Lies in Ruins (audio story)

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Lies in Ruins was the first story in the audio anthology The Legacy of Time, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by James Goss and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, Lisa Bowerman as Bernice Summerfield and Alex Kingston as River Song.

Publisher's summary[[edit]]

On a strange ruined world, a renowned archaeologist opens an ancient tomb. Only to find another archaeologist got there first. Professors Summerfield and Song unite to solve a mystery. Then the Eighth Doctor arrives, and things really become dangerous. Because their best friend isn't quite the man River and Benny remember...


Professor River Song leads an archaeological expedition into a mysterious tomb, which she recognises as Malesian; when she opens it, she finds Professor Bernice Summerfield, who arrived earlier, inside. The two professors begin to confront each other. The tomb they are standing on is on a planet that mysteriously appeared out of nowhere, and both River and Benny arrived there in response to a message sent to Luna University requesting the assistance of their top archaeologist. Hearing the TARDIS materialise, they leave to meet the Doctor.

Out of the TARDIS come the Eighth Doctor, in a rather gloomy mood, and Ria, a new companion unknown to both of them, who is very enthusiastic and excitable (and therefore irritating to both of them). While the Doctor wanders around, River (who has sent the students back to the university so as not to endanger them) and Benny continue to study the ruins, discovering that they are dealing with a civilisation that seems to have developed over centuries without a war. When Ria, having climbed a wall, falls and temporarily sprains her ankle, Benny takes her to the Doctor, leaving River to translate a mysterious inscription.

When Benny and the Doctor reach River, she tries to hide the contents of the inscription, saying that she didn't understand it, but Benny anticipates her: she too has realised that they've landed on the ruins of Gallifrey. The discovery throws the latter into a state of deep depression, which surprises Benny, to whom River must try to explain what's going on in the Doctor's life at the moment. They're all interrupted by the arrival of a group of scavengers, who claim their "right" to mine the planet's mineral resources and are preparing to bomb it.

Looking for a way to fight back, the archaeologists happen upon the ruins of the Matrix, where the "ghosts" of past Time Lords try to talk to them and threaten to erase their minds - except to Ria, who for some strange reason manages to harness the power of the Matrix. Inspired by what has happened, and feeling guilty for "not having done more", the Doctor decides to defend his planet and, with the help of the Matrix, erects a defence shield to protect the surface, programming it to reflect back the blows of the enemy fleet, in the hope that they will go away.

Concerned by the Doctor's continued moral decline, who even takes to rebuilding Gallifrey from scratch, River and Benny try to dissuade him from continuing. Benny can't, because she can't understand what's happening to him, but River manages to break through, and confronts the Doctor with the fact that, if he continues, he'll end up failing his ideals and becoming a different man than he is. The Doctor accepts, and lowers the defence shield. Only then does River reveal that she's realised that they're not actually on Gallifrey, but on a ruined TARDIS, which has projected what each of them wanted to see (a Malesian tomb for the archaeologists, Gallifrey for the Doctor). The ghosts are those of the pilots of this TARDIS, which the Doctor assumes to be very old.

The Doctor instructs them to let the raiders destroy the "planet", before leaving with River and Benny. Ria, deadly injured in the bombing, is revealed as an android, built by the Doctor as a moral support during a "bad time", someone to tell him that he was still doing the right thing. At the moment of her death, mysterious entities speak from an unspecified place, saying that "the Sirens are free".





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