‘FOUNDATIONS OF LIFE’
by Tim Bradley
Featuring Romana I with K-9 and the Fourth Doctor.
Set between ‘The Armageddon Factor’ and ‘The Auntie Matter’.
For Mary Tamm
Wonder. That was how Tumos of Vicaton V felt. Wonder at all the clouds in the sky. Wonder at the breeze flowing past as he touched the air. This was wonder at how a new day would bring with it sunshine making it all the more possible.
It was how Tumos always felt like starting the day before addressing his people. Before confirming to them all the announcements regarding today’s routine. Tumos usually hated these sorts of conferences. But there was always a reason for it, as his father once told him.
He always liked to watch the sunlight skies around where he lived – in the countryside; away from the city. Tumos always loved the dawn and how wondrous it would be if every day was like it. It was one of the few pleasures he got in his new role as chairman to the establishment and emigration committee in his home town.
“Have you seen enough of the sky for a day?” said a voice behind him.
Tumos turned round and saw his wife Imaid, who stood there with her arms folded. She had an air of being rather impatient when he went off into his own dream world; his own fantasy; his own realm of escapism.
“I only wish to see the bright sky in the dawn, Imaid darling,” replied Tumos. “It is how I can be calm and patient during the day. The press always make me anxious you know.”
Imaid grumbled, “I just don’t like seeing you out here all by yourself with no-one else to talk to. It feels you’re neglecting me whenever I get up in the morning.”
“I wouldn’t even think of neglecting you my dear,” Tumos chuckled. “Times are troubled at this moment, and you know the new rule of Marusi is upon us.”
Imaid sighed, “You always let him get the better of you, when you could be gaining awards for all the hard work you’ve done for our city; our welfare and our way of life.”
“You deserve most of the credit, darling,” Tumos replied. “But come. Let’s not argue here. You’re right as usual. I have been out here a long time. I should get ready.”
He made his way down the stairs leading off from the balcony to meet his wife. He pecked Imaid on the cheek, whilst she remained unnerved.
“Have you thought more about what you are going to say to the people, darling,” Imaid asked inquiringly.
“Yes,” replied Tumos. “The conservation orders and the new immigration laws must be implemented into our new constitution. I’ve spoken with Lord Hemplebury and he agrees with me that…”
At that moment, a stormy cloud came overhead. This put Tumos and Imaid on edge. They’d seen many stormy clouds before. But this one was exceptional. And it put fear into their hearts instead of wonder.
“Tumos,” Imaid shuddered. “They’re back again! Those fiends, in that black cloud of theirs. How dare they interrupt our finest day for appointment?! How dare they?!”
“Easy my dear,” Tumos replied. “Do not be downhearted. It is not as bleak as it looks.”
“Then how come they make the day go dark for us,” Imaid shouted. “This was supposed to be our day. Now they come to interrupt us. They shouldn’t even be here. They gave us formal warning of their arrival within three months. They have broken their promise.”
Tumos became distracted, as he saw from the corner of his eye a glow of hope. Imaid eventually saw it too, as out grew from the patio where weeds ought to be, a strange bouquet of blue-tinged flowers. Tumos and Imaid became enamoured in the glow of these plants as they seemed to be reaching out for them .The flowers opened and a voice spoke from them. It was an eerie female voice, that its soft notes would shatter ships and castles into rubble with tremendous effect.
“Dear Tumos,” the voice began. “Dear lady. You have little to fear. Your foundations has answered your call. You shall be saved.”
Tumos and Imaid looked puzzled.
“Who are you?” Imaid cried. “Name yourself. I, Imaid command it.”
Realisation suddenly dawned upon Tumos, and he stepped forward before Imaid.
“You are the ones, aren’t you,” spoke Tumos. “You are the people I saw in the skies, yet you were so eloquent in your messages to me. You say we shall be saved – me and my people.”
“Yes,” replied the voice with calm precision. “But not by us. We are simply messengers and instigators of events. You have to contact ‘help’ who would gladly participate in your cold war against the enemy. It is part of events. It is destiny.”
“What is this ‘help’ that you speak of?” Imaid asked. “Is it weapons; or a stronghold capable of outwitting the dictator of our lands?”
The voice from the flower did not say anything for a moment – almost as if it was insulted.
“It is not weapons or buildings we speak of,” said the voice abruptly. “They will not save you. It is people you need. And these two people have strong hearts to save many. One in particular will be strongest.”
Romanadvoratrelundar, or Romana for short, had been travelling with the Doctor for a primary reason at first. A mission to collect the six segments of the Key to Time. Now, that quest was over. The segments were collected, put together, and then scattered again to prevent the Black Guardian from getting his ‘grubby’ hands on it, as she once recalled the Doctor telling her.
Since that particular quest was over, there seemed little point in Romana staying with the Doctor anymore. But somehow, the Doctor and Romana got over their initial differences and became the best of friends. Romana had even found herself rather liking the idea of being a wanderer in time and space; saving the universe from utter chaos.
It was this feeling she had now when she walked on the grassy grounds of a sleepy village in the heart of England. Totland was quaint and quintessentially English in every measure. No fuss; no arguments. Yet Romana found, though she grew attached to the Doctor’s favourite planet, she’d rather prefer being in some high-tech scientific institute somewhere within an urban society and not exploring some rugged place as this.
“Is this the best you can offer?” Romana primly inquired. Her elegance suited her attitude pretty well when addressing the question politely mannered.
Her companion on the other hand was rather admonished to hear her utter such a question. His scarf sprawled over the place and he doffed his hat sinking it over his head in the usual bohemian manner.
“What exactly is it you’re implying?” the Doctor boomed, rather affronted. “I take you to somewhere very nice. I think it’s very nice. Don’t you think it’s very nice?”
“Very nice, Doctor,” said Romana, not so enthusiastically.
“Well,” the Doctor chortled, “there you are then.”
“But still,” she continued, “I would much rather prefer if we went somewhere original and sophisticated. Not dreary and down in the dumps.”
“Ah,” said the Doctor, “can’t bank on that wherever we go now. Remember we have to rely on luck when it comes to travelling in the TARDIS, don’t we?”
Romana rolled her eyes. She remembered that the Doctor had fitted his rather ‘neat’ device called the randomiser to the TARDIS in order to divert their journeys across space and time and to avoid being captured by the Black Guardian. It hadn’t exactly gone according to plan. Oh they managed to avoid the Black Guardian, but in terms of where and when they should go, they had no idea what to expect and sometimes the places of interest were not interesting at all (or if they were, they got them in the deadliest scrapes).
“Doctor, I appreciate your determination to protect us,” Romana began, “but couldn’t we just give it a miss with the randomiser and land somewhere interesting for a change with us at the controls.”
“No,” the Doctor insisted. “I’m not having my TARDIS chased by some madman who’s got a temper. It’s really not on, darling.”
Romana looked bemused.
“So,” she inquired, “what can we do here?”
“Scones,” the Doctor announced.
“Scones,” Romana thought. “Ah, some sort of confection coated in an incentive ingredient known as sugar. Sometimes served with jam…”
“Yes, yes,” the Doctor wrapped round impatiently. “I know what scones are. There’s a café up ahead. We can have tea.”
Romana puzzled, “Tea?”
“Yes tea. You like tea don’t you.”
Romana was about to answer the Doctor before he shot on ahead.
“Come on Romana,” the Doctor insisted. “Let’s set off in there before they close up for lunch. We’ll be late for the jammy ones.”
The Doctor trudged on with scarf trailing on behind him. Romana made her way forward to catch up with the Doctor, sighing indifferently as she went.
“Things made sense when we were looking for the Key to Time,” she uttered.
