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by Ben Aaronovitch


Ace and Shou Yuing crouch in the glowing chalk circle, as Morgaine of the Faye stands behind them. She tells them her demands. "Surrender to me what is mine by right of conquest. Give me Excalibur.." "Never!" promises Ace as she clutches the ancient scimitar closer to her chest. "Then you shall be given over," threatens Morgaine, "to the Destroyer!" Morgaine looks at the far wall, and a creature appears. It has the body of a man, but the skin is a tough deep blue hide. Its face is hard blue callous, twisting in symmetric patterns across its surface, its beard is of small white horns like roots growing from potatoes. Two large, twisting horns protrude from its head, and its eyes, a deep, deep blue, gaze in hunger at the young protectors of the sword..... and Morgaine completes her spelling out of Ace and Shou Yuing's fates, "and become his handmaidens.... in hell....." She cackles with witch-like laughter, and the Destroyer slightly smiles...

"Tell Morgaine to call off the Destroyer!" orders the Doctor to Mordred on the battlefield near Vortigern's Lake and the nuclear missile. Mordred tells the Doctor to surrender to his and his mother's justice to allow the children to live. "You justice?" sneers the Doctor, "Tell her to call it off, or..." He quickly seizes Mordred's sword, and holds it behind Mordred's neck. "...Or I will decapitate you!!!"

Morgaine observes the scene with her crystal ball. She comments that the Doctor must care for Ace and Shou Yuing very deeply to threaten her son this way. "Fear not," she calls telepathically to Mordred, "It is a deception."

And Mordred hears her words... "He is bluffing," she completes. "We know you of old, Merlin, you will not kill!" assures Mordred. The Doctor tells him not to count on it, anger building in his eyes. "Come then," taunts Mordred, "Look me in the eye....end my life!!" The Doctor; he looks Mordred in the eye; his own eyes flare with anger; he steels himself for the deed; he begins to pull the sword toward himself, through Mordred's neck..... and he lets Mordred go. Mordred laughs at the Doctor and says "It is a weakness, this lack of spirit!" The Doctor looks at Mordred, some sadness in his eyes that he could not bring himself to do it perhaps.....

"Try me!"

Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart puts the end of his six-shot revolver into the temple of Mordred, son of Morgaine the Sunkiller.

"Ware this man Mordred," warns Morgaine with her mind, "He is steeped in blood!"

The Doctor protests that this is not the right way of doing things as he buries the end of Mordred's sword in the mud. The Brigadier says he's sorry and ignores his advice. He asks if Morgaine can hear him. Mordred says yes. "Listen to me Morgaine," calls Lethbridge-Stewart, "Leave my world now, or your son dies."

A look of pure worry, terror, and fear forms on Mordred's face and he calls out, "Deathless Morgaine! Save me!"

"Die well, my son," speaks Morgaine.

"Mother!!!" echoes Mordred's voice through the air....

"Knight Commander!" Morgaine's view on her sphere has changed to her troops as she orders them to recommence their attack. "Take no prisoners!" she finishes, and Ace cries "No!" to her commands. Morgaine smiles slightly to her side in Ace's direction.

"This is our part, to fight and die," tells Ancelyn to Bambera. They stand side by side as Morgaine's troops once again storm from the forests and retake the battlefield. "That's what we're paid for," shouts Bambera, "so let's do it with some style!!!" and together they rush to meet their attackers. Ancelyn engages in a sword duel with one of the soldiers. UNIT troops resume their weapons' fire. One armoured knight loses his sword, Bambera gains it, and sets to with another of Morgaine's army.

"My mother will destroy you!" pouts Mordred. The Brigadier has forced Mordred at gun point back to where they parked Bessie. The Brigadier sneers a little at Mordred, a disgusted look on his face, and returns, "Just between you and me, Mordred, I'm getting a little tired of hearing about your mother." He throws Mordred in the back seat with him, whilst the Doctor electronically starts the engine. Bessie screams away, leaving dust in her tracks.

