‘The Pantomime of Death’, Chapter 3

lord trinnaus' throne room

3. Lord Trinnaus

SCENE #13 – INT – DARK TUNNEL, UNKNOWN PLANET – DAY, EVENING
Meanwhile, on another planet far away, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy fall to the ground. They land on top of each other. Recovering from the shock of the recent transference via the Christmas star, the trio slowly get up from the floor.

BILLY
(groans) “Oww, my head! And my arm!” (baffled) “Doctor? Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“Here, Billy. It’s alright, I’m here.” (groans) “I’m having chest pains.”

DOCTOR
(concerned) “Are you both alright?”

NYSSA
(disorientated) “I’ll be fine, Doctor.”

BILLY
“Yeah me too.” (shivers) “It’s a little nippy in here. And we’re still in our pantomime costumes!”

They take some moments to familiarise with their surroundings.

DOCTOR
“Can anyone remember anything?” (thinks) “Wait! I remembered what happened.”

NYSSA
“The theatre. Yes, I remember…” (realises) “Doctor! Billy and I, we…we were supposed to spend Christmas together at the Hotel Triz. How did I forget that?”

DOCTOR
“It’s acute memory loss, Nyssa. Don’t worry; it’ll come flooding back.”

NYSSA
(to Billy) “Billy, I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to forget…”

BILLY
“It’s okay, Nyssa. I understand. I’m sorry for forgetting myself.”

DOCTOR
“The details are coming back. So that’s what happened! Where all the children went! The Christmas tree!”

NYSSA
“Yes, the Christmas tree! The children were absorbed into that light emanating from the star!”

DOCTOR
“The Christmas tree was some directional link to a spatial portal generating gravitational forces. It caused the children to be absorbed and they travelled across light years of space to this place. Brilliantly ingenious!”

NYSSA
“Ingenious maybe, Doctor. It doesn’t explain how and why we had memory loss.”

DOCTOR
“Maybe it does, Nyssa. The air’s much fresher here now.”

The Doctor clicks his fingers.

DOCTOR
“That’s why Howard got his amnesia! It comes after we and the children go through the Christmas Tree star! After! They make it look like as though nothing happened in the theatre and everybody accepts it as normal! Like I said, ingenious!”

NYSSA
“Whereabouts are we now, Doctor? I wonder where that light has taken us!”

DOCTOR
“We’re in a dark tunnel of some kind. Under some large structure.”

BILLY
“It’s quite dark in here. Are we still in the theatre? It doesn’t look like the theatre!” (shivers) “And it’s cold too. Snow must have fallen outside!”

At that moment, strange footsteps and a low growling echoes in the tunnel.

BILLY
(anxiously) “What was that? It sounded like footsteps!”

NYSSA
“And a terrible growl! Somebody’s coming!”

Suddenly, strange figures approach and the TARDIS trio is startled. The strange figures growl menacingly and hiss at the time travelers.

NYSSA
(uneasily) “Doctor, what are they?”

LARKANIAN #1
(growls) “You…will come with us!”

LARKANIAN #2
(growls) “You….are prisoners of the Sunmos Empire!”

LARKANIAN #1
(growls) “You…will come!”

The creatures step closer, as the TARDIS trio back away.

NYSSA
(nervously) “Whoever they are, they don’t seem friendly.”

BILLY
(anxiously) “They look like…half dinosaurs, half men.”

DOCTOR
“They’re Larkanians, Nyssa; Billy.”

NYSSA
“Larkanians? So you’ve met them before, Doctor!”

DOCTOR
“I haven’t seen them in years. I thought they were extinct!”

One of the Larkanians steps forward, carrying some kind of whip and lashes at Billy. Billy stumbles, reacting in pain.

BILLY
(cries) “Oww!”

LARKANIAN #1
(growls) “Take…them!”

NYSSA
(shocked; concerned) “Billy, are you alright?!”

BILLY
“I’ll be fine. It’s just my arm.” (Pause) “That guy just whipped me!”