Entering the café and dangling the bell, the Doctor scouted around the place to try and find anyone about – whether it were serving or plain customers. But there was nobody to be seen. The place was completely empty. Romana had joined the Doctor minutes later before it dawned upon her that nobody was about. Both were astonished and at a loss.
“Usually busy around this time?” Romana asked. She tried to sound teasing but it didn’t come out very well.
“Not usually busy, no.” the Doctor remarked. “But somebody should be serving.”
He made his way towards the curtains round the back and unfolded them popping his head through.
“Hello?” he called, “Anybody there?”
He did this a number of times, but still not getting any response.
“Hmm,” he murmured. “Strange.”
“What is?” asked Romana.
“They left the door unlocked. It would provide anyone with the nice opportunity to break in and steal whatever they had in the cash box. Wouldn’t you say?”
Romana huffed, “It seems rather careless for people to do something like that.”
“Yes,” agreed the Doctor, “very careless indeed.” He paused for breath. “Or perhaps someone broke in and they knocked the café owners out and had this place ransacked.”
“It doesn’t look ransacked,” remarked Romana.
“No,” the Doctor replied. “It doesn’t. Perhaps that’s how they want us to see it. You know; the people who abducted the couple or person who run this place.”
We don’t know whether they have been abducted,” Romana pointed out.
“Neither do they” the Doctor commented.
Romana sighed. “Doctor, I haven’t time for your silly games. I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all of this.”
“I hope so,” the Doctor replied. “I hope there is. Because I’m wondering what became of those café owners.”
It was at that moment the door burst open, and in stepped a young woman who gave the Doctor and Romana a startle. She was carrying a barrel of drinks to put behind the bar. She looked up and saw the Doctor and Romana, and gazed at them suspiciously.
“May I help you?” she asked rather coldly.
The Doctor leaned into Romana’s ear. “Be bold,” he whispered. He then addressed the woman, shaking her hand. He put on his big grin. “Hello! I’m the Doctor. And this is Romana. And you are…”
“Irene,” said the woman. “Irene Maid. My husband will be here shortly. What can I get you?”
The Doctor looked back to Romana, and the two of them spoke in conference.
“I don’t like the sound of this,” Romana whispered.
“Me neither,” the Doctor grunted. “But keep your eyes fixed on her. It always works for me.”
The Doctor turned back to Irene Maid and grinned.
“Two of your finest scones with plenty of jam and plenty of sugar,” he chuckled boldly out loud. “Oh,” he added, “and also two pots of tea for us both. We’re rather parched.
The woman kneeled down behind the counter. And instead of bringing out plates of scones to give to them, she held up a shotgun at them aiming directly towards their heads.
“Doctor, she’s armed,” Romana cried.
“Stay where you are,” said Irene. “Do not move a muscle. Or else I’ll injure either one of you. Now…hands up at once!”
Romana and the Doctor reluctantly raised their arms up in surrender. The Doctor gave a bemused look at Irene and studied her features. There was something particularly odd about her, he knew that. But he wasn’t going to let it out for anyone’s benefit.
He grinned again, beaming. “You’re trying to tell us heavily sugared and jammed scones are bad for us, is that right?” he asked, audaciously.
Irene Maid watched the tall man with the curly mopped brown hair and ridiculously long scarf (which she did not like at all) and the beautifully graceful young lady dressed in her fine gown of white (which she took a rather fond liking to), as she waited for her husband. She didn’t have to wait long, as her husband came bursting through the door. She stood up to greet him.
“My husband,” she declared. “You have returned.”
Both kissed each other on the cheek.
“Yes my dear,” replied the man. “I am here now.”
“Your husband?” the curly-mopped man interrupted. “That means your name’s Mr. Maid, am I right? Very fortunate, isn’t it?”
“Yes I am,” grunted the man. “I am Thomas Maid. And my wife will threaten your life again if you do not sit down.”
The woman charged her gun pointing at the Doctor. The Doctor sat down. Romana was able to get a closer look at the weapon Irene carried in her hand. She could see now it was of futuristic design but not twenty-first century standards that’s when she and the Doctor had arrived.
“You are not of this world, are you?” Romana asked.
“Very observant aren’t you, dear girl,” grunted the man.
Irene then spoke, pointing at the Doctor. “He said he was the Doctor and his companion was Romana, darling.”
“Quite right too,” the Doctor cheered. “This is Romana and I’m the Doctor. Now please tell us what it is you’re doing here. Where do you come from, hmm?”
Thomas and Irene Maid stared at the Doctor suspiciously, unsure whether or not they ought to trust him.
“We can’t tell you our race,” declared Thomas. “Not yet. We need to make sure we get you back to our own planet before we can tell you anything.”
“And what exactly is your planet,” asked the Doctor casually.”
“Two-Four-Six-One-N-Five-Five-Nine-B-Dash-E-X-One,” Irene uttered.
“That’s not a name,” Romana retorted. “Those are just co-ordinates.”
“Exactly,” said Thomas. “And you two are going to take us back to your ship using those co-ordinates in order to get back there. Do you understand?” He said this threateningly.
“Delighted to help out,” the Doctor declared. “Really would like to help you lovely people out. But I’m afraid we can’t stay. We’ve got lots of pottering about. What with cleaning the swimming pool and adjusting the wall paper around the ship…”
“Doctor,” Irene shouted. “This is not a request. It is an order. You will help us. Or we will kill your friend.”
Irene pointed the gun towards Romana. Romana gestured to the Doctor.
“Doctor,” she cried. “Don’t let them have what they want.”
“It’s alright! It’s alright, Romana!” the Doctor reassured her. “I’ll give them what they want. All I need do is to bring the TARDIS here via my remote control.”
Romana became puzzled, “Remote control?”
“Remote control, Romana,” said the Doctor abjectly. “I’ve been developing it for some time. I haven’t shown it to you yet because it isn’t finished.”
“You have a remote device on your person, Doctor,” Thomas asked intrigued.
“Oh yes indeed,” said the Doctor. “It’s a new gadget of mine. Though I don’t like to use gadgets much…”
The Doctor glared at Romana, to which Romana gave him a wry smile as well as snooping her nose at him in annoyance.
“You will use your remote device,” Irene demanded, “and bring the TARDIS here…at once.”
The Doctor then started babbling.
“Ah you see,” the Doctor began, “I’m afraid it won’t work like that. I haven’t properly tested it you see. And I can’t guarantee it’ll work.”
“You will use your remote device this instant! Now Doctor,” Irene shouted.
“Alright, alright,” the Doctor replied, fumbling through his pockets, “very well if you insist, dear darlings.”
Romana leaned forward in the Doctor’s ear.
“Doctor,” she scowled. “What do you think you’re doing?”
The Doctor muttered under his breath. “Trust me Romana,” he stated. “Trust me.”
He then took out from his pocket, showing it to her, a dog whistle. But this was unlike any dog whistle anyone had seen before. And it was very advanced. Romana saw and realised this and backed away rather smartly.
“Oh,” she whispered. “I see.”
The Doctor nodded, and then showed the whistle to Irene and Thomas in clear view.
He grinned, “There you are! See!”
He held it up for the two of them, but Irene and Thomas were not impressed.
“Get on with it,” Thomas grunted.
The Doctor shook his head in defeat, and immediately put the whistle to his lips. He blew through it as hard as he could. No sound came from it and it was as quiet, sweet and silent as can be. The Doctor tried again whistling for good measure, but still no sound came from it. He looked up at Irene and Thomas.
“I’m so sorry,” the Doctor apologised, though he didn’t actually mean it. He chuckled, “I did warn you though. I still have to do a few more tests on this device.”
