8: Betrayal

Tegan sat bolt upright in the bed just as Sergeant Calder and Professor Laird carried the unconscious Private Mellor into the base camp.

‘The Doctor and Stien have just left,’ Laird explained as they laid Mellor down on a second, hastily erected cot. ‘They'll be back shortly.’

‘What happened?’ Tegan demanded to know, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

‘A small problem with a Dalek,’ Calder replied.

Tegan watched as Calder and Laird examined a large red rash on the soldier's neck. ‘He'll be more comfortable over here,’ she suggested helpfully.

‘Stay where you are,’ Laird instructed gently but firmly.

‘Looks superficial,’ Calder observed hopefully.

‘As long as there isn't any poison in it,’ Laird added gravely.

Calder frowned sceptically .

‘Well it was caused by an alien,’ Laird reminded him. ‘We don't know what infection may have entered his blood stream.’

‘Well, the Colonel will be back soon,’ Calder replied, standing up. ‘Then we can get the pair of them to hospital.’ He went over to a sink in the corner and filled the kettle. ‘Anyone want some tea?’ he asked, lighting the primus stove.

‘No thanks,’ replied Laird, going over to inspect the alien objects once more.

‘I'd much rather have the Colonel back,’ added Tegan, still sitting up in bed. ‘How much longer is he going to be?’

Calder turned from his tea-making to give an answer and saw Private Mellor rising from his cot, a ghastly pallor on his features. He walked as if in a trance towards the exit.

‘Hey!’ called Calder. ‘Where are you going lad?’ he inquired, moving to block the soldier's path. ‘You're excused duties.’

Mellor suddenly lunged and with a low threatening growl, shoved the burly sergeant off his feet. Calder collapsed on top of Tegan, and Laird rushed to his aid as Mellor shambled out of the camp.

‘Are you all right?’ Laird asked, as Calder got back to his feet and grabbed his rifle.

‘You stay here,’ he advised the two women, and hurried out after Mellor.

‘What's all that about?’ asked Tegan.

Laird shrugged helplessly. ‘I don't know,’ she admitted.

Sergeant Calder emerged on to the first floor of the warehouse. ‘Come on lad!’ he called, his voice echoing around the apparently deserted room. ‘Nothing to worry about. It's only Sergeant Calder!’

He paused, but there was no reply or sign of life. Calder moved to the entrance to an adjoining room. ‘The Colonel's gone to get an ambulance,’ he called again. ‘... and you'll be all right.’

A loud, powerful humming noise started up behind him, and he turned to see to his horror a trio of Daleks materialising in the centre of the room in a red haze.

They moved forward as one, chanting ‘Exterminate! Exterminate!’

Calder backed away, frantically firing his rifle.

‘That was gunfire,’ said Tegan suddenly.

‘Quickly, we should get out of here,’ urged Laird, helping her up from the cot.

They were met just outside the door by Colonel Archer, Sergeant Calder and Private Mellor.

‘There's nothing to worry about,’ Archer informed them coldly, holding up a hand to halt their progress. He then indicated that the women should return to the camp. Tegan and Laird backed away, and the soldiers advanced, slowly and stiffly, like automatons.

Back in the camp Tegan and Laird retreated to the cot, whilst the soldiers clustered near the door.

‘That's not Colonel Archer,’ whispered Tegan, leaning close. ‘He gave the Doctor his gun, and yet he's wearing his.’

The man who looked like Colonel Archer moved to stand over them.

‘What are you two whispering about?’ he demanded.

‘I was wondering when the ambulance for Tegan would arrive,’ Laird replied boldly.

‘That is in hand,’ ‘Archer’ replied.

‘And the reinforcements?’ added Tegan, following Laird's lead.

‘That is a military matter, and therefore confidential,’ ‘Archer’ informed them.

‘I don't think we should wait for the ambulance,’ Laird ventured, moving to stand up.

