Dr Who conspiracy theorists who have long believed the mysterious time traveller to be a front for British military intelligence have firm proof of their suspicions today.
The UK Ministry of Defence has quietly published a tender for “TARDIS support” on the Official Journal of the European Union.
The tender dramatically reveals that “TARDIS hardware operates Windows XP/Server 2003 and VMS operating systems” with onboard software applications that include the Weapon Assessment Software Package (WASP).
WASP was apparently first developed when the TARDIS was under the aegis of a later, less popular Doctor, possibly those played by Colin Baker or Sylvester McCoy during the Doctor’s fallow years of television decline before the show’s regeneration in the early 21st century – suggesting perhaps that an ill-advised militaristic design modication to the TARDIS was responsible for the doctor being taken off air.
The evidence is clear in the tender, issued by Naval Base headquarters in Portsmouth: “WASP itself dates from the mid 1980s and has been under almost continual development ever since. It is based on the OpenVMS architecture with component packages in a variety of languages including Pascal, Fortran and BASIC,” it says.
Time/space travellers will no doubt be astonished to learn that the vortex that powers the TARDIS’ journeys through the universe still runs on ancient programming languages such as Pascal and Fortran. The use of BASIC suggests inevitable BBC involvement due to the popularity in the 1980s of the BBC BASIC language.
The tender also requires the selected supplier of the TARDIS systems to offer “support to TARDIS users” suggesting a new IT professional companion may be joining the Doctor, Amy and Rory to provide helpdesk services during time/space continuum technical problems.
Ominously, the tender states that suppliers will also help with “administration of the TARDIS network and system (UK SECRET).” It is not clear if the secrecy classification refers to UK government monitoring of fellow time travellers through some form of inter-galactic GCHQ, or simply a plot twist as yet unforeseen as the Doctor battles his latest nemesis, The Silence.
The Doctor’s famous technical precision is evident also in the calculations for the likely value of the contract on offer, stated as a “range between £101,323 and £810,580″ – remarkably precise figures, we’re sure you will agree.
Nonetheless, the tender will undoubtedly bring disappointment for some – The Brigadier, the Doctor’s key contact in the top-secret alien fighting team at UNIT, will be distraught to see control of the TARDIS being managed by the Royal Navy and not the British Army.
The Doctor, Amy and Rory discuss ITIL procedures while waiting for second-line support to find the latest bug in the TARDIS Fortran routines.