NYSSA
(angrily; at Larkanians) “What did you do that for?! There was no need…”

LARKANIAN #2
(growls; threateningly) “You…will move!”

Making the gesture with his whip, the Larkanians advance on Nyssa. The Doctor intervenes.

DOCTOR
(to Larkanians) “Alright; alright! There’s no need for violence! We’ll come with you!”

The Doctor, Nyssa and Billy move forward, as the Larkanians lead them away.

NYSSA
(to Larkanians) “Where are you taking us?”

LARKANIAN #1
(hisses) “The master…wants to see you!”

DOCTOR
(intrigued) “The Master, hey? How intriguing!”

NYSSA
(troubled) “The Master? Oh no!”

BILLY
(quietly) “Doctor? What did you say these guys were called? And what exactly are they?”

DOCTOR
“Larkanians, Billy. They’re like time that went wrong in the dinosaur age when they were destroyed by the meteorite.”

NYSSA
(morbidly) “Or the space freighter as we now know it.”

DOCTOR
(grimly) “Yes.” (Pause) “Members of the Sunmos Empire, which is far away from your galaxy Billy, were sympathetic to these creatures. So before all dinosaurs became extinct, the Sunmonians broke time and captured some of them. They fused homo sapiens from that time in order to become half-dinosaur, half-human hybrids, walking and talking like you and me.”

BILLY
“So…these creatures are from Earth.”

DOCTOR
“In a manner of speaking, yes.”

NYSSA
“So aliens were on Earth before the freighter crashed. And they made these…monstrosities.”

BILLY
“I’ve never heard or read about them in the history books.”

DOCTOR
“You wouldn’t, Billy. The Sunmonians saw to that!”

LARKANIAN #1
(growls) “No talking! Move!”

The first Larkanian prods the TARIDS trio roughly. Grudgingly complying, the TARDIS trio move off down the tunnel.


SCENE #14 – INT – LORD TRINNAUS’ CHAMBER ENTRANCE, UNKNOWN PLANET – DAY, EVENING
Half an hour later, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy with the Larkanians arrive outside the entrance door of a chamber. They stand on a balcony, overlooking a huge crowded arena below. One Larkanian enters the chamber, opening and closing the door behind him.

BILLY
“They’ve taken us quite a fair way then.”

NYSSA
(disgusted) “The smell is bad here. The Larkanians don’t believe in health and maintenance.”

BILLY
“It feels like one of those grubby underground train tunnels that London has.”

NYSSA
(shocked) “Doctor, look! The children are in the arena down below.”

They look down from the balcony and see the huge arena crowded with children. Some of them scream, terrified by the Larkanians.

NYSSA
“They look so scared!”

BILLY
(astounded) “Hundreds of them! Where did they all come from?!”

DOCTOR
“From the theatre, obviously. The children who have been attending the recent performances of the pantomime were all transferred here to this place from their audience seats.”

NYSSA
“They’re keeping them prisoner here! But why? Why children? Aren’t men and women suitable for whatever these children have been brought here for?”

More screams and wails come from the children.

BILLY
“This can’t be happening! This is like a scene from ‘Oliver Twist’! With all the children in the labour force during the Industrial Revolution.”

DOCTOR
(grimly) “That’s exactly what I was thinking, Billy.”

They are then interrupted by one of the Larkanians.

LARKANIAN #2
(growls savagely) “You…will go in! His lordship will see you now!”

NYSSA
“His lordship?”

BILLY
(protests) “Now listen here, I’m not going anywhere until…”

LARKANIAN #2
(growls angrily) “You…will do as I say!”

DOCTOR
(wearingly) “Billy, just do as they say! The only way out is to see their leader at the moment!”

NYSSA
“We might underestimate this leader of theirs, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
“True. But at least we’ll find out about what’s going on than when we were at the theatre.”

Eventually, escorted by the Larkanians, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy walk forward as they enter the chamber via the entrance doors.


