Bong. Li Na’s eyes opened, her moment of
ecstasy dissolved. Bong. She slowly
got up off of Yin. Bong. She pulled
her knickers on. Bong. She stepped
into her dress. Bong. She pulled
it up to her hips. Bong. She pulled
the upper half onto her bare shoulders. Bong.
She half zipped it up. Bong. She
pushed her feet into her shoes. Bong. She
was out the door. Bong. Yin woke
up and wondered what was going on. Li Na ran down the corridor as best she could
in two inch heels, which wasn’t all that fast to be honest. She burst into
the circular control room of the TARDIS and frantically began to pour over the readings on the control panels. “This is not good.” She said to herself. “Not good at all.” In space
it was as if a billion clawed hands tore at every single dimension of the time machine, tearing it open. Li Na held on to the console as the TARDIS began to break up all around her. Huge gouts of oily flames burst through the floor, cutting her off from the rest of the ship. She saw Yin standing at the doorway. He was saying something,
she could see his mouth moving, but she heard no words. There was a burst of
red and blue and green flashing lights as the ship was torn apart. Solaria laughed
as the puny vessel succumbed to her power. Taste my power, mortal! Li Na fell
against the corridor wall as a sudden sharp pain exploded inside of her head. She
struck her head on the wall as she fell and she struggled for consciousness but failed.
A dream clawed its way up out of her subconsciousness, a dream in which she wore a silly grin and an even sillier scarf.
Dave Wilkinson had been looking forward to this holiday
for the last month now. The pressures at work were now a fortnight away while he was here in the middle of paradise. Marge
and the kids were splashing around in the sea while he simply lay back and let the sun beat down on him. The scent of the
ocean breeze and sun tan lotion mixed to give that unique holiday smell. Marge lifted her oldest daughter Lucy up and down
into and out of the sea. She laughed and giggled as the water surrounded her. She turned around to see where Molly was but
there was no sign of her.
Then a hand emerged out of the sea. It had seaweed
between the fingers and huge talons on the fingertips. Marge screamed as dozens of large creatures emerged from out of the
sea. They had huge bulging eyes and wore nothing save a peculiar blue string vest like garment. Many of them carried metal
discs strapped to their hands which they pointed at the holiday makers. The victims were reduced to floating piles of ashes
that undulated gently with the waves.
Angry and scared Dave jumped to his feet and ran down
to the waters edge. He only found Lucy. He picked his defenceless daughter up and ran for it.
"It's good of you to visit Doctor. It does get a bit
boring here by your self." Mike had let the recently regenerated Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith into his new bungalow. He had
bought it after his dishonourable discharge from the Army and UNIT "Still can't quite fit you together with your previous
self, but read the Brigadiers report."
"I can't quite believe it and I was there Mike." Sarah
sipped her tea again. "We all thought he had had it, but never underestimate a Time Lord. Especially the Doctor."
"That's right. Don't trust them either as a general
rule. That's one of the reasons I left Gallifrey. Jelly baby?" The Doctor passed a bag of the sweets to Mike.
"Thanks." The radio which had being playing a gentle
concerto by Mozart stopped and a shocking news report came on. It gave rough details about sea monsters attacking tourists.
"Should we investigate Doctor?" Mike was eager to relive his soldier days one last time. He felt it would redeem him in the
Doctor's eyes somehow.
"Yes, why not. The TARDIS isn't far from here. No need
to pack, there's lots of spare clothes in the old girl."
"Should we inform U.N.I.T? The Brigadier would have
a fit if he knew I was involved. I'm supposed to keep my head down for the next hundred years or so. Or words to those effects
"Well I won't tell Alistair if you don't."
The three friends walked the two miles across fields
of crops and grazing cattle, until they came to the familiar blue police box shape of the TARDIS. The Doctor produced the
key and they went inside. The Doctor set the dematerialisation codes and it vanished with a grinding sound. Five minutes later
the TARDIS materialised on top of the Hotel La Playa.
They emerged and looked down to see a lot of people
being herded into a huge pen.
"Senonians!" The Doctor gasped in amazement. “They’re Sea Devil storm troopers to be exact!”
You have encountered and
defeated the deep ones.
Solaria chuckled. The children of the distant past, I care not for these dwellers of the deep.
They are outside of my plans for this universe. No, wait, this time it
is not the children of Father Dagon. This was a hoax. Solaria probed deeper into the Doctor’s memories. You were deceived by impostors, led by one of
your own kind.
“So why this elaborate stunt then?” The
Doctor demanded. “People have died because of you.”
Juan Miguel, the leader of the Senonian Liberation
Army, laughed. “Why is it that people are only concerned when it’s people who die? Tell me why the bigotry? Would
they shed a tear if a Senonian died?”
“I would.” The Doctor said slowly. “I
have. This doesn’t excuse you though does it? So eager to apply your twisted logic that you can’t see your own
“Shut up.” Miguel aimed his weapon at the
babbling mans head. “Shut up and prepare to die.”
“No, you can’t.” Sarah Jane jumped
in front of the Doctor and pushed the strange disc shaped gun away from the Doctor’s face. “The Doctor is a good
man and I won’t allow you to hurt him.”
Miguel smiled at the woman before his face became a
mask of hate. He lashed out with the back of his free hand and struck her hard across the face, sending her crashing to the
floor. “You can die too if you want.”
“Now there’s no need for that kind of behaviour.”
The Doctor began to uncoil his long scarf from around his neck and let one of the ends fall down by Sarah. “Why don’t
you show how sorry you are Sarah?”
