The Lost Doctor
Episode 4 – Much Needed Vacation
“I thought you said this place was a paradise?” Sami said, huffing down into the beach chair next to the doctor. She wore a two piece bathing suite with a long skirt around her waist. The sun was high and bright. There were sounds of people nearby playing in the water.
The Doctor lifted up his hat for a moment. He was in shorts with a large straw hat covering his head, some bright white sun block covering his nose. The view in front of him was pleasant: a beach with blue water, a few umbrellas and chairs, families on the beach, a boat off in the distance near the tower control thingy.
The ground wobbled to one side only enough to be noticed.
“You told me this was a resort planet,” Sami said, a disappointed look on her face.
“Well, it was, I thought. But this part seems nice,” the Doctor said, motioning to view in front of them.
“It is that part that I am talking about,” she said, motioning behind them.
“Ah yes, that,” the Doctor said, looking again.
The Doctor and Sami were not on the surface of the planet Kis 4. Rather they were on the top of a huge desert crawler. These huge vehicles drove over the desert surface of the planet, carrying on their top level an oasis. They had been converted to a huge luxury hotel bringing a big of pleasure to an otherwise dead planet.
“Well, we can leave soon,” the Doctor said, reminded of another failed vacation. Who was that? Romana?
“I have not yet seen a menu, so we can stay a bit longer,” Sami said. “But perhaps somewhere with a better view.”
She looked about the upper deck some. Off to one of the sides was a small cabana selling drinks and such. A shirtless young man was working behind the counter, cheerfully selling umbrellaed glasses to people.
“Like over there,” she said, deviously, hopping up. “I’ll be back… uh, eventually.”
The Doctor looked up at her, over at the cabana, back to her and chuckled, pulling his hat back down over his head.
“Good, I could use a nap after that 15th century marathon we ran two days ago.”
“I told you to leave that switch alone…” Sami said in a sing-song voice as she walked off.
“Indeed,” the Doctor said, closing his eyes. “But we may have never known what it did, and what is the fun of that?”
The moment was peaceful, only distant noises reaching the Doctor. Rest such as this only came after more strenuous activity.
The sounds in the background started to become a bit louder, and angry. The Doctor looked up, turning his head to see the commotion. A few chairs away a guest was pulling at the arm of one of the waitresses. She was calling back at him to let go, but he’d have none of it. Rather he was intent on more nefarious ideas.
The Doctor rose out of his seat. Stretching as he did. He was half hoping one of the guest’s friends would stop the man’s behavior before he got over there, but alas they seemed to be egging him on. Other guests seemed to give the whole affair little regard.
As the Doctor approached, another man ran up. He was shirtless, wearing shorts that matched those of Sami’s cabana boy. He pushed the guest back down in his chair, and the waitress stood behind him, her hands on his shoulders.
“Keep your hands off my wife,” the man in shorts said.
The guest sat back in shock. Some of his friends laughed and pointed, a few looked offended.
The Doctor arrived as security did as well. The guest who had been pushed down, a stocky older man with bushy eyebrows, stood up again. His face was red with anger and perhaps sunburn. It was a bright day after all.
Eyebrow man was retelling his story to a security person with a tone of disgust and superiority. The collection of other customers were nodding their heads in agreement.
“And then this, this, beast came over,” the man motioned to the cabana boy who still stood in between him and his wife.
“He should be punished.”
“Now, now,” the Doctor interrupted. Sami looked over from her cabana at the commotion and shook her head when she saw the Doctor in the midst of it. “This man was grabbing on her inappropriately, it was quite a spectacle distracting all of use around. When this boy pushed him away it was well deserved.”
“Pushed him away?” the security asked, eyeing up the Doctor.
“Yes, good thing too, that man was running his hands all over her. He deserves a proper talking to, that is for sure.”
Sami joined the Doctor’s side, curiously viewing the situation.
“And he will get it too,” the security guard said. “Take him away.”
The other two guards grabbed the cabana boy. The boy struggled against them as they pulled him away.
“James!” the girl said, but another security person held her back.
