The Wrath of Kaagh Part Two Written by Ricky Star
Melody looked around at the machine spewing out Kaagh’s world-destroying weapons, who stared back at her momentarily as they marched off to their missions. The many identical Kaaghs would be a foe that the Earth could not deal with. The paralysis seemed to be wearing off slightly, but Melody was still incapable of moving herself in any practical manner. Her determination to reach the cloning machine was absolute, but she was totally unable to do anything at all.
Melody attempted to lunge at the machine, but merely fell to her knees at Kaagh’s feet. Kaagh decided that this treachery was enough to justify putting Melody to death at last, and raised his gun to her head. He licked his lips, tasting the delicious glory of the kill. He was so ready to pull the trigger. It would be so easy…
Gita screamed. She wasn’t ready to die. She wasn’t. She had things to do. Her shop, for instance. She needed to keep her shop open. She couldn’t close the shop, and if she was dead, Haresh would have to close the shop! And then where would people buy their flowers from? Of course, she hadn’t opened it yet, but when she did, it would be essential that it remain open, because it would be a key part of the commun-
Gita didn’t have time for this train of thought! Other people’s lives were in danger! She had to stop this monstrosity!
“Take me instead!”
Kaagh had not expected this. He had merely planned to kill all the humans. But his honour nagged at him: could he refuse a fellow soldier the opportunity of a glorious sacrifice to protect their kin? He decided not. Kaagh resolved only to kill Gita.
Sarah Jane raised her laser gun. Contrary to popular belief, the gun fired a small electric ball which rebounded in the air to make a 360 degree maneuver to smash straight into the Sontaran’s probic vent and knocked him out cold. She needed to get back to the house to see whether the others were safe; there was likely to be far more than one meagre Sontaran roaming about now, and as the plea to the Doctor had failed, it seemed that Sarah Jane would need to at least attempt to tackle this problem herself, for the good of the planet. She found herself in a moral quandary about it, however. It seemed fairly evident that she would struggle to solve the crisis on her own; she needed all the help she could get. On the other hand, the more people who she took with her, the more lives would be at risk, and this was something that she could not bear to live with. She reasoned that the more people she brought, the more likely she was to protect humanity, but how many lives could she risk? Each person she took with her increased the likelihood of a death. But each person she left behind increased the likelihood of her failure, and therefore the fall of humanity.
There was no time for this dilemma now. Sarah Jane dashed across the road, and noted that the barricade had been broken and several of the traps set off. As she burst in, she fired the gun and watched as Kaagh fell to the ground, unconscious.
Sarah Jane made a snap decision. She needed backup and support on her dangerous mission, but she could not risk the lives of the comparatively naive Gita. She asked Zoe, Beth and Dan if they would accompany her to stop the Sontarans, but only if they were willing, and asked Haresh to come as well.
“I can’t,” Beth shook her head, her lip trembling. It was all too much today. Zoe and Dan looked at her sympathetically, completely aware of why she felt the way she did today. Sarah Jane nodded- she didn’t have time to question this- and tasked Haresh with the objective of protecting the young girl and his vulnerable wife, which seemed to satisfy the arrangements. Pleased with herself, but not overly self-congratulatory, Sarah Jane took out the two children that she deemed in her ill-informed mind to be more streetwise, and left with them.
Gita looked on the verge of saying something, but, unusually, kept her mouth shut. Beth was pleased about this because she didn’t want to talk about anything. She just wanted to curl up into a ball and disappear- although she would never have revealed this, of course. She looked up at Mr Chandra, who looked bemused and concerned, and contented herself that, for the moment at least, neither of them would attempt to ask her about her feelings.
“Sergeant Slipper, hear me out, I beg you! I really think that if only you would ask some people-”
“But please, I mean, she’s only, what, eleven, and she’s only a little girl at any rate-”
“I don’t know why you care so much about this one, Mr Smith, but if you don’t stop wasting police time, I may have to arrest you.”
“Why? Do you have doughnuts to eat?”
“Well, yes- Hang on a moment! What impertinence! No, I do not have ‘doughnuts to eat’! How dare you! Hey! Hang on a moment! That’s my doughnut!”
Mr Eric Smith sped down the street, taking bites out of a particularly large jam doughnut as he went. He had found it about Sergeant Slipper’s person, hidden away in a special compartment of a very large pocket. He didn’t particularly want to eat the doughnut; he simply liked irritating Sergeant Slipper, and at present he was doing a very good job. Eric leaned around behind him as he fled, watching the podgy Sergeant attempting to keep up.
Mr Eric Smith had run straight into a lamppost, and appeared to have done some significant damage to his face. Sergeant Slipper caught up with him, snatched the doughnut out of his hand, said, “thank you very much, Mr Smith,” and began to walk off.
