A Target Novelization by Charles Daniels

The Forest Of Mild Agitation
The forest was dark.
Okay, I admit it didn't take my very long to come up with that opening line. Just assume that it was so dark I couldn't see anything to describe. And also assume that I'm an honest narrator who isn't going to throw around random adjectives just to make the story more interesting. So, this chapter starts in a forest so dark that nothing could be seen. In other words - The forest was REALLY dark. I know that doesn't really say anything, or describe anymore, but it gets the point across. So let's just move on, okay? Our heroes ran through this forest, but were too stupid to dodge the low-lying branches, so as each companion ran forward they were smacked in the face by the snapping back branch which had been displaced by the person in front of them. The forest was freezing cold, but it was so dark no hardened nipples could be seen -- isn't that always the way??? The forest was dark, and cold, and filled with painful tree branches - but it was still better than being trapped in a cave filled with the stench of death and shattered grinning skulls. Susan lead the way through the forest - coyly leading her school teachers on deeper into the forest. She knew that if they caught up to her they would ravage her until such a time as they were recaptured by the cave people. Her fast progress through the thicket was their only hope of survival. As they ran, Ian became aware that the Doctor was falling further and further behind. He thought this was at last their chance to be rid of the weirdo forever -- but then he recalled that the Doctor was the only one capable of flying the time travelling police box that had brought them to this deadly land of fear. Ian turned and saw that the old man had stopped running altogether. He was leaning against a tree and smoking a joint the size of baby elephant. "Stop! Just for a moment please." Requested the Doctor. "So THIS IS WHY YOU CAN'T RUN! I thought it was just because you were an old, decrepit, out of shape bastard! But you're also an insane drug fiend chain smoker!"
"You fool!" The Doctor was obviously upset. "You're primitive medical knowledge is incredibly evident! I am in fact coating my lungs with a protective layer of THC! This is what allows me to breathe in a Methane atmosphere!" "That's all very well old man," Replied Ian taken aback. "BUT!! We aren't in a Methane atmosphere!" "Oh what the hell. Live on earth for as long as I have young fellow and you will NEED to be a little baked." "Doctor! We aren't far enough away from the cave yet!" "I know...I know. But I feel the urge to be captured repeatedly by a menace before defeating it. Call it a fetish if you like." Explained the Doctor calmly. Ian advanced on the Doctor, who offered him a drag. "There's only one thing for it. I'll have to carry you?" "Over your shoulder I suppose?" Commented the Doctor skeptically. "If need be!" Insisted Ian with a hint of threat. "I will only agree to be carried if you let me wrap my legs around your chest and get a nice view over your shoulders." "Ummm...what?? WHY?" Spit Ian befuddled. "My dear sir, I am a master of time and space. I rule over the vast domain of the fourth dimension. If I want you to carry me around like some infant at a zoo - THAT IS HOW IT SHALL BE!" "Alright crazy old man! We don't have all day to stand about and argue." The Doctor rubbed his hands together with glee and hoisted himself up on Ian's shoulders. They moved on, at an incredibly slow pace. There were mysterious rustlings in the forest around them, and the cries of wild tabby cats. Barbara moved up close to Ian. "Ian. Are you aware the Doctor is riding your shoulders like a 3 year old?" "It would be a little difficult to miss Barbara. I'll indulge him for now. As long as we escape those cave dwellers." "How are we going to get back to the ship, Ian?!" There was a sudden hysteria in her voice. "The Doctor mentioned something about Venusian yoga. He says that by squeezing his thighs he can direct me which way we walk." "Do you think that will work??" "Well, I hope that's what the old man is really doing on my shoulders." Ian said with an air of terrible fear and uncertainty. "This Doctor has some unusual talents. I can tell you this -- all my back pain is miraculously gone." Just then Ian heard a noise in the really dark darkness behind him and whirled round, almost throwing the Doctor clear off him. The bushes seemed to be moving in an unearthly fashion, and he thought he heard a sound, like the purring of a giant cat... "What is it?" Ian shrugged. "Just some wild animal or other. Probably more scared of us than we are of it." Ian said these words so reflexively and easily. But deep down he wondered if it wasn't a line of total crap. Ian racked his brains to remember what animals had been about in the days of the cavemen. DINOSAURS! As a teacher of science Ian was well aware of the dangers dinosaurs posed to early