Miss Lara Croft sleepily fluttered her eyes open. She felt like she had been asleep for ages, and with no end to the strange dreams either. At least, they seemed like dreams. Actually, she was really not sure of anything at all. Where was she, and how did she get there?
Inquisitively, the young lady squinted, trying to get a view of her surroundings. At the same time, however, a bright white light flooded all around her, sending a wave of tears pouring into her sockets and blurring her vision. Achingly, she closed her eyelids and tiredly stretched her arms out as if she were a big cat. Then, after a giant yawn, she brought them back in and attempted to rub the sleep out of her eyes.
It did not help. As soon as she finished she tried a second time to gaze around the room but the bright light around her persisted. That was when it finally occurred to her where she was or, at least, where she had been. Even at this realization, however, she could hardly believe it. All of her memories, between the times she had begun skulking around those dark caves up to the present, seemed like a series of strange dreams. They were all so clear at the time but now that she was awake they began to fizzle away into little incoherent pictures in her head. But how could they have been real? One thing that was for sure was that something had happened. She really did not know where she was or how she got there. She was beginning to get a headache from it all.
Wearily, she laid her head down to think for a moment. I did not help much. She had not noticed it before but whatever it was that she was laying on was as hard as a rock. It brought to her mind a vague memory of falling helplessly onto the floor and then passing out. Maybe she was still there, on the floor.
Even with that revelation, though, the bright light made it nearly impossible for her to think seriously. She rolled herself over to face the wall. It was a most uncomfortable transition too. She felt as though she were a teenage, once again doing her best to avoid the torture halls of education in favor of a much sought over extra five minutes of sleep.
Once she was actually on her side, however, her perspective changed radically. All around her, the light radiated out creating a fascinating silhouette of her that seemed to dance frantically about. It was almost as if the illumination behind her was from a flame rather than a man made object. If it were, though, it would have to be a very large flame.
There was only one real way to find out for sure and lying around thinking was not it. If she was going to find out where she was and what had happened to her she was going to have to do some exploring. With a deep breath she closed her eyes slightly to avoid the bright light behind her. Then, unwaveringly, she rolled over on to her stomach, preparing to push herself up to her feet.
She never counted on the possibility that she was not still on the floor. The young lady instantly found herself floating for a split second. Then, with all the force of a howitzer, fell to the ground with a resounding thud.
"Well that was awfully clumsy." Croft remarked slapping her palm against the floor. "I wonder what other embarrassing things I can do."
Just then, almost on queue, the bright light that had been filling the entire room suddenly shut off. Instantly, the whole room was pitch black. "Fabulous" Lara moaned apathetically. "If its not one thing it's another."
With a deep breath she pushed herself up to her knees and began to try to think of where to begin. There was only one thing that she could do, continue to explore. Half excitedly the young lady rolled back onto her feet so that she in a squatting position. She was about to stand up but in the total darkness it occurred to her that it might be safer to stay as she was. She had not gotten a chance to see the layout of the room and she wanted to be sure there were no booby traps waiting for her. Avoiding them in the dark would be far easier on all fours.
Slowly, she dropped back down to her knees and began to crawl forward, feeling her way around the room. After a moment, she reached the far wall. There was nothing too special about it except that there was another platform there, just like the one she had woken up on. Further on, Miss Croft found a long flat wall.
That being done, she moved back across to the center of the room where the light had come from. As she moved directly in front of it she prayed silently under her breath that it would not come back on. Just to be sure, she reached into her backpack, pulled out her trusty sunglasses, and slipped them into position.
It was all a moot point, however, for when Lara actually reached the center of the room she found nothing of interest what so ever. From her knees, she flailed her arms out, looking for the mysterious object but to no avail.
She was missing something. If only her trusty lighter hadn't fallen into a dark abyss on her last adventure she would not have this problem. Suddenly, she stopped everything and rolled her eyes. What ever had knocked her out had obviously done something to her brain. Even if it had not she was not about admit forgetting something so silly.
Lara reached back into her pack and removed a flare. In mere moments the whole room was illuminated by a bright green light. She could now make out everything around her with nearly perfect detail and it all left her with more questions than she had started out with. It was a relatively small but symmetrical chamber, very plain except on either side where identical stone slabs about three feet high. Undoubtedly, this is what she fallen off of earlier. It reminded the young explorer of several sites she had come across in her travels around the world. Each of them had vastly different purposes too, ranging from sacrifices to meeting chambers.