‘Archer’ pushed her roughly back down on to the bed. ‘This warehouse is under martial law,’ he stated harshly. ‘Attempt to leave, and I'll have the pair of you shot!’

The Doctor hurried into the TARDIS console room and moved immediately to the controls. Stien entered more cautiously, and looked around in amazement.

The Time Lord looked up from operating the control that closed the doors and saw his expression. ‘Yes, I know,’ he smiled.

‘What?’ asked Stien uncertainly.

‘It's bigger inside than out,’ the Doctor elaborated, and turned back to the TARDIS computer.

‘I think I'm going mad,’ Stien declared. ‘Daleks, time corridors, and now this.’

‘Yes, well don't worry,’ the Doctor advised with a reassuring smile. ‘It'll soon be over.’

‘But will I still be sane enough to know?’ Stien asked.

The Doctor was busy tracking the course of the time corridor using the TARDIS sensors. Moments later the console bleeped.

‘That's it!’ announced the Doctor triumphantly. ‘I've located the Dalek ship.’ He looked up and caught sight of Stien's terrified expression. ‘Now, I could drop you off at the warehouse when I collect Tegan,’ he offered.

Stien didn't answer immediately; the blinding pain in his head had returned. ‘I'll... come with you,’ he said eventually.

‘Good man,’ the Doctor smiled, and set the co-ordinates for the warehouse. The central column began to rise and fall, and the TARDIS dematerialised.

The Doctor stood by to effect rematerialisation almost immediately at the conclusion of what was intended to be nothing more than a short spacial hop, but as the time ship began to align itself with the interior coordinates of the adjacent building, it strayed too close to the operation field of the corridor. A sudden distortion wave swept through the ship's control systems, throwing the TARDIS off course. The engines began to scream as they struggled to compensate for the stress of being dragged along the temporal rift, and the console room stabiliser field momentarily failed, throwing the Doctor and Stien to the floor.

Information from sensors aimed directly at the time corridor was fed straight to the bridge of the Dalek cruiser. The Systems Coordinator intercepted the flow of new data and relayed it to the Supreme. ‘The Doctor's TARDIS has been caught in the time corridor,’ it reported.

‘Prepare the Duplicator Room,’ the Supreme responded.

‘I obey.’

Lytton's com-link buzzed, and he moved away to a corner of the room, replacing his helmet on his head as he did so.

While Lytton communicated with the Dalek Supreme, Davros drummed the tips of his fingers on the console of his chair and devised new and interesting ways to prolong the Doctor's agony before he died.

‘I shall inform him at once,’ said Lytton finally, and removed his helmet. ‘Your laboratory is ready,’ he told Davros.

‘Good. I will require the assistance of a chemist.’

‘Of course,’ Lytton agreed.

‘And Kiston,’ added Davros, indicating the tall taciturn man standing close by his chair. ‘He has proven to be a competent mechanical engineer.’

Lytton nodded tolerantly. ‘As you wish.’

At this point, the door slid open and a Dalek glided in. Two more stood in the corridor outside.

‘Guards?’ hissed Davros, flinching visibly at the presence of his creations.

Lytton noticed this reaction, and recalled from his briefing how once the Daleks had tried to exterminate their creator. ‘An escort,’ he reassured the Dalek creator. ‘There are still members of the station's crew at large.’ He could see that Davros was far from convinced, and added, ‘It's purely a precaution.’

Davros approached the open door. ‘I am very difficult to kill,’ he stated. ‘You should already know that,’ he told the Daleks pointedly, but the minions of the Supreme Dalek offered no response.

The creator of the Daleks moved off down the passage, flanked by two of his creations, and followed by the third and Kiston.

Lytton watched them go, then in response to an earlier directive from the Dalek Supreme, hurried off back to the Dalek ship.

He had been told to expect new arrivals...

As soon as the central column juddered to a halt, the Doctor operated the scanner control. The screen showed that they had arrived in the time corridor reception area, just to one side of the terminal entrance.

