Doctor Who and the Pirate Planet
By Paul Scoones
The last print edition of Doctor Who and the Pirate Planet, published in 2001, was a considerably expanded version of the novelisation that was originally published in 1990. The 2001 edition, edited and expanded by myself with author David Bishop's approval, featured both numerous minor changes to the text and the reinstatement of various sections of the televised story that had either been abridged or omitted altogether in the original edition.
In addition to these revisions, the 2001 edition also incorporated a large number of ‘deleted scenes’ that had been sourced from the rehearsal scripts. For the most part this previously unseen material represented a number of short segments (sometimes no more than a single line of dialogue), excised from televised scenes - although there were also some quite substantial cuts.
For the 2006 e-book edition, I have gone back to the notes I used in preparing the 2001 edition and identified the parts of the book that contained deleted material sourced from the rehearsal scripts. In revisiting this material, I have discovered that a few segments of deleted scenes had been omitted from the 2001 edition, so I have taken the opportunity to incorporate these into the e-book edition.
Featured here are the segments of the novelisation that contain ‘deleted scenes’ material (highlighted in bold).
Chapter 1: The Pirate Captain
The Captain watched him for a moment then regarded his robotic parrot. ‘Who's a pretty Polyphase Avitron, then?’ he murmured softly to his mechanical pet.
‘Under the benevolent leadership of your Captain, a period of unparalleled wealth and affluence will begin. The mines will once again be full of riches,’ continued the Captain.
‘I wouldn't dream of it,’ smiled Romana.
The Doctor peered at the manual and frowned. ‘Where did you get that tome, anyway?’
‘From its storage cabinet, of course. Didn't you recognise it?’
‘No.’ the Doctor replied. ‘Should I?’
‘It's the technical operations manual for this... TARDIS.’
‘Oh, I shouldn't pay any attention to that, if I were you,’ the Doctor advised her, turning his attention back to the console. ‘Oh no!’
‘Is it really that long? My, how time flies.’
‘A common delusion among the middle aged,’ Romana observed. ‘It's known nowadays as the Mandrian Syndrome. According to Professor Halcron...’
‘Professor Halcron? Never heard of him.’
‘He happened to be the leading authority in the universe on hyper-psychological atavisms.’
‘Can he fly a TARDIS?’
‘I hardly think that's relevant.’
‘Well, I can. And just between ourselves, let me tell you I'm really rather good at it.’ The Doctor asserted, and resumed setting the controls.
‘And the multi-loop stabiliser?’ Romana suggested, a moment later.
Chapter 2: Arrival on Zanak
‘No, sir! I've run a quick inspection, sir, and the actual damage isn't as bad as we feared.’
‘And what did you fear?’
‘I assure you sir the problem is very slight indeed. Just a few minor circuits shorted out, a few components need to be replaced, there's nothing we can't soon...’
The Captain hated his deputy for adopting this fawning pose. An abrupt, direct question usually put a dent in the drivel. ‘Do not trifle with me, Mr Fibuli - what happened?’
‘Well, as far as we can tell, sir, some freak local disturbance, probably electromagnetic.’
From fawning to falsehoods, thought the Captain. ‘What?’
‘It passed very quickly,’ said Fibuli with a weak smile.
‘Idle prattlings, Mr Fibuli! A caveman with his first rock could tell you that was no mere electromagnetic disturbance. I will know the truth.’
‘No? And why not?! Because for ten seconds, the whole infrastructure of quantum physics was in retreat! I tell you Mr Fibuli, in all the years I have navigated the uncharted currents of the ether I have never encountered the like of this.
‘Very, very all right,’ K9 concurred.
The Doctor turned his attention to the TARDIS console, gently patting its surface. ‘See, it wasn't that bad was it?’ he reassured the ship. ‘Silly old thing, making all that ridiculous fuss.’ He cuffed the edge of the console. ‘Of course, it was pretty easy really, now that that jamming field has been turned off, don't you think? Of course it would be churlish to say so though, wouldn't it? Yes, spoil her fun; not good.’ The Doctor turned to Romana. ‘Just a little pat on the back from time to time,’ he advised, tactfully gesturing at the console.
The smile on Romana's face had gone decidedly sour. She activated the scanner. ‘Shall we have a look at Calufrax now?’
The Doctor ignored the screen, and squatted down beside the robot dog. ‘K9?’
‘You don't think I'm getting middle-aged do you?’ the Doctor asked anxiously.
K9 suddenly seemed to get upset. His head and tail rose and he gave a low mechanical growl. After a moment he subsided once more.
The Doctor looked taken aback. ‘Well, there's no need to be like that about it.’
Romana's attention was completely fixed on the scanner screen. ‘Doctor?’
‘Yes?’ asked the Doctor.
‘Come and have a look at Calufrax.’
Romana looked from the Doctor to the scanner and back again, not sure which to believe. The Time Lord was examining spatial readouts on the central console. ‘But what mistake can I possibly have made, Doctor?’
‘That's what I'm trying to find out. Now, our present co-ordinates are...’ The Doctor pressed a series of buttons on the console and compared two sets of readings. He frowned.
‘I haven't got the faintest idea,’ the Doctor confessed. ‘All I do know is that this planet wasn't here when I tried to land...’ His perplexed expression gave way to one of adventurous enthusiasm. ‘Shall we see what it's doing here?’ he suggested.
‘Kimus - thank goodness it's only you!’ she said gratefully.
‘Only me?’ he replied with mock indignation. ‘Have you heard the news? Hello, old man,’ he greeted Balaton.
‘Respect, Kimus. Show some respect for age,’ Balaton chastised the young man.
Kimus ignore the rebuke. ‘It seems we're all going to be rich - again. A new Golden Age of Prosperity - again. Omens in the sky, the works. Everyone's out celebrating, trying to look as though it's the greatest thing that ever happened - and we haven't even cleared up from the last one, yet!’ he exclaimed.
‘Kimus! Quietly, please. The neighbours...’ cautioned Balaton nervously.
‘It's not news to us, Kimus,’ replied Mula sadly.
‘You saw the omens?’
‘We don't need omens.’
Kimus was very conscious of the young woman's tension. ‘Pralix?’ he asked.
‘He's gone stark mad,’ Mula informed him. ‘Again.’
‘What's wrong with him?’
‘Really?’ The Doctor removed an old brass telescope from his pocket and peered though it up at the sky. The blue vista held a few puffy white clouds but no clues to the cryptic omens. ‘I don't see anything unusual - just ordinary sky. Omens, omens, I wonder...’ he muttered.
