PROPOSAL BY SIMON BUCHER-JONES & [INSERT FAKE NAME HERE]
(Alternative title: The Evolution of Monsters)
A THIRD DOCTOR NOVEL OCCURING AFTER THE SEA DEVILS ………….(but see note at end for possible alternative Doctors, and placement discussion).
26-27 chapters of approximately 3000 words per chapter, Prologue & Epilogue of 2,500 words each.
Total 80,000 - 85,000.
The Eocene period: 40 million years ago.
It is the age of the Silurians; society is structured; placid; ritualistic, and doomed. The Silurians have preserved a uniquely stable culture across millions of years, by carefully limiting their breeding. This is partly natural, partly political (when Silurians take in calories below a certain level per day they become male; thereby increasing hunter’gatherer capacity while decreasing production of children unsuited for trekking – this evolutionary adaption from the periods of the great extinctions has prevented their over-use of global resources), and led to a Samuri-like culture containing both great beauty, and casual (though ritually limited) violence.
Concern for the preservation of the race, for their capacity to spread out and re-populate the world after the coming projected near Collision – when a more rapid capacity to re-establish breeding stock may be needed – has lead one scientist – Academic Oolpas - taking advantage of the isolation offered by an approved World Government project to embark on a daring experiment. He has the backing of a number of aging reptiles in the Government who believe he is working on life-extension, and that his work will enhance their chances of surviving suspended animation; which is a new development, and is still risky enough that even a small failure rate could decimate ranks of the ancient ruling class.
The project is an anciliary one to the survival shelters, [The shelters were built/excavated generations before as soon as the existence of previous cometary and asteroidal impacts long recorded in Silurian holy writ were understood for what they were. Unlike mankind when discovering a long-term need Silurians begin to address it; they do not put the present ahead of the future. <There is also a Silurian project, they joke among themselves, to stop the Sun dying. It has been in existence for half a million years, and has as yet not reached a conclusion>]. The official project underway is the placing of a Silurian colony in space on Toro, Earth’s moonlet, a tiny body –nb check the accuracy of this, it was mentioned in the science section of a Dr Who annual I read as a child and may not actually exist, if not I’d like it to be real in the Whoniverse, but if it does in our world I’ll get the science right) to monitor the impact and direct from outside the re-vivication of their race after the passing of the asteroid. In a vast dome, the maintenance of a completely closed environment – a testbed for preserving Silurian life on other worlds - has left a group of twelve Silurians and their experimental subjects, at the mercy of Academic Oolpas.
He has identified a point in evolution where he believes life on Earth took a wrong turning, he intends to put things right.
The Dome, covers a whole tropical island, and is 100% sealed. It was originally a test-bed for Martian colonies, [Silurians lack the means to travel into space beyond orbit, (Giant augmented, ptetradon, space-shuttles do low orbit work, imagine Flintstones in Space) [Check if they had graviton in pre-history in Bloodheat?] but that wouldn’t stop them testing how to survive somewhere, ten thousand years before working out how to get there]. To Oolpas it is merely a test-tube, and so are its twelve inhabitants, including himself. He is a fanatic for his species; and has no personal ambition, if anything this makes him more dangerous.
The Doctor has travelled back to Silurian Earth, after the end of the Sea Devil Incident, hoping that he can cut the gordian knot of Silurian territorality by learning enough about them to broker a treaty with the next nest to revive, with [His companion, Jo Grant or Sarah Jane do you have a view? Liz Shaw would probably be pleased to be asked given her involvement in the Wenley Moor Business]
However, he has been discovered, and after (off screen) assisting the Silurian government in some matter [or having learned of some future help he has already given them in the past, cf Dragonia] he has been co-opted, (with a threat of force?) to sit in on the initial phase, a three month ‘limited access’ shakedown, after which the Dome will be time-locked for one year. [This is around 1 1/2 years before impact; the Silurians have a calculation of the “small planet’s” (the Moon’s ) passage through the Solar System, a long ellipse) that points to a near passage to Earth on or around 1 1/2 years hence +/- thirty one hours, it will be visible in the final months of its approach]. <Silurian Radio telescopes are giant flocks of soaring pteradactyls; the migration sensors in their brains adapted to receive and respond to radio signals from space, Scientists watch their modified flight patterns like auguries to read off the in-coming data>. (Timing from novelisation of The Silurians, never discussed on screen.).
