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The Discontinuity Guide
The Eighth Doctor Adventures

The Ancestor Cell

July 2000

THe Ancestor Cell cover

Author: Stephen Cole and Peter Anghelides

Roots: War TARDISes first appeared in the Doctor Who Monthly comic strip. There are references to Shirley Bassey, Beecham's Powders, Armchair Theatre, the Beatles' White album, Frank Sinatra, Agatha Christie, Simon Templar, Watneys Red Barrel, the Titanic, Tommy Steele and Ken Dodd.

Goofs: Faction Paradox change from being a small and troublesome voodoo cult in Alien Bodies, Unnatural History, and Interference into a psychopathic terrorist organization powerful enough to conquer Gallifrey seemingly overnight. Many of the paradoxes seen here don't make sense - recreating Greyjan from his biodata is not a paradox, it's cloning, and the final paradox, involving the Grandfather cutting his own arm off because the Doctor's actions stopped him from ever existing, is just gibberish. The bottle universe in Interference and Dead Romance is not a Klein bottle [Father Kreiner is mistaken].

Continuity: There are nine Gallifreys, eight of which were established as bolt holes and decoys in case of war (see Dead Romance). During the future war (Interference), ancient Gallifreyan weapon systems once used against the Charon (Sky Pirates! and the Vampires (State of Decay) are reconnected and used once more. Gallifrey has three oceans. The Jasdisary Building rotates, completing one corkscrew in fifty-eight minutes. It has ninety stories, the bottom thirty of which have no windows. The architect was a Devotee of Apeiron, which may be some kid of cult affiliation, since this information is kept secret. Gallifrey has six colleges, and the Panopticon has six sides to reflect this, with a giant statue towering over each of the six doors these statues include Rassilon, Omega, Pandak, Aperion and the Other. These colleges include the Patrexes, the Scendeles, and presumably the Arcalians and the Prydonians. The Scendeles bankrupted themselves building their sixth of the Panopticon. The building is so large that it has its own weather system. The Penansulix structure is another building within the Capitol. The current Castellan is called Vozarti.

The High Council now includes a Vice-President, and the Chancellors of Time Past, Present and Future. The Green Book of Gallifrey foretells of a great cataclysm. There is also a Black Book. Gallifreyan heroes include Haclav Agust and Yassinbur. Famous minds stored in the Matrix in addition to Rassilon's include Torkal the Great and Greyjan the Sane. Greyjan was the shortest serving President in Gallifreyan history, serving for only three years; however, his reign spanned the Earth-relative days in September 1752 where the Shadow Parliament is found (see Interference). He is also the only President who came to the office by chance, after the other two candidates withdrew unexpectedly. He studied paradoxes and finally committed suicide.

There is a transport system on Gallifrey called the Transtube. Six is a special number on Gallifrey many of the corridors have hexagonal cross-sections, there are six members of the High Council, six sides to the Panopticon, six colleges of Cardinals, and six suits of cards (Flames, Clouds, Souls, Deeps, Mesmers and Dominoes). Gallifreyan Flowers of Remembrance have six petals. Gallifreyans drink beer. There is a Museum of the Arcane on Gallifrey. The Presidential Reaffirmation ceremony concludes with the Dromeain Archibaptrix placing the coronet of Rassilon on the President's head, allowing them to reconnect with the Matrix. The communication cubes used by Time Lords and first seen in The War Games are called hypercubes. Even following the Dalek invasion, Romana was unable to convince the High Council of the need for a fully trained fighting force within the Capitol.

The Slaughterhouse is Gallifrey's armoury and contains weapons of such tremendous destruction that the entire room has to be kept in a stabilized time eddy hundreds of kilometres underground. Romana personally selected many of its weapons from war worlds all across the universe in preparation for the war.

The temporal distortion caused by the edifice (see below) changes Gallifrey's history, reducing the number of Gallifreys to one and the number of Panopticon walls (eventually it also just has one, as it becomes circular). The Doctor is forced to destroy Gallifrey to stop the Faction by collapsing the external dimensions of the edifice. The resulting release of energy not only destroys Gallifrey, but the entire constellation of Kasterborous.

