Scribbles in Chalk (short story)

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Scribbles in Chalk was the twelfth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Life Science. It was written by Gareth Wigmore. It featured the First Doctor, Steven Taylor and Katarina.


Low Joker, a Lakhotha hunter, is on his way home when he transforms into a tree. The knife that he had been carrying is embedded in the tree.

The Doctor, Steven and Katarina are visitors of the Lakhotha tribe. After leaving Troy, in search of medicine for Steven, they landed on a planet and went through a temporal fault. The journey through the anomaly was dangerous, and the Doctor is not yet ready to go back through. Steven is healing nicely, the Doctor and Healing Song having made a poultice for his injury. The tribe is friendly, with Drinks-Pools-Dry showing interest in Katarina and his mother, Healing Song, showing interest in the Doctor.

The Doctor is told about the missing tribe members and is taken to the tree that used to be Low Joker. The Doctor doesn't believe that the tree was Low Joker, despite the presence of Low Joker's knife in the tree.

Later that evening, the tribe and its visitors gather for the meal. It is an enjoyable evening, but suddenly the Lakhotha begin to undergo violent transformations. Some change into plants, some into animals. The Doctor notices that Steven and Katarina are undergoing change too, though not as quickly. They run for the anomaly and go through, five hundred years in the future, where the TARDIS is waiting.

The Doctor finds, to his surprise, that not only do Steven and Katarina remember nothing of the Lakhotha, but also Steven's injury has returned. Before tending to Steven, the Doctor heads for the nearby buildings to find some answers. He makes contact with an entity that calls itself the Conduit. It had need of the resources of this planet, and changed the Lakhotha, that is, the "sentient animates", into non-sentient forms so that they would not resist the Conduit's plans. The Doctor is appalled, but with Steven's life in danger, he can do no more here and returns to the TARDIS.



  • The Doctor thinks of Susan, Vicki, Ian and Barbara.
  • The Doctor plans to give Katarina the room in the TARDIS that was first Susan's, then Vicki's.


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