Neverland (audio story)

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Neverland was the thirty-third story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Alan Barnes and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, India Fisher as Charlotte Pollard, Lalla Ward as Romana II, Anthony Keetch as Vansell and Don Warrington as Rassilon.

This story concluded the arc of stories beginning with Invaders from Mars concerning the paradox of Charley Pollard's surviving the R101's destruction.

Neverland was one of three audio stories to feature Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor alongside Romana as played by Lalla Ward. The others were the audio adaptation Shada, which itself was an extended release of the webcast of the same name, and Zagreus.

Publisher's summary[[edit]]

The Web of Time is stretched to breaking. History is leaking like a sieve. In the Citadel of Gallifrey, the Time Lords fear the end of everything that is, everything that was... everything that will be.

The Doctor holds the Time Lords' only hope — but exactly what lengths will the Celestial Intervention Agency go to in their efforts to retrieve something important from within his TARDIS? What has caused the Imperiatrix Romanadvoratrelundar to declare war on the rest of creation? And can an old nursery rhyme about a monster called Zagreus really be coming true?

The answers can only be found outside the bounds of the universe itself, in a place that history forgot. In the wastegrounds of eternity. In the Neverland.

Plot[[edit]]

part one[[edit]]

A mechanical voice reads out key dates in the Humanian Era, including the crash of the R101. This voice is overlapped by a female voice, which reads out key dates in the Sensorian era. The first voice is still going, and lists dates and events in the Rassilon era, but when it gets to the Dalek Fleet being captured in the vortex, it begins breaking up, and screams that it "can't remember".

In the TARDIS, the Doctor explains to Charley that although the Daleks are trapped in a paradox, a time pocket, they may still be brought back by the Time Lords to avoid disruption to the timeline. They are in the Acteon galaxy, which the Doctor describes, saying that he hasn't been there since he "was an old man. Probably". Then, on the scanner, they see a large number of grey battle TARDISes, and realise they are there for them. Meanwhile, Vansell tells Romana that they have located the Doctor, and are blocking entrances to the vortex across 5 million consecutive years. The time station they are in heads towards them. The Doctor receives a message ordering them to power down their TARDIS, which the Doctor ignores, and is shot at by time torpedoes. However, a time slip hits them, which sends their TARDIS through time.

When it's over, the Doctor asks Charley how long they've been travelling together, and Charley guesses it to be about six months. The Doctor wishes her a happy birthday, and says she's going to an amazing party, inside the Jovian Fold. Acting excited, he says he won't be attending, and will pick her up in a year. The Doctor will go and see the Time Lords in the meantime, and try to sort out the paradox of Charley's existence. Charley doesn't want to hide away, saying that it's time to stop dreaming, time to grow up, but the Doctor doesn't want to give up on her. She hits the fast return switch.

Kurst and Levith, CIA agents, enter the TARDIS, which has been frozen for a few hundred years. The Doctor awakens and mutters about adventures he's had, and they take him for his "date with the President". They use a time-space converter to wake up Charley. The Doctor comes to his senses in a metal room in a 7C Supra-Orbital Time Station, where he teases Vansell about their time in the Academy. Vansell lists the many occasions on which Vansell has been traced to in different time periods after her death. Romana gives her word that no injustice will be carried out against Charley.

Charley is prepared for a procedure by the CIA agents while Vansell continues interrogating the Doctor about recent time slips. This leads the Doctor to explain the theory of Anti-Time, which he doesn't believe in, but is convinced when Romana shows him the time slips and disruptions originating from the 1930s. They describe Charley as patient zero; a rip in the fabric of space-time. Time is "running out", and the Matrix cannot cope. The Doctor is standing on a door to the Matrix, which he enters unwillingly.

Inside the Matrix, he sees the future if the slips continue: Gallifrey burning, Mount Cadon obscured by smoke. He meets an old man, who tells him Gallifrey is dead, and the people who are left alive have turned cruel. This is now the Empire of Zagreus. He sees Romana as an Imperiatrix, who has become cruel. She takes the Dalek Emperor and it's fleet as prisoners. as prisoners as they beg to be released. The Imperiatrix-Romana destroys the Daleks. The Doctor protests that this isn't right, and an angry mob begins to attack him. He is brought out of the matrix projection.

