Wednesday, June 30, 2010

If *I* Had Written Paradise 5

The following was uncovered in the dusty and oft-corrupted 3 1/2 floppy disks of the previous century and shown to the world for the first time. I'm not saying it IS better than the Big Finish version, just being psychotically arrogant enough to suggest it...

The story so far: The Doctor has been captured by the Time Lords and put on trial for his complete screwup on Thoros Beta. The Time Lords are not impressed by his actions, and the Valeyard shows a future where the Doctor's adventures get even worse. Maybe I'll reprint that one too...


The Valeyard has just finished his tirade against the Doctor.

Doctor: [beside himself with fury] Are you quite finished?

Valeyard: I rest my case.

Inquisitor: Doctor, while this particular instance can be avoided, you have still committed these crimes as accepted by Gallifreyan law. If you are found guilty, the penalty can only be death.

Doctor: I take it is I can now present the case for the defense?

Inquisitor: [nods] Proceed.

The Doctor activates a control on his dock similar to the Valeyard’s desk. The Matrix screen alight up to show a solar system.

Doctor: The Paradise System. Nine moons orbiting the dead, desolate world of Paradise. They have been recently transformed into a vast leisure complex for the wealthy and influential...


We see the planetary system.

Doctor: [VO] The first moon, Paradise One, is the reception and administrative centre. The other eight satellites cater to the every whim and desire of the clients. Each moon boasts its own delights – and its own secrets. Visitors will have the time of their lives, one way or another...

We can now see five humanoid figures floating in space – obviously dead. At this distance, they resemble astronauts.

Doctor: [VO] My evidence concentrates on Paradise Five.


A lean, dark man called Gabriel strides down a corridor. He is followed by two beautiful women, almost twins – Stella and Bella.

Gabriel: ...and make sure the Cherubs fix the ultranet connections in sector twelve. We’ve had complaints for several weeks now. We don’t need this just as a new intake is arriving.

Stella: Noted. The ship docks in 512 seconds, Mr. Gabriel.

Gabriel: Send the new pleasure hostesses to greet them, Bella.

Bella: [nods] Yes, Mr. Gabriel.

Gabriel: And Bella?

Bella: Yes?

Gabriel: I want the security scanners in the Avalon Apartments restored to full operational capacity by the time the new guests reach their rooms. That is all.

Gabriel turns and strides off while Stella and Bella split up.


A shuttle flies towards Paradise Five.


A pleasantly-styled chamber with corridors leading off. Two women, dressed like Stella and Bella are present. We can see one of them, an attractive blonde woman called Lorelei. We do not see the other. A few moments later a large group of humans and a few humanoids arrive.

Lorelei: On behalf of the Paradise System, we would like to welcome you all to Paradise Five. You are all here for a period of well-earned relaxation from your various lives, careers and cultures and I can assure you that you all will have the time of your lives.

The holiday makers move towards the hostesses.

Lorelei: If you’d just like to follow us, we’ll give you a quick tour of the facilities that Paradise Five has on offer. Before you ask, I am Lorelei Sapphire and...

We can see the other woman for the first time. She’s more than familiar, to us at any rate.

Melanie: [smiles] ...and I’m Melanie Bush. This way, please.

Valeyard: [VO] Stop the Matrix!


The image freezes and breaks up.

Inquisitor: [surprised] Valeyard?

Valeyard: I must protest. The Doctor has ‘placed us into the story’ clearly after its beginning. How are we to make a valued judgement when denied full evidence?

Doctor: My Lady, if you would be prepared to bare with me, all shall be revealed. [to Valeyard] Unlike some people I try to focus on the relevancy of material before I include it.

Valeyard: You have put Melanie in terrible danger.

Doctor: [arches eyebrow] What makes you think that?

Inquisitor: Yes, there is no evidence that she is threatened.

Valeyard: [swallows] Apologies, My Lady. But the Doctor is unlikely to have chosen a part of his life without danger, and Melanie is apparently alone. He has abandoned her – just like Peri.

The Doctor leaps to his feet.

Doctor: Objection! That is slander, and hearsay!!

Valeyard: Just why are you so interested in Paradise Five, Doctor? You are not there on holiday, so why?

Doctor: [to Inquisitor] Madam Inquisitor, may we continue?

Inquisitor: Indeed, Doctor. And kindly don’t interrupt again, Valeyard.

The screen shows...


Only a few of the holiday makers remain, and Melanie leads them towards a wing marked AVALON apartments. Doors line the wall every so often.

Melanie: ...and these are the guest bedrooms. All are fully equipped for humans and humanoid life forms with all luxuries and pampering available. If you check your ID bracelet, you find the particular suite assigned to you.

The guests begin to do this and move off in various directions, leaving Melanie alone. Hastily, she scrambles to room 412 and slides her ID card into a slot by the door.


The Doctor is reclining on a heart-shaped bed, supping champagne and eating from a section of fruit and pastries on silver platters. He is reading several reams of notes. He looks up as Melanie enters.

Melanie: [annoyed] Having fun, are we?

Doctor: The time of my life. According to all this paperwork, I’m doing what every other visitor in the solar system is doing. Of course, that could just be good publicity. [grins] Seems accurate, though.

Melanie: Honestly, Doctor, why did it have to be like this?

Doctor: My dear girl, I’m quite well-known in this part of time and space. Can’t risk being recognized. That’s why you do all the spying.

Melanie: I don’t mind the spying.

Doctor: Good. Have a peteki cake.

