Doctor Who_ Carnival Of Monsters Part 1

DOCTOR WHO.

AND THE CARNIVAL OF MONSTERS.

By TERRANCE d.i.c.kS.

1

Dangerous Arrivals

With a strange groaning sound, the blue police box appeared from nowhere. A very small, very pretty fair-haired girl came out, and looked cautiously around. She was in a dimly-lit, metal-walled enclosure, and the air was full of strange smells...A tall white-haired man, elegant in velvet smoking jacket and ruffled shirt, followed her out of the police box locking the door behind him. 'I tell you there's no need to be suspicious, Jo. I've been here before and the air's perfectly...' he sniffed, '... fresh! ' he concluded, on a rather less certain note.Jo Grant looked indignantly at the Doctor. Really she'd only herself to blame. After the terrifying adventure of the Three Doctors, the Time Lords, the Doctor's mysterious and all-powerful superiors, had rewarded him by restoring his ability to travel in Time and s.p.a.ce in the TARDIS. As eager as a child with a new toy, the Doctor had persuaded Jo to accompany him on what he called 'a little test flight' to a very attractive-sounding planet named Metebelis Three.Jo looked around her. 'Lakes like blue sapphires, he says,' she muttered. 'Jewelled deserts and mountains of blue crystal, he says...' She turned back to the Doctor. 'It's hot, it's dark and it smells smells !' !'The Doctor sniffed. No doubt about it, she was right. 'That's very odd...''Sort of farmy farmy ,' added Jo. ,' added Jo.The Doctor sniffed again, and subjected the evidence of his nose to a rapid a.n.a.lysis. 'Nothing to worry about. Gaseous sulphides in a fairly low concentration.' He rubbed his chin. 'Very odd, that, Jo. I a.s.sure you, the last time I was here, the air was like wine.'Jo gave him another look. 'Doctor, are you sure we're where you think we are? Can you really drive the TARDIS properly without the Time Lords helping you?''My dear Jo,' said the Doctor huffily. 'I don't drive drive the TARDIS, I programme it. And, according to programme, this is Metebelis Three, famous blue planet of the Acteon galaxy.' the TARDIS, I programme it. And, according to programme, this is Metebelis Three, famous blue planet of the Acteon galaxy.'Before Jo could reply, she became aware of a steady thump, thump, thump, filling the air around them. 'We're in some kind of a machine,' she said. 'And it's moving!''You're right. Well, come on.'Jo hung back. 'Where are we going?''To find out where we are.''I thought you knew that?''Well, I do. I just want to convince you, that's all!'They picked their way through the semidarkness, which seemed to be filled with mysteriously-shaped lumpy objects, most of them with sharp edges. There was a sudden flurry ahead, and Jo clutched the Doctor's arm. 'Something moved!'The sounds died down and they pressed cautiously on. They came to a wooden pen, with feathered shapes clucking inside. Jo laughed. 'Look-it's chickens! 'Solemnly the Doctor bowed before the cage. 'Greetings! We come as friends.''Doctor, what are you doing?''When you've travelled as much as I have, Jo, you'll learn not to jump to conclusions. These look look like chickens, but they could be the dominant life-forms on this planet.' The Doctor leaned over the pen. 'Greetings,' he said again. There was no reply. like chickens, but they could be the dominant life-forms on this planet.' The Doctor leaned over the pen. 'Greetings,' he said again. There was no reply.'Try clucking,' suggested Jo. Before he could reply she went on, 'Doctor, those things not only look like chickens, they are are chickens. And what about this?' chickens. And what about this?'She pointed to the side of a near-by crate. The Doctor looked. Despite the gloom it was possible to make out the stencilled capital letters. They read, ' SINGAPORE '.'The Acteon Galaxy, you said?'Taken aback, but not yet defeated, the Doctor looked round. Near by, a ladder led up into the darkness above them. 'Come on, Jo,' he said, and started to climb.Shaking her head at his obstinacy, Jo followed, pausing only to say a quick 'Good-bye! ' at the chickens. They clucked back at her.At the top of the ladder was a hatch. The Doctor lifted it. Behind him on the ladder Jo peered through the gap. She saw decking, a rail, more cargo-hatches-and an Indian seaman in shabby overalls walking past. 'Metebelis be blowed,' she whispered. 'This is just an ordinary old cargo-ship, Doctor. You've landed us back on Earth.'As the terrifying adventure which followed was to prove, Jo had never been more wrong in her life. Meanwhile, more arrivals were taking place...

