Paul Gadzikowski


The Curse of Ark "Episode 1"

The Doctor arrived in the console room, Vicki in tow, where Ian and Barbara were already waiting. "All here, I see, hm?" he said. He went to the console and pressed a switch. The rotor stopped its rising and falling and began to spin slowly.

"Where are we?" Barbara asked.

"When are we?" Vicki asked.

"Earth space colony," said the Doctor, reading his intruments, "New Dhome. Near your time, my dear Vicki, plus or minus a few years."

"Really?" said Vicki. "I've always wanted to visit there - can we?"

"It is a fait accompli," said the Doctor, smiling and waving his hands at the console.

With a delighted squeal Vicki charged off toward the TARDIS living section, the Doctor following in a more sedate fashion.

"Er - if you're so eager to see the place," Ian asked, "why are you going that way?"

Vicki stopped in her tracks, confused. "Well, we can't go out there with our clothes on, can we?" she said.

"We can't?" said Barbara.

"Oh no, it's not permitted," said the Doctor. "The custom dates back to a period of attempted infiltration by aliens who would disguise themselves as humans, you see."

"You don't expect us all to go out there naked?" said Barbara.

"Why not?" said Vicki, continuing on her path through the door.


In a smoke-filled room somewhere on New Dhome, three shadowy figures met.

"Are all our preparations complete?" asked one with a voice that sounded accustomed to command.

"Yes, Commander," said one of the others.

"Are our allies thoroughly briefed, or thoroughly fooled, as the situation warrants?"

"Yes, Commander," said the other of the others.

"Then nothing can stop us now." The Commander gave a low chuckle. Then he raised his chin off his chest and chuckled again.

"Well ..." said the first henchman.

"What is it?" snapped the Commander.

"I was just thinking ... there is something that could gum up the works pretty good."

"What?" demanded the Commander. "There is nothing! What possibility can I have overlooked?"

"It's a silly thought, really," protested the henchman. "I oughtn't to have brought it up."

"Out with it! What danger could there be to my plan?"

"Only ..." the henchman swallowed noisily. "Only if there were someone on New Dhome who really knew Theodore Roosevelt."

The Commander stared at his henchman for a good half minute. Actually for the henchman it was rather a bad half minute. But then the Commander threw back his head and laughed, and the henchmen nervously joined in.


Stoffle burst into his mother's sitting room. "Ma! Are you all right?"

Stoffle's mother looked up calmly from the solitaire game she was playing. "Why yes, dear. Goodness, you look so worried."

"Well, I hadn't heard from you," said Stoffle, sitting across from her, "and I thought you had planned to take over New Dhome by last night."

"Oh, it'll be just a few more days, don't worry," said Stoffle's mother, reaching for another cup and pouring him some tea from the pitcher on the table.

"But why?"

"Oh, I still have to pick up some things first," said Stoffle's mother, "but one of my tenants hasn't paid his rent. Now drink your tea, dear."


The Doctor led the way down the main merchant corridor of New Dhome, Vicki at his side and Ian and Barbara following; the latter couple nervously fluttering their hands, and obviously unsure where to look, except not at anyone else, especially each other.

"That looks awfully like Earth's sky for a dome ceiling, doesn't it?" said Ian.

"New Dhome is the largest colony dome in human history," said the Doctor. "Even bigger than My Old Kentucky Dhome."

"My, the dome floor is comfortable, isn't it?" said Barbara.

"An alloy of artificial minerals," the Doctor explained. "Stronger than steel, but with just the right give for walking on in bare feet."

"Look at all the people out to do their shopping, would you?" Vicki said. She and the Doctor watched Barbara and Ian not looking at all the people, and giggled.

"Ah," said the Doctor, stopping sharply, "here's where we may be able to get our barings. Er, bearings." He led them into a magazine shop.


The Commander led his henchmen to the door of their meeting room. "Today New Dhome - tomorrow the universe!" he said.

"Here now - you are three days' late with the rent, do you know?" As the Commander reached for the doorknob the landlady let herself in. "I've been trying to catch you home since Tuesday."

"My good woman, if you would just give me another day -"

"Now now, three days' grace, that's the rule. You signed the lease."

"Go on. I'll catch up," said the Commander, rolling his eyes to his henchman. As they left he was trying to put together enough cash to appease the woman.


Ian and Barbara realized how silly they were behaving when one of the magazine store employees tried to tempt them to the racks in the back of the store where there were picture magazines of clothed people.

They found the Doctor in the newsmagazine section. "How do people carry money without pockets?" Barbara asked him.

"This is most interesting," said the Doctor, tapping the article he was reading. "There is a scientist who claims to be able to resurrect historical figures from genetic samples."

"Genetic samples of what?" Vicki's voice floated to them from the next aisle. Then, "Eww."

"Do you suppose he's just cloning around?" said Ian, grinning. The only person present who had never heard this joke was Barbara, over whose head it went.

