“No!” the King of Hearts screamed, and the Queen of Diamonds comforted him.
“There’s nothing you could have done,” the Queen of Diamonds told him.
“The Spades will pay for this!” the Jack of Diamonds announced, “They and their new ally, whoever he or she is. I will not stop until I have found them.”
“If he’s in the Casino, I think I may know who he is,” Conner said.
“I’m pretty sure I know who it is too,” the Queen of Diamonds replied, “But there’s no way to get out of here, not unless the Ace releases you.”
“Hang on, there is a way,” the Jack of Diamonds replied, and Conner and the Queen of Diamonds looked up at him, as he vanished.
“Was that the way?” Conner asked.
“No, he’s flickered back into the real world,” the Queen of Diamonds said in a concerned voice, “This isn’t good, he was about to tell us something important. If I’m right this was planned, now that Queenie’s dead, the Spades may be able to see through her card into this world. We need to get out of the Hearts castle to make plans, unless you’d like us to stay sir?”
“No, I’d rather be alone...” the King of Hearts answered tearfully.
“I’m so sorry, but we need to stop the Spades before they harm anyone else,” Conner told the King, who nodded and attempted a smile, but instead looked like he was in pain.
“Goodbye, do you mind if I don’t show you out?” the King of Hearts asked.
“No that’s fine,” the Queen of Diamonds reassured him, as she and Conner left the room.
The Jack of Diamonds stood up, and looked around, he was in a busy room, full of card players, who all seemed to be playing Go Fish. As the Jack stood up, he spotted the Jack of Spades leaving the room.
“Jack!” the Jack of Diamonds called, as he rushed towards the door. He exited the ‘Go Fish’ room, and found himself in an empty corridor, at the end of which, a door stood ajar.
“Hello?” the Jack of Diamonds shouted, as he made his way up the corridor. When he reached the end, he peered through the door, and looked into the room beyond, which turned out to be a cleaning cupboard. There was a body lying on the floor of the cupboard. The Jack of Diamonds immediately recognised him as the Jack of Clubs.
“Are you alright?” the Jack of Diamonds said, crouching down next to the Jack of Clubs. He could hear breathing from the Jack of Clubs, which meant he was just unconscious. As the Jack of Diamonds stood up, he heard something behind him, but as he turned around, someone hit in the face and he fell unconscious too.
“The Jack of Diamonds, what an idiot,” the Jack of Spades cackled, as he stepped out of the cupboard and locked the door.
Back in the poker room, the game of Poker was still going on, and the bets were still being raised. Teeena and Energisa were rushing around the Casino carrying drinks to the players, and Energisa had to make the food dishes, if they were asked for, as Queenie had gone.
“I’d like a Roast Korflig sausage,” Gisgerm snapped at Energisa, as she passed him, carrying a full tray of drinks.
“I’m sorry, I can’t make Roast Korflig, you see Queenie’s gone...” Energisa began.
“That’s not my fault is it? Roast Korflig, ASAP,” Gisgerm replied, and Energisa sighed, as she walked away.
“I see your bet and raise it to 1 million Casiniums,” Mystic said, smiling.
“Your ancestors weren’t very good at poker, you seem to be something new in your family,” Gisgerm replied, leering, as Mystic’s smile faltered, “I see your bet, and raise it to 1 million, 100,000.”
“I see your bet,” the Doctor replied, as his turn arrived.
“I’m folding,” Georgia said in an annoyed voice, placing her cards down, “I’m going to the bar for a drink.”
“All right,” the Doctor replied.
“You’d better win, mister,” Georgia said grinning, but as she walked away she began to cry. Teeena nearly bumped into her as she passed.
“I’m sorry, are you alright?” Teeena asked.
“I’m fine,” Georgia replied, wiping her tears.
“No, you aren’t, you’re crying, what’s the matter?” Teeena questioned.
“My friends gone and I don’t know where, and now there’s this stupid poker game,” Georgia said frustrated, “And if the Doctor wins it, then we lose the Tardis, and I really love that ship.”
“I’m so sorry,” Teeena said, comforting Georgia.
“It’s not your fault, it’s whoever stole Conner,” Georgia replied, “Has Gisgerm been around here much before?”
“Not much, which is good since he’s not a very nice person,” Teeena answered, “Energisa possesses a pure loathing for him, she expressed that she wants to grab a pitchfork, shove it into him and feed him his own blood to see if its poison. That’s because apparently he’s making her make him a Roast Korflig sausage, which takes a long time, which is rather annoying, as we’re lacking staff.”
“I guess things aren’t going well for us at the moment,” Georgia muttered.
“Definitely,” Teeena sighed.
“Have you ever loved anyone who it feels weird to love?” Georgia asked.
“No, I’ve never had anyone,” Teeena muttered, “Except my husband, Rasteika.”
“And he’s...?” Georgia asked.
“A complete git, I can’t divorce him though,” Teeena replied.
“Why?” Georgia questioned.
“He’s my boss,” Teeena explained, “And half my family’s employed at the Casino, you see I had to marry him, to save my family from debt and starvation. If I dumped him, then my family would lose their jobs. Uncle Jarickus, cousin Usica.”
“How did you meet him?” Georgia questioned.
“He was my stalker for half a year,” Teeena answered, “That was bloody annoying.” Georgia laughed and Teeena grinned at her.
“I’ve led a very weird life,” Teeena nodded, “And I was born, while the rest of my family were at a poker match. My father liked to gamble, so much that he gambled all our money away, which was about the time Rasteika started stalking me, he saw me in the Casino, back then he wasn’t in charge here, then I think he murdered his father to become in charge.” Georgia laughed again.
“Well, I’d better get back to the game, I wonder what’s happening now,” Georgia said smiling.
“Keep that smile, you are very pretty when you smile,” Teeena told Georgia.
“Thank you,” Georgia replied, “See you later.”
“I need to get back to serving drinks,” Teeena said, walking away, as Georgia rejoined the table.
“You’ve been gone a while,” the Doctor told Georgia, as she sat down to next to him.
“What’s going on?” Georgia asked.
“Queen Spade has folded, so has King Spade, and it’s just Mystic, me and Gisgerm left,” the Doctor explained.
“Would you like to swap any new cards sir?” Manajarr asked.
“One please,” the Doctor replied. Mystic swapped a card too, but Gisgerm did not. The Queen of Spades had now resumed looking dreamily at the Doctor, batting her eyelashes.
“I’d like to raise the bet to 1 million, 500,000 Casiniums,” the Doctor announced, as he looked happily at his cards.
“I see your bet,” Mystic muttered after a short pause.
“I see your bet and raise it to 2 million Casiniums,” Gisgerm said.
“Would you like to swap any cards?” Manajarr asked.
“No,” the Doctor replied, and Mystic and Gisgerm repeated this answer.
“I see your bet,” the Doctor said, “But I do not wish to raise it.”
“I see your bet,’ Mystic muttered.
“I see your bet,” Gisgerm finished.
“Please turn over your cards,” Manajarr ordered, and the Doctor obeyed.
“A straight flush,” Manajarr said, as he looked at the Doctor’s hand, which consisted of the 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of Clubs, “Mystic.” Mystic showed Manajarr his cards and sighed, he had only managed a Full House.
“Gisgerm, please show your hand,” Manajarr said, and Gisgerm turned over his cards leering.
“A Royal flush, I think you’ll find,” Gisgerm said grinning.
“Gisgerm wins,” Teeena announced, “Please take a break, and we shall resume the game for the 2nd round in ten minutes.”
“What do you mean second round?” Gisgerm demanded.
“There are 3 rounds in this poker tournament,” Teeena answered, “Didn’t you know that, it definitely said three on the invitations.”
“I didn’t read mine very well,” Queen Spade shrugged, before putting on more make-up.
“I’m sure it was two,” Mystic replied, “Ah well, three’s fine if they went as quickly as this game.”
“I don’t mind beating the Doctor three times,” Gisgerm chuckled.
“I’ve saved your arse,” Teeena commented quietly to the Doctor, “There was only 1 round, now you’d better win the other two games, or beat Gisgerm in both anyway.”
The Queen of Diamonds led Conner back towards the Diamond’s turreted castle, which was shining in the sunlight. Once they reached the castle, they were met by the King of Diamonds.
“Any news?” the King of Diamonds asked.
“Bad,” the Queen of Diamonds replied.
“The Queen of Hearts is dead,” Conner explained.
“Oh no,” the King of Diamonds said, hugging the Queen.
“And the Jack of Diamonds has vanished too, just before he was about to say something important,” the Queen of Diamonds added.
“What was he about to say?” the King of Diamonds asked.
“He said that there may be a way to get out of this world,” Conner replied.
“But I’m sure there’s not,” the Queen of Diamonds muttered.
“Darling, aren’t you forgetting that Conner’s face was on the Jack of Spades card?” the King of Diamonds replied, “Which means he has replaced the Jack in this world.”
“Of course!” the Queen of Diamonds exclaimed, “The Jack’s mirror!”
“What about the Jack’s mirror?” Conner asked, “Was he vain or something?”
“No, that’s the Jack of Clubs,” the Queen of Diamonds replied.
“The Spades are the only cards able to control when they enter the real world,” the King of Diamonds explained, “Because their Ace is nearby, the way they enter the real world is through their mirrors, only cards can enter this world.”
“I’m the Jack of Spades?” Conner asked in a disbelieving voice.]
“Basically,” the King of Diamonds replied.
“We need to get to the Spades castle,” the Queen of Diamonds announced.
Meanwhile, the second game of Poker was well underway in the Casino and Georgia had already folded.
“I see your bet and raise it to 1 million Casiniums,” the Doctor told Gisgerm.
“Oh Doctor, you’re such a tease,” the Queen of Spades giggled.
“I see your bet,” the King of Spades muttered.
“I see your bet, Doctor, but I just have to fold, win for me!” the Queen of Spades told in the Doctor in her usual over-the-top girly voice.
“I see your bet and raise it to 2 million,” Mystic said smiling.
“I see your bet and raise it to 10 million,” Gisgerm replied.
“Would you like to swap any cards?” Manajarr asked, and the card swapping began. Georgia made her way over to Energisa, who was looking very worried.
“Are you alright, what was your name, Energisa?” Georgia asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine, it’s just my friend’s party is going on as we speak,” Energisa said disappointedly, “And I’m not there, because I’m here obviously.”
“I missed my brother’s party once, it was his 18th, you should have heard my mum yell,” Georgia replied, “And my brother was disappointed too, but he didn’t show it. Although, some of my friends turned up at the party, thinking I’d be there, they were very annoyed at me.”
“Somehow, this isn’t making me feel better,” Energisa said in an annoyed voice.
“Hey, you have a good reason for not going to this party,” Georgia replied, “I couldn’t even remember what I was doing, I may have got drunk.” Energisa smiled.
“I hear you want to kill Gisgerm, or something?” Georgia asked.
“Oh yeah, whenever he comes in here, which, thank God, ain’t very often, he always asks me to get him ridiculous things,” Energisa explained, “Or Queenie, but I dunno where she is, Teeena doesn’t either, well she may do, but she ain’t told me.”
“I see your bet and raise it to 100 million!” Gisgerm shouted at the poker table.
“Can we calm ourselves, please,” Teeena said, “There is no need for this shouting, this is a game we’re playing, and it should be civilised, or we will throw you out.”
“I see your bet and raise it to 200 million,” the Doctor said.
“I’m folding,” the King of Spades said, as he walked over to the bar to get a drink, where he found the Queen of Spades.
“You’ve folded have you, are you that bad a player?” the Queen of Spades asked.
