Doctor Who Internet Adventure #18 - "Ticket to Writhe"

Chapter 10
"The Horror of Angels"
by Will Howells


1: The Upper Hand

When Anatoli Mammon acquired Club Feel - "purchased" doesn't suitably describe how - it was called Club Feels. The neon sign over the front entrance has always had a problem with the "s", which flashes on and off spontaneously and sporadically.

       Mammon ignores it. He renamed the establishment Club Feel, had a new plaque put on the manager's door and a notice on his desk stating who he is. As if anyone visiting him wouldn't know.

       He sits behind the desk now, pondering his meeting with Angel. She has just left, vanishing into thin air. Mammon doesn't recall her doing that before, which is a bit worrying. Also worrying is the cloud of her brethren hovering above the city in plain view from his window.

       Mammon closes the blinds.

* * *

Angela hears footsteps and looks up. The Doctor is limping up to them. Luke lapses back from shock-induced unconsciousness.

       "How is he?" the Doctor asks, ashen-faced.

       "He'll heal, though the scars might not."

       The Doctor glares at her, or rather through her.

       "Are you all right?" she asks. There's something about him that's different, almost frightening. He hasn't replied. "Doctor?"

       "Luke, can you walk?"

       Luke nods and Angela helps him to his feet.

       "In that case," the Doctor says, "I'd like us to see the manager."

* * *

The door is flung open and the Doctor marches in. His female companion - Angela something - is lagging behind, helping Bramley walk along. Mammon stands to greet them.

       "Good evening-"

       "Sit down." The Doctor is terse, his expression uncharacteristically stony.

       Mammon looks past the Doctor to where Bramley is leaning against the wardrobe. "How's the leg, dear? I'm sorry if Mr Purity is better with dogs than you are."

       "Mr Purity," the Doctor says, "is dead."

       Mammon folds his arms, keen to keep charge of the situation. "/Really/? Now that's a surprise and a half."

       "I killed him."

       Instantly, Anatoli Mammon loses the upper hand. He drops back into his executive swivel chair and raises an eyebrow or two. "You, Doctor?"

       "Yes. I'm sorry."

       "Don't be, Doctor," the woman says, moving closer to Mammon and to the Doctor. "He was a complete bastard."

       "I know," the Doctor replies, "but I shouldn't have done it. The light that is in me is darkness."

       Mammon feels he can turn this to his advantage. He smiles weakly. "Such melodrama, Doctor, my love. Your friend is absolutely right: the lamentable Ryan Purity was a thoroughly nasty piece of work. No-one will blame you. You don't have to worry about the police arresting you, not here, and you can always disappear off into space and time like you did before... Or you could claim diminished responsibility. You must be the worse for wear after hanging around on a cross for a week."

       "It was still wrong," the Doctor insists. "But I agree, I don't think I am quite /compus mentis/ at the moment."

       Mammon nods.

       "So I suggest you shut up and listen before I lose my temper again. Have you seen Angel?"

* * *

[Six minutes ago]
Anatoli Mammon found himself materialising in his office. He hid his distress from the other occupants.

       Floating above his desk was Angel, her nickname more appropriate than ever. She seemed to be glowing a ghostly white, which made Mammon's skin crawl. At her side was the redhead whom he suspected brought him here. He realised on closer inspection that it was...

       "River! Baby! Long time no see. How are things?"

       "Angel will speak with you, and you will do as she says." River fixed him in her gaze and he suddenly felt like a fly trapped in amber.

       Angel's voice was different from his recollection of it. Either more ethereal or weaker - Mammon was unsure which. Her lips did not move as she said, "You will disengage your taps."

       Mammon would have replied, but he was finding River's solid stare rather off-putting.

       "The Pillar is mine," Angel continued. "My people need the energy it brings. You endanger everyone with your theft."

       River closed her eyes. "Speak. Now, human."

       "Very well," Mammon said. "I will do as you ask."

       Angel shimmered. "You will?"

       "Yes." He smiled winningly. "Now, would you mind leaving my office?"

       The two disappeared.

* * *

"She dared to call me a thief, as if the energy was hers to siphon away."

