1) I write these stories in the form of scripts as opposed to prose. It's mostly a time saving measure but it does help maybe capture a bit of "watching" the story unfold like an actual episode.
2) On one hand, I do take this seriously, to create an adventure that entertains more than just me. But on the other hand, I'm just out to have fun with this. So I'll be blunt: if I have a chance to do something cool, I'll do it even if it might leave your head (and mine) needing a scratch while you wonder, "Wait! How did he do that?" I may or may not be sorry about that.
And now...the disclaimer.
A graphic appears:
Planet: Verity Alpha One
Era: The 4th Great and Bountiful Human Empire
Our view moves in closer to the sleek and glistening structures of a futuristic city. There are many people who live and work here as they go about their lives. Our view focuses on two people. One of the them is the Doctor, a thin black figure against the bright tableau of future life around him. The other is a human male; in contrast to the Doctor, he is dressed in bright colors of a decidedly modern design. We also see the TARDIS on a sleek walkway; the Doctor and this man of the future are walking towards it.
The Doctor: Remember, Axolem, the Microzords won't be any trouble if you don't step on them.
Axolem: And they don't get into the Xeon Power Net again either, eh, Doctor?
The Doctor: Well, that too. Hopefully I've negotiated a peaceful coexistence between your peoples.
Axolem: You accomplished quite a remarkable feat here today.
The Doctor: All I did was listen.
Axolem: But the Microzords are so small.
The Doctor: I listen very carefully.
The Doctor looks around at the fantastic display of future wonders around him.
The Doctor: Behold, the wonders of the 4th Great and Bountiful Human Empire! The human race never ceases to amaze me! Indomitable, I've always said!
Axolem: We can only do what we can, push forward, strive to be better.
The Doctor: Not bad for a race with pudding for brains.
The Doctor: Never mind.
The Doctor extends his hand and Axolem reaches out to shake it.
The Doctor: Well, I best be off. I have places to not be and people to not see.
Axolem: Thank you, Doctor.
The Doctor allows for a slight smile as he turns towards the TARDIS, key in hand to open the doors. Suddenly the Doctor slumps slightly as he closes his eyes tightly, his fingertips touching his temple.
The Doctor (whispers): What...is that?
Suddenly one of Axolem's aides runs up to Axolem.
Aide: Axolem! Something's happened to Earth!
Axolem: What do you mean, "something's happened"?
Aide: We're not sure! The hyperspace relays between here and the homeworld have gone completely dark!
The Doctor turns towards Axolem and his aide.
The Doctor: Dark?
Aide: Yes! No static, no subspace echoes, it's as if Earth has winked out of exist...
Suddenly the aide's words are cut off in mid-sentence by an unearthly sound that defies description. It's a sound a world would make if it could scream.
The Doctor, Axolem and his aide look up horrified.
Our view shifts as we see what they see: the sky, the buildings and the people are being erased, this mighty world of the future being subsumed by the darkness of space.
The aide suddenly vanishes and Axolem is frightened.
Axolem: By the All-father, what is happening? Doctor?
The Doctor looks horrified.
The Doctor: I never thought I would live to see...
The Doctor looks at Axolem with an expression of fear and sadness.
The Doctor: I'm sorry, Axolem! Really, I am. But...I can't save you!
Axolem can only stand in silent shock as his form is erased to leave only star dappled darkness.
The Doctor: I can't save...any of you.
The Doctor hurls himself into the TARDIS.
The Doctor (running to the console): Go, go, go, go....
The Doctor slams down the control lever and the TARDIS rotors begin to rotate but sluggishly and the wheezing engines sound baleful and weak.
The Doctor: Oh, no! Not good! Not good!
The Doctor frantically pulls up a viewscreen and begin to enter data on a keyboard.
The Doctor: C'mon! Give me something! Something! Anything!
The screen is black except for two lines of green text. One reads "Inquiry: what is the status of planet Earth?" The second lines reads, "Earth: no such designation in planetary database."
The Doctor looks stunned.
The Doctor: Earth...doesn't exist? No, no, no, no....
The Doctor types frantically again. The screen shows this: "The 4th Great and Bountiful Human Empire" A light blinks then this appears: "No record found."
The Doctor (whispers): No.
The Doctor (very pensive): What is happening out there?
The Doctor runs to the doors of the TARDIS and opens them. The Doctor stands in the open doorway, covered in the darkest blue shadow, the outline of his form seen only by the light of the TARDIS interior. Then our view shifts and we see what he sees.
Space is dark. The spectacular world the Doctor stood upon moments before has winked out of existence.
