The Black Guardian held his fingers in a pool of green slime. Laughter arose deeply in his lungs as a hive of alien insects gestate in their chrysalides surrounding.
‘You will face your greatest enemies again…Doctor!’ the Black Guardian roared with his insane laughter.
TARDIS functions imperative.
Turlough sat up as if in a slow nightmare. His mind felt out of control, ears in pain from peels of horrible laughter as the Doctor and Tegan came through the great white doors.
‘That’s the problem with parasites; they always seem to survive in wet heat.’
‘Doctor, you have a very dry sense of humour.’
Turlough hid behind the TARDIS console. He sat upright and blinked away that terrible laughing face.
‘Turlough!’ said the Doctor.
The young man stood upwards and fell promptly against the linear corridor amplifier. They all shifted violently, red lights flashing. The Doctor slapped Turlough’s hand away from the roundabout knob to reset the linear corridor alignment.
‘You can never be too careful, Turlough.’
‘I need a flight to Brisbane,’ said Tegan, as she regained her balance, ‘What I wouldn’t give for an ice cream sundae.’
The blue box spun deeper into a full C-Space pep tide. At the edge of a nebulous black hole, the TARDIS absorbed into the Andromeda Galaxy; Materialization suspended. The police box spun in and out of control while the top light blinked away, slowly.
‘Phew… that was close,’ and the Doctor pushed a button, ‘we seem to be caught in the gulf of a moon’s hubris?’ he said, and they watch the Time Space Visualizer.
A great blue light shone through the dust rings of a revolving planetoid. Further underneath their focal plane, they witness the appearance of an atmosphere.
‘Ah yes, this is Alpha Andromeda 5.’ and he shifted his two heart sided valve pulleys, ‘Circa 8252, yes, the ion storms should have long past by now. Care to have a look?’
‘That’s supposed to be a planet?’ asked Tegan.
‘It is a planet Tegan, not particularly spacious, but still interesting enough within its parameters.’ and the Doctor fanned out a planetary particle scan.
All the while behind them, Turlough stood massaging his temples, imagining, ‘Turlough,Turlough, this is the Black Guardian!’
He fought back in his mind, repeating, ‘No! No!’
‘Turlough, this is your chance to destroy the Doctor!’
The screen took in a closer scan on an amber ocean scape, then focused in on the sky over a freshly erupted volcano as the screen then revealed something unnerving.
‘Eww, gosh, that looks ghastly.’
Tegan referred to an enormous cocoon, or perhaps hive, it had a low base level alike a turtle shell but a high leaning tower near the crumbling banks of a murky river.
‘It’s a biological repository, the stasis system for an insect colony.’
‘You mean a hive?’ said Tegan.
‘Turlough! Do not fail me!’
‘Yes, a gestation residence, not particularly glamorous.’ the Doctor turned his attention to the scanner, ‘Curious! There seems to be something unknown inside.’
‘An element of some kind?’
A further series of button taps, ‘By foxtrot delta enumerations… an object cocooned inside that structure… is by definition… alien?’
It had to be one of the worst times to land there ever. The wind blew through yards of solid boulders, with only the slim glimmer of blue sunlight throughout and clouds cast down rays of filthy fog as the large hive structure loomed gauntly in the distance and the TARDIS materializes clearly nearby.
The Time Space view screen showed an unusual object, a transport vessel. Tegan stood still while looking at its broken wingspan, ‘It looks like a spacecraft.’
‘Yes, Tellurian model, though its origins escape me.’ The Doctor typed a parallel time-signature distortion, ‘I’m programming materialization inside.’
Turlough staggered, ‘Maybe, maybe we should leave.’
‘Doctor, look!’ said Tegan, and she pointed at the tower where the top level seemed to disappear into depths of darkness, and she squinted, ‘It looks like it’s… disappearing.’
The wind blows faster outside.
The doors opened as they stood ready to leave, but Turlough groaned, ‘I don’t feel very good about this.’
‘You’re not safe here alone.’ she said, and nudged his shoulder, ‘Just try and hold on.’
‘It feels wrong. We should go back to Earth.’
The Doctor overhears, and judges, ‘Right,’ while walking outside.
The wind was kept at bay by a stout rock ledge. Turlough and Tegan had both noticed the Doctor examining a soil sample.
‘Silicon based, fossilized carbon.’ He clapped his hands, ‘Not the kind of place for a windy walk.’
The Doctor descended into a narrow crater. Tegan crossed her arms while Turlough kept his eyes scanning.
A gust of wind caught the Doctor by surprise. His body fell roundly in a quick spiral. Soon, the three of them held tightly to a boulder beside a pool of crystal sludge.
‘We need to be careful! There’s danger in these pools!’
‘Turlough! You cannot escape!’
‘No!’ he screamed, and fled away from the Doctor and Tegan.
‘Turlough!’ said the Doctor, and they clung to a huge chunk of plasticene phosgenite, ‘Come back here!’
‘This isn’t the time to wander!’ screamed Tegan.
Turlough ran fast back towards the TARDIS through the flashes of lightning, back along the narrow crater he had come earlier with the Doctor and Tegan and shot through the police box doors.
