Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Destiny of Doctor Who

Story 5, and another newcomer this week. It's the turn of the rather talented Kevin Rhodes (aka Piemaster) today, who I'm pleased to say will be back again in series 3b and 4! I hope you enjoy this rather splendid tale which has a few surprises in it too...


    I am alone.

    I am stranded on this barren, desolate planet; the rest of my squadron are dead. Destroyed by him.

    Scanning the surface around me, I search for life. Any life. But there is nothing.

    In the distance, a volcano erupts. An indicator of the planet's volatile infrastructure. It will not survive much longer, its rate of decay is accelerating.

    If I cannot find an escape, I will die.

    All because of him.

    All because of the Doctor.


    Steven's eyes narrowed as he stared at the man operating the TARDIS controls. The man who, moments earlier, had seemingly engineered their escape from the Realm of the Celestial Toymaker.    

    The man pulled a handkerchief from his jacket pocket, proceeding to gently dab his forehead with it. "Well... that was a bit too close for comfort, don't you think?" he asked, a sly grin spreading across his face as he stuffed the handkerchief back into his pocket.

    "What's going on?" demanded Dodo, her eyes darting frantically between Steven and the strange man, desperately seeking some clarification.

    "Yes," said Steven, as he slowly approached the stranger. "What is going on?"

    In an all-too-familiar manner, the man clutched his lapels and pushed his head back, allowing his face to crease into a frown. "What do you mean? Surely I can't have changed that much, can I? No... I must find a mirror. Yes, a mirror. At once!"

    "Here." Dodo walked across to him, handing over a small, handbag-sized mirror.

    Frantically pulling the mirror up to his face, the stranger looked intently at the image in front of him. "Goodness me. That's... rather different, isn't it?" He stroked his chin, before slowly nodding in a sign of contentment. "Quite the improvement, though... Yes, quite the improvement!"

    "Listen." Steven's voice was authoritative now, as he reached out and grabbed the man's free arm. "Just who are you? And where's the Doctor?"

    Slowly but assertively, the man pulled his arm free from Steven's firm grip, before repositioning his face directly in front of Steven's. "I am the Doctor!"

    For the next few moments, the three travellers were completely silent, the only noise being the steady hum of the TARDIS.

    Steven and Dodo stared at the man in front of them: the man who was now claiming to be the Doctor. He wore the same clothes as the Doctor and seemed to be of a similar age... but that was where the similarities ended. This man had a less defined nose, his eyes were set closer together and his hair was much shorter than the Doctor's.

    Dodo moved to Steven's side, the two friends keeping their eyes trained on 'the Doctor' the whole time.

    "Steven," Dodo said, her voice hushed. "How can he be the Doctor...?"

    Steven shook his head. "It must be another of the Toymaker's tricks," responded Steven.

    "Would you two mind speaking up?" blurted out the Doctor, a hint of an Irish accent sneaking into his voice.

    Dodo repositioned her gaze from the Doctor, now making eye contact with Steven. "He dresses like the Doctor... But he doesn't look like the Doctor and he isn't acting quite like the Doctor. But even don't suppose it's possible, is it...?"

    "Dodo!" Steven cried, in desperation. "Don't you start. Like I said, this is just another one of the Toymaker's tricks, it must be."

    "Yes!" interjected the Doctor. "You're exactly right, Steven. But, if I'm being perfectly honest, it's quite a welcome trick. That old body of mine was wearing a bit thin, it was about time I got myself a new one." The Doctor stepped forward, closing the gap between him and his companions. "You see, it's not just my face that the Toymaker has changed; I feel like a completely new man. I don't feel as grumpy as I used to, my short-term memory seems to have improved and..." the Doctor paused, gently caressing his jaw, " teeth have been fixed! I've been feeling some toothache coming on for a few weeks now but the Toymaker seems to have fixed that for me too!"

    "But I just don't see how..." Dodo started but was cut off mid-sentence as the TARDIS violently shook from side-to-side, causing its occupants to grab at the console for support.

    The Doctor hurriedly worked his way around the console, frantically operating the necessary controls. "Steven!" he called. "Activate the stabilisers."

    Without hesitation, Steven rushed to the Doctor's aide, flicking the appropriate row of switches, whilst the Doctor continued to work the controls on the adjacent panel.

    After a few seconds, the TARDIS had seemingly returned to normal. With its familiar wheezing-groaning sound, the ship's central column came to a halt.

    "We've landed," Dodo piped up, breaking the silence.

    The Doctor looked up, still looking panicked. He shook his head. "We're still in the time vortex."

    "But we've stopped!" protested Steven, as he gestured towards the console's static central column.

    The Doctor anxiously nodded, as he once again resorted to mopping his damp brow. "Something tried to pull us out of the time vortex. It grabbed us with such force that the Ship very nearly disintegrated!" The Doctor paused for a moment, catching his breath. "We were able to break free just in time but..."

    "The engines have stopped," concluded Steven.

    "Quite so, quite so."

    "So what do we do now?" Dodo enquired.

    Before either the Doctor or Steven could answer, the TARDIS was again thrown into chaos; the entire ship shuddered and jounced, even more tumultuous than before.

    The Doctor grabbed at the console, desperately trying to steady himself. Once he had established a firm grip, he allowed himself to glance up, eager to see how his companions were coping. But at that moment, the severity of the whole situation escalated. On the far wall of the TARDIS, the Doctor watched as the external doors ominously started to creep open.

    "Dodo! Steven!" exclaimed the Doctor. "Grab onto the console, now!"

    The sheer terror in the Doctor's voice was clear. Without hesitation, both Steven and Dodo forced their way to the console and managed to grab onto it, quickly securing a firm hold.

    Moments later, a biting wind came crashing through the open doors, accompanied by a howling screech.

    Dodo felt the wind snatch at her ankles, as it started to pull her away from the console, towards the swirling mass of colour which now lay beyond the doors. She could feel each of her fingers losing their grip, as the lower half of her body was dragged up into the air. She opened her mouth, perilously trying to call out for help, but the air was instantly ripped from her lungs, leaving her to mouth a silent cry. She closed her eyes, awaiting the inevitable.

    And then she was airborne. All weight left her body and she succumbed to the power of the time vortex, as she broke away from the console.

    After what seemed like an eternity but must only have been a matter of milliseconds, she felt another force grabbing at her. More specifically, grabbing at her flailing right arm.

    Dodo's eyes snapped open, to be greeted by the sight of Steven holding onto her wrist, whilst still determinedly clutching to the console with his free arm. He was battling against time and space itself, on behalf of both himself and Dodo. And he was winning.

    With one last shudder, the turbulence came to an end, leaving Dodo to crash to the floor. It was over.

    "Dodo... Dodo, are you okay?" Steven asked, as he helped her to her feet.

    Dodo slowly nodded, still trying to catch her breath.

    "Dodo, my child..." The Doctor made his way around the console and went to place a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

    "Get away!" Steven interjected, pushing the Doctor aside. "The Doctor – the real Doctor – would never have let that happen."

    The Doctor's eyes narrowed and it seemed, just for a moment, as if he was on the verge of bursting into an angry tirade, just as his predecessor was prone to. But then, as quickly as it had appeared, the look vanished from his face. "Very well," he said, matter-of-factly. "If you have a problem with the way in which I pilot my Ship, then you can leave." He pointed to the still-open doors, which now led to a far more hospitable environment than that of the time vortex. "Oxygen and gravity both seem to be fine."

    "Right," Steven growled, as he marched over to the doors and stepped though.

    Steven immediately scrunched up his eyes, as the glare of direct sunlight danced across his face. His feet crunched into the dry, grainy sand below him as he looked around, taking in his surroundings. The planet was a foreboding, unwelcoming location, that much was clear. There was nothing but sand, grit and stone for several miles, before the landscape peaked into a range of mountains. And at the summit of one of these mountains, one of the farthest away ones from where Steven was standing, its surface was coated in a thick, orangey-red substance. A substance which still seemed to be spitting and pushing its way out of the mountain. A volcano.

    "Not the most desirable place to settle down, is it?" the Doctor said, as he and Dodo stepped from the TARDIS.

    "There's nothing here," stated Steven, turning to face the Doctor.

    The Doctor arched an eyebrow, as he closed the TARDIS door behind him. "That's not entirely accurate, Steven." And with that, the Doctor held up his cane, gesticulating to a small rock formation in the distance.

    "A bunch of rocks." Steven shrugged his shoulders. "So?"

    "Look again," the Doctor instructed.

    "It's a box!" exclaimed Dodo. "A grey box."

    Steven squinted, allowing his eyes to properly identify the object in question. After a few seconds, he could see that Dodo was correct: it was a tall, grey box, roughly the same size as the TARDIS' police box exterior.

    "Do you think it has something to do with whatever dragged us out of the time vortex?" queried Steven.

    "I'm certain of it," asserted the Doctor, a look of determination slithering into his eyes.

    And with that, he was heading straight for it.

    Dodo looked at Steven, her face betraying her desire to follow the Doctor. Holding his hands up in conceit, Steven led Dodo in pursuit of their companion.


