Sunday, January 28, 2007

Alixion Part One!


We see a rough, irregular asteroid. We hear the TARDIS materialize.


A cave tunnel leading through the gloom to galleries and alcoves. The tunnel is blocked by the TARDIS as it materializes, and most of the illumination comes from the police box’s windows.


The Doctor and Kate are staring at the scanner.

Kate: Looks like a cave system.

Doctor: It is. Still, the air’s breathable. And the air pressure's not so bad considering how far below the ground we are.

Kate: Where are we? On Earth?

Doctor: A rather inhospitable asteroid, Kate. Called Alixion. Most of the surface is inhospitable, but these caverns and galleries support most of the life around here.

Kate: Life?

Doctor: A religious group lives here, Kate. The Order of Koporahn. Very strict rules and claims to have found the secret of true spiritual enlightenment.

Kate: Don’t they all? Why are we here?

Doctor: This asteroid, Kate, isn’t that important to me. However, the person hiding here is. Come on, let’s visit this Order. Mind the gravity - it's lower to what you're used to. And keep your eyes open.

Kate: For what?

Doctor: Well, anything interesting. And it always helps to keep your eyes open. You don’t bump into as many stalactites that way.

Kate glances at the scanner, and frowns.

Kate: Did you see that?

Doctor: What?

Kate: I thought I saw something outside.

Doctor: Probably a bat. Come on, my dear. Best foot forward.

Kate opens the doors, and the duo leave the TARDIS.


The doors open and the Doctor emerges from the police box, and flicks on a torch and starts to look around. Kate emerges from the TARDIS.

Kate: This place is creepy.

Doctor: Yes, it is, isn’t it?

He sighs and moves down the tunnel. Kate starts to follow, but tenses and whirls around.

Doctor: [frowns] What is it, Kate?

Kate: I feel... It’s like we’re being watched.

Doctor: Just enjoy your fifteen minutes of fame. Come on.

The Doctor moves out of sight. Kate looks around and then follows. Once they are out of sight, a hooded figure in a cloak steps out of the shadows and, after a glance at the police box, follows the duo.


A large chamber, lit with a dim red glow. The Doctor enters the chamber and looks around and then notices something in the gravel stony floor.

Doctor: Very strange.

Kate enters and joins him. They are crouched over odd marks in the stone on the ground.

Kate: What are they, Doctor?

Doctor: Strange. Regular grooves in the stone.

Kate: Strange. Some kind of animal?

Doctor: That can make indentations in solid rock? And what kind of animals could live here. [indicates around them] No animal or plant life, nothing to support anything less than the most basic form of bacteria. So what caused it? Assuming that these aren't thousands of years old.

Kate: They look new.

Doctor: No corrosion. But deep inside an asteroid, why should there be, Kate? Maybe the locals will know.

A shadow falls over them. They look up to see the hooded figure who blocks the tunnel before them.

Doctor: Ah! Hello!

Kate: Who are you?

The figure takes off his hood to reveal a young man with sallow features and bright blue eyes.

Man: I am Brother Gabriel, of the Order of Koporahn.

Doctor: Well, Mr Gabriel, you do have a habit of startling people.

Gabriel: You are trespassers here. I have been trying to make contact with you since you arrived here in your transmat capsule. You are here to see us, are you not, Doctor? Kate?

Kate: [to the Doctor] Smart, isn’t he?

Doctor: You’ve shown your powers of observation are remarkable, but I’m surprised you’d believe us. [frowns] Does this happen much?

Gabriel: Far from it, Doctor. But you have no reason to lie to each other, and the explanation I have deduced fits the facts. Is it right?

Doctor: Yes. We were just here to visit the monastery.

Kate: There’s a monastery down here?

Gabriel: But of course. I’m sure the Abbot would be delighted to meet you – assuming you wish to join our order.

Doctor: Why thank you.

Kate: Lead on, McDuff.

Doctor: Lay on.

Gabriel smiles and leads them across the gallery and out of sight. Once they are gone, a shadow falls on the floor. A green carapace scuttles past, and we see that more grooves have appeared in the floor.


Gabriel leads the Doctor and Kate down a side passage.

Kate: Tell me, Brother Gabriel, what exactly is the Order of Koporahn all about?

