‘The Infinity Planet’ (Z), Chapter 2

2. The Infinity Leader

Back on Wickham’s ship, Wickham entered the bridge after having a few hours’ sleep in his quarters. He made his way over to Miss Gordon. She greeted him with a smile.

“Hello, my dear handsome Mr Wickham,” she said. “Did you sleep well? Have nice dreams about anyone?”

“Just give me nourishment, secretary,” he said bitterly. “I need it after my sleep.”

“I wish you’d call me Hannah,” Miss Gordon said.

“Just give it to me,” Wickham demanded.

Miss Gordon pressed a button and out came a tray from a nearby food dispenser. It contained a plate of ham sandwiches and a glass of water on it. Wickham took the plate from the tray, picked up one of the sandwiches and stuffed it down his mouth. He gnawed and gulped it down. Ham stuck out through his teeth. Miss Gordon couldn’t help but think Mr. Wickham was making an exhibition of himself. But still, she knew he hadn’t known good manners.

“Anything else you would like me to do for you, Mr Wickham?” she asked.

“I need information on the Doctor,” Wickham said. “Send me all the records regarding the Doctor’s encounters with the Zorbius crystal.”

“At once, Mr. Wickham,” Miss Gordon said.

Pressing a few buttons at her desk, Miss Gordon brought forth a holographic screen which emanated from the main computer console. Wickham made his way over to the console and looked at the holographic screen. He fixed his eyes on the screen, becoming intense and intrigued.

“Yes!” he declared. “Yes indeed! How very…interesting! Most interesting!”

What Wickham saw dispelled his belief. He saw various images of the Doctor appearing one by one and they contained information on his previous encounters with Zorbius. He saw these recorded events in descending order. The first one was a short chap with a panama hat and a question mark umbrella, fighting alongside a streetwise kid against the Cybermen with the Zorbius energy inside of them in Maputo. The next Doctor was a man in a multi-coloured coat with a young American botany student on a space station in an iso-dimensional rift. Then there was a cricket-loving chap with a young beautiful princess from Traken, who were rescued from a mirror in an English country house by a young boy. Another was a tall man with a toothy grin; curly hair and wearing a long scarf, accompanied by a savage girl and a robot dog on the planet Anothea in the constellation of Cassio. Next was a Doctor in flamboyant clothes, tackling clowns at a London circus with a pretty young girl; an army captain and a brigadier. Then there was a short, scruffy, dark-haired man who fought Skeletrons on the planet Saron with a young Scottish boy and a young astrophysicist girl. And last but not least, there was the very first Doctor who had his first encounter with the Zorbius crystal at a space hotel with two schoolteachers and his granddaughter. The slideshow finished.

Wickham scoffed at what he saw. “Even as a renegade Time Lord,” he laughed, “he thinks he can protect the Zorbius crystal from anyone who wants it. But I have the hunters within my grasp. And when I have the Zorbius crystal, everything will be mine.”

He then turned to Miss Gordon at this point. “Miss Gordon? Give me an open channel to the Hunter ship.”

Miss Gordon shuddered at the mention of the name. She didn’t like to do things where it concerned the Hunters.

“That was an order I gave you, woman,” Wickham insisted. “Carry it out!”

“Yes Mr. Wickham,” Miss Gordon replied. “As you say, sir.”

At that, Miss Gordon switched on a communications channel. Almost immediately, the holographic screen was activated again. On display was the face of a monster that Miss Gordon utterly despised. She didn’t know why Mr. Wickham wanted to work with them.

Wickham stepped forward and spoke at once to the Hunter on screen. “Hunter! All goes well. The Doctor and his companion are with Scottos. I shall be with you very shortly. Everything shall belong to me. How do things fare for you?”

The Hunter was a discarded Skeletron. He had fragments of cyber-technology augmented into him as well as fragments partially removed off its body. It spoke with a deep low voice that was very demon-like and bewitching.

“Everything is ready, Wickham,” the Skeletron said in a cybernised voice. “We expect you to come soon. Zorbius…shall belong to us!”

Miss Gordon looked away from the disgusting sight of flesh and bone she saw. Wickham eventually switched off the screen. He set about putting together his next part of the plan into operation. Wickham was glad to be progressing further with his new servants – the Skeletrons…better known as the Hunters – at his side. Miss Gordon wondered whether Wickham should really trust them.

Back in Scottos’ court palace, the Doctor and Jen managed to move the wall to one side. They also took out the safe where the Zorbius crystal energy fragment was being kept. The safe was green and made out of iron. Jen and the Doctor had to carry it out from the wall together, which was tricky work. They were pretty exhausted afterwards.

“There we are,” the Doctor cheered. “We’ve got your safe out, Scottos old fellow. Perhaps we could…” He then realised that Scottos wasn’t around. “Where is he?” he asked Jen.

“He’s gone out, Doctor,” Jen told him. “To order for some more pizzas. Doesn’t he think about anything else apart from pizzas; pizzas and more pizzas?”

“I’m worried about this Zorbius crystal energy fragment he’s been keeping in this safe, Jen,” the Doctor said, ignoring her question. “Hopefully we can get it open.”

“Very dangerous, is it?” Jen enquired.

“Of course it is,” the Doctor said ruefully. “You heard what Watley said about that man who came to visit Scottos earlier. He’ll kill Scottos unless I surrender.”

“Well perhaps you should surrender, Doctor,” Jen suggested. “If it’ll save Scottos’ life, that might be for the best. I know I find Scottos annoying, but…”

“Jen, Jen,” the Doctor interjected, “you don’t just give Zorbius crystal energy fragments to strangers. If this Wickham person has aspects of the crystal in his hand, he can control the universe.”

“What, he can rewrite history?” Jen checked. “Just like that with a zap of his fingers?” She clicked her fingers to demonstrate.

“Exactly,” the Doctor replied. “He could rewrite your human history at any time and place he chooses. Say for example he was a supporter of the Nazis. Who do you think he’d want to win?”

“Oh my goodness,” Jen said, shocked.

