Unfinished Business, Doctor Who, Dr. Who, Chris Eccleston, Christopher Eccleston, Doctor who Fiction

Chapter One

Ace was bored. For the past three hours, there had been nothing at all for her to do, and the prospects for the immediate future were not very much more promising. If she had put her mind to it, no doubt she could have occupied herself quite happily for a while, but being bored, she had determined to sulk about it, and to make her point more vivid, she was now sitting in the corner, her knees hunched up, tying knots in a piece of string.

Not that her surroundings appeared at first glance to be so very mundane. Her mode of transport was a slightly eccentric but nonetheless impressive craft known as TARDIS, an acronym for Time And Relative Dimensions in Space. A space and time travel machine, built by the advanced engineering skills of the Time Lords of the planet Gallifrey. This particular model had been discontinued for many years, but on Earth, where she came from, it was still way ahead of its time.

The control room was a mixture of space age technology and Earth anachronisms. The size of an average lounge, the walls were made up of plastic-looking 'bubble' panels reminiscent of 60's Art Deco. In one corner there stood an old-fashioned hatstand with a tweed jacket, felt hat and a gentleman's black folding umbrella with white plastic handle hung on it. On one wall, the 'bubble' panelling was interrupted by a large blank video screen. A large double door was set into one wall. When opened after materialisation it would lead to whatever world the TARDIS landed on. Opposite it, a single inner door lead to the rest of the TARDIS which was infinitely dimensional, and even The Doctor hadn't explored it all in many years.

The centre of the room was taken up by a huge, hexagonal shaped console, the heart and brain of the TARDIS. A central opaque perspex column glowed as it moved slowly up and down like a piston in slow-motion. Every facet of the system was covered in panels of lights, buttons and control pads that lit up or flashed on and off rhythmically.

Hovering over the controls, pressing buttons seemingly at random, was The Doctor, a Time Lord from Gallifrey who had long ago chosen the life of space wanderer. A walking anachronism, he was a nondescript figure of a man, of medium height and average weights. By Earth standards he would be judged to be about forty-five to fifty years of age. In actual fact, since Time Lords have much longer natural life-spans, and the ability to regenerate their bodies, his actual age was over 800 years. He was dressed in a sweater and slacks of an uncertain fashion period around the later half of the 20th Century. His eyes had a permanently mischievous glint as if he knew a good joke that he wasn't sharing with anyone else.

"How much longer, Professor?" Ace asked wearily.

"Just a few more minutes." he answered reassuringly. He smiled a secret smile to himself. Over the years, he'd had many travelling companions. Some from Earth, some from his own home planet, others from even more extreme corners of the universe than that. They had relieved the loneliness that even a Time Lord could feel from time to time, and helped him in many adventures. Never before though, had he ever met anyone who persistently got his name wrong. Brash young men had frequently called him Doc, and been admonished for it, but nobody had ever called him 'Professor' until Ace came along.

Secretly of course, he didn't mind one bit. He liked the precocious, headstrong, tomboyish, Earth teenager more than she really knew, more than he would ever admit. Getting his name wrong was not her only foible either. Her favourite clothing was the most unfeminine collection of rags he had ever come across - denim jeans, and a leather 'biker' jacket covered in badges collected from her own time and place. She supported Charlton Athletic Football Club, as the black and red pin prominent on her lapel proclaimed, and her collar bore a Blue Peter badge of all things. The left breast pocket had a garish fluorescent disc with the legend 'I am The People My Parents Warned Me About'. All her worldly possessions, apart from a large ghetto blaster circa Earth, 1988, were carried in a large canvas zip up bag; and these possessions habitually included a baseball bat and a modest supply of home-made explosive devices.

It was her passion for 'big bangs' that had indirectly lead her to The Doctor. Having been suspended from her Earth 1980's school for blowing up the science lab, she had been experimenting in her bedroom when she had been caught up in a time hole and whisked away into time and space. She had lived a life as a galactic hitchhiker, working in seedy bars and eating places on nearly civilised planets far from home, until she had met up with The Doctor on Iceworld. and he had promised to take her back to England by the 'scenic route'.