SCENE #15 – INT – LORD TRINNAUS’ CHAMBER, UNKNOWN PLANET – DAY, EVENING
Inside the chamber, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy enter with the Larkanians and meet their ‘master’ sitting in his chair. The first Larkanain steps forward.

LARKANIAN #1
(growls) “My…lord!” (Pause) “We…have found them! Nyssa of Traken, Billy Walker…and the one called…Doctor!”

The man in the chair swivels Around to see the time travelers. Moment of long silence ensues. The ‘master’ speaks in a low wheezy voice.

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Present them to me!”

The Larkanians obey and the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy are brought forward.

NYSSA
“Doctor, do you know the man in the chair? It’s not the Master of course.”

DOCTOR
“I don’t know, Nyssa. It’s hard to tell.”

BILLY
“He’s all covered up in a dark robe. He doesn’t look like a joyful character. Not a figure for Christmas by any means!”

NYSSA
“He’s connected to that chair via cybernetics. An alien cyborg.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Silence, young child!”

NYSSA
(shocked) “Child?!”

BILLY
(protests) “Now see here, you creep! Nyssa’s not a child…”

The first Larkanian gets ready to whip Billy. Nyssa holds Billy back.

LARKANIAN #1
(hisses) “Stand back from his lordship!”

NYSSA
(reassuringly) “Billy, it’s nice of you to speak up for me. But it’s best you keep quiet.”

BILLY
(gradually) “Very well.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes, to Billy) “You do not respond to me, young one. Or be insolent with me.”

DOCTOR
“May I ask why you have brought us here, sir?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(gradually, wheezes) “You should better than that, Doctor.” (Pause) “I am Lord Trinnaus, Great Leader of the Sunmos Empire!”

DOCTOR
(casually) “Lord Trinnaus! Nice to meet you!” (seriously) “Now tell us why we’re here!”

Moment of silence.

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “You pretend not to know me do you, Doctor? It has been a long time since you failed to kill me!”

DOCTOR
“Know you? Should I know you then?” (surprised) “Killed you, hey? Well, well, well. That’s interesting to know.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Three thousand years, Doctor. Three thousand years.” (Pause) “But time has changed for me, Doctor. Not for your benefit though.”

DOCTOR
“I’m sorry, Lord…whatever your name is. But I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve never met you before.”

BILLY
“He knows you, Doctor.”

NYSSA
“I think the Doctor’s well aware of that, Billy.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “You claim not to know me, Doctor. But I know you. Reports of your identity came to me when Higgins, the theatre manager, told me you and your friends were losing your memory and asking dangerous questions.”

DOCTOR
(grimaces) “Ah! I wondered where Mr Higgins would come into this.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Higgins reported that you three had been caught in the transfer from the theatre to here. My technicians arranged for you three to have your life signatures transferred to here where my guards would find you.”

DOCTOR
“Very interesting, I’m sure. But how exactly do you know me anyway?”

Moment of silence.

LORD TRINNAUS
(gradually, wheezes) “No. That’s for me to know and for you to find out.”

DOCTOR
“Pity.” (Pause) “What is this place anyway?”

NYSSA
“Are we in the heart of your Sunmos Empire, Lord Trinnaus?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “No. This used to be an old colony of another race. Their records and accounts are lost forever. My kind took over and slaughtered them.”

NYSSA
(horrified) “You killed innocent people?!”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Oh no! They were not people, Lady Nyssa. They were…an inferior race. They had no purpose. We made good use of their lands.”

BILLY
(defiantly) “It’s still murder! You had no right to kill them!”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “And what makes you think you have the right to speak to me in that way, young man? I am known as the ‘Shadow of Eden’. The master of death. I decide who lives and who dies.” (threateningly) “And if you speak to me like that again boy, I will take your heart! Meaning…Nyssa, of course.”

BILLY
(afraid) “No! Leave Nyssa alone!”

