Hypernova by deathman
Summary: A dead-end underground base in Mongolia equals the land where dreams come true.
Rating: All Ages
Categories: Tenth Doctor
Characters: Jackie Tyler, Other Character(s), Rose Tyler, The Doctor (10th)
Series: Deathman - Chronology
Hypernova by deathman
Chapter 1: Hypernova Part 1 - Steel and FireAuthor's Notes: My chance to let off stress as I throw tonnes of monsters at the Doctor and Rose. Inspired greatly by the Nightmare of Black Island. You may not be able to see why from the first chapter, but...
I cannot continue with Turn of the Earth until I finish this (because of... you'll see) and so I'll try and finish this quickly, postin it one part per two days instead of per three days.
But... enough chat. On with the story!
STEEL AND FIRE
A DOCTOR WHO STORY
‘The craft has violated our earth-space,’ reported Investigations officer Brian Powell grimly, watching a computer screen, on which a tiny red dot was travelling through an atmosphere simulation at a great velocity. ‘It’s travelling at an impossible speed — three hundred thousand miles per hour.’
Slouching in a computer chair at the end of the parallel rows of computer desks sat Joshua Rockleson, the head of the organisation. He was a bulky man in a tight, stretching dark green suit, with cropped black hair and a lazy face. ‘If it’s going at that speed, then it must still be far away from Earth, because otherwise it would have passed us. Do some research, Powell, will you?’
‘But it shows it on the simulator, sir,’ persisted Powell. He pointed at the screen. The red blip was now below the clouds and was racing towards the stunningly realistic replica of the settlement of East Kambia, somewhere in Asia.
‘Click on it, Powell,’ drawled Rockleson, totally confident. ‘Find the coordinates.’
Dreading Rockleson’s infamous temper, Powell dragged the mouse over the mat. The arrow on screen moved, onto the hurtling red blip. He waited for a few seconds. Then a small yellow window popped up, informing him that the craft was only just past Jupiter. Rockleson, as usual, was correct. ‘It’s just reached the Asteroid Belt, sir,’ he informed.
He expected Rockleson to shout, but he did not. Instead he rubbed his hands togther and hissed, ‘Good. We can have it shot.’
The whole room went silent.
‘Prepare the missiles, Powell,’ Rockleson said. Powell couldn’t help but notice that there was a hint of worry in his usually lazy and overconfident voice.
In space, the alien craft rocketed across the vacuum. It was a strangely shaped red mass of what looked like bloodied steel. It was a rough oval, but had some odd points and turrets. It was glorious, the sight of the awe-inspiring spacecraft hurtling through the void, magnificent.
But not for long. A huge mile-long nuclear warhead erupted from the surface of Planet Earth, leaving a trail of thick white smoke behind it. It smashed into the ship with devastating force. But the craft did not explode. It took the impact gracefully, sending the ugly, spouting projectile arcing into blackness. For a moment, it looked like it might carry on moving. Then it flipped gently and began to float down towards Earth...
‘I’d better call home,’ said Rose to the Doctor busy at the console of the TARDIS. ‘Jackie’ll be worried.’
The Doctor turned to look at her.
‘Also I want to tell her what’s been going on.’ Rose shifted slightly. ‘I mean, she’s probably done washing, watched telly, eaten chips and gone to bed seven times over. We’ve watched a gladiator fight, seen the end of the universe, saved Earth from the Cybermen, ridden dragons, befriended demons, learnt to use plasma guns, helped build the Empire State and flown a time machine.’
‘Your wish is my command — but be careful what you wish for,’ answered the Doctor cryptically, flicking a switch with a lazy swipe of the hand.
‘You’ve said that before,’ Rose recalled. ‘When I went to save my dad. You were worried then. What are you worried about now?’
‘Just uneasy, I suppose,’ the Doctor admitted. He grinned nervously. ‘I guess it’s what comes of being nearly killed in a volcanic eruption yesterday.’
‘You nearly get killed every day,’ noted Rose as the TARDIS lurched and shook in the turbulence of time.
