9: Self-Destruct

Davros completed a tour of inspection of Styles' former laboratory, watched by Kiston and two of the three Daleks who had escorted him from his prison cell.

‘Primitive, but adequate,’ he said at last.

‘It is vital you complete your researches as soon as possible,’ one of the Daleks informed him.

‘I will need a sample of the Movellan virus.’

‘It will be brought to you,’ replied the Dalek.

‘I will also need two Daleks.’ Davros paused, then added, ‘For experimentation.’

‘That is forbidden,’ the Dalek stated bluntly.

‘If I am to find a cure, I will need living Dalek tissue!’ Davros protested.

The second Dalek spoke up. ‘We must consult the Supreme Dalek.’

‘Do so,’ Davros urged. ‘But be quick!’

The Daleks turned and left.

‘Already I grow impatient!’ Davros told Kiston.

Kiston had activated the laboratory security system. The monitor screen now showed a white uniformed, fair-haired bespectacled man walking towards the laboratory. This was the chemist Davros had been promised.

‘A further recruit,’ murmured Davros, and pressed a switch on his chair. The probe rose into his palm as before and he handed it to Kiston. ‘Initiate him,’ he instructed.

Kiston moved to the door and stood against the wall as the door slid open and the chemist entered. He did not see Kiston.

‘Welcome,’ Davros greeted him.

Kiston stepped quickly behind the man and pressed the probe against his neck. The man's face contorted in pain.

Davros watched the scanner screen with the newly-recruited chemist standing silently beside him. On the screen, a trooper was making his way towards the laboratory.

‘My army continues to grow,’ Davros murmured. Kiston stood beside the door as before, the probe held ready.

Mercer led his group including Turlough along a corridor until they reached a ‘T’-junction. Mercer approached a door.

‘It's here,’ he announced.

‘It isn't guarded,’ Styles observed, as they approached cautiously.

‘Be grateful,’ came Mercer's reply.

‘What is it?’ Turlough dared to inquire.

Mercer turned to him. ‘Self-destruct chamber.’

Turlough swallowed, not liking the sound of that one bit.

Styles went up to the door.

‘Right; let's get it open.’ She pulled off her left glove with her teeth, and tapped a code in to the entry mechanism.

‘What are you going to do?’ Turlough asked.

Styles turned to him with a disbelieving expression. ‘Guess!’

The space station's self-destruct chamber was lit by an eerie blue light. The centre of the room was dominated by a circular console atop which was mounted a large transparent dome, housing a complex array of electronics controlling the priming and detonation of the explosive device.

Styles stared at the doomsday machine, looking a little overwhelmed as she drummed her fingers on the dome in apparent frustration. She looked up at her companions, whose attentions were also fixed on the dome. ‘Where do we start?’ she asked of no-one in particular.

Turlough looked at her, worried.

Styles stripped off the cumbersome breastplate of her ‘borrowed’ uniform and studied the console again. The others stood and watched. ‘It looks complicated,’ she observed worriedly.

‘Try the computer,’ Mercer suggested helpfully. ‘It may contain the ignition sequence.’

‘And when your bomb is primed, is it absolutely necessary that we die along with the station?’ Turlough challenged.

Mercer and Styles exchanged a glance.

‘Look, none of us are looking to become martyrs,’ Styles replied wearily. ‘Do you know a way out?’

‘The time corridor I mentioned. It exists; it's real!’ Turlough insisted. ‘We could use it to escape.’

Mercer turned to Styles again. ‘What do you think?’ he asked her.

‘You could check it out; while I try and find a way into this thing,’ Styles conceded, resting her elbows on the dome and gazing into it.

Mercer came to a decision. ‘Right...’ He picked up his weapon.

‘Good luck,’ murmured Styles.

Mercer directed Turlough towards the door. ‘Move!’

Commander Lytton was making his way through the passages of the Dalek ship when his helmet comlink buzzed. He stopped and pulled his throat mike into position. ‘Lytton.’

‘This is the Supreme Dalek,’ said the grating voice in his ears. ‘The self-destruct chamber has been invaded. The hostiles must be exterminated.’

‘There isn't time,’ Lytton replied.

‘Abandon the space station.’

‘You should have anticipated this.’

‘The original plan was to snatch Davros and leave; not dance to his every whim.’