The s.p.a.ceport of Capital City, on the planet called Inter Minor, was baking in the heat of the planet's twin suns. It was a busy colourful scene as the ma.s.sive cargo-rockets loaded and unloaded in their separate bays. Ground cars and cargo-trains scurried to and fro like ants at the feet of the towering metal mountains of the great s.p.a.ce-rockets. Cursing and sweating, the Functionaries worked steadily away, loading and unloading the cargo.Capital City was in the middle of a boom. By decree of President Zarb, the planet's new ruler, Inter Minor had emerged from its long self-imposed seclusion, and was busily trading with the other planets in its galaxy. Many years ago, the planet had been ravaged by s.p.a.ce Plague, brought in by a traveller from some foreign planet. In a hysterical over-reaction, the Inter Minorans had cut themselves off completely from all all other planets, forbidding both travel and commerce. After years of bitter political struggle, the new progressive party, led by President Zarb, had come to power, and Inter Minor had opened up its frontiers. other planets, forbidding both travel and commerce. After years of bitter political struggle, the new progressive party, led by President Zarb, had come to power, and Inter Minor had opened up its frontiers.President Zarb hoped by this measure to relieve some of the pressures on Minoran society. His other plans included a gradual improvement in the lot of the Functionaries. This meant persuading the Official caste to give up some of their many privileges-an undertaking which was provoking bitter resistance.The strangest thing of all about this strange world of Inter Minor was the fact that its people had been divided for so long into two different social cla.s.ses that they had gradually evolved into two different species.The largest cla.s.s was that of the Functionaries. They were short and stocky with coa.r.s.e, lumpy, unfinishedfeatures. They looked as if they'd been slapped together out of rough clay, by a rather poor sculptor. They wore rough serviceable clothing in heavy-duty plastic. Their purpose, their function function was to work. Work, food and sleep, that was a Functionary's life. For generations they had accepted this fate uncomplainingly. But now things were beginning to change... was to work. Work, food and sleep, that was a Functionary's life. For generations they had accepted this fate uncomplainingly. But now things were beginning to change...Then there was the ruling caste-the Officials. They were mostly tall and thin, grey-faced and grey-robed. Grey-minded too, for the main part. The Officials' code insisted on rigid formality with all display of emotion totally suppressed. They were the Officials, rulers by right and custom. Not all, of course, had utterly closed minds. President Zarb and his supporters were aware of the necessity for change. But the bulk of the Officials were set in their old ways. They had accepted Zarb only because they hoped he would save them from revolution.A thunderous rumble shook the s.p.a.ceport as yet another cargo-rocket descended slowly on to its pad. As soon as touchdown was complete, a cargo-shute was connected to its main hatch, and an a.s.sortment of goods began tumbling down, to be seized by waiting Functionaries, hurled on to cargo-trains and driven from the s.p.a.ceport.From a viewing ramp, two Officials watched the process with gloomy disdain. Their names were Kalik and Orum. Kalik's bored manner concealed fierce intelligence and burning ambition, while Orum's masked only complacent foolishness. Kalik was small and wiry, while Orum had a tendency to plumpness.It was Kalik who spoke first. 'The cargo-rocket we were ordered to meet has arrived.' Like all Officials, he had no inhibitions about stating the obvious.Orum nodded gravely. 'One must prepare oneself to go and encounter these-aliens.' The last word came out as a hiss of distaste.Kalik sighed. 'Reluctantly, one agrees.'The two grey figures began descending the ramp into the teeming confusion of the s.p.a.ceport.Meanwhile, something very strange was happening at the unloading rocket. On the cargo-shute had appeared two unmistakably humanoid figures. Arms and legs waving wildly they tumbled down the shute with the other containers. At the bottom they scrambled to their feet, waving away the Functionaries, who looked quite capable of loading them on to a cargo-train without a second glance.First to reach the ground was a middle-aged, middle-sized humanoid clad in tattered golden finery. Boots, tunic, tights and cloak had all once been magnificent, but like their wearer had seen better days. The humanoid, by race a Lurman, by name, Vorg, dusted himself down, gazing around him with keen alert eyes under fierce bushy eyebrows, and stroking an equally bushy moustache.Beside him a moment later landed Shirna, an attractive young female Lurman. Her clothes too were ornate but worn, and the many neat darns and patches showed a desperate attempt to keep up appearances.Shirna hit the ground in a flaming temper. Never a girl to hide her feelings she lost no time in letting Vorg know it.'Top of the bill, he says!' she cried dramatically, looking round at the hot and dusty s.p.a.ceport. 'Treated like a star, he says!'Shirna drew a deep breath. She had plenty more to say. Before she could get into her stride Vorg yelled, 'Oh no, the Scope! ' A gaudily decorated cylindrical object was tumbling down the chute with the other cargo. Vorg pushed aside a Functionary, caught hold of the Scope and started lowering it gently to the ground. 'Come on, Shirna, help me,' he yelled. 'This thing's our living, remember.'Between them they managed to wrestle the Scope off the chute and over to a small alcove under one of the ramps. The Scope was a tallish, fattish cylinder just under the size of a man. On top was an elaborate control-panel, inset with rows of lights and switches. Viewing apertures were inset at eye-level all round. There was a maintenance and service panel low on one side. Flashy colours and elaborate ornamentation gave the Scope the look of something between a juke-box and a 'What The Butler Saw' machine. And indeed, the Scope was a kind of peepshow-though of a very elaborate and unusual kind.Like its owners, the Scope had an air of seedy magnificence about it. It was a technological wonder that had come down in the world. Vorg was checking it over-it was a temperamental machine and the journey might have upset it-when Shirna jabbed an elbow in his ribs. 'Look out-here they come!'Vorg looked. Two grey-robed figures were threading their way through the crowd towards them. Vorg saw how deferentially the brawny Functionaries moved aside for them. Immediately he a.s.sumed the humble and ingratiating smile that was his inevitable response to any kind of authority.Vorg's preliminary encounter with Minoran officialdom was to be temporarily delayed. A disturbance had broken out in the next cargo-bay. One of the Functionaries had stopped work and had climbed up on to a ramp. This in itself was a serious offence. The raised ramps leading to the upper City were only for the use of Officials. Worse still, the Functionary was daring to make some kind of speech, distracting his fellows from their work. As if fascinated by his audacity, more and more Functionaries were drifting away from their work to swell the gathering crowd beneath the ramp.Vorg and Shirna could understand nothing of the Functionary's guttural speech, but judging from the growls of agreement the crowd was on his side. Shirna glanced at the two near-by Officials to see how they were taking all this. To her horror, she saw that one of them had produced a blaster from beneath his robes...Kalik levelled the blaster and fired. The rebellious Functionary swayed, slumped and crashed down on to the crowd. They all drew back, terrified. A squad of uniformed Functionaries, under the command of a Military Official, pushed their way to the body and dragged it off. The Functionaries returned to their work. The little rebellion died away without trace, like the ripples from a stone thrown into a pond.Orum gave a satisfied nod. It pleased his sense of fitness to see order restored. Casually he asked, 'You eradicated him?'Kalik put his blaster away. 'No, no. Merely rendered him unconscious. Our Medical colleagues have asked that all such specimens be taken alive.''He will will be disposed of?' asked Orum worriedly. be disposed of?' asked Orum worriedly.'Naturally. But first his mental and nervous system will be a.n.a.lysed. Our colleagues wish to discover if some disease or mutation is causing these outbreaks of rebellion.'It did not occur to Kalik that it was not the rebellious Functionaries who were abnormal, but the conditions under which they had to live and work.His conscience clear and untroubled, he put away his blaster.'Now one must deal with these aliens.'Terrified by this display of casual ruthlessness, Vorg and Shirna quailed as the two Officials bore down upon them.

