The Door In Time
Kai: A Time Lord, a man who escaped a war no-one escaped.
Effie Scott: After sixty years, two children and the death of her husband, she thought she had lived a full life already. Caught in the blast of Kai's regeneration, she now looks eighteen.
We open in a pair of children looking at the presents under a large Christmas tree. The boy picks one up and shakes it, the girl looks at him questioningly and he shrugs, and the camera slowly pulls back to show a long corridor of featureless pale grey walls with a thin navy blue carpet and a heavy metal door on one end. And the camera keeps pulling back, through a long picture window and out, revealing that the corridor is in the spine of a huge, sleek, industrial grey spaceship, roaring through the stars.
Following Yonder Star
by Craig Oxbrow
Guest starring Liam Cunningham, Ellen Wong, Eamonn Walker
Kai shrugs off a black frock coat with silver etching and then opens a ladder and starts to climb.
Effie: Are you sure about that?
Kai: It seems to fit. Lost a bit of weight... reintegrating with the universe will do that, I suppose.
She herself is wearing a dark red coat over a black top and blue jeans. Something you might see in the 60s, or now.
Effie: And the... decorations?
Kai is in the process of winding tinsel around the central column of the TARDIS console.
Effie: I mean, it was summer...
Kai: I just thought Christmas might cheer things up a bit.
Effie: We're just... going to visit?
Kai: That's the idea.
Effie: Well, you're the Time Lord, I suppose if you say it's Christmas...
Kai: That's the spirit! But which one...
Effie: One with sales, I suppose?
Kai: You know humans, there's always a sale on somewhere. Maybe the German market... on Titan...
Effie: The moon?
Kai: Or dinner with Queen Victoria... before she got all miserable of course... and... Oh! Present!
Effie: Well, ah, I haven't had time to shop... in the minute since you suggested it... I suppose I could knit something very small...
Kai: I meant for you. You're here, that's a gift more than enough.
He slides down the ladder and rummages around in the pockets of the coat.
Kai: Ah! ... No...
Kai: Colour-changing bouncy ball. Seem to have a whole set of them in here. Was I trying to learn to juggle?
Effie: Er... what's that flashing?
Kai: Means we've arrived in... huh. Well, it is
Kai: We shouldn't expect snow.
Effie lowers the scarf she was holding.
The Door materialises, forming into a bulkhead on one side of a long blue corridor.
Kai strides out...
Kai: Here we are!
Kai: The year 2090. Humanity's first Christmas beyond the solar system... If you don't count all the ones with time travellers or alien abductees.
Effie looks around.
Effie: I was just thinking the January sales... So this is...
Kai: The Endeavour. The Confederation's grand design. A four-year mission at near light speed to the nearest star, the first chance of a colony of more than a thousand people...
He pauses and looks up at an artificial Christmas tree in the middle of the corridor.
Kai: Look at that. Humanity spreading out through the cosmos like a... spread...
Effie: Are you always this... scatterbrained after you regenerate?
Kai: Possibly. Don't suppose you have a teabag?
Kai: And some mints?
Effie hands them over. Kai sucks the teabag, then the mint.
Effie: That's... we could have made
you some tea, I'm sure.
Kai: Yes, well, anyway. The end of the twenty-first century. Humanity at its best and boldest, heading out beyond the reach of the sun to another star. And feel how smooth the ride -
The spacecraft shakes.
Kai: I really need to learn not to talk...
Effie: (wearily) You always throw the best parties.
Kai heads for a nearby lift shaft.
Effie: (sighs) Bridge.
The lift ascends, and Effie notices her hair rising around her head.
Kai: Artificial gravity, mostly by rotation of the central section.
Effie: Lot of languages on the signs...
Kai: Yes, every industrial culture on Earth participated, even the NOC who thought it was a waste of resources...
Effie: So there are still countries?
Kai: Countries, power blocs, all that sort of thing. Right, here we are.
The doors slide open and several people in dark, plain outfits look at them. Two of them raise small blasters with blue indicators on the side.
They put their hands up.
Effie: (mutters) Must be the place...
Kai: Ah, hello! Ahh... Merry Christmas!
A tall, greying man looking over one of the consoles steps over to them.
Barton: Who are you? How did you get in here?
Kai: I'm Kai, this is Effie - you must be Captain Barton!
