Buffy kicked up sand as she chased the stranger back to the sidewalk.
The Doctor stopped on the concrete and reached into his trouser pocket. Buffy caught up to him as he raised a device layered with buttons and circuitry to his eyes.
He examined the distant forest and locked the far Tripod with his laser spectrum penetrating binoculars. “Yep, yep,” he mumbled to himself. “High yield gravity beam emitters… well-collimated beam. Uh-huh. Yep.”
“What are you saying?” questioned the Slayer.
His binoculars made a wet fart sound and he recoiled from the eyepiece. “They suck,” he answered, giving the device a good hard slap. It let out a tired beep and he looked through it again.
The others caught up.
“Yeah, big time,” agreed Xander at the sight of the destructive machine as it ripped away at the forest.
The Doctor squinted sideways at him. “No – their gravity beams. They suck.” He gave a slurp.
The Tripod from the ocean rose up into the air as it moved inland, closing in on the beach. It’s enormous domed top sent an energy wave blasting into the water and kicking up a rolling sea-spray.
“Um…Maybe we should get the hell out of here?” suggested Tara.
Buffy thought. Giles was away. “We should go to Xander’s and figure out the next step,” she decided.
The gang nodded and moved out.
Buffy pointed an impressively serious finger in The Doctor’s direction. “You’re coming with us. You know something.”
“Well, everybody knows something
,” he replied as he followed them.
They left all their stuff there on the beach and headed for Xander’s Jeep.* * *
The Doctor hobbled into the apartment with his right foot in his hand, tearing the sneaker off and shaking half the beach out onto the floor.
“What are you doing?!” gasped Anya in horror. “My carpet!”
The Timelord rubbed at his bare foot. “Oh, sorry. Sand. Was getting right in my toes…” he pushed a long finger between each of his wiggling podiatric digits.
Anya cringed and fired back; “Why didn’t you do that outside
“Um, well, the, the big, um, alien tripods… for one.”
Buffy was beginning to find his jolly and carefree attitude a little tiresome. “Who did you say you were?”
“The Doctor. And I still am.”
“You sound British,” noted Tara. “Like Giles,”
Anya snubbed her nose up. “Giles sounds better educated.”
“But Giles isn’t a Lord, is he? And, as brilliant as he is, he’s not half as brilliant as I am.” He struggled against his sweaty foot but finally managed to pop his shoe back on.
Xander was at the window peering through the blinds. Buffy joined him.
“Will,” she said, “we need to make a plan – call HQ and see where we stand. This could be happening everywhere.”
“Willow!” cried the Doctor, pointing feverishly at her. “Willow Rosenberg! …So, you’re a witch. Haven’t seen one of those since…oh…two hundred years from now. And then there were the Carrionites in the Globe. And you,” he said to Anya, popping on a pair of thick-framed spectacles from his suit pocket and examining her closely. “You’re old. Older than me
, even. Wow. That’s annoying.”
“That’s my Anya alright,” Xander concurred.
The Doctor removed his goggles and saw what was on Anya’s finger, then Xander’s. “Aww, the rings – you’re getting married soon! Congratulations! It’s gonna be gorgeous
“We’re having a Hawaiian waterfall wedding,” Anya beamed, suddenly much happier. It was her favourite subject, after all.
“A beach wedding,” corrected Xander.
“Noo, a waterfall wedding.”
“Waterfalls are dank and wet. Beach wedding.”
“Now look what I did,” the Doctor winced, backing away into the kitchen area.
“Waterfall,” mouthed Anya.
The Timelord grinned. “Ha-haa, we know who’ll wear the trousers in this marriage.”
Xander giggled. At first. Then realised he was being mocked. “Now, listen here, Doctor Whoever.”
“How do you know?” Buffy suddenly asked the stranger.
“Everything. Like that Willow’s a witch and that Anya is old. And what do you mean ‘older than you even’? How do you know all this stuff?”
“Because I’m the Doctor,” he answered, putting the specs on again and looking over the readings on his bizarre binoculars. “Look, it’s really rather a lot to go into right now with the alien invasion and all.”
Buffy stepped up into his face and pointed a warning finger up his nose. “You’re gonna tell me exactly who you are and everything you know right now starting with aliens.”
“How bossy are you
! They edited that
out of the diaries.” He gave the others a wink and they couldn’t help but smile.
Buffy wasn’t smiling. “Aliens, Doctor
. You’re telling us there’re more of them out there than just the Transformers?”
“Aliens? Yeah there’s loads of ‘em. Can’t go to the intergalactic post office without running into at least half a dozen species. Well, not so much now of course, but at some point.”
“How much do you know about these
aliens? The ones out there right now attacking Sunnydale.”