“Sergeant Slipper! I saw that! I could have you put on probation for that!”
Sarah Jane, flanked by Zoe and Dan, rushed over to Eric Smith. Zoe gasped as she realised the identity of the man sprawled on the ground beside the lamp post.
“Uncle Eric! Are you alright?”
Uncle Eric nodded distantly, but Sarah Jane pushed Zoe out of the way as she retrieved her emergency medical kit from within her handbag, and began to treat Mr Smith. She had seen worse injuries, but still would have recommended that Mr Smith go to the hospital, if she had not been certain that that would have been a foolish move, and to the detriment of her mission to take down the Sontaran invasion.
“Now look here, Miss Sarah Jane Smith, you saw nothing, do you understand?” imposed Sergeant Slipper, offering his half-eaten doughnut in the direction of Sarah Jane.
“Oh, I don’t want your doughnut, Sergeant Slipper- or your money, thank you very much, put it away. You might have noticed, tonight-”
Sarah Jane began to pace as she spoke, exerting authority in her every word, and taking up the foreground before her audience of four. Sergeant Slipper did not take kindly to being threatened, but found himself unable to argue about anything due to Sarah Jane’s air of extreme superiority.
“...And if you value your job, Slipper, and do not wish to end up on report before the night is out- I know your boss personally, we go way back- I would suggest that you do exactly as I instruct from this point onwards. And Mr Smith, I need you.”
Sergeant Slipper didn’t much like the sound of this, but it didn’t appear that he had much choice.
“...And then I found this photo of him buried in a drawer, and he was so happy, and I was a baby-”
“There, there, dear, it’ll pass,” comforted the hapless Gita, who had no idea how to deal with children, despite having had one herself, and she wondered to herself whether she was helping. She probably was. She was never sure what to do when somebody started crying; she usually just stopped talking and that seemed to do the trick, although on this occasion, that strategy was not working.
Haresh was growing tired of hearing his wife failing entirely to make anything better, so turned back towards her and Beth from his stubborn position facing the wall away from them and determined to intervene. “Gita…” he hissed warningly, although this had little to no effect, so he realised that an alternative approach was in order.
Haresh moved over to Beth, and, carefully moving Gita out of the way, gently grabbed her shoulders, and bent down onto her level, in a failing attempt to appear friendly and motherly. “Now, Beth,” he began, but Beth shook her head with such tear-fuelled determination that he thought better of his interrogation and moved back. (“Now, let me deal with it,” said Gita.)
There came a loud noise from downstairs, and a declaration of “lay down your weapons and surrender your lives”.
Professor Hogam could only described as a finicky woman. Her steely grey eyes monitored everything, her lab coat was immaculate and her hair was wrapped into a bun she had spent an hour perfecting. Today, she was watching television. There was nothing much good on, but it was the only leisure activity she really had, and there hadn’t been any incursion which she could get anywhere near for several weeks. The United Nations were upping their game. Still, they’d roll over eventually; the unions had threatened them dearly with various strikes in the scientific research sectors, and there was a threat going around that there would be a exposition. The international bodies always feared an exposition, but they always refused to give in at the start; it would take until something genuine turned up on a prominent website that they always ended whatever programme they were doing this time to limit the spread of knowledge. Ideas are dangerous, apparently, and people knowing would be bad.
Professor Hogam knew otherwise. It was clear to her that more people becoming involved would only be a better thing for the “international community”, and that there was no hope for society if there could be nobody dealing with this sort of thing. Hogam was one of the lucky ones, in fact; she knew everything that she needed to know, and a great deal more; her life’s work had been to ensure the success of humanity.
There was a priceless Roman treasure engraved with images of a strange green man with spaghetti for a face. Professor Hogam laughed in spite of herself, knowing that nobody making, and very few people watching, Antiques Roadshow would have the remotest idea that they were looking at images of a man who shaped human history and who had come from the stars. If only they knew. If only-
“Professor Hogam! Professor Hogam!”
The intern had burst into the room with all the subtlety of a Raxacoricofallapatorian doing the tap dance, thought Professor Hogam to herself, and almost laughed again.
“What is it, Cribbins?”
“Well, I don’t mean to alarm you, Professor Hogam- but there’s a Sontaran invasion going on!”
Professor Hogam dropped the plate of cake on her lap and burst out of the room to fetch her weapons. This was the day she had been waiting for…
Kaagh’s finger had been trembling on the trigger for nearly a minute now, and Melody was beginning to wonder whether she might survive after all. He had seemed to determined to kill her, so ready to, but he seemed suddenly to have become incapable. There were still many replica Kaaghs coming out of the machine and grabbing weapons in order to enslave and destroy humanity, but they all ignored Kaagh Prime and his failure to kill one little girl. Melody had no idea what to do, but her paralysis was in a significant recession, and it seemed perfectly possible that she would be able to move soon- or even that she could already move. However, she did not dare; the slightest movement might finally force Kaagh to pull the trigger.