DOCTOR
“Let these children go, Lord Trinnaus. The ones you’ve kidnapped from the theatre. Why have you kidnapped them? Why have you brought them here?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Well have a good think, you three. Why did you come here?”

BILLY
“We came searching for a little girl who was missing.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “We have many girls and boys here. They all have something in common. What do you think that is?”

NYSSA
“Well it’s obvious, isn’t it? They came to see the pantomime where your people atrociously abducted them.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Exactly, Lady Nyssa. These children have their uses.”

DOCTOR
(impatiently) “What is it you’re getting at, Trinnaus?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “The children here are the answer…to the light, Doctor. The light in the stars. As you know, stars contain energy.”

NYSSA
“Yes, stars are balls of light containing energy or gases. But what has it got to do with the children?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes; gradually) “As time and space is being crushed and eroding away with entropy, like the existence of dinosaurs being threatened where we created these Larkanians…”

DOCTOR
(interrupts, annoyed) “Yes, yes. We can do without your empire’s ‘perfect’ achievements such as your slaves, Lord Trinnaus.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(continues; wheezes) “Like I said…time is collapsing. But with enough energy remaining in the stars and connecting them in a high-core network, the Sunmos Empire shall be reborn!”

DOCTOR
“Interesting! You’re saying you intend to connect the stars in a network? How do you hope to do that?”

NYSSA
“Are you using a power manipulator of some kind, Lord Trinnaus?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Precisely. I have created a machine that can absorb planetary objects to conquer and control a new Sunmos Empire. The gases in the stars will be attracted to the power manipulator via the use of the interstellar electrical particles in a stasis field. With this in place, the stars will be held together in one place…and in one time.”

NYSSA
“That’s incredible! Fantastic beyond belief!”

DOCTOR
(to Trinnaus) “Interesting. May I see this machine of yours? I think Nyssa would be particularly interested.” (to Nyssa) “Wouldn’t you, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“How could I not be, Doctor?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “No, Doctor. You may not see it.”

DOCTOR
“Well…that’s not hospitable. Afraid we might laugh and sneer at it?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “It is the stars that give us this supreme energetic power, Doctor! The Sunmos Empire needs it! Soon the whole universe shall see it!”

BILLY
“Listen, I’m sure this is all fascinating…”

NYSSA
(interjects) “Even though you don’t understand it, Billy.”

BILLY
(continues) “But what has this got to do with the children? You still haven’t explained.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes; gradually) “The cracked air vent you three saw in the theatre with the light transferring through to the star aloft on the Christmas tree. That was my inspiration!”

DOCTOR
“Yes, we did pick up that. Why the memory loss and amnesia?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “We couldn’t allow any trails to follow us. We created an amnesia effect through the air vent. It was a weapon, Doctor. It was used in a war against the alien force we slaughtered to obtain this pitiful world of theirs.”

DOCTOR
“I knew it, Nyssa; Billy! I knew it was some kind of weapon!”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “The portal transfers you in time and space. But it also causes side-effects for those outside the barriers to lose their memories. So therefore, the parents in the theatre forget about their children once the portal closed.”

DOCTOR
(grimly) “Very ingenious, Lord Trinnaus.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “They will soon remember their children. The effects last for a week. But by then it’ll be too late.”

DOCTOR
“But why children, Trinnaus? Why not use adults?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes; slightly amused) “Children are imaginative, Doctor. They really enjoy pantomimes, don’t they?”

DOCTOR
“I don’t see what that’s…” (realises) “Oh I see.”

BILLY
(realises) “So do I. They laugh at the people doing funny things and making jokes. They interact with the performers on stage. They get excited. It makes them entertained and they enjoy it.”

NYSSA
(to Trinnaus) “So you absorbed the children’s energy because they had the adrenalin, the laughter and the adolescence inside them. You need that for your power manipulator to generate the network of stars.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Exactly!” (Pause) “I use slaves on this planet – the Larkanians – to arrange the children to be transferred here. This planet has the core of the manipulator to activate the network of stars. That’s why I need the children. Not only to bring them here, but also to generate more adrenalin and more laughter from their puny bodies.”

