Roots: Aliens (the dropship). 28 Days Later (the Wounded). There are references to Stars in Their Eyes, Wal-Mart, Richard Baker, Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Moore, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Mozart, Stradivarius, Byron, Rip van Winkle, Eminem ("the real Slim Shady"), Michaelangelo, Galileo, and Dante.
Chainswords are mentioned, which is a reference to the weapon of choice of Abslom Daak, the Dalek Killer who appeared in several Doctor Who comic strips in Doctor Who Weekly, Doctor Who Monthly, and Doctor Who Magazine.
Dialogue Triumphs: Fitz: "If I die pretending to be an accountant, I'll never forgive myself."
Continuity: Fear and Loathing are viruses built as biological weapons by an unknown alien species, which used Jupiter's atmosphere as a weapons testing ground for them thousands of years earlier. Fear is intelligent, and aware of its environment; it is able to encode a virtual version of itself that infects the software of the station. The Mukabi's distil Fear from the atmosphere of Jupiter to create the drug Nightmare. It creates the "rust" that fills Farside Station as a biological weapon to destroy Loathing; it has Anji set the Station's reactors to explode, scattering the weapon throughout Jupiter's atmosphere and destroying Loathing. Initially, Fear tries to take over the minds of those it infects by brute force, but this drives them mad; it adapts, learning to guide the thought processes of its victims more subtly. Loathing physically transforms some of its human victims into insectoid creatures with bullet-shaped heads, multi-jointed necks, parallel rows of round black eyes, and two separate mouths on either side of the head, each filled with teeth. The Doctor gives Valletti a formula to clear Fear from Jupiter's atmosphere once its weapon has destroyed Loathing.
The Doctor again uses the alias Dr. John Smith. He and Fitz pose as Earth Forces accountants whilst investigating the station and don House of McCartney, charcoal-grey half-lapel suits. The gene pattern of his DNA is broadly the same as that of a human but with a stronger regenerative capability. Compared with that of a human, his blood has unusual iron levels and a unique structure to the white blood cells. The Doctor is shot in the abdomen with a harpoon; he twists his body to ensure that it misses any vital organs and to take out the worst of the momentum. Whilst undercover as an accountant he uses a faked medical record referencing a bicardial mutation in order to explain his twin hearts whilst covering up the fact that he is an alien. He creates an auditing AI called AuDoc to do his accounting work whilst on the station; it is capable of adaptive thought and can search for "black money" projects. The Doctor describes Florence as one of his favourite cities. He drinks Chilean Merlot with Valletti. He awkwardly dances a waltz with her. He suffers from some exploded veins during his unprotected space walk with Fitz. With a little concentration he is able to regulate his body to the human median enough to fool the diagnostic computers. The Makabis forcibly insert an implant into the base of his skull; its removal leaves a ridge of scar tissue. Fear infects him, but he is able to resist it, although it slows down his ability to regenerate wounded tissue. He's burnt so badly during the explosion in the Mukabi's laboratory that his DNA goes into flux; he nearly regenerates, the associated chemical release eradicating the Fear in his system. The Doctor is drafted into Colonel McNamara's Professional Unit, a special-ops squad comprised of brainwashed aliens conditioned to believe that they are human and press-ganged into fighting for Earth. He spends nearly four years as "the Professional", during which time he wears a combat suit, has his hair cropped short, and has no memory of his real identity. He is imprinted with his new personality for three years before he goes unaided on a combat mission in the System Colonies, during which he shoots a young man dead. His real personality is suppressed by drugs and conditioning. His nose gets broken whilst he is the Professional. He learns unarmed combat and how to strip down a plasma rifle. The remains of his AuDoc programme restore his memories of himself on Farside.
Fitz's earliest memories are of wartime London and of the reassuring presence of his Dad towering over him. When Fitz was a kid he met some American GIs who laughed and played with him and gave him a chocolate bar when they found him playing in a bombed-out house; he has always remembered them. He swaps his suit for jeans, a t-shirt and a dog-eared leather jacket when socializing on the Station. He drinks numerous beers with Robertson. After he is exposed to the vacuum of space without protection, Fitz undergoes a ReGene process to repair the damage to his lungs and clear the radiation that he absorbed. He is left with painful facial bruising for a while.
