Blowing Smoke-part 2
This tunnel smells, Kara thought, breathing through her nose despite the stink. She'd rather it was filtered through her nose, whatever it was, then for it to go strait to her soon-to-be-diseased lungs. The Doctor was peering around with a queer look on his face, a mix of interest and puzzlement. Kara could hear his thoughts so she raised her mental shields, dulling the roar of his mind to a buzz in the back of her head. It was the best she could do, his mind was strong and ancient and her only-too-human strength was no match for his. Debating whether to ask him to block his mind, Kara decided not to. The last thing she needed was people knowing she was a telepath.
The boy leading them was silent and robotic in his movements; it reminded Kara of a marionette being controlled by a poorly-skilled puppeteer. His feet raised up and plopped down into the puddles of questionable liquid in the awkward walk of a puppet, his eyes never strayed from strait ahead. Kara was beginning to think her thoughts about the boy being controlled might have truth to them. She shot a glance at the Doctor, whom was watching the boy with silent intensity. The volume of his thoughts rose, the dull buzz that she had muffled rose to a hum in her ears.
Doctor! she thought at him, trying to direct her thoughts at his mind, Doctor! He wrinkled his forehead, then shook his head and looked around until his eyes met Kara's. She reached out and tapped his head with one finger, then put her hands over her ears.
What? he mouthed.
Your thoughts are too loud! Kara mouthed back, miming it again. He nodded and the hum in Kara's mind stopped.
Better? he mouthed silently.
Yeah, she nodded as she mouthed the words, Thanks.
The Doctor smiled and they kept walking. Splashing through a puddle of something green, Kara's stomach wrenched a little as she wished she hadn't decided to wear sandals. It was better than flip-flops, but even the straps on her leather sandals were soaked in the mystery liquid.
Gross, gross, gross, Kara thought with each step. Why couldn't I have worn boots?
The teenager jerked to a halt and Kara nearly ran into him. There, in the curving wall of the sewer tunnel, was a rusty metal door marked Danger! High Voltage! in big yellow letters. The boy raised a bony fist and pounded on the door in a mix of fast and slow beats. Bang! Bang! Dum-duh-duh-dum-dum. The noise rang through the tunnel and Kara committed the beat to memory.
Slowly, the door swung open, creaking loudly and revealing a large, dark room with a small glowing pot in the center. Kara squeezed her eyes shut and counted to ten, allowing her eyes to adjust to the light. When she opened them, she could see the dim lights of many more pots farther away. The room was massive! Around each pot in a circle, sat seven to ten people, glassy-eyed and staring at the light. Alarmed, Kara ran over to the nearest person and shook them,
"Hey! Are you allright? Hello? Hello, can you hear me?" She shook the person next to them as well,
"Hello? Are you awake? Hello?"
She went around the circle, shaking various people, all of whom were limp and unresponsive as dolls.
"Doctor! Doctor, come here!" She knelt by a girl with long hippie-style hair and a flower behind her ear. Carefully, she opened her eyes wider and held out a hand to the Doctor.
"You got a flashlight in one of those pockets?" He dug around, then handed her a pen light, which she shined into the girl's eye.
"The pupil should have shrunk by now, look at this, it's still dilated." She tried the other eye,
"Same thing. She's high, but she should be responsive." Kara looked up at the Doctor,
"What do you think?"
He was sitting on the balls of his feet, watching her intently. Raising his hand, he snapped his fingers in front of the girl's face. She didn't even flinch. He leaned in to sniff the girl's open mouth. Shaking his head in thought, the Doctor back to where the teenage boy was standing,
"What's wrong with all these people? They don't have the usual drug symptoms." He put his glasses on in one swift movement, eyebrows together in puzzlement. The boy wasn't there.
"Kara, did you see where-?" he turned as his sentence was interrupted by a crash. Kara jumped back onto the Doctor's foot as the girl she had been examining threw the pot full of burning…something at her.
"She just woke up, just like that!" Kara said, getting off the Doctor's foot. The girl was standing up slowly, her legs wobbling as she stood. As the pair looked around, they saw that everyone else was doing the same thing.
Moving back towards the door, Kara backed into something big.
"Uh oh," she muttered, looking up. An enormous, rather gorilla-like, man was holding her arms. She looked over and saw a similar man holding the Doctor.
"Um…take me to your leader," Kara said sarcastically, trying to shove down the fear that was rising in her throat. Surprisingly enough, the man looked down at her, nodded, and began to walk, pushing her in front of him.
"Oh this is brilliant!" she heard the Doctor say behind her, "Going strait to the top, good job Kara!"
She resisted the urge to throw the flashlight she still had in one hand at him. Mostly because she'd miss, but also because she didn't want to lose the flashlight. She shoved it into the pocket of her hip-huggers and kept walking, the gorilla-man's large hard around her arm, keeping her moving. They wove through the circles of people around the little burning pots. It seemed that they went on for hours, but eventually they came to a door in the slimy, moist wall. The gorilla-man opened it, shoved Kara in, and backed up as the Doctor was shoved in as well.
