By Tim Bradley

Featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy.

Set between ‘Cuddles’ and ‘City of Monsters’.

The TARDIS arrived on the planet Noota. As the blue box shape of the time and space machine landed with a great thump, the doors opened and out stepped the Doctor, dressed in cricketing gear, breathing in the sights he was seeing. He always wanted to visit Noota, but found as is often the case too little of his precious time to make the intended visit. Now he was here, he was going to savour every minute of his visit.

“Come on, you two!” he called through the doors of the TARDIS. “We’re going to be late.”

The Doctor’s companions, Nyssa of Traken and Billy Walker, stepped out from the TARDIS. They took in the sights on offer from this unusual planet they’d landed on. It was hard to be sure whether they were impressed or not with the Doctor’s choice of planet.

“You have landed us in the right place, haven’t you Doctor?” Nyssa asked straight forwardly.

“Nyssa!” exasperated a hurt Doctor. “How can you have so little faith in my co-ordination of the TARDIS controls? I landed us precisely where we intended.”

Billy made a rueful comment. “Well, at least it’s a pleasant place for once. The usual planets you go to are full of danger and suspense. Not to mention chaotic.”

“I resent that Billy,” retorted the Doctor defiantly. He rolled up his panama hat.

“So,” Nyssa breathed, “what’s so special about the planet Noota then?”

The Doctor began his explanation as the three walked on from the TARDIS.

“This planet holds one of the key city sights in Rangula, capital of Noota. This is a sight that is an artefact belonging to the Yondu Empire.”

Billy was puzzled. “The what?” he asked.

“The Yondu Empire, Billy,” replied the Doctor. “A pre-version of what the Yondamus Empire’s going to be like, only it’s primitive.”

“Why take us all the way back to this section of history for this planet Doctor?” Nyssa asked. “And why has it taken you so long to come here as you intended.”

The Doctor grimaced. “I’ve had other appointments. And besides, when Time Lords like me (or not like me as the case maybe) travel a lot from place to place and from time to time, it does tend to get wearing on the mind when you can’t keep up with places and times of interest where you want to go to. I had a diary or something like a diary to keep in mind all the places I wanted to go to. But appointments overran by a fraction than originally intended, you see.”

Billy laughed, “I can imagine that, Doctor.”

“So can I,” Nyssa giggled, as she squeezed Billy affectionately whilst they walked on.

The Doctor ignored his companions’ wry remarks, keen to reach the city.

“Come on, you two. It’ll take two and a half miles to Rangula City. A brisk walk will do us a world of good or perhaps a jog. Fancy a jog instead? Come on then, let’s jog our way there. Up, two! Up, two! Up, two! Up…”

The Doctor jogged ahead with Nyssa and Billy adapting to the run as they ran on the rocky gravel path to reach Rangula.

The city of Rangula was a sight to behold. Its glassy stone-like buildings and tall structures were a marvel to see. People walked about their daily routines going to work and shopping in the place. Nyssa and Billy couldn’t believe the size and enormity of the city structure. It reminded them of other city structures on other planets. But this place was so unusual. For one thing, the glass didn’t break and it was as smooth as ice to the touch. The Doctor took in his sight of the city with gleamed admiration.

“You said there was a sight that is an artefact to the Yondu Empire, Doctor,” Nyssa stated. “I presume it’s at the centre of the city.”

“Of course,” said the Doctor delightedly. “And we’re quite close to the city structure now. You and Billy will love it Nyssa. And be impressed. It’s an artefact beyond the realms of science and has a unique characteristic that even the Time Lords on Gallifrey would not dare to record in their computer banks within the Matrix. But I wouldn’t disregard this momentous artefact for one…”

“Are we having lunch?” Billy interrupted.

The Doctor looked aghast, “Food at a time like this? Really, Billy! Aren’t you keen to see this sight that Rangula has?”

“I’m more interested in what food they’ve got here, Doctor. This is a city after all and I wanted to explore it.”

Billy noticed the Doctor looked aggrieved.

He carried on, “And I’m sure it’s better to see this marvellous sight you’ve been talking about over a full stomach rather than an empty one.”

