The Dying Days bookover

The Dying Days


 
"THE UNITED KINGDOM IS NOW UNDER THE RULE OF THE
HEAD OF THE ARGYRE CLAN, THE LORD XZNAAL, AND ALL
  ITS CITIZENS ARE SUBJECT TO MARTIAN FEUDAL LAW. "

--- Martian Announcement, page 123

The Story:
Earth, Tuesday 6 May 1997. Professor Bernice Summerfield waits for the Doctor at his Allen Road house in Kent. The Time Lord is a week late for his appointment to meet her. Benny has whiled away the time catching up on entries to her soon-to-be-published diary, watching television, and trying not to think of her ex-husband Jason.

Then, while Benny is taking a shower, the peace of the morning is disturbed by an unearthly wheezing, groaning sound that drifts through the open bathroom window. Pulling on a robe she runs to downstairs to greet her friend. There she sees the TARDIS standing in the garden as if it had never been gone. The door opens and the Doctor steps out. But it isn’t the small "middle-aged" man with a question mark umbrella, toothy grin, and thinning hair she was expecting. The man that emerges from the TARDIS is tall, with a long, angular, aristocratic face and jutting chin under a mass of dark brown hair. And he isn’t wearing a linen jacket and a pullover dotted with question marks, either. Instead the man in the doorway is dressed in a long velvet frock coat, either a chocolate brown or a very dark green. Underneath the coat he is wearing a winged collared shirt, complete with grey cravat and a shiny patterned waistcoat. He also has on a pair of baggy tan trousers that never even considered the idea of having a seam. The Eighth Doctor has arrived.

Meanwhile, an airplane carrying a prisoner named Alexander Christian crashes in the woods nearby. The Doctor and Benny rush to help the survivors, but they are too late. All the crew is dead except for one guard that tells the Doctor that Christian has escaped. He mutters the word "soil". Benny finds a box containing test tubes filled with "red stuff". An ambulance arrives, odd since so little time has elapsed since the crash. The two ambulance drivers roughly tell the Doctor and Benny to remain outside as they help the wounded guard. Suspecting the something is amiss; the Doctor and Benny sneak away and head back to the house.

The planet Mars
Mars

In the TARDIS the pair examine red substance from a test tube the Doctor acquired from the plane. They determine that the substance is soil from the planet Mars. Taking a few moments to check television broadcasts they find that the Mars 97, the first British mission to Mars in twenty years, is about to land on the red planet. They watch a discussion about past space missions to Mars and the viability of life on the planet. It is pointed out that in the late sixties it was thought that Mars could support life, but that probes and missions to the planet ten years later proved the it to be a barren, radioactive world. The broadcast concludes with Eve Waugh, an American cable news correspondent, reporting from Mars 97 Mission Control at the British National Space Museum in Trafalgar square in London. Saying it is only a "two-minute trip by TARDIS" the Doctor sets a course for London.

The TARDIS materializes outside the British National Space Museum at nine in the morning without a soul noticing. The museum is closed. There the Doctor and Benny meet Eve Waugh, the American reporter. She tells them that a reception will be held in an hour and a half when the crew of Mars 97 will land on Mars. Benny slips into an appropriate dress then she and the Doctor slip into the Museum with the crowd of dignitaries, pop stars and other invited guests who’ve arrived for live broadcast. In the Museum the Doctor leads Benny to wall filled with photographs of all the past Mars crews. He points to a one picture. It is a picture of Alexander Christian along with the fellow crewmates on the last British space mission to Mars. Christian led the mission which included landing on Mars. He was the only one to return alive. His crewmates were all brutally murdered and Christian was tried and convicted of the crime.

Bambera

Winifred Bambera

The Doctor and Benny mingle with the guests. They include Lord Edward Greyhaven, former Minister of Science, David Staines, the Home Secretary, and Brigadier Winifred Bambera of UNIT. The Doctor sees Ralph Cornish, the former head of the British Space Programme, but the man doesn’t recognize the Doctor in his new face. Staines and Greyhaven make speeches, then the video link with the Mars Lander is established. With "I’m on the surface chaps" the fist human sets foot on Mars in twenty years. There is much jubilation, but the guests immediately begin to file out of the viewing room. The Doctor wonders why. He wants to see more of the crew's progress. The Doctor, Benny and Bambera, who is also suspicious of the curtailed coverage, watch the continued goings-on in Mission Control. They see and hear, via a "live" link, the astronauts as the pass through a stone arch. Beyond the arch they find a passageway that leads to a cavern and with a large circular pit cut into the floor. The inside of the pit is filled with large, solid blue crystals projecting up the floor. The astronauts guess the stalagmites are artificial in origin. They shine a light on one of the spires. Inside the crystal is a humanoid shape! Two guards insist that the Doctor, Benny and Bambera them leave. The Doctor protests, Bambera tells the guards she is from UNIT. It doesn’t do any good and the three of them find themselves on the pavement outside the museum.