       The Doctor leans over the desk, dwarfing Mammon who tries to remain confident. "You must turn off the taps," the Doctor insists. "The Elohim need -"


       "Angel's people. They need the energy or their transformation will fail."

       Mammon calmly replies to the Doctor's centimetre-close face. "Oh dear."

       "Turn them off!" the Doctor shouts.

       "And what are you going to do if I don't, darling? Kill me? Add another death to the toll? Make a day of it?"

       The Doctor glares at him and says softly, but firmly, "I shall do exactly that."

       "You're bluffing."

       "Can you afford to take that risk?"

       Mammon grins, a wide, smug, repulsive smirk. "Yes." He produces a gaming dice from his pocket and held it up. "Things are weighted in my favour."

       The Doctor sighs and steps away from the desk. "Then I think I might have to go away and cry," he says, crossing the room and slumping in a corner.

       Mammon laughs. "And I thought Purity had really met his match with you, Doctor." He pulls his Cecom from his trousers and speaks into it. "Ops."

       "Ops here."

       "Hiya, sweetie. Increase power couplings two, three, and six to 75% please."

       "OK, boss."

       As Mammon returns the device to his pocket, the Doctor looks wistfully across the room. "That could kill them," he says.


       "It could kill *us*," Luke says. The office shakes as if to illustrate his point. "The stress on the Pillar could be too much."

       Angela looks at Luke, then at the Doctor. She approaches the desk. "Turn off the taps, Mammon. Do as the Doctor says."

       Mammon smirks at her too. "Or you'll kill me?"


* * *

2: Jagged Little Pillar (apologies not included)

[The future]
"A what?" Wil Young will ask.

       "Grow up," Jadi Morok will reply. "An anchor." Then he will continue telling his version of this story.

* * *

Jadi picks himself up and rubs his arm where he landed on it. The second tremor, much more powerful than the first, sent him sprawling.

       The Elohim are still up near the dome's transparent surface, hanging in the sky. The light from the angels hides the stars, as if it were dawn in the middle of the night. It is similar what happens during the totality of a solar eclipse (night-time at, for example, noon) but the other way around, if that makes sense.

       Another tremor and the angels flare, brighter.

* * *

Angela checks Mammon's pulse. He is still alive, but bleeding all over the floor. The room hasn't been carpeted - Angela wonders if this was precisely to avoid blood stains. Mammon probably hadn't expected it to be his own blood not staining the tiled floor.

       "He's out cold."

       The Doctor is suddenly at her side, all jumpy and buoyant, making a quick medical examination of Mammon's body. "He'll recover as long as he doesn't hurt himself while he's out." Angela frowns at the Doctor and he explains, "In another quake."

       They lift Mammon into his chair and tie him to it. The chair is bolted to the floor - a sensible precaution, Angela thinks, having seen some of the clientele, and some of the staff.

       "We have to stop the siphoning," Luke calls from his sitting position across the office. "If this carries on, the Pillar could tear itself apart."

       The Doctor nods vigorously. "I'm not sure where Anatoli's power... er..."

       "What is it?" Angela asks.

       The Doctor frowns. "The Elohim are trying to pull energy from the Pillar, yes?"

       "Yes," Angela and Luke chorus.

       "But there isn't enough for their purposes, not with Anatoli's taps still running. They won't be able to complete their change and that could destroy them, and River too."

       "So we need to stop the siphoning!" Luke says.

       "Not necessarily." The Doctor rubs his cheek in thought; his palm leaves a trail of blood behind. "The current power drain is destabilising the Pillar, yes?"


       "And if the Pillar breaks up, what happens to Cupid?"

       Luke shrugs. "The force of the break-up will throw it into space, possibly split the dome... We'd all die anyway."

       The Doctor nods. "That's settled then. Come on." He marches out of the office.

       Angela helps Luke to his feet and they head slowly after the Time Lord.

       "What's he up to?" Luke asks.

       The Doctor's head shoots back round the door. "Do either of you know how to make a bomb?"

       "You had to ask."

* * *

People are screaming, running through the streets in terror. Planet hoppers are launching from Cupid at a rate of knots; some even belong to the occupants.

