Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fan Fiction Corner

A new entry here. I have written fan fiction in the past, and it was very well received. This is my very first Doctor Who story, hope you all enjoy it. As always, comments are very welcome!

Doctor Who

“ The Vengeance Factor “


Kevin Scott Bolinger

   The automatic lighting currently had the empty corridor in darkness. All of a sudden, the lights at the far end began to illuminate. An unearthly sound began to fill the corridor, echoing everywhere.  A shape began to shimmer into existence. As it took form, it began to resemble a blue police box.  With an odd thump, the TARDIS had landed at it’s latest destination.
     Inside, the Doctor, the last of the Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, checked over the control console surrounding the time rotor. Amy Pond, the fiery Scottish red head, and her somewhat goofy looking, but dedicated husband Rory Williams, came into the control room from the corridor leading to their bedroom, Amy bouncing down the stairwell, smiling, while Rory had a puzzled look on his face.
     “Ok Doctor,” Rory began, “Where have you taken us this time?”  Rory always seemed to ask this, due to the fact the Doctor had a knack for getting them into dangerous situations, something Rory was coming to despise. Just last week they had answered a distress call, and he and Amy ended up in a dollhouse, in a boys closet, chased by evil wooden dolls.
      “Ah, Rory!” the Doctor began in his usual manic style, clasping his hands in front of his chest as he gleefully moved around. “We are currently in a corridor, on the human  colony of Pequis, located on the planet Felstar, in the year 4063. Beyond that, I really cannot tell you more.” he said with a wink.
      Amy chimed in next. “Then why bring us here, you big goof.” she teased, the Doctor was her best friend, and she trusted him with her life.
      “That, Pond, is a very simple answer.” the Doctor said as he made his way to the TARDIS doors. “I have never been here before.” He turned back to look at her with a smile, and went through the doors that concealed the fact  that the blue box was far larger on the inside…and walked right into a group of soldiers pointing guns at him. As he was raising his hands in surrender, Amy and Rory also came through the door, bounding into him.
     “Ah, right, guns.”  he said, taken back a bit, “ I suppose an explanation is in order. And why not, mysterious blue box shows up in your  hallway, three people walk out of said box, and I am talking too much, aren’t I. I really must learn to keep silent.”
     A grizzled and worn man with one eye covered in a shiny metal eye patch stepped forward. “That would be wise, considering you are all trespassing on my colony. Give me one reason why I should not have you all shot on site. “
      “Well, “ the Doctor said, beginning to reach into his jacket, causing the men to re-aim their weapons just at him. “Um, if you would let me get to my credentials.” The leader motioned for his men to stand down for the moment. The Doctor reached into his tweed jacket and pulled out the small document holder containing his psychic paper, allowing those to look at it to see what the Doctor needed them to see.  The leader took it from him.
        “Says here you are a group of inspectors, from Earth. Why did Earth send you? I told them I could handle this problem myself. “ The one eyed man looked annoyed.
         “Ah well, I think formalities are in order first. I am the Doctor, by the way, and these are my assistants , Amy and Rory. “ The Doctor had regained his confidence, as he took back his psychic paper.
         “The name is Commander John Habbard, This is my colony, and these are my troops. “ The Doctor offered him his hand, but Habbard refused it.
        “Well then, Commander Habbard, “ the Doctor said, clapping his hands together  in front of him, “the next order of business should be, what sort of problem?”
       “I will not discuss it here in this hallway. Let us go to my office, where we can talk alone. “ Habbard motioned for his soldiers to disperse. All but one, a rather imposing looking woman with blond hair, left to return to their duty stations. The commander did not wait to see  if the Doctor and his companions were following, he just briskly began to walk away. The Doctor  looked back at his friends and smiled. They all set off after the Commander, the female soldier following behind. Rory looked at Amy and raised his eyes.
    “Here we go again.” he mumbled. His wife gave him a soft jab in the ribs.
    “Not now.” she warned.
   They walked down numerous corridor, past what looked like a mess hall for the troops stationed there. The then walked into a rotunda area, with doors leading to other  parts of the colony, many of them reading “civilians.”  Located centrally between the military and civilian areas, was the Commanders office. A large imposing metal door opened as they approached.
    The interior was spartan. The commander had a desk, a communications screen and a few chairs. He did not even have a simple desk plant. Everything inside was done in shades of grey. The Commander  sat behind his desk and offered a chair to the Doctor.  As the Doctor  sat in the proffered seat, the Commander was busy looking over the screen on his desk. Rory watched him, figuring he was looking at data concerning the colony. When Habbard seemed satisfied with what he had looked at, he looked up at his guests.
    “I am going to ask you once again, and please, do not lie.” The Commander shot the female soldier, who had stayed with them entering the  office, a glance. She quickly nodded back at him.
    The Doctor looked Habbard right in the eye. “I told you, I’m the Doctor, and this is Amy and Rory. Beyond that, there really isn’t much more to tell.”
    Habbard grunted. “I’m sure.”
    Rory looked at the Doctor, a small amount of nervousness on his face.
    “Well then, Doctor, what is there to keep me from locking the three of you in my brig and allowing you to rot?” Habbard warned.
    “I suspect the nature of your problem, Commander Habbard, “ answered the Doctor.  “I believe the old saying is, you have bigger fish to fry, so to speak. At the moment, the three of us are a mere inconvenience. Now, I will ask again,” he said with a smirk, “ what seems to be your problem?”
   The Commander chuckled, a dark laugh, devoid of all humor. “Very well, not as if you three will be of much help. This colony has recently come under attack. The perpetrator is a rather large creature, many times the size of a human. Its skin is grey, it has what appears to be worn animal skins as a loin cloth, of sorts. Piercing yellow eyes, and teeth that would scare a lion.  It seems to be a native resident, though all scans of the planet done years ago showed no such beast here. It appears the scans were in error.”
    “It would appear so,” the Doctor agreed, “please, do go on.”
    “We have only been in operation a few short months. Several civilians had gone missing, no trace ever found. Then, one day, the creature was spotted, walking away with one of them. Since no one has ever been found, we assume the latest victim has been killed as well.”
    “I see,” the Doctor said as he pondered this new information. “You know, I must warn you, Commander, in my experience, assumption can be a dangerous thing.”
    “Doctor, I will make any assumption I need to. I will make this beast pay with its blood! “ The Commander was clearly very agitated. “For you see, Doctor, the last victim was my son, my only child. I saw it take him with my own eye! It snatched him up, and I gave chase, sending several rounds of ammunition the creatures way. It seemed to shrug them off. It moved to fast for me to follow, but I saw where it went, towards the caves a few short hours walk from here, just beyond the trees. I say to you , Doctor, I will have the beasts head!” He had gotten to his feet and had leaned into the Doctors face from across the desk. The Doctor was unfazed.
     When the Commander sat back down, the Doctor spoke, softly, yet with authority. “You will take such a creature down, by yourself?” he asked.
     The Commander looked up at the blond soldier. “Captain Buckster,  assemble the troops in the mess.” he ordered. With a nod, the Captain left the office to do as ordered.
     “So, this creature, which you know nothing about, mind you, hurt you. And nothing will keep you from having your revenge. I wonder Commander Habbard, “ the Doctor said, his eyes burning deeply into the Commanders glance, “what sort of cost your vengeance will entail?”
     Habbard glared at him, then snarled, “ The only cost will be paid by that foul beast, Doctor. Mark my words.”
     The Doctor looked down, and spoke with a far softer tone. “What was his name? Your son, what was his name?”
      The Commander seemed to sag a bit, but it was almost unnoticeable.  “James, after my own father. He was just ten years old, and he had his mothers eyes. You see, I lost my wife to an accident when James was very young. He is all I had left of her. That beast took the only goodness I had left in this universe. I promised to keep him safe, and that creature made me break that promise. Death to the beast is the only thing that will bring me justice!” He closed his one good eye and brought his clasped hands to his mouth.
    “That creature’s death will not bring your son back.” the Doctor said, barely above a whisper.
   As the Commander was about to retort, the screen on his desk beeped for his attention. “Are you ready, Captain?” he asked the monitor, knowing who had paged him.
    Captain Buckster’s voice came from the speakers. “Yes sir, Commander, assemble and awaiting your presence.”
    Without reply, he terminated the connection and stood. “Come, Doctor, let me show you how we plan to deal with this problem.” Again, he did not wait for them to join him, but opened the door and walked out, towards the mess hall. The Doctor stood, Amy and Rory close behind. Rory did not look pleased.
    “I really think we should go this time, Doctor.” Rory said, his voice indicating he was serious. “We are clearly not wanted here.”
   “That has never stopped me before.” the Doctor muttered to himself, and he strode off after the Commander.
   “Great!” Rory exclaimed, throwing his hands up in disgust, “Just great, he never listens to me.” As he looked, he noticed Amy had walked off following the Doctor. With a shake of his head he followed. “Wait, I’m coming too.” he said at last.

