|Doctor Who Companion Internet Adventure #00 - "Jadi Morok and the Dark Sapphire"
by Alan Taylor
Things have changed here. I can't say too much, since I think my e-mail is being tapped, but I lie awake every night, knowing that one day they will come for me. It scares me, Jadi, and I wish you were here, but I know that you have your reasons for staying away, and I understand them. But if there's anyway you can get help to me, maybe get me off-planet without them knowing, I might be safe.
I miss you, Jadi, and love you with all my heart,
* * *
Jadi was annoyed. The shuttle from Deremar to Kapone took four hours and he'd got stuck next to some flame haired harridan in a blue and white spotted jumpsuit who insisted on talking to him. No, not just talking to him, nagging him. Poking him in the stomach and telling him he was out of shape, and how he ought to exercise more, and generally driving him up the wall faster than a fast drivey thing. He tried to feign sleep, resisting the temptation to insult her dress sense. The two other people in the carriage, a man and a woman in tailored suits and brown overcoats ignored both of them, deep in a conspiratorial discussion of their own. He couldn't sleep though. He was worried about Kirena.
She was his favourite relative, his only sister. She was strong willed, independent, forthright, possessed of a fiery temper and a savage inner strength that usually struck fear into any man who got in her way.
He couldn't imagine her being as afraid as she had seemed in her e-mail. He couldn't abandon her. So he was going home. He tried to picture home. It was a faint memory, but it was still there. His apartment, the shops downstairs, his car. Just before he left, he'd bought a sleek black hover convertible, top of the range and designed to attract women like flies to rotting flesh. He'd had it three hours before he was forced to abandon it in the long term parking zone at the spaceport. It'd still be there. He realised he was smiling as he thought about it, found himself relishing the thought of speeding down the wide boulevards of Kapone City, with the wind rustling his hair. He was going home. Harridan poked him in the ribs, and told him to fasten his safety belt for their final descent.
She whined about how the captain had announced it five minutes ago, and why wasn't he paying attention. Jadi stuck her tongue out at her behind her back. He noticed that the odd couple had gone. He looked out of the window at his homeworld, trying to ignore the continued nagging of the woman beside him.
There seemed to be more satellites than there had been before he left, but apart from that, it seemed to be the same old place. The space port was emptier than he remembered, with black suited guards at strategic points, members of the Guild of Absolute Enforcement. The nagging woman was with him all the way through customs, forcing a piece of paper into his hand as they separated. He read it on his way to the parking zone, trying to avoid the glares of the guards. A healthy eating plan. He crumpled it up and stuffed it into his pocket. His car was still there. A bit dusty perhaps, but still there. He ran a hand along its sleek body work, almost caressing it, before opening the door and climbing in.
He placed the key in the lock and it hummed smoothly to life, lifting gently from the ground, the roof sliding silently back. He turned the sound system on, full volume, and slammed the vehicle into first gear, driving out of the parking zone and into the street. He almost crashed the car immediately. There was a new addition to the Kapone skyline - a soaring tower, at least twice the height of nearby buildings dominated the skyline, built of shining steel and dark glass.
Jadi stared at it, in awe of it. Kirena would be at the Guild of Poetic Justice, so that would be where he had to go first.
* * *
Kirena Morok, Grand Master of the Guild of Poetic Justice, was tired. She sat in her office, reading through reports and accounts, depressed by what her life had become. At first, it had been fun. The Guild of Poetic Justice had been set up as an all female guild - the first and the only Guild to allow women members. It had been a laughing stock at first, but then she had struck her first victim - a high ranking politician who was rumoured to enjoy the company of courtesans. She'd pulled a nice little stunt involving fish-net stockings, relaxant drugs, a bowl of fruit and a camera. The press had loved it, the politician had resigned, and poetic justice had been served. Her guild had received good publicity, and uneasy acceptance by the other Guilds.
Women all over Kapone had hailed her as the saviour of womankind. Since then she had trod an uneasy line. The Guild was always in a precarious position. It couldn't kill its victims, since that was the job of the Guild of Justifiable Assassination, nor could it just ridicule them without trespassing on the rights of the Guild of Sensationalist Journalism. Kirena found herself buried under more and more paperwork, trying to run the Guild in an ever more competitive market.
And then things got nasty. Three Guild members were missing. Two had been hospitalised. Kirena had received threatening phone calls, and had taken to sleeping in the office where she felt more secure. At first she had no idea who was behind it, but after a particularly unpleasant conversation with Delwyn Travis, the Grand Master of the Guild of Absolute Enforcement, she began to have suspicions. He had become ambitious, perhaps too ambitious. She had said as much to some of the other Grand Masters, but they were either didn't believe her or were too scared of Travis.
