Doctor Who:
The Olympian Experiment

by Robin Gordon

Sarah Jane Smith & the Doctor

Episode 3

Auksford crest: great auk supporting a book with the legend "Ex ovo sapientia"
- Auksford 2008 -

Copyright Robin Gordon, 1976 / 2008

SCENE 32 (continued)

The sounds of a Tardis taking off are heard.  Sarah swings round in wild alarm.

SARAH:  Doctor!  The Tardis!

The Doctor is unconcerned.

DOCTOR:  It’s all right, Sarah.

He indicates the Tardis, still where they left it.

SARAH:  But … how did you know?

DOCTOR:  Do you think I don’t know the sound of my own Tardis?  Come on!

He leads the way back to the Tardis.

SARAH:  Another Tardis?  But where?

DOCTOR:  Who would notice an extra rock among this   lot?

They re-enter the Tardis and close the doors.  The Tardis takes off.

* * *


A hilly landscape on the planet Circe.  A sprawling vine with spikes of white flowers and sparse bunches of fruit, covers the ground.  The rock which was in the docking bay of the Olympos materialises with the typical sound of an elderly Tardis.  A door opens in its side, and Odysseus, Eurylochos and Elpenor come out looking bewildered. They look around then turn in surprise as they hear the sound of a Tardis taking off.  The rock disappears.

ODYSSEUS  [to Elpenor]:  That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into.  Will you never learn not to insult people before you know who they are?

ELPENOR:  He was a barbarian – wearing breeches like the wild men of the north.

ODYSSEUS:  You must learn not to judge by appearances.  Breeches or not, his magic has banished us to the fields of asphodel where the shades of the unhappy dead walk amid the pale flowers.

ELPENOR:  There are fruits too, my lord.

EURYLOCHOS:  I don’t think we can be dead, my lord, unless the dead feel hunger for mortal food.

Elpenor picks one of the fruits and sniffs it.  He touches it with his tongue and is about to put it into his mouth.

ODYSSEUS:  Wait!  What do you think, Eurylochos?  Is it safe?

EURYLOCHOS:  I’ve never seen a vine like this.

ODYSSEUS:  If this is not the land of the dead, the natives must eat something.  Better wait and see what it is they eat.

ELPENOR:  And starve to death in the mean time?  No!  Do you think the gods would save us from shipwreck just to poison us?  I’ll take the risk.

Elpenor eats the fruit.
ELPENOR  [chewing]:  Mmm!  Good!

Eurylochos looks enquiringly at Odysseus.
ODYSSEUS:     Let’s see what effect it has on Elpenor.

ELPENOR:  I’m still perfectly all right.

Elpenor staggers.

ELPENOR:  Ah!  Odyssysseuss … sss …

Elpenor falls.  The others try to raise him.

ELPENOR:  …’s not time to ge’ up ye’ … Mmmmm … Aaaargh!

Elpenor clutches his stomach in a spasm of pain, then he relaxes humming nonsensically.  Then while the others are speaking in the next part of the scene, he alternates between relaxed sleep and bouts of pain in which he clutches his stomach or threshes about wildly.  Odysseus and Eurylochos look at him in helpless perplexity.  The Doctor and Sarah come up behind them.

DOCTOR:  You really should be more careful what you eat.

Odysseus and Eurylochos rise to their feet.  Odysseus mutters something to Eurylochos as the Doctor advances to look at Elpenor.  Suddenly Odysseus and Eurylochos attack and capture the Doctor.  Sarah rushes forward but is flung aside and falls among the vines.  She gets up shaking her head dazedly and watches as Odysseus and Eurylochos force the Doctor to kneel beside Elpenor with a knife at his throat.

ODYSSEUS:  Now, Magician, take us back to the world of living men, or you die!

DOCTOR  [half strangled]:  That's exactly why I’ve come.  If you’d just loosen your grip a little …

ODYSSEUS:  Oh no, we’ve heard of you before, Proteus.  Before we knew it you’d turn into a swallow or a fish and slip through our grasp.

