"The Doctor believes he has won a great victory," he says to open air as he deactivates every lock and safety measure, "But he was wrong," Amanda's eyes snap open and she rises, moving quickly to the observation room. The manager turns to her. "Go outside and run far, far away. Don't stop." With a nod she leaves.
The manager smiles, a cold and cruel grimace. "He was very wrong, wasn't he, Lord Mara?"
The two enter the room with all of the assembled staff and guests. The Doctor immediately notices the fact that everyone seems fairly relaxed. Food is collected on a group of tables, and people talk with each other between bites. Some are using the equipment and two are back on the mats practicing. The medic freezes at the sight too before hesitantly calling out. "Has anyone been injured?"
Most of them look up a little confused. They receive a chorus of nos. The medic turns to the Doctor and gives him a skeptical look. They both calmly leave the room but take off running the second the doors close behind them. Halfway there the Doctor asks, "What's your name?"
"Alkitir," he replies.
"Nice to finally properly meet you Alkitir."
"Pleasure's mine I believe, Doctor."
They reach quarantine room one and Alkitir slowly opens the door. They find the manager slumped over the controls. They look through the observation window and find the room empty. He turns his attention to the manager and goes to touch his shoulder.
"Don't!" cries the Doctor.
He gestures to his arm laying across table the control console. "Look."
What appears to be a red rash covers the length of his forearm.
He takes a step back. "Perhaps we should leave. Wouldn't hurt to decontaminate on the way out. Maybe something went airborne. I'll safe seal the door." The leave in the suggested manner and the door is essentially deadlocked behind them. "It may be best if we stick together, something particularly odd is going on here. Right now our priority is alerting the city to the threat."
The Doctor nods. "Lead the way."
Luckily, the trip to the main security room is uneventful. Unluckily, the entire security room is trashed. Furniture flipped and smashed, screens broken, wires hanging loose from machines.
He takes out his sonic screwdriver and scans around but finds nothing of use. "Any other long range communications in the resort?"
Alkitir shakes his head. "Everything else is internal comms. Perhaps a guest might have one."
"Let's go ask."
The Doctor clears his throat and calls for attention. Everyone falls silent. "Does anyone here have a long range communication device?"
There's silence. "Doesn't the resort have one?"
"Er, it's been- er, disabled," he says hesitantly.
"Is there a problem?" another calls.
"No, no, it's just the young woman who collapsed earlier, we'd like to call in further medical assistance," he says, picking out a half-truth at random. They need assistance, but not another doctor.
"Will she be alright?" chimes a concerned voice.
Alkitir speaks up. "She's stabalised, but we're unable to wake her. Another few professionals couldn't hurt." He cringes internally. He hates lying, but neither of them want to instill panic in the crowd.
"Back to the point, anyone have any long range?"
Donna digs her mobile out of her pocket. "Will this work? You sonicked it before."
"Oh, yes, Donna that's brilliant!" he exclaims, striding over to her, hand extended. She places it in his outstretched palm and he pulls out his screwdriver. "Just a little modification. C'mon Alkitir, we'll go back to the hospital wing."
They exit and the Doctor finishes modifying the superphone. "Right," he says, anxious tone betraying his calm exterior, "This should contact the Governor directly."
He makes the call.
"Who is this and how did you establish this direct contact?" demands a voice heavily lined with authority and bass.
"I'm the Doctor, and this is a serious emergency. There's a radioactivity danger, neutron radiation."
Dead silence on the other end of the line.
He continues. "The source of it is mobile, in fact, it's a living person. She escaped quarantine due to internal sabotage and has left the Magnus resort, we don't know where she's headed."
"Yes, I don't think it was any of the staff-"
Alkitir interrupts. "The manager-"
The Doctor cuts him off again. "Wasn't himself, something had him, and now most likely her, under it's control."
"You believe it's an alien threat?"
"It looks to be the work of something that can control the minds of others, we don't know what. The important thing though is that she needs to be stopped before she can damage too much. She's emitting serious amounts of radiation. Something that's never happened before and I don't know how it happened now, but she needs to be contained."
The voice on the other end of the line starts barking orders. "Lizzett, get the state General on the line, I need fast response units here immediately, level nine alert. Get me radi units, the 7th infantry, and a klad of Æther 29s. And get them now."
The Doctor continues when he finishes. "I haven't alerted the guests or staff here of the threat so to keep them from panicking. Only the medical officer and I know of it."
"Good," replies the Governor, "Keep it that way. Troops are being sent to your location as well as multiple radi units. They will take care of civilians and any ill effect in and around the building."
