Li Na liked to watch
Yin as he slept. She could spend hours studying his bottom lip. She never felt more happy than when they were together. He
was still so much of a mystery to her, she who once horded secrets like precious jewels.
He looked so peaceful while he slept. So free of the troubles she knew
that plagued him just a few hours ago. So innocent, so angelic as he lay in a
tranquil repose of stilled life. Their ordeal on Homer had been a terrifying
one, but it was best to put it behind them now. Time to move on. They had a baby to think about now. She put her hands on her
stomach and wondered how soon it would be before she felt the new life growing inside of her.
Then she began to feel queasy. “Not again.” She said as she ran towards the bathroom before she threw up last night’s meal. This was the fourth time in the last two days, every morning she felt queasy.
The planet Siam
was reeling under the heavy and sustained assault from land and air. Their simple
agrarian society was no match for the heavily armed shock troops that shot at all resistance with no regard for the loss of
civilian life. They had tried to surrender, but they had just executed those
who carried the brown triangle of piece.
She flushed the
toilet and then washed the tips of her hair in the skin with unscented soap, before brushing her teeth three times. Once she felt clean Li Na walked back to the bedroom and crawled back into bed like a weak kitten. She lay next to her husband and closed her eyes.
Within seconds she began to dream, again…
pod nine had been on Hermes for eight thousand orbits around its star. All the scientists had confirmed this was a dying system
and only good for a few hundred thousand more orbits, at best. They had done well despite the inert and toxic atmosphere.
Domes had been set up and crops were flourishing. Eventually they would have to move on to a new world but for now a new ship
was being planned and a new generation was growing up.
Yticca itself was
now a dead world, its star had exploded long ago. Twenty vast colonisation pods had been sent off to find new worlds to establish
and eventually populate. The colonists were in bio-stasis, a much more advanced form of cryogenics that manipulated time dampers
instead of simply freezing people.
“Now see here
Doctor, I won’t have you and Miss Grant going off to god knows where and back in that infernal machine of yours.”
The Brigadier, dressed in his day-to-day khaki green U.N.I.T. uniform, hit his desk with an angry thud. “Especially
now with the heightened state of alert in place. If the peace talks are not successful we may very well be facing World War
Three.” He sat down in his chair; sometimes the Doctor could be beyond belief.
I know. They really should have sorted all that stuff out years ago. The Dalek incident couldn’t have knocked more than
a month off the silliness you Humans call politics. Furthermore I shall travel to where I like and back and there again if
I want to. I’ve had quite enough of this planet and its problems. There are people out there dying by the billions Brigadier
and there’s only one of me.” The Doctor was dressed in a purple velvet smoking jacket with a white frilly shirt
and black trousers with just a slight flare. He stretched his arms out to add emphasis to his statement.
Doctor?” The Brigadier smiled as he recalled meeting the Doctor’s previous incarnations a few months earlier,
during the Omega crisis.
I know where my other selves have been and there’s so much evil left in the Universe to be fought. Now will you kindly
stop the bureaucracy and let me leave. I promise not to reveal any of your precious secrets to the first alien I meet.”
Doctor, but make absolutely sure that no harm comes to Miss Grant or next time, I’ll send Sergeant Benton with a security
else while I’m at it?”
“Oh not much
Doctor, a souvenir perhaps? Something that will impress the top level security inspection that’s due here in two hours
time to inspect our facilities for the conference.”
“Oh my dear
chap how awful for you. Here you are in charge of the security of the world from alien invaders and you don’t have anything
to impress the top brass with.”
trip Doctor.” The Brigadier feigned resigned indifference.
I will.” The Doctor left in a grandiose manner.
Marissa Krain was
busy tending to her small, but bountiful, crop of vegetables and fruits. Her work overalls were covered in dirt and fertiliser
but she did not mind. In some ways it reflected all the hard work she had put into growing the food. She lived with her two
daughters; their father disappeared without trace soon after they were born. Since there was no where for him to go and no
body was ever found he was still listed as missing to this day. Saras was two hundred orbits old and she was already at the
learning centre while her twin Pabus, who didn’t share her sister’s gift for learning stayed at home and helped
out around the house. There was suddenly a great commotion from outside of the dome as Marissa heard a strange groaning and
The TARDIS had managed
to stop. Jo had caught the fast-return switch with one of her many chunky plastic bracelets. “I said I was sorry Doctor.”
