Friday, March 9, 2007

Twin Dilemma Narration/Music Clip

In 1989, a series of unfortunate incidents lead to the master tapes of The Twin Dilemma episodes three and four being destroyed. For six months it appeared that the story would be the first of the colour era to be "incomplete", and a special narration was recorded. Luckily, fans had off-air recordings and now, in 2007, the story has been recovered - though the narration still exists...

(Colin Baker is wandering around the MOMI Doctor Who display, rightly acting like he owns the place.)

Of course, I had never expected to see a Tractator again, although there are few places I can think of where they wouldn't have been one. You see, the Tractators, or Sectoms as the Jocondans call them, were one of the oldest races in the universe. They spread out before even the Time Lords were young, seeding every planet they could reach with their eggs. The Time Lords put a stop to it and most of the Tractators were rendered mindless, harmless burrowing drones. One in a million Tractators achieved the level of their ancestors, and were named Gravis.

Mestor was such a creature, but the high level of ionization in Joconda's atmosphere had effected the vegetation and thus the Tractators when they went on that feeding frenzy so long ago. When that last surviving egg hatched, Mestor was the most powerful Tractator in existence - and his powers increased the more vegetation he ate and by the time I reached Joconda he was a demigod. Well, he liked to think of himself as a god, but I always know his sort are overcompensating.

Determined to bring me under his will, Mestor threw his mighty telepathic powers at me. However, my claims of mental barriers were no bluff and I easily held him back. Well, at first. It became more and more difficult as my body was painfully reminded of its recent metabolic change, and I wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders at the time anyway. Nevertheless I managed to hold Mestor back, which was when he pulled his master stroke.

He called in Peri and threatened to kill her. Naturally, I was distracted and that was all Mestor need. He burned into my mind like hot coals inside my skull, forcing me to my knees. Peri realized what was happening and moved to attack Mestor. Caught between controlling Joconda, breaking into my brain and coordinating the attack on the Earth ships, Mestor made his move. Releasing me, he lashed out and felled Peri with a thought.

I wasn't feeling much better. A nugget of pure Mestor had wormed its way inside my mind. I threw it from thought to thought, trying not to absorb it or even understand it, but its mere presence caused my very soul to warp and buckle around it.

Mestor ordered me to be taken to Azmael. Not only would he know basic first aid for a Time Lord, my presence as a possible rival and replacement would another move in the complicated battle of nerves he and Mestor were engaged in. And so, half dead and on the verge of regenerating for the second time in as many days, I was unceremoniously dragged from the throne room and poor Peri was hauled after us as well. As for Hugo? Well, let's just say that old Mestor had plans for him...

Meanwhile, poor Archie Sylvest, General Fabian and the Minister were not having much better luck. Their attempt to flee Joconda had been hampered when the gravitational constant of the universe seemed to shift - at least that's what they thought. Mestor was using his powers of gravity attraction to yank the ship back towards him. Finally the ship's engines failed and the traction beam was the only thing that prevented the ship from being smashed to pieces on the ground. However, no sooner had Sylvest and the others staggered free from the battered hulk then they met the welcoming party of zombie Jocondans.

Azmael, meanwhile, was not pleased to see me. And I was not pleased to see him, at least after I'd regained the powers of sight, speech and thought. For Azmael was my childhood hero. A man of passion, belief, recklessness and panache. Bit like me in that regard. Azmael decided one day that he'd had enough of Gallifrey and fled the planet to explore the universe. The High Council, terrified of what might happen if Azmael was captured and unwittingly revealed the secrets of the Time Lords, decided to take action. Remember the story of Verne the Beautiful? Well, that bungled vote meant the Time Lords sent a squad of Raston Warrior Robots to the planet Vitrol Minor, whose loving inhabitants sacrificed themselves fighting the robots to allow Azmael to escape.

