Sunday, 25 July 2010

An extra extra: a side-step of sorts

So, now you've digested and enjoyed Rachel's first tale for the series (the next will be online in mere days), here is the first draft of the story that was originally going to take this slot. The reason why it wasn't subsequently used is due to the trouble I had getting in contact with the author regarding revisions to the text.

It's an enjoyable tale, but I didn't want to put it out as part of the series without the author having a chance to amend it. The author of the story goes by the username of Omega89 over on the Gallifreybase forums (there's a link to the site on this very page), and I hope you enjoy the story that could have been....

The Planet the Universe Forgot
by Omega89

The Universe was crying. A shower of glistening meteorites plunged silently through the black void of space, like extraterrestrial tears. They spiralled downwards, shrinking as they burned away, a trail of beautiful star-dust left glittering in their wake. It was a tiny moment within the endless stretch of eternity, but it mattered.

It didn’t matter to the infinite number of alien races who spread pain and anguish throughout the many worlds they populated, nor the many life forms who simply lived in blissful ignorance of anything approaching natural beauty.

But it mattered to the Doctor.

He was perched on a lonely asteroid, legs crossed, the unmistakable shape of the TARDIS looming behind him. He was taking some time out, after a series of rather stressful adventures. Peri hadn’t been gone long, and the ancient Time Lord was still dwelling on his loss. She’d been a good friend. A very good friend.

But there was something else, too. Something gnawing at the back of his mind. Something distant…

He was jolted abruptly from his worried pondering by a ferocious shudder that seemed to be coming from the TARDIS. Without a thought, he leapt to his feet and flung himself inside the ship, hammering his fingers over the controls.

“That didn’t sound good,” he muttered, perhaps to himself, or the TARDIS, “Where did that noise come from…?”

He broke off his sentence when he noticed a harsh flash of red blaze aggressively from a switch. It was warning of severe time distortion.

The TARDIS roared again, jolting and lurching backwards and forwards, sending the Doctor crashing to his feet. For a split second, he seemed to fall backwards through time…there was a bomb, and explosion, screaming….And then everything stopped. No roaring, no jolting. Just the Doctor, on the floor, rubbing an aching head.

“Well, that was a bit of a to do. Dear me, you are getting a little melodramatic in your old age aren’t you?” he snapped at the TARDIS, as he heaved himself to his feet, “Let’s see where we are. If I were to be optimistic I’d say Blackpool, on a nice sunny day in mid-June…”

He switched on the monitor, which revealed thick mounds of dense fog, coalescing and drifting lazily through a morose, dead jungle.

“Alas, not,” the Doctor said, giving the console a friendly pat all the same.

She saw him emerge from the blue box, squinting through the marsh gases. Yes, it had to be him. He didn’t fit the description, but it was him alright. It had to be! Just the man she needed for a dangerous expedition like this. Thank the stars, fate seemed to be on her side.

She watched him, in his spectacularly coloured coat, wandering through the melancholy jungle, touching and caressing the brittle trees. His face was a mask of interest. A true explorer.


The Doctor wheeled around, and saw a figure emerge from the shadows. She was tall, with flowing black hair and a shapely body. Her lips were lush red, and her eyes dazzled with fierce intelligence.

“And who might you be?” the Doctor asked cautiously, frowning at his new acquaintance.

“So rude,” the girl replied, taking a hefty swig from a flask attached to her belt, “I expected better manners from you Doctor.”

“How do you know my name?”

“Oh, who doesn’t? I’m a time traveler darling. I know all about you. I’m Alice by the way. Loving the jacket. Very distinctive.”

The Doctor couldn’t help but smile at the compliment, but he soon batted it away. “Alice. Time traveler. I’d imagine you were the one who sent my TARDIS haywire then? What are you doing here? In fact, where is here?”

“Oh love, so many questions!” she strolled up to the Doctor, and grinned suggestively, “This is the home of the Yawning Demon. The ancient, lost relic of a sadistic alien race. Legend has it, that during the first great Time War, this planet was pulled out of the known Universe, tucked away in a corner. Where all of its’ secrets can stay a mystery…”

“Then, Madame, how on earth did you get here? I was just relaxing and then you…”

Alice pressed a delicate finger to the Doctors’ lips to silence him, and she winked. “Met an American guy in the fiftieth century. He leant me time and vortex manipulator. I’ll give it him back, one day…I use it to go exploring, having adventures…Just like you really.”

The Doctor sniffed.

“I’m going now. Nice to meet you Alice, but really-”

An ear-shredding scream cut the Doctor off, slicing through the dead silence.

Alice raised an eyebrow. She knew what was coming next.

“Let’s go and investigate!”

