When I was an undergraduate, I took a scriptwriting class (see previous blog post, Cheers Episode). For the following script assignment, we were to pick a TV show. At first I was going to write an episode for Star Trek Deep Space Nine or whatever the current Star Trek series was at the time, and I went to a friend’s apartment and watched an episode and took notes. But I felt like the only TV show I could comfortably write a script for was Doctor Who. So I asked if we could pick a show that isn’t currently on the air (this was 1993, and the classic Doctor Who went off the air in 1989), and the instructor said yes. So I wrote a Doctor Who script…and had fun.
DOCTOR WHO EPISODE
SCENE: A dark, eerie castle deep in the dense, tangled woods on a gloomy, dark, rainy day, somewhere in Hungary, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Something falls from the sky and lands near the castle. Camera moves in closer—the thing that landed is a spaceship. Camera moves to interior of the ship. A female humanoid, NIRGENDS, messes around with gadgets and buttons inside the wrecked ship. She notices the castle.
NIRGENDS: I wonder if the locals are hostile. It can’t hurt to seek help.
(She gets out of the spaceship and starts heading toward the castle.)
SCENE: Interior of the TARDIS control room. While a boom box plays jazz, the DOCTOR sits on the floor, where he fiddles around inside the consul.
DOCTOR: Come on, old thing. We’re going on holiday in Vienna, whether you like it or not. Don’t tell me I didn’t ask you permission….What’s this cable doing here? It’s supposed to be hooked up over—
(Sparks come out of the consul.)
DOCTOR: Ouch!—here. Well, that shouldn’t have happened….
(The center of the consul rises and falls as the TARDIS wheezes: it’s landing.)
DOCTOR: Well, we’ve landed, at least. But I’ve got a peculiar feeling it’s not quite Vienna.
The DOCTOR pulls knob for controlling the screen that reveals the location, and the screen door slides open to reveal the gloomy scene described above. The DOCTOR knits his brows and scratches his head. ACE enters the room. She wears a dainty Empire gown rather than her usual jeans, t-shirt, and leather jacket.
ACE: Oy, Professor, how does this look—eh! That’s not how I pictured Vienna.
DOCTOR: Yes, Ace, I’m afraid it isn’t Vienna.
ACE: So ya blew it again, Professor.
DOCTOR: What, me? I never make mistakes.
ACE: You don’t? What about the time—
DOCTOR: Never mind, never mind. Let’s just say the TARDIS isn’t in a good mood.
SCENE: NIRGENDS in front hall of castle, with doors slowly creaking shut behind her. She looks around at stone walls, cobwebs, and crumbling furniture.
NIRGENDS: This may be a mistake….Hello? Does anyone live here?
(BARON YLIETCH appears silently.)
BARON: Yes, this is my dwelling. I am Baron Ylietch. May I help you?
NIRGENDS: I certainly hope so. I am Nirgends, Princess of the Diomydes, and my means of transportation is incapacitated. I would like shelter and a place to repair this damage.
BARON: Ah, your Highness, you are welcome to reside here.
NIRGENDS: Thank-you very much. I wish I could repay you—
BARON: It is no inconvience. Come—I shall order the cook to make your dinner. I have already had a satisfactory meal.
SCENE: NIRGENDS is working on her ship, when ACE and the DOCTOR come along. NIRGENDS is too busy to notice them at first. She takes a shredded circuit out of the controls, and she eyes it with disgust.
NIRGENDS: Beyond repair—shredded! I need to replace it….
(The DOCTOR clears his throat loudly.)
DOCTOR: Ahem. You seem to be having a spot of trouble. Can I help you with that?
(NIRGENDS freezes when she hears a strange voice. Then she looks at the DOCTOR.)
NIRGENDS: Ah, hello. (Rising) I am Nirgends, Princess of the Diomydes.
DOCTOR: I’m the Doctor, and this is Ace.
NIRGENDS: The Doctor? Doctor who—are you that renegade Timelord?
DOCTOR: Yes. Well, my fame has traveled far, hasn’t it, Ace?
ACE: Whatever, Professor.
DOCTOR (To NIRGENDS): You’re not from around here…. You know, I might be able to help you repair your ship.
