The Challengers and the Mission
By Van Turner, writing as Allen Turner
Illustrated by Allen Turner
Number One (1) in The Challengers Series
Began: October 20, 1984
Completed: November 10, 1984
For: Joanna Douglas, one of my best friends of whose image I created Joanna Berckley.
Sincerely, Van Turner
Other books in The Challengers Series
- The Mission
- The Horror of Darkon
- The Robots of Destruction
- The Ring of Death
- The Scetza Invasion
Introduction to The Challengers
- Prologue: Creation of the Drymiss
- The Assassination
- The Suspect
- The Trial
- The Verdict
- The Meeting of Joanna
- Escape to Gallifrey
- Invasion of the Drymiss
- The Drymiss’ Secret
- The Secret is Stolen
- Destruction of the Drymiss
- The Decisions
Introduction the “The Challengers”
“The Challengers” is an American spin-off of the world popular, long running British
television show Doctor Who.
Instead of the Doctor, you have Troy Star. Instead of Barbara Wright, Jamie
McCrimmon, Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith, or Tegan Jovanka, you have Joanna Berckley.
With Troy Star taking the place of the Doctor, and Joanna Berckley taking the place of
the Doctor’s companions, what takes the place of the TARDIS, you ask.
Instead of a Type 40 TARDIS, you have a Type 15c TARDIS.
Troy Star originally came from the year 2984, but sudden circumstances forced him to
1984 where he met Joanna Berckley and was sent to Gallifrey. Once he was there, he set out helping the people of Gallifrey, the Time Lords.
The Time Lords are a good people but they are powerful. And there is a traitor in their
midst; the evil Cobson.
Can Troy Star, whose real name is Starrius Tromas, Prince of Le Flure, defeat Cobson
and his superiors, the Drymiss?
Creation of the Drymiss
The Drymiss are like Cybermen except for three major factors:
Number one: their looks.
The Drymiss are humanoid in appearance, like the Cybermen. The Drymiss are tall, black
colored robots with red trim and blue buttons on their chests. They have a silver head with a black ring around it. Set into the ring are red eyes and gold holes in each side for ears. They have a clear dome on top of their head. Under the dome is a maze of computer chips and wires to make up the brain. On the face is a metal rectangle jutting out from the ring to just about the mouth. The mouth is set into a permanent frown. The mouth is actually a light that blinks in time with the syllables in the words they say when they speak. When they speak their voices reverberate. Their voices sound hollow and echo hollowly.
Number two: emotions.
The Drymiss still have some emotions. Emotions like hate, anger and impatience. The
Drymiss were human at one time. Before they sought immortality. Emotions such as love, sorrow, happiness, and sadness were forgotten.
Number three: weaknesses.
Everybody knows that the Cybermen’s weaknesses are radiation, gravity and gold. The
Drymiss’ weaknesses are radiation and a hole in the back of their rings. The picture below is of a Drymiss.
The scene was one of the future. Huge metal buildings lined the sky. Both traditional and
modern metal buildings stretched across the flat desert. Most of the metal buildings were dome shaped. Like giant metal basketballs on a huge sand court.
The hugest building was combined of both. A huge dome in the middle of eight tall metal
buildings. From the dome stretched eight tall hallways. This was the Royal Palace of Le Flur.
In the Dome of the Palace was a scene of beauty and elegance. The Throne Room was
huge and beautiful. The Throne was in the center of the Room. It rested on a raised dais. On it rested the King of Le Flur. A barrel-chested man with a short, neat beard and mustache. On his head rested a beautiful crown with green, blue and red stones set into it.
The King of Le Flur was in his mid forties and living a good life. After all, he settled the
problem over money spending in the government. He made it illegal to spend over 5,000 talmars on such things as the importation of hovercrafts, the nation’s inner defense, and the exportation of generator parts. Nuclear waste was illegal in Le Flur due to good King Manconi.
Ah, yes. A terrific life he was living.
Beside him sat an empty Throne, meant for the Queen of Le Flur, who was killed several
weeks earlier. A thorough investigation of the murder was still in progress. Some of the investigators were questioning the King when a tall, muscular man in his early twenties walked in. He had auburn hair and brown eyes. He wore the garments of a Prince: a frilly red and purple shirt, frilly orange and black pants, a long yellow, brown, orange, green, white, purple, black, red, and aqua striped cloak, and a small gold crown.
This was the Prince of Le Flur, Starrius Tromas. He came and sat down beside his father,
“Good morning, Father,” greeted Prince Starrius in his deep American sounding voice.
“Good morning to you as well, son,” replied the King of Le Fluer in his high English
“Have the investigators been hampering you again?” asked Starrius.
“Yes, but not as bad as a few weeks ago.” (Le Fluer was the capitol of Atlantis.)
Just then a young woman in her early thirties with brown hair and blue eyes walked up to
the King and bowed low.
“Sires,” she greeted. “May I ask you both some questions. She was a black English
“Go away, Alexandria,” said Starrius tiredly.
“Just a few simple questions?”
“Go…” Starrius began.
“Very well, Alexandria,” interrupted the King.
“Thank you, Sire. Now then, Starrius,” greeted the investigator. “I’m going to start with
“No you’re not! My father may have the patience for this sort of thing but I don’t. I’ll be
in my chambers if you need me, Father. Until later, good bye.” With that, he got up and left the room.
“I don’t know what’s gotten into that boy,” said the King patiently.
“Could be that fact that he’s an adult now and not a child,” suggested Alexandria. “You
know, the responsibilities.”
“Could be. That or his mother’s death,” said the exasperated and embarrassed King.
“That would be a definite factor.”
Starrius entered his huge chambers and threw his cloak from his shoulders. He tossed his
crown to a servant and stretched out on his luxurious bed.
Outside the Throne Room, a sinister figure dressed all in black moved stealthily along the
corridor towards the Throne Room. His face and hair were covered by a black ski mask. His hands were covered by black gloves. Over his eyes he wore dark sunshades.
In one hand he carried a sinister looking laser pistol. He seemed to go unnoticed as he
entered the Throne Room. The King, with the exception of his Royal Guards, was alone.
