The Shadow of the Scourge (audio story)

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The Shadow of the Scourge was the thirteenth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Paul Cornell and featured Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Lisa Bowerman as Bernice Summerfield.

Bowerman had already been portraying Bernice Summerfield in Big Finish's own brand of Bernice audio stories. The cover of this story features Lisa Bowerman's promotional image for Big Finish's Bernice Summerfield series (which began with Oh No It Isn't!), Sylvester McCoy in a photoshopped image based on his New Adventures costume (which can be seen on the cover of Original Sin) and Sophie Aldred in the costume that was created for Ace! The Inside Story of the End of an Era based on her appearances in Virgin New Adventure novels (post-Deceit).

Publisher's summary[[edit]]

The Pinehill Crest Hotel in Kent is host to three very different events: a cross-stitch convention, an experiment in time travel and... the summoning of the Scourge.

The Seventh Doctor, Bernice and Ace find themselves dealing with a dead body that has come back to life, a mystical symbol that possesses its host, and a threat from another universe that is ready for every trick the Doctor's got up his sleeve.

This time, has the Doctor gone too far?

Plot[[edit]]

Part One[[edit]]

Using a sort of ritual, a group of people are calling to an extra-terrestrial "Ohm", who appears. One member of the group, Brian Hughes, is an unbeliever, so Ohm uses him as a host. The woman conducting this ritual, Annie Carpenter, believes he's faking, but Ohm convinces her that he's real. Annie said she created Ohm. Others like Ohm hide within the bodies of the group, but allow them their consciousness back, with a shadow on their hands which portents strange events in time.

The TARDIS trio arrives on the roof and descends into a 20th century hotel lobby in 2003- the Pine hill Crest Hotel in Kent. A dead body is discovered- a likely homeless old man. Micheal Pembroke presents a device to some people and fires it. Brian Hughes enters. The Doctor books three rooms under Benny's name, and has a dizzy spell, due to a "time experiment" in the building due to Pembroke's "temporal accelerator" interacting with the other convention's in the hotel- Carpenter's summoning rituals and a cross-stitch convention.

Ace heads to the experiment, Benny goes to the mystic, and the Doctor explores the cross stitch convention. Benny is told that Ohm is Carpenter's spirit guide, an inter-dimemsional being, and they summon Ohm. Hughes questions Pembroke, and finds Hughes has knowledge he didn't know he had. Ace gets in an argument, and leaves, running into a cross-stitcher who tells Ace the dead man is "Old Will". She demonstrates a lot of police knowledge. Old Will had a strange burn or shadow on his hand. Meanwhile, Mary Hughes, Brian's wife, talks to Benny in Carpenter's room about the difficulties in her relationship. She tells her about the mark on both Brian and Annie Carpenter's hand.

The Doctor leaves the cross stitchers while Benny talks to Annie, finding her to be feeling ill, and pregnant. She questions Annie on the patterned burn on her hand. At the same time, Hughes somehow adjusts Pembroke's device to do something extraordinary, but locks the controls on some distance source. He leaves. Ace and the cross-stitcher talk about Hughes, who locks all the doors of the hotel, swallowing the key while people pound on the doors from outside. Hughes doesn't know why he's doing this.

Annie re-establishes contact with Ohm, who says a gateway is opening while Pembroke's machine runs on it's own paradigms and does something strange. An earthquake seems to happen, causing chaos for the cross-stitchers. The creature within Hughes says they are the Scourge. The Doctor is strangely calm as everyone panics. The Scourge leader arrives through Annie's ritual, and Old Will, reanimated by the leader of the Scourge, approaches the Doctor and recognises him as a Time Lord. The Doctor seems to be working with him, and surrenders Earth to the Scourge.

Part Two[[edit]]

Mary leaves as Benny watches Annie's eyes change, "Ohm" (a Scourge) speaking through her and changing her. It says all humans will become part of the Scourge, and Benny exits. The Scourge leader fully transforms from Old Will's carcass, sending the humans running. Ace and the cross-stitcher (Mike Duff) run off, leaving the Doctor to talk with the Scourge Leader in the manager's office. Pembroke's machine exploded, but the power cells are now exposed, which is dangerous. Ace, Mike, and Benny all arrive, with Ace telling Benny the Doctor is "acting like he's on the alien's side".