"Sir," Alkitir begins, "There may be an unknown contagion of some sort that seems to have affected the manager, he's safe sealed in the control room of quarantine one, but we don't know how he got it or if it will spread."
There's a concerned hum on the other end. "Lizzett, get the Chief of Research as well, order in some medical scientists, we may have a foreign disease of some sort."
There's a muffled reply.
"Anything else to report?"
The Doctor nods despite the fact that the Governor can't see him. "That seems about all we know right now."
"Then tell me exactly who you are and detail the events that led up to this."
"Long story short, I took two friends here as a bit of a break. I was teaching one Venusian Karate-"
A hum interrupts him. "Good art that... Sorry, continue."
"Suddenly, someone cried murder. A human was killed very viciously, shortly after, my friend, the one I was teaching karate to, her name's Amanda, collapsed. She nearly died. Suffered a deep dream state. I managed to pull her out of it, but than she began emitting radiation very quickly. Took her to quarantine. At some point after this, it would seem the manager was affected by the..." he pauses for a moment to think. "Whatever it was. He lied to get us both out the room. When we found out the lie, we came running back. She was gone and he was unconscious, had some red rash on his skin."
There's a moment of silence. "This is very disturbing. What species is your friend?"
"Yet she's a walking nuclear reactor you say. I find it hard to believe."
The Doctor sighs. "At some point her biology was altered, I've no idea by what. I've been trying to figure it out best I could, but she's been absolutely no danger the whole time."
"I must warn you Doctor, if she cannot be contained alive, she will be contained dead. Hopefully it will not come to this, but I hope you realise the amount of danger the ecosystem is in," he states grimly.
The Doctor hangs his head. "I do realise the danger. I'm hoping to save her life though."
"I would hope the same."
"Governor," squeaked a voice on the other end, "State general on the line, troops are en route, but he needs a briefing."
"Indeed. Doctor, keep this communication line free, no exceptions, you may need to be called again. Whatever you do, don't let anyone leave the building."
"I will, and no one's getting out those doors."
The connection cuts.
"Now what?" asks Alkitir dejectedly.
"Now we wait."
"RAIN drops keep FALLING on my HEAD!" Amanda sings in a tuneless voice and she hops, skips, and jumps to Nowhere Town in the country of No Place. No rain drops are falling on her head, she quickly realizes, and changes the song, this time with an actual singing voice. "My songs KNOW what you did in the DAaAaRK!" she gives a great leap, "So LIGHT," and slams down hard, setting a huge bush on fire. "'em up, up, up! Light 'em up, up, up! Light 'em up, up, up!" she hops out of the bush, ignoring the flames dancing at her bare feet and the smoke rising from her jeans. "I'M on FIIIREYA!" She kicks flaming plant material in every direction. Not red flames. Purple and green and blue-green flames. She continues signing as she stomps around ruining the vegetation. She's been out here for hours in the dark, but she doesn't run out of light. Neither does she get cold. Radiation + Plants = Beats Survival Game, she thinks.
A strange wild beast flees from all the ruckus, she sees its shape through the trees. She pauses for a moment. Why am I ruining all this? It's kinda nice. Someone in her head shushes her and she resumes her ridiculous dance. "Over the river and through the woods," nearby trees catch fire. "To grandmother's house we goooo!" She stops to watch as another tree bursts into a riot of colors. "See the rainbow, burn the rainbow," she tells it meaningfully, then goes on.
"Pelican landed, 7th infantry deployed, Deck one breaking off to locate target," says the escorting Æther 29 pilot.
"Affirmative Deck one," replies flight conductor Alpha 4.
"Deck two breaking off to accompany Deck one," states the second fighter pilot.
"Confirmed and cleared Deck two. A full klad is en route, hang tight."
"Roger that Alpha four. Ready for this Kirlia?" asks the first pilot.
"Ready as ever Jenton."
"Engine forward, yaw left, smoke in the distance."
"Affirmative Deck one."
Both fighters switch engine positions from hover to flight and take off into the rising sun towards the point of interest. Thanks to the speed of the Æthers, they reach it quickly.
"Engine back Deck two, we might not be able to see in this."
"Report point of interest Deck TS," orders Alpha 4
"Sir, we've located the target's trail of destruction. We're going to need firefighting crews out here."
"Do you see the target?"
"Negative. Fire's too big. Getting in closer." Pressing forward on the throttle, the pilot guides the hovering jet through the billowing smoke.
"The smokes's not as thick as I thought, follow up Deck two."
"On your six," she affirms. Then spots something. "Jenton, do you see that down there? Your nine o' clock."
"Check it out for me, will ya? You've got the better angle."
