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Doctor Who Internet Adventure #01 - "DeathRace"


Chapter 6
"The Rani's Game" or "Hide and Seek"
by Richard Auer


---


"So simple!" she cried. "I've never had it so simple. You are dead, Doctor."


       The Doctor grinned wryly. "Ah, yes. 'Tis sad, 'tis sad. You realize, of course, that I was with company. In this case, it was a bodyguard, believe it or not. My orders, in case of my death, were absolute revenge. So, I will stop now, and you will kill me, and he will kill you."


       "Surely you can't think to fool me, Doctor. We have been speeding along here for quite a while. If you stop, I will be long gone."


       Bessie slowed and came to a halt.


       "Look back, please." the Doctor stated simply. With alarming speed, a figure came running down the road. "Ah, there's Morok. Good fellow, he. My, my, my. Soon he'll be here. So, Rani, the choice is yours. By the way, is it clear to you that you are being used by the Celestial Toymaker?"


       "I have no time for your fantasies about godlike beings," she returned, nervously looking back at Morok, "but I will be keeping an eye out for you, Doctor."


       The Rani leapt out of Bessie, and headed for the trees. Once she was safely out of sight, the Doctor let out a sigh of relief. On the control board, he flipped a switch, whereat the figure of Morok shimmered and disappeared. Revving up Bessie, he turned and drove back down the road to pick up Morok.


* * *


"Ah, Doctor! A gambler, too. Not bad, not bad. The stakes were high, the cards were poorly laid, and yet he won. Entertainment pure. What do you two think? I believe my ratings on the planet are soaring." The Toymaker chuckled.


       "Oh, yes," Grace replied, "it's a witty piece of work, that. By Jove, I wish I could play, too. Death and mayhem are always good for a laugh."


       "Yes, yes. You've grasped the concept!" the Toymaker cried, while Grace realized that he had no concept of sarcasm. "The stakes are highest in the best of games. The best of games are always good for a laugh. It is simple, pure. The Doctor knows this, although he doesn't consciously accept it. And so, he betrayed me at our last meeting, going against the true nature of the universe.


       "Since you have understood, I will allow you to play again. I will accept the Doctor's proposal. Thus, the stakes grow. I shall miss your company, but I still have the Monk to toy with. Let the game begin..."


* * *


Morok looked morose in the back seat.


       "What's wrong with you, my boy?" the Doctor asked. "Haven't had enough shooting for your taste?"


       "No, no. I've done so poorly. Lost Grace. Got my tire shot by a woman, though I'm supposed to be the marksman. Couldn't get out of the wreck properly. I must be having a run on failures. The only good thing is, it's got to stop sometime."


       "Don't feel so bad, my boy."


       "... and stop calling me 'my boy'. I'm not your boy," Morok grunted angrily.


       "Sorry. So sorry. But, you see, we're dealing with the most unlikely of people here. Most of those we meet are more than a match or two for even the best of people. You are being challenged by the best. So, you must accept that not all will go as planned, and work your way around the problems."


       "You mean wing it," Morok muttered.


       "Yes, yes. I believe I said that, my boy. The best thing is, of course, that we'll win. You and me will get to the -- whoah. Grace, must you pop onto the street without warning!" This last was shouted after coming to a screeching halt some centimetres short of hitting Grace, who, for her part, was looking mildly dazed and surprised.


       "Yeah, well, it's not like I had any choice, bub," she called back after regaining her wits. She came around Bessie, and got in. "I'm here in part to warn you, Doctor, that the next game has been set. I don't know what it is, though."


       "Why did the great C.T. let you go, then, my dear? Does he want to lose his games even quicker?" the Doctor asked with a mild chuckle. "I thought he wanted to stop making mistakes. But I'm truly glad to see you."


       "Actually, he seems to like me."


       "Ah! 'Tis understandable. Truly, 'tis. I like you quite well, myself. And thus, can go forth to the new game with joy and lassitude."


       Grace groaned. "Doctor, must you talk that way?"


       "Yup."


* * *


The Rani was having a bad day, as well. First the bloody Monk got away, and then the Doctor. But the Doctor was yet close enough. She was going to have to get help, and she knew where to get it.


       As a matter of fact, she had already called it. Before hopping out of the roadster, she had dropped a small homing signal. She smiled as she entered her TARDIS. She turned on her monitor. The figures of Cybermen walking through a forest appeared on the screen. With another button, the screen split with a second view of Bessie, Doctor, Grace, Morok, and all.


       The Cyberleader suddenly stopped, looked about and changed direction, striding with renewed vigour and purpose. The other Cybermen followed. Bessie drove off the road.


* * *


"Doctor, what the hell are you doing?" Grace cried. "Stay on the road!"


       "But this way is quicker," he smiled.


       "It's no particular direction on the map!"


       "But it must be! If I have a map of an area in which I know that I will find myself, I must be somewhere on the map. Otherwise, we wouldn't be in an area on the map. Since the map contains everything, and we are somewhere, we must, logically, be on the map."


