They were as one, two parts that had come together as one. The Doctor shifted
her slight body weight to her left foot while she explored the rock face with her right hand to find a handhold, find any
handhold. Her Lycra bodysuit clad figure was but a dot of silvery pink and light blue against the ruddy brown rock face as
she made her way up it slowly but surely. There were no ropes to prevent her plunging thousands of feet to a sticky, pancake
flat death but she had high hopes of success.
Overhead a grey and green helicopter circled lazily in the blue cloudless
sky. There were no markings on it of any kind and the thwop of the blades were unusually silenced in comparison to the commercial
and military standards of the time.
The Doctor looked up briefly but her concentration wavered and her right hand came
away from the rock surface. Then the rock where her left foot was wedged broke away and her right foot, which was in mid movement,
was no use. Only only the fingertips of her left hand left her suspended here. Acting quickly she searched the rock with her
right hand for anything to take some of the weight. Just before her fingertips lost their grip she found something and took
the weight on her right hand. She hauled her feet up and managed to find some grip and so she continued her ropeless ascent
of the rock’s surface.
One hand, then another appeared over the edge of the cliff and with one last effort the Doctor
pulled herself up onto the flattened top of the massive rock to safety. Overhead the helicopter circled closer and closer
until it came within half a dozen feet. A small metal tube was thrown at her feet before the helicopter ascended once more
and flew away. “Can’t I go anywhere without readers digest sending me junk mail?” She asked herself before
opening the metal tube. Inside she found a pair of dark sunglasses. “Great, now I can look just like Jackie Onassis.”
She muttered to no one in particular before putting them on.
“Doctor.” A voice spoke to her and images began
to appear in front of her eyes. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to prevent the Bolivian government
from exploiting the technology of a recently discovered alien spacecraft. You may pick three members of your own team, however
you must find and recruit Brazilian extraterrestrial biological entity expert Miguel Dom Perini.” A picture of him wearing
only a pair of red Speedo swimming trunks appeared on the glasses lenses before zooming in unnecessarily. “This message
will self destruct in five seconds.”
The Doctor quickly threw the glasses over the edge of the cliff where they exploded
out of sight to save money.
Back inside the familiar white roundelled walls of the TARDIS, the Doctor flicked though
several files on old friends and past acquaintances. Regardless of what the message said she’d be taking along Jean-Marc
and Penny. She needed to keep an eye on them, they were spending far too much time together alone for the Doctor’s own
good. Finally she whittled the selection down to her three.
No matter how hard the Doctor concentrated on tea she couldn’t
get the image of those red Speedos out of her head. Having set the TARDIS’s co-ordinates she headed slowly towards a
nice hot shower, to soothe her poor aching arm and leg muscles.
The Earl seemed very pleased with his new siege
weapons and Drax did like to provide a good service to his customers. The bolt thrower could hurl a steel capped tree trunk
clean through a five-foot thick stonewall as if it was not there.
“I trust his grace is pleased?” Drax asked
“Yes indeed.” Earl Robert replied with a smile on his face. “I shall defeat that upstart cur
in days with these mighty weapons.”
“Then there is only the matter of payment your grace, unless you require
even more machines of course.”
The Earl threw Drax a bad of gold coins. “Here take these. I shall have much
more when I sack that pretender’s bolthole.”
Drax bowed to the Earl and turned to leave when he walked straight
into the blonde haired form of the Doctor.
“Drax, showing your usual regard for non-intervention I see.” The
Doctor held out her hand. “I need your expertise Drax, I need you.”
Drax looked at the Doctor. “We’ll
have to collect my friend Lucy, she’s in my TARDIS.”
“We’ll have to drop her off somewhere Drax,
I need to keep the team as small as possible. I might have to Jean-Marc and Penny off with her too.” She would have
to find someone to keep an eye on those two, someone reasonably familiar with the word responsible at least.
very well.” Drax conceded. “Lets get going.”
There were just the two of them, just himself and
the fish. Carefully he rebaited the hook and cast it into the water once more, the reel screaming softly as the line played
out. Fishing was Mike Yates’ one remaining joy since resigning from Adama Security Services last year when it was found
they had been deliberately fitting dodgy alarm boxes. There had been a nasty stink in the local press and he was keeping his
head down, just wanting to be left alone. He had done the right thing in reporting them to the police and that was enough
for the firm to be wound up and several arrests made.
The fish bit, he fought it, letting it swim out and then reeling
it in when it tired. He repeated this twice more until the fish was exhausted and he landed it into the waiting net and let
it breathe water once more.
He turned around to see a middle-aged woman standing there in a bizarre
pink silk suit. “Who are you?” He asked, somehow she seemed very familiar.
“Seems like you haven’t
been to see Alistair in quite a while.” The Doctor stated. “Otherwise I’m sure he would have told you about
my new body.”
“Doctor?” Mike gasped in surprise. “I thought Liz Shaw was pulling my leg.”
well there’s no time for that ‘is it really you’ phase right now. I am the Doctor, be bewildered or not,
I need your help.”
“You need my help?” Mike asked. “I haven’t seen you since you were wearing
the most awful red and yellow outfit.”
“How come they all remember that one?” The Doctor asked herself.
“Must have been my natural charm I suppose.”
