|Doctor Who Missing Internet Adventure #22 - "Verdant Carnage"
by Greg McCambley
In the empty TARDIS, the corridors were quiet, except for the low hum of
the engines in the background. The hallways stretched in all
directions, going everywhere at once. If anyone were inside the TARDIS,
they would certainly have gotten lost. Lucky, then, that no one was
But there was some *thing* there. It floated in the air, untouchable
and barely visible. Gradually, however, it began to coalesce itself. It
was energy, and it was gaining strength. It sensed what was waiting
outside the confines of the TARDIS, and it knew it had returned to a
place it knew.
It was home.
It sensed the creatures scuttling outside on the hive ship, going about
their regular duties. It dared not approach them, as it did not wish to
reveal itself too soon. But it had to leave; it had to find somewhere
to go. But where?
It then sensed a mind that seemed familiar. The mind was nearby, which
was good. Its normal functions were also impaired, which was even
better. The energy redoubled its efforts, and its form grew sharper and
Finally, it was whole again. Its energy, which had been spread
throughout the TARDIS, was now focussed again. The Malus was free. Free
to exact revenge. The Malus sought out the mind it had sensed, and
Slowly, the Malus disappeared, and the TARDIS was empty once again.
* * *
Jane slid into the shadow of Ben's cocoon. Watching the doorway, she
pulled the pocketknife from her pocket and eased the largest blade out.
"Benjamin Nathaniel Wolsey," she whispered to the encased man as she
sawed at the strong strands binding him. "You big, thick-headed fool.
You had better still be alive in there, after all the trouble you've put
The figure inside the webbing shifted ever so slightly, and Jane nearly
cried out her relief. With renewed determination, she continued her
attack on the cocoon. The strands slowly began to snap one by one. She
watched as Ben continued to struggle underneath his shroud.
More strands fell apart. Ben had by now successfully got his hand out from underneath the webbing, and he was attacking the other strands. Jane wondered if she should let up
somewhat, as she didn't want to risk cutting him. She saw the webbing, which had been so tough to cut, was coming apart in his hands. She stopped cutting and stepped back, her mouth dropping open in surprise. Ben must be as strong as an ox, she thought. By now, he had freed his torso, and he was looking to free his other hand. Jane got down on her knees and, reaching out, began to free his legs.
Ben finally managed to pull himself free. Jane smiled warmly at him. "Ben! Thank Goodness you're out of there! How on earth did you manage to free yourself? That stuff was almost like steel!" It was then she noticed the statement on Ben's face. She'd assumed the toxins had worn off. But they hadn't. His face still held its slackened, glassy-eyed look. Her smile faded, replaced by concern. "Ben?" she asked. As he stepped slowly forward, she stepped back.
"Where is Little Mother?" he asked, his voice flat and lifeless.
"What?" Jane asked, taken aback.
"Little Mother," he intoned again. "Take me to her." Ben reached out
and grabbed Jane's arm, squeezing tightly.
Jane gasped in pain. His grip was like a vise. "Ben, let go! You're
"Take me to her," he said again. He pushed Jane ahead. She looked at
him, a look of shocked surprise on her face. Whoever she'd freed from
the webs, it wasn't Ben. Or, at least, it didn't act like him. She
contemplated trying to escape, but decided no. There were no other
cocoons here, so this had to be Ben, and she refused to abandon him.
Something was obviously affecting him, and she was going to try her
damnedest to help him. But, she told herself, he's not in any condition
to face the Little Mother.
"It's this way," she whispered, pointing out the entrance she'd come in.
Ben stared at her, and she hoped her nervousness didn't show.
"Take me to her," he said. So she moved out into the hallway, with Ben
following close behind.
* * *
"We are in great danger?" Friar Mabmi asked. "From what?"
The Doctor sighed. "Do you really need an explanation right now? We're
rather pressed for time."
Mabmi looked at his guards, who were in turn watching the gnoorr. They
were in the Friar's hut, a fire slowly burning itself out in front of
them. Turlough was sitting in the corner, watching everybody else.
The Friar turned back to the Doctor. "We must know what is happening."
"Very well," the Doctor said. "This whole forest is about to be
destroyed. As for why, well, I'm not really sure," he admitted, a
sheepish tone in his voice.