Kaagh did not know why he was unable to kill the girl. He wanted to. He wanted to taste the blood, and the sheer exhilaration of sport. Yet there was something different about this puny half form- almost as though she wasn’t a puny half form at all…
Kaagh grappled with himself. He just wanted to pull the trigger. He was set on this. He ordered his finger to “puuuuuush” in his mind, but it would not budge, and he was beginning to feel extremely frustrated. Of what value was a Sontaran who was incapable of killing an enemy?
Melody remained rooted to the spot for what felt like an age, and as she remained there, every bone in her body began to urge her to move. The desire almost consumed her, and yet she was petrified to act upon it; to move would be to risk death at the hands of not only Kaagh Prime, but the dozens of others coming out of the machine in mighty swathes. But it gnawed at her. She felt absolutely compelled to act - and not only to act, but to do something meaningful. To save the world.
Melody sprung up, surprised at her own ability to do so and terrified to act, and rushed to the machine. She sprinted towards it, grabbed one of the guns on the production line, and shot at it numerous times.
Kaagh raised his gun so that it followed her, but remained totally unable to shoot for reasons that he could not understand, even as the machine shattered and broke. In his fury, he turned and shot dead three of the Kaagh duplicates. The duplicates froze, staring at him in horror, their basic programming demanding that they react to the situation, but they remained rooted to the spot in confusion. Why was their leader firing at them?
Melody turned and sprinted out the door. She could hear the cries of fury reverberating off the walls as she ran.
Sergeant Slipper did not much enjoy having to get hold of warrants. Fortunately, he did not have to request a proper one; he had only been instructed to fake a warrant, something that he was very good at and had a lot of experience in. He had faked a great deal of warrants in order to investigate things that interested him (as opposed to those which required justice), so he had everything he needed in his locked office drawer.
Sarah Jane needed a warrant, but had very little time, so she had no time to procure one by the official lines of enquiry- hence her sudden reliance upon Sergeant Slipper. She needed to be allowed into a place, because the end of the Sontaran invasion could not occur under the present circumstances.
Eric Smith was extremely confused, but tagged along regardless.
“Do you have a car, Sergeant Slipper?”
Sergeant Slipper did have a police car, but he had not the slightest intention of permitting this woman to ride in it on her own terms. He was on the verge of saying “no” when Sarah Jane insisted that she knew for a fact that he had a car, and demanded that he take her in it to the place where she needed to go.
“Listen, miss, I do not take orders from random civilians, like you, and I have no reason to!”
“Oh yes, Sergeant Slipper? And what will your superiors say when they discover that you have a wad of pirated warrant papers in your desk drawer?”
Sarah Jane retrieved from her handbag a few of these papers, and waved them in front of Slipper’s face warningly. She was blackmailing him, very obviously, and she had absolutely no qualms about it; he was simply a bad man, and he deserved to be put out of his comfort zone regardless of the Sontaran invasion. Sarah Jane cursed herself for following through this train of thought, resolving that he wasn’t actually hurting anybody, to her definite knowledge, and she was therefore being highly unfair.
Eric Smith was glad that somebody else had something against Sergeant Slipper, but remained largely confused about what was going on.
Jon Conglee had run out of milk, and wanted some late-night corn flakes. There was a 24 hour supermarket down the street, so he walked down it towards the shop with five pounds in his pocket to reimburse his fridge with the popular dairy product.
As he walked, he noticed a strange looking man in what appeared to be some sort of Halloween costume, wielding a huge sci-fi type gun, with a highly realistic laser effect. Jon had studied engineering at university, and had a fair understanding of physics, but he was still unable to understand how science could achieve novelties like this. It excited him a little that there might be a possibility of finding out more about the world, and engineering, and lasers. Which he didn’t understand much at all. He initially dismissed the idea that the person with the impressive-looking gun would know anything about it; after all, why would the consumer understand the construction of what they consume? After a moment, however, it began to seem plausible that he might know after all. Because it was such an innovative product that he had never even heard about, it was quite possible that it was still in the testing phase. And after all, Jon stood to lose nothing by asking the man - and his daughter would be, at the very least, interested in where these things might be sold, and how much they would cost.
Jon approached the man, calmly and confidently, hiding his excitement at witnessing such a feat of the engineering marvels of mankind.