“And he’d probably want the Gunpowder plot to occur and prevent Guy Fawkes being captured,” the Doctor went on. “Do you know what the consequences of that will be? Temporal disruptions will occur throughout all eternity!”

“We’ve got to stop him then, Doctor,” Jen insisted. “At once!”

“Yes, but first we must have the combination for this safe,” the Doctor said. He then called out, “Scottos!”

“Yes?” echoed a reply.

“We need the combination for this safe,” the Doctor told him. “Do you know what it is?”

Scottos then came back into the room, frantically excited. “I’ve just remembered!”

“Good,” Jen said, pleased. “What is it?”

“What is what?” Scottos asked, confused.

“The combination for this safe,” the Doctor prompted.

“Combination for that safe?” Scottos said, utterly baffled. “I don’t know the combination for that safe. Goodness gracious me, Doctor. What do you think I’ve got? A fast memory?”

“But you said you just remembered,” Jen reminded him.

“Yes,” Scottos agreed. “I have just remembered.”

“Remembered what, Scottos?” asked the Doctor.

“Um…I err…”

“Yes?” Jen prompted.

A moment’s silence.

“I’ve forgotten what it was I just remembered,” Scottos eventually said.

Jen groaned, “Oh for goodness sake!”

“No wait!” Scottos then said. “Wait, wait! I remembered what it was!”

“What was it you remembered, Scottos?” the Doctor asked.

“It was about the safe,” Scottos replied. “About the combination.”

Jen was baffled. “But you just said you didn’t know what the combination was…”

“No, no,” Scottos interrupted her. “I mean…I know who else knows the combination. An army chap. Very young he was. I offered him my special stuffed crust pepperoni pizza once for him to remember it by.”

“Which army chap, Scottos?” the Doctor persisted. “Which one? Who was he? What was his name?”

“That’s just it,” Scottos mumbled. “I can’t remember. I can’t remember his name.”

Jen sighed. “You must remember what he looks like. Was he young; tall; short? Fresh-looking like me?”

“Yes, that’s it!” Scottos exclaimed. “He was fresh-looking!”

“Fresh-looking?” the Doctor was confused.

“Yes! Fresh-looking Williams,” Scottos declared. “The young chap with Commander Stack. You two have met him surely.”

“What, Danny Williams?” Jen realised. “The lovely lieutenant who was nice to us. Nice to me.”

“Yes!” Scottos confirmed. “Fresh-looking Williams! Born in the late 24th century on the minor moons of Sway-Gra. He should be on his way to getting a promotion soon.”

“Where would he be now, Scottos?” the Doctor asked.

“On the battlefields with that buffoon Stack, I expect,” Scottos said. “Take the first hover train you can get and you’ll find him and Stack on battle-field #9…also known as Plen…in sector 8.”

“Yes, yes,” the Doctor said enthused. “I’ll be back in twenty minutes.”

“Let me come with you, Doctor,” Jen pleaded.

“No Jen, you stay here,” the Doctor told her.

“What?! Wouldn’t it be better if I went with you?” Jen asked.

“No, no,” the Doctor replied. “Someone needs to look after Scottos at his house. I’ll go and find Danny with Commander Stack and bring them both back here. You stay here with Scottos and keep an eye on him.”

“That was what I was trying to avoid,” Jen gritted her teeth.

“Make sure nothing happens to him,” the Doctor instructed. “As well as to the safe. Make sure nothing happens to both Scottos and the safe. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

“You’d better,” Jen snorted. “See you later, Doctor.”

“See you later, Jen,” the Doctor said cheerfully. “Ta-ta.”

With that, the Doctor went out of the room. Jen meanwhile slumped into a chair as she began to keep an eye on the safe and Scottos. It was at that moment that Scottos came back into the room abruptly.

“Or-or-or is it sector 9 instead and on battle-field #8 called Plem,” Scottos queried.

Jen was utterly bemused. Scottos sighed annoyed before he saw Jen seated in a chair. He took his chance to be hospitable again.

“Fancy another stuffed crust, my dear?” he asked. “With coke?”

Hurriedly, Jen said, “No thank you. It’s very kind of you. But I don’t really want a…”

Ignoring Jen, Scottos said, “Vegetarian supreme is it? I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

With that, Scottos was out of the room before Jen could protest any further.

Back on Wickham’s ship, Wickham came out of his quarters in his new attire. He appeared rather gentlemanly and smarter than before. Miss Gordon couldn’t help but smile at him.

“My goodness me!” she exclaimed. “You look very handsome and smart, Mr. Wickham. Off somewhere nice, are you?”

“I’m off to see Scottos,” Wickham replied. “It has been an hour and a half since I last tried to visit him. I’m off to see him now.”

“Supposing he’s not there, sir,” Miss Gordon said. “Supposing he’s still busy or has gone out somewhere.”

“He’d better be ready for me,” Wickham insisted. “I want what he possesses. What he has shall soon be mine.”

“Wouldn’t you like to have someone to share your life with, dear sir?” Miss Gordon offered. “I know someone who would be delighted to be in your company.”

“Just have my vehicular transport ready, Miss Gordon,” Wickham commanded. “I want to see Scottos as soon as possible before I miss him again.”

“Very good, sir,” Miss Gordon said glumly.

A bleeping sound then echoed from one of the control panels. Wickham became curious as he looked to Miss Gordon.

“What is that sound, secretary?” he demanded. “Report instantly.”

Miss Gordon pressed a few buttons on her control panel. Soon, a holographic screen was switched on and it showed the Doctor walking out of the court palace.

“It’s the Doctor, sir,” Miss Gordon reported. “He’s leaving Scottos’ palace. He’s making for the nearest hover train platform. He’s alone.”

“Ah-ha!” Wickham declared. “Excellent! Excellent! Now I shall have my meeting with Scottos! He’d dare not refuse me this time.”

Miss Gordon couldn’t help be puzzled if not curious. “Why is he making for one of the hover train platforms and on his own?” she asked. “Is he meeting someone?”

“It does not matter,” Wickham answered. “I shall have the Doctor soon enough. If Scottos refuses to cooperate in giving me the Zorbius crystal energy fragment I need, I shall soon use him as bait for the Doctor to come to my ship.”