Morgaine tells Ace and Shou Yuing that their friends will soon be dead. With an elegant brush of her hand, the sphere floats away into the darkness. She repeats her demand that they surrender Excalibur. "If you're so powerful, why don't you come and get it?" challenges Ace. "An excellent suggestion," agrees Morgaine. She advances toward them, but her hands stop at an invisible wall as she reaches the edge of the chalk/glowing circle. She presses hard against the force, put cannot get through. She gives up, spitting "the sword is protecting you!" "The Doctor was right. You can't touch us while we're in the circle. Not while we've got the paper knife!" "This is true, I cannot break such an enchantment." [The chalk is not what was keeping her out of the circle. Excalibur was generating a force field. All the chalk did was tell it where the edges of the field should go.]

"But I can," growls the Destroyer. Its voice is low, deep, and gravely. Ace looks at it, still with some fear, but she challenges it in any case. "If you're so bad, why haven't you done anything yet?" The Destroyer tells them that before he acts, he must first be freed. This mortal (Morgaine), has him chained. And Morgaine point out the chains are made of silver. It burns, he tells them. [The Destroyer is possibly another Chronovore, like Kronos was, only rather than a quartz crystal chaining him to this world and the control of a mortal, silver is this guy's fault. Future references to an interstitial time-jump ("The Time Monster") make me think this is where Aaronovitch was going with this.] Morgaine says it is good that the silver chains burn. "She fears me," smiles the Destroyer. "I fear nothing," denies Morgaine. "Then free me," he challenges, "and let me claim this world." Ace asks what he wants the world for. He says he wants to devour it. "What else?" On the Destroyer's clawed hands, ahead of the silver manacles, a green aura begins to glow, and he stretches his hands toward the circle...

Bessie roars up to the hotel, and the Doctor runs out of the car, stopping as he sees a bright green light from inside the door. He hears and then sees explosions coming out the door. The largest knocks him to his feet, as well as Mordred and the Brigadier. The Doctor gets to his feet, a look of dark hatred on his face, "Morgaine!" he calls inside, "If they are dead....." He runs inside. The Brigadier is still on the ground as Mordred pulls himself up and runs off down the road.

"Ace!" calls the Doctor as he goes inside, inside what used to be the lounge and bar and lobby of the Gore Crow Hotel. Complete shambles. Broken glass, bits of ceiling rafter, shattered furniture, large pieces of the roof, all now decorate the interior of the hotel. "Ace, Shou Yuing," calls the Doctor softly into the ruins, a sadness coming over him deep enough for him to completely ignore the Brigadier's incoming and his message that Mordred escaped.

"Is that you Professor?" coughs Ace, and miraculously, she and Shou Yuing creep up out of the ruins, dust and debris all over their clothes and hair. Shou Yuing tells them the hotel fell on them, and that there was a woman with a pet demon. They tell him how she seemed to want Excalibur very, very badly, so they gave it to her. "Good," says the Doctor, brightening Ace's face. She at first wonders if this is another Hand of Omega type of trick, but he says it's good because exotic alien swords are easy to come by, "Aces are rare." The Brigadier calls their attention to something on the wall where the Destroyer stood. On the wall is an energy pattern, vaguely reminiscent of a disco reflection sphere....

Morgaine and the Destroyer stand in their commandeered castle. "Where is my army?" she asks him. "Gone the way of all flesh," he tells her. She looks slightly sad, and she presses Excalibur into the ground between the two spheres as Mordred had done the previous night. The spheres light themselves.

The battle is over. UNIT has won. Across the field, the dead forms of soldiers of both sides lie strewn. Small fires still burn in the grass as Ancelyn cleans the blood from his sword. Bambera cautiously raises the visor of a dead soldier [the Knight Commander], a man possibly under eighteen years old. "A good fight," smiles Ancelyn. Bambera turns to him with a confused and slightly chocked look on her face.

The Doctor probes the energy patterns on the wall with the tip of his umbrella, a faint glow surrounding it as he does so. He tells them Morgaine and the Destroyer are at the other end of this "interstitial vortex." They ask what their next move is, and he tells them that they must first go through this vortex. He takes the scabbard and his umbrella, tells Ace and Shou Yuing to stay here, and prepares to enter the Vortex. "High drama is very similar to comedy," he explains. "It's all a matter of...." and he spins as he and the Brigadier spin themselves into the vortex..." timing..." echoes his words...

