The Discontinuity Guide
The Companions of Doctor Who
Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma
Author: Tony Attwood
Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma was one of a three-book series featuring Doctor Who companions published in 1986. One of these books was a novellisation of K9 and Company, whilst the other two were original novels.
Roots: Rehctaht is a rather obvious anagram of Thatcher, with inevitable socio-political commentary in abundance. There are references to Norse mythology (Midgardsormr and Surtr).
Goofs: Turlough seems to be unaware of the Time Vortex, which has since been contradicted by The Crystal Bucephalus. Despite many details of Turlough's past and return to Trion, there is no mention of Malkon, even when Trion is destroyed. Additionally, for a story set on Trion and concerned with gravity, it seems odd that the Tractators are not mentioned.
Continuity: Turlough spent eight years in exile and two years travelling with the Doctor. He smuggled electronotes containing details of the Gardsormr onto Earth with him, which he buried shortly after arriving and left at Brendon when the Black Guardian made him depart with the Doctor. He used to read Physical Review whilst at Brendon. Prior to his exile, Turlough had a relationship with Juras Maateh. He has achieved celebrity status since his return, although he largely ignores this. When he was younger, he visited Regal with his family, in the Trion year 8033 [which must correspond to some point during the latter half of the twentieth century, given that Trion does not have time travel technology].
The Magician is a Time Lord. In his current body he wears a white robe, blue sash and red cloak, and a hat shaped like a figure of eight. He also wears lilies and roses, of which he appears to have an inexhaustible supply. He has blue eyes and appears to be only slightly older than Turlough. He carries a small keyboard that can affect Turlough's equipment and which seems to be telepathically linked to him [it may be his TARDIS, which must travel with him but is not seen until Turlough travels back to the end of Rehctahts reign. Alternatively, he may have a Stattenheim remote control see The Two Doctors, The Mark of the Rani and First Frontier]. He has clearly heard of the Doctor, but seems outraged by the suggestion that he might be him [perhaps he's Braxiatel?]. He has previously used the aliases Magus and Pagad and is seemingly familiar with (and fond of) Earth [It is not clear whether he is a renegade or not. Despite claiming that he cannot interfere, he helps Turlough and thus creates divergent time lines, and has clearly met the Slot before. He also creates a further divergence by saving Turlough's life. He could be a CIA agent]. He states that Gallifreyan science has for millennia been based on the fact that revolution-induced gravity exists and affects all temporal manipulation. The ARTEMIS drive has always been theoretically possible, but no Time Lord has ever bothered making one. The Entropy Mechanism has been dreamed of on Gallifrey, but nobody has ever managed to create it.
Rehctaht once visited Earth. As her reign came to an end, she transplanted her mind into Juras Maateh and used this disguise to get close to Turlough and solve the problems of gravity theory [the procedure used by Rehctaht to enter bodies appears to involve the host body physically absorbing hers. However, since Turlough is able to drive her out of his mind, it is perhaps more likely that her original body is actually disintegrated instead]. She died when Turlough was forced to kill Juras. Turlough averted this timeline by travelling back to the end of Rehctahts reign (Trion date 17,883), intending to give her time travel and gravity theory instead, she decided to take over his body instead. However, the Magician took him out of the time stream and trapped him at the bottom of the Giants drop and, unable to escape, he went mad and drove her out of his mind, this destroying her. The Magician then takes him to the original timeline in which he didnt retrieve Turlough, in which the possessed Turlough killed Rehctaht by committing suicide, throwing himself into the Giants Drop. He takes the place of this deceased Turlough, and this becomes the main time line.
Based on hints picked up from the Doctor and his own examination of the TARDIS, Turlough is able to build a crude time travel device. The ARTEMIS drive is installed in a Style 976 interstellar Hawk. ARTEMIS is an acronym for Artificial Rotation Through Energetic Muons In Series. The Magician suggests that Turlough subsequently strives to create ARTEMIS Mark II, which is Artificial Relativity Through Entropy Mechanisms In Sequence.