“Perfect,” the figure whispered to himself in a sinister voice.
The Guards had their backs to turned to the back entrance. So did the King. The figure
raised his gun and trained it on the King. He stopped to savor the moment then he pulled the trigger. There was a nasty crackle as a blue ray of light shot out of the gun, striking the King through a hole in the Throne.
The King stood up rigidly, screamed and pitched forward on his face.
The Guards turned around to see what had happened. All they saw was their King lying
on the floor. One of the guards rushed over to the King and felt on his neck.
“No pulse,” he announced. “Quick! Fetch the Prince.”
The other Guard nodded, turned and ran from the room toward Starrius’ quarters. As
soon as he reached Starrius’ quarters he knocked rapidly on the door and walked in. He shook Starrius awake.
“Sire, sire! You’re requested in the Throne Room!”
“By whom?” asked Starrius sleepily.
“Don’t ask, just go!”
“Very well.” Starrius got up slowly.
“Hurry!” said the Guard impatiently.
“Okay!” said Starrius equally impatient.
The Guard rushed into the Throne Room, followed by an angry Starrius.
“This had better be important!” he stormed.
“It is, Sire,” said a figure in his late fifties. The figure was dressed in long robes and a tall
hat. The figure pulled a sheet over the King and rose to face Starrius.
“I’m afraid your father’s been murdered,” announced the grey bearded figure.
“What?” said Starrius in a hushed, shaking voice.
“I’m sorry,” said the Arch Bishop, the bearded figure.
“I want a thorough investigation made. I want the murderer found and executed!”
“Already in progress,” said a familiar voice. It was Alexandria. She was almost in tears. “The King and I were best of friends.”
“He was my father. How do you think I feel?”
“Starrius,” said Crinster, “may we go to your quarters?” Crinster was the Arch Bishop’s
“Yes. By all means.”
“Brave heart, Starrius,” said Alexandria encouragingly.
“You come with us, Alexandria. Okay?” asked the Arch Bishop.
They started down the corridor toward Starrius’ quarters. No one noticed a tear rolling
down Starrius’ cheek. As soon as they were in Starrius’ quarters, the figure in black stepped out of an alcove and hurried over to a window. He opened it and climbed out onto a ledge. He looked down, said a silent prayer and jumped.
He landed hard on the cement sidewalk. He got up cursing and limped off to a hovercraft.
He got behind the steering stick and sped away.
In Starrius’ quarters, Crinster was talking privately with Starrius.
“Some of the investigators think you may be the killer,” Crinster was telling Starrius.
Starrius didn’t take it too well. He was utterly shocked.
“They’ll take their suspicions to the High Court. There will be a questioning, a full
investigation, a trial, and the verdict.”
“If they can’t prove me innocent or guilty what will they do?”
“The worst they can do if they suspect you is exile you.”
“Exile?” shouted Alexandria, who seemed to be forgotten.
Just then there was a knock on the door.
“Enter,” said Starrius.
The Guard that woke him, the Prime Minister and the High Court Attorney walked in.
The Guard was looking very depressed. He Starrius’ body guard, Rayford.
The Prime Minister, a man in his late seventies, was looking equally depressed. The High
Court Attorney was looking like the other two. He was in his early forties.
The High Council Attorney stepped forward.
“I’m afraid you’ve been accused of the murder of your mother, our Queen, and your
father, our King,” he announced. “You and your party will proceed to the Court Room where the trial can begin. I will question the accusers, the accused and the witnesses, if any. Now, please proceed to the Court Room.”
Starrius, Alexandria, and the Arch Bishop stood up and walked out into the corridor and
toward the Court Room, followed by the Guard, the Prime Minister, and the Attorney. They entered the Court Room and took their places.
Starrius and his party took up the place of the Defendant. Some of the investigators were
seated in the place of the Plaintiff. The Arch Bishop and the Guard took their place in the Witness Stand. The Prime Minister took his seat behind the Judge’s Desk.
“The Court Room will come to order!” he announced, banging the gavel twice on his
desk. “The case of the People versus Prince Starrius will now begin.
“Attorney Raymond, you may begin your cross examination.”
“Thank you, your Honor.
“Starrius,” he began, “where were you when you heard of your father’s death?”
“In my quarters,” answered Starrius.
“Can you prove that?”
“The Guard on the Witness Stand woke me to tell me.”
The Attorney turned to the Guard: “Is that true?”
“Yes, sir,” said the Guard nervously.
The Attorney turned to the group of investigators.
“What reason would Starrius have to kill his father?”
A tall, pretty woman with brunette hair and blue eyes stood up. “The Throne, the Crown,
the Kingship. We think he killed his father and his mother for the Kingship.”
“You have no evidence to prove that!” shouted Starrius angrily.
“And you have no liable witness to prove yourself innocent!” shouted the woman.
“The Guard is my witness!” was Starrius’ retort.
“Witnesses can be paid!”
“Are you accusing me of bribery?”
“Did I pay you?” Starrius asked the Guard.
“No, Sire!” answered the Guard angrily. “I would never accept payment of the sort!”
“Quiet!” yelled the Prime Minister, slamming the gavel on the desk. “I have heard
enough from both sides to make a decision.” He rose and walked off, saying: “I’ll be back in a moment with the verdict.” He walked into a small room, closing the door behind him.
“What do you think he’ll say?” Alexandra asked Starrius.
“I don’t know,” replied Starrius worriedly.
After an hour of waiting, the Prime Minister walked into the Court Room and sat
down behind his desk.
“I have reached a decision,” he announced. “It was an agonizing decision,” he
said slowly and sadly.
“In reaction to the lack of evidence involved to prove Starrius innocent or guilty,
and the acts of violence displayed in the Court Room today, I hereby declare you a
suspect in the murder of your mother and father.
“I hereby sentence you, Starrius Tromas, Prince of Le Flur, to exile on Earth in
the year 1984 for an undetermined period of time! Any questions?”
There was silence.
“Good. You will gather some of your belongings and go to the Time Transfer
Capsule. I bid you farewell!”
