On board the ship was as quiet as thing's outside the ship. Standing in front of a control panel overlooking a huge view screen was the General. A tall man with long, grey hair tied into a ponytail, his cold, blank face betraying no sign of emotion.
The General had been bred for war. A long, long time ago, during the Time War in which the Time Lords fought the Daleks, the Time Lords had taken ordinary Human beings and given them regenerative abilities. Not normal regenerative abilities where the whole body underwent a change. This was more of a healing-regeneration. Same body, same face, but all the scars and battle damage healed. They had then been sent into the war using basic, battle TARDISes.
The General had lost his TARDIS and had found himself in this time zone. He had become angry at what had happened to him, so had built Eyeglass out of the ashes of the old Torchwood Institute. He had hoped to make the Human race a force to be reckoned with. During that time he had made it something to fear. A company that used it's massive fleet for "the good of the Human race", as employees of Eyeglass had said.
They had plundered alien worlds for technology and, while they didn't technically object to working with aliens, they certainly did not appreciate them and accept them as equals.
A while ago the Doctor had outsmarted the General and the General had wanted revenge. He had seen it as his mission to get his revenge on the Doctor, and the trap was about to be sprung.
2 Days Ago
Ivy Coldstone awoke with a start. A few minutes ago - was a few minutes? - she had been sat in the cockpit of her shuttle, transporting her load back to Mars and looking forward to putting her feet up with a good book and a glass of wine, but instead she was now lying on some kind of metal table, her head pounding and her arms and legs strapped down.
“Ah, you're awake,” came a silky voice.
Ivy looked to her right. Standing there was a long, grey-haired man with a ponytail and goa-tee beard. The General.
“What the hell...?”
“Don't try and struggle, Miss Coldstone,” said the General as he walked around the table to a control panel. “You're in safe hands. For now at least.”
“What the hell's going on? Who are you?”
“You can call me the General.”
“Why should my name matter to you, Miss Coldstone?”
“Pleasantries, perhaps?” said Ivy.
The General smirked, but he was clearly not really amused. “My full name is General Sebastian Helix. I've brought you here because I believe you can help us.”
“Eyeglass. My company.”
“Oh,” said Ivy. She had heard of the Eyeglass, of course. They were rapidly becoming a bit of a scourge around the solar system and beyond. Even the Earth government were beginning to doubt their ways. They were supposed to be helping the Human race, but instead they were becoming a bunch of violent racists and xenophobes. They were becoming their own power.
“You've heard of us?”
“You always hear about the bad ones.”
The General laughed. “You may think we're bad, but the Human race will thank us when the aliens start invading again.”
Ivy thought about things. It had been a while since Earth had been at war with any kind of race, but she knew that one day it'd come. Even relations between the Humans and the Martians had become a little fractured again. Ivy hadn't really been paying much attention to the news, but the Mining Corporation had bought up a plot of land on Mars that had belonged to retired warriors. They'd all been provided with new accommodation, but it had caused a few disgruntled ripples through the upper echelons.
“And in what way am I going to help you?”
The General knelt down so he was looking directly at her. His breath smelt of peppermint. “I have a score to settle with your old friend, the Doctor.”
“Why? What's he done?”
“Annoyed me. I've tried to try and trap him before, but this time I thought I'd go for a simpler option.”
“And that involves me?”
“It involves you dying, Miss Coldstone,” smiled the General.
“So you're gonna kill me?”
“Not exactly,” said the General. “I've already blown your shuttle up. We’re just going to get you all ready and then we’ll deliver your body back to Mr Denning. Then the poor fool will contact your only other friend - the Doctor - and tell him the bad news. He'll travel to your funeral and we'll have him. Trapped like a rat in a maze.”
“He won't just accept that I'm dead.”
The General shook his head. “The Doctor is dying. He's not the same man he was. He'll not want to see you that way.”
“If that was the case,” said Ivy, her headache now fading, “why didn't you just let me die in the explosion and put my own body in there?”
“I'm going to put you in an induced coma. Then, when the trap is sprung, I'm going to arrest all of you. On his own the Doctor is no use to us. With his friends…well, he can be manipulated to do what we want him to do.”
“Arrest us?" laughed Ivy. "So you're a policeman now, are you?”
“We're all policemen. Policemen for the Human race.”
Ivy gave a great big laugh and a snort. “Do you know how bloody stupid you sound?”
The General slapped her across the face, and then managed to restrain himself from further violence. “You will be quiet.”
Ivy could feel the painful tingling on her cheek. “Violence won't get you anywhere, love.”
The General glared at her and then turned to a nurse. “Put her under.”
“The Doctor will defeat you,” said Ivy defiantly as the nurse injected her in the neck. She felt the world fade into a grey fug...and then nothing.
The General smiled. “Always have two plans up your sleeve.”
Verash clicked his fingers and Alice's legs collapsed from under her, making her drop to the floor in a heap.