       Jadi watches them go and wishes he and his friends were going with them.

       Then the Doctor runs up. "Hello, Jadi," he says. "Did you get the city evacuated?" A bottle flies past, missing the Doctor's head by an inch. "Ask a silly question."

       He ducks into a phone box as Angela helps Luke hobble up. Jadi gives Angela a peck on the cheek. "Hey, lover."

       "Great," says Luke, "finally where I want to be and my legs are going to give way."

       Jadi doesn't understand but his line of thought is interrupted by the Doctor's return. "There," the Time Lord says, "that should do it."

       "Doctor, you gave me a wrong number..."

       The Doctor holds up a hand. "Post mortems can wait. We have a job to do in the 'Combs." Another quake shakes the ground beneath them. There is a flash and the angels in the sky glow brighter than ever. "And the sooner the better," the Doctor adds.

* * *

Angel is in pain.

       She has rejoined her people, high above the city. It is an unusual experience, being able to go where you please just like that. She expects it will pass.

       From here she can see everything: police precincts, prowlers, people passing below, Club Feel, takeaway places... And the huge form of Venus below.

       \\I could murder a curry,\\ River interjects as a thought popping into Angel's mind.

       Angel is in pain. Her own pain and that of her people. She wants to help them, to help herself. River reassures her that the Doctor will find a way.

       Angel is in pain. She can feel the energy from the Pillar, but it is only a fraction of what they need. The transmogrification is slow and sporadic and she can see the effects it is having on the city. Cupid shakes and the angels scream.

       She wonders how far the end of the road is and what is there for her when she and her friends arrive.

* * *

[Still now]
Cupid stands high above the surface of Venus, the great length of the Pillar connecting the gas refineries on the planet to the power stations in the city.

       The Pillar is becoming unstable. The city is drawing on it for light and heat and washing machines; the Elohim need it to help them evolve; and Mammon's systems are sucking it nearly dry. It can't cope. If this onslaught continues much longer, the Pillar will not be able to hold out.

* * *

The Pillar is going to fall apart. Rumblings are going to well up inside it, gas igniting, flickering fingers of flame engulfing the structure. Cracks are going to spread across its surface. Destruction.

* * *

3: She's a River

River can feel energy coursing through her being. It fluctuates, growing and falling off as the Elohim gain and lose ground in their battle with Mammon's siphoning machinery.

       She feels a presence at the very edge of her consciousness. It is as if someone is ringing a doorbell in her mind and waiting patiently to be allowed in. She agrees and finds a Time Lord on her doorstep.

* * *

The Doctor uncrosses his legs and jumps up.

       "Did she get the message?" Luke asks.

       The Doctor grins. "Don't worry, Mr Bramley. This is going to work perfectly."

       "So what now?"

       "We wait for Jadi and Angela to return with my shopping."

       A group of soldiers run past them, herding terrified civilians towards the military spaceport. A young lieutenant drops back and approaches them.

       "Are you the Doctor?" he asks Luke.

       "That'll be him," Luke replies, pointing to the Doctor.

       The soldier turns to the Doctor and hands him a paper-wrapped package. "With the compliments of the captain," he says. He salutes and then runs after his colleagues.

       Luke passes the Doctor a bemused look. "What is it?"

       The Doctor holds the package to his nose and inhales. "Vegetable sweet and sour."

* * *

"Monteiro Drugstore. This do?"

       Angela looks through the shop window. The building is deserted. "This'll do." She kicks the door open and the couple go inside. An alarm goes off so Angela hits that too. It sparks and shuts up.

       The pharmacy is dark inside, the shelves of pills and powders illuminated only be light from the street filtering through the dirty windows.

       Some of the displays have collapsed, presumably in the quakes. Angela stumbles on a liberated tub of paracetamol. She takes a shelf of swizz derivatives and cod liver oils with her.

       Jadi hurries to her side. "Are you all right?" he asked, helping her up.

       "Yeah. I'm fine. Just... just tripped." She hesitates but decides now isn't the time to tell him. "You look in the back."

       "OK, but be careful. It would be silly to escape from hoards of assassins and bug-eyed monsters only to break your neck slipping on some spilt cough medicine."