‘Nothing must endanger Davros. The hostiles must be destroyed,’ the Supreme Dalek stated bluntly. ‘The Daleks must be obeyed!’

Lytton angrily cut the connection and contacted Sub-Commander Grogan as he headed at a run for the airlock.


‘Thanks a lot!’ Styles scowled at the message that had appeared on the computer screen in the self-destruct chamber, and then turned to her companion. ‘Zena?’

Zena came over and studied the message. ‘Lieutenant Mercer might have security clearance,’ she suggested.

‘That's a point,’ Styles agreed. ‘Get him on the radio.’

‘The Daleks could trace the transmission,’ Zena pointed out.

‘Well he can't have got far. Try him on an ultra high frequency range. The Daleks can't monitor them all.’ Styles instructed.

Zena complied, and Styles tried finding him using the station's security cameras. One after another, shots of different corridors come up on the screen. The first was empty, as was the second, but a third showed a squad of troopers led by Lytton approaching.

‘That's outside!’ Styles exclaimed. ‘Close the door! Dalek troopers!’

Zena dived for the door control, but Doran, who had been guarding the entrance, ducked in and slammed his hand against the mechanism. The door slid shut - just as the troopers arrived.

Lytton glared furiously at the sealed off entrance to the self-destruct chamber. ‘They must have seen us,’ he concluded, looking around, noticed the light winking on a security camera further along the corridor.

‘Take out that camera!’ he ordered, and a trooper fired up at it, shattering the lens.

The screen went blank. Styles crossed to the controls of the self-destruct device.

‘Build a barricade,’ she instructed Zena and Doran. ‘Something we can use for protection to fight from behind.’ She concentrated on the console controls, aware that if she operated them correctly, the dome would open. ‘Now... There's nothing to lose...’ she muttered to herself. ‘Let's see if I can make any sense out of these...’ She started activating a series of dials on top on the console.

A trooper worked on the door-opening mechanism of the self-destruct chamber. Lytton and Grogan were inspecting the side wall of the chamber.

‘Can we blow a hole in the wall?’

‘Of course,’ Grogan agreed without hesitation.

‘Then we attack on two fronts.’

While Styles fiddled with the controls on the console, Zena and Doran pulled out wall panels and propped them up against each other to form a barricade.

Suddenly a bank of red lights flickered on within the dome, and Styles reacted excitedly. ‘I think I'm making progress!’

‘Nearly ready,’ Stien reported.

‘The prisoner is secured. You must proceed alone,’ a Dalek instructed. ‘We have been summoned to other duties.’

‘Not staying to the bitter end?’ inquired the Doctor. ‘How disappointing!’

The Dalek swung back to face him. ‘When it is time to die, you will, in your agony, beg to pay homage to the Daleks.’

The Daleks glided towards the exit, pausing to instruct the troopers guarding the door to wait outside.

‘Why do they take themselves so seriously...?’ the Doctor pondered, when the door had shut and he and Stien were alone in the room.

‘I warned you not to provoke them,’ Stien rebuked him. ‘You only make it worse for yourself.’

‘Get on with it,’ the Doctor snapped. ‘I can do without your pity.’

Stien looked startled. ‘Do you think I do this because I enj... Do you think I do this out of c-c-choice?’ he stuttered defensively. He sounded scared and unsure of himself. ‘D-d-do I have a c-c-choice?’ Stien wondered aloud, and then seemed to reach a decision. ‘I have no choice.’

The Doctor looked at him, wondering about the depth of Stien's loyalty to the Daleks.

Turlough and Mercer moved stealthily into the chamber of Airlock Three, and hid behind the remains of the barricade from the battle some hours earlier. Their presence went unnoticed by two Dalek troopers who were guarding the crossover point between the station and the Dalek ship.

‘The time corridor is on the other side of the airlock,’ Turlough whispered.

‘What about the troopers?’ Mercer whispered back.

‘We kill them,’ Turlough said, and began to move away from the barricade.

At this point two Daleks glided across from the ship and entered the station. Turlough ducked back down.

‘But the Daleks,’ Mercer objected. ‘We must set the self-destruct mechanism first. We go back...’

‘No!’ Turlough groaned.

‘We go back!’ Mercer insisted, and levelled his gun at Turlough's face.

They went back.

