deezer, who managed to reach an oxygen mask in time; having expelled the pheromone from the base, Deezer now plans on releasing a xemetic agent into the atmosphere to destroy the xeme. But the Doctor realises that the xeme has evolved to such an extent that it has become sentient, and now calls itself ‘Syntax’; he argues that to kill Syntax would be murder, not just of the life-form, but also for the Jorans that it now looks after. Deezer ignores him and releases the xemetic agent, but the Doctor counteracts its effects by creating an anti-xemetic agent. He and Izzy leave in the TARDIS, while Deezer, realising how much he has lost over the last two years, prepares to join his people by succumbing to Syntax’s influence…

Notes:
*Featuring the Eighth Doctor and Izzy

*I'm not viewing this story as canon, as it features Izzy, a character from the 'DWM' comic strip

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Doctor Who Logo 'Primitives'

by John Seavey
The Doctor


On Planet Z02-80535, a survey team from Trans-Planetary Mining has been established. The scientists’ mission is to determine if any of the indigenous life forms are sentient, prior to the commencement of mining operations, but several instances of sabotage has meant that the survey team have been unable to complete their research. The Doctor and Sarah arrive, and are immediately taken to be the saboteurs; however, the Doctor manages to convince team leader Coordinator Sands that the real culprits are the planet’s slug population, which, far from being mere molluscs, are in fact sentient creatures capable of complex bioengineering. These creatures, known as the Buil, are capable of creating anything they wish at a molecular level – including the birds, insects, and fungal trees all around them. But this revelation comes too late, and a huge mining ship from Earth arrives and begins to strip the planet of its resources. Leaving in the TARDIS with the Doctor, Sarah learns from the ship’s databanks that the incident they have just witnessed led to the Builder Wars, a bitter and bloody war between Earth and the Buil which lasted two years – all because neither side recognised the other as sapient, and failed to say hello…

Notes:
*Featuring the Third Doctor and Sarah

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Doctor Who Logo 'The Northern Heights'

by Mark Stevens
The Doctor


In London in the early 1930s, construction work on the new section of the Northern Line unearths a dangerous anomaly. Realising that his fellow workers at the King and Empire Railway Company are behaving very oddly, Nicolas Clement confronts his boss, only to be given the sack. After teaming up with a strange man known as the Doctor, Nicholas is shocked to learn that there is an alien anomaly located under Alexandra Palace station. The anomaly – designated Kappa 12 by a investigating Remote Viewer from the mysterious trans-dimensional organisation known as the Union – is warping space / time, threatening the destruction of Temporalities Beta and Alpha. The Doctor uses the TARDIS to dispel the creature, and Nicholas joins the Doctor in his travels…

Notes:
*Featuring the Fourth Doctor

*Time-Placing: The Fourth Doctor is travelling alone, so this takes place between 'The Deadly Assassin' and 'The Face of Evil'

*It is not clear as to whether or not Nicholas Clement stays with the Doctor as a new travelling companion at the end of the story

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Doctor Who Logo 'Observation'

by Ian Farrington
The Doctor


To learn the mystery of where humanity comes from, the Doctor takes the TARDIS back in time to a point 40,000 years in Earth’s history, so that he can witness the moment when the Cro-Magnons met the Neanderthals. Seeing that Turlough is uninterested, the Doctor instructs his companion to return to the TARDIS and jump forward in time by six months, leaving him to conduct his studies. Turlough sets the controls, but when he rejoins the Doctor, he finds the Time Lord disconsolate and downcast. As Turlough helps to collect the Doctor’s scientific instruments he finds his notebook; reading the pages, Turlough learns that the Doctor’s presence disturbed the two groups of ape-men, and they stayed away after one of their number slipped and fell to his death. However, as Turlough and the Doctor leave in the ship, the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons converge at the dead remains of the Doctor’s campfire…

