|Series||Doctor Who book:|
Eighth Doctor Adventures
|Preceded by||War of the Daleks|
Alien Bodies is an original novel written by Lawrence Miles and based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It features the Eighth Doctor and Sam. This story marks the first appearance of Faction Paradox, a time travelling Gallifreyan voodoo cult. The Faction's story arc begins here, and concludes in The Ancestor Cell.
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Years later, the Doctor (now in his eighth incarnation) is playing a game of chess with General Tschike of UNISYC, when suddenly the general pulls a gun on him. Tschike tells the Doctor that the only reason the various Earth governments he has encountered down the years have never done this before is because they never really believed that the Doctor could be actually killed. Now they have received information from a source in what was once Borneo that suggests differently. Before Tschike can shoot however, the Doctor dives out a nearby window. Tschike knows he won't hit the ground; after all, he's the Doctor. In fact the TARDIS has been hovering outside, and, reunited with Sam, the Doctor heads to Borneo to investigate.
In Borneo (now referred to as East Indies Revit zone) two other UNISYC soldiers, Colonel Kortez and Lieutenant Bregman arrive at what appears to be the ruins of an ancient city, but it is really a block-transfer computational structure known as the Unthinkable City. The City is a venue for the auction for an artifact, known as the Relic. In addition to the two UNISYC soldiers, other bidders include a dead man named Trask, a conceptual entity referred to as The Shift, a Time Lord called Homunculette and two representatives from Faction Paradox, Cousin Justine and Brother Manjuele. The auction is being organised by Mr. Qixotl, who is awaiting the arrival of one more party before the bidding can begin. When the TARDIS materialises at the City, the Doctor and Sam are attacked by leopards that are programmed to attack anyone whose biodata they do not recognise. However, the Doctor locates one of their control pads and adds his own and Sam's biodata to the guest list. Qixotl, horrified, recognises the Doctor and tries to hide his identity from the other quests.
Homunculette is a Time Lord from sometime in the Doctor's future where the Time Lords are entangled in a war with a mysterious "Enemy". The Time Lords want to possess the Relic because they think it will give them an advantage in the war and Homunculette has been pursuing it across history. At some point it fell into the hands of Earth governments and Homunculette attempted to retrieve it after the Dalek invasion, but Qixotl had already claimed it. His companion Marie is actually his TARDIS, disguised as a woman. In the City, Marie's weapons systems are suddenly turned against her and she explodes. While the Doctor is amazed by the future evolution of TARDISes, Homunculette assumes that Faction Paradox are responsible, since they are natural enemies of Time Lords. Faction Paradox also once possessed the Relic, which they unearthed from the ruins on Dronid, where the first battle between the Time Lords and the Enemy was fought. However, its discoverers didn't realise its significance and fired it off into the vortex as part of a ritual (where it eventually came to Earth).
Sam finds Bregman has gone into culture shock at the presence of so many alien beings and wonders why she has never felt such feelings. The pair is drawn into the Faction Paradox shrine, which resembles a TARDIS crossed with a voodoo shrine, where Brother Manjuele attacks them and takes a biodata sample from Bregman. Both Bregman and Sam begin hearing voices in their heads which appear to come from the Relic and follow them into the heart of the City. The Doctor confronts Qixotl and demands to known what the Relic is. Qixotl reveals the truth; the Relic is a coffin containing the Doctor's own future dead body.
Flashbacks reveal Qixotl was once on Dronid just prior to the battle. He was stranded there following the collapse of various criminal activities and learnt from local gossip that the Doctor was on his way to Dronid, but no-one is sure whether he has sided with his own people or the enemy. The current Doctor presses Qixotl for more information, but is appalled when he reveals that the Daleks are the last bidder to arrive. Outside a black spaceship descends and Qixotl and the Doctor go to meet it. But instead of the Daleks, a Kroton, called E-Kobalt emerges, having killed the Dalek passengers and taken their ship. The Krotons are also aware of the future war from captured Time Lord prisoners and believe they can use the conflict to further their empire.
Sam and Bregman reach the Relic in a vault at the centre of the City, but suddenly the City's internal defenses are activated which use the intruders biodata to create a psychic attack unique to the individual. Bregman is filled with a sense of self-loathing and despair and Sam is attacked by giant babies that appear out of the walls, but the only result is to make her confused. Forced to ignore the auction, the Doctor rushes to shut off the system and rescue them. Finding Sam and the dead embryos, he realises that Sam has two sets of biodata; the Sam he knows and another dark-haired version. This confused the security system and it couldn't generate a proper attack. The Doctor concludes that someone has re-written Sam's biodata to make her the perfect travelling companion for him. His conclusion is confirmed by the dead body in the coffin. Despite being dead, a Timelords mind remains active to some degree and the Doctor more so than usual and it has been calling out to Sam, Bergman and the current Doctor.
