Friday, 23 December 2011

The Box of Delights

Well, it's Christmas! So, as promised, here is the first and last Consequences Christmas tale! It's quite rushed and very slight, but it's something to tide you over until series 4 kicks off next month. Hope you enjoy it, bearing in mind it was mostly written in the last couple of hours!

One last thing: Merry Christmas!

The Box of Delights

The moonlight reflecting off her face accentuated her beauty, the whiteness of the snow all around helping contribute to the ethereal glow that seemed to bathe her entire being.  As she looked around, she smiled, drinking in the surroundings and the company.

                “Now, Doctor Song, is this the sort of thing you had in mind?” The Doctor was dressed in his finery, resplendent in top hat and tails once again.

                River, wearing an extremely warm-looking faux-fur coat over a glorious crimson evening gown, nodded. “Perfect. As always, you know what this lady likes.”

                “Well we can’t have you going about saying your husband doesn’t know how to show you a good Christmas now, can we? So, how about,” he whipped a hand out from behind his back, seemingly pulling two glasses out from nowhere, “a glass of mulled wine? All the rage at Christmas, so I’m told.” He handed one to River, who gratefully accepted, and brushed snow from a nearby bench so as to allow the pair of them room to sit.

                River sipped at the beverage, then looked curiously at the Doctor. “You don’t like wine. Why have you got two glasses?”

                The Doctor shrugged. “It seemed polite. It’s what people do, isn’t it? Besides,” he looked down at River’s now half-empty glass, “I’m sure you could manage it after that one. Especially in this cold.”

                River smiled slyly. “Oh so that’s it. Get me intoxicated and have your wicked way with me? You don’t need to go to all that trouble sweetie.”

                The Doctor was flustered, not knowing where to look or what to say.

                River laughed. “Oh you should see you face! Don’t worry my love, I’ll be gentle.”

                The Doctor stood up, paced, then sat down again having seemingly achieved nothing. Yet, when River looked, in front of them was a gentle fire. “Well now, that’s a little better isn’t it?” The Doctor was clearly trying to change the subject, and River didn’t attempt to turn the conversation back to its previous course. “Now what I thought, what I always like at Christmas, is a good story by an open fire. The kind your parents will tell you, just before...” He looked at her sadly. “Sorry, wasn’t thinking.”

                River waved aside any suggestion of upset or offence. “I may not have had a happy childhood with the kind of Christmases that children should have, but I’m making up for it now. In fact, mummy and daddy dearest received a visit from their wayward daughter only the other day. Father’s quite the chef! Who knew?”

                The Doctor looked at her, unsurprised.”Of course he is! Rory the Roman, living a life for 2000 years. He may have been plastic, but he wasn’t idle all the time, I’m certain of that. Unless he was, in which case it is a big surprise, but...” He held up a hand as if to stop himself. “I’m going to tell you a story of Christmas past –well, my past. Just because it’s a Christmas story, you understand, and well, who doesn’t like a good festive tale with their mulled wine on a wintry night?”

                River turned, holding her glass with both hands and getting comfortable. “Ok sweetie, “she smiled, “I’m all ears.”

                The TARDIS landed, completely of its own volition. The Doctor thought little of it, he was used to its idiosyncrasies by now. A few hundred years of travelling for so long with companions, yet now alone for the first time in a very long time. It was for the best, he was sure of that. People had died, good people, and he didn’t want to be responsible for any more unnecessary deaths. So they’d been taken home, the pair of them, free to live their lives safely without his interference. He sighed, looking at the empty console room. “Yes, I shall miss them.” He looked above him, as if speaking to some unseen force. “Not that I had a choice in the matter! Sent back to their own times, their memories of me erased. It’’s not right!” The TARDIS made an unsavoury noise, and the Doctor backed away, as if fearful they’d heard him. “Well I’d better take a look outside then, hadn’t I?” he said, wringing a handkerchief through his hands and dabbing his brow with it.

                The doors to the ship were open, and outside it the Doctor could see snow and little else. Aside from a figure, a child stumbling towards him with clothes that were far too inadequate for the adverse conditions.

                “Don’t be afraid! Follow my voice!” He called out, and he could see the distant form heading towards him. “That’s it! I’ll come out to meet you then we can go inside for a nice mug of cocoa and get you warm.” The child was gaining ground, almost at the Doctor, yet suddenly stumbled and fell in the snow.

                The Doctor hesitated briefly then dashed out into the snow, hefting the fallen child over his shoulder and haphazardly making his way back to the TARDIS. As he crossed the threshold, the doors closed behind him of their own accord and he headed straight for the sickbay.

                Finally, reaching his destination, he laid the child down on one of the beds, letting the TARDIS’ automatic scanning equipment check her for signs of any infection or disease. Knowing it would take time, he headed back to the console room, brushing the snow from his frock coat.

                He collapsed into a chair and sighed once more. “Oh dear, I wonder what it is you want from me this time?” He asked it of no one in particular, half expecting a message cube to appear before him, like the one he’d sent what seemed like decades ago. Could it have been that long? Surely not. He sat for a while, looking into the console’s polished surface at the older figure that stared back at him. His hair was greying now, not like the rich black it had once been. Would they ever carry out his sentence as they kept threatening to, he wondered.

