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Penumbra (5/6)

Title: Penumbra
Characters: Five, Tegan, Turlough, OCs
Word Count: 4541
Rating: WARNING: This story is rated "R" for gratuitous violence (The first part is the worst and I think they become a bit less as we move on, maybe PG-13)
Summary: The TARDIS arrives in Georgia in 1742 and becomes involved with Redcoats, Cherokee and werewolves.
Notes: OK, this is yet another story version of a sim done by Dr Who & Co. I came in late on this one so the bloodiness was before my time so I want no blame for that. I think Part 1 is the worst in that respect, so stick it out, I think it's worth it. This was begun 10/17/00.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four



V


Singing Reed led the way, expertly missing the briars and brambles in the path. "It is not far from here. Our village is just over this next rise."

"Go ahead, Doctor. I'll take the rear," said the Doctor.

"Ow!" The Doctor disentangled himself from a wild blackberry briar. "Watch those thorns, Sergeant."

Singing Reed chuckled at the newcomer's ignorance of the woods.

The sergeant tied the beaded hide with the gift musket to his back and carried his Brown Bess in the crook of his arm, thumb on the cocking piece. "Best you hold that musket with your hand over the lock. Wouldn't do to snag that," he told the Doctor with a smile.

The Doctor carefully shouldered the gun, being sure to keep it from hooking over any vines and briars. "Singing Reed, has your village known of this 'Evil' walking at night for long?"

Singing Reed nodded without looking back. "Yes. Ever since my mother was a little girl."

"I see."

"There." Singing Reed stood on top of the rise and pointed to a small Indian encampment in the valley below. "There's my home. I'll leave you now. My mother will be very angry if she found out I was outside the village alone." She ran off down into the village leaving the Doctor and the Sergeant alone.

"Well, Doctor, shall we?" asked the sergeant.

"Indeed." The Doctor started down into the village. The sergeant slung his Brown Bess over his shoulder and carried his late captain's gift as he followed the Doctor down into the village.
Many young Indians stopped playing and watched as the strange white men enter the village. Some of the older women stopped their chores and also watched. One sent a young boy running in the direction of one of the cabins. The Doctor smiled good-naturedly at the Cherokee and waved. The villagers formed a path, forcing the Doctor and the sergeant to walk between them. The path led to a log cabin-like house with a round shield of deer hide with fetishes and feathers hanging from it above the door. The Doctor looked questioningly at the sergeant, shrugged, and walked along the path.

The sergeant stepped in front of the Doctor and whispered, "If things go wrong, drop your musket."

"I've no intention of using it."

"They might not know that, but they usually won't kill an unarmed man."

The Doctor exchanged a look with the sergeant as they were led inside the cabin. In the center of the room sat an old woman with long snow-white hair. He places his gun to the side on the floor by the entrance. The sergeant laid the beaded bag down on floor and placed his musket beside the Doctor's. The wise woman looked up at them and nodded in affirmation.

"Greetings from the great chief King George. I'm am one of his warriors." The sergeant then pointed to the Doctor. "And this is a wise man called the Doctor."

"I have foreseen your arrival, strangers. The Doctor from the stars and the Moon-eyed one who serves a king from across waters."

The Doctor looked at the sergeant with a little surprise. "Ahem, well, I'm impressed. You know why we're here?"

"The Great Spirit tells me many things. Sit. Sit."

The Doctor sat down on a bearskin laid on the floor of the hut. "What do you know of the evil that hunts after dark?"

"The Evil comes not of this place, Doctor. It comes from the darkness where mortal eyes can't see."

"And where would that be?" asked the sergeant from his place beside the Doctor.

"Where is that, Wise Woman?"

The wise woman looked at the Doctor with a piercing stare. "Are you an idiot, Doctor?"

The Doctor raised his eyebrows. "That sounds familiar."

"The evil comes from where you would call 'Sideways in Time'."

"Well, that clears things up," the sergeant said softly to the Doctor.

The Doctor wondered just how much this wise woman knew. "So, Wise woman, this creature..."

"Creatures. There are three of them now."

The sergeant swallowed, "Three?" He looked at the Doctor and raised an eyebrow.