Kara stumbled and landed on her stomach as the door slammed shut behind her.
"Doctor, are you all right?"
Suddenly, someone snapped their fingers and lights went on. Kara threw her arm over her face so she wouldn't be blinded. Allowing her eyes to adjust to the light, Kara slowly lowered her arm, blinking rapidly the entire time.
"What the-" Kara began, but she was interrupted.
"Hello, hello, what have we here?" The voice was scratchy, like the speaker hadn't drank anything for days. Kara lowered her arm to look at the speaker. Squinting in the bright light, Kara could make out a form, but it certainly didn't look human to her…it didn't even look humanoid. The creature was a plant. It sat on a sewer grate with trailing vines going in every direction. Several large bulbous objects resembling seed pods covered in brown dust stuck out from the green, leafy mass that was the center of the plant-thing. On the wall behind it was a large power box with the switch the plant-thing had used to turn on the lights, and a large roll of wire. The voice of the creature had been oddly sexless, merely a dry whisper that had no hint of gender.
"I'm the Doctor," the Doctor said, calm as though he was at a luncheon, "Are you responsible for the state of those humans?"
"I am most certainly responsible," the voice rasped in response, "Do you have a problem with that?" It gave a laugh that was more like a hiss than anything else, then turned to face Kara.
"Hello, human child. Care to try some of my pollen?"
"Who're you then?" Kara asked, frightened. Her voice squeaked a little, despite her best efforts. "And what are you doing to all those people?"
"Ah, I see the little flower has some fire. Are you a fire-flower, my little human?"
"I'm not your little anything," Kara said angrily, "And furthermore as a representative of planet Earth, I demand to know what you are doing to those people."
"I am not doing anything to them," the plant-creature hissed coyly, "They are doing this to themselves, I am merely providing the means by which to do it."
"See, there's the thing right there," the Doctor interrupted, "This pollen of yours has mind-controlling properties. If I may," He ran his finger down one of the pollen-pods and stuck it in his mouth. "Yeah, this definitely contains oh-" he rattled off a list of chemicals and Kara examined the room, looking for a way out. There seemed to be only one exit-the door. The floor grate looked like a decent means of escape, but the plant-thing was sitting directly on top of it. Her mind returned to the conversation with the plant-creature as it began to speak again.
"So what if it does have mind-controlling properties? They are taking it of their own free will and no judge can dispute that. What I'm doing isn't illegal, merely immoral, and only in your opinion."
The Doctor frowned and studied the floor, deep in thought
"See, little flower? Even your Doctor cannot dispute the facts. This is perfectly legal."
"It can't be legal to introduce potentially harmful substances to the market-whether on Earth or otherwise- without the approval of the administration," Kara said confidently. That was how things worked on Earth and if she was lucky, the rest of the universe worked that way too.
"And another thing," she said, deciding to try her luck, "Don't you need a passport or something to be here?"
The Doctor grinned widely, Kara thought the grin itself was brighter than all the lamps in the room.
"Now Kara has made a brilliant point, thank you Kara." Kara grinned and nodded, egging him on a little bit.
"You cannot be distributing this without a form that says its legally on the market. She was wrong about the passport bit, but it's her first day, cut her a little slack. If you don't produce that form, I'll have to turn you in." It was with this threat, that things got worse very quickly.
"It is quite unfortunate that you had to ask the right questions," the plant-thing hissed smoothly and as the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, Kara got the feeling that she wasn't going to like where the plant was going with this.
"Because now," the plant-thing continued, "I'll have to get rid of you." The door burst open and the two gorilla-men burst in. The Doctor stood calmly in front of them,
"If I were you two fine gentlemen," he began calmly, "I wouldn't listen to this thing here," he gestured behind him at the plant. Kara slowly backed up and jumped as something grabbed her ankle. The vine tightened and lifted her into the air as the plants leaves opened, revealing a large open mouth filled with nasty, acidic-smelling liquid.
"Doctor!" Kara shouted as the vine dangled her over its mouth.
"All right, this definitely isn't legal," the Doctor said in a reprimanding tone, "How many people have you eaten?"
"Hello?" Kara demanded, "I think this conversation could be held better when I'm not about to get digested by a giant plant-thing!" She struggled and leaned up, grabbing the vine that was her only safety from the mouth below.
"True," the Doctor acknowledged. His face darkened to that of deadly seriousness, "Let her go."
The plant thing let out another of it's hissing laughs, "Or what Doctor? You'll do what to me?"
The Doctor fished out a large pink bottle and smiled, "Well I could neutralize all the acid in your stomach with this antacid medicine so you couldn't eat anymore."