                A sudden bleeping from the console shook him from his daydream. The scan was complete, so he headed back to the child, who when he arrived was still sleeping. He looked at the screen next to the bed, displaying the results of the scan, and his face fell. “Oh dear, that’s not good at all. Well we’ll see about that...” His hands played over the various switches that were positioned all around the area. He could at least make her comfortable, that much he was certain of. Maybe take her on a trip. Yes, one last journey. Maybe then they’d let him go, finally make happen what they’d sentenced him to all that time ago.

                Perhaps it really would be the end of this life after all.

                The child opened her eyes. Looking up she saw a small man with a mop of greying hair standing over her. She didn’t remember much about what had happened before she’d fallen, but she assumed that this man was her saviour.           

                “Hello,” she offered, a little nervously at first.

                “Hello,” said the man with an infectious grin. “It’s nice to see you awake at last. I thought you might like it here.” He gestured around their surroundings.

                She looked, and it seemed to be a wooden cabin, like the kind she’d read about in books. She stood up, slowly, the man stepping back to allow her the space to move around. She saw a window, the man offering his arm to help her reach it. She took it gratefully. She reasoned that if he had planned to hurt her he would have done so by now. As they moved towards it, she could see outside a frozen pond and trees covered with snow, yet as she turned she could see a roaring log fire warming the room.

                The man helped her back to her seat and sat in a chair next to her own. “I expect you’re wondering who I am,” the man said.

                The girl nodded.

                “Well,” the man looked around, seemingly nervous in his own skin, “I’m a sort, and...”

                The girl’s eyes brightened. “So you’re going to make me better?” She coughed raucously.

                The man closed his eyes, then opened them with an impish grin on his face. “How about some cocoa? And then, if you like, we could try some ice skating. Have you ever been ice skating before?”

                He pulled two steaming mugs seemingly from nowhere and handed one to the girl, who accepted it gratefully. They both drank in silence, neither really knowing what to say.

                Suddenly, as they finished, the man leapt up and grabbed her by the arm. Almost instantaneously it seemed they were outside, sliding about on the ice. They both tried to hold each other up, both falling over and laughing repeatedly.

                “Now, have you ever built a snowman? Not a Yeti, they’re very different. Well not the real ones of course, but....” The man tailed off as the girl started gathering snow and making it into a rather elaborate figure that looked remarkably different from a regular snowman. The detail was very precise, looking more like a specific person than a formless lump of snow. It had defined arms and legs, and a very distinct face which the man thought he might recognise, but couldn’t place.

                Once formed, the girl immediately threw a barrage of snowballs at the shape, causing it to collapse and be at one with the rest of the ground once more.

                The man was by now making his way back to the cabin, and the girl followed at a pace, stopping to have to cough viciously, then dashing after him once again.

                They sat and warmed themselves by the fire, and it was then that she noticed the Christmas tree for the first time. Underneath were wrapped parcels, which the man began to pass to her.

                “All yours. It seems I’m on Father Christmas’ naughty list this year.” He gave another feint toothless smile and watched as she opened the gifts, all containing new warmer clothing to replace the borrowed items she currently wore.

                “Do you mind if I...?” He shook his head.

                He watched as she disappeared into another room, and saw one present remained under the tree. He took it out and opened the perfect cube of a box. Inside was a glowing white container which he held to his head.               

                “Well,” he said, eyes open and staring at the object, “well that changes everything.”


                She’d collapsed again not long after, and the Doctor knew immediately what he had to do. The message made it very clear, and he’d crossed into a timeline he should not have done in the first place. He’d only wanted to help, but again, in their eyes, he’d interfered and time needed to be set back onto the right track. If he didn’t then they would take matters into their own hands.

                Reluctantly, he carried the girl outside of the TARDIS, and set her to rest on the soft ground. As he did so, he whispered into her ear. “Now, don’t you worry. Everything will be quite alright....”

                River reached out and placed a hand on the Doctor’s arm, then pulled him in for a passionate kiss. The Doctor didn’t rush to extricate himself, but upon doing so managed to utter, “What was that for?”

                She smiled, that smile again. “Oh you know, you wonderful clever man.” Turning around she saw a wooden cabin behind her. “I thought I recognised this place, but I assumed it was from my dreams. Amazing how regeneration affects the brain, isn’t it?”

                “Ah,” the Doctor started, but didn’t get very far.

                “I always thought – always – that the one Christmas I could remember from my childhood I’d imagined. But it was you, all along, even though you didn’t mean to.” She threw up her hands. “How do you do it?”

                The Doctor shrugged. “Well, if it’s any consolation I have no idea at all. Which really isn’t much consolation at all, is it? I mean that was hundreds of years ago and you said yourself that regeneration does funny things to the brain and it does. It had no idea that that child was...”

                “Me. And you told me, when you left me for that first time. You told me not to be scared, that there was a trick, that I would be alright.” She paused, remembering the events as if it were mere moments ago. “And you were right. And here I am, living proof!”

                The Doctor smiled, and stood up. “And what proof you are River! A dance, in the snow? I’ve got Frank and Deano all ready to sing?” He gestured behind him, where two men stood and waved, and upon the Doctor’s thumbs up, began to sing.

                As ‘Winter Wonderland’ could be heard all around them and they twirled in the moonlight by the frozen lake, River whispered in the Doctor’s ear. “Just one question – where are we? I have a good idea, but...”

                The Doctor leant in close. “Where else Doctor Song? Where else could we be but my box of delights.”