In a need to leave immediately, he programmed the console for dematerialization.
The Doctor and Tegan both rushed into a cosmic echo following Turlough and in time to witness the TARDIS disappearing. The two of them stopped in a quick and sudden desertion.
‘He’s gone. We’re lost.’ said Tegan.
The Doctor pulled out his folded hat from the pocket of his coat, ‘I set the directional coordinates within the spacecraft.’ and put the hat on while lowering its brim. ‘Best foot forward Tegan; we haven’t a moment to lose.’
‘Oh Doctor, I have a bad feeling about this.’
They set each step with a calm sense of caution. Not too sure about what might come next. Their feet felt the need to leave carefully.
From Turlough’s paranoia, all evidence pointed to the Black Guardian, but any form of alien servants remained unknown.
Soon the tower came into sight, and the Doctor could only assume it had been made for a benevolent form of ruler ship.
On closer observation, the Doctor directed, ‘If you look closely, you can see the hive shell is disintegrating.’ and he helped Tegan down from a ledge.
‘Like when the top of the tower disappeared?’
‘No, that’s something else entirely. From the look of the shell membrane, this hive has been here for a good many decades.’
Within the TARDIS, Turlough crept nearer to the exterior spacecraft. He made his way from the blue doors out into an arid control chamber.
The former vessel looked long dormant. Dust and water had worn away at the grey walls. Wires lay slinging from the ceiling.
Turlough noticed a man in a chair, ‘Hello,’ said Turlough, and he reached out for him, ‘Are you all right?’
The man revolved before his eyes. Turlough cried out in horror. It was the body of human being who had long since died.
The planet surface had become more open, so Tegan treaded softly, ‘This isn’t my idea of a nice vacation spot.’
The Doctor sighed aloud and led her onto a much graver plateau. The hive arrived before their vision, although with the sight of an unruly object. They came to a swift halt.
They each felt cautious, ‘Doctor, what is it?’ and both of them stood deathly still.
‘It appears to be… dead.’
In a haze of grey, murky wind, red tassels of feelers held around an immense thorax, the creature’s abdomen had caved in, and all of its fluids dried out.
‘It’s a Wirrn,’ said the Doctor, and he knelt, ‘a grim deep space life form, not the kind of creature we should be trifling around.’
‘Best keep your eyes open,’ he said, and upright, ‘you can never be too sure with these things.’ and they moved away from it while walking towards the towering hive.
Turlough crept from a dark hole in the spacecraft. A large circular chamber lay outside. Puddles of green slime drew downwards through slivers in the ground.
He left the grey moulded chamber behind and trudged upwards around a circular ledge. Moisture oozes from the walls and the roof shines only a trifle of sunlight.
Soon he came to an aggregate stairway. He stood from the bottom looking upwards; the spiralling staircase ascended almost eleven stories high.
He heard Tegan’s voice call, ‘Turlough.’ from high above within the tower.
The Doctor came through an arid haze of fog. At the sight of an open gouge within the hive crust, He led Tegan through the windy funnel of acrid dust.
An eerie quiet hiss came from the fabric of the walls. The floors lay in ragged peels of chrysalis sheaths, while lowly; a mist of dry CO2 blew in around their ankles.
While they each took their steps with caution, the light from the gouge drew further away behind them, ‘You must be careful about touching the chrysalis, Tegan.’ the Doctor whispered, ‘especially, the liquefied gestation membrane.’ His foot struck a minor pile of pebbles, and he knelt for a moment, ‘It’s dangerous, I’ve seen it before, total physical digestion and metamorphosis.’
‘Taken over by one of those things out there?’
‘It gets worse; one Wirrn shares a common link, a hive mind, with all the beings its colony has digested, one single Wirrn can share a whole colony’s worth of knowledge.’ He stood up and looked around them, ‘And from the evidence of the fallen spacecraft, it’s safer to assume that this hive might now have some knowledge of interstellar engineering.’ said the Doctor, and he led her around a long cocoon-laden corridor.
‘Turlough, this way, come on, Turlough.’
The sound of Tegan’s voice in his head seemed to echo aloud. He rose up the torn scrappy stairway. Fibrils of dried membrane crumbled under his feet.
With the many spirals around the soundless staircase, Turlough had become used to the smell of the foul rotten awfulness; his breaths became quick. All of a sudden he sought over an orange bubbly wall, there the Black Guardian sat at an ornery wooden table, smiling.
‘It is good to see you boy, still fighting the good fight.’
The voice was like ground gravel shards in his ears. He stood before the Black Guardian, weary of his thoughts in a seizure of paranoia.
‘I’m so tired of your games. Why must you torment me?’
‘Because the Doctor is here, and now’s the time to end him. Prove yourself once and for all as my servant. End the Doctor’s lives, for all time.’ and a laugh brewed within the Black Guardian, forcefully, while the whole tower began to shake to pieces.
‘Release me!’ said Turlough, and he fell back from the force whilst losing his balance upon the stairway. The Guardian laughed while Turlough agonized down the spiral column.
‘It is your place boy! End the Doctor once and for all!’