"Blood of Space"

by Al Hakim [Reviews - 1]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Action/Adventure, General

Author's Notes:
First published in Sian O'Neale's "Strange Matter" 20. (2004).

Originally a generic Space opera story written in 1994, I re-worked it to include the Second Doctor, Zoe and Jamie in 1996, and the Mogarians in 1997.

Commander Ygael Sterns stepped up to the bridge of the Marine Space Corps patrol ship, Victory.
Various crew members operated their respective posts. All eyes faced the ship's monitor at the far wall.
The image of a crippled shuttle filled the screen. It's orbit of the nearest planet was clear in its decay.

"Who are they?" Sterns demanded.

Lieutenant-Commander Muhammed Al-Assaf vacated the centre seat.
"We don't know, Sir. However, sensor readings show the planet is uninhabited."

"Establish Communications," Sterns ordered.

"Aye, Sir" Communications Officer Hrishi acnowledged.

On screen the image of the shuttle faded out and was replaced by the face of a green-skinned alien with a yellow grill-like mouth.

Sterns recognised the alien as Mogarian.

"Greetings, Human." It held a small translator device to its grille. "We come to you in need of diplomatic immunity."

"Diplomatic immunity?" Al-Assaf wondered.

"You must protect us," The Mogarian continued.

Sterns rubbed his chin in thought. "Our estimates are that you are in a decaying orbit. Relay us your co-ordinates and we shall transmat you aboard. Then, we may discuss your request for immunity further."

The Mogarian considered this. "Very well. But you must know we cannot breathe oxygen. We will need to wear environmental suits at all times."

With a wheezing-groaning sensation the TARDIS shuddered into existence.

The Doctor opened the doors on to the rain swept beach and waved his umbrella in triumph.

"Och, a clear spring day is it?" Jamie observed behind him. The rain pelted his face and soaked his clothes and his fit, muscular body.

"I feel like I'm turning into a fish." Zoe shook her head and sighed. Her saturated clothes caressed the folds of her physical form.

The Doctor beamed, "That's more like it. You know I once met a man who failed his astronavigation exam because he tried to convince his examiner he was a fish!"

"Doctor, this is hardly a holiday." Zoe commented.

"Aye, Doctor." Jamie added, "I cannae say I'm enjoying this wee stopover."

The Doctor considered for a moment.
"You're right. Let's get back to the TARDIS before we catch our death of cold."

Within seconds the TARDIS had dematerialised...

In the empty cargo bay of the Victory, the TARDIS shook to life.

The little Time Lord pranced about the Console before flicking the door opening mechanism control.

"Well, it isn't a beach, but a holiday on a spaceship can be almost as nice. Let's investigate."

The Doctor exited the TARDIS first, followed by his two young companions.
It didn't take them long to find their way out of the cargo bay and into a corridor.

A strangled scream emanated down the hall, followed by the sounds of laser fire.

"Quick. Jamie, Zoe!" The Doctor beckoned his assistants as he ran to the source of the noise. It was coming from the inside of a door at the end of the corridor.

The Doctor pushed open the door. The sight that greeted him chilled him to the bones.

Zoe gasped. Jamie turned away unable to look.

Two spacesuit clad Mogarians lay sprawled out on the floor. One of them had been gasping for breath at the moment of death. His helmet dented open.

The other had a knife wound in his stomach. The three pronged weapon lay beside him, the blades encrusted with green blood and slime.

"Is he dead?" Zoe asked.

"He's alive. Just barely." The Doctor bent down to examine the body. He then picked up the knife.

"Murderer!" accused a voice from the doorway. A third Mogarian entered; unlike the other two, he was solid and muscular.

"I'm afraid there's been a bit of a misunderstanding!" The Doctor shouted, "My friends and I heard screams, so we rushed in here to help."

"You do not look like Space Marines," The Mogarian said. "What are you? Stowaways? Assassins?"

"I assure you, we were not involved in this crime." The Doctor sighed. "Now, if we don't waste time arguing, we just might save this poor being's life!"

"Liar. It's too late for your pathetic attempt to redeem yourself."

The Mogarian seized the Doctor with his fist and flung him across the room, head-first into the wall.

The Doctor collapsed and rubbed his head. "Oh my giddy aunt!"

Jamie leapt out and tackled the Mogarian. "Ye nae will treat the Doctor like that!"

"No Jamie, don't..." Zoe pleaded.

Without realising, Jamie had lost his hold on the Mogarian, who swung his feet and sent the young Scotsman to the floor with a well-timed chop to the top of the head with his open palm.

The last thing Jamie saw before losing consciousness was the arrival of three men in metallic tunics at the doorway.

"What's going on here?" Sterns asked. "Who are these people."

The Mogarian glared at the Commander. "Stowaways. Murderers."

"Is this true?" Sterns faced the Doctor and Zoe.

The Doctor jumped to his feet. "Please allow me to explain, there's a good fellow. You see, my friends and I...."

Sterns frowned. "We've no place for stowaways on board this ship, especially stowaways suspected of murder. I'm placing the three of you under arrest."

He turned to his security officers, "Put them in the brig, and get the Medical Officer down here."

The Doctor panicked. He knelt beside Jamie but was dragged away by the first security officer. The second security officer trailed behind them, having seized hold of the struggling Zoe...