‘May I look?’ asked Romana. The Doctor passed her the telescope and she handed him the precious stones she'd been given.
‘Well, perhaps these stones aren't valuable here, Doctor.’
‘These? They're valuable anywhere. Diamond, one of the hardest substances in the Universe. Rubies, still needed to make any halfway decent laser beam. Have you seen the ones they're making now with plastic crystals? Horrid shoddy things. I wouldn't shoot my worst enemy with one.’ The Doctor held some of the stones up to the light and examined them appreciatively. ‘Apart from which they're terribly pretty - don't you think so?’
‘Perhaps they occur naturally here, in large numbers,’ Romana suggested.
‘Don't they teach you youngsters any astrogeology these days? The precise combination of minerals, pressures and heat needed to make these stones has to be very rare just on the Law of Averages. You've heard of the Law of Averages?’
‘You can break any law you like and if you're clever you can get away with it, but if you break the Law of Averages then sooner or later someone will smell a rat. For instance...’
Romana spotted another cluster of gems nearby. She picked up a particularly large, rock-encrusted green stone from amongst the others. ‘What's this?’
‘Hold it up to the light,’ the Doctor suggested. ‘See the green flames blazing in its heart?’
Chapter 3: The Mentiads
‘Oh yes, we can have anything we want - except the freedom to think for ourselves. I like to know what I'm accepting, old man.’
‘You young people nowadays, you're all spoilt, that's your trouble. Everything comes too easily for you,’ grumbled Balaton.
‘For all of us,’ Kimus retorted. ‘That's just it, isn't it? We can have anything we want - apart from the freedom to think for ourselves. To look for answers.’
‘Who ever dressed himself in answers, eh? Or filled his stomach with them?’ Balaton approached his accuser.
‘Shh, both of you. Think of poor Pralix, he must have quietness.’
‘Quietness?’ scoffed Kimus. ‘Come on, Mula, my love. You know as well I do that no amount of quietness can save him.’
‘Strangers are forbidden! Where are you from?'
‘I'm from another world. A different planet.’
‘There are no other worlds, it is a forbidden concept! How did you get here?’
‘I came with the Doctor,’ said Romana, but instantly regretted her rash words.
Balaton was wailing at his wits' end. ‘We're done for - they must have heard him. They must be nearly here. They'll take him just as they took Komnor, just as they took Tralakis, just as they tried to take your father.’
Chapter 4: The Omens
The Captain fixed his deputy with a cold stare. ‘I hope you find the cause very soon, Mr Fibuli. I hope you will not fail me again.’
‘No sir, I wouldn't dream of it sir. Thank you sir.’ Fibuli stumbled away in a cold sweat, his palms wet with his own blood where the nails of his clenched fists had broken the skin.
The Polyphase Avitron flew back to its perch on the Captain's shoulder. ‘Who's a pretty Polyphase Avitron?’ cooed the Captain as he stroked it.
The female dressed in white suddenly grabbed his wrist. ‘Captain, you must watch that blood pressure,’ she said sternly.
‘That's what I thought. Couldn't you have protected me?’
‘What's the Vantalla Psychoscale?’ asked Kimus.
‘A measurement of psychokinetic force,’ replied the Doctor.
‘The power to move physical objects by mental power alone. Not much is known about it, but 5347.2 on the Vantalla scale represents the power that will move a single teacup 5347.2 miles. Or 5347.2 teacups one mile. Or an entire Gallifreyan ceremonial dinner service 25.462875 miles...’
Balaton was stunned by this and went to her side in the hope of persuading the young woman away from this act of folly. ‘No, Mula, haven't we lost enough already? Pralix is gone, lost, nothing will bring him back from the Mentiads, curse their zombie souls. Don't you understand Mula, Pralix is dead!'
‘No, he won't be dead,’ the Doctor assured the old man. ‘They wanted him too badly to kill him. They needed him. I felt that in the psycho-blast, a very strong sense of need, or purpose...’
‘If he's alive we'll find him,’ vowed Mula.
‘No! You'll only lose your own life...!’ Balaton protested.
‘I must go, Grandfather.’
‘The old man's afraid he's going to have no one to pamper him in his old age,’ Kimus interjected scornfully.
Mula was shocked at his words. ‘Oh, Kimus!’
‘Respect, Kimus! Respect!’ Balaton reminded him.
‘Respect! What for?’ Kimus challenged. ‘A lifetime of taking the path of least resistance? I'd have more respect for half a pint of water. At least it wouldn't grovel as well.’
‘He doesn't mean it the way it sounds, Grandfather...’ Mula insisted.
‘Master,’ said K9, but was ignored.
‘Are we going to stand around shouting at each other all day, or are we going to work out some way of finding the Mentiads?’ the Doctor asked.
‘Who is Romana?’ asked Mula.
‘My assistant. Stupid girl, getting herself arrested. Well, I suppose we'd better go and bail her out.’
‘Bail?’ queried Kimus.
‘You don't have bail here? Oh dear, it just means two rescue attempts,’ said the Doctor after a moment's thought.
Romana continued, ‘Did you know if you realign the magnetic vectors and fit a polarity oscillator, you get twice the speed for half the energy? You should try it sometime. It's quite simple.'
Monsadi found himself becoming slightly hysterical at Romana's non-stop babble. He activated his communicator as he accelerated the aircar towards the Bridge. ‘Guard 3VX to Bridge. Come in, please. Please come in...’
Kimus picked up the second guard's body and put it in Pralix's rest chamber beside the other. Retribution would follow once their deaths were discovered. The young man hoped the Doctor could help him prevent that. ‘They'll be better off there, until we can dispose of them properly,’ the Doctor had told him. ‘You don't want them cluttering up your living room, do you?’
‘I'm putting Mula in your charge. Take her to the Mentiads, but look after her. Is that clearly understood?’
‘Affirmative, master.’ The mobile computer began to leave the dwelling.
‘Off you go - and don't do anything I wouldn't do. We'll follow along later.’
‘I hate people who say things like that, don't you?’ said the Doctor, when K9 had departed.
‘Like what?’ Kimus asked.
‘“Don't do anything I wouldn't do.”’
‘Then why do you say it?’
The Doctor considered this for a moment. ‘I don't know really. Just to see what it's like. Come on.’
The guard waved an automatic reply, and then realised his predicament. He swallowed heavily.
‘You know that actually makes me feel guilty?’ the Doctor confessed to Kimus. ‘Poor fellow, he shouldn't be out on the streets by himself.’
‘What was that you threw? Some deadly weapon?’
‘No, just a packet of jelly babies. Don't worry, I've got plenty more. Would you like one?’