The door of Davros's laboratory slid open, and the two Daleks witnessed earlier by Turlough and Mercer in the airlock entered.

‘We have been sent by the Supreme Dalek,’ one of the Daleks intoned.

‘We are to assist in your research,’ its companion added.

‘I need Dalek tissue, not help,’ Davros objected.

‘You may remove tissue from us.’

‘Excellent,’ Davros purred. ‘In no way will my experiment harm you.’ The Dalek creator signalled to Kiston, who moved to his side as the probe rose once more from Davros's chair. Kiston secreted it behind his back.

‘Releasing locking clamp,’ the Daleks reported, and there was a loud click, followed by an electronic hum as their domes, hinged at the front, tilted forward.

Kiston moved into position behind the first one, reached inside the casing and jabbed the mutated creature with the probe.

‘In fact,’ Davros continued, as Kiston repeated the process with its companion, ‘you will become considerably invigorated.’

Kiston stepped back, and Davros declared, ‘Perfect! Reseal your casings.’ The Daleks complied.

‘Now... Who do you obey?!’ Davros demanded.

The Daleks' voices were slightly wavery as they replied in unison. ‘Weobey Davros! He is our master!’

‘Excellent! Now all I require is a sample of the Movellan virus,’ Davros said, and turned to Kiston. ‘Find out the cause of the delay!’

Kiston patched into the Dalek command net using the laboratory's communications console.

The Supreme Dalek received the transmission and reached a decision. ‘Order a cylinder of Movellan virus to be transported from Earth.’

‘I obey,’ replied the Systems Coordinator, and detailed the Dalek Commander to take charge of the task.

Lytton paced impatiently up and down the corridor as his troopers busily detached a wall panel and began to fit explosive charges in the cavity.

As he turned way, two figures appeared at the end of a side corridor and then ducked back out of sight before they were detected.

In the side corridor, Mercer turned on Turlough.

‘We must do something,’ he insisted frantically.

‘With only one gun?’ They'd kill us.’

‘I have to do something.’

‘Think about what's happening.’ Turlough suggested, trying to calm Mercer down. ‘The Daleks have a ship; so why are their troopers trying to break into the self-destruct chamber? Why don't they leave and let your friends blow themselves to pieces?’

‘Tell me.’

‘Because whatever the Daleks came for is still on board.’

‘Davros?!’ Mercer exclaimed.

‘Who?’ Turlough was puzzled.

‘The Daleks' creator,’ Mercer explained quickly. ‘We were keeping him prisoner aboard this station!’

‘You may not be able to help your friends - but you could still kill him.’

Mercer saw the sense in this, and hurriedly led Turlough down a few deserted passages until they reached the station's prison cell. The door was open, and cautiously, the pair entered the room. Before them was the empty cryogenic containment chamber that had once held Davros.

‘We're too late,’ Turlough observed, relieved that they could now turn their attention to getting to Earth.

‘He can't be far,’ Mercer reasoned.

Turlough sighed. ‘We could spend hours searching and still not find him. And the place is crawling with Daleks.’

‘I have to find him,’ Mercer insisted, raising his gun once more to convince Turlough. ‘And you're coming with me.’

Laird was sitting beside the cot when she heard a sudden dense humming sound, which seemed to expand to fill the room. A ruby red haze enveloped one of the cylinders half-buried in the earth in the corner of the room as Laird watched in terror, fearing that the objects were, after all, unexploded bombs that had just now been activated. The sound grew in intensity and the cylinder slowly faded away, leaving a deep impression in the soil. Laird put her hands over her ears in pain, and collapsed on the cot, sobbing.

The Dalek Commander and two troopers watched as the time corridor terminal shutter opened to reveal the cylinder sitting on the floor of the chamber.

‘Take the cylinder to Davros,’ the Commander instructed.

The troopers stepped forward and gingerly picked it up. They carried it away carefully between them, followed at a short distance by the Commander. All three knew the devastating consequences if the contents of the cylinder were to be released on board the ship.

The troopers carrying the cylinder of Movellan virus, escorted by the Dalek Commander, reached the door of the laboratory. The door slid open and the two troopers entered with the cylinder, while the Dalek Commander moved on to supervise another problem.

As it moved away down the corridor, Turlough and Mercer emerged from a side corridor where they had hidden as the procession approached.