Starrius walked out slowly towards the Time Transfer Capsule, followed by
Alexandria, Crinster, and Rayford. Starrius entered a small room dominated by a large,
clear cylinder in the center. He entered the cylinder, followed by Alexandria.
“You’ll need to come out of there, Alexandria,” said Crinster.
“Just a moment,” she said.
She put her arms around Starrius, looked into his face and said, “I wish you luck,
He kissed her on the cheek and forehead and said, “Thank you, Alexandria. I’ll
Alexandria stepped out of the cylinder, looking longingly at Starrius.
“Goodbye, Starrius,” she said.
“Goodbye. I’ll miss you.”
Crinster pulled the lever and waved goodbye to Starrius. Starrius waved back, shimmered
The Meeting of Joanna
It was a scene of peace and tranquility. It was beginning to get dark in the country
side lane. The air shimmered and a tall, muscular young man appeared out of nowhere. It
was Prince Starrius.
He tried to walk but suddenly felt dizzy and fell down. He stayed in the same spot
all night. The next morning, he was awakened by a pretty, petite girl in her early twenties.
She had blue eyes and blond hair and wore large round glasses.
“Hey!” she said. “Who are you? What do think you’re doing on my father’s
property? And where did you get those clothes?”
“One question at a time,” said Starrius sleepily.
“Okay. Who are you?” asked the girl impatiently.
“I’m Prince Star…” He cut himself off. “Star. Troy Star of San Diego, California.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I got lost.”
The girl considered.
“What are about the clothes?”
“What, these? Anything wrong with them?”
“No. They look like they were meant for an obese king. You said something about a prince?”
“Oh, yes. Must have still been asleep,” Troy (Starrius) explained. (Throughout the
remainder of the book, Starrius will be called Troy). “By the way, who are you?”
“I’m Joanna Berckley of Sacremento.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Troy said as he got up off the ground. He held out his hand,
Joanna took it and shook it hardily.
“I’d love to have some robes like those,” Joanna said admiringly.
“I’d like to have some more ‘up-to-date’ clothes,” said Troy, looking at his ceremonial
From somewhere in the distance came the sound of dogs.
“My father must be hunting early today,” Joanna explained. “Come on. I’ll see if I can find some more conventional clothing for you.”
“Okay. Thank you very much.”
They began their short walk toward Joanna’s house. They came to Joanna’s house. She tried the door. It was locked. She took the key from under a flower pot and unlocked the door. They walked into a small room with a set of bunk beds in one corner and a dresser in the other.
Joanna opened the walk in closet and came out with a navy blue sweater with brown trim, a pair of blue denim jeans, a blue plaid shirt, a pair of white socks, and a pair of grey tennis shoes.
“These are my older brother’s clothes,” she said. “They look like they might fit you. Here,” she said, handing the clothes to Troy. “Put ‘em on. I’ll be outside.”
Troy started pulling off his ceremonial robes and putting on the conventional sweater, jeans and tennis shoes. After a while Troy stepped out of the small room with his new clothes on.
“How do they fit?” Joanna asked.
“A bit tight but comfortable.”
“I’m glad you like them. Now then. I want you to tell me your life story.”
“You dropped this.” Joanna held up a small, round metal dish. It had written on it in gold letters, “STARRIUS TROMAS: CROWN PRINCE OF LE FLUR. 2984 AD.”
“Well,” Troy began. “My name is Starrius Tromas. I am the Crown Prince of Le Flure. I originally come from the year 2984. My life story began something like this…” Troy started explaining his complicated life story.
Escape to Gallifrey
Far away on the planet Gallifrey, home of the Time Lords, a message was being received. The message shocked the Receiver Operator and anyone else who read it.
The person it shocked the most was the Deputy President of the High Council. The Deputy President was a short, again woman with hair and a deeply lined face. When she read the message, she had to sit down.
“Who would think that such a kind boy like Prince Starrius would be exiled to 1984 under suspicion of murder?” she said angrily as she walked toward a small, brown wooden box with glass windows in the doors.
She took the key from around her neck and unlocked the tool shed door.
“What are you doing?” asked her daughter.
Her daughter, Heleena, was young and beautiful like her mother before she was appointed President.
“Going to find Starrius,” she replied.
“You can’t! You’re not fit!” Heleena cried desperately.
“Fit?” asked Flavia, the Deputy President. “I’ve never felt better!” She started to go inside the small shed.
Heleena grabbed her shoulder to restrain her. The President pushed her aside, stumbled inside and closed the door. Heleena banged on the door in fury and vain. Then was a wheezing groaning noise filled the air and the shed vanished!
Heleena wasn’t surprised. She had seen the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) come and go a hundred times. Although she has never ridden in one she knew how it worked. Heleena understood that her mother cherished her old Type Fifteen TARDIS. Why she cherished it, nobody knows.
• • • • •
Back on Earth, Troy had finished telling Joanna his life story and they were walking toward her father’s tool shed.
• • • • •
Somewhere close by a wheezing groaning noise filled the air and a tool shed appeared from nowhere. The Deputy President had arrived.
The door opened and she stepped out. She needed to find Starrius for a reason, a special reason. If she didn’t find him she would be better off on Earth. She heard voices moving toward her so she ducked behind the TARDIS.
• • • • •
Soon the voices were very close to the Deputy President. The voices were those of Troy and Joanna.
“Is this your father’s shed?” Troy asked of Joanna.
“Not unless he built a new one,” she said. “Oh well. Maybe the key’ll fit.”
“No!” screamed a voice. The Deputy rushed around to Troy and Joanna.
“Who are you?” asked Joanna.
“The Deputy President of Gallifrey!” Troy answered cheerfully. “How may I be of service, Madame President?”
“Are you Prince Starrius Tromas of Le Flur?” asked the President.
“I was until the High Court exiled me to 1984,” answered Troy sorrowfully.
“Come with me!” she said, grabbing Troy by the arm and dragging him in the TARDIS.
Troy grabbed Joanna and dragged her inside.
“What’s all this about?” asked Joanna rubbing her arm.
“The Drymiss are trying to take over Gallifrey,” the President replied.
“Drymiss,” answered Troy. “They tried to take over Earth a few years from now but failed.”