    Several minutes later, the TARDIS crew were slowing to a halt in front of the grey box. Closer inspection revealed no new details – its surface seemed to be completely smooth and the box appeared to be perfectly solid.

    "What is it?" Dodo wondered aloud.

    "I have my suspicions..." came the Doctor's muttered reply. "And believe me, child, none of them are good."

    As if on cue, a peculiar humming noise suddenly filled the air, its source ostensibly from the box. After several seconds of this humming, an opening appeared in the box, as part of it moved outwards.

    "It's a door!" Steven realised, once it had fully opened and the humming had terminated.

    "Yes. Yes, I'm afraid so," the Doctor confirmed, as he anxiously fidgeted with his hands.

    It was impossible to tell exactly what lay within the box – although the door was now fully open, the space behind it was shrouded entirely in darkness. After several moments, however, the situation became abundantly clear, as a figure emerged from the shadows.

    "You!" came Steven's cry of recognition.

    The man who was stood in the box's doorway was now fully in view, as the powerful rays of sunlight illuminated him. He appeared to be middle-aged, his rounded face topped off with a crop of light grey hair. He was clad in a set of simple, brown robes, which flowed with him as he cautiously took a single step closer to the Doctor.

    "Doctor?" the man mumbled, a look of trepidation etched across his face. "Doctor, is that you?"

    The Doctor simply clutched at his lapels and raised a solitary eyebrow.

    A grin spread across the man's face, his curiosity apparently satisfied. "I have to say, Doctor, I approve of the new body. I really do hope it's helped to improve your mood, though... You were starting to become rather crotchety in your old age."

    Dodo moved herself closer to the Doctor, allowing her to ask, "Who is this?"

    "That's the Monk," Steven interposed, his eyes carefully trained on the newcomer.

    Dodo looked back towards the Doctor, who also had his gaze fixed warily on the position of the Monk.

    "He is one of my own people," explained the Doctor. "Every time our paths cross, he's always up to no good. And I would be very surprised if this occasion was any different." The Doctor stepped in the Monk's direction, causing his foe to retreat accordingly, back into the doorway of the grey box. "And can I assume that it was you who attacked my Ship, yes?"

    The Monk proudly smiled, the slight hint of a blush appearing on his cheeks. "Well... yes, that was me. Although modesty, of course, prevents me from taking too many plaudits."

    "Plaudits!?!" The Doctor made no attempt to disguise the disgust in neither his voice nor his face. "Have you got any idea how dangerous that stunt was? We could all have been sucked into the time vortex!"

    "Ah, well... no," came the Monk's awkward retort. "I had every faith in your ability to control your TARDIS, Doctor. I brought you here for a reason, you see, so it really would not have done for you to have been scattered throughout time and space in little pieces, would it?"

    "Why did you bring us here?" This time it was Steven's turn to ask the questions.

    The Monk allowed himself a mischievous smirk, as he considered his response. "This planet," he said, after several moments. "Do you know what it's called?"

    The Doctor shook his head, causing the Monk's smirk to broaden considerably.


    Whilst the name meant absolutely nothing to Dodo, she could see that it mean a great deal to both the Doctor and Steven. Pained expressions swamped both of their faces and Dodo, for the first ever time, caught the briefest glimpse of a tear in the Doctor's eye.

    "Why have you brought us here?" The Doctor's voice was low and steady, as he fought to control his emotions.

    "The last time you were here," explained the Monk, "I understand that the Time Destructor was activated... Would that be correct?" The Monk paused, waiting for the Doctor to give a curt nod, before continuing. "Every life-form on this planet was destroyed, their time-streams accelerated by thousands of years in a matter of minutes."

    "Get on with it," Steven said, through gritted teeth.

    The Monk arrogantly waved a dismissive hand in Steven's general direction, not letting the interruption break his flow. "Every life-form," he repeated, before pausing for dramatic effect. "Except that one."

    The Doctor, Steven and Dodo all whirled around, following the direction of the Monk's outstretched finger. In the distance, between them and the TARDIS, a familiar metallic shape was trundling across the rough terrain.

    A Dalek.

    "What have you done?" yelled Steven, spinning back to face the Monk.

    The Monk allowed himself a chuckle, before continuing his explanation. "It seems that, when the Time Destructor was activated, that lone Dalek was caught at 'the eye of the storm', so to speak. And you know how these things work, Doctor – due to a freak of nature, it managed to survive while everything else around it perished. And so now, about..." The Monk glanced down, inspecting his wristwatch. "...about three months later, that Dalek's going to be a little bit on the tetchy side, I should imagine."

    "You monster," the Doctor snarled. "With that Dalek between us and the Ship, we don't stand a chance."

    The Monk shrugged, his aspect smug. "What can I say, Doctor? Perhaps next time, you'll think twice before sabotaging my TARDIS. Again." With that, the Monk vanished back inside the grey box, with the door then promptly moving back to its closed position. After several seconds, the typical wheezing-groaning sound filled the air, as the grey box faded out of existence.

    "That's a Dalek?" Dodo asked, unimpressed. "I have to say, when you described them as the deadliest creatures in the universe, I was expecting something a little more... frightening."

    "You've got no idea," Steven whispered, fearfully. "That thing will kill us without mercy." Steven turned to the Doctor. "Now's your chance, old man. Any plans? Any miraculous escape strategy?"

    The Doctor looked lost in thought, his eyes flitting around in quiet contemplation.

    "Well?" Steven pressed.

    "I have an idea. But it's risky. It's very risky." The Doctor's eyes darted between Steven and Dodo, a sparkle of hope simmering within them. "You both need to trust me."

    Steven and Dodo exchanged looks. Looks of defeat. Realising there was little else that could be done, they both nodded.

    "Follow my lead," instructed the Doctor. "If you deviate, if you lose your trust in me at any point, that Dalek will not hesitate to kill us all. Is that understood?" Steven and Dodo confirmed their understanding with further nods. And with that, the Doctor was taking long, assured strides straight towards the Dalek.


    Lifeforms detected.

    Three. Human.

    No. Humanoid. Two Human, one... Other.    

    Facial recognition negative. Genetic scans reveal...

    It is the Doctor. The Doctor is here.

    The Doctor is an enemy of the Daleks. He must be destroyed!

    Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!


    The Doctor continued his advance upon the Dalek, Steven and Dodo close behind. At the same time, the Dalek glided towards them, its eyestalk trained on the Doctor the whole time. And despite its completely blank facet, Dodo felt a shiver pass through her body as she detected a flash of pure bitterness and anger from the metallic beast. She suddenly had no problems believing all the stories of terror...

    As the gap between the two parties diminished, the lights which sat atop the Dalek's glimmering dome started to flash. They started to flash in unison with each of the syllables now being rasped by the creature. "You are an enemy of the Daleks! You shall be exterminated! Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!"

    The Dalek's gun-stick was now pointed straight at the Doctor, whose face did not falter. "Enough!" he barked, coming to a halt a few metres away from his opponent. "You know who I am, yes?"

    The Dalek paused, its brilliant mind carefully considering each and every detail of the situation. "You are the Doctor."

    Steven and Dodo immediately turned to face each other. The Dalek recognised him as the Doctor...

    "You are responsible for the destruction of my squadron," the Dalek continued.

    "Not by choice," came the Doctor's reply, as he bowed his head. "All of us suffered losses on this planet."

    The Dalek maintained its blank, expressionless stare. "Your associate?"

    The Doctor slowly nodded. "Yes." After a few more moments of silence, the Doctor raised his head, again meeting the Dalek's gaze, all trace of emotion having now left his face. "We can help you, Dalek. We can get you off this planet. We can take you home."

    "Home?" The single, mundane word sounded eerie, delivered in the unmistakable voice of one of the universe's most notorious killers.

    "Yes. There has been enough bloodshed on this planet. So now, we want to help you." The Doctor indicated the tall, blue outline of the TARDIS in the near distance. "Come with us. I can use my Ship to take you back to Skaro."

    Dodo could hear a sharp intake of breath from Steven. She went to reassuringly squeeze his hand but immediately regretted it, when he returned the gesture with a tight, vice-like grip. He was keeping quiet, following the Doctor's lead like he'd promised, but he was far from being even remotely comfortable with the offer that had just been made.


    Probability of potential deception – 86.72%

    Probability of any deception succeeding – 7.34%

    Conclusion... The Doctor and his associates will try to deceive me. But they will be no match for the power of the Daleks!


    "You will lead the way," demanded the Dalek.

    "I'll take that as a 'yes', then," mumbled the Doctor, as he turned in the direction of Steven and Dodo. "You two walk ahead. I'll be right behind you."

    Steven stared right at the Doctor, his fear for the situation apparent. The Doctor allowed a faint smile to flicker across his face, accompanied by a small nod. He knew what he was doing.

    Taking another deep breath, Steven started for the TARDIS, leaving the others to follow on.


    With the Doctor, Steven, Dodo and the Dalek inside the TARDIS' console room, the Doctor proceeded to flick the door control, causing the double doors to swing shut.

    With the Dalek's eyestalk still intently trained on him, the Doctor moved around the hexagonal control console, his hands a flurry of activity as they danced across the panels, operating various controls and levers.