They had in fact returned to Earth several times since then, but she had shown no inclination towards leaving, and he had no great wish to see her go. When you pass four hundred, the bright vivaciousness of a sixteen year old around the place can be more than welcome. If only he knew how to deal with her teenage moods.

"I don't know why you bother." she said presently. "The TARDIS can go anywhere and anytime in the Universe. So why are we going to Earth in the 1990's.... Boresville."

"Earth is your HOME," he said with just a hint of censure in his voice. "It was mine too in several other decades." Bitter-sweet times, he thought, remembering his days of exile in Earth's 1970's. He had many good friends and acquaintances he ought to look up there some day.

"Home Sweet Home." Ace's sarcastic comment interrupted his reverie.

"Every living being should feel some affection for it's home planet."

"If you say so, Professor. But…"

Suddenly, the TARDIS pitched violently to one side. Ace fell sprawling across the floor. The Doctor grabbed a convenient handhold and managed to keep his balance. He slapped his hand down on a large glowing control pad and the pitching stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The central column rose and fell once more and then was still. They had landed.

"What was that Professor?" she asked, standing up and brushing down.

"Some sort of atmospheric disturbance." he answered her. "Strange! Earth materialisations are usually quite smooth."

He pressed another button, and the video-screen showed a view of a semi-dark rainswept lorry park beside a busy motorway. "The ideal spot for weary travellers." he announced with a flourish. "Newport Pagnell Service Station. The TARDIS clock must be a little fast, though. It's reading 12.30 in the afternoon, but it's the middle of the night out there."

"Perhaps you haven't allowed for British Summer Time, Professor."

"Come along, Ace. Let's stretch our legs." He took his coat, hat and umbrella from the hatstand.

Why not." she grabbed up her shoulder bag. "I suddenly have a craving for motorway coffee."

The lorry park at Newport Pagnell Service station was a huge expanse of black tarmac the size of two soccer pitches, half-filled with assorted heavy goods vehicles, and lit by powerful overhead lights which cast a yellow glow over everything. To the left, the other side of a fence, traffic was speeding along the M1 Motorway. The only incongruous object in the familiar scene, was the outdated (by at least twenty years) was the blue police emergency call box which suddenly appeared beside a closed up fast food bar near the main building. A strong gale was driving freezing cold sleet across the ground, already wet and sticky with dirty snow. The door of the TARDIS opened smoothly, and Ace stepped out into the murky night.

"The TARDIS is old Ace,." The Doctor called out from within. "A few minor hiccups can only be expected. We've obviously arrived a few hours earlier than anticipated."

"A few hours....'" she exclaimed, almost blown over by the force of the storm. "More like a few months. You said it was June."

"Anyone can make a mistake," The Doctor replied nonchalantly as he emerged from the TARDIS, his coat pulled tight around him. "Come along, Ace. Let's find the cafeteria." He strode forward, head down into the wind without hesitating. Ace paused a moment before following.

"I wonder if Newport Pagnell ever had travellers from outer space in it's transport caff before," she said to no-one in particular as she battled her way towards the brightly lit and more than inviting main building.


Whether or not Newport Pagnell Service Station had ever extended it's hospitality to travellers from anywhere more exotic than Edgeware was a question nobody seemed to know or care to answer. Ace and The Doctor's entrance into the cafeteria caused not a single raised eyebrow or murmur of interest among the two dozen or so lorry drivers and commercial travellers seated among the rows of utilitarian Formica topped tables. The light buzz of muted conversation wavered not in the slightest as the two newcomers came into the brightly lit cafe. Not a head turned to glance their way. Had anyone actually known that The Doctor hailed from a planet many billions of light years away, and belonged to a race intellectually superior to the Human one, there might well have been some interest, but as it was, the numerous differences between the Time Lords and Earth's indigenous sentient life-forms, were all very much under the skin. Even a skilled surgeon would have been hard pressed to point out many of the less obvious differences. Certainly, nobody in that motorway cafeteria had the slightest idea that he was anything more than the rather boring middle-aged man he appeared to be.

