Doctor Who

When Rose reached the console room The Doctor was already busy. He was running around pressing buttons all over the console.

“What’s happening?”

“Getting a transmission from Jack. But I can’t get the viewscreen to link up the videophone.” The Doctor patted his pockets frantically. “And I can’t find my sonic screwdriver.” He looked at Rose and realised SHE was still wearing his jacket. He smiled as she also realised and slipped it off. “Looks good on you, but I’m kind of lost without it.” He slipped the jacket back on and Rose had to admit it was better on him. He took out the sonic screwdriver and used it to adjust the communications panel. The viewscreen shimmered and shifted from the view of temporal orbit to a videophone connection with their old friend Jack Harkness.

“Doctor!” Jack grinned at them. “Got you at last. Of all the mornings for you two lovebirds to have a lie in!”

“Yeah, right,” The Doctor laughed. “Lie in! Chance would be a fine thing. But what’s up? You didn’t call me up for a chin wag about old times, I’m sure.”

“No.” Jack’s face became serious. “Doctor, we’re on Earth and there’s something crazy going on down here. I think you ought to come and check it out.”

“If you think it's important, Jack, we’re on our way.”

“Great.” Jack looked relieved. “I’m transmitting co-ordinates to you. See you here, soon.”

“As soon as we can,” The Doctor promised. “Hang in there, Jack.” He turned off the videophone connection and read the co-ordinates. “July 15th, 2015.” He punched them into the navigation drive and set the TARDIS on its way. “It's saying we’ll take about two hours to get there.”

“That’s kind of slow, isn’t it? We only left Earth in 2008 yesterday.”

“I think the TARDIS wore herself out a bit giving us that fantastic illusion we spent so much time in.” He patted the console. “Sorry old girl, that was selfish of us, but it WAS fantastic. We owe you one.” The central column glowed brighter momentarily almost as if in answer to him. “Well, time enough to get in our morning practice. You’ve mastered Tani Otoshi now. How about Uki Makikomi.”

“I’ll never do that one,” Rose said as they moved towards the door to the dojo. “You’re too tall for me to throw over that way.”

“Stop making excuses and practice,” he said, sternly but not unkindly.

It was a good session. She was coming along well. He was pleased. And she DID manage the Uki Makikomi which pitched him from behind, over her shoulder and flat on his back on the mat. She had learnt her lesson from yesterday and didn’t try to take advantage of him while he was down. After he had taught her enough for one day he set the hologram function to give her some Tai Chi exercises while he placed his feet precisely on the six inch wide line that represented the plank bridge above a terrifying drop that the Masters of Malvorian Sun Ko Du practised upon. He faced up to the hologram opponent and fought it into submission without once deviating from the line. After that, he sat in a quiet part of the practice mat and put himself into slow meditation to make mental contact with his great grandchildren.

The nicest feeling in the world, he thought, was to feel loved by children. And he knew they DID love him. He felt it deep within him when they connected with him.

“Why are you sad, granddad,” Chris asked and he was startled to find that he had read one of his private thoughts.

“I’m not,” he told him. “I was just wishing I had known you both longer. I wish I’d been around when you were babies. I’ve missed so much of your growing up.”

“Mum says you were always there,” Davie said. “In all our hearts.”

“Mum is mad at you, Granddad,” Chris added. “She says you shouldn’t have told us about Daleks, because we’re too young.”

“I’ll talk to her when we’re together again,” he promised. “As for Daleks, she was fifteen when we first encountered them. That’s not VERY much older than you are now. You need to know about these things. And anyway, never mind your mum, get your dad to tell you about when the Daleks invaded Earth in 2164. He knows as much about them as any of us.”

“But Dad isn’t one of us,” Chris said.

“He’s your Dad. He always will be, so don’t say that, Chris. He’s a brave man, too. Get him to tell you. And now, settle down. It's time for Temporal Physics. No complaining. If you want me to ever let you drive the TARDIS you need to learn this ‘boring’ stuff.”

He smiled. If Susan was mad at him about Daleks, she would be furious at him promising to teach them to drive the TARDIS. But one of these days they would. Meanwhile, Temporal Physics. Hhe dropped down to a deeper level of meditation to transmit the lesson to them.

They had questions about the lesson afterwards, all of them good, intelligent questions that proved they were thinking about the things he was teaching them. When that was over, he spent a few minutes just enjoying the mental contact with them, feeling their love for him wash over him. He would never feel alone in the universe as long as he had their love.

At last he cut the connection. He opened his eyes and saw Rose, showered and dressed in another short skirt and t-shirt ensemble. As he stretched his limbs into a more relaxed position she gave him a cup of coffee.

“I know I shouldn’t bring coffee into here,” she said. “But you were so long at it this time, I thought you might need it.”

His throat WAS very dry in fact and he drank the coffee gratefully. “Am I really taking longer?”

“Yes. Every time it seems like longer.”

“The boys always want to talk to me about so many things,” he said. “And it's so nice to be with them like that. We should visit again soon, though. There are things I really must talk to Susan and David about.” He finished the coffee and looked at his watch. “We should be there soon. Can you go watch the time circuit while I grab a quick shower.”

“Ok,” she said, though it was only when she reached the console room that she realised she didn’t know what the time circuit looked like. She knew three or four switches among the mass of dials, buttons and switches and things that looked like parts of a hi-fi and other bits that looked like they DID come from KwikFit. But she kept an eye on things anyway until he joined her.

He smiled at her and stood off from the console. “You do it,” he said. “Just hold down that handle there and turn the dial next to it one hundred and eighty degrees clockwise.”

She looked at him and stood at the console and did as he said. A child of the digital watch age, she had to think for a moment which way was clockwise and how much of a turn one hundred and eighty degrees was, but then she did it. The TARDIS engines changed in pitch as it began to materialise.

“Tight hold of the handle until we’re fully materialised,” he said. “You’re doing fine.” She was so intent on it that even when they WERE materialised she still held it. The Doctor gently took her hand from the console. “Well done, your first landing.” He pressed the button to turn on the viewscreen. “That’s funny.”

“What’s funny?” Rose asked.

“Well, not exactly funny, more worrying,” he added. “July fifteenth, 2015?” Rose stood by him and looked at the viewscreen. It was dark, and it was snowing.

“Did I get the landing wrong?” she asked anxiously.

“No, you didn’t,” The Doctor assured her. “You didn’t do anything wrong. And neither did I. This IS July fifteenth, 2015, and it's three o’clock in the afternoon. No wonder Jack was worried.”

“I’ll get my coat,” she said. He looked at her.

“Put a pair of jeans on and a jumper, and some strong shoes,” he told her. “It's VERY cold out there.”

Funnily enough, Rose noted as she stepped out bundled up in winter clothes and felt the icy wind sting her face, HE was in the same clothes as usual.

“Don’t you EVER feel cold?” she asked him.

“Yes. But I don’t intend hanging around out here for long.”

‘Out here’ was Newport Pagnell motorway service station. Rose laughed. The TARDIS had for once landed in a place intended for travellers, though not, usually, ones that had come as far as they had. They were ‘parked’ by the fence that divided the freight park from the ordinary car park. The freight park was at least half full but the car park was empty.

Was it her imagination or was there a lot more security around the freight park than necessary?

“I wonder if Newport Pagnell Services ever had travellers from outer space before?” Rose said as they stepped inside the warm, brightly lit main building. Most of the shops and services were shut, except for one cafeteria on the second floor, and she noticed that the lift was out of order.

