January 15, 1901 - Temple of Amunra
The Doctor looked on in amazement at the rows and rows of kneeling devotees. Hundreds of the white-robed figures prostrated themselves before the imposing figure of the High Priest. Even from his distant vantage point, the Doctor recognized him as Rama, the amazing Arab.
He glanced at Sir Arthur. He seemed to be handling the possibly life-threatening situation well. In fact, the Doctor would have said he was relishing the experience.
He thought of Ace, and suppressed a nervous shiver. Her disappearance worried him. He only hoped his hunch had been right, and she had been brought here, to the Temple of Amunra.
A sudden tap on his shoulder brought him whirling round. He relaxed as he saw it was only Kala. She had silently returned from her prowl.
‘I found the other prisoners and released them as you instructed, Doctor. I regret there was no sign of your friend, however. I am afraid she might have been taken to be prepared already.’
‘Prepared? For what?’
‘If the worshippers of Amunra have abducted her, Doctor, it means only one thing. She is going to be the chosen sacrifice. Her life blood will go to Rahtep, so that he may rise again.’
‘Oh, Ace, what have you gotten yourself into?’ the Doctor whispered sadly. Suddenly, he noticed the chanting had stopped. The High Priest was addressing his followers.
‘Brethren, the Nile has flooded two thousand one hundred and fifty eight times since the stone of Amunra fell to the Earth. It was a gift from Amunra, a gift which enabled the great king, Rahtep, to rule the land fairly and justly in His almighty light. But the Nile had scarcely flooded four times before those who would deny Amunra cut down our glorious leader. These heretics attempted to destroy our movement, but through the centuries Amunra guarded us. Rahtep's tomb was buried, the location hidden for thousands of years. The secret of Amunra was passed from father to son, until I became the High Priest, guardian of Amunra. And then the lord revealed to us the location of Rahtep's tomb, so that he may walk among us again. However he chose to test us, giving the body of Rahtep to an unbeliever. But we were true to Amunra, and the unbeliever was punished. We recovered the body of Rahtep and the means of his awakening. I present the stone of Amunra!’
Suddenly, in his hands he held the powersphere, radiating some inner light, shining almost blindingly bright. The devotees resumed their chanting with almost desperate vigour.
'Rahtep, Rahtep Ularum, Rahtep, Rahtep Ularum.’
‘Of course,’ the Doctor whispered. ‘Rahtep Ularum. Rahtep will return. Rama must be planning to use the powersphere to resurrect Rahtep.’
‘Bring on the chosen victim, to be one with Rahtep!’ boomed Rama. As the chanting reached new crescendos, Ace was brought out struggling and blindfolded. She fought almost demonically against the two Arabs holding her. The blindfold slipped down, and the Doctor quaked with fear. Ace's eyes had gone a pale yellow colour, growing stronger by the minute. The planet of the cheetah people possessed her still, and her violent struggles had caused it to manifest itself again. This time Ace might not be so lucky...
The Doctor was not the only worried person - Rama was also starting to quail. In a sudden surge of strength Ace had thrown off the two followers restraining her, and started to advance.
The Doctor was despairing. Ace's own personality was almost completely submerged beneath that of the cheetah people. And there was nothing he could do about it.
As Ace moved closer to Rama, it seemed almost as if two people were menacing him. The young girl in the leather jacket, and yet in the same place, was another more bestial form. Rama did perhaps the only thing he could. He raised the powersphere in front of him.
Ace was still moving forward, but much slower now. Her form was flickering between her own, and that of the cheetah people, but now her own was appearing more often. The powersphere was glowing brighter. It was literally absorbing the energy from Ace. Ace was now almost at a halt. She was still clawing wildly, but now sluggishly, slowly. The energy dwindling from her, she slowly collapsed to the ground.
The powersphere was glowing brighter still. The Doctor felt a tug at his mind, and realized that the powersphere was drawing the life energy of everyone in the temple. He saw Kala stagger, and then steel herself, leaning against a pillar for support. Sir Arthur stumbled to his knees, clutching his head.
The effect on the devotees was even more profound. The chanting continued without pause, but some clutched their heads, or fell, while others winced through clenched teeth, or chanted with a new desperation. One man screamed, and was silenced. The High Priest was exultant as the powersphere soaked up the energy in the room. Now, the powersphere was glowing furiously. Sir Arthur was forced to turn away from its unrelenting glare.
The Doctor seized his chance and started to walk towards Ace's fallen form. The ranks of worshippers were too occupied by the pain of the powersphere to hinder his progress. As the Doctor mounted the steps to the platform and passed the sarcophagus of King Rahtep, he had to struggle against the powersphere's ever hungry greed for energy.
At the last minute, Rama turned to face the Time Lord. ‘You profane the temple of Amunra. Now feel his wrath!’ The Doctor was buffeted by waves of energy, battering his defenses, and draining him of the will to resist. It was doubtful how long even the Doctor could have survived, had not the powersphere suddenly flown out of Rama's hand. The Doctor turned to see Ace, propped up against the sarcophagus, slingshot in hand.
