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The Discontinuity Guide
The Eighth Doctor Adventures

Reckless Engineering

April 2003

Reckless Engineering cover

Author: Nick Walters

Roots: There are references to Shelley, John Lennon, Faraday, Volta, Daniell, Hannibal Lecter, Beethoven, and the X-Men (homo superior, a term also used in The Tomorrow People). Songs that Fitz can play include Fleetwood Mac's Black Magic Woman, John Lennon's Imagine, Creedence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising, Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, The Beatles' Ticket to Ride, Railway Shoes, and Brand New Start.

Continuity: The Eternium is a pocket universe contemporaneous with the mainstream universe, and on the brink of death. The Eternines manage to open a pathway between the Eternium and the mainstream universe, allowing Watchlar to pass through. The Eternines can possess humans, and can remain dormant in their minds - allowing their hosts normal control. In their natural form, they appear as globes of blue-white light. They tell Malahyde that they are descended from humanity, but this is a lie.

The Utopian Engine is a time manipulator designed to accelerate the life energy of people, planets and even stars, then channel it through a trans-dimensional portal into the Eternium, replenishing that universe. It only accelerates those dimensions of time related the metabolism of the universe; rather than speeding time itself up, it creates the effect of time speeding up. Due to the Doctor's intervention, the Utopian Engine was stopped prematurely, but accelerated time by forty years overnight, killing all of the adults and leaving the children in the bodies of adults. Many survived and grouped together, forming settlements, whilst others became Outlaws. Those who were four or five years old when the Cleansing happened instinctively knew how to survive, but reverted to a primitive feral state; they became known as the Wilde Kinder, or Wildren and survived by cannibalism. They eat anyone they can capture, as well as their own dead. The Outlaws also practice cannibalism. Most mammals were wiped out by the Cleansing, although any living thing beneath the ground survived, including plant seeds and insects. As a result of the Vortex trying to right itself by removing inconsistencies, the alternate timeline caused by the Cleansing becomes the dominant reality, and the TARDIS and the biodata of the Doctor, Fitz and Anji starts to naturalize to the new reality. The Doctor eventually has to resort to rewinding time to before Watchlar contacted Malahyde.

The Doctor has always wanted to meet Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He again uses the alias Dr. John Smith.

When Fitz was a child, his mother had a bird table in the garden on which she would put pieces of suet for the winder birds. Fitz can't swim. Anji has been teaching him, but he's only had two lessons and barely managed to stay afloat. When his biodata starts to naturalize to the alternate timeline of the Cleansing, he becomes Watchkeeper Kreiner. After the Doctor undoes the alternate timeline, he is temporarily left with memories of both realities. His room on board the TARDIS contains a stereo, his guitar, and porn magazines.

The Doctor states that the yearometer is one of the few TARDIS instruments that he can rely on. He downs a pint of beer in one go. The Doctor can disconnect the time element of the TARDIS and bounce it a few miles across space without entering the Vortex. The TARDIS cannot usually turn back time, unless it is connected to something like the Utopian Engine (see Doctor Who). Books contained within the TARDIS library include Beowulf, the Mahabarata, the Bible, the Koran, the Mabinogion, first editions of Shakespeare, and works by Chaucer, Virgil, Homer, and Plato. It also usually contains a collection of John Wyndham novels, Hobsbawm's Industry and Empire, and a shelf of works by Proust. The TARDIS refrigerator is huge, bulky, and sky-blue with enormous chrome handles and hails from Earth during the 1950s. It contains pies, pasties, and scotch eggs. The TARDIS can track the biodata of individuals, if they are linked to it; the Doctor has apparatus for sampling biodata. The TARDIS has an external klaxon, controlled from the main console. There is a still a swimming pool in the TARDIS, complete with rubber duck! Trix is still lurking in the TARDIS (Time Zero).

Links: Fitz refers to being tortured and recalls the alternate Edinburgh (The Domino Effect). He refers to the Clock Faced People of Anachrophobia. He has told Anji about biodata (Unnatural History). Struggling with his memories, he recalls the destruction of Gallifrey (The Ancestor Cell), Compassion and the phrase 'Meet me in St. Louis' (Escape Velocity), and a cave of ice (Time Zero). The Doctor mentions the Time Winds (Warriors Gate). The Doctor briefly wonders if Sabbath played a role in the Cleansing.

Location: Bristol, November 1st 1831; Bristol, July 19th 1843 and Bristol and Totterdown, 2003, in the alternate timeline caused by the Cleansing.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor knows that Ashton Court used to be a deer park owned by the Smythe family, and may have visited it during his time on Earth (see The Burning). He has visited China during the Yuan Dynasty, when he obtained supplies of Chinese green tea.

The Bottom Line: Depressing, but well written. The characters are not especially memorable, but the prose maintains interest throughout and Fitz and Anji's reaction to the Doctor's erasure of the alternate timeline illustrates the growing discord within the TARDIS as the universe continues to unravel.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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