Jo was dressed for an adventure. After the last few trips with the Doctor she had found that sensible shoes were better than
heels, just. She also wore a pair of green cords and a wool jumper with a nice green and yellow zigzag pattern on it. Her
bracelets were mainly yellows and pinks with a few gold ones for good measure. They might need money of some kind and gold
was usually accepted everywhere they had been to so far.
no harm done, eh Jo. May as well have a look and see where we have arrived.” The Doctor consulted many different instruments
on the TARDIS console.
“A bit peculiar
Jo, yes. We seem to have landed on the planet Siam.”
so odd about that?” Then Jo remembered one of the many UNIT briefings she had been forced to attend. “Of course,
the closest planet to the sun.”
Jo. It should be a white hot inferno out there. Of course, the fast-return switch. It’s thrown us back further than
“How far back
just say the sun hasn’t been switched on yet. Siam is the only planet that’s anywhere near formed. The other inner
planets are still a cloud of pebbles and the gas giants are just loops of ice and methane stretched around the sun.”
say it’s near Earth like out there. How can that be?”
has a habitable zone around it. In this region the conditions for life are perfect for that spark of life to begin. Here we
are on the outer region of that zone. Once the sun starts to ignite that zone will expand out first to Vesta and then on to
the Orial, where it will remain for a few thousands of millions of years. Eventually the sun will turn into a red giant and
the zone will shift to Ares and then briefly to Ramma until it shrinks down into a small white dwarf star, then the zone will
be back more or lest to here. But by then Siam will have long since been reduced to cinders and dust and consumed.”
The Doctor finished his impromptu astronomy lesson.
we have a quick look around Doctor?”
“Yes I think
so Jo. Maybe I can get Lethbridge-Stewart his precious souvenir. You’ll need to get the breathers from the storage cupboard
though.” The Doctor was looking at the atmosphere reading. “The air’s mostly Helium with a little Neon which
is surprising but not impossible.”
Li Na opened her
eyes as the dream subsided. “Alistair?” She shook herself awake properly and sat up in the bed. “Not
again. How is it possible? Biopolis
was a fluke, a chance meeting of dreams, plant to animal. That’s not possible
in this case.” She got out of bed and had a quick shower, there was just
enough time to do her legs and armpits before she threw up in the shower stall. “This
had better end soon.” She wondered if she should try a few aromatic herbal
infusions later to try and stabilise her bodily functions and clear her sinuses at the same time.
Yin emerged from
the TARDIS first. He looked around to see that streets were deserted; there was
no sign of anyone. Typical Solar Knight tactics, he should give them his assistance,
for the glory of Solaria. NO! That
was not who he was. He was not a Solar Knight.
He was Chung Lin, husband of Li Na, father to be of their unborn child. He
was a free individual. He could make up his own mind.
“Are you ok?” Li Na asked as she emerged from the TARDIS.
“Just a headache.” Yin replied. “There must be something
in the air.”
doubt it.” Li Na replied. “The
air is very saturated with some rather nasty chemical inhibitors. Another five
minutes and we’ll be walking zombies.” She ushered her husband back
inside the TARDIS. She pressed a few buttons, turned a couple of dials and brought
the external atmospheric scrubbers on line. “This is to get those filthy
chemicals out of the air.”
Yin went out of
the TARDIS to see that four large metal prongs had emerged from the roof and had unfolded strange antennae like Christmas
trees. “How long will it take?”
“To do the
whole planet? Oh, about an hour, why do you ask?”
“I was just
wondering.” Yin shrugged.
as the air is drawn here for cleaning we’ll probably get the full hour.”
She handed Yin a pill. “This will help you.”
you going to have one?” Yin asked.
risk it.” Li Na replied. “There’s
a small chance it could affect the baby.”
you stay in the TARDIS?” Yin didn’t want to put either life in any
danger. The risk was far too great in his opinion.
“I can resist
these chemicals for a while.” Li Na replied. “My superior metabolism can cleanse my system of their toxic properties almost instantly. I’ll be fine Yin, I promise. I wouldn’t do anything
to hurt our baby. Your mother will want to see her fat grandchild after all.”
doubt it.” Yin relaxed, but just a little.
They explored the
various houses nearby. All were devoid of life.