BILLY
“It won’t work. When they laughed, it was in the theatre watching the pantomime. Unless you have another pantomime on this planet.”

NYSSA
“Besides we can tell everyone back on Nodnol what you’ve done.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “There is going to be another pantomime performance at the New New Theatre on Nodnol for Christmas Eve. Doubtless, you weren’t informed.”

DOCTOR
“No, we did not know of this.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “When the children attending the performance are in the theatre at the scheduled time, not only will they be watching it, but also the children on this planet.”

BILLY
“How exactly are they going to see the pantomime from here then?”

DOCTOR
(realises) “Via high-definition view screens, no doubt.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Yes, Doctor. They will not miss out on Higgins’ performance as Santa Claus. When they see the pantomime, they will laugh and open the channel sending signals to all stars in the universe. They will connect to form the network I will give to my new empire.”

NYSSA
(shocked) “That’s barbaric! Don’t you care about children?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes; gradually) “No! I do not care about young lives of insignificant humans. I now have enough children…nearly enough to generate the power I need. The estimate back on Sunmos was around six hundred. We’ve nearly got that number…and that is why we have placed them in that arena you saw before you came to see me.”

BILLY
“Yes, we saw your stock. I supposed that’s what you’d like to call them.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “As I was saying, the more children we have the more stars we can gather. The stars will come together like a magnet attracting metal upon metal. After that, we can go back to Sunmos with the powers we need.”

NYSSA
(pleads) “No! Please, don’t do this! They’re children; you can’t use them like that! To generate the power for your manipulator! It’s like murdering them six hundred times over.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “True as it is. But I’m determined to preserve the home of my people. You can all join me!” (to Doctor) “Imagine what you can do, Doctor. Imagine the stars pumping in you with endless power and energy. I can make you…a Time Lord far greater than your own people. You can control past events! Bring back the dead to life!”

DOCTOR
(amazed) “I can bring back loved ones I’ve lost?”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Absolutely, Doctor. You can!”

DOCTOR
(gradually) “No, that’s not possible. I should know. I’m a Time Lord and that’s enough.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes; to Doctor) “Anything’s possible, Doctor.” (Pause) “Think about it. You can save Adric from certain death before that freighter crashed into pre-historic Earth.” (to Nyssa) “And you, Nyssa of Traken. You can bring your father back from the dead as well! I’ve heard many things about him and who he was. And what he has become.”

NYSSA
“No! That’s not possible!”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “I’m able to break through the barriers of time and space with the stars. To see many things.” (Pause) “I saw you, Nyssa. I know you screamed for your father when he went missing on that fateful day. I saw the tears in your eyes when you mourned for the world you grew up in and lost. I know you have been hurt terribly.”

NYSSA
(tearfully) “How could you know? You weren’t there!”

BILLY
“Nyssa, don’t listen to him! He’s trying to scare you.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “No! I’m telling you the truth. That is why the stars…are the answer. All our memories are embedded with the stars. As time goes on, our souls are within the stars. I can recall people’s lives in them.” (to Nyssa) “I can tell you everything, Nyssa. Imagine what you would be if you embraced those stars.”

Moment of silence.

DOCTOR
(cheerily) “Billy; Nyssa. Maybe we should join him.”

NYSSA
(shocked) “Doctor, you’re not serious.”

DOCTOR
(casually) “He doesn’t want to cause harm, Nyssa. Just to preserve his home planet? You remember how we went to Nodnol and everything was depressing there. Well we have an opportunity to make things better.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Precisely.”

NYSSA
“Doctor, you can’t do this! This isn’t like you!”

DOCTOR
(casually) “Of course it’s not like me. You remember I agreed that there shouldn’t be any jumpers for cricket!”

