Based on a story by Tom Baker and Ian Marter
The TARDIS console started to catch fire. In his struggle with the Goblins, the Doctor managed to hurl one over his shoulder with a judo flip, sending it head first into the flaming console.
The Doctor quickly managed to clobber another of the creatures over the head with a piece of furniture that he had tried to block the door with, knocking it off its feet.
The Doctor and the rest of the Goblins were soon thrown off of their feet as the Dragon again started to panic. The monster was being pulled from one dimension to the other. The Doctor in the confusion quickly ran around the console to see if there was any part of it that was still operable, but the whole thing was a mass of fire.
The Tardis was struggling with the Dragon, and the Goblins attack had only weakened her strength. Still she struggled on however, and the struggle between the TARDIS and the Dragon threatened to rip a hole in the time vortex itself.
The Doctor quickly went to one of the roundrels and ripped it off. The Time Lord then tried to redeposit the power from various rooms across the lower deck of the TARDIS, (which caused them to vanish) and into the console.
After a few seconds the fire vanished completely from the console and the TARDIS was in complete control again.
The Doctor then fired a small sample of excess energy left over from the lower decks at the Goblins. It didn’t kill them, but succeeded in knocking the monsters out cold.
In the Inquisitore’s torture chamber meanwhile Elena, Yarox, the villagers and the Goblins were now more focused on trying to escape than fighting each other. The Dragon’s thrashing threw them wildly around the room. One of the villagers was even killed, when he hit his head against the steel walls!
Worse still the portal to the Inquisitore’s hell began to fluctuate and it grow bigger. All of those at the back were quickly swallowed by the portal, whilst those at the front struggled to crawl towards the door, but just as they reached it however the door slammed shut. From the main control room the leader of the Goblins, in a final spiteful act used the last of the power in the Dragon to seal the room shut. He was desperate that the humans would not just be killed in the crash, but have to endure the hell he had come from.
Elena pounded on the door as hard as she could, but it was made of reinforced steel. The portal drew closer and closer, consuming more and more Goblins and villagers. Stanley, Yarox, Sophie and Jonathan all huddled around Elena and tried to help her push on the door, but it was no use.
Stanley in a final act of self sacrifice pushed the others in front of him as the portal drew closer and he was pulled into it. Two of the villagers and Elena tried to pull him back, and with all of their strength. They almost succeeded, but just when they were on the cusp of pulling him free, the portal would grow and engulf Stanley again. On the other side of the portal Stanley and the others could hear the screams of the damned souls of Scratchman’s domain, whilst the heat from the portal was unbearable. As the portal grew larger and larger, Elena realised that unless they let go, they too would be consumed alongside Stanley and with regret she not only let him go, but pulled the other two villagers back before the portal swallowed all 4 of them. The last image Elena saw of Stanley was of him screaming at her for help. His screams from the other side lingered on for a few seconds afterwards, which felt like an eternity for Elena and the rest of the villagers.
Just as all seemed lost the TARDIS suddenly materialised around the frightened villagers. The Doctor couldn’t move the TARDIS until the last second, and had been forced to watch with horror at the sight of the villagers he couldn’t save being pulled into hell. Even when the TARDIS landed around them, not all of the villagers were caught in its dematerialisation field, and a further five were pulled into hell.
Only twenty of the villagers in total were rescued by the Doctors TARDIS, but the leader of the Goblins still screamed in frustration and anger at the sight of any of them escaping.
“Foolish Time Lord” The monster said to itself. “You think you have escaped, but you will still deliver him to this reality.”
The Dragon let out one last agonizing scream before its body vanished in a blaze of fire that spread out over the entire sky of the small island below. The TARDIS only barely managed to escape from being pulled into Scratchman’s hell with the Dragon, but it was far from a smooth landing. The TARDIS simply plummeted to earth from the flames, rather than materliasing. The strain on the old girl had been incredible. Almost all of her power appeared to be drained, though fortunately the reserve banks were still fine. It was the first time the Doctor had been forced to use them however in over 2 thousand years.
“I’m sorry old girl, I really am, but it looks like we did it.” The Doctor said as he gently tapped the battered console.
“We’re fine thanks.” Mrs Tulloch, one of the few lucky survivors alongside her daughter Sophie, said from the back.
Some of the villagers had been knocked out in the crash, but most were thankfully unhurt.
The Doctor quickly left the TARDIS to see if there were any traces of “Scratchman’s” influence, whilst Elena and Yarox tended to the surviving villagers. Many of the villagers however didn’t want to even look at Elena after what happened with Stanley.
“You coward. Stanley was willing to give his life for us and you, you left him.”
“I’m sorry, there was nothing we could do, and if I hadn’t pulled you free, you’d have joined him.” Elena tried to say before more of the villagers cut her off.
Yarox soon came to her defence.
“Don’t you dare call her a coward. I owe my life to her many times over. I can assure you she would have done anything she could do to save your friend.” Yarox protested.
The other villagers weren’t listening, except for Mrs Tulloch.
“All I know is that if it weren’t for this woman, or either of her strange friends my little girl wouldn’t be alive now. We should be thanking them.”
