Doctor Who: Last of the Gaderene: 50th Anniversary EditionMark Gatiss
About the Book
About the Author
The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection
Chapter One: Summer Lightning
Chapter Two: Awol
Chapter Three: The Visitors
Chapter Four: Cargo
Chapter Five: Escape to Danger
Chapter Six: Gogon of Xanthos
Chapter Seven: Legion International
Chapter Eight: The New Order
Chapter Nine: The Control Room
Chapter Ten: ‘For God’s Sake Get Away From Here!’
Chapter Eleven: The Beast
Chapter Twelve: Friends in High Places
Chapter Thirteen: Missing
Chapter Fourteen: Night Takes Bishop
Chapter Fifteen: The Wind Tunnel
Chapter Sixteen: Jo Alone
Chapter Seventeen: Sleeping with the Enemy
Chapter Eighteen: Returns
Chapter Nineteen: Sleepers
Chapter Twenty: Out of the Shadows
Chapter Twenty-One: Display of Power
Chapter Twenty-Two: Guest of Honour
Chapter Twenty-Three: Fête Worse Than Death
Chapter Twenty-Four: The Marsh
Chapter Twenty-Five: Lair of the Worm
Chapter Twenty-Six: Resurrection
Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Ninth Key
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Improvisation
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Attack!
Chapter Thirty: Siege
Chapter Thirty-One: Scramble
Chapter Thirty-Two: Desperate Measures
Chapter Thirty-Three: Invasion
Chapter Thirty-Four: Last of the Gaderene
Chapter Thirty-Five: Peace-time
About the Book
The aerodrome in Culverton has new owners, and they promise an era of prosperity for the idyllic village. But former Spitfire pilot Alex Whistler is suspicious – when black-shirted troops appear on the streets, he contacts his old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart at U.N.I.T. The Third Doctor is sent to investigate – and soon uncovers a sinister plot to colonise the Earth. The Gaderene are on their way...
An adventure featuring the Third Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee and his companion Jo
About the Author
Mark Gatiss is one of The League of Gentlemen from the award-winning television show, and the author of the novels The Vesuvius Club and The Devil in Amber. He has also written acclaimed radio and television scripts, including episodes of Doctor Who. He co-created and writes for the hit TV series Sherlock with Doctor Who show-runner Steven Moffat.
The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collection
Ten Little Aliens
Dreams of Empire
Last of the Gaderene
Festival of Death
Fear of the Dark
Remembrance of the Daleks
The Silent Stars Go By
‘For Jesus said unto him, “Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.”
And he asked him, “What is thy name?”
And the man answered, saying, “My name is Legion: for we are many.”
This book was first published in 2000 (or the Year 2000 as it was known in my youth. Possibly even the Space Year 2000. Or did I imagine that?). I wrote a little introduction and this is how it went:
It’s still possible to transport some of us of a particular age back to a magical childhood time when all nights seemed wintry and dark, the football results never ended and Doctor Who was the best show on television. All you have to do is utter the simple words, ‘Remember the one with the maggots?’ It’s no good trying to explain what the show meant to us then; suffice to say it was the great constant in our little lives: the heroic Doctor, Jo Grant, the gently moralising stories, the fantastic monsters, action by HAVOC. And during the eternity between seasons we always had the Target books. They gave us exciting versions of stories we had seen, and glimpses into a strange and mysterious past where the Doctor had been someone else. Whenever I was off school, my medicine of preference was always Planet of the Daleks (and maybe oxtail soup), because it took me light years away from my four walls and into the Doctor’s Universe. What a comfort and a genuine inspiration those books were. Incidentally, I feel I must point out that the cover of this book portrays the Third Doctor, whose physical appearance was altered by the Time Lords when they banished him to Earth in the twentieth century.
So, if I may, I’d like to dedicate this book to that happy time and to two men: Terrance Dicks and the late, great Jon Pertwee; for all those Saturday nights.
What I couldn’t possibly have foreseen (without a Space/Time Visualiser at any rate) was that only a few years after the release of Last of the Gaderene, Doctor Who would return triumphantly to our screens, instantly rediscovering a ‘family’ audience long thought extinct. Not only that, but I would write for it and even appear in it! To say these things were dreams come true would be to put it mildly.
With the incredible success of the new show has come a renewed interest in its past, and the one thing those of us raised on Typhoo-tea wall charts and Weetabix dioramas were always denied: proper toys. Now, I am 45 years old. I don’t need a model Zygon, a K1 Robot or every variation of the Daleks. What place can three different versions of Jon Pertwee possibly hold in my non-dimensionally transcendental home? But resistance, as they say, is useless.
All those beautiful Cybermen! A Hartnell TARDIS that makes the dematerialisation sound! Omega – complete with snazzy cloak (though I wish his helmet hinged up to reveal there’s nothing left of him). And isn’t it a shame that on the box containing the action-figure of the Last of the Osirans it doesn’t say ‘Plaything of Sutekh’? I have comprehensively given in to nostalgia and sometimes there’s nothing wrong with that.