The TARDIS materialsed on a barren plain, next to a looming mountain. Rose leaned towards the TARDIS scanner.
‘Not home,’ she said, rolling her eyes. The screen read “East Kambia, Mongolia”.
‘Oh, sorry,’ came the Doctor’s voice.
The TARDIS faded away.
A few seconds later, it appeared again, in the exact same spot.
‘Weird,’ the Doctor said, tapping the console absently. ‘Something’s drawing us in. A beacon, scanning for alien technology and making it come.’
‘Shall we go and investigate?’ Rose asked rhetorically. And the Doctor stode towards the door.
They exited together.
Blinding light. Searing heat. She couldn’t see, the air was red. A mighty booming sound shattered her ears. She screamed, but the noise was torn away by the great wind. Her open mouth filled with fire.
And, somehow, in the middle of the confusion, the Doctor grabbed her hand and pulled her quickly back inside the TARDIS.
Back in the control room Rose felt the Doctor shaking her. ‘Rose?’ he asked loudly, waving a hand about in front of her half-closed eyes.
‘Yes?’ she mumbled.
The Doctor leaned back. ‘You all right?’ he said.
‘No,’ she said. ‘What was that?’
‘No idea,’ the Doctor replied, smiling slightly. ‘Same as ever. Really though. Are you OK?’
‘Yeah. A little hot, but that’s all. I was just being a pessimist.’
‘Same as ever,’ she added with a sceret smile.
That night, Rose dreamed.
She dreamed she was flying through space. Up ahead of her was a magnificent sight.
A gigantic cloud of gas, millions of miles wide. So huge. Yet Rose could see it clearly. She figured she must be far away from it.
And it was beautiful. The most beautiful sight Rose had ever seen. It was pink and green and black and purple all mixed together to form an eerie yet majestic illuminescence. Spread out in a phenomenal expanse of splashed-out colour and streaks of darkest night.
But in the middle of it was a strange sight. The looming head of a cosmic horse made of gas, stark and primitive in the middle of the delicate swirl. It too was beautiful, but of a threatening beauty.
Then Rose’s vision started to zoom towards the head of the beast, sickeningly fast. She screamed, but the dream would not stop. And then came the voice.
It was the most ghastly, twisted, evil voice that Rose had ever heard. A menacing, purring hiss that set her hairs and teeth on edge. It was made even more terrifying by the fact that it was bodiless. There was no visible body, or even mouth, just the looming horse head, frightening, glittering in the darkness of space.
‘Out here came the old, and out here shall come the new,’ it hissed.
Her vision twisted. Her heartbeat rang in her throat, a strange, alien music. Her eyes were filled with the head of the beast. It suddenly ocurred to her that it was evil. It had to be. It generated terror in her heart.
‘We wait for you in the darkness...’
‘No!’ she shouted, thrashing. She was spinning, falling towards the giant horse head. ‘No! Help!’
She suddenly had a split-second vision of two great red eyes. She screamed the only word that had ever brought her real help.
‘You are alone in the void...’
The head of the beast was coming closer...
Rose woke up, thrashing and screaming. The Doctor was by her side, a comforting hand on her hot dripping forehead.
‘You OK?’ he asked, annoyingly. Of course she wasn’t all right.
She didn’t reply, only sank back in relief, back onto her pillow. But she didn’t dare close her eyes. She didn’t want to return to that world of terror.
‘You’ve been screaming for half an hour,’ informed the Doctor. ‘It must have been a bad one.’
Rose nodded, exhaustedly.
‘What was it?’
Rose could hardly answer. She mumbled, ‘I was in space and there was a head of a beast and I was falling and I heard this voice and it said I was alone and I screamed for help...’
She just couldn’t say any more and collapsed further into the mound of pillows. The Doctor let go of her gently and turned to leave. But she leapt out and cried, ‘No! Don’t go!’ She was terrified of him going, her only protection.
He sighed. ‘Are you really that scared?’
She didn’t reply, her teeth chattering.