“Well, two at least,” the Doctor replied as they walked up the stairs. On the concourse at the top he saw Jack Harkness and Hellina Artura waiting. “Hello, you two. How are you?”

“We’re okay. But this planet needs some sorting out.”

“When doesn’t it?” The Doctor said. “Well, I really need a cup of transport caff coffee right now. So come on and tell me all about it.”

Even at a first glance they could see there was something not quite right about the cafeteria. The glass fronted cabinets, normally filled with over-priced sweet and savoury snacks were empty. Nothing edible was be on display at all, and the half a dozen people sitting around weren’t eating anything. Over the cash till, there was a sign that could not fail to catch their eyes. In large, black felt tip letters, it said, 'One Half Cup of Coffee Per Person Until Further Notice.' Above the sign, a digital clock blinked and changed from 3.00 to 3.01.

Rose, Jack and Hellina sat down at a table in a surprisingly cosy and quite private alcove beside a window overlooking the storm-swept car park. The Doctor went over to the depleted self-service counter and purchased four half cups of coffee from the stiff-faced but efficient woman who was serving beverages and operating the till single-handedly.

Rose picked up a newspaper that had been discarded on the seat beside her, meaning to see how Preston North End were doing in 2015 to tease The Doctor about. But there was no sports news. It was tabloid size but there were no garish photographs or block headlines, and it was oddly thin, only two sheets of paper, folded to make eight pages. The main headline on the front page read "RATION BOOKS TO BE ISSUED" and in much smaller print, “Government announces new emergency measures. Food supplies at crisis level, says Minister For Agriculture.” As the implications began to sink in, the Doctor slid into the seat beside her. He took the newspaper from her and read it very closely.

“What the….”

“See what I mean, Doc,” Jack said. He was so intent on reading the details of the emergency measures he didn’t even correct him for calling him ‘Doc’. “We got here yesterday and we’ve been trying to find out what’s going on. But even psychic paper isn’t getting us far with asking questions.”

"Doctor... What's happening?" Rose asked, her voice trembling with unspoken fear. "It should be a summer afternoon, but it’s dark as night and there's a winter blizzard outside."

"It would appear that Earth is experiencing the very worst symptoms of what its late twentieth century scientists called the Greenhouse Effect." The Doctor explained calmly and slowly as if the frightening phenomenon was no more than a text book experiment.

"A nuclear winter..." Rose whispered in awe. "A new ice age."

“Those are two completely different things,” The Doctor told her. “A nuclear winter comes after a nuclear bomb and the TARDIS would have registered the residual radiation. A new ice age is natural but Earth wasn’t due one for at least five hundred years, and by then they’d found ways of artificially holding it back. As for global warming… it can’t be that.”

"Of course it could,” Rose argued. “All the weathermen have been going on about it since before I was born.”

“Well, yes, of course,” The Doctor explained patiently. “That was the turning point in Earth's history as far as that was concerned." He spoke, as he often did, in the past tense about events which had yet to occur in Rose's own time. "Up until then, mankind destroyed everything natural without thinking. But by the nineteen nineties, people had realised what they were doing and they began to be more careful. Banning CFC’s, using renewable energy. They stopped polluting and destroying and began to repair the damage. By the end of the twenty-first century the ecological balance had been restored and this sort of catastrophe was averted."

"Well, then what is happening here?" Rose demanded.

“My thoughts exactly, Doc,” Jack said, and this time The Doctor did give him the start of a scowl but he was distracted by a disturbance at the counter. The coffee had run out and two men were squaring up for a fight over the last of it. Knives glinted suddenly in both hands and Rose gave a squeal of horror as The Doctor jumped from his seat and in a few quick strides put himself between the two men.

“Calm down,” he said. “There’s no sense in killing each other over coffee.”

“My family have had nothing all day,” one of the men said and out of the corner of his eye The Doctor saw a woman and two petrified children huddled in a seat.

“And you killing a man in front of them is going to make that better?” he asked. “Go and sit down with them and don’t be an idiot.” The man lowered his knife and turned, his shoulders hunched. The other man, though, started to lunge towards him before he was restrained by Jack who was suddenly there pulling him back with an armlock about his neck.

“Cool it, buddy,” Jack said in his mid-west American accent. The Doctor took the knife from the man and holding it between his fingers snapped the blade into three pieces.

“Get those people coffee and whatever food you have,” The Doctor said to the woman behind the counter when order had been restored. “Don’t tell me you don’t have something hidden away. I’ve never been in a food crisis where somebody didn’t keep back a supply for a rainy day. THIS is the rainy day. Get it out. Charge a fair price, too, or it’ll go very hard with you.” The woman stared at him for a moment then began to make fresh coffee and to pull out some packets of meat pies and bags of crisps from a cupboard behind her.

“Are you trying to get yourself killed?” Rose asked when they came back to the table. “You step in front of gunmen and come between people with knives. Don’t scare me like that.”

“I can’t let people kill each other in front of me,” The Doctor said. Then he turned to Jack and Hellina. “Are you two parked outside?”

“Cloaked, in the car park,” Jack said. “Hardly anybody is using private transport at the moment, so we should be safe.”

“Ok, we’ll take my car,” he said nonchalently. “It does better mileage than yours.” He swallowed his half cup of, by now, cold coffee and turned to go. The others followed dutifully. When The Doctor said come, there was none among them who would refuse.

“WHERE are we going?” Rose asked as he powered up the TARDIS.

"To visit an old friend. If this is anything other than a natural phenomenon he'll be right in the thick of any counter-operation."

Brigadier John Benton, Commander of the British section of U.N.I.T, the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, was a desperate man. Over thirty years of army life had taught him to stand tall in the face of adversity, to stay on top of the situation, to stay calm, cool, logical, to keep his head.

At the moment though, most of those around him, even the youngest and rawest recruits, were pulling together remarkably well, and keeping all their heads very firmly, in the face of the worst odds he had yet come across. It was he who was feeling the frustration, the sheer helplessness, the impotence of the situation.

Not that he hadn't faced such odds before. How many times had the taskforce been called in against unspeakable horrors? Four attempted invasions of the Earth by the Daleks, not to mention the Cybermen, Silurians, Sontarans, to name but a few.

Aliens from outer space, he could handle. U.N.I.T could handle those. After all they were what it had been formed to fight - Earth's united stand against invasion or attack from beyond the solar system.

This was different. The enemy, if there was one at all, was nature itself. How in the world, was U.N.I.T, was HE, going to fight against that?

He sighed heavily as he walked around the main command centre. Row upon row of computers, VDU's and other electronic communications equipment were linked to other systems across the planet, ably manned by a hand-picked team of the finest and best-skilled military personnel the combined armies of the world could offer. The glow from the many screens lit the room with ever changing patterns of light. The humming and beeping of printers churning out data at incredible rates every minute hung in the rarefied air like static sound. A huge bank of television monitors along one wall displayed news reports from around the world. These he studied with a growing certainty that this latest emergency was way out of his, or anyone's, control.

What each of the monitors showed was endless variations on one theme - life-threatening cold. All over the globe the same extreme weather was occurring. Most of the Northern Hemisphere, North America, The Atlantic, Europe, Russia, was suffering hurricane force winds and snow, ice and heavy rain in unceasing cycles. One of the screens was relaying a news report from the California coast, where whole cities, L.A, San Francisco, San Diego, were drowning under abnormally high tides and heavy rain.