                She held him close. “Merry Christmas sweetie.”
                 And they danced.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Hell in High Heels

Well, hello one and all! Yes, I am back and I've been busy! First off there's my first story for Nic Ford's splendid Companion Chronicles Prose Series featuring none other than the good Dr Song herself and called 'Hell in High Heels' (couldn't resist!). If you head here, then you can read it! Please let me know what you think of it, either on here or on Nic's site. There's another coming next Saturday too (featuring Nyssa) so I shall put a link to that once it's up.

ALSO, I couldn't resist writing a Christmas story. Since it's the last series of Consequences, it needs something special to kick it off, and this seems like the best way to get it started! It's not tied in with the arc and will stand alone - though the 'consequences' element will still be in play. Wait and see! What I can say for now is that it's called 'The Box of Delights' (anyone who follows me on Twitter will know I have an affinity with that particular television show) and will be up in the week leading up to Christmas - so in two weeks' time more or less!

So, things are happening, and series 4 will kick off in early January.

I shall return again soon with more news. Hope you enjoy 'Hell in High Heels' for now...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

It's coming....the end.....

Hello all! Well, it's been a while since I announced anything on here regarding the series, but lo, it shall be upon us soon! Yes, it's happening (though it looked for all the world like it wouldn't) and will be up and running just the other side of Christmas. Will there be a festive special this year? Do you know, I'd only just thought of that mere seconds before I typed it, so I can honestly say...maybe.

So, this is it, the last hurrah before I move onto pastures new. Hopefully the series will go out with a bang rather than a whimper, but that's for you discerning readers to decide. In the meantime, I shall try to be a bit more frequent with my updates AND I'll post a link to the stories I've written for the Nic Ford-overseen Companion Chronicles prose series, that I originally set up a long while back. Without Nic's dedication it would have died months back, but he rescued it and has made it his own.

Fear not, I shall be back soon!

And the subject of my first Companion Chronicles story? The picture's a bit of a giveaway...

Monday, 17 October 2011

The parting of the ways...

Inevitable. It was always going to happen, and now is that moment of realisation. It suddenly dawned on me today that I have to stop writing Who fic, and so I'm making the decision to do so. So that's it! Well, not quite....I'm in the process of writing two stories for the rather splendid Mr Nic Ford, and I shall finish both of those. I will, of course, also finish series 4 and get it out there at last, though I won't be writing as much. An opener and a finale, bookended by the First and Eleventh Doctors (quite fitting really), but there'll be no tale of the Second Doctor and Ben, trapped in an alien experiment watched over by.....or the tale of the Sixth Doctor and Peri as they fail to prevent the destruction of.....- those are consigned to the 'What if?' pile, forever to remain mere plans.

Yet fear not, for the future holds more exciting plans and ideas, and while I'll be leaving the Whoniverse behind, there's a far greater unchartered expanse that'll I'll be voyaging through, and that's the most thrilling thought of all.

I hope you'll stick with me, and enjoy all that is to come, both the last of the Who stories and the undiscovered worlds to be explored.

And to soften the blow, more gratuitious Karen Gillan.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The bearer of more bad news

Yep, it's true, more news that will not delight (unless you hate this site, in which case, what the HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE? Ahem...): series 4 will not see the light of day this year. There, I said it. It WILL appear next year, probably very early on, but not in this one (unless the planets are somehow suddenly all in alignment...). Why? Well, it's still me. I've been so busy doing non-Who fic writing stuff (and working, sleeping, spending time with the family...) that I've just not managed to squeeze it in. I will, and it'll be a bit here and a bit there, but not so as I can give a definite start date. I apologise to all those who've already done the hard work, but rest assured your efforts will see the light of day, and in the grand scheme of time it'll be very soon. Having done 3 series over the course of a year has undoubtedly taken its toll too, so a break from it will be good too - and hopefully it'll come through in the stories that I produce.

Apologies again, and as for my follow up series The Last...I'm not sure. Yet. It may happen, it may not. Time will tell, as a wise man once said.

By way of distraction, here's lovely pics of Amy and River, my two favourite Who ladies of the moment.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

I can only apologise, but...

As the title implies, it's apology time since today was the deferred start date for series 4 - and as you may have noticed, there's no new story. Why is this? Well, time being finite, I've still not had enough of it! Some higher profile (though sadly still unpaid) writing has been taking up what time I've had, so sadly the series has had to be put on the back-burner. It will surface, that much is true, but it might be in a week, maybe two. Since my schedule is clear at the moment, I'm hoping to do some more work on the opener this weekend, so hopefully in the not too distant future it'll surface and kick off the series at last!

So, be a little bit more patient - please! - and it'll happen soon. What I shall try to do while I'm writing it is to update the blog with a short daily post talking about what I've been working on and how near things are to completion. Watch this space!

And, in the meantime, here's a wonderfully gratuitous picture of the lovely Karen Gillan. And why not?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Predictable as ever....

Alas, as is the way of things, series 4 is going to have to be put back just a wee bit more. A combination of many factors this time, namely a lot of work to do and not a lot of time to do it in! So, all the dates are going to be pushed back two weeks to give me a bit of breathing space and time to get everything done properly. Rest assured, it will happen, and it will be soon. So, the first story will now be up on the 8th September, and then on each Thursday following that one.

Apologies for the delay, and I hope it's worth the wait! And here is an entirely gratuitous picture of Alex Kingston, just because!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Shadow Makers - Part 3

So, here it is, the last installment of this little tale. Hope you enjoy it, and that it all comes to a satisfactory least for now...

Next week will see the launch of the fourth and final series of Consequences, which will run for six weeks, followed by a break, and then the final six stories will run and take us up to Christmas (almost).

