Tan-Mao Bao muttered to himself as he walked through the confines if his small and once-peaceful village. It was funny to reflect that “peace” didn’t carry much meaning anymore. Few in China could even remember what Peace felt like; in the 20’s (or so he was told) there was the first World War. Then the Communists decided to have their revolution, and the country was torn apart by civil war. Now, the Japanese devils crawled all over Southeast Asia, and the rumor was that millions of Chinese were being put to death, just for being Chinese.
And there he was, in the middle of his small village of people who just wanted to be left alone. Now there was an American air base not even nine kilometers away and the sound of propellers and explosions was a regular occurrence as the Americans fought off the Japanese incursions. Bao thought with more than a little anger that if the American air base wasn’t here, the Japs wouldn’t have any reason to attack in the first place.
He hugged his bundle of kindling closer and made his way towards home. Then he stopped and whipped his head to the left. There was nothing there…or was there? He could swear he’d seen something out of the corner of his eye, like a ghost in the night. That seemed to happen a lot lately. A wave of cold vertigo passed over him; he caught his balance, and continued on his way.
Until he saw it. It was coming right towards him. Something that shouldn’t—no, couldn’t—be here.
“Who… What…are you?” He cried.
It came towards him. First at a steady, measured pace, then at a trot, then a full charge. It screamed a battle cry in a language Bao couldn’t understand, but Bao understood the grinding of steel as it drew near.
He dropped his kindling and turned to run, only to find himself face-to-face with another, even more inexplicable sight. The thing roared, its arms went high, and Bao dropped to his knees, sobbing.
The sobs turned to a single, piercing scream, the scream to a sick gurgle.
Another wave of cold vertigo swept the village, and all was quiet.
The Cast arrives at a U.S. Army Air Corps base about 30 miles south of Guilin, China. The date is June 12, 1942. They change into period clothing and exit the TARDIS, which they note has taken the form of a small bamboo hut.
On a U.S. Air Base.
Don asks the Artist if he can't get the TARDIS to start disguising itself better and the Artist tells him, "You tell it!"
The crew heads off to find somewhere for Davan to "report for duty." They are directed to the H.Q. of General Claire Lee Chenault, leader of the 1st AVG (The Flying Tigers). The Psychic Paper identifies Davan as "Captain Davan Reardon," a decorated pilot in the Air Corps and his associates an SOE team assigned to ferret out espionage activities in the surrounding communities. General Chenault consigns a Jeep to transport the Cast to a nearby farming village about five miles west of the air base, and gives Davan instructions to get settled in.
As the Cast depart, they hear klaxons going off, and pilots scramble for the fighters. In the distance, they can hear the propellers of Japanese fighters bearing down on the base. It looks like Davan is getting to fly his mission quickly.
The Cast arrives at the small farming village and is distraught that there's likely nothing really for them to do. Susan goes off to flirt with a few stray American G.I.'s in the local pub, and the rest of the Cast hunker down in the corner to enjoy some plum wine and wait for Davan's return.
Suddenly, the Artist and Susan are overcome with a wave of nausea and vertigo, indicating a jump or tear in the fabric of the space/time continuum. They exchange a meaningful look, which the Cast picks up, and Susan rejoins the crew at their table, where she and the Artist discuss in hushed tones what's going on.
As they discuss, screams erupt from outside. The cast rushes to the door where they see what can only be described as "Bog things," plant creatures with vaguely humanoid shapes, descending upon the village. Worse, whenever one of the monsters claws someone, that person appears to develop an infection, which consumes their flesh and replaces it with a new bog creature.
The Artist and Don rush inside and demand the strongest alcohol the bartender has, which they turn into Molitov Cocktails. They throw the cocktails and form walls of fire between the creatures and the village. It appears to work, for awhile; the creatures shy away from the fire, screeching in fear. As they are at bay, the few GI's on break in town enter the throng and begin executing the infected before they change. One of the bog beasts rushes through the fire and attacks a G.I. James rushes to help, and between the two of them they put the monster down, though not before it slashes James, good. Don begins calling for all the villagers to assemble at the tavern, and many listen.
Another wave of vertigo passes over Susan and the Artist, this one knocking Susan to her knees...and silence falls, all the remaining Bog beasts having dropped dead. Chuck examines James as the Artist grabs a hand from one of the dead bog beasts to analyze. Emilie and Susan move amongst the people, trying to calm everyone down. Most of the villagers believe the creatures to be kuei shin, Chinese demons. The Cast feels it best to just let them think that.
The Cast decides to return to the air base and the TARDIS. An hour later, they catch the next jeep back to the base, and when they arrive, note that the air raid appears to be over, and most of the pilots are stumbling out of the medical building, looking befuddled, confused, and off-kilter...Davan included.
