Doctor Who: Red Right Hand – Episode One

strh

So, against all odds, I’m suddenly addicted to kaiju films. I’m seriously considering starting a global art movement where you splice Raymond Burr into everything. It’s randomness – nothing to do with this at all. But, where else am I going to memorialize Post-modern Rayburrinsertionism?

Anyway, back to the episode. I very nearly rewrote several parts of this story, then decided to leave as is. I was worried that eventually the dialog regarding the idiocy of the social media revolution would be dated. I was a fool. At the time I wrote this, I had not seen “The Space Museum”, and so when my epic Doctor Who marathon of dreams began (being my intention to watch, or read the screenplay/novelization of, every Doctor Who episode in existence), I was immediately concerned that I may have inadvertently aped something from actual canon. I actually had conceived of the Kelvaxan Reliquary specifically as a way to express the idea that though every thing is eventually obsolete, its soul can never die. Chuck Taylor All-Star’s will disappear one day and no one will care – except that one guy centuries from now who will have a preserved pair, right next to his Jack Purcells, in a crusty hovel on Titan.

1. History Lessons

“Funny story, this,” the Doctor explained as he leaned out the door of the TARDIS. He held on tightly to the door frame and extended a small paper tube towards a billowy pink substance, just outside the blue police box. Below him was open space, an endless sea of stars.

“There was this Sontaran I knew that was a terrific gambler,” he said, moving the tube in circles as the pink substance clung to it in lumps. “Could never let a bet go by him. Made a horrible warrior, and I suppose that’s why they exiled him.”

Behind the Doctor, Amy and Rory, his two companions were bent over the small screen of Rory’s cellphone.

“Still, being a Sontaran, he couldn’t help but want to battle something, so he builds a small strikeforce of mercenaries and starts taking over systems, one by one.” The Doctor continued his tale as he swirled more of the pink fluff around the tube. Once that tube held a significant amount of the fluffy substance on it, he secured it by sticking one end into a pocket, then he began with another fresh paper tube. “Naturally, I couldn’t let him do that any more so I offered him a wager. I told him I could create a nebula made completely of cotton candy – ridiculous doesn’t even begin to describe the odds against me, and he took the bet. The stakes were that if I won, he would retire from marauding, and if he won, I’d stop giving him problems.”

The two companions burst out in laughter behind him. The Doctor, assuming they were listening to his story smiled and prepared for the ending to his tale.

“And so, one supercharged matter replicator set to infinitely replicate replicators replicating replicators replicating cotton candy placed right at the center of a sun going supernova was all I needed,” the Doctor said, gathering a final bit of fluff. In one motion, he pulled himself into the TARDIS, shut the doors, and held two generous clouds of pink cotton candy before him. “And voila! Goodbye Sontaran, and hello cotton candy for all!”

Both Amy and Rory were rolling on the floor laughing. The Doctor beamed a toothy smile at them, pleased with the reaction his story had garnered. He soon realized, as his smile turned to a frown, that the two companions’ mirth was coming from something else.

“Look you two,” he said chidingly. “I’m showing you a fantastic marvel of the universe, that I happened to have created I might add, and you’re bent in half over a cellphone not even paying attention.”

“What Doctor?” Amy asked, wiping tears from her eyes.

“Cotton candy!” the Doctor shouted. “It’s a nebula you can eat!”

“Oh right, sorry Doctor,” Rory apologized, taking the cotton candy that was offered. “It’s just one of my mates posted this insane video.”

“May I see it?” the Doctor asked, seemingly interested.

Rory handed over his phone. “Just hit play. It’s absolutely hilarious, Doctor. You’ll love it.”

“Oh, I’m sure I will love this,” the Doctor said cryptically, pacing back towards the TARDIS doors. He watched the video for a few moments and as the video ended he expelled a brief, “Ah.”

“Well? What do you think?” Amy queried.

“It’s a man being headbutted in the crotch by a toddler,” the Doctor stated flatly.

“It’s brilliant, right?” Rory said, still chuckling to himself.

“Rory,” the Doctor said, opening the TARDIS doors to reveal the Cotton Candy Nebula, “this is brilliant.”

Turning towards the doors, the Doctor wound up. With a throw that would make a professional cricketer take notice, he launched Rory’s phone into space where it quickly began to gather a cloud of cotton candy around it.

“Doctor!” the companions shouted in unison.

“What did you do that for?” Amy said bitterly. “Where’s your sense of humor?”

“Where’s your sense of perspective?” the Doctor countered angrily. “Hello! You’re in a time machine. You’ve got infinite wonders, astounding possibilities, amazing sights to behold out these two simple doors and you’re giggling over a video of slapstick garbage.”

Quickly, he stalked over to the two companions and took the cotton candy from them – Rory was in mid-bite. “You don’t deserve these,” he said, stalking back to the doors and chucking the tasty treats back into the nebula.

“Doctor, you’re being childish,” Amy said, with a hint of a smile.

“I’d say he was being rude,” Rory quipped. “That was an expensive phone.”

“Oh, come on, Rory,” the Doctor replied. “You’ll just buy another the first chance you get. It’s how things work down on Earth. Buy this technology, then buy the next version next year, then the next, and on and on. I don’t understand how you two can be exposed to … ” The Doctor made exaggerated gestures towards the TARDIS console, the nebula outside, and the room surrounding them, ” … this! And you still are slaves to pop culture.”

“Oi, now that’s a bit harsh,” Amy responded defensively. “I happen to think my likes are very untrendy and original. I happen to think Radiohead’s awful.”

“Hey!” Rory snapped, jabbing her in the ribs.

“All beside the point,” the Doctor said. “As is continuously the problem with species delving into advanced technologies, your society is not maturing at the same pace as the science. If you were, you’d have been past crotch shots decades ago.”

“Speaking of not maturing at the same pace, its hard for us to tell if we’ve matured at all with you shaving years off our lives in the blink of an eye,” Amy said sarcastically.

“That was necessary,” the Doctor replied. “And I gave you a huge birthday cake for it, from the greatest bakery in the universe. And, once again, that would never have happened if Rory here had been paying attention to the giant signs that said, ‘Don’t mix the gunbunnies’!”

“Doctor,” Amy said, frowning. “He said he was sorry.”

“‘Sorry’ is not good enough anymore,” the Doctor scolded. “It’s time I taught you both a lesson.”

“What is this? Primary school?” Rory asked.

“Apparently so,” the Doctor snapped. Without another word, he launched himself purposefully to the console and began inputting coordinates.

“Alright, Mr. Grumpyface. Where are we going?” Amy asked.

“You’ll see,” the Doctor said, and threw a lever initiating their next jaunt through time and space. The ship jerked, and both Amy and Rory were propelled into their seats roughly.

“Oh,” the Doctor said grumpily. “Might want to hang on.”

Hundreds of light years away from the Cotton Candy Nebula, an armored spaceship touched down on a heavily guarded landing pad outside the Receiving Department of a vast underground complex on the asteroid Kelvax. In space, above the ship, the twin stars Ularus and Getis shone brilliantly – their combined red and yellow rays reflecting off the massive ship’s polished hull. As the ship vented gases into the thin atmosphere of the orbiting rock, a giant spherical shield began to block out the stars as it moved to cover the landing pad. Red spinning lights strobed in time with a blaring alarm as the environmental shield closed over the ship and the precious cargo it held.

After several minutes, the red lights turned to green, indicating the environment in the shielded landing area had been equalized with the rest of the complex. Two columns of heavily armed guards jogged out of the complex to surround the ship’s access ramp in a semi-circle as it slowly began to descend. Facing out from the ramp, the guards activated their weapons and took defensive positions, awaiting the the transfer team to disembark and alert for any signs of trouble.

With a dull thud, the ramp settled to the landing pad and a detachment of twelve armored guards from the ship escorted a man in rich robes to the Receiving Area. The Kelvaxan guards parted to allow their honored guest to pass. Another contingent disembarked shortly after, this group even more heavily surrounded. Two guards in the second contingent carried between them a large black box.

The man in the expensive robes spoke briefly with a Kelvaxan official, who then waved the entire group and their cargo through the security portal leading into the depths of the complex.

The group passed through several more security checkpoints without incident as they approached the core of the asteroid and Central Control. Eventually, the heavily guarded group reached an ornate set of wooden doors at the end of a long narrow hallway. It was at this point that they were made to wait while a senior guard entered the doors to secure clearance for them.

After several minutes, the guard returned and indicated that only the man in the expensive robes, the cargo, and its two guards would be allowed through. The man nodded his understanding, and after a subtle hand gesture, the rest of the guards that had acted as escorts took up positions along the hallway, weapons at the ready.

