|Doctor Who Companion Internet Adventure #05 - "Point of Destruction"
"Alien Easter Egg"
by Jeff Beuck
Before Liz could respond to Murclan's statement, a small group of commandos dressed in black like ninjas burst forth from the passageway and trained their guns on Murclan, Firedemon, and Rogue. Liz looked around bemusedly, startled by the unexpected interruption. The guns held by the commandos weren't ordinary projectile weapons; they looked futuristic, almost like something the Doctor would have cobbled together (had he approved of guns).
Firedemon and Rogue immediately raised their hands, as if to shoot fireballs at the troops or levitate them into the air, but Liz shouted, "No! Wait! Everyone, stop!"
Everyone stood immobile for several moments, until Keller and Newton, wearing black suits and ties identical to the ones they had been wearing in Cambridge, walked into the cavern. Their sunglasses looked ridiculous in the dimly-lit cavern. Liz wondered if perhaps they served another purpose.
"Hello, Miss Shaw. I see you've brought us straight to the aliens' lair." Keller looked around the cavern nonchalantly, as if a tourist.
"I don't understand," Rogue gasped, turning to Murclan. "Why didn't the sensors detect these intruders?"
"Oh, we have our talents," Keller replied off-handedly. He turned to Murclan, scanning him with some kind of sensor device. "So, Chief, are you the ringleader behind what's been going on here in Eagleton?"
"Wait, I think there's been a misunderstanding," Liz interrupted. "I think these are the good guys." Keller turned to stare at her for a moment, then turned off his scanning device. "So, we're dealing with two factions of aliens, then?"
"Yes," Murclan replied, rising from his chair. "We're called the H'Rongi." He stretched his limbs, as if he had been sitting at the terminal for a long time, then looked around at the commandos' guns and Keller's scanning device. "I must say, I'm impressed. I didn't realize that humanity had invented such technology yet."
"We're from the U.S. Bureau of Paranormal Investigation. Let's just say that you're not the first extraterrestrials we've encountered," Newton explained. He turned to Liz Shaw. "When you used the emergency transmitter to call us, you indicated that the aliens posed an immediate threat to your life. If you've called us in for nothing--"
"Her life is in great danger. All of ours are," Firedemon spoke.
"Allow me to explain," Murclan suggested, motioning the commandos to turn aside their weapons. Keller turned to them and nodded. The commandos relaxed and lowered their weapons. "A little over 150 years ago, a H'Rongi colony ship destined for the next star system — I believe you refer to it as Alpha Centauri — suffered an internal explosion which destroyed its hyperspace drives and life support systems. Forced out of hyperspace a few light years too soon, and with nearly all our hosts mortally injured, we sought refuge on this, the nearest life-bearing planet."
"Hosts?" Newton inquired.
"The H'Rongi are a group consciousness, or so I've been told," Liz informed him. "Their physical forms are small, wormlike creatures that seem to use human beings for hosts."
"Not entirely wrong," Murclan confirmed. "On our homeworld, we lived in symbiosis with the T'Rongi, a sub- intelligent humanoid race that served as our hosts. We provided them with intelligence and a cooperative consciousness while they provided us with more powerful and useful physical shapes. It was an arrangement beneficial to both species.
"An unfortunate sequence of natural disasters rendered areas of our homeworld uninhabitable, though, and it was for this reason that our colony ship set forth to settle a new planet. We were aware that your planet, Earth, harboured intelligent life, and for that reason, we had hoped to avoid it and settle instead on an uninhabited world in the Alpha Centauri system. But when our ship suffered its disaster in your solar system and nearly all of the T'Rongi hosts aboard were killed, Earth was our only hope for survival."
"I see," Liz replied, finally putting the pieces together. "Your ship landed here, and in need of hosts, you contacted Josiah Eagleton and asked him to settle here so that you would have a handy supply of human hosts."
"More or less," Murclan agreed. "We had no intention of colonizing your world or harming any of its inhabitants, but we needed hosts to survive and to help us repair our ship... When we encountered Josiah, our consciousness made contact with him and persuaded him and a few others to settle in a then- uninhabited area of your world where we and they could work toward repairing our ship without affecting the rest of your planet.
"It wasn't long, though, before we noticed some problems. For one, the H'Rongi had never been hosted by humanoids as intelligent as humans before. As the human hosts became dependent on the collective consciousness for long periods of time, we noticed that they began to lose their individual creativities and abilities to think for themselves. Conversely, the thoughts of the humans — sometimes aggressive and warlike — were infiltrating the consciousness and making some of the H'Rongi hungry for power... and hateful towards other humans, even other H'Rongi."
* * *
The townspeople had nearly finished moving the pews, altar, and pulpit from the front of the church, and a crew was already entering with sledgehammers, picks, shovels, and other tools for demolishing the floor at the front of the church.
Lorraine turned the struggling Alison and smiled. "The Coordinator is ready for you now."
"NO!" Alison screamed, kicking frantically at her guards. Sheriff Taylor strode up to her, grabbed her by the chin, and stared into her eyes. She could feel the... consciousness of these aliens inside her mind, probing. Finally, he released her.
"Her mind isn't as intelligent or creative as that of Miss Shaw, but she'll do. We really have no one else."
The townspeople nodded.
"Why are you doing this?" Alison cried, tears streaming down her face.