Jon tapped the man lightly on the shoulder, and a face of the most incredibly horrific nature turned to face him. It licked its lips. Jon considered asking the man if he had a fungal infection around his lip area - he himself had suffered from this condition for years until he had found the best cream to apply, so he considered recommending it to the man. Before Jon had a chance to raise the question, however, the man raised the gun and pointed it right into Jon’s chest so forcefully that it caused him severe discomfort.
Jon thought that the man was merely having fun, perhaps finding it funny to play at being some sort of space alien, but didn’t like the way that the gun was prodding him, so attempted to back away. The man with the gun used his other hand to prevent the escape of Jon and bring him closer to the gun; Jon found himself trapped between the man’s strong grip and the heavy gun.
“Er, sorry, but I’m not really enjoying this, could you please stop?”
The man did not stop. In fact, he pushed his own hand and the gun, with Jon sandwiched between them, closer together, squeezing Jon.
“Er, please stop. Please stop. Please let go of me. Let go of me. Please. Get off. You’re crushing me! Heeeelp! Somebody please help me, this man is- aaaaargh!”
1500 Sontarans, approximately, had been generated by the machine before it was broken. The culprit, Melody, had so far escaped Sontaran justice, and none of the Kaaghs seemed to want to chase her. They stood, armed and deadly, but each refused to chase and kill her.
“Kill the half form!” bellowed one of the Kaaghs. He had tired of these puny excuses for soldiers failing to kill the puny half form, and ordered one of his fellows to shoot her immediately. Kaagh Prime turned to him, his face etched with disbelief.
“Stand down,” Kaagh Prime ordered. ““We do not take orders from you! And this is not our mission anyway! We should be taking over this wretched planet! This half form is not relevant!”
“No. We must redeem ourselves as true Sontaran soldiers by achieving what you, Commander Kaagh, could not!”
“We are all Commander Kaagh! And our mission is to conquer the Earth!” Kaagh Prime growled.
“No. We exceed Kaagh. And we have a more important mission. We must destroy the half form even where we have become unable to!”
“I am Commander Kaagh. You are Commander Kaagh. You will obey the might of Kaagh, or face the consequences.”
“I renounce the title of “Kaagh”, then, and assume the identity of Commander Neerh from now!”
“You are a traitor to your generator!”
“You are an insult to the Sontarans! And I, Commander Neerh, shall fulfil the true destiny of our batch, and all those who stand with me shall be the ultimate victors of our battle!”
“Then I declare war upon you, Commander Neerh.”
The Sontaran had found Beth, Gita and Haresh.
Haresh had already searched the room for weapons, and had found what looked like a grenade. He had activated it and thrown it down towards the invader, but it had turned out to be a simple smoke bomb which had revealed their position.
The invader licked his lips as he moved in for the kill, raised his gun, and prepared to take out the enemy.
“Kaagh five four two! Kaagh five four two!”
The speech was coming from his communicator.
“Responding. I have a half form and two puny-”
“Report to base! There has been a strategical alteration! We have a new enemy!”
The Sontaran hesitated, then indicated his acceptance of the order and left Sarah Jane’s house.
Beth, Gita and Haresh waited for a minute or two, until they were sure that the trouble was over, then each breathed a sigh of relief.
Beth began to cry softly to herself once more. Gita began to move towards her and open her mouth, but Haresh violently indicated that this was not the correct approach at all, so Gita moved back again.
She could picture the scene particularly clearly. She had wanted a new toy. What it was was irrelevant; she had demanded and insisted until her father had obliged. She hated herself for this - if she had only kept quiet rather than saying something. Perhaps she had been young and stupid, but she was sure that she herself was the one responsible. He had only gone to the shop to get her the toy, not for anything else, and he had been hit on the way back. The car had crushed his broken body and it had come back again and again and again to flatten him until he had melted into the ground itself, and still it had driven over and over and over him until there could be nothing left, not a speck of blood left not dissolved into the tarmac, and only the toy had remained as the Cenotaph of Beth’s most mighty error. She had stood there, watching for days and days and days, while the Earth stopped, and no other cars came apart from the one mowing the scene over and over and over again, and Beth had cried and cried and cried for weeks and weeks and weeks in her darkened room…
“I don’t imagine it happened quite like that, Beth, dear. I mean, your mother told me that there was nobody there, she was in my shop a few weeks back-”
Haresh made the signal for Gita to stop talking immediately, so she did so, confused, leaving Beth to her outpouring of grief.
It was Beth’s fault that her father had died. And there was nothing that Gita, or anyone else, could say to convince her otherwise…
It was at that moment Melody burst into the room, panting heavily and covered in sludge. She warned them about the Sontaran's plan, but, for once, Beth couldn't bring herself to care.