ACE: Come off it, Professor. You’ve got enough trouble trying to fix the TARDIS. How are you supposed to repair a ship you’ve never laid eyes on before?
DOCTOR: Ace! Have a little confidence in me.
(NIRGENDS, who has been fiddling with her ship again, remembers the DOCTOR and ACE. She looks at them absent-mindedly.)
NIRGENDS: Hmm? Ah, yes. I had a rather unsteady landing, and the egression cable is damaged beyond repair.
(The DOCTOR bends down to take a closer look at the cable, and he notices vampire marks in NIRGENDS’s neck.)
DOCTOR: I say, what’s that?
NIRGENDS: What? Oh, nothing, really. This swampy, humid location has many insects, and I was bitten in my sleep last night. Not very pleasant, but it’s a minor inconvenience compared to my ship.
DOCTOR (Still has a knit brow): Ah, yes, of course. Let’s see this cable.
(While the DOCTOR inspects the damaged cable, and ACE explores the little ship, NIRGENDS’s eyes light up as an idea suddenly occurs to her.)
NIRGENDS: Where did this TARDIS of yours land, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Oh, it’s out there in the woods.
(NIRGENDS slips away while the DOCTOR and ACE are distracted by the damaged ship. ACE glances up and notices that NIRGENDS is slipping away. ACE watches her leave, and after a glance at the DOCTOR, creeps behind NIRGENDS.)
(SCENE: NIRGENDS is creeping through the woods and brushing branches out of her path. She finds the TARDIS and walks all the way around it once, before she tries the door; it’s locked. She pulls a little deleebobber out of her pocket and holds it up to the lock. The lock clicks, and the door slowly swings open. She steps inside and stares in wonder at the consul table.
Meanwhile, ACE has been hiding behind a tree and watching NIRGENDS. As soon as the stranger is inside the TARDIS, ACE slips in behind her.)
ACE: Oy! What’re you up to?
(NIRGENDS swirls around to face ACE.)
NIRGENDS: Oh! Just—looking. I always wanted to see the Timelords’ mode of conveyance.
ACE: You’ve got a funny way of going about it. Trying to steal the TARDIS, weren’t you.
NIRGENDS: You don’t understand! I must save my people somehow—my ship isn’t large enough to carry all of them. The ozone layer over my planet is vanishing as we speak. The population has been devastated.
(The DOCTOR steps in behind ACE.)
DOCTOR: Well, why didn’t you say so? We could help, you know.
NIRGENDS: Are you certain? You’d be willing to go to my planet, fill your ship with strangers, and take them somewhere safe?
ACE: Professor, that sounds like an awful lot of people.
NIRGENDS: Only a small portion of the population has agreed to leave. Most of the people don’t believe in leaving their native planet—they claim the great god Norgasbord would not approve. But I have about a hundred followers who depend on me to find a suitable ship for conveying us elsewhere.
DOCTOR: Don’t your people have other ships they can use?
NIRGENDS: We did, but the Fatalists destroyed them all. The one I arrived here on is my own personal ship—they didn’t dare destroy royal property.
DOCTOR: Come on, Ace. We’ve got work to do.
(SCENE: Flat, dry land, an orange sky. Fog. Welcome to the planet Gobbledygook. The TARDIS lands with the usual wheezing-groaning sound. The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS step out.)
DOCTOR: Eh, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
ACE: What’s that, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Never mind, Ace. Well, Nirgends—I mean your Highness, here we are. But where is everybody?
NIRGENDS: Oh, dear.
ACE: Let’s get on with it—I can’t breathe this air.
NIRGENDS: They said they’d be waiting here. Are you sure you set the coordinates for the right time and place?
(The DOCTOR and ACE exchange a look.)
NIRGENDS: They may be underground. Come—I know where to go…I hope.
(The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS walk away onto the vast desert. After they’ve left, Baron Ylietch steps out of the TARDIS, shows his fangs, and starts heading in a different direction.)
(The Doctor and ACE follow NIRGENDS toward a hole in the ground.)
NIRGENDS: Here is our temporary dwelling.
DOCTOR: Lovely décor.
(They descend into the hole, which leads into an underground cave. It’s dark and damp, but NIRGENDS takes a torch off the wall and swiftly leads them through a tunnel.)
DOCTOR: Have your people been living in this cave very long?