"Everything will be all right, love," Keith/Josiah said. "Just think, we can be together again, as a part of the H'Rongi consciousness."
"I don't want to be a part of the H-what-zi consciousness!" Alison screamed. "Let me go — please!"
"I'm sorry, my dear, but there aren't any other outsiders available. And you see, the rest of us are already accounted for." Taylor grabbed her chin again. "Try not to struggle — you'll just make yourself more uncomfortable."
As he pressed his face against hers, Alison opened her mouth to scream again, and felt something wriggle its way inside.
* * *
"... And so, we agreed with the humans that every 50 years, we would release them from their duties as hosts, and initiate new humans who were willing to serve. Like everything else, this, too, went wrong. During the first transition, 100 years ago, we incorporated members of an Indian tribe who were fleeing the genocidal American forces of the time. We guaranteed them sanctuary in exchange for hosting our consciousness.
"As it happened, they knew legends of a great beast that had terrorized the land generations before, but which had been tricked and imprisoned in the ground, under the site of the town's church, many centuries before. Curious, some members of the consciousness investigated, and sure enough, there was a powerful telepathic trace beneath the church. Some of the H'Rongi who sought power, who sought to colonize this world, attempted to free it, but it had been imprisoned by psychic forces unknown to this world. Only the combined mental powers of new initiates who had not become dependent on the Collective would be strong enough to free it. They knew they would have to wait 49 years for the next transfer of hosts, and in that time, they persuaded many of the other H'Rongi to join them. Fifty years ago, they made their first attempt to free the Beast..."
* * *
Alison felt as though her mind were swimming in a sea of voices. Her mind was being bombarded with a blur of thoughts, images, and sounds. Slowly, the thoughts, images, and sounds began to focus, until there was just one. And then everything began to make sense.
* * *
"...Only with the combined force of the True H'Rongi were we able to prevent them from freeing the horrible creature. Their mental energies spent, the usurpers knew that they would have to wait another 50 years to free the Beast.
"But much can change in 50 years... more and more H'Rongi, believing that our ship would never be repaired, gave up and joined the usurpers and their promises of creating a new homeworld on Earth. The usurpers elected their own Coordinator and Planner, and now only a handful of the True H'Rongi remain, and we are not powerful enough to stop the usurpers from releasing the Beast."
"My God," Liz blurted. "They're trying to release this Beast at the church right now! Do you know what it is?"
"Unfortunately, no," Murclan replied. "All I know is that it is a creature of unimaginable power. And there is little the remaining True H'Rongi can do to stop them. The others have already transferred to new, willing hosts," he gestured to Rogue and Firedemon, who smiled, "and although my time as a host is nearly at an end, I have no one to whom to pass the consciousness of the Coordinator. Unless... one of you would be willing to accept the burden, the last True H'Rongi Coordinator may die when I am freed of my duties..."
* * *
The townspeople had broken through to the Saviour's prison again after 50 years, and all that remained was to focus their mental powers on the psychic lock that held it captive.
The new Planner and Josiah stepped forward to survey the lock. //There is where we must focus our powers,// Josiah thought audibly to her and the Planner.
Josiah?... Wait, hadn't he been someone else?
//Agreed,// thought the Planner. //Coordinator, we are ready. Gather the energies of the others and focus it toward the lock.//
The Coordinator — wait, her name was Alison, wasn't it? No, that was silly. She was the Coordinator of the H'Rongi consciousness on Earth, and she had a job to perform...
The former hosts stepped back, their duties relinquished, and the younger townspeople, all of whom had now received their assigned H'Rongi mentors, stepped forward, focusing their energies, staring at the lock.
//Focus,// said a voice in Alison's mind.
Wait! Her name was Alison! The aliens were trying to take over her mind!
"Help me!" she screamed.
The others looked at her patiently. What was going on?!
//Relax. Let your mental energies flow,// a voice told her in her head. The voice was so soothing... she just had to let her mind relax, and let the mental energies of the others flow through her, focusing on the lock which imprisoned the Saviour of the H'Rongi race...
"No!" she screamed. "This is wrong! I don't want to be a puppet for you-- you stupid aliens! Let me go!" she sobbed, sinking to her knees.
//It is too late,// the voice inside her head replied. //You have fulfilled your duties admirably.//
The ground began to shake.
The Planner/Mortimer and Josiah/Keith ran excitedly over to a window to look outside.
In the dim moonlight, clumps of dirt and grass began to fly from just outside the chapel. Suddenly, the ground erupted in a shower of soil, and an enormous shape lifted into the air on even larger wings.
A blast of fire shot from the Saviour's mouth, setting a cluster of trees on fire
//WHAT IS THY BIDDING, MASTERS?//
Alison knew instantly that the voice was that of the H'Rongi's 'Saviour'.
//The humans have become aware of our existence on this planet. They must be destroyed.// Alison realized that she was one of the aliens now. Her existence was threatened as much by the 'normal' humans as those of all the other hosts of the H'Rongi.
And being a host to the H'Rongi wasn't so bad. She could still think for herself, still be with Keith... all she had to do was coordinate the occasional odd job for the good of the group...
//Don't forget to leave a few alive as hosts,// the Coordinator added.
//THY WILL IS MY COMMAND.//
The Saviour — a 40-foot long, 10-ton green dragon — flew off into the night.
To be continued...
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