    Steven manoeuvred himself next to the Doctor, his back to the suspicious Dalek. "What are you doing?" he hissed.

    "Now is not the time," came the Doctor's abrupt reply.

    "Speak up!" called the Dalek. "What are you saying?"

    "My young friend was just helping me work out some spatial co-ordinates," lied the Doctor. "I think we're good to go now." The Doctor lingered momentarily. "With your permission, of course."

    The Dalek nodded its eyestalk in agreement. "Proceed."

    The Doctor executed the take-off procedure, instigating the routine clamour of the ship's engines and the steady rise-and-fall motion of the time rotor.

    "Steven, could you activate the stabilisers for me?" the Doctor asked.

    "The stabilisers?" Steven replied, confused. "But why..." The resulting glower from the Doctor cut Steven off mid-flow. "Of course," he then said, again following the Doctor's lead.

    As Steven carried out his task, the Doctor switched his attentions to Dodo. "And Dodo, my child. Could you operate the temporal buffer for me?"

    Dodo was both shocked and a little horrified. She had absolutely no concept of controlling any aspect of the TARDIS – that was always left to the Doctor and, to a much lesser extent, Steven. But understanding the need to follow the Doctor's instructions, Dodo moved to the console.

    "Stop!" came the Dalek's shrill voice, compelling Dodo to halt in her tracks. The Dalek then addressed the Doctor. "You will pilot the TARDIS alone."

    The Doctor let out a long sigh. "In case you failed to notice, my Ship has a six-sided control console. What does that infer?"

    "I... do not understand," was the Dalek's only reply.

    "No. No, I don't suppose you do. It has six sides because it needs at least three pilots to operate. One pilot to control two sections each. That is why I always have a crew of at least three." The Doctor's words were calm and authoritative, with not even a hint of irritation creeping in. "So, if you have any desire to return to Skaro, I suggest you let us continue."

    After several seconds – several long seconds, from Dodo's perspective – the Dalek reached its decision. "Proceed."

    With a groan of relief, Dodo stepped forward and placed her hands on the console.

    "Now," said the Doctor, raising an eyebrow. "Dodo, Steven. Hold onto the console."

    With that, the Doctor's hands became a blur of motion upon the console. Once again, the TARDIS doors started to skulk open.

    "Doctor, the doors!" screamed Dodo.

    "Trust me, my child, trust me," the Doctor said, his voice soft and his eyes awash with an intense, slightly manic quality. Yet despite this, Dodo felt calm. She trusted him.

    "Explain!" screeched the Dalek, as it became aware of the opening doors. "What is the meaning of this!?!" Feeling the winds of the time vortex grabbing at it, the Dalek aimed its gun-stick at the Doctor and opened fire.

    Nothing happened.

    "Weapons device is non-functional!" the Dalek cried in despair.

    The Doctor's smug smirk was back. "Welcome to my Ship. Perhaps I forgot to mention... it is in a state of temporal grace. So, you see..." He let out a small chuckle. "Weapons will not work in here."

    "Help me! Help me!" the Dalek shrieked, as its casing started to shake.

    "Impossible," the Doctor replied, matter-of-factly. "You see, I have set up a force-field all around the console. As long as all three of us keep our hands on the console, we are safe. Safe from both you and from what lies beyond those doors."

    "Mercy! Mercy!" The Dalek was airborne now, slowly being dragged towards the doors.

    "I show no mercy towards a creature as merciless as you," spat the Doctor, as the Dalek was sent shooting through the open doors, screaming as it went.

    With the Dalek gone, the Doctor reversed the control sequence from before and the TARDIS doors closed.

    "Is it safe?" asked Dodo.

    The Doctor nodded, as he removed his hands from the console. "You can let go now."

    Steven and Dodo also lifted their hands from the console.

    "That was brilliant!" enthused Dodo.

    "Well..." the Doctor shrugged. "After our little incident earlier, it got me thinking. Thinking how I could handle such a situation better in future." The Doctor focused on Steven. "Did that meet with your approval?"

    "The Monk recognised you. The Dalek recognised you. And just now... Only the Doctor could operate the TARDIS like that and get rid of that Dalek." A large grin spread across Steven's face. "You are definitely the Doctor."

    "And you won't get any arguments from me," Dodo seconded.

    "At last!" the Doctor cried in mock relief. "But please, don't make me go through all of that every time I change my face, will you?"

    Steven's mouth dropped open in astonishment. "You mean... this could happen again!?!"

    "Oh, believe me, far stranger things have happened."

    "But more importantly..." Steven said, mischievously. "That was a neat trick with the TARDIS but can you actually pilot it any better now?"

    "It's like that, is it?" came the Doctor's droll reply. "I can still put you off the Ship at our next destination, you know!" He smiled, sharing in Steven's joke. "But if it's neat tricks you're after..." The Doctor again set to work on the controls. "Just wait until you see this one!"


    I tumble thought this endless corridor of time. All around me, I can see reality itself. It shoots past me, around me, through me, between me. It becomes me and I become it.

    For a moment, I am the most powerful being who ever lived. All of time is mine to control.

    But then I feel it. The cracks start to appear in my bonded polycarbide armour. The winds of time seep through and I feel my flesh begin to boil.

    I must survive...

    My armour disintegrates. I am falling through time with no protection and no way of escape.

    Help me. Please help me.

    Everything goes dark.


    The lush, golden beach stretched for miles in all but one direction, the undisturbed sand like a sheet of fine fabric caught in a gentle breeze.

    Where the beach ended, a vast ocean started, again extending for as far as the eye could see. The brilliant, clear blue water caught the light perfectly, leaving fragmented colours to shimmer and glisten across its surface.

    A lone figure sat amidst the picturesque landscape, atop a simple folding deck-chair. The Monk, still ostentatiously clad in his robes, was flicking through a well-worn paperback book: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PLANET EARTH. Behind him, still in the guise of a grey box, stood his TARDIS.

    "No, no, no," the Monk grumbled to himself, before stopping at one particular page of the book. "Ah, now... The Titanic? Yes... perhaps the good Captain Smith would find an iceberg-blasting ray gun useful..." The Monk gleefully giggled as he pocketed the book and rose to his feet. Folding his deckchair, he wandered back into his TARDIS. Depositing the chair as he entered the console room, the Monk walked to the relevant instrument panel and initiated the take-off procedure.

    After several moments, the Monk felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand to attention. Something wasn't quite right...

    Spinning around, the Monk was confronted by the image of the Doctor, smiling down at him from the scanner, which was set into the wall of his ship.

    "Doctor!" came the Monk's surprised utterance.

    "You thought you'd gotten rid of me, yes?" asked the Doctor. "Sorry to disappoint..."

    "But..." the Monk stuttered. "How...?"

    "How did I escape?" the Doctor said, taking over from his flustered foe. "Because I'm clever. I'm very clever, in fact. As you're going to find out very, very soon."

    The Monk's face was grave. "What do you mean?" he snapped, urgently.

    "That trick you played on us," continued the Doctor. "You used the power from your own time ship and transmitted a scrambled signal to my own, yes?"

    The Monk nodded, eager for the Doctor to reach his point.

    "I have to hold my hands up and admit that it was quite ingenious."

    "Really?" The Monk wasn't sure what to make of the compliment.

    "Oh, yes," affirmed the Doctor. "I think I may have been a bit harsh back on Kemble. You do deserve plaudits for that trick."

    "Oh. Well. Thank you, Doctor." The Monk beamed with pride. "It's so good to have such intellectual conversation once in a while."

    The Doctor chose this moment to lean in closer, so that his face filled the entire screen. "But I am even more ingenious," he stated.

    "What?" The Monk was worried again. Very worried.

    "I may not have 100% control over the directional units in my Ship," the Doctor admitted. "However, what I can do is reverse a signal."

    "You wouldn't," the Monk declared, not entirely sure if it was himself or the Doctor whom he was trying to convince. "You wouldn't!"

    "Check your systems," stated the Doctor, his tone harsh and cold.

    Stumbling his way to the computer systems, the Monk intently scanned his read-outs and diagnostics. The Doctor was not bluffing.

    "Doctor, please," the Monk pleaded. "Not again!"

    "Why don't you do me a favour?" the Doctor said, the Monk's appeal falling on deaf ears. "This time, why don't you just not bother repairing your TARDIS? You know I'll just do the exact same thing again next time." With one last, superior smirk, the Doctor's face flickered and vanished from the scanner.

    The Monk threw his hands to his head, as his ship's engines spluttered and died. Quickly operating the door controls, the Monk rushed to see where he had been marooned.

    The Monk skidded to a halt, taking in his new surroundings.


    The Monk stood rooted to the spot for the next few moments, his face gradually developing a red blur of fury.

    Grabbing his copy of A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PLANET EARTH from within his robes, the Monk hurled it to the ground. And then, in the sort of petulant act you would expect from a schoolboy, he proceeded to jump up and down on top of the book, pummelling it into the uneven terrain.

    Once he had finished and the book lay in tatters, he came to a halt, his breathing now highly erratic. In a motion which would have been highly comical, if anyone else had been around to see it, the Monk then brandished his fist, thrusting it up towards the sky and shaking it.

