by Robin Gordon
- Auksford 2008 -
to Doctor Who: The Olympian
Experiment. -- Index to Robin Gordon's works
A mountain-side overlooking plain and sea. The sun is shining, there is
no wind. The heat is oppressive. On a level surface, close to a
flat-topped stone resembling an altar, the Tardis materialises
* * *
Inside the Tardis. The DOCTOR and SARAH
SARAH: Have we arrived?
DOCTOR: Mmh? Oh, yes.
The Doctor peers anxiously at various dials
DOCTOR: Well what?
SARAH: Aren't you going to open the door?
DOCTOR: Not just yet. There's a slight
SARAH: Another malfunction!
DOCTOR: Not exactly a malfunction.
SARAH: Honestly Doctor, you ought to trade this
thing in for
a new one.
The central control-panel emits a sound like a sigh
DOCTOR: I wish you wouldn't say such
Sarah. You'll hurt the old girl's feelings.
SARAH: Oh come on!
Sarah switches on the viewing screen
SARAH: It is
Earth, I suppose?
checking controls]: Oh yes, it is Earth all
SARAH: Are you sure? Look at the
DOCTOR: Well it gets hot in Greece at this time
of the year.
SARAH: Greece? Oh, well that's alright
then. We'll take a train to Athens and fly back...
The Doctor is shaking his head
SARAH: … not fly back to London?
DOCTOR: At the time of the Trojan war?
SARAH: That's all we need! Soldiers
place with swords and spears and bows and arrows and wooden horses and
DOCTOR: Don't worry, you'll be all
right. A woman's
worth five oxen in any market nowadays.
SARAH: Oh very funny. How about trying
to get us
back to UNIT HQ?
DOCTOR: I think that's going to be rather more
SARAH: I knew it: the Tardis has conked out.
DOCTOR: Wrong again.
adjusting controls]: Well, the problem is,
a forbidden zone. I don't think they can have been on the
when we landed, but as soon as we try to take off we'll simply be
reflected back by the force-field, to land, with all the alarm systems
going full blast, in a very unpleasant situation.
SARAH: What are we going to do?
DOCTOR: Stay here, and hope the camouflage still
He pulls a switch. The Tardis protests, whirrs and shudders
* * *
Outside the Tardis. The Tardis creaks and whirrs for a moment, then
shimmers into invisibility without the noise of a take-off
* * *
Inside the Tardis
SARAH: Nothing's happened.
DOCTOR: Oh yes it has: we're invisible.
SARAH: How do you know it's worked?
DOCTOR: Look at the screen, Sarah. Don't you
DOCTOR: What about the Tardis's shadow?
SARAH: It's gone.
DOCTOR: That's how I know we're invisible.
SARAH : So what do we do now? We can't
here for ever.
DOCTOR: No more than a couple of
hours. This sort
juggling with light waves represents quite a strain on our energy
banks. And don't forget the Tardis hasn't been properly
for two or three centuries. I must remember to do something
SARAH: Yes but what about getting us out of here
caught. And you still haven't told me who we're hiding from.
DOCTOR: Never mind that now, Sarah.
I've got to do
some thinking, that's all. Ah!
SARAH: You've got an idea?
DOCTOR: No. But while you've been chattering,
finding out our exact position, and theirs.
SARAH: Does that help?
with his yo-yo]: Probably not.
SARAH: I thought you said you were going to
with his yo-yo]: I used to have a
flute. I wonder what happened to it.
SARAH: On no, you stick with your
yo-yo. At least
quiet. Anyway, you still haven’t told me who these
DOCTOR: Just leave all that to me, Sarah. The
less you know
it the better. Why don't you go and find a nice ancient Greek
dress from the wardrobe. It might come in useful.
The Doctor smiles and continues playing with his yo-yo.
