Just as the Doctor suspected, the colonists knew nothing of what had been going on in the Research Center and were appalled when informed of the truth. The very idea ran contrary to everything they stood for, and they were only too willing to assist in every way possible. This sudden and seemingly miraculous change in the human inhabitants was a bit overwhelming for the villagers at first. But unlike before, it was not an unpleasant experience.

Graham Remington contacted the galactic authorities with the whole story, and within a few days an investigative team headed by Colonel Avery arrived. Jacoby, Ellis, and all the others involved in Dr. Jordan's activities were taken into custody. (Those that was still alive, that is.) The list of charges ranged from fraud, to murder, to attempted genocide. The last having been added when it was discovered that there had been less than two dozen live births in the Terrellians village since the abductions began.

Even now Jason was uncertain as to whether Jasmine's pregnancy would end happily. He had found her file among the others in the Center, and despite the fact that she had not been drugged following her most recent abduction; she had been drugged heavily on several other occasions. As with all drugs, there was always a possibility that they would cause problems later on. Then there were the injuries she had suffered during the beating. In themselves, they were not severe but coupled with the fact that she had been practically bled to death beforehand caused him to be extremely cautious.

Jasmine eventually ended up in the Center's solarium, which had been converted into her own private hospital room. In this way she would be able to receive the benefits of the healing sunlight without feeling trapped. Initially, Jason only allowed indirect light, his feeling being that her already weakened system might be dangerously overtaxed should she be placed directly in the sun.

Once Jasmine was out of immediate danger, Jason spoke at length with Marjora and then the Village Elders, urging them to confine all pregnant females, of whom he had found three, to bed until after the birth of their children. He went on to insist that this policy be carried out for a minimum of one year. In this way, they would insure the health of the next generation of villagers.

By the time the investigative team arrived, Jasmine's rather unlikely team of physicians were in agreement that she was well on the road to recovery. A road she needed to travel very, very slowly. Jasmine, however, had other plans, having improved so dramatically that she actually demanded she be returned to the village. Despite the fact this meant being confined to bed while she recuperated, at least it would be her own bed.

"Oh, I don't know," Jason was saying as he carefully placed Jasmine into a wheelchair, "I rather like the idea of converting the recovery area into a maternity ward. Don't you, Papa Dillon?" he added with a grin, wheeling his patient from the room.

Dillon merely grinned back at him. Since the two of them had been among the last to use the room, he was more than happy to see it converted into anything else.

Jasmine, however, was less than enthusiastic about being bedridden for the next several months, the last few days having been difficult enough. "What am I going to do with myself all that time?" she moaned. "Dillon, you know how I hate just doing nothing."

"You'd've had to find something else anyway," Jason observed playfully, "now that we've put you out of a job."

The Terrellian gave him a look of feigned disapproval. "I will be more than happy to present my resignation to the council. If I can ever get home."

"One step at a time, Jasmine. We've only just got you used to full sun again," the Healer cautioned as he made his way through the building.

When the three arrived in the garage area they found Colonel Avery waiting to personally transport Jasmine back to the village. They were surprised to find Marjora and Olyeon talking with the Doctor who was just outside the open bay doors.

While his companion took care of the medical end of things, the Doctor spent his time acting as intermediary until the Terrellians felt comfortable enough to interact directly with humans in general and Colonel Avery in particular. It had taken quite some doing for him to convince the Village Elders to meet with the Colonel, after which the way was paved for some mutual trust on the part of the Terrellians.

"Colonel Avery has told us," Olyeon was saying, "that if it is our wish, this building will be destroyed."

"And is it your wish?" the Doctor asked, having picked up the distressed edge to the Chief Elder's voice.

"I don't know. So much suffering has been caused here." Looking in Jasmine's direction, Olyeon added, "And now…life comes out."

"The building itself isn't evil," Jasmine observed wisely, "only the whitecoats—I mean, people, who were in it. The others…they've been so kind while I've been here."

"Yes," Dillon agreed. "And if you'd told me this, even a week ago, I wouldn't've believed it."

"I suppose you could always have it gutted and remodeled," Jason suggested. "That is, if you don't plan on leveling it."

Olyeon drew a deep breath and nodded sagely. "Perhaps…" he muttered.

Colonel Avery came over to the group, overhearing a portion of the conversation. "We'll do whatever your people choose, Chief Elder. I can't give you back the years you've lost in there. But I can certainly make sure it never happens again."

Olyeon inclined his head. "Thank-you, Colonel Avery. I'll let you know the council's—"

"No, Olyeon," Marjora broke in sharply. "The whole village must decide. The evil affected all of us, not just a handful of Elders."

The Chief Elder glared at her a moment before breaking into a broad smile. "You're right, as usual, Marjora."

"Take your time and decide in any way you want," Avery said quickly. "I'll be here for quite a while yet." Turning to Jason, he then said forcefully, "But before you go, I want a few questions answered."

The Alterran blinked. He felt he'd already revealed too much, since the Colonel knew he could transmute.

"I want to know," Avery was saying, "what made you so suspicious of Dr. Jordan in the first place? It must've really been something for you to involve yourself the way you did."

"Yes," Jasmine said, looking up at him. "And why did she take our blood?"

With an impish grin, the Doctor chimed in. "You know, I'm a little unclear on that point myself."

Jason cleared his throat, shooting a reproving look in the Time Lord's direction. "Well, actually, it all started when I saw Dillon in the lab. Lilith told me he'd been found injured in the wild, but his injuries were all wrong. And the fact that both he and Iris had suffered such a massive blood loss—"

"Hang on a minute," Avery interrupted, "I know you're a damn good doctor, but how could you possibly tell that by just looking at them?"