Sergeant Slipper’s car pulled up outside the secret research facilities perfectly quietly, but this did not stop the alarms from going off and the enormous floodlights from flashing on. Sarah Jane surreptitiously switched these off using her sonic lipstick (which she had used earlier that evening to get into Slipper’s drawer). She used the same device upon the front door, which she announced to Sergeant Slipper and Eric Smith as being “the best way to get in”.
“Professor Hogam! Are you here?” bellowed Sarah Jane, once inside the building, followed in by her four bemused companions.
“Look, Sarah Jane, I’m not sure we should be-”
“Now, now, Zoe, this is my plan. Trust me. Professor Hogam!”
Professor Hogam was flanked by seven security guards and was holding a particularly intimidating gun.
“Ah, hello, Professor Hogam. I’m Sarah Jane Smith-”
Upon hearing the words “Sarah Jane Smith”, Professor Hogam turned smoothly to the armed guards.
“Kill them all.”
Commander Neerh had approximately half of the troops under his total and unequivocal control. He had sent communicative messages to many, and these had compounded as those whom he had got on-side had sent further communicative messages at a faster rate. Unfortunately, he was aware that the original Commander Kaagh had done much the same thing, and that he must, therefore have had the same idea: he intended to fight Neerh in the glory of battle. No matter. Neerh had the integrity of the Sontaran Empire to fight for, while Commander Kaagh had little more than a failed assault to avenge.
“You will all obey me. Each member of my new Army will be given a new identification tag so that they can be identified by soldiers on our side, and not come under fire from their fellows. I will take a commanding position away from the battle, and give strategic orders.”
“Yes, Sontaran 472?”
“Where will we converge with the enemy?” “I have calculated that, if Commander Kaagh and his scum are making plans identical in nature to our own from his base, which I have the location of, we will converge for battle at the location known to Earth people as Foxgrove Village.”
“Now wait just one moment, please, Professor Hogam. If you kill me now-”
Sarah Jane put her watch arm out in front of her and moved her finger over it threateningly.
“-I will blow up this entire building before the bullet can even reach me. Reflex. Go on, try me.”
Professor Hogam hesitated; could Sarah Jane Smith possibly do such a thing? She had heard many stories about Sarah Jane Smith, but had usually taken her to be a reasonably weak pacifist at heart, although now she was less certain of this. She elected not to take the risk.
“Alright then, lower your weapons,” she addressed the guards. In an instant, Sarah Jane touched the button on her watch and every alarm in the building began suddenly to make an unendurable, high-pitched screeching sound. Professor Hogam and her guards, as well as Zoe, Dan, Eric Smith and Sergeant Slipper, put their hands instinctively over their ears to block the noise.
“Come on,” declared Sarah Jane over it, pulling Dan with her as she rushed through the lab, past the immobilised security.
Professor Hogam struggled to take out a device of her own, concealed in a pocket mirror, and upon her activation of it, the screeching stopped, the guards began to follow, dazed, Sarah Jane and Dan.
Within the room in which Sarah Jane had found herself was an array of weapons, as well as various bizarre and unusual substances: a piece of green slime, for instance, which Sarah Jane recognised as the pancreas of a Rutan which she had once examined at UNIT HQ after it had been found in a lighthouse. How Professor Hogam had procured the very same organ was a complete mystery.
Before Sarah Jane had time to identify the weapon which she needed to use to wipe out the Sontarans, Professor Hogam entered the room, with her guards.
“I don’t advise you threaten me, Miss Sarah Jane Smith. I know that you were bluffing.”
“Oh yes? Well, I have with me an armed police officer and three neutral witnesses, and I assure you that if you allow me to be shot, there will be a court case and you will end up in jail.”
“I am not afraid of your petty threats. I do not need to kill you anyway, because, as you say, there are witnesses, Miss Smith. You are trespassing, and I could very easily make a case against you. We certainly have enough lawyers.”
“You’ll be glad to know, Professor Hogam, that I do in fact have a warrant, and, what’s more-”
Sarah Jane leaned close to Professor Hogam, and spoke almost inaudibly, so that the scientist would be the only person who could hear her words.
“-There is currently an invasion of Sontarans upon Planet Earth and, given that you are the only individual on the planet who personally possesses the means to eliminate them, I would hold you personally responsible for the destruction of humanity if you refuse to help me.”
Professor Hogam was well aware of the invasion, but cared little. She had never thought much of humanity anyway, and it seemed appropriate that it would fall now, of all times. She herself had contingencies, of course, and had no intention of dying; Miss Sarah Jane Smith seemed to be the only obstacle now between her and happiness.
“If humanity is about to fall,” whispered Professor Hogam to Sarah Jane, after some careful deliberation, “I hardly think that you can stop me with the threat of a court case.”
