Danger. This is a warning; a warning to the whole world. You’re looking for wi-fi, and sometimes you see something. A bit like this:
Don’t click it. Do not click it.
Once you’ve clicked it, they’re in your computer. They can see you. If they can see you, they might choose you. And if they do, you die. In 24 hours, you’re dead… for a while. People’s souls are being uploaded to the internet. Some people get stuck. Their minds – their souls – trapped in the wi-fi. Like echoes or ghosts. Sometimes, you can hear their screams. On the radio; on the telly; on the net… This is real. This is not a hoax or a joke or a story. This is real – and I know that because… I don’t know where I am. Please. Please, if- if you can hear me… If you can hear me, I don’t know where I am…
Cumbria, 1207. Deep within a monastery, the Doctor broods over the woman twice dead and her final message: Run you clever boy, and remember. But the monks summon him, because the bells of Saint John are ringing…
London, 2013. Clara waits by the phone in the house of her recently-deceased friend, still occupied by her friend’s family: the father, George, and the two kids, Artie and Angie. And she’s their nanny. One of them, Artie, heads off reading Summer Falls by Amelia Williams – the cover emblazoned with an image of three kids, led by a brunette girl in a white dress – and it’s a book Clara’s familiar with: “[Chapter] Eleven’s the best. You’ll cry your eyes out.”
She heads upstairs to her laptop, where she searches for the wi-fi, still waiting on the phone for someone to help her.
Then the Doctor answers. The TARDIS phone – the bells of Saint John – shouldn’t work, certainly not in 1207. Nonetheless, he advises this mysterious caller on how to find the wi-fi: click on the wi-fi, then on the name you recognise. There are two: Maitland_Family and ][ /Δ [-] M. She clicks on the former, and asks one of the kids for the password: rycbar123. And she can remember it with a simple mnemonic: Run, You Clever Boy, And Remember 1-2-3.
Suddenly, the Doctor’s at her door, begging to get in, still dressed as a monk. He’s found her! He’s found Clara Oswald! She won’t let him in – so he heads back to the TARDIS and changes. Monks are not cool.
But Clara’s also accidentally clicked on the wrong Wi-fi, and a Spoonhead – a Server, or Base Station; a humanoid robot waiting at Wi-fi hotspots to harvest human minds – also appears looking for Clara. She falls to the floor, her soul being downloaded.
I don’t know where I am…
Miss Kizlet looks at a wall of screens, all filled with faces, all screaming to get out of their living nightmares. She goes over to two employees, Alexei and Mahler, both watching Clara on a computer screen. Clara’s borderline: very clever but with no computer skills. They decide to download her anyway, splicing her a computer skills package. Mahler says he’s concerned over how many they’re downloading to the Wi-fi cloud – and Miss Kizlet grabs her tablet to ‘hack’ him, lowering his conscience and then his paranoia. His IQ and obedience are also hers to control…
I don’t know… where I am… I don’t know where I am… Where am I…?
Using his sonic screwdriver to get in, the Doctor is faced with Clara, unconscious, and a Spoonhead, disguised as the girl from Summer Falls, but with the back of her head scooped out and filled with the glowing Wi-fi cloud – and Clara’s face, begging to know where she is.
The Doctor stops the download, and, despite Alexei’s best efforts, shuts the Spoonhead down. The Doctor takes Clara upstairs to her bed, and looks around the room. He finds a book, 101 Places to See, with a leaf in the front. She wants to travel.
“Our hacker sends a message,” Mahler tells Miss Kizlet. “I assume he’s talking about the girl.” The message simply reads:
UNDER MY PROTECTION
“Get out,” Kizlet instructs Mahler. “I have to speak to The Client.”
Clara wakes to a drink of water, fresh flowers and a packet of jammie dodgers. The Doctor waits for her outside, next to the TARDIS and a disassembled Spoonhead. “What happened to me?” she asks, and heads down to him. “You’re safe now – I promise,” he says.
A Spoonhead watches them from across the street. Are they planning something…? “Alexei,” Kizlet says, increasing his IQ. “I need you to do something creative about that.”
“There’s something in the Wi-fi,” the Doctor tells Clara. “This whole world is swimming in Wi-fi. We’re living in a Wi-fi soup. Suppose something got inside it. Suppose there was something living in the Wi-fi, harvesting human minds – extracting them. Imagine that. Human souls, trapped like flies in the worldwide web. Stuck forever; crying out for help.”