“Alice!” said the Doctor, hurrying over to her.
“She's fine,” said Verash, smiling.
“What have you done to her?” said the Doctor, opening her eyelids to see for any sign of life.
“Alice has gone to sleep,” said Verash.
“What's that supposed to mean?” said Dennington, squaring up to Verash.
“Stay back, old man,” said Verash, shouldering past Dennington and crossing over to the Doctor and the prone Alice. “Alice has been doing a little job for us,” said Verash, kneeling beside her.
“What do you mean?” said the Doctor, a worried look on his face.
“Well, not Alice exactly,” he continued. “Did you not even suspect anything? The General must've done a good job on her.”
“What do you mean?” repeated the Doctor, standing up to face Verash.
“Six months ago, in her personal timeline, Alice had a car crash.”
“Yes,” said the Doctor. Alice had mentioned it to him. “It knocked her out for days.”
Verash nodded. “That was us.”
Six Months Ago
The driver of the sports car exited the vehicle and walked over the now-relatively quiet motorway towards the crashed car.
He was a tall, dark-skinned man, wearing a long black coat with white, piercing eyes.
He aimed a strange, laser-like device at the car lock. It clunked to the unlock position and he opened the door. He leant across to Alice, her head against the steering wheel and blood pouring from her ears. He checked her pulse. She was still alive.
He lifted a wrist device to his mouth and spoke into it.
“This is Agent Maxus to control,” he said.
“Go ahead, Maxus,” came a voice through the device.
“We have the package.”
“Did we have any problems?”
“No, Verash,” said Maxus, “no problems at all. There's minimal damage to her. Slight bleeding from the ears, but nothing we can't fix. Is Tylaya - ?”
“Tylaya is prepped. She’s ready, Maxus.”
He sighed and closed his eyes. “I’m just…worried.”
“We’ve been through this over and over again,” said the voice.
“I know, I know,” said Maxus, shaking the thoughts out of his head. “I just don’t know if messing with people’s heads is the best way forward.”
“It’s for the good of the Human race.”
“I know, Verash, I know.”
There was a pause. “We better get this moving.”
“Why? What’s the rush? We’re going to return her to the instant she leaves anyway.”
“Because we’re already delaying now. No doubt the authorities have already been informed. Now, take her hand and prepare for transit.”
Maxus reached out and grabbed the still-unconscious Alice’s hand. He held up a bronze bracelet and then turned the small, ornamental symbol on top. The two of them shimmered and faded away.
Alice awoke some time later. Her head was sore and there were distant, echoing voices. She was sure they were in the room with her, but they seemed so far away. A blurred figure stepped to the side of her and spoke softly. She had been in an accident. Was she in the hospital?
She couldn’t make out what the voice was saying.
She heard that. “What’s happening? I was…in…”
“A car crash,” said the voice. “Yes, I know. But we’re here to fix you now.”
“Fix me? How?”
“We’ve got a little task for you to perform,” said the man, whose features were now coming into focus; the grey hair, the ponytail and the goa-tee beard.
Alice screamed out in pain as she felt a large needle being inserted into her upper left arm.
“Easy now,” said the man.
She turned her head, and lying there across from her bed was a women in a dark combat suit. She was young with short blonde hair and ice-blue eyes. She turned her head to look at Alice and smiled.
Alice’s eyes struggled to look past her to try and make out something else. Stood in a dark, blurred corner of the room was a dark-skinned man with a shaved head and a short-trimmed beard. He looked a little concerned. She wasn’t sure what he was concerned about though. She didn’t even know him.
She screamed as she felt another needle in her other arm.
“Ssssh,” said the grey-haired man. “This will be all over soon.”
“At least you won’t remember any of this,” smiled the blonde women. She had a South-African accent.
“What are you doing to me?” cried Alice.
The man sat on the edge of the bed and smiled at her. “This young lady here is called Tylaya. She’s been undergoing psychotropic tests for the last four months to prepare her for this.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“We’re going to plant her consciousness inside your head,” said the man, tapping on Alice’s forehead.
“What? That’s impossible!”
“I assure you, Miss Stokes, that it’s very, very possible. Chetothian technology, you see.” The man checked what Alice could only presume was a complicated wrist watch. “What are we setting the trigger as?”
“Seven times table,” smiled Tylaya.
“Good, good.” He stood up again and leaned in closer to Alice. “Later this year - in your own time, that is - a man called the Doctor will come to your little village. We’re simply manoeuvring you into his path.”
“Why? Who is he? I don’t live in a village.”
The man smiled. “He’s an enemy of the Eyeglass. He’ll strike up a friendship with you, take you with him into time and space, and then Tylaya will hop in every night and give us an update.”
Alice watched as the man backed away and then nodded at a nurse beside a control panel. She flicked a control and a strange, metal clamp came down from the headboard of the bed and clamped around her. She felt the cool metal press against her sore temples. Alice struggled as the nurse operated some more controls.