“I think I’ll remember this one a lot more.”
Mike said with a laugh. “You’re the only one I’ve ever fancied.”
The Doctor blushed as she remembered
red Speedos. “Er, the TARDIS is this way.” She finally said before leading the way over to the slightly battered
old police telephone box.
“Harder!” Claire shouted. “Yes, that’s it. Now do it again.”
more effort Haana managed to pound the nail into the super-thick machenite wall. Finally she hung the picture of Lucky on
the nail and she looked at it.
“Looks good.” Claire replied. “Now if only we can figure a way of taking
less than three days to drive a single nail into these walls?”
“Use Teflon coated nails.” The Doctor
revealed the secret as she stood in the open doorway smiling and holding a gift-wrapped teapot.
and Claire exclaimed together and rushed over to hug their dear friend.
“Told you both that you hadn’t seen
the last of me.” She said to them both before handing the teapot to Claire. “House warming gift, there’s
no time to get a good brew going though, as I have jobs for the two of you. Haana I need you for a risky dangerous mission
and Claire I need you for something even more dangerous.”
“Sounds mysterious Doctor.” Claire said as
she handed the half unwrapped teapot to Haana. “What is it?”
“I need you to look after Jean-Marc, Penny
and Lucy for me.” The Doctor replied. “I know it’s a lot to ask but who else to ask than my dear, best friend
“What will Haana be doing?” Claire demanded.
“Oh just risking her life in a game
of poker.” The Doctor replied casually.
“Poker?” Haana grinned. “Show me the cards.” She
was one of the Universe’s students of the game. If there was something she didn’t know then she would learn it
pretty darn fast. “Let’s go.” She gave Claire a good-bye kiss with only minimal ‘hands all over her
gorgeous body’ contact.
Claire felt that she had been given a bogus job, so she resolved to hold a party and invited
Leokai and Geokai over. This would be the most epic party in the history of epic parties. She would make treats for everyone
and maybe organise games too if they were behaved.
Haana found two blokes already in the TARDIS. “Hi Drax.”
She said to one of them, the one who had tried to steal her own time machine a few months ago. “Is this your fancy man
Doctor?” She asked, pointing at Mike. “I’m sure he’d fit the bill.”
“Mike and I are
old friends.” The Doctor replied. “He used to work under the Brigadier.”
asked. “He doesn’t seem that way.”
“He was a Captain in UNIT.” The Doctor explained to her
confused but eager former travelling companion.
“Oh I see.” Haana said. She had just been stringing the Doctor
along all the time. She turned to Mike and gave him a friendly smile. “So do you like this version of the Doctor then?
She’s certainly a change from the others isn’t she?”
“She’s certainly a lot mellower than
the three versions I’ve encountered.” Mike admitted. “Remember when I tried using your Bunsen burner to
make coco Doctor?”
“You nearly got yourself killed by that Auton doll.” The Doctor mused, remembering
old memories. “Good job you didn’t try making tea, I only have the one teapot back then.”
many do you have now Doctor?” Haana asked.
“Eight hundred and three.” The Doctor replied with an embarrassed
look. “Well you try finding the perfect teapot and then let Miss Clumsy and the Girl Blunder near it.”
there something we’re missing here?” Drax asked the Doctor and Haana.
“Nah, just girl talk.” The
Doctor replied. “I’ll be with you in a minute once we’ve discussed nail polish.”
Haana said with a stern look. “We’re supposed to be on this mission. Try gold it goes really well with your beige
The Doctor turned to Drax. “All done now.” She smiled sweetly at him and fluttered her eyebrows.
“Now what was the reason we’re all here again?”
Haana couldn’t stop herself laughing as the Doctor
laid on the dumb blonde act with a trowel.
Mike looked at Drax who just shrugged with bemusement. “What’s going
on Doctor?” He asked. “And why did you insist on buying me a pair of red Speedo swimming trunks before we picked
Jesus Eduardo looked at the report; all the tests were encouraging. If only he could decipher
the alien text, then their work would advance so much quicker. The capsule was a grey saucer-like object, almost 500 metres
wide in circumference and 250 metres high from the ground. There was no door that anyone could discern and no windows either.
Eduardo, Jesus’ wife of some thirty-eight years, greeted him. She was an expert in E.B.E.’s, having once worked
for the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. She had discovered their real purpose when she had been called out to investigate
rumours of alien beings in London
in 1969. It was her second week on the job and it has her job to debunk the whole thing. The things she had seen had made
her a believer for a lifetime especially when one of the tall silver aliens had tried to shoot at her with some sort of ray
Neither of them noticed when a crack formed in the hull of the UFO and a pale blue gas seeped out of it and into their
lungs. Of course by then it was far, far too late.
The party, what little there was of it, sucked so very much.
Penny and Jean-Marc were the only ones dancing although their minds were on something far more intimate. Lucy sat in the corner
nursing her fifth shot of vodka and Claire was wondering if anyone was ever going to have the jelly and ice cream she had
lovingly prepared in meal bar form.
“Anyone want cake?” She ventured experimentally before falling back on
the universal classic. “Chocolate?” That didn’t even register, and she nearly fainted with the shock.
like some tea and a scone.” A strangely familiar voice asked, from behind Claire’s turned back.
around, instantly fearing the very worst and she was not wrong when she saw President Romana standing there, dressed in an
early 90’s business suit. “Madame President, I can…err…explain.” Claire stammered as she tried
to find the right words.