Sarah Jane worked quickly, wrapping the loose end of
scarf around the leg of the rubber suit. “Ok Doctor, help me up would you?”
The Doctor ravelled up the slack length of scarf as
he knelt down to help Sarah up. As they stood up they pulled on the scarf together, sending the Sea Devil impostor falling
backwards. “Run Sarah!”
Sarah took hold of the Doctor’s huge hand and
they ran through the crowd of people back towards the safety of the nearby hotel.
“Let them run, we’ll find them later. They
can’t go far.” Miguel looked at his troops. “Get this lot into the camp; we can process them later for their
Mike touched the door of the TARDIS; there was a slight
but constant vibration under his fingertips. He reached into his coat pocket and retrieved the key. Slowly he inserted the
key into the lock and turned it. The blue doors swung open easily on its hinges and the former UNIT officer walked inside.
Sarah pulled the Doctor up just after they ran into
the safety of the hotel. “What do we do now Doctor? We can’t just let them kill those people.”
The Doctor paced around the reception area, his hat
clenched tightly in his hand. “I’m working on that Sarah. Hopefully Mike has achieved his part of the plan, now
I need you to do something for me Sarah.”
“What’s that Doctor?”
“I want you to stay here while I allow them to
Sarah was appalled. “You want me to do what?
We can do far more by being free Doctor, we can find a way to rescue the prisoners and stop this charade.”
The Doctor held up his hand. “There’s more
to this than meets the eye Sarah, how did they get all that equipment? Some one is supplying them with all they need and I
my suspicions about who it is.”
“Who?” Sarah asked the obvious, as usual.
The Doctor smiled at Sarah. “Let’s just
say it’s an old friend of mine, from my school days.”
Mike sent the controls for the heart of the action.
The large plastic tube in the middle began to move up and down, indicating that the TARDIS was indeed moving once again. So
far he hoped that the Doctor and Sarah were ok. He couldn’t see too much from his position atop the hotel but the revelation
that the Sea Devils were humans in disguise was shocking to say the least.
There was a pinging sound and suddenly Mike was thrown
off his feet, the deep tolling of a bell began to echo through the corridors and rooms of the TARDIS.
Sarah watched as the rest of the captives were herded
away into a huge pen like structure made of rock and steel. One of the captives tried to escape over this crude barrier but
within seconds his body was baked from the inside out by deadly microwaves. She couldn’t stand by and let this go on
so once the terrorists moved away she crept forward. She had her own style of liberation in mind, the release of so many hostages.
Miguel was surprised to see the tall curly haired man
so soon. “So, you decided to accept my hospitality? What happened to your big mouthed friend?”
“Sarah’s long gone, she’ll bring
Miguel aimed his heat gun at a small rock near the
fool’s feet. He fired a beam of heat at it and watched as the rock heated up and melted into a puddle of lava before
hissing and cooling when a wave of seawater covered it.
“I think you really need to control you temper.
Perhaps if we discussed the matter in a civilised manner? Or perhaps I can talk to your boss?”
“I command the SLA.”
Miguel went to strike the Doctor but the Doctor grabbed his wrist.
“Where is he?” The Doctor demanded. “Or
doesn’t he want the honour of killing me himself?”
Another Sea Devil impostor walked forward. “Enough
Juan, I’ll deal with this.” He removed his mask to reveal his real face. Stubble covered chin, a wide mouth with
a sly smile, a noble nose, ancient eyes that had seen much and a balding scalp.
The Doctor gasped with recognition. “You’re
the one masterminding all of this? I really thought it was the Master.”
The figure smiled. “Why Theta, you look like
you’ve seen someone you weren’t expecting.” Drax pointed a finger at the Doctor. “Sorry old friend
but you haven’t left me with much of a choice. You’ve already compromised my operation here too much; if your
friend hadn’t escaped I could have spared your lives. You’ve really left me with no choice here Theta, no choice
at all. I’m sorry it has to end this way Theta, kill him Juan.”
Behold my power. Solaria plucked the Doctor out of
the TARDIS and deposited her on a distant planet. Awaken!
Li Na, the Doctor, awoke. She was on the surface
of a strange desert world. All around was heat blasted sand, an endless sea of
grainy beach. The temperature was enough to fry an egg, but to her it was as
a mild summer breeze. She remembered what had happened. Yin. The TARDIS. They
were gone, destroyed. She was alone! The
first moisture in an aeon sizzled as it dripped onto the bleached blonde sand. Chung
Li Na was a widow; her baby would never know its father now. She had to be strong
now for them, she had to stand up to this. She had to be strong, she had to be
who she was, she was the Doctor and she was not going to lose to a jumped up psychotic gas bag with delusions of godhood. “I am, the Doctor!” She screamed
at the empty sky. Then she felt weak as her body was lurched sideways into the
dimension of dreams.
Another past life to cull
before you are released from your heavy burden. Solaria laughed. A nemesis you enjoyed sparring with.
The steel razor danced slow, slow, quick, quick; slow
on the deep red coloured desk. It reduced the lumpy white chemical into a perfect powder form. A banknote with a dead president’s
head was rolled up. Maybe it was sign of things to come, maybe not. A deep inhalation and the room expanded to contain the
heavens. The President reclined in his chair and sighed softly. Only a few days in charge and things were already getting
better. “Miss Capshaw, send in my next appointment please.” He didn’t care to hear his secretary’s
reply and so he switched the speaker off.