Sarah Jane cursed her perennial optimism. Of course, Hogam wouldn’t care about a court case, because Hogam believed that humanity was about to fall! She should never have allowed Hogam to possess all the information. Nevertheless, there could be no doubt that Sarah Jane was a fast thinker, so she attempted to come up with an alternative method of turning Hogam as quickly as possible.
“Professor Hogam, UNIT will fight this menace, and I would strongly doubt that humanity would be completely obliterated. I concede that that was merely a ruse to gain your agreement. But my principles - as well as simple logic - dictate that you cannot survive this if anybody dies at your hands. So I will have to kill you if you do not co-operate.”
There was no way that Miss Sarah Jane Smith could possibly bring herself to commit murder, was there? Professor Hogam saw fear and desperation in the eyes of her foe, but also something else - a complete and utter determination. It seemed possible that she just might.
“But how would you propose to kill me, Miss Smith?”
“I have an armed police officer, remember? Sergeant Slipper! Can you come here, please?!”
Sergeant Slipper began to move towards Sarah Jane, totally confused as to what was going on.
It was at this point that the Sontaran turned up.
There came a great clattering from outside the house, and sounds of large-scale marching.
Gita was still tentatively watching Beth’s hushed outpouring of tears, and Melody was rocking back and forth in a corner of the room with her hands blocking her ears., but Haresh was becoming increasingly agitated by the sounds coming from outside. Eventually, he resolved that he would go to a window and take a momentary peek, such that none of the invaders would be able to see him. Silently, he tip-toed out of the room he was in and into one with a window, being careful to keep low towards the ground so as not to be visible. Briefly - or so he had intended - he glanced through the clear glass to see the street outside, which had been punctuated by the appearance of what appeared to be two separate armies of the space soldiers, facing each other in perfect lines, with their guns held firm, and the house forming a part of no man’s land.
Haresh gasped in horror at the sheer volume of the brutes. He was well aware that they did not seem to be attacking the house - though he was still careful not to make a sound - but they appeared very much as though they were all about to have a battle, of the sort that would probably take the whole street down with it.
Creeping back into the room with Beth, Melody and Gita in it, Haresh could not bring himself to tell them what he had seen. There was very little that he could do about it anyway, and there was really no need to alarm them, which would only result in further bouts of noisy crying and shouting. Sarah Jane would know what to do, he thought to himself. But he was not Sarah Jane. He was Haresh Chandra. And he had to know what to do.
Given that there was about to be a battle involving laser guns and aliens, Haresh did not see how the house, his wife and the children in his custody could possibly survive. But they had nowhere else to go, the nature reserve beyond Diamond Way wouldn’t provide the best shelter, so they were trapped.
Commander Neerh was angry. He had been angry several times before in his lifetime - which had begun on that very day - but this was perhaps the most extreme anger he had experienced thus far. He had branded his troops with identification tags, so that they would not be hit by troops on their own side. This had seemed like an excellent strategy at the time. Now, however, it had invalidated itself because Commander Kaagh had branded his own troops with the very same method of identification, so that there would be no way of telling which troops were on whose side.
His only hope now would be for a clean victory in formation; if there was a scrum, neither side would possibly be able to win…
“Lay down your weapons!”
Professor Hogam had instinctively grabbed a large and dangerous-looking gun from within the lab upon seeing the approaching Sontaran but, deciding that there would be no need to kill it, she dropped it onto the ground and threw herself at the alien’s mercy.
“I have longed for years for this very day! I have longed for the day when I could truly meet one of the true great warriors of the universe, and that humanity could fall, and that I might be taken to see the stars in their mighty name! I have yearned, for so very long, to help your very species in its quest for total supremacy! I would be a true asset, and would devote myself totally to the Great Cause!”
At the end of this short and well-rehearsed speech, Professor Hogam threw herself at the feet of the Sontaran and put her face flat upon the ground at his feet, as though in awe. The Sontaran regarded her with mild interest and confusion before responding.
“You have anti-Sontaran weaponry here, which is the reason for my presence; I intend to destroy it, and then win the war against Commander Neerh for the glory of the Sontaran Empire. We need not you, prattling and puny human, to enact our true purpose of the domination of the Earth, and we especially need not one who develops arms against the Sontarans!”
Proud of his little speech, the Sontaran raised his gun to the head of Professor Hogam and shot her without a moment’s hesitation. He then shot one of the guards similarly, and moved his gun to the head of Zoe, ready for the kill, mouth watering, desperate to-
Mr Eric Smith had, during the Sontaran’s glorious speech, retrieved the anti-Sontaran gun which had been dropped by Professor Hogam, and had now raised it to point at the Sontaran himself. The Sontaran changed the directing in which his own gun was pointing, in order to quickly kill Eric instead, but it was too late - Eric, the pacifist, shot the Sontaran straight through the heart, causing it to die instantly, with only a declaration of “get away from my niece!”