Notes:
*Featuring the Fifth Doctor and Turlough

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Doctor Who Logo 'Mortal Thoughts'

by Trevor Baxendale
The Doctor


Having arrived on the planet Andron, a world populated by humans and androids, the Doctor and Mel come to the assistance of Police Detective Inspector Naylar. Investigating a series of murders, the two time-travellers pay a visit to Simon, a mode 1711 Roboman who claims that he can dream. Protesting that this phenomenon is impossible, the Doctor persuades Simon to go offline for ten minutes so that he can check the positronic circuits in the android’s brain. After Simon has deactivated himself the Doctor and Mel search his rooms, and find a decapitated and decaying human corpse in the bedroom. But before they can investigate further, Simon appears - having suspected their motives, he set his in-built timer to reactive himself after just eight minutes. As the Doctor and Mel look on in horror, Simon opens a cupboard and shows them the fleshless severed head of a man named Erik, which he has connected to his positronic brain in a misguided attempt to become human. Now wearing Erik’s face as a mask, Simon tries to throttle Mel, but the Doctor disables the rogue android by jamming his pliers in his brain circuits. With Simon handed over into police custody so that he can be reprogrammed and returned to society, the Doctor and Mel learn from Naylor that Erik was not the biomechanics student that Simon believed him to be – he was in fact an escaped serial killer, a mistake that caused Simon to kill…

Notes:
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor and Mel

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Doctor Who Logo 'Lant Land'

by Jonathan Morris
The Doctor


The TARDIS takes the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough to what appears to be an everyday household, where they meet a strange couple named Simon and Joanne. The three travellers accept their hosts’ offer of hospitality, but suspect that all is not what it seems: the furniture seems unused, while the books on the shelves are all blank. Simon and Joanne show the Doctor and his friends a large screen on their bedroom wall, which displays the events unfolding in ‘Lant Land’, a virtual environment in which people can download their consciousnesses into simulated characters for their own enjoyment. Tegan and Turlough believe that the TARDIS has actually transported them inside ‘Lant Land’, but the Doctor realises that the simulations themselves have become sentient, and have actually uploaded their own consciousnesses into the bodies of real people. The TARDIS crew make a hasty exit…

Notes:
*Featuring the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough

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Doctor Who Logo 'A Star is Reborn'

by Richard Salter
The Doctor


With the TARDIS’s systems showing an unaccountable fault, the Doctor decides to take the ship to Bryce’s Asteroid so that he can buy a Wave Fluctuation Detector from the world’s acclaimed marketplace. However, when the Doctor and Peri arrive, they find that instead of the usual wares such as fruit, vegetables, clothing and electronics, the market is now selling severed body parts. Outraged, the Doctor causes a disturbance in the ‘Lifemarket’; a number of guards appear and take the Time Lord to the Grand Auctioneer, who mistakes the Doctor for a faulty construct and sends him away to be repaired. Peri unwittingly befriends the Grand Auctioneer, who tells her that he was once a scientist working on the reanimation of dead subjects;but, his work was branded as unethical, and he was banished to the asteroid, where he decided to set up the Lifemarket for the benefit of others with similar interests. While the Grand Auctioneer meets up with a client named Carrington, the Doctor frees himself from his bonds and investigates the workshop in which he has been imprisoned; here he finds the bodies of five young men, all labelled ‘Military Hardware’. Believing the zombies to be an attempt by the Grand Auctioneer to create an army with which to attack his homeworld, the Doctor reprogrammes the constructs. However, the zombies attack Carrington and his bodyguards, and run amok through the market place causing total carnage. As the dust settles, the Grand Auctioneer sadly informs the Doctor and Peri that ‘Military Hardware’ were in fact a boy band killed in a plane crash, and that he had rebuilt their bodies for their manager, Carrington. Carrington storms off in anger, leaving the Grand Auctioneer to consider a new career in topiary…

Notes:
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri

*Time-placing: this takes place immediately after short story 'The Ruins of Heaven'

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Doctor Who Logo 'The Southwell Park Mermaid'