Our view shifts back towards the Doctor as he stands in the dark blue shadow, unmoving. Then along the edges of his face we see a faint but growing yellow light.
The Doctor: Of course things can only get worse.
Our view shifts back towards space where we see a thin glowing ribbon of light that is increasing in size as it swiftly morphs into...the crack in the universe. Light and power burst forth from its jagged mawl. Against the pull of the light, the Doctor struggles to close the doors of the TARDIS. He scrambles to the TARDIS console and pulls down the lever again but the rotors turn slowly with a grinding screech and the sound of the engine sputters and gurgles.
The Doctor: C'mon, old girl! We've got to get out of-
The Doctor's words are cut short when the TARDIS violent shakes and the Doctor is thrown about the console room. He clutches desperately to the console as he stares wide eyed at a monitor. It shows the crack in the universe and the TARDIS is moving closer and closer.
The Doctor: Well, I never thought I would say this again but...
Cut to the exterior as the TARDIS tumbles and spins into the blazing light from the crack in the universe. And we hear the Doctor scream.
The Doctor (VO): Geronimooooooooooooooooooooooooo
The TARDIS disappears into the blinding light and then the crack slams shut, leaving only the darkness of space around.
Jump cut: an army of Cybermen bursting through a pair of strong, heavy doors. Then we hear a woman's voice.
Woman's voice: OK, boys! Let's make some noise!
The Cybermen part and coming up the center of this cyber army is the Master in the female form we also know as Missy, a very wicked smile on her face as she twirls her parasol.
The Master: What a lovely day for a massacre, isn't it?
Our view pulls back as we see the Master and her cyber army are on the steps of London's St. Paul Cathedral. Around her, Cybermen by the hundreds take flight into the skies over London.
A graphic appears
The Master: Fly, my pretties, fly! Go get those poor unfortunate souls and there little dogs too! T
The Cybermen are blasting away on the ground and from the air. There is resistance in the form of heavily armed police and military as they fire weapons at these cybernetic invaders. But the Cybermen are not halted in their deadly advance.
The Master raises her arms and gives a twirl.
The Master: The Earth is alive with the sounds of dying! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Our view of the Master pulls back and we shift to seeing her on a screen surrounded by banks of equipment.
Woman's voice: Are you sure, Osgood? That she's...
Our view pulls back further and we are in an operations center of UNIT. Gathered together are Kate Stewart, the head of UNIT; Osgood, her technical advisor; Colonel Ahmed, chief security officer. They are surrounded by other members of UNIT's military and scientific staff all busy doing things.
Osgood is wearing a tweed blazer and a bow tie in the manner of the 11th Doctor.
Osgood: Biological scans confirm she is a Time Lord.
Colonel Ahmed: But not just any Time Lord?
Osgood: Encephalographic analysis crossmatched with readings in UNIT's data banks are not 100% conclusive but the matches are too close to be discounted.
Osgood looks pensively at the monitor where the Master continues to cavort,
Osgood: That... is the Master.
Stewart: Damn! Colonel Ahmed, what is the status of...
Colonel Ahmed: We've engaged the space-time telegraph and we've used Martha Jones' contact number for the TARDIS and boosted it along the Copper Industries Sub Wave Carrier...
Stewart: No word from the Doctor.
Colonel Ahmed: Sorry, Ms. Stewart, but no.
Suddenly there is a flash of light and Capt. Jack Harkness appears on the bridge, his long coat flaring out about him. A number of UNIT soldiers immediately draw weapons.
Stewart: No! Hold your fire!
Jack: Wow! What a warm welcoming committee!
Colonel Ahmed: Who...?
Jack gives a casual salute.
Jack: Capt. Jack Harkness of Torchwood, at your service.
Jack smiles and winks at Osgood.
Jack: Well, hello!
Stewart: Osgood! Inhaler!
Osgood takes a hit off her inhaler.
Stewart: Capt. Harkness, what are you...
Jack: I was off world when your sub wave carrier signal tripped the alarms on this thing.
Jack taps the Vortex Manipulator on his wrist.
Jack: So I come running. I imagine you're trying to find the Doctor.
Colonel Ahmed: Yes but with no success.
Jack: Well, I'm here to help if I can.
Stewart: I'm not going to turn down help, even from Torchwood.
Jack: Hey, there's no call for..
Stewart (ignoring Jack): Bring up the global threat assessment board.
A wide range of images coalesce into one big image: a scene of the Earth from space. There are whole sections of the Earth scarred and burning.
