‘Clever feint, don't you think?’ said the Doctor, as they dashed down a long white corridor. ‘Making them think I was trying to get to the TARDIS.’
‘What were you trying to do?’ puffed Chris.
‘Get to the TARDIS?’ suggested the Doctor.
‘Where are we?’ Chris asked, slowing down to look around him.
‘Lost,’ replied the Doctor. ‘Keep moving.’
A blaster bolt exploded on the wall close by them. The Doctor and Chris halted, looked back to see the pursuing Krargs, and started running again. K9 kept pace with them. They turned a corner and found themselves facing a dead end. Retracing their route, the Doctor directed them to hide in a small alcove in one wall. The Doctor and Chris squeezed into it, and K9 came to a halt by their feet.
‘Doctor, that man must be mad, mustn't he?’ asked Chris, when they were out of sight of the corridor.
‘Madness, sanity, it's all just a matter of opinion,’ replied the Doctor philosophically.
‘What's your opinion?’
‘He must be mad. But infinitely dangerous.’
‘You mean he's serious?’ said Chris unbelievingly. ‘He can do all that?’
‘It's possible,’ the Doctor admitted.
‘Master,’ said K9. ‘Krargs approaching.’
‘Then stay quiet,’ the Doctor advised.
‘Permission to blast them, Master.’
‘No,’ the Doctor hissed. ‘You remember what happened last time. Just stay quiet.’
The Krargs lumbered past their alcove and carried on down the corridor.
‘They've gone,’ whispered the Doctor after a pause. ‘Right. Back the way we came. Quietly!’
They emerged from the alcove, and started back along the corridor. Very faintly, they could hear the noise of TARDIS engines.
‘Shhh!’ said the Doctor, straining to hear.
‘What?’ asked Chris.
‘The TARDIS? Surprised we can hear it from here,’ commented Chris.
‘Something odd about it,’ observed the Doctor, and then dismissed it. ‘Come on.’
Suddenly, another blaster bolt hit the wall beside them. The Krargs had found them again.
‘Come on!’ shouted the Doctor. ‘Run!’
The trio found themselves being driven by their Krarg pursuers back down the same corridor. ‘We tried this before,’ Chris called after the Doctor, as they ran. ‘It's a dead end!’
‘Then we're trapped,’ the Doctor called back, but nevertheless, they kept running.
They turned the corner and resigned to finding themselves back in the same cul-de-sac, but now at the end of the passage, incongruously set against the sleek white wall, was an old wooden door.
‘This wasn't here before,’ Chris observed.
The Doctor was in no mood to stop and question this strange and sudden appearance. ‘Get in!’ he urged, opening the door.
The Krargs were almost upon them. Chris and K9 disappeared inside, and the Doctor dived in after them and slammed the door.
Laughing with relief at their narrow escape, the Doctor patted Chris on the shoulder and turned to take in their surroundings. His laughter died in his throat as he stared in astonishment.
Professor Chronotis and Clare Keightley, relaxing in armchairs in the Professor's study, stared back.
Clare was the first to find her voice. ‘Chris!’
‘Professor!’ exclaimed the Doctor delightedly.
‘Cup of tea?’ offered the Professor.
‘Tea?’ echoed the Doctor, and grinned.
Outside in the corridor, the Krargs tried opening the wooden door then, when this met with no success, they resorted to blasting it with their weapons. Despite the concentrated firepower of the Krarg blasters, the effect was the same as if they'd tried to blast open the door of a certain police box.
The Krargs' thwarted attempts to break in were no more than faint muffled thumps to the inhabitants of the Professor's study.
‘We came to the right place,’ said Chronotis. ‘Good. I'm so pleased.’
‘How... er...?’ said the Doctor, trying to find the right words.
‘Doctor, how do you like my TARDIS?’ the Professor inquired.
The Doctor spied the console, and went over to admire it. ‘Oh ace, ace,’ he assured his old friend.
The Professor joined him at the console. ‘Strictly unofficial,’ he explained. ‘I'm not really meant to have one.’
‘Yes,’ agreed the Doctor, grinning. ‘And what better way to hide it than by living in it, you old slyboots!’