    "I'll get you for this, Doctor!" he declared. "You haven't seen the last of me!"


    The Doctor stood next to the console, sniggering away to himself.

    "What did you do?" Steven enquired.

    "Well," the Doctor said, clearing savouring the moment. "The Monk dragged us to Kemble by way of a tachyon friction wave – the type that can only be emitted by another time machine." The Doctor paused briefly, taking time to adjust an array of buttons on the console. "So... I reversed it."

    "You reversed it?" Dodo asked, incredulously.

    "Yes I did. Which takes quite a bit of expertise, by the way!"

    Steven looked curious. "So what's happened to the Monk?"

    "It was a complete reversal," was the Doctor's reply. "Which means, at this very moment, he will be on Kemble. And... I happened to modify the reversal wave, ever so slightly..."

    "What did you do?" Dodo speculated.

    "I burnt out his dematerialisation circuit," the Doctor admitted, gleefully.

    "So you've stranded him?" Steven realised, laughing. "Again?"

    "That's right. Again!" The Doctor chose this moment to reach over to the console and scoop up a small, paper bag. "Now, what are these?" he asked, as he rummaged around inside the bag.

    "They're Cyril's sweets," replied Dodo, referring to their previous adventure within the domain of the Celestial Toymaker. "He gave them to me just before the race game."

    "Oh, throw them away, Dodo," scoffed Steven. "I only told you to take them so that we wouldn't waste any more time."

    "Oh, alright," conceded Dodo, as she went to retrieve the bag from the Doctor.

    "Not so fast!" the Doctor defied, pulling the bag away from Dodo. "Let's just look at it as one last present from the Toymaker, shall we?" And with that, the Doctor unwrapped one of the sweets, before popping it in his mouth. After several seconds of chewing, he nodded his head in satisfaction. "Just as I thought. Not a hint of toothache."

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Rachel Morgan Q & A

As promised to tie in with her first story of series 2 is an interview with its author, Rachel Morgan. Enjoy!
How do you find writing a story knowing it has to be ready within a shorter space of time? How does this effect how you plan and construct it?
Sometimes I already have the plan in my head, I know what I want the characters to do and where they have to go so I just sit down and let the whole story write itself from start to end. Other times I'll come up with the middle, a key scene that makes the whole story; then I'll break it down into steps working back to the start and forward to the finish, sometimes writing the ending before the start; or sometimes some of the beginning, some of the middle and some of the end and then dot back and forth adding scenes in here and there as inspiration strikes me.
Does any factor draw you to write for particular Doctors, and if so, what is it?
For a short story you don't have time to really write in-depth character analysis of the Doctor, you kind of have to get a quick flavour of that Doctor, a certain way of speaking, a feel to the scenes, something that gives the reader the immediate connection to the Doctor and their era. The 6th Doctor is very passionate and has a very grandiose way of speaking; he likes to use long words, where as the 5th Doctor does some very great hurt reactions. If you can convey that with a few words of speech then it saves an awful lot of descriptive text.
What particular difficulties do you face in writing for established characters against those you've created yourself? Is it easier perhaps?
I guess the main thing is with original characters is that they can exist as quite complete individuals in the writers minds. I certainly could write Trudiode's [the central character in series 1's Trudiode and the Doctor] reactions to any event in an instant without consciously sitting down for an hour and wrestling with her emotion files. Her driving force is curiosity and she likes making new friends and she's very loyal, up to a point, but I guess it's trying to tell the audience all of this without the luxury of a novel-length story to tell it in that is the hard part. A pre-existing character such as the 3rd Doctor exists pretty much in every fan's mind and thus when we say, "He made his Venusian karate yell", we all know it's 'Haiiiii!' and not 'Yoooo!'
You seem to be quite prolific, with non-Who fiction as well, and even have your own store on lulu. Tell us about some of your other work.
I like experimenting with what a story can be, I like to push the common consensus of what literature is. I like to generally take an idea and twist it around to make it into something else: e.g. a simple girl meets boy story is revealed to take place just before an air raid in World War 2 and they realise that they might never see each other again after they kiss. I just like to see what I can do, what works well, what doesn't, why it either does or doesn't and try and generally improve myself each time.
Do you have a preference in terms of what you write? Is Doctor Who fiction a good testing ground for other ideas for example?
Fan fiction of any sort is a good process to me, it certainly helped me to find my style and I sometimes find that a story just doesn't work with the Doctor in it. Take him out and suddenly it works, and vice versa. Sometimes a story starts off quite innocently as something original but it just lacks something and then with the addition of the Doctor hey presto it has a fire in it that turns a dull deletion-worthy story into something worth keeping, perhaps even posting.
Do your methods of planning vary based on what you are writing, or do you have a set way of working no matter what the subject matter?
Sometimes I just make it up as I go along and other times I spend days, even weeks, planning a story (I currently have a couple of stories in their planning phase that I've gone back to again and again over the last few years and when I'm ready to write them then there's a lot of notes and stuff to work with). Sometimes I just cannot be bothered with writing, I'd rather play World of Warcraft or read a book, but that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about the story. Sometimes a rest is necessary in order for a story to go forward. Other times I'll stay up all night to work on a story when I'm 'in the zone' and the ideas are running out of my mind as fast as I can type them.
In terms of what you write and how you write, who would you say your biggest influences are?
Music is my biggest influence, not even the lyrics, the way a song makes me feel can get me in the right mood to write a certain type of scene. The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers is perfect for writing dark moody stuff like pain, torture, suffering.

A few quick questions to finish:

Favourite Doctor and why?
The Doctor – each part of him is but a facet of the true person.
Favourite companion and why?
Peri. She and Sixie are the blue print for all the Doctor/Companion team ups that have followed.
Top 5 Doctor Who stories and why?
The Caves of Androzani .The best of the Doctor is revealed in this story.
Midnight. It's just such an insight into human nature, each character goes through several fundamental changes of nature.
Vincent and the Doctor. It's the best 11th Doctor story so far in my opinion.
The Natural History of Fear. Not so much a story about the Doctor as a story about Doctor Who, and bloody good too.Attack of the Cybermen. The 6th Doctor will always be my Doctor and his tale really begins here.
What do like about Doctor Who? What keeps you hooked?

A different type of genre with a different guest cast and a different look and feel to it every story. The infinite variety I guess – anything can happen...
Favourite author/s?

Lawrence Miles. I dislike his personal opinions about the show and fandom almost as much as I like his writing. If ever the phrase tortured genius was to be applied to anyone it's him.
Favourite book/s?

Faction Paradox: This Town Will Never Let Us Go by Lawrence Miles; Space by James A. Mitchiner, everything ever written by Terry Pratchett; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling.
Top writing tip?

Go for it!
Rachel, thank you.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Being Alien