“No need, no need, I’m off duty.” Romana looked around the room before looking
back at Claire. “Those Presidential robes are really itchy you know, I’m always glad to get back into something
much more comfortable. Are you having a party?”
Claire looked at the three party guests. “It is a good imitation
of one isn’t it? Those two haven’t broken contact in two hours and Lucy there is doing a great impression of a
Soviet Premier. The only bright spot is that Geokai and Leokai are very fashionably late…here in fact.” She smiled
with relief as they walked into the room.
“What kind of party is this?” Geokai asked, looking at the other
guests. “It’s not one of those weird ones where we all have to sit around in a circle and someone spins a bottle
Claire tried not to look too distressed with sheer panic. “Of course not.” She said quickly.
Geokai said and put the empty bottle she was carrying on the nearby table. “Never mind then.”
respectfully to President Romana. “Madam President, it’s an honour to see you.”
Romana smiled at the
young Time Lord. “It’s ok, I’m off duty. Just call me Romana, don’t call me Romy though, or Fred.
I’d have to thrown out of the Capitol if you did that.”
Claire decided to send part of herself away for a few
seconds to take treats for Haana and the others. She wanted to make sure they didn’t get too wound up on their secretive
The Doctor finished off her lecture, walking slowly around the main console. “We need to be alert
and ready for action at all time.” She looked up to see Haana, Drax and Mike all eating ice cream cones. “Ok,
how did you get those?” She demanded.
Haana pointed to the console where a fourth cone rested inside a loped metal
holder. “Claire delivered them while you were busy boring us to death.”
The Doctor nibbled on the chocolate
flake bar, savouring its rich, smooth, crumbly texture. “Well that was awfully sweet of her but totally irresponsible
too, she’s supposed to be keeping an eye on everyone else.”
“She’s a lot more responsible than
you give her credit for.” Haana replied. “She stepped out of time to deliver these, she was literally in two places
“Isn’t that awfully dangerous?” The Doctor asked her recently graduated chum.
shook her head. “Nah, but this adventure would have been over ages ago if she wasn’t so busy being the nanny.”
looked at Drax. “My Doctors’ very a lot different to this one, one of them even made some sort of sense from time
Drax nodded. “I liked the first one myself, then again this one’s not so different from him.
They’ve always been stubborn, arrogant and over protective. Believe me even this one can get quite stern at times.”
can believe it” Mike laughed as the Doctor gave them her best Ann Robinson look.
said simply and smiled at Jesus. That one word summoned up her entire being now. “Sheer Bliss.”
back. “Indeed.” He took her in his arms and they kissed.
“Shall we kill them all now?” Maria asked.
“Or shall we save some for later?”
Haana was curious why she had to change into a black silk ninja outfit,
apart from feeling foolish it was riding up and giving her a wedgie. “Why do we have to look like this?” She finally
had to ask out loud. “Can’t I just wear a see through body stocking?”
The Doctor shook her head. “These
were on sale, buy one get one free. I was lucky they had our sizes in stock, the shop floor was beginning to resemble a rugby
scrum.” She sat down on a Chippendale chair while Haana braided her long platinum blonde hair into something manageable.
“I hope the two boys will be ok, I had to guess Drax’s size.”
“I’m sure they’ll be
fine.” Haana replied, tying the ends of the Doctor’s hair off with a pink ribbon. “I saw you giving that
soldier guy the eye earlier on, is there something worth gossiping about there? We’ve got a few spare minutes, we haven’t
had a proper girlie talk since I got here.”
“There’s not gossip.” The Doctor said, then realising
she had replied to quickly and too obviously. “Well he’s an old friend, we’re both grown adults and well
you do want some one your own age to talk to from time to time.”
Haana nodded slowly. “That’s true, although
you’re either two thousand years older than he is or fifty years younger. Either way it’s totally gross and perverted,
still go on my girl!”
The Doctor blushed. “We’re just good friends really, just two acquaintances meeting
up again after a few years and I bet he’d look great in those red Speedo’s I bought him.”
Haana put her
hand on the Doctor’s forehead. “I think you’ve got something.”
“Already?” The Doctor
asked. “I thought it wouldn’t be as quick as that.”
Haana shook her head. “No, no, no. I think
you have a fever. Something’s affecting your reasoning, I think you’ve been knobbled.”
I thought it was quick.” The Doctor sat down slowly on her bedside chair. “I wonder if it will be a boy or a girl.”
threw her hands in the air in despair. “Not knobbled like that, Rassilon you’re almost as bad as me. No, I mean
someone or something is trying to incapacitate you.” Haana put her hand over the Doctor’s mouth before she could
say anything else. “Now look, this is a family show so either quit the Haanaisms or they’ll give this a 15 rating.”
She waited until the Doctor nodded her head in agreement.
The party had gone even further down hill. Leokai was
attempting to chat up Lucy while Geokai and Romana were having a contest to see who could eat the most jelly and ice cream
bars in ten minutes. Claire shuddered to think of their waistlines given the amounts both of them had put away so far.
had changed outfits in a couple of seconds so he politely waited while his new human friend Mike got changed. “The thing
about most bank vaults is that there’s no challenge. I’ve had to submit over a hundred modifications to the manufacturer’s
over the years just so I don’t loose practice.”