For now, enjoy part 3 of The Shadow Makers....

The Shadow Makers – Part Three

            It was like looking in a mirror. She remembered when she’d been inside her own mind, looking at fractured versions of herself, splinters of her one true form. Yet this was reality, solidity. She could prod the flesh and it would respond just as she herself would. She walked all around it, this doppelganger, studying it, trying to ascertain if it was indeed her.

            For a split second she was confused, unsure which of them was the genuine article. She dismissed the thought from her mind – that way lay madness.

            Outside of the room, the scientists observed this interaction, congratulating themselves on their own ingenuity. The enemy would have no idea what had hit them, wouldn’t understand the true nature of the duplication. While they still held the original they could ensure the cooperation of the man who had made all of these endeavours possible.

            The man who would win them the war.

            The man known only as the Doctor.


One week earlier

            The TARDIS was in flight, adjusting itself once more after its recent invasion and seeming destruction at the hands of the creature it had now left to live out its days on the planet Kolkokron.

            The Doctor peered studiously through his half-moon spectacles at the console, trying to fathom exactly what had happened to the old girl. He shook his head, removed his glasses and turned to Tegan who was – as more often than not – sighing.

            “Tegan, would it help to share the problem?” He raised his eyebrows in her direction, opening himself up for a barrage of abuse and/or questions.

            “I never thought I’d say this, but shouldn’t we be getting back to Turlough?” Her arms were crossed, so the Doctor knew that she meant business.

            “Not having fun, just the two of us?” He seemed slightly offended by Tegan’s desire to go back for their travelling companion.

            “Oh come on Doctor, you know it’s been fun, but we’ve been away for over a month now.”

            The Doctor looked up at her. “Has it really been that long? Still, it’s all relative as far as a time machine is concerned. We can be back for Turlough before we’ve even left...or at least just after. We don’t need to confuse him with temporal anomalies.” The Doctor’s hand hovered over the controls. “You’re sure? I can’t tempt you with one last trip first?”

            Tegan looked at him. There was a playful boyishness in his eyes, an almost puppy-dog look. She knew she’d regret it but...“Alright! But just one. No more delays after that. Promise?”

            The Doctor gave a weak smile. “Scout’s honour. I was hoping you’d agree. You see, we’ve just landed!”


            The door opened and rifle muzzles were pointed directly at the pair of them.

            “Great! A welcoming committee! Can’t you ever land anywhere where the locals are pleased to see us?”

            The Doctor looked directly into the face of the man who stood at the front of the group. He was sure he recognised the face. Had he been here before? Certainly not in this body, but perhaps in a previous incarnation. It suddenly hit him, where he’d seen this man before.

            “Ah good, General Munro isn’t it? We’re expected I assume?”

            The general looked him over with a suspicious air, not entirely sure who or what this stranger was. He eyed the box warily. Something that could appear from thin air was most impressive, but something that transcended time as well...

            “Take them to Novik. I’m sure she’d like a little chat with them.” He motioned a couple of the others forward and the Doctor put out his wrists, expecting them to be bound. Under duress Tegan did the same, but no bonds were forthcoming. “We have no need of restraint. Though we will of course impound your craft.”

            The Doctor sighed. “Is that really necessary? We’re not in a hurry to go anywhere are we Tegan?”

            “Of course not,” she replied with heavy sarcasm. “We’ve got all the time in the world!”



            The machine was like a primitive X-Ray scanner from Earth, thought Steven, as it took pictures of his internal structure. He watched as they appeared on a screen, Novik manipulating them and studying them carefully.

            “So you appear out of nowhere, with traces of chronon radiation, and you say you’re not Voltrani?” She peered at him over glasses. If Steven didn’t know better he’d swear she was flirting with him.

            “No, I’m from Earth. Originally. I fought in the Dalek wars, was captured, and then met the Doctor. Why do you keep insisting I’m one of these Voltrani?”

            She turned the scanner back on, checking the readings once again. “It’s the chronon fluctuation. No Selafan has anywhere near that amount of time energy surrounding them. The Voltrani’s experiments are more advanced than our own, and from the little we’ve found out, the chronon energy imbalance has not been rectified.”

            Steven looked her in the eye. “I swear to you, I’m not one of these Voltrani. Like I said, I arrived here in a craft with the Doctor, and he left without me.”

            She moved over to undo the straps that had held him securely to the machine. “Well, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. For now. You’ve got to prove your usefulness and honesty somehow though.”

            Steven stretched as he got off of the scanner. “I’ll do my best,” he smiled. What other choice have I got?


            “So where are we? This planet must have a name?” Tegan asked of anyone who cared to answer.

            “I believe we’re on a charming little planet by the name of Manalex Alpha. It has a twin you know.” The Doctor seemed rather pleased that he’d been able to recall so much.

            “Let me guess, Manalex Beta?” Tegan ventured.

            The Doctor nodded, careful to watch his step as he walked, cables strewn all about the corridors. “Yes. Humans don’t quite have the elegance for naming planets. Maybe they should leave it to the artists rather than the scientists eh?” Tegan gave no reaction. “Well anyway, Manalex Beta has a rather wonderful set of ruins. Or it will do.”

            Tegan stopped abruptly, causing the Doctor to walk straight into her. “Is any of this relevant? Shouldn’t we be trying to find some way out of this predicament?”

            “The devil is in the details Tegan. There might be some vital clue we’ve missed.”

