(Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter.)
“What, what’s going on” The Doctor said as he was jolted awake.
“It’s okay, it’s okay Doctor, well it isn’t, but at least we’re not dead.” Elena said as she helped the Time Lord up.
“I remember there was a giant dragon and it ate me, and you and Yarox too. Well obviously that can’t be right, so I must have dreamed it. Tell me then where are we?”
“We’re in the beasts stomach Doctor.” Elena replied.
The Doctor looked up and saw that the roof appeared to be made of flesh and was even pulsating. The walls and the floor meanwhile were all cold and hard metal. Clearly the Dragon that had devoured them was a cyborg that had been turned in a vessel of some kind, or more likely a war ship.
All around the Doctor could see the villagers huddled together in fear as well as the remains of a giant boat at the back, whilst Yarox stayed closer to Elena. Yarox clearly felt safer with Elena than anyone else there, even the Doctor. The Doctor wasn’t surprised. “On his first adventure I did get him eaten after all, though perhaps there was more to it than that” the Doctor thought to himself.
Before the Doctor could even attempt to figure out what was going on, the two doors behind him opened and a hideous, robed creature emerged.
The monster’s robes were bright red, whilst its head was squat and green. It had no nose, just a snout, whilst its mouth was filled with small, pointy teeth. Its eyes meanwhile were bright red and set deep into its skull, whilst two tiny bat like ears protuded from either side of its head. Its cape was long and red, and though the Doctor couldn’t see it yet, there was a strange black symbol on the back of the monsters cloak. The alien appeared to be part creature, part machine, just like the Dragon they were trapped in. Its arms were competely mechanical, and its entire squat chest was also covered in gold metal, whilst large wires emerged from the top of its head, right down the back of its neck, much like hair would on a person. The entire creature was short. It stood no higher than 5 feet tall.
“We have your TARDIS, Doctor. You will accompany me now.”
Elena and Yarox both stood by the Doctor.
“What do you want with him.” Elena said defiantly.
“That is of no interest to you. You are all simply pawns for the Master. Try to get in his way and.” The creature shot an energy beam at Elena, bringing her to her knees in pain.
“Stop it, please” The Doctor begged the creature, who released Elena.
“I’ll do much worse if you don’t help the Master.”
“Okay, okay.” The Doctor said begrudgingly. “Just so you know though, I don’t have the best track record with people called the Master.” The Doctor said as he left the room with his strange captor.
“The Time Lord’s vessel is in our custody sir.”
“Brilliant.” The Inquistore interrupted. “Now we can finally begin the sacrifice.”
“The sacrifice is not essential.” The section leader snapped back. “The Master simply thinks that it will help speed things along.”
“All the excuse I need.” The Inquistore said with glee.
“You never need any excuse.” The leader said with disgust.
The section leader was the oldest of all the strange creatures there. He remembered when their world was actually a beautiful planet, and their race a proud one. Long before he, the abomination that the others now so willingly call Master came. The section leader could hardly judge his underlings however, as much as they may have disgusted him. They had been born under the Masters rule. They had all been conditioned to be his warriors, creatures of hate who would kill for him without a seconds hesitation. It was the only reason his species had been allowed to exist. In all his own hundreds of thousands of years of existence however the Leader had never dared even lift a finger against the Master. He was happy to condemn thousands, millions if need be to the Demons pit if it meant he didn’t end up there. It wasn’t fair, he knew that and hated himself for it, but ultimately he didn’t have the strength to make the sacrifice that others had against Scratchman.
The Doctor was brought to the control room, which was also a combination of flesh on the roof with steel floors and walls. At the end of the room, several of the strange creatures gathered around a monitor, which contained images of the island from above. The Doctor could see several of the Scarecrow’s now wandering aimlessly in the woods below.
The commander of the Goblins, who was somewhat larger and had a long, gold cape to represent his rank approached the Doctor.
“I don’t understand why the Master cares so much about you? You look like one of those animals we have caged below?”
“Well.” The Doctor said modestly. “Appearances can be deceiving my good sir. For instance you look like an eldritch abomination, but I’m sure you’re actually a lovely person.”
The alien commander walked towards the monitor where it brought up an image of the Doctors Tardis, contained in what looked a large stomach. It was obvious to the Doctor where they were.
“Ah yes I’ve heard you’ve wanted my vessel. To bring someone who claims to be the Devil or something into our world.”
“You mean the Master? Yes the primitives of this world believe him to be a figure from their mythology, but the truth is far worse.”
“What is he?” The Doctor asked out of as much interest as fear.
“Even we don’t know exactly, but he is a creature from another universe. He devours each universe he visits. He feeds on negative emotions such as fear, hatred, and suffering. Whenever he visits a universe he tends to work in the shadows at first, playing us against each other, starting wars, until he is strong enough to not only take over, but reshape it in his own image.”
“Our reality is what these primitives would call hell.” The alien said with contempt. “The natural laws no longer apply. He can bend them anyway he wants, condemn any torture he wishes on us. Once he had finished with us he intended to move on as always, but this time he was imprisoned.”
