A 'Season 28' Doctor Who Story
by Bex

(This story originally appeared in The Doctor Who Project: Season 28 (Spring 2000), edited by Bob Furnell)





Most people think emotions are transient, a passing fancy of the moment.

But hate can live forever, a festering rancor waiting for one more chance to kill. To destroy...



A figure stood silhouetted against the evening sky, watching as the shuttle descended towards the meeting point. Last time he'd see that - the dig was over. He had press conferences to attend, museum exhibit openings to attend, appearances on the Dream Job programme, papers to write...

And now that his job here was done, an old, old score to settle.

Tirik Lehn turned and started down the slope to tell the others it was time to leave.


The Doctor and Tamara arrived on board the _Hematite_ in the usual fashion: without permission.

But proper identificaton and authorization had never interested the Doctor much, he who'd travelled so widely even he couldn't always recall all the places he'd been, or seperate memories from book or data-base knowledge.

More than nine-hundred years of life could do that to a person.

And Tamara Scott, formerly of UNIT Intelligence, long used to morphing from one identity to another as part of her job, wasn't terribly wedded to the concept, either.

Having managed to land without being observed, they left the battered blue box and set out with aplomb. They were on a ship. Tamara knew that, because she recognized the dull gray deck plating beneath her boots.

She'd never seen a cargo ship that didn't have dull gray utilitarian walls, honey-combed deck plates, and low lighting.

She looked ahead, tensing as something small whirred into view around a corridor bend.

"Just a cleaning 'bot," the Doctor said.

"I knew that." Stepping politely aside, she watched it go on its way down the corridor.

"I doubt it's even configured to notice or record our presence."

"I'd figured that out, too." The 'bot had disappeared.

She waited for the next comment. When none was forthcoming, she looked up.

The Doctor had vanished.

Tamara glanced at her watch. This had to be a new record. "Doctor?" she called softly, and paused. She was standing before a junction. Her friend must have started down one of the two corridors. Chosing the left hand one at random, she set off.


She heard a faint echo. Someone walking before her? Increasing her pace, she hurried forward. A figure was moving down the corridor ahead, difficult to see clearly in the dim lighting. It didn't look like the Doctor.


The figure didn't seem to have heard her. It was moving with a shambling gait. Something about it disturbed her. Obeying that instinct, she began to follow.

UNIT instinct, not normal human instinct, which would have been to stay as far away as possible.

"Hey! You!" she called, more boldly.

Tamara didn't hesitate. The shambling figure was disappearing around the corridor curve. She broke into a trot. At this pace, she'd soon over-take him--

The shape suddenly loomed out at her; she jerked aside instinctively, hands up, ready to block and fight--


He jumped back himself, a comical expression of surprise on his face.

"But I-- I saw... That was you?"

He actually looked down at himself, as if confirming his existence. "I don't know... What was it you saw?"

"A figure. It looked suspicious. When I called to it, it kept going, so I..."

The Doctor smiled.

"Right..." Tamara ran a hand through her hair, suddenly weary. "I need a vacation... from this vacation." Her friend tilted his head as if listening to something above his head, tucked his hands into the small pockets on his vest, strode several paces, then did a neat about-face, pivoting on his heel to face her once again.

"This ship," he said, conversationally, "is carrying artifacts from the archeological dig on Betus Minor."

Despite that unpromising start, Tamara asked, "And how do you know that?"

He pointed at the sign silk-screened on the gray wall plating nearby. Verian DuraSteel - Beta Prime.

Tamara smiled. "And the artifacts? How do you know about that?"

The Doctor held up his left hand. In it was a shard of pottery. "I found it in the corridor here, up ahead. Someone's been at the artifacts."

"I see... But how do you know they came from Beta Minor?"

"It's the only place that makes sense... A lost civilization dead for many millennia. I remember hearing about it... The discovery quite caught the imagination of this system: Vid specials about the dig, the archeologist team members being sought for celebrity product endorsements, that sort of thing..."

"How nice," Tamara said, quite bored.

"Not really. The first Betans destroyed themselves in some war or other. No one was ever quite sure how. But their civilization disappeared three millennia ago, long before this system was colonized by the present population and re-settled."

"I see..." Tamara enjoyed military history, but any other kind tended to leave her cold. What relevance did a long-dead culture have for her?

"There's some speculation among Betan archeologists that they'd invented some sort of superweapon..."

Tamara's head swiveled slowly around to look at her friend. This was more interesting..."Do they know what it was?"

He shook his head. "It's just a theory, as I said."

"I see." She pushed herself away from the wall where she'd been leaning. "I gather this means we're off to the cargo hold to see the rest, then?"


Tamara's eyebrow's rose.

A grin. "I'm off to the cargo hold. You're off to have a peek at the rest of the ship." He half turned away, then swung back round. Reaching into a trouser pocket, he withdrew a piece of plastic. "Here - you may need this."

Tamara took the piece of plastic. Some sort of ID card.

"Suitable for all security points in this system. Debit card, too."

