Roots: Beowulf, Lysandra refers to Occam's Razor. Ace calls Sally 'Private Benjamin' and 'Sergeant Barbie' and Hex "Nurse Ken", Garundel 'Kermit", and refers to the Monster Raving Loony Party. Sally's "Black TARDIS down" references Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down. The Doctor quotes The Godfather ("an offer I couldn't refuse") and (apparently) William Morris' translation of Beowulf chapter XXI ("Oh wise of men mourn not, for to each man 'tis better that his friend he yreke than to weep over much")
Intertextuality: Sally's comment about going with the Doctor and Lysandra to "somewhere icy" before the Time Lord disappeared is presumably a reference to the events of the Companion Chronicle Project: Nirvana, which takes place in the mountainous pass of Carpathia, and which must take place somewhere between House of Blue Fire and this story.
Goofs: Weohstan/Fenric's:"The dice is cast" (any decent game player should know the singular of dice is die)
Triumphs: "I'm Ace" "-Of course you are, sweetheart. And I'm fabulous."
Hex on the Doctor: "He may know all about time and space and that, but when it comes to how you and me feel, he's a great big blank."
"Watches are pretty useless when you spend half your time fiddling with the reset buttons"
"I think Mister Hex is right. The Grim Reaper is feeling cheated. Let's do something about that."
"It is an unwritten rule of the universe, Sally Morgan, that no sooner one resolves to keep things simple, they become very complicated very quickly."
Double Entendres: "The trick is finding the right Point of Entry"
Continuity: Garundel is a Rodelian, one of a race of hermaphroditic 'toad-men' from the planet Rodel. They have great regenerative abilities and use ovoid regeneration pods which speed up their natural healing. He knows the Doctor is a Time Lord by his respiratory bypass (so it's visually apparent?), extra heart, ribs and spare liver. Rodelians spawn in broods like amphibians - Garundel mentions his four "mothers" and eighty-two siblings. He has a transmat. Garundel's prize salvage is a Zybrox Warbot dialled down to weapon tech 1.5 for local conditions. It specialises in hand to hand combat. Zybrox technology is the most sought after in the galaxy and is fiercely defended. The Zybrox are cybernetic insect hybrids, and have visited Earth a couple of times (the Forge has a file on them and assumes them engaged on several fronts around the galaxy); their ship is massive and has black and silver livery - the Geats take it for Beowulf's dragon.
Ace calls the Karnus-Koi and the Toymaker Elder Gods. The Elder Gods can't interfere directly with lower worlds as it against the rules of their game.
There is a lot of artron energy in the TARDIS cloisters. Immediately after Lurkers the Doctor created a new TARDIS (a "little black") from the regenerating plasmic shell of its "very old, very wise" white 'mother (this can be a bit "hit and miss") It has its mother's console, and the bats fly in to it readily. He sends it on missions using his sonic screwdriver and, as a test of landing on a moving vessel, materialised it on board the Lorelei (see; Links) In order to build up the energy required to travel to the beginning of time, sideways through the vortex and diagonally across several dimensions, the two TARDISes merge in 'symbiotic propulsion', the White TARDIS consuming the Black and the Ship finally resolving to its normal blue colour.
Both Sally and Lysandra are dressed in similar kit. Past targets of Sally, Lysandra and the Doctor include the Animus, the Great Intelligence, Mien-Kalarash and Derleth. The 'Sons of Kai' were a cult who burrowed into the Forge's vault while under control of their god, the Kai-Liza-Kayaa, a feeder on chaos which was defeated by the Doctor using the cerebral cortex of a Cyberplanner - ("pure logic") Kai is a minor god with many heads.
Lysandra was 'trained' by the Doctor on the TARDIS controls for a few hours a week (but not the Fast Return switch). At the time of her leaving the Forge to travel with the Doctor had been Acting Director (a 'flak magnet" as she puts it) of Department C4 for three months, but took the opportunity to go "black ops" (AWOL) into the repopulating of London after the events of Project: Destiny and at the conclusion of the incursion by the Sons of Kai. She has a transmat detector in her pack.
Sally was brought up from the age of nine by her grandparents, her parents were both in special forces and died alongside one another in action. Her grandfather was a colonel in Iraq and had a black and white cat called Henry who loved kippers and would disappear for days on end. She is blonde, blue-eyed and has her own room in the TARDIS, and by Lysandra's account is very strong. Two weeks after joining the Doctor she and he racked down zombie lizards on a cemetery planet (reanimated by their Elder God). In her kit she has a lock breaker, space-time tracker, plasma grenades, a laser knife, a neutron harpoon and a pulse rifle and calls London home. Her unit was the King's New Delta Commandoes.