Chris and Clare were meanwhile having their own conversation. ‘Chris, are you all right?’ Clare asked. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘How am I supposed to know?’ replied Chris, equally confused. ‘How did you get here? What's the Professor's rooms doing here?’
‘You may well ask - but ask the Professor.’
‘Doctor,’ said the Professor, ‘where is Skagra?’
‘Out there in the ship,’ the Doctor explained. ‘He's got the TARDIS, he's got Romana, he's got the book...’ He paused as something occurred to him. ‘I thought you were dead, Professor.’
‘My dear fellow, so did I,’ replied the Professor cryptically. ‘Now listen, if Skagra has the book and your TARDIS, he can get to Shada - and he must be stopped.’
‘Shada!’ exclaimed the Doctor, and thought hard, trying to place the name. ‘Shada?’
‘Yes, the Time Lords' prison planet,’ Chronotis informed him. ‘You've probably forgotten about it.’
‘I never forget anything!’ insisted the Doctor, and then reconsidered. ‘Yes, that's right - I had forgotten. Shada! The Time Lords' prison planet. Now why would I have forgotten?’ he asked himself. ‘Got it! Of course - Salyavin! Salyavin was imprisoned on Shada. Skagra needs Salyavin!’ He turned to Clare. ‘Ask me who Salyavin is!’
‘Why?’ asked Chris. ‘Who is Salyavin?’
‘Oh well,’ explained Clare, ‘he was a great criminal, imprisoned centuries ago by the Time Lords.’
The Doctor seemed a little put out by Clare's knowledge. ‘A great criminal,’ he corrected her. ‘Unique mental powers. He had the ability to project his mind into other minds, didn't he, Professor?’
‘Isn't that what Skagra's doing?’ asked Chris.
‘Oh, no. No, it's quite the opposite. Skagra has the capacity to take minds out of people, but he can't put minds into them. That's why he needs Salyavin in his sphere - and that's why he's going to Shada...’ The Doctor paused. ‘Shada. Why would I have forgotten about Shada?’ he asked himself again.
‘Of course!’ Chris exclaimed understanding Skagra's intent now.
Professor Chronotis suddenly clutched at the Doctor's arm. ‘He must not get there, Doctor,’ he whispered.
Skagra stood by the TARDIS console, turning the pages of the book. Three Krargs were guarding Romana. As Skagra turned the pages, the central column rose and fell smoothly, with a deep, almost melodic hum, quite unlike the noises Romana was used to hearing from the TARDIS console.
‘The key turns slowly in the door,’ said Skagra grandly. ‘The door to Shada opens.’ He began to turn the pages of the book faster, eager to reach his destination.
The hum from the TARDIS grew in intensity.
The Doctor, the Professor, Chris and Clare were sitting in the Professor's rooms drinking tea.
‘With that power, Skagra's mind and Salyavin's together in the sphere, Skagra will be omnipotent,’ said the Doctor gravely.
‘But do you really mean he could just move himself into every mind in the Universe?’ asked Chris.
The Doctor nodded. ‘Yes, eventually. It might take thousands of years, but that wouldn't matter - his mind would be immortal. It would spread like a disease.’
‘It's quite a thought, though, isn't it?’ continued Chris. ‘Every mind working together as a single organism - a single mind!’
‘Yes. Skagra's mind,’ the Doctor added. ‘Not a pleasant thought.’
‘Doctor,’ said the Professor urgently, ‘We must...’
‘Stop him getting to Shada, yes, I know,’ replied the Doctor. ‘But we can't. He'll be on his way already. And we don't know where it is.’
‘Then we must follow him,’ said the Professor.
‘In this?’ asked Chris. ‘But how?’
‘The same way that we arrived here,’ replied the Professor.
‘You followed the TARDIS's space time track!’ exclaimed the Doctor admiringly. ‘Of course!’
Caught by his excitement, Chris, Clare and the Professor all leapt to their feet, in readiness to be off.
‘Of course!’ exclaimed the Doctor again, still firmly seated. Taking his cue, the three sat down again. The Doctor immediately jumped back to his feet and rushed over to the control panel. ‘Let's go!’ he said suddenly.
