«THE SHADOW OF WENG-CHIANG AN ORIGINAL NOVEL FEATURING THE FOURTH DOCTOR, ROMANA AND K-9. ‘THEY SAY A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH BUT A ...»
THE SHADOW OF
AN ORIGINAL NOVEL FEATURING THE FOURTH DOCTOR,
ROMANA AND K-9.
‘THEY SAY A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES BEGINS WITH
BUT A SINGLE STEP. IF I’M RIGHT, THEN A JOURNEY OF A
THOUSAND MILES WILL TAKE BUT A SINGLE STEP.’
The search for the fourth segment of the Key to Time brings the TARDIS to 1930s Shanghai: a dark and shadowy world, riven by conflict and threatened by the expansion of the Japanese Empire.
Meanwhile, the savage Tongs pursue their own mysterious agenda in the city’s illegal clubs and opium dens.
Manipulated by an elusive foe, the Doctor is obliged to follow the Dragon Path — the side-effect of a disastrous experiment in the far future.
But would two segments of the Key be on the same planet? Is the Black Guardian behind the dark schemes of the beautiful HsienKo? And who is the small child who always accompanies her?
This adventure takes place between the television stories THE STONES OF BLOOD and THE ANDROIDS OF TARA.
David A. McIntee has written three New Adventures as well as the Missing Adventure Lords of the Storm. He says no one in their right mind would even suggest a sequel to The Talons of Weng-Chiang, which is why he volunteered instead.
ISBN 0 426 20479 4
THE SHADOW OFWENG-CHIANG David A. McIntee First published in Great Britain in 1996 by Doctor Who Books an imprint of Virgin Publishing Ltd 332 Ladbroke Grove London W10 5AH Copyright © David A. McIntee 1996 The right of David A. McIntee to be identified as the Author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988.
‘Doctor Who’ series copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation 1995 ISBN 0 426 20479 4 Cover illustration by Alister Pearson Typeset by Galleon Typesetting, Ipswich Printed and bound in Great Britain by Mackays of Chatham All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
Contents Bumph Prologue One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven Twelve Thirteen Fourteen Fifteen Sixteen Seventeen Eighteen Nineteen Twenty Twenty-One Twenty-Two Twenty-Three Glossary Bumph T hey say that the best sequels are those that take different paths from their predecessors: Aliens isa good sequel, while Friday The 13th Part whatever isn’t. Those of you hoping for the further adventures of Jago and Litefoot in Victorian London, therefore, are in for a disappointment – this is, with any luck, a separate entity.
Anyone looking for more insight on Shanghai in the 1930s should try W. H. Auden’s Journey Into War, or any one of several books of photographs by Cartier Bresson. A note on Chinese words and names. The currently accepted versions of names, for example Beijing for Peking, came into being in 1949 and did not become official until 1980, hence the characters in this book would only know them by the old version. Tong as a reference to Chinese criminal gangs went out of fashion in the 1920s, but Triad didn’t become a common name until a couple of decades later, so I’ve stuck with the former in the interests of continuity. If you ever visit T’ai Shan, by the way, it’s no longer a garden – graffiti and Coke cans have made that place their own. People really are alike all over, it seems.
Thanks this time go to Rebecca and Simon at Virgin, and Alister Pearson for the cover (doesn’t the Doctor look totally nuts?). And, of course, all of you who have bought my previous scribblings. For those who like to know such things, there’s a glossary at the back of the book. Like a certain omniscient super-being, I won’t promise never to return. (And probably with a more introspective character-based book at that, whether it’s Doctor Who or otherwise.) But now: who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men...?
Da-da dum, da-da dum, da-da da-da-dum...
Prologue London, 1937 Before setting out for revenge, first dig two graves – Chinese proverb T he pale but cheery face of the moon hung proudly amongst its accompanying stars, beaming through the clear skies.
The man who was driving through the East End of London was happier with the cooling breeze than with the sticky heat of the August day. The open top of his blood-red Mercedes 500K afforded him a very refreshing flow of wind through his hair. He was quite lean and had a firm but slightly fleshy face, like a cherub fallen on hard times. He was half-tempted to whistle out loud, but resisted the urge.
The buildings which enclosed the roads had tall walls of Georgian brickwork and sandstone, and were separated from each other by the narrowest of sidestreets. A throaty rumbling heralded the arrival of one of the familiar red Routemaster buses. It was behind the Mercedes, and the driver slowed his pace slightly to allow it to catch up with him. In a matter of moments the empty bus overtook him, briefly shielding the Mercedes from the view of anyone on the far side of the street.
He slipped quietly into a shadowed sidestreet with a fluid twist of the wheel.
He remained seated for a few moments after the engine died, listening for any sound. There should be no one around under the purpling sky at this time of the evening, but one could never be too careful: burglary was a profession that demanded close attention to safety.
Not that he considered himself a burglar, of course; no one would ever think of Lucas Seyton as a common thief. He preferred to view himself as an unofficial sequestrator of other people’s ill-gotten gains. As vigilantism went, there were more direct methods, but his family had seen too many cold-blooded killers already. Besides, it was more fun this way, even though Errol Flynn had stolen his thunder and made this occupation something of a cliché.
Seyton eased himself out of the driving seat, pressed himself into the arch that sheltered a narrow side door and reached for the key. At least the most difficult part of the operation was past – he had had to pick the caretaker’s pocket twice in one evening in a local pub. The first time was to get a key to make an impression of it for later copying, and the second to replace it before the man noticed it had gone.
