‘THE VEXO KNIGHTS EXPERIENCE’
By Tim Bradley
Featuring the Tenth Doctor and Donna.
Set after ‘Death and the Queen’.
“Vicnickelly candy floss!” exclaimed the Doctor ecstatically.
“What?” Donna asked, totally bemused.
Donna Noble has expected the Doctor to take to her an exciting tourist attraction, where it would be fun and adventurous. Like ‘LEGOLAND’ and ‘Alton Towers’. She didn’t expect him to take her to an alien planet where they would hold tourist attractions full of theme park rides.
They were on the planet Lo-Go-Pop. They were at the tourist attraction that the Doctor was talking about. It was packed. Full of people going to and fro, enjoying various rides and attractions and stuffing their faces with Gobsburg cheese burgers and Ontimeglo hot dogs. The food seemed appetising, but Donna wasn’t sure if she was going to get food poisoning or have added more to her waistline if she ate that stuff.
The Doctor pointed to what seemed like a fast food stall selling very peculiar-looking candy floss. Donna noticed two things. One was that the man behind the counter was big, fat and blue. The second was that the candy-floss looked blue as he was. Donna would say that man came from the planet of the Blues. Or Blue Planet. Or simply Blue, if the Doctor would be so inclined to tell her.
The Doctor put on his wide grin at Donna. “Vicnickelly candy floss, Donna,” he repeated cheerfully. “Do you want some?”
“Doctor!” Donna grimaced at him. “You were supposed to take me to a planet of fun!”
“And this is a planet of fun, Donna,” the Doctor replied. “Just look around you!”
“Yeah, I can see that people are having fun here,” Donna remarked. “But I was thinking of more human fun. Not some alien tourist attraction which I don’t think will be much to my tastes.”
“Oh come on, Donna,” the Doctor declared. “Where’s your sense of optimism and open mindedness. This isn’t the way to talk about ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’, is it?!”
“The what?” Donna asked, even more bemused.
“’The Vexo Knights Experience’, Donna,” the Doctor repeated. “This is where the kids of Lo-Go-Pop go to enjoy re-living their favourite TV show every Gunaderay morning! That’s the first of a three-day weekend here on Lo-Go-Pop. Gunaderay mornings!”
“Wait a minute,” Donna realised. “Did you say they had three-day weekends here on this planet?!”
“Yeah,” the Doctor replied. “Isn’t that great. People can make a holiday out of three-day weekends here on this planet.”
“I’ll say,” Donna said, seeming more pleased and changing her tune. “I could do with three days instead of two from my work days as a temp every week in Chiswick.”
“Ah but you’re not in Chiswick anymore are you, Donna!” the Doctor enthused cheerfully. “You’re on Lo-Go-Pop! And here is where you can get to go to ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ for your fun and entertainment as well as re-living an action-packed TV show on Lo-Go-Pop television.”
“Oh so you’re into the kids’ favourite TV show on this planet then,” Donna remarked.
“Na, not really,” the Doctor replied. “My granddaughter was though. I didn’t like it at the time.”
“What?!” Donna said, astonished.
“But I’ve been catching up with the show again lately and I can see why the Lo-Go-Pop people liked that sort of show. I want to see what their theme park is like and hope I can get some actual behind-the-scenes info on what was the inspiration for the TV show. Since they’ve never shown it in newspapers and prevented the media getting their hands on behind-the-scenes info in case of spoilers and gossip.”
“You’re such a geek, aren’t you?” Donna remarked pretty ruefully.
The Doctor just grinned at her. “Yeah! Great isn’t it?” He then took Donna’s hand and pointed ahead. “Come on, Donna! Look up there!”
Donna looked to see a large oval building before them. There was a huge plague with some words written on it at the front of the building. It read…‘THE VEXO KNIGHTS EXPERIENCE’.
“Oh,” she realised. “So that’s the building then is it? Cool!” Donna said this last bit rather unenthusiastically to the Doctor’s liking.
Donna could also see five displays of warriors in colourful armour. She saw a pink knight wearing ice skates; a blue knight with rockets on his (or was it her) back; a red knight with metallic arms on his body; a black knight with a shuttle on his (or her) back and a yellow knight with a spaceship on his (or her) back. Donna wondered if this was the Lo-Go-Pop’s version of ‘Power Rangers’ or something like that. She hated the kids’ series whenever her cousin Joey was in the house watching it in the 90s.
Before they even went into ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ building, the Doctor dragged Donna back in the direction of the Vicnickelly Candy Floss stall.
“Come on,” the Doctor said. “Two Vicnickelly candy floss on the go, shall we? One for you; one for me, hey?”
Donna shrugged the Doctor’s hand off her as he pulled her. “You go and stuff your face with that blue stuff, Doctor. I prefer my candy floss pink. Not blue. I don’t fancy having my skin turned blue if I eat that stuff.”
“Suit yourself,” the Doctor replied. “You don’t know what you’re missing!”
With that, the Doctor headed off for the candy floss stall. Donna puffed out her cheeks as she watched the Doctor going to the big, fat blue man behind the counter and asking for some Vicnickelly candy floss. Why did I let the Doctor talk me into going to an alien tourist attraction on an alien planet? she thought to herself. She was afraid she wasn’t going to like what was inside this ‘Vexo Knights Experience’ once they got inside eventually.
Surprisingly, Donna found how much she was enjoying herself in ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’. She could hear some corny but heroic music in the background. The TV show’s theme song, she thought. She looked around and saw how big the reception room was as they entered. The ceiling was high and there were holographic displays of various clips from TV episodes of the show ‘Vexo Knights’. Donna began to wonder if she was about to enter into another version of ‘Galaxy Quest’ with Tim Allen or something. That was another film her cousin Joey was into…when he was older of course.
The Doctor had already finished his Vicnickelly candy floss as they walked about in the main entrance of the Experience. Donna could see his mouth greased with blue from the candy floss, but she wasn’t going to mention it. She wondered how long she could hold out from laughing at the sight of the Doctor’s face as she walked beside him.
To cover up her amusement, Donna asked, “So come on, space man! What’s ‘Vexo Knights’ about then?”
The Doctor turned to her to reply. Donna sucked inside her mouth in as she saw his face. “Well Donna,” he replied. “’Vexo Knights’ was once a video game and device themed app for kids on this planet to enjoy. Now it’s become an action-packed TV series! ‘Vexo Knights’ had five heroes in it. Their leader was Astros and he had Shuttlos, Rocketnia, Quasos and Glideril. They fought against the evil forces of Condgorl, an evil empress who wanted to conquer the galaxy.”
Donna scoffed at that. “It is an alien version of ‘Power Rangers’,” she said. “I just knew it was. Trust you to be into kiddies’ things like that!”
“But the thing is,” the Doctor interrupted her. “The ‘Vexo Knights’ inspired in children to become real heroes to defend their planet from alien invasion. The heroicness of the Vexo Knights was what prompted children to not be afraid but to be strong in later life. To be defiant against those who would wipe out their planet, as well as being kind and friendly to others including their own kind as well as other friendly aliens on neighbouring planets.”
“Oh wow!” Donna exclaimed. “That is actually pretty cool, huh?”
“It is, isn’t it?” the Doctor replied, grinning wildly. “I’ve always meant to come here to Lo-Go-Pop to see what ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ was like after seeing their TV show. Sadly time-travel and saving the universe got in the way of things.”
“Figures,” Donna replied ruefully.
“”But anyway,” the Doctor continued. “Now that we’re here, we might as well enjoy ourselves and see what this Experience has to offer. And to see how kids on Lo-Go-Pop get excited about their heroes. Wouldn’t you agree, Donna Noble?”
Donna shook her head, still unable to contain her laughter, before she eventually let it out in buckets before the Doctor. The Doctor looked confused as she saw Donna laugh out loud.
“What? What’s the matter?” the Doctor asked perplexed. “Is it something I said?”
“It’s your face,” Donna replied.
“What is on my face?” the Doctor asked. “Something on my nose is it?”
“On your mouth, Doctor,” Donna replied, laughing. “You got it smeared with blue candy floss, in case you didn’t notice!”
The Doctor checked his mouth and realised how sticky it was. He licked his lips and wiped his mouth clean from the blue candy floss that was still on there.
“Has it gone?” the Doctor asked. “Has most of it gone?”
Donna laughed. “Yes,” she replied. “But it was good just seeing you jabbering away without even noticing you had candy floss stuck on your mouth like that.”
The Doctor ignored Donna’s amusement as he took her hand, guiding her through the crowd of tourists in the Experience.
“Come on, Donna,” he cheered. “Off we go!”
“Wait, wait,” Donna interrupted, puzzled. “Where are we going?”
The Doctor looked back at her. “We’re going to the reception to ask for some tickets to go in. First port of call in the Experience I think should be the rollercoaster ride. Wouldn’t you agree?”
But before Donna could even comment, the Doctor dragged her off with him as they make for the reception desk before them.
Donna thoroughly enjoyed being on the rollercoaster ride at ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’. She hadn’t had this much fun in weeks. This was like being back at the times she had when she was at ‘LEGOLAND’, ‘Alton Towers’ and ‘Thorpe Park’. She was having so much fun. And with the Doctor, it seemed even better.
Both she and the Doctor were screaming their heads off as they went through the adventure rides and seeing plenty of holograms being displayed all around them. They could see the Vexo Knights fighting in the simulations against plenty of villainous foot soldiers that seemed to be attacking the rollercoaster. The ride itself was exhilarating. It seemed to go pretty fast compared to other roller coaster rides she’d been on. But somehow she felt safe in this high-speed of a rollercoaster ride. Even the Doctor didn’t seem bothered by the speed they were going at.
Eventually the ride came to a halt and the Doctor and Donna got out. Both were pretty overwhelmed and wobbly from exhilaration and excitement from being on the ride. They laughed their heads off from having so much fun.
“Wow!” Donna exclaimed, exhilarated. “That was pretty wicked! I never had so much fun in all my life before!”
“I have,” the Doctor replied, enthusiastically. “And never does it get boring or repetitive.”
“It’s so much better when you’re with someone to enjoy the fun, isn’t it?” said Donna.
“Absolutely,” the Doctor replied.
The two laughed even further as they made their way over to sit down on a bench close to where the exit for the roller coaster ride was. They recovered to regain their breath, laughing and puffing away as they did so.
“So,” Donna then said. “Come on, spaceman! Give me all the details! Who’s who in the Vexo Knights team?”
“Well,” the Doctor began. “The red one with the two metal arms on his back was Astros. He’s a pretty noble leader and very quick on his feet with his two metal arms to help him. He’s like a goody-goody version of Doc Ock from ‘Spider-Man’ actually.”
“And the girl with the rocket packs on her back?” Donna asked.