‘By the horns of the prophet Balag! Speak!’ The Captain became enraged but the angel silenced him again with a touch of her talons.
‘Sir, we have not yet discovered what caused our accident, but we think it may have been an unidentified materialisation within our own field. That would be consistent with the evidence, even just a meteorite slipping out of hyperspace at that moment could have caused it - but the point is, sir, that we have discovered more damage. The macromat field integrator has burnt out, sir.
What a curious trio, thought Romana, then realised the seated giant was addressing her.
‘Speak girl! Who are you that you dare to intrude upon my ship?’
‘Interesting,’ Romana observed. ‘You call this mountain your ship. Bit cumbersome isn't it?’
‘Your name girl...’ demanded the Captain.
‘Romana. Romanadvoratrelundar. Tell me, have you had an accident?’
‘Silence,’ the Captain ordered, but Romana was not so easily shut up.
‘I only ask because whoever patched you up obviously didn't know much about the new developments in cyboneutraulics. Do you get a squeak when you move your arm like this?’ She raised her arm to demonstrate.
‘Silence,’ the Captain insisted. ‘Or the silence of death descends on you in the winking of an eye.’
In response, the red eye of the Polyphase Avitron lit up brightly.
‘Now,’ the Captain continued, ‘how have you come to this place?’
Romana had noted the Doctor favoured a policy of brazen honesty and decided to give it a try. By TARDIS. I'm a Time Lord you see, or at least I will be soon. I've still got a couple of qualifying exams to take, and all the dinners to eat as well, which is terribly dull but...’
‘By the mealy-mouthed Prophet of Agranjagzak, speak plainly. Obliteration is at hand!’ The Captain raised his android arm threateningly.
‘See. It does squeak, doesn't it?’ Romana pointed out. ‘Now, the new frictionless bearings...’
‘I will not ask you again!’ the Captain thundered. ‘What is your function?’
‘Well, as a Time Lord, I can travel about in space and of course -’
The Captain cut her off dismissively. ‘Bah! Common space urchin - you shall die.’
‘- and, of course, time,’ concluded Romana superciliously. ‘Hence - Time Lord.’
The Captain stood and took a few steps towards this upstart. ‘Time travel?! You expect me to believe such nonsense?’
‘Yes, it is a difficult concept, isn't it?’ Romana decided her host was clearly unbalanced, suffering from sufficient psychiatric illnesses to keep the medical dictionary writers of the planet T'salpo T'sale busy for several years.
The Captain decided he'd had enough of this off-worlder. ‘Insolent breath of idle fantasy - death comes now!’
‘Captain sir,’ Fibuli interjected bravely, ‘if what she says is true, perhaps she will have knowledge that can help us....’
‘True? What can a puny slip of a girl know of such matters?’
‘That's what my tutor used to say,’ Romana observed. ‘He didn't enjoy giving me a triple first at all.’
‘She is a trespassing urchin, kill!’ The Captain raised his android arm to send Avitron off for another execution but then the white-garbed woman behind him spoke.
‘Captain, Captain. The excitement of more than one execution in a day is bad for your blood pressure. Perhaps you should postpone it till tomorrow.’
The Captain was in a quandary - could the angel be putting off another delivery of death? ‘Postpone?’
‘Yes,’ said the slim woman, to Romana's relief. ‘I think her story sounds quite interesting, even if it is idle fantasy.’
Romana thought the Nurse obviously believed it was more than idle fantasy. But what hold could this inconspicuous woman have over the lumbering Captain, she wondered.
‘Captain...’ Fibuli began.
‘Yes, Mr Fibuli, I am light years ahead of you,’ the Captain replied, and turned to Romana. ‘Space urchin, sit down. We have much to discuss.’
‘I'm not going to be put to death, after all?’ asked Romana.
‘Your reprieve is conditional on the truth of your story.’
‘Oh good, I'd hate to be the cause of increasing your blood pressure, one of those joints might blow at any moment,’ said Romana.
Chapter 5: The Golden Age of Prosperity
‘You know, that's our entire life, so small and claustrophobic. We're just being stifled with meaningless riches. Why have we traded in our freedom for that?'
‘Tell me about those mines.’
The young man was rather crestfallen. ‘Oh, then, of course, the lights change.’
‘They'll be new ones tonight.’
‘You know, the lights, the ones in the sky at night, the little points of light.’
‘You mean the stars?’
The word was strange to Kimus, but so much of what the Doctor said was new and difficult to understand. ‘Seems pointless to me, but the older people seem to like it.’
‘Oh not another lot. Does no one in this galaxy take any interest in the worlds around them?’
‘Oh, never mind. I'll send you a planetarium one day. Wait a moment... you say that every time the stars change, that's the moment that the mines miraculously refill themselves with raw materials?’
‘Yes, that's right.’ The puzzled man pointed down at a green plateau jutting out halfway up the rapidly approaching mountainside. ‘Look, down there - I think there's some sort of entrance into the mountain.’
‘See you later!’ the Doctor called back to Kimus. ‘Fascinating,’ he said to himself. I've never come across as smooth a ride as this before... or as fast.’
Romana was examining a metal framed cube full of charred wiring and cables, whilst seated rather cheekily in the com. Beside her, Fibuli hovered nervously while the Captain stood brooding on the opposite side of the Bridge, facing away from them.
‘Space urchin, tell me, do you know what this is?’ the Captain demanded.
Romana turned the scorched mechanism over in her hands. ‘Oh, it's a ... no. Wait a minute, it's a ... no it isn't one of those either... Well, whatever it is, it's obviously burnt out.’
Romana went back to the com to study the integrator further. ‘Well, what's happened is that you've shorted out the multicorticold whizzbang...’
‘Whizzbang? What nonsense is this?’ the Captain stormed.
‘Whizzbang?’ replied Romana. ‘It's short for whittlezantricon hyperbandrigic maxivectometer. We've always called it a whizzbang because that's the noise it makes. I think this one's banged its last whizz though. You'd be lucky to get a phut out of it. Ah now, this is interesting. You've wired an ambicyclic photon bridge across the field terminals as a stabiliser. I always wanted to try that but my tutor said it would fuse, silly old goat. I'm glad to see that someone else has a little imagination ... oh, I see. It's fused.’
Fibuli and the Captain consulted privately out of Romana's hearing.
‘You think she can repair it, Mr Fibuli?’
‘Well, sir, in my opinion, it's irreparable, but it occurs to me she must have something similar aboard her own vessel.’