DOCTOR:  There’s not much water here for a fish, nor is there a crock of gold at the end of my scarf.

Odysseus snarls and makes an angry threatening movement.

SARAH:  Doctor!

Odysseus starts, looks towards her, puzzled then remembers.

ODYSSEUS:  Artemis?

SARAH:  Let him go!  He’s come to help you.

Odysseus loosens his grip and signs to Eurylochos to do the same.  The Doctor, Odysseus and Eurylochos rise.  The Doctor straightens his coat and scarf.

DOCTOR:  That’s better.  Now, if you’d just let me look at your sleeping friend, perhaps we can be on, our way.

EURYLOCHOS  [suspiciously]:  Are you a surgeon?

DOCTOR:  No, but I’ve picked up quite a bit of useful knowledge in my travels.

Odysseus draws Eurylochos aside to talk privately.  The Doctor examines Elpenor.  Sarah kneels at his side.

SARAH:  What are we going to do?

DOCTOR:  What we were sent to do.

SARAH:  Even though it’s him.

DOCTOR:  It’s lucky for me that it was him, and that he recognised you after all this time – and don’t make that joke about its being only today again.

SARAH:  Can you cure him?

DOCTOR:  No.  His mind is completely imprisoned by the drug.  There’s only one thing that will cure it.  We’ll just have to take him back with us as he is and hope Athene can help.

SARAH:  Doctor …

DOCTOR:  Not now, Sarah.  [To Odysseus]:  Tie him up with my scarf, then we’ll carry him back to my … er … ship.

SARAH:  But, Doctor …

DOCTOR:  In a minute, Sarah. This is important.  [To Odysseus]:  Be sure he can’t move his arms or legs.
“Weave a circle round him thrice
and close your eyes with holy dread,
for he on honeydew hath fed
and drunk the milk of paradise.”

While they bind Elpenor, Sarah quietly brings out the blue crystal.

SARAH:  Wouldn’t it be easier to use this?

DOCTOR:  Where did you get that?

SARAH:  You gave it to me.  Of course you were much younger then.

She hands it over.  The Doctor holds it in front of Elpenor’s eyes as he begins to thresh about.  The blue crystal begins to glow, Elpenor quietens and concentrates  on it.  The glow fades and he becomes conscious again.

ELPENOR:  Why am I tied up?

ODYSSEUS:  It’s all right, Elpenor.  [To Eurylochos]:  Untie him.

Eurylochos unties Elpenor.  The Doctor gives the crystal back to Sarah.

ODYSSEUS:  Let me see that.

Odysseus takes the crystal.

SARAH:  Hey!

DOCTOR:  Be careful.  The crystal has power to liberate a mind enslaved, but it can also overthrow a free mind’s reason.

ODYSSEUS:  In that case, I’d better keep it safe.

Odysseus puts the crystal back in its bag and hangs it from his belt.

SARAH:  But …

ODYSSEUS:  And now, perhaps you’ll tell me who you are.

DOCTOR:  I thought you knew: Artemis and her barbarian friend.  We met once before – at Aulis when you were about to sacrifice Iphigeneia.

ODYSSEUS:  Even after ten years I never forget a face. But you're no barbarian, even if your garb is outlandish – and she’s no goddess.

SARAH:  I’m Sarah Jane Smith, and I’m a British subject.

DOCTOR:  And I’m nobody.

ODYSSEUS:  Well, Sarah Jane Smith and Nobody, I am Odysseus King of Ithaca.

SARAH:  And inventor of the wooden horse.

ODYSSEUS:  My name is not quite unknown, I see.  Tell me, Nobody, is this the world of the dead?

DOCTOR:  No. it's a world like many others.
"A savage place!  As holy and enchanted
as e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
by woman wailing …”
but if there are any wailing women here, they’ll be alive just as we are.

