Chapter 7

Walking into a Trap

Peri and the DJ were happily talking. She told him about the beauty of Earth and he listened with great envy.

Something on the scanner caught his attention, and he zoomed the monitor in on the image. Peri smiled as she saw the Doctor moving cautiously down a dark passage. There were two strangers with him. ‘There's the Doctor!’

‘That's not very good news,’ said the DJ. ‘Those people he's with are the body snatchers I was telling you about.’

‘Can I speak to him?’

‘Yeah, sure.’ He adjusted a control on the console, and picked up his headphones...

Once Grigory had finished counting to twenty, the trio left their cell. The Doctor wanted to go to the incubation room. He wanted to see for himself the terrible atrocities that were in there.

As they cautiously crept along a corridor a voice echoed out of nowhere. ‘Hello, Doctor? This is the DJ, with a very special message for you.’

The Doctor stopped.

‘Doctor. Can you hear me?’ It was Peri.

He smiled. ‘I can indeed,’ he replied.

‘I was so worried about you,’ she said.

‘I'm perfectly safe.’ He spied a camera which was hidden in the shadows. ‘Now listen to me, Peri. I want you to go back to the TARDIS at once.’

‘But...’

‘No questions. You're in great danger, and there are bound to be others monitoring this.’

She saw the fear in his eyes. ‘I'm on my way.’

‘When you get to the TARDIS, radio the President's ship. Say that there are Daleks here, and that he's not to land.’

‘What about you?’ she asked anxiously.

‘I shall join you later. Now, go!’

The Doctor was right. There were others monitoring the transmission. Davros smiled. The Doctor's companion would make an excellent hostage. He turned to a Dalek. ‘Bring that woman to me.’

‘At-once.’

‘And while you are there, kill that prattling DJ!’

Peri handed back the microphone, and headed for the door. The DJ ran past her and blocked her path.

‘Get out of my way!’ Peri cried.

But the DJ wouldn't move. ‘You're not thinking, Peri.’

‘Please. Just get out of the way!’ She tried to push him aside, but he wouldn't budge.

‘How far do you think you'll get?’ he said, trying to make her see reason. ‘The Doctor was right. They would have intercepted his message. They'll be waiting for you!’

‘No. I must go...’

With little alternative, the DJ forcefully pulled her away from the door. ‘I've got a radio transmitter here,’ he explained. ‘You can use that.’

‘And risk your life as well?’ she cried. ‘It just doesn't make sense.’

‘It's too late for that now. They know that you've spoken to me. They won't let that go unchecked.’

Peri nodded. The DJ was right. She then glanced up at the scanner. On it she could see several white robotic things; the same as the thing she'd seen in the Garden of Fond Memories. These must be the ‘Daleks’ that the Doctor spoke of. From the seriousness in his voice they were extremely dangerous - and they were coming to kill them!

The Doctor stepped from the incubation room, his face grimly set. It would be easy enough to shut the place down but the only way to be sure of permanent results would be to destroy it totally. The Doctor decided to leave this important task to Grigory and Natasha. He had business of his own to attend to. He had to confront this so-called Great Healer.

‘We'll meet later at the reception area,’ he said. He then wished them luck, and disappeared down the corridor.

‘Are you out of your mind?’ Grigory asked Natasha. ‘You're not going back in there? In a minute this place will be crawling with Daleks!’

Natasha, having had enough of his whinging, thrust her gun under his nose. He gazed down the barrel, his eyes wide at this sudden display of violence from his companion. ‘A flimsy but nevertheless convincing argument,’ he gulped.

They entered the room. The heart-beat echoed in their ears. Natasha crossed over to the brain tank. She levelled her weapon at the tank and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened.

She tried again. Still nothing. ‘The power pack's exhausted!’ she cried. ‘How do we kill them?’

Grigory studied the control panel. The buttons looked simple enough to operate. He started pressing them at random.

Davros turned to the lone Dalek in his chamber. ‘Activate a specimen, then leave me.’ The Dalek obeyed. Davros continued his observation of the incubator room...

As Grigory pressed the controls, the red light in the tank began to fade. However the room was still bathed in a fierce white glow from another corner. A Dalek was materialising on the low platform that had previously held Natasha's father. As the Dalek glided off, Natasha heard the noise and spun around.

