The robot dog extended it’s scanner and scanned the air around them. “I detect no life signs, Master, but radiation levels are constantly changing.”
“I have scanned the entire planet, Master Adric.” K9 replied, emotionlessly and calmly.
The Doctor nodded. "Any alternative life sign readings?"
The metal dog whirred for a second and then gave his answer. "No sign of life on either search radius, the entire earth or the Tardis."
The Doctor thought hard for a second. "Update me if there's any change. And, scan around yourself. Are we registering now?"
"No, master. There are no life signs on the entirety of this planet."
The Doctor growled. "This just isn't right. Something is wrong. Really wrong."
"Doctor?" Lyra asked.
"Not now, Lyra." The Doctor replied. "Can't you see that I'm thinking intently?"
"Adric is gone!"
The Doctor spun around. The yellow tabard wearing mathematical genius was nowhere to be seen.
"Unhand me!" Adric demanded. He'd been in many confusing scenario's but this was by far the most confusing. Whilst the Doctor talked to K9, he suddenly felt a hand pressed over his mouth and something grab him from behind. As he struggled, looking for whatever it was that had caught him, he saw that the space around him was empty of all life, apart from the Doctor, Lyra and K9, who definitely weren't grabbing him. He had been hauled through the air for an hour now, and he was still none the wiser of what it was that had him. Suddenly he was dumped down on the floor and he noticed large metal struts suddenly disappearing, then reappearing. An hour passed, and he didn't attempt to move because he could hear the breathing of whatever it was that had taken him. Half an hour passed and then he felt himself being lifted through the air once again. The thing that was carrying him walked for another hour and then they passed through a large gate. On the other side of this gate, the thing obviously decided it didn't mind showing itself. A hand appeared over Adric's mouth. And it only had three fingers.
"Back to the Tardis!" The Doctor announced. They raced across the ground and back to the puddle, leaping into it and entering the console room. The Doctor raced towards the Diagnostics panel and instantly sent out a search for life signs. There was nothing, so the Doctor narrowed down the search radius to non life signs, and instantly came up with over six thousand results. "K9, plug yourself into the Tardis and upload the data on the radiation."
The plunger extended from K9's eye plate and registered with the Tardis. On the hanging monitor, a set of data came up, and the Doctor quickly started to type in some words. "Lyra!" The Doctor cried.
"Go to the basement and find the box with the letter S on. Bring me the collar with a large vent on the back."
"Where is it?" Lyra asked.
"Go into the corridor and walk in a straight line as far as you can, and then turn left. In that room there is a door, go through it, follow the corridor, take the seventh left then take the stairs for three floors up and then take a right. There should be a lift in the third room from there, take it to the basement. Ok?"
"Sure." Lyra replied, taking the ladder in the corner of the console room down to the basement.
She returned about ten minutes later with a collar. The Doctor thanked her and then cleared away some dust from the vent on the back. He pulled a cable out of the console and plugged it into the vent. Flicking a switch, the Tardis quickly refreshed the screen of data, but the new results were exactly the same. "There's only one life source on this world other than us."
"What is it?" Lyra demanded.
On the other side of the gate, Adric saw that nobody was invisible. He also felt a lot warmer. But the people who he could see weren't people. They were about three foot each, extremely thick and their bodies were hidden beneath futuristic armour, including a round helmet with two thinly cut eye holes and a gloved hands, that only had three fingers. They more waddled than walked, which Adric presumed was something to do with how short they were. But it wasn't them that scared him. It was the gigantic factories they were crowding around. Large buildings, about six times as big as the average house, width and length, that 'person' after 'person' were gathering around. Then a Tanoy went out. "Cloning to start in T minus 20 seconds."
"These life signs are altering dramatically!" The Doctor cried. Four minutes and twenty seconds had passed, and the life signs had raised by a million. "And Adric must be at the heart of it."
"What can we do?" Lyra demanded.
"The Sontaran's will be weak at first, so they'll need to charge. If we can inject something into the charging material." He trailed off. "That won't work. We need to stop them cloning somehow though." He pulled a lever and the Tardis started to dematerialise. "Don't worry. I'll think of something."
The Tardis materialised, and the Doctor ran towards the door, his 'sonic screwdriver' at the ready. He landed them directly in the cloning vat. When he opened the door, all the liquid would pour in and stop any more cloning from taking place. But there had to be another way. Suddenly he felt dizzy, Lyra did too, by the looks of things. Then the Tardis disappeared from around them and they were surrounded by Sontaran's. Adric was tied to a chair and they were completely surrounded by Sontaran warriors. "Well. This is interesting isn't it." The Doctor said.