2

The Monster from the Sea

Peering through the partly-open hatch, the Doctor looked at the peaceful maritime scene around him. Everything suggested that Jo was perfectly right. They were on a small cargo vessel, probably in tropical waters. And yet...'Appearances can be deceptive, Jo,' he warned. 'I still feel there's something very wrong here.'The small figure on the ladder below him gave an impatient snort. 'Something wrong with the way you steer the TARDIS, more like it. We are are still on Earth, aren't we?' still on Earth, aren't we?'The Doctor shook his head decisively. 'No, that's impossible. We don't seem to be on Metebelis Three, but we're not on Earth either.''Never admit you're wrong, do you?' hissed Jo.The Doctor grinned. 'That's impossible, too. The sailor's gone now. Let's take a look around.'Blinking in the hot sunlight, they climbed out of the hatch, lowered it quietly behind them. They moved across the deck of the little ship to the super-structure, and stepped through a doorway. Now they were in a short metal-walled pa.s.sage. From an open door at the other end they heard voices. 'Splendid dinner this,' someone was saying in fruity English tones. 'Absolutely topping.'Jo and the Doctor crept along the pa.s.sage and peeped through the half-open door. They saw a small but well-furnished saloon. Three people were sitting around the table over the remains of a meal. An attractive young girl was pouring herself a cup of coffee and a rosy-faced, white-haired man in a rather rumpled tropical suit was pouring himself a large whisky from a decanter. A handsome young man in the uniform of a ship's officer was listening politely to the older man, but giving his real attention to the girl.The older man, whose name was Major Daly, took an appreciative sip of his whisky. 'You say the cook's a Madra.s.si, Andrews?''I believe so, sir.' Lieutenant Andrews somehow managed to give a polite reply to this question without taking his eyes from the girl. Clare Daly, the Major's daughter, smiled, well aware of the young officer's interest.Daly nodded thoughtfully. 'Find the Madra.s.si boys a bit idle, meself. Won't have one on the plantation. Still, I must say your fellow knows how to curry a chicken.' Daly nodded towards the decanter. 'Sundowner, old chap?'Andrews shook his head. He glanced appealingly at Clare Daly who smiled and took mercy on him. Finishing her coffee she said demurely, 'Lieutenant Andrews and I thought we'd take a turn around the deck. Care to join us, Daddy? It's a glorious evening.' Clare knew she was on safe ground. It was highly unlikely that her father would forsake his armchair and his book-to say nothing of the whisky decanter.Sure enough, Daly grunted and shook his head. 'No, you and young Andrews don't need me. You run along. I'm going to do a spot of reading. Determined to finish this book before we reach Bombay .'Clare laughed. 'We're due tomorrow, remember. How much have you got left?''Only another two chapters.'Andrews stood up. 'We'll see you later then, sir. Come along, Clare-twenty times round the deck is a mile!'The Doctor and Jo saw him usher the girl through a second door at the far end of the saloon. They watched Major Daly settle himself into a comfortable armchair, his book on his lap. He read only a page or two before his head started nodding. The book slipped from his lap and he began to snore.The Doctor gave Jo a nod and they slipped into the saloon. They crept up to Daly who slept on happily. Then they heard approaching voices. Andrews and Clare were walking along the deck, just outside the window.'I love musical comedies,' Clare was saying. 'I saw "Lady Be Good" four times. And wasn't that young American fellow marvellous? Fred something-or-other...'Her voice died away. Jo and the Doctor stood up. Now the only sound breaking the silence was that of Daly's contented snores.The Doctor looked round the little saloon, shaking his head unbelievingly. 'In spite of everything, Jo, I still say this isn't Earth.''All right, Doctor, I'll convince you.' Jo picked up Daly's book and turned to the t.i.tle page. 'Look-date of publication, nineteen twenty-six .'The Doctor took the book, looked at it, and shook his head. 'I know, Jo. Every little detail, but...'Jo was hopping up and down with frustration. 'You're so stubborn stubborn , Doctor. You ought to have an L-plate on that Police Box!' , Doctor. You ought to have an L-plate on that Police Box!'The Doctor said quietly. 'Come on, Jo, we're going back to the TARDIS. I don't know what's happening here, but I don't like it...' He moved towards the door, but stopped when Jo didn't follow. 'What's the matter? Do you want to stay here?''I just want you to admit the truth, Doctor. Instead of swanning round in some distant galaxy, we've slipped back fifty years in time. We're on a little cargo boat in the Indian Ocean and...'Jo's tirade was cut short by a shattering roar from outside the cabin. They heard a scream from Clare, a sudden shout from Andrews. Daly started to mutter and stir, and the Doctor pulled Jo quickly into the corridor, just as Clare and Lieutenant Andrews came running back. Daly stumbled to his feet. 'What's going on?'Andrews led Clare across to her father. 'Some kind of sea monster, sir. It's hideous.'There was another roar, and a jolting crash shook the ship as something huge slammed against it.The Doctor led Jo to a porthole and they looked out. An enormous sea-creature was swimming around the boat, its savage head waving about on the end of a fantastically long neck.The monster roared once again, then plunged back into the sea. They saw it swimming away for a while, then it disappeared beneath the waves.'What was that thing?' Jo gasped.'A plesiosaurus,' said the Doctor. 'And if this is nineteen twenty-six -the plesiosaurus has been extinct for millions of years! 'In the saloon, Daly was staring fascinatedly out of the porthole. 'I say, it's gone back into the sea.''I'll get a rifle,' said Andrews. 'Just in case it decides to come back again. Look after Clare, will you, sir?''Of course, my boy. Come along, m'dear.' The Major led the shivering Clare to a comfortable chair and settled her down. He looked almost yearningly out of the porthole. 'By Jove, what a monstrous beast!'Clare buried her face in her hands. 'It was awful, horrible,' she sobbed.'There, there, child,' said her father soothingly. 'We'll take a shot at it, if it does come back. What a head, eh? Love to have that on the Club wall!' He went on staring out of the porthole.Jo and the Doctor were now on the far side of the saloon door-they had to pa.s.s it to get back to their cargo-hatch. They tiptoed past it very quietly. Unfortunately, Clare Daly happened to look up exactly as they were framed in the open doorway. She stared at them in amazement, and let out a little cry. Daly turned and came over to the door. 'Hullo!' he said wonderingly.'Hullo!' said the Doctor cheerily. 'Topping day, what?''I say, just a minute old chap,' said Daly. 'Are you two pa.s.sengers?''Only temporarily.' The Doctor made an attempt to get away, but by now Daly had come into the corridor and was blocking their exit. He stared at them. 'Temporarily?'Jo decided to take a hand. 'Uncle means just until we reach Bombay ,' she said brightly.Clare had come over to join her father. 'I thought we we were the only pa.s.sengers,' she said. 'Where did you come aboard?' were the only pa.s.sengers,' she said. 'Where did you come aboard?''Oh-er Port Said,' said Jo hurriedly, hoping her geography was accurate.Clare looked puzzled. 'I still don't understand why we haven't met before.'Jo felt she was getting in deeper and deeper. And the Doctor wasn't any help. He just smiled blandly and let her flounder on.'Well, my uncle here hasn't been well,' she said, getting a bit of her own back. 'We've mostly stayed below.'Daly looked at the Doctor sympathetically. 'Poor traveller, eh? Not used to it, I suppose?'The Doctor rose to this immediately. 'On the contrary sir, I happen to be a very experienced 'Andrews came in, a rifle in his hand. He stopped at the sight of the little group, then crossed the saloon to them. 'Who are these people?'Daly stared at him. 'Don't you you know, Andrews? They said they got on at Port Said .' know, Andrews? They said they got on at Port Said .'Andrews shook his head. 'Stowaways, eh? Where have you been hiding yourselves?'Jo drew a deep breath, and then gave up. She looked at the Doctor. 'You tell them-uncle.'

To Vorg and Shirna's surprise, the two Minoran officials didn't approach them at once. They stopped a little way off and stood quietly talking, glancing occasionally at the two Lurmans. They seemed to be working out something. Meanwhile, a crowd of Functionaries was gathering around the alcove, staring curiously at the two aliens and their strange machine.Vorg, busily checking over the machine, didn't notice them at first, Shirna jabbed him in the ribs again. 'Hey, Vorg!'He looked up and she indicated the crowd of curious faces. Vorg smiled. Crowds were his business. 'Well, well, well, we seem to be getting an audience. I'd better start the pitch.''What here?''Why not? A real showman can work anywhere.' Vorg raised his voice to a practiced carrying chant. 'Roll up, roll up, me lucky lads.'The Functionaries crowded closer.'Hang on a minute,' said Shirna. Hurriedly she brushed down her costume, and struck a dramatic pose gesturing towards the Scope.Vorg went into his patter. 'Roll up, roll up, and see the real live monster show. A whole Carnival of Monsters, live and clawing in this amazing device. See them living wild in their natural habitat! A miracle of intergalactic technology! Roll up, roll up...'The two Minoran officials watched these goings on from a safe distance. 'So-those two strange beings are Lurmans,' said Kalik distastefully.Orum consulted a doc.u.ment. 'It appears that the male is called Vorg, and the female Shirna.''Ridiculous, these alien names. One is relieved that their physical form is familiar. One feared they might have four heads. Though it is still unpleasant to have to fraternise with any alien race.' Despite the fact that he was the President's brother, Kalik was one of the old school..'Nevertheless, Commissioner Kalik, one has one's duty to perform,' Orum said solemnly.'One will wait for Commissioner Pletrac. He is the Chairman of our little tribunal. Let him perform his duty. Meanwhile, one will observe these aliens a little longer.'Vorg wasn't enjoying his usual success with his showman's patter. In fact it seemed rather to alarm the Functionaries. Slowly they began drifting away from the alcove. Shirna, who had been watching his efforts with cynical resignation, glanced towards the Scope. A light was flickering on the control panel. She attracted Vorg's attention with her usual jab in the ribs.Vorg abandoned his patter and went over to the Scope. 'It's nothing,' he said uneasily. He thumped the side of the Scope with his fist. The light still flickered. 'I'm sure it's nothing.''That light indicates a systems defect, doesn't it?' 'No, no. Just a loose connection. Nothing of consequence.''A systems defect,' said Shirna firmly.Vorg gave the Scope an angry kick. 'Of all the times to go wrong!' He took off his coat and rolled up his sleeves. 'I'll have to take off the inspection plate. Get the tools will you, Shirna?'Shirna began pa.s.sing him tools from a well-worn bag. While Vorg wrestled with the inspection panel she looked at the Minoran officials. 'Not very friendly, are they?'Vorg grunted. 'They're Officials. Officials are never friendly.'