* * *
Outside the Tardis. A sad procession comes up the hill:
priest of Artemis and his assistants, Iphigeneia, drugged and supported
by her maidens, Agamemnon, Odysseus, and other commanders of the
Achaians. All find the heat oppressive. Iphigeneia
almost unconscious, and smiling. She stumbles from, time to
and would fall but for her weeping maidens. Agamemnon is
trying not to break down. Odysseus is grim.
The procession halts at the stone altar. The priests sprinkle it with
sacred unguents, while the maidens remove the garlands of flowers from
The priests intone a sacred hymn as Iphigeneia is laid on the altar.
* * *
Inside the Tardis. The Doctor lounging on a
bunk. Enter Sarah wearing a Grecian dress.
SARAH: How’s this, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Very nice, Sarah. Turn round.
Sarah whirls to show the back and stops facing the viewing screen.
SARAH: Doctor! Look!
SARAH: People. Outside.
DOCTOR: Where? [He leaps up]
right, Sarah, they’re only humans. They
can’t do us
any harm. They can’t even see us.
SARAH: What are they doing?
DOCTOR: It seems to be some kind of religious
shouldn’t look too close. These things usually
* * *
Through the viewing screen and so outside the Tardis. The
have moved aside to show Iphigeneia lying on the rock. The
priests sprinkle her with unguents. An attendant presents a
to the chief priest, Kalchas, who tests it with his thumb, then steps
up to the altar and raises it to present it to the gods and ask their
blessing on it.
* * *
Inside the Tardis.
SARAH: We’ve got to stop them, Doctor!
DOCTOR: We can’t interfere.
SARAH: We’ve got to do something!
* * *
Outside the Tardis. The chief priest presents the knife to
Agamemnon. The threnody of the priests ceases. In
silence Agamemnon takes the knife, looks at it, then at Iphigeneia,
then presents the knife to the heavens.
AGAMEMNON: Artemis, the sacrifice you desire is
Agamemnon turns the knife and holds it poised above Iphigeneia, ready
Great goddess, thou whose
has kept our fleet becalmed these long, weary weeks, have mercy.
Agamemnon prepares to strike, then pauses again.
AGAMEMNON: Grant us a wind!
Agamemnon glances despairingly around him. There is no sign
any change in the weather. The commanders are murmuring
among themselves. Agamemnon squares his shoulders and
strike. Again his nerve fails. He lowers the
The commanders begin to murmur again. Kalchas the priest
craftily. Odysseus steps to Agamemnon’s side.
ODYSSEUS: You’ve got to do it.
AGAMEMNON: I thought I felt a breeze.
ODYSSEUS: Stop deceiving yourself.
There’s no way out.
AGAMEMNON: Are you sure? The gods
gestures towards Iphigeneia]
ODYSSEUS: What the gods expect no man knows, but
convinced the army they expect the sacrifice of Iphigeneia.
AGAMEMNON: I should never have agreed!
ODYSSEUS: No, but having once agreed you
your word – not if you want to remain commander in chief.
AGAMEMNON: I don’t care …
High King of Mykenai, you have
mobilised the whole of Greece to fight a quarrel that concerned only
your brother, Menelaos. By the Olympian gods,
the honour of our nation on the recovery of Helen from Troy.
We’ve left our harvests, our lands, our homes, our
How many of us do you think will see them again? And you
you meet one set-back, and look at you! Do you suppose this
kingship? You must stick to your decision. Even if
wrong, you must stick to it. Strike now!
AGAMEMNON: I can’t.
ODYSSEUS: If you don’t,
you’ve lost the
They’ll flock to Palamedes. You’ll be
lucky to keep
Mykenai – and don’t expect any help from
I’ll be off back to Ithaca at the earliest opportunity.
You must strike now. Iphigeneia has agreed to
She won't suffer. Look!
Odysseus moves his hand in front of Iphigeneia’s
eyes. She does not respond.
ODYSSEUS: She's one of the lucky
lingering, painful death for her. None of the grief of seeing
loved ones butchered before her eyes. All she'll know of this
senseless war is a, young girl's dream. Strike now, before
drug wears off.
Agamemnon shakes his head.