Towards the equator, Africa, India, Asia, South America and the normally warm, tropical Pacific islands, lay under a blanket of snow. The full extent of the problem was graphically depicted by pictures of the Sahara desert, complete with Bedouins on camels, more used to sand storms, struggling instead through a blizzard of ice and snow. Elsewhere lush jungle canopies strained under the weight of snow piling up on the broad leaves. The Southern Hemisphere was experiencing the worst winter on record. Another report showed the famous Ayres Rock, usually parched and dry, hunkered under a blanket of snow and ice and looking more like an arctic snowfield.

Nowhere on Earth was there a hint of warmth or light. A view from satellite showed the planet hidden under a thick blanket of cloud through which no sunlight could pass. Even the middle of the day remained as dark as a cold overcast winter dawn.

He turned away. Watching the dread darkness on the screens just made him feel more and more useless. How long could the world hold out? Food supplies were already running low. People were dying in their thousands: How long before they began to be counted in millions?

A young olive skinned soldier with a French flag on the arm of his tunic approached hurriedly and saluted.

“Yes… er… Lenoir… what is it?”

“Sir,” Lenoir continued, speaking with a heavy French accent. “We have a security breach.”

"The perimeter fence?"

"No.” Lenoir's voice was puzzled. “It's strange. Something just seems to have materialised in the middle of the compound.”

"Materialised? Oh dear God!" He reached out and flicked a switch. The satellite view flickered and changed to a close circuit picture of the darkened compound outside the command centre, empty except for a blue police call box which opened its doors as he watched. Four people stepped out, all of whom he recognised. “Thank the heavens… it's the Doctor. I should have known he wouldn't let us down. If anyone can help us he can."'

"That's the Doctor?" Lenoir asked with the awe of a man who was looking at a legend.

"Oh, yes." Brigadier John Benton said confidently. "That's him all right. It's the Doctor." For the first time in many weeks, the ghost of a smile crossed his face. His most desperate prayers had been answered.

The Doctor and his companions were brought in to the room presently by armed guards. The Brigadier crossed the floor in a few long strides and grasped the Doctor's hand warmly as he dismissed the guards. "Thank God you're here."

"Good afternoon, Benton." The Doctor said as if it were no more than a social occasion. "So you've made it to the top, now? The old Brigadier would be proud of you. They’ve put him out to grass by now, I take it?"

"He's outliving us all in comfortable retirement," Benton answered. "Or he was before everything went crazy."

"Which is why I'm here, of course," The Doctor said. "So what exactly is happening?"

"The end of the world by all accounts." The Brigadier answered dismally.

"Really, Benton, always the pessimist." The Doctor flashed him an enigmatic smile. "Rose and I have BEEN to the end of the world. It doesn't happen for another five billion years, isn't that right, sweetheart." She was a little behind him but he drew her forward and put his arm around her waist.

"Yes," she said. "But you have to admit, it looks pretty bad out there."

"The world is slowly freezing and starving to death," the Brigadier continued. "I don't know why. Nobody knows why, and nobody on this planet knows how to stop it."

"When did it start?" asked the Doctor.

"Six weeks ago. Early May. Everything was perfectly normal one day, then the next, we woke up in the morning, to find there WAS no morning. The rain and snow started and it's never stopped. The world is blanketed by a thick black storm cloud. The sun is up there somewhere, but it can't penetrate the gloom."

"There was no reason at all for the sudden changes? No silly mistakes by any Earth scientists, no super-volcanoes, no meteor strikes?"

"Nothing at all," The Brigadier answered. "Nothing anyone knows about anyway."

"This is very odd."

"But you can do something, can't you, Doctor?" He smiled at Rose's unquestioning faith in him and squeezed her affectionately.

"Not until I find out what's causing the problem." He turned to the monitor bank and studied the large satellite view carefully for a few minutes. "Ah!"

"What? Do you see something?" asked the Brigadier.

"Oh, yes," he said and again flashed a smile around the room. "Tell me, does Earth actually HAVE scientists and people who can work things out for themselves any more, or do they just wait for me? You really SHOULD have spotted this."

"What is it?" Jack slid alongside The Doctor where he USED to be when they were a team on board the TARDIS. Despite the worrying situation he was rather enjoying watching The Doctor gearing up into action. It was a bit like watching an old steam train getting up a head of steam ready to fly across the countryside at unstoppable speed. Jack wondered why such an analogy had come to a Fifty-First Century space cowboy like himself, but it WAS the apt description of The Doctor at work.

"You see it, Jack?" The Doctor asked him. "The vortex over the North Pole. See how the cloud over that area is spinning around a central axis."

"As if it's being sucked down and swirled around."

"We thought that was the eye of a hurricane," the Brigadier said. "Do you think it's significant?"

"Yes," The Doctor answered. "Something very powerful is controlling the weather from underneath that vortex."

"What?" the Brigadier asked.

"I don't know," The Doctor admitted. "But there's only one way to find out. Come on."

"Where?" Rose asked.

"To the North Pole."

"I think perhaps I ought to tag along," The Brigadier decided.

"All right, but tag quickly." The Doctor took Rose's hand and stepped towards the door. Jack and Hellina followed. The Brigadier paused a moment to hand over his command to his nearest subordinate before following.

Lenoir had been hovering nearby throughout the extraordinary conversation. He watched thoughtfully then tore off a page from the nearest teleprinter before rushing after them. He reached the compound just as the Brigadier was entering the TARDIS and just managed to slip in through the doors before they slid shut and the TARDIS de-materialised with the usual grinding fanfare.

Lenoir looked around the control room curiously. He had heard from other U.N.I.T. people the legend of the TARDIS that was infinitely larger inside than out. Until that moment though, he had not really believed it was possible. No-one seemed to have noticed him yet. The Doctor was bent intently over his controls. Rose was by his side. Jack and Hellina settled themselves on one of the two sofas that looked so incongruous in the strange interior of the TARDIS. Brigadier John Benton was watching The Doctor with the air of an apprentice observing his master at work. Taking a deep breath, Lenoir stepped boldly across the floor and handed the sheet of paper to him.

"The latest weather reports sir." he said. "You asked to see them."

"I most certainly did not." The Brigadier answered glancing cursorily at the paper which seemed to contain nothing but a few lines of computer gabble. "And anyway this is not a weather report." He returned the page to Lenoir, who appeared to examine it closely then assumed a confused expression.

"Oh, sorry sir." he said apologetically. "I must have made a mistake. Sometimes my English is not so good."

"Rubbish." The Brigadier replied shortly. "Your English is better than mine. You just wanted an excuse to see inside the TARDIS."

"Yes sir," Lenoir admitted.

"Well now you've seen you can get back to your post. There's an emergency on remember." The Brigadier's tone was firm but not unduly harsh. He didn't entirely condemn Lenoir for wanting to see inside the time machine. It was partly for selfish reasons of curiosity that he had come along himself. Nevertheless, there was no time for playing games when the Earth was in grave danger.

"He can't go back." Rose pointed out. "We've already dematerialised."

"Damn. I forgot about that. It's been a few years since my last trip." There was very little indication from inside that the TARDIS was moving at all, only a faint vibration of the floor, and the rhythmic up and down movement of the central column. It was not remotely like any Earthly form of transport, and it was easy to forget that stopping the TARDIS after it had moved out from the 'station' was a little more difficult than simply pulling the communication cord.

"You're in for some surprises." Jack said to Lenoir with a mischievous wink.