The remaining guard had, frankly, had more than enough for one day, and fled the scene.
“Somewhere in these laboratories,” began Sarah Jane, “is a gas which could, if released into the atmosphere, kill all Sontarans on the planet. We must find it and deploy it as fast as possible. Come on!”
Zoe and Dan began immediately to search for some sort of gas canister, while Sergeant Slipper and Mr Eric Smith stood about, nonplussed as to what had just happened.
“Oh, for goodness’ sake,” Sarah Jane complained, and, going into her handbag, retrieved a small pot of a strange bluey-orange liquid, drizzled a tiny amount onto a spoon, and gave it to Sergeant Slipper. “Drink this,” she said, “and you’ll feel much better.”
Sergeant Slipper, bemused, took the mouthful of liquid, which clouded his mind somewhat. Shaking his head, he realised that he was in some sort of laboratory, and Mr Eric Smith was there, along with a woman and two children, and on the floor were three carcasses - but Sergeant Slipper didn’t want to look at the ground. Sergeant Slipper didn’t want to look at anything that was around him; he just wanted to sleep. That’s right… sleep…
The battle was total carnage. Formations had broken left, right and centre, and there seemed to be no hope of victory for either side, as Commander Kaagh had suspected; after all, Commander Neerh, in his eternal stupidity, had used the same method of identification on his soldiers as he had himself!
There were troops on the same side fighting against each other now, and as far as Commander Kaagh could tell, there were surely no more than a couple of hundred soldiers remaining- and this was a rapidly diminishing number. At this rate, there would only be one troop left in a few minutes’ time, as well as he himself and Commander Neerh.
On the field, Sontaran Troop 937 was extremely confused. He could not tell who was who, and which of the remaining troops were on his side. Simple logic (given that everybody on the battlefield was the exact same person) dictated that approximately half of the remaining troops should be on his side, but probability dictated that this was almost completely impossible, and that there was absolutely no way of knowing for certain which troops were on whose side anymore. He resolved to simply shoot everyone he saw as quickly as possible.
Despite the fact that all the remaining soldiers seemed to be using the same strategy, Troop 937 was surprised to find himself not dead. He was especially surprised at this as he realised that there were absolutely no other living troops left (beside a few gasping and dying ones at his feet), and that therefore he was the sole victor of the battle.
Commander Kaagh and Commander Neerh both approached Troop 937.
“Who is your commander, Troop?”
Troop 937 did not have time to utter the full name of “Neerh” before he had been shot dead in an instant by Commander Kaagh.
“And what now, Kaagh?”
Kaagh and Neerh stood as the only two survivors of a bitter and destructive fight. They regarded each other with great hatred, then did the only thing that was appropriate at this point: they strode up to each other, shook hands, turned around, and walked off in opposite directions, already planning their next attempt at victory…
The shooting had finished. Haresh wondered why it was over so quickly; surely the soldiers had not finished their battle yet? Nevertheless, it was clear to him that he needed to go and find out - after all, they couldn’t remain holed up in this place forever, and if they were going to die, it might as well be while they were in possession of some hope.
He crept back to the street with Beth, Melody and Gita in tow, and looked out upon the debris. There was not a single life remaining in a graveyard of 1455 dead men. All unnamed and unknown, without families or friends, and all to be forgotten tomorrow. Haresh almost pitied them. But he chose to care about the lives of his family and his neighbours and his species first. Did that make him a bad man? He did not know. Yet it all seemed futile now. Surely life could never return to normal?
“I’ve found it!”
Dan held up the canister of gas in glee, ready to wipe out the population of Sontarans. This came as something as a shock to Sarah Jane, who had not expected to actually activate it. Nevertheless, it was her only option, and would be for the good of humanity, which had always been her main priority…
Dan’s phone rang suddenly. Everybody paused as Dan answered it, tentatively.
Dan waited and listened to the person on the other end of the line. How Haresh Chandra had his phone number was a mystery to him, but more mystifying yet was the apparent destruction of the Sontarans without the need for the gas at all.
“Oh! He probably tried mine first, but I dropped my phone down a drain - which reminds me, I really must do something about that…”
“What was that liquid?”
“The one you gave to Sergeant Slipper. What was it?”
Sarah Jane was unsure as to how to phrase her response to this question. It was always difficult when somebody was not used to seeing alien life, and was exposed for the first time.
“There are some people who cannot quite… deal with certain things. Sergeant Slipper didn’t really need to see those aliens, and, being a, er, slightly incompetent police officer, and a representative of the very people who aren’t quite ready for this sort of thing yet- That is, what I mean to say is- I made a judgement call. I decided that he was better off not knowing about it.”
