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the island of death

PART TWO

The Doctor’s face was mirrored a million times in the great domed eyes of the Zarbi as it bore down on the old man with its sweeping forelegs and clacking mandibles…

Manuel de Valero and Jamie Cameron didn’t have a lot in common. Well, that’s not entirely true. They did have a lot in common, though they came from different backgrounds. They were of course, both in their early twenties, but they were also activists.

Manual had been working as a cook on the Spanish fishing trawler ‘Catalina’, the first of many ocean vessels to go missing in what the press were calling ‘The Dulse Oblong’. In fact, he was an undercover agent for a Spanish animal-rights group. His brand of activism was ‘hopeless causes’.

Jamie’s thing on the other hand, was the paranormal. He was chairman of the ‘Roswell Action Committee’. Actually, he was the only member of the RAC, but through the internet he had networked with hundreds of other impressionable types around the globe and had even acquired a video-tape of a masked surgeon performing an autopsy on a space-alien.

Jamie’s parents insisted that the alien was actually a plastic doll ( Ironically, both parties were correct: the footage had been shot by UNIT and showed Dr. Who, in another life, dissecting a Nestene Auton ). The RAC had been in the phone book for a while, but the only call Jamie had received was from an Australian lady reporting a flat tyre on the Barnet By-Pass.

Jamie had come to the Isle of Angus as it was one of the best places to see the Mopp-Topp comet, which - Jamie believed - was really a spaceship. He had been captured by the Zarbi when he had wandered too close to one of their caves late one night.

Now here he was in the same work-group as Manuel, trapped in this hellish subterranean cavern with hundreds of other slaves of the Queen Zarbi, feeding the royal fungus beds with seaweed.

The two lads had struck up a friendship after discovering a common language - Beano Spakio, or BS for short. Hailed as 'The Language of International Peace’, BS was the creation of Clint Bair, the world’s greatest exponent of BS. Thanks to CB, BS was spreading and growing daily.

Oh yes. Manuel and Jamie had one other thing in common: an escape plan!

~~~

Susie had passed out as her grandfather was pinned to the floor and that grotesque insect’s tongue snaked into one of his nostrils and…

When she came to - ignored, where she had fallen - the only changes to the scene were the presence of more Cybermen and a computer monitor, wheeled in on a trolley, hooked up to Cybernetic junction points in the Zarbi’s head. The Zarbi was reading her grandfather’s mind; the Cybermen were downloading his memories!

On the screen, a metallic-gold creature - a sphere intersecting with a cone - was spinning about, a jet of toxic gas shooting out from one of its antennae.

‘Excellent,’ said the Cyberman closest to the computer screen.

She thought she recognised him as the one they’d met earlier. The handle-like devices at the sides of his head were black, distinguishing him from the others, possibly marking rank.

‘This is the Dalek Emperor,’ the Cyberman continued. ‘Skaro represents the greatest threat to our own Empire. With the Doctor’s knowledge of these creatures, our scientists and strategists will find a means of destroying the Daleks.’

Susie recognised these scenes from their last adventure against the Daleks. If the Cybermen were working their way backwards, then they still had a long way to go; her grandfather was many centuries old, after all. That ought to give her plenty of time to sneak away and find help. The door was ajar. She had to try…

Rods of steel bore into shoulder. It was the Cyberleader’s hand. He must have moved at lightening speed.

‘Continue installing the Doctor’s brain-waves,’ he told the others, ‘The girl will come with me.’

~~~

After declaring bankruptcy, the Laird of Lorne had advertised his title and lands for sale in the "Exchange and Mart". The advert caught the eye ( he only had one ) of Hans Klappen in the Arentine hideout. However, life as a Scottish Laird had not proved the sanctuary Klappen craved. Kilt and sporran aside, the Chaplin moustache, Alpine hat and extended pinky at teatime aroused the suspicions of the gentry and tenants of Lorne alike, not to mention the CIA. FBI, C19, M15, M16, MFI and the Reader's Digest.

Now he watched his haggis-fed henchman digging at the sands of Lorne for the treasure Waffen-SS officer H. Klappen had sneaked away under their noses of the allied forces. Within the month, he would be starting a new life as an insurance lawyer in Toronto.

Lost in such thoughts, he was startled by a flickering light out at sea. He climbed the grassy knoll to get a better view and his telescope zoomed in on a blue-box bouncing around in the waves, a white light blinking on the top. What was it - a new kind of bouy? - a mine from the war?! Mein Gott. The word 'Police' was written on the top. They'd found him. This box must be some kind of vessel, perhaps even the conning ower of a submarine! They must hurry, those numb-skulls of his.

He almost slipped as he hurried back down, and as he steadied himself he heard a cracking, snapping, crunching sound.

Excellant! They had reached the casket. Howerver, as he was about to slip down onto the beach again, the blood drained from him as the headless remains of one of his men lay convulsing on the ruddy sand. He recognised the fellow's beard and scarred face between the jaws of a giant ant seconds before those features were destroyed forever with one final sickening crunch.

'The Mopp-Topp comet,' said Susie, starring in amazement at the close-range view of the speeding fireball. She was still alive, so they must need her - to fly the TARDIS? So long as she lived, she could help the Doctor, so she decided to play along with them for now.

'Diameter of impactor: two kilometres,' the Cyberman stated. 'Predicted impact energy: one million megatons.'

'The ultimate enviromental disaster,' she chocked. 'Travelling on a focused gravity beam generated by the Zarbi nest?'

'Correct,' said the Cyberleader. 'Estimated impact time: fifty-nine minutes, twenty seconds.'

Susie's blood was chilled by the combination of the creature's dispassionate voice and the sight of the ball of destruction raging forwards, obliterating the monitor-screen...

END OF PART TWO

written by
IAN McPHERSON
copyright 2009

artwork by
IAN McPHERSON
copyright 2009

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