Mike looked at Drax. “Why don’t you turn your talents
to something more constructive? You could help a lot of people.”
Drax smiled at his human friend. “You wouldn’t
be saying that if we got trapped inside a bank vault. I’m beginning to think that if it weren’t for me crime would
be more commonplace on your planet. Perhaps I’ve helped a lot of people that way?” He shrugged and turned his
attention to a small plastic cube with six sides, each one a different colour. “This is one of those cubes the Doctor
thinks is a sign of your people’s mental prowess.” He smiled in admiration before mixing all the colours up and
returning it back to its original solved format.
Mike gasped when he saw the speed with which Drax solved the Rubik’s
cube. “No wonder the Doctor got you assigned to this mission.”
Drax put the cube back down where he found it.
“Somehow I didn’t think it was just for my good looks, charm and sense of humour.” He looked at Mike in
his black silk outfit. “Yes, well never mind, perhaps you can wear a belt of some sort?”
Mike fished into his
small day bag and drew out a gun belt and began to fasten it around his waist. “I thought ahead Drax, my old service
revolver. Strictly on the QT, the Brigadier sent it to me after my discharge.” He took the revolver out of its holster,
opened the breech and checked to make sure it was clear before slowly loading six rounds into it. “This is almost like
old times, I always hated guns you know. I really hope I never have to use this again.” He put the revolver back in
the holster and pressed the press-stud catch closed. “Right then, that’s us ready. You know, I could really do
with a pint of mild right about now.”
Maria Eduardo found one of their underlings, an inferior in every way.
He was assigned to analyse the craft, however his work was now done. She kissed the man on the lips and laughed as his body
began to loose cohesion and his remains splattered on the floor with a splat. “Bliss.” She crooned at the liquid
inside the crumpled clothes and white coat before looking for another to bestow her lavish attentions on.
remembered the reason why she had paid Claire and the others at the party a reason. “I’ve just remembered! I need
a few people to give me a hand. I have a small problem and I’d rather not mention it to anyone who could be spying for
the High Council.” She smiled slightly when she realised she had their undivided attention. “There’s this
small problem, the diplomatic delegation from Alpha Centauri has been taken hostage by the Mercuroids.”
and held onto Leokai to prevent herself from falling over. “No, not the Mercuroids!” She said in a deadpan manner
before looking at the others. “What?” She asked defensively when she saw their disdainful looks. “What?”
My Little Pony teapot was warmed, the tea bags lay inside the pot like small brown pillows, just waiting for the boiling hot
water to cascade down upon them and give them purpose. The water came finally, a slow steady stream at first that slowly built
up into a torrent until the teapot was judged to have just the right amount of water inside it. A quizzical eye inspected
the contents carefully, making sure each tea bag was giving its all to the cause. Satisfied the eye drew back and the Doctor
put four cup and saucers on the table.
Haana got the spoons, sugar and milk ready for the boys when they decided to put
in an appearance. Honestly why did it take them so long to get ready? What were they doing in there, shaving each beard hair
individually? It was a mystery no woman should ever find out, not that she actually had much interest in the matter anyway.
It was just polite interest in her colleague’s slowness.
The Doctor weighed out her sugar with scientific accuracy,
exactly the right volume of sugar on the spoon. No more and no less or it would be ruined. “What do you want Haana?”
She asked her companion.
Haana looked astonished at the Doctor. “You’ve forgotten already? Milk, one lump and
The Doctor nodded her head slowly in remembrance. “Of course, I must be going balmy in my old age.
It was Claire who insisted on eight sugars wasn’t it?”
“That’s my girl.” Haana laughed on
the outside while pining for Claire on the inside. “I hope she’s ok, she’s never had any baby sitting experience
and she’s only slightly more responsible than I am.”
The Doctor went from reassured calm to blind terror and
then on to inner turmoil with in a second. “I had no idea, I thought she was the sensible one.”
“Relax Doctor, you’ll give yourself a stroke. Claire will be fine, although it won’t matter too much if
one of them looses an arm or a leg will it?” She laughed when she saw panic grip the Doctor’s hearts once more.
“Only kidding, you really need to chill out Doctor. Maybe see a Guru or have a romance with your dolly soldier.”
She smiled at the Doctor as Drax and Mike walked into the kitchen on cue.
The Doctor stood up. “Ah there you are,
well sit down, sit down. The tea’s just about ready.” She really wanted to play the last post for the sacrifice
the tea bags had made but felt it would be all together inappropriate. Instead she tried to sit down on Mike’s lap.
and Drax shrugged their shoulders together and smiled at the Doctor’s behaviour. “Tea.” Haana prompted the
Doctor after a few seconds.
“Oh…yes.” The Doctor stood up and began to pour the reddish brown nectar.
“If you want more just say, there’s plenty for everybody.” Her hand brushed lightly against Mike’s
as she put his cup and saucer down in front of him. Hundreds of pairs of red Speedos filled her head for a few seconds.
