Doctor Who Classicfied: The Christmas Invasion by Derek Metaltron
Summary: It's Christmas Invasion - 3rd Doctor style! With the Time Lord down following an accident in the TARDIS its up to Jo Grant, the Brigadier and the rest of UNIT to fend off an alien invasion on Christmas Day. Part of the Doctor Who Classicfied Series, featuring Classic Doctors and Companions in New Series Episodes redesigned to suit their era.
Categories: Third Doctor
Characters: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Jo Grant, Mike Yates, Other Character(s), Sergeant Benton, The Doctor (3rd), The TARDIS, UNIT
Genres: Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, Series
Series: Doctor Who Classicfied
Chapter 1: Infection
Chapter 2: Communication
Chapter 3: Hopelessness
Chapter 4: Confrontation
Chapter 1: Infection
Author's Notes: The Doctor and UNIT prepare to celebrate Christmas as Jo reaches the end of her first year and the Guinevere One Project approaches Mars. But a sinister evil intends to threaten Earth.
Across the furthest reaches of Time and Space, a hero known only as the Doctor travels within his TARDIS, determined to the last to protect the universe from some of its most evil forms. In particular, the Doctor has developed a fondness for the planet called Earth, saving it time and time again across multiple incarnations and personalities, be he alone or alongside his most loyal and trusted companions.
But would his greatest adventures have been different if he had been in another body? Would a different ally change things for the better… or worse? If the deeds of the Ninth and Tenth Doctors had been performed by an earlier incarnation, what would happen then? This is…
DOCTOR WHO CLASSICFIED: THE CHRISTMAS INVASION
Staring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
This story takes place between ‘The Dæmons’ and ‘Day of the Daleks’
UNIT headquarters were ablaze with activity upon Christmas Eve, in preparation for the holiday season. The kitchen Staff within the large country house was busy at work creating the annual Christmas dinner, a generous helping of turkey and stuffing which the Brigadier and his men were so fond of. Across the hallway in which Jo Grant was walking down, she saw that the men of UNIT had placed an impressive looking Christmas tree in the canteen, and tinsel was spread across the mess hall.
She glanced out the window at the snow falling and sighed wistfully. Under normal circumstances, she would of course relish winter weather and the opportunity to show off her latest winter coat, but this year the sight of snow only made her remember the bizarre conditions in climate that the Axons had created when arriving on Earth, and thus all the problems they had caused for Earth.
This in fact was her first Christmas under the roof of UNIT, and what a year that had been! Killer plastic daffodils, stone demons, nearly aged to death, brainwashed criminals and of course, meeting the cold stare of the Master far too many times for her liking. Last Christmas she’d been ready to start work with UNIT, little aware of what had been in store for her in the next twelve months. But in spite of everything, having the Doctor as a friend, not to mention the dashing Mike Yates around, seemed to make it worthwhile.
Still, she was a little dismayed when the Brigadier had told her that in preparation for the upcoming Guinevere One Project’s final descent on Mars, she and a number of UNIT staff would have to remain posted ‘as needed’. She’d used some cross words to Lethbridge Stewart but eventually had to concede defeat. She just thanked the stars that Mike Yates had agreed to take her Christmas shopping in town tonight; otherwise she would have died of boredom! Yes, she understood the project was important and exciting, even the Doctor had gotten over his usual depression of being tied to Earth — for his people, he had told her, had exiled him for interfering with time too much — had had become absorbed in the prospect of ‘watching your species make another pivotal movement in leaving the confines of your home planet’. She had suggested to him that surely it just made him sad that he couldn’t leave the ‘confines of Earth’ himself? He had just snorted and returned to the reports on the television which he kept in his lab, and Jo had found that amusing.
In any case, that was where Jo was off to now — the large lab in which amid piles of microfilms, pieces of alien technology that the Doctor had up for study, and a large amount of other such junk, that the familiar blue box stood. The TV was still on, the beaming faces of the Prime Minister and the scientist behind the Satellite project, Dr Llewellyn, still in debate with members of the press.
“Prime Minister, Sarah Jane Smith,” came a woman’s voice from off camera. “What would you say to those calling the Guinevere One Space Probe a waste of money?”
The PM seemed unfazed by the question and stated her views as Jo watched, impressed. “Now, that's where you're wrong. I completely disagree if you don't mind. The Guinevere One Space Probe represents this country's limitless ambition. British workmanship sailing up there among the stars. That, my friends, is something that we should all be proud of.”
It was Llewellyn’s turn to speak and he seemed equally assured in the Project success as its director. “This is the spirit of Christmas, birth and rejoicing, and the dawn of a new age, and that is what we're achieving fifteen million miles away.”
Jo Grant glanced about, wondering why, since the Doctor had been so absorbed in the broadcast before, that he wasn’t about. She glanced back at the screen again as an artist’s illustration of the Probe appeared on screen whilst the commentator continued. “The unmanned probe Guinevere One is about to make its final descent. Photographs of the Martian Landscape should be received by midnight tonight.”
Curiously, the doors to the TARDIS were open. “Do…Doctor?” Jo called out, but there appeared to be no response. A little unnerved, she entered the larger in-than-out confines of the TARDIS. The control room buzzed as ever, though she couldn’t quite shake off the feeling that there was a different pitch to usual… almost harsher, almost…
She screamed as she saw the slumped figure on the floor. And then recoiled when yellow mist spread from the Doctor’s lips.