“This isn’t exploring,” the Doctor protested. “It’s about you wanting some sausages for breakfast. I know you, Billy. You always want something to eat whenever we land.”

“Not always,” Billy retorted. “And I do think about Nyssa and you. It’s not about me. I want to make sure both of you are well fed before we run into danger.”

“Danger?!” the Doctor cried.

Nyssa stepped into the breach. “And we appreciate your concern, Billy. But I don’t require sustenance with an immediate effect.”

“Thank you, Nyssa,” the Doctor cheered.

 “But I do think,” Nyssa added “we ought to savour something of the city’s cuisine before we venture into the deep end of what the Doctor has in mind.”

“But not sausages,” Billy wondered.

“I’m not stopping you,” said Nyssa. “But as long as there’s a variety of choice for everyone we can’t go wrong.”

“That works for me,” Billy replied. “Let’s try that nearest café across the road. Let’s try that one there. With the strange looking chicken standing on top with the words Gaffle, see!”

Billy pointed and he and Nyssa made their way over. The Doctor trudged on behind, feeling left out as what he would call a meaningless debate.

“’First danger’,” the Doctor muttered, “now ‘deep end’. It was never like this with other companions, surely. Or perhaps I’m exaggerating.”

About an hour later, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy arrived at the sight they had come to see. The sky line was covered in black, and standing on a barricade around the city of stone they saw the most unusual thing. In the circle was a black floor covered in yellow dots. And scattered all over the floor were bright lamps in the shape of flowers. The fluorescence was strong and the sound of choral voices came from those lamps. An electrical circle glowed to indicate the lamps’ sparking power. These lamps were formed in the shape of a pattern resembling a twinkling Christmas star.

The Doctor, Nyssa and Billy had never seen anything like it and were easily impressed.

“What’s all of this powered by, Doctor?” Nyssa keenly asked. “Are they solar cells? Or quantum particles via electromagnetic radiation?”

“Not exactly,” the Doctor replied. “But I believe the mineral they use for this sort of power is. It must be Kordanium.”

“Kordanium,” said Billy surprised. “What’s all that about then?”

“It’s a special mineral found deep within the heart of this planet,” the Doctor explained. “Some say it’s a mineral that’s been long sought after in Nootan legend. It’s said it’s like a crystal of twinkling diamonds containing photons, electromagnetics and wave particles.”

“Sounds very interesting,” said Billy, who clearly wasn’t.

“It is the foundation of our society, sir,” said a voice from behind them.

The TARDIS trio spun round and were startled when a middle-aged woman approached them. She was a blonde haired woman with curls and had an almost prim quality to her. She was in a business suit and carried under her arm a slim portfolio leather folder that was full with documents.

The Doctor stepped forward. “Ah, how do you do? Sorry we didn’t realise you were standing behind us.”

“People always seem to say that about me,” said the woman. She was clearly not impressed by the Doctor’s charm.

“Foundation of your society?” the Doctor inquired, clearly intrigued.

The woman studied the Doctor for a moment. “The ‘Light-Ground’ monument has been with our Hensley forefathers for a thousand generations. Even the low ranked spectators wouldn’t dismiss that fact.”

‘Light-Ground’?” blurted Billy in surprise.

“Is that what you call this place?” asked Nyssa politely.

The woman stared at the two companions with utter bafflement.

“Your young friends seem to know as little about this complex as you, sir,” the woman stated, turning her attention to the Doctor.

“Ah,” the Doctor explained, “we’re not local. We’ve just arrived. I’m the Doctor by the way. And these are my friends, Nyssa and Billy.”

“Hello,” Nyssa and Billy greeted simultaneously.

The Doctor smiled graciously, “And you are?”

The woman seemed hesitant at first, almost as if she didn’t want to tell them anything including her own name.

“Miss Caroline Hensley,” she replied, “director of the Finance and General Purposes at the ‘Light-Ground’ Assembly.” Again she studied the time travellers with continued disbelief. “Not local you say. How come you happen to be within these walls?”

“We’re visitors,” Nyssa interjected.

