Doctor Who/Recap/S16/E01 The Ribos Operation
The Doctor: Ah! You want me to volunteer, is that it? And if I don't?
The White Guardian interrupts the Doctor's puttering around in the TARDIS to give him a quest: find all six segments of the Key To Time before... well, there's a deadline, but it's not entirely clear when it is. But sooner would be better.
True to form, the White Guardian gives the Doctor some supernatural aid.
Her name is Romana.
She's a still-wet-behind-the-ears Time Lady, fresh out of the Time Lord Academy, where she acquitted herself rather better than the Doctor ever did. And she can out-smug the Doctor.
Romana reads the TARDIS Owner's Guide and effects a perfect materialisation on the icy, remote, pre-contact world of Ribos, location of Plot Coupon #1. They quickly track it to the royal bling room, where it's been disguised as a huge glowy blue lump of jethrik, an incredibly rare and expensive subtance.
But all is not as it seems. The jethrik has been planted there by one Garron: ostensibly a real estate agent showing the planet to a client (the Graff, a psychopathic ex-dictator), but really a Snake Oil Salesman trying to trick the Graff into paying an inflated price for the allegedly jethrik-rich planet.
It works, and the Graff's million-opek down payment is stored in the royal treasury for the night. The Genre Savvy will not be surprised to learn that, next morning, the money and the jethrik is gone, and the guards have no idea what the Graff Vynda-K is ranting about.
- Aliens Speaking English: A peculiar variant. Garron affects a strong Somerset accent as part of his con, apparently to sound like more of a rube. The Doctor identifies it as such, and goes so far as to wonder why an accent specific to a few counties on an Insignificant Little Blue Planet is being heard on Ribos. It eventually turns out that Garron is either a native of Earth, or spent some time there in the past.
- Blue Rocks: The jethrik.
- The Caligula: The Graff Vynda-K.
- Cosmic Keystone
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: The opening encounter with the White Guardian.
- Did You Just Scam The Caligula?
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Ribos looks a lot like old Russia. This may be why it looks so damn cool. That or good World Building. Or both.
- Fate Worse Than Death: The White Guardian hints at one (see page quote)
- Feudal Future: On another planet, with pre-industrial technology.
- Gotta Catch Em All: The different parts to the Key to Time
- Grenade Tag
- Grim Up North: The universal cover story for aliens visiting Ribos is to claim to be "from the North," where the winters are harsher and there are fewer settlements.
- Hidden Wire
- Incredibly Obvious Bug: averted - but the Graff finds it anyway.
- Landmark Sale: Mentioned as part of Garron's back story. Apparently he once sold Sydney Harbour when he was still on Earth.
- Large Ham: Garron, the Graff Vynda-K, and the Seeker
- Light Is Not Good: The White Guardian claims to be Good, to balance the Black Guardian's Evil, but we don't know.
- One Last Job
- Plot Coupon: The parts to the key of time.
- Prophecies Are Always Right
- Really 700 Years Old: Romana gives her age as about 140 years old - a mere time tot!
- Seers: The Seeker
- Those Two Guys: Garron and Unstoffe
- The Shill: Unstoffe
- Snake Oil Salesman: Garron
- Vindicated by History: Unstoffe tells Binro the Heretic that he will be vindicated in his claims about astronomy and Ribos being one of many planets in the universe.
Unstoffe: Someday, even here, people will look at each other and say: "Binro was right!"