A couple of hours had passed and the light across the forest had faded. Sergeant Benton and a couple of the lads in moments had been at the Doctor’s side once Jo had tearfully located them and explained the situation. Benton had to get his head round the TARDIS — he after all had never been inside until now — but duty soon took over and he had gotten the boys to place the Time Lord’s body in the medical wing. With the usual medical officer on leave with his friends in the Navy it was required that a specially attached alternative be on standby. Still, he was mystified as the rest of them as to the nature of the Doctor’s condition.
Jo did manage to explain some of the gaps. The Doctor had told her that he was planning to head into the TARDIS to undertake some repairs, something about the recent events at the Freedom Corporation and the Master suggesting that perhaps the Time Lords hadn’t quite whipped all his memory of the brief period in which he’d been able to pilot the TARDIS. Regardless of that, the Time Lord had asked her to fetch some basic equipment —she couldn’t even remember what now — and then she had found the Doctor like this… still spewing out on occasion the strange yellow substance.
The Brigadier was tried to be contacted but the response was that he was too busy with Major Blake at headquarters to be available. The reasons behind this soon became clear as Jo and Benton switched on the television within the Troop lounge.
“- is uncertain. Once again, if you’re just switching to us here on BBC 3, the main news again; Guinevere One has disappeared off tracking sensors as it made final decent upon the Martian surface. The reasons behind this loss of contact are unclear and as yet no report has been made. We at BBC 3 will of course-”
Mike Yates switched the television off, a worried expression upon his face. “Looks like the Brigadier won’t be any help then. Typical.” He sat on the nearby couch and looked at the blank box thoughtfully as Jo sat next to him. “Just the sort of thing the Doctor would be a real help for and he’s out cold. What happened in the TARDIS, Jo? What was he trying to do?”
The blonde haired woman sighed, her thoughts fixed on the Doctor all alone and in bad shape back in the medical wing. “I don’t know, really. He must have tried something with the TARDIS and well… it hurt him, badly. But it’s not in the TARDIS’ nature to harm the Doctor, of the little I know of it, it’s almost alive.” She turned to Mike with an apologetic expression displayed. “I’ve got to stay with him Mike; I don’t think we can-”
Mike nodded ruefully. Another date would have to be cancelled. But with the Brigadier busy… “Its alright, I’ll make sure he gets the best rest possible, and get the medical chap to find out what this mist is doing to the Doctor.”
“But suppose…?” Jo’s head was filled with all of the usual worst case scenarios “Suppose something tries to…?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Oh I don’t know, maybe I’m being paranoid like normal but… the fact that the Doctor is out cold with that strange stuff coming of him… at the same time that the Guinevere One Probe is missing…” She trailed off, a little irritated at Yates’ smug expression that convinced her he wasn’t. “Oh forget it then. I’m going to check on the Doctor.”
Private Morrison was bored. Christmas Eve and he was stuck in the middle of patrol duty at the gates to UNIT Headquarters. A stifled yawn escaped his throat as the darkness and silence flowed about him.
He checked his ears when he heard it first. The sound of music in the distance. Then footsteps. Four shadowy figures appeared from the gloom and Private Morrison readied his weapon.
Then he lowered it. Just carollers, it seemed. Odd place to want to sing though. Their Santa costumes seemed impressive, though Morrison couldn’t quite get the way they moved almost jarringly, like the limbs weren’t all they could be. Even the jolly Santa masks they wore seemed a little menacing in the dark.
“Hey, you there. This is private property. I understand it’s the holidays but please vacate to a more suitable-” Private Morrison never got to finish, for the music stopped and one of the Trumpeters raised his instrument in his direction, almost like a-
He never even had time to scream.
The four figures looked up at the metal gates and gatehouse which Morrison had been sheltering in, and then the mansion of UNIT UK Main Headquarters in the distance. One of the Santas produced what appeared to be a remote control from his pocket, and with the press of a switch the gates swung open and they marched on, past what had been Morrison before he’d been burnt to a crisp.
“Sergeant? You alright, Benton?”
The younger officer turned from the window to look over at Mike and Jo as they tended to the Doctor, still sweat ridden and on occasion breathing out the mysterious yellow fluid from his lips.
“Sorry, sir - just thought I saw some light by the entrance, it’s probably just Morrison. Er… any progress with the Doctor?”
The medical officer that was in the room shook his head. “Due to the rather… unusual nature of the patient, it is difficult to say exactly what is calling these conditions. His temple is significantly warm so I have placed a damp towel on his head and given him some pills. As to whether they’re having any effect, I can’t tell. And this mist is utterly alien to me… literally, it seems.”
Jo opened her mouth to ask further questions but the relatively silence was interrupted by the sounds of gunfire and screams. Quick on his feet Mike Yates leapt up and grabbed Benton, the pair of soldiers rushing to the main entrance from where the bullets seemed to be coming from.
They were amazed to find two men down, four sinister figures marching towards the front gates, huge flames and laser fire emitting from… trumpets?! And men in Santa costumes?
With some horror Yates concluded that these weren’t mere humans — as before it looked that UNIT was the centre of a bizarre alien incursion, but this had to be the strangest he could remember.
Benton gathered the surviving UNIT forces into the corner and peered at the advancing figures as he cursed. There were simply too few men on standby to deal with something like this! “Men! Concentrate your fire on that one!” He pointed at the left most Santa, slightly off from the rest of its party, and watched as the six men round him let loose a stream of bullets. Amazingly, the figure didn’t drop dead or even carry on moving as many immune to weapons aliens seemed to, but started sparking and ceased its movement. The three other Santas suddenly ran in all directions, too quickly for the soldiers to reload and fire again.