Alexander Christian has made contact with an old friend from the Scots Guards, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. He says the wants the Brigadier’s help to stop something that is about to happen, something terrible. He tells the Brigadier that he didn’t kill his crewmates, that all the evidence against him was faked. He says that his mission twenty years ago discovered Martian cities and that Martians killed his crew. The Brigadier tells Christian about his involvement with UNIT and asks the former astronaut to describe the Martians.

At Mission Control the scientists watch an incoherent mess as the signal from the Lander begins to break up. All they can see and hear are screams, hissing, red eyes that burn like coal and a claw like a giant crab. Then the picture goes dead. Ten minutes later the airlocks in the Orbiter open mysteriously, killing the crew on station. All the members of the Mars 97 mission are dead.

The Doctor and Benny keep an appointment with a stranger who passed the Doctor a note at the museum. But when they arrive at his apartment they find the stranger dead. Looking through is things they find out his name is Timothy Todd and that he worked at the Space Center at Devesham. They discover a couple of computer disks hidden in a magazine. They take the disks and quickly leave the apartment just as the police arrive.The Doctor uses a computer at a local Internet Cafe to look at the disks. The disks contain the mission profile for Mars 97. It seems that at the last moment the mission destination was changed to the spot where the Lander made planetfall--the place where the crew was killed. Why? The Doctor decides to contact UNIT, but doesn’t completely trust the official route. He believes he and Benny were set-up at Timothy Todd’s apartment, and then there are the odd the men at the plane crash. The Doctor decides to e-mail the Brigadier.

UNIT Logo
United Nations
Intelligence Taskforce

The Brigadier meets the Doctor and Benny in Bessie with Christian in tow. The group goes to the UNIT offices in London and meets with Bambera and her staff. Benny tells the group that the chamber the Lander crew stumbled upon was a Martian burial ground; a sacred place. The penalty for disturbance of such a place is death, to you and to your whole family. Which means the Ice Warriors are on their way to Earth. The Doctor estimates they will arrive in a little under forty hours. However, a short while later Skywatch One reports a cylindrical object 200,000 miles from Earth. A spaceship. The Martians must have left two a day and a half before the astronauts set foot on Mars. The Doctor wonders why.

With the Ice Warriors only about twenty minutes away from Earth, Bambera orders one of her men to contact the Prime Minister and tell him Cromwell Ultimate -- a code for the invasion of Britain. But the Secretary-General suspends UNIT UK for harboring the criminal Christian. There is nothing anyone can do. The Martian spacecraft heads for Earth, Central London, specifically Trafalgar Square. At a window in his office Lord Greyhaven stands and looks out over the Thames. His new lover, Eve Waugh, comes up behind him and sees a UFO coming up the Thames. The Ice Warriors have arrived on Earth.

The Martians announce their intention to take the United Kingdom in retribution for the violation of the tomb of the Great Marshall Kyruul. They state they have no interest in the rest of the planet. They want only to meet with the leader of the UK. The rest of the world decides to watch and wait.

At a quarter past eight, Greyhaven says it’s time to meet the aliens. With everyone else in power either out of the country or ill, David Staines, the Home Secretary, is now the leader of Britain. Greyhaven and Staines travel through the crowds of onlookers who have mobbed Trafalgar until they are directly under the Martian spacecraft, near the National Space Museum. A disc descends from the ship and Greyhaven and Staines step on to it and are whisked up into the ship. Inside the ship has been systematically spreading dis-information about surface conditions of Mars. Far from being uninhabitable the planet could support human life easily. Greyhaven tells Stains that "any reasonably fit man with a pair of gloves and woolly hat could live there".