“Now, wait a minute,” the Doctor said. The eye brow man had a smug look on his face. “That man started it. That man was causing the disturbance. He is the one that should be punished.”
“Mr Wallace will be fined, again I might add, for causing a disturbance. It is forbidden for help to strike the guests. The boy will be punished for it accordingly.”
“Well, I hope you are going to take in account the situation.”
“Indeed, sir, we will. As a mitigating situation, he will not be flogged…”
“That is quite nice of you,” the Doctor interjected.
“… before he is executed,” the security guard finished. “Good day to you sir.”
The guards walked away, leaving the hysterical girl at the feet of her previous tormenters. The men sneered at the cabana boy as he was taken into an elevator that descended into the heart of the huge sand crawler they were on.
“Executed?” the Doctor whispered, watching. The eyebrow man had a smug look as he sat back down.
Sami helped the girl to her feet, staring down the man with big eyebrows and the three made their way over to their seats.
“What is your name?” Sami asked.
“Mellisa,” she answered through her sobs.
The Doctor walked over to the nearby railing, peering out over the desert landscape.
“What is the plan, Doctor?” Sami asked. “What are we going to do?”
“Nothing,” the Doctor quietly said, not turning to face her.
“Nothing? What do you mean ‘nothing’?”
“I mean nothing, Samantha,” the Doctor replied, still facing the desert.
“How can you say that, Doctor? All the people helped, all the places we have been, and you are going to do nothing?”
Sami stood up.
“You saw what happened, this isn’t right, Doctor, this is…”
“Not something we interfere with!” he yelled, turning to face her. Both were flustered. Sami’s face was reddened; the Doctor’s was frozen and emotionless.
“There are rules and laws. Not all are pleasant, not all are pretty, dear girl, but people must follow them. We do not travel fixing every society we visit, that is not how this works. We would leave a wake of revolution with unknown consequences on all of time.”
“You are an inhuman monster,” Sami said.
The Doctor’s eyes fell onto the girl, Mellisa who was still crying. She looked up at him with her red eyes.
“Maybe I am,” the Doctor said. “I have certainly done worse things in my time.”
There was a pause before the Doctor walked off. The sand was hot on his feet, but he didn’t seem to notice. He moved to stuff his hands in his pockets only to remember that he was, in fact, not wearing something with pockets, but swim shorts.
The Doctor wandered forward on the crawler, lost in thought. It was true; he did not like this situation. It was also true that not every situation could be changed. Still, a situation where the Doctor felt helpless was not one he sought out.
Near the bow of the crawler a few people had congregated. They stood around cheerful with their drinks, laughing and talking. The Doctor walked to the railing nearby, again staring out over the desert ahead. One of the men, a lean older man, walked over to the Doctor.
“Women, always too sentimental, eh?” he said. The Doctor pulled out of his trance. The man looked familiar, and the Doctor remembered he was a part of the busy eye browed man’s entourage.
“Richard,” the man said, holding out his hand.
“The Doctor,” the Doctor replied. He did not shake the man’s hand, rather returned to looking back out on the desert.
“What do you mean ‘sentimental’?” the Doctor asked.
“About the servants,” Richard said, leaning up on the railing. His drink was dark with ice and the strong smell was evident on his breath. “Marvin can certainly be an ass, but for that ground walker to touch him like that… Well, this is why we have rules.”
“First generation, no doubt, based on his behavior. I still can’t imagine why we let them into civilized society. I mean, look out there, Doctor. There isn’t anything. And yet they cling to their old ways.”
“Rather than come up here and serve you?”
“See how ridiculous that sounds?” Richard said; there was no irony in his voice.
“Here it comes!” Someone nearby yelled. All the people who had gathered moved forward getting a space on the railing. They were all looking down.
The Doctor followed their gaze. Below them, in the direction of travel of the huge sand crawler, was an odd set of rock formations. The Doctor peered downwards trying to see what the deal was.
Then he saw what the deal was. They were not rock formations at all. They were roof tops. He scanned the whole area. A village lie below them now darkened with the shadow of the crawler bearing down on it.