Eduardo took the young scientist by the wrist and pressed his lips against hers. She was only an intern really, assigned to
them by the government so that she could learn in the field, well that was the past now, a more exciting fate had befallen
her. Her screams of pleasure increased into a continual exhalation of sheer ecstasy as she felt her body being reduced to
a lifeless liquid state. Jesus blew the discarded remains a kiss before walking off, in search of the few remaining people
inside the building.
They hurried casually down the various corridors of the Capitol towards Romana’s office,
passing though the Panopticon more times than logically possible. Everyone wondered how Jean-Marc could run with Penny’s
hands inside his t-shirt like that but they were too polite to take the enquiry any further.
The TARDIS landing
chime sounded finally and the Doctor allowed Haana to perform the routine checks. She read out the results and gave her own
commentary on them. “Atmosphere, Nitrogen and Oxygen mix other trace gases. Gravity a little under Gallifrey normal,
which means a little less sagging than usual. Temperature is a little high but nothing uncomfortable and no radiation at all.
We must be inside some heavy shielding.”
“Well, lets get this gang of misfits moving.” The Doctor said
and looked at everyone as they stared at her. “Ok, ok, lets go to work.” There was still no response from them.
“Please?” They almost knocked her over as they rushed the door.
Haana waited for the Doctor to stagger out
of the TARDIS. “How easy do you want me to go on them then? Slow and steady or total onslaught?”
shook her head and tutted. “Haana, this is a game of poker. It’s not a punch up in a seedy space bar.” The
Doctor looked around the dirty and rusty steel walls of the bar and wished the place invested some money in curtains and throw
“Total onslaught then.” Haana decided with a wry smile before putting her game face on. “They
don’t stand a chance.”
Romana’s office was just as Claire had left it, apart from the sudden
mass of documents to be filed on her desk. “Where did they come from?” She gasped in horror.
a run on closed session, private meetings.” Romana explained. “They’ve all got to be filed by tomorrow,
I was waiting for a more opportune time to tell you Claire. Sometime next week to be precise.”
Geokai muttered darkly
when Claire fainted on top of her.
The game was simple, straight poker. No wildcards, that was good. It was hard
enough playing the game normally without a random element thrown in. She breezed through the early hands on autopilot, winning
slightly more than she lost which was only to be expected. She watched the cards like a hawk, making sure none of them went
astray into the hands of any of the other players. She really didn’t like it when her opponents cheated; it made counting
the cards that bit harder. She was out of practice however; it had been a very long time since she had played a serious game.
The last time had been just after she had gone off on her own with Penny for a couple of months. It had been during that April
Fools prank Penny didn’t find so amusing. However she did fix her up with Jean-Marc to make up for that in the end.
Doctor continually mopped Mike’s brow as the game continued, these black silk suits were really uncomfortable and his
human physiology was having a hard time coping. “Why don’t you sit down?” She whispered to him after a short
while. “I’ll get us all some iced tea.” She wondered if Mike would like a ham and pickle sandwich too or
maybe a kebab with all the trimmings.
Drax watched Haana as she began to slowly but surely creep ahead in the winning money
department. She was still throwing the odd game, giving into bluffs deliberately but naturally. “I hope she doesn’t
loose her nerve.” He whispered to Mike. “We need this security code to get into that research base.”
smiled at Drax. “I hope she wins too, I’d hate to have to shoot anyone never mind kill them. I gave all this up
years ago when I left UNIT.”
“Why did you say yes then when the Doctor asked you?” Drax asked.
battered me into submission with her eyelashes.” Mike joked. “She’s the Doctor, I owe all of them a rather
large debt for saving my life countless times.” He took his iced tea from the Doctor when she returned.
to watch Haana as she slowly applied the pressure on the human guards and scientists. If only there was another way to get
inside the research complex without triggering countless defences…
“Claire.” Everyone but Claire
nominated her to meet the Mercuroid representative.
“Hey.” Claire exclaimed. “Why me? I’m not a
diplomat.” She tried to edge sideways to the door but Leokai cut off her escape.
“It’s your duty Claire.”
Romana stated. “There’ll be a huge pay rise in it for you, and you can have more responsibilities. How would you
like to be deputy Cardinal?”
Claire thought about it for a few seconds before trying a Bill Goldberg shoulder tackle
on Leokai. “Let me out of here!” She screamed.
“Ok, ok. A full Cardinalship and that’s my best
offer.” Romana extended her hands towards Claire. “Please help me, help Gallifrey?”
Claire said reluctantly, promising herself she wouldn’t misuse the Guardian’s powers to help her dear friend.
“I want that in writing with your Presidential seal before I risk life and limb.” She did a double take when Romana
produced the document from her jacket pocket. “That was a little fast wasn’t it?” She asked suspiciously
before reading the wording closely.
Haana got suspicious when the cards started turning up in the wrong order.
They must be getting suspicious, no worry though she still knew this game inside out, upside down and back to front. She punished
them by calling their bluff twice and taking a small fortune from the next three hands.
“What’s she doing?”
The Doctor asked the guys.
“She’s winning.” Mike replied.
“Is that good?” Drax wondered.
“What if she scares them off?”
“I think she’s doing it to shake them a little, get them fired up
to try and win their money back.” Mike replied to Drax.