"But there is hope for the others if the original beast can be destroyed before the next full moon."

"Destroyed? Wonderful. We don't even know where to start looking for it. Or Turlough and Tegan, for that matter," commented the Doctor.

The sergeant looked toward the muskets beside the doorway. "It is possible, if we can find it."

"You won't have to look far for the others. They're here in this village."

"Here? Turlough and Tegan are here? Where?"

"They are being brought to this hut. They shall be here very soon."

The sergeant cleared his throat. "How do they look, I wonder?"

*********************

Turlough paced the floor of the cabin where he and Tegan were placed when they arrived. "I wonder what they want with us." He looked over at Tegan who was sitting on what passed for a bed. "How can you just sit there?" he snapped.

Tegan glared at Turlough, blackly. "Seems like I asked you something like that when we were still back in the TARDIS."

Turlough rolled his eyes. "That was a totally different situation. We weren't prisoners then. What do you know about them? Native American tribes were not on the curriculum at Brendon." He peered out the small window.

"Not much. The natives in Australia were completely different. Still, why didn't you do anything? You could have at least tried to put up some kind of fight. Or at best have made a break for it."

He turned to Tegan. "The Doctor would have had my hide. Now, with more information, he might be able to do something."

"Still, you could have tailed us. You are at least good at that."

"Wait. I think some are coming this way. You create a distraction and I'll run to find the Doctor." He pressed his back against the wall by the door as the natives approached.

Two braves entered the hut and trained their spears at the pair. "Come with us. The Wise Woman has bid you to see her."

With a spear aimed at him, Turlough postponed his plan and stepped outside. He saw Tegan hesitate. "Tegan, don't aggravate them."

She glanced over at Turlough resignedly. "They've already aggravated me," she said as she stepped outside.

"Two white men also want to see you. You are very popular for Beast-People," said the other brave.

"Two white men. The Doctor and the sergeant?" whispered Turlough.

"Who else knows us here?"

The second brave spoke. "Strangely dressed, the yellow hair is. He wears the oddest clothes. Not like any of the people from across the waters."

"Sounds like the Doctor all right," commented Tegan.

"Maybe he can make sense out of all this."

The braves led the pair to the hut with the deer hide shield above the door. "Here is the Wise Woman's hut. Enter and show respect."

"They are here, Doctor. Your friends, the Beast-People," said the wise woman.

The sergeant eased over to the muskets, trying to avoid the Doctor's attention.

Turlough entered the hut slowly and blinked as his eyes adjusted to the light. He saw the Doctor and the sergeant off to the side and an ancient Indian woman sitting in the middle of the room.
Tegan entered just after Turlough. "Doctor!"

The sergeant sighed in relief as he heard Tegan's voice.

"Tegan! Turlough!" The Doctor got to his feet hurriedly and greeted them. "Are you two all right?"

Tegan smiled, relieved. "Doctor, do something! Can't you tell them we mean them no harm?"

"Come in. Sit. Sit." The wise woman beckoned them. She also indicated for the two braves to leave and they did so, nodding respectfully.

The Doctor sat back down and motions for his friends to do the same. Tegan knelt awkwardly in her tight skirt and Turlough sank to the floor in front of the old woman.

"You two young people are in great peril," said the wise woman, pointing a gnarled finger at Tegan and Turlough.

Turlough leant back from the vehemence in her tone, but Tegan wasn't cowed. "What are you talking about? Peril from you, probably. First you truss us up, then you leave us to rot in that cabin."

"No, Tegan. Hear her out," said the Doctor softly. "She knows what's going on here."
Tegan's eyes flared, but she bit her tongue.

"We needed to be sure you hadn't progressed too far," the wise woman explained.

Turlough nodded in understanding. "She knows what happened to us and didn't want us 'infecting' the tribe. Or anyone else."

The wise woman nodded. "Yes, yes. Now, you have been possessed by the demon from another world. From," she looked at the Doctor with a smile, "sideways in time. Back when the world was young, many strange creatures would roam the lands. The Thunderbird was one of them. The Wolf Spirit was another."