“What are they like?”
“You’ll see,” said the Deputy President.
Just then Joanna did see. Not a Drymiss but the interior of the TARDIS.
“How is this possible?” she asked.
“Through the use of transdimentrics,” answered Troy.
“Transdimentrics. The science of transdimensional objects. Or if you wish, the study of objects that are larger inside than out. This is a TARDIS. That’s an acronym for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. This is a Type 15c by the look of it.”
“Time travelling tool shed?” Joanna asked. “Type 15c? You mean this thing can travel in Time and Space?”
“You got it.”
Then a wheezing groaning noise filled the control room.
“We’re taking off,” said the President. She pressed a button on the many sided control table and sat down in a chair. Troy and Joanna joined her. They watched the center column rise and fall steadily. Finally the column stopped and the wheezing groaning came back.
“We’ve arrived!” said the Deputy President.
She walked over to the console and touched a button. A section of the wall slid back to reveal a black TV-like screen. The President pushed another button. The screen glared for a moment then dimmed to reveal the outside surroundings: a solid steel wall on three sides of the TARDIS and a long corridor in front. She pulled a lever on the console and the door opened.
Troy hung up his robes on the hat stand and walked out, followed by Joanna and the President, who locked the door behind her and pocketed the key.
“Where now?” Troy asked the President.
“To stop the Drymiss before they can invade Gallifrey.”
Invasion of the Drymiss
“Are you certain their shields are down?” asked a hollowly echoing voice.
The voice belonged to a tall, black robot with red trim and a silver head with a black ring around it. Set into the ring were a pair of red glowing eyes. On top of the head was a clear dome that revealed a maze of electronic circuits. Set into the chest was a multitude of buttons. The mouth was a light that flashed in time with the syllables of words it said.
“Yes, Leader,” answered another of the robots, “we are certain. The Time Lords will gladly give up Gallifrey to the Drymiss in exchange for their lives.”
“Is the ship in position for invasion?” asked the Leader, emotionlessly.
“Yes, Leader,” equally cold.
“Good. Begin the invasion!” shouted the leader angrily. “If anyone tries to resist, kill them!”
• • • • •
The President had gone to her quarters to rest and left Heleena in charge of the state of affairs. (Secretly to tell Le Flur where Starrius was).
Troy and Joanna were in the control room where Heleena had taken them. They were watching several “blips” moving across a radar screen.
“What are they?” Joanna asked the radar technician.
“The Drymiss invasion fleet,” he answered worriedly. “They’re moving in.”
“Call the shield technicians,” said Heleena.
“Yes, Madam,” replied the radar technician. Then he called the shield technicians on the telecom. (A television/intercom). “They said that the main power cable was cut and the generators are useless. We’re defenseless.”
“So it seems you are,” said Joanna.
“No we’re not,” said Troy. “You have weapons, don’t you?” he asked the technician.
“Yes, but just for emergencies,” answered the worried technician.
“This is an emergency, man!” screamed Troy. “What does it take to convince you?”
“The Drymiss must touch Gallifreyan soil. But they must also kill one of our people,” said the technician calmly.
“I hate quoting people,” said Joanna, “but in this case I’ll make an exception. As William Hartnell would say, ‘good heavens!’”
“Who is William Hartnell?” Troy asked Joanna.
“Who was he,” Joanna corrected. “He portrayed the part of the first Doctor in Doctor Who.”
“No, not what. Who. Nevermind.”
Troy shook his head in confusion and left the room. Heleena caught up with him.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“To find weapons!”
“Only the President knows where they are and she’s resting.”
“Then I’ll have to wake her, wont’ I?”
“I won’t let you!” she said stubbornly.
“You won’t have to wake me, Starrius,” came the President’s voice from behind them. “The same idea came to my mind as well. I’ll use the Special Powers Act.”
“Thank you, Madam President,” said Troy. “I owe you one.”
“You owe me nothing,” said the aging woman. “It is we that owe you.”
A tall, rather handsome man with black hair and eyes walked up behind the President. He was wearing the traditional robes of a Vice-President.
“Yes, we owe you a great deal,” said the man.
“Starrius, Joanna, this is the Vice-President of the High Council. Cobson, this is Joanna Berckley and Starrius Tromas.”
“A pleasure,” said Cobson worriedly. “You’re not serious about using the Special Powers Act, are you, Flavia?” he asked the President.
“I’m quite certain, Cobson. So would you be so kind to fetch the proper papers?” asked Flavia, impatiently.
“Yes, Flavia,” said Cobson and hurried down the corridor.
“Great minds think together, eh, Flavia?” asked Troy laughingly.
• • • • •
The leader of the Drymiss didn’t take the news of Flavia using the Special Powers Act as bad as Cobson thought. In fact, the leader actually laughed.
“You say she is going to use some ‘age-old’ technology against the Drymiss?” he said laugh out loud.
“Yes, Simm,” said Cobson worriedly. “But the weapons are of Scetza technology!” he warned. “The Scetzas; you worst enemies.”
Simm, the Drymiss leader, stopped laughing. “Why wasn’t I told earlier, Cobson?” he asked angrily.
“I didn’t expect this to happen!”
“You should always expect the unexpected, Cobson! You won’t be punished, though. Then he turned to another Drymiss. “Invade Gallifrey immediately!” he said to the Drymiss Warrior. Then he turned back to Cobson, who was looking very worried.
“Is there anything else I should know?” he asked Cobson.
“Just one unimportant item of detail. It seems a man called Starrius by the President and Troy by an Earth girl, has come to help Gallifrey.”
“Prince Starrius of Le Flur?” Simm asked in outrage. “You idiot! He can do worst to us than the Scetza’s technology! I want you to destroy him! Don’t call me back until you have! Understood?”
“Yes. Perfectly. Out.” Then the monitor shut off.
• • • • •
Cobson came running up the corridor to find Troy throwing some oddly shaped weapons out of a supposedly secret closet.
“What good will the Scetza’s technology do?” Flavia was asking him.
Joanna was wondering who the Scetzas were. She decided to keep her mouth shut, though.
