Blood-Dimmed Tide Episode One

Blood-Dimmed Tide

Episode One

Written by R.J. Anderson & Jeri Massi

Fathoms beneath the golden waves of a vast and trackless desert, the creature slept. Mute, massive, ancient beyond human conception, it dreamed the inchoate, sensual dreams of an animal, drifting through memories of sunlight and blood.

Once, it had moved free and wild across the sands, and its glossy, muscled power struck fear into ignorant men, brought them to their knees in worship. But even so, the humans had multiplied, spread, building their cities, and at last the beast's dull reason had driven it into retreat, seeking the solace of darkness.

For centuries, millennia, it had lain dormant, untroubled by the rise and fall of empires, unknown to the world-- and, in its brute fashion, content. It might have slept forever, were it not for the probing of a restless, powerful mind, breaking through the haze of half- remembered lusts, uttering words of inexorable command. Disquieted, the creature burrowed deeper, unconsciously trying to elude the strange intrusion.

But there was no escape. The alien mind probed deeper, ruthless, untiring, until it had found the key to the great animal's consciousness. Silently, it exulted, rejoicing in its domination: then it seized the crude intellect in its chill, unbreakable grip, and twisted.

The creature woke.

And the desert began to tremble.

* * *

Jo Grant was worried.

It was silly, perhaps, and when she thought of what the Doctor might say to her fears she was tempted to dismiss the issue altogether. On the other hand, he hadn't been out in that thunderstorm, and she had.

Less than two hours ago the sky had been clear blue, cloudless and serene. Now it was the colour of old iron, and thunder muttered threateningly in the distance. As she left the supply centre, laden with parcels, she had felt the ominous, brooding stillness in the air, and looked up instinctively-- to see that the clouds were moving in from the wrong direction. Jo was no meteorologist, but she knew London's weather patterns well enough. This was more than just irregular: it was unnatural.

No sooner had the thought registered, however, than the rain burst out of the clouds, no mere patter of drops but a hard curtain of water that swept across the grounds toward her. In seconds she was drenched, soaked through her light cotton blouse and skirt, breathless with the cold shock of it. She clutched her parcels tighter and sprinted toward the main wing of UNIT HQ.

Just as she reached the building, the wind exploded into life, blowing her off her feet and shoving her small frame ruthlessly up against the doors. By the time she fought her way into the building she was exhausted, and she'd have some lovely bruises tomorrow.

No, Jo told herself decisively, she wasn't being silly after all. In the middle of an English summer, this should not be happening. And whatever the Doctor might think-- or not-- about the storm, he at least ought to know about it. She quickened her pace, the staccato click of her heels sounding hollowly as she hurried down the last few stairs and shouldered her way through the heavy door to the Chief Scientific Advisor's laboratory. He was inside, working.

"Doctor," she said, "I've brought those circuit boards you asked for."

Hearing no answer, she set the parcels down on the workbench, made a hasty-- and futile-- effort to smooth her bedraggled appearance, and added, "I don't suppose you've looked outside?"

But if the white-haired man at the far end of the table heard her, he was too engrossed in his latest experiment to reply. Resplendent in his frilled shirt and black velvet smoking jacket, the Doctor stooped over his work, strong profile bent close to the wiring he was adjusting. Even absorbed in his work, the Doctor was a commanding figure. In spite of her worry, Jo watched, momentarily fascinated by the spare, precise movements of his hands as he clipped off wires, stripped their ends, and fixed them onto alligator clamps. A single heavy power cable ran from table to floor and snaked its way into the open doors of the TARDIS, the tall Police Box that housed much of the Doctor's power equipment.

"Almost done it," he muttered, delicately attaching the wires to a dense network of leads, inductors, and micro-circuits. At his elbow, tangles of wiring radiated out from a dense, obsidian-coloured block, its foundation enclosed in rubber and mounted on tiny non-conductive pegs.