NYSSA
“You never [said….”] (stops; realises) “Oh! Oh yes! I see!”

BILLY
“Nyssa, what are you…?”

NYSSA
(casually) “The Doctor’s right, Billy. I see his line of reasoning. We should join Lord Trinnaus in his campaign.”

BILLY
(shocked) “Are you mad? This guy’s a creep and a jerk. We can’t trust…”

NYSSA
(stresses) “Please Billy, trust the Doctor! He knows what he’s doing!”

Moment of silence, as Billy is unable to comprehend for a moment. Eventually…

BILLY
(realises) “Okay. Alright then.”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “So…you plead your allegiance to me then? I shall make you one of my supreme commanders, Doctor! You will have a place in the Sunmos Empire!”

DOCTOR
“Oh I’m flattered! Do you mind if we three discuss this matter in private? Perhaps you can give us some accommodation!”

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes; thinks) “Very well.” (to Larkanians) “Escort these people out!”

The Larkanians advance on the TARDIS trio with their whips, snarling and growling.

LARKANIAN #1
(growls) “You…will follow us now…to your accommodation!”

The Doctor, Nyssa and Billy are escorted away by the Larkanians.

LORD TRINNAUS
(wheezes) “Think carefully about what I have said, you three. Think of what you can become.”

The TARDIS trio soon leave the chamber with the Larkanians. The doors shut and Lord Trinnaus is left alone.


SCENE #16 – INT – ROOM #1, ACCOMMODATION BLOCK – DAY, EVENING
Later on, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy are in their accommodation provided by the Larkanians. They talk about their meeting with Lord Trinnaus.

DOCTOR
“Nyssa, you should know me better than that. I would never want to join a megalomaniac like Lord Trinnaus.”

NYSSA
“I know, Doctor. I wish you’d let me in on your plans sooner than later.”

DOCTOR
“Well it’s not easy when you’re actually in front of the person trying to avoid telling your plans to.” (Pause) “But I don’t understand. How can the stars be the answer? It’s just not right.”

BILLY
(gently) “Nyssa? How are you feeling?”

NYSSA
“I’m alright, Billy. Why do you ask? I still remember the romantic Christmas break we’re supposed to have. I haven’t forgotten.”

BILLY
“No, I mean…” (Pause) “He mentioned your dad.”

NYSSA
(gradually; to Billy) “I’m alright about that, Billy. I’m a little shaken.” (to Doctor) “Doctor, how can he know so much about my father? And about Traken?”

DOCTOR
“Quite obviously when he broke through the time barriers in connection with the stars.” (Pause) “Think of a planetary quake. What happens when it occurs?”

NYSSA
“Well…tectonic plates collide with each other and opposing forces react against each other causing friction. They’re beyond anyone’s control.”

DOCTOR
“Exactly. Likewise when a crack in time and space occurs, it affects the stability of the universe. With Lord Trinnaus, he broke through the barriers and opposing forces hit him. Signals of information shooting out at him. All people’s memories, souls and lives. It must have driven him mad. Therefore he could recall yours, Nyssa.”

BILLY
“So, this Lord Trinnaus. He can read minds? Like a telepath?”

DOCTOR
“He must do. Though I hardly know him, it’s likely to make that assumption. He must have come from my own future. Or my past depending how you look at it.”

NYSSA
“That seems a plausible hypothesis, Doctor. At least you’ll remember him when you meet him next time.”

DOCTOR
“If I do meet him next time that is.”

BILLY
“There is one thing. He didn’t read my mind, did he?”

NYSSA
“No Billy, he did read your mind. Don’t you remember?”

BILLY
“Remember? I…” (Pause; realises) “Oh yes, I remember now. He knows I love you, Nyssa. He threatened to pluck your heart out in front of me.”

NYSSA
“Yes, Billy. That’s it exactly!”

DOCTOR
“Not only is he a mind reader, but all that energy from the time vortex bounded into his mind. His mind is able to puncture through others when anybody’s not realising it.”