The prone Santa that was left and all at once burst into flames, toppling to the ground as the UNIT troops moved forwards. Cautiously Mike Yates moved to the face and was amazed to see a featureless shape with large black eyepieces. “It’s a robot of some kind!” He glanced about. “There are three more of them on UNIT grounds. We have to find them before he can reach the Doctor — they’re clearly after him.”
Back to index
Chapter 2: Communication
Author's Notes: As the Doctor is struck with a mysterious illness from the TARDIS, Jo and UNIT are menaced by... Santa Clauses? Meanwhile the Brigadier meets the Prime Minister and learns of an impending invasion on Christmas Day.
In the medical wing, Jo nervously stood by the Doctor, unaware of what was occurring outside and having only gunfire to go on. She pushed a stethoscope onto his chest and was dismayed to hear that only one of his hearts now appeared to be beating. Looking at his face, Jo saw the uncomfortable tenseness written on it.
She looked up… and screamed as the face of a Santa Claus Robot was viable through the window. In its hand she saw a remote control and a button glowing bright red. What did that mean?
The sound of a Jingle tune emitted from down the hall, coupled with several shouts of surprise as Benton and his men emerged from the entrance hall. The Christmas tree in the lounge was moving! It began to spin, both the movement and song it was making growing higher in pitch. Jo screamed again as she looked outside her door and saw the killer tree buzz though the wood of the door frame to the lounge and cut off the men from her. Bullets seemed to have no effect as it menacingly moved towards her.
Panicking, she cut and locked the door before realising this would never stop the tree from cutting through and reaching her and the Doctor. She struggled to push a nearby cabinet in front, if only to slow the progress of the tree, but a bleeping from the window reminded her of the watching Santa. She jumped back in alarm as the tree burst though the door, now moving faster than ever! The Santa creature had made the remote-controlled tree even faster, and uncertain of how to escape she rushed to the side of the nearby cabinet and pulled out the Doctor’s velvet jacket. She rummaged through the pocket contents and pulled out with glee the Sonic Screwdriver, brandished it at the advancing tree and pressed the button.
With a sudden array of sparks, the Christmas Tree exploded and UNIT Forces piled into the room. Jo glanced at the window and with some horror realised that the Santa was gone.
“Well done, Jo.” Mike, Benton and Jo jumped and twirled round to see the Doctor, dressed in PJ’s that the medical wardens had supplied him, sitting up and apparently well. Jo was initially delighted and moved towards him but a worried frown appeared on her face as she saw the vacant expression upon the Doctor’s brow.
“Hm, remote control, but who could be controlling it, I think?” The Doctor shot off the bed and strode right past the soldiers, stopping only briefly twice, first to pick up a dressing gown and then to nab the Screwdriver from Jo’s right hand. “Out here.”
The four figures exited the building, and Jo shuddered as the three Santa robots stood, two with trumpets and the third still holding the remote control device, their metal masks betraying nothing. But as the Doctor thrust the Screwdriver in their direction, they moved backwards, almost in fear. The centre Santa pushed a button, and glowing with a blue aura, the trio vanished, a trail of blue energy emitting into the sky.
“What?” Mike Yates couldn’t keep the surprise off his face. “They trash UNIT HQ, kill three of our men and turn our tree into a ripsaw of death, and then just leave? What sort of creatures were they?”
“Pilot Fish.” The Doctor seemed to slur the phrase out. “They were just…” His feet gave way and he crumpled to the ground. Only Jo’s quick timing stopped him from falling completely and she tried to keep him awake.
“Doctor! What’s happening? Why are you like this?”
The Time Lord seemed to be struggling to keep awake. “Tried to… open TARDIS circuits. See if… I could override Time Lord Restraints. But… I accidently looked into the TARDIS’ heart… Ugh… very dangerous energy in there, exposed to it… I became a living energy source. The Pilot Fish could… could detect it from deep space. Must have wanted to kill you and take me to feed off all that energy… AH!” The Doctor convulsed and Jo struggled to hold him. “Listen, Jo! Neuron explosion in my body, I need to…” He slumped forwards.
“DOCTOR! What do you need?” Tearfully, Jo attempted to get him awake, and was shocked as his eyes snapped wide open.
“Pilot Fish! Pilot Fish means that… means that… something is coming.”
As Christmas Eve passed into Christmas Day, Jo fretted as she moved back and forth in the now half damaged lounge, Mike and Benton attempting to reassure her. The medical officer had told for them to give the Doctor the chance to rest, but every hour since the Time Lord had collapsed had yielded no results.
“I’ve seen him like this before,” Benton muttered to Yates. “When he showed up with the whole Auton business and he had changed from… from before. He was all jumpy and saying the strangest things…” A thought occurred to him. “Oh lord; he’s not going to change again, is he?” No one replied to his thoughts so he resorted to brooding in silence.
The TV was switched on by Yates in the absence of still being unable to contact the Brigadier. It appeared that Guinevere One had been found and the ground crews seemed pleased with the results. “Scientists in charge of Britain's mission to Mars have re-established contact with the Guinevere One space probe. They're expecting the first transmission from the planet's surface in the next few minutes.” Doctor Llewellyn once more appeared, a little more subdued and nervous than before as he gave his comments. “Yes, we are. We're -- we're back on schedule. We've received the signal from Guinevere One. The Mars landing would seem to be an unqualified success."
“But is it true that you completely lost contact earlier tonight?”
The scientist took the comment. “Yes, we had a bit of a scare. Guinevere seemed to fall off the scope, but it -- it was just a blip. Only disappeared for a few seconds. She's fine now, absolutely fine. We -- we're getting the first pictures transmitted live any minute now. I'd better get back to it, thanks.” He strutted off the stage, Yates recognising the staged calm on his face.