The Doctor still swears he will protect Charley, despite the projection. Romana suggests they follow the time distortion to its source, and Vansell relishes in adding that they'll destroy it. They must go through the space time breach using Charley, in order to enter the universe of Anti-Time, which Vansell claims to have ancient records about. Meanwhile, the agents finish installing the space-time converter, and Charley wakes. They explain they are using a sub-protonic converter to allow people to travel using her into another universe, but that it may change her.

Romana assures the Doctor that the changes to Charley will be reverted, and says she's sure Vansell will turn a blind eye and allow them to leave after their mission is complete. Vansell agrees. Charley, stabilised inside an acceleration field (created by the machinery mentioned earlier) inside the Doctor's TARDIS, will be used to find the coordinates of the source of the breach. The gate of Zagreus is opened, and Charley screams. Suddenly, things go wrong, and the Doctor's TARDIS is sucked through. Soon, so is the Time Station.

The Doctor's TARDIS has arrived. Charley whimpers as Levith explains that Charley was reverting to her natural state as the TARDIS broke through. The power to the proton accelerator was cut off, and Charley stabilised. Kurst unties Charley as Levith sees that the TARDIS cannot definitively say where they are: they arrived in the universe of anti-time (antiverse). The Doctor, meanwhile, taunts Vansell as they make it through to the antiverse with some other Time Lords who were with them in the station, including the Undercardinal. Looking out, they see constant motion- their theories of Anti-Time were correct. However, there is a single fixed point: a planetoid. Clearly it doesn't belong there. From this planet emanates the trans-temporal beacon Levith had set up, which the sensors pick up.

Exploring the planetoid, Levith sees a forest, which Charley says are just metal spikes. The beacon malfunctions due to time disruption as Charley runs towards the spikes. She hears laughter, and then a voice is a distorted form of her own voice and that has her memories. Turning around, she sees this person looks like her, too. She describes a time Charley was a child and got lost in the woods, and then tells her that she has been following her since France. Her people are everyone who never was, never died, never lived, and they want her to join them. The agents hear Charley's scream and hold off the collection of ghosts (Neverpeople) while Charley escapes. The collection kills Kurst, saying that the Time Lords made them, and so they can unmake Kurst.

Levith and Charley run for the TARDIS, but the beacon and the TARDIS have been swallowed by the ground, which cracked open. The Doctor and Vansell argue over what to do, and the Doctor triggers the Time Ship to go towards where the beacon was- against orders. The Neverpeople reappear, asking Charley to join them again, but then the Time Station comes towards them. Romana threatens to restrain the Doctor. The station crashes against the metal forest, and the distorted neverperson-Charley voice makes herself known. The Neverpeople feed on the time energy in the time station, becoming more solid. Romana tells them off. The guards fire at them, but it doesn't do anything.

Charley-Neverperson says that the truth about Zagreus, the thing which Vansell came here for, is here. Vansell orders the guards to lower their weapons and follow him, but Romana regains control quickly, and they follow her and the Doctor out. Charley and Levith reach the time station, reuniting with the Doctor and Romana. Vansell questions the Doctor's loyalty and motives, though Romana seems unswayed by his probing. They all go into the metal forest, and the Doctor finds it strange. Acid rain begins falling, and they take cover.

Charley realises that the area that they're in is bigger on the inside than on the outside- the planetoid is actually the wreck of a TARDIS. Romana admits that she had suspected it all along. Vansell investigates the area- the console room- and they find a spark of life. Just enough to form a hologram of the old man the Doctor met in the Matrix: Rassilon (of the Matrix)! He will not rest until Zagreus is destroyed. He explains his story, and how it ended with his paranoia that he may have brought into being, by constructing the one true timeline, its opposite: Anti-Time. A poison he feared would spill into the main timeline. He found the 'Neverworld' and has been battling Anti-Time, but that he has always hoped that his Time Lords would find him and take him home.

