The TARDIS materialized with a reluctant groan, seeming unwilling to appear in its chosen location, Russia of the 19th century. But the Doctor persevered, holding his hands down on the brakes until he had entered synch with the surrounding reality. When the craft had landed, the Doctor walked out the door, his characteristic jauntyness not in his step. It was the seriousness side of his nature that had brought him to this time and place, to visit a man who could understand his melancholy side: Fyodor Dostoevsky. Five steps outside of the TARDIS, the Doctor's absent minded nature finally caught up with him. He looked around him and say that he was in a corridor that did not look like the homey Russia of the 19th century. Instead, he was looking at stark walls of utilitarian concrete, that had been painted the most depressing shade of grey imaginable. "Ah, he thought to himself, Soviet era." And that was when he turned a corner, and saw two soldiers with guns marching along, in quite a hurry. And the soldiers saw him, as well. The Doctor had been in thousands of corridors and faced thousands of soldiers with guns before, and some of those guns were strong enough to rip apart the fabric of space and time. And yet the look on these two particular soldiers' faces let the Doctor know that this particular time was not the time to try any fast talking or quick moves. With two guns pointed at him, the Doctor only asked to see their commanding officer. When he was marched, hands in the air, into the control room of the base, he met their commanding officer, and had a momentary flickering of hope. The commanding officer was not in a military uniform, but instead had on a suit and tie, with a labcoat on top of it. He was a civilian, a scientist, and therefore there was some small brand of comeradeship between the two of them. But the first words out of his mouth were much less encouraging: "I am Doctor Kuznetsov, commander of this facility, and you have thirty seconds to explain why I should not have you shot right now." The Doctor motioned towards his jacket. mouthing "May I". Doctor Kuznetsov nodded. The Doctor pulled out his psychic paper, and said "I am Doctor Smith, a member of the Kremlin's secret Scientific Investigations Authority." "Smith? You are American?" "No, British. I defected because I think that science should be in the service of the proletariat and peasants, not for the rich. My defection was very secret. The Kremlin made me a scientific agent because... I have no attachments." Doctor Kuznetsov fixed The Doctor with a long, serious stare, and The Doctor realized he was facing a man of intelligence and discernment, but without much mercy. "I believe that story a little but less than 50%, but that still makes it inconvenient to shoot you now. I can shoot you later. Right now, I need some scientific help. We are about to open the chamber." A few minutes after walking down more bleak concrete hallways, Doctor Kuznetsov, The Doctor, many soldiers and a few scientists were in front of a very thick metal door. Along the way, The Doctor had caught the outline of what had happened, and had a hard time keeping his face from showing his disgust. A group of five political prisoners had been imprisoned in a room, and made to breathe a gas that stopped them from sleeping. After a few days, they had seemingly gone insane and blocked off the viewports to the chamber. The researchers had finally decided to open the door and see what was going on inside. When they opened the door, they saw a sight that defied their senses and shocked them to the core. At least for most of them: The Doctor had a much wider experience with different biologies than they could ever imagine, so despite the fact that he was disgusted by the inhumanity of what he saw. One of the study participants was very very dead, and his body was covering up the drain in the middle of the floor, with a thick sheen of blood and offal across the floor. The other four people were "living", if that was the term for it. In a process that would be unexplainable by earth biology, they were skeletons covered by scraps of flesh, who had seemingly eviscerated themselves, and then ate their own flesh. They all were staring with wide, glassy but conscious eyes at the assembled people beyond the open door, and they started to walk forward, in a slow but unstoppable lurch. "Get one of them for dissection, and then close the door and seal it!" Doctor Kuznetsov yelled. The Doctor started to object, and for his efforts was given a club on the head. He fell down to the ground unconscious. When he woke up, he was strapped to a hospital bed. He looked over to the left and saw the remains of one of the test subjects. He was even deader than he was before. The Doctor then turned to the right and saw the hard, merciless eyes of Doctor Kuznetsov. "Well, we have one problem taken care of. And perhaps now I should take care of you. Whether you are a spy from the Kremlin or the West, I can have you killed now." The Doctor had no doubt that Kuznetsov, the type of scientist who would carry out these types of experiments, meant what he said. It was then that luck intervened to save The Doctor, as it often did. "Doctor Kuznetsov, we have just looked at the tissue sample, and the cells are generating a glycoprotein polymer..." "And do you know why they are doing that, Doctor Kuznetsov? Because I do." "Speak. Now." "The virus is rewriting a single organism into a colony of cells. It is using up the inside of those cells to make new cell walls. Its turning human beings into colony organisms, and its eating itself, on the