The Doctor threw caution to the wind, and ran into the darkness, Alice racing after him. They tore through dead leaves and twigs, their feet occasionally slipping through patches of wet mud. Eventually, the pair reached an opening, illuminated by the large green moon which hung sadly in the black sky. Alice leaned against a tree to catch her breath back, whilst the Doctor observed the clearing.

“At least the fogs’ lifted,” he muttered, “but where did that scream come from?”

He scratched the back of his left ear with his right hand, and spun around to Alice to see if she was ok.

She merely nodded, unable to speak. And then she saw it. Her mouth opened in astonishment, and she pointed a shaking finger in the direction of what it was she had seen.

The Doctor followed her gaze, and, to her utter disbelief, he shrugged.

“It’s only a statue Alice. Well, actually, it looks like a cave opening.”

“That’s the Yawning Demon!” she gasped, and the girl fell to the ground.

“Fascinating. Shall we go and have a look? See what’s so mysterious about it?”

He held out a hand for her to take, and they both strode in the direction of the Yawning Demon.

It was, essentially, a stone carving. A big, ugly monster yawning. Its’ open mouth led into a deep cave that burrowed through a black mountain. In preparation, the Doctor whipped out a torch.

“Be careful,” Alice said to him, and he chuckled.

“I’m always careful Alice. Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing.”

She didn’t see him stroke his cat badge for luck, as they both ventured into the cave.

Somewhere, he watched. Watched as he suffered in agony. Burns and sores searing through his body. It was he who had sent the TARDIS here. He who wanted to see the Doctor dead. Dead for the pain and misery he had brought to thousands in a different incarnation. It was he who had screamed, to lure him here. To his doom.

“It’s dark,” Alice mumbled uselessly.

“Of course it’s dark, it’s a cave. Hence the torch!”

The Doctor had noticed that Alice was much quieter than before, more subdued. It amused him.

“Cold as well. And quiet.”

“Indeed. Alice, can I ask you something?”


“How do you know me? Truthfully? Have we met before?”

“No Doctor. I’ve just heard of you. Of your adventures. Of the blood on your hands…”

The Doctor almost dropped his torch in shock, and he wheeled around to face the girl. He was about to speak, when something happened. The walls began to glow and shudder, and voices began to mumble through the cracks in the rock.

“Oh my God! Doctor, this is it. The secret of the Yawning Demon!”

Light suddenly burst out of every crevice in the cave, and images began to appear in the air. This time, the Doctor did drop his torch. He couldn’t believe his eyes.

Within the shining, golden lights were moving images of planets, places, people, and galaxies, from across time and space. History, past and future, were playing out before them.

There was the third great Dalek War, the Battle of Hastings, the solar flares that destroyed the earth, the fall of Metebilis IV, the marriage of King Peladon to his bride…

“This is the secret of the Planet the Universe Forgot…” the Doctor said, dumbfounded, “It…it has the history of eternity locked within it….”

“How though?” Alice asked, terrified at some of the things she could see. Armies of Cybermen, creatures she’d only heard about in stories before.

The Doctor had no answer. He gaped in terror at an image of himself, in an earlier body, running away from an exploding bomb…

There was a sudden flash, and Alice disappeared.

“No!” the Doctor bellowed, knowing that she had escaped via the vortex manipulator. There were so many unanswered questions.

Spinning round, he ran towards the exit of the cave. He’d seen enough. Seeing the future always unsettled him, and this planet had an evil air about it. It was best left forgotten.

Once out in the open, the Doctor headed straight for his beloved TARDIS. For once, he didn’t want to explore. He didn’t want to know who had screamed. He wanted to escape.

He was so caught up in running and avoiding man-sized holes in the ground that he had no idea he was being chased. The figure was gaining on him fast, but the Doctor had the advantage. Reaching the TARDIS, he quickly unlocked the door and leapt inside with a gasp.

The figure stopped. He knew he’d meet the Doctor again. Maybe not yet, but one day…

He watched as the TARDIS faded away, that burning void in the pit of his soul burning ever more. Hatred fuelled his passion for the Doctor’s death.

He couldn’t run forever….

The Doctor was sat on the floor of his beloved ship, his head in his hands. He couldn’t comprehend what had just happened on that planet. Nothing at all made sense. There were so many unanswered questions. And he could have sworn, right there at the end, that he was being followed.

Digging in to his jacket pocket, he felt something unfamiliar. Pulling the small object out, he noticed it to be a green emerald.

What was that doing there? He didn’t recall picking one up. Shoving it back into a capacious pocket, he struggled to his feet and began wandering around the TARDIS console. He had bigger worries on his mind at the moment.

According to Alice, he had blood on his hands. And she was talking about a very specific moment in the Doctors’ past.

The Doctor understood now why the Universe always seemed to be crying…

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