It was a 10 Farad capacitor, Jo realized with some surprise: a heavy-duty piece of equipment designed for tremendous circuit loads. If the Doctor was working with that much power... She flicked a glance at the fire extinguisher on the wall, reassuring herself that it was charged and ready for use.

At last the Doctor seemed satisfied with his tinkering, and straightened up to look at her. "Hello there, Jo," he said. "Did that Campbell chap give you a hard time? You look a bit ruffled."

"Well, he wasn't very pleased," Jo admitted. "He couldn't believe you'd already used up last week's requisition." A smile touched her mouth at the memory of Campbell's red, pop-eyed face. In his quest to unlock the secrets of his beloved TARDIS, the Doctor was going through circuit boards like paper-- an extravagance which UNIT's parsimonious supply clerk viewed with comical dismay.

"Was he rude to you?" asked the Doctor, with a sharpness that boded ill for Campbell, should he be guilty of the offense.

"Oh, no," Jo said quickly. "It's the storm, Doctor. I got caught in it when I was crossing the grounds. I wish you would look outside."

"Storm?" The Doctor was once more distracted by his experiment, and he did not look at her as he spoke. He carefully clipped a volt-meter onto one of the cables.

"Yes," Jo replied with emphasis. "Doctor, you should see it. I've never seen clouds move in so fast. And--"

She never finished the sentence. The laboratory window flared with sizzling light, followed by a massive hammer-crack of thunder that rattled the cabinets of glass beakers and retorts. Jo spun around-- and the building gave a convulsive shudder, as though something had crashed into it. She gripped the workbench for support, eyes widening in alarm. UNIT's headquarters was a venerable, water-damaged edifice that had seen many uses before the military took it over, but it was solidly built and had endured the War. What could possibly make it tremble now?

The Doctor made an irritable noise at the momentary disruption, but appeared otherwise unconcerned. Jo drew a deep breath, willing herself calm. Only the thunder, silly girl, she told herself. So loud, and so close, it felt like an earthquake. Determined not to be intimidated any longer, she crossed to the window.

Rain pelted the glass like bullets, making it impossible to see outside. As a succession of rapid flashes lit the window, the wind rammed at the building; several distant crashes warned of dustbins and other loose items on the grounds being hurled at the bricks. In spite of her resolve to imitate the Doctor's nonchalance, a shiver ran through Jo's slight body, and she hugged her elbows for warmth.

"Doctor, a word with you," said an authoritative voice from behind her. Jo turned to see Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart stride through the doorway, his mouth set beneath his carefully groomed mustache. "Campbell has just handed me a copy of your latest requisition," he continued crisply, "and frankly, I cannot believe my eyes. I know your experiments are important to you, but this is absurd! We simply cannot spare--"

"Not now, Brigadier," said the Doctor, not lifting his eyes from his work. He had attached an oscilloscope into the wild array of leads and was watching the flickering screen. "I'm busy."

"Oh, you're busy, all right," the Brigadier retorted. "Fifteen circuit boards in two weeks! Do you have any idea how that looks on a quarterly budget report?" He shook his head. "This can't go on, Doctor. From now on, all requests for laboratory supplies will be cleared through me. And you'll just have to start taking better care of your equipment, because--"

"Brigadier, don't be a fool!" The Doctor turned to glare at the other man. "You haven't the slightest idea of the importance of my research to the--"

"Because," Lethbridge-Stewart went on, pointedly ignoring the protest, "after looking at the last set of figures, I'm not in a generous mood. And that, as far as I'm concerned, is the end of the matter. Don't expect me to change my mind."

As he spoke, a tendril of smoke snaked out from the capacitor's rubber ring. Jo glanced from the capacitor to the two men and back again, and began to edge towards the fire extinguisher.