‘Mr Fibuli, as ever I am light years in advance of you. By the evil eye of the Sky Demon she will not be needing her vessel again, for clearly she can never be allowed to leave Zanak.’
The Captain bellowed across the Bridge at Romana. ‘Girl! What is your diagnosis - can it be repaired?’
‘Repaired? Yes, I should think so. You'd have to ask the Doctor though,’ she replied with a sideways glance at the Captain.
My manners are impeccable,’ replied the Time Lord insolently. ‘Oh, well I shall have to watch it then. Don't want to end up dead before I've had a chance to place my full services at your disposal.’ He caught sight of the Captain's Polyphase Avitron. ‘I say, what a magnificent parrot. I've always been fond of parrots, haven't I Romana? And so clever to have a mechanical one. Saves all that nasty clearing up.’
‘Apart from the bodies,’ the Captain added meaningfully.
‘Well, yes, quite... I beg your pardon?’
‘My Polyphase Avitron carries death in its eyes. If you would avoid its lethal gaze, perhaps you would enlighten me as to these services you speak of.’
‘I'd be very glad to. We, that is Romana and I, are patrolmen for the Astromobile Association, and our job is to hop around the Universe doing on the spot repairs for stranded spacecraft. We happened to notice a disturbance in this area of space and just popped along to see if we could be of any assistance. Our rates are very reasonable, particularly if you carry a Galactibank Credit Card.’
‘Doctor, how would it be if in return for your assistance I offered to spare your miserable life?’ the Captain suggested coldly.
‘More than generous,’ the Doctor agreed. ‘May I inspect the damage?’
Romana stepped between the two in an effort to distract the Doctor from further antagonising his newfound foe. ‘Ah, Doctor? I think this is the root of the trouble.’
Chapter 6: The Mines of Zanak
The Captain growled out the last word like it was an insult to every bone and servomechanism in his being. ‘So, we must allow them a little rope. At all events I hold the trump card.'
‘The Ace of Death. It will be played Mr Fibuli, it will be played.’
The Captain suddenly became aware of the woman in white standing beside them. He couldn't be sure how she had suddenly managed to appear there without him detecting her approach, and it bothered him greatly.
‘You think of death too much Captain,’ she observed. ‘Life is to be cherished, preserved.’
‘The Ace of Death will be played,’ the Captain insisted.
‘The Queen is the highest card, Captain. Ace scores low.’
‘The answer, Romana. We've stumbled on one of the most heinous crimes ever committed in this galaxy! We've got to get out of here, and get out of here quickly. Come on, we've got to get off the Bridge and back down to the City somehow. That's where we'll find the answer. I've learnt all I want to know from this.’ He turned, and bellowed upwards jovially to their hosts.
‘Ah, Captain? I think we've got to the root of the problem here. Your magnifactoid eccentricalometer is definitely on the blink. Can we have a chat about it?’
Fibuli whispered an aside to the Captain, ‘Do you think he seriously believes this mountain is the spaceship?’
‘I think he suspects the truth. But the truth will not help him stay alive,’ the Captain replied quietly. He knew the Doctor was bluffing, but it suited his purposes to play along - for now. He shouted down to the Doctor, ‘You know what will happen if I even begin to suspect you of sabotage...’
‘Sabotage?’ replied the Doctor innocently. ‘Captain, it's more than my reputation's worth!’
‘Or your life?’
‘Or my life, as you say, yes, yes,’ the Doctor agreed hurriedly. ‘We've got to go back to our own ship now and prepare some special equipment.’
‘The girl stays here,’ said the Captain. It was a statement, not a request.
The Doctor was ready for this. ‘Oh, well, I'm afraid that's not possible. You see, we have a special lock fitted to the TARDIS door and it requires the physical presence of both of us to open it - that's clever, don't you think?’
‘By the triple-headed hound of death, you lie!’
‘Oh no, no, it's an obvious precaution, wouldn't you say? With all that valuable equipment lying around?’
The Captain actually thought it was patent drivel, but allowing this bluff to continue could unlock the vessel's secrets. ‘Guards, escort them to their ship,’ he ordered. ‘Any attempt to escape is to be met with instant obliteration,’ he added ominously.
The Doctor replied with a two-handed salute this time. ‘It's a pleasure to work with you, Captain!’ The gangling Gallifreyan trotted off happily towards the engine room's exit, leading Romana and the two guards. ‘Come on, don't just stand there - escort us!’
The Captain watched furiously as the guards followed the Doctor and Romana out of the engine room. ‘Death's asteroid, Mr Fibuli, it will be a delight to kill that man. Won't it my pretty?’ He stroked the Polyphase Avitron, which had been perched quietly on his shoulder. The robot parrot hissed menacingly.
‘You know I wouldn't have your job for the world. Standing around all day looking tough must be very wearing on the nerves, mm?’ asked the Time Lord.
The Doctor flew the stolen aircar toward the mines with Romana and Kimus as his passengers.
‘What did you make of those engines, Romana?’ the Doctor asked his companion.
‘Is this a test?’ she replied.‘If you like.’
She considered for a moment. ‘Very similar in principle to an old F-type TARDIS engine, but no temporal dislocation facility...’
‘It can't travel in time.’
‘It's much simpler like that isn't it?’ the Doctor observed. ‘Long words were only invented to confuse the enemy and make your Professor feel wanted.’
‘First you tell me we're in terrible danger, then you stop to give me a lesson in semantics!’ Romana protested.
‘All right, cleverclogs, what else did you notice about those engines? Didn't you think they were very...’
‘Hyperdimensional?’ Romana suggested.
‘Yes, but no.’
‘Tangentically aligned to the STC curve?’
‘All right, what then?’
‘Yes,’ Romana conceded.
‘Big? Well of course they're big, he's flying that entire mountain through space.’
‘Did he tell you he was flying the mountain?’ the Doctor inquired.
‘No, but... oh.’
‘Listen, the power of a transdimensional mat-demat engine increases exponentially with its size.’
‘So?’ the Doctor persisted.
‘Oh!’ Romana suddenly realised. ‘You mean those engines are shifting something much bigger than a mountain.’
‘Much, much, much bigger,’ he confirmed.
Kimus had been quietly listening in on their conversation, feeling very much out of his depth. He didn't understand much of what the Doctor and Romana were on about, but he was able to direct them. ‘Doctor, we're very close to the mines,’ he said, pointing towards the ground far below. ‘Down there do you see? They'll be closed down now - it's nearly nightfall.’
‘Good. We should be able to land undetected,’ the Doctor replied.
‘Doctor, what are you expecting to find in the mines?’ Romana wanted to know.