Grandfather Paradox is brought into being and is supposedly a future incarnation of the Doctor [although according to the Faction Paradox website, this is an ersatz Grandfather]. Faction Paradox infected the Doctor with a virus when they caused him to regenerate prematurely on Dust (Interference Book Two: The Hour of the Geek). As their numbers and strength have grown, they have ceased merely to be a group of individualists dedicated to breaking the laws of time and have instead become dedicated to chaos and destruction in general [According to the Faction Paradox website, the Faction members seen here are from far in the future, at some point during the War - this explains why they have significantly changed, and are now ruthless, sadistic, and equipped with a vast fleet. It is also suggested that their apparent zombie status and their gleeful acceptance of it (Tarra, Kristeva and Mathara are all described as having decayed flesh, whereas in Alien Bodies and Interference they are outwardly normal humanoids in bone masks) is a result of some future development, as is their transition from death-fetishists to actual killers. They also use the title Uncle, a hitherto unknown Faction title, which they must adopt at some future point]. They use Salvage Rites (equations dressed up in occultism) to time scoop people. They recreate Greyjan from Gallifreyan biomass as their Sage of Paradox. Faction members have intuitive control over bone constructs.

Despite widespread belief on Gallifrey that the home world of the Enemy is Earth, this is a deception. According to Greyjan the Sane, the origins of the Enemy are as follows: all life throughout the universe is descended from a single ancestor cell; however, this last common ancestor was not the first life to develop in the universe. Following event one, various exotic life forms existed, which either died out or were wiped out by the Time Lords (Sky Pirates!, Christmas On a Rational Planet). When the Time Lords stole the bottle universe from Foreman's World (Interference), they hid it in the vortex, where it started to leak, and the energy spilt from it nourished these early life forms, allowing them to grow and adapt to a universe riddled with chronon decay and paradox caused by time travel. This also allowed them to side-step millions of years of evolution by taking paths that did not exist before the Time Lords started to time travel [it should be noted however that Greyjan is hardly a reliable source of information and is hypothesizing. In any case the Faction Paradox website makes it clear that not only is this not what Lawrence Miles intended when he wrote Alien Bodies and Interference, but that he doesn't accept it even now].

The Doctor carries a can of fizzy Vimto in his pocket and two earl Grey teabags. He dislikes Tizer. His biodata extract is no longer in the Matrix. He is acquainted with The Chancellor of the Time Future, Djarshar, and the Vice-President, Timon, who he knew as a junior time technician. The Doctor's reign as President was the second shortest in Time Lord history, after Greyjan. He was both the four hundred and seventh and four hundred and ninth president of Gallifrey. He has by now lost his shadow to the Faction. Following the destruction of Gallifrey and the Faction, his original time line is restored and he regains his shadow, but loses his memory. Compassion leaves him on Earth in England in 1900 to recover from the trauma he sustains, with a note from Fitz telling him to meet him in 2001. Fitz also leaves the Doctor his coat.

Fitz's father named him Fitzgerald because he was a fan of The Great Gatsby. Fitz has an Auntie Norah. He has a general dislike of insects, but particularly wasps (see Eater of Wasps) since he disturbed a nest in his parents attic at the age of eight, got twenty-three stings and had a bad reaction. The number of his parents house was twenty-three. He once lost his Mum in Woolworths when he was three. Faction Paradox rescues Father Kreiner from the Vortex, and from inside the Bottle (Interference Book Two: The Hour of the Geek, Dead Romance). Grandfather Paradox kills Father Kreiner. Fitz next appears in Escape Velocity.

Compassion's console is ringed with studded fabric. The Time Lords work out the seed code for the algorithm that the Doctor used to program it, allowing them to predict where Compassion will materialize. A phase malfunction causes her to lose control and crash. Faction Paradox uses her Remote inheritance to override the randomiser and steer her to Gallifrey. Nivet, who Compassion takes inside her when Gallifrey is destroyed, is allegedly the finest technician in the whole of Kasterborous. Compassion next appears, briefly, in Escape Velocity.