A third Minoran Official had arrived to join the other two. He to was grey-robed and grey-faced, but his white hair and stooped shoulders gave him an air of age and rank. Pletrac was still very spry, despite his years. He bustled up to Kalik and Orum. 'One hears that yet another Functionary has gone berserk,' he said in shocked tones.'One witnessed the event,' said Kalik coldly. 'In fact, one dealt with it.'Orum shook his head sadly, 'One cannot understand why they do it.''But then, one is not a Functionary,' said Kalik in a bored tone.Plectrac looked sharply at him. 'It is a growing problem. As members of the Official caste, we must all share President Zarb's concern.''Functionaries have no sense of responsibility,' said Orum sadly. 'Give them a hygiene chamber and they only store their issue of fossil fuel in it.'In his alcove, Vorg had finally managed to get the inspection panel off the Scope. 'Pa.s.s the micro-scanner,' he ordered. Shirna fished a telescope-like device from the bag and handed it to him.Vorg peered through it, jiggled it about, then gave a sudden grunt of satisfaction.Shirna leaned over his shoulder. 'Have you located the fault?''There's a bit of foreign matter inside circuit three.' 'Can you get it out?''I think so. It's really only a matter of uns.c.r.e.w.i.n.g the circuit baseplate. Have a look for the micro-driver, will you?'As Shirna searched in the untidy jumble of the tool-bag, Vorg peered again through the micro-scanner. 'It's a funny thing,' he said thoughtfully. 'This foreign body-it seems to be a kind of blue box! '

3

The Giant Hand

The Doctor's attempts at explaining their presence on board had met with little success. Reluctant as always to disclose the existence of the TARDIS, he had spun a long and complicated story about having to leave Port Said because of some urgent secret mission which he wasn't free to disclose. The Doctor thought it quite a good story-but unfortunately Lieutenant Andrews didn't believe a word of it. 'I suppose you realise the Captain could have you put in irons,' he said grimly.'My dear fellow, do you really think that's necessary?''Not if you start telling me the truth.'Clare Daly was beginning to feel sorry for the two newcomers. 'Oh do stop bullying them, John,' she said.'That's right, stop bullying us,' said Jo, grateful for the unexpected ally.Major Daly too seemed to think things were going a bit far. 'I say, why don't we all have a drink and talk this over like civilised people?''An excellent idea,' said the Doctor promptly. 'I'll have a small-''Major Daly! ' cut in Andrews firmly. 'These people are certainly stowaways and quite possibly criminals.''Oh dash it all,' protested Daly. 'The fellow is is a Sahib, you know.' a Sahib, you know.''Nevertheless, this is not not a social occasion.' a social occasion.''Still don't see why we shouldn't offer basic hospitality...'Andrews smiled grimly. 'I'd like to offer them the hospitality of your cabin, sir. There's a good strong lock on the door. They can wait there till the Captain's free to see them.''Oh very well,' said Daly. 'Put 'em in my cabin by all means.'Andrews gestured sharply with his rifle. 'Right, you two. This way.'As he marched them off down the corridor, the Doctor said, 'You see? We should have left when I wanted to.''Well, who got us here in the first place?' hissed Jo.Andrews marched them along to a cabin door and opened it. Just outside the door was an octagonal metal plate set into the floor. The Doctor looked at Andrews. 'Are there many of these on the ship?''Many of what?'' These These things,' said the Doctor, pointing. 'Are there others, or is this the only one?' things,' said the Doctor, pointing. 'Are there others, or is this the only one?'Andrews stared at him. 'There's nothing there.'Jo looked down at the plate and then up at Andrews. 'You mean you can't see it?'Andrews raised the rifle. 'Get in that cabin!' he ordered sharply. They went in.Major Daly's cabin was small but comfortable with the usual bra.s.s and mahogany ship's furnishings. Bunk, wash-stand, writing desk, armchair, clothes locker. Everything seemed utterly normal.Andrews stood in the doorway. 'I don't know what you two are up to. But I've a crew of lascars who try to make a fool of me every trip. They haven't succeeded yet, and neither will you!'Jo gave a cheeky grin. 'Don't underestimate us! 'The Doctor was studying a framed plan of the ship on the cabin wall. He read the lettering underneath. 'I say, old chap, is this ship the S.S. Bernice Bernice ?' ?''Are you trying to pretend you didn't even know that?''I didn't. Now I do, and it makes everything much clearer. Thank you.'Andrews felt he was being made fun of, and he didn't care for it. 'All right I I'm going to lock you in here till the Captain is ready to see you. He's a very busy man, so that might not be for a long time.'Andrews left, slamming the door hard behind him. They heard the key turn in the lock and his footsteps going away. Jo turned to the Doctor. 'All right. You said everything was much clearer. Explain! ''Well, relatively speaking. An octagonal plate in the floor, and a prehistoric monster in the sea. Yes, it's really most interesting.'The Doctor stretched out comfortably on the bunk. Jo sank into the chair. 'Do you really think Andrews couldn't see that metal plate?''I'm sure he couldn't, Jo. It was blocked from his consciousness. You see, it isn't really part of the fabric of the ship.''Not part of the ship? A great lump of...'The Doctor smiled infuriatingly. 'Exactly. A lump of what? Not steel, iron, copper, aluminium. That metal isn't known on Earth.'Jo waved a hand round the little cabin. 'We must must be on Earth. This cabin, the ship, the chickens, the people... You're not going to tell me Major Daly's an alien from another planet?' be on Earth. This cabin, the ship, the chickens, the people... You're not going to tell me Major Daly's an alien from another planet?'The Doctor pointed to a calendar beside the bunk. 'Look at this. Daly's been keeping track of the date.' Jo saw that the calendar was for the year ninteen twenty-six. It was open at the month of June, and someone had crossed off the days as far as June the fourth. The Doctor nodded to the wall plan. 'And what about the name of the ship? Doesn't that mean anything to you?''No! should it?''For a time the S.S. Bernice Bernice was the centre of a mystery as famous as that of the was the centre of a mystery as famous as that of the Marie Celeste Marie Celeste .' .'Jo was alarmed. 'What happened?''n.o.body ever knew,' said the Doctor mysteriously. 'A freak wave was the favourite explanation-but the Indian Ocean was as calm as a mill pond that night.''You mean the ship sank sank ?' ?''She vanished vanished , Jo. Two days from Bombay , on the night of June the fourth, the , Jo. Two days from Bombay , on the night of June the fourth, the Bernice Bernice disappeared from the face of the Earth-or rather the sea.' disappeared from the face of the Earth-or rather the sea.'Jo looked at the calendar. 'June the fourth? But that's today! ''Intriguing, isn't it?' said the Doctor cheerfully.Jo was looking at the cabin clock. 'Shall I tell you something else intriguing? When we came in here that clock said twenty-five to eight . Now look at it!'The Doctor looked. The clock's hands were at twenty to six. 'So you've noticed that? Well I've noticed something else. It's still broad daylight outside.''So?''If it really is after dinner, and if we really are in the Indian Ocean -it should be pitch dark by now.' The Doctor swung his long legs from the bunk and made for the door, rattling the handle experimentally.'Sonic screwdriver?' suggested Jo.The Doctor looked a little sheepish. 'I'm afraid that only works on electronic locks, Jo. This is a simpler lock and we need a simpler tool.'Jo produced a bunch of skeleton keys. 'Like this?'The Doctor stared at her. 'Why on earth are you carrying those things around with you?''If I've learned one thing in travelling about with you, Doctor, it's that sooner or later we're bound to get locked up! Allow me!' Watched by the astonished Doctor, Jo started to pick the lock.It didn't take her long to get it open, and they went out into the corridor. Jo thought they'd make straight for the TARDIS, but the Doctor knelt by the metal plate in the floor and started to examine it. 'Works by anti-magnetic cohesion,' he muttered.'Can you open it?''Not without a magnetic core-extractor.''That's that, then,' said Jo, relieved. 'Let's get back to the TARDIS.' Their positions had become reversed. Jo was anxious to get away, while the Doctor wanted to stay and investigate further.'As a matter of fact,' said the Doctor slowly. 'I do happen to have a magnetic core-extractor somewhere in the TARDIS.'Jo sighed. 'Of course. I might have known you wouldn't travel without one!'The problem about getting back to the TARDIS was that it involved going past the pa.s.senger saloon. They crept ,towards it, and as they approached the open door, they heard voices. 'Splendid dinner, this,' someone was saying in fruity English tones. 'Absolutely topping. You say the cook's a Madra.s.si, Andrews?'They heard Andrews' polite reply. 'I believe so, sir.''Find the Madra.s.si boys a bit idle, meself. Won't have one on the plantation. Still, I must say your fellow knows how to curry a chicken. Sundowner, old chap?'Then came Clare's voice. 'Lieutenant Andrews and I thought we'd take a turn round the deck. Care to join us, Daddy? It's a glorious evening.''No, you and young Andrews don't need me. You run along. I'm going to do a spot of reading. Determined to finish this book before we reach Bombay .'Astonished, Jo heard the whole sequence of events replay itself exactly as before. They heard the clink of the decanter as Daly settled himself in the armchair. Clare and Andrews went out on to the deck, talking just as before.Jo pulled the Doctor's sleeve. 'Come on, Doctor, let's get out of here.'The Doctor didn't move. 'Hang on a moment, Jo. I've got a theory about what's happening here... and we should get confirmation any minute.'' Nothing's Nothing's happening here,' said Jo. 'That's what's so creepy. They're just going round and round like a stuck gramophone record! ' happening here,' said Jo. 'That's what's so creepy. They're just going round and round like a stuck gramophone record! ''That's right. They've been programmed to repeat a simple behaviour pattern.''That monster, the plesiosaurus. Has that been programmed too?''I imagine so.''But there weren't any plesiosauruses in nineteen twenty-six !''Exactly. I'm afraid that, historically speaking, this collection is a bit of a jumble.'Jo shook her head. 'Are you trying to tell me that this ship, and everyone on it, are all part of some kind of collection?' She looked around. 'Everything seems so ordinary.''Jo, have you ever seen a child at the seaside, filling a bucket with sea creatures? After a while they behave quite normally. Only the boy looking down at them knows their environment has changed.''Human beings are rather more intelligent than whelks!''And these specimens were collected by more sophisticated methods than a net and pail. But the principle's the same.''I'm sorry, Doctor, I just don't believe it.'There came a shattering roar from outside the ship. They heard a scream from Clare, a sudden shout from Andrews. Daly stumbled to his feet. 'What's going on?'The Doctor pulled Jo back around a corner as Andrews and Clare rushed past them. They heard his voice from the saloon. 'Some kind of sea monster, sir. It's hideous.' There was another roar and a jolting crash as something enormous slammed against the ship. The Doctor led Jo to the porthole, and they saw the many-fanged head on the incredibly long neck as the plesiosaurus swam round the boat.They ducked quickly back into hiding as Andrews's voice came from the saloon.'I'll get a rifle, just in case it decides to come back again. Look after Clare, will you. sir?'Andrews rushed out of the saloon and disappeared on deck.'Now,' said the Doctor. 'Quick, before she looks up!'With Clare's head still buried in her hands, and Daly staring out of the window, they ran past the open door of the saloon. As they pa.s.sed it, Daly's voice floated out. 'What a head, eh? Love to have that on the Club wall...'Keeping low, the Doctor and Jo scurried along the deck. In the bows, Andrews, rifle in hand, a few terrified lascars beside him, was staring after the plesiosaurus as it sank roaring back into the sea. The Doctor lifted the cargo-hatch and they both descended into a hot darkness that smelled of chickens...The familiar shape of the TARDIS stood in the corner and they made their way through the gloom towards it. Jo hoped they'd be able to go inside and take off-but she should have known better.'Hang on here a moment,' said the Doctor reaching for his key. 'I'll pop inside and get the magnetic core-extractor.''Can't we just go home Doctor?'The Doctor's voice came through the open door of the TARDIS. 'Where's your scientific curiosity, Jo? Don't you want to know what's going on?''Not much, no.'The Doctor came out of the TARDIS, an oddly-shaped gadget in his hand, and locked the door behind him. 'Just a quick look at what's behind that metal plate, and we'll be off I promise...'There came a sudden terrified scream from Jo and the Doctor swung round. Jo pointed upwards, too frightened to speak.A section of the cargo-hold high above them had just opened out, as if on some kind of hinge. Through the gap an enormous hand had appeared... the hand of a giant. It groped around vaguely for a moment, then started descending towards them...