Gabriel: It is a strict monastic order, Kate. We follow the path of true enlightenment, and, although I’m sure you have both seen your fare share of false religious sects but this is the true spiritual pathway of existence.

Kate: How do you know it’s on the level?

Gabriel: What they promise is what they give, Kate.

Doctor: Yes, but what do they promise?

Gabriel: An expansion of the mind and faculties.

Doctor: Which accounts for your... heightened perceptions?

Gabriel: I trust so, Doctor.

They move out of the tunnel and into the open area.


A large cavern, lit by lanterns and small fires. The main bulk is taken up by a giant Gothic church. A low level of illumination burns behind the stained-glass windows. The trio enter through an opening in the tunnel a few metres away from the church.

Gabriel: Here we are. The Koporahn Church.

Kate: [after a pause] It’s... very nice.

Doctor: It must have taken a while to set this up. Getting all the supplies down here, building it to the specific neo-Gothic design, making sure the foundations are solid...

Gabriel: The planning and architecture took a few days to complete.

Kate: But, to get all the stuff down here...

Gabriel: The correct route was discovered and transportation took three days. Your astonishment is unnecessary. The increased intelligence of the order allows great leaps in advance and design.

Doctor: Obviously.

Kate: But why is everything look so...

Doctor: Yes?

Kate: [embarrassed] Well, primitive?

Gabriel: It is one of the rules of our order, Kate. The idea is to exercise the mind and body rather than using technology to take up the burden. It was the path all sentient life had to take on the road of civilization and we are attempting to recreate it.

Doctor: Such a lifestyle helps that you increase your intellect?

Gabriel: It is part of it, yes.

Kate: Shall we go in?

Gabriel: Of course.

Gabriel bows and heads for the front door. The Doctor and Kate link arms and they head after him. Gabriel opens the doors but pauses on the threshold to turn and face the others.

Gabriel: The rules of decorum in here are strict and, to some, appear harsh. You are to remain silent at all times until the Abbot calls upon you to speak. You are to make no communication to anyone. Is that understood?

Kate: [offended] Do you have to follow these rules too?

Gabriel: Of course.

They enter the monastery. Gabriel closes the doors after him.


The interior is as Gothic as the exterior. Light comes from burning torches on the walls. The Doctor looks around, in interest, as Gabriel leads the way down the hall.


A large room with four long tables forming a kite shape. There are half-a-dozen monks wandering around – male and female. The monks are carrying out their duties, looking neither right nor left. The trio enter the hall and head for the next corridor out. The Doctor frowns as he sees the monks’ solitary movements.


Gabriel leads the way towards a tall, arched doorway. The Doctor notices a dark stairwell leading downwards. There is an embossed head on the archway – a beetle with a wide mouth and jagged square teeth. The Doctor frowns and starts to move down it. A hand falls on his shoulder. He looks up and sees Gabriel. The Doctor smiles half-heartedly. The group continues towards the door. Gabriel bangs the knocker once. There is a soft click and the door opens.


A large, Gothic room. There are a dozen shelves backed with thick, dusty volumes. A tall, grim-looking man in heavy robes stand behind the desk. he has an upturned collar that circles his head from ear to ear and rises two feet up from his neck. He also has a metal skullcap with spikes emerging from it. The door opens and the trio enter.

Abbot: Who are these people, Brother Gabriel?

Gabriel: Space travelers, Abbot. Their transmat capsule made a random landing in one of the galleries nearby.

The Abbot studies the Doctor and Kate. A low, ethereal hiss seems to fill the air, and forms words.

Voice: The... Doctor! It is... the Doctor... Kill him!

The Abbot slowly smiles.

Abbot: You are very lucky, travelers. You could have got lost quite easily in those tunnels. Many have nearly died of starvation attempting to chart them.

Doctor: Then we owe you our lives.

Abbot: You owe us nothing, my friend. You would do the same if our roles were reversed, I trust?

Kate: You bet.

Abbot: [smiles] You say you made a random landing here?

Doctor: We were... knocked off course by another space vehicle.

Abbot: Ah... I had hoped you would be new members.

Kate: New members?

Abbot: The Order of Koporahn’s fame has spread across most of the galaxy. People from many worlds are attracted to our order, the intelligent and influential...

Kate: There aren’t many around here, I think.