Story 4, which means we're a third of the way through series 2 already! Rachel Morgan's Being Alien this week, the first of her two contributions to series 2 and some 4th Doctor adventure this time. The other story she's written is a 3rd Doctor one in a few weeks time (which is also the other story to have a sequel of sorts in series 3a!).
Hope you enjoy, and please comment/vote back on the forum. Here is:
Being Alien
Begin The Begin
    Space, the final frontier…literally. The universe isn't infinite, it just feels that way. It's actually a lot smaller than it seems, especially when it's a fraction of the size it used to be. The problem with parasite universes is that they have to be small in order for the shark not to notice you're clinging on to it, slowly feeding on a tiny proportion of its life force, like a vampire.
    Adric is a vampire, he wasn't always but he was bitten and now he's one of them. Romana doesn't want to give in yet and so she's doing her very best to cure him or at least find a way to halt the worse of the side effects. The Doctor meanwhile is sullen and broody; he knows that they are trapped in E-Space for good. A misjudgement at a critical moment caused him to hesitate in trusting the right man and a lot of people died. Now he's stuck here inside of a universe that is too small for someone used to running free across the ages; and for the first time in seven hundred years he must make a home for himself.
    The other universe had all sorts of amazing wonders, sights to dazzle the senses and amaze the intellect. Here though everything is done on a smaller scale, the senses are only dazzled a fraction as much and as often. The intellect is barely stimulated at the best of times and the charred lump of metal in the corner is the remains of the Doctor's beloved pet dog.
    Romana almost considered their fate to be an irony considering how much had happened to them in the last few weeks. Trapped for all time inside of a universe with only two-and-a-bit fairly good galaxies, she had been infected by a mutagenic virus.
    Adric screamed as his blood burned with the fires of longing. "Please, Romana, I must feed! I'm thirsty!"
    "No, Adric." Romana hurt because her friend hurt, but she wouldn't give in. She'd be strong for him, help him through this time of pain and torture. "Be strong, it's all in your mind. The craving is an illusion, you don't NEED the blood. You can go for years without it; it's all in these white scrolls." They had the seal of Rassilon himself on them so she knew they were accurate. She didn't dare to wonder how the Doctor had them hidden away in a forgotten storage room but she was grateful that they were there all the same.
    Adric screamed again and raged against the bonds that held him to the medical table. "Let me go!"
    "We'll not let you go." Romana almost started to cry. "Not until you're better."
Ghost Watch
    The Doctor skulked through the corridors of the castle. His morbid figure gave the time-sensitive locals a scare because he was disembodied in the three main dimensions of being and yet he lived on in the other twenty three dimensions of reality. "What are you looking at?" He said slowly. "Can't a Doctor rest in peace?"
    Leonia looked at the ghostly figure of the man. "Why do you haunt us? You should be dead and gone, not lingering on here, visiting us like an echo of dead time."
    "I can haunt who I like." The Doctor replied darkly. "Besides I'm not dead, not really. My body is around here somewhere; once I reconnect I can be myself again." He lamented the sacrifice of the TARDIS to save the peoples of this universe but he could always build another, maybe, one day. The technology wasn't that difficult really, but the mood swings of a temperamental teenage time machine could be too much for a small appendix universe like this one. "A body, a body, a few words of folly for a body. Steady on Doctor you're talking to yourself now and that's never a good sign." The lonesome ghostly figure walked on back to the Tannhäuser Gate, the name he gave to the place that connected all times to the now where his two friends were located. "Never a good sign at all." He remembered the last few weeks and shuddered, as if someone had walked over the grave he didn't even have.
The Howling
    The full moons rose slowly. Romana felt them before she could see them. Quickly she left Adric, restrained and contained. He was easy to deal with; her own problems were much more severe when they occurred. The main one was of course the flaring up of the Alzarian virus. Alzarius was afflicted with a dual star system; the gravity of that second sun caused the peculiar season of Mistfall. During the onset of that season Romana had been bitten by a marsh spider and infected by the virus. A native being was fully transformed for all time, but her biology was much more aggressive. Normally it contained it, but the twin approach of this planet's two moons duplicated the effects of Mistfall in miniature for Romana and one night out of the month the virus flared up and she was physically transformed. Once the gravity effect weakened, her natural Gallifreyan biology reasserted itself and fought the virus back into dormancy.
    The second problem was that the changes were mainly physical. Romana was a petite Time Lady, but the Marsh-woman she became was slightly taller and much more muscular. If she didn't prepare herself properly then she'd ruin her outfit and she only had a few left to wear and she was down to her last clean bra as well.
    The third problem was of course not going on a rampage and slaughtering the locals, who in turn would hunt her down and try to kill her. She barely had enough credibility with them as it was and they were a prideful people who were distrustful of strangers at the best of times.
    She made her way down the catacombs through the maze of stone corridors and chambers to the lowest, lockable, prison cell. She'd made it herself, a place she could let the creature inside of her emerge: safe and containable. She didn't much like what she had to do but she had no choice either, that was what made it a curse after all.
Most Haunted
    The Doctor looked morosely across the desolate wasteland that was the astral plane. It was an echo of the real world, all black and white and a billion shades of grey instead of reds and yellows and pinks and greens. This was a place with no life, no soul, no vibrancy. It was where dreams came to die. It stank of unfulfilled potential from all the lives that had never succeeded. All the wasted lives, those killed in wars, those born before or after their time where their skills would have been appreciated. This was not a place for the living, it was of the dead. A fat old man in a white shroud with white hair sat in a comfortable armchair by a grey fire that gave no warmth.
    "Hello." The Doctor said simply. "Who are you?"
    "Ahhhhhhhhh!" The figure exclaimed theatrically, drawing the exclamation out to just short of the point of absurdity. "Now there hangs a heavy tale."
    "You look familiar." The Doctor was boggle-eyed now. "You're me, aren't you?"
    "No." The figure smiled. "And yes." He frowned. "Let us say I've adopted this figure so that you might better appreciate the complexity of your situation without running away and shrieking. They do that a lot you see, when I appear to them as I truly am. I look old to you because I am what causes all things to wither and die."
    "You're making me consider running away right now." The Doctor didn't mean with fear either. If there was one thing he despised it was an idiot. This was probably why he never got on with himselves, any of them. "Feel free to start making sense at any moment."
    "You're not dead." The stranger mused. "You have none of the charming characteristics of the dead. They usually do a lot more bowing and so forth. It's refreshing to talk to someone more…normally."
    "Well everyone should try it at some point in their lives." The Doctor stated. "I'm the Doctor by the way. I didn't catch your name; I only mention it because you seemed to avoid revealing it."
    "Names have power."
    "Of course."
    "My name is the most powerful name; it is the first name and the last. Your name is not Doctor either. You keep yours hidden for much the same reasons that I do."
    "I doubt your name means Opener of Pickle Jars in the ancient language of the Gyadi." The Doctor briefly wondered if he still had that last jar somewhere in the broken remains of his ship.
    "I must go now." The old man announced. "You may call me The Gate if you're so inclined."
    "But that means Celestial Majesty on Gyadus." The Doctor exclaimed to a now-empty room.
Near Dark
    Adric was thirsty. He didn't desire solid nourishment but rather something warm and runny. Rich with existence and the syrupy metallic tang of iron. He craved sweet liquid nourishment; not water or orange juice or milk but something hot and metallic imbued with the very essence of life.
    Beyond that though was the certainty that to give in to his thirst was wrong, deeply wrong. It was something that had to be fought, with every fibre of his being. He had to fight and fight and fight again each and every moment or he'd give in and make the wrong choice out of weakness.
    Varsh walked through the door. "You were always too weak to be one of us, little brother."
    "What are you doing here?" Adric demanded. "You died."
    "We cannot die." Varsh smiled coldly, almost mockingly. "Not really. We live outside of death's domain now little brother. We're blessed with life eternal."
    "Cursed you mean." Adric retorted. "We can never die, but we can never really live either. We just go on, trapped in the same moment for all eternity. We can't learn new things and we can't change our minds about anything. We're like timmits in lugar, frozen in timeless beauty."
    "Then how come I'm free and you're tied up?" Varsh asked. "I could release you…let's see how thirsty you really are."
    "Romana tied me up because I asked her to." Adric replied. "I knew the hunger would take me and so I asked her to make sure I couldn't do anything bad if the thirst got too much for me."
    "Such a pity." Varsh began to undo the bonds. "What sort of knots are these?"
    "Romana said that she got her advanced knots badge when she was in the Gallifreyan Girl Guides." Adric said. "She may have just been making it up though."