“The Scetzas and the Drymiss have been at each others’ throats for nearly six centuries,” he explained.
Flavia failed to see reason.
“The Scetzas developed these weapons to destroy metal. The Drymiss caught wind and protested strongly.”
Just then there was a huge explosion that hurled Troy and the others to the ground.
“What was that?” asked Joanna, scared half to death.
“The beginning of the Drymiss’ invasion,” said Troy worriedly.
Then suddenly the huge metal doors at the end of the corridor were ripped from their hinges and standing behind the rigid facing were several tall black robots with silver heads that had black rings around them and a multitude of buttons on their chests. The Drymiss had arrived!
The Drymiss’ Secret
“So, Starrius,” greeted Simm, “we meet again.”
“It appears we do,” said Troy sourly. Then he asked, “how did you escape the Scetzas’ prison planet, Sulfurra?”
The old Drymiss remembered that defeat in the Scetza War of 2975. Earth had been the battleground.
Even though the Prince was only fifteen when it happened, the memory of the Drymiss’ defeat was still locked happily in his mind. This is where Starrius met Simm. Simm had taken him as a prisoner on their secret destroyer, the mighty Starbird. Even the Prince was impressed.
The plan for escape failed when Starrius used a Scetza weapon on Simm and the Starbird. He stole an escape pod and flew to safety while the Starbird exploded, killing Simm. Or Starrius thought it did.
“Why Gallifrey, Simm?” Troy asked, standing up right.
“Why not?” Simm challenged.
Troy didn’t accept the challenge. Instead he turned away.
“By the way, Starrius,” Simm began, “we have a new ship called the Starbird Avenger. An exact replica of the Starbird. Only, the Starbird Avenger is somewhat smaller. It will be landing soon. You and your friends will have the pleasure of seeing the inside.”
“Not if I can help it,” said Troy, snatching the flashlight like gun from its holster and training it on Simm. “Run for it, Joanna, Flavia! I’ll join you in a moment.”
Flavia took Troy’s advice and ran. Joanna hesitated. She had known Troy for only three hours and all this about the Drymiss and the Scetza confused her, but she liked Troy and she was going to help.
“I’m staying with you,” she said to Troy.
“I said run!” Troy said.
“Very well. But I am. Bye.” With that he turned and ran after Flavia.
Joanna wasn’t going to be left behind so she ran after him.
A laser bolt passed over her head and hit the wall beside her. Another sizzled passed her shoulder and hit Flavia squarely in the back.
She fell on the floor and slid for a short distance.
Troy reached her first and felt for a pulse. There was a slight thumping in her wrist.
“We owe you very much, Starrius,” she said weakly. “I want you to have this.” She held out her TARDIS key. Troy took and was going to protest but she closed her eyes and her head slumped over.
Troy stood up, turned around to face the Drymiss, held out his Scetza ray gun and fired, killing one Drymiss after another. He stopped firing when Simm held out Joanna in front of him.
“Fire once more and the girl dies!” he warned.
Troy had a decision to make. He could, if he chose, fire and risk hitting Joanna. Of, if he hit a Drymiss, Simm would kill Joanna. He didn’t want to risk it. He could very easily run, if he chose, and be killed instantly. He had one other choice. He could give up without a fight and be captured. That’s it! He could give up and be captured. The Drymiss would put him and Joanna on their ship. He’d get a good look at the controls, figure out how to fly it, escape, steal the ship and use it against the Drymiss! Perfect! All this went through his mind in under five seconds.
He tossed the Scetza ray gun to the nearest Drymiss who caught it instinctively, then raised his hands to shoulder height in surrender.
“Dammit, Simm, you did it again!” Troy said angrily. “You’ve got me between a rock and a hard spot! Come on, let’s get it over with.” He held out his hands in front of him.
Simm stared in confusion.
“This is not the Starrius I knew on Earth,” he said to Troy. “You put up a fight on Earth. Here you simply give up. Where’s your daring?” he challenged again.
Again, Troy didn’t accept. Instead, he explained where his daring was.
“I was exiled to 1984, Earth, under suspicion of murdering my mother and father. My spirit left when the Prime Minister announced the verdict,” Troy said sadly.
“I’ve no time to listen to your life story.” He turned to two Drymiss Warriors. “Take them to the Starbird Avenger,” he ordered.
The two Warriors took Joanna and Troy to the Starbird Avenger.
• • • • •
After walking for a long time, going down corridor after corridor, the Drymiss Warriors brought them outside an airlock leading to the Starbird Avenger. One Warrior opened the airlock and bundled Troy and Joanna inside. He then opened the door leading inside the Starbird Avenger. The other stayed in the airlock.
Troy stepped in and looked around. Simm was right. The Starbird Avenger was a small copy of the Starbird but more advanced. Troy noticed some familiar technology. Scetza! It was Scetza technology. The Drymiss had stolen some of the Scetza’s technology.
“I recognize this technology. It belonged to the Scetza’s, didn’t it?” Troy was furious. The Drymiss were his enemies and they had stolen the Scetza’s technology! He’d soon put a stop to that!
“This is plagiarism!” he screamed in outrage. “I won’t stand for it!” He rushed over to the control console to pull the take off lever, if he could find it.
That was a mistake.
The Drymiss Warrior shot Troy in the chest, knocking him over a chair, unconscious – or dead.
Joanna ran over to where Troy landed. She knelt beside him and felt his wrist and looked up with tears in her eyes. Troy was dead!
Joanna rose slowly, walked over to a chair and sat down, sadly. “How will I get home now?” she thought to herself.
She heard a groaning, like a person with a headache. She looked up to see Troy sitting upright shake his head rapidly.
The Drymiss Warrior covered him with his strange looking rifle. But the rifle looked familiar. It looked like the one the figure dressed in black killed the King with. Could it have been the Drymiss that killed the King?
“Are you alright?” Joanna, asked Troy.
“Right as a snowball in hell!” replied Troy sorely.
“I thought you were dead! I felt your wrist and there wasn’t a pulse so I assumed you were dead!”
“My heart rate was slowed by the ray from his gun,” Troy said, pointing to the Drymiss Warrior. “By the way,” he said to the Warrior, “your gun needs to be recharged.”
