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zero point corision

Next stop - Sintiminus Virgo, I think,' the Doctor said to himself as he laid in the new co-ordinates for the far off mercury rivered world.He had spent too much time in the TARDIS, trying to repair this and tinkering with that, and a well deserved holiday with no alien worlds to save was what he needed. Though it was to be a holiday alone - no companions to come with him. He still couldn't believe he had let Peri go. But that was in the past, and the future and looking forward, was all he should be worrying about.


A noise filtered through the TARDIS that made the Doctor stop controlling his ship. The noise came again - STOOM STOOM STOOM. He was sure that he had heard the noise before but where and when he was not sure. But the thing puzzling the Doctor most was the fact that  the noise was coming from outside his vehicle. He flicked the scanner button, but the inky blackness was the only thing that greeted his eyes. The noise reverberated through the control room again and the Doctor could now tell where the noise came from - the doors.

'Just what is going on?' he thought to himself, stroking his lapel badge of a cat for security.

Then it happened - in one instantaneous blinding motion, the double doors flew inwards, revealing, not the darkness of space, but a glowing white figure that strode confidently into the console room. The Doctor recognised the lion face warrior and allowed one word to escape from his lips. 'Biroc?', he questioned as the figure gained solidity and the doors closed behind it.

'Greetings yet again, Doctor,' the Tharil said, 'I hope my unprecedented arrival did not alarm you.'

The Doctor stared at Biroc dumbfounded. 'Alarmed?' he said, 'Alarmed? You hammer at the doors and burst in like that and you ask me if I'm alarmed? No, of course I'm not alarmed - you only nearly gave me a double heart attack after all!'

Biroc strode over to the Doctor and said in a soft wispy voice, 'I have not long. I have come to seek your assistance again.'

The Doctor stared incredously at the Tharil. 'For the second time in as many regenerations, you hi-jack my TARDIS - and then you say you need my help. Ha!' The Doctor crossed his arms and stood by the console, looking like a shellfish child.

'Please?' the Tharil asked, clawed paw out stretched as thou he were pleading.

The Doctor glanced up and realised that he was looking extremely childish and not behaving like a grown 900 year old should do. A smile slowly spread across his face and put his arm around Biroc. 'What would you like me to do, friend?'

Biroc's face clouded over as if what he was going to relate upset him greatly. He steadied himself and began his tale: 'When we were released from Rorvik's Privateer in E-Space, we were once again free to explore the time winds. We enjoyed freedom and made the most of it. But our freedom was soon to be dramatically halted. The authorities who employed Rorvik then hired a group of time mercenaries to hunt down and recapture all Tharils.

They accomplished this by capturing the very heart of the Zero Point and hiding it on the planet Corision. We were drawn to it by its time ripples and then we were all captured and chained in dwarf star alloy. Any who tried to escape were massacred. We were kept in barbaric conditions. And when they think the time is right, they have an auction and sell us off to the highest bidder, for use in things such as time experiments or just plain slave work. You must help us.'

The Doctor had been listening with fascination and terror at the story. 'How did you escape, Biroc?' he queried in a low, hushed voice.

Biroc smiled. 'They considered me as too much of a rebellious influence. I was banished to the time winds. I have been roaming throughout time in the hope of finding you.'

The Doctor nodded and asked, 'Where did they say they were keeping you?'

The Tharil's face gave a cruel smile as though the name of the place disgusted him. 'It is the world known as...Corision.'

~~~

Lazlo walked around the crowed, smelly cage for the hundredth time. He struggled at his chains for the hundredth time and he cursed Thaup and all his time mercenaries for the hundredth time.

The outer door of the prison block opened and a savage pot-bellied jailer entered, whip in hand. He savagely lashed the whip out every now and then to quieten growls emitted from the frustrated and angry Tharils. He opened the cage, grabbed the nearest Tharil whose identity tag said Cobbil, and marched him to the block door. 'It's selling time for you, but who'd want to buy a smelly Tharil beats me.'

Cobbil tried to lash out, tried to claw the jailer's eyes out, but found it impossible due to the restricting bonds. Lazlo watched with growing hate for the jailer and swore personally  to kill him.

The market square was a hive of activity on selling day. The world Corision was very similar to the planet Earth, except it was stuttered back in the Middle Ages. The only thing to distinguish it from Earth was the heavy armed mercenaries, the many aliens assembled for the best prices on time sensitives and lots of scarred, chained Tharils.

The stage was the main attraction as this was where the auctioneer sat and sold all the Lazlos and all the Cobbils. A huge curtain smothered the cages situated behind the auctioneer and a giant sun surrounded by three rings was embroidered on it. Cobbil was indignantly thrown onto the stage and the auctioneer called for quiet.

'Shall we start the bidding at, say, 2500 creds?'

This entire spectacle was observed on the TARDIS scanner as the Doctor brought his ship down behind the buyers. 'That symbol on the curtains,' the Doctor enquired, 'what is it?'

Biroc's lion-like muzzle crinkled with disgust. 'It is the mercenaries symbol. It represents their planet, Taligius, with its three rings. What I would give to claw that curtain to pieces.'

The Doctor nodded, understanding Biroc' s anguish. 'Will you be coming with me?' he questioned.

'No,' Biroc replied, 'As from now, you are on your own - I cannot interfere until the time comes, when I will lead my people away from Corision.'

The Doctor turned back to the scanner as though embarrassed by his next question. 'How is Romana these days?' There was no answer, as he turned around to find the Tharil gone. The doors were now wide open and he could see the audience still enthralled by the auctioneer, slowly raising Cobbils selling price and slowly increasing his bonus.

