BBC Audio Books Drama, released 2 December 2010
(Footsteps, something sizzling in a pan.)
DOCTOR: How's dinner going, Mike? You seem to have been busy in here.
MIKE: I've been trying to rustle up something I used to make in the mess.
DOCTOR: Well, it's certainly a mess.
MIKE: At least I had a go. Things just aren't the same without Mrs Wibbsey.
DOCTOR: Yes. I've been considering our options for getting her back. Wait a minute. How long has this answermachine light been blinking? According to this, there are two unplayed messages!
MIKE: Well, I don't know. I haven't had time to watch that as well as get dinner ready.
DOCTOR: I'm waiting on a very important call, Mike.
WOMAN [OC]: Doctor, I've got the information you said you needed.
MIKE: Who's that?
DOCTOR: Never mind about that. Let it wait. Who's the other message from?
(Beep. Hiss of static.)
WIBBSEY [OC]: Hello? Er, hello? I don't know if this will work or not.
MIKE: It's Mrs Wibbsey!
DOCTOR: Ah, now that is a surprise.
MIKE: Shh. Listen.
WIBBSEY [OC]: Doctor, if you can hear me, I'm a prisoner in this weird place. It's like, it's like an old mansion of some kind. I can't see out of any of the windows. I haven't a clue where I am.
DOCTOR: That's her fault.
DOCTOR: Will you stop shushing me!
WIBBSEY [OC]: Thank goodness I could remember the cottage number. This is probably a vain hope, but I suddenly had the idea, could you make the Tardis home in on me like you've been doing with the other artefacts? I don't understand the mumbo-jumbo, of course, but, well, I suppose this is confession time. There's something I haven't told you about. Something that may be of use.
DOCTOR: What? What is it, woman?
MIKE: She can't hear you, you know.
WIBBSEY [OC]: It's a kind of trinket. It was in the bag that Claudius, or whatever his name was, gave me at the jumble sale. I shouldn't have put it to one side and not told you about it. I know I shouldn't have. There was just something about it, so pretty, caught my eye.
MIKE: Another clue, and she's squirrelled it away.
DOCTOR: All right, Mrs Wibbsey, tell us where it is.
WIBBSEY [OC]: It's a golden pendant on a chain. It's shaped like half a heart.
MIKE: A golden heart!
MIKE: Like the one we found in New York.
DOCTOR: Inside that meteorite. Yes!
WIBBSEY [OC]: It was stupid of me to take it, I know, but when you've scrimped and saved all your life and never had much, you don't give up precious things easily. Oh, I am sorry, Doctor, but hopefully you'll get this message and you'll find it.
DOCTOR: But where do we look?
WIBBSEY [OC]: Because while I've been waiting here I just had this strange idea that if you could find the pendant, perhaps it would lead you to where the Demon's keeping me. Oh, Doctor, he's so powerful.
DOCTOR: Where is it!
WIBBSEY [OC]: It's in my room, in my chest of drawers. It's under my
MIKE: Quick, come on.
(Footsteps up wooden stairs. Door opens. Sounds of rummaging in drawers.)
DOCTOR: Where, where, where?
MIKE: Try the bottom drawer.
DOCTOR: Ah. Here it is!
MIKE: Looks as if it would fit the other half exactly. Do you have it?
DOCTOR: Somewhere in these pockets of mine. Ah ha!
MIKE: Hey, do you remember those five letters inside?
DOCTOR: I do, Mike. And I'll bet my sonic screwdriver you're going to tell me Mrs Wibbey's half is stamped with C H R E, yes?
MIKE: So it is Sepulchre after all.
DOCTOR: Yes. The Demon's intended destination for me. Interestingly, the word means a tomb, a catafalque. Now, Mike, what happens if we close these two halves together to make a whole?
(Click, whirring sound builds.)
MIKE: It's starting to glow.
DOCTOR: Look at the symbols starting to appear on the side. The heart's coming to life in numerals.
MIKE: I can't make head nor tail of them.
DOCTOR: Fortunately, I can. They're Time Space coordinates. Come on!
MIKE: Where to?
DOCTOR: To feed them into the Tardis, of course. That housekeeper of mine was right, Mike. She was right!
MIKE: We're leaving immediately?
DOCTOR: Of course. Mrs Wibbsey needs our help.
MIKE [narrating]: So that was how the last part of our quest began, in the innocuous environs of Nest Cottage. How long our journey took, I don't even know. The passage of time isn't always distinct aboard the Tardis. We were travelling clear across the universe, into another Time completely, guided by the two halves of a mysterious golden heart.
(The Tardis materialises and the door creaks open.)
DOCTOR: Hello? Hello there!
MIKE [narrating]: The Doctor went striding about as if he hadn't a care in the world. I followed a little more hesitantly, stepping from the Tardis into our new environment. We were in a large drawing room of the kind that might have belonged to an old and faded English stately home. It was rather dowdy and poorly lit, but there was no mistaking its faded grandeur. All the same, after journeying so far, we both expected something less prosaic.
DOCTOR: According to the Tardis, this is Sepulchre. Silly name.
MIKE: It gives me the shivers.
DOCTOR: I think that's the idea. The whole thing reeks (sniffs) of melodrama.
MIKE: Probably some Home Counties pile, I'd say.
DOCTOR: We're not in England any more, Captain. Take a close look at those paintings on the wall. They're not surrealist pieces, Mike. They depict life in another dimension. This room may pay lip service to human culture, but the devil is in the detail. Yet someone clearly wants to make us feel at home. Ah, good evening.
DOCTOR: (sotto) We've got company.
(Footsteps and wheels.)
MIKE: Good heavens! Mrs Wibbsey, pushing a hostess trolley.
DOCTOR: (laughs) Oh, we're tremendously glad to see you, my dear. Mike and I were determined to find you.
WIBBSEY: Mmm, yes. You took your time, though, didn't you?
MIKE: We came as soon as we got that message of yours.
WIBBSEY: I've been waiting for weeks in this place.
DOCTOR: Time slippage. That's what happens when your spatial geometer is tampered with.
WIBBSEY: Will you have some tea and cake?
MIKE: (sotto) Shouldn't we just get back in the Tardis and go?
DOCTOR: (sotto) Not a lot of point in that, Mike. The old stick's hardly herself, is she? Let's humour her for a while, hmm?
MIKE [narrating]: As we sat at a highly polished table and Mrs Wibbsey set the tea things out, I realised the Doctor was right. There was something odder than usual about his housekeeper, beyond simply being put out that we had kept her waiting. I looked with great suspicion at the slice of Madeira cake she put before me.
DOCTOR: The afternoon tea seems to be of this dimension, at least.
WIBBSEY: Will there be anything else?
DOCTOR: Anything else? Oh, Mrs Wibbsey, we're here to rescue you.
WIBBSEY: I see. And I'm meant to be pleased, am I?
MIKE: Look, the Tardis is here.
WIBBSEY: Oh yes? Where?
MIKE: Well, just over. It's gone.
DOCTOR: (whistles) Someone's whistled it away.
WIBBSEY: If that's all for now, I've got work to do.
(Door opens and closes.)
