Previously on The Legacy; Urban Decay
Brad rubbed his head and opened his eyes. Looking down at him was the strange man with the beard. The Doctor? Yeah, that was his name. But what kind of name was that?
Brad sat up and looked around. He was sitting on a bed in a large white room. The chairs and tables seemed to be made of some type of mouldable plastic – it reminded him of those ’50s B-movies, the type that looked towards the future. Oh yes, very 21st Century – not!
‘Do you know Blackjack?’
Brad looked back at the Doctor. ‘Huh?’ It was the best he could manage. The Doctor’s face crumpled into disappointment, so Brad tried a little bit better. ‘Black who?’
‘No,’ Brad said slowly, thinking it was probably best to humour the large man, ‘don’t think so. Friend of Black Beard?’
The Doctor waved a set of playing cards in front of Brad’s face. Brad just shook his head, causing his nuclear red bangs to fall down in front of his eyes. ‘Oh,’ the Doctor mumbled. He looked around the room, then back at Brad, smiling. ‘Poker?’ Again Brad shook his head. ‘Oh,’ the Doctor reiterated. ‘Oh. Well, not to worry.’ He stood up and walked to the door at the far end of the room. He looked back. ‘There is a bathroom through there.’ He pointed at an alcove in the corner of the room. ‘Once you have freshened up come and meet me in the console room. I have something to show you.’ With a final smile, he left the room.
Brad sat there for a few moments.
Had he really fainted? How uncool was that?
Deciding to ignore the sadness of such a reaction, Brad got off the bed and walked over to his big black bag. He had noticed it next to the table before. Nice of the Doctor to bring it in with him.
He opened the bag and took a look in there. Nothing had been taken as far as he could see. His synthesiser was still there, complete with electrical cables. He glanced around the room, but could see no sign of a plug socket.
Shit, he thought, let’s hope there is enough power still in the batteries.
He returned to the bag. The suit he had worn at the funeral was still in there, although it did not seem likely that he would be changing into that. Not that it was a major deal, of course, all he had to do was freshen himself up and then head back home.
Home? Just thinking about that sent his mind reeling. Images of Big Pink tilted at an improbable angle, the ripple surging through the grounds west of Willamette River… He shook his head. Had he been on some whacked out trip or had it been real? Well, the Doc was obviously real, but it was feasible that he remembered the Doc from a calm moment in-between trips. Of course, the only dumb thing about that reasoning was that Brad knew he had not taken any drugs for a few days.
He walked through the alcove and found himself in the bathroom. Well, that is what the Doc called it. There was a basin that was obviously the toilet, and there was some kind of cubicle. He opened the cubicle. Apart from a switch the cubicle was empty. He flicked the switch, and immediately jumped back, his arm and the front of his sweater all wet. He glanced at the cubicle with a grin. Okay, so that was the shower.
He closed the door, and figured it best to ignore the fact that there was nowhere that the water could have come from.
Brad looked around the bathroom as he began to get undressed. There was bunch of clothes piled in the corner, including what appeared to be a skirt. The Doc had put him in some chick’s room? Great, thanks for that.
Only there was something familiar about it; the pattern. It reminded him of a trip he’d taken to Scotland with Jacen some time ago. It was a kilt, not a skirt.
Brad grinned, and wondered if he should wash it. There was something sexy about a man in a kilt, and he’d always wanted one himself. Continuing to remove his clothes Brad decided that he’d ask the Doc about a washer later.
The Doctor sat on the floor of the console room, playing cards laid out before him. It was a simple game, but one that helped him to focus. A technique he had been taught during his recent trip to Gregoramani at the turn of the First Quarter. Not that it was working too well at the moment.
He glanced up from the cards as the inner door opened. Framed in the doorway was Brad. Still dressed in his jeans and trainers, but now with a black leather jacket worn loosely over a white t-shirt. His black hair was still a little wet, but it was brushed back, making the red tips merge with the black of his crown.