He hands her a pastry. She shakes her head,

Melanie: I mean, why do I have to be a servile hostess?

Doctor: Because I don’t fit the hostess uniform.

Melanie: You might if you actually took some exercise. All this food and lying around is doing your figure no good whatsoever. Why couldn’t I be a wealthy business woman or something?

Doctor: Because they would notice, by checking their files, that the Melanie Bush visiting her was born some thousand years ago and might get suspicious. Don’t forget what we’re here for.

Melanie: [more sober] I do. Anything interesting?

She indicates the print out.

Doctor: Takings and outgoings for the whole system over the last sixteen years. The closest thing we have to interesting is the reports from Paradise Five – unsurprisingly.

Melanie: You checked all the other planets out first?

Doctor: [grins] I don’t just sit around all day, do I?

Valeyard: [VO] This has gone on long enough!


The screen goes blank.

Valeyard: How long are we do wait for answers? We still have no reason why the Doctor is acting with such uncharacteristic subtlety. Why are you on Paradise Five? Perhaps you have some sort of financial interest in the system?

Doctor: [rolls eyes] Oh, what would I need money for?

Valeyard: Precisely. I think, my Lords, the Doctor is telling us more than he realizes.

Doctor: You delight in scoring easy victories. Very well, if you promise to stay quiet from now on, I’ll cut to the chase.

The screen lights up.


The Doctor, in his shirtsleeves, is brooding over the console. Melanie stands nearby, talking to him.

Doctor: [VO] It all started several weeks ago, when the TARDIS fetched up in orbit around Paradise Five. I was considering availing myself of the facilities when I saw something rather disturbing on the scanner.

The Doctor moves over to the scanner as the screen opens.

Melanie: Where are we, Doctor?

Doctor: Quite a way out in both time and space. The Paradise System. Set up by your descendents some eight hundred years after your time, Mel. Used mainly for...

Melanie: [frowns] Doctor, look. What are they?

On the scanner, five shapes can be seen.

Doctor: Five figures lost on the astral tides.

Melanie: Are they dead?

Doctor: I think so.

Melanie: Astronauts?

The Doctor crosses to the console and activates a control and the image zooms in to show the bodies are dressed in smart casual clothes.

Melanie: They’re not wearing any protection at all.

Doctor: [frowns] They’ve been spaced. Flung off a passing space ship – one of the worst forms of execution around. Look at their clothes, Mel.

Melanie: I know, they’re – wait a minute. They’re dressed...

Doctor: [nods] Like the rich and famous. Like the visitors to the Paradise System!


Similar to the one on Paradise Five. The TARDIS materializes in the corner and the Doctor and Mel creep out.

Doctor: [VO] We arrived on Paradise One where I quickly managed to forge documents proving Melanie was a pleasure hostess, stole a hostess uniform and the shuttle it came in...


A shuttle moves through space.

Doctor: [VO] ...and then went straight to Paradise Five. Once there, I went into hiding while Melanie went about her new job whilst keeping her eyes and ears open.


The Doctor pauses the image.

Doctor: Satisfied, Valeyard? This near-paranoia about Paradise resolved now?

Valeyard: Not quite. You are on trial for your life, but in your defense you show us committing numerous criminal acts.

Doctor: My defense is that, despite two admittedly disastrous setbacks, I improve. That level of interference is so petty not even you, sir, could twist it against me. Also, I check every fact entirely before acting. I will not meddle.

Valeyard: [grins] You. Not meddle. This, I must see.

The Doctor rolls his eyes and sighs.

Inquisitor: Continue your evidence, Doctor.

The Doctor reactivates the tale.


Melanie emerges from the Doctor’s apartment and move on down the hall. It is utterly deserted and alarmingly silent. She moves across it, but she is clearly unnerved. A hand falls on her shoulder and she cries out. She whirls to see it is Gabriel.

Gabriel: Are you all right?

Melanie: Yes. Sorry. You startled me.

Gabriel: Did I? What are you doing here, Melanie?

Melanie: I was just showing a visitor to their room, Mr. Gabriel.

Gabriel: I saw you come out of room 412. It’s empty, according to our manifest. What were you doing in there, Melanie?

Melanie: The door was open, I was inspecting it. Now, uh, I was just off to take my rest period, sir.

Gabriel: Yes, well, I think you might be needed at the Garden of Eden Restaurant. There will definitely be more enthralling events there. Have fun.

Coldly, he turns and leaves. Melanie sighs and moves off.


The Doctor, munching on some fruit, looks through the forms again.

Doctor: All the victims came from here, but according to this paperwork, they left of their own accord on the return shuttles to Earth. Now, why? There’s no mutiny on the shuttles, so why were they spaced? What did they do?

Frowning, he turns the form in his hand upside down.

Doctor: Or perhaps, what didn’t they do? They must have failed something, but what? Or should that be who? Hmmm.

He walks off, while a security camera on the wall watches on.


A large room with a semicircular desk and a porthole showing space outside. A large screen on the forward wall shows static. Gabriel thumps the control panel on his desk and the picture darkens. Stella and Bella stand to one side.

Gabriel: Why haven’t the Cherubs fixed the security web yet?

Stella: They are trying to do so, Mr. Gabriel, but there seems to be a massive systems malfunction.

Gabriel: Yes, Stella. It’s called sabotage. Someone doesn’t want to let us know what is happening in room 412. Something that redhead knows about. Stella, what do you know of Melanie?

Stella: She is from Earth, sir. She likes happy people, fitness and health. She arrived her three weeks ago, transferred from Paradise Two.