‘We're on the Dalek ship,’ observed Stien, and watched through a haze of pain as the Doctor moved around the console and operated the door opening mechanism. ‘Where are you going?’ he asked.

‘I must find Turlough,’ the Time Lord replied. ‘You wait here.’

Stien started after the Doctor, but as he approached the exit, the aching pain in his head was suddenly and abruptly washed away. At once he could see and think clearly. He knew what he had to do. With a new determination he strode confidently out of the TARDIS.

Outside, the Doctor was looking around, calling ‘Turlough! Turlough!’

The Time Lord didn't notice as Stien closed the TARDIS door and went over to a wall locker. Stien pulled out a machine pistol, one of the weapons that Lytton had brought back from Earth earlier.

‘Foolish boy,’ the Doctor muttered, peering off down one of the corridors.

Without warning, a trooper rushed into the chamber, blaster raised, but the Doctor was on his guard, and skilfully wrenched the weapon from the man's grasp as he passed. The Doctor pushed him to the floor and covered the trooper with the weapon.

‘Quickly!’ he called to Stien, ‘Let's get out of here.’

‘No, Doctor,’ Stien replied, now standing right beside him.

The Doctor turned, and saw that Stien was pointing the machine gun at him.

‘This is madness!’ insisted the Doctor. ‘The Daleks won't thank you for capturing me. They'll kill you!’

‘I didn't quite tell you the truth,’ Stien replied, with an unfamiliar cold tone entering his voice. ‘I serve the Daleks. I'm a Dalek agent.’

Before the Time Lord could reply, three Daleks entered the reception area. The ambushed trooper got to his feet and recovered his weapon from the Time Lord's unresisting grasp as the Daleks moved in, shouting in unison. ‘Exterminate the Doctor! Exterminate! Exterminate!’

Commander Lytton saved the Doctor from certain death. ‘Wait!’ he ordered, hurrying into the reception area.

One of the trio of Daleks spun round on Lytton. ‘He is an enemy of the Daleks. He must be exterminated!’

‘He must be duplicated first,’ Lytton persisted. ‘Confirm with the Supreme Dalek.’

The Dalek turned away and engaged in an silent exchange with the Supreme. It turned back. ‘Supreme Dalek confirms the order. We must take the prisoner to the Duplication Chamber. Proceed.’

The Doctor glared silently at Lytton and Stien as the three Daleks surrounded him and herded him away down a passage.

‘Impulsive, aren't they?’ said Stien, once the two men were alone in the chamber.

Lytton agreed. ‘They'd kill anybody - even if they need them.’

‘How much longer before it's your turn?’ Stien quipped.

Lytton shot him a disparaging look.

The Doctor was ushered through a sliding door by his escort of two Daleks and two troopers. The Time Lord found himself in the same small annexe room that Turlough had discovered some time earlier. On the floor were the dead bodies of the four men from the bomb disposal squad.

The Doctor paused, sickened and horrified by the sight, and also gripped by a sudden fear for the safety of Tegan, whom he'd left in the care of the people who were now dead at his feet.

‘Proceed,’ instructed one of the Daleks, prodding him onwards.

They passed through a second door on the other side of the annexe, and entered the duplicator room. The Doctor studied the console situated at the head of the couch. The two troopers stood at attention by the door, and the two Daleks watched the Time Lord closely.

‘You must not touch the equipment,’ one of the Daleks cautioned.

The Doctor smiled at this, and went up to the one who had spoken.

‘Without a threat of death you're quite powerless, aren't you?’

The two Daleks moved menacingly towards him and the Doctor backed away instinctively.

‘You will obey,’ they chanted.

During this exchange, the door had slid open and Stien had entered, now dressed in Dalek trooper uniform and armed with a laser weapon. ‘It is unwise to provoke the Daleks,’ he advised.