The Colonel was not really her type at all. It was
the eyes. Strange, staring eyes that seemed to drill straight into her soul. “Colonel Retsam, the President will see
She was glad once the RAF liaison officer entered the
Oval office. Those eyes still bugged her. So cold and…alien.
“Where are we this time Doctor? It looks like
a chalk quarry.” In fact it looked bleaker and more like a bomb crater.
“I was wondering when you would notice. This, Peri, is Earth.
America to be exact, just a few years into your own personal history.”
“Neat, maybe now you’ll agree that there’s
nothing wrong with my country?” Don’t get your hopes up a small voice at the back of her head piped up. She told
it to be quiet.
“I wouldn’t be too hasty, there are some
quite disturbing readings coming from this vicinity.”
“What kind of readings?” Hopefully it wouldn’t
be anything serious and she could get some serious shopping done at a proper mall.
“Very high radiation readings but they’re
very intermittent. I’d call them sporadic but that wouldn’t be quite right. Radiation is nothing if not persistent.”
“A lot like you at times Doctor.”
“Radiation is lethal; I like to think that my
enemies have a chance before I foil their plans for universal domination.”
“Like your cooking then, that’s a persistent
phenomenon that has a lethal effect on people given a sustained dosage.”
“Are you trying to annoy me or is there a reason
for the sudden petulance?”
“It’s just, well I’m back in the
States. I guess you could call it homesickness of a sort.” The nostalgia of being back in her own country made her feel
centred somehow but she had seen so much and Earth seemed so small in her imagination now. Perhaps travel really does broaden
“You want to leave me is that it?”
“No, I think travelling with you is the best
decision I ever made.” Life with the Doctor was far better than hours of study and writing up field notes, but she wasn’t
about to stoke his ego more than necessary.
“So, shall we have a look around then? Investigate?
See if there are any nefarious plans than need halting?”
She liked the way his blonde curly hair waved in the
wind. Pity it was the only thing she really liked about this version. “I guess a quick look around would be fun.”
Talking his arm they began to explore the local area. It came as a relief when gun-wielding soldiers surrounded them a few
The President strode out to the small lectern and gripped it firmly.
He had seen what could be achieved now if he could only spread the message. “My fellow Americans today is a great day
in our country’s history. I have proposed a series of reform packages to the senate outlining plans for the future of
our great nation. America will be the forerunner in the latest astronomical ventures. Today our view of how we see ourselves must be expanded.
No longer will we be the only life-bearing planet in the universe. We intend to set up a permanent colony on the planet Mars,
a colony where the ideals of peace and democracy will flourish. I have the Vision Thing, I do, I do. Starting tomorrow NASA
will develop everything our brave new citizens will need to live on their new world. I hope that history will record today
as the start of the age when humanity took their first tentative steps into a new future. Thank you, any questions?”
He smiled when he saw how the looks of shock and amazement on their faces. All was going to plan.
Colonel Retsam walked around the many corridors of
the base. The plan was going perfectly, that old fool of a President was doing everything he was told to do. He actually believed
it all too which was even better. It would reduce the chances of the conditioning deteriorating. He pulled the small pendant
out of his pocket and stared at it. The Eye of Horus it was called. Such conceit but his people were no better, too sanctimonious
for their own good. It would be a pleasure to sweep them aside and set up something greater, something answerable only to
Things could be worse she mused. She had been treated
fairly well despite the initial bad reception. The Doctor was still being debriefed. They had asked her if she was someone
called Romana but once they found out she wasn’t she had been more or less ignored. Maybe she should feel insulted,
but for now all she wanted to do was eat a proper burger. “Hey, room service. I’m hungry here.” No response.
Oh well Peri, looks like you’ll just have to escape. There, a plan. And he says I lack his intellect. Wait until he
sees it’s me rescuing him. Footsteps? Someone coming! Perhaps if I jump them from behind? I need something heavy, something
made of metal. No, nothing usable. Perhaps if I try just asking? It’s worth a try.
The door opened and a large female MP entered. She
threw a bundle of green clothes at Peri. “Get dressed Ma’am. Briefing is in ten minutes.” The MP shut the
door as she left, to give Peri some privacy.
The outfit was quite a good fit; it seemed to be some
sort of uniform. There were no insignia that she could recognise but the left arm had a stylised eye symbol on it. Possibly
Egyptian? Why didn’t she listen to her mother and study archaeology? Because she wanted to do her own thing and plants
were a lot less icky than dead bodies. She knocked once on the door. “I’m err...ready.”
The MP looked Peri up and down. “Follow me please
Peri followed the woman.
The Doctor relaxed in the comfy leather chair. “Well,
the Osiran people are largely extinct. They flourished a long time ago. They were in decline when Rassilon himself came to
power. We never really had any interaction. We exchanged an ambassador, that’s about all. It was all certainly before
my time. Certainly I’ve only had dealings with Sutekh and Nepthys. Their culture is evident on a number of worlds, Earth
“Sutekh? The Destroyer?” General Flood
put his glasses back on and started to leaf through a few old mouldy books. Sutekh, Sutekh, Sutekh. Ah here we are. Imprisoned
by Horus and the other gods for crimes against all life. Rendered immobile and powerless he was sealed inside his tomb for
all eternity... Are you telling us you killed an Osiran by yourself?”
“Well my friend Sarah helped, but yes. I trapped
him inside a time corridor and he died before he could reach the other end.”
“No way he could escape?”
“If he did then all life would have been destroyed,
you seem quite alive to me General Flood.”