Jack: On my God! What...?
Osgood: An invasion of Cybermen led by the Master.
Jack: The Master? That bastard?
Osgood: Yes. Well, not quite.
Jack: Such devastation...how many days has this been going on?
Stewart: Days? No Capt. Harkness, the destruction you see spreading over the globe happened over the last 47 minutes.
Our view shifts to the outside as we see that the UNIT control room is on board the Boat One aircraft. As it flies high over the Earth at the upper most level of the atmosphere, we see more and more of the world smoldering, on fire. Then we see coming out of the shadowed side of the Earth several pin pricks of silver light.
Cut back to the UNIT control room on Boat One.
Jack: So someone tell me we have a plan?
Stewart: We're working on a very tight schedule. "Maybe" is all we get.
Colonel Ahmed: Our observations of the Master show an unusual device on her wrist. We surmise she controls the Cybermen with it.
Jack: Wait! Did you say HER wrist?
Osgood: Boy, I wish we had time to get into that.
Jack: So I go down there and cut off her damn hand.
Osgood: No. Well, not yet anyway. She's flanked by a Cyber-guard which protects her in an energy shield. A shield that maybe we can get through.
Jack: There's that maybe again.
Osgood: We've extrapolated from Cybermen parts held in UNIT storage an energy weapon that can shred that shield.
Osgood lifts up a big honking gun and Jack whistles as he takes it.
Jack: Wow! That's some serious firepower!
Stewart: Serious but limited. It's just now charged up enough...
Stewart: Maybe and only good for one blast out of it.
Jack: Then I better make it count!
Colonel Ahmed: You? This is a UNIT operation and as such...
Abruptly the whole control room shakes violently. Electrical devices explode, glass shatters, lights flash on and off as people are tossed about like rag dolls.
Stewart: What the hell...?
Colonel Ahmed: Give me tactical...NOW!
UNIT operative: Sir! Boat One is under attack!
Cut back outside as we see a swarm of Cybermen descend upon the plane, shattering wings and the fuselage.
Inside the plane, all is chaos amidst fire and smoke and the screams of the helpless people on board.
Back outside we watch the plane spiralling through the clouds, spouting smoke and flames as the Cybermen continue their attack. Then there is a sudden explosion of heat and light as the plane blows up from the Cybermen's assault.
Cut back to the streets of London as the Master looks up into the sky at the burning debris of the plane falling to the ground below.
The Master: Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Did I do that? Oh, I just don't know when to stop.
The Master looks out around her the tableau of carnage around her.
The Master: Well, I do know when to stop. Except, Doctor, you're not cooperating. Where oh where can you be?
Surrounded by her Cyberguard, the Master turns on her heel back towards the church.
The Master: C'mon, boys! Let's go chat some more with our special guest. Maybe she...
Suddenly there is a blaze of light and the Master whirls around. Standing with his overcoat flapping about him, smoke wafting off his body, Jack Harkness stands firm with a steely resolve in his eyes and a big honking gun in his hand.
Jack: Hold it right there!
The Master touches her hand to her chest and gasps.
The Master: My, my, my! As I live and breathe, it's Capt. Jack Harkness.
Jack: And I have it on good authority you're the Master.
The Master: Ooh, clever boy! I like that in a man. At least, I think I do. I'm still working out the kinks of being a woman now.
Jack raises and aims the gun.
Jack: Bitch or bastard, it doesn't matter to me! You're going down!
Jack squeezes the trigger and electrical fire leaps from the gun barrell and sparks about the Cybermen that form the Master's personal guard. Caught in this electrical web, the Cyberguard appears to be shaken, as if about to fall. But the Master doesn't look worried about this. And sure enough, the Cyberguard stop shaking, stand up firm and erect against the energy onslaught.
The gun in Jack's hand stops blasting and he looks on with shock.
Jack: What the hell...?
The Master: Now that is very clever. A energy weapon attuned to disrupt the integrated relays of Cybermen technology. Somebody in UNIT is..or was...very clever indeed.
Two Cybermen come up from behind Jack and grab him by both arms. Jack struggles but he can't escape the steel like grip of the Cybermen.
The Master: The thing is that weapon was extrapolated from Cybermen technology that converts the living to their kind. But my Cybermen, dear Jack, are different.
Jack: Different? How?
The Master: These Cybermen are made not from the living but from the dead. And there are oh so many dead on this planet. It is quite the tactical advantage. don't you think?
Jack: Why the hell are you doing this?
The Master: Would you believe this is all a present, a present for my only friend in the universe? Well, it doesn't matter what you believe, does it? Right now, the question is what to do with you.
