TARDIS Index File

Losing Track of Time (short story)

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Losing Track of Time
Doctor: Third Doctor
Companion(s): Jo
Main enemy: Tynakers
Main setting: Oxford
Key crew
Writer: Juliet E McKenna
Release details
Part of: Short Trips: A Universe of Terrors
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Short Trips short stories
Face-Painter The Discourse of Flies

Losing Track of Time was the fifth short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: A Universe of Terrors. It was written by Juliet E McKenna. It featured the Third Doctor and Jo Grant.

Summary Edit

The Doctor and Jo are investigating a piece of metal for the Brigadier. Their search leads them to Oxford, in Jo's future, to the Bodleian library.

They are distracted by the sight of a man, a librarian named Edmund, walking into a wall. He is injured, and Jo and the Doctor help him. Edmund says that he was in the library stacks, and he lost track of time. The Doctor notices that he is dehydrated, and they bring him to his office. The Doctor tells the junior librarian to call an ambulance.

The Doctor and Jo head for the stacks, the Doctor explaining to Jo that Edmund is suffering from temporal shock. Making their way through the stacks, they find the dead body of a woman. Because she was aged so rapidly, the Doctor deduces that they are near the time disturbance. They reach a conveyor belt and see two aliens. The Doctor recognises them as Tynakers, and explains that they steal knowledge, ruining civilisations. They aren't just stealing books from Earth, they're stealing information which they intend to sell.

The aliens are taking books from a box and putting them in their dimension penetration device. The Doctor distracts the aliens, knowing they will recognise him as a Time Lord, and Jo grabs the box and heads for the exit. The box is heavy, and Jo makes her way through the stacks. She is startled when she comes across the dead body, and suddenly she is grabbed from behind. It is just the Doctor, who was unable to shut down the device as there were several more Tynakers nearby.

The next plan is for Jo to be a decoy while the Doctor shuts down the device. As Jo makes her way through the stacks, she is trapped in an aisle. The Tynakers use the roller mechanism to move the shelves, trapping her. The Doctor rescues her, taking the box from her, and explains that he has wired the device to explode, and they must be as far away as possible.

Time starts to slow, and it becomes difficult to move. Suddenly there is a flash, and the Doctor and Jo make it out of the stacks. With the temporal device destroyed, the box starts disgorging books. The Doctor and Jo leave the piles of books before they can be confronted by an irate librarian. They decide that the Brigadier's piece of metal can wait, and go for coffee instead.

Characters Edit

References Edit

Notes Edit

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Continuity Edit

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