    The trio entered the mess and made their way towards the middle, where Commander Habbard and Captain Buckster awaited them. On the opposite side of the Commander stood a rather large and imposing alien, his skin a mauve tone, yet slightly scaly. He was covered with marking from his home world, and from his tiny ears hung huge golden hoops. He looked down at the Doctor and leered a mischievous grin.
    The Doctor walked right over to him and looked up. “You must be from the planet Queeg, great hunters, your people. “ the Doctor sniffed in arrogance. “ What brought you here, I wonder?”
    The alien chuckled. “Aye,  my name is Tagoo. Even among my own kind, I am considered the best. I am here because the Commander is here.” he said stiffly.
    “I see. So you owe him a life debt sort of thing?” the Doctor asked, not taking his eyes from Tagoo’s.
    “Yes, he saved my life during a hunt that ended in disaster. Where he goes, I go.” Tagoo looked up and pumped his chest.
    The Doctor began to walk away, “I hope that dept does not cost you your life.” he said softly. Tagoo looked down at him, a small sneer on his lips as the Doctor went back to his companions.
    “Are you quite done, Doctor?” The Commander asked brusquely .
    “I am all ears, Commander.” The Doctor replied with a hand gesture.
    “ Very well.” Habbard began. “Men, what is our purpose here this day?”
    As one, they all sang out. “TO HUNT THE BEAST!”
    “And what will we do when we track it down?” asked Habbard of his men.
   “WE KILL IT!” again, said in unison.
   “That’s right. You have all sworn an oath to me to see this through. “ the Commander said, almost menacingly . Then, quickly he shouted out. “DEATH TO THE BEAST!”
   As if chanting, his men repeated it. “DEATH TO THE BEAST! DEATH TO THE BEAST!” Over  and over they  continued, the noise becoming deafening.
   As all this was going on, the Doctor kept moving his head around the room, as if searching for something.  He began to back away towards the far side of the room, Amy and Rory in tow. As it began to quiet down some, Amy got close to the Doctor’s ear.
     “What are you looking for, Doctor.” she asked, having notice his mannerisms.
     He answered her  while still glancing around. “I am looking for the mast with the gold doubloon nailed to it.”
      With a puzzled look, Amy asked, “The what?”
      “Never mind, ancient history.” he replied with a worried look on his face. “We really need to get back to the TARDIS.”
       “Finally!” Rory said with an exasperated breath.
       “We aren’t leaving.” the Doctor said with a glare towards Rory.
       “Of course not.” Rory frowned.
   The Commander made his way over to them. ”You see Doctor, all loyal to me. Everyone of them have sworn a blood oath!” He grinned, but it was a very frightening sight to behold.
    The Doctor tilted his head to look at him, his face cold and emotionless. “The trouble with blood oaths is, they involve blood.”  The Doctor turned his head away from Habbard. “You wont mind if my assistants and I retire for the evening to our transport?”
    “You mean that blue box you walked out of?” The Commander asked, looking a bit puzzled.
    “It has…sentimental value.” The Doctor replied.
     “I am sure more comfortable quarters can be arranged. “ The Commander offered.
     “The box will be fine.” said the Doctor.
       “Suit yourself.” He glanced over at Captain Buckster. “Captain, escort them to their little blue box, if you please.”
      “Right away sir.” She saluted, the looking towards the three travelers, “This way, please.”
  They all walked out of the mess and started back the way they had originally came. The Doctor held back, getting closer to Buckster. When they were clear of the mess hall, he began to strike up a conversation.
     “So, Captain Buckster, do you have a first name, or is it just Captain?” He said pleasantly
     “If you must no, my name is Elisabeth, but you will refer to me as Captain.” she replied, straight laced.
     “I noticed, Captain,” he said with his hands clasped in front of him, his head glancing towards the ceiling “That during all the chanting back there, you were oddly quiet, and you were staring at the floor.”
     She did not flinch, “I was not in a chanting mood.” she said simply.
     “Oh don’t give me that.” the Doctor continued. “I have been around soldiers many times in my life. I have also been around more lunatics then I care to admit. I see it in your eyes, even now. You do not approve of what is going on here.”
     She grew a bit cross at this. “I do as I am commanded, sir, nothing more.”
     “Do not insult me, Captain, I am quite good at reading people. You want this to stop.” He turned to face her directly. “Help me stop this, before more lives are lost. Help me end this madness.”
     They had reached the TARDIS, the Captain stared straight into the Doctor’s eyes. “I will do my duty. Goodnight, Doctor.” she spat out, turning and walking away at a brisk, angry  pace.
     The Doctor stood there a moment, watching her walk away, disappointment on his face. Amy and Rory had already gone inside the TARDIS. With a sigh, he turned and opened the door. As he walked in, he returned one last glance at Captain Buckster, then shut the door. He leaned against it with his head in his hands.
     Amy looked at him, concerned. “What’s wrong Doctor?”
     “Fools,” he breathed, “ the whole lot of them.” He began to walk back towards the control console, then turned to face Rory. “Rory, I have a job for you.”
    “A job?” Rory asked, a bit surprised. “For me?”
     “Of course for you..” the Doctor said, sounding agitated. “I need you to track down Captain Buckster. Tell her I sent you to apologize for my rudeness. That should get her attention. However, I also need you to determine where she truly stands in all this.”
     “But, Doctor…” Rory began, but was quickly cut off.
     “No buts, Rory, just do it!” the Doctor snapped. “This is important!”
    Rory glared at him, and stormed off towards the doors, slamming them behind him.
     Amy looked from the slammed doors then to the Doctor, her arms crossed in anger. “Oy, Don’t you snap at my husband like that again, raggedy man!”
     He looked her in the eye. “Not now Amy!”
     “Yes now.” she spat at him. “None of this secretive nonsense. Right  now, you tell me. What is going on here?”
     His eyes looked away from her and back towards the doors. “Oh, Pond. Haven’t you figured it out yet? Ahab needs to hunt his white whale.”