~~The Time of Pollination~~
The Doctor recognized the voice from before. Well, well, the Doctor
said to himself, noting the look on Mabmi's face. Looks like he heard
"The Time of Pollination?" Mabmi asked. The Doctor nodded. "What
exactly is that?"
The Doctor pushed his hands into his pockets, ready to say yet again
that he wasn't quite sure, when another voice spoke up.
"It izz my Queen'zz time of renewal."
Everyone turned to the newcomer standing in the doorway, and were
surprised to see that it was a rather tall, ant-like creature. Standing
next to it was a female forest dweller. Behind the both of them was...
"Tegan!" the Doctor cried, a smile spreading across his face.
"Doctor!" Tegan said, "am I glad to see you!" She stepped past the
others, and rushed over to him. "Jane and Ben are trapped on a
spaceship! The TARDIS too!" She looked back at the ant-like creature.
"I would still be there too, if he hadn't got me out of there."
"You have my thanks, then," the Doctor said. "Your people are the one's
looking to destroy the forest, I take it?"
It bowed slightly. "That izz partially correct. It is our Queen who
izz responsible. But we have no zzay."
"Why not?" the Doctor asked.
"The time of Pollination izz her time of renewal. Without it, our Queen
"But your race won't?" the Doctor asked. It lowered its head in
Friar Mabmi then addressed the woman in the doorway. "Ashnai, what do
you know of this?"
"I know that the Time of Pollination must not succeed this time," she
said. "Xzai and I are going to help stop it," she continued, taking the
insect man's hand. "The Ba-kai will live."
Mabmi's skin turned a paler shade of yellow. "Ba-kai?" he asked. Ashnai
nodded. "That is but a legend, child," Mabmi said. "No, it isn't!" she
The Doctor raised his eyebrows; a sure sign his curiosity had been
piqued. "You know this Ba-kai, then Friar?" he asked Mabmi.
"All inhabitants of this planet are aware of the Ba-kai legend."
"Even those here for a short time?" the Doctor asked. "That's certainly
an interesting way for a legend to propagate itself." Everyone looked
at him as if he were mad. "Well, don't you see?" he asked. Despite his
earlier efforts to hold off explaining, he couldn't help himself; the
Doctor always enjoyed an audience. "Legends are usually passed down
through generations by various means. Oral tradition, written text, and
the like. Yet here," he said, spreading his arms wide, "everyone know
it, regardless of whether they've been here for hours, or centuries." He
looked down at Tegan. "Now how is that possible?" he asked her.
It was Turlough who answered. "Because the planet is the legend,
perhaps?" he asked from the corner.
The Doctor smiled at him. "Close enough. This planet is alive, and all
of us are small parts of a greater whole."
"Even us, Doctor?" Tegan asked. "Even us," he confirmed.
"How is that possible?" she asked. "We're not from here, and we got
here by accident."
"Ah, but was it?" the Doctor asked. "That's the question of the moment.
To get the answers, I need to get back to the TARDIS." He looked at
Tegan. "You said it was on the hiveship?" She nodded. "Right then,"
he said. He turned to Xzai. "You could get me on board your ship
quickly?" the Doctor asked.
"Excellent! I'll go first with you, then you can come back for Tegan,
Turlough, and the others," the Doctor said, already out the door.
Friar Mabmi, who had been momentarily rendered speechless by the speed
of the Doctor's actions, regained his composure. "Where are you going?"
he addressed the Doctor.
"He told you, to the hiveship," Turlough said, rolling his eyes.
"To escape, no doubt," Mabmi said. "He must be recaptured. And you,"
he indicated Tegan and Turlough, "shall remain here."
"We can't," Tegan said. "We have to get there to help him!"
"You will not be going anywhere," Mabmi said. "Guards, go and bring
Before the guards could move to respond, flashes of green and black flew past, and everyone was suddenly aware of deep growls coming from all around them. Several gnoorr entered the hut, quickly encircling Mabmi and his guards. The guards dropped their weapons in fear. Tegan and Turlough looked at one another.
"Friends of the Doctor?" Tegan asked.