Thomas shook his hands in agitation.
“He’s wasting time,” Thomas grumbled.
Irene pointed the gun at the Doctor. “You will take us back to the TARDIS by foot; both you and your companion.”
The Doctor shook his head in indignation. “Well,” he said, “If you really do insist.”
“Move!” Irene ordered threateningly. “Move I say!”
Romana stepped forward to the Doctor’s defence.
“Alright,” she shouted. “He’s moving. We’re both moving, can you see?”
Romana and the Doctor obliged and headed out through the café doors. Irene and Thomas followed them as they pointed guns at them.
“Very wise, Doctor,” Thomas declared in satisfaction. “Now we wish to see you unharmed. So no tricks, do you hear?”
“Oh believe me,” the Doctor chortled. “You won’t find any one of my tricks up my sleeves.”
“Move we say!” Irene commanded, “Move!”
The Doctor and Romana went out of the café doors, with Thomas and Irene following behind them at gunpoint. Romana gently whispered silently to the Doctor.
“You got a plan in mind,” Romana inquired.
“Yes,” the Doctor complied. “I have something in store for these two. But I want them out of their control into ours. And I know how a good boy my best friend will be.”
They reached the TARDIS in the centre of the village green. No passers-by were able to rescue the two time-travellers. They approached the door, and Irene and Thomas held their weapons at them, whilst the Doctor had the key in his hand.
“Now stand still,” Thomas ordered. “Hand over the key to me and I shall attend to unlocking it.”
“You’ll be wasting your time,” the Doctor muttered. “The TARDIS has a triple-lock mechanism in the lock and requires two people to unlock with specific Time Lord data prints. That’s us two, me and Romana.”
“Yes,” Romana added. “Don’t think it’ll be easy getting into the TARDIS. You have to take us on trust.”
“Don’t give us all that la-de-da rot,” Irene said dismissively. “You will give us the key now or else we shoot you on the spot.”
A moment couldn’t be finer, as a funny looking robot in the shape of a dog came round the corner. K-9 had come to the rescue as was ordered upon hearing the whistle.
“Master,” K-9 declared, “Mistress?”
“K-9,” the Doctor cried, “Fire on stun setting! Do it!” He turned to Romana, “Romana, down!”
The Doctor and Romana ducked as K-9 fired at will his stun beam on Irene and Thomas. They groaned for a moment, completely un-expecting it, as they crumbled to the floor in a heap.
Romana and the Doctor came up from off the ground, dusting down; satisfied at the way they handled sorting out their two captors.
“Well done K-9,” the Doctor cheered. “You’re a hero, you know.”
“Good boy K-9,” Romana equally cheered. “You’ve done us proud.”
K-9 raised his head up and down in salutation, wagging his ears also, “Note of thanks recorded, Master; Mistress.”
The Doctor bent down to take a closer look at their two captors. He studied their faces, examined their biology for quite some time. Yet he was unable to believe it.
“They’re not human,” the Doctor reported.
“Well obviously,” Romana replied, rather perturbed.
“No, no,” the Doctor continued. “There’s no telling what race of species they came from. Not without proper investigation of their biology. They look human and are not changelings. So what could they be?”
Romana thought for a moment. “They gave us co-ordinates about where they come from. Two-Four-Six-One-N-Five-Five-Nine-B-Dash-E-X-One, they said. Perhaps we can find out where they come from by that.”
K-9 wagged his ears again. “My memory banks contain information connected to coordinates according to your description, mistress. I am happy to oblige in looking up coordinates database with help of TARDIS databank also.”
“Good boy, K-9,” the Doctor cheered. “You’re my best friend!” He then turned to Romana. “Help me with carrying these two into the TARDIS.”
“What?” Romana stated shocked. “You’re not serious about bringing these two in the TARDIS after what they did to us?”
“They wanted to see the TARDIS,” the Doctor replied. “We’d be doing them an injustice if we didn’t. Isn’t that so, K-9?”
“Affirmative,” K-9 replied, nodding his head.
The console room was the best place to start. The Doctor and Romana had already locked up their uninvited guests within a holding cell aboard the TARDIS. They had now linked up K-9 to the console itself in order to ascertain the coordinates given to them by Thomas and Irene as to where they came from. It took several hours before K-9 came up with a final analysis. He backed away from the console turning towards his master and mistress.
“Well, K-9,” Romana inquired. “What have you discovered?”
K-9 wagged his ears, as well as his tail for good measure. “Coordinates Two-Four-Six-One-N-Five-Five-Nine-B-Dash-E-X-One confirm both fugitives Thomas Maid and Irene Maid originate from the planet Vicaton V in the Glasmos galaxy.”
The Doctor looked up in astonishment.
“Vicaton V?!” he exclaimed. He turned to Romana. “Recollect the place?”
“Oh yes,” Romana concurred. “I studied the Glasmos galaxy from my lectures at the Academy. It’s a war-barren sector of space that only recently has been ordered a ceasefire to prevent chaos spreading from the outreaches of space to other galaxies.”
“Indeed,” the Doctor agreed. “Those two Maids must have been from the middle of that space war. How they managed to desert the front line I have no idea.”
“If they are actually front-line troops,” Romana stated. “We’ve no idea as to their real identity.”
“The science of Glasmonians,” the Doctor speculated, “was highly advanced where they come from. They bonded the wave particles and density decay algorithms into one fully-formed engine of power as their war machine.”
“I’m afraid I was lost in the lecture about how that war ended,” admitted Romana. “History clashing with scientific theory wasn’t really my strong point.”
The Doctor huffed. “That’s the thing about you young Academy graduates,” he stated. “No sense of appreciating the historical value of any diminishing society.”
“Oh and I suppose you know about the ending of the Glasmos Empire as much as I do then,” admonished Romana.
The Doctor seemed a little embarrassed. He cleared his throat, “Well err…no as a matter of fact.”
“Ah,” Romana uttered triumphantly. “I see.”
“I have information about the end of the Glasmos Empire, mistress,” K-9 interrupted.
The Doctor scolded him. “Thank you, K-9. We don’t need to hear it.”
But K-9 carried on, “The Glasmos Empire came to an abrupt end when an infestation of flower-like plants was found in their space. This included Vicaton V.”
The Doctor got on his hands and knees to look at K-9. “Shut up, K-9,” he gritted between his teeth. “Just shut up!”
“Information referred to these events,” K-9 continued, “as the Foundations of Life.”
The Doctor was about to abuse K-9 again before Romana stopped him.
“Wait a minute,” she interrupted. She became thoughtful, “The Foundations of Life. What was that?”
K-9 wagged his ears for a moment.
“Insufficient data,” K-9 replied.
The Doctor got up on his feet again. “Well that’s that then isn’t it? No more can be said.”
He approached the console before Romana came by him.
“What are we going to do with our two guests, Doctor?” she asked. “Aren’t we going to take them back to their home planet?”
The Doctor gave her an admonishing look.
“Oh yes certainly,” he mocked. “And we’ll find ourselves within a prison cell on their planet, which is what they tried to do when we first met them. I’d rather pass if you don’t mind.”
“But we can ask them,” she insisted. “We need to find out what it is they want from us and why they were so insistent on taking the TARDIS from us. We can help them if they let us.”
K-9 interjected, “I’d advise caution Doctor-Master; Mistress. Sensors indicate that level of hostility from two fugitives to be very high.”
“I agree,” the Doctor retorted. “And may I remind you that the TARDIS won’t take us to their planet of origin within an instant, since it now has a mind of its own with the randomiser fitted.”
