The story of an artefact that Braxiatel never got
Recently emerged opportunity to get away from the Collection Braxiatel considered almost with a relief. Without doubt there were a lot of advantages in this unperturbed life at the Collection. Nevertheless immeasurable amount of paperwork sometimes just cancelled out all the advantages of this life style. What can be better then a brief trip with the intention to collect some artefacts, to strike up new acquaintances, or simply to get somewhere where was no need to encounter never-ending number of students with their innumerable problems.
Meeting with the sellers supposed to take place, as it usually happens in similar situations, on one of those thinly populated planets located on the neutral territory. As far as Brax could remember, this territory was declared neutral only few years ago after devastating war that occurred on that sector of the Galaxy.
When Braxiatel arrived, he noticed that his sellers had already managed to settle rather comfortably. He could see a huge warehouse that obviously wasn’t constructed in one day. Apparently these people have a lot to offer to affluent art lovers.
Without a long preliminary talk inconspicuous looking man, who had greeted famous collector on the landing spot, led his way to the centre of the warehouse. According to attendant’s comment that was the place where most of the statues were held, as well as the one that attracted Braxiatel’s attention. On his way Irving observed few almost empty badly illuminated rooms, containing some suspiciously looking cased equipment, furniture, and boxes only part of which were unpacked. Almost at the end of their journey, inconspicuous looking man’s phone started ringing repulsively. Evidently this call was so important that Brax was left alone with all these priceless works of art. Nevertheless Irving was sure that this place was full of diverse types of detectors, sensors, hidden cameras and possibly bugs. At least unlike the other rooms this one was well illuminated giving the opportunity to examine everything in detail. Though even that kind of engaging atmosphere did not allow Braxiatel to relax. He tried to block mentally this annoying groundless feeling of uneasiness, assigning this anxiety to inconspicuous looking man, whose monotonous jabber reached his ears from the corridor. Observing all the statues he briefly regretted that he didn’t take Benny along. Benny, who could tell him more than any encyclopedia about these treasures. However, at that particular moment he preferred silence to all the knowledge in the world. As he briefly glanced over all sculptures he already was about to devote all his attention to the one he was going to acquire, however tall angel’s statue standing near the further wall was insistently drawing his attention. Only after making a few steps in its direction he understood what this was all about.
Object: rune drum
Place of origin: Earth
Time: 18th Earth century
He heard her. This time very close. In fact, too close to ignore.
- Brax! Where are you?
Braxiatel sighed heavily.
- In here, Bernice. Storage room to your left.
When Benny entered the storage room to her left she found the esteemed collection owner Irving Braxiatel down on the floor, surrounded by plastic containers and heaps of paper, his suit coat and tie flung over the chair back, his sleeves rolled.
- Brax, what are you doing? – she smiled, amused, though not surprised by this view.
- Catching up. There appear to be several items that arrived, but remained unexamined and undescribed due to the cataloguing system’s failure.
- Yeah, I’ve checked it today, it still isn’t working. What’s exactly wrong with it? Have you find the fault yet?
- There is no actual fault, - Brax started violently tearing the containers open. – I’m doing the reconfiguration.
- Can’t you reconfigurate it without dropping it?
- Apparently not. – He finally made his way through all the clamps and tossed away the plastic lid. – Why do you need it anyway? You’ve hardly ever touched it before!
- Oh, Brax, I’m bored! Seriously, all this research work and writing – it drives me crazy. I want some good old digging, an adventure!
- Here, - Braxiatel put on the containers in front of Benny. – you can deal with this. I wouldn’t mind someone helping me out here with all these divine pieces of art.
Benny gave a helpless moan.
- That’s not exactly what I had in mind.
Braxiatel looked at her suggestingly and raised his brow. Benny sighed heavily and sat down to the box.
- What’s the period?
- Various. And there are also cards with objects description in the separate section of each container. Please, take some pains to copy the description into the collection register, will you?
Benny opened the container, removed the protective material and gave an exclamation of surprise and delight:
- Now, that’s what I call an object of art!
She carefully got out of the container an oval object made of some animal skin and all covered in ancient ornaments and symbols.
- That’s… - Benny grabbed a card out of the container. – that’s a drum. Earth, Sami, 18th century. Oh, this is amazing! Brax, just look at all this pictograms!
