The Janus Conjunction

Roots: The Doctor hums Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water". There are references to Thunderbirds ("Intergalactic Rescue!"), Ford Transit, David Attenborough, Stargate, and Hamlet.

Goofs: The science is rubbish.

Dialogue Disasters: "You asshole."

"Come with me and I'll explain everything."

"Hello, my pretty."

"Insolent imbecile."

"Come in, Doctor. I've been expecting you."

And many more.

Dialogue Triumphs: "I was trained to ignore pain."
"Is it working?"
"No."

Julya: "You are mad, aren't you?" The Doctor: "No - just very, very clever."

Continuity: Janus Prime and Menda are located in diametrically opposed orbits around red giant Janus GM2797. The planets are two hundred and eighty million miles apart. Janus GM2797 is located on the edge of the Milky Way, twenty-seven light years from Earth. Newtown is the first colony city built on Menda. Janus Prime has a single moon, as does Menda. The Janusian giant spiders once had a civilisation on Janus Prime, the ruins of which have survived. They fought a war with the natives of Menda, as a result of which both sides agreed to build the ultimate deterrent and turned their solar system into a giant bomb. They designed and built their planets' single, artificial, moons, each of which has the equivalent of one solar mass, most of which is in hyperspace. By aligning the moons with their sun and linking them via hyperspace they could increase the sun's critical mass to the point where it would turn into a supernova. Another war broke out between the two planets, but the weapon was never used: the Mendans were wiped out, but before their extermination, they seeded Janus Prime with isotope decay bombs, saturating the planet with a type of radiation that destroys the human metabolism, attacking the body's lipids and causing people's flesh to melt as their cells rupture. The effective is cumulative. The Janusians developed a biological resistance to the pathogenic effects of the radiation, but lost their intelligence and thus their civilisation as a side-effect. The Janusians are now approximately as intelligent as cows. They were once able to control their technology by broadcasting alpha waves. Zemler's field cyberneticists have converted many of them into cybernetic Spidroids, which they use for combat and reconnaissance. Millions of years have passed since the final war, during which time Janus GM2797 has become a red giant, destabilising the weapon, and creating the hyperspatial anomaly referred to by the colonists as the Link; the moon of Janus Prime was left in a fixed orbit, leaving the weapon "half-cocked". As a result of the changes to Janus GM2797, detonating the bomb would now create not a supernova but a blackhole. The control mechanisms for the weapons on both planets have survived intact. The weapon is rendered useless when the Link is destroyed.

The Doctor is taking Sam to the inaugural performance of Verdi's Aida at the Cairo Opera House in 1871 when the TARDIS is diverted to Janus Prime; he plays her a recording of Enrico Caruso in a performance of the opera in the TARDIS on the way. He carries a bag of jelly babies, some chocolate, a magnifying glass, and a tiny oilcan in his pockets. He has a senior citizen's travel card from the planet Angmenta. He has a shower on Menda and notes that he hasn't had a proper water-based shower in ages. The Doctor carries a sub-etheric beam locator, which can be modified to emit submeson rays of varying frequencies (see Genesis of the Daleks. This is a new one, which he's obtained since The Scarlet Empress). He still carries his fob-watch. He has seen Craab-class patrol ships before. His brain can communicate via reduced-frequency alpha waves under exceptional circumstances. The sonic screwdriver can't burn through barydium. He develops a cure for the radiation sickness by studying the biology of a dead spider; he uses this to cure his own radiation sickness. He keeps a Gladstone bag in the TARDIS. He and Sam have a picnic on Menda.

Sam was afraid of spiders as a child, but has conquered her fear since meeting Arachnons on Dreamstone Moon (Dreamstone Moon). She was once stopped from going on a CND rally. She gets shot in the shoulder on Janus Prime and the wound becomes infected. Zemler's men implant a subcutaneous transmitter under her bicep: Lunder removes it with a knife. She suffers from the early stages of the radiation sickness caused by prolonged exposure on Janus Prime, but the Doctor cures her (he actually changes the future, returning to Menda before she dies and thus creating a timeline in which she did). She has a breakfast consisting of toast, marmalade, cronilla juice and tea on Menda.

The TARDIS has hyperspatial-mass sensors. The Doctor claims to have a couple of barrels of Best Old Shobogan in the TARDIS' cellar (see The Eight Doctors), to which he also adds a bottle of Mendan wine.

Rho Priapus is an Earth colony with oceans. The Selachians invaded the colony (The Murder Game, The Final Sanction).

The Korman scale measures toxic radiation. The Beleromons developed a transport system that operated on a similar principle to the Link during the Grekolian Era.

Links: The Doctor recalls losing Sam on Hirath's moon (Longest Day). He mentions the spiders of Metebelis III (Planet of the Spiders). Sam recalls Skaro (War of the Daleks).

Location: Janus Prime and Menda, 14th September 2211.

Future History: Janus GM2797 was originally located by mankind using star charts left behind by the Daleks during the invasion of Earth (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). Mankind's earliest interstellar craft were based on captured alien technology.

The colonists reached Menda in a second hand Spacemaster, which was damaged by a meteor towards the end of its journey and crash-landed. Beetle-shaped drones with positronic brains are used in the outpost on Janus Prime for maintenance and construction.

The Arcturans (The Curse of Peladon) and Mentors (Vengeance on Varos, Mission to Magnus, Mindwarp) are willing but suspicious traders with humans. Gustav Zemler had been involved in fighting Cybermen (and Cybermats) in a number of skirmishes on the periphery of Earth's colonial territories, including the planet Titan 317. Zemler's Special Forces unit also battled Veltrochni (The Dark Path, Mission: Impractical). Some of Zemler's men fought in the Alphan Kundekka conflict of 2198.

San Francisco disappeared into the sea c. 2011. There is a New Paris on Earth. A Stam 3-7 is a laser pistol. Other weapons seen here include ripguns and slicer guns. Craab-class patrol ships were developed from the Sitch-Hoffen shuttles that were popular at the end of the twenty-second century.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor took Sam to an opera performed by silicon-based life-forms on Thurakzima 7. He learnt to pilot a shuttle on the Mars-Venus route circa 2511 (see Robot). He once convinced a machine probe intelligence that a moon was about to crash into its host planet to convince it to destroy itself.

The Bottom Line: "Once again, ladies and gentlemen, we welcome you to Technobabble City." Unambitious, clichéd and laden with implausible pseudo-science, but hugely entertaining nonetheless. The Doctor and Sam both get plenty to do, with the Eighth Doctor getting one of his finest moments as he saves two worlds.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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