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Welcome to the Time Tales section of Doctor Who Online. Time Tales are Doctor Who dioramas (picture stories), based on characters and worlds inspired by Doctor Who, and written and shot by Malcolm Orr.


The Doctor's hands gripped the console tightly as the room warped around him. Robyn and K9 were stranded on the Progenitor and his TARDIS was being hijacked. Three creatures had broken through into the sanctuary of the TARDIS and were breaking it apart. The creatures were horrific - humanoid in appearance, but it was almost as if entities inside the heads of the creatures were breaking out, collapsing their vestigial faces into loose skin wrinkled underneath their chins. Brain tissue exuded from splits in their foreheads and a large bulbous eye stared out of each creature. They were the Three, and the Doctor knew they were behind the assault on Gallifrey.

The Doctor could feel them invading his mind, starting to tear at its edges to induce madness into him. The Doctor glanced behind him to see the Sontaran who had forced his way into the TARDIS behind him. Tuk the Fearless was a battle-hardened warrior of the Sxxxx lineage and he saw that the Doctor was under attack. Tuk charged the three alien monsters, but was unable to penetrate a psychic barrier that surrounded them. The Three turned to Tuk and bore into his mind, driving him back. The Doctor, realising he had a momentary reprieve, pressed some buttons on the TARDIS console. The TARDIS engines groaned loudly with the strain of an emergency dematerialisation. The Doctor looked back up at the Three and watched as they faded from the console room.

Acting President Borusa could taste the blood that had trickled from his nose down to his lips. His tormentors hadn't laid so much as a hand on him, but the searing mental pain they were able to apply was incredible, and Borusa had struggled to keep control. The Three had discovered that Borusa had sent a message to the Doctor's TARDIS and they had gone to try and capture the time capsule. The Three rematerialised back in front of Borusa, and they were furious. Behind them were Shadows - black ragged shapes that stood in disturbing silence, waiting like foxes sizing up their prey. 'Did we capture the girl?' asked the Three. 'Yes,' grunted one of the Shadows. Borusa looked at the corner of the room where a small alcove hid a huntress in the shadows. He could see that she still wore the talisman he gave her, and it seemed, for now, that she was the only hope that he had.

The TARDIS materialised with its usual wheezing-groaning sound. The Doctor walked out of the TARDIS and looked at his surroundings. The ship had landed inside a barn, somewhere on Earth. The door of the barn was slightly ajar and the Doctor looked to see a street. It was medieval certainly - why had Borusa brought him to medieval Earth? Tuk exited from the TARDIS to see that the Doctor was already leaving the barn. 'Wait!' shouted the Sontaran, but the Doctor continued almost as if the Sontaran wasn't even there. 'I saved your life,' Tuk continued. 'Weak as your race are.' The Doctor left the barn and locked the door, still ignoring the Sontaran.

Robyn opened her eyes, but the blackness remained. Her hands and ankles had been tethered down and suddenly she started to panic. A dim light lit the room and the Three entered. Robyn could see that the blackness that surrounded her was comprised of lots of living shadows - dark ragged shapes with bestial faces. The Three approached Robyn and she felt physically sick. 'Where is the Doctor?' they asked her, their voices a discordant union. Robyn refused to say, but the truth was that she didn't know. Maybe he was still on the Progenitor where that poor girl, Lee, had been exterminated right before her eyes. It was clear to the Three that Robyn wasn't going to willingly help, but they knew they could still use Robyn to find the Doctor. They planned to experience her time with the Doctor by possessing her mind from the moment they met, and they could use her to learn more about his TARDIS so they could track it now. Robyn refused to submit her mind. 'We thought you might,' whispered the Three, a hint of glee in their voices...

K9 trundled along the floor of the Progenitor - both the Doctor and Robyn had left the ship and K9 was calculating what he should do about it. He detected a large group of people walking towards him - all genetically identical to the Doctor (or at least within 0.1%, which was insignificant to most but terribly important to K9). However K9's scan had shown that there was a merging of the clones’ artron energy, as if they were forming a group consciousness - a gestalt. 'Hello K9!' they all said in union. ‘Our dear old thing!’ Just as the choral greeting had left the Clone Doctors’ mouths, Daleks swarmed into the area and surrounded the group shouting 'EXTERMINATE!!' as they fired. A mental force field around the Clone Doctors protected them and K9. They all grinned again as the Daleks exploded from within, cracking like boiling eggs in a bubbling pan. The Clone Doctors and K9 made their way back towards the cloning lab onboard the ship.