The Doctor turns to him. ‘However you respond it is seen as an act of provocation. I know the Daleks of old; and Davros. I assume he's about here somewhere...?’ he ventured.

‘You only invite trouble with your questions,’ Stien responded.

‘You mean it can get worse?’

‘Oh yes. The Daleks are very capable of devising painful and undignified ways of dying.’

The Doctor stared at him. ‘But not yet. The Daleks need my brain-waves intact, don't they?’

A Dalek prodded the Doctor hard in the back with its sucker. ‘You must cooperate. You must lie down,’ it instructed.

The Doctor cried out in pain, and made his way back to the couch. ‘Why isn't Davros here?’ he asked suddenly. ‘I'd have thought that he would've wanted to see this.’

‘He is otherwise detained,’ Stien answered without hesitation.

The Doctor gave him a triumphant smile. ‘So he is here!’

The other Dalek swung menacingly to Stien, who looked worried at having been tricked. The Dalek then turned back to the Doctor. ‘It does not concern you.’

‘What sort of trouble are you in this time?’ the Time Lord queried knowingly, and lay down on the couch.

Stien began to attach small sensor pads to the Doctor's temples. Thin cables linked these with the console at the head of the couch.

‘I assume my brain waves are destined for Davros,’ the Doctor ventured. ‘You must need his services very badly.’

‘The Daleks are the superior being,’ one of the pair replied. ‘We do not require assistance.’

The Doctor laughed scornfully. ‘Hah! Superior? Took you long enough to ensnare the TARDIS in the time corridor.’

‘It was but one trap,’ the Dalek answered cryptically.

‘But Stien was more effective,’ the Doctor persisted. ‘A living body; not some tin-pot machine...’

Stien appeared to become a little distressed at the Doctor's continued baiting of the Daleks. ‘Please, Doctor...’

‘Stien is an extension of Dalek technology,’ the Dalek stated.

The Doctor was taken aback. ‘What?’

‘He is a duplicate. He is a product of our genetic engineering.’

The Doctor looked up at Stien, who was now attaching a pad to the Doctor's neck. ‘Are you all duplicates?’ he asked.

‘Yes.’

‘Interesting. I wonder what happened to the real you? What will you do with my duplicate?’ the Doctor inquired curiously.

‘That does not concern you,’ Stien replied.

‘Oh I think it does,’ the Doctor disagreed. ‘I've grown rather attached to myself.’

‘You will remain silent!’ one of the Daleks ordered.

The Doctor ignored it and continued to question Stien. ‘Have the soldiers from the warehouse been duplicated?’

‘Yes.’

‘It's very clever. Would you care to tell me how it's done?’

‘No.’

‘No, I thought not,’ the Doctor sighed, and a thought suddenly occurred to him. ‘What about Tegan?’

‘She is our prisoner,’ Stien explained.

‘Well she's harmless. You must release her.’

Stien turned to the Daleks, as if seeking their permission.

‘Show him,’ instructed a Dalek.

Stien picked up a control device from the console and crossed to one of the semi-transparent walls. He pressed a button and a wall panel slid across to reveal two horizontal cubicles; each occupied by a human body wearing white overalls.

The Doctor realised he was looking at Tegan and Turlough; or at least their duplicates. ‘Why?’ he wanted to know.

‘The Doctor without his companions would be rather incongruous,’ Stien explained.

This wasn't quite what the Doctor had meant by his question. ‘Why are you doing this?’

‘Your duplicates will return to Gallifrey where, at our command, you will assassinate the members of the High Council,’ a Dalek informed him.

‘No!’

Tegan lay in bed watching as the facsimile of Archer silently worked on the radio set. If anything, he appeared to be pulling it apart.

‘Would anyone like some tea?’ Professor Laird inquired, breaking the tense silence.

‘Please,’ Tegan replied.

‘Colonel?’

‘No!’ snapped ‘Archer’ harshly, and went on with his work.