‘We’ll discuss the dream in the morning,’ he said, and felt her forehead. It felt hot. And not just fever-hot. Burning hot. It hurt to place a hand on her flesh for more than a second. That wasn’t just ordinary hot. Somehow, something had attacked his companion from the mind.
The Doctor bent inquisitively towards Rose, studying her with interest and concern. But over his shoulder, Rose thought she could see two gleaming red eyes. Glaring at her. Mocking her.
‘Go to sleep. Forget,’ the Doctor ordered. He produced the sonic screwdriver and whirred it over Rose’s head. She groaned gently and slumped forwards, her head resting on the pillows.
He knew he shouldn’t have done that. Now he would never find out more about this weird dream of hers. He would never discover what had scared her so much.
But he had a strange feeling he knew already.
The morning began, and the Doctor and Rose decided to explore the mysterious terrain once more.
‘Right, if I say “pie” it means that the fire’s come back, in which case you should stay inside. If I say “my” then it means it’s not there and you can come out,’ said the Doctor.
‘Right,’ said Rose.
‘Good luck,’ she added as he headed for the doors. He cast her back a quick grin, before springing forward and lashing open the doors. He vanished out.
‘My,’ called the Doctor.
For a horrible moment Rose thought that he had said “Pie” and was beginning to envisage her best friend burning in terrible agony when she heard the Doctor calling again — ‘My...’
Rose rolled her eyes, feeling a bit annoyed that the Doctor had made the two words so similar. Then she skipped out to join him.
Outside it was a rocky sticky swamp of boulders and dried lava, stark, barren and desolate. In the distance she thought she could see a few mud-shacks, scattered lonely over the forbidding plain.
But it was something else that really drew her attention. A mountain, gigantic and imposing, reared its towering peak into the clouds. But around its summit, the clouds had been torn back, and the sky was dark with wisps of fire.
‘It’s a volcano,’ said the Doctor. ‘That was what happened. It erupted. We got out of the TARDIS in the middle of a major natural disaster.’
Rose, staring at the volcano, had a sudden sense of deja vu. Then she realised it was because she was standing in front of a volcano, and she had done the same a few days ago, when she had seen Mount Keledon on the planet Tegrak, where she had helped the Doctor to defeat the Eon Eater, an inanimate intergalactic snake.
The Doctor was busy examining the cracked and slug-like stream of hardened basalt that must once have oozed from the mountain but now lay cracked and spread among the rocks, an ungainly dormant titan.
‘This wasn’t an eruption,’ the Doctor told Rose as the sonic screwdriver cast a lancing light over the rock. ‘The residual energy pattern isn’t the same. I don’t know what it was. But it definitely came from the volcano. We-ird.’
‘Well, let’s go and see,’ Rose said. ‘Maybe we can destroy the beacon and I can go home.’
‘Hmm...’ murmured the Doctor.
Rose suddenly realised what this was about. ‘It’ll take days. We can’t do that,’ she spoke.
‘No, not that,’ the Doctor disagreed. ‘The TARDIS can still fly within the beacon’s range. It’s just that I’ve got a feeling it’s not going to be as simple as that.’
The Doctor just shook his head. She had forgotten the dream. He had made her forget.
‘Rose, tell me, what was the head of the beast that you were talking about last night?’
‘No idea what you’re talking about.’
The Doctor cursed himself. He’d let his sympathy get in the way of his practical needs.
‘Really try hard, Rose. Think back. Last night. You had a dream.’
She scrunched up her forehead in concentration. ‘Hang on...’
A few seconds later —
‘I definitely had a dream, but I don’t remember what it was.’
The Doctor had to stop himself from swearing in frustration. ‘All right,’ he said kindly. ‘We’ll have to go into the volcano. To see what’s happening. To deactivate the beacon.’
He led Rose inside the TARDIS and closed the doors.
On the lip of the volcanic crater, the TARDIS materialised once more.
On the scanner, the Doctor watched with mild interest as the middle of the crater was blasted open and dozens of aliens poured through, and slithered towards the TARDIS.
‘Cuts to the change,’ the Doctor said sarcastically.
