Doctor Who Tenth Doctor Internet Adventure #01 - "Sandtrap"

Chapter 4
"A Day in the Life"
by Raichel Holland


"Aren't there times when you feel like chucking it all in?" Sidotti Cho asked idly as she loaded ammunition into a pistol magazine, her deeply hued skin dully reflecting the aqueous glow of the canister rounds. "I know you're a fan of the metropolises, but some of these backwaters we keep ending up in are really quite nice in their own way. And it's not like we can do this gig forever."

       Slapping the magazine home into the butt of the pistol, she racked back the slide to feed the first round into the chamber then clicked the safety on. Satisfied, she slid it into her shoulder holster which was laid out on the end of her bed along with the rest of her personal arsenal — stun gun, knife, baton, gas grenades, cuffs, body armour, emergency beacon, med kit.

       "I can't really see me and the husbands setting up some bed and breakfast out here," her partner Meklit Bokassa replied sibilantly from the front of the RV. "We'd be a bit too... cosmopolitan for them."

       "I'm sure they'd be fine once they got to know you," she blithely reassured her partner as she got dressed. "Invite some of them over for a meal, adopt a couple of their quaint local customs, spread a little money around. Maybe work a bit on that lisp."

       "Jag you," the good natured insult came back. "If it's so easy, why haven't you found yourself a woman and set up shop out here in the boondocks?"

       "I've grown accustomed to your face." She began pulling on one of her boots, but recoiled when her toes brushed against something warm and furry. Pursing her lips in irritation, Sidotti gave the boot a couple of hard shakes and dislodged the intruder into the palm of her hand.

       "Excuses, excuses."

       "Damn it, Mek!" she swore. "One of your jagging rodents got loose again!" She picked it up by its scaley tail, eliciting a squeak of indignant protest. Whiskers bristling, its beady little red eyes locked with her own much larger ones.

       "Sorry. It must have been that last big bump."

       "It was in my boot!" Picking up her boots by their laces with her free hand, Sidotti stalked from the sleeping area into the compact confines of the space that doubled as the RV's rec room and galley. Sure enough, the lid of the cage had been knocked loose but as far as she could tell only this lone troublemaker had taken advantage of the opportunity. Dropping it back in, she made sure the latches were securely fastened before sitting down to finish dressing, repeating her protest for emphasis.

       "At least it wasn't nesting in your underwear," Meklit offered philosophically. "Like last time."

       "It's a lot easier to clean underwear," Sidotti shot back, satisfying herself that the squatter hadn't been in her boot long enough to leave any unwelcome gifts. "Not that you'd know," she muttered under her breath.

       "I wouldn't know," Meklit answered at the same time. "Underwear is your department, remember."

       Rolling her eyes, Sidotti moved over to the galley sink where she briefly rinsed her hands before pulling a weathered enamel mug from the cupboard mounted on the wall above it. Checking inside — just to be sure — she thrust it into the bowels of a chrome and copper device that might be described as a mad engineer's attempt at building a coffee machine. It hissed and gurgled evilly at her before voiding a steaming reddish brown viscous liquid into the mug.

       "So, how far out are we?" she asked, taking a sip before fastening a travel lid over the top and moving forward. She settled into her usual seat where she placed her feet on the top of the dashboard.

       "We crossed the edge of their subluminal transmission sphere a little while ago, so we should hit their atmosphere shortly," Meklit answers, reaching up to toggle an oversized control with a sharply clawed finger. The hazy light of warp space spilling in through the cockpit window made her red-gold scales sparkle slightly in a way they usually didn't out in the real world; Sidotti's own normally dark azure skin almost glowed beneath it.

       Taking another sip, she busied herself with the RV's comms board and out of curiosity pulled up an analysis screen. "The system's been picking up some interesting ghost signals. Looks like three– no, four, post-neutrino cultures tried to take this place and got sent packing since we were here chasing those Slitheen characters. Sweet Mother, it's like they're trying to provoke these people into doing something nasty to the rest of us once they go superluminal. Hey, says here that they got one up over those Sontarran stumps."