      As Rory was walking away from the TARDIS, he was grumbling to himself, moving his arms in anger as he did so. “Every time! He does this, every, single time! I am getting sick and tired of how he treats us. We are not his pets!” He continued on like this as he made his way to the most logical place he could think of, the mess hall.
     By the time he got there, most of the soldiers had dispersed,. Still mumbling to himself, Rory ran smack into something large and immobile. He looked up and noticed it was Tagoo.
      “You lost, little man?” the large alien asked with a twisted grin.
      “Ah, sorry, Tagoo. No, no, not lost, simply in need of a late night snack.” Rory nervously replied. With that he made his way to a cabinet, and pulled out the first things he saw, a can of tuna and some crackers.  Tagoo chuckled as he walked away.
      Rory, his snack in hand, looked around the room.  His gamble had paid off, with luck, in the far corner sat Captain Buckster, picking at her own late meal. He walked over towards her and cleared his throat as he approached.
      “Uh, Captain,” He began, “I would like to apologize for the Doctor’s rudeness. Sometimes that man can be very infuriating.”
      “He sent you, didn’t he?” She glared up at Rory.
      “Yes, yes he did, much to my chagrin.” Rory stared up at the ceiling.
      “You might as well take a seat and eat, though I will not be much company at the moment.” She offered the chair across from hers. Rory took it and opened the top of the tuna tin, then the crackers.
      The Captain watched him eat for a few moments, then began to speak. “Look, I know who and what he is. Our records may not be the most complete, but it showed me enough. He is not human. He has been known to change his face, though I am not sure I believe that.”
     “Yeah, well,” Rory began, bur Buckster cut him off.
“One thing I can tell you that our records show. He is a great meddler. Always sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.” She said angrily.
     “Tell me about it.” Rory said, looking away, and up towards the ceiling.
     “What really burns me up though, most of the records we have on him show that most of the time, he is right.” She sighed.
     Rory tried to lighten the mood a bit. “If it is any consolation, I can tell you I have been around him when he is wrong. It is not a pretty sight.”  Rory ended up frowning himself at that. The disaster at Demon’s Run, still fresh in his mind.
     They were quiet for a few moment, then the Captain began to speak softly. “Look, whether he is right or wrong does not matter. I cannot go against the Commander. That would be treason. I hope this Doctor of yours has something cleaver up his sleeve to end this madness, before it is too late.”
     Rory sighed, “I am sure he does, he always does.”  With a small frown he went back to eating his tuna and crackers. The Captain, finished with her meal, excused herself, leaving Rory alone.

