Part 9 – Unwilling Alliance
A stealthy Sontaran, a mighty Judoon, an inquisitive human and the last of the Time Lords continued to brave their way through the pre-civilisation world on their quest to take back one of the most elegant vessels and dangerous weapons in the universe. Martha couldn’t quite tell if the thicker nature of the trees in this area was sheltering them or if the winds were actually dying down. Either way, she could see much more of her surroundings now; the huge black suit of her Judoon counterpart immediately ahead of her, the sweeping brown coat of the Doctor just ahead of him and behind her was Taan in his red decommissioned Sontaran body armor.
“So what’s your story?” she said, slowing to let him walk beside her. He didn’t look at her, instead he tracked the gun through the trees as they went
“I was part of the 196th Sontaran infiltration unit. Five of my brethren and I were sent to assess a primitive world, we needed a new outpost in the Tasket nebula and this looked like it could be perfect, but something went wrong.” the Doctor peered around, he didn’t trust their new Sontaran ally, nor did he appreciate Martha taking sympathy on him
“What happened?” she asked
“We took samples of the air, dirt and water on the planet. At first everything seemed fine because we were breathing oxygen within our battle suits, but when we took the samples back a virus developed on the ship. 18,000 Sontaran soldiers caught the virus across 12 different convoys. The virus mutated and infected a further 5 planets. My entire task force was arrested by Sonta high command, but before we could be executed, a prison transport from the Shadow Proclamation arrived and took us away. And here I am now”
“That’s terrible” Martha said softly
“Martha” the Doctor shouted cautiously, he would regret her getting the wrong impression of the Sontarans
“And what is your story, Doctor?” Taan asked “Who are you?”
“I’m a Time Lord” he said, looking ahead with his hands in his pockets
“Time…Lord…” Taan had begun remembering the stories of that mysterious race, the tales of the great battles within the Norbella Sphere, the final days of the Medusa Cascade colony and the banishing of Yeelson the Great. This man was the living story, the tales of his cloned youth, the epitome of things he was taught to fear and fight against. Would he really restore his honor? Taan doubted it, but then, he was outnumbered and quite ready to make an unwilling alliance to get seek vengeance on Critidan.
“Reelog!” Taan shouted ahead, trying to get the his shipmate’s attention. The Doctor stopped
“Commander Reelog?” the Doctor questioned in a shocked voice, turning back to the Judoon member of the party “No no no no, not the great Commander Reelog, the Judoon who piloted the Blasphemy Conqueror from its collision course with the Goliath Temple World? It can’t be!” Reelog grunted in embarrassment, he had hoped to keep his identity hidden from anyone who didn’t need to know it
"Tell me Doctor, if you know so much of the commander, why he is here?” Taan grinned with a sense of accomplishment over the mighty beast. The Doctor paused, realising what had happened just a few months after Reelog’s triumphant flight
Softly he spoke “The Queen…” to which Reelog grunted again in shame, looking down to the floor “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry”
Reelog found a few words “History irrelevant, we must continue” and so they did
The crunching of branches beneath heavy feet came to a sudden halt a short time later, the Doctor had raised his arm so that his fist was at head height - signaling the group to silently stop
“Doctor?” Martha whispered. He didn’t reply, he simply began to run forward as fast as he could and the other three quickly followed suit. Where the Doctor had stopped was the tree line of the forest and just outside was a large grassy area and a river on the far side which spanned for miles with islands dotted within it. In the centre of the area was the grandfather clock they had found in the future, standing proud, saved from the scratches and burning that the clumsy shock core had inflicted upon itself; this living ship knew how to land without a pilot.
They all stopped in wonder again a few metres away from the TARDIS
“This is what we came here for? A time keeper?” the Sontaran was disgusted, but nobody else saw it so simply. The Doctor took the fabled steps up to the clock’s glass door again as he had the first time and jolted it open. This time, the lights were already on and the command console was completely functional. As they all stepped inside and made their way around the spiral staircase, Taan was dumbfounded and remained that way for several minutes. Martha noticed that the art on the roof had changed; instead of the lion standing over the dead bear, they were now back in battle locked in an eternal moment of combat
He looked up in awe “Beautiful… that is… truly…” and then he stopped, looking back to the controls. He swept the navigation screen round in front of him and tilted it up a little “the last place this TARDIS went was the Silver Devastation, but I can’t work out the date”
“What happened to the pilot?” The Doctor didn’t reply, he continued to fiddle with widgets and doogangs on the navigation board. From outside came an enormous rumbling and a familiar sound of a heavy horn; The Hybrid Locker was back.
TO BE CONTINUED