“She’s Rocketnia,” the Doctor replied, “Astros’ love interest. Although Astros and Rocketnia do bicker a lot since they don’t agree on everything in fighting and in their love life.”
“Ah! Pretty ‘Eastenders’ then isn’t it with those two,” Donna declared. “And that cool guy with the shuttle on his back.”
“Shuttlos!” the Doctor announced. “He’s the one with the wisecracks and can be pretty smug at times. But he’s loyal and friendly to the rest of the team.”
“And the girl with the blonde hair and the yellow suit she wore?” Donna asked. “I liked her. She’s sweet and friendly.”
“She’s Quasos,” the Doctor told Donna. “She’s another one of those who loves Astros. But her love is unrequited.”
“Ah,” Donna sighed sympathetically. “Just like Martha was when she travelled with you hey, Doctor?”
“No, no,” the Doctor objected. “Not like Martha. Not like Martha at all,” he denied.
Donna smirked, knowing the Doctor’s pretty defensive attitude in these things. “And the fifth one? The one who glided in space with her skates on?”
“That’s Glideril,” the Doctor said. “She’s more interested in Shuttlos than Astros. But she’s pretty good in a fight against evil.”
“So,” Donna deduced. “That’s a team of three girls and two blokes.” She then grimaced. “Why couldn’t it be a woman in charge of a team instead of a guy? They should have equal rights for women on this planet.”
“Oy!” the Doctor retorted. “Don’t tell them that yet. That won’t happen in at least two centuries.”
“Two centuries!” Donna said, astonished. “Are you serious here?!”
The Doctor ignored Donna’s question as he got up on his feet again. “Come on, Donna! No time like the present!”
Donna groaned. “Oh where are we heading off to now?” she asked.
“Off to the exhibition of course,” the Doctor replied, “Where they have all the costumes, props and set designs from the ‘Vexo Knights’ TV show! Come on, Donna!” The Doctor then took Donna by the hand. “Aren’t you excited?!”
Donna shook the Doctor’s hand off hers as she got up from the bench.
“No need to keep manhandling me with my hand, Doctor,” Donna retorted. “I can follow you to this exhibition without being manhandled, thank you very much.”
“Suit yourself” the Doctor replied. “Come on then! Fast on your feet as we go!”
With that, the Doctor and Donna headed off to the exhibition of ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’. Donna wondered where they were going to have lunch after all this.
Donna couldn’t believe how there were so many costumes, props and set designs on display at this exhibition of the ‘Vexo Knights’ TV show. They had the displays of the Vexo Knight costumes as well as the set for the main bridge of the Vexo Knights’ spaceship called the Vexo Hunter. Donna loved reading some of the character dossier files on display next to the costumes of the five Vexo Knights. It was interesting reading some of the characters’ backgrounds and how they came to be Vexo Knights in the TV series.
“Well Donna,” the Doctor began to enquire. “What do you think? Great isn’t it?”
Donna nodded her head approvingly. “I like Astros best!”
The Doctor shook his head and groaned, annoyed. “Oh you would do, wouldn’t you?” he said. “It’s always the leader that the girls go for. Why can’t you go for one of the other team players in the Vexo Knights team?”
“Well,” Donna began to reply, “he’s clearly someone with a troubled past; he’s pretty handsome and well-built…and he’s got two extra metallic arms. I would like to have him put his arms around me. All four of them.”
The Doctor sighed and groaned again. “Must you always be so sex-mad, you humans.”
“Oy!” Donna protested. “Leave the prejudice out of it, will you Doc?”
“Never call me ‘Doc’!” the Doctor admonished her.
Donna eventually made her way over to another set of costume designs in the exhibition. She saw displays of scary looking troopers before her. They were like knights in shining armour, but had strange skull-like features on their helmet that were meant to be frightening.
She turned to the Doctor. “Doctor,” she asked, “what are these big goons in silver armour all about then?”
The Doctor joined Donna to see what she was looking at. He recognised the scary troopers at once. “Oh they’re Squadtrons,” the Doctor told her.
“Squadtrons?” Donna looked at him with a puzzled expression.
The Doctor began to explain. “Squadtrons are the foot-soldiers of the evil forces that the Vexo Knights fight against in the TV series. There seems to be plenty of them and they don’t seem to run out!”
“And who is the leader of the evil forces in the TV show, may I ask?” Donna asked the Doctor.
The Doctor turned to another costume display and pointed it to Donna. “She is,” he replied.
The Doctor and Donna made their way over to the costume display. The costume was a green suit. It was worn by a wax-work dummy, like the ones that Donna saw in Madame Tussauds’. The dummy was a woman. A blonde haired woman with green eyes, Donna thought. In fact, everything was green about her. She had a helmet that was shaped in the form of a ferocious bird and she carried in her hand a staff that had a top shaped like an eagle’s claw.
“And…who is she?” Donna asked the Doctor enquiringly.
The Doctor answered her. “She’s known as Condgorl! The most ruthless and ferocious enemy of the Vexo Knights ever! She’s in command of the evil forces that the Vexo Knights are fighting against. She too has had a troubled past and a special connection to ‘your’ Astros, the Vexo Knights’ leader.”
“Really?” Donna replied, intrigued. “What special connection?” she asked eagerly.
The Doctor eyed Donna knowingly. “All in good time, Donna,” he said cheekily. “You’ll have to watch the ‘Vexo Knights’ TV series first!”
“Oh don’t keep me in suspense,” Donna demanded, impatiently. “Tell me now! Tell me what the special connection is between Astros and this…Condgorl woman!”
But the Doctor was distracted by something away from Donna. He saw something that got him really excitedly. He turns to Donna with a big grin.
“I don’t believe it,” he said. “They have a shop! They have a gift shop in the place! Over there see! At the end of the exhibition! I love a shop! Don’t you love a shop, Donna?!”
“Doctor!” Donna demanded insistently. “Tell me now what the special connection is! I’m in suspense here!”
But the Doctor ignored Donna as he took her by the hand again. “Come on, Donna,” he said. “Let’s go and see what they’re selling in the gift shop shall we?”
“Can we have a spot of lunch somewhere after we’ve been then?” Donna asked. “I saw a café as we came into the exhibition…”
“Yes, yes, of course,” the Doctor said dismissively. “Anything you like! Now come on, Donna! Let’s go and see what’s in the gift shop before it closes.”
With that, they headed into the gift shop.
Twenty minutes later, Donna and the Doctor were now in the café having sandwiches for lunch. They’d been in the gift shop for some time and had bought a few souvenirs from their experience of going into ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ itself. Donna had bought the guide book to ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’, whilst the Doctor had purchased a pair of ‘Vexo Knights’-styled sunglasses.
Donna was having…she didn’t know what she was having…Trinckelly Puffakon Fried Chicken sandwiches. It was too spicy for Donna. Not exactly the KFC meal she had hoped. The Lo-Go-Pop people’s idea of coffee didn’t help much as she drank it.
“Snazzy, don’t you think?” the Doctor asked, grinning as he wore his ‘Vexo-Knights’-styled sunglasses on him.
Donna sighed and rolled her eyes. “In your dreams, space man,” she told him.
The Doctor looked hurt. He eventually took his glasses off and eyed Donna as she was absorbed in reading the guide book.
“Know everything you need to know about the Vexo Knights then?” he asked.
Donna shrugged. “It’s pretty interesting,” she replied. “Some of the behind-the-scenes stuff is good. Somehow I wonder whether these Lo-Go-Pop people nicked some of the stuff used in our 1980s TV shows on Earth for this kids’ show of theirs.”
“Well you know how they say it,” the Doctor told her. “Earth does have good tastes!”
Donna frowned at that. “I don’t like the way you say ‘Earth has good tastes’, Doctor,” she said. “You make it sound like there are other alien planets with better TV shows.”
“Not at all,” the Doctor replied. “But this is one of the best kids TV shows ever created on an alien planet inspired by Earth.”
“Is that so?” Donna retorted.
“Yeah, of course it is,” the Doctor declared enthusiastically. “Why they sell the best merchandise at their gift shop of theirs, don’t they? You don’t get good merchandise like that anywhere in other parts of the galaxy.”
“Yeah I suppose so,” Donna concurred. “And the food’s pretty good here too. What fillings do they have in these sandwiches?”
The Doctor ignored Donna’s question and went on, “I mean…think about those cuddly toy Vexo Knights they have on stall. I’m tempted to buy you one of those!”
“Don’t you dare,” Donna replied hotly. “Cuddly teddy bears maybe. But I don’t fancy cuddling up to an alien superhero TV show cuddly toy that I’ve never seen before. I don’t know what cuddly toys from other alien planets do when you cuddle them.”
“Oh they just…protect you when you’re in bed of course,” the Doctor faltered at some point.
Donna noticed this. “There’s something else you’re not telling me,” she remarked. “What is it?”
But before the Doctor could reply, a scream was heard from nearby. This alerted the Doctor and Donna, as the scream startled everyone in the café. Everybody began to get up from their tables in the café and head outside to see what the commotion was.
Donna became puzzled and curious. She noticed the Doctor was curious too. “What’s that then, Doctor?” she asked. “Someone screamed!”
“I heard, Donna,” he replied. “I think it’s time we got onto this mystery straight away!”
Donna sighed. “And I thought this was going to a pleasant day trip to a theme park attraction on an alien planet. Not!” She emphasised on the last word ‘Not!’ very directly at the Doctor.
But the Doctor was already on his feet as he made his way forward to head out of the café.
“Come on, Donna!” he called back to her. “Let’s see what all this is about, shall we?”
With that, the Doctor had joined the other customers heading out of the café. Donna was kind of glad the Doctor didn’t take her hand this time. She eventually got up from out of her chair and left the table she and the Doctor were sitting at. Donna followed the Doctor as they headed out of the café to see what the scream was all about.
The Doctor and Donna eventually re-entered the main hallway in which they came into upon entering ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’. Except this time, they were heading from the back of the experience rather than the front. They managed to push their way through the crowd to see what was going on.
They now saw what was happening. ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ was under attack. Tourists were also being taken captive by silver knights in shining armour. Donna saw what the knights looked like…and she couldn’t believe it.
“No way!” she declared. “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
The silver knights before them, were exactly the same ones that Donna and the Doctor saw in the exhibition. The evil foot soldiers that appeared in the ‘Vexo Knights’ TV series. The ones that had skull-like designs on their helmets. These were…what were they called, Donna thought. The Squadtrons! Yes, that was it! The tourists in ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ were being attacked by Squadtrons. Donna blinked more than twice to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. No she wasn’t. They were real alright. And she still couldn’t believe it.
Donna looked to the Doctor. She saw his mouth was open agape like everyone else in the area.
“Well, Doctor?” Donna asked him. “What have you got to say about this then?”
