The Sontaran Games
Roots: There is a reference to Paula Radcliffe. The Doctor sings a version of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”.
Continuity: Every few hundred years the Sontaran/Rutan war heads over in the direction of Earth, which always becomes a key battle ground. A Sontaran is temporarily knocked unconscious when a screwdriver is inserted into its probic vent. The Sontarans seen here belong to the Twelfth Sontaran Battle Fleet and are commanded by Major Stenx. They use a huge robot here [possibly of the same sort to that seen in The Sontaran Experiment, based on its description]. It has controls to adjust its apparent mass, depending on the local gravity. Sontarans have devices in their suits that allow them to adapt to the gravity of whatever planet they are on; these are part of a central matrix of controls that also includes the robot’s. When the robot’s gravity controls are tampered with, the Sontarans become weightless.
The Rutan agent seen here came to Earth to infiltrate the Globe Games and manipulate the world event to cause a war between Earth’s nations, thus causing humanity to wipe itself out and leave the strategically valuable Earth open for the Rutans to take it with ease. The Rutan drains the electrically energy from BASE in order to recharge itself. The Rutan shape-changing elite are made to learn Sontaran as a default form.
Sontar Sand Shrews are tiny, black and furry and native to the deserts of Sontar; because food is scarce there, they have evolved to eat virtually anything and can devour a human in less than a minute.
The Doctor carries a torch in his pocket. He wears rubber boots here.
The Rutan charges the TARDIS with electricity here, melting the key when the Doctor tries to open the door. He gets back inside by clicking his fingers to open the door (see Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead).
Links: The Doctor is travelling alone, setting this story somewhere between The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End and The End of Time . The Doctor recalls the events of The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky. Horror of Fang Rock.
Location: BASE, Britain, the early twenty-first century.
Future History: BASE is the British Academy for Sporting Excellence and is a training camp for gifted athletes hoping to compete in the Globe Games.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has just left the planet Pootle, where the Sharks are three metres tall and have guns.
The Bottom Line: Quite good, with Rayner packing just enough plot into the short page count to keep things interesting, whilst using both Sontarans and Rutans to good effect.