ODYSSEUS: Look at that crafty smirk on Kalchas'
much do you suppose he was paid for his prophecy? What do you
think he's been promised if Palamedes becomes King of Men?
Kalchas steps forward and raises his hands for silence. The angry
muttering of the commanders dies away.
ODYSSEUS: Aha! Be ready!
Odysseus leaves Agammemnon's side, moves rapidly to Kalchas, takes him
by the arm and firmly moves him aside.
ODYSSEUS: Thank you Kalchas.
Odysseus holds up his arms and stills the murmur of surprise.
ODYSSEUS: Achaians! Lords and princes of the
Warriors who have crossed the wine-dark sea to retrieve the honour of
our nation and avenge the insult offered by the Trojans! Look
upon the noble brow of Agamemnon, King of Men. The gods who
on Olympus demand but little from mean souls. Only from the
do they claim great sacrifices! We have offended against the
of Artemis, and she claims from our commander-in-chief the sacrifice of
a life dearer to him than his own – his daughter
Iphigeneia. The anguish in his heart and the salt tears that
from his eyes are a measure of his sacrifice. Yet he will
it. And when it is made, no god can turn aside from his
prayer. We are assured a fair wind to Troy and the favour of
gods to lead us on to victory. [He gestures towards the
Receive, Artemis, thy sacrifice!
Agamemnon, grimly determined, takes hold of Iphigeneia's hair, tips her
head back and is about to cut her throat, when the Tardis shimmers into
view. The Greeks gasp. The door opens and Sarah
Kalchas falls face down or the ground and grovels. The
commanders and priests drop to their knees, and, all
except Odysseus, cover their faces. He watches as
Sarah goes up to
SARAH: Excuse me, please.
Agamemnon drops his knife and falls to his knees behind the
altar. Sarah bends over Iphigeneia and tries to rouse her.
Finding the girl is unconscious Sarah tries to lift her, but cannot
manage. She moves to a different position to try again and
herself looking straight into the eyes of Odysseus.
The Doctor comes out. He lifts Iphigeneia and carries her
the Tardis. Sarah follows. The doors close and the
shimmers into invisibility. Odysseus scratches his beard
thoughtfully. The other Greeks begin to stir and to mutter
uneasily. Odysseus rises.
ODYSSEUS: Friends! See how the gods have
Agamemnon! He was prepared to sacrifice his daughter,
* * *
Inside the Tardis. The Doctor and Sarah lay Iphigeneia on the
bunk and watch the scene outside on the viewing screen as
Odysseus continues his speech.
ODYSSEUS: ...his knife was at her tender throat. You all
happened next. You all saw how the divine Artemis descended from the
skies and with a sweet, mysterious smile bade him lay aside the
knife. Then she raised the girl from the altar, placed her in
chariot, and sped with her to high Olympos faster than any eye could
follow. Achaians! Victory is promised by this
Agamemnon has the favour of the gods. Let
Ilion’s walls and lofty towers
Agamemnon leads us on to victory!
Odysseus seizes Agamemnon's hand and raises it in a victory
salute. The Greeks cheer. Odysseus leads Agamemnon,
dazed but exultant, through their midst. They crowd around to
clap him on the back and congratulate him, then follow him down the
hill. The priests follow in puzzlement, avoiding Kalchas, who
SARAH: He's got them eating out of his hand.
DOCTOR: He's certainly, got his wits about
Sarah switches off the screen and goes to look at the unconscious
Iphigeneia lying on the bunk.
SARAH: How could they do anything so evil?
DOCTOR: Not evil, Sarah.
SARAH: Human sacrifice not evil?
DOCTOR: Well they think it's the will of the
DOCTOR: Don't mock, Sarah, there are things here
you may not
examines Iphigeneia]: Iphigeneia!
Hmmm. She’ll sleep for quite a while yet.
meantime I think we ought to get out of here.
SARAH: I thought you said...
DOCTOR: Ah, but our friend out there has given me an
There's one place they won’t think of looking for us.
