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the unreal upon plarrion page 2

The Doctor, cautiously pretending to look for owls in the wood, swept his field of vision over the Officer's face. Peri was right. His face seemed distorted, twisted, as though it was working its way loose. The Doctor turned to Garrisonne and said, 'Something wrong with your face, old chap?' Then, in one lightening movement, he flung his hand out and pulled Garrisonne's face completely off, revealing a smooth mannequins head.

'Autons!' the Doctor declared and then shouted, 'Run!'

Both the Doctor and Peri started to run only to come face to face with a line of figures built by Harry Solem. Each of the figures had blank faces and in unison the right hand dropped to reveal short, stubby blasters all pointing in their direction. The Doctor and Peri raised their hands and made their way back towards the TARDIS.

Kleinarr and Garrisonne had exposed their blasters too. 'Oh, that was very foolish of you, Doctor. Try that again and you'll be vaporised.'

Prodding the Doctor and Peri in the back with the wrist-guns, the procession of Autons walked through the woods to the lights of Harry Solem's house.

The rickety gate was smashed off of its hinges as the line of killers, a Time Lord and a small frightened Earth woman walked into the small workshop of Harry Solem.

Kleinarr looked at Harry. 'You have done well, Solem.' Harry bowed, and as he did so, Kleinarr and Garrisonne directed their fire-power at the crown of his head. A short blast of energy, an explosion that erupted flesh, blood and bone in one shot and a scream from the young Earth woman.

Peri buried her head in the Doctor's coat and the Doctor's anger rose like an antagonised cobra. 'That was totally unnecessary!' the Doctor exploded in a two second burst of fury and rage.

'He had to be eradicated,' said Garrisonne, walking over the headless corpse and placing Kleinarr's thermo detonator in the low rafters, activated the bomb for maximum explosion in 3.5 minutes, Kleinarr placed the Doctor and Peri back to back and tied them together with the deftness and firmness of a mountain climber.

The long line of Autons then strode out of the door. Kleinarr paused and then spoke. 'Goodbye, Doctor, Peri and thank you for donating me your TARDIS.' The door to the workshop closed and the ominous ticking of the thermo detonator filled the workshop.

For the first, for what seemed like ages, the Doctor spoke to the still, sobbing Peri. 'Are you alright?' Between the snuffles and the sobs he caught the word yes. He then started to struggle against the bonds and told Peri to try and slip her wrists out of the constricting ropes. After a while her hands were free and she untied the Doctor with double quick speed.

The Doctor bundled them both out the door and ran for the shattered remnants of the gate. They never made it. As the explosion that followed tore through the night air the Doctor and Peri were blown off their feet as a wave of heat and light hit them. The Doctor sheltered Peri as best he could as the back of his coat began to smoulder slightly and he felt the ends of his hair slowly receded.

Then as quickly as it had happened it was all over. The Doctor rolled over onto his back and smothered the smouldering coat. Peri staggered to her feet and thanked the Doctor. They turned to the workshop. There was nothing but a fine rain of debris falling like grotesque blossom from a tree. The Doctor then heard voices approaching.

In the heart of the woods, Kleinarr stiffened as the last echoes of the explosion reverberated around the forest. He smiled and walked over to the TARDIS.

The Doctor and Peri, meanwhile, ran to the edge of the forest as the voices got nearer. The Doctor was the first to hear what they were saying...

'Father?'

Harry's children. They turned the corner and saw the smoking pit in the floor that had once been their father's workshop - and both burst into tears.

Peri felt the tears sting her eyes again and turned to the Doctor. 'Let's see if the TARDIS is still there,' he whispered to her, Peri's sobbing stopped and she looked at him.

'Why did they want to come to Earth only to leave again? Where's this war criminal too?' she asked. The Doctor could see the strain of the last half hour or so was getting to her.

He sat her down and said in one of his nicest voices. 'They aren't Galac-Fed officers, they're Autons. I think I've already told you about them, haven't I?' Peri nodded recollecting the memories of the plastic killers that the Doctor had told her about once before. He continued: 'They've obviously used those,' he pointed to the nine forgotten meteors, 'to hypnotise that poor model maker and force him to make those Autons. They, in a sense, hi-jacked us so that they could collect the others. They will undoubtedly use my TARDIS for trying to take over the Universe - everybody else generally does!' This last quip brought a smile to Peri's face. 'That's my girl,' he said very cheerfully and headed towards the TARDIS, Peri holding on to the bottom of his coat, so as not to be parted from him.

Kleinarr was extremely angry. 'I thought you had got the key!' he shouted at Garrisonne, who in turn kicked the locked door of the TARDIS. He wheeled round to face his superior.

'And I thought you were getting the key while I was planting and setting the bomb, remember?' There was a crackling of twigs and all the Autons turned as one in the direction of the sound.

There stood the Doctor holding the TARDIS key out in a teasing sort of way, while Peri cowered behind him. He smiled, 'I believe you've forgotten this, you recycled dustbin liner. Well, go and get it!' and with that the Doctor swung round and with a bowling ability of  his previous incarnation still in him, threw it deep into the woods. He then glanced up at the Autons. 'Ha, jolly, ha!' he retorted and sat down on a tree stump. 