       Jadi forces the door to the back of the shop and disappears into the darkness. Angela continues to search the shelves in the front, pausing only to pocket a pregnancy testing kit. Just to check.

* * *

Angel feels River's thoughts flow into her. A message from the Doctor.

* * *

4: Ray of Light

[INSERT] QUOTE: TEXT (PLAIN) > NAME: "Bible, The" > BOOK: Matthew > CHAPTER: 6 > VERSES: 19-24 [/INSERT]

* * *

Ray is in pain.

       He is thankful for the shock he has been suffering: when he loses consciousness, he can't feel the pain. Now he can feel the throbbing in his hands where his fingers used to be; the splitting headache which he suspects might be related to a split head; the dryness in his throat and the hunger and the acid in his stomach. There are other injuries, he's sure, but he can neither feel them nor remember them at the moment.

       The bare light in the cold room went out when the last quake hit. He is strapped to the slab in the middle of the room, grateful at least to be held from falling off each time Cupid - if this *is* still Cupid - shakes.

* * *

The Doctor and Luke are finishing off their food when Angela and Jadi return. Jadi is carrying two bulging carrier bags of stuff; Angela is holding a couple of small paper bags, the sort you get prescriptions in.

       "How much was that lot?" the Doctor asks, screwing up the rubbish from the meal and carefully forcing it into an overflowing litter bin.

       "The shops were all shut," Angela states. "We had to help ourselves." The Doctor makes a disapproving face. "Sorry, Doctor, but I thought we were supposed to be saving the world?"

       The Doctor nods. "Something like that." He rubs his hands together. "Now that we have the raw ingredients, I suggest we get to work."

* * *

Ray screams. His throat croaks and the scream in silent, but his mouth is wide open and his mind is calling into the void, a mental wail, a cry for help.

       River opens her eyes and screams.

* * *

Their footsteps echo as they make their way deeper into the 'Combs.

       "This is far enough," the Doctor says.

       "How can you tell?" Luke asks, trying to make anything out in the darkness.

       Before the Doctor can answer, a light appears in the distance, rapidly approaching. The cavern becomes illuminated, the walls revealed as metallic curves, the people in the cavern lit eerily.

       Angel stops in front of them. "I am ready, Doctor."

       The Doctor kneels down as a large tremor hits. "We don't have much time, Angel." He produces a piece of chalk from somewhere and begins to draw on the ground. "Now, this is the Pillar..."

* * *

River looks around at the Elohim, their faces contorted in pain and in fear. She doesn't want to leave them, but if there's a chance... If he's here, and if he needs her, she has to try.

       She hangs a mental "Back in a bit" sign on the astral plain and vanishes from the sky.

       The Elohim open their eyes and scream.

* * *

"They must be placed in exactly the right places or Cupid could be out of its orbit." "I understand, Doctor." Angel takes the carrier bag from him and begins to float away, deeper into the 'Combs.

       "I'll see you at the corner of Indorelty and Scotch," the Doctor reminds her as she disappears from view.

       Luke is concerned. "Doctor?"


       "Is she doing what I think she's doing?"

       The Doctor sighs as the cavern returns to pitch blackness. "We can talk about this later. For now, I suggest we get to the surface as fast as possible."

* * *

The Elohim are in pain.

       First Angel and now River, leaving them to cope alone.

       The next tremor is the strongest yet.

* * *

Ray is suddenly aware of a light in the room. He opens his eyes and winces as they try to adjust.


       He can't help thinking he is hallucinating.

       "Oh gods... Ray, what are you doing here? What have they done to you?"

       "River...?" he croaks. He feels a kiss on his cheek, someone ruffling his hair and releasing his semi-naked, bloodied body from the slab. He feels tears dripping onto his face.

* * *

5: The Fallen

[INSERT] QUOTE: TEXT (SCRIPT) > NAME: "Hamlet" > AUTHOR: Shakespeare, William > Act: V > SCENE: II > CHARACTER: Horatio > EXCERPT: "Now cracks a" - "to thy rest!" [/INSERT]

* * *

Jadi and Angela help Luke through the exit way and slam the heavy metal hatch home.