The aliens were mottled blue, with the top half of their bodies looking vaguely like humans, although their necks were bent down over their chests like upright prawns. Instead of arms they had long serrated pincers, like a scorpion’s, all bristling with hairs and spines. For a lower half they had a slimy wet tail like the body of a slug, which undulated along the ground, trailing behind them, leaving a greasy path of blue slime.
In their pincers they carried recognisable plasma guns, identical to the ones used on Tegrak Beta.
Rose observed the scanner with anxiety. ‘Doctor,’ she said gently. ‘What are you gonna do?’
‘Go out of course,’ he confirmed. Then he saw the fear on her face. ‘You can stay if you like,’ he told her.
For a moment she looked as if she might accept. Then her face cleared. ‘No,’ she grinned.
‘That’s the spirit,’ the Doctor said, smiling.
They walked out.
Immediately the aliens realised they were there. They slithered forward on their slug-like rear parts, slime encasing the crusty rock of the crater.
Soon they were surrounded.
The Doctor raised his hands in the air. Rose glanced at him then followed suit.
The aliens just stood there. They made no move to attack. But they didn’t put down their guns either.
‘Why aren’t they attacking?’ Rose hissed out of the corner of her mouth.
The Doctor paid no attention, but adressed the aliens, simply but formally. ‘I’m the Doctor and this is Rose. May we ask who you are?’
As if this was the sign of peace, the aliens relaxed. Then one of them stepped forward, as if it was the leader. Its small vicious mouth moved up and down as it spoke in a gravelly, harsh voice —
‘We are the Hycrons.’
The Doctor smiled faintly. ‘And you are?’
‘Nefrin,’ spoke the Hycron leader. ‘Who are you?’
‘I just said,’ replied the Doctor, a bit irritated. ‘I’m the Doctor, and this is-‘
‘Insufficient data,’ cut in Nefrin.
The Doctor cursed under his breath. ‘We’re travellers-‘
‘We’re from... around and about-‘
Rose was getting panicked. ‘What do you want to know?’ she burst out.
‘Who you are.’
‘I told you, I’m the Doctor and this is Rose.’
‘Insufficient data. Titles are irrelevant. You will say who you are or be incarcerated.’
‘All right,’ said the Doctor, taking a new approach. ‘Who are you?’
‘Nefrin,’ Nefrin grated.
‘Exactly. You’re saying exactly the same as I am. You don’t want to reveal your identity. All you can tell me is your name. Now, if I help you then you help me. Name for name, help for help.’
Rose heard Nefrin talking amongst its companions. Then it stepped forward once more. ‘A valid point. And accepted. How can we help?’
Rose breathed out a sigh of relief. The Doctor counted on his fingers. ‘Right,’ he said eventually. ‘Three questions.’
Nefrin nodded. Rose had now worked out he was a male, something about the way he carried himself was strongly masculine. ‘Ask,’ he ordered.
‘Number One. Why are you here on Earth?’
Nefrin grinned widely. ‘You will see in due course. We will show you the Hypernova Project sometime soon.’
The Doctor looked dissatisfied, but, reluctant to anger the Hycrons, he continued. ‘Number Two. Did you have anything to do with the eruption yesterday.’
‘This is correct.’
‘Great.’ Rose entered the conversation. ‘How?’
Nefrin turned to her. ‘You will see.’
The Doctor was getting frustrated. ‘Why can’t you answer her?’
‘You will see,’ Nefrin repeated mysteriously.
‘Oh yunhow,’ moaned the Doctor.
‘You have forgotten the third,’ Nefrin reminded him. Rose couldn’t decide whether this was said provocatively or gently.
‘Oh yes, nearly forgot,’ said the Doctor, raising his head from his hands. Suddenly his voice turned cold and hard, like shards of ice rattling at the bottom of a bucket. ‘Were you involved in Rose’s nightmare?’
Rose looked confused. ‘Which nightmare?’ she asked, frowning. Then she looked around. At the Doctor’s hard expression. At Nefrin’s concentration. And knew it must be true.
