Miss Lara Croft strolled confidently through the dark tunnels. With every step she grew more and more amazed that she could even remember the way. The last time she had traveled through the caves she had been under Atans's spell. Everything since then, up until she had woken up amidst an intensely bright light r, was a flurry of hazy memories.
The most perplexing part of her journey thus far had been the forest. Even if she had been very clear on the way it is likely that she would have been just as lost. The only things she truly remembered about the first trip were the back of her guide's head and the blur of the trees as they flew by.
Somehow, in the end, the young lady had managed to reach the cave and even she had to admit that it was nearly a miracle. The only thing that cast dispersions on the theory was a very dark spec that seemed to have guided Miss Croft on her way. Before they had parted company, the Doctor surmised that there might be such a thing since the others were expecting he back and wanted to show her the way. Now that she was back in the tunnels, however, things only seemed more conspicuous. There was absolutely no one around.
The young lady stood motionless for a moment staring at the ornate scepter in her hand. She was having serious doubts about the whole plan but it was far too late to start changing things now. It was only that she found it hard to believe that giving Atans what he wanted would somehow free those under his control. Still, she supposed that the Doctor knew what he was doing so she went along with it.
A few minutes later a dark shadow passed in front of the explorer followed closely behind the sound of soft muffled breathing. Lara narrowed her eyes, trying to see the figure through the blackness. In a few seconds a faint outline became slightly visible but was still mostly obscured by the dark.
"Yes?" Croft began when she realized the shadow was not about to speak first. "If you aren't going to do or say anything useful than you might as well get out of my way."
"It's about time." A young sarcastic voice blurted out. "We were thinking of going on to plan B."
"Well, it's not like it was a cake walk." Lara snapped back. "No one bothered to explain that it would be hidden in some weird building."
"We didn't feel it was important." The voice answered back. "Besides we weren't positive and did not want you running around off kilter trying to find something that might not be there."
Lara's ears suddenly perked up. "Off kilter" was not a phrase she expected to hear from anybody around her with the exception of the Doctor or his companions. Hastily she pulled a flare from her backpack and lit it, sending a bright green light flooding through the cavern and illuminating the owner of the voice that had been speaking to her.
It was a young girl, somewhere in her teenage years, and wearing what used to be a blue and white-striped skirt. That is, it used to be. At present it was so tattered and soiled with dirt that its original appearance was all but lost for good. It was only by luck that Lara noticed the small patches of faded color peeking out from behind all the grime.
This person she was dealing with had to be the Doctor's companion, Maria. No one that she had come across thus far had dressed anything like the girl in front of you.
With a sigh, she squeezed the scepter tightly in her hand. She so wanted to use it to change the girl back right there but she had no idea how to do it or even if the scepter could do it. Even if she had it would not have been the right time. She had to stick to the plan.
"Well, give me the scepter." Maria ordered, holding out her hand. "I'll give it to Atans. "
Lara pulled the scepter back. "I don't think so." She retorted. "I'll give it to him myself. He sent me after this thing and I will I give it directly to him. It's the only way I'll get home."
Maria nodded understandingly and stepped off to one side, allowing Croft to pass. She then promptly followed the explorer as she proceeded down the hall. In only a short amount of time they happened to make it to a small dimly lit room.
Miss Croft recognized it instantly. It was the exact room where she had awoken before she met Atans for the first time. For a moment she lingered, giving off an impression of reminiscence. In reality she was quite busy with a small square transmitter inside of her pocket. With Maria tagging along behind her, she had nowhere to put it. If she simply threw it onto the ground it would blow the whole plan.
As she looked around the cave, she began to pick at the lining of her pocket with the sharp corner of the transmitter. It only took a second to loosen up a small stitch and open a hole. Then, leisurely, she strolled over to a dark corner and pretended to inspect the wall. Meanwhile, she ran her finger over a small button on the transmitter and pushed it out of the hole in her pocket.
All the while, Maria paced nervously back and forth near the entrance of a hall on the other side of the room. "What are you doing?" She asked irritatedly.
Croft turned with a sigh. "Just making some last minute memories." She answered, looking over the scepter. "I should be leaving once I get rid of this."