“So she’ll probably loose the next hand?”
The Doctor asked Mike.
“Yes.” Mike whispered, but she’ll make them work for it. “An easy win would
make them highly suspicious. It’s almost like being back at Sandhurst. I used to watch the weekly
poker game back then, I had far too much sense to take part myself. I wanted to become a soldier not a gambler.”
newly promoted Cardinal Claire Mason, special presidential envoy for diplomatic crises, edged down the corridor to where the
Mercuroids had taken refuge with their Alpha Centauri hostages. All she had to do was persuade the Mercuroids give up their
hostages and surrender to Gallifreyan justice, which meant vaporisation. Shada was awfully overcrowded these days after they
had arrested the Skaro Eight Million. She absolutely definitely, positively was not going to use Guardian powers at all to
resolve the situation, maybe. If they started firing ray guns at her she may have to use a force field to prevent any damage
to her favourite little black dress. “Hello, is there anyone there?” She called out after a while. She didn’t
want to scare them by sneaking up on one of them and having them open fire all over the place. Romana would frown on that
sort of thing; she might even demote her back down to secretary.
Geokai tried to prise one of the vodka bottles
from Lucy; she felt that it would serve more use if she tried some of it. She only got a few mouthfuls of the clear drink
before Lucy punched her in the face and took it back. She squinted her eyes before trying to seduce Jean-Marc who turned out
to be one of Castellan Andred’s guards. Still she continued her attempts to remove his uniform with only her teeth,
he was pretty cute after all. Luckily for everyone else in the room she passed out into an alcoholic coma.
was it...she was playing for keeps now. Haana studied her opponent closely. He had staked his security clearance after one
drug laced iced tea too many, courtesy of the Doctor. She knew he had nothing, he was being suspiciously over-confident with
the bluff but she had a lot of cash to play with. She could afford to squeeze him for more but that was not the mission. “I’ll
call.” She said finally and laid down her cards for him to see. She all but grinned as his cocky sneer turned into the
panic of defeat. “My game I think.”
The Doctor watched Haana scooping up her winnings; she slipped the security
pass into the leg pocket of the outfit, just in case things turned ugly.
Mike held the small bag open for Haana to put
her winnings into. “That was quite a performance Haana. You should do this for a living, we could make a small fortune.”
shook her head. “Much as I love the game I love Claire far more. What do we do now?” She asked the Doctor.
Doctor walked over to a small side door and unlocked it with a hair clip. “This way, according to the building’s
blueprints.” She led them down a small steel staircase that descended into inky darkness.
Drax pulled out a small
pocket torch and began to use it to illuminate their progress. “Let there be light.” He said casually before almost
tripping over a dead body on the stairs.
Mike quickly checked the corpse; the middle-aged woman was quite dead. A self-inflicted
gunshot wound to the head. “If this is the preference I’d hate to see the alternative.”
you mean?” Haana asked. “Isn’t there a note?”
Mike shook his head. “This wasn’t planned.
Look at how she’s laid out, it’s as if she was fleeing something and shot herself before it got to her. That’s
one thing I wish I hadn’t learned from UNIT field-work, one of a number of things in fact.”
The Doctor put
her hand on Mike’s shoulder. “What seems right at the time may not hold true later on. Life is full of regrets
but know this; you are one of the best people that I know. You prize truth, honesty and respect, three things that people
sometimes forget from time to time.” She almost kissed him but managed to find some sort of control over her emotions.
knocked on the door and then politely asked them to let her in. “I’m President Romanadvoratrelundar’s special
envoy. I’m here to listen to whatever you wish to tell me.” She heard furniture being moved from behind the door
and then it opened up. She gulped when she got her first sight of a Mercuroid, a tall red-skinned humanoid dressed in a black
and green figure-hugging suit. His ten eyes all stared coldly at her when she walked into the room. She wondered if it was
true about the relationship between the size of the horns growing out of the sides of his head and the size of his intellect.
“Hi there, I’m Cardinal Claire Mason but you can call me Claire.” She got flustered when she saw a Mercuroid
female’s lipstick, bright purple. She had to get Haana some by the end of today.
“Hello Claire.” The
Mercuroid leader, known as Yip, replied. “Our demands are simple, give us time travel or we kill everyone on this planet.”
thought about this for a second. “Well I believe the simple answer is no. You’re not ready for it.”
the first hostage please Yop.” Yip commanded.
“Yes my lord.” The female Mercuroid, called Yop, replied
and slinked off.
Claire was appalled by this disregard of life. “No, please don’t kill anyone.”
us access to Time then.” Yip demanded.
“Why?” Claire asked. “Why do you want to travel through
Yip paused for a few seconds. “We want time travel because we were paid to come here and get it. We
always succeed with our contracts.”
“What will you do if all your hostages are dead?” Claire asked Yip.
“With no hostages how long do you think you will last? They’ll massacre you all and what for? A pay cheque you’ll
The security door opened once the pass card had been run through the simple locking mechanism’s
scanner. The lab itself was a vast dimly lit affair, with huge steel pillars supporting a ceiling that was lost in the inky
blackness above. It all seemed deserted but they didn’t want to take any chances, so they put the hoods of their outfits
on. Well the Doctor insisted and no one wanted to upset her. Drax stepped in something and recoiled when he realised it was
the remains of someone. “What the Other does this to someone?” He asked before retching a couple of times.