4

Trapped!

Jo and the Doctor cowered away, crouched behind a pile of crates as the giant hand seemed to reach down for them. It came lower... lower... then, with a slight change of direction its index finger and thumb closed on the TARDIS. It lifted the police box as a man might pick up a box of matches from a drawer. Holding the TARDIS, the giant hand disappeared through the gap.The Doctor yelled, 'Hey, that's mine. Bring it back! ' His only answer was an echoing clang as the section of hold swung back and darkness returned.Jo's face popped up from behind a crate. 'Doctor, that hand... has it gone?''It has. And it's taken the TARDIS with it.'Jo stared upwards. 'But there's no way through. Are you sure?''Part of the hold swung open.'Jo looked at the steel wall. 'But that must weigh tons and tons.''You saw the size of that hand.''But we've been up there,' persisted Jo. 'There's only the deck.''There must be an optical illusion as well as a temporal one. I told you this was no ordinary ship.''And now we're trapped on it-with the TARDIS gone...''Don't worry,' said the Doctor rea.s.suringly, 'It's only a matter of finding where it's gone and getting it back!'Jo was almost speechless. 'Only? Well, where do we start?''We start by finding a way off this ship.' The Doctor started towards the ladder. Wondering just how they were going to get off a ship in the middle of the ocean, Jo followed him.

