22 Mar 2013

The Vanishing Man, Chapter 8

Blackmore, Caroline and June had spent the last hour trying to break the security locks on the elevator, but were all out of ideas and were now sat with their backs against the walls.

Caroline was sipping from a coffee she had gotten from one of the vending machines nearby and in all this time they hadn’t seen a single soul.

“What now?” asked June.

“We need to get out of here,” said Caroline. “We need to go find the Doctor. He’s the only one that can help us get to the bottom of this.”

“The Doctor isn’t all powerful, you know,” scoffed Blackmore.

“And how would you know?” queried Caroline. “It’s not as if you got to know him back on Trixatin.”

June’s eyes narrowed as she listened carefully to the two of them.

“I know of the Doctor,” said Blackmore, picking at the empty coffee cup Caroline had put down next to her. “The Eyeglass knows everything about the Doctor.”

“Your mysterious team,” said Caroline, arching her eyebrows.

“Yes. My mysterious team. I need to get back to them. I need to get out of here.”

“Don’t think the Doctor’s gonna help you.”

“He will.”

“He won’t. You’re a criminal. You were responsible for all those deaths back on Trixatin. The one place you’re going in jail.”

Blackmore threw his head back, laughing. “I may not have enjoyed the killing, but it was for the good of the Human race. It was the General’s wishes.”

Caroline shook her head in disgust. “The Doctor will deal with you and with this General.”

“Oh, I don’t think so,” said Blackmore, turning his head to look at the young woman. “Nothing can defeat the Eyeglass.”

June smiled at the two of them, but they didn’t see.

There was a soft, humming sound coming from nearby which caused the three of them to look.

Caroline got to her feet and helped June up.

Blackmore also got up slowly and made his way towards the end of corridor and peered around the corner.

One of the drones shot towards him, it’s laser gun raised and began firing.

“Run!” said Blackmore to the woman.

“What the hell is it?” asked June.

The drone shot a blast towards Caroline and June and the inside of the elevator exploded.

“That’s our way through!” said Blackmore, running towards the damaged elevator.

“Are you sure this is such a good idea?” asked Caroline as she helped June towards the gap that had been blown in the floor.

“It’s just a short jump down,” said Blackmore, pointing into the darkness. “If you swing your self down, holding onto the edge, you’ll be fine.”

“You better be right about this!” said Caroline.

“We need answers,” said Blackmore. “So we have no choice!”

Blackmore went first. He sat on the edge of the gaping hole in the floor of the lift and then lowered himself down. He waited a few moments and then dropped with a thud.

“I’m okay,” he shouted up. “Now you.”

June and Caroline looked back at the drone floated towards them.

“Here,” said Caroline. “You go first.”

She helped June to the edge and she slowly lowered herself in and then dropped.

“Are you okay?” asked Caroline, hearing a yelp of pain.

“I think I sprained my ankle,” said June. “But I’ll be fine.”

Caroline looked back and lowered herself into the gap just as a laser bolt whizzed past her face.

They waited for the drone to come down after them…but it didn’t. They knew from the gentle humming sound that it was still there, but it wouldn’t follow them.

“What the hell is that thing?” asked Caroline, looking around her.

They were in a narrow, dark room with an open door to the right casting a shaft of green light into the room.

“A guard, perhaps,” said Blackmore.

“Then why isn’t it following us?” asked June, rubbing her sore ankle.

“Perhaps it’s not allowed,” said Blackmore.

“Well let’s get out of here,” said Caroline as they made their way towards the open doorway.

They stepped into a larger room and before them was something the likes of which Catherine had never seen before. It was like a huge, dome-shaped machine covered in dials and switches and flickering screens. It was humming with power and one of it’s pylons reached up through the ceiling into where the supply cupboard was.

“Now this,” said Blackmore, gazing up in awe at the machine, “is definitely not Human technology.”

Matthew Cole stepped into the strange, blue box and a pain flashed across his forehead. It felt like white-hot pokers stabbing him through his temples and into the front of his head.

“Are you okay?” asked the Doctor, putting a hand on his shoulder.

“This is…this is…amazing,” said Matthew, trying to focus again. “There’s something…odd about it.”

“The TARDIS is odd to outsiders,” smiled the Doctor.

Matthew clutched at his chest and fell to his knees.

“Mr Cole. Are you okay?” asked the Doctor again.

“I don’t know,” said Cole, shaking his head.

“Come on, let’s get you over to the sofa and we can start running a few tests.”

The Doctor helped Cole to his feet and they made their way past the little tree’s that lined the walkway to the central console. As they got closer to the console the lights began to flicker.

“She’s had a bad day,” said the Doctor, glancing up at the ceiling worriedly. “She’s had to fight through a time barrier to get here.”

“This is all…all…”

“Relax,” said the Doctor, sitting Cole down on the sofa. “We’ll get to the bottom of this and then we can get you back to your family.”

“Yes,” said Cole, rubbing his forehead. “Back to Susan.”

