Doctor Who Logo 'Short Trips':
'Time Signature'

edited by Simon Guerrier
Jacket Illustration

A city destroyed by time itself. A country torn apart by revolution. A man in a boat with a biscuit tin…

The Doctor doesn't just change the lives of those around him, his actions echo through history. Shaping the universe, changing it, rewriting in his own hand.

But making it better? It's a good job he never sticks around for long afterwards.

And yet, for all that the universe may be infinite, for all he keeps moving, the Doctor can't outrun the consequences forever.

Featuring stories by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel, Marc Platt, Jonathan Clements, Matthew Sweet and more

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The Stories:

Doctor Who Logo 'Echoes'
by Simon Guerrier
The Doctor


Reporter Sarah-Jane Smith interviews a composer named Isaac, recently visiting the U.K. from a foreign nation. However, on hearing Sarah address her companion as the Doctor, Isaac reveals that he once travelled with the Time Lord some twenty years ago. Realising that these events are from his future, the Doctor hurriedly leaves, fearing that the knowledge could influence forthcoming events. He returns to U.N.I.T. headquarters and asks the Brigadier to help Isaac, arguing that the man is a member of his organisation by proxy, and, because of his affiliation with the Doctor’s future self, will probably have saved the Earth several times. Meanwhile, Sarah visits Isaac, unaware that they are being watched by two mysterious men dressed in grey undertaker suits. Isaac is reluctant to give anything away, but he does entrust the reporter with an envelope containing sheets of music that he has written. Later, Isaac apparently commits suicide; the Doctor decides to investigate, and together with Sarah he visits Doctor Nikolai Faro, the foreign ambassador who granted Isaac permission to visit England. Faro tells them that he granted Isaac asylum after learning of his involvement in a pivotal military coup in 1953; he was impressed by the composer’s music, although the Doctor’s questioning leads him to reveal that he did find the work strangely familiar. When Sarah’s story is later killed by a D-Notice the Brigadier protests to his superiors, only to learn that the Doctor’s future self requested the suppression of any investigations. With only the music as a lead, the Doctor tries to uncover why it is so hauntingly recognisable, but the two men in grey materialise, overpower him, and then vanish with the papers. The Doctor builds a device to trace the source of the alien’s transport beam, but as he activates the machine, a Time Lord takes him out of time and warns him off the investigation, citing that the time is not yet right for him to learn the answers he seeks. Over the next few weeks, the Doctor becomes obsessed with recalling Isaac’s tune. However, following his regeneration, the melody loses its importance, and his scribbled attempts to set down the tune remain lost – until Sergeant Benton finds them…

Notes:
*Featuring the Third Doctor, Sarah, the Brigadier and UNIT

*Time-placing: the Brigadier mentions that Jo has sent back the Doctor's crystal from Metabelis III, placing this just prior to 'Planet of the Spiders'

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Doctor Who Logo 'The Ruins of Time'
by Philip Purser-Hallard
The Doctor


The TARDIS arrives on the twilight world of Torcaldi, whose hermaphrodite population has become somehow frozen in time. Exploring the ruins of a city, the Doctor and his companions meet Vedirioi, one of a number of survivors who live in a ramshackle village named Cantosi, who explains that time is a commodity on this world, and that bandits have been stealing this valuable resource from the population. When the Doctor and Susan are captured by bandits during a raid, Ian, Barbara and a Torcaldian named Ecsilo immediately set off in pursuit to rescue them. Meanwhile, the bandits’ leader, Balthar, orders his slave ‘conduit’, Tranell, to drain the Doctor’s time energy; however, the Doctor’s alien physiognomy protects him from the process, and instead he pretends to be dead so that he can escape. Having rejoined his friends, the Doctor locates the source of the planet’s time damage: a laboratory containing an artefact dubbed ‘Pletra’s Tear’; using some of his time energy, the Doctor restores the lab’s computers, and accesses a sound recording of the arrival of the Tear at an open-air performance hall. On their return to Cantosi, the time travellers and Torcaldians are attacked and captured by the bandits; this time Balthar orders Tranell to drain Susan’s energy, but the slave rebels, and attacks his master instead. With the bandits defeated, the Doctor and his friends leave in the TARDIS; however, the Doctor is unaware that Susan has left behind a time-laden artefact from the ship - a board game - which Vedirioi, his family and friends can use to sustain themselves for many more years to come…

Notes:
*Featuring the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Doctor Who Logo 'Gone Fishing'
by Ben Aaronovitch
The Doctor