NIRGENDS: Yes. For most of my life. The ozone layer has been breaking down gradually since long before I was born—probably for centuries. The air has become unendurable.
ACE: That’s awful! I’d be bonkers if I was you.
(They come to a room where maybe a hundred people are together.)
DOCTOR (Aside, to ACE): I’ve always wanted to attend a prehistoric cocktail party.
NIRGENDS: Attention, everyone!
(The crowd gets gradually quieter as everyone looks in NIRGENDS’s direction.)
NIRGENDS: I brought friends who have agreed to help us. This is the Doctor, and this is Ace.
(General murmuring and excitement in the crowd. Some people go up to the DOCTOR and ACE and greet them.)
MERGOS: Hello. I’m Mergos, the Princess’s advisor.
DOCTOR: Nice to meet you.
MERGOS: We sent some people up—did you happen to meet them?
DOCTOR: No, actually. Nirgends said someone would be waiting—
MERGOS: Oh, dear. Yes, Romus and Remiss went above ground. If they don’t show up soon…well, maybe they’re finding some dinner for us. The stock is getting rather low.
ACE: You’ve all been living in this cave, like a bunch of weasels?
DOCTOR: Ace, really…. You have been living like weasels, haven’t you?
MERGOS: We’ve lived in this underground cave for several moons, if that’s what you mean. But what are weasels?
DOCTOR: They’re—never mind. Your princess mentioned this god—Norgasbord. I’m curious—if all your people believed in this god, then why has this small group of people dissented?
MERGOS (A little fidgety): We are the—nonbelievers. We don’t believe that a kindly god would want us to die like this.
FOOGUS (To the DOCTOR): Our people are capable of space travel—or we were until our enemies destroyed our ships—and we believe that since our civilization is capable of leaving a dying planet, we have a right to escape that planet.
DOCTOR: Yes—survival instinct.
FOOGUS: Strange—Romus and Remiss haven’t returned yet. It’s been over an hour.
NIRGENDS: We’d better send out a search party. Who knows what could have happened to them up there. (To the crowd in general) Would anyone care to volunteer?
(Five people volunteer: the DOCTOR, ACE, FOOGUS, and two others, named MAKPECE and JINGEL. They go up to the surface, with FOOGUS and JINGEL leading the way.)
FOOGUS: They were supposed to be somewhere around here….
(They search further, and the DOCTOR finds a dried up bush with something under it. He takes a closer look an realizes it’s two corpses.)
DOCTOR: Oh, dear, Foogus! I think I’ve found your people. They don’t look a bit healthy.
(The others come and take a look. They’re all appalled.)
FOOGUS: The air must be getting worse—they died so quickly.
MAKPESE: We’d better get back.
DOCTOR: This sort of death isn’t caused by the atmosphere. They’ve been completely drained of their blood. This looks too much like the work of a hemophiliac.
FOOGUS: What’s that?
DOCTOR: A vampire.
FOOGUS: A vampire? What is—
DOCTOR: A vampire is an undead creature that feasts off the blood of others. A parasite. Do you see many vampires on your planet?
MAKPECE: Certainly not. I’ve never heard of such a thing.
(Frowning, the DOCTOR turns away. He stands in silence for a minute, as he gazes without seeing. ACE approaches him.)
ACE: Doctor, what’s wrong? What’s this about a vampire?
DOCTOR: After we met Nirgends at her ship, did you see those red marks on her throat?
ACE: Red marks? Yeah, she said they were bug bites.
DOCTOR: A dreadfully big bug, I’m afraid. They were the mark of a Nosferatu—a vampire.
ACE: Cor! You don’t mean there’s a vampire on this planet! But—why didn’t Nirgends end up like these poor blokes?
DOCTOR: Someone wants to turn her into a vampire. I wonder if she’s been offered immortal life. She told us it was insects, but I can’t say how much she really knows. Dear, dear….I have the most unpleasant sense…
ACE: What’s wrong, Professor?
DOCTOR: Foogus said she’s never heard of vampires…Nirgends said there were insects…
(Something flies overhead—something that looks and sounds like a bat. The DOCTOR stares after it for a moment.)
DOCTOR: Come on, Ace. We’d better have a chat with Nirgends.