Heedless of the fact that his delicate work was still connected to its own power source, the Doctor turned his full attention to the Brigadier. "Of all the petty--"

The brick-sized capacitor exploded, hurling hot, glassy shards across the room. All three of them ducked. Several of the leads suddenly flamed up, and the familiar stench of burnt circuitry and rubber insulation filled the lab. The Doctor fell to his knees as the remains continued to smoke. He jerked the leads free of the big cable, killing the power. Then he leaped up, glowering at the Brigadier.

"You sir, are a heedless, tyrannical military idiot!" he raged. "Nearly a week's work, ruined! Don't bring your petty budget reports to me! I should think my services to this organisation might be worth more than a few circuit boards!" He whirled and marched into his beloved TARDIS.

"And don't expect us to foot the bill for another whacking great capacitor like that!" the Brigadier shouted after him. But he did not follow the Doctor into the TARDIS. Angry as he might get with the Time Lord, his rigid sense of propriety had always kept him from invading that private sanctum.

Jo knew how he felt, for it was only recently that she herself had been invited into the mysterious chambers of the TARDIS. Her first venture through the deceptively ordinary-looking Police Box's doors had taken her to another planet and another time. Only since then had she felt free to enter the Doctor's ship without trepidation, and she had been in and out of the console room on numerous occasions to help the Doctor, hand him his tools, and keep him company.

The Brigadier wheeled and caught sight of Jo for the first time, his brows lifting in surprise at her presence. Then he frowned and glanced at the window, as though he had only just become aware of the unseasonable fury of the storm around them.

"By Jove, I do feel sorry for you, Miss Grant," he said. "Working with such a mercurial temper."

Jo smiled-- then they both jumped as the lightning seemed to sizzle right through the room, and the heavy glass of the lab window reverberated with the crash of thunder. Jo's hands flew to her mouth, stifling a gasp. The Brigadier merely arched an eyebrow and went out, slamming the heavy door behind him.

As the storm's rumbling subsided for the moment, Jo backed away from the window and cautiously approached the TARDIS. Experience had taught her that the Doctor could be quite irritable after an encounter with the Brigadier. She was just poking her head around the time-ship's open door when another flash of white light dazzled the lab from one end to the other. She darted into the TARDIS.

The Doctor was bent over an open section of the console that stood in the centre of the spacious control room. He was examining the wiring, his jeweler's glass screwed into one eye. Glancing up, he saw her as she stood, white-faced and trembling, between him and the TARDIS doors. He let the glass drop into his hand.

"You all right, Jo?" he asked, his deep voice surprisingly gentle, considering the way he'd just roared at the Brigadier. "I didn't think that storms frightened you."

"This is a whiz banger, I'm afraid," she said. "I've never seen anything like it."

"That bad?" His eyebrows lifted. "Let's take a look, then."

It was obvious that he did not share her fears, and yet there was no mockery in his tone, no condescension. Since their last adventure at Devil's End, the Doctor's attitude toward her had changed, becoming much more courtly and protective. It seemed to have startled and deeply touched him that she had thrown herself between him and the terrible Azal when the horrible creature had sentenced him to death. With a reserve she was beginning to recognize as typical, he did not speak of the incident again; but his manner toward her had become increasingly considerate, even tender. When he thought about it.

The Doctor joined her at the TARDIS doors and gazed with her out into the lab as the room blazed electric white in an eerily prolonged flash of elemental energy. Though they were not touching, he seemed to sense the shiver running through her, and he laid a steadying arm across her shoulders. She was glad of it.

"It's only lightning," he said quietly. "Must be nearby; that's all."

The vast TARDIS interior--dimensionally transcendental and therefore impervious--remained solid, unmoving, safe, but through its doors they could plainly see the lab outside. Just as the Doctor gave her shoulder a pat to indicate they should get to work, the lightning and thunder exploded once more. A sizzling arc of power again transformed the lab outside the TARDIS doors, and the electric white light hovered in the air longer than seemed natural.

