The Doctor and the others tried to follow, but the way was blocked by one of Amsterdam's huge yellow trams. By the time it had pa.s.sed, Omega had disappeared again.
As they hesitated, uncertain which way to go, they heard a clattering of metal and a yell of anger and pain.
'This way,' shouted the Doctor.
They ran towards the sound. It came from a narrow alleyway between two tall buildings. In the middle of the alleyway, a man in a chef s hat was lying sprawled amidst some overturned dustbins.
The Doctor helped him up.
'Are you okay?' asked Tegan. 'What happened?'
The man answered with a stream of what sounded very much like Dutch curses, and pointed angrily down the alley. Presumably Omega had knocked him down in his headlong flight.
'He'll be all right,' said the Doctor. 'Come on!'
They emerged from the alleyway just in time to see Omega cross an open square and disappear down yet another street.
When they reached the top of the street, Omega had disappeared again.
Some of the houses in the street had outside staircases leading up to the front doors. Omega was crouched motionless in the dark s.p.a.ce beneath one of these stairways. He stayed quite still, as the Doctor and his companions walked past his hiding-place.
The Doctor stared down the street. It was long and straight, and seemed empty for a very long way ahead.
Surely Omega should he in sight by now.
Tegan shook her head. 'He's got away.'
'He can't have,' said Nyssa despairingly.
They heard a frantic barking and growling from somewhere close behind them and turned round.
An old gentleman was walking his dog along the street. The dog was snarling ferociously at the dark s.p.a.ce under one of the stairways.
As they watched, an overalled figure with a horribly disfigured face sprang out from beneath the stairs and ran back down the street towards the ca.n.a.l.
The Doctor and his friends ran in pursuit.
They chased Omega back up the street, across the main road and along the ca.n.a.l bank towards another bridge. But Omega had chosen the wrong bridge this time. Just before he reached it, it rose slowly in the air to admit the pa.s.sage of a boat too big to go underneath.
Angrily Omega turned back towards the nearby lock.
He ran blindly along a short stone jetty and stopped at the end. He turned and saw the Doctor and the two Earth girls coming towards him. Omega was trapped.
When the Doctor and his companions reached the end of the jetty, Omega was slumped despairingly against a bollard. He looked up at them, and the two girls recoiled in horror.
Omega was a terrifying sight. His face and hands, and presumably the body beneath the overalls, were literally decaying. The face was twisted and malformed, the features already beginning to liquefy.
The Doctor looked sadly down at him. 'I warned you this would happen, Omega.'
Omega's voice was slurred. 'Things could have been... different... Doctor. The power and greatness of Omega... could have been yours. But no... your hatred of...' 'I didn't hate you, Omega. None of us hated you.
Why couldn't you be content to survive as you were?'
'It was time to come home, Doctor,' croaked the misshapen figure. 'Time to find peace... to rest.' With sudden anger, Omega struggled to get up. 'It is over now. Doctor,' he snarled. 'Now all must die.'
The Doctor produced the matter-converter from beneath his coat.
The malformed lips twisted in a ghastly smile 'You'll never have the courage to use it, Doctor.'
'I can expel or destroy you, Omega. The choice is yours.'
'It is too late, Doctor. What you offer is worse than death. If I am to be denied life, then all things must perish. All things!' Omega fell back writhing.
'What's he trying to do, Doctor?' whispered Tegan.
'He's willing his own destruction, accelerating the s.h.i.+elding decay.' The Doctor raised his voice. 'Don't force me. Omega.'
'Farewell, Doctor,' croaked Omega. Smoke began rising from his body.
'Stop him!' screamed Tegan.
The Doctor hesitated. But there was really no alternative. In seconds now, Omega's body would revert to anti-matter and the resulting explosion would be catastrophic.
The Doctor fired. A beam of light shot from the weapon, and Omega's body jerked and twisted. He gave a terrible scream and a chain-reaction of explosions ran through his body. As the smoke cleared, Omega faded and disappeared. The Doctor lowered the matter-converter. 'It's over,' he said quietly and turned away.
In the computer room, President Borusa, Thalia, Cardinal Zorac and the Castellan watched tensely as Damon checked readings on his console.
When he looked up, Damon was smiling. 'The Doctor did it somehow. The anti-matter source is gone. Omega must have been destroyed.'
For once Lord President Borusa was looking his years. 'Unfortunate, wretched creature. My only hope is that he has found peace at last.'
The Doctor and Nyssa stood outside a telephone box in Amsterdam's central railway station, waiting for Tegan to finish her call.
'Doctor, is Omega really dead?' asked Nyssa suddenly.
The Doctor said enigmatically. 'He seemed to die before, yet he returned to confound us all.'
Tegan came out of the box. 'Well, I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear Colin will be out of hospital soon, and on his way back to Brisbane. Robin's going home too they've even given him a new pa.s.sport.'
'Excellent!' said the Doctor cheerfully.
'What about you, Tegan?' asked Nyssa.
'Me, I'm indestructible. Really, I'm fine.'
The Doctor beamed at her. 'Well, it's been marvellous seeing sou again.'
'Yes, indeed.' said Nyssa warmly. 'I've missed you, you know. I do wish you didn't have to go back to your job.' 'What job?' said Tegan cheerfully. 'Didn't I tell you? I got the sack.'
Nyssa hugged her delightedly. 'Wonderful.'
Tegan looked challengingly at the Doctor. 'So you're stuck with me, aren't you?'
The Doctor smiled wryly. 'So it seems.'
Curiously enough, he found he didn't mind at all.
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