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Recap: Big Finish Doctor Who 115 Forty Five

False Gods

As the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex land at an excavation in Egypt (one of Carter's early ones), Hex hears an odd psychic message: "remember Thoth". The excavation team is just unearthing a tomb filled with forty-five miniature clay soldiers, which are supposed to guide a soul to the afterlife. While Ace befriends her Girl of the Week (a student named Jane), Hex and the Doctor realise that one of the clay soldiers is missing. Soon enough, though, everyone is trapped in a sudden surge in time, and Ace and Jane are thrown into the far future and almost killed by a guard robot. Jane isn't even remotely phased by that, and helps Ace escape — in her own TARDIS, which had spent countless centuries accidentally buring in the tomb, disguised as a clay soldier. She and a classmate were Gallifreyan Academy students (year forty-five), who landed on Earth during an interstellar field trip and accidentally got Mistaken For Gods in ancient Egypt. Jane, who'd become known as Thoth, was said to have changed the course of the sun. Since her TARDIS is no longer viable, Jane now finds herself forced to perform a Mercy Killing on her. But, terrified at the idea of the Doctor taking her back to Gallifrey for a trial (impersonating Gods is a pretty big offence), she teleports herself and her TARDIS into the sun in the far past, altering its course and making her divine reputation a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. The Doctor is wrecked with guilt over indirectly having caused her death, and Ace and Hex wonder who would end up telling the story to the ancient Egyptians.

Order of Simplicity

The Seventh Doctor intercepts a message from an old professor, Dr. Verryman, and visits the man's creepy old manor together with Ace and Hex. The professor has been trying to solve a code and has sent out a distress signal for that purpose. The Doctor is quite pertubed to find out what the code would do: make every human in the world a genius. Since that kind of meddling is very bad, he hopes to convince Verryman to stop the experiment, but Verryman reveals that he's already in too deep. Since he's tested the code on himself, he has increasingly shortened periods of being a genius, after which his intelligence is reduced to an IQ of only forty-five and he's forced to step into his own machine again. And what's worse, the code is also a virus, and it's spread to the Doctor.

Hex, meanwhile, discovers that Verryman has Benedict Cumberbatch locked in his attic. Cumberbatch, the original creator of the code, has been reduced to a mindless animal, which will be Verryman's fate soon enough as well. While Ace saves Hex from the locked room, the old housekeeper reveals herself to be part of a cult that started all this: the Order of Simplicity, which hopes to eradicate intelligence everyone through the machine, and return nature to a blissfully dumb state. The Doctor points out her hypocrisy in using a machine to do so, and is very frightened when she reveals what the code would do: after enhacing its victims' intelligence, they would be unable to resist solving the code, which would unleash the sapping of all human intelligence. With his own mind slowly deteriorating, the Doctor hooks himself into the machine, re-directs it into Benedict Cumberbatch's mind and shuts off his own body just in time for the code to activate. With only Cumberbatch's animal IQ to go by, the code collapses in on itself.

Casualties of War

The Seventh Doctor tracks a time disturbance and ends up in 1945, where Ace realises they're right outside the place her mom grew up. Ace's dodgy great-uncle Joey has been collecting equally dodgy alien artifacts, and has gotten his hands on one that forces people to tell the truth. While Hex and the Doctor investigate the bar, Ace introduces herself to her great-grandmother and her three-year-old mom Audrey, pretending to be from the war office. (Kathleen is out for the day.) Also on the trail of the artifacts is the Forge, who punch Ace in the face and manage to get away with the artifact collection. The Doctor and Hex manage to track down Joey, but he uses his gadget to force them into telling the truth — Hex into confessing he's just a bit smitten with Ace, and the Doctor into confessing who Hex' mother was... but just before the Doctor's about to reveal his secret to Hex, the Forge step in, cut off Joey's arm holding the artifact, and warn the Doctor about interfering in their affairs. Hex convinces himself that the Doctor was just lying about knowing anything about Hex' mom. The Doctor tells Ace's great-nan the bad news — and while the old woman cries her heart out, Ace has a moment with her mom, tucks the little girl in, kisses her and quitly leaves.

The Word Lord

The Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex arrive in 2045, at a military base on the South Pole. They're promptly captured and interrogated for the murder of a diplomat, which took place just moments before. The base is always in complete lock-down: no recording equipment, music players or even books (apart from the safety guidelines manual) are allowed on-site. Everything is recorded and wiped after only forty-five minutes. Team TARDIS is soon rescued from interrogation by Commander Claire Spencer, who's actually read UNIT's files on the Doctor, and they're asked to help solve the murder.

The Doctor soon realises that the phrase "forty-five" has been following them around for weeks, and discovers with horror that the phrase is the CORDIS — TARDIS equivalent — of a renegade Word Lord from a dimension composed entirely of language. He ushers all the base's personnel into his TARDIS for protection (who are all very freaked out at no longer needing their translators), puts Hex on research duty and has Ace go into the TARDIS along with the soldiers to protect them. Unfortunately, said Word Lord has named himself Nobody No-One, and any phrase containing his name (say, "No one can enter this base unnoticed" or "Nobody can get into the TARDIS to hurt these men"...) makes him pretty much all-powerful. Nobody promptly becomes corporeal right in the TARDIS console room, avoids the state of temporal grace entirely, murders every last soldier and very happily starts mocking Ace in manic hyperactive glee. The Doctor is absolutely terrified of his new Evil Counterpart, but eventually, with the help of his companions, reverses the polarity of the TARDIS' translation circuit and confuses the Word Lord into submission by making everything gibberish. Sadly, Spencer makes a Heroic Sacrifice in the process to buy the Doctor more time, after revealing she's already met the Doctor in his own future.

With no language to thrive in, Nobody No-One is forced to seek refuge in the only bit of language left in the entire base — the guidelines manual. The Doctor has the TARDIS translation circuits scramble the soldiers' memories of the Word Lord into gibberish as well, neatly trapping the villain in the book forever. It doesn't last, though — as soon as someone calls out "Nobody move!", the Word Lord is free again.

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