Vorg withdrew his hand from the Scope with a satisfied grunt. 'Got it! 'Shirna leaned over his shoulder. 'Let's have a look.'Vorg kept his hand inside the Scope's inspection hatch. 'Got to keep it within the miniaturisation field. Here it is.'Shirna looked at the little blue box. 'That was causing all the trouble?''Apparently. Must be electrically charged in some way.''How did it get in there?''Search me. Maybe it was in there all along and just got displaced. Anyway, I'll put it here on the spare-parts shelf.'Vorg straightened up and started to replace the hatch. 'Just in time,' whispered Shirna. 'Our grey friends are coming over at last.'Their long deliberations finished, the three Minoran Officials were striding towards them. Pletrac in the lead, as befitted his rank, Kalik and Orum flanking him. The Minorans paused at a safe distance, unwilling to risk alien contamination.'One must now collect their data-strips,' said Pletrac. 'Orum?'Orum stepped back, shuddering. 'Physical contact?' he asked in a horrified tone.'You are Chairman,' said Kalik in his waspish tone. 'One suggests you approach them, Pletrac.'The old man settled his robes on his shoulder. 'One has no fears,' he said rather nervously. 'Your Lurman is a simple fellow. Good natured and trusting, he responds well to firm leadership, and is capable of great loyalty.''Perhaps we should import them to replace our Functionaries,' sneered Kalik.Pletrac strode up to Vorg and Shirna. 'We friends,' he said, in a rather quavering voice.Vorg produced his lowest bow. 'Your worship!' Shirna curtsied prettily. There was an embarra.s.sed pause.'Er-you give magic talk boxes,' said Pletrac.Vorg and Shirna stared at each other. Vorg whispered, 'I think he wants our data-strips.'Shirna fished out two plastic micro-strips and held them out to Pletrac. 'It's all right,' she said encouragingly. 'We don't bite! 'The old man s.n.a.t.c.hed the strips and scuttled back to his fellows. There were more deliberations.Shirna shook her head. 'They're a weird lot. I don't know why you were so keen to come here, Vorg.'Vorg leaned forward confidentially. 'This planet cut itself off from the rest of the galaxy after the great s.p.a.ce Plague. They've only just opened their frontiers again. Traders are coming in-but we're the first entertainers! No one else saw the opportunity!''You mean none of them will have seen anything like the Scope before?''Exactly. Think of it, Shirna. That great audience out there, a whole world of them. We'll go back to Lurma with a million credit-bars.'Pletrac and his tribunal were studying the data-strips on a portable computer terminal. Pletrac looked up. 'These seem to be in order.''The record is incomplete,' objected Kalik. 'There is no reference to the machine.''Machines are harmless,' said Pletrac querulously. 'We have examined the data-strips and found them in order. What more should we do?''Examine the machine,' snapped Kalik. He shot a glance at Orum.'One agrees,' said Orum hurriedly. 'It would be advisable.'Pletrac moved over to Vorg and Shirna. Kalik and Orum followed him. Pletrac handed back the data-strips. 'These are in order. But the tribunal requires to know the purpose of your machine.'Vorg was shocked. His moustache and eyebrows seemed to bristle with outrage. 'Machine, your worships? The Scope is no mere machine!'Kalik was unimpressed. 'Then what is it?'Vorg deared his throat impressively. 'The Scope is a unique artistic achievement. The supreme creative invention of our age! It is my proud privilege to bring its many wonders to your n.o.ble planet. You will be amazed, you will be astounded-'Kalik's dry voice cut across the flow of Vorg's oratory. 'Is it a machine within the normal meaning of the word?'Vorg heaved a dramatic sigh. 'Machine is such a paltry description, your worship.' -'Cease prevaricating,' snapped Kalik. 'What is the machine's function. What does it do do ?' ?'Vorg sighed. Some people had no poetry in their souls. 'Well, your worships,' he began. 'It's like this...'

Since the octagonal metal plate was just outside Major Daly's cabin, the Doctor and Jo followed the same route as before. They were working their way along the deck towards the pa.s.senger saloon, slipping from cover to cover, when they heard voices coming towards them. They had just time to duck behind a lifeboat as Lieutenant Andrews and Clare came along the deck, still discussing musical comedies. 'I absolutely adored Chu Chin Chow,' Clare was saying. 'Daddy took me when I was a little girl.'Andrews laughed. 'I tell you the whole thing's absolute rubbish. I've sailed into Shanghai fifty times, my girl, and I know what Johnny Chinaman's really like!'They pa.s.sed on their way chatting happily. Jo whispered, 'I suppose we're due for the monster bit again any time now?''Very probably,' said the Doctor.Sure enough there came the shattering roar, and a savage head on a long waving neck appeared out of the sea. 'Let's not see it round again,' said Jo. 'When you've seen one plesiosaurus, you've seen 'em all.'There were the same roars from the monster, the same shouts of alarm from Andrews and Clare. Andrews hurried Clare back to her father, and ran off to the arms locker.'Come on,' said the Doctor, 'now's our chance.' They ran through the door, along the pa.s.sage and tiptoed towards the open door to the pa.s.senger saloon. As they reached it Clare was in her chair, face in hands, and Daly was gazing out of the porthole.'What a head, eh?' he was saying. 'Love to have that on the Club wall! ' But this time he turned a fraction earlier-and caught sight of Jo and the Doctor creeping past. Obviously it was possible for minor variations to occur within the programmed pattern of events. Major Daly gaped at them. 'Hullo,' he said.'Topping day, what?' said the Doctor.'Absolutely splendid,' replied Daly politely.The Doctor struggled to remember his early twentieth-century slang. 'Well, twenty-three skidoo, must get on, eh? Pip, pip!'Daly came to the saloon door. 'I say, are you pa.s.sengers?''Don't you remember,' said Jo. 'You asked us that before?'Daly looked at her in disbelief. 'How could I? I've never bally well seen you before in my life.'

The three Minoran Officials listened to Vorg's explanations in sceptical silence. Pletrac attempted a summing-up. 'If I understand you so far, it appears that you travel from planet to planet with this-machine performing some kind of ritual? For what purpose?'Shirna decided to take a hand. 'We're entertainers entertainers .' she explained patiently. .' she explained patiently.'Entertainers?' Pletrac was none the wiser. 'Explain the term.''We put on a show,' said Shirna. 'You understand?' She did a little tap-dance by way of demonstration.The three Minorans recoiled in alarm. 'No,' said Pletrac.'Our purpose is to amuse amuse ,' confirmed Vorg. 'Nothing serious, nothing political.. ,' confirmed Vorg. 'Nothing serious, nothing political..Kalik frowned. 'Amus.e.m.e.nt is prohibited. It is purposeless.'Pletrac led his two colleagues to one side. 'President Zarb has lifted that restriction. His thinking is that lack of amus.e.m.e.nt is causing these outbreaks of rebellion among the Functionaries.''More anti-productive legislation,' hissed Kalik. Orum shook his head mournfully. 'One wonders where it will end.''One can see where it will end, Orum. The Functionaries will take over.' Kalik spoke dryly.Pletrac looked sharply at him. 'It is not the Functionaries who dream of power, Kalik. Since President Zarb is your brother, one hoped for more loyalty.''One simply speaks one's thoughts,' said Kalik smoothly.The old man glared at him. 'Your thoughts are as plain as your ambitions.''How dare you!'Orum tried to smooth over the quarrel. 'Pletrac, Kalik, please. We are here simply to decide whether to grant these entertainers an entrance visa.'Kalik spoke first. 'In view of their subversive purpose and their dubious machine, one moves that the application be rejected.''Motion opposed,' said Pletrac.Kalik looked at Orum, who said hurriedly. 'Motion supported.'Pletrac sighed. 'Very well.' He led the little group back to Vorg and Shirna. 'I regret to tell you that your application for a visa has been rejected by this Tribunal. You will be allotted s.p.a.ce on the next out-bound cargo-thruster.'Vorg was shattered at the sudden dissolution of his dreams of wealth. 'But, your worship,' he stammered. 'Please, I beg of you. We spent our last credit-bar on the journey here.'Kalik gave him an indifferent look. 'That was unwise,' he said turning away.Vorg made a final effort. 'If your worships would permit me to demonstrate the wonders of the Scope, I'm sure you would be ready to reconsider. The Scope is not only amusing but educational too!'Pletrac was old-fashioned and conservative, but he was also fair minded. He hadn't cared for the way in which Kalik had forced through the Tribunal's decision. 'The suggestion is reasonable,' he said firmly. 'Demonstrate!'Vorg bustled around overjoyed. 'If your worships would take up their positions at the viewing apertures. This way, your worships.'He arranged the three Minoran Officials at viewing apertures around the Scope, and moved to the controls. 'Now, if you will gaze deeply into the glo-sphere...'The viewing apparatus of the Scope produced a mild hypnotic effect, making the viewer feel part of the scene he was witnessing. Immediately the three Minorans seemed to have left the familiar bustle of the s.p.a.ceport, and to be standing on some bleak, alien planet. Towards them lumbered a huge ape-like creature dressed in rough leather clothing. Pletrac jumped back in alarm-and was relieved to find himself still in the s.p.a.ceport. 'What was that thing?''A primitive life-form called the Ogron,' said Vorg. 'I believe they are used as servants by some race called Daleks. If your worship will return to the viewing-place?' Vorg twiddled controls.The Minorans were transported to a steaming tropical swamp.'With a bit of luck,' said Vorg. 'I shall be able to show you the pride of my collection-the Drashigs.' Far away in the swamp there was a roar and a splash. Then nothing more.'Amazing,' said Kalik ironically.Vorg was apologetic. 'The Drashigs have no intelligence centres, unfortunately, so it's impossible to control them. I'll switch over to the Terrans. Less spectacular, but extremely controllable! One of their planet's native sea-monsters has been added to their habitat for increased variety! You should see them react when it appears.'This time the Minorans found themselves in a kind of living-chamber, in which a number of Terrans were talking agitatedly.'The species was discovered in a distant galaxy,' said Vorg in his best lecturer's voice. 'You will note the strong resemblance these little chaps bear to our own life-form.'Kalik shuddered. 'The resemblance is unpleasant. Are they going to do do anything?' anything?'Vorg felt his show was failing to impress, and decided to give it a boost. 'Observe closely, your worships. By a simple adjustment of the aggrometer-so -these peaceful Terrans can be made to behave in an amusingly aggressive manner.'

