Shada Read online
About the Book
About the Author
Part One: Off the Shelf
Part Two: An Uncharitable Deduction
Part Three: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Part Four: Carbon Copies
Part Five: Gallifrey’s Most Wanted
Part Six: Brought to Book
About the Book
The Doctor’s old friend and fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis has retired to Cambridge University – where nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. But now he needs help from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. When he left Gallifrey he took with him a few little souvenirs – most of them are harmless. But one of them is extremely dangerous.
The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey isn’t a book for Time Tots. It is one of the Artefacts, dating from the dark days of Rassilon. It must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. And the sinister Skagra most definitely has the wrong hands. He wants the book. He wants to discover the truth behind Shada. And he wants the Doctor’s mind...
Based on the scripts for the original television series by the legendary Douglas Adams, Shada retells an adventure that never made it to the screen.
About the Author
Gareth Roberts was born in Chesham, Buckinghamshire in 1968. His scripts for Doctor Who on television include ‘The Shakespeare Code’ (2007), ‘The Unicorn And The Wasp’ (2008), ‘The Lodger’ (2010) and ‘Closing Time’ (2011), and he has also written many scripts for the spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as scripts for programmes as diverse as Emmerdale and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased). He has written nine previous original Doctor Who novels, and lives in West London.
Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge in 1952, and was educated at Brentwood School, Essex and St John’s College, Cambridge, where he read English. As well as writing all the different and conflicting versions of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy he has been responsible for Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, and, with John Lloyd, The Meaning of Liff and The Deeper Meaning of Liff. In 1978-9, he worked as Script Editor on Doctor Who. He wrote three scripts for the programme - ‘The Pirate Planet’, ‘City of Death’ (under the name David Agnew), and ‘Shada’. Douglas Adams died in May 2001.
For Clayton Hickman, whose role in the creation
of this book was larger than Queen Xanxia’s
transmat engine, and whose role in my life is
more precious than oolion.
And in memory of Douglas Adams.
‘The radical evil: that everybody wants to be what they might and could be, and all the rest of mankind to be nothing, indeed, not to exist at all.’
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections
‘… flat eyes that only turned toward the stars to estimate their chemical tonnage.’
Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
‘Other people are a mistake.’
Quentin Crisp, Resident Alien
‘Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body?
The Smiths, ‘Still Ill’
Fig. 1. These words are carved into the machonite plinth upon which rests The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey, one of the Great Artefacts of the Rassilon Era. They are here reproduced by kind permission of the Curator of the Panopticon Archives, the Capitol, Gallifrey. Translated from the Old High Gallifreyan they read, roughly: ‘If this book should care to roam, box its ears and send it home.’
Off the Shelf
AT THE AGE of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist. This revelation tends to make most people in the universe who have it react in one of two ways – with relief or with despair. Only Skagra responded to it by thinking, Wait a second. That means there’s a situation vacant.
Now, many years later, Skagra rested his head, the most important head in the universe, against the padded interior of his alcove and listened to the symphony of agonised screams coming from all around him. He permitted himself two smiles per day, and considered using one of them now. After all, the sounds of wrenching mental anguish and physical distress were a sure sign that his plan was working and that this was going to be a good day, possibly even a 9 out of 10. So he might have even more cause to smile later on and he didn’t want to waste a smile. He decided to save it, just in case.
Instead, as the screams faded slowly into bewildered animal whimpers and the occasional howl of uncomprehending fear, Skagra climbed from his alcove and turned to survey his handiwork. His own alcove was one of six (an even number, of course) set into the sides of a tall grey hexagonal cone at the centre of the main laboratory. At the top of the cone was a grey sphere.
Minutes before, he had watched as the other five members of the Think Tank climbed into their alcoves, laughing and joking in their irritatingly trivial way. They hadn’t even noticed that there were connecting terminals built into the headrests of all of their alcoves but no such terminals built into his own. Why were other people so stupid, Skagra wondered? Even these people, who were so clever, were basically stupid. He had wondered this every few seconds for as long as he could remember. Still, thanks to him – thanks to the plan of which this moment was a significant part – soon other people would no longer be a problem.
The five Thinktankers stood gibbering in their alcoves, their eyes blank, limbs making the occasional spasmodic movement. It was interesting that the bodies of all five had survived the process.
Now to check on their minds.