Romana realised this and sighed. “Oh,” she said. “I see.” She then slumped into a chair beside the console. “If only there was another way we could get rid of them. We can’t have them in the TARDIS within that holding cell forever.”
The Doctor took this note of information onboard, and thought carefully on reflecting on what Romana said. He cleared his throat and shook his head.
“On the other hand,” he declared, “I suppose it wouldn’t do any harm in asking them why they were here on Earth in the first place and offering to help. We could always drop them off somewhere nice if need be, or not as the case maybe.”
Romana smiled, and soon he and she went down the corridors of the TARDIS. K-9 trundled on behind.
The Doctor and Romana approached Thomas and Irene in their cells. They showed no resistance. They just glared at their captors with defiance, whilst they with their little robot dog tried to be pleasing and pleasant but to no avail.
“So,” Thomas declared, “you have found us out, Doctor.”
“Yes,” the Doctor grinned. “You know it would have saved an awful lot of trouble if you just told us who you were and what you were doing here on this planet. And why you threatened us the way you did. Then we could have helped you whatever your hearts’ desire.”
“We do not trust strangers,” said Irene bitterly. “And we do not trust you, Doctor. Not your friend and your tin dog.”
“Well that’s not very friendly,” commented Romana. “We can sense how dangerous it is for you two at the moment with your war in the Glasmos sector. We understand how troubled times are. The least you can do is trust us a bit and let us help.”
The Doctor commended Romana approvingly. “You listen to her, you two!” he stated to Thomas and Irene. “Those are the words of a Time Lady.”
Thomas and Irene became silent and sulking, uncertain as to what they were to do.
Thomas then spoke up. “Very well, Doctor. We’ll hear what you have to say.”
Irene began to protest, “Husband…”
“Let them speak, dear,” Thomas bit back. “It can do no harm. We haven’t done too good ourselves the way we’ve handled matters.”
“Couldn’t agree more,” the Doctor said. “Now, perhaps you can tell us your names? Just as a starting point, you know.”
Thomas sighed before he began to speak up. “I am Tumos, son of Drashin of the Chair of Vicaton V. This is my wife Imaid.”
“Ah,” the Doctor observed, “very cunning the way you’ve concealed yourselves with your identity. So what are you doing here?”
Thomas, or Tumos as he was now called, was hesitant to speak up. His wife Irene, or Imaid, stepped forward.
“Our planet since you wish to know,” Imaid stated rather bluntly, “is under the rule of a mad dictator of ours Marusi.”
“Marusi!” the Doctor declared.
Romana saw the Doctor’s reaction, “You know the name, Doctor?”
The Doctor muttered under his breath, “Marusi; Marusi?!” He had a moment of speculative triumph. “No,” he said glumly. He then got on his hands and knees. “K-9?” he asked.
But K-9 was at the ready. “Marusi – dictator of Vicaton V – founded the new conservation laws and immigration policies of the twenty-second Great Age of Glasmonian society. He revolutionised culture and political beliefs of society which caused outbreak and uprising within Vicaton circles. Civil war increased and a million deaths were accounted for.”
“This time,” Tumos interrupted, “Marusi has gone too far. It occurred just before we left for Earth.”
“What occurred, “Romana asked.
“The age of the black clouds,” Imaid announced.”
“Age of black clouds?!” mocked the Doctor, “Nonsense! What are they?”
“Evil creatures live in those black clouds,” Tumos informed them. “They come under Marusi’s command. Causing chaos and harm to those who defy his will. They’re malevolent and vicious. We daren’t walk out in the street without having one of these clouds over our heads.”
“Very commendable I’m sure,” concurred the Doctor respectfully.
“So how did you two escape then?” Romana asked.
The two of them were hesitant again for a moment.
“We encountered,” Imaid stammered, “talking flowers.”
“Talking flowers?!” Romana inquired, astonished.
The Doctor shook his head, “Fascinating. What were they like these flowers?”
“They were called,” Tumos explained, “the Bouquets of Life.”
“Bouquets of Life,” the Doctor repeated. He then thought for a moment to himself. He spoke quietly, “Bouquets of Life; Foundations of Life. Foundations of Life, yes! It all seems to fit clearly doesn’t it?” He then turned back to Tumos and Imaid. “I do apologise, please continue,” he declared.
Tumos and Imaid looked at the Doctor rather strangely before they carried on.
“These flowers,” Imaid explained, “said they would save us from the reign of terror we were facing now and it was our mission to collect two travellers who stated they would help us. You Doctor, and you Romana.”
The Doctor and Romana were astonished.
“Why!” Romana explained. “Well why didn’t you just tell us if we were to help you? Like the Doctor said, it would have saved an awful lot of trouble.”
“We felt you would say ‘no’,” Tumos stated.
K-9 interjected, “Probability also indicates the Doctor-Master and Mistress Romana would have replied in an affirmative manner also.”
The Doctor was now thinking to himself by this point, and it was only after a few minutes he then turned to their two prisoners and announced; “I will help you, Tumos; Imaid. If you will take us to your ‘flower-friends’ first so we could meet them.”
Tumos and Imaid looked at each other for a moment.
“I’m sure that could be arranged,” Tumos declared.
“But surely,” Imaid pointed out, “we gave you the coordinates to take us back to our place of origin. The Bouquets of Life will be waiting there for us.”
“Ah,” the Doctor stammered. “I’m afraid that’s going to be rather difficult. You see, the TARDIS has a mind of its own. We can’t control it indefinitely. We just let it work out where to go for our next destination itself, you see. We can’t detach the device controlling the TARDIS to make its random calculations.”
Tumos and Imaid were confused by this. Romana eventually explained how the randomiser worked before they were satisfied.
“Then it seems we have no choice,” Tumos remarked. “We have to take you to our ship.”
“But our ship is damaged,” Imaid pointed out again. “It’ll take us some time before we can set off again before returning to Vicaton V.”
“No need to worry about that,” the Doctor replied. “I’ve dabbled in engine work and ship mechanics. I’m sure I can get your ship off the ground within minutes. It’s a piece of cake.”
“Yes,” the Doctor remarked under the engine controls. “I see where your problem is. The couplings of the inertial space drive have been disabled. Need to have new ones replaced. Have we got any handy, Romana?”
Romana stepped forward past Tumos and Imaid before reaching the Doctor.
“Not on me, no Doctor,” she replied. “I can always go back to the TARDIS and get some.”
“No, no,” the Doctor replied. “That’ll take too long. We need to seal this mechanism that’s causing the trouble in order to prevent power loss. K-9?”
“Master,” the metal dog trundled forward.
“I don’t suppose you could give me a hand by sealing this hole in the engine with this metal grid, good dog?” he asked.
“Affirmative master,” K-9 replied.
He lowered his mouth-gun before the Doctor stopped him.
“Not yet K-9, not yet,” the Doctor declared. “I’ll tell you when.” He then turned to Tumos and Imaid, “Tumos; Imaid? You wouldn’t happen to have any induction rods would you to preserve the current power levels and boost with it a high energy voltage. It should be a temporary measure but I hope it’ll get us back to your ‘home, sweet home’ safe and sound.”
“I’m afraid we don’t, Doctor,” Tumos replied sadly.
“All the power rods we used for the journey here have been used up before impact into the planet’s atmosphere when we crashed.”
The Doctor became crest-fallen. “Oh what a shame,” he said.
Romana then perked up, “As a matter of fact, Doctor. I did bring induction rods in the TARDIS tool kit for good measure.”
The Doctor looked at Romana abysmally. “Well why didn’t you say so, Romana?”
“You didn’t ask,” Romana replied rather cheekily.