(Meanwhile, the other three are looking at the DOCTOR and ACE suspiciously. They whisper among themselves before FOOGUS walks over to the DOCTOR. MAKPESE and JINGEL follow her.)
FOOGUS: Doctor, nothing like this ever happened before you and Ace came.
DOCTOR: Oh, dear. Seemes like it always turns into this. You think we’re responsible for the deaths, don’t you?
DOCTOR: You’re mistaken. How about if we head back to the cave and have a chat with Nirgends over a cup of tea. She may be able to straighten this out.
JINGEL: Oh, no!
FOOGUS: If you take us back to the cave, how do we know you won’t kill all of us?
DOCTOR: If we wanted to kill you, wouldn’t we have done so by now?
JINGEL: We don’t know how the mind of a criminal works.
DOCTOR: I’m sure it doesn’t work like my mind. Look. Just take us back to the cave—it’s important we talk with Nirgends. She could help us find out what’s going on. I don’t care if you threaten us and shove us around. We need to speak with your leader.
MAKPESE (To FOOGUS): He may be telling the truth. If we don’t trust him, we may lose our chance of going away from here.
(SCENE: The search party arrives at the cave full of people. MAKPESE and JINGEL shove the DOCTOR and ACE into the room as FOOGUS speaks. NIRGENDS, meanwhile, has been resting her head against the cave wall, and sitting on a rock. She is very pale.)
FOOGUS: We have found Rumis and Remiss—our visitors killed them.
(Hubbub from the crowd. The DOCTOR and ACE are tied.)
ACE: Ow! Watch it!
NIRGENDS: What’s the meaning of this nonsense?
FOOGUS: We found the bodies of Rumis and Remiss, drained of blood, under a bush. This sort of death never happened before these two came. Don’t you think that’s a trifle odd?
NIRGENDS: I think the Doctor and Ace have been with me all along—until they were with you.
DOCTOR: Your Highness, allow me to make a comment. How did you say you acquired the marks on your neck?
NIRGENDS: The insect bites, Doctor? I don’t understand. I was bitten overnight, while I was staying at the Baron’s castle on that planet—what did you call it? Earth?
ACE: Are you sure about that?
DOCTOR: The Baron? You didn’t say anyone lived there. I assumed…Who was this Baron?
NIRGENDS: Oh, the Baron Ylietch. He was a very kind man. For several nights he let me stay at his home, gave me food and drink, and asked for nothing in return. We’d sit by the fire in the evening…Oh, but this can’t be of any interest to you, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Did you notice anything—peculiar about this Baron Ylietch?
NIRGENDS: Oh, Doctor, you’re being silly.
DOCTOR: Did you ever see him in daylight? Did he ever dine with you? Did he have fangs? Claws? A curious craving for human flesh?
ACE: A funny Transylvanian accent?
DOCTOR: That’s not funny, Ace.
NIRGENDS: You’re not suggesting the Baron is this…vampire…are you, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Yes, your Highness. I’m suggesting exactly that. I’m suggesting he left those marks on your throat.
NIRGENDS: Doctor, this is ridiculous.
DOCTOR: Is it?
NIRGENDS (After a pause): No, it’s not. But it’s too horrible.
DOCTOR: Ace and I will go search for this Baron, if your people will untie us and let us go.
(As she speaks, NIRGENDS begins to untie the DOCTOR and motions to MERGOS to untie ACE.)
NIRGENDS: Very well, Doctor. I’ll go with you.
DOCTOR: No, no, he’ll turn you into a vampire if he bites you once more. You’ll be safer if you stay here.
DOCTOR: You need to rest—to recuperate from your loss of blood.
NIRGENDS: Doctor, I’m going. I’m responsible for this.
(SCENE: Above ground, the DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS search for the vampire. They wander around on the planet. NIRGENDS is rather fatigued because of the awful climate and her loss of blood, but she tries to hide it.)
ACE: This is like looking for a stray puppy.
DOCTOR: A poorly behaved stray puppy.
(SCENE: Time has passed. The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS are still searching. ACE finds footprints in the dust and dirt.)
ACE: Doctor! Look.
(The DOCTOR and NIRGENDS come and look at the footprints.)
DOCTOR: The game is afoot.
(They follow the footprints, which lead them to a hole in the ground.)