~~~ 

The first thing that struck the Doctor was the simpleness of the buildings and the natives clothing, and the comparative harshness of the mercenaries and their heavy duty weaponry. No one tried to  stop him or approached for identification, so the Doctor tucked him umbrella under his arm and strode confidently around the back of the auction curtain. The smell hit him harder than any physical blow ever could and it took a while for him to recover himself.

It was also incredibily dark and this was a help to the pot-bellied jailer, who quietly sneaked up behind the Doctor. 'There's no examining the creatures before you buy them,' he said, ignoring the swearing and curses from the Tharils.

'Actually,' the Doctor said, 'I was curious about that...' he pointed to an imaginary object on the opposite side of the room. The jailer turned to see what the Doctor was talking about and as he did so, the Doctor, with a speed of a bullet, swung his umbrella in a complete arc and clubbed the man to the ground. Satisfied that the man was out cold, he turned to the rows of Tharil cages. A thin voice came from the nearest.

'Is that you, Doctor?'

'It is indeed,' replied the Doctor, 'But who are you?' A scarred Tharil made his way to the front of the cage and the Doctor recognised Lazlo. 'How did you know it was me?'

Lazlo smiled. 'Biroc came to me in a dream. He said you would help us.'

The Doctor smiled. 'Crafty old Biroc,' he thought, 'He must have had it planned all the time. He must have known that I would  say yes.' He looked up at Lazlo. 'Yes, Lazlo. I am here to help you.'

~~~

The auction was in full swing. Cobbil had been sold for 5000 creds and the audience was getting frustrated when no more Tharils came from behind the curtain. Again, the auctioneer called out. 'The next Tharil, jailer.' Still nothing. So the auctioneer shouted to the two nearest mercenaries, 'Go and see what's happened to the fat slob. He's probably asleep.'

The men went behind the curtain and found the fat jailer struggling to his feet. Pointing to the Doctor, still in deep conversation with Lazlo. He whispered, 'He clubbed me down - I think he's Tharil snatching!'

The Doctor turned around and saw two armed guards walking towards him. The first guard spoke: 'On Corision, Tharil snatching is an offence, punishable by death.' Slowly, both men raised the rifles they were carrying, ready to blast the Doctor to oblivion. The Doctor smiled.

'Does it look like I'm Tharil snatching?' he questioned. The guard returned the smile, but with enough coldness in it to freeze an Eskimo.

'You clubbed the jailer down you must have been planning something.' The Doctor's mind was racing. How was he going to get out of this one.

'Just a minute,' he suddenly said, 'I may have a few Tharils hidden in one of my pockets...' and he proceeded to empty his pockets.

'He's a nutter!' said the jailer, 'Shoot him!'

For a second, the guards' attention was diverted - and a second was all that the Doctor needed.

The guards glanced back from looking at the jailer to find the Doctor gone. Carefully, they edged forwards, and were greeted by the shape of the Doctor swinging from the rafters on the low ceiling. A well placed foot in each guards face was all it took and the Doctor turned and ran towards a door at the back of the prison block.

The fat jailer grabbed the rifles and tried to fire the unfamiliar weapons. He succeeded in only blowing his head into a bloody mess that drained into the straw cover floor and started to dribble towards the stage. The headless body fell forward, blood spurting from the stump that had been his fat neck.

The Tharils went wild, cheering and clapping. The auctioneer heard this and turned towards the curtain. He was horrified and astounded to see a stream of blood trickling under the curtain.

'Erm, I declare this, err, sale closed.' he said and went behind the curtain and he was then extremely sick.

~~~

The Doctor knew nothing of the jailer's horrific death, as he hadn't stopped running until the noise of the cheering Tharils was a long way away. He found himself in front of a metal door and a small control panel. 'Strange,' he thought. He removed the front panel, tinkered with the wires within and the doors slid silently open. The room was small and the main attraction was a large glass tube and a set of controls. 'A pre-set trans-mat!' said the Doctor, sounding almost overjoyed at his find. 'But where does it lead? Only one way to find out,' he said, and stood in the tube. He rubbed the cat on his left lapel for the second time that day and pressed the button marked "Trans-mat".

At first, nothing. Then the Doctor could feel himself being bathed in a stream of golden light. He opened his eyes and found himself in a similar trans-mat room. He opened the door and stepped down form the tube. He removed a panel similar to the one on the other door and did a bit more tampering. The door opened and the Doctor met a sight that almost knocked his breath away.

In the centre of what was obviously the control room, there was a tall plinth, on which floated a giant glowing fireball, pulsating and expanding, as though it was breathing. 'The heart of the Zero Point.', the Doctor breathed, 'Just as Biroc said. So this is how the Taligions keep their hold over the Tharils'. He removed a  panel nearest him and started rewiring it.

~~~

Meanwhile, on the surface of the planet, the guards were explaining to Commander Thaup who the man, that attacked, was. 'But his clothes were nothing like I've ever seen before. They were outlandish and...'

'...disgusting,' continued the second guard.

Thaup, a tall man in his mid-forties, smiled and exposed a row of sharp filed metallic teeth.

'We'll have to set an example, wont we?' He turned to the cages of Tharils. 'Take that one and execute it in the market place.' He turned on his heel and left.

The Tharil whose execution had just been announced was Lazlo.


~~~