“You keep folding,” the King of Spades snapped.
“That’s to entice the Doctor, I have some poisonous lipstick I want to try out, so unless you want me to kiss you...” the Queen of Spades replied soothingly.
“Why are the guards on red alert?” the King of Spades asked.
“Which guards, darling?” the Queen of Spades answered.
“Our castle guards, 10 just informed me that they’re all on red alert,” the King of Spades replied.
“Oh, telepathy, well I told him to, because I think the Diamonds may know that the human boy is the Jack of Spades,” the Queen of Spades explained.
“What if the guards catch them?” the King of Spades asked.
“I’ve told them to kill any intruders,” the Queen of Spades explained.
Meanwhile, Mystic had decided to fold and the Doctor and Gisgerm were the only ones left in the 2nd round.
“I see your bet,” the Doctor muttered.
“I see your bet,” Gisgerm said.
“Please show your cards,” Manajarr ordered, and the Doctor obediently turned over his cards to reveal a Royal Flush. Gisgerm had only managed a straight flush.
“The Doctor wins,” Teeena announced.
“It isn’t over yet boy,” Gisgerm told the Doctor nastily, before heading over to the bar.
“Doctor, I want you to take my money, and win for me,” Mystic told the Doctor, “I think Gisgerm needs to be taught a lesson, and I want to help your friend.”
“Thank you very much,” the Doctor told Mystic, “You can have all my winnings, I steal cash mostly.” Mystic’s smile faltered, but the Doctor kept on smiling, as Georgia sat down beside them.
“Doctor, I want you to play for me, take my money, I don’t even know where you got it from,” Georgia told the Doctor, “You are a much better player than me.”
“He stole the money,” Mystic told Georgia, who rolled her eyes.
The Queen of Diamonds and Conner had made it all the way to the castle of the Spades. They had reached te gates, where two guards were standing guard. They looked like cards, but with arms and legs, much like the cards out of Alice in Wonderland.
“I guess we won’t be just marching in then,” Conner commented.
“No, we’re breaking in, I mean did you expect the Spades to leave their castle unguarded?” the Queen of Diamonds asked.
“Nope,” Conner replied.
“This way,” the Queen of Diamonds said quietly, as they walked away from the gates. The card guards watched them leave, and then resumed staring forward.
Back in the Casino, the third round of Poker had started, and the Doctor and Gisgerm were, like before, the only players still in the game, as the Queen and King of Spades had dropped out almost immediately. Mystic and Georgia were watching the game from a different table.
“The Doctor had better win,” Mystic said, crossing his fingers.
“If he doesn’t I’ll kill him,” Georgia muttered.
“I raise the bet to 500 million,” Gisgerm said, leering.
“I see your bet and raise it to 600 million,” the Doctor replied.
“Would you like to swap any cards?” Manajarr asked.
“No thank you,” the Doctor said quickly, staring determinedly at Gisgerm.
“Gisgerm?” Manajarr asked.
“No,” Gisgerm hissed.
“I raise the bet to 800 million,” the Doctor said.
“I raise the bet to 1 billion!” Gisgerm roared.
“Sirs, you’ve reached the betting limit,” Teeena informed them.
“I see your bet,” the Doctor muttered.
“I see your bet,” Gisgerm snarled.
“Please reveal your hands,” Manajarr ordered, as Teeena, Georgia and Mystic all crossed their fingers. The Doctor placed a straight flush on the table, so did Gisgerm.
“What happens now?” Georgia asked, “They’ve both got straight flushes!”
“Whoever’s hand is highest value wins,” Mystic commented.
“But which hand is of highest value?” Georgia asked frantically.
“The hand with the highest number,” Mystic answered.
“The Doctor wins!” Manajarr announced, as Gisgerm slammed his hands down on the table, and then collapsed it.
“Sir, I will ask you to calm down one more time!” Teeena ordered.
“So, Gisgerm, where’s Conner? And how do we free him?” the Doctor asked.
“You really thought I’d go with that little deal, the hour has struck,” Gisgerm roared, “The hour when the Spades will return to full power!”
“I thought it was you in charge of the Spades,” the Doctor commented.
“In charge, he isn’t in charge, we’re just helping him in his little scheme,” the Queen of Spades said, as she walked over to the Doctor with the King of Spades.
“Where did you find the Ace of Spades?” the Doctor asked.
“I found it on a tiny island on Earth,” Gisgerm replied, “Such a long way from here, it took me so many long years to trace it, but now, I finally have my chance, this world will be mine, and I will be the richest man in the whole Universe!”
“I don’t think so,” Teeena snapped.
“I’d be quiet if I were you,” the Queen of Spades told her, “Be silent and embrace the Ace of Spades.” The Queen of Spades pulled a playing card out of her pocket, which was the Ace of Spades. As Gisgerm, the King and the Queen of Spades cackled, black smoke shot from the card and started hitting people around the room.
“DOCTOR!” Georgia shrieked, before she was hit by the smoke and fell to the floor.
The Queen of Diamonds had led Conner through a secret passage in the edge of the hill the castle was on. It led all the way up to the hallway of the giant black castle. As the Queen of Diamonds pushed open the door into the hall, she heard a loud announcement, but it was unknown where the noise had voice from.
“All guards on red alert for intruders, all guards on red alert,” the voice ordered, “All guards on red alert for intruders, all guards on red alert.
“What does that mean?” Conner asked, as he entered the hallway, which had black carpets and was very gothic-style.
“I think they know somebody is here,” the Queen of Diamonds replied.
“All guards on red alert for intruders, all intruders will be executed,” the voice called again, but it seemed to be getting louder.
“That’s not good,” Conner commented looking at the Queen of Diamonds, whose eyes were wide.
“All guards on red alert for intruders, all intruders will be found and executed,” the voice said, as the owner of the voice burst through a door to the left of Conner and pointed a spear at him. He looked like the other cards, except that he had a 10 on him.
“He’s the 10 of Spades, head guard,” the Queen of Diamonds commented, as guards burst into the hall from all directions and walked slowly towards Conner and the Queen.
“All intruders will be found and executed,” the 10 of Spades said seriously, before smirking.
TO BE CONTINUED
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
“No!” the King of Hearts screamed, and the Queen of Diamonds comforted him.
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Conner’s eyes opened to find him in a large bedroom, with a huge bed, with red sheets and pillows. There were a pair of beautifully engraved glass double doors, that opened onto a balcony. The curtains billowed in the gentle breeze that drifted through the balcony doors.
“Where am I?” Conner asked, as he sat up.
“You are in my castle,” a voice replied to Conner’s surprise. Conner looked around again to find that there was a beautiful woman sitting in a seat beside the bed.
“Who are you?” Conner said in a confused voice, “What happened?”
“I am the Queen of Diamonds,” the Queen of Diamonds answered, “But first, are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Conner said, rolling off the bed, “Look I need to get back to the Casino.” “Sorry, I don’t think you can get back,” the Queen of Diamonds said honestly, “I can’t get back, and I haven’t been imprisoned here by the Ace of Spades.”
“Of course, the Ace of Spades, it sort of grabbed me with smoky stuff,” Conner replied, “But it was that nasty Jack person.”
“The Jack of Spades,” the Queen of Diamonds muttered.
“Please where exactly are we?” Conner asked, “Tell me all.”
“This world was created a very long time ago; it was created from psychic energy, which you probably won’t have heard of,” the Queen of Diamonds explained, “It is said that a wizard created this world, well I’m not sure if he was a wizard, but I did meet him. He brought a pack of cards to life using magic, apparently, but I refused to help him in his scheme to kill these other ‘wizards’, who had won money off him. That was thousands of years ago now though, but to me it only seems like yesterday, this land doesn’t progress, it just stays the same, nobody has children, nobody dies. For a long time we were trapped in this land, the wizard didn’t mean to create it, but when he brought us to life, this world came from our minds, which came from his mind.”
“But did the others help this wizard?” Conner asked.
“Just the Spades, everybody else was good, the Clubs may be mischievous little devils, but they’re good at heart,” the Queen of Diamonds answered quickly.
“So a wizard created you, which created this world, but why are you trapped here?” Conner questioned.
“The wizard also brought the Aces to life, they held great power, their power allowed us cards to come out of this world and into the real world,” the Queen continued, “Each of the Aces also had extra powers, the Ace of Diamonds could perfect, the Ace of Hearts could create love, the Ace of Clubs could steal, the Ace of Spades could kill.”
“Why didn’t it kill me?” Conner asked.
“I don’t know, probably because you’re a companion of the Doctor,” the Queen Of Diamonds said, “I may be a card, but I have heard alot about him, I am 13546 years old, and although for many years of that I was trapped in this world, as the Aces were locked away to stop the Spades causing trouble, I could still hear and see things through my mirror.”
“What do you know about the Doctor?” Conner questioned.
“I know that he causes alot of trouble, but also that he saves many lives and whole planets from the forces of evil,” the Queen answered, “We knew that he may be able to help us, so we tried to save you.”
“You warned me about the Jack!” Conner exclaimed, “It was you.”
“Yes, unfortunately my warning was rather too late,” the Queen of Diamonds replied, “I’m very sorry about that.”
“I shouldn’t have been so quick to trust the Jack,” Conner shrugged, “But hang on, if the Ace of Spades was locked away, how come it was in the Casino?”
“Somebody has taken it there,” the Queen of Diamonds answered, “Just that Ace though, because only the Spades are able to control where and when they appear in the real world, whereas the rest of us flicker between worlds.” Suddenly, a figure burst into the room.
“Queenie’s getting worse!” the King of Spades told the Queen.
“Oh no,” the Queen of Diamonds said sadly.
“Who is he?” Conner asked.
“This is the King of Diamonds,” the Queen of Diamonds answered.
“Nice to meet you,” the King of Diamonds said kindly.
“I must see Queenie,” the Queen of Diamonds told the King, “Conner, you may come if you wish, you will find out what happens to a card if they are attacked by the Ace of Spades.”
The Doctor and Georgia followed Teeena back into the poker room. Georgia was carrying the card with Conner’s face on in her pocket. The Doctor had explained everything about the Pack of Wizards to Georgia, but she was very confused.
“Doctor, where is he?” Georgia asked.
“I don’t know,” the Doctor replied.
“Is he dead?” Georgia said tearfully.
“Sorry, Georgia, I don’t know,” the Doctor muttered.
“Have you ever come across these cards before?” Georgia questioned.
“No, I don’t think so,” the Doctor said.
“Excuse me, why are you calling him Doctor?” Teeena asked, “Are you Doctor John Smith?”
“No, um, people just, my name is the Doctor,” the Doctor said lamely.
“Just the Doctor, but why did you call yourself John Smith?” Teeena said, “Are you some sort of criminal? Who is trying to hide their name?”
“No, I’m not a criminal, just um...” the Doctor replied.
“Misunderstood,” Georgia finished. As they approached the poker area, Energisa ran up to them, with a rather concerned look on her face.
“Auntie, I wondered where you’d gone,” Energisa whined, “And the card players are still waiting for you two.”
“Tell me, has a young man, relation to the Spades come back to the room since we left?” the Doctor asked, and Energisa looked confused.
“Who?” Energisa asked.
“Don’t worry,” the Doctor sighed walking into the card room. The Queen of Spades saw the Doctor enter and stood up smiling, the King of Spades looked up at her irritably.
“Do you think he hasn’t realised who we are yet, your seduction plan won’t work,” the King of Spades hissed, pulling her arm, so that she would sit down.
“Hush, darling, my plan may work either way,” the Queen of Spades replied.
