Sunday, November 29, 2009

If *I* Had Written Time And The Rani

While I was sweltering as Santa in Maroubra Junction (lovely place though, the sort of place I’d go recreationally – why don’t they host DWCA meetings there?) there were the usual long stretches of me basically sitting still, not able to do much except wait for children to turn up. Over the twelve days or so, I’d assuaged the huge anxiety issues I’d had by catching up on reading Time’s Champion and a heap of novelizations in the vague idea of restarting the whole "If *I* Had Written" scam, combined with the shakey premise of Tenure Without Trial, the idea of what Doctor Who might have been like had Michael Grade kept his ugly mouth shut in 1985. As ever, ideas jumbled and blurred and worked brilliantly only to be totally forgotten in speculation about The Next Doctor.

Anyway, as my mind tried to wring a plot out of the epic Sixth Doctor finale, Gallifrey, which would have had the Master, the Rani, the Daleks, Peri, Sil, Mel, lots of explosions and righteous fury. The Apocalypse Element meets The Ancestor Cell meets Trial of a Time Lord.

"But what," my idle mind wondered, "would happen next?"

In this Grade-free world, Season 25 had ended with Mel and a regenerating Doctor stuck in a ruined TARDIS floating above the dust that was once Gallifrey, everything else seeming to have crashed and burned. How would you follow a story like that? The original authors never bothered to say, taking the CS Lewis method of “really great shit happened but I’m not allowed to tell you what it was”, which made the ending of The Last Battle so damn endearing.

As I pondered what would happen next if, say, I were in charge, I came up with an idea... and almost a year later I finally bothered to write it down...









1. COUNTRYSIDE

The sun sets over the tops of trees in a forest surrounding an ancient castle. Pleasant medieval flute music plays.

2. TOWER ROOM

The sunshine pours through the window, illuminating an elegant circular room full of books, parchments, scrolls and crude astrological equipment. Sitting on a bed half-buried in books is the Seventh Doctor, dressed in a simple tunic, waistcoat and leggings, thoroughly absorbed in his readings. Reaching out with one arm, he pours himself a goblet of wine, collects it, drinks it and returns it without looking.

The goblet rattles on the bench. The Doctor notices. Distantly, there is the familiar faint sounds of wheezing and groaning, getting louder before falling silent. The Doctor frowns.

DOCTOR: Well, well. [calls] Squire!

The door to the room opens and a young squire of about 17 enters. He is wearing appropriate garb, except for the futuristic laser pistol holstered to the belt around his waist.

SQUIRE: My Lord Doctor?

DOCTOR: Ah, there you are. Be so good as to draw me a bath, will you?

SQUIRE: [tugs forelock] Certainly, my Lord.

DOCTOR: Yes, I must look my best.

SQUIRE: Oh, my Lord? Is it some special occasion?

DOCTOR: Of course, dear boy. The Rani is in residence once more!

He snaps shut the book and rises.

DOCTOR: Yes, it’s the end of these quiet and complacent days when you could hear a dropped pin on the weathered wood floor. I heard the noise of her arrival up that very curving staircase, you know.

SQUIRE: [calls from next room] Did you, my Lord? I didn’t hear a thing. Your hearing is much better than mine.

DOCTOR: [puzzled] Is it? Perhaps it’s just the sound of her arrival is distinctive to me? Anyway, no doubt I shall dine with the Rani tonight. I mean, it’s what we do whenever she’s at the castle. I don’t want to break tradition. I want my full court regalia ready for the occasion.

He crosses to a wardrobe and opens it. Within are held on racks various historical garments. He picks out a simple white linen suit and examines it.

DOCTOR: Mmmm. She does like me in this one. It might please her tonight to see me wear it, but then again...

He reaches to the back of the wardrobe and brings out a distinctive patchwork coat of many colours.

DOCTOR: Of course I could always wear this thing. But she said it made her nervous. Why would this made anyone nervous? Nauseous, I could understand, but nervous? I’m not even sure why I own it, it’s far too large for me...

The Squire emerges from the bathroom, steam wafting from the door.

SQUIRE: Your bath is ready, my Lord.

The Doctor continues to regard the coat.

SQUIRE: My Lord? My Lord Doctor?

