Monday, 6 June 2011

The Never Ending Story of War

The end of series 3 draws ever closer, and we continue with story 8 and a new writer for Consequences in the form of Andy Wyllie. Andy is the brains behind the 10th Doctor Script Series on Gallifrey Base, but here he's stepped out of his comfort zone to embrace prose, and he's done a fine job. He's back again in series 4 too, which I'm very pleased about. But for now, enjoy the Sixth Doctor and Peri as they become a part of:

The Never Ending Story of War

    In the history of any species, there are stories of mythical creatures, wonderful kings and heroes, knights who'd slain terrible beasts. These are the stories fathers tell their sons, these are the stories that everybody knows, and everybody loves. Of course, in any species' history, there are also stories of war, and murder, a never ending struggle for power and land, fuelled by a thirst for freedom, or the nagging lust of greed.

    Yes, every species knows a war...

    Harzok had spent his entire childhood starved of those wonderful stories of heroes who'd saved worlds, although it was fair to say that he didn't exactly know what he was missing. Instead Harzok was raised on tales of war, and indeed tales of fact: of a war his species had fought for millennia, a war which had only ended some two years before Harzok had existed.

    Harzok stayed close to the others. It wasn't safe for any of them to be making their way through the devastated forest, but they each knew they stood a far better chance as a group than when alone. They stuck close together, heading to the feeding grounds before the great ceremony, to celebrate the anniversary and passing of war. Harzok felt a pang in his stomach, a mixture between excitement and dread. The mourning they must all have felt, today more so than others.

    The Doctor flew back, his whole mass smacking the floor hard. Peri winced, she was almost certain the whole world contained inside the small blue box had shaken after his fall.

    'I'll get the extinguisher!' She shouted it almost uselessly. As she ran off, the Doctor heaved himself to his feet, shaking himself down like a great old dog.

    'That should do it! Didn't I say that Peri, hmm?'

    'You also said it was completely safe. You could have died Doctor!' retorted Peri. The Doctor gasped, almost falling over again.

    'Nonsense, it was perfectly safe, just a simple miscalculation, mainly because of your consistent nagging!' boomed the Doctor. She flung the extinguisher to the ground in a huff, furious at his constant heaping on the blame. She watched the Time Lord set back to the work on the console, setting the co-ordinates for their next 'adventure'. The word adventure seemed like a cheat. Peri was almost certain it'd lead to her eventual demise. She shivered, throwing the thought off.

    'I have just the place!' he proclaimed with an air of overriding arrogance. It was just the change, she thought. He was still adjusting to his new face and attitude. He'd mellow out. Of course she couldn't be sure of that but she hoped, or rather needed, it to be true. She forced a smile, and the TARDIS set off.

    The landscape was cold and jagged, harsh burnt rocks overlooking a forest of devastation. The wind howled all around, it was so furious that even the sound of mighty alien engines went unheard, as if they'd never cried. The TARDIS solidified with the reality around it, bringing its occupants to new found adventures. The Doctor bundled out, sporting a massive smile and an enormous sense of pride. Peri on the other hand couldn't have been less impressed. A rubbish heap she thought, he'd brought her to a rubbish heap! Ever since the Doctor has changed Peri couldn't help but believe (despite his insistence that changing was completely normal) that something had gone horribly wrong.

     'Where have you brought us this time?'

    'No idea! We should be on the sun kissed lakes on Kruntias 5 by now. Oh well never mind, this place has a sort of...ambience one just wouldn't find anywhere else.' The Doctor laughed with delight. Peri frowned.

    'Do you have any idea what you've just said?' she moaned.

    'Of course I do,' he retorted. 'I'm not a bumbling idiot you know!' Before Peri could fight back he was marching across the wilderness like a man with a huge task ahead of him. She waited for a minute, watching him go, honestly wondering if he'd even notice she was gone if she just slipped back inside the TARDIS. She decided that he probably wouldn't, but thought it best to go after him. After all, someone had to keep him from an untimely death!

    'Doctor, wait up!' she called as she raced after him.