Turlough shrugged. "Probably. We weren't properly introduced. Come
on. We've got to go get your grandfather and Will."
Tegan's face became clouded with concern. "How are they?"
Turlough headed towards the cells, not answering. His face was clouded
as well, but not with concern.
* * *
Jane was beginning to think that her attempt to lead Ben away from the
Queen had been a bad idea. Although they had been lucky and had avoided
most of the insect creatures, their luck couldn't hold. She had no idea
where she was taking him, and for all she knew, they were moving further
into the ship. Oh well, Jane thought to herself, at least Ben hasn't
questioned where they were going.
"Where is Little Mother?" Ben asked again.
"I'm not sure," Jane said. "She's on a higher level than we are. I'm
just trying to find a way up. Around this corner, I think," she said,
closing her mouth as soon as she saw what was standing in front of them.
Jane wasn't entirely sure, but she thought it was the creature that had
escorted them before. It stared at them for a second, then pulled its
gun out, preparing to fire.
"How did you ezzcape?" Malvux asked. She squeezed the trigger.
All of a sudden, Jane saw Ben move past her, ready to confront the
insect. She watched as he motioned with his hands, and the insect
lowered her gun. Jane couldn't believe it. Ben was making the insect
creature back down.
* * *
Malvux tried to pull the trigger, but couldn't. Against her wishes, she
found herself slowly lowering the gun away from the mammals. She
couldn't understand why, until she began to hear the voice.
"I require you," the voice said. "You cannot resist."
Malvux wanted to fight the voice, but something inside her told her she
couldn't. She mustn't. For the identity of the speaker suddenly became
familiar to her. She had heard it long ago, back when she had been one
of the thousands of hatchlings in the Little Mother's sacs.
It was the voice of her father.
* * *
The Doctor looked to be enjoying the trip to the hiveship. He was
peering at the instruments intently, his glasses perched delicately on
the top of his nose. He had tried to push a few buttons, but Xzai had
given him such a reproachful look that the Doctor had pulled his hands
back quickly, and given a rueful smile. Ashnai had merely sat back, not
"Intriguing technology," the Doctor said, putting away his glasses. "Organic?"
"Yezz," Xzai said, not taking his eyes off the hiveship. "It izz part
of the hive."
"I see," the Doctor said. He looked at Ashnai. "Tell me, Ashnai, why
do you believe in Ba-kai? Mabmi didn't strike me as one who would
encourage such thinking."
"He wouldn't," she said, smiling. She sat quietly for a moment. "I
believe in Ba-kai because it seems right." She shook her head. "No.
Ba-kai doesn't seem right, it *is* right. There is no other way to live
on this planet." She turned to face the Doctor. "Do you understand?"
"Yes, he said. "The planet allows you to live here, as long as you
follow its rules." He looked over at Xzai. "What about you? Why do
Xzai said nothing at first, collecting his thoughts. "It izz difficult
to explain," Xzai said, "to one not of the hive."
"Try me. I have a very open mind."
Again Xzai said nothing for a moment. "For mozzt of uzz, our livezz
have been bazzed zzolely on zzerving the Queen," he said. "Rezently,
there hazz been a few of uzz who believe that zzerving her wazz not all
there wazz to life."
The Doctor nodded in comprehension. "You think there is more to life
than just polishing the silverware. Quite understandable."
Xzai buzzed in irritation. "I do not underzztand you," he said. "What
"Never mind," the Doctor said. "Bad analogy. Go on. You thought there
was more to life than the Queen."
Xzai nodded. "Yezz. And we felt the Queen knew thizz, and kept the
other life from uzz."
The Doctor's eyebrows went up again. "She was preventing you?"
"Perhapzz," Xzai said. "Azz I zzaid, difficult to underzztand."
"Oh, not really," the Doctor said. "Anyone willing to destroy life for
the sake of longer life is capable of anything. I'm looking forward to
having a little chat with her."
"You might not wizzh for that," Xzai said. "The Queen doezz not deal
well with creaturezz not of our razze."
