It expands upon an adventure first hinted at in the television story The Edge of Destruction. While being primarily about Susan's adventures with the First Doctor, this story also serves as a kind of a prequel to the arc about Susan's adventures with the Eighth Doctor by explaining the presence of a Blitzen fish in the TARDIS in Relative Dimensions. In the arc, this story follows An Earthly Child and precedes Relative Dimensions, Lucie Miller and To the Death.
The planet Quinnis in the Fourth Universe appears, at first glance, to be an agreeable, exotic refuge for the two travellers. But the world is experiencing a terrible drought, and the Doctor becomes its unwilling rainmaker.
Meanwhile, Susan makes an ally in a young girl called Meedla. But friends are not always what they appear, and the long-awaited rain isn't necessarily good news...
The Rainmaker (1)
Travelling into the fourth universe, the TARDIS materialises in Bridgetown on Quinnis, disguising itself as a wooden kiosk. Bridgetown and the surrounding area is experiencing an extreme drought which he is known as the Two Year Summer. When the Doctor tells a stallholder (whom Susan refers to as "the piglet woman" due to fact that she owns such an animal) that he is a scientist, she believes that he is a rainmaker. The people of Bridgetown threw the previous rainmaker out of town for his failure to make it rain. Bridgetown is built on a series of crisscrossing viaducts while no houses are built on the surface.
A young homeless girl named Meedla witnessed the arrival of the TARDIS. Meedla tells Susan that "the ground will burst with hungry life and misery will tear the world apart" very soon.
After finding black feathers around Bridgetown, the people of the town believe that its bad luck bird, the Shrazer, has arrived and represents an ill omen for Bridgetown. The Doctor is forced to work in the town's Guild Hall, which Susan cannot enter as women are not allowed to cross the threshold. He believes that he can make it rain by seeding the clouds using sodium iodide.
The piglet woman tells Susan that the townspeople are setting up large nets between the viaducts in the hope of catching the Shrazer. On her way to the TARDIS to collect vital equipment for her grandfather, Susan discovers that Meedla has managed to become entangled in one of the nets. As she releases Meedla from the net, it begins to rain heavily. After the streets of Bridgetown are flooded, Susan realises that Bridgetown is essentially as a giant gutter designed to collect the rain. Within minutes, both Meedla and the TARDIS are swept away by the flood.
The Plain of Despair (2)
Susan is able to find shelter in the home of the piglet woman and her husband. She learns that the piglet woman's name is Amlanti. Amlanti and her husband prepare a bed for Susan in the piglet's room. She has a dream in which the piglet speaks to her. When the Doctor retrieves from Amlanti's house, Susan reacts with fear to what she believes is a Shrazer. However, she discovers that it is in fact Amlanti's husband. He is a stilt-man who wears a bird mask as part of his work on the ground below Bridgetown. According to Amlanti, the Shrazer has black wings which shine like mirrors. It seemingly shows people what they expect to see.
After Amlanti's husband leaves his house to find Meedla, the Shrazer attacks him and he falls from the bridge to his death. She entered their house during the night and stole the TARDIS key from Susan's bed. The townspeople call in a huntsman named Evalihi Parch IV from a nearby settlement called Fort Regal to kill the Shrazer. He arrives via ornithopter. Parch tells the Doctor and Susan that Shrazers are essentially carrion birds with second sight who do not cause bad luck as the townspeople believe but can sense impending danger and disaster.
When Parch assumes that the Doctor did ceremonial dances in order to make the rain come, the Doctor laughs and asks Parch if he takes him for Mata Hari. After going down to the plains to retrieve the TARDIS, the Doctor becomes trapped far below the level of Bridgetown due to the extremely rapid growth of weeds after the Two Year Summer. Susan pleads with Meedla to save him. The Shrazer agrees to this on the condition that the Doctor and Susan will take her somewhere else in the TARDIS. However, he is soon rescued by Parch using his ornithopter, which also carries the TARDIS back to Bridgetown.