She took the power rods out from the TARDIS tool kit and handed them to the Doctor. The Doctor took the rods from her and fitted them into the damaged parts of the engines. Very soon, the energy supply was flowing at a steady rate again and all power was reverted to normal. Tumos and Imaid were relieved and pleased. The Doctor gave a triumphant laugh before placing a metal grid onto where the engine parts were containing the induction rods.
“Excellent,” he declared. “Excellent.” He then turned to K-9, “Right K-9. Get ready to seal this grid with the best sealing power you’ve got.”
“Affirmative master,” K-9 replied, “Standing by.”
At the Doctor’s command, K-9 blasted around the edges of the metal grid and sealed the engine core up in order to prevent leakage from spreading further. This took around fifteen minutes, before the Doctor could let go of the metal grid and before K-9 could stop firing.
“Splendid,” Romana affirmed, pleased. “Good boy, K-9. Well done, Doctor.”
The Doctor got up from his feet while K-9 strode back,
“Oh it was nothing,” the Doctor replied, “So long as we’ve got enough power to get back to the ship nothing will stop us now.”
“Note of thanks recorded, Mistress,” K-9 stated.
Romana smiled at K-9 affectionately.
“Thank you for helping us, Doctor.” Tumos interjected. “We’re so pleased you’re willing to help us at this crucial time.”
“We have your ship aboard in our cargo hold, Doctor. As requested,” Imaid informed him.
“Splendid,” the Doctor replied. “Well let’s not stand about here talking chit-chat. Let’s make for the bridge shall we? Next stop Vicaton V, like you say.”
They all made their way to the bridge, leaving the engine room, wondering what lay before them.
The trip took less time than expected. The ship traversed at warp drive and was back on Vicaton V within four hours. As soon as the Doctor, Romana and K-9 stepped out of the TARDIS with Tumos and Imaid following behind, they were in a leisurely home lounge. They took in their surroundings and were amazed at the wealth they beheld.
“Very impressive,” the Doctor observed. “I’m very pleased you two have done well for yourself.”
“This building seems to remain intact,” remarked Romana. “And in the middle of a war zone you say. You seem to be well protected to be desperate to leave.”
They could hear the sounds of battle growing from outside, with gunshots and everything.
“It is not a happy place to live in anymore,” Imaid stated rather remorsefully. “We do not find the idea of battle outside our house whilst we remain in luxury very appealing.”
Romana felt she had offended them. “Oh,” she began, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean…”
“It does concern me how you meant it,” Tumos interjected. “The fact is we are victims of our own mistakes; of our own people. And you Doctor shall help us.”
“And gladly will I do so,” remarked the Doctor, “But first the Bouquets of Life. I would very much like to see them.”
“There is plenty of time for that later,” Imaid declared rather profusely.
“Oh but I’m anxious to meet them,” stated the Doctor. “You know I don’t like my name being bandied about when some people consider me to be of help. Very grateful I am most definitely, but I’m not sure your benefactors are sincere with their words. Just to be sure you know…”
“You will do this according to our terms,” Tumos declared rather threateningly. “Or else we…”
Tumos was about to finish his sentence, before Imaid trained her rifle on them.
“Or else we do this the hard way, Doctor,” she growled.
The Doctor and Romana remained silent for a moment.
“That won’t get you anywhere,” Romana stated.
“Indeed not,” said the Doctor. “If you wish us to help you, you’ll have to trust us.”
“We are going to sneak up on Dictator Marusi,” Imaid announced. “To show you what he has done to our society. Then you’ll understand.”
K-9 trundled forward and raised his weapon at them from his mouth.
“Negative; negative, do not dare hurt Doctor-Master and Mistress Romana, Mrs. Imaid,” K-9 warned her. “I am armed with offensive capability.”
Tumos and Imaid laugh mockingly.
“You,” Imaid gloated. “What can you, a little tin dog do to us? We are nobles of Vicaton V. You wouldn’t dare harm us.”
“Correction,” K-9 stated. “I am not made of tin.”
“Just kill them,” Tumos insisted.
Imaid raised her weapon to shoot Romana and the Doctor, before K-9 fired at both her and Tumos with his weapon. Both groaned as they crumbled to the floor.
“He did warn you,” the Doctor remarked to their unconscious bodies. He turned to K-9, “You’ve done that twice to them, K-9.”
“Affirmative,” K-9 replied, “Recorded in memory banks.”
“What do we do now, Doctor,” Romana asked. “Visit Marusi the dictator; or find these Bouquets of Life you mentioned.”
The Doctor shrugged, “Well it’s up to you. I prefer to visit the Bouquets of Life; but if you prefer going to meet Marusi and have your head cut off then that’s fine. What about you K-9?”
“Preference not required,” K-9 reported. “I will go when I may.”
It is at that moment; a group of soldiers burst in through the glass windows and enter. They surround the Doctor, Romana and K-9 with the unconscious bodies of Tumos and Imaid before them. They train their weapons on them.
“Alright you lot,” shouted the chief soldier, “Hands up in the air!”
The Doctor and Romana raise their hands.
“Hello there,” the Doctor grinned. “Are you the welcoming committee of Vicaton V? This is very nice!”
K-9 whispered, “Shall I fire at will, master?”
“No K-9,” Romana rebuked him. “There are too many soldiers here. You won’t be able to take them out all at once. By then we’ll all be dead.
The chief soldier spoke again. “You will come with us now, back to Marusi’s Court. He is expecting you!”
The Doctor beamed, “How tremendous?! We’re so looking forward to seeing him. If you gentlemen will so kindly take us there to his courtroom, we’d very much appreciate it.”
The courtroom doors open, and the Doctor, Romana and K-9 are escorted into the courtroom by the soldiers. Tumos and Imaid slowly regaining consciousness are dragged into the courtroom by one of the soldiers. They approach the throne, where seated upon it is Marusi, a dark bearded man with a plump figure. He had four square meals at his side, which he ate with tremendous gusto. He looked up to see the Doctor and Romana standing before him with their little robot dog. He cleaned his mouth with a serviette before belching in-between.
“So,” declared Marusi. “You are strangers to this place.”
“Indeed yes,” concurred the Doctor. “Sorry for barging in on your hospitality like this. We didn’t mean to impose upon you.”
The chief soldier stepped forward. “These are the ones, your worship. We found them already within their palace. We do not know who these other two are. They were on the floor when we found them.
Marusi stood up and struck the chief soldier on the head. The chief soldier cried out in pain.
“Those two are Tumos and Imaid, you idiot!” Marusi shouted.
The chief soldier looked up flabbergasted, and looked to the Doctor and Romana. “But these two were…”
“They are not of this world, you numskull,” Marusi declared. “They were the ones they sought out on the planet Earth. They have no part in this war of ours.”
“Oh, so you know about us,” remarked Romana rather smoothly.
Marusi glared at Romana, “Yes my dear,” he stated. “We know about the Bouquets of Life visiting Tumos and Imaid. We have them in our custody.”
“Why?” Romana asked. “What crimes have they committed against you?”
“They are flowers,” Marusi retorted. “They have no place within my new domain; my dominion. I shall be ruler of all of Vicaton V; of all of the Glasmos Empire.”
“That’s a lot of hard work for one dictator,” the Doctor stipulated. “You should book early if you want to have a holiday. Things can get rather hectic in the middle part of a busy year.”
“Doctor,” Marusi barked.
“Yes?” the Doctor grinned.
“You know of the situation with Glasmos Empire?” asked Marusi. “Tumos and Imaid told you about it.”
“Oh snippets,” the Doctor replied, “Just snippets. Information from many peoples’ points of view can be very deceptive. I’d like to hear your view on it.”