The Doctor and Benny stand near the TARDIS outside the National Space Museum looking up at the space ship. The Doctor pulls out the sonic screwdriver and activates it."Knocking", he says. Moments later the disc descends and the Doctor and Benny ride up into the Ice Warrior ship. There the Doctor tells Xznaal that he is a Lord of Time and that he wants to help. Xznaal knows of the Gallifreyans and accepts the Doctor. He tells the Doctor his plan to rule the England in the way the Greyhaven sees fit. Eventually the peoples of the tow planets will reach out to the stars together. He tells him that Mars is dying; its mineral wealth exhausted. The ship comes under attack from UNIT troops. The Doctor convinces Xznaal not to kill the humans in the square. The Time Lord offers to negotiate a peace between the whole of Earth and Mars -- a true trade agreement. Greyhaven wonders at the Doctor’s motives and Xznaal recalls the Time Lord policy of non-interference.

With the situation is deteriorating, the Doctor and Benny escape. They jump from the Martian ship to the roof of a building and climb down a fire escape. They look up to see the spaceship heading to the UNIT building. The Doctor and Benny race ahead of the ship, they must warn their friends of the coming attack.. They arrive at the building split seconds before the ship begins to fire its sonic cannons. Narrowly escaping the destruction of the building, The Doctor and Benny meet up with Lethbridge-Stewart, who stayed behind for the Doctor. They decide to leave London to work out how to stop the Ice Warriors.

Wednesday, 7 May 1997. The Martians take over England. Foreign diplomats and tourists are allowed and encouraged to leave the country. Britain for the British. Meanwhile, UNIT covert agents gather to fight the aliens. The royal army is put at the disposal of the aliens and they begin to quell the revolts that are taking place in the northern counties. Xznaal is crowned king of England. London is a ghost town.

The Brigadier

The Brigadier

The Doctor, Benny and the Brigadier have made their way to the Doctor’s house. Taking a risk, the Doctor has contacted Eve Waugh and told him where he is. He wants allies in his fight against the Martians. Eve is a journalist and the Doctor hopes that America will listen to her. The Brigadier is skeptical. She could easily turn them in. Late, Eve eventually does arrive. She listens as the Doctor tells her that the tomb robbing is only an excuse for a Martian invasion of Earth. He says that Greyhaven is in on the plot and that the Ice Warriors have a war rocket aimed at Earth.

Suddenly an Ice Warrior bursts in through the patio door. Benny, who is in the kitchen yells a warning and throws boiling water on the Warrior. Seriously injured but undaunted, the Warrior chases Benny up the stairs and corners her in her bedroom. Benny pours a bottle of vodka from her "private reserve" on the Warrior and lights a match. Meanwhile, the Doctor and the Brigadier fight another Warrior. The Doctor tries to reason with the Martian, but still he points his sonic weapon at the Time Lord and the soldier. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to counteract the Warrior’s weapon. The alien fires and the energy is deflected back to its source.

The Doctor and the Brigadier and Benny get into Bessie and drive away. The Martian spacecraft looms overhead. Aboard the ship Xznaal orders the release of the Red Death, a sentient poison mist that centers on a specific DNA and hunts it down. The Ice Warriors have programmed the virus with the Doctor’s DNA, obtained from blood traces left behind after the Time Lord escaped. The Martians release the Red Death into the atmosphere.

Death rains down on the tiny village of Adisham below. People, birds, animals, even insects die. The Death is reacting to the increased oxygen in the air. It has entered a feeding frenzy that the Martians are unable to control. The Doctor sees what is happening and figures the Death is meant for him. He tells the Brigadier to get Benny away and says good-bye to his friends. The Doctor enters the village and finds the Death in Mrs. Darling’s shop. The Death reacts to his presence and moves towards the Doctor. The Doctor smiles and welcomes Death as it sweeps over him.

Thursday, 15 May 1997. Benny has spent the week with UNIT troops under the command of Brigadiers Bambera and Lethbridge-Stewart, trying to keep alive and forget that the Doctor was dead. Resistance forces are still fighting the Royalists, but it hard going. Benny finds a man who escaped from work camp run by the Ice Warriors. It was once Greyhaven’s company, but now the Martians have taken over and are producing Red Death. It is apparent that the aliens have no intention of letting humans live. They will use the Death to wipe out humanity, then take the planet over for themselves.

Lethbridge-Stewart decides that it is time for a full, if not foolhardy, attack. Using the information about the Red Death refinery, the Brigadier plans a two-pronged attack. One group will attack the refinery; the other will attempt to take London. Bambera agrees.