Trion has satellites named Cu Chulainn, Cu Roi and Njordr Nerthus. Njordr Nerthus is privately owned, lacking in useful mineral deposits and possessed of a highly poisonous atmosphere. It has two suns, known as Minor and Major, the former being a dwarf star. The Imperial Clans ruled Trion for over nine thousand years, a period of continuous scientific development and prosperity (Turlough claims that it is the longest continuous scientific community in the Galaxy). Clan leaders of the past include Ykstort I and Nilatis IV. They were self-proclaimed masters of eighteen suns and [allegedly] physical rulers of the Galactic Core. They knew of the Time Lords, who were rumoured to have sabotaged their time travel experiments. The revolutionary leader Rehctaht eventually took over the Triic Empire, and exiled the Clansmen, including Turloughs family. Her reign lasted for seven years, before the Committee of Public Safety overthrew her in a counter-revolution. The planet is now ruled by a system that includes both congress and parliament. Transport on Trion is largely via vacuum tubes, an extensive public transport system. There is a book on Trion spacecraft called Ships of the Line. Eagles are found in the warmer areas of Trion. The Regal system is a Trion outpost, and has a supply station (Regal Station IX-1, also known as Leege) in orbit around the ninth planet. The nine planets and the one hundred odd satellites are mined using technology provided by the Clansmen, and used by the indigent population. Eventually, ten thousand years in the future and a millennium after Regal Nine had been mined out, it became home to vast libraries and catacombs of information.
Trion has many ruins, with notable sites including Fodla, Mhacha, Connall, and Bricriu. Some of the builders were at least twice as tall as Turlough's people. The Giants Drop at Charlottenlund is another artefact and is approximately 240,000 years old. Other notable artefacts include the Sacred Temple and the Mobile Castle. There is a museum of natural history at Efnisien. According to legend, five alien races have visited Trion, the first being the Laima. A race of giant molluscs is also shown in various reconstructions [this may be a misrepresentation of the Tractators - see Frontios]. There is an ancient Triic word laimee, meaning happiness.
The Slots (pronounced Schlootz) also live on Trion, on an island in the ocean that dominates the Eastern hemisphere of the planet. They are a different species to the Trions, but are humanoid. The Slotsruin is the central monument of a set of ruins built by the Slots ancestors and emits a powerful gravitational field, which extends to protect the island when Trion is irradiated. They are the last descendents of the Laima, who used to feed on the early Clansfolk. They built the Giants Drop to focus their psychological powers. Eventually, the Laima evolved to the point where they were ready to evolve beyond the physical universe, but discovered that the universal gravity constant was running down in such a way that it impaired this evolution. To compensate, they built the gravity generator, which they hid on Earth [Turlough hypothesises that this is why so many alien races are interested in Earth, including the Time Lords]. They left a handful of their people on their home planet, and these became the Slots. Trion they named after the three sentient races that hailed from there, i.e. the Laima, the Slots and the Clansfolk. They also left the Slotsruin, through which the Slots can communicate with them in their new universe of thought [possibly actually a higher dimension of this universe - see Superior Beings]. Gravity technology has since dominated Trion race memory for generations [in part thanks to the Tractators, who may have been lured there by the technology of the Laima]. The presence of the gravity generator on Earth influences physical measurements of time and gravity, which is why twentieth-century humans believe that time travel and faster-than-light travel are impossible. The Slots appear to be time-sensitive, aware of the various alternate time lines produced by Turlough's ARTEMIS drive.
The Gardsormr are named after the legends of the Midgarmsormr of Norse mythology. They are Slots led by a future version of Turlough, who seek to set right the wrongs committed by Rehctaht. The Land Snails on the alternate Earth feed on radiation using their remains as fertilizer helps to remove contamination from the soil and allow life to regrow. Partly due to Rehctaht's machinations, Earth is ravaged by nuclear war between the USA and the USSR in 1982. The Gardsormr aids survivors, who are ruled by a telepathic elite called the Pharix, who are actually three Laima. Following Turlough's final defeat of Rehctaht, this timeline is averted and Earth and Trion saved.
Rehctaht set up New Trion as source of slave labour and then later forgot about it as rebellion on Trion increased.
Juras is from Valerange, in Norring, on Trion. Other regions include Ohwrotco, Noved, Dnalvelc and Tronna, where there is an aerodrome.
Links: There is a brief recap of the events of both Mawdryn Undead (including references to the Black Guardian) and Planet of Fire [although strangely, there are no references to Malkon]. Turlough briefly describes the Blinovitch Limitation Effect and speculates that the Doctor was unaffected by this when he met his past selves due to them being different bodies (The Five Doctors).
Location: Trion, 1982; Regal, c.11990s; England, Earth, 1982; New Trion, 1982.
Unrecorded Adventures: During his time with the Doctor, Turlough intercepted messages between Rehctaht and the Gardsormr.
The Bottom Line: A fairly shaky characterisation of Turlough sadly ruins a complex plot filled with hard sci-fi ideas. Despite strange gaps in the continuity (see Goofs), it is nice to see that Trion comes across as a well-rounded world, with a fleshed-out history and culture.
Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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