A/N: A long time coming, but here it is! Episode four in my Series, so anyone who has just randomly opened this up, there are a previous three episodes sitting on this site somewhere. As for all you other people who have been reading from the start, prepare for episode four, Sky Riders, the story that was lost, then found, then lost again, then only rediscovered yesterday! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: This disclaimer has been deleted for security purposes.
SERIES ONE: EPISODE FOUR
CHAPTER ONE: UNPAID RANSOM
There was a war.
And it wasn't a little war either; it was a full-blown planet-wide assault. There had been no warning, and now, there could be no solution.
It had started two weeks ago, and even though it had been such a short space of time, nearly all the major population centres on the planet had been reduced to smoking ruins. The technology of the invaders was far more advanced that what had been invented on the planet below. It was not a fair fight.
It was a slaughter.
Much of the population had been relocated to various military bases across the planet, and one such place was Tiger Base Three. Headed by General Miller, it was holding against the onslaught from above, but nothing could survive. Not for long anyway.
Two weeks ago, when the war had been nothing but a memory, Sergeant Jake Sampson of Tiger Three had been dragged out of bed at one in the morning to reply to an incoming transmission.
That had been the first time he had seen the Sky Riders, and the first time that the fate of an entire world had been in his hands.
While General Miller was technically the leader of Tiger Three, it was Sergeant Jake who gave the orders. In times of emergency, it was him the soldiers turned to.
The control room of Tiger 3 was abuzz with activity when Jake swept in through the large, double doors. Displays strobed across wall-mounted screens, flashing with a thousand warnings.
"What's the situation?" Jake asked, trying to sound as important as possible.
A technician looked up from his workstation. "An unidentified object has entered our solar system, sir."
A podium in the centre of the room flickered into life when the technician tapped a command into his computer. Blue particles around for a few seconds, before resolving themselves into a holographic image of a solar system. All the planets were clearly marked out, including their moons and paths of orbit. Between the orbit of the seventh and eighth planets, there was a flashing red dot.
"Comet?" Jake asked, walking closer to the display.
The technician shook his head. "No sir. The object is accelerating, by itself and without gravitational influence."
Jake peered closely at the display. "A spaceship then?"
"We believe so, sir." The diagram of the solar system disappeared, replaced with a three-dimensional rotating image of a spaceship of some sorts, complete with length, width, height, weight and other measurements.
The ship itself looked like half a cylinder; the top of the hull was curved, while the bottom was completely flat. One end of the spaceship was equipped with three exhaust nozzles, the other end tapered to a point. Short, stubby wings stuck out of either side of the ship, tips pointing downwards.
"Satellites on the outer planets produced this image," the technician explained. "The hull is comprised of some unknown type of metal; the scanners can't see what is inside the ship."
Jake checked the measurements. "Eight hundred metres long," he said aloud, circling the display. "One hundred metres high and three hundred metres wide, including the wings." Jake turned back to the technician. "How fast is it going?"
"It's hard to tell," the technician replied, looking back at his workstation. "The spaceship is accelerating at an exponential rate. If it keeps up the same rate of acceleration, it'll be here in five minutes."
"Do the other military bases know about this?" Jake asked, turning back to the holographic display.
"Yes sir. They're waiting for our orders."
"Our orders?" Jake stopped his circling, a confused look on his face. "Why our orders?"
"The captain of the spaceship has requested to speak to the leader of Tiger Base 3."
"Well, what are you waiting for?" Jake exclaimed, striding past the hologram, which had reverted back to the solar system diagram. "Put them up on screen."
The technician nodded, and opened a secure communication link with the spaceship. The largest screen in the room, which had previously been blank, turned on, a single image expanding to fill the whole screen.
Sergeant Jake placed himself directly in front of the screen, prepared to reason with whoever was flying the spaceship, but he could never have prepared himself for the image that greeted him.
Three creatures filled the screen, but they were completely alien to Jake Sampson. He had never seen their like before. Only the top half of their bodies could be seen, but that was more than enough for a striking effect. The three creatures were wearing some kind of armour; it looked like smooth metal plates over some kind of black fabric. Helmets obscured facial features, but it was obvious that they had long snouts and pointed ears.
All three creatures turned their attention to the Sergeant, and the one in the centre started to speak. To Jake it sounded like a series of growls, yips and barks, but it was a complex language, far different from what humans were used to hearing.
"Readying translator software," someone said, further back in the room, but Jake payed them no heed. He took a step forward and looked up at the screen.
"I am Sergeant Jake Sampson, leader of Tiger Base here, representing the planet Messaline on behalf of its peoples; human, hath or otherwise," he said, starting with a formal greeting.
The three creatures looked at each other, and the middle one started to speak again. "We are the Sky Riders," it said in perfect, unaccented Galactic Standard. "We come seeking a deal."
"The spaceship has entered the orbit of Messaline," one of the technicians announced. "Ground to space weapons are primed."
"What kind of deal?" Jake asked.
"We want only one thing. We want the Time Lord. We want the Doctor."
"And what do we get in return?"
The lead creature leant closer to the screen. "Your planet will be spared."
Quiet mutterings broke out across the room, but when Jake looked around, no one made any move to say anything to the Sky Riders.
"We have not heard of this 'Time Lord' you speak of," he said.
"You lie," the creature growled.
"I wouldn't lie. I truly have no idea who this 'Time Lord' is."
"You lie!" The creature was shouting now, paying no attention to what the Sergeant was trying to say. "This planet will suffer until he is given to us."
Before Jake could reply the transmission cut out.
That had been two weeks ago, and there had been no mention of who this 'Doctor' was. Without him, Jake knew, there could be no end to this war.