The Artist sends Susan and Chuck to analyze the bog beast hand and runs over to Davan with the rest of the crew in tow, save James who retires to the Zero Room to heal up a bit. Davan informs them he can't remember exactly what happened. He remembers they'd taken out the Japanese raiders and were en route home, when they were harried by tons of foo fighters, which herded the squadron into a mysterious fog bank that just seemed to be hanging in the air. After that, it was all a blank, until they nearly crash-landed into the base. Some of the pilots are completely mad; most just can't remember what happened.
Emilie tries to use her cognitive powers on Davan to see what happened to him, and is snapped back out of the vision, violently, and sent reeling. When asked what she saw, she describes a vision of "a swirling vortex of colors in shades I can't even describe. I never knew colors like that existed. It was like seeing everything, all of time and space, just stacked on top of itself."
The Artist says, "Well, that's certainly not good. Come along, back to the TARDIS."
They return, and are flustered to discover that the scans reveal the hand to be normal plant material. "So," Susan says to the Artist, "The question is, who is meddling with time to cause plants to evolve into creatures instantaneously?"
"Don't know," the Artist says, "But apparently Davan's been looking into the Time Vortex."
They run a scan and discover the residue of temporal anomalies all over the area, but concentrated especially over the village. The Artist decides they should return to the village, but do it "the quick way."
So they move the TARDIS to the village and the Artist, producing what appears to be a set of welding goggles (but actually allow him to scan for temporal anomalies), steps out and begins scanning the area. The cast notice a group of villagers milling around a certain spot, and upon approach discover what appears to be a dead samurai. One villager, brandishing a bloody sickle, explains that the man came out of nowhere and attacked several of the villagers; the village, in turn, killed him.
The man is clearly the genuine article; he's practically beaming with the stamp of a temporal rip.
Don, unwilling to be unarmed any longer, takes his swords.
The Artist traces the temporal signatures to an area at the edge of the village where at first the Cast sees nothing, but then, out of the corner of their eyes, notice a hut, but feel as though they just don't want to see it there. Finally, the Artist, Susan, and James focus on it and move up to the structure, at which point the rest of the Cast sees it fine. The Artist is momentarily perplexed to discover that the door to the hut is deadlocked; his sonic screwdriver won't open it.
Don finds boot tracks leading from the hut both into the village and into the jungle.
The cast posit several solutions; burning it down and hitting it with axes being the most popular. While they discuss, Emilie again uses her cognition and gets a flash image of Nazis moving into and out of the hut, and walking through the village, apparently unnoticed. When she describes their uniforms, Davan identifies them not just as Nazis, but SS officers.
James declares that what the Cast has here, is clearly a Nazi TARDIS.
The Artist says nothing, but has a gut feeling that Nazi or not, this structure is indeed a TARDIS. His suspicions increase when he tries to scan it with his own TARDIS and is unable to.
As the Cast sit that night in the TARDIS trying to suss out exactly what's going on, Chuck and James slip out to try and break into the so-called "Nazi TARDIS." After they try unsuccessfully to set it on fire, they hit it with an axe. Both are felled by a powerful electrical discharge.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (TARDIS), the rest of the crew try and suss out what's going on, with Don sitting outside keeping watch through a pair of nightvision goggles supplied by the Artist. Suddenly, there's a roaring sound, a blinding flash of light, and it feels to all of them like an explosion goes off inside their skulls. All are knocked senseless.
Don, Emilie, and Davan slowly come to their senses and, sitting up, discover that the Artist, Susan, and the TARDIS are all gone! However, inexplicably, laying next to them and quite unconscious is the same woman who saved them on Ixion, and who helped them from the shadows on Skaro:
When they move to check and see if she's all right, she awakens, and in a panic, skitters away, screaming, "What's happened? What have you done to me!?" She runs her hands over her body, as if confused and completely out of her place. When they ask her name, she introduces herself as "Angelique." She also demands to know what happened to the Artist. When they say it looks like he and Susan took the TARDIS and ran, she's insistent that while the TARDIS may be gone, the Artist is here, somewhere.
They question her awhile longer and find her evasive and paranoid, but apparently genuinely worried about the Artist. Emilie tries to use cognition on her and finds herself looking into the Time Vortex. Again. And again she succeeds in not going stark raving mad from the experience.
They make their way to the hut, as it's their only lead.
Meanwhile, inside, the Artist and Susan awaken, naked, strapped to tables, and see their adversary, the Queen, for the first time.
She's surrounded by eight SS officers who are carrying out her orders...to perform medical experiments on the Artist and Susan, but to "not allow them to die and regenerate." Blood and tissue samples are extracted, and the two are subjected to vivisection and surgery, all while awake and conscious. Worse, the Artist notes that the Queen also has a dalek creature in a tank; it, too, is alive and being subjected to gruesome experiments.