The man stepped through the doors, followed by the guards and their cargo, and into an expansive room with vaulted ceilings. On the wall to their left hung the mounted and stuffed heads of hundreds of alien species, some wild and some civilized. Some represented species advanced enough to have breached the frontier of interstellar travel, while other represented species long extinct. On the opposite wall were shelves of books, from floor to ceiling, broken intermittently by computer consoles – presumably holding databases of writings no longer available in hard copy. Throughout the room, tables and glass cases held artifacts from thousands of cultures across the galaxy.

At the far end of the room, at an old wooden desk that looked more like a relic than anything functional, was seated a wrinkled old man in a tweed suit. The old man was bent over a large tome, a magnifying glass mounted over his right eye. As if not noticing the arrival of the group, he continued to peruse the page before him until the man in the expensive robes and his two guards stood before the desk.

Without looking up he spoke, “Ah, Lord Trelonde. I trust your journey was uneventful.”

The man in the expensive robes snapped his heels together smartly and bowed his head. “We are grateful for the escort ships you sent to meet us at Feldett III, Curator Heens – though I doubt anyone but yourself would see the value in the artifact I’ve brought you.”

“Quite,” the Curator said, looking up at the other man. Smiling, he gestured to the tome in front of him. “Any idea what this is?”

Trelonde gazed briefly at the book and did not recognize the language it was written in. “I’m an avid collector of rare artifacts, Curator Heems, for certain, but I am not an expert on ancient texts such as this, however.”

Heems rose from his seat and shut the book. “Five million years ago, Warlord Walthus Balex wiped out an eighth of the sentient species present in this galaxy at that time.” Heems removed the larger lens from his eye and placed a pair of round spectacles on his nose. “A vicious tyrant, he took what he wanted, including mates. Sex and species didn’t matter to him – his species was the Royn, who all have adaptive reproductive systems and can mate and create offspring with any living species. This book is a detailed record of every creature he coupled with in that conquest – and every creature that died birthing his Royn progeny.”

Trelonde made a face of disgust.

“It’s really quite interesting. The Royn are also empaths. He was able to experience what they felt while forcing himself on them and wrote it all down. This is the twenty-seventh volume of four thousand. The illustrations are very graphically detailed,” Heems said with a smirk.

“Now about this piece you’ve brought me, Lord Trelonde,” Heems said, moving around and approaching the black box. “Are you able to verify its authenticity?”

“It’s authenticity is not what makes this piece worth collecting,” Trelonde explained, a strange look on his face. “It may be an original – it may be a clever copy. That’s not the point. I can guarantee you’ll never see anything like it in your life.”

“Cease the pitch,” Heems said impatiently. “Show me the piece or leave this asteroid. I don’t have time to ponder the possibilities and improbabilities of life.”

“As you wish,” Trelonde replied with a brief bow.

Heems ushered them over to a low table and relocated a few relics from its surface to other tables. Trelonde nodded to the guards and they carefully set the black box on to the empty surface. The guards each removed keychains from their persons and inserted their respective keys into locks on either side of the box. Lastly, Trelonde pulled a key from within his robes and inserted it into a larger locking mechanism on the front of the box. At Trelonde’s signal, the three men turned their keys and the lid to the box popped open with a hiss. Briefly, visible clouds of gas billowed out and dissipated.

Trelonde opened the lid completely and stepped back for Heems to inspect the contents.

Curator Heems had donned a pair of latex gloves and reverently stepped forward to the box. The inside of the box was lit with soft glowlights and for a moment Heems simply stared at what lay inside, the light reflecting off his round spectacles. He then took a deep breath and reached into the box. Carefully, he removed the ancient device from its velvet cushion and held it at eye level.

The American-made 1986 Model Speak & Spell appeared to be in mint condition.

“Very nice,” Heems said. “But there’s still the question of its authenticity.”

“I assure you, its authenticity won’t matter once you see what it does.”

Heems turned a skeptical eye to Trelonde. “It still works?”

“Turn it on and find out, Curator Heems.”

Heems scoffed at the relic collector and pressed the button marked “ON”.

Four musical tones sounded, indicating the device was active. After a pause, the device’s screen glowed green as words appeared. A synthesized voice spoke the words as they printed.

“Good day to you, Curator Heems,” it droned.

“What gimmick is this?” Heems demanded, narrowing his eyes at Trelonde. “I’m not a collector of cheap parlor tricks.”

“This is no trick,” the device said aloud. “You are being given a priceless gift.”

Surprised, Heems regarded the ancient Earth toy in his hands. “For all intents and purposes, it appears authentic. The coloring is accurate. The speech synthesizer is very close to the original, but I suspect its been tampered with. Artificial intelligence module installed?”

Trelonde stood silently regarding the Curator – waiting.

Heems turned the toy over in his hands and examined it closer. “I won’t give you full value unless I can verify its authenticity, and expect a deduction for the electronic tampering that’s been done to it.”

“As it said, it is a gift, Curator Heems,” Trelonde said, his smile waxing cryptic.

“Hmph,” Heems huffed. “I’m still going to open it up.”

“You’ll do no such thing,” the Speak & Spell commanded.

Heems eyes seemed to glaze over and his mouth opened as if he were about to say something.

Then Heems spoke: “I’ll do no such thing.”

Trelonde’s smile widened maniacally.

The wheezy, grinding noise stopped and the TARDIS materialized with a thump.

“Right,” the Doctor said, moving to the doors. “Stay together, no touching each other, and more importantly no touching any of the pieces unless given explicit permission.”

“What is this place, Doctor?” Amy asked.

“You are about to step into the oldest and most extensive museum in the universe – the Kelvaxan Reliquary. It is here that I intend to show you that your gizmos, your apps, and your social networking tools are just the detritus on the surface of the deeper technological potential of Earth. First, I’ll introduce you to my old friend, Curator Heems. He should be able to get us into some of the more exclusive exhibits.”

The Doctor grasped the door handle. “Maybe then you’ll learn when and where to show proper respect to the wonders of the universe.” He then added with a smirk, “Especially me.”

The Doctor threw open the door and stepped out backwards, his arms open in welcome as he backpedaled out the TARDIS.

“My friends,” he declared, “welcome to future history!”

The first things that Amy and Rory noticed as they stepped out after him were the thirty-seven laser rifles that were trained on them.

“Doctor,” Rory said hesitantly.

“I know, its a bit much to take in at first, but your senses will soon level out.”

With a flourish, the Doctor spun around with the intent to march purposefully forward into the vast museum. Instead, he marched purposefully into a laser rifle.

“Ah,” the Doctor said. “Not the sort of respect I had in mind.”

Doctor Who: Red Right Hand – Prologue

strh

More Who fan fiction, continuing on from The Case of the Prime Machine. I thought about writing the Yazoshea trip in depth, but decided in the end to use it as a action opening.

Red Right Hand is completely an Eleventh Doctor story, with Amy and Rory in supporting roles, as was the current casting at the time I wrote this. I believe I wrote this right after The Pandorica Opens premiered … not quite sure.

My fan fiction forms a story arc for the Doctor that spans multiple episodes in multiple stories. The first in the series is The Case of the Prime Machine, followed by Red Right Hand. Red Right Hand is still a work in progress, but I have four or five episodes finished. After this, there are two more stories that wrap up the Doctor’s experiences with the Temporal Defense Initiative. They are Priests of Paradox and The Infinite Doctor … both of which I hope to finish and post here in the very near future.

Incidentally, if any artists out there would be interested in illustrating a few scenes of this or my other fan fic, let me know. I have been looking for an artist for a while.

Enjoy!

—-

Prologue: Seas of Blue and Pink

“This is your fault, Rory!” the Doctor shouted back as he sprinted across the Yazoshean fields towards the safety of the TARDIS.

“My fault?” Rory, one of the Doctor’s two present companion travelers responded, also in a full sprint just behind the Doctor. “You’re the one that -”

“Shut up, Rory,” Amy Pond snapped, taking a split second to slap his shoulder as she pushed past him. “Just run!”

Their pursuers, a massive swarm of blue and pink gunbunnies, followed close behind, squeaking in furry fury.

Rory chanced a look back and saw that the swarm was growing by the second. Gunbunnies were shimmering and splitting into twos, threes, and fours by the second. Five minutes earlier, there had been only a few hundred, now there were hundreds of thousands swarming over the lush green hills where the Doctor had decided to park his blue box.

Rory’s eyes widened in terror and with a burst of speed he passed up both Amy and the Doctor. The TARDIS was still two rises away and the gunbunnies were multiplying so quickly that they were beginning to surround the fleeing trio of time travelers.

“Not far now!” the Doctor cried as they began the ascent up the final hill. “Just over this last rise.”