She moves her jet slowly. "Roger that." She gets in close. "Target spotted! Damn. She's just... Dancing. She's actually dancing in that inferno."
"What the hell?"
"Report Deck TS."
Jenton turns his fighter so his guns are air to ground and facing her, ready to fire if needed. "Target in sight."
Alpha 4 doesn't respond.
"Copy Alpha four?"
"We copy. Order to fire at will."
Both pilots hesitate. Kirlia is the first to respond. "Say again command?"
"Fire at will."
She turns and leans over some to looks at Jenton out her right window. He nods his head. "Not a clear shot. I'll take position..." he moves his plane backwards in order to see the whole clearing that was burned to dust. "Here. Drive the target this way."
Kirlia gently pushes the throttle to the left and fires a burst into the trees. Most of them are burning and she's blindly firing into the higher branches. They'll never confirm the kill if she goes down in there. Between the smoke, burning trees, and energy bolts, the target rushes out into open space.
"Clear shot Deck one."
Jenton feels bad. In briefing the idea was to try and capture the target, not go straight to elimination. Now that he sees it, actually rather sees her, it's hard to pull the trigger. Returning to the more official mannerisms right now tells him Kirlia feels the same way. She's still facing sidelong to him in case the girl would go for cover.
She stands in a defensive way despite the futility of it. Then she straightens up and raises her hand toward him.
"Deck one, fire on target."
Jenton raises the guns from air to ground to air to air position and locks them in.
"Jenton, what are you doing?"
"Deck two, report, is there something wrong with your wingman?" Alpha 4 is concerned with the last transmission.
"Yeah. He's turnin- AAAH-" shkksshhhhhhhhhhshhhhhhh
"Deck two, report... Deck two, do you copy?" There's a short wait. "Deck two is down. Deck one, report, what the hell is going on out there?"
Men and coordinators begin scrambling around and making calls. Alpha 4 is in panic. "Sir, we lost contact with both Deck one and Deck two."
The state General barks out in a gruff voice, "ETA on the klad?"
"53 minutes, sir."
"I told the Commander General we needed more instant response fighters in the city, now we've lost them both. Now I must tell two families about their losses because he couldn't just give us a whole klad to begin with!"
"Radi units have made it out there, do we give them a go, sir?"
He shakes his head. "I'm not risking a single man more until that threat is neutralised! Tell them to stay back at the resort, keep a Pelican on the ground and get firefighter units out there."
She's dancing among the trees, enjoying all the chaos, when for some odd reason, two jet planes pop outta nowhere.
MG fire shoos her out into the only open space. She looks around, expecting troops on the ground, and finds none. She straightens up to look at the pilot in firing position. Looks like high command wants to go straight for a KIA. Without hesitation, she raises her hand toward the great flying monster. Slowly the pilot turns it to face his wingman and then opens fire. Dual Energy Bolt MG MKIIs tear through the other fighter with ease and it quickly blows up. This race isn't just known for their medicine, but for their military tech as well. Unsurprisingly, no one tries to invade this planet often.
She smiles, and walks merrily back into the trees, her new personal Big Brother in the sky watching her back.
"Soldiers are here, Doctor."
The Doctor turns to look at Alkitir who's currently peering out the doors. The rumble on engines quiets down as ships land and men pour out of them, some who take position around the ship, keeping watch with guns ready, but most head towards the resort, half with guns raised. Alkitir steps out with his hands raised. "All's well in here," he says and holds a door open for them to enter.
They lower their guns and enter the building. One approaches the Doctor. "Captain Dekter, I assume it was you who sent the transmission?"
He hums a response, neither pleased nor angered. "Radi units are here. They're going to look over all the staff and guests to make sure they're free of radiation and then we're evacuating them via Pelican transport ship. Where are they?"
The Doctor gestures for him to follow. "This way Captain," he says stiffly.
"Something wrong Doctor?" he asks, noticing his tone.
He scowls. "I don't like guns."
The Captain nods. "No good man does, but they're necessary for peace. They planet is almost never invaded, if it is, the enemy is not successful. It's only thanks to our strong military and advanced weaponry that we have been kept safe. A necessary evil, one might say."
They reach the room with the gathered crowd. All of them look uneasy, and stand (in whatever way they do so) when soldiers enter the room.
"All's well," calls the Doctor. "There's a wee emergency, they're here to evacuate you."
Dekter steps forward. "That much is not necessary for you to know at the time. I would like you all to leave the building via the main entrance and cooperate with the radi crews. Then you will board a transport ship and be taken to the city. I'm certain compensation will be given. Be sure to gather your belongings."