"No," said the Doctor.

"What then?" Ian asked.

"Well," said the Doctor, "according to this article there is a public presentation scheduled for not an hour from now."

"Isn't that a coincidence?" said Barbara.

"I suggest," the Doctor continued, "that you and I go check it out, young woman."


Just outside the New Dhome dome a spaceship landed. No one noticed because it was at the back of the dome where the garbage was set out. Though it wasn't a human spaceship, three naked human figures disembarked.

"The place has really changed," said the first.

"The important bits will still be the same, Gora," said the second.

"That's wot we're here to determine, innit, Crast?" said the third. "Where's the bloomin' door?"

They moved off to look for the door. "Great disguises, by the way, Storn," said the first to the third.

"We really look like naked humans," agreed the second.

"Not like last time," grumbled the third.


The scientific presentation drew quite a crowd to the outdoor arena where it was to be held. The Doctor and Barbara were pressed together like sardines with everyone in the SRO section. It didn't, however, seem to have drawn the presenters, as the presentation was now some twenty minutes late in starting.

"Why me?" said Barbara.

"Because you are the history teacher," said the Doctor.

"I meant, why do these things always happen?"

"People on New Dhome are always late," said the Doctor, misunderstanding again, "because they don't wear wristwatches."

Now a sudden hush settled over the crowd, and the time travelers craned to see the stage area. A man had walked out, a sturdy man with short brown hair, a mustache and straight white teeth which he was displaying prominently.

"Theodore Roosevelt is something of a folk hero here," the Doctor shouted to Barbara over the sudden cheers.

"Is that really Theodore Roosevelt?" asked Barbara with awe.

The Doctor squinted, peering across the intervening distance. "No, it isn't," he said.


Ian and Vicki were continuing down the main corridor when suddenly a man ran out of a bank, wearing a ski mask and carrying a blaster and a cloth bag.

"What do you think you're doing?" Ian shouted, and lit off in pursuit.

Vicki tried to keep up and couldn't. Any other planet, she could have tracked Ian through the crowd by keeping an eye on his clothing.

"Ian!" she called. "Ian, where are you?" When she got no response she returned to the bank.

Inside she identified the bank manager by his girth. "My friend is chasing your robber," she said to him; "may I wait here for him?"

"Certainly," said the manager. "Why don't you step this way?" He led her into a back office - but once there he grabbed her arms and held them behind her.

"What are you doing?" Vicki cried.

"Your friend's stupid heroics could ruin all my plans," snarled the bank manager. "But he'll do as I say if I keep you hostage - and then I'll take over the world!" He laughed evilly.


"Certificate of authenticity of the genetic source material," giggled the Doctor. He and Barbara were looking over the educational display on the project that had been set up for the presentation. They were the only ones. All the natives were gathered around the fake T.R. lionizing him and his creator.

"Reprint from a respectable science journal of an article on the theory. Oh, my," chortled the Doctor. "Photographs of each stage of each of the previous experiments. What a hoot!"

"Forgeries?" asked Barbara.

"Oh no. Well, the photographs may be a little jiggered - but that's what's so funny: as far as I can tell, this Professor Plinck has actually done the work to genuinely create a holographic cloning process."

"Then how do you know he hasn't?"

"Because I've seen T.R. naked."

Barbara declined to ask how that should be.


About half a mile away Ian caught up with the bank robber, tackling him to the ground. "Are you going to come with me to the authorities quietly?"

"I am the authorities, ding-dong!" The robber took off his ski mask. Sewn into the back of it was a badge.

"I'm not a New Dhome native," said Ian. "How do I know that's genuine?"

"Well, let's go to the nearest constabulary," said the robber. "They'll know me, and it's where I was headed anyway. I just needed to get far enough away from the bank for the manager not to know we're on to him."

"Why?" said Ian, helping the robber up. "What's the bank manager into?"

"Trying to take over the world," said the robber. "And you've nearly botched my undercover mission!"


The Doctor and Barbara waited a long time for the crowd to thin out enough for them to get to Professor Plinck and T.R. When they'd got to the front the Doctor grabbed T.R.'s hand and pumped it.

"Dee-lighted to meet you!" T.R. bellowed. "And you are?"

"I am the Doctor," said the Doctor. Leaning forward, so that his head was equidistant between Plinck's and T.R.'s, he said in a low voice, "And I know that you're not really Theodore Roosevelt."

"How could you know that?" Plinck said, nervously.

The Doctor leaned to Plinck and whispered.

"There's no way you could have that data!" Plinck scoffed.

The Doctor waved Barbara forward. She was carrying a photograph from the display, one of several from Theodore Roosevelt's life. It was a photograph of Roosevelt and his family playing croquet on the grounds of the estate at Sagamore Hill.

In the background, preparing to knock away an opponent's ball, dressed in his customary Edwardian-era suit, was the Doctor.


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