Barton: Ye-es... How did you get on board? We're out past the Kuiper Belt!
Effie: Don't ask him to explain -
Kai: Do you have anything in your files about time travellers?
Effie: Told you...
Kai: Anyway, you're having technical difficulties?
Barton: Yes, and now two total strangers are on my bridge a year into a deep space mission...
Effie: I suppose I can see how that might look suspicious...
Kai: But anyway, we're here to help.
Effie: Peace on Earth and... well, not on
Earth I suppose...
Barton looks at the guards.
Barton: Daud, take them below.
As the large, unsmiling guard gestures towards the exit, a communication signal comes through.
Goulet: Ready to head outside now.
Barton: Good man.
Kai: Oh, is that your chief engineer? Going to look at the engines?
Kai: I don't think that's what it is.
Barton: Well, maybe you'd like to tell
Kai: Delighted. This way, is it?
Effie grimaces, and hurries after him.
Daud marches them down through a lower section, to an airlock where three people are in the process of getting into spacesuits.
Goulet: Ahh... who is this now?
Daud: Good question, Commander Goulet, this -
Kai: I'm Kai, this is Effie. Got a bit of a knock outside?
Goulet: So it... seems...
Kai: I have some experience with this sort of thing.
This ship is unique...
Kai: Ever seen anything about time travel?
A louder, rhythmic knocking.
Goulet: No time to question them. Everybody ready to go? Collins, stay here, mind the ship while we're out.
Kai runs over to the wall and presses his ear up against it.
Kai: Doesn't sound like something rattling around loose... getting faster... stronger...
Effie steps over to the viewing window, looking out as Goulet and his crew float out, shining torches at the affected area.
Kai raises his sonic cane, squints at the readout on the handle, frowns.
Daud: Whatever you're doing with that -
Kai: Just seeing if it responds -
Effie: It does.
She points out as something flies off the ship, nearly hitting one of the engineers.
Goulet floats a little closer, raising his torch - then falls back, air howling out of a hole in the front of his suit. His body tumbles away, then once it gets past maybe thirty feet it flies back, no longer in the ship's gravity.
Kai: What was that?
Daud: A blaster.
He runs over to the comlink.
Daud: Oshii! Grier! Get back inside!
One of them spins as something strikes his shoulder, the other grabs him and starts his suit thrusters, back to the exit. But something dark and spindly emerges and starts blasting.
Kai grabs an access panel and pulls it off, and clambers inside.
Effie: Where are you going?
Kai: This isn't right.
Effie: That's never a good sign when you say that.
She climbs in behind him.
Kai: The Endeavour makes it to Proxima Centauri, so the Confederation builds the first lightspeed ships. If it doesn't, humanity never leaves the solar system. And when you have to evacuate the Earth in a century or two, nowhere to go.
Kai: You'll die out.
They hear a low hiss of escaping air up ahead.
Effie: Do we need air?
Kai: I don't!
Effie: I said we!
Then up ahead, something moves. Something in dull dark metal with six limbs of varying lengths, and gleaming red photoreceptors on a cuboid head.
Kai: Ohhh. I see. Assassin In a Box.
Effie: What... a killer robot?
Kai: Basically, yes.
Effie: Then get down!
Two of its arms level and start firing red bolts.
Kai raises his cane and sends a pulse into it. It sparks, judders, and collapses.
Kai: Didn't like that
, did you?
He climbs over to examine it.
Effie: Well, is it...
Then he pauses as he hears a low beep. And another.
Effie: What do you mean, "ah"?
Kai: It may have a self-destruct.
Effie: What about the hull? What about us?
He twists its head off, starts pulling bits apart.
Kai: Grab my hand!
Effie: Why? Are - oh no.
He kicks open the half-sealed gap, holds her hand with one hand and throws the assassin's torso out with the other. An explosion blooms in space, and a moment later the sound hits as the blast hits air.
He starts welding the gap back together.
Effie: Will there be any more of them?
Kai: Probably, knowing humans. Humans
... Always trying to kill each other...
Kai: Sorry. Just trying to give you a nice peaceful Christmas...
Effie stares warily at the severed robot head.
Fade to the head on a table on the ship's bridge.
Kai: Look what I found.
Barton: Sleeper tech. On board since we left Earth. And who knows how many more?
Collins: Sabotaging the thrusters, killing anyone who got in its way.