‘If we find what I think we're going to find,’ said the Doctor grimly as he banked the aircar into a steep descent, ‘then I'm afraid I can hardly bear to contemplate it.’
‘Escaped! Escaped! Your incompetence beggars the imagination! Teeth of the Devil, there will be blood for this - there will be blood! Every guard in the city must be mobilised instantly! If they are not found within fifteen minutes, then by fury, one in ten of you shall die! Find them! Find them! Bring them back alive if possible, but find them!’ The Captain dismissed the gathering of guards and Fibuli approached him.
Chapter 7: The Gestalt
‘But I don't understand,’ mumbled Kimus.
‘The Mentiads are treated as devils, but when they attacked me a few hours ago...’ the Doctor began to explain.
‘They attacked you?’ Romana asked. ‘I thought you said...’
‘They thought I was trying to harm Pralix. But they didn't kill me. I could tell by the vibrations they hit me with they weren't evil. Frightened, confused, yes. But not evil. They weren't kidnapping Pralix - they were rescuing him.’
‘Hurry!’ Pralix urged.
‘But why are they?’ Romana wanted to know.
‘I don't know,’ the Doctor confessed. ‘Exciting, isn't it?’
‘I still can't get over the Mentiads. All my life I've been taught to hate and loathe them. Now it seems they're the only honest men on this stinking planet’
‘Arrival in sixteen seconds now.’ K9 was almost petulant.
Fibuli simpered ingratiatingly. ‘Captain, in your wisdom, you observed that whilst the Mentiads lay dormant - with no leader and no purpose - we were well enough protected and they performed a useful function as a focus for the fear and aggression for the people, and that very hatred, which you have so ingeniously channeled has contained them. The stalemate was in our favour...’
The Captain waved aside these mouthings. ‘But by the ninety-three names of the demigod of night, how soon, Mr Fibuli, how soon can you be prepared?’
‘Ah, that's difficult sir...’
‘Difficult! The gnarled finger of the Sky Demon beckons you Mr Fibuli...!’
‘Its name's the Captain. You know that. Why haven't you ever got off your bottoms and kicked him out?’
‘Because his evil is beyond our comprehension, strange images haunt our brains,’ explained Kintha. ‘Hideous death agonies wrack our bodies, weird powers of the mind descend upon us and yet we know nothing. And yet - when a new Mentiad presence appears amongst the people, we know we must find them and protect them. Beyond that all is dark and confusion, images and pain.’
‘They found me just in time,’ added Pralix, with a reassuring smile to his sister and best friend. ‘But for the other Mentiads, I would have been killed. They were too late for my father before me. He was shot down in the street like a dog.’
‘With each new Mentiad we've grown stronger, but still the understanding evades us. We are constricted by the peoples' hatred,’ said Kintha.
‘A gestalt! A telepathic gestalt!’ cried out the Doctor, like a certain ancient Greek announcing his bath was too hot.
‘A geswhat?’ Kimus asked.
‘A telepathic gestalt,’ the Doctor replied. ‘A community of the mind.’
‘Many minds combined together telepathically to form a single entity, more powerful than the sum of the parts,’ added K9 helpfully. ‘The concept of a gestalt was first developed by a group of German philosophers on the planet Terra in the star system Sol during its early twentieth century and -’
The Doctor cut K9 short. ‘Yes, yes, yes, that's enough of the history lesson.’
‘And Pralix is part of that?’ asked Mula.
‘I am of Us,’ said Pralix. ‘All that We know, I know.’
‘Yes,’ agreed the Doctor.
Romana was a little more helpful. ‘The power of a gestalt is enormous.’
Pralix stepped forward. ‘Can you help us, Doctor? We are powerless unless we understand. Can you tell us what is happening to Zanak?’
‘Yes. Zanak's just a shell of a planet. Completely hollow.’
‘Hollow?’ Kintha repeated.
‘Yes, but very, very empty,’ the Doctor explained. ‘Now listen, there are vast transmat engines hidden under the Captain's mountain.’
‘Yes, they make the entire planet suddenly drop out of the space dimension,’ Romana added. ‘Vanish.’
‘Vanish? Is that possible?’ Mula found this very difficult to comprehend.
‘Yes, but you don't notice that, you see, because you're part of it,’ the Doctor told her. ‘Now listen, at almost the same moment it vanishes it rematerialises in another part of the galaxy around another, slightly smaller planet.’
‘In this case a planet called Calufrax,’ said Romana.
‘Yes. So your planet -’
‘Zanak,’ supplied Romana.
The Doctor gave her a look. ‘Am I telling this story or are you?’
‘Just helping you along, Doctor,’ she said sweetly.
‘Romana, would you like to mentally revise your seven hundred and ninety eight times table?’ the Doctor suggested.
‘So your planet ...’ the Doctor began again.
‘Finished,’ said Romana.
‘Good, now be quiet. So your planet -’
‘Zanak,’ Romana repeated.
‘Yes, having materialised around the other planet, smothers it, crushes it and mines all the mineral wealth out of it.’
‘Just like an enormous leech,’ observed Mula.
‘Yes,’ the Doctor agreed.
‘And that's when the lights change,’ explained Kimus.
‘The Omens,’ gasped Mula, finally understanding.
‘Yes,’ said the Doctor darkly. ‘The Omens mean the death of another planet.’
Kintha pulled aside a curtain, revealing a design on the wall, a circle inside another larger circle. ‘This is the explanation of the image that haunts us,’ he explained. ‘The image of the concentric circles ...’
‘The image of the Pirate Planet,’ the Doctor observed.
‘Then the truth is known.’ Kintha replied.
‘Yes,’ agreed the Doctor. ‘So what are we going to do about it?’
‘The Time of Knowing is come upon us,’ Kintha declared. ‘The Evil is named unto us. There shall be no more waiting. We go to destroy the Captain. Come, Doctor, come, brothers.’
‘Wait,’ said the Doctor. ‘There's no point being in too much of a rush, there's something more I want to know about the Captain first.’
‘Speak,’ said Kintha.
‘Who exactly is he?’ the Doctor asked. ‘Where did he come from? Not from Zanak I'll be bound. Do you happen to know?’
‘Does that matter, Doctor?’ Romana queried.
‘Of course it matters!’ the Doctor replied. ‘If you're deliberately setting out to destroy somebody it's only decent to know a bit about them. Anyway, he may provide the answer to where the second segment is. Had you forgotten what we came for?’
Chapter 8: The Uprising
Then the golden ages of prosperity began.’
