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."

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