(Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter)
“This is where you’ve always been heading Time Lord and you know it.” The Demonic voice taunted.
“To tell you the truth I never knew where I was going. That’s what made it so fun.”
Suddenly a ball of flame began to appear just above the console. The Doctor tried to run away, but the flames quickly shot to right in front of him. The flaming sphere then started to form a humanoid shape with horns and cloven feet, before taking on an actual physical, humanoid form.
The creature had a furry, pale body, goat like legs and two very small horns on either side of its head. Its eyes were bright green, whilst its features were long and sharp. Its teeth were small and jagged. Its actual speaking voice was very different in its natural form. It was more high pitched, yet somewhat softer sounding.
“I wanted you to see me as I truly am, for I was once like you, Doctor. My name is Pan, and I am a member of the Olyscias Federation.”
“The Olyscias Federation?” The Doctor said in disbelief. “They fell over 2000 years before the time period those villagers came from. You’ve been suffering in that monsters prison all that time?”
Elena came bursting through the door, carrying Yarox who was still weak after his ordeal.
“What’s going on Doctor we’ve.” Elena froze when she saw both Pan and the image on the scanner.
“Don’t worry I’m not him, though you’ll meet Scratchman soon enough, or the Devil or whatever you primitives call him. I am Pan, a once noble intergalactic traveller like your friend the Doctor here.”
“Doctor what is he talking about.”
“He claims to be from the Olyscias Federation. They were a collective of a number of highly advanced beings who sought to elevate other races across the universe to their level. They’d visit planets, fix whatever problems they could, and share their knowledge with them. They visited earth I believe many centuries ago. They helped lay the foundations for the Ancient Greeks society. Pan from what I remember was something of a renegade, who enjoyed being worshipped on whatever world he came too as a god, without doing much to help the natives.”
“Those stories were exaggerated!” Pan fired back.
“Still it is true to some extent that I was a bit of a vagabond in my younger days, but then aren’t we all? In my later years I truly tried to make amends for my selfish behaviour, and that’s what got me trapped in here. My people, when we stayed on earth we detected that certain human minds were being drained by a mysterious force. With our superior technology we traced the dimensional rip. Several of us travelled to Scratchman’s realm to try and save the human souls, but we ended up as the servants of Scratchman instead. Hades was once the proudest of our warriors, and now he serves Scratchman, ruling over the darkest pit of this hell. We were far from the only aliens ever to visit this planet to try and stop Scratchman. Thousands of advanced life forms have detected his presence, and the rip to his dimension. In fact the earth has a reputation in certain corners of the galaxy for being the home of Scratchman. The earthlings are pitied more than any other races across the galaxy as a result. Poor primitives have no idea that the hardships for life are nothing compared to what awaits so many of them in the beyond. Many alien species have visited the earth to try and sever Scratchman’s connection to it, stop him from entering his world, some have tried to harness the power from his realm for their own purposes. All now either serve him or lie at the bottom of that molten lake, screaming forever. Many have entered humanity’s mythology of course. The dark knight? He was once a noble alien warrior who came to earth to stop the ultimate evil. Scratchman not only killed him, but made him a kind of messenger, who takes people to hell from the earth. Charon? Once a brave daredevil., fighter pilot in the Hesrika league, now the humble ferryman of the dead.”
“This is what awaits you Time Lord. I just hope that when he makes you his new servant, he finally releases me.” Pan said before vanishing into a puff of black smoke. The two TARDIS doors soon opened, and despite his best efforts the Doctor wasn’t able to close them. All of the TARDIS’s systems appeared to be dead or at least locked.
“Well I guess we’ll have to play Scratchman or Pan’s sick game for now.” The Doctor said to his two companions as he headed out onto the red, barren landscape. Though the Doctor was terrified, he really didn’t need any persuasion to explore the landscape before him. No matter what the circumstances the Doctors hunger for discovery knew no bounds.