‘They were stupid fools to listen to his promises. Golden Ages of Prosperity! Pampered slavery, more like,’ interjected Kimus bitterly. Mula silenced him with an elbow to the ribs.
‘Maybe, but you wouldn't have done any different,’ Pralix pointed out. ‘Particularly when the wealth started to flow. Everyone was deliriously happy.’
‘Not everyone,’ Kintha reminded him.
‘No,’ Pralix agreed.
‘For some of us, terrible agonies of the mind began,’ Kintha said.
Fibuli hurried up to the Captain. ‘All the plant is now working at maximum capacity, sir. We will soon have the Voolium and Madranite 1-5 crystals,’ he reported.
‘Excellent, excellent,’ replied the Captain. ‘Mr Fibuli...’
‘I shall prepare the apparatus myself. Fetch me the equipment.’
Fibuli scurried away, and soon returned laden with circuitry and electronic devices. He stacked the materials in a pile on the console in front of the Captain.
The Captain immediately got to work, building the complex psychic interference transmitter with clearly demonstrated great skill and knowledge. ‘Alpha suppression signal triggering 338.79 microbits. Neuro-wipedown circuit operational, lobal derangeamatic feedback, parallel with the corticold simulacron. Excellent. By the left frontal lobe of the Sky Demon, Mr Fibuli, I used to be one of the greatest hyper-engineers of my time.’
‘Of all time, Captain,’ offered the deputy. ‘Your reconstruction of this planet is proof of that.’
‘A makeshift job Mr Fibuli, the best that could be done with what was to hand. Oh, it's not scale that counts, but skill. Now - the ship from which most of the major components for this structure were salvaged - the Vantarialis - now there was a ship! The greatest raiding cruiser ever built, and I built it, Mr Fibuli! I built it with technology so far advanced you would not be able to distinguish it from magic.’
‘I heard my great-grandfather speak of it with awe in his voice and tears in his eyes.’
‘Your great-grandfather was a fine first mate on the Vantarialis, daring, loyal and vicious...’
‘And proud to be, Captain, as I am proud to be first mate on this planet.’ The deputy pressed his point. ‘All the same, sir, this must be one of the great engineering feats of all time - a hollow, space-jumping planet...’
The Captain became enraged at Fibuli's superficial ego stroking. ‘This planet! This vile, lumbering planet! You presume to compare this ugly lump of blighted rock with the greatest, sleekest, most deadly ship that ever dared the star ways!’
‘Well it doesn't have the performance sir, but...’
‘Devil storms, Mr Fibuli, you are a callow fool.’
‘I feel I should point out, Captain, that it is a heavily-populated planet.’
‘Remind me to catch up on my weeping one day.’
‘In other words, go ahead, sir?’
‘Show me the chart,’ was the grunted reply.
Suddenly he jerked awake and found the Captain staring at him intently. ‘Oh, well. Back to spontaneous improvisation. Good morning.’
‘So, Doctor, you have discovered the little secret of our planet.’
‘You won't get away with it, you know.’
The Captain almost laughed out loud. ‘And what makes you so certain of that?’
‘At the moment, nothing at all,’ replied the Doctor with disarming honesty, ‘but it does my morale no end of good just to say it. I've been tied to pillars by better men than you, Captain.’
‘Aah - but none, I dare guess, more vicious!’
‘Vicious? Ha!’ The Doctor looked about and then whispered to the still-unconscious Kimus. ‘Don't panic, Kimus, don't panic!’
‘I have programmed the Bridge computer to devise a suitable manner for you to leave us, and believe me Doctor, my computer has a wicked imagination. By the horny elbows of the Sky Demon I shall enjoy your death.’
‘The Sky Demon!’ exclaimed the Doctor. ‘I've got it! The pirate fleets of Agran! They used to terrorise and plunder the whole western sector of this Galaxy. The Sky Demon was the mythical devil that the souls of dead pirates were supposed to go to. I thought you were all destroyed in the Dordellis Wars.’
‘Silence! By the skies of hell, silence! You know nothing of these things.’
‘Oh, I thought I was doing rather well,’ retorted the Doctor. ‘Something that's been puzzling me, though, is how come you're still with us? Without wishing to be rude of course - it's all right for chaps like me. But a pirate? Two hundred years and more is overstaying your welcome, don't you think? The gnarled fingers of the Sky Demon must be tapping a little impatient by now.’
‘Doctor, I see you do not care to wait and experience the death my computer is preparing for you, you wish to die now,’ growled the Captain. ‘So be it.’
The Nurse appeared at the Captain's side. ‘Doctor,’ she observed haughtily, ‘I think you're being a little tactless.’
‘I know,’ the Doctor grinned. ‘I'm terribly good at it, aren't I?’
‘Contact!’ K9 announced to no one in particular, and the aircar was airborne. ‘We have lift-off. Engage full forward thrust... Course, three two zero...’
The robot dog piloted the aircar towards the Bridge, and landed the craft by the door into the mountain. ‘Most satisfactory,’ K9 reported smugly.
K9's self-satisfaction was short-lived, however. Arriving at the door into the mountainside, he discovered that it would not open for him. ‘You are a very stupid door... Open... I order you to open...’ K9 ordered. The door remained obstinately closed. K9 extended his eye probe to access the door controls.
Chapter 9: The Trophy Room
The Time Lord could see at least a dozen such globes from where he stood, each labelled with the name of a planet. The last two cases were empty and the penultimate one was labelled ‘Calufrax'
‘Doctor, you say I am a warrior, and so I am, a pirate warrior. But I would not want you to die, as die you shall, I promise you...’ the Captain began.
‘Thank you,’ the Doctor replied.
‘... Without first allowing you to comprehend the extent of my genius.’
‘Ah, it's “I'm not just a pretty face” time, is it?’
‘Silence or the Sky Demon plucks you where you stand! My trophies, Doctor' said the Captain proudly. ‘Feast your eyes on them for they represent an achievement unparalleled in the universe.’
‘Get back!’ the Doctor warned, and he and Kimus flattened themselves against the wall until the two warring robots had passed by. ‘Careful K9,’ the Doctor called out after his dog. ‘You upset that balance and you'll turn us all into an instant black hole!’
‘No, don't. I rather think these are time dams.'
‘You've lost me Doctor.’
‘Time Dams, a primitive device, but effective. They actually hold back the flow of time in the area between them. Within that field, time decelerates exponentially, meaning that whilst it is still technically advancing, the next moment is never in fact reached.’
‘You mean they stop time?’
‘Not completely. But they can slow it down, given enough energy.’
The Time Lord and Kimus circled the dais, studying it more closely. Looking at the old woman on the throne, the young citizen said, ‘That's repulsive. What is it?’
