Read Doctor Who: The Ark Online
Authors: Paul Erickson
Tags: #Science-Fiction:Doctor Who
It is ten million years in the future and the Earth is about to plunge into the Sun. A gigantic Space Ark has been launched to take the last of humanity to a new life on the planet Refusis.
Accompanying the Humans on their journey are the Monoids, strange reptilian creatures from an alien world.
When the TARDIS materialises on board, the Doctor and his friends are greeted with suspicion which soon turns to open hostility when Dodo inadvertently infects the Ark’s crew with a long-forgotten virus.
It is an accident which will have a terrible effect on mankind, and effect which will last for seven hundred years . . .
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Science Fiction/TV Tie-in
Based on the BBC television series by Paul Erickson by arrangement with the British Broadcasting Corporation
Number 114 in the
Doctor Who Library
A TARGET BOOK
The Paperback Division of
W. H. Allen & Co. PLC
A Target Book
Published in 1986
by the Paperback Division of W.H. Allen & Co. PLC
44 Hill Street, London W1X 8LB
Novelisation copyright © Paul Erickson 1986
Original script copyright © Paul Erickson 1966
‘Doctor Who’ series copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation 1966, 1986
The BBC producer of
was John Wiles, the director was Micheal Imison
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
Anchor Brendon Ltd, Tiptree, Essex
ISBN 0 426 19967 7
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
Lush foliage crowded in upon itself beneath the tall trees. Here and there, amid dark shadows cast by overhanging branches, small pools of light picked out brightly-coloured flora.
Shimmering mist hovered in patches over the dense tangles of undergrowth, thinning away in places to reveal small clearings.
Into the still air rose a murmur of activity from the teeming jungle floor, pierced by sharp cries which indicated the presence of larger forms of life.
A mynah bird fluttered from branch to branch, its eyes picking out the familiar scene; other birds, some in flight, others resting... and on the ground a lion padding from one copse to another, causing gazelles to scatter from its path in a flurry of alarm. A cacophony of chatter, and monkeys which had been picking at the kernels of fallen nuts scampered up trees to reach safety.
The lion having passed, the other animals re-emerged to feed upon the shrubbery. Zebras, kangaroos, tortoises and many other species mingled together in the ebb and flow of a densely packed animal kingdom.
Among them, reptiles.
So that a particular form of reptile life that moved among them passed unnoticed, obviously representing no threat.
But this creature was different from the snakes and lizards that were normally found in this jungle. In the first place it walked upright on two legs, two arms hanging at its sides. It made no sound, not even the hissing that other reptiles might make. And while its body was covered in scales, the head boasted a mop-like thatch of ginger hair.
Facially, it displayed three shrunken nostrils and a small, thin mouth from which a tongue occasionally flicked out.
But its most prominent feature was a large single eye that constantly swivelled as it looked around.
An eye that apparently accepted the scene as being normal. Having found it so, the creature moved on, disappearing into the shadows of the undergrowth.
No sooner had the creature disappeared than a different, alien sound was heard in the jungle. A whirring, mechanical noise that disturbed the sweltering, humid place... and, as it echoed and then died away, the TARDIS
police box materialised in the glade.
At first there was a startled and uncertain reaction from the crowded animals... then, as silence returned, they resumed their business of foraging for food.
The door of the TARDIS opened and Dodo Chaplet emerged. An elfin-like teenager, she was dressed in the fashion of a page from the period of the Crusades.
She gazed around at the jungle that surrounded her and, in wonder, moved forward to touch the bark of a tree as though to make sure that it was real.
Finding that it was, she became conscious of the steamy, clinging heat of the place. And in response to it, she suddenly found her nose itching. Her fingers pinched at her nose, attempting to stifle a sneeze, but it came bursting forth.
Dodo brushed her fingers across her nose and shook her head, seeking to clear it. Then she glanced up as Steven came out from the time-machine to join her.
He looked at her with barely concealed annoyance. ‘And just where do you think you’re going?’
‘Out! I thought I’d get some fresh air!’ Dodo replied defiantly.
‘Nobody said you could go out!’ Steven snapped.
‘Do they have to, then?’
‘Of course they do!’ Steven shook his head in bewilderment at her recklessness. ‘You don’t know what you might have found out here. No gravity... poisoned atmosphere... all sorts of things.’ Dodo started to move away from him. ‘Look, stop tramping around over there...
What happens if you get lost?’
‘In that case I catch a bus back!’ came the answer.
!’ Again Steven shook his head. ‘What do you think you’re talking about? I mean, just where do you think you are?’
‘Ah! I bet you think you’ve caught me, don’t you? I’ll bet you think I don’t know!’