Mordred picks himself up from behind the cover he took as two UNIT soldiers passed him by. He sets off again for his destination, the now-close castle of his mother....

Ace is scrambling through the debris in the hotel, explaining to Shou Yuing how Morgaine could control the Destroyer with silver... hoping Shou Yuing will make the connection to... the silver bullets! Shou Yuing tells her the vortex is fading as Ace finds the buried box. Shou Yuing asks if Ace is going to throw them through, and Ace tells her to do her a favour... "Geronimo!" she shouts as she spins herself into the gap between now and now....

"You would do well to release me Morgaine," informs the Destroyer to Morgaine as she surveys the cross-dimensional gate Excalibur and her spheres are constructing. He goes on to say that Merlin is mighty and cunning. He cannot destroy him while he is chained. Morgaine wonders how this matters, since she now has Excalibur, and without the sword, King Arthur will sleep forever. Merlin cannot find 'ere she leaves, and the gateway home is almost complete. She raises her hands to her face, and the spheres brighten their light... The Destroyer chuckles and smiles his toothy mouth at Morgaine. "He comes even as we speak." "How," she asks, "He cannot come through the Vortex." He laughs at her again, this time saying nothing. "You have allowed him access!" realises Morgaine. "Why?" "So that you will be forced to release me," says the Destroyer as he completes his trap.

The vortex appears on the wall, and the Doctor and the Brigadier spin from within it, the energy fading as the Doctor raises his hat in greeting... "Morgaine!" he smiles. The Brigadier pulls his gun and fires several shots into the chest of the Destroyer. They seem to do little more than make the Destroyer look down at his chest. "Brigadier.." admonishes the Doctor. "Well, nothing ventured, Doctor!" "Nothing gained," completed the Destroyer. Green bolts of energy blast from his hands, snaring the Brigadier's face, and throwing him out a boarded-up wall of the castle. Lethbridge-Stewart lies motionless on the ground outside. "That was uncalled for!" protests the Doctor. He then rushes to where Excalibur stands, and grabs the hilt. Morgaine reaches it first, and she looks him in the eye, "Your move, Merlin!"

The Brigadier still lies motionless in the grass outside.

The Doctor and Morgaine circle each other, their weapons raised. Morgaine's is Excalibur itself. The Doctor's is his umbrella. "You haven't won the game yet Morgaine," reminds the Doctor to Morgaine. "I could always beat you at chess Merlin," she reminds him. "Who said anything about playing chess?" questions the Doctor, "I'm playing poker!" Morgaine has circled to the other wall now, and once again the vortex appears and Ace tumbles through it, knocking Morgaine over, and Excalibur to the ground. The Doctor recovers it first and holds it triumphantly above his head, and says, "And I have an Ace up my sleeve!"

Morgaine looks up from the floor at the Destroyer and she orders it to destroy the Doctor. The Destroyer tells her to free him first. The Doctor asks her which she fears more, the Destroyer or him. She assures him this is no idle threat. "Give me Excalibur, or I will loose the Destroyer upon the world!" The Doctor tells her to not be a fool.

With her hands, she seems to rent the very air itself, and the chains holding the Destroyer split. The blue monster heaves its leg chains apart, and they give way as if now malleable. He splits his chest armour and flexes his chest muscles, and he shouts "Free!" with the delight of one who has been imprisoned for centuries.... "Nice work Doctor," says Ace. "But I thought she was bluffing," he replies.

Outside the castle, the Brigadier slowly awakes and turns himself on his back.

"Free!" shouts the Destroyer again. The Doctor looks on helplessly as Morgaine takes Excalibur from his grasp, the Doctor too surprised to resist. " "Too late Merlin," she exclaims, "The gateway is open! I am gone and you have lost!" She replants Excalibur, raises her hands, the spheres glow and she prepares to depart.... when her son returns. "Mother!" he cries. Morgaine turns, too stunned to quite believe it. "Mordred, you live," she says to him, a wide smile on her face. "In spite of thee, false parent! Witch" he spits at her.

And as they speak, the Doctor sneaks Excalibur out and away from its stand....