‘There's another Dalek! Let's get out of here!’

Grigory continued working on the control panel. ‘What we need is a grenade. That would deal with it.’ He looked up to see where Natasha was pointing. There was nothing there.

‘It's gone!’ she screamed.

‘It can't have got far. We would have heard it leave, wouldn't we?’

Suddenly a terrifying howl, like a thousand voices all screaming at once, echoed around the chamber. Natasha ran for the door, but it would not open. A shadow passed over head. She looked upwards.

Grigory followed her gaze. Hovering over them was the Dalek. It loomed over them like a ghost. Natasha screamed.

The Dalek howled once more, and fired its weapon. Their bodies twisted and distorted as the energy beam tore them apart. The burnt corpses slumped to the ground. The Dalek ceased its attack and dematerialised.

After leaving their scapegoats to fend for themselves, Orcini and Bostock made their way deeper into the catacombs. Eventually they came to the tunnel that, according to the maps, connected with Davros's chamber.

Moving quietly down the corridor, they came to an open archway. Through this was the old chapel that was now the Great Healer's lair. Bostock peered into the room. Although there were no Daleks to be seen, there was one human guard. In the centre of the chamber was the glass dome, through which their target was visible, back turned.

Orcini nodded to Bostock, then twisted the head of his cane. A thin metal spike shot out. Holding the cane like a javelin, the Grand Master threw it into the chamber and it embedded itself in the floor.

Davros spun around at the sudden noise. ‘Remove that object.’

The guard moved over to the cane, and pulled it out. Cautiously, he moved over to the archway and peered around the corner. The last thing he saw was a dirty little man advancing on him with a knife...

Bostock lowered the guard's body to the ground and pulled his knife from between the man's ribs. He then checked that the safety catch was off his weapon.

Orcini recovered his cane from the guard's hand, and primed his own gun. Together, the two assassins leapt into the chamber, their aim concentrated upon the centre of the glass cylinder.

The bullets bounced off the protective dome and thudded into the walls, where they detonated.

But Davros was not weaponless. A lightning bolt of energy flashed out from the mechanical eye on his forehead. It zigzagged out and exploded on the wall behind Orcini. The Grand Master jumped back into the corridor, with Bostock fast behind him.

‘You fools!’ screeched Davros. ‘You can't kill me! I am Davros!’

Now aware of their target's defensive capabilities, Orcini formulated a quick plan. Once ready, they leapt back into the chamber, this time firing directly at the panels at the base of the dome. The console exploded.

Davros screamed as his life-support systems suddenly cut off. A thick black smoke filled the dome.

The assassins stopped firing and watched as their enemy writhed and thrashed within the glass chamber. There was another explosion and everything was silent. Orcini peered into the smoking dome. Inside, the once Great Healer was very dead.

‘We've done it, master,’ rejoiced Bostock. ‘We've killed him!’

But Orcini did not share his squire's excitement. His mind was telling him that Davros would surely have had better security measures than that. No, something was definitely wrong. ‘Has your instinct deserted you? That was far too easy.’

‘That you have realised far too late!’ sneered a voice from the archway. They turned to see a familiar figure seated in a mobile chair. Davros!

‘Grand Master Orcini, place your guns on the floor,’ ordered the resurrected Great Healer.

Realising that they had little choice, the assassins complied. But Bostock had other plans. He wasn't going to give up so easily. He pulled his dagger from his sleeve and threw it at Davros. The blade drove deep into Davros's neck. Orcini snatched up his gun, and fired a rapid burst at the chair.

Davros pulled out the blade and quickly moved out of range. ‘Daleks!’ he screamed.

From both entrances swarmed white Daleks, their weapons firing. Orcini received a direct hit on his left leg. With a flash of sparks, the bionic limb blew off and smashed against a wall. This caused Orcini to lose his balance and he collapsed to the ground.

Bostock grabbed his own gun and fired at the advancing Daleks. One was hit on the head-dome and the explosive bullets detonated, taking the eye-stalk from its housing. It dangled uselessly by its cable.

‘My-vision-is-impaired! I-cannot-see!’

Bostock ran over to his fallen master and, using his body to shield Orcini, fired again.

The Daleks were much stronger and they fired back. Bostock took a heavy hit to his arm. He dropped his gun, and collapsed on top of it.

