AND THE DESTINY OF THE DALEKS.
By TERRANCE d.i.c.kS.
The Dead City
Through the vortex, that mysterious region where time and s.p.a.ce are one, sped a police box that was not a police box at all. It was, in fact, a highly sophisticated s.p.a.ce/time ship called the TARDIS, a name taken from its initials, Time and Relative Dimensions in s.p.a.ce.Inside its impossibly large control room (for the TARDIS was dimensionally transcendental) was a many-sided central console. Beside it a very tall man with a shock of curly hair was making minute adjustments to the larynx of a robot dog.The robot dog was called K9, and the man trying to repair it was that mysterious traveller in time and s.p.a.ce known as the Doctor. He wore loose, comfortable clothing, topped off with a broad-brimmed floppy soft hat, and an incredibly long multi-coloured scarf. He was muttering crossly as he worked. 'How can a robot possibly get laryngitis? What do you need need it for?' it for?'Naturally enough poor K9 didn't reply. Without looking up the Doctor yelled, 'Romana!'A girl came into the room, carrying, with some difficulty, a full-length mirror on a stand. 'Yes, Doctor?'The Doctor looked up and blinked in astonishment. The girl who had answered his call wasn't the girl he expected. Or at least she didn't look like the girl he expected. 'Sorry, I thought you were Romana. Have you seen her? And anyway, what are you doing here?''Regenerating. Do you like it?''Nonsense, only Time Lords regenerate, and you're not a Time Lord. You're the Princess Astra, and we left you back on Atrios.' The Doctor remembered his manners. 'It's very nice to see you again, Princess Astra, but how did you get into the TARDIS? Did you stow away?''Doctor, I'm Romana, I tell you.' The girl set up the mirror in a corner and began studying her reflection thoughtfully.The Doctor stared at her. The face and the body were Princess Astra's, even the voice, but there was something else... The essence, the personality was that of Romana. The Doctor realised that he was indeed looking at his Time Lady companion in the body of Princess Astra, or to be more accurate, in a body exactly like it.The explanation was simple enough, at least to the Doctor. Time Lords had the power of bodily regeneration, the ability to change a damaged or worn out body for a new one by a unique and complex process of molecular readjustment. Although they weren't immortal, they went through a considerable number of reincarnations in the course of their amazingly long lives.What surprised the Doctor was not the mere fact of Romana's regeneration, but the seeming casualness with which she was treating the occasion - not to mention the degree of regeneration control she seemed able to exercise.The Doctor's own regenerations had been rather haphazard affairs, usually in response to some kind of crisis, and the bodies he'd acquired had been very much a matter of pot luck.Romana, on the other hand, seemed to be changing bodies as casually as she might have changed her dress. Except that the body she'd finished up with was a direct copy of someone else's. The Doctor frowned, remembering that in a purely academic sense, Romana's qualifications from the Time Lord Academy were rather higher than his own. No doubt that accounted for her superior control.Rather reprovingly he said, 'You can't wear that body!''Why not? I thought it looked very nice on the Princess.''You can't go around wearing copies copies !' !''Well, I don't see why not.' Romana gave a twirl in front of the mirror, studying the effect of the new body and the new dress she'd chosen to go with it. 'I mean, it would be a bit embarra.s.sing if she and I both turned up at the same party wearing identical bodies, but as we're not going back to Atrios again...'The Doctor shook his head. 'No!' he said firmly. 'It just won't do. Go and try another one, go on.'Romana sniffed indignantly, and marched out.The Doctor went on working. Some time later a very small girl came in, and posed in front of the mirror. 'I quite like this one, but it's a bit short.'The Doctor spoke without looking up. 'Well, go away and lengthen it.'The small girl went out. For a time the Doctor was able to get on with his work in peace.The peace ended when someone else strode heavily into the room.The Doctor addressed the silent K9. 'Fancy trying to look like someone else. It's all vanity anyway. People attach too much importance to outside appearances, it's what's inside that counts.' He looked up to see an enormously tall girl looming over him. 'No, no, no, far too big,' he said crossly. The re-transformed Romana went out again.The Doctor worked on. Soon Romana reappeared in the guise of an exotic female of some alien race. 'Ughh! Take it away,' said the Doctor. The apparition retreated hastily.The Doctor sighed. 'Look,' he called. 'All you want is something warm and sensible, something that will wear well, with a little style and flair to it...'There was no answer from the adjoining room. Soon afterwards yet another girl appeared. She wore a long coat, high boots, a very long multi-coloured scarf, and a big floppy hat which almost covered her face. 'Like this, Doctor?'The Doctor looked up and beamed approvingly at the outfit, which had something strangely familiar about it. 'Now that's more like it. Good heavens, that's absolutely right for you. I never knew you had such a sense of style.'He stood up, and the girl spun round before him. 'I thought you said external appearances weren't important, Doctor.''Well, no, but it's nice to get them right though, isn't it? I mean, how can you go wrong with a look like this!'The Doctor lifted the brim of the floppy hat, looked underneath and saw an attractive but very familiar face.Romana had come almost full circle: she was back in her Princess Astra body.'Oh, no!' groaned the Doctor.'What's the matter, don't you like it? I think it will do very nicely. Imposing forehead, nice hair, neat little chin. The arms are a bit long, but I can always take them in a bit.''No, the arms are fine,' said the Doctor helplessly. 'It's just that...' He sighed, realising he'd been outmanoeuvred. 'Oh, all right, have it your own way.''Oh, good! I'll go and get rid of these silly clothes then.''But I like like that outfit.' that outfit.''Never mind,' said Romana demurely. 'Remember, Doctor, it's what's inside that counts!' She turned to leave. 'Incidentally, where are we going?''I don't know. That's up to the randomiser, remember?'At the end of their last adventure, Romana and the Doctor had almost been tricked into handing over the all-important Key of Time to the evil Black Guardian. At the last moment, the Doctor had tricked his adversary, scattering fragments of the Key to the far corners of the cosmos. To escape the enraged Black Guardian's revenge the Doctor had built a device called the randomiser into the directional circuits of the TARDIS. The Black Guardian could hardly discover where he was going next if he didn't know himself.Romana shivered, feeling that they had exchanged the frying pan of the Black Guardian's revenge for the fire of any number of unknown dangers. She smiled bravely.'Well, wherever it is, call me when we get there!'She went away, and the Doctor continued to work on K9.The landscape was bleak and harsh, an arid stone plain scattered with strangely angular rocks. Thunder growled menacingly in a dark and alien sky, and the very ground seemed to shiver and vibrate.Beneath a mountain of loose rocks was an overhanging cliff edge. A wheezing, groaning sound mingled with the noise of the thunder, and the square blue shape of the TARDIS materialised directly beneath the overhang.The thunder rumbled, the ground shook, and a scattering of loose stones began rolling down the mountainside and pattering on the roof of the TARDIS.The Doctor was studying his instruments. 'We've arrived, Romana!' he called.Romana's voice floated from the next room. 'What's the place like?''Breathable atmosphere, but a high degree of seismic activity.''What do you mean, psychic activity! Ghosts?''Lots of earthquakes.''Oh, seismic seismic . I thought you said psychic.' . I thought you said psychic.'The Doctor was only half-listening. 'Side-kick?' he mumbled, baffled.Romana misheard him. 'Like it? How do I know? I haven't seen it yet.'The conversation didn't seem to be getting very far. 'Romana, if you want to talk to me, will you please come in here and do it properly.'Romana came into the control room, still in her Princess Astra body, but now wearing her new outfit, tailored to fit. 