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Land of the Two Foes
The Daleks and the Rani
The story's titular "Two Foes", the Daleks and The Rani
Season 1, Episode 3
Vital statistics
Air date 2016
Written by The wiki founder
Directed by None
Episode guide
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Terror of the Rani The Yeti Factor

Land of the Two Foes is a story written by the wiki founder. It is the final installment of the so called "Rani trilogy" in the Surgeon stories and marks the last appearance of Majid Bashar and The Rani who was a recurring antagonist since Strategy of a Surgeon.

The story's title comes from the Iraqi national anthem "Ardulfurataini Watan" which translates to "Land of the Two Rivers" and is the second story to use a derivative title with Destroy All Plants.

Synopsis

The Rani escapes to 1980s Iraq where she allies herself with the Daleks in their search for the components of Project Babylon, a supergun commissioned by Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein which the Daleks intend to use to hold the world to ransom.

After the Surgeon is left with just one companion and the Rani threatens to turn his companions against him, things begin to look bleak for the future of the world.

Plot

In the 1990s, Iraq invades Kuwait much to the condemnation of world leaders in particular the United States who declare war on Iraq alongside various other countries.

This is also broadcast around the world and is further watched by the Daleks which watches the news report with particular interest on a supergun.

Meanwhile, the Surgeon and his companions are seen in the SIDRAT trying to get a fix on the Rani's location and when the Surgeon gets it, he pilots the machine increasingly erratically through the Time Vortex with enough force to rip the machine apart.

An image on the SIDRAT scanner shows the Surgeon hurtling towards a desert and fearing for the same events from the beginning of his first story, takes emergency action diverting the SIDRAT to a city which ultimately becomes a city in one of the worst countries in the Middle East: Iraq much to the fear of Ghazal.

When the Daleks arrive, the Surgeon orders his companions to follow them but is forced to change his plans when he sees The Rani trying to flee and orders his companions to chase after her. His plans however are foiled by the Mukhabarat forcing him away allowing the Rani to flee as the Daleks attack Iraq.

In the safe house, the Surgeon watches Ghazal and Majid viciously attack the Mukhabarat before stepping in to have his say; An apoplectic Surgeon that berates the Mukhabarat for not letting him deal with the Daleks because unlike the forces of Saddam, he has had experience with the machines because he has fought them time and time again. Eventually, he gets so out of hand that the Mukhabarat give up and instead take him to their leader: Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

When he begins conversation with Saddam owing to him being one of the most feared and reviled men in history, the Surgeon warns himself and is also warned by his companions not to repeat the same apoplectic attitude that he displayed in front of the Mukhabarat for fears that Saddam killed at least 250,000 people and the Surgeon could convince him to kill 250,000 more.

His conversation with Saddam begins with him asking to talk to him about his forces which Saddam takes as a compliment of the Iraqi Army. But what the Surgeon and his friends don't know is that the conversation with Saddam is being recorded by The Rani and the Daleks.

The Surgeon's attempts to negotiate with Saddam Hussein are foiled by the arrival of the Daleks as he is told by Ghazal Rashidi. As she describes one to him, one bursts through the door followed by two others. One of them tries to negotiate with Saddam further and is probably better at negotiating with him than the Surgeon himself.

He is further threatened that if he does not obey the Daleks then his companions will be exterminated and a defeated Surgeon reluctantly throws in the towel. As such, he allows himself to be led away from Saddam's palace as the latter smiles faintly.

While the Rani has never revealed her name or encountered the Surgeon's prior incarnations as prominently as some enemies of the Surgeon such as Meglos or the Daleks , it is said that he has more experience with her than Majid because they are both the same race as shown when they meet each other on the Dalek saucer where the Surgeon and his companions are taken.