“The Doctor’s girlfriend might be there with Scottos,” Miss Gordon reminded him. “I didn’t see her with the Doctor as he left the court palace.”

“Then I shall capture her as well,” Scottos said. “I know the Doctor has close connections with his companions. It will prove a very amusing and fascinating experiment to play on the Doctor’s weakness for compassion.”

“You intend to bring that girl as well as Scottos back to this ship?” Miss Gordon asked, disturbed.

“Of course,” Wickham said. “Do you question my authority and decision-making, Miss Gordon?”

“No,” Miss Gordon said grudgingly. “I suppose not.”

“Good. See that you don’t,” Wickham reminded her. “I shall be back very soon. Prepare our guest quarters for our guests.”

“Would you like me to prepare luxurious accommodation for them?” she said wryly. “Or will just standard cells do?”

“Use your own imagination, girl,” Wickham said bitterly.

“And dinner?” Miss Gordon went on. “Will we be having dinner with our guests?”

“Possibly yes,” said Wickham impatiently. “Just don’t bother me, Miss Gordon. I’m going now to find and meet Scottos.”

With that, Wickham stormed out through the door and left the bridge. Miss Gordon sighed as she slumped back into her desk chair, feeling sorry for herself.

“And we used to be so good together when we were at school,” she said. “My dear, previous, lovely Wickham.”

A tear slowly started to drop from Miss Gordon’s left eye.

It took a while for the Doctor to find and get to the right battlefield. He preferred following Watley’s directions instead of Scottos’ which were unreliable. Thank goodness he did that.

“Now then,” he said. “Danny Williams. Where are you, Danny Williams?”

The Doctor ducked for cover at this point as a shot flew above his head. He found it hard to believe that he was in the middle of a war on a battlefield.

“Can’t be helped Doctor,” he said to himself. “Imperative that you find Danny Williams at all costs. No matter what opposition may face you. Whether it’s bombs; explosions or Commander Stack!” At this point, he raised his voice. “And now is the time for you to take another duck before another explosion, Doctor! Watch out!!!”

The Doctor ducked as another explosion occurred. He recovered quickly once the firing had momentarily stopped.

“I really must stop talking to myself at times,” he said. “Bad habit. I wish I had Jen with me. Though I’m glad she’s not…”

Suddenly, the Doctor found himself being pulled up and looking straight into the eyes of Commander Stack. The Doctor smiled delightedly.

“Ah hello there!” he said delightedly. “Nice to see a friendly face. War going well, Commander Stack?”

“You again!” Stack said irritably. “What are you doing here, Doctor?”

“Oh just passing through,” he replied wryly. “Always wanted to see a war zone up close. I’ve been meaning to show Jen around the place but…”

“You are an idiot, Doctor!” Stack said angrily. “Don’t you realise you could get killed out here?! There are bombs everywhere!”

Another explosion occurred. Stack eventually released the Doctor from his grasp.

“Come on Doctor!” he insisted. “Let’s get to the army camp. It’s close by. Williams will be waiting for us!”

“Williams!” the Doctor realised. “Ah yes! I’ve been meaning to speak to him as a matter of fact…”

“Come on, Doctor!” Stack urged him. “Run! RUN!!!”

With that, Stack dragged the Doctor along with him. They made their way over to the army camp as they avoided blasts and explosions along the way.

At the army camp, Stack brought the Doctor in. Danny Williams was waiting for his commander to turn up. He was surprised to see the Doctor as he was brought in by Stack to where he was at the table in the centre of the room.

“Commander!” Danny greeted. “Glad you got back here safely.”

“Yes,” Stack answered. “Though if it wasn’t for this upstart Doctor here, I wouldn’t have got back here at all!”

“What was he doing out there?” Danny asked.

“Precisely what I want to know,” Stack said before turning to the Doctor. “What were you doing out there, Doctor? You should know better…”

The Doctor ignored Stack as he greeted Danny. “Danny my dear chap,” he began. “How are you? You remember me, don’t you? The Doctor? I came here with Jen Ward, remember? The blonde haired girl?”

“Yes, yes,” Danny answered. “I remember you very well, Doctor. Hello again. You do know you’ve just been walking in a danger zone.”

“Nothing ever changes for me,” the Doctor grinned. “I walk into danger all the time.”

“If we could focus on the matter in hand…” Stack said agitated before he was interrupted.

“Danny,” the Doctor went on, “I came here to see you actually.”

“To see me?” Danny reacted surprised. “Why?”

“A very good question,” the Doctor said. “To which I have a very good answer.”

“Doctor, if you’re wasting time…” Stack said, before he was interrupted again.

Ignoring Stack, the Doctor asked Danny, “Do you remember a combination code to a safe belonging to Lord Scottos, Danny?”

“A combination code to a safe?” Danny echoed. “Belonging to Lord Scottos?”

“Yes. Green safe; made of iron,” the Doctor elaborated. “And yes, belonging to Lord Scottos. You remember Lord Scottos, don’t you? The one who rules Klingas and loves pizzas?”

“Really,” Stack said exasperated, “we don’t have time for this…”

Stack was interrupted again as Danny interjected, “Yes Doctor, I do remember the combination code for a safe. It was one Scottos told me to keep secretly and safely.”

“Did he indeed?” the Doctor said intrigued. “What was the code then?”

“I’m sorry, Doctor,” Danny replied. “I’m afraid I can’t tell you that. Lord Scottos strictly told me to keep the code a secret.”

“Oh, did he indeed?” the Doctor said, even more intrigued. “Well, I suppose that is the smartest and cleverest thing Scottos ever did. Apart from making an extraordinary spaghetti bolognese.” After thinking for a bit, he turned to Danny and said, “Danny, I need you to come back with me to Scottos’ home this instant. Jen is there with him…”

“Are you insane?!” Stack bawled. “You can’t ask officers of Davastos to abandon their posts!”

“Doctor, I would very much like to help you out,” Danny said. “But honestly, we’re in the middle of a war…”

“Please Danny, this is important,” the Doctor insisted. “If you don’t come with me now, Scottos will soon be killed.”

