Recap / Big Finish Doctor Who 012 The Fires Of Vulcan

In 1980, the TARDIS is dug up from out of the ashes of Pompeii and immediately taken away by UNIT.

Arriving in ancient Pompeii one day before the disaster, the TARDIS is seen vworping in by a frightened slave. To avoid complicated questions, the Seventh Doctor and Mel simply tell him that they're messengers from Isis. This backfires on them tremendously when Mel repeats the lie to someone who's far more likely to question it. Before long, the two are notorious all over town for claiming to come from the foreign Goddess, and Mel attracts the attention of some high priests who'd really like a word with her.

Meanwhile, the Doctor is acting oddly melancholy, and spends more time in the local tavern than out adventuring. When the city's constant earthquakes cause the TARDIS to sink into the ground, he finally tells Mel what's going on: in 1980, when he was in his Fifth regeneration, UNIT told him that the TARDIS had been excavated in Pompeii. He'd refused to even see her and couldn't cope with the idea, so he'd decided to deal with it when the time came. And now, as soon as the TARDIS brought him to Pompeii, he'd realised that this was the end for him — even if he'd find a way to prevent it, him surviving Pompeii would cause a time paradox. Because if he'd be able to retrieve the TARDIS, the TARDIS would never end up being excavated, and the Doctor wouldn't have known that he needed to retrieve the TARDIS in time.

While Mel makes friends and enemies across town (and ends up in jail a few times over), the Doctor gets sidetracked when a local gladiator takes exception to him and challenges him to a fight to the death. With the help of a tavern owner, they eventually decide to Screw Destiny and make their way back to the TARDIS, which had secretly been stolen by a high priestess — the frightened slave's owner. They trick time by staying inside the TARDIS while the lava engulfs Pompeii, and waiting a few days for it to cool down in a nice TARDIS shape all around them. Then they vworp out, vworp back into the hole in 1980, wait to be excavated and disappear as soon as UNIT isn't looking anymore.