DOCTOR: Mmm? Yes?

SQUIRE: Are you quite all right my Lord?

DOCTOR: Oh yes, quite. Just... I feel a bit strange.

SQUIRE: Strange, my Lord?

DOCTOR: Yes. A sort of... mix... of excitement. Yes, excitement and fear.

SQUIRE: That the Rani has returned?

DOCTOR: Yes. I can understand the excitement. This castle’s a lifeless hulk whenever she’s absent. It’s a pleasant enough place to catch up on one’s reading but... it does get a little...

SQUIRE: Boring?

DOCTOR: No. No, not boring. Lonely. Almost too lonely.

SQUIRE: My Lord Doctor, I thought you preferred a solitary existence?

DOCTOR: Do I? I suppose I must have. But even I can get lonely. Lonely and afraid.

SQUIRE: Why would you be afraid of the Rani, my Lord?

DOCTOR: I’ve no idea. Probably just some fleeting whimsy, there without reason or rhyme, like vapor on the window or whispers on a cloudless day. [frowns] Did I get that right way around?

An awkward pause.

SQUIRE: Your bath is ready, my Lord.

DOCTOR: Ah yes! Excellent! Cheer up, squire!

He throws down the patchwork coat, picks up the white outfit and heads for the bathroom, beaming at the squire.

DOCTOR: After almost two weeks, our monarch is once more in residence!


3. GREAT HALL

A long table set for three diners dominated the hall. There are bunches of flowers and servants tending to things. Now wearing his white outfit and a straw hat, the Doctor enters. His squire follows.

DOCTOR: Ah, the robust fragrance of fresh-cut flowers and mulled wine!

The Doctor crosses to the sideboard to take a cup.

SQUIRE: Allow me, my Lord?

DOCTOR: Oh. Yes, of course. We don’t want to put you out of a job do we, old chap?

The squire hands him the cup.

DOCTOR: Thank you.

SQUIRE: No thanks are needed, my Lord.

DOCTOR: Well, they are given freely, my squire. Hang on, I don’t even know your name!

SQUIRE: Does it matter, my Lord?

DOCTOR: Does it matter? I get you to wait on me tooth and claw and I don’t even know your name! That doesn’t seem fair, does it? You deserve some kind of recognition for your service, at least I should know your name.

SQUIRE: My Lord, what is *your* name?

DOCTOR: My name? I’m the Lord Doctor of course. No. Wait. I see your point. That’s not a name either. Perhaps we both need names.

SQUIRE: Forgive me, my Lord, but if we needed names, surely we would have them already?

DOCTOR: Your logic is impeccable, squire. But still... I think I should call you David.

SQUIRE: “David”, my Lord?

DOCTOR: Do you like it?

SQUIRE: It is as good a name as any, my Lord. But why did you choose that?

DOCTOR: [blinks] You know, I’m not entirely certain. Maybe it’s a family name. Do I have any family called David? I must have. Everyone knows someone called David.

SQUIRE: I think it might be best if we continued without names, my Lord.

DOCTOR: Oh. Why?

SQUIRE: It is simply the way things are.

DOCTOR: “The way things are”. One of the Rani’s favorite sayings.

SQUIRE: Indeed, my Lord.

DOCTOR: It’s a phrase she uses to explain all manner of idiosyncrasies. Like that strange accessory you all wear.

He waves at the squire’s gun.

DOCTOR: All the serving class wear those things in those scabbards. The squires like you, the cooks, the footmen, the ladies-in-waiting... Now, if you carried some kind of dagger or sword, I might understand why. But what are those things for?

SQUIRE: The Rani wishes it part out of our wardrobe.

DOCTOR: I can’t see why. It doesn’t have any practical purpose, it doesn’t even look aesthetically pleasing...

SQUIRE: Perhaps you should discuss this with the Rani.

DOCTOR: I did. She said I shouldn’t worry about it.

SQUIRE: It is simply the way things are.

DOCTOR: David, you took the words right out of my mouth.

The Doctor heads over to the table.

DOCTOR: Oh no.

SQUIRE: My Lord?

DOCTOR: There are three places set! The boy must have returned as well...

SQUIRE: The boy?

