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Set in the thirty fifth century, the story opens with the Doctor and Rhonwen visiting Sirius Five, a desolate and inhospitable planet with just one point of interest - the Academius Stolaris, an institute for the study of the arts and sciences. There is no indigenous population now - but nine thousand years ago, Sirius Five was known as Hallatern, a thriving civilization at the centre of a vast empire. Hallatern used genetically engineered warriors called Kreilens to subjugate half the galaxy. But eventually Hallatern turned away from conquest, and dismantled its empire - and in time, the very civilization perished, long before the human race colonized the Sirius system.

Beneath the foundations of the Academius, Brolan, the institute's director, has unearthed an ancient crystalline structure, which he believes to be part of the lost technology of Hallatern, which could reputedly manipulate all forms of energy, or alter the genetic structure of any living thing - Hallatern had even learned the secret of immortality. Meanwhile, Baines, the institute's senior archaeologist, has dug up a preserved body on the planet Canaxxa, which he believes is a Kreilen, one of Hallatern's ancient warriors. Brolan wants to smuggle it back for study, hoping to unlock its genetic secrets. He bypasses customs clearance with the aid of his benefactor Morrissey, who is one of the executives of the Sirius Conglomerate, and runs a mining operation on Canaxxa.

The TARDIS picks up a telepathic signal, which the Doctor recognizes as the signal sent by a Kreilen as it revives to carry out its mission of destruction - the "Warcry" of the title. The Doctor steers the TARDIS towards the source, and arrives on the space freighter Greyshadow, which is preparing to leave Canaxxa, with Baines and his discovery aboard.

Whilst the ship is in hyperspace, the Kreilen wakes up and starts to murder the passengers. The Doctor has to track it down before it can release a deadly nerouvirus, which will turn everyone aboard into mindless killers - and also prevent the Sirirus Conglomerate from getting its grasping hands upon the secret of immortality.

Meanwhile Canaxxan freedom fighters, seeking to end the exploitation and strip-mining of their world, are preparing to hijack the Greyshadow. And they're receiving help from an unexpected quarter...

Warcry of Hallatern went through a complex genesis. It originally started life not as a Doctor Who story at all, but a serious novel I was working on set aboard the ill-fated maiden voyage of RMS Titanic. Quite how this managed to translate itself into a Doctor Who novel, I'm not exactly sure. However, I did write several chapters of this prototype version of Warcry of Hallatern, which was a great deal more historically accurate than the recent Titanic film. However, I eventually abandoned this draft. It wasn't really working out - there was not enough connection between the Titanic storyline and the science fiction elements of the plot, and the Doctor's involvement was very minimal. The story languished in a strange kind of limbo for some months, until finally I decided to start from scratch. Out went the Titanic setting, and in came the futuristic action adventure. There are however a few hints of the Titanic story remaining in the finished version, although it probably draws more obviously on The Poseidon Adventure with its depiction of a ship slowly breaking apart, forcing the survivors into ever-decreasing air pockets.

Changing to the future setting helped the story no end. Not only because it wasn't bogged down in the emotional baggage of a real tragedy, but it also meant that I could play up the science fiction elements of the plot much more successfully. Obviously, the Academius Stolaris and the Sirius Conglomerate didn't feature in the original draft. Being able to incorporate these helped with the creation of an ongoing story arc for Bullseye Books, which is developed more fully in The Legacy of Sion.

The central theme of Warcry of Hallatern is greed, which is the primary motivation of several of the characters. Baines's greed for academic acclaim is what leads him to smuggle the Kreilen off Canaxxa in the first place. The Sirius Conglomerate bribes and blackmails officials, flouts trading regulations, and manipulates social and political unrest on Canaxxa simply to speed up its mining operations and maximize its profits. This in turn, of course, leads the Canaxxan terrorists to take ever more drastic action to try and free their world from exploitation.

In the end, the whole plot really hinges on Morrissey's greed, and his efforts to increase his already considerable personal fortune. Then when the possibility arises of gaining the secret of immortality, his schemes become ever more complicated and desperate. The thirty fifth century setting places this story around one hundred years before The Caves of Androzani (at least according to my chronology.) This is obviously before the discovery of the properties of Spectrox - but even at this point, the capitalists can clearly see the profit that could be made from selling eternal youth...

I once described Bullseye Books as "Pertwee for the nineties" - in that it had a middle aged, authoritarian Doctor; dismissed magic in favour of science; reinterpreted myth and legend in science fiction terms (see The Legacy of Sion - The Covenant of Tollan ought to explore this area as well). Another of the strengths of the Pertwee era was the fairly consistent depiction of the future timeline, with the colonies, the birth and death of Empire, and finally the Federation. Bullseye Books adheres to that same timeline, and both Warcry of Hallatern and Reformation of the Daleks are set in the early years of the Galactic Federation. Then, the writers were telling allegories of the Cold War and the Common Market - old ideas and old scenarios now, so I've hopefully used the imagery to illustrate more nineties concerns.

In The Belphegor Inheritance, the Doctor describes the Galactic Federation at one point as "the greatest force for peace and justice that ever existed". He may be exaggerating slightly. I certainly don't see the Federation like the one in Star Trek (although some New Adventures authors clearly do...) Rather, I think it's something more akin to the United Nations today - a loose affiliation of member states, which can occasionally get things done if enough of them agree on it. But the superpower governments can just ignore the Federation when they choose, and the big business lobby has a lot of power to influence decisions. Not a perfect system, but probably more realistic than the "one big happy family" of Star Trek.

No. 1 - The Belphegor Inheritance

No. 3 - The Michaelmas Phantoms

No. 4 - The Legacy of Sion

Hear the "Warcry" - the telepathic signal of the Kreilen (13K mp3 file).

Read Warcry of Hallatern

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