Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Locum


Suddenly there was so much pain. Her ship skittered as her eyes screwed up in a futile attempt to stop the hurt. Then as quickly as it had started , it stopped again.

“What the hell was that?” she asked.

Nobody answered. She was on her own in a small single person spaceship, hurtling through space at an appreciable percentage of light speed.

She checked her life-support systems. One of the problems with ships like this was that there was no room to move. At all. So all life-support was intimately tied in to her body. She checked the catheters, the canulae. All seemed in order. Flipping on the data recorder she checked back on the records. Apart from a massive surge of adrenaline and an increase in hearts beat there seemed to be no


Blinding pain! And a thought! In the pain was a voiceless thought, a plea, a cry for help.

Again it ended abruptly, but this time she was ready. She closed her eyes and examined every moment. There! A definite direction. Close, maybe a days travel. Of course, it’d take her a day just to slow sufficiently to manoeuvre, so more like two days. She set the co-ordinates, engaged the auto-pilot, and went back to studying the minute bits of data she had.


R’znik laughed, and turned the handle again. The blue box stood silent, yet screamed. He could feel the waves of pain emanating from the monolith, and he enjoyed it. He enjoyed causing pain in things that could not fight back. He revelled in it.

“Scream, damn you. Scream. You’ll call Him to you, and then I’ll have you both. And then you can stop screaming. I’ve got a buyer for you. And he wants Him dead. So I win. You hear me? I WIN!”

His partner, Dipt, grabbed his hand away from the controls. “Enough! You’ll break it! We need it working, alive, whatever it is these things are, or we won’t get paid!”

R’znik glared. There were few beings who would dare touch him. Fewer still that he would allow to live. Dipt was one of them. Dipt was one of two people who scared R’znik, although he would never admit it to anyone but himself. Dipt was a small, quiet shrew of a human. If you saw him on the streets you’d forget him immediately. Yet R’znik had watched as he killed his own family. His wife, his two children. He’d used them as camouflage for a scam. A scam that had taken seven years to pull off, and once he’d succeeded he terminated his family without a thought. Excess baggage. Camouflage. He was a stone cold killer. A psychopath. And worst of all, in R’znik’s opinion, he got no joy out of it.

“Okay, we’ll wait. There’s no chance at all he would have missed that. Even I could feel it. And don’t forget, when he arrives, I get to kill him. I’ve never done one of them before. I’m told you can feel the life force as it leaves them. I want to feel it. Look into his eyes and see his despair. I want to watch The Doctor die!”

A footfall behind them made them both start, and turn.

“We can hear you, Doctor. You’re not going to be able to creep up on us. And you can’t escape. Come on out, Doctor. It is die!” R’znik almost sang the words into the darkness.

To his shock and surprise, and immediate delight it wasn’t the Doctor who stepped out of the shadows. Instead he was confronted by a stunningly good looking girl, with long blonde hair.

R’znik looked her over, arrogantly. From her feet up he studied her. Her boots, very utilitarian, hard wearing, and thrust into them long, muscular yet feminine legs. Grey cotton military-style shorts followed, and into that was tucked a nondescript tee-shirt. A long elegant neck supported the head. And it was here that R’znik’s preconceptions floundered.

R’znik was human. Ish. He’d been a child soldier. Not because he was forced into it, but because even as a child he’d enjoyed, craved for slaughter, for pain, and for inflicting loss on others. He was a good soldier. Not only did he kill without compassion, he went out of his way to kill, even when it wasn’t strictly necessary. And he had a massive tolerance for pain. He seemed to enjoy it as much as he loved inflicting it.

Over the years he had lost limbs and other body parts, until he was at least seventy percent cyborg. Not for him the humanoid limb replacements. He’d deliberately chosen the utilitarian machine-like inplants. Everyone who looked on him looked away, scared, disgusted.

But not the blonde girl.

He looked at her smile, and then into her eyes. And had to look away. There was no fear! No fear at all. Some sympathy, maybe, but only that which you would find on the face of a vet about to euthanise an injured pet.

“Where’s the Doctor?” asked Dipt, quietly.

“The Doctor’s out, boys. I’m here instead. You can call me The Locum.”

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