Lord Cardinal, High Chancellor, Lord President
Place of Origin:
First Seen In:
The Deadly Assassin
Angus MacKay, Leonard Sachs, Philip Latham
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One of the Doctor’s teachers at the Prydonian academy, Borusa was one of the few teachers The Doctor liked and respected, despite his typically rebellious attitude towards any form of authority. Although he was typically rather stern towards The Doctor, claiming that The Doctor would never amount to anything in the universe while he retained his “propensity for vulgar facetiousness”, and even being responsible for the decision to expel The Doctor after his first encounter with The Celestial Toymaker (“Divided Loyalties“), Borusa nevertheless appeared to reciprocate this affection for his student, commonly giving The Doctor ‘marks’ during their later meetings at times of some crisis or another. Unlike The Doctor, whose personality varied as much as his body in eachincarnation, Borusa’s various regenerations typically remained a politically-minded Time Lord, set in his ways but willing to allow for The Doctor’s rather independent attitude, and it was only in the incarnation he possessed in his last adventure that his personality went through any significant changes.
During his first reunedition with The Doctor, Borusa was attending the retirement ceremony of the current President of Gallifrey, only for the Fourth Doctor – summoned there by a telepathic call – to be framed for the assassination of the President. Putting himself forward as a candidate for the presidency to give himself the chance to investigate, The Doctor discovered that The Master, now a crippled, withered old husk, was responsible for the President’s death, attempting to get his ally Chancellor Goth instated as President so that he could drain the energy of the central Eye of Harmony and revitalise his body with a new set of regenerations. After The Doctor had thwarted The Master and Goth’s scheme, Borusa reminded The Doctor of his comment about The Doctor’s”propensity for vulgar facetiousness”, but, as his old student departed, he gave The Doctor’s efforts nine out of ten for saving them all.
In their next meeting – Borusa having regenerated in the meantime, although The Doctor remained in his fourth incarnation – The Doctor had taken on the role of President of the High Council, since no other candidate had come forward following Goth’s death, he had technically become President by default. Having his walls lined with lead, The Doctor appeared to be allowing a race of telepathic beings called the Vardans to invade Gallifrey, but, as he revealed to Borusa in his room – the lead preventing the Vardans from reading their thoughts inside – it was really all a trick to prevent the Vardans recruiting a less scrupulous Time Lord into their plan, he had managed to deceive them because his thoughts were so random that it was practically impossible for the Vardans to pick up on his central plan, but Borusa had to stay in the room because he was too one-track-minded to not think about The Doctor’s scheme. Aided by K9, The Doctor managed to time loop the Vardan homeworld by opening a hole in the transduction barriers and allowing them to materialise on Gallifrey. However, as he later learned, the Vardans had merely been the advance force for the true invaders, his old enemies, the Sontarans, who used the brief hole in the barriers to land on Gallifrey. The Doctor managed to end the threat by trapping the Sontaran leader in the TARDIS and killing him with a forbidden Time Lord weapon – the De-Mat Gun, which erased the target from Time itself, although his memory of later events was wiped in the process.
Following their next subsequent regenerations, Borusa and the Fifth Doctor once again met, The Doctor now being stalked by a being from the anti-matter universe that sought to take on his form. Although Borusa was willing to allow The Doctor to be executed to stop the creature from escaping to our world, he nevertheless aided The Doctor when they discovered that the being in question was Omega, who had formed an alliance with a rogue Time Lord called Hedin. Aided by a technician called Damon, an old friend of the Doctor’s, The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan Jovanka managed to expose Hedin’s scheme – despite his attempts to frame Borusa for his crimes, but they arrived too late to stop Omega from acquiring a new body based on The Doctor’s biodata. However, the transfer was unstable, and, as Omega left, The Doctor and his companions raced to find him with the matter converter gun, the only means of stopping Omega before he reverted to anti-matter. Eventually, they cornered Omega at the end of a pier as he began to decompose, but Omega, not wishing to return to the living death of the anti-matter universe, accelerated the decay of his shielding, determined to take the Earth with him, and The Doctor had no choice but to shoot Omega with the matter converter gun, destroying Omega before he fully reverted to anti-matter.