MIKE: What an extraordinary performance. So what do we do now?
DOCTOR: We drink our tea. It seems quite safe.
MIKE [narrating]: As we sat there, quietly sipping, the Doctor talked about Mrs Wibbsey almost as if to defend her. He was reminding me, I suppose, that she hadn't had an easy time of it.
DOCTOR: She enjoyed a very sedentary existence back when she was in charge of the Cromer Palace of Curios. Then, after the business with the possessed ballet shoes, I took her away from all of that. Perhaps it was a mistake.
MIKE: You took her to safety, to Nest Cottage.
DOCTOR: Away from her own time and her natural place in the world.
MIKE: You gave her a new chance.
DOCTOR: Yet I've always suspected that deep down she rather resents me for it. Why else would she take valuable objects from the Tardis and sell them at a Church jumble sale. I mean, what was she thinking of?
MIKE: It has led to some rather nasty consequences.
DOCTOR: To put it mildly. That bag of fake documents she swapped the spatial geometer for has led us on an enormous wild goose chase through Time. Well, it ends here. Right here. I wish someone would come and talk to us.
MIKE [narrating]: In that very instant, Mrs Wibbsey seemed to materialise out of the shadows.
WIBBSEY: Talking about me, were you?
DOCTOR: I was just saying what a marvellous boon you have been to me in recent times.
WIBBSEY: I bet.
WIBBSEY: Well, come on then. I'd better show you to your rooms.
MIKE: Our rooms?
WIBBSEY: You can sleep on the floor here if you'd prefer.
DOCTOR: Mrs Wibbsey, before we go anywhere, I wonder if you'd like this back.
MIKE [narrating]: It was the golden heart, now whole and dangling from its chain, glimmering right in front of Mrs Wibbsey's eyes. The Doctor held it close to her face.
DOCTOR: Remember this, Wibbsey, old thing? You found one half of it among the artefacts, and you hid it away, didn't you? Almost deceitfully.
WIBBSEY: I didn't mean to be deceitful.
DOCTOR: You put your golden heart somewhere where no one would ever look. In your drawers drawer.
WIBBSEY: Yes, all right, thank you, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Why did you do that?
WIBBSEY: I don't know. I don't know any more. I don't know what's happening to me.
DOCTOR: What does the word Sepulchre mean to you, Mrs Wibbsey? It's inscribed on the inner surface of the heart. We were meant to find these, weren't we? They were sent to us by someone who would enjoy watching us scrambling round with artefacts and clues. Someone who guessed we would bring the pieces of the heart together.
WIBBSEY: I haven't got time to hang about here.
DOCTOR: And that someone is controlling you even now, isn't he?
WIBBSEY: Who is? What is? I don't know what you're talking about, as per usual.
MIKE [narrating]: With that, she seemed to shake herself out of the Doctor's hypnotic trance. She smiled stiffly and turned on her heel, leading us into a gloomy passageway beyond the drawing room. From somewhere she produced a lit candle and a little saucer, and we stumbled behind in the soft yellow light of her wake. As we went along the corridor, she tugged long green curtains across the windows, so that we never got a good view of what lay outside.
DOCTOR: Tell me whose house this is, Mrs Wibbsey. Who is it we've come here to see?
WIBBSEY: You'll meet fairly soon, but not tonight.
MIKE [narrating]: The woman had never been more distant and cold. She took up upstairs and pointed out the room which had been designated for me. Presently, further down the corridor, I heard the Doctor calling out goodnight to Mrs Wibbsey, and his door closing. I moved to my window and opened the curtains. There was darkness outside. Complete and utter darkness. There were no stars, nothing. Nothing even to show me where the horizon lay. An eerie feeling stole over me. Was it really night time at all? With the coast apparently clear, I crossed to my door and found it locked from the outside. I was a prisoner. I called the Doctor's name a few times, but there was no reply. In the absence of anything better to do, I lay down. Perhaps I even dozed, I don't know. As time passed, the sheer strangeness of recent events hit me. I was light years from home, further away than I had ever been before. For all I knew just then, I'd never see Earth again.
(Door handle rattles, sonic screwdriver whirrs.) Suddenly there was a rattling at the door, and a familiar whirring sound, and hey presto!
DOCTOR: Well, don't just lie around, man. We've got several mysteries to solve. For instance, have you seen what's outside?
MIKE [narrating]: He opened the curtains, and the black scene beyond hadn't changed. Suddenly the Doctor picked up a footstool and hefted it at the window frame. (Breaking glass.) Instead of cold air beyond, or indeed any atmosphere at all
DOCTOR: Peculiar, eh? We're almost certainly in deep space, but this whole environment seems to be wrapped in some kind of dense, dark shell, a protective layer of nothingness. And if we can't see out, it's very likely that no one else will be able to see in. What kind of operation needs to be kept secret from prying eyes, eh, Mike?
MIKE: I don't know.
DOCTOR: A murky one, that's what.
MIKE [narrating]: Together we explored further. We padded up corridors and down dark staircases. We tried doors, finding many of them locked and discovering others that sprang open invitingly at our approach. And then, like a dog following a scent, the Doctor stopped in front of a plain blank door, from under which was spilling out a line of eerie green light.
(Rattle of door knob.)
DOCTOR: Ah, here we are.
MIKE: What is it?
(Door creaks open.)
DOCTOR: Shh. Stay out here and watch my back.
MIKE: Yes, but
DOCTOR: Shh. If I'm right, I must get inside, and I won't be long.
MIKE [narrating]: He seemed to be in there ages. I was just debating whether to go in after him, when the door flew open again and out he sprang. (Door opens and closes.) He was beaming, triumphant, and stuffing a collection of odd looking components into his coat pockets.
DOCTOR: These might come in handy.
MIKE: What was it, a storeroom?
DOCTOR: Oh, Mike. It's the Demon's dematerialisation chamber.
DOCTOR: I had a little poke about, and learned rather more about our enemy's unusual brand of dimensional engineering. Yes, that's what this is all about. A murky business indeed.
MIKE: Well, what now?
DOCTOR: Back to the drawing room, I should think. I've had enough of skulking around, haven't you?
MIKE [narrating]: Together we stole back downstairs to the room we'd first arrived in. The old wooden floorboards creaked, but no one disturbed us. A fire had been lit in the grate, and we sank into the two easy chairs ranged either side of the hearth.
MIKE: It's almost like being back in Nest Cottage. Are you sure we're as far from home as you say, Doctor?
DOCTOR: I can read the coordinates on this heart, Mike. You can't. Believe me, we are right on the edge of the universe. One good shove and we'd be over the other side.
MIKE: Sorry. I'm a novice at this Space and Time travel lark. I dare say if you had Miss Smith with you, she wouldn't be phased at all by being at the edge of the universe.
DOCTOR: Yes, she was wonderful.
MIKE: So, we just sit up through the night, eh?
DOCTOR: I think day and night are irrelevant here, Mike.
MIKE [narrating]: We sat rather tensely in the glow of the fire. Suddenly the Doctor produced the souped-up answerphone from Nest Cottage out of his coat pocket,
DOCTOR: I've just remembered. There was another message on here for me.