“Aren’t we going to change course? Or stop?” The Doctor asked, knowing full well that physics would argue against both options this close to the village.
“Heavens no,” Richard said. “The ground walkers shouldn’t make their homes in the path of the oasis.”
The Doctor turned back to the ground, watching in silent horror as the huge treads began the total destruction of the buildings below. Some of the people around him cheered, others sat with a pleasant look of awe as they watched. A few times the Doctor saw what looked like ants from this height running around below them.
“There are still people down there!”
“Most of the vermin get out, Doctor,” Richard said, motioning off to one side. The Doctor looked over and saw a collection of them, small multicolored dots collected together. The Doctor imagined them, huddled in the sand, watching the crawler drive over their livelihood, their homes.
“You look entirely too stressed out,” Richard said. “You should come join us for dinner. The show on the east deck will be spectacular. You can even bring your wife, as there will be other proper ladies for her to mingle with.”
The Doctor straightened up, still looking out over the desert. He took off his straw hat and faced Richard before speaking.
“Thank you sir,” he said, a bit of forced formality in his voice. “But I believe the lady and I have plans already. Do take care.”
Richard nodded and the Doctor turned back, heading to where he came from.
Mellisa was no longer at the chairs, and Samantha sat at the edge of hers, all the belongings they had brought from the Tardis neatly packed up inside of their beach bag. Her look was not a happy look, and did not get happier as the Doctor approached.
“I think it is time you took me home,” she said. The Doctor knelt down and started to dig through the bag.
“I no longer want to associate with something so alien,” she said, crossing her arms, purposely looking away from the Doctor. The Doctor continued to dig, biting his lip as his hands searched through the collection of towels, bottles, and clothes stuffed in the bag.
“You are unfeeling, irresponsible, lack any courtesy or decency… ” Sami looked down. “Are you even listening to me?” She demanded putting her foot on his shoulder and pushed the Doctor over into the sand.
He fell backwards, legs sprawled out in front of him. He looked up at her, showing her what was in his hand, what he had been digging for in such earnest: his sonic screwdriver.
“Are you coming?” he asked with a smile on his face.
Sami’s face softened, and she smiled, the emotional release nearly sending tears to her eyes.
“You are a bastard sometimes, you know that?”
The Doctor stood up, extending his free hand to her. She stood.
“We all have flaws, my dear.”
“You mean the great time lord is not perfect?”
“Perfect? Tried it for a while, didn’t fit my style,” he said, winking at her. “Shall we go cause some trouble?”
“I suppose,” Sami answered, with a mock reluctance in her voice.
The two set off arm in arm across the sandy oasis. Beside them a boat pulled a water skier through the clear liquid. Ahead of them lay the control tower, and the door that James was taken through.
The door opened to a small elevator. The two stepped inside and as the door closed, Sami reached over and pressed one of the many buttons on the side.
“Why did you pick that one?” The Doctor asked, looking at the button that was now lit up.
“Seemed like a good one. Down, rather than up. Middle rather than bottom. And I liked that symbol.”
The Doctor looked at her a moment before smiling.
“Well, I agree.”
The door opened several levels down. The corridor in front of them was well lit and tidy providing a neat and sterile passageway to wherever it led.
“Well, I was expecting something else,” the Doctor said as they stepped into the center of the hallway looking in both directions.
“Something dark and dirty, like that place on that ice planet a few months back,” Sami added.
“Well, if they keep a tight ship such as this, it will certainly help things.”
Sami took the Doctor’s arm and the set out down the hallway. Both directions had appeared equally uninformative, so they choose left. Left seemed a good way to go.
As they rounded the first corner, a servant pushing a cart full of, well, things, parts of machines, maybe a tool or so nearly walked right into the Doctor.
“Pardon me,” the Doctor said. The servant jumped a bit having been more focused on the cart than where he was going. He looked at both of the people in front of him with a startled and confused look.
“Oh, forgive me, I didn’t expect… oh no, I’m sorry sir, sorry…” He was nervous as he spoke, the Doctor could see it in his eyes.