“Killed?!” Danny said, stunned. “I…I don’t understand. What do you mean?”

“Someone’s threatened Scottos’ life unless I give him the fragment of a very powerful crystal,” the Doctor explained. “It’s what’s kept safe in Scottos’ safe, you see”

“Threatened Scottos’ life?” Danny repeated. “Well, if it’s that serious, then you should give that crystal fragment to this person who has threatened Scottos’ life…”

“Danny, I haven’t got time to explain further,” the Doctor interjected, “but it’s imperative that you come back with me to Scottos’ house this instant.”

“Now see here, Doctor…” Stack began to protest before Danny interrupted.

“You really think it’s worth me going over to Scottos’ house? To open the safe with some…crystal thing inside?”

“Yes Danny,” the Doctor assured him. “It’s definitely worth it.”

Danny thought for a moment. And then said, “Of course! I must come with you at once!”

Stack was about to explode before the Doctor addressed him. “Commander Stack, my dear chap. Could you provide us with some transport please? And perhaps a safer way to get out of this war zone we’re in?”

The Doctor continued to be cheerful whilst Stack was getting redder in the face.

Back in Scottos’ hall room at the court palace, Scottos became aggrieved with Jen in the room.

“Oh dear,” he said. “I’ve run out of cheese. I won’t be able to make any more pizzas.”

“Phew!” Jen said relieved. “I thought a major disaster happened.”

“I feel so stupid about not remembering the combination for the safe,” Scottos muttered. “I shouldn’t have let the Doctor go on his own to that battlefield.”

“I’m sure the Doctor will be alright,” Jen reassured him. “Don’t worry. If I know him, he’ll come back eventually.”

“Oh I hope so,” Scottos said. “I do hope so.”

“I’m just hoping those gunfights and battles won’t get too close to us,” Jen said. “I’d hate to be bombed in with the ceiling falling onto my head.”

“Now don’t you worry, my dear,” Scottos said reassuringly. “A slice of pizza will do you good? I’ll fetch a box.”

Hurriedly, Jen said, “No, no, no! Please don’t!”

“Oh wait!” Scottos realised. “I can’t. We’ve got no cheese, haven’t we?”

“Yes of course,” Jen said, relieved again.

“Never mind,” Scottos said. “I’ll just pop out to the nearest shop and get some.”

“No, no,” Jen begged. “Please don’t. Don’t go to the trouble…”

“Oh it’s no trouble, I assure you,” Scottos reassured her. “I don’t mind the walk. It might at least help me walk off the last ten pizzas I’ve had recently.”

“No really, don’t go out there!” Jen pleaded. “There’s still a war out there, remember?”

Scottos realised Jen was right. Feeling defeated at first, he then said, “Ah well, never mind. I’ll order a pizza from the nearest pizza store. The pizza boys…”

“No please!” Jen shouted, frustrated. “Stop, stop! I don’t want any more pizzas! Do you understand?! I’m fed up with having more pizzas! Just stop, will you?!”

Jen’s outburst caused an unsteady silence. She thought she’d just upset the man. But then somehow, he didn’t seem to mind. He just looked content as he patted Jen on the head.

“I remember the time when I first met the person who actually made pizza,” he declared. “He was a very clever man that.”

“Really,” Jen sighed.

“Yes. Or was it a woman instead?” he pondered. “Now I come to think of it, there might have been two people who actually made pizza. Possibly three. Or five. Or twenty!”

“Twenty?!” Jen exclaimed.

“Yes. Can’t quite remember,” Scottos said. “Maybe it’s my age and my memory. But I’m sure pizza was made in Italy. Or was it Greece? No, definitely Italy. No, no. Not sure now.”

“I give up,” Jen sighed. “You’re right. Pizza has slowed your mind.”

At that moment, the door burst open. Wickham entered, wearing his dark suit and looking sinister and threatening. Jen shuddered once she saw him. Scottos was happy and delighted.

“Ah! Another guest,” he declared. “Come for a pizza night, have you?”

“Who are you?” Jen asked Wickham. “What do you want? Are you that Wickham freak who wants to kill Scottos?”

Scottos didn’t seem bothered as he went on to say to Wickham, “I’m afraid we’ve run out of cheese. I’ll have to go and get some first before…”

Ignoring Jen, Wickham commanded, “Lord Scottos!”

Not registering Wickham’s authority, Scottos went on, “No really, it won’t take long. Say about ten minutes for me to get the cheese…”

Wickham got impatient as he shouted “Lord Scottos!!!”

Attention grabbed, Scottos answered, “Yes?”

“I have come for the crystal fragment you have in your possession, Lord Scottos,” Wickham announced.

“I don’t have a crystal fragment on me,” Scottos lied. “All I’ve got are empty pizza boxes here.”

“Lord Scottos, shut up will you!” Jen interjected. “You’re making things worse!”

“The crystal fragment, Scottos!” Wickham insisted. “You are to give it to me!”

“Oh!” Scottos then realised. “You mean the Zorbius crystal fragment! That’s what you want, isn’t it? Well, I’m sorry, but you can’t have it, old thing!”

Wickham then saw the green iron-made safe nearby. His greedy eyes widened as he made his way over to it.

“You’ve kept it in there!” he scoffed. “In that safe?!”

Jen then ran forward and stood in front of Wickham between him and the safe.

“Get away!” she said. “You keep your hands to yourself! You’re not touching the safe!”

“Get out of my way, girl!” Wickham demanded. “This does not concern you! The crystal energy is mine!”

“Why?” Jen challenged him. “Why is it yours? Is your name written on this safe? I don’t think so.”

“Do not question my motives, girl,” Wickham bellowed angrily. “Get out of my way so that I can have the crystal energy fragment from that safe! Get out of my way now!”

“No!” Jen said, sticking her tongue out at him.

Once Jen had defied him, Wickham stared coldly back at her.

“Very well,” Wickham eventually said. “If you refuse to cooperate with me, then I shall use persuasive methods. Starting with you…Lord Scottos!”