Turlough flinched and closed his eyes as he saw a flash of gnashing teeth and snapping jaws. He shook his head to clear the vision.

"Of course, there wasn't any information on it. It wasn't of this dimension and none were even sure of it's existence," the Doctor murmured to himself.

The sergeant listened to the wise woman. "Wise One, are you saying this thing is a spirit?"

She smiled. "To some, yes. But it was not always so."

"What do you mean?" questioned the Doctor.

"The Wolf Spirit is actually many. They come to study the Tsalagi. This they have told me. There have been many since the world began."

Tegan frowned, listening to the woman. "I don't believe it. First the Mara, then the Observer, now this. I'm always getting possessed by something."

The sergeant lowered his head before shaking it, so as not to show disrespect. "I don't think it's a spirit." He pointed to his sword's hilt. "Silver hurt the thing. How can one hurt a spirit?"

"This spirit must have somehow found a body in this dimension," said Turlough. "Otherwise it probably would have wasted away."

"Yeah, us," remarked Tegan.

The wise woman nodded. "The last Wolf Spirit has been a very malevolent one. It has chosen three to spread itself across the land." She pointed at Turlough, "You," then at Tegan, "you, and my son."

The Doctor's eyes widened.

"Your son?" questioned Turlough. "Then the wolf that attacked us..."

"Yes. It's been thirty years since I saw him last. Now he is dead. The evil Wolf Spirit lives on in him."

"Then you, ah...wouldn't object to us destroying the creature?" questioned the sergeant.

"Lady, that thing didn't look old enough to be thirty, much less whatever age he would be now," Tegan told her.

"They must have longer life expectancies," said the Doctor.

"The spirit is ageless, Tegan. Like vampires, in a sense," said Turlough.

"But that thing wasn't a spirit, Turlough. It was just as real as you and I. I mean...I...I remember it eating. And spirits don't need to eat, do they?"

Turlough sighed. "The spirit doesn't, but the body it's inhabiting does."

"But bodies age, unless you're making this thing out to be an animated corpse. In which case it should have decayed ages ago."

"Maybe not," put in the Doctor. "Perhaps upon inhabiting the body, the force causes the cells to, uh..." He noticed the wise woman was looking rather bored. "Ah, I'm sorry."

"In order to save these young people you must either destroy the spirit, or drive it back to where it came from," she continued.

"If the others were non-interfering, why is this one so bent on domination, I wonder," the Doctor contemplated.

"Will killing the wolf destroy the spirit?" asked Turlough.

"We know only a possible way to destroy it. How can we drive it out?" The sergeant was not to be left out.

"You have until the next full moon before you cannot reverse what is happening to your friends, Doctor," the wise woman informed him.

"When is the next full moon?"

"Tomorrow night."

"Right. Let's get busy." The Doctor rubbed his hands together in preparation. "I think I could use the TARDIS to open to the Wolf Spirit's dimension. It seems like the... There's a thought!"

"What, Doctor?" asked the sergeant.

"I just want this thing out of me, the sooner the better," declared Tegan.

"Well, proximity to the creature is rather a problem. But there's always tomorrow night's full moon," said the sergeant.

The Doctor stood. "I think the Wolf Spirit actually resides in the other dimension and when the affected person transforms into his corporeal presence in our physical plane, there's a bridge between his world and ours. I may be able to pinpoint the dimension he's originating from if one of you could kindly transform for me."

"What?" Turlough cried. "You saw me before! I can't control this thing."

"But we could kill you. Besides, this isn't like a light you can just switch on and off," exclaimed Tegan.

"It would be a controlled experiment," the Doctor explained. "Yes, I could do it onboard the TARDIS. I could have an enclosure built."

"I don't want to turn into that...thing, ever again," cried Tegan.

The Doctor looked at Tegan. "I know. I understand how frightened you must feel." He sighed. "We'll find another way."

"I didn't like the feeling I had when I came to, Doctor, and I wouldn't go through that again by choice, if I could," said Turlough.

"Even if it meant the end of this nightmare?" asked the sergeant.

"We may not have a choice," the Doctor said. "Tonight you will change. I think I can make some good of this. I may find out enough to prevent this from being permanent and this whole world from being in danger."