       "That's pretty impressive," Meklit nodded. "Their shadow government must have some serious muscle. It took my people a standard decade and a small orbital body to persuade them to go fight the jellyfish somewhere else, and we were at least 2 levels above this lot at the time." She ran her long tongue over her serrated teeth. "Are we picking up anything useful?"

       "The data stream from the lojack beacon says the hostile action displacement system has been triggered, but there's no indication our perp's interested in checking it out. There's a smattering of other active post-neutrino signals traffic, but the system isn't flagging any of it as problematic. A couple of warp trails crossing the periphery, again nothing to worry about. No sign of the usual UNITAS activity though." She pursed her lips. "The recent troubles might have knocked it out."

       "Guess we'll have to go incognito then," Meklit shrugged, "and hope we don't run into trouble."

       "Fantastic," Sidotti grumbled sarcastically. "I can't remember the last time the 'hope no one notices' approach went well with one of these guys involved."

       "Anyone would think we hadn't been doing this for twenty years," Meklit reassured her partner easily, reaching across and ruffling Sidotti's platinum hair affectionately. Of course, her reptilian biology was far better suited to dealing with the sort of abuse the perp they were tracking could hand out so she could afford the attitude.

       "It means I know what I'm talking about!" Sidotti exasperatedly pushed the four-fingered hand away and brushed her platinum hair back behind her pointed ears, an indication she should probably get it cut.

       An alarm sounded before anything further could be said.

       "We're transitioning," Meklit warns. "Coming in behind their moon."

       The light of warp space dissipated, revealing the barren crater-scared and partially illuminated surface of Earth's primary satellite planetoid.

       "Powering up the shroud," Sidotti confirmed as she primed a row of switches. "Counter- measures online and active. We are good to go."

       Meklit nodded and kicked in the RV's sub-light engines, and Earth's moon peeled away to the left to reveal the small white-flecked blue-green ball of the planet itself. It increased in size rapidly, but this time the acceleration was practically unnoticeable thanks to the overrated dampers they'd had fitted last time the RV had been in for a service. Small points of light flared across their field of view as micrometeorites and other flotsam of the human's orbital presence impacted their navigational deflectors.

       "We're holding outside the atmosphere and aligned with the equator; beginning lateral target sweep," Meklit declared, tilting the RV until the curve of the planet was above them.

       "Countermeasures holding," Sidotti reported, bringing up a secondary display. "I'm picking up evidence of planetary bombardment, proton energy-based judging by the residual radiation. Primarily targeting what the system's tagging as military installations. Doesn't match any known Sontaran weapon. Or any known weapon."

       "Log it. We can show it to the brains trust when we get home and they can look through something that actually counts as a proper database to compare it to." Through the viewport the planet changed orientation as the RV started its transverse sweep. "The Proclamation might even be interested if we turn up something worthwhile."

       "Well, I suppose what ever did it can't be worse than those warmongering stumps, and it doesn't seem to have been interested in civilians. There's no sign of damage to major infrastructure or civic centres except where they directly intersected with military targets."

       "We've got a hit on the lojack. An isthmus on the east coast of the secondary continental land mass." Meklit's brow furrowed. "It's in the middle of a whole bunch of lakes. Pleasantly tropical. Nowhere near a desert."

       "That doesn't make sense. There's no indication the landing was forced. There's something here we aren't seeing, like that time we ended up blundering into a gang hideout when we thought we were just catching a philanderer."

       "We did end up pulling in four bounties instead of one."

       "You lost an arm!"

       "It grew back!"

       "Mine don't!" she waved the vulnerable limbs for emphasis. "Not without a jagging lot of cash and months stuck in a regen vat." Sidotti sighed. "Look, I'm not saying we shouldn't go down there, just that there's something not right and we don't have the option of calling in the locals as back-up when it goes wrong."

       "We are not splitting this bounty!" Meklit's crest finally flared in irritation. "Especially when the nearest team are Jax and Ratava. I'd rather die than see either of them get as much as a mazuma just on general principle and I know you feel the same way after that business on Clom."

       "Fine!" Sidotti snapped in defeat. "Not like I'll be leaving behind anyone who'll miss me anyway."

       "You worry too much," Meklit patted her the on the shoulder as she began the de-orbit burn. Earth once more filled the forward viewport before disappearing behind the corona of fire that engulfed the RV.

