Saturday, 21 August 2010


The penultimate tale of series 1, and another cracking story from Russell Williams. An interview with Russell will be up in the next couple of days too, so please come and read that too! So, before the end, here is:

by Russell Williams
Featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory Williams

"Don't worry, Your Majesty," the Doctor looks at Amy and Rory meaningfully, "we're on our way."
The Doctor places the phone back on the receiver embedded in the TARDIS console, and begins setting his magnificent time machine on a new course, maddeningly pressing buttons, pulling levers and making a lot of noise in the process. The newly-weds, Amy and Rory look-on in amusement, sharing a loving glance and anticipating the great adventure that they are about to embark upon.
With the TARDIS' course set, the great temporal engines whir into action and the great blue machine disappears from Leadworth once again and enters the great oranges and grays of the time vortex.
Aboard the Reflaine freighter Pentarth, all is quite on hangar deck 17-J. Nothing is stirring, not even a mouse. Then all of a sudden the deathly silence is shattered by a large screeching noise, sometimes described as the "sound of the universe". The VWORP-VWORP noise continues for a few seconds, until the TARDIS appears, the end of its materialization sounding with a large bump.
Out of the TARDIS step the Doctor, Amy and Rory, now changed out of their wedding outfits and sporting more suitable attire for adventuring about. The new arrivals stare around at their new surroundings, Amy and Rory still slightly awed by the amazing sights than can be found while traveling with the Doctor.
"Here we are then, the Orient Express... in space!" The Doctor boasts, smiling as he does so.
Amy glances around at all of the cargo crates lying around the hanger deck, seemingly unconvinced. "It's a bit raggedy isn't it? I thought for my honeymoon, you'd take me up to the top deck. Y'know mingle with the toffs, drink champagne."
Rory looks, clears his throat and glares at Amy. "Our honeymoon."
Amy glances over at Rory and blows him a kiss, seemingly pacifying him for now. Meanwhile, the Doctor looks around at the various packing crates, glancing at the labels and prying some open to examine the contents. Following the Doctor's example, Rory also begins looking at one of the crates and sees that the label states the ship's name as Pentarth.
"Doctor, I thought you said that this was the Orient Express? But this label says the Pentarth."
The Doctor walks over to Rory and examines the label. He then turns to Rory, a smile forming. "Well done, Rory. You've noticed that too. We're not where we should be."
"Oh, don't tell me you've put us down in the wrong place again." Amy moans.
"Well it appears so, Pond. How it happened though I have no idea. I set the coordinates for the Orient Express, so we should be there."
Rory appears concerned at the Doctor's statement. "It couldn't be the thing that controlled the TARDIS before could it? Maybe they're going to blow it up again."
"I wouldn't worry, Rory. There was no indication that the TARDIS was being drawn off course, and yet we are. I just need to think for a second."
"Wait," Amy speaks up, "when you were on the phone you said something about a bad line, and sorta flinched before you put the receiver down."
The Doctor considers this for a few moments as Amy and Rory stand around with concerned expressions. All of a sudden the Doctor turns pale and his hands move up to his temples, his companions rushing to his side to ascertain his condition.
"Doctor, are you alright. Speak to me." Rory pleads, his medical training beginning to take over.
The Doctor takes a few more minutes before he finally begins to speak. "Sor... sorry, yes. Blimey. It was those screams. Hundreds of people, their death cries. The poor, poor souls. The poor lost souls of the Pentarth."
With those last words, the Doctor falls into unconsciousness. Amy just catches the Doctor's head before it bounces off of the deck.
Meanwhile on the command deck of the Pentarth, Security Officer Leteth is half-watching the security monitors. On several of the screens are displayed the passengers and crew of the vessel, but one monitor displays an image of Hangar Deck 17-J, and of Amy and Rory tending to the stricken Doctor. Leteth just happens to glance up at the monitor and observe the new arrivals as the Pentarth's commanding officer, Gilmesh, arrives on deck.
"Anything to report, Lieutenant?" Gilmesh demands.
"Yes, sir, I believe so. The monitors seem to be showing some new arrivals in hangar deck 17-J." Leteth points to the correct monitor screen, drawing Gilmesh's attention.