“There’s no reference to a Nepthys in any
of these books Doctor Smith.”
“She was Sutekh’s partner. She was a really
nasty piece of work. She tried to posses my friend Nyssa to recombine her memory with her soul. Fortunately things turned
“What about Horus? The king of gods, defeated
“Well as you just said he was defeated. He is
quite definitely dead and so is the cult that tried to resurrect him. Are all these questions leading somewhere General?”
“Yes Doctor Smith, we have disturbing information.”
The general was cut off by a bleeping sound. “Bring in Miss Brown please.”
The doors opened and Peri entered. “Doctor, why
am I wearing this outfit and what’s going on?” She saw the room was full of U.S.A.F. personnel. In other circumstances
she might like the cheery blue colour of the uniforms.
“That’s what we’re about to find
“Now that you’re both here it will save me repeating
myself later on. We have disturbing information that the President has fallen under the influence of one Colonel Retsam, a
liaison officer from the R.A.F. to the Pentagon. We believe he has somehow managed to secure funding for a manned colony to
Mars. We suspect that his interest is not for the benefit of America or indeed the United Kingdom. It is my belief that he intends to find and use Osiran technology
for his own ends.”
“Typically arrogant of him don’t you think?”
“Of who Doctor?” What could the Doctor
see that she couldn’t in this information?
“It’s obvious Peri. Retsam is Master backwards.”
Oh, so obvious. Why hadn’t she realised? “Why
doesn’t he just use his TARDIS to travel there and take what he wants?” The Master had shown great distaste in
cooperation with the Rani, so why the change of heart now?
“The Osirans were experts at booby trapping their
tombs. Although the Great Pyramid of Mars and its ancillary buildings were destroyed, there are many smaller pyramids left
untouched by anyone. Especially the Natives.”
“Oh another story for another time. Nothing to
concern us at the moment.”
The General stood up and walked over to Peri. “We
took these pictures using Hubble Miss Brown.”
They were clearly pyramids, but five sided not like
the four sided ones she had seen on TV. “That still doesn’t explain why he just doesn’t go there himself.”
“The Master is willing to sacrifice the whole
colony to disarm each and every trap to make it safe for him to enter Peri. You should read the file UNIT has on him.”
The sheer evilness of the Master’s plan became
apparent. “That’s horrible.” It reminded her of that Harrison Ford movie and she gulped. The really bad
bit was coming up however; she could just feel it.
“Doctor, we would like you and Miss Brown to
join the first batch of colonists. Part of the training is being given by Colonel Retsam and we hope you can stop him before
that mission launches.”
Yep, that was the bad bit all right. Another chance
to be threatened by him was not something to look forward to at all. “When do you want us to start?”
“As soon as possible. Doctor your UNIT clearance
has been updated. Brigadier Bambera informs me that you are the perfect choice for this mission. I have a request here for
a chunk of Martian rock to go in the trophy cabinet.”
Would they have need of a botanist on Mars? “What
about me? I’ve seen more alien plants than anyone here, apart from the Doctor obviously.” Hopefully they wouldn’t
give her anything too difficult to do.
General Flood smiled. “Miss Brown, consider yourself
drafted by the USAF.
The Osirans? They are as fungus to us. Solaria probed deeper. So many deaths Doctor, how many people died on that mission? Twenty? Thirty?
The Doctor awoke with a start. She remembered
holding Peri in her arms; they’d both seen too many deaths that day. Peri
had buried her face in her garishly coloured coat had she’d held her as she cried her eyes out. The Doctor had simply accepted the loss, unable to do anything about it.
Now she thought that if necessary she’d be willing to sacrifice those lives if necessary. It was not a comforting thought; it simply was what it was. It
was who she was, unable to take life directly she used others, manipulated them like puppets and events too. The means to the end were as vital as the end result itself. Overhead
Solaria circled in an unnatural orbit, rotating above the Doctor’s position without scant regard for the forces of cause
and effect. The Doctor kept on walking, in a purely random direction.
Let’s see how many deaths you can endure. Solaria
said to the lady of time. How many times can I make you die? Before I get tired of this game.
The Doctor felt weak, so very weak. She was worn
out. She needed to rest. She wanted
to lie down, give up. She couldn’t go any further. She lay down on the sand, unable to move, she fought for breath, each and every moment. She felt her hearts spasm in her chest, misbeating, the rhythm slowed down, she was too tired to breath. Her hearts stopped and she was still. The
last few moments of life as her brain used up the last of the oxygen in her brain. Her
vision grew greyer around the edges. It grew dark, so very dark. She felt cold, no warmth, no heat even though the sun was up. She
was at the very edge of death, she felt herself surrendering to the approaching oblivion.
Something tore her away from paradise.
Solaria laughed insanely. One death is just not enough.
It seemed like a moment but the Doctor knew it must have been hours before she was strong
enough to move again. She’d felt herself die, but the contours of her face
were still the same. She was still female, she hadn’t regenerated. Had it all been a dream? She needed to
urinate. That proved she was still alive.
She lifted the hem of her dress up, tugged her knickers down to her knees and squatted over the sand to relieve her
full bladder on the cooling desert floor. She used the hem of her dress to wipe
herself with, then hoisted her knickers back up to her hips and let her dress fall back down to around her knees. She kicked dry sand over the wetted sand, to cover up what she had done.
Then she began walking again.
Solaria decided to make the next death more interesting.
Let’s see how you like this gift.
The Doctor felt like a huge fist had lifted her up in the air.