In the pa.s.senger saloon of the S.S. Bernice Bernice , the programmed sequence of events was playing itself out. One again the Doctor and Jo had become part of it. Just as before they had tried to elude Daly and Clare, just as before Andrews had turned up, this time with a couple of armed seamen, and disbelieved their explanations. It looked as if they were to be locked up in Daly's cabin all over again. , the programmed sequence of events was playing itself out. One again the Doctor and Jo had become part of it. Just as before they had tried to elude Daly and Clare, just as before Andrews had turned up, this time with a couple of armed seamen, and disbelieved their explanations. It looked as if they were to be locked up in Daly's cabin all over again.A low humming note rang through the ship. No one except Jo and the Doctor seemed to notice it. But suddenly the atmosphere became hostile and threatening.His eyes blazing with anger Andrews shouted, 'So you persist in sticking to this ridiculous story, do you?'The Doctor said sharply, 'And what if I do, sir?'Andrews tossed his rifle to a sailor, stripped off his coat and started to roll up his sleeves. 'Then I propose to thrash you within an inch of your life!'

The three Minorans stared fascinatedly into the Scope.'What ritual are they performing now?' asked Orum.Vorg looked into his viewing aperture. 'Two of the males are about to engage in physical combat, your worship.'

Jo Grant felt she was in some kind of nightmare. Lieutenant Andrews was rolling up his sleeves over brawny arms. The Doctor too had taken off his coat, and was rolling up the sleeves of his ruffled shirt.Jo looked at Andrews, so much younger and stronger than his opponent. 'Doctor, you can't,' she whispered.The Doctor seemed caught up in the prevailing madness: 'I most certainly can,' he said briskly. 'It will give me the greatest of pleasure to teach this insolent young puppy a much needed lesson.' Tone and manner were quite unlike his normal self.Jo turned to Major Daly and Clare. Surely they would make some protest. 'Please,' she pleaded, 'you've got to stop them. It isn't fair.'Neither father nor daughter seemed to hear her. They were leaning forward excitedly, eyes shining with bloodthirsty eagerness, waiting for the fight to begin.Preparations completed, fists clenched and raised, the two opponents moved towards each other...

5

Inside the Machine

Jo didn't know much about boxing, but she couldn't help noticing the differences in styles. Andrews moved forwards in a crouch, shoulders hunched, chin tucked in, fists weaving protectively in front of him. He spoke through gritted teeth. 'I think I ought to warn you, I used to box for my school.'The Doctor's stance was straight-backed and up-right, right hand protecting his chin, left arm stretched out full-length. He moved with brisk skipping steps. 'And I should warn you you , I used to spar with John L. Sullivan!' , I used to spar with John L. Sullivan!'The fight was short and savage. The two men came together in a flurry of blows. Jo saw the Doctor dodge and block Andrews's punches with careless ease. The Doctor's long left arm shot out and his fist caught Andrews on the cheekbone, then again on the nose. Stung by the two painful blows Andrews swung a wild right uppercut at the Doctor's chin. The Doctor dodged it with ease and sunk a savage right hook into the younger man's solar plexus.Air whooshed from Andrews's body, his face went grey and he collapsed like a leaking balloon, slumping slowly to the ground.Jo saw the Doctor's face change... He leaned over his fallen opponent, appalled at what he had done, and was about to help him to his feet. Jo looked round.Clare, Major Daly, the two sailors, all were staring open-mouthed at the gasping Andrews. She grabbed the Doctor's coat from a chair. 'Hurry, Doctor, this way!' The Doctor stared wildly at her. Jo grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out of the saloon.They started to run towards Daly's cabin but another armed seaman appeared at the end of the pa.s.sage. They turned and ran the opposite way, out on to the deck of the ship.In the saloon Andrews was struggling to his feet. He grabbed his rifle and turned to the seamen. 'Get after them. Cover the aft companionway! Quick, man! Shoot on sight!' They all ran from the saloon.Major Daly and Clare followed after them. 'Don't want to miss the fun, do we?' puffed Daly, as he hurried along.Hidden behind a lifeboat Jo watched the Doctor get back into his coat. 'Extraordinary,' he was muttering. 'Remote control aggression-stimulation. Felt it myself, till I realised what was happening. I shouldn't have hit that poor young fellow so hard.'There was a shout of 'There they are!' The crack of a rifle and a bullet whined close to them.'Never mind him, Doctor,' said Jo. 'You worry about us!'They sprinted across the decks, ducking and weaving to dodge the bullets. In the chase that followed, it seemed to Jo that they must have covered every inch of the ship. They were hunted across decks, up and down companionways, into another cargo-hold and out again. Always behind them was the sound of running feet, the voice of Andrews harrying on his lascar seamen, and the crack of rifle-fire whenever they were spotted. As they ran along a stretch of open deck, Jo gasped, 'How many times round the deck is a mile?''Too open here,' called the Doctor. 'Let's try that door.'They ran to the door. The Doctor grabbed the handle, but the door was locked from inside. There was a rifle-shot and a bullet ricocheted off metal. Jo looked up. Andrews, rifle at his shoulder, was crouching on a companionway above them. The Doctor grabbed Jo's wrist and dragged her round the corner. They found another door, and luckily this one did open. Once through, the Doctor swung it closed behind them and locked it-just as bullets smacked against the other side of the steel door.Back inside the ship they ran quickly along the narrow metal pa.s.sages. 'Look,' said Jo, 'there's the dining saloon.''That's right! And there's the entrance to Daly's cabin, and there's that metal plate!' The Doctor quickly knelt beside the plate, taking the core-extractor from his pocket.'How does it work?' asked Jo.The Doctor began moving the little device along the edges of the plate. 'Simple. You hold it flat and move it along the edges of the plate-like this...''On your feet!' They looked up at the harsh command. Andrews, Daly and a handful of lascar seamen, all carrying rifles, were running along the pa.s.sage. The Doctor glanced round for a weapon. There was a flare-pistol clipped to a wall rack and instinctively he reached for it-but too late. Andrews's rifle barrel jabbed his ribs.Slowly the Doctor straightened up. Andrews slid back the bolt on his rifle. 'We've had just about enough of your nonsense,' he said angrily. 'The punishment for piracy on the High Seas is death!' There was a fanatical gleam in his eye, and he was quite beyond the reach of reason. 'Firing party! ' he shouted.The lascar seamen shuffled themselves into a line, rifles raised to cover the Doctor and Jo. 'No!' shouted the Doctor. 'You can't...''Ready, aim...'A low throbbing note sounded through the ship. For a moment Andrews, Daly and the others froze like statues. Then lowering his rifle, Andrews turned to the Major. 'I say, sir, I think I heard the dinner gong.''Splendid, hope there's something decent tonight. I'm feeling rather peckish.''I think you'll enjoy the curry, sir. Our cook's a Madra.s.si, you know. First-rate chap...' Andrews turned to the sailors. 'Well, don't hang about, you chaps, back to your duties, chop, chop.'The sailors hurried away, and Andrews and Daly strolled off down the corridor, chatting amiably.Abandoned by their former pursuers, Jo and the Doctor stared at each other unbelievingly.

