Sunday, January 28, 2007

Alixion Part Two!


The Doctor and Kate looking over human bones.

Doctor: Human. Picked clean...

Kate: [cover 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. The Doctor rises up.

Doctor: Come on, Kate.

Kate: Back to the monastery?

Doctor: Yes, we’ve got to warn them about all this. If there is some creature down here, they have to know about it. It’s only fair. Come on, this way.

The Doctor starts to head for the tunnel where the eyes where.

Kate: [grabs him] No, Doctor. Wrong way. It’s back that way.

Doctor: Yes. I must ask about this map, while we’re there.

The Doctor and Kate head out of the cavern. The creature emerges from the darkness, and we can see its horns and large, blunt teeth. The chirruping noise becomes audible.


The Doctor and Kate re-enter the cavern.

Kate: I don’t suppose the poor man will be missed.

Doctor: Hmm? Why?

Kate: Rules of the order, remember? I doubt anyone apart from the Abbot will even be able to us the deceased’s name. It’s sad that no one else was allowed to talk to him or get to know him.

Doctor: Yes.

Kate: What?

Doctor: Hmm?

Kate: What is it? You’ve tensed up.

Doctor: How can you tell?

Kate: Because... I can’t remember.

Doctor: No, no you can’t can you? The potion of theirs for increasing the mental capacity of life forms... This whole monastery is a set up, a con job!

Kate: You don’t know that, Doctor.

Doctor: Don’t I? [takes out map] Look at this. This is not a hand-drawn map, Kate. It is a fake. A computer image taken of a real map, altered and then printed out.

Kate stares at the map, shocked.

Kate: How can you tell?

Doctor: Oh, this and that. General straight lines, slight pixilation of the image, contrast of the map route... the smell of the ink. No, this Abbot is a complete crook.

Kate: But who is he? What’s he getting out of all this?

Doctor: Yes, good questions.

He heads up to the door and bangs the knocker. A monk opens it. The Doctor enters. Kate follows.


The Doctor and Kate enter. The Doctor starts to speak, but Kate stops him. He sighs, reaches into a pocket and pulls out an A4 notepad. He writes on it in black marker and shows it to the monk: TAKE US TO THE ABBOT. ONE OF THE MONKS HAS DIED HORRIBLY. The monk pales, but nods. The Doctor grins and gives the pad to Kate.


The Doctor and Kate are lead through the area. Kate writes A POUND FOR YOUR THOUGHTS. The Doctor writes SHOULDN’T THAT BE PENNY? Kate writes YOUR THOUGHTS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE. WHAT IS IT? The Doctor writes THE RULES OF THIS ORDER. THINK ABOUT THEM. VERY CONVENIENT, HMM? Kate frowns, and writes FOR WHAT? The Doctor shrugs.


They pass the archway. The Doctor writes WE’VE GOT TO SEE WHAT’S DOWN THERE. Kate writes WHY? The Doctor writes I’LL TELL YOU ONCE WE’RE DOWN THERE. AND DON’T TRUST THE ABBOT! The monk bangs the knocker and the door opens. Kate hides the pad.


The Abbot looks up as the Doctor and co enter. The false bookshelf is back in place. The voice hisses.

Voice: Failure! He lives!

Abbot: [smiles] Doctor! What an unexpected pleasure! Why are you and your friend back already?

Doctor: Oh, well, the map was slightly misleading.

Abbot: [arches eyebrow] Really? How interesting.

Kate: Oh, there was the skeleton we found.

Doctor: And, as you said, we are the only people on the planet. Therefore the deceased was a member of this order. I was wondering perhaps if you knew of anyone who had gone missing recently?

Kate: Or at all?

Abbot: [nods] You may go, Brother Silver.

The monk bows and leaves.

Abbot: Two months ago, Brother Cedricks went on a constitutional and failed to return. We searched the surrounding area and we failed to find any trace of him. I thought he may have been killed in a rock fall. Obviously, however, he hasn’t.

Doctor: Obviously. [pause] Who was Cedricks before he left his life at the door?

Abbot: A bio-geneticist from Radran Major. Quite popular, all things considered. I heard he discovered the cure for Pilloy Virus ten years ago. A pity.

Kate: Will you tell his family?

Abbot: All members abandon their families when they become part of the order of Koporahn. If possible, I shall send words that Cedricks is dead, but in a sense he died when he came here.

Doctor: Cursed, eh?

Abbot: [frowns] No. He sacrificed his old life for the new.