Gabriel: Bella?

Bella: Not much else, Mr. Gabriel. She doesn’t seem to enjoy the more menial aspects of her work, apparently. She gets on well with Lorelei, though.

Gabriel: [nods] Lorelei. Hmm. Stella, Bella, I want you both to keep close watch over Melanie Bush. I shall be making inquiries on my next visit to Paradise One. You can go now.

Stella and Bella: Thank you, Mr. Gabriel.

They turn and leave. Gabriel taps at a control and a mug shot of Melanie, with various details written around it.


Stella and Bella are walking down the corridor as the pass Lorelei.

Lorelei: Enjoy the secret meeting, girls?

Stella: As much as you enjoy being excluded from them, Lorelei.

Lorelei: Oh, did you think of that yourself? I’m impressed.

Bella: Well, it doesn’t take much to impress outsiders.

Lorelei: Whereas it takes nothing to impress idiots like you. I’m surprised you can move one foot in front of another without Gabriel’s sayso and I bet he is, too.

Stella: Shut up, Lorelei.

Lorelei: Oh, very smart Bella.

Bella: [angry] I’m Bella! She’s Stella.

Lorelei: Sorry, I always take idiots at face value.

She turns and strides off. The twins scowl and move off.


A simple chamber with numerous tables and chairs, and decorated like a jungle with lots of pot planets. Melanie crosses to an ornate dispenser and produces a tray of food and drink. She turns and sees Tapp and Aht – two people from the crowd she spoke to earlier.

Tapp: Oh, hello.

Melanie: Hello, Mr. Tapp. Enjoying your stay.

Tapp: Immensely. Have you met Aht?

Melanie: Um, no, I’m afraid not.

Aht: I am not too social. I am pleased to meet you.

Melanie: Same here.

By now, they all have their meals and head to the nearest table.

Melanie: What do you do for a living, Aht?

Aht: Zen diagraphics, Melanie. I am a research scientist from Thactus 7. My friend Tapp is a businessman from Earth.

Melanie: And you’re enjoying your stay.

Aht: Almost.

Tapp: [amused] Almost? What do you mean? I’m wanting for nothing here and don’t have to for the next month. What’s wrong?

Aht: Something is... odd here. Something strange. Do not agree?

Tapp: [shrugs] Well, I suppose. But I can’t pin it down, can you?

Aht: No. I cannot.

Lorelei approaches them.

Lorelei: Mel, Mr. Gabriel has called a meeting. He wants us there, this time.

Melanie: [to Tapp and Aht] Excuse me.

Aht: Of course.

Tapp: See you soon.


Melanie and Lorelei are walking down the hall.

Melanie: So, our evil plans have obviously been discovered.

Lorelei: Probably. Honestly, that Gabriel... I don’t like him.

Melanie: I don’t think anyone does, Lorelei. I don’t know how I cope here, between him and the dull work he makes us do...

Lorelei: I don’t even know why I’ve stayed in the complex so long. I’ve had better jobs, you know. And better bosses than Gabriel.

Melanie: That wouldn’t be hard. When were these better jobs, then?

Lorelei: Oh, my other life. Another suitcase in another town.

They enter a room marked DIRECTOR’S OFFICE.


Gabriel paces in front of the hostesses like a general inspecting his troops. He has clearly been talking for quite a while.

Gabriel: ...I shall be on Paradise One for two solar days. In that time I expect the running of Paradise Five to remain at its present state. When I return, I expect things to have improved regarding maintenance and [glances at Mel] security. That is all.

The girls begin to go.

Lorelei: You off to finish dinner?

Melanie: No, I think I’ll just have a wander.


Melanie heads towards the apartments. Lorelei follows.

Lorelei: Sounds nice. I think I’ll have try. See you later.

Melanie: Bye.

Melanie heads towards apartment 412.


The Doctor looks up from his pacing as the door opens and Melanie sticks her head in.

Melanie: Action stations, Doctor! Time for some full-time investigation.

Doctor: [smiles] Excellent. I’m beginning to get cabin fever.


Lorelei walks down the passage and pauses by a window showing space outside. She sighs to herself.

Lorelei: Why did I ever come here?

A shadow moves on the far wall. Lorelei notices.

Lorelei: Hello? Hello? Who’s there?

The shadow disappears. Lorelei hurries over to the corridor. It is empty. She frowns, and turns to face the way she came. A blinding glare shines on her face and she cries out in horror.


The Doctor and Melanie are heading down the passage.

Melanie: You’re sure this will work?

Doctor: You did the hacking, Mel. I’m just a newly arrived customer, heading for the galley.

Stella emerges from a side passage and spots them.

Stella: Stop! Who are you?

Doctor: Me? A visitor. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this place so I thought I would give it a try.

Stella: Really. And who are you?

Doctor: I am Doctor John Smith, part of the galaxy corps research fund and I am in need of a holiday. That is what this young lady [indicates Melanie] has been telling me.

Stella: Have you indeed, Melanie?

Doctor: Are you saying she was lying, miss, er?

Stella: Stella. Can I see your ID-bracelet, please?

The Doctor shows off the bracelet around his wrist.

Stella: Thank you, that all seems to be in order.

Doctor: I thought so. Now, what’s your name, Melanie, I’d like a quick trip to the Arcadian Bar, if that’s all right?

Melanie: Of course, Doctor.

They move off. Stella watches them suspiciously, before turning to leave. A moment later, Lorelei emerges from the shadows, smiling slightly, before following them.