NYSSA
“And he does all of this in order to connect the stars for this power manipulator of his. Which is hidden beneath the planet’s crust. To generate power across eons of space.”

DOCTOR
“With him and his race, the Sunmos Empire will be unstoppable.”

BILLY
“Is the Sunmos Empire deteriorating so rapidly as he seems to imply.”

DOCTOR
“Like I said, I thought he and his kind as well as the Larkanians were extinct. There’s not much left of them. Less than a hundred when I last counted.”

NYSSA
“Doctor, this isn’t important. What matters is getting these children back to Nodnol.”

BILLY
“I agree, Doctor. They’re having a performance tonight for another set of children. We’ve got to stop that before they get abducted and this place gets over-crowded. They’ll miss out on their Christmas presents.”

DOCTOR
“Yes. They’ll probably have three new actors taking our place for Cinderella; the Prince and Buttons. That’s what I expect Higgins will do to fill in our absence.”

There’s then a small knock on the door. They become apprehensive.

NYSSA
“That must be our refreshments. They said they’ll bring them to us.”

There’s another little knock on the door.

BILLY
“So they did. It’s quite a small knock, isn’t it?” (calls) “Come in.”

The door opens and a little girl enters, carrying refreshments on a tray. The door shuts once the girl’s inside.

HANNAH
(softly) “Hello.”

NYSSA
(surprised) “Oh. Hello.”

HANNAH
“I came to give you bread and water. The big ugly monster men sent me.”

The girl places the tray of bread and water on the table in their room.

BILLY
(quietly) “Doctor, they’re not just holding children prisoners. They’re enslaving them as well.”

DOCTOR
“Wait a minute, Billy.” (cheerfully; to Hannah) “Hello there! I’m the Doctor!”

HANNAH
“You want bread…and water.”

DOCTOR
(cheerfully) “Oh yes. That’s very kind of you.” (sympathetically) “I say! That’s a sore leg you got there! I’ve got some bandages for that.”

HANNAH
“No. I mustn’t be here. The big ugly monster might come in.”

DOCTOR
(to Hannah) “Oh don’t worry about him. We’ll sort him out. You go with Nyssa and Billy and sit on the bed while I get the bandages.” (to Nyssa) “Hey, Nyssa?”

NYSSA
“Yes Doctor.” (to Hannah) “Come here, dear. We’ll take of you.”

Nyssa and Billy take the little girl to sit on the bed. The Doctor fishes out some bandages and starts placing them on the girl’s leg.

DOCTOR
“Here we are. I found them. Now let’s have a look at that leg of yours.”

The Doctor takes and examines the little girl’s sore leg.

DOCTOR
(concerned) “Oh dear! Now that does look bad, doesn’t it? Not to worry. We’ll have it healed in no time.”

HANNAH
(gently) “Thank you.”

As the Doctor wraps the bandage around the little girl’s leg, he looks up at her.

DOCTOR
(realises) “Ooh now, wait a minute. I recognise your eyes.” (Pause) “Who are your parents, little girl?”

HANNAH
“My parents?” (Pause) “Mum and dad.”

DOCTOR
“Yes, of course. Mum and dad” (Pause) “And…what’s your name?”

HANNAH
(gradually) “Hannah.”

NYSSA; BILLY
(surprised) “Hannah!!”

BILLY
“Doctor, is that the name of…?”

NYSSA
“Yes! Of the little girl! Ann and Howard’s! Hannah. Their daughter!” (to Doctor) “Doctor?!”

DOCTOR
(thrilled) “That’s good to hear!” (to Hannah) “Hannah, don’t worry! Your parents have been looking for you and wondering where you are.”

HANNAH
(excited) “Mum and dad? Where’s mum and dad? I want mum and dad!”

NYSSA
(gently) “Hannah, it’s alright. Your mum and dad are fine. We’re going to take you back home to them, we promise.”

BILLY
“Yeah, we sure will.”