SARAH: Where? Who won't?
DOCTOR: No more questions Sarah. Let's
just say: if
you want to hide from the gods, where better than Olympos?
He sets the co-ordinates.
* * *
The hillside where the Tardis landed. The Tardis shimmers into
visibility, then takes off. Scarcely has it disappeared than
ferocious-looking sea-monster appears on the hillside. A door
its chest opens and Poseidon and Leukothea come out.
POSEIDON: A Tardis!
POSEIDON: Back to the Olympos. I want
They re-enter the sea-monster, which dematerialises with a noise not
unlike that of a Tardis.
* * *
Tardis. Landing takes place.
DOCTOR: Well here we are, Sarah. What
SARAH: I thought you said it was
about the gods?
DOCTOR: Well, it is a crime that carries the
– for a Time Lord.
SARAH: Then why go?
DOCTOR: You know me Sarah. You, know I
control my curiosity. Besides, we can't sit here for ever.
He opens the doors.
SARAH: But what if we get caught?
DOCTOR: Then you just play the dumb Human who
where she is or what she's done wrong.
SARAH: But I don't know.
DOCTOR: Shouldn't be difficult then.
He goes out. She follows.
* * *
The Olympos: the docking bay, a magnificent hall with marble floor and
walls and a lofty ceiling. Around the edges of the hall are a
number of space-time craft disguised in various ways: a gigantic
chariot drawn by golden horses, a thunder cloud, the sea-monster, a
rock covered in seaweed, and the head of the Gorgon Medusa, with large
teeth, protruding tongue and snakes for hair.
The Doctor and Sarah: come out of the Tardis. Sarah is filled
with wonder at the magnificence of the hall and the strange beauty of
SARAH: Where are we, Doctor?
DOCTOR: The docking bay of the Olympos.
SARAH: What marvellous statues.
– Look at
that, it's just an old piece of rock.
DOCTOR: Things are not always what they seem,
Sarah. Ah, that's what I was looking for.
He indicates the Gorgon's head.
SARAH: Ugh! It's... horrible!
DOCTOR: Well, yes, she does have that effect on
people. But I'm very glad to see the old Aegis –
she’s our one hope of getting out of here alive.
DOCTOR: That's right. Come on!
He rushes off. She follows.
SARAH: Aren't you going to make the Tardis
DOCTOR: We’d never find her
again. I wish
give her a less conspicuous shape, but it can't be helped.
this way, I think.
* * *
The Olympos: a corridor. The Doctor and Sarah dodge back and
flatten themselves against the wall as a couple of gods pass
They escape detection and move on cautiously.
* * *
The Olympos: a marble corridor. The Doctor stops
pair of bronze doors. Sarah almost collides with him.
DOCTOR: Look, Sarah. The gallery of
room. I wonder if the gods are in session. Come on.
DOCTOR: Sh! Quietly now.
He opens the door cautiously and slips inside.
* * *
The gallery of the conference room. The Doctor and Sarah
cautiously and peep down into the conference room, where the
* * *
The Olympos: the council of the gods. ZEUS is in the
chair. POSEIDON is concluding his speech.
POSEIDON: … and for those reasons I
recommend to Council the establishment of a permanent research station
ZEUS: Thank you, Poseidon. Athene?
ATHENE: Mr Chairman, it would impossible for me
anything more heartily then I disagree with Poseidon’s
recommendation. Hitherto the most basic principle covering,
dealings with the rest of the Universe has been non-intervention in the
affairs of less-developed peoples, except in those rare instances when
we have been able to avert a catastrophe caused by other outside
interference. Even then we have intervened only after the most careful
consideration and limited our presence to the minimum.
Poseidon’s recommendations, if accepted by Council, would
us to the level of those imperialistic aliens who regard the existence,
of other life forms as an opportunity for conquest and piracy!
Some of the gods nod assent or murmur approval. Poseidon's
supporter growl in disagreement.