DOCTOR: Lord Cyrian.

SQUIRE: Hardly a boy though, my Lord.

DOCTOR: Maybe not in the strictest sense. He’s physically mature, but there’s this sort of air of childish innocence about him. Why couldn’t he be more like me? Anyway, David, his gangly shadow has been absent from the castle for at least five days. So he must have gone somewhere and thus has now returned.

SQUIRE: Maybe he was with the Rani?

DOCTOR: Maybe. Hello?

They head for the other end of the dining table where servants are placing wrapped packages in a pile, almost like Christmas presents. The Doctor grins and crosses over to them.

DOCTOR: Ah! The Rani’s kindly brought me some presents.

The Squire indicates there are two piles of presents.

SQUIRE: And for Lord Cyrian, my Lord.

DOCTOR: [scowls] Oh, come on, that’s hardly fair. He’s already getting trips away from the castle. That’s more luxury than I get. On top of that, he gets gifts as well! This is the straw that lead the horse to water...

They both look up as a young, good-looking man in similar clothing enters.

CYRIAN: Good evening, Lord Doctor.

DOCTOR: [frostily] Lord Cyrian. I suppose... [frowns] You look a little pale. Are you quite well?

CYRIAN: [interrupts] Oh, gifts! I love gifts!

Cyrian hurries past them to the presents.

DOCTOR: See, David. No maturity. Nothing like me at all.

There is grand trumpeting. All turn to see the Rani arriving, in a fabulous period ball gown. She enters with a smug, controlled expression and crosses to the Doctor and Cyrian. She holds out a hand.

RANI: My Lord Doctor?

The Doctor immediately goes down on one knee and kisses her hand.

RANI: You may rise. Have you missed me?

DOCTOR: As a fish misses a bicycle, my liege.

RANI: How delightful. Have you been reading the books I have procured for you?

DOCTOR: Of course. But then, during your long absence, they’re all I’ve had for company – bar my squire David, [flings arm around the squire] my trusty companion.

The Rani looks hard at him.

RANI: You have no need of companions any more, my Lord.

DOCTOR: [looks lost] I don’t? No. No, I suppose not. [to himself] Though obviously I once did.

RANI: And my Lord Cyrian?

He kneels and kisses her hand.

CYRIAN: Oh, my regal lady, I have missed you so much.

DOCTOR: So you haven’t been together? I suppose I can’t begrudge a few presents after all... [claps] Well then, shall we have supper?


4. COUNTRYSIDE

Night has fallen. Light burns behind windows.


5. GREAT HALL

The servants are clearing away the plates. The Doctor is sitting, chin resting on his hand, glaring at Cyrian who looks rather ill. The Rani finishes her goblet of wine.

RANI: Well, Lord Cyrian. Would you like to open your present now?

CYRIAN: [eagerly] Indeed, my Lady.

A servant hands him a parcel he all but tears apart, to reveal a familiar-looking golden-coloured head adornment.

CYRIAN: [impressed] It is beautiful.

RANI: [indulgently] Why not try it on?

Cyrian does so.

DOCTOR: You know, that circlet looks very familiar.

RANI: It is a coronet, my Lord Doctor.

DOCTOR: No. The Coronet, I feel sure. Definite articles, capital letters, you can spot it a mile off. Might I ask, my Lady, where the Coronet comes from?

RANI: You might ask.

DOCTOR: And might I get an answer?

RANI: It once belonged to man called Rassilon, now long dead.

DOCTOR: Rassilon?

CYRIAN: A strange name, but we must be of the same size. It fits perfectly.

DOCTOR: Rassilon. I think I know that name.

The Rani focuses her gaze on the Doctor.

RANI: It is a name from mythology.

DOCTOR: Is it? I do love a good myth.

RANI: A good story was not my guarantee, my Lord. Perhaps you should turn to your own gifts?

DOCTOR: Oh yes, I’d forgotten about them.

The squire hands the Doctor a parcel, which he effortlessly opens to reveal another leather-bound book.

RANI: You appreciate my gift?

DOCTOR: [distant] Yes, Your Majesty. Most impressive.

He drops the book to the table, completely losing interest in it.

DOCTOR: But this name, Rassilon. It will drive me round the bouts and on the swings until I remember who he was. I take it he was a he?