The Doctor shrugged. “This has got to be somebody’s idea of a joke! Yeah that’s what it is,” he said. “A bunch of kids are dressed up in Squadtrons to entertain and scare the tourists here.”
But at that moment, the Squadtrons opened fire with their laser weapons onto the tourists themselves. A number of the tourists got injured by the blast fire. A few were killed instantly. Everyone else screamed, horrified at what they saw with the Squadtrons. They began to run and scatter.
Donna turned back to the Doctor. “Is that supposed to be part of the entertainment then?” she asked ruefully. “People have died just now! And some got injured!”
She now saw by his face how troubled the Doctor looked. “I don’t get it,” the Doctor declared. “I don’t understand what’s happening!”
Donna rolled her eyes. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me!”
“We need to get out of here,” the Doctor announced.
“Really?!” Donna said sarcastically. “Why didn’t I think of that one before?!”
The Doctor tried to get himself and Donna back into the crowd, away from the Squadtrons’ sight of them. “We need to get to the expedition!”
“The expedition?!” Donna reacted with surprise. “Why do we need to go back there?!”
“The Squadtrons’ costumes will probably be missing from there!” the Doctor told her. “We need to know what else is missing from that expedition, whether it be more costumes and props!”
“Doctor, look!” Donna cried out. “Those Squadtron things are going to fire on us!”
“Donna, get down!” the Doctor shouted. He then turned to everyone else, shouting, “Everyone, get down!”
Everyone else as well as the Doctor and Donna got down onto the floor, as the Squadtrons opened fire. Fortunately, no casualties and deaths were made this time. But everyone was still in shock and horror by what was going on. Donna and the Doctor saw everyone get up from the floor as they made to run for their lives out of ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’.
The Doctor helped Donna up to her feet. “Come on, Donna!” he told her. “Let’s make a run for it while we still can!”
“But Doctor,” Donna called out. “They’re going to fire on us again!”
Just then, the Squadtrons fired an energy beam onto the Doctor. Just as the Doctor and Donna were about to run for it, the Doctor got caught in the energy beam. The Doctor struggled to break free. He was stuck to the spot. Donna saw this and was horrified.
“Doctor,” she cried. “What’s happening? What have they done to you?!”
The Doctor gritted through his teeth to speak. “They…” he managed to say at first. “They’ve caught me in a tractor beam of some sort. It’s pinned me to the floor. I can’t move my legs or my feet! I’m trapped!”
“Well,” Donna began, helplessly. “What can I do? How do I get you out of this?!”
“You can’t,” the Doctor replied. “Get out of here, Donna! Run for it! Head out of the exhibition like I said. Go now, Donna! Go!”
“I can’t leave you here,” Donna replied. “Not to those Squadtron things!”
“Go now, Donna!” the Doctor insisted. “Quickly! Before the Squadtrons get you too!”
Donna felt so helpless and indecisive. She didn’t know what to do. How was she going to get the Doctor out of this mess? She didn’t like leaving him on his own with those Squadtrons, who were coming steadily closer to them.
At that moment, something unexpected happened. The Squadtrons got fired upon from above. Some of the Squadtrons fell to the floor, attacked by this new firepower. Donna was gobsmacked. She wondered where that had come from. She then tuned back to look up as she saw three figures fly in. Donna recognised them at once.
It was the guy in the black knight suit with the shuttle on his back; the girl in the yellow knight suit with a spaceship on her back and the girl in the pink knight suit with skates on her boots. These were three of the Vexo Knights – Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril. Donna couldn’t believe it. Was what she was seeing real?! The three Vexo Knights fired onto the Squadtrons again. No, this was real alright. Donna still couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
Donna could hear the black knight with the shuttle on his back called Shuttlos call out, “Hey, you goons! Leave these people alone!”
“Come on, Glideril!” cried out Quasos, the yellow knight with the spaceship on her back. “Let’s sort out these nasty crooks once and for all! Are you with me?!”
“You got it,” Glideril, the glider girl with skates and in her pink knight armour replied.
Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril fired upon the Squadtrons again. The Squadtrons fell to the ground once fired by the three Vexo Knights.
Donna looked to the Doctor, still in his transfixed position via the tractor beam. “Donna?! Did you see what just happened? Three…”
“How can I have seen?” the Doctor asked, irritably. “I’m stuck to this spot, aren’t I?”
Just then, two more Vexo Knights appeared beside Donna. Donna turned to look at them. It was the red knight and the blue knight this time. Astros the leader, with his two metallic arms on his back and Rocketnia, the girl with a rocket pack on her back.
Astros offered a hand to Donna and said, “Come, lady! Come with us! You’ll be safe where we’re going. Rocketnia and I will take you out of harm’s way from these monsters!”
Donna looked back to the Doctor anxiously, “But what about my friend?! I can’t leave the Doctor!”
“Our friends will rescue him,” Rocketnia told Donna. “I promise you! They’ll set him free and they’ll take him back to rendezvous with us! Now come on,” Rocketnia said insistently. “You got to come with us now!”
“That’s right,” Astros said. “Come on, before it’s too late!”
“I’m not leaving him without him,” Donna protested.
“It’s alright, Donna,” the Doctor managed to say through gritted teeth. “It’s alright! Go with them! If they’re friendly, I’m sure they’ll keep their word and keep you safe! I’ll see you again later on, Donna!”
“Are you sure?” Donna asked, anxiously to him.
“I’ll be fine,” the Doctor told her. “Go now, Donna! Go with them!”
Rocketnia took Donna by the hand and seemed to try and reassure her. “Come on, miss!” she said. “We have to go now! Follow us!”
Donna still was reluctant to leave the Doctor behind. Eventually, and after much hesitation, she finally agreed. “Alright,” she said to the two Vexo Knights before her. “I’m coming now!”
Both Astros and Rocketnia held onto Donna from either side of her. “Hold on tight to us now! We’re taking off! Are you ready?”
Donna got confused. “What do you mean? I’m not…whoa!”
Donna didn’t have a chance to finish what she was saying. Within seconds, Donna was taken off up into the air by Astros and Rocketnia, via Rocketnia’s rocket packs blasting off and Astros using his arms to thrust them up into the air. Very soon, Astros and Rocketnia took Donna out of the main hall of ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’. Donna turned back to see the Doctor, who was still held in a tractor beam as they left the main hall.
Meanwhile, in the main hall, the Doctor saw Donna escaping with the two Vexo Knights, Astros and Rocketnia. Although puzzled by their presence, he was glad that Donna had been rescued. His next problem was to figure out how to free himself from being stuck on the spot by the Squadtron’s tractor beam.
Fortunately, the Doctor didn’t have to worry about that problem, as he found himself already free from the tractor beam. He stumbled forwards, losing his balance as he tried to regain it. Fortunately, two people on each side of him managed to grab hold of him and pull him back to stand upright. The Doctor turned to look and see who had caught him. It was the two Vexo Knight girls – the one in yellow and the other in pink named Quasos and Glideril.
“It’s alright, sir,” the yellow Vexo Knight, Quasos said. “We disabled the tractor beam for you. Shuttlos is fighting the Squadtrons off whilst we came to rescue you.”
“Are you feeling well, sir?” the pink Vexo Knight, Glideril asked.
“Yeah thanks,” the Doctor replied, feeling a bit groggy. He shrugged and jumped up and down to get some life back into his legs. Then he turned to Quasos and Glideril and grinned delightedly. “Thank you very much, ladies! You don’t know how one gets stuck to the spot for a pretty lengthy time. I felt like Stick Man from the sticky world of Stickety-Stick-Stickmus!”
“My name’s Quasos,” the yellow knight told the Doctor. “And this is Glideril!”
“Oh I know who you are,” the Doctor replied. “You lot are the famous Vexo Knights!”
“Yeah, that’s us!” Glideril declared proudly. “And it looks like we got here just in time!”
“Very famous in fact,” the Doctor went on, “that you lot shouldn’t really exist. You’re fictional characters in a TV show. You’re not supposed to be here!”
“Yes,” Quasos then concurred. “There is a good reason and explanation for that.”
The Doctor became puzzled. It must have shown on his face. “You what?” he asked.
“Long story,” Glideril said. “We shouldn’t talk about it here. We should get undercover!”
At that moment, Shuttlos flew in and landed on the ground for the Doctor, Quasos and Glideril to see. Shuttlos turned to them.
“Haven’t you two got that man out of harm’s way?” he asked, annoyed.
“We were just about to take him with us,” Quasos told Shuttlos.
“Well quick then,” Shuttlos said impatiently. “We haven’t got all day! Those Sqaudtrons will be coming back right after us!”
“Hello, I’m the Doctor,” the Doctor said cheerfully to Shuttlos. “You must be Shuttlos the Black Vexo Knight! And these two are…” He was about to say that the two Vexo Knights on each side of him were Quasos the Yellow Vexo Knight and Glideril the Pink Vexo Knight.
But Shuttlos interrupted him, “There’s no time for introductions!” he said impatiently. “We must get out of here!” Shuttlos then turned to Quasos and Glideril. “You two girls! Take him with us! Hold his arms as we take off!”
Shuttlos then turned round and took off to the air, with his shuttle rockets blasting off. The Doctor looked up to see Shuttlos go and called to him.
“Excuse me, I’m sorry,” the Doctor began, confused. “But what exactly do you mean take off…WHOA!!!!”
The Doctor hadn’t time to finish what he said. As soon as he spoke, he found himself hauled up into the air by Quasos and Glideril, who held onto each of his arms to take him up as they flew off. They followed after Shuttlos, who was a good deal miles ahead of them in flight.
“Oy!” the Doctor cried, protesting. “You two could have warned me we were about to take off!”
But Quasos and Glideril ignored him as they flew off upwards and forwards, taking the Doctor with them. The Squadtrons on the ground fired upon the escaping Vexo Knights with Doctor in tow with their laser rifles. Fortunately, Shuttlos, Quasos and Gilderil with the Doctor were out of firing range for the Squadtron’s weapons. The Sqaudtrons watched as they saw Quasos and Glideril taking the Doctor with them, following after Shuttlos, as they headed out of the main hall of ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ building.
Donna meanwhile was back in the exhibition place with Astros and Rocketnia. They touched down on the ground as soon as they entered the exhibition. Donna had never experienced such a gentle landing. She found herself escorted by Astros and Rocketnia, as they went further into the exhibition where the costume displays from the TV show were.
They eventually arrived and Donna saw to her surprise that the costumes were gone. All of them! These included the Vexo Knights’ costumes, the Squadtrons’ and the villainous Condgorl’s. Donna wondered for a moment where the costume had gone to. But should she have wondered about that anyway? She knew where they are alright. She turned to look at Astros and Rocketnia who eyed curiously whilst they were in the exhibition.
“Are you well, dear madam?” Astros asked courteously.