The Scourge arrive at the cross-stitch convention too, where Benny, Gary Williams, Mike, and Ace discuss how the cop was just found dead, and that the Scourge before them used to be Brian Hughes. Mike tries to save someone called Julie, but she's killed, as is Mike through hypnotic suggestion. The Doctor reads the terms of surrender to the Scourge Leader, who is still transforming. Annie-Scourge enters, noting the Doctor's timeline. It is revealed that the Doctor betrayed humanity for a bio-dimensional implant, to use for his mind to be able to travel throughout the multiverse. Benny and Ace watch Brian-Scourge touch hands with dead Mike, transfering the pentagram symbol onto his hand. The Doctor enters, confirming that he was just pretending to be on the Scourge's side.

The Doctor gives the trio his room key. They leave, and then the Doctor brings Brian-Scourge (the demi leader) to the Focusing with the Scourge Leader. Gary and Pembroke panic while Benny and Ace make tea. They find only cosmic background radiation on the radio, meaning they're in another universe. Outside is absolute blackness- they're floating in space. The Doctor enters. Meanwhile, the Scourge leaders Focus, summoning the rest of the Scourge. The Doctor complains about the tea and explains to the humans that the Scourge are parasites from another universe, and that if they reach full materialisation, they will destroy the universe. The Scourge could be described as symptoms of clinical depression. They keep human souls in their realm, and control people's nervous systems. People hear them as religious voices.

The Doctor explains his plan, which has already began. The Scourge bring Mary into the room, and use her in the Focusing. They try to bring the rest of the Scourge to Earth. Mary ends up in "hell", the Scourge's realm. The Doctor has previously modified Pembroke's machine, and so all he has to do is send a message to the machine, which he has. Unfortunately the device has been removed, and the gas the Doctor planned to use to knock all the humans out (removing the Scourge's source of food, food being the human panic and terror) fails to go off. The Scourge have removed it, and the Doctor has the mark on his hand. He begins to transform. They start to materialise on Earth.

Part three[[edit]]

The Doctor becomes paralysed, and one of his hearts have stopped. The Doctor is no longer transforming, and they are still not on Earth, so there's hope. Ace tells Gary to deafen her, so the Scourge can't control her through sound. He does so, and they go after the Scourge-Annie. Meanwhile, the Scourge leaders realise that the Doctor is somehow keeping them in this bridge-dimension, unable to materialise on Earth. The Doctor, inside his own mind, talks to the Scourge who was trying to take him over, explaining that neither of them have control of his body, and the Scourge being kept inside his mind means the Scourge can't materialise on Earth, because they're a hive mind.

Ace and the others take the Doctor to a safe place, and see a Scourge heading upstairs to where a lot of humans are hiding. They find Annie-Scourge walking in circles around the pool, they are able to use the leftover gas from the Doctor's failed plan earlier to revert the creature back to having Annie in control, although she still looks like a Scourge. The Scourge upstairs is ordering humans to rip other humans apart. Ace and the others take Annie to the Doctor, and the Doctor is able to communicate with her due to her mystic abilities. The Doctor tells Annie to tell Ace to get to the TARDIS urgently, and Ace and Pembroke make for the TARDIS while Benny stays with Annie, the Doctor, and Gary. Benny declared that she would go into the Doctor's mind, and she does this.

The Doctor (who is "hanging from a stray thought") and Benny talk within his mind, and he explains that his mind looks different depending on which door you enter by. Benny sees his "Jungian Archetypes", also known as his past/future 'other selves', aka his other regenerations. Benny calls the eighth Doctor "the one with the hair", and expresses annoyance at the current Doctor's attitude. The pair plan to battle the Scourge within him so they can use his mouth to tell Gary what Ace needs to do (he'll send this message through a radio). Benny accidentally kicks a small memory out of his mind. The Doctor finds his sense of self crumbling while Ace and Pembroke try to climb up the lift shaft to the TARDIS on the roof. Meanwhile, the Doctor has stopped breathing.

Gary reveals that he fiddled the accounts to pay the bills, and tries to calm Annie down. It doesn't work, and the Scourge inside her takes back her body. Ace and Pembroke see that a Scourge has noticed them climbing up the lift shaft. The Doctor berates himself, losing control of his mind. Annie-Scourge orders Gary to kill himself. Ace (still deaf) and Pembroke make it to the roof, where a Scourge is guarding the TARDIS. It looks like the Doctor is gone, crying for Benny not to forget him, and all hope is lost for our heroes.  