A shuttle flies away from Paradise Five.


Tapp and Aht are finishing their meal as the Doctor and Melanie arrive.

Tapp: Hey, Mel! How’s it going?

Melanie: Fine. This is a new customer, Doctor John Smith.

Tapp: Nice coat, Smith.

Doctor: [sits] I thought so.

Aht: You are here on holiday?

Doctor: Yes, I thought I needed a rest. My life is unbelievably hectic at times. You take a rest when you’re offered it.

Tapp: You had a choice? Interesting.

Melanie sits down beside them.

Melanie: You didn’t have a choice to come here?

Tapp: Nope.

Aht: Nor did I.

Tapp: I was just working in my office the other day when they collected me. I didn’t have any time to pack or change, they said everything would be provided when we were on Paradise Five. And, believe me, it has.

Doctor: [frowns] So, you didn’t tell anyone you were leaving?

Tapp: Didn’t have time. Besides, someone had obviously thought it would make a good surprise, so everyone else probably knows.

Aht: It is all part of the fun, apparently.

Melanie: Is it?

Aht: Yes. The spontaneity of being selected is the major advertising ploy. Did you not know this?

Melanie: [begins to speak] Well...

Doctor: No. Now, Tapp, Aht. I want you to listen to me. This is in deadly earnest. Melanie and I came to this planet because we know as a fact that some of the visitors here have been killed and their bodies dumped in space. Tell me, Aht, do you have any enemies?

Aht: Personally, no. But my corporation has many competitors.

Doctor: The same with you, Tapp?

Tapp: [frowns] Well, now you come to mention it...

Doctor: I think you and everyone else here has been set up. Just who booked this holidays for you? Your partners, employers, lovers – or maybe your enemies. The sort of people who could make a deal with the management of Paradise Five and make sure you never leave.

Melanie: Steady on, Doc. I know Gabriel’s a bit sinister...

Doctor: The idea is certainly possible and quite easy to make. Apart from anything else – Paradise Five will live up to its reputation. We’re all having the time of our lives – because it will be the very last time.

Aht: That’s it!

Tapp: What is?

Aht: The odd thing. Melanie, how many of us arrived this afternoon on the shuttle?

Melanie: Twenty-five or so. Why?

Aht: I have not seen very many people – barely ten – and I have toured the whole complex. Besides, where are the holiday makers who are already here?

Melanie: According to the computers, they left on their own shuttle.

Aht: But no collection ships has arrived or departed.

Melanie: [eyes widen] Just Gabriel’s personal planet hopper...

Tapp: What are you saying?

Doctor: What Aht is saying, Mr. Tapp, is that people are disappearing rapidly. If we’re not careful we could join them. Now, Melanie, I would like to see one of these so-called collection ships at some point tonight...

Lorelei: I believe that can be arranged.

All four patrons whirl around to see that Lorelei is standing over them, looking normal.

Melanie: Ah, Lorelei. This is Doctor John Smith, he’s just arrived here a few hours ago...

Lorelei: I know. Dumb and dumber told me. I was just saying that that the closest you can get to a collection ship is the one down in the dry-dock.

Doctor: What’s it doing there?


We see the vessel sitting in a large hanger-type chamber. It is smooth, black and aerodynamic.

Lorelei: [VO] It’s in for repairs.

The Doctor and Melanie approach the craft, showing it to be bigger than a house. They approach a large square segment of hull.

Doctor: Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice. There is far more to this mystery than I first suspected.

Melanie: What do you mean?

Doctor: Oh, come on, Mel! Look at the ship, its design. That isn’t of human origin, and all of this system was constructed by Earth technology. It belongs to an outside party.

Melanie: You mean, Gabriel’s working with aliens?

Doctor: Very alien aliens. Ones as yet undiscovered in this time and place. I wonder if we can get in.

Taking out a square implement, the Doctor begins to feel around the hull for a particular spot. Bored, Melanie begins to walk around the craft. She stops as a shadow moves across the wall. She approaches it and it cuts out. Behind her, a bubbling white glow forms and grows larger and a humanoid shape forms inside it – an emaciated skeletal figure dressed in flowing robes and with two huge wings. Melanie turns to face the creature and screams. The Doctor looks up from the hull as the alien vanishes and the glow dissolves. He runs over to Melanie.

Doctor: Mel? Mel are you all right? What’s the matter?

Melanie: [shaken] I... I saw an angel. Maybe this place IS paradise after all...

Doctor: Snap out of it, Mel. This is just phantasmagoria.

Melanie: Doctor, am I prone to that sort of imagination?

Doctor: You are the one seeing angels. Perhaps its just the strange atmosphere down here. That ship has an unusually low temperature, that might be part of it. Come on, Mel. Let’s get back to the upper levels.

Melanie: Doctor, I’m telling you, I saw –

Doctor: A trick of the light, Mel. Come on.

He leads her out of the chamber. Meanwhile, the hull plate slides back to reveal the strange bubbling glow. Through a distorted haze, something watches the Doctor and Melanie leaving.


A shuttle hurtles towards Paradise Five.


Gabriel sits before Stella and Bella, brooding.

Stella: I hope you had a pleasant journey, sir.

Gabriel: The journey was fine, Stella. Though it was soiled somewhat by the information I discovered. I cross-checked the ultranet and I am certain that Melanie Bush is a fraud. All her papers are forgeries.

Bella: You don’t sound very surprised.

Gabriel: Probably because I’m not surprised. You’ve monitored Melanie’s movements in my absence?