‘You do?’ Steven asked.
‘Of course I do!’ Dodo replied with confidence.
‘What... this place? With all these strange animals... and plants... and things? You can’t have been here before!’
‘Yes, I have! I came here once with my school. It’s called Whipsnade. It’s just outside London.’
‘Just outside... now, wait a minute...’
Dodo pointed away from the glade through the trees.
‘I’ll bet if you go down that path there you’ll come to the American bison and the tea bar!’
Steven sighed in exasperation.
‘We don’t even know that we’re on Earth,’ he argued.
’ Dodo countered scornfully. ‘This place couldn’t be anywhere else, now could it?’ She indicated.
‘That’s a chameleon... and over there... those are Malayan gazelles.’ She peered at a bush. ‘And on these leaves...
‘How do you know all this?’ Steven asked.
‘Learned it at school. Natural history...’
From the depths of the woods a baying howl echoed.
Dodo jumped, losing something of her confidence.
Steven grinned. ‘Having second thoughts?’
‘No... I just don’t remember Whipsnade being so loud, that’s all.’
Inside the TARDIS the Doctor pored over the instruments with a puzzled expression. He shook the Space Longitude Indicator, not quite believing its reading, but the figures that it spelled out remained steady. And it was the same with all the other instruments. However much he tapped and tweaked at them, the initial readings remained obstinately the same.
‘Strange!’ he muttered. ‘Very strange.’
What was strange about them was the fact that they were all apparently working... and
at the same time.
And this really perplexed the Doctor, because it was indeed a rare day when something wasn’t going wrong in his old war-horse, TARDIS. He could hardly remember the last time they had combined to give such consistent readings.
He scratched his chin.
‘Not since that trip to Venessia... or was it Enlandia?
That strange place where the one thing they didn’t have was land. Nothing but water... and that peculiar form of crystal ice.’ He quivered, momentarily remembering the place well. It still gave him the shivers to think of it... and remember the giant eels that had squirmed their way about the place.
But, no... the readings were what they were... and he glanced up when he heard the youngsters outside talking about the possibility of finding themselves on Earth.
The Doctor emerged from the TARDIS, shaking his head in bewilderment. He glanced at Dodo and Steven.
‘Improbable as it may seem, the child Dorothea -’
‘Dodo!’ the teenager protested.
‘Oh, yes, of course!’ the Doctor conceded. ‘I think Dodo may be right!’
Steven was puzzled. You mean... it
Earth?’ he asked.
The Doctor shook his head cautiously. ‘I can’t tell you just yet, not for certain. All I can say is that it is more likely to be Earth than anywhere else. But it is very strange, all the same.’ He grasped the lapels of his jacket.
‘You know, I’ve been taking a look at my instruments in there, and my readings are... well,
strange!’ Then he shrugged his shoulders as though finding a delight in a problem. ‘Yes...
very strange indeed
Elsewhere, activity was taking place in a control room.
A central panel was the obvious focus of all this activity.
Monitor screens gave a constant display of everything that was going on, both within the Control Room and outside it. Fingers moved levers and the effect on the combined screens gave those within the Control Room a constant up-date on the information they required.
Those fingers belonged to humans... and also to one-eyed, scaly reptilian creatures like the one who had wandered through the jungle earlier. They appeared to work and co-exist in harmony, humans and Monoids obviously having a common purpose.
One of the Monoids pressed the trigger of an information terminal. It whirred and passed out a sheet of paper. This was handed to one of the humans and passed along until it reached the hands of the Commander, a middle-aged man of erect stance. He glanced at the paper and frowned.
‘Bring in the prisoner!’ he demanded.
A door slid open and a young man was led into the Control Room by another man and a Monoid. The young man looked pale and apprehensive. He was brought face to face with the Commander, while other humans and Monoids studied him with detached curiosity.
‘Niash,’ the Commander addressed him, ‘you have been found guilty as charged of the summons brought against you; that is to say, that you endangered our venture by failing to check the sealing valves properly.’
‘Yes, Commander,’ Niash admitted in an uncertain voice.
‘By so doing you could have destroyed by an explosion everything that we... and our friends, the Monoids...’ the Commander acknowledged the presence of the reptilians, who bowed respectfully ‘... will ever hope to achieve.’ The Commander sighed. ‘So now it is my duty to pass sentence upon you. According to Galactic Law, which I must administer, there are in these grave circumstances only two punishments: the one, expulsion into outer space; the other, miniaturisation. As you know, miniaturisation means you will be retained on microcell slides and be reconstituted in about seven hundred years from now when you will no longer be able to do any harm.’