The Doctor’s presence (as the thirteenth Silurian at the project, or as some snidely remark, the forty fifth ape) looks likely to hinder Oolpas experiments and Oolpas arranges - through his backers - for a series of mock alien incursions designed to draw the Doctor’s, and the World Government Strategic Militia’s, attention away from the biosphere. [These are first a red-herring, and then comedy, as the Silurian media-expert’s (referencing the camp Silurians of Happy Ending?) ideas of extra-terrestrials – the ideas remember of a culture of Samuri lizards - clashs with Sarah Jane (or Jo’s real experience [as the Doctor absorbed in his scientific work, and believing the sightings to be misunderstandings or something akin to Millenium Panic Syndrome thinks she will be quite safe, but this strand also feeds an important sub-plot namely an external threat to breach the Dome].
Oolpas’s diversions, ultimately fail, but they distract the Doctor long enough for Oolpas’s experiment to take effect. He hopes to change the nature of Siluriankind making it – as he thinks - more adaptable, and better able to cope with the ecological disasters of the Post Asteroid Pass Earth. However, what he has produced kills, but before it kills it changes.
Inside Dome Island, the Doctor may be able to contain the horrors of the Silurian’s own creation, but outside the events staged by Oolpas’s agents have attracted considerable media attention, and a cult is beseiging the habitat – lead there by its supposed status as the World Government’s Secret Science City. Secretly funded by Oolpas’s backers the cult is another distraction, but among the, mostly, harmless cultists are a group of eco-terrorists are threatening to destroy the habitat and Sarah (Jo) who is in their hands (claws) and the Militia may not be able to stop them in time. [The eco-terrorists do not believe in the Asteroid considering it a plot to force the population into shelters only to be revived one at a time, branded with the unholy mark of Urmugstatlur (check spelling) and set to work as slaves while in things like the Dome (in their view the first prototype of a them-and-us arkologies, in which the elite will be the beneficiaries of the only unspoiled land and the poor will inherit the waste-dumps and the toxins). (Even Silurian Earth has them but it has taken them millions not thousands of years to reach a late 19th century level of hard industrialisation)]. If the Dome is breached the viral mediated changes to the Silurian (and the Ape) genome could spell the end of the future of humanity as we know it. [The cult quotes from Silurian equivalent of Revelation as needed].
SCIENCE! Sometime after 530 million years ago, the different phyla “locked” – thereafter the range of viable mutations available to each organism were limited to the “set” available to that phylum. The scientist – villain – of the proposal has worked out a way to turn off the inhibitors in the genome, “to free the inherent potentiality of the past history of each cell”.
The lock was an evolutionary benefit, by giving a reduced grab-bag of available mutations (this is a minority theory cited by Stephen Jay Gould in his book on the Burgess Shale – the strata in which Hallucigenia and other extra-current phyla arthropods were found -, Wonderful Life) it increased the chance of the retention of mutually enhancing groups or patterns of development.
Silurians and Apes affected by the drug Hallucigenia gain the ability to change their limbs/bodies into other shapes, this is a recapitulation in redundant DNA of the evolutionary chain, but it will – the Doctor realises become fully active only with the next generation; at which point the infinite plethora of differently shaped forms will probably cause the largest extinction ever, as instinct, breeding and feeding patterns collapse in a flurry of utterly different off-spring.
Chapter by Chapter Synopsis
Burgess Shale fossils are stolen from a Museum-Temple – by Oolpas’s agents, Ninja, mission impossible action with Silurians in what seems like a modern museum on Earth, until the scene pulls back to show it is the highly ornate Temple Of The Contemplation Of Earth Spirits in the Silurian Capital. [Reason for theft, nuclear dating of fossils can give Oolpas a precise time/space fix from which to acquire living material using an experimental time-scoop, built by the Silurians after a number of vanishing farmed Dinosaurs alerted them to the possibility of things being moved through time.]