'There, what do you think?''Very nice,' said the Doctor perfunctorily, and handed her two pills. 'Take these, will you?''What are they?''Anti-radiation capsules. The levels out there are very high.' He handed her a tiny device rather like an egg-timer. 'Here's a bleeper, it'll go off when you need the next dose.'Romana swallowed two pills, then stowed the bleeper away in a belt-pouch, pleased that the Doctor seemed to be taking sensible precautions for once.'Let's see where we are.' She switched on the scanner. It showed a bare rock wall.'Oh, very very promising,' said the Doctor. promising,' said the Doctor.'Well, we'd better go and take a look.''I suppose so.' The Doctor picked up K9's brain section and inserted it back in the case. Immediately the little automaton began rushing backwards, making rasping, whirring sounds. The Doctor dived on K9, made a quick readjustment, and the robot dog was still.Romana looked down at him. 'What went wrong?''I'm afraid I forgot the most important thing my cybernetics teacher taught me.''What was that?''When replacing a robot brain, always make sure arrow "A" is pointing to the front.'The Doctor got to his feet and opened the TARDIS's doors.They stood outside the TARDIS looking around them. There was little to see, just an endless bare plain with a scattering of rocks, stretching away into fast-gathering darkness.'Not the most inviting of planets, is it, Doctor?''You know,' said the Doctor softly, 'I have the most extraordinary feeling I've been here before!'The sensation of familiarity, known as deja vu deja vu , was a common phenomenon among time travellers. , was a common phenomenon among time travellers.'Just an impression, or something you actually recognise?''Nothing tangible. I just seem to sense something, a pervading air of...''Evil?''Yes... evil evil . You feel it too, then?' . You feel it too, then?''Shall we go back to the TARDIS and try somewhere else?'The Doctor considered for a moment. Perhaps it would be better to go back. But his sense of curiosity was too strong for him, that and a strange feeling of - destiny. Randomiser or no, somehow the Doctor felt he had come to this planet because he was meant meant to come here. He gave Romana a look of mock-indignation. 'Go back? And leave me wondering for the rest of time where I'd been? I'd never sleep at nights!' to come here. He gave Romana a look of mock-indignation. 'Go back? And leave me wondering for the rest of time where I'd been? I'd never sleep at nights!'Determinedly the Doctor set off and, a little reluctantly, Romana followed him.As they moved away, a few more loose rocks slithered down the mountain and rattled against the roof of the TARDIS.They walked for some time across the featureless plain, and soon the TARDIS was swallowed up by the darkness that gathered around them. All the time great threatening claps of thunder rolled around the darkening alien sky and the ground beneath their feet seemed to shudder in response.The Doctor stopped and picked up a handful of pebbles, studying them thoughtfully. 'Interesting.''Precious stones?''Only in the archaeological sense - but in that way, they could be more valuable than diamonds.' He looked round. 'I need a larger sample to be certain. Ah, there we are!'The Doctor pointed to a squarish rock, half buried in the ground. He knelt beside it and cleared away the surrounding rubble, rubbing the lichen from the rock's smooth surface. 'Yes, I was right - as usual!''How modest, Doctor.''See what you can make of it,' challenged the Doctor.Romana knelt and studied the block. 'Some kind of composite material... gravel in a binding of limestone and clay.'The Doctor nodded approvingly. 'And limestone and clay make...?''Cement.''Correct! And if you add gravel you get...?''Concrete?''Congratulations, Romana, you have all the makings of a first-cla.s.s navvy! Yes, concrete, or the closest alternative this planet can produce. The point is, it was manufactured, Romana. Manufactured.' The Doctor gestured at the endless rocky plain around them. 'All this rock and stone, all these fragments, all manufactured. Brick, concrete, plaster, cement, all pounded and pulverised, reduced to rubble.' He straightened up. 'We're walking across the remains of what was once a great city. A great city, brought to dust. But by what?'The only answer was another roll of thunder.
'What about the people who lived here?' said Romana. 'What happened to them?' She looked at the grey desolation all around them and then back at the Doctor. 'Those tremors we felt... maybe they destroyed the city?'The Doctor wasn't listening. He stood, head c.o.c.ked, trying to pick up some distant sound. Above the eerie moaning of the wind came a faint, whining, whirring sound, as if some kind of powerful machinery was in operation some distance away.'You hear it?'Romana pointed. 'It seems to be coming from over there.''Then that's the direction we'll take!'Some time later, after an interminable journey across the grey stone plain, they were standing amidst a pile of enormous concrete blocks which were strewn haphazardly across the plain, as though some giant child had knocked over a pile of building blocks. It was obvious that they were the scattered and broken remains of some colossal building.Romana said, 'Buildings this size don't just fall down. Maybe it was earthquakes after all.''It was something pretty devastating. But remember the radioactivity - 'The Doctor broke off as the ground began to quake and shudder beneath their feet. The whining of machinery had started up again. Romana said nervously, 'Well, whatever it is, it looks as if it's happening again!''It's pretty close now,' shouted the Doctor, and indeed it was. The sound seemed to be coming from directly under their feet. Soon it wasn't just a whine but a great howling scream, accompanied by a shuddering vibration that seemed to jar every nerve in their bodies. Loose rocks rattled and bounced on the stony ground, the concrete blocks groaned and creaked, and the Doctor and Romana clutched each other for support. The screaming rose to an unbearable crescendo, then suddenly, mercifully it cut off, leaving a silence that almost seemed to hurt.The Doctor shook his head and stuck his finger in his ears. 'Anything broken?''Only my nerve! I feel as if every bone in my body has been disconnected. That was drilling equipment, wasn't it?''Maybe we've struck an underground dentist! Let's get going before it starts up again.'They moved on past the scattered concrete blocks. Behind them the whirring of the great underground drill had started up again, and they moved faster, hurrying away from the shaking ground and the unbearable, bone-jarring howl.Eventually the sound died away behind them. The Doctor led the way round yet another huge concrete block. Suddenly he ducked back into cover, motioning Romana not to move.He peered round the edge of the block, and Romana crept up to join him.Before them was a strange and eerie sight.Directly ahead was an open s.p.a.ce, a kind of amphitheatre, ringed by jagged blocks. Across this s.p.a.ce, a weird-looking group was moving slowly and silently towards them. There were six of them, and they were human, or at least humanoid in form. They wore the tattered and grimy remnants of what might once have been some kind of uniform. Strangest of all, their hair and skin were a dead, unearthly white.Leading the little procession was a woman, a smokily blazing torch held above her head.Behind her came four men, carrying a kind of crude stretcher, raised shoulder high. A body lay on the stretcher.Behind them came the sixth and last member of the party, another woman. She too was carrying a blazing torch.It was quite obvious what was happening. The scene could have been duplicated on innumerable planets, in countless societies. The man on the stretcher was dead, and this was his funeral procession.In the centre of the open area the procession halted. The stretcher was lowered reverently to the ground. The women with the torches stood motionless at the head and feet of the corpse, while the four men began gathering loose pieces of rubble and building a kind of long, low cairn over the body. They worked with swift urgency, and soon the body was completely hidden by rocks.When the work was done, one of the women found a flat piece of stone, scratched a few symbols on it with a piece of pointed rock, and propped it against the head of the cairn.For a while the two women and the four men stood grouped around the funeral mound, heads bowed in silent communion, mourning their dead. Then they turned and moved away into the darkness.'Why do they leave their dead on the surface, covered with stones?' whispered Romana. 