The Company who were investigating Zoe in Echoes of Grey now have Zoe in their custody, on charges which carry the death penalty. But they are willing to exercise leniency if she cooperates with them in proving that she did travel with the Doctor.
Zoe's current interrogator Jen has discovered evidence that the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe were in Uzbekistan in 1919, and insists that Zoe relate the adventure. Reluctantly, Zoe begins.
The TARDIS landed in Tashkent. The Doctor (who'd posed as an agent of the Soviet secret police in order to get a table at a restaurant), Jamie and Zoe discovered that children were disappearing from their homes, one each night. With the aid of the Lansings, a British couple who ran a local school, they set a trap and discovered that an alien was abducting the children. Before they could follow it, Chebrakov, the real investigator, showed up; the Doctor persuaded him and his men to accompany them. They discovered the alien's spaceship, where the children were being held. In the confusion, Chebrakov and his men were killed and the Doctor rendered unconscious.
The spaceship returned to its home planet, and the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe left in the TARDIS.
But what happened to the children, Jen asks? Zoe explains that the alien offered them a better life on its home planet, so, with the Doctor out of things, she negotiated with the alien and let it take them back to its world. Jen is shocked at Zoe's callousness, but Zoe is adamant that it was the logical decision.
Later, Jen returns, having checked the story. The name of the alien's home planet isn't a planet. It's the file reference of a secret report on the Elite programme, in which Zoe was educated. Zoe was taken from her family as a child with the promise of a better future, and wants to make Jen aware of just what that entailed; so she made up the story in which the same thing happens to the abducted children. She knew that with that information, it would lead Jen to the truth.
- Admiring the Abomination: Zoe likes Captain Chebrakov despite his ruthless reputation
- Beeping Computers: Since this is an audio production, we can't see what Jen's computer is doing, so it beeps with every screen it displays.
- Birds of a Feather: Zoe likes the tales of the communist regime as it puts her in mind of her own upbringing.
- Boarding School of Horrors: The Elite Programme appears to be a futuristic version of this.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Zoe talks about being tearfully separated from her mother.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Chebrakov sacrifices himself saving the Doctor's life.
- Immune to Bullets: The alien.
- Impersonating an Officer: The Doctor poses as a member of the secret police. Which is fine until, halfway through, the real investigator turns up.
- In-Joke: While the title is appropriate to the story, those who've been Doctor Who fans since the eighties will recognise a phrase associated with then producer John Nathan-Turner about the Nostalgia Filter for what the series used to be like.
- Kangaroo Court: Zoe has been charged with crimes she didn't commit so that the company can try and force her to tell them about the Achromatics or time travel.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Not only does Zoe not remember her adventures with the Doctor, she doesn't even remember the statement she gave in Echoes of Grey — thus providing a convenient opportunity to recap what happened between her and the Company.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Several times Zoe challenges Jen: Does she really believe Zoe to be the ruthless, unfeeling person that the evidence suggests? Her remarks seem at least partly directed at the audience, too.
- Not So Different: Zoe draws parallels between her own upbringing and the rationalist future the Communists were trying to create.
- Plagued by Nightmares: According to Zoe, she suffered from bad dreams even while travelling with the Doctor.
- Real-Life Relative: In a serial with a strong parent / child theme, the two actors are mother and daughter.
- Unreliable Narrator: Zoe invented most of the story, to fit with the facts Jen knows. She deliberately drew herself to match the Company's description of her as a cold, ruthless person. By the end, we don't know how much of the story is true, how much Zoe remembers, and whether what she does remember has any relationship to what she told.
- Waif-Fu: Zoe throws a man over her shoulder for trying to touch her inappropriately. Promptly lampshaded — it's something that's much more likely to happen in her dreams than reality.
- Wham Line: The halfway cliffhanger:Zoe: Chebrakov didn't kill the Lansings — I did.