But what’s truly wonderful is that all these things, books, audio plays, toys are part of an ongoing history of fantastic escapism. A brand new, vibrant TV show that viewers of all ages will be nostalgic about in years to come. In that spirit then, my renewed dedication must be to the man whose incredible energy, imagination and sheer enthusiasm brought the Doctor back to us. To Russell T Davies. For all those new Saturday nights.
The woman’s eyes were as brown as the Bakelite wireless on the high shelf behind her head.
The song coming from the wireless was muffled and crackly, as though the singer were far away. But the voice still managed to sound sweet, wistful and achingly melancholy all at the same time. There would be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover, the singer promised, her sweeping tones washing over the crowded bar.
A stocky young man with a neatly clipped moustache leant on the bar, his lively eyes sparkling with good humour.
He watched the woman as she looked around the room, which was a blur of blue serge. She hitched up her skirt a little and tugged at her stocking, but she was careful that other men
surrounding her, their faces flushed with high spirits and too much beer, didn’t see. Such things were for his eyes only.
The young man pushed his officer’s cap back on his forehead and forced his way through the crowd, four pints of bitter clutched precariously in his hands, his handsome face wreathed in smoke from his pipe. He moved the pipe from side to side between his clenched teeth and navigated a careful path through his fellow airmen to a red-leather upholstered seat.
The slim and rather beautiful woman watched his approach and a delighted smile lit up her round face. He felt a little thrill of joy dart inside him. Perhaps he’d ask her now. There was nothing to lose. And so much to gain. In his imagination he’d always seen them walking arm in arm through some sunny glade, not jammed behind a little table in a bar. But the war made everything much more urgent.
The young flyer pushed two of the pints across the table towards his friends and then settled down next to the woman. She thanked him and took a sip of the foaming beer.
‘Are you sure that’s what you wanted?’ he asked, tugging the pipe from his mouth.
She nodded and pushed a stray strand of long chestnut hair from her eyes.
He rubbed his chin nervously and tried to think of the best way of saying it.
They’d been thrown together by the war – almost literally. An incendiary bomb had gone off just outside the shelter where he’d been hiding and the young woman had rushed inside just in time. The sweat was standing on her forehead and her eyes were bright and frightened. But, at the sight of him, she had broken into a broad grin.
He looked at the pint of beer on the table in front of him.
‘Well, I suppose if you’re going to be my wife, you’ll have to get used to this grog.’
Her pretty eyes disappeared into half-moons as she smiled. She sipped at her pint and then almost choked on it. She span round in her seat.
‘What did you say?’
He feigned innocence. ‘When?’
‘Oh,’ he took a great draught of his pint. ‘You mean about marrying you?’
She looked suddenly vulnerable and terribly pretty. He leant over and kissed her.
‘Oh, Alec…’ she mumbled. After a while, she pulled away, grinning happily. ‘OK, mister. I’ll marry you.’
‘Good show,’ laughed the flyer.
‘On one condition.’
He frowned. ‘Oh?’
She cradled his face in her hands and smiled a little sadly.
‘Get through all this alive, won’t you?’
He nodded, beaming, and embraced her. He glanced around the room, taking in the ceiling blackened with smoke where men had burnt their names and squadron numbers into it with candles; the knots of young flyers in their blue uniforms, the fug of smoke and laughter. He thought of the nights he and the girl had spent together since that first meeting in the air-raid shelter. Her funny laugh. The time he had flown his aeroplane over the factory where she worked and looped the loop just to impress her.
He lifted her hand from her knee, squeezed it and then pressed it tenderly to his cheek.
Distantly, there was a low, rumbling drone.
His senses were immediately alert. Whirling round, he looked up at the ceiling, her hand still in his. A few of the airmen had heard it too.
He opened his mouth to speak; to tell the wonderful girl by his side to get down or to run for it. It was a buzz bomb. Had to be. But the sound was different somehow. A stuttering, shattering roar. Then the sound stopped and silence fell.
A moment later, the room exploded into white nothingness.
It was some days later that the young man found himself wandering over the devastated ground where the bar had stood. Soft cotton pads covered the severe burns he had sustained to his cheek, and one arm was painfully supported in a sling. He had been lucky.
The beautiful girl with eyes like Alice Fey; the girl he’d waltzed around the Pally one night; the girl he’d asked to marry him; she had not been lucky.
The young man in the blue officer’s uniform took his cap from his head and tucked it under his uninjured arm. Ahead of him, the ground was little more than a blackened hole. Mud was churned up in a wide crater and fragments of debris – glass, chair legs, even a girl’s handbag – were scattered around the rim.
The young man looked up as, with a throbbing roar, a squadron of fighter planes passed overhead.
He would get through this war. For her.