Laird went over to the table and began to make tea. ‘Archer's’ holstered gun lay next to the tea things, where she had earlier left it. She surreptitiously placed her hand on the holster, but then withdrew it as she felt ‘Archer's’ eyes on her back. ‘How much longer will the ambulance be?’ she demanded, covering up.

The duplicate of the Colonel got up and came over to her. ‘I don't know,’ he stated.

‘Tegan has severe concussion,’ Laird lied. ‘It's vital she receives proper medical attention.’

‘Archer’ crossed to the table and picked up the holstered gun. ‘She will receive medical attention as soon as it is available,’ he said woodenly, and walked off with the gun

‘Thanks very much...’ Tegan muttered sarcastically, watching him depart.

Laird moved over to her. ‘Pity he didn't want any tea,’ she whispered, taking a syringe loaded with a clear fluid from her parka pocket. ‘He'd have slept for hours.’ She replaced the syringe in her pocket.

Tegan struggled to her feet. ‘We've got to get out of here,’ she insisted, and went over to the cylinders, regarding them thoughtfully. ‘Do you think we could free one of these?’ she asked.

Laird smiled. ‘I should think so.’

Tegan started brushing away the soil.

The man who looked like Colonel Archer strode across the lower level of the warehouse, and found ‘Sergeant Calder’ at the foot of the stairs. ‘Archer’ held his holster up.

‘They know,’ he stated.

‘What do we do?’ ‘Calder’ asked in reply.

‘The Daleks will instruct us,’ ‘Archer’ stated.

Tegan managed to pull a cylinder free of the soil, and holding it up triumphantly, she shook it to remove the last of the dirt.

‘It's so light,’ she observed, passing it to Laird. ‘What's it made from?’

Laird shrugged. ‘Who knows? It defied every test I could think of.’ She carried it over to Tegan's cot and they covered the cylinder up with the blanket, padding the cot up to look as though Tegan was still asleep under the covers.

They stepped back to examine their handiwork.

‘Well?’ Tegan asked sceptically.

‘Not bad,’ Laird replied without conviction.

‘But will it convince?’

‘If you don't look too hard, perhaps...’

Tegan put her hands on her hips. ‘Truth is, you'd have to be blind to see it isn't a body.’

Any further debate on the shortcomings of their attempted deception was forestalled by the sound of someone approaching the camp.

‘Quickly!’ hissed Laird urgently.

Tegan whipped away the blanket and Laird picked up the cylinder. Tegan hopped into the cot and Laird gave her the cylinder to hide. She covered herself with the blanket; just as ‘Archer’ marched in.

‘You can stop pretending,’ he announced.

Laird sat down in a chair and turned towards him. ‘I don't know what you mean,’ she replied innocently.

‘Archer’ held up the holster by way of an explanation. ‘You're to be transferred to the Dalek ship.’

Laird stood up at this. ‘Tegan is sick,’ she protested.

‘Not for much longer,’ ‘Archer’ promised, and departed once more, leaving his captives to ponder the implications of this statement.

Tegan rose to her elbows and looked up at Laird, a worried expression on her face. ‘One way or another,’ she said grimly, ‘we're both dead.’

The two women resolved to proceed with their planned decoy, despite their shared conviction that it had a minimal chance of success. Once they had finished attempting to cover the cylinder in the cot to resemble a body, Tegan wanted to leave immediately. ‘Let's go,’ she urged.

‘... No,’ Laird shook her head. ‘I should stay.’

‘Don't be silly! They'll kill you.’

‘No, not if you can get help quickly.’ Laird pointed to the bed. ‘This isn't going to deceive anyone for long unless there is someone here to help it along with a little bluff. Now, you're wasting time; go, go!’ She pushed Tegan frantically towards the exit. ‘Good luck.’

Tegan paused before departing. ‘And you - I'll be as quick as I can,’ she promised, and was gone.

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