While granted, the Surgeon is not restrained like in the case of Jesse Fairchild and his friends who are restrained constantly he is described alongside Majid as being more restrained when he is taken to the Dalek saucer than Ghazal. The Surgeon later stands up to the Daleks when they threaten Ghazal with being exterminated when she demands an explanation to the Rani's appearance in 1990s Iraq and soon comes to learn the terrible truth:

Two years earlier and a year before the Iran-Iraq War was due to end, Saddam had commissioned a supergun by the codename of Project Babylon which was to be based on Project HARP designed by Gerald Bull. But the Daleks and the Rani want to use it to hold the world to ransom unlike Saddam who wants to use it for unknown purposes.

Even if Saddam wants to use the supergun for unknown purposes however, it is likely that he would use the weapon to either launch a satellite into space or blast Israel to kingdom come in order to make way for the state of Palestine.

The Rani soon sees her opportunity for revenge and her revenge comes in the form of creating a rift between the Surgeon, Ghazal and Majid when she questions the latter's potential as a companion of the Surgeon or any Time Lord for that matter and the Surgeon's answer delights her: While the Surgeon acknowledges that Majid has shown a lot more potential than Adam Mitchell with the Ninth Doctor he still does not believe he has shown any potential.

Therefore, the Surgeon has Majid exterminated which makes Ghazal believe that he has turned to the dark side especially as he smiles faintly. It is also this psychopathic nature of the Surgeon that almost turns him against his last remaining companion Ghazal who is shocked to learn that Majid had been exterminated here and now.

While Ghazal believes that it is impossible for someone who is twenty eight years old to die in the 20th Century when he would barely have been born, the Surgeon almost quotes the Ninth Doctor and tells her:

"Time is not a straight line Ghazal, time is like water or an elastic band. It can stretch into any time or any place! He could have been born in the 1980s and died in the 1990s!"
It is also this quote that seems to turn the Surgeon and Ghazal against each other but the Rani decides to let the latter live and instead the Surgeon is brought through a transmat with Ghazal to the Iraqi desert...straight to Project Babylon.

While he is interested by the supergun, he is not entirely convinced by the fact that the gun could be one of the most powerful weapons ever made so he demands that the weapon be tested to which one of the Daleks totally agrees and so the Rani replies with "I obey!" which makes his skin crawl as it makes the Surgeon feel like she has been hypnotised by the Daleks or impregnated with a Dalek Factor, the same fate that affects Theodore Maxtible in The Evil of the Daleks which is actually unrelated to the Surgeon stories.

When the Daleks exterminated Majid Bashar, it was the Surgeon who felt psychopathic but this time it is a reversal of fortune because it is now Ghazal who sees an F-15 Eagle fighter jet as a target to be used for the demonstration of the supergun; he tries to persuade her that the craft may be friendly but she refuses to believe it.

After the Rani fires Project Babylon, the Surgeon is finally convinced especially by the sheer power projected by the gun which obliterates its target. But it also gives him a sense of deja vu of his own crash, except this time the pilot of that craft dies.

Once the gun has been tested, The Rani proceeds to do something very strange: She asks the Surgeon to form an alliance with herself and the Daleks which is unusual because the Surgeon has been traveling the universe for centuries and he has never become the subject of an alliance proposal unlike the Doctor and again, the Surgeon is not convinced as to why he should join forces with the Rani. This in turn makes him the second character to be the subject of an alliance proposal with the first being Lady Blue in Duel of the Vixens.

Like before, the Surgeon is unconvinced why he should join forces with the Rani and the Daleks to which she replies with:

"Because just think, with you by my side we could bring the Time Lords back again, imagine the worlds you could save. Just imagine, our own people...reborn."
With just one companion left in the form of Ghazal, it is now this one companion who tries to persuade the Surgeon that if he joins forces with the Daleks or the Rani then he will betray his own people. She manages to succeed when the Surgeon gives his response: Seeing a Dalek about to open fire on him, he grabs hold of the Dalek and forces it on the Rani so when it fires the gunstick, it exterminates The Rani.