“Pilot Fish…” Jo suddenly remarked. “What are Pilot Fish, exactly? The Doctor called those Robot things that.”
Yates glanced at her with some worry. “Well, I’ve done some study into marine life… a past time you understand… and Pilot Fish are Scavengers which latch onto big predators and use them to hunt. If the Doctor said that something was coming, that means…”
Their thoughts were cleared as the TV started to go fuzzy. The announcer claimed that these images were coming live from the surface of Mars. The static started to clear as a shape appeared…
Then the three jumped as something roared directly at the screen.
“The face of an alien life form was transmitted live tonight on BBC1.”
“On the 25th of December, the human race has been shown absolute proof that alien life exists.”
“These remarkable images have been relayed right across the world.”
Within UNIT headquarters at the Tower of London, Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart glanced in turn at several of the screens and sighed. “Well damn goes the Official Secrets Act…” He was joined by Major Blake, a fellow UNIT officer and long-time friend of academy days. “Well Major, looks like UNIT have a full scale crisis on their hands. Just perfect that it’s the day that Doris’ mother happens to be visiting. Ah well, no Turkey for me today it seems.”
Blake nodded. “Not to worry, sir, the Ministry of Defence will be certain to cover this up as best as we can.” He looked about and then turned back to his commanding officer. “So where is this famed Scientific Advisor of yours?”
“Worse luck, it seems.” The Brigadier sighed once more. “The old chap appears to be infected something to do with that TARDIS of his. Typical. An alien invasion is incoming and UNIT has already lost its trump card.”
“Sir!” A private raced in, a shocked expression on his face. “The scientist bloke is coming sir, but he’s with-” He never finished as both the Major and Brigadier snapped to attention at the arriving figure. “Madam.”
“That’s alright, gentlemen.” The Prime Minister glanced around her as she surveyed the operation. “Thank you for being prompt. And Dr Llewellyn, I’m glad to finally meet you properly.”
“Hm, yes, Prime Minister,” was all that the young scientist could say. He was too amazed at the thought of what his findings had made; let alone what he’d been sworn to secrecy of a base operating from the Tower of London. His feelings were clearly readable as the Brigadier smiled and explained.
“New UNIT base, formed recently. Designed as a more high-tech monitoring station than found within our main headquarters. Since London is a logical target, it makes sense to have a proper base of operations here.”
The Prime Mister motioned to her right hand man Alex. “Alex here has devised a suitable cover story.”
“We've said it was a hoax. Some sort of mask or prosthetics. Students hi-jacking the signal, that sort of thing.”
“Excellent work, Alex.” The Prime Minister smiled across at him, and then sternly motioned at the Brigadier. “Now then, Brigadier, what has UNIT determined so far?”
“This creature appears to be new.” The Major spoke up. “It’s certainly nothing that staff at UNIT backlogs can identify as something that we’ve encountered before.”
“You seem to talk of aliens as if they are a matter of fact.” Llewellyn perked up.
“Quite. But more importantly… The transmission didn't come from the surface of Mars. Guinevere One was broadcasting from a point some 5 thousand miles above the planet… at least, when the transmission was received.”
“So they might not even be Martians.” Llewellyn suggested meekly.
“Of course not, Martians look completely different.” Llewellyn looked across with shock at Major Blake’s statement, who quickly regretted his words as the Prime Mister and Brigadier frowned at him before sighing.
“Certainly, madam.” The Brigadier moved over to a set of technicians who were busy operating large computer panels and switches. “Our number of satellites at present are still limited, but what we have detected some kind of spacecraft. Its moving in our direction, and unfortunately it looks to be moving quickly.”
“Sir!” One of the technicians pointed to the main computer screen operated on a wall as it snapped to life. Four figures stood in a darkened chamber. The one who appeared to be leader began to speak in a guttural alien tongue. “Gatzaa so me. Me pel Sycora. Codrafee ka gal soo hutsa, soo mineatal, soo pedra cay. So massac jalvaaan col theia massac chack chiff. Sycora jac! Sycora telpo! Sycora faa! SYCORA FAA!”
The Brigadier motioned at one of the techies. “Odd, they normally speak English. Get that translated as quickly as you can, I’m guessing that was some kind of ultimatum.”
Another man stepped up to speak to him. “Sirs, madam. Call from Washington. The President is demanding that he take control of the situation.”
The PM sighed. “Kindly tell the President that though his thoughts are most welcome in this hour, he’s not my boss and he’s certainly not turning this into a war.”
Jo glanced out of the half-damaged mansion, feeling so powerless. With the Brigadier in London and the Doctor now back in bed, seemingly worse than ever, she had no idea what to do.
They always spoke English. The aliens. These ones didn’t… like without the Doctor that didn’t happen…
Mike was also concerned and kept his own thoughts. The Brigadier had called him an hour ago and explained the situation. Anyone presently ringing up about the television event was to be told the cover story provided. And most disturbing was that they had been informed of — the fact that something big was heading their way.
“Still nothing from your advisor, Brigadier?” The Prime Minister had sat on one of the many seats gathered round the base and was ruefully sipping some Coffee she’d obtained.
“Nothing as yet Madam. I’m not sure what’s happened to him, particularly when we perhaps need him more now than we ever have. I surprised that you’ve never had the honour of meeting him.” Lethbridge braved a smile at his Commander-In-Chief and she nodded back.
“He’s renowned enough for what he did for this country at Stangmoor Prison and Project Inferno. But failing him… what about Torchwood?”