‘Of course!’ Mercer exclaimed, realising the significance of what they had just seen. ‘Davros is using Styles's laboratory!’

Inside the laboratory, the cylinder was placed carefully within a dome-shaped gas-tight container which was then sealed shut. Rubber gloves attached to the wall of the chamber enabled the chemist to work on the cylinder without risk of contaminating the entire area with the virus.

‘Perfect,’ Davros murmured, and turned to the two troopers who had brought the cylinder in and were now about to leave. ‘I have but one more request...’

The troopers paused, unaware that Kiston was moving behind them.

‘I require your co-operation for a little longer,’ Davros told them, and his Daleks advanced behind him.

Realising that something wasn't quite right, one of the troopers raised his gun, but Kiston knocked him down from behind and wrenched the other man's weapon away from him.

‘A spirited, but foolish reaction!’ Davros exclaimed almost admiringly. ‘He will make an excellent slave, and so will you...’

Kiston reached up and jabbed the probe into the back of the second trooper's neck.

Professor Laird was still lying on the cot where she had fallen, when the duplicates of Archer and Calder entered. As soon as she was aware of their presence, she leapt to her feet.

‘One of the cylinders has disappeared,’ she blurted out.

‘Calder’ reached over and pulled off the blanket. Laird made a move to try and stop him, but the incriminating cylinder was revealed.

‘Archer’ grabbed her arms from behind, and twisted them back. ‘Where is she?’ he demanded. ‘Where is she?’

Despite the pain she was in, Laird remained tight-lipped.

‘She won't get far,’ ‘Archer’ stated dismissively, and pulled her roughly from the room.

Tegan had made her way to the main doors of the warehouse without detection, but was dismayed to find them locked. She rattled them and then spun round and leaned against them, fearful that she might have been heard. After calming her nerves, she finally located an escape route through a broken window in the end wall of the warehouse. Outside, she found herself in a narrow alleyway, and after a moment to regain her bearings, hurried off.

Two tall uniformed figures stepped out of the shadows and impassively watched her as she headed for the wharf .

Tegan arrived back where the TARDIS had landed, half-expecting the familiar blue police box to still be there waiting for her. It wasn't, and she felt an overwhelming sense of loss. The Doctor had abandoned her without so much as saying goodbye.

It dawned on Tegan that she hadn't exactly planned for this contingency. She walked up to the edge of the wharf and looked out across the River Thames. The river traffic was very sparse and was keeping nearer the north bank. Tower Bridge loomed over to her left, but again she doubted that anyone would notice her from that distance.

Tegan turned to go back up the alley, and as she did so, saw to her relief a couple of policemen walking in her direction. She smiled and started towards them, but stopped short as one of them drew a long, ugly-looking gun and pointed it at her.

She turned and dashed along the embankment, and within moments reached the end, which overlooked the muddy river's edge, exposed by the low tide.

There was someone down there on the mud, a treasure-seeker scanning the silt with a metal detector. ‘Hey!’ Tegan called to him and waved her arms frantically, but the man was wearing headphones attached to his detector equipment, and had his back to her.

Tegan started down the steps leading down to the mud, just as the policemen arrived at the end of the wharf. The nearest of the pair raised his pistol, and Tegan froze, halfway down the steps. She stole a glance at the man with the metal detector, still too engrossed in his pursuit to notice the drama unfolding close by.

The policeman followed her gaze and swung the barrel of his gun across and fired once. The man fell face down in the mud, a wisp of smoke rising from his back.

Tegan looked up sickened at the policeman. ‘No!!’

The two oddly silent policemen escorted Tegan to the doors of the warehouse, where they were met by the duplicates of Archer and Calder, who marched her into the building and up the stairs to the upper level, where Professor Laird stood guarded by other two duplicated soldiers.

‘I'm sorry. I tried,’ said Tegan bitterly when she saw Laird, her thoughts preoccupied with the murder of the innocent bystander.

‘They're going to send us to the Dalek ship,’ Laird told her.

‘Get them into the time corridor,’ ‘Archer’ instructed.

Laird suddenly shoved her guard away and dashed for the exit, but ‘Archer’ raised his revolver and gunned her down callously. Laird screamed once, and collapsed in a heap near the door.

