Tales from /lost+found 109: Golden Age

2×12 February 6, 1998
GOLDEN AGE (Serial 20, Episode 4)

Setting: New Orleans, Louisiana, Near-Future
Regular Cast: Hugh Laurie (The Doctor), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Lizzie Thompson)
Guest Starring: Jonathan Frakes (Blackwood), Bruce Harwood (Swift), Ted Raimi (Dr. French), Dean Cain (Adam Neuman) Paul Eckstein (Voskar)

Plot: Lizzie awakens aboard a space ship, where she is told by its commander, Adam, that she has been in suspended animation for a hundred years, and is currently on a colony ship approaching an Earth-like planet to establish a new civilization. Lizzie becomes suspicious when she recalls the Doctor’s warnings to Rex about the side effects of suspended animation. In New Orleans, the Doctor, Slate and Blackwood search for Lizzie, which eventually leads them to French Technologies. The Doctor recognizes some of the technology they find there as salvage from Jagaroth’s experiments with the time destructor, but is surprised to see Therasapien technology as well. In the space ship, Lizzie finds Adam meeting with Dr. French, who arrives in a space suit, having allegedly space-walked over from a sister ship. When she sees that his scratches have not healed, she follows him out of the airlock, discovering that the “ship” is a simulator. Lizzie takes French by surprise and overpowers him as he confronts the Doctor. French is a radical environmentalist. To save the world from the dangers of global warming, he has built a primitive time machine which will send the unwitting “colonists” millions of years into the past to start over on an unspoilt world. The dinosaurs had been summoned as part of the machine’s calibration process. Swift is part of the conspiracy, having joined French’s group out of guilt after his position as an oil executive exposed him to evidence that the industry had deliberately suppressed evidence of global warming. Voskar comes out of hiding, having been smuggled out of the Therasapien base by Swift. Voskar and Swift had made contact shortly after the Therasapiens awoke, and had plotted the attack as a cover to smuggle Therasapien technology to French. His earlier opposition had been a pose: Voskar wishes to return to his native time, but on his own terms. The Doctor had misunderstood their circumstances; when Greyhorn’s outpost malfunctioned, it caused the other Therasapien shelters to remain in hibernation indefinitely, so Therasapien civilization never awakened after the impact. Voskar plans to travel to the Eocene period and send the activation signal manually, changing Earth’s history so that humanity never evolves. French and Swift are willing to sacrifice humanity so that their colonists can build a better future. The conspirators retreat to the ship and activate the time machine. Blackwood is left behind, but the Doctor and Lizzie are able to fight through the time distortion and enter the ship. The ship is sent back fifty million years, materializing near the entrance to the Therasapien base. With no more use for the humans, Voskar kills French and Swift. He never intended to honor his promise to allow the humans to coexist peacefully with his people. The Doctor, Lizzie, and Adam pursue Voskar into the Therasapien base, but Lizzie goes missing on the way. The Doctor attempts to dissuade Voskar from changing history. Voskar is unswayed, and transmits the awakening signal, but nothing happens. Lizzie appears, and reveals that the base had never malfunctioned in the first place; she sabotaged it. She had easily recognized the sabotage when she first saw the base computers, and discovered a hidden message from her future self giving a cover story to tell. Voskar tries to force Lizzie to undo the sabotage, but in the course of the chase, he encounters his own hibernating counterpart, and the release of temporal energy kills him. With no other way home, the Doctor helps Adam and the other colonists into spare hibernation chambers, where they will awaken with the Therasapiens a century in their own future. The Doctor modifies his and Lizzie’s chamber to activate early, allowing them to discretely slip out during the events of “In Cold Blood”. The Doctor is upset that Lizzie’s sabotage affected the entire Therasapien race, but acknowledges that she had no choice thanks to the predestination paradox. They recover the TARDIS and meet up with Blackwood, from his perspective, only minutes after they left. While skeptical about their story, he contacts his superiors with the recommendation that a permanent taskforce be established to deal with similar matters in the future.

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