       "Hello, Spock! What I mean is, we aren't going where we are supposed to be going."


       The Doctor continued to grin. "And where are we supposed to be going, my dear?"


       "To where it says, in blinking letters, 'You're supposed to be trying to get here, birdbrains.'"


       "Oh, how quaint. He has to rely on insults to try to grab our attention. Tell him I'm busy."


* * *


After a bit of driving, the Doctor stopped the car. "Morok, Grace, please get out of the car. This is going to be just a rather close scrape, I fear."


       "Nothin' doin', Doc," Morok replied. "I'm being paid by you to keep a watch on you. No way am I leavin' this car unless we all leave it."


       "And I'm here for the game, remember. I'm not jumping ship, either."


       The Doctor looked thoughtful. "So, you both accept the risks? By your own free choice?"


       "Yes," Grace replied slowly. "Why the questioning?"


       "Oh, just trying to avoid certain legal problems."


       "Let's go." The Doctor pulled a longish device out of the glove compartment and pocketed it.


       "What direction?" Morok asked.


       "Obviously, that..." pointing in the direction they had been headed while in the car, then tapping his coat pocket, "...no, that direction," pointing slightly to the right.


       "We're lost," Grace said dejectedly.


       "No, we're not. We've got a map," Morok replied brightly. Sarcastically even.


       "Exactly!" the Doctor grinned.


* * *


The Rani had left the room for only a minute. Everyone has got to let water at some point in their lives. But why all the important events tend to occur at these moments is a source of mystery to even the greatest of minds.


       When they're not busy letting off steam.


       "He needs his blasted car! He can't leave it!" she shouted at the monitor that displayed a bunch of Cybermen approaching an empty Bessie. "Where is he hiding?"


       A voice tried to boom: "That's the problem with my hide & seek. No one knows who's hiding and who's seeking."


       "Oh, that was beautiful," she growled at the ceiling. "I'm the one who's doing the hiding and letting the Cybermen do the seeking. This is my game. You've messed with my game before, don't do it again!"


       "I wouldn't dream of it."


* * *


"What do you want with that?" Grace said as she pointed at the Gazebo standing recklessly in the middle of the woods.


       "Oh, I think we want it, so we'll win the hide and seek. I believe we were the first who found. Of course, it's not necessarily a good assumption, that just because we were the first to find, that we will then have necessarily won the game. May that be as it is. At any rate, we are ahead of the game, since we have found the TARDIS stolen by the Rani.


       "The Rani will have noticed that we're missing and has probably decided to get the Daleks to come this way. As I said, this could get very close. Sooner or later, she'll come out of her TARDIS."


       "What!?" Morok hissed, realizing that it was necessary to keep his voice down, "Are the Daleks after us?"


       "Possibly. Either them or the Cybermen or some other group that would be able to wipe us from the face of this planet. Or maybe all of them together. That could get complex.


       "The Rani bugged Bessie," he continued. "I tapped her homing device. The Gazebo over there is the source; hence, it is her TARDIS. She doesn't know where we are, since we didn't take the bug along. We want her TARDIS. Could save us oodles of time."


       The Doctor paused. "What would be best, of course, is if we could get her to come out on her own. Perhaps the best approach would be to knock on her door."


       "But then we'll have enemies in front of us, and enemies behind us," Grace noted. "The Rani in the door, these Dalek thingies behind us. We'll be caught in the grind."


       "Diamonds are formed by high pressures."


       "Yeah, sure," Grace said, "but not by high pressures that are bent on elimination."


       The Doctor thought a bit longer. "Perhaps you're right. We're out of time, anyway. Here come - oh! Those are Cybermen. Well, anyone can miss on a guess. I was right that they --"


       Morok pulled the Doctor down. "Shut up and get down," he hissed.


       "Why, what are you saying," he shouted loud. "Are you saying that TARDIS is empty, and anyone could steal it? I don't believe it. Oh, right, there's a woman in it. So what!? As good as empty. I say we take it."


       The Doctor jumped down to the Gazebo, stamped on the floor of the Gazebo, and shouted, "Open up down there. Yoo-hoo. We're here! Give up, you've lost. We've found you! All of us."


       The sound of a TARDIS activating became apparent. The Doctor looked slightly panicked. "Hurry!" he shouted at Grace and Morok who were peeping down at him in astonishment. Morok reacted quickly, bounding down to the Gazebo, whose form was already wavering. "Grace" he shouted in complete anxiety, "Run!"


       But it was too late. Both men reached toward her as she ran into the clearing, but they had already vanished. She ran on into the woods.


* * *


"My key! I hope the young lady can get away! Where's my key? There! Hold my arm, Morok! OK! Now, my love, I've got your key. Do you hear me? Yes!"