‘Before I put her to sleep, she mentioned the head of the beast,’ the Doctor helped Nefrin. ‘I’ve no idea what it is — well... I have some ideas.’
‘The head of the beast...’ Nefrin looked troubled. ‘Say more.’
The Doctor’s forehead scrunched up in concentration. Then he remembered. ‘Rose said she was in space.’
Nefrin’s face lit up.
‘And she said that a voice told her she was alone...’
Nefrin shushed him. ‘Now if you are talking about the head of a pig, or bird, or cat, then I cannot help you. But if, by any chance, you are referring to the head of a horse...’
The answer suddenly clicked in the Doctor’s head.
‘The Horsehead Nebula.’
Rose’s jaw dropped in memory. She suddenly raised a finger. ‘I remember that, from Science. The teacher used to show us pictures and say that it’s the most beautiful sight ever...’
Nefrin beckoned, smiling. ‘Come,’ he said.
The Hycrons led them into the heart of the mountain, via hidden passageways and elevators, through halls and lifts and gaping pits. Finally, they arrived at what they had come to see.
‘The Experiment Shaft,’ Nefrin declared proudly. ‘Look over the edge...’
They had come to a chasm, a rift in the world, and were standing precariously on the brink. Blasts of hot air constantly singed their faces as they looked down into the deep.
It was an endless black shaft, spiralling darkly down into nothingness. But its sides were tinged with fiery red, and that lit up the way, a flickering yet continuous flame.
The Doctor got out his hyperscope that Rose remembered him using before, on the planet Exx Xis Six, in the battle with the Reapers.
He fitted it over his eyes and gazed down. The shaft really did seem limitless, and even the hyperscope had difficulty seeing to its ultimate end. But it did, and what lay there was a shock.
There it was. The strange ovoid spacecraft that Rockleson and his associates had shot down many years ago.
Only the Doctor could identify it.
And identify it he did.
‘This is a Szaborg ship,’ the Doctor spoke. An unspoken menace filled the air.
‘Yes,’ Nefrin confirmed. ‘And now, I think, I can answer your other two questions.’
‘Who are the Szaborgs?’ Rose asked, and shivered. The very word seemed to chill her blood and dry her bones.
‘This is the story I am going to tell.’ Nefrin drew himself up.
‘A long time, eons ago, the Hycrons and the Szaborgs were at war. A vicious, neverending conflict, stretching out over galaxies and thousands of years.
‘In the end, a treaty was made, by Qucar the Great, an inspirational Hycron leader. Neither side was to attack the other, under pain of death.
‘In time Qucar died, but for a time his law held. For centuries and milennia there was peace.
‘Then, in very recent times, a Szaborg ship travelling from a base to the Hycron system with an army of Szaborgs, luckily, passed Earth and was shot down by a team of alien investigators, led by a man named Joshua Rockleson.
‘The Hycrons learned of this, and knew that the old flame of war had been rekindled. We arrived on Earth at the ship’s crash site — here — and set about experimenting on the craft. We realised that we could adapt it into the most powerful weapon ever created — the Hypernova Missile, capable of destroying solar systems.’
The Doctor suddenly exclaimed — ‘You can’t use it. Look, I’m telling you, Nefrin, it’s wrong. You can’t just destroy a system. It’s wrong.’
Nefrin grinned. ‘Let me finish.’
Grudgingly, the Doctor complied.
‘However, we realised the experiments had a downside. When our drills and other devices attempted to sculpt and tear at the craft its auto-defence mechanism activated and sent out a gigantic spout of fire, destroying much of the base and killing many Hycrons.
‘So we made this.’ Nefrin leaned to the left and touched a thick, metre-wide steel tube that extended both down into the chasm and up towards the crater. ‘This channels the great energy up through the crater, so it can rise up harmlessly as a kind of volcanic eruption.’
‘Harmlessly?’ Rose questioned indignantly. ‘Harmlessly? That energy nearly roasted me!’
‘Harmlessly to us,’ Nefrin pointed out.
‘Which is what counts,’ he added smugly.