Abbot: Many people come to join the Order, but few do. Those who join must sacrifice their lives to the outside world, and must take a vow of silence, and vow not to join in union with the other members of the Order.

Kate: They can’t have... friends?

Abbot: No. But we do not force them to join, and those that do are ultimately rewarded, are they not, Brother Gabriel?

Gabriel: Of course, Abbot.

Abbot: I presume that you would like the use of some star charts?

Doctor: [bashful] Oh, only if it’s no trouble...

Abbot: There is no inconvenience. Brother Gabriel, do you know where the traveler’s transmat cabin is located?

Gabriel: Yes, Abbot.

Abbot: Then you shall prepare a map for the travelers to find their way back to their space craft. I shall take them and prepare for the afternoon’s meal.

Gabriel: Yes, Abbot.

The Abbot turns and leaves. The Doctor frowns and follows.


The Abbot heads down the passage towards the main exit.

Doctor: Er, Abbot?

Abbot: Yes, my friend?

Doctor: Oh, Doctor, please... Where does that lead?

The Doctor indicates the stairwell.

Abbot: A small garden, where some of the more earthly members of the order prepare vegetables and fruit for our daily food. And in answer to your next question, Doctor, the garden is kept below for safety reasons. We cannot risk one of our order’s cravings consuming all our food, can we? Please, come.

The Doctor and Kate follow the Abbot away.


They enter the haul. More monks are starting to appear. Gabriel arrives, carrying a small scroll. The Abbot turns and smiles again.

Abbot: Ah, thank you Brother Gabriel.

The Abbot takes the scroll, and crosses to a small gong. He strikes it and its reverberations echo and re-echo throughout the dining hall. Immediately, the monks start to sit down at the tables. Others move out of sight, and the Abbot crosses to a podium before the kite.

Abbot: Prey, be seated.

The Doctor and Kate get the hint and sit at the nearest seat available. The remaining monks arrive, and start handing out cutlery, plates and goblets before each person. More monks are carrying cauldrons of stew and a strange grey liquid.


The gong can still be heard distantly. A monk walks calmly down the cavern towards an exit. He pauses as a strange noise starts up – an insect chirruping.

Suddenly, our view shifts – we are now seeing events from something else’s point of view: everything is a grey/red shimmering wall of colour. The view swings around, and vague details become visible. The shape of the monk dips in and out vision, and then the P.O.V. accelerates towards the monk.

Back in normal vision, the noise gets louder and there is the sound of something moving. The monk turns round, curious, and a shadow falls over him. The chirruping noise gets louder still.


Everyone has now been served. Kate eyes her food and is about to tuck in when the Doctor taps her on the shoulder. She freezes, and looks up. The Abbot has taken out a book with the beetle emblem and is now reading it, in a prayer.

Abbot: [reads] O creator of all, who made us flesh and blood and immortal spirit in your likeness, we give thanks for the chance you have given us to find the one true faith, the path of enlightenment. As we eat our food to live another day.

All bow their heads and start to eat. The Doctor tastes his stew, grimaces and hands it to Kate, who is eagerly tucking in. The Doctor sips his water, obviously trying to get rid of the taste.


The monk has been backed up against the wall, eyes wide the terror. The insectoid silhouette is cast over him as the chirruping grows louder and louder. The monk covers his face as green fore-legs move into view. Finally, he screams just as the chirruping turns into an alien roar. Fade to black.


A while later. Most of the monks are finishing up or clearing the dining things away. Kate is eagerly tucking into the Doctor’s meal, while the Time Lord studies the Abbot with narrowed eyes. The Abbot comes over, just as Kate finishes her meal.

Abbot: Doctor, I trust you and your companion are replete?

Doctor: Couldn’t be happier, Abbot. Well, thank you for the lunch, but my friend and I should really be on our way...

Abbot: Of course. I have the star charts and map for you here.

He holds out several scrolls.

Doctor: Oh, well, we’ll just have a quick look before we leave.

Abbot: No, my dear Doctor, they are yours.

The Doctor rolls open the scrolls. They are brilliantly-detailed sketches of planets, stars and co-ordinates, all in flowing copperplate hand. The Doctor and Kate turn and stare at the Abbot.

Doctor: These must have taken years to create, we can’t just take them, Abbot.

Abbot: These are reproductions of the real maps, Doctor.

