Vengeance of Morbius
|Vengeance of Morbius|
|Big Finish Productions audio play|
|Range||Eighth Doctor Adventures|
|Executive producer(s)||Nicholas Briggs|
|Set between||Sisters of the Flame and Orbis|
|Length||1 60-minute episode|
|Release date||August 2008|
This is the last of a two-part story, the first part being Sisters of the Flame.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2013)|
The Doctor and Lucie protest as the Sisters force them over to the dispersal chamber. The Doctor insists that because he’d done everything they’d asked of him, the very least they owe him is an explanation. Orthena accepts this and reveals that Zarodnix is the leader of the Cult of Morbius. Lucie confirms that she’d heard this too and the Doctor is surprised to learn that she was briefed by Straxus - but they’re both still confused as the Doctor has no idea who Zarodnix is and Lucie doesn’t know who Morbius is! Even when the Doctor explains that Morbius was a Time Lord dictator who wanted to take over the Universe, Lucie still can’t see what the problem is if he’s already dead, but when the Doctor learns that Zarodnix is a rich intergalactic businessman who lives on Karn, the pieces start to fall into place.
Haspira believes the Doctor is playing for time and wonders what makes him any different from all the other Time Lords. Lucie realises they must have killed other Time Lords, but Orthena says they were mere bookworms, academics and small-minded researchers with no experience of the Universe outside Gallifrey, whereas the Doctor actually fought Morbius and has a right to know the truth before he dies. She explains that the Zarodnix Corporation drove the Sisterhood from Karn and mined out the surface of their planet. After the Sisterhood found a new home, they discovered Zarodnix has a dangerous obsession with Morbius and has dedicated his entire life to collecting every surviving artefact relating to the despot. Haspira was given the task of infiltrating the Zarodnix Corporation and fortunately the Trell were easily manipulated and soon trusted her…but then she learned that Zarodnix planned to revive Morbius…
On Karn, Kristof Zarodnix arrives on level minus 1,087 where the main laboratory is located. After confirming his voice print, retina scan and blood DNA sample, the security computer grants him access. He’s overjoyed when he learns that the latest extraction experiment was totally successful and he holds up a molecular-sealed specimen capsule and lovingly admires its engineering. He congratulates the Trell on their work and prepares to fulfil his lifelong vision, but then they’re interrupted by news that the incoming spacecraft is about to land. Zarodnix doesn’t care and gives the Trell permission to arrest the occupants or kill them, whatever they prefer. Aboard Haspira’s ship, Rosto informs Straxus that they’re about to land, but the Time Lord panics and insists that the Marshal take them back up into space. Unfortunately none of the controls are working and it’s not long before the ship settles on the surface. Straxus appears genuinely terrified and Rosto can’t understand why he’s so frightened.
The Doctor reminds the Sisters that the brain of Morbius fell to its death in the deepest canyon on Karn centuries ago and no part of him could have survived. Orthena admits that they don’t know what Zarodnix’s plan is and all they know is that he’s been scouring space and time with one aim - to find a Time Lord. The Sisterhood warned the Time Lords, who immediately quarantined Gallifrey and recalled all TARDISes, then they used the Timescoop to track down any Time Lords who didn’t respond. Orthena says that Zarodnix’s time particle monitors were able to follow the movements of the Timescoop, which is how his agents found and captured the Doctor. Fortunately Haspira was there to ‘rescue’ him, but Haspira is now keen to have the Doctor and Lucie executed…
In the laboratory, Zarodnix and the Trell are implanting the specimen capsule into a cabinet-like device called the Genetrotron when news arrives that security scans show one of the occupants of the captured spaceship is a Time Lord. Zarodnix is delighted and orders him to be brought down immediately. Rosto and Straxus hear banging outside the spaceship. Rosto suggests opening the hatch as Zarodnix’s people are quite within their rights to arrest them, but Straxus says Zarodnix is a maniac and they have to find a way off the planet quickly. Suddenly the airlock blows open and the Trell storm in, grabbing hold of Rosto and immediately implanting him with augmentation nanocytes. He cries out and collapses, then the Trell turn their attention to Straxus. Haspira demands that the Doctor and Lucie be placed in the dispersal chamber, and despite their protests, the two travellers are dragged inside and the door is closed behind them. Reluctantly Orthena gives the order for the machine to be switched on. Inside, the Doctor is hopeful the chamber is so old it might not work, but they soon discover they’re not going to be so lucky. The Doctor bangs angrily on the door and demands they be released, but no one is listening. He tells Lucie they have about 37 seconds left and admits that he’s run out of ideas. Lucie is remarkably calm and tells him she’s glad that if they have to die at least they were reunited first. The Doctor wonders how Straxus was able to find Lucie and she suddenly remembers she took the Time Ring from him. The Doctor rebukes her for not mentioning it earlier, then he grabs it and activates the controls. Immediately an alarm sounds which tells them the dispersal chamber doesn’t like the energy the Ring is emitting.