Slowly she began to spin around and around. Faster and faster she spun,
until she was going at terrifying speeds. Faster than the speed of sound. Faster than the speed of light. Faster
than the speed of thought. Her body began to bulge outwards as the pressure inside
of her forced her outwards. First her fingers were torn free, followed by her
toes. Her skin and breasts followed next, then her entrails, baby and all. Then her arms and legs were torn free, followed by her head and finally her body exploded
in a shower of blood and flesh. The remains were scattered in a huge red circle
of body parts and blood and the Doctor was still alive, but not for much longer.
The Doctor let out a scream as she awoke. She
checked herself over; she was still in one piece. However her skin was covered
in huge sores. Clump by clump her hair began to fall out. Her skin grew redder and more painful to just touch it. Her
fingernails fell out, then her teeth. Her blood burst through her damaged pores. She couldn’t stand, her legs were too weak.
Then her body began to liquefy. Her insides became a living chemical soup
and it poured out of the holes in her leathery hide. She could do nothing as
her bones went next, then her brain leaked out of her ears, leaving behind a mound of radioactive ooze.
Solaria started to slowly remake the Doctor in her image.
The Doctor was screaming in pain before she had even awakened.
She was lying on the ground. She couldn’t sit up, couldn’t
move her arms or legs. They were all broken, as if she’d fallen from a
great height. The pain intensified as her broken ribs slowly but surely burrowed
further and further into her hearts. She could do nothing but lie there in pain
as she bled to death internally. For agonising hours she lay there before the
mercy of death came to her and she was allowed to dream once more.
The TARDIS announced its arrival with its usual lethargic
wheezing sound as it faded into the space-time continuum. This miracle of advance science was lost on the inhabitants of the
field; they looked up for a second and then returned to nibbling at the recently watered grass.
The TARDIS may have resembled a nineteen sixties blue
police telephone box but this was a disguise to hide its true nature; it was a time machine. It’s two occupants stepped
out of their craft and took in the fresh country air.
“Hey Doctor, now this really reminds me of home.”
Ray took in a second lungful. “Where are we anyway?”
“Surrey according to the TARDIS readings. There’s something not quite right though. A slightly
altered taste to the Earth’s biosphere.” Pulling on his dark blue jacket the Doctor started to walk towards the
“Are we having a quick look around Doctor?”
Ray chased after the Doctor. For a short guy he could move very fast sometimes.
Harnsting was a small market town, full of its regular
traders displaying their produce on the same patch week in week out. Sometimes the occasional tourists would happen upon it
and they were welcomed as though they were long lost family. Today however everyone could feel a darkness in the atmosphere,
as if a terrible storm was going to come and destroy everything. However it was a warm summer morning and everyone just dismissed
the feeling out of hand. Sometimes it pays to listen to your instincts.
They walk took them along a barely marked track that slowly led
down out of the chalky hills to a natural basin and the village of Harnsting.
“I wish I’d brought my petrol can, I could
have bought some petrol for my bike Doctor.” Ray took her leather jacket off and slung it over her shoulder. It was
going to be a really warm day. How better to spend it than cruising around on her bike?
“I have offered to convert the engine to a more
“It’s a classic bike Doctor, totally authentic
parts. It would be a crime to let anyone meddle with the Norton.” Ray’s bike was her most important possession.
True it wasn’t the fastest thing but it was her only link with Billy.
“Hmmm bacon and egg for breakfast or sausage
and beans?” The menu didn’t look too appetising but at least they promised something hopefully resembling food.
They went inside to investigate further.
“Ah morning, bit early for your sort.”
“Our sort?” The Doctor purred softly.
“Tourists, you and your good lady. Generally
don’t see any of you till around lunchtime. “Camping is it? The countryside is lovely this time of year. You should
go and see the white horse, it’s where everyone goes.”
“We just arrived here not long ago.” Ray
confirmed. “And we’re not married.”
“Ah well far be it from me to pass judgement
on how others behave, but when I was your age I’d have him down the aisle faster that you could say honeymoon. Call
me Aveline love.”
“Ok, I’ll have sausage and beans and a
cup of tea. Doctor?”
“Just a cup of tea for me please.”
Ray tucked into her breakfast and quickly demolished
it. “I haven’t had anything this good for ages Doctor.”
“Yes the tea is nice isn’t it?”
“I meant the food. Real food. None of your nutrition
bar nonsense. Taste, texture and smell.”
“The kitchen just needs a few repairs Ray. It’s on my
list, right after a visit to Poland.”
“I’m not setting another foot in that kitchen.
The last time I did it tried to kill me.”
“You were repairing a puncture in the sink. The
auto-hygiene system broke down.”
“I know,” she laughed, “it tried
to put me in the spin dryer.”
They resumed their wandering after their meal. The
Doctor had baffled Aveline by making all the cash register contents transfer into a cutlery drawer. They spotted the white
horse in the middle distance and set off to have a closer view.
As they approached the chalk cut figure they saw a
young woman running towards them, tears streaming down her face. She saw the Doctor and started to go into shock. Ray tried
to comfort her but nothing seemed to work. Finally she was forced to slap her gently to snap her out of it.
“How what seems to be the problem?”
“Now listen valley girl,” Ace got angry.
Who was she and how did she get with the Professor? “What have you done to him?”
“I’m sorry do we know you?” The Doctor
“It’s me, Ace, Professor. Don’t you
recognise me or something?”
“I’ve never met you before in my life until
now. I’m the Doctor and this is my friend Ray.”