She felt the worst pain she’d ever felt and then….blackness.
Alice awoke in a hospital bed. She turned her head to the left. She had a feeling that something was there. A face, maybe. A woman’s face with short blonde hair and blue eyes, but then the image faded and was replaced by a digital clock readout. It was 11:55am. She frowned. She couldn’t remember much. Just the car flipping over and then blackness.
And then waking up here.
She was aware of movement around her. Standing next to her bed and smiling was one of her sisters - Rosie. Rosie was the second oldest - the one who Alice felt she could confide in the most. She smiled that smile that had melted a hundred men’s hearts, her auburn hair hanging down over her shoulders. She looked perfect. Immaculate.
“Hi, sis,” she smiled.
“Hey,” said Alice, groggily. “What happened?”
“Can you remember the crash?”
Alice tried to nod, realised it hurt to much, and then simply said “Mmm-hmmm.”
“When the ambulance arrived you were out cold. You’ve been asleep for five days.”
Alice frowned. “Am I-?”
“You’re fine,” said Rosie, crouching down so she was level with Alice’s face. “The others couldn’t make it though,” she said apologetically. “Audrey’s still in Dubai.”
“Bloody trips,” mumbled Alice.
The two of them laughed. Well, Alice tried to laugh.
“So, when do I get out of this joint?”
“Not yet,” said Rosie. “It’s gonna be another few days at least.”
Alice spent a few more minutes talking to her sister until a nurse appeared and told her that she needed some rest. Alice asked the nurse to slip the headphones over her head, and she lay there drifting off to some new maudlin song by James Blunt.
And as she closed her eyes, she saw the face again.
And the face smiled.
There was a name: Tylaya. But then the name faded. She had forgotten.
The Doctor stood there, facing Verash, his eyes transfixed on him and not blinking.
“Ingenious, eh?” said Verash.
The Doctor frowned. “You took an innocent young women and planted someone else’s consciousness in her head, just so you could gather information on me. And then you fake the death of another friend just so you can trap me.”
Verash nodded, grinning at the audaciousness of the plan.
“It’s sick,” said Dennington, his nose wrinkled in disgust.
“It just goes to show the lengths that the General will go to capture me,” said the Doctor. “And that at least makes me realise one, definite thing.”
“What’s that?” said Verash.
“That no matter the cost, Eyeglass must be stopped.”
Verash laughed. “You can’t stop us.”
“I’m sure,” said the Doctor, circling Verash, “that not all of your kind are as cruel as the General. There must be some good left in there somewhere.”
“Different perspectives,” said Verash.
“Maybe,” said the Doctor, “but your perspective is too dangerous, and I will stop you.”
Dennington glanced at the Doctor. The Doctor gave a quick nod, and then Dennington drew his gun, firing a few bolts at the ground in front of Verash.
Verash was taken by surprise as the two men bolted. They tried to stop and grab Alice, but Verash fired at them.
“Come on!” said Dennington, dragging the Doctor away from the prone Alice.
“We’ll find a way, Doctor. We will.”
Verash growled angrily as the Doctor and Dennington disappeared into the church. He held up a communicator to his mouth and spoke into it. “This is Verash. The Doctor’s escaping, but I have Stokes and Coldstone.”
“Then,” came the General’s voice, “I’ll send in the big guns. And, Verash?”
“I suggest you get back up here, I’m going to level this place to the ground.”
On the surface of Mars, the Doctor and Dennington had taken refuge in one of the only buildings in the colony that had not lost it’s air.
They were gathered around by a group of people including an Ice Lord and one of the Martian warriors.
“So, you’re the mighty Doctor,” said the Ice Lord.
“I wouldn’t say mighty,” said the Doctor.
“I’ve heard of you. I know of the legends.” The Ice Lord extended it’s claw. “My name is Saraxx.”
“Please to meet you, Saraxx.”
Saraxx hissed it’s approval. “We must escape this place before there’s nothing left to escape from.”
“Easier said than done,” said the Doctor. “My TARDIS is back in the collapsed section. We tried to get to it but it was near on impossible.”
“Well I refuse to be slaughtered like cattle.”
There was a rumble and the ground shook, causing some of the group to cry out in fear. A billow of dust emerged from down a corridor and the Doctor, Dennington and Saraxx were aware of something emerging from the dust.
Eventually the dust cleared, and standing there was a huge, seven-foot tall pure, white skinned man. His head was like a skull with jagged yellow teeth, whilst evil yellow eyes stared out over high cheek bones. He wore blue armour with rippling muscles underneath and strapped to his belt was an array of weapons.
“Good evening,” he growled.
“Paragrim,” said the Doctor.
He lifted a huge blaster and pointed it at the Doctor’s group. “You’re under arrest. General Helix is waiting for you.”
Next time: Ivy and Alice encounter Anna, a girl who has the key to bringing down Eyeglass. Coming on Saturday 10th May 2014.