When you had travelled in time and space as much as the Doctor had, one could tell just from the smell and taste of the air where and when you had landed. This was even truer when it came to the Earth, at least in the Doctor's case. He knew he was in France, and that the year must have been 1547 A.D. or thereabouts. Borusa had forced the TARDIS to land here, but the Doctor was unsure why. The Doctor could hear screaming from inside a local house followed by the abrupt opening of a wooden door. Two men were dragging a third man out from the building despite the protests of a woman, who probably was, the Doctor thought, the man’s wife. 'This man needs to see a doctor,' one of the surly two men gruffly explained to the woman. 'Hello!' said the Doctor. 'I'm the Doctor - not just any common or garden doctor you know,’ he interjected with a broad and disarming grin. ‘Problem gentlemen?'. The men grudgingly agreed to let the Doctor take over from here, and the Doctor helped the woman take her husband back in the house and sat him down on a chair. The Doctor soon learned that the man was called Michel and that he had had a fever. The woman told the Doctor that he was in Lyon, France, and that there had been a plague here recently, but what had been happening to Michel had been even more disturbing. Michel had been burning up with a high fever as if possessed by brimstone and sulfur and shouting gibberish at the top of his voice. The Doctor looked at Michel, realising that his face was vaguely familiar. Suddenly the man bolted upright, his body contorting violently, his eyes bulging from their sockets and he was screaming a verse from his spittle covered mouth:

"A glib talker with a quick tongue,
Shall destroy the Sanctuary of the Gods,
To the Heretics he shall fling wide the door,
So stirring the Heavens to War..."

Michel de Nostredame collapsed back onto the chair, unconscious. 'Nostradamus,' the Doctor muttered.

The Three looked directly at Robyn. 'We could help you save Lee,' they said. ‘Her young life extinguished by the Daleks, but you could change that.’ The Three told Robyn that if she submitted her will to them that they would save Lee by removing her from time just before she was exterminated. Robyn could feel tears welling up in her eyes - she could save Lee from death, but she knew it would come at a cost - the Three would use her thoughts and experiences since she met the Doctor to track the TARDIS and him. 'Will you serve us?' they asked Robyn. 'No,' she sobbed, tears now streaming down her face. 'Then maybe we will find a way to convince you,' replied the Three. An image of Earth was displayed in front of her. 'Unleash the Abomination,' ordered the Three. In response to their words a small blue seed formed in the hand of one of the Three. ‘From this, devastation will grow.’ The seed faded from his hand. Within moments many thousands of snake like tendrils, each one with huge barbs started to emerge from the crust of the Earth. 'Submit your mind to us, serve us and help us locate the Doctor, and we will save the Earth, including the life of your father.' Robyn could barely breathe and she was becoming hysterical - the Three were willing to rip apart Earth just to get her to betray the Doctor, and deep down she knew she had to refuse...

The Doctor had met some famous people in his time. In fact get him on a table with a few bottles of ginger beer and a bowl of jelly babies and he’d talk to you about them for hours, but meeting Nostradamus had unsettled him. Most of the people the Doctor met helped to shape history, but Nostradamus claimed to predict it. The Doctor was sure this was linked to why Borusa brought him here, but was not yet sure how. Nostradamus bolted up in bed again, the madness and fever had returned to his face:

"Serpents will rise from the earthen cage,
Where the children of man are sleeping,
The old and fathers shall emerge from their hell,
Only to hear the screaming of the offspring."

The Doctor's face was unusually grim. Nostradamus was predicting Armageddon on a grand scale, and the Doctor was not remotely skeptical about his predictions. He could sense a great power inside Nostradamus, something alien in origin. A loud crack broke the thoughts of the Doctor and he spun around. Standing in the doorway was Tuk who at least had the common sense to wear his helmet. 'You need to return me to the war, Time Lord,' Tuk demanded. 'If you want war,' the Doctor countered, 'I rather think it is going to come to us.'

