|Doctor Who Companion Internet Adventure #06 - "New Traken"
by Jeff Beuck
"What was that?" Alex asked, poking Nyssa in the back with the hilt of his knife.
Nyssa, disoriented to find herself suddenly back on New Traken, responded, "What was what?
"You seemed to shimmer for a moment."
So it hadn't been a dream. She had been transported elsewhere, but sent back to New Traken at the moment she had left. "I don't know. Maybe it was the heat rising off the sand," Nyssa suggested.
Alex grunted and pushed her onward.
Nyssa felt now more than ever before that this whole New Traken scheme had been a folly. As she was marched through the wilderness toward the destination of Alex's choice, she tried to piece together what she knew.
The planet was undergoing decay. People were dying. Travis had misled her — to some unknown extent — into coming here. An organization — possibly this "Circle" Arden had mentioned — was performing experiments on people, blocking their memories and creating clones. And if Arden was to be believed, something called the Crucible would be dropped into the planet's core, destroying them all. And Travis seemed to be the cause behind it all.
What had Tarkhal meant when he said that she had made a terrible mistake? Had the mistake been trusting Travis? Buying the planet? Maybe it was something even more unlikely, like curing Lazar's disease. And what was Tarkhal's stake in all of this? Surely he hadn't made contact with her out of the goodness of his heart. What was behind the whole charade of the dance he had forced her through? Nothing was making sense... yet.
Alex threw her to the ground, then pushed aside a large boulder to reveal a trap door set into the ground of the desert. He opened it, and ushered her inside.
Perhaps she was about to find the answers to some of her questions.
* * *
Luen motioned to his friends to silence themselves as he climbed onto the back of the sandrover. When they continued to shout and fight, he held a blaster rifle high above his head and fired a shot into the sky. That got their attention.
"Friends, companions, fellow fighters... the aliens from off- world have killed Matam, our former leader." A new round of yells, growls, and general grumbling erupted. "Shut up!" Luen commanded. "Now listen. As the new leader of Jkrea territory, I plan to make them pay dearly for their invasion."
Fumbling in the pocket of his primitive leather jerkin, he pulled out a translucent canister filled with a mysterious liquid. "This was stolen for us from the Circle by my brother Alex. It contains a fluid that will disintegrate the hulls of the starships that the intruders have landed on our territory. We smatter a little of this on their hulls tonight while they're asleep, and we sneak in, loot their ships, and kill them all before they even know what happened. Pure genius."
The crowed laughed, cheered their assent, and grumbled some more. "Revenge to those who would dare to kill the leader of Jkrea!" The others broke out into yells, and this time Luen let them yell their lungs out.
* * *
Lynalla coughed, interrupting Travis as he chewed on a nutrient bar he had brought with him from offworld. Travis tilted his chair forward onto all four legs.
"Yes? What is it?"
"We have Nyssa. She's waiting for you in Lab 5."
Travis tossed the rest of his food bar into the waste bin and stood up. "How much does she know?"
"Apparently not much; our man got to Arden before he could reveal any details about the plan."
"Good. Then there's still time to salvage the situation."
Straightening his shirt and brushing some crumbs off his jacket, he prepared himself to look his best before his 'darling' companion.
"Right this way," Lynalla gestured, smirking evilly as Travis passed her.
As they approached Laboratory 5, Travis stopped in his tracks. "What is she doing down in this area? Isn't this one of your group's 'Top Secret', 'No Unauthorized Entry' areas?" He turned to Lynalla, clenching a fist. "You'd better not have tried running some of your half-baked duplication experiments on her!"
"No, of course not! Her knowledge is far too valuable to the project! Her mind is not expendable. But yours, on the other hand..."
Travis didn't even see the scientists in the white lab coats come up behind him and jab him with a fast-acting tranquilizer needle.
"You b..." Travis mumbled before he passed out.
Lynalla hurried into the laboratory. "Bring him."
The scientists carried Travis rather indelicately into the laboratory and laid him inside a transparent coffin which sat atop a particle decompiler. They closed the lid on top of him.
"Scan him in," Lynalla ordered.
The head scientist typed in a command at a terminal along the wall. A blinding light lit up one end of the coffin in which Travis lay. Quickly, the light moved from one end of the coffin to the other, disintegrating Travis' body as it passed. The light disappeared. The coffin was empty.
Lynalla and the other scientists hurried over to the command console to see the results. The entire structure of Travis' body was now stored digitally in the computer for reconstruction... or editing. Lynalla touched the image of Travis' brain on the monitor screen.
"Ah... there is so much we can do with him once he is under our control." The screen changed to display a submenu listing each of Travis' personality characteristics and memory clusters. She tapped her chin thoughtfully. "We definitely need to have him transfer control of the project to the Circle..."
She tapped "Immediate routine processing" on the screen and typed in a series of commands which would be stored in the new Travis' brain to be carried out when he was resurrected.
"It would also be helpful if he transferred some of his personal fortunes to the project..." she typed in another series of commands. "Oh, and we can't forget '100% loyalty and obedience to Lynalla Kartey." She tapped the "Moral Values" menu option and carefully entered the new setting.
"Do you think this one will last long enough to be of any use to us?" Ahgi, one of the scientists, asked.
"Don't forget, the Arden clone we sent back to the Foundation has lasted for over a year. I know that we took special care in reconstructing that one, but he's lasted much, much longer than our average clones. Besides, we only need a Travis for a few days, long enough to acquire Nyssa's cooperation and to release the Crucible. After that, it won't matter. Hmph.
"To think of all the years we wasted in our mass matter scanning and reconstruction experiments. The technology just isn't stable enough. However, if Travis' 'Keeper' project works as he claims it will, we'll be able to reconvert the planet and its inhabitants any way we want... maybe even save the lives of us all."
"Don't forget to block out his memories of being tranqued," one of the junior scientists reminded her.
"Oh, yes," she replied, turning back to the keyboard and entering one last command. Then she swivelled in her chair away from the terminal. "Prepare for reconstruction."
The other scientists busied themselves momentarily at the other panels, making sure the matter reconstruction settings were correct and as stable as possible. When their preparations were complete, Ahgi hit the "Execute Matter Reconstruction" button. The transparent coffin lit up again, and the body of Travis began to be reconstructed atom by atom according to the adjustments Lynalla had made to his molecular patterns...
To be continued...
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