The creature was silent for about thirty seconds. "Your bluffing," it said finally, and the vine released Kara. She held onto the vine with both hands, starting to feel dizzy from being upside-down for so long. The vine shook, as the plant-creature tried to dislodge her. She held on tightly, starting to feel ill as the vine shook wildly. As it whizzed through the air, Kara's hands slipped and she flew through the air, hitting the wall and crumpling into a heap.
"Kara!" His voice sounded far away as her head throbbed and swam. I must have hit it on the floor when I fell, Kara thought before she blacked out.
"See that was a big mistake," the Doctor said angrily, "Because if one thing makes me angry, it's when you hurt my companions." He walked over to Kara and forced back her eyelids, looking at the pupils.
"No concussion, that's good." He rolled Kara so she lay on her side, then stood and strode over to the plant-thing. "As it is, you get one more chance. Then I'm going to get very angry. You're using mind-control and murder. You get one chance. Leave peacefully or I'll be forced to take my own measures and you really don't want me to do that."
The plant thing hissed its laugh and the Doctor shook his head sadly, aimed, and threw the bottle into the great open mouth of the plant-thing. The acid burned through the plastic bottle and as the medicine neutralized the acid, the creature began to shake and shiver. The Doctor looked puzzled; not being able to eat shouldn't have done this. Just then, one of its leaves caught on fire.
The plant screamed, then after a minute, the screams stopped. It was dead.
"What?" the Doctor asked, looking around. His eyes lit on the hippie girl that Kara had examined earlier. She was standing at the power box, a wire running into the plant's water supply, her hand on the on switch.
"Is it dead?"
"Yes, it's dead." The switch was turned off.
"It was going to eat us. We hunted for it, but when we couldn't find anyone, we would have been eaten."
Kara moaned and tried to sit up, "My head." The Doctor hurried over,
"Are you all right?"
"My head feels like someone's banging on it."
"You were fairly useless weren't you?" He gave her a joking half-smile.
"Well sorry, I was trying not to get eaten!" She, however, was not joking.
"Well your friend here took care of it."
Kara squinted at the hippie-girl, "Thanks." The girl nodded in reply as the Doctor helped Kara to her feet.
"Blimey, my head hurts."
"You said that a few times,"
Kara walked out in front of the Doctor and knocked over the pots of burning pollen as she walked by, overturning as many as possible.
"Get on some lights," she ordered, "And when they wake up, tell them they were all meditating on the meaning of life. No one turned anything up." The hippie girl nodded as Kara and the Doctor left.
As they climbed out of the manhole, the Doctor asked, "Do you still want to see the Beatles?"
Kara's face lit up, "Could we?" The Doctor grinned cheekily and lead her down the street, stopping only once so Kara could pick up some aspirin from the corner store. They arrived back at the Tardis and Kara looked at the Doctor, puzzled.
"I don't know where they are right now, but I do know where they are in a year or so," he explained. Kara nodded and he unlocked the door, allowing her to go in first.
He scurried around the Tardis, pulling levers and hitting something with a rubber mallet. A minute later, they arrived.
"Where are we?" Kara asked.
He opened the door and they walked out, into a door. The Doctor opened it, then looked out.
"We landed in a broom cupboard." Then he strode down the hall, his head cocked to the side before he chose a door and knocked. A young-looking John Lennon answered the door.
"Hello there!" the Doctor said brightly, walking into the room. Kara followed, gaping at John as she passed. The four Beatles were sprawled around the room, with Paul sitting at an upright piano, plunking away. The Doctor beamed around at them,
"This is brilliant!"
"Who're you?" Ringo asked, looking him up and down from his chair.
"I'm the Doctor, and this is Kara."
Paul turned and looked at Kara, "Hello there." Just then, another knock came at the door. It was room service.
"Oh brilliant!" The Doctor said excitedly, "What'd you order?" He and the four swarmed around the cart while the French waiter gave Kara a once-over.
"Who does zis one belong to?" he asked.
"What?" Kara demanded, but the waiter had gone on,
"I will pay well."
Kara strode over, spun the man around, and shoved him out the door. As he fell into the hall, she looked down coldly.
"Money can't buy me love." She slammed the door.
Paul stared at her, eyes wide. He then ran to the piano and started scribbling. Kara looked over his shoulder and grinned. As he wrote, she grinned widely and nodded to the Doctor. He followed her out as Ringo, George, and John read over Paul's shoulder. They didn't even notice that the pair had gone. Kara laughed as the Doctor started up the Tardis.
"What?" he asked.
"I just inspired, 'Can't Buy Me Love'!" She laughed, leaning against a pillar. The Doctor,
"I had a hunch it was you when the waiter came in."
"Where to next?"
"I dunno, you pick."
"I should go home and tell my parents I'm traveling so they won't get worried."
"Right then. London, twenty-first century. Let's go!"
Kara smiled as the Tardis spun through time and space. She had found her adventure.