Anji has a brother named Rezaul, who was interested in astronomy. She used to smoke out of his bedroom window whilst their parents were downstairs. When Anji was a child her dad used to take her to see Leeds play football. The Doctor creates a fake ID for her to use on Mars, which she uses to get a job as a consultant on a television programme. She receives a skull fracture on Mars when a Fear-infected soldier punches. She spends four years on Mars whilst the Doctor and Fitz are missing, during which time she talks her way into a research job and flat-share at the TV network. She occasionally does some off-world reporting. During this time, she meets and eventually marries a man named Michael. Michael was born on Mars and is also a journalist. When they first meet, he takes her to all the tourist spots on Earth including the Paris crater (see Transit) and the New York waterways. During her time on Mars, Anji wins the inaugural Olympus Mons triathlon. After the first two years of their marriage, Anji and Michael start to drift apart. Before she left Earth in the TARDIS, she used to go mountain biking at the weekend, once did a parachute jump for a children's charity that her mother was involved with, and did some rock climbing on an Outward Bound trip. When an explosion on Mars temporarily damages her hearing, she is fitted with a temporary implant. On Farside Station, one of the transformed humans inflicts a cut on her right shoulder with its claw. Whilst on Mars, she receives every vaccination that she can, in order to protect herself against new diseases that have evolved since her time. Fear infects her when the two soldiers attack her, and spends four years gradually altering her thought processes to lead her back to Farside. It also stops her body from ageing during the four years that she spends trapped on Mars. The Doctor uses a ReGene unit to remove all traces of Fear form her body; in the process, she loses her memories of the four years she spent on Mars, including her marriage to Michael; whilst she can still remember him, she makes him agree to let her sign all their belongings over to him.
The System Colony world on which the Doctor, as the Professional, had his first combat mission, has a purple sky and three silver moons.
Dortmunium threads are used to make combat suits radiation resistant [and is presumably named after Dortmun (The Dalek Invasion of Earth)].
Links: This story is set between Earthworld and Vanishing Point. The Doctor is still adjusting to being out in space again, and there are numerous references to his amnesia (The Ancestor Cell, The Burning). There are several references to the Dalek occupation (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). Fitz recalls his job in the garden centre (The Taint). There is a reference to Dave's death (Escape Velocity). There are references to the Thousand Day War and Achebe Gorge (Transit). Fitz sees some of the Doctor's memories on a monitor; they include Miranda (Father Time), a burning city (The Turing Test), and a statue falling into a river (The Burning). IMC is mentioned (Colony in Space).
Location: Sheffield, Olympus Mons, Mars; on board the Pegasus and Farside Station, Jupiter Space; and the System Colonies; Florence; c2200 and c2204AD.
Future History: Wal-Mart started to build the first commercial trading post on Mars, but abandoned it when Sheffield was established. During the Dalek invasion, the Daleks tried to land on Mars but were defeated by a biological weapon (see Genesis of the Daleks and Godengine); they retaliated by releasing a virus from orbit that consumed all the oxygen. It took years for humanity to reverse the damage. Mars is still gradually being terraformed c2200. The remaining Martians on Mars have become a social underclass, often left to sleep outside under bridges, and ignored by the human population; there are sporadic terrorist attacks by some of them, who want their planet back.
Chainswords were used to fight Daleks on Earth during the occupation. Neurological implants have been banned since 2171 in response to the technology that the Daleks used to make Robomen. Under the Brasilia rulings, interstitial vortexes have been banned for decades.
Prior to the Dalek Invasion, a number of Fundamentalist Jihads caused widespread death and destruction on Earth.
Holographic slides have replaced paper by the twenty-second century. Cold vaccines have been developed by 2200. There is a Yucatan space elevator on Earth.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has visited Florence several times since the events of The Ancestor Cell; the first time he went there, it was raining.
The Doctor and Fitz once visited Bathesda, where Fitz slept through an entire revolution.
The Bottom Line: 'Burnt to the brink of death, ejected, rescued, restored, mind-wiped and drafted into Earth Forces' Special Ops.' An absolutely astounding Doctor Who debut novel, which harks back to the glory days of the New Adventures, whilst fitting in seamlessly with the post-The Ancestor Cell Eighth Doctor novels. The twist is superb, bringing all the loose plot threads together elegantly, before a thrilling climax that sees the Doctor saving everyone's life.