‘Hello,’ the Doctor said cheerfully, and got to his feet, feeling a lot more nimble now. His run around the Portland construct had done wonders for settling his body. He felt ten times fitter than he when he’d arrived in that construct. ‘Feeling better?’
Brad walked into the room. ‘Yeah, kind of, thanks.’
‘Good.’ The Doctor nodded and went over to the console. ‘Good. Kind of is actually excellent considering your survival rate.’ He hit a button on the console and turned back to Brad. ‘Wouldn’t you say?’
Brad thought back to the car crash. ‘Yeah, if you say so, Doc.’
‘I would indeed.’ The Doctor bellowed out a laugh. ‘Indeed I would.’ His laugh stopped abruptly, and with a meaty finger he pointed behind Brad. ‘What do you make of that?’
Brad turned. There was something a little like a television set up in the top corner of the wall. On it was the strangest thing Brad had seen. Well, not strictly true. Portland being turned into some kind of cyber-induced landscape rated as the strangest, but this was a close second. Some kind of dark tunnel made of red triangles. No, not red. The colours were changing. Reds, blues, greens… And it was no longer triangles. Shapes of all kinds. Brad stepped back, dizzy all of a sudden.
‘Sorry,’ the Doctor said behind him. ‘Some of those shapes aren’t made for human perception. What do you make of them?’
‘What, apart from a great cause of epilepsy, you mean?’ The Doctor nodded, seemingly oblivious to Brad’s sarcasm. ‘Nothing. Just shapes in a tunnel.’
The Doctor’s face fell. ‘Oh.’ He smiled. ‘Oh. Well the human mind will catch up one day. It is, in point of fact, the causal nexus of the universal quantum reality. And it is greatly in flux.’
‘And that is bad?’
‘The temporal and spatial nexus?’ Brad asked, remembering something the Doctor had mentioned before he had drifted off. The Doctor nodded, quite pleased. ‘And it is breaking up?’ Again the Doctor nodded. Brad thought some more, but he had no idea where he was going with this conversation. So he gave up. ‘Means nothing to me, Doc. Sorry.’
‘Not to worry.’ The Doctor pressed a button and the screen went off. ‘I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it one day.’
‘Yes, we.’ The Doctor placed an arm around Brad’s shoulders. ‘You do realise that you should never have existed in that echo of Portland? It was not mere chance that allowed you to exist, you know. And neither was it mere chance that allowed you to meet me. We are destined for great things. Great things.’
For a moment Brad almost believed him. Almost. Hell, it was a nice thing to believe. After the disasters of late it would be nice to have some kind of hope. But Brad was not much of an optimist these days. ‘Okay. So what do we do now?’
The Doctor laughed. ‘We explore, Bradley.’
Brad chose to ignore the Doctor’s use of his full name; normally only his father used it, but somehow it sounded right coming from the Doctor’s mouth. ‘Explore? Explore what?’
The Doctor walked past the console and pointed at the central column. ‘When the TARDIS is in flight – for want of a better word – the time rotor there oscillates. As you can see, it is quite still now. It means we have arrived somewhere.’ He climbed into his big brown coat.
A load of questions entered Brad’s mind, but he never got the chance to ask them. Before he could even open his mouth the Doctor was walking through a pair of double doors.
‘Hey, wait up, Doc,’ Brad called and followed. What else could he do?
Yet again Brad shook his head, clearing the wet bangs from his eyes. Wet? Ha! Soaked more like.
‘Nice spot, Doc. Couldn’t you have found somewhere a little warmer?’ The Doctor seemed to ignore Brad, being quite content to just continue with reading the stained newspaper he had found on the deserted road. Again, Brad shook his head. ‘You know, allowing me back into the TARDIS would have been nice. I mean, it’s all right for you. You have that bear of a coat keeping you dry. And what do I have? A jacket, not exactly rain wear.’ Brad growled at the Doctor’s back, and took a step forward.