RANI: Very well, then I shall satisfy your curiosity. The story tells of a wanderer, a man without a home, who travels the world. In his travels he comes across a desert of dust. Not sand, but dust. He walks the desert for days and nights and finds nothing. Not a trace of any life at any time until he comes across a monument, a black obelisk inscribed with ancient runes.

CYRIAN: Runes?

DOCTOR: Symbolic language.

CYRIAN: And what did the runes say?

RANI: That all around the obelisk are the marvels and works of the Great Rassilon himself, whose works and deeds would live forever.

CYRIAN: But the obelisk was in a desert.

DOCTOR: Indeed. And until it was read no one had heard of the Great Rassilon.

CYRIAN: ...I’m not certain I grasp the purpose of the story.

DOCTOR: [softly] The Great Rassilon did mighty things, Cyrian. He forged a vast kingdom and made incredible achievements. But neither he nor his property were immortal, and one day, both were lost in desolation. Now the desert is more vast than the empire of Rassilon ever was, and Rassilon and his kingdom are so forgotten as to be unknown. The march of time was unimpressed by his arrogance and ground everything he had into dust. [sighs] The moral of the story, Cyrian, is that nothing lasts forever. Nothing. At. All.

An awkward silence falls over the table. Only Cyrian is unaffected and picks up a strange string instrument somewhere between a harp, a cello and a banjo.

CYRIAN: Enough of this misery. Would you like me to play for you, my Lady?

RANI: [quiet] Not tonight, Cyrian. You need your rest. Now get to bed.

CYRIAN: [grins] Yes, Rani.

Happily, Cyrian starts to leave, collecting presents as he leaves. The Doctor continues to glare at him.

RANI: You look disgruntled.

DOCTOR: Do I?

RANI: Are you jealous, perhaps?

DOCTOR: What should I be jealous? In fact, I shouldn’t be jealous!

RANI: No, you shouldn’t. You don’t need presents, trinkets, toys and silk... it’s knowledge you want, my Lord Doctor. And that’s what I’ve given you.

DOCTOR: True enough, my unequaled queen. I have a hunger for new experiences beyond the confines of the citadel. Since I can’t leave, books are a bromide for the soul, like stories of that Rassilon chap, legends of times long past and places far away... [idly] Why exactly can’t I leave again?

RANI: It is simply the way things are.

DOCTOR: Yes, I had a feeling you might say something along those lines.

RANI: Now come, Lord Doctor. For you have another gift.

DOCTOR: Another one?

RANI: The servants have been installing it in your quarters while we dined.

DOCTOR: Installing....? It’s not another complete set of encyclopedias then?

RANI: [patiently] You desire first-hand experience, so let us discover the truth ourselves rather than rely on the knowledge of others.

DOCTOR: Ah. My own words thrown back at me.

The Rani rises and the Doctor follows her out, as do the servants.

DOCTOR: Hoisted by my own curiosity, live by the cat, die by the satisfaction...


6. TOWER ROOM

The Rani enters the room grandly, followed by the Doctor. He pauses as he sees the present: a battered blue police telephone box filling up the far side of the room, looking rather worse for wear.

DOCTOR: [intrigued] What is it?

RANI: [careful] You do not know?

DOCTOR: It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

RANI: Not in this life?

DOCTOR: [nods] At the very least.

Curious, he brushes a hand over the doors.

RANI: It is a TARDIS.

DOCTOR: Tar-diss. [disappointed] Never heard of it. As gifts go, this is a bit... inexplicable, isn’t it, my Lady?

RANI: Now, perhaps. But, one day, you will come to cherish it.

DOCTOR: [shrewd] Promise?

RANI: I promise.

Smiling, she turns and leaves the Doctor alone with the TARDIS. He turns to look back at the blue box, then crosses to the door and peers at the notice there.

DOCTOR: Writing... "Police... tele... elephon... tel elephant... tell the elephant... no, telephone! Free... for use... of pub lice... public... something and officers something... all calls... all urgent calls... pull to... open.”

He pulls on the door. Nothing.

DOCTOR: Locked. Which means it needs a key.

