THE DOCTOR was lost in thought, his brow deeply furrowed in a contemplative frown as he walked behind the trio of Viyrans through the corridors of their command ship. Riddell and Flo followed behind him, congratulating one another noisily on how they had saved the mighty Shadow Proclamation from the devastation that the errant Starmind had threatened, replaying their roles with ever more exaggeration and aggrandisement.
Suddenly, the Doctor stopped in his tracks, whirled around and glared at them both. One wordless stare from his piercing eyes was enough to bring a sudden halt to their conversation. Usually the most effervescent person in the room, the Doctor’s moments of seriousness were all the more intense for their comparative rarity. His point made and his travelling companions silenced, he resumed his march in deep thought. Riddell and Flo exchanged glances like a couple of rebuked schoolchildren, shrugged, and then followed behind him in cowed silence. The Viyrans had led them all the way back to the waiting TARDIS before Riddell first summoned the courage to speak again, seeking the break the tension.
AS THE dusky twilight loomed over the rural landscape, the Doctor tied Marilyn’s reins carefully to the white picket fence, taking a few moments to calm the skittish mare. He took off his Panama and placed it crookedly on her head. Somehow, this seemed to mollify the horse; she nodded gently as if to register her appreciation. The Doctor smiled sweetly at her, but then his face turned grave as he turned to look upon the ramshackle, abandoned colonial house before them. All the while, Riddell was rifling through his knapsack a few steps away.
“So, then, here we are,” proclaimed the Doctor with a dramatic flourish. “‘The Shunned House.’”
Riddell drew alongside the Doctor, his face grim, and regarded the building before them with deep unease. “Here we are, indeed. Let’s get on with this.” In one hand he now held a silver crucifix, in the other a roughly fashioned wooden stake.
“The Starmind” (2LD04)
by David Agnew
Game Master: Brian Players: Adam, Erin
Game Date: 16 June 2017
Characters: The Doctor, Riddell, Flo
Adversaries: The Starmind
Allies: The Viyrans, The Shadow Proclamation
Time: 22-23 December 253185 CE
Space: The Shadow Proclamation, Constellation of Scytha
Synopsis: The Starmind is the most advanced artificial sun ever created, a nuclear furnace possessing limitless energy and a brilliant artificial intelligence. The Starmind is powerful, adaptive, intent—and it has gone mad! Aboard a Viyran command ship, the Doctor, Riddell, and Flo learn the incredible history of this marvel of stellar engineering as they desperately attempt to outrun it. Its intentions are ominous and its target is clear, for the rogue sun is on a direct course for the Shadow Proclamation—stronghold of justice, hallowed font of galactic law, and the foremost repository of strategic information regarding countless civilizations.
Upon reaching the Shadow Proclamation’s base of operations in the heart of an asteroid field, the Doctor witnesses a most innovative invasion. A new star takes its place in the heavens and begins its slow takeover of the base’s photonic computer systems using nothing more than the pervasive, relentless power of sunlight. Soon, the unparalleled defences of the galaxy’s greatest law enforcement agency are turned against them, and the resulting chaos leads the Doctor and his companions to uncover inconvenient truths. There is a dark side to the justice of the Shadow Architects, and the Doctor will have to expose their secrets if he hopes to use the dark to overcome the light.
THE AFRICAN savannah thundered with the combined sound of hooves and military boots. An unlikely foursome kicked up huge swathes of dust in their wake as their sanctuary, a trusty blue box, began to grow from a mere speck on the horizon to resemble the unmistakable form of the TARDIS. Even as it grew closer, however, their pursuers edged ever nearer.
For all her adventures both in and out of the TARDIS, Marilyn was exhilarated at an opportunity to race on her home planet once again, her muscles rippling and her mane flowing resplendently in the warm breeze. The Doctor looked to be enjoying himself, too, grinning from ear to ear as he roared on encouragement to his trusty steed from the saddle. Rather less comfortable was Riddell, an accomplished horse rider himself but here looking and feeling altogether out of sorts, perched behind the Doctor and holding onto his midriff as if for dear life. Keeping pace alongside them, Flo demonstrated how his UNIT training had kept him in the peak of condition, his mighty Judoon legs powering through the wilderness.
“Before the Storm” (2LD03)
by Steven Dieter & Nick Seidler
Game Master: Brian Players: Adam, Erin
Game Date: 8 April 2017
Characters: The Doctor, Riddell, Flo
Adversaries: The Ice Warriors
Time: 12 January 2017 CE
Space: Ontario, Canada, Earth
Synopsis: The CR 238 to Toronto is going to be significantly delayed. Boarding the train, the Doctor and Riddell learn that it has become the target of saboteurs. In the first-class dining car, panicked passengers are succumbing to an unconventional poison. Among them is Brigadier General C.G.I. Coupland, a senior military official who clings to consciousness long enough to reveal that he has been placed aboard the train to safeguard the Unified Intelligence Taskforce’s most closely guarded secrets. Backup is unlikely, for outside an unexpected snow storm is becoming a full-blown blizzard!
As the train is plunged into darkness and slows to a standstill, the Doctor and his allies set out to search its secure cargo cars. There they meet up with an old friend—one of UNIT’s extraterrestrial operatives—and uncover a cache of strange and powerful artefacts bound for UNIT’s Black Archive beneath the CN Tower in Toronto. Perhaps the most powerful of these is the ion drive, a salvaged spacecraft engine that has been modified by UNIT’s boffins to operate as a means of controlling the weather! As the storm intensifies and heavily armoured alien soldiers close in on the snowbound train, the Doctor begins to understand the strategic value of Coupland’s operation and the nature of the enemy that threatens it. The Ice Warriors of Mars have been monitoring UNIT for some time, and the 238 to Toronto represents a strategic opportunity that they will not fail to seize!
THEIR FEET thudded onto the frozen tundra as the Doctor and Riddell jumped from the motionless train, breaking the silence of the night. It was pitch black save for the faint glow of lights from within the carriage, moon and starlight gazing down from the clear sky, and the light afforded by a gas lamp that Riddell was carrying in one hand.
The Doctor, casting a striking figure in a light tan trenchcoat as protection from the chill air, stepped out into the darkness beyond the glow from the train, then immediately gazed up to take in the night sky. “Earth, then,” he proclaimed. “Northern hemisphere, Anthropocene Age.” His nostrils flared as he took in a deep breath of the crisp night air, adding, “Post-industrial. Twenty-first century, I’d say.”
THE FAMILIAR wheezing and groaning sound of the TARDIS had inspired many a rush of emotions for John Riddell in his travels with the Doctor: the thrill of danger, the hope of rescue, the promise of a new adventure, and much more besides. This time, though, he felt a novel and incongruous combination of relief and regret.
The door creaked opened and the Doctor greeted his friend with a broad smile and a doff of his Panama, before standing to one side and gesturing for him to enter. Riddell eschewed the welcome, trudging inside in silence, eager to leave behind the Helios starliner and all of which it still reminded him.
“What’s wrong, John? Did someone spike your drink?” the Doctor quipped, punctuating the question with a characteristic short, explosive laugh that irritated Riddell in moments such as this.