“Finally those idiots return so we can play,” Gisgerm snapped, as the Doctor and Georgia sat down.
“I’m sorry, but my friend has just vanished, and been turned into a playing card,” Georgia replied angrily, “I don’t suppose any of you had anything to do with it?”
“Nothing, I’d never do anything that may upset the Doctor,” the Queen of Spades said, “Oh, pardon me, I’m so sorry if you wanted to keep your true name a secret.”
“The Doctor?” Gisgerm gurgled, “Who the ‘ell is he?”
“Why did they take so long?” King Spade asked, as talking broke out all over the table.
“Where did Knave Diamond go? Have you seen him?” Mystic asked the Doctor.
“No I haven’t,” the Doctor replied.
“Silence please,” Teeena ordered, but her words had no effect.
“Doctor, do we have to take part in this game now?” Georgia asked, “I’m terrible at poker and we really need to find Conner.”
“You are not pulling out of the game,” Gisgerm hissed, “We’ve been waiting ages for you to return.”
“Who are you anyway, Doctor?” King Spade asked, “And why the false identity?”
“I suppose he wouldn’t want any of his enemies to know who he is,” Queen Spade muttered.
“SILENCE!” Teeena shrieked, and everyone in the room turned and stared at her, as silence fell.
“Can we just start the game please,” Manajarr, the card dealer, piped up.
“Doctor, I’m not playing,” Georgia announced.
“I have some information that might help you,” Gisgerm said.
“Tell us then,” Georgia replied.
“If you win the game of poker, I’ll tell you everything, where the boy is, how to free him,” Gisgerm announced, “If not, I get the Doctor’s TARDIS.”
“I don’t think we should be betting anything other than money,” Mystic replied.
“This isn’t really betting, you idiot,” Gisgerm said nastily, and Mystic fell silent.
“No, you should tell us now, there may be lives at stake,” Georgia demanded.
“The thing is, my information is very valuable, because it also includes the truth about the Pack of Wizards,” Gisgerm said.
“What did you say?” Mystic asked, with wide eyes.
“Oh you’ve heard of the Pack of Wizards before have you?” Gisgerm asked, with an unsurprised look on his face.
“No, I’ve never heard of it,” Mystic said in a false voice.
“And girlie, there are no lives at stake, your friend is safe where he is,” Gisgerm explained, “Well when I say there are no lives at stake, I mean, not yet.”
“Doctor, do something!” Georgia hissed.
“Casino rules state that nothing other than money, which is available at the time, may be betted,” Teeena explained, “Now Gisgerm, if you do not give information then I will have to ban you from these premises.”
“You can do that?” Georgia asked.
“I think you’ll find that you can’t,” Gisgerm replied smugly.
“And I think you’ll find that as head of a section of the Casino, I can,” Teeena retorted.
“Well if you do that, your friends will never find their friend,” Gisgerm said smiling nastily.
“John, Doctor, win for me!” the Queen Spade exclaimed in an over-the-top voice, placing a hand on her heart and batting her eyelashes even more than usual.
“Doctor?” Georgia said, turning to the Doctor.
“I’ll play, Conner’s whereabouts for the TARDIS,” the Doctor announced, to the shock of Georgia and Teeena. Gisgerm smiled and turned to Manajarr.
“Deal the cards,” Gisgerm ordered.
Conner followed the Queen of Diamonds out of her beautiful, white, turreted castle, into the neat gardens and down a path, which led into a courtyard. At the end of the courtyard were the white and red, front gates of the castle, which were embedded with huge red diamonds.
“Psychic energy created all of this?” Conner asked.
“That’s right,” the Queen of Diamonds said, “Gates open!” The gates obeyed the Queen and swung open, Conner followed the Queen out of the gates to find himself looking down into a valley. He could see two large castles. A large red and black castle sat a few hundred metres away from the gates, and Conner could spot a black, spooky-looking, turreted castle in the distance.
“Who lives there?” Conner asked.
“The Spades live in the dark black castle, and the Hearts live in the red and black,” the Queen of Diamonds answered, “Now we must move on. The Queen of Hearts was attacked by the Ace of Spades, and she has fallen very ill. If the King of Hearts hadn’t found her when he returned to this world, I dread to think what would have happened.” The Queen walked speedily down a beautiful white and red road towards the Hearts castle, her cloak billowing behind her and Conner quickly followed.
Back in the Casino, Manajarr began to deal the cards, Teeena tried to control herself and the Queen of Spades looked suggestively up at the Doctor. Georgia poked the Doctor and pulled him aside.
“Doctor, what if you lose, you can’t give him the TARDIS!” Georgia said.
“Well obviously,” the Doctor replied, “I didn’t say I’d give him the key anyway.”
“But if you lose we may never see Conner again, and how do you know Gisgerm isn’t lying about knowing anything anyway?” Georgia asked.
“Look, I’ve already thought all of this through,” the Doctor answered.
“Then what’s your plan?” Georgia questioned interestedly.
“To win,” the Doctor said simply.
“But Doctor!” Georgia exclaimed.
“Didn’t I tell you? I’m brilliant at poker,” the Doctor replied, “I’ve never lost a game, except that one time against a troll.”
“A troll, but they’re really stupid,” Georgia said smirking.
“This troll was very intelligent,” the Doctor protested, “Anyway, basically I’m good.”
“Can’t you just read his mind or something?” Georgia asked.
“If I try to do that, his cronies will try and kill me,” the Doctor answered.
“What cronies?” Georgia asked.
“King and Queen Spade, and a couple of the observers from the side,” the Doctor said, indicating, with a jerk of his head, two green aliens with large eyes, who were watching the Doctor and Georgia closely.
“The cards have been dealt, let us begin,” Manajarr ordered.
“Excuse me, I’m confused, what if I win, does the Doctor get the information or not?” Mystic asked.
“Then whoever out of me and the Doctor has the highest amount of money wins, but I assure you, I will win,” Gisgerm answered.
“Alright, has the betting limit been decided?” Manajarr asked.
“Yes,” King Spade answered briskly.
“Please place your ante on the table,” Manajarr said, and the Doctor, Georgia, King Spade, Queen Spade, Mystic and Gisgerm all placed a pile of cash onto the table. “No bet,” the Doctor muttered. Georgia shook her head, and everyone stared at King Spade who paused before he spoke.
“Open, I bet 10,000 Casiniums,” King Spade announced, as he pushed the large amount of money into the centre of the large table.
“Check,” Queen Spade sighed, staring at the Doctor with dreamy eyes.
“I see your bet,” Mystic announced, pushing the money into the centre of the table.
“I see your bet and raise it to 100,000,” Gisgerm said smirking.
“Are you sure about that?” Teeena asked.
“Yes, of course I am,” Gisgerm snapped.
“Doctor, what the hell is the betting limit?” Georgia asked.
“1 billion,” the Doctor replied smiling at Georgia’s gobsmacked face.
“Sir, would you like to change any cards?” Manajarr asked.
“Yes please,” the Doctor replied smiling, as he swapped two of his cards.
The Queen of Diamonds strode up the lawns of the Hearts Castle, and Conner was close behind her. Suddenly, two shabby looking figures wearing crowns burst out from a bush, causing the Queen of Diamonds to scream.
“What the hell do you think your doing?” the Queen of Diamonds asked them.
“We wanted to know who ‘e is,” the King of Clubs answered.
“He’s Conner, he’s been captured by the Ace of Spades and trapped here,” the Queen of Diamonds explained.
“He looks a bit peaky,” the Queen of Clubs commented dryly.
“You would too, if you’d been trapped in a pack of cards,” Conner replied.
“Is there anything else you want to know?” the Queen of Diamonds asked, “I am off to visit a very dear friend, who, as you full well know, is very ill.”
“All right, sorry, where’s your ‘usband anyway?” the King of Clubs replied.
“He spent all morning with the Hearts, and he’s very busy,” the Queen of Diamonds explained.
“But you have all of eternity to do things, there’s no point bein’ busy,” the King of Clubs muttered.
“If you haven’t noticed, half your castle’s roof has fallen in, there are weeds growing up the castle wall, and your whole kingdom has fallen into disarray,” the Queen of Diamonds snapped, “If you spent more time bein’ busy, perhaps you could fix at least one of those.”
“Oooh, we’re sorry,” the Queen of Clubs said in a lofty voice.
“Where’s the Jack of Clubs anyway?” the Queen of Diamonds asked.
“Trying to find Jaq, the Jack of Hearts,” the King of Clubs replied.
“He’s bein’ busy,” the Queen of Clubs added, “But we think he’s vanished and returned to the other world.”
“We brought him up so badly, I can’t believe he wants to be helpful,” the King of Clubs said, “Come on sweetie, I fancy some frog racing.” The King and Queen of Clubs then sidled off back into the bushes.
“Were they the King and Queen of Clubs?” Conner asked excitedly.
“I’m afraid so,” the Queen of Diamonds replied, as she continued to stroll up the lawns towards the Hearts castle. Conner spotted a huge maze on the left side of the castle, and on the other was a boating lake. They entered the castle via two large red doors. Once inside they were met by the Jack of Diamonds. The Queen of Diamonds introduced Conner to the Jack and then he led them up the staircase.
“She’s getting worse,” the Jack of Diamonds told the Queen, “The King of Hearts won’t take any rest, and he hardly leaves her side.”
“Has she had any Doctors look at her?” the Queen of Diamonds asked.
“The 9 of Hearts has been giving her medicine, but she’s in such a wild state,” the Jack of Diamonds answered, “She’s in here.” The Jack led them into a large bedroom. On the bed in the centre of the room lay the Queen of Hearts, who seemed restless and looked very red. The King of Hearts sat beside her, holding her hand.
“Your majesty, you need some sleep,” the Queen of Diamonds said, as she rushed to the King of Heart’s side and sat beside him.
“I can’t leave,” the King of Hearts replied, “I must stay with her. She’s dying.”
“Oh no,” the Queen of Diamonds said softly, as the Queen of Hearts made a small shriek and rolled over on the bed, then she didn’t stop moving but kept rolling around, as if she was having some kind of fit.
“Darling, it’s alright, stay with us,” the King of Hearts said in a soothing voice, “You have to stay with me, I can’t live without you!” The Queen of Hearts fell silent, and the Jack of Diamonds rushed to check her pulse.
“I’m sorry,” the Jack of Diamonds told the King sadly, “She’s gone.”
TO BE CONTINUED
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
“Tim!” Chelsea yelled. “Get the hell into the ambulance now!”
Tim Harris stomped down the stairs, locking the door behind him. He climbed into the back of the ambulance, looking nervously at his stepdaughter Chelsea and his girlfriend Zoe, who was in labour.
“Drive!” Chelsea cried.
The ambulance shot off the estate, and hurled down the road. Zoe cried in pain, almost tearing Tim’s arm off.
“Watch my arm!” he protested.
“Watch your bloody arm?” Zoe yelled. “I made my daughters take your surname, I’m having your child, my Crystal’s dead and my uterus feels like it’s about to burst! Watch your bloody arm? You’re lucky if I don’t kick you in the bloody bal –”
“He gets it, mum,” Chelsea smiled.
The Doctor ran to help Crystal, but was thrown off his feet. The Doomsworld became increasingly clear in Crystal’s mind, and suddenly, she heard a voice in her ear.
“I’m gonna send you to the Doomsworld,” the Inquisitor spat. “And then I’m gonna go to your house, and kill your sister. And them I’m gonna go to the hospital, and kill your mum and your brother. And them I’m gonna go to Tesco, and I’m gonna kill your dad.”