And escape Azmael did. He returned to Gallifrey armed with a machine gun and took direct vengeance on the High Council. However, it was always said that Azmael died in the attempt, and his murder lead to many Time Lords fleeing Gallifrey and many more trying but failing to do so. Instead, Azmael killed the High Council (including poor Verne) and the newly appointed High Council worshipped him as a hero. They let him leave Gallifrey and promptly denied the whole incident never happened in the belief it would calm things down. They were wrong.

To be confronted with a long lost childhood hero acting in a distinctly unheroic manner is never easy, and when you're have a giant caterpillar rummaging through your thoughts it became near unbearable. And to be honest, I was probably unbearable as well. I was up and down like a manic barometer, snapping and cooing totally randomly. And those mood swings were just the start of something terrible...

When Azmael and the twins explained the plan to me, I decided to help them. I knew that while this operation could only have benefits for Joconda, it would give Mestor access to temporal technology - weaponry that the Time Lords only possessed and only they were mature enough not to use it. But for some reason, I was happy. After nine hundred years I've encountered many plans to conquer the universe, often using some massive death ray or virus or burrowing the core of a planet out and turning it into a spaceship. At last, I thought, a plan WORTH defeating, WORTH spending my time working against. It made a lot of sense at the time and I immediately set to work helping Azmael.

Peri thought I was going mad and at the time you could hardly blame her. But great things were afoot.

At that moment, the captured humans from Earth were being lead by the palace by a mob of possessed Jocondans. Once inside however, they were surprised by Hugo Lang leaping into view to rescue the Minister and General Fabian. Archie Sylvest, however, was unlucky - his portly waistline may have been the hieght of fashion but it did not give him an edge in escape attempts and he remained in custody. The other three fled into the palace, somehow managing to avoid the searching guards and Mestor's omnipotent gaze.

Things were proceeding so well I, in a moment of foolish bravado, demanded to be allowed a bottle of Voxnic to celebrate. However, at that point I seemed to have found a broken security circuit and promptly fixed it, which showed Hugo leading his two comrades to a special communications centre and opening a chanel through to Earth and lovely Elena. The Minister wasted no time in bandying words and immediately painted the threat on Joconda with all the severity it deserved. And I, being extremely volotile at the time, wrecked the circuit. There was a mild power failure and contact with Earth was lost.

Peri accused me of being possessed by Mestor and while she didn't believe me when I said I wasn't, that act proved it. It occured to me that Hugo's miraculous escape and even more miraculous rescue to find the perfect way to warn Earth was ludicrous. The only explanation was that Mestor was helping them. Which begged the question - why? Mestor may have been insane, but he wasn't insane and certainly not self-destructive. Why would he want to arrange his own death? The obvious answer was that he wasn't. Somehow, Mestor's plan hinged on Joconda being destroyed.

I wasn't allowed to continue my theory. Sylvest arrived and Noma at gunpoint forced him to reveal the Twins' true identity. I've always said the biggest lie of the cybernetic age was the idea that any computer, no matter how advanced, could ever be more powerful than a living brain. And the Twins proved me right. The Twins were not human, but incredibly sophisticated androids containing specially-grown human brains. With this electronic nervous system, the untapped eighty-seven per cent of the human brain was at last being used. Sylvest had come up with the idea and was financed by all sorts - android builders, military hardware, computer programmers... In order to keep the Twins with a healthy psychospoor, a false life with Sylvest as the father was created, but the Twins were developing fast enough to see the cracks.

Noma hadn't got Sylvest to reveal the information out of sheer sadism. Well, not JUST sheer sadism. With that information revealed, the Twins automatically shut down their 'personalities' and became lifeless waxworks. The brains, the most complicated CPUs known to man, were taken by Azmael to the main computer complex to program the generators of the time shift. At that moment, Fabian, the Minister and Hugo arrived. Hugo was possessed by Mestor and with his plan coming apart at the seams, wasn't prepared for when Peri and myself fled the laboratory and into the pitch dark tunnels.