       "Sometimes you don't worry enough." She waited until the trembling created by the atmospheric friction settled out before getting up and making her way back to the RV's sleeping area where she proceeded to pull on the body armour and sequester the tools of the trade about her person.

       Meklit called out, uttering the two syllables Sidotti dreaded most. "Uh-oh."


       "I'm picking up natives above where the system's pinpointed the ship. One of them's using some form of comms. And the displacement system is active." Sidotti turned to see her partner reach across and slap a toggle.

       "...olf! Oh, Christ!" what sounded like a female voice erupted over the speakers, the translation into Galac underlaid by the original language that Sidotti seemed to recall was named Anglish. In the back ground, there was the dim but unmistakable sound of a heavy impact against something unyielding that was doing the opposite.

       "It's a what!" a masculine voice shouted back. Someone in the background of his end of the connection called out something the translator either parsed as a name or didn't recognise. "Marquez!"

       "A werewolf!" the first voice screamed.

       "Jag it!" Sidotti swore, pulling her pistol. Her expression said it all, even though Meklit couldn't see it. "Open the hatch."

* * *

The Doctor coughed up some sand, groaned, and then tried to pull himself up to his hands and knees. He didn't quite succeed — one of his feet was stuck in the sand. He felt his other leg gripped by the sand now as well and some unknown force started pulling him down. "Um, Marquez, a little help here?" he called out.

       "It's a what?" Marquez cried into the phone as spotted the Doctor, now, waist deep in the sand trap. The security guards in the pursuing golf cart topped the hill a hundred feet away.

       "A werewolf!" Tina shrieked in fright.

       "Marquez!" the Doctor hollered in panic.

       Torn between three emergencies, Marquez stood paralysed in indecision as the Doctor slowly sunk into the sand.

       And then suddenly there was a wind that erupted out of nowhere. Just as suddenly, a figure dropped from that same place somewhere above him, hitting the ground about five feet away and rolling elegantly into a standing position. Some part of his mind not busy trying to cope with the bizarreness of everything registered the nicely familiar facts that she was armed, wearing some sort of police uniform including sunglasses, and African-American — indigo-black and beautiful.

       "Sonic charge, maximum dispersal!" The phrase was half-shouted above the roar of the wind in an exotic accent and seemed to be directed at her weapon, which looked big enough to be a Desert Eagle with some sort of fancy attachment underneath the barrel. Then before Marquez could do anything, she levelled the gun at the rapidly disappearing Doctor and fired.

       With a sound like tearing cloth, the sand trap exploded. The gust was turned into a sand storm that revealed the Doctor in a state of surprise in the middle of a now vacant pit. This was something Marquez could grasp, something he could do. He surged forward and grabbed the Doctor's hand, seeming to jar him back to his senses.

       "Did you see that! That was text book nick of the time stuff!"

       "Doctor, I think we should run!"

       "That's a very good idea!" the woman added, grabbing the Doctor's other hand and reefing him forward. "Get in the RV!"

       "The what?" Marquez asked, turning to follow the implied direction. Hovering just above the ground was a black V-22 Osprey, its massive yet oddly quieter than they should be tilt rotors clearly responsible for the down draft whipping around them. The rear ramp was down, and standing at the top of it was a tall figure in the same uniform as the woman, making an ushering motion to indicate they should come aboard. As he and Doctor clambered onto the ramp, he saw that the second newcomer was in fact a Native American man, sporting a short red mohawk and a strangely poised expression.

       By this time, the cart with the things posing as security guards had almost closed the distance to them. The black woman fired again and the tearing sound accompanied the two guards being shredded into fine grit. The now driverless cart spun around and pitched into the sand trap, which was slowly refilling.

       "I told you this was going to be trouble, Mek!" the woman shouted as she jumped onto the ramp.

       Trouble. Oh no!

       Marquez looked down at his phone: the call had ended. Panicking, he fumbled for the speed dial, reacting in dismay as the bars fell to zero when the ramp closed.


       "What's wrong?" the Doctor asked, the stupidly broad grin on his face fading in reaction to Marquez's alarm.

       "We have to get to Marv's!" he answered.

To be continued...

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