“Stop flirting, Jack,” The Doctor said without even looking up from the console. “Lenoir, just so you know, stowaways get all the boring chores to do around the TARDIS. I think Rose has some ironing she doesn’t feel like doing, and there’s ALWAYS a pile of washing up, then there’s a couple of floors need waxing.”

Lenoir looked worried. Rose laughed and came to his rescue.

“Take no notice of him,” she said. “His bark is worse than his bite.”

"I have heard of the Doctor," Lenoir said in his pleasantly accented voice. "From my colleagues at U.N.I.T. At first I thought they were telling me fairy stories. But now... this really is a time travel machine?"

"You bet."

"It is a great honour to be here."

"That's one way of putting it. I'm Rose by the way."

"Jean-Paul Lenoir." He shook her hand formally. "I am a Private in the French Army - on assignment with UNIT."

"Pleased to meet you Jean-Paul."

“You two can stop flirting, too,” The Doctor added, again without looking up. But there was a smile on his face that Rose caught. He knew very well she was his girl.

The conversation trailed off and Rose wandered back to the Doctor, who just to make his point put his arm about her waist.

"If my calculations are right," he was saying to the Brigadier. "We should arrive just outside the area where the vortex is concentrated."

"If your calculations are anything like they usually are we'll probably arrive in Oxford Circus at rush hour." The Brigadier said. “I HAVE travelled with you before, remember!”

“The TARDIS is less wonky than it used to be,” Rose said. “It doesn’t look as pretty as it used to, but it's more stable.”

The Doctor said nothing but took tight hold of the console and tightened his hold on Rose. “Ok, brace yourselves, everyone. This could be bumpy."

Immediately, the TARDIS pitched first to one side then the other. Everyone grabbed for a solid object to hold onto. The Brigadier, a relatively experienced TARDIS traveller, also held tight to the sides of the console. Jack and Hellina held each other. Lenoir was caught unawares and was thrown headlong across the floor, banging his head painfully against the wall under the video screen. As the pitching stopped abruptly, Rose ran to help him to his feet.

"Travelling in the TARDIS is always an experience."

"No damage done I think,” he answered smoothing down his uniform and testing for sore points. "Have we... landed?"

Rose looked around. The central column had stopped, indicating that the TARDIS had materialised, but whether it had materialised in the right time or place, was another matter entirely. "DOCTOR, are we there? Wherever there might be?"

The Doctor didn't answer. He had disappeared. She looked around in alarm. He returned moments later, from the inner doorway, carrying a bundle of thermal snow suits and began handing them out.

"Better wrap up warm," he said nonchalantly. "It's cold out there."

That's the understatement of the millennium, Jack returned sarcastically.

"Are we really at the North Pole?" Lenoir asked.

"Well, not the precise spot. We’re a few degrees to the South-East of the magnetic pole. But what are a few degrees between friends?"

"About fifty miles of icy waste," the Brigadier answered his rhetoric dryly.

"Well, I'm going to see what's out there," The Doctor said. “Anyone else coming?”

“Hang on,” Rose said. “YOU need to wear one of those suits too. You’re not invincible. And that jacket will freeze solid out there.”

“She’s right, Doctor,” Jack and the Brigadier both agreed. “Time Lord blood may be hot stuff, but that’s the Arctic Circle.”

He smiled at them and put on an arctic suit OVER his leather jacket. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but he had been about to walk out there without even thinking about it, and he WOULD have frozen. He took too much for granted sometimes.

The Arctic Circle could hardly be described as 'temperate' at the best of times. Now, with a raging blizzard blowing snow almost horizontally, obscuring the view for more than ten yards, it was positively inhospitable. The exploratory party who stepped out of the TARDIS into that bleak, unyielding atmosphere quickly lost sight of their unique form of transport. It was difficult enough to keep visual contact with each other, though they kept as close together as possible.

They didn’t have to walk far, though. After a few minutes they became aware of vague dark shapes ahead which they quickly realised were some kind of buildings.

Thankful for any kind of landmark in the icy waste, and hopeful for some kind of Human contact, they hurried on with renewed vigour. As they drew closer, the buildings appeared larger, more solid, far more real. Finally, when they were within a few yards, they could see that there was a group of grey, weather-beaten, prefabricated single story huts hunkered together under a blanket of snow that weighted down the sloping roofs. A green-painted wooden sign fixed to the nearest wall read BASE 6. BRITISH POLAR RESEARCH STATION. The whole place looked deserted, but for a single dim light that could be seen shining from one small window in the largest of the huts.

"There are several scientific and military research installations in the Arctic Circle," The Brigadier shouted above the noise of the storm.

"Well let's see if there's anyone's home." The Doctor marched to the door and knocked loudly.

At first there was no answer. Then the door swung open suddenly and a man charged out, screaming inhumanly and firing both barrels of a shotgun. His aim, fortunately for the Doctor, was erratic, and the shots went astray. The Doctor ducked for cover, though there was none. Lenoir leapt agilely at the man and brought him down with a flying tackle that would have brought him great acclaim if he was playing with his country's Rugby Union squad. The shotgun flew from the man's hand and Hellina, taking account of the situation ran to grab it up.

"Nice one, Frenchy." she said.

"Very well done Lenoir," the Brigadier added. "Now, let's see who we have here?"

Lenoir pulled the man up from the ground and handed him over to his superior who regarded him carefully. Disarmed, he appeared much less threatening - more tired, nervous, frightened. He was a slight figure, dishevelled and unshaven and his clothes were very torn and dirty.

"Oh thank God." The man cried out in relieved tones. "You're Humans. I thought it was them again. Thank God."

"Of course we're Human," Jack answered him. "Well, mostly Human!” He winked at The Doctor. “What were you expecting?"

The man did not answer. His eyes opened wide with fear. It was clear that he wasn't going to stand up to much more.

"Why don't we go inside where it's warm," The Doctor suggested.

The largest room inside the hut looked as if it had been thoroughly lived in - a grossly untidy room, strewn with clothes, books, and other assorted remnants of Humanity.

'Even MY mother would have a fit,' Rose thought as she looked around. The mismatched furniture included an old wooden worktable, a battered gas stove and several dusty, threadbare armchairs. A long range radio transmitter-receiver sat prominently in one corner, and looked as if it, alone out of all the items in that room, had been given some kind of care and attention - rightly so, since it was the only link between the base and civilisation. To the right, an open door lead off into an equally untidy bunk room with several unmade beds and an odour of sweaty socks.

The Doctor pressed the man into one of the over-stuffed chairs and stood over him authoritatively.

"Who are you?" he questioned him. "What's going on here?"

"I'm Dr Peter Smythe," he answered nervously. "I'm a meteorologist – with the survey team. We've been here sixteen months monitoring atmospheric conditions."

"Where is everyone else?" The Brigadier asked him.

"Everyone else?" Smythe looked around vaguely. He didn't seem to know how to answer the relatively simple question.

"The other scientists, where are they?"

Smythe looked at the Brigadier, then at the Doctor. His eyes widened and he broke down into hysterics.

"They're all gone!" he cried out. "All gone! All dead... dead and gone. All except me and Dobson."

"Dobson?" the Doctor repeated the name. "Who is Dobson? Where is he?" He spoke slowly, so that the slightly unhinged mind of their only witness to an unspeakable horror could take in his words.

“He was the only one who came back," Smythe said, calming slightly. “He’s in the sick bay. I can't get any sense out of him. He's out of his mind. I don't know what's happened to the others, but they must be dead."