Finally we arrived in the communications centre as power was restored - and we could see the first of the space fleets arriving. Not only was Joconda in grave danger, it looked like Mestor was about to succeed in his insane doomsday plan. It's not a situation I'd enjoy in the best of times and this was about as far from the best of times as it is possible to be. The pressure, fear, panic and damage Mestor inflicted on me all overwhelmed me. Paranoia gripped me and without even realizing what I was doing I began to choke the life out of Peri, my best friend...

It had been a hard few days for Peri and this was the straw that broke the dromedary's back. She lashed out and managed to fight me off and that is no mean feet. She then found a mirror and tried to use it as a weapon and it worked, but not in the way she intended. Seeing my reflection, a reflection of an unthinking, savage animal... it stopped me far faster than any form of unarmed combat. The shock stunned me for the briefest of moments, and also the chunk of Mestor sitting in my cerebellum, and in that moment of vulnerability, I purged him from my mind. The trouble was the effort caused me to collapse.

When I finally awoke, I discovered how serious things had become.

The war fleet was almost upon Joconda, armed and ready for trouble. The slightest resistance, the slightest interpreted hostility and Joconda would be reduced to rubble. Mestor had siezed control of every Jocondan on the planet. Already Hugo, Fabian and the Minister were starting to succumb to the mental attack and Azmael found himself restrained by Drak and Noma, unable to activate the time shift. At least, not yet.

I realized what the answer was.

Mestor planned to offend the war fleet and trigger deadly retribution. However, before the salvos could strike the planet, he would activate the time shift. The unstoppable force meets the immovable object and Joconda itself would revert to protomatter. The planet and everything on it would become a single, basic substance which Mestor could download his consciousness into it. After that, well, the sky was the limit. With the increased mass and range, Mestor could assume any form, perform any feat. He might destroy the war fleet with a thought or simply possess every single individual in it.

An interesting and intriguing way to conquer the universe, and I'd lost my enthusiasm for that particular novelty.

As the moment approached, the Minister, now totally consumed by Mestor, strode to the communicator to order the fleet to open fire. Peri, using her initiative, screamed at the top of her voice. I've heard a lot of things, but my new ears were bleeding at that moment, I can tell you. In the distraction, I dived across the room, wrestled with the Minister and shouted the war generals, "Don't trust him! He said this outfit was the hieght of fashion!"

Yes... well, it worked, anyway. The war generals were not sure the situation on Joconda was as dire as it seemed. Desperately, Mestor flung his mind at mine in order to possess me and get me to retract my statement and agree with the Minister. Like before, I felt his mind smash into my defences. But that now, this is then. I held off the might of Merciless Mestor the Magnanimus Magnificent Municipality just long enough for Azmael to dive into his ancient TARDIS and shut it down, wrecking the calibrator before any of the Jocondans could stop him.

Now, with the TARDIS out of action, even if the war fleet DID decide to open fire, the plan wouldn't work. Jaconda would be reduced to a cinder hanging in space but so would Mestor. The war fleet prepared to land and invade Joconda, or perhaps liberate would be a better term? With the plan ruined, Sylvest bravely disconnected the Twins' brains from the time shifter. Now the plan could never succeed, Mestor was finished!

And there was no one more surprised than I when he conceded defeat.

I knew at once that Mestor was up to something, but then so did Hugo - it was obvious. Mestor's influence was slowly but surely retreating from Jaconda. The zombies outside collapsed as they were returned to their starved bodies. Noma screamed as Mestor abandoned him and the Chamberlain, did I mention her? She decided her best bet was to flee and I couldn't honestly blame her. Once the natives recovered from the psychic shock, Mestor's regime would be the first up against the wall. I suggested that Azmael stay to keep order, while I went to confront Mestor armed with some dury-rigged Mosten's acid I had fermented during one of my lucid periods. Peri was worried my mind would cloud at any moment and it's true it was still difficult to focus, but every moment wasted allowed Mestor to regather his strength and work on plan B.