With grumbling, shuffling, and the casting of worried glances, the multitude of beings cooperates and exits the room.
"You too Doctor, and you. Whatever your name is."
He nods. "Yes, Alkitir, both of you are shipping out too."
The Doctor shifts his weight. "I could be of help here actually."
The Captain takes a quick pause. "Maybe you could," he says, "You do know the situation better." He turns to Alkitir. "And you?"
"I'll stay with him."
Just then, Donna approaches. "Doctor, what's going on?"
"Donna! I need you to do something."
He moves closer somewhat. "I need you to go back to the TARDIS-"
"Oh no Spaceman, not happening."
"No, wait, let me explain. I need you back at the TARDIS. It can track the, erm, source. Also, I'm hanging onto your phone to contact you, I'll be needing you to do some stuff." He has an inkling of what they're facing.
She gives him a look. "Alright."
"Go then, and don't leave the TARDIS! No matter what!"
The Captain watches the exchange. Once all the passengers are on board he signals the ship and it takes off, heading back towards the city. The red-headed woman leaves and he brings the two outside where the last Pelican is waiting and a command tent has been set up. Soldiers are laying out equipment and a man sits at a radio. Their breath fogs the air in the early morning light.
Dekter goes to the radioman. "Word?"
He looks up. "No go, we don't have clearance to move forward. The Æther 29s went down before taking down the target. SG doesn't want to risk anyone else until the threat's neutralised."
"Deck two managed to get across that something was off before the ship went down. Lost comms with Deck one after."
The Doctor steps forward. "Wait, neutralised? I thought we were trying to capture her?"
He looks around. "It seems high command has other ideas. Sorry Doctor, orders are orders. It's now considered hostile as well."
Just then a squadron a fighter planes soars over head.
The fighters circle back and switch the position the engines back, opening ports on their wings, hovering in the air.
The Captain taps the radioman's shoulder and he concedes the seat and headset.
"Fox one through eight, target to the northeast. Form up and move out, be advised, target is capable of fighting back with force, two 29s went down earlier this morning. Engage on sight."
"Copy that, Beta one."
More fighters. She watches them approach in the fine view afforded to them all in the morning sun. Soon this will not matter, the world is burning, burning, the ground is poisoned forever. Suddenly she winces. A storm is brewing in the girl's mind, she's attempting to disrupt his control. Why does she not just give up? It's futile.
"Target in sight," she hears over the comms from the pilot in the fighter she had remotely commandeered. The Mara directs the pilot to ascend and flank them from above. They won't see it coming.
Before they can, her own pilot opens fire. Four planes are down before they realise something's behind them.
"Beta one! We're under fire from Deck one! Repeat we are-" Kshhhhhh.
Another goes down. The remaining three are finally turning and shifting their guns from AtG to AtA. Another drops and her, no he, he is the Mara, not Amanda, own pilot shifts engines forward and shoots past them.
They take off in pursuit of Deck one. He'll out maneouvre them however.
The Doctor's had enough, no more dying. "Get me out there now."
The Captain turns to him. "She's wiping fighters out of the sky, what could you possibly do?"
He shakes his head. "I have a better ship than those, and I think I know what we're facing. Only one creature could enjoy all this chaos and death."
"The Mara. In that case, I know how to beat it, but I need to get out there to her!"
"Only one ship left," he gestures to the large transport next to him. "Welcome aboard."
The Doctor sits uncomfortably and the engines start up. He and the Captain are the only ones aboard. The Doctor insisted Alkitir stay behind, and he wished him luck. The Doctor looks out the portholes at the burning and contaminated ground. The plant and animal life is so delicate here.
His eyes leave the ground as a blur sweeps past them. "Captain, what's going on out there?"
"It's Deck one, but don't worry, these ships are transports, not fighters. It has heavy armour and shielding. Low level shielding, just two Megajoule shields, but they'll hold enough to set down," he pauses. "As long as I find a place to set down."
The sound of energy bolts hitting the exterior shields is muted, but still worrisome. Suddenly the ship groans and lists to the right. He hears swearing from the cockpit. "Concentrated fire on the right wing tip, internal explosion, the engine's damaged."
More bolts hit the ship and alarms sound. "Target in sight. She's just standing there watching!"
The Doctor raises from his seat and grips a loop of fabric hanging from the ceiling to help keep his footing. "Get in close and put her down!"
"Vertical throttle unresponsive, we're stuck at tree level!" The ship rattles and drifts right and he grunts from fighting with the stick. "Is it possible you could jump into one of them?"
"Yeah, I could survive that," he yells back. It's about... 10, 15 feet to the tops of these trees? He can survive that.