Stella: Yes, sir. She has been escorting a new arrival around the pleasure complex, and is returning from the dry docks.

Gabriel: [frowns] New arrival?

Bella: Doctor John Smith.

Gabriel sits up, surprised.

Gabriel: The Doctor? Describe him?

Stella: Tall, blonde curly hair. His clothes... are distinctive.

Bella: They are multicoloured and clash, totally tasteless.

Gabriel: Yes. The Doctor, indeed. Stella, Bella, I want you to continue monitoring those two. I’m going to contact our... business associates. Go.


The Valeyard rises.

Valeyard: Stop the Matrix.

The screen deactivates.

Valeyard: I fail to understand this defense. True, the Doctor is shown not to interfere unduly, but his conduct in flouting various rules and regulations does not aid him. This defense...

Doctor: Listen, Valeyard – your argument is tired and worn out. If you can show the restraint I showed during the prosecution, and suppress your bloodlust, your concern would be less apparent.

Inquisitor: Concern?

Doctor: Yes. I’ve noticed that the prosecutor is quite disturbed by my choice of defense and in particular why I should be on Paradise Five. He then interrupts the evidence when the moment Gabriel’s backers are brought in the tale. [smiles sweetly] You seem to have something to hide, learned court prosecutor.

The Valeyard is awkward, trying to find a rejoinder.

Inquisitor: The single purpose of this trial is to determine the guilt or otherwise of the prisoner on the basis of the evidence that has been submitted. I suggest we return to Paradise Five.


The Doctor and Tapp pass some grey beings performing maintenance on a junction section.

Doctor: Not a soul around. I think we might be the last paying customers on the planet, Tapp old chap.

Tapp: [indicates beings] What about those?

Doctor: Hmm? Oh, the Cherubs? Oh, they don’t count. They’re staff.

Tapp: Really. [to Cherub] Excuse me? Excuse me, have you seen any other visitors go down here tonight? Hello?

The cherubs continue their work, silently.

Doctor: They won’t talk to you, Tapp.

Tapp: Why not?

Doctor: They’re mute for one thing. Come on, back to the restaurant. Hopefully any remaining holiday makers are waiting there.

Tapp: Aht said the Cherubs were half-human.

Doctor: Did he?

Tapp: Yes, he did. Are they?

Doctor: A species off-shoot, mutagenic DNA, that sort of thing. They perform most of the maintenance around the complex, although they’re probably busy with a little fault I put in the system.

Tapp: But, Doctor, if we’re the only ones left...

Doctor: Hmm?

Tapp: ...and the Cherubs are all worried about your sabotage...

Doctor: Hmmm?

Tapp: ...why are they preparing the place for a new batch of arrivals? And why have those two waitresses been doing all their duties like nothing is wrong?

Doctor: [frowns] I don’t know. Ominous, isn’t it?


The Doctor and Tapp enter. Aht is drinking from a cup.

Tapp: Aht! Thank goodness you’re still here.

Doctor: No others have arrived?

Aht: Just Melanie and Lorelei – until they were called away.

Doctor: By whom, I wonder?

Gabriel: [VO] By me, Doctor.

The Doctor slowly turns. Gabriel walks towards him.

Doctor: Ah, and who might you be?

Gabriel: I am Michael Gabriel.

Doctor: The mastermind behind this... grand scheme?

Gabriel: I run Paradise Five.

Doctor: As I said. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.

Gabriel: As I have you. Doctor, your holiday is almost over. You should prepare for the journey home.

Doctor: Oh, are you sure? I haven’t been here long enough.

Gabriel: A common lament.

Doctor: I’d like to stay for a few days more.

Gabriel: You have no choice in the matter.

Doctor: Don’t I?

Gabriel: No.

Doctor: No?

Gabriel: No.

Doctor: Well, er, I suppose I should go and pack. [to Tapp and Aht] Would you two gentlemen fancy helping me out? That hand luggage is lethal on a sore back.

Tapp: [cautiously] Yeah, sure. Come on Aht.

The trio head out. Gabriel smiles and turns and leaves.


Melanie and Lorelei are heading down a corridor.

Lorelei: An angel?

Melanie: Yes, definitely. It just disappeared like a ghost. Wait a moment. Lorelei, you’ve been here longer than anyone, right?

Lorelei: [frowns] Right?

Melanie: Do you know if anyone lived in the Paradise System before it was colonized. That ghost – maybe they could be the natives of Paradise Five? I mean...

She breaks off as Bella appears in the corridor ahead. She smiles cruelly. Melanie swallows and immediately turns to run. Stella is waiting for her, and is armed.

Stella: Mr. Gabriel wants to see you, Melanie.

Melanie swallows nervously, before Lorelei sneaks up behind her and clubs her unconscious. Melanie falls to the ground.

Bella: I’m glad you’ve finally worked out what side you’re on.

Lorelei: [grimly] Aren’t we all?


The Doctor is pacing, while Aht broods out a porthole and Tapp snacks on the heart-shaped bed.

Doctor: It can’t be some kind of extravagant assassination service. Why would this third party need or want dead bodies? If was for food or something, why chuck the bodies out of the airlock?

Aht: They must want us alive, then?

Doctor: But for what?

Tapp: Ah, Doctor?

Doctor: Hmm?

Tapp: I thought you said Melanie would turn up here.

Doctor: [absently] Did I? [eyes widen] Mel!


Melanie is tied to a chair. Slowly, she regains consciousness. Stella and Bella stand guard over her, and Gabriel sits behind his desk, facing her, his face like thunder.