From the corridor outside Davros watched the battle. When he saw that both assassins were out of the fighting he glided back into the chamber. He flicked a switch on the control panel affixed to his chair and the chair began to slowly rise. He manoeuvred himself until he was hovering directly over the two men.

‘You are a fool, Orcini. And you are old.’ He raised his right hand and pointed at the knight. A bolt zigzagged from his finger-tip and it struck Orcini full in the chest. The Grand Master convulsed with pain as his nervous system was blasted with the intense energy.

‘Your reflexes have gone,’ continued Davros. ‘Do you think that you are the first to try and kill me?’ Orcini struggled to rise, but the pain was too great.

‘That dome was but a simple lure for the assassin's bullet. A puppet controlled by me.’ Davros stopped his attack on Orcini and lowered himself to the ground. Orcini's body gave a final twitch and was still.

‘Search them!’ ordered Davros.

In the DJ's studio, nothing but static issued from the loudspeaker. The President's ship was not responding. Peri had been trying for ten minutes to warn the approaching vessel.

‘Come in. Over,’ Peri called once more.

Static.

She looked to the DJ. ‘The ship doesn't answer.’

‘Wait a moment,’ the DJ said. He was busy setting up what looked like a cannon mounted on a tripod in the middle of the chamber. He went over to the console and pressed a few buttons. On the video scanner a star-chart appeared. The green ‘blip’ representing the Presidential ship had stopped. Then it started to move backwards, away from Necros.

‘They heard,’ he voiced.

The scanner image changed to the view outside the room. A Dalek was moving into position outside in the corridor.

‘And just in time!’ He returned to his position behind the cannon.

‘This may sound like a dumb question,’ Peri asked, ‘but what does that thing do?’

‘The cannon? Oh, it's a highly directional ultrasonic beam of Rock and Roll.’ He pulled the trigger, and a colourful kaleidoscope of energy rays shot out, melting the wall opposite.

Peri's mouth dropped in horror.

The DJ turned to her, his face full of hate. ‘It kills!’

The unconscious Bostock was left where he had fallen, his gun hidden beneath him. Because the Squire was no threat to them in that state, the guards concentrated on Orcini instead. The knight was lifted by the guards and dropped into a chair. After a quick search, they found Kara's transmitter strapped to his belt.

‘Intriguing,’ said Davros, studying the device. ‘A box of delight. Or a box of hate?’

As if in response to his question, Kara was roughly pushed into the room by a guard.

‘My dear Davros,’ she said, trying to act the innocent.

Davros held up the box. ‘Yours, I believe?’

‘Oh, what a pretty little box. What does it do?’

‘You should know. It is a transmitter brought by your assassins.’

Kara looked at Orcini nervously. He stared back at her, his face expressionless.

‘How could you say such a thing, Great Healer?’ She tried to laugh, but all that issued was a strained squeak.

Davros glided closer to her. ‘I have never trusted you, Kara.’

‘I am pained by such a remark. I have served you well.’

Orcini spoke for the first time. ‘Tell him.’

Kara moved over to the Grand Master. ‘I am an innocent party. I refuse to be drawn into your conspiracy.’

Davros handed the transmitter to a guard. ‘Give this to Orcini.’

Kara looked at Davros, panic showing in her face. ‘Is that wise, Great Healer? By your own statement, he is a murderer - a common assassin.’

‘He is a Knight of the Grand Order of Oberon,’ replied Davros. ‘There is little that is common about Orcini.’

He turned to face the Grand Master. ‘Now, show me what you have to do with the box.’

Orcini studied Kara's emotionless face. Without taking his eyes of her he punched in the first four digits of the coded sequence: 1... 1... 8... 6... His thumb poised over the 4...

Kara's eyes widened with fear. ‘No!’ she cried.

‘Proceed,’ ordered Davros.

Orcini slowly pressed the final button...

‘No!’ Kara screamed. ‘It's a bomb!’

Orcini hastily withdrew his thumb from the button.

‘It's a great big bomb!’ Kara repeated.

‘Thank you, Kara,’ giggled Davros.

She hung her head in defeat, then glared at Orcini. ‘You're a fool!’ she spat. ‘You imbecile! I thought you were a man of honour. Now we both die! Satisfied?’