DOCTOR
“Hannah, listen. Would you like to play a game?”

HANNAH
“A game? Yes, please. What are we going to play?”

DOCTOR
“Ah well, I know this isn’t going to be easy. But you and the kids have watched the pantomime, haven’t you?”

HANNAH
“Yes! Santa Claus is funny!”

DOCTOR
“Yes, well…this game we’re going to play. It’s something I want you to tell your friends about.”

HANNAH
“My friends? What is it?”

DOCTOR
“We’re going to get you and the other kids home, but there’s one thing you must not do. You must not laugh!”

HANNAH
“Not laugh?”

DOCTOR
“No! I know that’s going to be hard when watching the panto, but that’s something you must not do! You mustn’t laugh at Santa Claus or anything else! I want you to tell the others that! Will you do that for me please?”

HANNAH
“You want me to tell the other kids not to laugh?”

DOCTOR
“That’s right! Tell every kid you know with you not to laugh! And spread the word around! If they do that and not laugh, tell them…tell them I’ll give them a sweet. A jelly baby. Once I get back to the TARDIS that is.”

HANNAH
“Will I get a sweet?”

DOCTOR
“Of course you will.”

BILLY
“Now come on, Doctor. With Hannah doing the hard work, you can give her a bigger prize than that!”

NYSSA
“Yes, Doctor.”

DOCTOR
(sighs) “Very well.” (to Hannah) “Hannah, if you tell everyone not to laugh at the pantomime…then I’ll get you…a special present for Christmas. That is when we get back to Nodnol of course.”

HANNAH
“Wow! Can I have a cuddly teddy bear?”

DOCTOR
(gradually) “You can have whatever you want, Hannah. If you do this thing for us.”

HANNAH
“Yippee! Okay. I’ll do it. I’ll tell the other kids not to laugh.”

DOCTOR
“Splendid! Thank you, Hannah.”

There is a loud knock on the door. Everyone jumps startled.

HANNAH
(terrified) “Oh no! It’s the big ugly monster man!”

LARKANIAN #2
(roars; from outside) “Little girl! Little girl, come out of there! You do not talk to prisoners!”

NYSSA
(gently) “Alright, Hannah. Go find your friends and tell them not to laugh.”

DOCTOR
(cheerfully) “Goodbye, Hannah.”

HANNAH
“Bye, Doctor. I like you!” (to Nyssa; Billy) “Goodbye.”

NYSSA
“Yes goodbye, Hannah.”

BILLY
“Bye, Hannah. See you later on.”

DOCTOR
“Remember, Hannah! Tell your friends not to laugh!”

HANNAH
“I will remember.”

The door opens, as Hannah walks out. The door shuts with the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy left inside the room.

NYSSA
“She’s sweet, isn’t she?”

BILLY
“Yes she is. It’s good we found her.”

DOCTOR
“Let’s only hope we’ve done something to foil Lord Trinnaus and his plans.”

BILLY
“So what’s your plan then, Doctor? How are we going to escape and save those children from this place?”

DOCTOR
“Ah! I haven’t come to that part yet.”

NYSSA
“Well you better think of something soon, Doctor. We can’t stay cooped in here forever.”

DOCTOR
“I’ll think of something, Nyssa. Don’t worry. I will think of something.”

The Doctor thinks over his plan whilst Nyssa and Billy have the bread and water given to them. Billy takes a cup of water and drinks it, before spluttering and coughing from it. Nyssa pats him on the back.

NYSSA
(concerned) “Billy, are you alright?”

BILLY
(coughs; disgusted) “The water! It’s awful!”

DOCTOR
“And the bread will be dry no doubt. No wonder the kids are having a hard time. They’ll be glad to be out of this place!”

NYSSA
“We’re prisoners! So I suppose it’s expected they’d give us bad quality accommodation.”

The TARDIS trio continue contemplating what to do next, as Billy recovers from drinking the foul water.


© Tim Bradley, 2017

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