“You said that three rises ago, Doctor,” Amy panted, now pulling up the rear behind the two men. Just behind her, a gunbunny that had pulled ahead of the rest leaped at her and found purchase on her ankle. Before she could knock it away, there were four of the alien creatures on her. Tripping over the multiplying creatures, she fell hard to ground.

The Doctor heard her body hit the ground, and quickly turned back for her. Ahead of them, Rory continued to run up the hill to escape. By the time the Doctor reached Amy, she was covered in the aliens, her screams muffled by the sheer volume of blue and pink fur covering her.

The Doctor braced himself and shouted, “Sorry!” as he kicked one of the gunbunnies off of her back.

Again and again, he kicked the creatures away from her, each time saying, “Sorry!” and “So so sorry!” and “I sincerely apologize” as the gunbunnies were propelled from Amy and into the air where they multiplied in flight like organic fireworks. Grabbing her hands, the Doctor pulled Amy to her feet and they continued their escape as the rest of the gunbunny hoard pushed ever closer to them.

At the top of the hill, they found Rory standing still, staring in the distance. There, in a low spot between several rolling hills before them, sat the TARDIS. Between the companions and the vessel of their escape was a veritable sea of multiplying aliens.

“Oh dear,” the Doctor said quietly. “I hope you two know how to swim.”

Without explanation, the Doctor ran into the oncoming waves of gunbunnies, bashing and kicking the knee deep flood of pink and blue. “Don’t stop, keep moving!” he yelled back at them. “They only want to lick you!”

Grabbing Amy’s hand, Rory pulled her with him into the swarm and ran after the Doctor.

Gunbunnies squeaked as they were trod on by the trio. The Doctor continued his progress, kicking and slapping the aliens away, each time expressing his sincerest apologies. The closer the companions got to the TARDIS, the deeper the sea of gunbunnies became until just ten feet or so from the doors of the strange blue box, they were completed submerged in blue and pink.

Amy and Rory managed to reach the TARDIS and were pressed in hard against the Doctor as he fumbled for his keys.

“Oi! Don’t shove!” the Doctor yelled, his voice muffled by a gunbunny licking his face. The Timelord found it increasingly difficult to unlock the doors to the TARDIS as gunbunnies kept appearing in front of the keyhole.

“Doctor, what happens if they get inside the TARDIS?” Rory asked, pushing a gunbunny from his face just enough to breathe.

“I have a plan!” the Doctor said, just as the key slid home. “Aha! Now, when I open up, quickly get in and help me shut the door behind us.”

Pushed by the force of rapidly multiplying aliens around them, the three companions fell into the TARDIS in a quickly growing pile of pink and blue. Jumping to their feet, the three braced against the door and managed with difficulty to shut it.

“Now this might tingle,” the Doctor said. From an inner pocket, he removed his sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the TARDIS console, using it as a remote control. With a flash, the pile of gunbunnies that had managed to get inside the ship vanished and an incredible stench was left behind.

“Oh my god,” Rory gasped.

“That’s so horrible,” Amy said, covering her nose.

“Give it a minute,” the Doctor said, collapsing into a seat. After a few seconds of tear-inducing stench, the smell gradually faded and the companions breathed sighs of relief.

“Six hundred years, Rory,” the Doctor said frowning at the gangly boy who had caused the entire ordeal. “For six hundred years, the Yazoshean people have kept the gunbunny population in check and in two seconds you caused the biggest catastrophe the planet has seen in millennia.”

“I didn’t know,” Rory stammered.

“You didn’t know?” Amy cut in. “The second we walked into the city there were signs plastered fifty feet high saying ‘Don’t mix the gunbunnies’.”

“They were both pink! And I checked their -” Rory gestured, pointing to his crotch. “- you know …”

“Rory, you’d need a microscope and an autopsy to see their reproductive organs,” the Doctor explained. “It’s in their brains. They reproduce telepathically. And honestly, just because something’s pink doesn’t mean its a female – you fashion fascist. Pink is cool.” The Doctor started, shocked at what he had said. “No, I take that back. Pink is never, ever cool. No, sorry.”

“Oh,” Rory said, looking down at his feet.

“Oh, he says,” Amy Pond replied sarcastically. “You probably upset the ecosystem or something or other.”

“No, no,” the Doctor said, rising and casually walking to the console. “No worries. Gunbunny longevity is only a day. They’ll soon run out of steam and start to die. It’s the stench of their dying that has the lasting affect. That will take about a year to go away.”

Pulling a lever, the Doctor activated the TARDIS. With a grinding noise, muffled by the sea of reproducing gunbunnies covering it, the TARDIS disappeared from the Yazoshean fields.

“Why do they call them gunbunnies, anyway?” Amy asked, moving to stand next to the Doctor.

“Excellent question, Pond,” the Doctor replied. “Easy answer. Under the right circumstances, if you were to fire a gun at a wall fifty feet away, while standing over a gunbunny, the gunbunnies would reproduce so fast as to reach the wall before the bullet. Gunbunnies.”

Making several adjustments on the TARDIS console, the Doctor plotted their next jaunt in time and space.

“So where to next?” the Doctor asked them. “Planet of the Infinite Waterfall? Cotton Candy Nebula?”

“Wait a minute,” Rory said, his forehead crumpled in confusion. “So what happened to the gunbunnies in here?”

“Another easy answer,” the Doctor said. “I sped up time a year inside the TARDIS. They lived, they multiplied, they partied hard, and died natural deaths. All in an instant.”

“What?” Amy gawked. “You mean I’m a year older?”

“Ah,” the Doctor said, laughing nervously. “Happy birthday?”

Amy and Rory both silently glared at the Time Lord.

Hoping to alleviate the suddenly heavy atmosphere, the Doctor pulled out a small party horn from one of his seemingly endless pockets and tooted it. “Now who wants their spankings first?” he said half-heartedly and bit his lip. “Ha. Um … yes. Bit late. Is it hot in here?”

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Prime Machine – Epilogue

I’ve written a lot of science fiction – deliberately, in most cases, in an attempt to master the various “standard” sci-fi formulas. I’ve done time travel, parallel universes, alien invasion, virtual reality, temporal paradox, exploration, artificial intelligence, etc. This story needed an alien, just for a moment, and so I found myself in a position to do a little world building. I’ve created a lot of alien species for my stories, but I think the Huulanix, and especially old Oba himself, are my current favorites. Angry reptilian badgers with a penchant for competitive gaming – my kind of scum.

You may notice, we go from Fourth Doctor to Eleventh here. I wanted to convey the sense that the Doctor gets forgetful and distracted very easily – often not remembering what he’s done. Perfect example: The Face of Evil (which coincidentally takes place directly after the Fourth Doctor portion of the Case of the Prime Machine). Centuries pass and suddenly he is reminded out of the blue “Oh shit … I’ve left the kettle on four thousands years in the future”. I like that about him, so I decided to let some time pass… or maybe I wrote this whole thing with the Eleventh Doctor to begin with, and was just to lazy to convert the epilogue to the Fourth’s perspective. Yeah, probably that one.

Epilogue: Bigger Game

The homeworld of the Huulanix race was a desert planet called Hiilax. The natives of Hiilax were reflections of the harsh and arid world from which they sprang billions of years before they grew into the advanced space-faring race they were destined to become. Gigantic crags stabbed through seas of grey desert sand and formed far reaching, impassable mountain ranges across the landscape. Under grey-orange skies, the Huulanix race eked out a meager living for billions of years, barely surviving in the few oases found in valleys of the great ranges.

The menagerie of dominant species of Hiilax were a study in predatory superiority and extreme adaptability. Visitors to Hiilax would wonder why no flora or fauna could be observed in the wild – until the were sudden attacked by a vicious Krathricx beast, which they had mistaken for a rock. The plant life was just as vicious. Juniklk trees resembled Earth’s cacti, but grew extremely wide root systems that radiated out under the sands from the visible part of the plant. The Juniklk sensed vibrations of movement over their root systems and could shift those roots with such violence as to displace huge amounts of desert sand in an instant, trapping prey both by entangling it and burying it. Such root systems grew so vast, it sometimes happened that one could not see the the tree before they were already being sensed by its roots.

The Huulanix themselves took several million years to band together into sentient tribes. They evolved from a highly efficient carnivore that resembled Earth’s ratel. Over millenia, these beasts grew armored plating over vital organs, developed astounding limb strength and agility, and built up nearly invincible immune systems and endurance. They were the pinnacle of evolution for thousands upon thousands of years.

During one era of Hiilax’s planetary evolution, the world suffered a prolonged ice age, and many dominant species were wiped out. However, it was the fierce ancestors of the Huulanix that adapted to pack hunting, both for greater success against rarer prey and for cannibalism when necessary. Over the centuries, the pack mentality grew until the ice receded and the world grew arid once more. With the passing of the ice age, species that had died out were replaced by different, more suitably adapted ones. The ancestors of the Huulanix became extremely successful. Packs grew into tribes, tribes built villages, villages grew into cities, and the future of the Huulanix as the pinnacle species of the planet was set in stone.