“Now now, we will have none of that,” the Doctor said. “In fact, I believe you were the exact person we were looking for.”
“I think so too,” Sami said. “You look like someone who could help us.”
“Help you, ma’am?”
“Yes, help. We are looking for someone. James, his name is James and there was a misunderstanding above. We need to talk to him about it.”
“Oh, James,” he said with a saddened expression. “He is in the brig now, I’m not sure they will let you…”
“Ah the brig, of course,” the Doctor interrupted. “Could you tell us how to get there, uh…”
“Roger,” the servant said. “You aren’t going to tell on me, are you?”
“For this?” the Doctor motioned to the cart. “Of course not. My plans with James are a bit more,” he paused, trying to think of a good word. “Liberating.”
Sami got a devious smile as she watched the Doctor. This was the kind of trouble she enjoyed getting into.
“The brig is below us, near the engine rooms. That is where I am going, so you could just follow me…” Roger said, looking at the two. “I should mention tourists aren’t allowed down there, but as a servant I have no authority to stop you.”
“Well then, shall we?”
The three set back off down the hallway back to the elevator.
“Quite some equipment you have there,” the Doctor commented as the elevator descended further into the crawler.
“Chief engineer called for it,” Roger answered. “Seems one of the reactors is acting up again. Seems each time we get one fixed, another breaks. Story of my life…”
The elevator door opened and the three stepped inside. Roger whistled softly to himself as they descended further into the crawler. When the doors opened again, Roger pushed out his cart into the hallway.
“To the left and down the hallway. You’ll know you are in the right place when you see the guards.”
“Thanks Rog!” Sami said blowing him a kiss as she and the Doctor set out down the hallways.
“Think of a plan yet?” she asked, taking his arm.
“Thought I’d just wing it this time. If you haven’t noticed, my plans lately seem to not quite work out.”
“Why whatever do you mean, Doctor?” she said, batting her eyes.
The Doctor raised one eyebrow as they turned the corner and saw the brig. A collection of three jail cells, two guards standing out front, and one flustered looking James sitting in the back of the middle cell.
A quick glance saw some surveillance equipment in the corner, but that would be no real matter. The matter to the Doctor would be the large rifle looking weapons the two guards had.
“Sir, you can’t be down here,” one of the guards said. The Doctor adjusted his straw hat and smiled. He placed his hand on the guard’s shoulder, distracting the man from the fact that a sonic screwdriver was pointed at his gun.
“Good man, I was down here to have another word with this… uh, man, who dared to touch a …”
“Tourist,” Sami interjected. “Like us.”
“Yes, like us. See? I have on a beach hat.”
The guards looked at each other. The Doctor turned to the other one, activating his sonic screwdriver yet again.
“So a moment, if you will,” the Doctor said.
“Very well,” the guards said, stepping forward. The Doctor gave Sami a quick wink and the two stepped forward to the jail cell.
Now the Doctor had seen his fair share of holding cells in his time and it always surprised him how little they had changed over time and space. Metal or energy bars, blank walls, perhaps a chair or bed, small window, sometimes. One could walk from any time to another and know they were looking at a jail cell.
This one, thankfully, fell back on a good standard of all cells: the metal bars with a large key lock. It was primitive, but highly effective. It was also easy work for a sonic screwdriver.
“You there, James,” the Doctor said, still attempting to sound stuffy and perturbed as he spoke. The man looked at him with distain and turned around.
“I am speaking to you,” the Doctor said, now waving with his hand for James to approach. The Doctor pushed the end of his sonic screwdriver into the key hole and after a moment there was a click in the door.
James, however, had not moved from his spot, his scowling expressing now facing off to one side.
“James!” Sami said with a voice of authority. “Now!” she pointed to the space in front of them. The man grumbled but walked over.
“What, madam?” He said with a most unpleasant tone.
“You are seriously the most difficult rescue I have ever been a part of,” Sami said, opening the door. She grabbed a confused James by the arm and dragged him out of the cell.
“You should be more polite when you are being rescued. For all you knew we could have changed our minds, and then where would you be?” She continued to lecture.