“That’s a bit violent,” Crystal frowned. “And he’s not my dad!”
She swung her foot at the Inquisitor, and he dropped her in pain. The Doctor climbed to his feet and pulled Crystal from the room, the door appearing in the glass once more.
“What did he mean, my brother?” Crystal asked as they ran along the nearest corridor.
“Your mum’s pregnant, don’t you remember?” the Doctor replied. “What did you mean about leaving me?”
“I forgot how much I needed you,” Crystal laughed. “And I guess I kind of felt… I felt that you killed me.”
The Doctor pulled her into a room leading off from the corridor. He held her hand, and smiled at her.
“Madame Rene did it to save the world,” he explained. “Without you, I wouldn’t be able to cope. Without you, I’d be lonely.”
“Without me the world would be destroyed,” Crystal realised. “We really are the dream team, aren’t we?”
“Yup,” the Doctor grinned. “Now, let’s find the TARDIS and go!”
He pulled the Sonic Screwdriver from his pocket, and raised it into the air. A familiar grating noise filled the room, and the TARDIS materialised in front of them.
“Can we go and see my brother?” Crystal asked as they entered the TARDIS.
“Of course,” the Doctor smiled. “That’s where we’re headed now!”
A few minutes later, the TARDIS materialised in the waiting room of the hospital. Crystal stepped out, and was immediately confronted by Chelsea.
“What are you doing here?” she cried. “What if mum and dad see you?”
“I wanted to see our brother,” Crystal frowned. “Is he okay? Is mum okay?”
“They’re both fine,” Chelsea smiled. “I’ll ask to hold him – wait here.”
She left the room, as the Doctor emerged from the TARDIS. He and Crystal sat down in some chairs, ignoring the shocked glances of the patients as they stared at the TARDIS. The Doctor concentrated on the television, which was blasting The One Show out at full volume, until Chelsea reappeared.
“Awww!” Crystal cried. “He’s so cute! He’d better not be bald like Tim…”
“He’s our stepbrother,” Chelsea grinned. “And he’s called Tom. Tom Harris.”
“Tom and Tim?” Crystal raised her eyebrows.
“Oh, oh yeah.”
Crystal laughed at Chelsea’s frown, and held her baby brother. He looked up at her with wide eyes, and a brilliant smile. Crystal held out a finger, and Tom’s little pink hand wrapped around it.
“He does loads of cool tricks,” Chelsea said. “If you touch his cheek, he turns to look at you! Weird, huh?”
Before Crystal could reply, the hospital lights flickered. The Doctor immediately abandoned his seat, casting one last glance at Christine Bleakley. Crystal followed him, handing Tom back to Chelsea. Chelsea followed them, carrying Tom, as they stepped out into the corridor.
“This corridor’s empty,” the Doctor muttered. “Perhaps we’d better go back to the…”
Before he could finish, the Inquisitor appeared out of thin air.
“TARDIS,” the Inquisitor finished, laughing. “You’ll regret the day you messed around with me.”
He stepped forwards, knocking the Doctor sideways. Crystal slipped to the floor, and Chelsea screamed as the Inquisitor picked up Tom and began walking down the corridor.
“No!” she yelled.
Zoe looked up from her hospital bed as a skeletal figure entered the room. He handed her Tom, ignoring her shakes of fear.
“Get over yourself, woman,” he sighed. “I’m not the Grim Reaper. You can’t give someone their baby back without getting funny looks these days…”
He turned to leave the room, and was almost immediately confronted by Chelsea. He threw her sideways and headed over to Crystal, who was still on the floor. Grabbing her, he disappeared from the hospital, and the lights flickered on once more.
“Crystal!” the Doctor cried.
He skidded over to where she had vanished, and almost slipped over. Looking under his left foot, he saw Crystal’s locket. Presumably, she had slipped it off in order to remain safe. Chelsea looked up from her place on the floor, but the Doctor was gone, replaced with the sound of the TARDIS dematerialising.
“Why are you taking me here?” Crystal asked as the Inquisitor appeared back in the room behind the glass. “What’s so special about here?”
“It’s my new base,” the Inquisitor snarled. “The Death Collectors saw fit to exile me from our realm. Are, here comes our gate.”
Crystal screamed as a golden gate began to grow up the side of the wall. The Inquisitor dropped her as the gate opened, and white light poured out. Crystal crawled over to the glass wall, but she couldn’t find the door.
“Say hello to the Doomsworld!” the Inquisitor cackled insanely.
He picked Crystal up, and began to drag her to the gate. Suddenly, the sound of the TARDIS filled the air, and the Doctor emerged, behind the glass. He banged his fists, unable to find the door, as Crystal came closer to the gate.
“Please, Doctor!” she sobbed. “Destroy my locket! Please! Do it!”
The Doctor hesitated – it would mean Crystal’s death. But it was the Salvation Realm or the Doomsworld. He sighed, and crushed her locket in his fist. Just as the Inquisitor stepped through the gate, Crystal disappeared. There was a flash of light, and the gate disappeared.
The Doctor sunk to the floor, and began to cry.
Crystal looked around, as the white light almost blinded her. She stepped forwards, and found herself standing in front of a gate. The man standing beside the gate smiled at her, and looked at his clipboard.
“Crystal Harris,” Crystal replied.
“We were expecting you a little earlier,” the man frowned.
“I was a little delayed,” Crystal admitted, thinking of her immortal days.
“Ah,” the man smiled. “We had another one like you recently.”
“Is she okay?” Crystal grinned.
“Go and see for yourself,” the man said, turning to face the gate.
The gate opened, and Crystal stepped through it. Before it could close, she stepped back through it.
“You’re Saint Peter, aren’t you?” she asked.
“No I’m not.”
Saint Peter grinned, and beckoned towards the gate. Crystal headed through it, and looked around. It was very white, and there were people all around in white robes.
“Crystal!” a familiar voice called. “It’s me, Catherine Howard!”
Crystal headed towards Catherine, and let out a small smile.
“Perhaps death isn’t so bad.”
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Madame Rene looked up from her crystal ball as Hadrius Andes entered her tent. He remained in the doorway for a second, and she nodded at him. He ran at her, and with a swift movement of her hand she blasted him off his feet.
“You know why I have come,” Hadrius snarled, climbing off the floor.
“I do,” Madame Rene replied. “But you are on a fool’s errand. You cannot stop me, or the Doctor. When the Death Collectors hear you have failed to dispose of me, they will not act, and Crystal will be safe.”
“We shall see about that,” Hadrius growled.
“Be thankful that I have no destroyed your object,” Madame Rene said. “Now, leave.”
He left the tent, and disappeared. Madame Rene returned to her crystal ball, hoping to see what was about to occur.
Crystal Harris screamed as the TARDIS console exploded into sparks. The Doctor staggered to the door, and opened it. He peered out, and looked back at Crystal.
“It’s alright,” he said. “We aren’t at the Death Collectors realm.”
“Thank God,” Crystal sighed with relief. “Where are we then?”
“Some sort of empty viewing gallery, or prison,” the Doctor replied. “Come and take a look.”
Crystal left the TARDIS, and closed the door behind her. Directly in front of her was a large sheet of glass, and behind it, was a small room with bare walls and a sink.
“Either that’s a bad piece of modern art or someone was locked up there,” she noted.
“Exactly,” the Doctor smiled. “But we should enjoy ourselves while we’re here – we’ve been really careful lately.”
“If the Death Collectors and Inner Circle just died, it would be so much simpler.”
The Doctor laughed and muttered an agreement. As he spoke, the TARDIS seemed to melt away. Crystal gasped in horror as it completely vanished.
“It’s a trap,” the Doctor muttered.
“Yes, I’m afraid it is,” a voice from the shadows said.
Crystal whipped around as a Death Collector emerged. He was bigger than the others, clearly a leader. The Doctor waited for more Death Collectors, but none appeared.
“You’re the Inquisitor,” the Doctor realised.
“Hello,” the Inquisitor said, smiling slightly.
“Where’s the rest of the Death Collectors?” Crystal asked.
“Unfortunately, they are too frightened of Madame Rene to join me,” the Inquisitor sighed. “But I will deal with them later.”
He raised a hand, and a door appeared in the glass wall. The Doctor felt himself step towards it, and enter the room behind the glass. Crystal followed, also moving automatically. The Inquisitor followed, and the glass door changed back into solid glass.
“Sit,” the Inquisitor ordered.
The Doctor and Crystal sat down, and finally felt able to move of their own accord once more. The Inquisitor remained standing, directly opposite them, watching them.
“Please,” the Doctor begged. “Let us go, we haven’t done anything to you.”
“Crystal Harris is an immortal,” the Inquisitor spat. “And I’d like to know how you never seem to die either…”
“Let’s start with me,” the Doctor said. “How about you send Crystal back to the TARDIS for a nice cup of tea, and we talk?”
“She stays,” the Inquisitor replied. “Now, you were about to tell me about yourself…?”
“Oh, me,” the Doctor frowned. “I’m an immortal too… I was having a shower and I slipped over the rubber duck that was sitting beside the shampoo.”
The Inquisitor looked at Crystal as she snorted. Looking up from the floor, Crystal nodded.
“He did,” she agreed. “It was very painful I heard.”
“It was!” the Doctor protested.
“It’s a shame I don’t believe you, isn’t it?” the Inquisitor asked. “You are a Time Lord, and you are the immortal, Crystal Harris. How did it happen?”
“I was run over by a car,” Crystal shrugged. “And the Doctor was across the road. He picked me up and took me into the TARDIS, and we travelled the universe.”
“But that’s not all, is it?” the Inquisitor said. “There’s something the Doctor hasn’t told you.”
The Inquisitor forced Crystal to stand up, and the pair disappeared. The Doctor climbed out of his seat and sighed. He tried the doors, but it was of no use – they were locked.
Crystal blinked, and looked around her. She was standing next to the Inquisitor on one of the only patches of grass in the estate where she used to live. Little kids used to pee on the grass, until Chelsea started yelling at them.
“How did you do that?” she gasped. “I’m back home! Where’s the Doctor?”
“We’ll return to him soon enough,” the Inquisitor replied. “Now, watch yourself leave your house.”
Sure enough, the front door of Crystal’s house soon opened, and a girl with dyed red hair stepped out. She began crossing the road, when time froze. The Inquisitor grabbed Crystal’s arm, and she felt as if something was washing over her.
“What just happened?” she asked.
“Time has frozen,” the Inquisitor replied. “Watch, there!”
He pointed to Madame Rene, who was making her way through the rising pool of mist. Behind her, a car swept forwards in slow motion, before ploughing into Crystal, sending her body flying across the road with an almost intentional grace. Madame Rene disappeared, and the Doctor ran over to Crystal’s body. Beside the Inquisitor, the immortal Crystal watched, horrified, as the Doctor pulled her old immortal self into the TARDIS.
“Let’s go back,” the Inquisitor said.
He grabbed her arm, and suddenly they were facing the Doctor in the room behind the glass. The Doctor went to hug her, but Crystal shied away.
“When were you gonna tell me that Madame Rene killed me?” she asked. “I… I’ve made a decision, Doctor. I don’t want to travel with you anymore.”
Behind her, a triumphant Inquisitor raised his hand, and reached out for her. His hand wrapped around her neck, and lifted her off the ground. As he began to squeeze, Crystal felt the Doctor fading away, and the Doomsworld becoming clearer and clearer.
“Goodbye Crystal Harris, it’s the end!”
To Be Continued
Sunday, 18 April 2010
“We’ve delayed for too long!” Seldon Oz sighed. “Bring her in!”