       "Make sure it's sealed," the Doctor says and they lock it down.

       "What about Angel?" Luke asks. "She'll be trapped."

       The Doctor shakes his head wearily. "Not if she doesn't want to be."

       There is an awkward silence followed by a quick succession of thunderous explosion. The ground shakes and the Doctor closes his eyes.

* * *

Rumblings well up deep inside the Pillar, vibrating its length. Gas within it ignites, flames streaming through it, out of it, and around it, engulfing the structure. Cracks spread quickly across its surface like tendrils reaching around and throttling it.

       Explosions at each end of the Pillar, at the surface of Venus and the base of Cupid, terminate its links with both.

       Burning jets of gas spurt from the holes in the Pillar. The Pillar shakes and collapses into itself, jagged edges protruding as it twists and wheezes and moans and groans.

       More gas catches alight, the part of the structure explodes outwards.

       Cupid remains relatively unharmed. Some charring across its base, which also exhibits a Pillar-breadth hole, exposing the deepest 'Combs to the upper parts of Venus's atmosphere.

* * *

River is in pain.

       "What's happening?" Ray asks as the room drops back into darkness. "River?"

       She relaxes. "I'm fine. Everything's fine."

* * *

The Elohim are incandescent, their light flooding the dome that covers Cupid.

       Then the light fades and they are gone.

* * *

"I thought you were getting this place evacuated?" Jadi asks the Doctor as they walk along Indorelty Street.

       "And I did," the Doctor says. "Why?"

       Jadi points. People are in the street; dazed and confused, but *there*.

       The Doctor frowns. "Oh." And he grins. "Ah. The Nephilim."

       "The Nephilim?" Luke asks.

       "Fallen angels." Luke realises that the people in the streets are not quite human. Most have skin a shade of gold and all have red hair. On further inspection he notices eyes of amber and orange and some with tiny horns protruding from their skulls. "The energy from the destruction of the Pillar was channelled straight into them by Angel," the Doctor continues. "They have evolved."

       "And Angel?" Jadi asks.

       "Angel is grateful," River says. She is carrying an unconscious, middle-aged man in her arms. "Doctor, this is Ray, my husband. He needs medical attention and, well, I was hoping that's you."

       The Doctor nods. "The TARDIS is this way." He hesitates. "I've got the strangest feeling I've forgotten something," he says before shrugging and continuing on his way.

* * *

Anatoli Mammon wakes up with a nasty headache and finds himself tied to his chair. The office is empty.

       He shouts for a while but no-one comes to help him.

* * *

Epilogue: Cupid's Arrow

"Here we are," the Doctor says. "This stop is for Mars."

       "Thank you, Doctor," River says.

       "Thank *you* for coming when I called." The Doctor hugs her. "You know, you could come along with me..."

       River smiles awkwardly. "I appreciate the offer, but... I've done that, if you can see what I mean. It was wonderful to travel with you but that's my past now. I'm a married woman and I've got a husband I love to look after." She blows a kiss at Ray, asleep in his wheelchair.

       "He could come too."

       River grins. "I don't think he could cope, certainly not in his current state. Thanks for the offer, but we should probably be going."

       The Doctor opens the TARDIS doors. "I understand."

       River wheels her husband to the door and whispers to him, "I hope you appreciate this."

* * *

Luke finds the Doctor alone in the console room. "Did I miss saying goodbye?"

       "I'm afraid so." The Doctor adjusts some controls on the TARDIS console. "Now, where am I dropping you? Earth?"

       "Actually," Luke says, "I was wondering if you'd mind me hanging around for a bit."

       The Doctor raises an eyebrow. "Oh?"

       "No pressure, you understand. I mean, you could just give me a lift to Kapone."

       "Kapone? Why there?"

       "I've been invited to the... Oh, they haven't told you, have they?" Luke mentally kicks himself.

       The Doctor frowns. "What haven't who told me?"

* * *

A loud cry echoes through the corridors of th TARDIS. A moment later, the Doctor bursts into Jadi's and Angela's room with a stupid grin plastered over his face.

