Gallifrey Imperatrix

Gallifrey Imperatrix
Gallifrey Imperatrix

Regular Cast

Lalla Ward (President Romana), Louise Jameson (Leela), John Leeson (K9), Lynda Bellingham (Candidate Darkel), Sean Carlsen (Coordinator Narvin), Michael Cuckson (Commander Hallan), Robin Sebastian (Commentator Antimon), Jenny Livsey (Student Galadina), Nicholas Briggs (Gold Usher), Daniel Hogarth (Nekkistani Ambassador), Conrad Westmaas (Nekkistani Emperor)

Synopsis

The Free Time influence in the Capital is spreading, while Darkel has played her hand and opposition to Romana’s policies from without and within is growing. When the bombs start going off, the President of Gallifrey decides enough is enough.

While Leela and K9 race to track down the terrorist to avoid more bloodshed, Romana enters into a risky bargain for control with a dangerous, influential figure from her past. But she soon discovers that the answer to her problems lies in the future. A future she has already witnessed. And one she has been trying to avoid.

But someone desperately wants this future and will stop at nothing to make it occur.

Even if it means leading Romana and Gallifrey to war.

Plot

PART ONE

Romana awakes from a nightmare in which she ruled Gallifrey with an iron fist and destroyed the Nekkistani as their Emperor pleaded with her and believes that she now knows what these dreams mean.

Commentator Antimon reports from outside the Gallifreyan Academy on Romana’s divisive decision to invite students from the other Temporal Powers and how this has led Darkel to invoke the right of challenge. Galadina interrupts the broadcast to question his statement that the students are a security risk and his obvious bias when there is an explosion. The entrance to the Academy is blocked and Antimon sees the bodies of the dead.

Commander Hallan informs Romana that Leela wishes to speak with her. Romana asks for an update on the situation at the Academy, where Valyes is unhappy about Leela’s appointment as security advisor, and delicately tells her that the Chancellery Guard have found Andred’s body in the Vaults, both of his hearts pierced to prevent regeneration. Whilst she does not think of him as the man that she loved, Leela feels that she must avenge him to give him and herself peace. Romana advises against this to avoid giving Darkel ammunition and plans to open a discreet and legal investigation into the murder.

Romana is interrupted by a call from Narvin, who informs her of the bombing at the Academy. There are many casualties, most of whom are off-worlders, and Romana orders him and his CIA agents to find survivors and take the remaining alien students to be guarded at a place of refuge. Telling K9 Mark II to remain and continue completing a task which she will not tell Leela about, Romana heads to the Academy with Leela.

Antimon interviews Darkel, who states than an insurrectionist Time Lord cell in opposition to Romana’s policies is likely responsible for the attack. Whilst not condoning the actions, she says that she understands them and that educating other species in the secrets of Gallifrey could very well result in temporal catastrophe. Her suggestion is that the alien students be sent home for their safety, that the Academy be closed for a time and that an investigation be made. When Romana and Leela arrive, Darkel and Romana argue.

Narvin attempts to maintain order at the Academy, but the body count has risen to twenty-two and some alien students, wanting vengeance, might have to be locked up. Romana enters the ruins and tells Narvin that she will not bow down to the insurrectionists, sending him off to keep him occupied as she does not trust the CIA. In private, she confides in Leela that she feels responsible for the deaths of these students, one of whom Leela recognises as Galadina, and wonders if she has been doing the right thing. She has one final solution, one which she does not wish to resort to, and instead asks Leela and K9 Mark I to investigate the bombing. In the meantime, she will speak with the Temporal Powers.

Although Narvin is sympathetic to Darkel’s campaign to become President, he is upset by the attack and does not see how he can lead an investigation without exposing the both of them; he gave Darkel access to the CIA’s codes and resources on the condition that there would be no major repercussions and the operation looks very much as though it was CIA-sanctioned. Darkel denies that she was involved and regrets that Andred, who was responsible for the Archivist’s murder, is dead as they could have easily framed him for the attack. Once Narvin has gone, Darkel contacts Castellan Maxil and asks to be discreetly escorted to the Vaults to speak with her advisor.

Leela and K9 Mark I begin their investigation, wondering how a bomb could have got through Braxiatel’s security system. They enter the security wing where K9 connects with the security console and finds that the recordings from twenty microspans before the bombing have been deleted. On the screen, Leela sees somebody looking for something and goes to intercept them, leaving K9 behind. She attacks him and, after the intruder flees, she finds what they had been looking for: damaged metal hardware which K9 recommends they take to Narvin to be identified.