The Warrior looked at the gun.
This was the distraction on Troy needed. With lightning fast movements he snatched Scetza ray gun from the control console and jumped back, leveling the triangular weapon at the angry Warrior, who had reacted too late.
“Hand your weapon to Joanna,” said Troy calmly.
The Warrior handed the gun to Joanna.
“Now stand right there!” Troy said through gritted teeth. Troy aimed and pushed the trigger. The end of the gun glowed white and a white beam of light shot out, striking the Warrior in the ring on his head. His head exploded into a million fragments. The Warrior slumped to the floor.
The Secret is Stolen
“Help me with this,” said Troy motioning to the body of the Drymiss Warrior. He and Joanna put the body of the Warrior in the storage compartment.
Troy operated the lever that closed the door and raised he ramp and sat down in the pilot’s chair like ship was his.
“What now?” Joanna asked.
“We use the Drymiss’ little secret against them.”
“How? We can’t fly it. Neither one of us knows how?”
“You don’t. But if my memory serves me correctly, I can.” Troy remembered the Drymiss’ invasion of Earth and how they used their ship, the Starbird, to terrorize Leflur and the rest of Earth. He remembered how easily he learned to fly it.
He pressed a series of buttons and a humming reached their ears as the Starbird Avenger’s generators started up. Troy buckled his seat belt and Joanna did the same.
Then Troy flipped a series of switches and a whirring noise filled the ship as the engines began to warm up. He pulled three levers marked “THRUST CONTROL” to “ONE-QUARTER.” The Starbird Avenger began moving out of the massive hangar and toward a runway.
Troy pulled the thrust control levers to “HALF” and the Starbird Avenger moved faster down the runway. He pulled back on the steering wheel and the nose of the ship came off of the ground, followed by the rest of the ship.
• • • • •
In the control room, the Drymiss heard the Starbird Avenger’s engines and came running to the hangar to see it speeding down the runway and zoom into the air. Simm was outraged. He knew Troy would use it against them. There was nothing he or the Drymiss could do. Or was there?
He ran back to the control room and ordered that the Starbird Avenger be damaged in a way that Troy had to land.
• • • • •
Troy had no way of knowing this; he just wanted to get rid of the Drymiss.
Destruction of the Drymiss
Troy maneuvered the Starbird Avenger like an expert pilot. He was enjoying every minute of it. Joanna, on the other hand, was looking a bit queasy. Troy noticed.
“Brave heart, Joanna,” he said comfortingly.
“It’s not my heart I’m worried about,” she groaned. “You remind me of Peter Davison.”
Just then the Starbird Avener shook violently as a laser struck its left wing.
“What’s happening?” Joanna screamed.
“We’re under attack!” Troy replied.
“The Drymiss?” It was meant as a statement rather than a question.
“Who else?” Troy was being optimistic.
• • • • •
In the control room, Simm was watching as a Drymiss Warrior operated the controls to maneuver the laser cannon.
“I hit the left wing, Simm,” the Warrior sad flatly.
“Good,” said Simm equally flat. “How much damage is there?” he asked.
“None,” answered the cannon operator.
“Then the Starbird Avenger will be the end of us.” There was no concern in the voice.
“Yes, Simm. Our defeat is certain.”
• • • • •
“What now?” asked Joanna.
“We counter attack!” hissed Troy.
“What?” Joanna looked at Troy as though he were mad. “Are you nuts? They’ll tear this thing to ribbons!”
“Not without another Starbird they won’t,” said Troy laughingly.
“You see, there is no damage to that wing?” explained Troy pointing to an instrument on the dash.
“Yeah, I get it! This thing is laser proof!” said Joanna excitedly.
“I wish you’d stop calling it ‘this thing’,” said Troy pointing at the Starbird Avenger. Then he pulled back on the steering wheel and the ship turned over on its back and was flying upside down. Troy turned the ship right side up and mad the counter attack by pressing two buttons set into the forked steering wheel that fired the laser cannon.
The laser struck the small dome that housed the cannon that struck the Starbird Avenger’s wing. The dome exploded into a million pieces, destroying the Drymiss. (Or had it?)
Troy landed the black colored, red trim spaceship with a strange insignia on the side. The ramp came down, the door opened and Troy and Joanna ran down the ramp, through the air lock, closing it behind them and into the control center.
Two seconds later there was another huge explosion. Troy and Joanna stoop up to see some stunned and confused Time Lords standing up.
“What happened?” asked Heleena.
“I set the Starbird Avenger to self destruct,” explained Troy sadly.
“That was close!” said Joanna crossly.
“Agreed,” said Troy.
“While you were flying about,” said Heleena to Troy, “you got a call from Le Flur.”
“What did they want?” he asked crossly.
“They found the real murderer and executed him. They want you back for coronation.”
“Coronation?” said Troy in total disbelief.
“You can use our Time Transfer Capsule if you wish.”
“No thank you. I’ll put this to use,” he said holding up the TARDIS key.
“Just one thing still puzzles me,” said Troy. “How did the High Court know I was here?”
“That’s why my mother went to her room,” Heleena explained.
“You could have prevented the Drymiss from attacking if you had used your Transduction Barriers,” said Troy. The Transduction Barriers are a type of force field.
“If someone hadn’t deactivated them we could have.”
“Who’s the Barrier engineer?” Troy asked.
“Cobson? The Castellan?”
“Over ambitious, don’t you think?”
“Are you accusing me of being a traitor?” came the voice of Cobson.
Troy turned around to see Cobson pointing a Scetza hand gun at him.
“Because, if you are, you’re right!”
“Cobson…” Heleena began.
“Be silent!” he screamed.
Then the radar technician jumped at Cobson. Cobson turned around and blasted him to oblivion. Then he looked around and said, “Next,” hopefully.
This was the distraction Troy needed. He threw himself at Cobson, who didn’t have enough time to react. They went down to the floor fighting. There was a fierce crackle and Troy stood up.
Heleena felt Cobson’s neck. No pulse.
“Cobson’s dead,” she announced sadly.