Miss Hensley gave a disapproving look. “Visitors?” she asked.

“Yeah, visitors,” Billy confirmed. “Don’t you get many visitors here?”

Miss Hensley was as cold as can be when dealing with these sorts of issues.

“Meeting visitors from outside our domain has not made me happy on my part. I disapprove of people from outside the alliance coming to visit. The new President introduced it. And I complained to him a number of times when I heard that no one else would know about the ‘Light-Ground’ monument.”

The Doctor became puzzled, if not slightly perturbed.

“Well,” the Doctor said, “each to his own.” He had a moment of difficulty as to what to say next. Then it occurred to him. “Besides, I had been meaning to come to this planet for so long. I’ve long admired the sights of Noota’s regarded city of commerce, refinement and luxury.”

“Not interested,” Miss Hensley retorted.

Billy started to protest, “Well if you don’t like us being here, why don’t you…?”

Nyssa stubbed Billy in his back with her fist, piping him down. “Billy,” she muttered, before addressing Hensley. “But surely all visitors are impressed with this ‘Light-Ground’ facility. And that must mean a great interest and profit on your part, not just for your department but for the whole planetary alliance of which you speak.”

Miss Hensley snorted, “You may think so. But I have to put a lot of hard work into this project to keep people interested and make people happy. And now it makes me sick.”

“That’s enough Caroline, dear.”

The Doctor and the others turned to see a man who was much younger than Hensley but certainly of her generation. He was clean shaven and was slightly bald with patches of hair on the sides of his head.

“When I said for you to take a break Caroline,” said the man, “I didn’t mean for you to harass the guests.”

“They were commenting about the monument,” said Miss Hensley. “I had to make sure….”

“Then let them observe the monument in their own way,” said the man. “They are guests after all. Now be off with you. Mrs. Dickens wants you to check up on some file prints for some database reports.”

“But Mr…”

“That will do Caroline. Now go on.”

Miss Hensley grunted and headed off back indoors, whilst the man turned to the Doctor and his friends.

“I must apologise for my sister’s un-cavalier attitude towards visitors,” said the man. “She doesn’t think well of the benefits of PR as I do. I’m sure you understand.”

“Oh not at all,” replied the Doctor. “Very charming lady”

“She’s your sister then?” inquired Billy.

“Then that must mean you are…” Nyssa also inquired.

“Yes that’s right, my dear,” he said. “I am the other half – Captain Nicholas Hensley, at your humble service.”

He bowed graciously.

“Captain of what,” asked Billy.

“Of this,” the captain replied. “Of this circle of stone you see before you. It is called…‘Light-Ground’ Do you not like it?”

“Yes. It’s a beautiful model of science and art!” Nyssa exclaimed. “You’re in charge of the whole project.”

“Along with my sister,” the captain added. “I run the scientific and marketing aspects of the project. My sister deals with finance and general purposes. We run it all at the assembly building behind us.”

“And what exactly is ‘Light-Ground’?” the Doctor asked. “I admit I knew of it and was keen to come all this way to see it. But, I didn’t know much about it till your sister mentioned something of its ancestry and the family that supported and ran the project.”

The captain smiled as he saw the interest he had aroused in his new guests.

“Why don’t we talk more about this over a few snacks and drinks?” Captain Hensley offered. “We had a business meeting today and there are so many leftovers after that meal me and my colleagues had. Please do say yes. Come and join us.”

The Doctor thought about this. He could see Nyssa’s eagerness in the project itself and Billy’s interest over the food.

“Thank you Captain,” cheered the Doctor. “We certainly would like to partake in snacks.”

In the Assembly building itself, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy found themselves eating nibbles, crisps and sandwiches thrown at them by the good captain. Billy found he could bite more than he could chew, and Nyssa didn’t find the food appealing than when they were in the café having breakfast. The Doctor remarked on his lemonade drink with remarkable clarity.

“Well this is all very pleasant,” the Doctor declared. “Now captain, do tell us more about ‘Light-Ground’. What’s it about? What’s its purpose?”

“Well,” the captain began. “‘Light-Ground’ is where everything you want in a dream becomes reality.”