Lethbridge started. “Madam, I must protest… even the Doctor doesn’t know about that particular organisation, and neither should you. After all the trouble with Department C19…”
The PM raised a hand for silence. “I know I'm not supposed to know about it, I realise that. Not even the United Nations knows. But if ever there was a need for Torchwood, it's now. Brigadier… you’ve made a similar choice before haven’t you?”
Lethbridge shifted uncomfortably, and then nodded. Before the pair could continue a shout from Alex that the Translation software was complete caused them to move over to him, Llewellyn and Major Blake.
"People... that could be cattle…” Alex began to read off the script that the computer had provided. "You belong to us. To the Sycorax’-- they seem to be called Sycorax, not Martians. ‘We own you. We now possess your land, your minerals, your precious stones. You will surrender or they will die. Sycorax strong, Sycorax mighty, Sycorax rock - as in the modern sense, they rock.”
‘They will die’?” Llewellyn sat mystified at the result. “Not ‘you will die’, ‘they will die’? Who's they?"
“I don't know, but it is the right personal pronoun, it's they.”
The Prime Minister straightened and was silent for a moment, and then spoke. “This software can send a reply out to them?” At a nod from ones of the techies, she continued. “Send them our reply. Tell them... This is a day of peace on planet Earth.’Tell them... We extend that peace to the Sycorax. And then tell them... This planet is armed and we do not surrender.”
The hours dragged on as light began to stream through the window of the medical ward. Jo sat by the Doctor’s side, now past the panicking stage, merely content to watch and hope. Nearby was Benton and Mike Yates, a walkie talkie by his hand in case the Brigadier needed his help or another attack on the mansion came their way.
The silence was oppressive, and Jo bent down to the Doctor’s ear, tears welling in her eyes.
“Come on, Doctor… we need you. UNIT needs you. I need you…”
“Madam, we’re receiving a response.” Alex’s words came as the form of the Sycorax loomed upon the screen. As the Brigadier watched what was clearly their leader moved his left hand in a gesturing motion and the hand glowed bright blue for a moment, just before the signal went dead.
“What was that?” The PM looked confused. “Was that some sort of response?”
Llewellyn continued to stare at the now blank screen. “If I didn’t know better it looked like someone casting a spell. Maybe it's a different form of language, some sort of ideogram or pictogram.” Suddenly he glanced about and the three men and woman were amazing to see a number of people stand up, glowing blue and all heading in a certain direction, including the UNIT techie who had been helping them. “What the hell? It's the light! It's the same light! You there! What're you doing? Hey!” The techie ignored him and those who had stood shuffled towards the exit. The two soldiers at the door branded their weapons but an order from Major Blake and the PM let them go on.
Back at UNIT Main Headquarters, the same thing was happening; a large number of the soldiers on standby were simply dropping their guns and heading up the stairs of the mansion. Mike and Jo looked on with horrid fascination, particularly when they saw one of the figures.
“Benton!” Yates’ attempts to reach him proved futile. “Benton, stop that! That’s an order! BENTON! Blast, it’s no good, none of them are responding!”
“Why!?” Jo to and fro’ed between those who were now steadily scaling the steps to the upper floors, utterly ignoring the commands of Yates and the other soldiers who seemed unaffected. “Why is it them and not us?”
“I don’t know… wait. The phone!” Yates rushed to it and picked it up. “Mike Yates. Thank god, sir, it's you! Yes, the same here. No, Jo and the Doctor are alright, but Sergeant Benton… We’ll do our best to sir.” He put the phone down and turned wide-eyed to Jo. “Whatever’s happening, it’s across the whole country… maybe even the world. Whole groups of people are just walking up to the highest area they can find…”
“Captain!” a voice of one of the remaining UNIT troops screamed out. "They’ve all gone through to the Fire Escape on the roof. Oh, god… I think they’re going to the edge! They’re going to jump!”
Mike Yates cursed and grabbed Jo as the pair raced to assist Private Letts, who was attempting to stop Benton from getting too close to the edge. Just as they reached it, they stopped.
Mike and Jo looked on in horror. Some twenty men, including Benton, stood motionless. “Now what?” Jo whispered. Mike just stared about helplessly. He’d seen some weird things at UNIT, but few things proved to be as unnerving as this.
“I don’t know, I really don’t know.”
Back to index
Chapter 3: Hopelessness
Author's Notes: With a third of the world seemingly under the spell of the Sycorax, Joesphine Grant may be Earth's only defence. Will the Doctor heal in time to stop them?
Back in the UNIT Tower Base, the Brigadier and the Prime Minister stared at each other. “Surrender or they will die,” she muttered, then turned back to the Major and Llewellyn as they re-entered.
“According to the stations across Earth, we’re seeing about 1.5 Billion People - that’s a third of the world population ready to… wait a minute.” Alex was reading from a fax which was coming in from Geneva. “There is a pattern. All these people tend to be father and son, mother and daughter. Brothers and sisters; family groups, but not husbands and wives.”
A grave look appeared on Llewellyn’s face. “Oh, God, it's Guinevere One. Have you got medical records on file for all your staff?” At a nod from Alex he asked to see them.
Meanwhile the PM inquired to the Brigadier about Torchwood, at which a disappointed response ended with the news that he had ‘made inquiries’ but couldn’t take responsibility, not this time.
“I can,” the PM said curtly.
Within ten minutes a set of files of those who appeared to be possessed appeared in his lap and he read from them. “A Positive, A Positive… that’s it, they’re all A Positive.”
“What's so special about that blood group?” the Major asked.