Gilmesh moves closer to the monitor trying to observe the screen, before finally admitting defeat and taking out a pair of glasses from the top pocket on his purple and black uniform. Putting the glasses on and trying again, Gilmesh finally spots the trio.
"New arrivals? Impossible, not this far out from Space Central. Have we had reports of any of the "cattle" escaping?"
"None of my men have reported any. The "cattle" or quite content".
"Well obviously your men aren't as well trained as they should be. Obviously some have escaped. Get a team down there. I want them brought in as quickly as possible. If they find anything then our glorious mission could be compromised."
Leteth stands to attention and his station, and then proceeds to leave the command deck, signalling for back-up on his wrist communicator as he exits.
On hangar deck 17-J, Amy and Rory are knelt at the stricken Doctor's side. As Rory examines the Time Lord, checking his breathing and airway, Amy looks on, deeply concerned. Assured that the airway is clear, Rory puts his head to the Doctor's chest for a second, before pulling away startled.
"Amy, there must be something really wrong. I... I swear that when I listened for his heartbeat, that I heard... like... an echo."
"That's because he has two hearts, Rory."
"Two hearts? And you never thought to tell me. Might have been a bit helpful."
"Well I'm sorry Doctor Williams. I'm not the one who's medically trained."
"You're right, I'm sorry. Everyone has two hearts, I should have remembered," says Rory sarcastically.
As Amy and Rory continue to argue, the Doctor suddenly bolts upright, checking himself over. Once he is sure that he is unscathed, he glances at his arguing companions, a rather large smile appearing on his face.
"When you two have quite finished, I'd thought you'd like to know that the patient has made a full recovery. I don't know, married five minutes and you're both at it already. Me and Liz were the same."
As the Doctor gets up, Amy and Rory glance at him apologetically, but before they have a chance to speak, they are interrupted by the sound of guns being cocked and the rather loud shouting voice ordering them not to move.
"And here we go again," the Doctor quips.
After surrendering immediately to Lieutenant Leteth and his guards, the Doctor, Amy and Rory are led across several decks to a rather spacious interrogation room. En route, the Doctor constantly notes his surroundings, working out the quickest route back to the TARDIS should a sharp exit be in order. Finally arriving at the interrogation room, the three prisoners are bundled into three chairs sat in front of a large black desk and placed in handcuffs. At the sight of the handcuffs, Amy smiles slightly, despite the predicament that has now befallen them.
The prisoners secured, Leteth takes his seat opposite the prisoners, sitting in a larger and more luxurious black leather chair.
"State your names and reasons for being outside of the passenger decks," Leteth demands.
Amy and Rory turn to the Doctor, looking to him for a cue. The Doctor himself begins to smile.
"Hello, yes, I'm the Doctor and these are my friends, Amy and Rory. Say hello." The Doctor beams, indicating his companions.
Amy and Rory both let out quiet greetings, which angers Leteth even more. So much so that he rises from his chair in protest.
"I demand to know how you got out of the passenger areas. You scum were all told that all other locations were out of bounds when you came on board."
"Really? I don't remember that. Still I'm always the same when I'm travelling, forget to read all the safety notices and I'm usually asleep when the hostess shows me where all of the emergency exits are. My apologies." The Doctor gives one of his best fake apologetic smiles.
"OK, what were you all doing in the hangar deck?"
The Doctor goes to speak up, but Amy cuts in, preventing him from incensing Leteth any further. "Yeah sorry, that was my fault. Space sickness. I always get struck with it on long journeys, so I'd thought I'd move about and get some fresh air. Rory and the Doctor just came with me to check if I was OK."
Leteth is unconvinced by Amy's story, but after gaining no additional information from any of the prisoners, he releases them from their handcuffs and orders that they be placed back into the "passenger areas" where they belong.
After being unceremoniously bundled into a large-ish reception area by Leteth and his men, the Doctor and his companions begin to take in their surroundings. Unlike the utilitarian, almost military, styling of the hangar deck and interrogation room, the reception area is extremely well lit and is opulently decorated, similar to first class dining accommodations on a cruise ship. Unusually, there aren't any windows or portholes looking out into the cold beauty of space, but there are several large viewscreens displaying images of various stellar phenomena and startling landscapes from various planets across the galaxy.