Chapters 1,2,3,4, & 5 (Episode 1)
A Silurian triad, male, female, young go to the botanic and animal gardens. There in the Ape House an odd new specimen seizes the chance to scratch symbols in the dirt and whisper to the child when its parents are distracted. This is the Doctor’s companion, lost and captured by naturalists – not wishing to risk dissection she is holding back speech in reserve with adult zoologists, but believes she can persuade the child to help her (as in Free Willy etc). However, the child informs his father – who hears the companion speak and mutters something about the Blind Ape Of Truth (This is a bad omen referred to in the Book Of The End Times, an ancient Silurian religious text dating back to the great Ice Treks). He has some importance (not explained here) and arranges for the companion’s release into his custody. [He is an official in a religious cult important later in the plot] and intends to train the companion to utter prophesies that will enhance his status in the cult.
The Doctor is flown by engineered Pteradon to Dome Island in the company of one of the Silurian World Stategic Militia he has already impressed their military with his grasp of their problems in managing global knowledge of the predicted near asteroid miss 5 years hence. He is heavily bandaged, as per invisible man (although he strips these off as soon as he can) as his features are causing discipline problems among the troops.
[h’I didn’t enlist to take orders from no bloody Ape!]. He re-states his concern about his missing companion, and the Military Leader [Name?] re-affirms that he is doing all he can to locate her. He reminds the Doctor that resources are scarce and that the search could be ended, if for example matters here were in-expertly handled, and required military intervention. Terrorists have issued threats aimed at the Dome, and there have been odd events, and sightings of strange animals. Implicitly the Silurians have the TARDIS. We get the impression that the Doctor landed in a hunting preserve and got netted, choosing capture to let COMPANION escape.
Arriving At Dome Island the Doctor is favourably struck despite himself by the architecture and scale of the project. He meets Academic Oolpas who impresses him with his concern for the future of Siluriankind, although the Doctor wonders aloud if this is to be found in increasingly air-tight boxes. Academic Chandrukhra snubs the Doctor, and Oolpas apologises for his attitude, he objects to the military presence of the World Militia [Needs acronmyn?] which is on site until “lock-down” to safeguard the Government’s interests in space technology. The Doctor notices that Chandrukhra was very anxious to reach a sluice room, and sees her scrubbing at her hands through the sluice room window before Oolpas ushers him on. He also notices that Oolpas has a globe in his desk that when activated by thought – as by a third eye – but the Doctor can do it if he has time to concentrate, changes to depict continental drift eventually showing Silurian not Eocene land masses (the Silurian period 437 million years pre now (not 200 million as stated in the Silurians) is the time of the Burgess Shale animals) this is a clue tying Oolpas to the events of the prologue.
On a nearby island a fisherman (whose harbour on Dome Island was compulsorily sequestered
by the State to make way for the Dome) is grumbling as he drinks in the local equivalent of a pub – a sort of sweat lodge come brewery. [Given the Samuri life-style is there Silurian Kareoke?]. He is pestered by two media reptiles who are looking for a landowner who allegedly reported a Mystery Beast sighting to the local papers and hence to the Press of Oddities (The Eocene’s Fortean Times). He begins by being very cagey and holds out for a round of drinks, before sending them off to a particular harbour across the fields. One of his crony’s takes him to task because its miles, through mud and silage and the poor fools won’t see anything. ‘Oh they will,’ the fisherman says, ‘they will!’ and pulling out a high tech device makes a report.
In the Dome there is a near explosion caused by a problem with oxygen regulation but Sub-Academic Lainen (Female Silurian companion for this adventure) believes she has solved it. She is not pleased when the Doctor avuncularly corrects her figures in passing. A mysterious figure is shown using receiving a call (implicitly from the fisherman) and relaying orders to arrange a “happening”. The Military Leader is informed of a Mystery Beast signing in the area. [Note Mystery Beasts are the Silurian equivalent of UFOs – having kept some dinosaur strains viable through the great cold; they have a species wide “regret” for the forms they did not save, and sightings often with mystical implications are common. Silurian Occultists talk of ABCD’s Alien biologically conserved dinosaurs].
