At the end of ‘The Big Bang’ the Doctor is distracted from solving the dangling plot thread of the exploding TARDIS and the Silence by a phone call. He is told that an Egyptian goddess has been freed from the seventh obelisk and is now on the Orient Express, in space.
We never see this adventure on screen (although we know that Amy and Rory conceive River Song shortly after this). There are enough clues to put together a tantalising story of our own.
Starting with the Egyptian goddess we have:
- Ammut: A hybrid of crocodile, lion and hippo associated with the idea of punishing the soul. She would either digest the soul in acid or a lake of fire. She worked for other gods but wished to enter our realm. She could be an alien from her description, trapped in another dimension.
- Anput: A desert goddess associated with protection. Normally depicted as human and occasional with the head of a jackal. This would allow her to blend in and introduce a ‘who-dunnit’ element to a plot set on the train, as the PCs try to identify her. Possibly a were-jackal.
- Anuket: Goddess of the river Nile. While this doesn’t translate well to space she is also associated with fast-moving things (arrows, gazelle, etc). Depicted as either a normal woman with a headdress of feathers or with the head of a gazelle.
- Bast: Goddess of protection and cats. Could this be a trapped Catkind (from ‘New Earth’ and others) or Cat Person (from the book ‘Invasion of the Cat-People’)?
- Hator: A cow goddess, she does have a strong sci-fi link in that she was associated with the Milky Way. While she is generally a goddess of love, beauty, dancing and music she has a dark past as Sekment, goddess of destruction. Ra dyed some beer red and thinking it was blood Sekment drank it, became drunk and passed out. When she awoke she didn’t want to kill people any more and became Hator. Ra in this story could easily be the Doctor. It is also possible that Hator regains her taste for human flesh.
- Heket: A frog-faced goddess of childbirth and fertility. She was seen as a mid-wife, over seeing the birth of people created by either Khnum or Heh. Could she be a Sontaran, over seeing the birth of clone batches?
- Isis: Considered the greatest of the Egyptian goddesses. Known as great magician and thus the goddess of magic she could possess advanced technology. This could make her a real challenge for PCs.
- Kebechet: The goddess of freshness and purification. A strong candidate for our escaped goddess as she is known as ‘the wandering goddess’ or the ‘lost child’. Sometimes depicted as a woman with a snake face or as a snake with a body of stars.
- Ma’at: Goddess of order, truth and justice. Physically she looked human. Her job was to prevent chaos so could be an agent of the White Guardian. She might also associate with races driven by strict laws, such as the Judoon.
- Menhit: Goddess of war and, like Bast, depicted as a cat (in this case a lion). She could be a warlord or soldier, which would make a good contrast to the generally peaceful Cat-Kind.
- Nephthys: Goddess of night, rivers, sleep, nature and mourning. While depicted as a woman she occasionally had blue skin and wings. She was said to be a friend to the dead, escorting them into the afterlife which could work well if there are murders on the Orient Express.
- Nekhbet: Patron of Nekheb, a major urban centre in the Early Dynastic period and site of a large Necropolis. This could be a member of the Shansheeth race encountered in the Sarah Jane Adventures story ‘Death of the Doctor’ both for her appearance and the races association as undertakers.
- Nut: Goddess of the sky either depicted as a blue skinned woman or a huge cow. She has strong associations with space, as the mother of all heavenly bodies.
- Sekhmet: Goddess of fire and water and, like Bast and Menhit, depicted as a cat person. Known as the destructive eye of the sun she might have used a heat ray as a weapon or other solar powered technology.
- Serket: Goddess of scorpions. Depicted as a woman or a scorpion, her scorpions stung bad people and she had the power to cure other people. Sometimes associated as an aspect of Isis. A good choice if you wish to have people poisoned on the Orient Express and the PCs forced to find the culprit.
- Seshat: Goddess of knowledge. Could this knowledge be due to an alien or time travelling origin? Associated with astronomy and mathematics she could be a spaceship pilot, trying to calculate her way home or even know the secret of block transfer computation.
- Tawaret: A hippopotamus woman known to protect pregnant women. She is also the demon-wife of Apep, the god of evil. Could she be protecting a pregnant passenger on the Orient Express, carrying the seed of evil?
- Tefnut: Another cat-person, this time the goddess of water and fertility. She is also closely tied to the sun and the moon (maybe she has hijacked the Orient Express to go there).
- Wadjet: Depicted as a snake-head woman or a snake she was the goddess of the land and protector of kings. She could be a reptilian alien that sets up rulers of countries, the true power behind the throne.
‘Pyramids of Mars’ also establish the existence of the Osirians, a powerful race that either posed or with the inspiration for the Egyptian gods. Any of the above could be exiled members of that race.
The 7th Obelisk could be anything but the closest match I can find is the Obelisk of Montecitorio. Constructed originally in Heliopolis before being moved Campus Martius in ancient Rome by Emperor Augustus to be part of a sun dial.
The red brick structure collapsed between the 9th and 11th century (possibly due to fire, earthquake or escaping goddess). It was reconstructed in the 18th century and again used as a solar clock at the Piazza del Parlamento in Rome.
This gives you either Egypt or Rome as the site of the Doctor’s first encounter with the Goddess and many different time periods for it to take place in. Was the prayer meeting some form of psychic ritual to seal the goddess away? How did it escape?
The Orient Express was a long-distance passenger train that ran between 1883 to 2009. It ran from London to either Istanbul or Athens (the route changed over the years). This adventure could either concern the original Orient Express being sent into space (possibly due to the goddess) or a futuristic space train, named after the original (similar to the Titanic in ‘Voyage Of The Damned’.)
The Doctor refers to the caller as ‘your Majesty’. If the call comes from Egypt it could be Queen Nefertiti (if their relationship predates the encounter in ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’) or Cleopatra (who River Song has just posed as in ‘The Pandorica Opens’.)
If it is set during the run of the original Orient Express the caller could be Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth II. If set in the future you are free to introduce a new queen for the Doctor to meet. It could also be Erimem, who is calling from Peladon.
Is the Egyptian goddess hiding on the train, requiring the Doctor and the Ponds to unmask her? Is she holding the passengers hostage? Is there something on the Orient Express that she needs? If this is the original Orient Express how will the Doctor and his friends get them back to Earth without disrupting time?
There are many possibilities but hopefully I’ve provided you with enough material to work with. This adventure could be a good opportunity for the reality of the married life to hit Amy and Rory, as well as for them to start thinking about where they want to go on their honeymoon.