"If there were heavy chains and major tranquilizers involved, maybe," muttered Turlough.

The Doctor nodded. "I think I may be able to come up with something." He smiled broadly at Tegan and Turlough.

"But, Turlough, we're still a danger. What if we got loose?" demanded Tegan.

"Silver weakens the Wolf Spirit's hold," said the wise woman. "If you had some way of putting the silver in slowly and in small doses, they would be sleeping and listless."

"And in the wrong proportion it might kill us."

"Brave heart, lass," the sergeant told her. "The Doctor would never hurt you."

Tegan looked between the others. "I know he wouldn't mean to, but if it meant my life or all the lives of the people here..." She sighed resignedly. "Oh, all right. But I still think this is a bad idea."

The Doctor put a fatherly arm around Tegan. "As the sergeant says, 'Brave heart', Tegan."

Turlough saw no other choice. "Fine, count me in, but remember, this is under protest."

"Now, I will need to go back to the TARDIS. I'll bring it to the village and we'll start to work."

The sergeant handed the Doctor a musket. "Here, Doctor, just in case that beastie is about."

"Good luck to you, Doctor. I will be asking the Great Spirit to give you success."

The Doctor took the gun. "Thank you, sergeant. I shall be back before nightfall." With a last look at his friends, he exited the hut and headed out of the village.

************************************

A few minutes later, the TARDIS materialised right outside the Wise Woman's hut. He poked his head out and smiled. "It actually worked!" He left the TARDIS and jogged back in the Wise Woman's hut.

The sergeant jumped back, startled at the Doctor's return.

"Told you I'd be back before nightfall. Here, Sergeant," he handed the soldier his gun, unused.

"How do you like that? He can make a short hop, but he can't take me home," Tegan scoffed.

Turlough looked up at the Doctor's entrance. "How many tries did it take?"

The Doctor cleared his throat, evading the question. "Ahem. Take these." He held out two pills.

"You notice he didn't answer your question," Tegan said with a smile at Turlough.

"At least he's here."

"And with the same face."

The sergeant looked at Tegan, puzzled. "Same face?"

Turlough took a pill and looked at it. "What's it for?"

"Slow-release silver tablets," the Doctor replied.

"And you're sure they'll work? We're not guinea pigs here."

"Have faith, Turlough. They should work."

Turlough grimaced and swallowed. "Ugh."

"I never like it when you say 'should'." Tegan took a pill and frowned at it. "Are they supposed to be green like that?"

"Don't worry. It'll work. At least, I hope it will," said the Doctor with a little smile at Tegan.

Tegan looked uneasily back at him. "Well, here goes." She swallowed her pill after which, she looked a bit on the green side and a little light on her feet.

Turlough looked at the Doctor. "Now what?"

"Now, we wait. I brought these, just in case." He took out two pairs of shackles from his pockets. Turlough shuddered. "They're made of Barondinium alloy. Used on the Raaga prison planet. Creatures twice the size of our wolf friend couldn't break them."

"If you say so." Turlough soon began to feel a little light-headed.

"Doctor, just what was in those pills?" Tegan felt her face start to get hot and undid the top couple of buttons on her blouse.

"Just silver, and a bit of a sedative. I'll have to put the shackles on you, so when you wake up you'll be a bit tied up. I'm sorry, Tegan and Turlough. It's the only way I can help you."

The sergeant helped steady Tegan. "Easy, lass."

"You drugged us in other words. You..." Tegan gulped and coughed a bit before sinking to her knees.

"I said tranquilizers and chains had to be involved." Turlough slid down the wall to the floor.
The Doctor looked at them both apologetically. "I'm sorry. I had to. To keep you and everyone else safe. Goodnight, Tegan and Turlough. I'll see you in the morning."

Tegan started to gag. "I can't.... Can't...breathe..." She choked.

"Yes, you can. Listen to me. Listen to my voice. You can breathe. Relax and let your eyes close." The Doctor's voice became hypnotic.

Turlough's eyes closed and his breathing grew shallow.