The cafeteria, like The Doctor, seemed quite normal at first glance. Further scrutiny however revealed several anomalies. The glass-fronted cabinets, normally filled with over-priced sweet and savoury snacks for general consumption, were empty. Nothing edible seemed to be on sale at all. Over the cash till, there was a sign which could not fail to catch the eye. In large, black felt tip letters, it said 'One Half Cup-Coffee per Person Until Further Notice.' Above the sign, a digital clock blinked and changed from 12.59 to 13.00.

Ace sat down at a grubby coffee-stained 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 two half cups of coffee from the stiff-faced but efficient woman who was serving beverages and operating the till single-handedly.

Having quickly bored of making aeroplanes out of the silver foil ashtrays, Ace looked around for something to do. A discarded newspaper that had been left on the plastic seat next to her caught her eye. She picked it up, meaning to check the back pages to see how Charlton Athletic were getting on in 1995. Immediately though, she realised there was something not quite right about the paper.

For one thing, there was no sports news at all. 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 of the facts before her began to sink in, The Doctor slid into the seat beside her and studied the newspaper very closely.

"That's very odd." He said. "This paper is dated June 2nd 1995."

"Yes...!" she replied shakily. "And the clock up there says it's one o'clock in the afternoon."

"Which means...!" The Doctor concluded. "That the TARDIS's equipment was right after all."

"Doctor ... What's happening?" Ace 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..." Ace whispered in awe. "A new ice age."

"Exactly." He answered her. "But it shouldn't have happened. At least not until well into the thirtieth century. It can't possibly have started this early."

"Of course it could. I remember all the weathermen going on about it in the 80s!"

"Yes. That was the turning point in Earth's history." The Doctor was talking, as he often did, in the past tense about events which had yet to occur in Ace's own time. It was a habit which she had yet to learn to cope with. "Up until then mankind destroyed everything natural without thinking. But by 1990, people had realised what they were doing and they began to be more careful. They stopped polluting and destroying and began to repair the damage. By the end of the 21st century the ecological balance had been restored and this sort of disaster was averted."

“Then what is happening here?" Ace demanded.

“I don't know ... But I fully intend to find out. Come along, Ace."

“Come along where?"

“To visit an old friend of mine. If this is what I think it is, he'll be in the thick of any counter-operation."


Brigadier Alasdair Lethbridge-Stewart 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 the broad-shouldered dignified man, part Scots Highlander, part stiff upper lip Public School Englishman, to stand tall in the face of adversity, to stay on top of the situation, to stay calm, cool, logical, to keep his head, as the saying went, when all around were losing theirs.

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 them. That, after all was what it had been formed to do. Earth's united stand against invasion or attack from beyond the solar system. This though, was different.

The enemy, if there was one at all, seemed to be nature itself. How in the world was U.N.I.T., was Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, going to fight against that.

He sighed heavily as he walked around the command centre. Row upon row of computers, VDU's, and other electronic communications equipment, 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 an eerie green glow. The humming, beeping and chatter of dot matrix 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. Cold. 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, 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 phenomena 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. Lush jungle canopies strained under the weight of snow piling up on the broad leaves. The Southern Hemisphere, the Australias, were 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 ice shelf in an arctic snowfield. Nowhere on Earth was there a hint of warmth or light. A satellite view showed the planet hidden under a thick blanket of clouds through which no sunlight could pass. Even the middle of the day remained as dark as a cold, overcast winter dawn.

The Brigadier 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?

"Sir....:" A young olive skinned soldier in the uniform of the French Army, stepped up to his side hurriedly.

"Yes ...er.... Lenoir...What is it?

"Sir...'" Lenoir continued, speaking with a heavy French accent. "We seem to have a security breach."

