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the island of death

The first incident that comes to people's minds is the disappearance of the Spanish fishing- trawler "Catalina" after it was chased from the waters off Newfoundland by the Canadian warship "Leacock". Most notorious was the loss with all hands of the 500,000 ton dead-weight oil-tanker "Juan Valdez" off Cornwall - environmentalists were perplexed and dismayed to find not so much as a single drip of crude with which to tarnish the consciences of the world's motorists. The press soon coined the term "Dulse Oblong", which suggested an area o maritime mystery in the North Atlantic encompassing those areas in which people eat seaweed. However, when a police box fell out of the sky and into the sea between Scotland and Ireland, the mystery was close to being solved.

Agent Alfie Leighton slipped on the bubbly weed that carpeted his cavern-home, wiped the condensation from his "Joe 90" spectacles with a snotty-hanky, munched on a cold pork-pie that he kept in the pocket of his raincoat, and envied his comrade and rival, James Steed, who got the glamorous jobs with fast cars and gorgeous girls, battling power-mad enemies, not bleeding anemones. He stuffed the pie back in his coat and went back in the cave. A humming noise in the air told him they were here. He reached into a crevice in the scaly cavern wall and pulled out a telescopic sight.

'Such a warping of space-time suggests an irregular gravitational field in this area, grandfather,' said the girl with the pony tail and anorak.

'I fear you are right, Susie.' replied the silver-haired scientists Dr. Who. Their TARDIS had been plucked from the ninth-dimension and deposited in the North Channel by a strange force. Safely washed ashore by the tide, they had decided to explore this land in search of an explanation. 'Keep peddling my dear. Phew.'

Their mode of transport was a two-seater tricycle the Doctor had acquired on the Isle of Wight in 1881. 'When we reach the top of this hill, we'll get a better idea of where we are.'

The day was warm and sunny, and yet the going seemed to Susie to be getting lighter.

'Grandfather, do you think this is one of those magnetic hills? Maybe this is what effected the TARDIS?'

'Now, Susie, you and I know that the so-called 'electric-hill' is an optical illusion, but I do agree, my child, that less work seems to be required to ascend this hill. Most strange.'

Strange indeed, for as they approached the hump of the hill, a terrifying sight stepped out from behind a boulder to confront them.

'Zarbi!' exclaimed Dr. Who.

McSpreddin of McSpreddin, Laird of Lorne, better know to the intelligence community as ex-Nazi war-criminal Hans Klappen, stepped off the sea plane and into the dinghy, helped by two beefy henchmen with shovels. The pilot stayed with the plane. The Alpine hat danced around the cross-hairs.

'Not yet, mate,' muttered Leighton, I'll keep you for later.'

'I don't understand grandfather,' said Susan, 'The Zarbi were really harmless monsters, once the Animus was defeated.'

They were in the headmaster's study of the local school. Dr. Who stood at the window, his gloved hands behind his back. Outside a procession of fishermen, sailors, farmers and locals were being herded by Zarbi into a cave in the side of the hill. 'Like aphids and ants,' thought the Doctor

'Yes, Susie,' he replied, 'but these Zarbi are different. They seem to possess some strange gravitational powers, like those awful monsters we encountered on Front...'

Just then, the oak door opened and into the study stepped a silver man. Inside his clothing of PVC skin, Susie could discern his metal bones, rubber tendons, and tubes of synthetic blood. His head resembled a Cubist sculpture. He was at least eight feet tall, and when he spoke his intonation was the reverse of that of most Earth dialects.

'I come from the planet Mondas,' said the silver man.

'Isn't that ancient name for Earth, grandfather?' asked Susie.

'Sshh,' whispered the Doctor.

'Mondas was your world's twin,' explained the silver giant.

'You're not my Grandfather,' protested Susan.

'Sshh,' said Dr. Who.

'Magnetic anomaly...no, instruments fine...' muttered pilot Rex Ferguson to himself, vague headlines about the "Dulse Oblong" surfacing in his memory as he took another swig of single malt from his hip-flask. 'Gravitational pull...' The landing was shoddy - too rough for such a beautiful day.

'Gravi...ugghh...C2...H5...uggghhh...'

A snotty hanky doused with ether always does the trick. Leighton tossed the last of the pork-pie into the Atlantic waves. Rex Ferguson's unconscious form followed soon thereafter.

' "Homo cyberneticus", eh?' said the Doctor. 'Yes, we've heard of the Cybermen on our travels, haven't we, Susie?' He pulled a roller-map down from the wall and traced an imaginary line between Staffa in the Hebrides and the Giant's Causeway, north Antrim. At the midpoint of the line, he jabbed the map.

'Aha! The Isle of Angus. So that is our location,' he declared, smiling at Susie.

'Correct, Dr. Who, ' said the Cyberman.

'Oh, so you know who I am?'

'Your notoriety as a Dalek-killer precedes you,' replied the Cyberman, opening the door and, with a few Zarbi-like chirps, commanding the Zarbi to enter. 'When I have eliminated you, I will take your TARDIS machine and lead the Cybermen on a conquest of all time!'

Susan screamed as her grandfather's face was mirrored a million times in the great domed eyes of the Zarbi, as it bore down on the old man with its sweeping forelegs and clacking mandibles…

END OF PART ONE
( Music by Ron Grainer )

written by
IAN McPHERSON
copyright 2009

artwork by
IAN McPHERSON
copyright 2009

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