TARDIS Index File

Ante Bellum (short story)

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Ante Bellum
Doctor: Seventh Doctor
Companion(s): Ace
Main setting: Constantinople, 8 June 1914
Key crew
Writer: Stephen Hatcher
Release details
Part of: Short Trips: Past Tense
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Short Trips short stories
CHAOS The Thief of Sherwood

Ante Bellum was the fifth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Past Tense. It was written by Stephen Hatcher. It featured the Seventh Doctor and Ace.

Summary Edit

Maurice Bernard heads for his dig site. He is pleased that they found a goblet that possibly came from Troy. However, he is shocked to see that the dig site has been completely destroyed, with the goblet sitting in the centre of the devastation.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor and Ace track a signal to Constantinople in 1914. They are searching for a device that can emit enough power to wipe out half of the city.

British agents Andrew Underwood brings the goblet to his superior, Fenton. He informs Fenton that they took the goblet from Bernard, killing him. They are aware of the goblet's power, and hope to use it for Britain in case of war. As one of their agents takes the goblet away for safekeeping, it emits a surge of power and incinerates him.

Nearby, the Doctor and Ace are in a coffee shop. The Doctor explains that the goblet is a Krivani propulsion unit. He finds the signal and they head for a building. Breaking in, they make their way to the room containing the goblet. The Doctor takes the goblet and heads out the window. As Ace follows, they hear voices telling them to stop. Fenton and Underwood run outside, shooting at them.

The Doctor runs away and is captured by Turkish police. Ace is captured by Fenton and Underwood. The Doctor is thrown into a cell. Ace is interrogated by Underwood. They think she and the Doctor are British spies working for the Kaiser. They don't believe her story, and Fenton leaves to talk to someone in the Ministry.

The Doctor is interrogated by Colonel Çelebi, in charge of the prison, and Gerold Rösler, a German agent. At first they don't believe his story, but seeing his look of fear as the goblet emits another energy surge convinces them. They want to help him get the goblet off Earth.

They receive a note, ostensibly from Ace, arranging for a meeting at a nearby church. They make plans for retrieving both Ace and the goblet.

Ace, meanwhile, having been knocked unconscious by her captors, wakes and begins to free herself. As she sneaks out, she is grabbed from behind.

The Doctor enters the church and is confronted by the two British agents. He asks to see Ace, but they want the goblet first.

Ace's captor is Rösler, who manages to convince Ace that he is helping the Doctor. They head for the church.

As the Doctor hands over the goblet, Rösler and Ace arrive. Rösler bluffs that he has men surrounding the church, but Underwood and Fenton get away. The Doctor, Ace and Rösler give chase. Rösler shoots at the men, and the goblet emits a surge that incinerates Underwood and Fenton. The Doctor deduces that Rösler must have hit the goblet.

Rösler and Çelebi now hurry the travellers back to the TARDIS. They make their farewells, and the TARDIS dematerialises, heading for the Time Vortex. The Doctor opens the doors and throws the goblet out.

Ace, having found it odd to work against the British in this adventure, wonders what will happen to their friends.

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