Chapter Seventeen

"Now, Belzac, behave."

The purple skinned alien grabbed her giggling daughter before she could wander off and brought her back onto the blanket. She and her family had stopped for a family picnic on the moon of Raza and her two year old daughter was being rambunctious and wanting to explore while her father prepared the food for them. Belzac giggling some more when her mother's long silver hair draped over her shoulder and fell down beside Belzac. She grabbed it and tugged on it gently while her mother stroked her own soft fuzz of silver hair that was just beginning to grow. Belzac glanced at her father, a muscular purple skinned alien that also had a long mane of hair that cascaded down his back. He was setting some sandwiches down beside him and Belzac stood up and toddled over to them, her eyes agleam with hunger.

"Belzac, come and sit with Mummy and let Daddy prepare the meal," the mother said, grabbing onto her daughter's hand.

Belzac looked at her and scowled while her mother guided her back to her side. But her scowl vanished a moment later when her mother began tickling her.

"Okay, nearly ready and"

The father fell silent when he suddenly heard a man's voice through the trees off to his right.


"See, I told you it was beautiful here," the Doctor said as he and Rose found a shady spot in a small clearing inside the Razarian forest. "Raza is renowned for its forests. It's has been voted the most picturesque moon by Space Travelers Monthly."

"Are there any ewoks here then?" Rose teased as she watched the Doctor spread a red blanket onto the ground.

"Ewoks? No. There are Raz here. Purple skinned aliens. They live in cities deep below the ground," the Doctor said as he took the wicker picnic basked Rose was holding and sat it on the corner of the blanket. "Peaceful people, very intelligent."

Rose sat down with the Doctor. She was holding Snuffy in one hand. Snuffy was wearing a tiny purple blanket around her middle and a tiny collar was around her neck. There was a lead attached to the collar and Rose held onto the looped end of it while Snuffy explored the blanket. The Doctor opened the picnic basket, pulled out a small plastic sack filled with raisins and fed one to Snuffy.

"There you go, Poppet," he said to Snuffy while she put the raisin in her mouth. "Today we are having a family picnic. Mum, Dad and daughter," he said, patting her on the head while he fed her another raisin.

"Belzac, no!"

The Doctor and Rose froze when they heard a woman's voice coming from somewhere off to their left. Then they heard a little girl giggle and a male commanding her to come back. The Doctor held up his finger and stood up.

"Hello," he said aloud. "I'm the Doctor. We mean you no harm; my friend and I are just having a picnic. We'll leave you alone if you leave us alone, yeah? After all, the forest is big enough for all of us."

Both parties fell silent except for Snuffy's meeing while she looked for more raisins. Then they heard the sound of leaves rustling and twigs snapping. Rose stiffened but the Doctor put his hands in his pockets and adopted an unconcerned demeanor. Then they saw a large purple skinned man emerging through the trees. He was dressed in a white toga and his silver hair swayed in the breeze. He stopped and looked at the Doctor, Rose and Snuffy.

"Hello, I'm the Doctor, pleasure to meet you. This is Rose and this little cutie is Snuffy," he said, pointing down to the elephant. "As you can see, we're about to have lunch and that's all we're doing so please don't hurt us."

The man gazed at them for a moment before turning and going back into the forest.

"Have a good day," the Doctor said cheerfully before sitting back down.

"You think that's the end of it?" Rose said as the Doctor fed Snuffy another raisin.

"Better be the end of it. I don't fancy getting into a fight but if I have to"

They froze when they heard movement again and the Doctor stood up. The man came through the trees, this time carrying a white blanket and large plastic container. The Doctor regarded this with interest and watched while the man moved past them to an empty spot in the clearing.

"Ah, you're also having a bit of a nosh, how delightful," he said while the man set down the items and began to spread the blanket out on the ground.

Rose was watching the man when she heard more movement and a tiny giggle. She turned her head and saw a woman standing in the trees, giving them a wary look. In her arm was a small baby that laughed and pointed at Rose.

"Hi, I'm Rose. We won't hurt you. Come and eat with us," Rose said.

The female nodded and walked forward. She held Belzac tightly while the toddler's attention was fixated on Snuffy. She ooed at the elephant and pointed to Snuffy while they walked by Rose. The Doctor reintroduced himself to the female and she nodded.

"I am Shyla, this is my mate, Terzor," she said to the Doctor. "And this is our daughter, Belzac."

"Pleasure. Absolute pleasure," the Doctor said, crossing to shake hands with them while Rose got to her feet in order to do the same. "Nice to know that there are others who view this spot as a prime picnicking place."

He smiled when Belzac cooed and pointed to Snuffy again. The Doctor picked her up and Rose came to his side so Snuffy wouldn't choke on the lead. The Doctor held Snuffy out and Belzac's eyes widened with wonder while she put her hand out to Snuffy. She giggled when Snuffy wrapped her trunk around Belzac's index finger.

"What an unusual animal," Shyla said to the Doctor.

"Yes. They normally are much, much larger. This one has been miniaturized which makes her more cute."

Shyla gently guided her daughter's hand away from Snuffy while the Doctor gently uncoiled her trunk. The two parties sat down on their respective blankets and chatted while they ate their lunches.

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