Tegan, however, was still having troubles. "Can't...hear..." She choked and coughed, her eyes started to bug.

The Doctor exchanged a worried glance with the sergeant. "She's having a panic attack. I think it's the influence of the creature."

"Can't..." Tegan choked again, and suddenly stopped, falling to the floor, unmoving.

The Doctor sighed. "Well, she's under now." He felt her pulse. "She's fine. Now, it's time to start to work."

"What can I do, Doctor?" asked the sergeant.

"Well, first we have to get them into the TARDIS where I can monitor them."

The sergeant put one arm under Tegan's neck and the other under her knees, lifting her easily. "Poor lassie, light as a feather."

"I will stay here, if you don't mind," said the wise woman. "I have no place in your box of secrets, Doctor. The Great Spirit has told me enough. I shall continue to pray for you."

"Thank you, Wise Woman. I appreciate all you've done for us." The Doctor took Turlough and dragged him out of the hut.

The sergeant walked into the TARDIS and gently placed Tegan down in the console room. He turned to the Doctor. "Need a hand?"

The Doctor entered the TARDIS just after the Sergeant and laid Turlough next to Tegan. He quickly placed the shackles on their wrists and legs. "Let's see." He left the room and brought out an armful of wires and electrodes. "I need you to place these electrodes on their heads." He handed the bundle to the sergeant. "After you're done with that, I'll hook them up to the TARDIS and we'll see if there is any traceable energy signature emanating from them."

The sergeant knelt and attached the leads. "This right?"

The Doctor looked back at the Sergeant's bid for approval. "Yes! Very good!"

The sergeant gave one of the shackles a test pull. "Seems awfully weak to hold them down."

The Doctor punched some buttons on the console. "They'll hold. They once held a Mandolgian Sumerlan. It was at least twice the size of an earth grizzly bear and twice as strong. Hmmmm... If they stay under as long as we need, then there should be no trouble. There's enough sedative and silver in those tablets to last until morning. At least in theory." He shrugged. "We'll have to hope it works out, Sergeant. I'm getting faint traces of interdimensional signals now, but I can't get a lock on them. It's like a... Well, there's nothing in this time period I can use as an analogy, so you'll have to take my word for it." He smiled.

"You are definitely in command of this, Doctor. I'll do as you say." The sergeant started to unsling one of the muskets, then looked at Tegan and finally rested his hand on his sword hilt. "Don't want to punch you, lass, but don't think I can shoot you," he muttered.

"I think what we'll have to do now is wait a few hours. When they transform and the signal is theoretically strongest. Then I can work on getting to that dimension." He punched a couple of buttons and the central console began to rise and fall with a grinding, wheezing noise. The sergeant looked around worriedly.

"Don't worry, Sergeant. I'm just relocating us, for the sake of the Indian encampment." The console stopped shuddering and the grinding noise died away. "There, much better. I just set us down back where we originally landed in that field. Now should Turlough or Tegan succeed in breaking their chains, the Indians won't be in any immediate danger. Care for a cup of tea, Sergeant?"

The sergeant brightened at the offer of the delicacy. "Ah, yes. "

***************************

The sergeant set down his fourth cup of tea, "Doctor!"

The Doctor turned from the game of Spades he and the Sergeant had been playing. "Ah, it's beginning, again."

"It figures." The sergeant threw down his hand with eight spades.

The Doctor hopped up and checked the shackles, and secured the electrodes. Turlough twisted back and forth, fighting the shackles. He growled ferally at the Doctor. Tegan's eyes open, glowing a bright shade of red. The sergeant took one of the muskets from the hat rack.

The Doctor checked the readings. "Yes, they're increasing. Come on, keep raising. Let that sedative hold out."

Tegan tried to move her hand, but found it shackled and whined. Turlough's eyes opened, also glowing bright red. He fought the chains holding his wrists, scraping the skin raw. "It's all right, Tegan and Turlough. You'll be all right. I'm not going to harm you. Can you understand me?"

"Doc...Doctor, do something," Tegan pleaded. "My wrists are burning." She gazed imploringly at him with burning red eyes. "Come on, Doctor, they hurt!"