“Creatures from many universes. After the great powers of our reality fell and our universe began to bend itself to his will, the final resistance travelled to other universes, and met with their great powers, the empires, the federation of planets, and managed to gather them together against the threat of Scratchman. Unfortunately the great powers weren’t able to destroy Scratchman either. Rather than lose billions of people fighting against the Demon, the great powers decided to place a barrier around our universe. They sealed us in with the beast. As far as they were concerned our universe was past saving and maybe it was. For an incalculable time Scratchman took his frustrations out on us to a greater extent than he had any of the universes he had conquered before. Our reality became the worst of all the hells he had created. Then a few centuries ago he discovered a tiny tear in the barrier. It led to one, seemingly insignificant planet.”
“Exactly. Scratchman wasn’t able to enter this world, but he was able to project his thoughts into it. Enter the minds of men, influence them throughout the planets history. He was also able to draw the minds of several earth people into his universe after they had died.”
“How many.” The Doctor asked in horror.
“Only a very few at a time, though over the centuries possibly thousands have come to us, which in turn led to myths about hell or similar places appearing in every culture in this world. The Master was even able to send some of us into your world, through the tears in reality. As time went on the tears became bigger, but not big enough for Scratchman himself to escape.”
“I don’t think I like where this is going.”
“Yes the master has been observing your visits to this world for quite a while Doctor. Your vessel, run down and obsolete as it may be, is still a relic of arguably the most advanced race in your universe. The power it contains will be able to widen the gaps just enough for Scratchman to enter this world. Then your universe will become like ours. Just think of what the Master will do with your race, Time Lord.”
“It will never happen.” The Doctor said proudly. “Why do you serve that monster? There must be some part of you that still remembers what it was like think for yourself.” The Doctor said in desperation.
“Before Scratchman came to our universe we were conquerors. We had an empire spanning hundreds of galaxies. Now thanks to Scratchman we shall conquer universes. Scratchman chose us to be his most loyal foot soldiers. He believed that out of all the life forms in the universe we were the strongest.”
“Or maybe he knew you were the weakest and would be most likely to bend the knee.” The Doctor hit back.
The Goblin grabbed the Doctor by the scruff of his frock coat and held him up for a few moments before dropping him.
“Take him to the vessel. He can help us divert its power to the tears. I don’t have to tell you what will happen to those animals below who you seem so desperate to protect if you disobey us.”
“I take it back.” The Doctor said. “You’re clearly not a very nice person.”
Little did the Doctor know the Goblin was lying to him. All of the villagers and Elena and Yarox had been brought to the lower section of the Dragons stomach, just below where the Tardis was kept.
The Inquistore couldn’t wait to have his fun with the prisoners. Even though the section leader had strictly forbidden him from sacrificing any of the prisoners before the time was right, the Inquistore went ahead anyway as he often did.
“Why have you brought us here?” Elena said a she stood in front of the others.
“What a strange creature.” The Inquistore said at the sight of Elena.
“I like its large eye. I’ll keep the eye after I’m done with it.”
Elena went to attack the the Inquistore, but it blasted her with its gauntlets. Elena however fought through the pain and actually managed to grab the Inquistore, who was more impressed than anything else. Ultimately however the pain was too overwhelming and the Goblin quickly overpowered her.
“Perhaps the Master will have use for you after all. The rest of you meanwhile, you are here to help his ascension.”
A large ball of fire began to appear in the middle of the room.
“What is that.” One of the villagers cried out in fear.
“A little piece of home.”
The Goblins led the Doctor across a large walkway. 50 or so feet below, the Time Lord could see the TARDIS.
“It must be hard for you two Demons from hell not to have to kill me.” The Doctor said.
“It is.” One of the Demons answered back. “We’ve helped to break so many who looked like you when their minds come to our domain.”
“Yes but you need me. You need me to help rewire my own ship to bring your vile Master into this world, so there’s only one thing I can do” The Doctor said as he jumped over the railing of the walkway. One of the Goblins reached out to grab him, but the Doctor who held onto the railings grabbed onto the Goblin as it reached for him, and pulled it over the railing. The Doctor then hurled himself over the railing back onto the walkway and into the other Goblin as it came nearer.
“I’m a lot more spry than I look.” The Doctor said as he tried to subdue the Goblin with a bit of Venusian karate. The creature however proved to be immune and pushed the Doctor back before firing its energy beam back. The Doctor however ducked and rammed into the Goblin to try and push it over the edge. The monster however began to overpower the Time Lord, and in desperation the Doctor ripped the wires from the back of the Goblins head. The creature staggered back in pain before collapsing dead.
The Doctor stared at its lifeless corpse as well as that of the Goblin below for a few seconds. He hated having to do this, but the monsters had left him no choice.
The Doctor then ran to the end of the walkway and down the stairs to where the TARDIS was.
“Oh old girl I honestly though I wasn’t going to see you again.” The Doctor said with affection as he reached for the key.
“Don’t worry. I won’t let them.” Suddenly the Goblin the Doctor had pulled over the edge of the walkway reached up and grabbed him. It was still alive and strong enough to crush the life out of the Doctor.
To Be Continued