“We really should vote about this,” Vivian Darkwood said. “She was present at Finley’s death…”
“All in favour of Crystal Harris, say I,” Tina Felden smiled.
She stood up, and raised her hand. Seldon also stood up, and raised his hand, as did Dennis Welch. Vivian remained firmly in her seat, as did Mercedes Tiermann.
“I ain’t voting in another white girl,” she muttered.
“Then it’s up to you, Hadrius,” Tina smiled. “What do you say – Crystal Harris, joining the Inner Circle. Are you in, or out?”
Hadrius Andes stood up, and raised his hand. Tina looked triumphant, and sat down, as did her supporters.
“I’m in, and I guess Crystal is too.”
The Doctor looked around, and saw Crystal running back to the TARDIS. He raised the Sonic Screwdriver and blasted the control panel. The locks around his wrists broke, and he began to run.
“Crystal, get inside the TARDIS!” he yelled.
She turned around and grinned as the Doctor came racing after her. She looked back at the TARDIS once more as it began to dematerialise.
“What’s going on?” the Doctor cried.
“The TARDIS is leaving without us!” Crystal shouted back.
She reached the TARDIS and pulled the door open. She leapt inside, and heard the Doctor enter just as it disappeared.
“What’s going on?” Crystal asked as she climbed to her feet.
“I dunno,” the Doctor frowned, leaping around the console. “The TARDIS is being taken somewhere.”
“Ooh, a mystery,” Crystal grinned.
The TARDIS ground to a halt, and the Doctor headed over to the doors. Crystal followed, and together, hand in hand, they stepped out of the TARDIS.
“Hang on,” Crystal frowned. “I’ve been here before…”
“The Inner Circle,” the Doctor nodded. “Ah, here we go.”
He nodded towards a doorway as Tina stepped through it. She smiled at the pair, and led the way to the main room. As they entered, they looked at the five faces sitting down at the table.
“As you can see,” Tina indicated, sitting down at her place at the table. “One seat is empty.”
“Finley Bradford,” Crystal nodded. “He died to save my life.”
“And we’ve decided to let that go unpunished,” Vivian said. “But we need a new member to fill the seat he left behind.”
“I guess you’re lucky you didn’t kill me before then,” Crystal shot back.
“We want you to fill this seat,” Seldon continued. “We all voted, and there was a majority in favour of having you.”
“You mean there’s nobody else,” the Doctor laughed. “No other immortals.”
“When you put it like that, we do sound pretty bad,” Dennis admitted.
“The point is, Doctor, we need someone to fill this seat,” Hadrius said.
He waved a hand, indicating two seats against a wall. The Doctor took the chairs and set them beside the table, sitting in one. Crystal sat in the other, and glared at the members of the Inner Circle.
“I didn’t vote for no girl,” Mercedes frowned. “Does anyone really want girl to join us? I liked Finley.”
“I didn’t want her to join,” Vivian sighed.
“That’s settled then,” the Doctor smiled. “We’ll be leaving.”
He stood up, but Hadrius also rose. Crystal took the Doctor’s hand and pulled him back down.
“What would it mean if I joined you?” Crystal asked.
“You would sit with us at the table,” Tina smiled. “And we would all make decisions involving the Inner Circle of life itself.”
“The Death Collectors for one thing,” Hadrius said. “I heard they killed a good friend of yours. If you joined us, we could protect you, and your family, and the Doctor.”
“But I wouldn’t be able to travel with him anymore,” Crystal realised.
“We all have to make sacrifices,” Hadrius nodded. “But your life would improve greatly; you wouldn’t have to worry about the Death Collectors anymore.”
Crystal thought back to Catherine Howard, who was in the Salvation Realm right now because of her.
“But Catherine wouldn’t have ended up in the Salvation Realm if she hadn’t been travelling in the TARDIS – she would have just drifted, her life was better with us!”
“Be quite Doctor,” Hadrius snapped.
“Or what?” the Doctor asked.
Hadrius raised his hand, and the Doctor disappeared. Crystal screamed and pushed the chairs out of the way. She ran to the other side of the room, but the door slammed in her face.
“Let me go!” she screamed. “Bring the Doctor back, now!”
“I’m afraid we can’t do that,” Hadrius said. “Join us or we will force you to join us.”
“I don’t really have a choice, do I?” Crystal cried, falling to the floor. “Just tell me where the Doctor is, and I’ll join you. I want to know that he’s okay.”
“The TARDIS and the Doctor have been transported to Earth,” Hadrius replied.
“They will be safe,” Tina smiled. “That’s all that matters. Now, come and join us at the table. Crystal – it’s in your blood. Your true blood – you belong with us!”
Crystal hesitated, and moved towards the table. Just as she was about to sit down, the TARDIS materialised behind her. She stepped back, smiling as the Inner Circle rose from their seats, horrified. The TARDIS doors opened, and the Doctor leaned out.
“Come on Crystal, let’s go,” he said angrily.
“Doctor… Please…” Tina began.
“Enough!” the Doctor shouted. “You’ve made this old Time Lord angry. Now leave my friend alone.”
Crystal hurried into the TARDIS, terrified of the angry Doctor. Five of the Inner Circle sunk into their seats – but Hadrius remained standing.
“Leave, Time Lord,” he said. “And never come back.”
The Doctor shut the doors to the TARDIS, and it dematerialised. Hadrius looked at the other members, and spat onto the table.
“There are gonna be some changes around here,” he announced angrily. “The Inner Circle is going public. Alert the Death Collectors.”
“They won’t act,” Vivian stammered. “The Doctor has Madame Rene on his side.”
“Then we’ll take Madame Rene out,” Hadrius replied. “Leave Crystal Harris to the Death Collectors; and leave Madame Rene to me.”
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Chelsea Harris stood up and walked down the train carriage. The other passengers ignored her as she opened the door at the end, and looked through it.
“Excuse me?” she called. “Why has the train stopped? I’m supposed to be going to a party, and…”
She trailed off, realising it was no use. She pulled her phone from her pocket, and tentatively dialled it. She was ringing her dead sister, and wasn’t sure if she’d receive an answer.
“Oh hi,” Chelsea smiled. “I wasn’t sure if you would answer… you know, being dead and all.”
“Sorry,” Chelsea laughed. “I just wanted you to know that I’m trapped on the Underground. Something weird is going on… the train just stopped 10 minutes ago. The driver hasn’t given us an apology or anything, and I’m supposed to be going to Tasha’s party.”
“I’ll be there in a minute,” Crystal said. “Doctor, can you take us to the London Underground?”
Chelsea couldn’t hear the Doctor’s reply, but sure enough, the sound of the TARDIS dematerialising filled the air. She muttered a quick goodbye, before returning to her seat.
The TARDIS materialised on the platform, and Crystal burst through the doors. She made her way over to the tracks, but the Doctor pulled her back.
“What?” Crystal snapped.
“The tracks are live,” he replied. “You could’ve been electrocuted!”
“Oh. So what’s the interest in the London Underground?”
“Interest?” the Doctor asked.
“Well, trouble in the London Underground; it’s a bit unexpected isn’t it?” Crystal laughed. “I thought delays were the only thing to worry about.”
“In the last few years there have been talks,” the Doctor explained. “Sightings, if you like, of aliens. They call it The Haunting – possible alien life living in the tunnels of London.”
“And you haven’t thought to investigate before?” Crystal asked. “You’ve let The Haunting live in the tunnels, and now maybe one of them has boarded a train?”
The Doctor didn’t answer, and instead climbed onto the back of the train, pulling open the door. Crystal slipped past him, and entered the first carriage. She looked around, but could not see Chelsea.
“She’s not in this one,” she said as the Doctor closed the door behind them.
“Hello everyone,” the Doctor beamed. “We’re just here… inspecting trains!”
“We haven’t moved for almost 20 minutes!” one elderly woman complained.
“Your comments have been noted,” the Doctor said.
He pulled Crystal to the next carriage, and the next, and the next, until they found Chelsea.
“Thank God you came!” Chelsea smiled, hugging her sister. “I was about to die of boredom. No offence.”
“None taken,” Crystal grinned.
The Doctor was about to interrupt when the lights flickered, before going out. There were screams coming from the next carriage, and sounds of grating metal.
“If I’m not mistaken, the driver’s just been killed,” the Doctor said. “If you could all stay in your seats, myself and my lovely assistants will sort this out.”
“If you would like to make a complaint,” Crystal added. “Calmly make your way out through the back carriage and onto the platform, before heading to the front desk in the station.”
Chelsea opened the door her sister had just stepped through, and ushered everyone out. Within a few minutes, the entire train was empty, except for the Doctor, Crystal, Chelsea and the unidentified monster.
“Right, now that everyone’s out of the way,” the Doctor said. “I’m gonna go look for the monster. You two wait here – I’ll probably run this way in a second.”
Without waiting for a reply, he opened the other door, and made his way along the train. A few seconds later, there was an alien-like scream, and the Doctor emerged once more.
“I think we should run.”
The Doctor and Crystal ran to the other carriage and burst through the door. Chelsea remained, frozen in place, as the other door opened. A small child stepped out, and smiled at her. She smiled back.
“Hello, my name’s Chelsea,” she said.
“They call me Nigel,” the boy smiled.
“Listen, we need to get out of here,” Chelsea continued. “There’s an alien on the loose. I’m surprised the Doctor didn’t take you with him.”
“I was hiding in a cupboard,” Nigel replied. “Shall we go, quickly?”
He took Chelsea’s hand, and led her to the door of the carriage. His small hands opened the door, and Chelsea was surprised that Crystal and the Doctor weren’t behind it, waiting for her.
“They must’ve forgotten me,” she muttered, folding her arms. “No, don’t climb onto the roof; we can jump across to the next carriage!”
She reached up for Nigel’s small feet as he climbed onto the train’s roof, but it was no use. Sighing, Chelsea began to run after him.
“Where’s Chelsea?” Crystal cried as she ran along the train.
“I dunno,” the Doctor yelled. “Watch out!”
He dived to the side, as the alien tentacles leapt at him. Crystal climbed under a table, screaming as a tentacle landed on top of it. She crawled out just as it broke in half, only to be grabbed by a second tentacle. She was lifted off her feet, and watched as the Doctor was also captured.
“Let us go!” she shouted, hitting the tentacle.
“Wait, Crystal, wait!” the Doctor said, waving his arms.
Crystal hesitated, and her arms fell to her sides. The tentacles continued to sway, but did nothing else. The Doctor grinned triumphantly, and pointed down the train carriage.
“Have you noticed that this carriage goes on for a very long time?” he asked. “And that we aren’t on the London Underground anymore – we’re on an old style train, with food tables where windows that aren’t dirty?”
“Did it teleport us?” Crystal frowned. “I didn’t notice.”
“That’s because we weren’t teleported,” the Doctor explained. “And this tentacle waving creature isn’t real. It’s all an illusion, created by the real monster – a fearsome beast called Nigel – who can change people’s perceptions. Like a shape shifter, but instead of changing his appearance, he changes things around him, and how other people see him.”
“That’s sneaky,” Crystal nodded. “But why isn’t the tentacle thing killing us yet?”
“Because old Nigel didn’t expect us to be caught,” the Doctor chuckled. “I’ve met old Nigel before, and I left a bit of an impression on him. Plus, if I’m right, he’s too busy with Chelsea to concentrate on our tentacle bad boy.”
Crystal didn’t know whether to be relieved or scared – she and the Doctor would be safe, unless Chelsea was killed, or Nigel remembered they were there. She could do nothing except wait until Chelsea returned – or Nigel killed her.