"Well, let's go get rid of it." Answered the other, hastily. "I don't have all day you know." Lara nodded and ambled rapidly past the young girl and down the hall.
A few seconds later a loud screeching sound pierced its way through the chamber. It echoed off of the walls with a mysterious reverberation. Further down the hall, Lara could faintly hear it and made an effort to dig walk slightly louder in case Maria became suspicious. A few moments later the TARDIS materialized of
"This is it!" Dave yelled, leaping excitedly from the time ship. Now all I have to do is find Maria, right?"
"Yes yes." Agreed the Doctor, stepping out behind the boy. "However, it would probably be a good idea for all of us to stay together for a little while. At least until we know where to look."
Just then, Odg and Dama stepped cautiously out of the time vehicle, intrigued and slightly frightened at the short trip.
"Amazing!" The King exclaimed as he exited. What did you call this mode of travel again?"
"Hmmm?" The Doctor responded. He had only half heard the question. Most of his mind was focused more on the caves around him. Then, as if an alarm clock had gone off next to his ear, he shook his head and came back to reality. "Let's not worry about that right now." He said pointing off to the tunnel that Lara and Maria had disappeared down earlier. "I think we should go that way." The rest of the entourage, having no real idea which way to go, nodded in agreement.
"What if we run into this Atans?" Dama asked as they began toward the hall. Ever since they had left he had become increasingly nervous and paranoid that something would go wrong.
The Doctor shook his head. "If Miss Croft does her job correctly," he reassured, "we won't have to worry about anything of the sort."
Further down the hall, Lara was standing outside of the room where she had first met Atans. Maria, who had been following her since she had arrived, stood behind her, happily dancing from one foot to the other as if she was a four year old on Christmas morning. In her brainwashed state, the excitement of the scepter's presence was very overwhelming.
Croft ignored it all with relative apathy. What she was about to do would change everything anyway...she hoped. So, without further delay, she mustered up her courage and walked forcefully into the darkened room.
Strangely, the mere sight of it made her smile slightly. It was one of the few things that she seemed to remember clearly. She also remembered the dark figure in the corner. He was still there.
"Is that what you were looking for?" The tomb raider asked, tossing the scepter into the dark.
"Excellent!" Replied a darkened voice. "You have done well."
Ever so slightly, Croft began to dig the heel of her boot into the dirt. The voice was all too familiar and its presence, while not frightening, made her nervous beyond belief. She wanted to grit her teeth right then and there but she had to keep up appearances until the Doctor arrived.
"Thank you." The young lady replied with a smile.
"Something's strange about her." Maria noted, slithering up. She looked Lara up and down for any visible flaws or signs of deception. "I don't know what it is but something is definitely strange."
Atans nodded. "Thank you my child, I shall deal with it. "Please stand guard by the door."
"Fine" Huffed the other. "But I'm not a child." With that, she turned and glided gracefully out of the door.
"So," the voice in the dark continued, "You have managed to clear your mind."
Lara moved so that she was standing as straight and upright as she could and crossed her arms in front of her. "Yes, thanks to the people in that castle. You know, seeing as how that is my only way home, you might have bothered to let me keep my mind."
Atans shook his head. "I apologize." He said. "I couldn't take the risk of you saying no."
Miss Croft shrugged her shoulders it was nearly time. "Well, you have the scepter, and I am kind of anxious to leave."
The figure in the dark corner nodded. Before he could do anything with the scepter, however, the young lady held up her hand. "Just a sec." She said. "I just thought of something. When I was climbing that wall I didn't see anywhere that you could have come from. I wonder, could you show me where you were right before you rescued me?"
"What difference does it make?" Atans replied. "You are here, is that not enough?"
"Well, I'm just curious," Lara replied, "it's my nature. Besides, I'm going right back anyway so it won't hurt if you show me."
For a moment there was an uncomfortable silence. Atans sat back in his corner stroking the scepter in his hand and thinking. Croft, meanwhile, slipped her right hand down on to the butt of her pistol. She was not sure what would happen next but was not about to let herself be attacked. After all, it was now known that she was no longer under the influence of any mind control and that could spell disaster. Then, after what seemed an eternity, the shadowy figure rose and stepped across the room to the back wall where he pushed a small, almost unnoticeable button.