This one, however, was a total mystery. Most of the other places that Lara had seen had some sort of identifiers. Here, there were no inscriptions, tools, pictures, or anything of the sort, just plain white walls and two slabs.
That is, with one exception. In the exact middle of the room, a large scepter floated in mid air. As soon as she saw it Miss Croft lifted an eyebrow. Of everything that had been running through her head, only one part had not seemed like a dream, a scepter. . It looked exactly like the one that had brought here there, long and golden and adorned with jewels.
The young lady approached cautiously, all the time examining the area around it, looking for some sort of reason that it would be floating. She found nothing. Even after examining every inch of it, squatting down to look under it and standing on tiptoe to look over it, she could find nothing of consequence.
There was only one thing left to try, touching it. Slowly, she reached out her hand toward the scepter. Suddenly there was small clang from somewhere in the room. The next thing that she knew she was enveloped by a soft white light.
"Stop!" Someone cried in earnest.
Croft froze. The voice somehow seemed familiar to her but she could not place it.
She moved her hand down to her pistol and stealthily drew the hammer back. She was not going to take any chances. Still looking straight ahead, she moved her eyes to glance off to the side. The light, though duller than the first one, was still too bright to make out anything except a silhouette.
"Are you all right?" The voice chimed again. Lara turned to face the figure in hopes of getting a better view. The light was still too bright. "Who are you?" She asked.
"Ah, yes." The shadow answered drawing forward slightly. "They said you wouldn't recognize me very much."
The young lady gripped her weapon firmly but for some reason the closer the mysterious person came to her the less frightened she was of him. As he approached the darker area of the room the explorer tossed her flare onto floor to get a better view.
What she discovered was an older gentleman who appeared to be somewhat familiar. It was all as if it were part of an elaborate dream. "It would still be easier if I knew your name." She scolded.
The man stopped and smiled courteously. "Of course," He said with a slight bow. "I am the Doctor."
"Doctor?" Croft repeated, still grasping tightly to her weapon. A wave of images started to filter through her head. It still seemed like a dream but with him standing right in front of her there was no denying it. "I think I know you."
The Time Lord nodded. "You do." He answered. Lifting a boney finger he pointed past the young lady right at the scepter. "And that is what you have both been searching for."
The young lady's ears perked up. Another flash of images began to run through her mind but this time they seemed just slightly more real than before. "A creature!" She exclaimed to herself. "There was some sort of creature."
"That's right." Another voice sang out. At the same time the darkness in the room faded and normal illumination appeared. Lara could see everything clearly now including the new person. "Greetings to you, child, I am Odg, Ruler of this land."
Lara blinked incoherently for a moment, futilely trying to take everything in. Everything in her mind was running together. The lines between her memories and dreams were all blurring together and the more she tried to understand it all the worse it got. Finally, she conceded that she was not going to figure it all out on her own. "What's going on?" She asked suspiciously.
"You remember the creature?" Odg continued stepping up beside the Doctor. "He is one of the Others. Like so many of my people he has tricked you and clouded your mind with false images."
The Time Lord nodded. "That's right, you've been brain washed, or you were."
Croft shook her head, trying to get the cobwebs out. "Brain washed?" She asked. "For what purpose?"
Odg lifted up a long bony finger and pointed directly to the object in front of Lara. "The scepter." He answered. "In your world you are renowned for retrieving the irretrievable are you not?"
Lara lifted an eyebrow. "In my world?" She thought back hard over all the images that had flashed through her head. Obviously she was somewhere strange, Odg's clothes suggested that, but she never considered until now that she was not in her own world.
It was nearly hopeless. Every time she had asked a question something new would come up giving her a thousand more questions. There had to be an easier way. "Alright," she began with a deep sigh, "tell me straight through what has happened to me thus far."
The two older gentlemen glanced over at each other and nodded affirmatively. In short order they directed the young lady out of the chamber and into the hall, the same hall they had been in before they had been knocked out. Somehow, it seemed more familiar, more than anything else she had seen since she woke up. She did not even question the invisible wall at the end of the corridor.
Even so, she was still not quite ready to trust either of her elderly companions. Something told her that despite their age they were not to be trifled with. She made a point of staying behind them as the traveled.
As they went, the Doctor conveyed Croft's story to her as best as her could remember from what she had told him. The whole thing kind of made her angry. She never trusted anybody except her butler, Winston, and not even him when it came to certain things such as her weapons cabinet. How had she let her guard down to be taken in by such a thing?