      Rory had only been away from the TARDIS a few moments. The Doctor was pacing back and forth, thinking, muttering to himself.  Finally, with  a mighty, “AHA!” he ran over to the control console. Then he looked at the still slightly peeved Amy.
     “I have a job for you, Pond.” he smiled.
     “Oh, so now it’s me you have a job for. After you recent behavior, I am not sure I want to help.”  With that, she turned her back on him.
      He ignored her attitude for the moment. “This one is simple, while I am gone, have the TARDIS run a scan of this planet. Tell her to look for all indigenous species and see if any fit the Commander’s description. Also, have her look for anything unusual, out of place, so to speak.” He began to stride back towards the blue doors.
      “Wait, you’re leaving?” Amy asked, a bit shocked. “And where are you going?”
       “I am going to have another chat with our good friend Commander Habbard. There are still a few key pieces of information I need.” He continued his walk to the doorway.
      “You gonna try and get on his good side? I doubt he even has one.” She quipped. “ How are you going to manage that?”
      As he reached the doors, he turned back with a smirk. “Simple, just call me Ishmael.” And with that he was gone, and Amy set about setting up the scan he had asked for.

      None of the soldiers even made a move to stop him,  all of them having seen the Doctor standing with Habbard in the mess hall earlier. He reached his destination fairly quickly, and gently tapped his knuckles on the door.
       “Yes, what is it?” came the gruff reply form inside.
       The Doctor stuck his head inside and smiled. “Mind if we continue our chat from earlier?”
        Habbard looked up with a bit of a glare. “I should have known it was you, Doctor. Very well, come on in and have a seat.”
      The Doctor closed the door behind him, sat down and crossed his lower legs. “I was hoping I could join the hunt. It looks like you are planning to set out at first light, am I correct?”
      The Commander nodded an affirmative, then added, “I am not sure this hunt would sit well with you Doctor. To me, you just do not have that killer instinct.” He was goading the Doctor a bit.
      The Doctor merely sighed and looked down at the floor. “Oh how I wish that were true.” he frowned.
       Habbard stood up and looked out a very small window in his office, hands clasped behind his back. “This is war, Doctor. Something I fear you know nothing about.  I will not be denied my revenge.”
       “Of that, I have no doubt.” the Doctor said, still fairly quiet. “I only urge you to proceed with a bit of caution. “
       The Commander chuckled a bit, again, it was tainted with darkness. “Caution, you say. I actually expect that from you, Time Lord.”
       The last bit got the Doctor’s undivided attention. “How did you know?” he asked.
        “How could I not? There are agencies on Earth that have records of some of your activities.  Oh  yes, your face may change from time to time, but you are the very same man, and wherever you go, disaster follows in your wake.”
        The Doctor was now glaring. “Disaster happens when  stubborn beings like you fail to head my warnings. I tell you now, sir, abandon this fruitless bloodlust, before it fully consumes you.”
        Habbard turned around now, and put his hands on the edges of his desk so he could lean in closer to the Doctor. “What do you know of loss, Doctor? How can you, a time traveler, able to go wherever you wish, ever know of loss?”
        The Doctor was quickly on his feet, the now familiar fire of anger showing on his face. “You foolish human,” he began, a deadly quietness to his voice. “You could never know the amount of pain, guilt and loss I carry around after nearly one thousand years of life. You insult me sir.”  The age in his eyes was showing now, as he stared down the Commander. “There is one thing your records will never tell you about me. I am the last of my kind. You speak of war?  You know nothing of the true horrors of war. Your simple human mind could never comprehend the terrors my eyes have seen in all my long years.”
        He began to make his way to the door, as he opened it, he shot a warning glance back. “I have tried to keep you from making a terrible mistake, but you are clouded with madness. Your fate, and the consequences it brings, rest squarely now upon your shoulders.”  With that the Doctor left the office, slamming the door behind him. He briefly toyed with the idea of simply using his sonic screwdriver to lock it, but decided that it would accomplish nothing.
        As he angrily made his way back towards the TARDIS, he came across the alien Tagoo in one of the hallways.  Tagoo could see the look on the Doctor’s face, but approached him anyway.
        “Hello, Doctor. Is everything well? You seem a bit, disturbed.” He asked with a grin.
        The Doctor stopped and looked deeply into Tagoo’s eyes. “Actually, Tagoo, things are wrong. Very, very, wrong.” The Doctor decided to take a shot in the dark . “Why do you follow him Tagoo? You are not like the others. You are not military personnel, sworn to uphold his orders.”
         Tagoo just grinned. “I told you Doctor, he saved my life during a hunt, long ago.”
         “Would you mind filling me in on some of the details of his most courageous of acts?” The Doctor asked, hoping to gain insight, and maybe an ally.
         “Certainly, Doctor. It was many years ago. I was leading a hunt on the planet Thanatos Seven, are you familiar with it?” Tagoo inquired.
        “Of course I have heard of it, “ the Doctor said, his hands now clasped in front of his chest. “I avoid it like the plague. Why in all the universe would you hunt there?”
         Tagoo had an enormous grin on his face. “Simple! For us it is the most challenging place to hunt. Besides, wild treg pelts fetch a high price to the right buyer. “
         “I suppose the right buyer would be Dorium, in these parts anyway.” The Doctor quipped. “But, please go on with your tale.”
         “Our hunt had been very successful. However, as we were returning to our ship, we were ambushed.  About two dozen Cybermen from the Twelfth Cyber Legion came out of nowhere. They killed everyone in the hunting party except for me. Luckily, the then Captain Habbard and his men had been tracking them.  They managed to destroy the Cybermen and save me. From that day, I pledged my life to John Habbard.”
        The Doctor stood quiet for a moment. “Tagoo, I can see it in your eyes. You know this is a fools errand, and it will turn out all wrong.  Just do me one favor, if it comes down to your life debt or your life, choose the latter.”
    With that, he excused himself and resumed his quick pace back to the TARDIS.