ODYSSEUS:  In that case, I invite you to join the Royal Ithacan expedition to explore this world.

DOCTOR  [bowing ironically]:  We humbly thank your royal Majesty.

The Doctor and Odysseus laugh.

ODYSSEUS:  Which way?

The Doctor indicates several ways in rapid succession and chooses the least expected.

DOCTOR:  That way.

They set off.

* * *


On Circe: They come to a distinct, well-used track, pause for a moment to choose their direction, then follow the track.  Elpenor strides out ahead.

* * *


They hear a shout of surprise from Elpenor and hurry forward.

* * *


The track leads directly into the side of the hill.  Where there should be the entrance to a cave, the way is blocked by a massive boulder overgrown by the vine, the sparse-leaved stems of which, with their sad flowers and occasional clusters of fruit, stretch out from one side and almost cover the rock.

ELPENOR:  The track’s blocked.

SARAH:  It must have led into a cave.

ELPENOR:  A fall of rock.

ODYSSEUS:  It’s been there a good while – look at the thickness of the vine.

DOCTOR:  Yet the track is still clearly marked, and there are other signs that it has been used recently.  Look at those marks where something has been dragged along, see, quite sharp and distinct.  And there – those leaves have been broken off very recently.

ODYSSEUS: It doesn’t add up.

DOCTOR:  Unless that massive boulder is a door.  See how the vine grows only from one side, leaving the other free to swing open.

ELPENOR  [scornfully]:  Who could open a door that size?

EURYLOCHOS  [cautiously]:  Maybe giants?

DOCTOR:  Or people who have learned to harness the forces of nature.

ODYSSEUS:  No man can do that.

DOCTOR:  No man in your time, Odysseus, yet you have harnessed horses.  Perhaps your grandsons will harness the power of a stream to turn a stone to grind corn.

EURYLOCHOS  [aside]:  May the river gods forgive him!

ODYSSEUS:  It could be done … with paddles attached to a wheel … then a shaft …

DOCTOR:  He who can harness a stream can harness the wind.

SARAH:  All right, we know it can be done, but how does that solve our problem?

DOCTOR:  The stone is probably delicately balanced so that it can be moved with a minimum of power.  If we can find out how, we may be able to lever it aside.

The Doctor and the Greeks begin to examine the rock and to try to lever it out with their hands, their knives, odd sticks or rock splinters.

SARAH:  Why don’t we all just go home?

DOCTOR:  Oh come on now, Sarah.  You’re spoiling our fun.

SARAH:  I think the king should decide.  He must be dying to see his wife after all this time.

ODYSSEUS:  After ten years, what do a few more hours matter?  Besides, there may be gold in the cave.

SARAH:  Men!

Unseen by them all a crystalline sphere floats over the ridge behind them, moves down towards the valley and comes to rest among a convenient outcrop of rocks from which it can observe them.  It is a Cyclopic Eye.

ODYSSEUS:  It would be easier if we cleared away some of these vines.

ELPENOR:  I’ll do it.

Elpenor draws his knife, seizes a branch of the vine and begins to hack at it.  Immediately all the flowers snap shut, the leaves begin to rattle and a branch twines around his leg and pulls him off balance.  He falls.  Other branches curl around his arms, body and neck.  He threshes around in helpless agony as the vine chokes him.  The others rush to his aid, and, after a brief struggle, succeed in pulling him free.  Elpenor begins to recover, coughing and rubbing his throat.

ODYSSEUS:  We should destroy it.


ODYSSEUS:  It almost killed him.

DOCTOR:  He attacked it first, it only defended itself. Wouldn’t you fight back if someone came at you with a knife?  Besides, I think it’s the key to the cave.

ODYSSEUS:  So if we destroy it we can get in.

ELPENOR  [with hatred]:  Burn it!

Instantly the vine rattles its leaves and writhes towards Elpenor, who is beyond its reach.

