By Jon Preddle (as Donald Peathe Jnr)

Apart from his or her birth, the most critical time in any Time Lord's life is the act of regeneration.

This miraculous change that a Time Lord goes through to enable survival after the most fatal of bodily or mental injury. The precise transposition of one's memory and experience from one body to another, timed to the nth degree by the matrix, can sometimes go horribly wrong. It was this thought that was going through the Doctor's mind as this transformation was taking place for the ninth time.

The events leading to this were somewhat cloudy; The Doctor and his companions Emma and Trellar had landed on the planet Synax. Emma had been once more trying to ward off Trellar's advances - she was gorgeous after all. This in turn led her to be kidnapped by the King of Synax who wanted her for his harem.

The Doctor and Trellar managed to break into the palace, but in doing so, the Doctor lost the key to the TARDIS. After discovering that it was locked away in a Polymorphite safe, the Time Lord tried to recover the key, but in doing so set off the alarm. This resulted in the safe exploding, right in the Doctor's face.

Now the Doctor lay on the floor, weakened from both the blast and the regeneration that had saved his life. Struggling to stand, the Doctor stood and looked at the new body in a wall mirror that had somehow managed to survive the blast.

The Doctor cast his mind back to the words of a previous incarnation: ‘That's the trouble with regeneration. You never quite know what you're going to get.’ And these words were quite appropriate in this instance. Gone was the head of straight red hair; the gap-toothed smile; and broad shoulders. Staring at the Doctor were a pair of green eyes, framed by a main of blonde hair and narrow face.

The Doctor shrugged. Better than nothing was the thought. The clothes were burned and tattered. The green jacket, pants and vest would have to go. I look like a leprechaun, thought the Doctor.

Spying the TARDIS key on the floor, the Doctor picked it up and went outside.

Emma was crying, Trellar had his arms around her, a position he had been trying to assume for some time!

‘The Doctor must be dead. We all heard the explosion. Oh what should we do?’ she blubbered.

Typical female, thought Trellar. ‘There, there. Don't cry,’ he said.

A figure emerged from the palace gates. Trellar looked at the figure - somehow it was very familiar. If not the face, it was the clothes.

Emma too had noticed the stranger in the Doctor's outfit. ‘Where's the Doctor?’

‘I'm here,’ replied the stranger.

‘But you're....’

‘I've regenerated... again.’

Emma knew all about regeneration. She had met the Doctor's previous incarnations at the UNIT reunion on Earth in the year 2020. The Brigadier was there, with other past companions of the Doctor's. She had taken to the little blonde third Doctor and the tall dark second Doctor. The old fifth Doctor and the bearded sixth Doctor were nice too. And now she was looking at a tenth Doctor.

The Doctor beckoned the companions on. Trellar was still staring, his eyes almost popping out of his head.

The trio entered the TARDIS and soon it vanished from the planet.

Inside, the Doctor operated the console, while Trellar continued to stare, almost in a state of shock. What should he do? It was bad enough wanting Emma so badly, but now he had two gorgeous females in the TARDIS to lust after, he was sure that he would go crazy....

This item appeared in Timestreams 1 (August 1990).

Index nodes: Fiction