Something caught his eye, stark and incongruous against the black earth like a shark’s tooth in caviar.
Reaching down, he plucked it from the ground. It was about three inches long, jade-coloured and crystalline. In his ruddy palm, it seemed to glow.
He frowned and tucked it into his jacket pocket, then turned on his heel and walked towards the aerodrome gates, the roar of the Spitfire engines still ringing in his ears.
Deep in the earth, under cover of the flattened mud, something stirred…
A ladybird dropped out of the clear blue sky on to Jobey Packer’s hand; bright against his skin like a bead of blood.
He paused in his work and, instead of swatting it away, watched it amble slowly over his knuckles. The ticklish sensation, he decided, was rather nice.
The ladybird’s wing-case cracked open and, in an instant, it was gone.
Jobey smiled to himself and craned his head backwards to take in the enormity of the sky. Out here, away from the village, it dominated everything, like a vast canvas only precariously fixed to the narrow strip of the earth. Curlews arced and fluttered in it – dark flecks against the perfect blue. Jobey closed his eyes and listened to their sad cries muffled by the warmth of the summer afternoon.
The land rolled out under the sky like a great streak of muddy watercolour, dotted here and there with stubby trees or the shining mirrors of inland waterways.
Jobey craned his old head back further till his straw hat almost flopped to the ground. Its tightly bound weave was coming undone, exposing the peeling red skin on his tanned forehead. Perhaps one day he’d treat himself to a new hat. He let the sun beat at his face.
He’d never even been tempted to move away from Culverton, though he’d seen plenty of life elsewhere. Even in the parched deserts of Alexandria, under the stars where the pharaohs once walked, Jobey had always dreamed of his little village. Safe, secure, always the same. As old as the hills – except, of course, that there were no hills in Culverton. None to speak of in all his beloved East Anglia. Just land and sky.
Land and sky.
Nowhere else ever seemed quite the same.
Jobey had found himself in London once, many years ago, crushed together with other countless thousands when the king and Mr Churchill had emerged on to the balcony of the palace to celebrate the end of hostilities. He had cheered and wept with the best of them, of course, but after a couple of days in the capital he was desperate to come home. London was such a mean, filthy, rabbit warren of a place. Everyone in such a rush. No time to say a ‘good morning’ or a ‘how d’you do?’ Not like Culverton.
When he was a little boy, Jobey would stand and windmill his arms round and round and round, just to make the most of the emptiness. Sometimes, when no one was looking, he still did.
He shaded his eyes now as he looked out across the marshy farmland. There was the green with the old pump, the post office with its subsiding wall, the hotchpotch of cottages and houses clustered around the russet-coloured church as though seeking sanctuary. The air hummed with insects and the mournful song of the birds, turning and turning. Jobey gave a contented sigh and turned back to his work.
He lifted the hammer and, with a few swift strokes, banged a couple of nails into the sign he’d spent most of the morning attaching to the gates in front of him. Jobey paused and shook his head. There he was, getting all misty-eyed about Culverton never changing, yet here was change staring him in the face. The end of an era.
He took a step back to take in his handiwork. The sign, red on white, glared back at him like an accusation.
CULVERTON AERODROME CLOSED BY ORDER M.O.D
Commander Harold Tyrell decided the time had come to say goodbye.
A great bear of a man, his rumpled face and infectious laugh had endeared him to the whole village throughout his time in charge of the aerodrome. He had seen it through some of its finest hours. Postwar at any rate.
There had been the splendid air show to celebrate the coronation. And then the dramatic rescue which he’d co-ordinated in person, sending cargo planes to the aid of a stricken tanker off the coast. When was that? ’64? ’65?
Tyrell sighed and ran his finger over the big oak desk in the control room. It left a broad, brown streak in the dust. He looked around the room he’d known so well. The panoramic window, stained and partially boarded up; the radar monitors, the model Wellington bomber. He picked this up and clutched it to his chest. He’d saved it until the very end because it meant the most to him.
Always a churchgoer, a line from his favourite hymn came back to him and ran round and round his head like looped tape:
‘Change and decay in all around I see…’
He squinted as he peered through the great, curved window. The sunlight coming through it created a wide prism on the old carpet.
There was someone out there, walking swiftly across the broken tarmac of the airstrip.
Tyrell frowned. This was odd. And not a little annoying. He’d taken great pains to see that his final day in the job would leave him alone with his beloved old aerodrome. The one thing he didn’t want before he closed the gates for the last time was to send some vandal off the premises with a flea in their ear.
With a grumpy sigh, he headed for the door, then stopped dead.
There were footsteps coming up the staircase outside. Whoever it was, they had the audacity to come straight to him. Unless it was an urgent message, of course. Perhaps his wife was ill. She’d taken the closure of the aerodrome almost as badly as he had.
Suddenly concerned, Tyrell stretched out his hand towards the doorknob.