“I know who you are Professor, Doctor. I travel
with you in the TARDIS.”
“How does she know of the TARDIS Doctor?”
“I don’t know but I have a few ideas. I
think you should take me to where you last saw me, Ace is it?”
Ace led the Doctor and Ray to where she had left the
Doctor. She stopped in her tracks when she saw he was still where she had left him. “How can there be two of you?”
The Doctor examined the identical looking version of
himself. “Are you me in the future Doctor?” He asked.
“Possibly Doctor, but it doesn’t feel that
“I agree, I thought there was something wrong
when I arrived here with Ray. I must have landed in a parallel reality.”
“Doctor, you must leave at once. You know what
can happen if the hole in the fabric of time is left open too long.”
“I can’t leave Doctor, not until you’re
healed. What did this to you anyway?”
“It was fast, it stabbed me with something. Punctured
my left heart but the damage is almost healed.”
“I’m Ray.” Ray introduced herself.
“Dorothy, but everyone calls me Ace.” Ace
shook Ray’s hand. “So how long have you known him then?”
“Couple of years now, ever since he saved us
from the Bannermen. Mel’s leaving hit him hard and then when he pushed Gavrok into that sonic gadget it really got to
him. I used up all my best jokes trying to cheer him up.”
“Oh, so Mel left before she met me in your reality.
She left the Doctor, after meeting me, to go travelling with Glitz in my reality. Mel convinced the Doctor to let me travel
The Doctor helped the Doctor to stand up. “I
should be on my way, can’t let all the Pernicious Snids and Bandy toed Haximaxis slip into existence. They really don’t
like that do they?”
“No, well it was nice meeting me Doctor I hoped
you liked my reality and maybe you should turn around there seems to be a large group of Kraags just behind Ace and your friend
The Doctor turned around to see the large lumbering
dark gold creatures advancing towards their group.
This is a false memory. Solaria fumed. You
try to feed me false memories? I will consume your past whether you like it or
not. You cannot invent phantom past lives to fool me.
The Cybermen moved in to secure their objective. Their
scanners reported two identical versions of the Doctor. This of course was quite illogical and so they ignored it. If they
still retained their emotions then it would have been a shock when they found themselves attacked by an enemy that didn’t
exist. Unable to trust what they saw, the Cybermen followed the logical path - they retreated.
You had to admire him in many ways Ray though, for
a small man he was someone you didn’t want to make an enemy of. “What I don’t understand is how they managed
to overcome their little gold allergy Doctor.” Ray managed to create a temporary bandage for the other Doctor from her
Doctor’s silk scarf.
“I’m not sure Ray. They are very good at
adapting to overcome obstacles; I guess they just evolved their diodes or something.”
“So now what? We can’t leave the Professor
here.” Ace said.
“No, I think we should get away from here as
fast as possible. Two alien attacks is not a coincidence.”
The walk back to the village was slow but it was a
warm, pleasant day and they weren’t attacked by anything more serious than midges.
Aveline did a classic double take when she saw the
odd couple return, only this time they were accompanied by an identical version of the man along with another young woman.
“Can I help at all?” She finally ventured.
“No,” the Doctor started “he’s
not heavy. He’s my twin brother.”
Ace and Ray groaned inwardly at the terrible cliché.
“I can see that. You two even dress the same
almost. Like two peas in a pod and no mistaking. Can I get you a nice pot of tea?”
“Yes please Aveline.” Ray got the full
sugar bowl from the next table and plonked it down.
“A spoon full of sugar to stop the Doctor’s
“That’s what you told me when I was still
mooning over Billy, Doctor.”
“No, it’s all going wrong. Hurry up and
send Poe you imbecile. If this all falls apart because of you then I’ll be really upset.”
“Why am I surrounded by idiots? And why are you
the worst of them Burgess?”
“How difficult can it be? We’ve done this
before, stabilising a fictional scenario inside a real context is not beyond even your powers. It’s how we open the
gateway remember. Once the gateway is open we can get them inside and then, then they’re mine. I will have my freedom
“I’ll go and send Poe at once, Mast...sir.”
Hmm this was definitely the last cup, thought Ray,
anymore and she’d be on the loo for a week. Things were very confusing but Ace was fast becoming a great friend. They
had spent an hour embarrassing their respective Doctors, much to their delight. Now it seemed it was time to go their separate
ways, they had their own universe to save after all. “Goodbye Ace, if we visit Ice World I promise to stop you pouring
a perfectly good milkshake over the customer. I’ll suggest you use a slush puppy instead. Just you take good care of
your Doctor, he needs us to look after him and keep him out of real trouble.” She turned as the door chime sounded and
stared at a rather odd looking bloke. She gasped as he pulled out a strange piece of stone and fell to the floor when her
legs buckled at the knees.
“How do you do. Please allow me to introduce
myself, I’m Edgar Allen Poe and I’m here to kill you all.” As if a point needed to be made he casually reduced
Ray and Ace’s Doctor to smoking ashes.
Not a phantom past. A parallel past. A meeting of divergent time streams. You swapped places with your dead self. Took
his place with Ace at your side to replace your friend Ray. His companion and
his reality. The Doctor died, you took his place.
The delicious irony, Fenric was the one who ordered your execution; his wolf was the one who pulled the trigger.
"I knew." The Doctor glared up at Solaria. “I am the Doctor, whether you like it or not!”
We shall see. Solaria replied. Is this your life? Are you really the Doctor, or an impostor? Are
you wearing another woman’s dress?