“You mean like…holographic projection,” Billy asked.

“No young man. Not holographic projection,” said the captain. “You experience dreams when you are awake during singing and dancing. You laugh yourself out through a dream of infinite wonders.”

“I’m not sure I’m following this,” Nyssa stated. “How does this work – dreams becoming reality? Do the photons and wave-particles have a part to play in this?”

“Oh yes of course,” said the captain.

He offered the three time-travellers to sit down on chairs before he began to explain. They did and he began.

“The flower lamps on the ground,” he explained, “generate a gravity field for people to float about in the air. The dreaming commences when the photons and wave-particles shoot at those people and they dream away. They either become happy or sad when they’re dreaming.”

“I don’t see how it works,” stated Billy. “How can photons and wave-particles from light make people dream.”

“It depends on the density of the spectrum field,” said Nyssa. “It also depends on the radiance, the spectral and radial intensity and the spectral and radiant power.”

“But there’s also something alien to it,” remarked the Doctor. “Something that gives the photons, electromagnetics and wave particles a lit bit more kick.”

Realisation dawned on Nyssa as she realised what the Doctor meant.

“Kordanium,” Nyssa stated.

They all turned to Captain Hensley.

“Yes my dear,” Captain Hensley said. “This is one of the richest minerals of Noota at its core. Without it, this project wouldn’t get started.”

“Kordanium is coated in something extra special isn’t it,” remarked the Doctor. “Something massively powerful that even a cat wouldn’t foresee it.”

“You’re right Doctor,” the captain replied. “Kordanium is coated by solar power to generate the ‘Light-Ground’ lamps.”

Nyssa was astonished. “I thought solar power wasn’t used to generate the ‘Light-Ground’.”

“It is when sending people off to dream when floating,” said the Doctor. “The ‘Light-Ground’ project is based on the principle that solar cells can send people off to sleep.”

“So,” inquired Billy. “This is a tourist attraction for anyone to experience people’s own dreams. Good or bad.”

“Good or bad,” the captain replied. “The ‘bad’ dreams are those they want to keep if they want to inflict them on their enemies.”

“Can anyone step onto this ‘Light-Ground’ thing then?” asked Billy.

“Oh no,” said the captain. “Not anyone, dear boy. Everyone! However it would require an authorisation key from one of the members of staff when queuing up to go onboard this ‘Light-Ground’ facility.”

“We didn’t see a ‘queue’ when we went there,” Nyssa remarked, eating the last of her tomato sandwiches.

“That’s because it’s the staff’s day off,” said Miss Hensley as she came in. She briskly walked in making her way to her brother.

“All staff?” asked the Doctor.”

“All staff,” Miss Hensley retorted. “They worked a long month. And deserve a break.” She glared at her brother rather accusingly.

“Ah, my dear” the captain greeted, “you’ve come to join us. I’ve been telling these fine people about ‘Light-Ground’. I hope you approve.”

Nyssa suddenly made signs of feeling faint, as she placed her glass of fruit juice onto the table.

“Pardon me, captain,” Nyssa began. “But I feel the need of some fresh air. Would you excuse me if I went outside?”

“Of course not, my dear,” the captain replied warmly. “Do take a breath of fresh air. It is your privilege after all.”

“Are you feeling alright Nyssa,” the Doctor asked concerned.

“Just finding it rather hot in here,” Nyssa said. “I won’t be long. I want to feel some fresh air if that’s alright.”

“Would you like me to accompany you, sweetheart,” Billy asked.

Nyssa nodded her head. “Yes please. I appreciate that, Billy.”

Eventually, Nyssa took Billy by the arm and they headed off outside through the glass door on the balcony. Captain Hensley was about to resume his conversation with the Doctor before his sister interrupted.

“Excuse me, my dear. Mrs. Dickens wants to know are you going to accompany her in the main control booth for the demonstration you’ve set up on powering up the ‘Light-Ground’ monument with those Kordanium crystals you ordered.”

“Of course, my dear,” said the captain. “In fact I shall make my way up there straight away.”

“Demonstration,” the Doctor inquired.