       "I told you we should have locked the door," Jadi says, pulling the bedclothes off the floor and over Angela and himself.

       The Doctor seems unperturbed. "I'm so happy," he says and kisses them both on the forehead.

       Luke is standing in the doorway. "Sorry," he says. "He made me tell."

* * *

The wedding is a small, bureaucratic affair carried out by a minister from the Guild of Life Partnership.

       "Do you, Josiv Adirun, take this woman, Angela Q, to be your lawful, wedded spouse?"

       "I do."

       "And do you, Angela Q, take this man, Josiv Adirun, to be your lawful, wedded spouse?"

       "I do."

       "Then I pronounce you married. That'll be fifty credits please, plus any discretionary tip."

* * *

An hour later and the reception is in full swing.

       "These profiteroles are delicious," Wil Young says through a mouthful of cream and then ponders whether there was any innuendo to be had there.

       "Thank you," Garret Morok replies. "I made the cream myself."

       Wil splutters half a profiterole over the pastry chef and quickly heads off to talk to Jadi and Angela.

       He finds them at a table with Megan. He sits on her knee and joins the conversation. "So what are you calling yourselves now?" he asks. "Morok-Ferris? Ferris-Morok? Ferric? Morris?"

       "Angela's taking my name," Jadi says.

       "I know it's retro," his wife adds, "but Ferris isn't my family name, it's just what my creator gave me. I'm not especially attached to it."

       "Jadi and Angela Morok," Wil says experimentally. "Sounds OK to me."

       "Wil and Megan Young," says Megan, tickling Wil's chest and winking at Jadi and Angela. "Sounds dreadful."

* * *

Luke spots that waitress he likes the look of - Layra she said her name was - and relieves her of another glass of champagne. She doesn't seem to appreciate his attention and rapidly disappears into the kitchen.

       "I've thought about your suggestion," the Doctor says, sidling up.


       "And with Jadi and Angela settling down, I could do with some company. If you'd still like to travel."

       Luke grins. "Cheers," he says and downs the champagne.

* * *

The main doors of the function room fly open and everybody immediately falls silent.

       Two women are standing in the doorway. One is a brunette in a sharp business suit, the other a redhead in a tracksuit.

       "Where is Jadi Morok?" the brunette asks, her eyes darting around the room, daring him to show himself.

       The guests look awkwardly at each other, none wanting to be the one to give away the groom's position, but wanting neither to face the wrath of these two newcomers.

       Jadi Morok himself seems less than daunted as he makes his way through the parting crowd. He has a big grin on his face and his eyes are twinkling joyfully. "Hi, sis!" he cries, striding up to the two women.

       "You flit, Jadi." The brunette smirks and speedily interfaces her right palm with his left cheek. "That'll teach you to disappear off the face of the universe without even an e-mail!" Then she hugs him. "Hi, Jadi."

       "Congratulations," the redhead says. "On the wedding and all."

       Jadi hugs her too. "Thanks, Menha," he says. "You two should come and meet the lucky woman..."

* * *

"Angela, Wil, Megan, this is my sister Kirena and my friend Menha Narranov."

       Wil's eyes bulge. "So *you're* Menha Narranov..." he says softly and sinks meekly into Megan's lap.

       "Notoriety?" Menha asks, throwing a sideways glance at Jadi.

       Jadi shrugs. "I only told him about what happened with the sapphire."*

       Kirena nods to Jadi's assembled friends. "Pleased to meet you all." She turns her attention to her younger brother. "So where *have* you been while I've been worrying my little heart out?"

       Jadi frowns in thought for a moment, then waves towards the far corner of the room. "You see that blue box over there...?"

* * *

Several hours later and the party hasn't lost any of its energy. Luke is considering his next come on to Layra when the Doctor touches his arm.

       "It's time to go."

       Luke looks round. The Doctor is smiling but his eyes betray a sadness. "You don't like goodbyes, do you?" Luke says.

       The Doctor shakes his head. "I've been through enough to last me a lifetime. Several lifetimes."

       They pass the crowd at the side of the dancefloor, reaching the time machine without interruption. As the Doctor unlocks the door, there is a tap on his shoulder. He turns around to see Angela standing there in her figure hugging ballgown, Jadi at her side in his white suit and black tie.