'Why don't they bury them?''Adaptation to local conditions. Just you try digging a six-foot hole through concrete rubble!''They were so silent, Doctor. So slow, they moved like the living dead!''The living dead,' repeated the Doctor softly. 'Zombies! Perhaps we've found a planet where zombies rule.''Shut up!''Coming with me?''Where?''We want to know more about this planet, don't we? This is a chance to find out.''How?''By examining that body.''Doctor, you can't...''Why not? Apart from one basic difference, the dead are very much like the living.''Your reasoning is very logical, Doctor - but I think I'll stay here and keep watch, if you don't mind!''I'd appreciate that.' The Doctor began creeping away, and then paused. 'By the way, if you should meet one of them them ... you can always tell a genuine zombie by its skin. It feels icy cold to the touch!' ... you can always tell a genuine zombie by its skin. It feels icy cold to the touch!'The Doctor slipped away. Romana shivered, as if she could already feel an icy hand upon her shoulder. It was a legend common to many planets and many cultures, she thought: the walking dead, brought back from the grave, usually to act as slaves for some evil sorcerer. But of course it was only a legend - wasn't it?The Doctor headed towards the burial mound, smiling a little guiltily to himself. Perhaps it had been unfair to make Romana's flesh creep like that, but her icy Time Lady composure sometimes got on his nerves. He hadn't been able to resist the chance of shaking it just a little.He reached the mound and began pulling away the stones, all thought of supernatural terrors driven out by scientific curiosity. Very soon he had uncovered the dead man's face. It was thin and wasted, hair and skin ghastly white. He cleared more stones and uncovered the upper part of the body. As he had suspected, the uniform proved to be an astronaut-type coverall, its breast marked with military insignia. Gently, the Doctor unsealed a pocket and took out a plastic wallet. He examined the contents for a moment, and nodded thoughtfully to himself. He pocketed the wallet and began working his way back towards Romana.Romana, meanwhile, was sitting huddled against her rock, trying to convince herself that the faint night sounds all around her were completely natural, nothing at all to worry about.She glanced back at the burial mound and saw the Doctor had gone. She guessed he was moving back towards her, temporarily out of sight behind one of the chunks of masonry, but his sudden disappearance was somehow unnerving all the same.She turned round in a slow circle, peering into the surrounding darkness.Was that the sound of stealthy movement she could hear? 'Doctor?' she called, nervously. 'Doctor, is that you out there?'A white hand reached out and touched her on the shoulder...She spun round with a gasp of terror - and saw the Doctor, who had just appeared round the side of the giant block.'I wish you wouldn't do that,' she said angrily.'Sorry, did I startle you?''Oh no, of course not! Doctor, look at your hands!'The Doctor looked. His hands were a ghastly white. He brushed them against his coat, leaving a trail of fine white dust.'Well, did you discover anything?'He produced the plastic wallet. 'The deceased was s.p.a.ce Major Dal Garrant, a combat pilot serving with the Third Galactic Fleet. Home planet, Kantra''Kantra? That's a tropical planet, nothing like this place at all.''That's right. A trifle humid for my taste, but quite attractive in its way.''What's a Kantrian doing living, or rather dying, here?''Odd, isn't it? He died of a combination of malnutrition and exhaustion, by the way.''Hardly surprising in a place like this.''Except that he ought to have died of radiation poisoning first,' said the Doctor slowly. He held up his box of capsules. 'The Kantrians haven't developed bio-technology to this level yet, so...'Suddenly, there was a screaming roaring sound, from above not below this time. A fierce blue light streaked rapidly through the night sky overhead.'A s.p.a.ce ship!' said Romana.'That's right. And it's landing on the other side of that rise. Come on!'They reached the top of the rise just in time to see the s.p.a.ce ship coming down to land. It was saucer-shaped, revolving rapidly, so that details were obscured in a blur of spinning lights.'Recognise the type, Romana?''Hard to tell under these conditions. Judging by the size and general design, a s.p.a.ce cruiser of intergalactic range with time warp capacity. Possible origin Star System 4X Alpha 4.''Well, I haven't got my Janes Book of s.p.a.ce Craft Janes Book of s.p.a.ce Craft with me,' said the Doctor gravely, 'but by and large, I think I agree.' with me,' said the Doctor gravely, 'but by and large, I think I agree.'The s.p.a.ce ship touched the planetary surface sending up an immense cloud of fine white dust. When the dust cleared they saw to their surprise that the ship was still spinning - sinking deeper and deeper into the ground. When the motion finally stopped, only a small pointed turret was left above ground, projecting from the surface like the conning tower of a submarine.'Interesting technique,' said the Doctor thoughtfully. 'Camouflage and protection rolled into one!'Romana looked at the inconspicuous mound, all that remained visible of the huge, gleaming s.p.a.ce ship. 'Well, for a place that looked dead to start with, there's certainly a lot going on here.'The Doctor grinned. 'We've probably arrived at the beginning of the tourist season. How far away would you say that ship is?''Not more than a mile.''Just the right distance for a nice bracing walk!''You want to go down there?''It would be ungracious not to go and welcome our visitors. We can always say we're from the Tourist Board!'They began to descend the Slope.If it was only a mile to the s.p.a.ce ship, it was a very long one, thought Romana. They plodded across the plain and somehow the ship didn't seem to be getting any nearer.Romana's attention was drawn to a group of ma.s.sive shapes just off to their left. At first she had thought they were more of the enormous blocks, but as they came closer she saw that these were actual buildings, ruined and roofless, but with the original shapes still clearly discernible. For some reason the devastation which had overtaken the planet seemed slightly less complete just here. She was about to suggest to the Doctor that they go and explore them, when there was the sudden crump crump of an explosion. of an explosion.'That sounded awfully close,' said Romana uneasily. 'What do you think it was?''Sounded like some kind of land mine, or a bomb.'There was another explosion, and then another. They were getting closer.'Look!' screamed Romana. A line of explosions was moving rapidly across the plain towards them, one after another, as though someone was setting off a whole series of bombs.'We'd better get under cover,' yelled the Doctor.'This way!' shouted Romana, and began running towards the group of ruined buildings.The Doctor followed, but the explosions seemed to be chasing after them.They dashed inside a vast, partly roofless pillared hall, and crouched down behind a ruined wall.The line of explosions came closer, closer...The hall began to shudder and vibrate. Several pillars actually collapsed and a chunk of wall fell, far too close to them for comfort. The explosions came closer, closer still - and then pa.s.sed by, disappearing in the distance.Romana gave a sigh of relief. 'What was all that, Doctor? Were they firing at us from the ship?''I don't think so. The explosions are just a by-product. Someone's blasting away the rubble down there, using high-impact phason drills.''On a ruined planet like this?''Apparently. And since it can hardly be the natives, that someone must be importing some pretty powerful technology.'One of the room's supporting pillars, broken almost in two by the explosions, chose this precise moment to give way. It cracked, wavered and began toppling slowly, almost majestically towards them, bringing a section of roof down with it.'Look out!' screamed Romana. But she was too late.The pillar collapsed, burying them under a pile of rubble.