Doctor: Well, I think I’d like you and some strong hands to bring back the remains. Do you have burials in your religion, Mr Abbot?

Abbot: We are not savages, Doctor.

The Doctor grins.

Doctor: No, you’re very enlightened. Let’s get going. Kate, you stay here and offer moral support to the inmates... ah, er, monks and be nice. And remember that place I wanted to visit.

We see he has palmed the sonic screwdriver into her hands.

Kate: But I can’t speak...

He hands her the marker.

Kate: Oh, right.

Doctor: I’m glad we understand each other?

Kate nods and the trio prepare to leave. The Abbot pauses on the threshold as the voice becomes audible.

Abbot: What?

Voice: Destroy him! DESTROY HIM!


The Doctor, the Abbot and two monks emerge from the monastery. The Doctor heads across to the tunnel to the cavern. The Abbot frowns and follows him.


Something is casting a shadow over the final few bones. A shiny green claw extends out of the shadows towards the rib bones, but then retreats as the sounds of footsteps fills the air. The shadow moves out of sight just as the Doctor arrives with the monks.

Doctor: Here we are, Abbot.

The Abbot gets on his knees. The other monks follow suit. The Doctor shrugs and kneels also.

Abbot: [preys] Terran Cedricks... In the Halls of Creation we shall see him again. Now he remembers his friends and speaks for them. Hear him, O God and deliver them from flesh.

All bow their heads. The Abbot rises.

Abbot: Take his remains back to the monastery.

The monks start to pack the bones gingerly into a red velvet sack.

Abbot: [watching them] I regret the necessity of you and your companion having to come across this tragedy, Doctor. I... Doctor? [looks around] Doctor?

We see that the Time Lord has disappeared.


Gabriel wanders into the main area, clearly heading for the residential area, when he sees Kate. Grinning broadly he crosses to Kate, who has written GABRIEL! She turns the page to show OUTSIDE, WE NEED TO TALK. Gabriel nods and the duo head elsewhere.


The monk and the safe cracker emerge from the church and run into shadows of the cavern.

Gabriel: Kate? What is it? Why are you back?

Kate: I’ll tell you in a minute. First, do you know someone in your order by the name of Cedricks?

Gabriel: [frowns] Brother Cedricks. The Abbot introduced us to him, but we never spoke, obviously. But I know his face.

Kate: Right. So, when was the last time you saw him?

Gabriel: A few hours before I went on my afternoon constitution, this very day. Why?


The Abbot and the monks are looking around.

Abbot: Where can he have gone?

Monk: Abbot, shall we...

Abbot: No. Return to the church and await my return.

The monks bow and leave. The Abbot, still looking for the Doctor ducks into a side tunnel. Once he is out of sight, we see a misshapen shadow fall on the ground nearby.


The monks enter the cavern and head to the church. They open the doors and enter, closing the gates behind them. Kate and Gabriel emerge from hiding behind some struts of rock.

Gabriel: What are you doing, Kate?

Kate: Look, I know that this whole thing is a sham!

Gabriel: [angry] Kate, how dare you...

Kate: I have the evidence. According to you, Cedricks must have died in the last couple of hours. According to the Abbot he’s been gone months and you gave up looking.

Gabriel: What? No, you have no evidence. The Abbot must have been mistaken, it’s as simple as that.

Kate: I thought he was the smartest of the smart!

Gabriel: If you did not specify which of our order was missing, then of course he would be wrong!

Kate: What? Are you saying this isn’t the first time one of your people has disappeared?

Gabriel: No. Regularly our numbers diminish. I cannot say who, for we do not know each other very well. All I know is that our numbers will drop and then rise with new members. Disappearances have been happening for the last two years – since before I came here.


The Abbot re-enters the area. There is no sign of anyone. He sighs and is about to leave, when he notices something out of the corner of his eye. He turns and he sees a jelly baby lying on the floor. And another. And another. The sweets are arranged in a trail into one tunnel. The Abbot frowns and follows after them.


The Abbot follows the sweets until they stop at the feet of someone standing nearby. It is the Doctor.

Doctor: More tea, vicar?


Gabriel and Kate continue to argue.

Gabriel: No! I cannot believe you, Kate.

Kate: I’m not surprised!

Gabriel: What?

Kate: You’re part of this, too, aren’t you? You’re in league with them! Don’t play the innocent! What about that map you gave us? [produces it] Printed from computer, you might notice.

Gabriel: [takes map] This isn’t the map I drew!

Kate: Yeah, right.