As civilized beings, the Huulanix developed a penchant for games. Though the desert was ever-changing, the need of entertainment to break the monotony of the sand and rocks grew until it became the centerpiece of tradition for the race over their long development into an advanced civilization.

Thus, the Huulanix gamers came to be.

Oba Fortux was the most successful Huulanix gamer of the modern age. His Talyf Djani Gaming Expo was the largest construction ever completed on the planet’s surface. Billions of beings from across the galaxy came through his Expo to partake in the most advanced – and expensive – games of entertainment ever devised. The pyramidal building rose above the desert as high as some of the lofty peaks of the dagger-like mountain ranges. The massive complex could be observed via telescope from three neighboring planets.

But now, Oba Fortux had a problem. A descendant of the great carnivorous race of the planet’s long history, he had grown extensive armor plates, like chitin, over his shoulders, chest, and skull. This still left some weak points – chinks in the armor. Oba’s biggest weak spot was his greed.

“How long until we can go live on the newest miniverse?” Oba asked his advisors.

The great Huulanix gamer lord stood staring out of the highest tower of the geosynchronous orbital platform he used as a corporate headquarters. He sneered at the continual flux of spaceships going to and from the massive Expo below him on the planet’s surface. In his mind, he told himself it wasn’t as many as it should be.

“We’re having some issues getting the physical laws to stabilize. All of our attempts have had flaws that cause the miniverse to collapse after only a few minutes,” one of the advisors stated.

Oba’s massive neck cracked as he twisted his head around to stare at his assembled Advisory Panel.

Quietly, he stalked over to the advisor that had spoke.

“Are you or are you not the greatest Physics expert in the galaxy?” Oba asked calmly.

The advisor cringed at the proximity of the gamer lord. “Y-yes, Oba. There is no one better.”

“So would you say you have an intimate relationship with the physical laws of space?”

“Uh, y-yes, my lord,” the advisor stammered.

Oba nodded exaggeratedly and grabbed the advisor by the front of his robes. Calmly and quietly he pulled the gaunt advisor to the window overlooking the planet below.

“In my experience, there is always a bigger fish,” Oba grunted. “I think you should become more intimate with the physics of this system. What do you think?”

The advisor’s eyes widened in horror. Before he could scream Oba threw him through the window, shattering it and opening the tower to the vacuum of space. The rest of the advisory panel dove for something to hang on to as air evacuated the gamer lord’s office. Oba braced himself and moved only a few inches toward the shattered glass before the orbital platforms environmental controls slammed a blastshield down over the opening.

As the rest of advisors gasped for air, Oba walked over to his ornate desk and activated a communications channel with the transit authority. “Prepare me a shuttle to Master Control.”

“Since the collapse of the the primary miniverse, we’ve been looking for ways to prevent participants from gaining the ability to affect certain universal laws,” the Lead Technician explained to Oba. “However, we’ve noticed an alarming number of gaps in the laws that we cannot close. Even the Prime Machine cannot effect the changes required to close those gaps.”

Oba’s hands clenched in fury, his claws sliced gouges in his palm as he stood fuming. His analytical mind was calculating the loss of the new miniverse not being online yet. In his head, he could see money pouring out from the planet and into deep space.

“I thought the Prime Machine was infallible. In fact, I thought our entire system was absolutely infallible. And yet, you tell me that we can’t even control the simplest physical settings?” Oba barked.

“My lord, it is not an issue with our systems, it is an issue with the technology given to us by the -”

“What a convenient excuse. Blame the salesmen,” Oba sneered. “You and I both know we’ll never see them again.”

Oba sneered with disdain at the massive metallic sphere that held the miniature universe forming the centerpiece of his gaming empire. Months ago he had suffered incalculable losses as the prototype game was destroyed by one of the participants. In addition, governments from several systems had levied sanctions on the gaming planet for the deaths of players that had occurred while in the massive game. Among the most influential of the planets now advocating the termination of the Prime Machine was Dreides VII, the homeworld of the gamer who had collapsed the gaming miniverse.

A messenger entered into the control room as Oba pondered which technicians he would kill today for the delay.

“Lord Oba, you have visitors.”

“I am not to be disturbed!” Oba shouted, playing with the idea of ripping the messengers head off and pummeling a technician with it.

“My Lord, they bear an Imperial Inspection Decree.”

If Oba’s mottled grey scales could pale, they would have. “Bring them in,” Oba said, less viciously.

Instead of the usual Inspection Team he expected to see, only a young red-haired human female entered.

Oba’s scaly eyebrow raised slightly.

“What is a human doing on a Huulanix Imperial Inspection Team?” Oba asked suspiciously.

“Yes, well,” the girl stammered. “Foreign exchange program.” Quickly, she flashed a sheet of paper in a small leather case at him. It definitely looked like an Imperial Inspection Decree, but Oba felt something was amiss.

“Leave us,” Oba commanded to the technicians, who quickly obeyed and thanked their gaming gods for the reprieve.

Soon Oba and the girl were alone. “Did you come alone?” he said, moving to stand close to her.

“My associates are inspecting another area at the moment,” she said nervously. “They’ll be along shortly. In fact, any second now.”

“I’m not usually fond of the human form, but you are an overly attractive example of your race. What is your name?” he said seductively, circling around her, admiring her fit body.

“Amy Pond,” she stated flatly. “And you are?”

Moving back in front of her, he pressed very close and grinned, showing his razor sharp teeth, “I am Gamer Lord Oba Fortux, master of this Expo.”

“Good,” Amy said with a smile on her face. With a swift motion, she brought her knee up swiftly between Oba’s legs. The Concussion Pad strapped to her knee activated at impact with the Huulanix gamer lord’s reproductive organs. The massive body of Oba was lifted off the ground from the concussion burst and he flew back several yards.

The door to the control room opened and two human males entered. One with floppy hair, a suit, and a bow tie; the other, a gangly youth about the same age as Amy.

“Ah yes, the Huulanix least protected area, the family jewels,” the man in the bow tie said. Moving to stand over the crumpled and moaning form of Oba.

“Greetings, Lord Oba, I’m the Doctor and this is my associate Rory,” he said with a beaming smile. “I see you’ve met the amazing Amelia Pond.” With a wink, he patted Amy on the shoulder and moved over to sit at the master controls connected to the Prime Machine.

“My goodness, that’s a lovely bit of technology you have there,” the Doctor stated, gesturing towards the metallic sphere holding the miniverse. “But, you see, I’m a bit confused. Last time I was here, one of your technicians told me that you only had one. Since I witnessed the other one collapse personally, thanks to another of my good friends, I’m a bit surprised to see another one in operation.”

Oba continued to groan in agony.

“No, don’t get up. I wouldn’t want to have to sic Rory on you, he can be very cross, can’t you Rory.”

The male youth looked around nervously. “Uh, yeah, right.” He sneered at the downed Oba and growled with something akin to menace.

“But not as cross as me, Oba,” the Doctor said with an edge to his voice. “I can become very cross indeed – especially when people don’t tell me the things I want to know. I can become even more cross when centuries later I come to discover that old business is new business again, and things I thought finished are so definitely not.”

With a flourish, the Doctor brandished his sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the console. A warbling squeal erupted from it as he activated it and the console erupted in a shower of sparks. Jumping up, he trotted over to the still moaning gamer lord.

“Now, who sold you this technology?” the Doctor asked.

Oba gasped for air but managed to bark out,” No one! We developed it … ourselves.”

“You remember how I said I could become very cross just then?” the Doctor said menacingly. “If I know about one chink in your armor, don’t you think I might know a few more? Perhaps the one leading directly to your brain?” The Doctor aimed his sonic screwdriver at an unarmored portion of the Huulanix skull the diameter of a nickel. “I checked your scientific records, Oba. This technology is way beyond your civilization’s abilities. Who sold it to you?”

“The TDI sold it to us!” the gamer lord shouted, and then he began to weep.

“TDI. TDI. Never heard of them. Who are they?” the Doctor demanded.

“Temporal Defense Initiative,” Oba moaned. “They sold us two units and the Prime Machine.”

“Did they now?” the Doctor mused. “I’ve never heard of them. They sound very official.”

“They are not from this universe,” Oba whined, curling further into a fetal position.

The Doctor stood up abruptly. “Now that’s definitely not what I wanted to hear. You see, I had an inkling that something extremely large and gruesome was amiss when I saw what appeared to be a Dalek version of a fallen Time Lord. The fact that I saw that in my universe gives me the willies – which incidentally can also make me very cross.”