‘No!!’ shouted Tegan, but it had happened so quick that her objection was already too late. She turned away, her eyes shut tight against the pain of loss. First the metal-detector man, now Professor Laird - when would the senseless killing end?

‘Into the time corridor with her,’ she heard ‘Archer’ order, and opened her eyes again as ‘Calder’ moved forward and shoved her.

Numbed by the deaths she had recently witnessed, Tegan offered no resistance as she stumbled towards the middle of the room, and was quickly enveloped in a red glow.

Styles finally bypassed the security access code. The protective dome revolved open with an electronic whine. Lights flashed across the surface of the now-exposed destructor mechanism.

‘Nearly there!’ she announced cheerily, and then paused for a moment and held her hands to her face. ‘Why am I getting so excited?’ she muttered. ‘This is the last thing I shall ever do...’

Zena and Doran continued to construct a barricade from the wall panels. Zena crossed to the door and placed an ear against it. She turned to Styles with a worried expression on her face. ‘They're bypassing the door mechanism!’

Styles began hurriedly adjusting the controls. ‘You must hold them. I'm almost there.’

The trooper working on the door-opening mechanism of the self-destruct chamber had now completely dismantled it. He moved away, and Lytton approached the door.

‘Stand by,’ he instructed, and put his helmet on.

Styles stood over the self-destruct console with a weary smile on her face. ‘That's it!’ she announced.

‘Wish I could say I was pleased,’ Zena admitted.

A sequence of lights on the console flashed, and a klaxon sounded. Styles stood back from the console, suddenly awed by the action she was about to perform. ‘Any last words?’

Zena smiled sadly. ‘Why prolong it with a few hackneyed cliches?’

‘Why indeed,’ Styles agreed, and went back to reach for the large red lever which controlled detonation.

At that moment, the door slid rapidly open, and Lytton burst through the gap, firing as he came. Styles fell, screaming.

Zena and Doran ducked behind the console and fired back, but an explosion in the wall beside them killed Doran, and a trooper fired through the hole it created, killing Zena instantly.

The troopers poured in through both entrances. Styles, her head bleeding, crawled across the floor towards the console. She almost made it.

As she reached out to pull herself up to the console, she looked up and saw Lytton standing over her. He fired once, and then stepped over her body to get to the console.

Grogan was already at the controls, deactivating the self-destruct mechanism. Other troopers began clearing away the bodies and debris.

‘Just in time,’ Grogan reported, disarming the mechanism.

The Dalek Commander glided into the chamber. ‘Your delay put the Dalek plan at risk,’ it told Lytton.

‘We won,’ Lytton replied. ‘That's all that matters.’

‘The Space Station could have been destroyed. I must report this to the Supreme Dalek,’ the Dalek informed him, and left the chamber.

Lytton glared after it.

Turlough pulled Mercer back under cover. ‘There's nothing you can do,’ he told the lieutenant.

Mercer was distraught. ‘I shouldn't have left them!’

‘You did the right thing,’ Turlough assured him. ‘It's now up to you. We have to get back to Earth.’ He began heading off up the corridor.

Mercer was still staring back at the self-destruct chamber as a couple of troopers removed Styles' broken and blood-stained body. We might have been friends, he thought bitterly.

Turlough turned back and took hold of his arm gently. ‘Trust me!’

Mercer's pained expression reformed into one of angry determination for revenge, and dashed off down the passage.

Turlough sighed and set off after him.

The chemist was in the process of transferring some of the Movellan virus from the cylinder to much smaller blue egg-shaped containers within the gas-tight chamber. Davros and the two Daleks watched.

Kiston turned from the communications console, having just received a message from the Supreme Dalek. He moved close to Davros and whispered, ‘The Daleks have secured the self-destruct chamber. The station is safe.’

‘Excellent!’ Davros declared.

‘And the Daleks have taken the Doctor prisoner,’ Kiston added.

‘Better still. He must be brought to me at once. Hurry. There is important work to do.’

As Kiston moved back to the communicator, Davros began musing to himself. ‘I have waited a long time for this. Once the Doctor is exterminated, I shall build a new race of Daleks. They will be even more deadly...’ Davros's voice began to rise as it took on an even more fanatical tone. ‘And I, Davros, shall be their leader. This time we shall triumph! My Daleks shall once more become the Supreme Being!!’

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