Back in the Faction shrine, Manjuele attempts to take over Bregman's mind while it is in a confused state. But the Doctor realises what is happening and touches the dead mind inside the Relic to give himself enough energy to push Manjuele out. Repelled from Bergman, Manjuele realises the Doctor's identity and bursts into the auction to tell the others. The various groups assume they have been set up and turn on each other. As the Doctor intervenes, he suddenly recognises Qixotl from his past and is consumed with a desire for bloody revenge on the man who tried to profit from his death. As he is about to strangle him, he suddenly realises that they are all being manipulated by The Shift, that has got into all their minds and exploited their various insecurities to set them against each other. The Doctor deliberately falls into a catatonic state, trapping The Shift inside his mind. It reveals that it works for the Enemy. It was originally a Gabrielidean soldier who fought on the side of the Time Lords and encountered a future Doctor, before dying and being turned in a conceptual entity for the Enemy. When the Doctor wakes up, it can no longer influence the bidders, so retreats inside E-Kobalt to await another chance.
The chance arrives soon for E-Kobalt has summoned re-enforcements and the Doctor's actions have deactivated the security systems. Abandoning the auction the bidders attempt to flee. In the chaos, Qixotl is mortally wounded, only to be approached by Trask. Trask is an agent of the Celestis, a future version of the Celestial Intervention Agency who have removed themselves from existence and become beings of pure thought who observe the war from outside the universe. They maintain influence through their agents who bear their mark. They brought Trask back from the dead as such an agent and they can save Qixotl in the same way, if he gives them the Relic. The Doctor uses a piece of crystal discharged by the Krotons weaponry as a biodata sample, which he uses to activate the Faction shrine so the bidders can escape. Meanwhile, Marie has been slowly repairing herself and makes contact with the Doctor. He materialises the Shrine around the attacking Krotons, who accidentally destroy themselves attempting to blast their way out of the Shrine. The Doctor seizes the moment and traps The Shift in a mental prison inside his mind. Stepping out to reclaim his own body, he finds Qixotl has surrendered it to the Celestis, who have taken it to their extra-dimensional home, Mictlan.
The Doctor follows Trask and arrives in the castle at the centre of Mictlan where the Celestis watch the universe through a portal in the floor. In addition to the Celestis the world is also populated by their servants, who made deals with them across history and now live a terrible existence as slaves. Just before the battle on Dronid, a future (and possibly the final) Doctor made his own deal with the Celestis to stop them interfering on Dronid. Now they are going to take his body in payment of this debt. The current Doctor makes a counter offer; they can mark his current body and he will be their agent in return for releasing the Relic to him. They agree and place a mark on his hand; but in fact the Doctor has tricked them and they have actually marked The Shift inside his mind.
Returning to the real world the bidders go their separate ways; Qixotl dismantles the City (glad the Doctor never learnt the truth about how he got his hands on the Relic), Marie and Homunculette return to the war, The Shift is downloaded into the TARDIS memory. Bregman returns to UNISYC, taking comfort from the fact that although humanity is such as small part of the universe, the higher powers still need human beings to define their existence. The Doctor chooses not to tell Sam about the Relic or what he's learnt about her biodata. He takes the Relic to Quiescia and buries it next to the grave his third self dug. He then uses a bomb to destroy his own body forever.
- The Thirteenth Doctor appears briefly in Trask's flashback. Although we hear him speak, no physical description of him is given.
- The Krotons, crystalline creatures from the 1969 Second Doctor story, The Krotons also appear.
- Cousin Justine returns as the main character in the Faction Paradox audio plays beginning with "The Eleven Day Empire", voiced by Suzanne Proctor and Wanda Opalinska. Homunculette (in a different incarnation) and Marie reappear in The Taking of Planet 5.
- Dark Sam is introduced in this novel, and the first glimpse of the two Sams is given, where her timeline has been manipulated so that she would meet the Doctor. This story arc is referenced again in Seeing I and The Taint before it is explained in depth in Unnatural History and concludes for good in Interference: Book Two.
- The Cloister Library - Alien Bodies
- Alien Bodies title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database