The Brief Encounter short story published in Doctor Who Magazine 171 was untitled. The story is highly unusual for a Brief Encounter in its introduction of a new character. The Brief Encounter series usually concentrated on offering readers insights into existing characters.
The Time Lady Berenyi is watching the motorcade carrying President John F. Kennedy in Dallas 1963. As it happens, she knows there will be three things she will enjoy in the 1980s - Arthur Miller's autobiography, Cherry 7UP and Sonic Youth, musing that they'd help her better understand humanity even if its only 20 years away.
Berenyi also reflects on her career as a freelance Designer and how it conflicts with the ban imposed on the profession several centuries previously by her people, the Time Lords. Berenyi left Gallifrey after feeling constricted by the "restrictive, monastic weishmertz" before "disappearing" from Gallifrey and becoming a Designer out of spite.
The man brought in to assassinate the president has been programmed to perform his job - his past has been meticulously Designed by Berenyi to make him perfect for the job; he is the chairman to the 'Fair Play For Cuba' committee, and he even has a Russian wife.
She watches calmly as the man shoots Kennedy and asks him, "You know what to do now?" To which he replies simply, "Yes." He runs past her and is seen by the police on the second floor of the book depository where he would be caught and shot by Jack Ruby, an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency. But they wouldn't be able to find out who the man was and who he worked for, so they would need to get him away.
Berenyi looks back down on the scene - Jackie Kennedy is screaming in the distance and people are running everywhere. She calmly gathers her things and then disappears inside her TARDIS, which is presently disguised in the form of a filing cabinet.
- Berenyi's TARDIS's chameleon circuit functions.
- Designers are hired to alter time by wealthy clients - Berenyi has already Designed an assassination in a threatre in 1865, and that job led a German to hire her to Design the assassination of President Kennedy.
- Berenyi has a degree in bio-chronology.
- Berenyi finds the 1960s mundane.
- Berenyi knows she will enjoy the Arthur Miller's autobiography, Cherry 7UP and sonic youth. She believes they're somehow integral to her understanding of humanity.
- Designing time was banned several centuries before by the Time Lords. Berenyi can see and appreciate the irony.
- Berenyi left Gallifrey to escape the restrictive, monastic nature of her people.
- Berenyi's current client is a "German from the Twenty-Second Century." He hired her because she impressed him with a previous assassination she'd Designed in a theatre in 1865 and hired her to Design Kennedy's assassination.
- This story and the novel Who Killed Kennedy both go into the origins and people behind the Kennedy assassination. However, the stories only lightly contradict one another: this tale delves into Berenyi attempting to formulate the incident, whilst Who Killed Kennedy features the Master trying to stop it.