MIKE: Oh yes. Some old lady, wasn't it?
MIKE: Stop shushing me.
WOMAN [OC]: Doctor, I've got the information you said you needed. I'm sorry it's taken me so long. I was staying with my grandson for a while. It turns out he lives near you. And, well, I must admit it slipped my mind. Anyway, I got the hang of things in the local library, using a computer. I'd have been happy looking it up in the newspapers, but they say they've digitised them all or something.
MIKE: Who is she?
DOCTOR: Her name is Ernestina Stott, a famous ballet dancer, in her day.
ERNESTINA [OC]: Anyway, for what it's worth, I've got the date you were asking about. The Cromer Palace of Curios burnt down suddenly at 2am on April the fourteenth 1940. Well, I hope that's what you wanted to hear, Doctor. I was very glad to hear from you. So long ago, our meeting. I was astonished to hear your voice sounding just the same.
DOCTOR: Poor Ernestina. She sounds so old.
MIKE: That's the message you've been waiting for all this time? Seems a little inconsequential, if you don't mind me saying so.
DOCTOR: I do mind! Ignore history at your peril, that's what my old Academy teacher used to tell me. Daft thing for a Time Lord to say, of course.
MIKE [narrating]: After that he went quiet again, apparently thinking about Ernestina Stott and the information she had sent him. He clearly didn't want to be bothered with any more questions from me, so the fire burned down and I sat there, rather awkwardly, hoping that the Doctor was coming up with some kind of plan as he brooded in silence. Surely that brilliant mind of his had to be ticking away, coming up with something amazing. Realising that he wouldn't miss me, I got up to have a shufti round, thinking that our number one priority should be locating the Tardis. At least I could apply myself to something practical. Creeping out of the room, I was careful to memorise the twists and the turns of the corridors beyond, hoping to goodness that the house wasn't like some freakish Hall of Mirrors, able to distort its dimensions and get you lost inside forever like a maze. And then, at the end of one dark passage, I found Mrs Wibbsey, sitting on a wooden chair. Her head had fallen forward like a puppet whose strings had been cut. As I drew closer, I saw that she was weeping. She looked up, and her face was careworn and pale.
WIBBSEY: What do you want?
MIKE: What are you doing here by yourself?
WIBBSEY: What does it look like? Nothing.
MIKE: You should be with us. The Doctor's trying to come up with a plan to get us out of this mess.
WIBBSEY: There is no way out. He won't come up with a plan. This is it, now. We're outwitted.
MIKE: Why are you giving in like this?
WIBBSEY: I've been here for three weeks, Mister Yates, alone with that thing. Is it any surprise my defences have been worn away? I don't even know I'm in my right mind any more. How do I even know this is really you I'm talking to?
MIKE: It is. You're not imagining me or the Doctor.
WIBBSEY: But how can I be sure? This place, it's
MIKE [narrating]: Suddenly her body went rigid, as if she had seized up. Her eyes seemed to roll back in her head, and when next her breath came out, it was practically being forced from her.
WIBBSEY: Him! He's near! He's with the Doctor.
WIBBSEY: The Demon, he's with the Doctor right now.
MIKE [narrating]: A shock of realisation went through me. I'd left the Doctor by himself, unguarded, vulnerable. At once I took hold of Mrs Wibbsey and barrelled with back along the cold stone corridors. Within minutes we were racketing back into the drawing room, to see the Doctor still sitting in his chair, wide-eyed and face to face with the Demon. I had seen this creature twice before. That dark purple flesh, smooth and shiny and roped with muscle, those powerful silvery wings, like a gigantic bat's, folded away so neatly on the creature's back. And that hideous gargoyle head, with its incongruous, urbane voice coming from the twisted mouth.
DOCTOR: Mike, Mrs Wibbsey, come and meet our host. Ah, ha, I wondered how long it would be before you showed yourself.
DEMON: I could wait no no longer to look at my prize.
DOCTOR: I'm not a goldfish you won at the fair, you know. Do they have goldfish where you come from? Where is that, by the way?
DEMON: I have journeyed a long way to find you, Doctor, from a place I doubt you will have heard of.
DOCTOR: Oh, don't underestimate my knowledge of the universe.
DEMON: Oh, that is the last thing I would do. In fact, quite the opposite. But my home is a tiny backwater in a shadow dimension. A place bearing practically no resemblance to this physical universe.
DOCTOR: A tiny backwater. Hmm, a suitable haunt for a Demon. What brings you darkening our door then?
DEMON: Why, a mission, of course. A brief. It has been amusing, no?
DOCTOR: I've had better Christmases. You've had me chasing about the place, you've murdered countless innocent souls for their energies, and you've been messing about with Time. I won't have it, you know.
DEMON: Ah yes. Time. What an interesting concept. For beings of my kind, though, it is merely one facet of a myriad dimensions.
DOCTOR: Oh, don't you just love intellectual henchmen, Mike, eh? Mrs Wibbsey? Well?
DEMON: Your companions appear to be stunned into silence, Doctor.
MIKE [narrating]: I exchanged a glance with Mrs Wibbsey, and saw that she was swaying on the spot, clenching her eyes shut as if fighting off an almighty headache.
DEMON: I am pleased to renew the acquaintance of the good Captain Yates. The vulnerabilities of his mind have not gone unnoticed.
DOCTOR: Leave him alone, there's a good chap. What's your name, anyway?
DEMON: Oh, it would mean nothing to you.
DOCTOR: Well, there you go again. Well, perhaps I should call you by one of your other monikers, hmm? Claudius, perhaps. La Concierge, the Ice Queen, or Mimsy Loyne?
DEMON: You have known me in all those forms, yes.
DOCTOR: Four traps lain down for my benefit, four identities either invented or, in the case of Claudius, stolen from others.
DEMON: Borrowed, Doctor. The real Claudius was already back in Rome by the time I was ensconced in Britain. He was never harmed.
DOCTOR: And for all the others you spent years skulking around on Earth, just waiting for me to turn up, hmm? You must have a lot of time on your leathery old hands.
DEMON: As I said, Time is but a facet of my reality. But you're a hard man to pin down, Doctor. I knew if I wanted you here in Sepulchre, I'd have to play the Long Game.
DOCTOR: As it turned out, I ate the cheese each time and still got away, until you stole dear Mrs Wibbsey here.
DEMON: I thought I'd be able to snare you one out of four times. That I did not serves only to bear out the judgement of my masters. Your usefulness is not in doubt.
DOCTOR: Yes. I thought you might have masters. Got something that needs fixing, have they?
DEMON: You will know in good time.
DOCTOR: If they'd just sent an invitation, I might have considered it, you know.
DEMON: I doubt that very much.
MIKE [narrating]: I could sense that the Doctor's mind was racing, looking for answers as well as a way out, ticking off the possibilities. Meanwhile, Mrs Wibbsey and I looked on helplessly.
WIBBSEY: You can't fight him, Doctor. He's strong.