In London, 7th December 2009, Professor Brooks watched his TV in horror. He stumbled backwards and half-fell into the chair behind him. The TV was showing images of utter devastation from around the world. Huge twisted tendrils seen rising from the crust of the Earth into the sky creating massive Earth quakes and tsunamis. He could hear the screams outside, alongside police sirens, alarm bells, the roaring of motor cars. Chaos had descended on the Earth and Professor Brooks could feel a searing pain across his chest. Where was Robyn?

On the Progenitor the Clone Doctors suddenly became aware of the devastation on Earth. 'We must save the Earth,' they exclaimed in unison, 'we rather like it!' K9 asked them to clarify. 'We have detected a devastation across space and time and we must go there to prevent it. It's what the Doctor would do.' K9 was confused - the gestalt group of Clone Doctors appeared to be sensitive to the whole of time and space, perhaps they were growing in power. K9 searched his record banks and confirmed that there were no known cases of so many Gallifreyan clones being in close proximity to each other - the consequences of such a situation were likely to be unique. 'We must go there straight away, and you must join us,' suggested the Clone Doctors. K9 did not know how they planned to get across the whole of time and space without the Doctor's TARDIS. 'Time is immaterial!' they replied, still with that fixed broad toothy grin. Within seconds K9 and the Clone Doctors faded from view. Onboard the Progenitor the Supreme Dalek heard the report that the clones had somehow left the ship. His mission had failed, though his army was the only survivors. They would have to continue their military campaign without the capture of the clones. He ordered that the battle fleet should progress towards their primary target - Gallifrey.

Leela sneaked along a short alcove in a corridor finding the perfect place for an ambush. Shadows were escorting Borusa back from the interrogation chamber to his quarters. Leela could sense the creatures approaching and lunged at them as soon as they were in striking distance. Leela could remember when she first saw the Shadows. The creatures suddenly appeared on Gallifrey with no warning, and the Chancellory Guards who protected the Time Lords were easily outmatched by the creatures. Suddenly distracted from her memories, Leela’s warrior instincts kicked into action. Leela's knife tore into the first Shadow creature and it screamed as a black acrid fluid dripped to the floor. The second Shadow creature shimmered as Leela lunged towards it and Leela's knife harmlessly passed through it. She grabbed Borusa by the hand and tried to help him escape. She ran down the corridor, helping Borusa to keep up though he was still in a lot of pain. As she rounded a corner she skidded to a halt. Robyn stood in front of her, surrounded by more of the Shadow creatures. Robyn looked different - she was dressed in a black gown and her eyes glowed a deep red. Arcane markings twisted all over her face. She was one of them now. Robyn grabbed Leela by the throat and hoisted the warrior up into the air. Leela struggled but could not break Robyn's grip. Robyn laughed in delight...

The Doctor could hear screaming from the street outside and so he looked out of the window. Black shapes were coalescing in the street outside as Shadow creatures were materialising. 'They are here!' the Doctor exclaimed. 'We only have a few moments - they will try to search out the TARDIS first, then us.' Tuk grinned and rubbed his fist. 'Then we can fight them!' he rejoiced. The Doctor said they needed to get Nostradamus away from the pursuers. Nostradamus was the key to this whole affair, and unless the Doctor could work out why they had no chance of defeating their enemies. Nostradamus' wife, Anne, looked worried, more so after hearing the Doctor's comments. Tuk realised that the Doctor was too caught up in the situation with Nostradamus and his predictions to see that the woman needed reassurance. Tuk was a Sontaran, grown in a lab to be the perfect warrior, but even he could see the need to offer this woman some comfort. The Time Lord looked like a human, Tuk thought, but he was definitely an alien underneath. Tuk placed a heavy hand on the Anne's shoulders. 'We will help him,' Tuk consoled her. The Doctor glanced up; half realising he'd not even seen Anne's distress in the first place. He grabbed Nostradamus by the shoulder and motioned for Tuk to help him. 'We need to get him to safety or everyone will suffer. Help Marie to safety.' Tuk helped escort Marie outside, away from Nostradamus. But he could not wait to return and fight the Shadow creatures.