Jo shrank against the Doctor, seized by a sudden, desperate desire to hide her face against his shoulder, as though some unspeakable doom were about to befall them. She barely had time to register his squeeze of reassurance when the thunder erupted with a cacophony of breaking glass, and a ruthless wind flung the shards of the lab window across the workbench and into the cabinets against the opposite wall. Every light in the laboratory went out, and in the darkness the shrieking of the gale sounded, horribly, almost human. . .

* * * *

On the other side of London, miles away from the city, a thin ray of sunlight pierced the enveloping clouds, gleaming on the shingled rooftops of a small town. The village of Hoffshire could boast of little more than a few short blocks of cottages, a primary school, and an old Presbyterian church: the town stood well off the main roads, and despite the presence of a locally renowned pub on the main street, it made no great effort to tempt visitors. Still, for the seven hundred-odd people who had chosen to call Hoffshire home, it was a comfortable place to live, a place where everybody knew everybody, and doors seldom needed to be locked. A quiet corner of rare and rural England, untroubled by extremes-- until today.

"Mary, you and the girls can come up now, it's over!" Alan called down into the cellar. Already, from below, he could hear Lamb whimpering as Mary gathered the child into her arms. Kara, her youthful optimism restored by the sound of his voice, came bounding up the steps first. Before he could even ask if she were all right, she exclaimed with innocent eagerness, "Can we go out and see what it did, Dad?"

"By and by, Kara," he replied amiably in the thick Ulster accent that ten years in the English countryside had not been able to erase. But then he caught his wife's sidelong look, and his craggy face grew serious. "That was the worst wind storm I ever laid eyes on," he said. "We ought to check the neighbors, don't you think? It's not a party, you know. People may be hurt, or without power."

Instantly Kara was as sober as a church warden. "Yes, Dad."

"Here you are, Father," Mary told him, handing him Lamb, who was reaching for him.

"Come on then, Lamb, was it dark down there?" he asked his youngest daughter, hugging her small body as she buried her face against his neck. She nodded, then jerked her head up suddenly.

"Where's Bear?" she asked.

"Right here," Mary replied, pressing the stuffed toy into her daughter's damp, beseeching hand.

Alan carried the mollified Lamb into the dim kitchen. "Oh, you're a great big girl in kindergarten to have that bear," he said, not unkindly. Then, pointing, "Look, Mary, Kara, the windows are intact. I thought they would blow right out when that devil was right over us."

"Alan--" Mary began reproachfully, but Kara interrupted, "Was it really a devil?"

He caught himself. "No, no, Kara. Just wind. Worst wind I ever saw in my life. Sounded like a great express train, didn't it?"

"But God protected us," Mary added in a quiet voice as they surveyed the wreckage of the lawn and the muddy road outside. Alan's mouth hardened at the sight of the fallen trees.

"By George, I hope the rest of the neighbors are safe," he muttered. He glanced around the darkened room. "Well, we're out of power. Mary, before it gets dark, I want to check on everybody else. Can you see to the house?"

"We'll get the lamps down," she said. "We have enough for a good cold supper, Alan. Invite anybody in who needs it."

"Thank you, love." Reluctantly unclasping Lamb's arms from around his neck, he passed the child back to Mary. "You girls look after your mother--"

"Oh, Dad, can't I go with you?" Kara begged. She was three years older than Lamb, and could not have been more different. Nothing frightened her, especially not when she was with him. Tempted by the plea, Alan hesitated, but then he caught the look of his more practical wife and shook his head. If there was heavy work to be done, he ought not to have Kara along.

"In the morning we'll tramp around the whole village," he promised her. "But right now I need you to help your mother. We may have company tonight if anyone's roof fell in, or if there's young ones with parents needing to get to hospital. I'll get my raincoat." He trudged into the entryway of the house, stopped, and turned, "Mary, where is--"

"In the coat closet, Alan."