DOCTOR: You're just tired, Wibbsey, worn out from spending weeks here pushing that hostess trolley about, I shouldn't wonder. Your defences have worn thin, haven't they, huh? That's why you did as you were told, and lured us right across the galaxy with your phoney telephone call. It was you who sprung the final part of the trap. By the way, look after this for me, will you, Mike?
MIKE [narrating]: Almost carelessly, the Doctor tossed the Tardis key across to me on its silver chain. Without a word, I stowed it away in a pocket.
DOCTOR: Now, Demon, would you mind getting on with it? Tell us the rest of this ghastly plan that I'm not going to like very much.
MIKE [narrating]: The creature seemed to conjure a ball of green fire in the palm of his hand, like a divine spark. He rolled it around for a bit and then threw it like a die into the fire's heart, which immediately burst into renewed life. The Doctor drew back as emerald flames leapt towards him.
DOCTOR: Oh, very impressive. I hope you've swept the chimney.
DEMON: Think no more of physical cares, Doctor. Today is when you transcend.
DOCTOR: Must I?
DEMON: Today you will become a new order of being. The first of your kind ever.
DOCTOR: It sounds dreadful. And look, your fire's getting out of control!
MIKE [narrating]: Indeed, the fire was wilder, larger, louder than ever. The room's shadows had shrunk back, cowering in the brightness, and it seemed for a moment as if we were in a bigger place altogether, a vast chamber with this pit of green fire as the centrepiece. It came gushing and roaring out towards us.
WIBBSEY: I'm sorry, Doctor. So sorry for bringing you here. For the messages and the golden heart.
DOCTOR: Mrs Wibbsey, I wouldn't have missed this for the world. It's all quite fascinating. But what is it, Demon? What's it all for?
DEMON: You are heading for your final resting place, Doctor. Your tomb.
MIKE: Impossible. The Doctor can't die.
DEMON: You sound very sure of that. What do you know of the future?
DOCTOR: I think my friend is referring to the fact that he knows about the future of my own personal timeline. Future Doctors and so on. That is what you mean, isn't it, Mike?
MIKE: Well, yes. I know that you live to regenerate.
DOCTOR: But you see, Mike, as far as I'm concerned, none of that has happened. All that the future holds for me right now is uncertainty. Everything is up for grabs.
DEMON: And in the last moments of his mortal life, the Doctor will impart to us all of the secrets of Time and Space.
DOCTOR: I beg your pardon?
DEMON: So it is written, in the brief.
DOCTOR: Last moments of my mortal life? Ha! I'm not planning on going anywhere yet. There's still life in this old dog. Heh.
DEMON: But you can be of far better use in another form.
DOCTOR: I'm quite attached to this one, thank you very much.
WIBBSEY: Doctor, come away from that fire. It's getting much too close.
DOCTOR: You and I have faced worse than some pretty green flames, Mrs Wibbsey.
WIBBSEY: Yes, well, just back away, please.
MIKE: Doctor, she's right. You've got to step back.
DOCTOR: What's it going to do to me, eh, Demon?
DEMON: Why not find out? The flames won't harm you. They're nothing as mundane as real fire.
MIKE: They look pretty hot to me.
DEMON: Honestly, Doctor, you limit yourself by spending time with creatures like these.
DOCTOR: I happen to enjoy their company.
DEMON: And yet you should be walking in eternity.
DOCTOR: Now, that sounds more attractive.
WIBBSEY: Don't listen to him, Doctor.
DOCTOR: I'd like to know what he's offering me.
DEMON: Step closer, Doctor. You're renowned for your curiosity. You are famous for welcoming knowledge in all its forms.
DOCTOR: Well, I'm no slouch, you know.
DEMON: So, come forward and find out. Learn.
WIBBSEY: Don't listen to him.
DOCTOR: Quiet. I have to think.
MIKE: Doctor, I have a very, very bad feeling about this.
DOCTOR: Well, of course you have, Mike.
DEMON: The flames can't hurt you. Step into them and come into my realm. It is the only way you will find out why you are here.
DOCTOR: I see. Ahem. Then I have no choice, do I?
(The flames surge and the Demon cackles.)
MIKE [narrating]: The Doctor looked so brave, his face impassive as he stared at the triumphant Demon. Then to my utter horror he took two smart steps forward into the green fire, and dissolved. Both he and the Demon simply vanished. Everything went very quiet for a moment or two.
WIBBSEY: Oh, that's that, then.
MIKE: He sacrificed himself.
WIBBSEY: You heard what the Demon said. The Doctor isn't going to die, merely transcend.
MIKE: Oh, it doesn't matter what words you use, he stepped into that fire and vanished. Seems pretty final to me. Perhaps he thought he was saving us both by giving himself up willingly. Look, he threw me the Tardis key just now. He must have known the chips were down.
WIBBSEY: Give that to me.
MIKE: No. The Doctor gave it to me.
WIBBSEY: I know where the Tardis is.
MIKE: You do?
WIBBSEY: I'm not staying here a minute longer than I have to.
MIKE: We can't go without him. How can you even consider it?
WIBBSEY: The Doctor's finished. Look, he gave you the key, didn't he. He obviously meant for us to get out while we could. Now please, give it to me.
MIKE: Certainly not! You're acting very strangely, Mrs Wibbsey.
WIBBSEY: Give it!
(They fight over the Tardis key.)
WIBBSEY: Please, please, Mister Yates, I have to get away. I have to get away from this place.
MIKE: Why? What on Earth is happening to you?
WIBBSEY: You don't understand.
MIKE [narrating]: She was possessed of an urgent, terrible strength. She had me wrestled down onto the floor in a flash. I felt foolish being overpowered by a woman of her age, but there was a feverish, confused look in her eye. It was almost as if she was fighting something within herself.
WIBBSEY: Give me the Tardis key. Give me the key!
MIKE [narrating]: And then, without warning, green fire bulged and flickered out of her own hands. The flames fanned out and spread across the floor.
WIBBSEY: It's happening! Oh, you stupid man. Why wouldn't you just give it to me? I could have got away in time.
MIKE: How are you doing that?
WIBBSEY: It's not me doing it, is it. This is why I wanted to leave. But now, thanks to you, it's too late.
MIKE [narrating]: Her crazed looking face was the last thing I saw as the inferno enveloped us, and then we were falling together. (both making ooo ah ergh noises) It was the most curious sensation. I'd expected burning, but instead it was cool. There was a dreadful pulling at us, as if the forces of gravity had been suddenly quadrupled. Then I caught sight of Mrs Wibbsey silently turning head over heels like some frumpish Alice in Wonderland. With a thump, we landed. The ground beneath us was reasonably soft. I checked that nothing was broken, and looked around. We were in a cavern of green rock. Far above our heads those flames were still roaring, like a sky on fire.
MIKE: Oh, it's all caverns and tunnels. Where have you dragged us to, Mrs Wibbsey?
WIBBSEY: Same place as the Doctor. I warned you. Oh, I warned you, Mister Yates.
MIKE: Well then, we can help him, can't we, now that we're down here.
WIBBSEY: He won't thank you. Not when he realises.