“Isn’t that basically Twitter?” Clara jokes, and the Doctor realises that computer skills have been edited and rewritten into her head – which she definitely won’t be allowed to keep – by the Spoonhead. Speaking of which… He notices the one across the street, and suddenly all the lights in the surrounding houses switch on. The lights of London switch off… leaving a great big glowing target in the middle of suburbia.
“Some planes have Wi-fi,” the Doctor says – and they run into the TARDIS as an aeroplane heads towards the street. The sound of ancient engines; a whirring; a grinding; lights spinning around the vast space inside. And then they’re on the plane!
All the passengers, the hostesses, and the two pilots are asleep, knocked out by the Wi-fi, so the Doctor is forced to take the controls. He steers it back up, away from the street, and blocks their Wi-fi, waking them all up.
The Doctor pulls Clara back into the TARDIS.
The TARDIS materialises the following morning, and the pair head to a cafe on a snazzy motorbike. But they’re captured on camera – and the photos are submerged into the Wi-fi.
“They’ve got to be close. Definitely London, judging by the signal distribution,” the Doctor says, but he simply can’t locate them. But Clara can. She’s got all these computer skills in her head, and she sets to work as he goes to get them coffee.
Miss Kizlet talks to the Doctor via several people in the cafe, already being controlled by the Wi-fi, but not yet picked to be downloaded. “We can hack anyone in the Wi-fi, once they’ve been exposed long enough,” Kizlet explains. There’s always a Spoonhead close, because they’ve released thousands into the world. “The people of this world are in no danger whatsoever,” she continues. “My client requires a steady diet of living human minds – healthy, free-range human minds. He loves and cares for humanity. In fact, he can’t get enough of it… The abattoir is not a contradiction. No one loves cattle more than Burger King.”
Clara turns to see the Doctor: she’s found them. They’re in The Shard. Floor 65. But this isn’t the Doctor. His head spins around – and the disguised Spoonhead downloads her completely. The real Doctor rushes back to Clara, for all intents and purposes dead.
Doctor? Doctor, help me! I don’t know where I am.
“He’s coming,” Alexei warns, and photos appear of the Doctor riding the motorbike in the direction of The Shard. He rode that bike at the anti-grav Olympics. He came last.
The window smashes in Miss Kizlet’s office, and she heads back to find the Doctor there, insisting that he download Clara back into her own body. “She’s a fully integrated part of the data cloud now. She can’t be separated,” Kizlet explains. The Doctor tells her to download the entire cloud then – but she won’t. “Those still with bodies to go home to would be free,” the Doctor states. But the rest would simply die – free, however, from their current living hell.
The Doctor’s got some motivation for her. “Why did you even come here? Whatever for?!” Kizlet asks.
“I didn’t,” the ‘Doctor’ explains. He’s back at the cafe, finishing his milkshake. (Lovely spot.) Meanwhile, the ‘Doctor’ facing up to Miss Kizlet takes off his helmet, his head spins around – and he downloads her into the data cloud. She screams at Mahler and Alexei to free her, but they’re not prepared to download the whole cloud. The Spoonhead Doctor then alters Mahler’s obedience using Kizlet’s tablet, and he obeys her orders, downloading everyone from the Wi-fi, freeing them all.
And Clara wakes up.
UNIT invades The Shard, but not before Miss Kizlet talks to The Client, better-known as The Great Intelligence. “I have feasted on many minds; I have grown,” the Intelligence explains. “But now it is time for you to reduce.” Kizlet restores factory settings – i.e. restoring the minds of the individual the Intelligence has used to before he feasted – and Miss Kizlet is left as a little girl, trapped in the body of a woman, her life having been wiped. “Where are my mummy and daddy?” she pleads to the UNIT soldiers.
Back at the Maitland household, the TARDIS waits for Clara. She explains to the Doctor that she still wants to travel the world – and beyond. But her friend died just before she set off on her travels, so she stayed there to look after her family. “The thing about a time machine, though,” the Doctor entices her, “you can run away all you like and still be home in time for tea. So what do you say…?”
“Come back tomorrow. Ask me again,” she says. “Because tomorrow, I might say yes…”
NEXT: “I’M ARMED… WITH A SCREWDRIVER.”