"Ta," she said, absently, peering at the blurred but reconizable photo of herself suspiciously. It looked far too good to be a true ID photo. Where had he gotten this picture of her from?

"If we're splitting up, shall I stop by the brig later to see you, then?" she asked, not looking up.

"Oh ye of little faith..."

Tamara smiled as he huffed away. "Oh, I have a lot of faith in you, Doctor," she chuckled softly to herself. "That you'll get right into trouble."

Then she turned and headed back towards the living quarters.


She didn't find out much, striding through the corridors. There were only a few passengers riding on the ship. They took little notice of her, probably thinking her a crew member.

The few crew members she passed similarly must have thought that she was one of the archeological team, accompanying their artifacts back to fame and fortune.

As Tamara was neither, though, it wasn't long before she met one of the crew who realized that she hadn't come aboard with the other passengers.


The Doctor found her in the brig.

"Not a word..." she warned him, her arms folded, as he appeared before the door to her cell.

"Oh, it's all right - I've come to join you." Behind him, the security man, a red-head, came into view.

"It's all procedure. In you go. Stowing away is a serious offense. The captain will see you later."

When the door had slicked shut, the Doctor plunked himself upon the bench next to her. "Well, at least I was half right," Tamara muttered. "Find anything?"

"Well... Sort of..."


The Doctor had found considerably more.

Still, he'd seen artifacts galore before, on a hundred worlds. Some of them had even ended up in his TARDIS. The artifacts here, old and dirt-encrusted objects probably from the daily lives of the original inhabitants of this system, were ordinary enough, although undoubtedly fascinating from an archeologist's viewpoint. Nothing he'd identify as a weapon...

He paused, turning what felt like a plastic cup, misshapen, as if subjected to high temperatures, over and over in his hand.

It was just his Time Lord paranoia acting up again. The odds of the archeologists having found something truly dangerous were slim to remote...

He had just replaced the 'cup' in the opened crate when he realized that he was no longer alone in the cargo bay.

"That was Security finding you?" Tamara asked.

The Doctor shook his head. "One of the crew. He seemed... preoccupied, and when he saw me there, he stopped and stared. Most curious. He had just started to approach me, never a word spoken. In fact, I didn't quite like his look. Then we heard what in fact turned out to be the Security man approaching. In a moment, the other crewman was gone. Vanished."

Tamara looked at her friend curiously. "He probably also wasn't supposed to be there...so he left."



The captain, Security Chief at her side, came to see them a short time later, only to find the prisoners busily engaged in a game of Hepatan Blunders.

The Doctor was enthusiastically waving his right arm at a small pile of objects on the holding cell floor; Tamara was watching him with bemusement as he tried to explain the arcane rules. It seemed to be a combination of Charades and Monopoly,but without a board or any clear way of deciding value to the 'found objects' the Doctor had pulled out of his pockets.

"...so, you see, the second player, if he, she or it can't adequately describe the object without words, must give it up to the other player."

The captain glanced aside at Gevin. "Weren't their personal affects removed when they were confined?"

He nodded, apparently as bemused as she was.

The captain cleared her throat. The two prisoners looked up.

"Would you mind telling me when it was that you stowed away on board my ship?"

The Doctor was suddenly on his feet. He smiled. "We didn't."

"Then it was merely an oversight that you happen not to be listed on the ship's manifest, and that no one has any memory of having seen you come aboard on Verlis or on Betus Minor."

"I didn't say that. I just said we didn't stow away. We came aboard in our own transportaton."

"I beg your pardon?"

"My TARDIS. She obviously considered your ship a good place to land." He beamed, as if that were a compliment, and one she should recognize.

"Your 'TARDIS'... A shuttle?"

"It's a... travel capsule." The other one, the woman. She'd gotten to her feet and now approached the bars.

"An escape pod?" But the ship had picked up no distress signals, picked up nothing at all within the past two days...

"Yes, like that." The woman spoke again, before the man could reply. "We didn't know where we were or if you were friendly, so we sneaked around..."

Captain Holfert's eyes narrowed slightly. Barely plausible... and the woman moved with an air of confidence that belied any need to 'sneak'. If she sneaked, it was because she wanted to.

"Your ID card indicates you have plenty of assets. Why stow away?"

The woman glanced aside at the man, whose jaquard vest covered with question marks pretty much summed up the situation. He flashed another smile the captain's way. "We didn't. Stow away."

"Just a few years ago, you'd have been tossed out the airlock, you know." Beside her, Gevin sent her a quick glance, and a moment later, she was annoyed at herself. Resorting to veiled threats in an interrogation! The tactics of someone losing control. This was supposed to have been a routine inter-system run, even with the archeologist celebs on board. But something about this stow-away got under her skin... A jaunty thirty-someting, natty in a crisp white shirt, vest and trousers, a goatee, dark hair. He certainly didn't act his age or take this at all seriously, stowing away like a foolish romatic twelve-year old who'd known nothing of the world and been lucky to come out of her adventure alive...

Sharin Holfert forcibly pushed reminiscense away. This 'Doctor' wasn't half as humble as a man in his position should be. Nor was the woman, come to think of it, lithe and confident.