An irregularly shaped planetoid drifted through a black void in space. The only feature of the airless, rocky terrain was a cluster of buildings featuring a large tower and a white dome. Within these buildings, the complex was confined and dimly lit. Cobwebs hung from the walls. A number of branching corridors all terminated in a central reception area. The stillness was shattered by the abrupt materialisation of the TARDIS against one wall of the chamber. The door opened, and Skagra emerged, holding his sphere, followed by Romana and the trio of Krargs.
‘Shada!’ Skagra announced grandly, with a note of awe in his voice.
Romana looked around in disgust. ‘It looks horrid.’
‘It was built by your race. A prison planet,’ Skagra pointed out.
‘I hope you feel at home,’ said Romana.
‘Keep her silent,’ Skagra ordered, and the Krargs tightened their grip on Romana's arms. Skagra went over to a central console in the middle of the room, and carefully brushed the dust from it. ‘The index,’ he said, and began calling up the prison records on the screen:
RUNGAR; WAR CRIMES
SABJATRIC: MASS MURDER
SALYAVIN: MIND CRIMES
‘Salyavin!’ breathed Skagra triumphantly. ‘Chamber T, Cabinet Nine.’ He pressed another button, and a light came on over a shadowy corridor entrance, marked “Chambers R - V”. He turned to his three Krargs. ‘Two of you guard this machine,’ he ordered, and then pointed to the third. ‘You, bring the girl.’ Skagra turned to Romana, ‘Come, you shall meet the great Salyavin.’ He set off down the corridor, followed closely by Romana and her Krarg escort. The remaining two Krargs took up positions in front of the TARDIS.
The corridor was as dimly lit and dank as the reception area had been.
‘This is where your precious Time Lords used to put the criminals they simply wanted to forget about,’ Skagra told Romana, his manner somewhat like that of a slightly sadistic tour guide.
‘I've never even heard of it,’ she admitted.
‘Obviously you forget very thoroughly on Gallifrey,’ he observed. They halted when they came to a junction in the corridor. They were presented with four entrances, each identified with a sign marked Chambers R, S, T and V.
‘This way,’ said Skagra, and set off down the passage marked “Chamber T”. Moments after they had passed through the junction, a wooden door materialised in the wall with a muted wheezing groaning sound.
Professor Chronotis turned away from the console of his TARDIS. ‘Doctor, we've arrived,’ he announced.
‘Good, good,’ replied the Doctor, and turned to the two students. ‘Now you two...’
‘Yes?’ said Chris and Clare eagerly.
‘Stay here,’ the Doctor instructed.
‘Oh come on,’ they protested in unison.
‘Oh shhh,’ said the Doctor. ‘I'm not at liberty to explain.’ He knelt down beside his dog. ‘K9, you can come along, but no tangling with any Krargs - unless of course you have to tangle with any Krargs.’
The Professor opened the door. ‘Hurry!’ he called impatiently. ‘Skagra will be here already! Hurry!’
The Doctor got to his feet. ‘Come on, K9!’ he instructed, and followed the Professor out of the room.
The two Time Lords and K9 emerged into the dim corridor junction, and shut the wooden door behind them.
‘The TARDIS must be in this direction,’ said the Doctor, once he had got his bearings. He pointed back towards the reception area.
‘But Skagra will have gone in his direction,’ insisted the Professor, indicating the passage marked “Chamber T”.
The Doctor looked hard at Chronotis. ‘How do you know?’
‘I... heard footsteps,’ he replied quickly, avoiding the Doctor's gaze.
‘If I can get to the TARDIS first, we can stop Skagra getting it back,’ reasoned the Doctor. ‘He'll have no escape.’
The Professor shook his head. ‘But it is imperative we find him before he finds Salyavin!’ he said desperately.
‘Yes,’ said the Doctor gently, ‘but let's just exercise a little strategy, shall we?’
Chamber T consisted of a large room with a central control console. Sliding doors made of some translucent material were arranged along the walls. Vague humanoid shapes could be seen immobile behind them. Skagra, Romana and the Krarg stood at the console.
‘The prisoners of Shada, each one in his own separate cryogenic cell,’ said Skagra, continuing in his tour guide manner. ‘Alive, but frozen. In perpetual imprisonment.’ He carefully placed the sphere on the console and turned to Romana. ‘A very humane solution don't you think?’ he inquired sarcastically.