“Uh, I … ”
“Exactly,” she said, added a hrmph to the end of it.
The two guards had turned around at this point, and with confused looks on their faces, pointed their guns at the trio.
“Halt!” the one on the left said. The one on the right was obviously nervous, and the barrel of his gun shook slightly back and forth.
“Now, now, gentlemen” the Doctor said. “It wouldn’t be much of a rescue if we stopped here.”
The two guards gave each other a confused look then faced the trio again.
“I said ‘halt’!” the one on the left said again.
“Right,” the one on the right said. “Or we will shoot!”
“I’m not convinced. Are you convinced?” the Doctor said to Sami who shook her head. “We are not convinced.”
The three started walking again. The one on the left, who was obviously more nervous about this than the one on the right, raised his rifle like someone who had never had to use one before and half turning his head, half closing his eyes pulled the trigger in a direction that was maybe towards the Doctor.
Nothing happened. That is, nothing was fired from the rifle. The guard on the left opened his eyes and looked down and the guard on the right looked over. The rifle had started blinking red and was letting out a quiet, but high pitched warning sound.
“Now you did it,” the Doctor said. He calmly walked over to the guard on the left and snatched the rifle from his hands.
“I took the liberty of modifying your guns, gentlemen,” he said as he walked back into the cell towards the back window. “Just a minor one, but it seems that it will not only prevent you from firing your rifles, but…”
The Doctor paused and then tossed the rifle out of the window in the cell. There was a brief moment before a loud explosion outside rumbled the walls and a red light brighter than the bright outside sun could be seen through the small opening.
“Seems it will also make them explode,” the Doctor finished. He looked at the guard on the right. “You probably shouldn’t use that…”
The guard nodded, putting the gun down.
The three walked pasted the two confused and a bit frightened guards out into the hallway.
“Now,” the Doctor started, stopping in the hallway. Sami too stopped, no doubt to be ready to argue with whatever was following “Now”. James, however, did not stop. Rather the newly freed servant continued down the hallway to the elevator. There was a new sense of determination in his gate. He was also carrying the gun the guard had put down.
“Hm,” the Doctor mumbled, looking at James, then Sami. She shrugged and the two set off after him.
They made it to the elevator just as the doors were closing and the two slipped in, joining James inside. No longer walking, the determination had moved to his face. Before the Doctor could talk, James reached forward and touched the intercom on the elevator.
“Service,” a voice said.
“This is James, it is time,” he said, then removed his finger.
“Time?” Sami asked.
“Tea perhaps?” The Doctor added.
“No, Doctor.” James said. “Revolution.”
Sami and the Doctor exchanged worried looks as the sand crawler lurched to and fro beneath them. The lurch was followed by a noise, something like a knock far off in the distance.
“That doesn’t sound good,” the Doctor commented.
The doors opened on the bridge of the sand crawler. Sami and the Doctor looked with surprise at the scene. There were two distinct groups now on the bridge: on one side stood officers and a few guards; on the other were some servants as well as some other guards. Naturally they were all pointing weapons at each other. Naturally the elevator let the Doctor and Sami out right in the middle of it.
“Seems we missed the fun,” the Doctor commented.
“For once…” Sami added.
“Oh, I am sure that is just starting,” James finished.
The crawler lurched again. Again there was that sound. This time it was followed by a beeping on one of the consoles that no one was paying attention to.
“You are to drop your weapons now!” one of the officers was yelling. “And you will be spared from flogging.”
James walked out into the middle of both groups, holding the rifle above his head.
“This weapon has been modified. One pull of the trigger at it will explode, taking everyone in this room with it.”
“You are mad!” the officer, no, the Captain, the Doctor realized, yelled.
“I am a man with nothing to lose, dear Captain,” James said.
Beneath them the sand crawler began lurching again, but this time not just once, but in a repetitious fashion—fast, slow, fast, slow, lurch, fine, lurch, fine. The motions were noticeable, but small enough not to set anyone off balance.