“I think you ought to start at the beginning," the Doctor suggested.

"It all started about three months ago," Smythe began. "There was an unusually heavy meteor storm, and we were examining the atmospheric effects. One minute all was calm... a clear sky. Then the blizzard came up. No-one was more than a few hundred yards away from the base, and yet two men were lost."

"That wouldn't be unusual," The Brigadier said. "If they lost their bearings in a blizzard, they wouldn't last an hour."

“That was only the beginning," Smythe continued. "Four more men disappeared right out of their beds the next night. We divided into watches and kept a look-out, but men kept on disappearing."

"What about you?"

"I don't know," Smythe admitted. "I don't know how or why, but they missed me."

"They?" the Doctor questioned.

"The creatures," Smythe explained. "The things… The Wintermen. That's what Dobson called them. He was one of the men taken the first night. I found him out there in the snow about a week later. Half-frozen, half-mad. Somehow, he'd escaped. Most of what he said didn't make sense. He talked about men with blue faces... The Wintermen."

"Why didn't you call for help?" the Brigadier looked at the radio transmitter. It didn't look broken.

"Can't get through on the radio. There's some sort of interference. Been like that ever since this nightmare started."

"So you don't know what's happening to the world?" the Doctor asked.

“I don't know anything… except that something, something inhuman, something not from this planet, is here in the Arctic circle."

"The meteor storm," Jack cut in. "It must have been their spacecrafts landing."

The Doctor looked around at him. “Ten out of ten for deduction, Jack. And why is it that we’re the only ones doing any thinking around here. What would this planet do without us?”

Before Jack could answer that, a blood-curdling yell echoed around the room. From the bunkroom a man who could only have been Dobson, crazed with fear, his eyes wide yet unseeing, charged into the room, swinging an ice axe above his head. He rushed at the Doctor, but Lenoir again came to the rescue, cutting him off from the side and grappling the weapon from his hands. They struggled for a while before Dobson collapsed limply to the floor, sobbing.

"I'm glad I brought you along now, Lenoir," the Doctor said. "You've proved very useful." He bent over the crazed man and spoke softly. "It's all right. You're safe. We're here to help you."

"The... the Wintermen!" Dobson gibbered. "They're coming for me. Please help."

"The Wintermen? Where are they?" The Doctor asked him "What do they want? Have you spoken to them?"

"They're coming for me," Dobson replied hysterically. Clearly, his mind had become even more unbalanced than Smythe's. At least he had spells of lucidity. Dobson, on the other hand, had gone completely out of his mind.

"Take this man back to the sick bay," The Doctor said to Lenoir. "See if you can find some sort of sedative to give him."

“That poor man." Rose shuddered with horror. "He must have seen something really awful."

“Yes," the Doctor agreed. "And we're going to find out what it is."

"I had a feeling you were going to say that.” Rose sighed. "How…."

Whatever she was about to say went unsaid. A loud splintering of wood broke into her words. The sound of the outside door being forced off its hinges, closely followed by the sound of heavy, slow moving feet on the wooden floor. Smythe jumped to his feet in mortal terror.

"They're here again. They're here for me!" He tried to run but as he reached the door he was thrown back by a powerful and unseen force, landing awkwardly against the far wall. The Brigadier bent over him and checked his pulse.

"He's alive," he confirmed. "But what on Earth…."

He looked towards the door as it opened inwards. His eyes widened as he saw the creature standing there - one of the 'Wintermen'.

It was Humanoid in shape, but over seven foot tall, with a thin body and disproportionately long limbs. The head was bald and slightly pointed at the top of the skull, with a large forehead and bland, expressionless face. The skin was pale blue, thin and translucent so that darker veins could be seen. It was clad in a blue, close fitting body suit. It didn't seem to be carrying any weapon, but since it had just felled Smythe, the others viewed it cautiously, making no attempt to approach the creature.

"So, our sensors were correct." The Winterman spoke with a cold, rasping, unemotional voice. Its thin mouth barely moved as the words were articulated. "More Earthmen have arrived."

"And a couple of EarthWOMEN too, if you don't mind," Hellina said, fingering the shotgun she still held behind her back.

"Silence!" The creature rasped. "You will speak only when I wish it."

"Oh yeah!"

"Hellina, don't antagonise it," the Doctor warned her.

"I'm not scared of any.... " The Winterman raised its arm and extended the index finger, which began to glow vividly. Recognising the potential threat, Hellina leapt out of the way as an ice blue beam shot from the finger blowing a six inch hole in the floor where she had been standing. The Winterman turned and pointed at her again, but the Doctor stepped in front, his hand raised. Rose’s heart sank. Yet again he had jumped in front of a lethal weapon to protect somebody else. He was going to DIE one of these days in one of these standoffs.

“No!” he said forcefully. “NO. There is no need to kill this Human. It will achieve nothing."

There was a long, tense moment. Rose closed her eyes, unable to look. She probably wouldn’t have felt any better if she knew that The Doctor’s hearts were pounding as hard as hers as he awaited a deadly beam enveloping him.

"All Humans are to be taken prisoner." The Winterman dropped its arm to its side, though not with any air of concession. "Exterminations can be carried out at a later time."

“All Humans?” The Doctor said. “I suppose there is no point in me mentioning that I am NOT Human?”

The Winterman ignored his comment.

“Are you just going to let this turquoise beanpole push us around like this, Doc?" Jack asked.

“Only until I think of a plan."

Four more Wintermen appeared at the door and moved into the room, flanking the group like dogs rounding up sheep. They ignored Smythe, still unconscious on the floor. Nor did they bother to search the rest of the building. As the prisoners were herded out of the room, Lenoir peeped cautiously around the bunkhouse door. Stepping over Smythe, he grabbed the shotgun left by Hellina and a box of cartridges from the table and followed stealthily. A moment later, Smythe stood up, apparently physically unscathed, and followed him.

Outside, the blizzard was still raging. Visibility was less than five yards. Progress was slow as the Wintermen prodded and pushed their captives along. The creatures were unaffected by the sub-zero temperature. Behind them, Lenoir followed close. A few yards behind him, Smythe was tracking them all. Like the Wintermen, he too, appeared oblivious of the hostile environment.

Lenoir had been following for half an hour or so when he became aware that the blizzard was clearing ahead. He looked back, but saw nothing other than a writhing mass of white. Before him though, the wind and blinding snow seemed less intense. Moments later he stepped out into an area of perfect calm. Looking back, he saw a wall of raging blizzard held back by some unnatural force. It was what lay ahead though, that really made his eyes boggle in astonishment.

There, rising up from the snow-covered permafrost about a hundred yards away, was a huge, smooth walled dome, pale blue in colour. Near the top, which he had to crane his neck to see, the dome opened out into a funnel shape, and a tornado of wind and water vapour was being whipped upwards. High above, the thick dark clouds were 'fed' by the whirling vortex.

The Wintermen and their captives, with their slight head start, had reached the wall of the dome by now. Lenoir hung back, aware that he was much more visible to them now without the storm to hide him. As he watched, they vanished into the dome wall. He would have looked on in disbelief, but by now, Lenoir had come to realise that there was nothing left that could startle him. The seven foot blue aliens had been the tops as far as he was concerned.

He approached the dome cautiously. Reaching out to touch the surface, he found that his hand went straight through. He pulled it back quickly and stared at it as if expecting it to drop off.

"Of course... a hologram." he told himself. "A hologram shielding something beyond." He shrugged nonchalantly. Whatever it was, it could not be any stranger than the things he had already seen.