MIKE [narrating]: She clammed up then, and instead began to lead the way through the twisting green of the tunnels. I followed her footsteps through narrow passageways glowing with emerald rock. By now I was downright mistrustful of Mrs Wibbsey. She seemed to know her way around this place all too well. At last we turned a corner and emerged into a vast chamber. Most of it was in darkness reaching for fathoms above us. Directly ahead, perched about twenty feet high on a ledge of black rock was a large coffin-like structure. It was propped up at forty five degrees like an open casket, and imprisoned within was a familiar figure. He lay stretched out like a living mummy in a tomb, with wires and electrodes attached to his head. We both ran over to look up at him.
DOCTOR: Mrs Wibbsey, Mike, am I glad to see you. Can you help me down? I appear to be rather tangled up.
MIKE: All right, Doctor, I'm coming up to get you. Mrs Wibbsey, give me a leg up to this foothold. What's holding him in there, do you think? I can't see any chains.
WIBBSEY: It'll be some kind of mental control thing. Those are the worst kind of shackles, the ones inside your mind.
DOCTOR: Tell Mrs Wibbsey less philosophising, more helping me to escape.
MIKE: Mrs Wibbsey, come on. Make your hands into a stirrup.
WIBBSEY: I should have gone when I had the chance. I should have taken the key and left. It's going to be worse, much worse that I'm here.
MIKE [narrating]: Half way up the rock face, between ground level and the Doctor, I reached a tiny shelf of rock and rested there for a moment. But I made the mistake of looking back down at Mrs Wibbsey. For a moment my whole vision began to spin dizzyingly. I shut my eyes and tried to keep calm.
DOCTOR: What's she talking about? Look, Mike, if you can just get up here and fetch my sonic screwdriver out of my pocket. I can't move a muscle, do you see?
MIKE: Nor can I, at the moment.
WIBBSEY: They've got us now. All of us together, just as it was planned.
(Multiple screaming voices merging into a buzz under the dialogue.)
WIBBSEY: He's, he's coming back.
DOCTOR: Come on, Mike. Come on. You can do it.
WIBBSEY: Don't you see? He wanted me to be here. It's not just the Doctor he needs, it's me as well. They all need me.
MIKE: I just can't quite reach you, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Never mind about that, Mike. Do you hear what I hear?
MIKE: That sound.
DOCTOR: So it's not my imagination.
MIKE: It's like, it's like
WIBBSEY: Like a half-remembered song from years gone by.
DOCTOR: Oh, Mrs Wibbsey.
MIKE: You don't mean.
DOCTOR: I'm afraid so, Mike. Only one kind of menace makes a sound like that.
(Mrs Wibbsey speaks with the Hornet Swarm's voice.)
HORNETS: At last you understand, Doctor. At last you wake up to reality.
DOCTOR: Don't think I haven't had my suspicions. Mrs Wibbsey has known more about this chain of events than her conscious mind would let on. Even her performance as Wibbsentia the Celtic druid gave that away.
HORNETS: She has long been in our power.
MIKE: No, I don't believe it.
DOCTOR: Come on, Mike. You don't think her convenient ability to leave us a telephone message was down to luck, do you? You think they have phone boxes on Sepulchre, do you?
HORNETS: Where is our other servant?
MIKE [narrating]: Marooned on my shelf of rock, I watched as the Demon came skulking out of the shadows.
HORNETS: Ah, there you are. You have done well.
DEMON: I have been waiting for you to appear, as you instructed.
HORNETS: We warned you we would only emerge when everything was prepared.
MIKE: Mrs Wibbsey, do you mean all of this time, ever since we last met, the Hornets' been lurking inside you, just waiting?
DOCTOR: Impossible! We saw every last one of them off. They can't still have been in possession of you, my dear.
WIBBSEY: If only that had been true, Doctor. But they came looking for me. They knew that through me
HORNETS: We could get to you, and make you pay for what you did to us.
DOCTOR: Mrs Wibbsey, you must fight them. Don't let the swarm speak through you. Keep a hold of yourself.
DEMON: She has already given herself up to them. There's nothing of her left inside.
DOCTOR: I don't believe that. And what are you? Just a stooge. Some shape-shifting lacky. Some seedy, nasty, cheap, foxtrotting failure. In the end, you're both just slaves of these horrible insects.
DEMON: They have promised me much, Doctor. Dominion over a portion of this physical universe, when the Atlas of all Time is created.
MIKE: What's he talking about?
DOCTOR: What is this Atlas of all Time?
DEMON: The reason why we are all here. The Atlas is what all of this has been about.
HORNETS: It is you, Doctor. The Atlas of all Time will be you.
HORNETS: The Demon has created a sepulchre for you. Using his knowledge from his own far distant realm, he has prepared this new home for your living mind. Now that we have your body, we will burn it all away. You will be ceremonially vaporised.
HORNETS: Freed of the cumbersome physical realm.
MIKE: No, you can't do that.
HORNETS: The Demon brought his people's expertise, their arcane wisdom, far across the universe for us, for this very day.
DEMON: Our apotheosis.
DOCTOR: Apotheosis? Oh dear, it's never a good sign when people start bandying around words like apotheosis. And so, after you've vaporised me, what do you end up with, apart from flambéed Time Lord?
HORNETS: Your still-living consciousness will be caught within the workings of the sepulchre. Your incorporeal mind will be brilliantly alive, and its secrets will be ours.
DOCTOR: Secrets? What secrets? I don't have any, I'm afraid. What you see is what you get.
HORNETS: Too modest, Doctor. After just a year being in Nest Cottage, this organism known as Mrs Wibbsey has an inkling, just an iota of the fabulous secrets you possess.
DEMON: You have been everywhere in Time and Space. You have travelled far and wide.
DOCTOR: Oh, Sunday outings, you know. I haven't been very far really.
HORNETS: We know differently. We saw into your mind once before, and when next the fires liberate your memories and make them plain to us, we will have the four dimensional Atlas of all of Time and Space.
MIKE: Can they do that, Doctor?
DOCTOR: I really don't know. It sounds pretty outlandish to me.
DEMON: Be assured, we can do it. Here on Sepulchre, at the end of the universe, my clients will be in possession of the most wonderful map in the cosmos.
DOCTOR: And what do they plan to do with it, apart from pin it on their bedroom wall?
HORNETS: We will find the one you banished, the one you sent spinning into the microverse so we would never find her again.
DOCTOR: You mean your Queen?
HORNETS: We need her knowledge and wisdom. We must bring her back. And you will be the means of her deliverance. Switch the machine on.
MIKE [narrating]: As the Demon moved to a control panel in the base of the rock beneath the sarcophagus, the Doctor continued away chattily.
DOCTOR: Sounds like you're doing pretty well without her. Are you sure you oh! Oh!
MIKE: Something's happening.
HORNETS: Behold your ultimate destiny, Doctor. The moment you have been heading towards all your lives. Your ultimate incarnation.
DOCTOR: (in pain) As a map? As a list of places I've been to? I don't think so. Oh! My wandering days aren't over yet.
HORNETS: Oh, but they are, Doctor. As far as we are concerned, oh yes they are.
(The Doctor cries out in pain.)