Jen then saw Wickham pull out what looked like an electronic gun from his jacket pocket. He fired a shot at Scottos. The stout Time Lord shuddered and shook violently once he’d been shot, reacting in pain. Scottos dropped to the floor, trying to free himself of the energy blasts he felt. Jen gasped in shock by what she saw. Scottos ended up unconscious on the floor.

Jen looked accusingly at Wickham. “What have you done?!” she demanded. “You’ve killed him! You’ve killed a helpless old man!”

“Nothing so mundane,” Wickham replied. “But his life is forfeit at the moment. Now, it’s your turn! Let me pass! Let me have the safe! Or else, I shall kill you and Lord Scottos.”

Jen couldn’t let Wickham have the Zorbius crystal energy fragment from inside the safe. But she couldn’t let Scottos die at the same time, despite his pizza obsessions. Eventually and with much reluctance, Jen stepped aside to let Wickham pass. With that, Wickhman made his way over to the safe.

“Yes!” he said, pleased. “Excellent!”

Attaching a small device to the safe, Wickham then pressed a button on his belt. Soon, the safe levitated in the air. It was ready to follow Wickham at his command.

“Now girl!” he addressed Jen. “You are to come with me!”

Jen found herself being grabbed by Wickham. She struggled to break free, screaming mildly as she was being dragged away.

“Let go of me!” she cried. “What do you think you’re doing?! What do you want with me?!”

“I want many things!” Wickham replied. “But first, hold still, girl! Hold still or I shall kill you and Lord Scottos now!”

Jen had no choice but to stop struggling. Soon, Wickham dragged her away with the levitated safe following behind them. They eventually left Scottos’ hall room in his court palace. Scottos was left crumbled and unconscious on the floor.

A while later; the Doctor, Commander Stack and Danny Williams returned to find Lord Scottos lying on the floor and unconscious. The Doctor got onto his hands and knees to check on Scottos as he lifted him up from the floor.

“Scottos?” the Doctor called to him. “Scottos, old chap! Wake up, Scottos! Wake up!”

As the Doctor patted him on the face, Scottos instantly woke up. Scottos saw the Doctor first before he saw Stack and Danny standing over him.

“Oh Doctor!” Scottos said relieved, but then felt guilty. “Oh Doctor, I’m so sorry. I should have been stronger.”

“Why Scottos, what happened?” the Doctor asked. “Where’s Jen?”

“Gone, Doctor,” Scottos replied. “She’s gone. Your friend Jen has gone.”

“Gone?” Dan became apprehensive. “What do you mean, Lord Scottos? Has she been kidnapped?”

“Yes, my boy,” Scottos replied. “I’m afraid so.”

“And the safe’s gone too,” the Doctor realised. “With the Zorbius crystal energy fragment inside.” He turned to Scottos and prompted, “Who’s taken them, Scottos? Who’s taken Jen and the safe?”

“Wickham, of course,” Scottos replied. “He’s probably taken Jen and the safe back to where his ship is. We’ve got to stop him, Doctor.”

“Then we have no time to lose,” Stack said, ready for action. “I’ll order a scout party…”

“No, no, wait!” the Doctor stopped him. “Wait, Stack! That won’t help us in the slightest! We don’t even know where they’ll be going.”

“Well, we’ve got to do something, Doctor,” Danny insisted. “The commander’s right! We’ve got no time to lose!”

“I know where Wickham has in mind to take the safe and Jen,” Scottos announced. “He’ll be heading for Grealas.”

“Grealas?” the Doctor queried, confused.

“The infinity planet,” Scottos elaborated. “Where the enemies of Davastos are, Doctor.”

“Then we shall mass an attack on Grealas, your lordship,” Stack told Scottos. “We shall fight to the death!”

“I don’t think you’ll find Wickham’s army an easy match, Commander,” the Doctor said.

“Considering Wickham’s army consists of Skeletrons,” Scottos added.

“Skeletrons?” Stack asked, confused.

“What are they when they’re at home?” Danny wanted to know.

“Trust me, Danny,” the Doctor said. “Skeletrons aren’t nice things to have at home, so don’t even consider buying one.” He paused for a moment. “But since you asked, they’re robots that look like skeletons. They’re servants of the Zorbius entity.”

“Right,” Danny said baffled. “I see.”

“Except this time,” Scottos continued, “they would be far more sophisticated, Doctor. With cyber-technology augmented to them due to your previous encounter with Zorbius. And they’d be more ugly of course.”

The Doctor became suspicious. “How come you know so much about my previous encounters with Zorbius, Scottos?” he asked.

“I have my sources,” Scottos replied. “And as a Time Lord, it’s important to keep track on anything that goes on in the universe. Isn’t that so, Doctor?”

The Doctor wasn’t sure Scottos was telling him the truth. He started to wonder. Could it be…No! It couldn’t be, surely.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” the Doctor realised. “Didn’t your man Watley say that Wickham runs a beer company for soldiers to advertise the war?”

“Precisely, Doctor,” Scottos replied. “And if I’m right, the Zorbius crystal energy fragment inside that safe he’s taken will give us a chance to track him down to this hideout of his on the planet Grealas.”

“Yes, yes,” the Doctor realised. “Well, now it’s perfectly clear what we must do. Or rather what I must do. I can’t even allow the Skeletrons to get away with it this time.”

“What is it?” Danny asked. “What is it you’ve got in mind to do, Doctor?”

“We’ll use my TARDIS to find Wickham’s ship,” the Doctor said. “We find him first before we get to Jen and the safe and before we get to tea-time. Come on! Let’s go!”

“Inside that box thing of yours, Doctor?” Stack enquired challengingly. “Your ship?”

“Exactly!” the Doctor cheered. “Come on, everyone!”

Everyone was about to follow but Scottos stayed behind.

“You carry on, Doctor,” Scottos insisted. “I’ll tag along a little later if that’s alright. I need to sort out my pizza boxes. I’ve made such a mess on the floor.”

“Very well,” the Doctor said satisfied. “Come along, Commander Stack. You too, Danny. Back to the battlefields we go.”