The Doctor’s eyes widen. He takes off his hat, upends it and finds a distinctive metallic key, with the Seal of Rassilon engraved into it.

DOCTOR: There’s that feeling again, David. Excitement. And fear.

The Doctor puts the key in his pocket.

DOCTOR: [troubled] Another new day has only just begun and now something wicked this way comes. By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. All the land turns to dust and crumbs when something wicked this way comes and isn’t that right Mel?

He stops short.

DOCTOR: "Mel"?


- to be continued...

16 comments:

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Not sure if I mentioned it, but I had my interest in the project re-ignited recently. I wanted to try and finish off Attack... then found after it stalled I wasn't sure where exactly we were at.

This is good stuff. I'll be interested to see where it goes, considering how often you speak in defense of TaTR. And, yes, I realise that's because everyone savages it unnecessarily rather than you loving it..

Youth of Australia said...

Not sure if I mentioned it, but I had my interest in the project re-ignited recently.
Has it? Brilliant!

I wanted to try and finish off Attack... then found after it stalled I wasn't sure where exactly we were at.
Well, I'm pretty sure it ground to a halt after I tried to rewrite The Nightmare Fair as a kind of Donnie Darko Toymaker-turns-Peri-against-the-Doctor surreal craziness.

But, basically I think on the rewriting score there was on Tenth Planet, Attack, Bid Time Return and To Catch A Thief that were started and not finished.

I've tried to do Tenth Planet, Christ knows I have, but there's this whacking great problem I can't deal with...

This is good stuff.
Cool. Those hours of tedium did NOT merely end with a half-arsed Human Nature bollocks...

I'll be interested to see where it goes, considering how often you speak in defense of TaTR. And, yes, I realise that's because everyone savages it unnecessarily rather than you loving it..

Speaking of which...

But no, while I like Time, and think Sylv's portrayal frankly deserves a round of applause as he creates a new, likeable character ENTIRELY ON HIS OWN (the script, written specifically for Colin, couldn't help), I wouldn't have chosen it to introduce a new Doctor.

Personally I'm worried the rewrite has too little plot to it - basically, once the Doctor finds out what the hell is going on, he kind of just buggers off...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Has it? Brilliant!

..guess I DIDN'T mention it...

Well, I'm pretty sure it ground to a halt after I tried to rewrite The Nightmare Fair as a kind of Donnie Darko Toymaker-turns-Peri-against-the-Doctor surreal craziness.

Hmm, I was out of the loop for that one completely..

But, basically I think on the rewriting score there was on Tenth Planet, Attack, Bid Time Return and To Catch A Thief that were started and not finished.

I remember that. I just found the bits and pieces of Attack parts 2 & 3 and was puzzled about what was going on with the editing.. I'll just have to knuckle down and try to re-work them.

I don't suppose you'd be willing for me to try and fill in the gaps of BTR or something like that, seeing as you wrote the important bits with explanations of the in-betweens?

I've tried to do Tenth Planet, Christ knows I have, but there's this whacking great problem I can't deal with...

...any elaboration, please?

Cool. Those hours of tedium did NOT merely end with a half-arsed Human Nature bollocks..

It is faintly similar - that said I still haven't read the novel. For some reason when I was reading it I was thinking of it being done as an audio play. That could just be me being weird..

Speaking of which...

Definitely too harsh. I get confused by all the accusations of the Rani being a costume fetishist to dress up like Mel. Yes, it is definitely an eccentric plan but I thought it was obvious that she wanted the Doctor to trust her and unwittingly reveal something secret to her - I'm not sure in fact how they could have made it more obvious.

Although I didn't mind the half I saw, I do have to admit that TatR may have the worst classic series scene I watched - the Doctor's 'new costume' bit. You may mine some nostalgia value from that, of course.

Personally I'm worried the rewrite has too little plot to it - basically, once the Doctor finds out what the hell is going on, he kind of just buggers off...

Hmm, that does sound like a worry..

Youth of Australia said...

Bugger blogger ate my reply.

