|Doctor Who Internet Adventure #01 - "DeathRace"
by David Robinson
Doctor Grace Holloway reached into the cavity and grabbed the plastic 'funny bone' with the tweezers. The game of 'Operation' was not one of her favourites, but she didn't think she could delay much longer. She had successfully failed to touch the sides and was beginning to feel that she might be able to get through this without being killed, as she began to lift the funny bone. Just a little more and she would have completed the first bone. As the bone lifted out of the cavity, it changed from it's nice, neat, and easy to grip plastic form to a real bone, covered in blood and bits of muscle. The tweezers slipped and the funny bone fell back into it's cavity.
The Hollywood doctor leaned forward to inspect her work.
"Come, now, Doctor Holloway; you'll get sued for malpractice if you keep going like that."
Grace wiped the sweat off her forehead and looked menacingly at the Hollywood doctor. She looked back at the funny bone; it had fallen against one of the sides. Getting it out without touching the side was going to be close to impossible.
* * *
The Doctor stood still, nervous and impatient, Mart watching the viewing screen on which Grace was reaching for the funny bone for the second time.
Jadi stood beside the Doctor. He was bemused by the concept of a game where you take plastic bones out of a fake body; on his homeworld such games would be played on real people, most likely whoever had lost the previous game.
The shopping cart hovered behind them, moving from side to side as though trying to get a better look at the viewing screen.
All the other customers walked by, completely ignoring the situation.
* * *
Grace carefully moved the funny bone, which was plastic again, away from the side of the cavity. Satisfied that it was as good as it would get, she reached in and picked it up. As she lifted it, the tweezers went dangerously close to the metal side of the cavity.
Grace's heart froze; she was sure she had touched the edge but nothing had happened, so she continued to lift the bone out. Once again it became a real bone, and very slippery, but she was ready for it this time. She put it in a nearby tray.
She was getting ready to reach for another bone when the Toymaker's voice boomed into the little theatre.
Grace looked up, still not sure exactly where you should look when a voice comes from all directions.
"I did not; I'm playing by your rules."
"Your shoes absorbed the electrical charge; you should be dead. The game is cancelled."
Grace was quite startled to find herself sitting in the hover cart in an undignified position. She looked at the Doctor.
The Doctor looked at Grace's shoes.
"Where did you get these?"
"I found them in the TARDIS wardrobe room. Why?"
The Doctor lifted Grace out of the cart.
"Your shoes have a set of batteries in them which needed to be recharged, so when you got zapped they absorbed the energy. You were very lucky." The Doctor looked around. The viewing screen had now vanished. "We should get moving."
He headed off for the cashier. Grace ran up to him.
"So how come the Toymaker let me out?"
"There wasn't a game any more; your shoes would have continued to absorb the energy and you would have been able to pick out all the bones and organs without any challenge."
* * *
While he was trying to pay for all the stuff he had loaded in the hovercart, it seemed to Grace that the only forms of currency that the Doctor had in his drawstring purse were extremely rare ones, and not in the valuable sense of the word.
The Doctor was eventually able to pay and they were on their way. It took little time to get out of the city and into the open countryside, with lush green meadows, rolling hills, and a nice flat road to drive on. After a few hours, the Doctor stopped and let Grace drive while he consulted the map, during which he made frequent "tch" noises, and commented on how vague the details on the map actually were.
Since her little episode at the Wal-Mart, Grace had developed a healthy level of wariness, and so, when the road started climbing a mountain, she was cautious. The road quickly turned into a dirt strip only two lanes wide, with cliff-face going up on one side and cliff going down on the other. Grace had the feeling that this would not be a good spot in which to be attacked, and it was with this thought in mind that she turned the corner and things got worse.
Ahead of them the road took a left turn straight into the mountain. Grace stopped Bessie and asked the Doctor's advice.
"Well, Grace, you're right - caves are one of the best places to be
attacked by something big and nasty."
The Doctor consulted the map again, Jadi looking over his shoulder.
"There is another way, but it would take us about two days longer, and the longer we're in this race the longer we're in trouble. On the other hand, the map doesn't show the way through the caves."
* * *
The Toymaker sat happily in what he liked to call the Game Control Room. The Toymaker wasn't in any rush; he had plenty of time. On the view screen in front of him Bessie sat on a cliff road with her three passengers.
"I think we should go back," the Doctor said to Grace.
"Yes, very wise," replied the Toymaker to himself. "And therefore I can't let you do that."
