Project: Destiny

Doctor Who: Project: DestinyThe Doctor and Ace rush the critically injured Hex back to his own time, to St. Gart’s, the hospital where the time travelers first met Hex. The TARDIS slips a little too far forward in time, however, and arrives in 2026. St. Gart’s is closed down at the heart of a quarantine zone, and the streets of London are deserted. Using his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor breaks into the hospital and gets ready to operate on Hex himself, only to be interrupted by armored soldiers in the employ of Department C4 – once known as The Forge. Nimrod, now a public figure using his real name or Sir William Abberton, is still in charge, seeking a solution to a widespread mutation of humans into insect-like life forms. In the absence of a cure, Nimrod is happy to treat the outbreak as a pest control situation, and he’s also delighted to learn that the Doctor has never told Hex about how his mother died. When the Doctor himself becomes infected with the mutation, Hex fights to keep the Doctor calm to prevent the mutation from taking hold. Nimrod, on the other hand, wants to see the mutation process first-hand and eliminate his arch-enemy at the same time…

Order this CDwritten by Paul Sutton
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Toby Hrycek-Robinson

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Stephen Chance (Sir William Abberton), Maggie O’Neill (Captain Lysandra Aristedes), Philip Dinsdale (Sergeant Jarrod), Ingrid Oliver (Helen / Oracle)

Timeline: between The Angel Of Scutari and A Death In The Family

Notes: Hex is taken to St. Gart’s Hospital, the near-future hospital where he first met the Doctor and Ace in his first story, The Harvest. Hex’s mother, Cassie Schofield, appeared in the first two Doctor Who audio stories featuring the Forge, Project: Twilight (2001) and Project: Lazarus (2003). The Doctor’s future adventure with Aristedes is chronicled in the 2012 Companion Chronicles release Project: Nirvana.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: The seeds for Project: Destiny were planted as far back as The Harvest, Hex’s first story in the Big Finish audio series, so it’s not unreasonable to say that “it’s all been building up to this.” But something else happened between The Harvest and Project: Destiny that throws things off a bit, and it can best be expressed in a question: where does The Forge fit into a world that already has Torchwood?

Doctor Who: Project: DestinyThis, of course, wasnt even a question between 2001 and 2004, when the original Forge stories and The Harvest were produced by Big Finish, back when they and not the BBC were responsible for the prodigious exploitation of the Doctor Who universe (how soon we forget that era). But now that the TV Who genie is back out of the bottle, with spinoffs in tow, it’s an almost unavoidable question, though the Forge has evolved a bit, becoming the explosively-named Department C4 following the Doctor’s last dismantling of one of Nimrod’s schemes.

The good news about a new Forge story is that Stephen Chance is back as Nimrod, and here he engages in verbal fencing with both the Doctor and Hex. With almost any companion of the seventh Doctor, you can eventually expect a story in which that companion’s faith and trust in the Doctor is sorely tested, and Project: Destiny is Hex’s turn, though Nimrod doesn’t quite get what he wants out of driving a wedge between the time travelers.

The seeds are also planted here for another Forge story, the Companion Chronicles release Project: Nirvana, presumably detailing the dark chapter of the history between the Doctor and Aristedes that’s only hinted at here. (Intentional or not, there’s also a bit of a callback to the early audio story The Shadow Of The Scourge, which also depicts the Doctor’s transformation into an insect.) And there isn’t a clean break where this story nominally ends: it dovetails directly into the next audio story, A Death In The Family, somewhat unexpectedly.

It adds up to a fairly satisfying conclusion to the Doctor’s ongoing battle with Nimrod and the Forge, and ties up the loose ends of Hex’ family history.