The Doctor spun around, nearly knocking Brad over. He shoved the paper at Brad.
‘What do you think of that?’
Why was it always questions with the Doc? Brad took the soggy paper and began to peruse the front page. ‘Not a lot. Nothing familiar.’ He glanced at the date, but the digits made no sense to him. ‘Where are we, Doc?’
‘Don’t know. Can’t say I have been here before.’
‘Great,’ Brad muttered. ‘Just goddamned great.’ He sighed and threw the paper onto the sodden grass by the side of the road. ‘Are we in England? Looks dirty enough to be England. And wet enough. Went to the UK not so long ago, and it rained a lot.’
The Doctor jumped into the air. For his bulk it was quite a big jump. ‘Nope. Not England. In fact, Bradley, not even Earth.’
‘Excuse me? What do you mean, “not even Earth”?’
‘The gravity is all wrong for Earth.’ The Doctor jumped into the air once more and smiled. ‘Besides, there is much more to the universe than that one small planet. So much more to see.’ He put his arm around Brad’s shoulder. Brad squirmed. As if he was not wet enough. ‘Do you know how much I have been to Earth, Bradley?’ the Doctor asked in a whisper. All Brad could do was offer him a blank look in response. ‘Hmm. Nor me. But I do know I have been to Earth more times than any other one planet. I think it is time the Earth looked after itself for a change, don’t you?’ The Doctor winked, and removed his arm.
Brad was stumped. He watched the Doctor for a while, allowing the big man to walk away from him. ‘Now wait a minute there, Doc.’ Brad ran up to the Doctor. ‘What do you mean “not even Earth”? I’ll admit, your TARDIS is pretty cool, and yes, even that Portland went all trippy. But are you trying to tell me we are on another planet?’
‘That is exactly what I am saying. Yes, I know it is quite a concept, but your human mind will soon get used to it.’ The Doctor noticed the offended look on Brad’s face. ‘Don’t be hurt. In my time I have had many companions, and most of them have been humans. And each of them was a little shocked about being on planets other than Earth. But they adapted well, as I am sure you will.’
Brad swallowed. Well, he had to admit this got him away from all the crap that had been going on in his life recently. ‘You know, Doc, I wonder if I am still on a trip, or if this is some dream.’
‘Oh no, no dream, Bradley.’
‘No? It was a nice hope.’ Brad smiled, despite the cold. ‘But, hey, I will get used to it. I’m nothing if not adapt –’
A screeching interrupted Brad’s eulogy. The Doctor looked down at Brad and smiled. ‘Aha. Sounds promising. Come on.’
Brad blinked and the Doctor was away. Brad ran behind, and called out. ‘Promising? What?’
The Doctor looked back, but did not stop running. ‘That sound means someone is in danger. Which means I can help.’
Brad was not so sure. That screech was not the sound of someone, more the sound of something. Something pretty crazed, and… inhuman. The Doctor’s voice drifted back.
‘Come on; adventure, excitement. It’s waiting around the corner!’
Once they had turned the corner they came to a stop. Before them was a woman holding her arm, screeching in pain. Brad could not say he blamed her, after all the fire raging around her arm must have killed. There were four other people behind the woman, protecting a dog from the madman with the flaming torch.
How the wood managed to stay alight in this weather was beyond Brad, but it was so. The man holding the torch out looked quite mad. Wide eyed, looking as if he had had no sleep in decades. A patchy beard, evidently not big on the shaving, either. A sword lay abandoned on the ground beside him. The man took another swipe with the torch, and the flame spread from the woman’s arm to the rest of her body.
Brad blinked, shocked at the Doctor’s speed. Within moments the Doctor had intercepted the crazed man, taken the torch off him, and pushed the man onto his back.
‘Wow,’ was all Brad could manage.
The Doctor turned to Brad. ‘Quick! We must get some water!’
Brad shook his wet bangs. ‘Are you shitting me, Doc?’ He waved his arms around. ‘Don’t you think we have enough water here all ready?’