Vorg looked up from the controls of the Scope. 'I've turned the Aggrometer right down,' he explained. 'Can't keep it on for long or the specimens start damaging each other.' Almost disappointedly, the Minorans looked up from the Scope. They moved aside again, and began a whispered conference among themselves.Shirna sidled up to Vorg. 'Hey, I was watching that last bit, when they were all running round. Those two they were chasing-have you ever seen them before?''Really, Shirna, how do I know. They all look alike to me,' muttered Vorg irritably. He was looking at the Minorans, wondering if there was any chance of them changing their minds. No doubt about it, they'd been pretty impressed by the Scope.'Vorg, listen! Those two Terrans are new new !' !'He stared at her. 'Nonsense. That's impossible. How could they get in there? It's a closed system.'Shirna shrugged. 'Search me. But I tell you they're strangers.'Vorg scratched his head. 'Well, there's only one explanation, then. They're breeding.''They were fully-grown specimens,' said Shirna impatiently.Vorg sighed. Expelled from the planet, now strangers in the Scope. It just didn't seem to be his day...

Jo watched the Doctor slide the core-extractor along the edge of the plate. 'Why did they all go rushing off like that?''Because the influence that was acting on them must have been turned off suddenly. Produced a temporary memory-blackout. Ah, got it.' The metal plate slid back revealing a black opening.Jo peered down it. 'Seems to be the mouth of some kind of shaft, Doctor. Like a giant metal pipe...''Right,' said the Doctor. 'Down you go, then.'Jo slid into the dark opening. The Doctor grabbed the flare-pistol from the wall rack, stuffed it in his pocket, then followed her. The panel slid shut over their heads.Jo found herself sliding down a long, smooth, metal tube. Luckily the pipe was tilted at an angle so the drop wasn't too steep, and she found she could slow her descent by bracing herself against the sides. Suddenly the pipe ended, and Jo shot out into s.p.a.ce. She fell only a few feet, landing with a b.u.mp on a metal floor. A few seconds later, the Doctor landed beside her. They picked themselves up and looked around. Jo gasped in amazement. They were deep inside some enormous and incredibly complex machine.Stretching above and below and on every side were coils, circuits, wires as thick as cables, moving wheels, pistons and cogs. Some of the machinery hummed and throbbed. Valves and circuits gave off an eerie flickering glow. Jo felt like an ant that had wandered inside the back of a television set-very small, very vulnerable and very much out of place.She looked up at the Doctor. Hands on hips, head thrown back, he was gazing absorbedly around him. On his face was an expression of pure rapture. 'Just look at that filter circuit, Jo,' he said delightedly. 'What a beautiful piece of work. Now then-this must be the return system, so that will be the power-feed over there... The Doctor crawled into a narrow s.p.a.ce between two circuits, and his m.u.f.fled voice echoed out. 'Yes, yes, it is! Come and look at this, Jo. Magnificent!'Jo tugged hard on one of his projecting legs and he came reluctantly out. 'Doctor, where are we?' she demanded. 'What is this thing?''What is it? My dear Jo, it's a magnificent example of an early pulse mechanism based on the principle of caeusium decay. Oh, this is absolutely vintage stuff!' Such was his enthusiasm that he seemed to have completely forgotten all their problems.'I take it this isn't the ship's engine room?''Of course it isn't, we're not even on the ship any longer.''So where's the TARDIS?''No idea. Probably been taken outside the machine entirely. Grit in the works, you see. We'll find it.' Then he was off again.'Just look at this capillary hydraulic pump. Have you ever seen anything like it?'Jo hadn't and didn't much want to. 'Doctor, the only reason we came inside this clockwork maze was to find the TARDIS. So if the TARDIS is outside, let's start finding our way out.'The Doctor nodded reluctantly. 'I suppose you're right, Jo. Well, we'd better begin by following this circuit.'They set off along a narrow metal tunnel, festooned with many-coloured wires...

After yet another mini-conference, the three Minoran officials approached Vorg and Shirna once more. Vorg gave Shirna a confident nudge. 'I knew it. My little demonstration won them over. They're going to change their minds and let us stay.'Pletrac was leading the way, as usual. He cleared his throat and said, 'One thing still puzzles the Tribunal. How were you able to influence the actions of the specimens as you did? Surely all these pictures are recorded?'Vorg sighed. Hadn't they understood anything anything ? Patiently he explained. 'On the contrary, your worship, the Scope is good old-fashioned live entertainment. The picture on the viewing aperture glo-sphere is a projection of what is actually taking place.' ? Patiently he explained. 'On the contrary, your worship, the Scope is good old-fashioned live entertainment. The picture on the viewing aperture glo-sphere is a projection of what is actually taking place.'In horrified tones, Kalik hissed, 'Do you mean all those creatures are actually living living in there?' in there?'Vorg nodded proudly. 'That is so, your worship, all happy and content in their own miniaturised environments. The incorporation of a simple temporal loop ensures that they repeat the same basic patterns hour after hour...'Kalik wasn't listening. He had rounded on Pletrac in savage satisfaction. 'You see where these new policies lead, Pletrac? This machine, this Scope, contains actual live alien creatures. The Lurman has imported them without a licence.'Pletrac flushed with rage as he turned to Vorg. 'Well? Is this true? Is it?'Vorg was taken aback by the violence of the old man's reaction. Although he knew the Minorans' history, he hadn't realised the full extent of their hatred and fear of other life-forms. He made his deepest bow. 'Your worship, have I done something to offend?'Kalik was whispering fiercely to Pletrac. 'Our laws expressly forbid t

Receive SMS and Send Text Online for free >>

« Previous My Bookmarks Chapters Next»

Novel »
Next  »