From the moment I saw him, I loved Hardin. Unusual for me to love liars but there was just something about him that made him shine. Naturally I had to make him the central character here, once again putting his life at stake because of a silly, little lie. I wanted him to be asking himself if he'd changed. The answer: probably not.

I had often wondered how the Foamasi politicians got home and what that would involve. It was a train of thought that just fit and it was a joy to explain the science part in true Leisure Hive tachyonics-style.
The eerie silence of the Board Room was disturbed as Mena, Hardin, the two Foamasi politicians and three other Argolins entered. Mena took place at the head chair and the rest found their seats.

“Now then,” Mena began. “What exactly happened?” One of the politicians leaned forward.

“We were about to board our craft when the two criminals decided to try and leave us behind. Thankfully their attempt was swift. If they hadn’t done that, we would be dead as well.” Mena looked grave.

“I must apologize for Pangol’s behaviour,” she apologized. “He has been dealt with.” Mena pointed towards Hardin, who was still holding baby Pangol.

“That is Pangol?” asked the politician. Mena nodded and smiled. “It’s the result of an incident with the generator. Perhaps The Doctor could expla…” she looked around to find that neither the Doctor nor Romana were in the room. Mena looked at Trask, one of the Argolins. “Go and find them. They must take part in this conference.” Trask nodded and left the room.

The politician had some questions. “The Doctor and the girl didn’t come from Earth, did they?” Mena shook her head.

“They said they were from Gallifrey,” she explained before turning an inquisitive eye upon Hardin. “Mr Hardin? Why don’t you explain the incident with the generator?”
* * *
Trask walked into the Generator gallery and found nobody at all. There was no sign of the Doctor or Romana. Come to think of it, there was no sign of the blue box either. Where had it gone? Surely it can’t just have moved so suddenly. Then, Trask remembered having never seen the blue box until the previous day. Who were those two strangers who just happened to drop in at a time of danger? Such questions were rarely asked on Argolis. And such questions were never answered.

* * *
“That’s really all I know, Madam Chairman.” Hardin’s account of the incident was short and not very informative. However, it didn’t entirely matter. The incident in question had already happened and therefore couldn’t be changed. However, the Foamasi politicians’ future was undecided and needed to be looked into. This was at the top of Mena’s list of things to sort out.

“How will you return to your planet?” This question was easily answered by the politician.

“We were hoping you would have a Plestenry Extrenser handy.” Mena turned to Hardin.

“Does that mean anything to you, Mr Hardin?” she enquired.

“Yes, there’s several needed to maintain the Experiential Grid.” Mena gave a smile.

“Can we afford to lose one?” she asked.

Hardin was already busy thinking of the work required, the hardcore science behind such a prospect. Mena could see the cogs inside his head working at top speed.

“I suppose. It would be a very delicate job.” Mena and the Foamasi breathed a sigh of relief.

“Then it’s settled,” she announced. “See to it, Mr Hardin.”
* * *
Hardin was busy at work with Trask and another Argolin, Makos by his side. The politicians would no doubt want to return home as soon as possible, so Hardin had set to work immediately. He had been lying slightly when he’d said it would be a delicate operation. Not expecting Mena to tell him to do it, he assumed to not give her the full picture wouldn’t cause any harm.

Yet, here he was, hands trembling with every slight movement, performing an operation that could cost him his life. Playing around with the Generator was one thing, but tampering with the pure science that held this planet together was a completely different deck of cards. Was lying to Mena becoming a habit or was he just a coward? The answer wasn’t blatantly clear at the moment. To an onlooker, it would seem like he was a surgeon performing some advanced form of operation on a very special patient.

Trask and Makos knelt by his side, each with a box full of tools and equipment. Hardin carefully pulled his head out of the small hatch in the Generator controls. “Hypersonic Garge,” he said, holding out his hand. Makos gave him the instrument.

The Work continued for a while longer when Hardin pulled himself out for the final time and said, “Vector Trawl.” Trask and Makos were getting tired.

“Are we nearly finished?” asked Trask. Hardin nodded.

“Yes. One more step to go and the device will be free to use. Go and inform Madam Chairman we’re nearly finished, will you?” Makos nodded and left the scene.

Hardin’s heart-rate was still beating wildly and sweat was pouring from his face. This had definitely been an odd day. He looked at Trask for comfort. “Come on,” he breathed. “Let’s get this finished.”

* * *
Mena was deep in conversation when Makos entered the Board Room.

“Ah,” Mena chimed. “You would be amazed how fascinating Foamasi culture is.” She turned back to the politicians. “We must talk more often. What is it?” Makos delivered the message.

“Excellent!” exclaimed the politician. “Let us see what your Hardin has accomplished.”

Hardin, closely followed by Trask, entered the room and handed the Plestenry Extrenser to the politician slowly and carefully. “Be careful with it,” he warned. “We know how dangerous these things can be,” the politician assured him. Hardin had one more question.

“Out of curiosity, how exactly will you use that to get home?” Hardin asked.

The politician entered explanation mode. “Extrensers emit high energy radio impulses. Plestenry ones can transmit for hundreds of light years if necessary.” Suddenly, the light inside Hardin’s head lit up.

"I see. You use it as a distress signal.” The politican nodded.

“Precisely. Unfortunately, when wired into your system, it’s range is nullified to within this planet’s orbit. That is how the criminals got here in the first place.”

Suddenly, everything made complete sense. The politician continued. “Once they entered the atmosphere, they only had to hone in on the signal.” It seemed the work was done.

Mena regained control. “You’re welcome to take a look around the rest of the hive while you wait,” she offered. The politician bowed.

“It would be a pleasure.”

Mena and the two politicians left the room leaving Hardin to complete the final corrections to the grid. Were it not for The Doctor and Romana and his quick on-the-job training he’d earned during the day, the Hive could’ve been Hardin’s end – twice.

© Copyright Liam South, Ian Nicholson & Doctor Who Online, 2013.
Page Updated: 20/4/2013

Written by:
Liam South

Artwork by:
Ian Nicholson

Doctor Who is © Copyright to the BBC. No infringement intended.