MIKE [narrating]: Above me, the Doctor was twisting and crying out in agony inside the tomb-like structure. I gritted my teeth and looked down towards Mrs Wibbsey, exultant and grinning like a mad woman. From that distance, her eyes looked completely black. Her mouth was open wide, and that horrible buzzing song of the Hornets was coming out of her throat. She contained the whole horrible swarm. Marooned by vertigo, I stood transfixed, helpless, doomed. I knew that once the Hornets found the Queen, nothing would be able to stop them.
HORNETS: Isn't it wonderful, Mister Yates? Don't you feel honoured?
MIKE: Only if honoured is another word for absolutely disgusted. Let the Doctor go.
DEMON: You should be honoured to be present at the creation of one of the wonders of the universe, the Atlas of all Time. It will be legendary.
MIKE: You're really going to burn him? You're going to kill him?
HORNETS: He won't feel a thing.
(The Doctor cries out in pain.)
DEMON: The machinery is simply probing into his mind. It will take some time to extrapolate the Atlas. It will be a gradual process as it makes his bodily form redundant.
MIKE: Mrs Wibbsey, if you've any residual loyalty to the Doctor, I beg you, please stop this. Fight the Hornet influence.
WIBBSEY: Urgh, I can't, Mike. I am
HORNETS: We are one now.
MIKE: But how? When did it happen?
WIBBSEY: It was when I was alone at Nest Cottage in the early part of this year. You and the Doctor had gone your separate ways and I was alone, housekeeping. Dusting and polishing and keeping the place nice for no one but myself. I was taking down the heavy curtains in the drawing room for cleaning when I disturbed a large, lazy Hornet. How it had survived and stayed undetected I didn't know, but it had clearly evaded the Doctor's spatio-temporal trap. I drew back sharply, but I wasn't quick enough. Ah! It stung me on the wrist. I was frozen still, watching as the Hornet flew upwards, growing smaller and smaller, hovering in front of my face. I was powerless as it crawled onto my flesh, tickling me, and then it climbed inside my nose. I simply stared at the mark on my wrist, trying to will it away, but I knew what it meant. I knew. I tried to think no more about it, didn't want to consider the awful possibilities. I mean, I was happy there at Nest Cottage, for the first time in years. I didn't want to even think, to think
MIKE: You didn't want to think that you could be possessed again by our enemies. You didn't want to betray the Doctor, but you knew you would. You've been at the heart of this whole crazy scheme.
WIBBSEY: I made myself forget, but just that one Hornet was replicating inside me, forming a new swarm. I tried to resist. I fought them. I thought I was free of them.
MIKE: I don't think you'll ever be free.
DEMON: (laughing) There's no question of freedom for any of you now. Now we have the Doctor's mind, we shall control everything. That is the plan we have all been party to.
MIKE [narrating]: As if on cue, something very strange indeed started happening. Stationed at the controls, the Demon manipulated his weird technology and the solid walls of the caverns around us began to melt away into nothing. Only the rock face that I was climbing, directly beneath the sarcophagus, remained. I hung on for dear life as my surroundings were completely transformed.
HORNETS: It begins!
MIKE [narrating]: In the sudden darkness around and above us appeared dancing pin-pricks of light. Between them, finely etched lines curved through the air like the flight-paths of glowing insects. Shining dust motes danced and revolved. The patterns were infinitely complex, and vast in number. What were we looking at?
DEMON: The Atlas of all Time is forming all around us!
HORNETS: This is what we dreamed of, a multidimensional map of everywhere, every when.
MIKE [narrating]: It was like standing in an animated planetarium, one that illustrated a universe in which nothing was ever simple or still. I watched worlds collide, empires fall, great star battles flare up and whisper away. I was rooted to the spot, awed by the beauty and the strangeness of it all. It was everything the Doctor had ever seen, touched or experienced, in one vast magic lantern show. Meanwhile, the man himself was writhing in agony.
(The Doctor crying out in the background.)
DEMON: All of Time and Space simultaneously present. And he said he had no secrets.
MIKE: Please stop. You're killing him. You're ransacking his mind and destroying him.
HORNETS: He will be remembered. Look at his legacy.
MIKE [narrating]: Mrs Wibbsey and the Demon weren't paying any attention to me. They were too busy staring at the intricacies of the Atlas which was evolving second by second. They carelessly assumed that I would be too overawed to interfere. They thought the magnificence of this Atlas thing would put me out of action. But not this old soldier. They didn't notice me as I mustered all my remaining nerve and strength, finally climbing the last ten feet of tiny crevasses and footholds. I breathlessly clambered onto the jagged ledge along side the open-topped sarcophagus, feeling a bit like a tomb robber approaching the holiest of holies in an ancient pyramid, except that the body in this tomb was still very much alive. The strangest thing was, there was nothing visible holding him. The Atlas was clearly draining the entire contents of his head into the machine circuitry in a painful deluge of information, but no physical bonds secured him in that blazing sepulchre, luckily for both of us. I took him by the lapels of his coat and hoisted him free, pulling his head clear of the wires and electrodes in the process. Almost broke my back doing it.
DOCTOR: Argh! Mike, what are you doing?
MIKE: I'm coming to your rescue, as you've done for me so many times. Have you heard what those ghastly people are planning to do to you?
DOCTOR: But the Atlas.
MIKE: To the Devil with their wretched map. I'm getting you away from here.
HORNETS: No! What are you doing? You can't break the link now.
MIKE [narrating]: To my horror, I saw that Mrs Wibbsey was coming up after us, climbing hand over hand with frightening speed. Once or twice I thought she was going to fall, but the Hornet possession seemed to rob her of any fear or hesitation, and she quickly reached the plateau.
HORNETS: Return him to the machine.
MIKE: Leave him alone. You've already worn him to a frazzle.
HORNETS: Only a fraction of his knowledge has been extracted.
MIKE: I'm warning you, Mrs Wibbsey. Keep back. Now look, you can resist the Hornets. You did it once before.
HORNETS: So much has changed since then.
MIKE: Yes. You've travelled with the Doctor and become his friend, and now you let them kill him. They want to steal his mind and everything he is. Can't you see that's wrong?
HORNETS: But the quest, our quest for the Queen.
DOCTOR: Yes, her. Don't you remember what she was like, Wibbsey? A maniac with huge flickering wings and terrible mandibles. Oh, those dreadful mandibles. I shouldn't think any of us would like to see her again, eh?
MIKE [narrating]: The Doctor was like a limp rag doll in my arms, and I knew that saving the situation was all down to me. But the possessed Mrs Wibbsey was standing between us and our freedom.
DOCTOR: Be a good housekeeper and let us pass, hmm?
WIBBSEY: The buzzing in my head, it's agony.
DOCTOR: I know, my dear, but let us go. Don't do this.
HORNETS: You must return to the sepulchre.
DOCTOR: I'd rather not. It gives me neck ache.
MIKE [narrating]: She reached for us both then with claw-like hands. There wasn't a lot of room on the ledge, but I side-stepped neatly, dodging her and pulling the dead weight of the Doctor with me. He sagged to the floor out of my hands.
HORNETS: Foolish little man. You can't get away from us.