    Rory had finished his snack, and was slowly making his way back to the TARDIS. As he rounded the last corner, he saw the Doctor ahead of him, moving at a fast pace. He noticed the Doctor had slammed the TARDIS doors behind him as he entered. Rory quickened his pace. Something was up, and he knew an angry Doctor was a dangerous Doctor.
   He walked through the doorway just in time to hear the end of the Doctor’s rant about stupid, pigheaded humans, and their reluctance to listen to him. Amy spotted her husband and quickly shook her head no.
    “Fools, every last one of them. Narrow minded automatons, following a strutting martinet!” The Doctor was so caught up in his vitriol, that he never noticed Rory enter the TARDIS. Amy remained silent, hoping the Doctor would calm down soon.
     As the Doctor began to calm down, Rory cleared his throat  to let the Doctor know he had returned. The Doctor looked over at him, a grimace still on his face.  “Ah, Rory the Roman. I hope you had a more productive evening then I.”
     “Well, that all depends on your idea of productive.” Rory said, matter-of-factly. “I did talk with the Captain. She is well aware of the problems with Commander Habbard. However, Doctor, she also seems to know a bit about you as well.” He had expected a far different reaction from the Time Lord than what he got.
     “That doesn’t surprise me. The Commander was kind enough to point out to me that they have files about me back on Earth. “ He glanced between this two companions a bit rapidly, “Remind me to do something about that when we have time.”
      “There is more, Doctor. “ Rory said, “Captain Buckster wanted you to know that she is aware of her duty.”
     The Doctor looked away from him, and back up at the control console. “Is that all, Rory?” he asked, seeming a bit defeated
     “Yeah, I’m afraid so. She walked away after that.” Rory looked up at Amy a bit nervously.
     “She is aware of her duty.” the Doctor repeated, almost absently. “There is that word again, duty. Such a small word, yet it’s meaning has cost countless lives in the history of the universe. Humans, there are times when your notions of duty fill me with despair.”
     It was Amy’s turn to clear her throat. “Ahem, Doctor, the TARDIS finished the scan you asked for. She found no indigenous life forms  that fit the Commanders description. However, she did curiously find some wreckage from a crashed ship a few hundred kilometers from our current location.”
     The Doctor’s mood turned in an instant . He bounded up the stairs to the scanner screen. “Pond, I could kiss you!” he exclaimed.
      “OY!” warned Rory from below.
      “Right,” the Doctor said awkwardly, “ Not kiss, I meant shake your hand.”  He looked over the reading on the scanner. “Yes, that’s it, that’s the answer I was looking for!” He looked over at Amy, “Tell me she also collected a readout of all the indigenous species.”
       Amy laughed, “Of course she did!”
        The Doctor went through the list and saw what he was looking for.  With glee, he raced back down the stairs, and towards the doors.
        Rory watched him then asked, “Where are you going now?”
        The Doctor, a huge grin on his face, looked back at the two of them. “Just going to test a theory, be back in a bit. You two stay put.”
        Amy yelled down to him, “At this time of night?”
        He smirked as he went through the doorway. “You know me. Geronimo!” And with that he was gone again.
        Amy  stood by the scanner, shaking her head. She glanced at the entry the Doctor had left on the screen. It showed a creature a bit larger than a tiger, but with far more teeth and claws. A warning was flashing at the bottom.. “Pack Hunters”

