The Conscript (audio story)

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The Conscript was the third story in the audio anthology The Eighth Doctor: Time War: Volume One, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by Matt Fitton and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, Rakhee Thakrar as Bliss, Karina Fernandez as Captain Tamasan and Jacqueline Pearce as Cardinal Ollistra.

Publisher's summary[[edit]]

Cardinal Ollistra has a new tactic to persuade the Doctor to join his people's fight. With his friends locked away, he has been conscripted alongside fellow Gallifreyans to train for the front lines of battle.

Commandant Harlan has a reputation – his camp's regime is harsh. He believes the Time Lords must adapt to win this war, but the Doctor is not easily intimidated.

Can there be any place for dissent when the Time War looms so close?


Whilst watching Matrix footage of the Doctor's recent adventures, Cardinal Ollistra is informed by Captain Tamasan that the Doctor's TARDIS has been put into stasis in Tenacity's TARDIS bays and that the refugees have been secured pending examination to ensure that they are not contaminated by the Time War. She has assigned Tamasan as one of Commandant Harlan's drill instructors and, should she complete her mission, she will be promoted to Major. According to Ollistra, Commander Harlan is the one person who might be able to convince the Doctor to fight.

On Tenacity, the Doctor meets fellow new recruits Veeda and Norvid and is knocked to the ground by Tamasan when he responds glibly to Harlan. Harlan has him brought to his office and tells him that his friends are detained in the nearby Internment Tower, being questioned by representatives of the War Council, and implies that their treatment will depend on the Doctor's behaviour.

Bliss refuses to answer any of Ollistra's questions, but she already knows who she is from her Luna University records and from a biodata search in the Matrix, which is tracing her entire timeline. Despite Ollistra telling her that nobody in the universe knows that she is here and that the Time Lords can do what they like to her, Bliss remains steadfast.

Rupa and Quarren have their biodata samples taken by Ollistra, who says that she is ensuring that they are safe from contamination to the Time War.

At breakfast, the Doctor tells Veeda and Norvid that he spent the night checking the camp's security. The three of them are taken for a weapons drill with the rest of Red Seven. The Doctor chooses not to assemble a staser cannon as ordered to and instead makes an ozone detector, leading Tamasan to punish the group by making Veeda do push-ups, for which he apologises after doing as asked. The group march and meet Harlan, who makes them do push-ups because of Norvid's dirty boots. He excuses the Doctor and threatens to make the group do more push-ups if he joins in.

Ollistra returns to the Maguires and says that there are Matrix inconsistencies regarding how they came to be on the Theseus. Until they can be sure that the inconsistency is due to the effects of the Time War, the Maguires are to be separated.

At night, the privates are woken up and taken to the target range. The Doctor is scoping out the route to the Internment Tower, having his sonic screwdriver run a decryption program for a code-locked gate, but manages to discreetly join the group outside and tells Veeda and Norvid that he will be through in another day. At the range, the Doctor destroys the targets with his screwdriver and Tamasan allows them to return to bed, telling them that they will see what Harlan says in the morning. The next day, Harlan stamps on the Doctor's screwdriver.

Tamasan informs Ollistra of her belief that the Doctor is trying to reach his friends. Ollistra has his access to technology restricted and supplies Tamasan with a report on increased Dalek activity for Harlan, as well as giving her permission for the Doctor to be reprimanded.

The Doctor and Norvid eat, their table becoming less and less popular and Veeda not sitting with them until Tamasan does. The Doctor is not impressed by Veeda and Tamasan's attitudes and makes a speech about how the privates are not Sontarans before starting a food fight. Tamasan leaves and returns with Harlan, who has the Doctor placed in solitary confinement for seven days. His request for a cricket ball is ignored.

Harlan visits Ollistra and asks for his objections to the Doctor's presence to be expressed to the War Council. The camp will soon have to be relocated and, when it does, he does not want the Doctor to join them.

During temporal orienteering, the privates see a Dalek hunter drone and hide. Veeda contacts Tamasan and Norvid, trying to think of what the Doctor would do, throws a rock at it to distract it. Tamasan transmats there and kills the Dalek after it exterminates Norvid. Harlan orders that Norvid's body be returned to Gallifrey, the Doctor released and the camp moved with the plan being to send the privates into battle.

Tamasan blames the Doctor for Norvid's death and gives him a Moonlight Bloom, symbolising cowardice. Harlan sends her away to Ollistra and tells the Doctor that he is not a coward but a hero of the old Gallifrey and not one that it needs in this war. The Doctor offers to help once there is a ceasefire and, until then, he will help with evacuating Tenacity and saving his friends.

With the Dalek fleet changing course for Tenacity, Ollistra orders the detainees moved to a holding pen whilst the Internment Tower is deconstructed. Harlan informs her that the Daleks have arrived despite the sky trenches, the transduction barriers having somehow disappeared. Ollistra has Tamasan fortify the ground defences, raise a shield around the base and prepare the Battle TARDISes for Harlan's use.

The Doctor tells everybody to flee from the Daleks rather than fight and is told by Veeda where his friends are now. It seems that half of the privates are going to follow Tamasan into battle whilst the others run. She hands him a transport bracelet and a keycard to the TARDIS bays before going to join Tamasan, taking on the Dalek saucers. He goes to Bliss, Rupa and Quarren and takes them to his TARDIS.

Veeda warns Tamasan of incoming Dalek troops and is exterminated. Harlan, who is leaving Tenacity, tells Ollistra that the privates are too inexperienced to win and that he will have Tamasan draw in the fleet and detonate the moon, a tactic which Ollistra believes is down to the Doctor's influence. He will return to the Capitol with Norvid's body and start a job in the resurrection lines which the War Council have assigned him to; meanwhile, Ollistra has unfinished business.

The Doctor, Bliss, Rupa and Quarren are surrounded by Ollistra and her men when they reach the TARDIS. Ollistra says that he is welcome to leave, returning his repaired and recoloured screwdriver, but telling him that his TARDIS might only travel in space and that the others cannot go with him. When he refuses to get out of her way, Ollistra takes a staser and prepares to shoot him and trigger a regeneration, allowing her to take her detainees and believing that the next Doctor might be more willing to fight.





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