            One of the guards prodded Tegan who continued on with a minimum of fuss, save for when she spoke back to the Doctor. “Well when you find out what it is, let me know won’t you?”

            The pair of them were ordered to halt outside a door. A woman gestured to one of the guards who then escorted another male away down the corridor. The Doctor recognised Steven immediately, but knew it was important not to make his presence known. The other guard ushered the Doctor and Tegan through the door after the woman, and after closing the door stood on guard.

            “Eleanor Novik.” The female extended a hand to the Doctor, then Tegan. Both took it out of politeness, though neither was immediately any the wiser as to their current situation. “I’m head of time-travel research on this base, and you – it seems – are time travellers. Correct me if I’m wrong.” The pair remained silent, so she continued. “Your craft, is it of Voltrani design?”

            The Doctor and Tegan looked at each other. Was it best to tell the truth or....

            “It’s Earth design. I made it myself. It’s impenetrable though, so good luck getting in if that’s what you were thinking.” Tegan watched the Doctor’s face quickly regain composure after her words. He clearly wasn’t expecting her to come out with the faux revelation. “He’s my navigator. Not always the most reliable, but he’s decent enough. Can we go now?” She didn’t really think it would work, but it was worth a try.

            “So, not Voltrani either, that’s very interesting.” Novik motioned to the guard. “It may be a little below your responsibilities, but since I’m in charge could you go and fetch smoe refreshments, there’s a good fellow.” She gave him a disarming smile, and the soldier saluted, and left through the door.

            The Doctor was at the far side of the room, inspecting a rather large piece of monitoring equipment. “Some kind of full body scanner isn’t it? But what’s scanning for?”

            Novik walked over to him. “Why don’t you give it a try? Let’s see what we can learn from a navigator.”

            The Doctor smiled, much to her surprise. “An excellent idea. These straps here is it?” Novik seemed frozen, unsure exactly what to do. “Well hurry it up I haven’t got all day. Ships to navigate.”

            Novik did the only thing she could think to do and operated the scanner.


One week later

            Novik stared through the glass at the two identical women. The Doctor was trying to ascertain which was the genuine article and which the copy. Neither woman was allowed to speak. It was part of the ‘test’. If he succeeded then they’d be allowed to leave. Take the TARDIS and get away from this place. He knew as soon as he’d stepped out of the ship that they’d need to get away as fast as they could.

            He knew that Tegan was going to die. It was inevitable. It had happened and he’d been powerless to prevent it. Until he’d realised what they’d wanted. The scan didn’t just check for chronon energy, it replicated the genetic structure of the individual and stored it, ready for use. He’d made sure his own template had been deleted. After that incident with the Cybermen he couldn’t afford to make the same mistake twice. So he’d left Tegan’s imprint. They thought she was the pilot after all, and it was her they really wanted.

            He knew which one was which. They’d arranged it previously. He just had to make a show of things, to make it look like the decision was tougher than it looked. If Novik suspected he knew, they wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Why she’d decided to do this, he had no idea, but she must have her reasons.

            At least, he thought, they’ve not be able to get into the TARDIS.

One week earlier

            Munro stared at the blue box, walking all the way around it. It didn’t look particularly solid, yet it had appeared from nowhere, travelling through space (he knew) and time (he assumed). He tested the door, and to his immense surprise found it unlocked. Stepping through, he looked at the vastness of the interior and realised that there was something especially unique about this craft. Immediately he pulled out his pocket scanner. There was no reason why it wouldn’t be able to replicate the control area, he rationalised, and began a detailed scan of the entire room.

            It took him far longer than he’d imagined it would, and luckily for him, he didn’t notice the door leading to further sections of the craft.

            Stepping outside, he scanned the exterior, little noticing the door he’d come out through close behind him, locking this time.

            The TARDIS hummed that little bit louder, the noise almost imperceptible. Finally her defences were reasserting themselves, but not before Munro had managed to take the information he’d needed.

            But the TARDIS was a clever old girl and she might – just might – have made a few minor alterations to her operating systems as Munro had scanned her. He may have part of the puzzle, but he was certainly missing a vital piece.

            And it would be the downfall of his entire race.


            Tegan had been scanned immediately after the Doctor. He’d assured her it was nothing to fear, and she knew him well enough by now to take his word. It hadn’t hurt, merely left her with a slight dizzying sensation.

            She was hoping that by maintaining this pretence, they’d eventually get bored and let her and the Doctor go. They were motioned to exit the room by a different door to the one they’d entered by, and found themselves in what appeared to be a small holding area.

            “Wait here. I’ll send someone to assign you temporary quarters.” With that, Novik marched out of the room, leaving a bemused Doctor and Tegan behind.

            “What’s going on here Doctor? Arrested and scanned within minutes – that’s a little quick even by your standards!”

            The Doctor was busy looking for an exit point in the room, but could find nothing. “Yes, most odd. Though I must confess I have been here before. My younger self. Youngest in fact Something was very odd then, all sorts of time distortion. The man we saw leaving the room was my companion, Steven. He was stuck here for a year, and this must be the start of it.”

            Tegan crossed her arms. “You mean that old guy with the white hair is about somewhere too?”

            The Doctor shook his head. “No, not yet. But he will be. In a year’s time. Do try to keep up Tegan!”

            She stared daggers at him. “Is it my fault that you live such a complicated life? How I meant to keep ahead of it all? And besides...”

            Before she could continue she noticed the Doctor put a finger to his lips. He was listening carefully to the room itself, tapping the walls every so often to see if he could find another way out. Eventually, he gave up and sat down cross-legged on the floor.