NIRGENDS: Doctor, here’s another underground cave. There aren’t very many. Let’s take a look around.
(They descend into the cave, wander through dark tunnels, and come across a makeshift earthbox. The DOCTOR lifts the lid and they see the BARON asleep inside.)
NIRGENDS (After pause): What do we do, now that we’ve found him?
ACE: How about if I stick some Nitro-9 in his box.
DOCTOR: I’m afraid that option wouldn’t help us here, Ace. Let’s get him back to his castle before he wakes up, and leave him there where he belongs.
NIRGENDS: You have a peaceful solution for everything, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Well, almost everything.
(ACE breaks off a stalactite before they go, and she tucks it under her arm. The three of them carry the earthbox out of the cave and head for the TARDIS.)
(SCENE: The DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS are outside the TARDIS. They set down the earthbox while the DOCTOR unlocks the TARDIS door. NIRGENDS holds the door open while the other two carry the earthbox into the TARDIS. Inside, they carry the box across the control room and place it in a storage room. ACE nails the box shut while the other two go back to the consul room.)
DOCTOR: Destination: Hungary.
(The center column of the consul rises and falls as the TARDIS takes off.)
NIRGENDS: I’ll stay with Ace, in case the Baron awakes.
DOCTOR: I’ll be there in a millisecond.
(NIRGENDS goes back to the room where ACE guards over the earthbox. ACE picks up a small wooden stake.)
ACE: The Doctor said you might need this.
ACE: To ward off the vampire.
NIRGENDS: Ah (sighing as she sinks into a chair) I’m still having trouble seeing…the Baron…as a vampire.
(The DOCTOR enters the room and plops down between ACE and NIRGENDS.)
DOCTOR: Here—I’ve got some medicine to treat you for loss of blood.
(The DOCTOR tries to rise, but NIRGENDS holds him down feebly.)
NIRGENDS: Doctor, since this TARDIS travels in time, would it be possible to go back to the moment before the vampire first bit me, and to prevent it from happening?
DOCTOR (Running a hand through his hair): It might be possible, your Highness, but quite difficult—and risky. We’d have to drop off both you and the vampire—otherwise you’d each have a double.
NIRGENDS: A double.
DOCTOR: Yes, a double. There would be the you that I’m speaking to, and another you still in the castle.
DOCTOR: Then Ace and I would have to get back to the TARDIS, set the coordinates for the correct time, and hope the TARDIS gets bacvk to the castle—not only at the right moment, but also before the present vampire harms the present you. Understand?
NIRGENDS: I think so.
ACE: I’m glad one of us does.
DOCTOR (To NIRGENDS): Don’t worry—you’ll recuperate; it takes time, you know. Relax.
NIRGENDS: You forgot to say, “Your Highness.”
DOCTOR: Yes, well, it won’t be the first time. Now it’s time for the Doctor to give you your medicine.
(SCENE: the TARDIS lands in the front hall of the BARON’s castle. The DOCTOR and ACE carry the earthbox out of the TARDIS and to another room, where they set it on the stone floor. Meanwhile, NIRGENDS follows.)
ACE: Maybe we should kill him—before he causes any more deaths.
DOCTOR: Ace, do you think that hasn’t occurred to me? I don’t think we should shed unnecessary blood….On the other hand, if he lives, he could cause many more deaths. There could be a village nearby….
(The BARON stirs inside the box.)
ACE: We’ve got trouble.
(The BARON shoves the lid up, tearing out the nails, and the lid clunks to the floor. An unhappy vampire appears.)
DOCTOR: Wake up on the wrong side of the coffin?
BARON: Good evening.
ACE: You’re taking things awfully calmly.
BARON (Coldly, towering over the other three): I have a calm nature. However, my nature seems to have been opposed. How unpleasant. (Turns to NIRGENDS)
NIRGENDS (To BARON): You left these marks on my neck, didn’t you.
BARON: I could make you immortal.
NIRGENDS (As though he never spoke): You have a strange way of treating your house guests. One would expect better manners from an aristocrat.
BARON: I need blood in order to survive. You needed shelter, I needed blood. I thought it was a satisfactory arrangement.
NIRGENDS: I trusted you. I even liked you.
BARON: You have a certain charm yourself. You see, I want to give you immortality.