‘That's your beloved Queen Xanxia.’
‘What?! No, no - Xanxia's dead!’
‘Oh, no, not yet, she isn't. She's suspended in the last few seconds of life.’
‘You mean she can hear me? But I just called...’
‘No, she can't.’
Kimus considered the situation anew, faced with a legendary tyrant, albeit one a little worse for the passing of time. ‘Does she - does she know we're here?’
‘No, not while she's between those two time dams there,’ replied the Doctor. ‘It's really a form of suspended animation, but with two important differences. Do you want to know what they are?’
‘Am I likely to understand?
‘No, but I'll tell you anyway. The first is that neural currents can still be directed round the cerebral cortex artificially...’
‘In other words she can still think. And the other difference...’
‘Is that it uses astronomical quantities of energy.’ The Doctor set about opening a panel in the far wall.
‘Well, it's certainly a relief. But how are we going to get out of here?’ asked Kimus.
The Doctor picked up the small box he'd spotted on the dais.
‘What does that do, Doctor?’
‘I'll tell you what it does, it gives me a splendid idea, that's what it does.’ The Doctor glanced about quickly.
Chapter 10: The Wrath of Xanxia
The Doctor switched off his duplicate. ‘And just as I can switch off that image of myself, so I can switch off the image of another, apparently real person. Which one of us will disappear this time?’ He turned the projector towards the Nurse and hit the ‘off’ switch.
‘I have calculated every detail - I shall live forever!’
‘Live forever? What sort of dream is that?’
‘It is the greatest dream of all. The greatest quest in all history. The secret of eternal life, eternal youth.’
‘Bafflegab! My dear, I've never heard such bafflegab in all my lives.’
‘Have a care, Doctor,’ Xanxia warned him menacingly.
‘Piffle, hogwash! You should know better at your age!’
‘Life, Doctor, is the most precious thing in the universe. It is to be cherished, preserved...’
‘You poor misguided fool, you. Listen...’
‘You dare to mock me?’
Xanxia lashed out, striking the Doctor full across the face with the back of her hand. A sharp gem on a ring cut cruelly into the skin just above his top lip. The Doctor held a hand to his wound, which was bleeding slightly, then straightened and smiled triumphantly at the Queen.
‘Ahh - now we're getting somewhere, aren't we?’
‘You shall die now for your insolence.’ Xanxia went to the Captain who had been sitting forgotten in the com, nursing the remains of Avitron.
The tyrant ruler touched a control on her waist belt, and he began to rise involuntarily from the com, raising his arm to strike down the off-worlder.
‘Life is to be cherished and preserved all right - as long as it's yours and nobody else's.’ The Doctor spoke in urgent tones as if to an ally. ‘Captain, Captain! Listen to me, this concerns you...’
‘We will hear what he thinks he knows. But say your piece quickly, Doctor. Time is running out for you,’ Xanxia declared mockingly.
‘Not nearly as fast as it's running out for you,’ the Doctor retorted, and continued speaking to the Captain. ‘You're being used, you know, you're being used by her just to do her dirty work. And what's your reward, Captain, eternal life?’
‘What do you know of eternal life?’ demanded Xanxia.
‘Enough to know that it can't be sustained by those time dams back there. The time dams slow down the flow of time over your body, your original body, all right. But when you get to the last few seconds of life in real time, the time flow has to get slower and slower and slower. Right?'
The Queen, with the confidence of total self-belief, said, ‘When this body becomes fully corporeal -'
‘It never will, not ever,’ butted in the Doctor.
Romana, Mula and the Mentiads found themselves at the end of the inertia neutralisation corridor.
‘Right. Everybody stand still,’ Romana instructed.
‘What is this?’ Pralix asked.
‘It's a very sophisticated transport system. Here we go.’ Romana activated the controls, and they accelerated down the corridor. Her companions looked amazed. ‘Fun, isn't it? The main problem with trying to cover long distances fast is that you have to spend as much time decelerating as you do accelerating because you have to overcome the body's inertia.’
‘What's that?’ Mula wanted to know.
‘You know. Like momentum? They seem to have found some way here of cancelling out the force of inertia, so you accelerate all the way and simply stop dead at the other end. It's very clever.’
‘It's very fast,’ Mula observed nervously.
Romana suddenly clicked her fingers. ‘Got it!’
Mula was even more confused. ‘You need a nurse?’
Romana shook her head. ‘The Captain's nurse - she's always hovering round him. Whenever anybody else talks to him he rants and shouts at them. But with her he just seethes.’
‘So she must have some power over him. So if the Captain's making this planet leap about eating other planets, it must be for her. Who is she?’
Pralix was just behind Mula and Romana, and had been silently listening to their conversation as they sped along the corridor ‘I don't know what you're saying,’ he confessed.
‘Never mind ... Ah! What was the name of that queen who drained the planet of everything it had?’ Romana wanted to know.
‘Queen Xanxia,’ Pralix answered. ‘But she's been dead for centuries.’
‘How do you know?’
‘Nobody can live that long,’ Pralix objected.
‘That's not necessarily true,’ Romana replied.
Mula sided with Pralix. ‘But the legend says...’
Their discussion was curtailed as they reached the end of the inertia neutralisation corridor and came to a sudden stop. Romana hurried toward the lift. ‘Come on!’ She herded the group into the lift chamber. They huddled around as the door slammed down behind them.
‘It's all right. It's a lift,’ Romana assured them, as the chamber began to rise. ‘Now, where was I ... Oh, yes. Supposing it happened this way. The Captain's pirate ship crashed on Zanak, and his body was terribly mutilated. We know he must be an engineering genius, so it's quite possible he had highly sophisticated medico-cybernetic equipment on the ship...’
‘What?’ Mula was lost again.
‘Well if you're a pirate, you're always having bits lopped off in fights, aren't you?’ Romana reasoned.
Romana nodded. ‘Now, supposing Xanxia rescued the Captain, and used that equipment to rebuild his body, but did it in such a way that she retained control over him - she'd have a criminal hyper-engineering genius as her slave, wouldn't she?’
‘Yes, but...’ Pralix interjected.
‘Is there anything in the legend which flatly contradicts that?’ Romana asked.
‘I don't know,’ Pralix confessed. ‘Just but...’
The subjugated half-man put the question to his deputy. ‘Mr Fibuli?’
‘Er, yes sir, all the energy reducible minerals have been mined, processed and stored. And the residue has been processed in the normal way, sir. Operations on Calufrax are now complete. There are reports of an uprising in the main settlement. Apparently the citizens are attacking the guards after the council of elders was massacred in the main courtyard.’
