Mission: Impractical

Roots: Mission Impossible, heist movies, including The Italian Job. The Blues Brothers. Star Trek (Veltrochni=Klingons, and note the cloaked Veltrochni Dragon). The Empire Strikes Back (the bounty hunters). There are references to the LA Times, martial arts films, Raffles, Wagner, and Ingrid Bergman. The Maître d' of Jack's Café Terrestriale is a replica of David Niven.

Frobisher first appeared in The Official Doctor Who Magazine comic strip The Shape Shifter and remained aboard the TARDIS until finally departing in A Cold Day in Hell Having watched Star Wars, the Doctor notes that Tarkin looks familiar and that he may have met his granddaughter, a reference to the fact that Peter Cushing played Dr. Who in Dr. Who and the Daleks and Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150AD. Chainswords are mentioned, as originally seen in the Abslom Daak Doctor Who comic strips.

Goofs: It has been pointed out that this story contradicts the comic strip continuity slightly in terms of Frobisher's appearance, but since the comic strip rarely fits neatly into any other continuity this isn't really a problem.

Dialogue Disasters: "Who's the dilly in the test pattern?"

"Hoo-felching-rah."

"Let's kill these interfering scum".

Dialogue Triumphs: Glitz asks Mandor, "Do I have a choice in any of this?" prompting the response, "Of course! If you prefer, I could just kill you here and now."

Glitz on the Doctor: "He could talk an ayatollah into opening an off-licence."

Sh'aol on the Doctor: "He enjoys the challenge of operating in the field. It is most likely that he will lead by example".

Jack tells the Doctor: "Normally I charge for services rendered, but if you want your tailor spaced, it's on the house as an act of charity".

"Infinite age and power doesn't necessarily lead to infinite common sense."

Cronan's last word is "Bugger".

Continuity: The Veltrochni use KEM rifles, which fire polycarbide bolts. Veltroch is protected by the Self Defence Force. Human visitors to Veltroch are rare. Veltrochni packs include Pack Hysoth, Pack Zanchyth, Pack Lorkhal, . Regions on Veltroch include the Great Forest of Atroch. Veltrochni eat dried bark-crawlers. Veltrochni find it hard to cope in solitude. They are strong enough to lift an adult Ogron without effort. In addition to the familiar Dragon-class ships, they also have Mage-Dragons. The hulls of Dragons are made from siligtone. The Core that was stolen from Veltroch is the last surviving Data Core from S'Arl, the Tzun homeworld, which the Veltrochni salvaged during their destruction of the planet. Veltroch's atmosphere contains more carbon dioxide than Earth's.

Vandor Prime is the fourth planet out from the star Gamma Delphinus. Its capital city is called Neo Delphi and is composed largely of rockcrete and metal: it is known colloquially as "the Jewelled City", a name coined by a journalist as a catchy slogan. Vendor Prime's government is based in the Forum in Neo Delphi, and is lead by President Klein. The small third moon of Vandor Prime was settled by miners "centuries ago"; once the moon was mined out, the inhabitants almost starved but are currently receiving government subsidies in the form of old spaceships that they can dismantle and sell as scrap.

Elchur was an agrarian colony until biochemical weapons in some ancient war sterilised its surface.

R'Shal passed down the Precepts into T'zun law millennia ago. Sh'aol is the last surviving S'Raph (and therefore pureblood) Tzun in existence [suggesting that they have a very long lifespan - see First Frontier], although some Ph'sor Tzun colonies still exist throughout the galaxy. He can access old memories due to his genetically engineered nature, including memories of his ancestors passed on to him in RNA. He has very clear memories of the annihilation of his species, despite having never visited S'Arl. S'Raph Tzun were engineered not to need to sleep, in order to make them more efficient pilots. Karthakh granted his ship sanctuary on Veltroch without realising that there was a Tzun on board: Sh'aol was thus protected by the Veltroch law that a guest must not be harmed, and the pair gradually became friends.

Ogrons can copy what they have seen other people do. Ogrons were first taken off their own planet by the Daleks: following the Dalek wars, humans and Draconians realised that the Ogrons only served the Daleks out of fear and spared them, employing them themselves. Ogrons think of their family units as Nests. Due to the lack of food on Braah, most Ogron children who reach adulthood have eaten siblings at some point. Ogrons believe in the canyon gods [possibly the Ogron-eating monsters seen in Frontier in Space]. Ogrons occasionally sing songs together. It is confirmed that whilst they call their home planet Braah (The Romance of Crime), humans call it Orestes (So Vile a Sin). Ogrons drink Ogron ale and eat raw or cooked meat. Braah's atmosphere contains more hydrogen than Earth's.