The Doctor felt great pain in her legs. They
burned as if they were packed with barbed wire instead of muscle and bone. She
felt sick, worse than morning sickness. This was really bad. Her insides felt as if they were boiling. She had constant
muscle cramps in her arms and legs and period pain like her uterus had been run over by a Macc truck! She lost the baby as her body aborted her pregnancy. She hardly
noticed however and her body started to burn up from the inside. Her mind was
woozy, her thoughts jumbled up and confused like she had a terrible fever. She
lay down on the floor and simply gave up.
Solaria watched as the Doctor surrendered to death once more.
Almost there, one more should break
you to my will. In the mean time, let’s all go to the lobby, let’s
all go to the lobby and watch another treat.
Another day, if you could call it a day, inside the
TARDIS. Time did not flow inside this ancient paradoxical contraption. Instead time stood still an endless recycling of the
same moment romantically termed temporal grace. The most used part of this strange machine, which was used to travel through
time and space, was the console room. It held a sort of vitality about it; here inside this six-sided chamber was the centre
of activity. Here the control column rose and fell, like two giant blue chandeliers in a post watershed timeslot. On one wall
there were thousands of clocks, each one a different design from the last and each set to tell the time on a different world.
Another wall was a vast library holding millions of books from every world to have ever existed and quite a few that never
would exist either. There was a slightly overused rocking chair and in it sat the owner of this strange and wonderful machine.
He was known as the Doctor and although he might appear human to you, he comes from a far off world called Gallifrey with
orange skies and silver trees. See his slightly peculiar style of clothing, an unstarched white shirt with the collar and
cuffs unbuttoned and a green velvet waistcoat also unbuttoned. He taps his brown leather shoes to a tune only he can hear
and it’s a mesmerising melody of quiet energy and complex harmony.
The Doctor put down the book he had just finished reading
and he picked up a white and blue bone china cup. It contained the last few remains of a pot of tea and he drained the cup
before sighing slightly as it slipped down his gullet and into his stomach. He stood up, eyes darting around the console room,
eagerly searching for something else to target. Something else to satisfy his boundless curiosity, something to distract himself
from all of this quiet serenity. He spies an old teddy bear with a loose seam and the stuffing starting to pour out of it.
“We can’t leave you like this now can we?” He asks the bear. “We’ll soon have you as good as
new Mr. Bear.”
A noise, low and rumbling, filled the console room,
loose motes of dust from the high vaulted ceiling cascade down around the Doctor’s shoulders. “What is it old
girl?” He asks himself before turning to look at the jammed blue crystals of the time rotor. He tried to walk toward
the controls but his feet are held firm. He looks down at them but the floor seems to have covered his shoes. Slowly the floor
rises and he quickly deduces that he is in fact sinking. He lets go of the toy bear and tries to struggle, to free himself.
The cloister bell continues to chime as his hands are trapped in the glue like ripples of the floor. Soon his eyes are level
with the bears and he takes a last frantic gasp of air before his head is sucked under the grey floor.
The TARDIS is still; the only occupant is an old teddy
bear with a broken seam, with some of it’s stuffing lightly falling to the floor.
Tired hands clutched the data pad, loaded with the
complete texts and abstractions on Planetary Geology. She was tired; pulling a triple shift was for rookies and idiots they
all told her. She was a rookie but she wasn’t an idiot, she would need the extra pay once her contract was served. The
corporation was grooming her for a top slot but first they threw her into the deep end to see how well she could cope.
Nquo Wright’s hand relaxed as sleep overcame
her and she dreamed of a strange man with an annoyingly cute face.
Surface, rough, hard, dusty. The Doctor sits up quickly.
“Where am I?” He spoke, for the most part to hear his own voice. He shrugs and shakes his head before turning
around suddenly when someone replies to his question. “Who are you?” He asks.
“I am not a person as you understand the term.”
The elderly man replies as he steadies the visitor on unsteady feet.
The Doctor studies the man more carefully, a squint
in his beautiful blue eyes. “Unless I’ve hurt my head getting here, you’re a gestalt entity aren’t
The Man nods then shakes his head. “Of a sort,
but you’re still not thinking in the correct terms my friend.” The Man held his palm out. Floating above his outstretched
palm span a blue and green globe. “This is what I was, until they all but destroyed me.” He closed his hand into
a fist. “Now I am but a few million pieces of rubble and there’s no life for me to nourish anymore.”
The Doctor gasped. “You’re a planet!?”
He shook his head in disbelief.
“I was living soul of an ostentatiously planet
with pleasing vista, once upon a time.” The Man’s words were muted with sadness. “This rock you see me sitting
on is a mere fragment of what I was. Here in this empty wasteland beyond time and space I sit alone, exiled from eternity.
I called to you because I know that you may be the one to help them.”
“Me?” The Doctor asked. “How can
I help a dead planet?”
“By stopping it from dying.” The Man replied.
“They are still out there, those who destroyed me. One of my sisters is even now being threatened. You must save her
Doctor, you must save them all.”
The Doctor flinched as white light coiled from the
strange man’s eyes. “Return me to my TARDIS and I’ll travel there myself.” The Doctor started to protest
but before he could finish his sentence he was elsewhere.
The blaring of the approach klaxon woke Nquo up. She
splashed cold water onto her ebony face, she looked like hell in the mirror but they didn’t pay her to look pretty.