       The Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver. He made his way down a hallway he knew would lead to an exit from the colony.  As he suspected, it was locked, but, his screwdriver quickly made short work of that, and he was soon outside, heading in the direction of the caves. As he walked, he made a few adjustments to his sonic, so that he would be able to scan for the pack hunters he had seen on the scanner. He was beginning to suspect that they were the real reason why some of the colonists had vanished without a trace. If he was right, that would mean the Commander and his men were after the wrong life form.
     He moved as  quickly as he could through the forest. As he was finally within sight of the caves, the sun was beginning to rise. He knew his time was short. Habbard and his men would be leaving the colony at any moment, heading this way, armed to the teeth.
     He scanned the cave entrances, trying to find the most likely one to be hiding Habbard’s nemesis. There was one, towards the south east that had an opening that seemed large enough to accommodate a being the proportions the Commander had described. The Doctor quickly made his way to it, sonic screwdriver held out in front of him.
    He had only gone a few meters in when he noticed his screwdriver had picked up something. “Gotcha.” he said quietly to himself.
      Without warning there was a huge bellowing roar from deep within the cave. The Doctor looked around, spotting a small hidden alcove on the far side of the cave. He dashed into it. Mere moments later, with thundering footsteps that shook the ground, the Doctor got his first good look at the great beast.
       He was smiling in wonder. He whispered to himself, “Oh, look at you! Such a magnificent specimen!”
       The large creature grunted, then looked directly at the alcove the Doctor was hiding in. It growled and grunted some more. The Doctor realized he could understand it.
      “Ah, yes,” he began, still staying hidden, “ I suspected you were intelligent. I am not here to attack you. That would be foolish. And right about now, I am hoping you can understand me as well.”
     The creature grunted. “Ah good, you do, that will make things so much easier. Alright, I am coming out now, and I am unarmed.” He chuckled to himself a bit, “If I had a jammy dodger for every time I have had to say that…”
     He moved very slowly out of hiding, and found himself face to face with what could only be described as a mountain of flesh and muscle. Habbard’s description did not do this creature justice. It’s arms were as big around as oak trees, they hung down almost like a gorillas. The hands ended in very long and sharp claws. It’s nose was small for it’s face, yet it’s mouth was very large. Two huge fangs protruded from its lower jaw. Small horns adorned its bald head. It was the eyes that caught the Doctor by surprise the most. They were kind, almost child-like, with a wonderful yellow  center.
     The Doctor was very pleased indeed. As he was clasping his hands before him, the creature spoke in its guttural tongue. “Ah, right, I suppose introductions are in order. I am the Doctor. I have come to warn you. The humans from the colony, as I am sure you are aware, are heading this way to destroy you. They fear you, simply because they misunderstand you.”
    The beast looked at the cave entrance and growled. Then it looked back to the Doctor, and spoke some more. The Doctor began to frown. “I know, believe me. I have been trying to stop this from happening, but their leader refuses to see reason. He claims you killed his son. “
    The next thing the Doctor heard from the creature brought instant joy to his whole being. “James is alive! Please, can you take me too him?”
     With barely a grunt, the beast beckoned for the Doctor to follow him, deeper into the cave. After a walk taking them through many side tunnels and turns, with only the light from the Doctor’s sonic to illuminate the way, they finally came to a very large cavern, filled with stalactite and stalagmites.  There, in the far corner, looking perfectly content as he sat in front of a small fire, was ten year old James Habbard.
     The Doctor quickly made his way over to him, the boy cowering a bit. “Please, do not be frightened, I am here to help you. I’m the Doctor, by the way, and you must be James. I know your father. He is very worried about you.”
      James looked down at his feet. He had a sad look on his face. “Funny how he acts worried now, when before I ended up here he never seemed to even have time for me.”
      The boy’s words cut deeply into both of the Doctor’s hearts. “I know he doesn’t show it, James, but deep down, I know he loves you. “
      The boy looked away. “I bet he has all his soldiers out looking to kill my new friend. It is how he reacts to everything, with force.”
     It was the Doctor’s turn to look away. “Of that, I am certain.” he said sadly. Then he turned back to the boy. “Listen James, I need you to stay back here, no matter what happens. I am still hoping to have a happy outcome to all this.”
     The boy pulled his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. “Alright, I will. Just, please don’t let my dad hurt him, he really is nice.”
     “I know he is, James, I know he is.”  The Doctor said quietly. Then he walked over to the creature. “So you, I gather you are not native to this planet, judging by the wreckage my ship detected. So, what is your story?”
      The creature began to tell his tale. The Doctor listened closely as he learned that he had been captured and taken from his home world, by a group of aliens that wanted to use his size and strength as slave labor. They had underestimated the force of nature they had on their hands. Breaking his bonds, he had killed his captors, causing the ship to crash land here on Felstar. Needing shelter, he had eventually made his way to these caves.
     The Doctor’s mood was very gloomy now. “Such a senseless waste. You, ripped from your home, to live here in seclusion. And now pursued for a crime you are innocent of. Tell me, do you have a name?”
     He grunted a few unintelligible sounds, and it made the Doctor briefly smirked. “Ah, unpronounceable, I am very familiar with that exact problem.” he said with a wink. “This just leaves me one more question. How did James end up here with you?”
     The answer he received did not shock him. “Ah, I see, you rescued him from the pack hunters. Such beautiful but deadly creatures. I am glad you were able to keep the boy from meeting the fate so many others have fallen to.”
     The Doctor stood and paced a bit. “Now, how to get through to Commander Habbard. His misguided hatred has blinded him to all reason.”
      He lifted his left arm and looked at the time on his watch. “Well, I guess I am about to find out. The both of you stay here. Give me time to talk to them.”  As he began to leave the cavern and make his way back to the entrance, the alien grunted a warning to him. The Doctor turned his head, sadness and worry on his face. “I know.” was his only reply.

     Amy and Rory had barely been alone two hours when there was a sudden pounding at the TARDIS doors. Amy ran to the console and looked at the scanner screen. Commander Habbard and his troops were standing outside, heavily armed. Rory looked at his wife. “Get ready to raise the shields, I will go and see what he wants.” he said as he bounded down the stairs towards the entrance. Amy ran over to the shield controls, waiting for the signal to put them up.
     Rory only opened the door far enough to stick his head through. “Yes?” he asked, putting on a nervous act for the Commander.
     “Where is the Doctor?” demanded the Commander without any other formalities. “He wanted to see the beast himself. Now will probably be his last chance.”
     “Um, well, he isn’t here right now. Can I take a message?” replied Rory, adding a small stammer to his speech.
    “So, he ran out on us? I figured as much, he had the look of a coward.” Habbard removed his pistol from its holster, and pointed it at Rory. “Very well then, the two of you shall join us as we hunt down and destroy the vile beast.”
    Rory, his hands unseen, signaled to Amy. With a flip of a switch, the invisible shields activated around the TARDIS. Rory then glared at the Commander. “Oh, don’t give me that. Your guns don’t scare me. My wife and I have no intention of joining this madness.”
    Habbard raised his gun and fired at Rory’s head, the bullet being absorbed and disintegrated by the shielding. Rory smirked at him. “Shall I repeat my rejection to your generous offer?”
     The Commander snarled, defeated. He turned to his men. “Let them all cower in their little box. We have a monster to kill. DEATH TO THE BEAST!”
     The soldiers all chanted the last bit as they moved away from the TARDIS and back the way they came. As the last of them filed out, Rory caught Captain Buckster’s eye. She simply put her head down and shook it. Then she too joined the death march out of the colony. All Rory could do was close and lock the door, then he let his own head sag a bit.