One of the bridge crew, a young woman, looks at it thoughtfully.
Ling: I can try and retrieve its data... it'll be encrypted.
Kai: Very good, um...
Ling: Lieutenant Ling.
Kai: Oh! Yes, of course! Mee Ling! You deciphered the... er...
Effie: (quietly) Something she hasn't done yet?
Kai: (quietly) Probably.
Daud glares at the head.
Daud: So why activate now?
Collins: A long way from any help.
Effie: It's Christmas, right?
Barton: Give or take for the near-lightspeed dilation effect, yes.
Kai: What better time for a disaster? Everybody watching...
Barton: Then why not just kill us?
Kai: Good question. Time to get to the escape pods, so you can drift slowly home... and they can probably decide who makes it and who doesn't... Is there someone from every country on board? If I remember my history... which I hope I do, I always sound like a pillock when I get it wrong.
Effie suppresses a laugh.
Barton: Yes. Even the NOC... this is one of their designs...
Kai: We should go and pay them a visit, then.
Kai presses a comm. button and a door hisses open.
Mme. Laurent: Hello... You're not my sister-in-law...
Kai: Not as far as I know, no. You're the NOC representative on board?
Mme. Laurent: My husband and I, yes.
Kai: Would either of you happen to know anything about these?
He holds up the robot head, and she grimaces and lets them in.
Mme. Laurent: Not in front of the children.
Effie blinks as she sees a boy and girl under a Christmas tree.
Effie: (quietly) They wouldn't risk their kids to make a political point, would they?
Kai: (quietly) They
probably wouldn't, no... but someone else might...
Mme. Laurent leads the way through to the kitchen, where her husband is removing a turkey from an oven.
M. Laurent: Ah, hello, who is this?
Kai: Merry Christmas, Mister Laurent.
Effie: Have you heard the knocking?
M. Laurent: Yes, but of course.
Kai: I'm afraid it isn't just a technical difficulty.
He sets the head down on one side of the kitchen worktop.
Effie: There may be more...
Mme. Laurent: There usually are. They fold up very neatly... The first time one of my rivals tried to kill me, he had one in a suitcase...
M. Laurent: They've been aboard the whole time...?
Mme. Laurent: I wouldn't put it past the Chancellor back home.
Kai: So, is there a way to detect them before they activate?
M. Laurent: Yes, let me see...
Kai: Preferably without activating them in the process.
Effie: Yes, that would be nice.
Kai: And without exploding too.
He takes off his oven gloves and pulls a side panel off the head.
M. Laurent: Here we are... Alpha Seven Epsilon Niner Niner.
Kai goes to the comm. panel.
Kai: Ling, you need to try this code...
Mme. Laurent hands Kai the head as she shows him and Effie out.
Kai: Hold on.
He tosses a glowing ball to each of the children. They change colour as they catch them, and as they bounce them.
Kai: I should at least try and put as many smiles on faces as frowns...
They return to the bridge.
Barton: Ling, ready with the code?
Ling: Almost, Captain...
She taps a control, and the main viewscreen brings up a schematic of the ship. A single red light at the bridge.
Ling: Okay, that's this one...
More red lights nearby. And more further throughout the ship's cargo holds. And more. And more.
Ling: Oh no.
Effie: It's lighting up like...
Kai: Like a Christmas tree?
Barton scowls at the image.
Barton: Can you deactivate them from here?
Ling: Yes, but I need -
The lights go out on the bridge.
Ling; A signal boost...
Emergency lighting flickers.
Barton: Alright. We still have air, we still have gravity -
Ling: We don't have full power, and we don't
have a signal to shut them down with.
Barton: We have to restart the engine.
Kai: We'll go.
Ling: I'll have to go with them.
Barton: Daud, with them. Keep them safe. First priority.
He falls in behind Kai, Effie and Ling. Half a dozen security guards follow suit.
Effie: Why is it snowing?
Ling: Atmospheric controls must be off as well!
Effie: Knew I should have brought that scarf...
They descend through a lift shaft into main engineering.
Kai sonics the doors open.
Daud; Cover the doors.
Four of his guards nod and spread out, the other two follow him inside.
A huge turbine that should be spinning... isn't.
Kai: Shouldn't the engineering crew be here?
Ling: You'd think -
One of the guards falls, clutching a smoking blast shot in his side.