Outside the chamber, Orthena realises the power is being blocked by the energy of a Time Lord device. The Doctor and Lucie are worried when the Time Ring slows down and the dispersal chamber starts to power up again. The air inside starts getting really hot and the Doctor realises their molecules are getting agitated, so he bangs on the door again and calls out to the Sisters, warning them that Zarodnix already has a Time Lord prisoner. Moments later, the machine is switched off and the door opens. Orthena orders the Doctor to prove what he said and he shows her the Time Ring which belonged to Straxus, who was left behind on Haspira’s ship which was en route to Karn. Orthena had already sensed that Lucie was near Karn when the Sisters teleported her away so she realises he’s telling the truth. Whatever Zarodnix’s crazy plan is, this means he already has the Time Lord he needs.
As Straxus is brought before Zarodnix, the businessman orders his Trell servants not to damage him. Zarodnix uses a scanner to confirm the prisoner is a Time Lord, then he tells the Trell to prepare him immediately as they have no time to waste. Straxus warns him that what he’s doing is forbidden by the High Council of the Time Lords, but Zarodnix reminds him they’re currently hiding away on Gallifrey. Straxus is dragged away, screaming…
Haspira insists they kill the Doctor and Lucie anyway - just to be sure - which makes Lucie realise how wrong she was when she first met Haspira and thought she was really nice. The Doctor returns to the idea of Zarodnix mining Karn and Haspira confirms that she saw mining equipment arrive on the planet. The Doctor realises Zarodnix must have located a fragment of Morbius’s brain in the canyon, but that still doesn’t explain why he needs another Time Lord.
Straxus is strapped onto a machine in the laboratory and Zarodnix takes the opportunity to mock the weak, defenceless Time Lord as a typical example of his race. He says they have such power, but they never fulfil their potential or put their greatness to any use. Straxus accuses him of being as deranged as Morbius, but Zarodnix is flattered by the comparison. Then he explains that Straxus is going to help him bring Morbius back to life…
The Doctor has realised Zarodnix’s plan must involve genetic fusing. The Sisters can’t comprehend what he means, but Lucie has seen “Jurassic Park” and explains that Zarodnix has a piece of Morbius’s brain which he can mix with Straxus’s DNA to bring him back to life like a dead dinosaur. Orthena confirms that Zarodnix has access to the greatest minds in the known Universe so he’s probably bought the know-how to blend their genetic codes. The essentials of Morbius are contained within the brain fragment and everything else Zarodnix needs to create an entirely new Time Lord can be extracted from Straxus. They realise they have to rescue him quickly. Orthena starts to chant in an attempt to teleport Straxus to safety, but the Doctor knows Karn will be protected by energy fields and they’ll never reach him through mind power. Orthena believes all is lost, but the Doctor says they can still use his TARDIS him by coding the ship’s co-ordinates to those in Straxus‘s Time Ring.
