10: Redemption

Stien stood poised over the duplicator device console. ‘Are you ready?’ he inquired.

The Doctor lay strapped to the couch, electrodes attached to his head and neck. He frowned. ‘You ask as though I had a choice.’

Stien left his position at the controls and moved to the Doctor's side. ‘Everyone has a c-c-choice,’ he explained, clearly bothered by the Doctor's question. ‘It's in the C-C-Constitution. Tw-Tw-Twenty-Fifth Amendment... Or is it the Twenty-Sixth? Didn't you go to school?’

‘I must have played truant that day,’ the Doctor replied. ‘Or maybe we didn't go to the same school. Which school did you go to?’

Stien rubbed his brow, his face betraying the confusion he felt in his mind. ‘I c-c-can't remember,’ he confessed.

‘But you remembered one of the Amendments!’ the Time Lord persisted. ‘What was the First? I know; it's very important you remember too!’

Stien gazed across the room, deep in tortured thought.

‘Think man! Search the area of your mind the Daleks have shut off,’ the Doctor encouraged him. ‘Resist! Before it's too late.’

‘I must c-c-concentrate...’ Stien muttered slowly.

‘Resist!’ the Doctor insisted.

‘I must c-c-continue...’ Stien returned to the controls, and pressed the button that activated the device.

The Doctor's face contorted in pain.

Stien went over and switched on a reel-to-reel recording mechanism mounted on the wall. A monitor screen above it came to life displaying images of the Doctor's past lives and companions as the machine delved deeper into his memories...

...Turlough, Tegan, Nyssa, Adric, Romana, K9, Leela, Harry, his fourth incarnation...

The Time Lord moaned in agony.

‘Relax Doctor,’ Stien advised. ‘Don't fight it.’

...Sarah Jane, Jo Grant, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Liz Shaw, his third self...

‘You'll only cause yourself pain,’ Stien told the Doctor. ‘I-I know how you feel. The pain will pass. You must relax.’

‘Quickly! Recite the Amendments,’ the Doctor urged. ‘Remember your past!’

‘I must do my duty...’ Stien muttered uncertainly.

‘You must resist!’ the Doctor screamed. ‘You're destroying my mind!’

...Zoe Heriot, Victoria Waterfield, Jamie McCrimmon, his second self...

Gradually the Doctor's cries of agony were accompanied by Stien's own tortured screams as he held his hands to his temples.

...Ben Jackson, Polly, Dodo Chaplet, Sara Kingdom, Steven Taylor, Vicki, Barbara Wright, Ian Chesterton, Susan, his original self...

‘I can't stand the confusion in my mind!’ Stien yelled, and staggered to the controls, where he hit the abort switch.

‘Quickly,’ the Doctor gasped from the couch. ‘Release me.’

Stien hurried over and undid the straps restraining the Doctor. ‘What about the guards?’ he asked.

The Doctor sat up, ripping off the electrodes from his face and neck. ‘We'll call them in here,’ he said.

Mercer ran towards Airlock Three, blaster raised and wild with revenge. Turlough was having trouble keeping up with him. Without pausing, Mercer gunned down the two troopers guarding the airlock and then ran on into the gleaming white interior of the Dalek ship. Turlough paused to acquire a blaster from one of the bodies, then hurried after Mercer.

Tegan materialised in the time corridor terminal and emerged from under the rising shutter door into the reception area. She was relieved to find it deserted and was greeted by the comfortingly familiar shape of the TARDIS standing unobtrusively in one corner. As she started towards the police box, a trooper came charging into the chamber brandishing a blaster. Tegan gasped and put her hands to her face, awaiting the end. She heard a thump, and removed her hands to see her assailant lying spread-eagled on the floor. Standing over him, holding a blaster, was someone she'd never been happier to see in all the time they'd known each other.

‘What are you doing?’ Turlough demanded of the man on the floor.

‘She was about to scream,’ Mercer explained defensively, getting back to his feet.

‘It's Tegan, you fool,’ Turlough snapped at him, and then went over to her, adding more tenderly, ‘she's a friend.’

Tegan found her voice at last. ‘Turlough,’ she sighed thankfully, inwardly marvelling at her companion's rare display of bravery. ‘Who's this?’

‘Never mind that,’ said Turlough. ‘We must get away before the Daleks arrive.’

‘Not without the Doctor,’ Tegan insisted firmly.