            “It’s no good, we’re going to have to wait it out. Though while we’ve got the time, we need to talk about a plan to get out of here when the time comes.”

            Tegan joined him on the floor. “But how are we going to plan for every contingency?”

            The Doctor smiled. “You forget, I’ve been here before. There’s an advantage to living such a complicated life on occasion...”

One week later

            The Doctor and a Tegan left the room, much to the delight of Novik. She watched them leave, accompanied by armed guards, right to the door of the TARDIS.

            “Why you needed me here I don’t know. I know you’ve already scanned my TARDIS.” The Doctor looked to Novik, who didn’t seem surprised.

            “We wanted to test you, see if you were who we thought. But it seems you aren’t. You’ve not tried to dissuade us, tried to bring down our society. You disappoint us Doctor.”

            Tegan stepped into the TARDIS. “Let’s just leave Doctor, I don’t want to stay here any longer than we have to.”

            The Doctor pulled himself up to his full height. “No, it’s definitely time we left. I would say it’s been a pleasure, but...” He stepped through the door to the ship and closed it firmly behind him.

            Novik saluted as the TARDIS dematerialised.

            The man who had saved the world.



            The Doctor set the coordinates for Frontios, for the pair of them to retrieve their errant companion.

            “So how did you know that their scan of the TARDIS wouldn’t be able to replicate it?” Tegan was confused.

            “Simple really. The TARDIS is a living being, intelligent, independent. I knew that she wouldn’t let them copy her completely. She’s bound to have put some little glitches in the system.” He could see Tegan was about to speak, and anticipating her question, jumped in before she could. “You forget, I’ve been here before. The use of their ‘TARDIS’ is what caused the time fluctuations. They end up stuck in a perpetual loop, all because they tried to use technology that was beyond them.”

            Tegan looked aghast. “So this is all your fault? You caused it all?”

            The Doctor shook his head. “No, not all. They were already experimenting, my visit was an unfortunate side effect.”

            “But I died! A copy of me maybe, but still me! Not only that, but all those people. Can’t you do anything?”

            The Doctor sighed. “In the future perhaps, but not now. We’re too caught up in events. I’m sure I’ll come back, one day.”

            Tegan walked towards the interior of the ship. “I need some time alone Doctor. Let me know when we’re back on Frontios.”

            The Doctor watched her leave with sad eyes. He knew he would never return, that he never could.

            It was time to move on, and he wouldn’t be surprised if Tegan felt the same too. No one stayed forever.

            With a heavy heart he set the ship in motion. Wherever he went next he would try to make a positive difference.

            The TARDIS headed on toward Frontios.

            The Doctor didn’t know it yet, but it was the beginning of the end.


Monday, 15 August 2011

The Shadow Makers - Part 2

So, as promised, here is part 2 of The Shadow Makers, this time written by Joe Ford. Joe's best known for his Doctor Who reviews, and you can find links to his websites on this very page (he goes by the name 'Doc Oho' if you're a little confused!).

Hope you enjoy part 2, and part 3 (the final part of the story, and written once more by yours truly) will be available on Thursday - a week before the launch of series 4 of Consequences!

The Shadow Makers – Part 2

I don’t know quite where to begin but I guess it should be from the moment I left you. I stepped from the TARDIS into a huge laboratory, like the ones back on Earth where they developed weapons technology to fight the Daleks. I tried to get some sort of reaction from the scientists, waving my hands before their faces but it was clear to me that they couldn’t see me. Events were repeating, I realised that quickly, it was like somebody winding a watch back 30 seconds and playing the same events over and over. I wondered briefly if I was the only person who realised this and if I would be living out these 30 seconds for the rest of my life.

When I did break free of the loop I was greet by a strikingly beautiful woman. Rich red hair that cascaded down her shoulders and piercing green eyes, she shook my hand warmly and had a sweet, woody aroma about her. She introduced herself as Eleanor Novik, head of the Time Travel Research Division of the planet Manalex Alpha. I had been trapped within one of their experiments. They were testing their time travel technology, observing the effects of localised temporal repetition. No doubt you would find this much more fascinating than me, Doctor. To me it just sounded like another pointless war but this time with a far more dangerous battlefield than the one I was used to. Fighting with time technology would surely have disastrous consequences for both sides and it was probably all over some obscure detail that has grown out of proportion. When I realised the TARDIS had gone, my heart felt as though it had been crushed. Was I to remain trapped on this planet, as far away in time as I was in space during my imprisonment in the Mechanoid City?

For a month or so I moped about the City, uncommunicative and sullen, a petulant child lost in a strange world. I refused to acknowledge the beauty of this world. I wish you could have seen Manalex Alpha from the viewing port on the top of the Dome at Selafan. A lush, verdant world of exotic flora and beautiful colours, a stretch of forest, disappearing into the distance. Eleanor took me to the viewing port every night as the twin suns set, and the light would spill across the surface like a brilliant burst of orange before it plunged into darkness. For some reason she thought of me as her own little project and despite my resistance she wouldn’t give up on this moody outsider. I wouldn’t admit it at the time but her efforts were working and I was enjoying our time together. She used to tease me at my stubbornness and poked me in the ribs to make me laugh. I found her company charming.

