Opening one eye, he looked around the village square and listened for any sign of movement. All he could hear were distant howls and whines and the feeble sounding voices of the Justices supplemented by the 'crank' of what sounded like a whip.
Rising, mud dribbling away from his clothing, the Time Lord was sure he was alone. Even poor Peri had vanished. 'The fiends', he muttered. They had turned her a little monster; utterly devoid of everything descent. He snarled at the thought, 'Much like her usual self.' He bitterly regretted it. He knew he could not desert the girl now, and he still had to discover the connection between the Linxons, the villagers and the Justices and wherever their technology came from. His mind was meandering round these thoughts when he heard a feeble sound behind him and saw a terrible sight.
There, dragging itself painfully around the corner of the inn, was a man or was it a wolf? It crawled half way between modes of existence as a humanoid biped and a quadruped animal.
It's hands were still covered in thick black hair but human finger nails were present. Its face was contorted with the muzzle of a wolf on one side bulging out of the side of its face, dripping blood and saliva, but the other side was perfectly normal.Its back was pitted and scarred revealing vicious red blotches, caused by some form of heat. Finally it dragged one wolvine leg which could hardly support the weight of a human torso, and a humanoid leg. The walking monstrosity heaved and emptied the contents of its stomach into the mud all saturated in huge, congealed clots of jelly blood.
All the Doctor could do for a few seconds was stand repulsed and wide eyed, mouth hung agape. He was desperately worried that this could be Peri, mutated by the effects or side effects of an overdose of vaccine. When the apparition spoke he was relieved to hear it was a male voice that spoke.
'Please...the stungers, they got me with the stungers. Triggered...a reaction, began to... transform, couldn't hold my form, couldn't get back...me.'
The Doctor had reached the creature before him and was helping him to sit upright. The Doctor needed some answers, and needed them now. In his present condition, the Doctor thought, he would be able to prise the truth from the villager as he was not entirely wolf. Enough of him was human, to be able to think and speak, nor was he man enough to hide his deformed condition from everyone else in the village. But the Gallifreyan knew he had little time as the man was near death; a happy release from this type of curse, as Leon had discovered.
'Emergency...only,' babbled the form incoherently.
'Snap out of it man,' hissed the Doctor, 'What are you babbling about? What's going on out there on the moors?'
'Liner...liner crashed, men run out...we kill, have to kill you see...can't...help it...' He clutched at the Doctor's arm. 'Blood rolls...sweet tasting..even sweeter, the meat...' The creature's head began to loll as his chest rose, he gasped a last rattling breath and died.
'What liner? What liner?!' The Doctor was still shaking the horrific corpse, trying to jolt a bit more life into it. 'Oh stupid idiot!' he muttered to the dead. 'Why is it I never get a straight answer to an easy question?'
'Isn't it because you are so uncooperative, Doctor?' It was Quinn's voice. He was aiming a stubby little blaster. 'Yes. You're very uncooperative. Won't leave when warned to. Causes the death of innocent villagers, meddles in things he dosen't understand and then has the audacity not to even die when we set a pack of werewolves on to you! If I had half your resource I wouldn't be doing this! I'd be Supremident!'
The Doctor rose unflinching and cocked an eyebrow. 'Supremident? I take you low life work for some kind of Government?'
'It's none of your concern who we work for and what we do. Just stay where you are. Your companion will be able to explain everything. Marlok!'
The second in command dragged a struggling wolf on a chain up the street until he stood at Quinn's side. Quinn left a half smile flick across his lips as he let the wolf surge forward; spitting and howling but all the time being tugged back as the chain chocked around its neck restraining its lunges.
'It knows you, Doctor.'
'Peri, what have I told you about going out with strangers?' chided the Doctor, firmly. It was greeted with a bark and another lunge forward.
Marlok played up to Quinn. 'All the...wolves are back in their houses, Quinn.' He suddenly noticed the dead form. 'Who?' he asked.
Quinn was bitter. 'The damn Inn Keeper, stubborn oaf. Seems he must have liked Leon, tried to get his own back tonight. Nearly tore half my arm away.'
It was only then that the Doctor noticed the scarlet liquid flowing from the tattered remains of Quinn's left shoulder; so too did Marlok.
'Quinn, you'd better get inside, let the surgeons operate.
Quinn laughed a little. 'What? Let those butchers cut into me They have me with the rest of them down that packaging chute. I'd be bloody fresh on the Supremident's desk by tomorrow morning, all sizzling and succulent.' He shook his head. 'It's over for me and this place.'
