Maurice Callaghan is a character from the Surgeon stories. He is an Irish scientist who is behind the theory of genetically engineering plants to make them more friendly to humanity so that plants and humans can interact together instead of humans destroying plants. In an accident, Maurice is also the creator of Biollante/The Abomination.
He is also the first Irish scientist to be encountered by the Eleventh Surgeon alongside Forbflaith Hennessy who the Surgeon encounters in Bounder and the Time Lord. Maurice is also one of three characters to be modeled on British actors alongside two of the five judges at the beginning of Seslinian the Invincible.
Originally aged to be thirty seven years old, Maurice is now a seventy three year old Irish scientist living in Belfast in Northern Ireland who is described as having a resemblance to the Northern Irish actor Stephen Rea. He is a seventy three year old Irish man with fair skin, brown hair that is also greying and brown eyes.
In his first appearance, Maurice wears black trousers, a white shirt, a black blazer and black dress shoes which he wears at virtually every single University and College he attends after Queen's University.
Maurice could be classed as a foil to fellow Irish scientist Forbflaith Hennessy in the sense that while he is a scientist, he is shown to be a well meaning scientist and only wants to change nature for the better so that humanity should not destroy it while Forbflaith does not care for humanity and her experiments terrorize humanity (although one experiment changes sides and instead protects humanity).
It is also Maurice's appearance that earns him a celebrity status because he bears a resemblance to a Northern Irish actor who has starred in high profile films at that. This status is further shown at Queen's University in Belfast where he gains a particularly enthusiastic response. Despite his well meaning nature however, there appears to be a sense of xenophobia in Maurice as shown in his final speech:
" I am not a naturist...I am a scientist trying to help humanity while a naturist is trying to ruin humanity."Another phase of his xenophobia is shown in his talks to the Open University in Milton Keynes and the Ulster University in Derry where he talks less about using the plants in co-operation with humanity and seeing them more as weapons. However, he makes no mention of the experiments being sold to the highest bidder.
The Surgeon stories
Other stories in the Surgeon stories up and till Bounder and the Time Lord start without focus on the Surgeon and this story is no different. In this story, Maurice has been invited to Queen's University in Belfast to give a motivational talk and deliver on his theory of genetically altering plants so they can learn to accept humanity and not fear them.
When he is introduced by a lecturer, Maurice appears at the top of the stairs and explains how he got to where he is today before the lecturer invites him to give the speech about him altering plants so they can accept humanity; he also gives a speech about endangered species such as Bengal Tigers and South Chinese Tigers. The speech is as follows:
"This world today is full of endangered species and forces that are harmful to nature. Our endangered species today include the Bengal Tiger, the Lion, the Great White Shark and even the South Chinese Tiger; and we are only going to get worse because if these animals keep getting hunted, they're going to be history.
But enough about animals. Also on the agenda of endangering nature is flowers; for centuries at least, we have cut down forests and trudged on flowers in order to make our young the best they possibly can; Yes, some may have appalling qualifications and may move on to deplorable careers but nature has played a part in it.
Now I would like you to imagine a world where not only humans live in peace with animals but they also live in peace with botany. Well that is exactly what I have been trying to do...trying to make a world where humanity can leave in peace with plants instead of destroying them. But at the end of this speech, I am not a naturist...I am a scientist trying to help humanity while a naturist is trying to ruin humanity."
Despite his experiments however, the story gives doubts as to whether his experiments will survive or the government will give the story's titular command...Destroy All Plants. At the end of the lecture, Maurice goes home back to Belfast Castle where he tries to put his experiments into action but instead lets himself relax because he has three more universities and colleges to visit:
The Open University in Milton Keynes in England, where he will be speaking to an unspecified class of students; while this is true, the course these students are taking, the type of degree they are studying for and the length of time of the course is not specified, Ulster University in Londonderry where he will deliver the same talk he did to a class of Biomedical Science students and he is also going back to Queens University but not to the same class.
Instead, Maurice is going to a college in the University in the form of the Stranmillis University College where this time, he will deliver a talk to a group of students studying a four year course in the form of Mathematics and Science with Education. While Maurice intends to go into his laboratory to see if his theory will really work, he decides to do it but only after his Stranmillis University College talk or perhaps his Ulster University talk.
When the Surgeon and Ghazal arrive in Northern Ireland, Maurice's true nature is revealed; In two of his talks, he starts to talk less about plants and humans in co-operation and more about using the plants as weapons to be distributed to the armed forces in the world; unlike most scientists however who would sell their experiments to the highest bidder, Maurice makes no mention of using them for terrorist attacks.
At his home, Maurice tries an experiment with a rose and in the middle of it is disturbed by the Surgeon who accuses him of using genetic engineering on plants to use them to sell to terrorists but Maurice denies such allegations and instead shows the genetically enhanced rose to the Surgeon and Ghazal; after the Surgeon is left speechless, a triumphant Maurice forces the pair off his land and goes back to altering the rose.
But in the process, he spills a heavily toxic substance on the plant and the worst part is is that he cannot wipe it off because the substance is not only highly toxic but it is also very corrosive and it will burn through anything. The rose actually absorbs the substance as Maurice learns that night as it has mutated into the first part of what will eventually come to terrorize Northern Ireland: Biollante (although she is an un-named character).
Maurice is forced to flee with the Surgeon and Ghazal as Biollante turns more plants into hideous monsters and they come to attack the Surgeon and his allies. The plants destroy Belfast Castle and his research and finally he falls under the plant's influence.
His own creation then threatens Maurice with the threat:
"You will obey me! Or you will become part of nature!"The monster orders Maurice to take her and her minions to Queen's University...where the Surgeon and Ghazal have already reached first and warned all the students and professors about the plants. It is also Biollante who gives away her position when she turns other plants not into monsters like herself but she turns them into Krynoids; thanks to his hatred of the Surgeon and the fact that he is the most agile of her forces, Maurice is sent into the University to deal with the Surgeon while a foxglove attacks Biollante and makes her return in her final form.
While granted, the Surgeon and Ghazal reached the Queen's University first it is Maurice who reached the communications office first and prevents the Surgeon from calling the Irish Armed Forces to destroy the plants by destroying the phone lines. He then kidnaps Ghazal and turns her into a Krynoid; what he doesn't know however, is that Ghazal is not yet conditioned to obey the Abomination and will still obey the Surgeon.
Maurice dies after being inexplicably attacked by a foxglove and the reason why the plants kill him is never explained. What is explained however is that he has been attacked by a foxglove and it was the poison that dissolved his corpse while in the case of Biollante, it soaked into her body and made her grow into her final form.