“Sorry about our fast speeds in flight,” Rocketnia said to Donna. “Astros can especially go fast on his two metallic arms when on the move and it’s hard for me to catch up to him.”
“I don’t go that fast on the move with my two metal arms, Rocketnia dear,” Astros objected.
“Yes you do,” Rocketnia retorted.
“Well you need to keep the fuel reserves in your rocket packs maintained then,” Astros declared. “You go at fast speeds yourself! I’ve never seen the like!”
“I do not go fast with my rockets,” Rocketnia objected.
“Yes you do,” Astros retorted.
“Alright, alright,” Donna interrupted them, annoyed. “Stop arguing, you two! You’re giving me a headache!”
Astros and Rocketnia realised they’d been arguing and became quiet at Donna’s request. Relieved, Donna took a deep breath to regain her composure.
Then Donna asked questions “Right then,” she said, “Question time! Who exactly are you two weirdoes in shining armour?”
“We’re the ones who saved your life,” Rocketnia replied.
“Yes, thank you,” Donna replied, curtly. “Don’t think I’m ungrateful! But that still doesn’t answer my question! You lot came flying in out of nowhere! Both you (she indicated Rocketnia) on your rockets and you (she indicated Astros) on your Doc Ock arms!”
“We’re the Vexo Knights,” Astros told her. Then he went on to introduce himself. “I’m Astros, the leader of the Vexo Knights.” Then he introduced Rocketnia with a happy expression on his face. “And this is the lovely Rocketnia, the love of my life!”
“Alright, Astros,” Rocketnia said ruefully. “You needn’t get over-romantic with me. I love you too, you know.”
Donna became sceptical with these two…what she seemed to think were cosplayers at the time. “Are you seriously trying to tell me that you two…are the Vexo Knights?! The genuine article, you might say!”
“That’s right,” Astros replied happily. “Both Rocketnia and me as well as Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril who aren’t here with us as you can see!”
“Probably still trying to rescue your friend in the pinstripe suit from those Squadtrons when we left the main hall just now,” Rocketnia added.
Donna shook her head, disbelievingly. “Come off it,” she said. “Get real! You two can’t be the genuine article! You can’t be the Vexo Knights! Not really!”
Astros and Rocketnia looked at each other with blank, puzzled expressions before turning back to Donna.
“No really,” Rocketnia insisted. “We are truly the Vexo Knights, as you can see!”
Donna thought she was in some mad house. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing or hearing. “But it’s impossible!” Donna insisted vibrantly. “The Vexo Knights are superheroes in a TV series! This planet’s TV series! You can’t exist if you’re from a TV series! You’re fictional characters! Not real!”
“That’s what we wanted the people of Lo-Go-Pop to think,” Astros informed Donna. “To keep them safe!”
“You what?” Donna asked, now more baffled than ever.
“Having our fights with Condgorl and the Squadtrons televised as an action-packed TV show was the only way to stabilise the planet’s condition on Lo-Go-Pop,” Rocketnia added to inform Donna.
“But there’s enough time to explain all that later,” Astros interjected. “Right now we got to move! We took these costumes just in time before the next televised recording took place!”
“Condgorl also seems to be quick on the mark with taking her costume, Astros,” Rocketnia said to Astros.
“Yes that is going to be difficult, isn’t it?” Astros replied. “Condgorl is obviously trying to disrupt the stability and equilibrium of the Lo-Go-Pop people’s enjoyment of our battles with the forces of evil by blending reality into fiction.”
“Which cannot be a good thing,” Rocketnia suggested.
“No, it cannot indeed,” Astros agreed. “Indeed it cannot!”
“Wait just a second,” Donna interrupted. “Are you two seriously saying that all your television episodes have been real battles with this…Condgorl and her lot…and the people of Lo-Go-Pop don’t realise that!”
“That’s right,” Rocketnia replied before turning to Astros. “She’s picking things up fast isn’t she, Astros?”
“Indeed she is,” Astros agreed. “Considering she and her friend are aliens!”
“Now wait just a minute,” Donna began to protest.
But Donna didn’t have more time to protest. The sound of footsteps echoed from the corridor where Astros, Rocketnia and Donna came out of in the exhibition. This set Astros and Rocketnia on edge.
“Astros,” Rocketnia said anxiously. “Those footsteps belong to Squadtrons! They found us!”
“We have to divert them off our trail,” Astros decided immediately. “Just for a few moments, that is.” Astros then turned to Donna. “Lady, you must come with us!”
“The name’s Donna,” Donna told him curtly. “Donna Noble!”
“You must come with us, Donna Noble!” Astros repeated insistently. “Come on, let’s go!”
“Where are we going?” Donna wanted to know.
“To the rollercoaster ride,” Astros replied. “We can distract and knock out the Squadtrons at the same time whilst we’re there.”
“Do you think that’s wise, Astros dear?” Rocketnia asked.
“We haven’t got time to debate this, Rocketnia my love!” Astros told her. He turned back to Donna again, “Come on, Miss Donna! Follow us now!”
Donna, without an argument, followed Astros and Rocketnia as they headed off out of the exhibition to where the rollercoaster ride was. Donna couldn’t help notice how strong Astros was in his Vexo Knight armour. She wanted to see how handsome he was underneath that Vexo Knight helmet he was wearing.
The Doctor with Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril had now entered an out-of-bounds area of ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’. The Doctor guessed that this would be an area where the tourists would not be allowed access to during the Experience’s opening hours. On the way, Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril had told the Doctor about their existence and how their real battles with the evil forces had been televised. They were no longer flying in the air. They were now walking on foot whilst in the out-of-bounds area.
“So,” the Doctor began to question his rescuers. “Your TV show was really history, not fiction. Interesting, if not unusual.”
“We had to do it that way, Doctor,” Shuttlos told him, “in order to give our people hope! Hope that we were protecting them from Condgorl and the Squadtrons!”
“And it’s worked for many years,” Quasos added. “We’ve given people so much hope to hang onto. Whilst Condgorl and her forces attack, we’re always there to save the day!”
“Yeah but it’s bound to go wrong, isn’t it?” the Doctor questioned them. “You can’t win every battle you fight against. There’s bound to be some limits to your victories.”
“Oh we know that,” Glideril replied. “We’re not immortal, you know.”
“Really?” the Doctor queried.
“No,” Glideril went on. “We have notifications from our executive producer of the TV show to let us know when we need to be defeated by Condgorl and when we need to triumph over her.”
“Your executive producer decides when you win and when you lose,” the Doctor surmised, rather sceptically. “How does that work?”
“We don’t rightly know, you see,” Quasos answered him.
“Don’t rightly know?!” the Doctor exclaimed, bemused.
“The answer lies in the vault beneath ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’,” Quasos told the Doctor. “We came here to find out the answer as to what’s going on.”
“We haven’t got time for all this chit-chat,” Shuttlos said impatiently. “Come on, everyone! Let’s get onto reaching the vault as soon as we can!”
“No wait,” the Doctor interrupted. “First we must find Donna and your other two Vexo Knights with her. Astros and Rocketnia, wasn’t it?”
“They’ll meet us on the way to the vault, Doctor,” Shuttlos replied. “Come on! We must get down to where the vault is before Condgorl and her Squadtrons catch up with us!”
“What is this vault you keep talking about?” the Doctor asked. “I never heard of any vault before.”
“Trust us, it’s down there alright,” Quasos insisted. “It’s just taken us this long to uncover the mystery and learn of its existence.”
“Like you said, Shuttlos,” Glideril butted in. “We must get down there while we still got a chance!”
“I’m pleased you agree with me, Glideril,” Shuttlos replied. “Let’s get down there before…”
Suddenly, a blast of fire erupted before the Doctor, Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril. They backed away off-balance once the explosion had occurred. The Doctor wondered where it came from and who had set it off. It must have been someone who had been following them ever since they left the main hall in the Experience.
Then the Doctor realised and understood where the explosion came from and who caused it. The Doctor and the three Vexo Knights saw they had company. There was a group of Squadtrons before them, led by a beautiful woman in green armour. Her helmet was that of a ferocious bird and she had blonde hair underneath. Her eyes glowed green as she glared at the Doctor and the Vexo Knights in a cold, vicious manner.
The woman stepped forward, glowering menacingly at the Doctor and company before her. “Well, well, well,” she said. “If it isn’t Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril of the Vexo Knights team! And I see you have a friend with you!”
“Oh no,” Glideril said despairingly. “I hoped we would avoid her!”
The Doctor interjected at this point. “I take you two aren’t the best of friends then,” he said.
The woman in the green bird-like costume looked to the Doctor and glared at him unappreciatively. She then smiled a rather evil smile. “I’m Condgorl,” she introduced herself to the Doctor.
“Yes,” the Doctor replied. “I gathered you were her all along. The enemy of the Vexo Knights no doubt!”
“I’ve come to destroy you all, Vexo Knights,” Condgorl said coldly. “And if that includes friends of the Vexo Knights as well, then so be it!”
“Leave our friend the Doctor out of this,” Shuttlos demanded. “He has nothing to do with what’s going on here. Both he and his friend are innocent!”
“Oh,” Condgorl then said, intrigued. “So there are two friends of yours, are there? Well…that makes it even better. It’ll give me great pleasure in destroying them both as well as you five Vexo Knights who oppose me and my forces!”
“You’re very cruel, aren’t you?” Quasos said abjectly. “Very evil!”
“That’s rather the whole point, isn’t it?” Condgorl said bitterly. She then turned to her Squadtrons, who carried laser rifles in their hands. “Squadtrons! Get these four! Now!”
“Don’t you think you’re being a little melodramatic here?” the Doctor interceded.
But the Doctor’s question was unanswered, as both he and the Vexo Knights were fired upon by the Squadtrons. The Squadtrons opened fire with their laser rifles, and the Doctor and his friends were falling onto the ground after being attacked by the fire blast. The last thing that the Doctor thought of as he fell to the ground was wondering about Donna. He wondered if she was safe. He hoped that Donna was safe wherever she was.
Donna meanwhile was with Astros and Rocketnia and they were back at where the rollercoaster ride was in the Experience. They were still being chased by a group of Squadtrons and there was no other choice but to get onto the rollercoaster ride itself. Donna wished she hadn’t had those alien chicken sandwiches she had for lunch earlier.
“Come on, you two,” Astros said urgently. “Onto the rollercoaster ride before those Squadtrons catch us!”
“What good would getting onto the rollercoaster ride do?” Donna asked anxiously.
“Don’t worry about a thing! I have an idea!” Astros replied reassuringly.
“Oh really?” said Donna shrewdly. “Well would it hurt you to give us the load-down on what that idea is?”
“Trust us,” Rocketnia said to Donna. “It’s a brilliant idea!” Then she turned to Astros. “Will the holographic displays be functioning whilst we’re in our rollercoaster carriage and the Squadtrons chasing us in theirs?”