The Toymaker flicked his finger, as though that would have an effect on reality, which it did.
* * *
The Doctor had decided to do the driving and had somehow managed to turn Bessie around. They were heading back along the road that they had just driven up.
Bessie once again stopped, as the Doctor got out and examined a recent land slide that now blocked the road. On top of one of the larger rocks sat a small envelope. The Doctor snatched it up and read the letter. It simply said:
"Can't make things too easy for you."
The Doctor turned back to the others.
"Seems like we don't get much of a choice."
He jumped into Bessie, reversed down the road, turned on the head lights, and drove into the cave system.
* * *
They had been driving for several hours through the caves, the Doctor insisting that the fastest way through was to turn left all the time. Grace was in the back seat sleeping. Jadi was sitting up in the front with the Doctor, helping keep track of their course.
The Doctor was impressed; he had rarely met people with the resolve that Jadi showed towards the situation. Since they had left the Wal-Mart he hadn't said a word, keeping to his promise of 'fly on the wall', a man who knew when he was wanted and was perfectly happy to live up to that expectation, as long as he got what he needed. The other thing about Jadi was that the Doctor hadn't seen his gun since the incident in the traffic jam. The Doctor was beginning to wonder where Jadi Morok kept the weapon.
The Doctor sent out his mind; he felt the presence of the TARDIS in the distance. She was safe but unable to help. She was also too far away for them to be able to communicate on anything more than an emotive level. Pity, he thought, 'her senses would have been able to guide him out of these horridly dark caves.
They took another left turn down a larger cave. The Doctor noticed Jadi look up from the map.
"The background noise just changed," he stated simply.
The Doctor listened, and indeed the background noise had changed; he could hear the purr of Bessie's engine, the sound of the cave breathing and something else. The something else was slowly getting louder.
"This Toymaker friend of yours, he's good isn't he?" Jadi said, while casting around for any sign of anything.
"No, he's not. He just thinks he is," the Doctor said with contempt. "He takes people like you and me and plays them out against each other until they die. If they don't die in the first game, then they win the glorious prize of going on to the next game. No one gets out alive."
"Except you." Jadi was looking at the Doctor.
"I've had more practice at this sort of thing." He paused. "That noise is getting closer, and it's behind us."
Ahead of them, as far as the lights shone, the cave continued in a straight line with no side tunnels or anything else that might help.
The Doctor saw it first in the rear vision mirror; he couldn't believe that even the Toymaker would do something so cliche'. He looked back to check. Coming up behind them very quickly, just visible in the red glow from Bessie's rear lights, was a giant boulder rolling relentlessly down the tunnel.
The Doctor put his foot to the floor and Bessie surged into life. In all the commotion Grace woke up and wished she hadn't.
The boulder was still gaining on them.
"Can't this thing go any faster, Doctor?" shouted Grace.
The Doctor shouted back, "We're already at over 150 miles per hour, which isn't really that safe in an unexplored cave!"
The cave turned slowly to the right; the boulder followed them a little faster. All three of the passengers saw what was coming up in front of them at the same time: a large canyon. They couldn't see the other side. The Doctor decided they didn't have much choice and pushed the 'cigarette lighter' into its socket on the dashboard.
Bessie dumped all the remaining charge from her batteries into the motor and the whole car shot forward at just a little bit under the speed of sound.
Several of the native bat-like creatures thought the sight of a bright yellow roadster jumping across the canyon was rather odd. The car landed on all four wheels and absorbed the shock as though nothing had happened. The boulder wasn't traveling as fast and didn't make it to the other side; instead, it fell down into the canyon on a mission to find the bottom.
"Well, that was fun," said the Doctor, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
Bessie rolled to a stop and the 'cigarette lighter' popped, which on any other car would have indicated it was hot and ready for you to light a cigarette with. The Doctor put on the hand brake as the head lights dimmed and went out. He got out and grabbed a few of the gadgets out of the Wal-Mart shopping bags and started poking around in the engine compartment.
"Okay, so why have we stopped?" asked Grace, thinking that the sooner they got out of the caves, the better.
The Doctor looked up; he had a pair of spectacles balanced on the edge of his nose and a pen torch in his mouth. He dropped the torch into his hand.
"That little sprint at the end has completely drained Bessie's batteries, we have no idea where we are or how to get out of this cave, and I'm tired. If you have a better idea then why don't you make a suggestion?" The Doctor stuck his head back into the engine compartment.
To be continued...
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