“Wait, Nigel, please!” Chelsea yelled.
She stumbled, and clung to the train’s roof. Nigel was a few feet ahead, and turned back, helping her to her feet.
“Thanks. I haven’t seen that alien yet,” Chelsea frowned. “I’d have thought it would be after us. Nigel, what are you doing? Oh.”
She fell to the floor as Nigel began to mutate in front of her. He now resembled the Doctor, who grinned with his boyish charm.
“Come on Chelsea, we’ve got to go,” the fake Doctor said. “I bet Crystal didn’t explain that I could do this – it’s handy when we’re getting into places. We need to go before that monster arrives.”
“You can really shape shift?” Chelsea asked. “I thought you were the monster. Prove to me that you aren’t.”
Before the fake Doctor could speak, a tentacle shot through the roof, grabbing Chelsea around the throat.
“Help!” she screamed. “Doctor!”
It pulled her through the roof, and she landed next to Crystal and the Doctor.
“What are you doing here?” she demanded to know. “Doctor, you’re up there!”
She pointed to the roof, as a tentacle shot through the hole. It emerged once more, carrying the fake Doctor, who nimbly dropped to the floor.
“I’m afraid I lied,” the fake Doctor laughed. “I’m the alien, not that thing.”
He nodded at the tentacle creature, which disappeared, dropping the Doctor, Crystal and Chelsea to the floor. Nigel was about to continue, when he twitched.
“What was that?” he asked, turning around as if he was a dog chasing its own tail.
“You didn’t just absorb my looks,” the Doctor explained. “You absorbed my entire body. And I’m afraid it’s a bit too much for you to handle, sorry.”
“You’re bluffing,” Nigel spat.
“We’ll see,” the Doctor folded his arms. “Just two seconds more.”
Nigel was about to reply, when he exploded into ash. Chelsea looked around in amazement, as the train morphed back into the Underground train, and the food tables disappeared, only to be replaced with broken seats. She smiled, and turned to face Crystal, but there was nobody there.
“Bye Crystal,” Chelsea muttered quietly.
The sound of footsteps running down steps filled the air, as the police announced their arrival. Chelsea picked her way through the wreckage, and stepped out onto the platform. As a policeman came to meet her, she heard the sound of the TARDIS fading away.
“Are you all right, love?” the policeman asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Chelsea smiled. “Just fine.”
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Thanks to the success of the TTV Series, I have decided to write a second series. They will feature the Doctor and various others attempting to resolve the events of the previous series. I don't want to give too much away, so I will give a list of episode titles and one or more things about the episode.
1 - On A Mission
After the events of last series, the Doctor is determined to set things right. Madame Rene will feature in this episode.
2 - Stop Telephoning Me
The Doctor and Madame Rene attempt to travel to the Inner Circle, but the TARDIS instead takes them to the future, where a monster haunts a telephone box.
3 - Crash and Burn Girl
The Doctor works out that a new immortal is about to be created. He heads to the past to look for the immortal, unaware of who they are or how they will die.
4 - Bait
The Doctor uses his immortal friend as bait to secure his way in to the Inner Circle. This episode will feature Podmore and the Inner Circle.
5 - The Final Destination
The Doctor reveals his plans to the Inner Circle. Will any of them be convinced?
6 - The Auton Army
The Doctor faces his old enemy, the Autons, who are attempting to destroy the Earth.
7 - The Proposition
The Doctor is reunited with Chelsea Harris, and fills her in on a few details. She agrees to accompany him on his quest, but will they succeed?
8 - Vendetta
The Doctor and Chelsea are sidetracked by the Death Collectors, who need protection. But is it all a trick?
9 - The Frenzied Night
Someone is insane, and out to kill. The Doctor and Chelsea will need all their wit and cunning to survive.
10 - Flight of the Slitheen
The Doctor's life becomes even more complicated when the Slitheen decide it's a good idea to take him hostage. Time is running out, and he needs to escape before his quest comes to an end.
11 - Salvation
The Doctor finally reaches his destination. But things don't go as expected - will he make it out alive? And will his quest ever be completed?
12 - Crystal's Choice
Crystal Harris has a choice that could be heartbreaking for all involved.
13 - The Last Word
The Doctor finds an unexpected enemy in his quest. And old friend steps in to save the day, but something goes wrong. Will anybody make it out alive? Or will they remain dead for all eternity? Things aren't looking good...
“Hang on, hang on, hang on,” the Doctor cried, waving his arms around.
He climbed over several benches until he was shoulder to shoulder with Crystal. The Death Collectors watched him with nervous expressions, and the Questioner hurriedly returned to his seat in the Jury.
“Yes Doctor?” the Judge sighed.
“I demand you show me where my TARDIS is,” the Doctor said. “And I also have several questions.”
The Judge clicked his claws together, and the TARDIS appeared beside the Doctor, who leaned against it appreciatively.
“Speak,” the Questioner ordered.
“Firstly,” the Doctor began. “Why has my evidence been ignored? I was quite pleased with my Judoon video, took me ages that did.”
“The Judoon are unimportant,” the Judge hissed. “Next question.”
“Secondly,” the Doctor continued. “What will happen to Crystal now?”
One of the other Death Collectors stood up, and walked past the Questioner, turning to address the Doctor.
“I’m the Punisher,” the Punisher announced. “Crystal Harris will be reprimanded. Her locket will be taken from her, and she will be sent to the Doomsworld.”
“She doesn’t even get to go to heaven?” the Doctor frowned. “What’s the word for heaven then, if the word for your hell is Doomsworld?”
“We call it the Salvation Realm,” the Punisher hissed. “But for Crystal to be sent there, we would have to destroy her locket. But it isn’t much of a punishment for an immortal.”
“But why don’t you combine?” the Doctor asked. “The Salvation Realm and the Doomsworld could combine, and anyone bad could go to the Doomsworld, then, if their behaviour improved, they could move to the Salvation Realm. The Doomsworld could be like a little prison or something.”
“Is that your third question?” the Judge asked.
“No,” the Doctor said hurriedly. “My third question is… is… why haven’t the Inner Circle been trialled?”
The Punisher hesitated, and looked at the Judge. The Judge looked at the Questioner, who turned his gaze away.
“I thought so,” the Doctor nodded.
“What?” Crystal asked.
“And I guess that answers my fourth question,” the Doctor sighed.
“What was your fourth question?” Catherine asked from where she was seated.
“Why they attacked Crystal with the gate,” the Doctor replied. “But the answer to that lies in the truth about this trial. Which, being what it is, means it’s officially over! Let’s go!”
Before Crystal could ask what was going on, the Doctor pushed open the doors to the TARDIS, which began to dematerialise. She leapt past the bars of the witness box, and grinned at Catherine, who was running towards her.
“Off we go!” she beamed. “See you later boys.”
She ran into the TARDIS and smiled at the Doctor, who pointed to the doors. Crystal ran back to close them, waiting for Catherine to reach them. But the TARDIS was disappearing fast, and Catherine was too far away.
“RUN!” Crystal screamed.
The Doctor ran and pulled Crystal from the doors, closing them as she hit the floor. He raced back to the console, leaving Crystal on the floor. She swung around, and glared at him.
“Catherine nearly made it,” she growled.
“No time,” the Doctor explained. “We’ve got to escape. I know just where we can go. Forget about Catherine.”
Crystal shook her head – she would not forget Catherine, no matter how much the Doctor attempted to smile. With a sigh, she leaned back, and rested on the grilled floor, wondering where he was taking her.
“Let go of me!” Catherine spat at the Questioner.
“The Doctor was quick to leave you behind,” he smiled menacingly. “Death Collectors, find Crystal Harris!”
Most of the Death Collectors vanished in a white light, tracking down the Doctor and Crystal. The Questioner turned back to Catherine, as the Punisher headed down the steps.
“You’ll never find them,” she said, trying to escape from the Questioner’s grip.
“We’ll see,” the Questioner smiled. “What shall we do with her?”
“I say the Doomsworld,” the Punisher cackled.
“No,” the Judge interrupted. “Let the Inquisitor decide – he’s in charge here.”
The three Death Collectors and one human turned to the stone steps on the left. A larger, more sinister Death Collector almost floated down them, making his way to Catherine. He tore her brooch from her jacket, and examined it in his hand.
“We’ve no further use for her,” he snarled.
And with one movement of his hands, he snapped Catherine’s brooch. Before the young Queen could make any noise, she faded away.
“Let the Salvation Realm have her,” he said. “Now, is Crystal located?”
“I’ve received a report from one group,” the Judge informed him. “They found the Doctor, but he was with several unknown individuals. They attacked the group, until they realised Crystal Harris wasn’t with them. They’re returning here now.”
“Find out who were in the group,” the Inquisitor ordered. “Any further news?”
“One group have located the TARDIS, and are attempting to break into it now.”
The Doctor was thrown to the floor as a Death Collector leapt onto the outside of the TARDIS, attempting to pull the doors open. Sparks shot from the console, as Crystal clambered to her feet. She pulled the Doctor to his feet, still not having entirely forgiven him.
“Where are we going then?”
“To see a friend,” the Doctor smiled. “She’ll sort this mess out.”
The Death Collector clinging to the TARDIS realised where it was heading, and let go. He beckoned to the other Death Collectors, and they flew off.
“They’ve gone,” the Doctor grinned. “But we’d better be sure they won’t come back.”
Madame Rene removed her shawl as the TARDIS materialised in her tent. The Doctor stepped out, followed by Crystal.
“I need your help,” the Doctor said.
“Death Collectors?” Madame Rene asked. “I’ll get rid of them.”
“Thank you,” Crystal smiled.
She threw her shawl to one side, and departed from the tent. Crystal sat down on the small table, knocking the crystal ball from its stand.
“You left Catherine behind.”
“I know,” the Doctor sighed, sitting on the floor. “There was nothing I could do, you know that.”
“What did you mean by the truth about the trial?” Crystal asked.
“It was a lie,” the Doctor replied. “The Inner Circle hadn’t had trials, meaning they’d only just invented it. My ideas were confirmed by the gate – if they had succeeded, the Death Collectors would have had Finley Bradford drag you into the gate. But they failed, and so they had to think of another way to trap you. They decided to invent a trial, which would result in you being sent to the Doomsworld. If the trial was real, why would they send a gate to trap you? It didn’t make sense.”
“I thought it was pretty biased,” Crystal nodded. “They must really hate immortals… Poor Catherine, I wonder what happened to her.”
“They’ve got no use for her,” the Doctor said. “The Inner Circle didn’t even know she existed. I expect she’ll be in the Salvation Realm.”
“I hope so,” Crystal quietly muttered.
Any further conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Madame Rene. Other than a strand of hair, nothing seemed out of place, and when she spoke she didn’t sound out of breath.
“They won’t be bothering you again,” she said.
“Thank you,” the Doctor smiled. “We’ll be going now – Crystal, lead the way.”
Crystal stood up from the table, and stepped into the TARDIS, closing the door behind her. The Doctor picked up Madame Rene’s crystal ball, and placed it back on the table.
“We’ll talk later,” he said.
“About what?” Madame Rene asked, somewhat coldly.
“You know what,” the Doctor retorted. “Your appearance at Crystal’s death, how you sped up the car so that is smashed into her…”
Madame Rene sunk to the floor, as the Doctor headed into the TARDIS. As it began to fade away, Madame Rene looked into her crystal ball. She saw the Judge and the Inquisitor talking privately.
“We can’t risk going after her again,” the Judge hissed. “The Doctor’s got Madame Rene on his side!”