1) I gave up after Arcade Games after I wrote the trailer

2) Good luck with redoing Attack. You want me to email you the novelization

3) Go ahead with BTR. Most of the missing stuff was the Doctor getting drunk and Peri flirting with the female casino owner while creepy cultists killed everyone who wasn't Lytton

4) My attempts to do TP lead to pretty much sod all happening in episode three and EVERYTHING in episode four... bit like the original. In trying to make the Cybermen all conquering and bad ass, I ended up giving them multiple (and contradictory) plan Bs and made them basically suicidally insane for a scene where they deliberately trigger the destruction of Mondas... so they can force the Doctor to stop it happening anyway.

See? So bad I can barely explain it. Twice.

5) My inspiration wasn't Human Nature, actually, but trying to work the same as TATR - the Doctor is bewitched, basically, by a witch into thinking they're best friends in a spooky castle he knows nothing about. I went for fantasy rather than sci-fi. And didn't explain it all in the first scene.

6) The problem with the Rani dressing up as Mel is probably because it's stated outright neither of them have EVER met. Maybe the Rani should have dressed up as Peri...

7) There are good bits in the wardrobe scene... but mainly bad bits, like the way there are sound effects for the jokes (school bells, broken windows, harpsichords). The good bit is the theme of the Doctor trusting Mel absolutely he chooses what he thinks SHE likes (you wouldn't see Sixie doing that for ANYONE) and the deep, hallucinogenic freak out as the Rani's face changes and then she beats the Doctor up by SMASHING HIM INTO A MIRROR - and it's the first time he was able to see his own reflection without screaming, too...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

1) I gave up after Arcade Games after I wrote the trailer

Wow. That is a short burst. I vaguely remember you talking it up a little.

Has the release of the BF version helped put any perspective on the flaws of the original?

Good luck with redoing Attack. You want me to email you the novelization.

Well.. not quite redo. Just re-edit what I've got. I think you may have already sent me the novelisation, or at least the pertinent details..

My attempts to do TP lead to pretty much sod all happening in episode three and EVERYTHING in episode four...

That old problem.. but still better than the Don Houghton method, which is the exact opposite.

In trying to make the Cybermen all conquering and bad ass, I ended up giving them multiple (and contradictory) plan Bs and made them basically suicidally insane for a scene where they deliberately trigger the destruction of Mondas... so they can force the Doctor to stop it happening anyway.

...interesting...

See? So bad I can barely explain it. Twice.

At a guess I'd say that the Cybermen could have a logical reason for the plan you just cited - if they knew for a certainty that the Doctor would help and succeed and if they had something to gain (knowledge, power, etc) from his efforts to do so. Of course the plan also has to work, otherwise the Cybermen just look insane....

the Doctor is bewitched, basically, by a witch into thinking they're best friends in a spooky castle he knows nothing about. I went for fantasy rather than sci-fi.

I haven't thought about it that way before but that does sum up the plot..

The problem with the Rani dressing up as Mel is probably because it's stated outright neither of them have EVER met.

...ah, forgot about that.

You're right, it would probably also be more practical for the Rani to dress as Peri (right hair colour for a start) aside from the accent..

the deep, hallucinogenic freak out as the Rani's face changes and then she beats the Doctor up by SMASHING HIM INTO A MIRROR - and it's the first time he was able to see his own reflection without screaming, too...

..completely forgot that. I've only seen the half of it the one time...

Youth of Australia said...

Wow. That is a short burst. I vaguely remember you talking it up a little.
Well, you know how flighty I can be...

Has the release of the BF version helped put any perspective on the flaws of the original?
Well, the adaptation by BF was far from perfect, IMO, and one aspect of Saward's rewrites (the Toymaker's death wish) should really have been kept.

Basically, it was as much a rewrite of the original (and VERY crap) Toymaker tale as Nightmare Fair. The biggest change was the revelation it wasn't Blackpool at all, but the Celestial Toyroom, hence the Toymaker's incredibly reality-bending powers which, in the original, were down to a novelty paperweight he'd bought somewhere.

Actually, looking back at it there's very little wrong with TNF - the reason the Doctor is locked in a cell for pretty much the whole story is part of the psychological game with the Toymaker. The only trouble is he's locked in a cell for EVERY OTHER whole story!!!

I haven't thought about it that way before but that does sum up the plot..
Well, you tend to think in such terms when you're really young and you see it for the first time.