They paid her to do her job. She pulled the baggy over suit on over her skin-tight body suit. They didn’t pay for showers
here either. Once they landed on their next destination they would tap the water table to provide the necessary water for
showers. Maybe the ripeness of her quarters would lessen for a few weeks until they were on their way to the next planet.
She had another three years of this to look forward to; she didn’t want to think about it anymore.
They were going to let her land the ship, it was a
big responsibility. All part of the corporation’s policy to take a raw cadet and turn them into useable officers suited
for any and all tasks.
The gravity was less, much less. Less than half that
of his favourite planet called Earth. With a single leap he jumped up twenty feet into the air. He laughed as a startled bird
squawked with surprise at the sudden appearance of his head. Here the sky was a deep sea green and the yellow clouds drifted
by like tiny wisps of cotton wool.
Back on the ground now, the verdant carpet of moss
like vegetation was spongy underfoot. There were a few tree like plants, purple hued corkscrews of branches burst out in every
direction due to the low attractive power of gravity. He had just popped a red jelly baby in his mouth when a large but light
bundle of clothes and limbs flew straight into him, sending him sprawled out on the spongy ground.
“Watch where you’re going you clumsy idiot.”
Rashok snarled at the oaf whom he had collided with.
The Doctor disentangled himself from a second life
form. “Are you hurt?” He asked it with a slightly apologetic tone.
“Hey, you’ve got no wings.” The figure
resolved himself into a bat-like figure, dressed in a simple green tabard that had slits in the side to keep his wing membranes
unrestricted. The garment fastened around his ankles with small straps to preserve modesty against a sudden and revealing
“I’m the Doctor.” The Doctor shook
one of the large fingers of the wing. “I’m rather new to your world; it is very beautiful isn’t it?”
“I am Rashok, I am of the Assembly. What manner
of creature are you?”
“I’m a wanderer.” The Doctor grinned
and pulled out his bag of sweets. “Would you like one? They’re very bad for you, in a good sort of way.”
They passed through vineyards and orchards, past huge
fields of crops and fallow fields. All about this simple life was a respect for the land they used and the Doctor was more
than a little impressed. He bent down and plucked a small weed like flower. “I think I could spend a decade or three
just looking at this daisy.” He showed it to Rashok. “Isn’t this the daisiest daisy you’ve ever seen?”
He couldn’t help but grin at the simple display of beauty right in front of his eyes.
“Yes, it’s a very nice flower.” Rashok
returned his view to the long road in front of them. “You should save your strength for the long walk ahead of us.”
“If the rest of the journey is filled with daisies
only half as good as this on it will be the best time of my life. Lay on MacRashok, lay on.”
“Taking her in.” Nquo Wright dipped the
control stick slightly. “Descent trajectory is a-ok.”
“Keep the ship steady Miss Wright.” Captain
McGuire watched his small readout screen. “You’re doing fine; just keep your concentration steady. You can have
time for emotion once you’ve landed and done all the requisite checks.”
“Yes Sir.” Nquo pulled back just a fraction.
“Holding her steady sir.”
A shadow fell across the Doctor’s face and he
looked up to see a large ugly space ship flying ominously overhead like a great black bird of death. There was another and
another the sunlight was obscured by them and tiny points of light were all that could be seen of the bright sunny day.
“Remember to allow a minimum of fifteen thousand tonnes dead
weight upon landing; we can punch straight down into that vein of Trilateral Ore.”
“Yes sir.” Nquo answered. “One text
book landing coming up, as requested sir.”
“Don’t get cocky yet Miss Wright. Nice
and gentle.” He watched the approach; the angle of descent was perfect. “Dead weight due to velocity is falling
off nicely, don’t lose it in the last few seconds, I don’t want to have to strip you of your bonus after you’ve
done so well up to now.”
The first ship landed, it hit the ground with a thunderous
punch, throwing up many tonnes of dirt and rock in the process. Fragments of stone whizzed past their heads at lethal speed
as the Doctor and Rashok huddled together on the track way for mutual protection. After a few seconds the hail of tiny projectiles
ceased and the Doctor risked a glance. His eyes opened in disbelief when he saw a huge drill burying down into the planet’s
crust. “It’s started already.” He muttered quietly to himself. “I’m too late…”
Solaria didn’t bother with the rest of that memory.
Death is your constant companion, Doctor. It follows you everywhere you go. Why
not admit it? You’re in love with Death.
That’s why you let yourself die so often. How many ties have you
really died? Your people live forever, yet you burn through your lives like a
The Doctor awakened from her nap, she sat up, feeling refreshed and serene. She knew she had Solaria to thank for her return to good health.
Solaria was undefeatable, she knew this now, she could never win, didn’t want to either. Not now. Not now that she learned the truth. Solaria was the way, the path to real power. “I give
in!” The Doctor said suddenly. “You
win. I cannot stop you, only serve your will.”
Solaria poured a piece of herself into the Doctor, transforming her into her new Grand Paladin. Turning her into the leader of her armies. You are my fist.
The Fist of Solaria smiled as she donned her gold painted armour. This was her true destiny she thought. This was what she was
meant to be. Not a wanderer or a meddler but a warrior queen. She hefted her blade into the sky. “Let all those who
defy the will of Solaria burn in the fires of purification so that you can feast upon their souls.”
Solaria blinked and transported her fist through time and space to lead her horde into combat. The
endgame is upon us. Serve me well my champion, for you shall be the instrument
of my triumph. You could never have hoped to defeat me. Instead you serve me body and soul. My new Grand Paladin of
the Order of Solaria!