Most of the rest of the villagers weren’t convinced, and even Elena herself wasn’t convinced. She knew that it hadn’t been because she was scared. She had made peace with her own death many years ago. She had to, or else she would never have been able to travel with the Doctor, but she wondered if she had been too rash ironically in trying to protect the other villagers. In truth there wasn’t anything else she could have done for Stanley, but that tiny bit of doubt would sadly stay with Elena for the rest of her life.
Outside the Doctor saw that much of the forest the TARDIS had crashed into had been burned to the ground by the dragon in its death throes. Even though there might still be danger, the Doctor would much rather be out here than deal with the villagers. Though they were his favourite species, the Doctor could sometimes get more than a little frustrated at human beings tendency to lash out when they were scared, and was in no mood to deal with it.
In the distance the Doctor could see a few Scarecrow’s shuffling awkwardly in his direction. They all looked extremely weak however and some of them were even collapsing.
“Please.” One of the Demons whimpered as it crawled along the floor to the Doctor.
“We’re being pulled back into his domain. We can’t go back, we can’t. He promised us peace if we delivered you to him. Please for our sakes Time Lord.”
The Doctor kept his distance from the Scarecrow’s. He knew they wouldn’t last much longer in this reality, but still he wasn’t taking any chances.
“I’m sorry” the Doctor said. “I wish there was something I could do for you, but I had to protect this world.”
“Please, please don’t let us.” The Scarecrow said before it and all of the others around it crumbled into nothing but dust. Their minds or souls had been pulled back into the hell from which they came. It was over. All of Scratchman’s influence had been seemingly purged from this universe and the monster was sealed back in its pit. The cost however had been huge. Another entire universe would still have to suffer under that creature, whatever it was and there was seemingly nothing the Doctor could do to help them.
The Doctor, Elena and Yarox would be forced to spend the next day on the island. The TARDIS was not only in no position to travel, but they needed to make sure there were no more portals left over from Scratchman’s dimension. The villagers didn’t speak much with the three time travellers during their stay. Not only was there still resentment towards Elena, but the villagers didn’t trust or like the Doctor much either. Many feared that he was in league with the Demons, or that he was a Warlock of some kind. The Doctor and Elena and Yarox would help the villagers search the island for other survivors (of which there were sadly none), but other than that they kept their distance.
By the time a team arrived to rescue the villagers, the TARDIS was ready to leave and the Doctor, Yarox and Elena slipped away without even saying goodbye. The story of what happened on the island would briefly become a sensation, though the government would be quick to supply a cover up story. The island would remain abandoned however, with no one daring to ever go near it again.
As the TARDIS hurled its way through the vortex, there was an awkward silence among the three time travellers. Though Scratchman was defeated, the cost had been too high. What troubled the Doctor the most however was the fact that he still had no idea what Scratchman really was. The Doctor could never stand not knowing the truth about somewhere he had visited or a new life form he had discovered, but when it was something that terrified him he couldn’t bare it.
“Well lets hope the old girl will take us somewhere a bit more relaxing next eh” The Doctor said. “I think after that ordeal she’ll probably want a rest for a bit. I’m heading down to the library.” The Doctor said.
In truth the Doctor was wanting to look through his books to see if he could find anything about Scratchman. It would be hard to seperate the myths from the fact, but surely there must be something, he thought to himself. The Doctor was too consumed in his latest obsession to notice the pain his companions were in. He didn’t mean to insensitive, but when the Doctors desire for new knowledge ironically often caused him to overlook what was right in front of him.
Elena meanwhile just wanted to retreat to her quarters below.
“You know it really wasn’t your fault Elena.” Yarox said to her as she left the console room.
“I know you mean well Yarox, but please I just, I just need to be alone.” She replied somewhat coldly to Yarox.
Yarox decided to head back down to the TARDIS’ garden. This tiny, artificial construct was the only place in the history of the universe Yarox had ever felt safe.
The experience had arguably shaken Yarox more than the Doctor and Elena. Yarox had long heard stories about the golden age of humanity from his own time, whilst the Doctor had promised him a chance to see the universe when it was young and healthy.
Now that he had actually visited the past however, he saw that it was full of just as much struggle, desperation and death as his time. It may have looked more peaceful on the surface, but underneath all of the different life forms were still fighting with each other just to survive.
Was there ever a period of peace in the galaxies history? Still as Yarox looked up at an illusion of the Illexian galaxy, he couldn’t help but be captivated at its beauty. Was all of the pain and misery he had witnessed throughout all of time worth it for this?
Suddenly however the illusion began to fade and the roof above quickly turned to fire. As Yarox looked around he saw the trees in the TARDIS garden began to wither and turn black.
As Yarox backed away slowly he heard an all to familiar sound, that he had never hoped to hear again in his life.
“HALT, STAY WHERE YOU ARE! DO NO MOVE!”
Yarox turned around to see two Daleks, the monsters that still terrified him far more than even Scratchman or any of his Demonic minions gliding in his direction, their guns raised and ready to fire.
To Be Continued