A/N: Hello, once again! Sorry about the long wait - busy busy busy. But now assessment is over, and I can relax (hurrah!) and upload some stuff. Dedicated to all those readers (you know who you are!) that continue to read and review, despite my unpredictable schedule.
Disclaimer: I claim no responsibility for Doctor Who, but I'm afraid everything else is kinda my fault.
SERIES ONE: EPISODE SEVEN
CHAPTER ONE: THE ICE PLANET
Sam held onto the console for dear life as the TARDIS tumbled haphazardly towards its destination. The Doctor himself had one arm wrapped around the central column, his other limbs splayed out in a desperate attempt to right his time ship. Brittany stumbled into the room as sparks sprayed from the ceiling, showering everyone in a glimmering rain of electricity. The more experienced companion leapt for one of the golden pillars that supported the room, clinging on tightly as the world tilted crazily.
"Sorry," the Doctor called, whacking the console with his mallet in an apparently random fashion. "The geokinetic stabiliser is playing up."
"I thought you fixed that last week!" Brittany shot back, making a grab for her escaping rucksack, but in doing so releasing her hold on the pillar. She slid across the floor; bag in hand, until she bumped against the railing surrounding the raised console area.
The Doctor rolled his eyes, and gave the console one last almighty thwack. The TARDIS flight noises cut out with a loud clunk, and both Brittany and he released their holds, though Sam remained just as tense as before.
"We've landed?" he asked tentatively, slowly relaxing his death-grip on the console.
The Doctor hooked the scanner with one of his hands as he slid backwards of the controls to place both his feet firmly on the floor. "Yes," he confirmed, peering at the spinning symbols neither human could make sense of. "The planet Arktaurus, in the Yttrian galaxy. Might want to find your thermal underwear Sam, 'cos it's midwinter on the ice planet."
The Doctor's latest companion looked over at the blue doors that seemed so out of place amid the glowing coral of the alien time ship. "You mean there's another planet just outside those doors?" he asked, excited and in complete denial at the same time. "An actual real alien planet? With actual real aliens and stuff?"
The Doctor bounced down to the door, scooping up his ever-present coat along the way. "I'm not sure about the 'stuff', but there's certainly aliens. They do the nicest spiced tea." A grin spread across his face as he placed his hand on the door. "You have not had tea until you've had Arkan spiced tea. Oh, it is like heaven, melted into a cup!"
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Brittany insisted, slinging her pack over her shoulders. "Surely you want to let Sam see the wonders of an alien world for himself."
The Time Lord pulled at his earlobe self-consciously as he said, "Oh, of course, yeah. That's right." He glanced at the New Zealander. "Well, go on."
"Yes outside! Where else?"
Sam swallowed and turned to the blue doors, hands closing around the handle, he slowly drew the door inwards and stuck his head out through the crack. He was about to comment on the strangeness of this so called ice planet when someone, probably the Doctor, got fed up with his caution and roughly shoved his outside. Sam stumbled forward, arms wheeling as he strove to maintain his balance, but he soon found himself on the ground, receiving a mouthful of sand for his troubles.
The Doctor stepped over the prone New Zealander, shielding his eyes against the stinging airborne dust.
"I don't know about you Doctor," Brittany said, helping Sam to his feet, "but this doesn't really seem like an ice planet to me. For one, there's no ice."
"This is definitely Arktaurus though," the alien replied, flipping up the collar of his coat to ward off the gritty sand the wind was throwing around. "I double-checked the coordinates. We are in the right place." He turned to give Sam an apologetic smile. "Sorry about pushing you, but as soon as I saw the sand, I knew something was wrong."
Sam dusted himself off with a shrug. "It's okay, don't worry about it."
Brittany scowled at the Doctor. "So what's wrong?" she shouted over the howling wind. To Sam, she added in a low voice, "You gotta stand up for yourself." Sam just gave another shrug.
The Doctor scooped up a handful of orange sand, sniffed it, and promptly sneezed. "Well it is real sand," he observed, wrinkling his nose in distaste.
"What else would it be?" Brittany pointed out.
The Time Lord let the sand trickle through his fingers. "Well, any number of things, really. Dirt, alien micro-organisms. Or decayed civilisation." A slight smile passed over his face. "Man, that was a bus trip and a half. Remind me to tell you later. Let's find out where we are." And, without another word, he disappeared into the sandstorm.
"Doctor!" Brittany yelled, running after his already fading footsteps. "Don't leave us here!" Sam hesitated, but as soon as Brittany was swallowed by the howling storm, he charged after her. He would have run straight into her, if he hadn't caught the sound of her voice and skidded to an immediate halt.
"What are you thinking in that alien head of yours?" Brittany shouted over the storm. "You're not invincible you know. If you get lost out here …" She left the rest of the sentence unspoken. "So you even know where the nearest settlement is?"
"Yes," the Doctor replied forcefully. "It's that way! Oh, no wait… is it that way? Or that way?" He paused, trying to get his bearings. "Ah."
Brittany bit her lip. "Well, let's get back to the TARDIS then. We can wait out the storm there."
"Which way is the TARDIS?" the Doctor asked, spinning around on the spot as he peered into the orange haze.
"I think it's that way," Sam offered, pointing back the way he thought he'd come from. "But I'm not sure."
"As good a choice as any," the Doctor decided with a grin, clapping the young man on the shoulder. "Come on, Sam me boy."
They wandered about for ten minutes, but there was no sign of any kind of box, police or otherwise. Now it just seemed like the Doctor was leading them in circles, in an altogether unsuccessful attempt to find his spaceship. Brittany, having been fully kitted out for a cold planet, had instead wrapped her scarf over her mouth and nose to keep off the sand. Sam had the hood of his jacket up, but it didn't seem to be making much difference. The Doctor had to make do with trying to pull his coat up over his head.
"Admit it Doctor, we're lost," Brittany said at last, voice muffled by both her scarf and the howling of the storm.
"Did you hear that?" the Doctor asked, completely ignoring her.
"I can't hear anything but the wind," Sam groaned, but his contribution was ignored.
The Doctor paused, and held up his hand for silence. "There it was again! Can't you hear it?"
"Hear what?" Brittany demanded, but Sam froze. The Doctor was right, there was a sound out of place. A howling that blended almost seamlessly with the wind. Almost, but not quite. It was a noise somewhat akin to the baying of wolves, but whatever was making the noise was not from Earth.
The howls grew in volume, a chorus echoing from every direction. Then, a ring of shadowy figures appeared in the haze, hemming them in.