To an Alkoden, bewilderment is like second nature. It’s buried so deep into their genetic make up that, from the moment it has developed a consciousness within its mother’s womb, it will already have become confused about its position within the world. The last thing a heavily pregnant mother needs is an unborn child that is already questioning its existence despite the fact that it will sill be uncertain of what it actually is.
In fact, if an Alkonden was ever born that did not display this permanent state of mild bewilderment, it would probably end up being shunned by its fellow Alkoden, kicked out of their closely formed flocks for being different, and inevitably have to live a solitary life somewhere far away and unheard of. The remaining Alkonen within the flock would never speak of it again, and would therefore be completely unaware of its much more fulfilling life of distant travels and adventures, which would most likely end in either a long and happy existence due to its lack of stupidly, naïve bewilderment, or in said Alkoden eating his own foot.
However, none of the information that is stated above is of any use, or importance, as the Alkoden which is currently sitting upon the upturned shell of the TARDIS, is one of the most bewilderedly and confused Alkoen to date. If these fluffy koala-like creatures had the intelligence and forward evolution to arrange some form of hierarchy, within their flock, then this particular Alkoden would have already been promoted to alpha male for the simple fact that it was the most permanently bewildered out of the lot of them.
It sat bolt upright on top of the blue box and stared forward blankly. Then, very slowly and keeping the remainder of its body ridged, it extended its back leg forwards and carefully raised it until it was suspended a few inches in front of its face. Once in this position, it froze again as the seconds ticked by. After a full ten minutes of some detailed imitation of a rock, the Alkoden tilted its head forward slightly, and slyly poked the corner of its tongue out of its mouth before freezing again.
When the suspension had developed to a point that was beyond normal consumption, it let off a small purring noise and gave its extended foot a long, slow lick.
It was at this point, that voices drifted up from within the forests dense wall of trees. The Alkoden stopped in mid-lick and twisted its eye sideways to try and sense if these strange noises would present any danger to it. If the owners of these voices had appeared within the clearing, they would have been incredibly shocked to see a police box on its side in the mud, with a small, fluffy and bewildered looking creature sat atop of it, frozen the process of licking its own leg.
As it were, the owners of the voices did not appear and, if the Alkoden had been able to understand the language they were talking it, or for that matter, any language at all, it is most likely that its already bewildered face would have taken on the impression of complete bewilderment (if that were possible.)
‘To the east?’ said the first voice, which sounded like a disgruntled warthog.
‘That’s where the explosions are from,’ came the curt reply.
Still motionless as it sat on the TARDIS, the Alkoden blinked in a confused manner. Although the first voice sounded hideously forced out in a grunting, squealing manner, it sounded practically normal when compared to the second. There was something, holily wrong with the smooth harshness that clipped its response to the warthog sounding voice. The Alkoden may not have had any intelligence, and spent its life in a state of permanent disorientation, but even its fur rippled and stood on end as the harsh and callous tones drifted through the trees.
‘There have been a lot of explosions,’ said Warthog, ‘you think there will be anything left?’
There was no reply from the second voice; it appeared almost as though Warthog should not be dignified with an answer. Apparently unknown to this, Warthog plunged on, as though he was nervous of his companion, and felt the need to fill the sudden silence.
‘I mean… I know our intent is for survivors, but… what if she’s killed be mistake?’
Still more silence from the second voice.
‘I mean…’ Warthog blundered on, ‘I know she’s not supposed to be killed so, of course, she wont be… that would be to careless. But… what if there were complications.’
‘Who do you think we are?!’ the second voice suddenly spat.
‘Do you honestly have so little faith in your own people!’
‘Listen very closely,’ someone with more intelligence than an Alkonden would almost be able to visualize the owner of the voice leaning threateningly over Warthog, teeth bared and eyelids squeezed together, showing only rage infested slits of pupils. ‘Even as we draw near to the city walls, a fresh attack will be unleashed. We have been notified that the perception filter that was placed over the Library has been breeched, and that someone was in the data base.’
‘The language barriers we established are still in place, so no information was intercepted. But now that it has been discovered, the perception filter will soon fade - it was only placed there as a temporary solution after the Mayor was taken – so part of the reason for the attack is to ensure that the Library is destroyed. A special configured bomb has already been sent over to it and should go off in under seven minutes. Other than that, there is nothing more that you need to know, understand? From this point on, all doubt will cease. Otherwise I shall kill you.’
There was a long silence that followed. Then, very faintly, the noise of footsteps was heard, growing steadily quieter as they moved further away. Once the noises of rustling and crunching disappeared, the Alkoden slowly lowered its leg and blinked stupidly.
The words had meant nothing to it, so it was not troubled by what they had been discussing in such a fearful and ominous way. Completely unaware of this revelation, the creature lowered its large, fluffy head and thumped it onto the top of the TARDIS, trying to listen for any noise within. When nothing could be heard, it tried once more at giving the blue box a welcoming sniff, though this plan was somewhat thwarted by the fact that it had no idea as to which part of it was the front and which was the back.
In the end, the Alkoden gave up and sat once more on top of the lifeless ship and proceeded to eat its own toenails with intense concentration. Somewhere east from the creatures spot, a wave of missiles and bombs was suddenly unleashed upon the distant city.
The room shook.
Well… to say that would be a complete understatement, but for the narrative purposes of moving the story along, and not dwelling to much on those “heart-wrenchingly-heavy-lurches-send-the-room-jolting-sideways-with-unimaginable-force” descriptions, it could be stated simply that the room shook.
Stumbling for balance between the heavy explosions, The Doctor fumbled frantically with the bomb in front of him.
‘Do something!’ she screamed.