After a moment's search, he located the bright yellow mac and hauled it out, frowning in momentary puzzlement. "Mary, did you put--"

"Your rubber boots are right by the door, Alan."

"Oh, aye, there they are." As he bent to retrieve them, he glanced back at his wife. "Have we got batteries in the radio?"

"I changed them last week."

"Oh, good. You might want to turn it on, then," he said. "We ought to know how the rest of the country is doing. That storm was still moving fast when it left."

Mary nodded, her arm sliding about Kara's shoulders, pulling her daughter close. Alan stamped his feet down into his boots, pulled on his heavy mackintosh. With a last, searching look at his wife, he pushed the door open and stepped out into the mud. Even Mary, he thought, had not heard the screaming of the storm-- screaming like a human voice, or worse, an inhuman one.

"Alan, you daft beggar," he told himself ruefully. Shaking his head, he plodded down the driveway, turning toward the crossroads and the nearby hilltop church. But at the sight of that square, grey shape standing stark against the sky, he realized that he had neither thanked God for his family's deliverance from the storm, nor petitioned Him on behalf of his neighbours. With a twinge of guilt for his unwitting selfishness, he began to pray as he walked, "Lord, thank you for sparing me and my--"

He got no further before he saw the corpse. Shocked, he stopped, the prayer dying in his mind.

It lay twisted on the grass behind the church, a dark blot against the rain-washed lawn. Immediately he recognized it as the carcass of a bird, but just as immediately denied it to himself, as any rational man would have done-- because it was enormous, distorted beyond all natural proportion, an unthinkably alien thing in this gentle rural landscape. No, it could not possibly be a bird.

But as he edged closer, he realized with sickening certainty that his first impression had been right. Sprawled out at the base of the church's south wall, surrounded by a rainbow sprinkling of shattered glass, was an oil-black bird as big as a man. One wing lay broken beneath it, folded nearly in half; the other spread out across the ground like a ragged carpet.

The monstrous thing was clearly crippled: but was it dead? Alan hesitated, stepped forward, stopped again. Then he squared his broad shoulders, lifted his dark head high, and became resolute. "Make me willing to accept this from Your hand," he said aloud, "and if I die, I die."

Emboldened by the prayer, he walked forward, and saw with a warm rush of relief that the bird was indeed dead. Six feet from beak to tail, the snapped neck lolling to one side, it had flown straight into the church's glass window, smashing both of them to ruin.

But where could such a bird have come from?

"Alan!" a voice called, and he glanced up to see PC Collins, the village's day shift police force, hurrying down the slope toward him. "There's another one over on the other side of the hill that way!" the officer shouted.

"Dead?" Alan asked sharply, for the damage that such a creature might do, especially to children, was uppermost in his mind.

"Cold as a Christmas turkey," replied the constable. He came up to Alan and gazed down at the monstrosity by his feet. "Did you hear the screeching overhead when the wind came?" he asked. "One of the girl's at the pub fainted when she heard it: smashed a whole pot of tea, and it took us five minutes to bring her around. Do you think it was these things?"

"I thought it was a trick of the wind," admitted Alan. "But now..." He shook his dark head. "I don't know." He stooped down to look more closely at the dead creature, and without hesitation PC Collins followed his example, but neither man ventured to touch it.

"I'm not quite sure what branch of the law this might come under," said Collins with a shaky attempt at humour. "Is it a felony for a giant bird to hit a church window, or a misdemeanor, do you suppose?"

Alan looked dubious. "More like a case for the Humane Society, if you ask me."

Collins straightened up, pushing back his cap to scratch his balding forehead. "That was quite the storm," he said after a moment's thought. "It's smashed up Edmund too, and London's bracing for it."

"We ought to call someone in to look at this," said Alan. "Someone who knows about-- whatever these things might be."

The police constable nodded. "I will. Right away. Are your girls all right?"