Llewellyn wiped sweat off his brow and continued. “Nothing, but... it's my fault. Guinevere One... it's got one of those plaques identifying the human race. Er... a message to the stars. I mean, you don't expect anything to come of it, but... I put on maps and music and samples. There's wheat seeds, and water, and... and blood. A Positive. The Sycorax have got a vial of A Positive. And well, I don't know how, but... through that...”
The Prime Minister finished for him. “They control the blood.” A worried sigh escaped her lips. “Then there's only one more thing I can try left. Major, with me.”
With Benton and the others still on the roof, Yates and Jo had resorted to staring at the television as the Prime Minister spoke. “People of Britain, if I can take this opportunity to address both you and the world, to those in the United States and in the Soviet Union, across Europe and the Pacific, across the entire planet on this tragic Christmas Day. It's hardly the Queen's speech, I'm afraid that's been cancelled.” She turned off camera. “Did we ask about the royal family? …Oh, I see. They’re on the roof. But - Ladies and gentlemen - this crisis is unique, and I'm afraid to say, it might get much worse. I would ask you all to remain calm. But I have one request… Doctor, if you can hear me… I don’t know what to do. Please Doctor, heal and help us.”
And the tears which Jo had been keeping from sobbing all night poured out, she couldn’t help herself. Mike Yates took her shoulder and let her brave it out as she carried on.
“He’s left us, Mike! I don’t know what to…”
She screamed as all at once the glass around them smashed every window pane breaking. Mike jumped up with alarm. “Now what?”
And then in the distance, he saw it, hovering over where London should be. Blocking out the sun as it was snuffing a candle. The ship of the Sycorax, an enormous vessel made of stone.
“Now we’re in trouble…” he muttered softly.
Jo was with him, and with a sudden burst of determination rushed back inside the mansion and raced for the medical ward. Reaching the Doctor’s side she grabbed as many things as she could and with tears still streaming down her face, tried to lift the prone form of the Doctor.
Mike rushed in and looked at her dumbly. “What are you doing?”
“TARDIS, only safe place left. If the Doctor’s isn’t going to wake up in time then the Sycorax will destroy Earth, or enslave it or whatever. All we can do is to hide and I’m sorry that it sounds horrid but it’s the truth and you know it. Now grab his legs.”
Yates sighed and complied.
With a rudimentary translator to hand, the Prime Minister and the others watched as once again, the form of the Sycorax leader loomed on screen. It spoke, and Alex translated for her. “Would the leader of this planet step forward?”
Trying to seem as assertive as normal, she stepped forwards. “I’m proud to represent Earth if I must.”
Suddenly they glowed with the same blue light as before and then found themselves transported up to the hollow dark caverns which appeared to be the interior of the Sycorax Spaceship. The leader stepped down to meet them and they walked towards him as he removed his helmet, exposing the fleshy, bony skull beneath.
“Good grief!” was all that the Brigadier could say.
“You will surrender, or I will release the final curse. And your people will jump.” Alex read the translation as the Sycroax Leader spoke.
Llewellyn pushed his way in front over the other’s protests and nervously began to speak. “If I may, sir… The human race is taking its first step towards the stars, but... we are like children compared to you. Children who need help. Children who need compassion. I beg of you now... show that compassion.”
For a moment there was silence. Then the Sycroax Leader simply raised a whip in his hand and lashed it round Llewellyn’s neck. With a loud scream he was reduced to a mere skeleton. Angrily Major Blake stepped forwards. “That man was your prisoner! Even your planet must have articles of war, forbidding-” He never finished as the same fate happened to him and he too began mere bones. A cry of anger emitted from the Brigadier and he attempted to reach for his pistol to avenge his old army friend, but the Prime Minster stopped him and moved forwards herself.
The Sycorax Leader spoke once more and Alex again translated. “Surrender or they will die.’
She swallowed saliva and tried to compose herself before continuing. “If I surrender, how is that better?”
“‘One half into slavery or one third dies. Your choice,’” Alex ended gravely as the Sycorax leader placed his hand over a glowing red button, grinning evilly.
The TARDIS was still humming with that off-key vibe, but it still seemed preferable to Jo as she and Mike dragged the Doctor, still clad in a dressing gown, into the control room. She put him on a chair, not wanting to slump him down lest it bring back the memories of how she’d found him when all this first started.
“I wish we could fly this thing, but the Time Lords would never allow it, even if the Doctor was well.” In desperation, Jo tried to flick a couple of switches, including the TARDIS viewing screen button.
The Sycorax leader glanced angrily at something and roared out some words which Alex struggled to translate. “The noise - the bleeping - they say it's machinery. Foreign machinery. They're accusing us of hiding it. Conspiring… Bring it on board.”
The Brigadier started. “Do they mean…?”
And with a wave of blue light, the TARDIS abruptly appeared behind them as they turned to look at it. A few seconds later Jo came out, apparently about to check on Benton and Letts, and was roughly grabbed by two Sycorax. Her screams brought out in turn Mike Yates, who was similarly jostled away. Only quick thinking caused him to have slammed the TARDIS door switch beforehand, leaving the fallen Time Lord save from within.
As the Doctor sat prone on the chair, his mouth once more spew out the mysterious yellow mist that had come from the heart of the TARDIS. As if in response, the control panel hummed, and a pale purple light began to shine over the Doctor’s body while the chair shifted into a bed upon which the Doctor lay…
“The yellow girl. She has the clever blue box. Therefore, she speaks for your planet.” Alex once again finished translating the language of the Sycorax leader.
“You must be joking! Let me-” The Brigadier stepped forwards but a hand from Jo stopped him.