    Varsh used his strength to snap the rope. "There we are little brother. Come with me…let's find you someone nice to drink."
    "No," Adric said but seemed less certain than he should be. The thirst was bad again; it burned with dry fury, like a desert in his neck in need of life-giving blood to make it disappear. "I can't, I mustn't."
    "One drink, just one sip." Varsh said softly. "One neck, just one. Who will know…who will care?"
The Morning After
    Romana felt totally drained when she awoke from a dream about a kitten. She felt cold and her limbs ached as she rose up unsteadily and once she pulled her thoughts together she began to get dressed again. This was the third time now she'd gone through this nightmare ritual.
    The first time she'd lost her favourite bra, the pink one with the white lace trim.
She'd found it shredded on the floor in a sad little pile along with the rest of her clothes, the torn dress, the shredded shoes and the less said about the state of her pants the better everyone would be!
    The second time she'd prepared better and she'd even videotaped herself; ironically the videotape would fall through a crack in time and end up in a video libel case, but that's really another story and one that won't be mentioned here.
    She finished dressing and went over to the recorder to see what it had made of the previous night. "How was it?"
    Alice showed Romana her hand-drawn pictures. "I did this one with the pink crayon."
    Romana thanked the helpful robot with a spare dolly she kept for such occasions, before the robot went back home to her own issues and problems to share her new toy with her family. "I'd better go and check on the others I suppose. Honestly I'm the one who turns into the creature from the black lagoon every month and they expect me to sort out all of their problems for them as well. It's almost like they think that I'm their mother for Omega's sake."
    Adric welcomed Romana with a sneer. "You took your time, didn't you?"
    "I was busy." Romana replied. "I just returned to normal after completely changing species last night. Don't mind my pain though; just go on thinking about yourself why don't you?"
    "My pain is always there." Adric retorted. "The thirst, the never-ending thirst. You might at least be grateful; I sacrificed myself to save your precious blood."
    "My blood is instantly fatal to vampires." Romana said, not quite sure if it was totally true but it sounded like it probably was. "We drove the vampires into extinction by forming a barrier of ourselves between the great one and the rest of the universe. How were we to know he'd fall into a CVE and escape into E-Space?"
    "Then why don't you untie me if you're so fatal to me?" Adric asked.
    "Because you might try drinking my blood as a way of committing suicide." Romana scowled as she saw the ropes had been snapped apart and then tied back together again and she smelled something new in the air too. "There was someone else in here wasn't there? A man. Do you have a boyfriend?"
    "No." Adric said sharply. "It was my brother if you must know. He didn't die. A surviving vampire found him and gave him immortality too. Now he wants to drink this world dry and make more like us."
    "Well we can't have that, can we?" Romana asked. "I'll have to do everything, as usual. Find him, fight him, defeat him. A woman's work is never done, especially when she's surrounded by men."
    "You're more sexist than usual." Adric started. "What's up now? What are you really worried about?"
    "Well if you really must know it's the Doctor. I still can't think of a way to bring him back from the astral plane."
    "Don't bother." The Doctor said walking into the room. "I can see things that you two can't. The past and the future as just as much in the now as the now is." He paused for a moment. "There are doors, to the past and the future, and from them this is either the past or the future. Am I making sense?" He was sure he wasn't. "Don't worry about it. I'll just go and make us all a nice cup of tea."
    The day wore on with its usual relentlessness. Romana went outside to get a suntan while Adric stayed indoors away from the light to talk with the Doctor.
    "Do you think she knows?" Adric asked. "About the Eternals hiding outside of life with chairs and bins?"
    "I hope not." The Doctor mused. "It reminded me of something I saw on the television once on Earth. Susan used to like watching human television from the 80's and 90's. She said that their male sports personalities were interesting. I never understood it or watched it much myself, but it reminded me of that in a way. Pity I didn't ban it instead of simply moving us backwards in time to 1963."
    "I saw some of that." Adric smiled. "I can see what she saw in it. Human men are curiously interesting, speaking purely from an academic point of view of course." The concept of one being naked in his bed was a matter for thinking about and not speaking about, so he did and didn't.
    Romana returned, pulling her nearly sheer white sarong on over her question mark patterned pink bikini as she moved indoors. "The sun's lovely but I think I've had enough for one day. I don't have much skin moisturiser left so I have to be really careful with it."
    "Of course." The Doctor said. "How about a cup of tea? I've got the kettle on."
    "It's strange how you got that old thing working and much of the rest of the TARDIS is either burned to a crisp or lost somewhere in time." Romana shrugged and smiled. "It's lucky that I rather like tea isn't it? Are there any cakes as well?"
    "Oh there's always cakes." The Doctor grinned and opened a plastic box full of cakes.
    "Yum yum." Romana smiled back.
    "Oh for goodness sake!" Adric moaned. "Can you two stop pretending everything is fine when it's not? We're stranded on a planet with no way of leaving. I'm thirsty and you're both acting like nothing's wrong!"
    "We'll sort everything out." Romana said casually. "We'll fix the TARDIS. We'll locate the Doctor's body. We'll even find a cure for you. But first we'll enjoy a nice cup of tea and a cake, it's the civilised thing to do."
    "If we're not civilised then we're not anything." The Doctor picked up the teapot and was mother for the three of them. "Drink up Adric, that tea's perfectly fine for you."
    "I'd rather have blood." Adric pouted, but took a sip anyway. "It's very nice, it's just not remotely good for me."
    "Try one of these cakes." The Doctor pushed the tin closer to his young friend. "I found them three hundred years back in time. I think they have a fruit filling, like a jam of sorts."
    "Well if I must." Adric sighed and tried one of the cakes, it was as dry as dust and as flavoursome as ice. "Nice." He lied. It seemed like that was the most diplomatic thing for him to do. "I won't have another just now, I really want to savour this one." He wondered where he could hide it where they would never find it and he'd never have to finish eating it, ever.
    Varsh looked at the natives. "Yum yum, your blood in my tum." He closed the door that was the only way out of the room. "Now who wants to feed me first?" Seconds later the screaming began…
    The Doctor wondered what to do next. "We're trapped on a small and uninteresting world, no TARDIS, no Time Lords, too many vampires, you two are wearing shades and I think we should repaint our hovel a new colour."
    "I call pink." Romana said quickly.
    "What's wrong with yellow?" Adric asked.
    "I like pink." Romana smiled, "and I did call it first."
    "Romana wins the house painting contest." The Doctor celebrated by brewing up a fresh pot of tea. "Adric can choose first in the next doing something thing."
    "Well I vote we get off this planet." Adric said once Romana left to find the pink paint. "Use one of those time portals to investigate where they go."
    "You can see the time portals?" The Doctor asked.
    "Of course." Adric replied. "I don't think Romana can though, even though she's a Time Lady."
    "That's because they're not true time portals." They don't allow just anyone to travel back and forth in time. Only those dislocated from reality like myself. I'm surprised you can see them though."
    "I'm a vampire." Adric yawned. "Technically an immortal."
    "You're a fixed point in time and space. You're a fact, it's not meant to be. That's why we killed almost all of your kind. You're different though, you and your brother. Maybe it's the way the virus works on your species. You can tolerate sunlight for a short amount of time but it weakens you, makes you hungry quicker. A mutation or a blessing? Maybe you're more resistant?"
    "She's coming back." Adric said softly. "I've been thinking, about naming our home." He said quickly. "How about simply 'Home'? Well I think it's catchy."
    "I like it." The Doctor said with a slight smile.
    "Well it is your turn." Romana agreed "and it could have been a lot worse."
The Nightstalker
    Varsh stood over the bodies of the dozen or so men and women. Not all of them had died, some clung on at the edge of death, the virus slowly rebuilding them into new immortal bodies. The gift of undeath would be theirs and they would be the foundation of his army, one that would sweep through time and space killing or recruiting all who stood in their way.
From Dusk Till Dawn
    Romana had another slice of cake to go with her fresh cup of tea. "What I don't understand is why we're still here. We should be building a rocket, a space ship, something to get off of this world."
    "We can afford to spend some time here I think." The Doctor replied. "I quite like this little home from home. It's not like we're settling down for good, only until I can get my body back."
    "Of course." Romana berated herself. "How silly of me, I forgot. We'll get your body back, cure Adric and then find or rebuild the TARDIS. What could possibly be simpler?"
    "My brother's out there recruiting an army of vampires." Adric said to the others. "I can feel him, his life force, and I can feel those of the recruits that he's making. We're in for a rough time of it because he'll be coming for us eventually."
    "Well that's something to look forward to." Romana sighed. "And I've just finished painting our home a lovely bright shade of pink – we couldn't be a more obvious target!"
    "What's done is done." The Doctor mused. "What happens next, well that's something else."