“It should do,” said Astros. “Come on! Let’s get in!”
The three of them got into their rollercoaster carriage and pretty soon they were off on the rails. Donna could feel the speed picking up whilst they were in their rollercoaster carriage, as it charged forward and began to rise with the rail track going up.
“They didn’t even let us check for our seatbelts being on,” Donna protested. “Or that the hand-bars were down already!”
“Hold on tight, Donna,” Rocketnia told her. “Keep your hand-bars down and hold on tight whilst we’re on the go!”
“You don’t have to tell me to hold on tight twice!” Donna replied.
Eventually, Donna had the hand-bars down placed over her lap just as Astros and Rocketnia did the same. They found themselves with going-up before they reached the top of the rail track they were on.
Just then, they heard another rollercoaster carriage chasing after them. They looked back to see the Squadtrons on their tail in the rollercoaster carriage of their own.
“Squadtrons,” Rocketnia warned Astros. “They’re onto us!”
“Hopefully once we’ve done the first drop of the rollercoaster,” Astros replied, “the holographic displays should be working!”
“Speaking off ‘first drop’…” Donna then said, wearingly.
At that moment, they were at the top of the rail track. Donna could see they were a few yards away from the summit of the first drop of the rollercoaster ride.
“Hold on!” Astros cried.
Very soon, Astros, Rocketnia and Donna in the rollercoaster carriage found themselves falling down on the first drop of the rail track. The three screamed as they plunged downwards before coming back up again. They held on for dear life as the rollercoaster carriage pelted onwards at an increasing speed.
Rocketnia then looked around them whilst they were speeding up on the rail track. She then turned to Astros.
“Astros,” she cried.
“What is it, Rocketnia?” he replied.
“The holographic displays aren’t working!” she told him. “They haven’t switched on!”
“Well they should have by now,” Astros said. “The holograms need to come on in order to distract the Squadtrons from chasing us!”
“But they haven’t,” Rocketnia said. “And the Squadtrons are still right on our tail.”
Donna looked back to see the Squadtrons charging down on their rollercoaster carriage as they went through the first drop of the ride. Unlike her, Astros and Rocketnia, the Squadtrons didn’t scream out so loud.
“So all this has been for nothing,” Donna retorted. “All our coming on this rollercoaster ride to distract those Squadtron things has been a waste?! You dim-wits!”
“Patience, everyone,” Astros said calmly. “Patience, please! The hologram displays will come on very soon!”
Donna and Rocketnia remained sceptical at that.
Then…all of a sudden…they saw holographic displays of various Vexo Knights characters appear before them. These included the five Vexo Knights themselves as well as the Squadtrons and Condgorl their leader. Donna watched as she saw the Vexo Knights jumping about and fighting with Squadtrons whilst she, the real Astros and the real Rocketnia were riding about in their rollercoaster carriage.
Astros eyed the holographic version of himself rather suspiciously. “They haven’t done my chin right,” he protested. “Why do they always get my chin wrong? In comics, video games and theme park rides!”
“Never mind about that, Astros,” Rocketnia said, slightly impatiently. “Look behind us! Look at the Squadtrons chasing us, look!”
Donna, Rocketnia and Astros looked back to see the Sqaudtrons in the rollercoaster carriage behind them, fighting with the holographic versions of the Vexo Knight characters on the ride. Of course, Donna could see now why they came on the rollercoaster ride. The Squadtrons seemed to believe that the holographic Vexo Knights on the ride were the real thing. It was the distraction they needed.
Seeing the Squadtrons fighting holographic Vexo Knights was so hilarious to Donna. She saw the Squadtrons firing their laser weapons and slashing their swords at thin air. She also saw a number of the Squadtrons falling out of their rollercoaster carriage and onto the ground. Eventually, the Squadtrons were so distracted by the holographic Vexo Knights on the ride, that they paid no attention to the real Astros and Rockentia with their friend Donna.
“I always knew that the Squadtrons were stupid,” Astros declared proudly. “Pretty clever of me to use the holographic displays on the rollercoaster ride to distract the Squadtrons, isn’t it?”
“There’s no need to be a show off, Astros,” Rocketnia told him.
“Or to be so vain,” Donna added. “Well done all the same anyway, Astros!”
“Yes well done, Astros my dear,” Rocketnia then said.
“Thank you,” said Astros happily. “That’s all I wanted to hear from you two ladies. Just thanks.”
“Now,” Rocketnia then announced, “we need to get off their ride soon and get back to find our friends!”
“And find the Doctor as well,” Donna added. “We need to find him!”
“Yes!” Rocketnia agreed. “Hopefully Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril are looking after your Doctor friend very well.”
But Rocketnia, Astros and Donna would have to worry about reuniting with the Doctor, Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril later on. First they needed to get through the other drops and loops of the rollercoaster ride before they finished. Donna hoped they wouldn’t keep the Doctor waiting.
Back in the out-of-bounds area, the Doctor recovered as he, Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril got off the ground. The Doctor felt weak from the blast of fire power thrown upon them by the Squadtrons’ laser rifles. He and the others looked up to see themselves surrounded by Squadtrons in a circle. The Squadtrons held their laser rifles aiming at them.
As they recovered, they could hear Condgorl sneering and laughing mockingly at them. The Doctor, Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril were soon standing upright on their feet as they saw Condgorl standing behind the circle of Squadtrons, glowering at them and seemingly being proudly triumphant at capturing them.
“You cannot escape me,” Condgorl sneered. “All four of you! And there’s no way you’re going to escape me!”
“Astros and Rocketnia will come for us,” Quasos said defiantly.
“That’s right,” Glideril added. “They’ll be soon here to rescue us as we speak!”
“In your dreams, girls,” Condgorl laughed at them. “By the time they come here to find you, I’ll have destroyed you already!”
“You can’t murder us like that,” Shuttlos barked angrily. “It’s inhuman! You’re capable of being better than this Condgorl! Don’t give in to your evil ways!”
“Soon I shall conquer the entire planet of Lo-Go-Pop!” Condgorl said triumphantly. “And all those TV episodes of your exploits against me and your kind will be for nothing! You’ve lost, Vexo Knights! I don’t care whether you admit or not!”
“Excuse me a moment,” the Doctor then butted in. “But you should know that you’ve no idea who you’re messing with, green lady with such overtly evil plans!” The Doctor stressed on the last three words he said very specifically to Condgorl. He then went on, “I’m the Doctor! And if there’s one thing about me that I’m pretty confident about…is that I always find a way of escape! And I promise you, I’ll get me and these three new friends of mine out of the circle of Squadtrons of yours!”
“Try all you like,” Condgorl rebuked the Doctor bitterly. “I don’t know who or what you are, Doctor! And frankly I don’t care! But I will not allow you to escape so easily from me! Not even out of my sight!”
“Oh no?” the Doctor asked challengingly. “Even when I’ve got my own sonic…”
The Doctor was about to say ‘sonic screwdriver’ by that point. But as he fumbled into his trench coat pocket, he realised his sonic screwdriver was gone. He rechecked his coat pocket to make sure. No, it wasn’t there. Neither was it in his other coat pocket. The Doctor wondered if he had forgotten to take it out of the TARDIS.
It was then that Condgorl laughed out loud and the Doctor looked up to see her holding his sonic screwdriver in her right hand. She tossed the sonic screwdriver to and fro from her right hand to her left and back again.
“Looking for this weapon of yours…Mr. Doctor?” Condgorl asked coolly and gloatingly.
“Ah,” the Doctor realised at last. “Yes! You searched me for any weapons whilst I was unconscious.”
“And so have you done to us with searching me, Quasos and Glideril for weapons,” Shuttlos then realised.
The Vexo Knights checked their sides for weapons, but realised that they’d been taken whilst they were unconscious too. They saw a few of the Squadtrons holding their weapons in their hands.
Condgorl laughed again, whilst she held the sonic screwdriver in her hand. “Very soon,” she said, “I shall capture all five of you Vexo Knights…and your friends and colleagues whoever they are. You shall all be sent into oblivion…and this never-ending battle between our forces will cease!”
“Not if we have anything to say about it, Miss Trunchbull!” said a very familiar Chiswick-accent voice that the Doctor knew so well and was very pleased to hear.
“Donna!” he cried, cheerfully and delightedly.
Condgorl turned round and so did her Squadtrons to see Donna Noble standing there before them. Donna had her fierce look on her face, especially when she meant business. Condgorl glanced at her dismissively as she made a step towards her.
“And who do you think you are?” said Condgorl to Donna ruefully, “Small and insignificant tourist!”
“Didn’t you hear what I said?” Donna said fiercely. “I said ’not if ‘we’ have anything to say about it!”
The look of confusion on Condgorl’s face gave Donna the advantage. Donna turned round back to her and shouted to the top of her voice. “Now Astros; Rocketnia! Do it now!”
At that moment, Astros and Rocketnia flew in. Astros crawling on his metallic arms and Rocketnia flying with her rockets on her back charged in and attacked the Squadtrons with their weapons. The Squadtrons were caught off guard and got hit by the two Vexo Knights’ firepower. Some of the Squadtrons fell to the ground, whilst the others tried to fire back with their laser weapons. But Astros and Rocketnia were even too quick for them.
Condgorl barked at the Squadtrons angrily. “Stop dithering, you worms! Don’t just stand there! Fight back! Don’t let them have a chance to rescue their comrades!”
“Excuse me,” said a voice behind her.
Condgorl turned round to see Donna, before she was given a punch in the face by her. Condgorl fell to the ground unconscious, whilst Donna took the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver from her hands. She made her way over to the Doctor with Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril. But there were still Squadtron soldiers surrounding them.
“Donna,” the Doctor cried. “Use the sonic screwdriver on them! Press the button and aim directly at them!”
“But Doctor,” Donna protested.
“Just do it!” the Doctor said impatiently.
With that, Donna aimed the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver onto the Squadtrons before they came advancing towards her. She pressed the button down and the sonic screwdriver buzzed away nosily. At that moment, the Squadtrons advancing on Donna backed away. They held their hands to where their ears were underneath their helmets, as they reacted to the sonic screwdriver’s noise as if they were in pain. This allowed the circle to be broken and for the Doctor, Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril to get out.
“Come on then, Doctor,” Donna cried to him. “Get yourself and the others out of there now!”
Without any hesitation, the Doctor, Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril ran for it and they made their way out the Squadtron circle, with the Squadtrons reacting in pain to the sonic screwdriver’s noise. Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril took the opportunity to pick up their weapons from the Squadtrons who had them and were now on their knees, reacting in pain.
The Doctor meanwhile took his sonic screwdriver from Donna and switched it off. The Squadtrons that reacted in pain fell to the floor unconscious.