Behind him, Smythe crept up, pulling a small handgun from his pocket and aiming it at his back.

“Stop right where you are," Smythe hissed close by his ear. “Stop right there, or I'll fire."

Lenoir turned around in alarm. He recognised Smythe and his face twisted in a scornful sneer.

"So, you are a traitor," he said. "I knew there was something funny about you. So what did they offer you? Money, power?"

"Something much more valuable than that," Smythe answered. "LIFE."

"You chose to live as a traitor," Lenoir spat in disgust. "Rather than die honourably like your companions."

"My companions aren't dead," Smythe answered. "Oh, no. Not dead. Maybe they'd be better if they were. But I can assure you it is not so."

"What do you mean?"

"You'll find out soon enough. You and your friends will be finding out very, very soon."

"You're going to turn me over to the aliens?"

"Of course."

"I would not be so sure of that."

Slowly, Lenoir lifted his hands as if in surrender. Instead, he pulled the shotgun out from inside his snow-jacket and pointed it into Smythe's startled face.

"You see, Monsieur," he said triumphantly. "I am a Frenchman. A Frenchman born of three generations of brave fighting men. My grandfather was a Maquis leader who fought against the Nazi invaders. He knew how to deal with collaborators."

"You wouldn't kill me," Smythe said. “Not in cold blood."

“It is a fair fight," Lenoir said. "You have a gun, I have a gun. Mine more powerful than yours. Though, of course, yours can fire more bullets. However, since it only requires one bullet to end this 'impasse' that does not really matter."

Smythe looked doubtfully at the double-barrelled shotgun pointed at his head and reluctantly dropped the handgun. Lenoir picked it up and examined it carefully.

"An automatic." He gave a low whistle of delight. "Hair trigger too. You could have shot me much faster than I could have shot you. But c'est la vie, as we say in France."

He opened the shotgun and removed the cartridges, before handing it to Smythe. He kept the handgun for himself.

"That's better." He tossed the small gun in his hands. "I never liked heavy, clumsy weapons."

"I.... I don't understand," Smythe stammered.

"It is very simple," Lenoir explained. "I am your prisoner. You are going to take me to where the others have been taken."

Smythe obeyed reluctantly. Pointing the empty shotgun at Lenoir's back, he appeared, should anyone be watching, to be the one in control as they stepped through the hologram.

Inside the dome Lenoir had to admit that there were, after all, some things that could still surprise him. He was very surprised by what the dome hologram had been shielding. Firstly, there were at least fifty or so small alien-looking spacecraft, the size and general shape of small fighter planes but much more advanced. The spacecraft were 'parked' around a large blue/grey metallic structure, about as tall and broad as a cathedral. The structure was roughly hexagonal in shape, with no obvious doors or windows on its smooth sides which tapered to a blunt point high above. The vortex originated there.

Lenoir, followed by Smythe, threaded his way between the spacecraft to the outside of the structure. As they reached the wall a doorway opened up in the apparently solid barrier. He hesitated only slightly before stepping over the threshold into the building. As soon as they were both inside, the door closed again, merging invisibly into the solid wall.

Rose pulled her snow jacket close around her. Even inside the Winterman base, it was still cold, like a giant refrigerator. The temperature was regulated so that, though uncomfortable, it was not life-threatening to Humans.

She was sitting on the floor in the middle of a square 'cell'. On three sides were the same monotonous metallic blue/grey walls. On the fourth were 'bars' formed by glowing red beams which kept the prisoners securely incarcerated. As well as their party, the cell contained a dozen or so strangers. A brief glance at the group suggested that they were the missing members of Smythe's research team. They all seemed in good health, though tired and weary, and dressed in torn and dirty clothes. None of them had shaved for some time. They sat huddled in a corner, watching listlessly as Jack and the Doctor attempted to discover a way out.

"Obviously some sort of force field." The Doctor mused as he looked closely at the beams. "I wonder...'" He searched his pocket for something he could use. At the very bottom of the jacket’s inside pocket he found a yoyo. He looked at it curiously and wondered WHY he owned a yoyo then hooked the string around his finger. He set it going up and down, wondering again how he actually knew how to DO that, then when he had enough momentum he sent it horizontally between the ‘bars’. A blinding flash knocked him backwards across the floor, and when he looked up, stunned and shocked by the force, the yoyo had been reduced to ashes that crumbled away. He looked at the limp piece of string dismally and shoved it back into his pocket.

"Oh, well. I had to try." He turned away from the cell entrance and sat on the floor in the corner opposite the other prisoners.

"What do you think about those spaceships we saw outside?" The Brigadier asked as the rest of their group sat down with him.

"An armada of spaceships so small and fast they escaped detection by any of Earth's radar systems," The Doctor said. “Lesson for you there.”

"I suppose they landed here and erected this building and whatever it is that's controlling the weather," Rose concluded.

"They probably brought it in pieces, prefabricated. Amazing technology.”

"Technology!" The Brigadier echoed The Doctor's words indignantly, “They are trying to take over the world by changing the weather to make it uninhabitable for the indigenous population."

“Yes. I know that," The Doctor replied calmly.

“So what are we going to do about it?"

"At the moment it doesn't look as if we can do anything about it."

"You mean we're just going to sit here and let those monsters annihilate the Human race?"

"Of course he isn't." Rose defended the Doctor fiercely. "He's got a plan, haven’t you?" She looked at him expectantly, but he didn't seem be listening. "The Doctor always has a plan," she added less optimistically.

"I wonder if any of those guys could tell us anything?" The Doctor stood up and went to join the huddle of prisoners. "Hello. I'm the Doctor." He spoke cheerfully while extending his hand formally towards the nearest of the men, who just looked back at him with a vacant expression on his face. One of the others though, struggled to his feet and clasped the hand firmly.

"I'm Professor Martin Johnson," The man said.

"Are you from Base Six?"

"Yes," Johnson answered. "I'm a meteorologist. I was monitoring various weather and atmospheric conditions before we were taken prisoner by the Wintermen."

"Yes, that's what Smythe said."

"Smythe?" Johnson spat out the name angrily. "No wonder you were captured. He's a collaborator."

"What was that?" Jack demanded on overhearing the conversation.

"Smythe was the first to be taken," Johnson explained. "The night all this began. He re-appeared twenty-four hours later, out of the blizzard, with an army of Wintermen. He betrayed us. Lead them right to our door. They captured us all within minutes."

“He said you'd been taken a few at a time and he was the only one they missed.”

“He stayed behind at the base. I suppose they expected some sort of rescue party to turn up. He was a decoy, to throw you off the scent."

"Or lure us into the trap. And it worked, perfectly.”

"What about Dobson?" The Brigadier asked. "Where does he fit in?"

"Dobson? Is he alive? He escaped a week ago. He saw a chance and took it. He was our one hope. But we gave him up for dead."

"He's alive," Rose assured him. "He was at the base with Smythe. But he's crazy. Completely out of his mind. Smythe said he found him wandering in the blizzard."

"That much was probably true," The Doctor guessed. "Smythe probably has him drugged to make his story more convincing."

"But why keep prisoners like this?" The Brigadier wondered. "What do they want?"

"They've been using us as slave labour," Johnson answered. "We've been forced to help them finish building this complex. When they brought us here there was nothing but a shell containing the weather control system. We were kept under guard in one of the spaceships. They've built a whole base around the core - living areas for thousands of Wintermen. Cells like this for more Humans,"

"They're obviously planning a prolonged visit to Earth," The Doctor said ominously.

