Doctor Who Missing Internet Adventure #22 - "Verdant Carnage"

Chapter 4
by TimeLadyX


Tegan, Jane, and Wolsey were led through a series of darkened corridors burrowing deeper within the ship. Tegan slipped once, catching her heel on the uneven metal panelling on the hallway floor and nearly crashed into the guards in front of her. Jane caught her in time, and steadied her, patting Tegan's arm.

       Wolsey darted a glance back at the cricket guards behind them. "How often do you run into this sort of welcoming committee?"

       "Too often," Tegan quipped, her face growing grim. "But they always do seem alike wherever we are. King's men from King John's court, to Silurians, to Cybermen, to costumed war gamers," she said, turning her head to give Wolsey a look. "Seems like a prerequisite for us to get locked up, or the old 'take me to your leader' routine, though we always do manage to get out of it in one way or another."

       "Any ideas on what this 'Little Mother' will look like?"

       "Who knows? Like a cicada possibly."

       "I should imagine the queen will be larger than all the rest, being the main egg-layer, if these are anything like regular hives of bugs," Jane put in, looking thoughtful. "In any case, it should be interesting. I don't know about you, but I'm having the time of my life."

* * *

Will felt a boot in the middle of his back, the weight practically crushing his rib cage. "You will tell us how and why you came here, or you will watch your time of finish, again!" Friar Mabmi bellowed overhead. The foot shifted painfully, driving him further into the ground.

       Will could still feel the bile rolling around in his mouth and blood dripping from the corners of his lips. They were indeed devils. He had told the truth and they still hadn't believed him. "'Twere magic! I told you! An angel brought us here in his divine magic box. Just, please, make it stop!"

       The pressure of the foot suddenly vanished from the small of his back and he could lever himself up on his hands. Thousands of pinpricks danced through his chest as he tried to take a deep, relaxing breath. Several villagers walked between the huts. A young boy stopped to stare at Will with his mouth gaping open, and needle like teeth, protruding slightly. A girl several years older than the boy stopped next to him and prodded the boy forward. The boy quickly turned away and hurried off towards one of the huts in the distance. Will switched his gaze to look just over his shoulder. He could see the two black-skinned devils with the most elaborate garments conversing with their heads bowed together. The male shot him a look and nodded. Suddenly he felt someone take hold of him from behind. Two of the dull silver armour clad warriors crouched on either side of him. They hefted him to his feet and dragged him over to where the male and female were talking.

       The female leader turned to him. "We have decided you are telling the truth, in as much as you believe it." Her yellow eyes seemed to glow out of the darkness of her ebony face, like two large will-o-wisps floating through a moonless night. "Before, you could have just been telling us enough to keep us from killing you, but no one can stand the torture of seeing their own end. You will take us to this magic box you speak of."

       "But I dinn't remember where it was," the boy sputtered, staring transfixed into the leader's eyes.

       The female looked disgusted and turned away. "Very well. Perhaps one of your companions can remember where it is." Her cape swirled around her in a cloud of black material as she walked off toward the largest of the huts.

       "You would be wise to remember correctly," said Mabmi coming up next to Will. "Our leader Bakeem is kind and just. We won't have your venerated elders suffer. But we will kill you if need be, to drag the directions from their lips."

       "You be mad!" Will spat.

       The black-skinned man seemed to think about it for a moment. "It is in the service of ones older than you. You should consider yourself honoured."

* * *

The Doctor stood his ground, watching the faintly glowing purple eyes multiply around him. A warm rain slowly drizzled on him, dampening his clothes. He could hear the breathing of the beasts almost rhythmically creating a slow purring noise that blended with the hiss of the rain. A baby wailed off to his right and he instinctively turned in that direction. He tried to catch himself and turned back to his left just in time to see a blur of fangs and green fur fly directly at him with amethyst eyes glowing in the midst. He put up his hands futilely to ward the beast off. He could feel its warm breath on him, the creature's saliva drip onto his jacket's lapels, and the pain lance through his body as the creature sunk its teeth into his arm.

* * *

All around him he could hear the murmur of many voices in his head, but they all felt like a distant blur that he could easily live with. In fact, the constant buzzing could almost be relaxing. All of the minds in this room were dormant, except for four far below him, but they were simple, and barely intruded in his mind.