They sat on the sofa in one house to rest. Well not so much rest as sample
the culture of the natives. It seemed to be of two distinct levels. An older, more sophisticated technology which had been carefully maintained and a younger less-advanced
technology that barely seemed enough to cope with the current level of the society.
Yin made what he
hoped was coffee for himself and Li Na. It smelled sort of similar and the taste
wasn’t too bad if you didn’t dwell upon it. He handed a cup over
to Li Na.
shouldn’t.” She said. “Well,
I can switch to decaf once we’re back in the TARDIS.”
think there’s any caffeine in this anyway.” He said to his wife. “It doesn’t smell like coffee.”
Li Na sat back on
the sofa and closed her eyes.
They emerged from
out of the TARDIS onto the rocky brown and red surface of Siam. In front of them extended a field of craters as far as the
eye could see despite the preternaturally short horizon. They went to circle the TARDIS and both were shocked by what they
there’s people living here.” The Doctor and Jo stared at the vast complex of domes and passageways.
“We have to
warn them Doctor.”
“Yes Jo, there’s
an airlock over there.” They walked over to the airlock and waited until the atmosphere was changed. A buzzer inside
the breathers indicated that the air was now safe to breathe and so they took the cumbersome breathers off. Dozens of pale
blue skinned people ran away from them screaming. This made a change thought Jo; it’s usually viscous primitives carrying
spears. Her hopes were dashed when ten security officers appeared carrying electroprods.
“I think there’s
a lot more going on here than meets the eye Jo.” The Doctor half-whispered. “Check your wrist.”
Jo checked her wrists
and found that she was now wearing a new dark orange metal bracelet, with one large ruby set into its seamless form. “Hey
where did this come from?”
called a Time Ring Jo. This is all Their doing.”
Lords? But I thought your sentence had been served. They gave you back control of your TARDIS.”
was all too good to be true. I may have my freedom but I’m still on a leash it would seem. It could have something to
do with the situation. If you touch the ruby and think about the TARDIS it will teleport you there Jo. I can sense the limitations
programmed into it. After all the last thing they would want is to give anyone else free access to time travel.”
“Well it shows
one thing Doctor, they are concerned enough about your life the give you such an artefact.”
“Yes Jo, I
guess I still have a few friends left inside The Capitol.”
After a lot of lengthy
explanations and posturing the Doctor and Jo were granted the freedom of the colony for the duration of their stay. Their
chief elder Dravvak shook their hands and gave them special armbands to wear. These would identify them as friends and save
anymore embarrassing scenes.
The chief scientist,
Gurrod, explained the history of the colony. “We are originally from Yticca. Long ago we discovered that our sun was
about to explode and so we created twenty vast colony ships to take our people out to the stars in the hopes of continuing
our culture and species. We were each to found a colony in the hopes that one day our people would all be united again. Our
pod found this world for eight thousand, one hundred and three orbits and in that time we have flourished. We realise that
founding a colony around a dying star is merely a delaying tactic but we hope to repeat the task of our ancestors and one
day launch a new pod off into space. Since the landing was automatic we had no choice over the actual landing, but eventually
we will improve on the original design and find a good, healthy world and star to start a colony on.”
I hate to interrupt your little PR exercise but this star isn’t dying.”
“All of our
experts have studied the star and their conclusions all point to its great age. Soon it will finally burn itself out.”
is just gearing up for ignition. Soon it will undergo its first fusion reaction and will be transformed from a ball of glowing
gas into a fully fledged main sequence yellow dwarf.”
impossible; it would mean our people will all be obliterated. No I cannot accept that conclusion.”
“If you don’t
get your people ready for departure in the next few hundred orbits then I’m afraid there will be nothing left of this
place save molten steel and your people will be reduced to maybe a few grams of ash and dust by the heat.”
The Doctor paused
for breath. “This is a new star about to be born.”
Yin shook Li Na
awake. “You have to wake up now, there’s someone outside.”
Li Na gasped as
consciousness returned in a burst of energy. “I’ve been here before.” She said to Yin. “Many years ago. I tried to warn the colony of the dangers. They
wouldn’t listen of course. I thought they were wiped out by a solar flare. It seems they survived. Siam’s
sun somehow shrunk down into a hot white dwarf star, easily warm enough to allow life to thrive but never too hot to cause
any serious harm.
“Now the Solar
Knights will finish the job off.” Yin replied.
can stop them.” Li Na nodded slowly.