The vegetation soon begins to attack the town, destroying the supports of the bridges. Consequently, the townspeople evacuate Bridgetown. Using the cannon with which he had seeded the clouds with ice and sodium iodide, the Doctor constructs a weapon using gunpowder supplied by Parch. He then uses the cannon to destroy the vegetation. After Meedla is killed by Parch, the Doctor retrieves the TARDIS key from her claws.
The Doctor bought the dried air fish in a glass box, which Susan had previously admired, from Amlanti's stall and gives it to her as a present once they return to the TARDIS. He decides that they should settle down for a time so that Susan can have the opportunity to make friends of her own age and learn from someone other than him.
- The fourth universe does not run parallel with the primary universe. Its time tracks cross over each other. According to the Doctor, it was the furthest that he and Susan had travelled since leaving their home planet.
- Using its chameleon circuit, the TARDIS disguises itself as a wooden kiosk and with red and white awnings after materialising in Bridgetown on Quinnis.
- Quinnis has a copper coloured sky.
- According to Susan, the primary universe is the third universe.
- The Doctor carries Turkish delights from Constantinople with him.
- This is the first Big Finish audio drama to take place prior to the events of An Unearthly Child in the Doctor's personal timeline.
- Given that the TARDIS' chameleon circuit is operational, this is one of the few Doctor Who stories in any medium in which the TARDIS appears in a form other than that of a police box.
- This audio drama was recorded on 9 August 2010.
- Susan refers to the human colonists who were rescued from the Moon after being trapped in the Moonbase for over 30 years as result of the 22nd century Dalek invasion as well as the incident with the Guldreasi. (AUDIO: An Earthly Child)
- Susan mentions being recently reunited with her grandfather during his eighth incarnation in London in the late 2190s and her son Alex Campbell's reaction to seeing the TARDIS for the first time. (AUDIO: An Earthly Child)
- Susan recalls being left on Earth by her grandfather in the 2160s following the end of the Dalek occupation. (TV: The Dalek Invasion of Earth)
- Susan speaks to her late husband David Campbell, who died several years earlier. (PROSE: Legacy of the Daleks)
- Susan mentions that the TARDIS' trip to Quinnis occurred before she and her grandfather were joined on their travels by Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, two of her teachers at Coal Hill School. (TV: An Unearthly Child, The Edge of Destruction)
- The Doctor refers to his and Susan's departure from Gallifrey. (TV: An Unearthly Child, The Name of the Doctor; AUDIO: The Beginning)
- Meedla predicts that "dark misery" is in Susan's destiny. (TV: An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, The Reign of Terror; AUDIO: Lucie Miller / To the Death)
- The Doctor believes Susan needs friends her own age, stability and teachers. (TV: An Unearthly Child)
- Susan recalls the next place the TARDIS landed after Quinnis was London in the summer of 1963. (COMIC: Operation Proteus; PROSE: Time and Relative; AUDIO: Hunters of Earth; TV: An Unearthly Child) Before deciding to settle down in 1963, however, they took a brief trip to St Albans on 17 December 1997 to ensure that the United Kingdom would remain safe during and after the 1960s. Unbeknownst to either of them, the Fourth Doctor and his companions Romana and K9 were in the vicinity on the same day. (PROSE: The Little Things)
- Susan would later tell Ian and Barbara about their visit to Quinnis. (TV: The Edge of Destruction, The Sensorites; AUDIO: The Transit of Venus) She recalled that it was "four or five journeys ago." (TV: The Edge of Destruction)
- By time of his third incarnation, the Doctor would return to Quinnis and train as a ninja. (PROSE: The Devil Goblins from Neptune)
- The Doctor refers to the Dutch dancer and alleged German spy Mata Hari. Considerably later in his personal timeline, specifically during his eleventh incarnation, he encountered her in a hotel room in Paris. She proceeded to remove her clothes in front of him. The Doctor later told his companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams that he found her "very interesting." (WC: Pond Life)
- The Blitzen fish would remain in the TARDIS until the Doctor's eighth incarnation. (AUDIO: Relative Dimensions)
- For the older Susan recounting the story, Quinnis occurs after AUDIO: An Earthly Child and before AUDIO: Relative Dimensions.