‘Ungrateful fools!’ spat out Xanxia. ‘I give them unimaginable wealth and they complain about a few deaths. Once we have reached the new planet, we shall crush this rebellious rabble once and for all. Meanwhile, don't bother me with such trivia, Mr Fibuli. Have you located a planet where we can find the mineral PJX 1-8 to restore our engines to full working order?’
‘PJX 1-8?’ said the Doctor. ‘But that's quartz.’
‘Yes,’ Fibuli confirmed.
‘Yes, but from where? Where?’ the Doctor demanded to know.
‘It's the planet Terra, in the star system Sol.’
‘Captain, we will mine that planet immediately. Prepare to make the jump,’ said Xanxia.
‘But that's Earth!’ The Doctor was aghast that the little blue-green planet he was so fond of was to be the next morsel for Zanak's insatiable hunger for energy. ‘Earth! Do you really mean to go on with this madness? Don't you understand you can't win? Are you going to take everyone else with you? Captain - Earth is an inhabited planet. Billions and billions of people - you can't be that insane! You're going to throw billions of good lives after bad?’
‘Jump immediately, Captain,’ ordered the Queen.
‘It will take ten minutes to set the coordinates,’ replied the emotionless Captain.
‘Ten minutes, Captain,’ Fibuli confirmed.
‘Announce a new golden age of prosperity,’ the Captain directed.
‘But Captain,’ Fibuli objected, ‘the last one was only yesterday.’
‘Do it, Mr Fibuli,’ the Captain insisted.
Chapter 11: A Spanner in the Works
‘He said there's a power cable right behind me,’ replied the Doctor, stepping to the wall by the engine room door and ripping a power cable and its connector from a bracket.
‘What are you doing Doctor?’
‘Trying to get a power supply to recharge K9.’
‘But Doctor, it takes a long time to recharge K9,’ Romana pointed out.
‘Romana,’ said the Doctor patiently as he stripped down the power cable, ‘I assume you've already taught your grandmother all you know about egg sucking or you wouldn't be standing around here with time on your hands. Quick, open his inspection hatch.’
‘Right.’ Romana opened a panel in K9's side and connected the cable to the robot dog.
‘Now, those maniacs in there are about to try and materialise Zanak around the planet Earth, and I swear that if I have to save that planet one more time I shall go stark raving mad. Plug him in.’
K9 began whirring back into life as the power surged through his systems, and his head raised.
‘K9 - can you divert any of this current into your frequency projectors?’ asked the Doctor urgently.
‘It is very difficult master. Much of my circuitry was damaged fighting the Polyphase Avitron.’
‘That horrid parrot?’ Romana shuddered. ‘Did you kill it K9?’
The Doctor frowned. ‘Romana, billions of lives are at stake, can we chat about parrots later?’
‘Master, the voltage has dropped,’ K9 reported.
‘That means that some of the pre-demat circuitry has already been activated. K9, can you project any kind of counter-interference on that wavelength?’
‘I haven't the vaguest idea,’ the Doctor confessed. He stood aside to allow Romana to enter the lift, and stepped in after her.
‘Doctor, I've worked it out,’ said Romana as the lift began to descend. ‘Listen...’
‘I can't hear anything.’
‘This is important, Doctor. That nurse is really Queen Xanxia.’
‘Yes, I know.’
‘And she has the Captain in her power!’
‘Yes, I know,’ said the Doctor again.
‘She actually has control over the robot half of his body from that black box she carries.’
‘Yes, I know, I've seen her do it...’ the Doctor paused and stared at her. ‘How did you know?’
‘I just worked it out.’
‘Without seeing anything? Do you know, that's very clever of you?’
‘Why, thank you Doctor,’ said Romana, feeling enormously pleased with herself.
Behind him, Fibuli was checking the dematerialisation controls. ‘Captain, sir.’
‘What is it Mr Fibuli?’ asked Xanxia.
Fibuli looked at her anxiously, still not quite having come to terms with the shift of power. ‘Er...’
‘Speak Mr Fibuli,’ the Captain instructed him.
‘Who am I to obey sir?’
‘Who have you always obeyed?’ the Captain asked him.
‘No!’ the Captain thundered. ‘Every word I speak, every move I make has been monitored, checked and controlled from that devil woman's box! Why else would I not have destroyed the hell hag in the Time Dams? You have obeyed her! She is your Captain!’ he spat bitterly.
‘And Mr Fibuli, do not think of trying to destroy me now,’ Xanxia added. ‘The Time Dams are booby trapped. The slightest disturbance in the Time Fields and the whole Bridge explodes. It has never been my intention to die. It is certainly not my intention to die alone.’
‘Dematerialisation minus four minutes,’ the Captain reported.
‘Hurry!’ Xanxia urged.
The half-man, half-robot addressed his guards again after a thoughtful pause. ‘Destroy everything!’
‘Captain! We must dematerialise instantly!’ Xanxia declared. ‘We can waste no further time!’
‘Dematerialisation in three minutes,’ reported the Captain resolutely.
Romana pointed out a familiar blue box in one of the courtyards. ‘There's the TARDIS, Doctor.’
‘Right, going in to land.’ The Doctor banked the aircar around and they began to descend.
‘Doctor! The time! We'll never make it!’ Romana said urgently.
‘Never say that if you're a Time Lord,’ the Doctor advised her.
‘Never say what?’
‘Never mind what?’
‘Oh, never mind,’ Romana sighed.
‘We'll do it somehow,’ the Doctor assured her.
‘Never say that to a Time Lord.’
‘Oh, you're impossible.’
‘No, just very, very improbable,’ the Doctor grinned, as the aircar finally landed.
There's no way we can survive this!’ called out Romana above the terrible noise. ‘We'll have to back off!’
‘We can't!’ the Doctor insisted. ‘The moment we back off, the Earth dies!’
‘It's getting worse!’
Chapter 12: A Piece of Cake
He held out the circuit board and plunged his android arm into it, fusing them together with a blinding flash, in an effort to activate his plan. ‘Xanxia! I commit myself to the Sky Demon, but by his bones I shall take you with me! I shall be free from you, you hag!’
‘You are a fool, Captain! You have failed and you will fail again!’ Xanxia screamed. ‘What are you doing?!’
But I don't see how that helps.’
‘No, you wouldn't. You're still thinking by the book, Romana. I first dematerialise the TARDIS, then I make Zanak dematerialise for a moment, then invert a gravity field at the hyper-spatial force field and drop the shrunken planets...’