Straxus pleads with Zarodnix to stop the experiment, but to no avail. He tries to convince Zarodnix that Morbius is dead and there’s no power in the Universe that can bring him back, but Zarodnix says he’s devoted his entire life to studying Morbius’s ideals and he believes his reputation is based on propaganda and lies. Among the artefacts he’s obtained over the years include Morbius’s Presidential robes, the technology he developed with his own hands and, not least, the very cells from his mind. With an infusion of living Time Lord DNA, there can now induce a new regeneration of Morbius.
Orthena takes the Doctor and Lucie to the TARDIS, ignoring Haspira’s pleads that she’s making a mistake for letting them go free. The elder Sister says their only concern is that Morbius should never rise from the dead and this is now the Doctor’s sacred mission also. She tells him the Sisterhood will be watching over him and he promises to do his best. As they enter the TARDIS, Lucie asks the Doctor what Orthena meant about watching over them, and he tells her no one’s ever been sure about the true extent of the Sisterhood’s psychic reach. The Doctor starts programming the controls for Karn, but Lucie asks why they can’t just go back in time and land inside Haspira’s ship before it reached the planet. He says this would involve him crossing his own timeline, which would be very unwise. In fact, he’s worried they may have already done that and he reminds her when the power shut down earlier as if the Eye of Harmony had never existed. He decides it’s worth taking Lucie’s advice and prepares to cross their timeline. Lucie is excited and wonders if they’ll bump into themselves, but suddenly the TARDIS jolts and the Doctor tells them the Timescoop snuck up behind them and disabled the controls while he wasn’t looking. There’s nothing he can do now to stop them being swallowed up by the black hole…
The TARDIS materialises and the Doctor and Lucie emerge to find themselves on Gallifrey. There’s no one about and it seems they’ve landed in some kind of holding area inside the Capitol. Bulek calls to them from the shadows and tells them the Timescoop is only employed to bring all their errant children back into the fold in the direst emergencies. He tells them the other Time Lords are all in deep isolation, but when he says he isn’t happy to discuss such matters in front of Lucie, she realises he’s just scared about Morbius coming back from the dead. She reminds him that his ’mate’ Straxus is in trouble and says they were on the way to help him when they were diverted. Bulek knows they were preparing to break the rules of time and he insists they stay here rather than continue on their journey. Bulek’s records indicate that Straxus was on his way back to Gallifrey and he expects him to arrive shortly, but the Doctor points out he’s been following Straxus’s Time Ring, not Straxus himself. In fact, Straxus is now in the hands of Zarodnix…
The processing of Straxus is now complete and Zarodnix is pleased to see he’s still alive as they may need him again in the future. The Trell technicians confirm the gene-splicing was completed successfully, then they open up the Genetrotron cabinet and inside the cabinet they see a man wearing Presidential robes. Zarodnix asks Straxus if he can identify the man, but before he can answer, the man steps out and proudly announces that he is Morbius! Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor and Lucie are waiting for Bulek to shut down the Transduction Barriers so they can leave Gallifrey when the ship suddenly starts shaking. The Doctor realises the whole planet is being affected, so they race outside to find Bulek. He tells them they’re under attack from primitive interplanetary missiles and the earthquakes they’re feeling are the missiles bouncing off the Barriers. The ships in orbit are manned by the Trell and Lucie realises they must be working for Zarodnix. The Trell can’t get through the Barriers, but they’ve been sent here to relay a hyperlink transmission from Karn. Everyone turns to look at a screen and they see Zarodnix next to a young man he refers to as his Lord Morbius.