‘So carry on with the story, then,’ the Doctor urged.
‘That’s it really,’ Nefrin shrugged. Both the Doctor and Rose were suddenly aware of many Hycrons surrounding them. ‘And, Doctor, as a matter of interest... How do you think you can help us?’
‘I don’t know what you mean,’ replied the Doctor warily, his eyes flicking from side to side, registering at least a dozen burly Hycrons standing perfectly still around the chasm.
‘If you recall, you said if we helped you then you would help us,’ Nefrin reminded him.
‘Oh yes,’ said the Doctor. Rose looked at him, worried. ‘Well... um, yeah... I suppose we... no...’
‘He is of no further use to us. Seize him!’ commanded Nefrin. Instantly several Hycrons barged forward and grabbed the Doctor by the arms, head and hips.
‘You can’t do that!’ cried the Doctor.
‘Incarcerate him,’ said Nefrin calmly. ‘And his little human girl. Put them next to each other. I want to see them longing.’
The Hycrons seized Rose. She cried out. The scorpion-men were already dragging her away.
‘Leave her!’ yelled the Doctor, but the Hycrons paid no attention. ‘Do you hear me? Put her down! NOW!’
The Hycrons lifted the writhing Rose up an dangled her upside down. ‘Doctor?!’ she screamed, and then she was gone, along with her captors.
‘NO!’ the Doctor roared at Nefrin, standing coolly at the edge of the pit.
Nefrin leaned closer to him, bent-over head lolling. His hot breath scorched the Doctor’s face. ‘You say how you can help us or you die.’
‘You say how you can help us or she dies.’
Instant, ferocious thrashing.
‘Ahh,’ breathed Nefrin. ‘Her life is more important than your own.’ He turned to one of his juniors. ‘Thrashuak, I think we’ve struck a chord.’
‘I will stop you,’ breathed the Doctor raggedly. ‘I don’t know how, I don’t know where, I don’t know when, but I will. No matter what the cost.’
‘And how will you do that from beyond the grave?’ Nefrin laughed, as the Hycrons drew their plasma guns, removed the safety catches, cocked them, and pointed them — straight at the Doctor’s face.
Buried under the ground in the Hycron prison, miles underneath a volcano, Rose dreamed.
She dreamed that she was back in space, falling towards the head of the beast, which still lay threateningly before her.
Then, even faster than in her previous nightmare, her legs went limp, as if someone had cut them away even as she stood. She succumbed to the force of gravity and whirled, three hundred and sixty degrees. Then again and again, as if caught up in a crazy spacial rollercoaster. She screamed and then fell, still spinning, her vision tilting as the strange, eerie drum of her heartbeat leapt into her mouth and she could hear it everywhere, in her feet, hands, chest and head.
Then she realised it wasn’t just her heartbeat. A disembodied, strangely desolate-sounding melody was echoing. She looked around to find the source, but she could see nothing save the head of the beast, the stark, evil, primitive gas-shape enclosing her. She was spinning, falling. Then the voice came again. The spine-tingling, panic-inducing hiss that seemed to emanate from everywhere and nowhere simultaneously.
‘There is no life...’
Rose screamed once more, now she was on the edge of the head of the beast. Yet somehow she could still see it in its entirety, its lonely, terrifying image imprinted on her eyelids.
She stopped briefly on the very brink of the head.
‘In the void...’ purred the voice, and then she was off. She was ripped bodily from the dark space, and into the cold, looming bulk of the head of the beast.
Rose screamed, ‘DOCTOR!’ But it didn’t work this time. The Doctor was far away from her. Separated.
For a split second, she saw the same two red eyes she had seen earlier in her previous dream. But this time more of the face could be discerned. The whole countenance glowed with a strange light, and most of the face was obscured in its shadow. All Rose could make out was something like worms. Trailing across the face. But never clouding the unfailing malice of those red pitiless eyes.
Rose was inside the hot maw of the gas-beast.
Then the voice said, in a terrible, even scarier tone that made Rose throw up —
‘We are the Szaborgs.’
TO BE CONTINUED...
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