       Only one voice stood out among the rest. Kamelion stared around him through the two compound blue eyes. Yes, she was lovely to look at. He could feel her thoughts mingling with his own. They were beautiful thoughts about protecting her children, and protecting her home. What more could a race ask for? Kamelion could even see in her mind just why the Salasiad Rainforest was so important to her kind. Her race had travelled so many light years to reach their ancestral grounds, just to find 'humans' infecting them and now someone else, someone heavily armed, encroaching on the outskirts of the system. How could they touch the Holy Land? No one should take what was rightfully hers. He would see to it and serve her well. The Time of Pollination would soon be upon them and he would be here to help her through every step of it.

       "Come clozzzzer, my pet, my love, my zzzecond zzzzelf," she buzzed, coaxingly, spreading her abdomen out, into a position more comfortable on top of her throne.

       Kamelion edged closer, assuming a spot next to her and buzzed with appreciation in just being allowed to be near her. "Yezzz, my Mizztrezzz."

* * *

On the very edge of the jungle a lone black-skinned female stood. Her yellow eyes seemed far too big for her ebony face as she blinked, staring around at the darkness beyond the line of trees. Where the forest ended, a field of stars began, for as far as the eye could see. She dropped down on her haunches, her owl eyes sharpened and her frown turned into a snarl, barring her razor-sharp teeth. The painted green stripes on her arms seemed to blend in as camouflage with the trees behind her. Her skin faded into the shadows as the foliage of the bioluminescent plants easily distracted the casual viewer from her presence. She waited motionless, not even moving as a curious flyren crept up and sniffed at her, tickling her knees with its whiskers.

       There was nothing to be heard, but the heated breeze stirring through the trees. And then, there was a discernible sound. The woman backed further under the cover of the bushes and all but disappeared from view. A whisper of leaves moving a few feet away became unnaturally loud to her amplified senses. And an imperceptible crunch of ground underneath a creature's weight followed shortly after. Then a dark shape emerged from the edge of the trees and looked around. It had two back legs and two sets of upper appendages and its body was a reddish brown in colour. It was almost twice the size of the average gnoor and looked as if it would tower over the woman. It paused to spin around on the repulsor devices it had strapped to its feet. It was being careful. She knew about how everything was being monitored in the forest. And every footfall from a being other than the ones native to the jungle would be noted and recorded.

       The ant-like creature hovered just above the ground, staring out at the field of stars beyond, and seemed to check a device on the wrist of one of its primary appendages. With one of its secondary appendages it seemed to smooth down its grey uniform. Its antennae twitched in the wind, tasting the air.

       "I know you are here, little one," it said, its voice a grating buzzing sound. "You can come out. There izz no one elzzze around to zzzee you."

       The woman crept out of her hiding spot and approached the enormous ant. "I almost thought you wouldn't be here. That your people found out and stopped you from coming."

       "They don't bother to watch us males. We are not important to them since we are not egg-layers. All we have the capacity for is being simple-minded sub-drones and those would never betray their own kind."

       The woman stared up at the ant, her owl-like eyes opening wider with ever syllable it uttered. "You are not simple-minded. You are Ba-kai, loved by Nature."

       The ant bent its head and let its antennae dance over the woman's face, caressing her hair tenderly. She didn't flinch in the slightest. The ant looked into her eyes, fixing a compound eye toward her. "Though your people have been here for zzzeveral decadezzz of colonizzzzation, your people will have to leavvve. The forezzzt will not be liveable during the Time of Pollination. I would that I could take you away, but it izzz not to be. They would kill me if they knew that I degrade myzzzelf with the touch of a forezzzt dweller."

* * *

Suddenly a sizzle cracked the air and everything around him suddenly amplified in temperature for a brief second. The beast gave a slight wail and collapsed on top of him, its weight pushing him onto his back on the ground. The Doctor opened one eye, then the other and looked at the beast. Its tongue lolled out of its head, and its eyes stared straight ahead, not blinking in the slightest. He pushed himself onto one arm and looked about, all of the other beasts had disappeared back into the forest. He scrabbled out from underneath the creature's weight. He noted a blackened scorch mark on the creature's back, which apparently had burned the entire way through because there was a blooming red blood mark on the front of his jacket, as well as the growing red mark where the creature had bitten him. The Doctor got to his feet and patted himself down, as if checking to see if all of his limbs were still intact. Once reassured, he straightened his jacket, his hand dwelling where the missing celery stalk used to be. He turned in the direction of the blast.

