This adventure takes place between The Second Coming and Knight-Fall
The star-studded canopy over the warm pink-coloured world of Lakertya was normally a monochrome realm of infinite white stars against pitch blackness. But now a navy-blue police public call box was spinning towards Lakertya, and it seemed this splash of colour was a sign of more to come.
Suddenly a beam of light sliced through the night towards the TARDIS. The bolt of energy exploded into multicoloured shards like fragments from a shattered rainbow. Tossed hither and tither, police box was struck by another bolt and then another. The bombardment continued, like a swarm of multicoloured insects chasing the runaway time machine as it struckled to break free.
"Hold on, Mel!" yelled the Doctor over the din, frantically re-setting controls on the console. "Hold on!"
Mel clung on to the edge of the console as the room shuddered and swayed around her. "What is it?" she shouted, unnerved by the sudden onslaught. "What's attacking us?"
The Doctor spared a glance at a monitor display. "Focused beams of radiation!" He shook his head in disbeleif. "I don't know how I missed these readings…" He hauled himself to another panel and studied the read-outs. "It's coming from the planet Lakertya!"
"Oh, the people down there don't like us!" observed Mel wryly.
"If memory serves, they're peaceful people so I don't under—"
The Doctor's words were lost to history as a series of explosions burst from above, brilliant white sparks showering down from where the walls met the ceiling near the scanner screen. The vibration rippling though the TARDIS increased wildly, and the Doctor and Mel were flung against the console. Before them, warning lights flashed madly and several video-screens lit up with the words DANGER – RADIATION PENETRATING OUTER PLASMIC SHELL! flashing anxiously.
"Just how deadly is this radiation?" shouted Mel, then realized she couldn't feel her fingers wrapped around the console edge. The numbness was spreading through arms, down her legs, a kind of strange cool sleepiness. "I must say... I'm feeling pretty peculiar,” she complained, her head suddenly too heavy for her neck to support.
The Doctor was suffering the same groggy disorientation as he struggled to keep hanging onto the console. "You... you should be all right, Mel, don't worry," he called, surprised at how slurred his voice had become. "You may lose consciousness, but I'm afraid..."
With a sickly groan, Mel passed out and fell to the shaking floor with a jolt that drove the air from her lungs.
The Doctor blinked and peered muzzily over the controls at her inert body. It was getting harder and harder for him to think. "Mel? Mel!" he shouted, but she didn't react. He let go of the console and collapsed to his knees beside her and fumbled to check the pulse at her neck. "Oh, she's out cold!" he realized miserably. "Oh, Mel... what I was going to say was 'it's deadly to Time Lords'."
The buffeting control room was making him nauseous and the Doctor grunted, slumping back onto his haunches. "Oh, so that's it?" he sighed, barely able to find the strength to speak. "Oh well." The next jolt slammed him onto his back, staring up at the underside of the control console. He grunted, but didn't have the energy to get back up. His whole body had gone numb as though he'd been given a general anesthetic. “Oh, I've had a good innings... all those lives I've lived... I hope the footprint I leave will be light but apposite...”
It's far from being all over, murmured a voice that seemed both inside and outside his head. It was a man's voice, soft with a Scottish burr to it.
The Doctor tried to focus his gaze. "Who said that?" he groaned in bewilderment. "Who is that? Who's there?" Then his eyes rolled up in his head and he lost conscious. A strange silver-blue glow was starting to gather itself around his hands and face, burning brighter and stronger with every passing moment. The Doctor’s facial features blurred like a wax mask melting, swirling like quicksilver.
The TARDIS suddenly lurched to the right, and the glowing Time Lord rolled onto his front. On the other side of the console, Mel slithered slightly away from her friend and the toolkit by the exercise bike collapsed with a loud clattering. Neither of them moved as the strange cacophony of sound reached a crescendo.
Engines howling in protest, the TARDIS tumbled and rolled from fresh impacts. The salvos of glowing light seared unnerringly towards the boxlike shape, straining the dimensional bonds that held the time-space craft together. The automatic systems took the only remaining course of action to escape the blistering energy pulses raking across the exterior - precisely what the instigators of the attack intended.
The TARDIS had been forced into a landing...
The intense enslaught was making the central console shudder and rocked between the unconscious bodies of the occupants. The whole interior creaked and groaned as the TARDIS began a series of emergency dimensional shifts to seek shelter on the planet Lakertya.
Suddenly the time machine was plunging through reality like a rollercoaster in free-fall...
Ikona took a chance. He broke cover from where he'd hidden at the cliff-edge and prepared to run, even though he'd be clearly silhouetted against the skyline. The invaders' attention seemed focussed elsewhere, their black forms distinct against the treeless, boulder-strewn plateau below. Lakertya had not always been so barren, colourless and uninviting. Not before the Voord came.
There was a strange disjointed racket above him and Ikona realized the Voord were turning to identify the source. He threw himself to the ground and twisted his head to look up at whatever was causing what sounded like a cavalry of tortured horses whinneying in agony. As he watched, Ikona saw a rainbow of ever-changing like curve out of the salmon-pink sky and onto the plateau.
A dark blue shape plummeted through the atmosphere, caught like a leaf down a drainpipe. The air above the sand shimmered yellow, green, purple and then with an enormous juddering thump it was suddenly all over. The TARDIS was standing on the barren rock as though it had always been there.
The Voord surrounded the strange box, having clearly expected its arrival.
Inside the TARDIS, all was now calm and still. Mel still lay unconscious on the floor by the wall. The Doctor still lay on his front, concealed on the other side of the console that didn't quite hide the strange fiery glow engulfing his head and hands.
With a low purring sound, the outside doors opened. The leader of the Voord strode over the threshhold and regarded the lifeless forms on the control room form. Its companions followed it into the TARDIS; one of them advancing towards Mel.
"The human is of no relevence," barked the leader in a stern voice. "The Time Lord is our quarry."
Two Voord moved around the control room to the Doctor's lifeless body, reaching out with their webbed claws to roll him onto his back. As the Time Lord lay face up on the floor, the regeneration process completed itself. The silver-blue blur of distortion his facial features had dissolved into finally stopped shifting and swirling, reforming and settling into a new arrangement.
The blonde curls were now short dark hair framing the eyes, nose and mouth of a completely different man. The exotic multicoloured clothes sagged, hanging in folds over a shorter, narrower body. The Doctor had changed, the regeneration triggered precisely as they had planned.
For a moment the two Voord seemed to stare, entranced, at the prone figure on the floor. Then, without a word, they picked him up between them and carried him out of the TARDIS as they had been instructed.
A new era was beginning.