He raised his right hand as if he was going to shake hers. ‘You before me...’ he said. His snapped his fingers, and the needle thin blade shot from his sleeve. He thrust forward and drove the steel into her heart. He pulled the blade sideways, carving a deep gash across her chest. Her eyes bulged wide and blood trickled from her mouth. Orcini wrenched out the knife and watched without remorse as Kara's lifeless body slumped to the ground.

Peri screamed as the glass door of the DJ's chamber exploded inwards.

‘Keep your head down,’ warned the DJ.

The Dalek appeared in the open doorway. ‘You-must-surrender,’ it grated. ‘The-Earth-woman-is-to-come-with-us. It-is-useless-to-resist.’

The DJ swung the sonic cannon into position and fired. The rays zagged out and struck the Dalek. The polycarbide shell vibrated in sympathy with the sound waves as they bounced off it. Minute cracks began to appear.

Then it exploded.

The shell split open and a blob of something fell from within. Peri felt her stomach churn when she saw that the blob was part of a man. It reminded her of the mutant that attacked the Doctor, but this time the mutation was far more advanced. The thing twitched then lay still.

‘Yee-haa!’ shouted the DJ, beating his fist in the air in triumph.

‘You did it,’ rejoiced Peri.

‘That's right.’ The DJ picked up his headphones and put them on. Even in the face of death the show must go on. He had a broadcast to make: ‘Hey, you guys. This is the DJ...’

The Doctor was lost. He was sure that the Great Healer's chamber was on this level but he seemed to be only going round in circles. All the corridors looked identical.

He had been doing a lot of thinking ever since Natasha told him about what happened to her father. The evidence in the incubation room had furthered his suspicions. He had seen something similar once before in the breeding chambers on Skaro. But there was one thing he just couldn't understand - how had the Daleks achieved such an advancement in their evolution when the last time he encountered them they were facing extinction thanks to the Movellans?

The TARDIS computer had shown that the current Necrosian year was relative to about a decade after the Daleks' failed attempt to rescue their creator from his prison. The mutant said he was a product of experiments performed by this Great Healer, and Natasha and Grigory had spoken of the wonderful things this person had supposedly done for Tranquil Repose. Is this Great Healer the one who is making Daleks from the bodies resting in Tranquil Repose? And why?

Then a horrible thought dawned on him. Perhaps Davros didn't perish in the explosion of the prison ship after all. Perhaps he is here on Necros. Could Davros be the Great...

His thoughts were interrupted as the DJ's voice came echoing down the passage.

‘...this is the DJ with a broadcast to...’

‘Look out!’ cut in Peri's voice. ‘More Daleks!’

Peri was in danger! The Doctor took to his heels, and ran down the corridor as fast as he could...

The siege at the DJ's room continued. Further Dalek forces were arriving. One pushed aside the smouldering remains of the dead Dalek in the doorway, and fired a quick burst into the room.

The DJ fired back - but missed.

The Dalek beams struck the far wall. Peri ducked as the video scanner behind her exploded.

Gritting his teeth, the DJ fired again, and again.

Another Dalek exploded. Then there was silence.

The DJ stood up. The other Daleks seemed to have retreated. He turned and smiled at Peri. ‘Yee-haa!’

Suddenly two Daleks appeared at the door.

‘Look out!’ screamed Peri. But she was too late. The DJ was cut down by the double beams of energy. His body disintegrated.

‘You murdered him!’ she cried.

‘You murdered him... murdered him... him...’ Peri's voice echoed down the corridor, bringing the Doctor to a halt.

‘Why did you have to-’ Her voice was suddenly cut short.

The Doctor closed his eyes. If Peri was dead, he could never forgive himself. He had dragged her to this planet to satisfy his own curiosity. She hadn't wanted to come. She didn't even know Arthur, and he had scolded her for being unsympathetic towards his plight. It was the Doctor's own selfishness that had brought them into this. The last thing he wanted was to cause the death of another companion. No, Peri had to be alive. He had to find her. If only he could find the way to the DJ's rooms.

The Doctor rounded a corner - where two Daleks stood waiting for him.

‘Ah, there you are. They went that-a-way,’ he said, pointing back the way he had just come.

One Dalek glided forward, its gun-arm ready. ‘You-will-come-with-us!’

The Doctor slowly raised his hands...

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