Chapter 11

A young Frisian cow was staring at her. Defiantly placing her hands on her hips, Tegan stared back at it with the same cross expression she'd just given the Doctor. They'd landed in the middle of a pasture somewhere. She'd barely gone out the TARDIS door when she'd stepped in a cow pat. And Tegan wasn't the least bit amused when the Doctor had merely shrugged and remarked that at least it wasn't a fresh one.

Rubbing the sleeves of her cream coloured jacket, Tegan could feel goose pimples forming on her legs from the knees down. A brisk wind was whipping the hem of her dress. There was a sharp bite to it, with an almost tangible tang of frost in the air. The sun was setting over the mountains surrounding the field. It's deep scarlet glow was dancing in and out of some low dark clouds. A sudden parting of those clouds sent a shaft of crimson sunlight down upon the eastern hills, turning their mass of gray, leafless trees into a million candle flames.

However, Tegan was far too piqued with the Doctor to appreciate the beauty and serenity of her surroundings.

"What are you staring at?" She said to the little heifer. The sleek black and white animal raised her head and gave a long 'mawwwww!' "Maybe you are an alien." Tegan shrugged, eying the cow dubiously. "After travelling with the Doctor, who can tell? For all I know, that was your way of saying, 'welcome to the planet Bovine'."

Coming up to the fence, the Doctor's light hair was tossled by the breeze, as reached over to scratch the cow behind her ear. He didn't notice that he'd just torn a small hole in the bottom edge of his long beige Edwardian cricketer's jacket from the rusty barbed wire."Bovinia is light years away, Tegan." He smiled. "Besides, the Bovinians are fluorescent orange. Keeps them from being mistaken for deer by thick-headed hunters. I'm afraid this is simply your ordinary earth-bound milk cow."

The little cow tried to reach up and take a bite out of the stalk of celery the Doctor had pinned to the left lapel of his jacket. Bending down, the Doctor whispered something into the animal's ear. Tegan watched as the heifer slowly turned and ambled away to join some other cattle huddled in the middle of the field eating from a pile of hay.

"Where are we then? Glastonbury in nineteen thirty?" She asked plaintively.

"Not exactly, no." The Doctor shook his head. "I did promise to take you to an important rock festival, but..."

"Wait. Don't tell me." Tegan put up her hand and shook her head. "I know. The TARDIS got it wrong again."

The Doctor's positive smile wavered somewhat at this slight to his beloved ship.

"Er—yes. Technically it is the site of a rock festival. Not quite Glastonbury, though. Sorry."

"I see. So where are we, then?" Tegan asked evenly, hoping this wasn't going to turn into a game of twenty questions.

"Woodstock, New York..."

"Oh, but that's brilliant!" Tegan beamed, thrilled to her toes at witnessing one of the most important rock festivals in history. "Watching Jimmy Hendrix playing the American national anthem on his guitar. How amazing would that be?"

"...In nineteen fifty-nine." The Doctor finished, effectively putting a lid on Tegan's enthusiasm.

"Doctor! You've got to be joking!" Tegan said angrily, rounding on the him. "You promised! One nice trip in the TARDIS. That's what you said. No aliens. No running. No explosions. Anywhere I want to go. She threw up her hands. "As if!" Tegan accused him with a negative shake of her head, "I should have known! You can't even get me back to my job at Heathrow. What made me think you'd be able to take me to a rock concert?"

Not wanting to be besieged by Tegan's whinging, the Doctor hurried back to the TARDIS saying, "Hang on just a tick, Tegan. I'll see if I can't reconfigure the coordinates to take us up a decade or so. Won't be but a moment..."

No sooner had the Doctor shut the TARDIS door, when there was a loud bang from behind her. Giving a startled cry, Tegan instinctively ducked. The cattle in the field ran off as a herd, bawling in protest over the noise. Something hit the door hard, rocking the Doctor's ship. Whatever it was gave off a tiny puff of smoke that slowly dissipated in a thin trail in the air, revealing a blackened smudge in the middle of the door.

"Missed!" Came a deep, growly male voice. "If I can't get the Doctor, then I'll have to settle for his female."

Slowly getting up, Tegan looked behind her. Standing before her was what looked like an enormous three meter tall German shepherd. It was standing there on two legs on the other side of the barbed wire fence, wearing a military flak jacket and trousers.

The alien's furry brown-black ears were sticking out of the holes at the top of a black helmet. Instead of paws though, it had human-like hands with opposable thumbs. Though furry, its face was more humanoid as well, with a human mouth and an only vaguely dog-like nose. The newcomer's apprentice may have been almost comical, but for the fact that it had the point of a very lethal looking blast gun centred on Tegan's chest.

"Call him out here, girl." The dog-man snarled. "I know the Time Lord won't be able to resist saving one of his friends."

"Who are you?" Tegan asked more boldly then she actually felt. "Where the hell did you come from? And what's the Doctor ever done to you?"

"Silence!" The man-dog barked. "I am Rogerious from Altar Prime. The most feared bounty hunter in the ten known galaxies. You will obey me or you will die. If you wish to live human, call the Doctor out here. Now!"

"Relax erm—Roger." Tegan said, raising her hands in the air and trying to stall for time. "I'll do as you say. But only if you tell me why you want to kill the Doctor."

"When the Rutan's give someone like me a contract, I have no choice but to fulfill it. Not if I don't want to die very slowly and painfully. And of course the pay for bringing down a Time Lord will allow me to retire in style. I heard somewhere that they can regenerate their bodies up to thirteen times. The power pack on my gun is unlimited. A dozen or so shots won't even warm the barrel. Now bring the Doctor out here!" The dog-man snarled.

"No!" Tegan began to protest.

Without warning, the TARDIS began to de-materialize. A sudden gust of wind kicked up a swirl of brown leaves, and the noise of its departure caused the little knot of cattle to bolt again. Tegan watched with a mixture of fear and relief, as she watched the ship slowly dissolve into nothingness.

When the sound of the ship had completely died away, Tegan and the dog man she called 'Roger' staring after it.

A deep growl rose from 'Roger's' throat. "Coward!" He turned his gun on Tegan. "But at least I have a hostage. Come, female! We will go back to my ship and follow him."

"The name's Tegan. And I'm not going anywhere with you." She said defiantly. "Not if you're going to use me to kill the Doctor."

"Then you will be of no further use to me, human called Tegan. I shall kill you now." The man-dog flipped a switch on his gun. It gave off a menacing whine as it powered up.

"Ah, OK. Maybe you should take me to this ship of yours..." Tegan hastily agreed.

In the meantime, the Doctor was frowning deeply at the console of his TARDIS, watching the red time rotor pump up and down rhymically inside its round perspex cylinder.

"Tegan's not going to be pleased. In fact, I'll probably never hear the end of it. Well, I certainly didn't tell you to take off. At least," He said, pausing to search his recent memory, "I don't think I did." Realizing he hadn't, the Doctor continued trying to bring his ship back under his control, muttering, "I just don't understand this. You aren't supposed to be able to do that. What's going on? Is it the High Council interfering again?"

That's when he looked up at the monitor screen mounted on the wall of the control room, and saw what was happening to Tegan.

"Oh no!" The Doctor exclaimed, his face suddenly alarmed. "We've got to go back!" He said to his ship, frantically working the controls.

Unfortunately for the Doctor—and Tegan, the TARDIS wasn't listening. She'd just received an Emergency Protocol 378 message. Her programming told her this was a top priority and she was duty bound to answer the summons.

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