“Can I just say,” the Doctor began saying to Donna, “that I thoroughly disapprove of you punching Condgorl in the face?!”
“Well there’s gratitude for you,” Donna replied, annoyed. “I risked my life to come and save you and you criticise me for punching the enemy…”
“We’ll have time to argue about this later,” the Doctor interrupted her sharply. “Come on! We have to get out of here now before the Squadtrons and Condgorl wake up!”
“There’s Astros and Rocketnia over there,” Quasos cried. “Waiting for us! They just finished off the Squadtrons they were fighting!”
“We can go over there and join them as we escape!” Glideril added.
“Come on then, everyone,” Shuttlos said loudly. “Let’s make our escape while we can! Come on!”
With that, the four Vexo Knights with the Doctor and Donna made their way over to Astros and Rocketnia, as they finished off the last remaining Squadtrons they fought.
“Donna’s got them, Astros,” Rocketnia said, relieved. “At last! Now we can make our way to the vault down below!”
“Indeed,” Astros replied. Then he turned to the others. “Hello, everyone!” he said. “We’ll have time for reunions later on. Let’s get out of this area we’re in and make for the underground. Come on! The Doctor and Donna will need carrying. You Shuttlos carry the Doctor, whilst I carry Donna!”
“Me being carried by a hunky chunky,” Donna declared happily. “Now that’s made my day!”
“Donna!” the Doctor said sharply to her.
Very soon, the Doctor and Donna found themselves picked up in the air by Shuttlos and Astros subsequently. The Vexo Knights with the Doctor and Donna flew off into the air, as they made their escape out of the out-of-bounds area.
Eventually, they found themselves back in the main hall area. The Doctor and Donna with the five Vexo Knights eventually landed on the ground. Astros let go of Donna and Shuttlos let go of the Doctor. They hid behind a cardboard stand-up of the Vexo Knights in the Experience arena before they sat down to recover as they panted for breath after running so much.
“Donna,” the Doctor began to say. “I’m so glad that you’re alright!”
“Oh great,” Donna replied. ”So now you’re thanking me for saving your life, are you?”
Whilst the Doctor and Donna were reuniting, Astros and Rocketnia went over to reunite with Shuttlos, Quasos and Glideril.
“I’m so pleased you; Quasos and Glideril managed to survive, Shuttlos,” Astros said delightedly. “Rocketnia and I have been worried about you.”
“There’s not much time left,” Shuttlos said to Astros. “We need to get down to the vault below as quickly as we can.”
“Yes,” Astros agreed. “Even though we don’t know what we’ll find down there in the vault. Whether it will be terrifying or not.”
“That’s a chance we’ve got to take, Astros,” Rocketnia told him, “For the sake of saving everyone on Lo-Go-Pop.”
“Yes,” Astros eventually replied. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.”
Donna looked curiously at the Doctor. “What’s this vault they’re going on about, Doctor?” she asked him.
The Doctor spoke in a low voice to reply to Donna’s question. “The vault is where the answer lies,” he told her. “On why the Vexo Knights happen to be real and why they have their battles with Condgorl and her kind televised as an action adventure TV series.”
This was the first time that Donna heard about this fact. “Seriously?!” she said. “Life-action battles televised as a TV show?”
“Seems so,” the Doctor replied.
“Okay,” Donna acknowledged. “I’ll buy it for now. It can’t get more weird than this.”
“I’m sure it’s bound to get weirder and weirder later on,” the Doctor commented.
“But what could be inside a vault to keep the Vexo Knights’ TV show going,” Donna then asked, “with real-life battles against a mad woman and her robotic cronies?”
“Well,” the Doctor replied, “I suppose we better join the Vexo Knights and find out.”
The Doctor then went over to the Vexo Knights to address them. “Vexo Knights,” he began. “My friend Donna and I would like to help you out and accompany you to the vault.”
Astros then stepped forward to address the Doctor. “Thank you for your kind offer, Doctor,” he replied. “But my friends and I will take it from here.”
“Hey, Bruce Willis,” Donna retorted. “You and your friends are going to need all the help you can get!”
“And I don’t suppose,” added the Doctor, “that you have a sonic key to open the vault do you?”
The Vexo Knights looked puzzled and thought for a moment.
Glideril then spoke, “No,” she began. “I don’t think we have.”
“We don’t know what to expect when we head off down there,” Quasos added.
The Doctor then took out and showed his sonic screwdriver to the Vexo Knights before them. “Then it’s a good thing for you to have me to help you out,” he said. “This sonic screwdriver can act as a sonic key in case you wish to open the vault door via that method.”
Astros seemed to hesitate for a moment. It was Rocketnia who managed to interrupt his hesitation.
“Astros,” she said. “We haven’t much time. We might as well let the Doctor and Donna accompany us! They’ve been very helpful to us before.”
Astros eventually came to a decision. “Very well,” he said. “But we must all stick together! All seven of us!”
“Of course,” the Doctor agreed.
“Couldn’t agree more,” Donna added ruefully.
Meanwhile Glideril was looking out from the Vexo Knights stand-up they were hiding behind. There was something that shocked her.
“Astro?” she began wearingly, “Everyone? Something’s happening outside! The Squadtrons have taken the tourists captive!”
“What?!” Astros said shocked.
Everyone including the Vexo Knights, Donna and the Doctor looked up behind the Vexo Knights to see what was happening outside of ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ building. They could see that the Squadtrons were enslaving the tourists – the ones who were in the Experience earlier today. The tourists looked very unhappy as they were being pushed around and ill-treated by the Squadtrons enslaving them.
Donna looked appealingly to the Doctor. “Is there anything we can do to help those people?” she asked him. “Those Squadtron things are being really mean to those people! And they were just coming here to have a good time! To enjoy the experience of their favourite superhero TV series!”
“There’s nothing we can do for them at the moment, Donna,” the Doctor told her.
“How can you say that…?” Donna began to protest.
The Doctor cut her off. “The only thing to do now is to find out what the answer is for these Vexo Knights in the vault. Once we found out the answer, we may be able to understand how the Vexo Knights come to be so real and to be able to save the people of this planet later.”
Donna thought about this for a moment. “Yeah,” she began. “I suppose there is a good point in that.”
The Doctor then turned to the Vexo Knights, addressing Astros first. “I suppose the seven of us must make our way to the vault don’t you think, Astros?”
“Yes indeed,” Astros replied. “And as quickly as possible.”
“I suppose you lot know how to get down to the vault then,” Donna assumed assuredly.
“Shuttlos knows the way,” Rocketnia replied. “He’s been down there before!”
Shuttlos took his cue from there as he began to take the lead. “Come on, everyone!” he said. “Follow me!”
With that, they cautiously and quietly followed Shuttlos, as they began to make their way to the vault underneath ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’. Fortunately, they were seen undetected by the Squadtrons manhandling the scared tourists outside the Experience.
A while later, the Doctor and Donna with the Vexo Knights found themselves underneath ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ itself. They came across a massive metallic circular door before them. It reminded Donna of the big bank vault doors they had in American gangster movies she’d seen when they were robbing banks from Chicago in the 1920s and stuff 1930s. This was obviously the big door leading into the vault that the Vexo Knights were talking about. Donna wondered what was behind the vault. Not money, obviously.
“So,” the Doctor then said after a long silence. “How do we get inside this vault? Sonic key, is it?”
“Glideril,” Astros instructed. “Check it out!”
With that, Glideril made her way over…or glided as Donna saw her on glider skates…to the security padlock on the right of the vault door. Glideril pressed a few keys on the security padlock keypad to ascertain the method required to open the vault door. A few minutes’ passed. Somehow to Donna, it felt like no time at all.
Eventually, Glideril turned back to the others and addressed the Doctor. “It seems you got it right, Doctor. A sonic encryption key is required to open this vault door!”
“I thought as much,” the Doctor declared, pleased with himself. “Stand back, everyone! Man with a sonic screwdriver coming through!”
“No need to be a show off, Doctor,” Donna told him.
“And I’ve got my plucky friend to help me out,” the Doctor added.
“Call me your plucky friend again,” Donna went on, “and I’ll give you one in the face!”
“I know,” the Doctor said cheekily with a grin.
“Oy!” Donna retorted. “No need to be a cheeky clever dick with me, space man!”
The Doctor and Donna eventually got to the security padlock on the right of the vault door with the five Vexo Knights watching them. The Doctor applied his sonic screwdriver to the security padlock and switched it on as it buzzed away. The buzzing from the sonic screwdriver didn’t immediately open the vault door as the Vexo Knights expected. It took a little while. A few of the Vexo Knights got impatient.
“How long will it take for the vault door to open then, Doctor?” Rocketnia asked.
“This is a vault door we’re dealing with here,” the Doctor answered in reply. “There may be a trillion number of combinations to unlock before we get the vault door open.”
Shuttlos shrugged impatiently, “Just get on with it then, will you?! We haven’t got all day! The Squadtrons will be here any minute!”
“Oy, shuttle boy!” Donna retorted. “Give the Doctor some space, will you? He’s doing his best!”
“Donna,” the Doctor said wearily. Then he addressed the Vexo Knights, “Please be patient with me, Vexo Knights. This will take a little time.”
At that moment, a group of Squadtrons suddenly appeared. They ran down the corridor to where the Vexo Knights, the Doctor and Donna were at the vault door. The Vexo Knights turned to face them.
“Time is what we don’t have, Doctor,” Astros announced anxiously.
“The Squadtrons are approaching,” said Quasos.
“Let’s get them!” suggested Glideril.
“But we need to get inside the vault,” Shuttlos said wearily.
“You lot go and keep those Squadtrons occupied,” said Donna sharply. “The Doctor will open this vault for you! Just sort them out!”
“Donna’s right,” Rocketnia said. “We need to give the Doctor time to open the vault door.”
“Right,” said Astros. “Come on, Vexo Knights! Let’s get them!”
With that, the Vexo Knights charged forward and fought against the Squadtrons coming onto them. Donna watched as the Vexo Knights fought valiantly against the Squadtrons. She saw how they used both methods of hand-to-hand combat and firing their laser weapons at them. Astros had the advantage as he struck the Squadtrons with his two metallic arms as well as his own hand-to-hand combat. The other Vexo Knights, Shuttlos; Rocketnia and Quasos flew into the air as they fired their laser weapons at them, whilst Glideril glided in the air on her glider skates, firing her laser weapon on the Squadtrons.
Meanwhile, the Doctor managed to get the vault door open. The locking mechanisms for the vault door unlocked pretty quickly and Donna saw the door opening slowly, whilst the Vexo Knights had the Squadtrons distracted.
“You did it, Doctor!” Donna cheered delightedly. “You actually did it! You opened the vault door at last!”
Once the vault door was fully open, the Doctor took Donna by the hand. “Come on, Doctor! Let’s go in,” he said.
