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Doctor Who Missing Internet Adventure #24 - "Endorra"


Chapter 3
"Episode Three"
by TimeLadyX


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"Call me Kwanalapalendesh. I want to be your friend. I want to know and understand all that there is to know. I am the fifth of my kind to take part in the plan to leave our paradise and meet the world beyond. I travelled past many bursts of light before I arrived here in this abysmally cold and dry place. I am here to communicate and learn from the new places and organic beings so akin to us in nature, though so alien in shape and form. I seek enlightenment. I seek friendship and knowledge of other species. I unfurled the hand of friendship and I tasted something exhilarating and tantalising. It was the metallic taste of blood and the sweet chewy flesh that encased it. It tasted…so rich and warm. I did not know that the fleshy creatures could be so fragile, or so…deliciously juicy. I seek more pleasure… I will extend my reach of friendship to everyone I meet and from there I shall extend their hands in friendship to the rest of the world, and from there, the universe. I shall have myself be heard and make our beliefs known. And if to be heard I have to extend the hand of friendship to every living being, so be it."


* * *


"For crimes against the people and the state of the Cyrenirian Empire," the cloaked figure reached for its sabre handle and pressed a small switch, a thin beam of light extended out from the handle, and stopped at a pre-disclosed point, "you have been condemned to death!"


       "But…I've never even heard of the Cyrenirian Empire!"


       "You lie!" The sabre was raised into the air, and then quickly swooped through it, as if the assassin was testing out the weight of the sabre for the first time.


       She looked up to see the sabre coming at her. "No-o-o!"


       The sabre sizzled through the air, charging the atmosphere around it, making the entire hallway feel electrified with energy. The blade of light struck Lady Elizabeth Axori's neck and stopped as if it had hit a wall of concrete. Adric opened his eyes cautiously and looked, to see the shaft of light glancing off her neck oddly bent at a ninety- degree angle as if refracting through a prism.


       Adric looked at her stunned, as if seeing her in a new light. "No!" the assassin shouted, outraged. "You shall die!" The cloaked figure pulled back the sabre and struck her again. The blade sliced through the air and connected with her again. It barely nicked the yellow frills on the shoulder of her dress before the blade of light seemed to pop and crackle with bursts of light and flickered, dead.


       The attacker raised the sabre hilt toward himself as if inspecting the dead blade. A wisp of smoke arose from it, with an acrid smell.


       Seeing that the attacker was now weaponless, Adric saw his chance and jumped on him. He risked a look back at Elizabeth to see if he appearing heroic enough to her. The cloaked figure tried to throw him off, but was slowly bowing under Adric's weight. The attacker took a staggering step and crumpled to the red plush carpeting amid a jumble of black robes and yellow pyjamas.


       Adric seized the nearest arm and bent it behind the attacker's back. He smiled a bit at the groan of pain from the creature beneath him, and reached for the hood of the cloak.


       Elizabeth gasped as Adric peeled the hood back. A skeletal face peered in hatred toward her. But through the whitened skinned gauntly stretched back against high cheekbones she could see two very human blue eyes looking back at her and behind their hatred stood suffering and sadness.


       "Adric…"


       Adric studiously ignored her. He twisted the arm further. "Tell us why you were trying to kill her."


       "I was doing what must be done," spat the attacker. "She holds a title that is not rightfully hers. She wears clothes that do not belong to her. Her family committed the crime of killing our emperor, empress and our crown princess." There was a trace of sadness in the attacker's voice. "Crown Princess Landreth was my betrothed! Her father stole our planet!"


       "But she said her planet was called Axori."


       "It was called Cyreniria before her father took it over."


       "He 'bought' it," corrected Elizabeth.


       "Your 'father'…" the attacker seemed to recoil at the word, "…was negotiating to buy out our planet. Our rulers refused. Our people were a proud race and would not be pushed off our home planet. He arranged to have a banquet in our rulers' honour if they would consider his offer. He poisoned them! When they took their first bites of the food and slumped over, never to wake up again, he laughed!"


       "You lie!" Lady Elizabeth shouted, tears streaming down her face. "You have to be lying! My father would never do anything like that!"


       "I was there. I saw his crimes for myself. I tasted the food the same as the rest. When the guards realised what had happened, I was the only one still alive, if you can call it that. And then to add to my misery, he dressed you in my beloved Landreth's clothes and put her tiara on your head. I shall kill you for stealing my beloved's life!" The gaunt attacker suddenly writhed, throwing Adric off his back, and lunged for Lady Elizabeth, pulling a long cord out of his robe.


       Adric staggered to his feet and tried to jump after the skeletal figure. But instead of connecting with the cloaked figure, he slammed into something very solid. He fell to the floor, rubbing his head and looked up. In front of him stood an orange clad wall of a person with a malevolent frown on her face. "You are charged with roughhousing and disturbing the peace. You shall come with me," she said, reaching down and grabbing Adric's wrist in a vice-like grip. "There's a nice cell in Security with your name on it."


       "But that man's going to kill her!"


       "What man?"


       "The one with the black cloak on!"


       Together they looked. Both Lady Elizabeth Axori and the black- cloaked assassin had vanished.


* * *


Pitney's branch-like fingers extended outwards then wrapped their way around the Doctor's neck and began to choke the Doctor. "The plants have chosen me as their ambassador; they have more pods out there prepared for the moment of dissension, and you need to ask yourself… will they chose you to be an ambassador, to seed the planets of human- plant hybrids or will they destroy you like so much fodder?"