MIKE [narrating]: Her haggard face came closer, and that was the moment that I swept into action. I seized her by her bony shoulders and swung her round in one smooth movement.
HORNETS: Let go of us! Let go!
MIKE [narrating]: Without even thinking about it, I bundled her like a sack of old twigs into the stone sarcophagus. Immediately the electrodes fastened to her head. (Mrs Wibbsey cries out.) I looked pityingly down at her, torn to see the face of a friend in a sudden torment of agony. I watched the vitality ebbing out of her, just as it had the Doctor.
DOCTOR: Well done, Mike.
MIKE: Oh look, poor Wibbsey. I
DOCTOR: Look, you had no choice.
MIKE: Look, the Atlas! It's changing.
DOCTOR: So it is. So it is!
MIKE [narrating]: Suddenly the whole glowing architecture of the four dimensional map was flickering out of existence, almost as if someone had simply pulled the plug. The Demon shrieked in misery.
MIKE: All that wonderful information, going.
DOCTOR: Not going, Mike. All of that gubbins is still in my head. Yes, the machine had made a copy, but it hadn't got round to eradicating the original!
MIKE [narrating]: But the Atlas didn't vanish completely. The arcane alien machinery of the sarcophagus fixed on its new occupant. On Mrs Wibbsey. She screamed as it latched onto her fevered brain.
WIBBSEY: Argh! Oh, what's it doing to me? Make it stop!
MIKE: The screens have all gone blank.
DOCTOR: Not quite, Mike. Top left hand corner. Can you see that pin-prick of light?
MIKE: Yes. What is it?
DOCTOR: It's all of Time and Space as Mrs Wibbsey sees it.
MIKE [narrating]: It was hard to make out, but there were indeed a few faint glimmering lines. All the journeys Mrs Wibbsey had made in her small life.
DOCTOR: There's Cromer, look, and the Palace of Curios. Oh, such a tiny circumscribed life.
MIKE: But what's that. like a little satellite?
DOCTOR: That's Nest Cottage, Mike, with a couple of faint lines to Paris and New York. Not much, is it? Not a very impressive Atlas.
WIBBSEY: Please, oh please, get me out of here before it burns me.
MIKE: Why can't she get out?
DOCTOR: Same reason I couldn't. The interior of that sarcophagus emits a psychic signal. It drains the occupant of all volition and holds them as strongly as any bonds could. We saw something like that in New York, remember?
MIKE: Is she stuck in there?
DOCTOR: First thing's first. The psychic field will have a temporary hold over the Hornets, but it's nothing they won't master, given time. I think I'd better have a word with our friend down there. He seems to be rather welded to those controls. You stay here, and if you hear a loud buzzing, let me know.
MIKE [narrating]: Regaining his strength with every second, the Doctor climbed deftly down to ground level. I kept a watching eye on the prone Mrs Wibbsey while straining to hear the conversation below.
DOCTOR: Chef can't leave the stove, eh?
DEMON: The Atlas must be monitored at all times.
DOCTOR: Atlas? Ha! It's more of a pocket map now, isn't it?
DEMON: The Hornets will not let you win.
DOCTOR: I'm aware of that. The question is, will you? You don't want to be mixed up with the Hornets, you know. I've met them before. I know what they do.
DEMON: I have been tasked to carry out the plan.
DOCTOR: A nicely brought up Demon like yourself? What do you want with those insects, eh? They're just a swam of parasites. They pick worlds apart, they scour whole galaxies clean of life.
DEMON: Doctor, you of all people understand what it means to be under their influence.
DOCTOR: And yet I don't think you are. You're a creature from another dimension, remember. I don't think the Hornet influence works on you in the same way, so what's in it for you, eh?
DEMON: When the Hornets control the whole universe in all dimensions, they have offered me a share of it.
DOCTOR: Ah. Which bit, eh? Titan Three? Belgrave Square? Nottingham? Huh. Even if they did keep their word, which I very much doubt they would, what use would it be in a universe dominated by them?
DEMON: It is too late for second thoughts, Doctor. I agreed to take what I was offered. I submitted myself to their psychic influence. I will suffer the consequences.
DOCTOR: Listen to me. I can offer you a way out. If we work together now, we can despatch them.
DEMON: Any minute now, the Hornets will break out of their human host and consume us all. There is no way out for any of us.
DOCTOR: There might be, if you help me with these controls.
DEMON: And if I do, what then for me?
DOCTOR: Then you'll be free!
DEMON: As if you would give me liberty after the havoc I've created on Earth.
DOCTOR: Demon, I give you my word as a Time Lord. Having you wandering the universe is nothing compared to allowing the Hornets to pull this scheme off. Now listen, we simply don't have time for any more talk. As soon as the Hornets break out, we're all done for. Are you with me?
DEMON: All right.
MIKE [narrating]: The drone of the Hornets had been increasing in volume, until now it was louder than ever. It seemed the insects were coming out of their psychically induced stupor. The Doctor and the Demon set about dismantling the sarcophagus control board.
DOCTOR: Don't worry, Mike. We're on the case.
MIKE: Just what is it you're hoping to achieve?
DOCTOR: Oh, just a bit of tinkering. Our friend here used the technology of his dimension to engineer the Atlas and indeed, the whole environment, under the direction of the Hornets.
MIKE [narrating]: I glanced across, and saw that Mrs Wibbsey's eyes were black and glittering, her whole face crawling with the tiny insects as they started to emerge from her body.
DOCTOR: And because of that, the Atlas has much in common with the Demon's dematerialisation chamber. Isn't that interesting?
MIKE: I might be more interested if I wasn't so petrified.
DOCTOR: Oh, that's understandable. Perhaps you'd better come down from there, just in case they break out before we're ready.
MIKE [narrating]: Steeling my nerves, I slowly climbed down from the ledge and joined them at the controls.
DOCTOR: Are we all prepared, Demon?
DEMON: I'm just patching the last circuit in.
MIKE: Didn't you pilfer those from his chamber earlier on?
DOCTOR: Yes. Quite a wise move, as it turns out. The Demon and I have just done something immensely clever with them.
DEMON: Right, we are ready. Switch on!
(Hum of power building up.)
DOCTOR: You see, Mike? The Hornets' paltry imagination had the Sepulchre rigged as a pretty feeble navigation device. Fit for their purpose, of course, which was to map the entire universe in all dimensions and find their Queen.
MIKE: Which in itself is pretty impressive.
DOCTOR: Well, on a sort of beginners level, yes. But now, with ineffable precision, I, or rather, we, have augmented a pretty rudimentary map to become a rather splendid and specialised transmat device. It's now capable of sending the occupant to any place, any time in the Atlas, in an instant.
DEMON: The new circuitry is responding, but it will only hold for a matter of minutes. The whole system could burn through after that.
DOCTOR: Minutes are all we need. This will be a one-way trip only.
MIKE: But Doctor, the Atlas no longer contains all of Time and Space. All it's currently mapping is Mrs Wibbsey's personal galaxy, and all of that's based on Earth.
DOCTOR: Very good point, Mike. I can see you've been paying attention.
MIKE [narrating]: The Doctor wouldn't even acknowledge Mrs Wibbsey as he made final adjustments to the controls. Guilt, I wondered, at what he was about to do?
