Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

Audio - Kiss of Death
Kiss of Death
(Stephen Cole)
 Name: Rennol

 Format: Audio

 Time of Origin: Trion, around Earth's present (in the mid-1980s).

 Appearances: "Kiss of Death"

 Doctors: Fifth Doctor

 Companions: Nyssa, Tegan Jovanka, Turlough

Peter Davison
The Fifth Doctor
 History: Although a clear threat, Rennol was more accurately Turlough's enemy rather than The Doctor's, as he had a long-standing vendetta against Turlough's family but had very little interaction with the Time Lord himself. During the Trion civil war that saw Turlough and his brother exiled from their planet while their father was executed ("Planet of Fire"), Rennol was on the winning side of the conflict, and at some point after the war, he became involved with Deela, a former girlfriend of Turlough's; Turlough and Deela had remained close even after their fathers ended up on opposite sides of the civil war, but after the war was over Turlough had been sentenced to exile on Earth ("Mawdryn Undead") while Deela was able to remain with their people.

However, Deela's father was so controlling he wouldn't let her marry Rennol, which led to Rennol became obsessed with the rumours of a vault on an ice planet belonging to Turlough's great-grandfather that actually existed in a pocket dimension, Turlough's great-grandfather using the vault as the perfect means of storing his gains during his smuggling career and rumoured to have been used to store the crown jewels of the Trion royal family during a revolution a few centuries ago. Official records of the vault's location had been lost long ago, although it had allegedly been created by Turlough's great x 5 grandfather when he was an ambassador to alien worlds, likely using alien technology provided by his offworld contacts. The vault had been rediscovered by Turlough and Deela when they were children searching the family archives, Turlough reprogramming the vault so that it could only be accessed when he and Deela kissed to give them a place where they could be alone together.

Realising that they needed Turlough to unlock the vault, Rennol and Deela set out to find him, hiring mercenaries Hoss and Kanch to assist them while presenting Deela as a hostage rather than a willing partner so that it would be more convincing to Turlough and make it easier for the couple to double-cross Hoss and Kanch later. Turlough was eventually captured when the TARDIS landed on the pleasure planet of Vektris in the same time period as Turlough's exile, the ship temporarily immobilised as The Doctor conducted repairs. Turlough initially tried to stay hidden by remaining inside the TARDIS even after Tegan and Nyssa rented a villa, but when he was forced to leave while the ship's internal dimensions underwent a complex reconfiguration, he was captured by Hoss and Kanch. Fortunately, The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan witnessed Turlough's abduction, and while they weren't able to stop the mercenaries killing a miner as they tried to escape, the three were able to use the miner's ship to pursue Turlough's captors, with The Doctor making various modifications to the ship's artificial gravity field to boost its power mid-flight.

Once the mercenaries reached the ice planet in question, they discovered that Rennol had disabled the other traps scattered around the asteroid palace, a process that had apparently taken some months as he also tried to remain discreet enough to avoid attracting attention from the planetary authorities. While Turlough and Deela were taken to the main chamber to open the vault, the mining ship arrived shortly after they landed, but Kanch shot the ship down. The Doctor was able to modify the gravity field again to cushion their impact, but the crash caused such devastating seismic tremors that he and Nyssa fell into caverns underground, only surviving the fall because the remaining gravity field slowed their descent. As they explored the caverns, The Doctor was infected by a strange entity that identified itself as the Morass, which he later determined was part of an alien security system that used him as a power source to generate basic duplicates of himself and Nyssa to attack the 'invaders'.

Back on the surface, Hoss and Kanch captured Tegan while investigating the crashed ship, but Tegan was able to tell Turlough that The Doctor and Nyssa were still alive by telling the group that their missing companions would 'never see their native Earth again', something that only Turlough would know wasn't true. Now willing to work in the hope that The Doctor would come to rescue them, Turlough was able to find the portal access when his and Deela's initial kisses didn't work, but the system was damaged and would require far more repairs than he was qualified to make. Stuck for options, Tegan gave them a chance to escape by using the control rod from the gravity well on the ship as a weapon, damaging the crystal power source of the system while she, Turlough and Deela fled into the caverns. As they fled, the Morass attacked the intruders by generating duplicates of Nyssa and The Doctor, draining further energy from Hoss's weapon when she tried to attack the duplicates. Having fled the initial attack, Nyssa and Turlough were able to release The Doctor from the Morass, but Kanch was captured in the process, prompting Turlough and Nyssa to go with Deela back to the main chamber to confront Rennol while Tegan remained with the weakened Doctor to give him a chance to rest.

Back in the main chamber, Rennol was able to use the disruption caused by the manifestation of the Morass to transfer power back to the controls necessary to open the dimensional vault, subsequently revealing Deela's true agenda when Turlough and Nyssa tried to take him by surprise. However, when he sent Deela away to secure the passage to the catacombs so that The Doctor and Tegan would remain trapped, Rennol unwittingly exposed his true agenda when Hoss found Deela's radio in the caverns and called the other line, the radio's vocal synthesiser disguising Hoss's voice long enough for Rennol to give himself away. Now pressed for time, Rennol was able to get into the vault and access the additional sub-dimension where the treasure was allegedly stored, but he was horrified to find that the jewellery he had been expecting had been smashed. As The Doctor subsequently deduced, the vault was configured to protect certain families based on provided DNA samples, rather than protecting particular artefacts; during a battle against invading forces in the time of Turlough's great-grandfather, the enemies had gained access to the vault and killed the current residents, while the jewels had been trampled and destroyed in the subsequent battle. The Doctor noted that this also explained how Turlough had been able to release him from the Morass earlier, as the system was now configured to protect Turlough and therefore wouldn't attack him.

Outraged at the discovery that he had gone to all this trouble for nothing, Rennol, refusing to accept his loss, decided to kill Deela and Turlough to stop the Morass from killing everyone else on the planet to 'protect' them. Turlough, Tegan and Nyssa were unable to stop him shooting Deela, but they kept Rennol from shooting Turlough long enough for The Doctor to reverse power so that the vault would be the power source rather than the catacombs, intending to enter it himself to provide the necessary power in the hope that he could escape it later. However, panicked at the attacking Morass, Rennol ran into the vault, believing that he would be protected there only to become trapped in the circuit instead, The Doctor expressing uncertainty as to whether that would kill Rennol or just trap him in the other dimension. With the vault now the power source rather than the catacombs, Kanch was cut off from the system, although he was unlikely to ever be the same again. Hoss and Kanch departed in their ship while The Doctor and his companions took Rennol's ship back to Vektris to recover the TARDIS, Turlough spending some time alone in his room to mourn the loss of the life he'd had with Deela.
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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