    The feeding grounds had been grouped together since the early days of the war. He remembered the stories his dad would tell him, of when you could have all the lactic milk in the universe and no one would bat an eyelid. Harzok wept for those days gone, now every last drop was rationed and you simply had to make what you got last. It wasn't easy. He was still growing and needed all the energy he could get. However he knew better than to argue with the elders of the community, and accepted what judgment had passed. After all, it was generally the view that Harzok and the other young ones had thus far had an easy run of events! That in short was the reason why every trip to the feeding ground was acted out to look like the best thing that had happened to him in forever. Maybe it was.

    The Doctor and Peri stormed forward, he sucking air in in massive mouthfuls, whilst she panted behind him like a dog in desperate need of a drink.

    'Doctor...there isn't anything here!' Protestation was all Peri thought she had now, and pointing out the obvious worked for her.

    'Nonsense, look down there, a forest!' he beamed.

    'It's dead, what could possibly be interesting about a dead forest?' He shot her a gaze which told her everything she needed to know. She knew what his answer would be right then - everything was interesting about a dead forest. She thought it best to leave the argument behind her, and do as the Doctor wished.

    The journey back through the forest had been as mundane as the journey there. Almost nothing actually ever happened, but you still had to be careful. The journey was well orchestrated and timed to perfection; they were in no real danger when everyone stuck to the path. It served them well, and therefore made sense to be stuck by. They would return to the community and begin the great celebration. The passing of war, and the birth of peace, he often wondered how many people actually believed it!

    The Doctor came to an abrupt halt. Suddenly Peri could see concern etched all too clearly on his face. She paused, giving it a moment, and then, she asked, 'What's wrong? You look worried!'

    'Hmm. I'm not quite sure, but I have a very distinct feeling...' he replied, stroking his chin, with one hand on his hip.

    'And that feeling would be what?'

    'Something to be concerned about. Come along Peri!' With that he burst off again at a brisk pace. She groaned, getting herself together, before racing after him once more.

    The clouds swarmed in the atmosphere of the planet below. It was not the most enlightening sight the universe has to offer, but they made this happen, and by the right of such an act they deserved to watch it.

    General Stitch was a proud veteran of the war. The many ceremonial badges he wore on his lapel were a powerful testament to that. His yellow feathers fluttered in a nonexistent breeze as he opened his beak in a yawn. He glanced at the screen on the command board at his fingers, the life signs showed the Zygon disgrace was making its way back to their homes. He couldn't rid himself of the now growing hatred for these creatures. It was a crime that so many had been allowed to survive in the guise of a victory. Victory to him meant total annihilation of the enemy, to rid the universe of their very existence.     Whilst the Zygons roamed, no matter how miserable a life they led, victory could NEVER be claimed. General Stitch scratched his beak; something on the screen concerned him, something he had never seen before. An extra two life signs, neither of which were Zygon. He roared in fury. The outrage! Foreign ambassadors perhaps? Interfering where they did not belong!!! His whole body shook with anger.

    Harzok looked round, suddenly aware that he was at the back of the returning crowd. Normally this was not something he would have been aware of. Normally even if he had, it would not have concerned him in the slightest. Today however it was the most terrifying thing he could ever have encountered. There it was again...the sounds of movement, as if someone was approaching from behind!

    He took a deep breath, attempting to hold himself together. He wondered if he should alert the, they might ridicule him, especially if it was a false alarm, and after all, no one else appeared to hear anything. He turned away, watching his people before him, attempting to ignore the sounds he'd heard before. It's nothing. he told himself. It's NOTHING.

    Peri suddenly felt herself being tugged backwards. She meant to scream, but before she had a chance she was aware of a mighty hand clamping her jaw shut. Kick him! she thought. She did. The Doctor yelped, freeing her from his grasp.

     'What did you do that for!?' he whispered.

     'I thought someone was attacking me!' she yelled furiously. How could he be so stupid!?