"No Mordred, that was not the way of it," she tries to explain. "No...." and both fade away into nothingness...

The Destroyer shakes its head, and looks about ready to move...

"Doctor, can I have a word?" says Ace as she starts to bundle him out the door. The Brigadier begins to enter, but the Doctor turns him around saying, "Brigadier, you're going the wrong way!" The Brigadier runs out, the Doctor second, and Ace third, when Ace suddenly turns back dangerously for the little packet of silver bullets she dropped when she bumped into Morgaine. She picks it up and runs out as the Destroyer raises his hands and says a very satisfied, "At LAST!"

Outside, his words carry all the way to where the others are running, "What was that?" asks the Brigadier. "That, Brigadier, was the beginning of the end of the world," says the Doctor. "Same as ever, eh, Doctor?" he replies, and they run on.

"I HUNGER..." echoes the Destroyer's deep voice through the castle....

"It's no good! It's no good at all!" says an angry Doctor as they stop running out by some bales of hay well clear of the castle. The Brigadier tells him he can have an air strike here in minutes, but the Doctor tells him conventional weapons won't harm it. "I didn't think so," says the Brigadier. The Doctor tells Ace to give him the silver bullets. She does, demanding to know how he knew she had them. He tells her it's all a matter of timing. The Doctor explains that the silver bullets will simply stop the Destroyer by just shooting them into it. "Simple isn't it?" he says with steam, "just like most killings."

Suddenly, the Brigadier spies something in the sky, and as he looks up he cries, "Good Lord, is that a spaceship?!?" The Doctor and Ace follow his gaze, and as they do, the Brigadier knocks the Doctor out, takes the gun full of silver bullets and tells him "Sorry Doctor, but I'm rather more expendable than you are!" Ace tries to wake the senseless Doctor as the Brigadier runs back to the castle.

The Destroyer shakes its fists in the air, saying that "This world shall be mine, and then another, and another..."

Ace still tries to wake the Doctor, pausing only to see a giant green explosion rise from one of the castle towers...

And a second explosion rocks the countryside....

He enters the darkened castle. The Destroyer looks at the ageing soldier, and asks him, "Little man? What do you want of me?" The Brigadier holds his gun outstretched, and orders it to "Get off my world!"

The Doctor struggles up, nursing his injury. "Come on, we've got to stop him," says the Doctor. Ace and the Doctor run to the castle as the Brigadier had done.

Another explosion, the largest yet, engulfing the sky....

"Pitiful," insults the Destroyer. "Can this world do no better than you as a champion?" smiles the Destroyer. "Probably," replies the little man, "I just do the best I can." And Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart pulls the trigger, firing three silver bullets into the Destroyer... The bullets rip into the monster's flesh, it cries out and clutches its throat, and a giant green explosion flies out as the Lord of Darkness and Eater of Worlds passes out of its existence.....

Billowing clouds of vivid green energy and burning smoke pour out of the demolished castle ceiling. Ace holds back as the Doctor runs on, Ace saying "No chance, he's had it!"

Brigadier Winifred Bambera storms angrily out of her mobile HQ truck, shouting for her Sergeant and her coffee. "Sergeant!" she cries one final time as the blade of a sword touches her neck. At the end of the sword is the hand of Mordred, and he informs her that "The battle's not over yet..."

Lethbridge-Stewart lies on the ground outside the burning remains of the castle. The Doctor crouches behind him, placing his inert head in his lap. "You stupid, stubborn, pig-headed numbskull! You were supposed to die in bed! I could have handled it! It was only your job!"

"Nonsense, Doctor."

Alistair opens his eyes and smiles up at the Doctor. The Doctor throws his head to the ground, gets up and complains, "You're supposed to be dead!" "You didn't really expect me to be so stupid as to stay inside do you? Really Doctor, have a little faith." "Ace," he calls as Ace joins them. "Yes, Brigadier?" she asks. "I'm getting too old for this sort of thing, he's all yours from now on! I'm going home to Doris." "Doris?" queries the Doctor as he brushed dust off the Brigadier. "Yes, my wife." explains Alistair. "So she got you in the end," laughs the Doctor.