by Kate Orman
The Doctor


The Doctor and Chris are investigating reports of missing people and U.F.O.s in Southwell Park, Australia, in the Twenty-First Century. Having convinced local Councillor Nguyan that he is a government marine biologist, and that Chris is his Ph.D student, the Doctor heads out in a small boat for some fishing - and soon encounters a mermaid. Meanwhile, Chris finds a dead body on the shore and witnesses what appears to be a cluster of small U.F.O.s in flight along the crowded beach. The Doctor notes that the U.F.O.s are in fact an evolved form of extraterrestrial horseshoe crabs named the X. The Doctor sets off to find the mermaid once again, and persuades her to give him a sample of her blood; from it, he discovers that a gene has been introduced to her cells, along with viral DNA. The Doctor confronts Councillor Nguyan, citing the bacterial agent recently introduced by government to destroy the locals’ marijuana crop as the cause; the Doctor explains that he X introduced a gene into humans millions of years ago, which would turn humans into mermaids when a simple genetic trigger was activated, but the government’s anti-drug bacteria caused the transformation to occur early. All along the shoreline, people heed their calling and make for the ocean, only to be stopped by the X; some humans are allowed into the waves, while others are sent back to the safety of the land. Nguyan takes a speedboat and tries to capture the X, but the Doctor takes after her in another boat; one of Nguyan’s bodyguards throws the Doctor into the sea, but the Time Lord is rescued by the X, which then chase Nguyan away. As things return to normal, the Doctor realises that he will never see the mermaids again…

Notes:
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor and Chris

*Time-Placing: The Doctor and Chris seem to have recovered from the shock of Ros' death, so this probably occurs towards the end of their travels together

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Doctor Who Logo 'The Destroyers'

by Steve Lyons
The Doctor


For centuries Delthea’s people have told tales of the Boggle-Eyed Demon and his companion, two creatures of absolute evil that threatened their world, but who were destroyed by the planet’s Protector. However, Delthea wants to find out the truth about her planet’s history, and so she campaigns for the right to use her people’s most treasured item: a working time machine. Her efforts attract the attention of her government, who send black-suited agents to intercept her and show her secret video-recordings of the two ‘demons’ known as the Doctor and Leela. Realising that the legends do not depict the true events that occurred, Delthea travels back in time, and finds her race living in a state of stagnation, existing within a virtual world maintained by a machine known as the Protector. Delthea confronts the machine, which immediately reads her mind and learns the folly of maintaining a virtual world for the benefit of a civilisation that has grown lazy and dependant on pleasure. The Protector sends out a signal for help, knowing that it will attract the attention of the Doctor and his companion. When the Time Lord learns of the population’s arrested development, he realises that he has no choice but to destroy the Protector – unaware that this act of altruism will both condemn him and Leela in the eyes of future generations…

Notes:
*Featuring the Fourth Doctor and Leela

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Doctor Who Logo 'The Reproductive Cycle'

by Matthew Griffiths
The Doctor


Having had another of their many arguments, the Doctor and Peri spend some time apart from each other inside the depths of TARDIS. While the Doctor tries to determine the cause of some apparent system tampering, Peri finds herself inside what appears to be a nursery – where she discovers a small baby girl. Hearing her scream of surprise, the Doctor joins her, but he sees a baby boy. The Doctor realises what has happened: the child is a product of Kamelion, the shape-shifting android that once travelled in the TARDIS, which is shaping itself according to their feelings. Peri and the Doctor look after the infant, which quickly grows in maturity, becoming a toddler, then a young child in a just couple of days. After the Doctor finds the child stealing Arton energy from the TARDIS console, the offspring soon becomes a surly teenager; it displays the desire to leave the TARDIS, mirroring Peri’s own subconscious wishes. When the child finally takes on the appearance of Peri herself, the Doctor agrees to return ‘her’ to Earth to take over Peri’s life in her stead. Peri elects to stay with the Doctor, realising that she still wants to continue her travels in space and time…

Notes:
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri

*Time-Placing: The Doctor and Peri are still arguing, so this probably takes places quite early on in their travels together

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Doctor Who Logo 'Jonah'

by Todd Green
The Doctor


Doctor Stirling subjects Jonah to an examination, the boy is shocked to see what appears to be another version of himself, looking tired and drained of energy; in a panic, Jonah flees the hospital, and soon finds himself lost amongst the streets and houses. Resting on a park bench, Jonah encounters a friendly stranger who calls himself the Doctor; when the man offers to help the boy return home, Jonah warily agrees, and is soon returned to Doctor Sirling’s clinic. However, the Doctor’s suspicions are raised when another young boy named Brian – who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jonah – is brought to the clinic by his mother, Mona. Leaving Jonah at the clinic, the Doctor follows Mona and her son, and learns that Brian also has CGD, and that Mona is Stirling’s sister-in-law. The Time Lord later returns to the hospital under cover of darkness; after breaking in her searches through Jonah’s medical notes, and is shocked to learn that Jonah is Brian’s clone, created in order to cure Brian of his condition. When the Doctor confronts Doctor Stirling over his unethical conduct, Jonah overhears, and once again runs away. The Doctor follows him, and persuades the boy to leave in his Police Box, rather than be subjected to any more cruel operations… Years later, an aging Doctor Stirling reflects on his attempts to cure Brian, which were proved pointless when the boy and his mother were killed in a car crash. Realising the futility of his life, Stirling decides to forgo his cloned heart operation, instead choosing to return home to wait out his final years in peace…