In the cult’s power, COMPANION is confronted by such a creature.
Chapters 6,7,8,9 & 10 (Episode 2)
The creature is revealed to be faked; Silurian animatronics and operators in skins, a test kept for initiates. (Silurian race memory can be triggered by Dinosaurs just as ours can by them) Dinosaur handling is therefore a specialist skill done by psychologically trained reptiles. Sudden exposure to dinosaurs outside of controlled conditions is a standard Silurian mind-breaking technique.
The Cult Leader – who seems sympathetic tells (COMPANION) about the great fraud the Government is planning, it’s new world order. Frozen serfs to be thawed out as needed, ruling class in the sun, basking on their ceremonial flat rocks of power. He needs COMPANION to help strike a blow against it. [If Jo she considers telling him truth is Gov are right but doubts he would listen, if SarahJ may not be aware of Silurian history, if so will be angry at Doc for not briefing her properly, prone to jump to conclusions, if Liz cautious and scientific sees through faked creature quickly]. COMPANION asks about the Doctor – has he been captured too? She confides how they were separated. The Cult Leader asks about the Doctor, and COMPANION’s species. She hedges leaves out her future origin but makes out a claim to be alien. He appears impressed but really considers her a biological construct perhaps planted by the Militia, as bait, perhaps a rival’s work.
Still, she will serve him.
The poor media-reporters are scared out of their wits by a giant mysterious creature (having had the description in 6 however, readers can tell this is just a much better funded fake. However, the Militia diverts strength to investigate, and a boat is lost. Early Godzilla movie feel here, journalists, superstitious islanders, mysterious events.
Sub-Academic Lainen shows the Doctor various abandoned projects – ones that will now not come to fruitition because of the small planet, she detects a certain cageness about the subject when it is raised. Equally the Doctor avoids telling her his origin, only that he has come from another world to talk to the Government and that if trouble-shooting this project ensures their trust he will do it. He confides in her his worries for COMPANION. She agrees, displaying the strong traits of the female Silurian towards tenderness to all lost offspring. [The other projects include, a journey to the far-side of the Sun where a counter-Earth has been detected which they call Mondas, replacement of the aged parts of the body with mechanical devices – this has been rejected by the Science Board as unethical – a prototype timescoop “just as much of a botch-up as Whitikers” The Doctor says - and partial re-engineering of the Silurian form to conquer Mars]. Lainen decides that the Doctor must be from Mondas: a world where evolution has reversed and Apes not Reptiles are dominant. A kind of Planet of The Apes. There are legends of visitors from Mondas in Silurian oral-history. She confides this theory to Academic Oolpas who is worried by it. Then a scream rings out….
A Silurian vetinarian working in the Dome on one of the test apes’ to deliver its offspring, is dismembered by the hideous shrieking thing that issues forth. Finding the body the Doctor and Lainen identify ape-tissue in the wounds, but also the bite marks of three distinct types of teeth. The Militia begin a full search of the Dome, but it has square miles of oxygen-producing forests.
The child Silurian and COMPANION attempt to escape from the cult’s encampment on (as it turns out one of the islands). COMPANION is starting to show signs of illness. Not psychological but actual changes to bone structure of hands, a kind of regression. The child tries to calm her; but she is hyper-ventilating, and her skin is splitting.
Chapters 11,12,13,14 & 15 (Episode 3)
The child turns to see COMPANION and finding a partly mutated version tries to drive her back with it’s third eye. COMPANION falls backward off a cliff edge. Looking down the child sees her on a ledge, and goes for help. She meets the media Silurians who have landed on the island in an attempt to gain an interview with the cult leader, a famous Silurian novelist and philosopher, now the guru of a heavily armed cult composed of Silurians who have reputedly voluntarily starved themselves into a third-state; an especially militant and aggressive form. The child takes them to the cliff edge but – COMPANION is gone, leaving only distorted – and too large tracks on the cliff escarpment.