Ace asks them if they shouldn't be getting back. The Brigadier agrees as he suspects there's some clearing up to be done. The Doctor also agrees, since there's still the little matter of a small nuclear missile bogged down in a nature reserve....


Morgaine studies the screens of the nuclear missile controls of Bambera's Mobile HQ vehicle. Mordred holds her at sword-point at the wall. Bambera tells them it's a nuclear missile whose blast will kill them as well. Morgaine promises they will be long gone before that happens. The computer is now asking for a FAILSAFE RELEASE CODE, and so Morgaine asks Bambera what this secret incantation is. Bambera feigns ignorance of any such code, and Morgaine doubts this. She looks deep into Bambera's eyes and asks again...."What is the code?"

Ace, Ancelyn, the Brigadier, and the Doctor stand in the control centre of the underwater spaceship. The Doctor holds out Excalibur to Ancelyn and tells him to replace it in the controls, "And Arthur will arise!" At first, all argue that the honour should go to one of the others, until Ace, who has no sense of occasion, just grabs the thing and plugs it back in to Arthur's sleep-stand.

Lights, panels, and controls rise into life all across the ship and the room, and Ancelyn notes that she is alive. "Which is more than can be said for Arthur the freeze-dried," notes Ace, and indeed Arthur is not moving. "This is very odd," says the Doctor. "Well, you put him there," says Ace. "I will put him there," corrects the Doctor. The Doctor begins to unscrew the helmet from the body of Arthur, to find no body inside. Nothing but dust....... and a note. As Ancelyn asks where the King is, Ace read the note.

"Dear Doctor, King died in final battle. Everything else propaganda." "Who signed it?" asks the Doctor. "The Doctor," says Ace. "Oh, well, that sorts that out!" smiles the Doctor. "P.S..." continues Ace, "Morgaine has just seized control of the nuclear missile!"

Ancelyn, worried for Bambera, runs out immediately. The Doctor admonishes himself for not giving himself more warning. He tells the Brigadier and Ace to see to this spaceship with explosives, and to give Arthur a warrior's battle.

Ancelyn creeps near the UNIT HQ lorry, and sees Mordred carrying an inert Bambera out of the vehicle. He yells in fury and rage, draws his sword and engages Mordred in single combat. They parlay and strike, pulling apart for a moment, letting the Doctor walk between them raising his hat! They both look at him for a moment, then shout again and go back to it.

Inside, the missile is counting down to launch, at 61....

"Too late Merlin," says Morgaine. "Is it?" he asks, "Not while there's an abort button." He advances toward it holding out his brolly, and Morgaine grabs him and pushes him back, each neither gaining or losing ground to the other. Still, the Doctor attacks her, with words... "If this missile explodes, millions will die, you will die!"

"I shall die with honour!"

"All over the world, fools are poised ready to let DEATH fly, MACHINES of DEATH, Morgaine. Screaming from above! A light BRIGHTER than the sun! Not a war between armies, nor a war between nations, but just DEATH. DEATH GONE MAD! he whispers now, "A child looks up into the sky, his eyes turn to cinders, no more tears, only ASHES... IS THIS HONOUR? IS THIS WAR? ARE THESE THE WEAPONS WE WOULD USE? TELL ME!!!!!!"

Morgaine looks at him, doubt chiselled all over her face, a hesitant "no.." escaping her lips,....

"Then put a stop to it Morgaine, END THE MADNESSS!"

She looks at Merlin, then turns and presses her thumb to the red abort switch. The countdown stops at 1 second to go. She turns back to Merlin, and says "Then tell Arthur to face me, in single combat!"

Underneath the Lake of the High King, the ship of Arthur, King of the Britons EXPLODES.........

Water is sent metres high into the air, as Ace and the Brigadier celebrate...

"Arthur is dead," breathes the Doctor. "No," denies Morgaine. "He's dead Morgaine," he repeats. "No, Merlin, prince of deceit, another trick.." "No," he says. "I don't believe you," she says again. "He died," says the Doctor, "over a thousand years ago." "Arthur?" says Morgaine as she looks for her love in the mists of memory, "Who burned like starfire? And was as beautiful." She turns and asks Merlin, "Where does he lie? I would look at him one final time." "He's gone," he tells her," gone to dust." "Then I shall not even have that comfort," weeps Morgaine, "I shall never see him again. Arthur!" Her cries bring her nothing but tears however... "We were together in the woods of Celydon," she explains, "The air was like honey..." she remembers sadly and fondly. "I'm sorry Morgaine," sympathizes the Doctor, "But it's over." He reaches behind the broken-spirited Morgaine, and removes the keys from the missile controls.