While Amy and Rory take the time to study some of the pictures being displayed, the Doctor immediately sets out to find some of the Pentarth's passengers. He pulls back one of the large velvet curtains and finds the passengers he has sought, sat down in large luxurious chairs. Humanoid in appearance, the passengers all have their eyes closed and not a word or stray noise is passed between any of them. The Doctor leans in to examine one of the passengers, pulling the sonic screwdriver from his jacket to examine them. The bleeping of his screwdriver draws the attention of Amy and Rory.
Rory immediately looks concerned as he notes the passengers, switching instantly into his medical professional mode. He reaches for the neck of the nearest passenger to check for a pulse. "There's still a pulse on this one, but what's going on here, Doctor? What's the matter with them?"
"Yeah, they all just seem to be sleeping," Amy chimes in.
The Doctor re-pockets his sonic screwdriver, briefly considering before he begins to speak to his companions. "They are, at least in a manner of speaking. I should have realized this immediately after we landed. Must be getting a bit slow in my old age."
"It's been a busy week," Amy quips, before her expression turns more serious. "But, what should you have realized?"
"These people here are all telepathic, that's why they're just sitting there like that with their eyes closed. They're all in silent communication with each other, swapping stories, telling jokes, flirting, everything else that we humanoids like to engage in to pass the time."
"If that's the case, then why do they have all these pictures and what not hanging on the walls?" Rory asks, slightly fascinated.
"Come on, Rory, it's no different for us. We get a bit fed up and need to be on our own sometimes, take a walk, clear our heads and embrace the silence. If you didn't know that now, wait 'til you've been married a few weeks."
A loud cough from Amy brings a quick end to the conversation, and she quickly chimes in with a question.
"Why have they ignored us though? I mean we've been here a few minutes and you'd have thought we'd at least get a 'hello'."
"Because we're not telepaths, well you two aren't anyway, and my abilities are well under control. Simply put, we just aren't that interesting too them," the Doctor explains.
"Well, it's nice to feel wanted."
"Isn't it? Well, I suggest we all take a look around and try and find a way out of here without alerting the friendly neighbourhood security officers, and I'm sure this isn't what you had in mind for a honeymoon destination. Pond, Mr. Pond, you two go and look through there", says the Doctor, indicating another set of partitioning curtains, "and I'll check out over here."
As Amy and Rory move off to their designated area, the Doctor takes out his sonic screwdriver and moves over to one of the far walls of the passenger's cabin. Suddenly, the Doctor decides to press his ear up against the wall and just listens for a short while. He then gets up and sonics one of the many viewscreens adorning the walls of the room. Adjusting the setting a couple of times, the Doctor finally manages to gain an image of what lies outside the Pentarth. Studying the image, the Doctor gasps as he determines that the Pentarth is on a direct course for a large yellow star, similar in look to Earth's own Sun, but twice the size.
At the same time on the command deck of the Pentarth, Leteth and Gilmesh are watching the Doctor's every move on the security monitors. They are both baffled and surprised as the Doctor moves over to the external wall and listens, but the surprise soon turns to fear as they observe the Doctor sonic the viewscreens and display the image of the approaching sun.
"Holy Fnarg, he's figured it out. You fool, Leteth, you should have realized that he was more intelligent than the rest of the cattle. You may have jeopardized our glorious mission," Gilmesh fumed.
"But, sir, there was no indication that they posed a significant threat, considering the dumb-witted excuse thought up by the female. And the other two with the large nose and large forehead and chin indicated they were from the lower classes."
"Well you were wrong. I want that man in here now. Open up bulkhead 4-C, grab him and bring him to me, before his friends realize what has happened," Gilmesh ordered.
Barely ten minutes later, the Doctor is handcuffed to a chair on the command deck of the Pentarth, surrounded on all sides by Gilmesh, Leteth and several security officers all bearing side-arms of various descriptions. While many would be intimidated, and even frightened, by their predicament, the Doctor sits impassively as if this was just another day at the office. Of course, for him, it was.
"So, you must be the commanding officer," the Doctor announces, indicating Gilmesh. "Very nice ship, I must say. Passengers are very quiet though, aren't they, and I don't like the view outside much. Don't like too much sun myself, I burn terribly."