“No, I… I can do this.” She straightened and spoke directly to the Sycorax leader. “By…the power of the Nestene Consciousness and um… the Axonite Empire, and the Azal Alliance… I command you to leave this world alone, lest you force us to use the… erm, the Keller Machine, and the Doomsday Weapon… so leave this planet in peace! In… peace…”
There was a few seconds of silence. Then the Sycorax burst into laughter and once more their leader grinned menacingly before he spoke.
“You are very funny. And now you’re going to die…”
“NO!” Mike struggled to break free, as did the Prime Minister and the Brigadier, but to no avail.
“Did you think you were clever with your stolen words? We are the Sycorax. We astride the darkness. Next to us you are but a wailing child. If you are the best your planet can offer as a champion... then your world will be gutted...and your people enslaved.”
Jo blinked. Weren’t those last few words from the leader’s mouth English? “That… that was English.” As the Sycorax leader denied that he would speak in such a tongue as their own, she realised what that might mean.
“If I can hear English... then it's being translated. Which means it's working. Which means...”
And the five humans turned to stare as the TARDIS doors swung open.
The Doctor’s face beamed back at them. “Hello, Jo. Did you miss me?”
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Chapter 4: Confrontation
Author's Notes: Though the Doctor has recovered from his infections, he must still battle the Sycorax and save Earth once more. But is humankind worth saving? And will the Brigadier actually get to have his Christmas Dinner? The final chapter is here!
“Doctor!” Jo exclaimed with glee as she saw the figure standing within the TARDIS doorway.
“GAHHHHHHHHH!” The Sycorax leader lunged at the Doctor with his whip. Quick as a flash the Time Lord entered his Venusian Aikido stance and slammed his open palm into the creature’s rib cage. In pain it dropped the whip and the Doctor snapped it in two.
“Most undignified piece of flimflam. Now you stay there, old chap, got things to do first.”
The leader suddenly reared up with his staff, but once again the Doctor reacted, this time spinning to one side, grabbing the stick and again snapped it clear in two. “I said… wait! Now then… Mike Yates, glad to see you again! Brigadier, old bean, you look splendid.”
Lethbridge shrugged. “This alien invasion happens to be making me miss Christmas Lunch with Doris and her mother.”
“Oh, dear, bad luck. Well I’ll have it sorted in no time… Good grief, the Prime Minister!” Though the Doctor was not one for keeping up with politics he of course recognised the ‘Iron Lady’ immediately.
“Doctor, a pleasure to finally meet yo-”
“Yes, yes, whatever.” The Time Lord dismissed her for the moment. “And Jo… shouldn’t have dragged me from the TARDIS! The old girl has equipment to help with these sorts of things; it cured me of the Chronon energy nicely enough. Of course you brought me back, so that problem was simple enough.”
“If I might interrupt…” The Sycorax leader had by now stood up and though pain ridden stood up and glared angrily at the Doctor. “Who are you? What are you?”
“Fair question. Well… I’m the Doctor. I’m haven’t been quite myself lately, but I’m certainly well enough to see that you’re causing trouble. What for example, is that?” He pointed at the red button and ran up to him before any of the Sycorax could stop him.
“Ah, Control Matrix, very clever. And the feeder happens to be… oh I see.” He spotted the blood housed within on a try. “Blood sample, looks to be A Positive so I don’t need a taste. So that means blood control. But of course, you’re the Sycorax.”
“You have heard of our people? Impossible!” The leader was moving towards him, ready to be rid of the interloper.
“Not for someone who knows just about everything, old chap. For example, I happen to know this…” And he slammed on the Red Button.
Sergeant Benton was suddenly aware that he was starting on the edge of the UNIT mansion and backed off from the dangerous drop. Then he spotted the huge spaceship in the distance.
“You killed them,” Alex said with horror.
“Of course not!” The Doctor flashed him a sour look. “All part of the usual Sycorax master plan. All it involved was simple hypnosis, but you can’t tell a person who’s hypnotised to kill themselves — the survival instinct is just too powerful.”
“It matters not. I can take this planet by force if needed,” the Sycorax leader growled.
“But what’s the point sir, really?” The Doctor came to stand opposite him. “Humans can be a pretty nitwit ridden bunch, particularly the Brigadier when he’s off… well, anyway… but there is some good amongst them. They deserve to live. So live them be!”
“Or what?” the alien hissed.
“Or I’ll fight you!” Quick as a flash the Doctor grabbed one of the Sycorax swords and pointed it at the leader. “I, sir, am a master swordsman, if you truly are an honourable sort you will agree to leave Earth if I am able to best you within the grounds of single combat.”
The leader grimaced, recalling the uncanny prowess of the figure when he used those martial arts upon him. But with pride at stake… “Stinking human… if you stand as this world’s champion, I will destroy you with ease.”
“I doubt it.” The Time Lord grinned.
And at once, the sword battle commenced.
The Sycorax leader and Doctor clashed swords, the Doctor displaying an immense amount of concentration upon his brow as the sound of steel against steel echoed within the vast cavern. The leader quickly realised his mistake, for the Doctor was an impressive swordsman, his white hair flowing as he parried and made blows, dodging when needed and proving a worthy opponent.
“You… are good, human. But I am better….” The Sycorax hissed, and a sudden wave of fierce blows caused the Doctor to lose balance, and he was forced to leap out of the way as the enraged alien carried on. Spying a control panel as he was backed into a corner the Doctor pushed it, and light streamed in as the pair fought high above the clouds, all of London down below them.
Swords continued to swing, and the Doctor was alarmed as the Sycorax leader attempted to hit him in the torso with the butt of his own sword, but he leapt out of the way. Before the alien could react, a powerful outstretched palm hit the back of the Sycorax, and the sudden shock of this painful attack made him crash to the floor.