Elena meanwhile was more reluctant. She wasn’t eager to see what other fears or horrors Pan or any of Scratchman’s minions could cull from her mind, but she knew she couldn’t let the Doctor just walk off on his own.
“If only he’d just think once before he goes off” Elena moaned to Yarox who was still weak and needed help from Elena just to walk.
Scratchman wanted the Doctor and the TARDIS brought to him seperately as that way if the Doctor escaped from Scratchman’s minions then he would still be stuck here. It was always better to seperate your enemy from his or her weapon,t he Demon thought to itself.
Outside the air of the planet was intensly hot. Elena and Yarox almost collapsed at first, whilst even the Doctor had taken rest on a nearby rock, though he quickly jumped up as it was scorching.
As the three time travellers got closer to the molten lake they could hear the moans and the screams of those trapped within getting louder and louder until they were almost unbearable.
The sky above meanwhile was nothing but flames.
“I can see why Scratchman wants to leave this place. Only problem is he seems to have a bad habit of making everywhere he moves too the same.” The Doctor said as he stared at something in the distance.
It was hard to make out clearly in the scorching heat, but the Doctor could see something begin to move from under the red sand. It looked like a long clawed arm, though again it was hard to make out from the distance.
Suddenly however hundreds more creatures began to crawl out from under the sand in front of the Doctor, Yarox and Elena.
There were hundreds of different types of beasts. Some resembled rotting corpses, others giant horned Demons, some were flaming figures just like Pan had been on earth. The army of monsters pushed the Doctor, Yarox and Elena back to the very edge of the molten lake.
With nothing to lose, the Doctor and Elena tried to fight the monsters, but they were hopelessly overpowered. Yarox despite still being somewhat weak from the torture also did his best to help his friends, but he too was overpowered in a matter of seconds. The three time travellers were pushed towards the very edge of the cliff over the molten lake.
“Stop, the master wants to speak with the Time Lord personally.”
The Doctor looked up to see a small, cloaked figure emerging from the crowd of abominations. Its face was green and rotting, whilst its teeth were small and very sharp.
“My dear Doctor, I hope you haven’t been made too uncomfortable.” The figure said in a mocking tone.
“I am Charon, the ferryman of the dead. I will take you across the lake in my boat.”
“Boat? I thought it was a raft the Doctor said.
“It used to be, but hardly anyone would ever make it across. The souls would pull them in. Even with the boat, so few people make it across. I keep telling Scratchamn to upgrade, but to be honest I think that’s the point. Don’t worry though, he really wants to speak with you, so you should be safe.”
“Safe? I’d rather take my chances in the lake.” The Doctor said.
“Well, to be honest so would I, but you can’t fight the master. You can’t fight him anywhere, but certainly not in his domain.”
With no other choice, the three time travellers headed across the burning sands to what looked like a large, strange, purple boat. The boat was shaped like a cone, with a hatch opening up at the front.
“It’s from my home planet, or rather its meant to look like it.”
“Nothing like a little piece of home eh.” Yarox said somewhat nervously.
“Not at all. This is the boat I died in. It was ripped apart by one of the monsters, the Kraken from Scratchman’s reality that he sent to terrorise the earth. Though its killed me many times since. The Kraken lives in the lake. Often it will tear this ship apart and throw the souls into the lake, before devouring me. I always reappear back in the harbour however, waiting for the next group of souls and my next death.”
“I’m sorry.” Elena said.
“It’s okay, I no longer fear death. How could I when I’ve died hundreds of times already. Its the waking up bit after that’s the worst. I just hope one of these days he lets me rest.
The inside of the ship was dark and dank and filled with rotting corpses.
“Your latest passengers I take it?” The Doctor asked.
“No my first. They were the other members of my team when we first came to earth. We all had such high hopes that we would be the ones to take down Scratchman. Their bodies are to serve as a reminder of my failure, but I stopped caring a long time ago.”
The boat sped through the lake.