“This will be the beginning of my reign,” Marusi cried, “Of my empire. The dark clouds will gather and absolve any who wish to defy me.”
“And does that include your loyal subjects Marusi,” Romana asked. “Will you kill them too?”
“They are of no significance,” Marusi stated. “It will be only me who rules. All the other lives that live on this planet are insignificant. And they will not see the light of day again when my black clouds devour them.”
“They’ll devour you too then,” Romana declared defiantly.
K-9 wagged his ears, “Probability one hundred per cent from life-forms in black clouds, mistress.”
“Thank you, K-9,” Romana replied, patting K-9 on the head.
Marusi fumed, “Guards! Take that woman and that dog away! Put them in the holding cells with the others.”
“Not pleased with our company?” Romana inquired emphatically.
K-9 was almost about to make a shot at them, before Romana restrained him. Very soon the two of them were escorted by the guards, whilst the Doctor remained confronting Marusi with Tumos and Imaid lying beside them, slowly waking.
“You have a raw temper, haven’t you?” the Doctor remarked, “Sometimes getting angry doesn’t necessary get you your own way, Marusi.”
“Be careful Doctor,” Marusi warned him. “I shall be victorious. The dark clouds will destroy all forms of life, including plant life. They are the same as me. We wish for all that is precious and pleasing to be ruined into decay. It is the way of all things. The way they end.”
The Doctor dropped his head sorrowfully. “You must have had a very bad childhood, Marusi. I feel almost sorry for you.”
Marusi glared at the Doctor. “I do not need your sorrow, Doctor. Only for you to know that I am your enemy and there is nothing you can do to stop me!”
“I said ‘almost’, Marusi,” retorted the Doctor. “Because I’m sure my friends Romana and K-9 are one step ahead of you. If they know my mind and I’m sure they know your rivals Tumos and Imaid after the time we’ve spent with them. And from your character portrait you like to keep things locked up.”
“That’s right, Doctor,” Marusi stated proudly.
“Well then,” the Doctor chortled, “it goes to show, you can be relied upon with a dishonest and unwavering face.”
Romana and K-9 found themselves in a grimy old cell covered with rust, grease and slime. K-9 found it hard to trudge on the stony ground and Romana at times had to help him out.
“I hope the Doctor knows what he’s doing,” said Romana. “I hope we know what we’re doing.”
“Impossible to penetrate cell doors, mistress,” replied K-9 rather sadly. “No possible means of escape via this route.”
“Don’t worry about it, K-9,” Romana reassured him.
“I will keep trying to search a weakness through metals, mistress.” K-9 replied reassuringly.
Romana patted him on the head. “Good boy, K-9.”
At that moment, they were interrupted as some flowers grew along beside them. But these weren’t ordinary flowers. For one thing, they seemed to not be growing out of the earth, but through the walls themselves. Romana backed away with K-9 at her side.
“K-9?” Romana whispered. “Can you detect any life-forms within this vicinity, apart from us?”
K-9 nodded his head a bit before coming to a conclusion, “Affirmative, mistress. I detect a multitude of life-forms within this vicinity.”
“Are they hostile?” Romana asked.
K-9 wagged his ears, “Insufficient data. Suggest attempt to make contact with creatures.”
Romana gradually moved towards the flowers.
“Hello,” Romana greeted. “I gather I’m addressing the Bouquet of Life presumably.”
There was a moment’s silence before anybody answered. Unison of eerie voices spoke out from the flowers. They were elegant and refined.
“You have come to us at last,” said the voices. “We are gratified you came. It is destiny.”
Romana shrugged. “I’m afraid where I come from, destiny is merely a myth.”
“We know of your myths and beliefs, Romanadvoratrelundar,” replied the voices, “as we are aware of your species, both you and the Doctor.”
Romana became astonished. “You know us then.”
“We have awaited for this day for you to come,” said the voice. “We must know where the Doctor is. Is he far?”
“He is with Marusi in the courtroom,” Romana replied grimly. “We’re trying to find a way to get out of here to save him.”
“He is part of our destiny,” the voices explained, “Part…of the Foundations of Life.”
Suddenly realisation dawned upon Romana. “Foundations of Life,” she stuttered. She then turned to K-9. “You said something about Foundations of Life, didn’t you K-9?”
“Affirmative, mistress,” replied the little robot dog. “Foundations of Life was a day that preceded the end of the civil war of Vicaton V as well as the end of the Great War in the Glasmos Empire.”
“I see,” Romana replied. “And these flowers – the Bouquets of Life – are what causes that ‘foundations of life’ to take place as you mentioned earlier.”
“Affirmative,” said K-9. “Flower growth greatened exponentially around the twenty-third Great Age after the war ended. The facts are simple.”
Romana turned to the flowers, “I still don’t understand why you sent Tumos and Imaid to collect us. How are we meant to fulfil events for you for this ‘Foundations of Life’?”
The flowers scattered by now as they surrounded the cell.
“We expect you to assist us Romanadvoratrelundar,” the voices replied. “With the Doctor’s assistance as well as yours, we can achieve what we preordained.”
Romana remained confused.
“We can’t explain in great detail,” the voices stated. “We must escape this cage we seem to be in. We now require the assistance of your computer, K-9.”
Romana turned to the metal dog. “K-9,” she began, “are you willing to help the Bouquet of Life to get us out of here?”
The dog nodded his head, wagging his ears, “Affirmative, mistress. I shall cooperate with these plants.”
The flowers strode forward to K-9 as they began to communicate with him.
“We shall increase your power cells with our self-regenerating capabilities. We know of a weak spot within these cell doors.”
“Most satisfactory,” K-9 replied. “Please direct me to this weak spot you have located.”
Meanwhile back in the courtroom, the Doctor was pressed for time. He had very little left as he was in the grip of danger from Marusi. Tumos and Imaid had now fully recovered and were now standing by him.
“The black clouds will gather over the roof of my halls, Doctor,” Marusi explained with a passion. “They will crumble down my roofs, and very soon they will absolve me with their power. No man on this world can stop me with my grand victory and dominion over all creation.”
“You’re mad,” shouted Imaid. “You’re absolutely mad, Marusi. You’re controlling the dark clouds to break the dawn. You’ve lost it completely.”
“True,” Marusi replied. “But at least I have a vision.”
“Marusi,” the Doctor retorted. “Can’t you just settle down? Try to enjoy life for once. There’s no need for all this dictatorship. As a man once said, absolute power corrupts absolutely. You’ll find this man on Earth. He’s very clever. Not as clever as I but still…”
“Enough of your babbling, Doctor. You can’t control my destiny. I, Marusi shall become god of all of Glasmo space.”
“Not if I have anything to do with it,” shouted Tumos.
Tumos stepped forward, grabbing a pike from the stone walls and raised it towards Marusi aiming it for his neck.
“Tumos, don’t!” shouted the Doctor in rage.
But Marusi was too quick for Tumos. He struck his down with lightning powers from his finger tips. Tumos got hit, screamed and collapsed to the floor in agony. Imaid ran over to Tumos to tend to him, with the Doctor checking him also. He looked up at Marusi in astonishment.
“Electrical power,” remarked the Doctor. “A gift from the black cloud entities, am I right?”
“Quite right, Doctor,” Marusi replied. “Very soon, they will hang over heads to commence the dawning of a new age.”
It was at that very moment that there came a rumbling from up above and the lights in the throne room began to dim. Imaid started to feel terrified, as she lay beside Tumos with the Doctor comforting her. Marusi however was triumphant in all measure.
“Yes,” he cried. “Yes! They are here! The storm is here! The rule of Marusi the Great Dictator has begun!”