"They're fine." Alan stood. He thrust his big hands into the pockets of his raincoat, hunching his shoulders against a chill that had nothing to do with the climate. "What about the rest of the village?"

"A lot of trees down, a telephone pole across the road over yonder, and a couple of bleeders from flying glass," said Collins. "No power anywhere, either-there's a crew coming out, but it'll be a couple of hours at least before they're done. You may as well come along with me. I'll make that call over my radio."

* * *

As the window exploded across the lab, the Doctor and Jo instinctively ducked down, although they were still sheltered in the doorway of the TARDIS. As they straightened up again, the wind moaned, then shrieked again, flinging more lab equipment across the room. The protesting screech of casters, the clash of metal on stone, was deafening, and Jo clutched at the Doctor's coat, hiding her face against him in unreasoning dread.

"It's all right, Jo," he told her kindly. "There's no need to be afraid. "

"If we had been in the lab--" she faltered.

"But we weren't." His voice was warm with reassurance. "We were safe in here."

No sooner had he finished speaking than the wind died down, quietened to a gentle breeze that merely ruffled the pages of the reports scattered across floor and shelves. The lights in the laboratory flickered, then blinked back on, bathing the room in their steady, familiar fluorescence.

"What was it?" Jo asked, reluctantly letting the Doctor go.

"A tornado, I think," he replied, his eyes distracted. "Stay here."


But he was already slipping away from her, through the open door of the TARDIS and out into the wreckage of the lab. A sudden puff of wind sent him darting behind the workbench, but the gust was not severe, and soon subsided. Cautiously he stood, hands spread as though to ward off any further elemental interference, and it was then that Jo saw the lightning-- if it was lightning-- flash for the third and final time.

The radiance was so bright that the Doctor stood out stark against it, a pitch-black silhouette with open mouth and stiffened body, transfixed. For an impossibly long moment it held him: then it faded out, and he swayed back against the fallen workbench, grabbing its edge with both hands to keep from falling.

All thought of her own safety swallowed up in her fear for his, Jo leaped out of the TARDIS and ran toward him. "Doctor! Are you all right?"

Instantly, the storm cut off, as though some colossal hand had simply changed the channel. Wind and lightning ceased, and the only sound was the pattering of the steady rain outside-- a normal, ordinary English rain.

"Doctor," whispered Jo, her fingers curling around the sleeve of his black velvet smoking jacket. He looked down at her, but his gaze was remote, as though he were seeing her for the first time in his life. The sheer foreignness of that glance made Jo drop her hand and step back.

"I remember the circuit sequences in the TARDIS," he said, his voice eerily quiet. Then without warning he smiled, a pasted-on smile that dismayed her, as though another face had smiled at her through his.

"Bring me one of those boards," he said. "I know what to do, now."

"But--" Jo bit her lip. "Are you all right?"

The smile vanished. "Are you questioning me? The board-- now!"

Without thinking Jo obeyed, hastening across the debris-littered lab. As she passed by, the Doctor made a swipe at her. He missed, his crooked fingers barely brushing her sleeve, but the gesture of hostility sent an arrow of fear through her.

Still, she did not panic. Jo had been trained to remain calm in uncertain situations, and although that discipline was not always easy to maintain, UNIT's headquarters was enough of a familiar environment for her to feel secure. She could control this, she told herself firmly: or, if not, she could at least control herself.

She had to hunt for the boards. Like everything else in the lab that weighed less than a few pounds, they had been hurled across the room by the raging storm. Crumbs of broken glass were scattered everywhere, and the smaller, more delicate pieces of chemical and electronic equipment lay in useless fragments against the far wall. Eventually, however, she found one of the packages and brought it back to the Doctor.

He took it without so much as returning her glance. "Clean up that mess," he said, his face and voice expressionless, as he worked the cardboard apart and slid the circuit board from its protective packaging. It was a so-called "bread board", used for experimental set-up.