Notes:
*Featuring the Eighth Doctor

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Doctor Who Logo 'Scribbles in Chalk'

by Gareth Wigmore
Jacket Illustration


Having left ancient Troy, the Doctor, Katarina and a wounded Steven land on a bleak, desolate world; here they discover a temporal fault, which leads them to the same planet, only five hundred years in the past. Living amongst the lush plants and trees are the Lakhotha, a tribe of friendly warriors, who offer the three time travellers their hospitality, and tend to Steven’s injury. As Steven begins his recovery, Katarina enjoys the company of the handsome Drinks-Pool-Dry, while the Doctor becomes acquainted with the man’s mother, Healing Song. However, the peaceful lifestyle of the tribe has recently been disturbed, after the apparent transformation of one of their number, Low Joker, into a tree. When Healing Song tells the Doctor of the fate of Low Joker, and reveals that several other members of the Lakhotha have also been turned into other plants and animals, the Doctor scoffs at her claims, dismissing such transformations as impossible. But that evening, during the tribe’s festivities, the remaining Lakhotha suddenly metamorphose into plants, birds, lizards, wolves and other such wild creatures; the change also threatens to alter the Doctor and his companions, but the effect passes, and they remain themselves. Before the transformed Lakhothans can attack them the Doctor, Steven and Katarina race for the temporal fault, and manage to reach the safety of the TARDIS. Recovering inside the ship, the Doctor is surprised to learn that while he is unaffected, the rift has caused Steven and Katarina to regress several days: they have no memory of recent events, and Steven’s wound is now open once again. The Doctor leaves the ship in search of medical supplies, and, making his way across the barren landscape, he soon arrives at a seemingly-abandoned complex. Inside he encounters two robots, which identify themselves as the Conduit; the mechanoids reveal that they instigated the transformation of the Lakhothans, turning them into non-threatening life-forms so that the Conduit could then plunder the planet of its resources. Furious, the Doctor vows to teach the robots a lesson another day; he then returns to the TARDIS to put as much distance between himself and the Conduit as possible…

Notes:
*Featuring the First Doctor, Steven and Katarina

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Doctor Who Logo 'The End'

by Alexander Leithes
The Doctor


Realising that he is now at the end of his eighth regeneration, the Doctor decides to fulfil one of his most long-standing dreams: the foundation of ‘The Institute of Time’. Located on a dead planet in orbit around a black hole, the institute is to be used by himself and the various time-travelling friends that he has made during his travels throughout time and space, as a place to share their knowledge and experience. At the opening ceremony, one of his fellow time-travellers, Radregh, wonders how long the Institute will last; his interest piqued, the Doctor takes the TARDIS forward in time, only to finds the establishment in a state of neglect. Investigating within, the Time Lord is shocked to discover the remains of his fellows, all of whom appear to have committed suicide. The Doctor is also surprised to encounter his first incarnation, who has journeyed to the point of the universe’s heat death in order to talk to him. The First Doctor explains that when the universe dies, the resulting ‘big bang’ will create another universe, one that will be inaccessible to the time-travellers at the institute; tormented by the realisation that they would be forever denied the experience of this new universe, the time-travellers chose to kill themselves. The Doctor also finds this knowledge unbearable, until his earlier self reminds him that he still has all of this universe’s time and space to explore. His spirits raised, the Doctor returns to the opening day of the Institute, and tactfully refuses to divulge the future of the facility to his friends…