With that, lightning struck the roof which crumbled with collapsing ceiling and masonry falling to the floor. Imaid screamed once this happened, and the cold night air blew in at a tremendous rate. They then saw the storm clouds bursting down upon them, and bat-like screams echoed in all over the throne room.
Marusi laughed with utter clarity, “At last! My friends! Yes, my friends! Your harvesting shall commence! Devour the enemies of Marusi if you will.”
The Doctor then stood up pleading with Marusi, “Marusi! You don’t know what you’re doing.”
“There’s no use in deceit, Doctor,” cried Marusi. “The black cloud entities shall devour you first. Die well, Doctor!”
“Marusi,” the Doctor cried, “if you value your own life then just listen. Those black cloud entities won’t make any exceptions. They’ll devour you as much as they’ll devour me, Tumos and Imaid. You’re being used Marusi, do you understand? You’re being used?!”
Marusi however denied this as false. “I am their commander, Doctor! I am their ruler! They will not suck the life out of me!”
Then, without even realising it, the black cloud entities shot out from their habit and attacked Marusi, biting his skin and clothes. Marusi screamed as he found himself being devoured away by the creatures as meat and a fuel resource. Marusi tried to say something in defiance to the Doctor. But it was too late, as the entities overwhelmed and devoured him instantly.
Upon seeing this, the Doctor shrugged and gave a light chuckle, “He shouldn’t have assumed too much, should he?”
“Has he been devoured, Doctor?” Tumos asked, rather stupidly.
“Of course he has,” replied the Doctor. “Those entities saw him as meat, and couldn’t resist with their hungry appetite.”
“What about us,” cried Imaid over the thunderous storm, “We’ll be on the menu next the way that cloud’s descending. Look!”
They looked up and saw the black cloud descending. The roar of the storm was increasing, as the Doctor backed Tumos and Imaid away in the throne room before realising there was no escape.
At that moment, Romana, K-9 and the Bouquets entered into the throne room. The Doctor saw them and panicked.
“Stop,” he yelled, “Romana, get back!”
Romana was confused as the Doctor shouted, but the Bouquets pressed Romana forward.
“You must advance, Romanadvoratrelundar,” the voices within the flower declared. “It is part of destiny. You must be absorbed by the dark matter.”
Romana started getting anxious, “What are you doing?” she cried. “Have you seen the way those clouds absorb humanoids.”
“You must fulfil your role in events,” the voices declared. “You are the key, Romanadvoratrelundar. You are the key to fulfilling our ‘Foundations of Life’.”
As the flowers pressed Romana forward with their powers; K-9 attempted to intervene.
“Beware, mistress! Beware,” K-9 piped. “You are close to the proximity field of black clouds. Danger imminent! Repeat: Danger, mistress.”
The Doctor tried to intervene too. “Romana, what are you doing?” Then he saw the flowers. “Stop this at once, do you hear,” he shouted. “Let my friend go! Let her go at once!”
Romana tried to resist, but the power of the flowers was too great as they prodded her forward.
“Doctor,” she cried, “Doctor these bouquets are too great for me!”
But the flowers pressed their advantage.
“Part of destiny,” the Bouquets declared, “It is part of destiny.”
Then the clouds began to gather on Romana. She didn’t scream, but she was definitely terrified. Within minutes, the clouds devoured her taking the Bouquets with her. Once seeing them go, the Doctor became horrified.
“Romana,” he cried, “Romana!”
K-9 scanned the area. “No energy signature registers of Mistress Romana, master. The clouds have absorbed her.”
The Doctor turned his fury towards Tumos and Imaid who just stood there quite idly. “Where is she?” he demanded enraged. “What have those clouds of yours done to her?”
Tumos and Imaid remained silent for a few minutes before they could answer.
Romana found herself in a whirl of confusion, as well as a whirl of cloud before she realised she was standing on nothing. She looked up and saw herself in a dark mist. She puffed away the fumes of the cloud and made her way forward to get a better sense of direction. But she found herself getting lost.
“Hello?!” she called. “Can anyone hear me? Is anybody there?”
There was nothing but the noise of wind. Eventually, she then heard the sound of petals dropping from flowers beside her. She looked down and saw the Bouquets before her. She kneeled down.
“What is this place you’ve brought me too,” Romana demanded. “Why did you force me in here?” Then it suddenly dawned upon her. “I’m not dead, am I?”
The flowers found it difficult to speak with their voice, as the strain seemed to be taking its toll upon them.
“This place,” the voices spoke, “is draining our life force dramatically. We must set out what we have to do. Breathe Romanadvoratrelundar! Breathe!”
“I don’t see how breathing’s going…” Romana started but then stopped as she sensed she was not alone. She looked into the darkness and saw a rounded man approaching her. Seeing more clearly, she recognised who it was, “Marusi!”
“Yes, my dear girl,” Marusi replied in contempt. “It is I. I am not dead yet. My friends have granted me life. They are merciful.”
“Not for long I should think,” Romana replied defiantly. “They’re just waiting for the right moment to suck your life out.”
“Not true,” Marusi denied. “Not true!” He tried to sound more dignified than he was. “They are my friends, you foolish girl! The black entities are my friends!”
“Then is half of your body gone,” pointed out Romana, “For I can see it clearly with my own eyes.”
“You do not know these things, girl,” Marusi rebuked her. “I am Marusi. I am immortal. I will not be defied. The black entities are my salvation. They’re my eternal salvation!”
Those were the last words Marusi spoke, as he then uttered a wrenching horrible scream. He dissolved into nothing as he disappeared within the cloud. Romana became fearful now, and got no reassurance from the Bouquets.
The Bouquets then spoke, “Quickly Romanadvoratrelundar! You must breathe! Breathe at once!”
“I don’t understand,” Romana replied. “Why is it you want me to breathe?”
“Breathe life into this cloud,” said the voices.
“What?!” said Romana, who was utterly baffled.
“The Foundations of Life will not commence,” the voices said, “unless Time Lord breath has been breathed into these black clouds. You must do this before your soul gets stolen too.”
Romana was at a loss, as she soon suddenly realised that the tips of her feet were starting to fade away with the flowers beside her.
Then she heard a familiar voice calling out to her. It was reassuring; it was comforting. Romana knew all too well whose voice that was.
“Listen to me, Romana!” the Doctor cried from outside the cloud. “Breathe! Breathe very deep Romana! Breathe deeply into your lungs and let it out. The flowers will do the rest. Trust me, I know. Tumos and Imaid told me everything! You have to do it, please! For all our sakes! Romana! Romana!”
Hearing the Doctor through the mists of cloud, and finds her legs starting to fade away, Romana immediately breathed deeply before breathing out again into the clouds. Suddenly the flowers started to grow and stretch across all over the cloud. Warmth came over Romana’s face, as she then saw the clouds beginning to brighten and flourish whilst the darkness began to crumble.
“This is it,” Romana cried happily. “This is the beginning of the Foundations of Life!”
“Yes,” replied the voices. “For us it is merely the beginning. We shall absolve many other worlds with this power we possess.”
Romana looked around in admiration as the clouds became clearer and less storminess was evidently showing.
Outside in the courtroom, the Doctor began to feel impatient as he trod and paced a number of times in anxiety, despite the cloud becoming whiter. He bent down towards the metal dog.
“K-9,” he muttered, “where’s Romana?”
K-9 wagged his ears. “Insufficient data. No sign of Mistress Romana within present location.
The Doctor got up to his feet, muttering something under his breath, before pacing again.
“Patience Doctor,” Tumos declared. “Romana will be released, I’m sure.”