Kleinarr had watched all of this with disbelieving amazement. He snapped his fingers and ordered the Autons to seek out and find the TARDIS key, while Garrisonne secured the Doctor and Peri's legs together and once satisfied that the bonds would not work free he ran off into the woods in pursuit of Kleinarr.

Peri was even more confused now. She looked at the Doctor. 'What the hell is going on?' she asked, 'Why did you ditch the TARDIS key?'

'Oh,' said the Doctor, 'It was the TARDIS key was it?' In his hand Peri could see the key. 'The key that I ditched was,' continued the Doctor, 'the key to my old locker at the Gallifreyan Academy gymnasium. I don't use it much.'

Peri smiled. 'Probably why you're so fat' she thought.

'I heard that!' said the Doctor. 'My mind reading maybe a bit rusty, but it's suffice!'

'Hey, cut it out!' retorted Peri. The Doctor smiled and hauled himself and Peri up. Then, like some demented four legged race, they turned in a circle, scanning the surrounding wood for Autons. The coast was clear so the hopping recommenced taking them to the TARDIS.

The Doctor inserted the key into the lock and entered. Once inside the Doctor locked the doors behind them and still tied to Peri, fetched a knife from a TARDIS locker. Once free from their bonds, yet again, Peri activated the scanner to reveal the Autons walking back towards the TARDIS. 'Doctor!' she called, but the Doctor had vanished.

A muffled thump emitted from the console and a voice called for the zircon wrench. Peri looked under the console and saw the Doctor with his head buried in a mass of writhing snake-like wires and cables. She found the tool, gave it to him and watched as he pulled a handful of circuit boards from the console's pedestal. Soldering several of the thickest cables to one of the boards, he then asked Peri to activate the de-materialisation controls. She did this and heard the familiar wheezing noise that accompanied the take-off procedure. But the image on the scanner, the approaching Autons, remained the same. She glanced down at the Doctor, still busy tinkering with the boards.

'Doctor, there's something seriously wrong - we haven't moved!'

The Doctor glanced at the screen. 'Good!' he muttered and carried on with the circuits. Peri was astonished and shocked. That was it. The Doctor had finally fliped. Gone round the twist. Freaked out. She had to do something positive when the Doctor shouted with enormous gusto 'Eureka!'. Peri nearly jumped out of her skin. She turned to the Doctor, who just grinned and pointed at the scanner.

The Autons had stopped, or to be more precise, halted - halted in their tracks. The only thing moving was the background - all the trees, leaves even rabbits were a massive blur, while the frozen Autons were as clear as day. Peri was on the verge of going bonkers. 'What is going on?' she asked, trying hard to remain controlled. The Doctor's smile spread even further over his face when he saw Peri's confusion.

'I've linked the time circuits to Dunns Wood. The TARDIS itself is going backward in time and taking the woods and the Autons with it.' His smile was widening by the minute. Peri stood and watched a the woods began to recede and vanish. The Doctor explained this anomaly: 'We're going back in time so fast that the woods haven't  even grown yet - they are just the original seeds.'

The Autons hung suspended in space, unharmed. The Doctor touched a control on the console and shut off the time circuits. The Autons then started to float off into space and dissolve in melting heaps of plastic. Then, as if on cue, they exploded one by one in the silent vacuum of space, leaving small glowing fragments to disperse themselves throughout the Universe.

Peri turned away from the scanner and turned to the Doctor. 'You've forgotten one thing - when the authorities on Earth go to investigate that poor mans death, the woods will be missing. How will you explain that?'

The Doctor patching the circuits back into the TARDIS said quite simply, 'There will be nothing to explain. As the Autons were destroyed by time reversal, they, and in some respects didn't even exist or visit twentieth century Earth. The woods will be back now, as will the workshop and the model maker. You see, it didn't happen.' He smiled for the umpteenth time that day at Peri's confusion. He carried on with his work, then went to the freezer box in the adjoining room. Opening it, he removed a large chocolate cake, the same they had left on Plarrion earlier that day.

Peri's eyes nearly exploded out of their sockets. 'B..but..,' she stammered, '...you had started to feed that to the birds...' The Doctor interrupted her.

'But, because of the time reversal, we haven't even visited Plarrion.' He picked up a knife and glanced at the totally confused Peri. 'Fancy a piece of chocolate cake?' he asked.

EPILOGUE

The Dainave birds chirruped, the Bayybol trees were slightly ruffled by a subdued breeze that floated over Plarrion's surface. The Doctor was under the umbrella, Peri was asleep. She sat bolt upright as the sun sought sanctuary behind a large cloud. She listened carefully as a small noise played on her ears - was it the noise of a hover car? No. Just the wind. She reclined back on the blanket and dozed off, while the Dainave birds feasted on a Tralavioss chocolate cake. It was just another ordinary day...

written by
ROBERT HAMMOND
copyright 2009

artwork
IAN McPHERSON
copyright 2009
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