“Do join me, Doctor. This should interest you most greatly.” The captain then turned to his sister. “Would you care to join us, my dear?”

“I’ve got other things to attend to,” she said coldly. Then she walked off.

The captain turned to the Doctor. “I do apologise again for my sister’s behaviour. She’s not the sociable type. Always has been like that. She inherited it from her mother I believe.”

“I see,” the Doctor politely put it. “Where was this demonstration you said, Captain Hensley?”

“Oh the main control booth. It’s on top of the Assembly building. It’s not far. We’ll take the lift – unless you wish to take the steps. There are 360 of them.”

Nyssa and Billy walked around the ‘Light-Ground’ monument. There was a slight hint of rain in the air as they walked. Billy kissed his girlfriend’s head soothingly, as Nyssa laid her head on her boyfriend’s shoulder.

“You’re worried about something, dear?” Billy asked condescendingly.

Nyssa looked Billy in the eye. “I just didn’t like being in there with Miss Hensley. She makes me nervous.”

“It’s not like you to be apprehensive about something,” Billy remarked. “Usually you can cope with those sorts of people.”

“I know,” Nyssa replied. “But there was something…something in the air that made it sterile when she came in. I couldn’t breathe. It was like she sucked in all the oxygen before she announced herself. Couldn’t you feel it?”

Billy thought about this. “Well now you come to mention it, I actually did feel breathless. I did find it hot when she appeared. I’m not sure her starting a fight was the cause of it.”

“At least there’s a cool rain in the air,” Nyssa remarked. “It helps me to think clearly.” She paused for a moment, as she then looked on ahead to see something of interest. “Billy, look!” she cried.

They both looked and saw the lamps of the ‘Light-Ground’ glowing to light.

“My goodness,” said Billy. “They even glow brightly in full brilliance when it comes to it at night.”

Nyssa prompted Billy. “Let’s take a closer look, shall we?”

They walked towards the ‘Light-Ground’ circle and saw the lamps’ fluorescence brightening gloriously. Solar beams shot out from every corner around the circle, and Nyssa and Billy marvelled at what they could take in.

“It’s incredible,” declared Nyssa, “It’s absolutely beautiful.”

“Yes,” sighed Billy delightedly. “To think, I could dream about you all day.”

Nyssa punched playfully into Billy.

“Stop it Billy,” she giggled, and then sighed with contentment. “Mind you, it would be nice to have the glorious feeling of romance we have for each other always in our dreams.”

They were interrupted.

“Good,” said a woman, and they turned round to see who it was. It was Miss Caroline Hensley. “Because you two are going to experience those dreams eternally. In suffering and torment before death.”

Nyssa and Billy shuddered at the harshness in her voice.

“Miss Hensley, what do you mean,” Nyssa asked.”

“Keep away from us,” Billy demanded, “whatever do you think you’re doing.”

“Oh believe me,” Miss Hensley said sharply. “I shall endeavour to bring you two more harm and pain than you’ve ever realised. Now step onto the ‘Light-Ground’.”

“The what,” Billy blurted.

They then saw Miss Hensley slip out from her pocket a small card-like key which she swiped into a chip and pin device. The gates of the ‘Light-Ground’ monument were open and the fiery beams shot out from the gate’s entrance. The two companions stepped back from the infra-red glow, and held onto each other for dear life as they felt the fiery touch.

“You intend to kill us, Miss Hensley,” Nyssa cried. “Why? We haven’t done you any harm.”

“This is revenge,” shouted Miss Hensley. “Revenge on my brother. For the stupid, stupid, ill-brained master-mind strategy he came up with all those people. This is for bringing people to this place. This is for people that I absolutely can’t stand!”

They saw her change for a moment as her human features became distorted as well as her voice when she spoke. Very soon, she flung both Nyssa and Billy through the gate of the circle of stone. Nyssa and Billy screamed in terror as the flames of light enveloped them almost instantly.

The Doctor joined Captain Hensley in the control booth on the top floor. Captain Hensley was panting out of breath whilst the Doctor stood upright and dignified.

“So,” panted the captain, “after climbing…360 steps….we have arrived…here.”