With that, a baffled Stack and a baffled Danny followed the Doctor out of the hall room as they made to return to the TARDIS on the battlefields outside. Meanwhile, Scottos removed a pizza box off from a table as he began to uncover a control panel on it.

Jen found herself being dragged in by Wickham aboard his spaceship. She saw the levitating safe behind them as it came to land on the floor of the main bridge. She saw Miss Gordon the secretary at her desk. She looked disapprovingly at her.

“So Mr. Wickham,” she began. “Where did you pick up this one from?”

Jen was surprised by the scorn in Miss Gordon’s tone of voice. But before she could speak for herself, Wickham interrupted her.

“She is an associate of the Doctor,” he said. “She will prove useful in my great plan for the universe.”

“I see,” Miss Gordon said, unconvinced.

“Send a message to the main Hunter ship,” Wickham commanded. “Tell the commander that we’re on our way to meet them. Enter the command for the ship launch procedures to commence in fifteen minutes.”

“The Hunter Commander is already here, Mr. Wickham,” Miss Gordon told him. “He wishes to see you.”

“Is he?” Wickham said surprised. “And does he indeed? Well, well. We’d best not keep him waiting. Escort him onto the bridge this instant, Miss Gordon. Then set about the launch procedures as I instructed.”

“Very good, Mr. Wickham sir,” Miss Gordon said, somewhat bitterly Jen thought. “I shall see to it at once, Mr. Wickham sir.”

With that, Miss Gordon began to leave. As she headed off, Miss Gordon took one more glance at Jen before she left the room. Jen found herself alone with Wickham again.

“Your secretary doesn’t like me, does she?” she remarked.

“She’s a silly person,” Wickham commented. “No sense of rational thinking and imagination.”

“I think she likes you, you know,” Jen observed, smirking.

“I have no time for petty emotions,” Wickham scoffed.

“Just who exactly are you, Mr Wickham?” Jen wanted to know. “What do you want? Why did you kidnap me? I know very little about this Zorbius thing…”

“Don’t you realise who I am?” Wickham bellowed. “I am Wickham – the Infinity Leader. I am the ruler of all Grealas. Or soon will be.”

“Really,” said Jen unimpressed. “And that should interest me because…?”

“You’ve known the Doctor for some time haven’t you, girl,” Wickham said matter-of-factly.

“I’ve had a few adventures with him, yes,” Jen replied. “First time I met him was in Devonshire on the planet Earth. I was with my boyfriend David Smith. We battled a horde of vampires at a gothic castle. Since then, I’ve joined the Doctor on his travels…”

“And do you trust him?” Wickham interjected. “Do you really trust him with your life?”

“Well, of course I do,” Jen answered, nonplussed. “Why shouldn’t I trust him?”

“Didn’t it occur to you that the Doctor could be corrupt and greedy for power?” Wickham asked. “Since the Zorbius crystal is in his TARDIS.”

“No!” Jen rebuked. “The Doctor’s not like that. I’ve never known the Doctor to be like that.”

“You don’t know him well enough to find out do you, girl,” he said, scoffing her. “You’re afraid that he might shut you out of his life forever. You’re afraid he’ll never want you to be at his side.”

“Don’t girl me,” Jen protested. “And how can you claim to know so much. Who do you think you are to know the Doctor so much?”

“I know about Zorbius,” Wickham stated. “And I know how it connects to the Doctor. When I have the crystal – complete in its entity – the universe shall bow to me!”

“Well, good luck to you,” Jen scorned. “You’ll have a lot of competition on your hands. You’re not an atheist by any chance, are you?”

“Do not mock me, girl,” Wickham retorted. “This will happen! The Doctor will come to me and he will give me what is rightfully mine. He will give me the combination code for this safe I have in my possession as well as the rest of the crystal he has in his possession.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Jen warned him. “The Doctor will come and rescue me. And when he does, he’ll soon stop you…”

“Don’t try to give yourself false hope, girl,” Wickham said. “How long do you think he’ll consider you before he turns his attention to the Zorbius crystal? It’s a tempting and powerful crystal. And that crystal is a part of him. He cannot resist the power of Zorbius controlling his own destiny.”

Jen started to become anxious. She wondered and almost doubted her own faith in the Doctor. She soon became shocked that she was doubting the Doctor – her best friend.

Wickham interrupted her thoughts as he declared, “Ah! And here we have company at last!”

At that moment, a horrific sight appeared on the bridge. Led in by Miss Gordon, a tall disfigured and discarded robot in the shape of a skeleton entered. It had bits of cyber-technology augmented to it.

Jen gasped at the sight. “What is that thing?”

“That is a Skeletron – better known as one of the Hunters,” Wickham told her. “They are the Hunters of the Zorbius crystal, which shall soon be given to me.”

Jen stared at the horrific sight before her. It wasn’t like staring at a bloodthirsty vampire; or a mouse-like Navre or a grotesque Cyberman. The Skeletron appeared to be more deadly and ferocious than anything Jen had ever seen.

“Here we are, Mr. Wickham sir,” Miss Gordon said grumpily. “Here’s the Hunter Commander.”

The Skeletron then spoke with a cyber voice. “You have not fulfilled your part of the bargain, Wickham. You have not obtained the required fragment of the Zorbius crystal.”

“Allow me to introduce you to our latest hostage, Commander,” Wickham said. “This…is Jen Ward, travelling companion of the Doctor.”

The Skeletron looked at Jen with a hungry expression. Jen shuddered at its stare.

“So,” it began, “this is the girl who currently travels with the Doctor. How very ingenious of you to capture her, Wickham.”

“And I’ve got the safe for you,” Wickham showed the Skeletron Hunter. “Have no fear, Commander. The Doctor will soon come to us with the remaining Zorbius crystal fragments as well as the Zorbius crystal itself before this ship takes off.”

“Your Blufor drinks program,” the Skeletron Hunter Commander said. “Recent report stated that thirty Davastos soldiers have died as a result of belching. That is fifteen more since yesterday.”

“Excellent!” Wickham said pleased. “That is always good to hear. It’s nice to hear the good news of people dying.”

“You horrid swine!” Jen said bitterly. “Don’t you have any compassion in you at all?!”