"The perimeter fence?" The Brigadier asked shortly.

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

"Materialised... Oh Dear God ... Could it be...'" The Brigadier reached out and touched a switch. The satellite view flickered and changed to a close circuit picture of the darkened courtyard outside the command centre, empty except for a blue police call box which opened its doors as he watched, before Ace and The Doctor stepped out. "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." The Brigadier said confidently. "That's him all right. It's The Doctor." For the first time in weeks, the ghost of a smile crossed his face. His most desperate prayers had been answered.

The Doctor and Ace were brought into the room by an armed guard. The Brigadier crossed the floor in a few long strides, dismissing the guard as he grasped The Doctor's hand warmly.

"Good afternoon Brigadier." The Doctor said as if it were no more than a social occasion. "Glad to see you're still at the helm around here. What exactly is happening old boy?"

"The end of the world by all accounts." he answered dismally. "The world is slowly freezing and starving to death. I don't know why. Nobody knows why, and nobody on this planet knows how to stop it."

"When did it start?" The Doctor asked.

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

"There was no reason at all for the sudden change?"

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

"This is odd. Very odd."

"Can't you do anything Professor?" Ace piped up hopefully.

"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 '" he exclaimed suddenly.

"What....!" the Brigadier stared expectantly. "Do you see something?"

"I'm not sure. There seems to be some sort of vortex over the North Pole... See how the cloud around that area seems to be spinning around a central axis.'

As if it's being sucked down and swirled around. Do you think it's significant?”

"I don't know. But there's only one way to find out. Come along Ace."

"To the North Pole" Ace looked at him hesitantly. "You're kidding."

"Would I 'kid' about something as serious as this?"

"I guess not." she conceded.

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

"All right ... But come quickly." The Doctor strode away towards the door. Ace followed. The Brigadier paused a moment to hand over his command to his nearest subordinate before following. Lenoir, the young officer who had been hovering nearby throughout the extraordinary conversation, watched thoughtfully, then tore off a page from the nearest teleprinter before rushing after them. He reached the courtyard just as the Brigadier, Ace and The Doctor were entering the TARDIS, and just managed to slip in through the doors before they slid shut. The TARDIS de-materialised with the usual grinding fanfare.


Lenoir looked around the control room curiously. He had heard all about the theory of 'relative dimensions' which meant that the TARDIS 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, and the Brigadier was watching him with the air of an apprentice observing his master at work. Ace, was busy re-arranging the contents of her shoulder bag. Taking a deep breath, Lenoir stepped boldly across the floor and handed the sheet of paper to the Brigadier.

"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 sheepishly.

"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." Ace 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 Earth 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," Ace said to Lenoir with a mischievous wink. She had already decided she liked the young Frenchman. The generation gap between her sixteen years and The Doctor's four and a half centuries, could sometimes be a yawning gulf and it would be nice to have someone nearer her own age to talk to for a while.

"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's a great honour to be here."

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

"Jean-Paul Lenoir." He shook her hand formally. She was just a little bit disappointed that with all his Gallic charm he didn't bend and kiss it. Perhaps, they didn't do that anymore in the 1990's. "I am a Private in the French Army ... on assignment with U.N.I.T."

"Pleased to meet you, Jean-Paul."

“Ace?” he said thoughtfully. “It is an odd name for a girl.”

“My mother called me Dorothy,” she admitted to perhaps the third person in her entire life. "But I hate it."

"It is appropriate." Lenoir said with an impish smile and a glance towards The Doctor. "You seem to have found the `Wizard of Oz'."

"Maybe." she admitted. "But it's still a dumb name. Everyone I know calls me Ace."

"My companions at UNIT call me Sooty." he said.

"Why?" His hair was jet black and curled under the tightly fitting cap he wore as part of his uniform, but somehow, she expected there was more to it than that.

“My name ... When translated into your language, means the black one."

"French was never really my best subject," Ace admitted.

"Ah well... It's not the best name in the world." he said. "But at least it's better than 'frog'."