Again the console no one was paying attention to started beeping. This time a voice accompanied it from a nearby radio.”
“Hello? This is kind of important…”
“I think that is Roger,” Sami said.
“What will it be, Captain?” James said, staring at the group of officers. He lowered the weapon, putting his hand on the grip, finger near the trigger.
“Never! You will know your place!” the Captain yelled back.
Without hesitation, James pulled the trigger. The same high pitched warning sound came out of it.
“OK, this is enough!” the Doctor said, getting the attention of all the people in the room and unfortunately their weapons. He pulled off his straw hat and walked down into the center of the control room and straight to James. As he had before, he snatched the gun from James’s hands.
“Hello?” Roger’s voice again. Even though it was silent, no one was listening.
“Why is that everywhere I go I run into uncivilized apes?” The Doctor demanded as he walked to the window.
“They will be put down soon enough, Sir,” the Captain said, a new triumphant smile on his face.
The Doctor tossed the gun out with one motion. He turned and went to the Captain and with one hand grabbed him by the collar.
“I was referring to you,” the Doctor said. “And your whole lot here.”
He pulled the Captain into the center of the room towards James. As he did, the gun exploded outside, vibrating the whole control tower with energy. The Doctor released the Captain’s coat only when he was standing near James. Naturally both were giving the Doctor the same confused and frustrated look.
“What is the meaning…?” They started simultaneously.
“Quiet!” The Doctor said. He paced back and forth a few times in front of two of them like an angry parent.
“And who are you?” the Captain asked.
“Actually, that is a good question,” James added.
“Who am I? I am the only rational person on this whole thing I am starting to think.”
The sand crawler shook side to side this time. This was followed by a loud whine from outside. This was followed by a thunk. This was followed by an urgent “Hello!?” from Roger on the radio. This was followed by very loud sound of breaking and a rapid acceleration of the crawler which threw everyone on the bridge off balance.
Sami stumbled to the console, being the first to pay attention to it, and pushed the button.
“Sami?” He asked. “What are you doing up there?”
“It’s complicated,” She replied. The crawler was continuing to accelerate and now leaned a bit to one side. “Is there something you wanted to tell us?”
“Uh, well, if you haven’t noticed, we are having issues with the engines. The right side is no longer under control and is operating at 70, err, 75% and rising.”
“And if it gets to 100%?”
“I believe that will be bad,” Roger said.
“Very bad,” the Captain added.
The Doctor straightened back up, adjusting his flowered beach shirt before returning to the two other men.
“Now listen,” he started. The two again looked at the time lord. “Captain, the way you treat your fellow men is completely unacceptable.”
“Doctor, it is our law, I did not make it,” he interjected.
“Irrelevant. You enforce it. And now it will change. These are people and should be treated as such.”
“Indeed,” James said.
“And you,” the Doctor turned his attention to James. “If you want to be treated like a man and not an animal then act like one. Armed mutiny. Threatening to blow yourself up. You will act civilized, understand?”
“Yes Doctor,” both said.
“Oh Doctor,” Sami said. She was sitting in the chair in front of the console now, spinning the chair left and right.
“Yes, Sami?” the Doctor said with a much more pleasant tone.
“We are at 80% on engine two. The map has us heading straight for a large rock formation, and we still have not had lunch.”
“See?” the Doctor said to the two men, “Sami here understands what the real problem is.”
The Doctor walked to the console and looked down for a moment.
“Captain, get your men to their stations. Get this beast back under some control,” the Doctor said.
“You,” the Doctor pointed to one of the guards. “Get a few of these servants and head up to the surface. The tourists will be in a state of panic. They need to be calmed down and gotten ready to evacuate.
“James, grab two others and we are going down to work on the engines. Sami tell Roger we are on our way.”
No one had moved. Instead all the weapons in the room were still pointed at each other.
“NOW!” the Doctor yelled. The Captain nodded and started giving orders to the others. The guards and a few servants jumped, heading to one elevator and down to the surface. James and two others joined the Doctor in the second elevator and headed down to the engine room.
“Is he always like that?” the Captain asked Sami.
