|The Door into Bedlam|
|Main character(s):||Bernice Summerfield|
|Main setting:||Braxiatel Collection, 2600|
|Printed in:||The Dead Men Diaries|
|Big Finish Bernice Summerfield series|
|Christmas Spirit||The Least Important Man|
Benny, on an errand for Irving Braxiatel, goes to the Repository of the Improbable to find R.F. Wilburton. Wilburton claims to be the victim of a Markov chain of events, by which no one can ever see him, though he is not invisible. Benny, constantly distracted in their conversation and therefore never actually seeing him, gives him a message from Braxiatel. After he leaves, she explores the Repository.
Meanwhile, in another universe, Jason Kane is spending time at a spaceport bar when he is approached by an imp. The imp, after checking his identity, gives him a touching cloth, which Jason obligingly touches.
After Jason touches the cloth, the imp hands him a business card and vanishes. Jason makes for the address on the card. He meets Agraxar Flatchlock, and angrily asks what happened to him when he touched the cloth. He felt that "something went into it". Flatchlock explains that the cloth setup a brief connection between universes and it verified that Jason is human. Flatchlock has a job for Jason.
Jason, in his new job, hopes that this is his chance to get home. He is to help with the Project, which Flatchlock explains to him. The touching cloths have the ability to set up connections with Jason's original universe. Flatchlock hopes to start a tourist industry, bringing people from the Infernal Regions to Jason's universe.
Dr Grobe, a doctor of physics, explains to Benny why the EarthFed forces are on Goron IV. The native Goronians, who have orange skin and green hair, use fragments of stone, which Benny recognises as similar to the joining stone on the Collection, to open a conduit to other universes. Benny watches the Goronians perform a ritual, whereby they chant and energy comes out of a box containing a stone fragment. One of the natives is apparently sucked into the box, and he is supposedly deposited in another universe at the other end.
On the Project, testing is being done; a weak point between time and space has been opened. However, things are not going well. For some reason, orange and green remains keep coming through the rift.
Benny, appalled at the treatment of the natives by the EarthFed forces, sneaks out at night to free the Goronians from the stockade in which they are imprisoned. She is quite surprised that, after being freed, they attack her.
Jason is ready to go through the rift.
On Goron IV, the natives prepare to send Benny into another universe by way of the ritual with the stone fragment. The effect is intensified by the joining stone that Benny is wearing.
Benny and Jason enter the conduit from opposite ends, at the same time. As they travel through it, they impact each other and bounce back to where they came.
Later, Benny tries to explain to Braxiatel what happened. She tells him that the joining stone shattered. She knows that somehow she will see Jason again.
Jason is miserable, having missed his chance to get home. He also knows that everyone on the Project, though they won't say so, blames him for its failure. He apologises to Flatchlock, who shrugs it off and says they'll just have to rely on Station Control, like they usually do. Jason can only respond with, "What?"
- Dr Grobe serves Benny tea.
- The denizens of the Infernal Regions refer to Jason's universe as the Phantasmagorical Regions.
- The Earth Federation reminds Benny somewhat of the 19th century British Empire.
to be added