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Douglas Adams



  Title Page

  About the Book

  About the Author



  Part One: Off the Shelf

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Part Two: An Uncharitable Deduction

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Part Three: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Part Four: Carbon Copies

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Part Five: Gallifrey’s Most Wanted

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59

  Chapter 60

  Chapter 61

  Chapter 62

  Part Six: Brought to Book

  Chapter 63

  Chapter 64

  Chapter 65

  Chapter 66

  Chapter 67

  Chapter 68

  Chapter 69

  Chapter 70

  Chapter 71

  Chapter 72

  Chapter 73

  Chapter 74

  Chapter 75




  About the Book

  The Doctor’s old friend and fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis has retired to Cambridge University – where nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. But now he needs help from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. When he left Gallifrey he took with him a few little souvenirs – most of them are harmless. But one of them is extremely dangerous.

  The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey isn’t a book for Time Tots. It is one of the Artefacts, dating from the dark days of Rassilon. It must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. And the sinister Skagra most definitely has the wrong hands. He wants the book. He wants to discover the truth behind Shada. And he wants the Doctor’s mind...

  Based on the scripts for the original television series by the legendary Douglas Adams, Shada retells an adventure that never made it to the screen.

  About the Author

  Gareth Roberts was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire in 1968. His scripts for Doctor Who on television include ‘The Shakespeare Code’ (2007), ‘The Unicorn And The Wasp’ (2008), ‘The Lodger’ (2010) and ‘Closing Time’ (2011), and he has also written many scripts for the spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as scripts for programmes as diverse as Emmerdale and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased). He has written nine previous original Doctor Who novels, and lives in West London.

  Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge in 1952, and was educated at Brentwood School, Essex and St John’s College, Cambridge, where he read English. As well as writing all the different and conflicting versions of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy he has been responsible for Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, and, with John Lloyd, The Meaning of Liff and The Deeper Meaning of Liff. In 1978-9, he worked as Script Editor on Doctor Who. He wrote three scripts for the programme - ‘The Pirate Planet’, ‘City of Death’ (under the name David Agnew), and ‘Shada’. Douglas Adams died in May 2001.

  For Clayton Hickman, whose role in the creation

  of this book was larger than Queen Xanxia’s

  transmat engine, and whose role in my life is

  more precious than oolion.

  And in memory of Douglas Adams.

  ‘The radical evil: that everybody wants to be what they might and could be, and all the rest of mankind to be nothing, indeed, not to exist at all.’

  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections

  ‘… flat eyes that only turned toward the stars to estimate their chemical tonnage.’

  Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

  ‘Other people are a mistake.’

  Quentin Crisp, Resident Alien

  ‘Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body?

  I dunno…’

  The Smiths, ‘Still Ill’

  Fig. 1. These words are carved into the machonite plinth upon which rests The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey, one of the Great Artefacts of the Rassilon Era. They are here reproduced by kind permission of the Curator of the Panopticon Archives, the Capitol, Gallifrey. Translated from the Old High Gallifreyan they read, roughly: ‘If this book should care to roam, box its ears and send it home.’

  Part One

  Off the Shelf

  Chapter 1

  AT THE AGE of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist. This revelation tends to make most people in the universe who have it react in one of two ways – with relief or with despair. Only Skagra responded to it by thinking, Wait a second. That means there’s a situation vacant.

  Now, many years later, Skagra rested his head, the most important head in the universe, against the padded interior of his alcove and listened to the symphony of agonised screams coming from all around him. He permitted himself two smiles per day, and considered using one of them now. After all, the sounds of wrenching mental anguish and physical distress were a sure sign that his plan was working and that this was going to be a good day, possibly even a 9 out of 10. So he might have even more cause to smile later on and he didn’t want to waste a smile. He decided to save it, just in case.

  Instead, as the screams faded slowly into bewildered animal whimpers and the occasional howl of uncomprehending fear, Skagra climbed from his alcove and turned to survey his handiwork. His own alcove was one of six (an even number, of course) set into the sides of a tall grey hexagonal cone at the centre of the main laboratory. At the top of the cone was a grey sphere.

  Minutes before, he had watched as the other five members of the Think Tank climbed into their alcoves, laughing and joking in their irritatingly trivial way. They hadn’t even noticed that there were connecting terminals built into the headrests of all of their alcoves but no such terminals built into his own. Why were other people so stupid, Skagra wondered? Even these people, who were so clever, were basically stupid. He had wondered this every few seconds for as long as he could remember. Still, thanks to him – thanks to the plan of which this moment was a significant part – soon other people would no longer be a problem.