Once the Rani has been exterminated, the Surgeon tells Ghazal to run for it and while under fire he radios various air forces to attack the Daleks then finally saves Ghazal from the Daleks by sending her through a transmat machine which teleports her to the streets of Iraq. Before the Surgeon also flees from the Daleks, he sabotages the transmat so when he escapes into the portal, it closes behind him leaving the Daleks stranded.

In the streets of Iraq, the Surgeon and Ghazal watch the air forces attack and eventually destroy the Daleks ending the threat of Project Babylon. The fires also incinerate the body of The Rani as he and Ghazal watch the fires and smoke billow from the desert.

When Ghazal asks about The Rani or as she was better known "Asma" thanks to her alias as Asma Benyamina, the Surgeon simply replies that her body has been incinerated by the flames caused by the air raids and apologizes to Ghazal about Majid but she does not care anymore much to his surprise.

As he and Ghazal head back to the SIDRAT, she asks about their next destination to which he replies:

"Out of the past; and into the future."
Upon the Rani's death, the Surgeon further expresses relief that the Rani will not be back to harm him anymore and he can hopefully carry on wandering the universe as he did for centuries before his current incarnation. In the SIDRAT, the Surgeon asks Ghazal "Onwards?" to which she replies the same thing and the Surgeon activates the machine causing it to leave Iraq for a new destination.

A turning point

While Land of the Two Foes is considered to be one of the most cumbersome stories written by the wiki founder alongside Terror of the Rani, The Mouse and the Rat and The Puppy and the Peacock (the latter two of which were abandoned) it is also considered to be a turning point for the Surgeon stories in a number of ways:

For one, the story is far longer than its predecessors being twelve parts long including an epilogue which this story is also the first to include while its predecessors are only eight parts long. The story is also considered far superior to its predecessors because this one is far spaced out and segments were written with more care; in addition, the story sees the final appearance of The Rani in order to make the Surgeon face new opponents such as the Great Intelligence (The Yeti Factor), "The Abomination" (Destroy All Plants), WOTAN (Thunderbolt) and eventually a large number of Blue Foxes (Bounder and the Time Lord and Battle of the Foxes).

Land of the Two Foes is also the first story that is written almost exclusively on deviantART unlike its predecessors which were written out first on Microsoft Word and then copy-pasted onto deviantART with the only exception being Part 9 or so the wiki founder believes (Terror of the Rani was also posted on deviantART but only towards the end.)

It also marks a turning point in the Surgeon stories in which the Surgeon only gets one companion and he would not get two companions again until the end of Battle of the Foxes, the finale of his first series; Although the wiki founder considers Majid Bashar to be better than Benjamin Simmons he is also a very difficult character to write so the wiki founder took the opportunity to kill him off so the story could be finished and progress onto stories such as Destroy All Plants, Bounder and the Time Lord and even its successor The Yeti Factor.

This also means that Majid is killed off two stories earlier than intended as he was originally intended to be killed off with Ghazal in Destroy All Plants. He was also killed owing to very poor writing and the very early introduction of the far superior Jenna Lillywhite who first appears in Bounder and the Time Lord and eventually becomes a companion of the Surgeon in Battle of the Foxes.

Another factor that contributed to Majid's death is the fact that he began to evolve into the same category of male companions that some male companions of the Doctor since 2005 such as Mickey Smith, Rory Williams and to an extent Danny Pink, ended up being in the words of Doctor Who critic Michael Hogan:

"Basically soppy, sappy, slightly annoying plus-ones to far superior females"
While he is also fairly competent, his writing ended up being dreadful at the same time unlike other male characters such as Rahman Ali Khan from the Cold War II series; Land of the Two Foes also has a subsequent impact on its successor The Yeti Factor because all the students that the Surgeon and Ghazal encounter are females because of fears that males would have hindered the story.

Despite this however, the Surgeon and Ghazal also meet more girls and women but they also meet a large number of men in the story.

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