Turlough looked surprised. ‘He's here?’

‘Look behind you,’ Tegan advised, pointing.

Turlough looked, and seeing the TARDIS, smiled for the first time in many hours.

Kiston had managed to patch into the Dalek surveillance systems, and the scanner screen now displayed images from the Dalek ship. Under Davros's instruction, Kiston displayed various areas of the craft; including the time corridor reception area. They watched as Tegan, Turlough and Mercer left the chamber, but they were of no interest to Davros. His attention was focused on the police box which stood in one corner of the room. He recognised this shape from the information he'd gleaned from the Daleks' information store. He also knew its significance.

Davros turned to his Daleks. ‘You must secure the TARDIS for me,’ he instructed. ‘Take the troopers.’

‘We obey,’ the Daleks replied in unison, and left with the three troopers.

Turlough led Tegan and Mercer along a passage he'd explored when he'd first arrived on the Dalek ship.

‘In here,’ Turlough said, opening a door in the wall.

Tegan gasped in horror at the sight of the bodies of Archer, Calder and Mellor still lying on the floor. Tegan had already concluded that the soldiers must have been killed by their duplicates, but the realisation had not prepared her for the experience of unexpectedly seeing the bodies.

There was no time to hesitate - Tegan, Turlough and Mercer hurried inside and closed the door just as a Dalek glided past.

In the duplicator room, the two troopers had been lured in by Stien and their weapons seized. The Doctor and Stien held them at gunpoint.

‘Now what?’ Stien asked nervously. ‘The Dalek c-c-conditioning could cloud my mind at any minute.’

‘You'll be safe in the TARDIS,’ the Doctor assured him.

‘You don't understand,’ Stien insisted. ‘Under the Dalek influence, I could kill you!’

‘I'll take that chance,’ the Doctor replied, and swung round to train his blaster on the door as it slid open.

Mercer and Turlough stood in the doorway, their own weapons raised. Tegan pushed between them. ‘Doctor!’

The Time Lord smiled with relief to see his friends alive and unharmed. ‘Well don't just stand there,’ he grinned. ‘Come and help!’

Stien herded the troopers up against a wall. ‘Over there - move!’

Lytton had rejoined the Supreme Dalek on the bridge of the Dalek ship. They watched on the scanner screen as the Doctor, Mercer and Stien strapped the two troopers to the couch in the duplicator room.

‘The Doctor is free,’ the Supreme stated, almost accusingly. ‘Your troopers have failed.’

‘More to the point, where were your Daleks?’ Lytton replied curtly. He strode off the bridge, activating his helmet communicator as he went. ‘This is Lytton. Call out my Special Guard.’

‘Lytton grows so arrogant,’ the Supreme Dalek observed. ‘His mind resists our control. He must be exterminated as soon as it is convenient to the Daleks.’

As the troopers were being secured, Turlough looked around and suddenly noticed a camera lens high up on the wall. He urgently drew the Time Lord's attention to it. ‘Doctor - look. We should get out of here.’

‘Quickly,’ the Doctor agreed, and led the way to the exit. ‘Come on.’

When Tegan, Turlough, Stien and Mercer had left, the Doctor raised his blaster and fired across the room. The tape spool containing the Doctor's memories exploded into flame.

The group entered the TARDIS console room, and the Doctor immediately began to set the coordinates.

‘Where are we going?’ Tegan wanted to know.

‘Earth,’ the Doctor replied without looking up.

‘Best news all day,’ said Turlough with feeling.

The Doctor paused in his calculations and glanced up at Stien. ‘Why have the Daleks rescued Davros?’ he asked.

‘They want a cure for the virus that's destroying them.’

‘Is that what's in those cylinders on Earth?’ Tegan asked.

‘Yes,’ Stien confirmed.

‘Why Earth?’ the Doctor queried.

‘They were safer there and they acted as a lure,’ Stien explained. ‘With the bomb disposal squad duplicated, the Daleks had people to guard the warehouse who wouldn't arouse suspicion.’

‘Very neat,’ said Tegan sarcastically.

‘The Daleks haven't lost any of their old guile,’ Stien observed.

The Doctor appeared to come to a sudden decision. He activated the door control and made to leave.

‘Where are you going?’ Tegan asked.

The Doctor turned. ‘To kill Davros,’ he stated simply, his face an unreadable mask.

Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | Epilogue