Jo hurried to find the broom and dustpan, her mind racing. Obviously the Doctor was disoriented, dazed by the intensity of the lightning flash, and yet his Gallifreyan pride would not allow him to admit it. What should she do? Sometimes the best thing to do was to leave him alone when he was ill, but at other times even he needed medical treatment. With sudden decisiveness she picked up the phone.

The Doctor whirled on her. "What are you doing?"

"Calling for cleanup," she replied quickly. He made a skeptical noise, but said nothing more. With shaking fingers Jo reached for the dial, as the Doctor jerked the experimental circuit board free of the box. He held it a moment in both hands, a look of startled anger flitting across his face. Then he said flatly, "This board is ruined. It has a short in it."

"It must have been damaged when it hit the wall," she replied, her voice holding all the calmness she could muster. The Doctor slammed the board down and glared at her.

"Put down that telephone!" he snapped. "Do you think I can't see right through you, Josephine Grant? I know your every treacherous thought." As he began to advance, Jo set the receiver down hastily and backed away from him.

"Doctor," she said, "something's happened to you. What's happened to you? "

He ignored the question. "You never tested that board, did you?"

Jo's retreat sent her bumping into a corner, the white-haired Time Lord looming over her. At the last second she sidestepped and eluded his grasp, but the move put another few feet, and the Doctor, between her and the door. Still, there was the twisting spiral of steps that led upstairs, beckoning her to safety at the opposite end of the room. As he continued his menacing approach she backed toward the stair, pleading: "I couldn't test it until I brought it to the lab. I would have, Doctor, if I'd only known-- but there was no time--"

"I don't want untested boards in this lab!" he roared. "You know that! You know what I want! You disobedient, headstrong, destructive wretch!"

He lunged at her. Gasping, Jo leaped back and swung herself onto the staircase, but his long arm shot out and seized a fistful of her feathery hair. With one savage pull he yanked her off the steps.

"Doctor, no!"

At the far end of the room, the laboratory door burst open, revealing Captain Mike Yates. "Hello? Is everybody all right in here?"

"Mike!" sobbed Jo, and the Doctor slapped her across the face.

Yates didn't make a sound-- though whether it was because of the shock of seeing the Doctor strike Jo or the anger the sight kindled in him, she would never know. For a moment, her vision dazzled with pain and tears, Jo didn't know where he was. Then she heard the crack of wood against bone as Mike brought a lab stool down across the Doctor's back.

The grip on Jo's hair loosened, and she staggered aside, clutching at the rail of the stair. But to her stunned dismay, the Time Lord stooped to hit her again, momentarily ignoring Yates. She was already turning as she saw his closed fist come down, and the blow glanced off her cheekbone, sending an explosion of stars across her darkening vision. Her shoulder blades hit the metal rail of the steps. But she was still conscious, and she could still watch as the Doctor spun around and twined his arms about the young Captain.

Mike Yates had already tried to manhandle the Doctor once, several months before, and knew that it was a risky venture at best. But he had studied judo himself, and was far from defenseless in a fight. With a deft turn, Yates locked the Doctor's grip around his chest so that the taller man could not escape: then he slid back on one foot and bowed deeply at the hips. The Doctor flew over his head and crashed to the glass-littered floor.

Shaking her head clear, Jo raced to the telephone, only to find it dead. She dropped the receiver and ran out into the hall, but then she saw Mike's radio skittering across the floor toward her. With desperate energy she seized it as the Doctor rolled and launched himself at the younger man once more, hands outstretched to grapple.

Before she could use the handset, however, Sergeant Benton and another soldier came clattering down the steps toward her. "Benton, help!" she cried. "Something's happened to the Doctor!"

The Sergeant took one startled look at Jo's face, then darted past her into the room. Her warning had not been clear, however, and for a moment the sight of the Doctor and Mike Yates locked in mortal struggle froze both soldiers in their tracks.

"He'll kill Mike!" urged Jo. "Stop him!"