       Morok could feel the Doctor tense, in deep concentration. All of a sudden, the Doctor shouted "Jump!" and they both jumped. Time shuddered and stumbled and cleared to show a white-walled room, a hexagonal control panel in the centre of the room, and a joyous Doctor, dancing in circles. "Beautifully done, beautifully done! I could kiss you! I will kiss you!" Here he kissed the control panel. Morok looked at him as though he was insane.


       "You look baffled, my boy. Well, don't worry. You see, I've cheated! One must know when to cheat, and when not. And I've decided to cheat. I'm too old for games, and the stakes were growing disproportionately. Of course, we must finish the race, there's no getting out of that. But for the moment I'm out of the Toymaker's view. We'll reappear soon enough, but at the moment, I have to turn the tables. Wait here, while I prepare."


       The Doctor hurried out. Then he returned with various tools, and began to work and program at the central console. After about ten minutes, he pushed aside his tools.


       "Well, it's the best I can do. It'll have to do, for what it's worth. Now, back to Bessie, or the Toymaker will find us. He nearly has already. The TARDIS can feel it. She sounds different, do you hear?" Morok didn't. But at the moment he was by far too speechless to consider much else.


       "All right, let's go. Wait! Some gold powder. There! Always carry a bit of gold for the nasty Cyberpeople. Now," the Doctor fiddled with the controls, "off we go!"


* * *


Grace ran forward to grasp the Doctor's hand, but he disappeared, along with the rest of the Gazebo. The robotic things behind her, she knew, were an enemy of sorts. To be avoided in any case. So she ran on.


       Into the depths of the forest. The first and most important thing to do is to stay alive. That works best when you avoid those who might wish to harm you. Diving through some bushes, she ran into a man who appeared out of nowhere, right next to another man.


       Grace turned ninety degrees to run on. "Grace! Where are you going?" a familiar voice shouted after her.


       "Doctor! Where did you come from?"


       "Oh, it seems the Rani's TARDIS made us jump a bit in space and time. But everything else seems to be fine at the moment."


       "Except for those robots behind me," she retorted.


       "Oh, I've got everything under control, my dear. You know me," he grinned.


       The Cybermen could already be heard crashing through the woods. The Doctor turned. "Follow me! We've got to get in a clearing!"


       Fortunately, after a bit of running, they found what they were looking for. "All right, then. We wait for them here."


       Shortly afterwards, the first couple of Cybermen crashed into the clearing, and stopped in obvious surprise. Slowly, they moved closer.


       "Are you all here, then?" the Doctor shouted. "Well, pleased to meet you, I suppose." Here, he tossed a can in the air. In quick response, a Cyberman pulled a gun, and shot the can. Gold dust came falling from the sky.


       Choking, gasping, and wheezing came from all sides. And three people sneezed. "Annoying, that," the Doctor said. "Gold dust always makes me sneeze. How about you two?"


       "Oh, yes, Doctor," Grace drawled, "it's jest a damn shame it's always a-comin' down on it's own in San Francisco. Golden Gate Bridge didn't get it's name for nuthin'. Why, I declare --"


       "All right. Don't overdo it," he returned.


* * *


"By the way, Doctor," Grace started as they headed back in the direction of Bessie, "what happened with the Gazebo?"


       "Ah! Well, it was the Rani's TARDIS, you see."


       "Yeah, I got that bit."


       "But the form she gave it lent it the expression of some interesting phenomena. Since I could stand *in* the Gazebo without being on the inside of the TARDIS, it could easily be possible to be dragged along, perhaps, with a bit of quick calculation, even to the finish line. Unfortunately, I had assumed you would be going along, and so Morok and I ended up only about 50 meters and half a minute away."


* * *


"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Not bad, Doctor, not bad! Would've been a good trick. Though you know I would have been inconceivably angry with you if you had won by cheating that much. But, bless my soul, your victory in the Hide and Seek was an entertaining one. Though the usual violence was virtually nonexistent. That will have to change, of course.


       "You will love my next game.


       "Be prepared to lose, good Doctor. Ah ha ha ha ha ha!"


* * *


The Doctor, Grace, and Morok arrived, to find Bessie. "See, there's the bug. Let's get rid of it, shall we?" the Doctor said and reached inside Bessie. As his arm came down, his hand stretched into a long line that arced up and away into the sky.


       "Ow!" the Doctor cried, and pulled back his hand. "I fear we have found the new game."


       "That you have, Doctor! And you have, at least in principle, already lost. But I will show leniency. My ratings are astounding. Particularly due to your last stunt. But in the next game two of you must die. The game is called Twister. Each time one of you puts a foot or a hand down, I will twist spacetime so that the appendage will come down somewhere else on this planet. Your hand was in the desert just now. Hot, isn't it? Your hand or foot could come down in the ocean, amidst sharks, in the middle of a city, rush hour traffic. Anywhere. But you can't pull back, or you lose and die. You three are pitted against one another. Who needs enemies, when you've got friends?


       "You have one chance to save all three of you. But I won't be kind enough to tell you what it is. Keep your feet on the ground. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha..."


---
To be continued...



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