Melanie: [dazed] Wha... What’s going on?

Gabriel: Not your employment, that’s for sure. Though, to be fair to me, you were never employed here in the first place. Isn’t that right, Melanie Bush?

Melanie: What are you talking about?

Gabriel: I do try to cultivate loyalty among my staff, but it isn’t essential. However, when my employees start to openly conspire against me – smuggling in spies to my complex, I...

Melanie: Mr. Gabriel, what are you on about? What spy?

Gabriel: The Doctor, of course! And stop this stupid pretence. I have been to Paradise One, Melanie. I have cross-checked all records – officially, you do not exist. Your papers are forgeries.

Melanie sighs, beaten.

Gabriel: What have you uncovered?

Melanie remains silent.

Gabriel: Who are you working for? [beat] What are you and the Doctor planning to do? [produces gun] Don’t think I won’t use this, Melanie. Your subversive activities are threatening everything, and you are quite easily disposed of – until now.

Melanie: [surprised] What?

Gabriel: Stella! Send every Cherub in the complex to search for the Doctor. Send a couple specifically to Avalon Apartment 412. [smiles] Melanie is now expendable, should the Time Lord refuse to answer my questions.

Melanie looks anxious.


The Doctor heads for the door. Aht stops him.

Aht: Doctor, we agreed. It is too dangerous out there!

Doctor: And Mel is out there. I have to help her!

Tapp: And if you vanish, where does that leave us?

Doctor: They’ll find us eventually, Mr. Tapp. This is a situation we cannot win. All we can do is try and limit the damage to our side. Now, if you will excuse me...

The Doctor opens the door – and two Cherubs are waiting outside. The Doctor turns to run, but a Cherub grabs him, the other using a blast of energy from its fingers to down the Doctor. It then blasts the shocked Tapp and Aht, who collapse to the ground.


Paradise Five hangs in space.


The Doctor is being hauled by the two Cherubs towards the collection ship. Two others carry Tapp and Aht. The Doctor groans as he recovers consciousness, looking around. The procession enter the craft.


A dark metallic chamber, mainly empty. Tapp and Aht are carried out through a second hatchway, while the Doctor is thrown to the floor by the guard Cherubs. The Doctor manages to get to his feet – and finds Gabriel standing before him.

Gabriel: I did say your holiday was over, Doctor.

Doctor: [rubs head] So you did. I was getting ready to leave.

Gabriel: A transparent excuse for delay.

Doctor: Such things warm my hearts. [rubs arm] Unlike this place. Why’s it so cold in here, anyway?

Gabriel: A necessary requirement.

Doctor: Ah, I thought it might have been a malfunction. The reason this ship is in the dry-docks. Have you repaired her yet?

Gabriel: She was never damaged, Doctor.

Doctor: [shrugs] Surprise, surprise. Why was it here, then?

Gabriel: It has merely been waiting for a full cargo hold, Doctor.

Doctor: How lazy of it. No wonder this operation of yours is such a shambles, it’s so haphazard. How long have you been trying to fill this ship up? Years? Decades?

Gabriel: [smiles] You arrogant fool. This operation has been planned down to the finest detail. Even your presence was instantly compensated for and adjusted.

Doctor: You don’t say?

Gabriel: For a man staring directly at death, Doctor, you are remarkably flippant.

Doctor: Or I know something you don’t.

Gabriel: I’m not surprised.

Doctor: Modesty? I hadn’t thought you capable. After all, how humane is someone who participates with criminals to kidnap innocent – well, fairly innocent – businesspeople and hand them over to some dirty aliens who like the cold? I assumed you thought it up yourself, as this is the biggest dog’s breakfast I’ve seen since...

Gabriel: [frowns] You think that only I control Paradise Five? You think this operation has the backing of only a few pitiful humans and the owners of this ship? You’re a fool, Doctor. And this mistake will cost you your life!


The Time Lords watch the screen. The Doctor watches the Valeyard, who then returns his gaze. The Doctor shrugs and starts watching again.


Dark and metallic like the rest of the ship. A dozen or so businesspeople, human and alien are present. They are all staring around them in fear as bubbling glows drift past them, randomly solidifying into skeletal angels. The Doctor is shoved in by a Cherub and the hatch glides closed behind him. Tapp and Aht approach.

Tapp: Doctor? Are you all right?

Doctor: Fine. Is everyone else here?

Aht: Bar the hostesses and Melanie.

Doctor: Mel... She wasn’t imagining things, was she?

He turns to the door when an angel-ghost appears before him, hissing softly. The Doctor laughs halfheartedly and he and his companions back away from the door.

Doctor: Where is she, anyway?


Melanie struggles in her bonds. The door opens and Lorelei enters.

Lorelei: I’m sorry about this, Mel.

Melanie: You tricked me!

Lorelei: And what good would it have done if they tied me up as well, eh? Come on, time’s a wasting. [unties Mel] I’ve checked the security web – all the visitors have disappeared, including you’re friend, the Doctor. We’ve got to go.

The two rise, turn, and leave the chamber.


As Melanie and Lorelei run off, Stella watches.


The Doctor, Tapp and Aht have been forced into a corner.

Tapp: [shivering] It’s so cold down here!

Doctor: Yes. I wonder why?

Tapp: Are they going to freeze us, or something?

Doctor: Not now. It’s not cold enou – of course! These creatures, they must require a constant temperature if they’re to maintain an equilibrium and shift spectrum! If the temperature rises, they will be jammed in either plane – solid, or insubstantial!