(As the BARON speaks, ACE comes up behind him. She beats him over the head with her baseball bat. It only makes him angry. He swerves around with a snarl, and the DOCTOR thrusts the stalactite into his chest. The vampire screams and dies. After he’s dead, the three silently stand over the body.)
DOCTOR: Well….You could say something about beating a vampire bat with a bat, if you were the sort of person who’d say such a thing. Of course, I’m not…. Your Highness, are you ready to take your people to another planet?
(NIRGENDS doesn’t answer for a moment; she continues to stare at the corpse. She slowly looks up at the DOCTOR before she answers in a whisper.)
NIRGENDS: Yes, Doctor.
(NIRGENDS nearly faints. The DOCTOR and ACE help her up.)
(SCENE: The camera follows the DOCTOR, ACE, and NIRGENDS into the cave room that’s full of people. (ACE has changed into her usual ensemble.) The cave still looks like a prehistoric cocktail party, but the guests aren’t having fun. There is a great deal of murmuring when the people see the DOCTOR and ACE with NIRGENDS.)
NIRGENDS: Listen, everyone. We found the vampire—he’s gone. Now are you willing to come with the Doctor to a new planet?
FOOGUS: What happened to this—vampire?
ACE: The Doctor killed him with a stake through the heart. Here’s his jacket.
(ACE holds up the BARON’s bloody jacket. There is more murmuring—this time rather admiring. The Doctor, that is, not the spiffy coat)
NIRGENDS: Who wants to come with us?
(Everyone, except FOOGUS, steps forward.)
NIRGENDS: Well, Foogus?
FOOGUS (After pause): How do I know your…friends haven’t threatened you into saying they’re innocent? How do I know anything you’ve said is true?
NIRGENDS: Have you ever heard me tell a lie? Foogus, you don’t understand. The vampire stowed away on the Doctor’s ship.
(There is a long pause.)
(SCENE: TARDIS consul room. NIRGEND’s people pour into the TARDIS. The people gape at their surroundings in amazement, and they make sundry comments.)
CROWD: Strange…It’s amazing…I want one of these for my birthday…It’s bigger on the inside than on the outside.
DOCTOR (Referring to the last comment): Typical response.
(The DOCTOR works at the consul to take the TARDIS away; ACE directs the crowd through the door that leads to other rooms. NIRGENDS goes to rest up. This is all happening simultaneously. The TARDIS then takes off, and ACE comes back to the consul room.)
DOCTOR: Here we go—wherever we’re going.
ACE: Eh, Professor, don’t you have a place in mind?
DOCTOR: I thought of Castrovalva, but I don’t think the inhabitants would appreciate having strangers come live with them. How about a bit of research.
(The DOCTOR types up something on the computer built into the consul, and something comes up on the screen. The DOCTOR mutters as he types.)
DOCTOR: We want a planet that preferably has no humanoids….A suitable climate….Ah, here’s one—Dysrepsus….temperate…early stages…no human life has developed…plenty of fresh water. I think they’ll like that.
ACE: Here—I’ll tell Nirgends.
(ACE leaves the consul room as the DOCTOR sets the coordinates for Dysrepsus. The camera follows ACE, who enters a room full of plants, vines, and garden benches. Several of NIRGENDS’s people are in this room, and ACE walks over to MERGOS.)
ACE: Oy, the Professor’s picked a planet he thinks you lot’ll take a fancy to. The way it sounds, you’d have to be mad to not like it.
(The TARDIS lands with its usual wheezing sound, and MERGOS listens.)
MERGOS: Oh—are we there already?
(ACE and MERGOS head toward the consul room, as many people do the same.)
ACE: Yeah—the TARDIS makes overnight express seem like a slug.
MERGOS: What’s a sl—
ACE: Never mind.
(ACE and MERGOS enter the consul room, where they see the DOCTOR leaning against the consul table.)
DOCTOR: We’re on Dysrepsus. Are you going to congratulate me?
ACE: Oh, I think you’ve congratulated yourself enough, Professor. You don’t need our help.
(SCENE: the TARDIS almost completely covers a very small island in a large lake. The banks of the lake are miles away, in the distance.)
DOCTOR (Voice over): Ah, let’s not step out just yet.