In London, Lord Greyhaven taken by surprised by Christian who enters Greyhaven’s office with an envelope. The envelope contains a videotape with evidence of Martian cruelty. Greyhaven rushes to the National Space Museum and enters taps some keys at a control bank. Xznaal appear with at his side. The Home Secretary has allied himself with the Martians with dreams of power and domination. Greyhaven tells Xznaal that he planned to send the Mars 97 Orbiter’s reactor into a misphase crash it on the surface of Mars and destroy the Argyre Clan, Xznaal’s people. Xznaal aims his sonic weapon and the Lord’s legs and fires. The Ice Lord tells him that his plan has failed; the Orbiter has not moved. Greyhaven smiles as he points out the five minute delay when sending a signal to Mars. Xznaal kills Greyhaven as his own people die on Mars.

The UNIT attack goes forth. Benny goes to the refinery and sneaks into the Martian shuttle. She sends a message to Mars telling them that Xznaal has taken over Earth in a dishonorable way and allied himself with traitors. Balgrar of the clan Thaumasia responds and tells her that Xznaal’s clan is acting on it’s own, without sanction from the Grand Marshall. Balgrar is about to pledge his support when an electromagnetic pulse, caused by the exploding Orbiter, disrupts the communication. Vrgnur, the Martian scientist, captures Benny as she is leaving the shuttle.

Vrgnur takes Benny to Xznaal at the Tower of London. They have tea on the green. In the distance Benny hears gunfire. Xznaal tells Benny that he is about to disperse the gas. He points above to the spaceship is moving up and away. The Ice Lord then orders the ship to fire into the crowd that has gathered outside the Tower.

Xznaal prepares to execute Benny. Then a voice comes from out of nowhere. A familiar voice. It says, "It ends now Xznaal." "Who are you," Xznaal hisses. A face forms the air. A long, angular face under a main of brown hair. "I. Am. The. Doctor." says the face.

Eve Waugh and Christian appear from nowhere and rescue Benny. They tell the Doctor survived the Death by shutting down his entire body. The gas believed he was dead and deactivated. The Doctor spent the week recovering and trying to work out how to stop the Martians. He is now in the spaceship.

Aboard the spaceship Xznaal finds the Doctor with Vrgnur. The Doctor has calculated that the Red Death will destroy all Terran DNA. It will leave the Earth more barren than Mars. The argument has convinced the Martian scientist, but not his Lord. Xznaal prepares to release the Red Death. A fight ensues and Vrgnur is killed.

The Doctor

The Doctor

Xznaal prepares to execute Benny. Then a voice comes from out of nowhere. A familiar voice. It says, "It ends now Xznaal." "Who are you," Xznaal hisses. A face forms the air. A long, angular face under a main of brown hair. "I. Am. The. Doctor." says the face.

Eve Waugh and Christian appear from nowhere and rescue Benny. They tell the Doctor survived the Death by shutting down his entire body. The gas believed he was dead and deactivated. The Doctor spent the week recovering and trying to work out how to stop the Martians. He is now in the spaceship.

Aboard the spaceship Xznaal finds the Doctor with Vrgnur. The Doctor has calculated that the Red Death will destroy all Terran DNA. It will leave the Earth more barren than Mars. The argument has convinced the Martian scientist, but not his Lord. Xznaal prepares to release the Red Death. A fight ensues and Vrgnur is killed.

Xznaal grabs the Doctor and asks the Time Lord if he will stop him. The Doctor tells the Martian that he is only a distraction. At that moment an intercom informs Xznaal that human aerocraft are nearing the ship. A radio crackles and announcement from Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is heard telling the Martians to surrender. Xznaal gloats. He calls humans weak and promises destroy all life on Earth. The Doctor reveals that he has been broadcasting the Ice Warrior’s rant using the same holo-projector he used earlier. Everyone below has seen and heard.

As the Brigadier’s air strike commences, the Doctor sabotages the release mechanism for the Red Death. Xznaal decides that if he can’t destroy the Earth, he will at least destroy the Doctor. He opens a hatch under the Doctor’s. A reverberation rocks the ship. The magnetic engines of the ship are in a chain reaction. The Doctor says goodbye to the Martian and falls from the ship. The warship explodes.

From 10,000 miles above the Earth the Doctor falls. Using some string, curtain rings, bin bags and a cylinder of helium the Doctor constructs makeshift balloons and floats down to earth.