  The five Thinktankers stood gibbering in their alcoves, their eyes blank, limbs making the occasional spasmodic movement. It was interesting that the bodies of all five had survived the process.

  Now to check on their minds.

entered a command code into one of the many panels of instruments that lined the walls of the laboratory. It was a cursory, automatic gesture. If a lesser, sillier person had conceived this plan – not that anybody else could have this conceived this plan – they would have rigged up a big, melodramatic silly red lever to activate the sphere. Skagra congratulated himself on not doing this.

  The command code chirruped and the sphere started to vibrate. A confused babble of thin, inhuman voices issued from its interior. It was the sound of thought. Messy, disorganised, arbitrary, no words distinguishable.

  Skagra raised a hand. The sphere’s command program reacted instantly. It detached itself from the top of the cone and zoomed towards him, coming to rest in his palm. Its touch was metallic and ice-cold.

  Skagra’s fingertips curved round the surface of the sphere. He looked across the laboratory at the slumped figure of Daphne Caldera, her eyes staring moronically into nothing, her lips issuing bubbly baby noises.

  Caldera – whose specialty was six-dimensional wave equations. Skagra had never found the time to explore this particular avenue of research beyond the rudiments. Obviously, zz = [c2]x4, everyone knew that. But Caldera had taken the study of six-dimensional wave equations into an entirely innovative area. ‘A whole new dimension, you might say!’ she had joked yesterday, and Skagra had been forced to sacrifice one of his smiles just to look like one of the herd.

  Now, his fingers on the sphere, Skagra applied his own mind to a complex six-dimensional wave equation problem:

  Σ is less than †Δ if ∂ is a constant, so β†ΔΔ + ≈ç if expressed as Zag BB Gog = ?

  The answer popped into his mind: ((>>>x12!

  Of course! It seemed so obvious now. It was obvious.

  The process had worked. But Skagra decided on one more check, a deeper probe of the sphere’s potentialities.

  In the alcove next to Caldera, C.J. Akrotiri was slumped, his fingers making tiny circling movements, his mouth hanging open, discharging a string of drool. Akrotiri, the legendary neuro-geneticist, whose research into dendritic pathway alteration had led to the cure for Musham’s disease.

  Skagra thought of Akrotiri, deciding on a suitable test question.

  And suddenly, overwhelmingly, a memory tumbled into his mind –

  I’m stood on the beach, a skimboard under my arm, I’m trying to look muscly and confident but you can’t fake confidence or muscliness and I feel like a fool and I’m wondering why I ever thought this was a good idea and suddenly SHE is there and she looks so good and I look so bad and she’s asking me do I want to skim over to the island and does she mean with her and of course she means with her and so we get on the board and I’m dying inside and she puts her arms around my back and I kick off and suddenly we’re skimming over the water under a purple night sky and she rests her head on my shoulder and I think did she mean to do that and she doesn’t take her head away and I can’t believe it and I skim clean on to the island like a pro which I’ve never done before and she falls onto the sand and I go to help her up and she laughs and pulls me down and suddenly she’s kissing me and my head’s spinning and this can’t be happening to me – and then in a flash I can see it, I can see how dendritic decay can be reversed by the early introduction of a fluon particle into Genome A/5667 –

  Skagra shook himself. It was to be expected that some traces of personality and experience might, on occasion, corrupt the data during retrieval. He would increase the sphere’s filter capacity to ensure such irrelevant sentimental trash would never again get in the way of the important things in life.

  Then he released the sphere, which bobbed in the air, following its master as he crossed to the main communications panel. With another casual cursory movement he activated the message he had prepared earlier. Then he swept out of the laboratory, the sphere accompanying him.

  His own voice echoed around the laboratory. ‘This is a recorded message. The Foundation for Advanced Scientific Studies is under strict quarantine. Do not approach, I repeat do not approach. Everything is under our control.’

  The message began to repeat itself, transmitting on all frequencies out into space. But not very far out into space. Skagra wanted the message to keep any passing spacecraft away from the Think Tank and the word quarantine had a very definite effect on most beings, Skagra had found. It changed statements such as ‘I wonder if we could help those poor people, Captain?’ into statements such as ‘It’s the plague! Scream! Scream! Let’s get out of here with incredible reluctance and at incredible speed!’

  The message rang out loudly in the central laboratory of the Think Tank.

  And the people who were supposedly the greatest minds in the universe, flopping and babbling in their alcoves, couldn’t understand a word of it.