Romana struggled desperately to free herself. To her astonishment she found she could manage it fairly easily. She was bruised and shaken, but she didn't seem to be much hurt.The Doctor had been considerably less fortunate. The lower part of the toppling pillar had fallen across his body, pinning him to the ground. He lay still as death, his eyes closed.Romana struggled across to him. 'Doctor, can you hear me?'The Doctor didn't move or speak.Romana tried to shift the column, but it was far too heavy. She grabbed his shoulders, trying to pull him clear. As she heaved and tugged away, the Doctor opened his eyes and said peevishly, 'Can't a fellow get any sleep around here?''Doctor, are you all right?''Hard to tell. I can't see most of me.' He waggled his toes. 'My extremities seem unimpaired. No pain, but I'm being squashed. Can you take any of the weight of the column? Maybe I could wriggle out.'Romana tried once more to shift the column, but she couldn't move it an inch. She examined the pile of stones around the Doctor. 'I think you're not so much squashed, as wedged into a gap. The main weight seems to be on this chunk of concrete here. Lucky for you, or you'd have been flattened. I'm afraid to interfere too much in case the block shifts and the whole pile comes down on top of you.'The Doctor considered. 'It looks as if we're not going to move it without help. I daresay K9 could blast me free. Do you think you could go and get him?' The Doctor managed a smile. 'I'd go myself, but I'm detained by some rather pressing business.''Yes, of course. I'll be as quick as I can. Will you be all right?''Who can tell?' said the Doctor ruefully. 'Who can tell? I'd appreciate it if you'd hurry, though.''I'll be as quick as I can. Don't go away, will you?'The Doctor winced. 'I rather hoped you'd resist the temptation to say that! And remember, arrow "A" to the front!''Shan't be long.' Romana hurried off and the Doctor settled himself to wait.Since the upper part of his body was free and he wasn't in actual pain, he was able to make himself reasonably comfortable. He found a suitable piece of granite to use as a pillow, fished a copy of The Origins of the Tenth Galaxy The Origins of the Tenth Galaxy from his pocket and settled back to read. After a page or two, he put down the book with a scornful laugh. 'The man's a fool. "Origins of the Tenth Galaxy" indeed! Why doesn't he ask someone who was there!' from his pocket and settled back to read. After a page or two, he put down the book with a scornful laugh. 'The man's a fool. "Origins of the Tenth Galaxy" indeed! Why doesn't he ask someone who was there!'Romana retraced the journey she'd taken with the Doctor, back across the plain with its huge scattered concrete blocks, past the open s.p.a.ce where they'd seen the corpse being buried - the burial mound made a useful landmark.The journey had been spooky enough with the Doctor, but it was doubly so now that she was on her own. She heard the distant high-pitched whine of underground drilling, and the distant rumble of more explosions. The night wind howled eerily. Romana began to get the strangest impression that she was being followed. Once she spun round and thought she saw a furtive figure duck back into cover. She waited for a moment but the sinister shape didn't reappear, and Romana turned and ran on.Soon she was dashing straight ahead in blind panic, slipping and stumbling, scrambling to her feet to continue her flight. She staggered on until she collapsed in near exhaustion. For a moment she just lay there, too tired to move. Wearily she got to her feet - and saw the TARDIS nestling under its overhang just a short distance in front of her.Joyfully she began running towards it - only to be blasted from her feet as a sudden sequence of explosions erupted across the area between the TARDIS and where she stood. She hugged the ground and a shower of debris rained down on her.At last the explosions stopped and cautiously she lifted her head. To her relief, the ground between her and the TARDIS, although churned up by the explosions, was easy enough to cross. But when she reached the TARDIS, another shock was awaiting her: the explosions had dislodged the overhang, and the police box was half buried in rubble.The door was completely blocked.Romana scrambled over the rock-pile and hammered on the upper part of the TARDIS. 'K9!' she called. 'K9, can you hear me?'There was no reply.Romana tried to clear away the stones, but the chunks of masonry were far too big to lift.She scrambled down from the pile and stood wondering what to do next.Suddenly there was a sharp buzz from inside her belt-pouch - the bleeper the Doctor had given her. It was time to take another anti-radiation pill.Romana began searching through the pouch - and remembered that although she had the bleeper, the Doctor had the pills. Wearily she turned, and began retracing her steps. She was too tired and depressed to notice the tall, gaunt figure that was stalking her determinedly across the plain.The Doctor took his radiation pills, and put the bottle back in his pocket.He reminded himself that it was also time for Romana to take hers - still, she should be back with K9 soon, and a brief delay wouldn't do her any real harm.Sheer boredom drove the Doctor back to his book. It had been written by a particularly pompous Time Lord historian, someone the Doctor had never cared for, and he was getting a certain pleasure from picking out the book's many errors. He began reading aloud to cheer himself up. '"The conditions on the planet Magla make it incapable of supporting any kind of life-form." Ha! The old fool obviously doesn't realise that Magla is is a life form, an eight-thousand-mile-wide amoeba that's grown itself a crusty sh.e.l.l!' a life form, an eight-thousand-mile-wide amoeba that's grown itself a crusty sh.e.l.l!'The Doctor was turning the pages in search of new errors, when he heard footsteps. 'Welcome back, Romana. What kept you?'There was no reply.The Doctor looked up and saw two strangers. One male, one female, both tall, well-built, and exceptionally handsome. Both wore simple, military-type s.p.a.ce coveralls. Both carried hand-blasters, which were pointing straight at the Doctor.The Doctor raised his hat. 'Good evening to you! Forgive me if I don't rise.'The two strangers didn't smile. Menacingly, they advanced towards him...Some time later, Romana ran into the ruined chamber. 'Doctor, I couldn't get - 'She broke off, in utter astonishment. The pillar that had pinned the Doctor to the ground was still there, the Doctor's discarded book lay just beside it.The Doctor was gone.Perhaps he had managed to free himself after all, thought Romana. Trust him, after sending her all that way. Now he'd wandered off somewhere. Typical!'Doctor,' she called. 'Doctor, where are you?'There was no reply.She heard footsteps approaching the doorway. Her first thought was that it must be the Doctor coming back and she moved to the doorway to meet him.Then she hesitated. Those footsteps didn't sound like the Doctor - they were furtive, stealthy. And if it was the Doctor, why hadn't he answered her call?She flattened herself against the broken wall, and waited.A tall gaunt figure appeared in the doorway. It had white hair and white skin, like the members of the burial party they'd seen earlier. Its sunken eyes seemed to burn as they swept round the room.Romana backed away, moving further and further into the darkness. Suddenly the ground vanished beneath her feet, and with a scream she vanished into black nothingness.The watcher moved slowly forward and stared down the shaft into which Romana had fallen.Romana was sliding helplessly down the shaft. It was lined with polished stone, and she was quite unable to stop herself moving.At last she shot out of the shaft, fell a few more feet, and landed with a bone-jarring thud on a hard stone floor.For a moment she was too shocked to move. Slowly, she struggled to her feet. She was shaken and bruised, but to her relief nothing seemed to be broken.She was in a stone-walled underground chamber, with no way in or out apart from the shaft down which she had fallen. She could see the opening of the shaft just above her head and leaped up, trying to get a grip on the edge.But her fingers slipped on the polished stone and she fell to the ground.In the hall above, the watcher was unwinding a coil of rope from around his waist. He fastened one end around the base of a pillar, and began paying out the rest, moving towards the pit...Romana made several more attempts to get back into the shaft, but each time her fingers slipped and she fell back. Too tired to try again, she stood looking around her prison. There was little enough to see, just four stone walls and the opening of the shaft, tantalisingly out of reach.The cell began to vibrate. She could feel the walls shuddering, and hear a high-pitched whine of machinery moving ever closer.Cracks began to appear in the wall directly opposite. The cracks formed a kind of arch-shape, and suddenly the entire centre of the wall seemed to crumble inwards, leaving a great black hole.With terrifying speed, two metallic shapes glided through the arch. They were shaped like huge metal-studded pepper pots, they had projecting metal arms and an eye-lens on a kind of metal stalk. They swept menacingly down on Romana, crowding her back against the wall, hemming her in so that there was no escape. In harsh metallic voices they screeched, 'Do not move! Do not move or you will be exterminated! You are a prisoner of the Daleks!'