“Not always. Usually he is in a much better mood. I suspect a vacation is not what he needed.”
“Lieutenant!” The Captain yelled. “Get the left engine spooled up and steer us through those rocks.”
On a deck below, the doors to the elevator opened to the engine room. The temperature had risen to an uncomfortable level.
The Doctor found Roger staring with a defeated look at an open panel. There were wire bundles and spare mechanical parts lying all about him.
“I’m not sure what you think you can do, Doctor…” he said, not turning to face the newcomers.
The Doctor looked over the panel, and after a brief moment of familiarizing himself with its usage and functions had to begrudgedly admit that Roger might be right.
“You might be right,” he said. He pushed the button on the nearby intercom. “Samantha, what is your status?”
“Hi Doctor. The Captain has gotten the crawler to straighten out some and thinks he can avoid the rocks…”
The crawler shook violently for a few seconds.
“Well, most of them,” Sami added. “And since we are now off course, it does seem we are heading straight for a rather sizable village.”
“Oh good, I wasn’t sure the stakes were high enough yet,” the Doctor commented.
“We could petition for a plague, or something,” Sami added.
“I think that we are fine for now.”
The Doctor started walking along side the engine, looking at the various moving, glowing, burning or stationary parts it contained.
“Ok Roger, give me the run down, there are two of these, correct?”
“Yes, Doctor. Left one works the left tread, the right engine, the right tread. Now the right one is spinning up uncontrolled.”
“Which is causing us to turn.”
“Correct. Though that is only a temporary situation. Once she breaks 110% rotation, she’s a gonner.”
“Well then it stops, right? So we stop too?”
“Not quite. These are older first gen fusion turbines. They are rated to about 104%, but above that… Well let’s just say around 110% we are going to get radioactive shrapnel shooting out through most of the crawler. Well the parts that are still connected, that is. ”
“Lovely,” the Doctor commented.
The Doctor started circling again, peering deeper into the turning machine.
“Not to rush, Doctor,” Roger said from his panel, “but she’s at 90%.”
“Not to rush, Doctor,” Sami said over the radio, “but that village is getting closer.”
“If we bypass that… and reconnect two of these… had a plug for… ah ha!”
The Doctor grabbed his shirt sleeve and started to pull, ripping the fabric off at the seam. He then repeated it on the right side as well.
“Roger, when I say you will throw this engine into full power,” the Doctor said, as he started to climb the structure of gears and pipes.
“Full power?!” Roger said, giving the Doctor a confused look.
“Yes Doctor!” She said in a sing-song voice.
“We are going to want full throttle on the left side in a few minutes—full throttle in reverse. Better tell everyone to hold on.”
Sami got up from the console and went to the station with the crawler controls. She gave the officer sitting there a momentary look before he awkwardly moved out of her way.
“James, take your men and get that emergency door open!”
“On it!” James replied.
On top of the engine, the Doctor shoved the first floral patterned ball of fabric down into the spinning engine. Screw driver in mouth, he climbed to the other side and repeated the motion.
“Get ready everyone!”
“James, get out of here. Roger after I give you the signal you follow him got it?”
“Ok, Doctor,” Roger said. There was a bit of skepticism in his voice.
The Doctor propped his feet at awkward angles above the engine and leaned way down to reach. Using his screwdriver he found the four bolts he was looking for and started to work on them.
The engine spooled up to max throttle shaking violently below the Doctor. He heard Roger exit the room in a hurry.
Sami grabbed a hold of the nearby chair arm. Around her all the officers had grabbed anything they could and were holding on with dear life. Above, on the top, guests and servants alike were tied to emergency straps. Below, the crew grabbed onto anything attached to the structure.
With one swift motion Sami pulled the throttle for the left engine from 40% forward to 100% backwards.
There was a screech. There was a shutter. And then the tread got traction on the ground. While by no means a sports car, the crawler began a tight turn leaning hard to the right.
Just hard enough that the engine the Doctor was sitting on came loose. He had time for a triumphant smile before it, the Doctor and several loose things in side of the room were shot out of the emergency door.