Leaning back down into the Gamer Lord’s face, the Doctor snarled slightly. “It seems that I am destined to be very, very, very cross because of you and your greed, Oba. So, unless you want to see just what a very, very, very cross Time Lord can do with an orbital platform and a supermassive blackhole that may happen to suddenly appear in its vicinity, I suggest you tell me exactly who this TDI is and what business they have in this universe.”

“They travel through the multiverse selling the technology to create miniature universes. It was very, very expensive.”

The Doctor stared Oba down momentarily before straightening up. Quickly, he paced over to the console, which was beginning to emit acrid clouds of smoke. His face was crumpled in thoughtful concern.

“Doctor, what’s wrong?” Amy asked.

“More questions, and more and more questions after those questions,” the Doctor said, more to himself than anyone else. “These idiots could be seeding. Hmm, very troubling.”

“Seeding? These spheres are alive?” Rory asked.

“No, no. Nothing like that,” the Doctor said, waving away the question. “No, this is much more sinister. They’re seeding gateways. I think I may have encountered them before – or at least a version of them.”

“Can we stop them?” Amy asked.

“I don’t know,” the Doctor said. “For the longest time I’ve only had to deal with one, maybe two universes at a time. If this Temporal Defense Initiative is what I think it is, we’re not talking multiversal travel, we’re talking infiniversal travel. Universes inside universes inside multiverses inside mulitiverses – its all very complicated and all very, very dangerous.”

“So then, again,” Amy said, getting impatient, “big scary alien on the ground, cross, and possibly about to recover soon. What now?”

“Now, we destroy this sphere,” the Doctor said with finality. Aiming the sonic screwdriver at the sphere and activating it. The sphere began to vibrate and emit bursts of energy and gas.

From the floor Oba gaped at the sight. “What have you done? You’ll destroy the whole complex!”

Technicians burst through the door and froze in their tracks, realizing what was happening. “It’s going to explode!”

“Implode actually,” the Doctor corrected.

“Gods! What do we do?” they asked in varying unison.

“What do you think you do, you silly fools,” the Doctor shouted. “Run for your lives!”

Oba leaped up with a surprising recovery and following the group of technicians as they followed the Doctor’s advice.

Before he, Amy, and Rory transported themselves back to the TARDIS, the Doctor added:

“And the same goes for the Temporal Defense Initiative … ”

(to be continued in Red Right Hand – to be posted very soon, I promise)

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Prime Machine – Episode Nine

tpue

At first, I found it difficult to rewrite this finale. I liked it just as it was. If you want to read the entire original story with the Eleventh Doctor, you can do so here on fanfiction.net. Originally, the big reveal was completely different – and it may be obvious at the end where and why the change was made. Since I had rewritten the part of the Eleventh Doctor for the Fourth, it opened up a rather nice opportunity to insert this story in actual canon, made easier by the fact that I’m currently deep in the Fourth Doctor’s series at the moment anyway. This story takes place directly after The Deadly Assassin, and before The Doctor meets Leela.

However, you will notice, at the end, that I retained the description of the Eleventh Doctor, and I did that with full intent. It is meant to convey that – as is usually the case with The Doctor – he became sidetracked from one adventure to the next, whether by fault of the TARDIS or random wanderlust, and centuries have passed since he last left Dreides VII. That is why the Epilogue that I will post next, to round out this tale, is an Eleventh Doctor adventure which leads directly into Red Right Hand … at which point, events that began here, end somewhere … out there.

9. Nemesis

I groggily clawed my way back to consciousness as I felt my body, as if from some distance outside my soul, being jostled roughly. It took several moments to orient myself with the environment, but soon I deduced the truth of my predicament. I was still bound by the wrists and ankles, but my gag had slipped away from my mouth. I found myself tightly bound to the side of a hansom with little ability to move. Next to me sat Sherlock Holmes, whipping the frothing horses that pulled our carriage.

I did not recognize the countryside surrounding us, but it reminded me of Switzerland, if not some bizarre mock-up of it. A cold wind bit my face and tears cut cold paths from my eyes as we moved at unsafe speeds down a dirt road.

“How do you know about the Doctor?” I asked aloud.

“It’s my business to know the facts, Watson,” he said evenly. “Do you really think that all this time I didn’t know exactly what was going on?”

“You’re not Sherlock Holmes,” I challenged. “None of this is real.”

Holmes jerked his head to regard me momentarily with a look that might have been surprise, but the glance soon faded into a sneer. “You’re out of your depth here. Don’t be so sure you know the truth.”

“I suppose you expect me to believe your little charade about this all being the result of breathing fumes at the opium den?” I snapped. “Ridiculous. This is a game – a game being controlled by a computer.”

“Now it’s you who are being ridiculous, Watson,” he replied.

“You, yourself, admitted that you know who the Doctor is,” I cried in retort. “You do not exist. You are a construct of a very complicated game being played out by -”

With a speed unlike anything human, Sherlock Holmes reached a hand over and grabbed my forehead. Before I could pull away I experienced a sharp blinding pain that echoed down into my spine. The scene slowed and I felt myself being blurred and stretched in time and space until all light was pulled into a pinpoint set within a deep and foreboding void of darkness.

My mind flashed through the events of the last several months, time I had spent in the game, trapped by the Prime Machine. A whirlwind of visions assaulted me and I witnessed past occurrences being replayed in my head. With each vision, a new altered one replaced it. Holmes was erasing my memories – rewriting my personal history as I watched.

“You didn’t really think you were the smartest being in this universe, did you?” his voice echoed in my head. “Haven’t you ever asked yourself why you play the part of the sidekick, and not the master? You will obey me!”

In fact, I had pondered that point many times since I had learned the Doctor’s version of the truth. It was that nagging doubt in the back of my mind, that question never asked aloud that faded as quickly as it came to the surface – the one piece of the puzzle that all others suggested existed by the void it left, but was never found to fill it.

“This goes beyond tests of intelligence and games of wit.”

I saw Coraline and my wife, Chief Galen and the people of Dreides VII, my whole life vaporized and replaced by a story I knew so well that I had created an entire miniature universe from my visions of it alone.

“I am the one chosen to beat this game. You are merely a pawn in a greater struggle.”

I struggled to breathe. His hand felt like hot coals against my skin and I could not move away from that searing pain. I tried desperately to hang on to some memory of my life I had just rediscovered and my eyes flashed to my forearm, covered by the sleeve of my overcoat. I knew there was a truth there, something to hang on to, but I could not move my hand to pull back the curtain covering what was hidden there.

“They chose poorly. Even the great Prime Machine doesn’t realize it is being used.”

Slowly the trees at the sides of the dirt road were coming into focus and I could make out the forms of the horses pulling us in our carriage.

“Listen, Watson, as I tell you this before I erase it forever from your mind. My race is the pinnacle of sentience in the universe – the supreme force of change sweeping across the galaxies, putting those less intelligent in their rightful places below us. This man, The Doctor, lied to you. He would have you believe that he is some benevolent wanderer, righting the wrongs of the universe, but the truth is, dear Watson, he and I are of the same race. ”

As he spoke, he transferred some of his thoughts to me in visions. I saw a man, different in feature than the person seated next to me, proud and vicious, mutated and changed into a superior form over centuries. I saw a second man battling this evil through time, always wearing a different face, but obviously the Doctor. The scene changed abruptly. They were no longer men, both had become strange machines with domed tops and strange appendages of destruction.

“The race of beings that created the Prime Machine created a universe from scratch, and in doing so unwittingly wrote the laws of that alternate universe to allow for gaps – holes in the fabric of space and time. It sought out the greatest minds to test, and, without knowing it, pulled me from the void where I had been trapped by the Doctor. I am a god in this universe, and soon, using the ramshackle physics that allow this alternate universe to exist, I will pass into your universe, where I will retain my powers. Even now, your Doctor struggles against me, thinking he faces off against a powerful artificial intelligence, but soon he will come here and he will learn the truth. And then he will be destroyed once and for all.”

The visions faded as I slowly came back to full consciousness. Holmes’s words slipped into my mind and then faded away as they were spoken.

“And now … you … will … obey … me!”

With extreme mental struggle, I managed to whisper a question before my last true memory faded away forever.

“Who are you?” I gasped.

“As far as you will ever know,” he said with an evil laugh, “I am Sherlock Holmes.”

As he pulled his hand away, the sounds and vibrations of the carriage came rushing back to the surface of my senses.

Once again, I was Watson.

“Goodness, Holmes,” I said, shaking my head to clear it. “Why am I tied up? And how did we get to Switzerland so quickly?”

“Feeling better, Watson?” he said with a smile. “Let me help you.”

With one hand still holding the reins, he untied my bindings and tossed the ropes to the road.