    'Shhhhhh!' he pressed his finger to his lip, hushing her. She was ready to protest when she heard it too – a slow slurping, dragging sound, like the sort of sound you might here from a huge snail. She thought of Mestor and his kind, a cold shiver running through her. The Doctor reached out, taking her hand and pulling her in close. His eyes darted from left to right, then up and down, scanning the forestry around them.

    'Do exactly as I say,' he ordered, again in a hushed whisper. Peri nodded. She was definitely not going to argue now. They both waited in silence, an unseen threat approaching through the thick of the trees.

    General Stitch performed every task with an infallible air of superiority and elegance. He marched through the corridor of the space ship, with every moment and facial expression timed to perfection. Behind him, three other creatures, all rather similar to him (yellow, feather covered, chicken look-alike people) marched in unison.

    'It is time to teach ambassadors a lesson!' he barked. They came to a halt, perfectly timed, and turned to the left, walking into a teleport booth. Within seconds, they were engrossed in a bright green light, fizzing out of existence.

    The Zygons continued through the forest, staying in perfect formation. Except for one. The young Harzok had stopped completely. He didn't turn and run away, or make any obvious signs that one of them had dropped ranks. He just stood where he had stopped and watched them. He waited five or maybe ten minutes, it was hard to tell, but long enough to make sure that none of them had spotted him. He smiled, rather pleased with himself; this was his big chance to show what he could do! He could investigate the noises and sort out the problem, then everybody would hail him as a hero...he'd get extra lactic milk...extra praise...a good life! Now that he certain no one was coming back for him, he ran back the way they had come, ready to investigate.

    The Doctor and Peri stayed close. Neither daring to move or speak, eyes darting in every possible direction, a vain attempt to spot oncoming enemies.

     'This is silly Doctor we can't just stand here all day!' she complained.

    'We might not have to!' His voice sounded uneasy. Peri could guess why. She looked over her shoulder, and could see what had caused the Doctor to lose his confidence.

    It was a disgusting sight: a six foot tall, four foot wide blob of slime was heading right for them. Its basic shape was rather like a human, with a sheet flung over them as if they where a ghost.

    'Ewww, what on Earth...?'

    'A casualty of war! On my count, run!!' He grabbed her arm, and they started running through the forest. The blob almost seemed angered by that action, opening up a massive mewling mouth that seemed to go nowhere, just into endless darkness.

    'He likes us huh?' cried Peri as he continued to drag her. The blob was furious and relentless, right on their backs. Death seemed inevitable.

     'Leave them alone!' came a valiant cry. Harzok the Zygon ran at the blob, furiously growling and attempting to roar.

    'Doctor?' questioned Peri, but he immediately hushed her with his finger once more. The Doctor and Peri watched in amazement as the little Zygon roared and flapped about in front of the Blob in an amazing attempt to frighten it off.

    'Go!' screamed Harzok, pleading with them to flee. The Doctor instead, always one to argue, bundled forward with an unshakable air of arrogance.

    'Who are you, where are we, and what in the name of Shakespeare is that!?'

     'I'm Harzok –'

    'I think he means what are you?' piped in Peri.

    'You're being attacked by a blob and I've just saved you...and you're being rude now?!' Harzok moaned.

    'Saving us!? SAVING US!?' boomed the Doctor in a state of disbelief.

    'Yes, saving you!'

    'And now the blob's eating your arm!' When the Doctor pointed this out Peri couldn't quite believe just how happy he sounded about the whole thing. The Zygon let out a shrill shriek as he became aware of the blob pushing itself over his arm. 'Saving us indeed!'

     'Doctor help him!' begged Peri.

    'I'm not just going to stand here and watch an innocent creature being eaten now am I?' Peri didn't bother questioning whether he actually would or not. She wasn't keen on finding out and knew more than anyone that the Doctor liked proving a point! He moved further forward, sizing the creature up, from what could have been its front, or back, or possibly even its side. 'Listen here, my name is the Doctor and you will stop this right now. Or else.'

    'Not your best attempt at a threat Doctor!' He chose to ignore that, waiting for the creature to weigh up its options. It didn't take long, the blob thinking it probably best to just keep eating!