I hurried at top speed to the ruins of the throne room, passing countless dazed and confused Jocondans. I knew how they felt. Already mobs were gathering around the palace. The hydroponics dome had been broken into and relief from the famine was starting, slowly but surely. Mestor was powerful, but I doubted he'd find it easy to retake Joconda, especially with the fleet about to land. To conquer all these new minds and reconquer Joconda? No, I was certain Mestor couldn't manage that. However, with all his energies gathered in one place he could, however, crush me with gravity or literally blow my mind.

In such situations, it's never wrong to feel fear. As long as you don't let it dominate you. If I'd let that happen, I would never have left Gallifrey whether I'd known the truth about Azmael or not. And, after all, I'd had a life time of being pushed about and this time was going to be different.

It was a long time ago, but I think I might actually have started to believe it when I reached the throne room.

Mestor's calm was ruffled, but he was still using that ludicrously oversized brain to good use. His operation on Joconda simply couldn't succeed. But he believed he could start from scratch elsewhere. I laughed at him - the Gravis could barely move and his actions had presented his scheme to the galaxy at large. He would never hoodwink them after this. But Mestor was certain he could. He wanted me to take him into the future with the TARDIS and then recreate these conditions. I refused, of course. How was I supposed to get the Tractator to the TARDIS past the angry mob out for his blood? I told Mestor it was time to face the consequences, and it became his turn to laugh at me.

Then, having deliberately clouded my thoughts, I hurled the vial of acid at the Tractator. He threw it back with his gravity tricks. Oh well, my biorhythms have improved considerably since then, I'm glad to say.

Mestor began to rant that in penance for my crime I would cease to exist. And when the Minister entered, the only other person still under Mestor's control, I began to realize that while I would cease to exist, my body would be left for Mestor to escape into. Not a fate I would relish at the best of times and to be possessed by a giant woodlouse with ideas about its station would just be too much.

Every other time Mestor had attacked me, he had been multitasking and controlling all of Joconda at the same time. This time, however, every last erg of his mind power was against mine. I put up the best fight I could. But I never stood a chance.

Still, I held him back long enough for Azmael to run in, snatch up the last vial and hurl it at Mestor's body. Before Mestor could react, his body was dehydrated until it was dust. I was too busy drowning in a cloud of green light that stank of rotting vegetables to applaud, or do anything else when that cloud and the chunk of Mestor inside the Minister regrouped and dived straight into Azmael. In a moment, Mestor assumed control of Azmael.

And then, in one of the moments of my life I would sooner like to forget, I ordered the Minister to shoot him through both hearts.

Azmael fell, and Mestor found that while a Time Lord is difficult to control, controlling it and stopping one bleeding to death is far harder. Too busy to stop the old Time Lord from regenerating and thus purging him, Mestor was forced to allow Azmael to regain some control. Enough to say goodbye to me. And I remembered one of the biggest regrets in my life was that I believed I never was able to farewell my hero before he left Gallifrey. This time however, I took my chance and Azmael said that I had achieved what he'd set out to do. In five centuries he'd been to three planets and hadn't saved a single one. Without wanting to sound immodest, I had been all around the universe and saved it repeatedly. Azmael didn't mind. If anything, he was proud.

I wish we'd had more time to talk, but Azmael slipped away in my arms, taking Mestor with him. The Minister was in only slightly better shape. A control freak like him being possessed by Mestor hadn't done his sanity any good at all and poor Azmael was the only person he'd ever shot. The Minister dropped the gun and wandered off, and I never did find out what happened to him. Maybe he's still on Joconda, doing gardening and thinking nice thoughts. I don't think he'd last long in politics, so that was probably for the best.

Sylvest had also decided to quit his career, which had sky-rocketed when his joke book about the square root of negative numbers was taken seriously by the academic community, and concentrate on his twins. The experiment was abandoned and because of all the secrecy, no one questioned the reappearance of the Twins, who were able to emotionally mature. Of course, they're not perfect, but who is? Certainly, they had learned to play backgammon and karioke the last time I dropped by. Romulus is still the louder one, but Remus is quite the ladies' man.