       Three tall figures in blue environment suits stood a couple of metres away. They all carried phase guns. The barrel of the gun of the one standing a pace in front of the others was still smoking and the other two had their guns raised.

       "Ah! You must be whom I have to thank for this. Not that I should be thanking you, mind you. It certainly was a magnificent creature, no doubt full of intelligence, and you will certainly be wanted for murder among its kind. But it's nice to see this place is so heavily toured," the Doctor said as he walked forward, extending a hand in greeting. The others raised their guns more pointedly.

       "Oh, I see. It's to be that way then, right? Yes, well, doesn't surprise me any. Though I don't see why you bothered to save me if just to shoot me yourselves."

       One of the figures with the guns gestured with its gun at his hands, again. "Oh... Right... Well, if you insist," the Doctor said as he dropped his hand from a shake and raised both of his hands in the air. "At least you could do me the courtesy of telling me who you are."

       A clipped male voice issued out from the lead suit. "We are Advanced Scout Team 2-1-B of the Ngvoe Mining Corporation. We have claimed these forests as ours by right of seizure. All inhabitants will be taken into custody until proper arrangements can be made for relocation."

       "Shoot first and warn later, I see. It isn't like you Ngvoe don't have enough territory of your own, is it? Now, if you don't mind, I will be 'relocating' on my own."

       The lead suit aimed his gun with the others. He released one hand to make a quick gesture to his companions. The voice issued out again, "Halt! Or we shall be forced to fire."

       "No one's forcing you to do anything."


* * *

The largest of the cricket guards jabbed Wolsey in the back, sending him reeling forward, bumping into Jane, who bumped into Tegan. They stumbled from the catacomb passageways suddenly opening out into a vast cavern-like chamber with so many conjoining sides it was almost perfectly spherical in shape. And in the middle of the cavern room was a mountainous pile of green cases, reaching almost to the ceiling of the room. A sick aroma seemed to permeate the entire room, with a sharp odour of placenta liquid. The dark green electric lights pulsed rhythmically, sending small insectoid shapes skittering into the shadows. Tegan and the others glanced up and up at the pile. In several of the cases at the very bottom closest to them, they could see round black shapes inside with folded wings and crunched up feelers.

       The mountain seemed to shudder for a moment as something at the very top of it moved. Four massive fly-like insects decked with shiny gold and green lacework uniforms twisted about their bodies approached the group. Malvux detached herself from the guard detail and approached the flies. She saluted with one of her upper appendages. The four flies bowed slightly, inclining their heads toward her in respect, still dwarfing the minuscule Malvux. She chirped a couple of short orders. The flies buzzed between themselves and nodded. Malvux turned her back on them and took her position back in front of the guard. As a technician she had to hold herself apart and not associate with the lower drones. As one, the four flies, beat their wings furiously, creating an almost hurricane wind in the room. They raised themselves up on their back legs and leapt into the air, using their wings to carry them higher toward the yawning darkness of the ceiling. Jane's hair whipped around and threatened to fall out of the ponytail she had it bound up in. The flies disappeared out of sight, rising to the top of the mountain.

       The group shared a glance with each other. "What now?" asked Wolsey. "Think we should climb up there after them or something."

       "That might be going against their custom," Jane suggested, gazing up at the top of the mountain, still trying to discern the shapes of the flies.

       One of the cricket guards stepped forward and prodded Wolsey with its gun. "You will be zzzzilent while in the presence of the Little Mother."

       In the space of a couple of minutes, the four flies reappeared bearing between them two enormous queen bee-like creatures. The flies descended with their burdens and landed softly on the floor of the cavern. They seemed to bow, splaying their upper appendages in front of them, and backed away slowly into the shadows.

       Jane and Wolsey exchanged another glance between them. Jane whispered to Tegan, "Didn't that cricket say 'Little Mother' as in singular?"

       Tegan nodded wordlessly, her eyes transfixed on the two sets of enormous blue compound eyes staring down at her. She felt as if she were a bug about to get squashed by someone's foot. The larger of the two queens unfurled a metre-long black tongue and touched Tegan's stomach tentatively. She could almost feel the bile surging up her throat. Where the tongue touched was a warm and wet feeling that lasted for a moment before the tongue withdrew in a hiss of dissatisfaction. The queen turned to the other queen and buzzed unintelligibly. It turned back to the small group. Through a maelstrom of buzzing that filled up every recess of the cavern it boomed, "Alien Zzzzcum, how dare you invade here!"

To be continued...

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