"I'm sorry, Tegan. I can't remove the cuffs. It's for your own good." He looked over at the Sergeant holding the gun.

Catching the Doctor's glance, the sergeant lowered his musket and gripped his sword hilt like brass knuckles.

"You wouldn't have said that if I was Nyssa or Adric. You always liked them better than me." Tegan pulled at her chains.

"I most certainly would have! And you were all very important to me! Just hang on, Tegan, Turlough, we're almost there." The Doctor looked at the signature, willing it to rise to traceable levels faster.

"Doc-tor," Turlough growled through pointed teeth.

The sergeant raised his musket again, and aimed it at Turlough. "You're sure those shackles will hold, Doctor?"

"I certainly hope so."

Tegan's eyes flared and her skin started to turn fuzzy, but it suddenly stopped as she coughed. Her eyes dimmed a bit as she coughed and gagged again. Turlough's hands began to turn into paws; the fingers growing longer and thinner, and the nails turning into claws.

"Got it!" The Doctor saw the dimension co-ordinates stream across the TARDIS's monitor.

"Now what?"

Tegan's nails sharpened and lengthened, but suddenly drew back as she continued to gag.
"Can't..." Her eyes dimmed. "Can't..." She coughed. "What's. . .happening?"

The sergeant stepped closer to Tegan. "Sergeant, don't! Stay back! She can infect you too at this point," the Doctor warned. The sergeant hesitated. The Doctor then turned to Tegan.
"Tegan, it's all right. You're transforming. Relax and let it take place. We're not going to harm you."

Tegan tried to grab at her throat, but her hands were still shackled. She coughed and gagged, her skin returning to normal.

The Doctor looked perplexed at Tegan returning to normal. "I wonder what caused that."

With the Doctor preoccupied, Turlough pulled harder on his shackles. The chains gave a sudden snap as he broke an arm free. The sergeant turned at the sound and saw Turlough pulling at his other shackle.

Tegan continued to gag. "Can't...breathe...Can't..." Her nails slowly returned to normal. Forgetting himself, the sergeant moved closer to the two. Tegan reached out blindly and swiped at anything near. The sergeant was knocked off his feet and fell to the floor.

"Sergeant!" The Doctor turned and saw Turlough loose and swaying drunkenly.

The sergeant grabbed his musket and fired at Turlough, but the fall had knocked the powder out of the pan and it didn't fire. "I'm all right, Doctor. She didn't scratch me."

Turlough stopped and stared at the Doctor, his body halfway transformed. The Doctor approached him slowly. "Turlough, it's only me. I'm mean you no harm. You know that. Come away from the Sergeant, Turlough," he said softly. Turlough tilted his head to the side, with his eyes still fixed on the Doctor.

The Doctor backed away towards Tegan. "Sergeant, move away slowly."

The sergeant, still on his back, pushed himself away with his feet. As he moved, he reached for his powder flask. He tried to stay calm and used the flask measure to reprime the musket.

Tegan gagged, trying to draw in a breath. "Doctor, I..." She gasped and coughed, stopping abruptly in mid-cough. She wavered for a moment and suddenly fell to the floor, not moving. Turlough turned sharply at the sound of her coughing.

The Doctor turned to Tegan as well. "Tegan?"

Tegan lay still, not breathing. Her head lolled to the side with her eyes closed. The Doctor knelt down over Tegan to check her pulse. Turlough growled and backhanded him away from the unconscious woman. The Doctor hit the floor hard, clutching his face Still only half transformed, he picked her up easily and rushed down the TARDIS halls to the outside.

The sergeant finally poured in the powder and snapped the frizzen back. He ran over to the Doctor. "Doctor!"

"Sergeant, I think we may be in trouble." The Doctor removed his hands and looked up at the sergeant. A series of claw marks traced their way over his right cheek and down the side of his face. He opened his eyes slowly. In the light of the TARDIS, they glowed red for a split second.


CAST:
SpaceProg ---- 5th Doctor, Singing Reed, Wise Woman
TimeLadyX -----Tegan Jovanka,
FlynnKelly -----------Turlough (me!)
CodyJ---------- British Army Sergeant

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