Doctor inspected the remains. The name badge identified the remains as Miguel Dom Perini. So much for trying to recruit him
to their cause then. She promised herself that those who did this would not go without an acidic comment or two from her.
“Total liquidation of the body, the cellular energy that holds the body together has been drained. I can only hope they
didn’t suffer in their last few seconds.”
Haana found the saucer; it was a painfully bad design. If
she didn’t recognise it for the Dalek saucer she knew it was she would have thought it was a deliberate hoax. There
was some sort of gunk around the door seal, it was too encrusted and radiation blasted to make an accurate guess but she suspected
it had been part of a living being at one point. She began to search around for something to open the door with. A sink plunger
would be ideal, but she could improvise something if necessary.
The Doctor looked at Drax. “I’ve seen something
like this before.”
“Why am I not surprised?” Drax asked with a smile. “We’ve all seen a lot
since leaving Gallifrey all those years ago.”
“You’ve seen this too?” The Doctor asked.
Cybermen have a few androids that can liquidise human flesh, very nasty. They killed Lucy’s parents that way. She still
has the nightmares, poor thing.”
The Doctor shook her head. “This is far more complete that that crude weapon.”
She picked a small sample up on a glass slide. “See how easily it pours? No lumps of unaffected matter at all.”
felt like retching again. “What did this then.”
The Doctor stood up. “There’s only one thing I’ve
encountered that can cause this. Bliss.”
“Bliss?” Drax asked. “They died because they were very
happy?” He was, to say the least, more than a little confused by the Doctor’s words.
The Doctor slowly shook
her head. “Bliss is a vast entity that permeates every dimension. It drains whole worlds at a time to feed itself. Some
of the lucky survivors it spares worship it as a god.”
“Can it be killed?” Drax pondered.
The Doctor smiled wistfully. “Nothing lasts forever, does it? Except maybe the Inland Revenue.”
found a sink plunger in a store cupboard and made her way back over to the Dalek saucer. She found Mike there, inspecting
“UNIT has one of these stored away somewhere secure in Northumberland. We never could get it open so we encased
it in molten lead and then concrete before burying it underground. That’s the Brigadier’s idea of secure at least.”
He ran his fingers over the smooth surface of the saucer’s underbelly.
Haana smiled and handed Mike the plunger.
“Today’s your lucky day then. Press this on the slightly raised sensor plate.” She stood back and waited
for the former soldier to open the saucer up. She couldn’t hold herself back and she laughed out loud when a great dollop
of green goo fell onto him, covering him from head to toe in it.
Claire felt something and the familiar white haired
figure of the White Guardian stood next to her. She was drawn out of time into the realm between tick and tock. “I’m
glad you turned up boss, I promised myself I wouldn’t misuse your power. However I need to save those poor hostages.”
White Guardian shook his head. “There are no hostages, there never were. These…individuals killed them straight
Claire felt herself go weak at the knees. “Romana is not going to like that, she wanted me to resolve
this quietly with no loss of life.” She looked at the Guardian. “I suppose there’s no point asking you to
restore them back to life is there?”
“None.” The Guardian replied sadly. “It is not the Guardian’s
place to interfere in the affairs of mortals, however much my brothers of ebony and crystal disagree.”
at Yip. “Romana will vaporise them when she finds out what they have done. Is it right that we let them die?”
Guardian put his arm around his confused servant’s shoulder. “You’re still so very young child. We serve
law and order. We cannot let crimes go unpunished can we?
Claire looked at Yip. “No we cannot, but where does punishment
end and revenge begin?”
“Inside the heart.” The Guardian replied. “That is why you have a conscience.”
felt Time begin again once the Guardian vanished. She glared at Yip. “Don’t play games anymore Yip. Those poor
Alpha Centauri are dead aren’t they?”
“Yes.” Yip said shocked that his secret had been discovered.
“We have you as hostage though.”
“I will give you what you want.” Claire replied, a tear trickling
from each eye. She summoned up the correct energies and pushed Yip and his followers into a bubble of time, trapping them
forever inside a time loop of less than a nanosecond. “Justice is served” Claire managed to say before Yip and
his people vanished, imprisoned forever in the past. Her knees gave way and she fell to the floor, curled up into a ball for
The Doctor tried to scrape the worst off of Mike with a couple of lab coats found hanging up nearby.
She had tried to urge Haana and Drax to exercise caution but they had just barged into the Dalek Saucer regardless of her
warnings. It wasn’t fair, she wanted to be the first inside to see if her intuition was right or not.
from the saucer and vomited all over the floor. “It’s awful inside there.” She said finally after she had
wiped the lumps of carrot from her chin. “Dozens of dead Daleks, they exploded inside their casings.”
did not smile despite her intuition being proved right. “We have to destroy the ship.” She cupped her hands around
her mouth. “Set the engines to overload Drax.”
“Will it be enough to destroy the base as well?”
“Probably.” The Doctor replied. “I doubt if anything remaining will be salvageable anyway.”