Donna shook the Doctor’s hand off from her. “But aren’t we going to wait for the Vexo Knights to come in with us?” she asked. “Shouldn’t we let them know we’ve opened the vault door?”
“I’m guessing that what’s inside the vault is not for the Vexo Knights’ eyes to see,” the Doctor replied. “Not for their ears to hear!”
“What are you going on about, Doctor?” Donna asked, confused.
“I’ll explain once we’re inside,” the Doctor replied.
“But Doctor,” Donna began to protest.
“There’s no time for arguing,” the Doctor insisted. “Come on, Donna! In here with me now!”
Donna couldn’t continue her protests further, as she found herself pulled through the vault door by the Doctor.
The Vexo Knights meanwhile continued fighting with the Squadtrons outside. Glideril turned to see the Doctor and Donna going into the vault.
“Hey guys,” Glideril shouted to the others. “The Doctor and Donna have opened the vault door! They got in!”
“Excellent,” Astros said. “Let’s get in there and join them before…”
But to their surprise, the Doctor used the sonic screwdriver on the padlock door on the inside. The vault door began to close shut again.
“He’s reversing the lock mechanisms,” Shuttlos shouted angrily. “The Doctor and Donna are locking us out of the vault!”
“What?!” Astros said disbelievingly. He called out, “Doctor; Donna! Please don’t…”
But it was too late. The Vexo Knights watched as they saw vault doors closing, with the Doctor and Donna inside. They were gobsmacked and horrified by what just occurred.
“They locked us out!” Quasos realised. “Out of the vault! Why have they done that?!”
“They can’t leave us out here,” Rocketnia cried out loud. “Not with these Squadtrons!”
“Defend yourselves, Vexo Knights,” Astros declared urgently. “Defend yourself to the last! The Squadtrons are coming back.
With that, the Vexo Knights kept on fighting against the Squadtrons. There seemed to be more of them now, and the Vexo Knights were struggling to keep Squadtrons at bay whilst fighting outside the vault door.
Inside the vault, the Doctor made sure the vault door was securely locked as he used his sonic screwdriver. He eventually switched off the sonic screwdriver and it stopped buzzing. The Doctor put the sonic screwdriver back into his pocket.
Donna looked at the Doctor accusingly. “You can’t just leave them out there,” she told him.
The Doctor looked at Donna reassuringly. “Everything will be alright, Donna,” he told her. “I promise!”
“How can you be so sure of that?” Donna asked him.
“Come on,” the Doctor urged her. “Let’s investigate and what was behind this vault all along!”
The Doctor and Donna didn’t need to look any further. They could see what was before them, shining brightly before their eyes. It was a circle of bright white energy. It spiralled round and round as if it was speeding in an endless loop. The Doctor bent down to examine the circle of white energy more closely as it spun around.
“What is that then?” Donna asked.
But the Doctor was awed and fascinated by what he saw. “Oh,” he began saying. “That’s just beautiful! That’s just…really beautiful. Gorgeous in fact! Gorgeous!”
“Oi Doctor, come on!” Donna prompted him. “Snap out of your space mad fascination! What is this all about then? What is this…circle of light swirling around in front of us for?”
The Doctor stood upright and looked at Donna directly. “Donna,” he said. “That circle of light you see before you is a holographic algorithm loop.”
“A what?” Donna asked, puzzled.
The Doctor began to explain. “You know like when you watch DVDs, you sometimes have your favourite film in a loop so that you can watch it again and again. That is until you switch off the A and B for the loop on your remote control for the DVD.”
“Yes,” Donna replied abjectly, still not getting it.
“Well,” the Doctor continued. “Imagine your favourite movies happening in 3-D. As in holographic simulations shown in ‘Star Trek’?”
“I don’t remember seeing that in ‘Star Trek’,” Donna retorted.
“In ‘The Next Generation’ series,” the Doctor clarified. “Didn’t you watch that, Donna?”
“Patrick Stewart’s not as sexy as William Shatner, Doctor,” Donna told him.
“So you say,” the Doctor replied before he went on. “Well the thing is,” he said, “this holographic algorithm loop is what’s causing the Vexo Knights; Condgorl and the Squadtrons to keep on fighting each other. Their TV show keeps going on in an endless loop and sometimes repeats itself with changes to old stories to make them new ones. It’s the reason why their TV series has been popular with fans on Lo-Go-Pop and why it’s never gone out of fashion!”
“But hang on,” Donna interrupted him. “If what you’re saying is true, then why are the Vexo Knights and their enemies caught up in this holographic loop. Surely they’re real people?”
“Ah, but that’s the thing you see,” the Doctor told her. “They’re not real people, Donna! They’re holograms!”
“What?” Donna said, astounded and gobsmacked.
“They just think they’re real people,” the Doctor went on. “The Vexo Knights; Condgorl and the Squadtrons. They’ve been programmed to think that they’re real. Well, they wouldn’t think of themselves as holograms, otherwise it would spoil the illusion for the viewers of their TV show when they fight their battles, wouldn’t it?”
“But they would need to generate a lot of power for these…holographic Vexo Knights and their enemies to exist!” Donna remarked. “They can’t keep fighting in their TV series and not run out of power all the time” Donna then thought about this for a moment. “Can they?” she asked the Doctor.
“It depends on how you look at it, Donna” the Doctor pointed out. “The Vexo Knights’ programmers and engineers could have been given plenty of money by the TV executives of the series in order to see to it that they’re not low on resources. Perhaps they’re given the money year after year. There’s no telling.”
“Okay, okay,” Donna remarked. “I’ll buy this for now. But the thing is…where would they film all their episodes of the ‘Vexo Knights’ TV series? It wouldn’t be at a standard TV studio.”
The Doctor thought about this for a moment. “Perhaps…” he began.
A moment of silence ensued.
“Perhaps what, Doctor?” Donna asked.
The Doctor thought about this for a little while longer before she spoke again. “Perhaps everything gets filmed for their TV adventures underneath this ‘Vexo Knights Experience’,” he said. “Perhaps they have many holographic rooms to film the episodes. This holographic algorithm loop confirms it as it keeps repeating and changing the stories as they come.”
“How do you know these things, Doctor?” Donna asked sceptically. “How can you be sure there are holographic rooms underneath ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’?”
“Look around you, Donna,” the Doctor encouraged her. “See any two things that are striking about this place?”
Donna looked about her in the room to see if there’s anything ‘striking’.
Then it dawned on Donna. “Wait a minute,” she said. “There are holographic grids about this room. Perhaps there are holographic grids about in other rooms underneath ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ like you said.”
“And?” the Doctor encouraged Donna. “What else is there?”
Donna had another look about the room again. She couldn’t quite see what the Doctor was trying to get at. Then after a few moments, Donna saw what was lying on the floor beside them. Or rather ‘who’ was lying on the floor.
“Doctor,” Donna began. “There are two workmen lying on the floor in the room with us. At least I think they’re workmen. They’re wearing grey overalls.” Donna paused for a moment, looking at the workmen closely from where she was standing. “They look like they’ve been passed out. Knocked on the heads, in fact!”
“They must be the engineers for this place,” the Doctor suggested. “To keep the holographic technology going for the TV show to keep going.” Then a thought struck the Doctor at that moment. “Condgorl must have knocked them out. Or her Squadtrons.”
“What?” Donna said bemused.
“Yes,” the Doctor remarked. “Condgorl somehow saw through the illusion and broke out of her programming. Something must have happened and Condgorl took advantage to stop the behind-the-scenes people from doing their work. At least that’s the theory to work on at the moment.”
“Okay,” Donna then said. “This is really freaking me out! So what are we going to do, Doctor? How are we going to stop this madness whilst we’re in here?”
“Firstly,” the Doctor replied, “we need to stabilise that loop and restore it back to where it was. It’s probably sabotaged.” A moment of silence ensued once the Doctor said that. He then bent down to take a closer look at the technology connected to the circle of white light before him. “Yes, it looks like as if it’s been tampered with. Probably by Condgorl or one of her Squadtrons, if I’m correct on my theory.”
“Is there anything I can do to help, Doctor?” Donna offered.
“No, Donna,” the Doctor said to her reassuringly. “Let me handle this. This requires a Time Lord to deal with this technology. And it’ll only take a few ticks.” He paused for a moment. “Ten ticks more like, but eventually…”
With that, the Doctor took out his sonic screwdriver and set to work on repairing the controls for the holographic algorithm loop. Donna watched patiently, as she saw the Doctor working hard at the controls before him.
Meanwhile, back outside the vault, the Vexo Knights continued fighting with the Squadtrons. It was at that moment that Condgorl turned up. Condgorl laughed as she saw how the Vexo Knights’ fighting was progressing. The Vexo Knights struggled as they were overcome by the increasing numbers of Squadtrons fighting them. The Squadtrons eventually managed to grab hold each of the Vexo Knights in turn and deprived them of their weapons. Four Squadtrons managed to hold down Astros’ arms, both metallic and humanoid ones. Two Squadtrons each held onto the other four Vexo Knights by their arms, as one other Squadtron took their weapons.
Condgorl advanced onto the Vexo Knights, glaring at them menacingly. She had a cruel smile that was almost seductive to Astros’ eyes. The three lady Vexo Knights, Rocketnia; Quasos and Glideril fixed angry stares at Condgorl as she came onto them.
“Well, well, well,” Condgorl began. “The Vexo Knights have been captured at last!” She then focused her attention, directly at Astros. “Your triumph over me is over! It is time for the new order of Condgorl to begin and take over from the forces of goodness…on this planet of Lo-Go-Pop.”
Astros struggled to break free as the four Squadtrons held onto his four arms. “You’ll never succeed, Condgorl,” Astros told her. “Others will fight you! Others will come to our aid and stop you! The Vexo Knights will never be defeated!”
“Who can help you now anyway?” Condgorl asked, bitterly. “You five have been captured! No-one is coming to your aid at this last minute!”
“Oh I wouldn’t be too sure about that!” said a rather cheery, smug voice.
Condgorl and the Squadtrons looked up to see the vault doors open and the Doctor with Donna stepping out. Condgorl was surprised, but only for a passing moment as she cruelly grinned back again.
“So,” Condgorl said. “The new allies of the Vexo Knights make their appearance get again!”
“Yes, that’s us,” the Doctor replied cheerfully. “As always!”
“Yeah,” Donna added determinedly. “So you better watch it, sister! Or else we’ll give you language…”
“Donna,” the Doctor told her off. “No need to be like that!”
“Squadtrons,” Condgorl then barked out loud. “Capture this…Doctor man and his young friend at once! Bring them with the Vexo Knights and take them into custody!”
“Oh I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Condgorl,” the Doctor warned her.
“Squadtrons,” Condgorl repeated. “Do as I say! Capture those two now!”