Frozen with terror, Romana obeyed the grating metallic commands. One of the Daleks ordered, 'Scan the prisoner for concealed weapons.'The second Dalek glided forward and swept a metal arm across Romana's body.There was a faint buzzing sound. 'The prisoner is unarmed.'The first Dalek said, 'At my command you will move forward. Any attempt to escape will be severely punished. No further warning will be given. Is that understood?'Romana nodded dumbly.'Is that understood?' screeched the Dalek angrily. 'Speak! Speak! Speak!''Yes,' shouted Romana. 'Yes, I understand!''The prisoner will be taken to interrogation. Follow!'One Dalek glided through the black hole in the wall. The other held back, waiting for Romana. Obediently she went through the hole and the Dalek glided after her.Hanging from his rope inside the shaft, the gaunt stranger watched them go.When they were clear of the chamber, he began climbing back up the shaft.The girl stranger had been taken by the Daleks. There was nothing he could do for her now. There was nothing anyone could do.The control room of the buried s.p.a.ce ship was huge, brightly lit, impressive in its functional simplicity. Looking around him, the Doctor realised that the simple elegance of design was the product of a very high degree of technology indeed.Men and women were moving about the flight deck. They wore immaculate s.p.a.ce uniforms, they were tall, well-built and extraordinarily good-looking.Whoever his rescuers were, thought the Doctor, they were a strikingly attractive people.His mind went back briefly over recent events. Once the two strangers had registered that the pinioned, helpless Doctor was hardly a danger to them, they had holstered their blasters and moved forward. In an astonishing display of strength and coordination, they had seized hold of the pillar between them, and lifted it sufficiently for him to scramble free.Ignoring both his thanks and his questions, they had led him out of the chamber, across the stony plain, and through the entrance hatch of their buried s.p.a.ce ship. And now here he was.The Doctor noticed that some of the s.p.a.ce ship crew were moving in a steady procession to a kind of computerised dispenser. From it they took slender silver tubes which they slotted into their belts. Tools, wondered the Doctor, or supplies? Radiation pills perhaps, like these he was carrying himself? Dismissing the problem, he looked up as one of the aliens came over to him. He was tall and handsome like the rest and the insignia on his uniform seemed to signify superior rank. He spoke in a deep, mellow voice. 'I am Commander Sharrel.' He indicated the Doctor's two rescuers who had followed him across the control room. 'This is Lan and this is Agella. I am glad they were able to help you.''Charming people, both of them,' said the Doctor politely. 'Strong, too. They lifted that column off me as though it were a matchstick. I can't think where they hide their muscles. I'm the Doctor, by the way.''All Movellan crew are in peak physical condition,' said Commander Sharrel solemnly. 'It is an essential qualification.'The Doctor looked at the busy scene around him. A number of the Movellans were seated at video-consoles. They wore headphones and seemed to be studying patterns of flickering lights running across their screens. 'And what are they doing now? A scanning exercise, perhaps?'Commander Sharrel smiled politely, but he did not reply.Undaunted, the Doctor went on, 'I hate to seem inquisitive, but I could do with a little information. What brings you to...? By the way, what is the name of this planet?''You do not know where you are?''Well, not exactly. I had a little problem with my directional equipment.''I see. You made a forced landing?''Something of the sort.''I understand. This planet is listed in our Movellan star charts as D Five Gamma Z Alpha.''I'm afraid that's not much help to me. I'm old-fashioned, I prefer to stick to names. What brings you you here?' here?''I am sorry, Doctor. The nature of our mission must remain secret. I am sure you will understand.''Oh, certainly, certainly. I just thought an exchange of information might be mutually helpful.''Perhaps. Have you learned anything, since you landed?''Not much,' admitted the Doctor. 'I saw a man being buried though. He was from Kantria.'Commander Sharrel was giving nothing away. 'And are you of the opinion that this planet is Kantria?''No, I know Kantria. Besides, there were a few words scratched on his headstone... I understand enough Kantrian to translate them. They read "Far from his native world".''What else have you observed?''A considerable number of surface explosions. I think they must be recoil action, from phason drills, being used deep underground.' The Doctor spread his hands. 'That's all, I'm afraid.'Commander Sharrel paused, exchanging glances with Lan and Agella. 'I think there is at least one thing I can tell you without breaking security. Our mission here is directed against a species known as the Daleks...''The Daleks?' The Doctor jumped up in alarm.'They are a race of evil automatons - ''You don't have to tell me about the Daleks. I know a great deal about them already.'Now it was Commander Sharrel's turn to be astonished. 'You know the Daleks?''Oh, yes,' said the Doctor. 'I know the Daleks. Better than you can possibly imagine!'Deep beneath the surface of the ruined planet, the Daleks had set up their base. Fresh air and daylight meant nothing to them, and an underground setting was their natural habitat.Romana was taken into a brightly-lit underground area with complex pieces of scientific equipment dotted about the floor. The architecture of the base was harsh and bleakly metallic, and it had the improvised air of the headquarters of some kind of field expedition. Romana saw that the metal walls held illuminated blow-ups of charts or maps, rather like architectural drawings. Daleks bustled to and fro, scanning them, returning to instrument consoles to study their readings.Romana was taken to a sinister-looking machine, and directed to stand against it. It was a skeletal metal framework, connected to a console.There were armrests at shoulder height, and at the end of the armrests were two glowing metal orbs.'You will grasp the orbs,' ordered a Dalek. Apprehensively, Romana did as she was told. She felt no pain, but a slight, electric tingle spread through her body.The Dalek began bombarding her with questions. Who was she? Why had she come to the planet? Where were her companions? What were they doing now?There were many other questions, most of which she couldn't even understand, let alone reply to.'Answer!' grated the Dalek. 'Answer! Answer! Answer!''I don't know the answers,' shouted Romana angrily. 'I don't even understand the questions. Why don't you leave me alone?'Her outburst produced an astonished silence. The Dalek at the controls of the interrogation machine studied the pattern of flashing lights and symbols on its read-out screen. 'Detector indicates truthful response.'The Dalek in charge of the interrogation said, 'We will continue.'Wearily Romana rubbed her hand over her eyes. The Dalek's sucker-arm seized her wrist, forcing it back onto the globe. 'You will not remove your hands from the sensor globes.'The Dalek paused as if considering its approach. 