Gabriel: This isn’t even the right route. That path sends you outside hallowed ground! And your spaceship arrived inside the area.

Kate: [nods] I thought it was wrong... The Abbot, he must have switched maps! But why?

Gabriel: [crumples up map] Go away Kate. Get the Doctor, and I will take you to your craft! Just leave!

Kate: What?

Gabriel: [agonized] I have finally got all I ever wanted – inner peace! In one afternoon, you and your friends seem determined to ruin it at any cost! Just leave me!

Kate glowers, but turns and leaves. Gabriel, almost on the verge of tears, turns and starts to walk off. Kate starts to follow him, but Gabriel’s heightened senses immediately detect her.


Kate leaves for real. Covering his face, Gabriel enters the church.


The Abbot wrenches himself free. The Doctor and the Abbot stare at each other – the former calmly, the latter speechless with rage.

Abbot: Doctor! What is the meaning of this?

Doctor: I thought you should know a few things. I know what you are, and what you’re doing to the people in that tax dodge of a religion you’ve created. It’s time you and I had a little chat.

Abbot: Tell me then, Doctor.

Doctor: You’re a fraud. A phony, a fake, a facade of moral decency covering the worst type of totalitarianism – that of the mind. Indoctrination of the innocents here.

Abbot: [angry] You dare propose that the Order of Koporahn is false!

Doctor: Indeed, I do. The religion might be based on a real religious practice, but not like this. You force these people into a harsh way of living, sever all their links with the past, all just for ‘the path of true enlightenment’. Or rather, you drugging their food with cerebral enhancements.

Abbot: [slowly] How? How can... How did you know?

Doctor: Your overacting, I’m afraid. You’ve discovered a source of fluid which can increase the potential of the human brain. But the effect isn’t permanent, so the only way you can ensure constant use is by creating a false religion.

Abbot: You don’t know the half of it, Doctor.

Doctor: [smiles] Then enlighten me.


Kate creeps up to the doorway of the church and produces the sonic screwdriver. The aims the device at the lock and activates it. There is a heavy bolting noise and the doors creak apart. Kate ducks through the doors.


Closing the doors behind her, she hastily ducks into the shadows as a monk passes by. She ducks past the monk and out of sight. Another monk, a bald man with shining green eyes, watches on, expressionless.


The Abbot and the Doctor are sitting on the floor.

Abbot: I discovered the elixir four years ago. I found out that, not only was it a healthy mixture of minerals it also has another property.

Doctor: Which is?

Abbot: Your subconscious records everything you see, hear, feel, every conversation you ever had. However, it is often blocked off from the conscious mind completely.

Doctor: Get on with it, Abbot.

Abbot: On contact with the human nervous system, the elixir somehow breaks down the barriers to the subconscious. The secret knowledge can be accessed by the brain and it therefore increases intelligence considerably.

Doctor: Why didn’t you make your claim public?

Abbot: Because the elixir’s affect is only temporary. The enzyme bonds break up rapidly and in hours it is useless. I was attempting to create a permanent, constant effect.

Doctor: But why set up the Order of Koropahn? Anyone could see you were working for the benefit of sentient life.

Abbot: I had to see the long-term effect of the elixir on humans. And, to plausibly introduce the elixir, I set up the religion. I had to make sure the people in the order would not abuse their powers...

Doctor: So you set up the harsh guidelines.

Abbot: Exactly. And now...

Doctor: And now your cozy scheme has been upset.

Abbot: You are going to expose my lies.

Doctor: Possibly. At the moment, I’m more worried about the fact that somewhere on this planet is a creature capable of all-but swallowing whole a human being.


Kate creeps down the passage, and crosses to the double doors leading to the Abbot’s quarters. She tries the doors, but they are locked. She zaps them with the sonic screwdriver, but its normal whir changes to a ear-piercing screech. Kate switches the screwdriver off, irritably.


As before.

Abbot: You are convinced this creature is real?

Doctor: Yes. It may not be a native, but then, neither are we. It obviously considers this to be its territory and will eat any trespassers.

Abbot: I don’t believe it.

Doctor: [cocks head] Why?

Abbot: I have run the Order of Koropahn for three years, and been on this planet even longer. There are no sentient native life-forms on Alixion whatsoever. Or non-sentient life-forms, come to that.

Doctor: So? It’s a visitor. It doesn’t stop it being here – here and now, which is when we are going to have to deal with it.

Abbot: [after a long pause] How?

Doctor: First, a little excursion.