* * *
Two blocks from the spaceport Jadi's music stopped, and a quiet voice replaced it. "So, Jadi. You came back. A foolish move, but one which I expected. So I booby trapped your car. Slow down, and it will explode a little. I'm sorry it has to end like this." The music started again, almost loud enough to drown Jadi's stream of profanity.
* * *
The door to Kirena's office opened, and two figures walked in.
One was a trooper from the Guild of Absolute Enforcement.
The other was Travis' companion Kluge, a short, stocky man who seldom spoke, and always wore a domed helmet with only a slit in the front.
"Travis wants to see you," said the trooper.
"Well, I'm busy, tell him I'll call him later."
"Travis wants to see you now."
Kluge raised an arm, pointing a slim weapon at Kirena. She sighed. "It's always the way, isn't it. When girls want to have a tea party, they send out invitations. When boys want to play, we have to go through all this macho balderdash. And what does it achieve? Everyone gets worked up, nobody is relaxed, and you wind up with more testosterone than you can shake a stick at. I suppose an invitation would be out of the question." A bolt of energy burned a hole in the wall behind her.
"I'll just get my coat."
* * *
When all this was over, thought Jadi, he would have to write a book. He could call it Jumping From A Speeding Hover Car At Fifty Miles An Hour And 101 Reasons Why You Should Never Ever Think About It. They could make it into a musical.
They'd probably change the title though. "Squelch!" seemed likely. It had seemed like a good idea when he'd heard the message.
Get out. Now, standing with one foot on a seat, and one on the top of the door, on the verge of throwing himself onto the pavement, he realised that it was about as crazy as trying to do the can-can in a ball and chain. With nobody steering, the car kept going in a straight line, leaving the road, and heading into a small park, narrowly avoiding two children flying kites. Jadi yelped an apology at them as the car headed for the duck pond in the centre of the park. Just before the car hit the water, Jadi took a deep breath, grabbed his nose and leapt from the car. The car continued forwards and down. Jadi swam to the shore, and climbed out, cursing. "Hey, mister, why did you drive your car into the water?" asked one of the children with kites, as Jadi made his way back to the main road. "There was a bomb in it, and if I didn't get out, I was going to be in as many pieces as a jigsaw, kid," smiled Morok. "But it didn't blow up, mister, it just sank." "Look, kid, the bomb had been there for a while. It had probably gone off, or something, okay???" Jadi stormed off, angry. If he'd been that much of a smart-alec as a kid he'd never have been allowed to get away with it.
Kids today needed more discipline, he reckoned. He couldn't help smirking when the car blew up. But by then, he was back on the main road, walking and trying to find a taxi. He was oddly aware of the tower as he walked, even though it was behind him. It was almost as if he was being watched by it, although that was plainly ridiculous. Nonetheless, he caught himself peering over his shoulder a couple of times, before the second interruption of his trip to the Guild of Poetic Justice. Screams. It was an undeniable cry for help, from a woman in distress.
Jadi tried to deny it. He was doing quite well, until he turned to look at the source of the screams. Down a narrow alley between two large brown stone buildings, a woman was lying on the ground, being kicked and beaten by two troopers. It was the woman from the shuttle, still in her dreadful jump suit. "Damn," muttered Jadi, rushing towards them, shouting abuse. They ignored him. He grabbed the first one by the shoulders, twisting him round, and punched him firmly in the solar plexus. He fell to the ground instantly, and Jadi felt a moment of pride before the second trooper's fist smacked him in the jaw and he stumbled backwards. "Get away from here," he shouted to the woman. She groaned, rolling slightly on the ground. Another punch from the second trooper, this time in the chest. Morok fell to the ground, catching the trooper's leg with his foot as he fell.
Morok was first to his feet, grabbing a dustbin lid and swinging it round to connect with his opponent's head with an echoing clang, knocking him unconscious. With one trooper dead to the world and the other virtually immobilised, he checked on their victim. She was barely conscious, but didn't seem to have any major injuries. "You know, you were lucky," he said to her. "These guys work in threes, and I doubt I could've handled that. I have to get you out of here before the third one arrives." He was vaguely aware of a sudden pain in the back of his head, and the world blurring, his body falling forwards on top of hers. "Too late...." He said, just before he stopped being terribly aware of anything.
To be continued...
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