'Statement. Your purpose here was to sabotage Dalek operations. True or false?''I didn't even know there were any Dalek operations here,' began Romana.'Answer,' shrieked the Dalek. 'Answer true or false. Answer! Answer! Answer!''False!' yelled Romana.'Detector indicates truthful response.''Statement. You are in the employ of hostile s.p.a.ce power and have been sent here to spy on the Daleks. True or false?''False, false, false!' shouted Romana. 'Now shut up and leave me alone.''Detector indicates truthful response. Standard basic interrogation now complete.' There were whirrs and clicks and flashing lights from the console.'Report a.n.a.lysis of responses.''a.n.a.lysis indicates subject in category nine.''Category nine subjects represent no threat to Dalek security. The prisoner will leave interrogation machine.'Thankfully, Romana let go of the glowing globes. 'Does that mean I can go?''As a humanoid, you are a useful low-grade work unit. You have no other value. You will be given anti-radiation treatment, and a.s.signed to the labour force.''What are you talking about? I'm not going to be in any labour force.''You will obey all Dalek commands instantly. You will complete your daily work schedule. Do this, and you will be allowed to live. Fail, and you will be exterminated.'The Daleks gathered round Romana in a menacing circle.'Obey all Dalek commands.''Obey instantly.''Obey without question!'The harsh metallic voices rose in terrifying chorus. 'Obey! Obey! Obey! Obey! Obey!'Romana clapped her hands over her ears, but the grating voices could not be shut out.'Obey the Daleks! Obey! Obey! Obey!''Commander Sharrel, please, you must must believe me. It's vital that you tell me what you know about the Dalek mission on this planet. I've had considerable experience of their methods. I'm sure I can help you, but first I must know why they're here.' believe me. It's vital that you tell me what you know about the Dalek mission on this planet. I've had considerable experience of their methods. I'm sure I can help you, but first I must know why they're here.''Doctor, that is exactly what I need to know myself - ' Commander Sharrel broke off as Agella hurried up to him. 'Yes, what is it?''Excuse me, Commander, but the perimeter patrol has picked someone up. He was wandering about, close to the ship. Do you want to see him?''Bring him in at once.'Two Movellans entered, bringing a strange figure between them. He was tall and gaunt with white face and white hair, and he wore the tattered remnants of some kind of s.p.a.ce uniform. He looked dazedly around at the technological neatness of his surroundings, the brightly-lit instrument panels, the smartly uniformed Movellans with their brisk, disciplined movements. As his eyes took all this in, some long-buried memory seemed to stir deep within him.He came to a halt in front of Commander Sharrel and straightened up in a pitiful attempt to come to attention.Commander Sharrel said, 'Report, please. Name, rank, planet of origin and fleet attachment. What is your purpose on this planet?'In a hoa.r.s.e, weary voice, the newcomer said, 'Starship Engineer Tyssan, sir. Serving with the Deep s.p.a.ce Fleet out of Planet Earth. I was captured two years ago...' His voice faltered and began to waver. Feebly he went on, 'Since then, I have been a prisoner of the Daleks...'The effort of making a proper military report had been too much for Engineer Tyssan. He staggered and toppled to the ground, falling stiffly like a cut-down tree.The Doctor sprang forward, catching him and lowering him to the floor. He knelt to examine the unconscious man.'What's the matter with him?' demanded Sharrel.'Oh, nothing much! Malnutrition, exhaustion, a dose of radiation poisoning.' The Doctor looked up, his face bleak. 'Put more simply he's been half starved, kept in inhuman conditions, and worked almost to death. He was telling you the truth, Commander. He's been a prisoner of the Daleks!'
Slaves of the Daleks
Romana was taken to an enormous underground cavern, formed by the meeting point of a number of tunnels. It was piled high with rubble, produced by Dalek drilling operations.Human and humanoid prisoners were piling this rubble into baskets, then tipping the baskets into huge metal skips and trundling them away. All the workers were gaunt and ragged, all had clothes, hair and skin covered with white dust. They looked like a crowd of weary ghosts. Dalek guards glided constantly to and fro.A Dalek thrust Romana into the cavern. 'Work!' Its sucker arm indicated a pile of empty baskets. Romana picked up a basket and joined the others.She worked in silence for a while, waiting until the Dalek guard had moved away. Then she edged towards the other prisoners. A man and a girl were working together quite close to her, and Romana moved over to join them.'My name's Romana. What's yours?'The girl said quietly, 'Veldan. This is Jall.''How long have the Daleks been holding you prisoner?'Veldan rubbed a hand across her dust-smeared face. 'It seems like forever.''How did they capture you?''Raided our colony on Sirrian. Took about fifty of us.''What about you, Jall?''I was a pa.s.senger on a s.p.a.ce shuttle. The Daleks attacked and scooped up the lot of us. Crew, pa.s.sengers, everybody.''You were captured in different places, but you both ended up here?''They put us on a prison ship in deep s.p.a.ce first. Hundreds of us crammed into metal cells. Life expectancy's pretty short. Then they picked about fifty of us and sent us here.' Jall laughed bitterly. 'We thought we were lucky - thought we might be able to escape. A lot of us have died since then.''Why can't you escape? I saw some kind of burial party earlier - it wasn't even guarded.'It was Veldan who answered. 'For a start, there's nowhere to escape to to . The whole planet seems to be in ruins, no food, no water, nothing. Without the radiation pills the Daleks hand out, you die in a matter of days. And every time somebody runs off, the Daleks kill some of us. Escape plans aren't very popular any more.' . The whole planet seems to be in ruins, no food, no water, nothing. Without the radiation pills the Daleks hand out, you die in a matter of days. And every time somebody runs off, the Daleks kill some of us. Escape plans aren't very popular any more.'Romana looked around the crowd of toiling captives. 'The Daleks brought you all here just for this? Why don't they just use machines?''They've got machines, huge ones to do the drilling,' said Jall. 'But for this kind of clearing up operation there's nothing as adaptable as a humanoid.''Cheap, expendable, easily replaced,' said Veldan bitterly. 'Whenever they die off you just go and capture some more.''Maybe the Daleks enjoy subjugating humanoid races,' said Romana thoughtfully. 'After all, they used to be humanoid themselves once...''How do you know so much about them?'Before Romana could reply, a Dalek guard moved closer. 'Silence! You will remain silent at all times!'Jall and Veldan began tossing rocks into their basket, and Romana did the same. She had been working for only a few moments when a wave of giddiness came over her, and she had to stop.'Are you all right?' whispered Veldan.'Still feeling a bit shaky. I got a big dose of radiation before I was captured, and I don't think it's worn off yet. I'll be all right soon. The Daleks gave me some pills...'Rallying herself, Romana went on working. 