The captain was breathless and sat down in a chair whilst the Doctor patted him on the back.

“You need some exercise, my good man,” the Doctor said cheekily. “Try and play cricket. I can teach you if you like.”

The captain glared at the Doctor rather admonishingly, before he turned to his member of staff in front.

“Well Mrs. Dickens, my dear,” the captain gasped getting his breath back. “Are we ready to start this little demonstration?

Mrs. Dickens, a remarkably pretty young lady, turned to her captain.

“Absolutely captain sir,” she cheered, “Demonstration commencing in fifteen seconds.”

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” the Doctor remarked.

They then looked up on screen, seeing the ‘Light-Ground’ monument before them as the demonstration commenced with Mrs. Dickens counting down the clock.

“Demonstration in 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3….2…1.”

A mighty explosion occurred within the centre of the stone circle. It blared before the Doctor and Captain Hensley’s eyes. The glow died down once they saw the sight they saw next.

“Good grief,” declared the Doctor abundantly, “A light-filled star!”

“I’m glad you approve, Doctor,” said Captain Hensley amused.

What they saw was a star shaped out of light – translucent in every measure. Beams of light shone from the lamps in the stone to form the dream patterns.

“Those photons, electromagnetic beams and wave-particles are sending people off into dreams at an incredible rate. Except this time, they will be showered in light at an increased rate. The limit of dreams will be endless.”

“Increased rate, you say,” the Doctor pondered worried. “Have you tested this out on human subjects by any chance?”

“Human subjects, Doctor? Oh no,” denied the captain. “We don’t take that into account yet. The human traits are not until next week.”

“Then,” the Doctor began, “why am I seeing two people within your star of fire right now.”

“What?!” shouted the captain.

He turned to Mrs. Dickens who was onto scanning the star herself.

“Confirmed,” replied Mrs. Dickens. “There are two humanoid life-forms within the stone circle at this present moment. One of them is a human boy; the other an alien girl.”

The Doctor went white.

“Nyssa and Billy,” he cried.

With that, he ran out of the control booth. The captain followed with Mrs. Dickens, who was dreading the thought of having to go down those 360 steps again.

The Doctor, Captain Hensley and Mrs. Dickens arrived at the stone circle, confronting Miss Hensley who barred their way before them.

“Miss Hensley,” the Doctor cried. “Let my friends out of there. They’re going to burn!”

“Your friends can suffer for all I care, Doctor,” Miss Hensley shouted back. “Those friends of yours can rot in hell! I will not be denied.”

“Caroline my dear, what’s got into you,” the captain inquired. “Let the Doctor’s friends go. They haven’t…”

“You don’t know what it’s like ‘brother’. To have people staring at our father’s monument, and to hear them criticising and wanting the darned thing changed n order to suit them. This is to please them, so that they can be happy. This was our forefathers’ work. This was my daddy’s work. And you ‘brother’ had to go and abuse it.”

“I had to make it work better, sister,” the captain replied. “Don’t you see? I had to make it progress. It’s what ‘father’ would have wanted. He would have wanted this project to prosper. Not stand still.”

“That’s your opinion,” shouted Caroline. “I liked it the way it was. And so does father. We were so close my father and me. He didn’t want it to be changed. Not like this. And you abused his memory just as you abuse me.”

“That’s not true!”

“It is true! IT’S TRUE AND YOU KNOW IT!!!”

“Very interesting conversation this is, I’m sure,” the Doctor interjected. “But back to the main issue. My friends are in trouble in that machine of yours – that ‘Light-Ground’ contraption! And I want them safe. If you just let them out…”

“This is revenge, Doctor,” Caroline cried, “Revenge for getting back at my brother. To make him see, how his alterations to the fine structure that once was ‘Light-Ground’ has changed for the worst, not for the best. It now kills people in their dream. Not for enjoyment.” She bit hard as she addressed her brother. “Suffer, brother! Suffer your torment!!!”

Those last words got the better of her, as she was suddenly struck on the head by something hard and collapsed. With Caroline lying on the floor, the Doctor and Captain Hensley could see that Mrs. Dickens had crept up behind her and struck her on the head with a plank of wood.