"We'll be happy to pay, Captain," the Doctor continued smoothly.

"All right," she found herself saying. "But a heavy additional fine will be added onto the price of passage, and you'll be required to file a report with the Betan Magistrates when we reach Betus Prime. Stowing away is a serious offense." She motioned to Gevin to let them out.

The Doctor was nodding agreeably, delighted with the turn of events.

"...and you're confined to your cabin. Gevin, show them to their assigned room on deck C."

The Doctor's face plummeted. "Confined to cabin? I hardly think our offense merits--"

She was already gone, striding back to her duties.

Gevin smiled thinly. "Remember... she could have had you thrown out of the airlock, for 'endangering the safety of the crew and ship'." The lock clicked open.

The Doctor now looked muleish. "Piffle!" he muttered. "Betan ships have had weight compensators on board for at least fifty years at this point!"

Gevin grinned at this, amused by if not terribly sympathetic to the Doctor's pique. "Come on!" he said, glad of the change from the ordinary routine. "You'll find the accomodations reasonable, even if we're not a luxury yacht."

The Doctor snorted. "I've been on a few luxury yachts in my time. It's not the accomodations, it's the quality of the fellow passangers that matters most."

"Well, we're carrying the dig crew from Betan Minor's moon back to Prime, along with the last of the stuff they found. They're all going to be famous. Not that you'll get to mingle."

Tamara suppressed a yawn as the Doctor glanced at her smugly. "How nice," she drawled.

"Already are, actually," the Security man added. "We'll probably end up in the news, too. Just for having taken them home." Shaking his head at such fleeting fame, Gevin paused in front of a doorway. "Here you go."


Before the door to their room had even finished sliding shut, the Doctor was prowling its confines.

Tamara was, too. Her Intelligence instincts. Know the layout, the positions of any potential weapons, escape routes...

"Unless the design is that different, or already built in, I found no audio-bugs, Doctor," she said at length.

"Mmmm? Oh yes... No, I didn't notice any either." He was busy playing with the room's climate controls.

Tamara hoped the Doctor wasn't claustrophobic. This room with its bunk beds and small fresher suite certainly didn't have the space his normal environment did. He'd be soon crawling the walls.

Tamara grinned. Who was she kidding? He'd be out and about in no time.

She stretched, arms above head, back arching, vibrant with life and impatience. It was a move that would have caught the eye of any man who wasn't dead. Except those of a nine-hundred-plus year old Time Lord, of course.

"Well? What are we waiting for? We might as well get back to the TARDIS and leave."

The Doctor glanced up again and tutted. "Is it me... or does it take less and less time for each new companion to become jaded?" he asked the universe, rhetorically.

His blue eyes were now twinkling, a look Tamara recognized. Educating Tamara time. "Tamara," he wheedled, "Wouldn't you like a look at those artifacts? Objects from an alien system!"

"For aliens, the people in this system look pretty human, Doctor."

"But that's just it...the inhabitants now are human, a second wave of colonists. Of the original inhabitants, very little is known. Hence the excitement over the dig."

Tamara put her hands on hips, a clear sign. Devil's Advocate time. "Why don't we just wait and take the TARDIS to when the big exhibit opens? Or would you just rather poke around the dusty hold?" She paused. "You're... not planning to... 'liberate' any of those artifacts... are you?"

The Doctor looked scandalized. "Of course not!"

"Well, then." Top that.

"I just want to find the psychic transmitter that's hidden in among the cargo somewhere."

Tamara blinked. "What?!"

"The psychic transmitter I sensed when I had a quick look around earlier. Designed to attract someone...or something. He paused. "Wouldn't you like to know what?" Top that.

She couldn't.


Five minutes later, they were out and heading toward the cargo hold again.

"She'll toss us out the air lock for certain, this time," Tamara said lightly.

"The chance we intrepid explorers must take," the Doctor said breezily. A moment later, he stopped. "Hello! What's this?" Kneeling down momentarily, he stood back up, something in hand.

A fragment of blue-green metal. "Another wandering artifact?"

The Doctor glanced back over his shoulder. "Not a very tidy lot, are they?" The next moment, he felt a jab in his side.

He looked quickly up. A figure stood in the corridor, facing them.

The Doctor smiled. "You oughtn't to leave things like this lying around," he said.

No answer.


No answer.

The man moved forward, and the Doctor and Tamara shuffled instincitvely backwards. "This the one you saw in the cargo hold?" she asked.

"Looks like him," he answered.

"Man of few words, is he?"

"Yes, and no, I don't think we sould let him get too close to us, either."

The most unnerving thing was the complete lack of expression on the fellow's face. "I take it that zombies aren't usually on the crew rosters around here," Tamara muttered.

"No, not as such..."

"Let me touch you." The voice was flat, unemotional, and the hairs on the back of Tamara's neck rose.

"Right; we'll just be going now," she said, and she and the Doctor turned and ran.

The zombie lurched forward after them.

~End Part 1~

Part 2