Jason threw a desperate look in the Doctor's direction, but it was Marjora who rescued him. "It is very complicated," she said seriously.

Jason could not help breaking into a broad smile at this. "I'm not just a Healer. I'm also an herbalist. On my planet, it means I'm an expert in the curative properties of plants. Anyway, it seemed a fair assumption she was manufacturing some kind of narcotic. A great many are processed from plants."

Now it was Dillon's turn to interrupt. "What has that to do with us?"

"Plenty. You're physical makeup is almost identical to that of plain, old, ordinary, green plants. A lot of drugs come from them but they have to be processed and refined, and that takes lots of time. Your blood is a ready made storehouse of chemicals that needs very little done to it." Pausing, he informed firmly, "Dr. Jordan was turning it into a very potent, and highly addictive narcotic."

"Of course, the entire procedure is highly unethical and very illegal," the Doctor injected mildly.

"It's also extremely lucrative," Avery said. He went on to say that among the files Jacoby had taken were the numbers of Dr. Jordan's private accounts. "I'm told the final tally will be in the millions. All of which will be used to restore your planet to you," he added, turning to Olyeon.

"I don't understand," Jasmine said in bewilderment. "If she only wanted our blood, why did she hurt us?"

"My guess is, she did it to keep you in line," the Doctor replied. "She knew you were sentient all along, and—"

"Impossible!" Avery snorted. "No one even suspected—"

"She knew," Marjora injected firmly. "And so did the hunters. They murdered anyone who suspected and would not keep quiet."

Shaking his head, Jason said, "You know, there's a whole section in the hydroponics lab where she was trying to cultivate the specimens she took."

"Yes, I saw it," Avery remarked. "She must've been trying to raise a crop of her own hy brids."

"Yes, but that's the irony. She was so blinded by greed, she couldn't see the truth staring her in the face. She's the one who told me that the villagers were—Now how did she put it? An interesting blend between plant and animal." Smiling down at Jasmine, he said, "Plants germinate. Animals gestate."

Jasmine gave him a blank look.

"He means they have babies," the Doctor said helpfully.

"Yes, and if we don't get a move on, you'll be having yours here," Avery said seriously. He turned on his heel, going over the transport on the far side of the garage, Olyeon at his heels.

Jasmine looked over at the Time Lord. "Doctor, Jason won't tell me if I carry a male or female, and I know he can tell me. Whenever I ask, he just says yes. Could you—?"

The Doctor held up his hands and took a step back, shaking his head. "Oh, no. I'm not getting involved in that."

Dillon exchanged a knowing look with his wife and said, "With your permission, Jason, we'd like to name our child after you."

The Alterran was struck dumb, much to the Doctor's amusement. "I…I…don't know what to say," he stammered at last. "I'd be honored if you named your son after me, Dillon."

Jasmine let out a squeal of delight, hugging her husband.

"I think you just let the cat out of the bag," the Doctor said close to his companion's ear.

"Do you think so?" the Healer grinned innocently. Clearing his throat, he added, "Of course, if you have a daughter first, might I suggest the name Kyska? In the ancient language of my people it means Freedom bearer."

"Does your name have a meaning," Marjora wanted to know.

Jason smiled before replying, "Yes it does, as a matter of fact. Believe it or not, Jason means a healer. And Krystovan means Unity from Conflict."

The Doctor gave the young man an odd look; having never realized Jason's surname could have so profound a meaning when applied to the Alterran himself.

The sound of the transport's engines drowned out any further conversation. The vehicle cleared the bay just as Graham arrived with a group of colonists, the majority of which were children who wanted to wish Jasmine good-bye. As the departing Terrellians were showered with affection, the Doctor gave his companion a disapproving scowl. "Do you really think you fooled anyone by suggesting a girl's name?"

"It's only fair, Doctor. They're going to need one of each."

"One of each what?"

"Name, of course. Jasmine's having twins. That's why I've been so worried about her overdoing it."

The Doctor blinked and then turned to Marjora, who had a knowing look on her face. "He's told you already, I suppose?"

"Yes, but not them," Marjora replied. "If anything should happen…"

"It won't so long as you and Dillon make sure she follows orders and stays in bed," Jason said firmly

The Doctor motioned that they should go, and Jason turned to leave, causing Marjora's face to fall. "Must you go?" she asked plaintively.

"I've done all I can. You know your people better than anyone. I'd just get in your way."

"But there's still so much I don't know about the human ways."

Jason could not help himself and laughed. "Marjora, I'm the last person you should ask to teach you. I'm even less like them than you are."


"You'll do fine. Don't worry." With a wave, Jason called, "Good-bye!" and set off in the direction of the TARDIS, leaving the Doctor behind.

"You're not going with him, Doctor," the puzzled Marjora inquired.

"There's no rush," he replied airily. "He can't get into the TARDIS without the key. And I have it…" his voice trailed off as he searched his pockets without success. Hearing a giggle, he looked up to see his grinning companion standing a few yards away, the TARDIS key dangling from its chain in his hand. "I pinched it from your coat when I was in the village," Jason laughed before sprinting away.

"You little thief!" the Doctor snorted indignantly and started after the fast fleeing figure.

The next story in this arc "SILENT WITNESS"

Terror On Delta Vega © Margaret Price 1990 is an original work written for the enjoyment of Doctor Who fans.
No copyright infringement is intended.
Original series broadcast on the BBC. Format © BBC 1963
Doctor Who and Tardis are trademarks of the BBC.
The story and all other original characters are © Margaret Price