“Not much, actually. I’ve heard rumours but this…this is the first time I’ve seen the Tripods and it’s wrong…it’s all wrong, they shouldn’t be here.”
“So, you don’t actually know anything
. That’s what you’re saying?”
“Umm… pretty much… yep. Which makes this a perfect chance to fix that, don’t you think? Wha’d’ya say? A little recon? A little action? It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
They didn’t look particularly enthused.
“C’mon Scooby Gang, where’s your sense of adventure?”* * *
He led them outside to see the Tripods closing in on the town. He knew his less-than-rousing call-to-arms wasn’t exactly Braveheart’s last speech, but he had at least expected the mythical Scooby warriors to be a bit more eager to get hands-on and defend the Earth.
In the street, he handed Buffy the binoculars. She held them to her face and saw what was happening in Miller’s Woods through the futuristic zoom display.
“Natural resources,” explained the Doctor. “They’re stripping the surface of its natural resources.” Buffy handed his device back and he looked through at the giant vacuum beam that sucked up everything in its wake and drew it into the high dome of the Tripod. “Trees, rocks – minerals, soil…” He brought the binocs down in surprise then looked again.
“…A pair of deer and a cow…” he shook his head at the sight. “Unless we do something, they’ll strip this planet bare in…ooh…a couple of weeks.”
“You got some kinda plan, Doctor man?” asked Xander.
“We’ll take your tank,” said the Doctor, jumping in the back of the Jeep.
Buffy gave a nod to Will and Xander and they climbed in.
Soon as Xander turned the key, the Doctor lowered his window and called to Anya; “I’ll have him back in time for tea.”
“You better,” she said. “He’s making it.”
With a screech, Xander tore the Jeep away and Anya went inside to clean her carpet.* * *
Willow, sat in the back with the otherworldly Englishman, asked; “Where are we going?”
The Doctor pointed through the windshield ahead as a giant three-legged machine entered town and began tearing up the lawns and gardens. “See that great big alien tripod there?”
“The hundred-foot-tall menacing one tearing up the town?” asked Xander, just so they were clear.
“That’s the one. Take us to it.”
Buffy turned back in her shotgun seat. “That’s your plan?”
He grinned in delight and gave her a daring wink.
For the first time Buffy saw something of the warrior in this man’s eyes. Adventure was in his blood.
Xander didn’t like the crazy man’s crazy plan. “We don’t know what’s goin’ on in there! Those trees and animals could be heading straight into a giant grinder…”
“Or a furnace,” added Will.
The stranger’s grin widened. “I know! Exciting isn’t it?”
He was looking at her with a challenging eye again and Buffy began to smile.
The Doctor addressed the other two – the Slayer was already in the bag; “Come on, Slayerettes, …let’s go get em!” They glared at him. Even Xander through the mirror. “Too much? …Yeah…sorry…won’t happen again.”* * *
Within a minute they were pulled up behind the high-rise bronze Tripod, standing in the street, for the most part still not liking the plan.
The Tripod’s enormous legs creaked at their metal hinges as it moved steadily up the street before them. The dome of the machine was angled down, rotating slowly as the shimmering energy wave tore plants from gardens, grass from soil, then soil from ground – all whirling into a mass of compost that fired up the wave into the lofty dome and disappeared.
“Ready or not,” said the Doctor as he offered Buffy his hand. She took it. “Here we go…”
He ran with Buffy toward the Tripod, alongside it, past it. Buffy wanted to pull away but he held her hand tightly. It was comforting. He was brave. She needed to be brave too. She was the Slayer and… ah, crap… what the hell was she doing???
They reached the gravity wave and the Doctor led her into its wake – he jumped up like he was diving back onto a soft bed and she jumped in with him.
Will and Xander watched as they entered the wave and were sent soaring up like bullets into the mouth of the machine. They looked to one and other sheepishly.
Holding onto each other tight, they ran forward and leapt into the beam.
Xander and Willow lost their breath as they were sucked up from the Earth at lightening speed.* * *
They hit dirt then landed violently against the hard metal floor inside the Tripod dome. Will and Xander peeled themselves up off the floor to see Buffy and the mad man were already brushing themselves off.
The loud groan of the gravity beam deepened and the Doctor pushed them all to one side as another load of earth entered the opening behind them and crashed against the back of the room. It was a circular orange-brown room. The dirt and plants were compacted into an area beyond the back of the room. The sound of grinding gears and burning told them they had been right. The natural resources were being processed down the line. Crushed and burned.
The Doctor found an exit vent against the wall that led away into tunnels. They began to leave when Willow looked back, remembering the animals. There was no sign of the deer but, right across the room, among the dirt and foliage, was the cow. It’s hind legs were trapped in the compact soil that fed the furnace-grinder. The cow was done for. More soil would come up from outside and push the poor creature deeper into the machine until…
It let out a sad moo.