More bolts hit the ship and the windshield over the cockpit cracks. The Captain reaches over and flips a switch and the bay doors at the back open. "I'll hold her steady. Jump Doctor, may the gods be with you!"
The ship groans under pressure and the Doctor sprints to the edge and jumps. There's a moment of rising momentum and the MGs on the Æther start firing again. Luckily, the pilot's aim isn't perfect and none of them hit him as he falls into the leafy branches.
He flails and unceremoniously falls from the tree. He looks up in time to see the fighter fire on the cockpit again. This time glass goes flying and the ship careens forward... straight into the jet. The two crash together and both explode midair, scattering flaming debris into the trees.
He looks across the clearing to see Amanda standing there. Her eyes and skin are tinted red and he can hear her hiss disapproval above the roar of the fire. The Doctor pulls out the superphone. He dials the TARDIS phone, it doesn't even ring once before Donna answers.
He doesn't hesitate. "Donna, I need you to get mirrors, full length put on the floor ones, there's a room in the TARDIS that has plenty of them, she'll shift the door. Get into that room and set up a circle of them, big, don't leave any spaces."
Her voice is heavily laced with worry. "What's going on?"
"Just do it, and hurry! Tell me when you're done."
There's a long wait. To him it's long. Amanda is scanning the area. She might've heard something, but she doesn't seem to have seen him jump.
"Doctor! It's done!"
"Ok, get back to the console room, under the gravity nullifyer, there's a little box."
"Gravity nullifyer?" she asks, puzzled by the strange controls.
"The little red switches."
"Oh," she says. He hears her footsteps on the grating. "Right, found it!"
"Open it up, find the disk in the Forrest Gump case."
"Really? Forrest Gump?"
He stammers. "Just- Just- Hurry!"
"What do I do with it?"
"There's a little slit on the side of the console, by the handbrake, put the disk in there and hold onto the console or the TARDIS will leave you behind."
"Okay," she says.
"Got to go!" he exclaims and hangs up.
VWOORP! VWOORP! VWOORP!
Donna grips the console as the TARDIS dematerialises.
He steels himself, slips the superphone into his pocket, and exits the brush. The heat is nearly intolerable.
"Mara!" he calls out, sounding a lot more confident than he is.
She turns to him. "Doctor! It's been so long."
"I would've liked it to be longer," he says truthfully. He would've like it if he never saw the Mara again. If it never caused any more trouble. He keeps moving forward.
"Do you finally seek peace, hm? There is peace in death, or so I've heard. It's only ever said by the living though, so no one can be certain."
"I've come here to stop you."
It laughs. "Stop me? Does it look like it can be stopped? Chaos and death will reign Doctor, as it does, I will grow stronger. Thanks to you everything was accelerated. Her mind was very strong, she was holding me back. Then you told her to stop, and every defense stopped instantly, the barriers broke, I took full control. I have free reign now, nothing to stop me!"
He stands there stunned. Snap out of it, he commands himself. It's trying to distract you. At this moment, he's absorbing a lot of rads. At this rate he could wind up regenerating soon. Come on Donna! He thinks. Then he hears the most beautiful sound in the universe and the TARDIS starts materialising around him.
Her pale red eyes widen. "You will not escape me now!" she roars, and lunges at him.
The TARDIS fully materialises around them. The Doctor dives at the console and slams his hand down on a button just as Amanda grabs him and they both disappear from the console room. Then they both appear in the room of mirrors and the Doctor hits the deck. Amanda releases him and screams in terror. She tries turning away but mirrors surround her entirely. She looks up but the entire ceiling is a giant mirror. It's forced into its true form, and a great red snake curls in the center of the room. Amanda collapses.
"This is far from the end Doctor, she made the perfect host because she is the embodiment of chaos and destruction as much as I. If you are not wary, it is not I who will be your doom, but she!"
The Mara gives itself one last look in a mirror and hisses as its own reflection destroys it.
Donna comes racing into the room just as the Mara fades to find the Doctor trying to stand up, breathing hard, and Amanda lying unconscious on the floor. Donna rushes over to help him.
"It's gone. It's gone- gone," he gets out between pants.
"Should we tell everyone?"
The Doctor pulls out the superphone and dials the Governor.
It's quickly answered. "Doctor? News?"
"It's over. It's gone."
"Then I will give the order to send in cleanup crews. Your assistance is highly valued, but I would advise against returning to this planet in the future," the warning in his voice is clear. A lot has been destroyed, and it won't be forgiven any time soon.
"I won't come back again."
"Good," he terminates the call.
Finally the Doctor looks down at Amanda's unconscious form.
"Let's get out of here Donna."