       "Sneaking off?" she asks.

       He nods, embarrassed.

       "One dance first," she suggests, taking his hand. She leads the Doctor onto the dancefloor and they begin to dance as the accompanying music changes to a tango. Wil and Megan soon join them, and then more of the couple until the dancefloor is alive with movement.

       Luke and Jadi watch for a while. They glance at each other. Luke raises a lascivious eyebrow. "It takes two," he notes.

       Jadi grins. They clasp hands, raise their heads high in the air, and join the tango.

* * *

After a couple of dances, the Doctor makes his excuses and wishes his friends a final farewell.

       "Goodbye, Wil." He shakes the boy's hand. "And if you ever find yourself performing in a circus on Deremar, check that the clubs are correctly balanced."

       Wil nods. "Whatever you say, Doctor." He hugs the Time Lord. "Thanks."

       "Angela," the Doctor says, moving along the line, "it was a pleasure travelling with you."

       "And you, Doctor."

       He hands her a gold bracelet. "Wear this when you go on holiday next year," he says.

       She frowns. "You know how to scare a girl, Doctor," she says wrily. She shakes Luke's hand. "Sorry we couldn't oblige."

       "No problem," Luke says with a wink.

       "And Jadi," the Doctor says as he reaches the TARDIS doors.

       "Goodbye, Doctor," Jadi interrupts. "Enjoy yourself, and don't worry about us, we'll be fine."

       The Doctor nods. "I know you will," he says with a grin. "However..."

       "No warnings," Jadi says. "After last time, I don't think I need them."

       "You're quite right," the Doctor says, steering Luke into the TARDIS. "You don't."

       The Time Lord steps into the doorway of the TARDIS and looks back. "Goodbye," he says and lingers for a moment, looking at his friends, before disappearing inside. The door closes and the TARDIS disappears with a sort of wheezing noise.

       The crowd stands in silent thought for a moment, wondering where and when the errant Time Lord will go next. They are disturbed by Menha's sudden question: "Where's Kirena?"

* * *

"You can come out now," the Doctor says, his voice echoing around the TARDIS console room.

       "Eh?" Luke asks.

       The Doctor points by way of an explanation. Beyond his finger, emerging from the shadows, is Kirena Morok.

       "I was looking for the ladies'," she explains. She is less than convincing.

       "Aren't we all," Luke murmurs.

       "Well," the Doctor says, leading Kirena into the rest of the TARDIS, "since you're here, I'd better show you around. Come on, Luke."

* * *

"Angela, have you got a jack somewhere?"

       "Probably. Why?"

       "I need to check my e-mail."

       Angela glares at him. "Jadi, this is our *wedding reception*. Can't it wait until...?"

       Jadi is making goofy, pleading eyes at her and her heart melts despite its very high melting point. "OK," she tells him, "but I'll be calling in the favour later."

       A few minutes later and Angela's neck port is connected to a public access KapNet socket in the wall. "You're mailbox is bulging," she informs her husband.

       "Anything from Kirena?"

       "That's the main reason *why* it's bulging," she says and ignores Wil's snigger. "Most recent is dated this evening."

       "Open it." She makes a face at him. "Please," he adds.

       "From: Kirena Morok. Subject: It says, 'Telling you not to worry like the good sibling I am.' What does that mean?"

       Jadi sighs. "She's done it, hasn't she? She's decided that if I can go swanning around the universe then so can she. And she's getting me back for not contacting her."

       "What do you mean?" Wil asks. "Oh, she hasn't. Has she?"

       Menha folds her arms. "Would someone *please* explain?"

       "She's gone with the Doctor," Jadi says, "I'm sure of it."

       "Well what does the rest of the mail say?" Menha asks.

       Angela closes her eyes for a second in concentration before unplugging the jack from her neck and standing up. "Just two words."

       Menha chuckles. "Poetic justice?"

       Angela nods. "Poetic justice."


[* See "Jadi Morok and the Dark Sapphire", number 1 in an exciting range of science fiction adventures published by the Guild of Science Fiction Writers.]


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