Morbius sends a message to the High Council of Time Lords - he tells them he’s returned and will show them as much mercy as they afforded him. When he receives no response, he assumes the Time Lords are too afraid, so the Doctor asks Bulek to open a channel, then he apologises for the delay and says they were all busy finishing off a particularly good jigsaw puzzle. Morbius recognises the Doctor from centuries ago, but the Doctor tells him he should give up his plans for galactic domination, because although he’ll never succeed, he’ll create endless carnage while trying. Morbius says there’s nothing the Time Lords can do to stop his vengeance from consuming the cosmos, but the Doctor mocks him and says he’s surrounded by yes-men like Zarodnix. Morbius produces a medallion-like device, which the Doctor identifies as the remote activator for a Stellar Manipulator. He assures Lucie it’s harmless without the Manipulator itself and only one was ever constructed, but Morbius says he’s mistaken. He presses a switch and says the Stellar Manipulator is now active. On Gallifrey, the lights start to fade and Bulek reports a power drain. Morbius is draining off the energy from the Eye of Harmony and soon the Time Lords will be left without the power of time travel and at the mercy of his Trell army. The Doctor switches the transmission off and tells Bulek to deactivate the Transduction Barriers. Gallifrey will be exposed soon enough anyway, so they need to leave in the TARDIS before it becomes immobilised. The Doctor and Lucie plan to go to Karn, stop Zarodnix and prevent the resurrection of Morbius - even if it means breaking the rules of time!
On Karn, Zarodnix tells Morbius that the Transduction Barriers have been shut down. Morbius calmly orders the Trell to open fire and says that when the Times Lords have been destroyed, there’ll be plenty more work for them to do…
The Doctor and Lucie race into the TARDIS, but Lucie is worried that when the Eye of Harmony shuts down they’ll be trapped in the ship without any power. The Doctor assures her they’ll have a certain amount of reserve power and if they can latch on to one surviving nano-second of temporal energy they’ll be able to complete their mission. As they dematerialise, Lucie insists they go back to before all this started and nobble Zarodnix. Just then, the console starts to spark and the Doctor realises the Stellar Manipulator is ripping the heart right out of his TARDIS. Then there’s an explosion…
…and the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor and Lucie are relieved to be alive and it even looks like there’s an ounce of power still left in the ship’s cells. They don’t have enough energy left to check what’s outside, so they have to trust the ship’s homing instincts. When they emerge, they find themselves in a large cell that reminds Lucie of the London Dungeons. They notice a hooded prisoner in the shadows and when the Doctor removes the man’s cowl, he’s revealed to be Straxus. Across the planet, the computerised voice of an augmented Trell announces the return of their Lord Morbius in victory from battle. The people are ordered to rejoice…
In the cell, the Doctor and Lucie have also heard the announcement. Weakly, Straxus explains that this is what’s happened for the last ten or more years, and Lucie realises to her horror that the TARDIS must have slipped forward in time rather than backwards. Morbius has been going about his conquering ways for over a decade and every opponent has fallen before his might. Straxus says the Palace they’re in was built on the remnants of a thousand worlds and he only ever leaves his cell for the ‘feeding’. The Doctor realises he’s referring to unsuccessful gene-splicing and Straxus explains that Zarodnix never really understood the technology that he was using. Every time Morbius’s life force weakens, they take more of Straxus’s. If Morbius is returning from battle, then Straxus will be summoned shortly and he’s not sure how much longer he can survive…
Zarodnix greets his Lord Emperor, but his welcome is dismissed by the weary Morbius who demands they bring up their prisoner from the dungeon. Zarodnix had predicted this and had prepared the gene-infuser the moment he heard Morbius was returning. Morbius admits that he’s fatigued by battle, but says it was a good fight and his empire continues to grow…and the more it grows, the more fear itself becomes their greatest weapon. Whole star systems are now surrendering at the mere sight of his fleets, but there are still occasional challenges to enjoy. In the dungeons, Lucie assumes the Doctor’s silence means he’s coming up with a plan, but she tells him to be quick as someone’s going to come through the door any minute now and drag poor Straxus off to have the life drained out of him. The Doctor asks if Morbius is still wearing the Stellar Manipulator remote control around his neck and Straxus says it’s always there as a symbol of his power. The Doctor thinks it’s more than just a symbol and says it’s holding the Eye of Harmony at bay and denying it to the Time Lords. Lucie says if they can switch it off, Gallifrey will get its power back and they can travel back in time to put everything right. The Doctor sarcastically points out that it’s not going to be that easy, but essentially she’s right.