The Doctor sighed with relief, “Thank you Mrs. Dickens. Thank you. I never thought we’d get past her.”

“Where did you get a plank of wood from, Mrs. Dickens?” Hensley cried.

“From the well,” Mrs. Dickens replied. “It hasn’t been used for thirty years.”

Puzzled and dismissing the question of the ‘plank of wood’ entirely, the Doctor and Captain Hensley approached the gate to the circle. They accessed the door controls trying to unlock it. It would not budge.

“The contraption’s not working,” the captain exasperated, “Something’s gone wrong with the controls.”

“Here,” said the Doctor. “Let me try.”

The Doctor ran his fingers around the console unit and tried to figure it out. After a few minutes, he raised his head in annoyance.

“That woman,” the Doctor declared. “She’s unlocked the safety mechanisms and it’s caused a deadlock seal within the actual gate of the circle. Nyssa and Billy will be dreaming forever in there until they die.”

“Is there another way we can get to them, Mrs. Dickens?” asked the captain. “You must know of a way. You’re so good at these things. We have to rescue young Miss Nyssa and Mr. Walker.”

“Believe me sir,” replied Mrs. Dickens. “The only way we can get in is by travelling under the service hatches underground. Then you have to push the hatch up leading up to the centre of the stone circle.”

“Then take me there,” the Doctor ordered. “Show me the service hatches at once.”

“You’re mad if you go in there, Doctor,” the captain protested. “It’s a flaming inferno in there.”

“That light stream within the star will fry you alive,” Mrs. Dickens added. “You’ll die.”

“Then I’ll die trying to rescue Nyssa and Billy,” the Doctor said. “But to be on the safe side, I’ll take some radiation suits from my TARDIS in order to reach them – as well as suits and to rescue them. Now please tell me, dear lady. Where are the service hatches?”

“I love you, Nyssa!”

“I love you, Billy!”

“You’ve got such a nice smile!”

“You’re so handsome!”

“You’re so beautiful!”

“I want you to be with me forever!”

“Let me kiss you everyday, Nyssa darling!”

“Let’s dance shall we?”

Nyssa and Billy embraced one another warmly in the deeply heated fires as they swirled around in the ‘inferno’ that was the star of dreams. They did not realise the immense amount of danger they were in.

“I’ll save you, Nyssa! Don’t worry! I’ll defeat the monsters!”

“You’re always so good to me, Billy. I don’t want to die without you!”

“I’ll always protect you Nyssa darling. You can count on that!”

“I know how much you like me! You’re such a ‘silly Billy’, Billy.”

“Do you like us having adventures together?”

“Yes definitely! Wow yes!”

“Let’s spend a moonlight walk together!”

“And hear heavenly music on the spread of wings nearby.”

The main hatch to the stone circle burst open as out came from it a man in a radiation suit bearing all he could to cope with the flames. He approached Nyssa and Billy with increased determination. He lifted his visor and the two of them could see a fresh-faced looking young man within the helmet.

“Ah look, Nyssa!” Billy called. “It’s the Doctor come to play!”

“Thank you so much for coming to see our wedding, Doctor.” We’re so happy, Billy and I.”

“Nyssa; Billy!” cried the main within the suit. “You have to trust me! Put these radiation suits on. It’ll protect you from the roaring flames within here.”

“Aww,” Billy moaned. “We hoped you’d come along to see us on our honeymoon.”

“Yes,” Nyssa groaned. “Stop your cricket games and come with us on the beach. That’s where we’re spending our honeymoon, Doctor. I’ve got my new bikini on.”

“And my new swimming trunks,” Billy chuckled.”

Nyssa sighed delightedly. “I can feel my toes within the sand.”

“Nyssa; Billy, please!” begged the Doctor. “You have to come with me! Through the main service hatch, do you hear me?!”

“He’s done it,” cried Mrs. Dickens. “He’s got them out! That lovely young boy and girl are safe!”

“Oh, thank goodness!” declared the captain. “That’s a weight off my mind.”

