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The Arts in Space (comic story)

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The Arts in Space was the second story of the Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor comic story series published in 2014.

Summary Edit

In exchange for the invaluable assistance she offered defending New York – and to say sorry for dropping into her life like a tornado! – the Doctor has promised Gabby one trip – just one trip! – in the TARDIS.

With the whole universe laid before her, all of time and space, where will Gabriella Gonzalez choose to go? What will they find when they get there... and can one trip in the TARDIS ever be enough?

More importantly, the Doctor has been hurt by the fate of his companions before – and recently! With Donna still fresh in his mind, can Gabby convince him that he shouldn't travel alone, for just a little while longer?

Plot Edit

Part one Edit

Given a choice for one trip in the TARDIS between the past, present, or future, Gabby Gonzalez picks the future. Knowing her artistic nature, the Tenth Doctor suggests visiting the Pentaquoteque Gallery on Ouloumos. Gabby absorbs the sensation of her first alien planet to the full. She is amazed by the strange landscapes, sky aqueducts and all the subtle differences from Earth in the animals, the birdsong, the sand and the grass. With her excitement overflowing, she needs to share it with somebody. The Doctor acts like he has seen this all before, so Gabby decides to write and draw her impressions for Cindy.

In the Pentaquoteque Gallery, the Doctor shows Gabby a variety of art styles, both futuristic and known in her time. Among the highlights on the Doctor's list are block transfer sculptures by his friend Zhe Ikiyuyu, which she sings into existence using pure mathematics. Thus, he is all the more disappointed to find an empty room where Zhe's sculptures used to be. Determined to find out what happened, the Doctor takes Gabby to the museum curator, who explains that a century ago, having faced some criticism, Zhe had withdrawn their works and exiled themself to their private retreat on the planet's moon, which can be accessed by a private space elevator. Since then, the only person to attempt a visit about seventy years ago was an art dealer, who quickly returned from the moon in a great rush.

The elevator's robotic pilot Vernon recognises the Doctor by DNA, treating Gabby as a "plus one" and letting them board the elevator. Now Gabby can observe Ouloumos from up high. A path leading from the elevator to the gates of Zhe's mansion passed through a sculpture garden. Gabby thinks that these sculptures are somewhat old fashioned compared to the art she's seen in the Pentaquoteque Gallery. The Doctor explains that Zhe found beauty in any form - humanoid or alien — and that they used body augmentation to change between genders and forms to see the world from different perspectives.

Suddenly, the sculptures begin moving and try squashing the visitors. The Doctor lifts Gabby and throws her out of harm's way, then grabs her hand and runs towards the gates. He is surprised as matter manipulation on such a scale should have been beyond Zhe's abilities. Opening the gates with his sonic screwdriver, he correctly guesses that the sculptures will not follow them inside the grounds and proceeds to Zhe's house.

The Doctor and Gabby are greeted at the entrance by a male figure, who calls himself "the Ultimate Apprentice". He seems worried that the newcomers want to become apprentices too. But the Doctor assures him that he is an old friend of Zhe's and is just paying a friendly visit. The Apprentice then brings them to a room where Zhe sits motionless. She has four arms, more than during the Doctor's last visit. Upon a closer examination, the Doctor concludes that this must be a block-transfer-sculpture self-portrait of Zhe.

Suddenly, the Doctor and Gabby find themselves separated: the Doctor is still in the room with the motionless likeness of Zhe and the male Apprentice, whereas Gabby is in a different room with a figure almost identical to the Apprentice but female. The female Apprentice accuses Gabby of lying and of trying to become an apprentice. Strangely, she also calls herself "the Ultimate Apprentice". Gabby asks her about the male Ultimate Apprentice she just met. At this, the female Apprentice grows a second, male head and claims to be all aspects. Without waiting for the Apprentice to finish growing more extremities with sharp claws, Gabby runs away trying to find the Doctor.

Meanwhile, the male Apprentice accuses the Doctor of being a critic because he could hear them criticising the sculptures in the sculpture garden. He grows scissors from his hands and proceeds to attack the Doctor. The latter escapes onto a roof terrace, where he hears Gabby's cries from below and observes her throwing a plant pot at the multi-armed and two-headed Apprentice. He calls to her and suggests to try finding Zhe in their studio in the glass wing. As Gabby runs back into the house pursued by the two-headed Apprenitice, the male Apprentice catches up with the Doctor. He tries to reach the main stairwell, which he remembers from his prior visits, but the Apprentice has modified the house layout, and the Doctor falls down what looks like an infinite stairwell.

Part two Edit

The Doctor realises the stairwell is an illusion, and manages to create an escape trapeze with his mind. Zhe transforms into a dragon and pursues the Doctor down a corridor.

Gabby locates Zhe's studio, and though they are initially hostile, they calm when Gabby says her work is amazing and shifts back into her female form. Gabby says that she likes to draw but is never any good at it, and Zhe shows her more sketches and holographic sculptures, and explains her process of creating art from numbers. The Doctor observes that her gallery has shifted into its recognisable form. Gabby walks into the room and tells him she has found Zhe's studio. The Doctor concludes that because the house's art and furnishings have been created by block transfer techniques, they are in a state of flux. However, the Doctor thinks there is something not quite right with her, and Gabby's hand morphs into obscure tendrils and attacks the Doctor, and into his male form. The Doctor narrowly avoids him and returns to the entrance, coming to the realisation that the statue is indeed Zhe, simply in stasis, and tries to penetrate her mind.

Gabby continues to be impressed by Zhe, and realises the best art makes you think differently. Gabby is amazed with her whole artistic process. Zhe offers to impart her ability on Gabby, and is stunned by images of butterflies and her own song. However, Zhe senses the Doctor's interference and is greeted by her male form. He joins with her, proclaiming "We must destroy the Doctor!" They approach the entranced, meditating Doctor, shifting back into two forms and morphing their hands to attack the Doctor. Gabby enters, pleading for his life. Zhe, the Originator, awakens from stasis as the Doctor gives her rest. Zhe's female form attacks his male form, who retaliates by anthropomorphising a sculpture, vowing to destroy the artwork. Gabby joins with her female form, giving her the power to reassemble the gallery and bring the real Zhe back to her former self, pulling the spirited binary pair into her. These 'apprentices' are only conflicting aspects of her psyche. Gabby is surprised by a series of black floating shapes which speak her history, and these morph into lips formed from her psyche.

Speaking over tea, Zhe reveals that she had been lonely and in need of a muse, and so created a sculpture with an AI persona. However, in the process, she had created a physical manifestation of her own self-doubt. She spent a century trying to drain the binary aspects of their power, slipping into voluntary stasis. Zhe concludes that Gabby may have enhanced ability as an after effect, but that will fade - but the Doctor must have thought her to be special to bring her to the gallery in the first place. Gabby found herself feeling connected to the universe in a new way.

The curator congratulates Gabby and the Doctor for returning Zhe. Zhe offers Gabby a role as her apprentice if she ever gets tired of the Doctor, sensing they have travelled for a long time, however Gabby says that it was a one-time trip. However, the Doctor is intrigued by her perceptions and lets her stay as his companion.

Characters Edit

References Edit

Notes Edit

The Art in Space Many monsters

Original artwork.

  • Parts of the story are presented as Gabby's diary, written for Cindy and accompanied by Gabby's sketches.
The Art in Space Many Monsters 2

Revised artwork.

Original print details Edit

to be added

Continuity Edit

4 romana arts

The painting of the Fourth Doctor and Romana II in Zhe's gallery

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