Notes:
*Featuring the Eighth Doctor

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Doctor Who Logo 'The Age of Ambition'

by Andrew Campbell
The Doctor


The TARDIS takes the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria to the estate house of scientist Sir Charles Westwood, in the year 1866. Westwood was once friends with Victoria’s father, Edward Waterfield, and the two men would often discuss scientific issues of the day; however, Victoria also recalls a particularly gruesome conversation that they once had regarding Westwood’s research into the reanimation of the dead… Seeing that Westwood’s house is on fire, the Doctor and his companions set off to help; entering the labyrinthine building they find Westwood in a state of high anxiety, and are shocked to learn that the scientist has succeeded in reanimating the dead bodies of six test subjects; one of these has knocked over a candelabrum on the first floor, thereby causing the conflagration. As the time-travellers attempt to lead Westwood out of the house they are attacked by walking, decomposing cadavers; Jamie rescues Victoria from the clutches of one such creature, but his attempts to kill it prove fruitless: the corpse survives decapitation, and even dismemberment. As the flames spread throughout the house, another corpse appears – that of Westwood’s wife, Claire. Hearing the undead woman repeat her final words, Victoria realises that Westwood murdered his wife; the insane scientist then reveals that his wife was going to leave him for another man, but before he can continue, the creature that is now Claire throttles the life out of him. Realising the damage that Westwood’s research could cause to Victorian scientific progress, the Doctor decides to resort to drastic measures, concocting a forbidden solution that turns blood into acid; using Westwood’s hunting tranquiliser-dart rifle, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria then dispose of the reanimated monsters. Finally, the Doctor arranges for the fire to trigger a chemical-bomb, which blows up the house and destroys all trace of Westwood’s grisly experiments.

Notes:
*Featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria

*Time-placing: Victoria reflects on the events of 'Evil of the Daleks' and 'The Tomb of the Cybermen'; the fact that she does not refer to any subsequent adventures could indicate that this story is set just after 'Tomb'

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Doctor Who Logo 'Echo'

by Lance Parkin
The Doctor


Having just joined the Doctor in his travels aboard the TARDIS, Ace sets about exploring her new surroundings. She soon finds herself lost amongst the maze-like corridors, and after much wandering, comes across a zoo. Amazed at finding a dodo in one of the cages, Ace decides to let the creature out, but the bird immediately runs off, forcing her to give chase. The creature leads Ace a merry dance, and dives down a laundry chute; hot in pursuit, Ace follows and is sent sliding into a room piled high with dirty clothes. After discovering a huge wardrobe room nearby, Ace finds a Time Lord costume; donning the outfit, she admires herself a the mirror, only to see the reflection of a black-dressed man standing behind her – even though there is no-one there. The man talks cryptically to her about echoes, but before Ace can question him further, she is distracted by the arrival of the dodo, and by the time she has captured the bird, the man has vanished. Ace is left with a disturbing question: just which of them was the echo..?

Notes:
*Featuring Ace

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Doctor Who Logo 'A Rose By Any Other Name'

by Jim Mortimore
The Doctor


When the Doctor and Ace find a world whose one-great civilisation has now devolved into primitive apes, they decide to help out. The Doctor takes Ace to Earth, to a time when mankind has developed smart clothing, sentient suits capable of maintaining their wearers’ bodies in all climates, and even tell them what to think and do. However, mankind now faces a cataclysm, and is about to die out. After Ace inadvertently causes a car to crash, swerving to avoid hitting her, the Doctor takes a smart suit from the wreckage; he then gives it to a young boy, who is foraging for food in the gutter. Naming the boy Fern, the Doctor sets him and the suit the task of collecting and maintaining all the smart suits, promising to return to collect them in the future… Fifty years later, Ace and the Doctor revisit Fern, who has now completed his task. But Fern is now old and tired, and he suffers a fatal heart attack; the Doctor and Ace set the man’s body up as a monument to the memory of his world, his smart suit ensuring that his corpse will never decompose. The two time-travellers then return to the world of apes, and give the creatures the smart suits – saving both races by giving them the opportunity to carry on in symbiosis…

Notes:
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace

*Time-Placing: the Doctor is actively setting things to rights, and seems to have his solution to the the degenerated society already worked out; therefore, I would suggest that this story fits nicely within Season 25's theme of 'unfinished business'. (It is not clear whether or not the planet the Doctor and Ace first visit is Earth; my guess is that it is – a somewhat bleak view of our race's future…)


Notes:
*Published by Big Finish