Drax emerged from the saucer and had a few moments of nausea, they made their way back towards the TARDIS.
looked down at the shivering figure of Claire. “Hey there Claire, it’s ok now.” She helped the human woman
to her feet. “You will have a couple of tons of files to process shortly, now that Andred and the rest of the High Council
have found out about this unpleasantness. They’ll all want to commission reports and I’ll have to sigh them and
you file them. It’s a vicious cycle.”
Unpleasantness? Claire didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
friend Geokai has been arrested for attempting to strip a guard naked, its for her own safety really until the alcohol passes
from her system.”
Claire stood up. “They killed the Alpha Centauri delegation in cold blood. They murdered
“Did you kill the Mercuroids?” Romana asked Claire.
Claire shook her head. “No, I gave
them exactly what they wanted.”
“Time travel?” Romana gasped.
Claire shook her head again. “I
gave them justice. I trapped them inside Time forever.” Sickened with the day’s events she just wanted to have
a shower to get rid of the dirt she felt was all over her skin.
The Doctor took out the key for the TARDIS as they
approached its reassuring blue form. However two figures stepped out of the shadows and stood in front of the doors. “I
was wondering when you would put in an appearance.” The Doctor did the introductions. “Mike, Drax, Haana these
are two people infected by the Bliss.”
Maria and Jesus smiled and held out their arms. “No more games Doctor,
you shall not escape us again.” They spoke in perfect unison.
The Doctor began to laugh. “Do you really think
I hadn’t been suspecting this all along? Don’t you think I wouldn’t make preparations? I know how to defeat
you Bliss, you were the one who fell into my trap.”
The Eduardo’s looked at each other before returning their
gaze to the Doctor. “There will be another time Doctor.”
“I’ll be waiting Bliss.” The Doctor
looked sternly at the two possessed humans when they suddenly started to kiss. “No!” The Doctor gasped. “You
could spare their lives!”
Jesus and Maria Eduardo died in each other’s arms, their bodies melting together
into one puddle of flesh. The blue vapour of Bliss shot upwards through the steel roof and out into the vast empty wastes
of the Cosmos.
“There should have been another way!” The Doctor shouted at herself. “I should have found
a way to save them.”
Haana tried to comfort the Doctor once they were inside the TARDIS. “Did you really mean
what you said about knowing how to defeat them?”
The Doctor shook her head. “No, it was a bluff. I was hoping
that the Bliss would just leave but it called my bluff didn’t it.” She set the controls to return them to Gallifrey
and their friends.
Drax whispered to Mike. “You should say something to her.”
Haana pointed a finger at
Mike and told the Doctor to loosen up. Then she walked over to Drax. “I hope those pills I gave to Penny, to put in
the Doctor’s tea, will do the trick. The Doctor really needs a bit of romance in her life. No one should be alone for
as long as she’s been. It was a lot harder getting soldier guy to order that supply of iron tablets though, I can tell
Drax looked at Haana when it sank in. “You set them up?”
Haana smiled. “Slap a pair of
wings on me and call me Cupidette.” She smiled sweetly before showing the image of the swimming pool on the viewing
screen in the console room.
“She’ll kill you when she finds out.” Drax joked. “You should make
it look like the Rani’s handiwork.”
“Who do you think I got the love potion from? I stole it from her
lab when she was distracted.”
Penny and Jean-Marc found the Doctor strangely relaxed when she returned to
find them waiting for Geokai to be released from her cell. Penny deduced that Operation: Doctor must have been a success finally.
on you two.” The Doctor beamed at the darling, precious children. “Penny! Get your hands out of Jean-Marc’s
shirt this instant!” She relented a bit and let them hold hands.
Drax found Lucy crashed out and comatose. She was
a very nice person but the pain of seeing her parents killed was still too much for her. He would be there for her when she
could finally talk about it. Gently he picked her unconscious figure up and carried it back towards the TARDIS, he needed
to hitch a lift with the Doctor back to where his own time machine was located.
Claire threw her arms around Haana and
hugged her tightly. “I missed you so very much. I have so much to tell you.”
“As do I.” Haana replied.
“First though I need a shower, I need to get the smell of dead person out of my skin.”
Claire threw Haana a
towel. “I’ll just pop out and get us both a Big Mac and chips.” She vanished in a flash of white and reappeared
a second later, food in hand.
The Doctor waved to Drax and Lucy as they walked over to his own TARDIS and vanished
inside of it. “I do hope Lucy gets well soon.” She looked at Penny and Jean-Marc. “What is it?”
a bloke in the swimming pool.” Jean-Marc said to the Doctor. “He says that he wants his swimming trunks back.”
Doctor pulled Mike’s red Speedo’s out of her jacket pocket. “Oh yes.” She pulled her own pink and
white swimming costume out of her other pocket and left the console room in a hurry. “I could be some time.” She
called back to her companions as she hopped down the corridor on her left foot while trying to undo the ankle straps on her
Penny high-fived Jean-Marc before they went to see to the needs of their own relationship, which involved a
lot of kissing and listening to Barry White and Isaac Haynes songs.
beyond Time, Space, Death and Reality in the seventeenth dimension that would one day be known as Colour the Bliss flashed
red and purple with seething anger, it had been tricked by that speck of life called the Doctor. This could not be tolerated,
it turned green and ochre as another plan began to formulate slowly in its vast, oblique, alien consciousness.