|Doctor Who Internet Adventure #02 - "Six Sides to Every Story"
"Why is it that whenever you get to the end of a jigsaw, there's always one piece missing?"
by Richard Auer
"Or rather, I am wrong," the Doctor muttered to himself. "Or rather, I haven't been thinking!"
And with these words, he flew to the console. Grace stared, wide-eyed, as the Doctor jumped from one station to the next in a frenzy of activity. The skyview above flickered on and showed what she assumed was a trajectory.
"Ha! Try to get away from me, will you!" the Doctor cried.
"Doctor! What's going on? Can I help?"
"No! And just a moment. In reverse order."
The console sparked and crackled. The Doctor hit the console with the palm of his hand. The skyview blinked and went dark.
"Blast! Come on, old thing!"
He thumped the console again, without success, after which he dropped to the floor and crawled under it, the sonic screwdriver already in his hand.
"Yes! Get me my tools, and give the TARDIS a hug. I believe she needs it. Quickly, now. Don't stand around gawking, we haven't got the time!"
Grace pelted out, and returned shortly with the toolbox.
"Why do you always leave this where no one can find it?" she asked in frustration. "I swear, if I hadn't seen it earlier, I don't think I could have brought it to you so quickly."
"Please! Give me that, quickly now.
"And please don't swear!" he added as he dropped below the console once again.
"All right, then. What do I hug," Grace asked sarcastically, "the console?"
"No, no. See the pillow on the couch? That'll do for now."
Five minutes later, Grace was still hugging the pillow, rocking back and forth, and humming tunelessly. Her cheek was pressed firmly against the pillow, and she thought of how much she would like a hug as well. She glanced over to where the Doctor was working to discover that he was staring at her from under the console.
"Amazing!" he cried," just amazing. I don't think you realize how much that helps. But, seriously, now. We have a difficult choice. The universe is in danger, but so is Merak. Which of the two should we aid first? You decide."
Grace stared at the Doctor. "Why me?"
"Now, now. Why so indecisive? And the answer is: you are here and the time is now. That's why you. Besides, at the moment you have control over the TARDIS. Keep your emotions as deep as they are now, and make a decision. There's nothing I can do. And no, I don't want to explain it all right now. So, which will it be: Merak or the Key to Time?" he asked while getting out from under the console, which had stopped sparking and seemed to be working normally.
"Merak" came the decisive reply, and, before she had even finished speaking the name, the column in the centre of the console began to move.
"That's my girl. I hope you made the right choice," the Doctor murmured, "yet I would have done the same." He turned toward the door, and, as it opened, stepped through. Grace was not far behind.
The Doctor turned to her. "I'm sorry, Grace. You can't come along. I'm afraid that at the moment, the TARDIS is a nervous wreck. And if you leave, she won't have anyone left to hold on to. You're going to have to sit on the couch and croon a bit to yourself. I'm sorry, really. One consolation, though. Since you need a hug, I'll give you one. But if you ask the TARDIS, she'll probably give you a better one. Just sit on the couch, there's a good girl. I'll be
leaving you now, and shall return with our good friend Merak."
Grace plunked down on the sofa after the Doctor gave her a quick hug. She watched him as he strode out of the TARDIS, muttering something that sounded like it was from Alice in Wonderland.
She reached for the pillow and hugged it tight.
* * *
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"
The Doctor strode from the TARDIS. This wasn't working out at all the way he had, if even for a short time, hoped.
Too many things were left unanswered. Why had the creature been satisfied with Merak as prey, whereas he himself was clearly the primary prey? Who had forced an entry into the TARDIS, taking away the only thing that had been holding it together? There couldn't be all that many beings that could perform such a feat. It couldn't be the Black Guardian, since he mayn't interfere directly. Unless, of course, the normal rules weren't valid in this dimension. That seemed unlikely, otherwise he would always play in this dimension. No. It seemed most likely that it was a Time Lord, and a rather powerful one at that, who had done this. Omega came to mind. But, as yet, there wasn't enough information. He would just have to wait and see.
Anyways, the most immediate problem was that of recovering Merak. He and the Cthulhu-ish creature had to be somewhere near here, otherwise the TARDIS would not have travelled here. The TARDIS was a rather splendid machine, though irritating at times. He would have to trust that she had brought him to the right spot.
Above him, he heard a sort of SPWOOP and a cry of "-- love her!"
"Ah! I knew it wasn't the taps," the Doctor murmured as he pushed off of the TARDIS in the direction of the dark figure that had just appeared. "The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood..."
* * *
The great Cthulhu. He was born of the dreams of Time Lords. He had inspired the imagination of many races. His power was that of fear and superstition, which are never far apart. But he was known for having intertwined these two into one thread which spanned the universe. The fear of one race would fuel the fear of another. And he could feed upon it all. One of the few planets he had neglectedwas Earth, the favourite planet of the one called the Doctor. The one he had been sent to fetch.
The one he had been sent to fetch.
One moment. Who dare send him to fetch anyone. Certainly, he could use the guise of the Doctor to strengthen his hold on planet Earth. But no one bargains with the great Cthulhu. There was some other spirit within him. Where? Where?
The Doctor watched as Cthulhu let go of Merak. It was a pitiful rendering of Cthulhu. According to the stories on Earth, he resided in a palace under the ocean, waiting to take over the world. Supposedly, he was huge. This version was only about 6 meters in length. Certainly, frightening to behold, but not as awesome as the real Cthulhu.