Eric Smith thought about this. He had been having a very strange day, but it wasn’t suddenly knowing about the existence of alien life that was troubling him. It was what the first thing he had done upon coming into contact with it - he had simply shot a beautiful member of an unknown species straight through the heart.
He came to his decision.
“Sarah Jane, could I- er, could I please have some?”
Sarah Jane had suspected that this might have been his reaction; there were some people in the world who knew that they couldn’t stomach it, and Sarah Jane had, after all, allowed him to choose. She hadn’t fed it to him as she had to Sergeant Slipper, but she had noticed that he had been even more subdued than usual as they had returned to find a mass of dead Sontarans on the road, and even as Sarah Jane had made everybody tea and cut some cake.
“Is it all too much?”
Sarah Jane felt calmer and more at ease than she had in days; the Sontaran threat had been all but eliminated, Melody had been safely returned to her, and there was absolutely nothing to reasonably worry about. She could deal with everyday stresses now, because there was no stress; everything was grand. Just grand.
“No, it’s not that- I mean, I don’t have a problem with alien life now that you’ve explained it to me. But, I did something I regret-”
“Do you mean shooting that Sontaran?” Sarah Jane took a sip of her tea as she addressed Eric. “He was going to kill Zoe without a moment’s thought. Your niece, dead, in a second flat. Anyone else would have done the same.”
Eric Smith was well aware of this, but it did not stench his sense of guilt. He was set in his decision: he needed to forget his act of murder.
Sarah Jane could see the discomfort in Eric’s eyes, and once again retrieved the pot of the liquid (which she had been gifted by Jack Harkness after she had shared her tale on the Mandragora Helix, studied and diluted to her own recipe), unscrewed it and poured a slightly larger quantity onto a spoon.
Eric Smith gratefully drank the liquid, and experienced his mind becoming clouded, and his confusion at suddenly being in Sarah Jane’s house, and being offered cake.
“Who was she, anyway? That weird scientist lady?”
Sarah Jane had been bombarded with questions over the preceding day or two, but this was evidently the one that Dan had been truly bursting to ask. Zoe was clearly desperate for enlightenment, too, as she was surreptitiously listening in while pretending to write on her laptop.
“She was Professor Hogam, and she studies extraterrestrial activity.”
“I realised that, Sarah Jane, but who actually was she?”
“If you prefer, she was a deluded maniac with ideas about seeing the stars and transcending humanity. Nothing more to it.”
Dan thought about this for a minute or two. “But nobody’s meant to study extraterrestrial activity, are they? Aren’t there people who regulate that sort of thing?”
“Well,” began Sarah Jane, realising that she would have to explain the workings of bureaucracy, “the United Nations have secret taskforces which exist to hide all evidence, while independent bodies, such as scientific institutes, use the debris of alien contact with Earth to develop things such as medicines and weapons, as well as contingencies for the Earth in case of invasion. It’s remarkable how many times scientific institutes have saved us all: about half a dozen times, nearly.”
Dan didn’t try to understand this, and contented himself with the knowledge that Professor Hogam was, at any rate, a bad person, who had deserved to die… right?
It was at this point that Beth came in, and looked around at the others assembled. Zoe quickly looked down at her laptop again, becoming aware that she hadn’t typed a single word during the entire conversation.
“Um, Sarah Jane?”
“Can I talk to you, please?”
“Of course you can.”
Sarah Jane relaxed back in her seat, perfectly content, and nobody moved for a minute as they waited to hear what Beth had to say.
“In- in private?”
Sarah Jane suddenly realised that Beth was looking for a serious chat, rather than more answers about Sontarans and scientists and such like. She gave a stern look at Dan and Zoe - whose head was once again poking out from behind her computer screen - and the two left the room at once.
Sarah Jane beckoned Beth to sit down next to her, well aware of what was coming next; Haresh had already spoken with her about Beth’s momentary upset while they had been hiding.
Sarah Jane was ready for this.
That was all that Sarah Jane said. Indeed, it was all that she needed to say, because it was true; she understood exactly how it felt to grow up without a father. It was difficult, she knew, and there were always the days when it really gets to you, but all it needs is time, and soon enough, Beth would grow and learn to accept it. Not that it needed to be accepted, of course; it was never the right thing, to have to grow up lonely, and it should never simply be dealt with. The bad days and the sad days are what makes us human, reasoned Sarah Jane to herself, but she said none of this because it would be futile. She simply indicated her understanding, and gave Beth a hug. It seemed to work, because Beth cheered up that day after a week of unhappiness.
The Sarah Jane Adventures returns next week in Mind The Gap...
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