The Doctor turned his anger on Tumos, “Oh it’s alright for you isn’t it, Tumos,” he shouted. “It’s alright for you being patient. If it weren’t for you and your wife’s cowboy tactics, this whole matter would have run smoothly. Instead you capture us and then you backstab us at the last moment when we said we would help you willingly. And now this happens!”
“Wait!” Imaid then spoke up. “Look Doctor! Look!”
They all looked and saw the figure of Romana appearing out of the clouds with the Bouquets following her.
K-9 trundled forward, “Mistress Romana located, master. She is present.”
The Doctor stepped forward and greeted her, “Romana! Romana, I’m so glad to see you! Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, Doctor,” Romana reassured her. “It’s good to see you too.”
“You’re not hurt?” the Doctor asked.
“No,” Romana replied. “The Bouquets protected me.”
Both embraced each other, before the Doctor turned to the Bouquets.
“You stole my companion with tremendous risk,” the Doctor said accusingly.
“She has played her part, Doctor,” replied the Bouquet voices. “As have you. For that we are grateful.”
“Sometimes I wish creatures like you wouldn’t expect so much from us without asking with polite permission,” the Doctor snapped.
“We know of your reputation, Doctor. This was a mission of direst urgency. We couldn’t afford any more delays.”
“Yes,” considered the Doctor. “You must tell me where you get your knowledge of me.”
“We’d be happy to do so,” replied the voices.
“Good,” declared the Doctor. Then he grinned, “Pleasure to be working with you.”
“Thank you for saving this wondrous empire, Doctor,” the voices replied. “Glasmos will be saved now.”
Romana then stepped forward. “I don’t understand. How come the flowers…”
The Doctor then interrupts her, “Oh it’s quite simple, Romana. The entities within the flowers are connected to the clouds. Just as rain falls onto flowers to make them grow.”
“And the entities within the black clouds…” Romana began.
“Come from the flowers that were dying,” the Doctor finished. “You see, the black clouds represent death and decay. Something that Marusi couldn’t even realise in his obsession of lightning powers…”
“…whereas the entities within the white clouds give life and long-living. They exist in the world as the atmosphere and oxygen for the worlds in the Glasmos Empire like this one.”
“Whereas the black clouds,” the Doctor grinned.
Romana rolled her eyes, “Very clever, Doctor.”
“Oh,” the Doctor modestly stated, “you picked it up so well, it’s even easy for you to understand.”
He shrugged off towards Tumos and Imaid, whilst Romana looked at him admirably if a bit mocked.
The Doctor meanwhile addressed Tumos and Imaid, shaking them by the hand, “Thank you for letting us take part in saving your world, Tumos and Imaid. I hope you’re satisfied now and we’re free to go.”
“The nightmare is over,” Tumos replied. “We’re grateful for your support.”
“Thank you Doctor,” Imaid said sweetly. “You saved us. Saved our planet.”
She leaned forward and kissed the Doctor, to which the Doctor blushed.
The TARDIS waited for them, as the Doctor and Romana approached with K-9 at their side. Tumos and Imaid came up to meet them and wish them a fond farewell.
“Doctor?” Imaid asked. “Will you come back again? To see how we get on?”
The Doctor found he was quite embarrassed and unable to answer for a moment, “Well you see Imaid,” he began, “we’re rather on the run from someone and we don’t know whether or not it’s possible. But you never can tell, you know. You never can tell.”
Romana then butted in, “We will try and visit,” she assured them, “it may take a while, but we will try.”
“Well Doctor,” Tumos began, “we hope we’ll be more hospitable if you do come back.”
“I’ll have cocktails and a selection of food nibbles ready for you on our day of anniversary.” Imaid said happily. “Just in case you do return to us,”
“I’m sure we’ll look forward to that,” Romana stated.
The Doctor then shook Tumos by the hand.
“Goodbye Tumos; Goodbye Imaid,” he declared. “Take care of yourself.
“Goodbye Doctor!” Tumos replied.
The Doctor said goodbye to Imaid as well, before stepping into the TARDIS. Romana kissed both Tumos and Imaid on the cheeks before stepping into the TARDIS after the Doctor.
“Come on K-9,” Romana commanded.
The metal dog made his way into the TARDIS. “Mistress,” K-9 acknowledged.
Romana looked back to Tumos and Imaid and waved.
“Goodbye, you two,” she said, waving. She saw Tumos and Imaid wave, before shutting the door on them.
Tumos and Imaid watched as they saw the TARDIS dematerialise, whooshing away and grinding as it went off back into the time vortex, Baffled and bemused, the two of them head off back into their palace to spend the last few hours of the day together.
Wonder. That was how Tumos of Vicaton V felt. But it was a different kind of wonder nowadays.
It was a year since the Doctor and Romana left in the TARDIS, and Tumos was pleased at how the way things were progressing. The skies were still bright, with the orange glow of sunrise before him. The Foundations of Life had ended all wars for now within the Glasmos sector of space. And all was happy between him and his Imaid, with little turmoil to contend with anymore.
Yet, there was no indication of return for the people who were responsible for making all of this possible. Tumos returned back into the lounge and watched as Imaid laid all the nuts, crisps, cheese cubes and other food nibbles onto the table, as well as the cocktails she promised for them.
Once she had finished, she sat down in a chair exhausted and feeling put out. Tumos eventually sat by his wife to comfort her as he wrapped his arms around her. She became tearful for a moment, before regaining control of herself.
“Seems like they’re not coming,” Imaid stated.
Tumos shook his head, “Don’t be downhearted,” he replied. “The Doctor and Romana said it’ll take a while for them to come back. They have after all got a lot of exploring to do.”
Imaid shook her head in agreement, yet was still downhearted.
“Now come on, dear,” Tumos reassured her. “We’ve got a lot to be thankful for. The empire’s growing and the Bouquets of Life have given us the foundations we deserve. Very few wars occur in this sector.”
“I know,” Imaid said tearfully. She wiped the tears from her eyes. “It’s just that…all of this I’ve laid out for them.” Imaid paused for breath for a moment. She sobbed again before she spoke. “This day is dedicated to them as well. Without them, the Foundations of Life would never have happened. How can two people with their own dog make a mistake in forgetting such a big day as this? Are our lives of little significance to them as we think?”
Just as Imaid spoke those words, a grinding and whooshing sound occurred. Tumos and Imaid looked up and saw before them the familiar blue box materialising before their eyes. Their hearts were lifted as the blue box came to be fully formed before them. They stood up out of their seats. Tumos clapped his hands around Imaid’s trying to calm her down as she gasped with joy.
“It seems my dear,” Tumos cheered, “that are our lives are significant to those two people.”
The TARDIS doors opened and the familiar metal robot dog came trundling out to greet them.
“Greetings Lord Tumos and Lady Imaid,” greeted K-9. “We have returned to visit you.”
Imaid gave a cry of joy as she bent down to pat K-9 on the head and embrace him.
“K-9,” she cried. “We’re so pleased to see you!”
“Is your master and mistress here, K-9?” Tumos asked.
“Affirmative,” replied the metal dog. “They are on their way now.”
Tumos and Imaid looked up and gave a gasp of joy as the TARDIS doors opened again. They were then very surprised when they saw who stepped out a person they had never seen or met before. A young pretty woman, who had blond hair, was short yet had an aristocratic quality. They watched in utter astonishment, as the girl then saw them and smiled warmly.
“Hello Tumos; Imaid. Good to see you again,” said Romanadvoratrelundar. “Is that my cocktail and food nibbles you have waiting for me?”
‘Romana’ and ‘K-9’ originally conceived by Graham Williams
© Tim Bradley, 2016
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