Diet of Proxima started with a couple of random thoughts about the human race going out into space and colonizing new worlds. It occurred to me that there might be opposition to their efforts from other races who might resent them coming and taking over any empty planet they see. I toyed with several ideas before discovering that the nearest star to our own sun is Centauri Proxima, a red dwarf star. A life-supporting planet oribiting Proxima Centauri would, apparently, experience tidal locking, which means that the same side would face the sun at all times – perpetual day and perpetual night. This would be a very difficult world for humans to colonise simply because it is so unlike Earth, so they would soon be looking for somewhere else to move to.

“In short, Humans tend to go a bit nutty without a nice bright yellow sun in a blue sky during the day and a big silver moon in a starry sky at night.”

So the idea of a conference at which the Human race would have to put its case came to me. This conference would be chaired by a panel representing other species who had an interest in the future colonisation programme of humanity. The Doctor would be one of the representatives. Another has to be the Ambassador from Alpha Centauri – a being with one huge eye in a bald green head that comes from the same region of space as Earth’s nearest solar neighbour.

Of the line of people sitting on the adjudication panel, there was only The Doctor and one other, a woman in a long black dress and a matching turban around her head. The other four adjudicators were completely alien beings. One looked like a lizard with leather armour on it. Another looked like a deep purple head with tentacles coming from it. This being was encased in a tank with water around it and when it spoke, it did so through a speaker grille. The voice that came out had an artificial quality as if it was being translated.
The other was roughly the same shape as a Human woman but seemed to be made of chalk. She was at least eight feet tall and half that wide and was dressed in a pure white gown that fell in voluminous folds down to her ankles….

The lady with the black turban was the Ambassador for Haollstrom IV. The reptilian one was the Crown Prince of a place called Teamia-Cru. The creature in the tank was called The Gethic, which made Louise wonder if there was only one of his kind. The chalk lady was called Miras of Letole, and the one with the huge eye was the Ambassador from Alpha Centauri.

Haollstrom IV, as anyone who reads my fiction knows, is a planet of gendermorphs who can be either male or female depending on their mood or political expediency. The reptilian race from Teamia-Cru I made up using a random planet generator. The Gethic, a deep purple head with tentacles encased in a water tank is something of a cross between The Face of Boe and Arcturus, the disembodied head in a glass case that appeared in Curse of Peladon along with Alpha Centauri. A huge lady made of chalk, dressed in white, just seemed like a dramatic idea. Miras of Letole was a name created using a random character generator.

It is not a coincidence that the Earth Ambassador’s name is Robert Michael Kennedy. It almost stands to reason that in the far future somebody with that surname would be involved in the Earth government and doing his best for the Human race. He is a good guy, of course. The bad guy is Gyer of Felspar, who challenges humanity.

The Spanish Conquistadors massacring the indigenous Mexican people, white men committing near genocide against Native Americans and the aborigines of Australia, Hitler’s Final Solution, and countless other horrors that Human history is littered with do seem to be overwhelming proof that we are not ready to colonise space. Gyer has a very valid point. The Doctor knows it. But, of course, he has to persuade the delegates to overrule him. He is there retrospectively. He knows that humans DO colonise space in the 23rd and 24th century. Louise, his wife, comes from a 24th century colony. So if the Diet doesn’t approve Human colonization, she would not exist. Nor would many other people The Doctor cares about. In my stories, of course, his first wife was from the same human future, another 24th century colonists. If she didn’t exist, then ultimately neither would Susan, his granddaughter, who was his first companion in the TV adventures. There would, of course, be huge, cataclysmic consequences, but for The Doctor, the immediate, personal issues are huge enough this time.

Of course, he has to win. But not without a lot of anguish and the help of his alternative self – Nine. These cross-over stories are interesting to do, but I try to keep them to a minimum. This makes two stories in close succession in which another Doctor has appeared. And in both, Louise is missing. Those are two plotlines I need to avoid for a while, now, to avoid being repetitive.