Becoming even more nervous with every sentence spoken, Marlok asked, 'How do you know?'
'These two strangers are Parlcon agents. Spies in our midst. Once word gets back to Parlcon, Egost'll be ousted and I don't want to be around here at night with no vaccine and no food. Look man, we've been denying these things their live prey for years now. Why do you think there's been so much attacking of our men lately?'
'You said Quebus got caught in the tractor...'
'I know what I said!' snapped Quinn.
'Yes,' chimed the Doctor, as everything began to get much clearer. 'Deny a Linxon its food, live prey, for a prolonged space of time and the bloodlust increases until it can not be controlled by the subject or the subjector. Histrionics Legends Chapter twenty three. Your little game is up, isn't it Justices? Quinn knew, but he wasn't telling. He knew this whole situation would blow up in his face and needed an excuse to shut down rather than admit he couldn't handle it. We're the excuse, Marlok. He's chickened out, the hard man's final act.' The Doctor was showing his contempt. 'You're more intelligent than I suspected.'
The Doctor noticed that the wolf Marlok had at his side was changing, returning to its human form and there before him lay Peri on the end of a very long chain, unconscious. But Marlok and Quinn both had their eyes fixed wholly on the Doctor.
Suddenly, whines and howls filled the night air. 'Your friends are waking up, the bloodlust has overridden your sedatives. They're coming for you!' stated the Doctor with as much melodrama and menace as he deemed necessary.
'You've said enough!' yelled Quinn, 'Set that wolf on him and we'll get out of here.'
Bewildered, Marlok mumbled, 'What? Oh yes, of course.' He looked to his side. There lay the curled form of a sleeping Peri. 'I can't, she's back as she was.' Quinn could only become more irritable.
'It's not even an hour into the transformation of the others...still, I've got a weapon. It's just as effective but much less gratifying to watch.' Quinn took careful aim at the Doctor's head, he squinted and looked down the sights, then the unexpected happened.
From somewhere behind, in front and to the side of Quinn, Marlok, the Doctor and Peri, there was a flurry of violent movement as leaping black shapes issued forth from every street in a destructive torrent of death The wolves had returned.
The Doctor flopped to the ground, unmoving, keeping his eye on Peri's inert body. The creatures ignored them and flew for the Justices as if they knew who had been responsible for keeping them chained and depriving them of their ravenous appetite for raw, living flesh.
Both the Justices did not scream, they had not enough time too. At least eight wolves attached themselves to each struggling, twitching body, tearing at their clothes and flesh. They then left what remained to ooze into the thick, clinging mud of the street and fled away howling triumphantly.
The Doctor eventually managed to help Peri regain consciousness and dragged her to the safety at the edge of the village. Panting they both flopped into the grass. The Doctor rubbed a hand through his hair.
The night was still young. It would be hours before the dawn broke ending the reign of terror in the village for another night. 'Are you alright?' he asked the quivering companion at his side.
'Why shouldn't I be? I escaped from the Courthouse, didn't I?'
The Doctor breathed a sigh of relief. Peri couldn't remember her transformation into the wolf. 'Yes, yes Peri, you escaped but did you find anything out?'
'Yes...yes I did. Every full moon, which lasts for three days on this planet, the Justices set up a tractor-something or other. It brings a ship dwn form space and that's all I heard.'
Deep in thought, the Doctor's mind raced on. 'Yes, that must have been what was effecting the TARDIS drive units. When the ship is dragged down they let the villagers or rather the werewolves out, they attack the passengers, the Justices go in and stun the wolves before any damage is done to the bodies and....and...what's it all for?'
The Doctor paused in thought, but only briefly as his mind continued to ticked over. 'Surgeons!' he suddenly declared, 'Quinn mentioned surgeons and, and something about being 'fresh'. 'sizzling'. Of course! It's most monstrous situation of all time. The bodies of the passengers are hooked up, unrecognisable and packaged into food parcels to be sent to this Supremident chap. He wouldn't eat himself so he sells it to the consumer and nobody knows anything.' He frowned. 'Wonder if he's met Sweeny Todd?'
Peri clutched at his arm and began to pull him the direction of the moor.
'Don't joggle me, Peri, I'm trying to plan our next move.'
'Oh, it's ok, Doctor, but don't you think you'd rather not end up a piece of tender steak on somebody's dinner table. That wolf pack is coming back this way!'
'What? Come on, Peri!' The Doctor was up and running before the young American realised it. 'Back to the TARDIS, it's the only safe place we know!'