“You might be spineless, but I am not,” the Inquisitor said. “If no other Death Collector will assist me, I shall continue alone. Either way, I will have Crystal Harris. Even if I have to destroy the universe to get her.”
Saturday, 10 April 2010
“I wonder where the others are?” Queen Spade asked, still staring admiringly at the Doctor.
“Who else is coming?” King Spade asked.
“Dear Mystic, the magician, and Gisgerm, who I’ve yet to make the acquaintance,” Queen Spade replied, “What about you John? Have you met these people before?”
“I know Mystic, he’s great fun, but I’ve never heard of Gisgerm, is he new?” the Doctor asked.
“Yes, but he’s a bit of a mystery,” Queen Spade replied.
“How so?” Georgia asked.
“Well, he’s never lost a game, nobody ever sees him out of the games, nobody knows where he’s from,” listed Queen Spade.
“He must have some sort of an address,” the Doctor said.
“He puts his address as his assistant’s,” King Spade replied.
“Who is his assistant?” the Doctor asked.
“I don’t know, his assistant never leaves his office apparently, not even for bed,” King Spade explained.
“Wow, when my mum says that dad never leaves his office, I never took it literally,” Georgia muttered to Conner.
“What does your dad do again?” Conner asked.
“He’s some sort of lawyer, I don’t really ask him about work,” Georgia answered, “Although apparently the firm he works for is moving to America, so he has to move, at least they won’t get caught in any invasions over there, I think aliens just attack London for some reason.”
“Are you sure trouble doesn’t follow your mum around?” Conner asked.
“No, she is the trouble,” Georgia replied, as two people sat down at the table they were sitting at. One was wearing a brightly coloured suit and tie, with a purple top hat. The other was wearing strange red clothing, and he had completely white skin, except for a red diamond on his cheek.
“Hello,” the man in the purple hat said jollily, shaking Conner warmly by the hand, “My name is Mystic the Magician. And this is my friend...”
“Knave Diamond,” the man in the red said.
“We just met,” Mystic explained, “And you are?”
“John Smith,” the Doctor said leaning over the table to shake Mystic’s hand.
“I’m Georgia, and this is Conner,” Georgia introduced.
“Queen Spade, this is my husband, excuse him if he doesn’t rise,” Queen Spade said, shaking Mystic’s hand gracefully then smiling falsely at Knave Diamond.
“Isn’t it weird, there are a Diamond and two Spades sitting at the table,” the Doctor realised.
“Oh yeah,” Georgia said.
“Knave Diamond,” Queen Spade commented, “Like Jack of Diamonds.”
“Queenie!” Teeena’s voice shouted from the kitchen, “Where are you? This is not the best time to vanish!”
“Vanish?” the Doctor said excitedly, as he got out of his seat. Meanwhile, an angry faced alien had pushed past Energisa, and into the room.
“Sir, you need to show me your identity,” Energisa demanded, “Or I will chuck you out!”
“I am Gisgerm!” Gisgerm, the angry alien, roared, “Who did you think I was?!”
“I don’t know, you may not have been on the list,” Energisa replied angrily, as Teeena returned from the kitchen.
“Can everybody just calm down,” Teeena ordered, “Manajarr will be here in a minute, so you can start your poker game. Gisgerm, if you would like to take the seat beside King Spade. Energisa, please return to the door.”
“Yes ma’am,” Energisa said, as she walked back to the door.
“Did you say somebody had vanished?” the Doctor asked; he was still standing.
“Nothing is wrong sir, please sit down,” Teeena replied.
“Don’t worry, I’ll help you find this person,” the Doctor said merrily, “Because I detect some wibbly wobbly spacey wacey stuff.”
“What?” Teeena asked, with an extremely confused expression on her face. The Doctor bounded past her to the amusement of Georgia and Conner, and he headed over to the kitchen, followed closely by Teeena.
“Sir, that area is out of bounds!” Teeena called, as the Doctor entered the kitchen.
“Ooh, look tarts,” the Doctor commented happily.
“Those are not for...” Teeena began, but she stopped and stared at the tarts.
“What’s wrong?” the Doctor asked.
“Queenie’s tarts keep going missing, they’re delicious, but I don’t know who steals them,” Teeena explained, “She seems to think it’s someone called Jaq, but I’m pretty sure that he’s her imaginary friend.”
“I had one of those,” the Doctor replied, “Or ten. Anyway, how do you know Queenie didn’t eat the tarts?”
“Because she wouldn’t, she gets really angry when they go missing,” Teeena said, “Hang on what’s that.” Teeena spotted an open oven door and walked over to it.
“Has she left it on?” the Doctor asked, crouching down next to her.
“No, she hasn’t,” Teeena replied, “And there’s nothing left in there, wait what’s that on the floor?” Teeena picked up a playing card off the floor and examined it.
“It’s the Queen of Hearts,” Teeena commented, “Strange.”
“What is? This is a Casino, cards must get dropped all over the place,” the Doctor replied.
“The Queen of Hearts bears an uncanny resemblance to Queenie,” Teeena explained.
“The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a summer's day,” the Doctor recited, “The Knave of Hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away.”
“The Knave of Hearts... the Jack... Jaq,” Teeena thought aloud.
“Exactly, and in that next room there’s a Knave Diamond, and a King and Queen Spade,” the Doctor explained, “Something weird is going on.”
“There were those three people, in here earlier today,” Teeena continued, “Two were in red, and three were in black, Queenie called the players in black the Clubs, and they had Clubs on their cheeks, and the players in red had Diamonds on their cheeks.”
“Have you heard of the Pack of Wizards?” the Doctor asked.
“No, is that from Hadron-collider 27?” Teeena asked.
“Why would it be from there?” the Doctor asked quizzically.
“Well, your friend Lord Bennet comes from there, so I presumed you did too, so I thought the Pack of Wizard may be from there,” Teeena replied.
“Oh, I don’t remember taking Conner there...” the Doctor muttered, thinking, “I wonder where he got the name from. It is a great planet, bit close to a black hole, anyway, Pack of Wizards.”
“What is the Pack of Wizards?” Teeena asked, “Is it a group of Wizards, I didn’t know wizards existed.”
“What about that Mystic bloke?” the Doctor asked.
“He inherited his title, the titles been passed on for ages in his family, but none of them have magical powers,” Teeena explained, “Anyway, stop getting side-tracked!”
“Right the Pack of Wizards is a pack of cards,” the Doctor explained, “Apparently a couple of warlocks started playing poker, when one of them lost all of his money, he got very angry. It’s said that he brought the cards to life to do his bidding, the Spades helped him, but the others didn’t. He tried to kill the living cards, who wouldn’t help him, but they were too powerful, and they killed him.”
“So this Pack of Cards is alive, and the cards come to life in human form,” Teeena said in a confused tone of voice.
“Only the Kings, Queens and Jacks come to life in human form, the others just live in the card world,” the Doctor explained.
“What about the Aces?” Teeena asked.
“The Aces are said to hold the power of the living cards, they were what allowed the cards to appear in this world, after the wizard died,” the Doctor continued, “Apparently, the four Aces were lost, nobody could find them, so the Pack of Wizards became a myth, but what if it’s right here in the Casino.”
“Doctor, are these cards dangerous?” Teeena asked seriously.
“The Ace of Spades is,” the Doctor answered, “It’s also known as the death card.”
“But one of the Aces must be here, and someone must have brought it here, but for what reason?” Teeena asked.
“Remember what I told you, the Spades will do anything for money,” the Doctor said, “And two of the Spades are in the next room.”
Georgia looked at Conner, the Doctor still hadn’t come back from the kitchen, what could be taking him so long?
“So Mystic, I here you’re a magician,” Queen Spade said.
“That’s right, a magician I am, well not really, I don’t know any magic,” Mystic laughed, “I think my Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather was a wizard though.”
“Wizards, what rubbish!” Gisgerm spat.
“Fine don’t believe,” Mystic muttered, “Ah Manajarr’s here!” A frog-alien in a black suit entered the room, carrying counters and cards, which he placed on the table.
“Is he the Manager?” Conner asked.
“No, he’s just the card house dealer person,” King Spade explained.
“Interesting,” Conner commented.
“Conner, have you played standard poker before?” Georgia asked.
“No,” Conner said, “I’ve played snap. You?”
“My dad and brother used to go gambling, then mum found out,” Georgia explained, “But yeah I’ve played standard poker, we didn’t use money though.”
“So who’s Mr. Smith?” Queen Spade asked Georgia.
“He’s from... someplace,” Georgia replied.
“It’s just, I’m pretty sure that his name is the Doctor,” Queen Spade said.
“How do you know that?” Georgia asked.
“So he is, well I know these things because I’m a Queen, and I am very well connected,” Queen Spade explained, smiling menacingly. Suddenly, a young man in black walked up to King Spade.
“Brother, has the game started yet?” the man asked.
“No, not yet,” King Spade replied, “Is all well, in the kitchen?”
“Oh yes, everything’s fine,” the man replied smiling nastily.
“Conner, that man there, was just saying that he doesn’t know how to play poker,” Queen Spade told the young man.
“I can play snap!” Conner said loudly.
“Well that makes two of us,” the young man replied, “I can’t play poker, but I can play snap. Do you want a game?”
“But...” Conner began.
“We’ll play a quick game,” the man replied, “We wouldn’t want to make you miss your lovely friend here winning all the money.” Georgia giggled, and Knave Diamond looked at her, with a strange expression on his face.
“I don’t think you should,” Knave Diamond told Conner, “You see the snap area, isn’t very close to here, you may not get back in time for the game to start.”
“I’m sure he will,” the man replied.
“But, you wouldn’t want to miss any of the game, and I don’t think your lovely friend here would appreciate being left with a group of strangers,” Knave Diamond explained.
“Firstly, can people stop referring to me as the lovely friend, I’m Georgia,” Georgia said, “And secondly, Conner you can go play snap, I don’t mind if you miss the game, I’ll be out first round anyway.”
“Thank you, Georgia,” the young man in black replied.
“All right, see you later,” Conner said, as he followed the young man out of the door, past Energisa.
“Excuse me, where are you going?” Energisa asked.
“Just to play snap,” Conner explained.
“We’ll be back in a bit,” the man in black added and Energisa nodded.
The King and Queen of Diamonds looked up from their table, as the King of Hearts entered, followed closely by the Jack of Diamonds. The King of Hearts was rather fat, with large furry red robes. He had ginger hair and a large beard.
“What’s going on?” the Queen of Diamonds asked.
“Apparently, one of the poker players is the Doctor, and one of his companions has just gone off with the Jack of Spades,” the King of Hearts explained in a deep, but kindly voice.
“You heard this?” the King of Diamonds asked.
“No, I did, I was invited to play the game by Mystic,” the Jack of Diamonds explained, “I tried to stop him from going.”
“Well, why isn’t anyone helping the Doctor’s companion now?’ the Queen of Diamonds asked, “If he’s with a Spade, he may in terrible danger, especially if the Ace of Spades is involved.”
“Where’s Queenie?” the King of Diamonds asked.
“I thought she was with you,” the King of Hearts replied.
“Where’s Jaq?” the King of Diamonds asked.
“Again, I thought he was with you,” the King of Hearts replied.
“He’s probably hanging around the kitchen,” the Jack of Diamonds suggested, “Waiting for Queenie to make some more tarts.”
“Anyway, we must stop the Spades, and find the Doctor’s companion, before it is too late,” the Queen of Diamonds said, as they vanished from the part of the Casino they were in and appeared in the marshes of the Clubs castle.
“Oh hooray,” the Queen of Diamonds said, pulling her foot out of the marsh.