     The Doctor stood at the mouth of the cave, waiting for the forces lead by Commander Habbard. He knew that any moment now, they would emerge from the woods a short distance off. He also knew he had a slim chance of stopping the inevitable confrontation. The creature had made it quite clear that he would defend himself to the detriment of those that hunted him.
     His wait was not as long as he had hoped. Soon movement was spotted in the woods, and then Habbard emerged, followed closely by the large and intimidating Tagoo. The rest of his soldiers were right behind him. As the Doctor watched them approach, he noticed Tagoo was carrying a rather large piece of artillery, more like a cannon than a simple gun.
    He looked down towards his feet, steeling his resolve, then put on a happy face, and walked out to meet them. “Good morning, Commander!” he shouted to them.
    Habbard glared angrily as he spotted the Doctor. “So, the coward has decided to join us after all. I suggest you head to the rear guard position Doctor, lest you get your hands dirty.”
    As the Doctor reached him, he got a serious look on his face. “I implore you once more, Commander, end this madness now before you make a mistake.”
    “My only mistake, Doctor, was allowing you to roam free on my colony! Now, out of my way!” He pushed the Doctor aside and continued onto the cave.
     “James is still alive!” the Doctor shouted after him. This got the Commander’s attention. He stopped and turned.
     “Alive? Then the beast has him held captive!” His eye was wide, he was looking back and forth quickly.
     “No, it’s not what you think. The one you hunt saved James from the pack hunters. Surely, you know of them. You did scans of this world before you set up your colony.” the Doctor said, desperate to diffuse the situation.
     “Nice try, Doctor.” Habbard said. “We learned about them when we did our scans, the pack hunters live hundreds of kilometers from here. They were why we chose our current location, to give room between us and them. There is no way they are responsible for all this.”
     “Did it ever occur to you that they would migrate?” the Doctor asked quickly.
     “Stop stalling me Doctor, I have a beast to kill, and a son to rescue!” He looked back towards his men. ”Captain, get this man out of my sight! As for the rest of you, lets move! DEATH TO THE BEAST!”
   Captain Buckster held back the Doctor as ordered, yet she looked at him, her eyes pleading with him to end this. The others started chanting “DEATH TO THE BEAST!” and just as he suspected, the Doctor heard the alien’s roar as it came charging out of the cave toward his attackers.
    Before any of them could take aim and open fire, there was a horrible screeching from the woods. Suddenly, a very large group of the pack hunters came charging at them all. The giant bellowed loudly, and rushing past the human, he leaped headlong into the onrushing horde. Moving almost in unison, the pack leapt upon him, many being instantly thrown off. He managed to grab a few, throwing them against rocks, or slamming them to the ground. For every one he defeated, two took its place.
    The Doctor looked back at Habbard and his men, then to the cave. He was barely visible at the entrance, but James had defied the Doctor’s wishes, and came out to see what was happening. The Doctor ran towards the cave, just as a group of pack hunters charged at Habbard and his men. The men opened fire, but they were quickly overwhelmed.
    The Doctor reached James and grabbed him. “James, please, get back inside. If the hunters spot you they will tear you to pieces. Those are what your friend was protecting you from!”
    Wide eyed, James did as he was told, and ran for cover, hiding in the very alcove the Doctor had used earlier. The Doctor turned, sonic screwdriver in hand. Carnage greeted his old eyes. Habbard and his men had formed a small circle, trying to cover all sides. Men were being dragged into the woods to meet a most gruesome fate. The Doctor looked towards the giant alien. He was beginning to get the upper hand on the pack, but he had suffered many wounds in the process.
     Tagoo had managed to get into a better fighting position, and was slowly thinning the numbers of the pack hunters. He too was suffering from wounds, but his resolve could not be conquered. The Doctor was so distracted watching all this, that he did not notice a small group of the hunters heading his way. As he turned and saw them, they were preparing to leap. The giant roared, and with a mighty jump, landed near the cave entrance, putting himself between the hunters, and his two friends in the cave.
    He had very little room to maneuver in this spot, and a few of the hunters scored critical wounds to is large body. A bit further away, Habbard and his remaining men had succeeded in beating back the hunters.
    It was at this point that the Doctor heard something he wished he hadn’t. The Commander shouted out an order. “Now men, while the beast is wounded and distracted, now is out chance!”
     Before the Doctor could shout, someone else did. “NO!”  The voice belonged to Captain Buckster. “Commander, it’s over, you were wrong. Can you not see? The Doctor was right. This creature you hunt, the one that has filled you with this insanity, is trying to protect us, the Doctor, and your son!”
     “Captain, you are relieved!” Habbard spat at her.
      She calmly drew her pistol and pointed it at her commanding officer. “No sir, you are relieved, under regulation forty-six. You are no longer fit to command.”
       Habbard yelled incoherently, and was on Buckster faster then she could react. He punched her in the face, grabbed his own gun, and shot her in the shoulder. As she fell to the ground, he began shouting like a man possessed. “I AM IN CHARGE HERE! THIS IS MY COMMAND! I give the orders! I say kill the beast!” None of the other soldiers moved at his command. He began waving his pistol at them all. “I will see you all hanged, do you hear me! ALL OF YOU!”
    Suddenly a rather large fist appeared, and Commander Habbard was down on the ground, barely conscious. Tagoo was standing over him, anger and shame showing on his face. “I swore to follow you no matter where you go.” the large Queegian said quietly, “ I swore to repay the life debt, and I have done so. I have just saved you from the one thing you could not, yourself, Commander.”
     Tagoo walked away, picking up his large cannon. The alien was still struggling with the last remnants of the pack, his strength beginning to fail him. Tagoo turned back to the soldiers. “Secure the Commander, and attend to the wounded. Those not needed for such task, I say  we help that creature! Are you with me!”