A cheer from the humans arose as the Sycorax leader turned groggily, stunned. “Witchcraft.”
“Venusian Aikido. Oh, and I win old chap.” The Doctor pointed his sword directly at the Sycorax’s throat. “Now I’ll spare you if you agree to this: take your kind and never attempt to threaten the inhabitants of this world ever again.”
“I… I swear.”
The Doctor’s eyes narrowed. “On the blood of your species?” At a nod, he smiled. “Good, crisis averted.” He stuck the sword into the ground and walked off to Jo and the others. “Never thought I’d be saving the world in a dressing gown again. Ah well, can’t wait to be back in the old…”
A sudden cry from the leader as he raced towards the Doctor alerted him. Without even turning, the Doctor tensed his muscles. Just as the leader was about to hit him, he spun on one foot and thrust a hand at the Sycorax’s chest. “HAI!” The leader gasped, rolled his eyes and crumpled to the ground.
At a look from Jo, the Doctor shrugged. “Should have known not to do that. You there!” He pointed to one of the nearby Sycorax warriors. “Pick him up, there’s a good chap. He’s only been knocked out and should be aright in a few hours. Incredibly hard to do that move with just two limbs, my teacher used to say…”
He stopped as he re-entered the cavern with the others, a frown upon his face. He shouted up to all of the Sycorax present. “By the rites of combat I have won, and by that power I have ordered your leader to never harm this world again. Remember that when you speak of this world to others — that it is defended.”
The various humans and the Doctor found themselves transported onto one of London’s many streets, and watched in amazement as the Sycorax ship took off and headed into the atmosphere.
“We did it! We did it!” A huge hug from Jo enveloped the Doctor and after such seriousness he was glad to have Jo back. She turned and planted a huge kiss on Mike Yates’ lips, who wasn’t at all ready for it and immediately blushed as the Brigadier grinned amused at the whole thing.
“Well done, Doctor, you’ve done it again.” He shook the Time Lord’s hand firmly. “And on Christmas Day of all days.”
“You know me, Brigadier, never to disappoint. Besides, you hairless apes are usually worth saving.” The pair burst into laughter as the Prime Minister stood close by. Alex whispered something in her ear and she sighed, glancing across at the Doctor and the others.
“Tell them to fire,” she said.
All at once, huge points of green light burst from various parts of London as the stunned humans watched. Only the Brigadier recognised it for what it was, and closed his eyes. With a huge explosion, the Sycroax ship was destroyed.
“That was murder,” the Doctor hissed as he turned to the Prime Minister.
“That was defence. You know what they would do, Doctor — threaten Earth again and again.”
“Not if I was here!” The Time Lord shook with anger.
“But you’re not. As I understand it, you’re only here because your people forced you to be. You might be UNIT's scientific advisor Doctor, but today you couldn’t save everyone. It happened today - Mr Llewellyn and the Major. They were murdered. They died right in front of me while you were sleeping. In which case - we have to defend ourselves.”
“Defence…” the Doctor trailed off. “Then I gave them the wrong warning. I should've told them to run - as fast as they can, run and hide because the monsters are coming: the human race.” He twirled and began to walk off, Jo nervously going after him. “You politicians are all the same…”
“Doctor, my role is to stop this country go green, by any means needed. If I had set out to be liked by everyone, I would have to compromise on everything and would achieve nothing. These are the people I represent. What I did I did today I did for them.”
He turned. “Then I should have stopped you.”
“And what does that make you? Another alien threat?”
The Doctor walked up to her, his eyes narrowed. “…I could bring down your Government with a single word.”
“I somehow doubt it.”
“Hm… perhaps not. Seven. Seven words, I think.”
He motioned across to Alex, who dumbly nodded and approached him as he leaned to his ear.
“I fight on, I fight to win.”
Then he walked off, leaving a raging Prime Minister to figure how what he had meant. “Doctor! What did you say? Brigadier! Come back and explain to me! Captain Yates! Doctor!”
In any case, the Brigadier was too late to go and see Doris for Christmas Dinner. He was very apologetic, but on hindsight he enjoyed the chance to spend a day with the real family of his — the men itself. The Doctor, an avid lover of Christmas apparently in this present incarnation, joined in the festivities well enough and was seen to pull a cracker with Jo Grant happily. Benton rushed to his side, a blue party hat over his own military uniform and pointed outside. “Look, sir, it’s snowing again! Properly this time!”
As the UNIT Soldiers came out, so did Jo and the Doctor. She grinned up at the stars and beamed. “Look, there are even falling stars.”
“The Doctor, back again in his traditional velvet costume, frowned slightly. “Not quite. It's ash… from the spaceship breaking up from the atmosphere.” At a worried look from Jo, he smiled. “Just another thing we’ll have to take care of.”
“Doctor…” the Brigadier began. “The toughest thing we have to do is hold to the Official Secrets Act. No denying the existence of aliens anymore, that spaceship was on a hundred TV Stations.”
“Well, that’s interesting.” The Time Lord grinned at the stars. “But you never know… these things half the time heal themselves. The twentieth century isn’t when everything changes, you know. That's the twenty first.”
“Wonderful,” Lethbridge muttered. “And what the devil was that thing you whispered to the Prime Minister?”
“Oh, I’m sure she'll understand in a few years.” The Doctor slyly grinned and stared up once more at the stars. Normally he’d find that unsettling since he couldn’t leave Earth, but for one glorious night… that didn’t matter.
“Now come on. I’ve another of these stirring UNIT Christmas carols to hear…”
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