Romana flinched from his implied accusation. ‘Don't look at me. I'm not answerable for the Time Lords.’
‘You are a Time Lord?’
Skagra brushed her objection aside. ‘No matter. Time Lords will soon be irrelevant.’ He activated the console systems. ‘Before I find Salyavin I shall release some of these,’ he said, indicating the dark, shadowy shapes behind the doors. ‘They can be the first to participate in the new Universal mind.’
Skagra pressed an array of buttons on the console, and in a number of the cells, gas could be seen swirling around. The cell doors then slid open, and the inhabitant of each stumbled out in a groggy, zombie-like state.
‘It's odd the way some days work out, isn't it?’ Chris commented.
‘Chris?’ asked Clare.
‘I mean, there I was just...’
‘Chris,’ Clare persisted, ‘there's something very odd about the Professor.’
‘Why single out the Professor?’ Chris asked.
‘Well because when I was...’ Clare began.
Chris stood up. ‘I want to know what's going on out there,’ he declared.
‘Chris, you're not listening to me,’ Clare objected.
Clare was right - he wasn't. ‘I just don't like getting left behind,’ Chris continued. ‘I mean just because we come from Earth, it doesn't give everyone the right to be patronising towards us.’ He moved over to the control panel and glanced at it enviously. ‘I admit all this does make us look a bit primitive, I mean I haven't the faintest how it all works...’
‘I have,’ said Clare.
Chris turned to her, surprised. ‘You do?’
‘Yes. Well, at least I did a while ago.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well that's what I've been trying to tell you all along. It's something the Professor did to me - to my mind. There's something very strange about him.’
Chris looked thoughtful.
Skagra had released a number of prisoners. They were all standing around in a zombie-like state. Among them were: the Roman emperor Nero, notorious for his despotism and cruelty; Salome, the daughter of Herodias who plotted against John the Baptist; Lady Macbeth, the scheming wife of the infamous Scottish king who murdered Duncan; Genghis Khan, the Mongol ruler who conquered most of Asia in the Thirteenth Century; Boadicea, the First Century warrior queen who opposed the Romans in Britain, Lucrezia Borgia, an Italian noble woman accused of murdering her husbands, relatives and enemies by poisoning, and Grigor Rasputin, the disreputable Russian court favourite.
All of the notorious individuals from Earth's history had apparently escaped death and had instead been abducted by the Time Lords and incarcerated on Shada.
‘Enough!’ declared Skagra suddenly. ‘Their consciousness will soon return and we must be ready for them.’
The Doctor reached the end of the passage, and peered around the entranceway into the reception area. He saw to his disappointment the pair of Krargs standing guard over the TARDIS, and ducked back down the corridor. ‘So much for strategy,’ he said, rejoining the Professor. The Doctor noticed that his old friend had become decidedly agitated, and was anxious to pursue Skagra. ‘All right,’ the Doctor conceded. ‘We'll do it your way.’
‘By all the suns, I hope we're not too late,’ replied the Professor, and hurried off down the corridor. ‘K9,’ he said softly, as the dog trundled alongside him.
‘Professor?’ said K9.
‘Be alert,’ he instructed. ‘If Skagra tries to use the sphere on... on anyone you must destroy it.’
The Doctor came up beside the Professor. ‘I rather hope we're going to destroy it anyway,’ he added.
Skagra was now concentrating his efforts on finding Salyavin. Each block of cells was several layers deep, so that it was necessary to remove several other prisoners to locate one further back. A Dalek, a Cyberman and a Zygon had joined the other zombified figures, and as Romana and the Krarg watched, Skagra pulled an executioner from one cabinet, and then a gladiator from the one behind it.
Finally, the cabinet that Skagra was seeking was reached. There was, as usual, the dimly visible shape of a figure behind the door.
‘Cabinet Nine,’ announced Skagra. ‘There he is. The man I have spent my life finding. The man whose mind will reshape the entire Universe: Salyavin!’ He stepped back to the console. ‘Let us release him.’ Skagra selected a button.
‘No Skagra, stop!’ shouted the Doctor, bursting into the room. The Professor and K9 were right behind him.
‘Doctor!’ called Romana delightedly.
‘Keep away from here!’ snarled Skagra.