“You were slipping in and out of consciousness throughout the trip here and I’ve taken excessive measures to ensure your safety on our long journey, but we could not delay this part of it any further, so I tied you firmly to the side of the carriage to prevent injury,” he explained.

“A bit tight on the knots, I’d say,” I remarked, rubbing my wrists vigorously. For a moment I felt the sudden urge to pull back my sleeve. I did so, but was unaware of what I expected to see there. I saw only pale skin, reddened at the wrist where the ropes had rubbed the flesh.

I quickly ran my hands over various parts of my body, feeling inexplicably sore in several places. My hands fell upon the gag hanging loosely around my neck.

“A gag?” I queried.

“You were feverish. The cloth served to soak up some of the sweat,” was Holmes’s reply. His eyes were distant, but focused on the road ahead of us.

“Here let me take over the reins,” I offered. With a queer smirk, Holmes surrendered control to me. Using my familiarity with horses, I was able to coax more speed out of them and we tore through the countryside at incredible speed.

“Keep following this road until it forks. Take a left and follow the river for a distance until you see a large barn in disrepair. The rest of our journey will start there on foot.” Holmes removed his pipe from an inside pocket and tamped the tobacco before lighting it. Puffs of smoke swirled around underneath the canvas top covering us before being caught in the rush of air from our movement.

“That damned Moriarty,” I spat. “He’ll pay for his crimes.”

“Indeed.”

“What a brilliant plan to lure him to the location of your last meeting with him. Reichenbach Falls. If only his tumble into the falls had killed him the first time, both Tristan and Mycroft would still be alive,” I remarked with a sigh.

“This is the end game, Watson,” he stated. “I will need your complete devotion to the task at hand. You are the bait. Our subtle communications through his network of thugs and lackeys will bring him out of hiding, but rest assured he knows what this is leading to. Once he arrives, leave him to me.”

“As always, old friend, you can count on me.”

The rest of our trip by carriage was colored in silence and scenery. After the fork in the road, the elevation gradually began to grow. Our horses showed signs of tiring and the last few miles to the abandoned barn were at a noticeably slower pace.

Once we arrived at our last destination by carriage, Holmes and I both quickly exited the carriage, not bothering to secure our transportation. The horses were unhitched and allowed to forage and drink from the running river nearby. They would not stray far in their state.

“Up for a bit of a hike, Watson?” Holmes asked, proceeding towards the foot trail that would lead us to the falls.

“Lead on,” I replied.

The path gradually climbed upwards for a few more miles, and it was close to sunset by the time we were close enough to see the falls in the distance. I found myself full of energy, even after my trials since the incident at the opium den. As I walked I tried to remember exactly what happened, but the details were shrouded, as if seen through silk. I remembered the meeting with Tristan, Holmes’ bizarre doppelganger, but no events after that point. Even the details of our trip by train were cloudy in my mind.

“I will wait here in cover,” Holmes said as we reached a dense growth of bushes and trees. “You go on to the end of the trail and soon Moriarty should find you there. I will then come up behind and surprise him.”

I nodded my understanding and left Sherlock to hide in the brush.

Again, I felt the urge to look at my forearm, and this time I distinctly felt I should see something written there, but again I saw only bare flesh under the sleeve.

Approaching the falls, I wondered if Moriarty was watching me ascend. Mist from the roaring water washed over me in curtains sporadically. Feeling the chill, I shoved my hands in my pockets and in the right one I discovered a pistol. This struck me as unusual, as the entire hike I should have felt the weight of the gun there, but did not. It was if it had suddenly appeared there as soon as my thoughts drifted towards the possibility of it being there.

My confusion quickly dissipated as I reached a narrow ledge, barely wide enough for a cart to traverse, that led to the spot where Holmes and Moriarty had grappled with each other those many years ago.

I had not been present for that climactic battle, but had heard its telling in detail by Holmes himself many times.

At the end of the trail, I chanced a look over the ledge to the bottom of the falls. How a man could have survived the fall was beyond me. The rocky walls were slick and seemingly devoid of any handholds or place to make as ascent. Moriarty must have survived by a miracle to have fallen that distance and not been broken against the rocks at the fall’s base.

Turning around and steeling myself for possible combat, I prepared to meet my friend’s arch nemesis. His method of arrival, however, completely caught me off guard.

From out of the roar of the falls I heard an all-together different sound – a groaning of machinery that seemed somewhat familiar, but at the same time completely alien. I glanced around for a mill or man-made structure that might house machinery that would make such a racket, but as the sound grew louder I determined its source.

A strange blue box, with English text labeling it as a Police Box, suddenly shimmered into view out of thin air. My pulse began to race at such an unusual site. I clamored for some rational explanation, as my friend had often instructed during moments of seemingly irrational occurrences. No rational deduction of the clues at hand came close to making sense of what I saw.

With a final thump, the strange box appeared fully and its door opened. Immediately, and mostly by instinct, I removed my pistol from its pocket and leveled at the door and whatever might come from within.

Professor Moriarty stepped out and immediately jumped in surprise.

“Jeffrey!” he said. “What are you doing here? I told you to stay on Dreides VII!”

He seemed very cross at seeing me there, which was contrary to what I had been led to believe would happen. His mention of the name Jeffrey and Dreides meant nothing to me.

“Stay where you are, Moriarty,” I snapped. “I will fire upon you if I must, but your life is not mine to take at this time.”

Moriarty sighed, placing his hand to his brow, and said to himself, “Not this again.”

Exasperatedly, he ran his hands through his floppy hair. “Jeffrey -”

“My name is Dr. John Watson.”

“Your name is Jeffrey, and you’ve made a very silly, very human error in coming here,” he replied.

“You’re the one who has made the error, fiend,” I stated confidently. “You escaped death here once before, but not this time. One way or another, Professor, your end comes here and it comes soon.” I glanced down the trail and did not see Holmes approaching. I wondered what was taking him so long.

“Look,” Moriarty said calmly. “Let’s just put away the gun and talk for a moment. Surely, I’ve got no where to run. For you to be that confident in my demise, you must have some cunning trap laid for me. It won’t hurt to point that thing somewhere else before you hurt one of us.”

I thought briefly about the situation for a moment, and decided he was right. He had no where to run – except back into his box.

“Step over to the edge,” I directed. “Away from the box.”

“Fine. Fine.” Acquiescing to my demands, he carefully moved toward the ledge and looked over. “I’ve seen bigger.”

I moved between him and his box to cut off any escape, and then lowered the gun.

“So,” he said casually. “Where is old Sherlock, by the way? Sent you off again to do the hard work while he puffs away on his pipe like some pompous prat?”

“He’s a better man than you, Moriarty.”

“Yes, well, it remains to be seen if he even is a man.”

Incensed, I raised the gun at him again.

“Alright,” he said quickly, raising his hands. “What have they done to you, Jeffrey?” His face fell into a look of concern. “I told you to stay out of this. Your wife and child need you.”

“My wife is dead, and I have no children,” I snapped. “Now shut up, or I will take your life whether Holmes arrives or not.”

“You don’t remember?” he said, lowering his hands slowly. “You don’t remember Coraline?”

His words meant nothing to me. Purposefully, I cocked the pistol.

Before I could fire, there was a loud explosion above us. Huge pieces of the cliff wall broke loose with sickening slowness. With an overwhelming feeling of dread I realized I had been tricked by my only friend. He had sacrificed me for his own sick game against his adversary.

As rocks began to rain down upon us, Moriarty sprinted towards me. I didn’t bother to lift the gun. At that moment, seeing an enormous sheet of rock teeter over my head, I resigned myself to my fate – death at the hands of a man I trusted completely.

Moriarty hit me hard and propelled me backwards into his unusual box. As large rocks hit us, the door opened and we fell in a heap inside. He quickly shut the door and I noticed immediately that we seemed to have been transported somewhere else. My first thoughts were that I had died, but soon I realized I had been here before.

“It’s bigger on the inside,” I said, a trickle of blood running into my eye.

“That’s more like it,” Moriarty said. He pulled a handkerchief from one of his pockets and dabbed a wound on my temple. “Not so bad, not so bad. You’ll survive.”

“TARDIS,” I said, the word sounded familiar and fitting, and with the spoken word images flooded my thoughts.

“Yes, Jeffrey,” he said, smiling as he stood. “You’re getting now.”

As quickly as the memories had been erased by the being pretending to be Sherlock Holmes, they came rushing back in full clarity.

“Doctor,” I said, recognizing my savior for the first time. “There’s something you must know. Holmes is not part of the game, he’s a competitor in the game.”

“Yes,” he confirmed. “My little trip to see the Huulanix yielded some unexpected surprises. That realization was just one of them. Did he tell you who he was?”