Zarodnix tells Morbius he’s heard a rumour that Earth put up a bit of a fight. Morbius says it’s true and the humans were very tenacious…for a while at least. He says he’s brought back the Statue of Liberty as a trophy to put on top of the Palace and he’s already put a thousand slaves to work on it. He wonders whether the humans, if trained and conditioned correctly, would make good soldiers for the empire. Morbius becomes weary again and goes out onto the balcony to think about the many races he still has left to conquer. After a campaign he always likes to come out and look down over the canyon where he once fell to his death. He says he has a lot to thank Zarodnix for, but then Morbius is suddenly gripped by an intense pain and he orders Zarodnix to send for Straxus immediately.
When the Doctor takes Lucie back to the TARDIS she’s worried he’s planning to take off and leave Straxus to his fate, but he tells her it’s time to use their last remaining ounce of power. While he activates the ship’s telepathic circuits to see if the Sisterhood are still around, he sends Lucie back to Straxus with some water. The weakened Time Lord is sceptical when he learns the Doctor is trying to contact the Sisterhood as he believes they’ll have been one of Morbius’s first targets for vengeance. Lucie wonders what happened to her friend Rosto and she’s surprised when Straxus tells her he’s still here. He says they injected him with whatever Zarodnix was using to control the Trell and ever since then, he’s been the one who collects Straxus and takes him to Morbius. He thinks there may be something of the old Rosto still left in the new augmented creature as he speaks to him from time to time and he always says the same two words - “Lucie Miller”…
The Doctor telepathically sends out a message to Orthena, warning that they only have one chance to get things right. He’s prepared to sacrifice his life, but it’s vital they get the Manipulator away from Morbius. When he switches the device off, the Sisterhood must teleport him away immediately or else they’ll just kill him and re-set it. Although he’s sure he can feel Orthena’s mind, there’s no response. Eventually the power in the TARDIS fades completely and he can do no more.
Haspira complains to Orthena that the Time Lords have never done anything for them and that they should leave the Time Lords where they are, besieged and isolated. She believes the Sisterhood are safe and that they don’t owe anything to the rest of the Universe, so she suggests they let the Doctor fight his own battle without their help. The Doctor returns to the dungeon and reveals that he’s used up the last of their power and he doesn’t know whether the Sisterhood got his message. He’s surprised to see Lucie and Straxus being watched over by one of the augmented Trell guard, but Straxus explains that this is Rosto, the policeman who helped Lucie earlier. The Doctor knows that without the bionic alterations, the Trell are normally quite an affable species, and this is confirmed when Rosto turns to Lucie and calls her name. It seems Lucie must have made quite an impression on him after all…
Zarodnix assures the weakened Morbius that the infusion is ready. Straxus is on his way, but he’s taking a long time and Morbius wonders what’ll happen if the Time Lord is dead. Zarodnix is confident Straxus should survive for a number of years yet, but Morbius realises that eventually he’s going to need another Time Lord - and in all his campaigns, there’s been no sign of them anywhere. Morbius looks down over the canyon again and wonders if this is where his ultimate destiny lies. Zarodnix says Morbius is overwrought and notes that he’s always like this just before the ’feeding’. The doors open and their prisoner is brought in. Morbius urges Zarodnix to bring him straight to the infuser, but when he orders Straxus to remove his cowl so he can see his rotting, stinking face, he discovers the prisoner is none other than the Doctor!