“Oh don’t persist in your moral gibbering,” Wickham said dismissively. “Very soon, you shall see a grand master of quality come to light!”

Jen looked on worriedly as she saw the mad gleam in Wickham’s eyes.

Outside Wickham’s ship, the Doctor’s TARDIS materialised close by. Eventually, the Doctor, Commander Stack and Danny stepped out as they saw the hull of the spaceship towering above them. They considered for a moment before they went on any further.

“Are you sure you know how to go about this, Doctor?” Danny asked.

“Not exactly no, Danny,” the Doctor replied.

“Come off it, Lieutenant Williams,” Stack ruefully said. “The Doctor doesn’t know any better about what’s happening or how to go about it.”

“That’s just what I said, Stack,” the Doctor told him. “Watch out for the horse droppings.”

The Doctor stepped over a pile of horse manure that was left lying about on the ground. He made his way overs towards the ramp of Wickham’s ship. Stack and Williams followed cautiously behind him.

“I’m not sure if I’ve told anyone but you, Williams,” Stack said, “but I really hate horses.”

“Really, sir,” Danny said wryly. “I had no idea.”

Eventually, the trio came to a stop. The Doctor looked at where the ramp should be. They stood there for a few lingering minutes.

“I’m sure if there’s a way to get into that ship undetected, I would tell you, Doctor,” Danny assured him. “But at the moment, I’m flat on ideas.”

“There must be something you can bargain with for your friend’s life,” Stack said.

“The only thing I can bargain with is the Zorbius crystal,” the Doctor reminded Stack. “And I shall give it to him gladly.”

Stack and Danny were shocked at this, as the Doctor took out a bright crystal in the shape of a star from one of his frock coat pockets. He picked it up whilst he, Stack and Danny were travelling via TARDIS to get to Wickham’s ship.

“Doctor, you’re not seriously going to give that crystal to Wickham,” Danny said, who was in awe of the crystal. “For the sake of Jen’s life.”

“I’m intrigued to find out who this Wickham fellow is,” the Doctor said.

“You’re serious?” Stack scoffed.

“I’m sure he’s a reasonable chap to talk with,” the Doctor reasoned.

“Depends what you mean by reasonable,” said a sceptical Danny. “He’s an enemy of the Davastos Empire, Doctor.”

“Not to mention the manufacturer of millions of beer drinks to slaughter soldiers by making them belch to death,” Stack added.

“I’m determined to find out,” the Doctor told Danny and Stack.

Clearing his throat, the Doctor soon began to call out to Wickham aboard his ship.

“Wickham!” he shouted. “Wickham, are you there? It’s me, Wickham! It’s me! The Doctor! I’ve got the Zorbius crystal you want! If you want to have it, let me in! We can discuss terms! Terms, you get it?”

No response came from the ship. There was a deathly silence.

“Nothing’s happening, Doctor,” Danny said.

“Come on, come on, Wickham!” the Doctor shouted. “Where’s your customer service? This is no trick! I’ve got the Zorbius crystal here! Look, see! I want to see Jen and then give you the Zorbius crystal! How fair is that?”

Still no response from the ship. Another silence ensued.

“Well, I say that went well, Doctor,” Stack scoffed. “Any more bright ideas?”

“I call this downright rude,” the Doctor said. “After all the trouble I’ve taken to get what he wants, he refuses to see me.”

“Perhaps he isn’t one to suffer fools gladly,” Danny suggested.

“You Stack and you Danny go back to the TARDIS,” the Doctor commanded. “I’ll see if I can find a way into the ship by myself. Hopefully the door should open once I’ve walked onto the ramp.”

“We’re not leaving a soul behind in battle, Doctor,” Stack said. “We’ll accompany you.”

“Yes, Doctor,” Danny agreed. “You might need us!”

At that moment, a blinding light flashed and blazed across the field. Only the Doctor remained where he stood. Stack and Danny were knocked out unconscious.

“Stack; Danny!” the Doctor cried. “Hold on!”

The Doctor ran forward to check on Stack and Danny, but he found himself bumping into a force-wall made out of electricity. He felt along the wall, trying to find a way to break it open, but he couldn’t.

Suddenly, a voice echoed behind him. “They will not be harmed, Doctor.” It was a male voice. “I have knocked them out with a sleep-inducing gas. The forcefield is to prevent them getting in with you and to prevent you from getting out.”

The Doctor turned around as the voice came from Wickham’s ship. He then saw a door open above the ramp as it allowed him entry into the ship.

“Ah! I see!” the Doctor checked. “You’ve knocked out my means of support from my friends. Talk about earns of trust.”

“Come in, Doctor,” Wickham invited. “Come in and join us! Your friend Jen is especially waiting to see you.”

Feeling reluctant, the Doctor sighed as he made his way up the ramp to enter Wickham’s ship.

Eventually, the Doctor entered the main bridge. He saw Jen standing beside Wickham who was seated in a chair. Jen was thrilled with joy as she immediately ran over to the Doctor and gave him a hug.

“Doctor!” she cheered. “Oh Doctor, I’m so glad to see you! I knew you’d come in the end!”

“It’s alright Jen,” the Doctor reassured her. “I’m here. I’m here now.”

Jen eventually let go of the Doctor as he turned to face Wickham, who sat smug and superior-looking in his chair. The Doctor gave Wickham one of his defiant looks.

“Wickham, I take it,” the Doctor checked.

“Doctor, I’ve waited a long time for this meeting with you,” Wickham said. “I thought it would never come to pass.”

“My ears are burning,” the Doctor cheered. “And my eyes. I take it you’re in league with the Skeletron Hunters then.”

“Doctor,” Jen interjected, “he said he was the infinity leader. He intends to rule the planet Grealas with the Zorbius crystal.”

“Is that so?” the Doctor said, fascinated. “Well then, can’t go beating around the bush, can we?”

Jen was shocked. “Doctor, you’re not seriously thinking about giving him the crystal, are you?”

“Leave this to me, Jen,” the Doctor reassured her. “I know what I’m doing.”