Aht: It is logical, but how can it be done?

Doctor: You’re not cold, are you Aht? Your biochemistry is far more efficient than a human’s, or even mine.

Aht nods, confused. Meanwhile, a bubbling glow forms against the wall.

Tapp: [shouts] Aht! Oh my god! He’s dead!

The glow forms into an angel, which floats over to the trio. Aht lies sprawled on the floor, pale and still. Hissing, the creature reaches out a skeletal hand to touch Aht’s neck.

Doctor: Now!

Aht’s colour turns healthy. There is a sigh and the angel hisses in agony, convulsing. Its hand bubbles with an energy pulse. The Doctor, Tapp and Aht waste no time. They scramble to their feet and run to the cargo hatch. The Doctor stabs the opening control and they run through.


Dodging past the two Cherub guards, the trio leave the ship.


Lorelei and Melanie run down the passage. Suddenly, the Doctor, Tapp and Aht appear the other way. Both parties turn to retreat, but pause.

Tapp: Melanie!

Melanie: Doctor!

Doctor: Mel! Thank heavens you’re all right!

Lorelei: What is going on here?

Doctor: Corruption, perversion, murder, you name it. The collection vessel in the dry dock is nothing more than an alien slave-ship. All the holiday makers bar ourselves have been imprisoned on board.

Melanie: [eyes widen] Doctor, those bodies we saw in the TARDIS...

Doctor: Yes, they were probably rejects from this little scheme. Either they resisted or they weren’t strong enough to be sold into slavery. Either way, they were spaced.

Lorelei: What is Gabriel getting out of this?

Doctor: Money. He’s charging for the disappearance service and then selling the poor unfortunates on to the aliens. You saw one tonight, Mel. I apologize for not believing you. Yes, it’s a rather profitable little double-deal for Gabriel and...

Aht: Who?

Doctor: [nods] Who indeed. Come on, back to the holiday area.

They move off.


The screen deactivates.

Doctor: [wearily] Yes?

Valeyard: Doctor, your insistence that there is some... unknown force behind Paradise Five is irrational. It is not inconceivable that Michael Gabriel planned the whole operation himself, or, if he did not, killed the partner that did.

Doctor: Just as conceivable that the whole thing has been masterminded by the player as yet unidentified. A rather odd choice of inquisition, Valeyard?

Inquisitor: Doctor, this interruption is unwarranted. Valeyard, unless you have serious points to raise, this is the Doctor’s testimony and he may display it as he sees fit. Continue, Doctor.


The Doctor, Melanie, Lorelei, Tapp and Aht run inside.

Melanie: Doctor, where are we going?

Doctor: Looking for somewhere to hide.

Lorelei: The whole leisure centre’s deserted! Who are we hiding from, anyway Doctor?

Tapp: Believe me, you don’t want to meet them.

Melanie: Aren’t you looking for the shuttle, Doctor?

Doctor: Yes, we’ve got to get back to Paradise One and into the TARDIS. They we can try and hijack the collection ship when it leaves here. Well, Melanie, you have the memory of an elephant. Which way?

Melanie: [looks around] That way.

Lorelei: No. Melanie, that leads to the Happiness Rooms. The shuttle bay is on the other side of the complex.

Melanie: No, it isn’t. I’m sure...

The Doctor stares at Lorelei. She stares back.

Doctor: Mel, get back. Tapp, you too.

Tapp: Why, what’s wrong?

Doctor: I was just thinking – what happens when an insubstantial wraith engulfs a living humanoid being: in this case, Lorelei.

Lorelei smiles and places her hands on her chest.

Lorelei: Who? Little old me?

She flickers with energy. Two ethereal wings sprout from her back, her hands growing talons and wrinkling. Her face shrivels into a skull-shape shape, her long blonde hair dissolving into loose strands. Suddenly, an angel-ghost wearing a wrecked hostess uniform, stands there, hissing.

Lorelei: [dist] Infiltration has been an art I have excelled at. Many of us can wipe humanoid minds clean, reside in the emptiness, take over your forms. Lorelei was chosen a few hours ago.

Melanie: [shocked] She’s dead?

Doctor: As far as we know the term. And I suppose you’ve infiltrated quite a few of their workers here. Until something trapped you in those forms – mutated them into Cherubs.

Lorelei: [dist] A ploy by Gabriel to gain control.

Tapp: I’m surprised you let him live after that.

Gabriel: [VO-dist] She didn’t.

The Doctor, Melanie and the tourists whirl to see three other angel-ghosts floating in mid-air, surrounding by Cherubs.

Gabriel: [dist] We were claimed a month ago.

The alien contracts and warps, as do its companions, becoming Gabriel, Stella and Bella.

Gabriel: We have waited long enough. Take them away.

The Cherubs close in around the foursome.


The collection ship silently emerges from Paradise Five and flies off into the depths of space.


Gabriel, Stella and Bella, watch on, amused.


There are two angel-ghosts guarding the door. The holiday makers are far less freaked out, but are grumbling loudly. The Doctor throws his hands up, as if in despair, and crosses to Melanie, Tapp and Aht.

Doctor: This band of pen-pushers is not going to be the easiest of mutinous rabbles. We’re going to have to think up another plan.

Aht: We could try burning the guard?

Tapp: No, that won’t work another time. The other one would zap up before we could do anything. They might even possess you to make sure you keep quiet.

Melanie: Burn them? What are you talking about?

Doctor: Tell her, Aht.

Aht: As far as we can tell, these aleins are composed of super-condensed gas that needs to be kept as near-zero temperatures.