I shook my head, struggling to stand, then decided to remain on the floor. “He said something about being pulled from the void where you had trapped him.”

“Well, that could be anybody,” he said, slightly smirking. “Everyone’s always saying I’ve wiped them out, or knocked them down, or beaten them up, but they always come back. Especially, the really evil ones.”

The Doctor strode over to a large console rising to the ceiling in the center of the room. Half of it looked extremely complex, the rest looked remarkably like random junk tossed together. Pulling a suspended screen towards him, he tapped it and seemed to be pleased with what he saw.

“We’re a bit buried, but no worries. She took the rockfall like a champ, the old gal.”

Turning back to face me he asked, “Was there anything else he said?”

I nodded, “Something about how the miniature universe would give him the ability to cross over into our universe.” I hesitated to coax the next sentence out of my mouth. “He said you were of the same race.”

The Doctor looked suddenly weak and turned, bracing himself against the console.

“No,” he said. “It couldn’t be.”

Watching him, I noticed that for the first time since I had known him, he looked genuinely scared.

“Did he say anything else, Jeffrey? Does anything else stand out in your mind that he might have said to you?” he asked.

“I don’t know. He said that I should do what he said.”

“What were his exact words, Jeffrey? This is very important.”

“He said, ‘You will obey me’,” I said. The Doctor bent over and softly banged his head against the console.

“No, no, no. Not him, please. And if so, why him?” he moaned. “Anyone but him. An infinite number of races and sentient beings in the history of the multiverse and it would just have to be him.”

“We should get away from here,” I pleaded. “He … did something to me. Erased my memories. He said he was a god here and had powers.”

“Oh, we’re not going anywhere,” the Doctor said, suddenly standing up straight. He made a few adjustments to dials on the console and pulled a lever. The room shook and the roaring sound I had heard earlier echoed through the room. “We’re moving just a bit, but we’re staying right here and waiting for our good friend to show himself. We have to stop this right now and right here.”

Leaping from the console he trotted over to the doors and listened. The shaking and roaring stopped. The Doctor turned towards me, a serious look on his face. “I told you not to come, but I understand why you did. I’d have done the same thing, but what we’re about to face is possibly beyond both our abilities. The thing is, you have powers here too. Remember the rottweiler?”

I nodded, once again resigning myself to a fate that might not end with survival.

“You may be our only hope here, Jeffrey. If it comes down to it, I may not be able to help at all. If he really does have powers here, you’re the only one who can stand against him. My skills are useless in the face of that much power.”

“I was always the only one who could fix this,” I said to him.

Smiling slightly he walked over to me and patted my shoulder in encouragement. “Just remember, you’ve got a family waiting for you back home.”

Smiling back, I raised my sleeve and showed my forearm to him. Written in ink, just like it had been during our visit to Mycroft, was the name of my daughter, Coraline.

“Right. Let’s end this adventure, Jeffrey. And hope for a happy ending. I always like happy endings – not enough of them these days.”

With a flourish he opened the door and stepped out on the ledge. The TARDIS had moved about twenty feet from its original position. Where it had stood, a huge pile of rocks stood – dust and pebbles still trickled down from the cliff walls above.

“Here I am!” the Doctor shouted. His voice echoed deeply through the area, only slightly dampened by the roar of the water over the falls.

“I knew you’d fail me, Watson,” said a voice behind the TARDIS. Brazenly, Sherlock Holmes strode out from his hiding place, puffing on his pipe. “I’d hoped he’d have goaded you into killing him for me, but I suppose the hard work is really the master’s work after all.”

“The ‘master’s’ work is it?” the Doctor countered confidently. “I know who you are. Surrender now, and I’ll go easy on you again, I promise.”

“You mean you’ve finally figured it all out, Doctor?” Holmes said, then burst into laughter. “Some Time Lord you are. You must be getting dim in your old age.”

I raised my pistol and aimed it at our adversary. “The Doctor told you to surrender.”

“Shut your mouth, you sniveling worm,” Holmes snapped. “Just after I extinguish his life and his remaining regenerations, once and for all, I’ll make you pay for opposing me. I’ll pay a little visit to Dreides VII and visit your family.”

Raising a hand, Holmes gestured towards the Doctor. A shimmering wave of energy erupted from his hand and encircled the Doctor’s neck, raising him off the ground. The Doctor struggled, frantically grasping at the energy beam choking him.

I fired the pistol three times directly at the head and torso of Holmes, but the bullets never reached him. They stopped in mid-air and fell to the ground.

“Your weapons cannot kill me!” Holmes shouted triumphantly. “I am superior!”

Gesturing with his other hand, another energy beam snaked toward me and knocked the gun from my hands.

“This universe has given me powers beyond your conception. Once I vanquish you, I will receive the reward promised me by the Prime Machine – this universe to control!”

“You forget,” I said cryptically. “We are competitors on equal ground here. You’ll not find me so easily put down.”

Suddenly, there was the sound of great amounts of air being inhaled. A noise like a balloon inflating caused Holmes to turn towards the new threat. His eyes fell upon the firebear I had conjured up from the depths of my mind. The fantastic creature expelled a concentrated fireball directly at Holmes. A look of pure fear crossed over his face before he vanished, along with the energy beam suspending the Doctor.

Running over to the Doctor’s crumpled form, I motioned for the firebear under my control to stand near us, in case Holmes returned.

“Great idea, Jeffrey,” the Doctor gasped. “He nearly had me there.”

“Are you alright?” I asked, glancing around for any sign of Holmes.

“I’m fine, just keep on your guard. It only gets rougher from here.”

Just then, Holmes blinked back into existence beside the firebear. Before the creature could unleash another fiery blast, Holmes raised a finger at it and fired a concentrated beam of energy at it. For a moment, we could see the creature’s skeleton glowing through transparent flesh before it crumpled in a heap, dead.

“I know that weapon,” the Doctor said quietly. “But, something’s wrong here. Something’s very off.”

Next, Holmes gestured towards me and I felt myself shifted from my position faster than I could think. The world went dark and I was paralyzed, unable to move or breathe. After several minutes, I realized I could project my mind outward from my position. Holmes had transported me into the solid rock wall. I was trapped.

Using my mind projection, yet completely unfamiliar with how to use it effectively, I saw the final struggle between the two adversaries through the rock.

Just as the story went, detailing the original fight between the detective and his nemesis, Holmes charged the Doctor, intending to throw him over the falls. The Doctor deftly maneuvered to brace himself and physically grappled with Holmes at the precipice. For several seconds, with both men seemingly about to topple over the edge, they wrestled for dominance.

“I’ll kill you without use of my powers, Doctor,” Holmes shouted, spraying spit as he desperately tried to gain the upper hand. “Then you shall know once and for all that I am supreme.”

With a brilliant shifting of his weight, the Doctor bent and propelled Holmes over his shoulder. Holmes landed on his feet but teetered on the edge, his arms flailing. Unfortunately, he regained his balance and stood defiantly, prepared to continue.

“I bet you’re wearing a perception filter, aren’t you?” the Doctor said. Brandishing his sonic screwdriver, he aimed it at Holmes and used the device. Holmes form shimmered and faded to reveal a metallic being with a dome top. Two implements extended from an area at its front, and strange spherical protrusions lined its lower plating.

“Dalek?” the Doctor sputtered in confusion. “I thought you were the Master.”

With an altogether different voice, one metallic and grating as befitting its appearance, the Dalek responded, “I am the Master!”

“No!” the Doctor cried in retort. “You are a Dalek!”

“You act surprised, Doctor. Have you abandoned your true form? You never could face the truth of what happened to our race. You know what you are. You know what the Time Lords became. You know the truth!”

The Doctor had frozen, the look on his face was one of utter terror and confusion. “Our race?”

One of the forward implements, obviously its weapon, pointed at the Doctor and fired. There was no way to escape it.

As the Doctor braced himself for his death, I concentrated on the scene. Closing my eyes, I imagined time stopping completely. The sound of the waterfall stopped and I found myself in complete silence. I willed myself forward out of the solid rock until I felt ground beneath my feet. Opening my eyes, I saw the scene frozen before me.

The waterfall was frozen, sheets of rushing water suspended in mid-air. A beam of energy was extended from the Master dalek’s weapon and reached halfway to the Doctor, who stood frozen waiting to die. Mentally, I moved the Doctor’s position to the right enough for the beam to miss him. Seeing that I had done what I could and losing focus on holding the scene in time, I let go.

The beam exploded against empty rock wall. Before the Master dalek could reorient itself and target his nemesis again, the Doctor rushed forward with a war cry and shoved his adversary over the edge of the precipice. With an inhuman scream, the Master dalek toppled over to its demise.

“Well done, Jeffrey,” the Doctor said, panting. “Excellent show. You saved my life.”