The snappy reply of, ‘Working on it!’ was only just audible over the thudding blasts. Much like in the TARDIS, a large lump of ceiling made a sudden bid for freedom and collapsed onto the floor sending a cloud of dust into the air. The Doctor glanced upwards nervously, and then re-focused his attention back onto the bomb as
‘Come on!’ she bellowed, ‘I thought you could get me out of this! You’re a… a… Time whatever you said. Can’t you do something!?’
The Doctor glanced up from the bomb, his face full of panicked determination. ‘Of course I can do something!’ he shouted back, ‘I can stop us being blown up for a start,’ he murmured to himself.
‘Hurry the hell up!’ she screamed, once the room had stopped shaking.
As she struggled, she saw the Doctor pulling himself upright and staggering back towards the bomb. After narrowly avoiding being hit by a secondary lump of ceiling, he collapsed next to the metal cylinder and took two steadying breaths, before diving back into the bomb’s complicated maze of wires.
Deciding it would be easier to stay slumped in the corner for now;
The Doctor grimaced and ran his hand distractedly through his hair.
‘What’s the problem!?’ called
‘I can do it…’ she heard him murmur. He glanced up at her and Fyffe. The bomb was down to two minutes. You could see it counting down… it was very much like watching the remains of your life ticking away. There was an unpleasant, gut-wrenching crunch and the room lurched again, flinging its contents violently to one side.
‘I am hurrying!’
‘How can you hurry faster?’
‘I don’t care,’
‘What the hell’s the problem?
‘I’m running out of time!’
‘Oh, the Irony!’
The Doctor shook his head and tried to hold two pieces of grey wire together with shaking hands. Glancing up, he saw
He dug his hands into his jacket and trouser pockets despite the fact that he knew his sonic screwdriver was buried somewhere in the wreckage of his ship. Feeling his hands close on something small and tube like, the Doctor’s hearts momentarily leaped, that is, until he pulled out a small and disheveled looking twig from the depths of his clothing.
Feeling a slight sense of guilt of breaking his promise, which was largely overpowered by his frustration of impending doom, he flung the stick away and plunged his hand into the tangle of wires. In retaliation to his harassment of the cylinder, it proceeded to give him several electric shocks which ran up and down his arm. The Doctor let out an incomprehensible noise of surprise and pain, and yanked his arm back out of the bomb.
Okay, he thought wildly to himself, that didn’t work, so lets just calmly move on to plan two… he peered once again into the small hatch where he had been previously exploring. Okay, he thought wildly to himself, can’t think of a plan two that doesn’t involve a few extra hours or a large chainsaw, so… lets just keep doing what I was doing before and hope to what ever god, or higher entity that’s sat up there laughing at me, that I find the fuse wire.
It seemed the best he could hope for which, admittedly, wasn’t much, but the Doctor never liked to completely give up hope. Oh, sure, he could be as cynical and sarcastic as he liked about his impending doom, but he would never allow himself to admit complete defeat even from the most stupid of situations.
Pausing to push his hair away from his face and screwing up his eyes to concentrate over the shuddering of the building, the Doctor momentarily glanced upwards.
‘Fyffe!’ he called out as he spotted the girl. ‘Get away from the window!’ It seemed like a sensible thing to shout in the current circumstances, but the girl glanced towards him as though he was insane.
Thrusting herself away from the door,
‘There’s a moth,’ she said, pointing towards the glass.
‘Right!’ she responded stupidly.
‘This moth here,’ said Fyffe.
The room suddenly lurched again.
‘Fyffe! Move!’ came the Doctor’s cries from somewhere behind
‘I don’t think it’s very happy,’ commented Fyffe with a concerned look on her face.
‘For god’s sake, Fyffe!’
Fyffe looked up at
‘Why?’ she asked vaguely, ‘is that likely to happen?’
‘We’re about to die!’ repeated
Fyffe’s face took on a momentary image of concern.
‘You don’t think it will hurt the moth?’
The room began to shake, building and growing in force until it was impossible to stand.
The quaking of the building grew to such a pitch that the metal cylinder began bouncing up and down on the floor, emitting loud clangs every time it thumped down. The Doctor flinched and raised his hands too try and stop the bomb from thudding into him. It was taking bad damage and, even as he managed to grab it to stop it moving, the rhythmic bleeping noise of the countdown rose in speed and pitch.
‘Both of you shut up, right now!’ he shouted at them. ‘I need to concentrate or BANG, got it!?!’
‘Right!’ agreed the Doctor, his hands furiously twisting wires, ‘I can deal with stopping bombs - I just have to find the right bit of wire! How the hell am I supposed to turn you off?!’
Unable to cope with the continuous heaving and quaking of the building,
‘What?’ came the answered groan.
‘You should have never followed meeee…’ came the low, piteous moaning of
The Doctor allowed his head to thump against the cylinder in a complete abandonment of patience. Of all the times… His face suddenly split into a wide grin.
There was an uncomfortably loud explosion that shook the room again and caused everyone to lurch forcibly sideways. Another chink of ceiling fell in.
‘Well… no,’ admitted the Doctor after the rumbling had died away, ‘but I thought I should say something nice, as we don’t have long until boom time, and if this is the kind of the bomb that I think it is, and I know for a fact that it is, then it should have a detachable converter…’ his searching hands located a oval shaped lump that was attached to the mettle casing, ‘and if I give it a bit of jiggery pokery…’
The wining bleeps of the bomb, that had been punctuating the background rumble of explosions, suddenly grew to an almost unbearable climax.
‘See ya, then!’ the Doctor called cheerily as he hefted the large bomb between his grip.
‘Doc–’ she began.
Then, before her eyes, the Doctor – who was still clutching the large bomb in an awkward embrace to his chest – walked through the wall with little less than a serene ripple of the brickwork.
The seconds ticked away in a sudden horrific silence.
And then the bomb exploded from somewhere far below.