Chronotis hurried forward to the console. ‘You must not press that button!’ he insisted.
The Krarg fired a warning blast, and the Professor reluctantly retreated.
‘You are too late,’ declared Skagra triumphantly, and pressed the button. ‘Salyavin is released!’
Behind the semi-transparent door, the gas swirled, and then the door opened. Skagra walked over to the cabinet, his eyes riveted on the slumped, cowled figure in the cell.
The Doctor and the Professor started forward, but Skagra waved them away. ‘Keep back,’ he warned. Skagra reached inside the cell and pulled back the hood of the figure's robes. An appalled look came over Skagra's face. He seized the figure and violently pulled it out of the cell. The robes fell away to reveal a roughly-built dummy.
‘Salyavin!’ shouted Skagra wildly, dashing the mannequin to the floor. ‘Where is Salyavin!’
‘I escaped centuries ago,’ said a very familiar voice.
Skagra turned to face the speaker.
A figure stepped out from behind the Doctor.
The man they all knew as Professor Chronotis.
‘Now let me just get this right,’ said Chris. ‘You say he just “walked” into your mind?’
‘Well, sort of,’ admitted Clare. ‘It's as if he just barged in through the front door and started shuffling all my thoughts about.’
‘But the Doctor said that ability was unique to the guy Skagra's come here to find,’ Chris pointed out.
Clare nodded. ‘Yes, I know.’
Chris came to a decision. ‘I'm not sitting around any more. On your feet, Keightley. Come on, let's go and see what's happening!’
They cautiously opened the door, and peered out into the darkened, deserted corridor. ‘Come on,’ whispered Chris. ‘Quietly now.’ They closed the door behind them and set off down the corridor.
‘You!’ exclaimed Skagra.
‘You're Salyavin?’ the Doctor inquired, equally astonished.
Salyavin, otherwise known as Professor Chronotis, nodded. ‘Yes, I am. That's why I wanted no one to come here. I wanted to live my life out in peace. To forget the stupidities of my past, forget this hateful power. I have suppressed it for years, except when it was necessary to cover my tracks. Now, go Skagra,’ he implored. ‘Leave me in peace, forget this insanity.’
‘No, Salyavin,’ Skagra replied. ‘I have you here. I have everything I need.’
‘Do not force me to use my power on you, Skagra,’ Salyavin threatened.
The Doctor suddenly caught sight of the sphere. Up until now, it had been resting on the console. Now it was in the air, and idly drifting across the room directly towards the Professor's head. ‘K9!’ he yelled. ‘The sphere! Shoot it!’
K9 extended his blaster and fired instantly, shattering the device into many pieces. Immediately, each fragment reformed into a new, smaller sphere, one of which attached itself to the Professor. Chronotis fell to his knees with a howl of pain. The Doctor tried to rush forward to help, but the other spheres headed him off.
‘Now, Doctor,’ warned Skagra, ‘Stay very, very still.’
The Krarg tightened its grip on Romana. She yelped in pain.
‘You shall see the beginning of the Universal mind!’ Skagra announced triumphantly.
The sphere attached to the Professor's forehead detached itself, leaving its victim slumped on the floor. The sphere glided across the chamber to join the other spheres. A beam of light passed from the sphere that had sapped the Professor's mind to the other spheres, and then each sphere flew over to attach itself to the forehead of one of the prisoners that Skagra had released.
At this was happening, Chris and Clare arrived at the end of the corridor. They peered around the entranceway in time to see the spheres attaching themselves to the prisoners. A moment later, all of the prisoners seemed to wake up.
Skagra smiled - and the prisoners smiled in unison.
Skagra turned to face the Doctor - and so did the prisoners. They were now all part of Skagra's universal mind.
‘No!’ shouted Chris, and rushed forward to assist the Doctor.
Skagra glanced towards Chris, as did the prisoners. ‘Sphere!’ ordered Skagra.
A sphere glided across and attached itself to Chris's forehead. He tried to resist at first, but within seconds, his mind was taken over and he joined the ranks of Skagra's small army.
‘Now Doctor,’ said Skagra, ‘we will deal with you.’
The group of prisoners, including Chris, began to advance on the Doctor, in step with Skagra's own movements. The Doctor backed away against a wall. There was nowhere to run.