“We’re even,” I said flatly. “But what about this place and all the people still trapped here?”

“Yes, well,” the Doctor hesitated. “About that.”

“Yes?”

“I’ve got nothing. I’m completely flummoxed. I’ve no idea what’s going on here.”

“I’ve won the game,” I exclaimed. “My prize is this universe as a sandbox, like the dalek said.”

“Dalek. Yes, only that shouldn’t have been a dalek, Jeffrey. And yes, that is the prize,” the Doctor agreed. “But you obviously didn’t read the fine print. No cheating.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You manipulated the game world. The game will keep going with all its participants until someone wins legitimately. We’ll have to go back to the Huulanix and figure out a way to stop the game at its source, and I’ll have to figure out how a Time Lord becomes a dalek without my knowledge.”

“But thousands more could die here!” I yelled. “We have to destroy this place.”

“We’ll figure out something,” the Doctor said placating me. “There’s is something bigger happening here. Bigger than you, bigger than me, and that’s saying a lot. But for now, we need to leave. The Prime Machine won’t like what we’ve done here and may send something unpleasant to make sure we get a real ‘game over'”

“GAME OVER IS NOW!” came the cry of the Master dalek. Using jets at its base it rose over the ledge and hovered with its weapon aimed at the Doctor. “THE MASTER MUST SURVIVE!”

Concentrating again, I mentally bent the weapon to fire back at the Master dalek. With a tremendous explosion, his own weapon blew a hole in his casing. The destroyed dalek fell to the ledge with a crash. Inside I could make out a disgusting creature set within the machine shell.

Both the Doctor and I walked over to the incapacitated creature and knelt down to observe its true form.

In a weaker, non-amplified voice the the Master dalek spoke, “Have … mercy …”

“Always the same with you – you and the creature that you appear to have become,” the Doctor remarked. “You show no mercy, yet you beg for it at your pitiful end.”

“I … must … survive.”

“And always I show you the mercy that you’ll never visit upon anyone.”

“You … will … ob-”

The Master dalek froze and spoke no more. The Doctor’s eyes widened and he turned to me wrathfully. “You had no right to do that!”

“And you did? Would you have let him suffer?”

“I would have let him breathe a final breath of this universe, regardless of who he really was! You murdered him when he was defenseless!” the Doctor shouted.

“I merely froze him in time,” I said. “There will be no more deaths here.”

Looking quickly back to the Dalek’s frozen form, the Doctor apologized, “I’m sorry. It’s just …”

“I know how you feel,” I replied.

“I don’t see how you possibly could. You don’t realize what this … man, is to me. He was a Time Lord when I knew him. We both are Time Lords, but there’s something wrong. He may have come from an alternate universe, and that’s bodes ill for everything everywhere,” he said, rising to his feet. “Let’s get out of here.”

I stood up straight but did not move from my position.

“Come on, Jeffrey. We should go pay a visit to the Prime Machine.”

“I’m not leaving,” I stated.

Coming back to stand before me, the Doctor grabbed my shoulders. “You can’t stay here. You have people that need you back on Dreides VII. What can you possibly do here now? The Prime Machine will use all its power to eject you from the game alive or dead.”

“Not while I still have these powers, Doctor.”

“Jeffrey,” the Doctor said quietly. “What are you thinking?”

“Every universe has an end. I can control time and space in this universe,” I said. “I can collapse it into nothing.”

“Jeffrey don’t,” he pleaded. “Jeffrey please don’t do this. There’s another way.”

“This is the only way.”

“For the love of your family, Jeffrey, you can’t do this!” he said, shaking me roughly.

“For the love of my family, I have to do this,” I replied.

Concentrating my power, I transported the Doctor into the TARDIS. For a brief moment, my energies mingled with that of the TARDIS and I felt it transmit to me a sense that, “This is the right thing to do. I shall keep him safe.”

Projecting my voice and awareness, I asked the Doctor a final question. “What will happen to my body back on Dreides VII?

The Doctor slumped against his console, and banged a fist against what looked like a puzzle cube set into its face. “I don’t know. Maybe you die, maybe you turn into a vegetable, maybe you go ‘poof!’. I don’t know. Jeffrey, I beg of you one last time, think of Coraline.”

“And I tell you one last time, Doctor: I am.”

The TARDIS began to fade as the roaring sound of its passing grew in intensity.

“Thank you, Doctor. Farewell.”

As soon as the blue box disappeared, I imagined the entire universe drawing into my head. I could see outside my body as a brilliant white point of light erupted from the center of my forehead and suddenly drew inwards.

“It’s bigger on the inside,” I said as rocks began to roll towards me.

The Master dalek, now unfrozen, said in its weak voice, “This is not over.”

Reichenbach Falls shifted its downward course and the entire waterflow was sucked into my mind. The force grew and the cliffside buckled under me. I reached out and cradled the broken Master dalek’s fragile form and pulled it into me. With loud cracks, the rock shelf around me broke and I floated in mid-air as I swallowed it whole into the supermassive void I was creating in my mind. I would take it all.

The clouds erupted in brilliant lightning. The moon stopped its slow pace across the sky and started to grow in apparent size. I reached a point that I knew I could not turn back from, and one last time I thought of Coraline.

The Earth exploded into flames and the seas boiled in protest, and still I pulled it in. The sky became impossibly bright as every star I could imagine came hurtling towards me. I heard a noise I soon realized was my own screams of anguish, and still I pulled on.

In a tremendous rush of light, matter, and energy, the universe collapsed into my mind and was no more.

I remember waking from that dream in a cold sweat. Apparently, I had been in a non-responsive state for several weeks before I finally came to. The events that had transpired in the dream were fresh on my mind, and I knowingly categorized the entire affair as a flashback to the episode I had in the opium den with my good friend, Sherlock Holmes.

This place they keep me in is bizarre. The leaps our human race has made in such a short time amazes me beyond comprehension. I still remember a time when I thought locomotives were the most advanced human construction I had ever seen, but now I stand corrected.

I’m an old man now, senile and incoherent. They take me for walks in a strange garden where I think I can see bars in the sky. Perhaps it is just the effects of the drugs they give me to counteract my quickly increasing dementia. How long I have been here, I cannot tell. Occasionally, I’ll remember times when I had visitors, especially a young girl who I think I may have seen grow old before my eyes.

One day, the visitors stopped coming. For a long time, I think they’ve tried to tell me that my dreams were real, but I know that to be untrue. The ridiculous nature of the dreams can easily be refuted by logic – the one thing I retain from my time spent with my one true friend, Sherlock Holmes. I ignore what they say, realizing that its my own warped mind creating the false conversations about that ridiculous dream.

In my spare time, I chronicle my adventures with the great detective. At least those events are clear in my mind. Sometimes, its as if that time and place exists in permanence in my mind, easily extracted to detail.

Often throughout my life, and growing less so now that I reach a doddering old age of forgetfulness, I suddenly remember a case we had shared involvement in that I had forgotten for a great many years only to have every detail flood back with a connecting familiar scent, or locale. Such sudden remembrances have fueled my writing for years after I felt I had written all there was to be written about my friend.

That is what this tale has been – a forgotten adventure, my last adventure.

The incident in the opium den has never been explained to me. I feel that they don’t truly know why I so violently reacted to the mix of fumes of smoked narcotics in that place. That incident ended my life as it was. Since then, I have remained here, alone.

Holmes is lost to me now, having apparently died many years ago. He never once came to see me here under my conjured cage in the sky, where phantom visitors pretend to be family I never had. I know he stayed away because he blamed himself for what happened. I do not blame him, though.

All along I’ve known the danger of being an assistant and close friend to Sherlock Holmes, and I wouldn’t have changed the way my life turned out for the world – for the universe.

And so, here I sit, writing what I hope will be my last tale about my friend and my final adventure with him. I grow weary and know that I am not long for this world.

Just the other day I imagined a man came to see me. He had brown floppy hair and a ridiculous bow tie. With him, he had brought a young red-haired girl and a young, slightly gangly looking boy. I felt for a moment that I knew him, but something was different about him. And, I remember the imagined words he spoke to his companions very clearly.

“This is the man who saved my life – long before I became the man you know.”

The image of the man and his companions quickly faded, shimmering into the form of a new friend I have made. Dementia, it may be, but it gets me through the days and long nights here in this place. I suppose he is my imaginary friend, but I enjoy the sight of him. Slicked back hair, a clever van dyke beard, white in streaks on the chin.

Occasionally he speaks to me in a metallic voice that doesn’t fit his appearance. He tells me to build things in my mind, and it helps keep me occupied. He says that soon he will be able to come and see me for real, if only I do as he instructs.

And, I answer in my mind:

“Yes. I will obey … Master.”