“I’m sorry,” said Troy. The truth was he really was. He didn’t mean to kill Cobson; just stun him.
“Just go back to LeFlur and there will be no mention of this is the records.”
Troy and Joanna waved and left the control room. They came to the corridor where they had met Heleena. Troy produced the key, unlocked the door and walked in, followed by Joanna.
The door of the TARDIS closed and a wheezing groaning noise started up and the tool shed shape of the TARDIS disappeared.
In the Royal Palace of Le Flur, the Prime Minister, the Arch Bishop and the Guard waited impatiently by the Time Transfer Capsule. Suddenly a wheezing, groaning noise filled the air and a brown tool shed slowly appeared beside the Time Transfer Capsule.
The door opened and Troy stepped out dressed in his ceremonial robes followed by Joanna dressed in her jeans. The Arch Bishop and company stared in shock and disbelief. Finally, he spoke.
“Greetings, my prince.”
“Greetings,” said Troy. “Prime Minister, Crinster, Guard, this is Joanna Berckley from 1984. Joanna, this is the Prime Minister, Arch Bishop Crinster and my witness, Guard Captain…” Suddenly Troy couldn’t remember the Guard Captain’s name.
“Rayford,” said the Guard Captain.
“We are so please to see you again, Starrius,” said Arch Bishop Crinster.
“And I am pleased to see you as well,” replied the Prince. “I would be even more pleased to see Alexandria.”
“She is asleep in her quarters,” said Rayford. “Do you want a servant to wake her?”
“No, I want to surprise her,” said Troy with a grin.
They walked toward the door. Troy stopped and the others stopped behind him. He turned around and looked at them curiously.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he asked.
“With you,” said Joanna, who seemed to have been forgotten.
“No you’re not,” said Troy sternly. “I want to surprise Alexandria. I’ll be back in a moment.” Troy set off down the corridor.
“He really loved the girl,” said Rayford.
“Who is this Alexandria?”
“Starrius’ fiancée, to whom he was engaged.”
“Engaged? Troy?” Joanna was surprised.
“They broke up. Did you say ‘Troy’?”
“The name he chose in 1984.”
Rayford shook his head in confusion.
• • • • •
Troy walked down the corridor and came to a door marked “5;2NE.” He knocked on the door and voice said, “Come in.”
Troy walked in but didn’t see anyone but a servant or two.
“Alexandria,” he called, “are you here?”
“Yes, she answered. “I’m in my pool. Who are you?”
“A friend,” said Troy walking into the pool room. “Someone you’ve met before. Someone you fell in love with. Someone to whom you were engaged. Someone who asked you to marry him.” Troy knew there was no hope, but teased Alexandria anyway.
Alexandria stared in disbelief. She blinked twice and patted her eyes. Then she swam over to him like she was born in the water. Troy helped Alexandria out of the pool and called a servant to get her some dry clothes.
While the servant was getting some robes Alexandria, Troy was telling her of his adventure with Joanna and the Drymiss.
“So you’re saying you saw the dome explode but you’re not certain the Drymiss were destroyed?” Alexandria asked.
“Right,” said Troy, happy to see she understood him.
“But if the Drymiss were in the dome when it exploded they must have been destroyed. It would be impossible for them to survive or escape.”
Maybe she didn’t understand. I’ll try again, he thought to himself. “Simm lived after I destroyed the Starbird. And he was in it,” Troy said.
“I know. You told me.”
“I know it seems impossible but Simm and the Drymiss Warriors could have escaped me again.”
“All of them?” Alexandria asked doubtfully.”
“Not all of the lot but some, along with Simm.” Under his breath he added, “I hope.”
“Excuse me while I slip into my robes,” Alexandria said when she saw the approaching servant with her robes. She went into her bedroom, slipped on her robes and came out again.
Troy stood up, walked over to her, put an arm around her shoulders and said, “I’ve got someone I want you to meet.”
“Who?” Alexandria asked.
Hand in hand, they walked out of her quarters and down the corridor towards the Time Transfer Capsule Room. When they entered, Troy immediately introduced Alexandria to Joanna and Joanna to Alexandria.
After introductions, Troy, Joanna, Alexandria, and Captain Rayford sat down at a table in the dining hall and had a quick supper. While they were eating, the Arch Bishop and the Prime Minister gathered the people that lived in the Palace together in a huge conference room under the Palace, by orders of the Prince (Troy).
Troy and his guests finished eating and went to the conference room. Troy took his place at the podium.
“I have an announcement to make,” he began. “I have decided to deny the Kingship and take up traveling.”
The audience gasped in disbelief.
“Quiet! Quiet, please,” Troy said.
The audience got quieter.
“I know this is a big shock for you all. But this is my decision. In my place, I will appoint a temporary replacement until you can elect someone else. In my place, I appoint,” he paused to cause suspense, “the Arch Bishop of Le Flur. Arch Bishop, will you please accept the Kingship until an election can he held?”
The Arch Bishop stood up and walked up to Troy.
“I, John Crinster, the Arch Bishop of Le Flur, accept the Kingship until an election can be held,” he said proudly. “Thank you, Sire.”
“Thank you,” said Troy. “And thank you, citizens of Le Flur and good night.” Troy left the podium and walked back up the stairs. Then down the corridor and into the Time Transfer Capsule Room. He was followed by Joanna, Alexandria, Captain Rayford, the Arch Bishop and the Prime Minister.
Troy took the key to the TARDIS out of his pocket and unlocked the door. He turned to around face the Arch Bishop.
“Good luck, old man,” Troy said, shaking the Arch Bishop’s hand.
“And to you,” said the surprised Arch Bishop.
“You said you wanted to marry me,” said Alexandria.
“Where will you go?” asked the Arch Bishop.
“And Joanna,” said Rayford, “what about you?”
“One question at a time,” said Troy and Joanna at once.
They looked at each other for a moment in silence.
“I can’t marry you, Alexandria,” said Troy. “We broke that off.” He turned to look at the Arch Bishop. “I don’t know where I’ll go.” He looked at Captain Rayford. “And as Joanna, she’s going home to her father.”
“No, I’m not!” she said sternly. “I’m going to travel with you.”