The others couldn’t stop Willow as she dared to cross the room, dodging flying chunks of someone’s front garden, to rescue the moo cow. She freed its back legs, took it by the rope that held its bell, and steered it back to the vent. The others were gawking at her.
“We can’t leave poor Daisy here,” she petitioned.
“You already named the cow?” Xander said in amazement.
The cow mooed and she gave it a rub on the neck. It still had a clump of grass hanging from its mouth.
The Doctor shrugged. “Well, let’s get moo-ving then.”
Buffy rolled her eyes and followed him into the tunnel. * * *
They came to the end of the tunnel where a vent led them into the passages of the crew section. The Doctor removed his sonic screwdriver and held it in front of him like a handgun as he led them cautiously forward.
“Where are we heading?” Xander asked quietly, sensing the sneaky element of the man’s entry into the corridor.
Daisy’s hoofed feet clattered on the metal floor.
“Command centre,” he replied as he edged onward, squinting at the noisy cow.
Buffy noticed his little pen-like weapon. “What is that? A death ray?”
The Doctor stopped. “What? No.”
“Is it some kind of protective shield?” said Will.
He continued on. “Nope.”
“Well, what does it do?” asked Xander. “Paralyse your enemies? Interfere with their brain patterns rendering them completely at your command?”
He stopped again. “Now that’s just silly.”
“So what is it?” said Buffy.
The Slayer showed him a cynical eyebrow. “And why are you waving it around like a ray gun?”
“So that bad guys think it’s a ray gun,” he replied like she was dumb. “Plus it makes me feel macho.”
…macho…” he added. The Doctor aimed his screwdriver and pressed onward. Buffy gave a quiet snigger. He stopped again. “Look… when some big scary monster jumps out and kills you because I wasn’t there to wave my sparkly beepy stick at them, you’ll be sorry.” He activated the blue buzzing light on the end before turning to move off. “AH!” The Doctor leapt back. DALEK!
He pushed them aside just as a bolt of energy fired from the Dalek’s front-mounted extermination ray and shot by them.
He pointed his sparkly beepy screwdriver at the surprising enemy. “Back away, Dalek!”
The metal shell of his arch nemesis rotated to face them and it prepared to take aim.
“Yeah…that’s not gonna work,” he admitted as the Dalek’s weapon powered up for a second shot. He didn’t much like it, especially considering the warning, but he stepped forward to protect the others. His song. His song was ending. And sooner than he expected.
The Dalek locked onto him with its mechanical eyestalk… and fired.
Willow jumped ahead of him with her hands held out. “Contego!” she cried out and deflected the deadly ray with her hands. “Refero!” she commanded, sending the beam back at the Dalek where it caught the side of its swivel head and caused a spark.
Willow groaned as she saw the burned skin on the palms of her hands.
The Doctor pulled her away and led them all deeper into the Tripod away from the Dalek. Something wasn’t right but he just couldn’t think straight. What the hell was that Dalek doing here? How was it even possible? How could one have survived?
They ran until the Doctor found a room and led them in. He closed the hatch and soniced the lock with his screwdriver.
Buffy stopped and caught her breath. “What was that thing?”
“A Dalek. Something not to be trifled with. Are you alright?”
Willow was eyeing her own hands. They were beginning to sting bad. “Yeah I think so.”
“I don’t know what you did,” said the Doc as he looked her injuries over, “but it was pretty much brilliant
. Still… probably wouldn’t try it again though.”
“Really not planning on it,” she assured him.
“I’m afraid I don’t have my socks,” he mentioned, tugging his trouser legs up to show her.
Will frowned back at him.
“To tie your hands,” he explained. Her frown got worse. “To cover the wounds.”
“Oh,” she realised. “That’s okay.” Not having a strange man’s socks tied to her raw burned palms was on her list of positives. Then she really did frown when she saw Xander removing his socks. “What are you doing?”
“They’re clean,” he insisted. “Honest.”
Soon she had a pair of permanently stained white cotton socks tied over her palms and knotted at the back of her hands. Why had she gone with sandals today? She went to check on the cow.
Buffy was looking around the room. “Where are we now?”
The Doctor puzzled as he realised where they were. A small circular room at the top of the dome. The corridors, he realised, had been slightly angled the way up here. This new room was old and rusty bronze like the rest of the machine. Seats were dotted about at consoles with tubes and wires going out from them into the ceiling. But where was the crew?
Where was his big evil invading enemy?
“We’ve reached the command centre,” he said with some disappointment.
( I’d just like to apologise for how long it’s taken to add to this story but it’s recently grown from being a cute little short story to an epic. Things will happen that I had no idea about when I started… so… here goes…)