"Yes, I suppose it is."

The conversation trailed off at that point, and Ace wandered over to The Doctor and the Brigadier to see what was happening.

"If my calculations are right," The Doctor was saying. "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," Ace answered him scornfully.

"Thank you Ace, for your vote of confidence." A look of hurt pride crossed his face. "Brace yourselves everyone," he added. "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 Doctor, Ace and the Brigadier, all relatively experienced TARDIS travellers, held tight to the sides of the control system. Lenoir however, grasped the hatstand. Unfortunately for him, that was the one object in the room which was not firmly fastened down, and both he and the stand were thrown headlong across the floor. He banged his head painfully against the panelled wall under the video screen. As the pitching stopped abruptly, Ace ran to help him to his feet.

"I said this was going to be an experience," she told him.

"No damage done I think." He smoothed down his uniform and tested for sore points. "Have we... landed?"

Ace 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. Ace looked around in alarm. He returned moments later from the inner doorway, carrying a bundle of fur lined thermal snow suits and began handing them out.

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

Ace thought that was the understatement of the millennium.

“Are we really at the North Pole?” Lenoir asked.

"Well... Not the precise spot. We are a few degrees off the magnetic pole. But what are a few degrees between friends?"

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

"Well, I'm going to see what's out there," The Doctor said with the air of an adventurous child. "Anyone else coming?"


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. After a few minutes, however, 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 of some kind of Human contact, they hurried on with renewed vigour. As they drew closer, the buildings appeared larger, solider, more real. Finally, when they were within a few yards, they could see that there was a group of grey, weather-beaten, prefabricated single storey huts hunkered together under a blanket of snow that weighted down the sloping asphalt 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 decided, marching boldly up to the door and knocking loudly.

At first, there was no answer. Then the door swung open 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 Triple Crown squad. The shotgun flew from the man's hand and Ace, taking account of the situation, ran to grab it up.

“Nice one Sooty,” she said

"Yes... 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 and nervous. He was a slight figure, dishevelled and unshaven and his clothes were very torn and dirty.

"Oh, thank God," the man said. "You're humans. I thought it was them again... Thank God."

"Of course, we're Human," the Brigadier answered him. "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, strewn with clothes, books, and other assorted remnants of humanity.

“My mother would have a fit,” Ace 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 a hint of sweaty socks.

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

"Who are you?” he asked, getting straight to the heart of the matter. “What's going on here?"

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

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

"Everyone else?" Smythe looked around vaguely. He didn't seem to know the answer to The Doctor's relatively simple question. He didn't seem to know anything at all, if the vacant look in his eyes was anything to go by.

"The other scientists," the Brigadier prompted him gently. "Where are they?”

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

"They're all gone! All gone. All dead ... Dead and gone. “All except me and Dobson.”

“Who is Dobson? The Brigadier spoke slowly, so that the slightly unhinged mind of their only witness 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, if they're alive or dead."

This was a direct contradiction to his previous statement, when he had been quite sure that the others WERE dead, but the Brigadier didn’t press the point.

“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. 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 inhuman, something not from this planet, is here in the Arctic circle."

"The meteor storm!" Ace cut in excitedly. "It must have been a spacecraft landing."

Suddenly, a loud blood-curdling yell echoed around the room. From the bunkroom, a man who could only have been the aforementioned Dobson, crazed with fear, his eyes wide and unseeing, charged into the room, swinging an ice axe above his head. He rushed at the Brigadier, but Lenoir cut him off from the side and grappled the gruesome weapon from his hands. He struggled for a while before collapsing, limp and sobbing, to the floor.

"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 moaned. "They're coming for me. Help 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.

"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. Keep him quiet and still."

Lenoir nodded his acceptance of the order, and half carried, half dragged the semi-conscious man back through to the other room, which he assumed lead into the sick bay.

"That poor man." Ace shuddered with horror. "He must have seen something really horrible."

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

"I had a feeling you were going to say that," Ace sighed. "How..."