DOCTOR:  That proves my point.  The vine can understand us.  Either it can pick up sound or it’s sensitive to telepathy.


DOCTOR:  So when the owner of the cave comes along, he just says "Open Sesame” and the vine does the rest.  Watch!

The Doctor advances towards the vine.

SARAH:  Be careful, Doctor!

DOCTOR  [to the vine]:  I must apologise for this little misunderstanding.  I am afraid my friends and I did not properly appreciate the situation.  You see, we’re not from this planet, and we’ve never encountered a being quite like you before.  Let me assure you that we mean you no further harm.

A branch of the vine writhes slightly towards Elpenor then returns.

DOCTOR:  Elpenor acted in ignorance when he suggested burning you …

The vine rattles its leaves.

DOCTOR:  … he was frightened –  after all, you did almost kill him.  We’ve learned by experience.  All we seek now is your friendship …

The vine relaxes and some of its flowers open.

DOCTOR:  …and your help.  You see we were following this track and we want to carry on    inside the cave.  It really would be very nice if you could open the door for us.

Nothing happens.

DOCTOR:  Come on, you know the sort of thing: "Open Sesame” and all that.

SARAH:  Perhaps it hasn’t read the Arabian Nights.

ODYSSEUS:  Do you really mean you expect this plant to obey you?

DOCTOR:  Why not?  You have servants to guard the door of your palace and open it for you, don’t you?  It’s exactly the same principle.

ODYSSEUS:  It all seems rather far-fetched to me.  But if you say is true, perhaps I’d better try.  I'm used to commanding men, I might as well try my hand at giving orders to a plant.

DOCTOR:  Thank you, general.

ODYSSEUS:    Now look here … er … plant, I am Odysseus, son of Laertes, King of Ithaca and member of the High Command of the Achaian forces.  I order you to open the entrance to the cave.

No response.

ODYSSEUS:  Open the door, or we'll burn you!

The vine snaps its flowers shut, and rattles its leaves. Several branches rise menacingly.

DOCTOR:  Well, obviously it’s never been in the army.

ELPENOR:  Burn it, I say.

The vine rattles and writhes.

DOCTOR:  I don't like the idea of harming a sentient being without good reason.

SARAH:  Let me try.


SARAH:  A woman’s touch.  It’s much more likely to work.

She advances towards the vine.

SARAH:  I’ve never seen such a beautiful vine as you.  I’ve certainly never met any plant half as intelligent as you.  We’re not going to hurt you.  Why don’t you relax?

The vine relaxes.

SARAH:  That’s better.  Why don't you show us your lovely white flowers?

The vine snaps its flowers open.

SARAH:  You must be the most intelligent plant in the whole Universe.  I bet you could even open the cave door for us.

The vine tenses and opens the door.  The massive boulder swings easily on its pivot.  Sarah turns to the others.

SARAH:  See, nothing to it.  Come on.

She enters the cave.  They follow.  The Cyclopic Eye rises from the rocky outcrop and moves towards the cave entrance.  It halts and hovers a short distance away.  The cave door closes.  The Cyclopic Eye moves away.

* * *


Inside the cave.

EURYLOCHOS:  The door’s closed.

SARAH:  That’s all right.  When we want to go out I’ll just ask the vine to open it.

DOCTOR:  I hate to be a wet blanket, Sarah, but I’m beginning to wonder if that plant was obeying you or someone else.

SARAH:  Watch this.  Um, Vine!  Beautiful vine!  Could you open the door again, please?

Nothing happens.
SARAH:  Oh well, I’ll just have to shout a bit louder.

DOCTOR:  It wouldn’t do any good – and I don’t advise anyone to do any shouting until we know what’s at the end of this tunnel.

He leads the way cautiously along the tunnel.