"Very well." He finally answered, as a door, cleverly disguised as a wall, slowly opened. "I will show you then."
Nonchalantly, the both of them stepped through the passage and disappeared from view. At the exact same time Maria came rushing back into the room. "Sir!" She yelled. "Someone's coming this way and I don't think they're -"
The silence all around interrupted her. "Atans?" She inquired to the darkened shadows. "Are you there?"
"No but we are, young lady." The Doctor snapped stepping through the door.
Maria whirled around to face the Time Lord. "Oh, I should have known it was you." She said when recognized him. "You can't take me with you. Atans told me about you."
"And what was that?" Dave asked, following right on the Doctor's heals. "He's lying, whatever it was."
The young lady simply shook her head. "Whatever." She replied apathetically.
"Believe them." Odg said, appearing at the door, followed soon after by Dama. "You are under a spell. Fight it."
For a moment, Maria did not move. She simply stared out into space as if she was considering what had been said. In reality, she was waiting to strike. Looking for an opportunity that was to her advantage.
The Doctor, for his part, took his own advantage from the girl's pause to move closer to the back wall. "Dave, Dama." He ordered. "Help her. Odg, help me."
The boys nodded affirmatively and stepped forward between Maria and the Doctor. At the same time Odg slipped behind them and began feeling around the wall. "Doctor?" He asked. There was no answer. The Time Lord was too busy examining the rock face for himself. "Doctor?" He asked again. There was still no answer. "Doctor, it might help if I knew what we were looking for."
"What ever it is you won't get it." Maria interrupted. Forcefully, she marched forward toward the quartet; intent on stopping whatever insurrection they might be planning. Dave braced himself for the worst. He did not want to fight his girlfriend but she, being under Atans's control, had different plans all together. Without a second thought, she stepped up and shoved him off to the side. In retaliation, the young boy grabbed her by her arm and pulled her away from the Doctor and Odg. The young lady turned angrily onto Dave and threw a hard punch into his jaw sending him flying crashing to the ground. Dama countered that by grabbing the young lady's collar and tossing her out into the hall.
"I'm sorry." The Doctor finally replied to Odg's question, oblivious to the carnage. "You were asking what we were looking for. The computer that increases his power."
Dave shook his head as he slowly returned to his feet. "Why do I have a bad feeling about all this?" He asked himself. Lethargically, he shrugged his shoulders. What ever happened he was determined to rescue Maria whether she wanted it or not. With that, he marched out unwaveringly out into hall and was blindsided straight into the wall by Vee, who seemed to come out of know where.
All at once the battle came to an abrupt stop. No one moved. They all just stared at each other, Dave and Maria and Dama and Vee.
"Why are you doing this?" Maria yelled furiously. "Can't you just leave us alone?"
Dama shook his head. "Girls, listen, you are being tricked. Your minds are not working right."
"No, for the first time they actually are!" Vee shouted back. "We have found truth. We were living in darkness and now it's all clear."
"You should join us." Maria continued. "Dave, you've never known this feeling. It's better than anything else.
The young boy stood silently for a moment contemplating what he had just heard. In his gut he knew that she did not mean any of it but that did not stop his stomach from tightening. From his eye, a small solitary tear formed and ran half way down his face. "Is it a better feeling than love?" He choked.
Maria chuckled lightly to herself. "Love is meaningless." She answered almost gleefully.
Back in the room, the Doctor stopped feeling around the wall for a moment. He could hear everything that was being said. Having dealt with the Evilids before he knew how they worked. "Ignore her boy!" He called out. "She is only trying to get into your head."
He was nearly ready to step out to try to calm the situation himself when Odg found something. It was a small crack in the rock. The unusual thing was that it seemed to run straight up and down instead of here and there as a normal crack would. "Doctor!" He called, pulling the Time Lord back to the moment. "I may I found something."
The Time Lord moved forward excitedly, nearly pushing Odg out of the way. "This is it!" He said as soon as he had touched it. Quickly, he moved his hand around until he found a small button hidden in the rock face. As soon as he pushed it the rocks parted at the crack revealing a small control panel.
Back in the hall, Maria leapt forward knocking Dave to the ground. Vee followed suit and before long the whole hall was filled with sounds of a scuffle.
