The Doctor was speechless as he plodded out of the TARDIS onto the mind boggling landscape of Ashralis, the popular tourist resort of the ninety-zenith quadrant. Jamie followed also quite speechless, jaw hanging lower than ever before. Their mouths made a few uncoordinated wobbles, while their eyeballs tried their best to climb out of their sockets. They continued to stumble around in this ridiculous state for about seven minutes and twenty-eight seconds when the Doctor finally said:
'Jumping, gobstoppers, Jamie!'
'No,no .I mean, it's...it's...well...it's indescribable, isn't it?'
Spreading out in every direction was a thoroughly, indescribable sight. Rippling blue sands, whisked into sweeping dunes, and deep, hypnotic velvet pools. The sky constantly melting from orange to pink and then to orange once more. Glittering crystal and rock formations climbing from misty mountain tops...that sort of thing. Ultra pleasant.
'Yes, yes. This is definitely one of my favourites of the seven hundred wonders of the Universe. Although, that collective title is little inaccurate now, mainly due to the high criminal element in the galaxy at the moment...'
Jamie groaned a quiet Scottish groan. The Doctor was waffling again. They started to walk away from the TARDIS and towards a large, purplish crater about half a mile away.
'For instance,' the Doctor continued, 'take the famous alcohol springs of Inebrius 4. All the fifth zone breweries opened up there, totally pushing any fourth or sixth zone competition out of business, so they pooled their resources and blew up the planet's sun! Everything dried up...terrible waste. Nobody ever did find out whether it had twin suns or not. Anyone who got within sight of the place were also within sniffing distance and was in no state to tell...'
'Yes, alright, Doctor. I'm more interested in how we got here.'
'Well the theory of time travel is a bit difficult for you to grasp, but in a nutshell...'
'Och, no, Doctor! I mean do the Time Lords still have control of the TARDIS?'
'I'm afraid so, Jamie.'
'But I thought we'd finished with the Sontarans after that Destari business?'
'So did I.'
As the two figures strolled further and further away from the TARDIS, a grubby, bleeding, pathetic figure crawled from a small rocky sand pit and shambled towards the TARDIS. Reaching the door, he smiled as it slowly opened. Inside, he collapsed.
'How much longer before Commander Skarr arrives, Prillet?'
'Only another fourteen time blocks, Sir.'
Zodge was beginning to get nervous and who could blame him. This latest Interstellar Network Corporation Incorporated ( INC. INC. ) project was very near completion, and it looked like being their most profitable yet. Zodge, a small and, shall we say, well built chap was pacing up and down the spotless white corridors of INC. INC's main office on the planet Drabbe ( which is a very appropriate name for the place, as you find if you were to go there ). He and his fellow Director Himmle, not to mention their aide Prillet, were the heads of the entire organisation ( well, two of them still were ).
Suddenly, their grand computer which planned and controlled just about everything they ever did, the Compendium bleeped and blipped into action.
'Ah, there seems to have been a small drilling accident.'
'Has the organic material been damaged?' Himmle asked, fearing the worst.
'No. No it hasn't,' Prillet murmured continuing to check the display screen for information, 'Only the work force has been injured. Some dead.'
'Oh well, that's alright then.' Zodge cried, relieved that the project could continue unhindered. 'Lucky they'd completed their work.'
'So where are all the tourists, Doctor? It's a pretty amazing place.'
'Well, I don't know. There are usually...wait a minute. What's causing all that smoke?
At the lip of the crater they were heading for, thick black smoke was billowing from an unknown source within it.
'And what a terrible smell!'
The Doctor also noticed this and his face hardened. they ran to the top of the crater and for all the battles Jamie had seen as a piper in eighteenth century Scotland, nothing prepared him for what he saw as he looked down. His stomach did somersaults and he quickly turned away. The Doctor closed his eyes. A moment later he opened them again and muttered a 'Stay here,' to Jamie and walked down into the centre.
An entire INC. INC. excavation team had been massacred. The crater was full of highly advanced scientific equipment and each computer bank and power system surrounded a large, a very large hole.
'There must be thirty or forty bodies here.' pondered the Doctor, as he surveyed the scene. They lay sprawled across their instruments in clods of dry blood. Burned. Scalded. Scorched by searing laser bolts. Contorted bodies. Severed limbs. twisted expressions on gashed faces. unrecognisable carcasses. How many times had the Doctor seen this? How many times would he have to see it again?
The Doctor and Jamie thought that they were the only ones alive, however, there was one survivor. One, who had escaped the holocaust and dragged himself away to safety conscious long enough to see a large blue box appear from nowhere and two people walk out and away from it. Despite his excruciating wounds, Straker managed to get to the box and then inside it.
Before falling into unconsciousness and onto the floor, he realised it was no normal flying blue box. It was a TARDIS. Waking a few minutes later, he felt a little revitalised knowing that he now had a chance of revenge with a TARDIS in his hands. He wanted to leave as soon as possible, but so far his attempts to operate the ship had been one hundred percent unsuccessful. He decided to wait for the two Time Lords to return and make them an offer they can't refuse, which would basically be based on his knife and their throats.
He reached for the console for one more try, but achieved nothing other than a burnt fingertip. So, he decided upon searching the control room for some kind of manual. little did he know, the Doctor was not the sort of chap to stick to rules, except his own rule which was to not bother with the rules. It also seemed to his companions that he made a point of getting into as much trouble as possible.
And yet again, thought Jamie as he sat waiting for the Doctor, they were up to their necks in it...
'Come on,' The Doctor was back. 'We'd better get back to the TARDIS. Someone's been interfering with this planet, and I recognise those wounds.'
So they started back to the TARDIS and to Straker who was waiting for them. He had to vent his anger on somebody, and a couple of Time Lords would do nicely.
Straker snapped to attention at the sound of footsteps outside.
'The TARDIS computer should give me the location of...' The TARDIS doors swung open.
The Doctor and Jamie stood still. 'Who are you?'
'Shut up!' screamed Straker. He held the knife to the Doctor's chest. 'Now close the doors and program this excuse for a ship with these coordinates.' He held out a grubby scrap of paper with a few figures on it.
'Now hang on a wee minute...'
'Do it! Do it, before I kill you!' Already he had lost his temper and it didn't help much either. Falling to his knees he began to splutter and cough blood. Jamie took the knife while the Doctor propped him up against the wall of the console room.
'Look, Doctor!' Jamie pointed to the INC. INC. symbol on Straker's bloodstained breast pocket.
'Yes. He must be from the same expedition.' The Doctor turned to the stranger, 'You need medical help.'
'I'm dying, can't you tell? I thought the other one in the skirt just called you a doctor.'
'Oh, I'm sure there's something that can be done.'
'I'll tell you what can be done. You can take me to Drabbe, INC. INC. HQ. That's where they're heading.'
'The slime that came down here last night and killed everyone in sight.'
'We were on an expedition to mine half the core of this planet, freeze it and take it back to Drabbe. Ridiculous! Not that I was complaining. It was good pay, one hundred credit bars per hour, whatever the end result. Then, last night, a great fleet of silver spheres appeared from nowhere. It took them about two minutes, then they'd gone. Please...let's go...now!'
'Yes, I wouldn't be at all surprised.'