Roots: Cube, Scanners, Alien3 (an alien creature hunts inside a prison). Henry IV, Part One, V, iv ('discretion is the better part of valour') The brain-worm's 'theme' may owe something to the 'Heat Ray' track on Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation of The War of the Worlds. The Doctor mentions Fermat's Last Theorem.
Dialogue Triumphs: "Are you always like this?" "I'm sorry, when subjected to torture I have been known to get a little bit grumpy"
"I'll explain later" "I hate it when people are always saying that."
The Doctor (for a change) "Is this where you expect me to tell you all my plans just because I've got you at my mercy and can't resist a good gloat?"
Continuity: It is not explained where and when The Cube exists, although it is likely future earth or an Earth-connected world, possibly a colony. The Doctor describes Tessa as human, while Rawden uses 'rats' in a figure of speech, although these are not a reliable indicators in themselves. Metal in the Cube's structure diminishes (but doesn't outright block) psychic abilities, including ESP.
The Cube is a purpose-built containment facility to house 'Psych's, psychically-enhanced specialist soldiers from a recent war gifted through scientific experimentation with such abilities as telekinesis, telepathy and teleportation. As such their missions involved enemy surveillance, reconnaissance, teleport incursions, and even telekinetic assassinations. After surgery on other Psychs proved only a temporary fix (and killed many outright through psychic shock), the conditions of their abilities were deemed irreversible, and army authorities sought to prevent their return to civilian society after the army's victory, as they would pose a danger to the public and authorities. The Psychs in the Cube have therefore been classified as criminals and killers and committed to a life sentence.
Of the remaining Psychs Tessa was the first to be treated by their creator Rawden's surgical machine. A fault in the equipment meant that her powers were not removed but doubled or tripled them; as they grew Tessa's powers mutated and became a living entity, the 'brain-worm', a creature seeking out and feeding off mental energy.
The Doctor refers to the Festival of Ghana (see: Links) and [possibly] the Festival of Jupiter.
C'Rizz's telepathy is a consequence of his 'saving' another individual with the talent. C'Rizz is mildly telepathic, being able to read minds. The Doctor says he isn't, or has no memory of being so.
The Doctor was at the 2005 European Cup Final. The Doctor seals the Cube doors with a triple-cryptic time-lock, its password consisting of a Puccini aria played backwards in triple-time. He is carrying a pocket torch with him as well as a yo-yo, some string and possibly some jelly babies (though all have been removed on his capture).
Links: The Chase (The Festival of Ghana). The Doctor reverses the polarity of the mind machine. Doctor Who (Puccini)
Location: The Cube
Q.v: Telepathy and ESP
The Bottom Line: "Kablooey- brains all over the place"
Unpleasant and nihilistic. Like Time Works the scant 'outside world' detail lends this story to its Divergent origins well enough, and perhaps the least detail offered the more the story becomes being about the Cube and its inhabitants. The trouble is, they're either forgettable or just nasty. Even the Doctor shows a ruthless streak here, and with C'rizz losing the plot too, well — you might not want to hang around this one for long.
TELEPATHY AND ESP
In the main Doctor Who assumes that telepathy and extra-sensory perception is a fundamental element of its universe. Numerous alien species exhibit some form of ability — Ood and Sensorites, Daleks and the Eight Legs of Metebelis and the Termite race of Valhalla. In nearly all of its media examples can be found to support the idea that in the human race at least there exists a sort of latent psychic ability which can be awoken or boosted by various means — special equipment (IRIS in Planet of the Spiders, the Archangel Network in Last of the Time Lords), mutation (Planet of the Spiders again), exposure to temporal phenomena such as the Cardiff Rift (The Unquiet Dead) or a time fissure (Image of the Fendahl) or scientific experimentation (Singularity, Something Inside). The Curse of Fenric indeed suggests an alternative future where the psychic link between humans remains despite the species devolving into the Haemovore race. Human individuals such as Tim Latimer (Human Nature/The Family of Blood) exhibit precognition, a form of psychic ability, but incidences of actual preternatural mental communication are rare — certainly no human companion of the Doctor's has yet exhibited the talent.
Time Lords on the other hand appear to be able to, though not as a matter of routine. The Doctor's grand-daughter Susan is an early example of a telepathic Gallifreyan, and while no other renegade Time Lord seems to display the ability outwardly or demonstrate it (although the 'Master race' of The End of Time could provide such an example), there is sufficient evidence in the TV and audio series to conclude that the Doctor's claim of not being a telepath (that is, not displaying any form of psychic ability) is patently false. Furthermore the Doctor's telepathic abilities (perhaps boosted by the TARDIS?) seem sufficient enough for him to act on them (The Time Monster, Slipback), or a more general form of extra-sensory perception, perhaps the 'pricking of my thumbs' the Fourth Doctor professes to feel on more than one occasion, or the Sixth Doctor's de ja vu in Blue Forgotten Planet. It may be the TARDIS' own telepathic circuitry which allows him to be able to work in conjunction with or boost those of humans around him — viz, Last of the Time Lords. Rather ironically for a Time Lord it would appear that precognition is beyond the Doctor (Coordinator Engin declares it "impossible" in The Deadly Assassin). Given that he is also presumably forbidden to experience his future timeline outside of extreme action by the Time Lords themselves, it's probably just as well.