- Yes, Bernice, I’ve seen them – I chose the piece personally.
- And it’s in perfect state!
- Yes, but Please, Benny, you should still better be careful this it – it comes from Bildjon… And copy the description into the register.
- Oh, never mind that! It’s gorgeous! It was for some ritualistic purposes, wasn’t it? Like calling for rain or… attracting some proper attention from their gods. – Benny laughed heartily at a sudden thought. – Brax, you could use it to call for some computer friendly spirits! Perhaps they would help you with the cataloguing system!
Braxiatel frowned, but Benny jumped to her feet, drum in her hands:
- All you need to do is to hold it like that and just hit your other hand on it and produce a lot of noise…
Benny swung her arm, then hit the drum - but no thump followed. Instead there was a loud crack of torn lether. Benny froze.
- Oh, Benny, I’ve told you not to do this.
- But Brax, I hardly even touched it!
- Well, probably, my supplier didn’t keep it in the necessary conditions – Bildjon can be rather careless in this.
- Oh, Brax, I’m so sorry. And I shall talk to Bildjon at once and find out what he has been doing to his artifacts. I’ll get you a refund! And if I can’t I’ll get you another one of these!
The last words came already from the corridor, Bernice walking hurriedly towards the communicator. Braxiatel sighed. He put the drum back into its container, then took the info card and made necessary corrections:
Place of origin: Earth
Time: 18th Earth century
State: perfect damaged
Cause of damage: natural disaster, specifically Bernice Summerfield being bored.
(dedicated to my bro, who is a programmer ))
So… now I can finally talk about a couple of projects that we completed back in January, both of which reunited me with the lovely Bernice Summerfield.
Having said my farewells to her with the last Big Finish box set - Missing Persons - I genuinely thought my time with her had come to a close. Then, one day, just towards the end of November, I had a lovely e-mail from David Richardson asking if I’d be up for doing The Highest Science (an adaptation of Gareth Roberts’ New Adventures novel) at the beginning of January, produced by the equally lovely Cavan Scott. Obviously, I bit his hand off!
A few days later, I had another e-mail asking if I could do the next Bernice Summerfield box set, guest starring the Seventh Doctor and Ace, and produced by the spectacular James Goss. I’ll be honest, it could have been awkward - the previous keeper of the range coming back to work alongside his successor - but I couldn’t have been happier. James is a brilliant, brilliant man, and a fantastic producer, and the stories that are coming up are genuinely thrilling. So nice to sink my teeth into something as a director with just a finished draft to worry about!
And the casts! I’ve been very lucky with these… As announced on the Big Finish website, The Highest Science features Daniel Brocklebank and James Baxter (both of whom I’ve worked with before, most notably on Imaginary Boys for Radio 4), alongside Sinead Keenan (Being Human) and Tom Bell (Wizards vs Aliens). And a few more people too…!
Then the new box set - Doctor Who: The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield - allowed me even more fun. In that, we have guest stars like Miles Jupp, John Finnemore, Matthew Gravelle, Colin McFarlane and Sheila Reid, all playing roles you wouldn’t normally expect them to play. I couldn’t be more chuffed with what we have in store. I was thrilled the moment I heard James was taking over the range - but to come back and work alongside him has been nothing short of a treat!
Out in June, the box set details can be found here - http://bigfinish.com/ranges/coming_soon_reverse/doctor-who-the-new-adventures-of-bernice-summerfield - with The Highest Science following in December: http://bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-highest-science-1038
”Sorry, who are you again?” Bernice asked finding things slipping away from her as she lay there after getting in the way of that Dalek. She thought she knew him but it was hard to think. Someone from her past? Such a long time ago.
Blood continued seeping out of her, and feeling ever so weak. Weak and cold and a desperate need to sleep.
The Doctor tried to stop the blood, pressing the enormous wound carefully. “Hey, it’s me. The Doctor,” he said, trying to keep his voice calm.
"Benny, I know you want to sleep. Please don’t do it. Stay with me. Keep talking to me." He stroke her hair with his less bloody hand. "Please."
" I traveled with you," she bit her lip though the pain, finding even talking much hurt, as did breathing. "Am I going to die?" she winced feeling so helpless right now.
Her own mother died from a Dalek attack and now it was going to happen to her.