Part two[[edit]]

Romana admits that this is why they really came, and the group discuss the Zagreus nursery rhyme as a metaphor for what is happening to the web of time. Vansell and Levith tell the story of a hero who sought out battle with Zagreus. The hero's name? Azalon, also called Razlon, or Ra. Before Ra leaves home, he orders all records of his quest destroyed, to avoid undermining his utopia. This perfectly mirrors Rassilon's tale. Vansell wants to resurrect Rassilon, and says proof of the tale being true lies in a Zero Cabinet, somewhere on the planetoid (TARDIS). The Charley-Neverperson returns, offering to negotiate terms: the Neverpeople are allowed to survive in tandem with the main timeline, and they will help them resurrect Rassilon by giving them the Casket of Rassilon, and the time station.

Vansell, Romana, and the Doctor argue about what to do about the Daleks in the time loop, and the Neverpeople. The Neverperson expands on her terms: they'll need a permanent gateway (meaning Charley's time is likely up), and until that can be established, they will keep one of their 'leaders' (Romana, Vansell, and the Doctor) with them. Vansell nominates Romana to stay, and Levith agrees. The Doctor says this is a coup and Vansell is self-interested, but the Neverpeople say they trust him. Vansell's loyalty lies with Gallifrey and Rassilon, not with Romana.

They all go outside to find the Casket, and Romana follows the Neverperson's orders. They are presented with the Casket, supposedly containing Rassilon's remains, and they are let go. The Neverpeople take Romana, and Vansell leaves the Doctor to be sucked into the hole in the ground, with Charley taken back by the CIA, with Rassilon's Casket in tow. Meanwhile, Romana walks with the Neverpeople towards the rest of the Neverpeople for a trial. Vansell (now Acting Lord President) restores the power to the time station. Romana is met by two of the Neverpeople: Taris and Rorvan. She doesn't remember them. The Charley-Neverperson reminds her of her childhood, and tells her of her friends, who are the pair before her. She still doesn't remember them.

Charley-Neverperson questions her about the things she was given knowledgeable of when she became president, including the Oubliette of Eternity. She says it's a disused chamber in the heart of an offworld station that is the CIA headquarters. The chamber was used for 'dispersion', a form of punishment that is no longer used. The Doctor comes in and says that the Anti-Time universe is where dispersed people ended up. The Neverpeople were once Time Lords. Rorvan and Taris, who were orphans, were dispersed for discovering that their parents were student rebels who were dispersed themselves. Sentris is the one wearing Charley's face, and she chose to disperse herself; the 217th member of the CIA. This is her way of making amends.

Romana apologises to the Neverpeople, but they tell her that dispersal is still happening, being carried out in her name- on Vansell's orders. In the ship, Charley realises that Vansell has been infected with Anti-Time. Sentris tells the Doctor and Romana that Rassilon was a paranoid despot who deprived the Universe of free will, and that he built the Oubliette. As Rassilon's actions created Anti-Time and it's monster (which he called Zagreus), he came to the antiverse... But Zagreus never existed. This 'Zagreus' that Rassilon supposedly fought was a concoction to persuade Time Lords to come to the antiverse. Vansell does not have Rassilon's body, for he still lies dead in his "sleep of the just" in the Dark Tower. The hologram was a projection.

Charley is being prepared to be used as a gate again, so the CIA can leave the antiverse, and she sees the Neverpeople come into the ship. Sentris tells the Doctor that the Casket contains Anti-Time, which will infect the Capital of Gallifrey. Sentris claims this will bring freedom for all- this 'empire of Zagreus' - but Romana says this can't happen. The Neverpeople tell Vansell to open the gate, and Levith, now infected with Anti-Time, obeys him. Sentris says that the Doctor will be a great feast, and the Neverpeople go to feed. The time station's power begins fading and Sentris says the TARDIS will be needed to reinvigorate the time station's temporal reactors. She's brought out for the Doctor, Romana, and Sentris to travel to the station in.

The pair of Time Lords fix the TARDIS, and Romana has a plan: they can change the Presidential authorisation, so the station won't be let into the Capital. She'll have to do it from inside the Matrix. Finally, they take off. They reach Charley, and they realise the Anti-Time from the Casket has infected the crew. The Doctor says he'll need Romana's help to fix the station, and Sentris agrees. Levith stays with the Doctor while Vansell goes down to the reactors with Romana, Rorvan, and Taris. Romana is given the Doctor's sonic. Romana tells Vansell that the Neverpeople are the Oublietted people, and what they plan to do to the web of time. The Doctor finishes his work, and then is told to help the under-Cardinal, and is forced to connect the Casket to the station's self destruct, so it will detonate shortly after they materialise on Gallifrey.