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Sunshine in the Rain

This week's tale comes courtesy of Russell Williams, who's also taken on the 5th Doctor slot this series so he'll be back in a few weeks. Another splendid tale, this is one of two stories that will have a sequel in series 3, and the ending here sets it up very nicely indeed.
So, please read and enjoy, and share your thoughts as always on the forum as I know Russell will be keen to know what you made of it.
Here is:
Sunshine in the Rain
    Rose Tyler screamed out, waking herself up. She had had that dream again. The one where her life as she had known it had come to an end. Of course, if it was only a dream it would be OK; a cup of tea and you could shake it off. But in Rose's case, the nightmare was indeed a reality. She remembered it all far too well. The day that Mickey Smith, the most wonderful fiancé in the universe, had died saving her.
    From herself.
    Still shaking from the memories, Rose took a moment to check her surroundings. She was lying in a plush four-poster bed in an opulently decorated bedroom. Her bedroom at Pete Tyler, her father's, mansion. Despite living here now for just over three months, she still couldn't believe that she had her father back, sort of. Her mother was happy, the family was complete. All except Mickey.
    Fighting back the tears, Rose decided to get up, slipped on a dressing gown and headed downstairs to the kitchen to make a nice warm mug of cocoa to hopefully send her back off to sleep. Walking past her father's study, she noticed that the light was still on, and poking her head round the door, saw him at his desk talking to someone sat in the small settee in the corner of the room. Wondering who this person could be, Rose craned her neck further around the door and finally saw him. Ricky Smith. The "fake" Mickey. Startled, she knocked the door further ajar attracting the attention of Pete and Ricky.
    "Rose. What are you doing up and about so late? Couldn't sleep?" Pete asked, concerned.
    "Yeah, just a bad dream, that's all. Sorry to disturb you."
    "That's alright, sweetheart. Oh, you remember Ricky don't you?" Pete indicated Ricky, who put on a forced smile.
    "Alright, Rose."
    "Yeah. Hi. Look I'm gonna head back to bed now, I'll see you in the morning."
    With that, Rose headed out of the study and ran back upstairs to bed, fighting back the tears.     Eventually, she cried herself to sleep.
    Pete Tyler sat in his study an hour or so after his business with Ricky had concluded. The clean-up operation involving the Cybermen was taking longer than expected and Harriet Jones' demands to have everything sorted before the election wasn't making their jobs any easier. What got Pete through these harrowing days was the fact that he now had a proper family. A Jackie that he loved and he knew loved him in return, and a daughter – the child that he had always wanted.
    The Doctor really was an amazing man, he had given Pete everything: a family, a sense of purpose, a world saved from the threat of the Cybermen. He recalled vividly how this strange man wearing a leather jacket and slightly large ears had taken him aside and pleaded with him to take care of Rose. To this day, he had no idea what sort of heartbreaking trauma his daughter had suffered. He cared too much to ask Rose, and any questions put in Jackie's direction had quickly been shot down, because she didn't want to talk about it. But it still hurt him, to see his daughter aching day after day, and being able to do nothing about it. It was funny, Rose and this Jackie had only just entered his life and yet he loved them both with every fibre of his being. Despite this, he still cared for "his" Jackie; despite the deepening problems towards the end of their marriage, he had still loved her.
    His thoughts turned to his "reunion" with Jackie when he and Rose had stormed the Cyber-factory. The memory of his wife of twenty-years encased in one of those horrible Cyber-suits nearly brought tears to Pete's eyes, but he shook his head and buried the pain deep down once again. Getting up from behind his desk, Pete made his way out of his study and up to the bedroom that he and Jackie shared. Noticing that she was fast asleep, he quietly got into bed beside her, gave her a quick kiss on the forehead and settled down to sleep.
    As Rose Tyler slept, images of the Doctor and his marvellous travelling machine began to fill her mind. When she first met the Doctor, it was in the basement of her old workplace, Henrik's. She was surrounded by Autons, fearing for her life, and suddenly someone grabbed her hand and said a simple word:
    And they never stopped running. Facing death from the rays of the sun on Platform One; cowering from Gelth-controlled zombies in a basement in Cardiff; and of course, there were the Slitheen. But what she was really running from was her Mum and Mickey.
    As Rose replayed the memories of those fantastic days in her dreams, a small smile played across her face, and a little tear trickled down. The moistness tumbling down her cheek awoke Rose, and she stared over at the antique clock on the mantle-piece: 4 o'clock.
    Realizing that she wouldn't get to sleep again for some time, Rose bowed to the inevitable, got out of bed, pulled on her dressing gown and made her way downstairs to the kitchen. As she approached the kitchen, she could see light penetrating through the crack underneath and shining through the mosaic patterned glass. Pushing the door open, she saw that her father was now sat at the breakfast table sipping a mug of tea and browsing through yesterday's newspaper. Hearing Rose enter, Pete looked up and smiled.
    "Still can't sleep, sweetheart?"
    "Yeah, I've been having a bit of trouble lately. Thought I'd come down and have a brew, but looks like you beat me to it."
    "You park yourself there and I'll make you a nice cuppa. The kettle's just boiled." Pete got up and moved over to the kitchen counter, passing Rose.
    A few minutes later, Pete and Rose were sitting at the breakfast table sipping their tea and idly flicking through the paper together, laughing at some of the more amusing stories and having half-hearted conversation about some of the political turmoil surrounding Harriet Jones. Throughout, Pete kept glancing at Rose, noticing the puffiness around the eyes, obvious that she had been crying.
    "Rose, you've been crying. What's the matter? Aren't you happy that we're all together again?" Pete asked, deeply concerned.
    Rose started to cry again, and Pete moved to give her a big hug. "Of course I am. It's brilliant to see mum so happy again, and I can have the father I've always wanted, but the family just doesn't feel complete."
    "What d'ya mean, sweetheart? It's only natural to miss the Doctor, but I wouldn't call him one of the family."
    "No... not the Doctor. He's better off where he is. Where he deserves to be." A touch of anger was now penetrating her voice.
    "He cares about you, Rose. And your mum. When we met at Canary Wharf, he pleaded with me to make sure that you both had a good life."
    "I know, I know. It's just... Mickey." Rose began to cry again, almost inconsolable.
    "Mickey? Rose darling, who's Mickey?"
    "He was my fiancé, the best fiancé in the whole universe. And... and he died. Because of me. Because of the Doctor."
    "Oh my god, Rose. I'm so sorry, I had no idea." Pete moved in to hug Rose, and didn't let her go for a long time.
    A few hours later, Pete and Rose were sitting on the floor of the living room, talking. Rose had stopped crying, and had regained some control, but both she and Pete had red, puffed up eyes.
    "So, how did Mickey become involved with you and the Doctor then? Considering what you told me about the Autons, it doesn't seem likely that he'd be up for adventure." Pete asked.
    Rose smiled, and wiped her nose and mouth with a tissue. "Well, he did brick it a little bit, but he was forced to grow up a lot over the next 12 months. Y'see, when I returned home, the Doctor miscalculated and we landed exactly a year later. 'Course, Mum had thought that Mickey had killed me so it was horrible. When I turned up, mum went absolutely ape."
    "Your mother? Never!" Pete joked.
    "I was selfish.. I was bored with her daily routine, get up, go to work, eat chips and go to bed. I abandoned them, not thinking about the worry that Mickey and mum had gone through. The sleepless nights, the accusations and the questioning."
    "Rose, you're being too hard on yourself. You thought you'd only be gone for a few hours, and it was a spur of the moment decision."
    "Yeah. Well after all the business with the Slitheen, I still desperately wanted to travel with the Doctor, but didn't want to abandon Mickey and mum again. I was sure the Doctor would never allow mum aboard, but maybe Mickey. I thought I'd love to have him around, the old duo travelling around time and space together..."
The Powell Estate, London, England, Earth, Sol system, Mutter's Spiral
April 2006
    "You could always come with us. Keep her safe." The Doctor offered.
    Mickey wanted to decline the Doctor's offer of travelling with him and Rose, tell him that he wasn't quite ready for a life of adventure and was the slightest bit afraid. And yet, a part of him also wanted to travel with Rose and keep her safe. After all, if he could face down the Slitheen with nothing but a chair and a jar of pickled onions, then surely he was ready.
    "Really? You'd be happy to have me along would you?" Mickey asked, subconsciously looking for a way out.
    "Yeah, why not? They say travel broadens the mind, not that I need it, but it couldn't hurt you, Ricky. The more the merrier." The Doctor beamed, offering out his hand.
    Despite his concerns, Mickey climbed off the rubbish bin, tossing the newspaper to one side, and shook the Doctor's hand.
    "Fantastic." The Doctor shouted cheerfully.
    "On one condition: you stop calling me Ricky."
    The Doctor took a brief moment to consider before nodding his ascent, sharing a smile with Mickey as he did so. Approaching the pair were Rose and Jackie. Both seemed rather puzzled as to why the pair appeared to be getting on so well, as they drew nearer to the TARDIS.
    "What's gotten into you two? Must be a "bold new dawn" if you're getting on." Rose said, still puzzled.
    When the Doctor didn't offer up an explanation, Mickey stepped forward cheerfully. "I'm going with you. In the TARDIS."
    "Really?" Rose looked to the Doctor, who nodded. She then gave Mickey a large hug and a kiss. "That's brilliant, I can't wait."
    The Doctor, Rose and the newest recruit were stepping out of the TARDIS and onto the desert-like world of San Bahoon. Mickey had indeed been fortunate, his first trip in the TARDIS and it was to a completely alien world. As he stepped out of the TARDIS, he gazed around in wonder, taking in the beautiful violet sky with three suns.
    Rose stepped out of the TARDIS after Mickey, watching her boyfriend stagger around in amazement. She flashed a warm smile at the Doctor and ran over to Mickey.
    "Rose! This is bloody amazing..." Mickey gasped.
    Rose hooked her arm around Mickey as they stared out at the sky together.
    "Now you see why I never wanted to stay at home. All these wonders Mickey, they're ours now."
    "Rose..." Mickey started, and then wiped the increasing pool of sweat on his brow. "God, I'm hot."
    The Doctor joined his companions, after hearing Mickey's comment. "Ric... Mickey. I told you not to wear your coat. You won't feel the benefit." The Doctor smiled.
    "Ay? Oh yeah." Mickey took his coat off and positioned it under his arm.
    Everyone satisfied, the Doctor took in his surroundings. "Right then, you two. Let's take a look around then shall we. Oh, and don't get lost."
    As Mickey went to move off, Rose pushed past him and ran off over one of the sand dunes, screaming "Race ya" as she did so. With a quick look to the Doctor, Mickey grinned and ran off after her.
    Together they ran for what seemed like miles, laughing as they did so. Both exhausted, they noticed an oasis in the desert, a large lake bordered by bizarre looking, pink, palm trees. Taking their trainers and socks off they went for a paddle in the water. Rose pushed Mickey over when he least suspected it and he fell in. He tried to pull her down in return, but she ran to the shore, laughing as she did so. Both suitably wet, they settled down at the lake's edge.