Sunday, 23 November 1997. The Earth is safe, once again due to the Doctor. Six months later the Martian invasion is a distant memory. Lethbridge-Stewart and his wife Doris attend the only Recoronation in the history of the United Kingdom.

The Brigadier takes a moment and reflects. He is satisfied with is life. He's had a good innings. He smiles, then roars with laughter in the middle of a packed Westminster Abbey...

Bernice Summerfield
Professor Bernice Surprise Summerfield
Wednesday, 8 May 2593. The Doctor takes Benny to St. Oscar’s University on the planet Dellah to take the chair of archaeology. The Doctor helps Benny move all of her stuff from the TARDIS into the Hall of Residence. It’s raining. The Doctor gives Benny an umbrella -- the umbrella -- saying she will be needing more than he will. He also gives her Wolsey the cat, because she will need a companion. The Doctor produces a bottle of champagne and toasts his "longest-serving companion", Benny toasts "a Doctor who might change, but won't ever die." The two friends drink to each other.

Before he leaves Professor Bernice Surprise Summerfield grabs the Doctor by the lapels of his coat and kisses the Time Lord square on the mouth.




Published: 17 April 1997

Cast of Characters and Credits:
The Doctor / Bernice Summerfield / Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Lord Edward Greyhaven / Ice Lord Xznaal / Eve Waugh
Brigadier Winifred Bambera / Alexander Christian / David Staines
Written by: Lance Parkin

Doctor Who Historical Notes:
The Brigadier encounters the Ice Warriors for the first time. (in his personal time-line)
The first (and only?) time UNIT encounters the Ice Warriors.
The last (Doctor Who) story for Wolsey the cat and Professor Bernice Surprise Summerfield
(good luck in your New Adventures, Benny. We'll miss seeing you about the TARDIS)

References:
The Ambassadors of Death
--
Ralph Cornish is mentioned on pg 50
UNIT data on the Ambassadors (finally putting to rest the idea that the Ambassadors were from Mars) pgs 87-88

The Android Invasion (specifically the Space Centre)-- Mentioned on pgs 50 & 72

Who Killed Kennedy-- Mentioned on pg. 70

A History of the Universe-- Benny quotes from this history book on pg 238

12 Monkeys-- pg 79-80
The owner of Internet Café is watching a video of this film. The Doctor is fascinated with a scene where a man dressed in odd clothes tries to convince an American woman (who thinks he's mad) that he is a time traveller and that the world will come to an end in the next twenty-four hours."

Independence Day-- pg 159
"What were you doing last night?" Chistian asked
"Same as everyone else," the girl said non-committally, "watching the telly and hoping Jeff Goldblum was around..."

The Brigadier makes reference to an adventure he had with the Eighth Doctor in 1988-- pg 95
"You were wearing that face in Hong Kong...when we discovered the secret of the Embodiment of Gris."

The name of the street Timothy Todd lives on is Chesterton Road. pg 70

Doctor Who (TV Movie)-- throughout the book

Quotes:
The Dying Days is chock-full of good quotes. The only way to get them all is to read the book. But here are a few choice ones for your reading pleasure (I have also quoted the novel several times in my synopsis. It's not plagiarism, Lance. The word is pronounced homage. Thanks for the good read.)


The Doctor rubbed his chin thoughtfully "Have you shrunk? You don't seem as tall as I remember."
"You grew," Bernice replied impatiently.
The Doctor considered the answer for a couple of seconds."That would certainly explain the discrepancy." (pg17)

"Old soldiers never die, Alistair." The Doctor said softly.
"Neither do Time Lords, Doctor, eh?" (pg 95)

Benny wonders what she will do now that the Doctor is dead:
It was a daunting prospect. Where did one begin? What would the Doctor have done? He'd have tried to talk to the Martians -- he'd have made them see reason. If they couldn't do that , then he'd use their own weapons against them. He'd find out what the Martians were really planning and he'd stop it, once and for all. He wouldn't use guns: he'd talk to them. And he'd have sorted it all out in about an hour and a half, two hours tops. (pg 221)

Benny noticed the question-mark umbrella gathering dust on top of a filing cabinet, and a shiver ran down her spine. (pg 33)


Bibliography


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The Ice Warriors | The Seeds of Death | The Curse of Peladon | The Monster of Peladon
Mission to Magnus | Legacy | GodEngine | The Dying Days
Cameos, Guest Appearances & Honorable Mentions | Ice Warrior Comics


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First Posted: 4/14/97, Story added on 6/7/97
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