First Frontier

Roots: The X-Files and generic alien conspiracy theory. There is a Rocky Horror Show joke, and a Monty Python joke ("tennis-playing blancmanges"). Tzun culture is inspired by the teachings of Sun Tzu. The Nykortny launch centre, where the first Russian satellite is launched from, was named in Ian Marter's novelisation of The Invasion. The fungal race from Yuggoth is a Lovecraft reference.

Memorable Moments: The scene in which the Master reveals his true identity to Bernice.

Continuity: The Master escaped to Earth from the Planet of the Cheetah People with the aid of a Kitling (whom he named Shadow) just as the planet exploded. The explosion released a large amount of artron energy in the planet's magnetosphere (which was responsible for the planet's ability to metamorphose living matter), boosting the Master's transmigration back in time 32 years and leaving his body filled with metamorphic energy (hence he is still mutating into a Cheetah Person, whereas at the end of Survival Ace was not). [The subsequent work of Mike Tucker renders this back-story apocryphal - Q. v. The Master]. The Master interrupted the real first soviet satellite launch (the official first launch was actually the second), used it to send a distress signal to the Tzun Canton on Zeta Reticuli Four and offered to assist in the integration of Earth into the Tzun Confederacy. In return he asked for passage off Earth and the use of the Tzuns' genetic engineering skills to cure his transformation, which they do by using nanites to breakdown the Cheetah-corrupted Trakenite DNA in his cells and restructure it. As a result, he gains a new regenerative cycle, although he forced to use a regeneration when Ace shoots him. He uses his TCE for the first time since Trial of a Time Lord part 14, and it once again shrinks its victims, which it apparently did not during The Mark of the Rani. He regains his TARDIS (which he had left on Antari Three when he had been forced to leave Antari Two in a hurry whilst fomenting war between the two planets) by using Tzun technology to construct a Stattenheim Remote Control. His TARDIS is once more in the shape of an Ionic Column when it is recovered, and it later takes on the appearance of a both a filing cabinet and a black Edsel. The Master fails to hypnotize Ace and Bernice. He has read Benny's paper on the foundations of Martian Feudalism.

The Tzun originate from the planet S'Arl. They broke out into space 25 millennia ago and fought a fungal race called the Darklings from the planet Yuggoth. Although they won, they were left with corrupted DNA and a fragile genome. They perfected genetic engineering to a high degree and they integrate new species into the Confederacy by combing their DNA with theirs. The species is split into three sub-species; The S'Raph are small grey humanoids with big heads and black eyes, which have been altered to react to infra-red and ultra-violet frequencies. They have collapsed lungs, recycle body waste, and have had their blood replaced with an artificial polymer-based substance to double as a shock-absorber; The Ph'Sor are made by combining Tzun DNA with that of the race whose planet they are colonising; and finally the pure bloods are genetically unaltered Tzun, a trio of whom usually accompany any major operation. The pure bloods are native to a blue spectrum and so would be blinded by Earth's sunlight.

Tzun technology is based on terullian. Their mother ships are mile-long glade-shaped craft named Storm-Blades. They have saucer-shaped scout ships which ride gravity waves. The Tzun can suppress human memories.

Bandraginus Five was a shipyard for the Vegans and was destroyed by Zanak circa 1980. Collactin orbits a red super giant. The Nestene Consciousness controls a sector of the Tau Quadrant.

The Doctor's TARDIS dates from an era when Time Lord engineers were more innovative and used to cross circuits and functions.

The Doctor hypnotizes an abductee. Ace can fly a Hercules (but not land it) - she used to occasionally fly an assault hopper in Spacefleet. He uses the alias Dr Jon Smythe.

The Doctor, Benny and Ace stay in a Motel, which the Doctor decides he will book by going back in time after they leave. He attributes many UFO sightings to historians from the future and "a rather odd bunch of Sidhe who inhabit the upper dimensions of Earth's timeline". Because Ace and the Master are the only survivors from the Planet of the Cheetah People they can detect each other's presence, although Ace does not at first realise what it is she is sensing. It is implied that Time Lords do not have reproductive organs [which contradicts The Mark of the Rani - perhaps the Master's vulnerable groin in that story is due to his half-Trakenite body].

The Doctor has previously told Benny about the Master. She saw the Carlsbad Caverns c2457 and excavated a series of 500-foot towers on Metaluna.

Ace is several months away from her 27th birthday. She flew Spacefleet assault hoppers in the Dalek wars and can fly a Hercules transport. She still carries plastique.

Links: References are made to Survival, The Pirate Planet (which is stated to have taken place in 1978) and The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. The Doctor again refers to the feeling of unease he gets when Daleks are around (The War Machines).

Location: Corman Air Force base, New Mexico; Holloman Air Force Base at White Sands, New Mexico; Elephant Butte reservoir; Washington DC; and a Tzun Storm Blade in orbit above America, from the fourth of October, 1957.

Future History: The Tzun Confederacy is destroyed in 2172 by the Veltrochni (a race of arboreal, oviparous mammals) after they accidentally destroyed a hatching ground on Veltroch, the second planet of Fomalhaut [see The Dark Path and Mission: Impractical]. The Plasma rifle is invented on Earth on 2024.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Tzun Confederacy is destroyed in 2172 by the Veltrochni (a race of arboreal, oviparous mammals) after they accidentally destroyed a hatching ground on Veltroch, the second planet of Fomalhaut [see The Dark Path and Mission: Impractical]. The Plasma rifle is invented on Earth on 2024.

Q.v. The Master, Prime Time; Benny's Birthday, Love and War.

The Bottom Line: The Tzun are one of the best alien races to come out of the Doctor Who novels and the Master's return to form is superbly handled.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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