A Silurian soldier searching the Dome is bitten by a 3-headed thing, and begins to show symptoms like those of COMPANION. In the Dome, the Doctor has isolated what appears to be an active agent, but is baffled by the fact that it hasn’t existed on Earth for almost 400 million years. He starts to explain to Lainen but is interrupted by the arrival of a raving Academic Chandrukha who’s hands have taken on a life of their own, the skin writhing and twisting over the bone beneath. The Doctor is forced to use Venusian karate to knock him out, despite his wild and manic use of this 3rd eye to cause horrible hallucinations in the Doctor. [Of dying in the dust perhaps?]. Lainen and the Doctor restrain him, and confirm that the tissue changes in his hands are driven by a similar micro-organism.
Elsewhere; in the ocean, fish dart away from some vast form. [Waking with Dinosaurs pastiche, icthyosaur scares fish only to be sacred in turn by something uncanny].
Cult members, surround Dome Island in stolen Naval Devil ships, demanding an end to the abominations within.
The media-couple with the child in tow, are present as one of the ships is dragged bodily under the waves, and a giant mammalian head breaks the surface of the water.
Chapters 16, 17, 18, 19 & 20 (Episode 4)
Militia Leader runs into Dome lab to report someone has turned the Apes loose and they are all changing.
The Doctor is adamant that the Apes be recaptured, if one escapes into the wild the whole future of life on the planet could be affected. The Militia Leader puts this down to hyperbole but Lainen realises that the Doctor is not from Mondas but the future, a future in which by implication her people can play no great part.
Her third eye begins to glow as she considers boiling his brain in his skull. Ending the future here and now.
The Militia Leader moves to intervene, stopping Lainen with a blow to the nerves in her shoulder. Face of the future or not he regards the Doctor as too useful a resource to be wasted. The military have always faced up to death, they do not fear extinction. They have their duty.
That, a voice says, is just as well! The Militia leader falls, burned down from behind by Oolpas who is holding an experimental laser gun from the display cases in the main hall. Threatening the Doctor with the gun
Oolpas tacitly admits his actions and demands help. Only the Doctor can correct the errors in Oolpas’s experiment and hence (in Oolpas’ view) guarantee the survival of the Silurian race. Oolpas does not believe the small planet will pass the Earth with no effects beyond those of its gravity, he believes it will shower Earth in nuclear-winter causing debris, resulting in a million years of chaos before the eco-system reasserts itself. To survive and flourish in that environment, Silurians will need to breed rapidly and be more passionate, maybe even more brutal. The Doctor tells him that he’s nothing more than a butcher, and that he won’t see any thinking race treated as so much meat. Incensed, Oolpas injects Lainen with his drug before the Doctor can stop him, and taunts the Doctor to save her life by discovering the error-factor that is mistriggering the genetic changes he wishes to create.
The 50ft creature is the Doctor’s companion, mutated by some as yet unexplained force – [this is the effect of the changes to the timeline which will occur if all her ancestors are subjected to the Hallucigenia Virus, altering ever more wildly with each generation ]. The Cult – prepares to fire on the creature considering it the true Beast who’s coming foretells the End Days. However, the Cult leader’s child pleads with him to restrain his followers.
Telling him that COMPANION is in pain from the transformation and not responsible for her actions.
The Cult Leader tries to contact someone on his communicator (Oolpas).
The Doctor takes advantage of Oolpas’s distraction to heft the unconscious Lainen over his shoulder and run for it, snatching a bag of medical equipment supplies on the way [better make this a hand-portable auto-medic demonstrated to him earlier as he needs to improvise a cure with its contents and we have to make it seem possible].
Groggily Oolpas stirs and he reaches for the laser gun as the Doctor darts out of the room, only to be seized when a giant ape hand, crashes through the Dome and grabs him.
Chapters 21, 22, 23, 24 & 25 (Episode 5)
Recognising that the beast has Oolpas – who has been channeling funds to the Cult, the Cult leader orders his followers to open fire, explaining to his child that it is just a big animal and in pain. It would be an act of mercy to destroy it.
Resounding squishing of Cult leader, by beast. Oolpas is thrown to one side, and believed dead at this point.
