Paradise Towers isn’t known for being one of the best Doctor Who stories made over the last fifty years, and I don’t doubt that the majority of fans would willingly surrender it to the great Borusa in the sky in return for the missing episodes of even The Space Pirates (or another suitably naff story of the time). And I’m not going to try and defend it to you, because I agree that it really is pretty poor. However, there was a lot of potential in the story, and some solid ideas were probably buried somewhere beneath the Kangs and the cannibalistic “Rezzie”dents.

The glimpse we get of the very ‘80s promotional video for the titular Towers and the backstory seeded through the final part all begin to add a bit of depth to the story, and perhaps once this “Great” Architect (come on, it’s hardly the Gherkin) wasn’t just a big wobbly brain in the basement. Let’s find out.
   
“Kroagnon leant over his desk, hunching painfully. He felt the cold metal against his grey - once-silver - flaking skin as he scanned briefly a large blueprint plan of a tall, square tower. His nose arched itself up as he spotted a digi-fax ping itself onto his computer screen, set three inches into the desk. Flicking his green screen-readers on with an irritated spasm of the wrist, he pressed a yellow button to the side of the screen. The digi-fax opened up with the graphic of a letter being retrieved from an envelope and he began to read the enclosed text aloud.



“Kroagnon,” a dark, commanding voice slipped the word from within the frail man, “We are writing again to warn you that should you refuse to surre-”

The Great Architect cut off with a snort. “If those fools think they’re going to overrun my towers with youngsters and oldsters, they’re going to be seriously disappointed!” he growled, a matchingly angry expression snarling into life upon his old face.

He covered over the computer screen with a sliding panel and returned to survey the rest of the desk. Suddenly, he spotted what he was looking for: a blueprint of a machine’s internal workings. He studied an electronic motherboard diagram, tracing paths with his finger. He scowled and dropped the paper, pulling off his screen-glasses. On another piece of paper was an engineering drawing of some kind of robot. It was angular and imposing, with various appendages attached to two mechanical arms.

At that moment, a door opposite Kroagnon slid open and one of the contraptions slid in gracefully, as if moving on a bed of air. The only traitor to its entrance was the excessively loud whining of its underpowered motors, dragging the vehicle along slowly. Kroagnon looked up and something approaching a smile cracked his face.



“Ah hello.” he purred at the machine, showing affection for the recycled vacuum cleaner.

It continued to advance towards him, and suddenly a great hydraulic arm hissed from the centre of the unit to display a cuff which was promptly clamped around Kroagnon’s neck.

“No! What are you doing?!” he cried, his face - for some reason - turning a vivid shade of orange. “I created you!”

“Yes, thank you for that Architect 459/7 article 4 subsection 8,” grinned a soft yet gruesome voice, “They will be most useful.”

A man with a curt moustache and beady, piercing eyes was now standing authoritatively in the doorway. This new arrival was wearing a grey hat, with black trim, and a neat uniform to match. He was flanked by two men dressed in similar attire. The grip on Kroagnon’s neck loosened slightly at the nod of the head from the new figure.

“But who are you?” he spluttered weakly.

“I am the Chief Caretaker,” came the confident and swift reply. “Paradise Towers is now in my charge on the order of the government, to be used as a safehouse for the young and old of our society - although I was informed you had been contacted already.”

“You can’t just take it off me!” The Great Architect was now more likely to be known as The Defeated Wreck. “I have worked myself to death to create this building, using only the help of one robot!”

“Financial rewards were offered, Architect 459/7 article 4 subsection 8. I’m afraid you’ve missed your chance now!” The Caretaker summoned one of his accomplices from the doorway and leant menacingly close to Kroagnon whilst addressing the former. “Caretaker 345/12 subsection 2, would you mind escorting Architect 459/7 article 4 subsection 8 and this robot to the Basement for a 111/8 paragraph 001 execution please?”

“Chief.” came the obedient reply, accompanied by a swift bob of the head.

“You cannot do this!” gasped Kroagnon, surely on his last breath by now.

“I’m sorry, Great Architect, but really you’ve left us no choice.” the Chief Caretaker almost sounded apologetic.

With a final last effort, Kroagnon stabbed at a green button under his desk. It glowed for a moment, and then went off. Across the Towers, various booby traps and tools were activated. Caretaker 345/12 subsection 2 accompanied Kroagnon and the robot as they left the room. Once they were gone, the Chief picked up the design for the mechanical monstrosity and studied it. A seal of approval grinning in his eyes, he handed it to the remaining Caretaker.