Rutans return briefly to their natural shape between forms, and their electrical fields disrupt the electrical systems of spaceships (Horror of Fang Rock, Lords of the Storm).

Mr. Zimmerman masterminds drug running, including vraxoin (Nightmare of Eden), spectrox (The Caves of Androzani), and Rush. He is also director of Chronodyne Industries, which finances the Thor Orbital Facility and is based on Dronid (Shada (TV)). Vraxoin is chemically synthesised on the Thor Orbital Facility rather then produced from breaking down Mandrels (Nightmare of Eden). The Thor Orbital Facility is built into an asteroid that is phase-shifted one hour into the future for security. Zimmerman hires Sh'aol and Karthakh to kill the Doctor, claiming that he wants "to be finally free of his insufferable conscience" [he's the Valeyard, as confirmed by David A. McIntee online]. Chronodyne is apparently not the Valeyard's solo operation, but a front for the CIA. Zimmerman provides Sh'aol and Karthakh with time rings. Either he or the CIA use time travel to obtain some vraxoin and thus provide enough to analyse to allow them to synthesise it. When the Doctor is apparently killed, Zimmerman honours his deal and pays Sh'aol and Karthakh ten million credits.

Following the events of The Ultimate Foe, the Time Lords released the Master and Glitz from the Matrix, whereupon the Master killed the technicians and fled in his TARDIS: Glitz was returned to his native time by the Time Lords [who collected Dibber in the process]; Glitz tells the Doctor that this is his native time zone, and that he was provided with transport to the future by the Master for the Ravalox operation. Glitz and Dibber have just spent six months in a rehabilitation colony on Vandor Prime, after Glitz left skin cell traces on a safe they cracked. The safe belonged to a shipyard and contained navigation crystals, which Glitz and Dibber managed to hide before they were caught. They sold the last of the siligtone some time previously (The Mysterious Planet). Glitz obtains the Nosferatu here (see Dragonfire). Dibber met Glitz on Salostophus (see The Mysterious Planet), which is presumably his home planet. Glitz and Dibber briefly use Ensen rifles here. Glitz's father used to frighten him with tales of Sh'aol and Karthakh. Dibber is killed by a blaster bolt, apparently whilst pushing Glitz out of the line of fire.

The Doctor notes that he is occasionally referred to as the Bringer of Darkness (by the Daleks) and the Oncoming Storm, which is a Draconian nickname for him. He again claims to be nine hundred years old. He uses a temporal circuit from the Thor Facility time dams to place himself in temporal stasis, briefly feigning death and thus fulfilling Sh'aol and Karthakh's contract for them. The Doctor purges the Tzun Data Core before returning it to Veltroch.

Frobisher's real name is Avan Tarklu and he hails from the planet Xenon (see The Shape Shifter): it has been so long since he used his real name that he has almost forgotten it. He briefly changes back into his natural shape for the first time in months. He is licensed as a private investigator to operate in Rassm City and the surrounding system. The Doctor takes Frobisher to see Star Wars on the big screen: the Doctor claims that he prefers the Special Editions. Frobisher eats popcorn during the movie. Having variable mass and cellular composition has strange effects on his metabolic rate, meaning that he has a huge appetite. He has recently changed his shape from a King Penguin to an Emperor Penguin. His room in the TARDIS has curved wall (which he prefers) and a pool. He adopts the form of a Kastrian (The Hand of Fear) to fight Sha'ol and Karthak. He likes Benny Goodman. He once spent fourteen years disguised as a supermarket till in Walthamstow, in order to be near the girl who worked there. He changes one arm into a crowbar in order to break a window. He disguises himself as an extra layer of the Doctor's coat and then changes into Kapra. He later adopts the form of a tall, good-looking male human in a tuxedo. He slides himself out from under a cell door and impersonates an Ogron, an Ogron-eating monster (Frontier in Space), a Cheetah, and a bowl of soup. When Oskar, a fellow Whifferdill, is electrocuted, he disintegrates into a steaming pool of sludge.