Encountering a young man named William in a fishing shop in Slough, the Doctors coerces him to join him on a fishing trip. However, to William’s amazement, instead of the Grand Union Canal, the Doctor takes him to an alien world; here they meet a tribe of friendly natives, who invite them to share in their feast, and then offer them a bed for the night. The following morning, William is surprised to learn that the Doctor has volunteered him to take part in a fishing contest against one of the natives, Little Rock. Now dubbed ‘Pink Fella’, William accompanies the tribespeople on their journey across the arid planet surface, finally arriving at the location of the first round: a sandy basin where each of the contestants must catch a vicious sand eel. Despite his valiant efforts, William loses, but the following day, he manages to win the second round by catching a flying fish. The third round involves landing a flame fish from a lake of fire –using an imaginary hook and line; William does admirably, and is set to win until the Doctor tricks him into losing. William is angry, but the Doctor explains his actions: they are on Earth in the future, and the tribes people are the descendants of the super rich; when the Doctor originally arrived here Little Rock challenged him to a fishing contest, but knowing that his competitiveness would mean that he had to win, the Doctor chose to nominate a third party to take his place, just so that he wouldn’t have to hurt Little Rock’s feelings. The Doctor offers to take William back home, but the young man decides to stay with his new-found friend for more travels through space and time…

Notes:
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor, and introducing William

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Doctor Who Logo 'The Avant Guardian'
by Eddie Robson
The Doctor


Composer Flora Millrace is the woman responsible for the theme tune to the new police programme, ‘Identikit Man’. However, the show’s theme is actually a complex composition designed to help Flora detect a multitude of localised temporal rifts in the space-time vortex; every Friday night, as the programme is transmitted across the country, the music issuing from thousands of television speakers interacts with the rifts, enabling them to be detected by Flora’s computers; armed with high-tech equipment, Flora then sets off to each trouble spot and sets the disturbance back into phase. While repairing one such rift in a family’s council flat, Flora is surprised when the bubble releases the Doctor into the middle of the living room; the two are old friends, and after a happy reunion, the Doctor confesses that his recent meddling with the TARDIS systems forced the ship into making an emergency landing, trapping him and his companions, Jamie and Zoe, in the space-time bubbles. Together they retrieve Zoe and the TARDIS from their bubbles, and then set off to find Jamie. However, unknown to Flora, two of her colleagues, Arto and Turis, are aliens opposed to her repair work; at gunpoint, they force the programme scheduler of another channel to broadcast a rival police show, ‘Waterfront Beat’, opposite ‘Identikit Man’, so that the doctored theme of this new show can counteract the effects of Flora’s music. Having deliberately caused one of the vortex bubbles to explode, killing dozens of people, Arto and Turis threaten more acts of terrorism unless they are given access to Earth’s energy reserves. Using the TARDIS, the Doctor broadcasts a counter signal, drawing the energy from the vortex bubbles into the ship, and releasing Jamie in the process. Arto and Turis resign themselves to defeat, but are then murdered by a mysterious, suited alien. Now reunited, the Doctor and his friends leave in the TARDIS, while Flora records the sound of the ship’s dematerialisation.

Notes:
*Featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe

*Time-placing: the author, Eddie Robsen, tells me that this story is set between 'The Invasion' and 'The Krotons'

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Doctor Who Logo 'Second Contact'
by Jonathan Clements
The Doctor


Carrying out the wishes of his late travelling companion, the Doctor takes Isaac’s ashes to Greenland. Here a tribe of Icelanders allows him to travel on their longboat in exchange for guiding them to a place of safety, away from the aggressors that have recently been attacking them. From the deck of the boat, the Doctor casts Isaac’s remains across the waters…

Notes:
*Featuring the Eighth Doctor (and what's left of Isaac in a biscuit tin!)

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Doctor Who Logo 'Resonance'
by Ben Woodhams
The Doctor


In a café behind the Iron Curtain, the Doctor meets Isaac, a companion with whom he is destined to travel in a future incarnation. The Doctor grudgingly agrees to help Isaac escape from the country’s oppressive regime, but when the two of them return to the TARDIS, the Doctor detects a localised disturbance in the space-time continuum and decides to stay and investigate. They are soon captured by Directorate agents and brought before Inspector Rexhepi, whose colleague, Professor Hu, is conducting experiments into the neutralisation of electron action. When Hu notes that his equipment only works at certain times of the day, Isaac realises that there is a correlation with the times that he and his orchestra rehearse; the Doctor determines that a resonance between the equipment and the music is causing a nullfield, in which the entire fabric of space-time is negated. Learning that Hu and Rexhepi plan to use the nullfield as a weapon, the Doctor vows to stop them, and he attempts to destroy the sheets of music that Isaac is carrying with him; however, he is stopped by the arrival of two smartly-dressed grey aliens, who teleport into the laboratory, seize the papers and kidnap Isaac. Hoping to rescue his friend, the Doctor conducts the orchestra while Hu operates his equipment, but the aliens have locked off the portal. The Doctor manages to escape, and he heads for the nearby hillside where Hu’s portal equipment has now been activated; the Doctor retrieves Isaac from the portal, but then finds himself facing Rexhepi at gunpoint. The Inspector’s superiors instruct him to let the Doctor go free, but Rexhepi ignores the orders, and is about to shoot the Time Lord when he is stopped by Isaac. As the Directorate guards overpower his friend, the Doctor escapes to the safety of the TARDIS, while Isaac remains a prisoner…