Romana speaks with the Nekkistani ambassador, who is concerned for the safety of the Nekkistani on Gallifrey and threatens action against the Time Lords in response to the attack. He agrees that the Nekkistani will stand down for the moment, but his people will be evacuated and the planet bombarded should Romana fail to deal with the situation. K9 Mark II has managed to source the Pandora partition once more, using the Coronet of Rassilon, and has managed to further cordon her to prevent her from gaining more control.

At K9 Mark I’s suggestion, Leela attempts to barter the hardware that she has found for the CIA’s information on the bombing but Narvin refuses to make this trade until they threaten to accuse him of deliberate obstruction. The trio go to watch Antimon’s footage and to discuss the deleted recordings.

K9 Mark II enters the partition and downloads Pandora, whom Romana threatens with further restriction within the Matrix unless she agrees to cooperate. Pandora tells her that everything that happens in Romana’s dreams have been becoming and will become true and that Darkel knows what Romana plans to do. In return for freedom from the partition, Pandora offers to help Romana stop Darkel and reminds her that there is a way that Romana could silence Darkel, the Chapters and the High Council.

Leela, K9 Mark I and Narvin watch Antimon’s footage, in which Leela notices that Darkel was already at the Academy. K9 deduces that Darkel must have been aware that the bombing would take place and suggests that he be linked to the Academy’s Sensor Net with his effectiveness boosted by the CIA terminal, allowing him to search for tampering at the subroutine level. Narvin agrees, but K9 is blocked by a firewall, seemingly left behind by the tamperer. Narvin is able to break it down, allowing K9 to find the username of the person who deleted the recordings: “Narvin, Coordinator of the CIA”. He claims that he is being set up, which K9 agrees is likely.

Narvin tells Leela that the off-worlders are being evacuated from the scaphe port, which is guarded by CIA operatives. Concerned that Narvin is using the aliens as bait and with K9 unable to contact his counterpart, Leela decides to go and speak to Romana before going to the scaphe port.

Beside Andred’s body, Romana wonders why he was murdered, whether it was because of something that he had learnt or if Leela had killed him for some reason and did not trust Romana enough to tell her. Leela joins her and tells her about what she has been doing, that K9 has gone to the scaphe port and that Narvin does not seem to trust his own people. Romana surmises that the only way Darkel could have a hold on the CIA would be if she got it from Narvin and heads to the scaphe port, Leela wanting a moment with Andred’s body. She apologises for not being there for him when he needed her and that she will avenge him before joining him in death.

Narvin confronts Darkel about the use of his codes, which she denies having handed out, and plans to revoke her CIA privileges. Darkel says that she has the assurances of the heads of the Prydonian and Patrex Chapter that they will support her and she believes that the Arcalians will join her in the end. She warns that Romana, who still has the support of the High Council and thus, to an extent, the Chapter Cardinals, may declare herself Imperiatrix and that another terrorist attack would be politically beneficial to her opponents.

At the scaphe port, Antimon reports on the exodus of alien students as they return to their homeworlds. He is distracted by K9 Mark I, who can detect a disguised device which he believes could be a bomb, and hurries away with his hard drive to inform the guards. K9’s scanner locates the bomb and inadvertently begins its countdown. He alerts everybody to evacuate whilst he tries to defuse the bomb, Hallan keeping Romana and Leela from going to him and ordering the doors to be closed on K9 and a number of students just before detonation. Angered by K9’s death, Leela attacks Hallan, who shoots her and leaves her without feeling in her legs for a time, and accuses Romana of being weak for not having control of him. Romana says that he will be tried before the High Council.

Romana slaps Hallan and orders him to open the doors, showing him the ashes of the alien students whose people will be wanting justice. She commands him to ensure the safety of the remaining students and to raise the transduction barriers to protect Gallifrey from the other Temporal Powers. Frustrated at her failures and the inefficiency of diplomacy, she decides that the Chapters must be told what is right. Leela finds K9’s remains, whom she mourns as the last connection that she had to The Doctor and declines to have replaced by another K9 unit, contemplating leaving Gallifrey.

Narvin and Darkel arrive and Romana tells them that, unless they can produce evidence to the contrary, there is a strong case of treason against them. Narvin tells her that the CIA has been misused and that they are no longer trustworthy and Darkel suggests a council be called.

Narvin has identified the device that Leela found as the hard drive of a camera drone. Looking at the pictures contained in it, Leela and Narvin find that Antimon was responsible for the bombing, using a TARDIS to be in two places at once. Narvin goes to check his biodata extract and discovers that Narvin himself is the only one who can view it, meaning that Antimon was using his codes or that Darkel is attempting to frame him. Learning of the emergency High Council meeting at the Panopticon, which is to be broadcast, Narvin tries to tell Hallan to evacuate everybody but is cut off. He takes a staser and heads to the Panopticon to deal with things himself, believing that there might be an assassination attempt on Romana.