Neither Hex nor Sally know the story of Beowulf. Hex mentions his mother (he has a picture of her in his wallet) to Sally and still doesn't trust the Doctor. He confesses to having recently had feelings of his impending death, and "a man with a scythe getting' nearer and nearer." His Nan was a midwife. He knows how to close the TARDIS doors, but little more.
Ace still has her bomber jacket and baseball bat and rucksack of Nitro-9. She studied Beowulf at school, but only concentrated on the fighting bits. She thinks she's been with the Doctor for "years." Ace tried to track down Lysandra herself but found that she'd apparently gone "black ops" (see below.) She doesn't know how to can for life forms aboard the TARDIS.
The Doctor has a twenty-second century hardback edition of The Tale of Beowulf, which he was reading the last time Ace saw him - Lysandra knew he was researching it for 'their' next mission. Sally says the three of them were going 'somewhere icy" when the Doctor 'wandered off' - although it seems the TARDIS arrived where it should but the Doctor was stranded and captured by Fenric/Weohstan first. He is looking for the 'boss of the forge' - the centre of Weyland's shield, which he assumes is in the hands of Fenric, who may occupy another form (hence his suspicion of the name 'Beowulf'. He says he never much cared for teleports, and much prefers buses.
Links: This story immediately follows the conclusion of Protect and Survive and leads into Gods and Monsters. Elder Gods mentioned include the Animus (The Web Planet), the Great Intelligence (The Abominable Snowmen / The Web of Fear), the Karnas-koi (Lurkers at Sunlight's Edge) and the Mien-Kalarash (House of Blue Fire). Hex recalls his mother (several stories, but most significantly Project: Destiny) 'Bats' in the TARDIS? In the flashback the Doctor mentions the Ventalis System, Liv Chenka and the Lorelie (Robophobia), Nostrodamus (The Doomsday Quatrain) and the Blue Fire Project (House of Blue Fire), while in the epilogue the trapped Doctor mentions White Rabbits (The Harvest)
Location: Geatland, sometime in the seventh century.
The Bottom Line: "Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But not necessarily in that order."
Not one for the casual listener. Somewhere in this story is an irreverent version of Beowulf with a giant robot, spaceship and camp frog-man; the trouble is, it shares its time with the intrigue of the Doctor's scheme, TARDIS team ructions and a late-introduced MacGuffin in Weyland's Shield (to be starring in an infodump next story, presumably.) That said, Beowulf himself is well played, and Stuart Milligan is having a lot of fun. There's too much continuity here for thr story to survive alone, but it's another strong one for Ace.
ADVENTURES OF THE BLACK TARDIS
As revealed in Black and White, the nature of the Doctor's travels with Ace and Hex and, apparently, alone in a TARDIS which is alternately black or white, is complicated. During The Angel of Scutari the TARDIS is struck by a cannon ball and its outer shell is damaged, causing the recuperating Ship to take on a white aspect, a change which persists in the following three stories. All the while, having begun earlier with The Magic Mousetrap, the Doctor sets a plan in motion which results in his taking direct action 'off stage' at the conclusion of Lurkers at Sunlight's Edge. Having just encountered the Karnas-Koi, another in an increasingly apparent race of Elder Gods, the Doctor 'buds' a smaller, black TARDIS from the outer shell of his Ship, sending it into the Vortex to grow to full size and, while his companions sleep, travelling in it to track other known Gods. During these trips he encounters potential companions (Liv Chenka in Robophobia) and picks up two actual companions in Private Sally Morgan (House of Blue Fire) and, two weeks later, Captain Lysandra Aristes (previously encountered in Project Destiny / A Death in the Family), enlisting them in engagements against the Kai-liza-kaya and sometime later the ancient god of jealousy and envy, Derleth (Project: Nirvana), encountered in the Carpathian Pass in 2015. In the latter encounter Derleth is beat back by the Doctor's use of a Forge device, the 'Truthsayer', and the creature is contained within Lysandra's mind, trapped until the time of her death. After their victory the Doctor walks off, according to Sally, leaving the two Black TARDIS companions alone in their TARDIS to meet Hex and Ace, still in the white 'mother' TARDIS at the conclusion of Protect and Survive and leading into Black and White.