Resourceful Silurian child uses sounder to make dinosaur noises, causing beast to retreat.
In the forests of Dome island, the Doctor works to save Lainen; while around the campfire circle of light, mutated and mutating Apes draw closer.
In the Dome, the Militia Leader staggers to his feet. His communicator buzzes and the carnage of the Beast’s attack is reported to him. He gives the order to call in elite special forces the Gojira Elite Riders; Silurians on Godzilla scale dinosaurs from the deep sea trenches. [Make this as like a Saturday morning cartoon “power-up” sequence as possible. Go Go Gojira Riders!!!] He orders a full withdrawal form Dome Island. The Gojira Elite will destroy the island and the contamination with it. [And the Doctor and Lainen and the Beast/Companion but that’s a small price to pay].
Lainen is recovering and the Doctor has almost calmed the frantic Apes with his Venusian lullaby, when the massive beast passes by scaring them away. Lainen’s communicator crackles to life, warning her to flee if she can; as the Island will be destroyed in minutes.
The Doctor had made a lasso from vines to catch an Ape earlier (so as to check the process of the virus in its body) [NB insert this into earlier narrative], with this he lassos one of the bone spurs of the beast, and climbs up with Lainen. They will ride the beast to safety moments ahead of the bombs. The Doctor ties Lainen into the beast’s hair for safety, a kind of big cat’s cradle, and climbs up its back, intending to inject a kill-or-cure dose of his anti-serum into its pineal gland.
Oolpas swims ashore onto the island, just as a wave of nuclear fire sweeps over it.
Chapters 26, 27 (Episode 6)
The anti-serum courses through the Beast’s veins, retarding the process as the Doctor hangs on for grim death.
But is it that or the Militia Leader’s nuclear bombing of Dome Island that reverses the process – by removing the ancestral contamination? [Not COMPANIONs direct ancestors but ancestors of contamination vectors that would infect her ancestors]. Is it even the pleading face of the Silurian projected from the Naval vessels. (oh please, It’s so embarrassing it must work). Maybe a consequence of all three. Whatever the cause, COMPANION changes back, and the Doctor, Lainen and Companion are picked up by the Navy.
At the Militia Leader’s recommendation the Doctor writes sealed orders and diplomatic instructions to be placed in the sleep-shelters, which he suggests be set to revive their occupants in the mid 21st century. He is forced to exclude certain shelters; which have already gone into hibernation. A cache of living genetic material from the Burgess Shales is found in the ruins of Dome Island.
Page of Oolpas journal. Before his death he has already injected random sleeping Silurians and Sea Devils in the shelters that have already closed with drugs to make them into “better warriors”. [Sets up sequel, also partly explains why Young Silurian in the Silurians is quite so obviously raving mad!]
The Doctor introduces the living burgess scale material to a genetic-dead end biosphere at the far side of the Galaxy, in five hundred million years it may produce another human species or something quite different. He’ll have to remember to look them up sometime.
NOTE OTHER DOCTORS that could be used if the 3rd is over-subscribed: The 5th Just after Warrior’s Of The Deep, looking for that “other way”. Increased role for companions, split them – one with Doctor, two in zoo (to split later one with child/media people, other to mutate into 50ft beast – Tegan as the others are not of Earth stock). ATTACK OF THE 50FT AUSTRALIAN. (Is is an australopithicene Doctor? Turlough asked, ‘Well almost!’, the Doctor replied.)
The 8th A Modest Proposal - I understand that The Burning will leave open the question of whether the 8th Doctor could have had other “missing adventures” in Earth’s history before that novel begins; why not go the whole hog and give him one 40 million years before? At the end he could jury-rig a Siluirian sleep-capsule to take him forward to the date of the next chronological missing adventure! This would require re-ploting to merge the companion/Doctor experiences, but would still work. The Doctor could begin in the zoo….etc, etc, he could have a Silurian companion, and a human timescooped from “a hideous alternate Ape filled future” by Oolpas, and given to the cult as their Blind Ape Of Truth.
SBJ & [INSERT FAKE INITIALS HERE] 22/6/00