Romana speaks with Pandora through K9 Mark II and checks with her that the Chancellery Guard are in position and that she has located the Great Key. Meanwhile, Hallan informs Darkel that the Arcalians have joined her. Darkel believes that Romana’s display will show the High Council that she is unhinged and indicates that she has been given advice to get her this far.

Leela locates Antimon by following a returning camera drone, but he uses technology to restrain her. He admits that he was behind the bombings and knocks her out, saying that she will never wake up.

PART TWO

The Gold Usher announces Romana and Darkel’s arrival at the Panopticon. Romana addresses the High Council and the Chapters and says that Gallifrey must not become insular again nor maintain a monopoly; she will not resign and, to get proper control of Gallifrey, she invokes an edict in the Book of the Old Time and claims the title of Imperiatrix with immediate effect. With the Great Key (hidden in a Matrix partition beneath the chamber), the Sash, the Rod and the Coronet, she has complete power and dissolves the Chapters, establishing martial law and renaming the Chancellery Guard as the Imperial Guard.

Narvin goes to the Panopticon, but Hallan prevents him from entering despite his insistence that she is in danger of an assassination attempt. When Romana lets him in, he says that everybody must evacuate as Darkel and Antimon have placed bombs in the cameras. To prove this, he takes a camera drone apart and is wounded in the resulting blast, admitting to Romana that he had given Darkel his codes and that he is sorry. Romana orders Hallan to take him to a medical station and Darkel uses this as more evidence that Romana has been unable to deal with the insurrectionists, inviting the Time Lords to stand beside her as she launches a coup.

Romana reveals that declaring herself as Imperiatrix was merely a ruse to give Darkel the opportunity to show her true colours. She has her guards hidden in the Chapters and arrest the Cardinals and orders Hallan to subdue Darkel’s guard captain; as he does so, he tells Darkel that he has switched sides as she is no longer in a position of power. Antimon interrupts them from a screen, revealing that there are bombs in each of his cameras and that he was only using Darkel to get access to the CIA. In truth, he is an agent of Free Time and is the one who gave the Dogma Virus to Gillestes; those who survive the explosion will regenerate and activate the dormant virus within them, after which Antimon’s employers will redistribute time fairly.

Leela attacks Antimon and stabs him in his hearts as revenge for the deaths of K9, Castellan Wynter and Andred, but Antimon denies having killed her husband and says that it was Romana. Dying, he gives her a hard drive containing proof and sets his camera drones to detonate, his last words being “Free Time”.

Having watched this onscreen, Romana will not allow the Chapters to leave and orders the Pandora-controlled K9 to send out a pulse wave to confuse the explosives. As this would return her to the Matrix, she refuses and declines to give K9 control unless Romana puts on the Coronet. Romana does so, with no other choice, and has K9 send out the pulse wave and disarm the explosives. Pandora links directly with Romana through the Coronet, which she is unable to remove, and Pandora begins to manifest using a biodata extract in the Matrix, that of Romana’s first incarnation. She reveals that she has been inside of Romana’s head and has been feeding her suggestions since the beginning, growing in strength, and that she has been advising Darkel as a disembodied voice in the Vaults.

Pandora identifies herself as the original Romana, allowing her to rescind all of the second Romana’s claims and take the title of Imperiatrix. Romana denies this and has Hallan arrest Pandora, Darkel and the Cardinals, planting the seeds of civil war on Gallifrey. Later, Hallan informs Romana that Leela wishes to speak with her and sends her in. Leela gives her Antimon’s recording, showing that Romana had indeed killed Andred whilst under Pandora’s control. Although Leela is aware of this, she believes that Andred still needs vengeance and, unable to kill Romana, she can no longer be friends with her and must leave Gallifrey.

A bomb goes off nearby and Leela is knocked unconscious. Hallan is hit by staser fire and Pandora enters Romana’s office, having been let out by K9, who is infected with the Pandora program. Pandora says that she will take control, remove the alien students and deal with Free Time and the insurrectionists and orders K9 to lock Romana up. At her desk, Pandora makes a toast to civil war.

Notes


  • Imperiatrix was the fifth story of the second series of Big Finish’s Gallifrey audio series. It was written by Stewart Sheargold.
  • Andred is murdered.
  • K9 Mark I is destroyed by a bomb and Leela refuses to have a replacement model built.
  • Darkel communicates with Castellan Maxil to organise an escort around the Time Lord Academy.
  • This story runs for a full CD and half of the second CD. The rest of the second is a documentary The Making of Gallifrey, featuring BEHIND THE SCENES information and interview with the cast and crew.

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