The woman screamed and dropped to the ground. The flames died abruptly. All that remained was a burnt out carcass. Her fellows looked at each other, and Brad felt a sting of sympathy for them. Losing someone was not an easy thing. Seeing the burnt corpse reminded him of Jacen lying in his coffin. Brad took a step forward.
‘Hey, it will all be…’ His voice tailed off.
The four people snarled and looked at Brad. He gulped. They were not people. They were vampires. The teeth and the yellow eyes were a dead giveaway. Ragged vampires, perhaps, but vampires nonetheless. As one they advanced on Brad. He tried to move but could not. All he could do was look at the eyes of the tallest man.
‘Erm, Doc!’ he yelled.
Two of the vampires looked away from Brad to where the Doctor was standing. Brad forced himself to look. It killed his neck, but he could just make out the Doctor from the corner of his eye. The Doctor stood there, arms behind his back, face set in a sad frown. The two vampires advanced on the Doctor.
He shook his head and stepped forward to meet them, revealing the sword in his hand. The vampires did not get a chance to react. The Doctor moved swiftly and finally. Within seconds the first vampire was dust.
‘Go Doc!’ Brad heard himself saying, but soon shut up when the Doctor threw an angry look at him.
The second vampire growled, but the Doctor showed not one iota of fear. The vampire launched itself at the Doctor, and soon that vampire was a pile of dust, too. The Doctor coughed and brushed the dust off him. He looked at the two remaining vampires, and so did Brad. They looked pissed.
‘Um, Doc…’ Brad began.
‘Don’t worry, Bradley.’ The Doctor walked through the dust piles towards the two vampires, and glanced down at the remains, a look of distaste on his face. ‘Are you going to leave us, or do I have to dispatch you as well?’
The two vampires looked at each other, then the tall one stepped up to the Doctor. ‘How dare you interfere? You will be like us.’ He grabbed the Doctor by the throat, causing the sword to fall to the ground, and pulled the Time Lord closer to him. ‘Or die.’
The Doctor laughed in his face.
The head vampire snarled at the Doctor. ‘It is not wise to laugh at me, mortal. I am Lord Cheng, and I am not to be trifled with.’
‘You know, I have other enemies who like to say such nonsense to me. And they are so much nastier than you.’ The Doctor grabbed the vampire’s wrist and twisted. Cheng released the Doctor’s throat and fell back.
Brad blinked the rain out of his eyes and saw the vampire holding his broken wrist aloft. Brad laughed. ‘Way to go, Doctor,’ he whispered, not wishing to receive another of the Doctor’s glares.
The Doctor continued looking at the remaining vampires and bellowed: ‘Now go!’
They went. But not before Lord Cheng said; ‘There will be a reckoning with you! I promise it.’
Once they were out of sight Brad stepped up to the Doctor and patted the large man on the back. ‘Wow, Doc, I’m very impressed. You could teach Van Hel–’
The Doctor turned on Brad and said through gritted teeth; ‘It is no laughing matter, Bradley, taking a life never is.’
Brad laughed, nervously. ‘Yeah, but they were vampires, right? Demons and all that. Evil.’
‘Life is life. Sometimes I have to fight evil with evil, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.’ The Doctor took a deep breath, sighed, and looked at Brad. He placed a large hand on the young man’s shoulder. ‘Don’t worry about it, Bradley, you’ll get it one day. Now then,’ he added, and looked down at the man they had saved. ‘What say we get this fellow indoors, eh?’
The sun was shining and they stood outside the TARDIS. The man, Ori’en, did not look so crazed now. In fact he looked quite relaxed. He had explained to the Doctor and Brad that he had not slept in weeks, not since he had realised that he was the last person alive on this planet. It seemed that the whole planet had been infested with some kind of vampire virus, and Ori’en was the only one not to have turned. Yet. He expected it would happen soon, but in the meantime he intended to see if he could find a cure. The Doctor offered to help.