Hugo, with his desire to become a celebrity, tried to steal the TARDIS. Trouble was, there was a bit of queue. Slarn the Chamberlain was there already trying to break in and offering a fortune to anyone prepared to help him escape Joconda. Noma also had that idea and Fabian and Drak were simply there to watch what happened. I meanwhile, bumped into Peri, who was feeling rather caustic. But she still apologized when she learned that poor Azmael had died. I snapped that she had no cause to, but she was sorry for me. It's so simple now, but at the time I was confused and irritable. On the trip back to the TARDIS, my mood had improved ever so slightly, but I made it clear that the TARDIS was for myself and Peri only.

We said our goodbyes and upon learning Azmael was dead there was a near stampede when it was discovered that there was now a vacancy for the Master of Joconda. However, I coldly pointed out that the Jocondans would not be easily fooled by Hugo, Slarn or Noma. Ultimately, Noma decided to run for it. Slarn hired Hugo as his body guard and Fabian found himself appointed to Master by Drak and several others, if only to better organize the landing of the fleet. This invasion would now be a mission of mercy.

On that note, Peri and I slipped away into time and space. It turned out of course that Azmael wasn't actually dead. Away from Gallifrey so long, the lindos glands had atrophied slightly, but when Fabian was escorted back to the palace they were confronted with the newly-regenerated Azmael in the blood-spattered clothing of his old self. The new Azmael was very different - a proud-looking old man with long white hair. A bit like me when I was younger. Once again I had left in the belief Azmael was dead. The next time we met, ironically, the exact same thing happened. But anyway, just as the TARDIS entered the vortex, I decided that although that outfit fitted me like a glove, it would be best to change. Peri suggested something more austere, maybe in black which is slimming...

But when I opened the wardrobe room there was just a heap of ashes and scrap metal. Hugo's pistol had overloaded, started a fire and the wardrobe containing every article of clothing I'd picked up and everything provided by the TARDIS fabricator when it was still working was burnt to ashes. And I couldn't think of somewhere else to replace the clothes, so I was stuck in that outfit. Of course, with my impeccable style and a time machine, I could easily make it fashionable. Peri considered it interference in the pattern of history, but then SHE had all of Tegan and Nyssa's clothes to choose from!

Of course, I never did get round to making this style popular. One thing after another got away, all sorts of other time meddlers - the Cybermen, the Sontarans, the Rani, the Borad... But of course. Those were other adventures. Other times. When I knew for certain my regeneration was stablized, and I wasn't just saying it to calm Peri down. But, as I said to her at the beginning, "Whatever else happens, I AM the Doctor. Whether you like it or not."

(He beams at us.)


THE TWIN DILEMMA - Michael Jackson, with Thriller

(The Doctor's face forms in the logo.)

Cause this is thriller, thriller night...
There aint no second chances...

(The Doctor stares deeply into his reflection.)

...against the thing with forty eyes!

(Peri admirs her Vesta 95 outfit in the mirror.)

You know its thriller, thriller night

(The Doctor lunges across the lab and grabs Peri by the throat.)


(Peri fights back.)

Youre fighting for your life inside of killer, thriller tonight!

(The Doctor steps out of the revitalizer, looking wasted.)

(Outside the TARDIS, the Doctor throws out his arms as he says "Excelsior".)

That this is thriller, thriller night!

(The Twins transform into skeletal androids.)

Cause I can thrill you more than any ghost would dare to try!

(Hugo is shot in the back and collapses as the Doctor and Peri look on.)

Girl, this is thriller, thriller night!

(The Zombie Jacondans chase the fleeing humans.)

So let me hold you tight and share a
Killer, diller, chiller...

(The Doctor hurls a vial of Mosten's acid at Mestor, who crushes it with gravity.)

Thriller here tonight!

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