The Doctor led the villagers through the trees, taking them deeper into the forest than they had ever been before. Many had brought along various makeshift weapons, pitchforks, clubs and torches, still wary of potential attacks by the wolves.

"Where are we heading," asked Rose.

"Away from the village there's got to be a reason why the villagers are kept out of the woods."

He strode ahead until suddenly the Doctor fell back as if he had hit a wall. Rose ran to his aid. He rubbed his nose then shook his head as he got back to his face.

"Doctor, are you ok?"

"Wow! Yeah, wasn't expecting that this soon."

"Expecting what?"

"Force field, invisible of course."

"How are we going to get through a force field," asked Rose.

"With the help of my little sonic friend," he said holding up the sonic screwdriver. He scanned round until he approached one of the trees. By this time the villagers had joined them.

"Why have you stopped," asked Sergeant Gregory, who had taken up a place at the head of the group.

"We've hit a wall, so to speak. I just have to cut the power," replied the Doctor, as a hidden panel in the tree sprung open with a click. "There you go."

"Looks complicated to me," commented Rose.

"Its actually quite simple," he reached in and pulled out the power crystal.

There was a change in tone and the scene in between two of the trees changed from a view of endless forest to a set of ugly concrete and brick buildings. On the side of one of the largest buildings was a sign displaying the name WolfCub Media, the home of new wave reality viewing. The Doctor moved forward cautiously.

"Doctor, what is it? What's the matter?"

"I was expecting…well something."

"Like what?"

"A welcoming party, champagne, soldiers, axe wielding maniac, a security guard, cleaner, tea lady….anyone really. But this place looks deserted." The Doctor peered round. "Not a dickybird!"

"There are no birds," exclaimed Rose.

"You're right," he replied. "Now that's really odd."

"What's the problem," asked Sergeant Gregory, who had now joined them. "Everyone wants to know why we have stopped."

"There is something going on here…I think it might be a trap. It would be better if you stayed with the others while we go on ahead. Just in case."

"I'm no coward!"

"I know you're not, but you will stay here," shouted the Doctor through clenched teeth. "That's an order Sergeant."

He hesitated a moment but like many before him eventually bowed to the Doctors will.

The Doctor had found a glass panelled set of double doors. He set to work on the lock it soon gave up and allowed them both to enter. The foyer was open with a fountain at one side and seats where you could wait. On the far side of the room was a moon shaped reception desk but it looked like the receptionist had abandoned his or her post. The Doctor walked behind the desk and ran his finger along the desk.

"Look at that," he held the dust covered finger up. "Someone hasn't been doing their job."

"It does look a bit empty," agreed Rose. "Where do you think everyone has gone? It's like a nuclear bomb's gone off."

"I don't know. But you may have a point," he used the sonic screwdriver. "Just check for residual radiation traces…you know to make sure."

"Is it ok? I'm not going to glow green or anything?"

"Nope you're fine. According to this map the hub of this place is the editing suite."

"I guess that's where we are going then."

They entered the room through the double doors, inside the only light came from banks of computers and one big screen that filled the wall at the end of the room. It showed different views of various villages all similar to the one they had recently left.

"Hello," called out the Doctor, "anyone here? Come put, come out wherever you are-,"

"I don't think they are playing hide and seek."

"The games must go on," said an electrical voice.

Rose spun round her eyes wide in surprise.

"Whose there?"

"I am the computer. How may I help you?"

"Where are the staff," asked the Doctor.

"The games must go on."

"Who is in charge here?"

"Silas Gemp is executive producer."

"Where is he?"

"The games must go on."

"You've said that before what does it mean? Where is everyone?"

"The games must go on."

"No help at all! I'll have to find out for myself."

He began to type instructions into one of the key pads bringing up information. Rose peered over his shoulder.

"What you doing? Found anything?"

"Don't do that," he snapped. "I can't concentrate with you hovering there."

She stepped back arms folded, frowning.

"Oh, don't start sulking," he added, finishing off his typing with a flourish. "Well, well, well."