Mordred pins Ancelyn on the ground, beneath his sword. "I do not fear death Mordred," smiles Ancelyn, "You have slain my beloved, there is no life without her." "So be it," sneers Mordred, "'Tis TIME!!!!" He draws his arm back, ready for the killing blow,.... when the Doctor pins his arm with the question mark handle of his umbrella! He fixes Mordred with a hypnotic stare, and Mordred is pinned beneath it. "Time and Time Lords wait for no man," says the Doctor, and he reaches out his hand to Mordred's forehead and squeezes. A pulse of sound blasts Mordred into unconsciousness...

Bambera wakes up from her little doze. "Ah, Brigadier Bambera," smiles the Doctor at her. "Before Mordred recovers, lock him up, and while you're at it, lock up his mother." Ancelyn also rises and joins his beloved at her side.

There is silence. The flowers are in bloom, and the Doctor and Ancelyn regard Alistair's garden. "Peaceful, isn't it?" remarks the Doctor. "It's the silence after a battle Doctor," explains Ancelyn. Alistair walks out to their garden bench from the house and asks if they're alright out here, apologizing for not being a very good host. "We were just admiring the garden," explains the Doctor. "I don't suppose you've seen Doris have you?" asks Alistair. Doris Lethbridge-Stewart comes out of their country house carrying a handbag, and waving goodbye to the man, parallel dimension man, and Time Lord. [I meant to say men here but it doesn't quite fit does it?] Alistair regards her suspiciously as he approaches his wife, and the Doctor whispers to Ancelyn, "I think the battle may be about to begin." Alistair asks if she's going somewhere, and Doris says yes, she's going out, with the girls.

In the driveway, Ace is shining Bessie's hood, wearing flying goggles on her forehead, while Winifred and Shou Yuing sit in the back seat. The Doctor walks up to her and reminds Ace that she said this thing was a piece of antiquated junk. Shou Yuing promises they won't break too many speed records, and Bambera adds traffic laws to that. "Hey, what fun!" smiles Doris with glee as she comes around Bessie's front. Ace asks Doris if she wants to drive, and she says she'll drive on the way back. Alistair asks just exactly how far they're intending to go, and she replies that she doesn't really know, but there's plenty of work to be done in the garden. She tells him to mow the grass. "What about supper?" he asks. "Oh, that's a good idea," says Doris, "Have something really delicious waiting for us when you get home, OK?" Alistair's face falls as the women's faces light up as Ace honks Bessie's horn, steps on the accelerator, and Bessie flies down the drive. "Oh, Wicked!" can be heard escaping from Shou Yuing's mouth. As they drive off onto the highway, Ancelyn looks on admiringly, puts his hand on Alistair's shoulder and asks "Are they not magnificent?" Alistair smiles a little, then asks "Are you any good with a lawn mower Ancelyn?" Ancelyn frowns and looks at the Doctor. The Doctor smiles, and tells them, "I'll cook supper."

The Doctor
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Knight Commander
Brigadier Winifred Bambera
Shou Yuing
The Destroyer
Stunt Arranger
Title Music Composed by
Incidental Music and Theme Arrangement
Special Sound
Production Manager
Assistant Floor Manager
OB Lighting
OB Sound
Visual Effect Designer
Vision Mixer
Technical Co-Ordinator
Videotape Editor
Studio Lighting
Costume Designer
Production Assistant
Assistant Floor Manager
Engineering Manager
OB Cameramen
Video Effects
Graphic Designer
Camera Supervisor
Properties Buyer
Studio Sound
Make-Up Designer
Script Editor
Production Associate
Episode copyright BBC-Tv, MCMLXXXIX
This synopsis by Steven Manfred synopsis copyright 1992
you may copy this all you want provided it is not for reasons of profit.

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