When the right engine detached, the safety locks shut down the left causing the movement and the turn to come to a stop.
But not before several thousand gallons of water from the surface came pouring off and onto the ground, the Doctor, and more importantly, the out of control engine.
A few minutes later, Sami came running out from the crawler to the Doctor; the Captain and James and Roger were close behind.
“Is he…?” James started to ask.
The Doctor lay on his back, arms unceremoniously spread to either side. His shirt was ripped and torn and his hat was no where to be seen.
Sami took one look at him and shook her head.
“Yes,” she answered James, “Yes, he is. Sound asleep. I told you it wasn’t vacation he needed.”
Roger wandered over to the ejected engine.
“Well, I’ll be. The water cooled it off so the safeties could kick in. Not exactly how I would have done it, but it worked…”
“Can you fix it?”
“Are you kidding?” Roger said. “Doubtful this old beast will ever move again.”
The crew, servants and guests of the crawler began to emerge from the machine and descend onto the ground below.
“Feels strange,” one said. “Doesn’t move…”
The members of the village had emerged from their homes and were standing, facing them.
James and the Captain looked at each other.
“Seems we have more negotiating than we thought,” James said.
“I suspect so,” the Captain added.
Sami planted an umbrella over the Doctor so he wouldn’t look like a lobster, or worse one of those big eyed things they saw on Ares 3, when he awoke.
The Captain, James, and the village leader sat down for a talk, which, after an initial bit of yelling, turned into a productive meeting.
A bit later the Doctor awoke, quite rested.
“Now that is a nap I will remember for the rest of my days,” he said.
“I got you something,” She said and handed him a small box. The Doctor opened it and inside was a tie.
“A nice one. Much better than that drab one you wear all the time.”
“Crimson,” she corrected. “And quite noble looking, I might add.”
The Doctor looked at it, held it up to his neck for a moment.
“See? Much better.”
James and the Captain were standing nearby. One not so discreetly cleared his throat.
“Ah gentlemen,” the Doctor said, climbing to his feet. His floral shirt still hung open and torn in an unfashionable way.
“You, sir, look like a castaway,” the Captain said.
“Well, in a matter of speaking, I guess I am,” the Doctor replied, smiling, hands on hips.
“We came to say…” the Captain started.
“That is we thought you should know…” James continued.
The two looked at each other and then back to the Doctor with a defeated look.
“You were right,” they said in unison.
“We’ve worked out a deal with ourselves,” the Captain said.
“And as well with the villagers here,” James added.
“Seems we are stuck, but since we are stuck together,” the captain said.
“We are going to work together.”
“Well, most of us,” the Captain added.
“Gentlemen that is fantastic news.”
Sami joined the Doctor, her bag tucked under her arm.
“Well, have you had your fill of vacation and Kis 4?” the Doctor asked. But before she could speak, the Captain chimed in.
“Kis 4? Doctor? I believe you are mistaken. This is Kis 5. Kis 4 was destroyed almost two hundred years ago.”
“Kis 5? But Kis 5 is a… ” the Doctor turned and looked into the far off distance. “… desert wasteland.”
“Not sure I’d call it a wasteland, but it isn’t paradise,” the Captain said.
“Are you ok, Doctor,” Sami asked, pulling at his arm.
“No,” he said quietly.
The two spent a bit of the afternoon with the crew of the crawler. The Doctor offered some advice and expertise on which of several machines would be useful in their new non-mobile home.
Near the evening, Sami directed the Doctor to a little café near the end of the village to eat.
“Crepes?” he asked.
“No,” she said. “But close. The cinnamon spice they have here is fantastic too.”
The waiter came and took their order and wandered into the back.
“So, care to explain?” Sami said. The Doctor looked at her a moment.
“About Kis 4?” He asked. She nodded. “I can’t. Four thousand years from now, Kis 4 gets into a war with a nearby star system that lasts for two decades. Over a woman, in fact. And yet…”
“And yet, it doesn’t exist anymore.”
“Something is wrong, Sami. I fear something is very, very wrong.”