    "This reminds me of the weekend we had in Margate. Remember that?" Mickey asked.
    "'Course I do. That was the first time you told me you loved me. After you fell off that donkey," Rose laughed.
    "I didn't fall off the donkey. He suddenly bucked up."
    "Yeah, and what happened?"
    "I fell off." Mickey replied, meekly.
    "Anyway, I don't remember Margate having a purple sky or pink palm trees, but it was just as fun. Anything's more fun when you're there."
    Mickey moved into kiss Rose, and soon became more intense. Rose had never loved Mickey more than she did at this moment. He had truly embraced this world and would travel with her forever.     Well, almost forever.
    Sometime later, Rose and Mickey made their way back to the TARDIS in their slightly damp clothing, and couldn't find the Doctor anywhere in sight. Deciding that the Time Lord could be waiting inside for them, having grown bored, Rose got out her key and they both stepped inside the TARDIS. It quickly became obvious that he wasn't in the console room either, so they set out to investigate the rest of the ship.
    Mickey had never seen any part of the TARDIS besides the console room and he presumed that this was the only part of the ship. So he was slightly surprised when he saw Rose walking at speed towards the coral coated wall and passing straight through. After a few minutes consideration he decided to follow.
    High and low they searched. They spent hours wandering up and down corridors, stumbling into various console rooms, bedrooms, laboratories, a swimming pool, a library and a launderette, with still no sign of the Doctor. After changing into some spare clothes hanging on a piece of string inside the launderette, the two companions made their way back to the console room. At a loss, Rose began messing with the console, deciding to activate the scanner and see if that would reveal anything.
    As the screen activated, she decided to rewind the feed until the point that she and Mickey had run off across the sand dunes. Playing it again, she saw the Doctor wandering around the perimeter of the TARDIS, seemingly intent on finding something. A puzzled expression on his face, he pulled the sonic screwdriver out of the top pocket of the leather jacket and knelt down, scanning the sand at his feet with the sonic. After a few minutes, the Doctor suddenly disappeared from view as he ran into the TARDIS. Seconds later, he emerged with a shovel and starting digging down and down until he stopped. Reaching down, he pulled up a large ruby-coloured diamond, and began to examine it with his sonic.
    Lost in his examinations, the Doctor failed to spot the group of four badger-like creatures who had suddenly sprung out of the ground. Rose gasped as she observed the badgers pull out their guns at the Doctor, demanding that he hand over the diamond and follow them. Within seconds, the Doctor and his "friends" disappeared below the surface.
    "Well, that explains that one then. What are we going to do?" Mickey asked, amazed.
    "Rescue him, obviously. He'd do the same for us."
    "Yeah, right. You've got a certificate in gymnastics and I'm a high scorer on Space Invaders. We've got those badgers licked." Mickey quipped, and Rose smacked him on the shoulder.
    "C'mon, the Doctor's taught us they we have to make a stand and make do with what we've got, and what we know. All we've got to do is think."
    "We need a shovel if we're gonna dig down there. Has to be a spare one lying around somewhere."
    "That's good. We also need torches."
    "Torches? What, for when it gets dark?"
    "No. Three suns in the sky, it won't be dark for ages yet. Think about it. We're going underground. Therefore, we need torches."
    "Oh yeah."
    After digging for what seemed like hours, Rose and Mickey had finally dug through the sand dune and had penetrated into a subterranean cavern. Turning on their torches, penetrating the darkness, they were surprised as some of the light reflected across the cavern as it hit various diamonds that were embedded in the walls. They walked for miles and miles, gazing in awe at the diamonds, but ever cautious of a badger jumping out at them.
    As they continued walking, Mickey noticed that the passages grew wider and wider, indicating that they were approaching a larger cavern. Their suspicions were proved correct when they noticed a very dim light from up ahead, and Rose decided that it would be for the best if they turned off their torches. Walking in the dimness, the pair began to hear voices from inside the cavern, screechy voices that were so quiet that they were unable to decipher the words. Erring on the side of caution, the companions crouched down behind a rocky outcropping, gaining a good view of the cavern as it spread out below.
    The cavern was roughly circular in shape, illuminated by a few dozen dim torches scattered around the place, and contained approximately two hundred of the badger creatures. Mickey's heart skipped a couple of beats as he took in the sight, but he was even more surprised when he noticed that at the centre of the huge gathering was the Doctor. Bound up in rope, and not looking too pleased.
    A prod from Rose made Mickey see that they had to find a way to extract the Time Lord from his difficulties, and they moved to get closer, ducking behind outcroppings and keeping to the shadows as they went. As they got nearer, they began to hear more and more of what was being said. One of the badgers, presumably the leader, seemed most perturbed that the Doctor had the audacity to attempt to steal one of the tribe's sacred diamonds.
    "I assure you, your magnificence, I had no intention of stealing your precious diamonds. I'm a traveller, a scientist. I was merely interested in studying it." The Doctor protested.
    "A likely story. Pink skinned "scientists" have graced us with their presence before and made off with several gralfits of the diamonds in return for our hospitality." A second badger argued.
    "Well, if this is any indication of your "hospitality", then I'm not surprised they wanted a little compensation!" The Doctor bemoaned without thinking, quickly adding, "My apologies. I had no intention of stealing the diamonds, and I can prove I'm a scientist. My vessel, the TARDIS, is packed with scientific equipment. Let me out of these bonds, and I shall show you the wonders of my craft."
    "Really. And I suppose that once you are aboard your craft you will make a swift exit, or else use those who accompany you as hostages to ransom against obtaining the diamonds." The second badger countered.
    "That's ridiculous..."
    "ENOUGH!!" The leader screamed. "We have heard enough. For the penalty of trespass upon our world, and the attempted theft of our sacred crystals, you are sentenced to death – with immediate effect."
    The crowd of badgers screeched and chanted, seemingly pleased that justice had been done.
    Before the Doctor even had time to defend himself, the leader produced a long staff, and pressed a button atop it. The metal covering surrounding the Doctor suddenly retracted, and below was a massive lake of molten lava, with the Time Lord stood on a small pedestal in the middle. It was certain that the Doctor's fate was sealed.     
    All of a sudden, shouting drew the attention of the assembled badgers and the Time Lord as he noticed his two friends approaching.
    As Mickey and Rose advanced through the badgers, they had their torches produced, shining brightly in the faces of any badger who challenged them, and sending them scurrying away into the darkness. Soon enough the companions had reached the badger leader, who stood in defiance of the torchlight, even when his elite guards had turned and run.
    "I am Mickey, God of Light, and I demand that this prisoner be released at once." Mickey shouted.
    "I know of no God of Light, and I refuse. This person has transgressed our laws and must be punished as a result."
    "Forgive him, for he knows not what he has done. He is a trickster, a man of simple mind who cannot be held responsible for his actions. We, the Gods of Light, are charged with protecting this creature and see that he comes to no harm."
    The Doctor looked incredulous at being described as a trickster of simple mind, but wisely, said nothing. As Mickey and Rose once again shone their torches into the eyes of the leader, he relented and once again pressed the button which replaced the metal plating.
    "You, oh Gods of Light, seem to have a prior claim to this individual, but see to it that your "trickster" never visits our world again."
    "We, the Gods of Light, agree, and thank you for your compliance. May your civilization fair well." Rose said, joining in.
    With that Mickey and Rose quickly freed the Doctor from his bonds, and raced out of the cavern and back up the passageway out of sight of the badgers.
    "'A trickster of simple mind'. How dare you? I could beat you in a quiz any day." The Doctor moaned, but Mickey just grinned.
    "Never mind that. Can't you just be pleased that Mickey got you out of there? You'd be dead if it weren't for us. Again." Rose said.
    "Yeah, yeah. You're useful to have around, I 'spose. Good work with the Gods of Light, though. Have to remember that one." The Doctor conceded.
    "Thanks. I think I've been watching too many sci-fi films."
    "Yeah well, time to stop watching and start living, Mickey."
    Following a rather lengthy climb out of the hole that Rose and Mickey had dug earlier, the three made a hasty entrance into the TARDIS, and seconds later there was nothing left but the sand, the three suns and the swirling wind.
    Rose finished telling Pete of her adventure on San Bahoon with the Doctor and Mickey, and the pair just fell about laughing. Pete wasn't exactly used to hearing about alien planets and strange aliens everyday, but his encounters with the Time Lord had opened his mind enough to believe that anything was possible. He quickly noticed that Rose had looked happier than he'd ever seen her. Reliving the memories of the good times had allowed Rose to put her pain to one side and remember the important thing: her love for Mickey.
    After another cup of tea, Rose retired to bed, and for the first time in weeks, she settled into a peaceful, long, sleep. In dreams she was reliving memories of her adventures with Mickey on Woman Wept, World War II London, Satellite 5 and all the other amazing places that she had visited.
    And throughout, she smiled.
    Several universes away on Rose's Earth, an eerie night had fallen across the city of London in the wake of the destruction of Torchwood (aka Canary Wharf). Such devastation could only be compared to those dreadful events of six years earlier when the World Trade Centre when over 3,000 people had perished in a cowardly terrorist attack. However, Torchwood hadn't been destroyed by Muslim extremists, but by the extraterrestrial threat of the Daleks and the Cybermen, who had waged war on Earth with Humanity caught in the middle.
    The threat had been neutralized, but not without massive casualties and extensive collateral damage to the surrounding city. Crawling over the wreckage of Torchwood, medical teams and rescuers from the many hospitals in the city of London: valiantly searching for survivors.
    One of those valiant medical personnel was Martha Jones, a medical student at Royal Hope Hospital who had been drafted in to help out. She had been working for seven hours straight and had assisted in pulling four people out of the wreckage, in various states. Scrabbling out of the wreckage, cursing her boots and hard hat, she suddenly heard a scratching and faint cry coming from beneath her. Aware of the precarious situation, she didn't move an inch, but shouted to some of the surrounding people to assist in pulling the presumably trapped person out.
    After an hour of digging and slowly moving rubble, they pulled out a brown haired man wearing the remains of a tattered black jumper, a pair of jeans and a leather jacket. Bizarrely, all of his clothes seemed at least one size too big for him. Martha performed some on the spot checks of the man's health and determined that he would be okay to move, and a stretcher was called in so he could be moved into the ambulance, and eventually taken off to hospital for treatment.
    After the patient had been stretchered away, Martha stood for a few minutes, mulling over something that the man had mumbled a few moments earlier.
    "Mickey. Rose. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

To be continued in...