* * *

The end of the tunnel opens into a large lighted cavern around the walls of which are smaller openings, which, though this cannot yet be seen, lead to shallow caves or cells.  The intruders stop in the shadow at the mouth of the tunnel and look around cautiously.

DOCTOR  [to Odysseus]:  It doesn’t look like the sort of place you’d be likely to find a hoard of gold and jewels.

ODYSSEUS:  I don’t know … It’s a bit like an undersea cavern.

DOCTOR:  Poseidon again.

Sarah has gone to look at one of the lights on the rock wall of the cavern.  Suddenly she screams.  The Doctor bounds to her side.

SARAH:  Doctor!  It moved!

DOCTOR:  I’m not surprised.  It is alive, after all.

SARAH:  What is it?

DOCTOR:  A sort of giant glow-worm.  Obviously the owner of the cave uses them for lights.

ODYSSEUS:  We harness horses, he harnesses vines and glow-worms.

DOCTOR:  I’d like to see what’s in those caves.  Careful!

They move cautiously round the wall to the nearest cell, from which is coming a high-pitched humming.  Inside the cell they see an Alpha-Centauran staring into space and humming an Alpha-Centauran tune.

DOCTOR:  How nice to see a friendly face.

The Doctor enters the cell.

DOCTOR:  How do you do?  I don’t think we’ve met, but one of your people was a particularly dear friend of nine: the Ambassador to Peladon.  I don’t suppose you know him, do you?

The Alpha-Centauran continues humming.

* * *


The Alpha-Centauran’s view: a hazy pattern of lights forming kaleidoscopic rhythm, and a comp1ex piece of Alpha-Centauran music with the melody led by the Alpha-Centauran’s humming.  A darker, vaguely Doctor-shaped pattern appears and the words “How do you do?” in the Doctor’s voice are heard.  The rest of his speech is incorporated into the music.

* * *


The Alpha-Centauran’s cell.

DOCTOR:  Poor fellow.  He must be drugged or hypnotised.

SARAH:  Should we use the crystal?

DOCTOR:  It would    probably kill him.  You can never tell what kind of effect it will have on non-humanoids.  Let’s see what else is here.

As they move cautiously round the cavern peeping into the cells, all of which contain non-humanoid creatures, a Cyclopic Eye, hovering near the roof of the main cavern, follows them.

* * *


The chamber of the Forkiads.  Calupso, Ogugia and Nausikaa are seated at a globular crystal similar to the Cyclopic Eye.  Calupso is concentrating on this Cyclopic Screen, in which appears the cavern as seen by the Cyclopic Eye, with the Doctor and his Human companions looking into the cells.  When Calupso  speaks, her voice, like that of every other Circean is thin, reedy, weak, sexless, and weighed down by the immense weariness of near exhaustion that afflicts the whole of that unhappy race.

CALUPSO:  The intruders are in the stables.  Let their presence be made known to the Polyfemos.

Nausikaa sighs heavily and concentrates.

* * *


The Council Chamber of the Polyfemos or High Council of Circe.  A globular Cyclopic Screen is in a prominent position.  The Speaker of the Polyfemos is Aiaia.  He articulates their collective thought while the other members moan in weary agreement or concentration.

AIAIA:  Our quest is hopeless.

They moan sadly.

AIAIA:  In all the Seven Galaxies we Circeans are unique.  Our search for living beings of similar bodily conformation to our own is fruitless.

POLYFEMOS  [moaning]:  Ai … ai …a …

AIAIA:  The Forkiads have discovered alien intruders in the stables.  Let us concentrate.

The Polyfemos moan and concentrate on the Cyclopic Screen.  A picture of the intruders in the cavern appears.  The Polyfemos gasp in astonishment, and the image wavers then steadies.

AIAIA:  Circeoids!

* * *


The cavern or stables.  The Doctor and his companions look into another cell.  The Doctor holds the Greeks back from getting too close.


They peep cautiously into the cave, hiding from its occupants, five Daleks, which are circling their cell muttering to themselves.