"Merak!" the Doctor called, "close your eyes!"
Cthulhu heard the voice, and the call to capture and destroy the owner of that voice was aroused anew. This was his realm, and here he was unbeatable. He turned towards the voice, only to see a figure hurtling by. Cthulhu spun and grabbed wildly.
Blast! His hostage was getting away. The Doctor had pushed him in the direction of the blue box in the distance, at the same time giving himself more speed in the opposite direction.
With a surge of will, Cthulhu grew. And moved. The Doctor could not get away, now. The Doctor was turning towards him. Fear glinted in his eye. Ha! That would give him all the more power.
"Who sent you?"
This pitiful creature dares to ask a question? His voice did not even waver. A hardy man. A valid question. Cthulhu hesitated.
"No one sends me."
"Exactly. That is why I ask."
Cthulhu stopped. The Doctor hurtled on.
* * *
Merak was having a strenuous day: first helping to save the Doctor, then being pulled through to this weird dimension by an ugly being which resembled a figure from childhood stories called K'tulieu, then hearing the Doctors' voice telling him to close his eyes, and then flying towards a welcome sight: a blue box with strange runes written over a door he recognized as the Doctor's TARDIS. He used the opportunity and grabbed for the TARDIS, found the door, and entered.
Grace was sitting on the couch, fervently hugging a pillow.
"Um, is everything all right?" Merak asked naively.
"Where's the Doctor!?" Grace returned after her eyes snapped open.
"Outside. I think he needs help."
"Well, let's go get him."
"How? I don't know how to fly this thing."
"Let me try," Grace returned. She sat down on the couch and hugged the pillow and concentrated. Nothing happened. The console began to blow sparks again.
"It worked before," Grace wailed. "Why won't it work now?"
"What are you trying to do, anyway? The TARDIS probably doesn't work telekinetically. Otherwise the Doctor would always do it that way. Stupid girl. This calls for action. I'm going back out to help the Doctor."
Merak turned back towards the open door. "You can stay here and hug that pillow as long as you want. Foolishness. Good-bye."
"And good riddance," Grace futilely returned. She knew what she was doing was important. She couldn't leave. But now sparks were flying all around her and the gonging from the Cloister Bell started up with renewed vigour. The entire TARDIS was beginning to fall apart.
"Come on. Give me a hug," she cried, throwing herself onto the couch. She could not see as behind her, energy tendrils reached toward her from the central column.
* * *
Merak stepped out of the TARDIS into total darkness. Behind him, he continued to hear the crackling and spitting from the damaged TARDIS. He turned, but saw nothing. From far off, in another direction, he heard a bell toll.
He turned towards the sound of the tolling bell.
From above, he heard an "Ahhhhhh!" accompanied by the unmistakable sound of a sonic screwdriver.
Merak peered through the darkness, and was confronted by a huge worm. Or something. At any rate, it's mouth was as wide as its body, and its reddish skin suggested to the mind, that its food was flesh. He crashed against its side, and pushed off in another direction.
Nothing happened to him, and he looked back.
Again, in front of him, he heard the sound of the sonic screwdriver and a voice. "Now that wasn't so bad, was it?"
Merak breathed out in relief. The Doctor. And unharmed by the sound of it. The darkness brightened. Merak could see quite well now. And there was the Doctor.
"Doctor!" he shouted.
"Merak! Where are you? I can't see you. You shouldn't be out here. It's much too dangerous."
Merak saw the Doctor turn in his direction and peer at him. Strange. He could see the Doctor quite plainly. But then, again, this was his home, wasn't it. One is always better acquainted with one's own home. Next to the Doctor lay two figures. One had the same shape as the Doctor — humanoid, and the other appeared similar to the master of this dimension — the Cthulhu. But it was not the real Cthulhu. Any creature of this world could see that.
What is happening to me! thought a small voice in the innermost part of Merak. But the voice that came out said "I'm over here!"
"Have you seen anything!?" the Doctor questioned earnestly.
Yes! thought the small voice. All that came out was "No. Nothing but your ship. Come, let's go."
"Help me carry this man." the Doctor said, turning.
"Must we? We haven't got the time, I think," Merak returned.
"I think we must. Help me."
* * *
Grace was getting rather comfortable, now that the TARDIS was giving her a hug. What a strange way to do it, too. Grace, who had studied a little bit about acupuncture, would be willing to bet that it had used a couple of points to help her relax.
Still holding the pillow, to which she was getting rather attached, Grace thought of the Doctor. The gonging relented, as did the sparking of the console.
The Doctor entered the TARDIS with someone else, carrying a third person.
"Where's Merak?" she asked.
Only when the second figure turned, and looked at her sharply, did she realize that it was the figure of Merak. She gasped involuntarily.
"I know," the Doctor said. "It's not doing a very good job of hiding itself. We'll get rid of it soon enough."
"No, Doctor. The life of your friend Merak is still within this body. Try anything, and I will destroy that life. You must take me with you to your dimension, where I will prepare the universe for the great Cthulhu and all my brethren."
The Doctor sighed. "If it isn't one megalomaniac, it's another. Fortunately, too many megalomaniacs spoil the..."
To be continued...
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