       The Doctor's legs folded underneath him as he fought to breathe. He found himself on his knees, his fingers slowly losing their grip on the rough bark encasing the still-human fingers. The Doctor could suddenly feel something pierce his skin. Then he felt a reprieve. The branches suddenly slackened their vice-like strangle hold on his neck. The arms dropped loosely and he heard the dull thud as what was once Pitney fell to the floor.


       The Doctor's legs gave way beneath him completely and he collapsed to the tile floor of the office. He rested there for a moment, letting his lungs slowly refill with air. He touched his throat and withdrew his hand. His middle and index fingers both had drops of blood on them. He quickly pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the blood off, stuffing the handkerchief back into his coat pocket. He jumped to his feet and looped his burgundy coloured scarf a couple of times around his neck.


       Sergeant Derek Drake stood over the body, still poised with a heavy book still in his hands. He looked stunned and confused; almost as if he had been the one knocked on the head and not his friend. He shakily put the security manual back on the corner of the desk and bent to look at the unconscious body of his friend.


       "I wouldn't do that, if I were you," the Doctor said, stopping Drake with a hand. "But, of course, I'm not you," he finished, sitting down next to the body himself. He opened Pitney's eyes, and checked the dilation of the pupils. "Looks like he should be out for long enough for us to give him a good looking over. Now what I need for you do to is get his feet."


       Drake automatically complied; he still seemed too shaken by what had happened. "I'm a security officer, I shouldn't let things like this get to me."


       "Right you are, now let's see about your friend here. And don't forget to bring the meteorite."


       Drake looked back at the rock still sitting in Pitney's rucksack. Its three sections had sealed themselves back together as if hibernating. It looked like nothing more than an innocent rock, if rocks could be considered innocent. Drake hesitantly edged over to it, waiting for the thing to strike.

      

"Hurry up, man! We don't have much time until your friend here wakes up."


       Drake shrugged and picked up the rucksack with one arm. The thing remained motionless. Perhaps it was plotting its next course of action. He shivered at the thought of having to carry something like that anywhere but obediently followed after the Doctor.


       Together they lifted the plant-like Pitney from the floor and left the security office. The walked down the hallway in silence, until the Doctor stopped outside a door marked "Infirmary" in large black letters. "This should have what we need." He pulled his end of Pitney inside. Drake, still holding onto Pitney's feet had no choice, but to follow. The Doctor motioned for Drake to help set their burden onto the nearest cot. Drake remained standing by his friend. Pitney looked so peaceful unconscious. If he squinted enough, the bark covering Pitney's arms could look like just a dark tan and he could fool himself that nothing unusual had happened.


       The room was painted completely in powder blue with a large window on the far side of the room. A sterile mixed with a slight perfume of roses, probably to ease the worry of any of the guests should they be brought there, lingered in the air. Right now the room was empty, with the exception of the three of them, five empty cots, and a host of odd machines skirting the room. The Doctor was busy going through a cabinet filled with surgical supplies in the far corner of the room. The box of gloves at the top looked like it was precariously perched on the top shelf and might fall on the Doctor's head if he happened to give the cabinet a hard shove. The Doctor turned around just then, and strolled back over to Drake and Pitney, carrying with him an armload of medical equipment and set them on a nearby table. He picked up the forceps and peeled off a section of the bark-like skin covering one of Pitney's wrists. Underneath the bark, the skin looked whitened and shrivelled. "Now why do you suppose his skin looks like that?" he asked, more to himself than to Drake.


       Drake shrugged. "Being encased in the plant stuff makes your skin shrivel, like staying in water for too long?"


       "Possibly, but you see his skin has gone white and there isn't any trace of the vein work. This should be a major junction of his arterial veins."


       "So, his skin has gone shrivelled because the bark is sucking out his blood?"


       "Among other things," the Doctor confirmed, holding up the piece of bark with the forceps and inspecting it closer.


       Drake shivered at the thought. That scuffle that resulted in three of the customers being hospitalised last spring was one thing, but this was completely out his league. "So, what do we do? How do we contain this? Can we just seal Pitney and that rock up somehow, like in the isolation room, until you can use the antidote on him?"


       The Doctor has picked up a small pair of tongs and was absently chipping at the bark; letting little flakes of it fall onto the table in front of him. "I fear it may be too late for your friend here. He has already begun the metamorphosis. This is a different strain than what I encountered before and I'm not so certain that the antidote would work on him," the Doctor pondered. "I also doubt your isolation room would hold him for long. Besides, I wouldn't destroy this. We have every opportunity to learn from it. And your friend said there were more of them. We should study them if we want to understand them and reach an agreement to stop them."


       Drake closed his eyes. He could definitely feel a headache coming on.


       The Doctor's gaze had shifted to the rock still sitting in the rucksack. "There was a collection of other meteorites in that lost and found storage room of yours…"


       "Yes, the senior officials of the Endora Casino employ us to check out all falling space debris to make certain it isn't anything radioactive or suspicious like part of a ship trying to spy on us or make a claim to the land here. This is a highly profitable resort planet and the last thing we need is for other people to be in competition with us."


       "Perhaps that's what they want you to think."


       "You're not suggesting," Drake said, his voice trailing off as the colour drained from his face. He coughed and tried to unplug his throat. "That the officials knew that something like this might happen?"


       The Doctor gave him an alarmingly toothy smile just then. "Well, we won't know unless we ask them."


---
To be continued...



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