“Who?” asked the Doctor, looking curiously at Cole as he went through a large, Doctor’s bag underneath the console.


“Who’s Susan?” asked the Doctor.

“I don’t know. Someone…from my past. I think. It’s all just a blur. She’s family…I think.”

“My grand daughter was called Susan,” said the Doctor, with a sad smile.

“So you have children then?” asked Cole, leaning back on the sofa.

“Used to,” he smiled again, looking past Cole and into the distance. “A long time ago.” He looked back at Cole. “I can’t get back to mine, but I can try and get you back to yours.”

Cole smiled. “Thank you. Thank you for everything that you’re doing.”

“All in a days work,” grinned the Doctor.

Danny opened his eyes. Darkness. He was in a dark room. The only reason he knew he was in a dark room was because he could see the orange, street lights shining through gaps in the curtain. And he was on a bed.

He turned his head to the side. Nothing there.

He sat up and rubbed the back of his head. He must have been knocked out. He then quickly put his hand to his neck. He remembered what Ethan and Emily had said about being time vampires. Luckily there were no holes there. No puncture wounds. So they hadn’t bitten him yet. Was that even how they fed on time energy?

He edged himself off the bed and walked towards the door. He put his ear up against it, but there were no sounds.

He checked his pockets, pulling his phone out. The screen was cracked. He must have broken it when he fell. Or they broke it. At least they had the decency to let him keep it, he thought to himself.

He turned the door handle gently and then pulled. The door was locked.

He silently cursed himself for letting himself get stuck in this situation and then crossed over to the window. The window was also locked, but it was an old window. No double glazing. He would make a lot of noise if he smashed through it, but he had no choice really.

Outside the window was a sloping roof that covered the porch of the front door. He could easily cross to that and jump down and make a run for it. He’d only have a few seconds head start on the two of them, but it was worth the risk.

Grabbing a nearby lamp off the bedside cabinet he swung it towards the window.

Damn! he thought, as the window didn’t break.

He thought he heard a sound from downstairs.

“Nothing for it then,” he said to himself.

With all his might he started whacking the window over and over again until finally it broke.

He climbed onto the window sill as he heard the fumbling of a key in the bedroom door. He was about to jump when the door opened and light from the upstairs landing streamed into the room, Emily silhouetted against it.

“Danny!” she hissed.

He jumped from the window and onto the sloping roof, slipping down it a little and taking two or three tiles with him. He scrambled down to the edge and swung himself off, landing on the gravelled driveway below.

The front door opened and Ethan was standing there, his face pale and his eyes burning bright red. His face was almost grey.

“Dinner’s running away, Emily,” he growled, the corners of his mouth twitching.

“Danny’s off the menu today,” said Danny as he started running towards the road.

“Get him!” screamed Emily from the window above.

Sometime ago…

Aleena stood over the Doctor, her heart was beating fast, but the Doctor was breathing again at least. She had managed to revive him with some form of advanced cardio unit she had found in a cabinet and he was breathing normally again.

“What happened?” he asked, opening his eyes.

“You died,” said Aleena.

“Really?” asked the Doctor, rubbing his head. “I don’t remember anything.”

“You just didn’t regenerate,” she sat down on a chair next to the bed and sniffed. “You can’t regenerate.”

“That’s absurd,” said the Doctor, looking at his hands.

Aleena grabbed a print out and showed the Doctor. “The readings show that your regenerative cells didn’t kick it.”

“So they need a kick start,” suggested the Doctor. “It’s not the first time they’ve need a push.”

“Actually,” said Aleena. “It might be worse than that.” She pointed towards a series of numbers on the sheet of paper. “It looks like you don’t have any regenerative cells. Not anymore.”

“What?” asked the Doctor, grabbing the piece of paper and looking at it closely. “That’s impossible.”

“They’re just gone. Regenerations sometimes go wrong, and-”

“Not to this degree,” said the Doctor, worriedly. “No Time Lord has ever lost the ability to regenerate.”

“Well, you have.”

The Doctor lay still, looking up at the ceiling above him. “So what does this mean?”

“You have to avoid any kind of accidents.”

The Doctor’s head snapped around. “With my life style!?”

Aleena shook her head. “I’m sorry. If you get mortally wounded you won’t regenerate. You’ll die.”

The Doctor closed his eyes and sighed.

“And I’m afraid that’s not all the bad news I have.”

“Tell me,” said the Doctor quietly.

“Your body is actually failing. I’ve given you some tablets to keep you fit and healthy, but it’s only a matter of time before your body shuts down completely.”


“They’ll keep you well. Well, for now at least.”

The Doctor sat himself up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. “No, no, no. This isn’t good enough. I can’t just accept that I’m going to die. I need to find out what exactly happened to me.”

“Well we can go back and find out-”

“Where did you find me?” he asked, putting his blazer on. “Where did you find me after I regenerated.”

“The human city. Manchester. At an airport.”

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