A loud splintering of wood broke into her words. The sound of the outside door being forced off it's hinges, closely followed by heavy, slow moving footsteps on the wooden corridor 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 some powerful and unseen force, landing awkwardly against the far wall. The Brigadier bent and checked his pulse.

"He's alive. Unconscious, but alive... But what on Earth...."

He looked towards the door as it opened inwards. His eyes widened as he saw the creature standing there. Undoubtedly one of the 'Wintermen' that both Smythe and Dobson had described, 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 clearly 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, unemotional voice. It's thin mouth barely moved as the words were articulated. ".More earthmen have arrived."

"And an EarthWOMAN too if you don't mind," Ace added.

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

"Oh yeah!"

“Ace, please 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. Ace leapt out of the way as an ice blue laser 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 hands raised.

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

There was a long, tense moment. Ace felt the blood rushing to her feet in fear. The Doctor's TWO hearts pounded in his chest as he waited to see if his brave gamble would pay off.

"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."

"Professor," Ace said. "Are you just going to let this turquoise beanpole push us around like this?"

"For now, it would be wise to appear cooperative," The Doctor told her.

Two more Wintermen moved into the room, flanking the group like dogs rounding up sheep. They appeared to ignore 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 discarded shotgun and a box of cartridges from the table and followed stealthily.

A moment later, Smythe stood up, apparently physically unscathed


Outside, the blizzard was still raging. Visibility was less than five yards. Progress was slow as the Wintermen prodded and pushed their three captives along. The creatures seemed to be unaware of the sub-zero temperature. Behind them, Lenoir followed close, keeping his eye out furtively for any danger. A few yards behind him, Smythe was tracking them all. Like the Wintermen, he too seemed oblivious of the hostile environment.

Lenoir had been following for half an hour when he became aware that the blizzard was clearing ahead. He looked back, but saw nothing but a writhing mass of white. Before him, the wind and blinding snow was less intense. Then he stepped out into an area of perfect calm. Looking back, he saw a wall of raging blizzard that seemed 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 seemed to be '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 seemed to vanish 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... 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're a traitor." he said. "I should have known... 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 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. You have a gun, I have a gun. Mine is a little 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 face 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 said tossing 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, appearing, 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 spacecraft, the size and general shape of 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 vertical sides which tapered to a blunt point high above, where the vortex seemed to originate. Lenoir, followed by Smythe, threaded his way between the spacecraft to the outside of the structure. As they reached the wall, a black, empty 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. There was nothing to show where the opening had been.


Ace pulled her snow jacket close around her. Even inside the Winterman base it was still cold. The temperature seemed to be carefully 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' approximately twenty square yards in area. On three sides were the same monotonous metallic blue-grey walls. On the fourth were 'bars' formed by glowing red laser beams which kept the prisoners securely incarcerated. As well as herself, The Doctor and the Brigadier, the cell also contained five strangers. A brief glance at the group indicated that they were the missing members of Smythe's research team. They all seemed in good health, though tired and weary-looking and dressed in torn and dirty clothes. None of them had shaved for some time, and all had straggling beard growths on their faces. They sat huddled in a corner, watching listlessly as Ace and The Doctor attempted to discover a way out.

"Obviously some sort of force field," The Doctor mused as he looked closely at the laser wall. "I wonder...'" Gripping his umbrella by the plastic handle, he poked gingerly between the 'bars'. A blinding flash knocked him backwards across the floor, and when he looked up, stunned and shocked, his umbrella had been reduced to ashes that crumbled away. Only the plastic handle was left in his hand. He looked at it dismally and stuffed it into his pocket.

"Oh well... I had to try." He turned away from the 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 he and Ace sat down with him.

"They must have been the meteor shower Smythe talked about," The Doctor said thoughtfully. "An armada of spaceships so small and fast they escaped detection by any of Earth's radar systems."

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

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

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

"Yes, I know that."