Doctor: But that’s...

Kate: Don’t be na├»ve, Doctor. The people of this order are amazingly advanced. The skill to duplicate the maps by hand is not really that amazing is it?

The Doctor stares at her. Kate is speaking in a more crisp, educated tone of voice, like a teacher.

Doctor: [slowly] Yes. Yes, of course. Well, this really has been a fascinating day, Abbot. My friend and I will be off.

Abbot: I hope that you will one day return, Doctor.

Doctor: Yes, I probably will. Maybe join up.

The Doctor rises. He and Kate bow and then turn to the exit.

Abbot: Farewell, Doctor.

He smiles and turns and walks off. Gabriel is watching, curious.


The Abbot enters, closes and locks the doors.

Voice: The Doctor... must die.

Abbot: [calmly] All is prepared. They will be dead within minutes.

Voice: And so... they should.

The Abbot crosses to his desk and presses a hidden control. Immediately, a section of bookshelves slowly dissolves in refracted light. The hologram shuts down, to reveal, sitting between to real shelves is a metallic hatch of an airlock. The Abbot crosses to it.


The Doctor and Kate are heading away from the monastery.

Doctor: Right, according to this map, we head down [points] that passage for about two metres and turn right.

Kate: No, no, no, Doctor. We came in by [points] that tunnel. Left, right, right.

Doctor: [awed] Really?

Kate: Yes, really.

Doctor: Kate, are you sure you’re feeling all right?

Kate: Of course I am. Why shouldn’t I be?

Doctor: Because you’re acting very strangely. Remembering the exact details of how we got here, showing no surprise at the monk’s skills. Something’s happened to you, Kate – you’ve changed.

Kate: [unsure] Have I?

Doctor: You’re whole personality seems to have altered slightly. Headstrong, knowledgeable, argumentative... well, not that much different. As if...

Kate: As if what?

Doctor: As though your brain has been altered. As though that little religion has given you a free sample of mental enlightenment.

Kate: But don’t you have live their way of life before if starts to effect you?

Doctor: Obviously not. It must be something in the food.

Kate: [pale] Poison? Please, not poison!

Doctor: No. Some kind of chemical which allows the human brain to use more than 10 per cent of its potential. It must be very potent too, to effect you like that.

The Doctor starts to head for the cave.

Doctor: Of course, you ate two helpings and have a less-developed constitution than the people out here. You should be fine, Kate, don’t worry about it.

They enter the cave and head out of sight.


The Doctor moves down the passageway. Kate follows.

Kate: Is this permanent?

Doctor: I doubt it. You have it diluted, presumably. And if it was in your food, it was probably in everyone else’s. And why would those monks need a constant supply unless its effects were only temporary?

Kate: So the Abbot is a fraud.

Doctor: Maybe. But the religion might not be. Come on.

They move down the passage.


The Doctor and Kate enter another gallery.

Doctor: According to this map, that tunnel over there is the one that the TARDIS materialized in.

Kate: But I don’t remember this route.

Doctor: Those monks have been here longer than we have; it’s probably just a short-cut we didn’t notice.

Kate: In this light, I’m not surprised.

The Doctor rolls up the map, pockets it and heads for the tunnel. He trips and falls flat on his face. Kate runs to him, and helps him up.

Kate: Doctor! Doctor, are you all right?

Doctor: [rubbing face] More or less. I just tripped over something.

Kate: [frowns] I can’t see anything... Oh.

Doctor: What’s wrong? [sees] Oh.

The Doctor bends down to see what he tripped over - a small cluster of bones, and the remains of a skull. The Doctor hastily crosses to the bleached white bones ands looks over them.

Doctor: Human. Picked clean...

Kate: [covers mouth] What could do that to someone?

Doctor: Something with vicious teeth, that’s for sure. It must have filled itself before it reached these parts, or it just didn’t like the bones very much.

Kate: It was one of the monks, wasn’t it?

Doctor: It seems so. But according to the Abbot, this planetoid is lifeless. There shouldn’t be anyone down here but us and the people at the monastery.

Kate: But obviously there is.

We are now seeing the Doctor and Kate through the creature’s P.O.V once more. We cut back to normal vision to see that, down the tunnel they were about to head, are the insect’s glowing eyes, suspended in the darkness.

To be continued...

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