The Queen taunts the Artist, asking if he doesn't find her beautiful, and asking if Susan is his wife, or a new whore. Finally, the Artist recognizes her as Persephone, a Time Lady he'd known in passing at the academy who was known more as a philosopher than a scientist. When he calls her by name, she laughs maniacally, then switches immediately to rage, punching him across the face and screaming, "Don't you dare call me by that name, you blind, ignorant, cowardly fool!"
Meanwhile, James and Chuck awaken in a jail cell. After they hear the screams of the Artist and Susan, James fashions a shiv from the bed, while Chuck calls for the guard and with a great deal of smooth talking, manages to "seduce" the guard into opening the door, where James falls upon him, shanking him to death. James takes the guard's luger and makes his way down the halls.
Outside, Angelique, Don, Emilie, and Davan are set upon by Nazis. They take out three of the men, but more emerge from the jungles. Angelique whips her cloak over her companions' heads and they suddenly find themselves inside the TARDIS. Moments later the doors open and they find themselves on the other side of the village, again standing with Angelique, who tells them she can get them inside the hut, but it will be dangerous for her, and she'll be useless to them afterward. Reluctantly, they agree.
Suddenly, they find themselves in front of the hut, and see Angelique occupying the same dimensional space as the door. She screams and is expelled forcefully, barely conscious...and the hut door swings open.
"Quickly!" she tells them, "Before they close it again!" And falls unconscious.
Don gathers up three lugers from the dead Nazis and they rush in.
Meanwhile, the Queen shows the Artist what she's up to after admonishing him and Susan that they should be proud to be a new Adam and Eve, in Earth terms. A Chinese villager is wheeled out, strapped to a gurney. She injects him with a serum made from the Artist's blood and dalek biomaterials. Then she shoots him with targeted radiation. Finally, she produces a luger and punches a few buttons on a console. She exhorts the praises of such brutal weapons of warfare, then abruptly shoots the villager. She turns to the Artist and says, "Now observe...rebirth!"
The villager regenerates.
The regeneration quickly breaks down and the villager's new body dissolves into a mass of flesh and blood, as he screams the entire time. The Queen seems nonplussed, saying, "We're getting closer." She punches the buttons on the control panel again and turns to leave.
The Artist taunts her as a miserable, worthless failure and her rage takes over. "Enough!" she cries. "Kill him! But be sure you do it Twelve times."
And she leaves.
Unbeknownst to her (but knownst to us), James has made it to the room where the Artist and Susan are being held. Enraged, he charges into the room, levels his luger, and pulls the trigger...and nothing happens. So he draws a knife and attacks the SS officer trying to kill the Artist.
Within moments, the rest of the Cast arrive on the scene and come to the rescue. The Artist escapes from his bonds, produces a pair of brass knuckles from "You don't wanna know" where, and, in the first and possibly last show of violence since he met the Cast, beats a Nazi's face into a fine paste.
As they finish off the Nazis, the Artist hears the sound of the TARDIS's engines and determines the Queen could just dump them in the middle of the Time Vortex. He grabs a coat and demands everyone run for their lives. As they run, he notes that this isn't just a normal TARDIS; it's a Battle TARDIS from the Time War.
The Cast escapes in the nick of time as the Queen beats her escape, and the Artist is led to Angelique while Emilie uses her healing powers on those in need. As the Cast explain what's happened with her, Emilie tries to crawl under her cloak. It works; she's in the TARDIS. The Artist follows and notes the heart of the TARDIS is beating slowly; it takes him a few minutes, but he manages to revive the craft by reversing the polarity of the neutron flow.
Outside, the rest of the group see Angelique suddenly revive; she demands again to know what's happened and where the Artist is.
"Right here," he says as he and Emilie step out from behind her. "You," he says..."you're a Type 102. You're my TARDIS! I thought you were a myth!"
She bashfully hangs her head and says, "Please...please don't leave me."
"Why would I leave you?" he asks.
"Because I'm not a normal TARDIS. Because I'm different. Everyone abandoned me. Please, don't leave me."
He assures her that he'd never leave her, but asks that she take a form that feels less strange to enter and exit before they leave. She asks that they turn their backs, and when they turn around again, she looks once more like a hut.
They enter the ship again, and the Artist retires to the Zero Room to recuperate, while Susan turns to Don and asks him "where to next?"
He asks to go to Ancient Egypt, and they fire up the TARDIS.
When it lands, they step out into a desert landscape, but one bathed in burnt orange light. On a mountain in the distance, surrounded by a clear dome, is a beautiful, shining city.
They hear explosions in the distance.
"Oh, no," The Artist says. "This can't be."
Angelique's voice sounds from behind them. "No! NO! Not again! No!"
They spin to face her...and she's gone.
They ask the Artist where they are and he says, "Home. This is Gallifrey. We're in the middle of the Time War."