I kept thinking you would return for me but after a few months that dream started to fade. After all we have only been travelling together for a month or so and you never asked me to join you in the first place, I just sort of thrust myself upon you. I started to make friends. Eleanor introduced me to her neighbours, Nebrox and Pellan, a married couple who had met during their work together at the TTR laboratories. They were funny guys, squabbling like old women. Nebrox’s laugh sounded hilariously like an elephants trumpeting and Pellan was a fantastic cook. It was during a meal with the three of them that I realised how much I was enjoying my time in the Dome and that I had now been on this planet longer than I had been travelling in the TARDIS. Eleanor proposed that night that I should join the research programme. She had spotted my expertise from the first time we met.

I had a very minor role within the programme, as much as Eleanor trusted to ask me to move into her quarters she clearly didn’t trust me to view the capsule. In the back of my mind I was wondering if I had manipulated her. She had told me about the capsule on our first meeting and I couldn’t shake that nagging feeling that I could use it to reach you once more Doctor or even return home. I knew I could lay on the charm when I wanted and no woman can resist the Taylor Technique, as it had been known during my training back home. Keep them at arms length, make them laugh and reel them in. That’s how I got involved with Christina, the psychological evaluator back at the Academy. She gave me her stuffed panda bear before I left on the mission that eventually left me stranded on Mechanus.

I had been on Malanex Alpha for around eight months when I managed to get more information about the capsule from Pellan. Nebrox was working late and I pushed my friend for more information about the war over dinner. It was far more civilised than the brutality of the Earth Empire’s conflict with the Daleks, two colonies on the same planet and both with their fingers poised to attack the other. The Selafan’s had sent an Emissary into the future who had returned with the most terrifying injuries, his arm withered away like old fruit and with a tale of a missing year that the two sides were fighting over. I asked how they had managed to develop time travel technology; I had seen nothing here to suggest that sort of technical knowledge. Pellan looked nervous and looked over his shoulder before telling me, like a rabbit trapped in headlights. He never was a particularly good liar and he wasn’t going to try it on with me now. The Research facility was a con; they had never developed the technology. A time craft visited Manalex Alpha and it had been appropriated and a prisoner taken. The government were sure this was Voltrani technology from the future, a device to head back in time and weaken their defences and leave them open to invasion. That made my mind up. I had to see this ship. I had terrible images of you and Vicki languishing in some prison cell whilst the TARDIS was experimented on.

The next day I had to make sure that everything seemed normal. I shared breakfast with Eleanor and we showered together. Guilt was gnawing at my mind, I was very fond of Eleanor now but Pellan’s tale had brought back a rush of feelings about a possible escape and a reunion with you and Vicki. We took the hover bus to the facility and I manned my console in my usual monotonous routine. Reading energy displays was hardly the most thrilling job I had ever had but at least it had been a foot in the door. Checking that nobody was looking, I pressed Eleanor against the console I was working on and embraced her warmly. She slapped me away, smiling and failed to notice my hand unclipping her identification. My heart was racing, an ache building in my head, if I was caught now it was all over and I would have lost my opportunity. I excused myself, having to get this done now.

Nebrox was manning the entrance to the secure area. Damn. What had I come to, lying to my friends and loved ones? I put on my best poker face and told Nebrox that Eleanor had asked me to check on the capsule. He was a surly, ruddy man and the confusion that crossed his face told me that I had been rumbled. Suddenly he collapsed into that mad hooting laughter of his and he said it wasn’t what you knew but who and clearly I was going up in the world. I felt awful, he would probably get into terrible trouble for this but despite that I swiped Eleanor’s ID and entered the chamber. I was determined to see this through.

It was bleached blood red, just like the squadron ships I used to fly in silent running mode to avoid Dalek patrol saucers. Electric blue flickers danced over the capsule at the end of the room, a battered blue police box with minty blue windows. The TARDIS! I ran across to the ship and pressed my head against its humming exterior. I had never been so happy to see that grotty old box, Doctor. Now I needed to discover where you and Vicki were being held.

The cells weren’t hard to find despite the low lighting and my paranoia eating away at my sanity. The guard ushered me through. Clearly just having access to the secure area was enough to grant you entrance anywhere within this section. There was a woman crouched in the corner of the furthest cell, hiding her face and weeping. I wanted to rush into the cell and hug you Vicki, to let you know everything would be okay. She must have heard me coming and uncurled herself, tears streaming down her face. It wasn’t Vicki. She looked furious and asked who I was. I introduced myself and she told me her name was Tegan Jovanka.

Before I could ask her anything alarms sounded and a strobe light blinded me. The guards restrained me violently, as though they hadn’t had the chance to rough anybody up for a long time. Naturally Eleanor was furious. She struck my face and grabbed my cheek with her razor sharp nails. She thought Tegan was a Voltrani spy and that I had infiltrated the Dome to help her escape. The Time Capsule, the TARDIS, was supposedly of Voltrani design and they had captured the machine seven months ago and had been running experiments on it ever since, developing a rudimentary understanding of its practices. This poor woman had been trapped in this cell on her own for seven months. Tegan was a feisty one for sure and the sudden chance to rail against her captors brought out the fire in her. I detected a twang of an accent, the Australasian zone perhaps?

I will never forget what happened next for as long as I live. Eleanor demanded that I reveal my intentions and my allegiances to the Voltrani. I refused to be intimidated, despite the fact that my arm was being twisted from its socket. Eleanor gave me one more chance but I remained square jawed in stony silence. She removed a device from her lab coat and pointed it at Tegan. A look of horror crossed the prisoners face as a beam of light crossed the threshold of the cell and enveloped her. I watched as her skin started to peel and blister, wither and wrinkle and she shrank into an old woman before my eyes. Tegan fell to the floor, a dirty grey husk and her clothes disintegrated to dust. Watching somebody age to death was the most horrific thing I had ever seen and I prayed I would never see anything like that again.