'Listen you two, I've got to get away from here. Are you interested?''Forget it,' said Jall coldly. 'I've told you what happens if anyone tries to escape. Do you want to get innocent people killed?'Before Romana could reply, another wave of giddiness swept over her, and she slumped forward over her basket.Veldan and Jall moved to help her, but a Dalek guard drove them off. 'Keep away!''She's ill,' protested Veldan.'Keep away.' The Dalek glided up to Romana, training its gun-stick on her body. 'Continue your work. Those unfit for work will be exterminated!'With a mighty effort Romana struggled to her knees and began throwing chunks of rock into the metal basket. 'It's all right,' she muttered. 'I'll be all right.'The Dalek watched her for a moment longer, and then went away.Romana worked as slowly as she dared, eyes moving about the cavern, checking the position of the Dalek guards. If she waited till she felt a little stronger and then made a run for one of the tunnels...Veldan edged closer. 'Romana, you've got to forget about escaping. Believe me, the only way you get out of here is when you're dead.'Romana stared at her, the girl's words echoing in her mind. 'The only way you get out of here is when you're dead...'The escaped prisoner Tyssan had been given medical attention, water and food. Conscious again, though still very weak, he was talking to Commander Sharrel and the Doctor, doing his best to answer their questions.'Do you have any idea what the Daleks are mining for for ?' asked the Doctor. ?' asked the Doctor.'None at all,' said Tyssan wearily. 'They don't take prisoners into their confidence.''How did you manage to escape?' asked Commander Sharrel.'I was on a work party - I just collapsed. I was in a pretty bad way by then, they must have thought I was dead. When I woke up there were no Dalek guards around. They'd just left me. I managed to steal some food and water and make my way to the surface. Not that it did me much good.''Continue.'Tyssan nodded towards the Doctor. 'Well, I'd been on the run for a couple of days and I spotted you and the girl.''Why didn't you speak to us?''I think I must have been a bit delirious by then. I was frightened, I didn't know who you were, what sort of reception I'd get. I followed you for a while, lost you, and then picked up the girl again. I tried to speak to her but she ran away, fell into a kind of shaft in one of the ruins.''Was she hurt? Why didn't you help her?''I tried... I went down the shaft after her, but I was too late, the Daleks got her.'The Doctor jumped up. 'What? Are you sure of that?''Certain. I saw them take her away.'Immediately, the Doctor started making plans. 'Presumably they'll want to interrogate her, find out where she came from. Tyssan, I've got to get into the Dalek base. Can you show me a way in?''I think so,' said Tyssan hesitantly. 'But you'd be taking a tremendous risk.''I'm used to that! Can you do it, Tyssan? Will you help me?'The Doctor's energy and enthusiasm were infectious, and Tyssan said, 'All right, I'll try.''Splendid! Come on, we must get started right away!'As the Doctor headed for the door, Commander Sharrel snapped, 'Just a minute, Doctor.'The Doctor turned.Commander Sharrel said, 'You may need some help. We'll go with you. Agella, go and draw some weapons.'Moving with the calm deliberation of all the Movellans, Agella headed for the door, pausing by the computer-rack to take one of the little silver tubes and slot it into her belt.'Please, hurry,' said the Doctor impatiently.Ignoring him, Agella went calmly on her way.In the cavern everything was quiet. Cowed and weary prisoners worked silently on their endless tasks. The Dalek guards glided menacingly to and fro.Suddenly Romana staggered to her feet, took a few stumbling paces forward, and then pitched headlong to the ground.Veldan went to help her, but a Dalek guard chased her away. 'Leave the prisoner. Return to your work.''But she's ill...''Return to your work!'Reluctantly Veldan obeyed. The Dalek glided closer to Romana and moved its 'sucker', in reality a sensitive scanning device, across her body. 'There is no respiration, no heartbeat. This prisoner is dead.'The Dalek turned away.'You can't just leave her there,' shouted Jall. 'At least let us bury her.'The Dalek swung round, menacing him with its gun. 'The prisoner is dead. You will be permitted to dispose of her when the work cycle is complete. Return to your work. You will obey!'Jall obeyed.Tyssan climbed cautiously down the rope into the shaft. The chamber was empty now. In the far wall was the gaping hole drilled by the Daleks.Tyssan dropped down into the chamber and called up the shaft. 'It's all clear. Come on!'The Doctor slid down the rope, followed by Agella, Lan and Commander Sharrel.Tyssan pointed. 'The Daleks came through there, so there must be a way through to their workings.' He shivered at the thought of the h.e.l.l from which he had so recently escaped.The Doctor noticed his reaction. 'You've done enough by showing us the way in, Tyssan. Believe me, I'm more than grateful. There's no need for you to take any more chances. Why don't you go back to the Movellan ship? They'll look after you.'Tyssan looked tempted, but he shook his head. 'I'll stay, I've got nothing to lose. Ever since they brought me here, I've had a premonition I was going to die on Skaro.''Skaro? Are you telling me this is Skaro Skaro ? The planet where the Daleks first originated?' ? The planet where the Daleks first originated?''Of course, Doctor. Didn't you know?'The Doctor looked at Commander Sharrel. 'Is he right?''We believe so, Doctor.'The Doctor shook his head wonderingly. 'So, the Daleks have returned to Skaro, to the place of their creation. I should have known...''If your navigation instruments weren't working, you couldn't know.''I'm not talking about instruments. The aura of evil, the feeling that I'd been here before... I should have trusted my instincts.'The Doctor rose and stared into the darkness beyond the hole. 'Why? Why are they burrowing in the ruins of their city. For what?'He broke off, his eyes widening. 'No,' he whispered. 'No, it couldn't be. It would be too fantastic, even for the Daleks...''What would?' demanded Commander Sharrel.The Doctor shrugged. 'Just a wild theory. There's probably nothing in it. Anyway, we'll find the answers we want in Dalek control.' He led them through the archway.In the Dalek control area, Dalek technicians were moving about instrument consoles, working with quiet efficiency. A Dalek engineer glided in through an archway, and came up to the Dalek leader.'Vertical drill three is in position.''Penetration to lower levels will commence immediately. Order that drilling is to continue until penetration is complete.''I obey.'There was a sudden bleeping from a nearby control panel, and the Dalek leader turned to the technician at the controls. 'Report!''Security sensors detect unauthorised movement in sector seven.''Despatch units four and six to investigate.''I obey!'The technician moved to a communications circuit, and sent a rapid signal.From the nearby security section, two Daleks set off in search of the intruders.