POSEIDON: Mr Chairman, we are talking about
ATHENE: Mr Chairman!
ZEUS: Please! Please!
The hubbub dies away.
ZEUS: Thank you. Athene?
ATHENE: Thank you, Mr Chairman.
foresee, even with our science, the full consequences of altering the
history of even the most minor planet in the most minor solar
system. Furthermore, there are strong indications to suggest
Humans have considerable potential, if they are able to achieve
POSEIDON: That is precisely why we ought to take
Zeus waves him into silence
ATHENE: I should like you to consider what might
us if we had been used as experimental guinea-pigs in the early stages
of our development.
Poseidon's supporters mutter jeeringly. Zeus bangs his staff
on the ground for order.
ATHENE: It is far from
name only one race, had the power.
Athene’s supporters nod and mutter approval.
his supporters feel that that this is not only unscientific fantasy but
an insult to their race.
POSEIDON: This is not just
fantasy, it is an insult to our race!
Hubbub. Zeus bangs his staff to restore order.
ZEUS: I think it would be as well for us to
say here will have a considerable bearing on the ultimate decision of
Council. This is not the time to allow ourselves to be
away by passion. Council has established this temporary
station on Earth, and expects from us a balanced and rational
recommendation on whether experimentation should be discontinued or
established on a permanent basis.
ATHENE: I agree that this is a tremendously
decision. We must
recommend non-intervention. As I was
the Osirians, or any other of the powerful ones of old, had interfered
development, it is certain that we should not now be what we
are. We should not be Time Lords.
* * *
The Olympos: gallery of the conference room.
SARAH: Time Lords!
* * *
The Olympus: conference room.
There is someone in the gallery!
ATHENE: Out of the question!
POSEIDON: You know very well who it
is. Well this
gone too far. This is a matter for Proctorial
Excuse me, Mr Chairman.
Poseidon rushes out.
ATHENE: … Mr Chairman
She rushes after Poseidon.
ZEUS: I think we must adjourn the meeting until
such time as
* * *
The Olympos: gallery of the conference room. From
below comes the noise of the Time Lords leaving the meeting.
DOCTOR: I think it's time we left too.
SARAH: But … they’re Time
DOCTOR: Yes, and, like Humans, Time Lords can be
dangerous when they're roused.
He peeps out of the door.
DOCTOR: All clear. Come on.
He ushers her out ahead of him.
* * *
The Olympos: corridor outside the door to the gallery of the conference
room. Sarah comes out. As she appears, the door opposite
and a young, man comes out with almost equal caution. He and
Sarah both start with shock and freeze looking at each other.
* * *
The Olympus: gallery of the conference room. The Doctor jerks
back from the door and flattens himself against the wall behind it.
DOCTOR: Oh dear. The one person I can't possibly
The door opens. Sarah retreats through it. The
Doctor stops her.
DOCTOR: No Sarah! Go out. He
won’t hurt you. I promise. But he must
not know about me.
He pushes her through the door. She goes reluctantly.
* * *
The Olympos: the corridor outside the gallery of the conference
room. Sarah stumbles out of the door into the arms of the
YOUNG TIME LORD: Who are you?
seen you before.
SARAH: Well, I'm a sort of a traveller.
YTL: You're not one of us.
SARAH: No. I’m human.
At this moment the voices of Athene and Poseidon are heard down the
as loudly as possible]: I tell you
quite impossible that there should be anybody in the gallery.
POSEIDON: I know who you’re trying to
He bundles Sarah through the door from which he came and disappears
after her just as Poseidon and Athene come round the corner.
POSEIDON: There! Just as I
ATHENE: I didn't see anyone.
POSEIDON: I don’t suppose you
he won't get
away with spying on the Research Committee. You can tell him
me he'll be up before the Proctors.
Poseidon storms off.
ATHENE: Oh dear. He never could
Athene approaches the gallery door, opens it, looks in and gives a gasp
of surprise. The Doctor comes out with his hands casually
in a gesture of surrendering without fuss.