The clamor quickly echoed through the stone passages bringing assistance to the girls from all over. Out of nowhere, people began to show up and join the fight. Dama, who was not experienced in fighting at all, appeared to be swallowed up by the crowd. Dave faired slightly better but only because Maria insisted on taking him on herself.
"Doctor!" The boy yelled from within an anaconda like headlock. "Anytime would be good!"
"Patience, child." Replied the other, bending over the computer. He was busily focused on the controls in front of him.
Odg stared out into the hall. Dama had completely disappeared and Dave was slowly turning blue in the face from the headlock. "Doctor?" He said calmly. "Perhaps if you explained what you were doing I could help."
The Time Lord shook his head no but in the midst of it he stopped short and turned to his king companion. "Hmmm, you might at that." He agreed. "You already said that Atans augmented his mind power by creating a computer, correct? In the past I have known Evlids to need a neural link to keep control of several people at once. It is quite a fascinating technology really. You see - "
"Doctor!" Dave interrupted, this time from the ground, trying to free himself from a chokehold.
The Time Lord nodded. "Of course, of course." He muttered. As quickly as he could he ran his fingers over the controls, trying to find a way to turn the machine off.
Impatiently, Odg stepped up and tore off the front of the computer, exposing its innards. "Where I come from its easier to do this." The Doctor shrugged. It was far more barbaric than he liked but it would ensure that the system stay down.
Odg took the gesture as an approval. He reached down, grabbed a hand full of wires, and pulled. They snapped soundly amidst a flurry of sparks sending the two elderly men reeling backward.
Out in the hall all of the combats that were attacking Dave and Dama suddenly stopped and fainted. This included Maria who, by now, was totally on top of the boy choking him. She immediately fell on her victim causing him both pleasure, because the battle was over, and pain because of how Maria had landed on him.
"Is every one all right?" The Doctor called.
Dama pushed the pile of people that had landed on top of him to one side and looked around for Vee. "I think we are." He replied. "But what about the girls?"
Odg pushed himself up off the ground. "I think they will be all right." He said. "Now if we can just get rid of Atans."
That situation belonged to Miss Lara Croft. She was standing firmly on a ledge high above the stone path looking over the lake of fire. She could feel the intense heat of the lava wafting its way upward toward her. It brought back the horrid images that had invaded her mind the first time that she had seen the lake. She almost wanted to turn and walk away but there was too much at stake.
Atans said little of anything. As long as he had the scepter he did not care why Lara wanted to see the pit. Besides, he planned to have her under his control again quite soon. At least, that was the plan. Unfortunately for him, the moment that he was about to try it was the exact moment that the Doctor and Odg destroyed his computer.
Atans's neural link sent a sudden surge of feedback his body. For a moment his body constricted back in pain then righted itself.
That was when Croft struck. As Atans tried to catch his breath and reorientate him, Lara reached in and grabbed the scepter back from him. Then she turned and jumped off of the ledge onto the stone walkway below.
Atans quickly shook off the remaining effects of the surge and leapt down in front of Lara. Suddenly, any sort of calmness that the creature had was now replaced by furious anger. "You little minx!" He cried out. "What are you up to?"
Croft scanned the area, trying to learn her surroundings before the now inevitable battle. The outlook was not good. Besides Atans being in front of her she had managed to land right in front of a broken off portion of the walkway. She was trapped. Her only advantage was the scepter.
"Come now." She replied smugly. "You know I'm not just going to give this back to you. And you can't be angry about being double-crossed either. You were probably going to try to rehypnotize me anyway. Am I right?"
Atans opened his eyes widely in a last ditch effort to hypnotize Miss Croft. "But I brought you here for a purpose." He explained in a soft voice.
Lara shook her head. "If you knew anything about how I got here you would know that is impossible. "
The Evlid's eyes grew narrow. Without his neural link her mind could not be taken over so easily. If he was going to get the scepter back it was going to have to be by other methods. Considering his opponents size he decided to try his strength. With a snarl he charged headlong at the young lady. At the same time Lara squatted down, preparing for Atans's assault. As he drew near she took a step forward and leaped high into the air, flipping over her attacker and landing on the other side.
As she passed over his head, however, Atans grabbed the scepter. Then, he quickly spun around and thrust Lara aside with one hand, sending her bouncing off of the edge of the walkway.