    'Ah OK then. Now you're asking for it!' he exclaimed. And just like that, the blob blew into several hundred smaller blob-y pieces.

     'It was eating my arm!'

     'Yes, yes it was. That's what happens when you choose the bad path!' grinned the Doctor. Peri wondered if it was just her.

    'Shut it fools. Who are you?' They all turned on their heels to witness four yellow (and what Peri could only describe as chicken people) feathered beings with guns, stood on a small ridge above them.

     'Hello up there. My name is the Doctor, this is Peri and Harzok I believe,' smiled the Doctor, trying his best to disarm the fellows with charm.

     'Zygon scum!' roared the man at the front, the leader, General Stitch. The Doctor flashed Harzok a look, spotting that the small Zygon had shrunk further back in fear.

    'He's only a child!' protested Peri. 'Try showing a bit of tact!' General Stitch obviously didn't approve of being answered back, and rounded his gun on Peri. The Doctor bolstered forward, shielding her from attack.

    'I suggest you put that away right now, or blobs will be the least of your worries sir!'     The General surveyed the Doctor with cold beady eyes. For a moment the two men stared each other down, neither one speaking or moving. 'Are you Ambassadors from the Earth Empire?'

    'No, myself and my friend are simple travellers, humble specks on the map of the universe, taking in what we can.' The Doctor smiled at the thought of the imagery he had conjured up.

    'Any and every traveller within distance would know this world had nothing to offer, and was riddled with vermin.' General Stitch spat the words out like they offended his very mouth.

    'One could almost get a sense you didn't like it here very much,' offered the Doctor.

    The General glared. 'How could anyone 'like' this place!? It hoards travesties and the Zygon race.'

    'Just what I wanted to ask about, you and the Zygons, you don't get on?' The Doctor feigned ignorance, but could understand the truth without waiting for an answer.

     'We are at War!!!' roared General Stitch, like he was giving some kind of victory rally.

    The Doctor stood, open-mouthed, slowly nodding his head. 'A reason to hate, and that explains why you got so funny over Ambassadors, which is why I should have been clearer. I'm only ever an Ambassador for peace and free living. Isn't it terribly annoying when you find that out about a person and you happen to be a war monger?' The Doctor's tone was clearly patronising. General Stitch shook with rage.

    'The war isn't even on! It ended ages ago!' shouted Harzok, finding his voice for the first time in a while.

    'The War isn't over until you lot have ceased to be!' retorted the General.

    The Doctor was furious. 'Now listen here, if you think I'm just going to stand back whilst you wipe out another species then you sir, you have another thing coming! A very big thing indeed. I told you before, ambassador for PEACE AND FREE LIVING!!!' the Doctor's voice filled the forest, he was the biggest and strongest person here, and the General now knew it.

    'You would destroy us Doctor?' called the reply, if a little feeble.

    'You have a decision to make right now. You can leave here, return to your people and make plans for peace, build on a new foundation. Or you can declare war right now, make a declaration for victory, and wipe a species from the face of the universe. But know this: if you choose the latter course of action, I'll be there, and once I start, I find it very difficult to stop. The choice is yours.'

    Harzok whimpered slightly, more at the thought of war than anything else. He shuddered, watching the General think it over. The feathers around his eyes and beak rustled in the wind as he made this most grave of decisions.

    'You say you would destroy us,' replied General Stitch. 'You stand as these people's protectors. Then there will be no war today.' The Doctor, Peri and Harzok broke into wide grins. General Stitch and his hence men disappeared in a blaze of light, returning to their ship. Harzok hugged the Doctor; this was the man, who would join the story of war. The man who had saved the Zygons from certain existence, he was their hero!

    As time moved on the other Zygons whom Harzok had known his whole life had never become aware of just how close their species had come to war that day, and of how with sheer bravery and words, the Doctor has saved them all. Harzok thought of how every species, had a story of war, he was just glad, that his was in the past, and never ending war, appeared to be a thing, of long ago. He felt safe, for himself and his people!


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