As Rama scrabbled for the powersphere, the Doctor helped Ace to her feet and the pair struggled back toward Kala and Sir Arthur.
As they reached the safety of the far wall, the Doctor turned and looked back. Rama once more held the powersphere in his hand but now he had to struggle to control it. Its energies throbbed angrily, resisting Rama's commands. Then a new factor entered the struggle.
From the sides, Daleks appeared, blocking off the exits. Allowing no chance of escape, they began firing indiscriminately into the crowd of exhausted believers. Countless screams echoed the Daleks' energy weapons.
For the Doctor and the others, their problem was more immediate. Two Daleks had come to prevent escape, from the far end. Now they had new targets.
The Doctor turned and saw Kala running towards them. He was about to shout to her to stop, when an energy blast chipped away the pillar beside his head. Ducking down, he saw Kala taking out the can of Nitro-9 Ace had given her.
The next few seconds would be etched in his memory forever. 'NO!!!’ Ace screamed, but it was too late. Turning for one last look, Kala twisted the top. The explosion engulfed her and the Daleks, bringing the entire wall down on top of them.
The Doctor turned to see Ace sobbing against a pillar, and Sir Arthur looking on in shock. It had all happened too fast.
The battle should have been a total victory for the Daleks. But they had miscalculated. They had miscalculated the force of Rama's will. And they had miscalculated the power the sphere held.
Rama knew how to use the powersphere. The knowledge had been passed on for countless generations, surprisingly intact after two thousand years. Now was the time to use that knowledge.
He held up the powersphere, and a lightning bolt arced between it and the nearest Dalek. For a few seconds, nothing happened. Then the top exploded, sending debris everywhere. The Daleks milled around uncertainly, unable to react to this new threat. As another lightning bolt blew up a Dalek, they finally took action.
They turned to face the High Priest and fired. Then they realized the powersphere had absorbed their shots. Confusion overwhelmed them as they tried to adapt to the situation. Some Daleks began firing randomly. Some hit the pillars, knocking alarmingly large chunks of the walls. The temple chamber was starting to fill with smoke from destroyed Daleks, falling masonry, flaming torches. In the chaos, some Dalek fire hit other Daleks causing more explosions.
Rama was continuing to use the powersphere to deadly effect on the Daleks, as one after another they exploded. Finally a stray shot exploded on the platform beneath his feet. He found himself falling, and landed heavily on the hard stone floor, the powersphere rolling just out of reach. A large piece of the roof came crashing down, trapping his legs.
Seeing this turn of events the Doctor led Ace and Sir Arthur across the wasteland of charred bodies, smoking Daleks, and falling pillars. Weaving their way between the still dangerous Daleks, the Doctor finally reached Rama and the powersphere.
‘I go to join Amunra,’ he croaked, barely audible. ‘Two thousand one hundred and fifty eight years ago, my ancestor found this stone. It led to great power, and now to this. I go now to my forebears.’ The Doctor looked desperately for a way of moving the stone, but Rama was gone.
The powersphere was now glowing an angry red, and the Doctor scooped it up before leading the trio out of the falling temple. No Daleks blocked their escape. The outer corridors of the temple were strangely silent, as the maelstrom whirled in the main chamber.
Dashing across the cool night sands, the powersphere was now throbbing, flickering erratically. In the Doctor's hand it was getting uncomfortably warm.
Inside the main cavern, the Dalek leader was surveying the carnage, its eyestalk twitching agitatedly. All around was smoke and destruction, and dying screams. As still larger blocks of masonry started to fall from the crumbling ceiling, the Dalek started to speak.
‘The Time Lord has escaped. The powersphere has eluded us. Prepare to retreat.’ However this option was also closed to him, as the remaining Daleks were engulfed by the collapsing entrance way.
‘We have been defeated. The mission is a failure. We will remember your actions Time Lord. When we meet you next time, you will not escape so easily. It may take a thousand years, but we will remember this outrage, and we will find you no matter where you try to hide in time or space!’ The lone Dalek continued to scream vengeance as all around the temple collapsed.
The Doctor's teeth were clenched tight, as the throbbing pain of the powersphere seared his nerves. Somehow he kept going across the sands, towards his objective - the Dalek shuttlecraft. He prayed the Daleks in their arrogance had left it undefended.
With the last of his strength he hurled the powersphere into the open hatchway of the ship. A Dalek appeared in the doorway, droning in the familiar monotone.
‘Halt! You are an enemy of the Daleks!’ The Doctor paid no heed as he turned and dragged Ace and Sir Arthur to the ground. The Dalek's last words were lost as the shuttle was consumed by a storm of flames.
Ace turned back to face the pyramid.
‘Look, Doctor!’ Almost in slow motion the temple fell to ground, collapsing in a maelstrom of mortar and falling stonework. A rolling thunder that seemed to last for an eternity, the dying of a culture. The destruction of the great temple echoed the last lament of Amunra.