"But where have they come from... and why?"

"Good question. But I'm afraid we'll have to find a Winterman to tell us the answer."

"I cannot find one of the Wintermen, Doctor. But here is their pet Human. Will he do?"

Everyone turned around in surprise to see Lenoir, apparently under Smythe's guard, standing outside the 'bars'. The Brigadier groaned dismally to think that their last chance was gone, but Lenoir smiled widely and pulled Smythe forward.

"Free them,” he said pushing the gun into Smythe's back.

"I can't," Smythe protested weakly. "I don't know how. I've never been in here before. When they took me I only saw the spacecraft."

"There's a control panel on the wall outside," Johnson told him. “It’s what the Wintermen use when they come for us.”

“I see it,” Lenoir said before raising his gun and firing a shot at the wall on the left. A small explosion and a spray of sparks marked the destruction of the mechanism and the force field bars shimmered. The Doctor stepped forward out of the cell, holding Rose’s hand. Then Jack, Hellina, the Brigadier and Johnson followed. It was a few moments before the others realised they were able to escape, but once they did, they too streamed out of the cell.

"What now?" Jack asked as he looked around at the long corridor running a hundred yards or so in either direction.

"You don't stand a chance any of you," Smythe told them. "There are fifty Wintermen in this complex against a few miserable unarmed men and a couple of girls."

"I'm armed," Lenoir reminded him. Smythe looked around with a sneer on his face.

"One gun against creatures who can kill with only their fingers.”

"Two guns," Lenoir answered pulling the empty shotgun out of Smythe’s hands and passing it and the cartridge box to the Brigadier. "Two guns, two soldiers. If we have to die, we will take many of the blue men along with us.”

"Oh please,” the Doctor cut in. "You’re a smart lad, Lenoir, but all that is way too gung ho. There is not going to be any killing."

"I told you the Doctor has a plan," Rose said smugly.

"You!" The Doctor turned to Smythe and spoke to him harshly. "Take us to the weather control centre."

“I don't know the way," Smythe answered. "I told you I haven’t been here before."

"I know where it is," Johnson said. "We practically built this place remember. Bring that traitor along though. He might be useful. As a hostage, or as a shield."

"Fools," Smythe hissed. "You won't live. Do you think they don't know about your escape? You won't get out of this section alive."

As if to prove him right, two Wintermen appeared suddenly round the corner at the head of the corridor. Both raised their deadly fingers and fired. One of the beams went wide, leaving a mark on the metallic ceiling that proved how powerful it was. The second hit one of the prisoners square in the chest. He cried out in agony as the ray enveloped his body, then fell to the floor, immediately turning to black ash before vanishing completely.

Startled by the horrific death, it was a moment before Lenoir fired two rounds from the automatic and the Brigadier fired both barrels of the shotgun, but their bullets went true and the two Wintermen fell, bleeding blue ooze which was their equivalent to blood.

The Doctor sighed.

"Aliens they may be," Lenoir said. "But invincible they are not. I am sorry if you do not approve of killing Doctor, but you must see that it is sometimes necessary."

"All right," The Doctor conceded. "But I'm not going to risk any more deaths. Johnson, you come with me. And you, too, Brigadier. But everyone else get out of this place.” Hellina and Jack, with Lenoir’s assistance started to organise the rest of the prisoners. “Rose, you go too. This could be dangerous." He knew as soon as he said it what her reaction would be, but he said it anyway.

"No way," Rose replied indignantly. "I'm sticking with you. As always.”


"I’ve got my own moves now. Remember Tani Otoshi.”

"Don’t try any of that against these characters,” The Doctor told her. “They can reduce you to ashes with their fingers.” He looked at her and tried not to think the unthinkable. But he knew he couldn’t keep leaving her out of the loop just because she was a girl, and certainly not because she was the girl he loved. "Never mind. Come on then, if you’re coming.”

“What I don't understand,” Rose thought aloud. "Is why they kept all the men alive. They're doing their best to kill everyone else on the planet. So why keep prisoners?"

"They seem to want a few Humans left alive to use as cheap labour,” Johnson explained. "Their intention is to freeze the world, kill most of the population, except for a few hardier races, Siberians, Innuits, those used to sub-zero temperatures."

“You don't know where they have come from do you?" The Doctor asked.

“Don't you know?" Rose asked him "You've been around."

“I'm only a Time Lord. Not some sort of all-knowing, all-seeing God. There are a few corners of the twelve galaxies unknown to me." He had stopped momentarily to examine a box on the wall with an LED panel. “Mmm! Seems like some kind of temperature device – keeping the corridor cool. Looks like they have them every few metres. Could be useful.”

"I think they came from a solar system similar to ours," Johnson said. “But their planet is the furthest from their sun. An ice giant... a frozen planet with an atmosphere like ours - oxygen, carbon dioxide, and inert gases, but frozen from pole to pole. This complex is absolutely freezing, but to them it's almost too warm for comfort."

"Oh, the same old story,” The Doctor said almost as if he was tired of hearing it. “I suppose for some reason they were forced to leave their home planet. Frozen planets with oxygen/carbon atmospheres aren't easy to find. So they decided to tailor Earth to their requirements."

"That's monstrous," The Brigadier growled.

"Unnecessary, too," The Doctor added. "With all the vast expanses of icy uninhabitable waste the Earth has to offer - The polar ice-caps, Siberian Steppes - The Wintermen could just as easily have negotiated peaceably with the Earth governments. Instead they had to use force, aggression, conquer the entire planet. Sometimes, I despair of this universe."

"But what are we going to do?”

"We're going to do what we have to do of course," The Doctor replied. "The Wintermen have decided to get their way through genocide. They have to be stopped."


"Good question ... I'm not altogether sure yet."

"I thought you said he had a plan," Johnson said to Rose.

"He’s winging it,” she replied. “But nobody wings it like he does.”

"Of course I have a plan," The Doctor replied to them all with indignation. "I just haven't worked out all the details yet."

"Well you'd better think fast," Johnson told him. "The weather control system is just around this next corner.

They crept forward carefully, rounding the corner into yet another metallic corridor, this one very short and ending in a large open doorway beyond which lay what was clearly some kind of control room. Two Wintermen guarded the door. The Doctor looked at them and then looked about him. He spotted another of the temperature controls and pulled out his sonic screwdriver. One day, he thought, there would be something the screwdriver COULDN’T do. But this wasn’t one of them. He channelled its sonic beam into the temperature control and watched the figures going up. They all felt the temperature rise. In the area immediately surrounding the Wintermen it got VERY hot. When The Doctor looked around the corner again he saw the two guards had collapsed.

Ok.” He readjusted the temperature so that they, themselves, would not collapse in the tropical heat he had created and they moved forward stepping over the parboiled Wintermen.

In the centre of the control room was a massive computer system lit up like a giant metallic Christmas tree with thousands of multi-coloured lights that flashed on and off in concert with a staccato humming sound. There was a screen filled with data written in unfamiliar hieroglyphics and a keypad in front of it. The Doctor examined the pad for a few seconds then pushed several of the buttons. The humming turned to a high-pitched wine and the lights began to blink rapidly. A computerised voice spoke in an alien gabble that had an urgent tone that needed no translation.

"What's happening?" Rose asked. "What have you done?"

"It's a strange fact, but of all the life-forms on all the planets in the universe, there are very few totally unique languages. The Winterman's native tongue is very similar to Venusian. Even though I have never seen their language before, translating the mnemonics on the console was relatively easy."