man on a daily basis. The vicious triceratops, the horrifically violent brontosaurus, and, of course, the misunderstood vegetarian known as T-Rex. How had the cavemen driven the dinosaurs to extinction? Dynamite, wasn't it? IF ONLY HE WAS A HISTORY TEACHER! Ian sighed. He knew he should ask Barbara for more details but his ego prevented it. Anyway, he didn't want to give off any hint that he wasn't totally informed and on top of the situation. Ian breathed deeply and hoped it was simply a flying wholly mammoth or an aquatic sabre-tooth tiger. Cautiously they moved through the especially dark forest. They came to a fallen tree, and paused to yell at each other for being stupid enough not to bring a compass and get themselves totally lost. Susan finally ended the argument with "We must be close to the TARDIS! And the Doctor's Erotic Venusian Yoga has never failed as a navigation system!" "Erotic?!" Asked Ian, deeply concerned. But Susan went quiet immediately as the Doctor made a shushing gesture with his mouth and index finger. Suddenly Barbara gave a little scream. "What is it!" Shouted Ian, again spinning so fast as to nearly launch the Doctor into a nearby tree. "Oh. I'm sorry. We're lost in an unusually dark forest, and I thought I'd just scream in terror every five minutes or so. Sorry if that threw anyone off." "Nonsense," Said the Doctor airily "That is EXACTLY the sort of good thinking we need when surrounded by deadly pursuers in a jungle hell." "Grandfather? Should I start screaming? I want to help." "Of course child! But what we really need is some ear splitting SHRILLS! That's just the thing! Hmm!" "WILL ALL DIE IN THIS TERRIBLY DARK FOREST! I KNOW WE WILL!" Cried out Barbara. "No we won't," Ian said gently "Not if you shut up." "Ian, what's happening to us? Where are those happy days? They seem so hard to find. Whatever happened to our love? I wish I understood? It used to be so nice, it used to be so good? So when youíre near me, darling canít you hear me? S.O.S! The love you gave me, nothing else can save me. S.O.S! When youíre gone how can I even try to go on? When youíre gone, though I try how can I carry on? You seem so far away though you are standing near? You made me feel alive, but something died I fear. I really tried to make it out. I wish I understood. What happened to our love, it used to be so good." "HOLY SHIT! This forest of evil is making her quote Abba lyrics from the future!" Ejaculated the Doctor. "This is exactly the mind forests of Quiness in the 8th universe!" "We're in greater danger than we ever imagined Grandfather!" Cried out Susan. "Quick, Susan!" Shouted the Doctor. "Make some explosives out of the local plant life and blow Barbara up before she infects us all!" "Yes Grandfather!" Susan set to her task.
"WAIT! WAIT ONE MINUTE! You can't blow up Barbara! There must be a better way!" "You may wish to spend the rest of your days quoting Dancing Queen young man, but I will not endure that vacuous mockery of a life!" Snapped the Doctor. Ian looked desperately at Susan. "Barbara's just feeling the strain a bit. We can just rest here for awhile." Susan looked deeply disappointed, her chance to make high grade explosives from the local palm trees totally dashed, as the Doctor agreed to Ian's suggestion. The Doctor still bristled however. "You seem to have elected yourself leader of this little expedition." "There isn't time to take a vote on it. And if you still want a free ride on my shoulders you better go along with me old man." Ian paused thoughtfully. "I'm not trying to exert my power or be rude. I'm just doing what's best. I don't want to cause offense." "Of course not young Chatterton! Of course not! In fact, I like a man who is ready, willing and able to take total dictatorial control of a situation. Shows character, shows leadership, shows the sort of insane fanatical ego I insist upon in my travelling fellows. Just so long as you understand that I won't follow your orders blindly, young man." "Believe me, Doctor, if there were just the two of us, I'd have beaten you silly by now." "You're a very tiresome young man, aren't you?" "And you're a stubborn old weird bastard with a sock puppet hand." Ian said through gritted teeth. "There's a strange score going on here and don't think I'm not counting. If you do anything strange, disgusting, or even vaguely surreal, I'm going to drop you off my shoulders and let the dinosaurs have you for lunch." "Dinosaurs young man??" The Doctor said highly amused. "Dinosaurs indeed." "What makes you so confident, Doctor?" "Which dinosaurs are we talking about? Dino? Hmmm?? Maybe we're all about to be assaulted by the Loch Ness monster?" Ian gave up. "Very well, suit yourself, but don't come crying to me when you are attacked by a ravenous Sleestack." In another part of the very dark forest, Dave and Hur were examining the footprints left by the strangers on their passage through the woods - they looked with great care as they could not