“I would advise you to give me the crystal now, Doctor,” Wickham suggested. “You are also to give me the combination code for this safe of Scottos where one of the crystal fragments is inside.”

“Yes, talking about Scottos,” the Doctor interrupted, “it’s very rude to enter into a house and to steal a safe without being invited inside. Not to mention electrocuting one such host in the process.”

“And it’s very rude to kidnap a girl who’s delicate and has to keep her figure,” Jen added. “It’s most insulting.”

“You see,” the Doctor chided at Wickham. “I suggest you improve your social tactics.”

“All that matters is for me to get what I want,” Wickham declared. “And I shall have what I want soon. You’ll see, Doctor.”

“Why does it matter that you have the Zorbius crystal?” the Doctor enquired. “You’re not possessed of Zorbius energy. Nor do you have any resemblance to me. You’re certainly no alternative version of me if you had Zorbius in you.”

“That is something I wish you not to understand,” Wickham told him. “Nor do I wish to tell you.”

“Oh come on!” the Doctor said. “Surely if you’re not part of me, you might at least tell me what it is you want. I can help you if you like.”

“And I desire no help from anyone,” Wickham said. “I am not mad or insane as you seem to think.”

“I beg to differ,” Jen muttered under her breath.

“Give me the crystal,” Wickham demanded. “I want the Zorbius crystal! Give it to me!”

“It’s a very rubbish crystal, Wickham,” the Doctor said. “You won’t like it.”

“No, you wouldn’t like it at all,” Jen joined in. “It’s not very valuable. Not is it shiny or anything like that…”

“Give me the crystal, Doctor!” Wickham bellowed.

“I take it you don’t understand how to control time and space with it,” the Doctor pointed out.

“I shall soon learn, Doctor,” Wickham retorted. “Give the crystal to me!”

“Bit bossy isn’t he, Doctor,” Jen mocked Wickham.

“Very bossy indeed Jen,” the Doctor agreed.

“Perhaps it’s not worth you giving the crystal to him,” Jen suggested.

“On the contrary, Jen,” the Doctor said. “I shall give it to him.”

Jen became apprehensive. “No Doctor, no! Don’t do it, don’t!”

“Here you are, Wickham,” the Doctor said, handing over the Zorbius crystal to him. “Hope you’ll enjoy it. Make the best use of it.”

Seeing the crystal in the Doctor’s hand, Wickham snatched it rather hungrily. Jen watched Wickham as he held the Zorbius crystal tightly in his hands. She could sense he was about to crack up.

“At last!” Wickham cheered triumphantly. “At last! I now have the power to do whatever I want! To control infinity! To control Grealas!”

Jen became surprised. She turned to the Doctor. “Doctor, he just said…he’s going to…”

“Yes Jen,” the Doctor nodded. “I’m beginning to realise it now. He wants to control all of infinity.”

“And this planet Grealas is the infinity planet,” Jen realised. “That’s why he wants to rule it.”

“And with the Zorbius crystal, he can do that,” the Doctor said.

“I’m glad you both worked it out,” Wickham gloated them. “But please, Doctor. Tell me now the combination for this safe.”

“Which safe?” the Doctor asked flippantly.

“The green iron one of course,” Wickham snapped.

“Oh no, I’m sorry,” the Doctor waved his hands, backing away. “I don’t know the combination for that safe.”

“And besides it’d be done by code or digital transcript wouldn’t it, Doctor?” Jen joined in.

“Exactly Jen,” the Doctor said. “You took the words right out of my mouth.”

“I believe you do know the combination, Doctor,” Wickham insisted.

“No, no, Wickham,” denied the Doctor. “You have to understand. I don’t know the combination for that safe.”

“I don’t believe you,” Wickham snapped.

“Now, isn’t that a surprise,” Jen chided.

“Stop mucking around, you two,” Wickham shouted impatiently. “I know you’re withholding information and I’m telling you to do as I say. Give that combination code I want, Doctor!”

“Wickham, there’s no point in you listening to us if you’re not going to believe what we say,” Jen told him.

“I couldn’t have put it better myself, Jen,” the Doctor applauded her as he addressed Wickham. “I’ve told you that I don’t know the combination, Wickham. You might as well probe our mind to check.”

“That’s exactly what I intend to do, Doctor,” Wickham announced. “To both of you!”

“Doctor?” Jen backed away, wearily.

“Oops!” the Doctor said. “Jen, stay back!”

“There’s no point in you two trying to escape now,” Wickham goaded. “I currently have perfect control of you!”

At that, Wickham pressed a control on Miss Gordon’s desk. A billow of gas shot out through the ventilation shaft. The Doctor and Jen tried not to breathe it in, but it was hard to resist.

“Jen!” the Doctor cried weakly. “Jen, hold your breath! Don’t breathe in! Don’t…breathe…in…Jen!”

Jen coughed as she said, “I can’t…help it, Doctor. I’m not…able…to keep…my eyes open. It’s…too much…for me…Doctor. I…can’t…”

Eventually, the Doctor started coughing. Soon he and Jen started to keel over and fall to the floor. Wickham towered above them, laughing away.

“It’s the same gas I used on your two friends, Doctor,” Wickham said. “Like them, you and your friend Miss Ward will fall asleep for two hours. That is enough time for me to reach my destination and to probe both your minds. Once I have the crystal in its complete form, you two shall soon see a planet size of power after your sleep.”

Jen and the Doctor continued coughing together before they slumped to the floor unconscious and went unconscious.

At that moment, Miss Gordon entered. She found Wickham standing above the Doctor and Jen who were unconscious on the ship’s bridge floor.

“Is there anything you require, Mr. Wickham?” she asked.

“Yes, Miss Gordon,” Wickham replied. “See to it that those two army soldiers as well as that blue box of the Doctor’s outside are brought into the cargo bay. I want no trace of our movements left behind. As soon as the soldiers and the Doctor’s blue box are aboard, have the ship take off immediately.”

Miss Gordon complied as she carried out Wickham’s orders. Once Miss Gordon was gone, Wickham stared down at the unconscious Doctor and Jen and smiled with delight. He was soon on his way to reach the infinity planet!

© Tim Bradley, 2020

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