“We’ve done it before.”
try and find the resistance.” Yin said.
pollutants in the air are removed I doubt we’ll find one. Unless a few
of them are naturally immune.” Li Na stood up. “We won’t solve anything sitting in this house. We
have to get out there, on the streets, make a protest, sing a few songs. We have
to do something to kick start the opposition.”
Rog Krain was in
hiding from the others. He was safe in his old tree house; no one looked for
him up here. He was safe in here, away from the others. They were acting weird. They were obeying the strangers, doing
the most appalling things. His sister had gone off with one of the strange men. His parents had killed each other for their amusement.
He was all alone in the world. He had nothing and no one left. He heard voices, strange voices, they were chatting about normal things.
He risked a peep out of the small glass window; he saw a man and a woman casually walking down the street. He saw that there were acting just like his parents, before the strange people came. He opened the window and threw a tiny stone at the man.
“Hey!” Yin said sharply as a stone hit his head. He
looked around to see a frightened face in the window of a tree house. “There’s
someone up there.”
Li Na looked up
to see the face of a scruffy unwashed child. “He looks scared. He must be all alone, poor little mite.”
Yin walked over
to the base of the tree. “We won’t harm you.” He called quietly. “I’m Chung Yin; this is my
wife, Chung Li Na.”
Rog giggled, these
people put their family name first. It was the only funny thing he’d heard in a long time. He climbed down the tree. “I’m Rog.”
meet you Rog.” Li Na replied. “How
Rog suddenly felt
like his whole world was spinning. If these people were acting normal and were
real then his parents were really dead and it wasn’t a terrible dream. His
sister had left him alone to go off with that man and he was alone, all alone. He
fell to the ground and started to cry.
Yin picked the boy
up in his arms and carried him inside. “He is obviously going to need time,
before we can learn more from him.”
Li Na nodded slowly. “A parent’s work is never done.”
Yin did a double
take at Li Na’s last words but he saw the playful teasing smile on her face and that was worth the shock.
Kertisa Krain came
to her senses all of a sudden, as if a waking dream had just ended. She screamed
when she saw what had become of her. Her arms and legs had been severed and her
belly was swollen like she was pregnant. She had tubes in her body to feed her
and keep her breathing. She had other tubes to take away her bodily waste. She looked around the room to see rows and rows of women of child bearing age all
cut up and bloated with unborn babies. They were all crying and screaming for
lost loved ones. Kertisa saw had she also had tubes stuck into her belly that
were connected up to a baby monitor and she saw what was growing inside of her womb and she screamed in shock at what she
saw. The terror of that one glimpse of her baby was enough to send her teetering
over the edge of madness and she howled in fury and lamented her fate. “The
eye!” She sobbed. “The
eye!” She wanted to drive a sword into her belly but she was impotent,
a limbless body with no other function than to make monsters. The most beautiful
thing in the world had been turned into an abomination. “The eye!” She gibbered insanely as her rational mind fragmented into nothingness.
Rog started to tell
the two strangers about what had happened. The disappearance of his sister Kertisa,
the shock of watching his parents killing each other and laughing as they bled to death tearing at each others throats with
their teeth. The strange acts of the neighbours and the appearance of the strangers
in metal suits. He sat on Li Na’s lap and hugged her tightly.
yet?” Yin asked.
“Of course.” Li Na replied. “What woman wouldn’t?” She held Rog in her arms and sung an old nursery rhyme to him. “Who unto to Rassilon's Tower would go, Must choose above, between, below.”
Rog felt better
already, it was almost like his parents were alive again. He hugged Li Na again. “We can’t stay here for long; they search all the houses once a day.”
all the others, Rog?” Yin asked.
to the other city, they built it themselves. It’s a horrible place, everyone
is mean and nasty. I have to steal food from them when I’m hungry.”
awful.” Li Na said to Yin.
The amputated pregnant
women all screamed as their babies were born. They were unable to do anything
but yell out in pain as the slimy, tentacle-covered children begin to force their way out of their dilated vaginas. They were prisoners in their own flesh as their babies began to feast upon their helpless prone bodies. Mouths full of sharp fangs bit down on maternal muscle and bone and tentacles wrapped
around bodies and machines for grip. The baneful single eyed children of Solaria
fed upon the human eggs they had just hatched from.