agree on what sort of trainers the strangers were wearing. "I am sure that these odd tracks were made by the sole of a Nike. Long have I seen such things in the dark forest!" Insisted Hur. "No," Dave was not certain, but he felt that he should at least bluff a superior knowledge in such matters "These are special tracks, made only by Keds." "Nikes. They must be. Look at the damned SWOOSH Dave!" Dave was deeply annoyed, how could he have missed the trademark swoosh, known even in these distant times? "Why does it matter what shoes these strange ones wear?!" Dave said trying to dismiss the importance of Hur's specialist knowledge. Hur sighed and explain the obvious. "The better the shoes, the more money they are likely to have! Think Dave! If you saw two gods, and you wanted to rob one of them for all their possessions. Would you steal from the goddess Nike or from some god wearing leopard Keds?" Dave, desperate to change the topic, "It depends on their shirt and matching accessories!" Meanwhile, our heroes moved on through the rather more than a bit dark forest, inevitably slowed down by Ian carrying the Doctor on his shoulders as he ate large amounts of candy floss. Barbara tripped over nothing in particular, decided to scream uncontrollably as she was at her five minute interval anyway, which is why no one took her seriously when her outstretched hand touched something warm, wet, and covered with blood. "What is it grandfather?" Asked Susan boredly. Unsure if Barbara actually had some good reason to scream. "Only a dead alien. The damn things are littering the place. This whole incredibly dark forest is covered in alien corpses. It's just annoying." Assured the Doctor. "What are dead alien bodies doing in a dark forest one million years ago?" "Decomposing by the smell of things." Replied the Doctor relaxed. "What killed all these aliens?" Asked Ian. "Oh you know, the occasional UFO crash. The odd group of explorers mauled to death by some passing prehistoric beast. The awkward halloween party turned suicide cult. It happens all the time I'm afraid." "GRANDFATHER! This one has a digital watch!" Said Susan pointing at a nearby insectoid. "Can I keep it?!" "The digital watch? Sure! Sure! Might come in handy." "NO Grandfather! I mean the whole insect! One this size would be an awesome decor piece for my room." "Well, only if it's REALLY dead. I don't want one of those dormant insects that awaken and kill everyone. That's always such a mess! I simply won't have it on the ship in that circumstance." Just then the crew heard the rustling of approaching cave people and stood still, hoping the forest was so dark that simply not moving would give them cover -- see I wasn't kidding around about the lack of lighting in this place. Seconds later two figures ran into the clearing, paused, looking around them. One was an unimpressive man carrying a rock that may have, or may not have, had a slightly imperfectly smooth surface. The figure beside him was smaller, and definitely WAY out of his league. To his astonishment, Ian saw it was a girl -- but then Ian was ALWAYS astonished by girls, this is what had gotten them into this mess in the first place. The two savage figures stood poised, peering around them suspiciously. Close by, in the bushes, a strange, unnerving purring noise dominated the soundscape. The creature had followed this strange prey through the forest for quite some way. Several times it had crouched to spring and bring one of them down, but each time something held it back, making it wait, bide it's time, making it wait to deliver death. There was something very wrong about these creatures. Their appearance, the way they crashed boldly through the significantly dark forest, the alien smells of the strange substances they smoked, and the polyester-cotton blend skins that they wore, all of this was new, unknown - and possibly dangerous. When Dave and Hur moved into the clearing, the beast's dilemma was resolved. It knew the cave people, knew the way they looked and smelt, knew how they hunted with completely inadequate tools that were easily outclassed by the local chimpanzees. Lashing it's tail, the beast snaked through the forest towards the two newcomers. Dave looked around uneasily, scared, horrified, sensing that he'd rather be asleep back in his cave dreaming of cheetah-bra wearing cave girls with unusual fruits of various shapes. Dave touched Hur's arm. "Wait here," he whispered. "There is danger in this place. I'm going back to the cave to sleep. I'll stop by to see if you still live tomorrow morning." Dave moved cautiously back, heading right for Ian and the Doctor. From somewhere behind him, there came a low growl. Grasping his mostly smooth stone, Dave swung his head from one side to the other, listening, sensing. Just behind him the long grasses began to ripple. Hur saw it and screamed a warning, but it was too late. Mister Snuggles sprang.

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