Later, in sickbay, Jamie lay awake. He glanced around his surroundings and saw the unconscious body of the knife-wounded Mogarian hooked up to life support machinery.

An attractive Asian woman in her mid-thirties entered the room. On her tunic she wore a large bright blue badge emblazoned with the initials CMO.
"And how are we this morning?" She asked.

"I'm fine, but that's more than I cannae say for this poor thing." He indicated the Mogarian.

Commander Sterns entered the room. "Good Morning Dr.Kumiko. I have a few questions for our young stowaway."

Jamie sat up, indignant. "If yer mean me, I'm nae stowaway."

"Well, then. Would you care to explain how you and your friends came to be aboard this ship? Not to mention how it was you were discovered in the Mogarian quarters just after a shocking crime was committed?"

"I donnae think ye will understand."

"Try me."

"We came in the Doctor's TARDIS. It's a type of spaceship, only it moves through time as well. And it's disguised as a police box or something on the outside - but inside it stretches on forever."

"You'll have to do a lot better than that ridiculous fantasy."

"Aye, I knew you wouldnae believe it. But its the truth."

"Oh, my giddy aunt!" The Doctor leaned back against the brig wall in despair and mopped his brow with his pocket handkerchief.

Zoe tried to reassure him. "There has to be a way out, I'm sure."

"Oh it's no use, Zoe." He shifted to move away from the cold air blowing in from the ventilation duct.

"Wait a minute, Doctor." Zoe had an idea. "Where there is a wind, there's a way."

"Of course Zoe. You're a genius!" The Doctor clapped his hands in excitement. "We could escape down the ducting!"

Sterns returned to the bridge. Al-Assaf gave him a sympathetic look.
Just at that moment the communicator unit on the wall crackled to life.

"Roberts here. You won't believe this sir. The Mogarian bodyguard you confined to his quarters. He's not here, sir." "Well where is he?" Sterns scowled...

Zoe struggled to crawl through the very tight ventilation shaft.

"Come on, Zoe. Get moving. Faster now, there's a good girl." The Doctor encouraged her.

"Patience Doctor." Zoe shushed him. She saw a glimmer of light ahead and pushed herself that little bit further towards the grill shaft opening.

She had no idea of which part of the ship lay on the other side, and to be honest, she no longer cared.

The only thought she allowed to revolve in her mind was how she wanted to get out of this cramped ventilation duct.

With a blunt push, Zoe forced the grille clattering to the floor, and flung herself behind it. The sign that met her eyes filled her with dread.

The Doctor followed her. Having hit the floor with a thud, he jumped up triumphant in his escape.

"Good Girl!"

But then his jaw dropped.

The sickbay they had clambered into had been trashed. Green blood and Mogarian flesh were mangled amongst smashed up machinery.

"Jamie?" Zoe gasped. She pointed to the far wall.
Underneath the flashing communicator unit the young Scotsman lay slumped unconscious over the body of the similarly afflicted Medical Officer.

Stern and four security men arrived on the scene.

"Do you have an explanation for this too, Doctor?" The Commander demanded.

"Oh my giddy aunt, not again!" The Doctor sighed.

Doctor Kumiko stirred awake. "Wait, the Doctor and his friends are innocent. It was the Mogarian bodyguard. Jamie and I tried to stop him but he stunned us and made his escape."

Sterns frowned. "It seems I owe you an apology, Doctor."

With a moan, Jamie stirred awake.

Sterns rubbed his chin in thought.

"You might not be a murderer, but you are still stowaways and that itself is a crime."

"Now see here!" The Doctor ranted.

"There isn't time for this." Sterns interrupted.

The wall communicator crackled. "Roberts here. The Mogarian has returned to his quarters and made a full confession."

"Excellent," Sterns responded. "Keep him guarded and show him to the briefing room."

The Commander turned to the Doctor. "If you and your friends would be so good as to accompany me."

Later in the briefing room, Commander Sterns, the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie sat around the discussion table. The Mogarian sat at the other end, surrounded by four armed security officers.

"I am not without honour!" The Mogarian stated. "I stood by my Captain even after death."

The Doctor responded, "Hmmm. Yes I presume you mean to say that it wasn't you that killed your Captain, but that it was you who murdered the other Mogarian?"

"Yes, Doctor. The one I killed was a spy, an assassin."

"But you're still not telling us everything." Sterns interrogated.

The Doctor grinned. "It's quite simple, Commander. These Mogarians were renegades, except for the one who was planted amongst them in order to report back to command. But obviously when they came into contact with your ship and asked for immunity, he was forced to act and kill his commander."

"I have harmed no one except this spy. I was forced to stun your Medical Officer and the Doctor's young friend, but they suffered no permanent damage. Please forgive me," The Mogarian apologised. "I'm also sorry I assaulted you, Doctor. I was angry and irrational."

The Doctor accepted the apology."Yes, well. Quite all right."

Jamie merely grunted.

"I understand your intention to defect still stands?" Sterns asked...

...When the meeting ended, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe took it as their cue to sneak off quietly to the cargo bay where the TARDIS patiently waited for them to return.

"Come on, you two." The Doctor opened the door.

With a wheezing-groaning sensation, the TARDIS was off on another adventure.