Notes:
*Featuring the Fifth Doctor, and Isaac

*Time-placing: the Doctor is alone, but this could mean that his companions are elsewhere; for convenience, I'm placing this after 'Greenaway'

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Doctor Who Logo 'Walkin' City Blues'
by Joff Brown
The Doctor


When the TARDIS’ systems run out of lubrication, the Doctor and William stop off at a vast, walking city filled with massive skyscrapers so that they can obtain supplies. A dodgy insectoid named Fingal takes them to meet a dealer named Bansal, but before they can discuss a transaction, the man is killed in a freak lift accident. The Doctor and William are immediately suspected of murder, but are given eight hours to find the real killer by the police. The two friends begin their investigations, questioning Bansal’s estranged wife, the voluptuous actress Electra Montaigne, and her personal guru, Cardinal Xalicus Monfreit. William is then captured by an unseen assailant, and imprisoned in a cell containing a television screen; as he looks on, he sees CCTV footage of a camera entering the TARDIS that he failed to securely lock, and heading for the orchestra room when he had been working on an elusive tune. Meanwhile, the Doctor visits Doctor Unsil Girade, the last surviving member of the City Planning authority research team; he is horrified to learn that a hundred tears ago, Girade and his associates kidnapped a nine-year-old boy named Boko Berikuka, and used his brain pattern to programme the city’s controlling Artificial Intelligence system. The Doctor realises that the city has now become sentient; as ‘Boko Berikuka’, it killed Bansal in an act of self-preservation after learning that he was going to shut down the city’s autonomy so that it could be run by a committee of bureaucrats. Meanwhile, Isaac teaches his mysterious captor to sign the melody he was been writing, and when the city itself begins singing, the population become frozen in time. Triangulating the source of the sound, the Doctor locates and frees Isaac, and then stops Boko Berikuka from singing the time-altering tune. The Time Lord then explains all to the police, and requests that the city be given counselling. At William’s behest, the Doctor takes the TARDIS two-hundred years into the future, where they are overjoyed to find that Boko Berikuka is now walking upright…

Notes:
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor and William

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Doctor Who Logo 'The Hunting of the Slook'
by Marc Platt
The Doctor


When the TARDIS is attacked in space by an anomalous alien life form, the Doctor hears the creature emit a familiar melodic tune. Forced to make an emergency landing, the TARDIS is picked up by The Klicklighter, a ship belonging to a team of documentary makers from the Wildspace Channel. The Doctor meets celebrated video naturalist Oli Pelhedly, who is searching for the legendary Slook, a rare creature whose appearance foreshadows events of the greatest magnitude. The Doctor realises that his ship was attacked by one of these creatures; the musical tune it sang sucks time from everything around it, which the Slook use to open portals between their dimension and this universe so that they can feed. Oli is astonished that the Doctor encountered the object of his search, and stubbornly refuses to listen to the Time Lord’s warnings to abandon his mission. As tension builds between the Doctor and the crew, they follow a trail of countless petrified spacefish, the remains of the creatures’ meals. When they eventually come across a pod of six Slooks, the crew set about capturing one of the animals. The Doctor slips back to the TARDIS and attempts to scare the Slooks away, but five of them combine into a single creature and then sing a love song to his space-time vessel. The The Klicklighter succeed in snaring the gestalt Slook, but the creature sings its powerful song, freezing everyone in time. Two smartly-dressed grey aliens then materialise on board the The Klicklighter, confiscating Oli’s recordings of the Slooks’ song and the Doctor’s musical notes; then, after trapping the lone Slook in a tiny bubble they vanish into thin air. Trapped in the net, the Slook dies, freeing the ships’ crews from their temporal stasis. Having tracked the two suited aliens back to their realm, the Tree of Time, the Doctor recovers his music and the Slook and then makes a swift exit in the TARDIS…

Notes:
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Doctor Who Logo 'The Earwig Archipelago'
by Matthew Sweet
The Doctor