...ah, forgot about that.
Not surprised, it wasn't exactly something difficult to fix - just cut one line from Mel and it's sorted...

..completely forgot that. I've only seen the half of it the one time...
It was almost as disturbing as the bit where the Rani says Mel "should be destroyed" and the Doctor goes, "Destroyed? Let's not be too hasty" in a way that suggests "let's torture her first!"

Youth of Australia said...

That old problem.. but still better than the Don Houghton method, which is the exact opposite.
In fairness, episode three wouldn't have been all talk, it would have been all about Ben at Snowcap fighting the Cybermen only to lose when Cutler betrayed him in an incredibly soap opera way...

...interesting...
More poorly phrased.

See, humanity has the Z-bomb. One of those could blow up Mondas easy. The Cybermen know this. So they have their own doomsday weapon, the Energy Siphon that drains energy from Earth to Mondas (coz they're twin planets, this works). But throughout the story the Doctor's noticed that most of the Cybermen on ice and most of the bulbs are out - piloting Mondas around has drained the energy levels to the dregs.

So... if they have this magical energy vampire tech, why haven't they used it? The Doctor twigs that it's because Mondas still has a little energy left and if they drain ALL of Earth's energy into its-still-partially-full-twin, it'll overflow and bang Mondas.

And the big cliffhanger (since we wouldn't know this) is the Doctor betraying the humans and switching on the Siphon in front of all the Cybermen, apparently dooming humanity (or at least all the very young, very old and those on life support who are most vulnerable to the energy vamping - but the Doctor has a big speech that the Cybermen are the biggest fucking badasses ever and they have to go double-fisted to stop them).

So episode four starts with the Doctor basically telling the Cybermen he's fucked them over completely. Dega takes it on the chin and tells the Cybermen in snowcap to blow up the Z-bomb on Earth once Mondas has hoovered enough energy.

Fair enough, huh?

But I'd been writing it in bits and pieces and fitting it altogether lead to the sudden and totally ridiculous revelation that Mondas was so knackered it couldn't take even this little energy upload and the planet goes to pieces. Before the point of no return, he wants the Doctor to help them switch it off. In true Hartnell manner, he tells them to go fuck themselves.

So the Cybermen "lower the shields" that stop the energy getting drained out of MONDAS as well as Earth (this was supposed to be all right for the Cybermen since any energy knicked would be instantly replaced, only for them to discover this cosmic backwashing was causing Mondas to disintegrate anyway). This was so

a) all the humans like Polly on Mondas would start to die, forcing them to become Cybermen if they wanted to survive
b) the Doctor can have the life sucked out of him but still doesn't break.

The Doctor collapses and Dega basically goes, "Hang on, maybe this isn't such a good idea!" and tries to raise the shields, but the Doctor sabotaged them, knowing they'd torture him.

So basically in the space of one scene the Cybermen would change their plans from "war of nerves" to "suck the life out of Earth" to "blow up Earth" to "stuff it, let's get the hell out of here before we all get killed".

I was stuck with all this cool stuff I couldn't bear to remove... and then I accidentally deleted the whole episode.

Miles said...

Maybe the Cybermen WANT humanity to use the Z-Bomb...

Youth of Australia said...

What the...?

What is this Nyder shit?!

I'm the bloody author - if there's any subtext, it's that I'm crap at writing! But I always know WHAT I'm writing crap ABOUT!

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Hmm, from what you've said I am assuming that there are two units in the energy siphon...

fitting it altogether lead to the sudden and totally ridiculous revelation that Mondas was so knackered it couldn't take even this little energy upload and the planet goes to pieces.

There are ways around that - the key thing that springs to my mind is the transfer being designed for a steady stream, but the Doctor uses his jigger-pokery skills to modify the siphon to store the energy beyond any safe times to do so. Assuming the unit is on Earth that would make things even more crazy, because he'd be facing an explosion that would wipe out the South Pole (?) if it went wrong. BUT when it reaches Mondas, it begins to tear the planet apart.

(Roughly speaking, this has a faint basis in physics - if it transmitted in large bursts it would be working at a constant, and low frequency. Sound waves that do this reach 'resonative indices' for specific materials, where the sound reverberates in such a way that all the energy converges in the centre and creates a feedback loop of energy against itself - the wine glass being shattered by a soprano being the most famous example)

So... the Doctor switches on their own device after fucking around with it is my addition for plausibility.