Romana realises that Anti-Time's hold over Vansell is waning, and he tells her he is loyal to her. The reactor's core would atomise Rorvan and Taris, if they can raise the Zybanium shield protecting the core. Together, they do just this, but Vansell's shutter is jammed, so he won't be protected. Vansell is killed, along with Rorvan and Taris. Sentris realises that they are dead, and that Romana is heading for the Matrix chamber. Romana uses the sonic to get in anyway, and enters the Matrix. Inside, she talks to some data recorders, and is told Zagreus is coming, and it is inevitable. Sentris realises what Romana is doing and says the code cannot be changed, thanks to a rule ratified recently by Vansell. Charley tells the Doctor there's a chance- if she dies, the breach in space-time has no coordinates, so the Neverpeople couldn't use the breach.

Sentris tells Levith to throw her staser to the Doctor, and Charley accepts her fate, begging the Doctor to kill her. They say they love each other. Sentris eggs the Doctor on further, but the Doctor still can't do it. Levith opens the gateway as Charley screams. The Doctor tries to convince Sentris to stop, but she doesn't, and they dematerialise through the breach. This makes him realise something: he gets into the TARDIS, and has an idea. Just then, the Matrix Rassilon freezes him. The Doctor tells Rassilon the story of Charley Pollard. Rassilon tells him that he's proud of the Doctor and the difference he's made to the Universe. He departs.

The station has reached Gallifrey, and sets off the self destruct timer. The Doctor conducts his plan- he calls Sentris from the TARDIS, which he's materialised around the time station. This would annihilate the Doctor, though he says his TARDIS can take the energy, and Charley (once restabilised) will be okay. The Casket detonates.

Romana sees the R101 crash from inside the Matrix, and how Charley's survival leads to the Doctor's death. This is now part of the Web of Time. She declares that history will remember him. Then, the old man- Rassilon's Matrix projection- appears before her. He explains how Charley has survived, and Romana may return to Gallifrey through a different door in the Matrix. Charley's story is not yet done, and Romana leaves. Rassilon recites part of the Zagreus rhyme once more, just as Charley (now in the TARDIS) finds the Doctor: now filled with Anti-Time. This Anti-Time creatures calls itself... Zagreus.

Cast[[edit]]

Crew[[edit]]

Worldbuilding[[edit]]

Botany[[edit]]

Conventions[[edit]]

Galaxies[[edit]]

Gallifreyan culture[[edit]]

Gallifreyan history[[edit]]

Gallifreyan technology[[edit]]

  • The Oubliette of Eternity erases people and Time Lords from history. They end up in the Antiverse.
  • A space-time converter is used, as is a sub-proton accelerator, which "stimulates matter at the atomic level".

Space-time vessels[[edit]]

Other realities[[edit]]

Species[[edit]]

TARDIS[[edit]]

Theories and concepts[[edit]]

Timeline[[edit]]

Time Lords[[edit]]

  • When Romana was a young girl of sixty, her family went to the shores of Lake Abydos on Gallifrey.

Literature[[edit]]

  • Charley makes various reference to Peter Pan.

Gallery[[edit]]

Notes[[edit]]

  • Don Warrington's name was not included in any of the cast lists printed in Doctor Who Magazine, www.doctorwho.co.uk or the CD's inner booklet in order to conceal the character's identity. His name does, however, appear on the cover of the CD.[1]
  • Despite Neverland being publicised as a traditional Big Finish Productions four-part story, it was released as "a special two-part, feature-length" presentation with episodes of seventy-two minutes each.[1]
  • Part 2 of Neverland leads directly into Zagreus. However, there was a gap of a year and five months between the release of Neverland in June 2002 and the release of Zagreus in November 2003.
  • This audio drama was recorded on 24 and 25 January 2001 and 27 February 2002.

Continuity[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

External links[[edit]]

Footnotes[[edit]]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Neverland. The Millennium Effect. Retrieved on 4 February 2012.