With that, a small number of Squadtrons did as they were instructed. They made their advance, weapons in hand, towards the Doctor and Donna standing outside the vault. Donna tried to make a run for it, but the Doctor held her back. He gave her a reassuring glance before the Squadtrons came onto them.
Suddenly, something extraordinary happened that the Vexo Knights, Condgorl and the other Squadtrons weren’t expecting. They saw before them…the small number of Squadtrons advancing on the Doctor and Donna…vanish into thin air….in an instant. A moment of silence ensued.
“They’ve gone!” Quasos declared. “Vanished in an instant!”
“Like they seemed to be deleted,” Shuttlos added.
Condgorl lost her temper at that point. She turned purple and looked up angrily at the Doctor and Donna before her. “What did you do?” she demanded. “What did you do to my Squadtrons?!”
“Well it’s pretty straight-forward really,” the Doctor said casually to Condgorl. “Donna and I have been pretty busy inside that vault we just came out of! And we made some very interesting discoveries! Haven’t we, Donna?”
“Yes indeed,” Donna replied happily.
“Tell me what you’ve done,” Condgorl demanded angrily. “Tell me!”
“Alright, alright,” Donna retorted. “No need to get your knickers in a twist, lady!”
“You see the thing is,” the Doctor continued, “we discovered your acts of sabotage. To the circle of white light in a holographic field called a holographic algorithm loop. That was your act of sabotage wasn’t it, Condgorl?”
“I don’t see what business it is of yours…” Condgorl began before the Doctor interrupted her.
“I thought so!” he said. “So…I used my sonic screwdriver here…” The Doctor held up the sonic screwdriver in his hand for everyone to see “…and reversed the polarity. The holographic algorithm loop is resetting itself at this minute and is restoring all that was televised in the ‘Vexo Knights’ TV series to its previous setting.”
“So you see,” Donna added. “Those Squadtrons you saw disappearing were going back to where they started. Back to the beginning of the DVD menu as it were…for all those ‘Vexo Knights’ fans to watch their TV episodes again…but differently!”
The Vexo Knights became puzzled at this point.
“Wait just a minute,” Astros realised. “If the ‘Vexo Knights’ TV series is resetting back to the beginning…” he paused for thought for a moment. “…then…”
Rocketnia then interrupted him, “Then that means we Vexo Knights aren’t real.” She paused for thought for a moment now. “We’re holograms just like the Squadtrons are!”
“You, the Squadtrons and Condgorl here,” the Doctor went on, “are all fictional characters…literally. Your TV executives will have to start from scratch with coming up with a new series of stories in order for the people of Lo-Go-Pop to enjoy…with the Vexo Knights fighting against and defeating Condgorl all over again!”
“No,” shouted Condgorl angrily. “You can’t do this to me! I am Condgorl! Leader of the forces of darkness! I am destined to rule the universe and destroy the Vexo Knights forever!”
“Then I suggest you better start again with new plans on defeating the Vexo Knights,” the Doctor said casually to Condgorl. “Believe me, it’s something the fans and casual viewers at home are looking forward to seeing!” His tone became serious now. “Get out of here, Condgorl! Think twice before you sabotage the holographic algorithm loop again! Because I’ll be waiting to stop your attempts of sabotage!”
At that moment, Condgorl found herself being faded away by numbers and logic algorithms by computer.
Condgorl shrieked out in rage, “No! Wait,” she said. “You can’t do this to me! This is not fair! This is not the end! I’ll be back to defeat you, Vexo Knights! I…Condgorl…will…defeat…you…”
But her voice gradually faded away and became distorted, as she disappeared from sight. Very soon, the Squadtrons disappeared from sight as they like Condgorl and previous Squadtrons were deleted from existence. The Squadtrons and Condgorl had been defeated. But it wasn’t the kind of defeat that the Vexo Knights were anticipating!
The Doctor seemed pleased with himself. “Impressive, isn’t it?” he declared. “When you know how to use a sonic screwdriver well of course.”
He held his sonic screwdriver up in his hand and switched it on, buzzing away momentarily.
“Alright, space man,” Donna retorted. “Don’t be so cocky about it!” Then Donna spoke in a serious tone to the Doctor. “Will you be able to stop Condgorl though? In preventing her acts of sabotage next time with the…holographic algy-thingy-whatsit-thing?”
“Oh it shouldn’t be too difficult,” the Doctor replied. “Considering I set up a really good firewall after I reset the ‘Vexo Knights’ TV show back to its beginning. Don’t worry, Donna. I’m positive it will keep.” He paused for a moment. “Ninety eight per cent positive, actually.” Another pause ensued. “Ninety eight point five maybe.”
Donna sighed away, saying, “Why does that not surprise me?”
Surprisingly, it didn’t take an instant for the Vexo Knights to vanish before the Doctor and Donna’s eyes. It seemed to take a while before the Vexo Knights were reset at the beginning. Somehow the Doctor and Donna preferred that. It gave them a chance to say goodbye before they left. The Vexo Knights seemed saddened however.
“All our battles,” Astros began saying. “All our fights with Condgorl and her kind. They’ve all been for nothing? They never occurred?”
“No, no,” the Doctor interrupted him. “Don’t think like that, Astros.” He then began to explain to the Vexo Knights. “All you Vexo Knights have been doing a good thing! You’ve given the people of Lo-Go-Pop real hope! The planet is protected from evil forces whenever you five are around!”
“And the Doctor doesn’t just mean the forces of evil like Condgorl and her lot,” Donna added in. “He also means other real evil forces that will probably invade your planet one day.”
“The ‘Vexo Knights’ TV show,” the Doctor went on, “was created to give the people of Lo-Go-Pop some inspiration. So that when the evil forces attack the planet…whatever shape or form it may take…and it will happen mind you, trust me…the Lo-Go-Pop people will be able to take on your example of defending their world.”
“To never give up, never surrender,” Donna cheekily added in, “as Tim Allen would say.”
The Doctor rolled his eyes and shook his head at Donna, saying, “No, no, Donna! Don’t say that!”
The Vexo Knights seemed to be cheered up at this point.
“So,” Shuttlos began to reply, “it’s okay for us five to keep going! To know that we’re holograms and it’s alright to fight against Condgorl and her kind.”
“No, no,” the Doctor answered. “You Vexo Knights will forget all that has happened and that you were holograms. Donna and I, we repaired the holographic field. You’ll start your fight with Condgorl and her Squadtrons again, except that the TV executives…whoever they are…will change the stories and battles you have with them. It enhances the issue that you don’t keep fighting in an endless loop when your battles get televised. Otherwise…well, it’ll be just plain boring if it did!”
“Yeah,” Donna concurred. “Pretty dull if that happened!”
Astros then stepped forward and addressed the Doctor. “Well,” he began. “Despite whatever our existence maybe…it’s been an honour to have fought alongside you, Doctor!”
“My sentiments exactly,” Rocketnia added in.
“Me too,” Quasos said.
“Me three,” Glideril said.
Shuttlos seemed unwilling to concur with everyone else at first. But he then shrugged and said, “I suppose so.”
Astros lent out a hand to the Doctor, and the Doctor took it and shook it happily and delightedly. “Thank you very much, Doctor,” Astros said. “For helping us to save the people of Lo-Go-Pop!”
“The pleasure is all mine,” the Doctor said, grinning.
“Ours in fact,” Donna added in.
“Oh yes,” the Doctor said hastily. “Ours, yes!”
Astros smiled, before he let go of the Doctor’s hand. “Come back and visit us sometime, Doctor; Donna. If we have another problem with the holographic grid…caused by Condgorl and her kind…we’d be happy for you to pitch in and restore us. Isn’t that right, Shuttlos?…Rocketnia?…Quasos?…Glideril?”
But as Astros turned back to look at them, he found that the other four Vexo Knights had vanished without him realising. Astros was puzzled at first. But then he realised what happened and he lowered his head sadly.
“Gone,” Astros said. “They’ve all gone. Reset back to the beginning, hey?” He paused for a moment. “I suppose it’s my turn next.”
“I’m afraid so,” the Doctor said.
Astros turned back to the Doctor and Donna one last time. “Well,” he began to say, “I hope I won’t vanish quickly before I say goodbye to you two…”
But at that moment, Astros vanished before the time travellers quickly in a puff of logic. The Vexo Knights were no longer there anymore. A moment of silence ensued. The Doctor and Donna felt sad about the sudden departure of the Vexo Knights.
“They’ve gone,” Donna said. “Gone forever!”
“They’re not gone forever, Donna,” the Doctor told her. “The Vexo Knights will always be around on Lo-Go-Pop.”
“But they’ll forget us, won’t they?” Donna said. “When they start their battles against Condgorl and the Squadtrons again.”
“Yeah,” the Doctor slowly said to her. “I’m afraid they will.”
Moment of silence, as Donna felt saddened by this.
“Come on,” the Doctor then said. “Let’s go back to the TARDIS.”
Eventually the time travellers returned to the TARDIS, as Donna watched the Doctor set the controls at the console for take-off. The time rotor whirred away noisily, whooshing and grinding all the way, as it went up and down with the TARDIS taking off and travelling in the time vortex. The Doctor and Donna reflected on all that had happened after they left ‘The Vexo Knights Experience’ on Lo-Go-Pop.
“The thing is though, Doctor,” Donna began to say. “The people who made this TV show for kids on Lo-Go-Pop made it believable as it possibly could be.” Donna paused for a moment. “How come the TV executives managed to keep a show secret and not let anyone discover the truth that it was all holographic technology inside the Experience itself when they filmed the episodes?”
The Doctor pondered on this question of Donna’s for a moment. “I don’t know,” the Doctor replied. “It’s just as well we were there when we discovered the problem and shut down the holographic algorithm loop, repairing it before starting again. I wonder how we didn’t meet any TV executives coming in to discover the crisis.”
“Perhaps we should have stayed longer on Lo-Go-Pop to find out,” Donna said. “The TV executives could have turned up to see the engineer lying unconscious when he found him behind the vault after we left the planet.”
“Possibly,” the Doctor said. “But it’s nothing for us to worry about now, is it? We sorted out the problem, haven’t we? The ‘Vexo Knights’ TV show can start again and the TV executives will have nothing to worry about with who re-started the TV show for them. They’re probably grateful that they have ‘guardian angels’ like us to help them.”
Donna then had another question that was concerning her. “Will you go back there to check up on the ‘Vexo Knights’ TV show predicament again, Doctor? To see that no sabotage gets done again?”
“Maybe,” the Doctor replied. “Maybe not. It’s best to keep out of the way and let the Lo-Go-Pop people carry on and sort it out for themselves. After all…I wouldn’t want to cause too much trouble with handling their society on how they do things with their popular kids’ TV show? Now would I?”
‘Donna Noble’ created by Russell T. Davies
© Tim Bradley, 2017
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