HORNETS: You will not succeed.
MIKE: Doctor, you'd better hurry.
DOCTOR: Do you remember that answerphone message we listened to earlier, Mike, from Ernestina Stott?
MIKE: That thing about Cromer?
DOCTOR: April the fourteenth 1940, to be precise. The night the Cromer Palace of Curios burnt down.
MIKE: You're not going to finish them off?
DOCTOR: As you say, our options are limited. If I am to prevent the Hornets taking us over and turning me into the Atlas of all Time and thereafter fulfilling their dream of conquest, I have to finish them off. It's them or everything.
WIBBSEY: Doctor! Doctor, please. No.
DEMON: Doctor! We must activate now.
DOCTOR: Yes, I know!
MIKE: But what about Mrs Wibbsey?
(Mixture of whoosh and boom effects.)
DOCTOR: Everybody all right?
DEMON: The Hornets, I can't sense them. I cannot feel their psychic presence any more.
DOCTOR: That sounds promising.
MIKE: You, you sent the Hornet swarm to Cromer? But isn't there a danger they'll escape and just start the whole thing off again?
DOCTOR: I don't think so. The museum had a deadly date with history. I heard about it some time ago, and it piqued my curiosity. Dear Ernestina still lives in Cromer, so I contacted her to find out more.
MIKE: But even so.
DOCTOR: According to local legend, the whole place burned with a mysterious green flame. The sarcophagus arrival must have been what caused the fire in the first place. They won't have had time to escape.
MIKE: Poor Mrs Wibbsey. She always did want to go back.
MIKE [narrating]: By now exhausted, but getting quite familiar with every nook and cranny of that rock face, I followed the Doctor back up the the plateau. The entire sarcophagus was gone, but something lay there in its place. It was the small, crumpled form of Mrs Wibbsey, lying quite still.
DOCTOR: You thought I'd got rid of her, didn't you?
MIKE: But how on Earth?
DOCTOR: I rigged the machine to transport everything except human DNA. Mrs Wibbsey's grey hairs get everywhere, so it was fairly easy to isolate her genotype from that of the Hornets.
MIKE: Doctor, that's genius. You've saved her life.
DOCTOR: Well, our friend down there was of some help too. Come on, help me up with her.
MIKE: She's coming round.
WIBBSEY: Doctor? I've had another of those strange dreams. We were in this haunted house, and there were Hornets, like before.
DOCTOR: I'm afraid it's all true, dear. But it's all gone now, all gone. You're out of everyone's power forever.
MIKE: It's all over, Mrs Wibbsey. We can go home, can't we, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Before too long, yes. But there's something else we must deal with first. I have promises to keep.
MIKE: Ah, yes. The demon. You're not really going to let him go free, are you?
DOCTOR: Freedom's a relative concept, Mike. I'm sure we can come to some arrangement.
MIKE [narrating]: And so we helped Mrs Wibbsey down the rock face to ground level. She was less sure of herself now, and by that point I was feeling far from athletic, so it took us a while. And when we eventually got to the bottom
MIKE: He's gone.
WIBBSEY: Who has?
MIKE: The demon.
DOCTOR: And he's taken back the components from his demat chamber. We've got to get after him.
MIKE: How do we get back up into the house? We came down in some sort of fireball.
DOCTOR: I think your question's about to be answered. Mrs Wibbsey, Mike, hold on to each other.
WIBBSEY: Oo er, the ground's moving!
MIKE: The walls are crumbling away!
DOCTOR: Close your eyes and count to ten.
(Crack, rumble, silence.)
MIKE [narrating]: Suddenly, everything around us had vanished. The cavern, the tunnels, the house above our heads. We were in a completely blank room, empty except for us and two objects. The demon's dematerialisation chamber, and
WIBBSEY: The Tardis!
DEMON [OC]: Ah, Doctor. Just in time to see me off.
MIKE: We're too late. He's already inside his box of tricks.
DOCTOR: Come out of there, Demon.
DEMON [OC]: My liberty in exchange for helping you, that's the bargain. No doubt you intended it to be on your terms, but I didn't relish the idea of walking round the universe on foot.
DOCTOR: You won't survive long if you remain in this dimension. You and your craft require the continual influx of energy from living beings. You can't sustain that sort of lifestyle without running into trouble.
DEMON [OC]: Well, if I do, I'll certainly know who to come to for first aid. Rest assured, Doctor, my ambitions will be modest.
DEMON [OC]: Now if I were you, I'd make your own escape. Sepulchre is closing in on itself. Once this room has disappeared, there will be nothing but the cold asteroid I built it on. Goodbye, Doctor.
(The chamber dematerialises.)
DOCTOR: That was a grave miscalculation on my part, Mike.
(Cracking of rock.)
MIKE: Never mind about that now. Let's get into the Tardis and go home!
DOCTOR: Yes, of course. Both of you, in, quickly.
WIBBSEY: Home? To Nest Cottage?
DOCTOR: Yes, Mrs Wibbsey. Of course.
(The Tardis dematerialises.)
DOCTOR: (singing) Away in a manger (pronounced as if French), no crib for a bed, the little lor. (speaks) Oh, now come along, you two. Last year you wouldn't join in and I was left singing carols all by myself.
WIBBSEY: I can't sing, Doctor, and neither can you. I'd better go and get those mince pies out of the oven.
MIKE: You, er, haven't made your spicy dates again, have you, Mrs Wibbsey?
WIBBSEY: When have I had time to make them? I've been run off my feet.
MIKE: Thank goodness for that.
DOCTOR: I hope she hasn't burnt those pies. Sherry, Mike? Oh no, you don't, do you.
MIKE: Well, here we are again, Doctor. Another Christmas Eve in Nest Cottage. More deadly danger foiled.
DOCTOR: Indeed. I think we've earned our figgy pudding again, don't you?
MIKE: That's a marvellous fire. Yellow flames rather than green. Very reassuring.
MIKE: Penny for them? Are you still worrying about the Demon?
DOCTOR: I can't help wondering what he'll do with his liberty. He wouldn't have the gall to create another Atlas on his own, but if it gets into the wrong company again.
MIKE: Then it'll be another bridge for us to cross, won't it?
WIBBSEY [OC]: (singing) Lord Jesus, laid down his sweet head. (continues under dialogue)
MIKE: Listen. Mrs Wibbsey's singing. She even sounds happy.
DOCTOR: Oh, wonders will never cease. Sherry, Doctor? All right, Doctor, I don't mind if I do, Doctor.
WIBBSEY [OC]: The little Lord Jesus asleep
(Knocking on door.)
MIKE: Who on Earth can that be Christmas Eve?
WIBBSEY [OC]: I'll answer it.
DOCTOR: Fifty P it's some proper carol singers.
WIBBSEY [OC]: Oh my. Oh, good gracious. Oh dear.
MIKE: Doesn't seem to be. Come and look through the window.
WIBBSEY [OC]: Doctor, come quickly! You'll never believe it.
DOCTOR: Oh, no.
MIKE: Here we go again!
WIBBSEY [OC]: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
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