Before anyone can react, the Doctor snatches the remote activator from around Morbius’s neck. Morbius calls for Zarodnix to kill the Doctor, but then Lucie, Straxus and Rosto burst in. There’s a brief battle with the guards in the throne room during which Rosto is hit and falls to the floor. Morbius struggles with the Doctor as they fight over the activator, so the Doctor concentrates and sends a telepathic signal to the Sisterhood, pleading for their help. Morbius taunts the Doctor and says he’s not strong enough to fight him without the help of those witches. They soon find themselves out on the balcony. Lucie shouts out a warning, but the Doctor is too busy shutting down the Manipulator. He tells Morbius the power is now returning to the Time Lords and they’ll soon be on their way here, crossing their timelines and shutting Morbius out of history completely. Morbius finally realises he has no future and is determined that at least he can force the Doctor to join him in his oblivion. With the last of his strength, Morbius grabs hold of the Doctor and the two of them fall over the edge of the balcony, disappearing from sight, deep into the canyon below…
Lucie screams for the Doctor. Straxus tells her they’ve gone, but at least Morbius is back where he belongs. Lucie refuses to believe the Doctor could be dead and looks over the balcony, clinging to the hope that he might be holding onto something just below them - but there’s nothing there. Slowly the truth dawns on her and she realises the Doctor has gone. Suddenly the air is filled with a strange noise and Straxus says it must be the Time Lords correcting the flow of time. Then they miraculously find themselves on Karn many years earlier, before the Zarodnix Corporation came here. Bulek appears and explains that thanks to the Doctor they’ve been able to put everything right. There never was a Morbius empire, but Bulek says the Doctor’s death was part of the vital time event that made the repairing of history possible. His actions are at the centre of things, so there’s nothing they can do to save him.
Lucie threatens to kick some sense into Bulek, but he tells her she too has to be returned to her correct timeline. She begins to cry and says her correct place is down in the canyon with the Doctor. She says they might as well chuck her down there with him, but as she completely breaks down, Straxus knows she doesn’t mean it. He tells her the Time Lords can make her forget everything and says it might be for the best, but she pushes him away angrily and refuses the offer. She says the Doctor was her mate and he saved the Universe, and that’s something she never wants to forget. Bulek says the Doctor always inspired such peculiar loyalty and they agree to respect Lucie’s wishes. Lucie says she doesn’t respect any of the Time Lords because if they really cared they’d be willing to break a few of their fancy rules and bring him back to life. Bulek asks her if deep down she really thinks it’s all over, but all Lucie can say is that she’ll never forget the Doctor. She asks the Time Lords to take her home. Much later, Lucie is at home when there’s a ring on the doorbell. Although it’s the middle of the night, the caller is obviously impatient as the ringing and knocking becomes more intense. Eventually Lucie opens the door and is shocked to find herself facing her old foe, the Headhunter. The woman raises an alien gun and warns Lucie that she’ll kill her if she makes a move. Lucie protests, but this is enough for the Headhunter and she opens fire. Lucie screams and the sound of her voice echoes in the air and then fades away…
- The Doctor — Paul McGann
- Lucie Miller — Sheridan Smith
- Revenant — Samuel West
- Zarodnix — Kenneth Colley
- Rosto — Alexander Siddig
- Straxus — Nickolas Grace
- Bulek — Barry McCarthy
- Haspira — Nicola Weeks
- Orthena/Headhunter — Katarina Olsson
- This is Episode 7 of Series two in the Eighth Doctor's audio adventures with companion Lucie Miller, originally broadcast on BBC Radio in 2008.
- Morbius and the Sisterhood of Karn previously appeared in the 1975 television serial The Brain of Morbius, during the Tom Baker years.
- Straxus appeared in the conclusion to the first series of Eighth Doctor & Lucie audios, Human Resources, broadcast in 2007. He returns, newly regenerated and played by Peter Egan, in the 2012 box set, Dark Eyes.
- The Time Ring first appeared in Genesis of the Daleks, and subsequently featured in the season finale of the first series of Eighth Doctor & Lucie audio adventures, Human Resources.
- The Time Scoop first featured in The Five Doctors.
- The Dispersal Chamber (also known as the Oubliette of Eternity) was used in Neverland.
- The Headhunter was a recurring character during the first series of the Eighth Doctor & Lucy's audio adventures, and also appeared with them in Grand Theft Cosmos. She returns to resolve the cliffhanger in Orbis.
- "BBC Radio 4 Extra - Doctor Who, The Vengeance of Morbius". BBC. Retrieved May 2013.
- Big Finish Productions - Vengeance of Morbius
- Vengeance of Morbius at the Doctor Who Reference Guide