cellular and macroscopic level. And if you don't untie me, you have no way to stop it!" Doctor Kuznetsov may have been ruthless, but he was not stupid. He knew that the odd stranger, possibly a spy, was his only hope, so he motioned to have him released. Without saying another word, The Doctor was looking through a microscope at a tissue sample, murmuring to himself "Yes", "Of course", "But why?". The only thing he said directed at others was when Kuznetsov asked "but a virus or bacteria that can rewrite a human being into a colony of cells...there is nothing on earth that can do that!" to which the Doctor replied of "Of course there isn't, and so I am trying to figure out why it is here." The Doctor squinted down at the microscope for another two minutes, hmmmign and hawing to himself, and although Doctor Kuznetsov recognized a scientist at work working on a difficult problem, he also needed answers, quickly. "But how contagious is this thing? And what if it jumps hosts? Can it be transmitted through animals? I can incinerate this entire facility." The Doctor looked at Kuznetsov. "It doesn't need to be contagious, because everyone here probably already has it. For the first time, The Doctor took a small device out of his pocket and pointed it around the room. "He does... he does... oh, you don't... oh, and you do too, Doctor Kuznetsov. And as for jumping hosts, well, when do viruses show their greatest danger? When they infect an animal that they haven't encountered before... oh, and this would be! YES!" for the first time in this grim adventure, The Doctor let a look of glee cross his face. Solving a problem seldom cheered to encourage him. But then he asked a question: "How did they get here?" and his answer was a great crash from his exultation of the last minute. "Oh no, oh no, oh no!" During this monologue, the surrounding people had been silent, but now Doctor Kuznetsov asked: "Are you going to explain what is going on?" "Yes I am, and you are going to do exactly what I say, for two reasons. First, I know exactly what is going on, and how to fix it. Speaking of which, get me a 10 gallon bucket filled with a mixture of argon clathrate and dry ice. I am also going to need two 55 gallon drums of liquid nitrogen. Oh, and second, Doctor Kuznetsov, I know of two things in this facility that are much more dangerous than this virus. NOW MOVE!" The tone of urgency and command in the Doctor's voice overcame the regimentation of the Communist soldiers. Within a few minutes, they were standing in front of the door, the lids of the liquid nitrogen removed. "Let me do this part, cold doesn't hurt me like it would you." The Doctor then flicked his device at the door, which opened, showing the same horrors on the other side. The Doctor, with surprising strength, pushed over each drum, the liquid nitrogen rushing into the room, and as it supercooled the air, the creatures inside fell down, and after a minute or so, an odd white crystal appeared on the outside of them. Using his device, The Doctor whisked up this material and put it into the can of dry ice mixture at his side. "Well, everything is... fixed. More or less. Time for me to leave." Doctor Kuznetsov looked at The Doctor incredulously. "And do you think I am going to let you leave?" "I do think you are, Doctor. For one thing, I told you there were two things more dangerous than what happened here in this base. Don't you want to learn what those things are. Follow me, alone." As they walked, The Doctor talked to Doctor Kutsevnov. "What you saw there, Doctor, was something that you should learn about early in medical school. A virus naturally doesn't want to kill its hosts. When it jumps species, however, the natural balance is undone, and a virus that has been commensual can kill its host quickly and terribly. Something to be cautious about, of course, but it isn't frightening. If you want something to be frightened about, ask yourself what type of system, and more importantly, what type of man would place people in a torture chamber just to satisfy his own curiosity." When the man started to object, the Doctor cut him off. "After what I saw here today, do you think I am in the mood for excuses? I have heard any excuse you have given me. Hundreds of times. "But there is something more frightening than that. I know where this virus comes from. There was a peaceful race of herbivores, big elephant type things, that lived on a planet in a binary sun system. The orbit of their planet meant that they would sometimes be plunged suddenly into cold and night for months on end. They had commensual organisms within them that helped them go into this deep sleep, that told their body how to consume its own fat to survive. They were perfectly adjusted. But then, some interlopers... vain, arrogant, conceited beings decided to have a war, and in a moment of negligence, a moment of pride, one of their numbers let that planet, and its peaceful herbivores, be destroyed by a time weapon. The virus, lost in space and time, came to infect people on this earth. Here, they are just as dormant, until a creature is deprived of sleep, when their original function becomes...disturbed. Their commands to an animal to change its metabolism and "eat its reserves" are taken much different in a human. This is what happens when arrogant people meddle. So, Doctor, I will tell you what you should fear more than anything in this compound. You should fear a man who calls himself "Doctor" and forgets what that title means." And with that, the man disappeared inside of a blue box, and Kutevnov knew how foolish it would be to stop him.