“Get these into mass production at once,” he ordered.

“Yes chief,” the subservient Caretaker uttered, taking the paper, “but what are they?”

“Need I remind you, Caretaker 543 article 964 subsection 030 that Rule 201/40 subsection 12 expressly forbids questioning the Chief Caretaker’s orders?”

“No, chief, sorry.” the Caretaker murmured, resenting the length of his identification code.

The Chief paused. “But since you ask so nicely, they are to be the Cleaners.”

The inferior caretaker raised his eyebrows with a sense of knowing. “Oh... I see.” And with that, he began keying up on Kroagnon’s computer.

“Data-span link establishing.” came the warm hum of a smug American, emanating from within the machine.
The Caretaker rolled his eyes.
* * *
In the basement, a great concrete door ground open. Beyond it was a cavern of a room, with a central pit in which a brain sat, lifeless. It was easily the size of a family hoverbout. Caretaker 345/12 subsection 2 stopped aghast for a moment, taking in the sight before him. He scrambled for his radio, but suddenly Kroagnon had him in a surprisingly powerful grip.



“You are going to help me.” came the quiet but confident whisper of the Great Architect. His eyes seemed to glow a gentle pink, sucking in the mind of the Caretaker.

“I am going to help you.” came the unsteady reply of his victim.

“This robot is going to release me, and then you are going to ensure that I stay in control of Paradise Towers forever.”

“Kroagnon... Yes, Kroagnon.” The Caretaker turned to the robot, his own eyes now glowing a similar pink, and instructed loudly and clearly, “Release the Great Architect.”

The robot - a ‘Cleaner’ - obeyed. Kroagnon fell to the ground, at the edge of the great mind.

“Hook me up to the machine,” the Architect lay still, his chest barely moving now. His bidding was done and a long thin probe was inserted into each ear. The brain seemed to jump into life, and two electronic eyes formed from fluorescent tubes flickered into life briefly, displaying the same pink pupils as Kroagnon. The Caretaker watched until the Great Architect’s body was finally lifeless and then turned to the brain.

“Feed me the body!” commanded the brain, a newfound strength and power in its voice. “HUNGRY. Next, dope the Caretakers! They must not know of me!”

The Caretaker stepped forward and retrieved a vial from the dead Kroagnon’s top pocket. He pocketed it himself and then heaved the body over to a chute. The corpse slid into it comfortably and the brain seemed to rumble with satisfaction. The Caretaker walked monotonously out of the hideout, making for Kroagnon’s former office. Once he had left, the brain turned its attention to the robot.

“Follow him and once his orders are complete, bring him to me - dead! I am hungry!”

The machine slunk out, the clattering and spluttering still having their effect. The Mind of Kroagnon chuckled evilly. “Nothing can stop me now! Paradise Towers is mine!”
* * *
The Chief Caretaker thanked Caretaker 345/12 subsection 2 for the hot beverage with which he had just been presented, taking a polite sip. His subordinate - 543 article 964 subsection 030 - followed suit before 345/12 subsection 2 slunk out silently.

“Odd fellow.” The Chief said, somewhat puzzled. Suddenly, his body shook and then blinked several times rapidly. Caretaker 543 article 964 subsection 030 did the same and then looked up from the computer to his Chief. He held up the diagram of the Cleaner.

“What am I doing with this again, sir?”

The Chief frowned. “I say. Now what’s that? Looks most curious. Where did you find it?”

The Caretaker looked confused, as if he knew but couldn’t quite remember. “I... I don’t know Chief.”



“Hmm.” the Chief studied it. “Interesting creation. I tell you what, theyd be perfect for the Cleaners! Get them into mass production at once!”

“Very good, Chief.” he began to dial into the computer once more.

“Oh,” the Chief turned on his heel, “any sign of that ‘Kroagnon’ about the place?”

“Not that I’ve heard, Chief.”

“Hhm.” mused the Chief. “Oh well, he’s evaded us again.”


© Copyright Dave Spilsbury, Simon Brett & Doctor Who Online, 2013.
Page Updated: 4/5/2013



Written by:
Dave Spilsbury

Artwork by:
Simon Brett


















Doctor Who is © Copyright to the BBC. No infringement intended.