"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," Ace defended The Doctor fiercely. "He's got a plan haven't you, Professor?" She looked at him expectantly, but he didn't seem to be listening. "The Professor always has a plan," she added less optimistically.

"I wonder if any of those chaps could tell us anything?" The Doctor stood up and went to join the huddle of prisoners. "Hello chaps ... 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?" The Brigadier demanded.

"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... led them right to our door. They captured us all within minutes."

"He said you'd been taken a few at a time ... That 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,." Ace added.

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

"Dobson? Is he alive? He escaped two months ago.... He saw a chance and took it. But we gave him up for dead."

"He's alive," Ace 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 and 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 cell. 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 to the left. A small explosion and a spray of sparks marked the destruction of the mechanism. The force field bars shimmered and vanished. Ace stepped forward, followed by The Doctor, Brigadier and Johnson. 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?" Ace asked as she looked around at the long corridor stretching a hundred yards or so in either direction before turning sharp corners.

"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 girl."

“Don’t underestimate the girl,” Ace told him fiercely.

"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."

"Enough of this talk," The Doctor cut in firmly. "There is no need for any killing."

"I told you the Professor has a plan," Ace 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 protested. “I told you I have never been here before.

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

"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 around the corner at the head of the corridor. Both raised their deadly fingers and fired. One of the beams went wide, singeing the metallic ceiling. 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 and the Brigadier fired back, but when they did, their bullets went true and the two Wintermen fell, bleeding blue ooze as they lay dead.

"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 come with me. Lenoir, you take Smythe and the rest of the men out of here. Ace, you go too. This could be dangerous."

"No way," Ace replied indignantly. "I'm sticking with you, Professor. As always."

"I won't let you take any unnecessary risks."

"Oh yeah! You'll probably need me around to pull you out of the fire. Remember the time on...."

"All right," The Doctor cut her off impatiently. "Never mind. There's no time to argue about details. Come along.”


They were in another long featureless corridor with walls, floor and ceiling made of the same metallic grey substance as the others. Johnson walked confidently, as if he knew the way. The Doctor, Ace and the Brigadier followed him.

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

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

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

"Don't you know Professor?" Ace asked him. "You've been around."

"I'm only a Time Lord, not some sort of all-knowing, all-seeing God. There are corners of the twelve galaxies unknown to me."

"I think they came from a solar system similar to ours," Johnson said. "But their planet is the furthest from their sun. 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."

"Like iceworld, Professor." Ace pointed out. "Where you found me."

"I suppose for some reason they were forced to leave their home planet,” The Doctor said. "Colonise other worlds. 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 and 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 told him. "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 Ace.

"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, and it is bound to be heavily guarded."

"I should be disappointed if it wasn't. Ace ... Have you got any Nitro-9 handy?"

"No, I'm all out." Ace answered. "Otherwise I'd have busted us right out of that cell ages ago,

"Never mind. What have you got?"

"A spare t. shirt, a box of matches... large bottle of paint stripper and some bottles of cola."

"Glass bottles?"

"Yes. I got them last time we went back for things I get homesick for in space."

"Pour it all away."

"What ... why?"

"Incendiaries," The Brigadier guessed. "The Wintermen can't stand heat. We'll burn the blighters."

"Oh... Yeah.! Now we're talking!”

"Quietly," The Doctor warned "We don’t want to alert them before we're ready.”

Ace unzipped her bag and pulled out the items. She took a last drink from one of the pop bottles then poured the rest onto the floor while the Brigadier shredded her t. shirt and Johnson filled the bottles with paint stripper. Meanwhile, The Doctor crept along the corridor to take a look at the next obstacle around the corner.

"Get ready," he said running back quickly, "There's a patrol on the way.”

Ace picked up one of the crude firebombs in one hand, and a match in the other. As the Wintermen rounded the corner, she struck the match on the wall and lit the rag fuse before throwing it overarm like a cricket ball. It landed at the feet of the approaching aliens and exploded into a sheet of flame that burned fiercely for a few moments before dying away. As the acrid smoke cleared, all that remained of the Winterman patrol was a few charred and unrecognisable pieces.