Professor Brooks ran out from his house and stood in the middle of the street. Some of his neighbours were already standing there, and each of them, just like him, had a waxy anxious look on their faces. 'It's the end!' one of them screamed, 'Arma-bleedin'-geddon.' Suddenly the ground shook violently, throwing them all down on the tarmac. When Brooks stood back up he could see that several buildings had cracked, and one or two had even fallen. But most noticeably of all was a huge organic tendril that had smashed its way through the surface of the Earth, maybe about 5 miles away, and reached up past the clouds. It was a sickly blue, and the tendril was twisted and pitted and terrifying. Just like the pictures on TV from around the world, but this time it wasn't just a picture on TV. This time it was there, right in front of him, and the ground started to tremble again...

Robyn had often wondered about the Doctor's home world - Gallifrey. The Doctor had often played it down when he spoke of it, almost dismissively, but she had always known that there was a special place in the Doctor's hearts for it. It had seemed like such a mysterious place - full of old dusty secrets, more like arcane forbidden knowledge than scientific marvels, but now she was possessed by darkness and the power granted by the Three, Robyn could sense the whole of Gallifrey and she could sense the time-space vortex. The Three had offered her the chance to stop the extermination of Lee or the destruction of Earth, and finally she had agreed to their wishes, to make a sacrifice to save her world, but now she was one of them she did not care for the Earth anymore, or Lee, and the Three did not recall the Abomination from Earth. Her sacrifice had been for nothing in the end.

The Doctor and Tuk had barely managed to get Nostradamus out of his room before they could hear the ravenous howling of the Shadow creatures. They had managed to sense the Doctor's scent and had launched themselves at the side of the house, scaling its surface with an almost supernatural skill. Townsfolk screamed and crossed their chests as they saw the dark shapes breaking through the window. The Doctor and Tuk helped Nostradamus up onto a horse drawn cart and started to ride the cart away from Nostradamus' house, just as the Shadows appeared in the courtyard. The Shadows screamed as they realised their prey were escaping before starting to pursue them once more. The Doctor was driving the horses as fast as they could whilst Tuk looked at their pursuers. 'So they want to fight!' he roared. 'Then fight they will!' As Tuk stood on the end of the cart, ready to face the Shadows, Nostradamus writhed again:

"The prodigal expelled from the city
Shall be angered by the foreign alliance,
The army of the eyes shall be defeated
Weapons of hearts, weapons of minds."

Robyn looked at Leela with disdain. Leela was trying to break free from the grasp of two Shadows who were taking her towards an execution chamber on Gallifrey. Robyn could barely remember her life with the Doctor anymore – the influence of the Three had pushed the personality Robyn used to have back into the deepest recesses of her mind. Robyn was a mere vessel now – a vessel for the will of the Three. Even now they were using her memories to learn more about the Doctor. She knew they had tried that with Leela before her, but Leela’s mind was far too savage to be of use to them. They stopped at the execution chamber. ‘You will not defeat me,’ challenged Leela. Robyn looked at the creature with pity. ‘I’d rather die than serve the Evil Gods.’ Robyn felt something stir inside her – the last vestiges of her old self trying to break back through. She had once fought monsters, fought evil alongside the Doctor, and now she was that evil. Except she wasn’t, was she? ‘Kill her,’ she could hear herself command, but inside her mind a small part of her was screaming.

Professor Brooks looked out towards London to see in the distance a huge tendril reaching into the sky. All around the world these demonic shoots had broken through the Earth and threatened to break apart the world. Tremors and earthquakes had already collapsed some of the buildings in the surrounding area and the world was in utter chaos outside. ‘What are they?’ Professor Brooks asked rhetorically. ‘An alien weapon of war – Gallifreyan to be precise!’ Professor Brooks turned around to see the people who seemed to answer his question in chorus. Professor Brooks was speechless – it was the Doctor, or rather about 12 Doctors, all grinning, and K9 was in the midst of them. K9 explained that the group of Doctors were clones and had started to merge into a group mind. The Clone Doctors looked across the Thames to see the huge tendril in the sky. ‘The Abomination,’ they said in awe. ‘The Abomination?’ echoed Professor Brooks. ‘It will mean the end of this world,’ replied the Clone Doctors.