Miles said...

I'm not saying it as a subtext. I'm giving it as a suggestion.

Youth of Australia said...

Hmm, from what you've said I am assuming that there are two units in the energy siphon...
The idea was the Cybermen had stolen the technology from some aliens who dropped by, so there's the massive blender-like siphon and the Cyberman consoles nailed to it with lots of stickey-tape.

There are ways around that - the key thing that springs to my mind is the transfer being designed for a steady stream, but the Doctor uses his jigger-pokery skills to modify the siphon to store the energy beyond any safe times to do so.
Yeah, that was part of it, but was really a case of

"Hahah! I have defeated you!"
"Ahahaha! I have a back-up plan!"
"Hahah! I sabotaged your back-up plan!"
"Ahahahahaha! I think I shall have to beat the shit out of you old man!"

Assuming the unit is on Earth that would make things even more crazy, because he'd be facing an explosion that would wipe out the South Pole (?) if it went wrong. BUT when it reaches Mondas, it begins to tear the planet apart.
...no. The idea (Christ I'm bad at this) is that when the solar system formed, one lump of matter split in two and formed Mondas and Earth. They are basically the same playdoh split in two. Thus the siphon can suck energy from one bit of playdoh into the other, since they are the same thing. That's why the Cybermen didn't just cruise up to the sun and suck it out. The siphon ONLY works on Earth and Mondas, but Cybermen being Cybermen assume this will all turn out right.

(Roughly speaking, this has a faint basis in physics - if it transmitted in large bursts it would be working at a constant, and low frequency. Sound waves that do this reach 'resonative indices' for specific materials, where the sound reverberates in such a way that all the energy converges in the centre and creates a feedback loop of energy against itself - the wine glass being shattered by a soprano being the most famous example)
Wow. I just put in a line about "bioenergy" and left it at that.

So... the Doctor switches on their own device after fucking around with it is my addition for plausibility.
Oh yeah. He did that.

Oh, and sorry Miles, but I have a killer headache and the idea the Cybermen WANT a doomsday bomb used that would not only destroy Mondas but microwave that half of the Earth just seemed to be taking the piss, like AS's "the Daleks are heroes" doublespeak...

Miles said...

Sorry Ewan, I hope your headache gets better.

But maybe instead of it being 'screw it, let's blow up Earth and scarper', they try to push humanity to the point of using the bomb that they use the explosion to kick start Mondas and break the energy draining connection between Mondas and Earth.

Youth of Australia said...

Nah, you see, Miles, the mistake you're making there is there is any kind of longterm logic to the events I described.

That's (what's meant to be) the whole point of my story, that the Cybermen are so utterly convinced mankind will sensibly volunteer for the conversion chambers, the siphon will never be used.

When the Doctor chooses for them, they have less than an episode to deal with it. Since their failsafe of the Z-bomb is knackered by Ben, they cut their losses and flee Mondas before it blows.

It's all about pride and how the Cybermen think they know how people will react - which was MEANT to die in with C-Day where they think they can blackmail the Doctor by killing Dodo, yet not realizing they've put him through so much crap he's willing to sacrifice them both.

Basically, giving the Cybermen a cunning psychological ploy defeats the whole point. Especially as this is their to-all-intents-and-purposes first proper encounter with us stupid apes. Like when Krail boggles why Polly is worried about two doomed astronauts - they're dead already, what's the big deal?

That would lead to my aforementioned soap twist - the Cybermen take Terri hostage and threaten to blow her head off and Cutler reveals she's his daughter! Daddum!!!! And the Cybermen assume that he'll do what they say cause he's her parent and humans value children as their biological destiny. But they ALSO assume that the very tense Snowcap base will do what their boss will say, no matter what...?

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Hmm, going by what you've said I think that you actually have a very strong concept there and you're just being too harsh a critic. Either that or something has gotten lost in translation thus far...

Youth of Australia said...

Maybe. I mean, all the evidence I wrote it was deleted. Maybe I'm just bitter since I can't get the material back and judge it objectively...