"Five down in one go,” Ace cried in triumph before catching The Doctor’s eye. Her unnatural thirst for gore unsettled him even if it was necessary at times.

"Let's go.... carefully ...There may be more."

They crept forward, stepping over the smoking remains of the Wintermen and rounding the corner into yet another metallic corridor, this one very short and ending in a large open doorway beyond which lay the control room. Two Wintermen appeared at the door, but Ace's bombs quickly despatched them, allowing The Doctor to get into the room.

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 rhythm with a faint humming sound. A keypad sat in front of a screen filled with unreadable data written in unfamiliar hieroglyphics. 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 urgent tone that needed no translation.

"What's happening, Professor?" Ace 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 ancient Egyptian. Translating the mnemonics on the console was relatively easy."

"Yes... but what have you done?"

"I've programmed it to turn up the temperature inside this complex. That gives 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."


The Doctor, Ace, Brigadier and Johnson 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, Ace almost fell over one of the Wintermen, lying across he floor. It reached out a hand towards her, and she ducked, expecting to be attacked. Instead, the creature called out to her weakly.

"Please ... please help me."

"Help you... Why should I?" Ace looked at the creature in disgust,

"Ace, don't be so heartless," The Doctor told her. "The creature is obviously in pain."

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 the Brigadier 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 violently. 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 is all right," it said with command in its voice. "These humans are not a danger to me. They saved me... When you ran, leaving me to die."

It continued to speak with the same tone of authority, in its own language, and the other Wintermen moved away. Fully recovered now, it stood up and turned to The Doctor.

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

"Because I don't believe you are totally evil,” The Doctor answered. "I've met creatures who are. Daleks... Cybermen. But most races have 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."

"Nobody in the universe would deny you the right to survive. But not this way,"

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

"I hope Lenoir and the others got out all right," Ace said.

The Doctor turned back to the Winterman.

"You understand that I had to do that," he said. "For the millions of Earth people who would have died."

"Yes... 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."

"Good "

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.

"Blessed are the peacemakers," The Brigadier said quietly as they watched the ship rise into the sky.

"Indeed. Come on. Let's get back to the TARDIS."

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. Lenoir and some of the scientists came from inside the base to greet them,

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

"They've gone," he said. "And I don't think they'll be coming back. Defeated though, is another matter. I hope they will find their new home somewhere out there."

"Anywhere but here," Ace said.

"We have managed to make radio-contact,” Lenoir continued. “A rescue party will be here soon, for the scientists."

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

"We will have to be on our way soon," the Brigadier told Johnson. "Can you see to things here until the rescue party arrives?"

"Yes," he said. "But what about Smythe?"

"Where is he now?" The Doctor asked.

"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 he may need psychiatric help."

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

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

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

"Come on now," The Doctor sounded 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 of the whole planet now only partially 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 have been dying for lack of water."

"They've probably all frozen to death instead," Ace commented.

"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 far 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." Lenoir suggested.

"I don't think so. Ace and I have so many other places to go. "I wouldn't mind staying on Earth for a little while."

"I thought you said it was boring,." The Doctor remarked as the central column stopped moving and the TARDIS re-materialised. He pressed a switch and opened the doors.

The TARDIS had materialised on the edge of a village green somewhere in Southern England. The sun was shining warmly in a blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds. Women were hanging out washing in gardens and pleasant sounds of children laughing and playing, birds singing and a small dog yapping could be heard. Ace and Lenoir stepped out of the TARDIS and ran ahead of The Doctor and the Brigadier. Ace in particular looked happy and excited.

"Oh Professor," she said. "Isn't it good to see the sun shine again. I feel so warm ... We could stay here a few days couldn't we?

The Doctor smiled cheerfully as he walked, swinging an umbrella identical to the one he had lost.

"Well, I suppose we could stay for a while," he agreed.

"Ace... !"