  Skagra walked calmly – he always walked calmly – down the corridors from the laboratory to the shuttle bay. There were four docking positions built into the hull of the space station. Illuminated signs showed that docks 1, 2 and 3 were occupied by standard shuttlecraft, three-seaters with enough fuel to reach the outskirts of galactic civilisation.

  Skagra walked calmly past docks 1, 2 and 3, the sphere following, and pressed his palm onto the locking panel for the unoccupied dock 4.

  The airlock swung open into empty space.

  Skagra walked calmly and confidently through into what appeared to be absolute nothingness.

  He was on his way.

  Chapter 2

  CHRIS PARSONS FELT that time was passing him by, and also that time was running out on him. How time could be doing both of these things to him at the same time he didn’t have time to wonder.

  For a start, he was twenty-seven. Twenty-seven!

  Over the years he had noticed a disreputable tendency in himself to age at the rate of approximately one day per day, and now, as he cycled the short distance from his flat to St Cedd’s College on this unusually sunny Saturday afternoon in October, he could already feel another day heaving itself up onto the pile.

  The old streets and the even older university buildings, tall and stony with their grey-mullioned windows and effortless beauty, seemed to mock him as he cycled by. How many hundreds of young men had passed through these institutions, studying, graduating, researching, publishing? Now all of them were dust.

  He’d come up to Cambridge as a fresh-faced grammar-school boy nine years ago, and flown through his physics degree without much conscious thought at all. Physics was the one thing he could do well. Now he was engaged in a long and very occasionally exciting postgraduate struggle with sigma particles. He could predict the exact rate of decay of any sigma particle you cared to mention. But today even Cambridge, which he loved but had come to take as much for granted as the sun rising in the morning, seemed to add to his own inner feeling of decay. He often wondered if there was anything much left to be discovered in his field of research. Or, for that matter, any other. The modern world seemed unrecognisably futuristic to him sometimes. Videotape, digital watches, computers with inbuilt memory, and movie special effects that had made Chris, at least, believe a man could fly. How could things get any more advanced than that?

  He passed a gaggle of freshers, who were to a man and woman kitted out in short hair and drainpipe trousers. How had this happened? Chris’s own undergraduate days had been spent in the flared denims and flowing hair that he still favoured. He had been a member of the younger generation, the generation that was going to change everything, for ever and completely. There couldn’t be another one, not yet, not before anything much had changed for ever and completely, it wasn’t fair. For heaven’s sake, in a few months it was going to be the 1980s. The 1980s were clearly far in the future and they had no business turning up until he was ready.

  Yes, time was passing him by in general. But it was running out on him in a much more specific way.

  Clare Keightley was leaving Cambridge on Monday.

  She’d got a job at some research institute in the States and worked out her noti
ce at the university. Three short days added to the pile and then he would never see her again, never get the chance to start another conversation. They talked rather a lot, saw each other rather a lot, and Chris despaired at the end of each encounter. Whenever they met, and much more of late, Chris felt that Clare had the air of waiting for him to say something obvious and important, but for the life of him he couldn’t work out what it was. Why did she have to be so intimidating? And why did he have to be so in love with her?

  Still, he had concocted one last shot, one final chance to impress her, one final excuse to talk to her, where she’d be so overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness that she might, finally, at long last, just tell him what she wanted to hear him say. That was why he was now turning through the ancient stone archway and into the impressive forecourt of St Cedd’s college.

  Chris parked up his bike among the rows of similar vehicles that acted as the students’ free and endlessly swappable transport system. He took a scrap of paper from his satchel. Prof Chronotis, Room P-14. He looked around for the porter, but he must have been off on his rounds, so Chris collared two of the less outlandish undergraduates in the quad – one of them was wearing a Jethro Tull T-shirt, thank God – and they directed him to a door set in an ivy-covered corner.

  Chris was very much wrapped up in his own thoughts and concerns about Clare, the passage of time etc., as he headed down the narrow wood-panelled corridor towards Room P-14, but a small corner of his inquiring mind couldn’t help but wonder at the oddness of the architecture around here. It looked very much as if the corridor should have ended at Room P-13, but there was a buttress, a corner and a small extension down to P-14. That was all very well, because many of the university buildings were a patchwork of renovations and extensions, but the really curious thing about this particular one was that there was no obvious discontinuity. It was as if the extension had been built at exactly the same time as the building it was the extension to. This puzzled Chris on a deep, subconscious level that his conscious mind didn’t even really notice. He did, however, notice a persistent very low electrical hum that seemed to grow louder as he approached the door marked P-14 PROF CHRONOTIS. The wiring in these old buildings was a disaster, probably installed by Edison himself. Chris half braced himself for an electric shock as he reached for the knocker and rapped smartly on the door.