Part Four[[edit]]

Ace and Pembroke are now confronted by both Scourge, one of whom is the Scourge leader. and Ace stabs the leader with her knife. Benny wakes up. One of the Scourge orders Pembroke to throw Ace off the roof. Benny walks into the other room to see Gary choking himself, and so Benny knocks him out. Pembroke says he deserves to die "because of his wife", but the Doctor manages to take charge of Pembroke's brain, telling Ace what to do telepathically. The Doctor explains that he is nestled amongst the Scourge hive mind, which he got to by "sacrificing himself". Ace and Pembroke manage to make it into the TARDIS, and Ace can hear again.

Benny wakes Gary up, and realise Annie-Scourge is gone and tormenting humans, but the Doctor's body is unharmed. Ace and Pembroke materialise the TARDIS onto Annie-Scourge, knocking her out, and the human pair reunite with Benny and Gary. They put Annie's body into the TARDIS on the Doctor's orders. Annie is mentally human again, thanks to the TARDIS' nanotech. The Doctor seems to be full of self-hatred again, but his friends keep his focus, and the humans can all feel the Scourge within them as the Doctor has put them all into the same dimension. That weakens the Scourge's control over them. The Doctor fights his battle, and sends the others to the foyer, waiting for the Scourge.

Benny elects to stay behind to help the Doctor. The Scourge note that Annie-Scourge has been taken offline from the hive mind, but still vow to take over the universe. Benny arrives by the Doctor's side inside his mind (Annie put her there), and holds the Doctor's hand, proclaiming that love can get them out of there. Ace and the others discuss what inner demons their Scourges are revealing. Benny and the Doctor think about things that make them happy (being with other people), to fight against the Scourge. They win. Meanwhile, Gary, Ace and the others (with the humans they found hiding) are insulted by the Scourge. Gary admits he stole from the convention, Pembroke admits that he betrayed his wife, and Annie admits that she's been faking her psychic-ness. They all have flaws because "we're only human".

They face the monsters and the humans all chant "get out of our heads, get out of our world". They manage to expel the Scourge from their minds, and Ace injures one of them, inspiring the others to rise up. However, they capture Ace. The Doctor and Benny arrive and the Doctor declares that he isn't scared, making a speech about his identity and that he has prepared a trap. Dr Pembroke is told that Annie is pregnant, revealing that it is he who is the father. The Doctor telepathically stops the leader from moving, and helps fully push the leader out of Brian's head with his words.

The Doctor gives them all one last word of advice: we all have inner demons ("the Scourge"), the important part is not to listen to them. We find that everyone has been returned to their usual forms, those who had begun to turn regaining their own bodies, and they are back on Earth. Mary Hughes and Mike Duff are dead, but the others have survived. Annie and Pembroke say they will get married, and Gary has been unanimously forgiven. The Doctor makes a joke about being human, and the story is over.

Cast[[edit]]

Crew[[edit]]

Worldbuilding[[edit]]

Foods and beverages[[edit]]

  • The Doctor muses to himself, "Why does tea made in a hotel room taste worse than tea made in any other situation?".

Objects[[edit]]

  • Ace uses a tool which the Spacefleet use to pry the casings off Daleks to open the lift doors.

Species[[edit]]

The Doctor[[edit]]

Gallery[[edit]]

Notes[[edit]]

Continuity[[edit]]

  • Ace is pictured wearing her Spacefleet combat outfit, placing this after PROSE: Deceit [+]Loading...["Deceit (novel)","Deceit"].
  • When the Doctor falls unconscious, Bernice says he would have told them that "where there is life, there is hope". (TV: Planet of the Spiders [+]Loading...["Planet of the Spiders (TV story)","Planet of the Spiders"])
  • Inside the Doctor's mind, there are mental constructs of concepts (TV: Nightmare in Silver [+]Loading...["Nightmare in Silver (TV story)","Nightmare in Silver"]) such as the mathematics of flight.
  • Bernice mentions that Ace has been within the Doctor's mind. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Revelation [+]Loading...["Timewyrm: Revelation (novel)","Timewyrm: Revelation"])
  • Bernice meets the Doctor's eighth incarnation in PROSE: The Dying Days [+]Loading...["The Dying Days (novel)","The Dying Days"].

External links[[edit]]