“Fix it?” screamed the distraught Sahil, “It must be killed, it must be destroyed. Look, see what it has done.” The Doctor placed a sympathetic hand on his companions shoulder, “I understand.” He said simply. “Understand?” spat Sahil, “how could you understand. They may not have wanted me, they may not have loved me but they were my family, my people and now they have been wiped out by some evil, evil, monster. How could you understand!?”
The Doctor’s face darkened, the anger in his eyes shone like the heart of a sun and his clenched fists turned bone white. Then slowly he forced himself to relax, to forget, letting the anger ebb away. Breathing slowly he said “No, how could I? I’m sorry Sahil. But I promise you that it’s not in the nature of a Khaanorg to act this way. I know it would never have meant to do something like this. They are programmed to only fight their enemies, not innocent women and children. We have to find it. I have to heal it and take it home. I am sorry.”
Sahil looked at the Timelord through dead eyes, a broken man, “Of course,” he intoned “You’re right. I’ll help you look.” With that he turned on his heel and stalked off back into the jungle.
Several hours of awkward silence and exploration later the pair finally encountered their quarry. The Khaanorg was sat as still and silent as a mill pond, it’s back straight and it’s breathing calm and even. With each out breath the companions could hear a faint growl, or husky purr. It’s terrible weapon was leaning precisely against a tree in a scene that was completely at odds with the carnage at the village.
“Look,” whispered the Doctor pointing, “there, at the back of it’s head. A chemical input feed has been damaged.” Sahil gave the Timelord a confused glance before turning his emotionless gaze back to the creature in the distance. “Don’t you see?” continued the Doctor, “Those two feeds from it’s back lead directly to the brain, it’s how the human commanders control the Khaanorg. A mixture of chemicals are fed directly into the brain, modifying it’s behaviour. Obviously the damage to the feed is causing it to act irrationally, making more homicidal I’m afraid. Poor thing, it would have been better that the feed had been severed completely, killing it outright, rather than this wound which is driving it mad. But the good news is, and it is good news, I can heal it, I can make it better.” The Doctor beamed before turning to his silent companion. “You stay here,” he said in a serious tone, “I’ll go and talk to it, explain that I’m a, er, the Doctor and I can help it. We’ll have it home in no time you’ll see.” He patted Sahil’s shoulder and crept closer through the tangled undergrowth.
The Doctor moved stealthily through the jungle, circling the Khaanorg, so as to approach from the front and not startle it. He came slowly into view, hands open and in view and with what he hoped was a non-threatening smile on his face. “Hello,” he whispered “You’re in a bit of pain aren’t you?” As if in reply the creature growled softly, eyeing the newcomer with suspicion. The Doctor mimed stroking the back of his head, not taking his eyes from the huge form. “Look,” he said, “here, you’ve been hurt. I can fix that, make you better. Yes?” He nodded slowly, gingerly stepping closer. The Khaanorg reached a huge taloned maw behind it’s head, feeling the sticky purple ooze that seeped from the cut on one of it’s long bony growths. Curious it sniffed the liquid before licking it with a course tongue. “That’s right,” urged the Doctor, closer still, “goooood pussy.” Suddenly he became aware of Sahil approaching the creature from behind and carrying a long, heavy branch. The Doctor watched him over the muscular shoulders of the Khaanorg with a feeling of dread. Confused the creature began to stand, it felt threatened but was it the figure before him speaking in hushed tones, on the figure to the rear that had the scent of those who had attacked it days before, that was the danger. Before it could react Sahil leapt forward jamming his branch under the feed growth on the back of the creature’s head and with one huge effort levered backward with all his might.
The chemical feed tore from the back of the Khaanorg’s head, spraying noxious purple ooze into the air. Thrashing violently the creature screamed an inhuman and terrifying howl. These death cries echoed across the jungle sending birds and animals fleeing in terror and deafening the Doctor and Sahil. Then, without warning the mighty Khaanorg fell silently to it’s knees and collapsed dead on the jungle floor.
The Doctor sprinted over to the body, shouting at Sahil over the ringing in his ears. “Why? What did you have to go and do that for? Why? Why? I could have saved it, saved it!” He knelt beside the creature, tears in his eyes, clearing the sticky purple mess from it’s already fading fur. Sensing the other man was still nearby, stood still in silent shock the Doctor looked up, shouting again. “I could have saved it, I could have.”
Sahil’s strong voice was barely audible over the ringing in the Doctors ears. “But you couldn’t save my family,” he accused, “or my village. You couldn’t save my people! Now I have to go and attend to the dead, my dead.” With that the grieving photojournalist turned a stalked away.
“But I can’t save everyone, I couldn’t save everyone,” exclaimed the Doctor towards the retreating Sahil, before looking down towards the body at his feet, “couldn’t save anyone…”