They walked the
three kilometres to the Solar Knight complex. Suddenly Li Na felt a stirring
from with her womb, the first sign of life from the bun in her oven. She smiled
to Yin and held his hand as they walked, with Rog taking the lead. “If
he has no parents, maybe we can adopt him.” She whispered to her husband.
“Maybe.” Yin replied. “Although he may have
uncles and aunts who would want to look after him.”
“True.” Li Na replied. “Giving him a good
home should be our primary concern.”
The tentacled horrors
burst into the school for the younger children. They leapt across the room effortlessly
and each pounced on the body of a child. They began to feast at once, consuming
the small bodies within minutes. Three of them also consumed the teacher.
The Solar Knights
opened fire at the monsters but they were unaffected by bullets or fire. Instead
they attacked the lesser servants of Solaria, consuming them too.
Li Na heard gunfire. “Get down.” She said to the
others. They watched as a stream of old people and young men in Solar Knight
armour ran out of the city. “What’s going on?” She asked one of the Solar Knights.
“Monsters!” He screamed. “Terrible monsters!”
Li Na let the scared
man go and looked towards the city. She saw a movement out of the corner of her
eye. A terrible thing that should not be, but was. She shielded Yin’s eyes just in time as she saw the full horror of the creature unfold itself into
all twenty five of its own dimensions. “You don’t scare me.” She said. “I am the thing that
gives you nightmares. I am the Doctor!”
The creature flinched
at the accursed name. “G’jhgqw eg’erqi kjfw’wroi!” It bellowed and let out a primal roar of sound.
Li Na just laughed. “Is that the best you can do? I
don’t think you have it in you to defeat me.” She looked deep into
the nightmare’s single burning cobalt red eye. “I however can destroy
you; fight fire with fire is what I say.” She activated the TARDIS summoning
device, but it didn’t work. “Ah, so you can jam my transmission eh? Shunt it into a different dimension? Well
two can play at that game. She waved her hand about and the metal device changed
into a hedgehog sitting in the palm of her hand. She tickled its nose and the
TARDIS materialised around herself, Yin and Rog. Rog! She’d forgotten about Rog! She looked down and saw that
the young boy had simply died of fright. “No!” She shouted. “No!”
Yin put his arms
around his wife. “You’re not to blame, that thing is. Whatever it was. I heard it speaking, in my mind. It said I was an inferior servant among inferior servants. It
is the next stage of the plan. Those unworthy to become like those things will
simply be killed by them.”
Li Na sighed. “We’ll deal with that another day.
First though I have a small matter of an apocalypse to arrange. When I
first came to this planet I was concerned about the survival of the colony. I
never dreamed for a second that I would be the one responsible for the destruction of that colony.” She activated the forbidden controls of the TARDIS. The secret
arsenal of atomic weapons in the heart of the TARDIS came on line. She allowed
only three hundred of them to fall onto the planet below. One by one they exploded,
a terrible carpet bombing of nuclear annihilation covered every inch of the planet’s surface. “It’s the only way to be sure.” She said
to Yin. “Too much energy too quickly will overload their bodies; they cannot
survive that much radiation. That world will never know life upon its surface
Safe from the deadly
radiation Yin watched as the surface of the wrecked planet shattered and collapsed in upon itself. It began to crumble and shrink. A tiny ball of light burst
in the centre of the dead world, creating a cloud of rock and metal that would, over thousands of years, encircle its parent
sun before eventually being pulled down into it.
Li Na wore a simple
black dress, while Yin wore a plain black suit. They stood in silence around
the small grave, marked with a black marble headstone and Rog’s name in gold lettering.
There was a simple message: Le calme de paix remplit les coeurs avec le chagrin pour un si jeune pris avant son temps.
Later that day Yin
and Li Na made love, it was different than ever before, it was primal, basic, rough, passionate, intense. It was a celebration of life and Li Na hoped that her own child who ever she or he was would grow up to
make herself and Yin very proud of them.
Then she began to
think of the dreams, they baffled her. Why was she dreaming of her past all of
a sudden? She preferred to think of her future, with Yin and their baby. It could not be any coincidence that her last two dreams were of the same planets
that were being invaded by the Solar Knights. Was someone sending her a message? Was someone playing games with her? Without
further information she could only guess and she had some very nasty suspicions.
Once Yin was rested
she took her turn to be on top and this time she was even more primal as they rutted like she was insatiable, like she was
in heat, could never get enough of it.