     A cheer went up from the men, and they followed after Tagoo, taking out the last of the pack. The giant turned to face the men, readying itself, but a gentle hand on the back of his leg stopped him. “It’s all right, they are no longer here to harm you.”  the Doctor said to him quietly.
     James had now come out of hiding. He looked up at his giant friend, tears in his eyes. The alien turned and looked down at the boy, smiling. Then, it began to stumble, finally collapsing on the ground near the caves mouth. The Doctor quickly scanned him with his sonic.
     “I’m sorry, I am so, so sorry.” he said, looking back at James. “His wounds are too great. There is nothing any of us can do for him.”
     Tagoo was now standing near the Doctor and the fallen giant. “There is one thing, Doctor. We can honor him.”
     The Doctor brought his right hand to his eyes. The alien grunted weakly a few more times. “Yes, the boy will be safe now. You did well.”
      His breathing becoming very shallow, it spoke a few last words to the Doctor. Then , with one last great exhale, the light of life left his yellow eyes. The Doctor sagged in sorrow, then reached up and gently closed the giants eyes. By now, those that could, including the now bound Commander Habbard, and the wounded Captain Buckster, had gathered around their fallen protector.
      Habbard leered down at the fallen alien. “So, the beast wasn’t so tough after all.”
      The Doctor whipped his head around, pure anger was all it showed. He got right up into the Commander’s face. “That beast, as you call him had more nobility then you could ever have!” He looked around, there were wounded and dead everywhere, both human and pack hunters alike. “All this damned bloodshed could have been avoided, if only you had listened to me!”
       “You still try to lecture me, don’t you Doctor. The great meddler, once again.” Habbard sneered at him. “This was my situation, to deal with my way. I did not ask, nor did I want help from the likes of you!”
       The Doctor grew quiet now, yet when he spoke, the true authority in his voice could be felt by all. “How much more blood will it take for you to see how wrong you truly are, I wonder. So many of your loyal followers, dead, and for what. A simple misunderstanding.” The Doctor turned to look back into the cave, beckoning James to come forth. “Let us now see the true price you paid, John.”
    As James came into view, Habbard looked at him. “JAMES! My boy! You see, I rescued you, I upheld my promise to protect you!”  The boy looked down at his fallen friend, tears still flowing. Then he looked up at his father, but he had hatred in his eyes. His words cut deeper then any saber ever could.
    “No, all you managed to do was get my friend killed. Your answer to every thing is violence. Sometimes I wish you had been taken from me, not my mother.” He turned his back on his father, walking back over behind the Doctor.
     Habbard, pain and understanding finally dawning on him, spoke softly. “James, I..I am sorry, my only concern was keeping you safe. Can you not see that?”
     “Then why is it you only paid attention to me when I was taken from you?” the boy bit back.
      Habbard sagged, he was beaten. He had no more words to defend himself with. He fell to his knees, a single tear falling from his good eye. James looked up at the Doctor. “I want to return home, to Earth. I want to live with my Aunt Tessa.”
      The Commander looked up as he heard this. “But, I am your father.” he said weakly.
      “No,” said James, “ you were always a commander first and a father second. I do not want to end up like you.”
      The Commander shook his head, but would say no more. Captain Buckster and Tagoo walked over to the Doctor, Tagoo speaking first. “I noticed you could understand him,” he said, indicating the fallen giant, “what was it he said to you before he died?”
      The Doctor looked up into Tagoo’s eyes. “He asked that we bring him back into the cave he has called home, and seal his body inside. He said his spirit is free.”
      Captain Buckster nodded her head. “We will see too it Doctor. I, I want to say I am sorry. I should have stood up to him when this all began.”
       The Doctor looked down at her,  he tried to hide the small amount of disgust in his voice when he spoke. “What does it matter now, in the end you did your duty.” With that, he turned and walked away, trying to help with the wounded.
       The Captain lowered her head in shame. Tagoo looked down at her. “Do not worry, Captain, I do not think the Doctor will hold a grudge against you forever.”
       She looked up at him. “No, Tagoo, he might not, but he has every right in the universe to do so.”
        Many long hours later, after the wounded and dead had been brought back to the colony, and the giant had been sealed in his tomb, the Doctor finally returned to the familiar corridor containing the TARDIS. James would be returning to Earth on the next transport. Captain Buckster  was officially put in command, and Habbard was ordered to return to Earth for court marshal, his career finished.
       As the Doctor reached the TARDIS, he put his head against her door. He then heard rather heavy footsteps behind him. He turned and saw Tagoo heading his way, a large duffel bag slung over his shoulder.
       “Doctor, would you mind giving this tired old hunter a lift home?”  he asked, hoping the answer would be yes.
       “Sure, why not.” the Doctor answered, though he could hardly disguise the slight annoyance in his voice. “Might as well rename myself the Time Lord Taxi Driver.” With that, he snapped his fingers, opening the TARDIS doors.
     Amy and Rory were waiting inside, Rory looking a bit shocked to see Tagoo with him.
Amy could see that now was not the time to talk to the Doctor, he would need a bit of space. They would talk later, when he was ready too. She nudged Rory, and indicated that they should head to their quarters.
    As they were heading up the stairs, the Doctor spoke, loud enough so they could hear. “Human beings,” he began, “I will never , ever finish saving you lot, even from yourselves.” With that, he grew quiet again, and closed the doors.
    A short time later, there was a small thump heard in the hallway. The light on top of the police box began to flash, and the eerie whirring began. Slowly, the TARDIS dematerialized, leaving the corridor the way they had found it ,utterly empty.

          The End


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