When the TARDIS arrives in the Democratic Republic, William finds himself caught up in the ideals of a group of revolutionaries led by Ettyn Rraxhimi, and when he then becomes romantically involved with Ettyn’s wife, Mila, William gives himself the non de plume of ‘Isaac’. However, the Doctor does not share his friend’s idealism, and the two of them fall out. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to everyone, their actions are being recorded by thousands of earwig-like aliens as part of a reality television show called ‘Land of the Eagles’; one of the creatures, a sound recordist named Shogsten Vumm, finds its way inside the Doctor’s ear canal, where it decides to have a nap. When the Doctor discovers Vumm’s minute equipment, he immediately warns the king that he is being bugged; however, the Doctor’s claims are not taken seriously, and he is rudely thrown out of the royal residence. The Doctor then meets Eska Vastule, the insectoid first assistant director on ‘Land of the Eagles’; with Vumm’s help, the Time Lord pitches an idea for a new show, encouraging the aliens to copy the studio recordings of ‘The Archers’ for the entertainment of their audience back home. In return, Vumm reads the Doctor a transcript of the latest episode of ‘Land of the Eagles’, in which Isaac, Mila and their comrades are about to storm the government when they are betrayed by Ettyn, and captured by soldiers. The Doctor confronts Ettyn over the fate of his friend – however, Vumm never knew what happened next, as he was recalled to his homeworld, where he was sacked for meddling with his subject matter and thrown into jail…

Notes:
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor and William / Isaac

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Doctor Who Logo 'DS al Fine'
by Simon Guerrier
The Doctor


The two aliens dressed as undertakers begin disposing of anyone and anything that ever had contact with the time-affecting melody; members of Isaac’s orchestra are murdered; diplomat Nikolas Faro, who sponsored Isaac's defection attempt; and the living city, Boko Berikuka, has its heart destroyed. Elsewhere, in Aegina, the Doctor pays a visit to his old friend, Sergeant Benton, and retrieves the scrap of paper on which he once scribbled his musical notes. Some time later, the two aliens materialise inside the TARDIS and attack the Doctor; however, the wily Time Lord has managed to discover a tune that counteracts the effects of their melody, and after a brief fight, the two beings dissipate into nothingness. The Doctor’s old friend, Flora Millrace then appears in the TARDIS and explains that she learnt the tune from Nikolas Faro after meeting him at a party; realising the melody’s power, she attempted to experiment with it, only to inadvertently cause mass murder by draining time from each of the inhabitants of the planet Torcaldia. In order to cover up her mistake, Flora created the two suited aliens, basing them on characters from ‘Identikit Man’ – and now that they have been destroyed, Flora herself must dispose of the Doctor. However, the Doctor is protected by his counterpoint tune, which is now running through his head. Choosing to break one of the Laws of Time, the Doctor changes history by taking Flora back to the time to when his sixth incarnation first met William / Isaac – this time, it is Flora who agrees to go fishing with the Doctor…

Notes:
*Featuring the Eighth Doctor, the Sixth Doctor, William (and Isaac's remains)

*Time-placing: the Eighth Doctor's body is "wearing thin", placing this at the end of his timeline; the Sixth Doctor cameo is from the events of 'Gone Fishing'

*This story triggers an alternate time-line

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Doctor Who Logo 'Certificate of Destruction'
by Andrew Cartmel
The Doctor


Arriving in London two years in the future, the Doctor and William find the country in a state of emergency, and witness an attack on a cat detection team by a little old lady, now transformed into a bestial killer under the possession of her cat, Tiddles. When the Doctor, William and dog-owner Mr McKittrick are mugged, their assailant is attacked by a worm-like creature defecated by McKittrick’s dog, Mackie. When McKittrick denies seeing the creature, the Doctor realises that the worms have taken over people’s minds, and are preventing their victims from seeing them. The Doctor and his companion are arrested by mind-controlled police officers, but as they are bundled into a car, ninja-clad members of the Cat Liberation Front rescue them. Using a speech device, the Doctor enables the CLT’s pet cat to speak, and learns that the once-harmless pets have been taken over by alien joy riders who have come to Earth to compete against each other, using cats and dogs as hosts. Now that the dogs are using “live ammunition” – the worms – the cats are losing, and they ask the Doctor for help. Having constructed an electronic ‘worming’ machine, the Doctor and William attend a high-level meeting of the country’s heads of authority, and free everyone from alien control. The two time travellers leave in the TARDIS, leaving the police to mount a mopping up operation.

Notes:
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor and William

*This story takes place in an alternate time-line following the events of 'DS al Fine'

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Notes:
*Published by Big Finish