DALEKS:  Exterminate!  Exterminate!
We must exterminate all living creatures!
The Daleks will rule the Universe!
We are the supreme beings!
Exterminate!  Exterminate!
Exterminate!  Exterminate!

DOCTOR:  Even if they are drugged, we don’t want to get too close.

The intruders move on to the next cell.  Sarah wanders ahead to another cell.  The Cyclopic Eye follows her.

* * *


The Council Chamber of the Polyfemos.  Aiaia and the other Councillors are looking at the Cyclopic Screen, which shows Sarah entering the cell, at the mouth of which is perched a beautiful creature like a bird of paradise.  Sarah approaches it.

AIAIA:  The Circeoids do not recognise all dangers.

The Polyfemos sigh.

AIAIA:  Shall the intruder hear the song of the Siren?  Let us awaken the Siren.  Let it wither this creature’s life and drink its blood.

The Polyfemos concentrate and moan.  The Siren raises its head revealing a beautiful face.  It fixes its eyes on Sarah and opens its mouth in song.  She is entranced and bends towards it.

AIAIA:  The alien is under the spell of the Siren.  Let the Cyclopic Eye move closer.  Let the Polyfemos see death strike.
The image on the Cyclopic Screen zooms in closer to Sarah.  She is in a trance.  As she bends closer to the Siren it unfurls its wings, revealing cruel claws which it prepares to plunge into her neck.  At the same time its gently parted soft lips are drawn back to reveal sharp fangs eager for her throat.  Sarah remains blissfully entranced and moves closer.

Suddenly she is hurled aside by the Doctor who has seen her danger end dived to her rescue.  The Siren’s claws close on empty air and it screams in fury and beats its wings in rage.

The Polyfemos gasp in astonishment.

* * *

The cavern.  The Siren is screeching with rage and beating its wings.  Gradually it subsides and goes back to sleep without following the Doctor and Sarah or attacking the Greeks who have rushed to defend their friends and are facing the Siren with drawn knives.  The Doctor and Sarah get to their feet.

SARAH:  What happened?

DOCTOR:  You almost become a Siren’s dinner.  It seems to have gone back to sleep, so we might as well see what else there is in this interplanetary zoo.  Come on, and don’t get too close to anything.

The Doctor leads the way jauntily along the cavern.

ODYSSEUS:  Ought we not to keep to the shadows?

DOCTOR:  There’s no point.  They’ve had their eye on us for some time now.  Hadn’t you noticed?

The Doctor indicates the Cyclopic Eye, then leads the way onward.  Sarah stops, looking ill.

DOCTOR:  Come on!

SARAH:  Yes, I … Oh, that’s better – Aahh!

Sarah staggers. They leap to her side.  She recovers.

SARAH:  It’s all right.  I just felt suddenly dizzy – almost as if a gust of wind knocked me off my feet.

* * *


The Council Chamber of the Polyfemos.  They are watching the Cyclopic Screen on which they see the Doctor and the Greeks attending to Sarah.  The Greeks fetch a suitable piece of metal from a nearby pile of spaceship debris so that she can sit on it.

AIAIA:  That was a force of 145 romins, but it scarcely moved the smallest of the aliens, yet the big circeoid moved it easily.  We are amazed at their physical strength, but even so, their minds will not stand against us.  No mind can stand against us.  We are the Polyfemos of Circe.  Let us concentrate.

The Polyfemos moan and concentrate.  On the Cyclopic Screen they see the intruders stagger, put their hands to their heads, reel and drop.  The Cyclopic Eye zooms in for a closer look at the intruders.  It comes to Sarah.  Her inert form is moved slightly.  A massive, pincer-like claw has grasped her.  The image moves back to show that she is in the grip of a huge alien creature shaped like a giant beetle.

* * * * *

Doctor Who: The Olympian Experiment: Index

Episode 4

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Auksford Index

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