The Doctor and his party moved cautiously along a newly-dug tunnel, picking their way over the chunks of rock that littered the floor.Tyssan brought them to a halt by a narrow cleft. 'About a thousand yards along there, that side tunnel connects with the main shaft to the control area. It's the way I escaped myself.'Commander Sharrel said, 'Lan, you will stay here and cover this exit. We may need to leave this place in a hurry.''Sir!' Lan stood to one side, and Commander Sharrel, the Doctor, Tyssan and Agella disappeared into the blackness of the tunnel. Lan was left alone.Drawing his blaster, he waited, poised and alert. The handsome, regular features showed not the slightest trace of fear... no trace of any emotion at all.In the main cavern, a siren shattered the gloomy silence, and the prisoners collapsed thankfully beside their baskets. Now they would be given radiation pills, just enough food and drink to keep them alive, and allowed a few hours' exhausted sleep in the caves that served as dormitories, before the harsh voices of the Daleks awoke them, and drove them out to further toil.'Work schedule now completed,' announced a Dalek guard unnecessarily.'Prisoners will return to detention area.' It moved over to the crumpled body of Romana, which had lain motionless and ignored since her collapse.'Remove the body and dispose of it. Surface burial will be permitted.'Two prisoners came forward with a rough wooden stretcher, and rolled Romana's body on to it.'Help them.'Two more prisoners came forward. The four of them hoisted the stretcher on to their shoulders and carried Romana's body away.The Dalek leader saw a light flash on his monitoring console. He touched a control with his sucker-arm. 'Report.''Investigation of intruder in section seven so far without result.''Proceed with search and widen boundaries of search area. Advise me immediately of any results.''We obey.'The Dalek moved away. The control area was left empty - but not for long.The Doctor appeared at one of the entrances, looked round, then beckoned his companions onward. Commander Sharrel, Agella and Tyssan crept into the area after him. The little group stood looking about them.'Well, Doctor, what now?' asked Commander Sharrel.'Oh, we'll just poke about a bit,' said the Doctor vaguely. 'Never know what you'll find till you look.'Commander Sharrel said, 'Agella, you cover the main entrance.'Agella moved away to stand guard, and the others began their investigations.The Doctor wandered around inquisitively, apparently fascinated by everything he saw. He opened a heavy metal cabinet and found it full of racks upon which lay stubby metal cylinders with timers set into their heads. 'Well, well,' said the Doctor. 'What have we here?'Tyssan came over to him. 'Bombs, Doctor. Explosive charges with timers. Immensely powerful, too. They use them in the excavations.'The Doctor nodded, and one of the bombs vanished into his capacious pocket.He moved on.His eye was caught by the illuminated charts, and he crossed over to study them. 'Now this might tell us something. Interesting... very interesting indeed!'Commander Sharrel came over to him. 'What are they, Doctor?''They seem to be plans of the old Kaled City.''Kaled?''Dalek, in another form. It would take too long to explain.' He pointed to the chart. 'This is the first underground level, where we are now. And here's the second. Presumably they've already penetrated at least that far.' He moved his finger down the chart. 'And here's level three...presumably this mark here represents their objective.' The Doctor pointed to a cross enclosed by a little circle.'If that is is their objective, what does the mark represent?' their objective, what does the mark represent?''I have a very uneasy feeling about that,' said the Doctor, brooding. 'I wonder why the fourth level isn't marked?''The originals of these charts must be very old,' suggested Tyssan.'Perhaps the plans for the fourth level were lost?''Possibly so. That would explain why they're drilling downwards. If only they knew it, they could reach the point they're after far more easily by gaining access to the fourth level and drilling upwards upwards .' .'The Doctor fished a pencil stub and a sc.r.a.p of paper from his pocket and began drawing a rough map. 'Keep watch for me, will you, Tyssan? If this is the only plan of the city they've got, then there are quite a few things about this city that they don't know - and I do!'Lan sensed movement further along the tunnel and ducked into the cleft, pressing himself against the wall.A Dalek was moving along the main tunnel. It came closer... closer, and glided past, apparently without seeing him.Lan waited a moment longer, then stepped into the tunnel, looking along it in the direction in which the Dalek had disappeared.He heard a faint sound behind him and whirled round. A second Dalek had come silently up behind him. Lan raised his blaster, but before he could fire, the Dalek's gun-stick blazed. Lan writhed and twisted in the bright glow of the energy-discharge, and crumpled to the ground.The first Dalek came back along the tunnel, and the two squat metallic shapes stared down at the motionless body.The first Dalek said, 'Advise control. Intruder has been located and exterminated.'A steady bleep came from the communications console. The Doctor and his companions looked up in alarm. Surely the noise would summon a Dalek. At the same moment Agella called, 'Daleks, coming this way.'We'd better get out of here,' said the Doctor. He ran to the door by which they'd entered, then skidded to a halt. 'There's one coming this way too! Get under cover!'All four ducked down behind a ma.s.sive bank of equipment.Two Daleks glided into the room, one through each entrance. The Dalek leader went over to answer the still bleeping console. 'Report!''Intruder located and exterminated. We are returning to control!'The Doctor whispered, 'The place will be crawling with them in a minute.Let's make a run for it.'He signalled to the others, who nodded a.s.sent. 'Now!' shouted the Doctor, and jumping from cover, he sprinted for the exit.The Daleks reacted instantly, swinging round and opening fire. But by now the Doctor was already tearing along the corridor, the others at his heels.From the control area behind them came the roar of Dalek blasters, and the shriek of angry Dalek voices. 'Alert! Alert! Intruders in control area. They must be found and exterminated!'The Doctor and his group pelted down the main shaft and along the side tunnel, heading for the narrow cleft through which they'd entered. As they reached it, the Doctor stumbled over a huddled shape on the ground. Agella looked down. 'It is Lan,' she said emotionlessly.'Let me have a look at him,' said the Doctor. 'Maybe I can help, I'm a doctor.'With surprising strength, Agella held him back. 'No, Doctor. He is dead.''How can you be sure? At least let me look at him...'Now Commander Sharrel moved to block his way. 'We are Movellans, Doctor. It is not permitted for aliens to see the bodies of our dead. It is against our code of honour...'Commander Sharrel looked back down the tunnel. 'We must keep moving. The Daleks cannot be far behind us.'The Doctor and Tyssan were politely but firmly urged past Lan's body. Only when they had both pa.s.sed it, did the two Movellans follow them.'What was all that about, Doctor?' muttered Tyssan.'I don't know. But it would be terribly interesting to find out, wouldn't it?'They hurried on their way, stumbling down the rubble-strewn tunnel back to the underground chamber, where Tyssan's rope still dangled from the shaft.'Up you go,' said the Doctor. 'Hurry!'Tyssan began to climb, then hesitated. 'What about the girl, your friend? We were going to rescue her.''Don't worry, we'll find her,' said the Doctor confidently. 'We haven't finished here yet.'Tyssan vanished up the shaft, and the Doctor waved to the Movellans to go next. 'After you.''No, Doctor, after you,' said Commander Sharrel evenly.'How kind!'The Doctor shinned nimbly up the rope, and the Movellans followed.Three Daleks glided down the tunnel, past Lan's huddled body and through the archway into the underground chamber.Guns blazing, they raked the chamber with a deadly burst of fire. But the chamber was empty. They moved across the room and d
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