|Doctor Who Companion Internet Adventure #03 - "Revenge of the Alliance"
""Story Structure and the Characters it Rode In On""
by David Versace
Chang Lee had just enough time to gasp out a scream before the door slammed shut. "No! Wait! Nooooo...!"
His voice trailed off as he realised he was still breathing, something that didn't quite tally with a lungful of steel spikes. He patted his hands desperately over his chest and stomach, convinced they would encounter a forest of geysers. Nothing.
Satisfied he hadn't been brutally impaled, he cautiously opened one eye. His reluctance he put down to the fact that every time he had turned around since he got to this madhouse, the frying pan got a little hotter.
He had fallen onto his butt in what looked like a greenish grey stone-walled corridor. The light from a flickering torch on the wall was gloomy at best. From somewhere off to one side and then suddenly off to the other, he could hear eerie, high-pitched music. In front of him there was a door, a solid, oak-panelled affair with iron fittings. It looked like it was raised rather than opened.
As Chang Lee stood up, intending to pull the torch from the wall, his foot nudged something. He looked down and for a moment thought that it looked like the TransBlastLaser Rifle that had been his intermittent companion in the Land of Fiction. Then it seemed to changed shape, becoming shorter, changing colour and growing more barrels, until it resembled one of those helicopter cannons that you saw Big Arnie carrying in the movies. It looked like it probably weighed about as much as Big Arnie, too, but shrugging, Chang Lee knelt beside it and tried to pick it up anyway. To his surprise it was no heavier than a handgun, and he was able to toss its strap over his shoulder and rest it on his hip comfortably.
"All right, locked and loaded." Grinning, he pulled the torch off the wall with his free hand and examined the door. As soon as he got close, the door opened, sliding up as he'd guessed it would.
There was a menacing snarl from the darkness beyond, and before he knew it, a great orange fireball appeared from dead ahead. It was coming straight for him!
* * *
The Master of the Land of Fiction stabbed desperately at his teletyper, prodding levers and cursing. Wendy grabbed the string of text as it clickity-clacked out of the glass dome. Reading, she too cursed.
"What do you call this?"
The Master could barely contain his frustration. "I don't call it anything! Do you still think I'm in charge here? Something's exerting influence on the plot line! Something is taking control!"
"Well, take it back!"
"Oh thanks awfully for the suggestion, Wendy," he snarled. "What do you think I've been doing? Writing haiku?"
"No!" growled Vyvyan through a mouthful of broken teeth. "No, Rik, we don't! Because haiku, while among the most boring things ever, is still more interesting than you in the same way that gratuitous physical violence is more interesting than mindless exposition!!!" He ended the speech by upending the teletyper and comically smashing it over the Master's head.
"Heavy, man," observed Neil. "What about, right, if we all just like decided to get on with one another?" He waved some sickly-sweet joss sticks under the Master's nose, which made his eyes water.
"Get away from me, hippie!" The Master, aghast at what he had just said, slapped both hands over his mouth, an expression of fear and loathing etched onto his face.
"Now Rik, why don't you and the girl just take it easy?" said Mike, holding up one cool hand. "And I don't mean my--"
Wendy and the Master stared at each other in horror. The phantom figures had vanished, leaving them standing in the Throne Room, rigid with fright.
Finally, Wendy said "Was that--?"
"They were fiction," he whispered. "They weren't real people. They were fiction."
"We're being written."
* * *
Chang Lee found himself sliding to the right faster than he would have imagined possible. He raised the cannon and let fly. The rotating barrels roared into life, spraying bullets into the darkness in a long stream.
In the strobed light given off by the flaming muzzle flashes, he could see a tall, shaggy creature with a dog-like face as it danced a tarantella in the hail of bullets. Splashes of blood appeared and disappeared on its body as Chang Lee pumped it full of lead, screaming a wild banshee cry of triumph.
"Die!" he yelled, and let loose with another barrage. The creature continued to defy gravity, hanging there as he fired and fired and-
As the weapon ran dry, Chang Lee suddenly caught an image somewhere just below his field of vision. It looked like writing, in big red letters, and just for a moment, he had though it said "Ammo: 0"
"Oh." He dropped the gun as the creature finally toppled backwards, coming to rest in a pool of blood that had just appeared. Chang Lee looked down at his hand, where an automatic pistol had appeared from nowhere. "Oh, man. I have got to get out of here."
Just for emphasis, a long, elephantine roar pierced the air at that moment and rooted him in place. Then it receded into the nearby distance, and the shadows began to move.
* * *
Ganos Burok switched off the monitor. "I think we can leave our young friend for the moment. Dramatic necessity dictates that he'll survive the encounter with the Cyberdemon, though Rassilon alone knows how." He chuckled indulgently and turned to Gugugee. "Summon the others. And make haste. The clock is against Chang Lee, and we still have much to do."
Gugugee nodded assent and rushed from the room, leaving Burok and Krima alone. Krima was maintaining his silence, Burok noted. Possibly he disapproves, he thought.
"You are concerned for the human, Krimakovoruseldevar?"
"Indeed no, my Lord President," Krima ventured cautiously. "Not personally. The human seems brash, impulsive and obnoxious. I cannot imagine a less likely candidate for his manifest destiny."
Burok waved an admonishing finger. "Be careful. You're beginning to sound reverent. The last thing we want is Chang Lee becoming a religious figure."
"I only meant--"
"That you are concerned that he may not be capable of playing his part?"
"Well," observed Krima. "Not if he's dead, no."
* * *
Chang Lee bolted for his life. He seemed to be moving faster than he ever had before. The monster barely had time to turn and growl before he was sliding past them, sidestepping, ducking, jumping. Man, if he'd had moves like this on the streets...
While he ran, he itemised his problems:
"One," he counted. "I'm in one of those video games that *nobody* gets through on first try." He zipped through a series of doors, skipping over large basalt block before they fell away into some radioactive sludge behind him. This place was creeping him out.
"Two, there's still no sign of the Doctor!" He considered for a moment. "Not the real Doctor, anyway." He rounded a corner and suddenly seemed to be outside, in a large courtyard surrounding on three sides by stone walls sixty or seventy feet high. In front of him there was a forest of identically-gnarled trees. From above on the walls and from behind came snarls, grunts and more fireballs. He made for the woods.
"Three, thr--" In the darkness of the forest, he suddenly felt the ground vanish underneath his foot. He stepped out into space, and suddenly found himself facing the ground.
From about eight miles up.
Chang Lee's heart jumped for about the dozenth time.
To be continued...
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