He breathed in deeply as he felt all the stress and pressure being taken off him.

“Mrs. Dickens,” the captain then announced, “cancel today’s demonstration.”

“Yes of course. Aye, aye, captain,” Mrs. Dickens replied.

Mrs. Dickens was about to head off back to the main building complex before it suddenly occurred to her. She looked round to see where she was.

“Where is she?” Mrs. Dickens cried.

“Where’s who,” the captain asked.

“Your sister, sir,” Mrs. Dickens declared. “She was here and now she’s gone.”

The captain became startled, unable to answer Mrs. Dickens’ question. He looked around baffled, unable to ascertain where his sister had got to.

“I’m sure she was here a minute ago.”

It was at that moment, the Doctor appeared running out towards them, with Nyssa and Billy leaning on him. They were exhausted and feeling quite hot as they collapsed to the floor. Mrs. Dickens rushed towards them.

“Doctor,” she cried. “Your friends…”

“It’s alright, Mrs. Dickens,” the Doctor assured her. “Nyssa and Billy are very much alive. They’re suffering from slight starvation and dehydration, but with enough food and water, they’ll survive.”

“There’s plenty left on that buffet,” the captain confirmed.

Once he spoke, the captain was suddenly approached by the Doctor.

“Captain,” began the Doctor. “Did you see your sister running off from you?”

“No Doctor,” the captain replied. “I’m afraid I didn’t. I really wasn’t watching.”

The Doctor grimaced at this and braced himself.

“Then I’m afraid we’ve got a much larger problem on ours hands. Your sister, captain, has made a fool-hardy mistake.”

“What do you mean?” asked a troubled captain. “Have you seen her then?”

“Yes,” the Doctor stated grimly.

The girl was awake. In fact she’d been awake for a long time. She was with her daddy. Oh how much she missed her daddy. She saw him now as he was then. He was a stout fellow with a clipped moustache. He kissed his little daughter’s head and gave her chocolates.

“There you are, my dear,” said Daddy. “There’s our trip to the Hooflan Tower theme park in Rangula City. A fine city sight wasn’t it.”

“I love you, daddy,” replied the little girl happily.

She hugged him warmly and her father hugged her back.

“Aww, my dear,” the father announced. “You really shouldn’t have been so mean to those people. They were very nice.”

“They were trying to hurt you, daddy,” the girl protested. “Hurt us?”

“Yes, I know my dear. And I’m grateful,” said the Dad. “But look all around us. This is exactly what you wanted. We’re in a fire and blazing inferno. It would have been much better if you had come in here instead of hurting that couple that you hated so much.”

“Yes,” the little girl sighed. “It would. But I thought I was doing what was right. I was trying to please you, daddy. I was trying to make you happy.”

“Yes well,” the man said casually. “With a man like me, with all his riches; his fine house and his ‘Light-Ground’ project left behind, who wouldn’t want to make their father happy.”

The little girl giggled, as she and her dad make their way forward. They stepped over the fire and flames as they approached the other end of the circle.

“Are you burning, dear?” asked the father.

“Yes,” the girl said sadly. “But I’m happy to be with you. I just hope that Nyssa and Billy burned enough before the Doctor could save them.”

“Now my dear little poppet,” said the father. “You shouldn’t say things like that. I hope for your sake the lovely couple are breathing fresh air in their lungs as we speak.”

At that moment, a strange whooshing grinding noise occurred as a blue box appeared out of nowhere and landed with a thump within the centre of the circle. The father and the little girl turned round to see. The girl sobbed and cried, shaking her dad’s clothes.

“No daddy, no!” she screamed. “Don’t make me go back there! Don’t make me! DON’T!!!”

The father sighed deeply. “Well my dear Caroline,” said the father. “It seems you’ve got some friends who want to play with you. You’d better be nice or else you won’t get any more chocolates, ham sandwiches, or bedtime stories left for daddy to read to you. You’d want to please me wouldn’t you dear, if you want to make new friends?”

‘Nyssa of Traken’ originally created by Johnny Byrne
‘Billy Walker’ created by Tim Bradley

© Tim Bradley, 2018

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