“Why does that always happen?” the King of Diamonds said in a frustrated voice.
“Well, now we can’t help that boy,” the Jack of Diamonds pointed out.
“Actually we can,” the Queen of Diamonds replied smiling.
Conner followed the Jack of Spades into an empty part of the Casino. The Jack sat down at a small table, and Conner sat down opposite him. The Jack of Spades said nothing, but he began to deal the cards.
“What did you say your name was?” Conner asked.
“I didn’t,” the Jack of Spades replied smiling, “Shall we begin the game?”
“Alright, but what is your name,” Conner questioned, as he and the Jack of Spades began to place cards on a pile.
“Well, SNAP!” the Jack of Spades shouted suddenly, as he placed a 4 on top of Conner’s 4, “What were you saying?”
“I asked you what your name was,” Conner replied, as they continued the game.
“Well, some call me a Knave, some call me a Jack,” the Jack of Spades answered, “The Jack of Spades, to be exact. SNAP!”
“Yeah, but are you like the real Jack of Spades or something?” Conner asked interestedly.
“Well, you could say I’m the only real one,” the Jack of Spades explained.
“Hey, look at that card!” Conner exclaimed, pointing at the Queen of Diamonds, which was on top of the pile. The Queen was holding a sign, which had something written on it. Conner was about to read what it said, when the Jack slammed the Ace of Spades on top of it.
“It’s nothing, your go,” the Jack said.
“No, look!” Conner replied, picking up the Ace of Spades to reveal the Queen’s sign; it said ‘Go now!’ Conner looked up startled, to see the Jack of Spades was smiling. The Ace of Spades was still in Conner’s hand as it began to emit a wispy black smoke, which enveloped Conner and in a flash he was gone.
The Doctor rushed into the Casino, followed quickly by Teeena.
“Sir, can you sit down please,” Manajarr told the Doctor, “We are about to start.”
“I’ve saved you a space by me,” Queen Spade said batting her eyebrows.
“Where’s Conner?” the Doctor asked Georgia.
“He went with this relation of the Spades to play snap,” Georgia explained brightly.
“And what is this relation called?” the Doctor asked King Spade.
“He’s called Jack Spade,” King Spade replied smiling, “They went to the snap area, down the corridor.” The Doctor stared at the King of Spades for a second before running out of the room, followed closely by Teeena.
“Doctor!” Georgia called, before sighing and following the Doctor out of the room.
The Doctor and Teeena rushed down the corridor past Energisa, who looked very confused.
“Where are you going?” Energisa asked, as Georgia sprinted past her, “Auntie?”
The Doctor ran down another corridor, until he reached a door with large, red lettering on it, which spelt out ‘SNAP’. The Doctor attempted to pull open the door, but it wouldn’t budge.
“It’s locked,” the Doctor complained, as Teeena pulled a tiny key out of her pocket and pressed it against the door, which then swung open.
“New technology,” Teeena explained, “Just been invented, the door identifies the key, and opens.”
“Wow, how very James Bond,” the Doctor commented.
“Who?” Teeena asked, with a confused smile, as Georgia reached them.
“Well the rooms empty,” Georgia said, as she panted. She was right; there was nobody in the room, just a table, with a single card laying on it. The Doctor walked over to the table, and stared at the card.
“What is it?” Georgia asked, as she joined the Doctor, “Oh no...” The card was the Jack of Spades, but the picture was not of the Jack, but of a scared looking Conner.
TO BE CONTINUED
“Crystal, can you see smoke coming from the console?”
Crystal looked up at the Doctor, who was spinning around the console, running his eyes over circuits and knobs and metal and wood, searching for the origins of the smoke that was slowly filling up the TARDIS. There were footsteps to the left of one of the coral arches, and Catherine Howard entered the room, showing off her ‘21st Century’ look.
“What do you think?” she asked. “And you call these jeans? I’ve never worn trousers before; it’s quite a strange experience.”
“You look great,” Crystal smiled.
“Is something wrong with the TARDIS?” Catherine continued. “It seemed to be acting queer when we visited the Spiral Galaxy, and there’s an awful lot of smoke coming from that box down there.”
She pointed at a small black box, and the Doctor raced around to pick it up. He shook it, and examined it with his brainy specs firmly squashed onto his face.
“Why didn’t I see that before?” he muttered. “Ooh, it’s a transporter box – it’s taking us somewhere! Hold tight!”
He clutched the console as the TARDIS began to move, dematerialising from its position on Earth and spinning through the vortex, as if some force was pulling it along. Catherine fell to the floor, and grabbed the console, as Crystal clung to the chair she was perched on. Suddenly the fierce movements stopped, and the TARDIS settled. The Doctor climbed to his feet, and headed towards the door.
“We’re here,” he announced. “Wherever here might be.”
He stepped out into a white room, and looked around. He saw several white tables, and white walls leading off to white corridors.
“It’s very white,” he called.
“Really wha – oh,” Crystal muttered, as she stepped out of the TARDIS. “Really really white.”
“What is this place?” Catherine asked, following behind.
“Welcome,” a voice hissed. “You are in the realm of the Death Collectors.”
Crystal had heard that name before. She frowned, trying to think where, until she remembered – Finley Bradford had warned her about the Death Collectors. They despised all immortals, and used golden gates that looked like heaven to trap people in dark worlds of pain. They had almost captured Crystal, but Finley had sacrificed himself and she’d remained safe.
“I think we should get out of here,” she whispered.
“Good idea,” Catherine replied.
She turned to head back into the TARDIS, but it had disappeared.
“Where’s the TARDIS?” she asked sharply.
“Follow me, and you’ll find it,” the voice replied.
Catherine turned to see a figure wearing a grey cloak. Beneath it she could make out skeletal wings, and sharp claws. It beckoned to her and the others, and led the way down the corridor.
“Looks like we’ll have to follow,” the Doctor said. “Come on.”
He led the way, ignoring Crystal’s look of fear. He remembered her description of the Death Collectors’ gate, and how they hated all immortals. Both Crystal and Catherine were immortals – so what would they do to them? The Doctor didn’t want to let on, but he was terrified for their lives. After several corridors and stairs, the group reached a courtroom, which was completely white, and filled with Death Collectors.
“Nice courtroom,” he called to the room. “I’m noticing an absence of wigs, however. Real courts have wigs.”
“Sit,” the Judge-like Death Collector hissed.
“Yes sir,” the Doctor saluted, perching his bottom on a bench. “Or is it madam? No offence, but you all look the same.”
The Death Collector ignored the last remark, and pointed at Catherine, indicating that she should sit down also. As Catherine sat down next to the Doctor, Crystal followed suit. The Judge however, shook his head, and motioned towards a separate seat. Nervously, Crystal headed towards the separate seat, which seemed to be in some sort of defendant’s box. All along the right wall were Death Collectors, sat in the Jury area.
“You all know why we’re here today,” the Judge began. “So let’s get this over with quickly. Yes, Doctor?”
“We actually don’t know why we’re here, your honour,” the Doctor said. “I’ve always wanted to say your honour, it kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Feels like I should’ve done it in an American accent – you’re honour.”
“We’re here to judge Crystal Harris,” the Judge sighed. “As you all know, she is an immortal, and after six weeks of becoming one, we must judge them. If they are contributing to society, they are allowed to remain alive, but if they are not, they join us in the Doomsworld.”
“Doomsworld?” Catherine asked.
“Our world of pain,” the Judge explained. “It’s lovely, really. I see that you are also an immortal. How long has she been an immortal?”
“About a week,” the Doctor said.
“Then you’ve got five more weeks before we judge you too,” the Judge hissed. “Now, let us continue… I call to the stand, Crystal Harris!”
Crystal stood up from her seat, and moved to face the Death Collectors in the Jury area. One Death Collector stood up, and moved down the white steps to join her.
“Now, Crystal, tell us about your role in society,” the Questioner said.
“My… my role?” Crystal stammered. “Well… I travel with the Doctor, and Catherine, and…”
“So you have no job?” the Questioner asked.
“No,” Crystal shook her head. “But we stop aliens, we save lives, liberate planets, and…”
“You murder aliens?”
“No, we stop them,” Crystal said.
“Let me refer you to evidence A,” the Questioner smiled. “Roll the tape.”
Part of the white wall to the right of Crystal flipped around, revealing a screen. On it, the Doctor fought his way through crowds of people, before shooting Rumpleton.
“This was the day Catherine Howard joined you in the TARDIS, was it not?”
“Yes,” Crystal nodded.
“And did the alien hunter known as Rumpleton die on this day?” the Questioner asked.
“Well, yes,” Crystal said. “But…”
“I refer you to your previous statement – ‘no, we stop them’, in which you were referring to the aliens you encounter. You told me you don’t murder aliens, and yet here –”
“And let me refer you to evidence B,” the Doctor called out, standing up. “Please show the court our encounter with the Judoon. Do you see us murder any Judoon operatives, despite their attempts to harm us?”
“The court will not view evidence presented to it by someone other than a Death Collector,” the Judge shouted. “Now sit down, Doctor.”
Catherine took the Doctor’s hand, and pulled him back into his seat. He sighed, and continued to watch the interrogation.
“Now, let me remind you of your previous statement,” the Questioner said to Crystal.
“And what statement would that be?” Crystal asked.
“‘We save lives’,” the Questioner replied. “Let me show you evidence B. No, wait, it’ll have to be labelled evidence C now. Doctor, you have messed everything up!”
“Sorry,” the Doctor grinned.
On the screen, Crystal pulled Acerronia Polla by the hand. The two were attempting to escape from the oarsmen that were trying to kill Agrippina.
“Halt!” Acerronia cried. “I am Agrippina!”
Crystal gasped as the oarsmen began to run at Acerronia. There was a cracking of bone, and a splash, and Acerronia was dead.
“Tell me,” the Questioner said. “Did you not allow Acerronia Polla to die?”
“She saved our lives!” Crystal protested. “She did what she thought was right.”
“And what about your previous statement, ‘we save planets’?” the Questioner asked.
“We’ve never destroyed a planet, or let one be destroyed,” Crystal frowned.
“Play evidence… what is it now? C and D? Or D and E? Anyway, play evidence D!”
Crystal looked at the screen once more, and saw the Earth burn in a ball of flames, near the recently destroyed sun.
“I object!” the Doctor cried, standing up.
“Sit down, Doctor,” the Judge sighed.
“But that was a historical event; we had no control over what happened!”
“The Jury have noted your comments,” the Judge replied. “Now sit down!”
The Doctor sat down once more, next to a worried Catherine. The Questioner called for evidence E, and the screen changed once more. This time, Crystal was hanging, mid air, and a large hurricane was whipping up around her.
“Is this not the occasion when you became a poltergeist?” the Questioner asked.
“Yes,” Crystal muttered.
“And can we not clearly see you destroying the Earth?”
“That’s a little extreme,” Crystal protested. “It was only a little hill, and the buffet tables were fine! And you seem to be forgetting the fact that this was my own funeral.”
“Nonetheless, the Jury have to take into account the facts,” the Question said.
“Would the Jury please decide?” the Judge called. “Guilty, or not guilty?”
“To be or not to be?” the Doctor muttered.
“What?” Catherine whispered back.
“Oh, it was a bit after your time,” the Doctor sighed. “Shakespeare?”
Catherine shook her head, not recognising the name, and returned her attentions to the Jury. One of them stood up, and read from a white scroll.
“All this white’s hurting my eyes,” the Doctor said.
“We have reached a verdict,” the Death Collector announced. “The Jury have decided that Crystal Harris is… GUILTY!”
To Be Continued...