“Yes. But what have you done?"

“I’ve programmed it to rapidly turn up the temperature inside this whole complex while giving the surviving Wintermen plenty of chance to evacuate the area and go on their way."

“What if they don’t?”

“If they don’t get out before the temperature reaches 60 degrees - in approximately half an hour - they'll be blown up by the irreversible self-destruct sequence I've initiated."

“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s get out of here."

“Good point.”

They ran down the corridor as fast as they could. From all directions, Wintermen were running too, but none made any attempt to challenge them. They were all just as desperate to escape from the doomed building. As they turned a corner Rose almost fell over one of the Wintermen lying across the floor. It reached out a hand towards her and she ducked expecting to be attacked. Instead, the creature called out to her weakly.

"Please help me."

“Leave it,” Johnson said as she reached to help it up. “They’ve killed so many people.”

"No, we’ll help it,” The Doctor countered. "We’re not murderers. The creature is obviously in pain, and we CAN help it."

The other Wintermen were all running straight past the stricken one without even attempting to help it. The Doctor bent and lifted it to its feet and he and Rose between them half carried it towards the open exit door ahead.

With the control system self-destructing the hologram dome had disappeared outside. The metal structure and the alien spaceships that surrounded it were open to the blizzard which was still raging as violently as before. The Wintermen were running around in panic, scrambling into their ships and taking off. The Doctor laid the injured Winterman on the ice covered ground and knelt beside it. Some of the other aliens noticed what was happening and began to move in menacingly but the injured one raised his hand weakly and waved them back.

"No," it said with command in its voice. "These Humans are not a danger to me. They saved me when you ran and left me to die."

It continued to speak with the same tone of authority, in its own language, and the other Wintermen moved away. Recovering quickly in the cold more suited to its metabolism, it stood up and turned to the Doctor.

"You have saved me from certain death. I don't understand."

"Because I don't believe you are totally evil," The Doctor answered. "I've met creatures who are. Daleks, Cybermen. But most races have some capacity for compassion and mercy. Mine has. So does the Human race which your people have tried to annihilate. Perhaps you do, too, given the chance."

"We had no choice." The Winterman said. "We are refugees - a few remnants of our race who survived the death of our planet. Our only hope of survival was to seek a new home. Use our technology to make a world like the one we have lost."

“My planet died, too,” The Doctor said. “I know what that is like. Nobody in the universe would deny you the right to survive. But not this way. Not by killing everyone on THIS planet."

Suddenly, a massive explosion turned the Winterman base into a wall of fire that lit up the sky. Everyone, Winterman, Human and Time Lord turned to watch for a moment.

"I hope the others got out all right." Rose said. The Doctor turned back to the Winterman.

"You understand that I had to do that, for the billions of Earth people who would have died if you were allowed to carry on.”

“Yes,” the Winterman said. “I see that you are right. I will take my people away from Earth. We will continue our search for a new home elsewhere. We will not return.”


The Winterman lifted a hand and waved towards the Doctor, then turned and walked towards the one remaining spacecraft. It climbed in and the ship took off vertically before accelerating away.

Without the Wintermen's weather machine, the blizzard quickly cleared. By the time they reached the research base, the wind had dropped and the clouds cleared. The sky was the pale blue of an arctic summer night, with a few bright stars visible. A shooting star crossed the zenith and the Doctor raised his hand towards it as if waving goodbye. As he did so, Jack and Hellina with the Brigadier and Lenoir and some of the scientists came from inside the base to greet them.

"Doctor, have you done it?" The young Frenchman asked. "Have the Wintermen been defeated?"

"They've gone," he answered. "And I don't think they'll be coming back. Defeated though, is another matter. I hope they will win their fight eventually. Somewhere."

"Anywhere but here,” Rose said.

"I don't think I understand." Lenoir looked puzzled. "But so long as it is all over. We have managed to make radio-contact. A rescue party will be here soon for the scientists."

"Oh, good," Rose said. "I was beginning to think we'd have to give them all a lift back in the TARDIS."

"We’ll be on our way," The Doctor told Johnson. "Can you see to things here until the rescue party arrives?"

"Yes, I suppose so. But what about Smythe?"

"Where is he now?" The Doctor asked of Lenoir.

"I put him under sedation in the sick bay for now. There was no other way to restrain him. The other man, Dobson, he's still here. I think they may both need psychiatric help."

"I think, under the circumstances, it might be best if no further action is taken against Smythe," The Brigadier decided.

"A soldier who acted so cowardly would be court-marshalled," Lenoir protested.

"Yes, but Smythe is a civilian, not a soldier. He did only what he thought best for himself."

"Well, come on now." The Doctor sounded a little impatient. "Everyone who's going back with me."

On the TARDIS's video screen, a series of pictures came up in quick succession - pictures of the Earth recovering from the artificial winter; the sun breaking through clouds over the Sahara; people crowding into the streets to celebrate in Moscow, Paris, London; A satellite view showing the whole planet now only partly covered in cloud.

"In the long term, this might have done the Earth some good," The Doctor said as he watched the screen. "In Africa for instance, where people were dying for lack of water."

“They've probably all frozen to death instead now," Rose said.

"Yes. Many will have. But the survivors now have a greater chance of improving their lives. With help from the developed countries, they can save the snow and rain they've had recently, build irrigation systems to water crops for the future. If only mankind can pull together and learn from this."

“Well, we’ll try,” The Brigadier promised. “Why don’t you stay around and show us how, Doctor.”

"I don't think so. Rose and I have so many other places to go.” As he spoke the central column stopped moving, indicating that the TARDIS had materialised. He pressed a switch and opened the doors.

Newport Pagnell Service Station was never the most scenic of places, but as they all stepped out into the warmth of a summer morning it seemed like a slice of heaven. Five Humans and one Time Lord stood for a while just looking up into the blue sky, dotted with clouds, looking innocently like there had been a bit of a shower earlier and now it was going to be a bright, sparkling day.

"Oh, isn't it good to see the sun shine again,” Rose said. “I feel so warm.”

“Yes,” The Doctor said. “It is.” He looked up at the sky and spared a thought for that homeless race whose attempts to find themselves a planet had been so devastating to Earth. He understood their despair, if not their methods. He would never feel the warmth of his own planet’s sun on his face again. It made it doubly important that he make sure the sun kept shining on this planet, the one he didn’t quite call home, but which he could not help having affection for.

“Lenoir,” The Doctor said, spotting the young Frenchman hovering uncertainly. “You did well. Benton owes you a promotion.”

“I did my duty, Sir,” Lenoir said. “No more, no less.”

“You did brilliant,” Jack said. “Tell you what, if the Brigadier can spare you, how about coming along in the more conventional space craft we have and spend some time with the Twenty-Second Space Corps? We’re still building it back up to strength and we could use a resourceful man.”

Lenoir looked as if all his dreams had come true. The Brigadier nodded. “If the ‘conventional craft’ can get us back to HQ I’ll arrange your transfer.” He turned to The Doctor. “No offence, Doctor, but I still don’t think the TARDIS is as reliable as she ought to be.”

“That’s ok,” The Doctor said. “Rose, it’s just the two of us again. He took hold of her hand as he headed to the TARDIS. They waved from the door to their friends as they headed to Hellina’s ‘parked’ and cloaked space ship. Rose was perfectly happy to be ‘just the two of us again’ as they closed the TARDIS door.