"Unfortunately, I've had a lot of experience with thinkers like that,"
the Doctor said, settling back as Xzai angled the vehicle towards the
* * *
Jane couldn't understand what the hell was going on. One minute Ben had
been confronting an insect creature almost double his size, and the next
he had collapsed on the floor in front of her. Then, on top of all
that, she had been forced to pick Ben up and support him, prodded by the
insect creature. The creature, however, was not quite the same as it
had been. It seemed different, but quite how Jane couldn't understand.
It was still ferocious looking, and it was covering them again with its
gun. It was marching them back the way they'd come, and Jane knew
exactly where they were going.
"Can't we rest for a minute?" Jane asked. "I need a break from carrying
"If you cannot zzuport him, then I zzhall kill him and be done with it,"
Malvux said. She poked Ben twice for emphasis.
"No!," Jane yelled. "I'll manage."
"Zzee that you do," Malvux said. "Ah! At lazzt I am here!"
They arrived in the Queen's chamber, and Jane blew a sigh of relief. She
gently eased Ben up against the wall, and sat down beside him. She
stared at the creature. "Well, you got what you wanted," she said.
Malvux turned to face Jane, and Jane suppressed a shiver at the compound
eyes examining her. "Getting here wazz only part of what I want," it
said. Malvux turned to stare up into the darkness. "Little Mother," it
buzzed loudly. "Come to me! I have a gift for you!"
Jane stared up too, looking for any sign of movement. Nothing.
The insect seethed with rage. It fired its gun into the darkness.
"Little Mother, zzhow yourzzelf! I command you to!"
Jane heard a low buzzing, and as it got louder, she saw two of the fly
creatures coming down. The Queen, however, still did not appear.
"Little Mother!" Malvux hissed, "do not zzend your zzervants when I
command you to appear!" Malvux fired twice, and both fly creatures fell
dead to the chamber floor. Jane wished she were somewhere else at that
At last, Jane heard the sound of the Queen coming down out of her nest.
As before, the smaller version of it followed. They carefully made
their way down the chamber wall until they stood before Malvux. The
Queen hissed and buzzed, and Jane sensed the anger it was feeling.
"What izz the meaning of thizz?" the Queen asked. "Why have you
dizzturbed the Time of Preparation?" It flicked its tongue over the fly
corpses. "Why kill my dronezz?" The tongue then reached out to Malvux.
"And why do you deem yourzzelf worthy to zzummon me? I am your Queen.
You do azz I command, not the other way around!" The Queen's tongue
began to move across Malvux's body, but it quickly recoiled. "You do
not tazzte like my zzervant. Who are you?"
"You do not recognizze me, then? Or zzhould I zzay, uzz?" Malvux said.
"It hazz not been zzo long ago when we were together, Little Mother."
Malvux stepped forward. "If it were not for me, you would be long
The Queen buzzed with irritation. "What do you mean?"
There then came a low beeping, which gradually grew louder. Jane's
heart leapt into her throat as she recognized the sound. She'd heard it
in the TARDIS when the Malus appeared. She slowly raised her head, and
there on the wall was the creature from the TARDIS. The Queen's eyes
moved to the same image, and she recoiled in surprise.
"Ah, at lazzt you recognizze uzz," Malvux said. The image slowly faded.
"We are back, Little Mother! Back from the void to which you zzent us."
"It izz not pozzible," the Queen said.
"Yezz it izz," Malvux hissed. "Your time of renewal, Little Mother,
wazz made pozzible by your zzacrificing uzz!" Malvux spat at the Queen.
"We were your Betrothed, and you murdered uzz!"
Malvux stepped forward again, and the Queen scuttled back. The second
Queen remained oddly silent. "You dezztroyed your fellowzz! You
dezztroyed thizz planet time and again! And for what?" Malvux buzzed
angrily. "For what!?"
"It wazz necezzary!" the Queen said.
"It wazz murder!" Malvux screamed again. "You murdered, enzzlaved, and
dezztroyed a planet, all zzo you could leave thizz planet and live
"It had to be done!" the Queen said. "I had to zzurvive!"
"Your zzurvival had a cozzt," Malvux said, and she raised her gun to
cover the Queen, "and on behalf of Ba-kai, I am here to enzzure you pay
It was then the second Queen began to scream in agony, and slowly began
to change its form....
To be concluded...
Prev | Up | Next