The High Council of Time Lords had gathered inside the Council Chamber. Hedin looked at Borusa, standing at the head of the line of gathered Time Lords. Borusa had aged dramatically during his sessions of mental torture, as they all had, but he had also maintained the defiant attitude that he had always shown in all of his incarnations. Robyn entered the chamber, followed by four Shadows. Borusa flinched ever so slightly as Robyn approached him. 'The time has come for you to tell us - where is the Wisdom of Rassilon?' Hedin saw Borusa laugh. The 'Wisdom of Rassilon' was a term that Hedin did not recognise. 'Within the Doctor's grasp,' replied Borusa, 'and he will defeat you all.'

Two Shadows started to bear down on the Doctor's cart, frothing at their black mouths and feral in their determination to track down their prey. Tuk grabbed a pitchfork from the cart and smashed one end hard into the face of one of the Shadow creatures. It started to shimmer as its body phased into pure energy. Tuk shouted at the Doctor who grabbed the Sontaran and asked him to keep on driving the horses. The Doctor gripped the pitchfork and swung it at the Shadows, but like Tuk he found that the weapon just passed through without causing any harm. 'It's no use, Doctor!' Tuk warned. 'They just fade!' The Doctor grabbed his sonic from his pockets and shouted to Tuk that the creatures could phase to protect themselves, but it would likely drain a lot of energy and they couldn't keep it up for very long. However the sonic emissions would hopefully complicate matters further for the Shadows by destabilising the space around them, forcing them to phase back. The sonic screwdriver was buzzing away as the Doctor swung it towards the Shadows. After a couple of swings the creatures materialised back into solidity and started to spin backwards allowing the cart to escape. 'Sontar-HA!' Tuk roared in delight. 'Please don't do that,' replied the Doctor, 'it's -' Suddenly there was a loud crack as the right wheel of the cart hit a stone and threw the occupants of the cart roughly to the side of the road. The two Shadows, and some of their brethren, started to close in on the Doctor and his party once more...

Leela waited in the execution chamber, her hands tied above her head. She continued to wrestle with the bonds that were holding her. Shadow creatures hovered behind her, waiting for Robyn to arrive to oversee the execution. The door opened and Leela glared towards its direction - a last show of rebellion. Robyn was not at the door. Instead there was a small tin dog. It was K9 Mk1 - the original version built by Professor Marius. He had stayed behind on Gallifrey with Leela. A Time Lord stood behind the dog - it was Andred, her husband, though he was no longer a Guard but a Councellor. K9 blasted the Shadows, vaporising them, as Andred freed Leela from her bonds. As they turned to escape Robyn stood in the door. Robyn saw K9 and shook her head. Leela saw the woman drop to the floor. 'She is fighting the possession,' Leela noticed. 'She's dying Leela,' replied Andred, who was feeling for a pulse. 'We need to help her,' protested Leela. Andred was not happy - trying to help Robyn would ruin their chances of escaping, and he didn't even know whether she would recover as her normal self or whether she would remain possessed. Leela made the choice for them by barricading the door and locking them inside. K9 scanned Robyn: 'Life signs fading,' he warned. Outside the chamber gathered more Shadows. They phased and passed straight through the doors, surrounding Leela, Robyn, Andred and K9...

The Doctor managed to pick himself up and looked at his surroundings. Tuk was unconscious, lying in mud and Nostradamus seemed to have hurt his left arm in the fall. Shadows surrounded them, circling the Doctor. The Doctor gathered Nostradamus behind him in a vain effort to protect him. ‘It is time, Doctor,’ said some voices from behind the Shadows. The Three stepped through the line of Shadows. ‘Time for you to die!’ The Three stood in front of the Doctor, their central eyes glowing with psychic energy. They unleashed the mental attack on the Doctor, but Nostradamus stepped out from behind the Doctor and threw himself in the path of the attack. ‘No!’ shouted the Doctor, but it was too late. Nostradamus screamed as his mind crumpled under the mental assault and he collapsed to the ground. The Doctor crouched down beside him and examined him. ‘He’s dead,’ noted the Doctor. ‘You killed him.’ The Three cackled as they rounded once more on the Doctor. ‘You won’t have time to grieve,’ they hissed as their central eyes glowed again. ‘This time there is no one to save you!’

© Copyright Malcolm Orr & Doctor Who Online, 2009.
 Page Last Updated: 24/12/2009

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