“It won’t take long. The Masters castle is on the edge of the lake. He likes to watch the souls suffer in the morning.”
“I just can’t wait to meet him” the Doctor said.
Yarox sat at the edge of the room, away from the bodies. Once again Elena was the only one to notice his discomfort and tried to console him, whilst the Doctor kept bugging Charon with questions.
“I’m sorry Yarox, I know what you saw. I saw it too. This is the price of the life we live. The freedom, from everything, responsibility, time itself. “
“It’s not that.” Yarox said with regret.
“I, I wasn’t strong. When those Daleks or whatever they were, the hallucinations were torturing me I, I gave in Elena. I betrayed you and the Doctor.”
“We know. We saw it.”
“I understand if you want to throw me off the TARDIS.”
“It’s not my choice I’m afraid. I don’t blame you though. Scratchman, or whatever that creature conjured up your darkest fears.”
“But what if those Daleks had been real? I would have told them everything. I would have happily taken them to the TARDIS just to be free from that pain. I don’t think I can cope.”
“Where will you go? You can’t go back home. Suppose we just dump you somewhere, and then you find you can’t cope there, but you have no one to help you? I admit there is still a lot about the Doctor I don’t understand, but I know he’d never just leave you somewhere. Also even if he did, I’d go with you.”
Yarox was greatly moved by Elena’s words but he still couldn’t help but feel he didn’t deserve her loyalty.
“Fascinating” the Doctor said loudly.
It wasn’t really but he was trying to annoy Charon by distracting him with pointless questions, but the ferryman of the dead was not taking the Doctors bait.
Charon didn’t seem malicious like Pan. He seemed quite laid back and even charming in some ways, but really he was more just detatched from everything around him. The Doctor felt he could strike him physically and Charon still wouldn’t react.
Just then the ship suddenly stopped.
“It’s the souls from the lake. Sometimes they’ll try and pull people in. Misery loves company and all that. Don’t worry they are easy to deal with.” Charon said as he reached for a weapon under the counter.
The damned souls started to rip the hatch open. Elena and Yarox stood beside the Doctor, though he was just as defenceless as they were. Elena made sure to try and push Yarox behind her, though he tried to push her behind him. He was determined to make up for his earlier cowardice.
The creatures bodies were burned almost beyond recognition. The skin of each of the monsters was black and decaying, their eyes were burned out sockets, and their green broken teeth were exposed.
Despite this however they could see very clearly and shuffled towards the Doctor and Charon.
“This weapon will take them down. It destroy’s their souls completely. I don’t think they want to harm us, they just want it all to be over. I’m more than happy to oblige.” Charon said as he fired at the monsters, burning them all into nothing.
As soon as Charon tried to start the ship again however the Doctor siezed his chance and tried to tackle the ferryman of the dead. Charon however just simply hurled the Doctor across the room. Elena next tried to use her Acturian kung fu on Charon, but she was overpowered just as easily.
Yarox next prepared to strike but Charon simply laughed at him. It was the only emotion the ferryman of the dead had shown so far.
“I have to take people across a burning lake to hell. You really think that I can’t defend myself?”
Suddenly Yarox and Charon were both distracted by a hideous shrieking sound.
“No it can’t be.” Charon said.
“It was a trap, those souls were”
Charon tried to start the ship, but before he could three hideous, blue, winged monsters descended on the hatch.
“Harpies!” Charon screamed as he tried to start the boat. The boat wasn’t moving however because several more souls in the lake were holding it in place. Incredible Charon thought to himself. He had never seen so many souls be able to hold off the agony from being in the lake for this long.
One of the Harpies quickly grabbed Elena in its talons. Another tried to grab the Doctor, but Charon quickly fired on it.
Unfortunately the Harpy with Elena quickly ascended to the skies above the lake. Charon couldn’t fire on it now without sending Elena into the lake of fire. She was in those monsters custody.
To Be Continued