Roots: Macbeth (kawdor)- the Doctor also paraphrases Lady Macbeth in resolving "to screw my courage to the sticking place" The 'storm pigeon' may be a parody of Marc Platt's Stormcrow. Monty Python's self-defence' sketch ("Pointy sticks")
Technobabble: A meson bodkin is a weapon?
Dialogue Triumphs: "Now, you can come with me and have the faintest chance of survival, or I can leave you to face the wrath of the- er, Wrath."
"Boy meets girl, girl cuts off boy's hand off, girl commits genocide - it's the oldest story in the book"
"Revenge is a frozen meal for one, not a finger buffet to be shared."
"Here I am about to die trapped in an alternate universe and I'm hearing voices! If this my reward for six lifetimes of rigorous rationalism I wish I hadn't bothered!"
Dialogue Disasters: "You're an over-privileged berk with a death wish"
Saw-toothed dremmer eels speak !Kung
Double Entendres: "Don't be soft, Afrid. 'Ent you got it yet?"
"trust in the man beside you and your own right arm"
Continuity: After the events of The Burning Prince House Sorcha fell, and the Drashani Empire collapsed into in-fighting, called 'the Succession of Blood.' Cheni was an infant when Kylo and Aleona died. She was crowned Empress thirty years ago, as a baby. The War with the Wrath began five years previously. The Drashani took prisoners on several worlds and their scientists found a way to regress their minds to an animal state - the Igriss.
The whole Drashani Empire was terraformed using Igriss. The Igriss, the Doctor determines, are base animals and only attack if provoked (the Sharnax ones had been persecuted, leading to them rising against their owners). They are rumoured to have been genetically engineered from species in the Felscar Array
Cawdor has at least three moons and a peak called Karthis. Galdrium is a valuable commodity, with deposits on Cawdor; stoorbuck calves are common currency on Cawdor. They are shorn
Cawdor wedding feast is ale, vats of jellied pillarmies, fatted stoorbucks broiled in the juices of their young. Marriage is like a binding fast and is a ritual pact until death. A storm pigeon is a messenger bird
Kylo fell thirty feet into the marsh, and almost without thinking summoned his telepathic powers to break his fall. As Tenebris he used the scrap fleet of Sharnax to create his Wrath fleet using telekinesis. The atmosphere of Sharnax is acidic, causing his facial corruption over the twenty-five years he spent on the planet, bonding with the Igriss and creating the fleet. Using his psychic powers he 'broke through' to the Igriss, discovering a 'cobweb-thin membrane' from the location of their souls, a "wasteland of the mind", the 'undervoid' which Tenebris likens to Purgatory, and with which he fashioned the Acheron Pulse, a means of turning the Igriss into an unstoppable drone army. Tenebris' right hand is bionic and has a slight delay, which the Doctor notices.
The Acheron Pulse has a range of thirty thousand kilometres and distils the higher brain functions of humans leaving an Igriss in place. It is, according to Tenebris, irreversible
The Doctor describes the Wrath as militaristic, featureless, and burning with rage inside (hence the name. He sends a seemingly reformed Tenebris to a parallel dimension of rolling hills, blue skies, fragrant air within the Calliostro Prismosphere, a corner of reality where worlds are squashed together in space-time, layer upon layer, and where perspectives shift and realities merge. There are moons of fire, vistas of thought, and a world where locals experience through the medium of seafood
The Ballereides constellation is light years from Gaderil Prime
The Doctor is wearing his multi-coloured cloak.
Location: The planet Cawdor, deep in the heart of the Drashani Empire, thirty years after the Succession of Blood.
The Bottom Line: "I've seen a lot of suffering, Tenebris. I've tried to help where I can, but there are times when suffering makes its victim a monster"
If Burning Prince is Androzani re-set, then Acheron Pulse seemingly owes some of its trappings (or at least its matriarchal warrior caste) to Robert Holmes' Mysterious Planet. The saga's space opera trappings finally emerge, and Matt Fitton is given the unenviable middle story task of joining a doomed young lovers plot with the final swashbuckling galactic romp to come. The result is something that's not entirely memorable, although new villains the Wrath help the Star Wars vibe along nicely.