Jack: Do what you like! I'll stop you!
The Master: Oh, that's so disappointing! I expected wittier banter from you, Jack Harkness. So here's the thing: I have this rather wonderful piece of Time Lord tech that I've converted into what I call a Nethersphere. I use it to collect...
The Master does air quotes.
The Master: "souls" when people die. But what happens when I place the soul of the immortal Jack Harkness in the Nethersphere? What a wonderful idea for an experiment. So let's find out! Boys!
Electrical energy shoots from the arms of the two Cybermen holding Jack who contorts and twists under the electrical attack. Then still and limp, the Cybermen drops Jack to the ground.
The Master: Humph! That was no fun at all.
She looks at her Cyberguard.
The Master: Do you know who would make this fun?
The Master throws her head back and bellows to the sky.
The Master: DOCTORRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!
The Master stops her shout and for a moment, she slumps her shoulders, looking very tired. Then she straightens up and once more heads for St. Paul's with the Cyberguard about her.
The Master: Time to go back to church.
As the Master and the Cyberguard climb the steps up St. Paul's Cathedral, we pull back and we see a Cyberman walk into our line of sight. The Cyberman pauses, looks at the Master and her entourage as they enter the cathedral. Then the Cyberman follows.
Cut to: the interior of the Cathedral. Sunlight pierces the dusty air and the shadowed gloom. The Master strides along with her Cyberguard.
The Master: So I see you're still hanging around, eh...
Our perspective shifts and we see a young woman in shadow standing against a wall, her arms outstretched.
The Master: Clara Oswald.
In clearer light we see it is Clara and her arms spread and shackled at the wrists to the wall.
Clara: Well, I for one appreciate the skill and the talent in making this wonder of architecture. See no reason to rush through the tour. Tell you what though. I do have a hell of an itch on my nose. Would you care to come over and give it a good scratch?
The Master: Ha! Ha! Clara, you do have a wonderful sense of humor.
Clara: No scratch? Well, see if I give this place a good review in the travel guides.
The Master: Have a care, Miss Oswald. I've gone through a lot of trouble to convert the dead on this mudball into an army of Cybermen and for what? Nothing! No appreciation!
Clara: Audiences can be so fickle.
The Master (lunging at Clara): SHUT UP!
Even through all her bravado, even Clara has to flinch as the Master brings her face close to Clara's. The Master's voice is a low Scottish growl.
The Master: Where, Clara Oswald, is the Doctor?
Clara (swallowing hard): I...really have no idea.
The Master: I don't believe you!
Clara: It's true. Haven't seen him since all that business with the trees. The Doctor's been gone for months!
The Master: No! You two were supposed to stay together! It was part of the design! My design!
Clara: Your design?
The Master: But the Doctor isn't here! He's not by your side! He's not here defending these pathetic Earth primates he loves so much! WHERE IS THE DOCTOR?!?!
At that moment, the Cyberman we saw earlier pushes through the Cyberguard and punches the Master. As she starts to the fall to the floor, the Cyberman grabs her by the wrist and removes the control device there. The Master's Cyberguard attempts to stop this rogue Cyberman but the Cyberman's arm blasters make short work of the Master's Cyberguard.
Cyberman: No one messes with my woman!
The Cyberman pulls off his helmet. It's Danny Pink!
Clara: Danny! Oh my God! They turned you into a Cyberman?
Danny approaches the shackles and undoes them from Clara's wrists.
Danny: No, Clara. I found this empty metal suit and used it to sneak in here.
Clara: But...but how? I mean....
Danny: I've been watching for awhile. I noticed nothing was getting past the shield around that woman and her metal guards. Nothing that is...
Clara: Except other Cybermen! Danny, you are amazing.
Clara throws her arms around Danny and they kiss. But Danny pulls away a little and very reluctantly.
Danny: Oh, Clara, I love you so much but...
Danny holds up the Cyberman control device.
Danny: We have a world to save!
Clara: Save world now, snog later. Got it!
Danny: Hey, I'm holding you to that.
Clara and Danny clutch at each other, eyes wide with surprise and smiles on their lips as they watch the Cybermen depart.
Clara and Danny: Woo-hoo! Yeah!
Danny: I've been in a war zone before but that...that...
Then one silver light cuts away from the group. It is a single Cyberman who falls away from the rest and descends back towards Earth.
---to be continued----
The Master and her Cybermen have devastated the Earth. Now things get worse.
Episode Two of The Crucible of Eternity on this blog this time next week.