Swiftly, Croft grabbed the ledge with one hand just barely keeping her from falling off, much to Atans's dismay.
As she rolled back up to safety her enemy placed the scepter in position over his forehead. "Let me show you why I wanted this thing so badly." Atans chuckled. "You see, my species has always had mental powers other than manipulation. We also have a little psychokinetic power too." With that, he gathered all of the energy he could muster into his mind. If he could transform some of it into a psychic wave Lara would stand no chance.
"Don't you get it?" Miss Croft yelled. "You've lost. The Doctor has probably already freed all of your servants."
Atans said nothing. Instead, he unleashed a huge wave of psychic energy from his mind, blowing open another huge gap in the stone path. Lara jumped backward just in the nick of time. It was just long enough for her to deploy her pistols and fire several rounds at her enemy.
The alien convulsed from the impact of the bullets. At the same time he lost his grip on the scepter and threw it forward. It hit the catwalk and bounced off of the side.
In a flash, Lara replaced her weapons and dove forward. Grabbing the ledge tightly she swung her out and seized the object with her feet before it plummeted to a fiery demise. With the help of her momentum carrying her forward she pulled herself back around into a flip that landed her safely back on the stone path.
Atans was now badly injured and teetering on the edge of one the large gaps in the rock trying to recover from the bullet holes in his chest. Blood ran from his wounds and off of his body where it congregated in a large red pool on the stone walkway. Lara, with as much animosity as she had ever had, drew one pistol from its holster, aimed, and fired. The shot impacted into the Alien's head, throwing him backward into the flames below.
Solemnly, she turned and made her way back along the path. After a few minutes of wandering around the caves she found the TARDIS along with its crew and several disoriented people, presumably those who had previously been under Atans's control. .
Dave and Dama were on the ground next to the time ship holding tightly to Maria and Vee who had just begun to wake up. The Doctor was checking to see if the sudden destruction of the computer had caused any sort of brain damage in the girls. That is to say that he was busily asking questions about who was who and if they could follow the pen with their eyes and so on.
"You can have this back now." Lara said, tossing the scepter apathetically to Odg as she walked by.
The King nodded happily. "Thank you. We can now send you home anytime you like."
Croft nodded. "The sooner the better."
Maria sat up in Dave's arms. "Is he...gone?" She asked weakly. Croft nodded affirmatively and the young girl smiled. "Good"
"Good!" The Doctor huffed. "What's so good about anyone having to die?"
Vee pulled herself up so that she was propped up against the TARDIS. "As long as he won't be hurting us any longer I don't care."
"Me either!" Dama yelled. "Good riddance I say."
Odg shook his head. Atans's very presence had made things difficult. It would be a long time before any true peace would be known. "My children." He explained. "It is sad when anything must be destroyed. We must pity Atans and be sad that he could not willingly bring peace.
Lara said nothing. She wanted to go on a rant about how much better they were all off now but she had had enough of all of it. She fully intended to go home as soon as possible and live in her hot tub for at least a week.
Maria shook her head. "Maybe I'll understand one day. For now, I'm just glad it's over."
"I'm just glad you're all right." Dave chimed in, with small kiss.
Suddenly, the girl's eyes became three times larger than they had been. With everything that had been going on she had completely forgotten about what she had shared with Dave in the cell. As it came back a huge smile began to make its way across her face. With one arm she reached up and grabbed her boyfriend's shirt and pulled him close so that she could return the gesture.
At the same time, The Doctor unlocked the TARDIS, and stepped inside. "Whenever you two are finished." He said sarcastically. In an effort not to be left behind, Maria and Dave slowly stood up and made their way along behind him. "Well, Miss Croft," the Doctor began, "It was certainly a pleasure working with you. I trust in future meetings you won't threaten to kill me as much?"
"Future meetings?" Lara chuckled. "Since I get the feeling that somehow we will actually meet again, I'll try to remember not to shoot you."
Odg moved over to the young Lady. "I hope you will extend me the same courtesy if we ever meet again. Thank you both for your help with everything." Both parties nodded happily.
"Now what?" Maria asked as the doors closed behind them.
The Doctor smiled. "Now we go adventuring...again."