“Why?” Troy asked, surprised.
“You want to fight the evil in space and time and I want to help.”
“We’ll see what your father has to say about that.”
He turned to Alexandria, kissed her and said goodbye to her and the others; then went into the TARDIS, followed by Joanna. The door closed and the strange wheezing, groaning noise filled the air and the tool shed shape of the TARDIS disappeared as the TARDIS dematerialized.
• • • • •
The quiet country side was again disturbed by the awful racket made by the TARDIS materializing. The door opened and Troy followed by Joanna, walked out. Both were shocked to hear the wheezing groaning noise of the TARDIS dematerializing. They turned to see a tool shed beside theirs slowly disappear.
When it had vanished and the noise ceased, Joanna asked nervously, “Who was that?”
“Us,” said Troy.
“How could that have been us while we’re still here?”
“I landed the TARDIS five seconds before we left for Gallifrey with Deputy President Flavia.”
“That’s impossible!” Joanna cried.
“So are relative dimensions,” countered Troy. “A TARDIS is dimensionally relative Time/Space Machine.”
“I see,” said Joanna. “Sort of like the TARDIS used by the Doctor.”
“Oh, not again!”
“TARDIS. Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. From Doctor Who.”
“Grrr. Ugh!” said Troy confusedly.
“Did you young people make all ‘at racket?!” asked an angry voice. It was Joanna’s father. He was about five-foot-six with graying hair and limped on his left foot. He was about sixty-five years of age.
“Hello, father,” greeted Joanna. “Father, this is Troy Star, my boyfriend. Troy, this is my father, Jacob Berckley.”
“Boyfriend, eh?” said Mr. Berckley.
He turned to face Troy eye-to-eye. “How old are ya?” he asked.
“Twenty-five,” Troy answered.
“What do ya do for a livin’?”
“I’m a traveler, sir,” said Troy politely.
“How tall are ya and how how much do ya weigh?”
“I’m six-foot-four and two hundred pounds, sir.”
“What kind o’ education did ya git?”
“I went to school for twelve years and to college for four years, sir.”
“What’s yer favert sport?”
“Umm,” Troy thought for a moment. “Soccer, sir.”
“What did ya study in college?”
“All the major sciences, history, and a little German.”
“A scientist, eh?”
Mr. Berckley walked around Troy like a general inspecting his troops. “Did you make that horrible noise?”
“Did you even hear it?”
“Yes, sir. We both did,” said Troy indicating himself and Joanna.
“It had us scared for a moment,” said Joanna. “Father, since summer vacation started a week ago, I’ve been bored silly! I’m not gonna have anything to do. Troy’s going to Europe next week and I’d like to travel with him. Could I, Father?”
“Who’ll keep me company?” he said with a shaky voice.
“Aunt Sue could,” Joanna was referring to her mother’s sister who could keep a conversation going for hours. “Please, Father?” Joanna pleaded.
“Oh, very well!” said Mr. Berckley sadly. “You just be back before school starts! Ya hear?” (Joanna was a teacher).
“I will, Father! Thank you,” she said, hugging him.
“Thank you, sir,” said Troy shaking his hand after Joanna had let go of him.
Joanna kissed her father on his cheek and said goodbye. Then she followed Troy into the TARDIS. They waved goodbye from the door way. Troy and Joanna walked into the TARDIS and closed the door. The wheezing, groaning noise started up and Mr. Berckley watched in awe as the tool shed shape of the TARDIS slowly disappeared.
“So they did make all that racket,” he said to himself. He turned and walked up the path toward his house. Half way up the path he turned round and waved to Troy and Joanna (even though they couldn’t see him) with a tear in his eye.
Troy and Joanna are on their way to many great adventures. Be sure to read the next adventure of “The Challengers.”
Here is a special preview of the next great adventure: “The Challengers and The Horror of Darkon,” by Van Turner.
Part One. Chapter One: The Planet
Their was a wheezing, groaning noise and a brown tool shed appeared from nowhere on a quiet river bank. The TARDIS had arrived. TARDIS stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space.
The door opened and a tall man dressed in a navy blue sweater with brown trim, blue denim jeans, and blue tennis shoes stepped out. He had auburn hair and brown eyes and looked about twenty-five years old.
This was Troy Star, formerly the crown Prince of Le Flur in the year 2984. He was followed by a short, prettier girl, about sixteen, dressed in a yellow sweater, blue jeans, round lens glasses and white tennis shoes. She had blue eyes and brown hair. Her name was Joanna Berckley. Joanna was originally from 1984, Sacremento, California.
Joanna met Troy when the High Council of Le Flur exiled him to 1984 under suspicion of murdering his mother, the queen, and his father, the king. They went to Gallifrey to help the Time Lords fight the Drymiss. After that, they went to Le Flur where Troy declined the Kingship. Joanna had asked her father if she could travel with Troy. He said yes and now they didn’t know where they were because of a faulty translator circuit.
“Well what do you think?” Troy asked.
“I don’t know what to think,” Joanna answered.
Troy locked the TARDIS door and pocketed the key.
“Troy,” Joanna said nervously. “We’ve got company.”
“Oh,” said Troy. “Well, who is it?”
“I don’t know. But they’re not friendly.”
Troy turned to face a short, thickset, aging man holding a sinister looking laser rifle aimed at him…
AND THE MISSION
Created by thirteen year old Van Turner, “The Challengers” is an American spinoff of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s “Doctor Who.”
“I have hopes that “The Challengers” will be as popular as “Doctor Who. I am a loyal fan (fanatic) of “Doctor Who.” – Van Turner (now fourteen).
Troy Star (Starrius Tromas, the Prince of Le Flur) and Joanna Berckley (from Sacremento, California) embark on their first mission: save the planet Gallifrey from the Cybermen-like Drymiss. Troy encounters an old enemy: Simm, leader of the Drymiss, and a traitor, Cobson, the Vice-President of the Time Lords. Can Troy, with the help of Joanna, defeat the Drymiss and Cobson? Can Troy prove that he didn’t murder his mother and father? Read “The Challengers and The Mission” and find out.
No. 1 in The Challengers Series by Van Turner.