‘Thank you, Doctor. But this is my problem. The longer you and Brad stay the more likely you are to become infected.’
This suited Brad fine. Staying on a vampire-infested planet was not his idea of fun. So now they were at the TARDIS saying goodbye.
‘Well, best of luck, Ori’en. I daresay the vampires will give you a little breathing space. At least until they realise that I have gone.’
Ori’en smiled. ‘Let’s hope that it is enough time, Doctor. And thank you, again. I needed a good rest.’
The Doctor just laughed and opened the door of the TARDIS. He ushered Brad inside, then looked back at Ori’en. ‘Take care of yourself.’ The two men shook hands and the Doctor entered the TARDIS.
Ori’en stood there and watched the TARDIS fade from sight. He looked down at his torn hand, at the infected blood. His eyes glowed with a yellow hue. ‘I will take care, Doctor. I hope you do, too.’ As he walked away he could feel his infected blood mingling with that of the Doctor.
Brad glanced back at the closed doors. ‘That was really weird, Doc,’ he said, removing his wet jacket from his sodden shirt. He glanced down at his jeans, now darker than usual and clinging uncomfortably to his skin. ‘You got a washer?’
The Doctor wiped the blood off his hand, and noticed the slight cut. ‘Oh dear… I wonder how that happened? Must have been the sword. Oh well, it’ll heal.’ He glanced up at Brad. ‘A washer, did you say?’ The Doctors reached into his pockets and pulled out all kinds of metal bits. ‘Washers, nuts, screws, bolts, nails; I have them all. A handyman’s dream!’
Brad shook his head, smiling out of the corner of his mouth. ‘Yeah, that’s really neat, Doc, but I was thinking of washing my clothes, not attaching moving parts to them.’
‘Oh! A washing machine? I think we need to find you some new clothes.’
‘Well, I saw this kilt earlier; I could maybe try that on?’
The Doctor’s brow furrowed. ‘No, fresh and new is the way to go. Believe me, Bradley, I speak from experience.’
The Doctor led Brad through the inner door. ‘Is this what you do, then, Doc? Whiz in and out of peoples’ lives with barely a hey and bye?’
The Doctor gave this some consideration. ‘No, I usually tend to get a little more involved, but since my regeneration… I don’t know. I feel this need to move on, as if I’m looking for something.’ He shook away these obviously disturbing thoughts. ‘Enough of this, let’s see if we can find you a washer,’ the Doctor said with a beaming smile. Brad couldn’t help but return the smile. Somehow being stuck with the Doctor didn’t seem such a bad thing after all. It sure beat being stuck in Portland…
Outside the window, an invisible paste white figure floated impossibly thousands of feet above the ground. It held twin balloons. One said ‘Cause’, the other ‘Effect’. The balloons burst soundlessly.
The Doctor was excitedly pacing the office. He had already done three circuits of the table. ‘So what you’re saying is it’s a matter of narrowing the field of suspects.’ He paused. ‘Still leaves a pretty vast field.’ He patted his ample stomach. ‘All this application has given me an appetite. Sixela?’ He looked expectantly at the professor.
‘I don’t think she’s listening,’ said Brad.
The Doctor stared. Professor Sixela Capricornn was clearly speaking but no sound was emerging. She also appeared to be fading away before their eyes.
‘Oh good grief!’ The Doctor looked anguished. He found he could pass a hand clean through the professor. ‘Reality bomb. It must have been primed and waiting for the trigger… Some form of nexus point.’
To Be Continued… Saturday 16th October
Edited by Andy Frankham-Allen, Greg Miller & Elizabeth Medeiros. Cover © 2010 by Ewen Campion-Clarke. In the Blood (previously released as 'So Long Legend') © 2001, 2010 by Andy Frankham-Allen, The Legacy © & ™ 2001, 2010 by Andy Frankham-Allen. Doctor Who © & ™ 1963, 2010 by BBC Worldwide. All Rights Reserved.