"What? What?"

"Seems like the shows been cancelled," said pointing to an email. "Look, at this it seems someone hasn't been checking their messages."

"Then why are the games still running?"

"The games must go on."

"It's at it again," the Doctor knelt down beside the panel at the base of the large screen. "Let's see if we can't make you more talkative."

"What are you doing?"

"I'm just reversing the polarity of the neutron flow so that the audio matrix accepts my input."

"Will it work?"

"Of course it will. I'm a genius aren't I?"

"Come on, ask it what happened to everyone," said Rose.

"Ok. Computer where are the employees, the people who should be at these terminals?"

"The games must go on. Player levels must be maintained."

"Yes, yes, I know, I know. Tell me their location."

"They are now part of the game. The game must go on."

"Oh," Rose brought her hand to her mouth, "The staff their in one of those villages."

"Forced to play the game they once ran. But why are the games still running? They should have stopped with no one running them."

"The games must go on."

"Then, then," the Doctor began to type instructions furiously in to the control pad, "Computer are all the staff now contestants?"

"Ninety-nine point nine percent are engaged in game play."

"What does that mean," asked Rose.

"Computer where is Gemp?"

There was no reply.

"Computer I order you to answer me!"

"The games must go on."

He slammed his fist down on the control panel then spun round and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going to stop this farce once and for all. Don't you see WolfCub it's just Bad Wolf by another name, the killing stops here."

From his prison the controller watched it all unfold. He had foreseen this, hoped for it even; the merciful release from his bonds. Doomed to do a job he wasn't trained or qualified for a place he found himself out of necessity. Now he realised how foolish his stubborn refusals had been. Where had it got him? He was just a cog in a giant machine that wouldn't stop. The man that was once Silas Gemp tried to call out but there was only silence, a deity in that world with no power, no choice, and no life.

The Doctor worked on the coded entry panel it accepted his commands and the double doors in front of him slid open with a hiss. He and Rose entered the room cautiously. In the distance they saw him, hooked up to the computer like the controller from the Gamestation.

"Gemp, can you hear me?"

"Is he alive," asked Rose. "He looks so pale."

"The mind is still there even if the body is only a shell."

"What happened?"

"According to records the original controller was damaged in transportation and broke down soon after arrival. So Silas Gemp took on the mantle in order to allow the games to go on."

"That's horrible," replied Rose. "Why didn't they get a replacement?"

"This place is a bit out of the way. The show was cancelled before a replacement could arrive. Long term exposure to the vast amounts of information has shorted out his brain."

"Is anything left of the person inside?"

"Maybe, but most likely not."

"So what do we do ask him to stop the games?"

"There's no point he can't hear us. He has no control it would be like asking a circuit board to stop. He's part of the machine now."


The Doctor approached the power console with its unmistakable manual switch. His hand rested on the handle as he glanced up into Gemp's eyes then back down again.

"Doctor your not going to-, you can't!"

He sighed.

"There must be another way of shutting it down without killing him."

"He's part of the machine now. However I shut the system down he's dead, a shell, a processor."


"There's been enough killing here it stops now."

"Doctor," said Rose putting a restraining hand gently on his.

"He's dead Rose. He was dead the moment he hooked himself up to the computer."

He looked at her and lifted her hand away gently.

"This is the best for everyone. If there was any other way, any hope I would save him. You know that."

There was a sharp intake of breath from them both as the Doctor pulled the switch into the off position. A heavy clunk preceded the whine as the station powered down.

"Doctor," exclaimed Rose.


"He spoke," she replied pointing at Gemp.

The controller's chest struggled to rise and fall as his lips moved with a whisper. The Doctor moved closer and Rose leaned in.

"Thank, you," was all they heard. His last words carried on his last breath as his head slumped against his shoulder.

There was a moment of eerie silence almost as a memorial in respect to the deceased. The Doctor took a deep breath then clapped his hands suddenly making Rose jump. She spun round in surprise.

"It's time to go," he said, gently leading her out of the room.

The End