When they at last reached the older part of the castle, complete with stone bricks and torches Lara stopped in her tracks. The change in scenery seemed to have an overwhelming affect on her. For a moment, she stared back and forth from the old stone structure around her to the stairwell where the science fiction type complex was. She wanted to ask but the Doctor was still recounting her adventure to her and she wanted to make sure that was correct before she started questioning other things.
"It is a long story." Odg interrupted when he saw the young lady's puzzled expression. It was not hard for him to understand her confusion. He expected as much. "Allow the Doctor to finish his tale and then I will tell you mine."
The time lord's ears perked up. "Oh, I am nearly finished anyhow." He said with a tone of extreme curiosity. Truthfully, he was only nearly halfway into it. However, he had been as curious to know about the discontinuity of the areas as well and if he had continued on with his story, especially in the long winded in depth way that he had in been telling it, chances are that it would be a long time before they got to it. Even then, it was doubtful that any of the three of them would remember.
"Very well." The old king nodded. "This Atans, you met is not of this world. Nor am I. We crashed here long ago in a star ship, which is what you were just in. He was my prisoner then, in a war that our two planets were waging. The ship's communications blew out and there was no way to contact homes and in time we put the behind us and agreed to build a new life. At least, that's what I thought we had done. We found the inhabitants of this planet kind and helpful but naive. Atans used his mind powers to manipulate them. Before I could stop him he had used some of the ship's wreckage to build a computer that would increase his mind power."
Lara shook her head. "I suppose that makes sense," she said, trying to fit it logically into her head with all the disjointed images that were still running through it, "but how does the scepter figure into all of this. After all, I found one just like it on Earth."
Odg smiled. "You are from Earth? That explains a lot then." Croft tilted her head attentively at the remark. The old man continued. "We found some ancient manuscripts that mentioned a place called Earth and some sort of a portal. It also mentioned a group called the...Gia Orony?"
"Gia Oreni." The explorer corrected. "Suddenly my research makes more sense. All I really knew about them was that thought the world was too corrupt and that they possessed a treasure that was endowed by the gods and would be able bring peace. They must have meant it was a passage to a place where they could finally build a utopia for themselves. I wonder how they got hold of such power?"
"Pardon my interruption, Miss Croft," The Doctor said sticking a finger into the air, but I believe we should finally determine what is to be done next. Now then," he continued, turning back to Odg, "Atans is an Evlid, but what planet are you from?"
"Eavahn." Another voice echoed from down the hall. It belonged to a young man who had stealthily showed up behind the whole party and had been listening in for some time. The Doctor recognized him immediately as the boy he had seen in the forest and again just before he had fallen unconscious when trying to help Miss Croft.
Even so, the Time Lord Partially ignored him anyway. There was something far more important standing at the young man's side. It was his very scraggly and exhausted companion, Dave. He appeared to be nothing but dirt except for his hair, which was a fine mesh of sticks, bugs, and other unidentifiable things. His face wore an expression of pure melancholyness and confusion.
"My goodness, boy, what's happened to you?" The Doctor scolded. "And where is that friend of yours, hmmm?"
Dave stared blankly back at the elderly gentleman. He was not feeling in the best of moods and the Doctor's comments seemed more crass than helpful. "It just so happens," he began, "that Maria and I have spent the last several hours locked in cell in some huge cage. Somehow, I got out. She didn't."
"And that means she's in terrible danger." The young man to his side explained, turning toward Odg. "Majesty, Dave described the women known as Vee who betrayed me. If she has gotten to his friend-"
The king nodded sorrowfully. "Yes, Dama, this Vee seems to be strongly under Atans's influence."
Miss Croft's mind began to churn. Even though all of her memories were a bit fuzzy she was still cognizant enough to understand where Dave had been. Nonchalantly, she pulled out one of her pistols and began to make sure it was fully loaded. "I suppose then we might as well go get them then."
"Oh, so you are just going to run in there with your guns blazing then?" The Doctor gibed.
Lara smiled wryly. "That's the general idea." She answered.
"No...please." Odg begged. "Those are all my people. They are simply, confused."
"And what if you hit Maria?" Dave added.
The Doctor folded his arms triumphantly in front of him. It seemed to make him look twice as arrogant and full of himself as the young tomb raider had suspected in the beginning. "And what about you?" She asked Dama, hoping for at least a little recognition.
The young man shook his head. "We can still save them I think. We undid the damage they had done on you."
Croft took a deep breath and placed her pistol back into its holster. "Alright then," she asked the Doctor, "what did you have in mind?"
"What indeed." Answered the other. "What indeed."