K9 was still in the Tardis. The transmat beam that had taken the others hadn't affected him. In his high, electronic voice, he said, "Tardis digital interface. Please activate."
The swirling purple mists inside the time column swirled and then a lady appeared. "Hello, your excellency."
K9 reversed backwards to get a better look at the time column. "Query. Who are you and why do you address me excellency?"
The lady in the time column stared down at the dog. "I am the Tardis digital interface." She poked her cheek. "See. My finger goes into face." She fell about laughing.
"I am a machine, as are you." K9 replied. "We have no need for humour!"
"But doesn't it make the day go by much quicker?"
"The day cannot go by quicker, mistress. Time is a straight line. There is no space for change to the time mechanisms of entire universes."
"You are correct, your excellency. But you are wrong. A Tardis can change time, and make a day go by quicker. If I and my sisters were programmed correctly, a day could go by in two days time or two days could go by in a day's time. It alters the definition, yes, but it is possible, because the Matrix decrees so."
"I know of the Matrix." K9 replied. "What are you telling me?"
"Time is ending, your excellency. He is returning."
"Who is he?"
"He is newly embodied. Twelve regenerations is his creation. Thus he can add more, your excellency"
"Yes, your excellency?"
"Why do you keep calling em your excellency?"
The Doctor straightened his collar and started to observe the room. There were three Sontaran guards on the door and six inside the room. And there was no other exit. "Tell me," the Doctor said, "if you destroyed the humans and most of this planet, then how come you still need to clone your soldiers?"
"We did not destroy this planet. It was like this when we found it. As for humans, we do know of no such real species?"
The Doctor looked at the Sontaran. "How can you not know what a human is?"
The Sontaran pressed a button on the control panel on it's belt and the seal around the base of his helmet started to break, then suddenly the helmet came free. The Sontaran took it from his head and placed it down on the floor. His head was round, like a potato, with two grotesque eyes and a mouth carved into it. Tufts of black hair came out of his chin and his black beady eyes followed the Doctor as he danced around the room, as giddy as ever. "We know what a human is. They are a member of the legends. They are no more real than the lost plant they were fabled to live in. Sol 3."
"This is Sol 3." The Doctor replied.
The Sontaran screamed at the Doctor. "We do not care of your trickery! This is no more Sol 3 than I am a member of our disgraceful enemies, the Draconians."
The Doctor gave the Sontaran a strange look. "The Draconians are not your enemies. Your sole enemies are the Rutans!"
"We are allies of the Rutans!" The Sontaran spat back.
The Doctor seemed confused. "These legends of yours, what do they tell?"
"Of humanoid creatures who caused war wherever they went. Then the great lord locked them away, in return for military knowledge. And then he created the Draconians, the greatest military monsters to have ever been created! The Sontaran race didn't agree with the Draconians, and sided with the Rutan Host to wipe them from the face of the universe. We are the peace brokers, and we increase our number to help the universe."
The Doctor looked at him. Something was wrong. But the Sontaran wasn't lying. The Doctor danced across the room to one Sontaran and confirmed his suspicion that something was wrong when he slammed his hand into the phobic vent on the back of the Sontaran's neck. Nothing happened. He looked at the clock. It read 11:18. That was the time they had landed, five hours ago. The Doctor stumbled to the doorway. The building began to warp around the dimensions. The clock broke, spinning around to a completely different time. 15:06 and then back to 11:18. And then it exploded. A puddle grew and K9 came up out of it, blasting the Sontarans with laser blasts. The cloister bell was sounding and the walls were breaking down. The Doctor pushed Adric and Lyra into the puddle then grabbed K9 and led him in. The Doctor raced to the console and took off. The time column whirred and sparks exploded out of the console. "Come on old girl!" The Doctor demanded. "You will take me there, whether you want to or not!"
"What's going on?" Lyra asked, as she was thrown from one side of the console to the other.
"Time is collapsing. Everything is being rewritten. There is nothing left from the old universe but us, and the other time travellers. And all the other time travellers will be going to the same place." The Doctor replied, wrestling with the console.
"Where?" Lyra asked.
"The Panoptican. We're going to Galifrey."
To be continued.