Melanie: That’s why its so cold in here!

Doctor: Yes, it also accounts for the rather odd design of the ship. It’s a honeycomb of small ventilation ducts that continually supply cold air. In fact...

Melanie: Doctor?

Doctor: Hmm?

Melanie: [grins] I’ve got a plan!


The collection ship moves through space.


The same d├ęcor as the rest of the ship. Two cherubs set controls as the Lorelei-wraith watches on, toying with a golden bracelet it wears.


The prisoners –including Tapp and Aht - now no longer wear the jackets or trousers and look very cold. The Doctor has shed his jacket and waistcoat, and Melanie her uniform.

Tapp: This is stupid, Doctor!

Doctor: This, Tapp, is the only chance we have to escape. Now, you, Aht and I are going to do something else. Pick up the clothing, will you. [sotto] Besides, this is the perfect excuse for getting out of this humiliation and it will a long time again before I get to use it, so come on!

The Doctor, Tapp and Aht run off with bundles of clothing. Melanie watches them, frowning, having heard every word.

Melanie: Right everybody. If you want to get warm, follow my movements. All right, now!

She starts doing some simple exercises with appropriate chants. Some of the braver holiday makers follow while the others refuse to do it – until the cold starts to get to them. Meanwhile, Aht shoves a small grille full of clothes until it is blocked. The Angels watch the group doing aerobics. The Doctor and Tapp block two more grilles. Aht blocks another. The Doctor uses the last of the clothes to fill a grille.

Doctor: Right! Come on!

The Doctor runs past the angel-ghosts, and begins to circle the chamber. Tapp and Aht follow. The whole chamber is filled with people moving - and creating excess body heat.

Aht: [exhausted] Are... you... sure about... this... Doctor?

Doctor: [still running] No. Come on!

The Angels begin to hiss menacingly. A low, evil-sounding alarm begins to ring in the background, faster and faster. The ghosts begin to close in on Mel, and the Doctor runs towards them.


Alarms and sirens are going off. The Cherubs concentrate on the controls while Lorelei turns to face some other wraiths. She speaks in a strange hissing and the others leave. She regresses into her humanoid state looking very, very worried.


Five or six bubbling glows glide towards the entrance to the cargo hold, and manifest into skeletal angels. One lets out a loud hiss and the door glides open. There is a blast of steam and the creatures begin to scream and howl before evaporating. The Doctor and Melanie emerge.

Melanie: It worked!

Doctor: Of course it did, Mel. How can you doubt yourself. The warmer air is lethal to them and is now spreading throughout the ship. Tapp! Aht! Come on, the flight deck.


More alarms are sounding. One of the Cherubs starts to gasp and splutter. A wraith by the door begins to writhe in agony. Lorelei looks around, anxiously, then shakes her head.

Lorelei: Plan B.

She presses her bracelet, shimmers and vanishes. Just then, the door opens to flight deck and the Doctor and Tapp enter, steam surrounding them. The remaining Cherub collapses as the wraith dissolves.

Doctor: Tapp, you know basic flight-procedures, don’t you?

Tapp: Just about?

They shrug aside the bodies of the Cherubs and start operating controls. Some alarms go off.

Doctor: Right, I want you to plot a course for Paradise One.

Tapp: Ah, I’m not that good at navigation.

Doctor: [annoyed] What?


The collection ship spins aimlessly before jerkily changing course.

Doctor: [VO] If there’s one thing I hate it’s front-seat drivers!

The collection ship flies off.


The screen goes blank.

Doctor: We eventually managed to arrive back on Paradise One and with the evidence and testimony of those prisoners, the whole Paradise operation was closed down. Gabriel and his cronies tried to escape in a shuttle craft but, unfortunately, negated to adjust the atmosphere controls so they just melted away.

Valeyard: [bitter] Very commendable, Doctor.

Doctor: And there you have it. I came across an irregularity and began to investigate – not meddle. When I became an active participant, it was to rescue those unfortunate victims and expose Gabriel’s hideous slave-trade: something which would have justified such interference anyway!

Inquisitor: It is accepted, Doctor. And you cannot refute it, Valeyard.

The Valeyard is about to reply when a door opens and a Chancellery guard enters with a message pod. The Valeyard takes it and thanks the guard. It opens to show a CD which he plugs into his terminal.

Valeyard: My Lady, I have new evidence. The Matrix has yielded a new probability study – a future which will definitely come to pass if the Doctor is to leave this court a free man.

He presses a control. Surprised, the rest of the court whirl to face the screen as it shows a burnt-yellow planet in space.

Doctor: [stunned] That’s Skaro!

The image zooms in on the planet.


A large circular chamber with glass panels on the upper surfaces to show a silver city outside. A large screen is set against one wall. The Supreme Dalek – black with white spheres – glides into view. Suddenly, the TARDIS materializes in the corner. We cut to the Doctor and the Supreme Dalek facing each other.

Supreme: You cannot be trusted!

Doctor: I have never been more serious or honest.

We cut to screen showing an orange planet surrounded by hieroglyphs.

Doctor: [VO] The space-time coordinates of Gallifrey.

We see the Supreme Dalek.

Supreme: Soon the Dalek Empire shall become the masters of time!


The screen turns white. Everyone turns to face the Doctor, who is utterly shocked, unable to say a world.

Valeyard: Whether or not the Doctor has proved himself innocent is no longer the cardinal issue. He is guilty of a far greater crime – the betrayal of his whole race!

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