"Okay, Doctor, we know that you have determined our present course and have set-out to intervene in our little operation."
"That's a real shame, you know that. I was hoping that it was a small navigational error and that you would be crying out for my help. But, no, you're on some sort of suicide mission aren't you, carrying a load of rather unwilling passengers I'd wager."
"This is not a suicide mission. This is our glorious mission to maintain racial purity among the Reflaine people. These 'unwilling passengers' as you describe them, are a genetic offshoot of our race and threaten our society with their telepathic abilities."
"A mission of 'racial purity' that involves flying directly into a star certainly sounds like a suicide mission to me, considering that you'll all be dead at the conclusion," the Doctor indicates to Leteth and the guards. "And you're all alright with this one are you, going down with Captain Ahab?"
Before Leteth and his men can speak, Gilmesh steps forward "They have all sworn allegiance to the cause of exterminating these cattle from our genome."
"Religious zealots, wonderful! But you know, I'm going to have to stop you."
"Interesting, and how do you intend to go about that, Doctor? You are our prisoner and your friends certainly don't seem capable of mounting any form of resistance," Gilmesh crows.
"Yes, I suppose you're right. At least I've got the best seat in the house when this ship flies into the sun. Any chance of a cup of tea while we wait?" The Doctor flashes Gilmesh his most winning smile.
Back in the passenger cabin, Amy and Rory are looking all over for any sign of the Doctor. They have obviously been searching for a while, and now look quite concerned at the Time Lord's absence.
"I just don't get it, where could he be?" Amy asks.
"Maybe, he's gone back to the TARDIS to get something."
"No, he wouldn't just leave us. And besides how is he going to get back out that way? There's only one door and that's guarded. No something has happened to him in here."
"But what?" Rory asks.
As Rory finishes his question, in silent answer one of the female passengers' eyes shoot open and she rises from her opulent chair, staring in Amy and Rory's direction. The female's movements obviously startle the two newlyweds as they both stumble back in surprise. Again, Rory's medical training kicks in and he moves over to the female's side.
"Are you alright? I'm a nurse. Rory. I can help you."
"Blimey, this is all a bit weird, isn't it?" The female speaks, performing a perfect imitation of the Doctor's speech patterns and inflections, which again startles Amy and Rory.
"Doctor!?!" Amy questions in surprise.
"Yes. Well, not quite." The female looks at herself in one of the viewscreens, studying her reflection. "Oh look, I'm a girl. Still, never mind, I haven't got long to explain."
"Explain what? What's going on? Have you turned into a woman?" Rory stammers.
"No, but that would be interesting. Maybe next time. Anyway, haven't got long, did I explain that?" The female glares at Amy and Rory, silencing any further questioning. "Okay, this ship is on a direct course for a star thanks to the crew being on some suicide mission of racial purity. I'm being held prisoner on the command deck and I need you two to gain control of the ship and free us all."
"Is that all? There's us two against a ship full of armed guards."
"There's not just you two. There are hundreds of passengers on various decks. Get them to help you, storm the command deck. Do anything, or we'll all be burnt cinders floating around in space within the hour."
Rory speaks up. "But how do we do that? You said that they weren't interested in us. How can we get their attention?"
"Don't worry about that. I've established a limited psychic connection with their 'group-mind' and have tried to explain the situation. But my control is weak, and I can only fully communicate with one mind at a time. It's up to you two, and I'm sorry, but you're our only hope. Good luck."
After the Doctor's consciousness left the female's mind, she remained upright and announced herself as being Nilva, offering to assist Amy and Rory in their cause. With Nilva's help, the two companions were able to wake the rest of the passengers in their reception area. Following some tense scenes in which Amy and Rory had to explain the whole situation, the majority of the passengers agreed to assist in liberating themselves.
Unfortunately, the newly-awakened passengers were a lot like new born calves, stumbling about and slowly opening their eyes to the well-lit cabin. Frustration mounted, but eventually, the passengers regained their legs and begun to enact the Doctor's "plan". With Amy and Nilva firing them all up with impassioned pleas and shouts for liberation, the passengers flooded out of the reception room, taking down the guards at the door and taking their weapons.