Romana is approaching her first reaffirmation of President of the High Council. She has been in power for one hundred and fifty years (since Happy Endings). She has adopted the rank of War Queen. She has an ankle tattoo. Her earrings are made of the precious metal tjakelian, inset with a chip of pure drublix. Her TARDIS is the only undamaged TARDIS on Gallifrey when it is destroyed, so she may have escaped. It is also the only TARDIS with the necessary access codes to gain entry to the Slaughterhouse. In addition to selecting many of the weapons it contains, she also designed some of them.

When Faction Paradox altered the Doctor's past and caused him to regenerate on Dust rather than Metebelis III (Interference), the TARDIS knew that it was wrong, since she could see his future history, and she contained the potentiality of his diseased timeline to stop him becoming a Faction agent. The energy required doing this increased exponentially. The Doctor's TARDIS was not destroyed in The Shadows of Avalon, but survived and becomes the bone edifice. It continues to hold both the original and the Faction-created realities in place, creating a vast build-up of temporal energy that affects Gallifrey. This is exacerbated by the leaking bottle universe, around which the TARDIS reformed as the edifice. This also causes it to become a nexus point, affecting past and future events along the causal pathways. Its external dimensions are mapped onto its interior dimensions, hence the vast size of the edifice. The edifice is shaped like a Gallifreyan Flower of Remembrance, a portent of doom used at funerals. As the edifice grows larger, it is causing massive temporal anomalies the temporal pulses washing over Gallifrey cause changes to its past, resulting in increasing superstition and civil unrest. It contains the butterflies from the butterfly room (all dead) and bone spiders to let the Doctor know what Faction Paradox did to him in Interference and to let him know that it is his TARDIS. It creates an avatar of the third Doctor out of dust as a further reminder. The Doctor owned a pet canary, which is ossified within the edifice. Following the removal of its dimensional stabilizer by the Doctor, its dimensional interfaces collapse, destroying Gallifrey. The TARDIS collapses down into a small cube, which Compassion and Fitz leave in the Doctor's pocket to regenerate whilst he is on Earth.

Gallifrey uses war TARDISes. Their external dimensions can be mapped onto their internal dimensions to make them appear larger than they actually are in real space, a tactic used for intimidation. They can fire focused strikes of Tuckson-Jacker energy, which are capable of incapacitating a TARDIS.

"Rungar protect us" is a Gallifreyan plea [Rungar is a war criminal imprisoned on Shada, according to the camera scripts of Shada]. Another Gallifreyan oath is Ferisix and Thrayke protect us.

Links: Alien Bodies, Interference, Planet of the Spiders. There are quotes from The Tomb of the Cybermen. The Doctor says brave heart to Fitz, a reference to Tegan. He mentions the Red Book of Gallifrey (Timewyrm: Revelation). Romana recalls her first meeting with the Doctor (The Ribos Operation). Biodata is frequently referred to (The Deadly Assassin, Unnatural History). Fitz recalls Maddy and his friends in communist China (Revolution Man). Father Kreiner mention the Thiili (Dominion) and Vega Station (Demontage) Fitz retaliates with tales of Drebnar (Frontier Worlds). The Doctor notes that the Matrix is hardly the number 22 bus to Putney Common, a nod to Iris Wildthyme (The Scarlet Empress, The Blue Angel). There is a reference to the Dalek incident (The Apocalypse Element). The sky of Gallifrey is again noted to be a burnt orange colour (The Sensorites). Father Kreiner knows that the Doctor abandoned Susan on Earth (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). Kristeva taunts him with the deaths of Adric (Earthshock) and Katarina (The Daleks' Master Plan). Romana remembers challenging Flavia (The Five Doctors, Goth Opera).

Location: Gallifrey.

Unrecorded Adventures: The original Fitz saw the double sunrise on Cherantrin V with the Doctor [and Sam] prior to Interference. The Doctor and Romana saw The Last Emperor together.

The Bottom Line: 'You will destroy all Gallifrey, wipe out millions of lives.' A mess. As an attempt to tie up lose ends from Alien Bodies, Interference and leave the way open for the new era of Doctor Who beginning in The Burning, The Ancestor Cell just about serves its purpose, but it's less than the sum of its parts, filled with nonsensical paradoxes, dull Gallifreyans, and a callous Romana who is so far removed from either of her television personas that she may as well be a different character.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

You visited the Whoniverse at 2:51 am BST on Friday 19th May 2006