The side door clicked open, and Seyton slipped quietly inside and blinked until his eyes acclimatized to the sudden darkness inside. A narrow staircase led away to the right, while a drab corridor with cracks in the plaster stretched off ahead. The row of doors along the corridor at the top of the stairs all had faded tin stars on them, betraying the fact that this property was once a theatre. The current owner had bought it after its fall from grace in some scandal half a century earlier.
Seyton ignored the steps up to the dressing-rooms, and trod carefully along to the backstage area, aware of the risk of creaky boards. The backstage area was larger than most, and Seyton felt that he might almost be in some cavern, with hanging sandbags for stalactites. The original floor had been removed and now formed a wide catwalk around the wall, from which a wide staircase descended into a pit that opened up before him.
At some point in time, the cellar had been used as the props store. Nowadays it had been converted into a private viewing gallery for valuable theatre memorabilia from all over the world. Descending, Seyton switched on a torch, and played it over the silent cases. The glass all around shimmered with multiple reflections, while the mannequins that were interred within – wearing the finest costumes – cast distorted shadows over the distant walls.
Seyton had to admit that the collection was impressive.
Raymond Huntley’s Dracula costume from the first stage version in 1925 rubbed shoulders with one of Edith Piaf’s dresses. A cannon used in an eighteenth-century performance of Macbeth – the cannon’s blast had burned the original theatre to the ground – was pointed directly at what might well have been the first ever Wurlitzer organ.
The fact that the collection was all memorabilia related to the theatre was perhaps unsurprising, given that the owner had been an impresario until his recent and lucrative retirement.
That retirement had been funded by the insurance payouts on damages to three of his theatres which were losing money.
Unfortunately, the arsonist whom he had hired to burn the third theatre had been a little careless, and the conflagration broke out during a performance of The Mikado. Three people had died there – four, if one counted the careless arsonist – for a false insurance claim.
The exhibit Seyton sought was locked in a flat, slightly tilted, case at the end of the cellar. Its leather bindings so worn that it had to be held together with silken knots, a bundle of yellowed papers lay under the light from Seyton’s torch. The case was locked, but a few moments with a penknife jammed into the gap between case and lid remedied that.
The bundle emitted a faintly musty scent, but Seyton thought that was just part of its charm. It was four hundred years old, after all; a handwritten first draft of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The families of the three theatregoers who had died in that fire would soon be enjoying a change in their luck, Seyton thought with a smile as he slipped a card onto the cushion in place of the folio. The card bore the design of a robed and winged angel with a forked tail and a grin.
Underneath, in wiry gothic script, was the message Vengeance has been visited upon you by the Fallen Angel. Seyton slipped the folio into a small bag, then turned to retrace his steps, and froze.
The large trunk-sized case which had been directly behind him was the only empty one in the museum. This was suspicious enough, but the beam from his torch reflected a mouthful of glass fangs around the hole that had been smashed through one side of the glass. Nobody would break into an empty case, so something must have been removed from it. He shut off the torch instantly, in case the thief was still around.
He couldn’t hear anything, but that could just mean that someone else was being as stealthy as he. Remaining where he was was a sure way to be caught, so he silently stepped to the right. He didn’t want to risk retracing his entry route in case he was being followed. There was no placard to indicate what exhibit had been removed, from the smashed case, and Seyton didn’t really care. What knick-knacks should be lying around here were not his business. On the other hand, the presence of other thieves was his business. Not only would they not adhere to his principles, but their work might be falsely attributed to him.
There was a faint dragging sound from above, in the backstage area. He brushed against a weighted rope that hung from the scenery gantry, and grabbed hold of it. The stairs might be watched by whoever else was around, so climbing up the rope would be a more discreet alternative. He slithered up the rope with ease, and swung gently onto the open area backstage. He couldn’t see anyone, but there were so many shadows around that half of Scotland Yard could be waiting for him.
There was something glistening on the floor, however; a stain which was too dark to identify at first. Kneeling briefly, Seyton touched his finger to the wet smear. It came away red against his skin, with the oiled copper tang of fresh blood. He straightened slowly, and his eyes fell upon a pair of legs poking out from under the thick main curtain. The smears of blood led straight to it. He stepped towards the curtain and pulled it aside. The grey-whiskered bald caretaker from whom he had acquired his stage door key was sprawled there, a trickle of blood stretching down from the corner of his slack mouth. Seyton’s good humour vanished instantly. Stealing was one thing, but murder was quite another. A life wasn’t a mere possession to take. There was no blood on the caretaker’s shirt front, so Seyton assumed he had been shot or stabbed. But who had dragged him over here?
The answer came accompanied by a lightning kick to the side of the head, as a lithe figure in loose dark clothing leapt out of the shadows. Seyton went sprawling across the boards, his head ringing from the blow. Whoever it was certainly wasn’t playing by the Marquess of Queensberry rules; most unsporting. Still, what was good for the goose was good for the gander. He recovered his balance as his assailant ran at him, and took advantage of his longer legs to deliver a straight kick in the crotch before his opponent could strike again. The man went down with a howl.
Before Seyton could examine his attacker, another body slammed into him, and they went down struggling. The other pressed a knee into Seyton’s back, and quickly wrapped a silk sash around his throat. Seyton tried elbowing his opponent in the stomach, but to no avail. He still had his penknife, however, and managed to slip it between throat and sash. The sash parted under the blade, and his opponent fell back. Seyton turned with a fist already swinging, but the other man blocked it with a forearm and punched Seyton twice in the stomach.
Seyton head-butted him, and hurled him over the edge of the floor. The attacker grabbed one of the weighted ropes as he fell, and arrested his drop.
Seyton ignored him, as there were more footsteps converging on his position from all around.