After this, however, Borusa’s role in The Doctor’s life changed significantly, due in no small part to his next regeneration. Following this regeneration, Borusa’s mind became warped by the stress of the regeneration, leaving him believing that only he was capable of ruling Gallifrey, but, to achieve this, he required more than the traditional twelve regenerations, he needed true immortality. Learning of tales that the secret to immortality had been discovered by Rassilon, the founder of Time Lord society, who was said to dwell in his ‘tomb’, the Dark Tower, while waiting for worthy Time Lords to pass his test and prove their worthiness to achieve immortality. In an attempt to gain the secret, Borusa used the Timescoop – a forbidden artefact from the Dark Times – to pull all five of the Doctor’s current incarnations into the Death Zone, intending for them to pass the tests in his place. Although the Fourth Doctor and Romana were trapped in a time eddy – briefly endangering the Fifth’s existence until the First Doctor’s presence managed to strengthen his presence – the other four Doctors, aided by Susan, The Brigadier, Sarah Jane Smith, Tegan and Turlough, managed to reach the tower. Using the Coronet of Rassilon, Borusa managed to immobilise companions, but the four remaining Doctors gathered the strength to resist him. Rassilon was awakened at this point and, on the advice of the First Doctor, concluded that Borusa was worthy of immortality, thanks to a riddle on the tomb, the First had deduced that the whole immortality story had been a trap by Rassilon to get rid of potentially dangerous Time Lords. All Borusa got for his trouble was an eternity trapped as a living statue, Rassilon then freeingthe Fourth Doctor from the Time Eddy before restoring the First, Second and Third to their proper places in Time.
Still in his fifth incarnation, The Doctor later had an out-of-sequence encounter with Borusa while dealing with his old enemy Morbius, a former Time Lord president who now sought to conquer the galaxy with a vast army (“Warmonger”). Achieving an official position of ambassador to the planet Sarn – where Morbius first brought his army together, The Doctor contacted the Gallifrey of the present and met with the Borusa of the time, the current Borusa apparently being from a period between the First Doctor’s departure from Gallifrey (“Lungbarrow“) and the Second Doctor’s capture and subsequent trial (“The War Games“). Conferring with Saran, the current acting President of Gallifrey, Borusa, and Ratisbon, head of the Celestial Intervention Agency, The Doctor was convinced to form a multi-species army to oppose Morbius, gathering Draconians, Sontarans, Cybermen, Ice Warriors and Ogrons together against Morbius. After a year-long campaign, The Doctor’s army managed to defeat Morbius and he was thus ‘executed’ – although his brain was secretly removed by one of his followers, to be later destroyed bythe Fourth Doctor – The Doctor subsequently departing despite the various offers to return to Gallifrey, knowing that all three Time Lords had their own agendas in wanting him to return.
Some time later, however, The Doctor was forced to free Borusa to seek aid in dealing with a political crisis on Gallifrey. Whilethe Sixth Doctor was forced to battle The Valeyard – his own dark future self – on a space station in a sham trial, The Doctor – having travelled into his past to regain his lost memories after falling victim to a trap by The Master – contacted Rassilon, asking for Borusa to be freed as he was the only Time Lord capable of resolving the problem. Freed from captivity – and reverted to an older, more saneincarnation, Borusa was able to convince the High Council to reorganise, but, in the aftermath of the crisis, he returned to Rassilon, feeling that he did not deserve to be freed yet.
Eventually, Borusa achieved true freedom when he was released from captivity by the Committee of Three, an alleged Gallifreyan security council run by Rath, a staunch supporter of Borusa and the younger brother of Chancellor Goth (A Time Lord ally of the Master). Contacting the evil Agonal, who sought to make bad situations worse throughout history, Rath intended to set Agonal against Rassilon so they could free Borusa, but Borusa, once free, admitted that he had seen the error of his ways and helped The Doctor, Rassilon and Romana crush Agonal. The Three were captured, and Borusa was sent to a new plane of existence, having finally achieved redemption for his past actions.
However, Borusa eventually reappeared in The Doctor’s life when Rassilon, resurrected by the Time Lords to serve as a leader in the Time War against the Daleks (“The End of Time“), somehow restored Borusa to corporeal existence as a retro -evolved possibility engine, constantly shifting between his various past and possible future incarnations as he witnessed the Time Vortex and all possible futures, trapped on a steel frame with various cables and wires linked to his body, as well as assorted shades of his other selves left wandering around the Death Zone. Although the High Council was disturbed by what they had done, they nevertheless kept Borusa alive, confining him to the Dark Tower where he was often consulted by Rassilon to come up with suitable strategies to ensure victory in the Time War. However, Borusa was eventually destroyed when the War Doctor – technically The Doctor’s ninth incarnation, the Eighth Doctor‘s regeneration having been deliberately influenced to ensure that he would become a warrior who could end the Time War (“The Night of the Doctor“) – stole him from the Death Zone with the aid of his new companion Cinder and Borusa’s various shades to aid in the destruction of the Tantalus Eye, a crucial space-time anomaly that the Daleks sought to use to erase the Time Lords from history. Wishing an end to his tortured existence, Borusa used his access to the higher dimensions to channel the power of the Tantalus Eye and force a new reality on the various planets around the Eye, obliterating the Daleks while leaving the planets’ surviving human populationalive, with only the destruction left by the Daleks as any sign that they had ever been there (“Engines of War“).