Within minutes, news of the uprising passengers reached Gilmesh on the command deck of the Pentarth. In a loud rage, he ordered Leteth and his deck guards below to assist in the fight. However, any hopes the Doctor had of escaping were dashed when Gilmesh levelled his hand gun directly at the Doctor's head.
"I said I'd find a way to stop you," the Doctor says in his most challenging tone. "A ship full of telepaths and two of the most resourceful people in the entire universe, and you thought you had me over a barrel. I always find a way."
Gilmesh has now been pushed over the edge, he moves his gun closer to the Doctor's head at point blank range and is about to fire, when a loud shout stops him in his tracks. "Shoot and you're dead."
Both Gilmesh and the Doctor both look over at the direction of the shout and see Amy and Rory both stood in the doorway holding guns. Despite being rescued, the Doctor looks quietly disgusted at his companions.
"Don't you dare. Not one shot," the Doctor demands of his companions.
As Amy and Rory slowly drop their guns, a look of shame forming on their faces, Gilmesh once again goes to shoot the Doctor, but is prevented by doing so when Rory punches him squarely in the jaw, knocking him out almost instantly.
"Good man, Rory. Now if you'll be so kind to let me out, so I can get out of here."
"But, where's the key?" Amy asks.
"Use the sonic, it's in my top breast pocket."
Amy searches the Doctor's pocket, pulling out a sugar mouse and a collection of alien coins, before finally finding the sonic screwdriver. Fiddling with the settings, she sonics the handcuffs and eventually they come off. In thanks, the Doctor hugs Amy and goes to hug Rory, before they both think better of it and shake hands instead, both slightly bashful.
"Right, time for a bit of a course correction." The Doctor moves over to the ship's instrumentation and fiddles with a few controls as Amy and Rory watch on. Suddenly, the Doctor kicks out at the control panel in anger.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid. They've sabotaged the nav-computer, we're locked on course."
"Isn't there anything we can do?" Amy pleads.
The Doctor considers for a moment, running his hands through his mop of hair as he does so. "Maybe. Maybe. If I can slave this ship to the TARDIS... yes, that just might work." Without another word, the Doctor dashes off out of the command deck, presumably in the direction of the TARDIS.
Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor is quickly able to link the TARDIS controls into the Pentarth's nav-computer and is able to alter the ship's computer to take them out of the danger zone.
A few short hours later, the Doctor and his companions are stood outside the TARDIS, surrounded by Nilva and the passengers, now firmly in control of the Pentarth.
"We'd like to thank you all for helping us. You have given us a second chance of life and we hope to be able to do the same in rescuing others of our kind who are being exterminated."
"I know you will, and I wish you every success. But where do you go from here?" The Doctor asks.
"We cannot take up the fight by ourselves, for we are few in number. There are a number of telepaths working for the Mandrasta Archive, we will seek their assistance in contacting the Shadow Proclamation about the Reflaine's actions."
"Then all we can say is good luck. And thank you."
All smiles, the Doctor, Amy and Rory re-enter the TARDIS and seconds later the great engines start up once again, and the sound of the universe can be heard.
Now back in the TARDIS, the Doctor and his companions are stood around the console, absorbing their recent experiences about the Pentarth.
"Well there we are, back on course for the Orient Express. Time for a proper honeymoon."
"Thank God. A nice break at least." Amy says wearily.
"But, Doctor," Rory starts questioningly, "what drew the TARDIS off course in the first place?"
"Ah, well, glad you asked. During the phone conversation I was overwhelmed by a form of psychic energy, which I'd only experienced once before. I should have investigated back then, but I was distracted by a 'greater cause'. This time, I just had to see, and I'm glad we did."
"So you took the TARDIS off course?"
"Subconsciously, yes. But now there's a problem. You see, the psychic energy was the death cries of all the dying passengers of the Pentarth. Now we've saved them, there is no psychic energy for me to receive, so we don't go back and rescue them. Perfect, I've created a paradox."
"But we've saved all those people." Amy adds.
"Yes, at least for this iteration. Pity our poor selves who soldier on in the next iteration and aren't aware of the extermination of hundreds of lives."

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