Abbot: Where?


Kate leans against the wall frustrated.

Doctor: [VO] To where this elixir of yours is made.

She looks around, and notices a stairwell. Kate advances slowly towards the archway, and then ducks through. As she moves out of sight, we se that three monks are watching. The leader is the green-eyed man we saw earlier. He nods to the other two and leaves.


Kate creeps down a steep flight of steps until she comes to a short, dark corridor ending in an ornate gateway. Kate produces the sonic screwdriver and zaps the lock. The gates grind open, just as the two other monks move into view, down the steps. Kate’s eyes widen and the runs through the gates.


Kate enters and uses the screwdriver again. Immediately, the gates grind closed before the monks can leave the steps. She sighs and relief and looks around and sees she is in a huge chamber full of highly complex machinery. Glass tubes and coils slowly drip amber fluid into a beaker, with chunks of grey sludge in bubbling vats. Kate boggles.

Kate: Now what could all this be in aide of?

As she walks forward, the green-eyed monk ducks into view behind her and clubs her unconscious. Kate falls to the ground, and stares up at the monk. We see it from her point of view: Everything blurs out of focus and fades to black.


Gabriel sits at a table looking miserable. The two other monks walk casually out of the main hallway, looking satisfied with each other.


Kate groans as she slowly awake. She is tied to a chair. The green-eyed monk stands over her.

Kate: [groans] What are you doing? Who are you?

Monk: I am Brother Michael of the Order of Koporahn.

Kate: Let me go.

Michael: I can’t. I have my orders.

Kate: Which are?

Michael: To kill you. Your usefulness remains the same, alive or dead. The amount of elixir will remain constant.

Kate: [frowns] Elixir? What’s that got to with me?

Michael: [smiles] I’d like to tell you, but I and the others are sworn to secrecy.

Kate: You’re also not supposed to talk at all!

Michael: What can I say? I pick and choose which vows I uphold.

Michael produces a compact crystal blaster.

Michael: ‘Thy shall not kill’, for example. Never believed that.

He takes aim at Kate, who swallows hard.


The Doctor and the Abbot are heading up a steep tunnel.

Doctor: This is quite a distance from the monastery, isn’t it?

Abbot: I’m afraid so, but the monastery couldn’t be built anywhere nearer to the source of the elixir. Come, where are nearly there.

The Doctor nods and follows the Abbot.


A huge cavern, with a lower area, making it look vaguely like some kind of arena. Caves and tunnel lead off in various directions. The Doctor and the Abbot enter through one of these and stand on a ledge overlooking the area.

Abbot: This is the main gallery of Alixion, Doctor. From here we collect the crystals and build up of congealing fluid. We take them to the monastery, where it is processed... in the normal way.

Doctor: Yes, but where exactly does this remarkable substance originate from? It can’t just appear here out of nowhere.

Abbot: [smiles] Can’t it?

Doctor: No! [moves forward] Obviously it’s a secretion of some kind, condensation of gases maybe?

The Abbot moves puts his foot out, tripping the Doctor. The Time Lord stumbles and plummets downwards, falling into the cavern below. The Doctor picks himself up off the ground and looks up at the Abbot on the ledge above him.

Doctor: [dusts himself off] Oh, it takes more than that to hurt me, Abbot! Just what exactly are you playing at?

Abbot: A game with high stakes, Doctor.

Doctor: And how high are they?

Abbot: Higher than you can comprehend. And you’re not playing any more. You’ve won the booby prize!

Doctor: Really? How very amusing!

A low chirruping sound becomes audible. The Doctor frowns and looks around the area he is in. There are various cave holes dotted in the walls. The noise is getting louder.

Abbot: You see, Doctor, this planet is inhabited, but not by human beings. I’m sure you’d like to meet the native creatures of Alixion – because they definitely want to meet you.

The chirruping reaches a crescendo, and a six-foot-long beetle emerges from the cave near the Doctor. Horned, with huge clawed hands and a slavering mouth full of thick, blunt yellow teeth. We see it’s POV as it closes in on the Doctor. The Time Lord inches away from the creature as it chirrups louder and scuttles towards him.

Abbot: Goodbye, Doctor.

The Doctor turns and breaks into a run. The beetle chirrups and roars as it scuttles after its prey. The Abbot laughs as the Doctor runs down the slope towards a cave exit. Just as he reaches it, another beetle emerges, waving its claws. The Doctor skids to a halt and turns to run back, but he is trapped.

To be continued...

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