I thought it was my turn next but instead I was shoved into the cell. When they left me I sank to my knees and tears flowed, all my frustration and anguish pouring out of me. A prisoner again. Eleanor visited every day for months and I could see the resentment grow in her eyes with each visit. They never even bothered to take the blistered skeleton away. Eleanor never knew but Nebrox would sneak in for five minutes a day and give me news from Pellan and share a joke. He was a good man. Somehow he could see that I wasn’t a threat even if Eleanor could not. I kept reaching for Hi-fi, memories of Mechanus forcing me to seek that small comfort but he was in my room in the TARDIS.

Imagine four months of nothing. Just sitting. Thinking. Scant conversation and only a rotted skeleton for company. You ‘d think after years on Mechanus I would be used to this sort of thing but the borderm consumes you.

Voices arguing up the corridor. Shadows stretching along the floor, getting closer. Nebrox and Pellan were whispering furiously, shoving at each other. I could have wept at seeing Pellan again. They had come to help me escape although Nebrox was terrified of the consequences. Things had gone too far, Pellan told me. Eleanor had worked on the time travel technology with renewed vigour after my disloyalty. She had developed the temporal acceleration device into something on a much more impressive scale and the government had decided it was time for the Voltrani to pay for their deceitful infiltration and development of the time technology. I didn’t need to be told any more. The three of us stormed from the prison and I noted the guard lying unconscious, a bloody gash gouged from his skull.

If my betrayal had cut Eleanor deeply you should have seen her face when she realised who had helped me escape confinement. This had made her mind up, the Voltrani were a true menace, turning even the most loyal of heads to their cause. Nebrox could see she was programming the device to target the Voltrani Dome. He rushed at her but she quickly produced a gun and ripped three holes in his chest. I saw a pained look strike Pellan and he rushed to his lover’s side. Eleanor threw the lever and the enormous viewing screen came to life. Scientists held their mouths as if they were about to be sick as the blinding bolt of scarlet temporal energy tore across the surface of the planet and shattered the Voltrani Dome. You could see buildings accelerating into disrepair, people looking up and pointing at the inferno in the sky and crumbling into a fine grey powder, the plants withering to mulch. The City aged to death in less time than it took Eleanor to throw the lever.

My stomach twisted with revulsion and not even bullets could have stopped me reaching my ex lover now. She looked terrified as I drew myself to my full height and grappled with her. Pellan was weeping over his husband’s dead body. A City teeming with life had decayed before my eyes. What had I done to this world?

12 months. That’s how long I had been on Malanex Alpha. 12 months to bring this planet down. I knew what I had to do. After securing Eleanor I dragged Pellan from Nebrox and instructed him. Because I knew now. I knew why the missing year had vanished. It was me. I started this war by saving the Voltrani. I wasn’t going to let these terrible events take place when we had a chance to reverse them.

Pellan used the time equipment to clutch the planet in its claws and reverse events like ripping a page from a book. It was the oddest of sensations; time reversing felt like somebody was literally inside your head rewriting your history with furious intensity. I wondered why I wasn’t whipped back in time a year and how despite knowing that things had changed and my time on Malanex Alpha had never happened, I could still remember everything. A gift of the TARDIS, I suppose. Or a curse.

The laboratory was buzzing with life again. Eleanor was working at her console, passing equations to Nebrox and on the scanner the Voltrani Dome sparkled in the mid morning suns. The year had vanished – events had gone from when I arrived to now in the blink of an eye.

A wheezing and groaning sound echoed from the next room. As I passed a scanner on the way out I could see I had a full beard and my hair was flecked with grey. An effect of the time distortion? Or had that happened whilst I had been imprisoned? There you were, and Vicki and I could have wept with joy.

The Doctor patted Steven on the shoulder and handed him a glass of water.

‘Oh my dear Steven what an ordeal you have suffered’ he remarked, sitting in the chair next to him and steepling his fingers together close to his face and tapping his lip with them.

‘What’s wrong, Doctor?’ asked Vicki, still mesmerised by the emotion with which Steven had recounted his missing year on Malanex Alpha.

‘Don’t you see my dilemma, my child? If it wasn’t my TARDIS that Steven saw powering their wretched experiments then who’s was it, hmm? And who was this Jovanka woman that Steven speaks of? A dangerous business, messing about with time. Yes, very dangerous indeed.’  He stood up again, lost in his thoughts and walked towards the central console. His hands hovered over the controls, as if he was drawing power from them.

‘You don’t mean to say we’re just going to leave this mystery unsolved?’ Vicki asked, astonished.

‘Oh Vicki my dear sometimes it is better not to know. We have Steven back and with a few weeks rest and relaxation he will be as right as rain.’

Vicki sighed. She knew better than to argue with the Doctor when hiswas mind was made up. She led Steven to the living quarters. She would look after him until he was better.

The Doctor coaxed the ship into flight and leant on the hexagonal console, his dark eyes lit up by the flashing lights. He knew he couldn’t explain the intricacies of time travel to the child but this had been a close miss if one of his later selves had been out their involved in the war of this planet. He wondered when he would visit Malanex Alpha again and if it would be in this body accompanied by this Jovanka woman.

A flicker of a smile crossed his face. What an interesting life they led.