Gleaming dark figures scuttle around the walls, readying weapons.
Daud; Get into cover! Get that signal out!
Kai grabs Ling's hand and runs with her.
Effie: What can I do?
Ling: Trip the booster switches! Up there!
Daud puts himself between her and the advancing robots. His troops spread out and start blasting.
Daud: Careful where you're shooting!
Ling hunches under a control panel, blowing on her hands, ducking instinctively every time a blast sounds nearby.
Ling: I'm gonna die in an attack on Christmas
- and I'm a Buddhist!
Kai: You can do this! You'll revolutionise linguistic computing!
Ling: ... Good for me...
Kai: You'll save humanity!
Effie: Oh nice
Kai: Uh, the ship! Yes. The ship...
Another guard falls, a hole smoking in his chest.
The Endeavour spirals through space, smoke pouring out of a main engine.
As Effie and Daud run up to the next level, the ship lurches again, and Effie loses her footing. Daud grabs her.
Daud: Magnetic boots.
Effie: Right. Well. Thanks.
Kai: There goes gravity!
Ling: I know, my hair's going everywhere...
Assassin robots move to surround Effie and Daud.
Daud: Well, at least they can't fire without fracturing the core...
The robots' hands twist and blades snap out.
Daud goes to tackle one as it swings at Effie, and both go over the side. She grabs him and he catches the banister, losing his blaster in the process.
Another raises a blade to strike.
Effie: Any time now!
Ling closes her eyes, grits her teeth and pulls a switch.
Kai jams his cane into the computer core and a pulse fires out through it.
The robots short out and power down, flopping over like marionettes with their strings cut.
Kai: Well. Er... could you fix the gravity?
Kai: Sorry you nearly died. But you didn't. That's the main thing.
Effie looks over the balcony.
Effie: You had tea all along?
Kai: I... felt like I needed to chew...
Gravity returns. A number of robots clatter to the floor.
Kai: Did you - ?
Ling: Wasn't me...
The blast door at the end of the gantry opens. Collins stands there. Levelling a blaster.
Kai: Of course. Had to be someone in the engineering section to do all this.
Daud: But he's not even with the NOC...
Effie: Is this where you explain your plan?
Collins: Oh, nothing complicated. Sabotage the mission, get away...
Collins: There was a lot of money involved.
Kai reaches into his pocket.
Kai: So what does it cost to sell out the future of the human race?
Collins turns his blaster towards Kai.
Effie steps up to him.
Effie: You know we can't afford another mission if this one fails. We need to go out there! There's so much to see!
He aims at her as he takes a step back.
Kai: Present for you!
He throws the last juggling ball at Collins, knocking him over the side of the gantry. His gun goes spiralling down, as he dangles by one magnetic boot.
Kai runs over and pulls him up.
Daud leads Collins onto the bridge in handcuffs.
Barton: I hope you weren't paid in advance.
Collins glowers at him as Daud hauls him away.
Kai beams at Ling.
Kai: Well done. You saved humanity.
Effie: Or the ship if you prefer.
Ling: No, I guess now we've done it "humanity" is fine... (to Barton) Permission to go and lie down, sir.
As she stumbles off, Barton looks at Kai and Effie.
Barton: And what about you?
Effie: He still owes me Christmas dinner.
Barton: I think we can do something about that.
Kai: Well, if we're not imposing... Merry Christmas, Effie.
Effie: Merry Christmas, Kai.
And pan out to the stars, as a single shooting star streaks by.
Dedicated to Nicholas Courtney
Kai and Effie hanging on to the TARDIS console.
"Where are we going?"
Running and ducking from charging aliens firing blasters.
Effie putting her hands up to squint through a window, eyes widening in disbelief.
Something huge and leather-winged soaring over London.
A Tarokka warrior snapping the safety on his laser rifle.
A carriage thundering along a cobbled road.
A striking young woman in an Empire line dress looking out at a storm.
A lumbering humanoid creature with scars all over his face looming over Effie.
"When I said I wanted to study the classics this isn't what I meant!"
Small spaceships swooping past, heading for a vast slowly rotating space station.
Running through a burning building.
Kai shouting "NO!"
A huge steam train with red flags flapping at the front, roaring across a desolate snowscape.
A Cyberman hand bursting out of the ground and clawing at the air.