The TARDIS' state of temporal grace is currently functioning (see The Hand of Fear, Arc of Infinity). The Doctor is able to dematerialise from around Sha'ol and Karthak, since their means of penetrating the TARDIS defence shields results in them being not fully in phase with the interior dimensions. The TARDIS is impervious to diamond and borazon drills, thermic lances, sonic lances, and laser cutters.

The Seven Hundred Wonders of the Universe include the walking mountains on Haskor, the great Sphinx on Mars (see Godengine), and Star Wars on the big screen. Spaceships mentioned here include a Solardyne 200. Frobisher considers drunken Walarians to be untrustworthy. There is a reference to Kaldanians. There are shipyards on Teal Alpha. Zimmerman arranges to meet Sh'aol and Karthakh in the Katana System. They later take a job in the Xotac System. Oblio I is a planet in the Oblio System.

Kerlanogen kills humans in ten days without an antidote: it doesn't affect Time Lords and mesomorphs like Frobisher don't have stable DNA for it to latch on to. The Doctor claims that he could easily synthesise the antidote in the TARDIS laboratory.

Links: This story takes place between Trial of a Time Lord and Time and the Rani, after Killing Ground and before Business Unusual [and between the comic strips War Game and Funhouse], and during the same period as The Holy Terror and The Maltese Penguin. The Veltrochni first appeared in The Dark Path, where the Doctor met Brokhyth. The Tzun first appeared in First Frontier. The Ogrons first appeared in Day of the Daleks and again in Frontier in Space, as well as in The Romance of Crime, Shakedown, and Toy Soldiers. Glitz and Dibber first appeared in Trial of a Time Lord. Polycarbide is what Dalek casings are made of, and there is a reference to Dalek time controllers (Remembrance of the Daleks). GalSec was first mentioned in The Sontaran Experiment. The Seven Hundred Wonders of the Universe were first mentioned in Death to the Daleks. The Doctor notes that only an Osirian (Pyramids of Mars) or a Guardian (The Ribos Operation) could penetrate the TARDIS' defence shields whilst it is in flight. There is a reference to chainswords (Deceit). The Doctor again mentions that the Droge of Gabrielides once offered a whole star system for his head (The Sun Makers). Speelsnapes are mentioned (Revelation of the Daleks).

Location: Hollywood, Los Angeles, Earth, May 1977; Veltroch, on board the Thornton, on board the colony ship Speculator, on board the Veltrochni Dragon Thazrakh, on board the Nosferatu, on board the Cobb, on board the Thornton, on board the Mead, on board the Hornet, Vandor Prime, the third moon of Vandor Prime, [c5595 according to Lance Parkin's AHistory].

Future History: GalSec is an abbreviation of Galactic Security. Sha'ol (a S'Raph Tzun) and Karthak (a Veltrochni) are a duo of notorious assassins: they know the Doctor by reputation. They are second only to the deceased Ernie McCartney (Tragedy Day) in terms of dangerousness. Other bounty hunters that try to claim the reward placed on the Doctor's head include Heera the Drahvin (Galaxy 4), Braunschweiger, one of the few Taran androids to have won their freedom (The Androids of Tara), and human Saldan. The profession of private investigator is illegal in the Vandor system unless approved by the Security and Intelligence Division.

Ten years previously, Glitz fenced the Core stolen from the Council of Houses on Veltroch by thieves Chance, Chat, Monty, Oskar and Liang; Mandell, of the Vandorian Security and Intelligence Division, blackmails him into reassembling the team and stealing it back from the Thor Orbital Facility on vendor Prime, delivering it to Elchur, where Mandell intends to return it to the Veltrochni.

Mandell has heard of Time Lords, Gallifrey, and Xenon mesomorphs. The Alpha Centauri are known for being adept at politics (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon, Legacy). Fipe is apparently a swearword. Currency is in GalSec credit bars.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor may have met David Niven.

The Bottom Line: "Coincidence? When it comes to time travel, there's no such thing as coincidence." Despite some detractors, Mission: Impractical sees McIntee having a go at light-hearted fanwank, and the result is enormously entertaining. Juggling so many characters and sub-plots is risky, but just about works. It perhaps should have been funnier, but the Veltrochni continue to impress and Sh'aol and Karthakh are great.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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