Yates was rapidly losing the battle, unable to overcome the Doctor's superior resistance to blows and his knowledge of human pressure points. Galvanized into action by Jo's cry, Benton jumped on the Doctor, rolling with him away from Yates, pinning him to the floor.

"Stay on him!" Mike barked, rejoining the fray. The other soldier followed suit, and the three men struggled to subdue the raging Doctor.

"What's it all about?" Benton panted as they tried-- not very successfully-- to wrestle the Time Lord into submission.

"He attacked Miss Grant," said Yates grimly. "I don't know--"

The Doctor writhed beneath them. "Treacherous lot of you!" he screamed. "Blood-soaked treacherous lot! I'll kill you all with terrors unheard of since the days of Ammon! Do you hear me? Terrors and fires from the days of Ammon!"

"Good grief, what's he on about?" Benton asked. He twisted the Doctor's arm up behind him in an arm lock, trying to grab his free wrist. Mike attempted to push the Doctor's head to the floor, while the other soldier clutched at the long, savagely kicking legs.

"Ammon!" the Doctor shouted. "I'll kill the girl first! Ammon, take her!"

Benton stripped off his belt and lashed it around the Doctor's wrists. The temporary restraint freed Mike to hunt quickly about the lab for a better one. He gathered up a handful of electrical cables, and as he approached the struggling Time Lord, his jaw hard with determination, the Doctor seemed to realize that he was about to be restrained at last. Instantly he renewed his struggle-- but the three men overcame him, pressed him to the floor, and tied his wrists up behind him, looping the cables about his neck.

"He'll be dangerous on his feet," Benton warned.

"All right, then," said Mike, "hobble him."

Jo edged closer as the fighting subsided, her heart pounding high in her throat. Already her shock at the Doctor's attack, the numb pain of betrayal, had removed her from the scene to some degree. Now she stared at the Time Lord in helpless fascination, like a mouse mesmerized by a snake. He saw her, his eyes flashed, and he spat, though she was still too far away to be a target.

"Aren't you ashamed?" demanded Benton sternly, sitting down hard on the Doctor's chest while Mike and the soldier tied his feet at the ankles. "Behave yourself, sir!"

Still staring at Jo, the Doctor whispered, "Ammon... Ammon." Then all at once he fell silent, his already pallid cheeks turning an even more ghastly white, tinged with blue, like the face of a corpse. He closed his eyes. "Jo," he said in a hushed, almost pleading tone, "listen carefully. Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer. . . "

He was speaking rapidly, his voice so low that Jo had to strain to hear it. Bewildered, she leaned closer. "Turning and turning and turning." His head lolled back, lips still moving without pause. "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed. Everywhere-- Everywhere--"

Suddenly his eyes snapped open. He bared his teeth at her, snarling, and leaped against his three captors, momentarily throwing them off. "I'll kill you, you treacherous slut, you--"

Benton struck him across the face. Mike grabbed the young Sergeant's arm, restraining him, and then he and the enlisted man threw themselves on top of the Doctor, bringing him down once more.

"We've got to get him to a holding area," Yates snapped.

Benton fished out his radio. With the phones dead, only the handsets were working. Using all their weight and strength, the other two men held the Doctor down while the Sergeant made the call. In less than a minute, three more men came pounding down the stairs and rushed into the wreckage-littered laboratory.

"The Doctor is having a seizure," Mike told them quickly, cutting off their startled exclamations. "Benton will see to him. He must be restrained, and kept under heavy guard-- and whatever happens, avoid coming to blows with him." He cast a sharp glance at Benton, who gave a rueful, acknowledging nod, obviously ashamed of having struck a bound man who was not in his right mind.

Jo pulled up one of the lab stools and sank slowly onto it. In silence she watched, feeling nothing but the dull throb of her bruised face, as the soldiers picked up the shouting, writhing Doctor and hurried him from the room.

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